Everybody hates Israel. That is not just accepted wisdom, it is a reality that chokes all rational debate on the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. There are exceptions, of course, such as Canada, but most of Western Europe has slipped from support for Israel to support for the Palestinian cause, as if both sides might not have valid claims to the disputed land.
Most Americans are enthusiastic about Israel, but the U.S. government under Barack Obama, has, in recent years, shown increasing antagonism. Unsurprisingly, not a single Muslim nation likes Israel at all.
Many hate the Jewish state precisely because it is a Jewish state -- there seems no other reason why they might hate it. Many, in a display of true prejudice, have never even visited it.
In the world in general, and Europe in particular, anti-Semitism is growing at a rate not unlike the 1930s. It does not take much mental grip to see the link between that escalation of the "oldest hatred" and the refined political and religious rejection of Israel as the one and only state in the world that deserves to be abolished. Or, as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once put it in Farsi, "exterminated" (Umam-e Eslami bayad Isra'il-ra qal' o qam' kard: The nations of Islam must exterminate Israel.)
In a Friday sermon, former Iranian President Rafsanjani also made the statement, "If one day, a very important day of course, the Islamic world will also be equipped with the weapons available to Israel now, the imperialist strategy will reach an impasse, because the employment of even one atomic bomb inside Israel will wipe it off the face of the earth, but would only do damage to the Islamic world."
But then, one might surely ask, if everyone hates Israel, will it make the slightest difference if it actually is wiped off the face of the earth? Will it matter if another six million Jews are gassed or driven into the Mediterranean? If most of the people on the planet hate Israel and want to see a massive Palestinian state take its place, then who will weep if the Jews go and the Arabs come and take over, as so many people now say they have every right to do? Would it not be a blow for humanity, justice and people everywhere if the oppressive, violent, and apartheid Jewish state were to be removed from the earth?
Are you starting to feel a bit uneasy about this?
Some might hold back from wishing death on the Jews, but would not hesitate if someone else were to kill them. Or force them to pack their bags and leave their homes to make room for an army of Palestinian "refugees." If you hate Jews enough, nothing may seem too bad for them, and no history of pogroms and the Holocaust will be enough to dissuade you and your friends from doing it all over again, or rejoicing that someone else is doing it for you.
The treatment—or rather, mistreatment—of the Jews stands out in the modern era as the single greatest emblem of man's inhumanity to man. From the Christian (and post-Christian) West to the Islamic East, hatred of Jews has led to unfettered cruelty, and a continuing refusal to accept any form of moral or ethical constraint. However much Jews suffer, anti-Semites want them to suffer more. However far Jews might try to run, their self-appointed overlords will try to hunt them down and start the process of hate and persecution all over again. However much Jews contribute to human civilization, win Nobel prizes, develop cures for illness, create remarkable films, set up hospital units worldwide to treat the sick, irrigate the fields of the poorest farmers and change our lives for the better — the haters sneer and lie and kill Jews with the same knives; and every time a Jew is killed or wounded, dance on the same floors.
And what have the Jews ever done to deserve any of this? Are the Jews really the masterminds behind every war, every revolution, every economic disaster, every plot, even the Holocaust itself? Yes, according to anti-Semites, either the Holocaust never happened and was made up to secure Israel as a country for the Jews; or else the Jews instigated it to force other Jews to flee Europe to Mandatory Palestine, to take it over. Just read a few comments on YouTube as a measuring stick for this mental illness.
Of course, I know the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion says all this (apart from the Holocaust slurs), but the Protocols is a forgery; and not just a forgery, but a cheap and shoddy product of the Tsarist secret police before World War I. Even though it is now more than a century later, some people still treat this libel as Gospel, and write comments on YouTube to prove that the Jews are the worst of mankind.
