"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Israel's Ambassador... A Serious Man

I have long been impressed with the men and women who represent Israel.   They are serious people, because they have to be, because their nation faces real and imminent danger every day.   American leaders, by contrast, often seem frivolous.   We are not serious because we don't have to be. 

Israel's Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, is a serious man.   In a terrific interview yesterday with the redoubtable Hugh Hewitt, Oren makes two chilling points.   The first is about the motivation for the Palestinian Authority's attempt to get the UN to ratify its "state":

HH: Now in the Wall Street Journal op-ed, Mr. Ambassador, which I’ve got linked over at Hughhewitt.com, you wrote that, “Understanding the Palestinians’ decision requires a review not only of the past week’s events, but of one that occurred 64 years ago.” And I’d like to actually, in this segment and next, in fifteen minutes, try and review with you, given your status as an accomplished historian, what you mean by you have to go back 64 years to understand what happened yesterday.
MO: Well, to understand it, this is the not the first time we’ve seen this played out. It goes back to 1947 when the United Nations proposed a two-state solution – a Jewish state living side by side with an Arab state in perfect peace. There was even an economic union between the two states. And we, the Jews, the Israelis, we accepted that proposal, and the Palestinians rejected it. And they rejected it because the price of getting a Palestinian state was accepting a Jewish state. And they were unwilling to pay the price. And in fact, they were so unwilling, that they joined with the armies of five Arab states in attacking the new Israeli state and trying to destroy it. Fortunately, they failed. But the same thing happened in the Year 2000. In the Year 2000, then-Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, met with then-Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat, at Camp David, under the auspices of President Bill Clinton, and once again, there was a two-state solution offered. Ehud Barak offered, basically met all of the Palestinian demands for a Palestinian state in Gaza, in virtually all of the West Bank, and even in East Jerusalem, the first Israeli, probably the first leader in the world to volunteer to divide his nation’s capitol with another country, with another people. And Yasser Arafat turned it down. They turned around and walked away, because the price of accepting the Palestinian state was accepting the Jewish state. Flash forward eight more years to 2008, you have and Israeli prime minister by the name of Ehud Olmert, meeting with Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. And Olmert went even a little further than Barak went in meeting the Palestinian demands – a Palestinian state in Gaza, and virtually all of the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, and Abu Mazen simply ignored the offer. He never even got back to Ehud Olmert. And so now the same, Mahmoud Abbas, three years later, is turning around and going to the U.N. The reason he didn’t get back to Ehud Olmert in 2008 was not because of settlements, it wasn’t because of Jerusalem, it wasn’t because of borders. It was because the price of creating a Palestinian state was accepting a Jewish state. This is just what happened in the U.N. last week.
What Western liberals in Europe and America don't understand is that the Palestinians are best understood, not as an "oppressed" people, but as anti-Semites.   It's really that simple.   And it's not like we don't have centuries of evidence of anti-Semitism, including, most obviously, the Holocaust, which is still within the living memory of millions.   They will not accept peace with Israel because their main motivation is hatred and the desire to exterminate Jews.   That's why real liberals ought to remain steadfast allies of Israel -- otherwise, and no matter what patina of race-class-gender left-liberal academic horseshit you paint it with -- you're siding with the Nazis and against the victims of the Holocaust.  

Oren's second point is even more ominous regarding Iran's attempts to build nuclear weapons:

HH: All right, in terms of the Australian newspaper, it reported yesterday that the International Atomic Energy Agency no concludes that Iran has stepped up its uranium enrichment, and one commentator said they are within less, you know, two months and six days of going critical. Your reaction to that? Is that, in fact, the opinion of the Israeli government as well?

MO: Well, I can’t go into the details of our assessments, but I will tell you that we do not have much time, and that yes, the Iranians have overcome virtually all of the technical difficulties they encountered the previous year. They are enriching uranium at a pace, at a very quick rate. They have now put in centrifuges that can quadruple the amount of uranium they can enrich, and they have also learned to enrich it at a much higher level, approaching the level you need for weapons-grade uranium. At the same time, they’ve developed a missile system that is capable of carrying nuclear warheads not only through the region, but now to Western Europe, and probably within the decade, to the Eastern Coast of the United States as well. So the uranium nuclear program is a threat not only to Israel and the Middle East, but to the entire world. And the day, if and when Iran gets a nuclear weapon, it will be a game-changer. It’s the end of non-proliferation globally, not just in the Middle East. That’s why we are determined to preventing it, and why the United States is determined to preventing that happening.

I keep thinking that, in a lot of ways, we're all living on borrowed time, that a true "Black Swan" event of global consequence will happen soon, and that it will change everything.    I so hope I'm wrong.  

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