AIJAC Online

May 6, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
Read on for article

The fifth of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council’s “Live Online” Webinar series featured Brigadier General (Res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, a former senior intelligence and security officer in Israel, and  Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs, who spoke about “The New Antisemitism and the Threat to Israel’s National Security.”

Yossi Kuperwasser

On the spread of antisemitism during the coronavirus crisis, he said the perfect time for those who hate Jews is when something terrible is happening that can’t be easily explained, as then they can allege that Jews are behind it, to control the world and hurt their enemies. Israel’s critics are also using it to advance their goals to relieve the blockade of Gaza and to get Palestinian terrorists released from Israeli prisons. The Palestinians really believe these things, because the Palestinian narrative that they are constantly subjected to is basically made up of antisemitic tropes.

Kuperwasser uses the term Israelophobia to describe this extreme form of Israeli hatred. He says you can have all sorts of criticism about what Israel does, and that criticism is justified, but Israelophobia is an embedded hatred of Israel and Jews.

He said this can be a threat to Israel’s security. Sources promoting it include the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) campaign and extreme radical Western left progressives. Some of the latter, like some in the US Democratic Party and the UK Labour Party, gain legitimacy, and Israel is therefore threatened by the infiltration of these ideas into the left of Western society.

When criticism of Israel crosses the line into antisemitism can be guided by the examples in the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, but there are basically three criteria – delegitimising Israel, in effect denying Jews the right to self-determination; demonisation of Israel, calling it a Nazi state, apartheid, colonialist or racist; and double-standards, expecting of Israel different behaviour from that expected from other states.

He noted BDS calls to relieve the Gaza blockade and release Palestinian prisoners are being adopted by elements in the liberal camp. We should not underestimate the BDS campaign’s ability to do damage, but over the last two years, the BDS movement has also been under pressure, especially as its antisemitism has become clearer.

The German and Austrian parliaments have declared it antisemitic, and the adoption of the IHRA definition has helped. He said it’s high time for Australia to declare it antisemitic.  Its connection to terrorism is also becoming clearer, as many terrorist groups stand behind it, and BDS sees itself as complementing terror, doing what the terror groups can’t achieve, and supporting them. As this becomes clearer, support for the movement will diminish.

 

He said Palestinian allegations of Israeli misconduct regarding the virus continue despite the support Israel is giving them, including medical supplies and equipment and training. For example, PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, said Israel is using the virus to counter the Palestinian economy’s ability to compete, and after footage emerged of an Israeli soldier spitting at the ground, said Israeli soldiers were spreading the virus by spitting on Palestinian cars. They blame all their difficulties on Israel, which fits their narrative.

The Palestinian narrative is that there is no such thing as a Jewish people – it’s just a religion, there is no historical Jewish connection to Israel, Zionism is colonisation, and Jews are unbearable creatures who poison wells, implement apartheid and so on. The whole Palestinian identity is built on opposition to Zionism and on victimhood, which is inculcated in them from the cradle to the grave.

Claims that Israel is or practises apartheid, he said, are demonisation, which is antisemitic, and are a disgrace because they minimise the suffering of South Africans. The only difference between Arabs and Jews in Israel is the Law of Return. Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza only have their movements limited for security reasons. They control their destiny and are ruled by their own entities.

There are four main sources of antisemitism – the PA and its supporters, radical Islam, the far left and the far right, which is as terrible as the others, and more inclined to use force in the West.

Asked if Australia should act more strongly against Hezbollah, he said it is extremely important that we follow Germany and ban the whole of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, which is what it is. It is armed to the teeth and threatening Israel on its northern border, and now Iran is trying to arm it with precision guided missiles. In Lebanon, the people are marching in the streets to protest Hezbollah, whose raison d’etre is turning the country into an Iranian satellite, ruling them. These people need support, which is what they got when Germany proscribed Hezbollah.Australia, he says, should call a spade a spade.

Kuperwasser said the severe effect of the virus on Iran and Turkey wouldn’t dent their ambitions, as it would be regarded as only a brief interruption. They are still committed to building empires in the Middle East and then the rest of the world. This is why Iran is spending its scarce money on missile development, nuclear weapons, and exporting weapons to its terror proxies, which shows this is its priority. It is also showing chutzpah by asking the IMF for $5 billion while spending its money this way.

