With well-honed apathy, one can dismiss the horrifying survey the BBC released this week saying that a huge percentage of the public in 27 countries places Israel among the most hated states in the world, alongside Iran and North Korea.It’s possible not merely to scorn these findings and similar ones published in recent years , but even to wallow in them in the kind of masochistic pleasure which became a motto of Israeli foreign policy in the Netanyahu-Lieberman era – Happy are we, we are hated! We are hated anyway simply because we are Jews and because the world is anti-Semitic. Why try to be “Israeli”? To what end should we attempt to take our fate into our own hands and strive for normalization and a diplomatic solution if they will go on hating us anyway?On the contrary, we can supply the gentiles with new reasons to hate us: We shall continue to settle and to irritate them until they burst a blood vessel and – as a bonus – we shall strengthen our “Jewish identity.” That means we shall curl up tighter inside our ethnocentric ghetto mentality.
Israelis have become accustomed to being dependent, almost exclusively, on the army, on its campaigns and wars, for their sense of self-importance and national morale. No civilian political culture has developed that can grasp profoundly – sometimes with horror – the fateful significance of coping with the diplomatic challenge, which is the real playing field of the nations.