Narrative is everything in information warfare.
If you give your enemy the narrative, then the game is tilted in his favor from the start.
Palestinian Arabs constantly repeat the myth that they are an indigenous people and we stole their land. This is an article of faith in Europe, the UK, American campuses, Tel Aviv coffee houses and the White House.
Our officials act as though they believe this. They offer to ‘return’ land to the ‘Palestinians’ in return for security from their terrorism. They feel guilty about ‘Palestinian refugees’ whose ancestors mostly left to escape a war that they and their allies started and who were kept in refugee camps because the Arab states and (later) the PLO wanted them there to be an army against Israel.
The myth is made-up history. They aren’t indigenous. They are mostly Arabs from Syria, Egypt and other places whose ancestors arrived here in the 19th and 20th centuries. And they would have lost nothing if they and their allies hadn’t waged war against us. We don’t owe them anything.
The PLO pretended to want a peaceful state alongside Israel. Our leaders, again, acted as though the believed this. We brought it back from the dead, gave it a base next door to us, armed and funded it. But it is the same terrorist gang that it was in 1972, when it murdered our athletes in Munich. Thousands of Jews (and not a few Arabs) died because of this monumental stupidity.
Two myths — the existence of a wronged “Palestinian people” and the peaceful intentions of the PLO. They are the received wisdom in most of the world. Why shouldn’t they be? We and most of our leaders don’t dispute it!
Even PM Netanyahu, who certainly knows that he can’t trust the PLO, acts as though it is possible to give up land to some kind of ‘demilitarized’ Palestinian entity in return for quiet.
It isn’t. Give them a base and they will fortify it and attack us from it. But more important, give them anything and it legitimizes their always-escalating demands. The so-called “peace process” was nothing but an extortion process.
We need to recover from the mistake of Oslo, to tell the world over and over that we do not recognize the “Palestinian people” as an entity that has the right to demand anything from us, and that we consider the PLO (and Hamas and all the other factions waving their AKs in the air) as terrorists who are guilty of multiple murders and crimes against humanity.
Many people say there is value in cooperating with the PLO against Hamas. They are enemies and the enemy of our enemy, etc. I think it’s not worth it. Our relationship to both the PLO and Hamas should be the same: massively disproportionate response to terrorism.
It is also important to tell the Arab citizens of Israel that we won’t treat them as a national minority. They are an ethnic and religious minority, Arabs and Muslims or Christians, who have civil rights as citizens of the state. They are not “Palestinians” who have special political rights. Unlike virtually all the Arab states, who have treated Jews as a (hated) national minority and expelled them, we will not expel them just for being Arabs. We do require that they don’t try to murder us.
So they feel oppressed living in a Jewish state? Where on earth is the Arab or Muslim state in which Arabs are as free to do as they please as Israel? What kind of rights do they have in Egypt or Saudi Arabia? Is the fact that we sing Hatikva more painful than the real repression in those countries? This shows that it is not a question of wanting to be free of oppression, but rather a desire to be free of Jews.
Finally, we needn’t be ashamed of our own identity as a Jewish state, the state of the Jewish people. Unlike the “Palestinians,” we do have a history. This does not agree with what Natan Sharansky calls the “post-identity” philosophy, but who cares? The Europeans, who are the great proponents of eliminating national identities and becoming world citizens, are watching their formerly great civilization die, both by demographic attrition and the thousand cuts of terrorism, murder and rape.
I am for telling the truth, and negotiating on the basis of the truth. If we don’t do this, who will?
The post-Zionist narrative in Israel has been so lethal that the vote on the proposed Jewish State Basic Law has now been put off for a week.
On the Israeli Left, the objections to the law seem to be that a Jewish State somehow embodies ethnocentric chauvinism and racism and it discriminates against minorities.
The objections really hide a visceral hostility to Zionism and to the very concept of a Jewish State itself. These are the same people who see nothing wrong with a Judenrein Arab state but they take umbrage at the fact Jews are a nation, too as much deserving of respect and admiration as the other side’s national aspirations.
In a word, they oppose legislating recognition of Jewish national self-determination into Israel’s highest laws in part because it contradicts their own post-Zionist beliefs but also because Israel’s very existence as a Jewish State happens to offend their leftist friends abroad.
That’s exactly why this law is needed to change this dangerous narrative and let the Palestinian Arabs and the world know Zionism is the core of Israel’s national consensus and Jewish peoplehood and all that comes with it, is here to stay. The significance of this debate in Israel involves a lot more than how the country is described; they concern its identity and its future.
In the wake of the Har Nof massacre, it could not have come at a more propitious time.
This all true and right. And it addresses one major problem we have, that of making our just case seem a just case to others.
It also points out how far the world has gone in the direction of buying the big Palestinian lie.
It addresses one major problem, but does not address an even greater problem which I and many others believe now has no realistic and largely beneficial solution.
That problem is that Israel has no politically satisfactory answer as to how be a Jewish and democratic state if its Arab minority is very large.
Here I would point out that the question of what is large or too large is key. For Israel already has within the Green Line an Arab minority of twenty- one percent. Much of this minority is not loyal to the state and would have it destroyed. The greatest share of the minority does not accept the idea of Israel as a Jewish state.
As if this is not enough one only need add to this a good share of the Arabs in Judea and Samaria.
PS Here is an issue our politicians do not like to mention and take responsibility for. The Arab population of Jerusalem today is thirty- seven percent of the total population, considerably larger than it was in sixty- seven. This has happened while we have been in control, while we have been celebrating Jerusalem as ours.
We cannot afford a two- state solution which the other side does not want. But a one- state solution means something close to a bi-national state.
Our biggest problem is the one no one has an answer to.
That’s why I think Caroline Glick’s proposal is not viable. 20% is almost too much already. I favor Bennett’s idea of annexing Area C. I also think we can kick out those who support terrorism. Maybe the Har Nof atrocity will help us to see that this is necessary.
Agree with you 1000%, Vic, across the board…’cept one minor thing:
Though much is made of this, I don’t buy that the Europeans truly see themselves as ‘post nationalist world citizens’. Yes, this is what the hipster Eurotrash types and the leftist politicians talk about, but the rise of grassroots-supported right-wing political movements across Europe – the UKIP in Britain, the National Front in France, the Freedom Party in the Netherlands – calls this characterization into question. Recently, there have been major demonstrations in Germany AGAINST Islamism. Some people there are finally starting to gut it up, at long, long last.
I’m sure you’ve watched Pat Condell videos….check out his recent installment on Sweden. That is interesting, but what is more interesting is the comments section in which actual Swedes contribute ah, ‘local flavor’.
A large part of the “European street” is not at all happy with this ‘post-nationalist’ nonsense. Many are trying to fight back. I’m not holding out massive hope here, but perhaps Europe should not be written off just yet. Maybe it is a case of ‘too little, too late’, but this has not been conclusively proven to be the case. Time will tell.
The ‘laws of political physics’ seem to be operating here in the U.S. You got your wish as articulated in one of your recent columns, regarding the recent mid-term elections. The next U.S. president could be of a very, very different character than Obama. It will be interesting to see how such leadership may impact Europe.
Happy Thanksgiving, Vic, and all other readers here who are celebrating the same (I know at least some American-born Israelis do…).