Hashtag Activists and the End of Reason

ISIS is a group of Islamic extremists; Muslims, yes, but to insinuate that ISIS represents every Muslim in the world is disingenuous and intellectually dishonest. The majority of Muslims around the world are non-violent and shun extremism. However, rather than use this line of argumentation to substantiate the claim that ISIS does not represent every single Muslim in the world, many Muslims are in denial over the existence of ISIS, and have resorted to conspiracy theories and absurd comparisons to ignore the threat that ISIS poses to Arabs, to Muslims, and to humanity.

Rather than admit that Islam’s religious texts give the very foundation for the justification of violent jihad, many Israel-hating Muslims, along with their bleeding heart sympathizers and far right nutjobs, immediately took a leap off the cliff of logic and rationality, into the sea of conspiratorial ramblings. “ISIS Created by Israel!” they claimed, without an iota of admissible evidence. At this point, all I could do is roll my eyes, and shake my head at social media doing its worst. We’ve all heard this narrischkeit before: instead of Jews being responsible for all wars on Earth, it’s now Israel (i.e. Jews) responsible for all Islamic terrorism on Earth. These are the same arguments that were used during medieval times, in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, by Nazi Germany, and now in the Islamic World. It is much easier to blame “history’s most popular scapegoat” for something as terrible as ISIS, instead of recognizing the foundations of ISIS’ ideology and addressing the flawed reasoning that they use.

Then, they took it up a notch, and I’ve now been compelled to voice my outrage.

“Awful #JSIL Campaign Likens Israel to ISIS” reads the headline. I wish I was making this up, but evidently reality is sometimes more hateful than fiction. Apparently an acronym for “Jewish State in Israel and the Levant”, thousands of hashtag activists have taken to Twitter to make their bold declaration that “Israel is just as bad, if not worse, than ISIS.”

There are many, many reasons why this propagandist claim is one of the most vile, hateful attacks on Israel I have come across so far. I wish I could say that enough educated people exist in the world to know how Israel and the Islamic State are diametrically opposed in ideology, institutions, means, and so on, but Twitter has once again shown me the worst side of humanity.

Look at how Israel guarantees freedom of religion for all of its citizens, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, atheist, etc. Look at how Israel treats LGBT people. Look at how Israel guarantees participation in its parliamentary democratic government. Look at how Israel works to ensure that civilian casualties during military operations are minimized, employing tactics to protect the innocent that no other country on Earth has done before.

Then, look at how ISIS forces those under its rule to convert to its most radicalized version of Islam, pay a jiyza tax, flee their homes, or be executed. Look at how ISIS calls homosexuals “pedophiles” and “animals” worthy of death. Look at how ISIS disavows democracy and human rights, preferring to spread their religion by the sword and allow no room for disagreement. And finally, look at how ISIS has attempted to eradicate entire groups of innocent people, solely because of their non-Muslim religion or their non-Arab ethnicity.

Israel is not ISIS. And no amount of Twitter hashtags is going to change that fact. In the face of this latest insane and asinine attempt to de-legitimatize the Jewish State, I call on Zionists such as myself to double down on our efforts to educate the public about the truth. Use facts, stay away from vitriolic blanket statements, and always have faith in reason. Even when the other side throws reason out the window.

About the Author
Justin Lewis is a recent graduate of the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He continues to live and work in D.C. in the government relations industry.