Friday, January 30, 2015

Arab Palestinian-Israeli Conflict – Over a century of ongoing dispute - YJ Draiman

Arab Palestinian-Israeli Conflict – Over a century of ongoing dispute

Arab Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
The Israeli–Arab/Palestinian conflict is an ongoing dispute between the State of Israel and the Arab/Palestinians and is part of the wider Arab–Israeli conflict. At present, major polls show the vast majority of Israelis and Arab/Palestinians do not agree a two-state solution is the best way to end the conflict. Most Arab/Palestinians falsely view the Judea and Samaria aka West Bank and Gaza Strip as their future state, and most Israelis disagree. The Arabs received about 78% of Jewish allocated land by International law and treaties after WWI and the new Arab State was set-up on all the land east of the Jordan River, now called Jordan. Today, over 75% of the population of Jordan is Arab/Palestinians and most Arabs in Judea and Samaria aka West Bank carry Jordanian passports. Therefore, Jordan is the Arab/Palestinian state that was set-up illegally on Jewish territory in violation of international laws and treaties.
Since the six day war of June 1967; the negotiating parties to resolve the conflict, have been the Israeli government and the Arab/Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
The official negotiations were originally mediated by an international contingent known as the Quartet on the Middle East (the Quartet) represented by a special envoy that consists of the United StatesRussia, the European Union, and the United Nations. The Arab League (who recommended the expulsion of the Jews from Arab countries and the confiscation of all their assets), another important actor, has proposed an alternative peace plan. Egypt, a founding member of the Arab League, has historically been a key participant. The United States has been an ardent supporter of Israel often taking positions against UN Resolutions (which are only a recommendation and non-binding until accepted by all the parties) condemning the actions of Israel. But rarely if ever is the UN condemning terror and violence by the Arabs against Israel, or any other Arab violations against Israel.
Since 2006, the Arab/Palestinian side has been fractured by conflict between the two major factions: Fattah, the largest party, and Hamas. As a result, the territory controlled by the Arab/Palestinian National Authority (the Palestinian interim authority) is split between Fattah in Judea and Samaria aka West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza strip, which also historically is Jewish land.
Hamas is recognized by the world at large as a terrorist organization and if the world nations reverse that decision. Hamas will still be recognized as a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States; although Hamas deceptively and by force and intimidation won the Arab/Palestinian 2006 elections in Gaza; therefore, Hamas has not been allowed to participate in official negotiations. The Arab/Palestinians are the occupiers; these people are living in refugee camps with sufficient food, potable water, electricity, adequate medical care, and work.
New Peace negotiations between the Arabs and Israelis began at AnnapolisMarylandUnited States, in November 2007. No final solution occurred to date; but Arab terror and violence continues unabated, which is an obstacle to peace negotiations and coexistence. The parties agree there are six 'final status' issues which need to be resolved: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security, borders and water. Thus; when the Arab/Palestinians would relocate to Jordan, (which was set-up as the new Arab State on Jewish territory under international law and treaties), then most disputes would be resolved. (Israel from a legal authority under international law; has the right to demand the return of its territory in Jordan).

Causes of the Arab/Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict stems from competing Jewish and Arab claims to the land in Palestine (the Zionist liberation and occupation of its Jewish Palestinian land), and the conflicting promises by the British in the forms of the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence (which he signed an affidavit, that he never promised Palestine to the Arabs) and the Balfour Declaration of 1917 confirming that all of Palestine as the historical ancestral land of the Jewish people and the promise to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in all of Palestine (this was made into international law and treaties; after WWI and confirmed by the 1920 treaty of Sevres and Lausanne, including the 1919 Faisal Weitzman Agreement acknowledging that all of Palestine as the Jewish National Home. Moreover; the past century; saw countless outbreaks of violence between Jewish and Arab residents in the region of Jewish Palestine.
The roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict can be traced to the late 19th century, which saw a rise in national movements, including Zionism and Arab nationalism in EgyptSyriaIraq and others. Zionism, the Jewish national movement, was established as a political movement in 1897, largely as a response to Russian and European anti-Semitism.

Zionism sought the re-establishment of the Jewish Nation-State in all of Palestine so that they might find sanctuary and self-determination there. Palestine aka the land of Israel is the Jewish historical ancestral land, which was never forsaken or abandoned.

The Jewish people ever since the destruction of the second Jewish Temple on Temple Mount in Jerusalem; have prayed for their return to Jerusalem, celebrated holidays in the memory of Jerusalem, observed fast days in its memory and the Jewish people mourn the destruction of the Jewish Temple on a daily basis including at Jewish marriage ceremony, by breaking a glass and recited during the three daily prayers; aspiring and pleading to the almighty for the Jewish people to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Jewish Temple on Temple Mount; where the previous two Jewish Temples stood.

The World Zionist Organization and the Jewish National Fund encouraged and promoted immigration and funded the purchase of land under Ottoman rule and while the British Mandate control (as trustee for the Jewish people) in the region of Jewish Palestine.

In the 1870’s, a wave of anti-Semitism spurred a new migration from central Europe, and in 1898, Theodore Hertzel organized a Zionist international movement to establish in Palestine the reconstituted home for the Jewish People secured by public law. Thousands of Jewish Palestinians were already living in Palestine as their descendants had done so for over 35 centuries.

In 1917, Arthur James Balfour, as Foreign Secretary, authored the Balfour Declaration, which supported the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in all of Palestine. The Balfour Declaration pledged England’s support of Zionist goals in order to win the support of the international community, especially American Jews support to the Allies during World War I. Thus, many Jews joined; The British and Allied armies to fight the Germans and the Ottoman Empire.
In 1916, one year prior to the 1917 Balfour Declaration, a secret agreement was made between the British War Cabinet and Zionist leaders promising the latter a “national home” in Palestine in consideration of their efforts to bring the United States into World War I on the side of Great Britain.
Following World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman EmpirePalestine came under the control of theUnited Kingdom through the Sykes-Picot Agreement and a League of Nations mandate for Palestine. During the Palestine mandatory period, the British were the trustee for the Jewish people with duty and obligation to promote Jewish immigration, help develop the country and establish the sovereign government of Israel.
The British intentionally violated the terms of the Mandate and allocated Jewish land to the Arabs and reallocated about 78% of Jewish territory under international law and treaties, east of the Jordan River as the new State of Transjordan now known as Jordan.
The British submitted the Balfour Declaration of 1917 to the Jewish people. The Paris Peace Conference in 1919-20 and subsequent Supreme Allied Powers International conferences made Palestine a British mandate, with the British as trustee for the Jewish people to create a Jewish sovereign state. The League of Nationsadopted and approved the international treaties, and more Jews entered Palestine. The Arab/Palestinians resented this “immigration” into their occupied territory. Tensions between Arab and Jewish groups in the region erupted into physical violence—That started the Arab riots and violence against the Jews: 1920 Palestine riots, the 1921 Palestine riots, the 1929 Arab Hebron massacre of the Jews and the 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine; that began the forced expulsion of many Jews from Jerusalem and their property taken over by the Arabs.
The British tried to maintain a precarious peace, but Hitler’s anti-Semitic policy increased the influx of Jews into Palestine and caused further Arab resentment. The Jewish population rose to nearly half a million in 1935. The Arab rebellion started in 1936 and continued to expand until a major British Military effort suppressed it two years later; destroying and leveling whole streets of Arab homes, meanwhile many Jews were injured and killed, and property destroyed.

