There is a lot of worry popping up in the media just now --
"Can Israel Survive?"
Don't worry about it.
It relates to something that Palestinians, the Arabs, and perhaps most
Americans don't realize -- the Jews are never going quietly again. Never.
And if the world doesn't come to understand that, millions of Arabs are
going to die. It's as simple as that.
Throughout the history of the world, the most abused, kicked-around race
of people have been the Jews. Not just the holocaust of World War II, but
for thousands of years. They have truly been "The Chosen People" in a
terrible and tragic sense.
The Bible story of Egypt's enslavement of the Jews is not just a story, it
is history, if festooned with theological legend and heroic epics.
In 70 A.D. the Romans, which had for a long time tolerated the Jews --even
admired them as 'superior' to other vassals -- tired of their truculent
demands for independence and decided on an early "Solution" to the Jewish
problem. Jerusalem was sacked and reduced to near rubble,
Jewish resistance was pursued and crushed by the implacable
Roman War Machine -- seeMasada. And thus began The Diaspora,
the dispersal of Jews throughout the rest of the world. Their homeland
destroyed, their culture crushed, they looked desperately for the few niches
in a hostile world where they could be safe.
That safety was fragile, and often subject to the whims of moody hosts.
The words 'pogrom', 'ghetto', and 'anti-Semitism' come from this treatment of
the first mono-theistic people. Throughout Europe changing times meant
sometimes tolerance, sometimes even warmth for the Jews, but eventually it
meant hostility, then malevolence.
There is not a country in Europe or Western Asia that at one time or
another has not decided to lash out against the children of Moses, sometimes
by whim,sometimes by manipulation.
Winston Churchill calls Edward I one of England's very greatest kings. It
was under his rule in the late 1200's that Wales and Cornwall were hammered
into the British crown, and Scotland and Ireland were invaded and occupied.
He was also the first European monarch to set up a really effective administrative
bureaucracy, surveyed and censused his kingdom,established laws and political divisions.
But he also embraced the Jews. Actually Edward didn't embrace Jews so much
as he embraced their money.
For the English Jews had acquired wealth -- understandable, because this
people that could not own land or office, could not join most of the
trades and professions, soon found out that money was a very good thing to
accumulate. Much harder to take away than land or a store, was a hidden
sock of gold and silver coins.
Ever resourceful, Edward found a way -- he borrowed money from the Jews to
finance imperial ambitions in Europe, especially France. The loans were
almost certainly not made gladly, but how do you refuse your King?
Especially when he is 'Edward the Hammer'.
Then, rather than pay back the debt, Edward simply expelled the Jews.
Edward was especially inventive -- he did this twice. After a time, he
invited the Jews back to their English homeland, borrowed more money, then
expelled them again.
Most people do not know that Spain was one of the early entrants into The
Renaissance. People from all over the world came to Spain in the late
medieval period. All were welcome -- Arabs, Jews, other Europeans. The
University of Salamanca was one of the great centers of learning in the
world -- scholars of all nations, all fields came to Salamanca to share their
knowledge and their ideas.
But in 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella, having driven the last of Moors from
the Spanish Shield, were persuaded by the righteous fundamentalists of the time
to announce "The Act of Purification". A series of steps were taken in
which all Jews and Arabs and other non-Christians were expelled from the
country, or would face the tools and the torches of The Inquisition. From this
cleansing come the Sephardic Jews --- as opposed to the Ashkenazis or
In Eastern Europe, the sporadic violence and brutality against Jews are
common knowledge. 'Fiddler' without the music and the folksy humor. At
times of fury, no accommodation by the Jew was good enough, no profile low
enough, no village poor enough or distant enough.
From these come the near-steady flow of Jews to the United States. And
despite the disdain of the Jews by most 'American' Americans they came to
grab the American Dream with both hands, and contributed everything from
new ideas of enterprise in retail and entertainment to becoming some of our
finest physicians and lawyers. The modern United States, in spite of itself,
IS The United States, in part because of its Jewish blood.
Then the Nazi Holocaust -- the corralling, sorting, orderly eradication of
millions of the people of Moses. Not something that other realms in other
times didn't try to do, by the way, the Germans were just more organized
and had better murder technology.
I stood in the center of Dachau for an entire day, about 15 years ago,
trying to comprehend how this could have happened. I had gone there on a side
trip from Munich, vaguely curious about this Dachau. I soon became engulfed
in the enormity of what had occurred there nestled in this middle and working
How could human beings do this to other human beings, hear their cries,
their pleas, their terror, their pain, and continue without apparently even wincing?
I no longer wonder. At some times, some places, ANY sect of the human
race is capable of horrors against their fellow man, whether a member of the
Waffen SS, a Serbian sniper, a Turkish policeman in 1920's Armenia, a
Because even in the United States not all was a Rose Garden. For a long
time Jews had quotas in our universities and graduate schools. Only so many
Jews could be in a medical or law school at one time. Jews were disparaged
widely. I remember as a kid Jewish jokes told without a wince -- "Why do
Jews have such big noses?"
Well, now the Jews have a homeland again. A place that is theirs.
And that's the point. It doesn't matter how many times the United States
and European powers try to rein in Israel, if it comes down to survival of its
nation, its people, they will fight like no lioness has ever fought to
save her cubs. They will fight with a ferocity, a determination, and a skill,
that will astound us.
And many will die, mostly their attackers, I believe. If there were a
macabre historical betting parlor, my money would be on the Israelis to be
standing at the end. As we killed the kamikazes and the Wehrmacht soldaten
of World War II, so will the Israelis kill their suicidal attackers, until
there are not enough to torment them.
The irony goes unnoticed -- while we are hammering away to punish those
who brought the horrors of last September here, we restrain the Israelis from
the same retaliation. Not the same thing, of course --
We are We & they are they.
While we mourn and see the at September 11th, we don't notice that Israel
has a September 11th sometimes every day.
We may not notice, but it doesn't make any difference.
And it doesnt make any difference whether you are pro-Israeli or you think
Israel is the bully of the Middle East.
If it comes to where a new holocaust looms -- with or without the
concurrence of the United States and Europe -- Israel will lash out without pause
or restraint at those who would try to annihilate their country.
The Jews will not go quietly again.