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Whither Israel?

Like most people, I like to think that I tend to strike a compromise between principle and pragmatism in most issues. I like to think that I am guided by principle in most cases, but moderated by pragmatism -- I strive for "the best I can get."

It's, I think, a healthy balance. When you put principle as an absolute, and accept no compromises, you end up in Ron Paul territory. As I said recently, the guy's got a lot of good ideas, but a lot more crazy ones -- and his "take no prisoners," "my way or the highway," "never give up, never surrender" philosophy that guarantees he'll always be a nutjob out on the fringe. On the other hand, we've all known those who seem to have no core principles, but simply go down the path of least resistance, attaching and detaching themselves from causes and ideas as they come into and out of fashion. John Kerry has a bit of this in him, as did Rod Blagojevich.

I've often seen strong support for Israel (such as I have) challenged on those grounds -- pragmatically speaking, is our friendship with Israel a pragmatic decision? Do the advantages we gain from it outweigh the liabilities that come with it? Is it worth the emnity we get from Israel's enemies?

Our friendship with Israel does come with a lot of assets. For one, it is an affirmation of many of that which we proclaim as our national values and virtues -- support for a democratic state in a sea of tyrannies, support for a Jewish homeland after centuries of Jewish oppression and more than one attempt at genocide in this world, recognition that Israel is a hotbed of technological innovation in a ton of fields, realizing that Israel has been fighting the "War On Terror" for its entire existence and is willing to share what it has learned from bitter experience, and so on. In brief, the world is a hell of a lot better place with Israel in it, and we are all so much better off.

On the flip side, Israel is surrounded by literally hundreds of millions of people want wiped off the map. And, as some Jews have wryly noted, God gave them pretty much the only part of the Middle East without oil -- which means that the hate-filled majority have the oil we need for our survival. Further, they've shown repeatedly that they will cheerfully extend their hatred and attacks on any they see as supporting Israel -- which we do, quite extensively.

Pragmatically speaking, I'd have to say that the greater advantage is to be gained by abandoning Israel. And so do a lot of Israel's critics.

But that is based on a single, very flawed assumption. And that flawed assumption makes their whole argument fall apart.

Right now, Israel's enemies are punishing us for our support, and vow even more if we continue. So we try to balance as best we can, pleasing no one.

But does anyone actually believe -- for an instant -- that if we were to drop our support for Israel, the Arab/Muslim world would embrace us?

Get real.

They will ALWAYS find some grievance to vent against us. They will ALWAYS find some excuse to rationalize their hatred and lashing out at the West.

Hell, even Osama Bin Laden showed this. At one point, his greatest beef with the US was that we had troops stationed in Saudi Arabia. Never mind that they were there at the express request of the Saudis, with the intention of keeping Saddam Hussein from invading -- meaning we were there to protect Muslims from other Muslims.

That's because, at its core, the Arab/Muslim culture is their obsession with pride and honor, and their inability to process shame in anything but a destructive fashion.

One of the core tenets of Islam is that it simply is the best, and all others are inferior. And anything that challenges that belief must be destroyed.

For example, pretty much everything about the West, and the US in particular.

We are not only un-Islamic, but we revel in it. Our women are seen as equals, not property. We are appallingly immodest. We refuse to accept the Koran as the literal word of Allah, and revel in our ignorance of its blessings. We not only don't hate the Jews, we embrace them. We study things that should be reserved for Allah and Allah alone. We tolerate all faiths, and those who reject faith entirely.

And worst of all, we don't suffer for it. Indeed, we seem to be rewarded for it all. We have untold riches, astonishing technology, and amazing successes. Allah has yet to get around to punish us for our impertinence; instead, he seems to be rewarding us.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of the Arab/Muslim power and influence on the world is based on oil -- the gunk under the ground that they need us to dig up, refine, ship, and use to be of any worth to them.

There's a concept I rather like called "voting with their feet." It refers to how many people deny their own preferences verbally. We see it a lot in New Hampshire, where dissatisfied Massholes (that's what we call a certain strain of Massachusetts residents) who get fed up with their own state and come here -- and promptly whine about how New Hampshire is lacking in so many things they had grown used to.

