Brendan O’Neill asks the obvious question. Denouncing the boycott by Airbnb of Israeli properties in the disputed territories, he wonders at the extraordinary double standard under which Airbnb doesn’t similarly boycott properties in Tibet or northern Cyprus or Crimea which are occupied by China, Turkey and Russia.
The same question can be asked of the British Quakers who have said they will no longer invest in any companies which profit from “the occupation of Palestine”, a move they offensively and misleadingly compare to their past protests against apartheid and the slave trade. Paul Parker, the Quakers’ recording clerk, said: “…our beliefs compel us to speak out about injustices wherever we see them in the world.” Yet the Quakers also admit they have no policies “relating to other occupations”.
As O’Neill writes: “Israel is always singled out. It is treated by right-on Westerners as being more wicked, more toxic, more evil and more destructive than any other state on Earth. That is why they boycott it, rage about it and take to the streets about it in a way they never do about Turkey, Saudi Arabia or anywhere else. They hate Israel more than any other place. The question is: why?”
Why indeed. Certainly antisemitism is there in the mix. So too is leftist ideology which ludicrously regards Israel as a colonialist oppressor.
The question remains, however, why the Palestinian cause rather than any other became the issue of issues for the western left. One crucial factor is surely the strategic alliance in the 1970s between the PLO leader Yasser Arafat and the former Soviet Union to turn it into precisely such a defining cause.
Millions of dollars were spent on bombarding the universities and other western institutions with lies about Palestinian and Middle East history. Arafat and the Soviets had a joint interest in creating an entirely fake Palestinian identity, intended not only to bring about the destruction of Israel by casting it as the pariah of the world but also to undermine and destabilise the west by destroying its ability to understand the true threats to life and liberty and to mistake its friends for its enemies and vice versa.
The demonisation of Israel thus exhibits the signature motif of Soviet totalitarianism: a passage through the mirror into a nightmarish world where black is white and lies are truths and everything is the negation of reality, and those who state the facts are stamped upon as enemies of the people.
Which is why the extreme animus against Israel as displayed by the Quakers, Airbnb and a myriad others in so-called “progressive” circles isn’t just a double standard and vicious prejudice but also seems utterly, surreally, brain-fryingly mad.