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How Israel should talk to the world

I have crafted this piece, as a consumer strategy and communications consultant, planning to attract the attention of Israeli government and media personalities with some influence in the way that Israel frames its communications to the world. Secondarily, as a bit of a primer on issues, conceptions, and misconceptions related to Israel’s communication challenges. Third, as a personal indulgence and cathartic exercise in organizing my thoughts around the terrible conflict that engulfs our Jewish nation.

Israel is losing the information war especially with those audiences and cohorts, a substantial subset of whom are successfully protesting and pressuring their respective governments and their peers, to adopt anti-Israel positions. This is not news, nor unexpected. We are outnumbered. And we tend to do things by the book, as opposed to our enemies who deceive, shout,  create “bot farms” and flood social media platforms with misinformation, conspiracy theories, and hate – that invade and drown out other voices.

Israel’s communication strategy tends to be accurate, detailed, analytical, cool. It doesn’t play well in a world of slogans, labels, sound bytes, and emotions. When people hear shouting, many assume the shouter is angry for legitimate reasons; the same fallacious assumption that concludes that the perceived weaker party must, by definition, be the “oppressed” side of the simplistic, irrational, binary equation that has the world divided into either an “oppressed” or an “oppressor” category. Sadly, this is our world. The average IQ is an impenetrable 100.

What Israel should have done from the beginning of the war (perhaps still can) is to publish once, a fulsome statement of principles regarding its position and understanding, followed by a consistent, daily repetition of one true and simple message: the war and all the suffering that it delivers, will stop immediately if Hamas 1) lays down its weapons and surrenders, and 2) frees the hostages. Period.

First, Israel’s one-time, 18-part, position might go something like this:

  1. WAR IS HELL

We expect that many Palestinians will die and more will be injured in this war. We hate that, but we are in a war that we did not start. Urban warfare  creates tragic consequences for civilians. Our enemy does not wear uniforms; they disguise themselves as civilians and cowardly and deliberately hide inside and behind civilian groups and places while launching their rockets into our cities and ground attacks in Gaza. TV doesn’t show this. Hamas aren’t the only ones historically using human shields; Taliban, ISIS (Mosul); Iraq 1991: North Vietnam (aka usually the “bad guys”). The killing is sad and it’s a reality that cannot be avoided as long as a cruel enemy does not value their own people. And no one knows the real numbers. How many of those killed are Hamas terrorists? How many Gazans are being killed by their own mis-fired rockets (experts estimate a 25% failure rate)? How many are killed in collapsed buildings that Hamas routinely boobytraps? Nobody knows.

And then there are the tunnels. These are unique in their magnitude, recently re-estimated at 350-450 miles (560-725 Km.), surpassing London’s Underground. Gaza is now understood to be one massive underground military fortress, including 5,700 entrances, many beneath civilian structures like hospitals. This network, used for weapons storage and Hamas attacks against Israel, intertwines with civilian areas, complicating Israeli strikes. Their construction, mostly funded by diverted international aid, cost hundreds of millions and utilized resources needed for civilian infrastructure. There have been multiple reports and complaints to the U.N. (all ignored) about Hamas’ use of child slave labor and many deaths, associated with their tunnel construction. The extensive tunnel system underlines the significant destruction in Gaza during conflicts, but no one seems to have a better idea on how to neutralize them other than what Israel is doing.

In one night during WWII, the allies bombed Hamburg Germany killing 45,000, including women and children. We only bomb military targets, but even so, no one today characterizes the allies in WWII as villains, nor do they believe that WWII was an unjust war. We do more than other armies: 20,000 cell calls; 1.5 million leaflets; 4.4 million text messages; 6 million voicemail messages – warning Gazans to leave certain combat areas. All verifiable; all verified. In our case, no good deed goes unpunished.

  1. DON’T BE NAÏVE, HAMAS LIES

We expect that Hamas easily lies about the number of dead and injured, and lies about who are civilians and who are their soldiers. When Hamas reported with anger and (feigned) outrage, for example, that Israel had bombed a hospital, killing 500, the world lost it. And when evidence showed that it wasn’t Israel,

but Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s (PIJ) own failed rocket, it turned out that it wasn’t a hospital after all, but its parking lot, nor were 500 killed. Intercepted audio communication among Hamas commanders proved that they knew this all along. With Hamas and PIJ, lying is the rule, not the exception. Why would we not expect that the genocidal Hamas army that committed such unspeakable atrocities against us on October 7, and continues to do so – would not also be capable of continued, unbridled, pure deceit and fabrication. This is not new. Ask yourselves also why, after Israel was raked over the coals in the press when the world jumped to the conclusion without evidence about that hospital bombing – that when proven it was a failed Islamic PIJ rocket, there was utter silence.

