Melanie Phillips notes that an article by Charles Moore which appeared in the Telegraph a couple of days ago made a point about Israel that “was as simple and eloquent as it was crucial. How did we forget, he asked, that Israel’s story is the story of the west?”
If one stands back from the moral argument that rages round Israel, and just looks at this as a story, it reminds one intensely of that of ancient Israel’s enemy, the Roman republic. An austere nation builds its power in the face of enemy neighbours. It does so by great feats of arms, and so its soldiers often become its political leaders. The commitment those leaders must give to the nation is absolute, lifelong, life-threatening. The deeds done in the nation’s defence are frequently brave, sometimes appalling. Some would see Sharon as Milosevic, but might he not be Caesar?
But there’s also an important difference from Rome: the purpose of victory has been more about security than conquest for its own sake. Israeli politics for the past dozen years has been the attempt to reconcile extrication from territory with security. That is what Sharon thinks about all the time, as did his Labour predecessors, Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak.
Taking note of the extraordinary circumstances in which this heroic and besieged little country became transformed by the West into a monstrous oppressive tyrant, Moore chillingly concludes:
Israel, which was attacked, has come to be seen as the aggressor. Israel, which has elections that throw governments out and independent commissions that investigate people like Sharon and condemn him, became regarded as the oppressive monster. In a rhetoric that tried to play back upon Jews their own experience of suffering, supporters of the Palestinian cause began to call Israelis Nazis. Holocaust Memorial Day is disapproved of by many Muslims because it ignores the supposedly comparable “genocide” of the Palestinians.
Western children of the Sixties like this sort of talk. They look for a narrative based on the American civil rights movement or the struggle against apartheid. They care little for economic achievement or political pluralism. They are suspicious of any society with a Western appearance, and in any contest between people with differing skin colours, they prefer the darker. They buy into the idea, now promoted by all Arab regimes and by Muslim firebrands with a permanent interest in deflecting attention from their own societies’ problems, that Israel is the greatest problem of all.
Well, some will say, that is the way it is: Israel has abused power, and is reaping the whirlwind. I don’t want to argue today about the rights and wrongs of Israel’s actions, though I think, given its difficulties, it stands up better than most before the bar of history. All I want to ask my fellow Europeans is this: are you happy to help direct the world’s fury at the only country in the Middle East whose civilisation even remotely resembles yours? And are you sure that the fate of Israel has no bearing on your own? In Iran, the new President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes the link. The battle over Palestine, he says, is “the prelude of the battle of Islam with the world of arrogance”, the world of the West. He is busy building his country’s nuclear bomb.
Both the Democrats and Republicans are wrong about what to do now in the Iraq war.
The Democrats want to retreat immediately and the Republicans want to “stay the course.” Neither proposal will make America safe from Islamic terrorism.
As Republicans have noted, withdrawal at this time would be perceived by the Islamic fundamentalists as a major defeat of the West and draw more recruits to their cause. But as the Democrats have noted, staying our current course–which has no standard of victory and no clear connection to protecting America from Islamic terrorism–is a disaster that has already resulted in the death of two thousand Americans.
The solution is neither embracing defeat nor staying a losing course;
the solution is to pursue victory.
We must define war objectives designed solely to protect the American
people from Islamic terrorism, and then execute those objectives by
any means necessary. Above all, we must make it our objective, not to bring the good life to every corner of the Middle East, but to make the terrorist states of the Middle East non-threatening–which means that we must end state sponsorship of terrorism.
In Iraq, we must crush the insurgency immediately–which includes choking its backers, Iran and Syria–and let the Iraqis themselves take on the responsibility of establishing a government that will not threaten America. Once the insurgency is crushed the priority should be on eliminating the regime that is the greatest terrorist and nuclear threat to the United States in the Middle East: Iran. Such a policy would serve as a death blow to bin Laden, al-Zarqawi and the rest of the fundamentalists, who attract their recruits with the hope that America can slowly be defeated. [Emphasis added]
Dr. Yaron Brook
Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, CA
I will be on vacation outside the country until November 30th so the posting for the next week will be rather light, if at all. See you when I get back on the 1st of December, although it is possible I will find myself compelled to post something while I am gone.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. We have a lot to be thankful for in America. God Bless our military forces for protecting our liberty and freedom.
