FAQ: The campaign to defame Israel


How is delegitimization dangerous?


Israel is confronted by several tangible threats, including the nuclear threat posed by Iran and the missile threat posed by Hamas and Hizbullah. A no less worrying threat posed to Israel is that of delegitimization, which attempts to negate the legitimacy of the Israeli state, its policies and its right to self-defense.

Delegitimization is a political, economic and philosophic campaign aimed at reversing the right of the State of Israel to exist and denying the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their homeland.

The ultimate goal of delegitimization is the liquidation of Israel as a Jewish state. According to the delegitimizers, Israel not only has no right to defend itself, it has no right to survive. They seek to cause Israel's collapse by undermining the moral legitimacy of Israel, constraining its military activities, destroying Israel's image and isolating it as a pariah state.

There is a difference between conventional criticism of the policies of Israel and delegitimizing criticism of the existence and legitimacy of the state. Delegitimization exceeds valid discourse on specific Israeli policies and instead presents a fundamental challenge to its right to exist.Israel remains willing to engage with honest critics of Israel, as long as they don't engage in the 3-Ds of the new antisemitism: delegitimization, demonization and double-standards.

Although the ultimate goal is eliminating the Jewish state, delegitimizers usually does not clearly state that Israel must be abolished. Rather, they use euphemisms like the "one-state solution" or compare Israel to an apartheid state or Nazism, leaving the obvious conclusion to their audience. The use of comparisons to apartheid and the Nazis is not accidental; rather they were carefully chosen to represent the two greatest evils of the twentieth century, both of which are considered crimes against humanity and legitimate targets for elimination.

Delegitimization deploys a wide variety of anti-Israeli themes in addition to the apartheid comparison and Holocaust inversion. It disallows Israel's inherent right to self-defense and security, represents Israel as an international criminal, portrays Zionism as a racist ideology and denies the historic connection between the Jewish people and their ancient homeland, particularly Jerusalem. Delegitimization supports the one-state solution and the invented "right of return" for Palestinian refugees, both of which would mean the end of Israel's identity as a Jewish state.