On the Difficulty of Recognizing the Jewish State of Israel

From the simple recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, peace and a Palestinian state follow. The chief geopolitical excruciation of our time, the Palestinian obsession of the United Nations, the rancor of millions who thrive on demonizing either Israel or Palestinians — all of it shrivels if Palestinians and surrounding Arab states simply recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

But that single, simple step to peace remains elusive. Why?

Note that I am urging Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, not merely Israel’s right to exist. The extremists who cannot even acknowledge Israel’s rudimentary right to exist are part of the permanent insurgency against peace and human decency. They will never entirely disappear, but they can be marginalized.

The question of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state is more complicated. It would mean, for example, giving up any Palestinian “right of return” to Israel. Asking Israel to absorb potentially millions, or even hundreds of thousands, of Palestinian refugees in Israel would be an invitation to geopolitical suicide. Eventually, Israel’s Jews would be a minority population. Israel’s Jews cannot become a minority population, for there would then be no defensible homeland for the Jews. Jews would again become beholden to a fickle majority, as they were in Europe and Russia — and to every Jew who vows to remember, this cannot happen. Never again.

We melting-pot Americans are not accustomed to thinking of states as ethnic enclaves — even though they often are. We would chafe at the notion of Guatemala as a Mayan state or Kenya as Kikuyu state. But the viability of Israel as a Jewish state is a special case, rooted in excruciating history.

Think of the Middle East as a football field. Think of Israel and Palestine as two wee postage stamps on this football field. The scale is important for the history that follows.

On October 4, 1946, President Truman issued a statement declaring United States support for creation of a “viable Jewish state.” On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly approved a partition plan that divided the tiny area into three entities: a Jewish state, an Arab state, and an international zone around Jerusalem.

Jews accepted this internationally-sanctioned partition. Arabs did not. At this crucial inception of Israel, there was never any international question that the tiny nation of Israel would be a Jewish state.

There was a sound reason for this tiny new state, and a sound reason that it be Jewish. In 1946, there were still tens of thousands of displaced Jews in Europe, survivors of the Holocaust. The thriving Jewish communities of Europe were all but wiped out. The Nazi machine killed six million Jews and produced a new word: genocide. But the defeat of the Nazis did not defeat homicidal anti-Semitism. Jewish refugees attempting to return to their European homes met murderous bigotry.

The middle 20th-century put to rest forever the notion that Jews, as a minority, could rely on the good will of their host nations. Good and patriotic German Jews, good and patriotic Polish Jews, good and patriotic Hungarian Jews — all died in the gas chambers, or were killed by locals when they tried to return.

Jews needed their own place to live. Their original homeland, the place that gave rise to the Bible, the place where they had a continuous presence for thousands of years, the place where Jews had been going for decades and transforming the land, made sense.

The world understood this in 1947. The world understood that Jews needed one place that they controlled, one place where pogroms were impossible, one place where Jews could be Jews without apology and obsequiousness. The world understood that the people who had suffered the most horrific slaughtering in human history had earned a place of their own.

Arabs also lived in this land. Indeed, Arabs, Jews and Christians had been living side-by-side for quite some time in what was then the British Mandate. And so the world did not give it all to the Jews. The world split it between Arabs and Jews. It was the solution to which everyone now aspires: a Jewish state and an Arab state. Yes, 64 years ago, the world solved the Middle East problem.

The Jews said yes, but the Arabs balked. On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, proclaimed the existence of a Jewish state called Israel. President Truman’s administration immediately issued the following statement: “This Government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested by the provisional government thereof. The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto authority of the State of Israel.”

On May 15th, Arab states issued their response statement, and Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq attacked the new state of Israel, aided by volunteers from Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Libya. It could have been over for Israel then. It very nearly was. The football field attacked the postage stamp with determination to wipe it out.

