Critics, mostly though not exclusively European, who hammer away at Israeli misbehavior often show no concern about the dangers that beset Israel. Their one-sided animus verges on scandal. Criticism of Israeli behavior may be justified, but it loses credit when it is not balanced by an unequivocal repudiation of the rhetoric and actions of Islamic fundamentalists: Holocaust denial, fantasies of genocidal anti-Semitism, the elimination of the state of Israel, suicide bombings, and indiscriminate killing of civilians.
The London Review of Books is an egregious instance of this one-sidedness. Almost every issue contains several articles devoted to attacks on Israel, and the target is not simply the governing party, but the whole spectrum of Israeli political life. Absent from the columns of the Review are the injustices and cruelties of political Islam. In an article by Charles Glass, Lebanon’s Hezbollah is eulogized for its capacity to learn from mistakes, its decency in treating prisoners, “its refusal to murder collaborators,” its intelligent use of “car bombs, ambushes, small rockets and suicide bombers.” Glass speaks of Hezbollah’s uncompromising political program, of which he apparently approves, without mentioning that at its core is the destruction of Israel. Any two-state solution requires a capacity and willingness to compromise, but compromise is anathema to Hezbollah. He claims that the movement had “jettisoned its early rhetoric about making Lebanon an Islamic republic, and [now] spoke of Christians, Muslims and Druze living in harmony.” Missing from this article (in the August 17, 2006, issue) is any reference to its anti-Semitism. In a letter to LRB printed in the September 7, 2006, issue, I pointed out that Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, is not simply a resistance fighter, he is also an anti-Semite with genocidal fantasies. I cited the following statements attributed to him: “If they [the Jews] all gather in Israel it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.” “They [the Jews] are a cancer which is liable to spread at any moment.” I also noted that the name “Party of God,” should worry anyone of enlightened, democratic persuasion, but does not seem to bother Glass. (Would he be equally indulgent of the religious fanatics in Israel who assert their divine right to Greater Israel?) Parties of God, wherever they are to be found, mean tyranny should they ever acquire power. In the article, Glass mentions the fact that he had been kidnapped by Hezbollah at a Syrian checkpoint. Wanting to prove that the movement was independent of Syrian control, he writes that when “Syria insisted that I be released to show that Syrian control of Lebanon could not be flouted [,] Hezbollah, unfortunately, ignored the request.” What virtue! In my letter, I wondered whether he had not succumbed to Stockholm syndrome.
His response, printed in the October 5, 2006, issue...
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