Perhaps the greatest danger to Western civilization is moral relativism. Its
basic premise is that there are no truths, just opinions. Our values are
invariably belittled as vested interests. What our enemies promote is invariably
elevated to the stature of the authentic yearnings of downtrodden
History is downgraded to mere narratives, their factual base
notwithstanding. Narratives of Third World authorship (including oil-rich
potentates and Muslim clerics) are accorded credence, no matter how
unfounded. Opposing narratives are disdainfully trashed, no matter how
solidly founded on fact.
To ignore underlying postmodern distortion when
grappling with the issues of the hour is to misread the hype.
instance the latest flap on settlement construction vs recognition of the right
of a Jewish state to exist in the narrow strip between the Jordan River and the
Mediterranean. The de rigueur rationalization is that the demand for a total
moratorium on any Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and much of Jerusalem
belongs to the laudable aforementioned category of the authentic yearnings of
downtrodden masses. What Ramallah proffers (as its ever-increasing price for
deigning to talk) must be acceded to.
Simultaneously, Jerusalem’s demand
for recognition of the right of Jews to a state is extensively portrayed as an
obstructionist pretext. Yet Israel merely asks that the Arabs belatedly accept
1947’s UN partition resolution, which provided for a Jewish state and which the
Arabs violently violated. By still refusing to recognize Jewishstate legitimacy,
ostensible peace partners reserve the right to Arabize the entity provisionally
known as Israel.
Both supposed hindrances to the moribund negotiations go
to the heart of the matter. Yet to understand this, we need to set aside the
acquired postmodern contempt for history. The past is significant. The present
is a direct ongoing attempt to resolve what was started
Without historical context there can be no valid evaluation
of existential predicaments – certainly not of crucial continuities. That’s why
those who seek to obfuscate and skew do their utmost to erase telltale
fundamental perspectives and portray whatever they focus upon as vital isolated
The anti-settlement argument is that peace is contingent on
Israelis staying inanimate and refraining from altering reality beyond the
non-border (1949’s armistice line, the Green Line). Otherwise they jeopardize US
President Barack Obama’s magic remedy for all that ails the region but which
thus far eluded cure by lesser healers than himself.
However, contrary to
Obama’s hubris, he’s no innovator.
This has been the Arab subtext since
the very dawn of Zionism, though at different junctures the casus belli assumed
different forms. In all instances the pro forma accusation was that Jews “change
facts on the ground” – just as now.
On occasion, as currently, the outcry
centered on settlements, or more specifically on land purchases. (Jews weren’t
always accused of usurping Arab land. Sometimes their offense was buying
stretches of wilderness for exorbitantly inflated sums.) At times it was
Often, it was both, as in the days of the infamous White
Paper, published by Britain mere months before World War II erupted, when the
Holocaust was about to be set in motion. Germany’s Jews were already shorn of
citizenship and stateless. Hitler’s threats were well recorded, shouted in the
world’s face and hardly kept a secret.
Besides its draconian curbs on
Jewish land ownership, the Neville Chamberlain government’s White Paper also set
a limit of 10,000 Jewish immigrants annually for a five-year period. It
magnanimously allowed an additional 25,000 quota for the entire five years to
allow for “refugee emergencies.” Any post-1944 Jewish entry would necessitate
MEANWHILE ARAB immigration into the Jewish national home
continued unhindered. Itinerant Arab laborers flocked from the entire
Arab-speaking world – from the Maghreb to Syria – to partake in what the Jews
created here. Arab migrants were regarded as natives. The UN conferred
“Palestinian refugee” status on any Arab who sojourned here two years prior to
1948. The Brits and their allies didn’t deem the Arab influx as “changing facts
on the ground,” possibly because progressive Jews didn’t riot.
panic-stricken Jews fled in desperation to escape Hitler’s hell, the White Paper
encompassed all the helpfulness the international community could halfheartedly
muster, lest “changes on the ground” transpire that would peeve the Arabs in and
around the Jewish homeland.
Hitler mockingly invited the world’s
democracies to receive his Jews, if they were so anxious about them. He knew
that for all their moralizing rhetoric, these countries wouldn’t accept his
provocative challenge. After 1938’s Anschluss, their representatives met in
Evian-les- Bains, on Lake Geneva’s French shore, to decide what to do with
Nazism’s frantic victims, pounding on their gates in search of asylum. They
never even called them Jews, lest they incur the Fuehrer’s wrath.
turned into a great Jew-rejection fest. Britain bristled at any suggestion of
allowing Jews into what it mandated as the Jewish national home. Forebears of
today’s Palestinian terrorists made sure endangered Jews wouldn’t be sheltered
and his majesty’s government appeasingly assented.
The vast empty spaces
of Canada, Australia and New Zealand were likewise off limits. American
humanitarianism consisted of tossing the undesirable hot potato into the
international arena, because the Jews weren’t wanted in the land of the free
FDR toyed with the notion of shipping German Jews to Ethiopia or
Central Africa. The UK favored the jungles of Venezuela or Central America.
Mussolini changed direction northward. Instead of exposing Berlin’s urbane Jews
to the rigors of the tropics, he opined that the Siberian arctic might be a
The competition was on: Who’d recommend a more
remote and less hospitable exile in which to dump those whom the British Foreign
Office shamelessly labeled “unwanted Jews.” The motivation wasn’t much more
beneficent than Hitler’s initial choice of Madagascar.
The ultimate White
Paper goal was the creation of a single binational state with power-sharing
according to the proportion of Jews to Arabs as would exist by
Restrictions on Jewish immigration would preclude any “changes on
the ground” until then – just what Obama purports to prevent by banning Jewish
construction in Judea and Samaria.
Nevertheless, the Arab Higher
Committee rejected said White Paper, demanding “a complete and final
prohibition” on all Jewish immigration and unequivocal absolute repudiation of
the Jewish national home.
Translated into today’s diplomatic parlance,
this is equivalent to “the unconditional end to all settlement activity” and the
unyielding refusal to recognize the right of a Jewish state to
Therefore, both the current Jerusalem and Ramallah demands are
anything but irrelevant. Both take us back to basics. Ramallah keeps evincing
enmity. Jerusalem wants this enmity repudiated.
The bete noire that once
was aliya is today called settlement, but by either name it intrinsically
effuses identical antagonism toward Jewish presence. Jews are anathema, as is
any habitat for them. Undercutting Jewish existence was and remains the Arab
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