Category Archives: Israel & Jewish Affairs

The Israeli One-State Solution

Caroline Glick has written a provocative new book entitled The Israeli Solution: A One State Plan for Peace in the Middle East. In it, she argues that the futile quest for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict over the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is misguided, ill-conceived and doomed to failure. As have many before her, she points out that the “two states for two peoples” mantra, which is promoted so mindlessly by clueless diplomats, statesmen and pundits, and whose outline is broadly ‘known’ to all who envision it, would result in a death sentence for the Jewish State. Those who favor the two-state solution are often untroubled by that prospect. Or they deny, in unconvincing fashion, that such an outcome is likely. Moreover, “friends” of Israel bemoan the fact that there is no other choice: If the two-state solution is not implemented, then Israel either loses its Jewish character or its democratic nature. This is inevitable – just ask that great friend of Israel, John Kerry.

Balderdash, replies Glick. She argues that the demographic time bomb that is supposedly ticking louder and louder is a myth. The estimates (provided by the PLO) of the number of Arab residents in Judea and Samaria (the biblical names of the two regions comprising the so-called West Bank) are wildly inflated. Moreover, they discount the substantial and ongoing Arab emigration from the area. Glick claims that the ratio of Jews to Arabs among all the peoples in the disputed area (that is, comprising Israel proper, plus Judea and Samaria, but not Gaza) is roughly 2-1. Moreover, she claims, the fertility rate amongst the Jews has now drawn even (at approximately 3.1) to that of the Arabs — and more critically, according to Glick, the Jewish rate continues to rise while the Arab rate shows no sign of abating from its recent steep plummet. She asserts that with the likely continuation of these trends, augmented by ongoing Jewish immigration, the ratio in the not too distant future could approach 4-1, even 5-1, that is, the current ratio within Israel itself.

Therefore, says Glick, Israel should assert sovereignty over the disputed territory, expel the PLO and offer citizenship to the remaining Arab residents. A one-state solution! But not the Judenrein one envisioned by Abbas, nor the one that haunts Jewish lefties in Israel (and the US) who foresee a demographic and political disaster if Israel continues to “occupy the West Bank.”

Glick’s plan is simple, bold, controversial and provocative. Her analysis of the current situation and of the preceding machinations that have led to the current “stalemate” is cogent, comprehensive, clear-eyed and convincing. Here are some of the main points she makes:

  • Virtually all of the proponents of the two-state solution (Americans, Europeans, left-wing Israelis; although perhaps not Russians, and certainly no Arab) envision that such an eventuality will be accompanied by a total cessation of hostilities and complete acknowledgment by both sides of the legitimacy of the others’ state. There is not a shred of evidence that the Arabs — either in the disputed area or outside of it — are at all interested in such a comprehensive and final peace. They view Israel’s existence — within any borders — as an affront and a catastrophe (Nakba) that can only be corrected by the disappearance (through either annihilation or suicide) of the sovereign Jewish State.
  • This is proven by the fact that several times in the last two decades, Israel has offered a deal that comports closely with the envisioned two-state solution. Arafat and/or Abbas flatly rejected these offers. Glick points out that such rejections have been going on for nearly a century. She cites the rejection and invasion of 1948 as well as previous rejections by Arafat’s mentor, Haj Amin el-Husseini.
  • The Arabs of Judea and Samaria will be far better off as residents (with or without citizenship) of Israel than they are as subjects of the kleptocracy that the PLO currently imposes on Judea and Samaria. Like their brethren in Israel proper, they would benefit from living under the rule of law and would profit from heretofore unimagined economic opportunities. To quote her:
    “An Israeli renunciation of the two-state solution and embrace of the Israeli one-state plan, which is based on actual Israeli rights rather than fictitious Israeli culpability, would liberate Israel to craft coherent strategies for contending with the rapidly evolving regional threat environment and the international assault on its right to exist. And at the more mundane level of the lives of individuals — Jews and Arabs alike — Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria will increase the security of all. It will transform the region from one governed alternatively by a military government and a terrorist kleptocracy into one governed by a unified, liberal rule of law. Civil and property rights of Muslims, Christians, and Jews will be protected rather than neglected or denied outright.”
  • Israel will be vilified — especially by the EU — if it implements Glick’s one-state solution. So what, says Glick. Israel is already vilified. Any economic sanctions the EU might impose on Israel will hurt the Europeans nearly as much as Israel. Moreover, such actions can be readily deflected by Israel’s burgeoning trade and relations with less anti-Semitic customers in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
  • America’s reaction. Here is a potential weakness in Glick’s presentation. She fails to present any estimate of how America might respond to Israel’s implementation of her one-state solution. She eschews any such conjecture in favor of outlining how she believes America should react to such an Israeli initiative. She makes a compelling case that US backing for an Israeli one-state solution is indeed in America’s interest. To wit:

