Blame Israel (Meme) or When in doubt, blame Israel is a meme used by some defenders of Israel to imply that any particular criticism of Israel is just one more example of the tendency to blame Israel unfairly. The "blame Israel" attitude is alleged to exist not only in Arab countries, but also in Israel itself, and across the world.[1][2][3] According to an August 2010 survey by Tel Aviv University, more than half of Israelis believe "the whole world is against us", and three quarters of Israelis believe "that no matter what Israel does or how far it goes towards resolving the conflict with the Palestinians, the world will continue to criticize Israel".[4]

José María Aznar, a former Prime Minister of Spain, wrote in If Israel goes down, we all go down published in The Times:

It is easy to blame Israel for all the evils in the Middle East. Some even act and talk as if a new understanding with the Muslim world could be achieved if only we were prepared to sacrifice the Jewish state on the altar. This would be folly.[5][6]

George Will claims that the "blame Israel first (and last, and in between) brigade" is "large and growing".[7]

Intellectuals analyzing "Blame Israel" mentalityEdit

Eric Hoffer on Jews and IsraelEdit

Eric Hoffer was an American social writer and philosopher. In May 1968, about a year after the Six-Day War had ended, he wrote an article entitled "ISRAEL'S PECULIAR POSITION.." It was published in the Los Angeles Times on May 26, 1968. In his article Hoffer wrote:

The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews. Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. Turkey threw out a million Greeks and Algeria a million Frenchman. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese and no one says a word about refugees. But in the case of Israel, the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single one.[8]

Hoffer asks why "everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world" and why Israel should sue for peace after her victory.[8]

A letter to an anti-Zionist friendEdit

In his book A letter to anti-Zionist friend, the Italian journalist and writer Dr. Pierluigi Battista questions "a mad blame" of Israel by the United Nations and the European Union, who blame Israel while completely ignoring what is happening in China and Darfur. He calls those blamings of Israel "a circus of lies, that safeguards human rights violators" like, for example, those in Gaza who persecute homosexuals. He cannot understand how Israeli checkpoints whose only purpose is to prevent terrorists from entering Israel could be even remotely compared to tactics of Nazis.[9] In her article named The Courage to call Anti-Zionism what it is: Antisemitism, Fiamma Nirenstein discusses the book:

European and American élites are being contaminated by a demented bias against Israel which is devoid of any logic or historical fact. This narrative, overwrought with studies, statistics and words, promotes the idea that it would be better if the State of Israel did not exist. That it ought not to exist tomorrow. That it will be destroyed. Battista in turn destroys this intellectual-political perversion of antizionist hatred in five blistering chapters and reveals antizionism for what it really is: Anti-Semitism.[10]

Why Blame Israel? by Dr. Neil Lochery Edit

In his book Why Blame Israel? Dr. Neil Lochery, who is the Director of the Center for Israeli Studies at University College London, analyzes how a state with the population of only about 6.5 millions "has become a pariah state, a threat to world" for so many people. Stephen Pollard writes about the book: "Beyond that lies the oldest hatred of all, that of the Jew. A full answer to the question ‘why blame Israel’ must, in the end, deal with anti-Semitism. Yes, there are political reasons to blame Israel. And yes, there are strategic reasons. There are indeed many valid reasons why Israel can be blamed for some of its problems. But, as Lochery’s analysis of the facts makes clear, they don’t add up to a convincing explanation of why it is that Israel is now so consistently maligned. That requires the addition of an extra factor: anti-Semitism."[11][12]

Elhanan Yakira on anti-Zionist JewsEdit

Elhanan Yakira, who is a professor of philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, granted an interview to Elliot Jager from Jewish Ideas Daily. The professor, who is against Israeli settlements, could be considered on the left himself, yet even he is outraged by some accusations of the Israeli left, who are accusing Zionism of being "guilty of "original sin." In the interview Elhanan Yakira brings the names of a few anti-Israeli Israeli leftists: "Haifa-born Ilan Pappe, who now teaches in England, completely embraces the Palestinian narrative. There is Yehuda Shenhav, who has a new book out challenging the right of Israel to exist even within the 1967 "Green Line." I devote part of my book to Adi Ophir, former editor of the post-modernist Hebrew journal Theory and Criticism and an academic at Tel Aviv University and the Shalom Hartman Institute. There is also Oren Yiftachel at Ben-Gurion University, who speaks of Zionism as a "colonialism of refugees" and "creeping apartheid." Then there is the Haaretz crowd, including Amira Hass and Gideon Levy."[13]

