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January 4, 2015 1:14 pm

Exploring How the World Turned Against Israel

avatar by Joshua Muravchik

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Benjamin Netanyahu, Hillary Clinton, and Mahmoud Abbas meet in September 2010. Photo: State Department.

Below is an excerpt from “Making David into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel” by Joshua Muravchik.

In October 2009 a UN investigatory commission chaired by the Jewish jurist, Richard Goldstone, accused Israel of “crimes against humanity” during the war in Gaza the previous winter.  This extraordinary category of crime was invented for the Nuremberg tribunal following World War Two that had condemned the surviving leaders of the Nazi regime for systematic mass murder of Jews and others. Now, the Jews themselves stood accused.

This moment underlined a dramatic change in international opinion that would have seemed unthinkable a generation earlier.  Little more than 40 years had elapsed since underdog Israel had fought a six-day war against its Arab neighbors in which the Western world had cheered for its victory.  For example, in Great Britain virtually every major newspaper editorialized in support of the Jewish state and polls showed sympathy for Israel over the Arabs by a margin more lopsided than in the US.

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But by 2009, this sympathy had long since disappeared in the UK and almost everywhere else. The UN Human Rights Council, which had created the Goldstone Commission, had already in the few years since it was created adopted multiple resolutions condemning Israel for one thing or another, while rarely rebuking any other government even once.  Its predecessor, the UN Commission on Human Rights, had practiced the same one-sidedness, as did the General Assembly, which lacerated Israel in countless resolutions, even going so far as to endorse terrorist attacks on Israel as legitimate “resistance.”

Meanwhile, British teacher unions proclaimed academic boycotts of Israel; mainline Protestant churches divested from companies doing business with Israel; Norwegian supermarkets boycotted Israeli goods; reputable international human rights organizations focused more on Israel than on the world’s most egregious tyrannies; and a former president of the United States issued a book accusing Israel of practicing “apartheid.”

In short, the “global community” had stamped Israel as an outcast.  What had happened in the intervening decades to occasion such a dramatic turnaround?

The Arab cause, once openly reactionary and overtly homicidal in its objectives, had been replaced by the far more sympathetic and “progressive” Palestinian cause.  Instead of proclaiming openly their determination to deny the Jews a state, Israel’s enemies now accused the Jews of denying that same right to another people.

While superficially plausible, this explanation was insufficient to account for the vehemence with which world opinion turned against Israel.  Perhaps Israel stood in the way of Palestinian national aspirations, but the justice of those aspirations was surpassed by those of others for whom world opinion showed little sympathy.  The Kurds yearned for a state of their own, and by every measure their claim was more compelling than that of the Palestinians: they were five times more numerous, they spoke a language of their own, and their distinct ethnicity traced back roughly a millennium. But who spoke up for the Kurdish cause?

Perhaps Israel was occupying land that most of the world thought should be ruled by Palestinians, but at the very moment that the Goldstone Commission was being called into existence, the People’s Republic of China was suppressing protests in the captive nation of Tibet by means of mass arrests and executions. This evoked scarcely a whisper of international protest although Israeli abuses of Palestinians paled in comparison to the Chinese treatment of Tibet.  Indeed, were China to grant the Tibetans what Israel had offered the Palestinians, the Dalai Lama would have danced for joy.

The contrast between the world’s treatment of China and of Israel suggested that the true reason for the anathemas heaped upon the Jewish state was not that Israel was so strong but that it was not strong enough.

For every Jew in the world, there are 100 Muslims. While Israel is the only Jewish state, 57 states belong to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The Arabs had been unable to translate these advantages into military strength, but they learned to make them pay off in political clout. They threatened those who crossed them with terrorism, oil cutoffs, and economic boycotts; and the power of their diplomatic bloc, which largely controlled the UN through the Non-Aligned Movement.

While people and countries quite often respond cravenly to such incentives, they seldom like to admit it even to themselves. What made it easier in this case was the rise of a new paradigm of progressive thought: multiculturalism or race-consciousness. The struggle of “the rest against the West,” or of “people of color” against “the white man” replaced the older model of proletariat versus bourgeoisie as the central moral drama of world history.  In this paradigm, the Arabs, notwithstanding their regressive social and political practices, assumed a place among the forces of virtue and progress while the Israelis were consigned to the ranks of the villains and reactionaries.

