When the Gentile prophet, Balaam, viewed Israel camping in the wilderness, he prophesied: “It is a people that will dwell alone, and not be reckoned among the nations” (Numbers 23:9).
The sources which we cited in previous letters reveal that the World Zionist Organization sought to establish a state in Zion so that we can become a nation like all the nations. As we discussed, there was a specific desire to imitate the culture of Western Europe; in fact, this was the goal of Theodor Herzl, the founder of the World Zionist Organization. As Dr. Arthur Hertzberg writes in the introduction to his book, “The Zionist Idea,” Herzl viewed the Jew in Zion as someone who ought to be “a man of the secular west.”
Herzl and his followers also believed that through achieving the goal of becoming a nation like all the nations, the problem of anti-Semitism would be solved. In response to those who felt that the achieving of this goal through the state will be a drawn-out affair with anti-Semitism continuing, Herzl wrote:
“But no; once we begin to execute the plan, anti-Semitism will cease at once and everywhere. For it is the conclusion of peace.” (“The Jewish State” by Theodor Herzl – cited in “The Zionist Idea” by Arthur Hertzberg.)
I have some sensitive and spiritual friends from across the political spectrum who were stunned by the recent hostile and vitriolic reaction of most of the world regarding Israel’s right to have a blockade against Hamas-dominated Gaza. It is no secret that Hamas is actively seeking the violent destruction of Israel; yet, most of the nations are now denying to Israel a basic right which they would not deny to themselves if they were in a similar situation. This attitude is even spreading to the United States. For example, the New York Tims had an editorial on June 1st which stated: “The United States should also join the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — Britain, France, Russia and China — in urging Israel to permanently lift the blockade.” There wasn’t even a token mention in the editorial of the need for the world to find other ways to prevent arms from being shipped to Hamas!
The hostile and hypocritical reaction of most of the nations is yet another reminder that the plan of the W.Z.O. to establish a state which would help us become a nation like all the nations failed to solve the problem of anti-Semitism; on the contrary, the very existence of this state has now become a major cause for the revival of anti- Semitism. My friends sense that the hostile international reaction to Israel during the past week is much deeper than a political reaction to Israel’s recent attempt to enforce the blockade. It seems to be a modern revival of the ancient hatred of our people described by our prophets.
The following widely circulated article reinforces the feelings and concerns of my friends:
“Those Troublesome Jews”
Friday, June 4, 2010; A19, Washington Post
The world is outraged at Israel's blockade of Gaza. Turkey denounces its illegality, inhumanity, barbarity, etc. The usual U.N. suspects, Third World and European, join in. The Obama administration dithers.
But as Leslie Gelb, former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, writes, the blockade is not just perfectly rational, it is perfectly legal. Gaza under Hamas is a self-declared enemy of Israel -- a declaration backed up by more than 4,000 rockets fired at Israeli civilian territory. Yet having pledged itself to unceasing belligerency, Hamas claims victimhood when Israel imposes a blockade to prevent Hamas from arming itself with still more rockets.
In World War II, with full international legality, the United States blockaded Germany and Japan. And during the October 1962 missile crisis, we blockaded ("quarantined") Cuba. Arms-bearing Russian ships headed to Cuba turned back because the Soviets knew that the U.S. Navy would either board them or sink them. Yet Israel is accused of international criminality for doing precisely what John Kennedy did: impose a naval blockade to prevent a hostile state from acquiring lethal weaponry.
Oh, but weren't the Gaza-bound ships on a mission of humanitarian relief? No. Otherwise they would have accepted Israel's offer to bring their supplies to an Israeli port, be inspected for military materiel and have the rest trucked by Israel into Gaza -- as every week 10,000 tons of food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies are sent by Israel to Gaza.
Why was the offer refused? Because, as organizer Greta Berlin admitted, the flotilla was not about humanitarian relief but about breaking the blockade, i.e., ending Israel's inspection regime, which would mean unlimited shipping into Gaza and thus the unlimited arming of Hamas.
