From the May 15, 2008 National Review Online
May 15, 2008
by Meyrav Wurmser
Israelis can take pride in their survival and accomplishment. But Israel at 60 still faces a constant need to defend its existence — physically and morally. At 60, Israel is threatened by a crisis of legitimacy spreading beyond its traditional enemies to the West.
In Europe, Israel is disproportionately criticized on issues from human rights to basic self-defense. The Palestinian issue has become a means through which Israel’s existence is questioned and even anti-Semitism tolerated. While former or current Palestinian terrorists travel freely, Israeli officials worry about arrest as war criminals upon entering various European capitals.
But the problem transcends Europe. Even in the U.S., former and current American officials are seduced into moral equivalence between this unquestionably free and democratic country and those — all of whom to various degrees reject and seek to undermine basic Western values — who cannot reconcile themselves to Israel’s existence. Former President Carter has compared Israel to the racist system of South Africa in the past. Even Secretary of State Rice has been reported to compare the plight of the Palestinians to the struggle of the African Americans in the south. By such analyses, Israel is not the embodiment of the West but its antithesis: an agent of oppression. All this as the Jewish state appears left alone to fend for itself as Iran’s threat to destroy another six million Jews is wed to weaponry, despite constant Western promises of “never again.”
Israel is the only regional example of a newly created thriving and democratic Western nation, which is why it is besieged by its autocratic or totalitarian neighbors who have little to show for their half-century plus of independence. As the front line of the West’s defense, we abandon ourselves by deserting Israel. We signal that we have so forgotten who we are that we can no longer differentiate properly and morally between Israel’s — and by extension, our own — quest for survival and the efforts of those who seek to destroy it. No wonder our enemies seem so confident, despite their lack of real power.
Meyrav Wurmser was formerly a Senior Fellow with Hudson Institute.
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