PROFESSOR ALAN DERSHOWITZ
AIJAC’S 30TH ANNIVERSARY GALA EVENT
SYDNEY MARCH 31 2004
I am thrilled to be here tonight on behalf of one of the great Jewish organisations in the world today, indeed one of the great organisations in the world today. You have a treasure in your midst. I wish we had AIJAC in America, we need it. I wish we could bottle it and bring it home. Today, I just couldn’t believe what AIJAC was capable of achieving. If I ever tried to go to Washington and in one day see the President, the Vice President and the Secretary of State, I would be laughed at. This wonderful organisation arranged today for me to meet with the Attorney General, Mr Philip Ruddock, with the Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, with the Prime Minister, John Howard. It was a wonderful day; tomorrow I am going to be spending some time with Premier Bob Carr. I also met with the Shadow Cabinet members (Shadow Treasurer Simon Crean and Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd).
Israel should never be a partisan political issue, it should always get the support of both sides or all sides. Thanks to this wonderful organisation that’s true in this country, as it is in my country.
I wrote a book called The Case for Israel. It’s my least favourite book. I wish I didn’t have to write it. Who has to write the case for Spain? Who has to write the case for Australia? Who even has to write the case for France? Maybe somebody should. But, unfortunately, I had to write The Case for Israel. Why did I have to write it? Because the case against Israel is so filled with pernicious lies, and it is so prevalent today on university campuses, that a defence is needed.
About a year and half ago, a youngster came to me – he was a freshman or a sophomore, at Harvard. It was during the ‘Aseret Yamei T’shuva’ (Ten Days of Repentance), between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, and he asked me to give him T’shuva (forgiveness). I said to him I don’t even know you, you’ve never wronged me how can I give you T’shuva. He said, “it’s really that I haven’t done something, which I should have done.”
I said, “What is it?” He said, “I know a lot about Israel, I have been there, but in my classes I never speak up when Professors make terribly erroneous statements. I never speak up at dinner. I never speak up in my dorms. I just never speak up.”
So I asked, “Why not?” He was embarrassed to tell me, but I pushed, said “please, it’s important.” He finally relented and said, “if I speak up on behalf of Israel, I won’t be able to get a date, no one will go out with me, I will be perceived as uncool.” And that really struck me right in the ‘kishkas’, the idea that it’s not cool to be supportive of Israel, that it’s cool to be only pro-PLO. I made a speech a few days later, I said “support Israel, date a Zionist tonight.” That’s a good idea but it is not going to solve the problem.
At about the same time there was a debate going on at Harvard about divestment. People were trying to pressure Harvard to divest from companies that do business in Israel regardless of the nature of the business – even if it was providing health care or medical technology. One of the Harvard housemasters signed that immoral petition, and I challenged him to a debate in front of his students. He refused. He was a Professor of Old Testament Christian studies and he said to me, through a student, “I can’t debate you, my knowledge of the Middle East ended with the death of Moses.”
But he felt comfortable enough to sign the petition, so I decided that I was going to debate him whether he wanted to or not. I simply invited all of his students, reserved the major room at this college and had an empty chair and I invited him to sit in the chair and debate me. He still refused. So I put the petition on the chair with his name in big letters and we had a debate. It was an interesting debate.
A lot of the students participated. At the end, after I made the case for Israel, many students came over to me and they had the same three words: “We didn’t know.” “We didn’t know that the Palestinians were offered a large contiguous state in 1937 by the Peel Commission and turned it down. We didn’t know that the Palestinians could have had a large contiguous state in 1947 and turned it down. We didn’t know that in 1967 the Palestinians said no to UN resolution 242. We didn’t know that in 2000/2001 Barak and Clinton offered the Palestinians a state and they turned it down and resorted to violence. We just didn’t know.” Nor did they know that the states offered the Jews in 1937 and 1947 were non-contiguous and tiny. Yet the Jews agreed to compromise in the interests of a two state solution.
It was then I decided that the problem of college campuses was only partly hatred for Israel, maybe – 10 or 15 percent – but the major problem was ignorance. Many of the students not only had open minds, but they had empty minds. They didn’t know anything about the Middle East crisis. And that’s part of the reason why I think Israel has become the most maligned country in the world. Some students actually believe that Israel is the worst offender of human rights. Many of them thought that Israel was a colonialist regime and an apartheid regime. A few even use a term as you have heard before – a Nazi regime.
