The answer to that question is no. But then, did not Balaam thus prophesize when he said the Israelites are a people that shall dwell alone?
Dwelling alone is not the curse it may seem. In the old days it meant that Israel would not be an imperial power, not set out to conquer its neighbors. Instead it would live in peace and quiet, following its path to a law-based society which its neighbors were free to adopt or ignore. Like America today, ancient Israel would conquer, if conquer it did, by example, because nations were attracted to its way of life. But in the ancient world the rising powers sought hegemony by conquest, not by borrowing and imitation. Thus did the nation that dwelt alone become a prize for the powers that contested for supremacy, the last of which was Imperial Rome. When the Judean revolt was finally put down in 138 C.E., the last vestige of Jewish autonomy was stamped out. The debate still rages among Jews today whether the Great Revolt was wise strategy.
For the following eighteen centuries the Jews were bereft of their country, living in exile: Babylonia, Germania, some as far away as India. Yet even in exile they lived alone, recreating a way of life that stood out from the surrounding society. A pariah people, the sociologist Max Weber called them. But it could also be said they were holding the torch aloft, keeping the flame of the rule of law alive until history caught up with humanity. When modernity finally burst on the scene, the Jewish contribution to civilization could truly flower and did. The modern arts and sciences are indebted to Jewish brains and ingenuity. And when Jewish nationalism joined the bandwagon of modern nation states that sought emancipation, the Jews finally returned home. The Zionism that Herzl founded envisioned a modern, liberal, pluralistic and science-driven society from which Jews had been exiled eighteen centuries earlier. And so it has become. Even the opponents of Israel who push for a boycott of Israeli goods and persons make exceptions on that score. Queers who denounce Israel do not want to deprive themselves of Israeli HIV cures. Green Party activists do not want to do without Israeli green energy technologies or drip irrigation. Even western homeland security agencies do not wish to deprive themselves of Israeli expertise dealing with terrorism. But all, along with western diplomats and politicians, nonetheless seek to realize the second line of Balaam’s prophecy, to wit: not only shall Israel dwell alone, it shall not be reckoned among the nations.
The most laughable example of this unremitting hostility to the Jewish state even on the part of its putative allies is their perennial affirmation of Israel’s right to exist before voting against it in international forums. Is there another country in the world about which statesmen talk in this manner? Does someone protest China’s human rights record by prefacing it with an affirmation of China’s right to exist? Are denunciations of Russia prefaced by this preamble? Are criticisms of Denmark? What about Qatar? Maybe the lady doth protest too much. Take France, for example, a supposedly modern country that prides itself on its glittering if worthless culture, now reduced to Roman churches, medieval chateaux and vineyards that are being bought up by Costco. France is busy trying to organize an international summit to enforce a peace on Israel she does not want, all the while protesting its good intentions. Yet its good intentions did not prevent France from voting for a UNESCO resolution that wiped out any Jewish attachment to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, thereby erasing three thousand years of Jewish history. Or take the Canadian Foreign Minister’s platitudes wherein he reaffirms Canada’s friendship for Israel while blaming Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria as an obstacle to the ridiculous two-state solution. Of course, he can take refuge in the shadow of the American President who does much the same thing via his State Department minions.
But if Israel’s allies are willing to vote Jewish history out of existence, why should it surprise anyone that they will continue to propagate the lie that Israeli settlements are an obstacle to peace? Did France give up Aquitaine to make peace with England? Did the Americans cede the Alamo to have peace with Mexico? Should Israel abandon Hevron, where they lived for three thousand years until the British kicked them out because of Arab pogroms, in order to have peace with the Palestinians? Does anybody seriously believe that the world needs one more terrorist state in the Middle East in order to promote peace in that region? For that is exactly what a Palestinian state would be. What is it now, after all, except a double enclave of thugs and theocratic gangsters who indoctrinate their children with Jew hatred, salt away western funds in Swiss bank accounts, luxury villas and state of the art SUVs while they maintain their ruthless rule via their monopoly of weapons and ideology? The real problem between Israel and the Palestinians is that the Palestinians, good Muslims all of them, do not and cannot recognize the Jewish state of Israel. Even the so-called moderate Abbas has demonstrated this once again in his recent denunciation of the Balfour Declaration as a crime for which he is suing Great Britain.
