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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“When in doubt, don’t blame Israel”

Let’s be honest: Israel really isn’t that important. We have economic issues—the unemployment rate is, frankly, European. We have international trade issues—as the figurehead of the free market, we’re a joke. We even have bigger stability issues—just look at South Asia. Honestly, if there are going to be lots of people dead and a chance of nuclear war, it’s going to be in the bloody maelstrom of the Kashmir region between Pakistan, India, and China. Oh, and Pakistan is an increasingly unstable nuclear state, and just so happens to border Afghanistan.

Even in the Middle East, there’s the issue of Iran, which is quickly becoming a regional power. In order to shift dominance away from the U.S. and towards itself (and its supporters, Russia and China), Iran uses oil money to buy nuclear technology that everyone—even the International Atomic Energy Agency, judging by its report on Monday—knows is part of a weapons program, not a source of energy for a country that can’t even refine its own petroleum.

So you’ve got to wonder: what’s the deal with Israel? When something bad happens in the Middle East, people blame Israel. When the United States has international relations issues, people blame it on America’s support of Israel. When the U.S. forms some unwise foreign policy, people blame the pro-Israel lobby (AIPAC), as if there isn’t an anti-Israel lobby (J-Street) or other countries don’t have lobbyists (take a look at Egypt or Saudi Arabia). The only simple conclusion that can be made is that those who play the morality card against US support of Israel, just because Jews have no oil, are hypocrites. If you’re just worried about the treatment of Palestinians, take a gander at how countries like Jordan and Syria treat them.

The trouble is, blaming Israel first and last for every other problem is simplistic as hell. It’s irrational, often to a degree worthy of hypocrisy. Look, I’ll be the first to say that the first issue we all see—the plight of the Palestinians—is a sad one. Even now, the Palestinian Authority is considering appealing the U.N. to make Palestine a sovereign state, and this summarizes the Palestinian leadership’s historical political position well: make verbal demands and no concrete efforts, and when things don’t work out just blame the Zionists.

From the early 20th century, Zionists worked to make political institutions and viable strategies towards creating a place where Jews would not have to face minority conditions ranging from cold discrimination to official policies hell-bent on genocide. The state the Zionists made was far from perfect, but this is reality, not some Teletubbies episode. Palestine’s Arab leadership, on the other hand, wound up making a myriad of poor decisions such as allying with the Axis during World War II. Ah, yes, if only the Nazis had won the war, we wouldn’t have had to deal with the Je—I mean, “”Zionist””—problem.

Later Palestinian leaders promoted not only plane hijackings, but suicide bombings and rocket attacks aimed at killing civilians and terrorizing a nation for another 15 minutes of fame. Some people are truly racist and think Arabs are backwards, but Palestinians are just shrewd: the backwards ones are the people who buy their propaganda hook, line, and sinker. Whether the extreme Palestinian positions on issues such as territorial control are legitimate is irrelevant—Israel is a recognized state and it’s not going anywhere. Israeli leaders may not have made the best deals, but the Palestinian leaders continuously neglected more pragmatic means of achieving prosperity and independence.

True, most Palestinians are not responsible for these unsuccessful plays, and that’s the heartbreaking part; but neither is Israel. Why, then, is Israel portrayed as such a satanic entity?

According to James Ron and Howard Ramos of Foreign Policy (“”Why Are the United States and Israel at the Top of Human Rights Hit Lists?””), groups like Amnesty and Human Rights Watch get cheaper and easier reporting on headline-making and democratic states such as Israel. Meanwhile, countries with the most “”poverty, repression, and conflict”” were hardly given passing mention. The upside is that the nicer states such as Israel are easier to change, but this has nothing to do with the targeting of Israel by international councils with memberships primarily comprised of incomparably worse governments.

Whether, for example, last year’s Israeli venture into Gaza was as righteous as it could’ve been is arguable. Realistically, Israel is a state with security issues it is duty-bound to address. This is a fact overlooked by the United Nation’s response to the related Goldstone Report, along with the facts concerning the appalling issues of unwarranted Palestinian targeting of civilians and usage of human shields. If you care more about your own sense of justice than peace and just want to hang a war criminal, worry more about the Hamas extremists who wage war with a double-edged axe designed to ultimately increase both Israeli and Palestinian deaths.

This much is true for anyone, including Israel: one could have done and can do better. Even so, Israel merely seeks security, is the most democratic state in the region, and is the only proven defender of Jews the world has seen in thousands of years.

There are a lot of problems in the world, and a lot of people to blame; why are you really pointing at Israel?

Daniel Greenberg is a Near Eastern studies senior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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