Another Tack: The Europeanization of Israel

Rendering ourselves more vulnerable won't endear us to those whose outrage is remarkably selective.

Wherever we tune in these days, we hear somber-voiced pundits expound on how Israel can't defeat Hizbullah. Some self-professed omniscients - who keep prattling despite having never missed an opportunity to get everything thoroughly wrong - go as far as to suggest we now sacrifice the Golan to appease Hizbullah's Syrian masters and mollify Assad Jr. a tad, just enough to tamper with his fixation on the bogeys from Teheran. Wonders never cease. The wishful-thinkers who brought us Oslo, followed it up with May 2000's midnight escape from Lebanon and topped everything off with their disengagement folly apparently will never say die. You can count on them to revive the threat to Israel's heartland via Olmert's only temporarily suspended convergence/realignment that would turn Judea and Samaria into an Iranian outpost, incomparably deadlier than southern Lebanon and Gaza. But while they're momentarily stymied on Israel's central flank, they have discovered a new outlet for their zeal - the Golan. They note that everything is so idyllically pastoral there - demonstrating how flawlessly Syria oversees its territory. Ergo - we can relocate the border closer to home. The only missing element of this assertion is the cause for Syrian caution precisely on this front (not in Lebanon). While Israel controls the Heights and Damascus is at our mercy, terror sponsor Assad is less likely to provoke us. When Syria was on top, life in Israel below was hell. How easy and convenient to forget. The fact these presumptuous kibitzers omit dwelling upon is that it's quite possible to combat Hizbullah aggression, and in a manner far less costly than sending ill-equipped soldiers on ill-considered hikes through Hizbullah strongholds. Any normal country - and Israel most categorically isn't normal - would simply destroy towns and villages that serve as rocket bases against its civilians. Bint Jbail and Maroun el-Ras shouldn't have been left standing. That's what America would do, or Russia, Britain and most undoubtedly duplicitous France. One would shudder to think how China would react. But Israel is different. The agent of our malady - that potent pathogen undermining our continued survival - is our excessive care about the world's opinion of us, while the world doesn't give a hoot about Israel's fate (and that's resorting to gross understatement). It's a chronic Jewish syndrome now turned into a full-blown existential hazard to the state and its people. Until we recognize, admit and address what can only be defined as a suicidal aberration, our self-preservation is most definitely not guaranteed. WE IMPERATIVELY need to reset our mind-set. It's not irrelevant to recall (and inculcate in our youth) how displeased the world has always been with us, long before we impudently dared in 1967 not to be annihilated, but even to actually defeat genocidal would-be terminators and retake parts of our homeland which were under their rule for 19 years. That was the abhorrent "occupation" on which the world now blames all our tribulations and which earns us unparalleled global disapproval. But we know that they disapproved of us lots earlier. We disturbed their peace already in the dawn of antiquity and our impertinence persisted through crusades, inquisitions, countless exiles, expulsions, executions (in the Savior's name or in affirmation of Allah's glory), nationalistic uprisings (like Chmielnitski's Cossacks) and all the way to the inevitable culmination in the systematic Holocaust, which the world did nothing to prevent or later to mitigate. Throughout World War II we irritated the Americans, Brits, Russians and French. We positively infuriated the indignant Ukrainians, Poles, Latvians, Lithuanians, Slovaks, Croats, Hungarians, Romanians and other enlightened humanitarians. We of course drove the Germans, Austrians and their collaborators out of their minds, or they'd have never sunk so low. Among Nazism's most avid collaborators were the perpetually aggrieved Arabs, who blueprinted their own gas chambers near Nablus. Already preceding the "final solution," having had enough, we decided to gather in our ancestral homeland - our resurrected old/new sanctuary. But things there didn't go smoothly. Perfidious Albion prevented our refugees from reaching safe haven, and Arabs instigated bloodbaths way before that unspeakable "occupation" of 1967. It's uncool to recall the massacres of 1920, 1921, 1929, 1936-39 and all the incidental carnage in between. We were ultimate underdogs, yet the world's sympathy wasn't showered upon us. Our War of Independence was ignited by the Arab spurning of the UN's 1947 Partition Resolution, but did the world care? Well, in a way. It imposed an arms embargo on frail newborn Israel while its attackers invaded, screaming "Itbah el-Yahud [slaughter the Jews]." Immediately post-Holocaust the world still managed to discern underlying justification for blood-curdling exhortations for our obliteration. NOWADAYS IT'S unperturbed by identical exhortations from the Nasrallah/Ahmadinejad/Assad Axis. We won't be safe until we realize that rendering ourselves more vulnerable won't endear us to those whose outrage is remarkably selective - to those who incredibly remained indifferent prior to, during and after the Holocaust - those who'll never fail to detect something distasteful about us, those put off by the fact that Jews are always associated with "unpleasant episodes," like pogroms. Before 1967 the collective Jewish misfortune was repressed only by a minority of Israelis - mostly assorted communists and/or detached eggheads. Thereafter, their psychosis became the vogue. We hankered after normalcy. We aspired to live the good life. We yearned to be a nation among nations. We craved the warmth of acceptance. We strove to win this acceptance even at the expense our common sense and security. We espoused what looked like European liberality and post-modernism. Misguided liberal and post-modernist extremes could well be the undoing of European civilization, but the Europeanization of Israel is a far more urgent, clear and present danger.