Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.
There’s a joke that used to be funny before September 11 ruined it. A man jumps off the
roof of the World Trade Center in Manhattan and as he passes someone sticking his head out the 20th floor window he yells, “So far so good.” In other words – “See, all those people who told me it was dangerous to jump off the roof of the tower were wrong!”
I suppose the updated version of this is Palkal Thinking. Palkal was the flawed construction design method responsible for the collapse of the floor of a wedding hall in Jerusalem two years back. No doubt, two days before the floor caved in and the dancing guests were killed, there were many people ready to swear that Palkal was a proven method because, after all, to date no buildings built with it had collapsed.
There are other fine examples of Palkal Thinking. Just days before the Argentinean peso
collapsed, government officials there were peacocking about, bragging about how time had
proven how successful their economic policy had been; it had, after all, been years since the peso depreciated against the dollar. And it should not be hard to find cases of American
officials claiming on September 9, 2001 or thereabouts that Bin Laden was all bluff, all talk -
no danger at all.
Now I mention all of these because at the moment the foremost case of the Palkal Mentality involves the sudden obsession of the Israeli Left with the “Lebanon Model” as precedent for what it thinks Israel needs to do with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. As you recall, Ehud Barak “resolved” the bloodshed in southern Lebanon with a unilateral capitulation to
Hizbullah and its Syrian puppet-masters. He just ordered Israeli troops to race out, with their tails between their legs, in a parody of Dunkirk.
Ever since, Israel’s Lunatic Left has been hailing the capitulation in Lebanon as a great
success. Yes, the body count dropped significantly after the surrender. There has been no massive saturation shelling of northern Israel. Tranquility of a sort has prevailed. And in Op-Ed after Op-Ed the Left screams, “You see? Just like Doubting Thomases predicted that the capitulation to Hizbullah would produce a bloodbath but has not, so the same nay-sayers are trying now to scare Israelis away from the idea of a similar unilateral capitulation and withdrawal from the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip. Just like Barak’s withdrawal calmed the northern border, so a similar unilateral withdrawal will calm relations with the Palestinians and produce peace in our time.” Simple, huh?
The “Lebanon as Role Model” doctrine was the nucleus of the campaign by Amram
Mitzna. It is repeated at every opportunity by leftist politicians. It was the theme of an Op-Ed
piece by Amiram Goldblum, titled “The Withdrawal from Lebanon as Model,” that appeared in Ha’aretz on Dec. 3. (You may recall that Goldblum, a professor at Hebrew University and a
leader in Peace Now, recently demanded that Israel prevent Christian evangelicals from visiting Israel because they are too pro-Israel, and because some of their leaders denounce Islamist terror.)
So, what are we to make of all this?
Let us first note that the only tranquility that has prevailed along Israel’s border with
Lebanon since Barak’s capitulation is in the imaginations of leftists, slouching in their jacuzzis in
the yuppie suburbs of Tel Aviv. Hardly a day goes by without Hizbullah firing at passing Israeli
planes, shelling the “Mount Dov” area, or otherwise attacking Israel, while Israel plays possum
and pretends that all is tranquil. Since Barak’s capitulation, Hizbullah has murdered Israelis,
including children, along the border. It is holding four Israelis it has kidnaped and may have
murdered them. Hizbullah has been involved with the PLO and Hamas in launching suicide
bombings in Israel, and is training Palestinian terrorists. It has provided explosives and other war materials to the Palestinians. And it is diverting water flowing into Israel – an act of war under international law. The only “tranquility” along the northern border is the absence of any Israeli response to the daily acts of war by the Lebanese.
If Hizbullah has as yet not pushed the button for an all-out attack, it has nothing to do with any relaxation of tensions, but with the strategic calculations of Syria. Especially since September 11, Syria does not want to find itself too clearly a focal point in the sights of an enraged post 9-11 U.S. hunting down Islamist terrorists.
The wonderful tranquility in Lebanon will end in an all-out saturation shelling of northern
Israel. Hizbullah now has thousands of rockets aimed at all of northern Israel. There is no
question what will happen, only when. It is likely to occur when the U.S. attack on Iraq
commences, but could occur almost any time. No doubt Mitzna, Goldblum, and their ilk will all be shouting, “How could we have been so wrong? Things were going so well, all the way down to the 20th floor!”
More than anything else, the “Lebanon Model” is proof of the abysmal stupidity of the Israeli Left and its indifference to seeing Israel destroyed. Every single “withdrawal” and concession by Israel to the Palestinians in the past has produced an escalation of terror and increased numbers of atrocities.
A unilateral withdrawal by Israel to its 1967 “Green Line” borders in a Barak-style
capitulation will only be the signal for the opening of the next all-out Arab-Israeli War.
“Palestine” will be the base for the coming attack on Israel, and will host armies and tanks from the rest of the Arab/Muslim world.
In the war that will result from any application of the “Lebanon Model” to the West Bank
and Gaza, the Arabs will attempt to exploit Israel’s vulnerable, indefensible position to annihilate the Jews of the Middle East. Europe will support them by imposing a total embargo on the Israeli ‘aggressors,’ and the U.S. State Department will use extortion to prevent Israel from defending itself and preventing its own destruction.
Like the Jewish leaders in Europe who insisted that Hitler was all bluff, all talk, so Israel’s
abysmally stupid leftists threaten the very survival of the Jewish state with their insistence on
flouting the laws of gravity. As they sail past the 20th floor, they’re more convinced than ever
that the country can make it down from the top of the tower unscathed.
Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of Business at Haifa University. His
book ?The Scout? is available through Amazon.com. He can be contacted at
About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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