Liz Wagner

Are Critics of Israel Being Silenced?


Supporters of the Palestinians often complain that when they “criticize” Israel, Jews unfairly silence them with unwarranted accusations of antisemitism. In truth, accusations of antisemitism arise because so much of the alleged “criticism” employs double standards against Israel, to which no other nation is held, and frequently employs outright lies and newly created meanings of words, terms and conditions that are applied only to Israel (occupation, apartheid and genocide are egregious examples of this). If anyone is being silenced, it is Israel and its supporters. 

For the last several decades, with funding from Arab and Muslim nations supporting pro-Palestinian academics and political activists, and unceasingly biased coverage from the news media, a Palestinian narrative that defies basic facts surrounding the Middle East conflict has come to dominate the debate, while Israel’s well-documented and factually-supported side of the story is simply dismissed as an “official story” that  must not be believed. Based on this framework of falsehood, Israel is then pressured, relentlessly, to accede to Palestinian demands. Perhaps it is time we reclaim our right to speak the truth about the conflict, and demand the many lies and double standards that sustain the Palestinian cause be acknowledged and struck from the debate? The following are examples of truths around this conflict that have been suppressed in order to enable the Palestinian cause to advance against Israel.

  1. The Palestinians want to eliminate Israel more than they want to build a state of their own. Palestinian behavior, and statements by Palestinian leaders, make this obvious. Yet, ever since George W. Bush called for “a Palestinian state living in peace, side-by-side with Israel,” Israel and its supporters are expected to uphold the pretense that the Palestinians want a state. The longer the charade goes on, the more the Palestinian pretense becomes entrenched, while Israel’s efforts to live peacefully and supportively with the Palestinians, are simply ignored or discredited. 
  1. Stating that the Palestinians are a people invented in 1964 by Yasser Arafat and the KGB for the express purpose of usurping Jewish indigenous rights in the Middle East is a big no-no. Arafat said it. Other Palestinian leaders have said it. Everybody knows it, but those supporting Israel are not allowed to say it. It draws attention to the deceitful nature of the Palestinian cause, and so this fundamental truth is banished from the debate. The Palestinians are a fiction that will likely disappear, along with any pretense to building a state, if Israel is ever defeated.
  1. The Palestinian strategy for eliminating Israel comprises terrorist violence against Israeli civilians and soldiers and usurping Jewish indigenous rights by denying 3,000 years of Jewish history, and then claiming those rights for Palestinians. They accomplish this in part, through wholesale rewrites of history. Some of the most outrageous revisions include a) Palestinians have lived in Palestine (Israel) for 5,000 years; b) the Jews are Europeans with no indigenous connection to the land on which Israel stands; c) there was never a Jewish temple in Jerusalem—a lie Yasser Arafat told a stunned Bill Clinton during the Camp David Summit with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000; and d) Jesus was a Palestinian. There was no such thing as a Palestinian people, or a country called Palestine in Jesus’ time, but no matter. The lies Palestinians tell are whoppers, but that hasn’t stopped nations around the world from conferring legitimacy on them, anyway. This is a reflection of the hate and prejudice others feel toward Israel and the Jewish people, and it is meant to silence us. 
  1. The Palestinian cause is hate-based. It is Arab and Muslim supremacist to its core. As plain and simple to understand as the hate that drives white supremacism in the U.S.; but, instead of acknowledging the hateful nature of the cause, many contrive to portray the conflict as complex. Say it’s complex, and you can put off resolving it, while Israelis are forced to live with the wholly predictable consequences of unchecked hate. Part of the evil genius of the Palestinians is they know both the Christian and Muslim worlds are habitually antisemitic, and they leverage that quite skillfully. This has allowed the Palestinians to keep the conflict going while they wrangle aid from foreign nations, and Israel’s other enemies support their terrorist activities. To generate global support for their cause the Palestinians, like the Nazis before them, recruited academics, journalists, politicians and diplomats to dress up their hateful intentions. Pseudoscientific scholarship (“race science”) gave the Third Reich its intellectual validity. Today, fraudulent scholarship in history mixed with the language of liberation and human rights provides the intellectual gloss the Palestinians need to look legitimate. And like the anti-Jewish intellectuals supported by the Nazi regime, those who take up the Palestinian cause are content to indulge their ignorance of, and resentments toward, Israel and the Jewish people. The results have been impressive, as the Palestinians and their supporters have successfully reignited antisemitism in the U.S. and around the world at levels not seen since World War II—all to bring down the State of Israel. But this is another truth suppressed.
