A day ago, a friend sent me an article from a Spanish writer named Sebastian Vilar Rodriguez that was published in a Spanish newspaper on Jan. 15, 2008. The argument that he puts forth isn’t exactly new; it’s been circulating for several years. It attempts to explain the anti-Semitic – thinly veiled as anti-Israel – policies that the European Left has been pushing.
Rodriguez central tenet is that in order to atone for the sin of the Holocaust, Europeans have thrown aside their own beliefs. That: “. . . under the pretense of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty, due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.” Having sown these seeds, the only ‘logical’ course is to harvest the crop.
Thus, leftist European politicians routinely ignore acts of terrorism, murder and the wholesale distortion of history in order to appease their collective guilt. ‘If only we could give the Palestinians a state, then all would be forgiven.’ Of course, this state comes at a price: Israel. And so very slowly, they grind their bitter harvest.
It is beyond the scope of a mere blog posting to explain “traditional” pre-war European anti-Semitism. Several hundred books have been written on that subject. There are though, in my opinion, several factors beyond collective European guilt that explain “modern” European anti-Semitism. Briefly, these are as follows.
Israel attempts to define itself as a democratic Jewish state. Israel is saying in essence, our teleological path is complete without your history. In contrast, many European politicians (and most American ones) call out to their ‘Judeo-Christian’ heritage. Detractors claim that this is done solely to win ‘Jewish votes.” However, there really isn’t much of a ‘Jewish vote’ in most European countries these days, and the Muslims will outnumber Jews in America before the end of the decade. Does anyone see an American politician citing ‘Islamic-Christian’ values?
Not only has Israel defined itself as a Jewish democracy, it has been a tremendously successful one. At times, almost too tolerant. Only a few days ago, did Israeli legislators make it illegal to protest the founding of the State of Israel in Israel. What did they do? Legislation is now on the books that fines(!) municipalities and civic associations that budget funds for such activities. And those convicted of treason are no longer entitled to a state-funded pension.
Israel has absorbed millions of refugees and created a vibrant, diverse culture that recognizes and accepts several core political and social concepts. Wave upon wave of immigration has eroded the core values of European culture. The immigrants come from every corner of the world, are of every race. And while the immigrants Europe takes in also are from every corner of the world and are of every race, they shut themselves into self-imposed ghettos.
Israel’s economy and inventiveness have become synonymous with high tech, biotechnology, medicine and telecommunications. One can hardly say this of Greece, Ireland or Spain – where coincidentally some of the strongest proponents of the new anti-Semitism are to be found. Israel leads the world in patents per capita, percentage of GDP spent on civilian R&D, the number of books published per capita, and routinely has nominees for the Nobel Prize.
There is Israel’s military strength to be considered. Yes, Israel does purchase the best weapons it can. Then again, so do the Arab countries – purchasing tanks, helicopters, jets and missiles from the USSR (now Russia), China, Britain, France and even the US. Arab countries outspend Israel on military purchases. However, they would be wiser to just burn their petrodollars in a bonfire. Every time they attack, Israel wins.
How galling it must be for the European Left. To realize that a people that once were so dependent on whatever crumbs of sympathy they cared to let fall to the floor are now capable of taking care of themselves. And quite capably, too.
Now, Israel has proven energy reserves. Enough natural gas for the next twenty years at least. There is abundant oil shale, as well, made accessible for the first time with new recovery technologies. What has the Prime Minister of Israel proposed doing with the royalties from this? Why, spend it on education, of course!
In summary, Israel’s democracy, economy, successful absorption of immigrants, technology and military prowess all stand in sharp relief to the malaise that hangs over Europe. To quote Rodriguez, “we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition.” The more the European Left is forced to look and the consequences of their policies, how these policies are ravaging Europe’s once-great cities, is it any wonder that they are embittered? Unfortunately, the European Left has deluded itself.
