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October 26, 2016 / 24 Tishri, 5777
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When Israel Supporters Use the Language of Delegitimization

The seeds of delegitimization are planted when the official voice of Israel is missing. Opposing voices get their message over with clarity.

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Israeli pride exhibited by the "Soldier Aliyah Flight 2013."

Israeli pride exhibited by the "Soldier Aliyah Flight 2013."
Photo Credit: Yossi Zeliger / FLASH90

When U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, said it was a “mistake” for Israel to demand recognition as the Jewish State, it shows how deeply the language of delegitimization has been adopted by even the most ardent of Israel supporters.

Another example of this was New Jersey Governor, and potential Republican presidential candidate, Chris Christie. In front of a crowd of Jewish Republican fundraisers in Las Vegas, hosted by Sheldon Adelson, a close friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Christie said, “I took a helicopter ride from the occupied territories and felt personally how extraordinary that was to understand the military risk that Israel faces every day.”

When challenged by the head of Zionist Organization of America, Morton Klein, Christie apologized, saying his remark was not meant as a statement of policy.

We increasing see well-intentioned, powerful and influential people, who have the close attention of the media, make misplaced statements that feed into the adoption of a viewpoint that Israel has no legitimate right to be where it is.

The misuse of language is an indicator not only of the general public’s views, it also displays how pro-Israel influential voices are chasing a narrative that is driven by the Palestinian side of the conflict.

One perfect example of terminology drift can be seen with the area once known as Judea and Samaria becoming “disputed territory,” then the West Bank, and now “illegally occupied Palestinian land.”

Any staunch Israeli, or dispassionate neutral, would argue that it is neither illegal, nor occupied, and certainly not Palestinian land, according to international law and binding resolutions going back as far as the League of Nations Mandate of 1922. All this has not stopped the flow of terminology becoming accepted language.

How did this state of affairs come about? Well, it boils down to two major factors;

1) A highly successful pro-Palestinian publicity campaign. 2) A dereliction of duty by consecutive Israeli governments and prime ministers. Some say the demonization and delegitimization of Israel began at the infamous 2001 UN Conference on Racism at Durban in South Africa which produced the hateful “Zionism is Racism” resolution, and gave birth to the accusations of an apartheid Israel.

However, the refusal to accept Jewish rights to an independent state was forcefully demonstrated back in 1947 when the Arab nations violently rejected UN Resolution 181 which called for recognition of a Jewish state. They unsuccessfully launched major wars against the nascent Jewish state which led them in anger, following yet another defeat in 1967, to gather in Khartoum and declare three “No’s” against Israel. No peace, no negotiations, no recognition. This was reconfirmed by the Arab League as recently as March 25, 2014, when Arab leaders again declared that they will never recognize Israel as the Jewish state. So much for the Arab Peace Initiative!

But, to go back in time, out of Egypt came Yasser Arafat to cloak himself in the mantle of Palestine. Initially, he saw himself as the spearhead of the Pan-Arabic aggression against Israel. As he said in a 1970 interview with Italian journalist Arianna Palazzi, “The question of borders doesn’t interest us. Our nation is the Arabic nation. The PLO is fighting Israel in the name of Pan-Arabism. What you call Jordan is nothing more than Palestine.”

This hatred of Israel coalesced into what is known as the Palestinian cause. By portraying Israel as a colonialist, powerful, aggressive, oppressive, racist, occupier of a poor, defenseless, weak, indigenous Palestinian people a picture is painted that, to the impressionable, inevitably leads to a negative opinion of an Israel accused of the worst examples of war crimes and human rights abuses, and a sympathy for the weak Palestinians. That is the perception today.

Barry Shaw

About the Author: Barry Shaw is the Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College. He is the co-founder of the Netanya Terror Victims Organization, and author of Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.

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  1. Neil Glasser says:

    This is 100percent correct using words like Palestianian , Westbank , ect… gives legitimacy to the lie . They are arab occupiers of jewish land .the land is was and always has been jewish land.

  2. Neil Glasser says:

    This is 100percent correct using words like Palestianian , Westbank , ect… gives legitimacy to the lie . They are arab occupiers of jewish land .the land is was and always has been jewish land.

  3. Well said! This is the land of Abraham, Issac, Jacob and Moses and no arab squatters have any right to it.

  4. This would kill two birds with one stone:

  5. Israel must be aware of
    Obama’s tactics,as he is a secret Muslim.

  6. Karen Bryant says:

    Israel belongs 100% to the decendants of Abraham , Isaac and Jacob . No ands ifs or buts about it. God declared it.

  7. Shein Ariely says:

    1: Who are the people that are not happy in their countries ?
    2: Who they blame for their unhappiness?
    3: Where and why they are happy?
    4; What they plan for the place they are happy:
    Lets find out!!

    1:Who are the people that are not happy in their countries ?

    In the 2013 World Happiness Report, based on data from 156 countries between 2010 and 2012 the ranks are:
    Jordan =74.–Lebanon =97–Egypt =130—Syria=148–Sudan=124
    Iran=115.–Iraq =105–Tunisia=104–Syria =148.

    The Arabs and Iranian people are unhappiness.

    2: Who they blame for their unhappiness?

    .Not Islam.
    · Not their leadership.
    · Not themselves.
    They blame the west – where they immigrate in masses and live a better life.

    3; Where they are happy?
    Israel ranked 11th.
    (United States ranked 17th, United Kingdom placed 22nd)

    * Results of Israeli Arabs poll are:
    72% of Israeli Arabs prefer to live in Israel than in any other country in ME.
    They graded that the life is much better for them and more prosperous that it would be any place else.
    Arabs in Israel recognized that they have rights and privileges that Arabs/Iranians living in Muslim regimes can only dream of.

