Israel has been a very lonely country for a very long time. But for the United States’ continuing support, nation after nation has abandoned Israel to her fate, little caring that she is a bastion of enlightened Western thought in the midst of a churning battlefield of Islamist fascism. Things seemed to hit bottom with Israel’s uninspired showing against Hezbollah this summer. However, as Hillel Halkin points out in a fascinating Commentary article, the darkest moments are often very effective at being a backdrop for little sparkles of hope. Right now, the little sparkle of hope is that Europe is finally beginning to realize that it has common cause with Israel, which has always been fighting jihad on its own. This new approach to Israel appeared, in of all places, the UN:
Compare it [the way the world reacted differently to this war than to past wars], for example, with what happened when Israel launched its preemptive attack against Egypt and Syria in June 1967. Then, within 24 hours, a joint U.S.-Soviet resolution was unanimously passed by the United Nations Security Council demanding an immediate ceasefire and Israeli withdrawal with no quid pro quo of any kind. Or compare it with an even more analogous situation in 1982, when Israel invaded Lebanon in order to smash the PLO. That very day, the Security Council again voted unanimously, calling on Israel to pull its troops out “forthwith and unconditionally.” Nothing was asked of the PLO or of Lebanon, and no Israeli interests were taken into account. (In the end, with a measure of American connivance, Israel ignored both resolutions and continued to fight.)
This past summer, by contrast, the Security Council waited a month before acting, giving Israel, notwithstanding European criticism of its “disproportionate use” of force, a green light to press on. And when Resolution 1701 was finally adopted, it blamed Hizballah for the fighting, made an Israeli withdrawal conditional on the behavior of the other side, and mandated the implementation of key Israeli war aims, including the demilitarization of Hizballah and an embargo on arms shipments to it. Indeed, well before this, the G-8 powers meeting in Russia had blamed the war on the “extremist forces” of Hizballah and called not for a ceasefire but merely for “creat[ing] conditions for a cessation of violence that will be sustainable”—that is, for allowing the Israeli offensive to proceed until it achieved its goals.
The difference is striking, all the more so because, in 1967, Israel’s image in the world was at a high, while in 2006, America being a salient exception, it was far from that. The countries of the European Union, plus Russia, Japan, and even China, did not cooperate with the U.S. in backing Israel this past summer in order to please either Washington, with which they have not hesitated to disagree over other issues, or public opinion at home.2 They did what they did because they thought it in their interest.
That is, Europe and Saudi Arabia may still hate Israel, but they’re being backed into that corner where the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Right now, that shared enemy is the inimitable duo of Iran and Al-Qaeda, both of which are bedeviling the world.
If you’re interested in Israel, both on its own terms and as a harbinger of the problems the entire West will face, I think you should read the entire article. However, before I set you lose, I can’t resist quoting one other wonderful little point Halkin made:
There is an irony in the fact that Zionism, initially because of its association with the British Mandate, and then because of close U.S.-Israeli relations, has become regularly associated with Western imperialism when the true imperial forces in the Middle East have always been, instead, Arabism and Islam. These, starting with the Arab conquest of the area in the 7th century c.e., have imposed a uniformity of language, culture, and religion wherever they have spread. In recent decades they have sought to crush the Kurds of Iraq and the Africans of southern Sudan, to repress Berber culture in North Africa, to attack the Copts of Egypt and the Nestorians of Iraq—and to destroy the state of Israel.
Clearly, if the Left is true to its anti-Imperialist Marxist roots, it should be lining up behind Israel, not making common cause with the jihadists against the West. The modern West’s intellectual depravity is never more clearly demonstrated than in its alignment with the jihadists against Israel.