Understanding Israel-Hatred

The state of Israel has been in existence only for 73 years. The Zionist project has been around for somewhat longer, beginning in the 19th century. Since 1860, some 116,000 Jews and Arabs have lost their lives in wars, terrorism, and pogroms related to Arab-Jewish conflict in Eretz Yisrael. In the annals of recent human bloodshed, this doesn’t move the needle; in the Congo Wars of 1996-2001 and the genocides that immediately preceded and followed them, as many as 5.4 million were killed. The Syrian Civil War, still under way, has claimed 500-600,000 victims. And yet, more concentrated diplomatic and media activity surrounds our conflict than any other since the Cold War. Why are we special?

Israel is regularly accused of genocide. According to the UN, her alleged victims, the Arabs of Judea/Samaria/Gaza and eastern Jerusalem, who were about 1.1 million in 1970, now number at 5.2 million. Genocide? Even if this figure is exaggerated, the accusation is simply crazy.

Israel is regularly accused of apartheid, although Israeli Arab and Jewish citizens have equal rights, both de jure and de facto. There are no segregated facilities, no separate beaches, restrooms, or lunch counters (although Jews are forbidden to drink from water faucets on the Temple Mount). The Arabs in the disputed territories, by internationally recognized agreements, are citizens of the Palestinian Authority, and insofar as the PA holds elections, can vote in them. The historical phenomenon of apartheid bears no resemblance to anything found in Israel or the territories, despite the attempts of anti-Israel groups to torture definitions to make it so.

In the few decades of her existence the modern State of Israel has been attacked by soldiers of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia; other belligerents include Hezbollah, Hamas, the PLO and numerous other terrorist groups like Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). She has been bombarded by missiles, rockets, mortar shells, balloons, and drones from Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, and Iraq. She has been infiltrated by terrorists countless times, including by means of rubber boats and hang gliders. She is currently the target of threats to annihilate her from Iran, which has provided large amounts of money and weapons to proxies in Lebanon, Syria, and Gaza, and which is developing nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. Iranian leaders have referred to Israel as a “cancer” that must be eliminated from the world. I don’t think there is any other nation in recent history that has its very existence questioned in a similar way.

Hamas, which took control of Gaza in a coup against the Palestinian Authority in 2007, two years after every last Israeli soldier or civilian left the strip, precipitates periodic wars against Israel while waging a continuous terror campaign against residents of southern Israel. Gaza receives millions in aid from the UN and the EU, along with large amounts of cash from Qatar, supposedly for humanitarian purposes. Hamas uses it to prepare for the next war, and to make its kleptocratic leaders fabulously rich, while the rest of the population suffers. But Israel is blamed for “occupying” Gaza and impoverishing its people.

Although the violent attacks have come from her regional enemies, European countries have been waging diplomatic and cognitive war against Israel since the first days of her existence. Britain trained and sent advisors to the Jordanian army, which invaded the brand-new state the day after the British left in 1948. European money supports international, Israeli, and Palestinian NGOs which work to subvert the State of Israel, to propagandize against her, and to engage in “lawfare,” such as attempts to arrest IDF soldiers and government officials for “war crimes” and to prosecute Israel in the International Criminal Court. But there is evidence from impartial observers that the IDF does far more to prevent collateral damage than Western armies do.

In the US, countless organizations dedicated to bringing about the end of the Jewish state exist, from the numerous campus chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine, through professional propaganda outfits like the Foundation for Middle East Peace, to Jewish organizations like IfNotNow and “A Jewish Voice for Peace” (JVP). Large foundations like the Rockefeller Brothers Fund finance numerous groups and initiatives working against the Jewish state around the world. The New Israel Fund provides millions of dollars to hundreds of Israeli “social justice” groups. Some are harmless, but others are subversive or even connected to terrorism.

The progressive Left in America is monolithically anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian, despite the fact that the PLO and Hamas have shown themselves to be racist, misogynist, homophobic, and antisemitic. Organizations like the Movement for Black Lives and other “racial justice” groups consistently line up “for Palestine” and increasingly express explicitly antisemitic beliefs. The ridiculous and illogical proposition that Israel trains American police to abuse blacks (promoted by JVP) is widely accepted, and has encouraged anti-Jewish violence in US cities. Several members of the US Congress have made attacks on Israel – which often shade into antisemitism – their stock in trade.