    “The British failure in governing the Palestine Mandate was bipartisan: the Labour and Conservative Parties both got it wrong, consistently. Both failed to understand that their efforts to appease the Arabs were futile. Both failed to appreciate the value of their alliance with the Jews and to recognize that the Jews were not the obstacle to peace. Both failed to recognize that factors outside their control determined regional realities and informed the decisions of local actors, particularly in the Arab world.
    Eighty years later, had President Bill Clinton learned from Britain’s experience, and from the full history of the failure of the two-state solution, perhaps he would not have allowed Yassir Arafat to make him into a failure as well. But not only did Clinton not learn from Britain’s experience, he and his two successors embraced the same failed policy dream that the British had chased for decades. Clinton, Bush, and Obama’s failure to recognize the impossibility of the two-state solution played a significant, and arguably decisive, role in their difficulties in crafting successful policies not only toward Israel and the Palestinians but toward the Middle East overall.”

    “The consistent U.S. policy of treating the PLO and Palestinian terrorism as distinct and more legitimate than non-Palestinian terrorism against non-Israeli and non-Jewish targets has not enhanced the U.S. position in the Arab world. Rather, it has damaged that position. America’s consistent policy of accepting the narrative that the Palestinian conflict is the root cause of the Arab world’s conflict with Israel, and a central determinant of the policies of Arab governments, has caused great harm to overall U.S. national interests.”
    However, there are many ways that the withdrawal of American support for Israel could place the Jewish State in mortal peril. I think that, at heart, Glick assays that the fundamental sympathy for and identification with the people of Israel by the people of the US is so strong that even a hostile administration like that of Barack Obama could not bring about an American betrayal of the Jewish State. If so, Glick would have been well-advised to state this clearly. I generally share that assessment; but given the numerous blind alleys down which America has allowed itself to be led by the prophet Obama, I don’t share her implicit optimism.

Glick is a well-respected and influential commentator on the Israeli scene. She is clearly firmly entrenched on the right end of the Israeli political spectrum, but I imagine that her bold recommendation will get serious consideration in many quarters. Does it stand a chance of gaining enough support to render it a viable option that might be implemented? More importantly, should it?

In answer to the first question, I think the power and originality of her arguments will be hard to ignore. Twenty years of the Oslo process have resulted in a dismal failure in that peace with the Arabs of Judea and Samaria is no closer today than it was originally in 1993, or in 1967, or 1948, or 1929. And the concrete results of Oslo have been horrendous — in a soft sense in the keen disappointment felt by all at its failure; and in a hard sense in the more than a thousand Israelis brutally murdered in the so-called second Intifada. Moreover, our benighted Secretary of State has promised a third Intifada as a consequence of Oslo’s failure. The only sane conclusion: A different course of action should be pursued.

Now, Glick’s scenario has been denounced as unacceptable, unrealistic, and even delusional. But is it the right course of action? I believe that it will be studied and debated assiduously by the Israeli public. Will they adopt it?

In fact, Glick makes a powerful case that Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria is completely warranted by the terms of the Balfour Declaration, the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and the San Remo Conference. Of that I have no doubt. But, despite its legitimacy, and in spite of the favorable demographics, the idea of amalgamating the Arabs of Judea and Samaria into the Israeli nation and rendering the resultant Arab population of Israel in excess of 35% is fraught with danger. I don’t know whether “second class citizen” is the right term to describe the Arabs of Israel, but there is no question that because they don’t serve in the Army and because they are non-Jewish residents of the world’s unique Jewish State, they are something less than full members of society. It is perhaps a bit of a miracle that the current 15-20% Arab population of Israel hasn’t raised a ruckus. The temptation to do so will increase dramatically if the percentage doubles. The state could be destabilized well before Glick’s friendly demographics kick in to reduce 35% back to half that amount — if it really ever happens.

Perhaps that is a risk that the Jews of Israel would like to take. The alternative is to persevere in the current unsatisfactory and inherently unstable political situation. But, life is good in Israel today and things have been mostly quiet for the better part of a decade. It is certainly the easier road to leave well enough alone. Is that the wiser choice? Or is Glick’s recipe the one to cook up?

