Benny Morris kicked off the Gaza war in the New York Times by speaking of the insecurity underlying the assault: Israel's awareness that it is losing legitimacy in the eyes of the world. So Israel went out and killed hundreds of children and mothers and policemen and surely some terrorists too and destroyed every important building in Gaza City. And lo and behold: Israel has lost even more legitimacy.
Even good friends of Israel must acknowledge that its image is in a free-fall. Newsweek's Rod Nordland says that Main Street America's opinion of Israel is suddenly as potentially threatening as the Arab street; Israel has "fewer friends than ever," even in the U.S. The Telegraph says that the BBC is coming under angry public pressure to screen a charity appeal for Gaza. The friend who sent it says, "Very few people under 50 in Europe care at all for Israel." Then there's this news that almost everyone in Parliament hates Israel too:
"frenzy of hostility to Israel" amongst her colleagues.
I think we must accept the truth of this: Right now, just about everyone hates Israel.
And I would just like to say for myself, that I think a great many of us could love Israel. If Israel changed. This is the Obama lesson. If Israel accepted at last the teaching of the outside world, and deferred to world opinion. If it ended the occupation and sought justice for the refugees of the Nakba. If it stopped dragging its feet and thumbing its nose at every human rights and international law opinion of the last 40 years. If it accepted the plain teaching of Iraq: that suicide terrorism arises from political grievances, and in Palestine these grievances go back 60 years without acknowledgment or reparation. It could do all these things. It could stop listening to Alan Dershowitz and Elizabeth Wurtzel's lullabye, that It's just antisemites, and recognize that its policies are anti-Arab at a time when racial prejudice is utterly disfiguring. It could take the lesson of its noblest citizen, Uri Avnery, who sacrificed high office long ago: it is on the wrong side of history.
Really, it doesn't take all that much to begin to rectify things– in world opinion, or the Palestinian condition. But it has to try in good faith at last, to treat its Arab neighbors and citizens with dignity.
And the key to all this is here, in the United States. For that is the Rube Goldberg device of this insecure, brutal, infantilized Israeli conduct. American Jews have ennabled this disgusting behavior. American Jews must reckon at last with the effect of the blank check they have written to that society: People hate Israel. There are ways to wake American Jews up. Shock and awe. People who know should speak out–Spielberg, Adam Sandler. Uri Avnery should be published by the Times. When American Jews change, the American government will change, and Israel will change. And I promise, as a person of generous spirit, that I would celebrate Israel. I would love that society for changing. (Phil Weiss)