Ron Radosh

New Tactic in Left's Never-Ending War Against Israel: Calling It 'JSIL'

We now have the latest obscenity in the war against Israel. It comes from three sources — Al Jazeera television, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine held in London, and the German newspaper Deutsche Welle. These are all enemies of Israel who wish nothing less than its destruction.

Their new propaganda tactic is to equate Israel — which they now refer to as JSIL (the Jewish State of Israel in the Levant) — with ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

According to them, like ISIL in Iraq and Syria, Israel is a terrorist military entity which seeks to recruit foreign fighters into their armed forces, to convert or murder infidels, and to destroy the Palestinians.

Here’s the first paragraph of the the article in Deutshe Welle:

Young Americans are opting out of the U.S. military and joining foreign forces. The Israeli army recruited over 100 Americans during the war against Hamas, while others are being lured to join extremist groups.

The article profiles two American Jews who went to Israel: 22-year-old Jason Kraizler from New Jersey, who willingly offers his support to Israel’s efforts to defend itself against Hamas; and Eli Ezer First from New York, who believes that “extreme Islam” is a danger and has to be stopped.

Accusing these Jewish Americans of war crimes comes at a time when Americans are in the spotlight for joining extremist groups in Syria and Iraq. U.S. officials say there are nearly three times more Americans fighting in extremist groups than originally estimated.

The article concludes by comparing American jihadists and Americans who try to help Israel defend itself as one and the same, since “Americans are turning to foreign soil to fight, finding meaning, belonging and acceptance.” Not once does the article differentiate between those who seek to fight on behalf of fanatical Islamists who are trying to create a new caliphate, and those who are trying to help a beleaguered democracy, whose citizens share the values of Western societies, defend itself.

The Al Jazeera story also links to this new left-wing activist campaign, and notes how popular it is on Twitter:

The Jewish State of Israel in the Levant: that’s what a group of pro-Palestine activists are now calling Israel, in a play on words on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The hashtag #JSIL has been tweeted more than 5,200 times as Twitter users protest Israel’s actions.

Activist Max Blumenthal first made the comparison between ISIL and Israel during the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. For those who do not know what the Russell Tribunal is, Wikipedia explains its origins in the anti-war movement of the 1960s, when Bertrand Russell organized a tribunal to investigate the United States for alleged war crimes against the Vietnamese. Now, its descendants have brought it up to date, using the old format to investigate and find Israel guilty as they judged the United States to be during the Vietnam War. As expected, the tribunal convened a special session on September 24, and found Israel guilty, as the anti-Israel site Mondoweiss reports, of “war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of murder, extermination and persecution and also incitement to genocide.”

Here you will find Max Blumenthal, dubbed by Nation columnist Eric Alterman as one who might as well have had his recent book published by “the Friends of Hamas,” make the case for the comparison between ISIS and Israel. He calls it “the ethnically cleansing Jewish state and its project of dispossession of the Palestinian people.” (Video here.) In his testimony, Blumenthal says:

The atrocities formed an undeniable pattern, suggesting that the crimes committed by Israeli forces in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge were the product of stated military policies, or at least rules of engagement that enabled massacres, summary executions, wholesale residential destruction, the use of civilians as human shields, and abductions. I will describe these atrocities in as much detail as possible and allow the members of the jury to judge for themselves.

As any sane person knows, Hamas used human shields in Gaza to cynically create civilian casualties which have served them very well in the propaganda war against Israel. You will not find one word about any of the horrors committed by Hamas aired at the Russell Tribunal. The “trial” copies the Stalin purge trials of the 1930s in that the verdict was known at the start, and the trial was a sham meant to serve the purposes of propaganda.

In his closing words, Blumenthal echoes the Arab and old Soviet propaganda against Israel, first made by the Soviets in the period after the 1967 war. Blumenthal concludes:

I want to close with two points: First, we cannot address the crimes that occurred in Gaza this summer without examining the historical and political context of Operation Protective Edge. The unprecedented levels of violence wielded against residents of Gaza reflect the trajectory of Zionism and are required by its logical imperatives. Zionism is a settler-colonial movement that demanded the mass expulsion of Palestinians from what is now Israel and their permanent ghettoization in the Gaza Strip, where 80 percent of the population are refugees, in order to consolidate Israel’s ethnic purity. The longer the ghettoized population resists this system of demographic engineering, the more malevolent its occupier becomes. So the horrors we just witnessed in Gaza did not occur in a vacuum. They are reflections of the historical trajectory of Zionism.

Having made the false accusation that Israel is guilty of genocide, perhaps picked up from the tribunal by Mahmoud Abbas for his UN speech, Blumenthal argues that Israel itself and Zionism were born in sin, and that the goal of creating a Jewish state was cleansing Israel of all Arab Palestinians, and thus consolidating Israel’s “ethnic purity.” His arguments are the same as decades-old Arab propaganda, repeated regularly by John Judis in his recent book, as well as by other opponents of Israel. As for ethnic purity, if that was Israel’s goal, it clearly failed. Israeli Arabs are full citizens, and even elect their own candidates to the Knesset.

Writing in CommentarySeth Mandel notes that the PA’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, has now started using the analogy as well. The Times of Israel reported that Erekat linked Benjamin Netanyahu with the leaders of ISIS:

Netanyahu is trying to disseminate fear of the Islamic State led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but Netanyahu forgets that he himself leads the Jewish state. He wants us to call Israel the Jewish state and supports terrorist settlers who kill, destroy and burn mosques and churches … like Baghdad’s men [who] kill and terrorize.

It is one thing when a clown like Max Blumenthal makes the analogy; quite another when the chief Palestinian negotiator with Israel uses it. As Mandel puts it:

It is in that light that Erekat’s repulsive comparison of Israel to ISIS should be seen. Israel’s “partner for peace,” the Palestinian leadership, desires to see the end of the Jewish state which, in the minds of Israel’s enemies, means the end of the Jews.

It is in this manner that Israel’s leftist enemies — the likes of Max Blumenthal, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, and Trotskyist filmmaker Ken Loach — provide the argument and the charges for the Palestinian Authority to use, thereby revealing that they do not want peace but instead want the end of Israel.

This latest development confirms my belief that in today’s world, to call yourself a leftist or a person of the Left is first and foremost to demand the end of Israel.