This essay also appeared in The American Thinker

As If Israel Did Not Have Enough to Worry About

The tiny nation of Israel is beset by many challenges, some of them unique in kind among the countries of the world. The challenges are well-known to interested parties and a brief summary of the main ones will be assembled below. But here I wish to focus primarily on a crisis that apparently concerns only the Jewish population of the United States, but which, in fact, poses a severe challenge for Israel as well – a challenge that might be nearly as dangerous as any of the well-known ones to be described.

How is Israel challenged? Alas, the range and depth of her dilemmas are extensive. Let’s quickly summarize; placing them in three groups – foreign, domestic, special.

Foreign. Israel’s greatest foreign threat is undoubtedly Iran. The Jewish State faces a maniacal, genocidal foe that views Israel as a cancer on the world, populated by people who deserve to be exterminated like vermin. Moreover, the Iranian government expresses the clear intention to act on these insane beliefs. Given the long history of Jewish persecution, the Israelis take the Iranians at their word, recognizing that the Persian lunatics pose an imminent, existential threat to the Jewish nation. Israel’s options for dealing with that threat range from pre-emptive military action that could unleash convulsive horror on the Middle East and beyond to watchful waiting in the hope that the mad mullahs would not plunge the world into nuclear chaos. Which other nation in the world faces anywhere near as serious a dilemma?

But of course there is so much more on Israel’s foreign threat list. The surrounding Arab world persists in its refusal to accept a sovereign Jewish nation in its midst. Furthermore, the threat posed by hostile nation states is augmented – and perhaps even superseded – by the menace of non-state actors such as Hezbollah, Hamas and al Qaeda. Complementing these threats is the anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism expressed toward Israel and its people by the nations of the European community. These manifest minimally as lack of support for Israel in its conflict with the Arab/Muslim world and, more commonly, as biased hostility, which at times crosses over into outright support of the violence perpetrated against Israel by the afore-mentioned bad characters. Rounding out this category is the increasingly tepid support from the US. The election – and re-election – of Barack Obama has been catastrophic for Israel. Although he has not totally abandoned the Jewish State, he has reoriented US policy in a direction that portends radically diminished US backing for Israel in its unending battle with the Arab/Muslim world.

Domestic. Israel’s greatest domestic problem is of course that nearly 20% of its population is Arab. Not too much is heard about this fact these days. But sooner or later, these residents of the Jewish State, who are culturally, ethnically, historically and religiously no different from their brethren in the neighborhood that are sworn to Israel’s destruction – sooner or later, they will pose an existential threat to the character of the State.

As with foreign affairs, the most critical internal challenge is only one of many. There is the Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) community, which comprises 10% of the population, but which contributes virtually nothing economically or militarily to society. There is Israel’s crazy political system, wherein one can only vote for a party, not an individual – virtually unique among parliamentary democracies – that leads inexorably to scores of parties and unstable coalition governments. Speaking of crazy, Israel has no shortage of leftist self-haters who work tirelessly to destroy the nation – a virus that is common in the Western World, including the United Sates – but it is particularly virulent in Israel. And of course, there is the never-ending quest for water – it is the Middle East after all – that poses a severe challenge in coming to any kind of accommodation with the Arabs of the region.

Special. Then there are the special concerns that confront the Jewish State—those not readily characterized as either foreign or domestic. Here I would cite the facts that: Israel is rather a tiny state with a burgeoning population and – at least until recent offshore discoveries – limited natural resources; Israel is the premier example of an ethnic nation-state exactly at the time that the world – at least the Western world – has decided that such nations have limited legitimacy in our post-ethnic, multicultural, multilateral, global environment; Israel, like the US, has far too many self-hating, left-wing lunatics who subscribe to collective national suicide; and finally, Israel retains to  a surprisingly large degree, the guilt-ridden, ghetto mentality of a Galut community that is scorned by its fellow man, and which makes it and its people susceptible to self-doubt and lack of resolve.

Well, that’s a rather hefty list of challenges that face Israel. But here comes a new one – a US problem that has been visible for some time, but only recently recognized as a problem for Israel.  The issue is the seemingly inexorable, painful-to-watch, and surprisingly rapid debilitation of the American Jewish community. The numbers tell all. In mid twentieth century, there were six million Jews in America. From then until today, while the population of the US increased by about 125%, the Jewish population of the USA stands at no more than five million souls – and probably less. Moreover, whereas in the first fifty years of that period, the Jewish population held steady at about six million, in the last decade or so, it has manifested a steady, and perhaps accelerating decline. Within two generations, there could be fewer than two million Jews in America.

The manifestations and the causes are the same: intermarriage, loss of identity, a dearth of children, alienation, ignorance, loss of faith and lack of interest and support for Israel. It is not my purpose here to dwell on or investigate these phenomena (such studies have been conducted and published by numerous sources – e.g., the Pew Research Center, A Portrait of Jewish Americans, published in Fall 2013), but merely to state categorically that the Jewish community in America is in decline – in numbers, but also in influence and impact.

So why is this a problem for Israel and not the US? We’ll it is clearly a problem for the Jewish community in America – that is self-evident. It’s also not a great thing for America in general either – but that is the subject matter for a different essay. However, in fact it is also a major problem for Israel. How?

  1. The most obvious reason is that Israel relies critically on the US as a strategic partner and robust patron in its never-ending war with the Arab/Muslim world. The presence of a large and influential Jewish community in the US is essential to help convince US leaders that it is in America’s interest to continue to play that role. When the Jewish “lobbying” entity shrinks and loses clout, who knows what happens to America’s support for the Jewish State?
  2. Reinforcing that development, if the American people see that the Jews of America care so little about their own Jewish identity, why should American gentiles care about the Jewish nation?
  3. Nearly 80% of world Jewry may be found in Israel and the US, in roughly equal proportions between them. Now imagine a world (two generations hence) when 80% of world Jewry is found in Israel alone. The forces in the world that contemplate the obliteration of the Jewish people did not perish with the Nazis. The Communists, the Jihadists, even the just run of the mill anti-Semites that populate European universities all relish the goal. Well how much easier the task will be if (nearly) all the Jews are concentrated in one place. The temptation to attack Israel may prove irresistible.
  4. Finally, if world Jewry is so heavily concentrated in Israel, its status as the world’s premier ethnic nation state will be greatly enhanced. Thus the ambivalent, non-visceral anti-Semites (in the UN, EU and US) will increasingly find favor with the idea of terminating the anachronistic last bastion of the ethnic nation-state. Israel will find itself even more isolated and under relentless attack than she currently is.

Assuming Israel isn’t totally consumed with addressing the myriad problems outlined earlier, what might she do with the limited amount of energy she could bring to bear on the problem of American Jewry? At the risk of seeming to shoot a small caliber pistol at an intercontinental ballistic missile, here are a few modest suggestions:

  1. Recognize the problem; articulate it; and bring it forcefully to the attention of American Jewish leaders.
  2. Convince the latter that the problem is calamitous for both communities, not to mention all the other Jewish communities world-wide.
  3. Jointly formulate a strategy whose goal would be the stabilization of the US Jewish community at no less than 1% of the US population – say, three million, but to grow thereafter according to the overall population in order to maintain the one percent (no pun intended).
  4. Implement programs to achieve the previous goal: for example, expanded birthright programs, expanded day schools, expanded religious opportunities (outside the family); increased proselytization (not our style, but desperate times call for desperate measures).

The western world is committing suicide as it loses confidence in its own cultural, familial, political and economic founding principles. This has been evident in Europe for nearly 50 years. The disease has spread to the US and is accelerating. The Jewish community of the US is afflicted with a similar malady. If the community is not inoculated with some strong medicine to reverse the progress of the disease, then like any seriously infected organism, it will wither and likely die. That death will have grave consequences for the vibrantly alive Jewish community in the beleaguered state of Israel.

This essay also appeared in Canada Free Press, as well as in The Intellectual Conservative

Thirty Years of Politics, Passion and Persuasion

Usually, when a journalist publishes a book containing reproductions of his past journalistic endeavors, it is little cause to open up for a download. Way more often than not such an event is an exercise in self-indulgence, or a consequence of the journalist’s lack of anything new to say or an attempt to cash in on old news. Not so with Dr. Charles Krauthammer. His new book, Things That Matter, is a brilliant compendium of some of his most notable weekly columns and magazine pieces composed over the last thirty years. Moreover, the short essays are accompanied by a deeply personal, long introduction and five significantly longer essays that addressed several compelling topics from recent decades. The combination makes for a sparkling read that spotlights Krauthammer’s brilliant insights and analyses over the years. Throughout the entire book, the reader will find original thought on many of the most significant topics of the last thirty years – expressed clearly, originally, passionately and persuasively. The ubiquitous wit and humor alone are worth the price of admission.

Most of the entries are copies of pieces that Krauthammer published in his weekly column in the Washington Post – a staple of the DC pundit scene for nearly 30 years. Others are reproductions of short essays that appeared in Time, The Weekly Standard, the New Republic and a couple other places. They are organized into three broad categories: Personal, Political and Historical. Within these three parts, there are chapters, each organized around a distinct theme, and in which Krauthammer treats the issues that he sees as the most important that America faced (and still faces in many instances).

