Feb 2002 Journal

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Letter from the editor

Several readers have latterly accused me of subscribing to the Likud ideology of aggressive Israeli nationalism. Actually to dub me a Likudnik is similar to calling Gandhi a meat-eater. I simply take my cue from Shimon Peres, who felt that the crisis threatening Israel necessitated the formation of a "national" government.

The Jewish State currently faces a four-fold peril. More and more Palestinians are coming under the sway of death-worshipping fanatics whom nothing short of the destruction of Israel will satisfy. A majority at the UN is imbued with an anti-Israeli animus, as evidenced by the Durban Conference on Racism, which tried to de-legitimise the Jewish State. The European political establishment, including sections of our FO, view Israel as a pays merdeux potentially capable of triggering World War Three. At UK street level globaloney-spouting militants demonise the Jewish State - jeering at Melanie Phillips' description of it as a democracy - and pressure Selfridges to (temporarily) ban Israeli goods from its store.

Once Arafat turned down the courageously generous concessions Ehud Barak offered him, my last hopes for a mutually acceptable settlement evaporated. And there is another smidgeon of knowledge I gleaned from recent events, especially 11 September: even if Israel were to make the most self-abnegatory concessions to the Palestinians it would still not satisfy the likes of Robert Fiske, George Galloway MP, Tom Paulin, Emma Thompson, Harold Pinter et al. In their eyes, the trouble with Israel is not what it does - but what it is. The Jewish State is simply too European - a defect which mirrors the Nazi denigration of the Jews as Asiatic - too Western, too First World, and too closely linked to the USA to have a legitimate existence in a region where bullets rather than ballots have traditionally decided the composition of governments.
Richard Grunberger

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