The Pixies are canceling their summer concert in Tel Aviv. Elvis Costello canceled his appearance in Israel, too, citing how mean the Israelis are to the poor, misunderstood Palestinians.
Honestly, if I hadn't stubbed my toe earlier I would think I was dreaming (or nightmaring) because the backlash against Israel is surreal.
For a long time, Christians have complained that the only religion that it is acceptable to bash is Christianity. That may be true, but it has long been acceptable to bash Israel, and anti-Semitism, while not the same thing, is generally found not far behind.
There's a big brouhaha right now about Israel because of two things, mostly: the "humanitarian aid" flotilla that turned out to be not all that peaceful and the Helen Thomas nonsense. The humanitarian aid flap has been an interesting story to follow, as has the trajectory of Helen's own special brand of nastiness. She has, of course, retired (she'll turn ninety this summer), after being excoriated by all the right people.
But back to Israel. The current administration has seemed to maintain a policy of neutrality regarding things in the Middle East. On the one hand, of course, you have an ally. A democracy. And on the other hand you have murderous thugs whose stated purpose is to wipe our ally off the face of the planet. Refusing to take sides (and insulting Israel on more than one occasion) is one of the worst sins of the current administration. It's becoming way too easy to whisper little anti-Semitic comments these days. Jay Nordlinger of National Review worries that soon it will be "cool" (apparently it already is in Europe).
I find this current state of affairs to be heartbreaking.
I remember when Sarah Palin was the governor of Alaska and she had an Israeli flag in her office (along with a U.S. flag too, of course). That's the kind of support we should expect from our leaders. Israel makes mistakes -- she is a country run by human beings, after all -- but we must never let anyone in the region think we will not support her wholeheartedly. The indifference shown by the current administration has given hope to her enemies and for this we should be profoundly ashamed.
The election of 2012 cannot come fast enough -- not for us, not for Israel.