Meanwhile, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, declared a new genocide against the Jews: “kill the Jews wherever you find them — this serves God.” He really meant it. He had passed the world war with fascists, and while a guest of fascist Italy in 1941, he submitted to the German government a draft declaration of German-Arab cooperation, stating:

Germany and Italy recognize the right of the Arab countries to solve the question of the Jewish elements, which exist in Palestine and in the other Arab countries, as required by the national and ethnic (völkisch) interests of the Arabs, and as the Jewish question was solved in Germany and Italy.

Had the Nazis prevailed in North Africa (they didn’t), they had a plan to exterminate Palestinian Jews and prevent the establishment of a Jewish state, and “the most important collaborator with the Nazis and an absolute Arab anti-Semite was Haj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem.” Many honorable Palestinians refused to take up arms against the Jews because of their disgust with Haj Amin al-Husseini.

The fledgling state of Israel survived, barely, the attack of every surrounding Arab country. Israel survived again in 1967 and 1973, when Arab regimes attacked Israel with intent to destroy it. The violations of international law, never mind human decency, in these attacks are legion.

Meanwhile, Arab states set about dealing with their Jewish populations, and it wasn’t pretty. Most of Yemeni and Adeni Jews, some 50,000, were evacuated between 1949-1950 in fear of their security. 150,000 Iraqi and Kurdish Jews were encouraged to leave in 1950 by the Iraqi Government, which ordered in 1951 “the expulsion of Jews who refused to sign a statement of anti-Zionism.” The Jews of Egypt began fleeing the country in 1948, and most of the remaining, some 25,000, were expelled in 1956. The Jews of Algeria were deprived of their citizenship in 1962.

So Jews were being systematically kicked out of Arab countries, typically without their property. There could have been a “Jewish refugee” problem exceeding the “Palestinian refugee” problem. But there wasn’t because Israel of course accepted the 800,000-1,000,000 Jews kicked out of Arab countries. Palestinian refugees, meanwhile, suffered horrible deprivations of basic rights by their host countries.

Over 400,000 Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon, and they are barred from 73 job categories including professions such as medicine, law and engineering. They are not allowed to own property, and even need a special permit to leave their refugee camps. Unlike other foreigners in Lebanon, they are denied access to the Lebanese health care system. The Lebanese government refused to grant them work permits or permission to own land.

The Arab League has instructed its members to deny citizenship to Palestinian Arab refugees (or their descendants) “to avoid dissolution of their identity and protect their right to return to their homeland.” In other words, Palestinian refugees are pure politics for Arab League members. And that is why the most free Palestinians live in America and Israel.

If I were Palestinian — and sometimes I wish I were just for the test of my character in the teeth of oppression and suffering — I believe I would be skeptical of my Arab brothers and their cynical anti-Semitism, and I believe I would say yes, let there be a Jewish state and a Palestinian state so that I could at least begin to control my own destiny, and I would cease to be a pawn in the games of nations that have done nothing for me except exploit my victim status.

Israel must be a Jewish state. There must be a homeland for Jews. And there must be a homeland for Palestinians. We have not evolved beyond ethnic thinking and ethnic hatred. That will take a while. Meanwhile, there can be peace, accounting for ethnic hatreds — but it must begin with recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

And acceptance of a Jewish state begins with understanding of what happened to Jews. The Holocaust must become real to Palestinians. In the New York Times, Palestinian social scientist Mohammed S. Dajani Doudi and Jewish-American historian Robert Satloff write:

But Palestinians, and Arabs more generally, know little about the Holocaust and what they do know is often skewed by the perverted prism of Arab popular culture, from the ranting of religious extremists to the distortions of certain satellite television channels to the many ill-informed authors. What happened to the Jews during World War II is not taught in Arab schools or universities, either as part of world history or as a lesson in genocide awareness or as an atrocity that ought not to be repeated.

