What people in the West don’t understand is that nothing will ever be enough for the Arabs, not just the Palestinians but for the Arabs overall. You give them Gaza and look what happens to Gaza. You give them the West Bank; that won’t satisfy them. They want the rest of Israel. Generations of Arabs have been so inculcated with this mission of destroying Israel that nothing will ever satisfy them.
Forty-six years ago this week the world rejoiced with Israel in its Six-Day War victory. To what do you attribute the steadily turning tide of world opinion against Israel?
The left cannot forgive Israel for exposing the fallaciousness of its theories on underdevelopment. The Western left believes the former imperial territories and the poor and wretched of the earth can’t get better – they’re so crippled by colonialism’s legacy that they can’t improve their own lives.
And then you have Israel. After the Holocaust, the grimmest and most savage events in history, the survivors, sick and emaciated, struggle their way to Israel and join the Zionist settlers. These people first have the world’s sympathy because they are the underdogs, but then it goes back to the great crime of success. They proved that even with sand, with dirt, with fallow earth, they could build a postmodern state in a matter of decades. And so what does that do to the West’s theories?
And let’s face it: the West’s attitude toward the Arabs, sub-Saharan Africans and others is racist. The underlying assumption of the academic left is that they can’t succeed on their own. They refuse to hold the Arabs to the same standards they hold Israelis. The only way the Arab world gets better, if it can indeed get better, is that everyone else holds them to the same moral standard.
You have traveled extensively and have had the opportunity to view many different cultures. Have those experiences strengthened your own values?
I think they’ve strengthened my values and moderated my prejudices. Anyone who has really touched all the types of civilizations I have, if you’re at all open-eyed and objective, cannot but conclude that Judeo-Christian civilization, for all its undeniable problems, is by far superior to any other civilization. It is more humane, decent, and productive.
The idea that all civilizations are equal is a paradox for the left. Leftists insist that Afghanistan, as backward and perverse a society as you’ll find on this earth, has the same legitimacy as American culture. Well, if Afghan culture is so wonderful, why do we spend billions of dollars trying to turn Afghanis into Americans? How can we claim that the Arab civilization of the last five centuries, which has produced nothing of merit, is equivalent to the world of Shakespeare or modern symphonies or Bach or Einstein or modern medicine or science or software? Leftists are so in love with their own pathetic theories that they’re blind to the fact that they couldn’t have their careers in any Arab country.
You have written about moral and economic decay in America. How is that decay affecting our country?
It is doing great damage to this great nation. The attack on American patriotism and values is dividing the country in ways that aren’t quite as clear as the media would have it. There’s still plenty of patriotism among the working classes. The problem is the elites. The elites believe that patriotism is a dirty word, that religion is for dummies, etc. So there’s a great divide between our ruling class and the rest of America.
Mitt Romney was torn apart for a remark he made that we’re becoming a nation in which almost half of Americans are dependent on some federal program. We’re becoming an entitlement society and that outrages me. You don’t make poverty comfortable – you make work attractive. We have created a new Marxist system where we now have a permanent underclass. America always had an underclass but it wasn’t permanent. Now we have a situation where especially for many minority Americans it’s permanent poverty – it’s acceptable.
And what the Democratic Party has done is recognize that people will always vote to keep their benefits. As we saw with the willful, aggressive expansion of benefit programs, such as the recent expansion of food stamps under Obama, the Democrats are aiming for a permanent majority of those who will always vote to keep their benefits. We’re becoming more European even as Europe is failing economically, and the Europeans are scratching their heads at what we’re doing.Sara Lehmann
About the Author: Sara Lehmann, a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, was formerly an editor at a major New York publishing house. Her column appears monthly. For more of her writing, visit saralehmann.com.
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