  1. ANTISEMITISM IS A LIGHT SLEEPER

We expected that much of the world would pivot their initial, short-lived empathy for Israel into an empathy for Hamas – in about three weeks. Actually, some of the biggest pro-Hamas protests began on October 8, one day after the Hamas butchery and kidnapping of Israelis from their farming villages, and before Israel had even responded. It is said that antisemitism is a “light sleeper,” and this was an opportunity for the many latent antisemites to give themselves permission to surface their prejudice, alarmingly, with great appetite. It has been suggested that one ask themselves: “Is what I am demanding from the Jewish state something I demand from other nations/countries or is this opinion of mine only applicable to the Jews?” Your answer may reveal a latent or overt antisemitism.

Antisemitism disturbs us deeply. It’s an ancient and irrational hatred with roots in both Christianity and Islam, the two monotheistic and proselytizing religions that came after and evolved from Judaism and were rejected by Jews who were in turn hated for this rejection. Our rejection undermined their marketing plan. We can all understand that this hatred provided a fertile and convenient environment for demonizing and exploiting Jews as scapegoats throughout the ages and this hatred seeped into society, and manifested in the inquisition, in pogroms, in the Holocaust, in Arab lands, in Kanye West’s world, on campuses, and generally, in our daily lives. It is no fun being a vulnerable, hated minority; it seems that a “successful” minority group is particularly annoying for many people. We really hate that we are hated by so many. And the injustice of it is deeply offensive and painful. And dangerous. A third of our people were murdered in WWII, because they were Jews. It is such a destructive force for both those who hate, and those who are hated. I would urge anyone, but especially those at university who are supposed to be open-minded and seek intellect, to be suspicious of those who would want you to hate me because I am a Jew or an Israeli. Consult legitimate scholarly works, seek truth and objectivity from sources other than TikTok and Instagram and propagandists. First read responsibly, think for yourselves, then march if you must.

  1. SHOULD WE APOLOGIZE FOR NOT ENOUGH OF US DYING?

We expected to be punished instead of celebrated because of our passion and commitment to keep our civilians relatively protected. We invest in defence technology, build bomb shelters, and evacuate our people from danger zones. Should we apologize to the world that not enough Jews have died to satisfy the proponents of their definition of proportionality? Hamas has told the world that their hundreds of kilometers of bomb-proof tunnels are to protect their terrorist army, and not their own women and children who are forbidden there. As a bit of an aside, but related: In ancient Jewish tradition relating to war, we must not kill even one more person than is necessary to secure sustainable peace. Nor should we stop the battle before peace can be secured; otherwise, all lives on both sides will have been lost in vain. Because life is precious; and for religious persons, all people everywhere are created in the image of the creator.

  1. THE AWFUL TRUTH – THE U.N. HAS BEEN CO-OPTED

We acknowledge that much of the U.N. and its agencies are not places for constructive and honest debate; but are a weaponized platform for deceitful rhetoric, hate, and propaganda that affect those too lazy to educate themselves objectively. Everyone knows that the U.N. is obsessed with Israel in a world where so much ignored injustice continues constantly outside of Israel. In 2023 alone, The U.N. General Assembly condemned Israel 14 times and the rest of the world combined, 7 times. This one-sided obsession has one goal, to demonize Israel, and it encourages antisemitism globally. The U.N. has not condemned Hamas for the October 7 massacre, nor do they recognize it as a terror organization. Why is this so hard to do?

  1. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE EVIL WHICH IS IRAN

We recognize the absurdity and perversion of Iran, a member state of the U.N., publicly threatening to annihilate Israel, a fellow member state of the U.N. No U.N. condemnation of Iran has ever been made.

Iran’s IRGC, led by the supreme leader, constitutionally pursues global Islamic sovereignty through Jihad. Iran views the U.S. as its primary, eternal enemy; its stance towards Israel, is extremely dangerous, seeking Israel’s eradication. This is not hyperbole. For Iran, first: Israel, then America. Little Satan; big Satan. Can you imagine them with nuclear weapons? They likely already have them or nearly so.

