A poster at Jihad Watch once wrote, “It [Israel] clearly has a death wish, so why even bother?”
Here are some reasons why one should bother:
1. Israel the country does not have a “death wish.” It has had a series of leaders who have exhibited an ignorance of Islam and an unwillingness to grasp the nature of the menace, or all the ways in which that menace could be dealt with beyond mild military measures. Israel has never inflicted, and has never been allowed to inflict by the outside world, the kind of military defeat on the Arabs that would be a salutary lesson. In 1973 Nixon and Kissinger prevented Sharon, for example, from destroying Egypt’s Third Army that Sharon’s troops had trapped. Stupidity of leaders, and of many in the press and television, does not constitute a “death wish.”
The same might be said, with greater force, about the peoples of Western Europe. The Israelis had Muslims already surrounding them, and within their country (where they did nothing to discourage them, of course). The ruling classes, political and business and intellectual, did nothing to prevent the large-scale settlement of Muslims within England, France, Germany, and other countries; they did nothing to educate themselves about Islam; they refused to listen to the handful of those who warned them (e.g., Charles-Emmanuel Dufourcq, Jacques Ellul, Jacques Soustelle). Does that mean that all of Europe has a “death wish” and we should wash our hands of it, forget about it? Sweden, with its awful ruling class? Norway, with its awful ruling class? Italy, with its awful ruling class (though not quite as awful)? France, with only the hope of so far so-so Sarkozy and Philippe de Villiers? England with — England with whom, exactly?
2. The destruction of European Jewry by the Germans and by many other collaborators who enthusiastically joined in, pitching in to help with the killing or with the all-important rounding-up. Take, for example, the Rumanian Iron Guard, whose members hung Jews from hooks in the windows of kosher butcher shops, or the ordinary Germans who pitched in to go on “Jew hunts” if some had escaped from trains or camps. Think of the French police: how empty Drancy would have been like without the rafle of the Vel d’Hiv, without all they did, those police, in the Marais. Germans also aided in the looting of Jewish assets everywhere — by gangs and by neighbors, who often turned people in so as to be able subsequently to help themselves to what was left behind. After the war, this could not be confronted. It was too terrible. It took decades for a slow thaw — a civilizational thaw — to cause people to begin to realize, to see, to stare in the face, the whole thing.
That did not last long, for it was too awful to contemplate. Fortunately for so many, and for the Arabs, the victory of Israel in the Six-Day War promptly provided a reason to depict Jews as villains, not victims. This found an eager audience of Europeans, who were already eager for psychological reasons to find fault with Jews so as to avoid thinking unduly about the behavior of many European peoples and states during the war. They were hardly wishing to believe — it would not do — that Jews were again victims, and they, the Europeans, were again not taking their side but abandoning them. But who had the oil? Who had the contracts? Who could pay for that army of Western hirelings? Who had the plausible if completely manufactured narrative that ignored the history of the Middle East and of historical Palestine, but that played on the notion of linking an invented “Palestinian people,” supposedly unique, with a virtual “Palestine” that never existed in Arab or Muslim history?
The damage done to the morale of Europe because of the destruction of European Jewry has been great. If Western Europe, or the West generally, were after all that has happened to permit Israel to go under, Europe would not recover. This is true whether or not Israel’s leaders and most of those who fashion public opinion in that country remain unbearably and obstinately innocent of the real situation. Olmert is only the latest and the worst of those who have risen high; he is hardly alone.
3. The loss of Israel would fill the Arabs and Muslims with such triumphalism that their Jihad in Western Europe and elsewhere (including the Americas) would receive a gigantic boost. Some believe that if only they are thrown a sop, they will be content and go home. Not at all. The Qur’an and Hadith and Sira do not tell us that Muslims somewhere have read “be content with the Land of the Jews and leave the other Infidels alone.” No. The duty is to make sure that Islam covers the globe; that Islam dominates, and Muslims rule.
The Infidels owe a terrific unacknowledged debt to Israel. Why? Because before the OPEC oil revenues and the complete end to colonialism (the French left Algeria in 1962; the British garrisons left the Persian Gulf sheikdoms in 1971), and before those OPEC trillions and before millions of Muslims were permitted to settle in Western Europe, the main Jihad that attracted the world’s attention was the Lesser Jihad against Israel. In the West, Islam was seen — especially by the Dulles brothers but also by their successors — as a “bulwark against Communism.” No one noticed what was happening within Muslim or Arab countries. In Lebanon, the Muslim war against the Christians was depicted as something else, and the Christians, massacred at Damur and so many other places, were referred to with the Homeric epithet “right-wing.” Those “right-wing” Christians. It was a stupid adjective, stupid and misleading. But how soothing to the Western world not to have to comprehend that the Maronites of Lebanon, who had lived there before the Muslims arrived, before Islam was invented, were under assault, and would lose control of the last sure Christian refuge in the entire Middle East.