The professor was asked about his upcoming book:

Elliot Jager: In Post-Zionism, Post-Holocaust, you coin a phrase, "the community of opprobrium." Members of this community maintain that Israel exploits the Holocaust to justify its illegitimate existence, and that the Jews have been doing to the Palestinian Arabs what the Nazis did to the Jews. In brief: blame Israel and the Jews first.

Elhanan Yakira: Well, I should explain that the Hebrew essays - only later did they become a book – were intended as a polemic against the Israeli community of opprobrium. As I worked on the English edition, it became clear that the Israelis are nurtured by an international community: a huge subculture devoted to the de-legitimation of Israel, the Zionist idea, and the Jewish nation. What I did in the book was essentially to take one element of this campaign-the manipulation of the Holocaust-and show how it was morally and intellectually wrong.[13]

Nonie Darwish on the United Nation and IsraelEdit

File:Nonie Darwish 1.jpg

In her book Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law, Nonie Darwish asks how the United Nations could always blame only Israel for the violations of human rights, if during a few years, when the Old City of Jerusalem was under Arab rule, no Jew was allowed to visit the Western Wall, a place that is as important for Jews as Mecca is for Muslims.[14]

Salim MansurEdit

Salim Mansur, who is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, writes: "It is as if the plight of Palestinian "occupation" by Israelis explains the Sudanese civil wars and genocide in Darfur, or the savage killings inside Algeria, or the long list of atrocities, gender oppression, humiliation of religious minorities, wars, military dictatorships, and with no end in sight of violence and murder in the name of Islam across the Arab world. It is sheer absurdity to hold Israelis responsible for the utterly dysfunctional nature of the Arab world."[15]

While writing about Jews Mansur adds: "Their story is a gift to the Arab-Muslim world as it is to be found in the Qur'an if only Arabs and Muslims understood either".[15]

Rami George KhouriEdit

Rami George Khouri believes that "allocating blame" is counterproductive. Writing for the Daily Star (Lebanon), he states that "Zionist colonization, provides an important impetus for opposition movements in Arab countries that seek to resist Israel and its Western backers (Islamist movements, the leading opposition forces in the Arab world, tellingly direct their criticisms equally against Arab governments, Israel, the U.S. and other Western powers). This causes domestic tensions that have seen most Arab countries move toward military-minded autocracies, if not outright dictatorships, which in turn usually results in widespread corruption, misallocation of economic resources, and under-utilization of human capital because most Arab citizens, with very few exceptions, are not allowed or encouraged by their governments to use all their energies, knowledge and creativity." Still, he acknowledges that "We end up with a situation in which it becomes easy for Arabs to blame Israel and the Western powers for the problems of our region." and believes that "the truth is in between, with Arab, Israel and Western actors all having to share the blame for contributing to the distressing conditions that define the Arab world."[16]

Egyptian writer and columnist Hassan Hafez on blaming IsraelEdit

Hassan Hafez wrote a column for Egyptian opposition newspaper Al-Wafd. It was published in February of 2006, and is mentioned by Barry M. Rubin in his book The tragedy of the Middle East. In the piece entitled "Let us Excel in our Writing and Stop Blaming all our Problems on Israel" Hafez writes:

