Harold Behr

Israel’s War on Two Fronts: Doing Battle with Words

Israel’s war against those who want to obliterate the country and replace it with an Islamic entity named Palestine is fading expectedly from the headlines. There is too much else going on in the world to occupy all except partisans in the conflict: those who believe in the survival of Israel and of the Jewish people (mostly Jews themselves) and those who, for a multiplicity of reasons, are carrying a torch for a putative state called Palestine to replace the state of Israel.

Amongst the latter are powerful nations like Iran, less powerful but implacably hostile states like Syria, Iraq, Turkey and, in the far reaches of the African continent, South Africa, a non-Islamic country sinking in the mire of economic decline but still one of the loudest in its denunciation of Israel.

As the war on Israel’s borders moves into a long-term phase, hostility towards Israel is discovering a new focus – an accusation of genocide – and a new battlefield: the International Court of Justice. Israel, reeling from the shock of the massacre of October 7th and the military threat to its very existence, is now finding itself, incredibly, in the dock on a charge of the mass murder of an entire people.

Has the world gone mad? Have the supposedly impartial lawyers conniving at this travesty ever experienced or even read about about genocide? The answers to these two questions appear to be ‘yes’ and ‘no’ respectively. But to leave it at that is to succumb to a counsel of pessimism, which I refuse to do.

Israel is right to argue its case in a court of law. There are two wars being fought: a military war and a war of words. If the war of words is to be won, then Israel must not only argue its case as a defendant but turn the tables on those who who would prosecute and accuse it, just as Emile Zola once did by firing a string of charges against the prejudiced lawyers, politicians an army officers who were determined to find Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a loyal French army officer, guilty of treason in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary.

The Dreyfus case tore the French nation apart and it took many decades before Dreyfus’s innocence was finally acknowledged, but without the persistence of Zola and many like him, Dreyfus would have been buried beneath the lies which were piled on him.

Dreyfus was one man. Israel is one nation, but the principle of asserting justice though the medium of the law is the same in both cases. Those who would prosecute Israel and who claim to speak for the law must be challenged and confronted with their distorted perceptions. Few of us have the eloquence or reputation of Zola but many of us are imbued with his passion.

Therefore, a well-directed strike at the perpetrators of untruth and distortion is easily within the capability of those of us who feel strongly, and as effective as walking through the streets en masse with slogans on placards.

About the Author
I was born in South Africa in 1940 and emigrated to the U.K. in 1970 after qualifying in medicine. I held a post as Consultant Psychiatrist in London until my retirement in 2013. I am the author of two books: one on group analytic psychotherapy, one on the psychology of the French Revolution. I have written many articles on group psychology published in peer-reviewed journals. From 1979 to 1985 I was editor of the journal ‘Group Analysis’; I have contributed short pieces to psychology newsletters over the years.
Related Topics
Related Posts