Divided by politics, Israelis unite to defy global isolation

Apr3,2024



As 100,000 protesters chant outside Israel calling for early elections Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Held a press conference on Sunday to defend his conduct gaza war, He was asked why the world is moving against Israel?
He replied, “The virus of anti-Semitism.” That, he said, is why the State of Israel was created to provide physical security to the Jews. Of all the things he said, that comment was probably the one that resonated most strongly with the furious citizens outside.
Israeli society may be deeply divided politically, but it is increasingly unified by the belief that the country stands alone. Six months later Hamas attacked it and responded with the longest, most destructive war since its creation, which has reshaped how Israel conducts itself internationally and how it views and reacts to external events. , creates new risks for both.
“Even for left-wing liberals, there is a sense of alienation and frustration,” said Daniel Ben Simon, a former Labor MLA and author. “The right will tell you that this is the nature of being Jewish. But people who hate Netanyahu also feel that they cannot trust the world community. They accuse anyone who does this of being inexperienced.”
There is no topic more frightening in Israel these days than international isolation, symbolized by a recent cover of The Economist magazine featuring a lone wind-blown Israeli flag against a backdrop of war with the headline “Israel Alone.”
First there's the question of how lonely it really is. A recent UN Security Council resolution demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, leaving the country feeling abandoned. The majority believes that Israeli forces should defeat Hamas, which is designated a terrorist organization by the US and EU.
Other signs of alienation are everywhere. Dozens of international airlines have stopped flying to Tel Aviv. Canada will stop future arms sales to Israel. According to Michael Frenkel, professor of sociology and anthropology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in academia, Israelis are also being despised – their papers are rejected from conferences, their graduate students are passed over, even That even his presence was unwanted.
“To single out Israelis for things in other countries, to focus on the sole nation state of the Jewish people, is anti-Semitism,” said Frenkel, an internationally renowned leftist scholar for three decades.
At the same time, some countries have cut diplomatic ties and none of the hundreds of multinational corporations that have set up shop in Israel in recent years have stepped back. Even after changing its language to encourage a ceasefire, the US remains a strong ally. It has sent weapons and munitions to Israel nearly 200 times since October.
Israel's situation has not become easier in recent days following the killing of seven aid workers traveling in a vehicle in Gaza. These included American, Australian, Polish and British citizens. Israeli officials apologized, saying it was a mistake and would be investigated. But abroad, it was seen as part of a pattern of reckless killing by its forces since the war began. According to Hamas officials, approximately 32,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict.
Michael Oren, an American-born Israeli historian and former ambassador to Washington, said that isolation is a default position for Jews.
He said, “Zionism was a reaction to loneliness.” “Jews will have a state like everyone else. It worked for some time. “But Israel is now seen as repressive and reactionary and is once again isolated.”
More religious and nationalist Israelis view secession as inevitable, which is perhaps also useful for focusing voters' minds on policy direction. Last month this view was ridiculed as delusional by “Eretz Nehederet,” a weekly satirical television program.
Actors playing Netanyahu, his wife Sara and his cabinet are shown singing a parody of the 1985 hit “We Are the World”, with the lyrics changed to “Without the world, it'll be okay”. “The time has come for us to sing loudly to the world and declare that we no longer need you,” Netanyahu begins. Then his wife yells, “We have everything here, so we don't need any more favors,” and Foreign Minister Israel Katz says, “We'll manage just fine without the United States.”
Israelis who are more centrist and left-wing worry that if the government feels unfriendly, it risks violating international norms. Even some in the Israeli cabinet say US pressure on it to facilitate humanitarian aid has been salutary, allowing Netanyahu to convey to his more hard-line allies that he does not want Gaza completely destroyed. Wanted to cut off that they were being squeezed by Washington.
Of course, there is a difference between what might be called triumphant separatism, the separatism of the hard right, and the tragic separatism that the center faces.
Author and public intellectual Micah Goodman says most Israelis view their situation as tragic because in Gaza they have only bad options to choose from, while many abroad see the choice between good and bad.
He said, “What we have to do is very messy – make sure Hamas can no longer rule in Gaza – but the alternative – leaving Hamas in power – is impossible.” “We want the West to love us and the powers in the Middle East to fear us. You want both but if you have to choose, you lean toward instilling fear in your enemies.



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