A Moral Philosopher’s Letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Leading the most beleaguered state on earth against the greatest threat to civilization.
Jason D. Hill is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and professor of philosophy at DePaul University in Chicago. He is the author of several books, including “We Have Overcome: An Immigrant’s Letter to the American People.”
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu,
I write to you as an admirer; as a moral philosopher, and as an immigrant to America from Jamaica where part of my ancestral bloodline can be traced to a maternal great-grandfather who was a Sephardic Jew, and whose people came to Jamaica from Jerusalem via Portugal.
Your name as you know, means, “Given by God.” And so you have been offered up to your people in historic Supreme leadership in your unprecedented role in serving as fifth-term Prime Minister of Israel. You hail from the line of the first three great Patriarchs of Israel and, like the first, Abraham, you have been singled out by God to lead your great state and exceptional civilization. Unlike Abraham, you do not have to flee your homeland. You only have to defend it ruthlessly and intransigently and, with moral implacability, protect it by any means necessary against those who have sworn your people as their eternal enemies, and who have codified in their charters a Jihadist roadmap to the destruction of your country and your people. Like Abraham’s people, many of God’s chosen people have yet to accommodate themselves to you and your prophetic role as an historic figure. You, the patriarch of Israel, are a mouthpiece of the dead and a living producer of victories yet to come.
Jews have had a 3,300 year presence in the land of Israel. In your heroic years ahead, and in your historic fifth term as Prime of Israel, the task of preserving that homeland lies in the unyielding grip of your hands. As much of Europe grows more anti-Semitic with each passing year and, as that most racist of institutions, The United Nations, along with Europe seem to stamp their moral approval upon the terrorist organizations of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, you face a lonely and daunting task in decisions you will make in the self-defense of your country. You will, undoubtedly, act unilaterally and defiantly at times, and toss international approval where it belongs: into the dustbin where stale, musky racist detritus resides, and where the moral grammar of rights are not really up for grabs—they have been allocated to your sworn enemies while your state is deemed worthy of none. Indeed, when the United Nations tries to shame your country for defending itself against war crimes committed by Hamas by declaring that you ought to share your Iron Dome defense technology with the very terror group trying to kill your citizens, then there is now lower and egregiously shameful space of moral degradation that the United Nations can occupy. Let the world remember that Hamas has repeatedly shot more than 9,000 missiles and mortar rockets into Israel from Gaza since your state withdrew military forces from there in 2005.
What the world is witnessing, Prime Minister, when it watches the Palestinian war against Israel is a clash of Manifest Destinies. Those Manifest Destinies are irreconcilable. What few fail to realize is that the Manifest Destinies of both societies are morally and, a fortiori, logically irreconcilable. The Manifest Destiny of the invented Palestinian people is an iteration of the larger Arab and Iranian world view. It is expansionist, annihilatory, predatory and has, as a constitutive feature of its political identity, a belief that Jews in the region are a non-negotiable foreign entity that, one way or another, must be obliterated. Written into its political DNA is hatred of the Jews as Jews, and a view of Israel as an artificial and illegitimate creation that must be dissolved as a necessary consideration for the total and uncompromising freedom of the Palestinian people. That is their Final Solution!
The establishment of a Global Islamic Caliphate, and the concomitant animus towards Jews that is its logical derivative is a constitutive feature of Pan-Arab national, moral and political identity. Peace is impossible because proximity to Jews and the mere existence of Israel are non-negotiable facts that the Palestinians cannot abide by. The hard truth is that the peace offerors—Israeli political actors—have failed to recognize that in the minds of Palestinian leaders and their supporters, their emancipation is inexorably linked to Jewish annihilation in the Middle East and, for some of the more radical extremists, in the world. This is a fundamentally nihilistic and misanthropic ideology because it is one that requires the destruction of a democratic and civilized state and its people in order for another group of people to exist.
