Israel's Sanity Among Savagery
On the occasion of Israel’s 60 years of statehood, the Australian Parliament unanimously praised the Jewish state for being a robust democracy in a region of theocracies and autocracies. Said Opposition Liberal Party leader Brendan Nelson: “No Australian who believes in the dignity of man, [in] freedom and democratic principles, should ever allow… Israel to be a stranger.”
With all its foibles and frailties, in Israel the West has reclaimed a small spot of sanity in a sea of savagery, where enlightened western law prevails, and where Christians and Jews and their holy places are safe. (Muslims are always secure in western societies, Israeli Palestinians too.)
Oddly enough, a stranger is how many American libertarian and conservative traditionalists—also referred to as paleoconservatives and paleolibertarians—see Israel. Odd because, unlike neoconservatives, who have no affinity for what’s left of the West, traditionalists have generally—and justly—supported western interests in conflicts such as in the former Yugoslavia, Chechnya, and Cyprus. The Palestinian Authority is an exception. Paleos of the conservative and libertarian stripe are more devoted to the Palestinian cause than most left-liberals.
One can understand why Bill Clinton attacked Serbia, a Christian country, which, as Patrick J. Buchanan observed, was “an ally in two world wars, and [had] never attacked us.” Understandable too is the jubilation with which Bush and his bastardized conservatives greeted Kosovo’s declaration of independence. Why would Bush care about the fate that awaits Orthodox Christian Serbs there? Republicans, like Democrats, serve the deity of democracy, the preservation of ancient Christian communities be damned. Iraqi Christians were sacrificed to the same idol. Bush’s faith-based intervention in Iraq has seen Christians eliminated or ethnically cleansed from that country.
Rep. Paul’s revolution, however, has been powered by people who usually know better. They would never think to badger Russia’s Vladimir Putin (now being channeled by Dmitri Medvedev) to withdraw from the North Caucasus and let Chechnya exercise full statehood. Chechnya, after all, is a Sharia-law dominated anarcho-terrorist society. It has been successfully transformed into an Islamist terrorist training ground, complete with court-ordered mutilations and public hangings. Not unlike the Palestinian Authority, Chechnya has no economy to speak of, other than a thriving trade in weapons, drugs, and stolen goods.
Dare I say that Israel is a far better object of paleo sympathies than Russia? The latter is just now transitioning into democracy; Israel has been a stable democracy since its founding, and enjoys a free media and liberal courts. Compared to Russia’s terrorist-fighting tactics, Israel, warts and all, is a paragon of restraint. In the two Chechen wars, the Russian army killed tens of thousands of Chechen civilians and displaced many more.
Why, even the Israel-opposing magazine The American Conservative has conceded that “Israel is the only nation whose civilian courts have a broad jurisdiction over military actions,” and which, therefore, regularly reins in its military (March 14, 2005). Lastly, the Chechens are far and away more sympathetic than the Palestinians: Chechens have been fighting for independence since the 15th century; the Palestinian liberation movement is a contemporary and cynically calculating project.
But paleos, who’d never dream of blaming Putin for Chechnya, saddle Israel for “effectively strangling Palestinian statehood in its cradle,” as Scott McConnell, editor of TAC, lamented lately. Commensurate with his quotidian powers of observation, McConnell has joined Jimmy Carter in invoking apartheid as a metaphor for Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. The apartheid libel is fast replacing the Nazi and fascist ones, which have been mocked out of meaning.
The Israel-equals-apartheid slander is another of those inconsistencies principled paleos might want to avoid. Once-upon-a-time, American conservatives were quite nuanced about South Africa, given that they equated African majority rule with Marxism. Jimmy Carter, however, has never considered Marxism an impediment to mobocracy. Neither does the UN, Britain, and the rest of the international community, with which paleos nowadays unite to pile onto the Old South Africa.
What has replaced my South-African homeland is far more barbaric than was apartheid—unless McConnell thinks that segregation, and the death of a few hundred Africans in police custody over four decades, compares to an ongoing mini-genocide, approximately 300,000 slayings, and the complete disintegration of civilization in barely a decade.
Come to think of it, Israel will look a lot like democratic South Africa once millions of self-styled Arab refugees gain the right of return to Israel proper—a proposition that causes many a paleo to pucker up in thankful prayer.
Certain nihilists appear to believe that it’s preferable for their Palestinian protégés to be masters in a failed state than a minority in a functioning one.
Consistency is the touchstone of truth. If paleos wish to continue the revolution Rep. Ron Paul began, they will have to present a more consistent defense of the West. That includes Israel.
©2008 By Ilana Mercer