Reflecting On Our Reflection
By Alexander Zushe Kohn

You don’t help someone commit suicide; you do everything you can to persuade them not to commit suicide. Unfortunately when it comes to Israel, the U.S. does not abide by this basic moral axiom.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, many people predicted that the U.S. would become more pro-Israel. After all, the argument went, they now experienced first-hand what Israel has been experiencing for the past fifty-four years. Others (most notably the Jews) predicted that the opposite would occur - the U.S. (with the help of Arab propaganda) would view Israel as the indirect source of their tragedy.

Who was right?

While neither side appears to have been right on the money - the U.S. has neither blamed the attacks to its friendship with Israel, nor has it displayed any newfound sympathy toward the plight of the Israelis - the predictions of the latter group seem to have been somewhat more accurate.

Here are some reasons why:

Richard Boucher, the spokesman for the State Department, recently differentiated between Al-Qaeda terror and Palestinian terror by explaining that the former are "violent people trying to destroy societies...," while the latter is a matter of "issues and violence and political issues that need to be resolved in the Middle East [i.e., issues between] Israelis and Palestinians… They are clearly issues that are different."

I guess we’re all wearing foggy glasses.

I wonder - is there anyone out there who can explain how Mr. Spokesman’s words illustrate the "clear difference"? If anything, they appear to illustrate that there is no difference at all. Are the terrorist acts of Al-Qaeda not "issues"? Are they not "violence"? Are they not "political issues that need to be resolved"? Why should the Israelis resolve their political issues with Arafat differently than the Americans are resolving their political issues with Bin Laden?

Other, more recent and more reprehensible words emanating from Washington are the demands that Israel immediately withdraw from the so-called Palestinian territories they entered in (long-overdue) response to the unceasing Palestinian terrorism and the cold-blooded assassination of Rehavam Zeevi, an Israeli cabinet member. Rrrrrrright! - just as soon as the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan, which it "entered" in (long overdue) response to unceasing Al-Qaeda terrorism and the murder of some 5000 American civilians.

Notwithstanding the ridiculous pro-Palestinian sentiments being broadcast by Washington, the fact of the matter is that the doomsayers are not all that accurate. The U.S. needs a strong Israel. They need a strong, stable, and sane democracy in the Middle East. On the other hand, they have to pay lip service - for whatever the reasons are (e.g., oil, coalition-forming, etc.), to certain Islamic nations. So what to do?

Pressure the weakling!

When Israel stands strong, the U.S. is able to turn to the Arab nations and say, "Look, we tried. We did whatever we could, but they won’t budge." The U.S. then breathes a twofold sigh of relief - they can have their oil, coalitions, or whatever, for theydischarged their obligation to the Arab nations, and at the same time, their strong ally in the Middle East is no worse for the wear. The Arabs, on the other hand, whose only hope lies in getting the U.S. to twist Israel’s arm (for they know full well that the G-d of Israel has fought the last five wars on behalf of His people) are left completely stranded. Peace reigns in the land.

When, by contrast, Israel shows signs of weakness, and a what-will-the-world-say attitude, the U.S. feels obliged to play the game and fulfill its obligation as the "balanced" arbitrator between the Arab nations and Israel.

One can still ask: Is it right for the U.S. to pressure Israel into committing suicide (may G-d protect us) just because they don’t stand firm? To take it a step further: When Israel creates its own monsters, by taking the initiative and actually offering its enemies weapons and territory - is it right for the U.S. to help them deliver on their generous offer?

Of course not! You don’t help someone commit suicide; you do everything you can to persuade them not to commit suicide. Unfortunately when it comes to Israel, the U.S. does not abide by this basic moral axiom.

The point?

The world treats us the way we treat ourselves. If we’re wimps, we’ll be treated as such. If we’re resolute, we’ll be respected. Let’s live up to the challenge!

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