I will defend all of my beliefs, but one of the ideas I most proud of is Zionism. No apologies, no hiding, no doubts.
Zionism is arguably the most successful example of the restoration of an indigenous people to their rightful homeland in human history. It is a liberation struggle, a story of the creation of a light on a hill, that light being the Jewish state in the Middle East.
I write this now in particular because it is Israel Apartheid Week. Which is an attempt to bully and silence supporters of Israel and close down any civilized debate on university campuses concerning Israel and Palestine. It singles out for particular contempt one small country that, while far from perfect, has a human rights record eminently superior to that of any around it.
It attempts to equate the Jewish state — where all citizens irrespective of religion, race, gender or sexuality enjoy equality — to the hideously immoral racist society that was apartheid South Africa. It’s a lie, a blood libel, a politically motivated and blatantly dishonest campaign to use Soviet-style propaganda to condemn Jews.
So I was delighted to accept the offer to speak to four different universities during this death-dark celebration of doublespeak and anti-intellectual posing.
As I write this, I have spoken at my first and while the majority of the people there were supportive, and most of those not supportive were relatively polite, the fanatic who was removed by the police showed me the face of authentic hatred.
In the middle of my talk, he ran to the microphone reserved for questions at the end and screamed foul language and abuse. That the police were there in the first place says a great deal — disruptions are not uncommon.
This particular individual then waited for me when I left the lecture hall and continued to abuse me for 10 minutes, and also try to run at me and physically confront me. If this happened to me, I can only imagine what ordinary Jewish kids have to put up with on campuses each day.
A few brief comments: Kurdistan is occupied by four different Islamic nations. Morocco forcibly prevents hundreds of thousands of people who have the right to live in the country from entering. Most Arab countries reject black immigration and embrace passive, if not aggressive racism. In the Gulf States, and Pakistan in particular, slavery exists in the guise of “servants” who are treated as virtual animals.
In Lebanon, Palestinians are denied dozens of different occupations simply because of who they are. In Iran, homosexuals are publicly hanged and innocent women stoned to death. The secret police suppress freedoms in Syria and even relatively free Jordan. We have seen what Egypt and Libya are like, with other Arab countries little better and sometimes worse.
Gay Palestinians are forced to flee to Haifa and Tel Aviv to live openly and safely as homosexuals, gender apartheid exists in massive chunks of the Arab and greater Islamic world, yet Israel is supremely open and progressive. And so on and so on.
It’s the sort of thing the man screaming at me doesn’t want to hear.
Tragically, he is not alone.