Tuesday, December 11, 2007

'Auschwitz' borders

By Louis Rene Beres
December 7, 2007

The Annapolis Peace Conference last month was both the end and beginning of a very bad dream. Its not that this assembly codified any fixed and precise outcome for Israel, but that it reinforced America's commitment to a delusional cartography. Whatever its diplomatic disguise, the so-called Road Map to Peace in the Middle East remains an elaborate fiction drawn only in sand. Taken seriously, it could still transform Israel's intuitions of danger from a disturbing hallucination to an authentic nightmare.

"Nightmare." According to the etymologists, the root is niht mare or niht maere, the demon of the night. Dr. Johnson's dictionary says this corresponds to Nordic mythology — which saw nightmares as the product of demons. This would make it a play on, or translation of, the Greek ephialtes or the Latin incubus. In all interpretations of nightmare, the idea of demonic origin is central.

Israel's demons are of a different form. Their mien is not directly frightful (one reason that they are so dangerous), but hidden and ordinary. If they are sinister it is not because they are hideous, but because they are commonplace. Their evil is not always readily identifiable. But the demons that stalk the Jewish state are palpable and lethal.

Israel's demons are those of a people who have become accustomed to existing without any serious meanings. These demons prey easily upon a state without any real direction, a Jewish state that has forgotten its essential and everlasting purpose in the world. Reducing itself to a "thing" at Annapolis, a tiny, banal and negotiable object in a vast sea of enemies, Israel effectively announced that it was willing to become a corpse. This assessment would surely be disputed by the Israeli prime minister and by the American secretary of state, but the Israeli dike is already shot full of holes, and the flood (remember the flood?) may soon be unstoppable.

Ironically, in matters of war and peace, Israel may take certain lessons from ancient Troy. The prime minister should even recall the pleadings of Trojan King Priam before Achilles. Though Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stopped short of clasping President Bush's knees and kissing the president's hands, the Palestinians and their allies already knew that Israel had lost.

If a 23rd Arab state is born sometime in the next year, most of the world will approve "Palestine's" appearance. Only then, however, when an unhidden gravedigger wields the forceps, will Israel finally learn to tremble.

Israeli novelist Aharon Megged once noted, "We have witnessed a phenomenon which probably has no parallel in history; an emotional and moral identification by the majority of Israel's intelligentsia with people openly committed to our annihilation." Whatever the psychiatric origins of such an identification, it is an unforgivable behavior. Left uncorrected, it could destroy Israel even before the wreckage caused by Iranian missiles or Hezbollah rockets.

Israel cannot remain content with a diplomacy that undermines the core fabric of its national existence. Israel's leaders have remained ordinary and without vision because Israel's people themselves have largely abandoned what is important.

Recently, the New Jewish Congress was launched in Israel. Gadi Eshel, an indefatigable and heroic fighter for Israel, read from the Congress Charter: "The Eternal People in an Eternal Covenant in the Land of Israel." Said Mr. Eshel, "Every community that we plant throughout the land strengthens the roots of the Eternal Nation's Eternal Covenant here — while at the same time preventing it from being bound by 'Auschwitz borders.' Let us not fool ourselves. 'Auschwitz borders' invite Auschwitz — not only for the Jews in Israel, but for Jews everywhere, and for all of humanity."

In the New Jewish Congress and such kindred movements as Moshe Feiglin's the Jewish Leadership Movement, lie Israel's best hope. To champion the unity of the land of Israel and the nation of Israel is Israel's most pressing imperative. Abandoning its always futile search for popular approval, especially in Washington and in the similarly declining capitals of Europe, Jerusalem should now heed Mr. Eshel's recollection of Joshua and Caleb, when Moses sent them out to reconnoiter: "Let us ascend and inherit the Land, for we can overcome it."

Louis Rene Beres, an author of many books on Israeli defense matters, served as chairman of Project Daniel.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.




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