If you live in the Middle East, act like it

Yesterday, international talks on the ‘crisis’ (funny word, since it’s been going on for several years) in Syria were scheduled to start in Vienna.

Participating will be at least Russia, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Iran. CNN reports that “18 nations, plus the European Union, were invited to the meeting.”

I don’t need to tell you which particular nation, which just happens to border on Syria, which has been hit recently by ordinance fired from Syria, and which has a great stake in the outcome of events there, was not invited.

As everyone knows, in the 1990-91 Gulf War, Israel was not invited to join the coalition against Saddam Hussein. In fact, she was very strongly ‘invited’ (by the US) not to retaliate when Scud missiles from Iraq struck her cities.

And in June 2012,

… the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s inaugural meeting was held in Turkey. Launched last year by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a “multilateral counterterrorism body,” it includes 29 countries, many of them from the Arab world. It aims to “build the international architecture for dealing with 21st century terrorism,” according to US authorities.

Israel, of course, was not among the 29 countries, despite being both the world’s top target for terrorism and the most accomplished at dealing with it.

I won’t detail the problems Israel has had in the UN, including not being allowed to join the Asia-Pacific regional group, as should have happened in 1948. She finally managed to get into the Western and Other group in 2000, making her at long last eligible to put forward candidates for various UN bodies.

Similar boycotting goes on in the world of sports, academics, and other less important areas.

These snubs are a result of various Muslim countries throwing childish fits and refusing to participate in anything together with Israel. The grown-up world has gotten used to appeasing and enabling this behavior, which is based on anti-Jewish hatred.

I think that part of the reason this continues is Israel’s fault.

Israel, which is actually a Middle Eastern country both by geography and the fact that about half its population is of recent Middle Eastern origin (and the rest are less-recently so) likes to pretend that it is a Western nation, like, say, Belgium or Canada. So it tries to act in a responsible, diplomatic and polite way in the international arena. This is not the way to get what you want in the shark pool that is world politics.

Take Iran or Russia for example. Both are much weaker militarily and economically than the US. Yet they ride roughshod over US and Western interests.

When Israel behaved “childishly,” like when it obtained (or didn’t obtain) nuclear weapons against the interests of the great powers, when it bombed nuclear reactors in Iraq and Syria, and when it interdicted weapons shipments to Hezbollah, it was successful in achieving its objectives. When it tried to act like a grownup – as in agreeing to allow the UN to prevent Hezbollah’s rearmament after the Second Lebanon War, it fails.

This applies both to actions and to rhetoric. Israel is insufficiently aggressive in both realms. We are too worried about what the West will say. A certain degree of ‘childishness’, unpredictability, even rogue behavior is not a bad thing. Ask Vladimir Putin.

In the case of the Syria talks, Israel should demand, loudly, to be included. If the US or anyone would prefer not, then they should be forced to publicly explain just why they are taking this racist (because that is what it is) position.

The editors of Ha’aretz and the tiny elite that they serve don’t think Israel ought to be a Middle Eastern country. They would pick it up and fly it to Canada if they could. But it is, and it should act like one.

Shabbat shalom to everyone!

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2 Responses to If you live in the Middle East, act like it

  1. Tom E says:

    They didn’t invite Israel, because, if they had, the arab nations would not have attended.

    Shabbat shalom.

  2. Shalom Freedman says:

    I did not know that Hillary Clinton also did this kind of thing. I remember excoriating George Bush Sr. for it.
    You point out so rightly that the nation most targeted by terror and most accomplished in dealing with it , the neighbor of Syria is excluded from this conference.
    You suggest, I also believe rightly, that Israel should be lest mindful of its popularity among the ‘enlightened’nations and more about its own basic interests. Also right.

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