In the international arena, the UN is shot through with bias against Israel. From the dozens of anti-Israel resolutions passed regularly by the General Assembly, the Human Rights Commission, and various agencies such as WHO and UNESCO, to the 2001 UN-sponsored World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa, and the annual “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,” the UN seems to do little else than attack Israel.

The large “Human Rights” NGOs, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, falsely accuse Israel of apartheid, war crimes, and numerous acts of oppression; they defend terrorists, engage in lawfare against Israel, and employ many anti-Israel activists and individuals with connections to terrorist groups.

Finally, there is the almost universal contempt for Israel that is found throughout the academic world everywhere, even to a great extent in Israel. Pro-Israel students and faculty find themselves marginalized and punished if they express their beliefs. Some “scholars” and whole departments specialize in producing articles attacking Israel regardless of their actual area of expertise (if any).

Boycotts of Israel are found in every arena: athletes refuse to compete against Israelis, academics are disinvited from conferences, performers and writers who are Israeli or pro-Israel are canceled, Israeli products are boycotted. Ben and Jerry’s would prefer that Israelis don’t eat their ice cream (and not just in the territories). Israel disappears from maps and from the American passports of people born in Jerusalem. Even Israeli ham radio operators’ calls go unanswered. Perhaps they think that if they act as though we don’t exist, we will disappear.

Israel, like any modern state, isn’t perfect. But accusations of genocide, apartheid, oppression, and war crimes are not only false, they are absurd. In many cases they mirror what Israel’s enemies themselves have done, are doing, or would like to do, to Jews and their state. They constitute a Big Lie assault, in which massive repetition of outrageous falsehoods stuns the mind into accepting them.

The obsessive, extreme, and irrational hatred of Israel today is almost without precedent. In fact, there is only one historical phenomenon that can compare to it: the vile treatment of Jews throughout the millennia of recorded history. The persecutions, expulsions, pogroms, blood libels, boycotts, discrimination, and ultimately genocide that befell the Jewish people were no less obsessive, extreme, and irrational than today’s hatred of Israel.

This is not surprising, because the latter is nothing more than a mutation of the former. The State of Israel came about because Zionist thinkers realized that there was no other way for the weak, divided, Jewish people to survive in an increasingly unfriendly world than in a state of their own. In a kind of evolutionary response, Jew-hatred itself then had to become Israel-hatred to survive.

But there is an important difference: the weak, divided Jewish people had no way to fight back. Israel does.

Posted in Academia, Diplomatic warfare, Europe and Israel, Iran, Israeli or Jewish History, Jew Hatred, Terrorism, The Jewish people, War, Zionism | 1 Comment

It’s a Tribal Conflict

Humans have always arranged themselves into families, extended families, and tribes. After all, they are primates, and many other primate species act similarly. Sometimes tribes clash over a piece of territory. Maybe the ground is fertile or the hunting is good. When that happens, the tribes fight. If there are other tribes nearby, each side may seek allies to help them win. This is the way human beings behave. We think we are different today. We are not.

Usually one tribe is the aggressor and one is the victim. The goal of the aggressor is to take what the victim has: property and land, and sometimes to enslave the useful members of the victim tribe. Some tribes have been very successful in serial aggressions, even building empires as they sweep across the land, employing techniques of aggression that they improve with successive conquests. The Arab conquests of the 7th century and the Mongols of the 13th come to mind.

Sometimes the aggressor wins, and sometimes the intended victim beats the aggressor off, or even destroys him. Sometimes there are repeated conflicts with no clear winner over a long period.

When one tribe achieves a conclusive victory, the other tribe usually disappears. They are killed, enslaved, expelled, females raped, and their genetic material fades into the background noise. The culture of the aggressor becomes the dominant culture in conquered areas. Their language and their religion replace those of the losing tribe.

In modern times tribes have coalesced into nations. Sometimes – rarely these days – a nation is comprised of primarily one tribe or a group of closely related tribes. Such a nation is Japan. Other nations are dominated by one tribe, but have significant national minorities, like China or Russia. Usually the more stable nations are the ones that are homogeneous or the ones whose dominant tribes are solidly in control, which in part explains why China and Russia sometimes behave in ways that are considered oppressive to their minorities.

