It was a painful week in Israel with multiple terror attacks in Yehudah and Shomron, including 2 deadly, drive-by shootings. The acts of terrorism are not only a tragic and horrible loss of life and suffering for the victims and their families, but for all of us.
In the pain of these all too familiar terrorists attacks, it can be easy to lose sight of the many fronts that war is being waged against Israel. It is not just a physical fight (terrorism and G-d forbid, war), but also it is fight for the hearts and minds of the world and where Israel stands in it.
For decades, Palestinians terrorists have inflicted on Israelis: stabbings, shootings, vehicular rammings, suicide bombings, terror tunnels, missile attacks, and more. But aside from this overt, violent war of attrition, the Palestinians are simultaneously waging a full-blown “marketing war” against Israel for world opinion. In this war of words and propaganda, the Palestinians get rebranded and so does Israel.
From terrorists to freedom fighters
Just an an example, according to this branding campaign, the terrorists aren’t really terrorists at all, but rather they are freedom fighters! I wrote about this last week in The Times of Israel, where the Palestinians, and their state sponsors at the United Nations, have branded Israel as the aggressors and themselves as the victims, so much so that the UN condemns Israel nearly once a month, but fails to condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization even once.
From liberators to occupiers
Similarly, Israel heroically fought the 1967 War against Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq and liberated Judea and Shomron, Gaza, and the Negev–all parts of what had been ancient Israel civilization and promised to the Israelites in the Torah. Yet again, the Palestinians have rebranded us from liberators to occupiers of a Palestinian state that never was.
From David to Goliath
Certainly, you have seen the cartoons pushing this notion, where ironically Israel is depicted as the huge formidable Goliath (and Philistine) and the Palestinians as the small boy David (the Israelite). This anti-Israel cartoon has shown up in many forms over many years, despite that the Jewish State of Israel is surrounded on all sides and vastly outnumbered by its Arab neighbors who have plenty of oil money and the modern weapons that it buys.
From the Holy Land to Apartheid
BDS is another part of the Palestinian marketing play book, where they brand Israel as Nazis and Apartheid, and demand that the world impose boycotts, divestitures, and sanctions on the democratic State of Israel. So while Hamas and Hezbollah stockpile more than 130,000 missiles to shoot into the civilian centers in Israel and dig tunnels to infiltrate into Israel’s sovereign land with a promise of “throwing the Jew into the sea,” it is not the terrorists that that are like murderous Nazis once again seeking to destroy the Jews, instead the Palestinians rebrand the Holy Land of Israel as a racist, Apartheid state.
From Never Again to it never happened
It’s bad enough to attack us in the present, but we are also being attacked for the tragedies of our recent past. Israel and the Jews are branded as liars for “making up the Holocaust, by the the Holocaust-deniers that avow it never happened, instead of demanding with us, “Never again!”
From resettling the ancient Jewish homeland to a Western Plot
The marketing campaign and rebranding of Israel by our enemies is so powerful that despite the Jews having just one State of Israel (around the size of New Jersey) amidst a world with 50-Muslim majority nations, it is Israel that is labeled as part of a Western plot to settle the Jews in Islamic lands–rather than recognize that Israel is the Jewish homeland for thousands of years.
From tolerance and freedom of speech to silencing Pro-Israel students on campus
Even on college campuses, young Jews are threatened, silenced, punched and kicked, not just because they are Jews, but because they are pro-Israel. Anti-Israel campaigns on campuses are powerful, and again we are losing the hearts and minds not only for today, but of the next generation because of this.
What can we do?
We are at war. It is a painful physical war from our enemies, where Israelis get killed and wounded in cafes, pizzerias, and at bus stops. But let us not ignore, at our own risk, that it is also a war of words–of perception of the Palestinians and Israel. Here, marketing and branding are the bullets, knives, and bombs!
And just because, these attacks of words are not physical and kinetic, does not mean that they don’t harm us and have real world implications to the future of Israel. In a world, where there are so many false notions being throw around and at us, and “fake news” being maliciously circulated against Israel and the Jewish people, hearts and minds are truly what we must capture to solidify our rightful place as not only a nation, but “a light unto the nations.”
While I respect that everyone believes that their point of view is the right one, for me, it comes down to a matter of faith that this is the “Promised Land” of the Jewish people–not only the ancient land of our forefathers and mothers, but the land of our redemption. And I urge every reader of this article, who shares this belief, to not be complacent, but rather to stand up and speak out for Israel. For if we don’t speak the truth and correct the falsehoods, we have much to lose, because perception is reality.