* * *

Almost two years ago millions of Muslim Arabs listened carefully when President Barack Obama, speaking in Cairo, respectfully recited sentences from the Koran and proclaimed America’s endorsement of a two-state solution to achieve a durable Israeli-Palestinian peace. Few, however, remember that he also condemned Holocaust denial. Now that the Arab masses are applying the universal lessons of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in taking down their authoritarian governments, it is time they take back the learning of history, too. That includes teaching their children the universal lessons of the Holocaust.

History, true history, is almost always painful. Understanding why Israel must be a Jewish state is painful. Jews in Israel cannot ever again submit to the tolerance of a host culture. That is absolute.

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Fake Muslim graves in Jerusalem

All the ideological screeching aside, there is a jostling for real estate in the Middle East.  Israel, being about the size of New Jersey, rather desperately needs it — being surrounded by Arab countries that have repeatedly invaded it with intent to destroy it, and a divided Palestinian entity that, on the one hand (Gaza), reviles Israel, denies its right to exist, and lobs bombs into Israel cities, and on the other hand (West Bank), thankfully, merely teaches their children that Jews are bent on world domination, the proof of which, incorporated into Palestinian high school textbooks, is the discredited forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Real estate jostles have been common among Middle Eastern neighbors for millennia.  Biblical Israel itself suffered the jostling of the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Persians.  What makes this modern real estate jostling profoundly unique is the standard applied by the international community to minor jostling by Jews versus minor jostling by Muslims.

When a minor Israeli official announced renewed building in a Jewish neighborhood of East Jerusalem, a neighborhood never conceived by either side as negotiable, the Obama administration went bizarrely ballistic, and the international community, doubtless puzzled, said, “um, okay, what he said.”

When Muslims build fake Muslim graves in East Jerusalem with no one buried in them, for the sole sake of expanding Muslim territory from which Jews are excluded, no one went ballistic.  No one said anything, certainly no one in the Obama administration.  That was okay.  In fact, the Waqf, the Muslim entity in charge of the fake graves, petitioned the Israeli courts to let it continue, to stop Jerusalem from removing the fake graves.  Such are the liberties of Muslims in Israel.

Whatever happens in that case — oral argument is imminent — it bears noting that oral argument is imminent.  Muslims in Israel are allowed to make the case in a court of law that they should be allowed to build fake Muslim graves without interference by Israeli authorities.  Would that Jews had been treated with such solicitude in Muslim countries.  What has happened to Jews in Muslim countries over the last fifty years — the pogroms, the persecutions, the expulsions — let’s just say the UN Human Rights Council hasn’t been perturbed.

The UN Human Rights Council has been most perturbed about Israel.  Indeed, it has adopted more resolutions and decisions condemning Israel than all other 191 U.N. states combined (including 20th and 21st century perpetrators of genocide).

Honestly, whatever one’s thoughts about what Israel does, can it be doubted that Israel is under siege?  Can it be doubted that the very United Nations that created Israel under international law in 1948 now slyly repents that decision and commits its American-contributed resources relentlessly to undermining Israel?

It’s simple arithmetic.  There are 46 Muslim countries, and 50+ countries with substantial Muslim minorities.  There is one Jewish country.  Not surprising that the Jewish country routinely loses in the court of international opinion.

The United States has honorably supported Israel, still the lone democracy in the Middle East.  Supporting Israel and supporting surrounding Arab regimes are not mutually exclusive.  When Arab regimes sincerely countenance peaceful co-existence, peace is possible.  When the Palestinians drop their bombs, accept Israel, and truly desire statehood, it will be theirs.

 

How About Not Teaching Hate and Bigotry to Children?

If there is a viable “peace process” in Israel, it begins with mutual respect.  It begins by, indeed cannot happen without, foreswearing bigotry and vile stereotypes.  If either side remains committed to educating its children that the other side is demonic and despicable, then there is no viable peace process.

That should be — but has not been — a starting point for President Obama’s and Secretary of State Clinton’s likely abortive initiative in the Middle East.

There is certainly hatred of Palestinians among some Israelis — abundantly countered in Israel’s robust democracy — but there is systematic teaching of vile contempt for Jews in Palestinian culture.  As long as Palestinians teach their children such hate, there will be no generation of Palestinians equipped for peacemaking.

