Global Peace and Justice Groups Threaten Israel's Legitimacy - by Stephen Lendman
Working pro bono for Israeli government agencies, the Tel Aviv-based Reut Institute (RI) provides "real-time strategic decision-making" support in areas of national security and socioeconomic policy.
Saying global peace and justice groups threaten Israel's legitimacy, its recent series of articles, policy papers, and presentations counterattacked - a combination of damage control and rethink despite legitimate criticism showing Israel delegitimizes itself, and no amount of policy paper makeover will change it. Only Israel can do that, but in its 62 year existence never tried.
In a January 28 brief, RI said Israel:
"face(s) a dramatic assault on the very legitimacy of its existence as a Jewish and democratic state. While the ideological framework for this delegitimacy was solidified after the first Durban" World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, "the trend (got) a boost by the perceived lack of (political) progress, coupled with Operation Cast Lead in Gaza," followed by the damning Goldstone Report.
Groups "making the fundamental delegitimacy" claim want to internationally isolate Israel and ultimately turn it into a pariah state by:
-- demonizing it in public protests, the media, on campuses, and through events like the annual Israel Apartheid Week and World Social Forum, asking its affiliates to excommunicate Israel;
-- promoting the Global BDS Movement (boycott, divestment and sanctions) in areas of the economy, academia, culture, sport, and security; at risk is it achieving equivalency between Israel and apartheid-era South Africa, yet legitimate critics, including Jimmy Carter, accuse Israel of being worse than apartheid; and
-- targeting the state and its officials legally, including through the International Criminal Court (ICJ) and universal jurisdiction (UJ) to charge Israeli generals and politicians with war crimes.
On February 14, ahead of a detailed policy paper, RI issued an executive summary headlined, "The Delegitimization Challenge: Creating a Political Firewall," saying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the "engine driving" world criticism of Israel, "resulting in an erosion of its international image, and exacting a tangible strategic price." Of special concern - the 2006 Lebanon War (officially called the Second Lebanon War) and Operation Cast Lead (December 2008 - January 2009), global grassroots condemnation during and after both, besides accusations of daily crimes against humanity throughout the Occupied Territories.
Then in March, RI issued Version A of a detailed final report titled, "Building a Political Firewall Against Israel's Delegitimization: Conceptual Framework," discussed below.
Its theme - poor Israel, victimized again, targeted by global justice, equality, and peace forces influential enough to become an "existential threat within a few years." Instead of acknowledging justifiable criticism and advising real change, RI recommends an aggressive counteroffensive to "sabotage network catalysts" then later softened language against global opposition forces to defuse and discredit them, rebrand Israel as a humanitarian nation, and build a network of strategic "elites (and) influentials."
Two groups are of particular concern:
The Middle East-based "Resistance Network," comprised of nations, organizations and individuals - ideological Islamists, groups representing them, and Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas that "reject Israel's right to exist." They advance an "implosion strategy" to precipitate Israel's collapse by undermining its control of the Palestinians, delegitimize it, and defeat it asymmetrically.
The Western-based "Delegitimization Network," consisting of organizations and individuals from the "radical European left, Arab and Islamic groups, and so-called post or anti-Zionist Jews and Israelis." Their aim - replace Zionism with a state based on "one person, one vote" by demonizing Israel and its moral legitimacy.
RI is alarmed, saying these forces have ideas that are "increasingly sophisticated, ripe, lucid, and coherent" enough to succeed if not stopped at a time "pro-Palestinian activity (has become) trendy." Thus far, Israel's diplomatic standing is strong, but it's eroded "among the general publics and elites," Israel rebranded as a pariah state, vilified for its Gaza siege, BDS grassroots momentum aiming "to correct Israel's ways."