Take a look around the Muslim world. How much of what you see is home-grown?

Military hardware from Russia, France, Germany, the UK, the US, and Italy, among other Western nations.

Cars from Germany, Japan, and the US.

High technology from Japan and the US and South Korea.

Cell phones from the US, Japan, Finland, South Korea.

Satellite dishes from the US.

Hell, the flag of Hezbollah features a stylized version of their name and an arm holding up an assault rifle -- a Soviet-made AK-47. One of the few successful examples of technological innovation from Godless Communism.

Take away oil, and the majority of the Arab/Muslim world's contribution to the world in the last thousand years (give or take) boils down to roughly bupkis.

Which is why our support of Israel is irrelevant on the pragmatic front. It's not the cause of their emnity, it's simply the excuse. Take away the excuse, and they'll find another.

So, with pretty much no pragmatic reason to dump our support for Israel, sticking with principle becomes a hell of a lot easier. There's no real upside in doing so.

The Arab/Muslim world doesn't need to confront the Zionist invaders and oppressors and occupiers who have stolen the land of the Palestinians and keep them brutally enslaved. (Did I get the lingo right?) The need to confront themselves.

But it's so much easier to find an external enemy -- any external enemy -- than to admit you've got major problems. Which is why any attempts to achieve peace with Islam is pretty much doomed until they undergo their own Reformation and decide they really want to be part of the civilized world, and give up on dragging the rest of us back to the Dark Ages.

'Cuz we've been there, done that, and threw away the hairshirt.

And it's a lot easier to "bomb them back to the Stone Age" when they're already back to the Dark Ages. It's a shorter trip.

The Arab/Muslim world might wanna keep that in mind when they declare war and vow the destruction of the nation that not only invented the atomic bomb, but is the only one to ever use them in anger.

And we've gotten even more capable in the almost 70 years since.

But back to the topic at hand: yeah, I'm a strong supporter of Israel. I've even embraced the term "Zionist." And I don't see any particular pragmatic reason why I should give it up.


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Comments (35)

Nobody has ever lost by sup... (Below threshold)

Nobody has ever lost by supporting Israel.

The Israelis took largely underused desert, introduced modern agriculture techniques, developed water sources and made that desert bloom. If it were given to Hamas/Fatah, shortly it would revert back to being a desert wasteland, a giant refugee camp that requires constant U.N. handouts.

Where the Arabs go, desert soon follows.

It's not just that the isla... (Below threshold)
jim m:

It's not just that the islamic world has an inferiority complex that drives their wackiest elements to try to destroy the rest of the world, it is that their governments are uniformly authoritarian dictatorships and can only justify their repression of their people by identifying an enemy whose fault all their misery can be blamed upon.

Funny how the leftists used to be all about opposing repressive dictators and now they cannot get enough of them.

Not making a comparison in ... (Below threshold)

Not making a comparison in any way except one but it's worth remembering that until the Germans invaded Poland Winston Churchill was a fringe nutjob to a lot of people. He was shouted down in the House odf Commons when he told the members the truth about Czechoslovakia in 1938. Sometimes the guy who marginalizes himself by taking a principled stand turns out to be right. I know, I used to be a quality manager.

I'm for Israel existing, to... (Below threshold)

I'm for Israel existing, too. I'm just against the Likud party sucking up to fanatic settlers who want to grab all the Arab land on the West Bank because God told them to.

I don't expect "friendly" countries to be in line 100%, but Israel take it to an extreme, spying on the USA with Pollard, bombing the Liberty. If they take US aid, they ought to follow US policy, which is to stop expanding the settlements. If they don't, cut 'em loose and let them fend for themselves. America first.

Defensible borders? BS. Jordan is not going to attack Israel again. It's all about grabbing water and land, cheap housing for the Russians who are now the majority in Israel and want Soviet-style free housing.

One other note is that hist... (Below threshold)
jim m:

One other note is that historically, Jerusalem has not been a city of any importance to the muslim world; that is unless someone else possesses it.

