Pro-Israel but anti-David Horowitz

| Staff Columnist

I support Israel whole-heartedly. I recognize that it has flaws—building illegal settlements and populating them with ultra-religious far-right zealots—and whether it should have been established in the first place is a question for the ages.

But as a whole, it’s a respectable nation, certainly when compared to its neighbors Egypt and Syria, which are in the process of jailing and massacring their people, respectively. If nothing else, Israel’s actions aren’t any more reprehensible than those of the Palestinians, who have elected terrorist groups in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank that insist on lobbing rockets into Israel, call for Israel’s total destruction and conveniently ignore the fact that much of “Palestine” is, in fact, in Jordan. But even I take issue with the David Horowitz Freedom Center advertisement. I agree with much of what it says, but its language is so outrageous that I find it impossible that its aim is to win anyone over at all. Reading it, I find it hard to not take the side of the Palestinians against an obviously black-and-white pro-Israel portrayal of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

My main problem is with the headline: “The Palestinians’ Case Against Israel is Based on a Genocidal Lie.” It illustrates the extreme right’s goal to correlate Israel with the world’s Jewish population and to make anti-Israel sentiments synonymous with anti-Semitic ones. The two are nowhere close to the same: Israel is a heterogeneous society, composed of Jews, Arabs and a grab-bag of other nationalities, but even if its population were 100 percent Jewish, hating a government has rarely been the same as hating its people. Even those who call for Israel’s destruction say little about a genocidal rampage. The president of Iran, whose anti-Israel blustering frequently makes headlines, would support its relocation to Europe or North America.

Several more issues arise in the last paragraph. The advertisement states that the Arab League is responsible for the Palestinian bid for statehood. This is simply misinformation: The Arab League, while it may have officially endorsed the Palestinian bid for statehood, is not responsible for it. The Palestinians are doing this of their own volition, without outside pressure, and certain members of the Arab League—notably Jordan—are opposed to the move.

The last paragraph also refers to Jews as “the indigenous people of the geographical region called Palestine.” It is true that a Semitic people once lived in the region and that, over the centuries, it has developed a Jewish identity. However, for nearly 2,000 years preceding the establishment of the modern state of Israel, the region was almost entirely without a notable Jewish population. In that time, Greeks, Arabs, Western Europeans and Turks all contributed genetic material to the area, and the claim that modern Jews—who, incidentally, have also changed a great deal in the past two millennia, and now include several thousand blacks—are the native people of, for lack of a less unwieldy neutral term, the British Mandate of Palestine, is ludicrous.

The advertisement does make some good points. Until the twentieth century, there was never a Palestine, or an ethnic group that identified as “Palestinian.” No one complained when Palestine was annexed by Egypt and Jordan, only when, in a war of self-defense, Israel wrested control of it from them. But the kernels of reason are couched in irrational, fear-mongering rhetoric and it is nearly impossible for anyone, even staunch supporters of Israel, to agree with how the message is presented.