The Defense Secretary Gives Israel a ‘Turn of the Screw’

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase.


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As for Egypt, the overthrow of Mubarak has been followed by attacks on Israel from the Sinai, the border with Hamas opened to weapons traffic, the assault on Israel’s embassy in Cairo, and an election in which Islamists sworn to the destruction of Israel won 61% of the vote. How then can Panetta instruct Israel that “the best way to address these concerns is through increasing communication and cooperation – increasing communication and cooperation with Egyptian authorities.” What “authorities”? The Muslim Brothers, whose subsidiary in Gaza, Hamas, has written the destruction of Israel into its charter? But Panetta thinks there is international public relations value in making the attempt anyway: “If gestures are rebuked, the world will see those rebukes for what they are.  That is exactly why Israel should pursue them.” Well, for decades Israeli “gestures” and more tangible concessions have been met with violent “rebukes,” and Israel’s international enemies––and now it seems its most important ally––still haven’t seen those “rebukes for what they are”–– the evidence of a desire to see Israel disappear.

Panetta’s inability to see the real motives of Israel’s enemies is also evident in perhaps his most laughably naïve statement: “Egypt’s current leaders, along with Jordan, have made very clear to me privately and publicly that they are committed to their peace treaties with Israel.” Why should Israel worry about the threats to her security if a nation of 85 million on its southern border is dominated by a religious ideology that wants to destroy her? Mr. Panetta has been assured that the peace treaty will be respected. I am reminded of Churchill’s comment about delusional British and Americans who took seriously Hitler’s claims that “Germany neither intends nor wishes to interfere in the internal affairs of Austria,” or that Sudeten Czechoslovakia was his “last territorial claim I have to make in Europe”: “One can hardly find a more perfect specimen of humbug and hypocrisy for British and American benefit  . . . What is astounding is that it should have been regarded with anything but scorn by men and women of intelligence in any free country.” One wonders what Churchill would have made of 40 years of Westerners swallowing the “humbug and hypocrisy” of Palestinian leaders assuring them that all they wanted was to live in “peace and security” with Israel in their own state. Panetta should remember the Biblical wisdom: “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

Panetta’s failure of imagination, his inability (whether real or feigned) to imagine that there might be peoples who have aims different from and hostile to our own, is most obviously manifested in his delusional expectations for the “Arab Awakening”: “I recognize that there is a view that this is not the time to pursue peace and that the Arab awakening further imperils the dream of a safe and secure, Jewish and democratic Israel.  But I disagree with that view.  I believe Israel will ultimately be safer when other Middle Eastern states adopt governments that respond to their people, promote equal rights, promote free and fair elections, uphold their international commitments, and join the community of free and democratic nations.” Panetta has no evidence whatsoever that the sort of genuine liberal democracy he describes is likely to appear in Tunisia, Libya, or Egypt; and he is silent on the considerable evidence that Islamist regimes shaped by shari’a law, with all the intolerance and hostility to “infidels” that it implies, are quickly arising in those countries. Such wishful thinking is the worst basis for foreign policy one can imagine.

Israel’s predicament continually reminds me of Czechoslovakia’s in 1938. Particularly similar is the despicable pressure that Israel’s ally has been applying to a country whose very existence is at stake. As Hitler’s aggression against Czechoslovakia relentlessly intensified with each new demand, that beleaguered country’s allies grew more and more impatient with the desperate attempts of the Czechs to save their country. The French warned them that if they were “unreasonable,” France “considered herself released from her bond” to guarantee Czechoslovakia’s security. And the British thought the solution to the crisis was “for Prague to get a real twist of the screw.” Meanwhile Hitler wrote in his attack plan, “It is my unalterable decision to destroy Czechoslovakia by military action in the foreseeable future.”

Under Obama Israel has been subjected to the same pressure from her ally, and she would be well advised not to rely overmuch on this administration’s protestations of commitment to her security.

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  • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

    It is really very appropriate analogy with Czechoslovakia in 1939, thank you Mr. Thornton for the enlightening article.

    As to Leon Panetta, it is not "his failure of imagination" or "inability to see the real motives of Israel's enemies". On the contrary, Panetta clearly imagines what he wants to achieve, as well as his boss impostor Obama/Soetoro, as well as the Department of state.

