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Opinion | Israel's Isolation Is Getting Deeper,and It Will Get Worse - Sefy Hendler I Haaretz

PARIS – There was a full house at the Salle Pleyel concert hall, not far from the Champs-Élysées, for an event titled Agir Ensemble – Act Together. A carefully chosen panel of politicians, journalists, and intellectuals came to speak out and express support for Israel and Bernard-Henri Lévy's new book, «Solitude d'Israel» (Grasset, not yet available in English).

The title of Lévy's book, "Israel's Loneliness," is among the most accurate that has been given to the chain of events that followed the October 7 massacre by Hamas terrorists. It oers existential thoughts about the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip, the diminishing number of Israel's allies, and a horizon that looks bleaker than ever. The thousands who attended the event might have felt better together, but regardless of how successful the soirée was, it cannot hide that feeling of growing isolation Israelis and supporters of Israel feel today around the world.

The collapse in Israel's standing must give every Israeli sleepless nights. The demonstrations in London with chants of "from the river to the sea," and the attacks on Jews at elite American universities by vocal minority protesters, are turning more and more mainstream. This is an alarming sign for Israel which doesn't see that the harsh speech by Senator Chuck Schumer, «Guardian of Israel," in the Senate in Washington, D.C. is not equivalent to the defamatory words of Judith Butler, the oracle of gender who refuses to see the rape of Israeli women as an act terror.

The growing despair with Israel among its friends indicates this dangerous isolation will only increase. The plain fact is that Israel under the leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu now has very few character witnesses, if any, and the trend is clear: The few will grow even fewer.

It is possible to see this as proof of hatred of Israel, but we'd be closing our eyes to the full picture. The leaders of the West did, after all, make a pilgrimage to Israel as an act of solidarity when smoke was still rising from the Gaza border communities and the Israel Defense Forces had already attacked Hamas in the Gaza Strip. First and foremost, there was Joe Biden, who sent aircraft carriers and an airlift of essential weaponry.

However, the prolonging of the war along with Netanyahu's politics of survival have led to the current meltdown, a preview of the emerging result: diplomatic defeat in the all-out war with


The heart of the matter is not public diplomacy – hasbara, in Hebrew – or people who know how to put two words together in English, for whom Netanyahu is "desperate," but rather policy and those who are responsible for implementing it. One cannot, after all, conduct a war with empty slogans when the country is being torn apart, when the police force is becoming a militia against political opponents of the regime and when there is a coalition composed of the worst Israel has to oer.

The person who puts the budget into the hands of Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who gives ultra-Orthodox party leaders Arye Dery and Yitzchak Goldknopf the right to veto the law for conscription in an army that is desperate for soldiers, who sends Social Equality and the Advancement of the Status of Women Minister May Golan to speak at the United Nations, and who switches between Eli Cohen and Israel Katz at the Foreign Ministry – knows exactly what to expect.

In the past, Bernard-Henri Lévy often mentioned the alarmingly poor quality of Israeli politicians. In an interview with Haaretz more than a decade ago, he had already called them "zeroes," in remarks that today sound like a tragically self-fulling prophecy. Israel's solitude is a direct result of the isolation Netanyahu has brought down upon it, fruit of the political curse that has condemned the Jewish state to more of the same again and again. Can Israel change this tragic trajectory and break the belt

of isolation?

The answer is to be found, apparently, in Jerusalem more than in Rafah. Until Israelis impel effective political change, the isolation will deepen, and the defeat will become more definitive and more absolute.


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