A European’s Take on Israel, BDS and Western Politics
As a European spending the summer in the United States, I am often asked about the upcoming presidential election. The peculiarity I’ve noticed seems to be the rapid dissolution of the distinction between “liberal” and “conservative.”
There is no other issue that resists the liberal/conservative paradigm more than Israel — especially since ‘”Palestine” has become the latest rallying cry for so-called progressive forces who want to boycott the Jewish state.
And yet, which other country upholds progressive values more than Israel? Israel — in its protection of minority, LGBTQ and women’s rights, and as a safe haven for any Jewish soul in the world — acts as a vanguard of liberal Western values in a sea of despair. So where exactly do fascist tendencies rear their heads today? We need look no further than the insidious forms of fascism represented by the “liberals” of the BDS movement.
It’s sad to see this generation of young, self-proclaimed liberals support a movement that happily allies itself with those who call for Israel’s destruction. As the BDS movement slanders Israel and Jews with impunity, its Western proponents support a Palestinian state that would oppress women, gays, Jews and all other ethnic and religious minorities. It would also be a state that sponsored and condoned terrorism.
It is a shame that some of the greatest minds of this generation are being squandered down the ethical cul-de-sac of BDS and anti-Zionism. In the face of this threat, we must engage in meaningful, mutually productive dialogue, conducted in a calm and measured way, in order to show our opponents the errors of their ways.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition has kept Hamas rockets at bay, neutralized the growing threat posed by Hezbollah and ISIS,and clamped down on Palestinian terror — all while stewarding the country’s booming high-tech industry and flourishing multicultural society. American conservatives staunchly support Israel because they appreciate its crucial role in defending democracy, human rights and civilization. Who would have known that in 2016, the best defenders of liberalism would be conservatives? And who might have considered the next generation of fascists would be dressed in progressive clothes?
We live in an unstable world, and we can no longer seek refuge in comforting notions of what it means to be liberal, conservative, progressive, or, for that matter, fascist.
Israel’s steadfast defense of the best elements of civilization can be an encouraging sign of hope. It seems to me that if terms such as liberal and conservative are fast becoming irrelevant, then the only useful denominator we have left is Zionism.
Only Zionists, Jewish or not, can claim to best represent those aspects of modern, Western, enlightened civilization that we can be proud of, and proudly fight for.