The British illegally proposed a failed partition plan, while the British White Paper of 1939 illegally established a quota for Jewish immigration set by the British in the short-term; (which caused the deaths of millions of Jews trying to escape Nazi extermination), and by the Arab population in the long-term. Both Arab terrorists and Jewish groups directed violence against the British in order to expel the British mandatory government from Palestine, which was held in contempt by both sides.
In 1942, Zionist leaders met in New York’s Biltmore Hotel to devise the Biltmore Program which called for unlimited immigration of Jews to Palestine which, after the war, would become a sovereign Jewish commonwealth state.

In May 1945, after the German surrender, the Jewish Agency wrote Prime Minister Churchill demanding the full and immediate implementation of the Biltmore resolution, the cancellation of the White Paper, the establishment of Palestine as a Jewish state, Jewish immigration to be an Agency responsibility, and reparation to be made by Germany in kind beginning with all German property in Palestine. The Arab/Palestinians, who are the occupiers of Jewish land, have no say in any of this.

The British stalled, and the Haganah (the Jewish voluntary militia organized in local units primarily for local defense) engaged in extensive smuggling of Jewish Holocaust survivors. In October 1945, Haganah’s clandestine radio station, Kol Israel, declared the beginning of “The Jewish Resistance Movement”. OnOctober 31, 1945 the Jews in Palestine engaged in an extensive “Jewish defensive” campaign and attacked three small British naval craft, wrecked British railway lines, and attacked a British railway station and a British oil refinery. In June 1946, Jewish defense forces executed more sabotage in Palestine against the oppressive British authorities who violated the terms of the Mandate with impunity. The Jewish defense group inPalestine destroyed twenty-two RAF planes at one airfield. 
The Haganah agreed to an Irgun (Jewish defense group offshoot of Haganah) attack on British headquarters in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. The bombings killed ninety-one British, Arab, and Jewish people and wounded forty-five. The Jewish defense forces had notified the King David Hotel of the impending explosion, but the British chose to ignore it, to the detriment of all those casualties.
The British retaliated by raiding the Irgun headquarters in Tel Aviv. By the end of 1946 the Irgun-Stern groups in protecting and defending the unarmed terrorized Jewish people had killed 373 persons. The Haganah and the Jewish defense forces continued to operate with at least tacit support of a large part of the Jewish citizenry, who were consistently terrorized by the Arabs and harassed by the British.

Attack on Acre Prison, 4th May 1947
Disguised as British troops and with apparently the correct documents such as movement orders and identity papers, the Irgun blasted their way in. Jewish inmates obviously knew ahead of time as they then collaborated in the attack and escape.
To add to the confusion and panic, grenades were lobbed into the part of the prison which held those mentally unfit. A number of imprisoned Irgun terrorists and more than 100 Arabs escaped but there were troops in the vicinity and fighting resulted.
Most of the escapees got away but 8 Jews were killed and 13 were captured, many of them wounded. One of the attackers was Eitan Livni, a Pole, the father of Tzipi Livni an Israeli politician.

This violence and the heavy cost of World War II led Britain to abandon its promise and duty to re-establish the sovereignty of the Jewish people in Palestine and it turned the issue of Jewish Palestine which was reconstituted in 1920 by international law and treaty, over to the United Nations.
In 1947, the U.N. in violation of international laws and treaties and against its charter it recommended and approved the meaningless partition of the British Mandate of Palestine as trustee for the Jewish people, into two states: one Jewish and one Arab. The Jewish leadership accepted the plan, but Palestinian Arab leaders, supported by the Arab League, rejected the plan outright. The rejection by the Arabs made the UN recommendation of partition meaningless. Thus, a major conflict broke out, when the local Arabs attacked the local Jews. Israel who was fighting for survival gained the upper hand after some losses in this inter-communal fighting, and on May 14, 1948; The Jewish people declared its sovereign independence.
Five Arab League countries (EgyptLebanonSyriaTransjordan and Iraq and other Arab militia), then invadedPalestine, starting the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The war eventually resulted in an Israeli victory after substantial losses, with Israel capturing additional territory beyond the UN illegal partition borders, but within the terms of international law and treaties of post WWI. After the armistice agreements went into affect. Jerusalem was left as a divided city. The territory Israel did not re-capture was taken over by EgyptLebanonSyria, andTransjordan (now Jordan). The war also resulted in the 1948 Palestinian exodus, which was caused at the urging of the 5 invading Arab armies, known to Palestinians as Al-Naqba.

For decades after 1948 and the Arab armies failed invasion of Palestine aka Israel. Arab governments had refused to recognize Israel and in 1964 the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded with the central tenet that Palestine, with its original Mandate borders, (that means it includes the land east of theJordan River which is now Jordan) is the indivisible homeland of the Arab Palestinian people. This was the doctrine the Soviets had programmed to the PLO.  In turn, Israel refused to recognize the PLO as a negotiating partner.

In the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel captured the whole Sinai up to the Suez Canal and liberated Judea and Samaria aka West Bank from Jordan, Golan from Syria, the Gaza Strip from Egypt, and East Jerusalem including the Old City and its holy sites, which Israel annexed and reunited with the Western neighborhoods of Jerusalem. The status of the city as Israel's capital and the liberation occupation of Judea and Samaria akaWest Bank and Gaza Strip (which is Israel’s territory under international law, agreements and treaties) created more conflict between the Arabs and Israelis.

