Since Israel’s longest-serving prime minister returned to office, European journalists, intellectuals, and politicians have been lamenting the end of democracy in the Jewish state. The French writer Guy Sorman explains what lies behind these attitudes toward a government which, he emphasizes, was democratically elected:
The voters know what they’re doing: under Netanyahu, Israelis have experienced their greatest security, and never has their economy been more prosperous. It was thus not by chance that Netanyahu was reelected, but as a reward for his success and his good fortune (in politics, luck and success are indissociable). Has he threatened democracy in the past, and will he distort it this time in order to please his integralist allies? This may be doubted, since the person who could make the Israelis shut up would not be of this world.
What, then, is the source of this Western condemnation of the new Israeli government and these dark prophecies concerning democracy? First, there is ignorance. What European scribbler inquires into the problems Netanyahu faces? We prefer to condemn him from afar, for fear of being contradicted by reality. But let’s state the essential: the despair displayed by the European left comes from the fact that its adherents judge Israel from the standpoint of the Palestinians. It’s true that Netanyahu and his allies don’t believe in the viability of a Palestinian state; the Israeli government is not the Palestinian government, and it defends the interests of Israelis before those of the Palestinians. We may bemoan the fate of the Palestinians, but whose responsibility is that, really?
The Palestinians are perhaps victims of the Israeli occupation—though there is no occupation of Gaza at all—but they are still more victims of international aid. They are also just as much victims of the Arab world, which has contributed little to the Palestinians, while long refusing to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
What, then, is the true cause of Europe’s demonizing of Netanyahu? He is on the right and he is Jewish—look no further. And the unrestrained sympathy for the Palestinians? They play the role, despite themselves, of the proletariat in a Marxian vision of the world. Israel and the Palestinians, for elite commentators, are nothing but the screen on which are projected the ideological fantasies of the West.