On with the War!
January 31, 2002
President Bushs state of the Union message, what began as the War
on Terrorism will be now be broadened to become a War to Crush Israels
Enemies. He named three states as an axis of evil: Iraq, Iran, and
North Korea. These are sometimes called rogue nations for their
defiance of American global hegemony and their hostility to Israel.
Israels amen corner in
the American press spearheaded by Charles Krauthammer, William Safire,
William Kristol, and the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal
has been calling for war on Israels enemies (not just Afghanistan,
which is remote from Israel) since September 11. For a while Bush seemed to be
resisting calls for a dangerous wider war, which friendly European governments
opposed; but now he is in alignment with Israel against Europe.
Why the change? We may never know. But
politicians are often subject to powerful backstage pressures that are hidden from
the public. We can never discount the possibility of blackmail.
The same is true of journalists. In this
respect, the conservative press is even worse than the liberal press. I learned long
ago, the hard way, that criticism of Israel is taboo in conservative journalism.
Such criticism is equated with anti-Semitism: if you say the
alliance with Israel has been disastrous for this country as the 9/11
attacks should have proved even to the dullest observer you will be treated
as if youd called for nuking Jerusalem.
Today such publications as National
Review, The Weekly Standard, and the Washington Times
treat Israel as Communisms liberal fellow-travelers used to treat the
Soviet Union. Israel is a model democracy and a reliable ally of the
United States. Israel can do no wrong. Israel is never at fault. Israel is the victim
not only of its neighbors, but of its own Arab subjects. Even mild criticism of
Israel springs from evil motives.
This has become the conservative party line.
How do you reconcile it with American patriotism? Ah, thats another tenet
of the party line: whats good for Israel is good for the United States. The
two countries interests are virtually identical. Therefore the U.S.
Government should never pressure the Israeli government, because whatever Ariel
Sharon does for Israel will automatically serve American interests. (Its
grimly amusing that the Zionist pundits refer to the American people as
Not that these journalists are stupid enough
to believe all this; but they are smart enough to know what will happen to their
careers if they contradict the party line. In private conversation they are often
surprisingly skeptical of pro-Israel propaganda; but in print, their skepticism is
carefully concealed. The more honorable among them simply steer around the
whole subject, in order to avoid trouble while telling the truth about those topics
they do feel free to discuss. Often they have children they hope to send through
Sometimes the pressure is
blatant. A Canadian publisher has just bought a large newspaper chain and issued
an express order that these papers print only pro-Israel editorials.
But thats unusual. As a rule Jews
dont have to enforce the taboos. Cowardly and venal gentiles will enforce
them against each other. The most vicious attacks on Patrick Buchanan a few years
ago came from his fellow Catholics.
It was an interesting object lesson in the
truth that startled the philosopher David Hume: how easily the many may be ruled
by the few. Democracy is merely the best disguise yet devised for
minority rule. Convince the majority that they are ruling themselves, and they will
submit to anything.
So now our rulers are drawing precisely the
wrong lesson from September 11. Instead of ending American meddling abroad,
they are redoubling it. Never mind how many enemies this will needlessly make in
the long run. The reliable ally must be served, and rogue
nations must be brought to heel.
A few weeks ago Frances ambassador
to Great Britain caused an uproar by saying at a dinner party what most diplomats
privately believe about Israel: that its monstrous that this little country
should be able to draw the whole world into war. Somehow that is,
inevitably his private remark, heard by his Zionist hostess, immediately
found its way into print, and Jewish groups called for a boycott of all French
On with the war!