"Europeans have done something that no one has ever done before: create a zone of peace where war is ruled out, absolutely out," Karl Kaiser, director of the Research Institute of the German Society for Foreign Affairs said in the Chicago Tribune last year during the lead-up to the Iraq war. "Europeans are convinced that this model is valid for other parts of the world."
Kaiser's rosy version of history perfectly reflects the unreality of the European point of view. First, the United States has maintained peace in North America since 1865. Second, what about that whole mess in the former Yugoslavia that consumed most of the 1990s and still requires U.S. troops to keep the peace? But whatever, we're talking worldviews, not facts, I suppose.
But let's get back to Israel. Many of Israel's defenders were quick to charge that the Euro-poll reveals "nothing less than pure anti-Semitism," to quote Natan Sharansky, a minister in the Israeli government.
I'm not so sure. I certainly believe that anti-Semitism is a growing and real problem in Europe. I also can see how the age-old European tendency to see Jews as "troublemakers" and "boat-rockers" when they stand up for themselves plays a part in the European bias against Israel. But ultimately, I think anti-Semitism is only part of the story.
Israel has a worldview that, of necessity, understands the need for force even more than America. Israel's neighbors see the murder of little kids and old women as cause for celebration. Just one small example: A recent poll of Palestinians revealed that 59 percent of them wanted to see terrorism against Israel continue even after the creation of a Palestinian state.
But Europeans, in their condescension and arrogance, don't hold Arabs to the same standard as they do Israelis. Remember how one Swedish official wanted to revoke Shimon Peres' Nobel Peace Prize but saw no reason for Arafat to give up his?
Europeans see Israelis as fellow Westerners, and they can't forgive them for not following Europe's example of settling differences over runny cheese and bottled water in fancy hotels. The truth is the Israelis would like nothing better. But not if the chitchat over brie is nothing but a pretext for their destruction. So, they opt for self-defense. They may make mistakes in the process, but one can hardly expect them to accept suicide simply in the name of world peace.