Roots of the Western Hostility Toward Israel

Monday, March 17th, 2014

The lesson many in the West took from the Holocaust is that nationalism is bad, Richard Pater says, while the message Jews took from it is that nationalism is necessary. Brendan O’Neill adds:

This cuts to the heart of today’s fashionable disdain for little Israel. What many Westerners seem to find most nauseating is that Israel is cocky, confident and committed to preserving its national sovereign rights against all-comers. In short, it’s a lot like we used to be before relativism and anti-modernism. I think that Israel reminds us of our older selves, our pre-EU, pre-green days, when we, too, believed in borders, sovereignty, progress, growth.

Now that it’s de rigueur in the right-thinking sections of western society to be post–nationalist and multicultural, to be fashionably uncertain about one’s national identity, the sight of a border-fortifying state offends and outrages us. In the words of George Gilder, author of The Israel Test, Israel is now hated more for its virtues than for its political or militaristic vices. It’s hated for remaining devoted to ‘freedom and capitalism’ when we’re all supposed to be snooty about such things.

If Israel is unofficially being made into a pariah state, it isn’t because of its foreignness, or even necessarily its Jewishness, but rather because it is too western for our liking. We loathe it because we loathe ourselves.

(Hat tip to David Foster.)


  1. Toddy Cat says:

    Not sure if disdain for nationalism “cuts to the heart” of Europe’s dislike of Israel, but there’s no doubt that it’s part of it, and also that, if the nations of the West would adopt some of Israel’s nationalistic and demographic policies, they would be much better off. Netanyahu is a lot like Putin, in that respect; he’s certainly not perfect, but you do get the impression that he’s trying to defend and advance the interests of his people. Would that the leaders of the West would do the same.

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