December 14, 2006
As the crisis in the various Middle East countries widens and unfolds, it is necessary to understand that the players- and their respective agendas- are separated by more than bullets and missiles.
There is much talk about ‘freedom’ and national ‘autonomy’ and/or sovereignty. Of course, those terms are subject to interpretation.
What is freedom for Israelis is very different than what is freedom for her Arab neighbors.
Hassan Nasrallah, of Hizbollah, believes that the freedom to kidnap Israeli soldiers and civilians (Hizbollah has done both) and shell Israeli towns is a Hizbollah ‘right.’ As far as Nasrallah is concerned, Lebanon’s autonomy and sovereignty is subservient to needs and wishes of the Hizbollah. That is clearly evidenced by his naked and aggressive plan to overthrow the current Lebanese government. Michael Young (editor at the Lebanon Daily Star) said in an interview with a CBS correspondent, that recent events Lebanon were a ‘coup d’etat.‘ Hizbollah, he noted, wanted to destabilize and destroy the nascent Lebanese democracy. Young plainly stated that noted Hizbollah was successful.
Real freedom is a commitment to law and order and rights and obligations equally applied to all citizens and all nations. As we have noted many times,
When nations that are led by or are under the influence of tyrants or dictators attempt to justify their actions, we can rightly assume that those justifications are false. Tyrants and dictators do not make moral choices, because moral choices can only lead to the demise of tyranny.
The Arab League, for example, is not an organization that exists to promote the well being of the populations of the Arab world. The Arab Leagues exists only to maintain the status quo and to promote and protect the interests of Arab world leaders. That is their underlying ‘Prime Directive.‘ In fact, the name, ‘Arab League,’ is deliberately misleading. In fact, that organization does not represent Arab interests at all- and never has. The Arab League is an organization dedicated to maintaining the status quo and preserving the leaders of some of the most repressive and dysfunctional regimes in the world. That is it’s entire raison d’etre.
There is not a single example of an Arab League program that has benefited anyone other than Arab leaders. There is not one example of an educational program, economic development program designed to provide jobs to work starved nations, that has been a project underwritten by the Arab League. There have been no political or cultural efforts to expand democratic processes that would empower the individual, that the Arab League can point to that came about as the result of their efforts.
The Arab world does not need to change or abandon it’s culture to to benefit from democracy. Arab democracy does not have to look like American democracy or any other democracy. The real key to democracy is that people believe that rules, laws and the application of justice, equally applied, benefit them and society at large. If people commit to and adhere to those laws, rules and application of justice, and those lives and societies prosper and improve, well, democracy has worked.
Democracy is resisted in the Arab world, not because the culture needs to change (it doesn’t) but rather because democracy has been forced into a competition with fundamentalism- and the fundamentalists are doing everything (including the use of cruel violence) in their power to maintain control. Democracy has been deliberately misrepresented by fundamentalists and religious ideologues (whose theology coincidentally coincides with the ideologies of some of the most dysfunctional and repressive political ideologues in history). Nevertheless, the Lebanese, after the murder of Rafik Hariri by Syrian security services, proved that when given the chance, people will choose freedom and democracy.
Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah will pull out all the stops to ensure the Lebanese are never again given the chance to express their desire to choose freedom and democracy.
In the end, democracy does not have to justify itself. The west does not have to convince anyone that as imperfect as it might be, democracy is still the preferred mode of government. Those who refuse to understand or accept that truth, do not deserve freedom. All they have to do is look in their own backyards for a look into what the future holds for them.
“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” -John Kennedy
December 14, 2006
As the ‘Holocaust Conference‘ in Tehran continues (“It is for public consumption in Arab countries…It is specifically directed toward deepening the gap between the people and their regimes and toward embarrassing the rulers so that the regional power vacuum, especially after Iraq, can be filled by Iran”), it is clear that even the pretense of civilized thought and behavior are not part on the Iranian mullahs ‘Islamic Republic’ agenda.
By embracing David Duke, et al, the Iranian regime, led by that gaggle of corrupt mullahs and their houseboy, Mahmoud Ahmadenijad, have made clear by association not only their feelings about the Holocaust, but of their attitudes towards Jews (they claim they are not anti Semitic), Blacks, Latinos, Asians and immigrants.
It is with this in mind that we are republishing The SC&A Guide To Zionism: What It Is And Why It Matters.
SC&A are aware that when it comes to Zionism, most people do not have clear idea as to what that ideology is all about. As the Middle East in engulfed in conflict once more, the word ‘Zionism’ is heard with great frequency. Arab diplomats appearing on the evening news, refer to ‘Zionism’ as the cause of all evil in the region.
Therefore, SC&A, in service to the nation and mankind, wish to explain Zionism, it’s origin and why it matters, once and for all.
Some see Zionism as a predominantly religious expression, while others see it as a more political expression. The Islamic nations exert tremendous effort in portraying Zionism as evil incarnate. (That of course, has as much credibility as a syphilis infected call girl speaking on family values and hygiene) More on that later.
