In a piece for the Jerusalem Post entitled, You can’t win a PR war by fighting on the enemy’s side, Evelyn Gordon makes a few exceedingly relevant points:
I can’t think of another conflict in history where one side devoted so much time and energy to selling the world the other side’s narrative rather than its own. And then, after two decades of actively supporting the two most important Palestinians claims against it, Israel actually wonders why the world views it as the villain.Precisely.
Jews tend to be so open-minded and so generous with those who despise us that we can barely bring ourselves to take our own side in a fight. Gordon claims - rightly in my opinion - that there are two main toxic and false "pro-Palestinian" themes that well-meaning pro-Israel people tend to validate and it is simply killing us.
Claim number one is that the West Bank and Gaza are “occupied Palestinian territory.” This is a crucial issue, because if Israel is just a thief occupying stolen Palestinian land, then it has no right to retain any of this land or set any conditions on its return, and deserves opprobrium for even daring to pose such demands.Indeed. If your tendencies are pro-Israel and pro-Jewish and, yet, you think that when Jews build housing for themselves in Judea and Samaria that this represents the "Occupation of Palestinian territory" then the conversation is over. If you believe that then there is nothing further to say. Israel is guilty and needs to get out of land that does not belong to her. If you honestly believe the above it means that the Jews are thieves who, by any standard of morality or common human decency, must depart that land in order to leave it for the true Arab owners.
Of course, the Arabs consider all of Israel to be "Occupied Palestinian territory."
There is not a Jewish grain of sand anywhere in Judea.
Claim number two is that Israel is the main obstacle to peace.How it is that seemingly intelligent and educated people, such as President of the United States, Barack Obama, believe this is hard to understand. In fact, how it is that seemingly intelligent and educated people, like most pro-Israel pro-Jewish activists believe it is fairly remarkable.
How many times must it be repeated before it finally sinks in?
From 1937, with the Peel Commission, until the present it has ONLY BEEN THE JEWS who have been willing to compromise for the purpose of peace and it has ONLY BEEN THE ARABS who constantly refuse such peace offerings.
Yet, somehow, not only do the Jews get the blame for Arab aggression, but the Arabs get carte blanche to kill Jews because we allegedly deserve it for oppressing them. And, make no mistake, as far as the western-left is concerned Arabs have every right to kill Jews in the Middle East out of a sense, ironically enough, of social justice.
If you honestly believe that the Jews of the Middle East have stolen "Palestinian" land and are, in fact, the main obstacle to peace then you cannot be a pro-Israel person because your fundamental beliefs are anti-Israel.
There is no squaring this circle.
When we read the commentary of the pro-Israel Jewish Left, we are reading the words of a people deeply unsure of themselves. This is why they always seem to be outnumbered and lost in their battles on-line and off. The reason that left-leaning pro-Israel voices are muffled before they even begin to speak is because they are lacking in conviction and the reason for that is because they seem to have little sense of history.
I have been arguing that we need to expand the terms of discussion both geographically and via time. From a geographical stand-point, it must be emphasized that the conflict is not between a Palestinian "David" versus a Jewish "Goliath" but between a Jewish minority in that part of the world and a far, far larger irrational, hostile majority. There are sixty to seventy Arabs in Middle East for every single Jew and, for the most part, those Arabs do not want those Jews around for religious reasons.
That is the nature of the fight.
I have also argued that the Long Arab War Against the Jews in the Middle East needs to be understood as part of the long Arab campaign to suppress the non-Muslim minority there, particularly those troublesome Jews.
I have stressed this as a tactical matter, but it is also a matter of understanding the history of the long war. If we wish to convince well-meaning, but ignorant, westerners that the Jews have every right to live free in Judea and Samaria then we must emphasize that the terms of oppression that the Jews lived under for thirteen hundred years.
If the western-left does not care about such history then they forfeit any consideration as "progressive" or "humanist." It would be something akin to dismissing the history of slavery and Jim Crow in terms of black people in the United States. One cannot claim to be true to the values of universal human rights and social justice if one does not consider the subjugation of minority populations under the boot of oppressive majorities.
The Jews of the Middle East lived under the boot of Arab-Muslim imperial rule for thirteen centuries.
One cannot understand the conflict as it is, today, without acknowledging that the Jews in that part of the world are still struggling to free themselves from the likes of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, and his spiritual descendants such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood... not to mention the PLO.
It is the Jews who remain the underdog in this fight - despite a good economy and a strong military - because it is the Jews who remain under constant pressure of violence from local Arabs, the threat of annihilation from hostile surrounding countries, and of diplomatic drubbing by powerful enemies such as Barack Obama.