Why Israel's Enemies Are the Darlings of Western Intellectuals

(Tablet) Lee Smith - Media consumers in the U.S. are by now well aware that Hizbullah and Hamas provide "social services" for their communities. For those who push such palliatives on their audiences - "Yes, they do chant 'kill the Jews!' and they do act on their rhetoric, but they also educate poor kids in clean, well-lit schools" - respect for the resistance is a polite way of indicating one's tolerance for murderous anti-Semitism. A common explanation for the turning away of the intellectuals from Israel is that the Jewish state forfeited the world's sympathy once it was no longer perceived as the underdog in its conflict with the Arabs. Israel's sin, in this reading, is that it didn't lose. You could argue that Israel is a nation of obvious appeal to the intellectual classes, even on their own terms. For instance, the rebirth of Hebrew as a living national language was the work of intellectuals. Zionism itself is an idea. If you were a person of faith, you'd simply take the restoration of the Jews as proof that God is real and acts in history. But as a man of reason, you'd see the rebirth of Israel as evidence of human progress: After 2,000 years of wandering and suffering, the Jews have a modern nation-state - things do get better.

2010-07-16 10:27:26

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