The Effort to Delegitimize Israel

The Holocaust Conference in Teheran this week is one step in an effort to prepare for an attack on Israel that would bring about its destruction.

Shalom Freedman

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Arutz 7
As prelude to the Shoah, there came vicious Nazi propaganda aimed at convincing the German people and their allies that the Jewish people is the enemy of Mankind. Now, as preliminary to the physical attack that could "wipe Israel from the map," comes an Iranian campaign to delegitimize Israel in the eyes of the world. The Holocaust Conference in Teheran this week is one step in this effort to prepare for an attack on Israel that would bring about its destruction.

The leading figure in this campaign is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He has spoken repeatedly of what he calls the illegitimacy of Israel and the crime of its creation. As his country works to achieve nuclear capability, he is not shy about claiming that soon Israel will not exist.

But Ahmadinejad is not alone. Even the so-called more moderate previous president of Iran, Hashemi Rafsanjani, contemplated a nuclear exchange with Israel in which Iran would survive. In fact, a good share of the Islamic world and most of the Arab world has long called Israel "illegitimate" and attempted its physical destruction. Israel does not exist by the grace or good feelings of Mankind, but rather by the power of its own arms to contend with the physical threats of those who would destroy it.

Yet, it is important to note that a good share of the Arab world through the years became more and more convinced that Israel could not be destroyed. This was the basis of its recognition by Egypt and Jordan. What Ahmadinejad has done is revived the hope of destroying Israel. He has made it seem a more realistic possibility and enabled an increase in fanatic dreams of its destruction.

Outside the Arab and Islamic worlds, the legitimacy of Israel has long been accepted, especially in the West. One of the alarming developments of recent years is that there, too, the denials of Israeli legitimacy are increasing. This is most alarming in the country that is Israel's one, true bastion of support: the United States. Most recently, there has been a whole rash of attacks on Israeli supporters, on the Israeli Lobby AIPAC, and on the so-called neocons for pushing US involvement in Iraq. Along with this, comes a whole series of claims that the Israeli lobby and, in fact, Israel's very existence are responsible for the stigmatizing of the United States in the Middle East.

'If only there weren't Israel,' some people seem to be saying, 'then the United States could be in fine relations with everyone.' This line of argument is not only that of academics like the infamous Walt and Mearsheimer, but also the line of important political figures like James Baker. The simplicity and falseness of this argument (the Middle East is one of the most tribally conflict-ridden areas of the world. The Shia-Sunni divisions are in themselves a dividing rift throughout) does not diminish its attractiveness. For many Americans would like a simplistic explanation of why there is no real success in Iraq, and why the Americans seem to be so hated, not simply in the Middle East, but in other places, as well.

Former President Jimmy Carter is another one who has, without calling for Israel's destruction, nonetheless moved toward delegitimizing it. In placing the main onus of blame on Israel for the situation of no-peace with the Palestinian Arabs, he seems to say that Israel's existence is morally questionable. This may not be outright delegitimization, but it is a step in that direction.

One great danger for Israel is, of course, that it would appear to be isolated completely, no longer having US backing, and thus be 'attackable,' with enemies facing no adverse response aside from that Israel might make itself.

When President George Bush formed his coalition in the First Gulf War, he deliberately excluded Israel. This was a step in the wrong direction. Now Baker, according to the Washington Post, hopes to induce George Bush Jr. to convene a Middle East peace conference without Israel; a conference whose goal would be to extract Israeli concessions, withdrawals from the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria, as it created a Palestinian Arab state. This would be a major step toward weakening Israel and setting it up for an attack, not necessary by non-conventional means, aimed at its destruction.

Against these delegitimization efforts, Israel and its supporters must fight with clarity and determination. We must be forceful not only in asserting the justice of Israel's cause, but we must make clear to all the danger to the freedom of the world presented by radical Islam in all its forms. And in that regard, the first priority is preventing Iran from attaining nuclear weapons, a step that would be disastrous for Mankind as a whole.

At the moment, as the dangers mount, we need a courageous, determined and imaginative leadership.