American media superstar Glenn Beck's visit to Israel this week was a revealing and remarkable event. It revealed what it takes to be a friend of Israel. And it revealed the causes of Israel's difficulty in telling its enemies from its friends.
Many world leaders, opinion-shapers and other notables profess enduring friendship with Israel. From Washington to London, Paris to Spain, policymakers and other luminaries preface all their remarks to Jewish audiences with such statements. Once their declarations are complete - and often without taking a breath - they proceed to denounce Israel's policies and to deny its basic rights.
US President Barack Obama exemplifies this practice. Obama always begins his statements on Israel by proclaiming his enduring friendship for Israel. Then he tells us to deny Jewish property rights, accept indefensible borders, or desist from defending ourselves from aggression.
The Israeli Left habitually embraces self-proclaimed friends such as Obama. Often leftist leaders encourage such friends to harm Israel in the name of helping it. For instance, in 2007, speaking to then-secretary of state Condoleezza Rice - who had a habit of comparing her friend Israel to the Jim Crow South - then-Haaretz editor David Landau asked her to "rape" the Jewish state. Opposition leader Tzipi Livni recently encouraged Obama to increase pressure on Israel.
When anti-Semitic public intellectuals such as the late Nobel laureate Jose Saramago compare Israel to Nazi Germany, the Israeli Left makes light of their remarks. For instance, when at the height of the Palestinian terror war in 2002 Saramago said Israel was worse than the Nazis and that Jews had no right to speak of the Holocaust, Yediot Aharonot's Ariella Melamed referred to Saramago as "one of the most beloved foreign novelists in Israel."
On Thursday, Israeli Arab actor and filmmaker Muhammad Bakri was the subject of a two-page hagiographic profile in Yediot. Bakri's libelous 2003 film Jenin, Jenin, in which he falsely portrayed IDF soldiers as murderers and war criminals, was brushed off as merely "controversial."
Making no mention of Bakri's family ties to terrorist murderers or supportive statements regarding terrorism and war against Israel, Yediot portrayed this foe as a hero. Bakri, who has used his considerable talents to criminalize and demonize the country and to support its terrorist enemies, was lionized as an unwilling culture warrior who would much rather be acting than fighting, but feels he cannot escape his duty to fight for the great causes he holds dear.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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