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Jewish World Review
June 4, 2007
/ 18 Sivan, 5767
40 years after the Six-Day War, those eager to snuff out the Zionist flame still have it surrounded
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Forty years ago tomorrow, Israel wielded its terrible swift sword
against the attack-poised armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan and saved the Jewish state from destruction.
It was the Six-Day War, and the fledgling state's stunning victory over
enemies determined to annihilate it galvanized the world and changed the
Mideast map perhaps forever.
I was one of the handful of foreign correspondents who reached the front
during that monumentally brief battle. I was in Sinai on the first day,
then returned north and managed to enter Gaza just as that benighted
city was falling to Israel's largely civilian tank corps. Then it was on
Like anyone who believes in the justice of Israel's existence, I was
deeply relieved by its victory on June 10. I had heard the bloodthirsty
Arab threats of a new Holocaust. I had seen the "Kill the Jews" posters
in Gaza schools. I had seen the bunkers and mass graves that Israel had
been forced to dig in expectation of invasion, if not defeat.
Yet, as we mark its 40th anniversary, it's become fashionable in some
circles to rewrite the history of the Six-Day War. Radicals, so-called
"humanitarians" and others who love to hate Israel now claim that what
was essentially a war for survival was in fact just an excuse for
Zionist imperialism. Even serious journals like Britain's The Economist
say that while the war may have been necessary, it has ultimately proven
"a calamity for the Jewish state."
How ridiculous! Despite the seemingly insoluble problems that have
arisen over the past four decades not the least of them, Israel's
continuing rule over occupied territories and a million-plus hostile
Palestinians the war was not only necessary, it was one of Israel's finest hours.
If we are to be honest about the lessons learned, it's that many in the
Mideast will never, ever stop until they can wipe Israel off the map and therefore Israel must never succumb to naivete. Indeed, the core of Palestinians then and now reject the legitimacy of the Jewish state, seek its dismantlement and blame it for all Palestinian woes. What self-destruction!
There is no doubt that, in part because of self-inflicted strategic
mistakes, Israel is now in its weakest position in years. Its government
is faltering. Its current prime minister badly mismanaged last year's
Lebanese War and is now the least popular Israeli leader in history. Its
once powerful Labor Party is in disarray its party chief, inept
Defense Minister Amir Peretz, has been ousted from his job in an
election that left the title of party boss, and that of Labor's next
candidate for prime minister, contested by former Premier Ehud Barak and
former intelligence chief Ami Ayalon.
These days, Israel's leaders are not doing its history or its people justice. But what ultimately must unite them, what will unite them, is the fact that 40 years after the Six-Day War, those eager to snuff out the Zionist flame still have it surrounded.
Shortly after the fighting stopped in the summer of 1967, I interviewed
Golda Meir and asked her to sum up the importance of Israel's victory.
"The only way to understand," she said, "is to imagine what would have
happened if we had lost the war."
I still shudder to think. Israel's foes are eager to make the past
prologue only this time, with a different victor.
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The Arrogance of the French
This book will open your eyes!
Why do the French hate America? Richard Chesnoff has figured it out and informs us with entertaining clarity.
France sucks, but this book doesn't.
Michael Barone, Co-author, The Almanac of American Politics
Americans-and the French-will learn a lot from this book.
Clifford D. May, President, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
Richard Z. Chesnoff insightfully-and entertainingly-explores America's most dysfunctional relationship with America's least reliable ally.
Sales help fund JWR.
JWR contributor and veteran journalist Richard Z. Chesnoff is a contributing correspondent at US News & World Report, a columnist at the NY Daily News and a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Demoracies. A two-time winner of the Overseas Press Club Award and a recipient of the National Press Club Award, he was formerly executive editor of Newsweek International. His latest book, is "The Arrogance of the French: Why They Can't Stand Us & Why The Feeling Is Mutual". (Click on cover above to purchase. Sales help fund JWR. )
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© 2005, Richard Z. Chesnoff