Defenseless under the night,
Our world in stupor lies.
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. He knew that our great collective strides forward in technical intelligence remain altogether detached from any parallel progress in reason and ethics. Immobilized by fear and transfixed by cowardice, our species – he was surely aware – is always prone to reenact every monumental mistake and every gigantic error.
This tragic predilection is irrefutable. It is also ubiquitous and generic. Today it is still evident in the always-explosive Middle East.
Consider Israel. With considerable irony, Prime Minister Olmert – just before launching Israel’s massive reprisals against Hizbullah in Lebanon and against Hamas in Gaza − sought safety for his people by arming Fatah against Hamas and by offering to surrender additional Jewish land. One way or another, the government of the Jewish State had clearly intended to stay close to some version of the “Road Map.” Will Olmert now continue with this intended policy, or will he have learned, finally, that Israeli capitulation in the Islamic Middle East can never be purposeful?
Jewish supporters of a “Middle East Peace Process” still base their principal argument on a manifestly unwarranted assumption. These very confused Jews still believe, contrary to all ascertainable evidence and to all recent history, that a process of unilateral dismemberment (former Prime Minister Sharon called it “disengagement;” current Prime Minister Olmert calls it “realignment” or “convergence”) can bring some tangible resolution to the longstanding dispute between Israel and the Arabs. What these Jews still refuse to recognize, however, is that the existential struggle against Islamic perpetrators of genocide has essentially nothing to do with territory. It follows that any continuously concessionary Israel would still be moving not toward any final resolution, but rather toward a distinctly “Final Solution”.
Could anything be more obvious? Following Oslo, the Road Map, disengagement and realignment continue to favor the terrorist organizations and their state mentors. Now the actual elected government of an impending “Palestine,” Hamas’ sole and unhidden aim of negotiation is to remove Israel from the map. Period.
The core dispute we are discussing is not about land, as most of the misguided Jewish supporters of “peace” still seem to believe, but about G-d. As any casual reading of the Arab and Iranian press will disclose, from 1948 to the present the Islamic world’s mortal opposition to Israel has stemmed preeminently from a deeply doctrinal hatred of a Jewish state in its midst – indeed, any Jewish state that dares to exist in the “Dar al Islam.” Let us be clear: If Islamic opposition to Israel were only about Judea/Samaria and Gaza, why were there so many Arab terrorist attacks against Jews between 1948 and 1967, when these disputed territories were in Arab hands? What were these terrorists seeking to “liberate” before there were any “Israel-occupied territories?”
For that very large portion of the Islamic world that remains dedicated to Israel’s annihilation, an inventive cartography is merely part of a wider strategy of genocide. In the generally accepted Islamic view, Israel is always the individual Jew writ large. Thus, the Jewish State always, must be loathed. This nefarious deduction is a very far cry from the wishful view of Oslo/Road Map/Disengagement/Realignment/ Convergence supporters that Israel is despised only because it is an “occupier.”
Let us be perfectly straightforward. The Israeli is hated in the Islamic world because he is a Jew. That is the whole loathsome and indisputable story.
An authoritative expression of this fundamental Islamic view is clarified in an article from Al-Ahram. Here, the religiously-prominent Dr. Lufti Abd al-Azim wrote straightforwardly:
“The first thing we have to make clear is that no distinction must be made between the Jew and the Israeli…The Jew is a Jew, through the millennia…in spurning all moral values, devouring the living and drinking his blood for the sake of a few coins. The Jew, the merchant of Venice, does not differ from the killer of Deir Yasin or the killer of the camps. They are equal examples of human degradation. Let us therefore put aside such distinctions and talk about Jews.”
The regionally and Islamically revered Dr. Abd al-Azim is hardly alone in this position. A current Egyptian textbook on Arab Islamic History − widely used in teacher training colleges – expresses the following, revealing sentiments:
“The Jews are always the same, every time and everywhere. They will not live save in darkness. They contrive their evils clandestinely. They fight only when they are hidden because they are cowards…The Prophet enlightened us about the right way to treat them, and succeeded finally in crushing the plots that they had planned. We today must follow this way and purify Palestine from their filth.”
And here are some recent postings (April 2006) from the Muslim Brotherhood Children’s Website (based in Egypt, a country “at peace” with Israel):
“Did you know that the Jews murdered 25 of the prophets of allah, and that their black history is full of crimes of murder and corruption?
“Did you know that the criminal Jews frequently revile and curse our lord?
“Did you know that the Jews made several attempts to murder our beloved prophet, but that allah the omnipotent saved him from their plot?
“Did you know that the corruption and deviance widespread in the world today are the result of activity and planning by the Jews, who are interested in leading people astray, away from the path of allah?
“Did you know that the Jews who occupy our land and our holy places in beloved Palestine are planning to occupy the rest of the Muslim countries and to establish a Greater Israel, from the Euphrates to the Nile, and that they are interested in excavating in the tomb of our beloved prophet?
“Did you know that today the Jews are inciting the entire world against Islam and the Muslims, on the pretext of the war against terror?”
And so it goes, on and on
How, then, shall we understand current advocates of the “peace process?” Some Jewish supporters of the Road Map and its attendant disengagements and realignments, preferring to simply disregard the widely-prevailing Islamic image of Israel as a pathology seem to base their curious position on a very problematic acceptance of the Palestinian claim to Judea/Samaria/Gaza. Leaving aside the very questionable nature of the underlying demographic argument (e.g., the commonly stated and unsupported assertion that current Palestinians are descended directly from the ancient Canaanites), these supporters conveniently ignore the continuous Jewish presence in these lands. They also ignore that approximately one million Palestinians are now full citizens of Israel. This is a juridical condition that is hardly mirrored in the Arab world, where 900,000 Jews were slaughtered or expelled from area states after 1948 and which presently denies Jews any remotely parallel rights of nationality. Yet, it is the Palestinians – not the Israelis – who cling relentlessly to the idea of Jihad or holy war.
(To be continued)
Copyright The Jewish Press, September 8, 2006. All rights reserved.
LOUIS RENE BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.