Israel has already twice intercepted ships laden with Iranian arms destined for Hezbollah and Gaza. What country would allow that?
But even more important, why did Israel even have to resort to blockade? Because, blockade is Israel's fallback as the world systematically de-legitimizes its traditional ways of defending itself -- forward and active defense.
(1) Forward defense: As a small, densely populated country surrounded by hostile states, Israel had, for its first half-century, adopted forward defense -- fighting wars on enemy territory (such as the Sinai and Golan Heights) rather than its own.
Where possible (Sinai, for example) Israel has traded territory for peace. But where peace offers were refused, Israel retained the territory as a protective buffer zone. Thus Israel retained a small strip of southern Lebanon to protect the villages of northern Israel. And it took many losses in Gaza, rather than expose Israeli border towns to Palestinian terror attacks. It is for the same reason America wages a grinding war in Afghanistan: You fight them there, so you don't have to fight them here.
But under overwhelming outside pressure, Israel gave it up. The Israelis were told the occupations were not just illegal but at the root of the anti-Israel insurgencies -- and therefore withdrawal, by removing the cause, would bring peace.
Land for peace. Remember? Well, during the past decade, Israel gave the land -- evacuating South Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005. What did it get? An intensification of belligerency, heavy militarization of the enemy side, multiple kidnappings, cross-border attacks and, from Gaza, years of unrelenting rocket attack.
(2) Active defense: Israel then had to switch to active defense -- military action to disrupt, dismantle and defeat (to borrow President Obama's description of our campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaeda) the newly armed terrorist mini-states established in southern Lebanon and Gaza after Israel withdrew.
The result? The Lebanon war of 2006 and Gaza operation of 2008-09. They were met with yet another avalanche of opprobrium and calumny by the same international community that had demanded the land-for-peace Israeli withdrawals in the first place. Worse, the U.N. Goldstone report, which essentially criminalized Israel's defensive operation in Gaza while whitewashing the casus belli -- the preceding and unprovoked Hamas rocket war -- effectively de-legitimized any active Israeli defense against its self-declared terror enemies.
(3) Passive defense: Without forward or active defense, Israel is left with but the most passive and benign of all defenses -- a blockade to simply prevent enemy rearmament. Yet, as we speak, this too is headed for international de-legitimation. Even the United States is now moving toward having it abolished.
But, if none of these is permissible, what's left?
Ah, but that's the point. It's the point understood by the blockade-busting flotilla of useful idiots and terror sympathizers, by the Turkish front organization that funded it, by the automatic anti-Israel Third World chorus at the United Nations, and by the supine Europeans who've had quite enough of the Jewish problem.
What's left? Nothing. The whole point of this relentless international campaign is to deprive Israel of any legitimate form of self-defense. Why, just last week, the Obama administration joined the jackals, and reversed four decades of U.S. practice, by signing onto a consensus document that singles out Israel's possession of nuclear weapons -- thus de-legitimizing Israel's very last line of defense: deterrence.
The world is tired of these troublesome Jews, 6 million -- that number again -- hard by the Mediterranean, refusing every invitation to national suicide. For which they are relentlessly demonized, ghettoized and constrained from defending themselves, even as the more committed anti-Zionists -- Iranian in particular -- openly prepare a more final solution.
With the help of Hashem, a spiritual commentary on the above article will appear in Part 2 of this letter. This commentary is based on the teachings of the Prophets of Israel, and it will discuss the root spiritual causes of Israel’s current isolation.
With Prayers for True Shalom,
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen (See below)
Related News Item:
The Washington Post reported on June 7th that veteran journalist, Helen Thomas, agreed Sunday not to appear as commencement speaker at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, after she was captured on videotape saying that Jews should leave Israel and go "home" to countries like Germany and Poland. The high school has a large number of Jewish students.