Home  |   Jihad Watch  |   Horowitz  |   Archive  |   Columnists  |     DHFC  |  Store  |   Contact  |   Links  |   Search Tuesday, July 17, 2018
FrontPageMag Article
Write Comment View Comments Printable Article Email Article
“Jew” among the Nations By: P. David Hornik
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Israel’s 60th anniversary has prompted a rash of articles summing up the Jewish state’s achievements and problems. It’s also worth considering the world’s record vis-à-vis Israel over these six decades of its existence. The subject is very large and this article only looks at some aspects of it.

1. The difficulty of finding allies. Although, particularly with Nazi Germany’s defeat and the liberation of the camps in 1945, the Western world expressed horror over the emerging scope and nature of the Holocaust, it did not translate into caring about the struggle for survival of a few hundred thousand Jews in the Land of Israel.

An arms embargo on both Israel and the Arabs first imposed by the United States in December 1947, possibly with initial good intentions of preventing bloodshed, was joined by all the other Western democracies and continued throughout Israel’s subsequent Independence War (1948-1949). Meanwhile Arab belligerents like Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq continued to be liberally supplied with arms, particularly by Britain which also trained and commanded Jordanian forces, and Israel was reduced to smuggling the weapons it desperately needed.

After the war the Western powers remained primarily concerned to build relations with oil-rich Arab regimes and the new Jewish state had to struggle to find even a single ally among them. While eventually finding such an ally, France, just how unreliable this alliance was became starkly evident when France embargoed arms to Israel precisely on the eve of another Arab attempt to eradicate it, the 1967 Six Day War, and after the war President Charles de Gaulle denounced Jews as an “arrogant, domineering people” while reorienting French policy to the Arabs.

The United States, though, was impressed by the military prowess Israel displayed in the war and began building an alliance with it that lasts to this day. It has, though, been an ambivalent alliance in which the U.S. simultaneously strengthens Israel with military, financial, and diplomatic support while weakening it with a persistent effort to make it give up its strategic assets. That effort was epitomized in then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s remark to the Iraqi foreign minister in 1975 that “We can’t negotiate about the existence of Israel, but we can reduce its size to historical proportions…. I think in ten to fifteen years, Israel will be like Lebanon—struggling for existence, with no influence in the Arab world.”

Although more recently Israeli leaders, particularly from the Labor and Kadima parties, have taken the lead in “reducing” Israel, the U.S. has often exerted harsh pressure on Israeli leaders who were more realistic about Israel’s vulnerability and the attitudes of the Arabs. In 1991 the U.S. “invited”—strong-armed—Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir into attending the Madrid Conference, which Shamir rightly perceived as a trap for Israel and which set the stage for the disastrous Oslo accords. In 1998 the U.S. displayed similar contempt for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s positions when it pressured him into the Wye Agreement with Yasser Arafat. And in 2003, despite the misgivings and objections of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and part of his government, the U.S. endorsed the “road map for peace” and strives to impose it on Israel to this day.

Implicit in these pressures is a contempt for Israel’s sovereign decision-making autonomy that the U.S. does not display toward any other democratic ally. That mindset was also evident, for instance, in President Bill Clinton’s dispatching to Israel of leading U.S. spin doctors James Carville, Stanley Greenberg, and Bob Shrum to help Ehud Barak defeat Netanyahu in Israel’s 1999 elections—behavior that would be unthinkable toward any other democratic, or even nondemocratic, country.

2. Media abuse. Persistent findings, particularly in Europe, that Israel vies with Iran in being regarded as the most menacing country in the world attest to the depth of anti-Israeli media bias. Since surveys of anti-Semitic attitudes in those European countries find them considerably less widespread than the views of Israel, in particular, as evil and sinister, anti-Semitism won’t suffice as the explanation. But when such perceptions emerge in populations that are mostly ignorant about Israel and the Middle East, and dependent on media—particularly TV—reports for what scant awareness they have, it is those media reports that are mainly responsible for poisoning minds.

