Let’s boycott John Kerry, not Israel

The world is blessed with 206 independent states. Only one of them has its legitimacy, and indeed right to survive, questioned.

Some of the others routinely murder and torture their own citizens, control the press, reduce their population to cannibalism, present a direct threat to the world, change governments by violent means every few years, support international terrorism, reduce women to chattels, maim or murder homosexuals and adulterers.

The sole pariah state does none of such things. It’s a Western parliamentary democracy whose legitimacy is grounded in international law.

So what has Israel done to deserve its unique status and to merit the threat of a global boycott issued by John Kerry, the US Secretary of State?

Israel refuses to accept a ‘peace settlement’ on the terms imposed by terrorists who openly aim to wipe the country with everyone in it off the face of the earth. Would we accept such a settlement? Would any country? Would John Kerry?

Yet yesterday he saw fit to utter what the Israeli government correctly took as a veiled threat.

“You see for Israel there’s an increasing de-legitimisation campaign that has been building up,” pronounced the Secretary with a rhetorical lustre polished at Yale. “People are very sensitive to it. There are talk of boycotts and other kinds of things. Today’s status quo absolutely, to a certainty, I promise you 100 percent, cannot be maintained.”

The tautological ‘today’s status quo’ refers to Israel occupying territories beyond her 1967 borders, into which progressive mankind and regressive terrorists want her to retreat.

Israel, you’ll recall, expanded beyond those borders after repelling an attempt to ‘drive her into the sea’, in the words of Nasser, the leader of said attempt.

In a short, sharp war a greatly outnumbered Israel routed the combined forces of Egypt, Syria and Jordan – against the background of global bleating about Israel being the aggressor.

Since then Israel has relinquished most of the captured territories, to which she had a right at least as legitimate as America’s to Texas or New Mexico.

She has hung on to some acreage for two reasons: economic and demographic (a dire shortage of space) and strategic (an equally dire need for a buffer against those whose murderous urges have never abated).

There’s not a single rational, moral or legal reason for Israel to succumb to pressure. Nor are there any such reasons for the pressure to be applied.

So why has the man in charge of US foreign policy gone along with the manifestly wicked, irrational drive to twist Israel’s arm into submission? Two isms spring to mind: anti-Semitism and progressivism.

The Israelis focused their response on the former, and one can hardly blame Jews for being sensitive to anti-Semitism. After all, that quaint prejudice reduced their number by half in my father’s generation.

In some circles Jews are slated for treating any criticism of Israel as a manifestation of anti-Semitism. Obviously not all such criticism is caused by Judophobia. But just as obviously some of it is.

Anti-Semitism, especially when it’s fashionably presented as anti-Zionism or else burning affection for the oppressed, clearly touches some sensitive chords in the hearts of many gentiles.

Their number may be large enough to tilt elections in favour of politicians expressing such sentiments – or at least not to hurt their electoral chances.

Predictably the call for boycotting Israel is sounded the loudest by the EU, which is to say the alliance driven by Germany and France, two countries not known for excessive Judophilia. Within that organisation one also finds many Eastern European countries, such as Poland, Romania and Lithuania, whose own record in treating the Jews is, well, ambivalent.

A growing number of European businesses and pension funds cut ties with Israeli firms linked to settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem – with most publicised opposition to this outrage coming in the delectable shape of Scarlett Johansson. Over the weekend, Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank, blacklisted Israel’s Bank Hapoalim because of its links to settlement activity.

Barack Hussein Obama has never been accused of a pro-Jewish bias either, and his policy towards Israel has been consistently more ‘even-handed’, which is to say pro-Muslim, than any other US president’s.

At the same time, he treats Iran with avuncular benevolence, a spirit in which Kerry is currently negotiating with his Iranian counterpart. While this love-in of mutual cordiality goes on, Iran’s nuclear programme is proceeding apace, and we all know who its first victim is likely to be.

Britain’s foreign policy in the Middle East has always been dominated by Arabists and driven by an emotional and, perhaps more important, pecuniary tendency to appease those who have oil at the expense of those who don’t.

The country’s academic community these days routinely boycotts Israeli scientists (of whom, incidentally, there are considerably more than in the entire Muslim world combined), barring them not only from research grants but even from attendance at international conferences.

In all these instances latent anti-Semitism overlaps with explicit progressivism, which is the major reason behind anti-Israel invective. Lefties, such as Obama, Kerry, every EU functionary and most British academics, are ideologically predisposed to champion the cause of ‘the oppressed’.

This group may be defined in any number of ways, but one ironclad qualification for membership is hatred, both private and institutional, of every aspect of the West.

Material prosperity is one such aspect, especially when achieved by widespread talent, enterprise and industry, rather than pumping oil sloshing underfoot. Because Israelis have a deservedly higher standard of living than the Palestinians, they don’t merit our sympathy.

Palestinians do, mainly because they can be seen as an international extension of our own welfare state. Our supplicants are adjudged to merit assistance even when their destitution is manifestly caused by sloth. Likewise, Palestinians, who spend most of their time not working but dreaming of eviscerating Jews, are perfectly cast in the role of victims.

All these factors combine for the likes of Kerry to feel that he must throw support behind the Palestinian cause by holding a gun to Israel’s head. He’s being applauded by the growing Muslim communities in the West, its home-grown anti-Semites and assorted lefties the world over.

This is the company in which we find ourselves thanks to our sage leaders. Let’s rejoice.

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