The Manifest Destiny of Israel is to claim its historic homeland, to continue to build a thriving civilization in what was once an uncultivated desert with deterrent swamps, and to cultivate a region that before her arrival existed largely outside the historical process—a disparate unit of tribes with no participation in the making of a universal history. Israel’s Manifest Destiny is one rooted in a philosophy of self-containment that is linked to the can-do entrepreneurial, creative and innovative spirit of her people. Israel’s Manifest Destiny is an aspirational one, one that speaks to the Jewish people not just finding a permanent home for themselves after millennia of exilic and diasporic existence in the world. It is also an aspirational quest buttressed by a promised delivered by God to give His people a return to their home. In that milieu, Jewish moral agency comes closer to manifesting their vocational call to repair the world and, as the chosen First people of God, they more than any other religious civilization have literally known the mind of God Himself. Epistemic access to God’s mind and will are best discovered in a political state whose people were the first in monotheistic history to share an intimate and personal relationship to Him, and who were the first divine repositories and transmitters of God’s laws. Israel’s Manifest Destiny is one that is forged through a Holy covenant and signed with the moral insignia of God Himself. Jews were the first civilized people to enter into a direct conversation with God, to receive law from him, and to begin the construction of what today we call: Western Civilization.
Prime Minister, you are besieged with endless calls for peace talks and initiatives. All of these talks center around what we all now know can never be a reality: A two state solution. Any further talk about peace with the Palestinian Authority and any of its administrative bodies, and even peace brokering with Hamas, are deeply unethical.
Peace engagements are unethical for several reasons. First, having accepted that Palestinian emancipation in the minds of the PA and their supporters rests on Jewish annihilation, Israel can only act in an irrationally altruistic fashion to pretend that peace is possible. This means engaging in willful self-deception in order to placate one’s enemies at the cost of the flourishing of one’s own people. This includes and has included land swapping for peace, failure to annex the West Bank, handing over Gaza to the Palestinians, and failing to apply Israeli law unilaterally across the state of Israel.
It is unethical because it treats “war settlers,” and occupants on Israeli territory as if they are legitimate custodians of the land they claim belongs to them. They are not such custodians. They are properly wards of the state of Jordan who instigated and lost a war against Israel. In that war, Israel rather than vanquish the enemy—which is the only proper moral end of war—failed to annex the land that was legally captured and, in return, granted political recognition to illegal settlers on conquered territory. This recognition of “war settlers” as legitimate political sovereigns required Israel to place her own rational, national self-interest below the demands made by illegal aliens now on foreign territory. Israel thus compromised her political self-esteem through decades of appeasement, placation and, at times, renunciation of her fundamental values as a Jewish state to an avowed enemy. It is bad to have enemies. It is tragic and immoral to aid and abet one’s own destroyers. To repeatedly engage in such endeavors is to publicly renounce the intrinsic value of one’s life and the state one lives in—which is a pre-condition for one’s existence—by among other things, caring about international respectability and moral prestige at the expense of the national security of one’s country.
Prime Minister, I hope that Israel will be unphased by the international anti-Semitism that it faces daily as accusations of it as a genocidal and apartheid state become common canards among political leaders around the world. Some countries still fail to recognize Israel as a legitimate state while the United Nations legitimizes the PLO/PA terrorist organization, and the Nobel Academy awarded a Nobel Peace Prize to the terrorist mastermind behind the PLO: the late Yasser Arafat. Arafat never once abjured terror against Israel. Even European Union members Portugal, Denmark, Ireland and Finland attempted to block the European Union from condemning Hamas leaders’ call for the destruction of Israel. Until Israel accepts that worldwide political anti-Semitism is still pervasive in Europe and around much of the world, she will be constant appeasers and will seek to placate her own destroyers. The crisis within the Palestinian leadership has not only to do with the corrupt machinations of its actors. That corruption is a logical corollary of the intransigent fanaticism within the Palestinian national movement itself, and its willful intention to define by formal decree through its charters and covenants, the destruction of Israel.
