Justice for Jews and Israel
Handbook of Israel Advocacy
Palestinians and their supporters have been generating various "narratives" that try to replace historical fact with propaganda and wishful thinking. These "narratives" create a ready-made context and schema for believers, which allows them to interpret the facts as they wish. There are different versions of the narratives, some more extreme than others. Some examples of main points of these narratives:
The Palestinian refugees were expelled by the Zionists in 1948 for no reason - The war started by the Palestinians and the Arabs, the leadership of the Nazi Grand Mufti Hajj Ameen al Hussayni and other details are omitted. Likewise, all Zionist settlement and Jewish presence before 1945 may be omitted. According to the narrative, in response to the Holocaust, the land was suddenly flooded by European Jews after World War II, and they threw out all the Arabs for no reason.
Jews did not live in Palestine or Jerusalem in ancient times - Of course, irrefutable historical and archeological evidence documents the history of the Jewish people in the land between the Jordan river and the sea. But anti-Israel advocates have constructed a different story. There are variants and embroideries of the "narrative" that eradicates Jewish presence in Israel in ancient times. In some versions, Jesus was a "Palestinian." In others, the modern Jews are all supposedly descendants of the Kazars. Genetic evidence disproves this theory, but in any case, nations are not composed of genetically homogenous groups and mainstream Zionism never made racist genetic claims.
Jews did not live in East Jerusalem in modern times before 1967 - This "narrative" takes advantage of the Arab ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem in 1948 - as there were no Jews in East Jerusalem after 1948, it is possible to imagine that none lived there previously. It is used even by moderate Palestinians.
Palestine was paradise before the Zionists arrived - According to this tale, Jews and Arabs lived in peace and harmony in a prosperous land before the arrival of European Zionists. Photos and historic accounts show that the land was in fact poor, disease ridden, under populated and chaotic. There were vast areas of deserted farmland, barren hillsides and frequent attacks by marauders. A description of 19th century Nablus, the most prosperous town perhaps, by a modern sympathetic Palestinian author, reads like a description of a medieval European farm center (Doumani, Beshara, Rediscovering Palestine, Merchants and peasants in Jabal Nablus 1700-1900, Univ Calif Press, 1995).
The conflict began in 1967 - This narrative pretends that the cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the settlements. Before 1967 according to believers, there was no problem, but then Israel inexplicably conquered the "Palestinian" territories and settled them with Jews. The language used is intended also to convey the idea that Israel had conquered a Palestinian state. There was no such state.
Israel was created because of the Holocaust - The lie that "Israel was created because of the Holocaust" and "The Palestinians are paying for the Holocaust" coexists with the contradictory "conflict began in 1967" narrative. Even Desmond Tutu subscribed to this fable. The League of Nations mandate for Palestine was issued in 1922, in recognition of the right of the Jewish people to self-determination. Prince Feisal had expressed support for the Zionist project, but later rescinded it. The United Nations partition decision of 1947 was a compromise that the Zionist movement accepted, however reluctantly. The Holocaust may have made world opinion conscious of the justice of the Zionist cause, but Israel was created because the world had previously recognized the Jewish right to self determination. Palestinians paid the price of resisting a UN decision and waging an aggressive war. Hitherto secret British documents reveal that Palestinians were active collaborators of the Nazis, and that Arab and Palestinian pressure forced the British to abandon their commitments to the Jews (see http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2009/09/nazis-armed-palestine-arab-uprising.html ) stranding many hundreds of thousands in Europe. The Palestinians are not wholly innocent of the Holocaust.
The Jenin Massacre - The lie that Israeli soldiers killed 500 Palestinians in Jenin in Operation Defensive Shield continues to be circulated, though it has been disproven decisively. There are numerous similar instances.
Be aware of these "narratives" and try to put across the truth. We cannot take it for granted that everyone knows even simple facts. Most people are not knowledgeable about the Middle East, and a concerted effort has been made to replace them with more "convenient," "improved" "facts."
Remember that the important goal of anti-Israel propaganda is not these individual examples, but the creation of a credible alternative "narrative" - a fake history that provides a schema which people use to interpret new events. If you believe in the ethnic cleansing 1948 story, then it makes sense that Israelis would commit "genocide" in Jenin and in Gaza. It's not always logical either.
That's why history is important. Making sure people know the real facts is important. History with pictures and personal stories, related to current events, is not "B*O*R*I*N*G." It is the stuff of the conflict and it is misused all the time to discredit Israel.