And it became clear to me that there was a well-organised campaign underway to delegitimize and demonise Israel – a campaign to create a generation of leaders ten or fifteen years from now, the current body of students, who would think of Israel in the negative way that many people in Europe, particularly France and other parts of Western Europe, think of Israel. And, I thought it was very important to try and combat that and to try and make the case for Israel on University campuses. Because, if a space alien ever came down from a galaxy a distant galaxy and went to the United Nations or some college campuses and looked around, he would say this is a great planet. Wow! We have a Human Rights Commission headed by this wonderful country called Libya. We have a Security Council that contains peaceful countries like Syria. We have a country like North Korea, few students seem to be objecting to it, but we have one country that everybody seems to be blaming all the problems of the world on. This small country Israel, it must be a really terrible place.
More resolutions of the United Nations have condemned Israel than any other country in world, probably more than all the other countries combined. And there’s something very wrong with that. In fact, the United Nations and the International Court of Justice before whom the Fence case is now pending reminds me a little bit of the racist southern courts in the United States, say in Mississippi in the 1930’s. Those courts could do justice in cases say involving two whites suing each other. Maybe even in cases involving two blacks suing each other. But it couldn’t do justice in cases involving blacks and whites. The whites always won, the blacks always lost. People might say, that must mean that the blacks are terrible people and the whites are wonderful people in Mississippi. No, it meant the courts were bigotted institutions. They were not doing justice. And the same is true with the UN. Its resolutions against Israel don’t reflect negatively on Israel, they reflect negatively on the United Nations itself.
The reality is that Israel has the best human rights record of any country ever confronting terrorism, and ever trying to balance human rights versus terrorism. Justice William Brennan, one the great justices in American history, went to Israel in the late 1980’s to study terrorism and civil liberties and he came back saying that if ever terrorism would come to America, Israel would be the model of how to balance civil liberties against terrorism. And, it has been the model. Its Supreme Court has intervened repeatedly to insist Israel comply with the rule of law, and Israel has complied with the rule of law. It has abolished rough forms of interrogation of the kind that the United States has now used. It has prohibited shooting at ambulances, even though we know that ambulances are used repeatedly to ferry terrorists. It has prevented other potential abuses, and it has insisted that Israel operate within the rule of law. And Israel does.
Notwithstanding, (British) Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Kofi Annan insist Israel’s killing of Sheikh Yassin was in violation of the rule of law. It was not. Sheikh Yassin was a combatant. He was a terrorist leader. He was the man who approved and encouraged the decision to try and blow up the gas tanks at Ashdod that, if successful, perhaps would have killed hundreds of Israelis. It failed and “only” killed ten Israelis. And when Israeli intelligence came to the conclusion that Yassin turned on the on and off buttons, that was when the decision was made to treat him as a combatant and to subject him to the fate that he well deserved. They couldn’t arrest him, he was hiding among civilians. He was living in Gaza. An attempt to arrest him would have caused many, many more deaths. They waited until he was alone in an alley with his bodyguards and they pre-empted him, they stopped him from ever killing again.
The world only notices that he was in a wheelchair, the world forgets how many Israelis were put in wheelchairs by him. How many Israelis were blinded? How many Israelis were made deaf? How many Israelis lost limbs, and how many Israelis lost their lives as the result of Sheikh Yassin. And how dare, how dare international organisations or religious groups compare Israel’s decision to stop a killer from killing, with terrorists who deliberately and wilfully single out children and mothers and parents and grandparents for death. That’s an obscene comparison and it’s even more obscene when it’s made by the Vatican, or the Council of Churches who know better, who understand the difference between wilfully and deliberately singling out civilians for death and what Israel and the United States do; that is, try their best to minimise and eliminate civilian deaths in a legitimate effort to get at terrorists who endanger it.
If the government of Australia had found out days in advance that terrorists in Indonesia were planning the attack at Bali and the Indonesian government was unwilling to do anything, let me assure you that any government in Australia would have done exactly the same thing. There is widespread agreement that any government, Australia, United States, Great Britain, any democracy that failed to kill a terrorist who was planning to kill its civilians alleging that to do so would be illegal or immoral, that government would fall— and should fall. A democracy’s first obligation is to protect its civilians from terrorism. If it can do it without killing another, fine. If the only resort is kill or be killed, whether one goes back to the Torah, the Talmud, the Sharia (Islamic Law), in every culture, in every religion (except perhaps Quakerism), in Catholicism, in Protestantism, in Judaism, in Islam: kill or be killed, the choice is to kill the killer and protect the innocent civilians.