  1. Following the World Wars, some conflicts were quelled through the separation of warring populations. In 1923, after Islamic radicals in Turkey slaughtered tens of thousands of Armenian Christians, the governments of Greece and Turkey agreed to a population exchange of nearly 2 million people. Orthodox Christians from Turkey were sent to Greece and Muslims from Greece were sent to Turkey. To ensure more homogenous populations within newly drawn borders following WW II, and to allay fears of ethnic Germans being disloyal to the countries in which they lived following the war, The Potsdam Agreement, which established a protocol for the military occupation and reconstruction of Germany and other countries devastated during the war, ordered the expulsions of an estimated 12 million ethnic Germans from Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. In 1947, when Pakistan came into being through the partition of India, over 14 million Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims were resettled through population exchanges between India and Pakistan. Between 1948 and 1979, over 850,000 Jews fled, or were expelled, from Arab countries and Iran, often forced to leave most or all of their wealth and possessions behind. In pursuit of peace, Israel forcibly withdrew its citizens from the Sinai Desert, in accordance with its 1978 peace agreement with Egypt, and from Gaza in 2005. So why can’t separating Palestinians from Israelis be discussed? No one has a problem when Israel drags its citizens from their homes for the sake of peace, but suggesting that Palestinians be compelled to move makes one guilty of proposing “ethnic cleansing.” For 50 years, Palestinians have categorically refused to live peacefully with Israelis. For 70 years, Arab countries have kept the conflict going by refusing to absorb Palestinians into their citizenry. The world could end the steady drip of misery the Palestinians impose on themselves and Israel through separation, as it did with other peoples.Yet, discussion of this option is forbidden. 
  1. Israel is often criticized and condemned for defending itself from rockets fired at its cities and from rioters trying to enter Israel to commit terrorist acts or kidnappings. Recently, Hamas members were photographed and recorded beating, shooting and arresting hundreds of Gazans who were protesting the horrendous conditions under which Hamas forces them to live. As Arab Muslim writer Bassam Tawil said about it recently, “It is the leaders of Hamas, and only Hamas, who are committing war crimes in and around Gaza. They are committing war crimes against Jews, and they are committing war crimes against their own people. It is time for the human rights ‘experts’ and foreign media to wake up to facts.” Arab and Muslim governments regularly commit serious human rights violations against their people; yet, serious pressure is rarely, if ever, brought to bear on them by Western nations. Only if Israel can be blamed for hurting Palestinians do people get angry and excited. 
  1. The fact that the only real interest Palestinians have in Jerusalem is taking it from the Jews is more than apparent. Jerusalem never had religious or cultural significance to Muslims. The sudden passion for Jerusalem that came over the Palestinians in the late-20th century is just one more appropriation of Jewish history and a profane imitation of the 3,000-year-old Jewish connection to the Holy City. But what about Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, you ask? The fact that a mosque sits triumphantly atop the site of the Jews’ historic temple in Jerusalem should hardly count against the enormous role in Jewish religious and cultural life Jerusalem has always played. Does the Pope get to lay claim to part of New York or any other city, because a cathedral is there? No. So why should the presence of a mosque in Jerusalem elevate the frivolous Palestinian claim to any part of the city? Apparently, it is okay for Catholics to have the Vatican City in Rome and Muslims to have both Mecca and Medina, but allowing the Jews full control of their own historic capital is too radical a concept. Moreover, only with Jerusalem under Israeli control have worshippers of all religious sects had access to their holy sites there assured. Incidents of violence are the only exceptions. In view of all this, recognition of Israel’s reunification of the city, after liberating it from Jordan’s occupation in 1967, should have been a no-brainer. Instead, the world cruelly brushes aside 3,000 years of Jewish history to legitimize a bogus Palestinian claim to Jerusalem. But why do what’s right when you can hide the truth and antagonize Jews, right?
