Sunday, May 10, 2009

Israel in the Crosshairs

By Alan Caruba

There are few nations on Earth other than Israel with a greater claim to exist as a homeland for a specific people. Along with China and India, Israel reaches back thousands of years, predating both Christianity and Islam.

For some 3,500 years, Jews have lived in Israel. In good times and bad, Jews have always identified themselves with Israel even when, as a Diaspora, they spread for their survival to many other nations. The re-establishment of Israel on May 14, 1948 led to two immediate events. Within eleven minutes after the announcement, President Harry S. Truman recognized the new nation. Within hours, the Arab League declared war.

With only six hundred thousand Jewish residents at the time, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq joined together to destroy Israel. They failed. They tried again in 1967. They failed. They tried in 1973, attacking on one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur. They failed.

Following the 1967 war, eight Arab nations gathered in Khartoum and issued their “Three No’s.” No peace with Israel. No recognition of Israel. No negotiations with Israel. In time, Egypt would sign a peace treaty; though not abandon its animus. Jordan would make its accommodations. The others remained hostile.

To understand Israel’s situation, it is necessary to understand that (1) Jews had lived there since the days of Moses, (2) the early Zionist movement members that moved there purchased land on which to farm and live, (3) the land which was captured in successive wars had always been part of Israel, and (4) both the United Kingdom and the U.S., for their own reasons, have not been honest brokers, particularly so far as their demand that Israel negotiate with people who never had any intention to negotiate peace.

The Israelis did not steal their own land, nor are they illegitimate “occupiers” of their land regained as the result of having been attacked. What they gained in wars against them historically was always theirs and had been denied to them by the Arab nations that claimed them.

Israel has never known a day of true peace in just over sixty years of its modern existence. In his latest book, “The Late Great State of Israel”, Aaron Klein spells out why Israel is closer to destruction than anyone might imagine except for its implacable enemies.

I want Israel to exist and to thrive, but I find it unsurprising that a totally Muslim region, the Middle East and throughout the Maghreb, the Islamic northern nations of Africa, would see Israel through their xenophobic lens as in invasion by the West; by European Jews who began settling there in the early 1900s, by the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, by the host of Russian Jews granted permission to leave the former Soviet Union, and even the many Jews who felt compelled to flee Arab nations following Israel’s founding.

While Jews had always lived in Israel, the Arabs who lived there prior to its establishment identified themselves loosely as citizens of pre-World War One Syria. The land had known many conquerors, dating back to the Romans who renamed the nation Palestine in a vain effort to remove its Jewish history. Muslims fought many wars, including the Crusades, to extend and maintain their control over Jerusalem Their utter scorn and contempt for Israel and the Jews is found in the Koran and infuses Islam as does its core belief that all religions must bow down to Allah.

Christians know the fall of the Jewish state to present-day Muslim invaders would mark the end of any opportunity to visit the birthplace and ministry of Jesus and would be taken as a sign that Christianity was vulnerable wherever it is practiced. In many towns and cities of Israel where Christians had lived for centuries, they have been forced to flee before the hostility of Muslim “neighbors.”

Herein is the warning that Klein issues in his book. Those who would destroy Israel are not just external, they include (1) the Arab nations surrounding it and the so-called Palestinian “refugees” laying claim to it, (2) the United Nations that has supported the Palestinians since 1950 along with its endless resolutions singling out Israel as racists, and (3) even the largely unreported aid that the U.S. has given to Fatah, the alleged Palestinian Authority with whom Israel is supposed to negotiate peace.

Other than (4) Iran that has openly threatened to “wipe Israel off the map”, the latest threat is (5) the Obama administration that is demanding a two-state accommodation with the Palestinians that they have always refused to accept because their goal is Israel’s destruction.

To put the U.S. demands that Israel stop building settlements in the disputed West Bank and other areas, consider that, according to the World Almanac, Israel is comprised of 7,849 square miles. By comparison, New Jersey is 8,721 square miles. Imagine, then, if the federal government insisted that New Jersey cede Delaware all the area from Atlantic City to the Delaware border?

Internally, from its founding, Israel has been divided between its socialist and largely secular Jews, the men and women who took up Zionism as an answer to the bigotry Jews faced in Europe pre-dating the Holocaust, and the religious Jewish community who see Israel is the fulfillment of the Torah prophesy and as the center of world Judaism. This latter group has always felt the scorn of Israel’s secular Jewish government.

Without delving into the complexities of Israeli politics, Klein makes a strong case that Israelis in recent times have been ill-served by the secular Likud and former PM Ariel Sharon’s Kadima parties. The withdrawal from southern Lebanon and the 2006 short war led by Hezbollah shattered the image of Israel’s impregnable and powerful military capabilities.

Israel’s forced removal from Gaza of its longtime Jewish residents, its abandonment to the Palestinians, and the recent military action against Hamas simply demonstrates that the Palestinians have figured out a way to demoralize Israelis with constant rocket attacks. Giving Gaza to the Palestinians merely created a new staging area for attacks.

