How about the truth for a change?

A revolutionary proposal

Melanie Phillips

Why truth beats diplomacy

Commenting on the Obama/Israel crisis, Ed Laskyconcludes that the US President is deliberately trying to turn America against Israel – and he is succeeding.

I have written in today’s Jewish Chronicle that it is time for Israel to stop going along with the diplomatic lies told for so long by Britain, America and the west about the Arab war against Israel. Lies that have twisted so many people’s minds into the belief that Israel is the historic usurper and aggressor in the Middle East, whereas in fact the Jews and the Jews alone are the rightful heirs to the land, in historical, legal and moral terms, and a monstrous injustice has been and is still being done to them.

It is these lies, and the consequent appeasement of the Arabs who promulgate them and the rewarding of Arab aggression, which has caused the Middle East impasse to remain an unending conflict. And it is these lies and the new distortions supplied by Obama which now pose the greatest single danger to Israel’s security and existence by eroding public support – not just in Britain, which is already lost, as is to a lesser extent ‘old’ Europe, but among the people who are the staunchest supporters of Israel: the great mass of middle America.

Disastrously, Israel has gone along with these lies — for a variety of reasons. First, Israel observes the rules of diplomacy which almost invariably involve compromise. Now compromise is in general a good thing; but in a war of extermination, if the victim compromises with its attackers it strengthens them and makes its defeat more likely. In no other conflict in the history of the planet has a country which is the victim of an eight-decade belligerency aimed at wiping it off the map been expected to make concessions to its attackers. In no other conflict has such a victimised people been bullied by onlookers into doing so. Yet the first pressure is what Britain, America and Europe have been applying for decades, and the second is what Obama is now applying, with the EU falling in behind him: bullying the prospective victim of extermination into submitting to measures which increase the risk of such an eventuality, and in the process almost forcing the Palestinians from their habitual pose of sullen obstructionism and sporadic terrorism into another spate of outright war.

This global trance of intellectual inversion, hallucinatory bigotry and appeasement of terror could be broken instantly if the big lies that sustain it were exposed for the malevolent fictions that they are. Yet remarkably, Israel never stands up and delivers the necessary home truths about the history of the region and the cowardly and vicious behaviour of its ‘friends’.

There are various reasons for this. First, vulnerable as it is, it needs all the allies it can get – particularly America – in order to survive. These ‘friends’, false as they may be, are nevertheless better than enemies; and they provide considerable ballast — in their own interests, let it never be overlooked — against Israel’s declared foes. So that’s one very good reason why Israel has bitten its lip and proclaimed deep friendship with these treacherous western nations.

Next, and scarcely less important, is what can only be described as the psychopathology arising from Israel’s beleaguered existence. After eight decades of military siege, Israel suffers from what might be described as a collective ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ – identifying to some extent at least with the mindset of its abusers.

At the same time, Israel believes the moral rightness of its cause is so overwhelmingly obvious it cannot grasp that others don’t see it that way, let alone view its Arab aggressors as the victims of Israel: such an appalling inversion of reality and justice is simply too outrageous for it to take on board. 

As for the need to make the case again and again for the Jewish entitlement to the land, Israelis protest – not unreasonably – why they alone should have to justify their existence when no other country, however artificial or contested, such as Pakistan, for example, is expected to do so.

Even more significant is the fact that, as a result of the Holocaust in Europe and the egregious betrayal of the Jews by the British in Palestine (the perfidious capitulation to Arab terrorism which is the true historic cause of the whole enduring Middle East problem) successive Israeli governments have written off Britain and Europe as irredeemably bigoted and thus impervious to any reasoned or moral argument about the situation of the Jewish people. So they won’t make the case.

However understandable any of these reasons may once have been, they have not only had catastrophic consequences but are now superseded by the new reality. Israel assumed that America would remain its staunch friend. It believed that because, first, the vast bulk of the American people supported Israel, and second because it assumed that any US administration would realise that Israel was the bulwark against a hostile Arab world (forgetting how indifferent or even hostile certain US Presidents had been in the past). Now we can see how short-sighted, foolish and arrogant those assumptions were. Obama has now demonstrated beyond doubt that he is Israel’s enemy – and much worse than that, he is turning the great-hearted American people against it.

So with Iran about to manufacture its genocide bomb, the course of Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu is now clear. He must speak over the heads of Obama and his administration to the great mass of the American people. He must tell them very plainly the truth of what is happening and the way in which their country is being turned into an ally of evil against justice, aggressor against victim. And beyond America, he must now state in blunt and unmistakeable terms the grotesque reality of what Israel’s ‘friends’ in Britain and Europe, along with America, are now doing: uniquely rewarding those who wish to destroy a sovereign state, and punishing their victims.

For sure, speaking out like this is not in the diplomatic rule-book. The idea of telling the truth would doubtless have the mandarins of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office reaching for the smelling salts. But it’s diplomacy that has brought the Middle East to this terrible impasse, and it’s diplomacy that threatens to facilitate yet more mass murder of the innocent. Netanyahu must take his courage in his hands and finally speak public truth to unjust and coercive power at this moment of such grave peril, not just for Israel but for the world.

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