by Jonathan Rosenblum
This article appeared in Mishpacha March 12 2008
One recurring pattern in the history of the Jewish people has been our good fortune in our enemies' tendency to make new enemies far stronger than we. For example, had Germany not declared war on the United States after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt would have had a hard time convincing an isolationist Congress to commit troops to a war in Europe.
The United States could have done much more to rescue desperate Jews, but had America not entered the war at the side of the British, Hitler, ym"sh, would almost certainly have conquered all of Europe and been able to devote his full attention to the realization of his Final Solution. Those Jews who survived in Europe owe their lives to the Allies' eventual triumph.
Today the threats of Ahmadinejad to wipe Israel off the map would not have moved a single member of the international community to lift a finger to forestall Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The only reason that Western states have taken even the feeble steps they have to forestall a nuclear Iran is that Iran poses a direct threat to them.
Western leaders realize that a nuclear Iran poses a grave danger to the West. Over 20% of the world's oil supply passes through the Straits of Hormuz, over which a nuclear Iran would exercise unchallenged control. That degree of Iranian control over world oil prices is enough to make Western leaders quake. In addition, a nuclear Iran would offer cover to a slew of murderous Iranian proxies, like Hamas and Hizbullah, and for Islamic terrorists around the world.
Iran is the world's only openly jihadist power. An increase in Iran's prestige through the acquisition of nuclear weapons can only bolster the forces of jihad worldwide. Finally, Iran already has missiles capable of reaching Europe, and is constantly extending their range. Western leaders have to ask themselves the same questions that Israelis are asking: Is Iran subject to deterrence in the same way the Soviets were during the Cold War?
To date the West has not shown anything like the necessary resolve to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. But if it ever does, it will only be because Western leaders have finally awakened to the threat to their own countries, not as a result of any fear of the Jewish people in Israel being the victims of a nuclear Holocaust.
In a similar fashion, the best hope for the reversal of Western attitudes towards Israel is that those attitudes are based on fantasies about the threat of Islam, which fantasies endanger the West. Western elites view Islamophobia as a greater danger than Islamic terrorism. A British government minister recently announced as a matter of government policy that acts of terrorism by Moslems should henceforth be referred to as "anti-Islamic activity" because such acts defame the good name of Islam.
Those elites have convinced themselves that the Palestinians are the world's most oppressed people, and have showered upon them aid many times greater per capita than any other people in the world, despite the repeated failure of Palestinian leaders to use that aid for the benefit of their people. And they have convinced themselves that there is no greater oppressor in the world than Israel. Those attitudes have caused the Europeans to be repeatedly duped by blatant Palestinian propaganda, of which the photograph of the allegedly slain Mohammed al-Dura crouching behind his father is only the most lethal example.
But each of the major Western European countries is today home to a significant and rapidly growing Moslem minority, and these minorities have proven, in most cases, largely incapable of being assimilated. The threat of homegrown Moslem terrorists, such as those responsible for the London subway bombings, keeps all Western European security services up at night.
By failing to acknowledge the civilizational threat posed by radical Islam -- of which the refusal to show any understanding or sympathy for what Israelis face is an example -Western elites are signing their own death warrants. European popular opinion is beginning to take note of the fecklessness of their elites, a trend that will only gain strength as a result of homegrown Islamic terrorism. In the long-run, that may lead to the growth of fascist parties, which would itself be dangerous for European Jews, but in the short-run, it should lead to a greater understanding that Israel does not face an enemy that can be appeased with a little good will and a few territorial concessions.
A final example closer to home. The Torah community in Israel has frequently complained of the judicial overreaching of the Israeli Supreme Court and its hostility to traditional Jewish values. As long as the complaints came from the religious community, they fell on deaf ears. Indeed the decisions that most affronted the Torah community only increased the Court's popularity.
Of late, however, it has become clear that the Israeli Supreme Court may constitute a mortal threat to the entire country. One can identify Jews who have died as a result of Supreme Court decisions: Tali Hatuel and her four daughters gunned down at point blank range by terrorists who had hidden in a building that the Supreme Court prevented the IDF from demolishing; border policeman Rami Zoari, killed at a border crossing the Border Police sought to close because it left crossing guards as "sitting ducks."
And now Caroline Glick has argued, based on the Winograd Commission testimony of Attorney-General Mani Mazuz and Military Advocate Avichai Mandelblit that one of the reasons for the IDF's generally poor performance in the Second Lebanon War was that every action had to be cleared by legal authorities. Mazuz and Mandelblit had fully internalized the Supreme Court's message that compliance with "international law" takes precedence over national defense. Both attributed the "lawyerization" of the war to the vast involvement of the Supreme Court in military judgments.
Once, Glick concluded acidly, Israel respected the rights of enemy civilians to a greater extent than any army in wartime and still won wars; today we fight wars with the Supreme Court hovering over the army's shoulders and lose. That price might finally awaken the Israeli public to the threat posed by former Court President Aharon Barak's claim that everything is justiciable.
Surely the tendency of our enemies to arouse their own enemies is one aspect of the Divine Providence protecting us.
Reprinted with permission from Jewish Media Resources