There are a few brave leaders remaining in Europe who are trying to address this. They have analyzed the situation, sorting fact from emotion, truth from distortion. It is a difficult undertaking, and they are beset on all sides by those with vested interests in seeing Europe destroy itself with misguided policies. Yet, they have come to the conclusion that the only right thing to do, the only thing that as Europeans they should do, is to support Israel.
There was a time when an “intervention” was something your friends carried out when your behavior became a little to extreme. Maybe you were drinking a little too much, doing too many drugs or getting fired from job after job. Carrying out an intervention wasn’t easy: it required directly confronting the problem.
Then, intervention evolved from a social to an international phenomenon. Nowadays, it involves removing dictators from power. Still, it involves confronting a destructive force and stopping it. There are many opinions on the legality of this, as any person who bothers to read a newspaper knows.
Some hold the line that intervention is necessary when the dictator threatens the vital interests of a state or a group of states. The US intervened in Panama, and again in Grenada, because those regimes threatened to destabilize an area on America’s flanks. NATO intervened in Bosnia/Kosovo because the area was threatening to destabilize Europe. Thousands were being killed and tens of thousands were fleeing the region for safer parts of Europe, i.e., western Europe.
Another school of thought has it that intervention is allowed when there is a mandate from some higher supra-national body. Such is the case currently in Libya, where both the Arab League and the UN have sanctioned a no-fly zone and protection of civilians using military means.
Yet, a third school contends that intervention into another country’s affairs is illegal and/or immoral. National interests and international approval are irrelevant as far as this line of thinking goes. Since intervention has always required military force and results in casualties, it is akin to correcting one evil with another evil.
Another school asks, ‘If we intervene here, why not over there also?’ In other words, all dictatorships should be confronted and destroyed. Depending on how one defines “dictatorship,” this would involve military intervention in at one-third of the world.
And of course, there are many variations on these opinions. To be truthful, we must state that in most instances there are multiple factors to consider.
Panama’s Noriega was more corrupt than brutal, but his brutality was nonetheless considerable. This combination of brutality and corruption created a potential weakness for the US, which was – and still is – dependent on the Panama Canal to rapidly transfer naval forces. Noriega’s regime allowed drug traffickers safe haven, logistical support and banking services – all for a fee. Illegal drugs impose a heavy social and financial price on the US. Thus, there were multiple reasons for the US to take action.
In the case of Bosnia/Kosovo, the disintegration of Yugoslavia into multiple state-lets involved the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. It triggered wars based on nationalism and religion that Europe thought it had already rid itself. There was a perceived potential for similar conflicts to break-out between other states in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Finally, there was the moral dimension: civilians were being rounded up and slaughtered.
Today, there are economic, political, religious and moral factors at work in Libya. Economies based on natural resources tend to be unbalanced, and create oligarchies that exploit the wealth that is created, furthering the gap between rich and poor. Politically, dictatorships tend to be mercurial in their alliances as their overwhelming concern is to remain in power. They are not wedded to a single political or philosophical goal other than the perpetuation of their rule.
Religious wars have torn at mankind since he discovered God. Or since He created man, depending on your view. In either case, it frees the individual to commit heinous acts against other human beings simply because they do not read from the same Book. Or because they read from the same Book, but choose to interpret it differently. Regardless, the religious and moral constraints that a religion imposes on its adherents are often tossed aside when dealing with the “non-believer.”
We need to look closely at how the intervention in Libya is being conducted, both militarily and politically. We need to realize that the various coalition partners have their own motivations in seeing Colonel Gadaffi removed from power. For some, there are economic benefits to be gained. For others, political benefits to be had. And yet for others, this intervention is a holy duty imposed from on High.
In all likelihood, Colonel Gadaffi will be removed from power. World citizens monitor the conduct of this intervention, both during and after. They must hold the leaders participating in it accountable. If there is accountability, Libyans will have a better probability of achieving stability, prosperity and realizing their rights as human beings. If not, the situation in that country will more than likely resemble that of Afghanistan and Iraq.