In 1970, the PLO tried to take over Jordan and was expelled from Jordan, in what was known as the Black September. Large numbers of Arab/Palestinians moved into Lebanon after the Black September, joining the thousands Arabs already in Lebanon. In October 1973; a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syrialaunched the Yom Kippur War against Israel. The Egyptians and Syrians advanced during the first 24–48 hours, after which momentum began to swing in Israel's favor. The Jewish state called in its reserves, and after fighting numerous hard and bloody battles on two fronts; Israeli defense forces reached 30 miles from Cairoin the Egyptian front and 20 miles from Damascus in the Syrian front.
Eventually a cease-fire took effect that ended the war. This war with Israel the victor; paved the way for the Camp David Accords in 1978, which was suppose to set a precedent for future peace negotiations. In Israel, defending itself is a matter of survival. It is Israel must fight to defend itself and must win at all costs or be annihilated, for Israel and its people, there is no other option.

Status of Israel’s liberated occupied territories
Occupied Jewish Palestinian Territories is the term used by the UN to refer to the Judea and Samaria aka West Bank, Golan and Gaza Strip— territories which Israel conquered and liberated in a defensive war, it was liberated from Egypt, Syria and Jordan in the June 1967 Six-Day War—in the conflict. The Israeli government uses the term “Disputed Territories”, to indicate its position that most territories cannot be called occupied and are considered, liberated Jewish territory. Thus, Israel has a right to these territories under post WWI international law and treaties, as no nation had clear rights to them except Israel under international law, and there was no new operative diplomatic arrangement when Israel liberated and re-acquired them in June 1967.

Israeli communities-settlements in 1920 Jewish allocated territory
Israel is falsely accused: The Israeli communities-settlements in Judea and Samaria aka West Bank and, until 2005, the Gaza Strip has been an obstacle to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
The international media, the international political community (including the US, the UK, and the EU), the International Court of Justice, and international and human rights organizations who have also falsely called the settlements illegal; while ignoring Israel’s rights under international law and treaties. On the Contrary International law and treaties of post WWI specifically allocated all of Palestine as the reconstituted Jewish National Home and the right to reside anywhere in Palestine. This was confirmed by the 1920 treaty of Sevres and Lausanne, including the January 1919 Faisal Weitzman Agreement acknowledging that all of Palestine is the reconstituted Jewish State.
In the years following the Six-Day War, and especially in the 1990’s during the so called peace process, Israel re-established its communities and towns destroyed in 1929 and 1948 and established numerous new communities-settlements in Judea and Samaria aka West Bank.
Most of these communities-settlements of about 690,000 people are in the western parts of Judea and Samaria aka West Bank, while others are deep into Jewish Palestinian territory (which Arabs are permitted to reside and control at the generosity of the government of Israel), overlooking Jewish Palestinian cities, (which Arabs are permitted to reside and control at the generosity of the Israeli government). These communities-settlements have been the site of much inter-communal conflict. These false charges are instigated by the Arabs, who are not satisfied with the over 5 million square miles of territory they received after WWI. Now they also want what is left from the 75,000 square miles of land; allocated to the Jewish people after WWI, under international law and treaties.

The three largest Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—claim Jerusalem in their religious and historical narratives. Israel asserts, and rightly so, that the city of Jerusalem since King David purchased Jerusalem from the Jebusites (to prevent conflict), has always been the capital of the Jewish Nation and cannot be divided; thus, Jerusalem must remain unified within Israel's political control and sovereignty. Arab/Palestinians falsely claim at least the parts of the city which were not controlled by Israel prior to June 1967 war. As of 2009, there are 695,000 Jews mostly living in all of Jerusalem, and there are 232,000 Muslims mostly living in East Jerusalem and areas nearby. There are also Christians and others, totaling about 70,000 people.

Arab-Palestinian refugees and a million Jewish refugees from Arab Countries
There are about 400,000 Arab/Palestinians and their descendants who were urged to flee from Israel by the Arab League following its creation (about 300,000 Arabs stayed and benefited greatly from Israel’s democracy; some became judges and some became members of the Israeli Parliament; something which is not permitted to Jews in any Arab-Muslim country). Arab-Palestinian refugees were asked to leave their homes by the 5 invading Arab armies while they advanced to destroy the new Sovereign Nation of Israel. Thus, Israel’s new defense forces; which included former personnel from the Haganah, Lehi, and Irgun. These unified Jewish forces defeated the Arab armies, and an armistice was declared. Armistice agreements were executed and demarcation lines were drawn as cease fire line, not borders.

The Arab Countries terrorized and expelled over a million Jewish families. Many of these families have lived in the Arab countries over 2400 years. This would be a thousand years before Islam was even created. The Arabs also confiscated all the assets of the expelled Jews, including businesses, homes and over 70,000 square miles of land (6 times the size of Israel), valued today in the trillions of dollars. Most of the Jewish families expelled from Arab lands, were resettled in Israel and today comprise over half the population in Israel. The worldwide population increase of the expelled Jewish families from Arab lands and their descendants number today over 8 million.

Arab/Palestinian negotiators have so far insisted that Arab refugees who left of their own volition, and all their descendants, from the 1948 and 1967 wars have a right to return to the places where they lived before 1948 and 1967; that includes those within the 1949 Armistice lines. The Arabs are citing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and UN General Assembly Resolution 194, adopted in 1948, which is only a recommendation and has no validity unless accepted by all parties, which states:
"the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors” (and as the past 68 years has shown that the Arab/Palestinians do not live in peace but commit terror and violence) “should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity”, (that also applies to the million Jewish families, refugees from Arab countries), “should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible."
UN Resolution 3236 "reaffirms also the inalienable right of the Arab/Palestinians and the Jewish people and their families to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return".
This terminology of return applies to the Jews who were forcefully expelled from Palestine, aka The Land of Israel by any past occupying force.
Resolution 242 from the UN affirms the necessity for "achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem". That includes the over million Jewish families-refugees from Arab countries who also had all their assets confiscated, including over 120,000 square km. of land.

