Israeli often mimics America’s worst notions, rather than its best
wo dramatic scenes from Israel’s recent three-day military campaign against Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Gaza provide a telling tale.
The IDF released a video of an IDF warplane about to fire missiles at a PIJ arms depot below. They held off because they saw a single man, who might have been a civilian, walking nearby. The second scene showed an IDF warplane firing a single missile at an apartment building, one floor above the story where one of the Islamic Jihad leaders was hiding. The idea was to minimize damage to the building, while hoping the ceiling would cave in on the terrorist and kill him. This time, it happened to work.
The IDF portrayed this as proof that they are an ethical army. That’s meritorious to a point; however, terrorist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad, and rogue nations like Iran, only wear wide smirks when they see how risk-averse the IDF has become, due to fear of the maddening crowd of the international community.
IDF campaigns that used to last ten days are now condensed into three. Even the US won’t give Israel freer rein than that. When Gadi Eisenkot joined Benny Gantz’s party two weeks ago for the upcoming election, he made “separation from the Palestinians” into the centerpiece of his campaign. He too is succumbing to the same leftist guilt complex that Russell Berman described above, in which Israel shoulders the blame for a century of Arab rejectionism.
A week later, Yair Lapid berated the head of the Mossad for daring to tell the Biden administration that the pending Iran nuclear deal was more dangerous than the first one. Lapid may agree, but he wants to be in charge of the message, while both he and Gantz, dripping with arrogance, will prattle to anyone who will listen that only they know how to talk to American officials, as if no one else in Israel’s 74 years of statehood (mainly Binyamin Netanyahu) possessed an iota of diplomatic skill.
To tie this all together, the National Interest’s Jacob Heilbrunn quoted Henry Kissinger, who criticized the American university system for producing activists instead of potential statesmen.
“Whether this development can truly be arrested is an open question,” Heilbrunn writes. “The American mind has been closing for a while.”
Israeli often mimics America’s worst notions, rather than its best. It’s not a recipe for success in a world that’s becoming more complex and dangerous by the day.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 926)
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