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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why would anyone Jewish want to live there?

Caroline Glick was in London last week to debate the proposition "Israel is destroying itself with its settlement policy. If settlement expansion continues Israel will have no future." Yes, the bias is already there in the question's phrasing.

Glick's debating partner was Dani Dayan, the former chairman of the Yesha council. Her opposition was J Street co-founder Daniel Levy and British philanthropist William Sieghart (whose charitable ventures support Hamas, among others). It wasn't pretty.
A couple of impressions I took away from the experience: First, I can say without hesitation that I hope never to return to Britain. I actually don't see any point. Jews are targeted by massive anti-Semitism of both the social and physical varieties. Why would anyone Jewish want to live there?

As to visiting as an Israeli, again, I just don't see the point. The discourse is owned by anti-Israel voices. They don't make arguments to spur thought, but to end it, by appealing to people's passions. 

For instance, in one particularly ugly segment, Levy made the scurrilous accusation that Israel systematically steals land from the Palestinians. Both Dayan and I demanded that he provide just one example of his charge. And the audience raged against us for our temerity at insisting that he provide substantiation for his baseless allegation. In the event, he failed to substantiate his allegation. 
At another point, I was asked how I defend the Nazi state of Israel. When I responded by among other things giving the Nazi pedigree of the Palestinian nationalist movement founded by Nazi agent Haj Amin el Husseini and currently led by Holocaust denier Mahmoud Abbas, the crowd angrily shouted me down. 

I want to note that the audience was made up of upper crust, wealthy British people, not unwashed rabble rousers. And yet they behaved in many respects like a mob when presented with pro-Israel positions. 

I honestly don't know whether there are policy implications that arise from my experience in London last week. I have for a long time been of the opinion that Israel shouldn't bother to try to win over Europe because the Europeans have multiple reasons for always being anti-Israel and none of them have anything to do with anything that Israel does. As I discuss in my book, these reasons include anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, addiction to Arab oil, and growing Muslim populations in Europe. 

I was prepared to conduct a civilized debate based on facts and reasoned argumentation. I expected it to be a difficult experience. I was not expecting to be greeted by a well-dressed mob. My pessimism about Europeans' capacity to avail themselves to reasoned, fact-based argumentation about Israel has only deepened from the experience.
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At 10:10 PM, Blogger Bjønnes said...

Hi I read this and I agree with you. I am jewish but I would never live in Israel. I live in Norway where my parents are born and I am born. I am Norwegian. I would never ever be an Israel citizen. Why should I? I don't have any family there and I don't have any connection there. But jews don't understand it. And with that I mean the jews that live in Israel. When some jews say I am going home I normally reply I am going home to. but to Norway. Because I am Norwegian in my soul and heart. Its just my religion that is jewish and I don't need my own country because of that.



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