Contributing editor Nathan Jeffay thinks that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could have been “ahead of the game” –– the predictable groundswell of international opprobrium when Israel responds to terrorist threats with military action –– by saying more about Israel’s preparedness for peace and willingness to make difficult concessions (“Bibi’s Missed Chance At UN,” Oct. 9).
But, unless I haven’t noticed, Israel has been doing this continually since the Oslo Accords.
Despite firm proposals for Palestinian statehood in almost all of Judea/Samaria, all of Gaza and half of Jerusalem in 2000, 2001 and 2008, Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) has refused to negotiate for all but two meetings in one week in the past six and half years. They don’t want a Palestinian state if it means accepting Israel alongside it.
The idea that Israel can change international perceptions by dwelling upon its pacific intentions is part of the fallacy of “rebranding” –– the idea that people will change their hostility towards someone they have been led to believe is a murderer because they are shown that he is handsome, personally charming, intelligent or highly accomplished.
It is hard to combat the lies told by Palestinians against Israel, but it should be easy for Israelis to tell the truth about Abbas and the PA.
Israel needs to be emphatic and revealing about their promotion and glorification of terrorism, incitement to hatred and murder that suffuses their media, mosques, schools and youth camps, their refusal to arrest terrorists, the naming of streets, schools and sports teams in honor of suicide bombers and the demonization of Jews — most recently, Abbas denouncing the “filthy feet” of Jews visiting Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
No one else is going to do this for Israel. When Israel doesn’t, the war of perception is lost by default.
Mort Klein, National President Zionist Organization of America
This letter was published by Jewish Week and may be found here.