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April 8, 2016 3:09 am

Saving Israel — From Whom?

avatar by Eytan Meir

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Judea and Samaria. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Judea and Samaria. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

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.

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  • Dario Calimani

    SISO paint Im Tirtzu as rabid fascists in the same way as Im Tirtzu love to paint SISO as raid far-left-wing extremists. ..

  • Mike

    This article hit the nail on the head. The self righteous radical left think they, and only they, hold the key to achieving peace.

  • Ronald Sevenster

    The State of Israel should punish Jewish members of SISO and other vicious anti-Israel organizations by revoking their right of Israeli citizenship on the basis of the Law of Return.

  • mohammad awni

    As a supporter of peace in the region and all over the world ,I do support strongly the SISO ,in achieving their goals as it will serve the peace and stability in the region and all over ,serious talks must starts to put the differences away between the two nations ,all will be winners and no place for radicals from all sides I hope that we all can live to see this coming through soon to stop the blood shed of all sides .

  • Willie Yegoh

    Israel is a great democracy. It be allowed to thrive with the same in the region

  • stevenl

    The real problem is the IL govt procrastination.
    With these kind of friends, IL has no need for other enemies. They are promoting the long term destruction of IL.
    These are antisemites, there are plenty of them.

  • Paul

    Is it a coincidence that the author of this article works for Im Tirzu. Most readers here probably have never heard of Im Tirzu.
    Im Tirzu is well known and widely denounced in Israel, rejected by the mainstream, as a far-right, extreme and fanatical group.
    Here is a quote from the local press:
    “The grassroots Zionist movement Im Tirtzu on Friday issued an apology over its campaign calling out “foreign agents” in the Israeli cultural scene.
    The apology came after the campaign caused an uproar in Israel and was condemned by those in both the political left and right”.
    So, in answer to the authors question in the title, saving Israel – from whom ? Well, it should be obvious – saving Israel from all fanatical extremists in the middle east, including the fanatical left and the fanatical right (to the last of which belongs the author of this article).

    • Mike

      Paul, you are way off base.

      I live in Israel and can tell you than Im Tirtzu is as mainstream as it gets! The campaign you are referring to was a Facebook post that the group admitted was a mistake and apologized for (something you don’t see the left doing).

      The only people that denounce Im Tirtzu are the rabid leftists (probably your friends); other than that they enjoy incredible support in Israel.

      Hell, even Prime Minister Netanyahu put out a video publicly endorsing Im Tirtzu.

      It honestly pisses me off when leftists try to paint mainstream Zionists as radicals, just because they don’t want to bend over backwards and let the country get ravaged by those who seek to destroy it.