Making the Positive Case for Israel

May 17, 2012 11:23 am 0 comments

Claire Lomas, who is paralyzed, finished the 2012 London Marathon, using Israeli-made technology to help her walk. Photo: www.mirror.co.uk.

The world well knows of Israel’s military prowess in protecting its citizens against threats of terrorism and the even greater threat of a nuclear armed Iran.  If one were to put the word “Israel” on a Rorschach test, the association, for most people would be to “conflict,” “wars,” and for some the continuing dispute with the Palestinians and the entire Arab and Muslim world.  These images and associations are, tragically, an important part of Israel’s history and reality.  It is not, however, Israel’s chosen identity.  Most Israelis crave peace, normalcy and the end of conflict.  They want to turn their swords into plow shears and get on with the business of helping to repair the world.

What is truly remarkable about Israel is that in the face of 64 years of unremitting hostility, warfare and terrorism directed against the Jewish state and its citizens, Israel has managed to contribute more to the world, on a per capita basis, than any country in history.  It will continue to do so even if the conflicts continue.  Imagine how much more it could do for the world as a peace dividend from the end of the conflict.

Israel is so much more than “the conflict.”  For many of the world’s ills, it is an important part of the answer.

Once people’s eyes are opened to Israel’s promise and her contributions to modern society, they realize how close-minded you have to be to ignore the tremendous potential that exists within this tiny nation.  In almost every modern discipline, Israeli innovators have changed the world for the better.  In medicine, researchers have designed methods to better diagnose and treat some of humanity’s most debilitating conditions.  In computer science, Israeli inventions are integral to the vast majority of personal computers in use around the world and to business, industry and even popular devices in high demand for our entertainment.

Israel has succeeded in rallying its bitter experiences on the battlefield to design solutions for the handicapped, offering them greater accessibility and mobility.  And in a nation where much of the country lies in arid climates, Israeli innovators have literally made the desert bloom through drip irrigation and water reclamation, which are now being implemented all around the globe.

This is just a glimpse into the world that is Israel’s modern day renaissance, but it reveals how there is so much more that so many in the international community chooses to ignore when it comes to understanding the real Israel.

Towards that end, I am encouraged by a series of ongoing initiatives that channel this “positive spirit” in engaging a whole new side of public diplomacy on behalf of the Jewish State.  Among the most significant has been the recent release of a groundbreaking documentary film narrated by Tal Ben-Shahar, an Israeli visionary voted a favorite lecturer at Harvard.  The film, Israel Inside, which has been met with critical acclaim since its recent release, successfully shows that the time has come to focus on what is great about Israel, instead of obsessively responding to its detractors.

History has made quite clear that the Israeli people will always have their bitter discreditors, including those committed to violence with the aim of destroying the nation.  But history has also taught us that while Israel can never lower its defenses and must remain committed to protecting its citizens against all threats, we must also seize the opportunities to highlight her numerous positive aspects.

The challenge, therefore, falls upon us as advocates for the Jewish State to find innovative and effective ways to meet this challenge. Presenting the positive case for Israel’s contributions to the world—past, present and future—is an important aspect of meeting that important challenge.

Alan Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor at Harvard Law School and the author of “The Case for Israel.” A free online stream of Israel Inside will be available on until May 18th by visiting www.israelinsidethemovie.com

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater 10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    Last month, my one-man show Hoaxocaust! Written and performed by Barry Levey with the generous assistance of the Institute for Political and International Studies, Tehran ran in the New York International Fringe Festival, where it won an Overall Excellence Award. The play has now been selected to run in the Fringe Encores Series at Baruch College’s Performing Arts Center, for four performances which started on Thursday, September 11. Getting the play to the stage was not easy, however. Here are [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Phenomenon: Tel Aviv-based musician and “sampler” extraordinaire, Kutiman (aka Ophir Kutiel) has hit another one out of the park with “Give It Up,” a fully-functioning song in its own right, assembled from hundreds of ameteur and instructional music videos. The Jerusalem-born musical prodigy is best know for his diverse online musical projects. In the latest video, uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 12th, Kutiel thanked most of the musicians and individuals he chose to include in the meticulously-edited clip, which opens with [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    A recently released behind-the-scenes reel of Ridley Scott’s upcoming film Exodus: Gods and Kings shows just how far the director has gone to portray one of the Bible’s most famous narratives. In the clip, which shows scenes involving up to 4,000 extras, the visionary director discusses what drew him to the biblical tale of Moses. “The Moses story was a massive challenge, which I really love. I wanted to explore the complexity of his character and I was stunned by [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    JNS.org – Since 2006, the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable and satellite TV network has hosted “The Projected Image,” a month-long showcase examining how different cultural and ethnic groups have been portrayed on the big screen. At last, after previously covering African Americans, Asians, the LGBT community, Latinos, Native Americans, Arabs, and people with disabilities, the annual series is delving into Jewish film this month. “The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film,” whose first segment aired Sept. 2, runs [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    The sight of young girls in pinafores and young boys wearing peyos – sidelocks – dangling over their ears is a sure sign that you have entered the enigmatic precincts of the Hasidim – the pious ones. Veteran New York Times journalist Joseph Berger’s new book, THE PIOUS ONES: The World of Hasidim and their Battles with America, takes the reader on a journey into the enclaves where various sects of Jews live a seemingly outmoded way of life in [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    JNS.org – Today’s comedy superstars, especially those whose careers are driven by television, may very well owe their success to pioneering Jewish entertainer Milton Berle. Born Mendel Berlinger in Manhattan in 1908, Berle became America’s first small-screen star. Aptly nicknamed “Mr. Television,” he influenced and helped promote the work of hundreds of younger comics. “Milton Berle was deceptively successful and very Jewish,” says Lawrence Epstein, author of The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, published the year [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    JNS.org – Idan Ravin’s friends chipped in to buy him a humble but life-changing bar mitzvah gift—a basketball hoop his father attached to the roof of his garage. Little did his friends know that years later, he would be the personal trainer of National Basketball Association (NBA) stars Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and Stephen Curry. Ravin’s new book, “The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Head of Basketball’s Best Players,” details his rise from a Jewish upbringing [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.