Respond to Senator Bernie Sanders
In the The New York Times (May 14), US Senator Bernie Sanders wrote an essay titled “The United States Must Support an Even-handed Approach to the Middle East” (and, unusually, 24 hours later, it was renamed “The United States Must Stop be an apologist for the Netanyahu government ”).
Whatever the title, the meaning of the senator’s words remains exactly the same. Given the timing, this presumably means a call for the United States to move to the 50-meter line in the latest round of Hamas-unleashed conflict with Israel. Forgive me, an unbiased approach?
Be impartial between the aggressor and the victim?
Between the arsonist and the firefighter?
Between tyranny and democracy?
Between Iran’s proxy and the country Iran seeks to annihilate?
Between the group initially designated as a terrorist organization by the Clinton administration and the staunch American ally?
Between the group that calls for “Death to America” and the country that built a memorial to the victims of September 11?
Between one of the most regressive groups in the world and one of the most progressive countries in the world?
Between the group that denies rights to women, LGBTQ and minorities and the country that protects these rights?
Between the group that openly seeks the annihilation of Israel and the country that will not let it happen?
Between the group that uses civilians as human shields and the country that seeks to protect civilians?
Between the group squandering precious funds building cross-border tunnels and deadly missiles and the country allocating precious funds to building tunnel defense and missile defense systems?
No, it should not be a question of “impartiality”. When it comes to American values and interests, it is perfectly clear where they lie.
Whether the senator knows it or not, American impartiality has long been a goal of Israel’s relentless enemies.
Their point of view is simple: dig a wedge between Washington and Jerusalem. Undermine the main pillar of Israel’s international support. End the special relationship between the United States and Israel.
This will considerably weaken Israel, it is said, as there is no other obvious candidate on the world stage – nor in the all-important UN Security Council – to fill the vacuum created by the United States. .
Of course, such a decision would have dire consequences.
It would be an affront to who we are as a nation and what our core interests are. As I have suggested, the fundamental dichotomy, for example, between Hamas and Israel could not be more striking from the American perspective.
He turns a blind eye to history and reality. Gaza had a chance, the first in its history, to rule itself in 2005. Israel, which has a deep interest in Gaza’s moderate lane, cannot be held responsible for the violent Hamas takeover in 2007 and for the tragic trajectory he traced in the sequel. 14 years old.
And that would set back the broader quest for peace.
About the size of Sanders’ Vermont, but without soft neighbors, Israel made peace deals in the region because it felt it had the full support of the United States, so it could afford to take territorial risks. unprecedented, as in the 1979 treaty with Egypt, as well as other tangible results, such as last year’s four normalization agreements, in which, again, Washington was key.
Let’s be clear: the main beneficiaries of “fairness” would be Iran and other extremist forces in the region, which should be the last thing Washington wants.
Ultimately, however, the name of the game is the relentless pursuit of peace – real, lasting peace.
Here, unfortunately, the senator has no serious answers on how to get us there, other than a lot of red meat, awakened, one-sided and inflammatory invocations for his base.
Israel’s early rulers, inspired by a vision of enlightened socialism, came to an inescapable conclusion in the months leading up to the nation’s rebirth in 1948.
Just three years after the trauma of the Holocaust, peace, alas, was not going to be quick and easy, despite Israel’s outstretched hand on day one.
If peace ever came, Israel would first have to survive the military campaign to eliminate it – five Arab armies were attacked on May 15, 1948, the first full day of Israel’s independence – and then prove again and again that he was here to stay. .
It was only when its neighbors realized that it was permanent – and, I would add, that the Jews were indeed natives, not intruders, in the Middle East – that the seeds of an eventual peace could be planted.
And that meant, alas, the projection of power when needed and exercised as responsibly as humanly possible, which the senator seems to deplore.
In a perfect world, that wouldn’t be necessary. Indeed, the Hebrew prophet Isaiah was among the first to articulate a vision of this ideal world – “And the nation will not lift up the sword against the nation, and it will no longer learn war.”
This vision is not just a topic of practical discussion. It’s in the Jewish genetic code, just like the Jewish prayer for peace, sung at every service, “Oseh shalom bimromav…“
Likewise, the revolutionary notion of “B’tselem Elohim– all human beings are created in the image of God – is also part of this genetic code. This means that we mourn, not celebrate, the loss of innocent lives, whether in Gaza or elsewhere.
But the Middle East, sadly, is not Sanders’ New England. The weak do not survive. The naive do not prosper. The helpless do not make peace. Songs, prayers and campfires too often fall on deaf ears.
I have been to Israel maybe 100 times. I have never, not once, met an Israeli soldier or veteran who happily spoke of war, victories or losses inflicted on the other side. I have personally never met an Israeli who did not yearn for, and I mean yearn for, peace.
Unlike Egypt, Hamas has not made a fundamental shift in its thinking from warmongering to peacemaking. Rather, it is a ruthless theocratic regime that seeks to expand its power and that aims to suppress Israel and replace it with a caliphate.
So what is the basis of all dialogue? The conditions for Israel’s disappearance?
Of course, we make peace with our enemies, not with our friends. But either one side surrenders and raises the white flag, or a radical shift in thinking occurs, as was the case with the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.
Neither has happened to date.
Thus, Israel has little choice but to live uncomfortably with Hamas on its border, to seek as best it can to deter it from missile barrages and terrorist attacks, to specify that its The battle is not with the people of Gaza but its leaders, and hopefully the current regime will be replaced by something more forward-looking. If so, the region could in fact take a further step towards peace.
David Harris is CEO of the American Jewish Committee (AJC). Join 91,200 others and follow him on Twitter @DavidHarrisAJC.