In Judaism, there can be no justification for deliberate self-endangerment, and in classic Greek tragedy, there can be no deus ex machina. In tragedy, the human spirit remains noble in the face of inescapable death, but if there should remain anything genuinely tragic in Israel's incremental capitulations to "Palestine," it lies only in the original Greek meaning of the term - "goat song" - from the dithyrambs sung by goatskin-clad worshippers of Dionysus. In every other sense, Prime Minister Netanyahu's plan exhibits behavior that would, however unwittingly, desecrate Israel's Jewish heritage and its survival obligations.
Under international law, which also happens to be part of the law of the United States, ALL Palestinian terrorists are hostes humani generis: "Common enemies of humankind."
Declaring Palestine. It is a core issue for Israel that has come up in my columns before. But now, the enemy's operational tactics have been changed and fine-tuned. This month, Palestinian Authority leaders will seek formal creation of their independent state via the "good offices" of the United Nations.
Iran continues to play a cat and mouse game with the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and with the United States. Early in October, when another secret site for enriching uranium was discovered, Tehran "magnanimously" agreed to certain future international inspections. To be sure, the actual promise of any such inspections, which was quickly and naively praised by both IAEA head Dr. Mohamed El-Baradei and U.S. President Barack Obama, will be effectively meaningless.
As U.S. President Barack Obama stubbornly proceeds with his deeply flawed resurrection of a "Two-State Solution" in the Middle East, he will bring substantial harm to the United States as well as to Israel. In this connection, Mr. Obama should quickly recognize that thecore rationale of Jihadist terror has little if anything to do with politics or with military strategy and tactics. Rather, this rationale is, and will surely remain, fundamentally, a sincere expression of religious sacrifice.
Personal consumption drives our American economy. To uplift the financial markets and restore confidence on Wall Street and Main Street, everyone now wants the consumer to buy more. Without an aggressive expansion of consumer spending, corporate earnings will remain depressed, growth will stagnate, unemployment will increase, and stock values will decline even further. What then should we do?
“The blood-dimmed tide is loosed,” wrote the poet W.B. Yeats, “and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned.” Now, assembled in almost two hundred armed tribal camps politely called nation-states, all peoples – not only the people of Israel – coexist insecurely on a plainly anarchic planet. The core origins of this anarchy lie in the Peace of Westphalia (1648), which put a codified end to the Thirty Years War.
It is not always easy, in studying world politics, to know when power is really "powerful," and when weakness is really "weak." Oddly enough, some states that are presumably very powerful in measurable military terms may occasionally have to yield to others that seemingly lack power altogether. Even more ironically, in the case of Israel versus Hamas, the presumably powerful state is increasingly at the mercy of a brutal criminal organization that is substantially less autonomous than a truly sovereign state, and that has no armed forces even worth mentioning.
Any chaotic disintegration of the world system wouldfundamentally transform the Israeli system. Again, recalling the remarkable Swiss playwright, such a transformation could ultimately involve total or near-total destruction. In anticipation, Israel will have to orient its strategic planning to an assortment of worst-case prospects, thus focusing much more deliberately on a wide range of primarily self-help security options. This point simply cannot be overstated.
Back during the presidential election campaign, then-Senator Barack Obama made repeated reference to a "cycle of violence" in the Middle East. Although, thankfully, he no longer uses this particularly inappropriate term in describing ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, now President Obama continues to allege a basic symmetry between the warring parties. These disturbing allegations, whether explicit or couched in innuendo, are wrong and troubling. They encourage U.S. policies that can only revive and exacerbate Arab violence.
With his December 1, 2009 speech at West Point, U.S. President Barack Obama repeated his lofty goal of "a world free of nuclear weapons." Although such an eloquent plea will surely resonate intuitively with all who would seek peace, it is, in fact, not only unattainable (something altogether obvious), but also undesirable. In the case of U.S. ally Israel, for example, worldwide denuclearization could open the doors to another Jewish genocide.
Although Arab/Islamic "suicide bombing" terrorism can prove to be quite useful in political, strategic and tactical terms, its true rationale always lies elsewhere.
It would be unreasonable for Israel to draw any comfort from an argument that Iranian intentions are effectively harmless. Rather, such intentions could impact capabilities decisively over time. Backed by appropriate nuclear weapons, preemption options must somehow remain open and viable to Israel, augmented, of course, by appropriate and complementary plans for cyber-defense and cyber-warfare.
Israel, with an understandable desperation, still seeks to discover some discernible correctness and reassuring clarity in the theatre of world politics. However, the polite diplomatic meanings with which it is pressed to "make peace" remain squalid and elusive. Ominously, these meanings continue to seethe menacingly.
The April 17 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv included the usual breakdown of casualties - the steadily rising number of dead and of those casually described as "merely wounded." But what, exactly, does it mean to be in the second category? Consider just a few of the carefully documented medical answers.
The Project Daniel Group strongly endorsed the prime minister's acceptance of a broad concept of defensive first strikes, but just as strongly advised against using his undisclosed nuclear arsenal for anything but essential deterrence.