  1. CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) was established in 1994 by the Muslim Brotherhood to raise funds in the U.S. for the Gaza-based terrorist organization, Hamas, itself an off-shoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1988. This was revealed in 2007 during the largest terror financing trial in U.S. history, but anyone who raises this issue is called an Islamophobe and deemed an illegitimate source of information and opinion. Much of the mainstream news media ignore the truth about CAIR and continue to treat it as if it were the legitimate civil rights organization it claims to be. The fact that the FBI cut ties to CAIR because of its link to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t seem to matter to journalists, many of whose politics are anti-Israel. We continue to see news stories that include statements from CAIR officials, whitewashing CAIR’s role in funding terrorism against Israelis and supporting anti-American political groups in the U.S. The willful neglect of the truth about CAIR by journalists shows extreme bias, and is a serious breach of professional standards. Journalists never use KKK officials as sources for comment in stories, so why use CAIR officials? CAIR’s ties to Hamas is another truth being rigorously suppressed. 
  1. Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers are often unfairly compared to Nazis. At the same time, the truth about the Nazi  connection to  the Palestinian cause is kept far away from public discourse. Violent resistance to the presence of Jews in Palestine was inspired, and ruthlessly imposed upon moderate Arabs, by the Nazi-loving  Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini. Al-Husseini, himself, was imposed upon the Muslim community in Palestine by the British civil administration in 1920. Al-Husseini organized vicious and deadly riots against the Jews, in 1929 and from 1936-1939. Then, after  orchestrating a failed coup in Iraq, in 1941, Al-Husseini escaped to Berlin, where he spent the next four years attempting to persuade Hitler to bring the Final Solution to the Middle East. His hatred of Jews and his desire to see them wiped out infused into the Palestinian and Islamist movements the radical antisemitism and hatred for the West we are still living  with, today. His relationship with the British provided a template for coordinating violent opposition to the Jews in Israel while getting Western governments to provide monetary, political and technical support for efforts to dislodge the Jews from the Middle East. To say the IDF is Nazi-like is an offensive anti-Jewish trope that Palestinians and their supporters often invoke. But the true Palestinian connection to the Nazis and the violent Jew-hatred they share is carefully kept out of the public debate. 
  1. Speaking of foreign assistance, despite getting many billions of dollars in foreign aid to build their state, the Palestinians have failed to create a sustainable economy or the infrastructure to support one. In fact, in some cases they deliberately fail to build infrastructure and sometimes sabotage existing infrastructure. Money is diverted to personal bank accounts of Palestinian leaders or to fund terrorism in Israel. And still the world clamors for a Palestinian state. You have to ask, what, really, is the world funding, other than an entity to perpetually silence, antagonize and terrorize Israelis?
  1. Finally, over the last few years, searching the internet for information related to the Middle East conflict that is not biased in favor of the Palestinian narrative has become much more difficult. I’m no search engine expert, but it seems around 2015 Google’s search algorithm was very obviously adjusted to return results that push the user toward the Palestinian view of things. It used to be relatively quick and easy to find a range of results from both sides of the debate. Now, anyone searching for results that provide Israel’s perspective is often forced to spend several minutes trying to outsmart the algorithm by phrasing the search terms just right. If you get results you can use, they’re always surrounded by many more results that push the Palestinian perspective. Israel’s side of the story is simply being erased from view, online, as it is in the heavily biased mainstream print and broadcast media. Then there is the problem of Wikipedia editors who are intolerant of edits to content that don’t conform to their biased beliefs about Jews and Israel. Wikipedia content related to the Middle East conflict is clearly being written and edited from the Palestinian, Arab or Muslim point of view. Between Google, the news media and Wikipedia, a balanced view of the Middle East conflict, as well as who the Jewish people are and what our history is is now harder to find. 

So, who is silencing who?

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