The Palestinian Authority has incredibly incorporated the ridiculous and discredited forgery, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, into its high school education curriculum.  The textbook says that among the foundations of Zionism, agreed upon at the First Zionist Congress in 1897, “there is a group of confidential resolutions adopted by the Congress and known by the name ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ the goal of which was world domination.”

Recall that the Palestinian Authority is the “reasonable” voice of Palestinian aspiration, the entity with which Israel might manage to negotiate peace and Palestinian statehood.  Hamas, which controls Gaza after a bloody Palestinian-bloodletting coup, is widely seen as “less reasonable.”  Here is Article Thirty-Two of the Hamas Charter:

Hamas is calling upon the Arab and Islamic peoples to act seriously and tirelessly in order to frustrate that dreadful scheme … Today it is Palestine and tomorrow it may be another country or other countries. For Zionist scheming has no end, and after Palestine they will covet expansion from the Nile to the Euphrates… Their scheme has been laid out in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their present [conduct] is the best proof of what is said there.

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion — which purports to establish a Jewish conspiracy to control the world — is a document forged by the Czarist secret police at the turn of the 19th century, and intended to incite violence against Jews as scapegoats in Russia. It has been conclusively proven a fraud and forgery.  It went out of favor in democracies many decades ago.  Indeed, here is Henry Ford’s 1927 mea culpa, after losing a lawsuit brought because he spread the Protocols vileness in his newspaper:

“To my great regret I learn that in the Dearborn Independent and in reprint pamphlets entitled, ‘THE INTERNATIONAL JEW’, there have appeared articles which induce the Jews to regard me as their enemy, promoting anti-Semitism.

“As a result of this survey I am deeply mortified that this journal, which is intended to be constructive and not destructive, has been made the medium for resurrecting exploded fictions, for giving currency to the so-called Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion, which have been demonstrated, as I learn, to be gross forgeries, and for contending that the Jews have been engaged in a conspiracy to control the capital and the industries of the world, besides laying at their door many offences against decency, public order and good morals… I deem it to be my duty as an honourable man to make amends for the wrong done to the Jews as fellow men and brothers, by asking their forgiveness for the harm which I have unintentionally committed, by retracting, as far as lies within my power the offensive charges laid at their door by these publications, and by giving them the unqualified assurance that henceforth they may look to me for friendship and good will…

“Had I appreciated even the general nature to say nothing of the details of these utterances, I would have forbidden their circulation without a moment’s hesitation…This statement is made on my own initiative and wholly in the interest of right and justice, and is in accordance with what I regard as my solemn duty as a man and as a citizen.”

But the libel nevertheless proved resilient in cultures committed to the destruction of Jews, to wit, Adolf Hitler, who refers to the Protocols in Mein Kampf:

To what extent the whole existence of this people is based on a continuous lie is shown incomparably by the Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion, so infinitely hated by the Jews. They are based on a forgery, the Frankfurter Zeitung moans and screams once every week: the best proof that they are authentic. […] the important thing is that with positively terrifying certainty they reveal the nature and activity of the Jewish people and expose their inner contexts as well as their ultimate final aims.

The Protocols became required reading for German students and a staple of Nazi propaganda. In The Holocaust: The Destruction of European Jewry 1933–1945, Nora Levin says that “Hitler used the Protocols as a manual in his war to exterminate the Jews”:

Despite conclusive proof that the Protocols were a gross forgery, they had sensational popularity and large sales in the 1920s and 1930s. They were translated into every language of Europe and sold widely in Arab lands, the United States, and England. But it was in Germany after World War I that they had their greatest success. There they were used to explain all of the disasters that had befallen the country: the defeat in the war, the hunger, the destructive inflation.

