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To Be or Not
Has the Obama administration’s just adroitly shed the “Israel Problem”?
Or has it embarked on the appeasement of the Beast?
A Dialogue Between Friends
Jay B Gaskill
Attorney at Law
“The president’s] 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.” [Senator Joe Lieberman]
With friends like Israel, we need no enemies.
But we do have enemies all over the Middle East, no?
I am troubled by the incoherent nature and direction of the national discussion. Does US policy turn on the argument that, “If there were no ‘Israeli issue’, we would have peace and friendship in the Middle East?” Or is it that, “If we didn’t need their oil, it wouldn’t matter what mischief they’re up to in the Middle East?” Or is it that, “We are so powerful that no country in the Middle East would dare act foolishly?”
We are all connected to this mess on several levels, not the least of which is through the world-wide climate disruptions that would follow even a “modest” nuclear exchange, say, one using only 50 of Pakistan’s arsenal of 125-190 deliverable atomic bombs.
If American guarantees of Israel’s security – whatever Israel’s boundaries – actually worked, there would not have been 8,000 rocket attacks on Israel’s soil since 2001. Even the Labor wing of the Israeli government has lost faith in the USA as a security guarantor under this administration. This issue properly goes well past the red state/blue state, right/left discussions of the moment.
After the holocaust, I find it painful even to frame an argument, let alone advocate it, that supports having an ally, a sovereign, stable, Western-style democracy, passively endure incrementally closer and more severe attacks on its civilian population, all in the expectation that the USA, an increasingly unreliable and incapacitated ally, will prevent the worst from happening
Many people believe that without the Israeli issue, we would have fewer problems in the Middle East. The underlying problem is the conflict between Israel and the Islamic countries. And then our close relationship to Israel makes us look like we are on their side and against Palestine and etc. No national politician will say anything against Israel.
You have clearly stated the prevailing narrative, Q.
But my misgivings about the conventional wisdom stem from two linked concerns:
(1) As the Islamic jihadists have been saying, “The USA is the Big Satan while Israel is the Little Satan”, implying that it is our apostate Western-ness that constitutes the irritant and – for these fanatic fundamentalists – the problem to be “solved”.
(2) The assassinations of the gay, libertarian Dutch leader, Pim Fortuyn, and the Dutch filmmaker Theodoor “Theo” van Gogh, and of countless “moderate” Muslims and of non-combatant Westerners, all men and women who are disconnected from the “Jewish question”, suggests to me that nothing we Americans can do short of capitulation will bring the kind of “peace” that the jihad seeks to impose.
If this contrary view is right, then the abandonment of the major US democratic ally in the Middle East region will bring even more trouble, in much the same way that the abandonment of Poland and the Sudetenland to Hitler by the timorous Western Europeans failed to sate the beast, eventually ushering in the unopposed holocaust.
I believe that there is an historic phenomenon we can properly call large scale moral damage. Whenever a civilization begins to lose its self confidence, it begins to die. The loss of moral confidence presages the loss of the confidence to defend one’s defining values. The Roman Imperium lost its moral self confidence, then its will to defend itself, then its innate practical capability to raise its own defense, then all the rest went. A Dark Age followed.
Europe is still suffering from the malign effects of complicity in the mass murder of Jews and dissidents on its own soil. That sorry history of moral failure was partly redeemed by the collective decisions of liberated Europe, the United Nations, and the USA (under the leadership of Harry Truman).
By establishing Israel as a sovereign nation specifically so that there never again would be a holocaust, nor a closed door for Jewish refugees, Europe and the West restored the moral foundations of modern civilization. To abandon that solemn protection now would be a self inflicted moral wound so grave that Western civilization, already suffering a crisis of self-confidence, might not recover from the psychological damage. A Dark Age would follow.
I do not exaggerate when I say that, if ever a history is written of “The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization”, the abandonment of Israel to the wolves will be identified as the beginning of the fall.
Jay B Gaskill
Attorney at Law
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Jay B Gaskill is a California lawyer who served as the Alameda County Public defender before he left his “life of crime” to devote full time to writing. His profile is posted at www.jaygaskill.com/Profile.pdf .