Will the truth about Israel overcome the vicious pro-Palestinian propaganda campaign?
Many pro-Palestinians seem to take genuine pleasure in abusively condemning Israel, which one critic described as a perverted, fevered hatred. It is their privilege to equate Jews with Nazis but dare anybody call them anti-Semites? Why would people behave in this abhorrent fashion, especially socialists who purport to be far more ethical than many of us? The Jew is a stranger whom others transform into what they fear. In the Christian era he was a devilish child and priest killer. In times of plague he was disease carrier or well poisoner. In Soviet Russia he was capitalist, while simultaneously in McCarthyite America he was communist. In the newer liberal/alternative political climate the Jew has become a 21st century version of the Western capitalist: the pro-war "neocon" of new anti-Semitism.
The Jew, as a microcosm of Israel, is seen as essentially white/Western, capitalist, wealthy, progressive, and somehow representative of authority and the establishment. The Palestinian is the polar opposite: primitive, feudal, radical, chaotic, anti-establishment, authentic, ethnic/non-white, and poor. Extreme pro-Palestinianism is acceptable even when overtly anti-Semitic since it presents an opposing face to the skin-head/jack booted anti-Semitism of old. It is politically correct, anti-American, anti-capitalist and alternative. No wonder hating Israel is a prerequisite for any right thinking leftist who can indulge his/her hatred for a much maligned race while appearing holier than thou.
Meanwhile, these people appear to be looking the other way while appalling abuses go on in the rest of the world. For example the extremely savage ethnic cleansing in Darfur, where a death toll numbers hundreds of thousands in a few years, is hardly mentioned. Why is it so few really care when Arab Muslims orchestrate a mass butchering campaign against black Muslims? The Arabs are a Caucasoid race, so this represents quite possibly the very worst episode of white on black racially motivated violence since the abolition of slavery. Yet President Obama, whose election would lead to a cure for all the woes of the world, seems to only be concerned in the international sphere with Jews building extensions to their homes. It is difficult to imagine a double standard starker than this.
The rise of the pro-Palestinian movement may be attributed to several developments in the West. Its origins may lie in moral relativism and cultural changes from the 1960s onwards. At the root of these developments is a hostility towards the West itself (in particular the US), including its values which are seen as oppressive, racist (white) etc. This led to a largely unthinking, emotive romanticisation of all that is alternative, non-western, and notably there is a broad acceptance of radicalism even if violent. Truth may be seen as something that ought to be overcome in the pursuit of an ideal. At its most extreme this has given rise to such things as inverted absurdist values in academia and political correctness. However, while this problem is usually much less obvious, such values are the motivation behind many viewpoints. Such positions had genuine merit at times but with so many blind assumptions at the core of these movements, all Western values, be they good or bad, have been corroded. At worst, it can be impossible to address controversial truths without severe censure. Thus, we see a vast number of apologists for Islam, permeating politics and the media. With Islam a protected religion in this alternative theology, any criticism is strictly verboten. Authorities refuse to use words like terrorist, while avoiding the overt association of terrorism and Islamic doctrine. Extremism is explained with leftist analysis: a symptom of economic hardship, US support for Israel etc. Societies are seriously debilitated if their members cannot frankly discuss all evidentially verifiable threats to their existence.
Previously, there was an understanding of the basic need for a Jewish state due to tragic past circumstance, and an appreciation of the hatred Israel faced. This began to change in the 70’s in part when the Arab-Islamic bloc, aided cynically by Soviet Russia, passed divisive UN resolutions. An antipathy, particularly amongst the left, continued to develop. The development of the unregulated Internet in the 1990’s and the ever increasing influence of Islamic culture in the West have brought problems such as the relegation of truth and rationality to a very critical point. The downgrading of academia and the dumbing-down of the media is having serious repercussions. With right-on bias so prevalent it is not considered problematic to target particular peoples or states with limited justification. Serious concerns have been raised about the partiality of Middle-Eastern faculties where lecturers who have expressed extreme anti-Israeli sentiments are often found. Middle-Eastern nations hostile to Israel have donated huge sums of money to some Western universities. Islamic societies are given free rein to invite extremist speakers and radicalise students, some going on to commit grave acts of terror. With the dominance of left-wing politics, very aggressive anti-Israeli campaigning and student union boycotts, it is little wonder that many university campuses have become intolerant, intimidating environments for Jewish students. If universities continue to be compromised to this extent it is inevitable the minds of the future Western leaders will take an even harsher approach to Israel than at present.
