On July 7, UNESCO declared the old city in Hebron as a Palestinian world heritage site, outraging Israelis who say the move attempts to erase the deep Jewish ties to the biblical town and its ancient shrine. So, is Hebron no longer incredibly significant to the Jews because the UN says so? Of course not! Most people are not even aware of the ridiculous UNESCO decision. But this insult is but one more reason that Israel must change its public diplomacy (hasbara) from reactive to proactive, from conciliatory to aggressive. The Israel Victory Project intends to do just that.
Devised by the Middle East Forum, a venerable pro-Israel NGO founded by Dr. Daniel Pipes, the project includes the Congressional Israel Victory Caucus (CIVC), which the Forum helped launch in Washington, D.C. in April and the Knesset Israel Victory Caucus, inaugurated this July. Both caucuses will advocate a new strategy to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, centered on Israel’s defeat of enemies who seek its destruction and equally important, ending the emphasis by Israel on making ‘painful concessions.’ Instead, the onus will be placed on Palestinians to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.
Michal and I recently attended a conference in Jerusalem featuring speakers from the CIVC and several others. Below are the most memorable and pithy comments:
Daniel Pipes, the moderator, states that the Palestinians are deluded in thinking the war with Israel is still on. “The gig is up and they lost.” The stalemate between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs will continue until this realization sinks in and is acted upon, by both sides.
MK (Member Knesset) Yehudah Glick, the foremost Knesset advocate for allowing Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount (Jews are currently constrained by Israeli police from even looking like they are praying) emphasized that Israel should show zero tolerance for Arab terror, refusing to allow them any benefit from violence. However, the Palestinians could benefit from Jewish ascendence/victory. When the Arabs recognize and accept Jewish hegemony in Israel, true Shalom (peace and enlightenment) will result.
Colonel Richard Kemp CBE, the former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan and a superb advocate for Israel, emphasized that the Palestinians are mounting an insurgency, not a war, against the Jews. Therefore, the peace process is a non-starter in the present circumstances. The Palestinians attack us at our center of gravity, the international community, which Israel longs to bring to its side. We (Kemp, not a Jew or an Israeli, admits that he has trouble differentiating himself from us) must defeat the Palestinian will to fight, which is entirely possible, citing America during the Vietnamese War and the Irish in their fight against Northern Ireland (Britain).
Kemp advocates an unrelenting effort to persuade the West, and the US in particular, to fight against the Palestinian narrative, i.e. the Palestinian refugees situation. That narrative must be discredited, as should UNESCO’s anti-Zionist slant. The Israeli weakness of appeasing the Americans (and Europeans to a lesser extent) resulted in the Oslo Agreement (read, Debacle) with all its concessions. After more than two decades of failure, a new tactic is essential: Israel must push its agenda more aggressively. At the same time, we see the Europeans caving into the Islamists. Europe faces the same problem with Muslims as Israel, though they stubbornly refuse to recognize it.
Guest speaker Melanie Phillips, the well-known journalist and author, decried the West’s encouragement of the Palestinian Arabs to keep “claiming and fighting.” The West treats Palestinian leaders, whom Phillips identifies as the aggressors, as statesmen. The West no longer expects or demands victory in a conflict. For them it’s a matter of law, not war: equivalent claims against the Israelis, not a war of extermination. Thus, the West demands that a compromise be reached. Phillips insists that the conflict must be reframed from one that will end in compromise to one that will be a definite Israeli victory.
Daniel Pipes summed up that the Israeli government still believes in the Golden Rule; if Israel is nice to the Palestinians, world opinion will reward us. It isn’t happening. The Israeli policy to minimize making waves to preserve quiet has failed. Instead, Pipes harks back to Zev Jabotinsky’s (1923) Iron Wall: “That the Arabs of the Land of Israel should willingly come to an agreement with us is beyond all hopes and dreams at present, and in the foreseeable future…. They will not voluntarily allow, not only a new master, but even a new partner…. To think that the Arabs will voluntarily consent to the realization of Zionism in return for the cultural and economic benefits we can bestow on them is infantile…. All this does not mean that any kind of agreement is impossible, only a voluntary agreement [on the part of the Arabs] is impossible.”
The Iron Wall is the inspiration for the Israel Victory Project. The most recent polls report that most Israeli Jewish adults want Palestinian defeat and Israeli victory. We hope that a more proactive, aggressive, militant strategy will replace the losing proposition of always trying to compromise. After all, the Palestinian Arabs (and many other Muslims) want to replace the Jews, not “live side by side in peace” with us. Instead, they should notice that Israel is thriving while they stagnate and even regress. As Daniel Pipes said, our Arab neighbors have lost their battle against Israel and it’s past time for them to realize that fact.