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Though it is painful to admit it, it should be obvious to all by now that Israel is losing the battle for hearts and minds of international public opinion, not just in Europe, Asia and Africa, but in the United States as well. This is evident both in the recent reaction to Operation Cast Lead and in long term trends. This loss is not like losing a Eurovision song contest or not getting the Oscar for Waltz with Bashir. It has, and will have, grave strategic consequences for Israel's well being, international posture and security.

The odious effluvium of the recent unjust human rights campaign against Israel following the Gaza operation (see here and here) is added to the already broad stream of "anti-Israel" criticism. That will almost inevitably be joined by the stinking effluent of the upcoming Durban II Conference on Racism.

It is besides the point, inaccurate and ineffective to protest that this campaign is the result of "anti-Semitism." Surely, the campaign against Israel feeds on anti-Semitism and is fed by it. The deranged insistence that Israel must pay for the blood of Christ, the demented discourse about the supposed role of the Mossad in 9-11 and in the Mumbai massacre, and the mounting torrent of drivel painting the Federal Reserve System as a plot by International Jew Bankers are not "legitimate criticisms of Israel" and must in themselves be exposed as vicious racism. But they are not the main issue or the main danger, but only a side show.

The fact is that Israel has allowed its enemies to seize the initiative and dictate the agenda, to move the debate from central issues to diversions and irrelevancies, to establish fiction as fact, and to make the general public forget what is really at stake. Benjamin Netanyahu, a democratically elected politician, is painted as an ogre equivalent to Adolf Hitler, who must be boycotted. Conversely, Khaled Meshaal, a terrorist gangster and head of the genocidal Hamas, is painted as a fighter for freedom against oppression whose legitimate struggle should be recognized and whose organization must be considered a "partner for peace."

The horror of the Mumbai terror attacks should have been exploited to the full to explain to the world the undying enmity of Islamist radicalism for Judaism as a symbol of Western democratic values. Instead, most of the commentary asked "Why the Jews?" out of ignorance of the program and ideology of al-Qaeda and radical Islamism (aka "Jihadism"); Jewish groups focused on trying to get human sympathy for the martyred rabbi and his family and for the Chabad group. Islamist groupies were allowed to generate bogus hysteria that the Zionist conspiracy was trying to foment a war between India and Pakistan. In reality, al-Qaeda is at war with the Pakistani government and the rest of the world.

Israel is losing the support of the world over the Iranian issue. Iran's quest to kick the United States out of the Middle East has been skilfully made into a problem of Israel, Israeli nuclear weapons and Israeli interference with Palestinian "rights." Nobody hears the crowds screaming "Death to America" and the thugs burning the pictures of President Barack Obama (that's right, Obama, not Bush). U.S. policy can now be held hostage to the plots of these demented hoodlums, and officials will presumably move to appease them. Iran succeeded in portraying itself as the hapless victim of an arbitrary boycott campaign by evil Zionist neocons. It is forgotten completely that the clandestine Iranian nuclear weapons program was in place before the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It is fatuously supposed that the election of Khatami or a different reformist figurehead to the Presidency of Iran will solve all the problems and eliminate the threat posed by Iran.

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the sacrifice of disengagement is largely forgotten by the world. The central issue, that Hamas is a genocidal organization that repeatedly and openly declares its intention to destroy Israel is ignored. Instead, the entire debate has been moved to the bogus issues of "proportionality," Israeli "war crimes" and "human rights." We allowed the enemy to choose the battlegrounds and the weapons. We should not be surprised therefore, when they gain victory after victory. Not even Herr Joseph Goebbels would have been able to divert the entire public debate in Europe about Nazism to the question of whether allied reprisals for V II raids were "disproportionate" or the fact that the Germans suffered more casualties than the British, or to get Americans to boycott Britain because of the war crime committed in the firebombing of Dresden. But that is precisely what has happened in the Israel versus Hamas propaganda war.

Owing to an insistent campaign that has not been answered by any government or other advocacy, it is now falsely established in the public mind that the Annapolis talks failed because of Israeli "inflexibility" about Jerusalem. The truth is the opposite. Mahmoud Abbas announced and admitted on November 11 2008, that Israel had offered a compromise on Jerusalem but the Palestinian Authority rejected it, because the Palestinians insist on obliterating Israeli rights in East Jerusalem. It is not compromise that the Palestinian Authority demands from Israel, but rather unconditional surrender. The facts are not aired by the Israeli government because of internal political problems. It would have been politically disastrous to admit that Israel offered a compromise on East Jerusalem as that would raise a clamor on the Israeli right. It would have been equally disastrous to admit that the Palestinian Authority has been totally intransigent in current negotiations, because that would rob the Kadima party of the centerpiece of its political platform - peace with the Palestinians. Evidently, the powers that be estimated that the Israeli people are too stupid to understand that Israel must always strive for peace both in fact and appearance, no matter how hopeless the cause may seem. That policy has been a foundation stone of Israeli diplomacy since 1948 and is integral to mainstream Zionist ideology.