There is a difference between innocent life and guilty life. Some people call the targetting of Yasmin extrajudicial killing, as if that makes it wrong. Is any killing in the midst of battle judicial? When is the last time you heard of a judge issuing a warrant to a General to kill an opposing General? Every killing in battle is an extrajudicial killing. In fact, I oppose judicial killings. That’s the death penalty. Extrajudicial killings are part of warfare, Hamas declared war on Israel, and Israel is fighting back as any democracy should – as Israel fought back when Iraq planned nuclear destruction in Osirak, and it bombed the nuclear reactor at a cost of one human life. It probably saved thousands of lives and saved the world from the potential of a dictator with nuclear weapons. The United States would not have been able to depose Saddam Hussein had he been armed with nuclear weapons. The world owes a great debt of gratitude to Israel— for its use of proportionate pre-emptive action in destroying Iraq’s nuclear capacity.
When I speak to college students, the first thing I tell them is that I am pro-Palestinian. And, they say what do you mean you’re pro-Palestinian? And I say that I am pro-Palestinian. I want to see a two-state solution. In the end, the best guarantee of Israel’s safety, if possible, is a democratic Palestine with a viable economy. With an incentive not to go to war. With good health care. With good schools, with real education. With real democracy, with real economic viability.
It was not I who turned down statehood for the Palestinians in 2000/2001. That was Yasser Arafat. It was not I who deflected and siphoned $3 billion which was earmarked for Palestinian health care and infrastructure, to Arafat’s wife’s bank account. That was Yasser Arafat. It was not I, or you or Israel, who relegated the Palestinian people to the kind of condition they are in now. If the Palestinian leadership had accepted the state offered in 2000/2001, we would today be celebrating the third anniversary of Palestinian statehood. And Palestine would be the wealthiest per capita Arab state in the Middle East, because it would have an influx of cash from the European Community, from the United States, a Marshall Plan, and instead of a third anniversary of statehood look what the Palestinian people are being subjected to.
We are not anti-Palestinian. Most of us in this room are far more pro-Palestinian than most of the people who call themselves pro-Palestinian are pro Israeli. The solution is to make everybody pro-Israel and pro-Palestine. One does not have to hate to make peace. One can support the dreams and the aspirations of both sides, so long as Israel is secure in its land and its territory. That’s what UN Resolution 242 says, that Israel and all other countries in the area must be secure. That will require some territorial adjustment, as the drafters of 242 recognized.
Tragically, today it may also require a protective fence, and Israel is blamed for trying to put up a fence against bad neighbours who are shooting and killing its children. Israel is the country that tore down fences in 1967. It tore down the fences separating East and West Jerusalem. It opened bridges to bring Israel and Jordan closer together. It opened bridges that had been closed for years. And tragically, at a suggestion made originally by Ehud Barak and supported by Uzi Dayan, a great peacenik, a fence has been built. Not a wall, but in most parts it is literally a movable fence, because the Supreme Court has been requiring it to move and change its direction and change its area. And it’s necessary.
How dare the world condemn it? Everybody would do the same thing, every democracy would build fences if it had to. That’s the least restrictive measure one can take, building fences to keep terrorists out.
Yet, in a world in which we see slavery, institutionalised rape and all kinds of horrors, the one issue that the United Nations decided to present as the greatest human rights violation on contemporary planet Earth is the fact that Israel was building a temporary security fence that is going to extend into certain parts of what the Palestinian Authority claims to be its own land – land which is in dispute, land which has to be resolved by the kind of negotiation the Palestinians won’t engage in.
Having said that, let me make a prediction here today: Israel will lose that case. Israel will probably lose that case because the International Court of Justice is like a southern court in Mississippi. It could do a great job resolving a border dispute between Norway and Sweden. But, it is institutionally incapable of resolving a dispute involving Israel in any kind of a fair or balanced manner. It simply cannot do so. After all, more than half the judges on that court come from countries that do not themselves respect the rule of law. Some of the judges simply take orders from their own governments on how to vote. And their own governments have already voted.
