indless Unrealism May Doom Israel
Jay B Gaskill
Attorney at Law
In one fell stroke, our new president has declared (in yesterday’s speech to State Department employees) that Israel must surrender the protective gains of the 1967 war of self defense through “negotiations”, while offering no credible assurances that the USA will do anything effective to come to that tiny country’s defense when inevitably it is attacked again by its enemies. As Senator Lieberman gently put it, “his unilateral call for negotiations on the basis of the 1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps — the first time any president has adopted this position — was profoundly ill-advised. As in the case of the President’s counterproductive demand for a settlement freeze two years ago, unilateral statements of this sort do nothing to bring the two parties back to the negotiating table and in fact make it harder for them to do so. They also damage the relationship of trust that is critical to peacemaking.”
The Israeli PM was less polite. As the New York Times reports, there was hot reaction from Mr. Netanyahu in conversation with Hillary Clinton:
“By all accounts, they [Netanyahu and Obama] do not trust each other. President Obama has told aides and allies that he does not believe that Mr. Netanyahu will ever be willing to make the kind of big concessions that will lead to a peace deal.
“For his part, Mr. Netanyahu has complained that Mr. Obama has pushed Israel too far — a point driven home during a furious phone call with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday morning, just hours before Mr. Obama’s speech, during which the prime minister reacted angrily to the president’s plan to endorse Israel’s pre-1967 borders for a future Palestinian state.
“Mr. Obama did not back down. But the last-minute furor highlights the discord as they head into what one Israeli official described as a “train wreck” coming their way: a United Nations General Assembly vote on Palestinian statehood in September.”
Modern Israel was born in a new social compact formed between and among the WWII victors, with the strong support of President Harry Truman, using the United Nations as the anointing agency. The driving forces were the lessons of the holocaust and the forfeiture of moral standing by continental Europe and the Nazi-allied Islamists of the Middle East who were complicit in mass murder.
Because millions of Jews had no safe haven from Hitler during that grim human harvest, a new refuge state was created on a reduced portion of the lands that formerly constituted ancient Israel and/or Judea. There, it was contemplated, all Jews from anywhere in the world would always have a home.
Our president has just inaugurated a policy that, if taken seriously, could undo what Truman accomplished. Let me explain:
Israel’s 1967 borders presented an opportunity for a serious attempt to execute the second holocaust. Syria, Jordan and Egypt simultaneously attacked, taking advantage of the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula and the West Bank.
To mount the attack on Israel, Egypt assembled one hundred thousand troops in the Sinai, including two armored and one mechanized divisions, including 950 tanks, 1,100 armored personnel carriers and 1,000 artillery pieces. Syria assembled 75,000 troops along the Syrian border, while Jordan mobilized 55,000 troops, including 300 tanks along its border with Israel. At the time Egypt’s population was 33 million, Syria’s was 5.7 million and Jordan’s was 1.2 million, a combined total of about 40 million to Israel’s mere 2.7 million.
Israel’s current size, including the captured “offensive” territories of the Gaza strip, the Sinai Peninsula and the West Bank, is 7,992 sq miles. New Jersey is larger at 8,722 square miles. But New Jersey is not surrounded by hostile regimes. The Gaza Strip is about 50 miles from Jerusalem.
Since 2001 about 9,000 rockets attacks were launched from the Gaza Strip on Israel, causing deaths injuries, psychological trauma and disruption of daily life.
During the attacks of 2006, I wrote:
“As a Judeo-Christian, I firmly believe in the right of the State of Israel to thrive in peace within defensible borders. As a moral realist, I understand what the actual conditions of survival entail when you are living amid a sea of resentment-intoxicated peoples, temporarily unhinged by a malevolent ideology masquerading as a religion of peace.
“Therefore, I must completely dissociate myself from the pacifist strain of Christianity that has repeatedly called for Israel to retreat, to refrain from proactive self defense and ultimately … to risk immolation.
“These otherwise good hearted souls are deeply confused.
“Ambivalence toward the truly evil, and passivity in the face of the real, existential threats it poses to the good and the innocent souls among us is so profoundly wrong as to border on evil itself.