Klein documents how several U.S. administrations have provided weapons and financial aid (through the United Nations) to Fatah. Fatah and now Hamas have used both to kill Israelis and yet successive Israeli government has participated in this lethal charade.

For now I will take some small comfort that Benjamin Netanyahu is once again Israel’s Prime Minister, but unless Israel is prepared to assert its right to its ancient and re-conquered land;

Unless it destroys the Iranian nuclear facilities for an America too weak or unwilling to address this necessity;

Unless it refuses the wrongful demands to turn over Jerusalem, its holiest sites, and other Jewish cities to their control;

Israel’s future may disappear in a nuclear cloud. There has been one Holocaust in my lifetime. I do not want to witness another.

At stake is more than Israel’s right to exist. The failure to support and protect Israel puts the entire basis and future of Western civilization at risk.


Galloping Hogan said...

This whole post is a fairly unoriginal rehashing of rightwing revisionist history and politics. It serves no purpose other than to convince the writer to continue believing the world is at war with the Jewish people since any criticisms of Israel is an affront to the people it tries to represent.

To this end it would be futile to attempt to pick apart each point. Instead I'll simply focus on one issue; that the 'jews' as a people have a claim to the land because they've lived there for thousands of years.

This is an anti-historical view. Essentialist races only ever existed in the books of early academics who group the people of the world into static, and senseless, categories. A move away from this was undertaken by experts like V Gordan Childe who instead focused on culture. He basically reused the race category but assigned the term culture to the mix. Since cultural memes, or units, do not exist, this definition becomes meaningless once it is explored in depth. In other words it is silly and primitive to try to trace a long history of a single 'people'. The Irish are a modern fluid nationality which cannot be traced properly back to medieval times. Instead we can only draw similarities between the people then and now as we would if geography, rather than time, was the dividing system.

This is a rought and brief treatment of this issue but ultimately my point is that to say a 'people' can claim ownership of a land because they share many religious and cultural characteristics with a group of people who lived there thousands of years before is moving into the ridiculous. This would of course mean that the Palestinians would also lose some of thier claims to the land too. This is a good thing since when groups of supremacist ideologies stop claiming the property of others based on near-supernatural links to long dead populations, then maybe the moderates will emerge to end the conflicts.

Alan Caruba said...

I would bet you are an academic, probably teaching at a college somewhere.

That's because you have offerred a dry, academic response to what is essentially a very human problem; the anti-Semitism that has existed for centuries and, in the modern era, was used to justify the cold-blooded murder of a particular people, the Jews.

It ignores books and their historic content that are sacred to both Judaism and Christianity.

It ignores a sickness that infests the souls of Muslims and renders the United Nations a citidel of hatred, unworthy of its founding goals.

All people have an attachment to their "homeland", but only the Jews are supposed to wander the world as a Diaspora without one.

Galloping Hogan said...

Actually, I'm an unemployed ex-security gaurd who has worked with campaigns groups representing refugees in Ireland and has voiced concerns about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.

I agree that the Jewish people have suffered more than any other people (besides maybe the peoples in the USSR) in the twentieth century. But ironically it is the Muslims of Europe who face the biggest threat of a new 'Holocaust'. The racism and fear directed against Muslims terrifies me. Regardless of the redundency of militant Islam, and of Qubt's and Al-Banna's breed of fundamentalist murderers, Islam isn't a religion of war and hatred. Instead those who constantly rant against all Muslims are the bigger threat to Western liberalism and the values of the Enlightenment.

I disagree that the Jewish people deserve a homeland because of their race or religion. This was my previous pint. No peoples in this world can genuinely claim a terrirtory based on a perceived historical lineage. That's a fallacy of nationalism. The Kurds do not deserve a piece of land in Europe or Asia, nor do the Irish deserve Ulster because 'we' owned it for centuries according to qauint notions of nationality. Instead the problems facing the Catholics of the North of Ireland, or the Kurds in Turkey and Iraq or the Jews in Europe, America and the Middle East deserve their real problems to be dealt with.

This begs the question... why do you believe that the Jews need a place seperated from the rest of humanity in order to be safe in this world? Where is this anti-Semitism coming form and is there a way to actually combat it rather than placing the victims of it into seclusion?

Alan Caruba said...

Well, you are clearly well-read, but history is not just the dry stuff of books. It is about people and ignoring the unique role that the Jews have played throughout history is not the answer.

I disagree that people who are united by a cultural, religious or racial identify do not have a right to a land of their own if they wish to have it. What would the Irish be without Ireland?

As to Islam, the Koran is a battle plan and a demand for "jihad" (war) against all other faiths. It is naive to believe otherwise.

History is not just an academic record. It is a dynamic one, driven by human passions.

We shall have to agree to disagree.

Galloping Hogan said...

And I agree the Koran has a war-like nature to it but I also recognise that Muslims can choose quite easily to interpret what parts of their holy books provide the best for them in their lives. I think the specific times in our collective histories in which ISlam provided the most tolerant societies for all religions can illustrate how Islam can be a force for both good or bad.

Thanks for your replies.

Alan Caruba said...

Islam has rarely been tolerant. It has provisions for imposing a tax on other religious observants (dhimmi)plus whatever other restrictions it wanted to impose.

