Speaking at a meeting recently Einat Wilf, a former left wing member of Knesset, said that what she really wanted to get across was the inherent danger in the current nonviolent conflict being waged by the Palestinians against Israel. Her message should send warning signals to all who support the existence of the State of Israel. There is a strong need to counter the verbal attacks which are based on emotive use of language with facts that are readily availalble.
When the Palestinians saw that armed conflict and terrorism didn’t work, she said, they resorted to the war of words – a battle that, so far, Israel is not winning.
“This is all part of the Palestinian strategy of planting words, images, ideas and arguments into people’s minds,” she said. “The world’s greatest atrocities were preceded by preparing people’s minds that what they were about to commit was not an atrocity but something they were doing for a noble cause,” she added, noting that most people don’t think of themselves as evil.
But what is happening with the use of specific words, she said, is “a strategic threat. It’s a real danger.”
The more Wilf travels abroad on speaking engagements in different countries, the more she realizes how successful the Palestinians have been in their campaign, she said.
Wilf cited an example of a debate with a Palestinian spokesman in London who had come up with the expression that Israel was committing cultural genocide. There is no such thing and it doesn’t mean anything, said Wilf, but it was a way of linking Israel with genocide and putting that concept into people’s minds. The same thing happens when Palestinians and their supporters talk about settlements, occupation, colonialism and apartheid, she said.
Outlining the methodology, Wilf said it starts with placard strategy equating Zionism and Israel with racism, imperialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing.
“You know what it says even though you don’t believe it,” she said.
Eventually, she continued, many people, even Israel’s best friends, start to think that where there’s smoke there’s fire.
In her travels, she has found that people who are genuinely interested in peace in the Middle East, including Jews who are not anti-Israel but are against the country’s policies, fall victim to this strategy and utilize it. But the Palestinians and other Arabs who are utilizing it have a different purpose.
They want to get rid of the State of Israel and they don’t want any Jews living in the land, which is currently Israeli territory, “but no-one believes it,” she said, underscoring the misconception in the popular belief that if Israel would only get rid of the settlements and allow Palestinian refugees to return, there would be peace.
“It’s not what we do but who we are,” she said. “They hate us.”
Nonetheless, there are large numbers of Israelis who are willing to make peace and share the land, but every time the Palestinians have had an opportunity to create their own state, they have found a reason not to, she added.
Moving on to unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood, Wilf pointed out that there are omissions in resolutions to this effect. If she was writing the resolution, she would add the codicil that once a Palestinian state is recognized it means the end of the Palestinian refugee situation, because people who have a state are not refugees.