The world is numb. And we are too tired to be outraged anymore. They are not redeemable. They continue to fund, train, and control Hamas, PIJ, Hezbollah, Houthis, and others; this is not disputable. In a world of law and order, one who hires assassins are as guilty as the assassins; apparently Iran gets a free pass.

  1. SO MUCH FOR NATO VALUES AS A CONDITION FOR MEMBERSHIP

We recognize that Turkey, a member of NATO, continues to host, support, and provide a safe haven for Hamas. In addition to providing military support, Turkey has provided Hamas leadership with Turkish passports and residency, allowing  them to travel internationally unhindered. Turkey is complicit in the brutal attacks on Israel, but these things do not surprise us anymore, despite NATO’s own mission statement that values democracy, human rights and the rule of law. How are they still a member? Maybe ask US Secretary of State Antony Blinken who recently talked with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about playing “a positive, productive” role in postwar Gaza. The insanity continues.

  1. QATAR FUNDS AND HOSTS HAMAS, AND IS AN HONEST BROKER? YOU KIDDING?

We recognize that Qatar, another sovereign state, and great ally to the United States, continues to host, support, fund, and provide a safe haven and refuge for Hamas leadership and strategists. Why isn’t anyone charging them for enabling terrorism. We know why; The U.S.’ Al-Udeid Air Base. And what about one week into the Gulf crisis, and less than a week after President Trump castigated Qatar as a sponsor of terrorism, Qatar bought $12 billion of American F-15 aircraft; and under Biden a $1-billion arms sale to Qatar (unveiled during World Cup 2022 match in Doha between Iran and the United States).

As for Qatar possibly knowing in advance or encouraging Hamas’ massacres –  analysts suspect Qatar’s silence on the October 7 assault aimed to disrupt Israel-Saudi talks on normalizing relations. Qatar, threatened by a strategic partnership between these two major economies, especially in natural gas, seeks to maintain its diplomatic influence. The proposed India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC), excluding Qatar, would significantly alter regional power dynamics. Israeli bombings in Gaza and resulting Arab outrage further stalled the Israel-Saudi dialogue, aligning with Qatar’s interests to hinder this normalization process. Realpolitik is real, and often works against us.

  1. UNRWA IS HAMAS – SAD BUT TRUE; BELIEVE IT.

We recognize that UNRWA and other U.N. institutions have been co-opted over the years by their Palestinian employees and management – to become an instrument of Israel’s enemies to preach, teach, indoctrinate Palestinians to hate and martyrdom; to kill Israelis and Jews in Israel and anywhere else they can be found in the world. UNRWA teachers (on its 3,000 member UNRWA social media group, hosted on the messaging platform Telegram) had many posts celebrating the massacre of October 7 just moments after it began. More recently, Israel has provided evidence that UNRWA employees actively participated in the massacres of October 7 and in the guarding and abuse of hostages in Gaza. This is no surprise for us. Media still characterizes Israel’s bombing of UNRWA facilities as a war crime; yet these facilities routinely safeguard Hamas’ rockets and the terrorists who use them.

Of all the conflict-affected areas in the world (Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, etc.), only the Palestinians have their own U.N. agency (UNRWA) that hires 30,000 mostly local people to provide services. Nowhere else in the world does the U.N. have that amount of staff on the ground, let alone local staff.

With no offence intended for individual Palestinians; while we are on the subject of Palestine and their “national” identity, next time you meet a Palestinian, ask them who stole land from them? And if they say Israel, ask them where you can find a history book on Palestine. Ask them when Palestine was established as a country, who was the first prime minister of Palestine, what is the national anthem of Palestine, where was its capital? what is the monetary currency of Palestine. The answer is these didn’t exist. It has no history. Check it out. I am not suggesting that individual Palestinians who have lived in the West Bank for generations when it was part of the Ottoman territories and after, do not have connection to the land, nor deserve to reside there; but there was no national Palestinian identity as such. This despite Palestinian politicians liking to claim that they are an ancient nation, Indigenous, that Moses and indeed, Jesus – the Judean Jew –  were Palestinian and other silly statements that ignore historical fact, biblical tradition, and objective archeological science. In that sense, and I realize that this is not a popular thing to assert, it can be argued that the idea of a Palestinian state is an artificial construct and not based on true history. Despite people lined up to support the emperor, “This Emperor has no clothes.”

