The Future of Israel Is the Future of the West

[Spectator-UK] Melanie Phillips - On May 8, Israel celebrates its 60th birthday. Every decade people ask the same question: will Israel still be there for the next one? Its situation as a permanently embattled nation is unique. On the day after Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion declared its independence, six Arab armies invaded and tried to wipe it out. With the current exception of Egypt and Jordan, the Arab and Muslim world has been trying ever since. Ben-Gurion would today be surprised to find that Israel is regarded as illegally occupying the West Bank. Along with modern Israel, this was part of the territory of Palestine within which in 1922 the League of Nations gave Britain the task of re-establishing the Jewish national home because of the unique claim by the Jews - the only people for whom it had ever been their nation state, hundreds of years before the Arabs invaded it. In other words, far from being "Palestinian land," the Jews are entitled to claim it under international law, which also gives it the right to hold on to it in self-defense. Yet some not only deny both law and history but demand the ethnic cleansing of every last Jewish settler from a putative Palestinian state. The denial and inversion of such facts have singled out Israel for vilification applied to no other country. Scapegoated for crimes of which it is in fact the victim, Israel has become the Jew of the Western world. Much of the responsibility for these six decades of conflict lie with a Western world which, from 1921 onwards, has chosen to appease Arab violence while shedding crocodile tears over its Jewish victims. But the future of Israel is the future of the West. If the front line in Israel were to go down, the West would be next. Given its current internal appeasement of Islamism, however, the West may go down anyway.

2008-05-02 01:00:00

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