Very few things unite virtually all Western sensibilities.  One is the evil of the Nazis.  How ironic then that Muslim cultures continue to make use of one of Hitler’s chief anti-Semitic propaganda tools, and get a pass.  Here’s a suggestion: in the silly world of Middle Eastern concessions, all of which Israel is expected to make, how about asking the Palestinian Authority and Hamas at least to repudiate — and permanently remove from their curriculums — the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

Repudiating a proven fraud and racist slander seems an easy step.  It might be a significant gesture.

Israel, the Double Standard, and Power

The United Nations refuses to condemn North Korea for deliberately sinking a South Korean ship and killing 46 South Koreans, but erupts, along with the rest of the European and American Left, over Israel killing nine people who attacked Israeli commandoes.

33 of the most recent 40 resolutions passed by the United Nations Human Rights Council have condemned Israel.  Current member states include Cuba, Libya, and Saudi Arabia.

Syria (!) declares publicly that “Israel is a state based upon crime, slaughter,” and Hugo Chavez (!) denounces Israel as a “genocidal” state.

Israel takes some Darfur refugees, but not all, and is condemned, while Egypt sends them back to Sudan, without comment.

The United States and Russia achieve multiple targeted killings of terrorists, without comment (or indeed celebration), but Israel, upon whom the targeted terrorists have inflicted the most slaughter, targets terrorists and the world erupts.

The mainstream media (AP) provides a helpful list of all terrorist incidents that have occurred globally — but excludes any terrorist incident directed at Israel.

Israeli leaders cannot go safely into some European countries for fear of being arrested for war crimes under the faux-doctrine of “universal jurisdiction,” while children-targeting murderers such as Hamas face no such international reproach.

Leftist filmmakers, writers and actors abuse their celebrity to try to coerce the Toronto International Film Festival into banning Israeli films — though Israel has by far the most robust free press and free speech standard of any country in the Middle East, and these celebrities have nothing to say about Saudi Arabia, which prohibits movie theaters, or Iran, which issues death-dealing fatwas against artists insufficiently respectful of Islam.

What’s going on?

Not having been born Jewish, and therefore perhaps less sensitive to the easy hatred of Jews in many cultural narratives, the explanation of anti-Semitism doesn’t satisfy me.  Though at times anti-Semitism has seemed the only explanation left, it doesn’t satisfy me because the Left — and that is where the bulk of anti-Israel sentiment now resides — simply does not rally around disgust at a nation based upon its minority ethnicity.  Call the Left what you will — racially opportunistic (overplaying the race card), racially profligate (every modern conservative notion can be explained by racism), racially condescending (“those racists in the South”), racially hypocritical (“loves the black race, hates the black man”) — the Left is not simplistically “racist” in the traditional sense of that term and would not be at a bigoted war with Israel simply because it is populated by Jews.

Something else is going on.

It is, I believe, because there is a place, in the middle of Dar al-Islam, where Jews are powerful — or more precisely, powerful vis-a-vis Muslims.  It is the power dynamic that disturbs the Leftists.  For which we need some background.

The Left has long made a fetish of power and its illegitimacy, its cynical perpetuation, its deconstruction.  Power is always a proper target because it has almost always, in the Leftist narrative, acquired its status by means of the other Leftist fetish: oppression.  Once the Left identifies “oppression” — and very few historical occupants of superior political, economic, military, or cultural position (meaning Western cultures) are exempt from the charge of “oppression” — the Leftist sensibility reflexively defines itself in opposition to this oppression.

In the Leftist lexicon, the oppositional defining force is “liberation.”  Watch carefully how this word is used throughout world revolutionary, protest, and left-despotic history.  In human history, we have yet to witness a successful Leftist “liberation” that resulted in more freedom for its people — or even less slaughter and repression.  To be sure, there have been successful (usually short-term) movements from right or center-right to center-left — but never a full-fledged Leftist liberation that resulted in anything other than, ironically, greater oppression, and typically greater slaughter.

