To be pro-Israel and pro-Peace

I’ve tried to figure it out for a long time, to comprehend and understand the logic and motivations of organizations such as J-Street and Yachad (the J-street equivalent of the UK).  They claim to be pro-Israel and pro-peace, but their claim of fluffy words and empty slogans makes no sense. I don’t for a second doubt that they have many members who truly care about Israel and peace, but it is evident that they are being led by misguided attempts to be palatable to people with a dislike of both Israel and Jews.  At a time like this, when naive, misguided, and even dangerous voices seek more traction under the guise of ‘supporting Israel,’ advocates must do more to correct such misconceptions, unless fear has penetrated that deep in to some people’s hearts they will not speak the truth.

What Israel is facing – what it has faced since its birth – is not a movement wanting an independent Palestinian state side by side with Israel.  Just listen to the chants, look at the logos, the charters, the television shows: if independence were truly the goal, then it could have been achieved long ago.  The bleak reality is that there is an increasing number of organizations who seek the eradication of the Jewish state; they desire onestate, free of Jews, guided by an intolerant Islamist ideology.

I am not certain of the viable solution for the Middle East: is it one state, two states, three states?  In fact, my personal thoughts on this are hardly relevant – I have no right as a British citizen to dictate to either party in the Middle East on how to resolve this conflict, because when rockets rain down on Israel, I’m safe miles away, and not living with the consequences of ‘painful concessions.’  It is exceptionally arrogant – and I would even dare to say racist – to take such a condescending position, a view that ultimately suggests that “the poor ignorant Middle Easterners” (both Jews and Arabs) obviously cannot formulate a solution for their own future, or take control of their own destiny.  Somehow, we in the West are comfortable pressuring Israel, a sovereign nation, to a solution that is palatable to us.

The default J-Street type approach of blaming the entirety of the conflict on Israel and ‘pressuring Israel’ to make concessions is the worst hypocrisy. How dare you, from the USA, the UK, or anywhere else, preach to a nation who has been attacked repeatedly, who has suffered terror, whose sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters have gone in to battle and never returned?  They have not fought for land or conquest but rather, to be a free people in their own land, simply to live.

Yet these groups continue to call themselves pro-Israel and pro-peace.  They will send delegations to see Abbas, the so-called moderate, whose hands are stained with Israeli blood, whose tongue talks of peace on one side, yet spews hate and Jew hatred on the other.  Abbas, a man who, though taking a rich salary, has done little to develop Palestinian society, allowing incitement and rampant child abuse, allowing hate propaganda and brainwashing of Palestinian children to continue.  This man is Israel’s ‘peace partner?’

The most depressing outcome is that Jews have become in many ways the personification of what every radical Islamist has wanted since Israel was reborn.  Since the Jewish people in 1948 regained their pride, confidence, and home, the Islamists have demanded that Jews become the apologetic, head-bowed, and guilt-ridden people accepting a status as 3rd-class citizens.  J Street and its siblings have rushed to fill that role.  There is nothing that J Street or its ilk can teach me about radical Islam and the anti-Israel movement: I spent enough time committed to both to not be blinded by suicidal naivety on the matter, fixating on ‘ideal world’ scenarios.  Sadly, we do not live in an ideal world.  Sometimes we live in a very cruel and vicious world, a world in which making concessions is not seen as a gesture of good faith, but rather, as a fatal weakness to be further exploited.

We must not remain silent. Right now, more than ever, Israel needs real friends. It needs people to understand the threat it faces and how dangerous its enemies are.  The days of dictators trumpeting Arab nationalism are long gone, and today’s threat is much, much more dangerous and unrelenting.  Those who hate the State of Israel – that is, Hamas, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram and others – do not hate Israel because of a desire to see a Palestinian state.  Their hatred stems from a narrow religious ideology that will not rest until it has subjugated and destroyed all that differ from it.  This is the grim reality, and an awful fact to accept, but there are people who will hate you simply because you are Jewish.  You may be a useful Jew now, but ultimately you are a Jew.  My words are not mere speculation – current events in Iraq illustrate my point perfectly.  Jews not being massacred in Iraq only because there are none left: they were forced out long ago, so the Christians, Shia, Yazidis, and all that differ are being butchered.   The last Christians have left the city of Mosul, Iraq, where they had lived for almost 2,000 years, under threat of death.

This is something we must now acknowledge: this isn’t about Jews, or even Israel or 2 states.  It is about the ascent of a racist, intolerant, homophobic, ideology whose tentacles are spreading, murdering Muslims, Christians, Jews, and anyone who disagrees with them. Being naive or claiming to be pro-peace is no excuse for ignoring the reality and remaining mute in the face of evil; in fact, it is morally reprehensible.

The freedom you take for granted has been afforded to you by the lives sacrificed of brave men and women who fought for them. Do not allow your fear and silence make those sacrifices worthless. Instead, be the ones who stand up and raise their voices for the nations and people who display the ethics, values, and morals we hold dear in regions where it is not the norm, where democracy and freedom is not a right people have the luxury to take for granted, as we do in the West.

Be the voice of those who have been silenced, those whose voices are drowned out by hatred.  Go out to your communities, use social media, and speak up for these people.  When you see the hate and venom, speak the truth even if your voice trembles. Prove to the world you can make a difference.  That, my friends, is my challenge to you


About the Author
Kasim Hafeez is of British Pakistani Muslim heritage. Growing up he was frequently exposed to Anti-Semitic ideas and developed a hatred of Israel and Jews. By the time he reached University he has embraced radical Islam and was active in campaigning for boycotts of Israel and it’s ultimate destruction. Only after coming across a book that led him to revaluate his beliefs on Israel, he decided to travel to the region to see the situation for himself. That trip changed his life, seeing a reality so far from the hatred and poison he had preached, he felt and obligation to stand up for Israel, as it was the moral and right thing to do. A human rights activist and self proclaimed Zionist, Kasim has spoken at campuses all over the world telling his story and standing up for Israel. He is a fellow of the lawyer project and as of 2014, he took up a position with B’nai Brith Canada