In postmodern wars, we are told, there is no victory, no defeat, no aggressors, no defenders, just a tragedy of conflicting agendas. But in such a mindless and amoral landscape, Israel in fact is on its way to emerging in a far better position after the Gaza war than before.
Analysts of the current fighting in Gaza have assured us that even if Israel weakens Hamas, such a short-term victory will hardly lead to long-term strategic success — but they don’t define “long-term.” In this line of thinking, supposedly in a few weeks Israel will only find itself more isolated than ever. It will grow even more unpopular in Europe and will perhaps, for the first time, lose its patron, America — while gaining an enraged host of Arab and Islamic enemies. Meanwhile, Hamas will gain stature, rebuild, and slowly wear Israel down.
Once again neighboring enemies are warring in diametrically opposite ways.
Hamas sees the death of its civilians as an advantage; Israel sees the death of its civilians as a disaster. Defensive missiles explode to save civilians in Israel; in Gaza, civilians are placed at risk of death to protect offensive missiles.
Hamas wins by losing lots of its people; Israel loses by losing a few of its own. Hamas digs tunnels in premodern fashion; Israel uses postmodern high technology to detect them. Hamas’s missiles usually prove ineffective; Israel’s bombs and missiles almost always hit their targets. Quiet Israeli officers lead from the front; loud Hamas leaders flee to the rear. Incompetency wins sympathy; expertise, disdain.
Westerners romanticize the Hamas cause; fellow Arabs of the Gulf do not. Westerners critical of Israel are still willing to visit Israel; sympathizers of Hamas do not wish to visit Gaza.
Israel’s military operation to degrade Hamas’ ability to rain rockets down on Israeli cities has stirred up the usual noisy and nasty protests in Europe. We need not dwell on demonstrations by Muslim immigrants, whose genocidal Jew-hatred has been an Islamic tradition for 14 centuries. More revealing is the hatred of Israel by so many Europeans, ranging from leftover leftists and idealizers of the dark-skinned “other,” to far-right xenophobes and morally addled Christians. Whatever its origins, one thing their bitter hatred of Israel does not have is any foundation in coherent principle.
Scenes all too familiar from the Arab conflict with Israel have followed the murder last Wednesday of a 16-year-old Palestinian, Mohammed Abu Khdeir. Mourners at his funeral chanting the Muslim war-cry “Allahu Akbar” as they carry the boy’s open coffin, the crowd shouting slogans like “Intifada rise up” and “America and Israel are the terrorists,” banners representing terrorist organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad waving above the crowd, gangs of “youths” attacking Israeli police throughout East Jerusalem, barrages of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel, and the usual condemnations of Israel and calls for “restraint” from the “international community” – all sadly are business as usual. And the “business” is the demonization of Israel and the obscene double standards indulged by too many in the West.
The received wisdom and unexamined assumptions underlying the Obama administration’s diplomatic efforts to forge peace between Israel and her enemies are as predictable as the ignominious collapse of this latest attempt. We are now well into the seventh decade of this false knowledge and the spurious narrative dominating American foreign policy under administrations of both parties. Just how old and worn this narrative is can be seen in the late John Barrett Kelly’s The Oil Cringe of the West, a collection of reviews and essays that originally appeared in the critical decade of the 1970s after the Six Day and Yom Kippur Wars. Continue reading “Neglected Prophet: J.B. Kelly”→
United States foreign policy has been defined lately by serial failures. Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea and appears to be preparing a reprise in eastern Ukraine, and possibly in the Baltic states. Syrian strongman Bashar al Assad is poised to win the civil war in Syria at the cost so far of over 200,000 dead. Negotiations with Iran over its uranium enrichment program have merely emboldened the regime and brought it closer to its goal of a nuclear weapon. And yet another attempt to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs has failed. In all these crises the U.S. has appeared weak and feckless, unable to direct events or achieve its aims, even as its displeasure and threats are scorned. Continue reading “The Perils of International Idealism”→
The Washington Post reports that some members of Secretary of State John Kerry’s senior staff think it’s time to say “enough” of Kerry’s futile and delusional attempts to broker peace between the Israelis and Arabs and implement the “two-
state solution.” That’s a revelation one would think the chief diplomat of the greatest power in history would have experienced decades ago. Since the failed 1993 Oslo Accords, it has been obvious to all except the duplicitous, the ignorant, and the Jew-hater that the Arabs do not want a “Palestinian state living in peace side-by-side with Israel,” something they could have had many times in the past. On the contrary, as they serially prove in word and deed, they want Israel destroyed.
As Caroline Glick documents in her new bookThe Israeli Solution, the “two-state solution” is a diplomatic chimera for the West, and a tactic for revanchist Arabs who cannot achieve their eliminationist aims by military means. But the “Palestinian state” is merely one of many myths, half-truths, and outright lies that befuddle Western diplomats and leaders, and put the security and possibly the existence of Israel at risk.
First there is the canard that Israel is somehow an illegitimate state, a neo-imperialist outpost that Westerners created to protect their economic and geopolitical interests. In this popular myth, invading Jewish colonists “stole” the land and ethnically cleansed the region of its true possessors, the indigenous “Palestinian people.” This crime was repeated after 1967 Six Day War, when Israel seized the “West Bank,” occupying it as a colonial power and subjecting its inhabitants to a brutally discriminatory regime. The continuing power of this lie Continue reading “Israel’s Worst Enemy: Lies and Myths”→
Israel could be forgiven for having a siege mentality — given that at any moment, old frontline enemies Syria and Egypt might spill their violence over common borders.
The Arab Spring has thrown Israel’s once-predictable adversaries into the chaotic state of a Sudan or Somalia. The old understandings between Jerusalem and the Assad and Mubarak kleptocracies seem in limbo.
Yet these tragic Arab revolutions swirling around Israel are paradoxically aiding it, both strategically and politically — well beyond just the erosion of conventional Arab military strength. Continue reading “The Israeli Spring”→