Similarly, the assorted versions of pan-Arabism — Nasserism, Ba’athism — were seen as alternatives to Islam, when in fact they were not alternatives at all. They merely displayed, for quite specific and local reasons, an emphasis on “Uruba” or Arabdom that was explicable given the impoverished state of the “Islamic world” and the fact that there were local stumbling blocks to pan-Islamism (including the lack of financial wherewithal). In Turkey Kemalists were in control; in Iran there was the Shah, trying in his maladroit way to emphasize the pre-Islamic past. Pan-Arabism was a version of pan-Islamism, a subset, which at the time seemed to be as much as one could hope for. Nasser or Saddam Hussein could dream of being King of the Arabs, but the idea of a much bigger operation, especially since for both Nasser and Saddam Hussein the most dangerous political opposition was mosque-based (the Muslim Brotherhood for Nasser, the Shi’a clerics for Saddam Hussein), was out of the question.
So until the early 1970s, the Lesser Jihad against Israel took up the time, attention, and money of the Arabs. Now that they have so many more resources, now that they have received ten trillion dollars from OPEC, and have seen millions of Muslims settle deep behind what Muslims regard as enemy lines, and have seen also how the inventions of the West — audiocassettes, videocassettes, satellite television, the Internet — can be harnessed for the dissemination of Islam and for Jihadist propaganda (beheadings of Infidels, that sort of thing that is apparently an inspiring recruiting tool), the Lesser Jihad against Israel can be seen, correctly, as only one part of a worldwide phenomenon. (Of course, it is still the part that gets far too much attention.) All during that period until about 1973, the local Jihads within countries against non-Muslims continued, but without either Western support or sympathy or even comprehension for what those non-Muslims were enduring.
How often did any Western power protest the persecution of Hindus or Christians in Pakistan or of Hindus and Buddhists in Bangladesh? Ever? How many Western countries extended diplomatic recognition to the Christians of Biafra, as they tried to fight against what Col. Ojukwu correctly described (in the Ahaiara Declaration of 1969) as a “jihad” by the Muslims? How many Western reporters noted the steady pressure on Christians in what was always depicted as easygoing Indonesia, all batik and gamelans, when that was really Bali with its Hindus they were talking about, and not Aceh, not much of Java and Sumatra, where the fiercest Muslims lived?
Meanwhile, Israel’s failure to identify its real problem was the product both of innocence on the part of many and calculation on the part of others. The Israelis knew no more about Islam than did most Westerners in, say, August of 2000. And after all, Israel hoped to find friends in the Muslim world, and it did, making alliances with Iran, which ended when the Shah fell, and more recently, an even briefer one with the army and secularists, but not the government or real Muslims, of Turkey. This did neither Israel nor the peoples of Western Europe any good. Had Israel all along understood that it faced a Jihad, albeit one disguised in all sorts of ways after 1967, it might have behaved very differently. (That Jihad was disguised by Arafat’s use of islamochristians, who are always useful to disguise the essentially Islamic nature of the Arab refusal to accept Israel as a permanent presence, and by the invention of the “Palestinian people” with their supposedly “nationalist” cause.)
Now that some in Western Europe are coming to their senses about Islam, they will inevitably begin to realize that the steady suffusion of their media with anti-Israel propaganda has created a situation that imperils not only Israel, but themselves. And they will begin to see things differently.
Will a sufficient number of Israelis begin to see things differently, and become disgusted with many of their journalists, their unimaginative politicians, and their insensate holier-than-thou or terminally naive figures, such as Shimon Peres?
Whether they do or not, Israel cannot be allowed to commit suicide. To take and apply the phrase that used to be used by such committed haters of Israel as George Ball, Israel “must be saved in spite of itself.” For its own good. For the good of the Western world’s morale, and for continued access by Christians as well as Jews to the Holy Land — which would not happen if Israel could no longer protect all the holy places and they fell under Muslim control. For that Muslim control today would not be the kind of lackadaisical control that was exercised by an indifferent Ottoman regime until World War I, when Mandatory Palestine was put under British, i.e. Christian, control. If the Muslims ever got control of the Holy Land again, that would be it. Perhaps the world’s Christians do not care sufficiently, or do not realize all the reasons why they have a stake in supporting Israel to the hilt — but they should understand this one.
There’s more one could say, but that will have to do as a brief and preliminary answer to the question, which one hopes was merely rhetorical: “if [Israel] has a death wish, why even bother?”
For every conceivable reason under the sun — for our own mental and moral stability, our physical and civilizational survival. That’s why.