We must excel in our writing… and stop blaming all our problems on Israel. I wonder why we blame Israel for every fault in [Arab] society. This is the logic of the weak, who seek a peg on which to hang all their mistakes in order to evade a true confrontation with reality. An Egyptian plane crashed last November [and they say]: 'This is an operation by the Israeli 'Mossad. [Egyptian Muslims clash with Christian Copts in] Al-Kushekh [in Southern Egypt] ...and everyone blames the Israeli 'Mossad.' Then, something even stranger happens: the price for a tank of gas rises up to 15 Egyptian Pounds, and one newspaper claims that the reason for it is the export of gas to Israel! …We blame Israel for failures in marketing or for the rise of prices. This is illogical and unacceptable… I wouldn't be surprised if they say that the 'Mossad' is responsible for the social security problems in Egypt too… Slow down, you who get into fits when you talk about Israel! Let us first undertake our own soul-searching. We have to grab those responsible for our failures by the collar instead of blaming Israel for all our problems like cowards… [Blaming Israel] causes us to look ridiculous before the world and it makes the small Israeli state look great. We have to be honest with ourselves before we blame others! When we blame others we are being untrue, we mock common sense and we scorn our people…[17][18]

Victor Davis Hanson and "Israel did it"Edit

In his article Israel did it Victor Davis Hanson asks why Israel was being blamed for responding to attacks by Hezbollah and Hamas that shelled Israel for a few months with deadly rockets while the world was watching indifferently. He explains that if there were not so many civilian casualties inside Israel it was not from the lack of trying. Hanson writes: "Israel was to be blamed because its hundreds of air strikes against combatants were lethal, while Hezbollah was to be excused for shooting off thousands of rockets aimed at civilians because of its relative incompetence." [3]

Hanson also questions how it is that "Jimmy Carter, silent about Iran’s latest promotion for its planned holocaust, is hawking his latest book — in typical fashion, sorta, kinda alleging that the Israelis are like the South Africans in perpetuating an apartheid state, that they are cruel to many Christians, and, as occupiers, are understandably the targets of suicide bombers and other terrorist killers."[3]

Accusation of Israel for Gaza flotilla raidEdit

In June of 2010 UN council blamed Israel for the nine deaths of the activists that occurred during the Gaza flotilla raid by Israeli commandos. The UN Security Council adopted a resolution in which they called for an investigation and said that "complete responsibility" lies with Israel. The United States, Norway and Italy were the only countries that voted against the resolution. US State Department spokesman Mr. P.J. Crowley explained why the US delegation opposed the resolution: "Before there's even the opportunity for an investigation, in our view, this resolution put the complete responsibility on Israel. We thought that was inappropriateness - as we indicated we thought this was a rush to judgment."[19]

In his article published in the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer provides a few examples from the history of the United States, which blockaded both Germany and Japan during the Second World War, as well as Cuba in October of 1962 during the missile crisis. Krauthammer writes:

Yet Israel is accused of international criminality for doing precisely what John Kennedy did: impose a naval blockade to prevent a hostile state from acquiring lethal weaponry.[20]

Some other opinionsEdit

Norman Podhoretz writes: "Nor did being on the Left entail the blame-Israel-first mentality that by now has become as widespread among Israeli intellectuals as anti-Americanism was in the United States in the days of Vietnam".[1]

Zev Chafets attributes the "blame Israel first" mentality common in far left Jews to a phenomena that got the name "self-hating Jew"[2]

Mudar Zahran, a Jordanian of Palestinian heritage, writes that this "tendency to blame Israel for everything" has provided Arab leaders an excuse to deliberately ignore the human rights of the Palestinian in their countries. As an example, he said that while the world is furious over the blockade on Gaza, the media choose to deliberately ignore the conditions of the Palestinians living in refugee camps in Lebanon. He added that other Arab countries are no different than Lebanon in their ill-treatment of the Palestinians.[21]

Examples of "blame Israel" mentalityEdit

Interview of Ahmed Sheikh in Swiss weekly Die WeltwocheEdit

In 2006 Ahmed Sheikh, a Palestinian journalist and the current editor-in-chief of the Qatar-based television channel Al Jazeera gave an interview to correspondent Pierre Heumann of Swiss weekly magazine Die Weltwoche, based in Zürich.

