The notion of Israel’s “right to exist” has been in the news twice in recent days.
First, the University of Southampton, in Britain, announced that due to “safety fears,” it was cancelling a conference, scheduled for later this month, to question Israel’s right to exist.
Were the “security concerns” related to the fact that the conference would promote the rising infestation of Jew-hatred in Britain? A recent U.K. parliamentary report shows that hate crimes against British Jews have doubled in the past decade, and has called upon the British government to take urgent action.
Iran has not only been a long-time sponsor of terrorist groups that for years have targeted and killed Israeli civilians (as well as American servicemen in Africa and Lebanon); it has also repeatedly threatened Israel with genocide. The latest announcement came in late March, when Mohammad Reza Naqdi, commander of the Basij militia of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said that “erasing Israel off the map” was “non-negotiable.” Continue reading
It may be hard for some to believe, given the endless attacks on the Jewish state today, that in the not-too-distant past, Israel was as beloved as it is now widely reviled. More remarkable, it was especially loved on the left, where now it is scorned. The process by which Israel turned from paragon into pariah is the subject of Joshua Muravchik’s well-argued new book Making David into Goliath.
All this changed in the aftermath of the Six Day War. Muravchik documents the wide sympathy in Europe as well as in the United States—including in the media—which Israel enjoyed immediately prior to the war. At that time, it looked as if Israel might be annihilated by its Arab neighbors, who made no secret of their intention to rid the world of the Jewish State.
But when, to general amazement, Israel defeated the Arab armies and captured lands previously held by Jordan, Syria, and Egypt, it overnight became the ruler of millions of Arabs. The Arabs would take advantage of this, setting in motion a redefinition of the conflict. No longer was it tiny Israel against a vast Arab world. “Now it was Israel versus the homeless Palestinians. David had become Goliath,” Muravchik states. Continue reading