Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Israel, Ignore at Own Risk: Melanie Phillips on How and Why Israel Must Win the Abdicated War for Public Opinion

In that searingly brilliant and courageous way of hers, Melanie Phillips, the renowned British columnist, broadcaster, and author of Londonistan and other trenchant analyses of the malaise and the challenges that the West faces today, gave an incisive and insightful address to the Ariel Conference on Law and Mass Media on 30 December.

Entitled “The Challenge of Public Diplomacy vis-à-vis the Delegitimisation of Israel”, it identifies the “war of the mind being waged on a battleground [Israel] never even acknowledged it was on” – a war whose protagonists reach “across the intelligentsia and political class, spreading well beyond the normal suspects on the left into the mainstream middle-classes” as “nothing short of a multi-layered civilisational crisis”.

For example,
“In Britain, the universities, the established church, the theatrical and publishing worlds, the voluntary sector, significant elements within the Foreign Office, members of Parliament across the political spectrum, as well as the media have overwhelmingly signed up to the demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel. ...
The west is experiencing a total inversion of truth evidence and reason. A society’s thinking class has overwhelmingly subscribed to an immoral, patently false and in many cases demonstrably absurd account of the Middle East, past and present, which it has uncritically absorbed and assumes to be true.”
Ms Phillips says, futher:
“Because of the dominant belief in multiculturalism, victim culture and minority rights, self-designated victim groups – those without power – can never do wrong while majority groups can never do right. And Jews are not considered a minority because – in the hateful discourse of today – Jews are held to be all-powerful as they ‘control’ the media, Wall Street and America.
So the Muslim world cannot be held responsible for blowing people up as they are the third world victims of the west; so any atrocities they commit must be the fault of their victims; and so the US had it coming to it on 9/11. And in similar fashion, Israel can never be the victim of the Arab world; the murder of Israelis by the Arab world must be Israel’s own fault."
And she warns:
"It cannot be stressed enough that the reason why those promoting genocidal bigotry are winning is that the western world has not sought to defeat them but instead has appeased them from the very start.
In Palestine under the British Mandate, when the Arabs used terrorist violence to frustrate the will of the League of Nations in restoring the Jewish home, Britain rewarded them by offering them part of the Jews’ legal and moral entitlement. When the Arabs started hijacking planes, the west’s response was to invite them to the UN to plead their cause.
And despite the Arabs’ repeated refused to accept the two state solution, offered in the 1930s, in 2000 and under Ehud Olmert and their current refusal to negotiate at all, America punishes Israel for not making enough concessions to them – while giving a free pass to those who still refuse to accept Israel’s right to exist.
It is astonishing that the west expects Israel to make any concessions to such attackers at all. After all, forcing a country which has endured more than six decades of existential siege to give any ground to its attackers amounts to forcing such a victim to surrender. This is expected by the civilised world of no other country."