Jewish Unity and Disunity, Then and Now by Aryeh Rubin

Jewish Unity and Disunity, Then and Now 

by Aryeh Rubin

Jewish Unity and Disunity, Then and Now by Aryeh Rubin

The following is the text of a lecture delivered by Aryeh Rubin at the conference, Who Abandoned the Jews—And Who Tried to Save Them? A Conference on Religious Zionists and Rescue from the Holocaust, held on May 30, 2010 at Bar Ilan University.
Mr. Rubin’s lecture, “Jewish Unity and Disunity, Then and Now,” focuses on current existential threats to Israel, specifically the multiple military threats and the global campaign of delegitimization. We, the Jewish people, despite our disunity, must collectively wake up, face the reality of our imperiled existence, and take action. We must learn from the example of the Holocaust, in which disunity and a failure on the part of American Jews to protest effectively enough on behalf of European Jewry had devastating consequences. If ever there was a time to transcend our differences, to address the weaknesses in our leadership, and to face and fight the threats bombarding us, it is now. The Israeli government is not equipped to fight delegitimization on its own. It is time to contract out to leading experts to create a massive publicity campaign based on cohesive, consistent messaging that will change hearts and minds, favorably influencing thought leaders globally about Israel, and turn back the rising tide of negative propaganda. The text of the lecture is followed by Mr. Rubin’s bio. Text from the lecture may be reproduced in whole or in part only if taken in context, with proper credit given, and with a link to the pdf of the full text, to be posted on the Targum Shlishi website at Please note that there are slight variations between the written text and the spoken lecture. Comments may be sent to
Jewish Unity and Disunity, Then and Now
Good afternoon. I’d like to begin by thanking Dr. Medoff, Dr. Baumel, and Bar Ilan University for organizing this important conference.
As we know, and as we have heard today from several speakers, the lack of Jewish unity prior to and during the Holocaust had devastating consequences. Today we, the Jewish people, are again facing challenges to our continued existence, and yet we remain hampered from within by our disunity. We are geographically scattered, divided in religious and political ideology, subject to a fractured and ineffective leadership, and so concerned with individual survival that we fail to understand that individual survival is predicated on group survival, which is what all Jews should prioritize. And yet we are not placing a premium on group survival—not as a people, and not as individuals.
The events of sixty-five years ago offer up sobering lessons that are unfortunately strikingly relevant today. And yet, we, the Jewish people, do not seem to be paying attention. The continued existence of the State of Israel is under serious threat.
We need to heed the lessons of the Holocaust, lessons that should be fresh in our collective mind but that we, in our misguided complacency and in staking out our small bits of meaningless territory, have set aside. Perhaps we have, as a people, a skewed sense of continuity because there have been so very many threats to our existence throughout our history. We have survived every other threat, the thinking goes. We will survive this one, too. But today the weapons of annihilation are so very much more deadly—the unthinkable could happen in an instant. At the same time, the poisoning of worldwide public opinion against Israel and, by extension, the Jewish people, through a persistent and infectious propaganda campaign delegitimizing the State of Israel continues to gain significant ground. That it is based on skewed and deliberately misleading fragments of information is beside the point—there is a perception, for example, that Palestinian aggression is justified and in fact imbued with moral value, whereas actions to defend Israel from attack are viewed as unjustified and morally bankrupt. Israel is the only country in the world whose very right to exist is questioned by an increasingly global, persistent, and persuasive campaign. If ever there was a time to transcend our differences, to address the weaknesses in our leadership, and to come together as best we can to face and fight the threats bombarding us, it is now.
During the Holocaust, we did not acquit ourselves well in terms of banding together, of defending each other, or of exercising our collective power to
intervene on behalf of European Jewry, although that is not to diminish the remarkable efforts by individuals and small groups.
Looking back, the Bergson Group’s efforts and those of others—courageous endeavors such as the Kindertransport, the Europa Plan, and the Rabbis’ March on Washington—despite their nobility, in the grand scheme of the catastrophe were mere drops in the bucket. So much more could have been done. American Jews during World War II had power, they had resources. They could have made noise, they could have pushed for bombing the tracks to Auschwitz, they could have rocked the boat. The simple but sad truth is that during the Holocaust, the American Jewish community did not do nearly enough. The way one survived the furnaces of Europe was to be rich enough, smart enough, lucky enough, or a combination of these factors. You were on your own.
The Current Situation The grace period that we the Jewish people had after Auschwitz is over. The playing field has changed. The political decision-makers and the citizens who elected them, whose gestalt was formed in the wake of Treblinka and Dachau, are gone. The children of Esau, whose collective conscious was jogged by the severity of the Shoah, have gotten over it. Anti-Semitism is back in all its regalia. However this time, rather than Christian religious anti-Semitism or Nazi racial anti-Semitism, the strategy is a pseudo-intellectual, self-righteous targeting of the State of Israel as the embodiment of all evil.
Ladies and gentlemen, the barbarians are at the gate. A sober assessment of today's situation, comparing it to events close to two millennia ago, leads me to the argument that we are close to being at the point of the seventeenth of Tammuz. The circling of Jerusalem has begun.
There are nuclear threats on the horizon and missile challenges that could be launched at any moment. From the east, Israel faces an existential threat from Iran. From the north, Israel faces a strategic threat from Syria and from Iran’s proxy, Hezbolla, with its more than 40,000 missiles. From the west, Hamas is rearming and openly declaring its dedication to the destruction of Israel. The Palestinians are not showing any serious signs of a willingness to accept Israel as a Jewish state.
The survival of the Jews as a people is inextricably tied to the survival of Israel. Without Israel, we are in jeopardy, all of us, Jews from Austria to Zimbabwe, from the assimilated to the ultra-Orthodox. Regardless of geographic or ideological distance, regardless of our disaffection and disunity, in this way all Jews are united.
Delegitimization There is another challenge Israel is facing, and that is the pervasive and growing campaign of delegitimization, a demonization of Israel led by the left that questions Israel’s right to exist as an independent Jewish state.
The delegitimization of Israel has its roots and derives its energy from the academic left. It has offshoots in the old media and the new media, driven in part by online social networking. The delegitimization has become increasingly accepted among the intelligentsia of Europe, among both the left and the right. Consider that in March the appalling Israel Apartheid Week saw events held on college and university campuses in more than forty cities throughout the world. Or the ongoing Gaza Activist Sail. Or the singling out of Israel by the Nuclear Non Proliferation Conference a few days ago, or the very public demonstration calling for a boycott of Max Brenner’s chocolate store in Union Square in New York on Friday. We must recognize the influence of the mass media, which has been readily manipulated by the delegitimization campaign and is largely acquiescing with it. In the media’s selective coverage of certain stories and its biased portrayal of Israel, we are witnessing what amounts to an abdication of the media’s role as watchdog, and in this we can discern disturbing parallels to the mass media during the Holocaust, which was essentially silent.
This corrosive questioning of Israel’s right to exist cannot be underestimated—it is a very serious threat. Many, including the Reut Institute, the non-partisan Tel Aviv think tank, are sounding the alarm that the delegitimizers, despite claims that their goal is to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and promote a two-state solution, are actually aiming for the same goal as the Islamist rejectionists—their objective is to weaken Israel politically and economically through their calls for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions, and to ultimately force a one-state solution in which there is a Muslim majority. The delegitimizers are engaged in a full-out campaign, modeled on the fall of supremacist white South Africa, to erode Israel’s
