Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Just What Israel Needs

Is the spirit of Menachim Begin still alive in Israel...

...or will the bully win the day?

As evidence of President Obama's hardline anti-Israel bias becomes more apparent every day, Daniel Pipes provides some interesting historical background which highlights the need for the Jewish state to show strong leadership, and to stand up against the Borat Administration's moral inversion and bullying.

Following former Israeli Prime Minister Menachim Begin's decision to make the Golan Heights part of Israel in 1981, in reaction to Syrian dictator Hafiz al-Asad's statements that Syria would not make peace with Israel "even in a hundred years", the Reagan Administration, in apparent disgust, suspended the recently-signed Strategic Cooperation Agreement with Israel.

Appalled, Begin summoned Samuel Lewis, the U.S. ambassador in Tel Aviv, for a dressing-down. “Three times during the past six months, the U.S. Government has ‘punished’ Israel,” Begin thundered. He enumerated those three occasions: the destruction of the Iraqi nuclear reactor, the bombing of the PLO headquarters in Beirut, and now the Golan Heights law. Throughout this exposition, Lewis kept interjecting: “Not punishing you, Mr. Prime Minister, merely suspending …”; “Excuse me, Mr. Prime Minister, it was not …”; “Mr. Prime Minister, I must correct you …”; and “This is not a punishment, Mr. Prime Minister, it’s merely a suspension until …”

But Begin was having none of it. He launched into a passionate and courageous defence of Israel's dignity:

What kind of expression is this – “punishing Israel”? Are we a vassal state of yours? Are we a banana republic? Are we youths of fourteen who, if they don’t behave properly, are slapped across the fingers? Let me tell you who this government is composed of. It is composed of people whose lives were spent in resistance, in fighting and in suffering. You will not frighten us with “punishments.” He who threatens us will find us deaf to his threats. We are only prepared to listen to rational arguments. You have no right to “punish” Israel – and I protest at the very use of this term.

Today, Obama is engaging in similar punishment of Israel, turning America's only reliable ally in the Middle East into an enemy, even as he tries to convince himself that his enemies are friends. It is time that Binyamin Netanyahu followed Menachim Begin's example, and told him in no uncertain terms where to get off.

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