Israel needs bums on seats

Not the colloquial unwashed, no-hoper bum, you understand. I am talking about the physical attendance of the ‘bring more chairs’ type, and it’s not just bums on seats either., it’s heads out of the sand, too.  Sit down and listen but don’t be afraid to stand up and speak. Israel needs you to be present. She wants to hear your voice and she wants to stick her very lovely blue and white flag in your hand and see you wave it with gusto, with pride. And you will. I know you will because you, like me, stand in solidarity with the Jewish nation.

And yet, there are those Jews who take issue with such sentiments. They, who blatantly force  anti-Israel rhetoric, who stand under a banner of hatred for Israel, who call Israel out for being racist, for being apartheid (like they even understand the meaning of the word) and who actively and vociferously rage against Israel from an angry platform built on ignorance and self-loathing.

I recall one rather heated exchange some years ago between a Jewish lady draped in the Palestinian flag, part of a group boycotting Marks and Spencer’s in Manchester, and my Israeli husband, the son of Holocaust survivors, where she insisted that the Holocaust was a myth and the Palestinians were subject to conditions far worse than the Jews under the Nazi regime.  She was merely spouting the warped narrative of incitement. And that incitement is still alive and kicking  as the  Jewish anti-Zionist camp  walks aimlessly with like-minded folk who call for the demise of Israel.

Deafening in their silence are the non-committals; those  ‘I’m alright, Jack’ Jews who scurry past  the crowds of anti-Israel boycotters who ply their evil trade in Jew hatred in every European city. These are the Jews who hide their Magen Davids at the first sight of confrontation, they who keep their heads down and remain silent in  the face of growing anti-Semitism, growing anti-Israel sentiment. They  prefer not to draw attention to themselves, they ‘don’t like to make a fuss’ – well neither did the six million who believed that this, too, will pass.

And don’t think for one minute that I have not suffered  soft blows from social media friends who tell me that my Facebook page is all a bit much   – “promoting all that Zionism stuff” – what do they want, that I should post pictures of my dinner or pouting selfies that accentuate my wrinkles?

Israel and the Jewish people  face a growing phenomena of unashamed hostility on all platforms, on all fronts. Typically, the hard and soft core enemies of truth will aim at the very heart of the Jewish world – the State of Israel – with knives and words.   It is lamentable that the passion of those who aim to demonize Israel is far greater than that of those who seek to defend her.  We are, alas, a minority but we MUST redress the balance,  gather our wits, our forces, pick up our pens and  our megaphones, and use every platform to advocate for Israel.

We stand just weeks away from a global hate-fest that will spread its tentacles far inside our universities. Now in its 12th year, Israel Apartheid Week will kick off in the UK with a series of lectures and rallies aimed at portraying Israel as a rogue state of dubious integrity. Since its inception in Toronto in 2005, this insidious strategy to delegitimize Israel and garner support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign has gathered considerable strength. It has spread to at least 55 cities around the world including prestigious universities in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Botswana, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Jordan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Palestine, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Under the cover of academic freedom, Israel Apartheid Week uses a dangerous cocktail of ignorance and intolerance to single out Israel and her supporters as ‘racists’  while continuing to turn a blind eye and deaf ear on the real apartheid – the appalling massacres and human rights violations that have reached intolerable heights in countries such as Syria and Iran.  No doubt that the Israel Apartheid Week organizers  will wheel out a motley crew of  self-hating Jewish and Israeli academics to give some warped credence to their arguments as to why it is Israel that should be castigated as the perpetrator of ALL that is evil in the world.february-26-2014-israel-apartheid-week-web

The travesty of Israel Apartheid Week is that it does a great injustice to the word ‘Apartheid’ –  which is defined as a policy of separation and segregation, a description that does not fit into the ethos of Israel, a country (in fact, the only one in the Middle East) that embraces  gender, sexual, religious and political diversity.

Our bright young Jewish students will have to face off  the hostility and bullying tactics of this finely tuned and, yes I have to admit, the well-oiled propaganda machine that is Israel Apartheid Week. It is my hope that our kids have the guts and the tools to counter lies with truth, myths with facts and coercion with courage.

Heaven forbid, they are rendered speechless by the vitriol. And woe betide them  should they take the path of least resistance.  Putting up and shutting up is not an option. Never has been – never will be.

For Israel, for ourselves, we must advocate on all platforms, and where there is no platform, then we should create one. Every Jewish/ Zionist organization must have an effective, educational  and vibrant section devoted solely to Israel advocacy. It is imperative that we engage, educate and encourage others to do the same. The more the merrier. That way, we’ll get those bums on  seats and heads out of the sand.