|Israel's moral legitimacy|
Doug Casey May 23, 2002
© 2002 WorldNetDaily.com
How morally legitimate is the state of Israel? Of course, my own view is that the idea of the state – any state – is fatally flawed. Government is, in essence, institutionalized coercion. It should therefore be minimized, if not eliminated. But some states are much more acceptable and legitimate than others. The American or Swiss states are, for instance, easily contrasted with what existed in the Soviet empire, or still exists almost everywhere in Africa.
The way a country is founded and the principles of its founders have a real effect on the way it evolves. And Israel's founding presents some real problems, especially in view of the current hysteria about terror. Terrorism was an integral part of Israel's founding, although the Israelis are forced to deny it. As far as I can determine, terror was used by all three Israeli military groups that later became the Israel Defense Forces – in ascending order of guilt, the Haganah, the Irgun and the Stern Gang. I hate, of course, to accuse anyone of terrorism because the term is so ill defined, so overused, and so fashionable. Entirely apart from the fact it has always been an integral, effective and accepted part of warfare, at least until very recently.
The situation came to a boil at the time of Israeli independence in 1948, with the Deir Yassin incident. In Deir Yassin, a village of about 1,000, roughly 250 people were massacred by elements of the Irgun and the Stern Gang. Menachem Begin was quoted as saying (although possibly not apprised of how bad it was) "accept my congratulations on this splendid conquest … As at Deir Yassin, so everywhere, we will attack and smite the enemy." This understandably caused widespread panic among the Palestinians, and roughly 650,000 left their land, and emigrated as refugees. Those people, and their descendants, feel the Jews effectively stole their land.
Begin (who, you'll recall, not only became prime minister, but actually won the Nobel Peace Prize) was also in back of the terror bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946. In fact, terror worked astoundingly well, and these two incidents were pivotal in the founding of Israel. The King David incident, combined with the kidnapping and execution of two innocent British soldiers in reprisal for the execution of several Jewish terrorists, directly caused the British to withdraw. Deir Yassin was instrumental in causing a convenient mass emigration of Arabs. Two huge problems solved.
At the same time, almost 600,000 Jews were forced or scared from their properties in Arab countries. Most came to Israel, and many wound up taking over the properties the Arabs vacated. This is used as a justification: Sure, we terrorized most local Arabs into leaving, but local Jews were scared into leaving from other countries … it all balances out. I suppose it does, but only if you treat humans like fungible commodities. The individual Arabs who were forced from Palestine, and their progeny, justifiably feel cheated, however. That's entirely apart from the fact that two wrongs don't make a right. And there is also something in the Bible, as I recall, about sowing the wind, and reaping the whirlwind.
So, how is this unpleasant and unstable state of affairs likely to end? A surprisingly large number of fundamentalist Christians like to believe that we're now approaching the end of days and the battle of Armageddon. Of course, that's been the case since the death of Jesus, whose followers expected his imminent return to set things right. But just because they believe the Apocalypse will happen for reasons which make no sense to most people (including myself), doesn't mean it won't happen.
One thing for sure is that the problem is not going away. Israel has been in a more-or-less constant state of war from its founding. The underlying causes of the conflict are fully intact. In fact, as the Muslim population keeps growing, and as generations of young Palestinians grow up fighting, it's likely to get worse. Here's a certainty: The Israelis can win every battle and every war, but that's not going to win peace. And if they lose only one war, they'll cease to exist. So an Armageddon of some sort seems almost inevitable – simply a matter of time.
But that's thinking in conventional military terms. I don't expect, however, that tanks and aircraft will have much to do with the eventual catastrophe. The Israelis face two much bigger problems.
One is that, in time, they'll be overwhelmed demographically and become a minority in their own country. There were only 160,000 Palestinians remaining in the country in 1949. Now, due to population growth and the expansion of Israel's borders, there are one million – not counting people in the West Bank and Gaza. And despite massive immigration, especially in recent years from Russia, the Jews number only five million.
The other is that Israel is a perfect candidate for a massive nuclear, biological, and/or chemical attack, delivered in much the same way it might be in the U.S. – by truck, ship or commercial aircraft. If that happens, you can bet they won't take it lying down, and they'll strike back at somebody, or everybody, with any number of the dozens of nuclear weapons they're reported to own.
It's a bad situation. But there should be no reason it concerns anyone other than the combatants. What's much worse is that it won't end there, because the fates of America and Israel are, at this point, almost inextricably intertwined. If Israel has a serious problem, it becomes America's problem. If Social Security is the "third rail" of U.S. domestic policy, then Israel is its equivalent in U.S. foreign policy. And it's not just because of the Jewish lobby in the U.S. government, although that's not to be underestimated. Especially since there's no countervailing Palestinian lobby.
Most Americans come down strongly on the side of the Israelis for any number of reasons. They see the Jews as half of the so-called Judeo-Christian tradition, whereas there's no such thing as an Islamic-Christian tradition. They see Israel as the sole representative of Western values in a hostile and alien culture. The Israelis are the enemies of the Muslims, and the Muslims are our de facto enemies in the Forever War. Israelis look, dress, think and talk much more like Americans than do the Arabs. Israel has mostly aligned itself with America in the international arena.
Americans have a well of sympathy for the fate of the Jews in the Holocaust, and believe they deserve a homeland. American media tends to give a pro-Israeli slant to whatever reporting they do. Israelis fight with hi-tech weapons like Americans – they needn't conduct suicide attacks. Americans are traditionally sympathetic to the outnumbered and the underdog, which (at least in some ways) is how the Israelis are perceived. Scores of thousands of Jewish Americans have lived in Israel, and millions of Americans have traveled there – very few have any real experience of the Arab world. And that's absolutely true of Bush and his advisers.
Legendary speculator Doug Casey logs 150,000 miles a year, trekking through jungles, deserts and high mountain passes, while his readers sit home and collect returns of 400 percent, 4,170 percent, even 10,060 percent. He is the author of the best-selling "Crisis Investing" and "The International Man." He also edits the newsletter International Speculator.