    Panetta took command of the US Army which was already grossly infected with dhimmitude prior to him. The weakening and destruction of the US military under him progresses even further reaching the level of grotesque:

    Commanders instruct soldier in which direction they must pee in order to placate the enemies !!!
    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/1211/west120211….

    Senate approved the bill that legalizes sodomy and bestiality in U.S. Military http://cnsnews.com/news/article/senate-approves-b

    As to prior personal record of Panetta see here:
    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pag

    The only dissimilarity between Czechoslovakia in 1939 vs. Israel now is that Israel is a well equipped military superpower in the region. Yet alas, no military power compensates for a lack of the will power…

    • Cynic

      You should follow the money and see that connection between Citizens for Global Solutions and George Soros
      This from 2005
      http://www.aim.org/press-release/aim-says-follow-the-money-to-george-soros-and-one-worlders-against-john-bol/

      ” The pro-world government group known as Citizens for Global Solutions has given campaign contributions to four Democratic members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee now opposing John Bolton’s nomination as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. In addition, according to Accuracy in Media (AIM), billionaire currency manipulator George Soros made financial contributions to six of eight Democratic members of the committee. ”

      and

      ” Two groups explicitly associated with George Soros ? the Open Society Policy Center and the American Progress Action Fund— are working with Citizens for Global Solutions to defeat Bolton. “

    • intrcptr2

      Actually in 1938, Czechoslovakia was militarily superior to Germany; the travesty of Munich is that slicing the Sudetenland off of the country left her with indefensible borders (In much the way that returning to the 1967 "borders" would render Israel defenseless).

      There was no way whatsoever that the Wehrmacht of 1938 could have battered its way into Prague (The German General Staff was petrified of Hitler's constant brinksmanship); Czech defenses in the mountains were nearly impregnable, the Czechs had cutting-edge small arms, and their tanks were in fact superior to the German Mk IIs and Mk IIIs.
      The West cowardly murdered the Czechs because of their fear of a repeat of WWI, which of course paved the way for something far worse. Lord help those who run toward the 4th Arab-Israeli War…

      • Stan Lee

        The West, in this case, was France and Great Britain. They also dithered when Poland was invaded, whereas had they abided by their treaties with Poland and come in quicker against Hitler's army, by opening a western front, the Germans would not have prevailed. Hitler terrified the two allies with his speeches.

        After he defeated the Poles and signed his agreement to split Poland with Stalin, he turned westward and attacked France, defeating the French and the British forces there.

  • Peter

    Every single word is a lie – nothing surprising – regular jewish propaganda to keep their own citizens on leash

    • intrcptr2

      Yeah, that's why he wrote it; Panetta should be hanged for treason against our strongest ally in the ME.

  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    You refer to the Palestinians, human beings, as a cancer. That is bad enough, however, on top of that, you would meddle with the affairs of the United States Secretary of Defense in behalf of a foreign nation that spies on us. If there were any justice, you would be deported.

    • mrbean

      Palestinians have chosen the rules of the game. Let them know in no uncertain terms what "Never Again" really means. For the Palestinian Muslims, it is a matter of record that Palestinians strap munitions on their own women and children and send them out on homicide-suicide missions to murder other innocent Jewish women and children in markets, restuarants, on school buses, and in their homes. The Palestinians in their own words and by their actions are committed to the genocide of the Jewish people therefore, have foreited their rights to even exist, at all let alone be given a Palestinian terrorist state sanctioned by the US and the UN.

    • UCSPanther

      Palestinians ARE a cancer, moron. They were expelled from every Arab country they tried to set up shop in.

    • intrcptr2

      An American citizen criticizing the government of the US IS categorically NOT meddling, or do you truly prefer totalitarian systems where faceless bureaucrats tell you what to think, say, and do?

      Oh…, yeah;… nevermind…

      • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

        You got me. I’m really an Israeli.

