In those days I loved those people, and boundlessly admired their achievement. I wrote in one of my less temperate dispatches, expressing faith in Israel as a bastion of western civilization in the Middle East.
I glimpsed a darker side of Israel. I learned a lot about the ruthlessness of Israeli anti-terrorist operations. I spent many hours talking to thoughtful Israelis, who voiced their fears about the perils, the threatened corruption of their own society, which they perceived in the 1967 conquests.
To me, in my naivete, Israel’s struggle had hitherto seemed that of a brilliant little people, who had suffered the most ghastly experience of the 20th century, struggling for survival amid a hostile Middle East still bent upon their destruction.
Between the late 1970s and 1990s, I was one of those foreigners who progressively fell out of love with Israel.
The Palestinians are incapable of imposing their own will on the Israelis. But poverty, misery and impotence represent weapons of their own. These things cause Israel to be regarded by a large part of the world as an oppressor.
„But you’ve got to understand why we must do this – because of the Holocaust.“ For more than 60 years, the Holocaust card has been played again and again. Today in Europe, there is not the slightest danger that the unspeakable fate of the Jews in the 1940s will be forgotten.
The Zionist claim, that the country is the natural home of Jews, is rejected by a majority of the world’s 14 million Jews. Goldberg argues that „Zionists claim that only in their own land can Jews lead a full, ’normal‘ life without fear of anti-semitism. But the irony of Israel’s geopolitical situation is that the average Jew walking the streets of Los Angeles, Golders Green or even Moscow is physically safer than the average Israeli walking in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.“
Das Ende einer Liebesgeschichte, die auf nichts Anderem als purer Romantik beruhte? Oder die Beschreibung eines Reifungsprozesses?
Wem Israel heute am Herzen liegt, wer auf eine Zukunft Israels hofft, wer die Lebenswirklichkeit heutiger Israelis und Palästinenser ernstnimmt, dem mag es ähnlich gehen wie Max Hastings. Wer Israel durch eine dezidiert (anti-)deutsche Brille betrachtet und nur darauf aus ist, moralisch vor sich selbst, seinem Schöpfer – und noch wichtiger: seinem Land – in weißer Weste dazustehen, wird Max Hastings‘ Selbstoffenbarung kaum verstehen (wollen).