The Genocide Convention criminalizes not only various acts of genocide, but also (Article III) conspiracy to commit genocide and direct and public incitement to commit genocide. Articles II, III and IV of the Genocide Convention are fully applicable in all cases of direct and public incitement to commit genocide. For the Convention to be invoked, it is sufficient that any one of the state parties call for a meeting, through the United Nations, of all the state parties (Article VIII).
But what has all this to do with present-day Israel, the recent American elections, and the Obama Road Map? For a very long time, certainly for the past dozen years, specifically anti-Jewish and anti-Israel diatribes have been standard fare on Palestinian Authority, Syrian, Egyptian, Saudi Arabian and Hezbollah television. As for the Arab print-media, even in "moderate" Jordan, the general and unrelenting theme remains that Jewish "infidels" are distinctly less than human, basically degenerate and suitable only for sacrificial (terrorist) killing.
We Jews know a terrorist when we see one. Surely we don't need the elegant refinements of international law to help us distinguish a suicide bomber from a freedom fighter. If it looks like a duck Nothing could possibly be easier to understand.
The following article was originally published in The Jewish Press in February 2000. It is being reprinted here now because over the past ten years, nothing has been learned about the central impediment to real peace in the Middle East. The core problem was, and still is, the far-reaching Islamic hatred of Jews. Doctrinally, Israel will never be accepted in the Islamic Middle East because it is a Jewish state. As with the Oslo process discussed in this 2000 article, no "Road Map" or other currently favored form of twisted cartography can hold any plausible promise for Israel. Today, as in the case of Oslo, the Road Map simply requires Israel to exchange land for nothing. President Barack Obama, please take note.
Some truths are counter-intuitive. At first, it would seem plain that a world without nuclear weapons must be preferable to one with such weapons. Upon reflection, however, it becomes evident that there are some countries for whom nuclear arms are indispensable to their physical survival. For these imperiled nations, surrendering nuclear status could effectively be an invitation to genocide. The most obvious case in point is Israel.
Rationality, Irrationality, And Madness Core Enemy Differences For Israeli Nuclear Deterrence (First of Three...
Over the years, in several of my columns in The Jewish Press, I have examined the critical bases of Israeli nuclear deterrence. Recently, in consequence of the growing threat of Iranian nuclearization, increasing attention has been directed toward pertinent issues of enemy rationality. With this in mind, the following three-part column will seek to explain the impact of "irrationality" on Israel's deterrence posture, and also the vital differences between prospective Iranian irrationality and "madness."
Although The Group drew explicitly upon contemporary strategic thinking, we were also mindful of certain much-earlier investigations of war, power and survival. One such still-relevant investigation was identified in Sun-Tzu's classic, The Art of War.
International law is not a suicide pact. As Iranian nuclearization heats up to a point of no return, Israel's leaders will soon have to make vitally important decisions on launching defensive first strikes. Faced with an existentially hostile regime in Tehran, these leaders cannot now be expected to simply sit back and wait for this regime to deploy atomic weapons. Less than half the size of Lake Michigan, Israel's "wiggle room" in strategic survival matters is profoundly limited.
As we asked last week, why then must Israel remain a nuclear power? We continue with the detailed and complete answer that Prime Minister Netanyahu should prepare to transmit to President Obama.
In Washington, there has been little learned from lessons of the past.
Osama bin Laden was assassinated by U.S. Special Forces on May 1, 2011. Although media emphasis thus far has been focused almost entirely on the pertinent operational and political issues surrounding this "high value" killing, there are also important jurisprudential aspects to the case that require similar attention. Whether or not killing Osama was a genuinely purposeful assassination from a strategic perspective, a question that will be debated for years to come, we should now also inquire: Was it legal?
My parents arrived as Austrian Jewish refugees in Switzerland almost exactly sixty years ago.
In his clearly expressed preference for a world without nuclear weapons, U.S. President Obama means well. Viscerally, at least, his idealized vision of a non-nuclear world certainly seems desirable. But the deeper intellectual and policy issue is not just the enduring and possibly irremediable security problem of strategic uncertainty and verification (why, for example, would any existing nuclear power disarm without being sure of reciprocal nuclear disarmament by all the other nuclear states?), but also that nuclear weapons are not inherently evil or even per se destabilizing. In many critical circumstances, as we should already have learned from basic Soviet-American peace dynamics during the Cold War, nuclear weapons can even be indispensable to the avoidance of catastrophic war.
There is a little recognized but noteworthy irony in the still-ongoing (when and how will it end?) matter of Iranian nuclearization.From the standpoint of President Ahmadinejad in Tehran, any prospect of hastening the Shiite apocalypse may naturally be welcomed. In the United States and Israel, on the other hand, any conscious encouragement of a Final Battle is strenuously rejected. Whatever Scriptural expectations of End Times may be found embedded in Judaism and Christianity and however seriously they may be accepted among particular American and Israeli populations, these expressly apocalyptic visions have always beenrejected as plausible policy options.