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A massive fly-in of pro-Palestinian activists into Ben Gurion Airport is the most recent anti-Israel provocation to be announced. It is yet another ostensibly non-violent act by some of Israel’s enemies for which the Israeli authorities will have to find an adequate answer.
Israel tries to fight such non-violent attacks – which have as their goal the country’s delegitimization – on an ad hoc basis as best it can. The initiative in these provocations always lies with its enemies. Their conceptual approach is simple: Non-violent initiatives against Israel that are largely unsuccessful are abandoned. Those that garner any significant results are repeated.
Some protesters succeeded in crossing the Israeli border on Nakba day. A few provocateurs were killed, which led to several condemnations of Israel by Western politicians. The result of this particular initiative was considered satisfactory by Israel’s enemies, and so similar efforts were made again on Nakba day.
In May 2010, a flotilla of terrorist supporters masquerading as human rights activists was prevented by Israel from reaching Gaza. Yet the killing of nine flotilla passengers (seven of whom had expressed their desire to become martyrs) brought Israel a load of bad publicity.
In view of those condemnations, a new flotilla with many more ships was assembled and is due to arrive in the coming weeks. It seems that however Israel reacts, it will lose the battle for world opinion.
All this is part of the largely non-violent war of attrition currently being waged against Israel. Such an asymmetric form of war is not winnable with Israel’s current approach. There are several reasons for this. One is that the initiative always remains with its enemies; another, that international law is often interpreted in ways that favor terrorists and provocateurs above democracies.
In addition, the unbounded right of free speech, which includes the right to extreme defamation and major lies, helps Israel’s enemies. Further, the physical risks taken by anti-Israeli provocateurs are rather minor. If they were to apply these same methods against Muslim countries, many more would die, as witness what some diehards still insist on referring to as the “Arab Spring.”
There is also an Israeli component that explains why this war is not winnable at present. Israeli leaders have understood little about how non-violent warfare against their country functions in the post-modern world. Treating these attacks mainly on an ad hoc basis cannot produce overall satisfactory results.
This lack of understanding on the part of successive Israeli governments of the all-out “soft war” being fought by their enemies contrasts strongly with Israel’s effective approach to physical acts of war. The IDF has been extremely innovative in fighting violent attacks against the country. Its techniques are monitored worldwide and copied by other armies.
After the 2001 United World Conference against Racism in Durban, the policies of systematic delegitimization of Israel were formulated in a multiple point program. It included the creation of worldwide solidarity against Israel as “a bastion of apartheid,” the use of universal law mechanisms, discrediting the law of return and replacing it with a law of return for Palestinian refugees, reinstating the Arab boycott and trying to impose a much wider international boycott of Israeli activities.
Today this seems like a rather rudimentary approach. It has since been extended in many directions through distortions of language, falsification of history, misinterpretation of archaeology, and, most recently, the series of provocations mentioned above.
In principle each of these methods can be used against any democracy. The Danes had a little taste of it after one of their newspapers published cartoons deemed disrespectful to Muhammad in 2005. Israel, however, is by far the main target of such “soft” aggression – which means it must continually come up with creative methods of repelling such attacks.
Much of what is done in this area consists, at present, of efforts carried out to a large extent by private bodies. Some are major Jewish organizations. Others are grassroots groups – Camera, Honest Reporting, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Memri, Palestinian Media Watch, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and NGO Monitor are a few that immediately come to mind. But even if all these bodies operated in an integrated manner, Israel’s defense system against non-violent warfare would still amount to so much Swiss cheese – with more holes than cheese.
About the Author: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is a board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (2000-2012). He is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.
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The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.
Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof
What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.
Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.
The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.
Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US
No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?
For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.
It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.
For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.
Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation
Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.
Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers
Studies show that large numbers of Europeans hold a demonic view of Israel.
On February 17, the Dutch Nederland 2 TV station broadcast an interview with Dutch Turkish youth conducted by volunteer youth worker Mehmet Sahin. In the broadcast the youngsters expressed their admiration for Hitler and his role in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust.
On October 15, the Knesset voted unanimously to dissolve itself. Elections will be held on January 22, 2013. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to take the step after realizing he could not obtain a majority for his proposed budget.
When Israelis say, “I worry about my grandchildren’s future,” it has a radically different dimension than similar concerns expressed in many other countries.
Since Oslo we have had some Israeli governments emulate Neville Chamberlain’s foolish position. While the current government has not done so, there certainly is vast room for improvement in the presentation of Israel’s case to the world.
There are few societies where the contradiction between Holocaust distortion and Holocaust commemoration is as pronounced as it is in the Netherlands. This phenomenon came to the fore earlier this month on National Memorial Day, May 4, designated to commemorate the many victims of the German occupier. One hundred thousand Dutch Jews – more than 70 percent of the country’s pre-war community – were by far the largest group of victims.
Last month the IDF responded to rockets being launched from Gaza into southern Israel by bombing Gazan targets. It took little time for some media outlets to equate the Palestinian aggressor with the Israeli aggressed. It took only slightly longer for many other media outlets to highlight Israel’s actions while shoving continued Palestinian aggression into the background.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/how-israel-should-fight-non-violent-wars/2011/06/15/
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