Yesterday was Yom Ha-Atzmaut, Israel Independence Day, and our local Jewish community held a seminar entitled “Crossing the Line: the Intifada Comes to Campus,” based on a DVD (available through http://campusintifada.com) showing how groups on campuses across the country have moved far beyond legitimate criticism of Israel into blatant anti-Semitism.
We’ve all seen the slogans equating Israel’s leaders with the Nazis and Israel’s policies with apartheid, genocide, and ethnic cleansing. These comparisons are nonsensical when you look at the facts, but they make a lot of sense according to the Big Lie theory of propaganda. Hitler originated the phrase in his book Mein Kampf, accusing the German Jews of using a big lie to escape blame for their country’s defeat in WWI. But Hitler became the master of the Big Lie, as described in a report by the OSS (predecessor of the CIA) prepared during WWII:
His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Lie, accessed 5/11/2011)
This description fits anti-Zionist methodology to a tee. “People will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.” This is precisely the technique of the anti-Israel movement on campuses in the USA, and of the anti-Israel forces around the world that support and fund this movement. I’ll limit myself to one example from the video I saw last night.
It’s become trendy and politically correct to accuse Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing with no factual basis whatsoever. Such accusations were buzzing around our heads during and after Israel’s operation in Gaza back in 2009, and are still current on many campuses today. Yet the fatality count for that military incursion was under 1500, even by Palestinian estimates, and the vast majority of those were combatants, self-proclaimed warriors devoted to Israel’s destruction. That’s the height of Israel’s program of “genocide.” In the meantime the Palestinian population of Gaza and the West Bank continues to thrive, as it has ever since Israel took control of the areas in 1967. And the anti-Israel forces not only admit that population growth, but they rely on it as part of their own strategy. On the video, one anti-Zionist spokesman says that he opposes a two-state solution because he wants one state from the river to the sea, a state with a Muslim majority. Many demographers project such a majority in that territory by mid-century if not sooner. And it seems obvious that such a hope underlies Palestinian rejection of meaningful negotiations with Israel. Why negotiate when you can out-populate?
The same people accusing Israel of genocide are counting on the victims of that supposed genocide to outnumber their oppressors within a generation. “Let’s accuse Israel of ethnic cleansing at the same time as we’re ethnically surpassing the Israelis!” That’s the Big Lie in its most brazen form.
The tragedy is that the lie is working and has become dogma in academic and intellectual circles in the US—and it’s far worse in Europe. Most tragically, it’s made inroads within the Jewish community itself. Attendance at the JCC event last night was pretty modest, and I recognized a third of the crowd from the local Messianic community. Another 10-15 percent was made up of pro-Israel Christian students from the local campus. I thank God that both these groups showed up, but representation from the mainstream Jewish community was thin. I don’t think many Jews really buy the Big Lie about Israel, but it does seem to sap their enthusiasm and support for the Jewish state. Time for those who believe in Israel to keep praying and to declare widely, clearly, and repeatedly the big truth that Israel is, and deserves to be, a legitimate, democratic, and thriving Jewish state.