Saving Israel — From Whom?
This past week, Israeli journalist Yishai Friedman published a story exposing the plan of leading far-Left personalities to organize a major campaign against Israel’s policies in Judea and Samaria ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War in June 2017.
The group behind the initiative, “Save Israel – Stop the Occupation” (SISO), is a self-proclaimed “growing worldwide movement that serves as an umbrella for all those who consider Israel’s ongoing rule over occupied Palestinian territory disastrous not just for Palestinians but for Israelis as well.” The organization was founded by Akiva Eldar, chief political analyst for the far-Left news site Al-Monitor, and Daniel Bar-Tal, a professor at Tel Aviv University who claims that the Israeli public has been indoctrinated into supporting the “occupartheid.”
SISO has created a to-do list of thirteen tasks needed to achieve its objectives, including recruiting prominent Jewish figures and organizations, raising millions of dollars and gathering a petition of one million signatures.
In a recent radio interview, Eldar called on American Jews to unite together against fascism, racism and Israel’s “drug addiction” to the occupation. Eldar further explained, “We have a [Donald] Trump of our own, whose name is Bibi Netanyahu… Now you can get a taste of what we eat and drink here every day.”
Although still in its infancy, SISO boasts an array of prominent supporters, including former Israeli Foreign Ministry director-general Alon Liel, diplomat Ilan Baruch, and Nobel Prize laureate Daniel Kahneman. Eldar also claims that J Street and the New Israel Fund have been drafted to the cause.
Despite its index of high profile supporters, SISO has been unable to garner the support of the mainstream Israeli Left. The Zionist Union, Israel’s largest left-wing political party, rejected SISO’s offer to get involved.
With its holier-than-thou attitude, SISO and its ideological partners do not care that their sanctimonious attempt to impose a potentially lethal policy on Israel has been widely shunned by the Israeli public, including their supposed ideological allies. That is because, in the mindset of the radical Left, the goal to “save Israel” provides them the justification to do whatever they deem necessary.
In this instance, SISO is willing to let its objective of withdrawing from Judea and Samaria come at the expense of Israel’s Jewish majority and its existence as a Jewish and democratic state: “SISO is calling on the Israeli Government to decide by 5 June 2017 either to accept the creation of an independent Palestinian state or to extend equal rights to everyone living in the occupied territories until there is an agreed final resolution of the conflict.”
In the name of stopping the occupation, the far-Left also disregards the legitimate security concerns that would arise from a unilateral disengagement from Judea and Samaria. One can only wonder how they would react if a Gaza-like terror state would emerge in Judea and Samaria as a result of their initiative. The smart money says they would find a way to foist the blame on Israel.
The more the radical-Left loses its standing in Israeli society, the more it turns to the thuggish tactics of derision and disparagement. Radical leftists accuse all those who disagree with them of being fascists and racists or, as Bar-Tal put it, of having “symptoms of a sick society.”
What are those symptoms? What is that sickness? It seems that disagreement with the likes of SISO would be the answer.
But for the majority of Israelis, disagreeing with SISO and its allies is a badge of courage. Regardless of their particular convictions, most Israelis are justifiably proud of their robust democracy, and recognize that we are not in any danger of sliding into the abyss of totalitarianism.
The writer is the International Relations Coordinator for the Israeli NGO Im Tirtzu.