In a world full of nightmarishly terrible countries (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Belarus, South Sudan, Central Africa Republic, North Korea, Syria), it is strange that the most hated is Israel.
It is objectively true that the people living in the West Bank and Gaza are oppressed. It is objectively false that Israel is more barbaric and less restrained than the average country.
Some of the world’s influential people are anti-Semitic. And they have created a pithy narrative about Israel. They say Israel is a colonial power that practices apartheid.
To my Jewish readers who are troubled when they hear people they know badmouth Israel, I say: don’t worry; I am confident that most people who are anti-Israel are not anti-Semitic. They just believe this seductive fictional narrative. I’m going to try to debunk this narrative with facts.
1. Israel is not a colonial power
The Israelis did not colonize the West Bank and Gaza. The situation was forced upon them.
In 1967 and again in 1973, a combined force of Arab states (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq) tried to conquer Israel. Israel fought back and narrowly staved off total annihilation. In the madness of war, Israel took control of some Arab territory.
Israel considers West Bank and Gaza necessary defensive positions. Under the circumstances, this is quite reasonable.
Let’s say it was a proven fact that New Hampshire, Maine, and New York wanted to conquer Vermont and kill us all. Let’s say that these neighboring states had driven their tanks through West Lebanon and Plattsburgh on their way into Vermont during previous invasions. But Vermont won and now controls those cities.
It truly stinks for the poor people of West Leb and Plattsburgh. But Vermont has virtually no choice but to maintain its defensive positions, right?
To contrast, the United States suffered one major terrorist attack in 2001. We responded by effectively declaring perpetual war on the Muslim world. Israel was almost wiped off the map twice and sustains a terrorist attack every week and it has maintained control over a few small Arab territories.
Israel is clearly not colonialist, nor has it overreacted. By American standards, Israel has underreacted harder than a flock of doves passing around a peace pipe.
2. Israel does not practice Apartheid
The accusation of Apartheid is absurd.
For starters, many Israelis are not ethnically different than Palestinians. The Israeli population includes Middle Eastern Jews, Christians, and Druze who used to live in the other countries of the Arab world but fled for their lives during the 20th Century.
There are also, by the way, one million Muslim Israeli citizens. Do you know how many Jewish citizens there are in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt? Zero. Total. The truth is, there is ethnic cleansing in every Middle Eastern country except Israel.
No one thinks that the current situation in Israel is okay. But Israeli Jews have nowhere else to go. Look at a map of Asia. Try to find another country where Jews are welcome and safe. Keep looking…
Since there is nowhere else in the Eastern Hemisphere for Israeli Jews to go, it seems more practical for the unfortunate Palestinians to find a new home in one of the many nearby Muslim countries.
But none of the Muslim countries will let them in. Why? It’s because they don’t genuinely care about the plight of the Palestinian people; they just love to see Israel get hit with relentless terrorism and look bad doing it. “If we can’t beat ‘em on the battlefield,” they say, “we’ll beat ‘em in the court of public opinion.” Well, you win, Arab monarchies and dictatorships. Bravo.
In the end, Americans who are anti-Israel aren’t anti-Semitic. They’re just wrong.