legitimacy by insisting that it is based on segregationist and racist principles. And when delegitimazation reaches a tipping point, it can move very quickly.
I wish that was the end of my list of the challenges facing Israel, but it is not. Perhaps even more potentially devastating is the possibility that Israel’s traditional allies will not stand by when they are most needed. Throughout its existence, Israel could count on the powerful backing and good will of the U.S. and to some extent its Western allies. Under the current administration—and we all hope that we are wrong—that is no longer assured.
Yes, today is not 1939. Today the Jewish people are arguably more powerful than we have been at any time in the past two thousand years. We are powerful because the Jews of the Diaspora have a voice in the U.S. and Europe but mainly we are powerful because we have Israel and its military might.
Disunity Yet, at a time when we should recognize our strength, join our voices, and be up in arms in protest, we are essentially ineffective. Those of us who are alarmed and understand the need for immediate action should also acknowledge that regardless of the countless e-mails and articles we forward to friends, and how many conversations we have, we are not accomplishing much other than making ourselves feel marginally better—it is time to stop speaking only among ourselves.
One would hope that these serious threats to Israel would catalyse a coming together of Jewry worldwide, but that is a quaint and unrealistic notion. The religious and political disagreements continue. Even the once-plausible concept of a common fate is losing credibility. The traditionally steadfast bond between U.S. Jews and Israeli Jews is losing strength, particularly among members of the younger generation. While the distance in miles has not changed, the two communities are drifting ever-further apart. This division has been exacerbated by the current U.S. administration.
The Obama administration’s relationship with Israel, to be polite, is not friendly. The president of the United States and his secretary of state have chosen to pursue a strategy that de-prioritizes Israel on multiple levels in an effort to appease the much larger, oil-rich nations of the Muslim world, despite the ongoing belligerent animus of this group. It is clear that the president has different priorities than the
Jewish people, and that, unlike some of his predecessors in the White House, President Obama does not endorse Israeli exceptionalism.
Only four to six percent of Israelis believe that Obama is a supporter of Israel. Yet, despite his recent performance, American Jews feel very differently about Obama. Seventy-eight percent of the country’s Jews voted for him. While a recent survey tells us that of those voters, one-third regret their decision and feel that Obama is no friend to Israel, two-thirds of the Jews who voted for Obama still support him. Clearly, there is a disconnect between U.S. Jews and Israeli Jews.
What that divide between the politics of American Jews and Israeli Jews means, in the most basic terms, is that the overwhelming majority of American Jews either: 1) believed that Obama would favour Israel and did not understand what their decision could mean for Israel, 2) did not prioritize the well-being of Israel when making their voting decision, or 3) did understand the ramifications but had other priorities when electing their new president. Consequently, there is disagreement between what the Jews of U.S. believe should be done to defend Israel and what Israelis believe should be done.
Israel should act in its own interest, without hesitation, and without being influenced by American Jews or American Jewish leaders, who in their complacency can not fully comprehend the situation in Israel or may, in fact, have different priorities.
Liberalism and American Jews How did this happen, this lack of unity between U.S. and Israeli Jews? It is part of a larger divide, one that includes an alienation from Jewish leaders, a growing gulf between committed and assimilated Jews, and the primacy of the liberal values in much of the American Jewish community. And unfortunately and potentially tragically, it echoes the divide between American Jews and European Jews during the Holocaust.
Much of American Jewry has become somewhat de-Judaicized. In lieu of our traditional belief or value systems, many Jews have adopted what is essentially a theology of universalism and tikkun olam, or social justice. These liberal values are so predominant that rather than being staunchly pro-the Jewish people or pro-Israel, much of American Jewry is pro-humanist. Those who fit this category either
do not understand or do not care that, at a time when the future of the Jews is at stake, if they do not step up to the plate in defense, they will be abdicating their responsibility as Jews. They are, in a sense, victims and products of a flawed system in which we have poor leadership, abysmal Jewish education, assimilation is the norm, and intermarriage is skyrocketing.
The liberal wing of organized Judaism, along with the broader Jewish establishment, long ago eschewed traditional religious beliefs and instead adopted the mantra of tikkun olam. So what we have now is a population that for one hundred years has been distanced from the larger core values of Judaism and can easily assimilate if it so chooses. This situation is not dissimilar in certain ways to the experience of the Jewish people of the Former Soviet Union, who after seventy years of Communism essentially lost their sense of Jewish heritage and history.
During World War II, Jews may have not done enough to save their brethren, but never before today have so many Jewish actions benefited the causes of our enemies. Most of these Jews are not consciously setting out to undermine Israel, but that is in effect what they are accomplishing. Throughout history there have always been a few Jews who opted out, and that is an acceptable reality. What is not acceptable is that today, entire legions of Jews are inadvertently working against the survival of the Jewish people, whether out of ignorance, out of misguided loyalties, or out of a lack of understanding of the global perspective. I believe that we can reverse this trend, or at the very least slow it down, as I will discuss in a moment.
I should make it clear that I, myself, have solid credentials on the left. Like seventy percent of the Israeli population, I supported Oslo. I’ve met with the Palestinian Authority leadership including Arafat, as part of a delegation of the Israel Policy Forum (IPF), an American Jewish group on the left. But after the intifada began, I came to believe that the IPF, and a number of other Jewish organizations on the left, were not protecting Israel as they should, and I withdrew from the organization. I personally believe that we continue the negotiating process until the Palestinians are ready to deal in earnest.
Leadership That American Jews incorporated the religion of liberalism to the exclusion of the
traditional, multifaceted, rich practice of Judaism is a direct consequence of the continuing absence of effective Jewish leadership. Today the decision-makers, the ones on the boards guiding collective Jewish action, are predominantly the moneyed class, most of whom are unschooled in Jewish history and ritual, often unappreciative of the mystique and grandeur of our heritage, and lacking a solid grasp of what is most beneficial for the Jewish people and Israel. As a consequence, they often make ill-considered decisions that lead to poor outcomes.
In the latest Obama flare-up, about two months ago, we did witness some examples of strong and appropriate Jewish leadership when a few individuals notably spoke out on the treatment that Israel and its leaders received. Unfortunately, their response was not the norm. The reaction of the vast majority of our leaders was abysmal—they kept quiet. These same leaders are not speaking out about the global jihad and its implications for the Jews. Perhaps they are silent because, as during World War II, they think it is in the best interests of world Jewry to keep quiet, or perhaps they are silent because their true religion is universalism and humanism and not Judaism, or perhaps they are silent because they simply don’t know what to do. History will treat many of today’s Jewish leaders with scorn, much as we look upon Stephen Wise or some of the ludicrous antics by the rabbis discussed in Rabbi Haskel Lookstein’s lecture today.
Some Solutions Clearly, we need to change the way we choose our leaders. Our leaders should be learned, wise, accomplished, compassionate, ready to speak out and fight for the good of our people and Israel, and whether they are Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, unaffiliated, or secular, they should be Jews who are connected to core Jewish values. I have long advocated for a diverse leadership that includes members of the clergy, the academy, and the creative community. Their wisdom, combined with the acumen of some of the current leaders, should improve the process of the decision-making and lead to better outcomes. Those who donate the big bucks should not be chosen exclusively over the learned and committed Jews among us. It is time to change the rules of the game.
