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Opinion: Israel takes it to the limit one more time

US and partners need to learn they should respond in kind.

Labour MP Robert Marshall-Andrews went further, "Israel is rapidly becoming a rogue and pariah state."

Over in the Knesset, Michael Ben Ari, of the right-wing religious National Union party, said: “The British are dogs but they are not loyal to us. This is anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism."

Israeli commentator Amir Oren in Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz pointed out the hypocrisy in Ben Ari's view: "A British agent using an Israeli passport to track down an IRA cell would not meet with much Israeli sympathy."

Couple the gestures and the angry words between Britain and Israel with the ongoing controversy between the Obama administration over the Israeli government's decision to build 1,600 new houses in disputed parts of East Jerusalem and you have what seems to be a critical moment for Israel and its top allies.

This did not happen overnight. In Europe, Israel has been under more critical scrutiny than at any time since 9/11 because of its incursion into Gaza last year. Europeans in general, and Britons in particular, express a strong concern about the rise of radical Islam, a much more visible phenomenon here than in America. Israeli intransigence in working toward peace is increasingly seen as a cause of the growth of Muslim radicalism around the continent. The Israeli government's unwillingness to even acknowledge this concern is causing it to lose public support.

Israel is fast becoming the Millwall Football Club of the international community. In the 1980s when football fan hooliganism was a major social problem in the U.K., the club with the worst reputation was Millwall. Their players were thuggish on the field and their fans emulated them in the street, fighting after the match. Millwall fans used to chant, "Nobody likes us and we don't care." That seems to sum up much of Israeli society's view of the world.

Despite the brouhaha surrounding the decision to build in East Jersualem, two major polls released in Israel this week show about half of the public in favor of the policy. The message to Israeli politicians is clear. There are no votes in a settlement freeze. The message to the world is also clear, we don't care what you think.

The deeper meaning of these events for all the international peace makers — the U.S. and Britain individually and as members of the Middle East Quartet — is this: Israel will not be governed by the international community's consensus, expectations or demands. The time has come to stop formulating policy premised on the belief that the Jewish state can be persuaded to a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. By its deeds, Israel has demonstrated its policy with admirable clarity, the U.S. and its partners need to demonstrate their policy in a similar way, not with words but by actions.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect MP Robert Marshall-Andrews' party as Labour.