Israel’s human rights record is not untarnished, a fact which is amplified in the recent war in Gaza. It is right that Israel should be held accountable for its actions. However, this certainly does not mean that Israel does not have the right to defend itself against Hamas and other Iranian proxies, even if war measures are necessary. Nor should it relativize the horrors committed by the oppressive terrorists who attacked the civilians of a democratic country.

The Israeli-Palestinian war has stirred emotions well beyond the Levant. However, we should approach the censorship of public speech with a cooler head. The British Home Secretary has warned that waving the Palestinian flag might be deemed a criminal act. France has banned pro-Palestinian protests, and so has Germany. The Chief Minister of an Indian state directed the police to address pro-Palestinian statements on social media.

Paul Cézanne: The Artist's Father, Reading // Public domain

Europe has been built on the liberal values of democracy, rule of law, liberty, tolerance, and free markets. Yet it seems Europeans are forgetting what these values mean. “Know thyself” is a famous ancient Greek maxim, which Europeans do not seem to take to heart. A series of aggressive actions from Russia over the past decade were not enough for the EU to properly distance itself from Russian energy, until it invaded Ukraine.