In Arab countries, after many years, the Protocols is still a bestseller. And Hitler's Mein Kampf, tagged in 2011 by Waterstone's in the UK as the "perfect Christmas present", in its electronic form is selling hand-over-fist. How hurtful -- and deeply unjust -- that is to Jews who have just made critical advances in medicine or saved a Palestinian child's life when operating in an Israeli hospital, or journeyed to Africa to teach better methods of farming, or travelled with an Israeli aid team to Haiti or the Philippines to save yet more lives.
The Jews are not the worst of mankind; they are like the rest of us, some bad, some good, and some so talented they have left indelible marks on every field of human endeavor. They have always been an underappreciated force, above all in the realm of ethics. No religion has developed in so well-structured a fashion as Judaism; its impact on Christian and Islamic ethics is well attested. Without the Jews, a major force for good and a barometer for moral concern would be taken from civilization entirely -- or is moral concern something the world would secretly rather do without?
The irony is that it is precisely these prejudiced, conniving, and racist haters of Jews -- including those who envisage the destruction of the one and only Jewish state and those who conjure up a realistic threat of a second Holocaust -- who have the arrogance to treat the Jews, including the Israelis, as if they are the most prejudiced, the most conniving, the most racist of all mankind -- and the most immoral -- and, of course, deeply inferior to Christians or Muslims.
The false piety of much Christian condemnation of Israel is matched only by the cheap moralizing of the followers of Islam in their attacks, both physical and verbal, on the Jewish state; or their failure to recognize that Jerusalem was always a Jewish city; that there were two Jewish temples there; and especially in the obsessive Palestinian refusal to recognize any part of Israel as a Jewish entity, or to make peace with Israel, or even to acknowledge that there has been a continuous Jewish presence in the Holy Land for three thousand years.
The loss of Israel -- engineered as it would be by a coalition of "progressive" Muslims and Western secularists, along with anti-Semitic Christians and hard-line Islamists -- would not be a victory for any of the values we hold dear. On the contrary, it would be one of the greatest disasters to befall mankind. The values we consider highest – such as peacemaking, neighborliness, cooperation, caring for the less fortunate, for those of different religions, ethnicity, and mutual defence against aggression – would start to crumble, and our sense of human progress would weaken and lose its hold on our minds and hearts. If we could do that to the Jews, a people of great deserving, who have done so much for us, what might we then do to others? For even if the Jews were gone, there would still be other, weaker people for us to persecute and eliminate.
Does such a prognosis seem inflated, even barely respectable? Israel, however, did not emerge in the way most other countries have done, as an expression of traditional boundaries, a containment of one or more specific languages, a repository of a single culture, a place determined by one king, one dominant holy man, or one parliament, or one body of laws. Of course, Israel has had several of those things, beginning with the establishment, on that same plot of land, of the oldest set of laws after Hammurabi: the Ten Commandments and the earliest set of social welfare laws.
Modern Israel had the original acclamation of much of the international community; it set up a democratic parliament, established a set of basic laws, and, when other nations let boatloads of refugees sink at sea, served the Jews as the only sanctuary, free from a persecution which still exists to this day, and, sadly, which is once again being orchestrated by people supposedly educated enough to know better.
For civilization — any civilization — to work, there must be a core set of values that crosses from one culture to another, acquiring on the way a sort of universal validity. Small differences may exist between one country and another, one language and another, and even one religion and another. With few exceptions, people who belong to Western civilization believe that it is absolutely wrong to take a human life (except in life-or-death cases or self-defense). We strongly believe in human rights even if we are not always observant of them. In general, Western countries advocate and legislate for equality between men and women, equal justice under law, an independent judiciary, and freedom of and from belief. We attempt to expunge racism in its various forms from our streets and businesses. We defend minorities, religious, political, or gender-based. And free speech, we defend that too, even when it hurts us to do so.
Islamic civilization holds often starkly different values. A man's or woman's life may be taken, often by beheading or stoning, for a wide range of "sins," from heresy (really, free thinking; there, called blasphemy) to adultery to apostasy (more free thinking). A Muslim also may not be punished for killing a non-Muslim, or even another Muslim if his intent is to further the cause of Islam. Although not Islamic in any true sense, female genital mutilation and honor killings are far from uncommon. They happen in the UK and the US, mainly within Muslim communities – as well as in Muslim countries.
