George Will, whose intellect, erudition, and facility with language I have always admired greatly (while disagreeing with him on a number of issues), has just published four columns in a row on Israel, dispatched from Jerusalem, and appearing in the Washington Post. They're all worth reading and, taken together, are a ringing defence of the Jewish state, a powerful denunciation of the double standards the world applies to Israel and a bracing wake-up call.
Two photographs adorn the office of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. One photograph is of Theodor Herzl, born 150 years ago. Dismayed by the eruption of anti-Semitism in France during the Dreyfus Affair at the end of the 19th century, Herzl became Zionism's founding father. Long before the Holocaust, he concluded that Jews could find safety only in a national homeland. The other photograph is of Winston Churchill.
Netanyahu, his focus firmly on Iran, honors Churchill because he did not flinch from facts about gathering storms.
Netanyahu, whom no one ever called cuddly, once said to a U.S. diplomat 10 words that should warn U.S. policymakers who hope to make Netanyahu malleable: "You live in Chevy Chase. Don't play with our future."
When Israel declared independence in 1948, it had to use mostly small arms to repel attacks by six Arab armies.
Now Israel faces a [new] threat, the campaign to delegitimize it in order to extinguish its capacity for self-defense. After two uniquely perilous millennia for Jews, the creation of Israel meant, Netanyahu says, "the capacity for self-defense restored to the Jewish people." But note, he says, the reflexive worldwide chorus of condemnation when Israel responded with force to rocket barrages from Gaza and from southern Lebanon.
From 1948 through 1973, he says, enemies tried to "eliminate Israel by conventional warfare." Having failed, they tried to demoralize and paralyze Israel with suicide bombers and other terrorism. "We put up a fence," Netanyahu says. "Now they have rockets that go over the fence."
Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, says that Israel is the "enemy of God." Tehran, proclaiming that the Holocaust never happened and vowing to complete it, sent an ambassador to Poland who in 2006 wanted to measure the ovens at Auschwitz to prove them inadequate for genocide.
[Netanyahu] says that 1948 meant this: "For the first time in 2,000 years, a sovereign Jewish people could defend itself against attack." And he says: "The tragic history of the powerlessness of our people explains why the Jewish people need a sovereign power of self-defense." If Israel strikes Iran, the world will not be able to say it was not warned.
In the intifada that began in 2000, Palestinian terrorism killed more than 1,000 Israelis. As a portion of U.S. population, that would be 42,000, approaching the toll of America's eight years in Vietnam. Israeli parents sending two children to a school would put them on separate buses to decrease the chance that neither would return for dinner.
Strategic depth matters in a nation which… before the 1967 Six-Day War was in one place just nine miles wide. Israel exchanged a lot of land to achieve a chilly peace with Egypt, yielding the Sinai, which is almost three times larger than Israel and was 89 percent of the land captured in the process of repelling the 1967 aggression.
The creation of Israel did not involve the destruction of a Palestinian state, there having been no such state since the Romans arrived. And if the Jewish percentage of the world's population were today what it was when the Romans ruled Palestine, there would be 200 million Jews. After a uniquely hazardous passage through two millennia without a homeland, there are 13 million Jews.
In the 62 years since this homeland was founded on one-sixth of 1 percent of the land of what is carelessly and inaccurately called "the Arab world," Israelis have never known an hour of real peace.
The only place for a Palestinian state is the West Bank, which Israel has occupied legally under international law since repelling the 1967 aggression launched from there.
[After Israel withdrew] there was in 2007 essentially a coup in Gaza by the terrorist organization Hamas. So now Israel has on its western border, 44 miles from Tel Aviv, an entity dedicated to Israel's destruction, collaborative with Iran and possessing a huge arsenal of rockets.
Rocket attacks from Gaza increased dramatically after Israel withdrew. The number of U.N. resolutions deploring this? Zero.
The closest precedent for that bombardment was the Nazi rocket attacks on London, which were answered by the destruction of Hamburg, Dresden and other German cities. When Israel struck back at Hamas, the "international community" was theatrically appalled.
Since the 2006 war provoked by Hezbollah's incessant rocketing of northern Israel, Hezbollah has rearmed and possesses as many as 60,000 rockets… A leader of Hezbollah says, "If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide."
Upward of a million [Israeli] immigrants have come from the former Soviet Union… These immigrants don't understand how a state that can be crossed in half an hour by car would be willing to even talk about relinquishing territories to its seemingly perpetual enemies. These immigrants know that Russia's strategic depth space defeated Napoleon and Hitler.