Reframing the Middle East narrative: my ten-point guide
I wrote a couple of weeks ago that those trying to defend Israel in the court of public opinion needed a strategic rethink.
Defending Israel against the calumnies being thrown at it is to concede defeat from the start by engaging upon ground defined by its enemies. Instead, Israel’s defenders need to go onto the front foot. They need to do to its enemies what is done to Israel: to paint them as extreme, unconscionable and a mortal threat to life and liberty. But with one key difference: that whereas Israel’s enemies do this through lies, bigotry and irrationality, its defenders should do it through truth, morality and reason.
They should do it by repeated use of high-level speeches, press conferences, videos and other platforms to take the attack to the enemy: proactively and aggressively to destroy the premises on which they base their attacks by redefining who is truly victim and victimiser in the Middle East; reclaiming the language from those who have hijacked it and inverted its meaning in order to twist the western mind; and proactively and aggressively to attack named governments and politicians, media, intellectuals and others for supporting the “Palestinians”’ unconscionable agenda, using their own values to hold their feet to the fire.
Here’s my handy, cut-out-and-keep ten-point guide to the essential messages that need to be got across by proactive, aggressive and repeatedly reinforced initiatives in order to reframe the narrative.
- Support indigenous people. The Jews are the indigenous people of Israel. While many others have lived there over the centuries, the Jews are the only people – as a people – for whom it was ever their national kingdom, and the only people still around today who had their homeland there taken away from them by force.
- Stop Arab colonialism. Historically, Arabs and Muslims were colonial invaders who occupied the land of Israel by force. The “Palestinians” are Arab colonialists who aim once again to occupy the land and wipe out the indigenous inhabitants, the Jewish people, from their own homeland.
- End the lie of Palestinian identity. There never was a Palestinian people. Palestine was the insulting name given to Judea by the Romans. The Arabs living there at the time of the Balfour Declaration identified themselves mainly as southern Syrians or else just as Arabs. Palestinian identity was invented solely to rewrite history and destroy the Jewish claim to the land of Israel. Anyone who supports the Palestinian cause is therefore an accessory to the destruction of Israel and the Jewish right of national self-determination.
- Denounce anti-Zionism as anti-Judaism. The Jews are a nation. Many fail to realise that because they think Judaism is merely a religion. The essence of Judaism, however, is the religious obligations of the Jewish nation within the land of Israel which is sanctified to that purpose. Denying the Jewish nation its own land is therefore a direct assault on Judaism itself.
- No platform for racist ethnic cleansing. The “Palestinians” repeatedly declare that not one Jew will be allowed to live in a state of Palestine. Around 20 per cent of Israel’s population consists of Israeli Arabs with full civil rights. Why can’t a future state of Palestine be 20 per cent Jewish? All who promote the Palestinian agenda, and all who say a Palestine state cannot happen while the Israeli “settlers” live in that territory, therefore endorse racist ethnic cleansing.
- No platform for national extermination. The Palestinian agenda is not for a state of Palestine to exist alongside the state of Israel. It is instead to destroy Israel. This is demonstrated continuously by the repeated rejection of the offer of a Palestine state in favour of mass murder campaigns and war; by the “Palestinians”’ maps and insignia showing Palestine replacing Israel; by their teaching their children to hate and murder Jews and steal their land. All in the west who support this agenda should therefore be called out for supporting, at least implicitly, the attempted extermination of a country.
- Defend Temple Mount against Islamist cultural cleansing. The site of the ancient Jewish Temple is the holiest place in Judaism. The “Palestinians” have repeatedly tried to erase the proof of its centrality to Judaism by vandalising the site and destroying the archeological evidence. They have also turned it into a military arsenal from where they repeatedly try to murder Jewish worshippers while inciting Islamic holy war. This should be called out for what it is: jihadi incitement, and attempted Islamist cultural cleansing akin to the destruction by Isis of ancient religious shrines in Iraq.
- Uphold justice and international law. Israel is the only Middle East country which adheres to democracy and the rule of law and upholds human rights. Israel’s actions are lawful and principled. It should prove it by laying out the historical and legal evidence of international treaties and other relevant legal instruments, and show that it is the despotic and tyrannical enemies of Israel who repudiate law and human rights. Anyone who wants to promote the rule of law and human rights in the Middle East must support Israel against those who so cynically turn law and justice inside out.
- Bring war criminals to justice. All decent people should call for Hamas to be held responsible for war crimes, both in launching murderous attacks against Israeli civilians and for using the people of Gaza as cannon fodder and human shields.
- Stand against genocidal Muslim antisemitism. The most vile and crude antisemitism, much of it using Nazi tropes and images and exhibiting paranoid fantasies depicting the Jews as a cosmic conspiracy to harm the world in their own interests, pours out of the Muslim world, including the “moderate” Palestinian Authority, in an unstoppable torrent. Yet astoundingly, this receives virtually no attention whatsoever in the west. So there should be a campaign to bring these images and diatribes to public attention and thus demonstrate two crucial points: that the Muslim world doesn’t hate the Jews because it hates Israel but rather it hates Israel because it hates the Jews; and second, that this Muslim antisemitism is a major driver of the jihad against the west.
- Stop media collusion with mass murder. The strategy of Hamas is to engender the deaths of as many as possible whom it can pass off as Palestinian innocents, in order to produce media coverage which induces revulsion and condemnation of Israel in the west. Those many media outlets and journalists that do Hamas’s bidding to the letter, failing to report the full context of these deaths or the way these spectacles are cynically staged and presenting the Hamas narrative as factually true without question, should be called out by name as accomplices to mass murder.
If these messages were proactively introduced into public debate at a high enough level to ensure they were reported and repeated, and if individuals and government and media outfits supporting and promoting this unconscionable anti-Jewish agenda were named and shamed for doing so, the climate of opinion over Israel would change for the better very quickly.
What’s everyone waiting for?