Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Gathering Storm

The Jewish people face existential threats to their existence unprecedented since 1938, according to ex-Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, a veteran Jewish activist, speaking at a conference on the Future of the Jewish People in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

According to Cotler the Jewish people are facing a "gathering storm" in the form of threats posed by a genocidal Iran, Hizbullah, al-Qaeda, Hamas, and local terror cells which target Diaspora Jews
Dennis Ross, former special envoy to the Middle East under President Clinton, also spoke at the conference. He said that no peace deal could be made with Hamas since according to their charter the Jewish people are “Responsible for everything from the French Revolution to World War One." Ross further believes that Iran is determined to destroy Israel.
Minister Cotler said, "Ahmadinejad's Iran is a threat not only to Israel but to international stability, peace and security as a whole," Cotler said however that 2007 isn’t 1938, that the Jewish people have friends and supporters, and that Israel has emerging super-power allies like China and India.
Both men agreed that the gathering storm will not abate in the near future, and that Jews around the world are now at risk from radical Islam.
However it isn’t only radical Islam that is trying to de-legitimize and isolate Israel. A spate of moves by British academics and British unions have tried to make Israel and Israelis persona non-grata. Recently one of Britain’s largest unions, reportedly under the influence of left-wing pro-Palestinian activists, are considering a vote to cut all ties with Israel. A number of British academic institutions have also made similar decisions.
Britain's University and College Union called upon its members earlier this year to consider an academic boycott of Israel, which would include withholding funding from research projects run by Israeli professors and preventing Israeli lecturers from participating in seminars.
The British Transport and General Workers' Union is the second British union to call for a boycott on Israel in as many months. That union urged its 800,000 members to stop buying Israeli-made products, basing its call on what it called Israel's "criminal policies in Palestinian territories."

