Answering Israel’s critics – 1

March 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm Leave a comment

Getting past the blinkers


Author of “How to avoid Armageddon”

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Recently an Englishman sent me a lengthy e-mail, denouncing Israel’s arrogance and aggression against the Palestinians. He repeated the usual accusations against Israel – that it ruthlessly kills innocent civilians and evicted them from their land in 1948. He expressed his thoughts politely in concise, well-written language. He made his attitude towards Israel clear by stating that it would have been better had Israel not been established. This opinion, he wrote, was reinforced by the events of June 1967 when Israel furthered its expansion when it conquered the West Bank.

I replied: “What you omitted was the fact, well documented by neutral and Arab sources of the time, that it was the Arabs who started both wars, with the intention of destroying Israel. The Jews of Israel did what normal nations have always done in such situations: they defended themselves. The irony is that in 1948, the Arabs fled when they realized that the war wasn’t going in their favor and they expected that the Jews would do to them what they intended to do to the Jews. This is just one aspect of the conflict that people either don’t know or have chosen to ignore. Check it out honestly. Indeed, truthfulness is the key to solving this tragic conflict. Intentional or unwitting omission of vital facts is a form of falsehood. It doesn’t help the Arabs in any way. I’ll be glad to hear from you.”

He obliged promptly: “Interesting facts,” he wrote. “But does the aforementioned have any form of legitimacy within the region. Could it be possible that if it wasn’t for arms sales to Israel from the UK and USA then Israel couldn’t possess such might and power ? Aren’t we getting confused between right wing Zionism and their ‘Final Solution’, whilst constantly playing on the terrible evevts of WW2 ? Sorry, But the way I see it is that Mossad swan around the World like the New Gestapo.”

 His reply included many of the usual ploys that Israel’s critics use when their accusations are challenged. They don’t relate to what you’ve written. They evoke Israel’s purported savagery. In this case, in a classic inversion of the respective attitudes that Arabs and Israelis have for each other, the writer brought up the “Final Solution!” And then, in their confusion, they accuse us of being confused.

I always try and engage these people. I do so politely and try to stick to the point as briefly as possible. This way there might be a small chance that one or two of my points will hit their mark. I know that it is highly unlikely that I’ll be able to change the other person’s negative opinion of Israel completely. My aim is to chip away at their wall of stubbornness, ignorance, bias and probable hatred. I do this by applying logic and an appeal to the other person’s sense of common decency and honesty. I try to present facts as accurately as possible. I never say the other person is wrong in his or her conclusions. I try to point out the factual misconceptions that there conclusions are based on. And I try not to get too emotional. I allow myself a controllable level of excitement that spurs a lively, but respectful response from me.

So I replied: “You’re probably right when you question the legitimacy of situation among the other peoples of the region. But that doesn’t invalidate what I wrote. Like I said, it can all be checked out in neutral sources as well as in books and newspaper articles written by Arabs of that time. Today, Arabs are more reticent about what had been their declared objectives during first wars between us. Although Hamas, Hizbollah, El Khaida and Iran make not bones about their ambitions to destroy Israel. Much of the rest of the Arab world undoubtedly shares these ambitions.

“About arms sales to Israel. It might please you to learn that the UK has never been a significant supplier of arms to Israel. Indeed, the little it has sold Israel’s defence forces was more in the nature of non-combat accessories of minor importance. Even a request to purchase gas-masks was turned down. Whatever arms Israel has ordered has come mainly from the USA, and has been for its very survival. Is that a wrongdoing? Incidentally, the Arab nations have acquired infinitely more arms from all the major arms manufacturing countries. Outnumbered 50-1 in people and lacking any significant natural resources in comparison with the immense oil wealth of the Arab nations Israel is at a serious disadvantage in terms of materiel.

“Incidentally, every Israeli wishes we didn’t have this need to maintain an expensive military. The enormous funds could go to other important issues such as education, culture, research, health care, better housing for all, etc.

“About the correlation between the Nazi Holocaust and Israel, this was such a truly devastating event in our history, with about half of the Israeli population, having lost family during the Holocaust. (Here, as someone whose family was brutally disseminated by the Nazis, I had to restrain myself from explaining to him in less measured terms what an utter jerk he is.) A small percentage of the Jews of Europe did somehow managed to survive. Many wanted to have nothing more to do with Europe and came to Israel. Until not so long ago, it was quite common to see people with those concentration camp numbers tattooed on their forearms. Surely you can understand that Israelis have learnt to take seriously any declarations by others that we need to be destroyed. Talking about “a final solution” regarding what Israel wants to do is not at all apt. (I hope that because I expressed myself euphemistically, I will still be able to engage this critic.)

“About the Mossad, well, America has its CIA. Britain has its MI5. Israel needs the Mossad in order to … isn’t it obvious why we need an equivalent of the CIA and the MI5. I had to chuckle at your use of the term Gestapo. (Again, we preferred not to lambast the man so that we can continue dealing with him.)

“We all see things through our own narrow perspectives. I can’t really know on what you base your perspective. But it does seem to be based on an incomplete grasp of the situation and its background. It is probably also influenced by the terrible images one sees of Arab towns wrecked by Israeli retaliatory raids. The television screen gives images, but its background material is invariably sadly skewed. Media bias seems to be indicated. Why this is, is in itself is a long story. The point is that people tend to believe what we want to believe and oh boy what the media shows jibes nicely with the emotional wants of many people. But the media hardly ever shows the unending attacks against Israel that precipitate those retaliatory attacks, which lead to condemnation of Israel by a large part of the world – good people like yourself included. That’s part of the strategy of Israel’s adversaries. To provoke and make sure the retaliatory raids kill civilians, to have cameras on hand and the hate-fest continues.

“I have just one hope as far as our correspondence is concerned and that is that you will be able to question the notions you have about how bad we Israelis are, including those images of Gestapo, Final Solution and Mighty Power. I am pretty sure that you are a good, honest person for whom truthfulness (I didn’t say “truth” because that’s too abstruse a concept) but for whom truthfulness is an important quality. Only through a spirit of truthfulness will we be able to solve the Arab-Israel conflict. And it is only in this spirit that humanity will be able to solve all the other serious existential threats to our very future.

“Thank you for reading up till now. Thank you for your insights. I look forward to hearing your response.”

Unfortunately he has not responded yet. I hope he is trying to pen an appropriate repartee. It will be a pity if he discontinues our correspondence – which is all too often the case with these people. Rather than examine what really happened in the past in order to check out the validity of their knee-jerk condemnation of Israel, they usually prefer to continue wearing their blinkers. If I don’t hear from him, I shall send him a reminder and politely suggest that we continue our exchange of ideas.

Some of these people spread their mendacious vitriol to hundreds and even thousands of people through Facebook, Twitter and blogsites. The damage to Israel is significant. And indirectly these duped dupers prevent a resolution of the Israel-Arab conflict and thereby perpetuate the misery of Arabs of the region. (To be continued)

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Entry filed under: Blogroll, dangeous lies and halftruths, How to avoid Armageddon, In order to survive, Solutions for Palestine, Things not mentioned in the press. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

How can we avoid Doomsday ISRAEL A NAZI AND APARTHEID STATE?

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