But Israel’s allies blithely ignore all this, just as they will not lift a finger when a Palestinian state, should it ever come into existence, unloads its RPGs at Israeli airports and sends murderers into Israeli cities to kill Jews at random. Then too, no doubt, they will find reasons to explain and justify Palestinian atrocities as a result of hopelessness induced by Jewish perfidy of one kind or another. That, after all, is what Ban Ki-Moon keeps opining in his op-ed pieces. And that is what President Obama and all his Jewish advisers and sycophants keep lecturing Israel about, as they amplify Palestinian lies that the settlements are an obstacle to peace, conveniently forgetting that no settlements existed before the 1967 war yet still there was no peace. But Obama thinks he knows better than the Israelis how to preserve both their sovereignty and democracy. Interestingly enough, he never tells the Palestinians what he dares tell the Israelis; never addresses university students in Ramallah the way he addressed university students in Jerusalem, encouraging them to be better than their leaders. In fact, he never addressed university students in Ramallah at all. Yet America is touted as Israel’s best friend and biggest ally. Yes, it supplies military hardware to Israel, but the best hardware it could supply it withholds, namely speaking up for the truth, honesty and decency, in the halls of international diplomacy. Instead it sneakily promotes the lies and canards of those anti-Semitic academics who suggest that America, to its detriment, is in thrall to the Israel lobby. If America and the rest of western democracies were truly Israel’s allies, they would support Israel to the hilt, denounce Palestinian intransigence and stop funding not only the Palestinian Authority, but also all those UN agencies and NGOs who are complicit in the slander and murder of Jews and wedded to the project of liquidating the Jewish state.
One should, I suppose, be thankful that Israel’s allies do not do worse. But as the saying goes, if these are my friends do I really need enemies? Diplomatic niceties aside, the sad truth is Israel has no true friends and no real allies, though every now and then one does sprout up. The former Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper was one such singular statesman. But such a true friend is quickly vilified by what passes for the intellectual classes of the western world, who still are wedded not only to some variant of socialism, but also to the socialism of the fools which the German Social Democrat, August Bebel, once called anti-Semitism. In retrospect, it seems the two always go together. Certainly this was the case with the writings of the man whose theory inspired the socialist movement, Karl Marx; and to the extent that this theory still holds sway in the minds of social science academics, it is little surprise that hostility to Israel fused with the embrace of Palestinian victimhood has become rampant in western universities. Nothing pleases these academics more than to denounce western democracy as a system rigged against its victims whose champions they claim to be. But since the proletariat never followed their call they have moved on to better causes. Climate change, for one, and a convenient one at that, because unlike the working class, the earth does not talk back. Given, however, it is always better to have a human component to the underclass, they have also latched on to the Palestinians, whose misery is never explained as the outcome of the Palestinians’ own faulty choices; only as the product of Israeli conduct in this latest version of the last shall be first.
Attempts to strong-arm Israel into giving in to Palestinian demands and committing national suicide is a direct consequence of this mindset. The same people who denounced the American adventure in Iraq as a futile exercise in nation-building are more than willing to do their own kind of nation-building in the guise of peace-making where Israel is concerned. Hence the bizarre situation where allies of Israel wind up committed to helping Israel achieve peace by urging it to turn its eastern border into the killing fields of Syria. That is their version of saving Israel from itself, as the op-ed people in the New York Times love to prattle on. No doubt, they think their righteousness is a good enough substitute for clear-minded thinking and historical fact, but that only reveals the religious wellsprings of their world view, even if they would be hard put to explain who Balaam was.