Samples that include Palestinian "Narratives" are given in Appendix A. But the Palestinian narrative is just a tactic. It changes all the time to suit objectives and to fit what is believed will influence western ears and what limits it is thought that Westerners will find acceptable. The limits are being pushed constantly. It is now becoming acceptable, for example, to claim that Jews had no historic connections with Jerusalem or Israel in ancient times, This idea is being pushed increasingly. The departure from reality is progressive, and builds on previous departures. Appendix B gives the main points of the Israeli / Zionist narrative.
Events and Personalities: Nodes and Organizing Points in Narratives
Historical narratives "come alive" because of events and personalities that we humans use to organize the story. George Washington, the Minutemen at Concord, Bull Run, and the Battle of Stalingrad, all are made central in our perception of history. That's the way human beings think. This propensity is also used to convince people and to create narratives with "good guys" and "bad guys" in order to advance a cause. The hero or martyr is made to come to life with graphics as well as personal anecdotes, true or otherwise (George Washington and the cherry tree for example). Sometimes the event or personality is "improved" in the telling in order to make a point.
Some examples of the ways in which the Palestinian narratives use events and personalities:
Izzedin al Qassam - Izzedin al Qassam was elevated into a "Palestinian" martyr and hero. Actually he was born in Syria and came to Haifa under the British Mandate where he became a rabble rousing anti-Jewish preacher. He was killed by the British while hiding out with a band of marauders, touching off the riots and pogroms of 1936-39.
The "Nakba" - Arabs made war on Israel in 1948, and lost the war. As a result, many Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from the country. This was elevated into a semi-mythical critical event that "demonstrated" the cruelty of the Zionists. At the same time, an equal or larger number of Jews who had done nothing against their host countries were expelled or forced to flee Arab lands. That event is virtually forgotten, along with the movements of various refugee populations during and soon after World War II, including whole nations who were victims of Stalin's nationalities policy. The Palestine Nakba became an important historical event because of the propaganda effort invested in it.
Battle of Karameh - In 1968 an IDF operation against the PLO and Jordan Legion in Jordan miscarried. IDF were surprised by the size of enemy forces. IDF lost 28-33 troops, while the Palestinians and Jordanians suffered in the neighborhood of 200 dead. The Palestinians claimed a great victory over the Israelis and Yasser Arafat's Fatah was catapulted to Palestinian leadership. The objective facts do not matter much. The Palestinians were skilled at turning an objective debacle into a "victory" and getting much of the world to accept their version at face value.
Muhammad Al Dura - 12-year-old Muhammad al Dura was filmed by French television as he was ostensibly murdered by Israeli soldiers in Gaza at the start of the Second Intifada. A subsequent investigation found that portions of the film that showed Al Dura getting up after he was "killed" had been suppressed. There was no proof that he had died from Israeli fire and no rational explanation of why Israelis would kill him. There was no real proof that he was killed for that matter, or of what causes he died. Nonetheless he became a "martyr" whose supposed death was used to justify numerous acts of violence. Charles Enderlin, the French TV news editor responsible for this imaginative work, has since been inducted into the French Legion of Honor.
The Zionist movement had heroes, martyrs and critical events as well, such as the death of Josef Trumpeldor at Tel Hai. There are numerous such stories in recent history as well, but nobody has bothered to dramatize them. These stories are all Hasbara opportunities waiting to happen. The entire Second Intifada, and the violence that followed the Gaza disengagement must be highlighted as examples of how Israeli peace bids were manipulated and turned into the bases for terrorist action and further vilification of Israel. . Tragic personal stories of innocent victims of terror attacks should dramatize the point (for example: Sderot victims).
Movements, particular pernicious ones like the anti-Israel cause or the former Communist party of the USSR, use issues and personalities to provide concrete instances that can validate the narrative and make it real. A "martyr" or a "Gaza siege" story arouses emotion and attracts new activists. The real purposes behind the campaign, however, are not to free the prisoner or lift the siege, but to attract new adherents to the movement and to put across the "desired" version of the narrative and advance the core issue, which in our case is delegitimization of Israel. There may be a subsidiary short term strategic goal.
Thus, the Palestinians instigated violence in 2000, and then mobilized protests in favor of an international force that would supposedly protect them from Israeli violence. Had they succeeded, Israel would have lost security control of the Palestinian areas, and terrorists could have hidden behind a screen of indifferent or favorable "peace keeping" force.
