Wednesday, March 11, 2020

How to delegitimize most criticism of Israel

Sar Shalom

Any criticism of Israel that is not based on the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, is not legitimate criticism.

There are other grounds on which to label criticism of Israel as illegitimate. However, it is important that any such ground hinge on a neutral criterion, that is one that doesn't depend on any viewpoint about the conflict and allow that any criticism that does pass some set of viewpoint-neutral criteria is actually legitimate. Any viewpoint-dependent criterion will be dismissed by anyone who does not share the intended viewpoint and only create excuses for those who wish to claim that we just hurl accusations of "antisemitism" in order to silence legitimate criticism. Fidelity to the truth is one such neutral criterion, one that everyone in the elite media claims to hold dear.

Ben-Dror Yemini provided an excellent resource in his book The Industry of Lies listing violations of the truth by those seeking to justify the demonization of Israel, so I will only provide a few examples. First would be violations of "truth." That would include lies, fabrications, and exaggerations. For instance, claiming that Israel perpetrated a massacre in Jenin during the Second Intifada would be propagating a lie. So would claiming that Israel is responsible for Gaza's flooding by opening dams in the Negev.

Violations of "the whole truth" would include suppression of relevant facts. For instance, it is popular among the western chattering class to denounce Benjamin Netanyahu as a racist. There is no use denying that there is legitimate evidence in support of that notion, such as his exhortations during past campaigns about Arabs turning out in droves to vote. However, comments like that have to be balanced against Netanyahu's support for increasing budget allocation to Arab towns in Israel. It is a legitimate opinion, albeit one that I reject, that the balance of Netanyahu's statements about the Arabs and his budgetary priorities indicate that he is a racist. However, the western media do not try convince the public of that. Rather, they make sure that only the minuscule portion of the public that reads Israel-specific media, and a few outliers like Gatestone Institute, know about any of the evidence contradicting the claim of Netanyahu's racism and are thus left with the obvious conclusion that Netanyahu is indeed racist. Such is a lie of omission.

Presently, it is fashionable to claim that knowing a snippet of the history and present of Israel's dealings with the Palestinians is sufficient to assess moral culpability. Attendant with this moral narcissism is a complete intellectual incuriosity for any facts that do not fit their neat narrative of a morality tale. Calling attacks on Jewish settlement of the core land of Jewish history (Judea, and to a lesser extent Samaria) as ipso facto illegitimate invites the simple rejoinder of "Why can't recognize that the Palestinians are human beings?" Focusing on the accuracy of claims made against Israel removes that response, forcing those defending the use of such criticism to argue either that the omitted facts are inaccurate or irrelevant. I have a hunch that Israel would be better served by such critics twisting themselves into pretzels to justify the exclusion of inconvenient facts than simply yelling louder that our entitlement to Judea and Samaria justifies any hardship imposed on the Arabs living there to a population that is at best skeptical of that notion.


  1. I think the real problem is not Israel's treatment of Arabs, but Israel;s treatment of non-Orthodox Jews. I have just started reading Daniel Gordis' book "We Stand Divided" and one of the points that is made is that of Thomas Friedman. He wrote that Israel cannot ask for support from American Jews when the Ultra-Orthodox consider their marriages, conversions and Rabbis illegitimate. At some point we have to address the issue of "What is a Jew?" If the Reform, Conservative and Modern Orthodox are told that they are welcome in Israel only to the extent that they can serve in the IDF, then there is a reckoning to be had.

    1. Israel is not a state of Jews as religious group, it's a state of Jews as an ethnic group. Orthodox Rabbinic Judaism, Karaite Judaism, and Samaritanism are merely religions our people followed, but it's the descent from ancient Israelites that's the important defining factor here. If other people want to convert to any of the traditional faiths, fine, eventually their children will become part of our people through intermarriage. But I'm not prepared to consider a Progressive Antizionist Reform convert more Jewish than an ethnically Jewish atheist. Reform Jews are only Jewish by virtue of their ethnicity.

  2. The hardship imposed on Arabs by exercise of Jewish sovereignty would leave them as the most free Arabs on the planet, in more ways than one. It would free Arab women, too.

    There are two fights here. One is Jews against Arabs, one nation against another. The other is Jews against Muslims, one faith against the other. An ethnic Jew as described may not be a practicing Jew. Complicated.

    Palestinians are like the media, hard to believe or take serious anymore. Same with Israel haters (who seem to generally hate America, too). The masks are off. Hopefully, they will all be marginalized. Almost everyone knows that Israel is not the problem when it comes to making peace.

  3. The traitorous Arabs of the joint list have all backed Gantz along with Liberman making a center left govt with terrorist lovers possible. Cry for Israel.

  4. The British Mandate of Palestine included what is now Jordan.

    Some powerful British officials betrayed the Jewish people.

    The founder of the Arab Palestinian movement, and the mentor to Yasser Arafat, was a Nazi official--Haj Amin al Husseini.

    Arab and Muslim religious genocidal anti-Jewish bigotry, and Western ignorance, and Western anti-Jewish bigotry, and Jewish Stockholm syndrome, are at the heart of the matter.

    The situation is not rocket science.

    Jordan is the Arab Palestinian state. The sooner that fact is recognized the better for everyone.

  5. Robert Spencer on the Deception at the Heart of the Middle East Peace Process, LA, Dec. 9, 2019 

    Video: Robert Spencer on why Israeli-Palestinian "negotiations" will always fail [here Robert Spencer also says that he used to be a far-Leftist and he describes how that changed] 

  6. I apologize if my writing was offensive.

    The info I listed is important.