An example of what can happen when there are large national minorities is Lebanon. Lebanon was an experiment in modern politics in which political structures were built to balance the power of the multiple Christian, Muslim, and Druze factions (i.e., tribes). Great care was taken to ensure that no tribe would be dominant. This, it turns out, is precisely the formula for instability – which was exploited by outside forces like the PLO, Syria, and Iran. Today the nation has been reduced to failed third-world state status, without a functional currency or electric power grid. Worse, it has been made into one massive remote-controlled missile launcher for Iran, and will be forced to absorb even more blows if (when) war breaks out between Israel and Iran.

Muslim minorities in non-Muslim states are particularly destabilizing. This is because Islamic ideology contains several concepts that lead to conflicts between Muslim and non-Muslim neighbors. Islamic doctrine holds that women and non-Muslims have fewer rights than male Muslims, something that creates friction in modern liberal cultures. And they believe that it is unacceptable for Muslims to live under a non-Islamic regime, which results in noncompliance with laws and rebelliousness. We can see these phenomena in Europe today.

Israel is in a particularly difficult position, with an extremely large national minority of Muslim Arabs (about one in every five Israeli citizens). In addition to the religious factor they have developed a sense of grievance and a narrative of dispossession and loss of honor. This is a formula for trouble, and indeed it has broken out into open insurrection several times; most notably in the two intifadas, and in the “disturbances” (anti-Jewish pogroms) in cities with mixed Jewish and Arab populations this May during the recent war with Hamas in Gaza.

Recently Arab alienation has taken the form of contempt for the laws of the state, with crime rampant in Arab areas – and spreading outside of them. In particular, Israel’s strict laws regulating the possession of firearms are massively flouted, with Arabs obtaining weapons stolen from the army, smuggled across the border from Lebanon, or even manufactured at home. Some illegal weapons also find their way into the hands of terrorists.

Israelis are worried. Even leaving aside the conflict with the Arabs of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza who have been educated by their remarkably evil leaders over the past several generations to incandescently hate Jews, what can be done to preserve the Jewish state with its increasingly restive Arab Muslim minority?

Back in 2006, a group of Arab intellectuals, citizens of the state of Israel, told us what they thought in a document called “The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel.” The writers were academics, politicians, and social activists, people from the intellectual elite of Arab Israeli society, chosen to represent “different political beliefs and thought schools.” It was a serious project, sponsored by the National Committee for the Heads of the Local Arab Councils in Israel. The final product represented their consensus of opinion.

The document affirms the narrative of Israel as a European colonial project, involving the “Judaization” of the land and the “destruction of Palestinian history.” It asserts that Israel is an “ethnocracy” and not a democracy. The writers demanded that the state “acknowledge responsibility for the Palestinian Nakba” of 1948, and recognize its Arab citizens as an “indigenous national minority” and an essential part of the greater “Palestinian people.” They demanded that the State of Israel redefine itself from a Jewish state into a binational one, with equal political representation for Jews and Arabs, including granting Arabs a veto power over state policies. They demanded “corrective justice … in order to compensate for the damage inflicted on the Palestinian Arabs due to the ethnic favoritism policies of the Jews.” And naturally they called for “Guaranteeing the rights of the Palestinian Arabs in issues obliterated in the past such as the present absentees and their right of return.”

Even much of the Israeli Left was shocked. Such a binational state would in short order make Lebanon look like a success story. Despite the language of human rights that suffuses the document, it represents a demand for the Jews to reverse the outcome of the 1948 War of Independence, and submit to what would quickly become Arab domination. And that in turn – as is normal among primates – would end in murder, slavery, expulsion, and rape, and the final end of the Jewish people in the Middle East and perhaps in the world.

The centrist Zionist position is that it is possible to buy the Arabs off by making it possible for them to have the “good things in life,” like nice cars and fast internet service. After all, they already have the highest standard of living of any other Arab population in the Middle East. In some respects they live better than many Jewish Israelis (compare the large mansions in Arab towns to the cramped apartments of the Jews). But there are some things that we are not prepared to give them: land – they want it all – and their honor, which they believe we took from them in the Nakba. Their honor demands that we become subservient to those whom former MK Haneen Zouabi called “the owners of the homeland,” the Palestinian Arabs. Unfortunately, these are the things they really want, not cars and internet service.

