(cross-posted with author's permission)
Rivka S. Rothschild
I am a Liberal Zionist. Zionism is about the reestablishment of a Jewish state, on Jewish ancestral homelands and the resumption of sovereignty in that land – the land of Israel. Zionism, unbeknownst to the ignorant, is also about peace, prosperity and harmonious living with, and equal rights for, Israeli Arabs. No nation to date has been founded on more just principles.
The Palestinian Propaganda Machine, on the other hand, is about the continuation of the same old Arab supremacism and plain old hatred of my people. It’s about the destruction of Israel, about strong arming, bullying, intimidation, and lies.
I am an academic. Because I am educated and familiar with scholarly work and critical thinking, I rely only on widely accepted, scholarly history, scientifically based, peer reviewed research, and ethical journalism. The Palestinian Propaganda Machine generates shallow, false, contradictory, hypocritical, manipulative, sensational and illogical tropes. I fight for human rights and dignity everyday. The Palestinian Propaganda Machine demonizes Israel and spreads hatred of Jews everyday.
I am an American Jew who lives in the American bubble of freedom and peace. I went to a “Students For Justice in Palestine” event with an open mind, and my mind was raped. That’s what I said. Raped. I went to an SJP event and for two hours, my identity and my right to exist, was stolen while I was force fed nasty distortions and outright lies about my people – all in the name of justice for another people. In retrospect, I was in a semi-naive, privileged, American-Jew, daze. As if on a bad acid trip, I fell down the rabbit hole and landed on a checkerboard of outrageous lies, facing a venomous queen clad in ’90’s grunge. A passionate idiot who would eagerly trade in her soul for victory in her cause to destroy an entire indigenous nation – Israel. An earnest hypocrite who doggedly dehumanized Jews in the name of saving Palestinians. An oblivious poser whose “down to earth and open to dialogue”, persona was quickly stripped away when challenged by any facts which went against her canned narrative. In response, she angrily hissed only the threat of more bloodshed through her teeth, in the trope “No peace. Justice, then peace.” In other words, we will continue our attempts to destroy your legitimacy and your identity, and murder your people until we get the entire land of Israel.
Not only were my sensibilities raped, I bore witness to vulnerable college students who had fallen prey to the same lies – who’s emotions had been played upon to the point that truth and facts, and the complexity of any event in human history simply didn’t matter. In room G316, we were all treated to a reductionist, fallacious “presentation” which was as gripping as a Tom Cruise, Matt Damon, Denzel Washington collaboration, starring Zionism and Jews as the evil villains. Those fresh faced, college students’ heads nodded more vigorously than the audience for the emperor’s clothes. “I’ll believe what the f*ck I want to believe”, one threw out at me. And in his heightened state of compassion (translation: blind rage), he would destroy another people because that is justice. No my young friend, that is murder.
Her introduction was comprised of canned, rehearsed, outrageous accusations leveled at Israel as an illegal nation, run by a harsh, torturous, animalistic, sadistic, cruel, racist, evil, Zionist regime which wants to hurt people; which chooses destruction. I felt my heart rate increase. She lived for two months in the West Bank. She says she saw apartheid, illegal blockade, the gratuitous torture and murder of Palestinians every day for no reason other than the soldiers’ apparent pleasure, almost every man and male child arrested for no reason, the wounding of farm animals apparently for fun or sport, the intentional, slow killing of Palestinian patients in Israeli hospitals and that she had the privilege of speaking with the families of martyrs. “Did you just say “martyrs?”, I asked. “Yeah I said martyr. (I was there and this was my experience)”, she said. “I saw the rips in his skin where they hung him by nails for, like, three days.” (Does she mean Jesus?) “No”, I stated, “This is what you’re telling us that people told you.” This is what people supposedly told her- in their homes, on the street corners, and at falafel stands. It went around and around like tumbleweed in a dust storm. “Why do you think this conflict exists? Where is the historical context? Do you realize that Israel has asked- no, implored, for peace from day one?” Scoff, chuckle, and now some students joined in the chorus. “Indigenous Palestinians.” “Actually no, Arabs are not indigenous to the land of Israel.” “Yes they are.” “No, they’re not.” “Are you saying they don’t belong there?” “They have rights of long standing presence, but it is incumbent upon them to live in peace. They don’t get to march into someone’s ancestral lands and try to kill them everyday.” Yeah, well “illegal blockade” and “the occupied have a right to resist”, (translation: blow up Israeli civilians). No more. We had only just begun and I realized it was now time to dissociate in an effort to protect myself from the surreal media onslaught which was to follow. I leaned back in my chair and ceased eye contact with anyone else in the room doing my level best to contain my anger at a person on a college campus spewing lies to young, open college students, while posing as a field reporter – as an educator. Hey next week I think I’ll do a “presentation” on civil engineering. “I mean, like, I hate traffic, like, you know?”