    Why are they happy in Israel?

    ** An Arab professor published recently differences between Arab countries and Israel – of course not in an Arab/Iranian where he would be on best cased jailed.
    ———— Arabs countries: ———–
    -Use force to maintain power and keep d humans living in fear.
    -Indoctrinate people with four things:
    *The ruling are great (à la Kim Jung Il).
    *Their country is the greatest.
    *The Palestinian cause is something that is part of their identity.
    *Force feed them Islam so it can be used as a tool to control

    *If you’re a citizen there, your basic freedoms are respected.
    * You can live peacefully, raise a family, and send your kids to competitive and globally recognized universities.
    * This simple basic respect for human dignity put them light-years ahead of anyArab state.
    *As a human being who seeks to improve himself, Israel is a logical choice. It is the only place in the Middle East where your potential can be fully expressed.
    *Based on the values it stands for and the principles that it was founded on, Israel is a force of good for that region and for the world.


    4; What are the Arab countries and Iran quest for Israel, the only in all the ME where Arabs are happy?

    — Al Jazeera interview:
    "If we say that we want to wipe Israel out its too difficult.
    It’s not acceptable policy to say so.
    Don’t say these things to the world. Keep it to yourself.
    Everybody knows that the greater goal cannot be accomplished in one go""

    — Hamascharter point:
    ""Under the Islam wing Islam,Christiannity,Judaism may coexist.
    The day of judgment will not come until Moslems fight KILLING THE JEWS.
    The stones&trees will say O Moslem,there is a jew behind me ,KILL HIM

  8. Julia Gordon says:

    Israel being Jewish is just like Spain being Spanish. But no one calls Spain racist for having a Spanish majority. You are indeed right – Israel is very diverse and a democracy. But it will cease to be these things if becomes overwhelmed by Jew-hating Palestinian refugees intent on imposing Sharia law (such as under Hamas) and killing Jews. Recognizing Israel as a state but not a Jewish state is just another word game the PA is playing in order to continue waging war and spreading lies about Israel while having the sympathy of the world.

  9. Steve Klein says:

    Does every "state" have a constitution. I think the reason David Ben-Gurion and others did not adopt a secular constitution was / is because of Israel's observant or religious Jewish community who believe the Torah is our Constitution as Moses was Israel's "law-giver."

  10. Steve Klein says:

    Barry Shaw, this is a good piece but I must respectfully take issue with one thing you've written here. I do not believe John Kerry or Governor Christie are well-intentioned, ardent supporters of the Jewish state. Leaving Secretary of State Kerry and Barack Obama aside for now, Governor Chris Christie has a significant Islam problem that has been exposed by counter-jihad activists and bloggers. His "occupied territory" reference was no slip of the tongue in my opinion.

  11. Sho Lo says:

    yes there are many, and in some cases they work very well like britain.

  12. Abe Bird says:

    Palestinians allocate $ 100 million, of American aid, for public relations. Israel allocates $ 2 million per year, with her own money. This indicates the ability of the Palestinians and their collaborators to lie in the international media, and provide messages and information, most of which do not represent real picture, but only their demagogic purposes.
    Israel certainly should allocate much more money for Hasbara against the Palestinian intensive HasbarAllah. But money alone is not enough. Israel must enlist hers fans and sympathizers, not just Jews, to impart the truth about her and the region and to refute the false claims of the Palestinians.

    Arab refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state alongside Palestinian Arab state, due to the fact that such recognition will stop the ' phased plan for the destruction of the Zionist entity' published in 1974 by Arafat @ Abu Abbas is the core of conflict. Till today the Palestinians acted according to this “Stages Plan” never deviating it. Israel always gave away to hers limit, and Palestinians rarely gave up anything. Every Palestinian participation in talks was their main disclaimer. More than half of those who are called Palestinians do not recognize the right of Mahmoud Abbas and the PA to reach an agreement with Israel. Hamas and its 15 terrorist organizations in Gaza and the West Bank are against any agreement and in favor of continuing the war to destroy Israel.

    So the rituals of renewal talks and its explosion before any agreement is achieved is not strange to the Palestinians, and it’s about time that Israel take a new political initiative – solving by political-military act – guaranteeing its eastern border against continuing terrorism and joining future Islamic terrorist organizations (al-Qaida already arrived to Gaza) from around the world to join this war.

    The right solution to the problem is the establishment of two states – a Palestinian state in Transjordan and the Jewish state from the river to the sea.

  13. Abe Bird says:

    Sholom David Loebaum , So why can Britain be British and democracy without a constitution? Israel has a deceleration of independence and 5 basic laws that characterize her as a Jewish (in the sense of nationality and NOT religion) and democratic state.

    Because the Palestinian Arabs are in fight against the Palestinian Jews on the same land and right, it is essential to have mutual recognition of the rights of the other. Egypt and Jordan didn't proclaim rights to land in Israel. The Palestinian Arabs do have a quarrel with Israel on the same square of life, even on the historical heritage (You remember? Jesus was a Palestinian? Einstein was a Palestinian? they mean Islamic Arabs).

  14. Abe Bird says:

    This time is the Assad's soldiers doing it to the rebels. That is the main reason that peace is not a Middle Eastern term. Only those who have hard heart are invited to watch and keep silent !!!! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=822458184438071

  15. Abe Bird says:

    NOT keep silent, of course !!!!!!!

  16. "we may as well sneak away, like thieves in the night." – and may I ask where do you suggest ALL of us may go?

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