Hope For The Middle East
I believe this article from IsraelInsider.com is a pretty good explanation of how I feel about Israel sometimes, and explains a lot about the opinions of Jewish-Americans on Israeli actions. The whole idea about how Jewish-Americans want Israel to be a credit to Jewish culture is probably correct (witness Abraham Foxman of the ADL criticizing the recent marriage ban), and I completely believe that it should be a shining example of the Jewish people. Unfortunately, as the author points out, the world isn't that nice a place, and Israel has had to do a bunch of things to ensure its survival that would be considered morally repugnant in America. In certain circles off and on over the last few decades, there has been talk that by having to live on the same continent as millions of Muslims intent on expunging Israel, the character of the nation has coarsened and degraded. Some of the people who have argued this are the very extremists whose character one thinks has been degraded. Others may sincerely want peace even if it involves tough compromises. The reason I mention this is that I fervently hope it isn't true and is never true. This, and the above argument, is much of the root cause for the comments below rejecting extreme action against the Palestinian people.
Because of all I have said, I think it is a necessity that Israel reach a final agreement with its neighbors that guarantees peace and security in Israel. Israel itself does not need to reach that agreement, given free reign in the territories it can defend itself for decades. My concern is, at what cost?
A peace agreement that actually brings peace and security is still possible. The "facts on the ground" have not changed, in a sense we may be back to '92, after the Intifada died down but before Oslo. The problem so far has been finding a partner who is willing to negotiate that agreement. Someone on the other side may rise up to the challenge. Stranger things have happened.
Do I have any answers? No. I am predicting rain, not building arks. All I really have to offer is the hope that somehow, perhaps through the inherent goodness of people that Anne Frank believed in, there will be peace and happiness in Israel and the rest of the Middle East.
Monday, September 22, 2003
Thursday, September 11, 2003
Meanderings on Mass Destuction
Comments on a post on Israpundit:
Comments on a post on Israpundit:
I think the author's recomendations, if carried out, would be a severe over-reaction that would only lead to further loss of allies and greater scale of conflict in the Middle East.
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was done against an enemy that was broken in all but spirit. If it had not been for the declaration by the emperor that Japan was turning away from warfare and the strict observance of authority by the Japanese it would have been necessary to turn all of Japan to ashes to end the war. In retrospect it can be clearly said that far more Japanese died in Nagasaki and Hiroshma then Americans and allies would have died in an invasion. Even after both cities were nuked, Japan did not finally surrender until a last bombing raid was launched on nearly every major Japanese city. The emperor realized that the Americans would not stop until Japan surrendered, and that ultimately the Japanese would lose, that it was simply a question of how many more Japanese would die. However, the Arabs believe they have Allah on their side, and that the will win because Allah wants them to win.
My criticisms of the author's plan are two-fold. One, killing on the scale that is recommended is indeed a 7th-century action and is in no way morally justified by the broad opinion support of terrorism by the Palestinian people. If we are forced to sink to that level then the terrorists have won, because they and the Muslim world can claim moral equaity, and then there will be nothing that will stop the killing from continuing. It is true that these tactics are continually repeated by even the defenders in conflicts, such as the WWII fire-bombing by the US and the nuking of Japan, but we live in a world where, to borrow a quote from "Herzog" by Saul Bellow, "Annihilation is no longer a metaphor. Good and Evil are real." So, secondly, if we take a path to total-war, that path no longer ends. Acts that are evil can lead to acts that cause the death of large portions of the human race. If we say that the death of a 10,000 partially-innocent people is justified if it ends a conflict, what if it doesn't? Will 50,000 people justify it? 100,000? 1,000,000? Who here has the will or lack of conscience to engage in a war that will kill at least a tenth of all Arabs in the Middle East and untold numbers of Israelis. If it ends the conflict, will you be able to look at yourself in the mirror and say "I ended the Israeli-Arab Conflict." and feel anything but sickness because of the all those who died for to stop it.
If humanity cannot prove that it has stopped the evil and meaningless mass murder of the first two millenia, I have little hope it will survive the third.
As for what I would recommend; the full arrest and deportation of all Palestinian leaders not irectly implicatable in terrorism, and the execution of all members of terrorist organizations and leaders who actively supprted them. When that happens we will see what can be done next.
Posted by NF at 12:57 PM