The Paris attacks have sparked the resurgence of a pro-Israel talking point that was an important part of the discourse after 9/11: the west’s war with terrorism is just an extension of Israel’s war. It appears that these ideologues would gladly trade a world war for the sake of Israeli security.
Senator Chuck Schumer made the equation in the crudest fashion last night in an address to a Jewish education foundation in New York in which he asserted that the west had abandoned Israel during its fight against terrorism, and so the terrorism had metastasized to the west. Jacob Kornbluh reported for Jewish Insider, quoting Schumer:
“Israel and the Jewish people have been subject to the same type of terrorism since the 70s. And for so long, when it just happened to Israel, the world condoned it. They [may have not] condoned it, but maybe didn’t do much about it, and Israel had to fight terrorism on her own. And, because the world did not rise up, this terrorism, like a cancer, has spread throughout the world.”
“Had the world come down when the terrorists shot the Israeli athletes at the Olympics (in Munich 1972), or hijacked El AL planes, and come down on them hard, we wouldn’t have had what happened in Paris, today.”
It’s hard to believe that someone so smart could be so thoughtless, but Schumer is up for reelection and this must be seen as pandering. Though he is a devoted Zionist who often says that his name means Guardian in Hebrew and he is the guardian of Israel. And it is impossible for such fervent advocates to see any political basis in the terrorism, let alone perceive any real source of resentment in Israel’s actions.
Israeli PM Netanyahu made similar comments in Israel today, per Allison Deger:
“The time has come for the world to wake up and unite in order to defeat terrorism. The time has come for countries to condemn terrorism against us to the same degree that they condemn terrorism everywhere else in the world,” Netanyahu said at the start of a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.
Then in this April 2002 letter, it said that Israel’s war against terrorism — including Palestinian suicide attacks during the Second Intifada — was our war. Yasser Arafat was the same as Osama bin Laden; and why were we waiting on taking that war to Iraq:
In particular, we want to commend you for your strong stance in support of the Israeli government as it engages in the present campaign to fight terrorism. As a liberal democracy under repeated attack by murderers who target civilians, Israel now needs and deserves steadfast support. This support, moreover, is essential to Israel’s continued survival as a free and democratic nation, for only the United States has the power and influence to provide meaningful assistance to our besieged ally. And with the memory of the terrorist attack of September 11 still seared in our minds and hearts, we Americans ought to be especially eager to show our solidarity in word and deed with a fellow victim of terrorist violence.
No one should doubt that the United States and Israel share a common enemy. We are both targets of what you have correctly called an “Axis of Evil.” Israel is targeted in part because it is our friend, and in part because it is an island of liberal, democratic principles — American principles — in a sea of tyranny, intolerance, and hatred. As Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has pointed out, Iran, Iraq, and Syria are all engaged in “inspiring and financing a culture of political murder and suicide bombing” against Israel, just as they have aided campaigns of terrorism against the United States over the past two decades. You have declared war on international terrorism, Mr. President. Israel is fighting the same war.
This central truth has important implications for any Middle East peace process. For one spoke of the terrorist network consists of Yasser Arafat and the leadership of the Palestinian Authority….
Mr. President, it can no longer be the policy of the United States to urge, much less to pressure, Israel to continue negotiating with Arafat, any more than we would be willing to be pressured to negotiate with Osama Bin Laden or Mullah Omar. Nor should the United States provide financial support to a Palestinian Authority that acts as a cog in the machine of Middle East terrorism, any more than we would approve of others providing assistance to Al Qaeda.
Instead, the United States should lend its full support to Israel as it seeks to root out the terrorist network that daily threatens the lives of Israeli citizens. Like our own efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere, Israel’s task will not be easy. It will not be accomplished quickly or painlessly. But with fortitude, on our part as well on the part of the Israeli people, it can succeed in significantly reducing the risk of future terrorist attacks against Israel and against us. And, in so doing, we will give the Palestinian people a chance they have so far not had under Arafat’s rule — an opportunity to construct a political culture and government that do not marry their national and religious aspirations with suicide bombers.
Furthermore, Mr. President, we urge you to accelerate plans for removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.
Schumer and Netanyahu’s statements challenge American liberals to fully examine the neoconservative program, and its origins in the conviction that American power must be deployed to safeguard Israel’s security. Again: these guys are such committed Zionists I believe they actually would take a world war if they thought it would help Israel.