How ironic that all these self-described secularists, far too many of whom are Jews, are nonetheless quick to embrace Islam and defend it as the religion of peace it is not. How even more ironic that instead of looking to the bankruptcy of the paradigm with which they view the world, they plunge ever deeper into it, only to come up with the old anti-Jewish prejudice for which critical theory, with its dialectical garbage, was but the veneer from the outset. The thousands of pages which Marx and all his followers since have scribbled are like the Crusader armies that tore through the Rhineland and murdered Jews on their way to the Holy Land. The denouement, it seems, is playing itself out today across Europe, where Muslim migrants have established no-go zones in the heart of Germany, from which they sally forth to do battle much as do Palestinian youths from the homicidal training grounds of the Palestinian Authority. Our political and cultural elites would do well to start reading their Bible.
So would the Jews. For though it is not good not to be reckoned among the nations, it is also not so bad when the nations are losing their minds. If Israel’s allies are not really her allies – for what ally would ask another to self-destruct? – then Israel is finally forced to see that it has no choice but to go it alone. The more western democracies put the screws to Israel to give the Palestinian concessions that are both unmerited and dangerous, the more Israel will be forced to recognize that the peace process for which it yearns is dead in the water. Abbas’ most recent lie that Israel is plotting to murder him as he claims it murdered his predecessor Arafat, may his name be blotted out forever, is testimony to the total bankruptcy of the Palestinian experiment in nation-building. The time is already overdue when Israel should simply annex Judea and Samaria, liquidate the blood-crazed Palestinian leadership which seeks its liquidation, and then do everything in its power to get the remaining Palestinians to leave and return to the Arab nation from whence they came.
Then and only then will there be peace in the land. Of course, the self-styled progressive do-gooders of the western world will sputter with indignation, but even they might learn something. To wit: instead of projecting onto people your vision of the world, take a good hard look at it first. See what in fact people do and say before you take up their cause. Even Brecht warned us of the dangers the weak hold in store for the strong. Of the weak it may well be better to say: there but for the grace of God go I, rather than rail at the windmills of other people’s minds whom you blame, unjustly, for their plight. Calling the Palestinians to account, holding their feet to the fire for the millions in aid they have wasted indoctrinating an entire people to terror would do more for peace than any peace conference. Showing them there are consequences to your choices rather than blaming the fantasy of an occupation that is not one would also be a help. But Israel’s allies prefer to remain blind to what is really going on in that part of the world.
If the Jews join in in this blindness, they will have no one but themselves to blame for the impending disaster. As the late philosopher Emil Fackenheim never tired of warning us, after Hitler one more obligation was added to the 613 commandments Jews are enjoined to observe: the commandment to survive and not give Hitler a posthumous victory. Lest we forget, this means not only should Israel survive, but also each and every Jew who chooses to live there, also each and every one who chooses to make his or her way to Jerusalem. To turn that commandment into a reality Israel must do what it has to do, her allies be damned. And then the rest of Balaam’s prophecy shall come to pass.
“And when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he went not, as at the other times, to meet with enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness. And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel dwelling tribe by tribe; and the spirit of God came upon him. And he took up his parable and said: The saying of Balaam the son of Peor, And the saying of the man whose eye is opened; The saying of him who heareth the words of God, Who seeth the vision of the Almighty, Fallen down, yet with opened eyes: How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, Thy dwellings O Israel! As valleys stretched out, As gardens by the river-side; As aloes planted of the Lord, As cedars beside the waters; Water shall flow from his branches, And his seed shall be in many waters; And his king shall be higher than Agag, And his kingdom shall be exalted. God, who brought him forth out of Egypt Is for him like the lofty horns of the wild-ox; He shall eat up the nations that are his adversaries, And shall break their bones in pieces, And pierce them through with his arrows. He couched, he lay down as a lion, And as a lioness; who shall rouse him up? Blessed be every one that blesseth thee, And cursed be every one that curseth thee.” Amen.