A quip in a private conversation got Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon into hot water. Quite a hullabaloo was stirred up by his suggestion that US Secretary of State John Kerry may be messianic in his obsessive keenness to impose a pseudo-solution upon us.
Ya’alon’s observation can, plausibly, be interpreted on several levels. It may be that Ya’alon perceives Kerry as naively putting his trust in visions of an unrealistic deliverance and the advent of an irrationally idealized era of peace and prosperity. That would be bad enough.
But higher up on the scariness scale is the possibility that Kerry isn’t just another gullible sap. He may have assumed for himself the role of savior. In psychology this is known as the “messianic complex,” categorized with analogous aberrations under the “grandiose delusions” disorder.
Of course the most chilling likelihood is that Kerry is neither of the above but that he is a realpolitik cynic who merely pretends to conjure a messianic miracle. Like old-time Midwestern snake-oil salesmen and purveyors of syrupy elixirs, Kerry in our day knows full well that he is bamboozling the Mideasterners on whom he calls with exasperating frequency.
In other words, this panacea-peddler’s sugared solution of alcohol and water is good for nothing. He is consciously a false messiah.
All the concocted cure-alls which Kerry offers Israel in lieu of the Jordan Valley are every bit as effective as the patent-medicine potions once fraudulently guaranteed to prolong life.
There’s no way Kerry can claim to be unaware of this. Even rank amateurs can figure out the irrelevance of all the sophisticated electronic early-warning devices with which Kerry proposes to replace actual Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley and elsewhere in Judea and Samaria.
To begin with, the distances are too paltry for any gadgets to make a difference. Nothing will hinder terrorists a stone’s throw from Israel’s one international airport from threatening any plane which ever tries to take off or land.
Moreover, odds are that as soon as we withdraw, Mahmoud Abbas’s minions will be dislodged by Hamas jihadists, just as in the Gaza precedent. Abbas can posture only as long as Israeli forces prop him up.
Nothing would subsequently prevent the easy targeting of any car that moves on any central Israeli highway. No new-fangled wizardry would avert the rocketing of Israel’s densest population centers, where no projectile can miss hitting something/someone. No thingamajig would stop suicide-bombers from blowing themselves up right under the sensors of Kerry’s cutting edge technological gizmos.
Of course should all these fail to live up to the American hype, we are promised the additional sweetener of international forces. These are designed to entice us despite the sad record of various grossly misnamed peacekeepers who have always been undeniably useless wherever stationed.
In Lebanon, for instance, they idly allowed Hezbollah to regroup, rearm and move outlawed rockets right up to the border in flagrant contravention of explicit UN resolutions. They likewise observed indolently as Israeli soldiers were ambushed and/or abducted.
In an attempt to preempt such predictable Israeli nay-saying, Kerry has reportedly proposed that American troops stand in for their Israeli counterparts in what is one of the region’s most sensitive strategic spots.
We might infer that GIs are preferable to diverse Third World and European malingerers in uniform. But can this be taken at face value? Can we and should we entrust our very survival to American hands?
Not if we pay heed to what we witness directly in our neighborhood. With one abysmal American failure after another in this part of the world, why would we rely on the US? Why would any country in the Middle East do so?
Iraq provides as cogent a disincentive as can be. No matter how many Americans might be sent to the Jordan Valley, they would be a negligible fraction of the massive military contingents that were dispatched to Iraq. Yet when all is said and done, what has the American presence in Iraq accomplished?
It’s no exaggeration to judge it a fantastic flop. America backed Iraq’s Shiites, who have now in effect become Iranian cohorts. Meanwhile their Sunni antagonists side jubilantly with al Qaida and the other jihadists who wantonly wreck Syria. It’s a free-for-all.
The Syrian civil war is also being waged in Iraq, where the body count mounts atrociously. Nonetheless, this doesn’t interest world opinion, which is fixated on Jewish home construction in Jerusalem and an “occupied territory” known from antiquity as Judea.
No one in Iraq gives a hoot about the Obama Administration and, concomitantly, the current White House tenant doesn’t begin to grasp the mindsets there. President Barack Obama may pat himself on the back for having extricated himself from the Mesopotamian mess but out in Mesopotamia he is seen as having run away ignominiously.