  1. NEGOTIATE WITH PEOPLE WHO WANT YOU DEAD?

We recognize that all these indoctrinated Gazans have spent a lifetime being taught to become what they have become, and we distrust the notion that one can negotiate within that reality. Take a look at the UNRWA student textbooks used in Gaza and in the West Bank, and their summer camps where 5-year-old boys and girls are trained with dummy weapons and chant death to jews, while taught to be joyful at the prospect of martyrdom for Jihad. None of this is secret. EU commissions over years, have highlighted persistent antisemitism, and violence in Palestinian textbooks despite promised revisions. With effort, it would take generations to cleanse the ingrained hatred.

  1. A RADICAL RELIGIOUS CONFLICT AND CLASH OF CULTURES

We recognize that the issues are multi-faceted and complex, but the foundational root cause is not particularly complicated. Hamas, and most Palestinians  prefer Jews dead or at a minimum, gone (West Bank Palestinians polled at 83%; Gaza Palestinians at 64%: AWRAD Nov 22 poll); and they are committed to a Jew-free Israel from the (Jordan) River to the (Mediterranean) Sea (75% of Palestinians – AWRAD poll Nov 2023). Indeed, a Jew-free (holy Muslim) Middle East; indeed, eventually – a global caliphate. This is less about land and more about the Jihadist interpretation of what Islam commands of them. This is difficult for the western mind to accept – the goal of a global Islamic society is what Jihadism is about, and it connects Hamas, Hezbollah, The Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, al Qaeda, Nusra, al Shabab, and scores of Jihadist affiliates around the world. To be crystal clear, the intended caliphate means no Jews or Christians, except as a slave class for some. Sounds extreme? Educate yourself; it’s like a horror movie, but it’s real. In that context, we think that our distrust is perfectly logical.

One more thing that needs to be understood. Hamas does not want a 2-states solution. They have clearly and publicly rejected the idea as being antithetical to their mission. Their cause includes a one state solution in all the lands of Israel/Palestine, from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean Sea – with no Jews. Again, this is public information. And when protestors on American university campuses shout, from the river to the sea – have they/you considered what “their” plans are with respect to the 8 million Jews now living between the river and the sea?

For those pro Hamas or pro Palestinian protestors who use slogans such as “from the river to the sea,” or “go back to Europe” – please don’t. These are highly offensive for Jews, or should be. First, for the time we lived in Europe from the Middle Ages (not our choice) we were not treated well (understatement). You may recall reading that. Second, we are truly indigenous to Israel including the West Bank. In other words, historically, “from the river to the sea” actually describes the Jewish homeland. This is why we Jews are called Jews, aka from Judea. The Palestinians are called Arabs, aka from Arabia. Arabia is not in the land of Israel. This subject is perhaps worthy of a separate blog about who are truly Indigenous and who were the colonizers.

  1. WE HAD A 2-STATES SOLUTION; IT FAILED

We recognize that Gaza was a real live test of a two-states scenario. The Israeli army, and every single Jew left in 2005, enabling Gaza to become an independent, autonomous, Islamic statelet. They have a southern land border with Egypt. Ask the Egyptians why they are not allowing Gazan to get out of harm’s way by temporarily staying in Egypt? We haven’t seen any protests about that, anywhere.

Gaza also has a seaport, and Israel was willing to fund their own airport. All they had to say was that they were prepared to renounce their Charter calling for our genocide, and to promise that they would live side by side with Israel in peace. Gaza is not an “open air” prison, but a potential beach-fringed, prosperous enclave. How did that turn out? Why would Israel now be enthusiastic about a 2-3 states solution, with Gaza on one side and the Palestinian Authority (PA) on the other? Can you imagine an independent Palestinian state to the west and to the east of tiny, 22,000 sq. Km. Israel? For comparison, Israel is surrounded by 13,000,000 sq. Km of Arab lands. Can you imagine a Palestine-Iran defense treaty? Hamas-Iran military drills? Iranian army bases 500 meters from Israel’s borders? Would we be that insane to entertain that scenario? Israel cannot lose even one war.

