During the past weeks since the October 7 massacre of Israelis, the world has heard and watched many condemnations of Israel throughout the media universe. The following short summaries describe some of the most virulent organizations who constantly vilify Israelis and Jews. Their common strategy is the dissolution of Israel and their tactics are violent acts and demonstrations against Israel, Jews, and Israel supporters.
Keep in mind that for progressive students and adults there is a very strong tendency to accept all the social media dictates that are handed down concerning, for example, the environment and climate change; racial bias; equity not equality; sexual proclivities; gun control; pro-Palestine; anti-Israel. “Intersectionality” is the word to describe fealty to all of the progressive beliefs. If you disagree that Israel is an abomination but accept all other facets of progressivism, you are the enemy. If you are white, you are an oppressor. If you are non-white, you are oppressed. This is a powerful tool to force adherence to an atrocious and destructive world view, especially among impressionable young people.
Jewish Voice for Peace, founded in 1996, describes itself as “the largest progressive Jewish anti-Zionist organization in the world. “We’re organizing a grassroots, multiracial, cross-class, intergenerational movement of U.S. Jews in solidarity with the Palestinian freedom struggle, guided by a vision of justice, equality, and dignity for all people.” (From the website) Actually, its mission is to destroy Israel.
IfNotNow “Young Jews angered by the overwhelmingly hawkish response of American Jewish institutions came together under the banner of IfNotNow. Organizing our community to end U.S. support for Israel’s apartheid system and demand equality, justice, and a thriving future for all Palestinians and Israelis.” It was founded in 2014 by Jewish opponents of Israel. (From the website) Actually, its mission is to destroy Israel.
Students for Justice in Palestine has more than 200 chapters across North America and has been on campuses since 1993, with frequent, seemingly benign protests calling for the liberation of Palestinians and boycotts against Israel. Its mission is “to empower, unify, and support student organizers as they push forward demands for Palestinian liberation & self-determination on their campuses.” (From the website) Actually, its mission is to destroy Israel.
These relatively benign statements above don’t match the violent aggression these groups incite to shut down Jewish students, professors, speakers, and others who promote Jewish life on campus and educate students about Judaism, Israel, and Middle East developments.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two of the most longstanding, Israel hating NGOs: Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Human Rights Watch was founded by Robert L. Bernstein in 1978, after his very successful organization, Helsinki Watch, helped to bring about the release of Soviet Jews. Bernstein resigned in 2009, repudiating HRW for its bias against Israel. Today the organization continues to repeatedly indict Israel with scant or no justification. Amnesty International originated in 1988 and is opposed to Israel as a Jewish state and makes numerous accusations against it. Many liberals continue to support these Jew hating institutions, often in ignorance of their stances against Israel and the Jews. (Many of the leaders and other employees are Jewish.)
Many of you live in self-described “bubbles” where your Jewishness or feelings toward Israel are unquestioned and not an issue. Even so, you might find yourself having to justify your opinions to a colleague, friend, or even to a child or grandchild. Jew hatred has permeated Western society to the extent that this isn’t some fanciful notion.
Below are various false contentions that have become “popular” which you might want to contest but don’t have the proper tools. My comments may help and may even educate you about Israel, which paradoxically is at a juncture, facing existential enemies, where its cohesiveness and strength are on display.
Jews are not Israel’s indigenous people and Israel has no right to exist
If Jews aren’t indigenous to the Land of Israel, who is? Jews have a 4,000-year-old history in the land and have written about it consistently in its holy books for nearly 2,000 years. Innumerable archeological finds attest to the Jews’ history here. Any peoples who predated the Jews in the Land of Israel either assimilated into the predominant culture or disappeared.
The Arab claim as the indigenous people has no weight. Arabs had no presence along the eastern Mediterranean coast until the Muslim Conquest of the mid-7th century CE. While the Jews had two sovereignties in the land: King David, Solomon, etc. – 1000-586 BCE, and the Hasmonean dynasty – 140-37 BCE, there were no Arab sovereignties there. Jerusalem has been Judaism’s holiest site since King David declared it the united Jewish capital about 1000 BCE, as it remains today.
No country has a “right to exist.” If it has the following capabilities it fits the definition of a country: a territory with its own institutions, a permanent population, territory, armed forces, and government. Also essential is the right and the capacity to make treaties and other agreements with other states. Israel fulfills those tenets.
