This afternoon I spoke to a rally in New York organized by Beth Gilinsky’s Action Alliance. The big crowd, despite miserable weather, filled the sidewalk on Second Avenue between 42nd and 43rd streets. Lots of terrific speakers spoke passionately about the need to support Israel against the shocking treatment from American leaders. Here are my prepared remarks:
We are at war. It’s a global war. It extends from Pakistan and Afghanistan to India, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and from there towards Israel and then down to Egypt, Sudan and Somalia, and west to Europe and ultimately to America. It targets Canada and Australia, Honduras and Colombia, and all those who challenge fanatical intolerance and instead advocate freedom. It is a continuation of the ancient war of tyranny against freedom, a war that will endure so long as freedom threatens the power and legitimacy of monarchs and dictators.
That war — a war of awesome dimensions, a war with a long and bloody history — is not the consequence of this or that unpopular policy but above all of beliefs we are not even supposed to pronounce nowadays: the crazed visions of Muslim extremists who are waging jihad against us. And the beliefs of radical secular extremists who share the goals of jihad.
That war is being waged by people who hate America and Israel, as they hate Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists, and those many Muslims who want to live in peace.
What? Did you forget that the Taliban destroyed statues of Buddha? Does anybody believe that they would have been spared if there were peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority?
Yet there are those — people in positions of great prestige and power, some in government, some in the press, some in the universities — who insist that all would be well if only Prime Minister Netanyahu told a few Jews they can’t live in a certain neighborhood of Jerusalem. That Israel’s enemies — who are also OUR enemies — would scrap their global jihad if only there were one more Arab country in the Middle East.
To demonstrate their conviction that Israel is the problem, these people treat Israel’s enemies — who are also OUR enemies — with greater respect than they showed Israelis. Prime Minister Netanyahu is treated as an unwelcome guest at the White House while radical Islamists are constantly asked, very politely, to be reasonable and to become our friends.
Sometimes they even receive a bow.
This is folly. It is morally corrupt and strategically misguided. Consider the case of Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of terrorists. The Islamic Republic of Iran declared war on the United States in 1979, and has waged war against us for 31 years. Iranian-supported terrorists, alongside Iranian military personnel, are killing American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan today, at the same time that they are organizing lethal assaults against Israeli civilians and military personnel. Even today Hezbollah is receiving new rockets and missiles, new intelligence assessments, new supplies of ammunition, directly from Iran. And yet, in all these years, the United States has never directly challenged Iran, never made that dreadful regime pay an appropriate price for the murders it has committed and supported.