Problems with President Herzog’s NYT Article (11/3/23)

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1/   The core problem with the article was that it didn’t address the concerns of the international public.  Instead, it endeavored to tell readers that the war was about far more than Hamas vs Israel.  True, but the core matter that concerns the general public is Hamas vs Israel.  In any case, telling everyone that Hamas is awful, however correct, holds little explanatory or persuasive power, especially compared to the terrifying loss of life and destruction in Gaza.  His approach brings to mind the well-known phrase in sales, telling isn’t selling.

2/   President Herzog surely knows that underpinning concerns of the international public is the belief that Israel occupies and builds on land that belongs to the Palestinians.  Widely seen as unfair, morally offensive and a brutal denial of Palestinian rights, Israel is viewed as largely to blame for the conflict.  This also produces a disabling unease among Israel’s friends, potential friends, and the Jewish diaspora.  It also provides fertile soil for anti-Semitism, BDS, accusations of genocide, apartheid, and an underlying view that Israel deserves what it gets.

3/   Therefore, why didn’t he quote from the Hamas Charter to demonstrate that Hamas has no interest at all in a two-state solution or any other peace with Israel?  That is, it is only interested in overthrowing Israel, murdering as many Jews as possible and establishing a caliphate over the entire territory.  He could have suggested that readers check Hamas’ own mind-boggling words by googling the Hamas Charter.  This would have been highly enlightening as few media outlets mention the Charter, which remains virtually unknown to the public.  In turn, this would make Israel’s primary Gaza message far more convincing:  the ONLY way to end the conflict is for Gaza to have a government that does not want to annihilate Israel.  

4/   Likewise, he could have easily educated readers by showing that after almost 60 years since the Palestinian National Charter of 1964 (also available online for readers to consult), the PA still adheres to the claim to the whole territory of Israel.  Further, the PA claims that Jews are a religious group only with no separate national rights.  This is why they always reject the phrase two-states-for-two-peoples – because they accept only one people:  themselves.  It is also why PA leaders tirelessly make it clear that they will never accept a Jewish state.  

A lost opportunity

5/   In other words, he could have demonstrated a crucial matter almost entirely unknown to the public:  that the driving force of the conflict is the continued Palestinian claim to all the territory of Israel and their rejection of independent Jewish national rights.  Instead, he failed to challenge the bulk of the international mass media and organizations such as the UN and EU which ignore these core issues.  Nowhere is it made clear that the central Palestinian aim is a rejection of the same rights of self-determination for Israeli Jews as they demand for themselves.  Consequently, without being at the forefront of Israel’s international and public diplomacy, these issues are obscured from the international public.  

6/   Finally, while magnifying Israel’s struggle with Hamas into a titanic world-wide ‘crusade’ against barbarism, the article nevertheless omitted any suggestion or demand of what should be done.  So, why not remind readers that the main purpose for the creation of the UN was to prevent wars between states?  And given the overt aim of Hamas to destroy Israel, it might have been suggested that the UN should have led the charge to oust Hamas from ruling Gaza.  Likewise, he could have referenced the failure of the UN to demand that the PA abandon its claim to all the territory of Israel and to jettison the Palestinian National Charter.  

7/   Instead, the article made no demands of the UN, international community, the PA, or the mass media.  I’m sorry to say that a golden opportunity was thrown away.  

 

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