This is Alice in Wonderland justice. The United Nations first concluded that Israel was violating international law and then it sent that decision to the court for an advisory opinion. Now that’s not justice, sentence first trial thereafter. And it isn’t even a real trial. The victims of terrorism tried to appear before the court. No, no said the court. But the Arab League wanted to appear before the court, yes, yes we welcome your brief. Israel made a motion to try and disqualify an Egyptian Palestinian judge who had already said publicly that the fence violated international law. No, no the court said over the dissent of the judge from the United States.
Thank God for the brave nation of Australia that joined only a small number of countries in demanding that the case not be presented to the International Court of Justice. And let me tell you that Israel appreciates Australia’s votes in this matter. Israel appreciates when the Prime Minister of Australia refuses to join the hypocritical chorus of condemnation surrounding the killing of Sheikh Yassin. Why? Because Israel knows it will never win numerically. It will never get Cuba to vote for it. It will never get North Korea to vote for it. But a vote from Cuba, and a vote from North Korea is a vote from tyranny. What Israel wants is qualitative support. It wants support from the great countries of the world, the pluralistic democracies, like Australia. And when Australia votes for Israel it is worth 100 votes from other tyrannical states.
So I hope Australia will always be on the side of Israel. I hope Australia will be what many of the people I spoke to today described Australia as being – a close, supportive but occasional critical friend. Criticism is fine. I criticise America. You criticise Australia. Israelis criticise Israel. If you don’t believe that, just go on-line and read Yedihot Achronot, Maariv, or Ha’aretz. You want criticism, you will find criticism galore. Nobody in Israel gets away with anything. There’s the old joke about the two Israelis who were stranded on a desert island for 15 years, finally they are rescued and between the two of them they have created 17 political parties. That’s Israel, you can’t get a lot of agreement on issues.
We are entitled to disagree with this policy or that policy. We are entitled to say, perhaps, if we were Israelis we would have voted for a different Prime Minister or a different member of Knesset. We are entitled to do that. We are also entitled to make Aliyah and actually vote for whoever we want to. But the important thing is to make the case, to make the most effective case, to make the most articulate case. To learn how to make the case. To learn the facts. To learn the realities. To learn the history. And I am afraid that too few Americans, too few Australians, too few Israelis, too few in any country know enough to make the case. We have to improve our education.
Why? It is really amazing to have your institutions where such a high proportion of Jewish kids go to the [Jewish]schools. They meet, develop friendships and they learn. But eventually they leave, and eventually they go to university. And when they go to university they receive a shock that nobody can prepare them for.
They are told by their young assistant professors and from their peers and from mentors that everything they thought about Israel was wrong. That Israel is a pariah state. That it’s not cool to support Israel, That it’s reactionary to support Israel. That it’s childish to support Israel. “Grow up.” they’re told. “Grow up. Enter the new world. Understand that if you are going to be a progressive in the new world you have to support the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Understand that terrorism is really national liberation.” And this is what they get.
And they have two options: the first is to agree, which few do. Some do, because it’s the course of least resistance. The other is to remain silent and do nothing. Very few are prepared to fight back. And one of the reasons is, and I don’t know about this country, but I can tell you in my country, 50 percent of American colleges, one half of American colleges and universities, don’t have a single professor on their campus, not a single one, who is prepared to speak up for Israel – not a single one. I hear this complaint all the time, and when there isn’t a single professor, imagine what it does to the student. It absolutely isolates the student. It makes it difficult. It frightens the students. The student is afraid “if I speak up on behalf of Israel it will affect my grade, it will affect my recommendations to Law School, or medical school”. And let me tell you there is some basis for that fear in some places.
I have heard some of the horror stories. And how do I know so few professors speak up? Because when I speak up for Israel invariably I will get a call the next day, and here’s the way the call will go. The professor will whisper, “Thank you, thank you, Alan, for speaking up.” I say, what are you whispering for? What are you afraid of, that a student is going to hear you? These are professors with tenure who are terrified to let it be known that they support Israel in their heart. And they do support Israel in their heart, many of them really do. And they go to Israel and they tell their wives and children that they support Israel but they are unwilling to speak up in public. They don’t understand that tenure imposes an obligation to speak up, to speak your mind. Why else do you have this kind of job protection that nobody else has? If you want to be frightened of being considered controversial there are plenty of jobs you can get. But if you want to be a professor with tenure, you have no right to keep your views on controversial matters like this to yourself.
