by Eli Hazan
Globalization may have generated challenges for our image, but it also allows us to highlight the greatest Israeli qualities.
There is no doubt. The boycott movement against Israel is growing and strengthening.
In an era when financial interests play a key role, when bad can be portrayed as good and moral values can be made to seem negative, when the murders of innocent people can be portrayed in such a skewed light and disconnected from their context, it would appear that Israel has no chance of winning the war of delegitimization that is being waged against it, the world's only Jewish state, and, not coincidentally, the only real democracy in the Middle East. "Appear" being the operative word.
But we need to take a hard look at reality, without any embellishment, with a controlled and clear-headed perspective that takes into account all the negative factors that affect our situation for the worse, as well as all the positive factors that grant us the ability to deal with the seemingly impossible situation. In this context, one can't help but recall the words spoken by late Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky: If it is difficult, then it is possible.
Many of the media outlets in Israel do their job well enough, presenting the complex reality of the boycotts against Israel -- but they do only half the work. They should also present the other side of the coin. For every boycott movement and initiative against Israel there is the Israeli creativity, endless investment in development, originality, extraordinary human capital, rapid comprehension, productivity and outside-the-box thinking that stands in our favor. There is also our self-criticism, which at times can be excessive. All of this creates a unique mixture that increasingly allows us to break down the misguided perceptions about us.
This, for example, was evident when Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) signed a joint transport security agreement with newly appointed British Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey last week. Katz works hard to tighten cooperation in areas related to aviation agreements and building the light rail, but he also goes beyond this, and he's not they only one.
And anyway, it seems that those who have such a pessimistic outlook on the boycott movement have lost all perspective. Israel's international standing is better than it has ever been. We have a tendency to forget the Arab boycott that impacted Israel for decades and the intense international criticism that we faced long before we controlled Judea and Samaria. Globalization may have generated new challenges for our image, but it also allows us to highlight the Israeli qualities that benefit so many people around the world. Not just the IDF emergency rescue missions, but also medical and scientific inventions and innovations in technology and medicine that have led many to prefer quality over criticism.
In the coming days, the fate of the natural gas industry outline will be decided. Now especially, passing the outline carries with it great significance. It is not only about the flow of economic capital to be put towards critical needs that will benefit Israeli society, but also the capital that will advance research and development to help us deal not only with the boycott against Israel, but also to let us persevere and become a superpower -- albeit one small in land, but great in its people.
Eli Hazan is the Likud party's director of communications and international relations.
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