Prime Minister, you and your allies may have to force Jordan to revoke its Palestinian majority citizenship laws in Jordan and relocate—at least those Palestinians in the West Bank—to Jordan. It may involve a ruthless application of increased militarization of regions occupied by Palestinians. However you choose to secure the sustained national interest of Israel, it is not your moral responsibility to burden yourself with the political or existential well-being of the Palestinian people. Stripping the Palestinians of the right to vote as a national security measure may be a good operational strategy. People who vote terrorist institutions to represent them, and whose said institutions target Israel for destruction cannot be viewed as politically mature civic- minded individuals. Their goals and the sustainability of Israel are irreconcilable. When leadership backed by terrorist agendas based on one’s annihilation are the order of the day, one need not consult the enemy on the means by which one ought best to protect oneself. However, you and your coalition government—which you will form when you sail to victory in September of this year—choose to vanquish the enemy within your nation, remains your moral prerogative. And in a situation where one’s enemies regards your obliteration as non-negotiable, whatever means you chose to vanquish the enemy will be both expedient and morally permissible.
I have already written in a subsequent article that Israel has the moral right to annex all of the West Bank. Your heroic and ethical state fought a defensive Six Day War against Egypt, Jordan and Syria. You won that war and, in the process, reconquered the Holy lands of Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem. Rather than annex the area now called the West Bank immediately after the Six Day War, Israel fought an altruistic war and made the war settlers there their moral responsibility instead of re-locating them to their country which launched the war: Jordan. Similarly, Israel has every right to apply Israeli law and exercise total sovereignty over the Golan Heights. As a matter of moral fact, you have the right to apply Israeli law over every square inch of Israel. Your country is small. It cannot shrink any more.
From a moral standpoint, permit our readers be reminded of the other two instances in which Israeli leadership, acting in good faith and benevolence and a true desire to repair the world, sought to broker a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The 2000 Camp David Summit organized by President Clinton between then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat saw an unprecedented offer made by the Israelis to the Palestinians. They included shared sovereignty over Jerusalem which no Israeli leader had ever considered doing. Barak offered them all of Gaza, 92 percent of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and control over the Jordan valley. Barak refused to concede to the demands of the so-called right to return which, we know with absolute certainty, would have lead to the destruction of Israel. The Palestinians rejected peace and statehood, and began massive terrorist attacks against Israel and The Second Intifada.
Again in 2008, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made PLO chairman and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas an even more generous offer of peace and Palestinian statehood. Olmert acting in good faith on the belief that peace and Palestinian conflict would cease, made the following offer to Abbas: 94 percent of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria); an additional 327 square kilometers of land within sovereign Israel adjacent to the Gaza strip and northern Samaria. Additionally, he offered Palestinian sovereignty over Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem; he offered, too, to transfer the sovereignty over the Temple Mount and sacred areas of Jerusalem’s Old City to an international body. And perhaps the most radical act of generosity made by a state attacked by foreign countries during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War against Israel, he offered a limited right of immigration to descendants of Arabs who left Israel in 1948-49! And how did Abbas respond? He waged an anti-Israel publicity campaign war on behalf of the PLO on the international level and in the United Nations. It was cited as a diplomatic response to an unacceptable offer. It was a vicious and mean-spirited attack on Israel’s moral integrity.
It is clear that the goals of the governing Palestinian bodies are to establish a Palestinian state that as Israeli journalist, Caroline Glick describes, exists “in a de facto state of war with Israel.”
Prime Minister, it is putatively obvious that the Oslo Accords were nullified and neutralized by the Second Intifada engineered by the PA and its terrorist leader, Yasser Arafat. Israel is under no moral obligations to abide by that treaty any longer. The Oslo 1 Accord asked that each party accept the other as a negotiating partner; that the PLO recognize the state of Israel, and that Israel recognize the PLO as the representative of the Palestinians. Although it was indeed a moral concession on the part of Israel to recognize a terrorist organization as a legitimate governing body, it complied in good faith. Not the PLO.