Turkey is still spending its money on its efforts in Syria and in Libya. The main battle in the Middle East isn’t against the coronavirus. It’s between pragmatists like Egypt and Jordan, and radicals, like ISIS, Iran, Turkey, Qatar and Hamas.

Asked how things may change for Israel and the Middle East if Joe Biden becomes US president, Kuperwasser replied that the Trump initiative is the only realistic way to achieve peace, as it’s the only plan that addresses the real problem, which is the Palestinian narrative. It says that the Palestinians need to accept that there is a Jewish people and that Israel is their nation state, and need to stop terrorism and accept Israel has real concerns with security. It also is the first plan that doesn’t give the Palestinians the power of veto over whether the process can move forward – if Israel accepts the plan, it can move forward even if the Palestinians won’t make peace, after four years.

Kuperwasser believes that the stance of Biden and his fellow Democrats is shown by what happened in the dying days of the Obama Administration, when the US allowed UN Security Council resolution 2334, which accepted all the Palestinians’ dreams, with no demands on the Palestinians, and treated all of east Jerusalem as illegally occupied territory. Biden is a friend of Israel, but didn’t reject the anti-Israel people in the Bernie Sanders camp, like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.

Finally, asked about Israel’s plans for application of sovereignty in areas of the West Bank, as set out in the Trump plan, he explained the coalition agreement is clear that Netanyahu can do so only with full US agreement, which will only happen if Israel officially accepts the full plan, including the provision that the Palestinians get a state if they give up their narrative.

The Jordan Valley remains crucial to Israel’s security, and Gaza shows what happens when Israel doesn’t control its security border. This, he adds, is not just a right wing view – Yitzchak Rabin had the same approach.

It is not, as is often claimed, a move against peace. The Palestinians will continue to be governed by the PA and Hamas, not Israel. The Palestinians prefer to remain committed to destroying Israel rather than obtaining a state, which is why they refuse all offers. They think Israel will, inevitably, eventually disappear, so they refuse to care even for Palestinian refugees who live in areas under Palestinian control – they believe the refugees are there temporarily until they return to Israel. The PA can’t even afford to pay salaries to its public servants because it pays salaries to terrorists.

This is not an annexation – you can’t annex your own homeland, and personally, he would prefer to characterise the process as Israel extending its law to these areas rather than extending sovereignty, as it’s less confrontational, he concluded.

On the spread of antisemitism during the coronavirus crisis, he said the perfect time for those who hate Jews is when something terrible is happening that can’t be easily explained, as then they can allege that Jews are behind it, to control the world and hurt their enemies. Israel’s critics are also using it to advance their goals to relieve the blockade of Gaza and to get Palestinian terrorists released from Israeli prisons. The Palestinians really believe these things, because the Palestinian narrative that they are constantly subjected to is basically made up of antisemitic tropes.

Kuperwasser uses the term Israelophobia to describe this extreme form of Israeli hatred. He says you can have all sorts of criticism about what Israel does, and that criticism is justified, but Israelophobia is an embedded hatred of Israel and Jews.

He said this can be a threat to Israel’s security. Sources promoting it include the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) campaign and extreme radical Western left progressives. Some of the latter, like some in the US Democratic Party and the UK Labour Party, gain legitimacy, and Israel is therefore threatened by the infiltration of these ideas into the left of Western society.

When criticism of Israel crosses the line into antisemitism can be guided by the examples in the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, but there are basically three criteria – delegitimising Israel, in effect denying Jews the right to self-determination; demonisation of Israel, calling it a Nazi state, apartheid, colonialist or racist; and double-standards, expecting of Israel different behaviour from that expected from other states.

He noted BDS calls to relieve the Gaza blockade and release Palestinian prisoners are being adopted by elements in the liberal camp. We should not underestimate the BDS campaign’s ability to do damage, but over the last two years, the BDS movement has also been under pressure, especially as its antisemitism has become clearer.

The German and Austrian parliaments have declared it antisemitic, and the adoption of the IHRA definition has helped. He said it’s high time for Australia to declare it antisemitic.  Its connection to terrorism is also becoming clearer, as many terrorist groups stand behind it, and BDS sees itself as complementing terror, doing what the terror groups can’t achieve, and supporting them. As this becomes clearer, support for the movement will diminish.

