Friday, August 11, 2006

The Jew of the nations

Mark Steyn, writing about a fictionalised account of what was bitter reality for millions of Europe's Jews, restrictions on property ownership, makes the following point:

Israel is, in effect, subject to a geopolitical version of the same conditions endured by Lazarus the Jew in Anthony Hope's Strelsau. The Zionist Entity is for the moment permitted to remain in business but, like Aaron Lazarus, it's not entitled to the enforceable property rights of every other nation state. No other country -- not Canada, not Slovenia, not Thailand -- would be expected to forego the traditional rights of nations subjected to kidnappings of its citizens, random rocket attacks into residential areas, and other infringements of its sovereignty.

Which is true. Just for a laugh, I rewrote some of the current reporting on the war that Israel is fighting, as if it were Britain resisting attacks from terrorists in Ireland:

BBC BELFAST - 10 August 2006

IN WHAT HAS BECOME A familiar sight to the beleagured citizens of Belfast, RAF warplanes swept in over the horizon this morning to deal more death and destruction to a city in ruins. "This is a totally disproportionate response" said one. "They're waging war on women and children!" Meanwhile militants aligned with the IRA have promised swift retaliation, vowing to launch new long-range "Guinness" rockets that are said to be capable of reaching Manchester.

Three weeks into the war, despite devastating attacks that have left hundreds of thousands of innocent Irish as homeless refugees, and killed hundreds more, the British Armed Forces seem no closer to stopping the daily hail of rockets that has led to the virtual evacuation of Scotland and the North of England. Prime Minister Tony Blair has defended his country's actions, saying that the IRA's strategy of using civilians has "human shields" has unfortunately increased the civilian death toll, despite the best efforts of the British to encourage evacuation by dropping leaflets on cities and towns affected by the IRA's rocket campaign.

Meanwhile the UN has called for an immediate ceasefire, and an international force to ensure that the IRA does not threaten British civilians: the call was rejected by Blair, who reiterated his country's determination to destroy the IRA militant infrastructure. This has led to international condemnation, and even America, traditionally a strong supporter of the British state, has come under pressure from its Irish-American citizens, who are outraged that laser-guided bombs are being sent to Britian to aid in the war effort.

It seems the death knell of hopes for a resolution of the cycle of violence that has plagued these Atlantic islands for nearly a century. The withdrawal of the British forces from Ireland six years ago, and the unilateral handing over of Northern Ireland last year, had led some observers to speculate that the road map was on track for a peaceful resolution. The present conflict was sparked by the kidnapping of two British soldiers from a border post on the Scottish island of Islay, by militants aligned with the IRA. Holding two seats in the Irish parliament, the IRA has a militia which controls much of the eastern part of the island, contrary to a UN resolution requiring the Irish government to disarm all militias. It's not clear what the IRA hoped to achieve by doing this, since their nominal goal, a united Ireland, seems to have been achieved; but there are those who believe that nothing less than the total destruction of the Anglo-Saxon state, and a restoration of the Celtic dominion over all of Britain, will satisfy them. But whatever the truth, Britain seems to have been embarked on a venture it cannot win, and meantime the casualties mount up.

It just doesn't work. There is no way such things would ever be written about a country like Britain. The rules are different. Arnold Roth, whose daughter Malki was murdered by Palestinian terrorists, is bemused by the British reaction to the averted terror plot yesterday:

If the plot was thwarted -- a word that is being endlessly repeated in the British television reports on our screens this morning -- why has the security alert level in the UK been pushed up just now to its highest possible setting? -- "critical" meaning an attack is expected imminently, according to the BBC.

Suggested interpretation: when it's being done to you and your family, you don't take chances. We absolutely agree that if there is an imminent threat of something awful, every possible security measure has to be taken. But then stop claiming it was thwarted. At best, it was discovered, and the real work is still ahead. You're at war.

On the other hand, there has not been a single victim at this stage. Not one person wounded unless the police 'inquiries' led to some bruises or breaks among the suspects. Not one person killed. So we sincerely hope the British don't over-react. Or, Heaven forfend, react disproportionately.

Yes, we wouldn't want to have to chide Britain for a "disproportionate" response, now would we? Oh, hang on: they're not Jews! The rules are different! Mark Steyn again:

This isn't about who's right and who's wrong: there are regional flare-ups all over the map -- Ivory Coast, Congo, Bosnia -- and, regardless of the rights and wrongs, for the most part the world just sits back and lets them get on with it. There are big population displacements -- as there were, contemporaneous to the founding of Israel, in Europe and the Indian subcontinent -- but one side wins and the dust settles. The energy expended by the world in denying this particular regional crisis the traditional settlement is unique and perverse, except insofar as by ensuring that the "Palestinian question" is never resolved one is also ensuring that Israel's sovereignty is also never really settled: it, too, is conditional -- and, to judge from recent columns in the Washington Post and the Times of London, it's increasingly seen that way in influential circles -- tolerated as a current leaseholder but, like Anthony Hope's Jew, it can never truly own the land. The Jews are once again rootless transients, though, in one of history's blacker jests, they're now bemoaned in the salons of London and Paris as an outrageous imposition of an alien European population on the Middle East. Which would have given Aaron Lazarus a laugh. The Jews spent millennia on the Continent without ever being accepted as European. But no sooner are the Continent's Jewry all but extinct than suddenly every Jew left on the planet is a European.


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