O ship of state, new waves push you
Out to sea. Why stand there? Hurry,
Hurry to port! Can’t you see
Your oars are gone….
Horace was born in 65 BCE and died in 8 BCE. His ode (I, 14) on the “ship of state” pertains to ancient Rome, but it might just as well refer to Israel after it concedes to “live with a nuclear Iran,” and also to “live with Palestine.” The more or less concurrent arrival of (1) Iranian nuclear weapons, and (2) an independent Palestinian state, could have an intolerable effect upon Israel. Indeed, this injurious interactive outcome – known technically in science, medicine and engineering as synergistic– would likely be far greater than the simple sum of these two discrete parts.
So, now essentially sailing without oars, the Jewish State flounders without any real strategic understanding or determination. Although existential security issues are already serious enough for Israel without a nuclear Iran, and also without a 23rd enemy Arab state, the near-simultaneous appearance of these two developments would present Israel with a unique and literally unprecedented problem.
The ship of Israel, though certainly built of noble timber, and from sturdy forests, may not hold together against such a probable dual assault. Its sails are already badly shredded. What, exactly, has brought Israel to this perilous point?
Ironically, in an inexplicable juxtaposition of counsel, Israel has regularly sought direction from both misguided friends and sworn enemies. Soon, if Prime Minister Netanyahu should buy into the Mitchell 5-point plan, Israeli police and soldiers will prepare to evict thousands of Jews from Judea/Samaria in compliance with Washington’s Road Map. Following extensive U.S. military training of Fatah“security forces,” a misguided process presently underway, Palestine could then become a locus of mega-terrorism against both Israeli and American cities. This hazard, of course, would be substantially worsened by any subsequent Iranian nuclearization.
Israel’s ship of state now sails without a true compass. Where once every Israeli understood an absolutely sacred post-Holocaust obligation to survive, this primary awareness has now given way in critical quarters to the twisted agendas of post-Zionism. In both government and in the universities, emerging Israeli architects of Palestine have no real acquaintance with seaworthiness. Instead, vainly seeking the approval of an international community, these unwitting planners of Jewish ruins-in-the-making will discover only the Jihadist “peace” of Fatah, Hamasand al–Qaeda.
Taking a page from the advanced theoretical economics of President Shimon Peres, Jewish supporters of a “Two-State Solution” still argue that enhanced Palestinian social and industrial development could somehow compel a true intercommunal harmony. What they still fail to recognize, however, is that the deepest explanations of Israel’s growing existential predicament lies not in Plato or Marx, but in Nietzsche, Freud, Kierkegaard and Dostoyevsky. As always, the presumed imperatives of Reason will be thoroughly trumped by the inconsolable passions of Unreason.
For Israel, the true compass should be easy to read. With any further capitulations on Palestine, Prime Minister Netanyahu would push Israel toward a ludicrously squalid disappearance. For Israel, the Obama Road Map portends only a catastrophic and still-preventable shipwreck. This twisted cartography draws succor from the most basic and persisting expressions of incorrect reasoning. It lacks even a residual shred of Jewish dignity.
Outside its borders, Israel’s unchanging enemies, especially in Iran, Syria and Egypt, prepare stealthily but mightily for war. Earlier, Israel’s armed forces were sometimes allowed to take indispensable preemptive initiatives. But now the future of Israeli preemptions is at best uncertain.
Should Iran proceed to final nuclear weapon status, the irreversible result of multiple Israeli and American failures to exercise “anticipatory self-defense,” Israel would be threatened not only by the new terror state of Palestine. It would also be imperiled by an existing enemy state now harboring both the intention and capacity to inflict another Final Solution.
Fused together in an ominous synergy, a nuclear Iran and a Palestinian state could cause Israel’s ship of state to break apart. Neither outcome should ever be allowed by the vessel’s captain and crew.
LOUIS RENÉ BERES was educated at Princeton(Ph.D., 1971). He has published ten major books and several hundred monographs and articles dealing with international relations and international law. Born in Zurich, Switzerland, on August 31, 1945, Professor Beres’ work is well-known to military and intelligence communities in Washington and Jerusalem. He is Professor of Political Science and International Law at Purdue, andalsoStrategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.