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Israel’s US supporters aren’t doing it any favours

Pro-Palestine protesters at Harvard. Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty

One of the stranger aspects of the Israel-Hamas conflict, says Andrew Sullivan on Substack, has been watching conservatives embrace cancel culture. Republican senator Tom Cotton called for the government to “immediately” deport all foreign nationals who express support for Hamas. Top hedge fund manager Bill Ackman demanded a “blacklist” of students who had protested against Israel, so that he wouldn’t “inadvertently hire them in future”. The long list of “utterly unrelated” Palestinian cultural events postponed or cancelled since the October 7 attacks includes a charity concert in London, a film festival in Boston and an awards ceremony at the Frankfurt Book Fair. National Review, the conservative magazine, “went full-on woke”, endorsing the view that “freedom of speech is not freedom from consequence”.

In truth, Israel’s defenders were “the original pioneers of cancel culture”. For decades, anyone foolish enough to criticise the Israeli government has immediately been smeared with the stain of anti-Semitism. As a result, the US has never been able to put any real pressure on Jerusalem to do things differently – and that has “enabled the Jewish state’s worst instincts”. Yes, the Palestinians bear the lion’s share of responsibility for failing to agree a proper peace deal. They rejected a US-brokered settlement in 2000 that would have given them 92% of the West Bank and 100% of the Gaza strip. But Israel’s subsequent actions – with its settler programme, for example – showed that it had lost interest in a two-state solution. “And Washington was too weak to say no.” The tragedy in the Middle East has many authors. “Israel’s American supporters are among them.”

☎️😡 Bill Clinton never forgave Yasser Arafat for rejecting the 2000 proposal, says Philip Collins in The Times. Shortly before he stepped down as head of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, Arafat called Clinton and told him, “You are a great man.” “The hell I am,” replied Clinton. “I’m a colossal failure and you made me one.”