Israel´s Rhetorical Capitulations

Year after year, the Arab world would invent a new public relations theme or a new form of disinformation or a new way to misrepresent the Arab war against Israel. Then, in a matter of a few years, Israel would attempt to defeat that aggression by accepting and co-opting the very same terminologies and misrepresentations. The granddaddy of all such decisions was the agreement to accept the disinf

Contributing Author,

Writing on the wall: Death to Jews
Writing on the wall: Death to Jews
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One of the best ways to understand the current situation in the Middle East and how Israel managed to get itself into its present debacle is as a long attempt to fight Arab aggression by Israel adopting Arab slogans and rhetoric.

Let me explain.

Year after year, the Arab world would invent a new public relations theme or a new form of disinformation or a new way to misrepresent the Arab war against Israel. Then, in a matter of a few years, Israel would attempt to defeat that aggression by accepting and co-opting the very same terminologies and misrepresentations. The granddaddy of all such decisions was the agreement to accept the disinformation by the Arab world that the Arab-Israeli conflict had something to do with Palestinians. It was only well into the 1970s that the Arabs themselves thought up the idea of basing their campaign on ?Palestinian rights.? Before that, they had a far more candid approach and demanded openly that the Jews be tossed into the sea. The ?Palestinianization? of the campaign of Arab aggression arose from their realization that you can catch far more bees with self-determination than with genocide. Palestinian self-determination played the same role for Arab aggression as Sudeten self-determination did for German aggression.

In reality, the Arab world could not have cared less about Palestinians. It had already fought four wars that had nothing to do with Palestinians. When the West Bank and Gaza were under the rule of Arab countries, they were not converted into some sort of Palestinian state and there were no Palestinians demanding ?self-determination.? No bashers of Israel thought they needed any. Indeed, there were no Palestinians demanding such self-determination; they were far more likely to demand that they be annexed by Syria or Jordan.

The very adoption of the ?Palestinian cause? as the fig leaf for the Arab war against Israel was itself an act of aggression. It was immediately adopted by the anti-Jewish Left and other anti-Semites around the world. Israel's response to this rhetorical aggression should have been to refuse to discuss the conflict at all with those whose statements included the word ?Palestinian.? Israeli PR people - that is, if Israel ever had developed any PR campaign - should have repeated ten times a day that Israel's war is with the Arab countries and has no more to do with the ?Palestinians? than it does with the Hittites. Israel should have said that Palestinian ?self-determination? is as much a non-starter as ?self-determination? for the Arabs of Jaffa and Haifa and Acre. Instead, by the late 1970s Israel had acquiesced and had itself adopted the rhetorical misrepresentation of the Middle East war as some sort of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, which was precisely as accurate and sensible as would have been an agreement by Allied leaders in the 1940s to speak about World War II as the German-Czech conflict over Sudeten self-determination and rights.

While the acquiescence in accepting the rhetorical dictates of the Arab aggressors regarding the ?Palestinian? nature of the war was perhaps the very stupidest example of the genre, the same pattern repeated itself over and over regarding almost everything else. Judea and Samaria were suddenly ?occupied territories? not only in the view of the UN, but in the view of the Israeli government. East Jerusalem was ?Arab Jerusalem.? Villages of Jews on the land of Israel were suddenly ?settlements.? The ?occupation? was renamed ?the Conquest? - in Hebrew, ?Hakiboosh? - a term recollecting German occupation of Europe. The very use of the term ?Conquest? was itself an act of aggression, an attempt at delegitimization. It was as much a ?conquest? as was the American occupation of Okinawa, with the difference being that Okinawa was not ancient American land. It quickly became the standard term of the Israeli chattering classes and the Labor Party Left. If Israel had ?conquered? the ?territories,? then obviously Israel was the aggressor, just like Germany in the 1940s, right? Moreover, the solution to any conquest is to end it. What more is there to discuss? Israel's demands to discuss other ?things? must thus be, in itself, an unjust colonialist outrage.

Following that, came the recent expansion of ?Palestinian? as the name applied to Israel's own Arabs. If Palestinians needed self-determination, the application of the term to Israeli Arabs was clearly little more than the denial of the legitimacy of Israel's existence and the demand for Israeli Arabs to exercise national empowerment in the form of annihilating Israel. The very use of the term was an aggression and an outrage, yet it was adopted in Israel, first by the Left, then by the media and even by the mainstream political center.

Other rhetorical aggressions enjoyed the same fate of adoption and co-optation. Israeli media and political leaders agree that Israel's creation caused a ?catastrophe? and ?suffering? for the Arabs. Israel is guilty of ?discrimination? against the Arabs. Israeli Jews have been ?insensitive,? failing to understand the ?Other.? Israel needs to be inclusive, multi-cultural. The Arab war of aggression is really a struggle for ?civil rights.? The Arabs have their own ?narrative,? as legitimate as the Jewish one. Although apparently the Sudeten ?narrative? can actually still be challenged as false. Israel needs to ?understand? Arab rage. It needs to abandon its quest to rule over another ?people.?

The presentation of the facts that the Palestinians are hardly a ?people?, were never even misrepresented as such by themselves or the Arab world until the 1970s and that Israel's battle for survival is hardly motivated by any desire to rule over another ?people? is a PR battle Israel long ago lost through voluntary forfeiture. Israel has never attempted to debunk the rhetorical aggressions of the Arabs. It is not only the Israeli media, under solid Far-Leftist hegemony, it is the mainstream politicians as well. In case after case, Arab disinformation became the unchallenged consensus, in the world and even in Israel, comprising the fundamentals for the ?understanding? of the Middle East conflict, thanks to the glib willingness of the Israeli elite to adopt for itself the very rhetorical aggressions of the Arab fascist world.

This extends itself into the events of the current era: The whole trick to achieve a settlement is to get Arafat to cooperate, to arrest the terrorists, to take action. Israel needs to meet with Arafat to get Arafat to fight terror. The key to the conflict is to negotiate a new deal with the PLO and, of course, Palestinians are ?refugees? in need of resettlement. ?There are no military solutions to terrorism? and the only diplomatic way to stop terror is through granting the PLO a state. The whole mess is simply a ?cycle of violence.?

Each and every such rhetorical contortion is motivated by nothing more than the desire to legitimize the PLO atrocities against Jewish civilians.
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Dr. Steven Plaut teaches at the Graduate School of Business, University of Haifa, Israel.


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