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December 30, 2014 8:20 am

2015 Must Be the Year We Fight for Israel

avatar by Shmuley Boteach

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Hamas Gaza commemoration missile. Photo: IDF.

Hamas Gaza commemoration missile. Photo: IDF.

The last year saw a ferocious fight for the survival of the Jewish State, both militarily and in the world of public relations. Israel defeated Hamas on the Gaza battlefield, though amid serious casualties. But in the PR war, Israel suffered an outright loss.

Four months after the war, Israel is under greater international assault than ever before. It’s no longer the paranoid who see the world ganging up on Israel – it’s the politically aware.

In the coming year we may see sanctions against Israel from the EU. As if that weren’t shocking enough, there have even been press reports of possible sanctions from the Obama Administration.

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What is certain is that the PR onslaught will continue. Israel’s implacable enemies smell blood and, like the bloodthirsty sharks they are, they will press their case.

This coming year, the momentum needs to be reversed. The time has come for us to bolster our ranks. We need to expand the draft of Israel’s defenders, as more and more of us join in the battle for Israel. And of particular importance are the two arenas where Diaspora Jewry can contribute most: in the media and on campus.

As for media, we’ve already gotten the ball rolling. This past year, we organized advertising campaigns supporting Israel in print, broadcast, and social media. Just over the past few months, our organization This World: The Values Network has produced ads that have exposed the child-sacrifice barbarity of Hamas, the anti-Israel bias of William Schabas, the obscene human rights abuses of Iran, and the humanity of Israel – which maintained the highest morality in combat even as it defended itself from genocidal threats. Most of our ads have been produced on full pages of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and USA Today.

But Israel needs much more. We must bring the PR war to our foes, exposing the duplicity, corruption, and lies of organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine.

Which brings us to the war on campus.

It will be the purpose of our organization in the coming year to provide funding to student groups who fight for Israel. We are looking to assist those student groups who take the step beyond communal grass roots activism, and provide a markedly visible defense of Israel on a level large enough to impact their entire university.

That means, to give a few examples, demonstrations against SJP incitement on campus, large-scale public events exposing the monstrous lie of Israel Apartheid week, and campus advertising campaigns shedding light on the human rights abuses of Israel’s enemies, especially Iran and Hamas. Students who are prepared to organize public campaigns and events like these are those with whom we wish to partner. Nurturing small pro-Israel communities with Horah nights and falafel theme-parties will not suffice. The time has come for us to broaden our horizons, reach well beyond our familiar circles, and turn the tide on campus as a whole.

The world needs to know what Israel is facing and why it is hated. Those who seek to impose a radical Islamist order on the Middle East, returning the region to the Stone Age, hate Israel because of its democratic freedoms. Europe is ridiculous in lending their support to this barbarity, even as it threatens their own societies at home. It’s our job to make that even clearer.

We intend to expose the hypocrisy of Palestinian leaders like BDS founder Omar Barghouti, who, even while working toward a subsidized-doctorate from Tel Aviv University, has the Chutzpah to call Israel an apartheid state. In fact, by calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions – of which he is a part – Barghouti is actually boycotting himself. You can’t make this stuff up, and it would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic. It needs to be exposed.

We intend to fund more debates on campus that bring together Israel’s best defenders with whomever BDS wishes to field, confident in the fact that Israel can and will win arguments in the marketplace of ideas.

I find it amusing that some Hillels around the country consider inviting Peter Beinart as the featured speaker when they seek to stage a pro-Israel event, even as he calls for a boycott of all Jewish manufactured goods from Judea and Samaria. Meanwhile, ole’ Peter is using Chinese manufactured goods even though China has occupied Tibet since 1950. One can likewise presume that Beinart has no problem using Turkish goods though Turkey has occupied half of Cyprus since 1974. Beinart has made his name as a Jew who is a severe critic of Israel. His inconsistency and double standards toward Israel merit exposure.

While I was in Israel last week I saw a thriving, industrious, and healthy democracy – a heroic society that has maintained its humanity and decency while being the target of genocidal threats and actions in its six-decade-plus existence. But it also struck me that Israelis are not fully aware of just how vilified their country has become around the world. And who can blame them? They have enough problems just trying to protect their citizens from constant terror attack and murder.

In the end, then, it is for us Jews who live abroad to join the battle to protect Israel’s good name and reputation. But we need to act fast, before irreversible damage is done to the integrity and standing of the world’s only Jewish state.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, whom Newsweek and The Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the Founder of This World: The Values Network, the world’s leading organization defending Israel in the media. He is the author of “Judaism for Everyone” and 29 other books. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

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  • charlie johnson

    “First they came for the Jews”. Remember that one? You can lay back on the couch and watch it all on TV while you are being entertained and complimented for your wish to see justice done in the sake of peace in our time. Leave it all to our experts and wise ones. Thinking is for people who are paid to do the thinking in our collective interest. I have a clown on TV to watch. Besides I have no axe to grind in this matter,,,,,,

  • Thomas Dikel

    This is all well and good. But you cannot simply recruit students for this propaganda war on campus. They need to be organized and trained. Thoroughly trained in both propaganda analysis and counter propaganda, both tactical and strategic. Reward them with paid trips to conferences held in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Miami, and other regional centers. Provide 1st class training by true experts. and connect them so they can work together. Because you can be very sure the enemy is already ahead of you doing the same and more.

    This is crucial. The money the Jewish community spends on unnecessary nonsense and the money wasted by the Jewish Agency and all the other administrative and bureaucratic barns need to go to this cause. I am not the first one by any means to say that the leaders of the world tomorrow are on campuses today. And what they are learning about Israel and “Palestine”, both in class and on campus, is sewing the seeds of Israel’s destruction.

  • Mickey Oberman

    I am 82 years old. In 1991 during the Gulf War when I was a mere 59 yrs I volunteered to work on an Israeli military base for 3 weeks. I pulled my weight.
    Now all I can do is write letters. Some are serious.
    Most of them are to make fun of the enemy – to make it look foolish.
    I feel that ridicule can be a weapon when little else is available.

    If anyone can suggest a more aggressive weapon for an old geezer I would appreciate hearing about it.
    Mickey oberman

  • bibi

    How lucky you found a job doing something most Israeli settlers are conscripted into doing. Enjoy your stolen land until people come to round you up in retribution.

    • Are you saying that a land is stolen when given to you by G-d or Allah? By saying that, you become the infidel.

    • Isobel

      Check your facts. The vast majority of people who claim their land was “stolen” never owned or even occupied any part of it. 85% of Palestinian “refugees” were born in Syria, Jordan, Gaza or Lebanon and most of the other 15% weren’t land owners.

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