And by the way, contrary to what the media keeps dramatically repeating, Gaza is not the most densely populated place on Earth. It is the 63rd densest; Manhattan is double Gaza’s density. Just sayin’ (look it up).

Why does CNN and others keep perpetuating these false, empathy-evoking images? One reason is their staff; people like Richard Harlow who accused Israel of killing Palestinians and stealing their organs, like Mohammed Abdelbary, CNN’s producer who tweeted obscene anti-Israel hate messages, including “f_ck Israel” and his wish that Israel gets “crushed by the Palestinians.” That bias did not prevent him from being tasked with reporting extensively on the Israel-Hamas war, including a lead byline on a piece just 13 days after the Hamas attack that included claims Israel is committing war crimes in its immediate response to the terrorist atrocity. There are scores of examples of this.

These and many other journalists are responsible for editing images and authoring articles for CNN. The same applies to ABC News, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, and others. They echoed the tragic human angle of Al-Jazeera’s claims on January 7, that Israel had targeted and killed two journalists, but failed to update their stories or publish new ones when the new information came to light three days later, that these “journalists” were listed, proven terrorists, and operating as such when they were neutralized. And then there is the simple test of reasonableness. Unless you hold a blind, irrational hatred for Jews and Israel, why would we want to indiscriminately kill journalists, or any innocent person. Why bomb a non-tactical or non-military structure; a waste of munitions which we do not have in surplus. Why bomb a U.N. shelter, as the U.N accused recently. None of that makes any sense to a normal person.

Do we expect journalistic integrity? It’s rare.

Once upon a time, media used to be skeptical and objective. It’s evolved to speaking truth to power with prejudiced journalists deciding who owns the truth and who owns the power; and mostly left leaning media people who often get that confused with the fallacious, simplistic oppressor-oppressed categories. Using the word, confused, is generous. It’s likely far more deliberate. It’s a problem that the photographers are mostly local, and they favor and feed into their employers, a one-sided view. How many pictures have you seen with Hamas shooting rockets, RPGs, rifles? They make it seem like there’s only the Israeli army operating, shooting and bombing. The audiences never question, they simply consume and fume. The other cold fact is that many are hired with and possibly for their biases. CNN and others are a business, They worry about revenues. They must write about things their audiences want to hear. There are 2200 million Muslims and 15 million Jews.

  1. RADICAL ISLAM IS BASED ON FEAR

We recognize that there are many moderate Muslims worldwide, but that they are afraid to speak up, to protest – including the thousands of influential Imams in America’s 2,769 Mosques and in Europe’s 3,026 mosques, whose silence is deafening. We know that Jihadist, radical Muslims are easily offended. Remember Paris and the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo cartoons? No Jew has killed over a cartoon of Moses. So, Islamophobia, not as a racial prejudice which is abhorrent, but as a fear of extreme, radical Islam can be understood. The Muslim majorities must organize, choose a side, and protect their religion and culture from being coopted and defined by extremists. Are you seeing that?

  1. WE ARE ONLY 15 MILLION OF US IN THE WORLD; OF COURSE, WE ARE DIFFERENT.

We acknowledge that most majorities in the world, whether the almost 2.6 Billion Christians, or the almost 2.2 Billion Muslims cannot understand that we Jews – a mere 15 million souls of whom 7 million are in Israel – feel as one small family, mostly. Those billions of both Christians and Muslims have been killing each other for centuries. We have not. Maybe that’s why when Muslims kill other Muslims (Yemen, Iran-Iraq, Syria, Jordan, etc) by the hundreds of thousands, no one protests in the streets complaining of genocide or simply of injustice. Why is it that when a Jew kills a Muslim (even in a defensive war), all hell breaks loose? And when a Muslim kills a Jew, it’s somehow ok? Or worse, it’s resistance? And when our kidnapped girls are being tortured and raped daily by Hamas in Gaza, it is also “resistance”?

Finally, after two months of stalling, gathering and auditing evidence and remaining silent in the face of eyewitnesses, Hamas’ own body cams, and the few survivors, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (U.N. Women), had no choice but to (weakly) condemn the Hamas October 7 massacre, two months after the terrorist organization’s brutal rampage of torture, rape, murder, and kidnappings. We shall not forget that apathy, and the apathy of the International Red Cross who still have not applied their leverage to visit the hostages.