The lesson is surely not lost on al Qaida and kindred Islamic massacre-mongers. In the Arab Middle East, when an antagonist is down, you kick him even harder. Jihadist appetites are sure to mushroom on the fertile soil of Iraq’s anarchy.
The great American endeavor to democratize an Arab country has ended miserably. The Arab reality has altogether even trumped the western notion of a nation-state.
This conception was entirely alien to the Arab perspective when it was arrogantly imposed post-WWI. The declining empires of Britain and France had at that time divided up the vast Arab sphere which they conquered from the decaying Ottoman Empire. They arbitrarily concocted nations, carved up countries and drew bizarre borders – all to suit imperialist interests.
The French championed artificial fabrications called Lebanon and Syria, while the Brits invented Iraq and a fiction labeled Transjordan (presently parading under the moniker of Jordan). The latter consists of nearly 80% of what Whitehall identified as Palestine and which was earmarked by the League of Nations as the national home of the Jewish people.
On the Made-in-England thrones of both synthetic Iraq and Transjordan, His Majesty’s government soon installed two brothers from the Hashemite lineage of Hejaz (today’s Saudi Arabia) – Feisal in Baghdad and Abdullah in Amman. Feisal in fact, was first ensconced in Damascus as King of Syria but the French soon unceremoniously chucked him out.
National affiliations in the Arab world are nothing short of porous. There are no Lebanese, no Syrians, no Iraqis and certainly no Jordanians or Palestinians. All that exist are loose tribal/religious cliques and militias.
The modern state format merely enabled local tyrants to rule and foreigners to manipulate. A common external enemy – like Israel – became vital for minimal cohesion among Arabia’s disparate clans, castes and cults. Without the vilified Zionists there would be no Palestinian people and that’s an irrefutable fact.
The chaotic Arab reality could not be overcome by the mighty American military. In the final merciless analysis, the US fled the Iraqi carnage. The only commonsense expectation is that as soon as the first American casualties are counted in the Jordan valley, a great hue and cry would arise stateside to pull out. At that point we Israelis would be left here with Kerry’s rusty hi-tech doodads and without the Jordan Valley.
Our self-preservation prospects would be dire. It takes no extraordinary clairvoyance to figure this out.
Foreign military presence here won’t safeguard us, as Kerry carelessly assures, nor will it form a buffer between Israel and terror fiefdoms to its east. In the best case scenario we’d be plunged back into a disaster akin to the British Mandate, when Arab homicidal marauders rampaged but Jewish self-defense was severely restricted. Israel’s hard-won sovereignty would be lost, Jewish security would be compromised to an extent unknown here since 1947, and rather than be eliminated, the Arab menace would thrive.
And with all that, we would further inculcate in American minds the noxious impression that American boys risk life and limb for Jews.
Despite decades of a staunch Israeli refusal to allow any Americans to fight our fight, this hoary anti-Semitic canard hasn’t vanished. If anything, it was already rampant on the eve of WWII, pre-Israeli independence. Portraying the US as fighting for Jews was a favorite Nazi propaganda set-piece and a line eagerly espoused by America’s homegrown Judeophobes to keep their country from combating Germany. It was Roosevelt’s nagging fear that isolationists would ascribe to him totally undeserved philo-Semitic sentiments.
Nowadays charges are still rife that Obama’s much-maligned predecessor had taken on Saddam at Israel’s behest and sent Americans to in effect fight for the Jews – yet again.
In truth, though, we Israelis are capable like no other to take care of ourselves if would-be messiahs like Kerry – be he a credulous dupe or a grandstanding megalomaniac – would only let us be.
However, we’re often wary of using the force at our disposal. We’re deterred by our reputation as the universal killjoy who provokes global displeasure. When the world courted Saddam, we destroyed his nuclear reactor and were roundly condemned for our good deed. Invariably, the international community delights in restraining us and rescuing villains.
Those who genuinely wish to secure peace need only abstain from coercing Israel to appease aggressors – not to beguile us with promises of foreign troops and messianic tidings.
Our unwavering message to the wannabe messiah must be that we have had our fill of officious earthly redeemers. The hardly beneficent blessings he seeks to force on us are unwelcome and unwanted here. His unsolicited magnanimity would render us helpless. We’d rather not be in his debt and retain the ability to help ourselves.
Debunking the Bull, Sarah Honig’s book was recently published by Gefen.
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