As the recent armed clash between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas comes to an end, the pro-Israel world has been at the forefront of battling misinformation, baseless claims, and ‘fake news’ surrounding the violence. While there seems to be relative peace, for now, it is essential to point out the wave of false accusations that have plagued Israel. One of the most blatant examples is a recent Teen Vogue article, The Violence in Jerusalem Over the Pending Evictions of Palestinians Horrifies Me by Blair Nodelman. Nodelman’s article, which is rife with inaccuracies, inflammatory statements, and convenient omissions of the facts, exemplifies the propagandistic talking points that supporters of Israel and proud Zionists like myself confront on what seems like a daily basis.
For instance, Nodelman’s coverage of rising tensions in Jerusalem omits significant details to unfairly shift blame to Israel. First of all, they neglect to mention that the violent clashes were incited by the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian terror groups, or that the Sheik Jarrah evictions are the result of a civil dispute between property owners and tenants who refused to pay rent for decades. Most egregiously, Nodelman villainized efforts by the Israeli police to restore peace as violent protesters threatened homes, businesses, and the Temple Mount, a holy site for Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
Furthermore, Nodelmen minimizes the onslaught of over four thousand rockets that Hamas launched at Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and other heavily populated cities in Israel. Hamas isn’t just a “militant group that controls Gaza,” or simply “responding” to the situation in Jerusalem. Hamas routinely fires rockets into Israel. They are a US Department of State-designated terror group that many other countries and international bodies have also classified similarly, such as Canada, the European Union, and Japan. Their official charter reveals they are a genocidal organization bent on the destruction of not just the Jewish State, but the elimination of Jews. Nodelman severely downplays the threat that Israel faces at the hands of this group.
Nodelmen also argues that “Israel advertises itself, especially to American Jews, as a beacon of diasporic safety and pride, further intertwining Jewish safety with the subjugation of Palestinians. Some Israeli leaders offer the ideology that our freedom and security is guaranteed only if we reject Palestinian statehood and continue to annex more and more Palestinian land.” (emphasis added) This is a grave distortion of reality. Despite Nodelman’s framing, the problem isn’t Israeli rejectionism, but Palestinian rejectionism.
No matter what Israel has offered, Palestinian leaders continue to deny Israel’s right to exist and live in peace. For instance, in July 2000 at Camp David, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak agreed to far-reaching concessions (including land swaps and the recognition of a Palestinian state) to Yasser Arafat, the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) at the time, in exchange for peace as the BESA Center’s Dr. Edy Cohen notes.
Despite the generous offer, the Palestinian leadership refused, instead choosing once again to wage war on Israel. Shortly after the Camp David Accords, the Second Intifada began, resulting in the deaths of over 1,100 Israeli civilians in a wave of brutal terror attacks between 2000 and 2005.
Nodelman shows no concern for Palestinian government corruption and radicalization, even though these issues contribute substantially to the marginalization of Palestinians. For instance, instead of creating economic opportunities for Palestinians, the PA pays Palestinians rewards for committing acts of terror, and if they die in the process, gives their families “salaries” based on the length of their prison sentence. In Gaza, Hamas uses pipes, cement as well as other construction and agricultural supplies to construct and fire rockets into Israel.
Additionally, Nodelman gives credence to the idea that Israel is an apartheid state, an age-old accusation that has no basis in reality. Arab citizens of Israel hold prominent roles in the nation’s political and social settings. Many of these individuals hold high-ranking positions, whether in the Supreme Court, leaders of major political parties, or other influential societal positions.
It is critical to note that just like any other government in the world, Israel is not perfect. However, willful omissions, distortions of the truth, and lack of nuance are not acceptable – such superficial rhetoric paints one side as the sole victim while the other is the belligerent aggressor. Nodelman’s shallow take on this issue is detrimental to creating authentic and everlasting peace for both peoples in the region, which has a tumultuous history and social fabric. This one-sided perspective gravely hurts the community and faith, which she claims to care so much about.
Austin Pellizzer is a senior at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He is majoring in European and Russian studies, has a long history of pro-Israel activism, and is a 2020-2021 CAMERA Fellow.
A slightly different version of this op-ed was featured in the Algemeiner.