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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 3, 2006 / 9 Menachem-Av, 5766

It's not just about land

By Victor Davis Hanson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Despite the claims of terrorist organizations, Israel's current two-front war is not just about land. After all, Hezbollah and Hamas fired rockets from Lebanon and Gaza well after Israel had withdrawn from both places.


Indeed, if sacred Arab ground were the driving force of the Middle East crisis, then surely Syria itself would now be willing to risk a shooting war over the all important Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Meanwhile, Cairo is still perhaps the nexus of virulent Arab anti-Semitism, even though Israel finished handing over Sinai to Egypt in 1982.


The world prayed that after the unilateral departure of Israel from Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005, and the recent elections in Beirut and the West Bank, it was witnessing an incremental evolution toward a lasting peace between rational democratic states.


Gradually, Israel was returning to its 1967 borders. In response, gradually, it was hoped, Israel's Arab neighbors would vote into office reasonable statesmen who would renounce terror and get on with the business of crafting workable economies and governments. But all that optimism presupposed a radical change in the Middle Eastern mentality. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened.


So, if the most recent war in Lebanon and Gaza is not about land per se, then whence arises the elemental desire to destroy Israel?


The answer boils down to Islamists feeling their reputation is at stake. Words like "honor" and "pride" are evoked — in the sense that they need to be regained — by every insecure radical in the Islamic world, from al-Qaida's Osama bin Laden to Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Fist-shaking crowds, fiery mullahs and terrorists all boast of not giving an inch to infidels, and of the restoration of the now sullied honor of the Islamic people.


Why their hurt?


For about the last half-century, globalization has passed most of the recalcitrant Middle East by — economically, socially and politically. The result is that there are now few inventions and little science emanating from the Islamic world — but a great deal of poverty, tyranny and violence. And rather than make the necessary structural changes that might end cultural impediments to progress and modernity — such as tribalism, patriarchy, gender apartheid, polygamy, autocracy, statism and fundamentalism — too many Middle Easterners have preferred to embrace the reactionary past and the cult of victimization.


At one time or another, they have welcomed all the bankrupt ideologies that traditionally blame others for prior self-induced failure: fascism, communism, Baathism, Pan-Arabism and, most recently, Islamic fundamentalism.


When there is high unemployment, corruption, zero economic growth, endemic illiteracy and no freedom, mullahs, dictators and jihadists of the Middle East always seem to fault the ancient colonial power — Britain, France or Italy (though rarely Islamic Turkey) — that supposedly set them back over a century ago. Or they try blaming the omnipotent United States whose oilmen developed the riches of the Gulf and whose military has saved Muslims from Kosovo to Kuwait.


But above all, for decades leaders like Gamal Nasser, Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat and Osama bin Laden have scapegoated tiny Israel.


It is the closest Western bogeyman, and its Holocaust survivors transformed a part of desert into a technologically sophisticated Western state. Israel's astounding success is a constant irritant to many nearby Muslims, representing the infidel's ability to fashion a prosperous Middle Eastern society without oil revenues under democratic auspices.


Victimization turns out to be the real creed of the Middle East, uniting disparate Shiites, Sunnis, dictators, theocrats and terrorists. "They did it to us" offers an easy explanation of why Islamic states are now weak and offer little hope to millions of their poor, who, ironically, emigrate to the much pilloried West by the millions.


American cash aid, Israeli concessions, windfall petrol profits and, most of all, appeasement of radical Islamists can do nothing to alleviate these perceived grievances.


Instead, there will be no peace in the general Middle East until Iranians and Arabs have true constitutional government, free institutions, open markets and the rule of law. Without these reforms, they will continue to fail, seeking easy refuge in the shreds of mythical ancestral honor — and this pathetic neurosis of blaming nearby Israel for the loss of it.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and military historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Comment by clicking here.


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