Championed by the Left’s networks of organizations and intellectuals, a Palestinian state became a kind of Holy Grail to enlightened opinion, even while almost no one gave a fig for the aspirations of the Kurds or Tibetans or numerous other bereft peoples. Whether this state would rise alongside Israel or in place of it was of secondary concern.

Joshua Muravchik, a Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies, is the author of many articles and eleven books, most recently Making David Into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel, from which this is adapted, and the eBook, Liberal Oasis: The Truth About Israel.

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  • Jonathan

    The real reason is simply that successive Israeli governments totally ignored public relations outside Israel under the assumption that the world “would see that we are the good guys”.

    Over and over again community leaders across the world BEGGED the Israeli government to step up their PR work and use local resources. But, based on the standard Israeli (×™×”×™×” בסדר) – it will be okay – the government simply ignored advice.
    Classic case of “we know what is better”.

    Well, now we see the result.

    • ted weiss

      NO MATTER HOW GOT ISRAEL’S PUBLIC RELATIONS WILL BE IT WILL MAKE NO DIFIRENCE TO AN AUDIENCE WHICH IS ANTISEMITIC AND TUNE EVERY REASONABLE ARGUMENT OUT . IN SHORT ANT GOOD PUBLIC RELATIONS IS FALLING ON DEAF EARS . TYHE AUDIENCE MADE UP ITS MIND BEFORE ISRAEL EVEN THOUGHT OF DOING ANY ACT .

  • The answer may sound simplistic but it is found in the word of G-d. Read Psalm 83, Ezekiel Chapters 37-39 to begin with. There is a G-d of Israel, the ONLY true G-D! He says what He means and means what He says. He states He will bring His people home to Israel and though it may seem a hard thing He will do it even if it takes the nations forcing Israel out of their countries. HASHEM will be glorified by taking vengeance on the nations when they come against Israel in their eternal Homeland. I am not some Tanakh thumping meshuggah but someone (a Jew) who takes G-d very seriously and His Word as absolutely true. HASHEM’s Word is a hammer that has worn out many anvils over the centuries. Jeremiah 23:29: Behold, My word is like fire-the word of HASHEM- and like a hammer that shatters a rock. Isaiah 55:10,11: For just as the rain and snow descend from heaven and will not return there, rather it waters the earth and causes it to produce and sprout, and gives seed to the sower and food to the eater, so shall be My word that emanates from My mouth, it will not return to Me unfulfilled unless it will have accomplished what I desired and brought success where I sent it. (The Tanach, Stone Edition)

  • Yosef

    Part of the blame, perhaps the majority of the blame, is due to bizarre behaviors of the State of Israel. It never misses an opportunity to not win a war and thereby lets evil live, grow, convince, and transform. The world loves a winner and clarity. Secular Israel refuses articulate a clear vision or to be a winner. Thus allowing its civilian to be terrorized again and again and again yet claims a moral high ground.

    Why does Israel refuse to end Iran’s nuke threat or the chemical war/conventional missile threats from the north? The State of Israel, has an identity crises and a death wish. Its hard to support or expect others to support a country that makes lots of noise, dashes the hope that it would be a safe place for Jews, refuses to act in its own self-interest and doesn’t believe in its God or protect its people as a matter of principle.

    The world was hoping for Israel to be a light and Israel refuses its mission resulting in scorn.

    • Kid

      wow Yosef…you are truly IGNORANT!

      • Robert Davis

        Yosef is RIGHT,you are the ignorant and your lack of judgement is huge because it is evident that Israel’s leaders are at fault. It is evident they are cowards in politics and although you do not explain your reaction it is evident it is cowardice. You are even afraid to explain your position so as not to show your cowardice. That is typical of arch-ultra cowardice!

  • VictorMc

    Don’t talk about the lunatic Goldstone- he’s history and long ago debunked as a crckpot.

  • racy

    So Richard Goldstone took down his own people. He will burn in HELL for the lies he cited. I heard he recanted much of the report. It was too late. This creep gave the
    world what they wanted to hear. He was appointed so none would say the report was Anti Semetic since Goldstone was a Jew.

