Yair Lapid, Israel’s finance minister from 2013-14 made an exceptional statement recently. He pointed out a classic and well-known British trait – support for the underdog, and how it has a knock-on effect towards many Briton’s attitudes to the on-going hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians. Building on this, it is clear that this is the case – from looking at examples such as Britain opening its doors to an exodus of Belgian immigrants after the First World War, or even initially helping the much persecuted Jews regaining their homeland in Israel in 1946. Awareness of this bubbled to the surface after the Holocaust, where Jews were evidently the underdog under the Nazi rule.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to be displayed emphatically over the mainstream media. News outlets such as the BBC, or left-wing newspapers such as the Guardian or the Independent, appear to have a suggestive bias against Israel – in this particular instances however, it seems that they will always unquestioningly back the weaker side. More often than not, this is a leftist trait.
On the other hand, you have a reasonable array of media outlets which supports Israel. One example of this is the Murdoch Empire – one specific outlet owned by his News Corporation is The Times, which has for long lived up to this. Conceivably, many who are anti-Murdoch will have doubts about the credibility of claims made about Israel’s sovereignty by the News Corporation outlets, if they are already of anything coming from the Murdoch Empire. No matter how much corruption the Murdoch Empire is responsible for in the press, this does not mean that every claim it makes or cause that it supports is corrupt – showing that people must always look further than face value of which media outlet supports what.
The main issue to bear in mind here, is that Israel’s size and strength in comparison to that of Hamas or the PA doesn’t inherently mean that Israel is the bad guy. Of course, there have been more Palestinian casualties than there have been Israeli casualties – however, this is solely down to Israel being the stronger side.
People claim that Israel want to commit genocide on the Palestinians – many have even gone as far as making the audacious comparison between the modern state of Israel and the totalitarian Nazi regime which persecuted Europe’s Jewry in the 1930s/40s. If Israel truly wanted to conquer Gaza and wipe out the Palestinian citizens (as many people suggest they do), surely they could have done it by now – given the significant difference in the strength of each side? Also, if Israel do have a prejudice against Palestinians and the so-called “natives” of that land – then why does Israel let many live among its own land peacefully, with 15% percent of its population being Muslim too?
Israel is demonized by many as being the primary cause of problems and conflicts in the Middle East. Yet in comparison to nearly all its neighbouring countries, which majorly breach its citizens human rights, Israel is actually a highly accommodating and free society. It is one of the very few countries in that part of the globe where freedom of religion exists in society – where people will not be persecuted on the basis of their religion, while many of its enemies would do this i.e. Iran, Syria. Commonly known as “the only democracy in the Middle-East”, equality of gender, sexual orientation, religion, race etc. is very high on Israel’s agenda – with Tel Aviv actually being known as one of the “gay capitals” of the world. Many homosexuals and members of religious minorities make refuge to here from surrounding countries to escape the brutal persecution which they would have otherwise endured in their former nations.
With all this, it is hard to compare Israel to fascist, far right movements when the country itself is highly free and liberal.
Also, if you look at many of the conflicts that Israel have been involved in from an anti-Israel perspective or an “Israel is evil” viewpoint, which Israel are actually on the defensive in i.e. the Six Day War 1967, then of course you are likely to blame Israel’s existence on these conflicts.
Many people point out that Israel are the ones hell-bent on genocide – yet they do not acknowledge the shocking fact that Hamas’ charter declares that all Jews, not just in Israel but worldwide, should be put to death. This itself is clearly genocide. Also, Hamas’ charter also distinctly says that peace should not be an option with Israel, and that the nation must be wiped off the map instead.
This shows that if Gaza had the ability to – they would be able to achieve their goal in wiping Israel off the map. However, they cannot. And this is due to their insignificant military prowess. Hamas have been relentlessly firing rockets into Israel during their dominion over Gaza – The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre reports 10,378 rockets being fired into Israel since Hamas’ takeover in 2006, including 3,852 fired in last summer’s conflict.
In the past, Hamas have violated ceasefire talks by firing rockets into the territory even hours after coming to an agreement – including in 2012 and 2014, suggesting even further that they are fixed-on annihilating Israel.
Despite this overwhelming influx of attacks from Gaza – the damage has been minimal. This is solely down to Israel’s supreme Iron Dome defense system, and their ability to react quickly to attacks. If this wasn’t in place, there would be much carnage in Israel. Again showing Hamas as the aggressors, and that Israel are only the less harmed of the two because of their superior defence equipment.
Colonel Richard Kemp, general of the British Army in Afghanistan, made the claim “No other army in the world has ever done more than Israel is doing now to save the lives of innocent civilians in a combat zone”. He make his comment in reference to Israel’s policy of giving four hours of warning before invading Gaza to clear out rockets and other weaponry (usually funded by Iran) which have been deliberately placed in schools, hospitals, and other highly inhabited areas. This warning is so the area can be cleared all of citizens – however, Hamas tell them to ignore it, which of course will play into their hands so they can make Israel look like the bad guys.
It is interesting to bear in mind the attitudes of citizens in Gaza towards Jews. According to a global survey by the Anti-Defamation League, it was concluded that the West Bank and Gaza has the highest amount of prejudice towards Jews (yes Jews, not Israelis) out of all the nations surveyed , with 92% of all citizens in the territory with anti-Jewish views. At the same time, there is nothing to suggest that Israelis and Jews have an inherent prejudice against Palestinians.
Like in many cases of anti-Israel rhetoric, their hatred of Israel appears to stem from anti-Semitism. It seems many people are oblivious to this, but this long-standing prejudice against Jews, and the decision to portray them as the bad guys (which has happened on a vast scale over the centuries) appears to be the core source of hatred against Israel.