Building Movements with Issues
Ideological advocacy is really aimed at several different audiences and it is trying to do several different things at the same time:
Long term education: Explain positions and provide information to outsiders - Anti-Israel groups are always trying to inculcate their "narrative." Fake Zionist quotes and biased history are provided as "background" for issues and particular campaigns. The "Free Rachel Corrie" petition table will have flyers about the Jenin Massacre, the Palestinian Refugees, the poverty of the Palestinians etc. Your petition tables should have handouts that explain the facts as they are.
Long term education is also carried out via books, Web sites and review articles. It is your job to make sure people know the facts, and these must be presented beginning with the basic knowledge needed to understand a complex situation. Don't take it for granted that your readers know who Ariel Sharon or Ehud Olmert are, or that there was a war in 1948 and another in 1967.
Recruit new activists for the cause - From the organizational point of view, the main purpose of a campaign based on an issue is to recruit new sympathizers and activists. Each contact address from a demonstration, each signature on a petition helps to build a movement. Many of the people who demonstrated for Rachel Corrie can be counted to demonstrate in support of the Gaza Hamas regime when needed, and some of them can be tapped for donations and volunteer work. The main pool of new activists generally comes from the pool of sympathizers. They will help raise support and money and popularize the cause.
Mobilize and motivate existing activists - Provide "talking points" as well as deep background and explain to them how to do advocacy - that's what this document is for.
Issues, Events and Principles
Individual issues and approaches to issues are, to an extent, concrete instances of generalized principles. How a person views and interprets an event depends on what their attitude is to the conflict, and conversely, approaches to the conflict may be swayed by particular issues and images.
Events versus Principles
A Palestinian suicide bombing reinforces a basic perception that "Palestinians are terrorists."
BUT if you are convinced that "Zionists" are cruel occupiers, then the suicide bombing is a "blow for freedom" struck by "resistance fighters" in "occupied Tel Aviv."
A picture of a Palestinian Arab child killed by Israeli troops, or of Israeli soldiers pointing guns at civilians, reinforces the perception that "Zionists" are cruel occupiers.
BUT if you are already convinced that Palestinians are genocidal terrorists, then the troops are just exercising Israel's right to self-defense and the child is an unfortunate victim.
If you do not "feel" the above, think of the difference between the way you might view the bombing of London during the World War II Blitz, and the fire bombing of Hamburg, Germany in the same war. Your interpretation of what happened, and your emotional reaction, depends on what you think of the two sides in the war.
Effective advocacy tries to handle all of these - to explain principles and the basic facts so people have a framework for contextualizing events, and to explain the events and individual issues and use them if possible to advance the cause.
Using issues to persuade and build movements
Ideological advocacy engages in several types and levels of persuasion:
As an example, take the case of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, the target of an anti-Semitic campaign in 19th century France. The event was turned into an issue by publicists like Emile Zola for the defense, as well as by anti-Semitic propagandists. It could produce three effects:
The role of issues in electing a candidate or of "features" in persuading people to buy a product is somewhat different from their role in ideological persuasion and the building of movements. A candidate chooses their stand on issues in order to please the public and win votes. A political movement uses issues both to persuade people of the justice of its cause and to build its movement - a long-term proposition. You can make designer soap according to the specifications of market research, and you can, to an extent, build candidate positions in the same way, but nobody should seriously contemplate making a designer political ideology. People support ideologies and causes because they believe in them.
An issue can be the subject of dedicated organizations, op-eds, demonstrations, lectures, discussions, Web sites, and petitions. In addition to bringing out specific points about the issue, these different activities are also used to gain adherents and build a larger organization by building a database of signatories and attendees, and to hammer home the "basic truths" of the movement's point of view. This was recognized quite well by the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party led by V.I. Lenin, who used strikes and industrial organization and later anti-war protests, to build a revolutionary political movement that became the "Bolshevik Party." Today, it is used with striking effect by anti-Israel organizations such as the Palestine Solidarity Movement.
How Anti-Israeli Groups Use Issues
Here are some examples of how the anti-Israel propaganda machine successfully uses issues to do the sort of movement building described above, and how the Zionist side has failed to utilize parallel issues.
Occupation and Settlements
Occupation and settlements are controversial issues. When used as anti-Israeli propaganda, these issues are usually intended to delegitimize Israel and not to put an end to the occupation of lands conquered in 1967.
Where is the occupation? "Occupied" Palestinian territory can refer in some anti-Israel rhetoric to any part of Israel, since the Hamas for example, insist that Tel-Aviv, Ashdod, Sderot and Beersheba are "occupied" territory and that "ending the occupation" means ending the existence of the State of Israel. This was also the logic behind the attempted boycott of the films about Tel Aviv shown in the Tel Aviv film festival.
