Thursday, November 6, 2014
Sticks and Stones
Israel is attacked in universities and Israel is attacked in the Press. We, Israel’s supporters, are attacked for supporting the ‘provincial’ nation state of the Jewish People. We are waging a war for hearts and minds and yet we behave as if the tactics of our opponents are unimportant even though the results may not be so. Many of us blithely ignore this conflict because “the scaremongers” disturb our docility. Those rabble rousers annoy us, if we are honest with ourselves, because complexity confuses us.
When we are forced to take sides most of us are uncomfortable with the facts and too many variables make the likelihood of resolution, slim. This encourages the weak to cut corners and listen to the people who treat them like simpletons. It works. The quickest way to win over converts to a cause is to create a Manichean reality inhabited by goodies and baddies, victims and aggressors (but more about that later). Life is rarely so simple.
This is not a friendly rivalry between intellectual competitors. If we use the word “opponent” our enemy has already won the moral high ground because this is not a game we are playing and they will not ‘play’ by our ‘civilized’ rules of engagement. The antagonism of our enemy can be seen in their signs of protest and the slogans they scream at us. It can be understood in the actions of their activists and in the allegiances of their fellow travelers.
For instance, “Palestine will be free; from the river to the sea” means the obliteration of the State of Israel which would in turn mean genocide (even Palestinian “moderates” accept that anyone employed by the State would be tried for crimes against humanity and that means any one who has served in the IDF, or anyone who worked for or benefited from their relationship with the state.) Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) campaigners often do not differentiate between Israeli and Jewish products when they attack shops but would be horrified if anyone were to attack supermarkets that stock halal products even though they may be imported from Muslim countries that are misogynistic, homophobic, slave-trading and founded on an institutionally racist premise.
To quote David Semple Manchesters third intifadists “The BDS mob pretended not to be anti-Jewish but then poured out ……conspiracy theories about Jews and Israel, reminiscent of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Jews were called Nazis; they were called dirty pigs; they were called murderers; they were even called Christ killers.”
But then I was called a child murderer for serving in the IDF. One British activist for Palestine accused a Christian supporter of Israel of being “lower than those Jews.”
As I have previously stated, fascists on the Left and their Islamic allies view us as the enemy. We have no redemptive qualities that would save us. This is nascent Nazism. It is also the reason that they call us Zio(n)-Nazis. They label us so that any excuses we may make for our actions appear at best lame, at worst, the self-justification of apologists for an evil regime. If you call someone a name often enough, and create the pictures to go with it, the result is that you eventually create a vision in the mind of the public that is almost impossible to eradicate. It is propaganda at its most base, its most fundamental emotional level and therefore the most effective means of impregnation.
Our enemy has 3 assets we lack:
1. The Cause: This is an idea that is framed, encircled within absolute boundaries. Validity or accuracy is unimportant. To quote Winston Churchill “the fanatic cannot change his mind and will not change his subject.”
2. The Semantic High-Ground: This is won by fighting a war of words. In a world that is easily afflicted by boredom, dualism creates a short-hand that instantly imprints a story on our sub-conscious. Settler and indigenous, colonizer and refugee, aggressor and victim are word-plays meant to initiate a dynamic interplay between the words and pictures we are fed, and our imagination.
Pictures are used to subliminally reinforce our prejudices. Children confronting soldiers are all of them innocents meeting the neighborhood bully, head-on. It is what Cass Sunstein of Harvard University refers to as “bias assimilation.”
Words are at their most bestial when used to justify atrocity. But without them no reasonable person would support a Palestinian demand for a return and therefore the overturning of Jewish independence. Without a justification for atrocity David could not become Palestinian and Goliath could not be Israeli. The genocidal sub-text of Palestinian independence at Israel’s expense is facilitated by hijacking the biblical narrative. That murderous sub-text is concealed behind a narrative defining Jesus as a Palestinian even when that surrogate Jesus stabs a Jewish toddler through the heart, cuts off the head of a sleeping baby, or with a rock, dashes out the brains of a toddler. Frustration sanitizes infanticide. Warfare has its rules, terror does not. It sounds obscene when the result is the same death to a child but without the rules of war anything is possible. By rewriting the rule-book to upturn definitions of terror and self-defense the fascist Left aids and abets the murderer but they can only justify this by shifting reality to suit their storyline.
3. Passion: The committed individual will try to sway the uninvolved bystander by enunciating the intensity of their feelings in any way that effectively demonstrates their beliefs. Ethics are therefore, not of necessity, a requirement. Their passion will lead them into activism in university, in the union movement, in any organization they join and in politics. If they are not confronted by an equally passionate opposing viewpoint they will prevail because they will assert their ideology over all others.
The difference between Zionists and anti-Zionists is that as Zionists we will try to reason with our questioner in order to rationally explain who we are and what we believe. But in a radicalized group, correcting false beliefs will often intensify those beliefs. To anti-Zionists, we are the enemy, not misguided but less human; hateful and an abomination.
So I will repeat: we are fighting a war and yet we use the words, demeanor and the tactics of the debating society while our enemy are fighting a war and as befits their contempt for us, their tactics are that of the warrior. We naively believe that we can still win this war fighting under Queensbury’s Rules.
Plucky little Israel may be able to defeat its larger enemy on the battlefields of the Muslim Near-East but our Western European-American War is being fought in civil society, often by uncivil means and we are ill-equipped to combat the tactics our enemy employ against us. They outnumber us, their numbers are growing and they will never play by our rules unless they know the result in advance – in their favor.
I recently attended a meeting where Dr. Einat Wilf spoke. Dr Wilf is a former member of the Israeli Knesset and of the Israeli Labor Party. As a woman who served in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the 18th Knesset, her opinion on why Israel appears to be blind to this particular arena of warfare was a revelation, at least to me. She said that in the testosterone filled committees, members of the Knesset understood guns and tanks but not ideas.
It is insufficiently precise to say that Israel lacks the sophisticated European political idioms for dealing with Palestinians Arabs because that accusation is predicated on assumptions of compatibility, mutuality and equal receptivity to shared co-existence. Under those circumstances we could similarly question Europe’s appreciation of the challenges to sovereignty that it also faces in the ongoing battle to integrate its immigrants into European society.
In the macho Muslim ocean Israel inhabits, it is not even close to grasping the nature of the response it needs to provide to the two pronged war it faces on a continuous basis. The Hot War uses missiles and mortars. The Cold War utilizes surrogate armies and sympathetic fellow travelers to wage a War of Attrition which it intends to win by weakening the resistance of its enemy – us. Its combatants use rocks as well as cars as deadly projectiles against our bodies. The diplomatic war is used to discredit and ultimately disenfranchise Israel’s supporters so that a diplomatically and economically isolated Israel is sufficiently weakened for an unfavorable ‘peace’ to be imposed from the outside. Our enemies use physical as well as intellectual attributes to harass us and exert continuous and negative pressure upon us and if not us, then those around us.
Israel, envisioned and constructed by intellectuals, the state that still worships its scholars, remains deaf and blind to the words that wound even though those words may eventually kill.