Jerusalem‘s French Hill neighborhood, where Arab youths stoned an Israeli man’s car recently. Photo: Rotem Danzig via Wikimedia Commons.
Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz likes to say that if you are for civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, minority rights, basic freedoms of speech, press, association, open democracy, and an independent judiciary, there is only one country in the Middle East that espouses those values you support: Israel. And he is absolutely correct.
But there appears to be a major disconnect among American Jews.
Today, too many Jewish Americans are ambivalent about Israel, or even openly hostile towards it, believing erroneously that Israel acts in ways that contradict their “progressive” or “liberal” ideals.
Jews are even at the forefront of some of the most vicious anti-Israel organizations in the U.S. This subversion of American Jewish support for Israel has been one of the greatest accomplishments of the elements that seek to deny the Jewish people their right to sovereignty in the one tiny Jewish state on the planet.
The writer Peter Beinart has seemingly made a career out of arguing that Israel has forced American Jews to choose between their liberalism and Zionism. But this is incorrect. The truth is that a perversion of liberalism is making some American Jews into the “new anti-Semites.
When did this start? After the Six Day War, Yasser Arafat was advised by the Soviets to turn the story around: instead of there being a small Jewish state standing up against the “Goliath” of a racist, genocidal Arab-Muslim world, he was told to present the conflict as the struggle between Israel, and its victims – the powerless ‘Palestinians.’
It did not matter that this required a major warping of history – all of a sudden, Arabs from Syria, Jordan, or Egypt who had been in Palestine for perhaps one or two generations were now to be presented as the remnants of a millennia-old ‘Palestinian’ civilization. On the other hand, Israelis, where Jews have lived for three millennia, and which absorbed more indigenous Middle Eastern Jews from vast Arab lands than Arabs left tiny Israel, were now portrayed as post-Holocaust European “colonialists.”
This fit in flawlessly with the civil rights movement in the U.S., and the decolonization movements throughout the world.
Incredibly, this language of “civil rights” reached its zenith with the 1975 ‘Zionism is racism’ resolution in the UN, and then at the UN-sponsored 2001 Durban Conference in which Israel was accused of being an ‘apartheid state.’ The rhetoric was so intense that large numbers were ready to believe the worst things about Israel, with virtually no proof or evidence.
The degree of animus against Israel on the Left has become so vast that it is disjointed not only from the facts, but from logic. Natan Sharansky has described “the Three Ds:”
Israel is demonized, such that every accusation against her is believed (i.e. the medieval Jews were accused of poisoning wells and making matzah from Christian blood). A double standard is applied, such that Israel’s every action in self-defense is subjected to microscopic scrutiny (to the exclusion of the horrendous human rights violations committed by other countries, including many in the Arab-Muslim world). Finally, Israel is delegitimized, such that its enemies argue that its evil is so inherent that (unlike every other country in the world), it should not even exist.
Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has unequivocally stated that Israelis will not be welcome in the new “Palestinian” state. Even though Arabs living in Israel have far more rights than in any other Arab country, it is Israel that is accused of apartheid, racism, and ethnic cleansing.
Frankly, the Palestinian Arabs should be celebrating their dumb luck that they happen to live next to and among Jews in Israel, where biology trumps ideology, and where Israel’s actions don’t mirror how they are treated by the Palestinian Arabs: with acts of terrorism, hatred, and glorification of murderers.
If the Palestinians lived anywhere else in the Arab and Muslim world they would be persecuted and the media and world would not report nor care about their fate. That is really how most of the rest of their so-called Arab brethren treat them – as political pawns and pariahs in their war on the Jews.
Peace is a long way away. It’s not helped by the moral narcissists and useful idiots on the Left. Too many on the Left, including in academia, engage in Stockholm syndrome, becoming emotionally attached to and sympathetic with the victimizers, the terrorists (who, ironically, would slit their throats if given the chance).
The status quo is far from ideal. But all of the alternatives to date are existentially dangerous to Israel. The onus must be on the Palestinian-Arabs to prove they truly are interested in recognition and peaceful co-existence with Israel. For the past 66 years, they have in fact proved the exact opposite.
The Left’s jealousy and envy of Israel’s amazing success and humanitarian accomplishments; their self-hatred; failure to listen to what the Judeo-Christian world’s enemies advocate; appeasing them; excusing them is breathtakingly presumptuous and arrogant.
Lee Bender is the co-President, and Jerome Verlin is the co-Vice Present of the Zionist Organization of America-Greater Philadelphia District, and they are the co-authors of the book “Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed From A-Z” (Pavilion Press).