“The current struggle is far more serious than Israel’s putative friends in Europe seem to acknowledge. How could it be otherwise when thousands of Israeli children (a large plurality of all Israeli children) are going to bed tonight in bomb shelters? How could it be otherwise when the bombing and missile attacks (hundreds of missiles, one attack barely missing Shimon Perez) are being orchestrated by the proxies (Hezbollah and Hamas) of a terrorist nation state (Iran) and its terrorist puppet regime (Syria), both of which seek Israel’s ultimate destruction? How could it be otherwise when the nation of Israel, having been resurrected in 1947 under the aegis of the United Nations with the support of Europeans, is now on the verge of being abandoned by those same “friends”? These are the same European states (excluding England) that were complicit through cowardice and denial when the holocaust was perpetrated on their own soil. The “resurrection” of this same pattern of cowardice and denial is dangerous beyond all measure.
“Hamas, the terrorist group that infects the nascent Palestinian democracy, has the following explicit aims: Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it. The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.
“And I cannot help note with a sense of disgust the position of leftist, Noam Chomsky, who visited Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in May. Professor Chomsky branded the US and Israel as “terrorist” states and supported arming the Hezbollah. “I think that Nasrallah has a reasoned argument and a persuasive argument that they (the weapons) should be in the hands of Hizbollah…”
“We have now seen what those weapons can do…
“So we should pray for the swift success of the Israeli Defense Forces in this crisis, for the continued support of Israel by the US, and for the ultimate defeat of all the forces that have aligned themselves against the prospect of a peaceful, safe and thriving Israel. It is no coincidence that these same forces wish us grave harm and seek to overthrow the institutions that protect religious liberty and the blessing of civility everywhere.”
Israel won the 1967 war. It is not at all clear that such a feat can be replicated now, especially when the USA, under its newly idealistic (read naïve) leadership, is bent on depriving that little, beleaguered country of its protective borders without first disarming and neutralizing the malevolent forces bent on its annihilation.
Condemnation of the self defense actions of the Jewish state is all too often put in terms of international law. But the arena of international relations remains a Darwinian venue where nation states vie for dominance by competing – and sometimes cooperating. All nations worthy of the name are sovereigns, the self-serving actions of which tend to be cloaked in a thin veneer of civilized norms.
The notion of sovereignty necessarily includes the right to corporate self defense by the sovereign nation and, when the threat is real, all the pretensions of international law ring hollow. And, yes, conquest – especially in self defense – has legal standing.
No sovereign state in the world came into being without its “displacement issues”. Conquest, in one form or another, lies at the origin of every major nation state in the world. This includes China, whose cultural uniformity and homogeneity hides a vast displacement and extermination of earlier peoples. The great Polynesian ex-migration began when the peoples who now populate the Pacific Islands from Hawaii to New Zealand were driven out of mainland China to the island of Taiwan, then via canoe into the ocean. Hardly a trace of their earlier culture remains on mainland China.
No so for the Jews, who have a rich, well documented history to contend with. The book is open: Read the biblical accounts of their original settlements following the Egyptian captivity, rife as they were with ancient wars and struggles, then track their arrival in their true home in holy Jerusalem, their forcible repatriation in the Babylonian Captivity, their return to the home territory, their repression under the Roman dominion, followed by the Jewish Rebellion (the Jewish Wars of 64-66) leading to the first holocaust as documented by the Roman Jewish historian, Josephus. Diaspora followed. Finally, in modern history, Jews won their UN Sanctioned return following the second holocaust.
If international politics seems sometimes to be a game of musical chairs, surely for the Jewish people of Israel, the music (having become a lament) must now stop.
The nation states and non-state actors (AKA, terrorists) who are arrayed against Israel as regional enemies are followers of a single religious ideology – militant Islam. The specifically territorial arguments and claims of militant Islam are all colored by the fact that their territorial claims, too, rest on antecedent conquests.