For example, in the Political part, there is a chapter entitled “Citizen and State” containing material on the Constitution, the balance of power between the individual and the government, and the enduring nastiness of US elections. In the Historical part, there is a fascinating chapter entitled “The Jewish Question, Again” in which the columns contain amazing new insight about a political/cultural terrain that has been worked over as thoroughly as any subject in political philosophy. Finally, in the Personal part, there is a chapter entitled “Passions and Pastimes: whose columns describe some of the activities (outside of politics) that Krauthammer has pursued with passion over the years (e.g., baseball and chess).

Virtually all of the columns contain amazingly fresh ideas. One gains insight on matters recent and long past. For example, here are five randomly chosen, representative samples:

Politics is the moat, the walls, beyond which lie the barbarians. Fail to keep them at bay, and everything burns. The entire 20th century with its mass political enthusiasms is a lesson in the supreme power of politics to produce ever-expanding circles of ruin. World War I not only killed more people than any previous war. The psychological shock of Europe’s senseless self-inflicted devastation forever changed Western sensibilities, practically overthrowing the classical arts, virtues and modes of thought. The Russian Revolution and its imitators (Chinese, Cuban, Vietnamese, Cambodian) tried to atomize society so thoroughly—to war against the mediating structures that stand between the individual and the state—that the most basic bonds of family, faith, fellowship and conscience came to near dissolution. Of course, the greatest demonstration of the finality of politics is the Holocaust, which in less than a decade destroyed a millennium-old civilization, sweeping away not only 6 million souls but the institutions, the culture, the very tongue of the now-vanished world of European Jewry.

The most considered and balanced statement of politics’ place in the hierarchy of human disciplines came, naturally, from an American. “I must study politics and war,” wrote John Adams, “that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain. Adams saw clearly that politics is the indispensable foundation for things elegant and beautiful. First and above all else, you must secure life, liberty and the right to pursue your own happiness. That’s politics done right, hard-earned, often by war. And yet the glories yielded by such a successful politics lie outside itself. Its deepest purpose is to create the conditions for the cultivation of the finer things, beginning with philosophy and science, and ascending to the ever more delicate and refined arts.

For a century, an ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous knowledge class—social planners, scientists, intellectuals, experts and their left-wing political allies—arrogated to themselves the right to rule either in the name of the oppressed working class (communism) or, in its more benign form, by virtue of their superior expertise in achieving the highest social progress by means of state planning (socialism).
Two decades ago, however, socialism and communism died rudely, then were buried forever by the empirical demonstration of the superiority of market capitalism everywhere from Thatcher’s England to Deng’s China, where just the partial abolition of socialism lifted more people out of poverty more rapidly than ever in human history. Just as the ash heap of history beckoned, the intellectual left was handed the ultimate salvation: environmentalism. Now the experts will regulate your life not in the name of the proletariat or Fabian socialism but—even better—in the name of Earth itself.
Environmentalists are Gaia’s priests, instructing us in her proper service and casting out those who refuse to genuflect.

Which is why with the waning of the decade [1980s] the conservatives’ time might soon be up. Voters are not sentimental. They don’t give points for past achievement. They turned out Winston Churchill less than three months after V-E Day. The rule is: What have you done for me lately? After the Democratic Party built the magnificent structure of the New Deal, it ran out of ideas, and the voters threw the rascals out. Conservatives have done what they were asked to do in 1980: break inflation and restore Western power. Their job is done. The voters sense it. The Republicans took a whipping in the 1989 elections. Their social agenda (most prominently, abortion) proved unenactable. And that was the fallback for a party whose economic and foreign policy agenda has already been enacted. There is another turn ahead. Democrats will do everything in their power to blow it, but one new idea and the ’90s belongs to them.

Facing the choice of whether to maintain our dominance or to gradually, deliberately, willingly and indeed relievedly give it up, we are currently on a course toward the latter. The current liberal ascendancy in the United States—controlling the executive and both houses of Congress, dominating the media and elite culture—has set us on a course for decline. And this is true for both foreign and domestic policies. Indeed, they work synergistically to ensure that outcome.

As fresh and enlightening as the columns are, it is the Introduction and the five long essays that make the book truly special. In his Introduction, Krauthammer, describes with passion his personal journey from McGill University to a fellowship in political philosophy at Oxford, then to Medical school and a budding career in psychiatry at Mass General, abruptly altered by a trip to Washington that led to a lifetime as a political pundit – interrupted in the early going by a tragic accident that put him in a wheel chair for life. The story is told with humility, wit and wonder, and one cannot help but admire a man who refused to allow a severe disability to interfere with his life plans.

