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Saturday, December 13, 2008

What Does Being Pro-Israel Mean Anyway?

The term Pro-Israel gets thrown around a lot these days. Obama and Biden both claim to be Pro-Israel, despite Obama's closeness to everyone from Rashid Khalidi, a leading PLO figure, to Ali Abuminah, publisher of the Electronic Intifada. J-Street, a liberal front group created by their own admission in order to lobby against Pro-Israel policies, claims to be Pro-Israel. Don King has just visited Israel and claimed to be Pro-Israel.

So what does being Pro-Israel mean anyway? It does not mean supporting any particular Israeli government or merely paying lip service to the idea of Israel when elections come around. If Pro-Israel is to mean anything at all, it has to mean supporting the survival of Israel. And by definition the opposite of this, promoting the destruction of Israel and supporting its terrorist foes automatically disqualifies any individual and group from being considered Pro-Israel.

After all if you aren't for someone's survival, in what sense can you be considered "pro" them?

When challenged on this point the left trots out lines about "tough love" as if the last two administrations pressuring Israel over and over again to make deals with terrorists while funding and training the terrorists themselves somehow wasn't "tough" enough. As if graves across Israel filled with the victims of terrorists funded and backed by US and Europe wasn't tough enough. As if the thousands of men, women and children torn by shrapnel, permanently mutilated and crippled just wasn't "tough" enough. As if setting up an army of tens of thousands of terrorists in Israel's borders wasn't tough enough.

The "tough love" line puts Israel squarely into the battered wife role who needs to be slapped around by Obama, Biden and the J-Streeters and the rest of the Jewish liberal establishment for its own good. In this paradigm pressuring Israel into policies that lead directly to the murder of its citizens is an act of "love", in the same way that the brutal husband's worst beatings are also defended as acts of tough love.

But there is another better paradigm for those who are not willing to take the side of Israel against the terrorists but still want to be considered Pro-Israel. It comes from the Hippocratic Oath, "Before all else do no harm."

None of the Presidents routinely described as Friends of Israel from either party have ever followed that proscription. The day when major Jewish groups followed it too has long passed. But it is a fairly easy one to follow. Before all else do no harm. That doesn't require providing Israel with money or weapons or attending rallies for Israel or passing resolutions for Israel. It means that if you can't bring yourself to do any good, don't do any harm either.

Such a proposal is deceptively simple yet indisputably fair. "Doing no harm" may be a low standard to set but in an age when pressuring Israel is the standard means of doing business in D.C. and liberal Rabbis write letters to Bush in support of Hamas, but it is a standard that virtually all of the people and organizations who claim to be Pro-Israel but aren't could never meet.

To Liberal Jewish organizations and figures a "Do No Harm" standard is the equivalent of telling a violent alcoholic, "We can't expect you not to drink, but please do it at home where your drinking isn't a danger to the general public." To politicians it means saying, "We don't expect you to love Israel, we just expect you not to work to destroy it."

Because simply put being pro-Israel means at the very least being for Israel's survival and even apathy is closer to being Pro-Israel than the destructive actions that have brought Israel into a struggle for its own survival against an enemy backed and funded by the State Department and liberal groups.

Or to put it another way it's saying, "We don't actually expect you to be good. We're just asking you not to be too evil."

20 comments:

Lemon said...

The world has gotten worse and worse lately. 60 years have made people forget what Israel went through to become a free place for Jews to have a haven. The world has never let Jews alone.
The world loves evil more than good and that is the lesson from all this.

Keli Ata said...

The Hippocratic Oath is a very good analogy. Physicians are forbidden from assisting in abortions and suicide (giving a patient a lethal poison).

Liberal politicians drag out their Pro-Israel pretenses for the same reason they pose in campaign pictures with spouses, kids, and puppies. It's all part of the persona they try to project of being a good and decent person.

Israel is the small child or puppy in the picture.

After the Holocaust what American or European politician in his right mind would outwardly and directly say they are against the Jewish state and favor a terrorist state?

