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Jewish World Review Sept. 25, 2001 / 8 Tishrei, 5762

Marc Berley

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Why Can't Israel Be "With Us"? -- THE U.S. is showing a telling weakness in this war on terrorism. Once again, our coalition will exclude Israel, the country that is not only our truest ally but also the best at fighting terrorism.

It was an act of war. We will fight this war to win. We will make no distinction between the terrorists and those who harbor them. Countries will not be able to play it both ways: You're either with us or against us. So President Bush has iterated.

Why, then, can't Israel be "with us"? Because "moderate" Arab states won't be "with us" if we allow Israel to be.

Nor, of course, will the immoderate Arab states. Must the U.S. seek to put terrorist-harboring Syria in our anti-terrorism "coalition?" We doubtless want the help of strategically placed nations. But is excluding Israel to court softer support truly part of a plan for victory?

When Bush says you're either with us or against us, that implies an alignment based on basic principles. The Bush administration has repeatedly warned that countries can no longer have it both ways.

Wouldn't that apply to the U.S. too? Isn't America allied to Israel? And doesn't the September 11th attack make Israel even more "with us" than it was before?

But the attack on America has succeeded with the crowning achievement of its mission: causing the U.S. to renounce the very principles for which we are supposedly fighting. Our friends may not be with us. On the contrary, those who have long harbored the terrorists may be suddenly -- and evanescently -- "with us."

Ten years ago, during Desert Storm, the U.S. asked Israel to lie down and take the scud missiles launched from Iraq. Now, again, as America wages war, it urges a dangerous pacifism on Israel. Only days after planes struck the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, President Bush urged Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to push forward with a meeting between Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat.

Calming tensions between Israel and Palestinians, observed Peres, is part of the American plan for victory. America wants "to create a coalition that includes Arabs and Muslims," he said. Peres thinks Arafat should be considered a terrorist leader.

Arafat has been harboring terrorists, including suicide bombers, for years On September 11th, Palestinians cheered the destruction of thousands of American lives. And they continue to cheer, holding up posters of Osama bin Laden. Americans will not see this on the news, though. Palestinian police have confiscated the equipment of Western news agencies that captured the facts of Palestinian allegiance on tape and film.

Where is America's resolve to make honest distinctions about Arafat and the Palestinians? Is global political correctness more terrifying than terrorism?

Not only have the terrorists imperiled America's economy and freedom. They have also succeeded at turning us against ourselves. We might not notice it yet, united as we are in the early days of war. But we'll notice it when our coalition -- including European and "moderate" Arab nations whose support is soft -- starts to fall apart.

Indeed, things may fall apart even before they begin. Consider what Italian Defense Minister Antonio Martino said Sunday: "The term 'war' is inappropriate. It is not a conflict between states and Italian troops will not go anywhere." Germany quickly followed by softening its support. And the unity in the U.S. Congress appears already to have begun fissuring behind the scenes.

Italy and Germany might be trying to buy protection. But what is the U.S. doing by urging Israel to make peace with terrorism. What is it doing by giving Arafat yet another pass? It is revealing its inability to match its early anti-terrorism rhetoric with necessary deeds.

The spirit of the American people is awesome; it puts a lump in one's throat. But I've a thought to share with my leaders: The terrorists who killed thousands of Americans acted on a very deep hatred, the same kind of hatred that makes them want to destroy Israel, but a separate, distinctly anti-American hatred that makes them want to destroy America. Why America? Because America, the land of liberty, even more than tiny Israel, is the great enemy of the violent holy war that is the Jihad.

The Jihad wants American influence out of the Middle East, and it wants Israel gone. It seeks to divide the U.S. and Israel, and thus to conquer both.

We are Israel now. By shunning Israel, we betray ourselves. We'll never fight a real war against terrorism until we can have a coalition that includes Israel.

"We will not pay the price for the establishment of this coalition," said Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. But perhaps America will.

It does America no good to have a will for war if we do not have the will to identify honestly our real friends and enemies.

JWR contributor Marc Berley, president of the Foundation for Academic Standards & Tradition, is author of After the Heavenly Tune and co-editor of The Diversity Hoax. Comment by clicking here.


09/20/01: Because We're America

© 2001, Marc Berley