In an essay celebrating the 99th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, the British politician Michael Gove writes (free registration required):
It is to [Britain’s] eternal credit that we rejected centuries of prejudice 100 years ago and pledged to extend to the Jewish people the rights enjoyed by Germans and Italians, Japanese and Mexicans—the right to a land they could call their own. The Balfour Declaration in 1917 was followed in 1948 with the creation of the state of Israel. Since then, that state’s success has been near miraculous.
Surrounded by enemies who sought to strangle it at birth, continually threatened by war and constantly under terrorist attack, a nation scarcely the size of Wales with no natural resources, half of whose territory is desert, has become a flourishing democracy, a center of scientific innovation, one of the world’s major providers of international humanitarian relief and the only state from Casablanca to Kabul with a free press, free judiciary, a flourishing free-enterprise economy and freedom for people of every sexual orientation to live and love as they wish.
And that is the reason it attracts such hostility. Not because of what Israel does. But because of what it is.
For those on the left addicted to guilt-tripping and grievance-mongering, who believe that poverty is a consequence of Western exploitation and that bourgeois ethics lead to oppression, the existence of a political entity that is a runaway success precisely because it is a bourgeois-minded, capitalism-fueled, Western-oriented nation state is just too much to bear. Their ideological prejudices have collided with a stubborn, undeniable, fact.
So what do they do? Keep the prejudices, of course, and try to get rid of the fact.
Gove concludes with a suggestion to British government:
Israel is the only state where we don’t locate our embassy in the nation’s capital and the only ally the Foreign Office has refused to let the queen visit. So let’s celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration by moving our embassy to Jerusalem next year and inviting Her Majesty to open it. What are we afraid of? Earning the enmity of those who hate Israel? To my mind, there could be no greater compliment.