On numerous occasions, various Fatah officials, supposedly representing the moderate stream in Palestinian ideology, have stated that their ultimate goal is the elimination of Israel.
"What exactly do we want? It has been said that we are negotiating for peace, but our goal has never been peace. Peace is a means; and the goal is Palestine. I do not negotiate in order to achieve peace. I negotiate for Palestine, in order to achieve a state."
The base of our Fatah movement keeps dreaming of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jaffa and Akko..." "There is no change in our position. Abbas recognizes Israel because of pressure that the Zionists and the Americans are exercising on him. We understand this is part of his obligations and political calculations."
Let me tell you, when the ideology of Israel collapses, and we take, at least, Jerusalem, the Israeli ideology will collapse in its entirety, and we will begin to progress with our own ideology, Allah willing, and drive them out of all of Palestine.
At its recent convention, the Fatah produced an external document calling for "two state solution," though carefully insisting that one of those states would be Palestinian while Israel would not be recognized as the national home of the Jewish people. At the same time it produced an internal document that made it clear that Fatah still envisions the ultimate destruction of Israel.
Article 22 of the document calls for:
... objection by force to all political solutions that are offered as an alternative to the extermination of the occupying Zionist entity in Palestine and all the projects that aim for the elimination of the Palestinian problem, or seek to internationalize it or put an outside custodian on its people from any possible party."
"Settlements are an obstacle to peace" - Settlement construction has been touted as an obstacle to peace. This is a dubious claim, since Israel has repeatedly shown willingness to evacuate settlements and has done so both in Sinai, in order to make peace with Egypt, and in Gaza to allow for disengagement. The Israeli-Arab conflict did not begin in 1967 and was not caused by the Occupation. The Fatah was founded in 1957 and the PLO was founded in 1964. Settlements and occupation are not the reason for the conflict. Arab refusal to recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state was, and remains, the reason for the conflict.
"Longest Occupation" - Anti-Israel forces have frequently stated that the Israeli occupation is the "longest occupation in the world." This is a very dubious claim since China, after forcing Tibetans to sign a "treaty" under duress in 1949, has occupied Tibet and violated that treaty with impunity ever since. While many admit that the Chinese occupation of Tibet is unjust, nobody has called for the abolition of China on the grounds that it occupies Tibet. The United States, Great Britain, France and the USSR occupied Germany for many years, but nobody suggested that those countries should be eliminated because of their "occupation."
However, "End the Occupation" and "End the Settlements" have been convenient battle cries and issues used by anti-Israel propagandists as well as those who are sincerely interested in peace.
Legal Status - Several distinguished jurists have argued that the West Bank is not occupied territory because the Convention on Occupation applies to territory that belonged to a different, recognized sovereign. That is not the case for the West Bank, which was last occupied by Jordan. Almost no states recognized Jordanian sovereignty in the West Bank, and Jordan itself relinquished those claims. As for Jerusalem, it was to have been internationalized, but that was never implemented. The "legal Sovereign" in both cases is therefore the British Mandate for Palestine, which was dissolved.
While the argument that Israeli presence in the West Bank is not occupation (http://www.zionism-israel.com/ezine/occupation_zionism.htm ) has been advanced convincingly by Eugene Rostow, Julius Stone and others, we must recognize that those arguments are not accepted by most of the world. Israel advocates should be aware that opponents will be quick to point this out, and will note that the International Court of Justice considers the area, including Jerusalem to be occupied, and that most European states consider the settlements to be "illegal" and the area to be under occupation. US officials have referred to settlements as "illegitimate." President Obama used ambiguous phrasing in his 2009 address to the United Nations General Assembly (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3781005,00.html) :
" We continue to call on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel and we continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements..."
That could refer to continued construction or expansion of settlements or continued existence of settlements.
It is important not to get caught up too deeply in such discussions, but rather to point out that Israel is willing to give up land in return for reasonable peace terms and genuine willingness for peace that does not include demands for "right" of return, denial of Jewish rights in East Jerusalem or "elimination of the Zionist entity."
Zionist positions - Use of the term "occupation" has become mainstream in Israel to refer to the land occupied after the Six Day War, after Prime Minister Sharon referred to the occupation in a speech. Both anti-Zionists and Zionist extremists have tried to make the spurious case that occupation and settlements are part and parcel of Zionism which has an "expansionist" ideology. Zionist ideology called for Jewish self-determination - a state with a Jewish majority that is a national home for the Jewish people. That clearly cannot be accomplished if there is an Arab majority or substantial Arab minority that is part of that state, and therefore the policy of all Israeli governments in recent years has favored ending the occupation and allowing formation of a Palestinian state, either immediately or eventually.
