Why we must defend Israel

Re “Why defend Israel? [RN&R Guest Comment, Dec. 13]:

OK, Ira Hansen, here is your public debate. “If we are willing to sacrifice our relationships with most of the Muslim/Arab world to support Israel,” there must be a reason or two. Israel is a creation of the West, out of well-deserved guilt over centuries of anti-Semitism, culminating in the Holocaust No. 1. They are us.

We have relationships with the Arab world because they have oil. We should have paid attention to President Carter and actually reduced our oil needs. Every American killed by Arab terror or the Gulf war was killed because Reagan dropped Carter’s “moral equivalent of war,” his attempt to wean us from oil.

We support Israel because we are moral. Israel is a democracy, with Arabs in the Knesset. There are no democracies in the Arab world. And damned few in the Muslim world.

“Yet Israel is the aggressor nation,” you say, “taking land from the much weaker surrounding nations and forcing its occupation on others.” The West Bank belongs to Jordan; the Gaza Strip belongs to Egypt. Neither nation wants the land or the “indigenous people back.” Why not? The Jordanian army threw out the PLO one “Black September.” It’s also hard to prove that Egypt is a “much weaker” nation—think of the Yom Kippur war.

“The indigenous people, the Palestinians, are forced into squalid refugee camps and treated like animals,” you say. In 1948, about 650,000 Palestinians left the land that is now Israel. During the years following the creation of the state of Israel, 800,000 Jews were expelled from the Arab Muslim nations. There are no Jewish refugee camps. The expelled were welcomed and integrated into Israel.

At any time in the past 50 years, the Arab nations, in particular Saudi Arabia, could have welcomed displaced Palestinians into the Arab Nation. They did not. Why? They do not care about the lives of those they use solely as a weapon to fight the existence of Israel.

You say: “Israel [is] the only government in the world to attack and kill American servicemen and to have the U.S. government cover it up.” Not true. Here’s one example. When an Iraqi Exocet missile hit the USS Stark, killing 37 American sailors in May 1987, the U.S. took retaliatory action against Iranian patrol boats, not Iraq. The incident was hushed up quickly as Iraq was then our friend.

“The Middle East conflict has little to do with ‘democracy’ or hatred of ‘Western values’ or other vague philosophical concepts,” you say. You are right. It has to do with destruction, with pushing the Jews into the sea.

Since the signing of the Oslo accords, Palestinians have had the opportunity to create a secure society and to craft a future for themselves and their progeny—as we have, as the Israelis have. But, Ira, that is not their goal. Their goal is the destruction of Israel. In that light, Palestinian behavior over the past 50 years makes perfect sense. Why else do you raise your children to be suicide bombers rather than teachers or engineers?

We must support Israel—or be ready to accept the blame for Holocaust No. 2.