August 8, 2006

Strange New Respect Department

Caroline Glick is a right-wing Zionist. I've never had much truck with her type.

I generally, although not always, find Israelis rather unpleasant and its defenders sanctimonious, and can't ignore the fact that Israel's foundation and growth have been at the expense of another people, so "why can't we all get along?" Let's have a two-state solution, soft-pedal the US-Israeli alliance, which is something of an albatross, and move on to more important things.

(Granted that--an almost equal number of Jews were driven from Arab countries to Israel--and moments of Israeli conciliation have generally been met with Arab intransigeance, as after the 1967 war the Arab League resolutely refused negotiation and recognition, even in exchange for Israeli withdrawal, setting the stage for the growth of settlements.)

Moreover, the Zionist right is aggressively Jewish. Not my style.

In spite of all that, Israel exists by right of conquest and population exchange typical of nationalism in the last century. One need not be especially fond of a country to recognize it as a nation as much as any other and therefore to reject attempts to wipe it out.

So I'm forced to concede that Glick in this column, seems to me to have a point. As I have pointed out, the Olmert cabinet has been wallowing in illusions--about the effectiveness of air power alone; about the ability of the Lebanese army, the UN, and international force to protect Israeli sovereignty; about Israel-hatred among the Arabs being capable of moderation by Israeli behavior. In a tiny country beset by implacable enemies, such illusions can be fatal.

Moreover, however mistaken the US joining itself to Israel at the hip may have been, it has happened, for however long any alliance lasts. Islamic clerical fascism's appetites are not limited to Israel. Europe is next, and the US after that, in their maximum program. Like it or not, Israel is the miner's canary.

If Glick is right, the best the present régime can do is muddle through, if it's lucky, while we await the rise of men who are more clear-eyed and implacable.

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