There are many other examples that bring home the fact that Israeli and Zionist legitimacy are suffering a continuing debacle. It is pointless to deny it and maladaptive to helplessly bemoan it as "anti-Semitism" or as "unfair" tactics of the other side. All is fair in love and war. Nobody should expect genocidal terrorists and racists and their advocates and running dogs to act fairly. We are not children. The Israeli government foreign ministry has failed. The Zionist and Jewish NGOs have failed. The pro-Israel volunteer advocacy network has failed. We are not doing our job effectively. We are reaching the wrong people with the wrong message or not getting the message out at all. Many of us don't seem to know what the message ought to be.

The situation is not beyond hope, but we will never even begin to solve the problem if we do not recognize that it exists and that it is quite urgent. It is far more important than petty internecine rivalry which absorbs the energy of Israel advocates. It will not be solved by appealing to the anti-Semitism issue. The anti-Semites already know they are anti-Semites and are quite proud of it. The others truly are horrified by the accusation and really do not understand why saying that "Zionists control the world" is anti-Semitic. It will not be solved by appeals to Jewish opinion. The enemy is not other Jews. The rising tide of opinion against Israel is not, in the main, related to anything that Israel did or did not do, since the aim of the campaign is to destroy Israel. The "critics" will criticize Israel no matter what Israel does. Every action, whether it is disengagement, or peace offers, attacks on terrorists or building of settlements, whether is totally right or totally wrong, will be turned into grist for the propaganda mill of enemies, if we let them do it.

The nature of urgent corrective measures that should be taken will be the subject of future articles here. The problem should also be subject to detailed public scrutiny and debate. It is not a minor problem, but rather a central strategic issue for Israel, a threat can only be countered by a massive effort of attention, ingenuity and resources.

Ami Isseroff

Original content is Copyright by the author 2009. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, https://zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000662.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to . Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

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Replies: 10 Comments

Abu Sa'ar, if Jordan et al pose the threat you suggest, then it seems to me that Israel needs to disengage sooner rather than later and deploy its limited resources to creating a defence force capable of rendering these future enemies incapable of fighting. The cost of maintaining the occupation and the extended lines detracts from the development of enhanced defence capabilities. Not only does it consume limited financial resources it blurs the Israeli situation and allows its enemies to formulate claims against it, such as the claim that Israel continues as occupier in relation to Gaza. Israel must do everything possible to delegitimise claims against it & assertions that violence against Israel is an extension of a war of liberation to end the post 67 occupation.

Rod Davies, Tuesday, March 3rd

RD -

Jordan has a temporary truce with us. Nothing more. This truce will hold until the Hashemite dynasty is overthrown; your average Jordanian hates Jews with a passion. If they had anything resembling a democracy they would break the truce and attack us. Same thing goes for Egypt. And as the Arabs have proved repeatedly (and quite consistently), suicidal tendencies abound in their culture.

The Palestinians will accept nothing less that Israel destroyed and Jews dead, enslaved or driven away. They're not even hiding it. Destruction of Israel is still the official goal of the Fatah terrorist organization. Hamas never even tried to lie about their goals - they openly boast that they will not stop until every Jew is dead and Israel is in ruins. They they plan on taking on the rest of the world.

For both Hamas and Fatah, ALL of Israel is "occupied Palestine". There is no use "returning" this or that bit of land to appease them, they think in all-or-nothing terms.

Sounds like sane people to you? Or like the people who would turn to nation-building if we give them a bit more land? Their official maps don't have Israel on them. It's all "Palestine". Their education system, all of the media, all of their culture is so soaked with hatred for Jews and Israel that there is no greater honor for them than murdering Jews.

There is nothing we can do to appease them, nothing we can do to change their minds. We can only contain them or kill them. For their part, the Arabs will "resist" our existence until there are no more Jews left alive.

Oh, and Jordan has a huge mass of poor, unemployed and unmarriable young men. Just the right kind of cannon fodder for Jihad. And what do you think will happen when the oil runs out and West's interest change? Do you think these governments will survive without being propped from the outside? Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas are a part, are the next rulers of Egypt. In Jordan, they are rising as the Islamic Action Front. The idiot falaheen love these hyper-violent barbarians.

We have to be realistic if we are to survive.

And as for world opinion: "Um, Shmum", in the immortal words of Ben Gurion. In case you don't speak Hebrew: Um is Hebrew for UN.

, Thursday, February 26th

The idea of an attack from Jordan is an absurdity, unless of course the Jordanians are showing sudden suicidal tendencies.
So long as Israel remains in occupation of the West Bank the "resistance" is legitimised and Israel is obligated to facilitate aid deliveries etc to the Palestinians. Once the occupation is ended the position changes so that it becomes one state against another. It would also obligate the Palestinian leadership to behave as government leaders. For the Palestinian people the argument changes from ending the occupation to building a functioning nation state.
I am not naive enough to believe that this would be the end of the constant denial fo Israel's legitimacy but it would serve to shift the onus away from Israel

Rod Davies, Thursday, February 26th

RD -

The point of Israeli presence in the West bank is not Biblical dementia. Well, other than Hebron, but these people are an embarrassment to pretty much all other Israelis. We need this territory as a buffer zone against an attack from Jordan. Controlling all the high grounds and all the passages, IDF can hold off even a massive invasion from Jordan for 24 hours, the time needed to muster reserves.

So I wholeheartedly agree with you that we should pull out as much as we can... it's just that we can't pull out too much. Borders of '67 put Tel Aviv, BGA, Glilot and so on in Qassam range. And indeed, as Misha said, world opinion of us is unrelated to our actions. It grows from seeds of anti-Semitism in the rich turf of hyper-emotional Western culture, amply irrigated by lies and fertilized by propaganda. We should not, therefore, believe that the world will not scream and seethe should we retaliate against an attack from a sovereign Palestinian state.

But the costs of occupation should indeed be cut. So we build the barrier, annexing as much territory as needed, and declare these our borders. They will periodically succeed in attacking us; we will periodically destroy their armed forces, weapons and production facilities.

None of it matters because their lies and propaganda are paid for with oil money. Oil money will run out in a couple of decades. Without oil, Arabs will interest the West as much as Congo tribesmen do now. And the West will not be very happy with their own Arabs and Muslims by then, I believe.

We just have to hold our course and not let ourselves be destroyed in a civil war, like all other Jewish states before us.

, Wednesday, February 25th

Misha, perhaps simply starting to go through the steps of a unilateral withdrawl would do the trick. I wonder if you had really understood that I meant that the borders should be closed to all goods, services and persons. I meant closed absolutely with no exceptions - no emergency cases evacuated to Israeli hospitals - no water or oil or anything else. I meant in the most absolute sense a return to pre-summer '67.
I think that the idea that Israel would actually close the borders fully and pull out unilaterally would scare the Palestinians into action.
My other thought is that Israel should bombard Gaza and West Bank with information / propoganda about the post-closure situation and advise them to stock up on dried goods etc.

Rod Davies, Wednesday, February 25th

As far as I understand it 242 is rather vague and neither uses the words ALL or SOME.
However as Ami identifed there is a progressive shift away from understanding support for Israel and towards a largely irrational emotive response to media reports from Gaza etc.
IMO it is entirely irrelevant if UN says all or part or none of the captured territories "belong" to Israel. The facts are that continued occupation and absence of a partner for peace amongst the Palestinians damages Israel. There is not much that Israel can do to make the Palestinians want peace enough. However it is within Israel's capacity to end the occupation. So long as Israeli troops remain in the West Bank there is a cost to Israel. The brutalising impact upon Israels youth is harmful. The benefits of holding the West Bank are negligible.
Zionism is not about rebuilding an alleged Biblical State, but creating a viable and healthy national home for the Jewish nation. What loss is it to lose Hebron or any of the settlements in the West Bank in truth? The Old City of Jerusalem is a different matter. So let it go and work on building healthy and robust souls and bodies.
If one day in the future the Palestinians want normal relations with Israel then they can take the steps to create such. Until that time let them do what they wish. If they launch a war against Israel that will be their choice and they must learn to live with the consequences of their decisions as a mature nation.

Rod Davies, Wednesday, February 25th

Untill two months ago I would gladly sign under Rod Davies's plan. I would only add that our Government must not interfere with the desire of some Jewish settlers to stay in Palestine, thus avoiding the ugly scenes of forceful evacuation from Gaza. That was my position for the last 35 years.

Alas, the reaction of the Democratic West to Operation Cast Lead had changed my stance. If the West does not allow us to defend ourselves against the enemy who openly strives to destroy the State of Israel and to kill Jews - what's the point in making that enemy's task easier by giving him free hand in acquiring the best weapons to kill us?

No, I don't want to occupy Gaza again. But if keeping our troops in the West Bank (including check-points, Makhsom Watch etc.) will keep enemy's rockets away - well - let it be so.