There is no middle ground, just as there is no mutually acceptable “two-state solution” for the Arabs of Judea and Samaria, and no prospect of peace with Hamas. This is a struggle between tribes. And although we are a majority in our state, our tribe is a tiny minority in the region and the world, so it is also a struggle for our continued existence.

This is a kind of struggle that liberal societies are not good at. We want to compromise, to find win-win solutions. There aren’t any here. One side has to win and the other lose. And if we lose, we disappear; so we’d better win.

Posted in Israeli Arabs | 1 Comment

Sovereign or Satellite?

The Biden Administration has made it clear that it intends to reopen its consulate on Agron St. in Jerusalem.  The consulate, which in the past served as the unofficial US Embassy to the Palestinian Authority (PA), was closed by President Trump when the embassy to Israel was moved to Jerusalem.

The main function of a consulate is to provide services to residents of the country in which it is located and to citizens of the home country, such as issuing visas, renewing passports, and so on. An embassy, on the other hand, is the official representation of one country to another, contains the office of the ambassador, and is responsible for negotiations between countries (here is a comparison between a consulate and an embassy).

In all but exceptional cases, embassies are located in the capital of a country, and constitute recognition of the capital’s status by the home country. This, of course, is why Trump’s moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv was such a big deal: it was the concrete manifestation of the 1995 decision by the US Congress to recognize that Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel.

It is customary to provide consular services in the host country’s capital at the embassy. Consulates are established in other places for convenience. For example, Israel’s embassy to the US is in Washington, but she has consulates in nine other cities. As far as I know, no country in the world has a separate consulate in addition to its embassy in the capital of another country. When the American Embassy was located in Tel Aviv, it was reasonable for there to be a consulate in Jerusalem to provide services in the area; and it also served unofficially as a conduit to the PA. But when the US embassy moved to Jerusalem, there was no justification for a consulate there as well, and so it was closed.

Both PM Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid have publicly expressed their strong opposition to the reopening of the consulate, and say that they made it clear to American officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Opening a diplomatic mission to the PA in Jerusalem sends a message that the administration views Jerusalem as the PA “capital.” And this interpretation is shared by the PA, as Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch notes:

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh stated that the move is “important” for Palestinians because “the message from this [Biden] administration is that Jerusalem is not one [united Israeli] city and that the American administration does not recognize the annexation of Arab Jerusalem by the Israeli side. We want the American Consulate to constitute the seed of a US embassy in the State of Palestine.” [Facebook page, PA PM Muhammad Shtayyeh, Sept. 14, 2021]

Knesset Member and former Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat noted that “[t]here is no other capital where America has a consulate and embassy serving two nations. It would be tantamount to dividing Jerusalem.” In opposition, the Biden Administration wants to promote a version of the “two-state solution” in which Jerusalem would be divided, with the eastern part becoming the capital of “Palestine.”

The official Israeli position is that Jerusalem is only the capital of Israel and no other state, and must not be re-divided, as it was prior to 1967. If the US wants an embassy to the PA, it should be in Ramallah, where the PA has its seat.

The rules that govern the establishment of consulates and their functions are found in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which almost every country in the world is a party, and which constitutes binding international law. Article 4 states that the consent of the host country is required for the establishment of a consulate, or any change in its location or status. A unilateral act to reopen the consulate would therefore be a breach of international law.

It would also arguably violate American law. The Jerusalem Embassy act of 1995 – which was finally implemented in 2018 by President Trump after decades of inaction by three US presidents – states that it is US policy that “… Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected [and] Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel…”

There is a report in Israeli media that Foreign Minister Lapid – although he categorically denies it – promised American Secretary of State Blinken that the US could reopen the consulate. He supposedly received a promise in return that the US would wait until after the somewhat shaky Israeli government had passed its budget. There is a law that a government must pass a budget by 4 November, or it will be automatically dissolved, so its members want to avoid anything potentially destabilizing until then. The report also says that the Americans were “surprised” and “disappointed” when officials representing PM Bennett told them that the government was opposed to the reopening at any time. Blinken indicated that he intended to move forward with the plan.

