There’s a consensus of opinion in much of the media and world governments that has developed in the last few years: that the settlements should be dismantled, that the 1949 lines are not borders but somehow what is outside of them is ‘Palestinian’, that the solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict is the establishment of another Arab state exclusively for Palestinian Arabs, and that there is an urgency to ‘rectify’ the ‘unnatural’ situation that Israel controls territory beyond the 1949 lines (including the strategic Golan).
This position is usually presented as a pro-peace one, but actually the result of implementing an Israeli withdrawal would be to greatly improve the chances that Israel’s enemies will succeed in destroying her.
We might ask ourselves why they think this. I don’t mean “why are they wrong” — clearly they are wrong on the basis of international law and historical fact, and they are wrong in thinking that the proposed ‘solution’ would reduce conflict. My question is “why do they take this demonstrably wrong position?”
There are several answers.
One is that the leftist ideology which adopted the Palestinian Arabs as an ‘oppressed indigenous people’ in the 1960’s influences many Western policy-makers. This explains the attitudes of many European politicians with leftist roots, as well as the academics associated with Barack Obama.
Another is the massive propaganda and lobbying effort that has been funded primarily by Saudi Arabian petrodollars and has been going on for years. In the US — and I presume elsewhere — there are a multiplicity of organizations, often connected with oil companies, quietly performing these functions. Promises of profitable ‘employment’ after public service have been enormously influential in the US (viz., Jimmy Carter).
Yet another is the recent explosion (pun perhaps intended) of radical Islam on the world, and the conciliatory reaction of many in the West. In other words, they are scared by the radicals and it makes them feel safer when they take an anti-Israel position. For radical Islamists — unlike the secular Arab nationalists — the existence of Israel is a ferociously ideological issue, more than just a useful tool to stir up the masses.
Three powerful forces: ideology, greed and fear. Add to this the native antisemitism found in places like the UK and the Holocaust guilt of Europe, and it’s surprising that anyone is left supporting Israel.
Supporters include those who are invested in Israel for ideological reasons: evangelical Christians and Jewish Zionists — and by all means this is only a fraction of the world’s Jews — and those who have a physical connection with Israel. And there are also a small number of intellectuals in the world who still are concerned with historical truth.
The odds are not good when the enemies include greed and fear. Although it would be nice if greed could be disarmed by a sudden worldwide shift away from dependence on oil, this is unlikely in the near future.
But perhaps the fear can be outflanked. What is happening today is that the West has a quite rational fear of Islamist aggression — it is an actual threat to what we call Western civilization — but is responding to that threat in a childish, irrational way.
Instead of confronting it, policymakers have chosen to try to appease it. But Islamism entirely contradicts the Enlightenment ethos of the West. It cannot coexist with it, it must destroy it and replace it with Islamic governance. Appeasement can only lead to further demands. Continued appeasement is a path to surrender.
If the West will recognize this fact and understand that in order to stay on the road it chose in the 18th century it must stand up to Islamism and prevent further Islamic conquests. It must fight for its way of life against Islamic pressure to bring us back to a Seventh Century point of view in law, politics, culture, etc.
If it realizes this, it will also realize that Israel is at the absolute front line of this struggle. It will realize that a secure Israel is the keystone of Western values and influence in the Middle East, and if it cares to defend them it will defend Israel as well.
And that implies that it will stand up for Israel’s historic right to the land of Israel in international law, and will demand civilized behavior from the Arabs, including the Palestinian Arabs.
But it will do this for its own self-interest, to preserve Western values.