Israel has never had an abundance of support, but the little that it had is slowly being overshadowed by the rise in anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment around the world. Looking at the differences between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel rallies, it’s not hard to see why.
Here is what a pro-Palestinian event looks like:
Pictures of dead babies: It doesn’t matter how the babies actually died. Nobody is going to look into that. And how could an average person disprove the validity and veracity of an image like that, even if they wanted to?
Pictures of tanks and soldiers in places where they supposedly shouldn’t be: Does anyone really know why they’re there? Are they mindless aggressors hungry for land and blood? Or are they trying to root out the true, seditious elements that stand in the way of peace for both sides? It doesn’t matter does it? What matters is the ultra-tangible object of hate and its victim – tanks and innocent little kids “defending” themselves with rocks.
Pictures of a wall – a wall! Built to contain and oppress those displaced from their homes. What could be more potent?
These rallies give people an object or an image to hate. They scream of human rights violations, they tug at dramatic heartstrings of death and poverty. How can anyone not get behind victims of such atrocity? They don’t try to convince you of the holiness, or beauty, or global contributions of the Palestinian people; they don’t have to. By virtue of giving you something to hate, you in turn love the victim of that hate. Palestinians don’t have to say anything good about themselves as long as they say enough bad things about Israel and Jews. True or not, if you believe them, then with your hate for Israel will come a love for Palestine and the fate of its people. And they always have a visual. Whether pictures of the wall, or tanks, or soldiers, or “refugee camps,” there is always a takeaway that is easy to remember, and an object that is easy to hate. Brilliant!
Here is what a pro-Israel event looks like:
Stale falafel, dry pita, cheap hummus (none of which are Israeli foods), bad Israeli music, defensive slogans that border on the childish, and cries for an abstract peace. We wave around a flag that others have made into a symbol of oppression and occupation. We show how lovely it is in Israel.
Palestinians show images of heart rendering death and poverty, and we show images of how great life is and how hot our girls are. Then we wonder why no one really supports us or comes to our events. We wonder why nobody even opens their minds, let alone changes them, to the possibility that there is a whole other side to the conflict, and that Israel’s existence is essential.
We do not show how scary the world will be for Jews without Israel. We do not cohesively tell of our suffering. And when we do it rarely goes beyond the Holocaust, whereas the lack of a homeland has had repercussions for millennia. We give people few images and points of empathy, and present our successes in a way that looks like gloating, as opposed to the fruit of blood and sweat by brave and selfless people.
This is not an attack on Palestinians; I truly do not believe they are the enemy, neither of Jews nor of peace. This is about making an argument that is convincing and purposeful and successful, for the state of Israel and its need to exist. If by Britain’s folly there came to be a Palestinian nation (to say nothing of Iraq, Jordan and countless other newly formed Arab states), and a concept of a Palestinian people, then so be it. It is too late to convince people otherwise, and Jews are not in the business of extermination. What must, however, be made abundantly clear is that there cannot be a world without a Jewish state.
Here are the arguments we must make during our rallies, events, and marketing campaigns:
A Jewish state is not inherently racist. People of all faiths live and prosper in Israel – significantly more than in any other Middle Eastern country.
Judaism is more than just a religion. Jews are a people also bound by history and culture, one that is deeply tied to the land that Jews now call home. It is unjust to claim that Jews have no right to a homeland, particularly when that claim comes from those who do.
Jews have always been seen as expendable, and our acceptance in a given place has always been seen as temporary and as a tolerance. It is a sad fact that is as true today as it has ever been. This means that at any moment any country can decide that we are no longer welcome; that we are the antithesis to how they want the country to be populated, and we must therefore be removed from its borders – one way or another. When this happens, as it has many times in many countries over the last 2000 years, we suffer the worst of what humanity is capable.
Another Holocaust, or any of its precedents, is as likely to happen today as it was 70 years ago if there is no place for Jews to go. Had there been an Israel 70 years ago, 3 million people would absolutely not have perished, and I would argue that not even a million would fall victim, as there would have been a place for them to turn and an army to defend them.
The last argument must be presented with images of our history, with short stories of our tragic fate, not in comparison to Palestinians, but as a separate reality of our lives. There must be a tangible and visual take away from our events – something potent and memorable. Let people see our children burned, our sisters raped, our parents buried alive, our brothers tortured or laying on the street with their guts next to them. Let those that hate us then call for our destruction, and let’s see popular support rise to their defense. Let us read brief accounts of events that will so far supersede even those that are made-up for the Palestinian cause, and see how it is impossible to continue comparing Israel to the Nazis, or deny us a right to a homeland. Let those that do blush in shame for even having the thought.
If we do not make these arguments, then the ever-growing power of popular influence on policy will eventually capsize the hull of our homeland. But this does not mean that we should put forth an argument against Palestinians. They are not the barriers to peace.
If we are to focus on problems, then we should closely evaluate the roles that Hamas, Fatah, the UN, foreign Arab governments and Israeli extremists (government and otherwise) play in the perpetuation of this instability, violence, and unsustainable and miserable co-existence of our people. We cannot point fingers at average citizens, as they are neither the cause nor the engine of the problem. And if we are to focus on solutions, let us look forward, consider the realities of modern Jews and modern Palestinians, and find solutions that are viable and not rooted in disputed and religiously zealous history.