Tuesday, October 26, 2010

‘For the Truth, for Israel’ - By: Melanie Phillips

October 15, 2010

Il Foglio, 1 October 2010

‘Per la verità, per Israele’ campaign, Italy

The obsessive Israel-hatred now coursing through so much of the western world needs to be fought with the greatest possible urgency and strength.

This unprecedented campaign of demonisation and delegitimisation against a democratic country essential to the defence of the west is not merely an offence against decency. It does not merely threaten the security and existence of Israel. It is also undermining the civilised values by which the west defines itself.

Western society prides itself on being a culture of reason, committed to truth, justice and the rule of law. Yet the delegitimisation of Israel rests on a grotesque inversion of both truth and justice in which the roles of victim and victimiser in the region have been reversed.

This campaign has rewritten the history of the Middle East to air-brush the Jewish people out of the region and their own national story.

Building upon the lie that the Palestinian Arabs were the original inhabitants of the land, it suppresses the fact that the Jews were the only people for whom that land was their national kingdom and presents them instead as European interlopers in a place to which they had no historical connection.

This malicious falsehood has been used to whip up hatred not just against Israel but against the Jewish people in general. It is fuelling a campaign of rank injustice and outright bigotry.

Injustice because, in painting Israel as a coloniser, it seeks to deny to Jews alone the right of national self-determination in the historic homeland from which they were driven out and to which they have tenaciously retained a close attachment over the centuries.

Injustice because the campaign requires Jews to be ethnically cleansed from a future state of Palestine — even though under treaty obligations which have never been rescinded, Jews have the right to settle the land not just in Israel but in the West Bank and Gaza.

Injustice because this is the only conflict in history in which a lawfully constituted country under existential attack since its foundation is being pressurised to make concessions to its aggressors, even while its citizens continue to be attacked. Anywhere else this would be described as enforced surrender and a victory for belligerency.

Injustice because this is the only conflict where the world has told genocidal aggressors that they ‘deserve’ a state of their own. It is precisely the world’s consistent rewarding of Arab violence and the pressurising of its Israeli victims that has perpetuated the Middle East impasse.

Bigotry because this obsessive campaign is fuelled by prejudice. While many who support it are motivated merely by ignorance and a tragically misplaced concern for the oppressed, the demonisation of Israel to which they subscribe is a new mutation of ancient Jew-hatred.

The egregious double standards, the scapegoating of a people for crimes such as genocide or ethnic cleansing of which they are not only innocent but are actually the victims, the use of diabolical imagery and conspiracy theory which characterise the campaign against Israel are all hallmarks of ancient anti-Jewish bigotry.

The campaign is being used to soften up the world for Israel’s potential destruction. If Iran were to attempt a second genocide of the Jews, the world might therefore look the other way. This has a terrible historical resonance. Europe has been here before.

The demonisation of Israel is the signature motif of the west’s current repudiation of truth, rationality and justice. In the light of the Islamic war of conquest being waged against civilisation, the western embrace of lies and bigotry against Israel can only be seen as the death-rattle of a culture that has lost the will to survive.