malevolent portrayal of the Israeli Defence Forces is carefully and systematically planned, cultivated, developed, expanded and relentlessly driven forward. It is the key part of what
"a pernicious and increasingly dangerous global conspiracy of propaganda"
amounts to nothing less than a pernicious and increasingly dangerous global conspiracy of propaganda aimed at the total delegitimization of the state of Israel. A conspiracy that has so far exceeded in its international scope, anything dreamt of even by that master of propaganda, Dr Josef Goebbels himself, spreading the idea that Israel is so evil that it has no right even to exist, aiming for the point where that idea becomes an acceptable, mainstream argument in our societies.
It is no surprise of course that such a campaign has great popularity in the Arab and the wider Islamic world any more than Goebbels’s twisted propaganda machine succeeded in persuading so many Germans to his murderous cause. But what is truly shocking is the traction that this propaganda has gained in the west among student bodies, teachers, university authorities, academics, think tanks, human rights organizations, aid agencies, parliamentary bodies, and – perhaps most damaging of all, the mass media.
What is the evidence for this?
"Judge Richard Goldstone retracted the most serious allegations that he had made."
A favourite vehicle for the anti-Israel conspiracy is the United Nations Human Rights Council.
While continuing to neglect the woefully abused rights of 350 million citizens of the Middle East, not to mention the rights of many more people the world over, the Council focuses its attention almost exclusively on Israel.
The Report of the UN Fact Finding Mission into the 2009 Gaza Conflict, better known as the Goldstone Report, accused Israeli forces of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, deliberately killing, wounding and terrorising innocent civilians.
That report was endorsed on two occasions by the General Assembly of the United Nations. But only last month, Judge Richard Goldstone retracted the most serious allegations that he had made, saying that Israel did not in fact intentionally kill or wound innocent civilians. He wrote that if he had known at the time of his investigation what he knows now, the Goldstone Report would have been a very different document. Well, I, with my far more limited resources and access, could have told him a great deal of what is now apparently new to him.
In fact, I did tell him at the time of his report, in evidence I gave to the United Nations Human Rights Council in October 2009
“During its operation in Gaza, the Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.”
But a central aim in the conspiracy of delegitimization against Israel is to give validity and justification to attacks on Israel by groups such as Iran’s proxies Hamas and Hizballah,
"a central aim .... is to give validity and justification to attacks on Israel."
allowing them to strike at Israel with impunity, and encouraging the view that any retaliatory or defensive measures by Israel are by definition disproportionate and should be criminalised.
The more traction this objective is allowed to gain, the greater the instability between Israel and her neighbours; the less chance of any lasting peace; the more that blood will be shed on all sides in the region.
The most powerful weapons in this conspiracy are legal, diplomatic and media. Fundamentally we are talking about a war of words. Words that are given unprecedented potency by the internet, by the globalisation of the 21st Century. In this war of words, all that is necessary for this evil conspiracy of delegitimisation to triumph is for good men to say nothing.
I would like to conclude by adding to the theme of this conference. As a friend of Israel, of course I “believe in Israel”. As a life-long soldier I believe also in the brave, dedicated, and democratically-accountable soldiers of the Israeli Defence Forces, who sacrifice so much for the defence of Israel and for our Western democratic values.