On the backdrop of a spate of gratuitous attacks on Israel, ‘The Jerusalem Post’ is organizing its First Annual Conference appropriately entitled “Fighting for the Zionist Dream.”
At first glance, data released this week on violent anti-Semitic attacks around the world is actually encouraging. The number of these sorts of violent attacks fell 27 percent to “only” 446 in 2011, according to The Moshe Kantor Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University.
But as Prof. Dina Porat, head of the center, pointed out, the findings do not tell the whole story.
“Anti-Semitic expressions are not only found in fringe or radical groups,” said Porat, “but have infiltrated the mainstream and it creates an atmosphere that cannot be quantified.”
Most commonly, noted Porat and Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, distorted perceptions of Israeli policies are being used as justification for attacking Jewish communities around the world, particularly in Europe.
Just this month there were ample examples of how pervasive it has become for Israel’s many detractors to resort to the odious tactic of misrepresenting Israeli policies and using these lies as an excuse to lash out at Jews or those who support the Jewish state.
In the US, Connecticut senatorial candidate Lee Whitum called Connecticut Congressman Chris Murphy a “whore” who “sells his soul to AIPAC” during a debate ahead of a primary election, and claimed the US is hated throughout the world because of “American settlers” who kill Palestinians “in the Promised Land.”
In a recent piece in Tablet Magazine, the prejudices of Ilmar Reepalu, the mayor of Malmö, Sweden, who has held his post for 17 years, were revealed in all their infamy.
Asked in January 2010 about growing anti-Semitism in his city, he replied, “We accept neither anti-Semitism nor Zionism in Malmö.” And just recently, Reepalu incited against the Jewish community by claiming most supported an anti-immigration, anti-Muslim political party in Sweden.
In Britain, 36 directors and actors, including Emma Thompson, signed a petition calling to exclude the Tel Aviv-based Habimah Theater company from an upcoming international Shakespeare festival set to take place at London’s Globe Theater in protest against alleged Israeli injustices.
In Germany, Günter Grass, a former Waffen SS storm trooper and leftist cultural icon wrote a “poem” claiming it was Israel, not the Holocaust denying, pro-terrorist mullahs of Iran, that was threatened the world with nuclear Armageddon.
On the backdrop of this spate of gratuitous attacks on Israel or on those supportive of the Jewish state, The Jerusalem Post is organizing its First Annual Conference appropriately entitled “Fighting for the Zionist Dream.”
Central on the agenda is a discussion of the systematic delegitimization of Israel and Zionism and ways of combating distortions and lies spread about the Jewish state.
There is no more appropriate organizer of such a conference than The Jerusalem Post, a news provider that combats unsubstantiated attacks on Israel on a daily basis. We do this not by actively engaging in hasbara [public diplomacy] or disseminating propaganda about Israeli policies, but simply by telling it as it is. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 364 days a year (unless something really important happens on Yom Kippur) the Post provides vital information about Israel in an unbigoted, balanced way.
If readers are truly open to the truth they will quickly discover, for instance, that Palestinian support for terror and rejection of Israel’s right to exist as a secure and legitimate Jewish state are exceedingly more substantial impediments to peace than settlements. They will realize that Palestinians are not passive observers in the peace process. Rather, they have rejected multiple offers by Israel to solve the conflict through a two-state solution.
In elections in the Gaza Strip in 2006, a majority voted for Hamas, a terrorist organization dedicated to Israel’s destruction. And to this day Palestinian leadership balks at entering direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions.
Unfortunately, the Post is just one source of news about Israel. Too much information made available – in both mainstream and alternative media outlets – is distorted and helps cultivate hatred for Israel, which is then used against Jews and supporters of Israel around the world.
Therefore, at the upcoming “Fighting for the Zionist Dream” conference taking place in New York on April 29, some of Israel’s most thoughtful and innovative advocates will discuss ways of bringing the truth to the world. In doing so, they will help to combat the new form of anti- Semitic rhetoric disingenuously disguised as legitimate criticism of Israeli policies.