According to UN Security Council Resolution 242, peace is to be secured by withdrawal of Israel from territories conquered in the Six Day War. Arabs interpret this resolution to mean that Israel must withdraw from all such territories, including areas conquered by the Arab states and occupied illegally in 1948 such as East Jerusalem and a small part of the Golan Heights. However, this was not apparently the intent of the original resolution, as attested to by letters from British and American diplomats at the time.
Anti-Israel propaganda calling to "end the occupation" also insists, very often, as the Palestinian leadership does, that Israel has no national rights in Jerusalem.
Within Zionist opinion there are few who advocate giving up all or almost all the West Bank territories conquered in the Six Day War. Most are willing to allow a establishment of a Palestinian state in much of the West Bank and that is the policy of Israeli government. Until Palestinians are willing to recognize the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, give up the "right" of return for Palestinian refugees and recognize at least some Jewish rights in East Jerusalem, and until there are reasonable grounds for assuming that Palestinians can establish a state that will live in peace, the Israeli government and the majority of Israelis are unwilling to withdraw Israeli troops and "end the occupation."
Settlement Freeze - There is no denying that the settlements established in the West Bank after the 1967 war have been subject of much contention, between Israel and its enemies, within Israel itself and between Israel and the United States. This contention escalated with Barack Obama's demand that Israel freeze all building across the Green Line as a condition of continuing negotiations. The Israeli contentions are that regardless of the final disposition of the settlements, the people who live in them must be allowed to continue with their lives. If the territories are "disputed," a settlement freeze by Israel while Palestinians are allowed to build unhindered in the occupied territories will be a tacit admission that the land rightfully belongs to the Palestinians. Israelis also argue that the continued construction is the only means Israel has of putting pressure on Palestinians to accept a reasonable peace offer. Further, Israel refuses to freeze building activity in Jerusalem, which was originally supposed to be "internationalized," was occupied by Jordan for 19 years, and which Israel considers to be annexed to the state of Israel.
Source of contention and Division - Regardless of whether you agree with current Israeli policy, want a complete and unconditional withdrawal from the West Bank and Jerusalem, or want to hold on to every millimeter of land, every Zionist advocate must recognize that this issue is exploited to divide Jewish and Zionist opinion.
Zionist advocacy needs to avoid the trap of identifying with the settlement issue or a particular stand on that issue. Settlement of this or that bit of real estate within Israel is not central to mainstream Zionist ideology and never was. Zionist leaders accepted the UN Partition plan of 1947 and Israel existed for 19 years within the 1949 armistice borders. Israel advocacy must not force Zionists and others to chose sides on this issue in principle. It must be welcoming to Zionists and supporters and potential supporters of all different opinions on the settlement issue. The position that best represents Zionist and Israeli policy may be "This is an issue that should be settled in negotiations between the government of Israel and its neighbors as part of a process in which they will agree to live in peace with a Jewish state." This brings the discussion back to the core issue: Arab recognition of the Jewish right to self determination. It avoids identifying with, or advocating for, a position that might easily change with the next Israeli government. And it makes it clear that. within the Zionist community, different points of view on this issue are not an obstacle.
When the state of Israel was created in 1948, the Arab states and the Palestinians engaged in a war to destroy it. They lost the war and about 700,000 Palestinian Arabs who had variously fled of their own accord or been expelled lost their property and became refugees. As a consequence of the conflict, about 800,000 Jews also fled or were expelled from Muslim and Arab countries and from areas like the Old City of Jerusalem that were conquered by the Arabs.
The plight of the Palestinian refugees was perpetuated by the Arab states. It was deliberately turned into a political issue to be used against the state of Israel. The Arab lobby managed to force the creation of the UNRWA organization that keeps the refugees in a miserable existence in camps. A yearly "Nakba" ceremony marks the creation of the state of Israel, as though Israel was responsible for the folly of the Palestinian and Arab leaders. A "just solution," at the expense of Israel. to the problem of the Palestinian Arab refugee problem became a condition of the Arabs for making "peace" with Israel. The "just solution" proposed was "return" of the refugees, their descendants and non-Palestinian spouses to Israel, flooding Israel with hostile Palestinians intent on destroying the Jewish national home.