As for the long essays, there are five. All are chock full of insight, originality and a deep and penetrating understanding and analysis of several fundamental issues of our times. They deal with: the ethics of embryonic research; the fate of the Jewish people; and, most importantly, the fate of the American experiment in individual liberty – as seen at ten year intervals between the fall of the Soviet Empire and the advent of Barack Obama. I discovered so many original insights in these that I read them several times.

Finally, what’s a book review without some criticism? In fact, there is little to criticize here. Well, as with any compendium of essays written over many years, there is bound to be some disjointedness and jarring discontinuities. Often the chronological flow is barely discernible. Also, as is inevitable in a reproduction of old material, there are more than a few places where one can’t avoid reacting with: “Well that didn’t work out the way you predicted.” But these minuses are extremely minor compared to the overall positive impression. Things That Matter is aptly named. Krauthammer has selected from among his treasure trove of columns some of the best that: treated the major events of the day, put them in historical perspective and predicted the consequences with uncanny insight. Together with his moving introduction and five captivating essays, they add up to a brilliant read and a valuable resource to consult as America continues to struggle with its self-imposed mandate to keep alive the fire of liberty that was lit by our forefathers more than two centuries ago.

This essay also appeared in The Intellectual Conservative. However, that site is experiencing technical difficulties. The link will be provided when the site is back to normal.

Where the Jews Are

The goal of this essay is to assay how serious is the threat (to world Jewry, indeed to world peace) posed by the recent resurgence of anti-Semitism.

Several reports of increasing anti-Semitism have appeared recently. For example, a major story in the NY Times last month described renewed and virulent outbreaks of the deadly phenomenon in Hungary. Alas, this is not an isolated phenomenon. Europe is awash in Jew baiting, BDS hysteria, Israel bashing and other overt instances of naked anti-Semitism. The focus of this aggression is normally Israel. But there is also no shortage of physical attacks on Jewish people in the cities of Europe. There are neighborhoods in Paris, Antwerp and Malmo into which a Jew with a kippa enters only at the risk of bodily harm.

The phenomenon of renewed anti-Semitism is not restricted to Europe. It goes without saying that in the Muslim world, the Jew is most unwelcome. In fact, the ethnic cleansing of Jews from almost all Muslim countries is nearly complete. With the exception of Morocco, there are virtually no Jews left in any Arab nation – although that has no effect on the constant anti-Jewish vitriol that spews in the media, universities and political institutions of the Islamic universe. The founding of Israel is viewed as a Nakba (catastrophe) by Muslims; the ongoing existence of Israel an affront to humanity; and the presence and influence of Jews in Western societies is proof positive, in Muslim eyes, of the decadence and moral degeneracy of those societies.

However, the virus of anti-Semitism is not confined only to Europe and the Muslim nations. It appears with regularity in corners of the world (Africa, the Far East, e.g.) that are totally Judenrein. The absence of Jews didn’t prevent the Prime Minister of Malaysia from issuing an exceedingly vicious anti-Semitic diatribe.

Finally, and perhaps most seriously, the non-European countries of the West – including the United States – are not immune from the disease. Recurring incidents of anti-Semitism – albeit, relatively few in number compared to the above – do occur in Canada, Australia, etc.

How can that be? It is less than 70 years since the Holocaust – the signal event of the twentieth century in which the most virulent manifestation of the disease resulted in the murder of one-third of world Jewry. Recoiling in horror at the heinous fulfillment of the anti-Semitic threat, the world pulled back and quelled its natural Jew-hating instincts. But the respite is over; the statute of limitations on the ban of Jew hatred has expired; anti-Semitism has roared back. History never repeats itself exactly, but it is not far-fetched to be worried about the physical safety of the world’s (estimated) 14 million Jews.

In confronting that worry, one must take into account two huge changes in the profile of the world’s Jews from what existed three quarters of a century ago. The first is the existence of the State of Israel and its IDF. The second is embodied in the title of this essay.

Israel might not be a superpower, but in its 65-year existence it has proven conclusively that it is a force to be reckoned with – in several ways. First, it has built a powerful, modern armed forces (the IDF or Israel Defense Forces), which has proven itself in numerous combat situations to be both imaginative and ruthless. Not since the time of the Maccabees has any substantial segment of world Jewry enjoyed the protection of such a powerful force. Next, Israel has shown a clear willingness to deploy the IDF if it feels seriously threatened. Third, the civilian leadership of the country harbors no illusions about the intent of the world’s anti-Semites and it is never reluctant to defend the country using force as well as guile. Finally, Israel has indicated repeatedly that it considers its forces (military and intelligence) to be at the service of world Jewry and will not hesitate to protect, to the best of its capability, Jewish communities around the globe. I have no doubt that had Mossad learned of Bin Laden’s nefarious plot to harm NY (and its Jews), Mohamed Atta would have been dead long before he arrived at Logan airport.

So in summary, while anti-Semites may be stepping up their attacks on the Jewish people, the latter are not nearly as defenseless as they were in mid twentieth century.

That is reassuring. But the second major change in the tapestry of world Jewry may be more problematic. In short, the Jews of the world are far more concentrated today than they were in 1939. At that time, they were spread widely throughout Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and North America. They constituted approximately 18 million souls – not a huge number as ethnic groups go; but they were dispersed around the world. Not today! Eight-five percent of the world’s Jews in 2013 are found in two places – the US and Israel, in roughly equal numbers. Moreover, the number of Jews in the US (as in virtually every other country outside Israel in which they are found) is declining. The Jewish population of Israel on the other hand continues to grow robustly. So it is likely that in another generation, two-thirds, or even three-fourths of the Jews in the world will reside in Israel.

The anti-Semites of the world may have difficulty dealing with the world’s Jews because of Israel, but at least they will know where to find their prey. Or to quote Charles Krauthammer, “To destroy the Jewish people, Hitler needed to conquer the world. All that is needed today is to conquer a territory smaller than Vermont.” (In fact, this quote is from a brilliant essay by Krauthammer in the May 11, 1998 issue of The Weekly Standard [reprinted in his recent book, Things That Matter], in which some of the ideas in this piece are explored from a different perspective.)

The point of this essay is the following: anti-Semitism has been a common feature of the world scene for two millennia (some would say nearly three millennia). Its causes and manifestations have been studied ad nauseum. After it reached an apogee in the era of Nazi murder – with devastating consequences for Jews and the world, it appeared to subside for a period. But matters have returned to their normal state. Is there, therefore, another Gotterdammerung in the offing? Well, on the one hand, the Jews are in a vastly improved position to defend themselves. On the other hand, cultural and political trends (described trenchantly by Krauthammer, loc. cit.) have conspired to render that defense concentrated rather than diffuse. One prays that world anti-Semitism remains in its current horrible, but “manageable” state. If it doesn’t, the twenty-first century may witness one of two Earth-shattering eventualities: either an Israeli triumph of such magnitude that anti-Semitism is banished for generations, if not forever; or, the disappearance of the Jews.

This essay also appeared (in a slightly abridged form) in The American Thinker

It’s Time to Junk Oslo

Abba Eban once famously referred to the 1967 borders between Israel and its Arab neighbors as “Auschwitz Borders.” By that, Eban – hardly a right-wing hardliner – understood them to be a prescription for Israeli death and destruction. With Israel confined to those borders (at one point less than 10 miles wide), the Arabs controlled the mountain ranges that dominate all of Israel’s population centers as well as the region’s water supplies. Thankfully, Israel has not agreed to return to the Auschwitz borders.

But twenty years ago, Israel did agree to what I shall call the “Oslo Final Solution.” In an act of monumental stupidity, Israel invited the PLO and its genocidal wannabe leader, Yasir Arafat, to set up shop in the so-called West Bank as a prelude to ceding the area to him. In effect, Israel was agreeing to eventually return to the Auschwitz borders.

Events since the infamous handshake on the White House Lawn (between Arafat and Rabin) have demonstrated conclusively that an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria (the biblical names for the West Bank area) would indeed represent an enormous, and likely irreversible, step toward the Arab-envisioned final solution to the Arab-Israel conflict – namely, the destruction of the Jewish State. The Israeli withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza have resulted in enhanced Arab aggression and intransigence, and provide an unmistakable model for the horror that would rain down on Israel should Fatah/Hamas take control of Judea and Samaria.

Despite the self-evidence of this assessment, Israeli leaders continue to pursue the chimera of a “two-state solution.” Several (but especially Barak and Olmert) have offered the Palestinian Arabs virtually all that they might have expected under the Oslo accords. But in their blind hatred for the Jewish State, in their revealing lack of interest in setting up a new state of their own and in their undying expectation that the Jewish state cannot hold out indefinitely, they have spurned the offers and continued to pine for the great Gotterdammerung that they expect must inevitably occur.

