Israel—America’s Middle East Pain In the Ass
I understand the Holocaust. I was ten years old, sitting in a movie-theater with my family when Dachau was liberated by American troops in WWII. The audience, coming to see a light Cary Grant comedy of the time, left the theater in stunned silence.
America supports Israel, warts and all
But it’s a tough job, supporting Israel in these modern times as they continue to turn away from Palestinian statehood. Is 'pain in the ass' too harsh a term? Perhaps, but every recent president has tried and failed to bring Israel to the table in an agreement for a Palestinian state. Which brings up a relevant question:
When and how does a victim of fascism become a perpetrator of fascist policy? Israel was given a portion of Palestine by Western powers as a homeland and they took the rest after the Six-Day-War in 1967.
At the time, they had a choice and chose not to move forward. That choice was to accept what was left of Palestine as a separate state and include it in the agrarian and industrial promised land that Jews built under the worst of circumstances in a nearly unlivable hunk of desert. Two nations might have shared that peace and prosperity, but it was not to be.
That’s a huge over-simplification of a complicated history
Human history is littered with broken promises and poor choices, most of which were simply easier at the time. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s ‘peace in our time’ agreement with Hitler comes to mind. Politics is easy and serves the short-term. Statesmanship is difficult and takes the long view past the next election, which is probably why we have so few statesmen today. When the Israelis claimed ‘never again’ as their motto, I was heartened and thought they championed that promise for humanity at large. There are so many applications of never again that would bring the darkness enveloping the world into light. But Israelis meant that protective garment exclusively for themselves and the fabric gets pretty thin when applied to what is going on in Palestine. It would seem that Jews fled the German brand of fascism only to create their own version in Israel. Is the Israeli illegal (as the UN claims) construction of villages and towns in the ‘occupied’ territory of Palestine all that different from the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia? More to the point, does it have any probability of achieving peace in our time with the Palestinians?
“Of all the dramatic consequences of the 1967 War, the dual impact on the Palestinians stands out most: The Arab defeat bolstered the rise of Palestinian nationalism even as it inevitably led to the gradual decline of Arab support for the Palestinians. Fifty years later, the impact cannot be missed.”
Simply said. Some might say too simply.
Yet sometimes simplifications clear the mind
Simplification: The Second World War was an outcome of the crippling of Germany by the 1918 Armistice Agreement. Proof: The Marshall Plan rebuilding of Europe is sustaining 76 years of peace (and counting)
Simplification: Israeli economic and societal support of a Palestinian State after the 1967 war would strengthen both Israel and Palestine, along with lessening Arab tensions regarding Israel. Proof: Unproven, but all sides except Israel have been begging for such a solution.
There is yet another unsettling aspect to this unfortunate standoff
War is hugely profitable, both in money and distraction from underlying failures in the nations that build and sell armaments. Great Britain and America are leading armament suppliers in the West, while Russia and China keep the home-fires burning in anti-Western antagonist nations. America, perhaps because it sees a profit in all buyers, occasionally sells to both sides, as it does in the case of Saudi, Egypt and Israel. Yet no matter how you feel on the issues at hand, the costs of war cripple all societal progress. Just the threat of war in the Cold War broke the back of what might have been a greater and less antagonistic Russia, losing its satellite-nations in the bargain. America’s military adventures in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan came at staggering cost and very little to show for it.
American General Eisenhower had something to say on that
Leave it to the five-star General who led the Allies to victory in Europe to understand the costs, pain, uselessness and destruction of war. After WWII he became a two-term president of the United States and left us with certain truths, won at great human cost. One of those was,
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”
Which may be why so much of the world is cold and hungry today in Palestine, Afghanistan, Serbia and on and on.
Image Credit: cfr.org