Last May, in the aftermath of the massacre of the Hatuel family; the rocket propelled grenade attacks on IDF forces and a steep increase in arms smuggling from Egypt through tunnels to Rafah, the IDF launched Operation Rainbow in Gaza. Its aim was to clean out Rafah of terrorists and stem the hemorrhage of arms being smuggled into Gaza from Egypt.
The international outcry against Israel, which began the moment the operation was launched, was hysterical and obscene. Israel was accused of perpetrating crimes against humanity for every action it took to protect its territory and citizens from attack.
The international denunciation was supported by leftist commentators in the Israeli media, most prominently by Ha’aretz newspaper whose coverage of the operation was barely distinguishable from Al Jazeera’s. Ari Shavit, one of Ha’aretz’s most prominent writers penned a column where he renounced all ties with Israelis who live in Judea, Samaria and Gaza claiming that they should not be considered Israelis.
A few days after Shavit’s column was published, I was asked to give an interview to Britain’s Channel 4. When I arrived in the studio I saw that Shavit had been invited as well and concluded that I had been set up. Shavit, I was certain, would be the “good Israeli” who would say terrible things about Israel, and I would be the “bad Israeli” called upon in a post-modern disputation to be criminalized before the camera.
Yet what actually transpired was even more outrageous than I had expected. When our turn came to speak, the anchorman– acting as the Grand Inquisitor – attacked us both fairly equally. Clearly, the British would have none of Shavit’s attempt to separate the “good” Israelis like himself, from the “bad” Israelis like myself. All Israelis were criminals for Channel 4.
Recent events in Britain have forced me to recall this miserable little episode. Last Friday, on the eve of Passover, Britain’s Association of University Teachers passed a resolution calling for the boycott of Bar Ilan and Haifa Universities, promising that Hebrew University will be next.
This decision is an act of pure anti-Semitism. Israel is being singled out from all the countries in the world. There is no call to boycott Palestinian universities which celebrate terrorist massacres; indoctrinate students to jihad and are used as recruiting grounds for terrorist organizations. There is no call to boycott Saudi Arabian universities where gender apartheid and religious persecution are the explicit and rigidly followed norms. And of course, no one would think of boycotting Chinese universities for China’s occupation of Tibet. Only the Jewish state and its research universities are unacceptable.
There is an ironic twist to all of this. The highest density of anti-Israel activists in Israeli society is to be found in the humanities and social science faculties of Israeli universities. Indeed, it is Ilan Pappe, from Haifa University who, while scandalously receiving a tax-payer financed salary, travels around the US and Europe vilifying his country and calling for anti-Semites like the members of the AUT to boycott us.
Earlier last week, we witnessed another sort of abject prejudice in Britain when two far Left, virulently anti-Israel and anti-American politicians – Oona King and George Galloway — were attacked by Islamic extremists as they campaigned in their heavily Muslim district.
King makes a big deal about the fact that she is anti-Israel and Jewish at the same time, and has compared Israel to Nazi Germany, and the Palestinians to the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto.
Iraqi government documents uncovered after the US-led invasion of Iraq two years ago reportedly exposed that Galloway, who is running against King, and has been one of the most vociferously anti-American voices in Britain for years, received payments for his pro-Saddam, anti-American positions from the Iraqi government.
Yet, in spite of these politicians’ pandering to Britain’s large and increasingly extremist Muslim minority, they were physically assaulted by members of that very group. Indeed, over the past week, there have been repeated reports of Islamic extremists storming campaign meetings and denouncing democracy, calling any Muslim who participates in the elections an infidel. British security forces are on high alert for terrorist attacks in the country ahead of next month’s elections.
Mainly due to Britain’s relationship with the US, Israelis have a tendency to view it as an ally. But the situation on the ground in Britain must force us to reconsider this friendly view. Today Britain manifests the symptoms of a suicidal society. Its elites have been taken over by far-Left bigots who, while purporting to care for the downtrodden, work to perpetuate a situation where the Arab world is wholly controlled by brutes who call for the destruction not only of Israel, but of Britain itself.
Anti-Semitism, which has become pervasive among Britain’s aristocracy, and the chattering classes in the media, culture and academia, is a sign of Britain’s steep and steady slide into nihilistic self-destruction. Their animus towards Israel and towards Jews who refuse to denounce the Jewish state, has nothing to do with Israel and everything to do with them. They are fully aware of the threats posed by the international jihad but rather than fight it they have tried to appease it by at once denying its danger and obsessively embracing Palestinian terrorists and calling for Israel’s destruction. They do this even as the jihadis in their own country make it clear that they are unappeasable.
There is nothing that Israel can do to stem Britain’s decline. All we can do is keep our distance from that self-destructive society which, like a dying lion, can still do us great harm if we let it get close to us.
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.