Should Israel Exist? is the title of a new and excellent book by Michael Curtis, professor emeritus at Rutgers and well-known as a political scientist. In a very measured way he reflects on the dominant fact concerning Israel, namely that, from the earliest proposal for such a state right up to the present, the Arabs have always refused to recognize that Israel has any right to exist; at intervals they go to war and would destroy it if they could. The United Nations, the European Union, the old Soviet Union, sometimes the American president, are among the various bodies and personalities that time and again intervene to take victory away from Israel and rescue Arabs from the consequences of their obsession. Geopolitics thus ensures that another war is bound to occur one day. Determination to defend itself, and success in doing so, is the cause of the international hostility Israel attracts.
In order to focus their hostility, the enemies of Israel ascribe to it all the sins today associated with abstract nouns like imperialism, colonialism and the like. This defies rational explanation, Professor Curtis writes, but it is serviceable. People with nothing to say about North Korea or Zimbabwe willingly dream of reducing Tel Aviv to the ruined level of Homs. In the past Jews were singled out and condemned for reasons now obviously malicious fictions. Today’s liberals and leftists are making common cause with Islamists who share falsehoods and fantasies with them.
Essentially rooted in superstition, this phenomenon keeps cropping up. Professor Moty Cristal is an Israeli expert on negotiation, and what has happened to him illustrates very clearly the racism now the proud prerogative of the Left. The British National Health Service had invited him to a workshop on “The Role of Negotiation in Dealing with Conflict.” The very man for it, you might think. But no. Unison is the trade union representing the NHS, and according to the media its members have requested the withdrawal of Cristal’s invitation,” as part of “a direct boycott of all Israeli people.” In 1933 the Nazis also declared a direct boycott of Jews, so without apparent self-consciousness or shame Unison is asking to be compared with stormtroopers.
Most of the million members of Unison, we may well suspect, will have no strong feelings about Israel and Palestine or Professor Cristal and his specialty. The insult to him is likely to be the work of a few surviving Stalinist or Trotskyite pit-ponies in a position to hijack some relevant committee in the moribund trade union.
The simultaneous death of Khalil Dale seems to offer another insight into the Islamo-leftist alliance. He was a British convert to Islam, had a long experience of do-gooding among Muslims, and was finally an aid worker in Pakistan. Islamists there took him hostage and then abandoned his decapitated corpse by a roadside. He has been the subject of a number of admiring articles, one of them in the London Times by Abdal Hakim Murad. Also a Muslim convert, he had been born in England as Tim Winters and now holds a lectureship in Islamic Studies at Cambridge University paid for by one of the Gulf rulers. He rejoices in the growing number of British people like him and Khalil Dale who have converted, especially women since 9/11, concluding, “We have found Islam to be a path to God.” Actually the unfortunate Khalil Dale found it to be a path to a grisly death. Michael Curtis argues that Jew-hatred has no rational explanation, but the subconscious sense that Islamists are unstoppable is widening. To be pleading for mercy is not enough; it’s too late for that, so it’s best to be on their side — and if that means sacrificing Israel and Jews, so be it.