When the left loved Zionists

By Stephen Pollard
June 1, 2007

I have a piece in this week's Jewish Chronicle on the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War. Here's an extract:

How ironic that the fortieth anniversary of Israel’s victory in the Six Day War should fall between the publication of the Winograd Commission’s interim and final reports into last year’s war on Hezbollah. Forty years ago, Israel fought an existential war and won. Last year, it took action against Hezbollah as part of a wider and no less existential war. Israel may not have lost that war, but she certainly did not win it. The threat not only remains; it grows.

But that is not the only difference between 1967 and 2007. In 1967, it was not merely Jews who rallied to Israel’s defence; others also saw that the tiny, young country was in mortal danger from its surrounding enemies. In 2007, however, the likes of Independent Jewish Voices betray Israel from within the Jewish Community; and non-Jewish chattering class opinion is suffused with hatred for .

It truly was another world back in June 1967. A Jewish Chronicle report of 16th June described how “showmen” had rallied round at an emergency aid meeting: “Peter Sellers pledged £1000 while Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor cabled from

Hollywood to pledge $1000 apiece”. Nothing too surprising there, until the very last sentence of the report: “Other donors included…Harold Pinter.” The same Harold Pinter who last year joined with 300 others in signing a full page ad in The Times to denounce Israel for “terrorizing an entire people” - with no mention of any responsibility borne by Palestinian terror. Not that one should be surprised at such behaviour from a man who eulogized Slobodan Milosevic

In 1967, Gerald Kaufman was Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s press spokesman. A few weeks after the war, the JC reported (August 4th) that he had written to the general secretary of Poale Zion stressing how important the territorial gains made in the war were to Israel’s security and that they could only be given up as part of a guaranteed peace settlement. He would not, he stressed, wish to “put back the clock” over

Jerusalem .

O tempora. O mores. Now Sir Gerald, this is the man who has declared he will never visit Israel again and who, last July, ranted in the House of Commons against “Jewish terrorists”.

How different it all was. The Times of 8th June 1967 reported that the Socialist International was arranging for a member of the Israeli Labour Party to come to

London to address a meeting of the organization, which was discussing “the possible lines of a political settlement when the fighting ends, which would have sufficient stability to avoid a repetition of the present struggle”. The Socialist International! An organization whose sole contribution to Middle East debates now is to blame Israel, as in its statement of principle from 1996 holding that “Israel has a special responsibility to bring the peace process back on track”.

In 1967, the leaders of liberal-left opinion led Israel’s defence in the arena of public opinion. Forty years later, it is so-called liberals who are the useful idiots of Israel’s enemies, taking every opportunity to attack the country. As state-sponsored terror threatens Israel, today it is Israel they blame. Go figure.


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