While Ms Phillips does not discount the notion that giving back some land in the disputed territories might be in Israel's interests, she goes on to observe:
"But Israel and its defenders themselves have been crippled or cowed by the false analysis of the enemy’s narrative.
Even many of Israel’s friends spout the demonstrably absurd proposition that a Palestine state would solve the problem, that the impediment to a Palestine state is the ‘settlers’, but that Israel is not taking action to remove the ‘settlers’ – and so therefore they too inescapably agree that Israel is the problem.
Israel and its defenders have been fighting on the wrong battleground: the one that has been chosen by its enemies. The Arabs brilliantly reconfigured the Arab war of extermination against Israel as the oppression by Israel of the Palestinians.
That has transformed Israel from victim to aggressor – the reversal of reality which lies at the very heart of the western obsession with the ‘settlements’ and the territories.
Yet since Oslo, Israel has meekly gone along with this mad pressure. It has never said it is totally unconscionable. It has never put the all-important argument from justice on its own account. So it has allowed its enemies to appropriate this argument mendaciously as their own. But if Israel doesn’t make the case properly on its own behalf, how can anyone else do so?
To which Israel says realpolitik dictates it has to go along with the diplomatic game being played. But diplomatic realpolitik is what brought us all to this position – the brink of a terrible war with Iran which is treated by America with kid gloves while Israel is put under the cosh.
For the west to suck up to its enemies while bashing its friends like this is the diplomatic version of auto-immune disease. And eventually this disease will kill it.
What Israel has failed to recognise is that the battleground on which it is being forced to fight is not just military. It is also a battleground of the mind, and the strategy being used against it – and to which it needs to respond in kind – is psychological warfare.
The Arab and Muslim world long ago realised if it set the narrative in its own image, it would recruit millions of fanatics to its cause and also confuse and demoralise its victims. In this it has wildly succeeded.
There is therefore an overwhelming need for Israel to alter its strategy. Indeed, it needs to have a strategy.
And this brings us to perhaps the most difficult challenge in all of this – the fact that the role played by the Israel government is of critical importance. Unless it adopts the correct strategy, its defenders will remain crippled."
Ms Phillips prescribes the following, of which Israel and its supporters must take heed:
"So Israel and its defenders should be demanding of the world why it expects Israel alone to make compromises with people who have tried for nine decades to wipe out the Jewish presence in the land and are still firing rockets at it.
They should expose the pretence of Britain or European countries which claim to have Israel’s security needs at heart but forbid it from using military means to defend itself; and which – as did the British Government recently - turn Israeli self-defence against the jihadi lynch-mob on board the Turkish terror ship Mavi Marmara into an attack to be condemned, or demand the opening of the border with Gaza which would allow in arms to kill more Israelis.
Israel and its defenders should be asking why so-called friends in the west want a Palestine state, since once the IDF depart the disputed territories they will become in short order yet another Iranian-backed Islamic terrorist entity which will pose a further threat not just to Israel but to the west.
They should be asking why the EU is continuing to fund the genocidal incitement against Jews promoted by the Palestine Authority.
They should be asking so-called ‘progressives’ – including Jewish ‘progressives’ – why they support the racist ethnic cleansing of every Jew from a future state of Palestine.
They should be asking them why they are not marching against Hamas on account of its tyrannical oppression of Palestinians in Gaza. Why they are ignoring Arab and Muslim persecution of women and homosexuals.
Why they are not mounting a boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Mahmoud Abbas’s PA and Hamas, on account of Abbas’s Holocaust denial and the clear evidence of continuation of Nazi Jew-hatred in a direct line of descent from predecessors who were Hitler’s supporters in Palestine.
As for western Israel-bashers, Israel and its defenders should accuse them not of Jew-hating motives that cannot be proved but of absurdities and contradictions and untruths they cannot deny. They should ridicule them, humiliate them, destroy their reputations; boycott them, not invite them to social gatherings, show them disapproval and contempt. Treat them as pariahs. Turn their own weapons against them.
They should be telling the Jews ‘own story of refugees and ethnic cleansing – the 800,000 Jews driven out of Arab lands after 1948, and who now make up more than half of Israel’s population. It’s good to see that at last Israel is beginning to bring this to the world’s attention. In Britain virtually no-one knows about it. At a stroke it takes the ground from under the feet of those demanding the ‘right of return’ for Arabs.
They should be holding Arab and Islamic democracy weeks on campus, to expose the oppression and persecution within that world against women, homosexuals and others.
They should be singling out the Anglican church and the revival of ancient theological Jew-hatred being spread within the Anglican world by the Palestinian Christians of the Sabeel centre.
At the same time, they should be focusing on their true friends within the Christian world, not just in America but also in Africa and Asia where there is an enormous reservoir of goodwill towards Israel which could be mobilised into a global fighting force.
They should be campaigning against the UN and the hijacking of international law and human rights by anti-western, anti-Jewish and anti-Christian ideologues.
They should be confronting head-on the false claim that bigotry is confined to the right. They should be pointing the finger at the ‘progressive’ left to show how it is actually supporting the mortal enemies not just of Israel but the west.
And they should be making this case to Israelis themselves, to counter the delegitimisation and ignorance in Israeli universities and to educate the Israeli young in their own national history.
In other words, both Israel and diaspora Jews have to stop playing defence and go onto the offence. Israel has nothing to be defensive about or for which it needs to apologise. It is the enemies of Israel who are promoting injustice and the denial of international law and human rights. Playing defence intrinsically cedes ground to the enemy.
It is time for Israel and its defenders to stop conniving with that smokescreen for the war of annihilation being waged against Israel – the claim that the Middle East impasse would be solved by establishing a state of Palestine to which the settlements, and thus by extension Israel, are the obstacle. It is time for them to stop agreeing that the Jews are to blame for their own predicament.
Israel and its defenders need to make the argument from justice and reclaim that moral high ground from the enemies of Israel and the west, both at home – including within Israel – and abroad. It is those enemies who deny truth, justice and human rights. It is those enemies who should be in the dock. It is time to take the gloves off and put them there.
In short, Israel and its defenders must understand that the tsunami of bigotry against Israel sweeping the west is intimately related to Israel’s seriously flawed diplomatic strategy.
For years, Israel has been playing a defensive diplomatic game, which suggests inescapably that it has a case to answer. Such diplomatic cringing has badly undermined it and hugely strengthened its enemies, who are taking advantage of such weakness over and over again.
It’s time for Israel to realise that military campaigns against its enemies are not enough. It has to call time on its false friends too, and start fighting both these and its more obvious enemies on the battleground of the mind.”
Words of wisdom from a great lady! Read the entire address here:

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