Let me tell you the excuses they give when I ask them: half of them say “we can’t speak up on behalf of Israel, because we are not experts. We only speak up on areas where we are experts.” Nonsense! They sign petitions about abortion and gay rights, and many other issues that they are not experts on.
The other half say, “we’re experts, if we speak up on Israel our neutrality will be questioned.” So if you add all the experts to all the non- experts you get no one willing to speak up on behalf of Israel. It is much worse among young professors than it is among older faculty. So the trend is not in the right direction, and we must reverse this trend because it is a struggle for the hearts, souls and minds of this generation and the next generation of future leaders. We cannot afford to lose that struggle.
We cannot afford to lose it in Australia, which is a very important ally of Israel. We cannot afford to lose it in the United States, which is Israel’s most important ally. We have to make the case. We have to persuade people of the morality of our cause. I try to argue with people that I support Israel not despite my civil libertarianism, not despite my commitment to human rights. I support Israel because of my commitment to human rights. I support Israel because I worry that failure to support Israel actually encourages terrorism. As Tom Friedman said in the New York Times, “if terrorism is allowed to succeed in the Middle East, it is coming to a theatre near you.”
You know, it really means something when terrorists get the support of the United Nations or the Vatican or other institutions. Here’s the way it works: just think about what happened between September 2000 and the current time – after the Camp David accords failed. In the early part of 2001 the Intifada began in full, it had started a few months earlier in 2000 even before the Taba part of the Camp David accords ended. Before that time, when Arafat walked away from Taba without even making a counter offer, Israel had offered such a generous package to the Palestinians, with Jerusalem, a $35 billion refugee package, 97 percent of the West Bank. Finally Europe was condemning the Palestinian leadership. Saudi Prince Bandar said in an interview that Arafat’s refusal to accept the offer was a crime against the Palestinian people and against all the people in the region. World opinion for a brief period of time turned against the Palestinians, particularly the leadership, and in favour of Israel. Even the French were critical of Arafat for a brief period of time. Then Arafat decided how to turn it around very quickly. He simply started up the terrorism again. And we have the documents, we have it from the Information Minister of the PLO. There was a deliberate decision to start up the terrorism again in order to turn world opinion against Israel.
Because everybody knows that if you kill the women, the children, the grandmothers, the elderly, the babies, in a society, every society will respond, every democracy will respond. And Arafat knew that when Israel responded, the response would be called an over-response. It would be called an over-reaction, no matter how careful Israel was not to kill or to kill as few as possible. And that’s exactly what happened: Israel reacted and the world immediately turned against Israel. It was after the Camp David and Taba offers that the worst, most vicious anti-Israel rhetoric started appearing throughout Europe. It was simply another example of how terrorism works, how terrorism can influence world opinion. We saw a recent example in Spain. Everybody is worried about what might happen if there were terrorism before your election or our election in the United States.
Terrorists know that they can influence public opinion dramatically. They influence it either by frightening people or causing a reaction and thereby getting condemnation of the country that reacts. Remember what happened just a couple of years ago this week, when many Israelis were sitting and having a wonderful Seder dinner at the Park Hotel in Netanya. Terrorists blew up the hotel killing 30 people and wounding many, many more. For a brief period of time, public opinion turned in the direction of Israel because of all the tragedy that it had suffered. And Israel responded as it had to do, it went after the killers who were living in Jenin.
And suddenly the whole focus of the world was on the Jenin “massacre”, 5,000 Palestinians were killed. And the PLO said “No, no we were wrong it was only 1,000, no it was 500,” in fact 52 Palestinians were killed, 23 Israelis were killed, and most of the Palestinians killed were combatants. World opinion focused away from Israel and away from Israel’s tragedy toward the tragedy of the “massacre.” The Palestinians compared it to Nazi atrocities. Now what message does it send to terrorists? There’s a very simple message: kill Jews, Israel will respond and you get the benefit of condemnation of Israel in world opinion. Why not? Why not do it?
Remember what happened some months later: families were sitting in a restaurant on the coast near Haifa, and terrorists blow up the restaurant, killing many people. Israel responds, whether you think it’s wisely or foolishly by dropping a few bombs in an empty camp in Syria which had been the home of terrorists from the organisation that blew up Maxims Restaurant. Suddenly public opinion, United Nations resolutions are all condemning Israel.
