Jewish Journal

“The International Delegitimization Campaign against Israel”

by Rabbi John Rosove

December 7, 2011 | 5:51 am

“I decided to write this paper because I have of late been asked questions from both Jews and non-Jews that until recently I had never heard before, questions that call into question the very legitimacy of the State of Israel. I have seen nothing in print that can serve as a comprehensive primer, fact sheet, briefing and background paper that can assist rabbis, Jewish leaders, college and university students and faculty, and our friends in the interfaith community, in dealing effectively with the complexities and nuances that underlie the growing international movement to delegitimize Israel.”

So begins my article entitled “The International Delegitimization Campaign against Israel and the Urgent Need of a Comprehensive Two-State, End-of-Conflict Peace Agreement” (CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Fall 2011, pages 90-109) that can be accessed on Temple Israel of Hollywood’s Web-site (www.tioh.org - Click Here to Read the Article.)

In this piece I address the following questions and themes:

• What Is the Delegitimization Movement and What Does It Seek to Do?
• Why Israel Is Not an Apartheid State Despite Claims by the Delegitimization Network
• The United Nations General Assembly: The Central International Arena of Delegitimization Efforts
• Other Delegitimizing Actions (The UN Resolution on “Zionism as Racism”; The Protocols of the Elders of Zion; Palestinian school textbooks; Official Palestinian maps; The Israel Lobby by John Meersheimer and Stephen Walt; Israel’s security barrier; International boycott of Israel; Israel as the “greatest threat to world peace”; The UN’s Goldstone Report)
• We Cannot Deny That Israel Is an Imperfect Democracy
• The Settlements
• Legitimate Criticism vs Delegitimization: Embrace Loving Critics and Distance Delegitimizers
• Jewish Organizational Perspectives: Who Is Really In and Out of the Pro-Israel Camp (a review of 14 major American Jewish organizations and their respective positions Israel)
• Why Settling the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Is Strategically and Morally Necessary Now Before It Is Too Late
• What Do We do Now?

An old UJA advertisement once read “We never promised you a rose garden.” Anyone with eyes wide open understands the truth of this statement. Indeed, the situation between Israelis and Palestinians and within their respective societies is complex and difficult. Nevertheless, unless this conflict is settled, I fear for the Zionist enterprise altogether. In the 1970s there was an American Zionist movement called Ein b’reira (“There is no alternative”). That message is even more to the point today.


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Rabbi John L. Rosove assumed his duties as Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood in November 1988. A native of Los Angeles, he earned a BA in Art History from UC Berkeley...

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