    • PAthena

      The Arabs whom you call "Palestinians" are Arabs who hate Jews. Their being called "Palestinian" is the effect of the phony history and propaganda of two haters of Jews who wanted to destroy Israel, Egypt under Gamal Nasser, and the Soviet Union. In 1964 these two invented the "Palestine Liberation Organization" (P.L.O.) with all the propaganda that followed.
      In fact, the name "Palestine" was synonymous with "land of the Jews" or "the Holy Land" (since Jesus was a Jew), and "Palestinian" with "Jew" from the time the Roman Emperor Hadrian, after having defeated the last Jewish rebellion under Bar Kochba in 135 A.D., changed the name of Judea to "Palestina" in order to eradicate all memory of Judea. He also outlawed Judaism and changed the name of Jerusalem to "Aelia Capitolina," "Aelius" being his gens name.
      Since "Palestine" meant "land of the Jews," after World War I, Great Britain was given the Palestine Mandate as "homeland for the Jews."
      The Arabs who want to destroy Israel are indeed a "cancer," as you put it, Jew-hating scum.

  • StephenD

    "Panetta advises Israel to “reach out and mend fences with those who share an interest in regional stability – countries like Turkey and Egypt, as well as Jordan.  This is an important time to be able to develop and restore those key relationships in this crucial area.” "

    Can we all sing Kumbia afterward? 

    These same countries Israel is admonished to mend fences with would just as soon welcome its destruction.

     I expect far more folks know the truth than appears but willingly disregard it in hopes of fostering good will with the Islamic states in the region. Let them mouth off that it is the lone State of Israel that is the impediment to peace for the entire region.

    Any clear thinking person knows better notwithstanding these dolts that post here to the contrary.

  • BIG IRISH

    palestine IS a cancer – so is islam – mohammed – the kerran – ….and as cancer goes, it must be eradicated or it will grow and destroy everything as it has for the last 1400 years….you like palestine so much GO LIVE THERE.

    • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

      I don't like Palestine. I just hate genocidal passive aggressive maniacs.

  • voted against carter

    If you are Jewish,… Obama and the DemocRATS want you DEAD.

    Just like his ARAB buddies do.

    They want you DEAD. The SOONER the BETTER.

    Barry just said so.

    What part of that do you NOT understand.

    Oh, and FYI,, to all you LEFTY NON RELIGIOUS JEWS,.. the KEY part of your name is JEWS.

    Barry and his ARAB buddies WANT YOU DEAD TOO.

    You are a USEFUL IDIOTS to them,…

    WAKE UP. Before it IS to LATE. again.

    fyi I stand with Israel

  • LindaRivera

    "Panetta’s other comments are equally naïve and blind to reality."
    Panetta is neither naive or blind to reality. Panetta, like Obama and Clinton are all rabid Jew-HATERS. All Palestinian maps show the new state of "Palestine" covering ALL Israel. The Muslim goal is well known: Muslim conquest of Israel and a Second Holocaust of Jews.

    Muslim killers of Jewish children are adored-Palestinian Authority newspaper al-Hayat al-Jadida called savage child-killer Kuntar "a beacon of light" and an "authentic role model." PLO/PA leader, Abbas, called Kuntar a hero. Syria's Assad said Kuntar was chief among honorable men and awarded Kuntar Syria's highest medal, the Syrian Order of Merit.

    The Palestinian Authority hailed as heroes the terrorists who brutally murdered defenseless 8 months pregnant Jewish mother, Tali Hatuel, and 4 little daughters in Gush Katif in May 2004.

    In the Palestinian Authority, streets, summer camps, schools, sports teams, tournaments, and city squares are dedicated to, and named after savage terrorist killers of Jewish innocents. Barbaric terrorist killers of Jewish innocents are regarded as huge heroes by PA Muslims.

    Hatred and murder of Jews is preached in mosques, media, speeches and public education systems.

    AMERICANS and others are FORCED via their taxes to FINANCE THIS EVIL. The most hate-filled, genocidal society the world has ever known.

    Not one inch of Free World, Jewish land to inhuman barbarians!

  • Sashland

    Again they ask Israel "Why don't you get along with your neighbors?"

    Would you get along with your neighbors if they were a biker gang cooking meth, pimping, and trying to kidnap your children to rape and sell as sex-slaves?

    Sometimes there is a real answer to the rhetorical question 'can't we all just get along' that has some basis in reality. "No, they want to kill us. -What don't YOU understand about them?"

  • steven l

    He knows NOTHING about what it implies to be a Jew and an Israeli. He should mind his own business.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Israel must announce to the world that from now on its official permanent policy position is that the Islamic world through its so-called Palestinian proxy is waging a permanent and perpetual stealth and deceptive jihad against the Jewish unbelievers in Israel for the purpose of conquest in order to make Islam supreme, and that this permanent and perpetual stealth and deceptive jihad is also just one of many stealth and deceptive jihads currently being waged against all non-Muslim unbelievers in the world that altogether make up the global jihad to make Islam supreme.