Perhaps Islamic civilization would find the disappearance of the Jewish state a satisfactory gift. But Western civilization might not wear this too well, except for that part occupied by those who consider themselves as members of the far left -- Stalinists, Trotskyites, anarchists and anti-Semitic Christians who believe they do the will of God, and even Quisling Jews -- when they curse Jews and boycott Israel.
When the Nazis took power, Germany seemed to be one of the most civilized countries in the world, with a rich culture, a deep grasp of academic achievement, and a growing mastery of science and technology. Within a few years, the country had been reduced to the status of the most barbaric of countries, the most abusive of human rights, perhaps the most savage political entity in history. And not many years later, Germany was in ruins, destroyed by the very totalitarianism it had used to impose itself on the rest of Europe.
Across the world, people came to condemn the great wrongs Germans had done to mankind. Germans rebuilt their nation only by rigorously excluding that tendency to totalitarianism. Yet today, young Germans march against Israel and, in fighting Israel, fight the Jews. What conceivable right do the scions of that black period and the years of wiedergutmachen [compensation] have to treat Jews as untermenschen [subhuman] once again, to march in the streets where the SS marched, to bellow as their grandfathers bellowed, Juden Raus, "Jews out" -- out of "Palestine," out of the Middle East, out of everyplace.
Whatever its detractors may say, Israel declares loudly that it is a country where the best Western values are honored, where democracy, the rule of law, the creation of new laws through an elected parliament, the fair treatment of all minorities, rights for women, for gays, for all citizens, Jews and non-Jews alike, are demanded. But say it is also a Jewish country based on Jewish ethics, and someone of limited intellect will come along clutching a copy of the Torah, the Talmud, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, or anything else they can lay their hands on, and declaiming that they can prove Judaism is a bloodthirsty religion that has always worked to defeat and mistreat non-Jews. In the past years, I have only known a violent and angry Islam; yet the world is silent. The world excuses Islamic murder, but focuses on flaws, often imaginary, on the part of Israel.
The very establishment of a Jewish state stood for more than even its founders guessed. It was open defiance of the universal impulse to persecute and kill Jews.
Only in their Holy Land could the Jews weave their own destinies at last -- and do. Israel thrives. They have won Nobel prizes and made some of the greatest advances in science, technology, and medicine. Israelis create world-class hospitals and universities. They have written more scientific papers per capita than any other nation, and have saved children's lives – Palestinian children's lives – in a dozen operating theatres, and sent aid teams around the world to save yet more lives. Israeli "apartheid"? Far from it. All facilities and opportunities are equally open to all Israelis: Black, White, Arab, Christian, Jew -- everyone. Far more than in say, Saudi Arabia, where there are special roads for non-Muslims to ensure they cannot enter Mecca or Medina, or where a Bible is not even allowed in the country. Or all the mosques where every Friday congregants are told that Jews are the sons of pigs and apes. It would seem that is racism; that is apartheid.
What the destroyers of Israel would do is negate every one of Israel's achievements and more, and leave a hole in the world, in their own world. What, after all, would take the place of Israel? Another failed state, riven by strife, characterized by failure, poverty-stricken, dependent, just another victim of the authoritarian Arab way of governing? Is that something that will set civilization towards new horizons? It is up to us to keep the lights on, to place civilization against barbarism, to put our minds and bodies between Israel and all who mean her ill.
 "Iran Calls for the Destruction of Israel," Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Center for Special Studies, Special Information Bulletin, November 2003, citing Khabar TV, December 14, 2000. Cited in Joshua Teitelbaum, What Iranian Leaders Really Say About Doing Away with Israel, Jerusalem Center for Pubic Affairs.
 See David Aaronovitch, Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History, London, Jonathan Cape, 2009, pp. 22-48.