That is what we in America need to do. That is our homework, and it will take some time.
But we have to act now. What can the Jewish people of the Diaspora and the people of the State of Israel do right now to avoid catastrophe? To me one thing is clear. If we continue to do things the way we have done them in the past, and are reactive rather than proactive, we are in deep trouble. Radical Islam and delegitimization present formidable threats. I believe that part of why we are not sounding the alarm is because we are at a loss as to what to do. At the same time, calling for Jewish unity is a pipe dream. It did not happen during the Holocaust and it is not going to happen now unless specific actions are undertaken.
As is clear from the growing momentum around the propaganda of the delegitimization of Israel, we are losing the public relations battle. Make no mistake—propaganda can be used both as weapon of attack, as so many totalitarian regimes including the Nazis have demonstrated time and again, and as a method of defense, which is what Israel must now do.
We must try something that has been attempted piecemeal, privately and institutionally by both Israelis and Americans, with very little success. Israel must establish a world-class propaganda machine like no other country or people has ever attempted before, the goal being to foster a positive perception of Israel based on cohesive, consistent messaging. It is important to note that I am not talking about manipulation and lies, but about positively influencing people with the truth conveyed persuasively.
I and others believe that the Israeli government has not fully grasped how devastating the wave of worldwide negative propaganda is and can yet become, and at the same time, is ill-equipped to respond to it. The American Jewish community is asleep at the wheel as well and too fractured to effectively defend Israel against delegitimization. The development of anti-delegitimization techniques needs to be formulated with the same intensity, forethought, and action that, for example, goes into tactical battle plans, strategic war modeling, or the development of the Merkava tank. Big bucks have to be spent on changing the hearts and minds of the people. And while Jewish unity is an unattainable goal, becoming more unified is not—this campaign should strive to foster old-fashioned Jewish unity, along the lines of the pride that was forged in the aftermath of the Six Day War. This needs to be an all-out campaign.
Israel's current "rebranding" program is handled by the Foreign Ministry, which is not well versed in dealing with the soft power of NGOs and the left. The government can not turn the tide of delegitimization on its own. The Israeli government needs to appoint a propaganda czar, if you will, to supervise a massive campaign that will cost billions of dollars over the next several years, to change the hearts and minds of multiple audiences globally. The campaign must be geared to reach people, rather than reaching out to other governments, as has been the primary approach to date. The tourist ads running in the States saying, “Shalom, Welcome to Israel” are not going to change anyone’s mind.
The campaign should contract out to world leaders in the fields of marketing, public relations, advertising, branding, social networking, old media, new media, and more. We need to harness genus ha Yehudi—the Jewish genius––that has been so successful in so many fields, and apply it to the existential threat. The campaign must incorporate cutting-edge research on the science of influence from social psychology, cognitive psychology, biology, neuroscience, and related fields. These scientists analyze behavioral responses and examine neurological responses with data drawn from sources such as intracranial EEG recordings and MRIs. We need to gain a solid understanding of how the lies told by the delegitimizers have such power, and how to counter those lies with the truth. This is not an outlandish proposal—consider that retail giants and software companies routinely apply these types of technologies with great success. The knowledge exists. We need to synthesize and apply it.
Ultimately, the campaign must appeal to people’s emotions in order to change hearts and minds about Israel. It must have multiple messages for multiple audiences across the world. I would start with the general population of the U.S. and Europe—the people of instant opinion; the creative class globally, the thought leaders who are people of considered opinion and are generally very liberal; Christians on both the right and left; the Arab masses; and the Jewish audience in the U.S. and Europe. It must portray Israel truthfully, to counter the tsunami of misinformation. It must connect with each core audience.
I have no idea if the following ideas are the ones that would be the most effective. Extensive testing and research would determine that. But as food for thought, I would suggest that for the general population, the ultimate objective is to
undemonize Israel; for the creative class, it must not only counter delegitimization, but must clearly demonstrate that the apartheid argument is entirely false and deliberately misleading; for liberal Christian denominations, who are so politically influential, it must forge a solid connection; for Christians on the right, who are in large part staunch supporters of Israel, it is important to reinforce that crucial relationship; for the Arabs, it could emphasize the Koran’s support of the biblical claim that Israel was given to the Jews by God and promote an alternative to jihad; and for the Jewish people, we must forge a connection with our rich heritage, and demonstrate the reality that Israel is a wellspring of positive Jewish values, creativity, and positively channeled energy.
The difficulty of this task should not be underestimated. What this campaign must do is change the course of current events, literally change the course that history teaches us we are moving in. With a massive campaign using the same application of Jewish genius that Israel has demonstrated on the battlefield and in the workplace, we can undo the legacy of inaction that we earned during the Holocaust, and we can change the course of history.
If delegitimization continues, if the military threats to Israel escalate and there is an attack that forces Israel to retaliate, it could have catastrophic results that affect the entire world. We must do all we can to reach out to the world. We must take action because if we save Israel, we save the Jews, and in the process we just may save the world. Should the Israeli government issue a call for suggestions on what to name the counter-delegitimization program, my recommendation would be to call it Operation Light Unto the Nations.
* * *
Aryeh Rubin’s bio
Aryeh Rubin is the founding partner and managing director of The Maot Group, an investment company established in 1991. Previously, he was the publisher of the New York–based KSF Group, a medical publishing company. In 1974, Mr. Rubin visited eleven concentration camps throughout Europe, an experience that helped influence his decision to found and publish Jewish Living magazine in the late 1970s.
Mr. Rubin is also the founder and director of Targum Shlishi, a foundation dedicated to fostering positive change in the Jewish world. Targum Shlishi has undertaken several initiatives related to Holocaust knowledge, awareness, and justice, including: conceiving and funding Operation Last Chance through the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a campaign that provides a cash award for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Nazi war criminals; spearheading a fundraising initiative for Father Patrick Desbois, a Catholic priest who is systematically locating mass graves of Jews massacred in Ukraine and Belarus and uncovering the history that occurred there; and sending out 1500 complimentary copies of David Wyman and Rafael Medoff’s book A Race Against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust to decision-makers in the Jewish world. Targum Shlishi’s recent grants awarded include support for video documentation of an archeological investigation of Sobibor, the concentration camp in Poland that was closed in 1943 after a successful revolt; Voices from the Ashes, a project to translate and publish very early Holocaust testimonies from a previously unexplored archive at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw; and a forthcoming documentary on the history of Nazi hunting by Jonathan Silvers.
In addition, Mr. Rubin is the editor of Jewish Sages of Today: Profiles of Extraordinary People (Devora Publishing and Targum Shlishi, 2009). His opinion pieces have appeared in The Jewish Week, The Jerusalem Report, and Moment Magazine and he has been profiled in articles in several publications, including The New York Times, The Miami Herald, The Daily Business Review, and The Jewish Star Times. His opinion piece “What Did You Do After the War, Dad?” appeared in The Jewish Week and has been downloaded multiple thousands of times. Mr. Rubin received a B.A. from Yeshiva University. He is married, has three daughters, and lives in Florida.

