The Israel Warrior: Fighting Back for the Jewish State from Campus to Street Corner, by Shmuley Boteach. Gefen Publishing House, $19.95 USD/NIS 62 (222p) ISBN 978-965-229-883-6
Rabbi and media maven Shmuley Boteach (Kosher Jesus) piggybacks off American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise founder Mitchell Bard (Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict) to reorganize and update the information in the latter’s popular primer for the latest cohort of Israel advocates, Jewish or otherwise. In addition to providing talking points about the Arab-Jewish clash and introductions to Zionism, the State of Israel, and its enemies, Boteach in his argumentation adduces a slew of evidence and offers commonsense suggestions for Israel Warriors-in-training to deploy against the barrage of calumnies Jews and Jewish students regularly face on campuses, in the public square, and in the media from the inimical and ignorant.
Boteach issues a clarion call to hate—evil, that is. The book is a sustained argument that without righteous indignation against the iniquity of terrorists and terrorism sponsors, such evil will only prevail. He asks readers to emulate Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill in their respective hatred of slavery and Nazism, so as to mobilize and confront anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism with similar fortitude and resolve. Whether touching upon the issues of 1948 refugees, the status of Jerusalem, the actions of the IDF, the blatant hypocrisy and spurious charges of BDS proponents, the obsessively biased UN, Arab corruption and incitement, or Iranian nuclear ambitions and deceptions, he emphasizes the necessity of furnishing basic facts and statistics to refute lies and slander, providing contexts, and debunking canards that scurrilous foes of Israel routinely employ to delegitimize and demonize the sole Jewish state, an island of freedom and democracy in the world’s most troubled region.
The book overall is a rehearsal of elementary historical facts occasionally supplemented with some useful details, but benefits from its current content and vigorous thrust. The author correctly highlights the crisis of irresolute leadership within the international community vis-à-vis prosecuting the ongoing war against terrorism, and his longing for unequivocal denunciation and explicit loathing of evildoers and their inhumane actions by world leaders is agreeable. Apologists making excuses or seeking “root causes” on behalf of the pathologically violent and cruel merely abet the gunmen, homicide bombers, and rocket launchers in their reified malice. Political correctness only obfuscates moral clarity and serves as the handmaiden of Islamic terrorism, the foremost challenge of our times. But it is in his preface that Boteach delivers the most crucial yet most neglected advice for would-be Israel advocates to internalize: “Fight when you can be heard, and when you have a chance of convincing others.” Veteran debaters recognize that for all the facts and figures, for all the truths and contexts, the first rule of debating forever remains: Pick Your Battles.