Michael Totten

Israel Through Israeli Eyes

Yoram Hazony wrote a fascinating essay about how many Europeans view Israel, and why so many of them find the country distasteful. A sovereign Jewish state that uses armed force to defend itself and advance its own interests is increasingly at odds with the pacifistic post-nationalism of Europe.

“If Germany and France have no right to exist as independent states,” he writes, “why should Israel? And if everyone is prepared to remain dry-eyed on the day the United Kingdom and the Netherlands are finally gone, why should anyone feel differently about Israel?”

He suggests that Israelis and Europeans learned the opposite lessons from Nazi Germany. Israelis learned that Jews can’t survive without a sovereign state and army of their own, while many Europeans think national sovereignty and military force are what lead to events like the Holocaust.

It may be useful, then, for Europeans and other Westerners who find Israel so exasperating to step outside their own paradigm and take a look at how Israel views itself. The following six-minute video is an excellent place to start. It’s not comprehensive, it avoids the tough questions, and the Palestinians have their own counter-narrative, but when Israel looks in the mirror, it sees this: