From Best of the Web Today on Tuesday March 21, 2006. (Link above.)
A Friend Indeed
"US President George W. Bush said he hoped to resolve the nuclear dispute with Iran with diplomacy, but warned Tehran he would 'use military might' if necessary to defend Israel," reports Agence France-Presse:
"The threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally Israel. That's a threat, a serious threat. It's a threat to world peace," the US president said after a speech defending the war in Iraq.
"I made it clear, and I'll make it clear again, that we will use
military might to protect our ally Israel," said Bush, who was apparentlyreferring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call for the destruction of Israel.
This seems like as good an excuse as any to take a second whack at Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, whose shoddy anti-Israel screed, published under the aegis of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, has won praise from David Duke. Yesterday we eviscerated their moral case against Israel but passed over their dismissal of Israel's strategic value. On that question, reader James Brothers makes an excellent point:
Many years ago I sponsored a Jordanian officer at the U.S. Army Field Artillery Center at Fort Sill, Okla. Ibrahim was quite critical of both Israel and U.S. Middle Eastern policy. He could not understand why the U.S. was so unequivocally pro-Israel.
That is until I asked him the following question: If the Soviet Union attacked the U.S., which side would Jordan be on? He replied that it would depend, but that generally Jordan was pro- Western. Then I asked him which side Israel would be on. You could almost see the light bulb go off. His reply was simply, "Oh."
The Middle East is an important part of the world for the U.S. and the West. But as pro-Western as some of the countries may be, only Israel is a dependable friend of the U.S. And that in the final analysis is the reason why we support Israel. When the chips are down and the excrement hits the rotary air-moving device, we know the Israelis will be right there with us trying to clean up the mess. We really have no idea what any of the other countries in the Middle East will do.
A truculent Frenchman whose name we'll withhold offered this comment (quoting verbatim):
Let me strongly advice to you to return to school and learn to read, because the title of the study is "The Israel Lobby" and not "The Jewish Lobby". But you now it perfectly. Your goal is to pillory as anti-Semite any people criticizing Israels policies. And it works...for the moment.
This led us to muse that the close U.S. relationship with Israel has a psychological basis as well as a moral and strategic one. Both the U.S. and Israel, after all, are immigrant nations, founded and originally settled by people who, for various reasons, got the hell out of Europe. One can see why Europeans who stayed behind, and whose societies are considerably less dynamic than either ours or Israel's, would resent those who rejected the European way.
Further, World War II left Europe owing an incalculable moral debt to both America and the Jews: America because it saved Europe from its own savagery, Jews because they were the primary victims of that savagery. European anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are often hard to tell apart, and it may be because they both reflect a self-loathing aspect of the European psyche--a neurotic need to compensate for an overwhelming sense of historical guilt.