In the last six months, Ontario, Canada's public services union also proposed a similar anti-Israel boycott, as did several professional unions in South Africa.
Anyone remotely familiar with the history of the rise of Nazisism in the 1930’s will recognize that the first move in isolating the Jewish population from the majority of Germans was to deny the Jews legitimacy in the workplace, in academia, and in society. Slowly the Nazis placed the Jews in a box, labeled them vermin, and then turned on the bug spray. By then the German public had grown accustomed to the fact that the Jews were vermin, and complacently accepted the extermination as a means to healing the wounds of the country. This public relations process, engineered by Goebels, took over ten years.
The moves around to world to repeat this de-legitimization are gaining ground, and truth be told, nothing Israel can do will prevent them from spreading. The irrational hatred of the Jewish people throughout history bears sorry testimony to this observation. Calls upon Israel to stop building the separation fence, to make peace with Hamas, to free Palestinian prisoners will not appease those bent on the destruction of the Jewish people, and Israel. In this analysis, Israel is merely an extension of the Jewish people, not a State attracting the venom. The goal of Islamic radicals is to eliminate the Jewish people, or at the very least, subjugate them. Historians say that even during the Golden Age of Islam, Jews were second-class citizens.
Today Moslem communities around the world, including those in Europe and the USA, are making political inroads into the democracies where they live. Pundits believe that by using democracy to defeat itself, these theocrats are bent on imposing the will their fundamentalist beliefs on their countries. The means may be free and open elections, but the goal is the demise of democracy, as the West knows it.
Many analysts believe that the moves against the Jewish people and Israel are just tactics and strategies in this grand Islamic plan. Vigilance isn’t enough, they say. Aggressive defensive measures must be taken to prevent the West from succumbing to the wave of Islamic fundamentalism. The defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan was a brave first step, but it was followed by a clumsy trek on slippery trails. Rather than racing ahead, the West stumbled and fell, badly.
Some experts believe that no matter how ill advised the attacks were on Iraq, withdrawal at this point might exacerbate the chaos in the region, not quell it. The experts say Iran has ambitions to become a major player in the world’s theater, sharing the stage with the re-emerging Russian giant. A weakened West would be set upon, by those seeking to regain their lost pride and power, like ants around spilled sugar. Some believe that the West must pull itself up from the ground of Iraq and regain its regal footing. If not, the dire predictions made by ex-Minister Cotler and others may well come to fruition.
Pundits say Israel has a strong part to play in this drama. According to the Yideot Achranot daily newspaper on Tuesday, Israel will have to go it alone if it wants to eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat. The weekend Jerusalem Post magazine section ran a long article quoting three security experts on the repercussions of attacking Iran. One said if Iran retaliated after an Israeli first strike, the Iranian missiles would be destroyed in the air. The second said that some missiles might get through; the third said that attacks against Jewish and Israeli targets around the world would be rampant. But there was no consensus among the experts on exactly what would happen. The best-case scenario was that the West was going to accept Iran as a nuclear power, much as the US did the Soviet Union, and wage a cold war. This scenario, of course, assumes that Iran will not launch an unprovoked strike at Israel once the Iranian nuclear missiles are ready to be fired. If a growing isolation of Israel does indeed take place, as Israel’s enemies are planning, then this nuclear attack may be like the Nazi bug spray on the Jewish vermin in the concentration camp boxes, with no one willing to risk their own lives to stop the massacre.
It is rumored that Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said that should Israel strike against Iran the air force would fly sorties 24/7 over a ten-day period launching over 1,000 cruise missiles. The PM denies ever saying this. Reports are also circulating that Israel would use mini-nuclear bombs to take out the Iranian nuclear threat. But the ancillary damage would be high. Reportedly some of the Iranian nuclear facilities are buried under thirty meters of concrete, requiring the mini-nuclear smart bomb to penetrate the cement and destroy the facility. Depending on who is around, the bomb could kill as few as fifteen people, but if the cloud rises in the air and spreads to a near-by town or village, thousands of Iranians would die. Israel, as a people and a country, would be hard-put to accept this kind of damage.
Part of the problem today is that Israel suffers from a notorious lack of quality leadership. The failure of last year’s war in Lebanon was a mistaken reliance on carpet-bombing by the Israeli air force to destroy the Hezbollah missile threat. The strategy floated today to take out the Iranian threat sounds depressingly similar. Analysts say that Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Al –Queda would all join in the retaliation if Iran were struck by Israel. Given that reality, and in the face of Israel’s reportedly self-serving arrogant and allegedly corrupt leadership, it is doubtful if Israel could withstand the kind of attacks under discussion.
Some pundits believe that diplomacy is the solution, both to the Iranian crises and the Palestinian problem. On the Palestinian front even ex-Knesset Member Avrum Burg has said that Israel cannot maintain a Jewish state and a democracy simultaneously. A solution by Meretz leader Yossi Beilin is a democracy that is not a Jewish state, but rather run by the majority, Jewish or Arab. In this constellation the Jewish population would soon find itself ruled over by the Arab majority, and history has shown that this combination has not been the most successful for the Jewish people. Should it be tried anyway? Give Peace a Chance? Perhaps. But radicals have always steered the course of history, not moderates. A Menshevik government would quickly be replaced by a Islamic one, and democracy, say the experts, would be trampled underfoot.
The most logical tactic then is to plan for the worst, and hope for the best. Should Iran manage to assemble a cogent military plan in conjunction with Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria Al-Queda and others, then Israel is in for a very rough patch. Couple this with a move to de-legitimize the Jewish people around the world, especially in places like Britain and the USA, and thus erode the support for Israel in these strong democracies, then the Jewish people are indeed back in 1938. Islamic states or separatist mini-states might spring up in France, Britain and the USA, slowly garnering power until they are a tight fist ready to pound the West into oblivion.
Are these scare tactics to wake a complacent society from its slumber or realistic assessments that are too arcane or unpleasant for the common palate? Only time will tell. And the real trouble with conferences like the Jerusalem one on the Jewish Future is that they are usually attended by many of the leading Jewish activists around the world, people who never tire of talking to themselves, while no one outside of their circle really listens.