The fact that the Western media are mostly staffed by people who consider themselves to be on the cutting edge of liberalism, tolerance, and enlightenment does not help Israel and indeed harms it. Although the problem is less radical in the United States, pro-Israeli media watchdogs will attest that there, too, the mainstream, liberal media is full of distortions and bias in its coverage of Israel. For Israel as an embattled country whose survival is still threatened, the Western media has been a major enemy that cultivates hostility toward it with a unique obsessive passion.

3. Denial of the right to self-defense. With no democracy under such persistent violent attack as Israel, the other democracies—with the United States a qualified exception—do not react by supporting it but rather by subjecting its defensive measures to minute scrutiny and reflexive criticism. During the Oslo period, in which Israel has come under particularly brutal assault including waves of suicide bombings and rocket firings, Israel has actually been cast in Europe as the aggressor and its measures to protect its citizens have been obsessively condemned in the West and become a cause celebre of human rights NGOs, protest campaigns, and so on.

Not only do active Israeli antiterror measures like targeted killings, or military operations against terror concentrations, get condemned but even passive measures like checkpoints and the famous separation fence, known among Israel-foes as the “apartheid wall” and singled out in 2004 for special censure at The Hague. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has repeatedly demanded of Israel the removal of West Bank checkpoints even though this results in increased danger and, sometimes, death for Israeli civilians. The Western officials, journalists, and activists who hector Israel over its anti-terror measures do not ask themselves what they would think if their own countries were subject to incessant, daily danger and attacks and instead subject Israel to a special, sanctimonious rigor.

4. Unique treatment of those who spy for Israel. This is a form of abuse that has occurred in Israel’s one ally in recent decades, the United States. In 1986 Jonathan Pollard, an American Jew who spied for Israel, was given a unique sentence of life in prison without parole and remains in prison to this day. No other spy for a U.S. ally has ever received a remotely comparable sentence and even spies for unfriendly countries have received lighter ones. More recently, in a bizarre episode, an 84-year-old American Jew named Ben-Ami Kadish was arrested in his nursing home on charges of passing classified documents to an Israeli agent 23 years ago.

5. Getting away with incitement to genocide. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s frequent statements of genocidal incitement against Israel are clear violations of two components of international law, the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and the Rome Statute. Important figures such as John Bolton, Alan Dershowitz, and Irwin Cotler have called on the United Nations’ International Court of Justice to charge Ahmadinejad with inciting genocide, and more recently the Australian government is considering bringing a case against him there.

So far, though, none of this has materialized and instead Ahmadinejad has continued to be honored by invitations to present speeches at the UN. He was also invited to a debate at Columbia University where he was given a chance to air his views amid frequent applause from the audience. The European democracies, with Germany in the lead, continue to trade substantially with his regime and Switzerland recently signed a huge deal to buy Iranian natural gas for 25 years.

The democracies’ institutionalization of the Holocaust via museums, commemoration days, educational curriculums, and so on seems hollow at best, meaningless at worst, if sixty years later a national leader is free to incite a mass murder of millions of Jews without penalty.

Other aspects of the Jewish state’s special treatment by the world include ongoing abuse by the United Nations, often with the acquiescence or participation of the democracies; boycott and divestment campaigns; and highbrow writings and discussions on the dissolution of Israel, with no small contribution by left-wing Jews and Israelis. It is a sobering record, only partly explainable in realpolitik terms of a small, isolated democracy opposed by economically powerful dictatorships.

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva. He blogs at http://pdavidhornik.typepad.com/. He can be reached at pdavidh2001@yahoo.com.

We have implemented a new commenting system. To use it you must login/register with disqus. Registering is simple and can be done while posting this comment itself. Please contact gzenone [at] horowitzfreedomcenter.org if you have any difficulties.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Home | Blog | Horowitz | Archives | Columnists | Search | Store | Links | CSPC | Contact | Advertise with Us | Privacy Policy

Copyright©2007 FrontPageMagazine.com