Victor Davis Hanson hits this one out of the park:
I used to think that oil, Arab demography, fear of Islamic terrorism, and blowback from its close association with the United States explained the global double standard that is applied to Israel.
But after the hysteria over the Gaza flotilla, the outbursts of various members of the Turkish government, and Ms. Thomas’s candid revelations, I think the mad-dog hatred of Israel is more or less because it is a Jewish state. Period.
Let me explain. Intellectuals used to loudly condemn anti-Semitism because it was largely associated with those deemed to be less sophisticated people, often right-wing, who on either racial, nationalistic, or religious grounds regarded Jews as undesirable. Hating Jews was a sign of boorish chauvinism, or of the conspiratorial mind that exuded envy and jealousy of the more successful.
But in the last two decades especially, the Left has made anti-Semitism respectable in intellectual circles. The fascistic nature of various Palestinian liberation groups was forgotten, as the “occupied” Palestinians grafted their cause onto that of American blacks, Mexican-Americans, and Asian-Americans. Slurring post-Holocaust Jews was still infra dig, but damning the nation-state of Israel as imperialistic and oppressive was considered principled. No one ever cared to ask: Why Israel and not other, far more egregious examples? In other words, one could now focus inordinately on the Jews by emphasizing that one’s criticism was predicated on cosmic issues ofhuman rights and justice. And by defaming Israel the nation, one could vent one’s dislike of Jews without being stuck with the traditional boorish label of anti-Semite.
Indeed. Read the whole thing. He goes on to say that the kneejerk double standard applied to Israel may, paradoxically, be liberating for it, as it will eventually just do what it has to do without paying heed to world opinion. Judging by what I hear from Israelis at all levels of society (including some who would be considered political liberals pretty much anywhere in the USA), the proverbial “man in the street” in Israel has already reached that stage.