Reply to Jonathan’s appeal to Friends, Bloggers, Columnists

 Dear Jonathan,                                            August 31, 2012

The issues you raise and the advice you give in your August 24 blog “Friends, Bloggers, Columnists, a moment please” are too important to remain undebated.  Your blog is indeed vey eloquent and well written, but I ask you to please clarify some unclear and controversial aspects.

 I refer for example to your message to pro-Israel advocates; “While the government of Israel may err, while human rights violations may occur, while Israeli policy may work against the long term sustainability of our existence, you [pro-Israel advocates] will always be there to defend, protect and advocate for Israel unconditionally. I would like to extend hearty congratulations to you all“.

 Am I wrong in detecting, in your congratulations, a tone of superior disdain for those who spend time and effort countering the intensive, abundantly funded, professional propaganda war againstIsrael?

 What do you mean by defending Israel unconditionally? Are you referring to actions like my letters to Beinart and Haaretz protesting about an irresponsible false accusation that can serve no purpose except inflaming racial tensions? I refer to Beinart’s report on his blog, (excerpted from Haaretz), alleging that “Kfar Sava hospital bans teaching staff from speaking in Arabic“.

 And do you not consider it your duty to protest Beinart’s continuing to display this false report despite having been told that it is inaccurate and despite Haaretz having published a correction after my protest. It is still there on Beinart’s blog today . To use your own words in the article under reply “Your silence on this matter in effect means complicity“.

 The repetitive libelous and misleading association of Israel with apartheid and the frequent invention of atrocity stories blaming Israel achieve undeserved credibility when endorsed by Jews, thereby contributing substantially to the increasing hatred of Israel.

 Don’t you consider it essential to correct the prevalent misinformation and disinformation about Israel like disproving the Jenin lie and the outstanding work done by Professor Landes and Philippe Karsenty in discrediting  the Al Dura libel that you refer to so disdainfully.

 Why do you mock the valuable work being done to protect our mutual interests by organizations like the Gloria Center, PMW, NGO Monitor, CAMERA, Honest reporting, CoHaV, ICAN and personages like Irwin Cotler, Alan Dershowitz and Stuart Palmer, in exposing and countering anti-Israel bias?  In case you don’t realize the extent of this bias just consider one example of many; the BBC has spent more than half a million dollars in concealing the ‘Balen Report’ into its unbalanced coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict as disclosed by The Commentator.

 By failing to at least acknowledge that that many authoritative jurists have expressed contrary views and that the road map, to which you refer, does not call for withdrawal by Israel from all settlements but only from areas occupied since September 28, 2000, are you not misleading your readers when you declare that all settlement in occupied territory is illegal, implying that all settlements must be dismantled? Ariel for example was established in 1978 and Gilo was established in 1973. Gush Etzion was established before the state was declared.

 When you state incorrectly that the Abbas government has fulfilled its obligations regarding the Roadmap are you not defending Abbas’ government unconditionally and in fact doing in reverse, what you accuse us of doing in regard to Israel?  In flagrant violation of the explicit requirement in the road map that Palestinian institutions must end incitement against Israel, Abbas continues to promote incitement. He glorifies terrorists like Muhammad Daoud Oudeh, mastermind of the murders of the Israeli athletes at Munich Olympics, presenting him as a Palestinian hero and role model.

 Israel’s security fears are not as irrational as you suggest. Nor has President Abbas accepted the two state solution based on 1967 lines that you advocate. In his letter to the UN applying for Palestinian statehood he based his claim on the 1947 UN partition resolution and in a speech last September 16, he  confirmed that in his view the real Palestinian borders are those laid down in 1947. Omar Barghouti one of the leaders of the BDS movement as well as Hamas regard all ofIsrael, including Tel Aviv, as occupied Palestinian territory.

 I urge you to  please look at this video clip and then tell your readers how you factor the real security considerations into your advocacy of “ending the settlement enterprise.”

 You correctly say “the survivalist argument of imminent danger from Palestinian terror no longer finds a listening audience”. This is not at all surprising in view of the many well meaning Zionists, including members of and keynote speakers at events of Forum Tzora, (of which you are a prominent leader), who discount the security threat by advocating a return to the indefensible 1967 lines and by advocating boycotts of Israel in foreign media.

 Having said all that, I agree unhesitatingly that the issue of right wing (as well as left wing) extremism must be seriously addressed.  I agree too, with your view that criticizing government policy is a Zionist democratic obligation. But we have an obligation to be constructive and unambiguous.

 In addressing the issues, discussion is meaningless unless all participants attach the same meaning to the words and concepts used.  I therefore urge you and Forum Tzora to please clarify what you mean by the occupied territory that you demand be abandoned. When you refer to settlers please clarify whether you make any distinction between people living in Ma’ale Adumim and Migron?

 The fact is that your TRUE interests and those of the “unconditional” defenders ofIsrael that you deride, actually coincide. I have no doubt about the sincerity of your motivation and I believe that you don’t doubt the sincerity of those with whom you don’t see eye to eye in how to reach our common goal of enhancing a democratic Israel. In these circumstances there should be no reason why we cannot cooperate in addressing the internal and external threats that face us, while placing all relevant factors on the table.

About the Author
Maurice Ostroff is a founder member of the international Coalition of Hasbara Volunteers, better known by its acronym CoHaV, (star in Hebrew), a world-wide umbrella organization of volunteers active in combating anti-Israel media and political bias and in promoting the positive side of Israel His web site is at