Saturday, August 05, 2006

With Friends Like This...

What does it mean to support Israel? In the modern parlance, it has come to mean supporting the positions of the government in power there or, specifically any military or security measures taken. This seems to be an extension of rightist idea that hawkish=patriotic. But I would argue that to truly support a country is to be concerned about the security of its people. I know a number of people who aren't anti-Israel or anti-Semitic but have serious problems with the way the current situation in Lebanon is being handled. They feel that the Israeli people will not be safer as a result of this. In my opinion, that is a perfectly valid and arguable position, even if you think it's wrong. But such individuals will automatically be labeled as anti-Israel or pro-terrorist in some circles. (Unfortunately, because there are genuine anti-Semitic/anti-Zionist factions who have hijacked the peace movement and the left in general, rational arguments have been obscured. I'll have more on that in my next post when I discuss the Euston Manifesto.)

What about governments or political parties? Stephen Harper claims to support Israel, and his government has been clear in their statements that they are on Israel's side, eschewing the appearance of neutrality that other parties advocate. His commitment to have Canada vote against frivolous anti-Israel UN resolutions is a refreshing change from the previous government. But just like those resolutions are merely symbolic and have no pragmatic consequences, his support for Israel has, so far, been symbolic and without anything tangible. No military support. No increased financial aid. Just a few photo-ops in synagogues - but I'll grant him that he looks good in a yarmulke.

In the United States, it's harder to draw delineations between the two major parties where Israel is concerned. The Republicans claim to be more Israel-friendly, and they use that meme to try to attract more Jewish voters. But are they really? The Bush administration has certainly shown itself to be closer to the Israeli hawks, but both parties support the present incursion into Lebanon. Having said all that, the question has to be raised about how good Bush has been for Israel. Ronald Reagan asked the voters if they were better off than four years earlier, so it's fair to ask if Israel is better off now than it was when Bush came into office. In the previous administration, Bill Clinton tried to broker a peace deal. Yes, the process was flawed, and Yasser Arafat wasn't the ideal partner for peace, and there was a loss of momentum and mutual respect after the senseless murder of Yitzhak Rabin, but at least there was a good long time when there weren't any rockets flying or suicide bombings. Terrorism requires a lot of volunteers from the grassroots, and to carry out that type of dirty work you really need to be motivated. When there is hope, that motivation is diffused. For a time there was hope, because a huge effort was made to get the deal done. The effort failed, but not from neglect on the part of the U.S. On the other hand, Bush has taken a laissez-faire approach to the Israeli-Palestinian situation, and the results have been disastrous by any measure. But I guess the road to Hell was paved with good intentions.


Blogger Joe said...

The problem starts when the only source of news and information you have is being used by the terrorists to diseminate mis-information and DECEPTION.

Take a look at PALLYWOOD and HIZBALLYWOOD at

8/06/2006 02:49:00 a.m.  
Blogger Jaymeister said...


I agree that the terrorists have manipulated the images - as we know, truth is the first casualty of war, and of no consequence to terrorists. However, I don't follow the relevance of that in the context of this post.

8/06/2006 09:57:00 a.m.  

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