Thursday, October 11, 2012

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume IV, Issue XLII

The Leader of the Free World

The 'other' weekly news magazine this week features China's Xi Jinping [click to read], calling him "the new president who really matters." Indeed, China matters, as a holder of a large portion of our national debt, but that debt largely speaks to a lack of leadership in the FREE world! Fortunately there is one Free-world leader who stands out for his clarity, Israel's Binyamin Netanyahu.

Given a steady stream of despots lining up to disparage the United States and Israel at the UN these days, Netanyahu stands out because he has to face certain truths others are inclined to ignore. When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran says he wants to destroy Israel (and the U.S.), Netanyahu knows Iran's ICBM capacity already gives them the ability to strike his country. When he stands in the United Nations to discuss Iran's nuclear program, holding an illustration of a bomb, he's talking about them rapidly achieving the ability to destroy his land.

Growing up in the Cold War era, there was the idea among civilized nations that nuclear weapons were so terrible that we should learn a lesson from Hiroshima and create a world where they would never be used. The concept of 'mutually assured destruction,' with Soviet missles pointed at the U.S., and vice versa was to create a scenario where no SANE leader would ever push the button to launch them.

While it resembles a dangerous game of 'chicken' in its description, and situations in Turkey (US missles close to Russia) and Cuba (Soviet missles close to Florida) almost resulted in nuclear disasters, it can be argued that Europe enjoyed a respite from the ravages of war for well over half of the last Century.

Sadly, we have seen the proliferation of these weapons to the point that North Korea and Iran now stand at the threshold of joining the nuclear powers of the world. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the UN and spent a lot of his speech preaching. At the end of his speech he talked about the promise of a just world ruled by the "perfect man" and that this paradise was coming soon. That the perfect man would appear soon arriving with Muhammad and "Jesus Christ." Ahmadinejad boldly proclaims this! This is important to understand when dealing with Iran. Ahmadinejad believes he is called by Allah to usher in his version of the Shiite Messiah, the 12th Imam, and the way to speed that process is to "set the world on fire."

While one might hope that "setting the world on fire" was a metaphor, and seek to reason with him, Binyamin Netanyahu makes a good case for reasoning with such men from a position of superior strength.

Taking Ahmadinejad literally is not an unreasonable thing to do, however, based on the history of the past three decades. Netanyahu knows that the rockets being fired into Israel are being financed by Iran. He can imagine a nuclear armed Ahmadinejad following through on his clearly stated mission.

Israel's detractors would do well to visit the actual country. There they would see a prosperous land where Arabs serve alongside Jews and minority Christians in the Knesset, Israel's unicameral legislature. It is not a perfect place, but it is a beautifully functioning nation with representation for most of her people. Contrast that with the surrounding nations of the Middle East and you will find yourself most at home in Israel.

The Biggest Obstacle to Peace in the Middle East

In The Nakba Obsession [click to read] Sol Stern in City Journal presents a clear-headed analysis of the Palestinian problem and why it needs to be better understood.

"There is only one just compensation for the long history of suffering, say the Palestinians and their allies: turning the clock back to 1948. This would entail ending the “Zionist hegemony” and replacing it with a single, secular, democratic state shared by Arabs and Jews. All Palestinian refugees—not just those still alive of the hundreds of thousands who fled in 1948, but their millions of descendants as well—would be allowed to return to Jaffa, Haifa, the Galilee, and all the villages that Palestinian Arabs once occupied.

Such a step would mean suicide for Israel as a Jewish state, which is why Israel would never countenance it. At the very least, then, the Nakba narrative precludes Middle East peace. But it’s also, as it happens, a myth—a radical distortion of history." --Sol Stern

The problem today is that the origins of the problem are ignored in the discussion. The original attack on Israel and the subsequent refugee problem are succinctly stated in Stern's piece. Also noted is the fact that Israel's neighbors, who could have assimilated the refugees, have instead chosen to perpetuate their status. The Left today has run with the Nakba Narrative. Anti-Israel sentiment runs high, often bubbling over in Vitriol of the Worst Sort [click to read], but it was not always so.

The Left, in fact, once viewed Israel as a great triumph. Stern Chronicles journalist I. F. Stone's initial praise of the modern Jewish State and his subsequent conversion to Palestinian apologist. The progressives who once lauded Israel for its... progress... cutting edge agriculture and technology, modern cities and inclusive government later abandoned her as they took up the causes of victimology and redistribution.

The Left's own narrative that those who have achieved prosperity have obviously stolen it from the disadvantaged plays well here. Also ignored in this narrative is the fact that Israel groans under the burden of the many refugees it has brought in, such as the Russian Jews who populate places like Sderot and often bear the brunt of missle attacks from places like Gaza.

Perhaps a better narrative for this part of the world would be one that sees most everyone in the region... Jewish, Coptic or Palestinian as one who has suffered under or fled the forces of oppression.


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