It was nothing to the muslims until the crusaders conquered it and then it was everything. Once the muslims took it back hey let it fall to ruin. It was a backwater nothing of a town until 1947 and then it was second only to Mecca as a holy city. It's not surprising that a historical imbecile like obama would be taken in by muslim hysteria about palestine and Jerusalem.

Muslims only want the land so they can prevent others from prospering. They have no intent to use the land to help people or to improve the lives of those living there. They only want to control. They have already stated that if you give them control of the temple mount that they will destroy the wailing wall. The whole reason they built their mosque there was in an attempt to obliterate a Jewish holy site. They will not be happy until they destroy all religious sites of other faiths.

"Jordan is not going to att... (Below threshold)
jim m:

"Jordan is not going to attack Israel again."

Perhaps not but I doubt they would prevent Syria from invading through their border, nor could they prevent Syria from doing so if Syria really wanted to.

You are foolish to think that anyone could defend an 8 mile wide strip of land successfully.

And while one might think that the arab nations would have learned their lesson from previous losses against Israel but that didn't stop Germany from getting involved in WWII and it didn't stop Napoleon from trying to conquer Europe when he came back from exile. These nations have the benefit that most of their populations are too young to remember their embarrassing losses. Already there are people in Egypt fomenting for invasion of Israel.

pragmatism - getting the be... (Below threshold)

pragmatism - getting the best you can - is a principle in its own right.

So you're just as dogmatic as Ron Paul.

One correction, jim m:... (Below threshold)

One correction, jim m:

It was a backwater nothing of a town until 1947 and then it was second only to Mecca as a holy city.

Third. Medina's #2.

Otherwise, dead on.


Jay Tea,Yeah I tho... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Jay Tea,

Yeah I thought about that too, but to listen to the muslims and their leftist apologists would would think that Jerusalem got promoted when Israel was born.

No Muslim sharia ruled coun... (Below threshold)

No Muslim sharia ruled country will ever contribute significantly to civilization unless they stop treating half the population as chattel. Men are raised to believe that they are slaves to their most basic impulses and women are taught to believe they are worthless. How is that a basis for a progressive nation? Equality and tolerance allow all persons to aspire to better their lot in life regardless of how humble their beginnings.

How is that a basis for ... (Below threshold)

How is that a basis for a progressive nation?

It's not the West, Sharon. That seems to be all that's required for the left to want to support a regime, no matter how how it treats its women or how repressive it is.

"When you put principle as ... (Below threshold)

"When you put principle as an absolute, and accept no compromises, you end up in Ron Paul territory."

My good man, that sentence is priceless : )

Leave it to chico to reach ... (Below threshold)

Leave it to chico to reach new lows.

Good job Woop!

You make a good point. Musl... (Below threshold)

You make a good point. Muslim hatred of non-Muslims goes back centuries. Thomas Jefferson warned us about the "Mohammedans" and so did Winston Churchill. Both men wrote at a time when there was no Israel.

Abandoning Israel is a religious matter to me and I think we would suffer great consequences for it. On the practical side I agree with Jay, nothing we surrender will ever make the radicals happy.

How about the muslims using... (Below threshold)

How about the muslims using Christian and Jewish grave markers for buildings in lands they take? Where is the outrage?

I am not usually for extreme measures, but I think if we take down Mecca, the rage and hatred will make the muslims heads explode. But I do believe there are innocent muslims, so there goes that plan. ww

Oh, when does the next Crus... (Below threshold)

Oh, when does the next Crusade Begin?

Imagine:A ginormou... (Below threshold)
A Thought:


A ginormous remotely piloted dirigible drifts through the air until it comes to a stop 500 feet above the building housing the K'aaba.

Whereupon 5 tons of pig urine and feces is released.



We have the technology.

OK, TEN TONS.... (Below threshold)


Not trying to pick a fight ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Not trying to pick a fight or disagree with anyone here, but you guys should read a book called "Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes," by an Afghani writer named Tamim Ansary.