    Therefore, from now on Israel will cease and desist from negotiating with the so-called Palestinians and also with any and all Muslims from here on out, since per the dictates of Islam Muslims are forbidden from making peace with non-Muslim unbelievers and in fact can only negotiate temporary truces called Hudnas that must be broken as soon as the conditions become ripe. Israel regrets that it has come to this, but under the current circumstances Israel doesn't have any other choice in the matter.

    Indeed, every Israeli concession to and agreement with the Palestinians has been followed by more terrorist violence

    Nah, not really. Indeed, terrorism, which as its name implies always only employs violence, in Islam is a capital offense because it is blasphemous since it is a Western manifestation only and therefore un-Islamic. Thus, those violent attacks the writer is conflating and morally equating with terrorism are actually violent jihad attacks, as jihad in stark contrast to terrorism is holy fighting in the cause of Allah against non-Muslim unbelievers to make Islam supreme and jihad unlike terrorism can be both violent and non-violent.

    Indeed, the non-violent varieties of jihad relative to the violent varieties of jihad takes place astronomically far more prevalently, yet because PC multiculturalism pervades our society, jihad is always conflated and morally equated with terrorism, and because terrorism as its name implies is always only violent, the many varieties of non-violent stealth and deceptive jihad that takes places astronomically far more prevalently than violent jihad, consequently takes place completely under the radar unopposed, undetected, and unacknowledged thanks again to PC multiculturalism.

    As a matter of fact, the overwhelming preponderance of Muslims in the world today prefer to pursue non-violent stealth and deceptive jihad vs. violent jihad, as violent jihad attacks, such as the 9/11 jihad attacks, bring about unwanted and counterproductive scrutiny and focus on Islam. Therefore, non-violent stealth and deceptive jihadists living in Western countries will often tip off Western authorities of impending violent jihadist attacks to stave off this unwanted and counterproductive scrutiny and focus on Islam.

    In fact, mass Muslim immigration to the West for the purpose of demographic conquest is the most prevalent form of non-violent stealth and deceptive jihad employed by the Islamic world today. As Muslims never ever migrate to the West or anywhere else for that matter for the purpose of assimilating and integrating, but instead to eventually subjugate and dominate via the imposition of Sharia for the purpose of demographic conquest to make Islam supreme.

    Indeed, can anyone point to just one place in the world where the majority of Muslim immigrants have actually assimilated and integrated and matriculated into contributing and productive citizens, instead of forming Muslim no-go zones ruled by Sharia as fifth columns and in direct contravention of the laws of the states in which they reside?

    Finally, if most Westerners today understood what jihad relative to terrorism actually is, then most Westerners would see through the taqiyya that presents Israel and Jews as aggressive and greedy land grabbers, and if this writer also understood how much PC multiculturalism is distorting his view of the world, he wouldn't be conflating and morally equating jihad with terrorism like he is.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    What can we guess about Panbrainetta? As a young man he decided he could
    do better than the Mafia, look at him how…………………………….William

  • Brujo Blanco

    Panetta is a typical leftist. A Palestian kills Jews he is a freedom fighter. A Jew kills in self defense he is a murderer that fails to demontrate restraint.

    • Junkie

      Hamas must love that guy.

  • Flowerknife_us

    Powerful peoples opinions have become a substitute for truth. Trust me, it really is rain wetting the back of your shirt.

  • Stan Lee

    If he's too shy to talk to or with the Arabs, but believes he can pontificate to the Israelis, he's the wrong man for the job.
    Anyway, this whole issue, since Israel became a state in 1947, has not been land.
    The land Israel has now has come by way of being attacked, vanquishing its attackers, and claiming the land to enlarge defensible borders. The Arabs weren't seeking negotiation then, they were seeking Israel's extinction. They still do!

    Had Israel lost, they wouldn't have even got a graveyard for the genocide the Arabs planned for them.The issue that has not ever been solved is the Palestinian covenant for total destruction of Israel. Panetta can't be stupid enough to believe a people would sign a treaty with Arabs, basically dedicated to their (Israel's) destruction.
    Panetta is strictly on an ordered errand from his Jew-hater boss Obama.