First, a bit of what Zionism isn’t.
Zionism does not have it’s origin in religious expression. In fact, Zionism was a social and political movement founded and propagated by secular Jews. That idea was not well received by religious Jews. Initially, despite the daily prayers for redemption and return to the Holy Land, religious Jews wanted no part of a political movement that would bring them back to Israel without God’s endorsement. With the passage of time, that attitude would change- but not entirely. There are still very religious Jews that remain anti Zionist, but they are a decidedly fringe minority.
Of course, anti Zionism in the west is a horse of a different color. Recent pronouncements by some mainstream liberal churches equating Zionism with apartheid, for example, serve to illustrate how little these churches understand Zionism, how they deliberately misrepresent what Zionism is and most of all, how they legitimize this newest iteration of antisemitism. See this for a full and clear explanation.
The mainstream media of course, ever agendized, is only too happy to participate in the school play.
The State of Israel was born on May 14, 1948. A partition plan, creating two states, Israel and Palestine, was ratified by the United Nations. Unlike virtually every other nation before her, Israel’s borders were not defined by conflict but rather, by treaty. Notwithstanding that reality, the Arab world rejected the UN partition and Arab initiated wars created new boundaries. It was Arab hostilities that made Israel an equal among nations. Virtually every country and virtually all national boundaries are arrived at by virtue of conflict. Arab world hostilities gave Israel and Zionism their international bona fides. There is no difference between the boundaries of Israel and any other nation.
What is often lost in any discussion of Zionism is that clearly, Israelis- including Israeli Arabs- are far better off than they would be if they lived in any other country in the region. Israelis, under Zionist principles, have created a free, tolerant and productive society in a sea of bigotry, hate and dysfunction.
Zionism served as the catalyst for the only free and democratic regime in the regimes. Zionism also serves as a foundation of the most vibrant economy in the region. It was Zionist ideals that enrobed the cold and numbed victims of the hottest hell of evil, that were to serve as the petri dish for some of the most significant and important educational institutions in the world.
Had the Arab world done for itself only 10% of what Zionism did for Israel, that Arab world would not be the greatest assemblage of failed nation states in the modern world. A clear and final case for the morality of Zionism is the racism, that permeates the region and every level of society in the Arab world. As we have noted, hatred of Jews, America and Israel are the achievements of note in the Arab world. Hate, racism and bigotry are the only world class achievements of the Arab world.
In discussing Zionism, it is also true that the religious component cannot be ignored- if for no other reason that the religious component has been a major issue for Israel’s adversaries. Clearly, the Arab world cannot be taken seriously if they attempt to condemn Israel on moral grounds. Thus, Arab populations are whipped into a religious frenzy, calling for Islam to rid itself of the hated Jews.
The very last words of the last book of the Jewish Bible- the Old Testament, read as follows:
Thus says King Cyrus of Persia: the Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all His people, may the Lord his God be with him! Let him go up” (II Chronicles 36:23).
The status of the Israelite people at the close of the biblical period is drawn into alignment with her founding charter. Israel has been about a people waiting just outside the land, for the moment when God will allow them home. Inasmuch as Israel’s adversaries have made religion a part of their political statement, Israel too, has the right to respond in kind (the Jews wanted to build and restore the land. Contrast that with those adversaries who openly proclaim delight in the slaughter of Jews).
To carry forward the religious thought as viewed through the prism of religion (as opposed to a political ideology), the return of the Jews to their homeland is the fulfillment of the promise made by God to Israel. That homecoming of the Jews, the ‘ingathering of the exiled’ is a manifestation of ‘opus Dei,’ a work of God. For believers, that alone is enough. The Divine push, religious people believe, set into motion God’s play- and the next act they believe, is the Messianic Era. That too, has proved to be intolerable for those who object to Israel’s existence.
For Muslims, it is clear that Christians cannot be allowed to accept that the Messianic Age is upon us, because that puts them into direct conflict with Islam- and thus widens the gap between Islam and Christianity even further. It is Islam alone that speaks for God, they must insist. Christians and Jews must be denied their beliefs at all costs.
Israel, guided by Zionist principles, was formed in great part by the pitiful survivors of the most evil of evil, is nation that has proved the worth of democracy. Those survivors, plucked from despair and hopelessness, created a country that paid homage to both God and the Divine Right of freedom. There is no clearer ‘lamp unto the nations.’
It is in the physical expression and manifestation of the State of Israel that the definition of Zionism becomes clear: Zionism is the expression of a group of people, to live in freedom and to determine their own future. Period. That’s it.
Now, let us be clear. Much of the Arab world sees itself as a part of the Ummah (the ‘nation’ or the ‘people’), the political expression of a religious ideology, destined to rule the Muslim world. This is a kind Islamic version of Zionism.