  • HATRED AGAINST JEWS WHATEVER FORMAT, WAS IS IMBEDDED INTO EUROPEAN ‘CULTURE’. FROM BC TO 2015. ISRAEL’S ONLY SOLUTION: BE STRONGER THEN THE ENEMY! DON’T CARE WHAT THEY SAY, IT IN REALITY DOSE NOT MATTER. AS EVERYHING AND EVERYBODY MUST DIE AND END. MEMENTO MORI

    • Robert Davis

      Antisemitism does not excuse everything. Jews seem to use too much this term just as incompetent,good for nothing negroes use racism whenever they are denied a job for example! You cannot deny Israeli “leaders” are not really trying to solve their political problem even if they do have lots of OTHER problems such as SECURITY but a leader should have a STRATEGY not just tactics. Israel’s leaders have no political strategy unless gaining time is a strategy but I am not sure it is really strategy,I would call it rather tactics.

  • Hal Taback

    The insidious infiltration of hostile Muslims throughout Europe, Asia & Africa has tipped the balance. In spite of Israel’s many technologies that have saved lives and made the lives of the inhabitants of the world more comfortable, convenient and healthy, the jealousy this creates is just too much for the overwhelming numbers of Muslims.
    The Muslims have a maniacal belief in a “god” that they give the power to condemn any and all non believers. It is not a “faith” but a “mania”. The world must resist this mania by destroying its proponents.

  • Carl

    Excellent analysis! Now what would it take for all those “progressive” western governments to look towards the inside and recognize the moral bankruptcy of their hateful position against the Jewish state?

  • Franklin

    No matter what, the only God is with Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If only the muslims know what is in store for them during the end times. The God of Israel will have the final say.

  • Allan Fritz

    Europe is bereft with causes they do not understand. We have the same problem in the United States because people do not understand the terrorism within the Palestinian cause.

  • although europeans left behind Jews People or Israel as a state.
    but God is always inside of people of Israel.
    God want Jews and christians in Israel to surrender with Him everyday and forever.
    God bless you O Israel.

  • I have only one thing to say about this traitor Jew Goldberg — who turns on his own people. He be humiliated, shunned reduced to poverty and obscurity. He is completely unscrupulous — no better than a Nazi SS Commandant! Followers of Ibliss desire world domination, show excessive greed and are utterly obscene. Such scum should be prevented from attaining office in any government. Saudi Arabia and its so called Royal Family (attaining this status 1933). Despots who retain a strangle hold on every nation dependent on Oil — maintain the status quo through barbaric Sharia law. When is society going to move out of the dark ages, and into Enlightenment? Similar to the late 18th Century when society was ruled by draconian law imposed by despotic and debauched aristocracy and Royalty preventing progress in Science and Medicine.Scandinavia is now rapidly degenerating in this direction! Scandinavia maintained a feudal system. Serfs and peasants were bound by superstitious Lutheran priests. Nobles practiced every variety of perversity and debauchery as Arabs do today.

  • steven L

    It is all about imposing a double standard!
    Why are the West and Muslims imposing a double standard on Israel? Very simple: it allows both side to find cover for their lack of ETHICS and moral TURPITUDE.

  • Leo Toystory

    While everything written here is true, it is only a small part of the story. The rest of the story involves soviet propaganda, the degeneracy of the European Union, the mental illness of academia, the sneering snobbishness of the Jew-hating diplomatic corps, the insanity of the left, Simon Peres closing down the original hasbara office, the sophomoric bumbling of the Clinton administration, and the increasing hostility of the two largest minority groups in the US – brainwashed by the scum of the left – and their increasing power in the Democrat Party.

  • “The Untold Story of 950,000 Refugees, who had their homes, assets, business and lands confiscated by the Arab countries (4 times the size of Israel). The Tale of thousands of years of Ancient Jewish Cultures in Arab Countries.” About 650,000 were resettled in Greater Israel.

    “Those who bless you (the Jews) will be blessed, those who curse you and harm you will be cursed”

    “Nine hundred and fifty thousand Jews were forced to flee from Arab lands – and while they went on to raise families and have successful careers and give to their new communities – they never forgot the pain and humiliation of being torn from their homes.
    It is long overdue and about time the U.N. the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative to establish a center of documentation. Collect the evidence to preserve history, document their firsthand accounts, and tell the story of the 950,000 Jews who were persecuted and expelled at the hands of the Arab nations.
    “The United Nations cannot erase the pain and humiliation endured by the Jewish refugees, but it can help to make amends.”