Israel has every right to not only annex every part of the West Bank. I believe that Israel should also retake Bethlehem from Palestinian administrative control. What has the Palestinian leadership done to Bethlehem? It has decimated the Christian population. Christians made up 85% of Bethlehem’s populations in 1949 when Jordan took control of the city, and 60% in 1990. By 2009 they constituted just 12% of the population. Bethlehem has no business being under Palestinian administrative control. No part of Israel should ever be ceded to a political leadership that is politically regressive, has no concept of civil liberties, human rights or respect for the sacred inviolability of human life. The Palestinian “Pay-for-Slay” program under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority law mandates salaries for terrorists to kill American and Israeli civilians. Palestinian officials describe the terror trust fund recipients as “soldiers and sons of our nations.” If ever there was a good reason to annihilate the PA, and evict its supporters and all who endorse the program from the state of Israel—this would be it.
The nullification and neutralization by the reign of terror that was the Second Intifada has stripped the PA and its governing bodies of any moral credibility and claims to any rights. They suspended recognition of Israel and today still, by their very Charter, live by an anti-Zionist credo that is dedicated to a Palestinian homeland. What I fervently hope you will accomplish Prime Minister, is the complete demilitarization of the Palestinian Authority; to strip it of any governing rights over any part of Judea and Samaria and ultimately to destroy it completely as an internal foreign aggressor dedicated by constitutional design to obliterate your state and your people. They have no right of jurisdiction over Bethlehem, and they have no right to govern anywhere in the state of Israel. They have no such right any more than an intruder plotting your destruction would have a right to your house, let alone have the moral temerity to exercise autonomous jurisdiction over any part of your domicile.
And Gaza. How has Hamas, Iran’s proxy and surrogate in the region, and the Palestinian segment of the Muslim brotherhood movement in the region along with its citizens who voted its leadership into power repaid Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the region? I have already pointed out the reign of terror they continue to unleash by targeting civilian populations in Israel. Hamas is at war with Israel. And I believe that the moral goal of war is to completely vanquish the enemy. Your country has been fighting an altruistic war with Hamas for a long time, and for some, it seems as if Israel cares more about Palestinian civilians than it does for her children, women and men.
I say no more!
The next time Hamas decides to fire 450 mortar rockets and launch flaming kites and helium balloons into Israel from Gaza that destroy the farming lands of innocent Israelis and suffocate thousands of animals to death, remember that they amount to war crimes. Let the citizens of Israel meditate on how the United States morally defeated Germany and Japan in WWII. Think about Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When the dust has fallen remember that Egypt is contiguous with Gaza, and that Hamas has always valued its ties to Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood there. Relocate the population to Egypt and re-settle Gaza where the ambitious and enterprising Israeli citizens will tun that now barren wasteland into a flourishing agricultural mecca, and reintroduce entrepreneurial vitality. Those rockets and incendiary kites and helium balloons have created an ecological disaster that will take, perhaps decades, for your country to recover from. Hamas has never cared about creating a thriving economy. As a death cult, it has used the state as a war zone to kill and maim your people. You have the moral right to annihilate that war zone in the name of self-defense. No one can stop Israel from defending herself. And if anti-Semitic member states of the European Union fail to condemn Hamas’s call for the destruction of Israel and its goal of a Global Caliphate—which would see the persecution and death of apostates, Jews and Christians alike—remember that such countries are political ballasts in this issue.
It is regrettable that people simply engage in affected ignorance regarding the covenants and charters of both the PLO/PA and Hamas. The latter, they must know, calls for the destruction of Israel and the eradication of Israel as part of a global Islamic imperialist movement. The goal is the restoration of the Caliphate and institution of global Islamic domination. Quoting the Koran, Article 7 of Hamas’ charter Article 7 is taken from Hadith Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 177 and quotes the Prophet Muhammad: It declares genocide of world Jewry a necessity. Hamas’ founding document is, as Caroline Glick points out, the presentation of an outline for a totalitarian movement dedicated to the obliteration of Israel in the name of Islam. It explicitly calls for the rejection of peace negotiations with Israel, and commands for a Jihad. Our readers must know that Hamas’ terrorist operatives have used terror tunnels to infiltrate Israel where they have repeatedly launched terror attacks against civilians. The Palestinian Authority’s charter calls for the explicit removal of Jewry from the region and makes it unequivocally clear that Jewish and Palestinian co-habitation are morally, existentially and logically impossible. Anti-Semitism is rooted in the political charters of governing Palestinian institutions. They are core constitutive features of their moral, political and social identities. Not one Palestinian governing body has produced anything but terrorist institutions. It is not accidental that Palestinians have only produced terrorist organizations as governing bodies to challenge Israeli sovereignty.
