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Israel’s PR Challenge in the Battle for Public Opinion

It is only a matter of time before my countrymen's enemies fully mobilize, with the help of the establishment media.

by
Benjamin Kerstein

Bio

November 18, 2012 - 12:07 am

Israel is at this moment involved in yet another battle in its century-long war against Arab hatred and aggression. As a result, men I do not know and would not care to know are firing rockets in the hope of killing me, my friends, and my countrymen. The obvious surrealism of such a situation is compounded by the knowledge that, very soon—if they are not already—other people I do not know and would not care to know will be announcing that it is all our fault.

Israel’s PR campaign in this particular battle has been noticeably better than it has in the past. Nonetheless, it is only a matter of time before our enemies fully mobilize. With protests already spreading across the world, it is also only a matter of time before the majority of the establishment media, which silently—and often not so silently—agrees with their demonization of the Jewish state, begins to give them the upper hand in the battle for public opinion.

These particular critics inevitably portray themselves, and the media establishment inevitably concurs, as anti-racist activists fighting a racist regime. Israel, they claim, is an unholy evil akin to apartheid South Africa, and nothing it does short of surrender and suicide can be morally justified. At the same time, nothing Israel’s enemies do, however monstrous, vile, and bloodthirsty, can be morally objectionable. At best, it is simply “an understandable result of” some real or imagined Israeli crime.

It is worth pointing out the implications of this. Many of Israel’s critics are, in fact, making a very simple claim: Arabs have earned the right to murder Jews. It is necessary, unfortunately, to explain precisely what this means: One people (the Arabs) can slaughter another (the Jews) with justice and morality on its side; while any resistance on the part of the latter (the Jews) to the designs of the former (the Arabs) is a monstrous crime. And the distinction, lest we forget, is made on the basis of a single factor: race.

The same holds true with regard to these critics’ stance on Palestinian nationalism. Those who support, at least nominally, a two-state solution, demand a state in which Palestinian Arabs will be the dominating and privileged class; to such an extent that any Jews living on its territory must be expelled to Israel proper.

Those who oppose a two-state solution in favor of a binational state, moreover, not only advocate a state in which the Jews will be an oppressed minority, but hold that there should be no Jewish state at all. In short, Israel’s ostensibly anti-racist critics believe that Palestinians have a right to national self-determination but Jews do not; and this distinction is, once again, made solely on the basis of a single factor: race.

One can only conclude, then, based on their own ideology and their own self-professed morality, that these critics not only fail to be anti-racist, but are, in fact, partisans of the most brutal and inhuman form of racism in the world today. It is a racism that not only supports and advocates ethnic cleansing and genocide, but creates a racial hierarchy in which ethnic cleansing and genocide, if committed by Israel’s enemies, is a moral, just, praiseworthy, even beautiful act.

Against such a monstrous ideology, there is only one possible resistance: to say what it is, and to speak the truth against its lies, as long and as loud as one can, in the face of this world that so earnestly wishes not to hear it.

Benjamin Kerstein is a writer and editor who lives in Tel Aviv.
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