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August 10, 2012 1:55 pm

When Silence Isn’t Golden

avatar by Eric Mandel / JNS.org

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A pro-Israel poster that was part of a StandWithUs advertising campaign at the same Metro North commuter stations where anti-Israel ads were placed. Photo: StandWithUs.

How does one respond to a malicious campaign of anti-Israel advertising, which distorts the facts and slanders Israel? Should all anti-Israel criticism elicit a response? These questions can be answered with a question: When has it ever been good for Israel or its supporters to remain silent when faced with anti-Semitism?

Last month anti-Israel billboards appeared on platforms of the Metro-North commuter network in Westchester County, New York and Connecticut. The posters showed a shrinking Palestine, which falsely portrayed Israel as a nation built on someone else’s land. The goal of the campaign is to paint Israel as a state beyond the pale, a pariah nation that stole someone else’s land.

Is it anti-Semitic to call Israel’s founding illegitimate or work for its destruction? According to the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (now Fundamental Rights Agency), “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor” constitutes anti-Semitism.

Using words, images and campaigns to spread distortions and misinformation and brand Israel as illegitimate, is part of the coordinated strategy of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. It seeks to characterize Israel as a nation that deserves to be punished through Boycotts, Divestments, and sanctioned by the world community.

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The Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs has taken the lead and opposed anti-Israel advertising campaigns throughout the United States. It placed pro-Israel posters at the same Metro North commuter stations where the anti-Israel ads were displayed. The StandWithUs campaign promotes Israel’s image and positive contributions to the world, while also making the case of the 3000-year-old historical tie of the Jewish people to the land. Most importantly, the ads show that Israel has been actively and sincerely searching for peace. They depict a clear record of Arab and Palestinian rejectionism, which began on the day of Israel’s founding, and unfortunately still remains to this day.

One of the ads pictures two boys, one Israeli the other Palestinian with their arms wrapped around one another. The caption reads, “Israel needs a partner for peace. Urge the Palestinians to accept Israel as their Jewish neighbor.”

A pro-Israel poster that was part of a StandWithUs advertising campaign at the same Metro North commuter stations where anti-Israel ads were placed. Photo: StandWithUs.

So why is it necessary to respond to anti-Israel advertising? Most Americans know very little about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. When presented with images and words that challenge the Jewish narrative and the very legitimacy of the Jewish State, many people do not have the knowledge to refute the negative allegations. According to a 2012 Gallop poll, most Americans sympathize with Israel. Yet 39 percent of Americans in the survey did not sympathize with Israel. Delegitimization of Israel through anti-Israel advertising can erode support for Israel, by widening the numbers of unsympathetic.

StandWithUs believes that a targeted campaign that presents the compelling case for Israel is an important way to educate people who may fall prey to misinformation. Our CEO, Roz Rothstein, said, “We cannot allow the public to be misled by the factual distortions in yet another anti-Israel campaign. We are committed to countering anti-Israel campaigns whenever they appear.”

I personally find that comforting because I too believe that sometimes, silence is not golden.

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  • Neria

    thank you so much for this article. Yes- let’s speak up!

  • ROSS. palistine means JEWISH. Ask any roman warrior and they will confirm that they renamed ISRAEL to make the the JEWS forget their spiritual connections.rOSS, I DEFY YOU TO FIND ANY FORMER KING,FOOD,ARTIFAC,LANGUAGE,COINS CULTURE ANYTHING that was excavated by archeologists of an ancient separate arab palsintine.It doesnt exist rossie baby.The earliest find you have will be approx 1973 from the egyptian terrorist/revisionist called arafart.
    Please reply soon so I can bring it to the local museum.
    Oh yes rossie, if youlike to go to 1947/48 you will find the local noamdic arabs left on the advise of the 5 warring arab countries that after they decimate the newly re-formed ISRAEL you can go back to israel and take over the dead ISRAELI HOMES AND BUSINESSES.

    FURTHERMORE,WOULD YOU PLEASE POINT OUT any arab country that has JEWS in their goverment as ISRAEL has arabs in its goverment voting against its own goverment.

    Rossie baby, arabs lived for 4000 years in the middle east persecuting JEWS and during that time arabs havent even improved the quality of camel milk,yet in 64 years of the re-formed ISRAEL, it has become the most significant contributor of medical,hitech, military,arts to the world.You arabs on the otherhand practice the same terrorist that arafart taught you starting with using passenger planes as weapons and oh yes, media public relation lies andr revisionism based on hitlers model of repreating a lie over and over and eventually the world will believe the lie.
    Evedently you as achild also believe the lies blindly without an investigation and not from the archives of ‘al jezeera’

  • R.Ross

    But Israel is built on someone else’s land. A country called Palestine – someone else’s land – was partitioned in 1947 to allow the State of Israel to be created. The partition went against the will of the majority of the people living there and so was immoral if not illegal.
    At this point in time the only defensible legal borders for Israel are the UN mandate, everything else is Palestine so all of Israel is on ‘someone else’s land’ and always was and only a small part of it might be defended as legal in a court of law.
    Israel was established in a colonial war and that war has continued ever since. The only way Israel can be legitimate is to either negotiate legitimate and final borders with the indigenous Palestinians or do what all other colonisers have done, create one state with equal rights for all regardless of religion.
    The longer Israelis and their supporters deny this reality the more they doom Israel to destruction. The refusal to negotiate for two states means one state and the longer this goes on the more the indigenous Palestinians will hate the oppressors, and, just as in South Africa, when a one state solution comes to pass, it will have a Palestinian majority, it probably won’t be called Israel and followers of Judaism who don’t want to be Palestinians will emigrate.

    • Yitzhak

      @Ross

      Complete ignorance both of history, culture and law.

      The existence of the state of Israel certainly dates from 1948, but the foundations were laid a quarter of a century before, when the Great Powers gathered at San Remo to address the issue of the Jewish National Home. The Declaration of San Remo which resulted, was ratified by the Treaty of Sèvres in 1922 and by the League of Nations the same year. San Remo was law. Get that? *Law*. UN Resolution 181 was but advisory, and so the ‘partition’ itself was illegal, as was the Palestine White Paper on which it was based. But not in the way you think: the people who were wronged were the Jewish people for whom a National Home had been mandated back in 1922. In the event, the British shafted the Jews again by giving 77% of the land away to Arabs.

      There was no ‘colonial war’, for the land used by Jews was – for the vast majority – state land. The private land which Jews now have and which was previously Arab, was bought at inflated prices. It was *not* ‘stolen’.

      Indeed, there can be no ‘stealing’ of land, for the Middle East was only controlled by Arabs by dint of conquest. The land was Jewish. It has always been Jewish. It always will be Jewish.

      Please learn some history, or you will continuously be owned like this.

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