Yet the Left routinely uses “liberation” as a semantic device to justify the opposite of whatever virtue it purports to promote.  “Liberation” means liberation into what you are not now and what you must become (emphasis upon must), because it defeats the European oppressor and is therefore ordained.  And thus has the Left reconciled the remarkable cognitive dissonance of selectively opposing some oppression and winking at abundant other oppression.

The best example is Leftist hero and cultural Marxist Herbert Marcuse, whose 1965 essay Repressive Tolerance had a profound impact upon Leftist ideology and academia.  Therein, Marcuse wrote, “liberating tolerance” would consist of “intolerance against movements from the Right, and toleration of movements from the Left.” Marcuse advocated “the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc.” After all, Marcuse concluded — with unapologetic hostility to the “sacred liberalistic principle of equality for ‘the other side,'” —  “there are issues where … there is no ‘other side’ in any more than a formalistic sense.”

In short, Herbert Marcuse made it bizarrely fashionable in some parts of America, chiefly academe, to be intolerant of any tolerance extended to conservative (or arguably moderate) thinking.  The phrase, “scratch a liberal, find a fascist” comes to mind, for what is more disturbing than a liberal decrying the “liberal principle of equality” by maintaining that there really isn’t anything “equal” to our ideas because any disagreeable idea doesn’t even deserve the status of legitimate idea?

Herbert Marcuse therefore gave the Left a language to oppose Israel, to turn facts on their heads, to oppose, as not even deserving the status of ideas, the Israeli claim to the right to exist.

How could this be?  How could any American embrace not merely disagreement, not even violent disagreement, but disqualification from that which we even need bother disagreeing because the contrary notion doesn’t even qualify as a debatable idea?

Part of the answer lies in very different European cultural traditions (which still manifests regrettably in American politics as European sycophantism).

The Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 acknowledged across Europe, in the interest of ending religious wars, that each prince would have the right to determine the religion of his own state (among Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Calvinism), and that adherents of religions (Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Calvinism) other than the state religion were guaranteed the right to practice their religion.  Importantly, in the interest of ending the horrible bloodshed of religious wars, the principle of inviolable national sovereignty emerged — the principle that a king next door could institute something thoroughly obnoxious to me, and I would have no legitimate cause to object, at least not militarily, so long as the noxious decree dwelt within his own borders.

Obviously the Treaty of Westphalia did not put an end to European wars — but it did ensconce in the European sensibility a steadfast belief in national sovereignty — it being agreed that there could never be a universal agreement on how states should conduct themselves.  And as long as states were not predatory — did not invade other sovereign states — then what they did within their borders could never be a legitimate cause of war.  This was an easy conclusion in Europe because there could be so many reasons to war with another country based upon what it did outside its borders.  Carve out, at least, as no longer legitimate casus belli, whatever happened inside sovereign borders.

Thus was it excruciating for Europe to come to grips with genocide in the 20th and 21st centuries — as long as the genocide occurred within sovereign borders. Hitler’s genocide was different because it was pan-European and driven by invasion and occupation of multiple sovereign countries.  What began as ambiguous score-settling among Serbs, Bosnians, and Croats — based upon the latter two’s Muslim alliance with Nazis in World War II and including Croatian modern revival of certain Nazi symbols — morphed into Serbian slaughter on a genocidal scale (significant events of which remain disputed).  Europe dithered.  The United States, spurred by a Republican Congress, said no, and bombed the Serbs to the bargaining table (without the backing of the UN Security Council).

It was not an easy call.  Except that it was.  Whatever the origin of Serbian fury, it could never justify mass slaughter of innocents.  Europe couldn’t quite get there because it all occurred within what had been the sovereign borders of Yugoslavia.  America had no such compunction because mass slaughter of innocents is wrong wherever it occurs.  America dithered longer than it should have — President Clinton was not comfortable with any American military projection — but bombing seemed a sufficiently safe and distant projection of American military power.  Not surprisingly, China condemned America for imperialistic determination to control Eastern Europe.

