Former Israeli security official urged last week American Jews to restrain Israel’s “unjust” war in Palestine because it fuels anti-Semitism around the world.
The statement is remarkable because that view is generally seen as anathema: saying that Israel’s actions have any role in the growth of anti-Semitism.
Ami Ayalon, a Navy commander and former head of the Shin Bet, spoke at J Street last week and said that Israelis believe they are fighting a just war of defence for their existence, and that the world refuses to acknowledge that.
But in fact, he says, Israel’s existence is established, and American Jews can see that Israel is engaged in an unjust war.
“What you see from the outside is us fighting two separate, totally different wars,” he said. “The first is indeed a just war,” he claimed, “a war to establish Israel within the 1967 borders based on international resolutions. You correctly say that we have won that war.”
He refers to the 1940s attacks of the Zionist Jewish gangs on the Palestinians when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their homes and hundreds of Palestinian villages and towns were demolished.
Anyway, he continued: “We continue to fight a second war, a war in order to expand our border to the east, to build more settlements, and to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state next door.”
The former Israeli commander added: “That second war is not a just war. It denies the Palestinians the right to self-determination, which was recognised by the international community.”
Predicting that the war with the Palestinian will not end, he said: “There is no military decision in this war. That is why unless we choose a totally different approach, this war will continue for generations to come, it will lead to more violence and terror.”
He also predicted that “this second war to expand our borders will isolate Israel even more and increase anti-Semitism around the world, but the most important thing, the most dangerous thing, is that this war will be the end of Israel as the founding fathers of Zionism envisioned it.”
Ayalon’s comments are similar to those of the former Episcopal chaplain at Yale, Bruce Shipman, for which he lost his job five years ago.
In the wake of the 2014 Gaza slaughter, Shipman wrote to the New York Times and said there was a “relationship between Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza and growing anti-Semitism in Europe and beyond.”
“[Growing anti-Semitism] parallels the carnage in Gaza over the last five years, not to mention the perpetually stalled peace talks and the continuing occupation of the West Bank,” Shipman wrote.
He added: “As hope for a two-state solution fades and Palestinian casualties continue to mount, the best antidote to anti-Semitism would be for Israel’s patrons abroad to press the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for final-status resolution to the Palestinian question.”
Shipman was lambasted for blaming the victim and making Jews responsible for Israel’s actions.
Ayalon said just that: that in the spirit of one Jewish people, American Jews should tell Israel to stop making wars.