Ariel Sharon has finally gone too far. Israel's thuggish prime minister thought he could crush the Palestinian revolt with a policy of violence, killing Palestinians until they begged for mercy. But the policy has backfired by getting lots of Jews killed too, and the violence on both sides is escalating dangerously. Even Sharon's indulgent American patrons, George W. Bush and Colin Powell, have called for a halt to the madness.
Sharon is acting according to his lights. He has never concealed his contempt for “the goy” — the gentile. Israel is based on the principle that Jews have rights “goyim” don't have. Hence its abuse of Arab gentiles and its defiance of Western gentiles.
Mark Weber, of the Institute for Historical Review, has summed up the situation in one pithy sentence: “The truth is that if we held Israel to the same standards that we apply to Serbia, Afghanistan, and Iraq, U.S. bombers and missiles would be blasting Tel Aviv, and we'd be putting Israeli prime minister Sharon behind bars for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Unless I've missed something, even such alleged “anti-Semites” as David Duke and Louis Farrakhan don't advocate treating Jews as Israel treats gentiles. Anyone with a spark of decency would be ashamed to treat Jews that way. Yet a gentile can be accused of anti-Semitism even for the purely verbal sin of criticizing Israel, whereas a Jew who supports Sharon's physical cruelty is accused of … well, nothing. We have no handy word for even the most brutal Jewish treatment of gentiles.
To challenge the Jews' right to oppress Palestinians is called “denying Israel's right to exist.” Apparently its “right to exist” includes the right to oppress, and is indeed inseparable from it. Even the “peace plans” that call for separate Jewish and Palestinian states seem to take for granted the right of the Jewish state to treat Arabs within its borders as inferiors.
Perish the thought that Jews and gentiles should be equal! That would be anti-Semitism.
According to Israel's “amen corner” in this country, Israel can do no wrong, except to concede too much to the Palestinians. Israel is a heroic “democracy” even when it treats its minority like dirt, and a “reliable ally” of the United States even when it steals American military secrets and sells them to Communist countries.
It's an article of faith among the Amen Corner that the Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard — a national hero in Israel, by the way — has been punished far too harshly for his crimes, since the United States should have shared those secrets with Israel anyway. And far from recoiling from Sharon's brutality, the Amen Corner defends him at every turn, just as Stalin's fellow travellers in this country used to justify Uncle Joe — except that some in the Amen Corner think Sharon isn't going far enough.
Not all the members of the Amen Corner are Jewish. Many are Christians — a shameful fact, since they never raise their voices in defense of Palestinian Christians. “See how these Christians love one another!” This kind of loyalty might make Judas Iscariot queasy.
The obvious danger is that the United States will once more be drawn into war with Israel's enemies, chiefly Iraq. If that happens, we probably won't be as lucky as in the 1991 Gulf War, which ended with an easy American victory and little cost until last September 11. This time the whole Middle East could erupt in war and revolution, leaving us with countless millions of bitter enemies on top of those we already have. It will be a boon to al-Qaeda recruitment.
The U.S. Government is toying with the possibility of using nuclear weapons in the war ahead — the war that the “war on terrorism” may morph into. We can be sure that the fanatical Sharon won't object, and some of his American apologists are sounding rather interested in the idea of nuking Arabs. If the United States does it, Israel won't have to.
We can only hope that Bush, Powell, and the rest of the top echelon of the government — which may or may not include Congress these days — will come to their senses before they decide to strike Iraq. U.S. support for Israel has already cost us far too much, and it may yet cost us far more. Ariel Sharon leaves no excuse for blindness about what we are dealing with.
Joe Sobran is an author, lecturer and syndicated columnist. For 21 years he wrote for National Review magazine, including 18 years as a senior editor. He is editor of the monthly newsletter, Sobran's (P.O. Box 1383, Vienna, VA 22183, or see www.sobran.com) “Killing Gentiles,” March 12, 2002, and “Is It Worth It?,” Sept. 20, 2001, are reprinted by arrangement with Griffin Internet Syndicate. All rights reserved.