Now we have passed the five-year anniversary of September 11, 2006 - with all of the horrifying memories, with all of the recurrent pain. We know today, that all pertinent government agencies are working 24/7 to keep us safe in the future. We know, as well, that even greater preparedness can never make us truly safe. We know, above all, that we must continue with our daily lives, personal and collective, and that we must not submit to the unprecedented blackmail of Islamic terrorism ("Convert or die!").
The roots of 9/11 lie deeply embedded in civilizational hostility - in its distinctly partial - but nonetheless - primal Islamic hatred for western modernity. This fixed and growing hatred extends to other major religions, especially Judaism, but also to certain elements of Christianity. And although it is true that the greatest portion of Muslims rejects terror violence as a means of fulfilling presumed Islamic expectations, the remaining portion is not statistically insignificant. This group numbers (at least) in the tens-of-millions.
There are other PA/PLO/Hamas violations of Oslo, any one of which could comprise an entire magazine article.
The rights of both Jews and Christians were openly trampled on by the Muslim conquerors of Jerusalem. Churches were made into mosques. Slaughterhouses were deliberately established near Jewish places of worship. Mosques were built next to churches and synagogues so that their minarets could literally "over-tower" them.
The unchanging struggle to evict the Jews from "all of Palestine" (that is, from Israel as well as Judea/Samaria/Gaza) is driven by the homicidal idea of jihad or holy war. According to Islamic orthodoxy, their "prophet" is said to have predicted a final war to annihilate the Jews.
The poet Auden understood many things. He understood truly important things as only the poets can. He understood that humankind can always be found in pretty much the same imperiled condition.
New Leadership Needed If one were previously inclined to believe that Israel's leadership would finally muster the will to fight the Islamofascists chomping at...
Technically, the Lebanon war against Hizbullah is over. In fact, however, Israel remains starkly vulnerable to further rocket attacks, and - even more ominously - to a still-nuclearizing Iran. Making matters worse, Prime Minister Olmert has yet to openly change course from his indisputably catastrophic plan for "realignment" and "convergence."
In an ancient myth, the Greek gods condemn Sisyphus to roll a great rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone will inevitably fall back of its own weight. By imposing this terrible judgment the gods had prescribed the dreadful punishment of interminable labor. But they also revealed something vastly more difficult to understand, namely, that even such useless labor need not be altogether futile. Such labor, they knew, could also be heroic.
With mounting evidence that Hizbullah-fired rockets can cause Israel considerable damage, one point should stand out glaringly above all others: Under no circumstances should Iran be allowed to reach the stage at which it could launch nuclear weapons.
Humanitarian international law continues to correctly require that every use of force by an army or insurgent force meet the test of "proportionality." Going back to the basic legal principle that "the means that can be used to injure an enemy are not unlimited," proportionality stipulates (among other things) that every exercise of armed force be limited to the minimum application needed for operational success. More specifically, this ancient principle of customary international law applies to all judgments of military advantage and to all planned reprisals.
International law is not a suicide pact. Israel's distinctly measured use of force against terrorist bases in Lebanon is entirely consistent with international law. Although some would mistakenly contend that Israel's essential actions express "aggression," the incontestable right of individual self-defense is plainly codified in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. Indeed, by persistently allowing its territory to be used as a base of terrorist operations against Israel, it is Lebanon that is in flagrant violation of the charter.
Every Jew is familiar with Deuteronomy 30:19: "I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life, that you and your descendants may live." This Torah obligation is binding not only upon individuals, but also upon states - especially the always imperiled State of Israel.
For the president of Iran, threats to annihilate Israel are now a daily ritual. Were it not for his country's complementary capacity to inflict genuinely existential harms, these threats would not be worrisome. But Iran's capacity to become fully nuclear is now more imminent than had ever been recognized by our own intelligence communities. It follows that a persistent refrain of genocidal intent issuing from Tehran must now be taken with utmost seriousness in Jerusalem.
Israel now faces existential destruction from two main sources: The Islamic Republic of Iran and the aspiring Islamic republic of "Palestine." One source is an established state with an expanding near-term potential to inflict nuclear harms. The other is a Hamas-led configuration of terror groups that seeks to become a state for the immediate purpose of annihilating an existing state. Neither Iran nor Hamas is particularly subtle or circumspect about what it hopes to inflict upon Israel. On the contrary, both are entirely explicit about their unrelenting intent to commit genocide.
With steady Iranian nuclearization correctly at the forefront of world public attention, no country has more to fear than the State of Israel. Less than half the size of Lake Michigan, Israel fully understands that the Iranian president's incessant bluster about wiping the Jewish State "off the map" is far more than mere posturing. It is, rather, an unambiguous declaration of criminal intent to commit genocide.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert now gives guns to Arab terrorists while planning to surrender more of his country's essential heartland. The apparent rationale of Israeli arms to Fatah is to diminish the contending power of Hamas. Inevitably, these same weapons will be used to murder individual Jews. Surely they will do absolutely nothing to help Israel.
"There is but one truly serious philosophical problem," says Camus in The Myth of Sisyphus, "and that is suicide." Nowhere is Camus' observation currently more correct than in the darkly reciprocal relationship between Israel and Hamas.
The following remarks on Iranian nuclearization were delivered by Professor Louis Rene Beres at the National Press Club, Washington DC, May 10, 2006, on behalf of the Iran Policy Committee. They were televised nationally and internationally, including in Iran where, via the Iranian resistance movement, they were viewed by millions.
We must learn to read widely beyond the mainstream press, which is often ignorant of facts on the ground, or worse - is maliciously inclined toward Israel. In this connection, American Jews must really learn history - Jewish history; Israel's history; Arab history; and Islamic history.