There is not any democratic or individual-rights respecting institution that could produce charters that call for the obliteration of Israel and Jewry. Palestinian nationalism, as opposed to the civic nationalism of liberal democracies such as Israel’s, replete with respect for individual rights, religious reciprocity and freedom of association, are anathema to such principles. Since Palestinians overwhelmingly vote for terrorist governing bodies that have as their explicit goal the annihilation of Israel and Jewry, no distinction should be made between the terrorist organizations and their deputized stand-ins and surrogates. Any attempt, therefore, to make peace with the individuals who institute such terrorist governing bodies is not only a breach in national security, but an egregious moral compromise. More than anyone else, you know that one does not negotiate the terms of one’s existence with people whose moral and political identities are predicated on the death of Jews. Jewish presence and its proximity to their existence are existentially intolerable to them. They hate you for one and one reason only, (and it is the same reason Jews have been hated for millennia): Because you are Jews.
Prime Minister, I know that against the backdrop of all this that you know in your heart and mind that a two-state solution can never be the ultimate resolution to this ongoing conflict. For what will an independent state call for, and what will it be granted? A full-scale military and naval fleet of its own. Given the Charter of the PLO/PA, and given their record of terrorism and, against the backdrop of the First and Second Intifadas, Israel can never allow an enemy faction replete with a full arsenal of weaponry that will undoubtedly be unleashed against the country, within its own state. You said it best Prime Minister: “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.”
Because of their unpardonable crimes against Israel, the Palestinian leaders and all those who support them have evicted themselves from the realm of rights.
Regarding the issue of Palestinians who vote for terrorist organizations, I re-iterate that Israel may properly regard them as national security threats. Those who renounce terrorism, the PA and Hamas, and terror as a means for fighting for the so called liberation of Palestinian land (there can be no such thing as legitimate ‘Palestinian Territory’ in a geographic region legally seized in a defensive war instigated by a foreign aggressor); those who have never been a member of a terrorist organization or pledged any allegiance to any sworn enemy of the state of Israel and who, after a thorough security vetting process, display patriotism towards Israel, may be considered for citizenship.
You and your citizens have in the last few months celebrated two momentous achievements. The independence of the victorious 1967 Six Day War where you defeated an amalgamation of foreign aggressors united in their goals to destroy your state. You’ve also just recently celebrated the Declaration of Independence of Israel in 1948 which is really the re-founding of your lost ancestral homeland; a homeland stolen from you several times beginning in 587 BCE when Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem and destroyed the First Temple created by your sovereign King, Solomon, king of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah. Your people were exiled to Babylon. Thereafter, your sacred land has been controlled by a phalanx of empires: Babylonians, Persians, Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, the Byzantine Empire, Islamic and Christian Crusades, the Ottoman Empire and the British.
Throughout millennia your exceptional people have prevailed as diasporic ethical heroes. Wherever you lived you always made stupendous contributions to other cultures. You arduously repaired the world as you suffused it with an original assemblage of who and what you are: an ethical people stamped with the imprimatur of God’s blessing. As I have said in my last book, “We Have Overcome,” a paean hymn to American exceptionalism, Jewish civilization is a superior and exceptionalist one as well. In no part of the world were Jews ever granted an Affirmative Action Visa to work, to excel and to make awe-inspiring contributions to world culture in all fields of knowledge. Your ancestral homeland, Israel, is the only nation blessed in the Bible by God. Several times it has been stolen from you. Today, it threatens to be destroyed by nefarious and politically primitive regimes that surround you, and by enemies inside your sovereign state who abide by charters and covenants that provide a road map for your country’s destruction.