Ahmed Sheikh, who explains that in "Arab culture" a suicide attack is called a "commando attack" and is "precisely not suicide".[22] In this interview Sheikh agrees that there are many issues with the state of Arab countries' economies, that "the rich get richer and the poor get still poorer", and that the public schools and public hospitals are in a very poor shape. In Sheikh's opinion Israel is responsible for most of these problems. When asked by Heumann if he meant "to say that if Israel did not exist, there would suddenly be democracy in Egypt, that the schools in Morocco would be better, or that the public clinics in Jordan would function better?", Sheikh responded without any hesitation: "I think so." Then the interview continued like this:

Heumann: Can you please explain to me what the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has to do with these problems?

Sheikh: The Palestinian cause is central for Arab thinking.

Heumann: In the end, is it a matter of feelings of self-esteem?

Sheikh: Exactly. It’s because we always lose to Israel. It gnaws at the people in the Middle East that such a small country as Israel, with only about 7 million inhabitants, can defeat the Arab nation with its 350 million. That hurts our collective ego. The Palestinian problem is in the genes of every Arab. The West’s problem is that it does not understand this.[3]

Victor Davis Hanson, who wrote a commentary about the interview, asking:

"Where alone in the Middle East is there his dream of an Arab middle class of sorts? Where do Arabs have good schools? And where is there adequate medical care?" and answers: "Ask the over one million Palestinians who live in a democratic Israel."[3]

Conference on Middle East issues in JordanEdit


In April 2007 the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan and the American Enterprise Institute co-sponsored a conference to discuss the issues of bringing democracy to Middle East. The idea of the conference was the exchange of opinions between moderate Arabs and Westerners on how to improve the situation in Iraq, Iran and Middle East in general. David Brooks, who attended the conference was disappointed by the tendency of Arab speakers to blame everything on the Israel lobby. In The New York Times Brooks writes:

As for problems in the Middle East itself, these speakers added, they have a common source, Israel. One elderly statesman noted that the four most pressing issues in the Middle East are the Arab-Israeli dispute, instability in Lebanon, chaos in Iraq and the confrontation with Iran. They are all interconnected, he said, and Israel is at the root of each of them.[23]

Brooks describes how American attendees tried to make their Arab friends speak about other causes of the problems, for example "the Sunni-Shiite split, the Iraqi civil war and the rise of Iran", but Arabs continued talking about Israel: "They mimicked a speech King Abdullah of Jordan recently delivered before United States Congress, in which he scarcely mentioned the Iraqi chaos on his border. It was all Israel, all the time."[23]

Toronto film festivalEdit

In her article published in The Daily Telegraph entitled Toronto International Film Festival succumbs to Israel Derangement Syndrome, Stephanie Gutmann describes how Jane Fonda, Danny Glover, Ken Loach, and Wallace Shawn, together with a thousand others, demonstrated against "the festival’s decision to become “complicit in the Israeli propaganda machine”". All that noise was about the festival's intent to include "a focus on film-making in the city of Tel Aviv." The protesters did not care there was no mention of Israel on the festival's web site. They did not care that the Israeli film industry has nothing to do with the Israeli government. They did not care that in spite of a low budget Israeli films makers were able to make great films, some of which got Best Foreign Film Oscar, Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film and other awards. All they cared about was that the festival's organizers would not become "complicit in the Israeli government’s sinister attempts to “change negative perceptions."[24]

Some other examples of "Blame Israel" mentalityEdit

In only a few recent examples Israel's "involvement" could not have been "ruled out" neither in disrupting a broadcast of 2010 FIFA World Cup by Al-Jazeera network[25] nor in shark attacks in Egypt.[26] Israel is blamed for an increasing number of incidents of Palestinians beating their wives,[27] and for the Nile basin dispute.[28]

