Check out the previous installments in P. David Hornik’s ongoing series exploring how Israel is perceived around the globe.
August 4: Israel: Leper or Light Unto the Nations? Part 1: The Whole World Against Us
August 11: Israel: Leper or Light Unto the Nations? Part 2: That Bird Could Be a Mossad Agent!
August 18: Israel: Leper or Light Unto the Nations? Part 3: From Woodstock to the Promised Land
In a recent blog post British Jewish author and commentator Melanie Phillips took the European Union to task for deciding to boycott Israelis who live in East Jerusalem, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), and the Golan Heights.
Phillips clarifies why the EU’s designation of all Jewish life and activity in those places as “illegal” is legally, let alone morally, baseless. But if the EU and the UN regularly and ritually make this “illegality” charge, and pressure and punish Israel accordingly, Phillips claims that
- the fault in large measure surely lies with Israel. For although some may find this incomprehensible, Israel does not make to the world the one case that matters—why Israelis are fully entitled
under international law
- to build their homes in these territories….
And Phillips attributes that failing, among other things, to
- Israel’s bleak and despairing judgement that the international community, composed of those who historically and presently were and are driven by obsessive hatred of the Jewish people and which finds expression for that hatred through vehicles such as the UN and EU, will always do the bidding of those who wish to destroy the Jews and is therefore impervious to reason and morality.
While I wouldn’t put it quite so strongly, I found those words noteworthy and insightful. It’s true, as many have complained, that Israel tends to be hesitant and diffident in making its case. Here I want to suggest three of the factors that have a discouraging effect.
1. Blatant hypocrisy on the Palestinian issue.
Ever since Israel won the 1967 Six Day War and assumed rule over Palestinian populations in the West Bank and Gaza (Israel has by now left Gaza), the world has adopted “the Palestinians” with a special fervor. The cause of turning these territories into a Palestinian state is a cause célèbre; the Palestinians in them have received more aid per capita than any other group; even Israeli defensive measures like checkpoints and the security fence draw obsessive scrutiny and condemnation.
Special concern for one group might seem morally acceptable. The problem is that the concern gets directed only at Palestinians interacting with Israel; otherwise “the Palestinians” don’t seem to count even when subjected to severe abuses and hardships—by other Arabs.
For instance, hardly anyone seems to care that:
? Palestinians in Lebanon are confined to refugee camps and restricted by apartheid-type laws.