October 31, 2003


Why Be Partial to Israel? (Paul J. Cella, 10/20/2003, Tech Central Station) 

Patriotism is an understandable human sentiment. In its place, it is noble; though not as noble as Christian charity. But the problem with modern notions tracing their lineage from Christian charity is that they have abandoned its humanness in favor of abstract Humanity. The net is cast too wide. Men are asked to do something that is simply beyond most of them: for it is the very rare man indeed who cares intimately for those with whom he has no connection. It was not for nothing that Jesus Christ commanded us to love our neighbors, the word implying a certain nearness. Humanitarianism in the modern world lost its humanity, as it were. St. Francis was a real humanitarian: but he cared not one whit for Humanity, though he loved as a brother every human being he met; and his example set hearts aflame.
All this is to say that patriotism of that broader variety which includes the Jews of Palestine, whose society descends from our civilization, but excludes the Arabs of Palestine, whose society is part of our civilization's greatest historical rival and antagonist, is perfectly understandable, unavoidable, and ineffaceable. It is nothing to be ashamed of. To require of Americans that they hold out a fastidious abstract impartiality in this bloody conflict, a conflict so distant from them, is to simply misunderstand the nature of man. It is the victory of stale rationalism over sanity; abstraction over human sympathies. It is a very modern error.

Brother Cella brings up an important point--one that many on the Left, in Europe, and in the Islamic world seem not to have processed yet: the attitude on those who support the war on terror with regard to Islam might fairly be compared to that of Abraham Lincoln with regard to slavery when he reluctantly but forcefully prosecuted the Civil War:
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.

It would be preferable for Islam to reform itself and deal with the murderous thugs in its midst on its own. Failing that, it would be fine if a few wars and the application of moral, political, and economic pressure were to force a Reformation and bring the violence under control. But, let us have no illusions about it, if the violence continues or escalates--especially if the survival of Israel or any other Western nation were ever at stake--rather few will be troubled if the Israelis decimate the Palestinians and we the Sauds or the Pakistanis or the Syrians or whoever. The object of the struggle does not really concern Islam but the West. Islam, strange as it seems, is incidental to our ends.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 31, 2003 3:42 PM

My distant ancestors (in Spain)were shaped by a centuries old conflict against a Moslem power (8 centuries) And this conflict was with the
relatively mild Ummayad, Abbasid & Ottoman varieties of Islam, not the monstrous heresy
of Wahhabism. It shaped many of the iconic heroes
of the Iberian tradition (ie; El Cid)and helped
influence our colonial undertakings in the New
World. It is not a coincidence that Spain is the
counterpart to Britain, in our war against Al
Queda, and its seeming opposites like Baathism,
and Nasserism, which in its watered down form,
in Mubarak's Egypt, was the foil for Atta Al
Zawahiri, and Seif Al Adel; AKA Mohammed Mokkawi
the real father of Sept 11, currently residing in Iran. America has done fairly little to incur this
supposed wrath; the Barbary campaign led by Decatur doesn't count) pushing for the decolonization of the Near East, supporting the
campaign against the faux nationalist, Mossadegh.
Stopping the Anglo-French expedition against Suez;
giving aid and confort to the proto fedayeen in
Algeria (no good deed goes unpunished)Being the
armorer and paymaster in Afghanistan (a role the
ISI and the GID appropriated for themselves)exerting our selves in Kosovo (Wesley Clark, would
n't have an inkling of a chance) and trying to stop the Russians from preempting in Chechnya (10,000 dead ; that's a quagmire)

Posted by: narciso at October 31, 2003 8:25 PM

The refusal of the United States to abandon Israel when there would be clear benefits to so doing, and also generally to hold to its basic moral precepts in the face of near-worldwide censure, opposition and/or demurral, is the most inspiring, righteous and courageous event of our times.

Posted by: Peter B at November 1, 2003 6:58 AM

Lincoln's 'House Divided' speech also applies; we can't leave failed societies to stew in the 7th century, for our own sake.

Posted by: Noel at November 1, 2003 11:49 PM

That's a damn big house.

Posted by: oj at November 2, 2003 12:27 AM