What some of you folks characterize as "inferiority complexes," spiteful behavior, and women "being taught they are worthless" are explained therein with a little more empathy. Might be eye-opening to some folks here. Try it, it's available at local libraries and on Amazon.

Or, Jim M, if you don't want to read the whole thing, try reading Amazon's lengthy excerpts and critical reviews. Should give you enough of a taste to know whether it's bullshit or not.

when I red the "nut-job", i... (Below threshold)

when I red the "nut-job", i quickly refereed to my Elders of the Zion handbook, Dude those guys knew how to takeover, yep and the are still buying and selling people to slavery in their sleep. wake up america you are sold to slavery (just watch the FOXNEWS-as promised by elders of ..). these days a mayor of a city can not get elected in this country with out trip to Israel to get indoctrinated on how they should sell out united states of america
and president of a supper power gets talked down by a 2 bit new nazi nutjob without any fear
wake up and watch the clip and see how american president and commander in chif gets slapt in the face
and he keep smiling

I bopped on over on Amazon ... (Below threshold)

I bopped on over on Amazon to check out the book Bruce recommended. The one-star and two-star reviews are the most interesting (as is the case with most books), as they point out Ansary's factual inaccuracies, omissions, and whitewashings, with examples.

On the plus side, he's not jumping up and down and screaming "kill the Jews" so that's something to be thankful for.

also, clean-up on aisle #20... (Below threshold)

also, clean-up on aisle #20. Somebody's off their meds.

Thanks for at least giving ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Thanks for at least giving it a look, Muse. Hey, I'm not claiming it's perfect or the absolute Gospel Truth, just a different perspective than some of the readers here, I suspect, have encountered before.

"Jordan is not going to ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

"Jordan is not going to attack Israel again."

Yeah, I bet they said that in 1948 as well.

"Jordan is not going to att... (Below threshold)
jim m:

"Jordan is not going to attack Israel again."

Even if they promised not to the promise of a muslim is worthless because of the islamic tradition of Taqiyya. Any ideology which teaches that it is acceptable (more like laudable) to lie to enemies in order to gain an advantage is one that cannot be bargained with or trusted at any point.

Jay Tea,I take it ... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea,

I take it you will agree with Leo Strauss in that the focus of one's intellectual enquiry ought be directed to essential truths rather than incidental ones, when all else is equal and given the choice; and, of course, that the former should be granted greater authority in instructing one's moral reasoning by which one rationally arrives at guiding principles. To not do as such risks, as you write, "simply going down the path of least resistance, attaching and detaching [one's self] from causes and ideas as they come into and out of fashion." The result is a potentially dangerous superficiality and frivolity.

Now, I take it as fairly obvious that you believe it is an essential truth that Jews are an *especially* valuable people to the rest of humanity. That is, unless all the superlatives you have showered the Jewish people with in your blog are mere flattery and hyperbole. This is mainly why you support Jewish ethnic nationalism aka Zionism. (I mean, you do not find yourself expressing similar sentiments with regard to Kurds, both as to their beneficent and excellent qualities, and in backing their ethnic-nationalist aspirations - at least not as a paramount moral and practical imperative for the West.) Clearly for you, the propagation of Jewish ethnic interests are to enjoy pride of place as against all other ethnic group aspirations. Why do I say Jewish "ethnic interests"; why do I word it like that? Well, as should be self-evident, in order for the Jewish (ethnic) group to be both excellent and of such tremendous benefit to humanity, at least they, and as you argue others, must look to the continuity of said group - otherwise there would be, you know, no more Jews to be excellent and beneficent. As such, Jews (and others) have an *interest* in the propagation of Jews and in nurturing the conditions which tend to propagate Jews (e.g., Jewish ethnic nationalism).

Conspicuously, however, you are not a stalwart and vocal supporter of the ethnic nationalism of European-derived people though there is not one argument which you marshal in support of Jewish ethnic nationalism which could not also and with equal justification be applied to the former. Why that, Jay Tea? I fully expect you to give a well-reasoned answer at least for the sake of (what is obviously) your not inconsiderable intellectual pride.

