Israel is under siege, facing what many people believe is the most serious crisis facing it since the day it first existed, over sixty years ago. Today, two op-eds were published that address this issue.
The first is by Bret Stephens, and appears in The Wall Street Journal. It just might be the single most important column he has written. He starts stating the obvious, and then listing precisely what Israel’s predicament is:
It is surrounded on nearly all sides by enemies who are aggressively committed to its destruction. And too many people who call themselves its friends are only ambivalently committed to its security.
No one, in a short article, has accomplished the job of showing how the would-be friends of Israel help its enemies by continually putting the blame for Israel’s troubles on the one democracy in the Middle East that has succeeded, and way beyond its founders’ dreams, and hence is put on perpetual trial. It is Israel’s very existence, and its success, that leads to the hateful attempts of its enemies to try to destroy the Jewish state.
Some, on the Left especially, always blame Israel. They say “if only Netanyahu was not prime minister; if only there were no Russian-born Jews exerting influence on the political scene; if only they lived up to the promise of their Labor Zionist socialist founders; if only they had given the Arabs real reasons to stop hating them,” etc., etc., etc. It’s all Israel’s and Bibi’s fault. As noted here the other day, a former head of the New Israel Fund revealed privately what she never could say publicly to her own community: “The disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic.” Yes, and the remaining Jews would all be dead. This is the true face of the supposedly pro-Israeli Left.
One should heed Stephens’ final paragraph if one really cares about Israel’s survival:
No democracy in the world today lies under a darker shadow of existential dread than Israel. And the events of the past month ought to demonstrate that Israel’s dread is not of shadows only. Israel’s efforts to allay the enmity of its enemies or mollify the scorn of its critics have failed. But is it too much to ask its friends for support — this time, for once, without cavil or reservation?
In a similar fashion, David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, writes that the “strategic challenges” facing Israel continue to exist and are “hardly likely to end tomorrow.” He discounts from the start those he calls the ABJ Jews — “‘Anyone But Jews’ Jews” — who will help anyone except their fellow Jews. He also does not care about those he calls the “IOI crowd,” those who believe “‘If Only Israel’ did this or that, all would be solved,” as if Israel alone is the guilty party that has failed to stop the attacks on the Jewish state.
Harris is more concerned with those who understand there are no easy answers, but who recognize the burden put on Israel — whom they know seeks peace and is not being treated fairly. Like Stephens, he outlines what faces Israel in the present, pointing to the new threats from Iran, Turkey, Syria, Hezbollah, and, of course, Hamas — whose charter he says should rightfully be required reading. He calls it: “Bone-chilling, classic anti-Semitism.”
He may discard talking to the IOI crowd, but he answers them nevertheless. He notes that the Palestinian Authority has “spurned every offer for peace,” not just coming from Netanyahu today, but from left-of-center, right-of-center, and centrist Israeli governments, continually walking away “from the negotiating table” in favor of appeasement of Hamas. Harris, talking to the IOI types, writes the following:
There are those who say they’d get involved if only there were a different government in Jerusalem. They forget one basic fact: the battle is bigger than the government du jour; it’s really about Israel, no matter who is in power.
In 2000, an unprecedented wave of terror against Israel broke out with a left-of-center coalition in power and a sweeping two-state proposal on the table.
In 1996, when the dovish Shimon Peres was prime minister, he was defeated in an election because of a series of Palestinian terrorist attacks.
What to do?
Look at yourself in the mirror and ask whether this battle really is about someone else, or whether it’s also about you.
To understand the roots of the problem, remember that knowledge is power. And no one has gotten to the roots of the crisis better than Sol Stern, in his new Encounter Books Broadside: A Century of Palestinian Rejectionism and Jew Hatred. If you care about Israel and you are among those who want to give ammunition in the form of logic, facts and truth to your doubting friends, you should immediately order this booklet for them either online or in print, and spend the small amount necessary to give it to them as a gift.