As Jew-Hatred Hits Record Highs, Our Best Allies Can Be Israeli-Arabs

This will turn the tables on the Jew-haters. Instead of seeing "white Jews" make the case for Israel, they will see “brown Arabs” telling them how lucky they are to live in the Jewish state.
December 21, 2023
Nuseir Yassin aka Nas Daily (Web Summit under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)

A key principle of success is to adapt to changing times. When the game changes, it’s best not use the old playbook.

The world changed radically for the Jews on October 7, and yet, it seems we haven’t changed our playbook.

There’s no better indicator of how that world has changed than the latest Harvard CAPS-Harris poll that shows an alarming development among young Americans. When asked whether the grievances of Palestinians justify Hamas killing over 1200 Israelis and kidnapping over 250 civilians, 60 percent of Americans 18 through 24 agreed such violence could be justified, with half of that group supporting Hamas.

On the question of Israel’s statehood, a third of younger Americans believe Israel has no right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people. Regarding the long-term solution to the conflict, a majority responded that “Israel [should] be ended and given to Hamas and the Palestinians.”

To make matters worse, this toxic worldview is morally justified in the name of social justice. As long as Israel represents the powerful “white oppressors” who oppress the powerless “brown oppressed,” it will always be seen as guilty. And because they’re seen as brown and powerless, Palestinians will always be off the hook– even if that includes Hamas.

It’s hard to overstate the danger of this emerging worldview among young Americans. This is why we need to take a new and deeper look at how we present Israel.

Because all of our arguments and initiatives come from our side, and look like they come from our side, they’re easily dismissed as oppressor propaganda. Even those videos of the barbaric acts, as dramatic and horrendous as they are, don’t seem to have made much of a dent with this new generation of Jew-haters. If one is locked in that Israel and the Jews are always guilty, that’s a hard narrative to dislodge.

We shouldn’t pretend there’s an easy solution to this conundrum. But instead of looking for “solutions,” maybe we ought to look instead for deeper truths that can make an impact.

One of those deeper truths is to recognize Israeli-Arabs in shaping the public face of Israel.

For starters, they represent the stereotype of the “brown and oppressed” that the new generation worships. These are Arabs living in the land of those “dreaded white Jewish colonialist oppressors.” For ignorant Jew-haters with a short attention span (the majority of Jew-haters), one would assume these “brown Arabs” would strengthen their case, right?

It turns out they strengthen Israel’s case.

Consider, for example, the story of a proud Palestinian born in Israel named Nuseir Yassin, better known as the hugely popular global vlogger “Nas Daily.”

On October 9, he admitted on X that “For the longest time, I struggled with my identity. A Palestinian kid born inside Israel.” When he resolved that struggle by mixing the two and becoming a “Palestinian-Israeli,” he thought this term reflected who he was: “Palestinian first. Israeli second.”

October 7 changed everything.

“After recent events,” he wrote, “I started to think. And think. And think. And then my thoughts turned to anger. I realized that if Israel were to be ‘invaded’ like that again, we would not be safe… And I do not want to live under a Palestinian government. Which means I only have one home, even if I’m not Jewish: Israel… Palestine should exist too as an independent state. And I hope to see the country thrive… But it’s not my home. So, from today forward, I view myself as an ‘Israeli-Palestinian’. Israeli first. Palestinian second.”

Reflect on just one part of that stunning statement: a proud Palestinian born in Israel admits publicly that he’d never want to live under a Palestinian government and that he’s Israeli first.

Yassin is not alone.

As reported in the Israeli publication Globes, a study conducted by Nimrod Nir of the Agam Institute and Dr. Mohamed Khalaily among the Arab public shows that “an overwhelming majority of the Israeli-Arab public opposes the surprise attack by Hamas, supports Israel’s right to defend itself, and even expressed a willingness to volunteer to help civilians who were harmed during the attack.”

The findings, the report concluded, “indicate a turning point in the attitudes of the Arab public that, in previous clashes, expressed support and solidarity with the Palestinian side.”

This is not to suggest that Israeli-Arabs will suddenly lose sympathy for the Palestinian cause. They won’t. What it does suggest is that the extreme and unprecedented violence of October 7 has shaken many of them, just as it has shaken so many of us.

As the study shows, “almost 80% of Israeli-Arabs oppose the Hamas attack, and 85% oppose the kidnapping of civilians. 66% of the respondents answered that Israel has the right to defend itself, compared with only 6% who said that it does not.”

These Israeli-Arabs are not just numbers in a survey. They are real people, many of them deeply engaged in Israeli society. They are doctors and nurses, lawyers and architects, waiters and maître d’s, grocers and pharmacists, judges and members of parliament, tech entrepreneurs and college students.

When they saw the invasion of their country on October 7, they took it personally. They didn’t react like the pro-Hamas demonstrators who are flooding U.S. streets, tearing down posters of Israeli hostages, desecrating the Lincoln memorial and intimidating Jewish college students.

No, they reacted as if some monsters invaded their homes, which they did.

Because they value the freedom and opportunities that Israel has brought to them, Israeli-Arabs can become our most powerful allies. It’s time we enlist their support in a dignified way. They deserve a chance to become an integral part of the public face of Israel.

Showing this new face of Israel that includes Israeli-Arabs is not just a good PR idea– it’s also the truth.

We should initiate a major outreach effort and seek their input. This campaign, once formulated, should become a top priority for 2024.

At the very least, this will turn the tables on the new generation of Jew-haters. Instead of seeing “white Jews” make the case for Israel, they will see “brown Arabs” telling them how lucky they are to live in the Jewish state.

Showing a new face of Israel that includes Israeli-Arabs is not just a good PR idea– it’s also the truth.

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