Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Please don’t trash-talk Israel. Aside from the fact that criticism of Israel is against Torah precepts, and really bad form, why would you do it when the entire weight of the world is bearing down on the Jewish State with all the hate it can muster? Do we really need it from you, too?

Look, I don’t know you. I don’t know who you are, or what you think about Israel. But if you don’t love Israel, this piece probably isn’t for you. Because this week I’m writing for the people who love Israel. And if you love Israel, this is very simple: you’d never do anything to harm her.

Yes. I know. The IHRA working definition of antisemitism says that criticism of Israel “similar to that leveled against any other country” isn’t hate, and “cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”

That’s fine. We’re not talking about haters here. We’re talking about the people who claim to love Israel. People who ought to know better. (Here’s where for some reason, I see in my mind’s eye a Scotsman on a mountaintop, in full kilt crying out, “If ye loue her, you'd ne'er slander her.”)

The sages of the Talmud were clear about this, going so far as to stand in the shade on hot days and in the sun on cold days so they and their students would not complain about Israel’s weather. Ketubot 112a:

Rabi Abba kissed the rocks of Acco. Rabi Chanina repaired the roads of Eretz Yisrael. Rabi Ami and Rabi Assi moved the students from the sun to the shade and from the shade to the sun [so they wouldn’t complain about the weather]. Rabi Chiya bar Gamda used to roll in the dirt of Eretz Yisrael, as the scripture (Tehillim 102:15) states, "For your servants desire her stones and find charm in her dirt."

Scripture is clear on this. We learn it from the story of the spies. The spies weren’t lying when they talked about seeing giants and other bad stuff during their pilot trip to Israel. They were telling the absolute truth. But there were many nice things they could have said about Israel. Instead they chose to say ugly things, and this had a chilling effect on the people, so that they became scared to make Aliyah.

It all boils down to this: The Torah prohibits speaking negative language about the Land of Israel. To use negative language in relation to Israel is a form of Lashon Hara (Evil Speech), a category of forbidden speech. Also, the Torah stipulates that Lashon Hara, by definition, is true.

The spies’ report was scary for the very reason that it was true. Giants? You’d talk about them no matter WHERE you saw them, Spain, France, Italy . . .  why would you keep the presence of giants to yourself? The report given by the spies was legitimate, but here’s the thing: it was frickin' scary.

IHRA would no doubt see the spies’ report as “legitimate criticism.” But the Torah went to great lengths to tell us it’s wrong to speak like this about Israel—that it’s damaging.

Here’s where some might say, “It’s precisely because I care about Israel that I say these things. I want to effect positive change.”

But negative reports about Israel cannot and do not effect positive change. That’s a part of what we learn from the story of the spies. Negative reports about Israel cause damage. In the case of the spies, a negative report scared people off from coming to live in Israel. And this is a kind of damage, because Israel encourages and needs Aliyah

I like to tell people: “Israel wants your warm bodies.”

Because what Israel needs isn’t a public perception that limits her ability to grow. Israel needs to be strengthened. And that means strengthening Israel's population through Aliyah.

The spies could have, and should have, talked about the delightful fruits of Israel and the way the inhabitants feared and gave honor to the spies. Today we can still take this route. We can talk about the wonders of the Israeli pomelo and the flavorful red tomatoes. We can marvel at the way our leaders face down Iraq and Iran, and appear before Congress to standing ovations. The Land of Israel has been vanquished time and time again, our land nearly, but never quite emptied of our people, yet here we are, having risen from the ashes like a phoenix.

These are the things that make a positive impression and make people yearn to be here. Stories about the wonderful people. The miracle we are. The gorgeous produce that springs from our holy soil.

Had the people but heard these potent stories that tell of Israel—stories that are true, stories that tell of what they never knew, never dreamed we would become—they’d have rushed into the Land with pure hearts, full of excitement, desire, and purpose.

Here's the thing: Israel is called the Holy Land for a reason. To be holy is to be set apart from all else, in this case, all other countries. Sacred. The IHRA definition that refers to criticism you’d say of “any other country” notwithstanding: Israel is different.

Am I saying that Israel should be held to a different standard? Hell, yes. All honor must be given. A negative report, on the other hand, is a desecration.

Don’t think it’s not. 

Because when you trash-talk Israel you're piling it on. You're increasing the hate, which is to put all Jews in danger. And at that point, who the hell cares if what you’re saying is true? The words that issue from your mouth damage public perception thereby posing an existential danger to Israel.

Do you want to effect positive change? Increase love for Israel in the world. Say nice things about her. Speak well of the Jewish State that rules over a significant part of your land.

If nothing else, don’t say anything bad. Even if you feel like you really, really want to. Seriously.

Just zip it.

Note to my readers: I will be taking a hiatus from this column as I recover from surgery for midfoot arthritis. Thanks for being my loyal readers. I hope you’ll be waiting for me on my return. In the meantime, keep it warm!

EoZ Book:"Protocols: Exposing Modern Antisemitism"


EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz





For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts in recent years


Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Interesting Blogs


#PayForSlay Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria Alice Walker American Jews AmericanZionism Amnesty Amnesty 2022 analysis anti-semitism anti-Zionism antisemitism apartheid Arab antisemitism arab refugees Arafat archaeology Ari Fuld art Ashrawi ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz Bernie Sanders Biden history Birthright book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence CAIR Campus antisemitism Cardozo cartoon of the day CEDAW Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision CJ Werleman Clark Kent coexistence Comix Community Standards conspiracy theories COVID-19 Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum David Miller Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Ellen Horowitz Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Fake Civilians 2019 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features Fervent Embrace fisking flood libel flotilla Forensic Architecture Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Garlasco Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry Ghassan Daghlas gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW hum Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF IfNotNow IJ Benjamin Ilan Pappe Ilhan Omar impossible peace incitement indigenous Indonesia infographic international law interview intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya James Zogby jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter Joe Biden John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Judith Butler Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Know How to Answer Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Mairav Zonszein Malaysia Marc Lamont Hill Marjorie Taylor Greene Masafer Yatta max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Lynk Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Naftali Bennett Nakba Nan Greer Nasser al-Lahham Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO Nick Cannon NIF Noah Phillips norpac NSU Matrix NYT Occupation offbeat olive oil Omar Barghouti Omri Boehm Only in Israel Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB philosophy poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals RealJerusalemStreets reference Reuters Richard Falk Richard Landes Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Sarah Schulman Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians Seth Rogen settlements sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shelly Yachimovich Shireen Abu Akleh Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Sovereignty Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman Tlaib TOI Tomer Ilan Trump Trump Lame Duck Test Tunisia Turkey UAE Accord UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra vaccination Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks Winstanley work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yamit Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zionophobia Ziophobia Zvi

Best posts of the past 6 months


A new, better definition of antisemitism

Blog Archive