America may say, respectfully, to Europe, we understand your Westphalian grounding. We understand your reluctance to conclude that anything happening within the sovereign borders of another country is unacceptable.  We understand that you fear where this analysis may take you internally, as Europe, and how it resurrects centuries-old European demons.  But we, America, are not so constricted.  Objecting to something manifestly evil within sovereign borders does not take us to a dangerous place.  We have never been territorially imperialistic and the wars we have fought have never been about taking over countries or expanding anything like an actual American empire.  We can fight against something because it is evil without desiring that the population of the place submit to American dictate indefinitely.

In this role, America performs a tremendous service to Europe.  Individual European countries cannot countenance aggression against a particular country, however evil and even though its conduct inside its borders is hideous, because there is no European cultural principle necessarily thwarting opportunistic aggression.  Once the genie is out of the bottle…  (Interestingly, it is European countries who have no history of opportunistic aggression, such as Finland, who see the double-standard, and react rationally.)

America, on the other hand, has a rich and textured cultural tradition against opportunistic aggression.  To wit, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War (even if we had won it), the first Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, and the second Iraq war have not produced a single square inch of American territory, and never will — and in each of these wars, the enemy was a bigoted despot that oppressed his people and oppressed or threatened to oppress other people, often genocidally.

The Westphalian principle may aptly hold Europe together — but it is no model for America.  The fact that Europeans understandably cannot do what is necessary for fear of unleashing European demons does not mean that America cannot do what is right.

With respect to Israel, the Westphalian principle should have accorded Israel full sovereignty, and thus absolute, respectful non-interference.  Indeed, given that every square millimeter of tiny Israel was either conferred upon it by international blessing, or won in wars of unprincipled aggression launched against it, the Westphalian principle would seem to dictate respect for Israeli sovereignty and non-interference with respect to Israeli decisions within its borders.

Israel did not “invade” and conquer its territory.  Israel was created by international consensus because Jews had a homeland there stretching back thousands of years — and painfully obviously, no homeland in Europe where they had been genocidally murdered, and no homeland in any Middle Eastern country, from where they had been brutally expelled. Israel did not expand its territory by invasion, but acquired additional territory in the course of wars of extinction waged against it — and held some, but not all (e.g., Sinai), of this territory defensively.

Israel, unfortunately for its international status, prevailed.

Co-opted by the predominant European Left, the Westphalian principle in Europe got turned on its head and serviced the following counter-historical propositions: (1) Israel is part of Arab Palestine (though there is not and has never been any such entity) and thus subject to whatever Arab aggression therein occurs, with which one cannot properly interfere; and/or, in more fawning interpretations, (2) Europeans, out of European guilt, carved out Israel in the middle of Dar al-Islam, and Israel is therefore in fact an illegitimate colonial state within Dar al-Islam (notwithstanding the steady presence of a substantial Jewish population for thousands of years in what was indisputably the Jewish/Israelite homeland, and the absence of any corresponding “Palestinian” state, nation, or homeland).

Thus, coming full circle to Marcuse, the Westphalian principle is fatally subject and subordinate to the principle of leftist anti-power politics — the opposition to any “European” winner, any European power, that can be stretched into role of oppressor.  This distorted Westphalian-Marcusean thinking, therefore, gives cover to European countries with substantial and growing Muslim populations to oppose Israeli “oppression” and favor Muslim “liberation.”

In this paradigm, if Israel ceased to win, if Israel got a little bit, but not totally, slaughtered, one can imagine Europe getting preachy against the slaughter of Israel.  Can’t have mass murder of Jews happen again.

But unlike Europe, Israel does not have the philosophical luxury of permitting partial slaughter, gaining world opinion, and then averting total slaughter. Too many actual human beings die.  But more importantly, the effort at partial slaughter is in fact the effort at total slaughter, and Israel must vigorously oppose both — as would any other nation.

It is evidently unfortunate, for Israel’s world stature, that it is powerful.  It is necessary, for Israel’s survival, that it is powerful.

[Also published at The Daily Caller.]