National Security & Defense

What Israel Does Wrong

At the Western Wall in Jerusalem. (Felix Bensman/Dreamstime)
Israel needs to make the case for its own survival. Here’s how.

Since last September, Israel has been suffering a wave of terrorist attacks that the press is calling the “Knife Intifada.” Palestinian terrorists have been murdering Israelis (and one teenage American tourist), mostly with knives, at a higher-than-normal rate — and the international consensus is that the murdered Israelis had it coming. Why? Because Israel is terrible at making its own case. Israel’s PR experts are as incompetent as its army is effective. Israel has allowed itself to become the bad guy in its daily struggle for survival.

Israel is losing the argument for its own existence.

Ezra Schwartz — the murdered American teenager — was shot to death while his car sat in traffic. He was from Massachusetts, and the New England Patriots wanted to memorialize him before a game, a week after every team in the NFL had memorialized the victims of the attacks in Paris. Evidently, the league’s front office had to approve the in memoriam statement, and someone decided the Patriots could say only that Ezra had been “gunned down nearly 5,500 miles from home, while studying abroad” — because saying he had been killed by a Palestinian terrorist in Israel would have been too controversial. It’s safe to say that if supporting Israel has become controversial among American football fans, something has gone very wrong.

RELATED: The Media’s Shameful, Shameless Bias against Israel

The fact is, the case for Israel is simple. It could easily be made in a 90-second commercial, which Israel should be paying to air all over the civilized world.

The 90-second ad should start with a question: “Why do you hate Israel?”

“Because of the occupation of Palestinian Territories?”

“But in 2008,” it should say, “Israel offered Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas a deal in which a Palestinian State would be formed in the Gaza Strip and 93.7 percent of the West Bank. The missing 6.3 percent would be replaced by land swaps from Israel. Abbas turned the deal down, telling a reporter, ‘I did not agree. I rejected it out of hand.’

#share#“Do you hate Israel because of the blockade of the Gaza Strip?

“In 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip in hopes of restarting the peace process. Hamas took control of Gaza, and vowed to destroy Israel by any means necessary. Israel and Egypt responded by blockading Gaza. Hamas terrorism is not a result of the blockade; the blockade is the result of the terrorism. Israel will end the blockade the day Hamas renounces violence.

“And the blockade applies only to weapons. A thousand truckloads of goods and supplies pass from Israel into Gaza every day. (Why is the Knife Intifada the ‘knife’ intifada and not the ‘bomb’ or ‘bullet’ or ‘rocket’ intifada? Because the blockade is working.)

RELATED: Israel, Fearful but Undaunted

“Do you hate Israel because of Israel’s targeting of Palestinian civilians during the Gaza war?

“The accusation that Israel targeted civilians in Gaza comes from a report by U.N. investigator Richard Goldstone in 2009. In 2011, Goldstone retracted his report, saying, ‘If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document. . . . [Further investigations] indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted.’

#related#“Do you hate Israel because of Jewish settlements in the West Bank?

“The settlements are built either on unowned and uninhabited land or on private land legally purchased from Palestinians. Jewish settlements on land illegally taken from Palestinians are regularly destroyed by the Israeli government. Furthermore: Why should a future Palestinian State be free of Jews? Should the Jewish State be free of Muslims? Should Syria be free of Christians? Should France or England or the United States ban Muslim immigration?

“Do you hate Israel because it’s a product of white colonization of Arab land?

“Jews are indigenous to the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. That’s why Jesus wasn’t Polish. Palestinians are Arabs, who are indigenous to the Arabian peninsula. Arabs didn’t arrive in Palestine until the seventh century a.d.

That’s it. That’s all Israel has to say to explain why it isn’t the bad guy. Why hasn’t Israel said this already? God only knows.

Josh GelernterJosh Gelernter is a former columnist for NRO, and a frequent contributor to The Weekly Standard.

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