Pro-Israel is a nice two word catch phrase that detracts attention from their true beliefs and attempts to mitigate the "tough love" approach which is killing off a part of Israel and her people every single day.

As for rabbis and secular Jews being hostile toward Israel except as a nice vacation spot and place for a bar mitzvah? That I don't understand at all.

If they genuinely care for Palestinians--innocent civilians--I'm sure there are better ways to demonstrate their concern besides promoting Hamas and a terrorist state.

Martin Equs said...

What innocent civilians? The ones who egg on the terror? Are those the "innocent" civilians you speak of?

Anonymous said...

It seems that anyone who doesn't consider Israel the cause of all the world's problems, is Pro-Israel

Maggie M. Thornton said...

A fine essay, Sultan. Lemon's comment is true. Today, people seem to know nothing of the creation of Israel. The average person has no knowledge of Palestine, (except that it's under occupation), or Islam, and Jews are associated with a little-known holocaust.

Sultan Knish said...

part of history being dumbed down and spoon fed by the left

Keli Ata said...

Not at all, Martin. Don't be confused. I am very Pro-ISRAEL.


I only wrote what I did because it's impossible to get liberals (such as Peace Now activists, ISM, and others) to care about Israelis or Israel, or stop their desire to destroy the country and appease Palestinian terrorists.


That approach doesn't work. Usually, though, when I mention the (rare)innocent Palestinian civilians it stops liberals in their tracks.

Confronting them with their own hypocrisy. They claim to care about Palestinians but want them to live in a terrorist state. Logic and all other arguments that are Pro-Israel just don't work with liberals who mask their anti-Semitism by pretending to care about Palestinians.

So you have to confront them with their hypocrisy. You can't get a liberal to go from 0 to 100 and do a complete turn around and support Israel with direct Pro-Israel arguments.

Liberals can be hardheads. You have to fight them on their own terms and direct Pro-Israel terms doesn't work for them.

That's what I meant.

Keli Ata said...

PBS aired a documentary on archeologists in Israel and the history of the Jewish people produced by the "reputable" people behind Nova and Frontline.

One of the first scenes in the documentary was a map with only two places labeled: One piece of land labeled "Israel" and another, the West Bank, labeled "Palestine."

Subtle but such things when repeated can effect how people view Israel.

Mrs. Anna T said...

It appears as if you are saying, "just leave us alone". Seemingly, all Jews have wanted throughout history was to be left alone; we never bothered anyone, or meddled into others' affairs. Yet when have we ever been left in peace? Nah, I wouldn't get my hopes too high.

Keli Ata said...

It would be nice if liberals and other anti-Israel people would just leave Israel alone but everyone is meddling in Israeli affairs, so we do have to be always at the ready to defend the country; if not physically as a member of the media then certainly in debates online or in person.

And the first thing they always start with is this "humanitarian crisis" nonsense. So we have to be ready to debate the issue. Kudos to Israel for refusing to allow an envoy to enter the country after making very derogatory and inflammatory remarks about Israel. I believe comparing Israel and the Palestinian "humanitarian crisis" to Nazis.

The bum was given the bum's rush out the door by Israel and sent on an outward bound plane. And I do hope the door hit him in the %#$@ on the way out.

I've defended Israel online and offline. Not a popular stance but I can't imagine doing anything else but tell the truth.

Maggie M. Thornton said...

Keli Ata and Sultan, I'm not Jewish so much in today's Israeli political arena is confusing to me. Confusing though that may be, I have a good understanding of the history of the Jews and Israel's nationhood.

As I watch and listen to everything I can about the "Palestinian-Israeli" conflict, I see that people cannot get past what you have just mentioned - the Palestinian humanitarian disaster. The average person believes that Israel usurped Palestinian land and oppresses the people - starves the people might be more accurate.

There is no knowledge today of the League of Nations Mandate and what happened to that Mandate. No understanding of the Six Days War. Israel is a success story. They do not starve. They fight back. They have a military, and they are a Democracy. They must be the aggressor.