Public opinion in Israel is strongly opposed to allowing it to happen. I am relatively sure that if the government announced that it had given permission to the US to establish an “Embassy to Palestine” in our capital, that would be the end of that government, before or after the passage of the budget. New elections would shortly follow. But on the other hand, I doubt that the Biden Administration is prepared to blatantly violate international law by doing it in the face of Israeli refusal to grant permission.

So what I expect to happen is that the US will ratchet up pressure on Lapid and Bennett. If they give in, they will try to suggest that it was a unilateral American decision; the Americans will say as little as possible, in order not to embarrass their puppets in Jerusalem. But if Lapid and Bennett continue to stand firm, and both publicly and privately insist that they will not allow this to happen, then I think the Americans will back down, or at least put the idea on the back burner and hope for a more compliant Israeli government the next time.

Sovereign or satellite? We’ll find out in the next month or so.

Posted in Diplomatic warfare, Israel and Palestinian Arabs, US-Israel Relations | 3 Comments

Two Principles

All of my writing is informed by two principles. The first, both logically and rhetorically, is that there is no moral principle more important than the value of preserving the Jewish people. This is axiomatic for me: if we don’t agree on this, then there is no point to continue the discussion.

This means that preserving the Jewish people is more important to me than anything else, including democracy or even considerations of human rights. Not that I think that there is a conflict between the continued existence of this people and the legitimate rights of others; I do not. But if, in any particular case, I have to choose between Jewish survival and the good of others, I will choose Jewish survival.

Some say that this disqualifies me as an “objective” observer of events. Actually, it makes me like everyone else. We all have loyalties that override universal obligations to humanity. Who would sacrifice their immediate family in order to protect the rights of others?

The second principle is the necessity of a Jewish state. If the Jewish state were to disappear, so – in short order – would the Jewish people. Unlike the first principle, this is an empirical one. The early Zionists who called for a Jewish state did so to a great degree because the history of the treatment of the Jews in the Christian and Muslim worlds impelled them to the conclusion that a sovereign state was necessary to ensure the continuance of their people despite persecution and assimilation. Subsequent events – the Holocaust among them – provided evidence that they were correct.

So what are the consequences of these principles?

Here is an example: Hezbollah has 130,000 rockets aimed at Israel. If they were to be launched, they would kill thousands in Israel and imperil the continued existence of the state. Therefore I believe that a preemptive attack on the launchers, even if it would kill numerous innocent Lebanese civilians, is morally justified (whether such an action is a good idea from a military or political standpoint is another issue, which I am not discussing at this point).

Another example: the geographic characteristics of the State of Israel require that she maintain control of the high ground of Judea and Samaria and the western ridge of the Jordan Valley in order to have defensible borders. Therefore, regardless of political considerations, these areas cannot be transferred to Arab sovereignty. If you believe that Israel’s holding on to these territories poses a demographic threat to her Jewish majority, then you must find the solution in reducing their Arab population rather than in Israeli withdrawal.

I do not believe that the Arabs who call themselves “Palestinians” have a valid legal claim on the area called Eretz Yisrael. But even if I did, I would be opposed to them realizing it, because it is in direct opposition to the continued existence of the Jewish state. In other words, I am not impartial on this question. I do not give equal weight to Jewish and Arab aspirations in our little land.

That’s enough for many people to declare me a “racist” whose opinions are worthless. But there is no human being who does not privilege some group over others, even if it’s just their immediate family. The ideal of valuing all human beings equally always breaks down at some point. This is unsurprising. We are not abstract entities, we are animals, and like all living creatures we function according to evolutionary rules established by forces far more powerful than our reason (incidentally, this isn’t an anti-religious statement: halacha was developed with this in mind). Family feeling, tribalism, and peoplehood are not things that can be erased.

Here is the reality: it is not Jewish paranoia to think that much of the world opposes Jewish self-determination, and sometimes the existence of Jews themselves. It is not paranoid to notice that Jews living in the diaspora are facing more antisemitism and anti-Jewish discrimination and even violence from day to day. And neither is it paranoid to think that the Palestinian Arabs would kill, enslave, or expel all the Jews from the land if they had the ability to do so. Indeed, they’ll gladly tell you so.

I am not going to argue for the value of the existence of the Jewish people. And we don’t need to convince anybody. What matters, as Ben Gurion said, is not what the nations think, but what the Jews do.