Even the revolution in Tunis allegedly had Israel's connection. Anthony Shadid writes in The New York Times: "Yet the street protests erupted when Arabs seemed more frustrated than ever, whether over rising prices and joblessness or resentment of their leaders’ support for American policies or ambivalence about Israeli campaigns in Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2009."[29][30]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Norman Podhoretz (December 30, 2003). The Norman Podhoretz Reader: A Selection of His Writings from the 1950s through the 1990s. Free Press. p. 292. ISBN 978-0743236614. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Zev Chafets (January 24, 2008). A Match Made in Heaven: American Jews, Christian Zionists, and One Man's Exploration of the Weird and Wonderful Judeo-Evangelical Alliance. HarperCollins. pp. 179–. ISBN 9780060890599. Retrieved January 26, 2011. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Victor Davis Hanson (December 15, 2006). "Israel did it!". National Review. 
  4. "Tel Aviv University, Israel Democracy Institute, Peace Index August 2010". Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  5. Haaretz Service (2009). "Former Spanish PM: If Israel goes down, we all go down". Haaretz. 
  6. José María Aznar (June 20, 2010). "Opinion: ‘If Israel Goes Down, We All Go Down‘". World Politics Review. 
  7. The leveling wind: politics, the culture, and other news, 1990-1994. George Will. Viking, 1994. p. 336
  8. 8.0 8.1 Eric Hoffer (September 14, 2009). "Eric Hoffer and the Jews". National Review. 
  9. "Il coraggio di dire che l’antisionismo è antisemitismo". January 24, 2011. (Italian)
  10. Fiamma Nirenstein translated by Pieter Uys (January 24, 2010). "The Courage to call Anti-Zionism what it is: Antisemitism". 
  11. Stephen Pollard (May 16, 2004). "Why Blame Israel? The facts behind the headlines". 
  12. "Why Blame Israel? The facts behind the headlines". 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Elliot Jager (March 19, 2010). "Left in Zion". Jewish Ideas Daily. 
  14. Nonie Darwish (January 6, 2009). Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law. Thomas Nelson. p. 162,163. ISBN 978-1595551610. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Salim Mansur (August 21, 2010). "Don’t blame Israel for Arab failures". Toronto Sun. 
  16. Rami George Khouri (January 12, 2011). "This week's grim Arab history lesson". Daily Star (Lebanon). 
  17. Barry M. Rubin (September 15, 2002). The tragedy of the Middle East. Cambridge University Press. p. 205. ISBN 978-0521806237. Retrieved January 26, 2011. 
  18. "Anti-Semitism in the Egyptian Media – Part III: 'International Jewish Conspiracies". Middle East Media Research Institute. June 4, 2010. 
  19. Barak Ravid and Natasha Mozgovaya (June, 2010). "U.S.: UN council rushing to blame Israel for Gaza flotilla deaths". Haaretz. 
  20. Charles Krauthammer (June 4, 2010). "Krauthammer: Those troublesome Jews". Washington Post. 
  21. Demonizing Israel is bad for the Palestinians, by Mudar Zarhan, 01/08/2010, Jerusalem Post
  22. "An Interview With Al-Jazeera Editor-in-Chief Ahmed Sheikh". World Politics Review. Dec 7, 2006. 
  23. 23.0 23.1 David Brooks (April 8, 2007). "A War of Narratives". the New York Times. 
  24. Stephanie Gutmann (September 14, 2009). "Toronto International Film Festival succumbs to Israel Derangement Syndrome". The Daily Telegraph. 
  25. Doron Peskin (June 19, 2010). "Al-Jazeera says Israel disrupting World Cup broadcasts".,7340,L-3907125,00.html. 
  26. "Shark Attack in Egypt? Must Be the Work of Israeli Agents". Discovery Magazine. 
  27. Phyllis Chesler (January 24, 2010). "Lancet Study Blames Palestinian Wife-Beating on Israel". 
  28. Ahmed Zaki Osman (November 16, 2010). "Egyptian experts blame Israel and Mubarak for Nile Basin dispute". 
  29. Anthony Shadid (January 14, 2011). "Joy as Tunisian President Flees Offers Lesson to Arab Leaders". the New York Times. 
  30. Ed Lasky (January 15, 2011). "NY Times blames Israel for Tunisian revolution". The American Thinker. 

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