Obstacles to Peace.
The phrase is familiar to those of us who follow the news out of the Middle East routinely, habitually, obsessively, year in and decade out in short, more than is good for any sane person.
Obstacles to Peace can be safely defined as anything the Israelis are doing at the moment.
So when the Israelis put up a barrier to keep guerrillas and suicide bombers out, they're erecting . . . an obstacle to peace. And the United Nations is sure to condemn them for it.
The U.N. now has sicced the International Court of Justice at the Hague onto the Israelis' wall, asking for an advisory opinion. As if the U.N. ever needed advice before condemning Israel. Just look at the record:
The Jewish state is the only one of the UN's 100-some-odd members, and some are very odd indeed, to be excluded from serving on its Security Council.
In passing its annual resolution condemning religious intolerance, the U.N.'s General Assembly deliberately excludes any mention of anti-Semitism.
When all is said and nothing done, there really is only one real obstacle to peace in the Middle East: Israel's existence. That's the only thing Yasser Arafat's Fatah, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and all those other peace-loving outfits seek to remove.
And the United Nations has gone along, time after time. It sponsored the most rabid anti-Semitic rally since Nuremberg at Durban, South Africa, just in time to kick off the latest Intifada.
Israel remains the only country in the world not allowed to designate its own capital, Jerusalem. At least not at the United Nations. Or in Washington, for that matter.
As Yasser Arafat tried to tell Bill Clinton at Camp David, just before rejecting still another Israeli peace offer, the Jews have no historical connection to the Temple Mount. (Which would have surprised King David.)
Martin Luther King Jr. called Zionism the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. In 1975, the General Assembly of the United Nations called it an international crime.
The American ambassador to the U.N. at the time, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, summed up that resolution in one word: Obscene. His impassioned protest before the U.N. remains one of the great appeals for justice in the history of that temple of hypocrisy. ("The United States rises to declare before the General Assembly of the United Nations, and before the world, that it does not acknowledge, it will not abide by, it will never acquiesce in this infamous act.")
Now the world court has been summoned to pass judgment on Israel's wall.
Never mind that the United Nations has already condemned the barrier in the best tradition of verdict-first, advisory-opinion-later justice.
American and European diplomats have objected to the court's taking this case despite its own rules. (Those rules bar the court from considering "contentious issues" without the consent of all parties to the case.) But the objections from the West have been discreet, politic, legalistic and oh-so-diplomatic.
No one says it out loud: A lynch mob in black robes is still a lynch mob.
This time the United States of America has not risen to denounce these proceedings for the moral outrage they are. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, he dead.
It's explained that the United Nations isn't being anti-Semitic when it tolerates the vilest anti-Jewish canards, ghettoizes the Jewish state, takes it to court for seeking to defend itself . . . . No, the U.N. is only questioning Israel's policies. Just doing what's necessary.
All of which reminds me of an old joke: What's an anti-Semite? Answer: Someone who hates Jews more than is absolutely necessary.
At least I used to think it was a joke.
Adrian Monk, television's obsessive detective, would have no problem spotting the real criminal at work here, or at least the accessory before, after and during the fact. The clues are as numerous as all those U.N. resolutions.
To quote the show's theme song, an amusing little ditty by Randy Newman:
It's a jungle out there
Disorder and confusion everywhere
No one seems to care . . .
People think I'm crazy, 'cause I worry all the time
If you paid attention, you'd be worried, too
You better pay attention
Or this world we love so much . . . might . . . just. . . kill . . . you!
I could be wrong now, but I don't think so
It's a jungle out there.
At least I used to think it was amusing.