The very question would have been unthinkable at one time. Israel, reborn after an exile that was almost comically lengthy, had a modicum of international support until the tiny nation went Bruce Lee on the Arab world in the Six Day War.
Bleeding and humiliated, the surrounding Arab countries then began an oh-so-effective propaganda campaign that now has too many people asking an odious question: “Should Israel Exist?”
This is the title of a terrific new book by acclaimed author Michael Curtis, and his sub-title says it all: “A Sovereign Nation Under Attack by the International Community.”
Today in the international community, the Palestinians have succeeded in introducing a novel idea – centering around Israel disappearing – but posed as two scenarios: Either a “two-state” solution, by which the Palestinian state would be armed to the teeth and serve as a staging area for the final Final Solution; or a “bi-national” state of Palestine, where Jews and Arabs would gather wildflowers and sit under the stars for a folk music concert.
Both “state” ideas are in fact merely window dressing for the goal of Yasser Arafat’s life: the destruction of Israel.
The good guys have a host of skilled troops still left on the front lines of this propaganda war, however, and Curtis would rank as a field general.
In his book, Curtis (a distinguished professor emeritus of political science at Rutgers) takes on a series of issues that really are charges against Israel: colonialism, apartheid, the Arab “right of return” and the “occupation,” among many others. He deftly presents the facts in each case, displaying Israel’s critics/assassins as bereft of truth.
In Chapter 5 (“The Charge of Apartheid: The Big Lie”), Prof. Curtis lists the groundwork that was laid in charging Israel with being an apartheid state, a la South Africa.
He then writes: “All this prejudice was paradoxically the perversion of reality.”
He then goes on to piece-by-piece dismantle this most reprehensible charge, pointing out that unlike South Africa, for instance, the Israelis have always allowed the minority people (in this case the Palestinians) such things as voting rights and positions in government!
Chapter 16 (“The Issue of Settlements”) exposes some of the most egregious lies about Israel and is one of my favorite sections of “Should Israel Exist?”
Here is where Curtis really shines as an historian and writer: “After the 1967 war, Cyrus Vance, then U.S. Secretary of State, on July 29, 1967, asserted ‘it is an open question as to who has legal right to the West Bank.’”
(How funny that this same Vance was later one of the nuttier features of the Jimmy Carter era.)
Curtis provides this kind of historical data, which Israel’s critics either don’t know, or conveniently forget: “The initial problem is the fact that the areas now known as Israel and the West Bank were only provinces of the Ottoman Empire, rather than states, either Israeli or Palestinian, with their own sovereignty.”
We usually hear that the Jews came in and stole Palestinian land, period.
One of the most intriguing outcomes of “Should Israel Exist?” is a further question: Will Israel’s critics be forced to come to grips with Curtis’ decimation of their positions? His research and critical-thinking skills are that good.
It is in Chapter 23 that I believe Curtis most effectively makes the case for Israel, because we get down to brass tacks: Is Jewish life of value to the international community?
As Curtis lays out the case for Israel’s security and defense, I can only imagine what the lefties like Brian McLaren and Hanan Ashrawi would say to the following, with regard to the famous “wall”: “The fence has greatly improved security, been an effective defensive deterrent, and has successfully reduced the threats to Israeli citizens and the loss of life. The results are evident. For three years after the start of the September 2000 intifada, there were 93 suicide attacks resulting in 447 Israeli deaths and over 4,300 wounded; since the building of the fence there have been only five attacks a year and an average of ten Israelis killed a year. In 2010, there were five Israeli casualties.”
(Actually, I know what McLaren and Ashrawi would say. In essence, Jewish life is not as important as a Palestinian family that is inconvenienced going to visit family in a neighboring village. I hope people notice the grotesque and sinister nature of such a position.)
I’ve read quite a few books that present facts and state Israel’s position, but “Should Israel Exist?” would rank in the top two or three; I am excited to observe in the coming weeks and months the wide impact I believe this book will have.
People often ask me: “What can I do to help Israel?” I always answer that they should educate themselves. Michael Curtis’s “Should Israel Exist?” is the central place to start.