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Israel, the Hermit Kingdom

: Ted Rall on

"The world is kind of deserting Israel right now," Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) remarked after meeting with members of the pro-Israel lobby American Israel Public Affairs Committee. "So they're worried about that."

Their concern is warranted. Less than six months after Hamas attacked on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people with brutality that sparked widespread sympathy as well as material support for the Jewish state, polls show popular opinion in the U.S. and internationally has turned against Israel at unprecedented levels. The United Nations secretary-general is angry, the International Court of Justice is giving serious consideration to the charge that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza, and even President Joe Biden -- a self-described Zionist who has repeatedly visited Israel and rushed to send it weapons after Oct. 7 -- has warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that continuing his ground offensive into Rafah, the last relatively intact city left in Gaza, would cross his "red line."

Israelis and their supporters are confused. Why is Israel rapidly sliding into pariah status now?

Netanyahu has forgotten that Israel is a U.S. vassal state. They don't call the shots. We do. Bibi nonetheless has insolently rejected Biden's ultimatum.

Israelis' cluelessness is understandable. They've been oppressing the Palestinians for decades. They've ignored U.N. resolutions requiring that they stop occupying Arab territory, they've sent nearly a million religious fanatics to colonize the West Bank, and they've run the only apartheid state in the world following the end of that system in South Africa -- yet nothing bad has ever happened to them. America kept sending them billions of dollars a year, arming them with high-tech weapons and intelligence, and ran interference for them at the U.N. whenever the world tried to hold them accountable for human rights abuses. Why should the good times come to an end?

The answer, of course, is twofold. The systemic decimation of Gaza, caught in high-definition videos on social media in an act of ethnic cleansing obviously intended to be succeeded by annexation, is even more extreme than Israel's previous crimes. Israel's war against the innocent civilians of Gaza is the feather that broke the world's patience and indifference -- a one-ton feather.

 

That the world would turn away from Israel was easy to see coming tens of thousands of dead Gazans ago.

For everyone but the Israelis, that is.

Israelis are not stupid people. How did they fail to anticipate that they would soon be shunned and despised for what most of the world sees as a grotesque and opportunistic overreaction to Oct. 7? As a nation created by the U.N., no other country depends as much upon international goodwill for its survival.

Israel, you'll notice if you visit, is along with North Korea and the United States one of the most insular countries on earth. Whereas most of the world and its news coverage is omnivorously internationalist, and floods in Myanmar or a coup in Central America make the top of the news, Israel, like the U.S., obsesses over its own domestic affairs to the exclusion of all else except events that impact it directly -- and it does so from an unabashedly nationalist viewpoint.

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Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

 

 

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