My once-upon-a-time colleague — at the Ottawa Citizen — John Robson, sums it all up so well.
Of course, criticism of Israeli government actions is not inherently anti-Semitic. If it were, Israel would be full of Jewish anti-Semites. But it’s one thing to note mistakes and condemn individual acts of brutality and quite another to equate a democracy where Arab Muslims have full rights with a blood-soaked tyranny where Arab Muslims have no rights.
Space precludes discussion of the unequalled persistence and virulence of anti-Semitism. But you’d think its extraordinary history, including the Holocaust, would make decent people everywhere very wary of this mental and moral poison. Instead, the New York Times observed on Sunday: “Divisions within the (Democratic) party have burst into public view, with the party’s ascendant left viewing the Mideast conflict as a searing racial justice issue that carries echoes of U.S. politics.”
This comparison to American slavery is nothing short of demented. And nobody would expect any other nation on Earth, even a tyranny, to tolerate endless bombs and rockets, stabbings and car attacks, rhetoric of annihilation and periodic invasion attempts. So what’s the deal with Israel?
To coin a phrase, j’accuse.
This weekend marks the 102nd anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. There is so much ignorance about it, so much unwarranted hostility and duplicity. Therefore I was delighted to find this piece from two years ago – outstanding historical research and interpretation.
Here’s some real courage (as opposed to the faux courage of, say, a Greta Thunberg): a former Miss Iraq telling some truths to those who don’t want to hear it. She is likely to lose her Iraqi citizenship (this already may have happened), and possibly her life, over these kinds of comments. She has also engaged in a fruitless attempt to get famed Jew-hater Ilhan Omar to listen to facts.
This is the best. Sad that it needs to be explained.
A hero was celebrated in France last month. Michel Bacos was the pilot of the jet hijacked at Entebbe, the man who stayed – by choice – with the Jewish hostages, though he was not Jewish. What he was, was a veteran of World War II who had obviously learned the lessons of that nightmare. Hatikva, the Israeli anthem, was played before his burial.
This week marks the 71st anniversary of Israeli independence and so, predictably, Hamas has to try to ruin the party. What was also predictable, sadly, was the reaction of so many in the West. Melanie Phillips has written a long blog post about it. Choice quote:
The Jews are often referred to as “the canaries in the mine.” With Western civilization in existential free-fall, the symbiotically linked contagions of Israel-bashing and antisemitism are both the cause and effect of this crisis.
Subscribing to the Arabs’ murderous falsehoods about Israel has destroyed the West’s moral compass – leaving it open to the murderous falsehoods about the people who gave it that moral compass in the first place and further blinding it to the forces threatening its own continued survival.
Read the whole thing here.
Israelis went to the polls earlier this week – a propos, this wonderful commentary from David Hirsh (I stole it from his Facebook page).
Israelis are voting today and determining their own future. This fact makes the hearts of all democratic people soar. This signifies the defeat, so far anyway, of the antisemitisms, Nazism, Arab Nationalisms, Islamisms and the Communisms which tried to prevent the endurance and the self determination of Jews.
Some Israelis are people whose families never left Jerusalem, the Middle East or North Africa; people ethnically cleansed from the great cosmopolitan civilizations by Arab nationalism and Islamism, from Cairo, Alexandria, Beirut, Yemen, Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Tunisia…
Some were driven out of Europe at the time of the pogroms in Kishniev and elsewhere.
Some are descended from the undead of Europe, survivors of the largely successful campaign across Europe to define, seek out and kill them.
Some limped away from the ideological and physical attempt to wipe them out which was called Russian Communism.
Some trace their ancestry to the expulsions from England in 1290 or from Spain in 1492.
Some Israelis come from Africa, ancient communities of Jews, endangered by famine and by isolation.
The continued existence of Israel is a victory for democratic life, democratic thinking and democratic practice.
Young Israeli men and women fought and died to defend their freedom against annihilationist aggression, notably in 1948, 1967, 1973. Israel still has to fight for its right to exist and Israelis still have to fight for their right to be part of the global community of human kind.
If you cannot celebrate Israel’s existence, if you do not feel that its survival is also your survival, there is something wrong with the way you think and the way you feel.
True, Israel and its neighbours might have done better in getting on with each other. But that thought does not constitute a *but* to this post. It is another, separate, thought.
(Emphasis mine.) That second to last paragraph represents precisely my views on what Israel means – and it represents why I have distanced myself from certain relationships. I refer not just to my anti-Semitic relatives (of whom I have written from time to time on this site) but also to some old and new friendships of mine that have gone to the wayside. (I have had an experience similar, though not identical, to this.)
And these days, so much of it is from the left. Bret Stephens, as usual, completely correct.
A few facts ought at least to stir the thinking of those who subscribe to the progressive narrative. Israel’s enemies were committed to its destruction long before it occupied a single inch of Gaza or the West Bank. In proportion to its size, Israel has voluntarily relinquished more territory taken in war than any state in the world. Israeli prime ministers offered a Palestinian state in 2000 and 2008; they were refused both times. The government of Ariel Sharon removed every Israeli settlement and soldier from the Gaza Strip in 2005. The result of Israel’s withdrawal allowed Hamas to seize power two years later and spark three wars, causing ordinary Israelis to think twice about the wisdom of duplicating the experience in the West Bank. Nearly 1,300 Israeli civilians have been killed in Palestinian terrorist attacks in this century: That’s the proportional equivalent of about 16 Sept. 11’s in the United States.
Also: If the Jewish state is really so villainous, why doesn’t it behave more like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad or Russia’s Vladimir Putin — both of whom, curiously, continue to have prominent sympathizers and apologists on the anti-Israel left?