There are two big opposing political memes touching on Zionism in the wake of the Paris terror attacks. One is that Europe is unsafe for Jews. This idea is the very basis of Zionism. Our site will be chronicling the upsurge in this belief because it is an important news story: more and more Zionists are expressing it. (Abe Foxman: “if France doesn’t heal itself, ultimately, the Jews will leave.” Commentary: Muslims pose the threat of another Holocaust: “Jews in France—and, given certain trends, elsewhere in Europe, from Great Britain to Scandinavia—have to consider their literal survival.”)
The other meme is a bit quieter, but it’s out there: Israel is losing legitimacy in the eyes of the world because it discriminates on a religious basis and occupies Palestine and is causing problems for the west. The country’s claim to be a Jewish democracy is an anachronism in our age, and one that sticks out like a sore thumb in the wake of Gaza. The people who express fears about the Jewish place in Europe tend to deny that Israel’s actions have anything to do with European or Muslim attitudes about Jews. But even these advocates are painfully aware of Israel’s delegitimization.
Here are a few reports reflecting that trend. First, “Israel faces worsening isolation,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry says in a new classified report, published by Ynet:
Israel’s worsening position on the world stage is expected to decline further in 2015, claims a Foreign Ministry report, which warns that more sanctions could be on the way.
The classified document, sent by the Foreign Ministry to Israeli missions worldwide, warns of possible diplomatic damage to Israel due to “moves to mark settlement products, stop the supply of replacement parts; debates on sanctions against Israel; demands for compensation for damage caused by Israel to European projects in the Palestinian territories; European activity in Area C, under Israeli rule; and more.”
French independence of Israel is an important part of the trend, Ynet says, as BDS gains traction in Europe:
The document lists a series of economic sanctions and boycotts imposed as a result of the freeze in peace talks with the Palestinians, which are expected to seriously hurt Israel.
“The Europeans are creating a clear connection between diplomatic relations and economic ones (and) in this context, it is important to note that Europe is Israel’s main trading partner,” the document states.
This deterioration is reflected, among other things, “in independent French activity, including at the UN Security Council, and in the heightening of negative signals sent to Israel.”
And even the relationship with the U.S. is at stake!
The academic boycott against Israel could also escalate. Universities in Europe and the United States are expected to push for a halt in cooperation with Israeli academic institutes.
The classified document further warns that “American influence is successful, at present, in delaying practical decisions until after the elections in Israel. But in the wake of the systematic Palestinian policy to move the conflict to the UN arena, there’s no guarantee the US will continue using its veto rights after elections.”
These changes represent a legitimization crisis for Israel. When Netanyahu marched in Paris for political freedom last week, a Liberal Democrat British politician tweeted that the sight made him sick and, “Je Suis Palestinian.” Just tweets, you’d think. But Daniel Taub, Israel’s ambassador to Britain, sent a defensive letter to the head of the politician’s party condemning the comments:
“At a time when leaders were united in condemnation of extremist atrocities, Mr [David] Ward’s statement is a disgraceful attempt to politicise suffering, delegitimise Israel, and justify acts of terror.”
Ward and other liberal European politicians are concerned that Israel is hurting European security. As the New York Times reports, one French mosque leader says that young Muslims are drawn to extremist groups because Israel is killing Palestinian babies.
Andrew Levine at Counterpunch says that Gaza changed everything, and people are quietly running for the exits. In “The Delegitimization of Israel.” Levine says that the U.S. will abandon Israel ultimately, as liberal Zionists are forced to admit that the project was always about ethnic supremacy:
There is little doubt that, despite the best efforts of the entire corporate media system, Gaza had an impact on American public opinion. All indications are that it has had a far greater impact on public opinion in Europe. It has certainly affected the attitudes of European governments.
Something like this was bound to happen eventually. Israel has been exhausting moral capital from the moment of its inception, and there is a limit to how long a country can get by on empty.
Congress will be the last to bolt, with the White House close behind. But bolt they will – someday…
liberal Zionists are coming to the realization that the only way Israel can survive as a Jewish state in the long run is by suppressing the political and national rights of the majority of people living within the borders it craves. It can be, as they say, Jewish or democratic, but not both.
It could hardly ever have been otherwise. Zionism was a colonial project aimed at establishing the supremacy of ethnic Jews over the land’s indigenous population.
Therefore, from the outset, Israel was an ethnocratic settler state. Liberal Zionists could deny this reality for a while; they could live with the contradiction. But those days are over.
Lastly, Orly Noy at +972 states that Israel is becoming a “pariah” state. In a piece titled, “The real reason why Netanyahu wants French Jews to move to Israel” she makes the connection between the two memes. Israeli persecution of Palestinians exploits and fosters Jewish insecurity in Europe:
On the face of it, Netanyahu’s call [for French Jews to move to Israel] is so baseless that it forces us to look for the real incentive being offered to France’s Jews. …Why move to a country that is being torn apart by internal conflict – one that is seen as a pariah in the eyes of a growing number of countries around the world? Why move to country whose belligerent actions are partially responsible for the growing lack of security among Jewish communities in Europe and other places?
I can think of one incentive alone: the privilege of formally being placed above the Muslim other. To have the right to live in a country that prefers you simply because you are Jewish. And even if you have never set foot here, this state will grant you privileges over its non-Jewish residents who have lived here for generations. Netanyahu is actually saying: in France you are a weak Jew – vulnerable and under attack. The Israeli experience will provide you with a uniform and a flag, in whose name you can rule as masters.