    It is time to transfer the Arab Palestinians to the Jewish land that the Arabs confiscated from the Jews (which is 4 times the size of Israel) and to Jordan a new State set up by the British who took it from the Jewish people for the Arabs in Palestine. It is not going to be easy, but it is a way to stop the terror and violence and bring an end to the Arab Palestinian refugees and give them pride of being a part of a constructive society.

  • kris kristian

    THANK YOU JUDGE GOLDSTONE.
    I HOPE YOU WILL ROT IN HELL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO ISRAEL

    THE UN AND ALL IT’S OFF SHOOTS HAVE BEEN HIJACKED BY THE ARAB PROPAGANDA MACHINE.
    THEY KNOW THAT THEY WILL NEVER DEFEAT ISRAEL ON THE BATTLE FIELD, SO THEY USE PROPAGANDA LIES. THEY HAD A VERY GOOD TEACHER, HITLERS
    MINISTER OF PROPAGANDA, JOSEP GOEBBESL. “THE BIGGER THE LIE, THE MORE OFTEN TOLD, THE MORE THE WORLD WILL BELIEVE IT”
    AND THE WORLD DOES BELIEVE EVERY ARAB LIE.
    THE UN IS A FARCE. WHICH COUNTRIES SIT OF VARIOUS COMMITTEES, LIKE UNSC, AND OTHERS? THE WORST OFFENDERS OF HUMAN RIGHTS.
    SO, TO TAKE THE FOCUS OFF THEIR OWN COUNTRIES OFFENCES, STRIKE THE JEW!.
    THE ENTIRE BDS CAMPAIGN WAS STARTED BY BARGHUTTI, WHO STUDIED IN ISRAEL, AT AN ISRAELI UNIVERSITY, AND OBTAINED HIS DEGREES IN ISRAEL.
    THE WHOLE BDS CAMPAIGN IS A LIE. AND BARGHUITTI KNOWS THAT, AS DO OTHERS. BUT IT IS “FASHIONABLE” TO TRY TO DESTROY THE ONLY JEWISH STATE IN THE WORLD.
    WHY, BECAUSE IT STANDS IN THE WAY OF ARAB/ISLAMIC SPREADING.
    IT WILL TAKE A FEW YEARS, BUT EVENTUALLY, THE WORLD WILL WAKE UP AND CONDEMN THOSE LIARS AND ONCE AGAIN SUPPORT ISRAEL.

    THEY MUST REMEMBER THE BIBLICAL WORDS OF G-D. ‘I WILL CURSE THOSE WHO CURSE MY PEOPLE ISRAEL. I WILL BLESS THOSE WHO BLESS MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.”

    ONCE THE HATERS WAKE UP TO THE CURSES, LIKE TZUNAMIES, FLOODS, FAMINE, EARTH QUAKES, FIRE, DISEASE, ETC, IN OTHER WORDS, THE 10 PLAGUES THAT G-D SENT TO EGYPT, THEY WILL BEG ISRAEL TO FORGIVE THEM.
    HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF. AND G-D DOES NOT LIE. SOME CHURCHES HAVE DENIED THE TORAH, AND INSTITUTED “REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY”
    THEY WILL BE THE FIRST TO SUFFER THE WRATH OF G-D

  • IMO we give much too much importance to “world opinion,” which is just what the self-declared gurus tell the people who get their news on TV. Oliver Wendell Holmes said: ‘Certitude is not the test of certainty. We have been cocksure of many things that were not so, which goes double for Mr. Carter’s rant about Israel having an apartheid regime. Truly historic works always publish their sources, without exception. What are Carter sources? Conversations he had with a random selection of people living there, without regard to the level of knowledge of these people; on top of that Carter’s questionable judgment on anything. Budda said: ‘Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.’ It might be good to know what Budda’s time frame was.

  • charlie johnson

    Israel gets a bad image from things like the Jews who pull up the olive trees planted by their neighbors.In a time that Israel could use friends among the world nations it would be a good time to consider the complaints and correct these conditions. Even if done Israel will still have old enemies but it is a choice and time to decide if more troops and equipment will overcome the problem.I really don’t care to see the lives of good Israeli soldiers wasted due to the lack of common sense up where the decisions are made.

  • manley kiefer

    Facts and truth don’t seem to matter anymore. Rather then inform themselves, too many are easy prey and victims of the false propaganda specializing the heart rendering stories of the Palestinian’s suffering. This is lamentably true but the root cause is their own people and leaders. Israel and Jews have always been the universal scapegoat for the uninformed, ignorant and anti-Sematic masses.

