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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

'A hotbed of radical anti-Israel views'

No, it's not the United Nations' Security Council, or even its General Assembly. It's the United Kingdom according to Israel's ambassador Ron Prosor.
Israel faces an intensified campaign of delegitimisation, demonisation and double standards. Britain has become a hotbed for radical anti-Israeli views and a haven for disingenuous calls for a "one-state solution", a euphemistic name for a movement advocating Israel's destruction.

Those who propagate this notion distort Israel's past while categorically denying Israel's right to exist as a liberal Jewish-democratic state. No other country in the world is constantly forced to justify its own existence.


Over-simplifications, half-truths and lies have been swallowed as reality and disseminated as truth. Israel has been cast as a pantomime villain. A climate of hatred is fomented on campuses. The complexities of the situation are overlooked, as are the responsibilities of other actors in the region.

The pattern is exacerbated when coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is routinely tainted with bias and a surprising lack of context.

Double standards are rife. Israel's military reaction to the attacks it faces is given in-depth, microscopic coverage. Yet the attacks to which Israel is responding are often ignored. Terror attacks, ambushes, suicide bombings, the constant barrage of rockets being fired on Israeli citizens are frequently disregarded.

The average British citizen is painfully unaware that, since Hamas seized control of Gaza last year, 1,400 rockets and 1,500 mortar bombs have landed on Israeli soil. No government in the world would tolerate such a sustained attack without taking action.

Israel is a democracy under fire, but when this context is neglected, it clears a path for the unhealthy, unacceptable demonisation of Israel. While Israel faces many challenges, it is still the only functioning democracy in the region, and the only state in the area that offers minorities full civil equality and freedom of speech.

One of my greatest sources of pride is the open discourse conducted within my country. Critical debate thrives and Israelis scrutinise every aspect of our policies. We are not afraid of criticism.

I am concerned, however, that in Britain the most extreme elements of the debate have been allowed to hijack the mainstream. Those who share the values on which British democracy is built must say "no" - no to the delegitimisation of Israel, no to the demonisation of Israel and no to the double standards to which Israel is subjected.

I implore the British public to prevent the radical fringe from monopolising British-Israeli discourse. It is vital that British values of fair play and even-handedness are brought to the debate. The time has come for the silent majority to speak up and say "yes"; yes to context, yes to democracy and yes to an understanding of the challenges Israel faces as a democracy under fire.
The bigger question is why. While it is correct that Britain has seen a large increase in its Muslim population over the last decade - a phenomenon that often is accompanied by unrelenting hatred for Israel - it is also true that Britain has a lengthy history of hating Israel. Is it simple anti-Semitism? Is it resentment over being driven out of one of the last bastions of colonialism by the upstart Jews? Is it romanticizing of Lawrence of Arabia? Is it the fault of the government media or is Al-Beeb just reflecting what the people want to hear? Is it only the leadership or is it also the ordinary citizens? (I have one commenter who regularly assures me that the ordinary people of Britain are on our side, but I suspect that his description of the 'ordinary people' doesn't include substantial segments of the population). Perhaps if we can identify the source of the problem, we can do more about it than to "implore the British public to prevent the radical fringe from monopolising British-Israeli discourse." That's obviously not working.

By the way, read the whole thing.


This is an offshoot of the same type of behavior.


At 6:46 PM, Blogger Thud said...

Given that the average Brit recieves most of his news through the BBC and other establishment outlets its no surprise that Israel rarely gets a positive mention.Again I can only vouch for the reasonably large number I (granted only one persons view) speak to on a daily basis.I have yet to meet anybody who if they have an opinion on Israel have anything but a good opinion.The British govt works hard at keeping the lid on our growing islamic problem...they can not afford to portray Israel in a positive light...if they did then people wouls wonder why do we support a nation fighting Islamic terrorism when we seem to condone or at least ignore it at home.for what its worth I will continue to fight fir Israel and the west in general in my little corner of the world.

At 9:35 PM, Blogger Thud said...

Sorry to bang on about the same thing but your update is a perfect example of just who is the driving force behind Britains apparent stance on Israel..The beeb and the metropolitan elite.Read the comments on the article and see what people really think.

At 6:30 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6:31 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

What's obviously not working is the Olmert-Barak-Livni government's attempts to justify Israel's existence by being nice to the Palithugs. Weakness has never helped the Jews and isn't helping them now.


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