By Ralph Peters, NY Post
“It’s those damned Jews.” That’s the muffled message I hear when, pretending to represent our national interest, voices call for the abandonment of Israel.
We’ve heard it from agenda-driven scholars who write that our alliance with Israel is responsible for our problems in the Middle East. More worrisome still, I’ve begun to hear it from a minority of military officers, as well as from Washington types.
This latest, and sadly lasting, bout of moral cancer can be dated back to 2006 and the publication of an article that had sought a home for years, “The Israeli Lobby And US Foreign Policy,” by professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.
The book’s assault on Israel was welcomed by figures including President Jimmy Carter’s national-security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski — a hoary Israel detractor. With their Ivy League credentials, Mearsheimer and Walt made anti-Israeli diatribes (semi-)respectable. Their effect has been lasting.
OK, let’s get one thing straight: There is no evidence that if Israel disappeared tomorrow, the Middle East would suddenly blossom into a pro-American model of justice, hard work and progress.
Nor is there any evidence that anti-American terrorism would slacken. In al Qaeda’s list of complaints, Israel barely makes the top dozen. A US turn away from Israel would only encourage and empower terrorists, convincing them of our cowardice and folly.
The grotesquely failed societies of the Middle East desperately need Israel and the US to blame for their self-wrought problems. Neither Washington nor Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are responsible for the Arab world’s pervasive corruption, stagnation, oppression of women and lack of creativity or a work ethic.
Neither the US nor Israel is to blame for the unprecedented squandering of wealth by Arab oil powers, for their failure to invest in human capital or productive infrastructure, for the absence of democracy and respect for human rights, or for the region’s mockery of the rule of law.
Given the vast homemade tragedy of the greater Middle East, it’s inevitable that Israel’s hated for its shining success amid the local squalor. Likewise, the US is hated for our might — and the seductiveness of our civilization.
But if that explains why Arabs, Persians and others would relish, but not reward, our abandonment of Israel, it doesn’t explain the American voices repeating Arab propaganda about devious Jews controlling our foreign policy.
I divide the dump-Israel movement’s leaders and fellow travelers into four groups:
Old-fashioned anti-Semites: It’s no longer socially acceptable to accuse Jews of sacrificing Christian infants. But it’s quite fashionable to blame Israelis for the suffering of Palestinian children. One doesn’t mention “Jews.” But calumnies against “Israelis” are the new, politically correct blood libel.
Academics: It’s more than simply the juvenile leftism that diseases liberal-arts faculties. This is also a financial transaction. Massive Arab gifts and endowments have turned many of our “leading” universities into intellectual brothels.
President Obama’s left-wing base: From the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s congregation to the administration’s “social activists,” this bunch long has accepted as gospel the notion that Palestinian terrorists are “freedom fighters” while Israelis are “fascists.” Don’t try to reason with them — this really is their “gospel.”
Military officers: I take this one personally. While only a sliver of the officer corps mumbles about Israel’s purported negative effect on our regional policy, this is nonetheless an alarming development. I read this uniformed lunacy as a schizophrenic reaction to a decade’s involvement in Iraq.
On one hand, extended first-hand experience of Arab culture has not filled our troops with respect for the same (any officer who had fairy-tale, Lawrence-of-Arabia notions about the region has had them extinguished, to put it mildly). Yet the daily drone of Arab complaints about Israel — blamed for every Arab misfortune back to the destruction of Baghdad by the Mongols — has had a cumulative effect. Criticism takes the form of “A plague on both their houses.”
I ask the gripers categorized above for any evidence that our betrayal of Israel would have the slightest positive effect. The Saudis wouldn’t even drop the price of oil for 24 hours.
Go back to the bordello side of all this: Wealthy Arabs have bought a great deal of influence in Washington, lavishing money on think tanks, contracts on US firms and expensive gifts on individuals. (A few years back, one American “authority” on the Middle East delightedly told me that he’d been given five Rolexes.)
In contrast to these ingratiating, deep-pocketed Arabs, Israelis are brusque and dismissive, relying on American Jews to smooth things over. Well, sorry, Israel needs to rediscover public relations. With the global media rabidly pro-Palestinian, Israel had better get back in the information fight.
The recent attacks on Israel that masquerade as sober analysis boil down to the age-old anti-Semitic query: “Wouldn’t we better off without those Jews?”
My answer, as an American, is “No.”
Ralph Peters’ latest book is “Endless War.”