“It’s time for us to stop complaining about how bad Israel’s PR is,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “It’s not just Israel that’s in danger—but all of us. The entire Jewish people are under attack, and this is about the future of all Jewish people. Those who undermine Israel’s right to self-defense hurt the entire Jewish people’s right to self-defense. We are not talking about a situation like in 1967, but like in 1947—about the entire Jewish people’s right to exist.”
What Malcolm Hoenlein neglected to point out is that Jews are in the forefront of the global anti-Israel campaign doing much to tarnish Israel’s reputation. These Jews, many living in Israel and many more living abroad, have created two separate nations of Jews. By leading the campaign of demonization and delegitimization of Israel, they are doing everything in their power to deny Israel’s place as the home of the Jewish nation with Jerusalem its undivided capital.
Israel, as far as they are concerned, is a rogue nation based on apartheid having no legitimacy to exist as a Jewish nation and should be forced to forfeit its sovereignty so that a Palestinian Arab state may rise and supersede Israel.
Every day, more celebrated Jewish personalities—writers, artists, academics—are depicting Israel as a racist, vicious, and inhumane “entity” that has to be dismantled. Many of them have assumed pivotal roles in the global campaign to delegitimize the Jewish State. Their relentless attacks could well play out in ways that indeed puts an end to Israeli sovereignty.
George Steiner, who has been proclaimed the most important literary critic in the world, questioned whether Israel should have come into being at all. Eric Hobsbawm, one of the greatest living historians, supported the Second Intifada, endorsing the “the cause of liberation.” Marek Edelman, one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, wrote letters to “Palestinian partisans.” The late historian Tony Judt has been outspoken in his rejection of Israel’s right to exist and offered Israelis the fate of other religious minorities in the Middle East. United Nations envoy Richard Falk is one of the most radical demonizers of the Jewish State. Historian Norman Finkelstein is one of the staunchest Western supporters of Hezbollah. Nobel laureate Harold Pinter, film directors Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, and historian Ilan Pappe have been the most famous anti-Israeli figures in the UK.
Much of the damage is underestimated. Steven and Hilary Rose, two renowned Jewish academics, took the initiative for an anti-Israel boycott in London. The linguist Noam Chomsky, considered “the intellectual godfather” of the anti-Israel campaign, seeks the abolition of the Jewish State. Jewish philosopher Judith Butler is leading the movement for divestment from Israel.
The severest blow to Israel’s reputation in a decade was delivered by a Jewish judge, Richard Goldstone. Meanwhile, there is an uproar in Herzliya over renaming part of a city street after Yeshayahu Leibowitz, Israel’s most influential philosopher, who coined the term “Judeo-Nazis” to describe soldiers in the Israeli army.
Michael Lerner’s magazine, Tikkun, is probably the most virulently anti-Israel screed ever published under Jewish auspices. There are the Israeli “neo-Canaanites,” Haim Hanegbi and Meron Benvenisti, who have come to the conclusion that “Israel as a Jewish state can no longer exist.” In Paris, bestselling author Stéphane Hessel, himself of Jewish origin, is also inciting against Israel.
There are dozens of Jews leading the NGOs promoting campaigns for boycotts and sanctions against Israel. Now, a new book by the historian Deborah Lipstadt, titled The Eichmann Trial, sheds light on another Jewish philosopher who demonized Israel, Hannah Arendt, who followed the Eichmann trial as correspondent for the New Yorker magazine. Arendt accused David Ben Gurion of speaking “the same language of Eichmann” and discussed “the bankruptcy of Zionism.”
For well over a century, Jewish “liberal” and leftist intellectuals have rejected the legitimacy of harnessing the interests of the Jewish people into a political state. Only the Shoah, the extreme demonstration of evil versus Jewish powerlessness, succeeded in turning the objections of these intellectuals to Israel into an embarrassment.
The extreme damage to Israel’s reputation inflicted by these and other Jewish “liberal” and leftist intellectuals has been greatly underestimated. Indeed, with their words and actions they are boosting pernicious Judeophobic propaganda. Now, we are in an era when the Jews are once more sentenced to solitary confinement on the moral high ground, with no other nation except Israel expected to disappear from this world.
Israel must attack Hamas disproportionately. Hamas deliberately attacks civilian areas, which constitutes a war crime and is a violation of international law. Every American mother fully understands the meaning of firing at a yellow bus. A yellow bus is an international symbol that means “these are children.” Those who fire at a yellow bus with the intention of murdering children are war criminals of the worst kind and a partner for nothing.
Hence, Israel’s response to the attack should be conducted without the usual need to explain and apologize. The world can and should understand. The only immediate solution is deterrence—and deterrence can only be achieved via plenty of firepower hitting Hamas leaders as well as Hamas rocket launchers. Only by responding disproportionably can Israel show those Jews who have committed their lives to denying the legitimacy of Jewish sovereignty that they are actively supporting cowardly Islamic movements that purposely target yellow school buses with the aim of murdering children.