  1. NOT CHANGING HISTORY, GET OVER IT.

We recognize that many Palestinians want us out of Israel or worse. We are not willing to have a 75-year-old discussion. In 1948, after the UN voted and approved a sovereign Jewish state of Israel in the Jewish ancestral homeland – where there had been Jewish Kingdoms in antiquity and a continued Jewish presence since 1,000 B.C. – all the Arab nations rejected that vote and went to war, stating openly without embarrassment, just like now, that their plan was to annihilate the Jews. Same in 1967, same in 1973. Nothing has changed. Yes, some Arabs were displaced in 1948, no doubt. Others left to join the invading Arab armies. Many people do not realize that Jews were also violently displaced in 1948, from the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). In fact, the only time that Jews did not live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem was a very brief 19 years, from 1948 to 1967 when Jordan occupied it. There are settlements in the West Bank today from that period, that Jews returned to in 1967. Media does not tend to make that clear. Books have been written on this by serious historians and other academics. The Arabs who elected to stay in post 1948 Israel are still in Israel, enjoying Israeli citizenship or residency. Independent polls today show a strong Israeli-Arab preference to live under an Israeli government.

Of the 750,000 Jewish refugees from multiple Arab countries, (where they had lived for centuries) 586,000 were resettled in Israel – without any compensation from the Arab governments who abused them, chased them out, and confiscated all their possessions. That was ethnic cleansing; there are no jews left in those countries. They did not remain refugees for long; we assimilated them. The majority (55%) of Israel’s Jews are Mizrachi (from Arab lands); so much for Jews being perceived as white – supremacist – European – privileged; or other labels. We are white, brown, and black. Physicists and taxi drivers, carpenters and parking lot attendants. Come to Israel and take a look.

The contrast between the Jewish refugees and the Palestinian-Arab refugees is significant given the difference in cultural and geographic dislocation – most of the Jewish refugees traveled hundreds or thousands of miles to tiny Israel, whose inhabitants spoke a different language and lived with a vastly different culture. Most Palestinian refugees traveled but a few miles to the other side of the 1949 armistice lines, remaining inside a linguistically, culturally and ethnically similar society.

To date, more than 100 U.N. resolutions have been passed referring to the fate of Palestinian refugees. Not one has addressed Jewish refugees. The United Nations created an organization, UNRWA, to exclusively handle Palestinian refugees. All other refugees are handled collectively by UNHCR. The U.N. even defines Palestinian refugees differently than every other refugee population, setting policy that allowed their numbers to grow exponentially with every generation.

We did not place our own people into refugee camps like the Arabs did to their own in Egypt/Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria – where they were showcased and used as political pawns to this day. It was war, and it is in the past; so, get over it. War displaces people. During WW2 alone, between 40 to 60 million people were displaced. It was war. Read history and educate yourselves. Israel’s existence is not a topic for discussion or revision. Some Israeli politicians still feel the need to assert that Israel is the only Jewish country in the world, tiny, and that “we are not going anywhere.” Absurd to feel that need. Can you imagine being talked about by others about whether you should “exist.”

  1. EVERYONE’S LIFE IS MORE PRECIOUS TO THEM; IT’S CALLED SURVIVAL

We know that politicians and philosophers like to say that every life is equally precious. Blinken has recently pontificated that a Palestinian life is just as precious as an Israeli life. They are preaching to us, Jewish values? We agree, in principle. But get real, if it’s your family who is being targeted and attacked, it is one’s primal duty to defend. Whose life becomes more “precious” may be the subject of an abstract thought experiment in an undergraduate philosophy of ethics course, but it’s not always applicable or possible in real life.

  1. SOUTH AFRICA IS PRO HAMAS FOR A REASON, AND IT’S NOT JUSTICE

We understand the real motives for South Africa’s complaint at the ICJ. South Africa has a solidarity with Iran and has historically supported the Palestine Liberation organization (PLO), seeing that struggle somehow consistent with Pretoria’s own long-standing, historical struggles against colonialism. This calculus resulted in South Africa’s  ignorant, anti-Israel position.

Ironically, it was the Jewish people, after many centuries of being colonized, genocided, and evicted, who manifested modern Zionism – one of history’s greatest examples of the success of a (Jewish) national liberation movement.

