Calling Israel an “Apartheid State” Has Its Roots in Soviet-Style Disinformation Techniques

July 23 2021

In the 1980s and 90s, it was a common refrain in some circles of the hard left that the U.S. government had created AIDS or deliberately spread it to kill gays, African Americans, or both. Later on, Soviet defectors explained how the KGB had concocted this theory, planted it in an English-language newspaper in New Delhi, and simply allowed it circulate. A similar process explains the widespread belief, detached from reality, that Israel is an “apartheid state.” And the similarities are not coincidental, write Dan Diker and Yechiel Leiter:

Beginning in the late 1960s, PLO officials regularly underwent military and political-warfare training in Moscow and other Soviet satellite countries such as North Vietnam and Cuba. . . . “Active measures,” [as information warfare was known in Soviet parlance], have been used by the PLO, Hamas, and the Iranian regime. Ironically, the signing of the Oslo Accords between the PLO and Israel intensified the phenomenon of disinformation and incitement rather than eliminating it.

Disinformation on American university campuses has metastasized in recent years via both student and faculty groups. Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), with over 200 branches on American college campuses, has become a main advocate for Hamas. SJP has also invited former convicted Palestinian terrorists . . . as keynote campus speakers. SJP sponsors the annual “Israel Apartheid Week” on hundreds of campuses across the U.S. and Europe, [which] has led to anti-Semitic assaults and harassment against Jewish students.

In the same spirit, scores of Jewish and Israeli academics signed a public letter of condemnation in 2016 excoriating the German Bundestag’s resolution that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic. Anti-Zionist groups, including If Not Now and Jewish Voice for Peace, have actively advocated the dismantling of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. . . . In this way, Jewish groups have normalized a propaganda narrative against Israel rooted in Soviet ideology and in such terminology as “settler colonialist,” “imperialist,” and “racist.”

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, KGB, PLO, Students for Justice in Palestine, USSR

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror