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(d) The propagation of anti-Semitism under the guise of the anti-Zionist boycott movement throughout the West, leading to the demonisation of Israel, especially on the Left. This primarily impacts on the Jewish diaspora but it also poses an indirect threat to Israel by undermining its political legitimacy.

(e) The demographic factors that not only leave Israel increasingly outnumbered in the region but make it harder to sustain a Jewish majority within Israel and the West Bank. These factors are disputed; however, there is no doubt about their psychological impact. I have already alluded to demographic decline in Europe, except among Muslims, and Israel is not immune to the same factors.

(f) Israel’s diplomatic isolation remains a serious problem. Despite its rapidly growing economy, Israel remains dependent in important ways on the United States — most obviously in defence. It is unlikely that a future US government would withdraw such support, but the shock and humiliation of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 last December, which the US failed to veto, showed that Israel clearly needs a broader network of allies to counter relentless hostility not only at the UN, but among NGOs and international courts. The British not only voted for Resolution 2334, but its diplomats helped to draft it — perhaps the worst act of betrayal in the history of Anglo-Israeli relations. To be fair to Theresa May, when she realised the damage done by her own Foreign Office, the Prime Minister showed her true colours by responding to John Kerry’s parting shot at the Netanyahu coalition with an equally unprecedented rebuke of a US Secretary of State: “We do not think it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically elected government of an ally.” If even the US and the UK cannot be relied on to support Israel, a new formal alliance is clearly needed.

(g) The instability of the Middle East has been a problem throughout the seven decades of Israel’s existence. The last decade has been exceptionally fissiparous, even if Israel has been able to remain on the sidelines, apart from its interventions in Gaza. Yet there is no guarantee that Israel’s luck will hold, especially as the dream of a Caliphate is likely to survive the defeat of IS, so providing a permanent source of volatility within the largely artificial states of the region. If Israel is drawn into almost any conflict it is bound to become the focus of violent protest and terrorism. The potential for an even more spectacular upheaval than the misnamed Arab Spring has not been diminished by the return of Russia to the Middle East for the first time since the 1970s. Like Mr Trump, Israel should beware of Mr Putin’s bear hugs.

For these and many more reasons, the West should be reassessing its attitude to the Jewish state. If South Korea and Japan are worth defending against nuclear blackmail, if Afganistan and Iraq are worth repeatedly liberating, if genocide was worth preventing in Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Kuwait and Libya — then is not Israel worth giving the cast-iron commitment that only a formal treaty provides? If red lines are to be drawn in Syria to deter the use of WMD, enforced by Tomahawk missiles, should not equally lethal threats to Israel from Hezbollah and Hamas be deterred similarly? Above all, should not the West repudiate the rapprochement with Iran — it is not really a “deal” — in the absence of any evidence that the Islamic Republic has abandoned its intention to annihilate what it calls “the Zionist entity”.

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Iddo
August 6th, 2017
11:08 AM
Articulate and compelling. Guarantees to Israel from Europe won't suffice. For every John 23 there is a Pius 12, even today. The ability to be an Anti-smite while occupying the moral high ground is just too attractive to many of today's Christian Europeans. Though they endanger themselves, theirs is the cry of Samson "let me die along with the Philistines". My hope is that reasonable views, such as yours, will prevail in the never ending struggle.

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