[I]t's always sobering when someone you assume you’ve got a lot in common with turns out, in the most basic sense, to see the world entirely differently. That somewhat banal thought used to occur to me whenever I’d be in a "moderate" Muslim state chatting up some westernized Arab hottie and, just at the point at which I’d be thinking we were getting along gangbusters, she’d say something utterly nutty, invariably involving Jews. These days, the thought is as likely to occur at London dinner parties. There’s no "incursion" or "disproportionate response" by Israel that prompted Elvis [Costello]’s divestment from the Zionist Entity: These days, it’s just business (or lack of it) as usual. I wouldn’t say I exactly avoid the topic in English or French drawing rooms, and if it does come up I robustly defend Israel and eviscerate Palestinian "nationalism." But no minds are changed -- and these days the talk is less of the "occupied territories" and more of how the very creation of the Jewish state was a dreadful mistake. Once upon a time, a pro-Palestinian European would reluctantly concede the point if you brought up the Arabs’ refusal to recognize Israel’s "right to exist." No more. Now Israel’s "right to exist" has as few takers among Europe’s "intellectual" class as it does on the Hamas executive board.
On the 60th anniversary of the Jewish state’s founding, a large number of British "Jews" -- I use the term loosely (many of them would barely have qualified under the expansive definitions of Nuremberg) but their claim to the faith was felt to give them a special authority -- wrote to the Guardian to say that they could not "celebrate the birthday of a state founded on terrorism, massacres and the dispossession of another people." . . .
But, among the British and European artistic community, the fetishization of the Palestinians and the consequent obsession with Israeli iniquity is indestructible -- even as millions are murdered in the Congo, and hundreds of thousands in Darfur, and (less genocidally) as the High Administrative Court in Cairo contemplates stripping Egyptian men of their citizenship for the crime of marrying Israeli women. At one level, the rampant Zionhass is a mere reflection of demographic reality -- what's left of European Jewry is a community in steep decline; Muslims, on the other hand, are the Continent’s fastest-growing population. But demographic reality is easier to accept dressed as a moral cause, and so the heirs to those Western artists who two generations ago enthusiastically embraced the new Jewish state now boycott it and support its dismantling. I’m told that in Dutch grade schools The Diary of Anne Frank can no longer be performed because certain, ahem, immigrant communities root for the Nazis. But I don’t think you could produce The Diary of Anne Frank in the West End, either. Nor Fiddler on the Roof. No takers. Doesn’t fit the narrative.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Mark Steyn, in the June 7th National Review (subscription only):