“The historical denial about the right of Jewish people to have their own homeland” and the Palestinian “refusal to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state, that is a critical issue that needs to be addressed.” – Democratic California Congressman Alan Lowenthal
This week the United Nations Security Council debated the causes of the current violence in Israel.
It wasn’t much of a debate.
The ambassadors were in perfect agreement about who caused the violence, and were sure of the remedy. Facts were chosen, and context was conveniently ignored.
That evening I was asked to speak to young Jewish professionals in New York City about the current situation. During the Q&A and afterwards, one question was repeatedly asked: How do we respond to people who disproportionately blame Israel? How do we interact with people especially on the Internet who barely acknowledge the unprovoked Palestinian attacks, or show any discomfort with the blatant Jew hatred pervasive on the Internet? The UN ambassadors were unanimous in agreement that the source of the violence was the settlements, and Israel’s change in the status quo on the Temple Mount. They agreed that it is the Palestinians who need protection from Israelis. The obvious fact that if Palestinian attacks ended, the violence would cease is never mentioned. Israel’s legitimate security requirements, and its rejected offers of land for peace were ignored, as they do not fit the anti-Israel narrative of the United Nations.
As a reminder, having a standard for Israel that is not expected of any other nation is considered anti-Semitism according to the US State Department’s definition.
Further confusing the situation were the American mixed messages on the violence, which seemed absolutely schizophrenic. Inauspiciously, it began with Secretary of State John Kerry’s moral equivalence, saying, “I am not going to point fingers from afar... this is a revolving cycle,” and blaming the settlements for the violence.
He then backtracked a bit, defending Israel’s right to self-defense and attributing some blame to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for incitement.
Processing these contradictory messages for many pro-Israel advocates is difficult enough, especially when the anti-Israel crowd cherry-picks statements to put Israel in the worst possible light. The ad hominem attacks from peers on the Internet who repeat anti-Israel talking points with certainty frustrate and discourage young adults who want to defend Israel.
If you are alone with someone with a closed mind, just keep walking. But with social media, your response to a person who is prejudiced against Israel is monitored and followed by other people whose opinions may not be completely formed, or who are impressionable.
In the 21st century, the goal of pro-Israel advocates is to educate. Ignorance is a major enemy in the war of words against those who want to delegitimize Israel, and concoct rationales for violence and ostracism against Jews everywhere.
Respond and respectfully correct inaccuracies on Facebook and twitter from those who slander Israel. During times of quiet in the conflict, return to basic education to lay the groundwork to combat the next round of falsehoods that will inevitably be hurled at Israel.
Share videos and photos from social media, like the one that shows Palestinians teaching the best ways to insert a knife into a Jew.
When you are charged with stereotyping all Palestinians, share with them polls revealing that 93 percent of Palestinians hold anti-Jewish beliefs. Offer polls of Palestinians by Palestinians, like the one from the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion in June 2015 showing 81% of West Bank Palestinian Arabs say all of historic Palestine “is Palestinian land and Jews have no rights to the land.”
This conflict will not move in a positive and less violent direction until an American administration throws out the failed playbooks for resolving the conflict. The conflict will have a chance for resolution when Palestinian dreams of slaughter and expulsion of Jews are confronted and rejected, not justified by cultural relativism.
A future administration must renounce the disingenuous moral equivalence meant to placate Muslim and Arab states. This has been a failed strategy, playing into the hands of Arab dictators, who have used Israel as the scapegoat to cover up their own incompetence and corruption.
In February 2015 I wrote an article, “ Does Mahmoud Abbas want his legacy to be the third intifada?’ Six months later, we seem on the precipice of another more dangerous uprising that emanates not only from Palestinians of the West Bank, but potentially from Palestinian Arabs with Israeli citizenship.
Unless future American administrations can readjust their tired and failed diplomatic strategies, and realize that this conflict is about 1948 and Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State, not 1967 when Israel in a defensive war pushed back its assailants from being a stone’s throw from its major population centers and conquered the West Bank, Israel and the Palestinians Arabs will continue to pay the price.
America must finally challenge the Muslim worldview that Judaism is not a nationality if progress is ever to be made in resolving the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.
The author is the director of MEPIN™ (Middle East Political and Information Network™), and a regular contributor to The Jerusalem Post. MEPIN™ is a Middle East research analysis read by members of Congress, their foreign policy advisers, members of the Knesset, journalists and organizational leaders.
He regularly briefs members of Congress on issues related to the Middle East.