Meir Jolovitz
Meir JolovitzINN:MJ

More than fifty years ago, Israel Eldad, the brilliant Zionist philosopher and intellectual voice of the Jewish underground group Lehi during the British Mandate, offered a short parable in his book “The Jewish Revolution.”

In his endeavor to get the reader to understand how the truth has no meaning in the Arab world, Eldad cleverly explains how the Arabs believe their own lies, something best illustrated by the following Middle East parable:

An Arab father, trying to catch an afternoon nap in a home full of boisterous children, barks out the lie that they are giving away free olives at the local market. The loud children all run out to the market to get these “free olives.”

Moments later, in a now empty house, he too suddenly jumps up and runs to the shuk. To get some of those fictitious olives.

The line between fact and fantasy disappears. As it has, with greater occurrence, throughout the whole western world. That the Arabs believe their own myths and lies is nothing new. It seems endemic to country and culture. That the western world has joined that run for olives is troubling indeed.

Israel, of course – we have long trusted – would never make that mistake. And we would be wrong. Israel seems to be already beginning to surrender its claim to the truth, and whether for the sake of political expedience or the inordinate pressures placed upon it by its so-called friends, if that is true, it is making an intractable mistake.

The truth matters. While it ought to be, it is not always self-evident. And words matter. And they too are manipulated to serve to control the language by which all things are measured.

We have argued the obvious before: Language determines the narrative. The narrative determines the discourse or the debate. And the debate ultimately dictates the outcome of the “war of ideas.” It is the newest battleground, no less dangerous than any other.

Historically, Israel has won its wars quite decisively – on the battlefield – but has found itself more recently losing the war of words. The war of ideas. That is an undeniable fact – owing to Israel having been forced into fighting political rather than military wars. Lebanon 2006 was a prime example. Even the diplomatic wars – the many failed faux-peace negotiations have served to marginalize and malign Israel in the international arena.

The present war in Gaza is the most recent manifestation, with much deadlier consequences. This cannot be ignored.

Today, more than seven months into a war with an Arab enemy that believes every fraudulent lie that it has manufactured about Israel and the Jews, Israel is making a fundamental mistake. It is not its first and certainly will not be its last. But it might indeed be the most costly. An irrevocable political miscalculation that will come to haunt Israel as it endeavors to navigate the treacherous international political waters that have become the norm.

To be sure, any casual observer of Middle East affairs has already taken note of Israel seemingly having surrendered its argument that it needed to destroy Hamas if October 7 would not happen again. That call for the destruction, or eradication, of a genocidal Arab Nazi movement that committed atrocities that many deemed too horrific to see, was too short-lived. Even language, it seems, has a shelf-life, and the call to destroy Hamas was readily replaced by the modified call to defeat the savages. Time will tell.

And, in many political arenas, particularly with many of Israel’s so-called friends, even that softened expression was toned down to suggest that Hamas, if not fully defeated, must at least be prevented from governing Gaza henceforth. Notice how the goalposts have been moved. If any Israeli politician, general, or spokesman has suggested lately that Israel destroy Hamas, it is because it was the common refrain only a few months ago, still uttered by a slip of the tongue. “Defeat” is the present nomenclature.

The language was not the only thing that has been bastardized. So has both strategy, and tactics. Where Israel at first refused to speak of a cease-fire – because even a respite of a day or two, we were once told, would be counterproductive to Israel’s war effort – Israel has already modified its position.

Where the establishment of any humanitarian zone would be counterproductive – because the terrorists would find shelter and refuge there – Israel has now played along, even arguing that it was a good idea.

And finally, where the Palestinian Arab civilians of Gaza were at first identified – quite accurately – as either participants or supporters of the war against the Jewish State – Israel has made its most dangerous mistake, addressed below.

Each of these recalculations is done at the cost of what victory ought to look like. Compounded by the perfidious micromanagement by the Biden foreign policy team, Israeli spokesmen have begun to speak about a war “that Israel cannot afford to lose.” That language – and that attitude – is a surrender to Western pressures.

We all know the end-game of all Western pressures, as mandated by Blinken/Biden. A 2-State solution. A 2-State illusion that will be forced upon Israel as the logical follow-up to former US Undersecretary of State George Ball’s “saving Israel in spite of herself” (Foreign Affairs, April 1977).

So, the biggest mistake of all is the manner by which Israel has now begun to argue that the Palestinian Arab civilians are themselves victims of Hamas’s pernicious policies. A tragic mistake! Done to vilify Hamas on the one hand, while presenting Israel as a nation that embodies humanitarian concerns on the other, it is a mistake – a trap – that must not be lost on anyone who advocates for a strong and secure Israel.

We all know the truth. All polls, conducted by the Palestinian Arab research centers themselves, are quite clear, and seemingly quite proud. Post-October 7, a significant percentage of Palestinian Arab “civilians” boast their support for Hamas (87%, 81% and 71% in three such polls), while an unfathomable 98% said they were made to feel “more proud to be Palestinian Arabs” by the atrocities and the massacre. Meanwhile, with a strategic plan in the works in the White House, all relevant facts are purposefully ignored.

Hence, the impending disaster that is inevitable if Israel continues to engage in nonsensical talk of Palestinian Arab victims. You know what follows – a predictable expectation of a Palestinian state, championed by the United States.

After all – if Hamas is viewed as Israel’s enemy, and the Palestinian Arab residents of Gaza are not, then Hamas, once defeated, will leave “innocent” Palestinian Arabs bereft of governance. And – if they are indeed victims now freed of the Hamas despotic military arm and its coercion – then why would anyone (read: Israel) not agree to a Palestinian State? And why not - if the Palestinian Arab civilians are “innocent”? Absent Hamas, with a “moderate” Palestinian Authority waiting in the wings, they are sure to be perfect neighbors... Biden and Blinken have assured us as much.

Israel needs to retain the common sense seemingly lost – resist the pressures that have already compelled Israeli spokesmen to speak almost daily about "Palestinian Arab civilian"suffering – and axiomatically surrender the war of words and ideas. Instead, Israel must be prepared for the end-game that its fraudulent friends have in store for it.

Israel must fight a military war that leads to some form of victory. No more politics. They only usher disaster.

a. We cannot and should not ever countenance the 2-State delusion.

b. There are no innocent Gazans, just as there were no free olives in the market.

Meir Jolovitz is a past national executive director of the Zionist Organization of America, and formerly associated with the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies.