It is still far too early to say how the Arab revolutions will finally play themselves out. Israel, as well as the West, certainly has serious grounds for concern at the possible negative fallout for its own security. Yet a ray of light has already pierced the thick propaganda barrage of anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism, whether it be Muslim, leftist, liberal, or neo-fascist in origin. Much will depend on whether this small window of hope can be extended or not.
The Islamist war against Israel (spearheaded by Iran) which is itself a war for expanding the global jihad would, if successful, ultimately endanger not only the existence of Israel but of civilization itself. At the same time, the defense of Israel’s right to exist in peace and security is rapidly becoming a litmus-test of the boundaries between jihadists and democrats, extremists and moderates.
By focusing attention so obsessively on the “sins” of Israel and its so-called crimes, most of the Left has completely missed the wider picture and will continue to condemn itself to irrelevance until or unless it awakens from its self-induced stupor.
Robert S. Wistrich is Neuberger professor of European and Jewish history at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and director of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism. This essay was adapted from his new book, “From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel” (University of Nebraska Press).