Sunday, January 15, 2012

Let's reframe the Israel debate (Point of No Return)

From the Point of No Return blog, currently behind a paywall at JPost:
We need to explode the misconception, commonly held on the Left, that Israel is an outpost of western colonialism and imperialism. Jews were indigenous to the region 1,000 years before the Islamic conquest, with an uninterrupted presence not just in Palestine, but all over the ‘Arab’ world. The Arab invasion turned native Jews and Christians into minorities in their own lands, converting them to Islam, appropriating their shrines and erasing their history. Jews ‘stealing Arab land’ is an offensive inversion of reality. Jews in 10 Arab countries were stripped of their rights and in most cases dispossessed of their property.

The terms we use undermine Jewish rights to our ancestral homeland. ‘Settlements’ and ‘West Bank’ reinforce a sense that the land has always been Arab, and paint Israelis as colonialist imposters. Yet, until their ethnic cleansing in 1948, Jews had always lived beyond the Green line. Yet it must be said that to talk of Judea and Samaria, and Israeli ‘communities’, not settlements, in no way precludes an Israeli withdrawal as part of a peace deal.

We need to restore a vital context to the discussion: the conflict is not between the Israeli Goliath and the Palestinian David. It pits six million Israelis against 300 million Arabs. In terms of values, the battle is between pluralistic, democratic Israel and the jihadists of Islam. The Palestinians are not independent agents. Economically they are propped up by international aid; strategically, they represent a pan-Arab, and increasingly pan-Islamic cause; politically, they are controlled by external regional forces.

We need to emphasize that half the Jews of Israel never left the region - they were uprooted from the Arab and Muslim world to a tiny sliver of land on the Mediterranean. If these Jews are now full and free Israeli citizens, it is largely because Israel offered them unconditional refuge from pre-existing Arab and Muslim anti-Semitism.

...We must convince western libertarians to see the self-determination of a small, indigenous Middle Eastern people – the Jews – as a progressive cause. Rejectionism of Israel is rooted in a religious and cultural view of ‘dhimmi’ Jews and Christians as inferior, forced to surrender their rights to the Muslim overlord. For a non-Muslim people to rule itself, still less Arab Muslims, is anathema. By supporting the Palestinian campaign against Israel – deceptively cloaked in the language of human rights - western liberals have become unwitting agents for the re-establishment of Arab and Muslim supremacy over a ‘dhimmi’ people.

Israel represents the national liberation of the Jews, one of the most ancient of native Middle Eastern peoples. If we are to win hearts and minds, we must reframe the debate.
Read the whole thing.