Matt,"Where the Ar... (Below threshold)


"Where the Arabs go, desert soon follows."

You could say that with as much if not more justification concerning negroes. And if you did, there is not one commenter or blogger here who would not respond with a withering torrent of accusations of your alleged moral and/or mental deficiency (you would appear as "bad" and/or "crazy" and/or "ignorant" in their eyes). You know that to be true. But why? It is because this clear double standard is not a matter of reasoning but emotional conditioning. And of course that begs the question, Cui bono, who benefits - whose interests does it serve for you to reflexively act upon the dictates of this double standard?

P.S. The difference between those that can think and those who can't is that the former are not veritable slaves to (for most people) hard-wired cognitive biases such as "confirmation bias", "motivated reasoning" and "group polarization". (If you do not know what these terms mean you should Google them in lieu of making sarcastic remarks based upon what their names merely imply to you.)

Oh, and Jay Tea, I cannot r... (Below threshold)

Oh, and Jay Tea, I cannot resist highlighting a certain all too predictable motif of your commentary regarding Ron Paul.

The pathologization of Ron Paul, in this instance his supposedly in effect mental defectiveness:

"As I said recently, the guy's [Ron Paul's] got a lot of good ideas, but a lot more crazy ones"

"and his [...] philosophy that guarantees he'll always be a nutjob out on the fringe."

I take it you do know - smart and self-aware fellow I believe you to be - it is no coincidence that your pathologization of Ron Paul (yes, that is what it is - you insinuate he is not simply a misguided yet well intentioned fellow but "crazy", nay, a "nutjob") comes embedded in your defense of Jewish ethnic interests (yes, you are defending Jewish ethnic interests - see above). This is merely a more sly rendition of David Horowitz's contention that Ron Paul is a "vicious anti-Semite" ("anti-Semitism" is consistently portrayed as mental illness and/or moral defectiveness). You see, when you care to delve at all into the particulars of why (you say) Ron Paul is in error the first (and only as far as I have seen) criticism you make, at least implicitly, is that he is not a sufficiently ardent supporter of Jewish ethnic interests. Now, perhaps Jews do in fact merit such fealty which a neutral observer (a Martian, say) might be forgiven for suspecting was, oh, a tad quixotic. I do not necessarily and dogmatically discount the possibility - despite my admittedly sceptical and contrarian disposition.

And Alex shows another reas... (Below threshold)

And Alex shows another reason to reject Ron Paul: he tends to attract anti-Semitic, racist whackjobs as obsessive followers who completely lose what little rationality they have when Their Lord And Savior is criticized, even in passing.

This is not to say that Paul is an anti-Semitic, racist whackjobs, but his cultists do tend to trend that way.


Really, it ain't that hard ... (Below threshold)

Really, it ain't that hard to get, gents. All you need is a 140+ IQ and a trip to the Barnes & Noble evo. psych. section. (Okay, the former may be somewhat hard to come by, but still.) No Ph.D. required - which is, as the British historian Michael Burleigh editorialized, disturbingly often an excuse for "assiduous mindlessness". (A more perfect example of the "court historian" in the "neo-con" [this is a name, um, certain people took to themselves only to disavow it once what it really meant became bleedingly obvious] mold I don't think you shall ever find - with the possible exception of Niall "the Economist" Ferguson - but worth a read none the less; for those of you who like that kind of thing: reading.)

Yup, nothing to see here folks, except holes big enough to drive a Mack truck through the dominant and laughably delusional Weltanschauung of our age. Which is why for the most part the MSM adheres to the tack of "dynamic silence" (a term and strategy coined by one Rabbi Feinberg of the American Jewish Committee, which is of course not a vehicle for Jewish ethnic interests, despite what the name may imply - use Google).

Well, that's just priceless... (Below threshold)

Well, that's just priceless, Jay Tea: a prize example of what HBD (human bio-diversity) blogger Steve Sailer (who is half-Jewish, btw - a good guy) calls "point and sputter".

