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That's not a very accurate description

Reader comment on item: When Israel Stood Up to Washington [in 1981]
in response to reader comment: Looking back at History

Submitted by Esther (Israel), Apr 15, 2010 at 03:31

The Romans finally turned Judea into a province of the Roman empire and oppressed the Jews in various ways. Hopefully the US isn't about to occupy Israel as part of an endless imperialist expansionism, maybe because the US isn't in the habit of doing such things...

So what do you think the Jews should learn from this episode? I'm not sure what's you're suggesting, so I'll suggest 2 very different options:

A. Always bow your head and do whatever the superpower demands of you. That sounds pretty rational if your only interest is physical survival, but what if we prefer death to slavery?

OR

B. Never be a client state of any superpower.

What the Jews actually learned from it is:

1. Internal wars between the Jews will bring our demise. An excellent lesson, still alive at least in the minds of Israeli Jews (though not always followed closely enough).

2. Don't upset the nations (kind of like option A above). A terrible lesson. Where did it get us? Millennia of persecutions, expulsions, massacres and finally genocide. Maybe all of this would still have happened if we did choose to be more aggressive in defending ourselves and our existential interests, but the fact is bowing our heads and being utterly defenseless didn't save us from the wrath of the powerful. When you allow people to treat you like a doormat, they will treat you like a doormat. Israel has made a lot of concessions and is willing to make more, but not for nothing or in return for more war, bloodshed and terror. Israel is the only party that is constantly pressured and condemned, while it's the Arabs who reject any agreement that includes accepting the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. It's irrational of the West to expect us to commit suicide. If the West decides Israel must stop existing, then the West should kill us or hand us over to Muslims all by itself, it can't expect us to sign our own death sentence.

The problem with Israel is that it's a small state with very strong enemies. Maybe less so militarilly for the time being, but they have the oil, numbers, territory, huge important market for all kinds of exports, dominating block in the UN, money to invest in political influence, propaganda, Western universities, NGOs, strong lobbies, growing minorities in the West which translates to voting power. They can hardly be pressured. Only Israel can be pressured. But just to the edge of the cliff, not beyond it. PM Olmert already offered to the Palestinians everything except the liquidation of Israel as a Jewish state, after which Abbas said the gaps are still wide. So if now the reincarnation of the Roman empire tells us: 'Jump off the cliff or we'll push you over', I say: 'Push us over'. Though even Obama's America still has a long way to go before it turns into anything like the Roman empire. The EU is somewhat closer...

What we should do while we're still alive is try to strengthen our ties with other powers, not have all our eggs in one basket. Israel has a knack for technology, but limited resources because of its size. India, on the other hand, is a huge country that always wanted an independent military industry. Maybe if we joined to create an industrial partnership both states could be more independent. Maybe join with some other betrayed American allies. Maybe some kind of union of democratic states could help empower us against powerful unions such as the Islamic OIC, the Arab League, the EU. They all have unions. We stand as separate individual states, each depended on some power or another. India and other democratic states are the ideal choice. But if the US throws us under the bus and India isn't interested, then maybe some less than ideal rising power. Maybe China as long as they commit not to sell the technology to the Muslims (fat chance). I don't care anymore, I just want to live.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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