There needs to be a high intensity campaign to teach people about what the secular world deemed for Israel in the way of a homeland. Then the people need to fully understand why that mandate was never fulfilled. Then the people need to understand what Palestine is and is not, as well as making it clear that these are not a productive people, and have never helped themselves.

For me looking in from the outside, but staying engaged, reading forums and comments, and great writer/teachers like Sultan and Daniel Pipes - it is mindboggling. The battle for the hearts of the people has been lost. Outsiders think they've made intelligent decisions about this region of the world, but they can't articulate anything beyond Israel must let the Palestinians live in peace, give back their land, quit bombing the children...where does it go from here - in the hearts and minds of the masses?

Maggie M. Thornton said...

I mentioned in my last comment that Israeli politics are confusing to me. Would anyone here tell me who they would like to see running the country if you can/could go to the polls?

Sultan Knish said...

FLAME has been running an education campaign for decades now I think, with ads in major magazines

http://www.factsandlogic.org/index.html

There have been all sorts of creative initiatives such as the Megaphone instant messaging for dealing with the modern internet

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?apage=2&cid=1162378505678&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

but it's the same problem as the 2008 US election, they're trying to be heard, when they're being outshouted by the media, academia and other groups which control the discussion and have a captive audience in schools and readers and viewers

Sultan Knish said...

In a more ideal Israel, Netanyahu would be a good choice. That is if Israel was more like 1950's America.

Realistically Effi Eitam might be a good choice, he's deeply religious and a war hero and is on the right side

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effi_Eitam

it's wikipedia and carries a left wing bias, but it gives you a general idea of the man

former General Moshe Yaalon who opposed Disengagement and was fired for it by Sharon, has moved into the Likud forefront behind Netanyahu, but while he seems like a decent man and is a good thinker, his only remedy to the present situation is the same "hold the PA accountable" thing that went nowhere under Netanyahu.

http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2006/08/a_conversation_.html

Maggie M. Thornton said...

Sultan, thanks much for your thoughts on the Israeli leadership. In my mind, Netanyahu was the only choice, but then I know next to nothing about the others you've mentioned. I can now follow these other names in the news.

I appreciate the links and will use them. Yes, with academia, there is no truthful education and that is a despicable reality today. Education is the one thing that could overcome the media biases.

Sultan Knish said...

Netanyahu is ideal in some ways, but he's not built to survive the current turbulent political climate in Israel created by the left.

To shorthand it, a lot of what you've seen in the 2008 election, arrived in Europe and Israel a good deal earlier, and the media chewed him up and spit him out once already, and he failed to show that he could really make the tough calls when he had to

Mrs. Anna T said...

"Realistically Effi Eitam might be a good choice, he's deeply religious and a war hero and is on the right side"

Yes, but I seriously doubt we'd ever get enough people voting for a religious candidate. Secular people, and even mildly religious people, are scared of the so-called "religious oppression".

Lemon said...

Again I have to ask where the chutzpah to assume things comes from anonymous.
Or are you just fishing for information about people?

Anonymous said...

Lemon is so right! I just finnished (for the 2nd time) reading Naphtali Lau-Lavie, RAv Lau's brother's autobiographical book, and of course the Rav's book as well. WE have lost it! We have lost our history, our terrible struggles, our connection to each other, the goal of a country for Jews, a refuge. Looking at the hatred "settlers" face from the media and the government it's heart braking. The alignment of the Israelis especially the young with the "poor palis" is not to believe. Political correct speech has taken over the common sense and we are confused, history looks like something not pertaining to us at all. If we don't recognize the ENEMY we just fight each other.

Drum said...

It's a short attention span world. Education is needed, and it is hard to get through the boom box of "PC" messages about "cycle of violence" and "Israel is the occupier."
The Sultan mentions FLAME, which is great. Also Blue Star PR is doing very good "positive image" advertising for Israel.

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