A very important alternative

There is an unfathomable amount of anti-Israel bias in the world.

I feel enraged every time a UN Resolution passes, suggesting that Israel is committing war crimes. Every time a diplomatic statement is released that cannot condemn Hamas’ terrorist attacks without also condemning “Israel’s occupation of Palestine”.

Yes, I feel enraged when anti-Semitic acts are excused and justified on the basis of “tensions in the Middle East”.

And I feel equally enraged when statements finally condemning acts of anti-Semitism are released and they start with “Jews shouldn’t be blamed for Israel’s war crimes in Palestine”.

I feel enraged when students consider it politically correct to #freePalestine and #BDS and #shiptogaza, and professors consider themselves “objective” when using terms like the wall and occupied Palestinian territories and Israeli apartheid, and when they roll their eyes as they mention self-defense as if it were the biggest joke of the century. I hate the indoctrination and the lies.

And most of all I hate that they have no idea what they’re part of. Ants, in an enormous colony of unquestioning believers. So where does this uncontested, global, politically correct hatred towards Israel stem from? A universal epidemic of anti-Semitism?

Sure, it’s quite possible that that is what it has turned into. But is that the root of it? No. That is the easy answer given by self-victimized individuals. The answer isn’t that easy, but it is equally clear.

We are all familiar with the story following the birth of the modern state of Israel. They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat. Right? Sort of. The Arab nations weren’t particularly happy with that ending. Since they couldn’t win with weapons, they decided to win by altering the public opinion. In the 60’s, the first resolutions condemning Israel were introduced in the UN by the Arab states. These resolutions raised the plight of the Palestinian refugees, and blamed Israel for the status of these people.

Interestingly enough, the resolutions were initiated by the same Arab states that had, in fact, refused to welcome these Palestinian refugees into their own countries. That issue was not discussed. Indeed, this was just the beginning. It signified the start of what would be a long, protracted attempt to cast a shadow on the infant country that these states refused to live side by side with. It worked. And it is still going on.

I recently spoke to a friend of mine who highlighted the fact that every time the “Palestine issue” has seemed absent from the news, Hamas fires new rockets into Israel. Israel responds, there’s a media frenzy, and voilà — the Palestinian cause has gained new sympathy.

At the end of Operation Protective Edge, a Palestinian acquaintance of mine caught me outside the entrance of our university. He was smiling from ear to ear. “We won,” he said to me. “What do you mean, you won? Clearly Israel had the upper hand in this war,” I answered. “Doesn’t matter,” he said. “We won the media war.” And he couldn’t have been more right. The media war is the real war. Because there will always be more rockets, and more tunnels, and more terrorists, and more financial aid. We cannot win the war with weapons, because it will never end. It will be quiet for a few months until they build it all up, and then it starts all over. More soldiers will perish. More families will grieve. More youth will be kidnapped.

I have never been so upset as I was last year. Three innocent Jewish boys, kidnapped, murdered. The media said nearly nothing, and if they did, 60% of whatever article they published described the kidnapping as a response to something or another Israel may have done previously.

And then, a Palestinian teenager was kidnapped and killed by Israelis. And the Internet blew up. I specifically remember an image of the boy, appearing all over Facebook, with the headline “Palestinian teen killed just because he was Palestinian. Share this, because the media will not”. It infuriated me. “What do you mean ‘the media will not??’ That’s the only thing it will publish!” I thought. Where were all these images the week before, of the three kidnapped Jewish boys? Where was the online attention?

Lacking, for two reasons. It wasn’t interesting enough, because the media trend elicits sympathy mainly for Palestinian deaths. But also, it wasn’t pushed enough from our side. We grieved, silently, solemnly, in solitude. There was sadness, but not a fuss. We were supposed to make a fuss. The only way to get rid of the bias is to make a fuss every single time. Everything matters. Everything needs to be highlighted. People don’t care, because they don’t know. People don’t know because mankind is lazy, and we will not be bothered to delve into issues that are not right in front of us. We need to be seen to be heard.

Forty years ago, states with a mission managed to change global opinion, which less than twenty years earlier had been almost exclusively positive towards Jews and their home state, Israel. It only took forty years, or less. Every time a new UN resolution passes, I see the same hopeless, frustrated faces saying that Israel should withdraw from the UN and give the middle finger to everyone else. That will not help. Isolation does not help.

Israel should start doing exactly what its enemies do. Bring light to our cause. Make people see the other side of things. Force people to see the other side of things, and then let them decide. It’s not hard to make a choice when you are only subjected to one option. Give the people an alternative.

About the Author
Olivia Flasch was born in Sweden to Polish-Ukrainian Jewish parents. After high school, she spent a few months volunteering in Israel. She then completed her Bachelor's Degree in International Law (LL.B) in The Hague, The Netherlands, and her Master's Degree in Law (MJur) at the University of Oxford. She currently lives in London.