Today's militant Islam means to impose itself on the entire world and we ignore this at our peril.

depapabear said...

The rabbis agree that demands for conquest over the original seven tribal occupants of Israel ceased with the Bible. The Koran does not accept that warfare for Islam has ever ceased. When Israel fought for its life in 1948-49 and 1967 (to say nothing of the 1950's and 1973), they restored the land that was originally theirs under the Mandate for Palestine by a unanimous vote (51-0) of the League of Nations in the 1920's.
Now by right of conquest in a defensive war, the State of Israel exercises the same authority as all other nations of the world have claimed, especially the Allies in World War I and II.

Why does Israel need to have its historic and continuous home for its safety? Because the rest of the world (including the US before the Holocaust) would not grant Jews refugee elsewhere. Moslem lands are heavily Judenrein today
while Israel has granted Arabs citizenship as 20% of its population.

steve67 said...

This article hits the nail squarely on the head.Islamic mouth-pieces all over the world have openly stated their ambition to have absolutely EVERYONE in subjection to allah,the pagan moon-god.They are commanded to by their false prophet.Anyone who refuses to acknowledge this fact is living in a dream-world,and better WAKE Up!!!

midspoint said...

Thank you for posting a wonderfully informative article--honest and truthful, which is sorely lacking in any news media today.
People puffed up with intellectual pride but are devoid of understanding Jews and their rightful claim to Israel are themselves a fulfillment of Biblical prophesy.
Israel will soon stand alone, along with those who support her, but not for long. God will not be mocked; His promises for this beloved land will come to pass--Ezekiel 37. And those who dare to disagree will find themselves facing His righteous, holy wrath--Ezekiel 38.

Alan Caruba said...

"God will not be mocked."

I agree!

Galloping Hogan said...

"People puffed up with intellectual pride but are devoid of understanding Jews and their rightful claim to Israel are themselves a fulfillment of Biblical prophesy."

"God will not be mocked."

With so much suffering at stake, I wish people would take a serious look at the situation. "God will not be mocked" is simply the switch from logic and reason and even compassion to handing power to a supernatural being. I'm confused, those who fight, to cause deaths and to lay claim over land because god told them to are called Hamas, right? Or is it Christian Fundamentalist/Zionist?

Luckily, enough sensible men and women from the two major faiths are bringing up their children with secular values that do not stand in the way of ending hatreds and divisions.

Alan Caruba said...

Galloping, the fight is between being dragged back to the 7th century or whether we can drag this folks into the 2lst.

Galloping Hogan said...

"Galloping, the fight is between being dragged back to the 7th century or whether we can drag this folks into the 2lst."

In what way can we drag these people into the modern era? Is it by removing their religion? If it's the reform of Islam people look towards, how can the West drag this along?

So since this blog entry implies that the main enemy of Israel in the Middle East is Islamic ideologies. Does that mean secularist and nationalist enemies like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine of Israel were and are far less dangeorus and unacceptable? What two different dynamics were involved in pushing the ISlamists in their war against Israe, and the nationalists?

Alan Caruba said...

I doubt anything other than Islam "pushed" Israel's enemies to make war on them.

At some point Islam has to be deligitimized, but with a billion+ believers that is not going to happen any time soon. Religions that do not deliver on their promises do, in time, lose their grip.

What Islam offers most is certainty. There is no room for doubt. It literally enslaves the minds of its adherents.


Learn from those who have escaped Islam what they faced.

Galloping Hogan said...

"At some point Islam has to be deligitimized, but with a billion+ believers that is not going to happen any time soon. Religions that do not deliver on their promises do, in time, lose their grip."

I'm sorry but i don't understand what you mean... in what way can ISlam be 'deligitimised'?

And how has Christianity delivered on its promises? In fact I know of no religion which has delivered on its main prophetioc promises. And if you mean that under Christianity people have been more peaceful, that's simply untrue.

Alan Caruba said...

Galloping, you are free to question every aspect of anything I write, but I lack the time to respond to what I regard as fairly arcane inquiries that ignore history and would require that I write an entire book to satisfy your curiousity.

Religions do go out of favor. People no longer worship Zeus and the Greco/Roman gods.

Unknown said...

Galloping asked:

Does that mean secularist and nationalist enemies like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine of Israel were and are far less dangeorus and unacceptable?The answer is "yes, absolutely." The secularist and nationalist enemies could compromise. And their goals involve certain tangible accomplishments in this world.

The fundamentalist enemies will not compromise. How can they, when they serve the will of Allah? And deaths are glorious, not setbacks.

Alan Caruba said...

This is why we shall no longer be reading Galloping's comments here. He has worn out his welcome.

Galloping Hogan said...

Hi Alan,

I'm sorry if I was impolite in my responses and I really do appreciate the time you took to respond to my comments. If my questions are not welcome in your blogs then I will, of course, not reply in the future.


Alan Caruba said...

Apology accepted. I am, however, unable to maintain an extended discussion via comments which are, in my view, an opportunity of visitors to express themselves, hopefully briefly, on the topic de jour.