Israel's hat-trick Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, seems to have the calling of snatching his country from imminent catastrophe. Come the hour, come the man, and in his case, the hour is always the eleventh. Israel had suicidal governments before. One of them left Har haBayit in the hands of the Jordanians, gifting jihad a golden bridgehead. Another pulled out of Gaza, the ensuing catastrophe continuing to this day. Yet another signed the Oslo Accords and allowed full-blown terrorist armies, armed to the teeth, to take up residence within a short bus ride of Israelis sleeping in their beds. But the outgoing Israeli government topped them all. Of its various treasonous acts, it is hard to decide which was worse. Was it worse, for example, to let the Muslim Brotherhood into the government, or was it to circumvent a funding ban on the Palestinian Authority for paying "Palestinians" to murder Jews? How about an a priori promise to never confront an openly pro-Iran US government? How about rewarding Arab squatters for seizing state land? OK, I'll stop there. I've made my point.
Well, no, I haven't, actually. Why was the outgoing government's rush for the cliff potentially fatal for the Jewish state? Because both the United States government and the European Union are hellbent on giving the Iranian regime what it wants, namely, the ability to destroy Israel, limited only by what little remains of their populations' readiness to defend their freedom, and hence their civilisation. Attacking Jews on the streets of Western cities is already a crime only on paper. Anti-semitism is open, blatant, brazen and rapidly becoming a virtue. At Western universities, staff and students join forces to hound Jewish students. In the late 1940s and throughout the '50s, anguished tomes of tortured consciences asked one, burning question: "How could this happen?" Dear reader, THIS is how it happens.
Those later haunted by the question were not outraged enough, not offended enough, not moved enough, to say something, write something, do something, when all around them human restraint on inhuman behaviour was lifted when it came to Jews, and they averted their gaze. It happened not because they weren't looking, but because they would not see. It happened not because they weren't listening, but because they would not hear. It did not cross their minds that this was not about Jews; it was about civilisation; it was about humanity; it was about all of us.
Christ-killers and imbibers of babies' blood had by then largely gone out of fashion. What was their excuse in the modern world, then? Nothing so crude as money-grabbing manipulators and controllers of all the world, uhhh, no! There was just "something" about the Jews. "Something" enough to not interfere when murderous hatred was let loose upon them, again. For today's faux virtues, "something about them" is all too vague, not "diverse" enough. Enter "The Palestinians." Finally! Real victims whose land the Jews had stolen. That one will fly, definitely.
Now we can be anti-Semitic without being anti-Semitic. OK, so a few Jews are attacked on the streets, a few cemeteries are desecrated and whatnot. But we should not blow things out of proportion. Think of the Palestinians. Of course, if it get's serious, then we'll say something... It happened because we lied to ourselves, exactly as we do now, pre-empting the question we will ask after the next attempt to exterminate the Jewish people, and we finally return to our senses: "How could this happen?"
The anguished soul-searchers after the last round could not, or would not, answer the question, but nonetheless felt themselves equipped to swear, "Never again." Never again? Were they undertaking to make sure no one ever tried to kill all the Jewish people again, perhaps even guaranteeing that we had seen the last of such a thing? Not in the slightest. They had no idea how it could happen because even then, in their anguish, they lied to themselves. "Never again" was nothing more than a personal catharsis. Let's have interfaith dialogue. Let's have coexistence. That's how we ensure "Never again." Let's all just get along, even with those who plot and scheme to kill Jews. How wonderful it is to sit side-by-side with such people in the Knesset. Problem solved.
This is Stockholm syndrome on steroids, for it is effectively saying had the victims of the Nazis done more to get along, it might all have been avoided. It does not help either Jews or Israel to have leaders who dupe their people into believing that if they don't give up this, give up that, give up the next thing, and bend over backwards, they will cause whatever those who hate them end up doing to them. No amount of "getting along" on the part of a would-be victim is in any way going to delay, let alone prevent, the would-be perpetrator from carrying out his intentions. If anything, it will simply smooth his path and encourage him. It is grotesque to sweep a whole nation along on a shameful delusion, a cowardly fantasy.
The "Palestinians" and their supporters will not remind us that the Jews were hated before they "stole" anyone's land. In all the cycles of Jew-killing going back to the expulsions of the Jews from their land, when could the Jews, or anyone else for that matter, guarantee "Never again"? Only once: now; now that they have their state back and are able to defend themselves by themselves with a standing force of armed defenders of the Jewish people. Let that sink in for a moment, dear reader: armed defenders of the Jewish people. It is a concept.
Now consider what it means when the very government of Israel and the institutions of state feel themselves virtuous for creating the conditions under which the killers of Jews are sufficiently emboldened to attack the soldiers and police officers of Israel, the supposed armed defenders of the Jewish people. Did anyone take any lessons from the way Jewish MKs were addressed in the Knesset the moment the last government took office?
To enfeeble your own defence forces is bad enough. To persuade your own population that they would be more secure that way is incomparably worse, for it also enfeebles the right to defence. How far does that take you away from the right to not be attacked in the first place, and having powerful defenders who will deter such attack? How close does this bring you to ambivalent responses to enemy attacks? To playing down just how bad things had become?
Three years ago I had coffee with an Israeli colleague in a Tel Aviv café. The conversation was good, congenial, until the topic turned to Netanyahu. Wow. To see such bitterness towards this man was alarming. Where do people whose very existence is on the line every century or so find the time for such incredible pettiness? When Benjamin Netanyahu is seen as a bigger problem than Mansour Abbas, then the hour is indeed very, very late.
The enemy is not only at the gates. It is in the hearts of Jews and it is in the Knesset. Thankfully, Benjamin Netanyahu knows this, and he is not a timid man. Those who will join him in his new government are not timid either. There is hope. The likelihood is high that the enemy will be rooted out and destroyed to the extent that the Jewish people have the power so to do. It is possible, just possible, that it will not happen again.
Prime Minister Netanyahu will do the West a great service by reminding them what escalation dominance means. He might also remind himself that to merely degrade your enemy's capacity for war is invite him to attack you again.