It is time for Israeli leaders – indeed for the whole nation – to recognize the futility of Oslo, declare it a dead letter and pursue a completely different path. It is time for Israelis to recognize reality, stop acting like they lost all the wars that they have won, and initiate a new strategy.Toward what goal? Well, the goal depends on the aspirant:
• The Arab/Muslim world seeks the destruction of Israel and the diminution (by death, expulsion and dhimmitude) of the Jewish population in “Palestine.”
• People in non-Middle Eastern nations friendly to Israel – e.g., the United States – would like to see a bona fide peace agreement between Israel and the Arabs, followed by mutual trust, normal relations and prosperity for both.
• Most of the rest of the non-Muslim world feels a distinct distaste for Israel – ranging from blatant anti-Semitism to misguided appropriation of blame – and would be content to see Israel vanish from the scene if it would bring calm to the region.
• Israel and most of world Jewry want the nation to experience freedom, prosperity, a robust civil society and a vibrant Jewish life. It would be preferable if all of that were to occur in the context of peace with its neighbors. But if not, the goals of freedom, economic development and a thriving civil society and Jewish life far outweigh the desire for tranquil relations with its neighbors. Israel has proven that it can create and sustain a successful society, even while it remains at war with its neighbors. If the Arabs refuse to make peace, so be it. Israel’s primary goals remain: freedom, economic development, a civil and just society, and the flourishing of Jewish life.

Nothing I can say will dissuade the Arab/Muslim world from its genocidal intentions toward Israel. And sad to say, history has shown that no non-suicidal Jewish/Israeli policy will appease its non-Muslim opponents. History also reveals that while much of Israeli policy is motivated by its desire to please its friends around the world, the results have often endangered the State. I believe that if Israel focused instead on its own needs – for freedom, economic development, civil society and a flourishing Jewish life – it would not only not lose its friends, but actually enhance its relationship with those nations that seek the same goals for their own societies – well, at least the first three of the four.

So what are Israel’s options? It can continue to perform the same ridiculous Oslo dance that it has choreographed for the last twenty years. It should be evident that such a course of action is pointless, fruitless and dangerous. Israel could also “surrender,” i.e., unilaterally withdraw from Judea and Samaria. Anyone who believes that this would not be a suicidal act is hopelessly naïve. What Israel should do is abrogate Oslo, cite its right to do so because the Palestinians have repeatedly and flagrantly violated their obligations under the accords, and declare itself sovereign in Judea and Samaria.

Now it can do this in two ways: (i) offer all the Arab residents Israeli citizenship or (ii) not. Either way, Israel will be condemned, vilified and its incorporation of the disputed territories will not be recognized internationally. But consider the Golan Heights. Israel annexed it 30 years ago and met with the exact same kind of reaction as I just described. But today – especially in light of events in Syria in the last two years – who doesn’t doubt the wisdom of the move? The Golan is part of Israel and soon the world will recognize it as a fait accompli – if it doesn’t already. It may take 50 years, but the world will eventually accept the new borders of Israel when it finally recognizes that it is the only sensible course of action.

The choice on Arab citizenship is tricky. The temptation is to allow the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria to keep their Jordanian passports and not offer them Israeli citizenship. To do that will lend credence to the current, but bogus charge that Israel is an “apartheid state.” To have more than 20% of a population as permanent resident aliens is not a tidy state of affairs. But, critics argue, the alternative course is far worse. Granting citizenship would render Israel 2/3 Jewish and 1/3 Arab. Moreover the balance would shift to 50-50 or worse within a generation. It would then either be impossible to retain the Jewish character of the state or it would truly become a state in which a near or actual majority was deemed second class citizens.

But here’s the place where conventional wisdom is wrong. The demographics have shifted dramatically in the last generation. The Arab fertility rate has plummeted (from approximately 9 children to roughly 3.5) and the Jewish rate has grown steadily (to slightly over 3) – to the point that the rates are virtually equal. Moreover the trend continues and so even with annexation and citizenship, the breakdown might be more like 75/25 in a generation.

Well one could argue that even a 25% Arab minority – with or without full rights – poses a threat to the Jewish character of the nation. Perhaps. But that is the issue that should be debated; not which minuscule pieces of land should be swapped in a fictitious peace agreement between Israel and Fatah that is never going to happen.

Israel needs to break out of the grip of the Oslo Final Solution. If the Jewish nation would openly and seriously contemplate and debate the application of Israeli law to Judea and Samaria, then the grip would be broken. Only then might the Arab world consider accepting the existence of a Jewish state in its midst and abandon its homicidal dream of absorbing or obliterating it.
This essay also appeared in The American Thinker at: