Israel: if we are not for ourselves, who will be for us?

by Heather Robinson

Earlier today a friend brought to my attention a recent blog post by James Howard Kunstler, a writer on environmental and economic issues. With all the tragic news coming out of the Mideast, I think the analysis of this man – who is not Jewish – is one of the most cogent I’ve read.  Here I’ve excerpted a couple passages:

Apparently world opinion also doesn’t take seriously Israel’s founding maxim, “never again,” meaning that Israelis will not passively wait for world opinion to save them from an enemy that plainly and clearly seeks to annihilate them, as happened 1933-45. The Hamas organization is explicitly dedicated to the destruction of Israel. That is not a rhetorical gimmick; it is its declared unwavering primary goal.

The claim that Israel seeks to annihilate the Palestinians is simply a lie. Israel seeks to stop rocket attacks and tunnel invasions, and as long as Hamas is dedicated to those actions, they can expect a forceful Israeli reaction.

In another equally sober and insightful post, aptly called Struggle to the Death, Kunstler explains the situation as clearly as I have seen anyone do:

Israel has accepted the reality that Hamas deliberately uses its own people as human shields and has opted to destroy the missile-launch sites in any case, because the alternative is to give Hamas free reign in bombarding Israel. One would think that world opinion would understand this equation. But there is little sympathy for Israel’s predicament, and little appreciation for Hamas’s calculated ruthlessness vis-à-vis its own people.

The birth-rate in Gaza is among the highest in the world. If it is a deliberate result of social policy, it is a cruel bargain for the Palestinians, who are apparently regarded as expendable by the Hamas leadership. In a culture that glorifies suicide bombings, routine human sacrifice must be normal, though to a Western sensibility it seems tragic.

It shapes up as a struggle to the death that will not be impeded by reason, the good intentions of others, or sentimentality. What Israel remembers is that nobody was on the side of its people in 1939 and they’ll be damned to make the same mistake of not fighting back again. 

Indeed, sadly, Israel’s struggle is existential, and this man is correct to note that Jews are well versed in the reality that the world will not come to Israel’s defense, or ours. And–on a sidenote– if we were unwilling to rise to our own defense this time around, could we honestly blame others for failing to do so?

The first duty of any state is to protect its people, and if Israel’s government were to shirk that responsibility, the Jewish State’s existence would soon be rounded with a sleep. But that won’t happen today. Instead, radicals whose hatred of Israelis is stronger than their love for their own children will force the Israelis to do what Golda Meir said we’d never forgive them for. Shame on them.

Tonight a friend pleaded with me earnestly across a table in a downtown coffee shop, “But why does the world hate Israel and Jews so much? Why? Why?”

With anti-Semitism on the precipitous rise in Europe, it may not be 1932, but it’s ominous. I could only tell my friend that I believe that perhaps, if I were seeing the ghastly photos from Gaza without understanding the larger context – the bottom line that if Israel doesn’t destroy Hamas’s rocket-launchers and weapons tunnels and hobble Hamas, Hamas will then kill more Israelis, including children – and that the reason so many Palestinian civilians are dying is their leaders’ strategy is to use them as shields, maybe I, too, would hate Israel. Stirred up by terrible images that nothing can justify (and nothing does justify the deaths of these children, except that, were Israel to refuse to fight back because the other side uses kids as shields, it would mean the deaths of more of Israel’s children at the hands of an enemy that seeks the utter destruction of every man, woman and child in Israel).

In other words, there may be people who – without hate in their hearts but lacking an understanding of the facts and the true situation – are moved to grief by the images and rage at Israel. But that is why cooler and wiser heads like Mr. Kunstler’s must prevail in helping the world to understand that if this is to be a fight to the death, the Jews will not go quietly.




This entry was written by and posted on July 30, 2014 at 1:03 am and filed under Blog.