Today, I attended a Stand With Israel rally. I think I just may have found the endless cycle the media are constantly touting any time there’s a hint of violence in the Mideast. They stage anti-Israel rallies, usually on a weekend and attended by people wearing headbands with Arabic lettering and waving lots of placards festooned with the Star of David and a swastika and an equality sign between them, and to counter it we stage a pro-Israel rally, usually at noon on a weekday, attended by suburban moms in blue and white and men wearing kippas and punctuated by the occasional shofar, and on it goes for the duration of the conflict.
At their rallies, peace-loving secular leftists walk hand-in-hand with terror-sponsoring jihadis, carrying signs obscenely equating Zionism with Nazism and feeling smug and morally superior, seemingly oblivious to the inherent contradictions of their position. In this narrative, it’s far better to be aligned with Hezbollah than Israel, far better to side with Iran than America. Incapable of leveling any further legitimate criticism at their own societies, they are sadly reduced to defending societies like Iran’s, where people like that would, after a short pause for a spot of torture, find themselves on the business end of an AK-47.
It’s always amusing to see people who agitate for gender equality at home proclaim their support for an organization sponsored by a state that, with impeccable logic, rapes women prior to executing them, so as not to violate the Koranic injunction against the execution of virgins. I wonder how many of those holding up signs proclaiming “We are all Hezbollah” also marched in support of gay marriage. How ironic that they should march against the only country in the Middle East that holds gay pride parades (cancelled this year due to the war), in defense of countries where the only place gays march openly in public is to the hangman’s noose in town square, followed closely by a jeering throng of stone-throwing citizens. When lighting up the post-rally joint, it would be best to keep in mind that getting stoned has a whole different set of connotations over in that part of the world.
At a time when the bigwigs over at al-Qaeda churn out audio- and videotapes with a regularity that would make a seasoned Hollywood studio exec’s head spin, when the president of Iran has carved out a promising new sideline from his principal career spinning apocalyptic scenarios for the future as pen pal to the world’s heads of state, and Hezbollah is sponsoring guided tours of the neighborhood, it is increasingly clear to me that a more media–savvy strategy is called for.
This week, Kofi Annan once again leaped courageously into the fray and accused Israel of deliberately targeting UN outposts so close to Hezbollah strongholds they could probably share a good laugh together over the latest Zionist atrocity at the office water cooler. It puts me in mind of famed Israeli diplomat Abba Eban, who once said, “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.”
It’s time to ask ourselves, What Would Jihadis Do? The jihadis would, as jihadis do, go on the offensive. They would have taken time out from staging demonstrations in front of Iranian and Syrian consulates the world over, burning Ahmadinejad in effigy and likely bearing placards featuring the Lebanese cedar and the inevitable swastika, to stage demonstrations in front of U.N. offices the world over to protest specious and inflammatory accusations by the elected head of the world’s largest forum for collective diplomacy, burning Annan in effigy and likely bearing placards featuring the UN logo and the inevitable swastika.
The jihadis excel at putting the focus on Israel to divert it from themselves. It’s a tactic that has worked remarkably well for Iran who, coincidentally, was expected to deliver a response to the EU’s generous compromise offer regarding that little matter of its nuclear program on the very day their proxy, Hezbollah, stole into Israel, killed eight of its soldiers and kidnapped another two. They attack, and we defend. Point, counterpoint.
It is time to re-frame the debate in a manner more favorable to ourselves. Our enemies frame the question as, "Do you or do you not support Israel?" which many otherwise right-thinking people may feel ambivalent about. But if we instead frame it as, "Do you or do you not support state sponsors of terror, such as Iran and Syria?" then we have found an issue that a broader swathe of the population can rally around. It is time to shift the spotlight from Israel and shine it on the murky corners where rogue nations and Islamic fundamentalists meet.