He said Palestinian allegations of Israeli misconduct regarding the virus continue despite the support Israel is giving them, including medical supplies and equipment and training. For example, PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, said Israel is using the virus to counter the Palestinian economy’s ability to compete, and after footage emerged of an Israeli soldier spitting at the ground, said Israeli soldiers were spreading the virus by spitting on Palestinian cars. They blame all their difficulties on Israel, which fits their narrative.

The Palestinian narrative is that there is no such thing as a Jewish people – it’s just a religion, there is no historical Jewish connection to Israel, Zionism is colonisation, and Jews are unbearable creatures who poison wells, implement apartheid and so on. The whole Palestinian identity is built on opposition to Zionism and on victimhood, which is inculcated in them from the cradle to the grave.

Claims that Israel is or practises apartheid, he said, are demonisation, which is antisemitic, and are a disgrace because they minimise the suffering of South Africans. The only difference between Arabs and Jews in Israel is the Law of Return. Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza only have their movements limited for security reasons. They control their destiny and are ruled by their own entities.

There are four main sources of antisemitism – the PA and its supporters, radical Islam, the far left and the far right, which is as terrible as the others, and more inclined to use force in the West.

Asked if Australia should act more strongly against Hezbollah, he said it is extremely important that we follow Germany and ban the whole of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, which is what it is. It is armed to the teeth and threatening Israel on its northern border, and now Iran is trying to arm it with precision guided missiles. In Lebanon, the people are marching in the streets to protest Hezbollah, whose raison d’etre is turning the country into an Iranian satellite, ruling them. These people need support, which is what they got when Germany proscribed Hezbollah.Australia, he says, should call a spade a spade.

Kuperwasser said the severe effect of the virus on Iran and Turkey wouldn’t dent their ambitions, as it would be regarded as only a brief interruption. They are still committed to building empires in the Middle East and then the rest of the world. This is why Iran is spending its scarce money on missile development, nuclear weapons, and exporting weapons to its terror proxies, which shows this is its priority. It is also showing chutzpah by asking the IMF for $5 billion while spending its money this way.

Turkey is still spending its money on its efforts in Syria and in Libya. The main battle in the Middle East isn’t against the coronavirus. It’s between pragmatists like Egypt and Jordan, and radicals, like ISIS, Iran, Turkey, Qatar and Hamas.

Asked how things may change for Israel and the Middle East if Joe Biden becomes US president, Kuperwasser replied that the Trump initiative is the only realistic way to achieve peace, as it’s the only plan that addresses the real problem, which is the Palestinian narrative. It says that the Palestinians need to accept that there is a Jewish people and that Israel is their nation state, and need to stop terrorism and accept Israel has real concerns with security. It also is the first plan that doesn’t give the Palestinians the power of veto over whether the process can move forward – if Israel accepts the plan, it can move forward even if the Palestinians won’t make peace, after four years.

Kuperwasser believes that the stance of Biden and his fellow Democrats is shown by what happened in the dying days of the Obama Administration, when the US allowed UN Security Council resolution 2334, which accepted all the Palestinians’ dreams, with no demands on the Palestinians, and treated all of east Jerusalem as illegally occupied territory. Biden is a friend of Israel, but didn’t reject the anti-Israel people in the Bernie Sanders camp, like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.

Finally, asked about Israel’s plans for application of sovereignty in areas of the West Bank, as set out in the Trump plan, he explained the coalition agreement is clear that Netanyahu can do so only with full US agreement, which will only happen if Israel officially accepts the full plan, including the provision that the Palestinians get a state if they give up their narrative.

The Jordan Valley remains crucial to Israel’s security, and Gaza shows what happens when Israel doesn’t control its security border. This, he adds, is not just a right wing view – Yitzchak Rabin had the same approach.

It is not, as is often claimed, a move against peace. The Palestinians will continue to be governed by the PA and Hamas, not Israel. The Palestinians prefer to remain committed to destroying Israel rather than obtaining a state, which is why they refuse all offers. They think Israel will, inevitably, eventually disappear, so they refuse to care even for Palestinian refugees who live in areas under Palestinian control – they believe the refugees are there temporarily until they return to Israel. The PA can’t even afford to pay salaries to its public servants because it pays salaries to terrorists.

This is not an annexation – you can’t annex your own homeland, and personally, he would prefer to characterise the process as Israel extending its law to these areas rather than extending sovereignty, as it’s less confrontational, he concluded.

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published


    Rules on posting comments