Maybe a real debate is beginning to break out. Here's a bracing piece from Brendan O'Neill on how the West sometimes imbues Israel with more civilizational significance than any country should be burdened with. Money quote:

There are major differences in the way Americans view Israelmost are generally favorableand the way Europeans view Israelmany are increasingly hostile to the Jewish state. Yet what unites pro-Israel thinkers on both sides of the Atlantic is a view of Israel as a representative of everything progressive and decent.

Across the West, more and more anti-relativist, pro-reason writers are projecting their fears for the future of civilization onto the Middle East, imagining that Israel, that last defender of old-fashioned national sovereignty, is fighting not only for its right to exist but for the continued existence of the ideals of the Enlightenment itself.

[...] Worst of all, the “enlightened” pro-Israel lobby now presents the threat to Western values as a purely external one, emanating from the slums of Gaza or the towns of southern Lebanon or the radical mosques of Iran when, in truth, the Enlightenment is being corroded from within the West itself. In describing Israel’s wars with Palestine as a fight to defend “not just the West but civilization in general,” pro-Israel groupies are partaking in a political and theoretical displacement activity of historic proportion.

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