A new report by the Reut Institute, a Tel Aviv-based national security and socioeconomic policy think tank, maps out the “new battlefield” in which Israel finds the legitimacy of its very existence attacked by a wide array of organizations and individuals in global centers like London, Toronto, Brussels, Madrid and Berkeley.
the new front focuses its attack on Israel’s political legitimacy, painting Israel as a pariah state, exhausting Israeli society, burdening its economy, and mobilizing Israel’s Arab minority as an anchor in the struggle against the Jewish state.
The key concept for this “Resistance Network” is overstretching Israel along the fault lines of demography, democracy (binational state vs a state of the Jewish people), Jewish identity and territory.
The report states that Israel’s traditional enemies have increasingly been joined in battle by widespread networks of anti-Zionist groups, hostile human rights organizations and homegrown radical Islamists that use cultural, academic, legal and financial weapons against what they see as an illegitimate pariah state with its capital in occupied Jerusalem. They are trying to demonize Israel, to turn Israel into the Apartheid South Africa of the 21st century. These groups are concentrated in several large cities, what Reut calls “Hubs of Delegitimization.”
Reut’s report distinguishes between “soft critics” of Israel and “hard-core delegitimizers,” and posits that the hard-core group, made up of anti-Zionists, anti-Semites and radical Islamists, is always trying to coopt the “soft critic” group into a more radical position. Their goal is to blur the difference between legitimate criticism of Israeli policy and Israel’s basic legitimacy. Reut’s team suggests an effort should be made by Israel’s defenders to drive a wedge between the soft and hard core critics of Israel in London. The soft critics are human rights groups like Oxfam that are critics of Israeli policy but not necessarily of its legitimacy.