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General Articles

The shame of disloyalty
July 5, 2008

When nice Jewish men and women are too nice

 By Ralph Dobrin

In past generations the most libellous statements against Jews were often
made by other Jews who had left the fold, and were eager to demonstrate
their loyalty to their new-found identities and faith. There was always a
number (probably a tiny minority) who deeply hated their erstwhile Jewish
identity because it had been the reason for the discrimination they had
suffered and hence the source of their misery. But nowadays, Jews aren’t
discriminated against like they were in previous centuries, so one would
think that there is no longer such a pressing impetus for Jewish self-hate
or the need to vociferously disclaim their ethnic or religious roots like
in the past.

Yet there are many Jews in the world, as well as in Israel, who make
inflammatory accusations against Israel or instigate highly damaging
actions. I’m not talking about criticism of actual procedures like house
demolitions, or detainment of arrested Arab youngsters together with adults
– controversial actions that are dismaying to any decent person, but
which might well be understood in the light of the ongoing terror war waged
against Israel. No, I mean outright factual fabrications and hostile
actions instigated by Jews in various parts of the world, and even in
Israel itself. I’m also referring to criticism of actual procedures
without considering what prompted them.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m all in favor of constructive criticism,
especially when it’s based on fact. I think that everyone should be able
to express themselves about whatever they think is a wrongness, no matter
who they are or where they live, as long as they know what they are talking
about. Regarding Israel, I’d go so far as to say that even criticism
directed at it, which is not motivated by good-will, is nevertheless valid
and even constructive from Israel’s point of view – as long as it is
not based on falsehood.

Many Jews in Israel and abroad are genuinely disturbed by what they
perceive as a lack of morality on Israel’s part. Pictures of Israeli
soldiers patrolling menacingly in Arab towns do not convey an impression of
humaneness and common decency on Israel’s part. Each military flare-up
produces pictures of devastation and dead Arabs – often children – on
the television screens of the world, and they fill many a Jewish heart with
deep dismay, shame and anger – in the same way that any decent person
seeing these pictures would feel.

The trouble is that the pictures seldom provide the background to each
scene of mayhem inflicted on Arabs by Israel’s air force or ground
troops. They seldom if ever, remind viewers that for over three
generations, Arabs have been attacking Jews, often with the stated
intention of killing ordinary civilians, including women and children.
Pictures do not mention that a mangled, burning car in Gaza, hit by Israeli
helicopters, was being used by terrorists driving to their next
rocket-firing position. Pictures of dead Arab women and children never
mention that terrorists were shooting at Israeli villages from the homes of
these people, actually using them as human shields. Also, as has been often
proved, many pictures are actually staged by Arab photographers, intent on
creating a demonic image of Israel. The 2002 battle in Jenin was a classic
example. So was the shameful, recently exposed Muhammad al-Durrah affair.


Since the latter part of the nineteenth century, Jews, especially in the
democratic countries, had been in the forefront of every struggle for
equality and justice. They were in the forefront in the struggle for real
equality and civil rights for the blacks in America, and in apartheid South
Africa, it was Jews who formed a major part of the white activists who
risked jail and beatings, as well as exile. So it is natural that Jews
should have qualms about the plight of Arabs living under Israeli
jurisdiction in Judea and Samaria, and de facto independence in Gaza.

However, the dismay felt by many Jews around the world is mainly due to
misinformation doled out by skillful spin artists, most of whom are Arabs,
but also a number of eloquent Jews. Inform these good people of the real
facts and many of them will eventually change their tune – and possible
with a great sense of relief that they had been wrong about the morality of
their people in Israel.

However, not all Jews who are appalled by what they perceive as Israeli
brutality, are motivated in their condemnation of Israel by sentiments of
pure compassion for the hapless Arabs. Many of these people are well aware
of the true facts behind the Israel-Arab conflict, but they choose to
ignore any Arab aggression and eagerly latch onto every Israeli reaction to
Arab attacks as though Israel is the exclusively guilty party.


