Journalist Andrew Neil summarised my feelings in a tweet on Sunday. “Looking at these shameful pro-Hamas demonstrations in London and elsewhere yesterday it struck me that Israel must be the only country in the world that is attacked for being attacked by a murderous, fascist, infant-killing death cult — then is further attacked for having the temerity to retaliate against those who would erase it from the earth.”
Published: 17 October 2023
I’m an unapologetic Zionist. In other words, I believe it was, and is, necessary for Jews to have their own nation. Repeatedly exiled over the millennia, although they have always striven to be accommodating and hard-working members of whatever society they have ended up in, they have learned the hard way that they cannot rely on Gentiles.
I have beloved Jewish friends: on my Twitter profile, my photograph has long had a badge which reads “Together against anti-Semitism”. So I find it unutterably depressing that yet another generation of mostly left-wing westerners seems to have no appreciation of how Jews have been persecuted throughout history and how after 6,000,000 of them had been efficiently murdered in the Holocaust — organised by what had been seen as the most civilised and cultivated country in the world — most survivors were marooned.
In his Times column last week, Daniel Finkelstein, author of the superb memoir, Hitler, Stalin, Mum and Dad, quoted a story from Schindler’s Ark of the moment in 1945, having learned from a liberating Jewish Russian officer that there were no Jews left in Poland, Jews asked where to go. “The officer looked them in the face. ‘I don’t know where you ought to go. Don’t go east — that much I can tell you but don’t go West either.’ He paused and added: ‘They don’t like us anywhere.’”
I find it unutterably depressing that yet another generation of mostly left-wing westerners seem to have no appreciation of how Jews have been persecuted for millennia, how in 1947 the United Nations concluded that the only solution for the dispossessed was to divide the region of Canaan in the southern Levant between its historic Jewish and Palestinian inhabitants, and how the Jews accepted partition and built the prosperous, democratic, tolerant state of Israel while Arab states consigned generations to poverty, violence and futile wars designed to annihilate the Jews.
Israel took the Gaza Strip in 1967 after the Six Day Arab-Israeli war: in the 1990s it was ceded to the Palestinian National Authority; in 2005 Israel forced its own settlers to evacuate. The following year, Hamas won the election, murdered or expelled many of its political opponents, destroyed the economy and used Gaza as a military base. Like the IRA, with which they became fast friends, they exercised totalitarian control over their communities and preached hatred.
Fearful of annihilation, Israel has had its worst fears exacerbated by the uncompromising evidence on October the 7th that Hamas has fully embraced evil. On social media, its leaders and supporters make clear their pride in the murder, torture and kidnapping of Jews, however vulnerable. In Ireland, unionists mostly support Israel, nationalists Palestinians and republicans Hamas. There are few pro-Israel supporters on the streets, since they are mostly scared of violence.
Horrified though I was by the venom of the demonstrators on my London doorstep, there was the consolation that from King Charles and prime minister Rishi Sunak down to the average person in the street, there was unequivocal sympathy and support for Israel. It was not the same in the Republic. “Hamas, as should be clear to every person by now who lives on this island,” said Jewish Alan Shatter, once the Irish minister for justice, “is nothing more than a fundamentalist Islamic death cult dedicated to murdering Jews.” But president Michael D. Higgins came up inevitably with thread-bare, left-leaning platitudes about peace; most politicians mainly urge restraint on Israel: and Sinn Fein, who still eulogise IRA terrorism, are trying for electoral reasons to look respectable and therefore with mixed results strive to control their members’ anti-semitic rhetoric.
Israel is one of the most civilised and sophisticated countries in the world, but it is up against an army of unadulterated evil that is encouraged and helped by rogue nations like Iran and Russia. For their sake and ours, we must help this great people destroy the power of their genocidal enemies.