A solemn vow has animated the people of the State of Israel and their admirers for over sixty years: “Never again.” Those two words have captured a shared, steely determination to prevent another Holocaust – the genocide waged against the Jews by Nazi Germany. Today, alas, there is growing reason to fear that the operative phrase is becoming instead: “One more time.”
Consider a few illustrative examples of the gathering storm that is developing in the Middle East and elsewhere, to the grave detriment of the Jewish State – and to America’s vital interests:
The so-called “international community” as represented by the United Nations and its various subsidiaries has institutionalized anti-Zionism and, in the process, increasingly legitimated anti-Semitism. Israel is the target of the vast majority of UN investigations of human rights abuses and condemnatory resolutions. No other nation even comes close to the “world body’s” sustained and vicious assault on one of the planet’s most liberal democracies and freest societies.
The latest of such UN travesties is the denunciation of Israel produced by Sir Richard Goldstone, a South African jurist (who happens to be Jewish). The “Goldstone Report” he authored purports to be an objective analysis of the conduct of the Israelis and Palestinians when the former retaliated at last against the latter after years of rocket fire on Israel from the Gaza Strip. This odious document largely ignores the responsibility of Hamas for what happened, accuses the Jewish State of using excessive force and has encouraged international prosecution of Israelis on specious war crimes charges.
Barack Obama has had a longstanding enmity towards Israel. Under the influence of his one-time fellow University of Chicago professor Rashid Khalidi, the future president honed a sympathy for the Palestinian cause assiduously promoted by his colleague. Indeed, as far back as 2004, Mr. Obama was letting it be known that he had to subordinate public expression of his anti-Israel sentiments in order to advance politically. In a report published in March 2008, a similarly minded pro-Arab activist in Chicago, Ali Abunimah, quoted the then-Senate candidate as saying four years before, “Hey, I’m sorry I haven’t said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I’m hoping when things calm down I can be more up front.”
Since entering the White House, Mr. Obama has been more “up front” – at least in his actions. He has pressed Israel relentlessly for territorial, political and strategic concessions to the Palestinians. He has reportedly denied Israel access to weapons, including bunker-busting bombs, even as sales of advanced arms to others in the Middle East – all of whom have tried to destroy Israel in the past – continue apace. The effect is to diminish the qualitative edge so vital to the survival of the outnumbered Jews and their state.
Most recently, President Obama seized upon an ill-timed bureaucratic announcement regarding planned housing construction within Jerusalem’s city limits as a pretext for having his administration serially denounce Israel. In the name of promoting the peace process, he has thereby encouraged the Palestinians (who remain un-reconciled to a true peace with the Jewish State) to wait for him to extract concessions from the Israelis. The net result: For the first time in many years, public professions by Vice President Joe Biden to the contrary notwithstanding, there is perceptible daylight between the United States and Israel.
Nowhere is the gap between the two strategic partners more pronounced than with respect to Iran. Israel rightly perceives in the repeated threats by the regime in Tehran to “wipe Israel off the map” – and its imminent acquisition of the nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles with which to accomplish that goal – an existential threat.
President Obama claims to be determined to prevent Iran from getting “the Bomb,” yet his team still seems focused primarily on “engaging” the Iranians. He has no interest in tougher domestic sanctions approved overwhelmingly by Congress and seems content to have adoption of their international counterparts blocked by the Chinese. The practical effect is to abet the mullahs in running the clock out, leaving America with no option but to try to “contain” a nuclear Iran – and Israel no prospect other than a new, genocidal attack at a time of its avowed enemy’s choosing.
Even in the absence of such an attack by Iran, there is a real risk that the perceived shifts in the “correlation of forces” in the Mideast may conduce once again to the sort of threat of conventional war to “drive the Jews into the sea” that has not been seen since 1973 (perhaps this time accompanied by the use of devastating unconventional weapons).
Add to the mix published reports that General David Petraeus – one of America’s most prominent military officers as the four-star commander of Central Command and a leading architect of the Iraq surge – sees the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” as a threat to American servicemen and women in his area of responsibility. Vice President Biden and other U.S. officials have seized on this analysis to claim that “Israel’s intransigence could cost American lives.”
In other words, Israel is a liability, not an asset. More daylight, more danger for Israel. And more evidence that it is better to be America’s enemy than its friend, which is not good for our security, either.
Then there is this: Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl disclosed on March 22 an open secret here: “Behind Obama’s deliberate fight with Netanyahu last week [over Israel’s Jerusalem housing decision] seemed to lie a calculation that a peace settlement will require the United States to bend or break Israel’s current government.” Will Israel’s enemies interpret such contempt for the democratically leader of an ally as anything other than evidence it is open season on Israel?
Now is the time for all friends of freedom to give real meaning to “Never again” – before we witness a holocaust of the Jews, one more time.