Eight years ago, in conversation with a wild-eyed Israeli-American member of Peace Now who was forcefully advocating for the expulsion of some 8,000 Jews from Gaza, I argued that:
1. Jews have the right to live anywhere, Brooklyn, London, Paris, Cairo, Damascus, Oslo, and yes, Gaza. Once you agree that, for the sake of, ahem, peace, Area X must be cleansed of Jews, you are conceding that Jews have no rights anywhere. This is nothing less than national suicide.
2. Thus, the Jews of Gaza were defending the the Jews of Jerusalem and the Jews of Tel Aviv, together with the rights of Jews who live anywhere and everywhere in the world.
3. Finally, the conflict with the so-called Palestinians was not about land, not about national boundaries, not about so-called refugees, and most certainly not about so-called occupation. This is an existential conflict where one side, the Arab Muslims, has vowed to annihilate the Jewish state, and then finish the job that Hitler started. In short, the Jews seek peace, while the Muslim Arabs seek genocide.
The Israeli-American leftie scoffed at my thesis, stating:
1. The cost of defending the Jews of Gaza was too high, in blood and treasury.
2. Israel’s standing in the world community was besmirched by the “occupation” of Gaza.
3. Regarding genocide: My leftie friend smirked, called me an alarmist, and explained: “They just use that language to whip up their base. When push comes to shove and Israel gets serious about peace, they will be quite reasonable.”
I countered that if the Jews of Gaza were expelled, the Jihadists would claim another victory over the Zionist invaders and Gaza would become a front-line terrorist state.
The leftie assured me that once the Jews of Gaza were gone, things might not be great, but they would be — and this is a direct quote — “much better.”
Well, a year later, the Israeli government, in a secret deal with the U.S., expelled the 8,000 Jews of Gaza. The Arab Muslims immediately turned Gaza into a notorious terrorist state, ruled with an iron fist by Hamas, an Islamist gang whose charter calls for the annihilation of the Zionist entity and the liquidation of all Jews everywhere. Rockets and mortars flew into Israel from Jew-free Gaza.
The expulsion was a resounding victory for jihadists.
Since then, Israel has gone into Gaza every few years, cleaned out a few bunkers and killed a few jihadist leaders — and has been viciously condemned on the world stage for the crime of self-defense and disproportionate use of power.
Of course, disproportionate use of power is the definition of fighting and winning a war.
But at some point, Israel decided that winning was not an option. So Israel’s disproportionate use of power was not so much.
Winning is too — well, mean.
Israel, left and right, settled on a doctrine of containment. Hold the line until something happens. And then unicorns and rainbows will flourish in the Middle East.
Of course, the exact opposite happened.
The Arab Muslims attack with homicide bombers, rockets, mortars and missiles. Israel exercises restraint and then gets fed up, decides to act. Air campaign. Boom! Boom! Boom! Ground incursion. The Arabs dig up dead babies and display their broken corpses for the jackal journalists. The UN condemns Israel. Ceasefire.
Israel buries her dead, mourns and moves on, hoping that this time the Arabs have learned their lesson.
The Arabs have, indeed, learned their lesson as they ululate their victory over the Jewish usurpers. They have learned to build better bunkers, more accurate rockets, and set up more effective chains of command to their field operatives — for the next round.
Most important, the Arabs have learned that the Jews don’t really mean to win the war. They understand all too clearly that the Jews’ only strategy is to survive and to be loved by the Jew-hating world community.
Like kabuki, the conflict plays out in the same ritualized manner every few years. And Operation Pillar of Defense will, I’m afraid, be no different.
And in a few years, the missiles of Islam will be even more numerous, far more accurate, and impervious to Iron Dome.
The Jews of Gaza were expelled by the Jews of Tel Aviv.
In the not-so-distant future, the Jews of Tel Aviv will pay the price. So will the Jews of Berlin, Paris, London, Oslo, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong.
Finally: The very great Jeane Kirkpatrick, a life-long Democrat, was invited by Ronald Reagan to join his administration. Kirkpatrick, by that time deeply disillusioned by her party’s lurch to the left, asked Reagan to explain his Cold War strategy towards the Soviet Union.
Said Reagan: “We win. They lose.”
Unless Israel faces reality and decides to win, the Jewish state will lose.
My friend Jameel of the Muqata is live-blogging the war.