Israel is a colonial power
Colonialism occurs when a country takes full or partial political control of another country or territory and sends its citizens to occupy it. The purpose of colonizing is to profit from the colony’s resources and economy and to bring those resources and profits back home. Palestine was somewhat of a colony for the British during the British Mandate for Palestine. India was Britain’s most important colony.
The yishuv (precursor to the modern State of Israel) was a colony for the British. When the 1947 United Nations Plan for the Partition of Palestine offered the “Palestinian” Jews and the “Palestinian” Arabs the option to have a country in Palestine, only the Jews accepted. The result is modern Israel. The Palestinian Arabs have been fighting the Israeli Jews ever since. Today, 21% of Israel’s population is composed of Arabs, who have probably the highest standard of living of any Arabs except (perhaps) for citizens of the Gulf monarchies. Up until now, the Palestinian Arabs and the Arabs in Gaza have greatlydepended on jobs in Israel or Israeli industries to increase their incomes. Does this make Israel a colonizer? No, it doesn’t.
South Africa was the state where Apartheid became law. Apartheid, or “apartness” in the Afrikaans language, was a system of legislation that upheld segregation against the majority nonwhite citizens of South Africa. In 1948, the all-white government began enforcing already existing policies of racial segregation such as governing marriage, location, education, voting, politics, vocations, etc..
Contact between the two groups was limited. Two years later, all South Africans were classified by race: white, native, colored, and Asian. In some cases, the legislation split families; children were classified as colored if one parent or grandparent was considered non-white. (https://www.history.com/topics/africa/apartheid)
Does Israel fit the definition of of Apartheid? It doesn’t. In Israel, 21% of the population are Israeli Arabs with all the rights of the Jewish citizens. There are Arab judges, lawyers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, professors, administrators, store owners, dentists, construction workers, etc., working alongside Jewish, Druse, Bedouins, and others.
Beyond the 1949 Armistice Line, where the Palestinian Authority governs, the Palestinian Arabs are not Israeli citizens. Therefore they do not have rights that Israeli citizens do. Their rights come from the Palestinian Authority.
Israel is weirdly described as genocidal towards the Palestinian Arabs. In Israel, Arab population has increased from about 262,000 in 1948 to 2,100,000 today. The population growth rate per year in Israel is 1.9%; Palestinian Authority 1.69%; Gaza 2.02%. For comparison sake, the rate in the US is 0.4%. If Israel intended to commit genocide, it has down a very bad job. Draw your own conclusion from the facts.
War crimes and crimes against humanity
Israel’s army, the IDF, is hyper-fixated on preventing war crimes. Why? One reason is because it is continually accused of perpetrating war crimes. (Ironically, it’s enemies are never accused of their incessant war crimes.)
The IDF goes to extremes to limit civilian deaths. It tells the population in Gaza to leave the IDF’s zone of operation. It drops millions of leaflets ahead of bombing attacks. It makes hundreds of thousands of mobile phone calls to Gazans ahead of attacks. It sometimes uses “knock-on” small explosives on roof tops ahead of bombing raids. No other army does all of this. The IDF puts its soldiers at increased risk to save citizens of its enemies.
In the case of Gaza, it’s Hamas who is committing dual war crimes against their own citizens and Israelis. First, they fire rockets indiscriminately against Israeli cities with no distinct military targets. Then they put Gazan citizens in front of, or around them, to protect themselves. They construct fortifications and ammunition dumps under the citizens’ homes and schools and hospitals. Israel does no such thing. For Hamas, and Hezbollah in Lebanon, citizens are expendable shields used to protect the terrorists.
If human shields totally protected terrorists, the terrorists would always defeat armies which disallow human shields, such as Israel.
Is the Arabs’ policy of using human shields an indication of their peacefulness towards Israel? (In addition, the Palestinian and Gazan citizens are 76% in favor of terrorist acts against Israelis.)
I don’t even know what is meant by Israeli crimes against humanity. It’s a meaningless but devastating accusation. Israel conducts no crimes against humanity.
I’ve tried to provide a lot of information if you are asked about these contentions vilifying Israel. Rest assured that Israel has no wish to eradicate the Arabs, despite the fact that many Arabs, Iranians, and other Muslims desire Israel’s destruction. The growth of the Abraham Accords grouping proves Israel’s wish to have a strong relationship with its peaceful neighbors.
It’s imperative that our younger generation is educated about Israel, because the atmosphere in North America is inundated with “social media” filling many people’s brains with anything but the truth. Please share this article with others who may need the ready facts.