Israel, Lone Light in a Dark Region

Settlements-israeli-flag-400x266As the Obama administration keeps weighing whether and how to act in Syria, one wonders if Israel is looking good—or at least better—to the administration these days. Seemingly, if there was ever a time, now would be the time to start taking note of Israel’s strengths in a bad region.

1. Some ways in which Israel differs from other countries of the region.

No chemical-weapons attacks. In the Middle East this can hardly be taken for granted. Along with Bashar Assad’s use, there was Iraq’s against the Kurds in 1991 and Egypt’s against Yemeni tribesmen in the mid-1960s. Egypt and Iraq are, of course, countries with which the U.S. has been allied or heavily involved, and for decades U.S. diplomats kept coming to Damascus to try and get President Hafez and then Bashar Assad to “make peace” with Israel.

Israel, of course, will never use WMD of any kind except to save itself from annihilation.

No intercommunal bombing campaigns. Along with the carnage in Syria, such campaigns are now being waged in Iraq and, to a lesser but growing extent, Lebanon; they’re basically spirals of reciprocal mass murder.

Israel too, even within its Jewish population, has had intense animosities between groups. The right and left were at loggerheads particularly in the 1980s and 1990s, and there are ongoing tensions between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews. But violence, of course, has been small-scale and rare. Differences get settled at the ballot box.

No church burnings or other persecution of Christians. In fact, Israel is the only country in the region whose Christian population is steadily growing rather than fleeing.

No mass rapes in public squares.

No bigoted slanders of other countries by national leaders. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey recently pulled that one off when he declared that Israel was behind the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi in Egypt. Although President Obama has in the past called Erdogan a great friend, this was too much even for the administration, which “strongly condemn[ed]” Erdogan’s words.

Israeli leaders, of course, do not engage in public defamation and conspiracy-mongering.

No journalists in prison. In that category Turkey now takes the lead in the world, surpassing Iran and China. In Israel even Uri Blau, a Haaretz journalist convicted last year of holding thousands of classified military documents that were passed to him by a soldier who filched them, was sentenced to all of four months’ community service.

This is, of course, a very partial list, but it’s enough to point to an essential difference between a democracy and countries very far from democratic standards.

2. Some ways in which, nevertheless, Israel is treated differently from other countries in the region.

No recognition of its capital city. The U.S. embassy is in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, and the official position of U.S. administrations (though not of Congress) is not to recognize even “West” Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. No such problem, of course, arises regarding Cairo, Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad, Ankara, and so on.

People told where they can and can’t live. Though the Obama administration made a particular point of it during its first term, U.S. administrations have long objected—often with public vehemence—to Israelis living in lands captured by Israel in the 1967 war, including even “East Jerusalem.” No such problem arises, for instance, regarding Turkish building in Northern Cyprus, even though that really is a case of an illegal occupation stemming from a belligerent act. Israel’s presence in “the territories,” by contrast, is entirely legal.

Constant pressure to retreat from territory. The obsession with Israeli land giveaways, ostensibly to “make peace,” has marked U.S. administrations since the 1967 war. At present Israel is engaged in yet-more U.S.-orchestrated “peace talks” with the deeply hostile Palestinian Authority, the chief Palestinian negotiator claiming a U.S. written guarantee that the talks are based on Israeli withdrawal to the indefensible pre-1967-war borders. This is, again, unique treatment—even though it is Israel that faces ongoing animosity and security threats from the other countries in the region.

This too, of course, is only a partial list, but representative of U.S. exploitation of Israel’s isolation in the region and dependence on U.S. support.

One hopes for a day when a U.S. administration will, instead, show greater respect for Israel’s autonomy, security concerns, rights, and loyalty—and for its unique achievements in an inhospitable part of the world.

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  • Judahlevi

    Having been to Israel and being familiar with how small of a country it is, the idea of Israel giving up any land to Arabs just does not make sense. A properly functioning UN would have solved this problem years ago by making Jordan the Palestinian homeland and Israel the Jewish homeland – end of story.