  • SPKTRUTH200

    Israel has the military might because they ROB the US citizens at the tune of $3billion a year plus, plus. Don’t think for minute Americans are fed up with giving our money to Israel when we have desperate problems at home.

  • art

    Israel has blindly , foolishly believed that the “truth’ would out and the world would see the validity of Israels’ position. The arab BIG Lie worked. Israeli politicians were at fault by refusing to maintain a united front and undermining each other. The pa/plo/hamas provide a cohesive front against Israel

  • Yaakov Shore

    Very persuasive to any one with an open mind and an ounce of intellect and justice. Clearly stated and well written, too. Thank you.

    • Joshua Muravchik

      Thank you for the kinds words.

  • Added to the specific matters detailed in the above Moravchik article, there is also the negative effects of the 20th-century UN decolonization movement, including the false perception of Jews as European “colonizers” of an Arab country, where “Palestinians” are perceived to be indigenous.

    And in this specific respect, so many Jews around the world are partly to blame, because they themselves do not take their own Jewish history seriously enough. Too many Jews presume that Jewish history is somehow mere nostalgia, while Lenin’s theory of imperialism is objective fact. However, the simple truth is that — though some individual Jews indeed came from Poland — the Jewish People “as a whole” can neither be a colonizer nor occupier in its own ancestral homeland.

    Of all extant Peoples, the Jewish People has the strongest claim to be “the” aboriginal People of Eretz Israel — where, by the 6th century BCE, there was already a distinct human population calling itself “Jewish,” using the Hebrew language, and practicing something like the religion of Judaism.

    Across the centuries, there was never a single year when then self-identified “Jews” were entirely absent from their aboriginal homeland. Nor was there ever a time when the larger Jewish People abandoned its real human and cultural connections to the land of its birth. Similarly, the Mideast itself always had a significant Jewish population, circa one million around 1900 CE.

    http://www.allenzhertz.com/2009/11/aboriginal-rights-to-israel.html

    The point is that the Jewish People has aboriginal rights to Eretz Israel in the same way that the native Indian tribes of North America claim rights to their ancestral lands. This ongoing Jewish moral and legal claim to Eretz Israel antedates the birth of Europe and the rise of Islam.

    Jews themselves need to understand this deeply in their own hearts — and then tell this convincingly to others. Sadly, so many know nothing about those heroic Jews who stubbornly insisted on living in Eretz Israel across 26 centuries! And then there are still some other Jews who know this history, but fail to understand that this continuing history of Jewish presence there really does have heavy moral and legal weight.

  • We Jews are not short of enemies. But the most harm has been inflicted by the Quisling Jews.

  • Yale

    I don’t think that’s the whole story.

    The Oslo Accords gave Israel’s stamp of approval to the establishment of a Palestinian state, without really requiring that the Palestinians acknowledge that a Jewish state would continue to exist. In essence, Israel made the same claim that appears in the judgment of Solomon — two women both claiming to be the mother, when the decision is rendered to cut the baby in half, the real mother forfeits her claim so her child will live.

    By agreeing to divide the territory, Israel legitimized Palestinian claims that they are the true owners and the world has endorsed what this implies: If there is no peace it must be because of Israeli intransigence. After all, they have accepted that the Palestinian claim is valid. All of the claims about apartheid, war crimes, etc., simply underscore the notion of Israeli intransigence and offer suggestions for why that has happened.

    The conundrum now is how to get back to the idea that the price to the Palestinians for getting anything is that they must endorse the right of the Jews to a state of their own.

  • Bonnie Geller

    I hope Goldstone(goldstein obviously) finds his proper resting place in Hell when he passes on. Quisling is too nice a word for him.

  • Ben

    This phenomenon did not begin in 2009. It began in the 1960’s, when the Soviet Union actively sponsored radical and subversive groups in the United States and lent their full weight to anti-Israel propaganda. I once had a book which was the manifesto of he Weather Underground from that period, and it contained chapters on the Zionist occupation of Palestine, yada, yada yada. It was bizarre and unfamiliar, and just looked nonsense among the other nonsense. I had to wonder why it was even included in that material, but it was the opening wedge for what became institutionalized in the minds of the future faculties and think tanks.

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