Posted in Jew Hatred, The Jewish people, Zionism | 3 Comments

Israel, Wake Up!

Hamas has produced a blueprint for “post-liberation Palestine” which describes how they will create the new state of “Palestine” after the Jewish state is destroyed.

It explains how they will variously slaughter, dispossess, or enslave the Jews of Israel, and acquire their property. “This is an issue that requires deep deliberation and a display of the humanism that has always characterized Islam,” they write. Indeed.

This is not a hoax or a propaganda stunt. It is a serious document which tries to grapple with the very real problems that the new regime will have to solve if it is to inherit the land and the wealth that is in the hands of the despised Jews today. It was created by a committee appointed by Hamas leader Yahya Al-Sinwar. The translation to English that is linked above was carried out by the highly reliable Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), who summarize it as follows:

The conference published a concluding statement listing “ideas and methods of operation [to be implemented] during the liberation of Palestine” after Israel ceases to exist. This list included, inter alia, a call for drafting a document of independence that will be “a direct continuation of the Pact of ‘Umar Bin Al-Khattab” concerning Byzantine Jerusalem’s surrender to the Muslim conquerors which took place apparently in 638; a definition of the leadership of the state until elections are held; recommendations for engagement with the international community and the neighboring states; a call for preparing in advance appropriate legislation for the transition to the new regime; a call for establishing apparatuses to ensure the continuation of economic activity once the Israeli shekel is no longer in use and to preserve the resources that previously belonged to Israel; and a call for compiling a guide for resettling the Palestinian refugees who wish to return to Palestine.

The conference also recommended that rules be drawn up for dealing with “Jews” in the country, including defining which of them will be killed or subjected to legal prosecution and which will be allowed to leave or to remain and be integrated into the new state. It also called for preventing a brain drain of Jewish professionals, and for the retention of “educated Jews and experts in the areas of medicine, engineering, technology, and civilian and military industry… [who] should not be allowed to leave.” Additionally, it recommended obtaining lists of “the agents of the occupation in Palestine, in the region, and [throughout] the world, and… the names of the recruiters, Jewish and non-Jewish, in the country and abroad” in order to “purge Palestine and the Arab and Islamic homeland of this hypocrite scum.”

These are the minutes of a latter-day Wannseekonferenz. And they must be taken seriously, just as Hitler should have been.

I am overreacting, you say. We could turn Gaza into a parking lot in ten minutes. Hamas is a joke and Yahya Sinwar is its punchline.

Well, yes and no. Of course we could turn Gaza into a parking lot; but will we? Sinwar and other Palestinian Arab leaders – like Marwan Barghouti, who is living comfortably today in an Israeli prison, but who could become the next President of the Palestinian Authority – are not expecting that Hamas could successfully conquer Israel by itself. What they are waiting for is the next regional war, when Israel finally confronts Iran and Hezbollah. In the chaos resulting from thousands of rockets falling on Israel from Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and perhaps Iran and Iraq – including rockets with precision-guidance systems and armed drones – along with a probable invasion by Hezbollah in the North, the situation will be out of control. At that time, uprisings in Judea/Samaria, human wave attacks from Gaza, and an intifada by Arab citizens of Israel, could bring about a military and social collapse.

Israel, they believe, is already suffering a political collapse. Like former PM Ehud Olmert, we don’t want to win. Why else, Arabs think, would our government try to make an “arrangement” with Hamas rather than crushing it? Why have we virtually stopped construction in Judea and Samaria? Why do we allow illegal Arab settlements like Khan al-Ahmar to remain? Why has the government continued to transfer funds to the PA while it pays terrorists to murder Jews? Why do we allow Germany and other EU countries to send hundreds of millions of Euros for Arab construction in the part of Judea and Samaria that is supposed to be under Israeli civil control? Why have we allowed the Wakf free reign to destroy antiquities on the Temple Mount? Why are Jews still not allowed to pray silently there? And why have leftist cabinet members traveled to Ramallah to meet with Mahmoud Abbas?

Our government is a sharply divided coalition which includes an anti-Zionist, Islamist Arab party as well as one that represents the extreme Left. Although the majority of Israelis hold right-of-center ideologies, the right is split over the personality of Binyamin Netanyahu, and there is no popular figure for it to coalesce around.

