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...

  • Jewish Identity Sports Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    As the popularity of cycling continues to increase across the world, Israel is working to develop cycling trails that make the country’s spectacular desert accessible to cyclists. The southern segment of the Israel Bike Trail was inaugurated on Feb. 24 and offers for the first time a unique, uninterrupted 8-day cycling experience after six years of planning and development. The southern section of the Israel Bike Trail stretches over 300 kilometers in length and is divided into eight segments for mountain biking, [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    JNS.org – With the recent Oscars in the rearview mirror, Hollywood’s attention now shifts to the rest of this year’s big-screen lineup. Two of the major action films coming up in 2015—Avengers: Age of Ultron, which hits theaters in May, and the third film in the Fantastic Four series, slated for an August release—have Jewish roots that the average moviegoer might be unaware of. As it turns out, it took a tough Jewish kid from New York City’s Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – Rabbi Gordon Tucker spent the first 20 years of his career teaching at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the next 20 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. I confess that when I heard about the order of those events, I thought that Tucker’s move from academia to the pulpit was strange. Firstly, I could not imagine anyone filling the place of my friend, Arnold Turetsky, who was such a talented [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    JNS.org – I’m in love, and have been for a long time. It’s a relationship filled with laughter, tears, intrigue, and surprise. It was love at first sight, back when I was a little girl—with an extra-terrestrial that longed to go home. From then on, that love has never wavered, and isn’t reserved for one, but for oh so many—Ferris Bueller, Annie Hall, Tootsie, Harry and Sally, Marty McFly, Atticus Finch, Danny Zuko, Yentl, that little dog Toto, Mrs. Doubtfire, [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    At the turn of the 21st century through today, American involvement in Middle Eastern politics runs through the Central Intelligence Agency. In America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, historian Hugh Wilford shows this has always been the case. Wilford methodically traces the lives and work of the agency’s three most prominent officers in the Middle East: Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt was the grandson of president Theodore Roosevelt, and the first head of [...]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Residents of the Los Angeles Jewish Home give dating advice to a young Jewish man in a comedic video posted Monday on YouTube just in time for Valentine’s Day. Jonathan, an associate at the Jewish home, quizzes the senior citizens on an array of topics including having sex on the first date, kissing a girl, who should pay for dinner and whether online dating is a good idea. When the 28-year-old asks a male resident named Lee about his experiences [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Anyone who spent time in the Jewish Catskills hotels – especially those like me, who returned for decades – must see the new documentary,”Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort.” Not only will the film transport you back to the glory days of your youth and thousands of memories, but it will also make you long for a world that is now lost forever. I returned to Kutsher’s one last time in the summer of 2009, but by then, the [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Jewish Identity Lifestyle Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    JNS.org – Amid the numerous studies and analyses regarding Jewish American life, a simple fact remains: part-time Jewish education is the most popular vehicle for Jewish education in North America. Whenever and wherever parents choose Jewish education for their children, we have a communal responsibility to devote the necessary time and resources to deliver dynamic, effective learning experiences. The only way we can do this is by creating space for conversations and knowledge-sharing around innovative new education models. That also [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.