Today you face a not insurmountable battle in the impending re-election that lies ahead. As you reflect on your destiny, do know that God would not have appointed you to this historic role only to snatch it away in such an indecorous manner. I believe it is your will and soldierly resolve that are being tested. Your vision for a more magnificent Israel will be honed and refined and, ultimately without doubt, forged in the crucibles of the moral vision you have steadfastly made as part of your own vocational calling.
You are the only leader alive in Israel today who truly understands the nihilistic and irreversible evil of the Jihad campaign. You alone see Jihad as the single greatest threat to the West. You alone realize its grave danger to our shared civilization.
In crepuscular moments, when you are blessed with increased discernment and the burdens of your civilization weigh upon your shoulders, remember that your first King, King David, faced a minimum of three civil wars during his first year alone. You are not only the legatee of a great tradition, but the heir to an historical legacy of which you are its treasured custodian. When you go the United Nations you alone seem to know the malevolent threat that Iran poses to your unmatched civilization; you alone seem to discern the evil conspiracies between the political leaders of that country and Hamas.
You will prevail, Prime Minister, because I believe you have suffered enough on earth through tragic loss of family, and professional setbacks and hardships to convince your country that Israel is not any longer interested in land for peace. This move has not gained your country any international respect. Quite the opposite. It has diminished the stature of Israel by making her seem overly conciliatory before the ugly and despicable face of Jihadism. Israel, I know you realize, will not sell out her moral reputation by sharing any semblance of sovereignty via a suicidal two-state solution with terroristic thugs who have seduced much of the western nation-states into viewing them as helpless victims. Any reader of contemporary Israel knows that the average Arab fares better economically and existentially under Israeli governance than he or she does under the corrupt, useless and inept PA, and under the nihilistic cult-of-death regime that is Hamas. You will prevail because you are a great patriot. You are a loyal stalwart not just for the cause of a political Israel, but because you know that Jews were the creators of historical time, and the first nation to enter into the historical process. You sense the precarious delicacy of ensuring her survival against the Jihadists that are all around you—around all of us in the West.
You were given a mandate by the people, and by God Himself to raise your state up to a higher register of earthly evolution. The Jewish state is an international treasure trove because it is not just the repository of good, of human excellence and greatness as well as the benefactor of the first great moral system, but, also, the Jewish people are an aspirational people. The world is never complete for them. Sometimes God seems absent from the world as if he had even divorced it. But Jews take up the mantle of moral leadership. Knowing that God’s return is imminent, they become fiduciaries and trustees of the world at large. Rather than ask God to reveal Himself to them, they find God through reparative, restorative and emancipatory work on this beautiful earth. They prevail upon the world. Hence the Jewish people are a universal people. They are a posthuman people. By this I mean, they give us a model for what an evolved humanity could look like in a world that is seemingly devoted to shrinking our humanity and, therefore, the best within ourselves. Having discovered the first monotheistic religion and the sole God who commands the universe, Jews have placed the moral sensibilities of Western man on a linear trajectory and a teleological path that has lead him to discover the foundations of his moral nature. The teleological destiny for Jews was, among other things, the promise and deliverance of a nation. It was one that was destroyed and then re-founded on secular principles but undergirded by the prevailing doctrine of ethical Zionism, a philosophy that ensures that the Jewish people will always have a home of their own, and that they will never be displaced as an exalted civilization and relegated to despicable backyards and ghettos in anyone else’s homeland.
Your legacy has yet to be completed, Prime Minister. You are the custodian of an ethical and beleaguered state—the most beleaguered state on this earth. You hold the future of a greater Israel in your open palms that face heaven. You hold a magnificent beacon of light worthy of emulation.
Do not let your heroic fire go out. Do not let specimens of the lowest common denominator in your country appropriate the moral vocabulary of victimization and use it against you. Fight with intransigent pride for the moral dignity of your ethical state. Assert your convictions with implacable certainty, knowing that they are for the good of Israel and western civilization.
And, Prime Minister, know this: In the Name of the Best within You—Yours is the Glory!