...It seems that someone needs to explain to the Palestinians that Israel was established through the desire and work of its founders and builders, and not because a guilty world gave it to us as some kind of compensation.
01 October '14..
The battle of speeches at the U.N. between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas was a sign that the battle for international recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist idea is ongoing. The fierce battle to turn public opinion against Israel and Zionism is not new, but in recent years -- after violence failed -- it has become the focus of Palestinian anti-Israel activity.
Too many people worldwide mistakenly believe that because this is a war of words, pictures and imagery, it is less of a threat than one waged with rockets, tunnels and terrorism.
But even if the method isn't violent, the purpose of the battle is: It is intended to fix the State of Israel and the Zionist idea in world consciousness as a total evil, one the world would be better without. The nonviolent activity of turning Israel into Satan lays the groundwork for the actual violence that will follow.
That was what the PA president's speech was intended to do. To say that Abbas' speech was full of lies actually lessens what he was trying to achieve. After ideas like "Zionism is racism" and "Zionism is apartheid" gained traction, we now have "Zionism is genocide." The practical significance is that we will not only hear calls for boycotts and for the "Zionist regime" to be overturned, South Africa-style, but also for an all-out war to defeat the State of Israel, because that is the only way to address countries that commit genocide.
Accusing Israel of genocide achieves another goal in that it is a particularly disgraceful type of Holocaust denial. If Jews are committing genocide, then apparently the genocide committed against them was either justified or not so bad. Moreover, Palestinians share the widespread view that Israel exists because of the Holocaust, and therefore believe that if it is denied, or it turns out that the Jews themselves are carrying out genocide, Israel will lose the justification for its existence.
It seems that someone needs to explain to the Palestinians that Israel was established through the desire and work of its founders and builders, and not because a guilty world gave it to us as some kind of compensation.
Abbas' speech maintained the strategy of hiding the true Palestinian dream behind a screen of wanting peace. The dream of a Greater Palestine and wiping out Zionism expressed in the demand for a Palestinian right of return is the holiest part of the Palestinian identity, but most world leaders don't take it seriously and believe that the Palestinians have given up on the idea of Greater Palestine for dividing the land into an Arab and a Jewish state. Thus far, there is nothing in the words or acts of Palestinian leaders that supports that, and the wool has been pulled over the eyes of the world.
Netanyahu's speech made it clear that he fully understands the extent and the goals of the war of public opinion being fought against Israel. This speech was a decisive move in the ongoing fight for the legitimacy of Zionism and shows a sobering picture of reality, while giving hope for a future rooted in deep-seated regional changes.
In his speech, Netanyahu went back to the basics: saying that Israel is a free nation fighting alongside the rest of the world for freedom and against militant Islam; reminding the world that even if there is a conflict, the people of Israel are not foreigners in their land; and expressing a willingness to reach an arrangement based on true mutual recognition, including recognition of the right -- not the might -- of the Jewish people to a state in its own homeland. Even if these things are clear to us, we need to repeat them constantly. What seems obvious to us is not to the rest of the world, and so must be repeated over and over.
The prime minister entered the ring to represent the State of Israel and the Jewish people and our fundamental rights. The PA president entered the ring to undermine these rights. This is a battle for our right to exist, so even if it drags on, we have no choice: We have to win.
Einat Wilf is a senior member of the Jewish People Policy Institute.
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