Aside from the fact that it’s inane to argue that we can be a colonizer of the land from which we are Indigenous for 3,000 years, South Africa’s motives are likely more insidious, having recently strengthened economic ties with Qatar whose Investment Authority (QIA) enjoys an enviable market capitalization of $450bn that inspires many fantasies in Africa. Quid pro quo: South Africa just successfully supported Iran’s bid to enter BRICS in 2023. South Africa lauded the 1979 Iranian revolution under Khomeini as “the greatest defeat of modern imperialism.” Serious, informed people do not need Israel to affirm that we are not genocidal or pro-apartheid. Arabs are Israel’s largest ethnic minority at 21%; they vote, including the women; they sit on the supreme court; they represent 20% of Israel’s doctors, 25% of nurses, and 50% of pharmacists. The Arab birthrate in Israel is 2.9 children per woman. Does this sound like genocide or apartheid to you?

As for the Palestinians living in the West Bank under the autonomous Palestinian Authority (PA), they have not done well. It doesn’t help that PA president, Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies (The Fatah Party) have waxed wealthy on corruption (as have Hamas’ leaders) at the expense of their own people, that they have failed to call for elections since 2006, ergo having essentially become a dictatorship. And despite sounding more peaceful in English (than Hamas) in their resistance to Israel, the rhetoric to the Arab street is like Hamas. Same by the way, in Jordan, despite a peace treaty, but that’s another conversation. To put their money where their mouth is: the PA pays monetary prizes to their terrorists (both in the West bank and in Gaza) for the murder of any Jew. Labelled, “Pay for Slay,” these rewards vary, but for example, to longer-term terrorists, caught by Israel, $41,148 is paid annually for life – in a Palestinian economy where the GNP per capita is $3,789. That’s what I would call motivation. This is all public information. The PA has no moral problem with this.

  1. TOO EARLY TO TALK ANY KIND OF PEACE. WE ARE STILL BURYING BODY PARTS

We recognize that most of the world cannot understand or refuses to understand the ongoing trauma of the Jewish people; that we at the moment, have zero appetite to think or discuss 2-states solutions, pathways to peace, or negotiate anything – when our children and sisters and brothers and grandparents are being held hostage and being abused at the hands of Hamas – even as I write this. We are not in the mood; we are in a terrible mood; so sorry. (sarcasm intended) It’s a bit early to expect us to politely sit and engage in those conversations. The only solution we need now is to have our people released into our care and have our enemies stop shooting and put their weapons down. Period. The rest will have to wait a while longer.

We should be saying these 18 position statements firmly and once, and directing people  back to these for clarification as needed. Then we should be diverting to a very simple, repeated message. We need to say only two things to Hamas, the Palestinians in general, the 2 billion+ Muslims (among them also moderate but scared to talk), those 18–24-year-old, intellectually lazy, uninformed, and manipulated university cohorts, that some have characterized as  “useful idiots” – and those two things are:

We promise to end this war immediately if Hamas 1) lays down its weapons and surrenders, and 2) frees the hostages.

Israel should be repeating that 3 times a day (religiously), every day, and only that, ad nauseum. They should rent prominent space in paper and digital news platforms that asserts those statements to the world every single day. It’s a simple message. It must become our mantra, and ultimately the mantra of reasonable people anywhere.

We hate it when innocent people suffer, but Hamas is responsible for every single death and injury. They have the power to stop war immediately. The protests in the streets should be:  Hamas. Stop this insanity! End this war by laying down your weapons, surrender, and  free the hostages.

But I fear that we likely will not adopt this messaging. We Jews tend to overly intellectualize our messages, we’re  analytical, verbose, not emotional enough, not demonstrable with our anger. We think that might be unprofessional, unsophisticated or uncouth. We have so many different kinds of comments we think we must make to be understood, many defenses to articulate, so many lies to try to dispel. We don’t understand well enough, the world’s mass audiences and the need for simplicity. Therefore, I propose my two-pronged recommendations that may satisfy both needs.

If one of you readers are in a position of influence, or know somebody who knows somebody, kindly email this article, “upstairs.”

About the Author
Teich, based in Toronto, is an international strategy, market growth, and communications consultant for emerging economies and organizations. With a past role as CEO and extensive experience in over 80 countries and cultures, he's now semi-retired, continuing his consultancy, an author of two best-sellers, and an avid follower of history and current affairs.
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