Prominent British commentator Melanie Phillips addressed a crowd of nearly 300 people in Jerusalem’s Heichal Shlomo building on Wednesday evening, August 27. The event was organized by HonestReporting, whose offices are located in that building, to address the subject: “The Jewish Diaspora: Paying the Price for Gaza.”
Referring to Israel as a “life-affirming place of hope where Jews are not on their knees but are fighting for the defense of civilization against barbarism,” Ms. Phillips noted how, in the discourse surrounding the Gaza conflict, anti-Israel attitudes had morphed into overt anti-Judaism in a “tsunami of bigotry and hatred.”
Using the UK as a case study, Ms. Phillips addressed the prejudiced attitudes towards Israel from both Muslims and left-wingers and so-called liberals before criticizing the UK Jewish community for failing to respond adequately and preferring to keep their heads down.
She also criticized Israel’s failure “to grasp that information is a strategy of war on the battleground of the mind, and a strategy that has been used to enormous effect against Israel, and against which it doesn’t even seem to know that it is fighting.”
Israel needs a new strategic vision. It needs to have a strategy to combat the psychological warfare strategy being deployed by the enemy and having been deployed so effectively against Israel for around four decades now.
Ms. Phillips stated that Israel needs to reframe the entire narrative about the Middle East, firstly by educating the uneducated through teaching the history of the Jewish people and Israel, through exposing the Muslim and Arab anti-Semitism so prevalent even among so-called moderates in the Middle East, and to position Israel at the forefront of the global battle for civilization by reclaiming the word Zionist for the moral high ground where it belongs.
She stressed that Zionism is an integral part of Judaism and to be hostile to Israel or Zionism is to be hostile to Judaism.
Israel should delegitimize the delegitimizers by calling the United Nations to account, particularly UNRWA’s relationship with Hamas and the credibility of the UN Human Rights Council as a mechanism for empowering dictators and rogue states.
Ms. Phillips also urged Israel to hold its allies to account for their silence in the face of years of demonization and delegitimization and the constant incitement against Israel and Jews.
Finally she said that Israel should present its fight not as a regional conflict but place itself at the head of a global battle for civilization against Islamists and jihadists that Western states are all in together.
Melanie Phillips concluded:
Diaspora Jews are not paying the price for Gaza…. They are paying the price for something else. They are paying the price for Gaza for European and Western anti-Semitism. They are paying the price for Israel’s strategic failure on the battleground of the mind. They are paying the price for their own silence and their own futile attempt to separate themselves from Israel. They are paying the price, above all, and I’m thinking particularly of Britain, of living in a fool’s paradise.
HonestReporting Managing Editor Simon Plosker said:
Melanie Phillips is a forceful advocate for Israel and there is much that both Israel and Diaspora Jewry can learn from her willingness to confront the challenges facing us in these difficult times.
Image: CC BY David Guy