Over the years, the most frequent questions I have been asked on the subject of BDS and other anti-Israel campaigns are variations on whether our response to Israel’s enemies should mirror the strategies and tactics our opponents use against us.
Since strategy and tactics are a means to an end, my position has always been to better understand what our ultimate goals might be, then select strategies aligned with those goals, after which we will be in a better position to select tactics that can help us execute those strategies.
For reasons I’ll soon get to, I don’t believe aping our foes is the best choice for a number of reasons. But the Israel haters do provide a useful template of how to put the horse (goals that define a desired end point) before the cart (choice of strategy and tactics).
The goal of Israel’s enemies, easily understood if you look past their insincere (but tactical) claims to represent peace, justice and everything virtuous, is to see the Jewish state eliminated. This goal is somewhat obscured by the fact that groups advocating BDS and other measures contain many innocent dupes who sincerely believe they are doing good. The leaders duping them also obscure things further since they, with a few exceptions, rarely participate in or advocate violence themselves.
They do, however, offer vital protection for those who not only advocate but regularly visit violence on the Jewish state, such as Hamas, Hezbollah, terror groups within the Palestinian Authority, and Arab states still at war with Israel. This protection comes in the form of ignoring all of the preparation for war militaries and militants engage in (despite claims to represent “peace”) then roaring to life once those groups’ actions trigger the inevitable Israeli military response.
Protests against Israeli military activity (and only Israeli military activity) can take the form of organized condemnations – locally and globally (through corrupt and coopted organizations like the UN, also posing as peace advocates), demands for an immediate cease-fire once their preferred side is losing, and street protests that increasingly end in attacks on any Jews the mob can get their hands on (thus creating a price tag for non-Israeli Jews in hope of getting the IDF to stand down).
With the goal of Israel’s elimination as their North Star, the boycotters have an end clearly in mind which makes the selection of strategies to achieve that end straightforward. Their successful march through the Left end of the pollical spectrum, leaving submitted Progressives of all stripes in their wake, is testament to their ruthlessness (since they are the only party ready to destroy anyone and anything that gets in their way), but also their clear understanding where they want to go.
Those of us on the receiving end of the other side’s Long Game are justifiably concerned (if not frightened), and left pondering whether we should try to replicate our opponent’s behavior in hope of achieving comparable success. If that were the case, the first question we should ask is what is the end point we are driving towards?
If our goal was to see the Palestinians destroyed, or to see Arab or Muslim nations wiped from the map, that would constitute a militant goal comparable to the goal of our enemies. But does anyone, including the most militant pro-Israel activist, long for such an outcome?
I have never seen any sign of such destructive desires. In fact, if I were to distill decades of listening to Jewish and Israeli leaders talking about their hopes and dreams, I would say our goal is Israel at peace with everyone around her, and Jews left unmolested anywhere they reside.
Sometimes this goal gets wrapped up in utopian visions of an end to violence and bigotry everywhere. But shorn of such wishful thinking, a practical end point for the Jews and their state would be normalizationending with Israel treated with the same respect automatically given every other nation (regardless of behavior) coupled with seeing antisemitism, if not eliminated entirely from the human heart, limited to bigoted thought instead of discriminatory and violent action.
While not as aggressive as the militant goal of our enemies, seeing Israel at peace and the Jewish people no longer assaulted in word and deed is a concrete goal we can and have been striving for. Like most ambitious goals, it is audacious and possibly unachievable. But it does represent a concrete end point no less useful to us as our enemy’s equally ambitious (if destructive) goal is to them.
Given this, what strategies can we pursue that will simultaneously help us achieve our goal while making the goal of our enemies ever more difficult, if not impossible, to achieve?
Tune in next time for some thoughts…
We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.