Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.  Photo: DRosenbach-Wikipedia

The Israel Warrior
Fighting Back for the Jewish State from Campus to Street Corner
By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Hardcover, 220 pages
Gefen Publishing House
ISBN: 978-965-229-8836 $19.95

Reviewed by Judy Frankel

A phrase from Alan Dershowitz will jump out at you when you see this book’s cover: “A must-read for every supporter of Israel. Most of us are conditioned to wave away such claims as hype - but quite honestly, after reading The Israel Warrior I find it hard to disagree.

Described by its author, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, as “an information tool", his immensely readable and useful handbook offers, at our fingertips, an extensive and well-researched compilation of the key facts and figures concerning Israel and her neighbors, both historically and currently. This is systematically explained with logical, easy-to-navigate headings.  

But it goes further than this. “Outrageous lies,” Shmuley Boteach points out, “are often told about Israel in the belief that by sheer repetition they will be accepted as fact. Every false allegation in the endless battle of words should therefore be responded to”, he stresses. So drawing on the military imagery of his title, and endorsed by its subtitle “Fighting Back for the Jewish State from Campus to Street Cornerhe provides us not only with the facts but with useful responses to fire back against the main arguments of our enemies. For instance, he dissects and then counteracts a host of only-too-familiar lies and myths. Just a few are:

  • Jews have no claim to the land – the Palestinians were there first.
  • In 1947-49, the Palestinians were forced from their homes and ended up in refugee camps
  • Israelis behave just like the Nazis.
  • Israel is the source of the conflict in the Middle East.
  • It’s the settlements that are the obstacles to peace.
  • In 2014, Israel was the aggressor when it mounted Operation Protective Edge to eliminate the threat posed by terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
  • Israel has been trying to push the United States into a war with Iran.

 

He also exposes the inappropriate misuse by Israel’s detractors of many ludicrous, weasel words such as apartheid or occupation or genocide or even the grotesque demonization of the very word Zionist.

At the end of the book there are two appendices. One sets out, chillingly, the main points of the Hamas Charter, replete as it is, in every article, with anti-Semitic incitement and uncompromising calls for the total annihilation of the State of Israel.

The second, however, is the full text of the passionate speech delivered by Ambassador Chaim Herzog to the United Nations General Assembly in November 1975, arguing against Resolution 3379 which equated Zionism with racism. Throughout this invaluable book, Shmuley Boteach has repeatedly stressed that you cannot win every argument – and this is a sad case in point. In spite of Ambassador Herzog’s powerful and, you would have expected, persuasive words, this Resolution was passed by a vote of 72 for, 35 against, with 32 abstentions.

So the last sentence of the book’s Preface highlights the problem Israel’s defenders have to face: “Know when to fight; know when the battle they want is so slanted against you, you’ll never be given a chance to win.”

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Judy Frankel

Judy Frankel grew up in South London and graduated from Somerville College, Oxford, with an Honours Degree in English Language and Literature. She enjoyed a long and satisfying career as an English...
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