Capitol Christian: Equating the 'un-equatable'

Since Palestinians are criticized (but interestingly never punished) for terrorism and incitement it is only 'fair' that Israelis be criticized too.

Gary Bauer (photo credit: Courtesy)
Gary Bauer
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sadly, it did not take much American hectoring, egged on by the European Union and the United Nations, for Israel to announce the cancellation of housing tenders issued for 307 new apartments in the Jerusalem suburb of Har Homa, but also, much bigger plans to build a desperately needed new subdivision north of Jerusalem. Like millions of other Americans consumed with Christmas preparations, I obviously have not paid as much attention to the news as I normally do, which must explain how I missed the announcement that Condeleeza Rice, in addition to her duties as United States Secretary of State, has also been appointed the chairman and sole member of Jerusalem's municipal housing board. How else can one explain America's top ranking cabinet official dictating to a sovereign nation, not to mention our closest ally, how its cities and towns are to build designed, planned, built and managed? The answer of course is the "peace process." By demanding that Israel alter a municipal government's plan to issue housing tenders, the United States equated the building of new homes for young Israeli families with suicide bombings. By equating the "un-equatable" the United States government has broadcast the moral collapse of American foreign policy. And to blame for it all is the hideous notion that has driven our foreign policy establishment for half a century. The notion of "moral equivalence." This notion says that there is an Arab-Israeli crisis because both sides are equally at fault. Therefore both sides have to be equally blamed. The worst thing Palestinians do is recruit, train and supply suicide bombers to murder Israeli civilians. The worst thing Israelis do is allow low level bureaucrats to issue tenders to build 307 new apartments in full accord with Israeli law, in a suburb completely inside Jerusalem's municipal boundaries and on empty land lived on by no one. An American policy that cannot distinguish between housing permits and suicide bombings is not only wrong and immoral, it is un-American. Americans are nothing if not "fair". Since Palestinians are criticized (but interestingly never punished) for terrorism and incitement it is only "fair" that Israelis be criticized too. If housing permits are the worst Israeli sin that our American diplomats can condemn, then the condemnation of housing permits it must be. Ironically, the American justification for this outrageous intrusion into the internal affairs of a sovereign nation was the need to "build confidence" between Israel and the Palestinians but nothing will more quickly undermine that confidence at least on the Israeli side than such reprehensible and vacuous moral equivalence. The housing units at the center of this manufactured and phony "storm" were to have been built in an existing Jewish neighborhood called Har Homa on Jerusalem's southeast side. The suburb is ten years old, lies totally within Jerusalem's municipal borders, is included inside the security fence and neither restricts nor eliminates access to or from Jerusalem to a single Palestinian neighborhood. The last time Har Homa was in the news so prominently was when it first opened in 1997. Say what you will about Bill Clinton, and I don't usually say much, but at least he protected Israel from international pressure trying to weaken its sovereignty by vetoing a UN resolution condemning Israel for building the suburb. The same cannot be said for the Bush Administration. At least not yet. Israelis should not have to know every nuance of American life to know that they have no greater friend than the American people. Sadly, weeks like this past one cannot but undermine Israeli confidence in American support for them at this perilous time. Israelis need to know that the actions of un-elected bureaucrats in a small corner of a gargantuan federal bureaucracy do not always, or even often for that matter, reflect the informed views or wishes of the American people. As one who has spent my entire adult life up and down each rung of American politics and power, I almost feel compelled to apologize to the Israeli people for the outrageous and disgusting recent behavior of Washington politicians and bureaucrats. I am appalled by it. I can say with complete certainty that my feelings are not mine alone. They are shared by millions of Americans who love, cherish and are committed to a strong and secure State of Israel. Gary L. Bauer works in Washington D.C. as president of American Values, a Christian organization dedicated to moral government and family values. Previous Entries: Wizards of failure 'Values voters' and Israel The process vs the progress of peace Anti-American is anti-Israel The Ivy League and Ahmadinejad