The video started and I was as nauseated as I was rapt. Set to the overproduced, deep, echoing tones of mesmerizing Arabic electronica, was a fast paced montage of procession after procession of ordinary Palestinians and martyrs marching together in funeral after funeral. Some victims were wrapped up mummy style while some sported a grey paler and bloody wounds. Angry chanting of “Death to Israel”, “Attack, attack the Jews.” Angry accusations of the wanton murder of martyrs. And the presentation went on. She went to Salim. She went to Deir Istiya. She went to Azzoun. She traveled the West Bank and collected, well… hearsay. She came back with pictures of injured men, a man in a hospital bed and a crumbling house, and stories from Sammi, the Mayor of Deir Istiya, (as if that brings some extra special credibility because Palestinian government officials tend to have impeccable reputations), Rahid, Mohammed and Jafar and other assorted “martyrs”. According to her, according to them this is what went down: being held indefinitely in administrative detention with no lawyer… aaaand then winding up in court. Huh? Using actual flashlights and shouting for purposes of investigating acts of terror (don’t like light in your face when you’re trying to sleep? mmmm…. don’t try and stab innocent civilians). Young men being shot at for no reason (and she saw the scars, so that’s how they must’ve gotten them). The IDF flagrantly and brazenly disobeying all protocol and putting their own lives on the line by playing “gauge out the prisoner’s eyeballs” and then taking selfies with the corpse (did they post them on Instagram too?). The “offensive” sign warning Israelis not to enter a Palestinian town because it is dangerous for them, (how insulting, the ministry of tourism ought to get right on that one because what’s a Molotov cocktail crashing through your windshield between friends?) The little known but now revealed policy of house demolition in the middle of the night for fixing your plumbing without a building permit. And, finally, my personal favorite, the 29-year-old Palestinian man who was actually shot, just for stabbing two Israeli soldiers. Really? Just because he stabbed two soldiers? Racist, torturous IDF policies at it again.
No context. No clarity. Pure simplification. Pure distortion. Pure demonization. This was like nothing I have ever seen, and I will never forget it. This was, in short, the dizzily effective creation of hatred in the naive and the amplification of hatred in racists; the kind of hatred which is going to destroy our world.
People and entities get embroiled in conflict. and for the jury of humankind, when determining their responsibility, their likability, their acceptability, we look right away at intent. Did they enjoy inflicting pain? I actually don’t believe that either side in this conflict does, but when the Palestinian Propaganda Machine asserts that Zionists do enjoy inflicting damage and pain, against the backdrop of Hamas and Fatah provoking war after war, murdering innocent Israeli after innocent Israeli, refusing state after state- well then, we are dwelling in the theater of the absurd. The Palestinian Propaganda Machine is aimed at convincing the court of mankind that Israel is the pariah and the sociopath of the world, all while accepting zero responsibility for their own ugly actions. No real engagement, no real dialogue on the checkerboard of brainwashing, with the queen of lies in the land of absurdity. And if you buy into that Palestinian Propaganda Machine spew, you’re either a possibly intelligent person who hasn’t done their research, a full on racist who is too stupid to realize that you would die at the hands of all the other full on racists, or maybe a self-indulgent, American Jew living in the bubble of freedom and safety. To the latter group, I tell you, “wake up”. “Wake up”, because SJP and BDS are like a termite infestation silently eating away at the very backbone of American freedoms and liberties, with every slick, distorted presentation on our campuses. To SJP and BDS, I say “Jews and Israel are most certainly not the cause of your fury and your hatred. Rather, your fury and your hatred is the symptom of your pathology.
I stand with the people of Israel who, despite having to exist in the most hostile climate on earth, find a way to celebrate what they have, appreciate beauty, and dedicate themselves to life. I feel for the people on both sides, who this hostile climate has wrought, and I ask myself often, who else could survive and thrive the way that the Jews have? Who? No amount of mental molestation can soften our resolve.
We are the Jewish people, born in the land of Israel. Tough as nails. Hearts of gold - and we will survive.