The killing of Sheikh Yassin? There was no resolution condemning Sheikh Yassin for trying to blow up the city of Ashdod. But there was a resolution, fortunately vetoed by the United States, which would have condemned Israel without even mentioning Hamas violence. Think of the message it sends to terrorists. Terrorism works.
Just imagine what would have happened instead if, in 1972 after Israel’s athletes were murdered during the Olympics, the world had simply said “no” to terrorism. “We will never negotiate with terrorists. We will never let you in to the United Nations. We will never further your cause as the result of terrorism. We will set your cause back.” If that had happened a message would have been sent to terrorists – that it is not going to work – that it’s not going to be effective.
But what happened instead? It was after Munich that the United Nations welcomed the Palestinian movement, Not the Kurds, who hadn’t used international terrorism, not the Tibetans who had never used terrorism, they can’t even use the mens room at the United Nations, but the Palestinians got into the United Nations with special observer status. Seven meetings at the Vatican after the Olympics. A Nobel Prize for the head of the PLO. What kind of a message does that send? The United Nations refusing to condemn terrorism but willing to condemn those who try to defeat terrorism.
I say this with feelings of support, as much as I can muster, for international organisations, but the reality is that the United Nations has been less vigorous in condemning terrorism than it has been in condemning the democracies that fight terrorism. It’s fair to say that the United Nations has been on the side of terrorists and has been against those who fight terrorists by democratic means. That is a terrible thing to say about an international organisation, and unless that international organisation changes its ways it will go the way of the League of Nations. It will be discredited in the minds of scholars, academics and people who care about values and morality over the years. It is a terrible disgrace and disservice to world peace and justice.
And the terrorists continue. Now their new tactic is to use children. 11-year-olds, 14-year- olds, 16- year-olds. I am reminded of what Golda Meir once said, that we can perhaps forgive you for killing our children, but we can never forgive you for making us kill your children. And Israel tries desperately not to kill Palestinian children. It could have. It had the right to kill that 14- or 16-year-old child who got caught with the vest. It didn’t have to endanger the lives of its soldiers. They could have shot him under international law. But no, they saved him. And they saved the 11-year-old boy who was carrying a bomb unbeknownst to him attached to a cell phone, which fortunately failed to go off. And it wasn’t Israel who killed that young child who was being held by his father, according to a German television report that analysed all the angles. It was a Palestinian bullet that killed that young child Mohammad al-Dura. And yet the world condemns Israel for having done it.
You remember what happened after that child died, at the point most people thought that Israel had done it. Israel – essentially the whole country – sat collective shiva for this young boy who had been a victim of a crossfire between the Palestinians and Israelis. Compare that to what happened when Palestinian terrorists blew up the pizza parlour in downtown Jerusalem. At a university in the West Bank they built a model of that pizza parlour with body parts and with Jewish bodies spread out in order to honour the terrorists and to allow people to again step on and distort and disgrace the bodies of the victims. There are really differences in attitudes between Israelis for the most part, and many Palestinians. One can’t generalise. There are very good Palestinians and there are some not-so-good Israelis. But when you look at the polls and you look at the numbers and when you look at support for terrorism, it’s about 80percent in the Palestinian Authority and it’s about 1 or 2 percent in the Israeli society.
And yet if one reads the media sometimes one thinks that there’s a moral equivalence between that tiny fraction of Jews who favour terrorism, and that large number of Palestinians who favour terrorism. There is no country in the world about which there is a greater gap between the reality and the perception. That must change. We all have to do a better job, because we are on the right side of history, we are on the right side of morality, we are on the right side of truth. Our obligation is to tell the truth, ‘emet’.
‘Emet’ is a very important word in the Jewish heritage and we have an obligation to spread the truth. We have an obligation to make the case for Israel, or more precisely we have an obligation to put the facts out, and if you put the facts out the case for Israel makes itself. There is no issue about which there aren’t at least some claims on both sides. All I want to do is change the debate about Israel from the demonisation of Israel to a nuanced discussion – a nuanced discussion where people can be free to criticise all sides, but where Israel’s right to exist and its right to defend itself is unchallenged. Because the greatest moral issue of the 21st century is going to be whether Israel’s attempt to use proportional means to defend its citizens from terrorism provides the latest and most recent justification for international bigotry and anti-Semitism.