In a talk at the University of Toronto yesterday, Chris Matthews said that the Islamofascists who routinely kill innocent civilians, behead Westerners, blow up weddings and send car bombs to schools and to Iraqi police stations are not evil. Apparently we just don’t understand them.
In a speech to political science students at the University of Toronto yesterday, the host of the CNBC current affairs show Hardball had plenty of harsh words for U.S. President George W. Bush, as well as the political climate that has characterized his country for the past few years.
“The period between 9/11 and Iraq was not a good time for America. There wasn’t a robust discussion of what we were doing,” Matthews said.
“If we stop trying to figure out the other side, we’ve given up. The person on the other side is not evil — they just have a different perspective.”
That is the problem with liberals. They don’t know evil even when it is staring them in the face.
According to Haaretz
NEW YORK – New York Jewish leaders encouraged U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to intervene aggressively in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute over the Gaza border crossings, telling her this would gain the support of American Jews, according to sources affiliated with the community’s liberal wing.
In particular, the sources said, they urged her to take a tough line against Israel, especially on issues such as a settlement freeze and dismantling illegal settlement outposts. The sources said several leading New York Jews held talks with Rice recently at which these issues, as well as the impasse over the border crossings, were discussed.
However, they also urged her to press the Palestinian Authority to meet its commitment to fight terror.
Among others, Rice met in Washington earlier this month with the heads of the left-wing Israel Policy Forum, who expressed their views on various aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The article reports that other Jewish leftist groups, Americans for Peace Now and the Reform Movement, for example, all urge Rice to take a tough stand with Israel.
Secretary Rice may need to be informed that the New York Jewish Left does not represent the views of many Jews in this country and she should not consider that those groups speak for all American Jews.
Democrats in the House of Representatives backed down from their “cut and run” policy when a vote was held in the House last night on a Resolution to bring home the troops from Iraq forthwith.
Hugh Hewitt writes:
Many Democrats were emotionally undone by the exercise of having to confront their own rhetoric, and the anti-war left must be stunned this morning: Only three votes? All that work? All those marches? All those posts at the fever swamp bulletin board? For three votes?
The Dems have more excuses than a teenager: It wasn’t the real Murtha resolution; it’s a terrible political trick; I will not participate in the assault on Congressman Murtha etc, etc, etc.
But the talk around the turkey this week should review that the elections in 2002, 2004 and the vote on Friday night in the House underscore the country is committed to victory in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and everywhere else the GWOT is being waged. That talk should also dwell on the profound hypocrisy of the left and its Congressional representatives, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” They only believe what they believe when the country as a whole isn’t watching. Supermen on the web, when Congress assmebled they went into their phonebooths/cloakrooms and came out as Clark Kent.
The Democratic Party policy has been to try to undermine the President by whatever means. Criticizing the war, challenging the President’s veracity, disputing that the President had the same intelligence as everyone else. It is time, at last, when the Republicans found their backbone and have challenged the lies forthcoming from Democrats.
President Bush’s speech on November 11th finally addressed those who choose to rewrite history. Vice-President Cheney came out this week and addressed those who are attempting to discredit the Administration for political purposes. Finally, after Congressman Murtha (D-PA) stated on the House floor that we ought to bring the troops home immediately, with great support from House Democrats, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) decided to put a resolution on the floor to do just that. With all the bluster of the Democrats about bringing troops home now, only 3 voted for the resolution. Why? Because they know that bringing the troops home now is not what the majority of Americans want. Because they know that whoever went on record voting to bring the troops home now would have difficulty being re-elected next year.
One other thing became evident during this process. Republicans found their backbone. As Hugh Hewitt says in the same post
If the GOP stays the course of clarity, and keeps its purposes front and center, the elections of 2006 will be another milestone in the Democrats road to Whigdom.