Ulster’s friendship with the civilisation that is Israel

Morning View
Morning View

Vociferous critics of Israel in Europe and America often consider themselves to be politically liberal or enlightened.

They support equality for women and for minority groups, and eschew attitudes they consider to be reactionary.

Yet almost to a person they despise the one progressive country in the Middle East.

These critics might explain this inconsistency by blaming supposed Israeli aggression for the fact that the communities that threaten and surround Israel are so basic in terms of their cultural and economic development.

But if that is so, then Israel would be the reason why the entire region is made up of hopeless economies that are mired in endemic corruption. It would be responsible for the reactionary attitudes to the rights of the individual that prevail in those societies.

The truth is that Israel, in contrast to the rest of the region, is a highly skilled and educated modern democracy, that thrives in arid land through a combination of cultural sophistication and a work ethic.

The failing states that surround it are at best illiberal, and in respects tyrannical.

It is a bitter irony that many Israel haters would not spend five minutes living in an Arab society, but could comfortably live in a city as cosmopolitan as Tel Aviv.

Israel has disturbingly few supporters around the world, mostly concentrated in the United States.

Northern Ireland, however, is a pocket of friendship.

Unionists know well what it is to suffer at the hands of terrorists who justify their violence and ancient tribal hatred on a narrative of oppression and self-pity.

It is no surprise that a new group has been launched in the Province to advocate the civilisation that is Israel.