Tuesday, July 06, 2010

For those with a poor sense of history

Thaddeus Russell's piece on Daily Beast has, predictably, generated considerable comment, particularly in the anti-Zionist community. Russell makes a simple, unoriginal argument: The US is less safe because of Israel existence because there were no Arab terror attacks against America before 1968. Israel makes Jews less safe for the same reason. Perhaps the only unusual part is the silly argument that Bobby Kennedy's assassination was Israel's fault because Sirhan Sirhan was Palestinian.

In a predictable overstatement, Mondoweiss has dubbed this a landmark piece.

It's difficult to read arguments that claim that Jews are worse off for Israel's existence, especially when that argument is dated to 1948. It is the ultimate in historical myopia. In fact, there is no question at all that Jews are infinitely safer since Israel came into existence. Before 1948, Jewish history was a series of pogroms periodically carried out by Europeans and Russians culminating in the Holocaust. Since 1948, save for societal discrimination behind the Iron Curtain, Jews have enjoyed success and prosperity in the United States and Europe, widespread physical attacks have greatly diminished, and Jews have the security of knowing that should this change, there is a place in the world where Jews do not live as a subjected minority, but as a majority, a majority that exercises power over its own destiny. Since 1968, antisemitic attitudes in America have dropped precipitously according to virtually every poll.

It is also historically fanciful to argue that Arab terrorism directed against Americans has much to do with Israel. Yes, Sirhan Sirhan was a mentally unstable Palestinian who shot Bobby Kennedy. But all of the attacks against Americans since then have been the work of Al-Qaeda, and the presence of American troops in the Saudi Peninsula is thought to far outweigh any policy of Israel's.

Moreover, to accept such an analysis is to deflect blame from the parties responsible - Middle Eastern Arabs who have not suffered in any way because of Israel's policy - and blame another victim of those same people. It is to buy into a self-serving myth in the Arab world, namely that Israel is responsible for the many ills that plague the Arab world. It ignores the widespread use of terrorism by Muslims against other Muslims in places like Egypt and Pakistan and the overall decrepit state of human rights in the Islamic world.


At 2:39 AM, Anonymous Dvar Dea said...

You forgot the attack on the Marines headquarters in Beirut by Hizzbulah. Israel bashers can put the blame on Israel because it followed Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, but in fact it was because Hizzbullah and Syria didn’t want anyone interfering with their efforts to take over Lebanon.


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