The Challenge to Israel’s Legitimacy - Ambassador Dore Gold Former Permanent Representive from Israel to the United Nations

The Challenge to Israel’s Legitimacy

The Challenge to Israel’s Legitimacy - Ambassador Dore Gold
Former Permanent Representive from Israel to the United Nations,
President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
The Challenge to Israel’s Legitimacy

Looking at recent developments, there is a dangerous global shift occurring with respect to Israel’s international standing, which must be urgently addressed. Over the last decade, former Israeli officers have been threatened with arrest for alleged war crimes if they visit certain European countries. From Norway to the UK, there is increasing talk of boycotts against Israeli universities. There is more talk about trade sanctions, as well. European media outlets from France-2 to the BBC spread complete fabrications about Israeli behavior, like the famous case of the 2001 killing of the boy Muhammad al-Dura, that often come from politicized reporters and by agenda-driven non-governmental organizations. The imbalanced conclusions adopted in the report by Justice Richard Goldstone for the UN Human Rights Council
may have been discredited in Israel, but it only reinforced many of these negative trends in Europe and elsewhere.
The cumulative impact of these developments is the creation of an increasingly hostile environment for Israel, as every negative report about Israeli policy is accepted at face value. The tremendous risks for peace that Israel itself undertook in the last seventeen years – from implementing the 1993 Oslo Agreements with the Palestinians to withdrawing from the Gaza Strip in 2005 – are completely ignored.
In this milieu, Israeli diplomats find themselves accosted in European universities and even attacked by mobs, as was the case in Manchester this year. In political terms, members of European parliaments from the UK and Ireland are preparing to discuss suspending the EU-Israel Association Agreement, signed in 1995. Already, the planned upgrading of the agreement was suspended in December 2008. As a consequence, in many Western intellectual circles there is more talk today
questioning the very legitimacy of the Jewish state, as well as its fundamental rights.

The Irony of the Legitimacy Struggle
The assault on Israel’s legitimacy is ironic. Israel is a unique country in the world community by virtue of the fact that it is the only member state of the United Nations whose right to exist was recognized by both the League of Nations and the UN itself.
It is a country with deep national roots and a more than two-thousand-year-old history. Looking back to the period after the First World War when the victorious Allied powers formally recognized the rights of the Jewish people to reconstitute their national homeland, the European powers did not create that right but rather acknowledged what they viewed as a pre-existing right. For Western civilization, it was axiomatic that the Jewish people had a legitimate right to their ancient homeland.
Yet what was axiomatic a century ago is no longer the case today. It is not just the circumstances that Israel faces which have caused this shift, but also intellectual and political changes in the West. The results of this shift are deeply disturbing. It is rare to find a university debate over the legitimacy of France or Italy, yet such debates over Israel have been held at British universities. And while many states in Africa and Asia
owe their origins to arbitrary borders drawn by colonial powers a century ago, it is not acceptable to question their validity as nation-states even though their boundaries artificially cross ethnic or tribal lines, making national cohesiveness very difficult. But denying the validity of Israel’s borders is common.
A major theme used by those seeking to delegitimize Israel is to make false analogies between the Jewish state and apartheid South Africa. Unlike South African blacks under the apartheid regime, the Israeli-Arab population is represented in the Knesset – the Israeli Parliament, is treated in the same hospitals alongside the Jewish population, and attends the same universities with Israeli Jews. Yet these facts do not prevent Israel’s adversaries from using the apartheid label. They have
an additional interest in reinforcing the image of Israel as having been created by a colonial-settler movement, like the Afrikaaners, backed by Western imperialism, with no authentic connection to the land which it claimed. Israel’s case against this defamation is very strong, but unfortunately this anti-Israel narrative is often voiced with no effective opposition.
Undoubtedly, delegitimization of Israel also emanates from a revival of classical Western anti-Semitism, which has become more permissible as more time passes since the Holocaust. It is for that reason that delegitimizers also engage in Holocaust-denial, or “Holocaust inversion,” attributing to Israel the crimes committed against the Jewish people during the Second World War.
During the last decade, the campaign to delegitimize Israel has been reinvigorated and given new momentum through several repeating themes:
1. Denying Israel’s Fundamental Right to Self-Defense
Using the automatic majority which the Arab states can marshal in the main bodies of the UN system, the PLO and its allies have successfully exploited international law to dilute Israel's right of self-defense. This began to acquire momentum when the Arab bloc pushed through the UN General Assembly a resolution calling on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to issue a nonbinding advisory opinion on the
legality of Israel's security fence. Following the terms of reference it was given, the ICJ questioned the legality of the fence without considering the waves of suicide bombing attacks on Israeli civilians that caused Israel to build the fence in the first place. And the ICJ went so far as to question whether the right of self-defense, enshrined in the UN Charter, applied to the terrorist threat Israel faced in the West Bank and Gaza.
The Goldstone Report reinforced this trend. Israel had completely pulled out from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and received a 500 percent increase in rocket fire on its civilian population centers, launched from the very Gaza territory from which it had withdrawn. When Israel responded to these attacks in late 2008, it found itself under a UN investigation. The Goldstone Report charged that Israeli soldiers “deliberately” killed Palestinian civilians in the Gaza operation, even though it did not produce a shred of evidence to prove that Israel had a policy of intentionally killing civilians.
In fact, these charges were contradicted by the unprecedented use of multiple warnings to civilians, by telephone and text messages, if their residences were used to store rockets and other munitions, and were thus determined to be legitimate military targets. The effect of the Goldstone Report was to remind Israelis that if they decide
to exercise their legitimate right of self-defense in the future, they are likely to come under another international investigation.
In parallel, on the diplomatic side, there has been an international diplomatic effort to replace UN Security Council Resolution 242 – which in November 1967 recognized Israel’s right to “secure and recognized boundaries” – with alternative UN resolutions which, as distinct from Resolution 242, would require Israel to withdraw completely
from the territories it captured in the 1967 Six-Day War. Up until today, Resolution 242 has served as the only agreed basis for all Arab-Israeli peace agreements, yet there is a growing desire to erode it because of the rights it granted to Israel after the 1967 Six-Day War.
2. Unfairly Portraying Israel as an International Criminal
When Israel was forced to eliminate the centers of terrorism in the West Bank in 2002 that were located in areas under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, UN officials, taking their cue from Palestinian spokesmen, repeated unsubstantiated
allegations that Israel had committed a massacre of Palestinian civilians in the Jenin refugee camp, which was quickly disproven. The truth was the opposite of what was being alleged, for rather than uprooting the terrorist infrastructure in Jenin with airpower or artillery, Israel sent in ground forces who engaged in house-to-house combat in a densely populated area, resulting in the loss of 22 Israeli soldiers.
Again in 2009, at the initiative of Cuba, Pakistan and Egypt, the UN Human Rights Council launched an investigation of Israel’s military operations in Gaza that sought to expose improper actions by the Israel Defense Forces, without even looking at the eight years during which Hamas fired mortars and rockets at the civilian communities of southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. This became the famous Goldstone Report, that was noted earlier. The UN has become the traditional theater
in which the Palestinians and their supporters seek to brand Israel as a war criminal and to thereby isolate it internationally. Even at the height of Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, the Palestinians kept up the pressure in this regard by trying to draw attention to allegations about Israeli violations of international humanitarian law, and getting UN bodies to repeatedly adopt one-sided resolutions. More recently, this
year, the Palestinian leadership sought to prevent Israel’s membership in the OECD, arguing that Israel was obstructing the peace process.
The campaign to depict Israel as a criminal state includes the active support of extremist non-governmental organizations that exploit legal loopholes in Western legal systems in order to initiate legal measures against Israeli officers visiting Europe, accusing them of having violated international law. Using universal jurisdiction, they have tried to have leading Israelis arrested in the UK – from Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Oftentimes, radical Islamist groups like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood are behind these initiatives, which
could be applied equally to American, British, or German officers who fought in Afghanistan.