My point can be summed thus: There is no higher interest than the interest we have in the continuity of life itself as without life we *cannot possibly* enjoy other interests this side of the hereafter - I mean like "liberty" and a "free market" and such. Now, you would doubtless be willing to apply this most fundamental and unassailable principle to the interest we have in securing the genetic continuity of our species as a whole. Yet, you would bulk at apply this same standard to human subgroups as regards securing their unique genetic continuity though *precisely the same* reasoning is applicable. I mean, for all human subgroups except for Jews, that is - which is all too telling. (According to your formula, I don't doubt, European ethnonationalism = Auschwitz and Jewish ethnonationalism = eventual universal bliss: that's pretty messed up, bro. I think you know that.)

Really, you don't understand any of this and are not merely pretending not too? I don't believe it.

Anyhoo, thanks for being a standup guy and allowing this discussion (I won't say trouncing) - one-sided as it was.

Ain't it cute how th... (Below threshold)

Ain't it cute how the Paulbots have their own language, and anyone who doesn't speak it is obviously an idiot or tool or conspiracist?

I confess, this was pretty much why I tossed in the Paul reference -- it tends to draw them out of the woodwork.

Oddly enough, little asides like this tend to work better than an open attack -- I think they think that it's worse to just casually dismiss Paul, because you're not giving him THE RESPECT HE DESERVES, DAMMIT!


Alex, you DO realize you ha... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Alex, you DO realize you have neither proven your case, nor materially addressed his main contention? After all, the question at hand is the mix of ideals and practical opportunity. Your analogy of the Kurds fails because of historical and cultural dissimilarity with the Jewish example; for example there is no significant history of Kurdo-Christian influence in the development of the U.S. government and Constitution. The Kurds are more like the Albanians or the Roma in that context than the Jews.

Beyond that, I contend that your comments are worth about as much response from anyone here as, say, comments by Harold Camping would be.

"...any attempts to achieve... (Below threshold)

"...any attempts to achieve peace with Islam is pretty much doomed until they undergo their own Reformation and decide they really want to be part of the civilized world..."

In the sixteenth century there were both the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Reformation (Trent). Each in its own but differing ways sought to re-establish the ancient faith and Church of the Apostles, the Catholic generally from Scripture and Tradition, the Protestant generally from Scripture Alone. Whether any was successful or not is besides the point here that they sought the roots of the faith. It might have been Mark Steyn who suggested that jihadism might actually be the Islamic Reformation, as the roots of Islam were very much in warfare and conquest and not in peace. Christians can't imagine Jesus, Peter, John, James or Paul leading an army in an attack - but Mohammed did so.

I find it interesting that ... (Below threshold)

I find it interesting that JUST after Nethanhanu said that peace would only be possible between Israel and Abbas if Abbas said these six simple words: "I will accept a Jewish state", did Abbas say that Israel offered nothing that they could build on for peace. As always, their only plan is "Negotiation, negotiation and nothing but negotiation." This has been their plan for years - no other compromise less than "Driving all Jews into the sea" is considered acceptable. The Arab world has multiple countries spread over multiple lands, but they can't stand the thought of Jews having property that has less than 1% of the Muslim world:

Indeed, it seems that shortly after making great advances in fields such as Algebra, Astronomy and other scientific fields learned from the Persians, the Arabic culture, like the Vogons, had enough evolution and decided to remain in a 8th Century mindset while the rest of the world continued to make new discoveries. For further proof, just check out how many Arabs won the Nobel Prize. Keep in mind that there are 1.4 BILLION Muslims which accounts for 20% of the world's population. (And Yasser Arafat for the Peace award doesn't count) Now, compare that against 12 Million Jews which accounts for 0.2% of the World's Population:

For people who continue to belabor that Islam is a religion of Peace, they should take a look at this educational video from Switzerland which shows three things you didn't know about Islam:

Then there's this guy who goes from talking about bedbugs in the UN to going into a humouristic rant about the rampant misogyny in the Arab world. My first thought upon hearing the Arabian "scholar" saying that unclothed women were the main cause of earthquakes was; "Well, they certainly made the earth move."






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