A well-known decades-old song, “The Whole World Is Against Us,” is invoked today by Israelis who argue that no matter what the country does, it will be shunned.The feeling has become more pronounced in recent weeks.
“This is something Israelis know: that they very, very much depend on both America and Germany, or in the larger sense, Europe. And there’s nothing they fear more than being alone in the world,” said Tom Segev, an Israeli historian.
President Obama’s approach to the Middle East has made Israelis feel as though they are in danger of losing their most important ally.
Frustration with Israel’s international isolation is coupled with Israeli anxieties about the country’s seemingly dwindling capabilities, said Oz Almog, a sociologist at Haifa University. “We are not as strong as we used to perceive ourselves,” Almog said. “Our army is not as victorious as it used to be.”
In this environment, Israelis look to John’s appearance for reassurance, just as they see reasons for despair in cancellations by Elvis Costello, the Pixies and indie folk singer Devendra Banhart.
Israelis may be indifferent to criticism when it’s in their own media or when it comes from Israeli human rights groups, Segev said, “but we are not indifferent to these signs coming from abroad.”