As Israel gears up to celebrate, the demonization campaign prepares to escalate.
As the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence approaches, so the campaign of demonization against her is likely to escalate. After all, what better way to delegitimize Israel than to claim that the state was born in sin, attributing criminal charges to those who fought to create a democratic home for the Jewish people after 2000 years of exile.
As part of this campaign, anti-Israel activists are placing opinion pieces in local newspapers. An unpleasant preview of what is to come has arrived in the pages of the Charlotte Observer and Bangor Daily News.
Writing in the Charlotte Observer, Edith Garwood makes a number of claims including:
“The indigenous Arabs — Muslim, Christian, secular — were systematically driven out of areas desired for a new Jewish state.”
“Archives show armed Jewish militias expelled Arabs using home demolitions, massacres, rape, beatings, bombings and widespread threats of terror.”
“The Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, rocket fire into Israel, illegal settlement growth, checkpoints, suicide bombers, the crippled Palestinian economy, The Wall, and the lack of adequate access to medicine, food and clean water require attention, but are only outgrowths of the root problem — the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.”
Garwood concludes by calling for the recognition of the Palestinian “Right of Return” – a call for the end of Israel as a Jewish state.
Meanwhile, Bill Slavick launches an attack on US aid and support for Israel in the Bangor Daily News: “no good has come of it for 60 years except to assist Israel in becoming the bully of the block and giving us trouble.”
Again employing the inflammatory and inaccurate charge of “ethnic cleansing”, Slavick lists a litany of supposed Israeli criminal acts including:
The “slaughter” of Palestinian civilians at Kibya in 1953.
The “deliberate bombing” of the USS Liberty in 1967.
The Jonathan Pollard spy affair.
Selling arms to the South African apartheid regime.
Abetting the 1982 Lebanese militia massacres in Sabra and Shatila.
It is, of course, all too easy to put together a long list of charges and claims without providing any details, context or explanation. The average reader will be unable to make any sense of the content without resorting to extensive research.
Ultimately, however, Slavick’s polemic is aimed at the close and valued friendship between Israel and the US, as Slavick directly connects the USS Cole and September 11 attacks to US support for Israel.
Please be on the lookout for more opinion pieces leading up to Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations and send in your comments. Remind the editors that in her 60th year, there is a vibrant, democratic, and dynamic Israel that also deserves op-ed space in response to the negative diatribes that have appeared in many papers.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST
It isn’t all bad news however. In sharp contrast to the local titles above, Rocky Mountain News Editor John Temple does take a look at Israel’s life beyond the headlines:
The land of Israel that I found on a spring break visit this year was bursting with energy, in the midst of a boom only licked by the currents that are dragging down the U.S. economy.
Headlines from the region are usually of Gaza and rockets — of conflict. And, of course, that story deserves attention. But there are so many other stories, a few of which I would like to share with you today.
In this Israel, the spring air is rich with the sweet scent of the first blossoming fruit trees.
In this Israel, the streets of Jerusalem are mobbed with young and old, many in outlandish costumes, laughing and dancing, celebrating Purim, a holiday of revelry and abandon. The holiday’s story of Jewish survival is as real today as it was more than 2,000 years ago.
In this Israel, yes, the apartments have “safe rooms,” but they also have outdoor terraces abounding with flowers.