Sudetens Germans similarly tried to overthrow the Czech state in 1938 with the aid of Nazi Germany. When the Nazis lost the war, the Sudetens Germans were expelled and nobody was sorry. They were absorbed into post-war Germany. They got what they deserved for aiding war criminals and aggressors. That was the real "just solution."
The plight of the Jews from Arab and Muslim lands was not recognized by anyone and not highlighted by the state of Israel. Their "Nakba" has no name and no day to commemorate it. Their claims have not been made into a major issue in the peace process or a condition for Israel making peace with the Arabs, and those claims are not mentioned by most of the organizations who plead for the Arab Palestinian refugees. Many of them were absorbed into Israel at the expense of the state. Others made new lives for themselves in the United States and France, without any help from the United Nations.
The chief difference between these Jewish refugees and the Arab Palestinian refugees, is that the Jews were minding their own business when expelled. The Arab population of Palestine was enthusiastically engaged in blockading the roads, cutting the water supply to Jerusalem, and harboring genocidal gangs of "irregular armies" led by Nazi sympathizers and collaborators like Fawzi al Kaukji and the Grand Mufti, Sheikh Hajj al Amin Husseini. . Palestinian Arabs who fled stated that they did so because they refused to live under Jewish rule. The Palestinian war was a popular war that could not be carried out without the "faza" levee of villagers who came out to ambush convoys, and who knowingly harbored terrorists. It is difficult to characterize the Arab population of Palestine as 'innocent victims' in that war.
The supposedly powerful pro-Israel "lobby" has until recently barely mentioned the gross injustice and insult perpetrated upon the Jewish refugees. In fact, the anti-Zionist lobby and anti-Israel propaganda machine have created myths about "Arab Jews" and cynically used the disaster of Jews from Arab lands for their own propaganda.
Rachel Corrie vs Carlos Chavez
Rachel Corrie was a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement. This group gave hospitality to terrorists who planned and carried out a suicide bombing. She went to Gaza, a war zone, of her own free will. She tried to stop the IDF from destroying houses used for smuggling weapons and explosives through tunnels. She was killed by a civilian Israel bulldozer operator who evidently did not see her as she stood in front of the blade of his machine. Her death was cynically exploited to start an anti-Israel cult and recruit people to the hate Israel movement. A play was made about Rachel Corrie, and the anti-Israel propaganda machine ensured that large numbers of people would know the name of Rachel Corrie.
Carlos Chavez ;was also a volunteer. He came to a Negev kibbutz bordering on Gaza in order to work the fields and help make the desert bloom. He was deliberately murdered by a Palestinian sniper while he was engaged in working in the fields. Nobody did anything about popularizing his case and he is more or less forgotten. There are many other Carlos Chavez's who are innocent victims of vicious terrorism - all forgotten.
Tragic personal stories including that of Carlos Chavez, as well as the many innocent victims of terror attacks make the point (for example http://zionism-israel.com/vic/sderot1.htm). Each one of them has a better case for claiming "martyrdom" than Rachel Corrie, especially the children.
Sderot Children: Victims of Hamas terror - More innocent than Rachel Corrie
Democracy versus Closed Society
Advocates for closed societies and totalitarian systems always have an advantage: there is no visible internal opposition. This was true of Fascist countries and of Communism, and it is true to a large extent of advocates of anti-Israel groups.
Anti-Israel groups are always going to have more "issues" they can use against Israel than pro-Israel groups can find against Palestinian and Arab society. They will always find it easier to support those issues. The issues and the support are generated by the open and democratic nature of Israeli society. Corruption of Israeli politicians is reported in Israeli journals, as are real or imagined misdeeds of Israeli soldiers. They are investigated by the government and the IDF. Corruption of Palestinian and other Arab officials might be whispered about, but is rarely reported and exposed. There will be no Hamas inquiry into charges that they committed war crimes by firing rockets on Israel. Nobody expects it. You can point out that a similar situation existed between the United States and the USSR. Soviet propaganda organs featured stories about racism and poverty in the United States. American reporting of Soviet Gulags and poverty was rare for most of the Cold War. There just wasn't that much "newsworthy" material to be had. Nonetheless, the facts were there for those who wanted to know them. Paucity of media coverage of repression of Christians, Hamas atrocities against Fatah, Fatah corruption and similar ills in Palestinian and Arab society makes it all the more urgent for individuals and groups to use issue campaigns to make people aware of the truth.
This material is copyright © 2009 by Ami Isseroff and members of the Zio-Web group. No part may be reproduced without permission in any form.
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