A shameful call to deny Jews a fundamental right
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In a signed article last week, the Guardian's foreign leader writer, David Hearst, looked forward to "a one-state solution in which Jewish citizens lose an in-built majority". While insisting that such a unitary Palestinian state would be a secular and democratic one, where Jews, Christians and Muslims would all be equal, Hearst left no doubt about what kind of consummation was, in his view, devoutly to be wished: "The end of Zionism, no less."
I wonder whether, when he wrote these sinister words, Hearst felt even the slightest pang of conscience. Having written leaders myself for The Times and the Telegraph for two decades, I know the sense of responsibility one feels as the representative of a great organ of the free world.
The Guardian, too, was once such an organ. There was a time when the Guardian and its liberal British readers would not have countenanced such malevolence. That time is past. Other Guardian journalists share Hearst's contempt for Israel.
Over the years, the Guardian has made itself into Europe's principal conduit for the propaganda war against Israel. Because it is also the house magazine of the BBC, it wields influence far beyond its own readership. Even the bloodbath in Syria cannot distract the paper from its obsession with Israel.
When they call for "the end of Zionism", when they exult at the prospect of the United Nations General Assembly recognising Palestinian statehood as if Israel did not exist, do writers like Hearst recall another UN resolution some 36 years ago?
The Guardian is Europe's conduit for the propaganda war against Israel
In November 1975, on the 37th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the General Assembly condemned Zionism as "racism". The then US ambassador, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, denounced "this infamous act". Now the vultures are gathering again in New York, anticipating the UN's betrayal of the Balfour Declaration. That declaration, still binding under international law, entitled the Jewish people to return to their ancestral homeland in perpetuity. How can that promise be compatible with UN recognition of an irredentist Palestinian regime that includes Hamas? Will Barack Obama denounce this threat to Israel's legitimacy?
It is largely due to the West's cowardice that the Palestinians now reject the notion of a permanent two-state solution: the majority currently sees it as merely a first stage towards supplanting Israel. An authoritative poll published last month shows that 84 per cent of Palestinians agree that "Over time Palestinians must work to get back all of the land [in Israel] for a Palestinian state". Only seven per cent accept that "Israel has a right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people".
As for Jerusalem: just three per cent of Palestinians are ready to share the city, while 92 per cent demand it exclusively as the capital of a Palestinian state. This Arab refusal to acknowledge the Jewish claim to Judaism's holiest place is endorsed by international bodies such as UNESCO, which has been campaigning against Israeli archaeological excavations in Jerusalem since 1974.
UNESCO has lent credence to bogus Arab claims that biblical sites have no connection with the ancient Jews but are either the work of Muslims or "indigenous Canaanites", from whom modern Arab Palestinians claim descent. This week, Jews commemorated the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans and the First Temple by the Babylonians. The Jewish connection with Jerusalem is historically continuous, religiously constitutive and politically legitimate. But the link would inevitably be broken in the Palestinian state envisaged by Hearst.
How do we know this? Because no Arab state since 1948 has been tolerant of Jewish minorities, let alone granted them equal rights. Generations of Palestinians have been indoctrinated to hate Jews, largely at the expense of European taxpayers. Even in the best of all possible worlds, a unitary Palestinian state would treat Jews as former colonial occupiers, because that is how they and their fellow Muslims, encouraged by the Guardian, have depicted them for generations.
And what reason do Israelis have to be Panglossian? Palestinian celebrations in response to acts of terror, such as the hideous massacre of the Fogel family last March, speak volumes. Through the Department for International Development, British taxpayers subsidise the Palestinian cult of eliminationist antisemitism.
Besides, no European has the right to demand that Jews should risk genocide twice in a lifetime. At his trial 50 years ago, Adolf Eichmann explained his role in the Holocaust: "I received orders to proceed… against the guest of the host people." Gideon Hausner, the prosecutor, asked him: "So the 'guest' people is the Jewish People and the 'host' are the Germans. Right?" Eichmann answered: "Yes."
Why should Jews alone among the nations be forced to live as "guests" at the mercy of "hosts"? David Hearst's call for the "end of Zionism" has an echo of the "Final Solution", die Endlösung. It is code for the annihilation of Israel. The Guardian may gloat over its "solution", but those of us who admire the endurance of the Jewish people and the only Jewish state can simply look on in dismay.
Daniel Johnson is the editor of 'Standpoint'