Jew-haters over generations have used an unusual weapon that I like to call the “anti-truth”. Consider the blood libels: accusations from the Middle Ages onward that Jews killed Gentile babies and used their blood to make matzot for Pesach. Besides the obviously horrendous nature of such assertions, they are completely contrary to Jewish practice, which absolutely forbids both homicide and the consumption of any blood. (Not to mention the practical incongruity that matzot are white and blood is red!)
An anti-truth is not a simple lie, such as we are accustomed to hearing in our post-truth, fake-news world. A lie might be a statement such as “All Jews are rich.” Since there are some rich Jews, this lie could be structured to focus solely on them and convince uneducated people that they should envy Jews or despise them for taking an unfair portion of their wealth.
But an anti-truth is different. Accusations such as “Israel is an apartheid state” or “Israel is perpetrating genocide against Palestinians” are good examples of anti-truth statements. The fact that there are no synagogues in Ramallah or Gaza City, and many mosques in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, proves that the truth is the opposite to the assertion. In fact, Gaza is an apartheid state where the practice of Judaism is forbidden.
The fact that the Palestinian Arab populations in Gaza and Judea and Samaria have risen multiple fold over 75 years proves that Israel has not been guilty of genocide. On the other hand, Hamas’ massacre of 1,200 innocent Israeli men, women and children on October 7th is clearly a genocidal act perpetrated by the Palestinian Arabs, making their accusation against Israel an anti-truth.
I used to think that there was no word for “anti-truth” in Hebrew. Then I came across the term “Eid Hamas” (false witness) in Parshat Mishpatim (Shemot 23:1). The Mechilta commentary explains the difference between a lying witness and a false witness: the former witnessed the crime but mistestified, while the latter was never actually there, so his testimony is completely fabricated.
This leads us to the conclusion that the nearest Hebrew term to “anti-truth” is the Hebrew word “Hamas”. Fascinating!
But why do our enemies use this bizarre technique against the Jewish people and only us? Perhaps because of the way that Jews have always reacted to antisemitic accusations. Because we have lived for 2,000 years in exile, we have become conditioned to take antisemitic claims very seriously and to invest heavily in their rebuttal. This makes such claims a valuable distraction technique for our enemies, who are themselves perpetrating atrocities against Jews and others. There is no clearer example of this than the South African allegations in the International Court of Justice, accusing Israel of genocide on behalf of their genocidal friends in Hamas.
If our enemies can force us into this defensive mode, explaining how we couldn't have perpetrated the atrocities of which they accuse us, it distracts us from calling them to account for their own behavior. Hamas is using reverse psychology and we are falling into this trap consistently. In fact, so successful is this technique that the Israeli government established a whole department just to deal with false accusations against the state. It was called “Misrad HaHasbara” or “the Explaining Department”. Its function was to wait for unfounded accusations from our enemies and then spend weeks and months proving that they were unfounded.
Sadly, as a PR or propaganda strategy this has always been doomed to failure. They accuse us of something we didn't do: Israel’s score is immediately taken down a level to “minus one”. We spend months proving that their allegations are fictitious, and our best possible outcome is a return to “zero”, although inevitably a retraction in small print on the back page of the New York Times does not even return us to zero, let alone establish our higher moral standards. How much attention is being paid to Israel’s explanation of how we warn Gazan civilians before we bomb Hamas targets?
So, how about adopting a different strategy for our new post-October 7th world?
We should spend less time responding to our enemies’ fallacious allegations and more time highlighting their evil. It is clear that Israel is fighting the front-line battle against Jihad in the Western world, as the only western country surrounded on three sides by Jihadi regimes that seek to wipe us off the map.
It is clear that the battle that started with Israel will soon spread rapidly throughout Europe and the West. So why not put the enemy on the defensive with true accusations of their evil intent?
Why not expose to the world the risks of supporting these regimes? Why not highlight the inequalities with which these regimes (Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Qatar etc.) exploit their native Muslim and Christian citizens?
Why not publicise the lack of human rights in all 50 Muslim nations, many of which are run by Jihadi sympathizers?
The time has come for a worldwide movement to expose the evil that has been brewing for decades in the Middle East. I propose a campaign with a slogan such as “Free the World from Jihad” that will bring good Christians and Muslims onto the streets. We need to protest the attempts of a violent minority to establish a Global Caliphate and exterminate Judaism, Christianity, and moderate Islam. The time has come for the world to awaken to the risks of Jihad.
Who will march with me?
Rabbi Leo Dee is an educator living in Efrat, and Israel’s Special Envoy for Social Initiatives. His book “Transforming the World: The Jewish Impact on Modernity” has been republished in English and Hebrew in memory of his wife Lucy and daughters Maia and Rina, who were murdered by terrorists in April 2023.