07 November '16..
If my title seems counterintuitive, let’s concede from the start: not everyone does love Israel now.
There’s still a Palestinian Authority that actively encourages Palestinians to murder Israelis; there’s still an Iran that periodically threatens to finish the Holocaust; there’s still a very active boycott-Israel movement in Europe and on American college campuses. And there is still and always the United Nations, with its unparalleled half-century record of hostility toward Israel and wildly disproportionate list of standing resolutions targeting the Jewish state.
As for the United States, the current president’s relations with Israel and its prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been anything but loving. Barack Obama has viewed the Jewish state almost exclusively as a regrettable holdover from the era of European colonialism and an occupier of land properly belonging to the embattled and oppressed Palestinian Arab population. Despite the president’s boasts to the effect that he “has Israel’s back,” and despite the recent renewal of military aid (albeit delivered with an air of chilly regret), he has hinted in the past at compelling Israel to return to its pre-1967 borders, and many Israelis worry that a lame-duck Obama may feel freer to take unilateral action against them.
Not just anti-Israelism but outright anti-Semitism is on the rise. For European Jews in general, the encircling atmosphere of hostility, often instigated by Muslims but tolerated or excused by elites, seems to worsen year by year. Jacques Canet, the president of La Victoire synagogue in Paris, reports that the France’s Jewish community—still the third largest in the world, though rapidly diminishing—feels threatened to the point where “Jews in Paris, Marseilles, Toulouse, Sarcelles feel they can’t safely wear a kippah outside their homes or send their children to public schools.” The number of French Jews emigrating annually to Israel has steadily risen from 1,900 in 2011 to nearly 8,000 in 2015, with no end in sight; additional thousands are making their way elsewhere. No less grim is the picture in the United Kingdom, where the Labor party, in Douglas Murray’s wordsy—“the party of Clement Atlee, Harold Wilson, and Tony Blair”—has been taken over by “forces aligned with naked anti-Semitism.”
The examples multiply. All in all, then, we may grant that in many quarters, an anti-Israel—and anti-Jewish—mindset remains a palpable presence on the political and social scene. But there is also good news: elsewhere, and not in obscure corners but in world capitals, a transformation of attitudes is under way. Far from being the pariah of the Middle East, Israel is fast becoming the region’s golden child, courted and caressed even by some of its most important and once-implacably hostile neighbors. The change has certainly registered in Israel itself, but so far has been largely ignored by Western media.
(Continue to Full Essay)
Arthur Herman is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and the author of, among other books, Gandhi and Churchill, Freedom’s Forge, and How the Scots Invented the Modern World.
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