    Unfortunately, it is the Arabs and their oil money which has corrupted any kind of objectivity the UN might have had and, therefore, we have this ridiculous stalemate which is a festering open wound that should have been healed long ago. Any additional proof of UN fecklessness is not needed.

    • victoryman

      Great post. You are right on target. Israel, (Netanyahu) is a realist and knows that when the Vacationer-in-chief states, “I’ve got your back,” he means, “I’ve got your back…….prepared for the knife.” The two major t real world leaders today are Netanyahu and Harper of Canada. Israel’s main allies today? Canada and India. I hope and pray that Mr. Netanyahu, all Israelis and all who love Israel will read, or re-read in the Good Book, the following passages. Joel, 3: 9-11.

      • defcon 4

        Um Canada allowed its law enforcement entities to strong-arm a Rabbi into dis-inviting Pamela Geller — no action whatsoever was taken against the islam0nazi entities in law enforcement who did the strong-arming.

    • mplo

      I, too support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish-majority sovereign nation-state, Judahlevi, but I strongly take issue with the notion that the idea of Israel ceding any land to the Palestinians doesn’t make sense. In order to survive as a Jewish-majority sovereign nation-state, Israel will have to cede West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem to the Palestinians and allow the Palestinians to create their own independent, sovereign Palestinian nation-state alongside Israel in the above-mentioned territories.

      Imho, here are some legitimate reasons for Israel’s ceding West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem to the Palestinians and evacuating their jewish settlers, as well as the Israeli troops from these territories:

      A) The Palestinians need to be recompensed in some way or other, due to their having been left without a state when the UN voted to partition the land in question into two states, one Israel and one Palestine, alongside each other, with Jerusalem a shared capitol between the two nation-states; Arab East Jerusalem the capitol of Palestine and Jewish West Jerusalem the Capitol of Israel. That ididn’t happen due to the Arab world’s initial obstructionism back in 1947 and for a long time afterwards, but now that things have changed somewhat, the time for Israel’s giving the Palestinians some land, independence and sovereignity is long, long overdue, and should occur…now!

      B) The birthrate of the Palestinian Arabs is much, much higher than that of the Israeli Jews, and the Jews of Israel stand to be outnumbered and to become a minority in their own state, which the vast majority of Israeli Jews do not want.

      C) Israel would regain much of the sympathy and moral support of the international community by ceding West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem to the Palestinians and evacuating her troops and rightwing Jewish settlers from those lands. There’s no guarantee against another big conflagration in the event of an Israeli pullout from those territories, but for Israel to keep on the way they doing right now is a guarantee for disaster; the total destruction of Israel.

      D) The vast majority of Israeli, European and American Jews, (as well as other people) support and advocate the two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the shared capitol between the two states.

  • Softly Bob

    It’s a topsy-turvy World which we are living in, where good is slandered and evil is excused or even lauded. Israel’s status in the World reflects this. One day, great shame will fall on the heads of the people who create and sustain this illusion.

  • Mladen_Andrijasevic

    And here is an example how the media in the west censors anything that puts Israel in a positive light compared to its neighbors

    How The Independent censors dissenting opinion

  • TheOrdinaryMan

    There’s a place in East Jerusalem called “The American Colony.” Americans have lived there since the 1920’s; a few still live there today. Americans visiting Israel can go just about anywhere in Israel, and those coming to Israel to live, can choose to live anywhere they want. The U.S. shouldn’t tell Israelis where they can live.

    • Gee

      But Odumba loves Jim Crow laws so long as they are applied only to Jews

      • defcon 4

        Or Christians. As a matter of fact, the zero is completely indifferent to the continued slaughter and persecution of Christians by muslimes throughout the muslime world (I haven’t noticed a single muslime signal any moral outrage at it either).

  • Gee

    It would be very interesting and education if any other country in the entire world was ever even remotely help to the same standard that Israel is held to.

    No other nation in the world would fair anywhere near as well in comparison and that includes all of Europe

  • tokoloshiman

    yes the double and triple standards against Israel continue ad infinitum, the truth or any semblance of it has long since been bulldozed into the scrap heap of

  • herb benty

    God has his hand on Israels borders now, America can let go.

