Disproportionate Reactions to Israel Are a Scandal

(American Interest) Walter Russell Mead - If we compare the attention and care that the international community has extended to the Palestinians with our attention and support for other victims in other places, a disturbing pattern emerges. Whatever the wrongs of Israel's occupation policy, the Palestinians, especially in the West Bank but even in Gaza, live much better than many people in the world whose suffering attracts far less world attention - and whose oppressors get far less criticism. The disproportionate reactions to Israel's treatment of Palestinians constitutes a genuine scandal and pretty much proves that anti-Semitism did not die. I believe that unconscious but real anti-Semitism informs many contemporary attitudes toward the Jewish state. I've run across a surprisingly large number of people who believe that Israel's right to exist is conditional: that Israel has to earn and keep re-earning its legitimacy by behaving better than other countries. I have also been told many times that the Jews are not a "real" people. These views are anti-Semitic, pure and simple. The Jews are a real people, a nation, and they have the same right to self-determination that other nations have. The Jewish state is the expression of their natural right to self-determination and whether that state behaves well or badly, wisely or foolishly, it has the same right to exist as Finland, the U.S., or Egypt. To deny the right of the Jews to a state is to deny them a basic human right on account of their nationality; I'm sorry, but this is anti-Semitic behavior. The belief that only Israeli recalcitrance prevents the outbreak of peace in the Middle East strikes me as delusional. Outside powers like Syria and Iran are meddling constantly in Palestinian politics for reasons of their own. Weak leadership, fragile institutions, and a lack of a sufficiently strong consensus among Palestinians worldwide to accept partition as the final outcome to the long struggle would continue to obstruct a peace settlement even if all the Israeli obstacles were to disappear. And if the Palestinians and Israelis reach an agreement, other countries in the Middle East are likely to continue to stir the embers of hatred for generations to come. Managing unhappiness rather than building utopia is what we Americans are likely to be doing in the Middle East for the foreseeable future. The writer is the Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.

2010-03-10 07:54:58

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive