The State of Israel was established 62 years ago, by order of the international community, as the homeland of the Jewish nation – in recognition of our historic ties to this land and in the wake of the world’s demonstrable failure to protect the Jews in exile.Amid the fallout from last week’s bloody interception of the Gaza-bound flotilla, Israel’s fundamental sovereign legitimacy is being challenged as seldom, if ever, before in its modern history.The campaign to demonize Israel is being most energetically championed, unsurprisingly, by nations, organizations and individuals that make no secret of the fact that they seek Israel’s destruction. But it is being facilitated in good part because of a growing disinclination among those who know better to contest those assaults on Israel that have departed from the framework of moral tenability and legitimacy.Sign your name to The Jerusalem Post petition by adding a talkback belowIn this context, the United States has a critical part to play. It has been a credible and dependable ally of Israel through innumerable past crises, and it is vital that the Obama administration play that central role again today.It is vital, most of all, that the US insist on the maintenance of Israel’s capacity to protect itself against those who seek its elimination.THE JERUSALEM POST is an avowedly Zionist newspaper, dedicated to the well-being of Israel and the Jewish people, and committed to taking editorial positions it believes best serve their interests. To that end, it has issued frequent criticisms of Israel’s governments over the years, most certainly including this one.It has made no secret of its criticisms of last week’s flotilla interception – including intelligence/operational failures directly related to the interception itself and aspects of the government’s handling of its aftermath. The Israeli government has much to examine – about the interception itself, and the wider policies surrounding it. That essential process is already and rightly in full swing. The Jerusalem Post has no quarrel with the notion of Israel being held to the same standards as any and every other democratic country, despite the particular complexities of our geostrategic position. Its daily content underlines its commitment to freedom of expression and to diversity of opinion.But it also believes Israel is deserving of elementary fairness, and that Israel’s actions are deserving of reasoned, fact-based representation and criticism. This, it seems to us, is a reasonable expectation that is no longer being universally met.In too many parts of the world at present, criticism of Israel has strayed wildly beyond the parameters of elementary fairness and reason. Specific aspects of last week’s interception have been maliciously misrepresented. Dishonest accounts of what occurred have been widely circulated and afforded credible platforms.Opinion-shapers long hostile to the very fact of Israel’s existence have exploited the incident to incite against Israel’s right to defend itself from those who would destroy it. And, most worryingly, some leaders and nations who have hitherto shown the capacity to distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel and malevolent discrimination against Israel have abandoned such reason.In some cases, previously just and open-minded leaderships have joinedforces with those who have long battled against Israel in theirrhetoric and actions. In other cases, previously fair-minded leadershave merely fallen silent. And of course, all that is necessary for thetriumph of evil is that good men do nothing.In such an environment, robust and reasoned leadership from the UnitedStates – leadership that honestly assesses the climate in which Israelis operating, that pays sensible heed to the nature and scale of thethreats it faces, and that acts to ensure Israel can safeguard itselfagainst those threats – is central to our capacity to thrive here.Israel’s existence has been threatened militarily over and over in itsshort modern lifespan. We publish this editorial now because we feelIsrael’s existence is being threatened as seldom before on the secondbattlefield – in the arenas of media coverage, international law,politics and diplomacy.We cannot in good conscience do nothing. And we invite you, amid whatin some quarters is developing into anti-Israel hysteria, to add yourvoice to our call for the US to lead the way along the path of reason.