In the past 3 months I have made a complete about face in my views on Israel.
Coming from the Left, and having completely believed the "progressive" makeover of Palestinian leaders like Arafat by the Russians - really rather amazing when you learn his pro-Nazi roots - I saw Israel through the distorting lens of a colonial scenario: white settlers driving the natives off their lands. Palestinians=American Indians. I can *remember* how that all looked - how I thought - quite vividly. I believe my previous mindset is held by millions. That's one reason I'm useful. And I know how ineffectively people combated my ignorant and a priori "opinions" - how feebly I was argued against for 30 - thirty! - years. When the answers were all there, and devastating, and frankly, I didn't know what I was talking about.
This is NOT a left-right issue. It is the brilliance of those managing the Palestinians that they have made it into a left-right issue, because the left always has the moral advantage (especially the current so-very-self-righteous Left.)
I came to see through this totally fabricated image of the Middle East - and fabricated is the correct word, like an advertising campaign - because I study media distortions and so, when Jenin happened, I could tell in a minute that the media was lying. I studied NY Times and Washington Post stories on the Bethlehem church "refuge" (!) - first time in history that an armed takeover staged for publicity purposes is an act of "sanctuary"! - and saw all the telltale signs of deliberate distortion.
This shocked me - it didn't fit my mental construct, which was: Israel represents the establishment, Palestinians have no friends in high places. It seemed that Palestinians had friends in *very* high places. Comments by UN officials - outlandish comments such as that Jenin was worse than any earthquake (Commissoner Larson) - confirmed that demonization was occurring. Then I saw utterly un-objective attacks from Human Rights Watch. They were saying really vicious - and illogical, totally absurd - stuff.
I started studying, which is what I do, research, and have concluded:
1) There is an organized effort in the media and by others to demonize Israel;
2) This is linked to a massive increase in anti-Semitism. The idea that the Palestinian movement is not anti-Semitic is absurd; ditto the idea that the Left-organized support for Palestinians is not anti-Jewish. (Leftist groups recently attended a meeting in Baghdad after which the Iraqi leaders issued a statement from the conference including the remark that Israel was defiling the holy shrines of Christians and Muslims. Straight out of Protocols of Zion. I have been checking all English-language media through Nexis and it is amazing how frequently Arafat refers to "our churches and mosques". Clear appeal to hatred of Jews. Especially bizarre when you recall that he has forced the Christians out of Bethlehemâ€¦)
3) Both these campaigns - demonization of Israel and the overt anti-Semitism - are conducted under cover of the "left" as opposed to 60 years ago when anti-Semitism was a dividing line between right and left;
4) All this is justified in the minds of people who would never wish to be seen as anti-Semitic based on a tremendously successful PR campaign which has spread (at least) five lies:
A) The lie that the Palestinian movement is in its origins a progressive "national liberation" struggle when in fact its origins are - and can be easily proven to be - Nazi with clear roots in effort to keep Jews in the nightmare of dhimmi status;
B) That Jews began the cycle of violence during the 1948 war when in fact the cycle was manifestly begun with pogroms against Jews in the Middle East - both of indigenous Jews and secondarily against settlers - in the 1920s and '30s with biggest attacks on indigenous Jews in the 1940s;
C) That the only people who have lost their land are Palestinians dispossessed in 1948 whereas in fact close to a million indigenous (that is, aside from Sephardic) Jews were forcibly evicted - under thereat of death - from Arab countries, with attendant loss of many billions of dollars in property and HUNDREDS of miles of land - and yet Palestinian claims are never balanced with these equal or more extreme claims - these Jews are non-people;
D) That Jews were well treated under Muslim rule, whereas in fact for 1300 years (since the Muslim conquest of the mid East) Jews were treated as dhimmi, similar to but at some points much worse than Black people were treated in the post Civil War South.
E) That Israel is a white settler state, whereas in fact even with the arrival of the Jewish immigrants from Russia, half the Jews in Israel are neither Sephardic nor Ashkenazi but indigenous black and brown Jews, most of them forcibly evicted from Arab and North African countries since 1940. These are NOT "Arab Jews" - they are Jews. They are the original article.
I believe that many people in the world are anti-Israel because they believe the myths touched on above, myths pushed not only by Arab leaders (understandably) but even by friends of Israel! The way to change their views - what changed *my own* views - is to show them overwhelming evidence that they have been lied to. If you pussy foot about this, playing to political correctness in what you argue, or tell half the truth in an effort to "be polite" based on the false hope that if you do that the other side will also moderate its arguments - never happen! - or if you fail to document with overwhelming evidence, then you are like the doctor who under-prescribes the antibiotic - you strengthen the disease. It is one thing to wish to have peace. But for that to be possible Jews need not only military strength but also to win respect and for that the true story must be told, especially about these indigenous Jews, about the Arab death threats which are on record, made during the UN debates on partition in 1947, and which the Arab leaders followed up on, and so on, so that people can see that this is not a case of brutal occupiers and angelic Indians, etc..
I have experimented with raising these arguments on the left, and have been sharply attacked by some - though I have also had some important successes. But either way, *nobody* has an answer to these points, because there is no answer.
I did *not* change my mind because I am Jewish - perhaps I should be ashamed of this fact, but it's the truth - I changed my mind *despite* the fact that I am Jewish, despite my strange tendency to bend over backwards to see the anti-Jewish point of view.
I changed my mind because the facts I chanced upon showed me I was wrong.
It is my belief that the issues I have raised above are a matter of life and death - that the clearest indication of the intentions of the Arab leaders, including Arafat, and of forces which assist them is the attempt they have made to paint themselves as good and Israel/Jews as evil - which lays the political basis to justify a slaughter of Jews. I don't believe any other construct makes sense. Thus compromise on telling the truth is even worse than compromise on the (in my opinion) dangerous notion of a Palestinian state - much worse because this is a public relations war, first and foremost. To justify jihad bombing, it is necessary for them to convince the public that it is being done against Nazis. First totally whip that argument WITH FACTS and then, once the other side is demolished, you can indulge your quaint desire to be kind.
Timidity or politeness or fear of being politically incorrect in refuting these myths is the same as pulling your punches in a prizefight. You lose. Finding ways to refute these myths with overwhelming evidence and with no concessions to political orthodoxy - anybody's political orthodoxy - and getting this to the most people possible - left, right, center, who gives a damn what their politics is, these are matters of *fact* not to be modified by "correctness" - this will decide whether we can halt and reverse the increasing anti-Semitism/Anti-Israelism, or not.
They slaughtered my relatives in Lithuania in W. W. II. It is shocking that I am only now remembering that I wasn't supposed to let that happen again.
By the way, in the attacks I have been receiving from the Left, I detect a not-so-small fear that these arguments will start getting widely put forward and the pro-palestinian love fest on the Left will collapse like a house of cards. I think it will. And once they are beaten on the Left, that's it.
The other side has had a swell time because nobody has challenged their myths. Well, party's over.
(That's my real name. The guy at Ellis Island couldn't pronounce the Polish word for Paris, so he said to my grandpa, "Jew? Israel!")