According to news reports, the following firm statement of principle was issued last Thursday at the Texas Ranch of President Bush: “America is a country that was based on justice and freedom and doing what’s right. America should pursue those principles in its foreign policies.” Now, that’s the kind of moral clarity we need in our statesmanship.
But wait: That statement was made by Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
President Bush is reported to have told the crown prince: “We will not allow Israel to be crushed,” but also to have again “demanded” that Israel cease its military effort to destroy the infrastructure of Palestinian terror.
The crown prince said something good, but he meant something evil – that America should abandon Israel to destruction by her enemies. The president did the right thing, saying that American will not abandon Israel to complete destruction. And he did the wrong thing, insisting that America will continue to publicly discourage Israel from steps necessary to ensure against that destruction, and achieve the security to which she has a right.
With the world’s propaganda machine at full throttle in defense of Yasser Arafat, is it any wonder that people are confused about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and are persuaded to accept a false moral equivalency between the Israeli and Palestinian positions? Such confusion is already undermining the clarity of America’s policy on terrorism – as our continuing pressure on Israel, and passivity with Saudi Arabia, illustrate. American unity of purpose in the wake of 9-11 will not be worth much if we are only willing to recognize terrorist evil when it strikes Americans.
And with virulent anti-Semitism on the rise across Europe and in the Arab streets, is not America’s obligation to provide principled leadership, unwavering statesmanship, all the more urgent? American policy in the war on terror must reflect American moral clarity on why our relationship with Israel is, as the diplomats say, “special.”
History helps answer this question – the international consensus that founded modern Israel in the wake of the Holocaust reflected “the best conscience of the civilized world.” America’s support for Israel is an ongoing demonstration that America will stand with those who champion liberty and representative government, anywhere in the world, especially if they have the courage and integrity of Israel. Such commitments are not for sale at any price, and certainly not for the price of oil.
Today more than ever, America must stand with Israel particularly on the ground of our common opposition to the terrorist menace which threatens the independence, the morality, and the decent conscience not just of Israelis, but of every human being on the globe.
What is at stake in the Middle East is not just the survival of Israel, although the menace to Israel is real and immediate. If we learned anything on Sept. 11, then we should have learned that what is finally at stake in this confrontation is the survival of us all.
How best to proceed? With clarity – clarity and consistency. Step No. 1 must be to reject, absolutely, all those leaders everywhere in the world who deliberately turn their people’s children into weapons – suicide bombers with hearts of hate. We must utterly reject leaders who cynically exploit trust and innocence and idealism of the young for the sake of death and of raw, ruthless political power.
Such leaders have made it clear, as inhuman terrorists enacting inhuman violence against the innocent, that they are not willing to take part in our common human destiny. And so we must be steadfast in our insistence on their pariah status apart from responsible leaders of the civilized world.
President Bush was right last September: In the war against terror, there can be no neutrality. Every state that facilitates and encourages terror must stand accountable before the civilized world. And if an accounting of those terror states must include Iran, Iraq and North Korea, so must it include all of those who are willing to sponsor terrorism by subsidizing death, while hiding behind the duplicitous label of a phony moderation.
When we are willing to stand firmly in that judgment, we will not only make the world safer for a discussion of peace in the Middle East and the survival of the Jewish State of Israel. We will make it safer for a true fulfillment of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for responsible self-government. We will make it safer for the continued progress of our own people here in the United States. We will make the world safer by standing united and unyielding against terrorism.
Reaffirming our commitment to respect the sacredness of innocent life, in America and around the globe, is the key to the moral clarity essential to winning the war against terror. Our victory will be an important step in securing for all people the better destiny of freedom and self-government that is the birthright of our humanity. Israel and the United States stand together in the service of this noble goal. Who will stand with us?
Find out the truth about Arab-Israeli conflict in “Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine.”