web analytics
July 5, 2015 / 18 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

How Israel Should Fight Non-Violent Wars


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.

Non-violent war is of a different nature than its physical counterpart, though both share the aim of destroying Israel. But precisely because non-violent war is still a form of war, it cannot be fought by bureaucratic ministries even if combined with private organizations.

In such a war, intelligence agencies must play a far more crucial role than has been the case up to now. They have to collect systematic information about who Israel’s non-violent enemies are, analyze their methods and what they may do next, and regularly produce creative ideas to expose and fight the attackers. As in any other field, the knowledge and skills needed to accomplish these tasks only accumulate over the years.

This approach should have begun – at the latest – in the early 1980s after the First Lebanon War, when the delegitimization of Israel accelerated. None of the successive Israeli governments has properly fought this non-violent war or even understood it in significant detail. That makes the need all the more urgent for Israel to start responding in a far more systematic way.

Manfred Gerstenfeld is chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

About the Author: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld’s recently published book, “The War of a Million Cuts,” analyzes how Israel and Jews are delegitimized, and how these attempts at delegitimization can be fought.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “How Israel Should Fight Non-Violent Wars”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Future guard? Arab child with Hamas headband aims toy rifle on the Temple Mount after prayers in the Al Aqsa mosque.
CNN Promotes Old City on Verge of Extinction Due to ‘Political Tension’
Latest Indepth Stories
Obama was all smiles for Israel's Ambassador Oren when they met in the White House.

US Jews prefer to be like their non-Jewish liberal friends complaining about “settlements” and Bibi

New Israel Fund and the UN

New Israel Fund & its supporters must be countered; Israel’s in the midst of an unprecedented storm

An ISIS Gaza rocket launcher.

PM Netanyahu this week identified ISIS and Iran as Israel’s primary threat. It is a planetary threat that carries the promise of peace.

U.S. postage stamp honoring Haym Solomon.

Haym Solomon, overlooked hero of the Revolutionary War, was America’s “Funding Father.”

Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive

There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN

Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well

When words lose meaning, the world becomes an Orwellian dystopia; a veritable Tower of Babel

Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.

Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly

What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?

Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach

The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi

The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”

“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.

More Articles from Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
Gerstenfeld-070315

What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?

Robert Wistrich (z"l)

Prof. Wistrich, was THE foremost historian of anti-Semitism; committed spokesman & advocate of Jewry

A record number of hate crimes complaints in Malmö from 2010 through 2011 led to zero convictions

Moshe Kantor Pres. of European Jewish Congress: “Normative Jewish life in Europe is unsustainable.”

The West must be educated about the cruelty that has become endemic to much of the Muslim world.

Studies show that large numbers of Europeans hold a demonic view of Israel.

Now that several weeks have passed since President Obama’s visit to Israel, it is possible to get a better perspective on many of its aspects. Focus must not only be placed on what was said and done, but also on what was missing.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/how-israel-should-fight-non-violent-wars/2011/06/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: