I said on my recent blog on Israel (Fighting the Battle of Ideas) that the country was losing the war of the narratives; that it was failing to present its case to the world as effectively as it should, as effectively as it once did. One of the respondents made the point that it did not matter what the country said or did; for all purposes it had already been judged and found guilty.
I’ve been thinking about this quite hard. While I can sympathise on a human level with the plight of the Palestinians, on a political level I consider them to be the most deluded and ill-served people on earth; deluded in 1948, when, rather than accepting the two-state solution then on offer, they blundered into an ill-advised war, urged on them by the surrounding Arab states; deluded again in voting for Hamas, an organisation exercising ever more dictatorial control over the people it supposedly serves, an organisation that has brought upon them all of the misery of which they currently complain.
I previously said that the Israelis suffered from a terrible siege mentality. Who can blame them for this; certainly not I. This is a small, vulnerable democracy fighting for its very survival against some of the most reactionary, obscurantist and misogynist forces on earth, the very antithesis of the western tradition of liberalism and freedom. Yet these obscurantist forces command the support of socialists and ‘progressives’ in the west, a group for whom my sense of contempt is absolute; people who advance such things as gay rights and the rights of women in Birmingham who suddenly become blind to these causes in Baghdad.
It actually gets worse, the anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism gets worse. I wrote a piece recently on my main blog on the ‘blood libel’, the accusation that Jews sacrificed Christian children in their rituals, which first emerged in England in the middle of the twelfth century (http://anatheimp.blogspot.com/2010/05/norwich-and-blood-libel.html ). This medieval slander has made it so far as the modern day, coming from the most unlikely sources.
Let me give you an example, one very close to home. Israel was one of the first countries to help Haiti after the earthquake disaster, sending a medical team. But as conspiracy theory besets the actions of Jewish people in the way that cancer besets a body, the rumour was soon being spread that they were there to harvest the organs of gentiles, a story supported by the Palestinian Telegraph. One of the patrons of this paper is Baroness Tonge, the Liberal Democrat peer and well-known opponent of ‘Zionism.’ She took up this story, saying that the accusations were sufficiently credible to warrant an inquiry, reported by Nick Cohn in the June issue of Standpoint (Something nasty in the woodshed.)
The lies and misinformation have an enduring afterlife. Writing in the Spectator, Stephen Pollard reminds us of the Jenin ‘massacre’ of April 2002. Do you remember that, remember how the Guardian, the English version of the Palestine Telegraph, said that the Israeli attack on a bomb-making factory in Jenin on the West Bank was every bit as repellent as Osama bin-Laden’s 9/11 attack on New York? At the time the Palestinians were reporting 3000 dead, all civilians. The true facts came out some time after. Rather than 3000 only 46 had died, all but three of whom were combatants.
This is what the Israelis are up against, thousands of years of lies and prejudice, lies and prejudice given new credence by an unholy alliance of theocratic Islamists, old fashioned Nazis, new-fashioned liberals and ‘peace’ activists; muddle-heads of all kinds. All they can do is defend themselves and defend themselves with maximum force.
For us in the west to fail to support Israel is to sink into the most abject forms of appeasement. It’s a measure of our own confusion and moral cowardice. More than that, it’s a measure of our increasing spinelessness, as Pollard says; the spinelessness of governments that will not even admit that theocratic Islam is a fundamental danger to us all. It’s particularly dangerous at a time when the West is led by a man as weak and confused as Barack Obama. It’s the Israeli failure to make concessions, to appease by giving in to demands that will lead to even greater demands that unsettles the likes of Obama most of all.
The trial has been held. In seeking to live in peace Israel has constantly been forced to go to war; it has no other choice. No matter what they do they have been judged; they stand forever guilty. The West can no longer stand up for itself let alone this brave oasis of liberty in the Middle East. I’ve never been an uncritical supporter of Zionism. I thought expanding settlements on Arab land was a mistake; I still do. No matter; today I’m an Israeli, which, to paraphrase the speech of JFK in Berlin, must be the proudest boast in the world of freedom.
Yes, I wrote this a year ago. I intend to supplement it tomorrow with a second chapter, casting a little light into the darker corners of the Gaza-bound ‘Freedom Flotilla 2’, a propaganda ploy by the terrorists of Hamas.