Going It Alone

July 31, 2014
BY Joshua Runyan

runyan_josh_otBack in February, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned of the consequences facing Israel if the American-led peace talks between the Jewish state and its Palestinian neighbors fell apart. He alluded to the growing strength of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and worried that should peace fail, Israel would find itself isolated from the rest of the world.

“Today’s status quo, absolutely to a certainty, I promise you 100 percent, cannot be maintained,” he said at the time. “You see for Israel there is an increasing delegitimization campaign that has been building up. People are very sensitive to it, there is talk of boycott and other kinds of things. Are we all going to be better with all of that?”

As anyone who has been conscious of world events since that time knows, the peace talks collapsed shortly after the Palestinian Authority, with whom the Israelis had been negotiating, entered into a unity government with Hamas, the terrorist group that “governs” the Gaza Strip. Shortly thereafter, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered by suspected Hamas operatives in the West Bank; a Palestinian teenager was murdered in an apparent revenge attack by Israeli youths; Hamas renewed its rocket barrage of Israel; and the Jewish state launched Operation Protective Edge, a military campaign aimed at destroying Hamas’ offensive capabilities and a network of tunnels the group has dug under the Gaza border with Israel.

Kerry warned of economic and political isolation. What Israel got — through no choice or fault of its own — was terror and bloodshed. And if news reports of conversations between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are to be believed, it appears that in addition to the blood and the bombs, Israel, having lost the support of the United States to continue to invoke its right to self-defense, now finds itself as isolated as ever.

But to say that Israel has no friends in the world would be to lie. The fact of the matter is, twice as many Americans, according to the results of a Pew Research Poll released Monday, blame Hamas rather than Israel for the current crisis. Half of those polled say that Israel’s response to the rockets and the tunnels, despite the fact that vastly more Palestinians have been killed — more than 1,000 versus more than 50 on the Israeli side — is “about right” or has “not gone far enough.”

Even more, Baltimore’s and other Jewish communities around the world have rallied on behalf of Israel and, as you’ll read in this week’s JT, immigration to the Jewish state continues.

The problem isn’t that Israel doesn’t have friends, it’s that many of the friends it has continue to bemoan the lack of international support behind Israel’s defense. If there’s anything the current crisis and the many wars Israel has fought since its founding in 1948 indicate it’s that sometimes, Israel and the Jewish people that support it must go it alone.

Editor-in-Chief
jrunyan@jewishtimes.com

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