Feb. 3, 2011
The War Without Guns Against Israel
An ARZA Overview
Since its founding in 1948, Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state has been under constant assault. Armed attacks get most of the news coverage, but they are only part of the assault. During hot wars and cold wars, there has been --and there continues to be--a relentless campaign to deny Israel's legitimacy, to equate Israel with pre-1994 apartheid South Africa, and to undermine Israel’s thriving economy by attempting to have its products and people boycotted, by demanding divestiture of investments in companies doing business with it, and by urging sanctions against the State itself.
For the most part, these efforts have not achieved their short-range goals. Israel is accepted throughout most of the world as the legitimate Jewish nation it is. The attempts to tar it with the apartheid label have (with some exceptions) failed because of the absurdity of the charge and Israel's dedication to democracy and the rule of law. And the boycott, divestiture and sanctions campaigns (sometimes called "BDS") have been effectively countered; for example, American and Canadian supporters of Israel have responded to boycott campaigns with BUY-cott campaigns that have actually increased sales of Israeli goods.
But the war without guns against Israel is ongoing and dangerous. It is being waged in many forums--college campuses, international conferences, the media, mainstream religious organizations, academic societies, labor unions, etc.--by groups with enormous resources, and it is having some success. Because of its intensity, scope, and disregard of facts, it is hurting Israel's image and undermining support for the Jewish state among American Jews, particularly younger Jews who do not fully appreciate how much Israel, by its sheer vigor and success, adds to American Jewish life.
While ARZA, the Zionist arm of a Reform Jewish tradition rooted in the biblical prophets, affirms the importance of legitimate criticism, we reject the many attacks that deny Judaism’s connection to the land of Israel and our heritage there, and take a vocal stance against the many attempts to whittle away at or deny Israel’s legitimacy.
Toward this end, ARZA is launching an initiative to make members of Reform synagogues aware of the war without guns and of the details of particular Anti-Israeli efforts. We plan to distribute a series of articles which will describe particular delegitimization or BDS campaigns and will suggest ways of countering them. Armed with this knowledge, our members and synagogues will be in a position to help defend Israel with the truth.
Supporters of Israel have--and should have--a wide variety of views concerning Israel's actions. But even when supporters disagree with Israel, we should be united in affirming its right to exist as a democratic Jewish state and in opposing efforts to undermine that existence.
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