The United Nations, intended to be a source of good for the world, has become deeply anti-Semitic. There is ample proof of this fact. Through the last 60 years the UN has targeted Israel with more resolutions than all the other 191 countries combined. The military attack on the Tamil Tigers caused a far greater loss of civilian life than the 2009 conflict in Gaza but the responses of the UN could hardly be more different. They congratulated Sri Lanka for their co-operation while they kept hounding Israel. The UN Human Rights Council is comprised of gross human rights abusers and most are deeply hostile to Israel. The Goldstone Commission, bearing more than a passing resemblance to the Star Chamber, was essentially a politically motivated attack on Israel laying the ground for international prosecution. The criticism of Hamas was little more than an afterthought briefly alluded to in the Report as a ploy to appear balanced. Mr. Ahmadinejad, a man with similar ambitions to Hitler regarding the Jews, was the opening speaker for the Durban II UN conference on human rights, where predictably he spewed anti-Semitic sentiments - interestingly enough, numerous pro-Palestinians could be found on the internet defending many of his remarks. By reinstating the rejected “Zionism is racism” manifesto, Durban I (2001) was key in giving a renewed impetus to the pro-Palestinian movement. Truly the lofty aims for which the UN was envisaged have turned into a disturbing joke.
Perhaps the worst crime against the truth committed by the pro-Palestinian movement is the effective denial of the ancient links between Israel and the Jews. There is ample evidence people of Jewish origin lived in the region a lot longer than many purportedly indigenous peoples lived in their respective territories. The masses of archaeological evidence, the ancient records of the Roman Empire, not to mention histories of the region from disinterested (non-Jewish) sources new and old, proving beyond any doubt Jewish culture was predominant are quite simply denied or ignored. Such a denial of obvious truth could have implications as serious as the denial of the Holocaust for this act attempts to delegitimize the moral right of the Jewish people to return to their homeland and undermines the right for Israel to exist. Jews were gradually expelled or migrated out of necessity while under the dominion of pagans, Christians and latterly, Muslims. It is often claimed the Palestinians are indigenous while the Jews are not. However, the term indigenous literally means the place of origin and notably also includes displaced peoples. Thus the Jews are the indigenous people of that region, and were typically unable to remain in communities in other regions with lasting security. It is worth noting that Jews made up 10% of the Roman Empire by the 1st Century AD. There were roughly seven million Jews in the Empire (including up to 2.5 million in Palestine) and a million in Babylonia (“A concise history of the Jewish people”, Naomi E. Pasachoff and Robert J. Littman, 2005, Page 67). Estimates vary but it is clear the Empire represented a quarter to a third of the World’s population. Comparing normal progressions in population growth, the Jewish people should amount to approximately 200 million (“Constantine’s Sword: The Church & the Jews,” James Carroll, 2002) to over a quarter of a billion people today. However, they only number a mere thirteen to fourteen million. While religious conversion would amount for a substantial reduction, such starkly contrasting figures indicate a continued destructive intent towards Jews in both the Islamic East and Christian West.
The logical conclusions to common pro-Palestinian arguments are very troubling. The result of many arguments is such that Israel should essentially facilitate the murder of its own civilians. For example, it should accept armament smuggling and tunnel building to aid enemies bent on its destruction. It should facilitate trade regardless of security issues, and supply the best utilities. Should there be any issues with Palestinian run infrastructure, why, then it is the fault of the Israelis as the 2009 Amnesty report on water utilities demonstrates. They excuse or fail to acknowledge the debased hate mongering of Israel and Jewish people generally (see Palestinian Media Watch). They ignore the use of human shields, the indoctrination of children (e.g. through the media), and the shocking dehumanized acts of terrorism, e.g. testimony of mothers martyring their young sons and daughters. It is critical to note that such views over this issue go far beyond normal differences of opinion. Clearly, these topsy-turvy views on the conflict require agile mental gymnastics and fabricated facts or heavily distorted truths for justification. They represent a triumph of hatred over reason and truth. Terrorist, UN, NGO and journalistic fabrications are channelled via an often collusive media to the consumer, allied to an unceasing pro-Palestinian propaganda machine. The consumer wants to believe, regardless of all rational absurdities or simply has to believe, having grown up with images of Palestinian suffering.
Clearly, the damage being done to Israel’s reputation is immense and it would be difficult to accept that the present conditions of extreme international hostility will not have very grave implications for the future of the state. I do not think it is melodramatic to suggest that the attempts of the increasingly powerful pro-Palestinian movement to delegitimize Israel represent an existential threat to the State in the long term. Propaganda is a very powerful weapon in times of conflict. I believe pro-Palestinian activity at its most concerted represents a serious propagandist non-military assault on Israel. This terminology is fair considering the spirit and intensity of such criticism. While many Westerners appear to think anti-Semitism of a genocidal variety magically evaporated after the Holocaust, I believe there is sufficient evidence to suggest an indirect genocidal intent motivates the extreme elements of the movement.
To conclude, the troubling behaviour of the pro-Palestinian movement reaffirms the need for the very thing it seeks to extinguish: the existence of an independent predominantly Jewish state. It’s time for those on the sidelines to join the very evident dots and question if something elemental is at play that doesn’t involve a concern for human rights.