Monday, January 7, 2019

Vox Popoli: Why Israel is Auschwitz (Does Israel have a right to exist? Who else?)

Much more elegantly than I could have explained it, in The Virtue of Nationalism, Yoram Hazony explains why nationalists and Israelis are intrinsic allies, and why the liberal imperialists of the neo-liberal world order, of every heritage, hate Israel and equate Zionism with Nazism.

In taking up arms in the name of their own national state and their own self-determination, the Jews, as many Europeans and others now see it, have simply taken up the same evil that led Germany to build the camps. The details may differ, but the principle, in their eyes, is the same: Israel is Auschwitz.

Try to see this through European eyes. Imagine being a proud Dutchman today, whose nation held high the torch of freedom in that hopeless uprising against Catholic Spain, a war of independence that lasted eighty years. “Yet I am willing to give this up,” he says to himself, “to sacrifice this heritage with its dreams of past glory, and to say good-bye to the state founded by my forefathers, for the sake of something higher. I will make this painful sacrifice for the sake of an international political union that will ultimately embrace all humanity. Yes, I will do it for humanity.” Yet who is it that stands against him? Who, among the civilized peoples, would dare turn their backs on this effort, blessed by morality and reason, to attain at last the salvation of mankind?

Imagine his shock: “The Jews! Those Jews, who should have been the first to welcome the coming of the new order, the first to welcome the coming of mankind’s salvation, instead establish themselves as its opponents, building up their own selfish little state, at war with the world. How dare they? Must they not make the same sacrifices as I in the name of Enlightenment and reason? Are they so debased they cannot remember their own parents in Auschwitz? No, they cannot remember—for they’ve been seduced and perverted by the same evil that had previously seized our neighbors in Germany. They have gone over to the side of Auschwitz.”

Thus it is not just by coincidence that we constantly hear Israel and its soldiers being compared to the Nazis. We are not talking about just any old calumny, chosen arbitrarily or for its rhetorical value alone. In Europe, and wherever else the new paradigm has spread, the comparison with Nazism, absurd though it may be, is natural and inevitable.

This answers the question of how it can be that, at some very fundamental level, the facts do not seem to matter: How it can be that even where Israel should easily be recognized as having justice on its side—where it acts in self-defense, and with painstaking restraint—the country can be pilloried in campaigns of vilification that bite deeper and hit harder with every passing year. How it can be that after the destruction of the Israeli security zone in South Lebanon, and after Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the hatred of Israel only grows more full-throated.

The answer is that while hatred for Israel may, at a given moment, be focused quite sincerely on certain facts about the security zone or the Gaza Strip or the Turkish blockade runners, the trajectory of international disgust or hatred for Israel is not driven by these facts. It is driven by the rapid advance of a new paradigm that understands Israel, and especially the independent Israeli use of force to defend itself, as illegitimate down to its foundations. If you believe that Israel is, in some important sense, a variant of Nazism, then you will not be very impressed by “improvements” in Israeli policies or public relations. An improved Auschwitz is still Auschwitz.

One may well ask: If this is right, and the comparison between Israel and the most odious political movement in European history is hardwired into the new paradigm of international politics that is quickly advancing upon us, then will not individuals who subscribe to this paradigm reach the conclusion that Israel has no right to exist and should be dismantled?

The answer to this question is plain. Of course this comparison leads to the conclusion that Israel has no right to exist and should be dismantled. And why not? If Germany and France have no right to exist as independent states, why should Israel? And if so many are prepared to remain dry-eyed on the day that Britain and the Netherlands are finally gone, why should they feel differently about Israel? On the contrary, while Jews and their friends continue to speak in dread of “Israel’s destruction,” this phrase is no longer feared among those who have embraced the new paradigm—some of whom are already permitting themselves to fantasize in public about political arrangements that will permit the Jewish state to cease to exist.

The logic is perfectly straightforward and clear. If Israel has the right to exist, so does Germany, France, England, the Netherlands, and America. If the European nations do not have the right to exist, sovereign and secure in their own homelands, neither does Israel.

This is why there is no longer a place for Neo-Palestinian supremacists like Ben Shapiro and Dennis Prager among the nationalists of Israel or the USA. Philosemites and Christian Zionists would be very well advised to reject those deceptive wormtongues and pay attention to Israeli nationalists like Hazony, Feiglin, and van Creveld instead.