NATIV Online        

  Vol. 1  /  2003                                A JOURNAL OF POLITICS AND THE ARTS      



“The Wise Men of Chelm”



A Letter to an Academic Critic of Israel


Steven Plaut

Dear Professor “S”:

Thank you for your note asking me what my reaction is to the recent event in which an Israeli tank crew fired a shell that killed some civilians.

Professor, I am not sure I understand your question. You asked what is my reaction to this incident.

My reaction is quite simply that if the Palestinians would stop sending mass murderers out to murder Jewish children and other Israeli civilians intentionally, then Israel would not have to send out tanks and other units to hunt down the murderers. If it were no longer necessary to send out Israeli tanks to hunt down Palestinian mass murderers, then errors in judgment, mistakes and mishaps in which Palestinian civilians and minors accidentally get killed would not take place.

It is all very simple. When the Arabs stop mass murdering Jews, there will no longer be any innocent Arabs accidentally killed or injured by Jews.

My reaction, in other words, is exactly the same as it would be had you asked me what was my reaction to the fact that many, many Japanese and German children died in the bombings of Cologne, Dresden, Berlin, Hamburg, Tokyo, Okinawa, and Hiroshima.

My reaction is: Tough.

Those who do not want innocents to be accidentally targeted must stop the fascist aggression and terrorism by the Arabs (like that of the Germans and Japanese), which makes such incidents inevitable. How many innocent children were killed in Afghanistan thanks to Islamist fascism? How many Iraqi civilians were injured in the two Gulf Wars? Whose fault was that?

People who support Palestinian terrorism make such deaths of Palestinian children inevitable and bear much of the blame.

Meanwhile, you claim that it is unfair of people to accuse you of being anti-Israel, and all the more so of being an anti-Semite. You say you are merely endorsing the positions of some Israeli leftists, and you name Uri Avnery and Shulamit Aloni. You say you endorse a complete withdrawal of Israel to its 1967 borders, removal of all settlements, and creation of a Palestinian state with half of Jerusalem as its capital – because you love Israel and want it to live in peace.

I do not believe you.

I do not believe that you love Israel. I do not believe that you desire Israel to survive and live in peace. I do not believe that YOU believe that your prescription will bring peace.

Suppose someone – a non-American – would announce that he is not anti-American, but he merely endorses the political position of people like Taliban John and Edward Said and Louis Farrakhan regarding the United States. Suppose he were to insist he is in fact PRO-American, but just has pro-positions of “dissident” Americans.

Of course, such a claim would be ludicrous. Such a person would be supporting American traitors, people driven by hatred of America. Such people’s “ideology” is nothing more than anti-Americanism, and foreigners supporting such people would be in effect admitting that they themselves are anti-America and wish America harm.

Your support of Uri Avnery and Shulamit Aloni is exactly the same thing. Israel’s leftist extremists are motivated by anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism in exactly the same way that the extremist left camp in America is motivated by hatred of America.

Moreover, your own positions belie your pretended love for Israel. When you support sanctions against Israel and against Israeli academic institutions because you disapprove of Israeli government policy, you are revealing your hostility to the existence of the country, not to this or that specific policy. You are not trying to influence Israel’s decision-making, you are delegitimizing all of Israel and exhibiting a desire to see Israel destroyed.

When you encourage those who are organizing mutiny and insubordination in Israel’s army, you are showing that you wish Israel destroyed. You are also showing your fundamentally anti-democratic proclivities.

If Israel’s far leftists wish to try to persuade the rest of the country of the correctness of their ideas, they are free to do so democratically. But mutiny is anti-democratic and designed to divide and paralyze Israel’s military and prevent Israel from making decisions about its own self-defense in a democratic manner.

But your position is even more untenable. At least Israel’s extremists will bear part of the costs of the foolish policies they advocate if such policies are adopted by their country. They have already borne parts of the costs of the Oslo debacle and they are at risk every time they go outside thanks to their own policies having been pursued.

You bear none of those costs or risks. You are seated on your comfortable suburban sofa over there and spouting advice. And if your advice turns out to be harmful, you can just sit back and say, “OOPS”, and switch the channel.

But there are other reasons why I do not believe your protestations of affection for Israel. Israel has already applied your philosophy and your approach. It already turned most of the West Bank and Gaza over to the PLO, agreed to the establishment of a PLO state, offered the PLO parts of Jerusalem, and at Camp David Ehud Barak offered the PLO its entire wish list, including a partial “return” of Palestinian “refugees”, the Old City of Jerusalem with the Western Wall, all of the West Bank and parts of pre-1967 Israel. You know the result perfectly well.

For the past ten years, every single step Israel has taken to implement YOUR philosophy and YOUR vision of peace has produced escalated violence and bloodshed. You have had more than ample empirical proof that YOUR approach is simply incorrect. Israel’s goodwill gestures and flexibility have ALWAYS produced Arab atrocities, not reductions in Arab hatred and violence. Israeli moderation always produces Arab aggression.

Israeli niceness is interpreted by the Arabs as weakness and destructibility. This is NOT a matter of “ideological disagreement” but of empirical proof.

The fact that you still advocate endless Israeli submission to Arab demands can be interpreted in one of two ways. Either you are too stupid to acknowledge the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of empirical proofs that your approach to settling the Arab-Israeli conflict is incorrect, or you in fact understand perfectly well that your approach is really designed to produce the destruction of Israel. I happen to believe the second explanation for your behavior as the correct one.

You continue to oppose all forms of Israeli self-defense short of capitulation, since the only form of defending herself you are willing to allow Israel is her complete submission to the Arab world’s dictates and her placing her neck in a noose where she has to trust the goodwill of the Arabs not to pull the rope.

I do not agree that you are a real Jewish patriot. I think you are a Jewish Taliban John, a Jewish Uncle Tom. I think you really want Israel weakened and destroyed because it will allow you to posture and feel righteous, that it will allow you to save face and avoid embarrassment when you are hanging out with your leftist friends.

Sincerely yours,


Professor Steven Plaut
University of Haifa