Israel faces an obvious problem of hostility from many people in Europe and the US, and I want here to look at a cause of that hostility. I consider that to be ignorance.

Here in the UK, that many educated left-liberal people are hostile is sadly true, and in that statement alone there is a conundrum, because I called them educated, and that surely is a contradiction. But it isn't. They are educated but they are also ignorant about the one thing they feel so strongly about.

Hatred is, I suppose, often born of ignorance. It is easy, perhaps, to hate for what you perceive to be the truth, but this raises a question, which is that surely educated people are trained to learn the truth before making a judgment. So why do so many educated people in the UK not think about the facts when it comes to Israel? Why do so many people have such strong feelings about a matter they actually know so very little about?

Well, this has to be said so I shall say it and get it out of the way, Europeans are coming from a history of …. let us call it hostility to Jews. I have mixed feelings about overusing the anti-Semitism word, but let's face it, basically they don't like us. I'm not going to go into why they don't, because that's a big subject, but I do want to touch on something that seems puzzling about British anti-Semitism, which is that the British are, as a people, not warm towards foreigners generally. They protest about immigration, but they do, it has to be said, absorb immigrants after they have made a fuss about them, and they do it pretty well. The UK is a multicultural society, much like the United States, and people generally rub along fairly satisfactorily. Much is said about recent Muslim immigrants, but by and large there is no serious hostility to Muslims in the UK. (Muslims like to say there is, but there isn't, and why they claim there is is another subject.)

Now I don't want to trample all over people's sensibilities here, but I think I am fairly safe in saying that there is a certain amount of terrorism troubling the world at present, and think I am equally safe when I suggest that almost all terrorism is perpetrated by Muslims (and please don't insist that I differentiate between Muslims and Islamists, because I won't, and that is also a topic for another day).

So if people were going to be completely rational, and by people I am here talking about the educated class here in the UK, the people they would fear would be Muslims. No-one in Britain has ever experienced Jewish terrorism, directly or indirectly, but we are all, without exception, very conscious of terrorism by Muslims. So one might think, looking at this very logically, that if an educated British person were going to make a choice between hostility to Jews and Muslims, it would not be a difficult choice. But read the Guardian or any other left-wing medium, and what you will read is that we as a country are guilty of something called 'Islamophobia', and we should be welcoming Muslim refugees more than we do. Now I'm not commenting here on whether we should welcome Muslim refugees or not, but I am commenting on newspapers that say these things on the same pages as they say Israel is guilty of terrible crimes and should be shunned by all decent people.

Which means, I think, that British people make no connection between Muslim terrorism and Muslims, but make an immediate connection between what are perceived as the crimes of Israel and Jews. And the only reason I can think of for this anomaly is that there is no history of hostility to Muslims in the UK (because there is no history of Muslims here) but there is a shameful history of hostility to Jews, and now let's call that anti-Semitism.

And before I come back to the ignorance I want to talk about, there is another factor at play which must be mentioned. Europeans, and the British in particular, are hard-wired to support the underdog. They are conditioned, though I don't know the reason for it, to support David against Goliath. When Israel was David, against the Goliath of its Arab enemies, the British supported Israel (although British government policy was to support the Arab Legion of Jordan), but Israel made the mistake of winning those wars, and then it became Goliath, and the pawns in the whole mess, the Palestinian Arabs, became David, the underdog. That the underdog was, firstly, only the underdog because its friends failed to kill every Israeli, and secondly that it was rabid, did not concern British intellectuals. The British love a loser.

Which brings me back to ignorance. To love the loser, because he is the loser, requires one to ignore every other factor. You have to ignore the fact that he was the aggressor to start with.

Left-liberals believe that all the Palestinians want is a state of their own. They appear oblivious to the fact that on several occasions, starting in 1948, the Palestinian Arabs could have had just that. They believe it is Israel that is preventing the existence of Palestine. They don't know that is not true, or they don't care. Well, they cannot possibly not know, so all that leaves is they don't care. But actually even that is not true. The real answer is that it is simply not an issue. And this brings me to the crux of the matter. Left-liberal intellectuals in the West are not just ignorant, they are wilfully ignorant. They choose not to know. One might almost say they believe that knowing the facts is not important. They are driven by emotion, by the sight of dead Palestinian children. Knowing why those children died, because Hamas launched attacks at Israel to provoke a military response, is of no importance against the simple fact of dead Palestinian children. It's as if left-liberals exist in a post-fact world.

And doing that, placing feelings above facts, opens a critical opportunity for propaganda. Arab and Muslim propagandists know three things. The first is that Israel cannot be defeated militarily. The second is that Israel is dependent on the support of the Jewish diaspora around the world, so it is critical to separate the diaspora from the State of Israel. And the third is that no matter how many atrocities are committed by Muslims, against other Muslims, against Christians, and against anyone who happens to be in the way, western left-liberals know who to hate, and it's not them.

They know that every year, when they hold an Israel Apartheid week here in the UK, it reinforces the notion among thinking Britons that Israel is an apartheid state. Note I say thinking Britons, but what I have never heard nor read in all the years this lie has been repeated is an explanation or examination of what that actually means (naturally enough, because it doesn't). I have never heard the people who claim this actually explain why they claim it, and I have never heard a thinking Briton ask the question. This can only be because what it means matters very little. What matters is the word. Keep saying it, and no matter that it means nothing, because it becomes the truth. My complaint here is that not asking what it means is shameful; it shames the so-called educated class that they accept – and repeat - such propaganda and never ask for proof.

The propagandists know that if they keep repeating the mantras that Israel is an apartheid state, that it occupies Palestine, that the settlements are preventing a two-state solution, that Gaza is a prison, people in the West will believe them. Propaganda works by repeating the lie often enough that no-one remembers the truth. But to succeed in that requires that the audience for those lies is a willing one. The audience must be ignorant, but it must also be willing to believe the lies. Western left-liberals are both.

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