Of course, that version of Islamic national expression is different from the Jewish version. Israel, the political expression of Zionism, allows for and grants equal rights to all citizens. Virtually all Islamic regimes decidedly do not. As a practical expression, Muslims in Israel, for example, do not have to worry about being blown up as they pray in their mosques- unlike Pakistani Christians. Israel offers freedom of worship, irrespective of faith. Saudi Arabia for example, does not.
Often repeated is that ‘Zionism is racism.’ In fact, that shibboleth is a case of ‘He doth protesteth too much.’ More often than not, it is apparent and clear that ugly kind of behavior is more common of Israel’s accusers. In fact, there have been far fewer deaths under ‘brutal Zionism’ than there has been under ‘enlightened’ Arab regimes.
It is true Israel offers Jews the ‘Right of Return.’ That too, is much misunderstood and often described by Israel’s critics as ‘racist.’
Citizenship is granted by one of two ‘virtues,’ land or blood.
Americans grant citizenship by virtue of land. We don’t care if you are black, white or anything else. If you live in this country by virtue of birth or legal immigrant status (and choose to seek citizenship), you are a citizen.
Other countries do it differently. The Poles, Irish, Russians or a myriad of other nations that offer citizenship to the children of one their nationals, wherever they might live, whenever they seek it. For them, it is a matter of ‘blood.’
As a sovereign nation, Israel has the right to determine it’s own citizenship policies. Period. There are millions of Arabs in Israel that hold an Israeli passport. Arabs are not precluded from Israeli citizenship, any more than Brits are precluded Polish citizenship. There are different rules, that’s all. That is not racism.
Saudi Arabia has their own citizenship rules. Jews or Christians are precluded from citizenship.
The fact that Israel has lasted two millennia without a homeland or any sort of native rule is miraculous or remarkable, depending on your point of view. No matter how you regard that truth, it was possible because of the tenacity of a people. As we have noted, one writer put it this way:
Where are the Hittites? Why does no one find it remarkable that in most world cities today there are Jews but not one single Hittite even though the Hittites had a great flourishing civilization while the Jews nearby were a weak and obscure people? When one meets a Jew in New York or New Orleans or Paris or Melbourne, it is remarkable that no one considers the event remarkable. What are they doing here? But it is even more remarkable to wonder, if there are Jews here, why are there not Hittites here? Where are the Hittites? Show me one Hittite in New York City.
One would think that a land, with a history of local heroes and legends, monuments and armies, would have proved more weighted than a promissory note from God, real or not. That was not the case. The Jews didn’t just make the desert bloom- they made freedom bloom, in a region that has never seen that gift.
It is Zionism that has reminded us- and Israel’s adversaries- just how precious freedom really is.
Whatever the reason, the Jews have proved themselves to be remarkably resilient- and more importantly, remarkably adept at maintaining a faith and community. Zionism is but another testament to that truth. We can all learn from it.
Whether we, in our hubris, will admit it or not, the truth is that we need Zionism a whole lot more than Zionism needs us. We have let Israel down, by demanding and placing upon her, demands and conditions that we ask from no other nation on earth- not even our own. More than once those demands have made the ground red.
As a free people, we have an obligation to those who share our values. We owe them- all of them, wherever they may be- and ourselves, a whole lot more.
This post was originally published on July 20, 2006.
For a precise and clear look at victimhood, see Dr Sanity’s Practical Guide to Victimhood. She notes,
One group in particular deserves special mention for their unfailing and extraordinary efforts at maintaining and feeding their Victimhood for decades. I am speaking of course, about the Palestinians. Through their previous president, Yasser Arafat, they creatively resisted worldwide attempts to ease them gently from their role of victim. Their efforts have inspired many others –especially people and nations in the Middle East…
Her post points to an incredible truth. It is not the Israelis or the Jewish community that have turned the Holocaust into an unstoppable machine designed to oppress the Arab world. Rather, it is the Arab world that have desperately latched on to the Holocaust and Holocaust denial as means and method of perpetuating and justifying Arab world cult of victimhood. It is the Arab world that uses the Holocaust as an excuse for their failures.
Israel and the Jews have demonstrated that they have not allowed the horrors of the Holocaust to in any way, shape or form, provide an excuse for not exercising their potential.
In creating the modern State of Israel, the refugees from a smoldering Europe went on to build a modern, democractic state, with world class educational facilities, institutions and a vibrant economy. The Israelis did in 50 years what the obscenely oil rich Arab nations could not do in 2,000- make the desert bloom.
Jews remembering the Holocaust and remaining ever vigilant to the lessons that must be learned from that horrible time, is very different from the Arab world needing the Holocaust and subsequent Holocaust denial, so that they might create a reason for centuries of failure, despair and denial. As Dr Sanity notes,
To all those real victims out there, who are struggling to overcome diseases; recover from disasters and events; and move beyond those traumas that have temporarily and painfully interrupted your lives–I heartily salute you and in no way aim to denigrate your efforts. Taking responsibility for your life will empower you and enable you to grow beyond whatever you have experienced. May you always rise above what Life has presented to you and exceed all expectations–even your own.