Monday, June 7, 2010

WHY I REFLEXIVELY BACK ISRAEL, EVERY TIME


It’s difficult to write anything about Israel that hasn’t been said better somewhere else. I nonetheless feel the need to get my thoughts in order and out to any readers I might have, since there’s a huge chorus of ninnies moaning and bellowing worldwide – as they always do when Israel does anything the least bit controversial – about genocide, racism and “unbalanced power differential”. Without putting too mawkish of a point on it, it’s something of a burden to be a 21st Century Israeli, isn’t it? Here you are, 60+ years and two generations after your forebears declared independence long before you were born, and you’ve got to live with the burden of being the world’s whipping boy for helping to protect a people – your people - who’d never been protected nor respected by others in the whole of history. While I in no way sanction everything this country does, particularly their messianic settlement expansions that pop up and then spring back every few years, I side with Israel against the world’s collective bad judgment and inane internal narrative just about every time something like last week’s Gaza flotilla incident pops up.

It’s that narrative that so many radical left pantywaists spout that infuriates me so – the whole “powerful vs. the powerless” thing that they apply to Israel. This is what seems to motivate so many Europeans and misguided campus leftists again the Jewish people’s defense of its sliver of territory. Israel strong, therefore Israel bad. Palestine people weak, therefore Palestinians good. The amount of Western denial and selective ignorance that goes into apologizing for Palestinian and Islamic behavior vis-à-vis the Jews is appalling to me. I don’t need to enumerate it; just read a little deeper into the news every day, and the examples are everywhere. This morning I read that two Egyptian men who married Israelis were just stripped of their citizenship and expelled from Egypt. They didn’t do anything else – they just fell in love with Jews. Had they been in a country that didn't have a peace treaty with Israel, they might have been labeled collaborators (as so many others have), and been castrated, burned or murdered.

The ideologies that underlie Hamas, the elected representatives of Gaza, are centered around hatred of Jews and the destruction of Israel. Given the chance, suicide bombers from Gaza would without question be blowing up Israelis in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as they were several years back – before Israel built the much-condemned wall that stopped these atrocities. Oh, and with the full backing of the Palestinian people, I might add. Do Israelis do such things in the “occupied territories”? Of course not. They’d prefer to be left alone to grow their democratic, educated, entrepreneurial, female-respecting society while the hostile nations around them self-implode or thrive – preferably the latter, as long as thriving means that Israel can live in peace and not be perpetually threatened with extermination.

It’s simplistic, but the next time you want to lash out at Israel, think about if you apply the same standard to your own state or country. I live in California. Let’s say Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and Baja, Mexico denied my state’s right to exist and would gladly kill and destroy me and all the residents in my state, given the chance, due to religious fanaticism and events that happened in 1948, long before my birth. If any lobbed missiles into California, sent in suicide bombers into nightclubs and pizza places in my town, or took in shipments of long-range arms from other powerful states that could hit my house or city – well I reckon I’d be in a perpetual state of jumpy nervousness, and I’d probably want leaders who did everything possible to make sure that didn’t happen.

So if we had a blockade around California that kept such arms out and let me sleep at night, I’d be pretty furious if a group of boating “defend the oppressed people of Oregon” doofuses from Eugene or Portland or, I don’t know, Turkey, tried to break the blockade. I’d understand that in a state of war – because that’s what it is – people get jumpy, scared and aggressive. It happens. It’s war. And if these soldiers who represent me aggressively tried to repel the boat, I’d be pretty thankful if they succeeded, and OK with some collateral damage that might occur. I might not agree with all of these soldiers’ tactics, but in no way would I disagree with the principles and motives behind their behavior.

Why isn’t the powerful vs. powerless narrative applied in ways that can actually help the world – like to the lower-than-dogs status of women in Middle Eastern countries? Or against truly oppressive mind-control regimes like those in North Korea? I disagree with a lot of American Jews who say the singling out of Israel at the U.N. and in the editorial columns of the world’s newspapers in pure Anti-Semitism. I instead think that misguided people simply need a bad guy, and the bad guy is the one who wins with overwhelming force. Except in Israel’s case, they haven’t even “won”. They are still in a nerve-wracking battle that will play out for years, helped along by clueless apologists and idealistic “progressive” idiots the world over.

So forgive me if my first reaction to whatever next week’s news happens to be in this ongoing drama will be to defend Israel. I’ll keep doing so as long as they hold their the bulk of their Orthodox religious fervor in check and simply go about the business of life. The Jews – and any people – deserve that much. I’ll even defend the people of Gaza and the West Bank just as fervently if they choose to follow Israel’s good example in the years to come. That's when all of this finally ends. I'm not holding my breath.