Israeli Intelligence

Facts for you to counteract myths about Israel. 

AIPAC Makes Us Happy: Macayla Gritz, left, a junior from Boca Raton, Fla. and author Bailey Frohlich at an AIPAC event. Courtesy Bailey Frohlich

I recently walked with my grandmother and sister down a main street in Bal Harbour, Fla. on the way to eat dinner at a local restaurant. Out of nowhere, a woman on a bicycle rode by us and screamed, “How could you support apartheid against Palestinians? It’s like the Holocaust over there!” To be honest, I didn’t process her words at first. Our modest attire of mid-length skirts and T-shirts did not automatically indicate we were Jewish or believers in Zionism, so why would she randomly shout the word “Holocaust” at us?

Then it hit me. I was wearing my favorite Tzahal (Israeli army) shirt and she was comparing my country to apartheid South Africa. I am a proud Zionist and she was comparing me to a Nazi. I wish I could tell you that I immediately retorted a witty and factually-correct response that invalidated all of her claims, but by the time I processed her accusations, I could see the back wheel of her bicycle turn the street corner, leaving behind her hateful comments and a shocked teenage girl.

The truth is, facts are important in the battle against anti-Israel slander and propaganda. Whether you encounter accusations against Israel in a classroom, on campus or on a busy street like I did, you will need to know the facts to counteract anti-Israel myths. It isn’t enough to say, “I love Israel and Israel is a moral state” when some SJP student (Students for the Justice of Palestine, an anti-Israel campus movement) is holding up to your face a picture of what seems to be an Israeli soldier shooting a Palestinian baby.

So here are three of the most common myths (out of MANY) that you might encounter some day and quick one-sentence responses which will not only make you sound smart, but will also help you defend Israel in an effective manner.

MYTH #1: Israel’s separation wall is clear evidence that Israel is an apartheid state.

First, the facts:
1. Israel built their security barrier along the West Bank between 2000 and 2003 in response to the onslaught of terrorist attacks during the second intifada (period of intense Palestinian violence against Israelis).
2. Apartheid South Africa was the decades-long period of government-enforced racial segregation among South African citizens.

Your educated, speedy response:
1. The security barrier’s sole purpose is to protect Israeli civilians from terror attacks and suicide bombings by Palestinians and is effective in doing so because the number of attacks significantly declined since the wall’s construction.
2. Using the term apartheid is out of context because South Africa’s apartheid was discriminatory against its citizens, and Palestinians living in the West Bank are not Israeli citizens.

MYTH #2: Israeli settlements in the West Bank are the main obstacle in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

First, the facts:
1. Settlements are built by Israeli citizens on land that Israel won during the 1967 Six Day War, specifically in the West Bank.
2. In 2005, Israel removed all settlements from Gaza; these settlements were formerly known as Gush Katif.
3. UN Resolution 242 states that Israel must withdraw from its territory acquired from the 1967 war only in exchange for peace and the Palestinian acknowledgement of Israel’s sovereignty and right to security.

Your educated, speedy response:
1. Before we can even discuss Israeli settlements, we must acknowledge that the main obstacle to peace is the Palestinian continuation of terrorism against innocent Israeli citizens and Palestinian refusal to accept Israel’s existence as the Jewish state.
2. Israel has continuously proven its desire to negotiate peace — shown by Israel’s giving up of Gaza and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s two-state solution proposal in 2008 — yet the Palestinians use Gaza as a launch pad for missiles and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Olmert’s proposal.

MYTH #3: The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) uses disproportionate force against innocent Palestinian children.

First, the facts:
1. Whenever a rocket from Gaza kills Israeli civilians and Israel responds by killing Hamas leaders and bombing weapon storehouses — which leads to the deaths of innocent civilians — Palestinians call that a “disproportionate response.”
2. The Iron Dome, partially funded by U.S. financial aid to Israel, is a mobile defense system that intercepts and destroys short-range rockets.

Your educated, speedy response:
1. A parallel retaliation would be if the Israelis fired unguided rockets into Gaza, endangering civilians, rather than targeting specific terrorists and their locations.
2. When Palestinians civilians die due to an Israeli military response, it is because Hamas uses Palestinians, including children, as human shields and because Hamas stores weapons in hospitals and schools; even so, the IDF warns civilians in Gaza to evacuate areas in advance of a military strike.
3. The only reason why Palestinians rockets kill less people than a rocket would normally kill is because of the Iron Dome, and the Israeli military action is in response to an unprovoked Palestinian terror attack and should not be considered an act of aggression.

I wish I could have retorted back to that bicycle rider that apartheid only refers to citizens, the refusal to acknowledge Israel’s right to defense is a double standard or the demonization of the IDF is unfounded.

But you have the chance to do it. Yes, you can do it and you must. Whether it is in a classroom setting or an anti-Israel protest during the annual Israel Apartheid Week on your college campus, be the one to stand up and defend Israel. If it isn’t for your love of Israel as the birthplace and homeland of the Jewish people, do it because you are defending the truth, one counter-fact at a time.Kobe Bryant

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