The first major academic boycott attempt against Israel was initiated a few
years ago by British Professors, husband and wife Steven and Hilary Rose,
both Jews, who were central figures in the British National Association of
Teacher in Further and Higher Education. This set the ball rolling among
university lecturers around the world, reaching far-off Australia, where
one of the initiators was yet another well-known Jewish academic, John

When reading material written by these people, one gets the impression that
they are deeply concerned about their fellow human beings. But like with
most anti-Israel activists, in their version of the situation, there is
never any mention of the Arab aggression which from the very outset set off
the conflict, and only one side of the conflict is always completely in the
wrong – Israel.  But what was surprising with the Rose boycott initiative
was that the hundreds of academics who signed the Israel boycott agreement,
included ten Israeli academics tenured in top Israeli universities.

One of the most outspoken of these Israelis is Ilan Pappe, formerly from
Haifa University, now a professor of history at Exeter University in
England. He often mentions massacres perpetrated by Israel that never
occurred, including the lie that Israeli committed a massacre in Jenin in
2002, despite copious refutation (including United Nations reports) of the
bogus claim.

What drives Pappe and others like him to propagate the damaging lies and
libel against his own country. It is not because he doesn’t have the
facts. After all, the man was born in Israel, served in the army and is a
professor of history. Yet he has stated that for him, facts are irrelevant
and that truth will not deter the Jewish state’s detractors. He says:
“I am not as interested in what happened but in how people see what’s
happened.” (Le Soir [Bruxelles],Nov. 29, 1999).

Does his ability to twist facts stem from his affiliation with Communist
ideology? (In 1996 Pappé ran in the Knesset elections on Hadash list.) Or
does he carry the twisted Jewish self-hate bug, or is he simply a born
rebel, opposed to anything that might seem mainstream? Whatever the answer,
his activities are damaging to the Jewish people and to the State of
Israel. Freedom of expression is an important value, but it should not be
abused. Expression should always be based on truthfulness. What a
monumental irony when academics tenured at prestigious universities, flout
this principle!

And sadly there is a long list of prominent Jewish academics, many of whom
are Americans – some at the forefront of their respective fields. Among
the more well-known of these people are Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein
who are frequently interviewed by various media channels and who deliver
talks on their pet subject – Israel’s culbability in the Middle East
tragedy. Prof. Finkelstein routinely compares Israelis with Nazis and
compounds this crude observation by praising the “heroic resistance of
Hezbollah to foreign occupation.”

Actually, it is the Arabs who suffer just as badly from all the one-sided
condemnation of Israel, because it encourages them further to continue
attacking Israel in their quest to weaken or destroy the Jewish state,
which naturally leads to military retaliation, thereby perpetuating Arab
misery. If I were an Arab leader, commited to the welfare of my people, I
would beg these Jews to desist in their anti-Israel activities.


There are also hundreds and possibly thousands of other Jews actively
churning out libellous material against Israel – some of it based on the
fabrications and falsehoods of the above-mentioned people or inspired by
them. There are also a few Jews who faithfully swell the ranks of
anti-Israel demonstrations, or who help fill campus halls to boo and shout
down anyone trying to tell the Israel-Arab conflict like it really is.
There are also widely read columnists and bloggers. It’s quite possible
that a sizeable percentage of these Jews are very decent, concerned human
beings, courageously making a stand against what they deem is a terrible
injustice. But they all base their notions on one-sided, usually totally
false sources of information. These are the people who have to be contacted
and engaged in a sober dialogue by anyone with a reasonable amount of
relevant knowledge.

Whenever I get a mailing that bashes Israel, using lies, I respond. I enjoy
getting into discussions with Israel’s detractors. (I never wage an
argument – that never helps.) I think I might have helped tone down a few
anti-Israel activists (Jewish and non-Jewish) and possibly even caused a
shift in their perceptions of the Israel-Arab conflict.

But my activities in this field are still on a tiny scale. Occasionally,
however, I am stumped by someone’s assertion or counter to something I
have said, even though I think I have a pretty good knowledge of the

I know that there are many people in Israel and abroad who have a far
greater knowledge of the facts than I have. Many also have ready access to
factually-accurate ready-made answers to tough questions. I think that
there is an urgent need for greater corroboration between individuals and
organizations to pool their resources in order to combat more effectively
the anti-Israel activities waged by Jews and non-Jews alike – on a
one-on-one basis. I would be very glad to work together with others on this
vital endeavor. Please regard this as a personal call if you can help.

For more specific information on how to get bashers to question the
validity of their notions, click:




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