Beating Israel Up: A guide to the perplexed

Every day, as you drink your morning coffee and read the paper you can bet that Israel will be bashed and pilloried in the media and elsewhere.

This is regardless of what it has done, what its political leaders have said, what restraint it has shown, what new measures and concessions towards peace it has announced.

Along with death and taxes, the always- blame-Israel invective, distortions and censure are a certainty. In the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, commentators and organisations have made Israel the proverbial punching bag, the convenient scapegoat, the go-to target to be demonized, boycotted and lashed.

This ongoing delegitimization, visited on no other nation on this planet, continues unabated. And make no mistake—  this immoral incitement it is intimately related to the frightening and dramatic increase in anti-Semitism, here and abroad.

Journalists and editors, who should know better, are seeing Israel through such twisted lens that they can say inexcusable, morally repulsive things and get away with it.

The gold medal for rancorous, baleful rants  is shared by many.

Former columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald Mike Carlton shamefully accuses Israel of  genocide, ethnic cleansing and of wanting to kill Arabs; A billboard in Melbourne, Australia compares Israel to apartheid South Africa; Save the Children Australia puts out a blatantly one-sided advertisement that in its petition to stop the blockade on Gaza never once mentions Hamas, or its use of children as human shields and as slave labour to dig tunnels resulting in the death of more than 160 Palestinian children and conveniently overlooks the trauma Israeli children have experienced; MP George Galloway declares the northern city of Bradford, an “Israel-free zone”; And in 2013 The U.N. General Assembly  adopted 21 resolutions singling out Israel for rebuke.

Oh, you ask, and for the rest of the world combined? Four resolutions. Nothing on China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Zimbabwe.

Among  Israel’s ‘critics’  Jews have less right than any other people on this earth to have their own state. They  hope that eventually Israeli Jews will go away, echoing  Washington Post columnist’s Richard Cohen’s words some years ago that, “The greatest mistake Israel could make at the moment is to forget that Israel itself is a mistake.”

Has anyone ever said that Australia, France, Argentina or any state in the Middle-East is a mistake? The world has no problem with any country,  only with the sliver of land that identifies itself as Jewish. As Norman Podohertz once noted, there’s a demand that “unlike any other people, Jews justify the space they take up on this earth.”

There is a clear campaign, full of harmful lies, repeated again and again,  to excommunicate Israel, and to  undermine its ability to operate in the international arena. There are those who are annoyed that there is a Jewish state, and remain purposefully oblivious to the peace gestures Israel has made.

Like the historical Jew, Israel will not be treated as an equal among the family of nations.

The hypocrisy is staggering. Every geopolitical issue, genocide and humanitarian crisis—Dafur, Congo, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Central Africa Republic, Burma, the list goes on—pales into insignificance when compared with the actions of this small nation continuously threatened with rockets, murders and kidnapping. The central threat to world peace and universal human rights is Israel. Got it?

This dogged, pathological obsession lays all the blame at Israel’s door. No concession, no additional withdrawal will satisfy or will slow down this vicious campaign.

Why? because Israel, not its actions, is the problem.

Most westerners cannot imagine what it’s like to be in Israel’s shoes: surrounded by countries and groups dedicated to your destruction, forced to constantly protect a tiny country with tiny borders, locked in a never-ending struggle with a regime such as Hamas that has fired 12,000 rockets into Israel and that shows no interest in peace.

It is baffling how so many have managed to persuade themselves that Israel — not Hamas, a terrorist organisation as proscribed by many countries including Australia— is the problem. They excuse Hamas’s  actions because in their eyes they are the underdogs, the have-nots, up against western, powerful Israel. This partly explains why the far left turns a blind eye toward Hamas’ brutal oppression and murder of its own people, its use of children to dig tunnels and as human shields, its violation of cease-fires as well as its open call for Israel’s destruction.

Another significant element is President Obama. The president has all but accepted a nuclear Iran and  has sent a clear message: in our new reset-button policy, we see Israeli ‘stubbornness’ as the key obstacle to peace with the Palestinians. And so the radicals got the message— Israel is alone and the Americans want Netanyahu out. Jeffrey Goldberg has observed, “The reality is that there are organizations and countries trying to physically eliminate the Jewish state…The rejectionist front facing down Israel has seen every Israeli pull-back as a victory not for the principle of compromise, but a victory in their campaign to eradicate Israel.”

Consider that Israel returned the whole of the Sinai Peninsula, withdrew from its South Lebanon security zone and uprooted every Israeli settler from Gaza. Instead of nation building, Hamas destroyed the Israeli greenhouses that remained and began an offensive of terror, bombardment and killing. It left Israel no choice but to protect its citizens by preventing the importation of weapons through Gaza used to arm terrorists.

Besides, even if Israel withdrew tomorrow from every inch of the West Bank, any peace deal would not be binding on Hamas.

The terrorist entity would no doubt launch a bloody coup to gain control of the ceded land as it tried before, would refuse to honour the newly signed agreement and begin raining missiles on Israel. We’ve seen this film before.

Most worryingly, it could become another IS state.

No one wants that.

About the Author
Dr. Dvir Abramovich is Director of the Program in Jewish Culture and Society at The University of Melbourne and the Israel Kipen Senior Lecturer in Hebrew and Jewish Studies. He is also Chairman of the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission. He served as President of Australian Association of Jewish studies and editor of the Australian Journal of Jewish Studies. A widely sought out speaker and media commentator, he has authored and edited three books and numerous articles.