The “we own the land” territorial arguments ring a bit false. There is as yet, and never has been, an actual nation of Palestine. The historical territorial arguments made by Israel’s regional enemies are arguments of convenience designed to mask the real difficulty: As a Jewish state embedded in the heart of a cohort of failing, oil-supported Muslim states, Israel is an affront on a much more fundamental, religious and cultural level.
I can well imagine that, had the Jews chosen to settle in Antarctica, its enemies would be talking about Penguin exploitation and oppression.
Islam, in it present dominant form, is a throwback to the practice of forcible conversion, a medieval practice that modern Christians have thankfully rejected.
And this, sadly, is the heart of the religious animus against Israel. The Jewish refuge nation is the humanist West sited close at hand and irritatingly successful, a state inserted in the midst of Islam, organized around the “people of the book” who have not accepted Mohammed, and worse, the “chosen” people who seem to be thriving in spite of their apostasy.
Israel is the expatriated West. It should be obvious that Israel is hated within radical Islam because of its modernity and because Israel’s material and cultural progress are perceived as cultural and religious threats to Islamic stability.
If we were to somehow situate a representative chunk of urban southern California on some empty desert in the Middle East (incorporated, say, as the Republic of Gomorrah), the hatred and envy of Islamists would be even more intense.
All Americans have inherited a special national perspective about Israel’s security issues. Israel’s birth in 1948 took place with our blessing after we shed blood to end the Nazi horrors, the craven French collaboration and, in the bargain, uncovered the horrors of the Nazi death camps. We cannot reasonably expect the sovereign Jewish refuge nation now to commit suicide, whether in tiny increments or all at once, just because its enemies won’t leave it alone. We cannot expect Israel to passively endure bombs and missiles exploding on Israeli soil, killing their children, when we in their place would never, never do so.
We cannot turn our backs if Israel needs our help to avoid a nuclear holocaust. We did not fight and win WW II with a measured and proportionate military response and by betraying our allies. Should we stand by idly while Israel’s enemies push her into the sea or acquire the terrible power to blast her and the Jewish people into fused ash?
I am a long time fan of the redoubtable Harry Truman, a man with more integrity and courage in his left arm than the entire cohort of leftists who have temporarily debased the Democratic Party. As our president demonizes Israel and distances the USA from her; as his administration seems to temporize while Iran runs its own Manhattan Project, I have a single question for our new president and his unrealistic leftwing supporters: What would Harry do?
In my opinion, it manifestly would not be what the administration has just done to the people and government of Israel.
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Mr. Gaskill’s published works include fiction. Visit – http://jaygaskill.com/AboutTheLostSoulsCoffeeShop.pdf and
 Text – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/22/AR2009012202550.html . Reaction:
 Some web references on Israel’s founding — http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_independence_israel_date.php and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_Declaration_of_Independence#United_Nations_stipulations and http://www.harpercollins.com/books/9780060594633/A_Safe_Haven/index.aspx and http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/israel/large/index.php.
 The link between Arabs and Nazis in WW II: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaboration_with_the_Axis_Powers_during_World_War_II and http://www.shoaheducation.com/muslimnazi.html
 Note how modern Israel has shrunk: http://www.bible-history.com/geography/ancient-israel/political-boundaries.html
 Comparing ancient Judea: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08544a.htm
 Dates: 10-4-1946 President Truman supports creation of a “viable Jewish state”; 11-29-1947 U.N Partition Plan approved; 5-14-1948 Israel’s Declaration of Independence; 5-14-1948 U.S. (Truman) grants de facto recognition; 1-13-1949 U.S. (Truman) grants de jure recognition.
 As a political science student, I was and remain strongly influenced by the realist school best expressed by Hans Morgenthau in his classic text, Politics Among the Nations – still in print, though posthumously, see — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Morgenthau –
 Conquest ripens into sovereignty, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/133118/conquest but is limited – in principle, if not fact by the modern rejection of wars of aggression – http://untreaty.un.org/cod/avl/ha/da/da.html .
 A point clearly made in Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. See -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guns,_Germs,_and_Steel .
 Josephus’ History is a monumental read. A quick overview: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus
 An informative and accurate Wiki discussion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine