This time they get it

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT -

One of the most strik­ing el­e­ments of the cur­rent cri­sis in Gaza is the rel­a­tive lack of diplomatic and po­lit­i­cal pres­sure on Is­rael. In 2009, there was in­tense crit­i­cism of the sup­pos­edly ‘dis­pro­por­tion­ate’ Cast Lead, just as there was in 2012 over Pil­lar of Fire. This time round, there have cer­tainly been many calls for re­straint, what­ever that is in the con­text of Ha­mas’s ter­ror. But diplo­mat­i­cally, the most re­mark­able fea­ture of the re­ac­tion to Pro­tec­tive Edge has been a wide­spread un­der­stand­ing of Is­rael’s po­si­tion and an ac­cep­tance that, faced with Ha­mas’ rock­ets, Is­rael had no choice but to act. The UN High Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights has ac­cused Is­rael of war crimes. But she is of lit­tle con­se­quence. Such is her animus that if Is­rael were to of­fer ev­ery Pales­tinian an olive branch Ms Pil­lay would ac­cuse it of a plot to un­der­mine the Pales­tinian olive in­dus­try. Is­rael’s main diplomatic foe has turned out to be the US Sec­re­tary of State.

Yet it is a sign of how far the US’s stand­ing has plunged un­der Pres­i­dent Obama that Mr Kerry is now al­most as ir­rel­e­vant in the cur­rent cri­sis as Ms Pil­lay. Is­rael — and the PA, which now holds him in equal con­tempt — have been able sim­ply to ig­nore him. There is, of course, a dif­fer­ence be­tween the diplomatic re­ac­tion and that on the streets. There the usual sus­pects are do­ing their usual thing — at­tack­ing Is­rael. But what­ever anger that might prompt from those who un­der­stand that Is­rael has ev­ery right, and ev­ery need, to de­fend it­self, in a democ­racy they have the right to protest. The protests have, how­ever, been ac­com­pa­nied by open an­ti­semitism — a deeply wor­ry­ing trend. Worse, there have been over 130 an­tisemitic in­ci­dents re­ported to the CST. At­tacks on Jews sim­ply for be­ing Jews, both phys­i­cal and ver­bal, are in­creas­ing. We may not yet be in the same straits as France, but that is hardly a cause for com­fort.

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