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Monday, July 06, 2009

A new world?

Daniel Gordis argues that Israel must acknowledge the reality that no one cares anymore that we are subject to a double standard and that we must do what we need to do to survive.
We're living in world operating according to rules that we're just beginning to understand. Convinced of the legitimacy of at least much of our position, for years we ignored the warning signs that the world was turning on us, that it has grown tired of the conflict in the Middle East, and that it believes we are the reason the conflict will not subside.

The world didn't change overnight. We simply weren't watching.

NOW THERE is no more denying the new ground rules. Barack Obama is not really changing them. Perhaps he is shifting America's position, perhaps not. But more than anything, he is simply articulating infinitely more clearly than anyone else has what it is that the world has come to believe. And we are going to have to learn to operate not in the world we wish existed, but in the world that does exist. And in this new world, Israel is going to be held to standards that are infinitely less tolerant than the standards to which the rest of the world is accountable.

Consider, after all, events of just the past few weeks. In the aftermath of the Iranian election, much of the world watched with admiration and hope as Iranians took to the streets to insist on their (supposed) democratic rights. When the Iranian government resorted to intimidation, silencing of the press, force and then murder, the world was horrified - but it was also quiet. Where were the mass rallies across Europe and on those North American campuses where students were still to be found calling for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to back down? Where were the heads of state clamoring to get in front of television cameras calling for a new election? To be sure, the world was unhappy, but this was hardly an outpouring of support or of condemnation.

Compare that to the world's reaction to the Gaza operation half a year ago. To be sure, the circumstances were entirely different. Iran's election is an internal matter, while the Gaza op was not. And other differences abound. But Israel was responding to eight years of shelling of its citizens in what is undisputedly its territory (unless one disputes the notion that any territory is legitimately ours - which, in fact, is exactly Hamas' position); nonetheless, even before the urban warfare began, the world was unanimous and vocal that the operation had to end.

An almost deadening silence in one instance. And deafening outcries of excessive force in the other. Welcome to the new world.
Gordis provides only a very brief prescription for what Israel can do.
In this new world, the spotlight will almost always be on Israel. Settlement building. Roadblocks. Lieberman. We're going to have to learn to alter that. Make some accommodations, but demand - clearly and unequivocally - that the Palestinians do the same. Netanyahu, or whoever follows him, is going to have to learn to keep the ball, and the world's attention, squarely in and on their court. Like it or not, Israel needs to take the initiative, time and time again - because nothing else will work.
I believe Gordis has nailed it. He could have added what's going on in Honduras to the equation. The latest story has Nicaragua moving troops to the Honduran border (Hat Tip: Jonah Goldberg).
Honduras' interim President Roberto Micheletti said on Sunday Nicaraguan troops were moving to the mutual frontier and urged Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to respect Honduran sovereignty.

He gave no further details about troop movements in Nicaragua which shares a border with Honduras to the southeast of the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa.
His comments came as ousted President Manuel Zelaya attempted to fly home a week after he was ousted in a coup. Zelaya is a left-wing ally of Ortega and Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez.
The situation in Honduras is frightening. The country's President attempts to turn himself into a dictator, is blocked by the courts and the army, and instead of the United States backing a democracy, it allows Honduras to be expelled from the OAS and chooses to back the Marxist friend of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Cuba's Fidel Castro and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega? Does anyone still believe that Samantha Power's scenario of sending US troops to establish a 'Palestinian' state reichlet is so far-fetched? A new world indeed.

Read the whole thing.


At 9:58 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel faces grave dangers to its sovereignty and independence. No amount of wishful thinking will erase the need to confront and overcome them. Iran's putative nuclear bomb is the least of Israel's problems.

Hopenchange, any one?


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