Daily Israel Report

Op-Ed: 'The New War on Israel'

A comprehensive overview of the latest trends to wage war against Israel by non-military means has just been released by Commentary Magazine.
Published: Thursday, February 27, 2014 9:33 AM


While Israel may have proven more than capable of meeting the military challenges it faces, the global campaign to extinguish the Jewish presence in the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people continues apace. Commentary Magazine’s newly released eBook "The New War on Israel" explores the contours of this determined effort to delegitimize Israel’s most basic right; that it should simply be allowed to exist. The anthology of essays and opinion pieces provides an up-to-date overview of the latest trends in the movement to wage war on Israel by other means, offering an in depth analysis of the forces at work behind this campaign. As such this new eBook offers both a way to understand this latest manifestation of the war on the Jews, but also some essential pointers for how this phenomenon can be ultimately combated.

Perhaps one of the most disturbing aspects of this trend, as highlighted in the book, is the way in which Jewish liberals, in both Israel and the Diaspora, have aided and abetted efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state first into submission, and then they no doubt hope, out of existence altogether.

Featured in the book is Joshua Muravchik’s excellent essay "Trashing Israel Daily", which uncompromisingly exposes how Haaretz and the Israeli Left more generally have provided so much of the fuel for the fire being stoked against Israel internationally.  Muravchik details how such writers as Amira Hass and Gideon Levy, among others, have used the pages of Haaretz to run a concerted campaign of disinformation and distortion so as to shamelessly demonize their fellow Jews, and even legitimate terrorism against Israeli civilians. Most chillingly of all has been the attitude of the newspaper’s editors, who behind closed doors have even called on America to “rape” Israel. Apparently, all for its own good.

These pernicious sentiments, manufactured by the Israeli Left, are then exported out to naïve and liberally minded Jews throughout the world. As Ben Cohen details in the book, this has manifested itself particularly strongly among Jewish students in America. There the Open Hillel campaign seeks to transform what have until now been safely pro-Israel Jewish student centers into just another venue for the most hatefully bigoted opponents of Israel to advance their efforts to bring down the Jewish state. Yet, astoundingly, many of those behind the campaign to bring anti-Israel boycotters into Hillel, insist that they are nevertheless still friends of Israel. 

As John Podohoretz points out in his piece, however, the J Street “Liberal Zionists” who claim to care about Israel harbor some fairly unusual notions about what being pro-Israel might mean. Inevitably, these “critical friends” of Israel, the But-However crowd as Podhoretz refers to them, always condition their support for Israel on Israel pursuing the set of polices that they favor. It seems that they consider Israel to have no innate right to expect the support of Diaspora Jewry. Rather they insist that Israel is only deserving of their backing if it will submit to embodying the liberal values they advocate.

Many of these Liberal Jews who join in the chorus of condemnation against Israel openly confess to believe that this anti-Israel campaign against the Jewish state is actually good for it. This, they claim, will provide the impetus for compelling Israel to make peace with the Arab-Islamic world through the surrender of yet more territory. Yet, as Jonathan Tobin argues in this book, it is the Palestinians who have consistently refused all efforts towards reconciliation, no matter how generous the offers from Israel have been. As such, argues Tobin, we can pretty much bank on it that PA head Mahmoud Abbas will also reject any framework that were to emerge from the current round of negotiations.

The problem, however, as also outlined in the eBook, is that the international community, and particularly the Europeans, will hold Israel accountable if and when negotiations fail. Indeed, the European Union is already drawing up a list of punishments that they intend to inflict on Israel, regardless of who it is that walks away from a peace deal.

One of the most encouraging aspects of this new book, however, is the account it provides of the successful effort to counter the boycott movement. Given the long history of how boycotts have been used to target Jews by those who have hated them down the ages, it is both telling and unsurprising that this tactic has arisen once again. However, as Adam Kredo points out, by making the case forcefully that academic boycotts, in particular, fundamentally run against all of the values free societies claim to uphold, in America at least, there has been a willingness to disavow the boycott campaign.

If this disconcerting global movement to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state is to be definitively defeated, then it is first vital that we fully understand what is driving it and how it is functioning. For the most current and informative analysis of this phenomenon, "The New War on Israel" offers one of the most comprehensive guides out there.