  • defcon 4

    I remember Kasey Casem used to host a Mid-East in Focus type show on NPR. It was a disgusting call-in show that featured islam0nazis and their collaborators bashing Israel; when anyone called to make a legitimate point about the islamofascist lies and propaganda the show disseminated they were shouted down and cut off in the usual manner of islamofascists and their leftist tools. I haven’t listened to NPR since, and never will again.

  • Anamah

    What a miracle she is!
    This tiny star shining so vibrant and full of hope.
    Israel is the light, surrounded by the darkness of the Middle Ages threatening swords.

  • Nabuquduriuzhur

    “No journalists in prison”

    Quite frankly, this is not a good thing. While there are a few professional journalists left, the typical journalist is a socialist of some type who partied their way through college, majoring in what amounts to hands-on biology and intoxicants chemistry— and now is “going to save the world”— despite knowing nothing about it. In the last 25 years the mainstream journalistic profession has consistently advocated for evil causes like socialism, islamic jihad, racism, sexism, antisemitism, antiChristian bigotry, homosexuality, lawlessness, preferential treatment for group after group, and some are now pushing pedophilia and a host of other evils.

    From one of my books, National Wave of Foolishness, v2:

    “Let’s talk about the “Ugly Journalist” for a bit.

    What type of American has the most remote areas of this world typically been inflicted with? Clueless journalists that ignore local customs and moral standards while searching for something to make a story with.

    Think the attitude of most journalists impresses the local culture?

    Journalists are their own worst enemy, unfortunately. Journalism is typically activist in the cause of evil, endorsing Socialism, Environmentalism and whatever else those owning their media want them to publish.

    Most journalists don’t appear to have any problem “changing the facts” of a story in support of their “causes.” Never let the facts get in the way of what you want to do. Anyone or anything a journalist supports will be shown in a positive light, no matter what the facts are, and anything or anyone the journalist does not support will be shown in a negative light, no matter what the facts are.

    Truth does not matter to most journalists.

    They are creating a “story.”

    Then they wonder why they are not liked, world-wide.

    We Americans are used to be lied to and lied about by journalists, but the most of the rest of the world isn’t. Taking statements out of context, taking one sentence from a group of them to give an opposite impression of what a situation is, removing a word here or two, adding their own crap to a statement and claiming it was what was actually said, cropping photos, or even making photos up into composite images.

    Some cultures won’t stand for being lied about because their reputation amongst each other is everything. When a journalist lie through his/her teeth
    about someone of importance, and it’s a culture that is easily offended, it’s not a surprise when journalists get into trouble. Perhaps lawyers in those countries could be recommended for those people so libeled/slandered/defamed to sue journalists who lie in important matters. It’d be more civilized than what often happens to dumbs— journalists who think it’s OK to lie and then run afoul of a
    culture that values truth.

    Why do journalists act the way they do? They are usually people of bad character. Spoiled rotten. Anyone who has gone to college with a journalism program knows that today’s journalist is a party animal who spent most of
    his/her time in college getting drunk, partying, getting stoned and fornicating. Most have no clue how the world works.

    Party party party party drink drink drink drink toke toke toke toke moan groan moan… OK, I’ve learnt lawts. Hey duuuuude, I’m gonna change the world


    Unless it’s changed recently, the reason most people get a degree in journalism is that they didn’t know what they wanted to do, and after taking some journalism classes, found they were “easy A,” and so they could show up half the time and still graduate. It’s a “party degree.”

    One wonders what ol’ Russell Saddler thought of students who did that? I went to college with enough of them.

    You have journalism students that want to “change the world” (in a bad way, of
    course). In recent years, it’s been striking that journalist students want to change the world to fit their own images, rather than just reporting the news.

    Many journalists grew up in affluence and they have a marked tendency toward Socialism. “I’m an irresponsible idiot, and I know nothing about nothing,
    but by Lenin, I’m gonna save the world!”

    Trouble is that the world often is worse off when the journalist has finished his/her “work.”

    It doesn’t help a situation to misrepresent it. It certainly doesn’t help a situation
    to lie about it.

    It says something that most journalists knew what “teabagging” was when very few other people in the nation knew what the heck it was when the media
    started using that term. Journalists may know their beer brands, and about types of street drugs, and know some things that the rest of us don’t want to know about anatomy, but most journalists know absolutely nothing about most things of this world of ours when they graduate from college.

    You don’t get a working knowledge of how the world works by taking almost entirely fluff classes.

    You don’t learn to write, either.

    When they take their frequently clueless attitude to other countries, they often run afoul of both people and governments. Journalists make some truly stupid
    mistakes, such as drinking alcohol/getting drunk in Islamic areas or seducing a local man or woman who is betrothed to be married to someone else. Having a kid out of wedlock is a major deal in some nations.

    The arrogance and dishonesty of journalists and their ignorance of other cultures doesn’t win them friends. How much of the reason for the “ugly
    American” myth is how American journalists act in other countries, not because of how our tourists and exchange students act?

    It would be a good practice for journalists to try to find out something about the
    countries they visit, such as the local culture, the language and so on.

    While it wouldn’t stop all of the trouble they get into in foreign countries, wouldn’t it make it less likely if journalists cleaned up their act? Just telling the truth consistently would be a good start.

    Unfortunately you have some genuine stupidity, such as journalists going into war zones and trying to play referee. Or just driving around when shells are
    falling in the naive belief that they are different from those around them.

    How many journalists think they are “above it all” and not part of the world around them? How many journalists have been killed because they thought that both sides in a war zone would respect them? As Reuters found out about a decade ago, a Palestinian rocket or mortar shell does not care if you, the journalist, are a Socialist or not, nor if you are for them or against them. It’s the same danger for any other shooting conflict. It’s reasonable to stay out of the area where the shooting is going on, isn’t it?

    A surprising number of journalists over the years have waltzed into such battlezones and then somehow didn’t understand why they got hurt. How foolish is that? Duh! Bullets are whizzing around, shells are falling everywhere, rockets are going off, and the journalist somehow think I’m “above it all” and can safely dance among the bursting shells and not be harmed?


    And what about those injured/harmed by journalist activism/dishonesty? When one looks at how often journalists advocate for the forces of evil and
    enslavement, it makes a person wonder how a person like our average
    journalist can look themselves in a mirror.

    I note in passing that I wrote part of this bit on how rotten journalists are for comments when VOA had an article complaining of the treatment of journalists.
    They apparently didn’t like it— I imagine it struck some nerves—
    and so it was not allowed to be posted in the comments. So, I edited
    it for this book.”

    • Jerry

      Israel is under God’s protection as long her people continue to reach out to him and except God’s son as lord and savior, Any country that has it’s hand in trying to make Israel give up any land that God for told Israel would have is is cursed, any country that supports Israel will be bless. It is my wish and pryer that the USA, my home returns to a Christin led Government with the true and only God before it .Away with all the corruption, greed, and perversions, let God rain in owe homeland!!!!

      God bless Israel and her people and my homeland!!!!!


    Israel will have to rely on the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as their strength, shield, and sustainer. The U.S and the rest of the world cannot be.

  • tony

    Israel is the proof that God exists,the godless therefore seek to destroy the evidence.Continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

  • Tim Miller

    You list two. I could list a 100 ways Israel is different from any place in the Middle East and all would be great answers! This little country is a light in a world of darkness. If people would only take the time to see what has been done on that strip of land in the last 65 years it would blow their mind. This American is a big supporter of Israel. Praise God for Israel and may He always bless her!

  • smith

    No chemical weapons attacks? White phosphorous bombs aren’t chemical weapons then?

    • dartson

      No, it is classified as conventional, not chemical weapon. Its usage is regulated by the protocol on conventional weapons, not chemical ones.

  • tokoloshiman

    no , hatred of israel within the obama administration is a constant line no matter what.
    Same applies to israel and all anti semites- it is a constant thing like the throbbing and pulsating of the universe-even expanding along with it at an ever increasing rate into infinity….