Photo Credit: via Facebook.
IfNotNow members posing with 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on the campaign trail. Source: IfNotNow

This is the most difficult chapter in the ongoing campaign for Israel’s position and good reputation worldwide. This challenge is so painful that most affiliated with it look away, avoid, or circumvent it – so as not to know of it or see it. This is understandable. The most terrible quarrels occur within the family, and in our case – the Jewish family.

The alarming reality is that a significant number of the calls to boycott Israel, punish and denounce it, impose sanctions on it, define it as an apartheid state, and so on, come from Jews. It is difficult to estimate the number of these people, but it is significant.


In fact, it is doubly significant. First, there are many Jews in radical organizations. Second, their very participation in this movement validates the non-Jews participating in this delegitimization campaign.

The “Jewish component” of the boycott movement has two main groups: the first is the leaders, from politicians such as Bernie Sanders to intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky; the second is the activists, ordinarily young people, who operate out in the field.

These college students sometimes come from a background of heavy criticism of Israel. They grew up in houses, communities, or schools where every possible accusation and claim was hurled at our country without the opportunity for them to hear the answers to these accusations or that the answers supplied were not satisfactory in their eyes.

Basing the moral justification

The second group, apparently no smaller than the first, includes those who grew up in a pro-Israeli environment. They were given praise about Israel in Hebrew school or the synagogue. They heard the basic story about Zionism, were taught about antisemitism and the Holocaust, Israel’s War of Independence, and the Six-Day War, and believed everything they learned with all their hearts.

But then, on campus, their world was turned upside down. Suddenly, people explained to them, with ardor and in high tones of voice, that these Jews were causing Palestinian genocide. Most of them are left paralyzed as a result of this onslaught, few still fight back. Others are leaving the tent of Zionism – and joining the organizations that seek to bring it down.

As stated, most officials fighting the boycott movements are fleeing from this internal Jewish challenge. But instead of burying their heads in the sand, the pro-Israeli side should take it head on, for the costs resulting from ignoring it are growing.

Can something be done? Certainly. The response should be anchored in the moral justification for Israel’s policy, for the boycotters are trying to hit our country in the most important place – the morality of its actions. Therefore, the more can properly make our own case to ourselves, the more we will be able to convince the Jewish youth abroad.

{Reposted from IsraelHayom}

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Ariel Kahana is a diplomatic correspondent for Israel Hayom.