This legal campaign entails the abuse of universal jurisdiction, which the West 
originally adopted in order to bring to justice real perpetrators of genocide and crimes against humanity, even though their crimes were committed outside the country whose courts might decide to act.
3. Attacking the Historical Connection between the Jewish People and Their Historical Homeland, Including Jerusalem
The third form of delegitimization was witnessed at the end of the July 2000 Camp David Peace Conference, when PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat denied that there ever was a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. This contention has been reasserted by most of the leading Palestinian figures, from Saeb Erekat to Yasser Abd Rabbo to Mahmoud Abbas.     The destruction of pre-Islamic artifacts during the unauthorized removal of tons of debris from the Temple Mount by the Palestinian Islamic authorities served as further evidence of an effort to eradicate Jewish history in Jerusalem.
When Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad spoke at an inter-religious gathering at the UN in late 2008, he mentioned Muslim and Christian ties to Jerusalem, but failed to say even a word about the Jewish connection to the Holy City. In the Palestinian discourse, it is conveniently forgotten that Jerusalem had a Jewish majority already in the nineteenth century; the British Consulate in Jerusalem
determined that a Jewish majority existed in the city in 1863.

The International Political Context of 
Delegitimization: The Palestinians’
“Kosovo Plan” These recent efforts at the delegitimization of Israel have occurred within a very specific international political context: at a minimum, they seek to advance the Palestinian goal of establishing an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza without any negotiations with Israel. Palestinian unilateralism is borrowing from other international cases, like in the Balkans. For example, just like Kosovo emerged from the abuses of the Serbian Army, the new delegitimization campaign requires that Israel lose international standing and support in order to serve the Palestinians’ political agenda.
At the extreme, the new delegitimization takes a page out of the anti-apartheid campaign against South Africa by seeking to internationally condemn and isolate the Jewish state, perhaps with the hope of even undermining its continued existence.

The Iranian Agenda with 
Delegitimization: Security Implications
of the Delegitimization Campaign

The danger to Israel from this delegitimization campaign is not just economic or political. It affects national security as well. Israel’s adversaries in the Middle East, led by Iran, carefully calibrate the use of force on the basis of how the international 10 community responds. Deterrence of Iran from making good on its repeated threats
to “wipe Israel off the map” will be influenced by how the Iranians calculate the response of the West. Historically, Middle Eastern states have used chemical weapons when they assumed that the international community would not react:
Egypt employed chemical weapons in Yemen in 1962, because few would notice their use in an isolated area, while Iraq massively employed chemical weapons against Iran in the 1980s because the Islamic Republic was seen as a pariah by the Western powers, who wanted to block the export of its Islamic Revolution.
Today, if Israel is increasingly portrayed as a pariah state, then Middle Eastern states might be more prone to allow themselves certain liberties that they would not have adopted before. For example, the current Iranian leadership, and its regional allies, like Hizbullah and Syria, will be less concerned about international reaction to their use of clearly escalatory weapons systems with greater destructive force.
In a period in which Iran is coming closer to crossing the nuclear threshold, and Hizbullah is obtaining thousands of heavy rockets, the implications of a successful delegitimization campaign against Israel can potentially affect the lives of thousands of Israeli citizens if a war breaks out in the future.
It must not be forgotten that major legal authorities in the world, like former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, believe that the statements of the Iranian leadership toward Israel contain clear signs of genocidal intent. Historically, genocide is preceded by the delegitimization and demonization of the target population: the
Jews of inter-war Germany were called vermin, the Tutsis of Rwanda were called cockroaches, while the Marsh Arabs of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq were called monkeyfaced people. Iran calls the Israelis today microbes or a cancer. Delegitimization of Israel serves their interest.
This is the harshest context of the delegitimization effort, but, nevertheless, it would be a cardinal mistake for the West to ignore it.