Misha Shauli, Wednesday, February 25th

To Rod Davies :

The UN Security Council Resolution 242 doesn't ask Israel to evacuate ALL the territories captured (in self-defense) in 1967, but only SOME of them. And this resolution clearly states that the NEW boundaries shall be drawn to insure Israel's security.

All Israel's actions are lawful and commendable, as Dershowitz clearly proved.

The Arabs have constantly attacked Israel, with the aim to exterminate all its Jewish population. Therefore, the Arabs shall be punished, not the Israelis.

, Wednesday, February 25th

To Ami Isseroff :

I don't agree with your analysis.

The people who are criticizing (in fact, slandering) Israel are the same people who criticized Israel in 2006 (Lebanon); who criticized Israel in 2000 (Second Intifada); who criticized Israel in 1982 (Lebanon); and so on.

The NGOs don't represent the citizens of the democratic countries. People aren't stupid. They see that Hamas has constantly attacked Israel for years. In France, where I live, a poll showed that the majority of the French citizens put the blame on Hamas for the war in Gaza, not on Israel, although the media coverage was one-sided and pro-Hamas.

The people you denounce in your article are far left-wingers and Muslims. But far left-wingers are a minority in the USA and in Europe. More than 90% of the participants to the anti-Israel pro-Hamas demonstrations that happenned in Europe were Muslims, and the Europeans don't like those extremist Muslims.

Israel has to continue its fight: go back in Gaza, kill the islamonazi terrorists, and destroy Iran's nuclear facilities.

The journalists will scream ; the ONGs will scream ; the UN will scream ; the far left-wingers will scream ; the Muslims will scream ; but the Europeans (the real Europeans : Christians and Jews) and the Americans will not scream.


, Wednesday, February 25th

If you said all you can say, just walk away

The Peace Process has become more than a failure, it has developed into a quagmire of sinking sand into which Israeli politicians are drawn almost inexorably. Nothing works. Non-violence is interpreted as exploitable weakness. Border closures interpreted as medieval sieges. Military responses cited as war crimes. Despite years of talking and rounds of negotiations the Palestinian leadership shows no will or interest in progressing towards a peaceful two state solution.

There is no point in laying down an ultimatum to the Palestinians. They have learnt too well that intransigence pays dividends. It is time to simply walk away and accept that the Palestinians and their allies are neither ready nor able to participate in the creation of a two state solution. Yet the two-state solution is the only realistic route to peace.

I believe that the only solution is to unilaterally comply with UN Security Council Resolution 242 and evacuate territories captured in 1967. Not with a fanfare of statements in the UN, but with the quiet determination that Zionists were once famous for the Israelis should progressively pull back to a position close to the 1949 ceasefire lines as create a manageable border. Then with equal calm simply operate that border in accordance with international conventions. That is unless and until the Palestinians formally recognise the State of Israel and its right to live in peace, and agree to exchange ambassadors the border should remain closed to persons, good and services.

The United Nations, that stages and presumably funds events such as Durban I & II, should be told to relocate its UNRWA and other operations to states from which it can access the Palestinian state.

Under no circumstances should Israel interfere with imports and exports from Palestine even if the Israelis suspect that the shipments contain weapons or other contraband. It is the right of the Palestinian nation to purchase and possess weapons, and deploy them as they chose and to accept responsibility for the consequences. It is essential that the Palestinian nation learns to take responsibility for itself and its citizens. So long as there is interference in the running of their society they will never develop as a nation state.

Politically there should be no problem with the approach; it is merely compliance with 242. Of course there will be complaints, and the Israeli spokespersons should simply reply that Israel is complying with UNSCR242 and international law. The same spokespersons should also state endlessly that Israel accepts and recognises the Palestinian state and the right of self-determination for the Palestinian people, and if the Palestinian people chose not to seek peaceful co-existence with Israel and normalised inter-state relations that is their prerogative.

I once described President Abbas as being like an old man caught between opposing flows of traffic, endlessly dithering. In the last few years Israeli politicians appear to have emulated him. Regardless of who eventually forms the next government, decisiveness and realism is needed.

Decisiveness to take determined action in the long term interests of Israel.

Realism to accept that the occupation cannot continue, the concept of Greater Israel is a non-starter and so long as Israel continues any element of the occupation is like a cancer in the nation state.

Not one molecule of West Bank or Gazan dust is worth the life of another Israeli or the soul of the Jewish nation. Obsession with some rocks or the grave of a long dead prophet borders on idolatry. Hebron has become today’s Golden Calf.

You said all there is to say, and now it’s time to simply walk away.*
*(Inspired by lyric of the song “Walk Away” by Cast

Rod Davies, Tuesday, February 24th

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