But the loss of vitality is not only political, it is physical and spiritual. Today, Israelis are fat, with 26% of them obese (although not as fat as Americans, at 36%). Virtually all construction workers are Arabs. Agricultural workers are Thai, Filipino, or Arab; the sunburned kibbutzniks of the early years, who also comprised most of the IDF’s special units, are long gone. Today about 12% of Israel’s population are Haredim, who are in poor physical condition and don’t serve in the army. The word “Zionism” is most commonly used ironically. In the days of Ben Gurion and Rabin, the Zionist Left was well-represented in the fighting units of the IDF. Today’s post-Zionist Left, which dominates our media, academic, and legal arenas, often advises young people to avoid the draft.

Israeli Arabs hold the Jewish state in contempt. In a recent incident several Israeli policemen were beaten by members of a private Arab security company. During the riots (which many called “pogroms”) in mixed Arab/Jewish towns that took place in May during the most recent conflict in Gaza, Jewish homes and businesses were burned, Jews were beaten and even murdered. The police were unable to control the Arabs, and in many cases were nowhere to be found. The foreign and left-leaning Israeli media focused on a small number of Jews that responded violently, and presented the events as “Jewish-Arab clashes.” They were not. They were anti-Jewish riots.

Is there any wonder why Arabs, both in the territories and among our citizens, believe that our days as rulers of this land are numbered?

Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have been preparing their people for conflict since their establishment. Their educational, cultural, and religious systems all send the same message of grievance and loss of honor, as well as vicious antisemitic hatred. The number of young Palestinian Arabs who are prepared to risk death or imprisonment to murder Jews at random is a testament to their success. “Palestinian refugees” in several countries receive similar messages from UNRWA schools.

Israeli Arabs do not receive similar indoctrination, but virtually all of them share a sense of grievance and dispossession that alienates them from the state. As the May riots showed, many of them are prepared to act violently on behalf of their beliefs, even when the country is only involved in a minor military confrontation. What could happen in a regional war?

In the case of simultaneous massive rocket attacks, invasions, and insurrection, IDF ground forces and police would have to protect the Jewish population as well as fight our enemies. But some doubt that they are prepared even for their traditional task of repelling enemy armies. The former IDF ombudsman, Maj. Gen. Yitzhak Brick, produced a report in 2018 that was highly critical of ground force preparedness and capabilities. IDF officials dispute his charges, but the controversy continues.

Israel is a small country. The scenario in which she could be overwhelmed is not impossible, even by technologically inferior enemies. There are plenty of examples in which powerful Western armies have been defeated by determined third-world opponents. And they are determined, while we are conflicted.

Throughout history, there are examples of conflicts between cultures over a particular land. One side always wins; and through dispersal, murder, slavery, absorption, or all of these, the other one disappears. In this case, Hamas has explicitly expressed the will of the regional Arab Muslim culture to displace the Israeli Jewish one. This will is not likely to be dissipated by concessions on the part of the Jewish culture. Such concessions only increase the contempt in which it is held.

The struggle between cultures for Eretz Yisrael has been going on since roughly the beginning of the 20th century. The Arabs have always understood its elemental nature, but many Jews have believed that the conflict can be “solved” so that the cultures can coexist. That would be like “solving” the geological phenomenon of tectonic flow. The struggle will continue until one of the cultures disappears from the land, possibly in a final military confrontation as Yahya Sinwar hopes.

The Arabs have a vision and have never stopped aggressively fighting for it. The Jews, on the other hand, seem to have lost theirs – it was called “Zionism” – because, in part, they do not recognize the struggle for what it is: a zero-sum conflict over every inch of our homeland. They do not understand that it will not be resolved in the UN or Washington or Brussels. It will be decided here, on the land, in Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley, Gaza, Tel Aviv, on the Temple Mount, in Sheik Jarrah, Khan al-Ahmar, the Galil, the Negev, Lod, Acco, Yafo, and everywhere else Jews and Arabs face each other over the question “whose land is it?”

Military power is necessary, but not sufficient, for victory in this struggle. First we need to wake up and see it for what it is, in all its savagery; and then we need to start fighting to win, at every point of contact. Our enemies already are.

Posted in Israel and Palestinian Arabs, Israeli Arabs, Israeli Politics, Israeli Society, Post-Zionism, War, Zionism | 6 Comments