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All the Real News About Israel Is Good

Very well. But isn’t Israel “losing” the information war? In a word, no -- or, at least, not in the way people are claiming that to be true.

First, the main problem is the hostility of much of the Western intelligentsia (as in the media and academia) because this group has veered wildly to the left. This is not a problem Israel can resolve no matter what it does.

Second, just because there are nasty articles or academic studies doesn’t mean policymakers or public opinion are being guided by them. Studies show a rapid and steady flight away from traditional mass media, whose credibility is plummeting. Public opinion polls -- especially in the United States, where it counts most -- continue to show a very strong pro-Israel feeling.

Third, despite lots of rhetoric coming out of Europe and North America, virtually no material pressure has ever been put on Israel. Indeed, when one ignores all the words, U.S.-Israel and Europe-Israel relations have remained pretty good in practice.

As for Israel’s internal situation, of course people can talk about corruption, incompetent politicians, and all sorts of problems. Yet basically the country is quite sound. By Israeli standards, national unity is as high as it has ever been. There is a basic national consensus along the following lines: Israel wants peace. Israelis are ready for compromises and concessions, including a Palestinian state as part of a comprehensive peace. But the people also agree that there is no partner for peace at present -- and that experience shows compromises and concessions should only be made if you’re certain to get a lot in exchange. Compared to the divisive debates of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, there’s a great deal of consensus.

If one really studies the Wikileaks revelations seriously, there is not a single one that makes Israel look bad. On the contrary, they show how accurate Israel’s analysis of the Middle East has been -- and how many Arab leaders share it. The interests of Israel and most Arab governments are parallel; the real threat to all of them is Iran, Syria, and revolutionary Islamism. Such a state of parallel interest has never existed before in Israeli history.

Finally, there are signs that Western citizens are waking up to the true threat of revolutionary Islamism, and of Iran in particular. In democracies, when the people learn, the governments will eventually follow.

You can come up with counter-arguments. I can do so, too. I take a back seat to nobody when it comes to pessimism. Yet on a broader level, this relatively rosy analysis is not really open to challenge.

Enjoy it while you can.