by Barry Shaw
Billionaire and philanthropist, Ronald Lauder, a regular and massive contributor to Jewish and Israeli charities, made the most bewildering statement in the New York Times;
Ronald Lauder is dead wrong about Israel and we can hardly believe he wrote what he did.
…the Jewish democratic state faces two grave threats that I believe could endanger its very existence…The first threat is the possible demise of the two-state solution…The second, two-prong threat, is Israel’s capitulation to religious extremists and the growing disaffection of the Jewish diaspora. – Ronald S. Lauder, New York Times, March 18, 2018.
As Martin Sherman, head of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies rebutted, “this is an utterly false dichotomy.”
I would go one step further and invite Mr. Lauder to view some of the pictures and videos in our IISS archives to see the vulnerability of Israel’s sensitive central infrastructure to clearly understand the grave threat that the “two-state solution” - that he advocates - would be for Israel.
Surely Lauder cannot believe that Palestinian leaders would suddenly become models of enlightenment, liberalism, and democracy because the world forces Israel into relinquishing territory and withdraws behind indefensible border to give rise to a Palestinian state?
As I have repeatedly preached, in such a situation, by the ballot or by the bullet, Hamas or something worse will usurp power and become an even bigger danger to the resultant rump state of Israel.
The construction of yet another wall would not stop a Palestinian Arab with a shoulder-held rocket launcher from blowing up a plane on the tarmac of Israel’s only international airport which would lie exposed below his feet. When that happens, who will fly into Israel on the morrow? Would Mr. Lauder come and apologize for his egregious error of judgment?
Does he naively believe that the Palestinian Arabs will give up their claims to the rest of Israel simply because he and the world would impose a state in territories surrendered by the Jewish State? Does he not realize that an emboldened Palestinian political divide would demand the “liberation” of the rest of 'Palestine' for, as they say, they want it all “From the River to the Sea,” and now they would see the inviting sea from their vantage points overlooking Tel Aviv.
Their quest to eliminate the rest of Israel, their ambition to remove the rest of the “occupation,” would appear to be temptingly within reach.
They would come to liberate the Israeli Arabs whom they poetically acclaim to be “the Palestinians of the Interior,” or “the Palestinians of ’48,” meaning those who remained to protect Palestine after the establishment of the Jewish State. This is what the radical Arab Member of Israel’s Knesset, Haneen Zoabi, meant when she recently called for “the final stage, the total withdrawal, and the end of occupation.”
People like Ronald Lauder may prefer to believe that she meant an Israeli withdrawal from fictitious 1967 borders in the cause of peace, but the truth is that Zoabi, the Palestinian Arabs, the Muslim world, and the radical left intend nothing less than a 'Palestine' established on all the land, and the annihilation of Israel.
They say so, daily. Why isn’t Mr. Lauder listening?
I am bewildered how Ronald Lauder, who professes a deep love for what he calls “our beloved nation,” would pursue such a perilous future for our country. Does he not know that there are adequate alternatives to an obvious two-state failure? Or does Mr. Lauder line up with too many otherwise intelligent people who are stuck in this two-state mode afraid to contemplate that they might be wrong?
As for his fear that Israel will capitulate to religious extremists, and Israel turning from a liberal secular society into a theocratic state, does he not see Israeli society every time he visits to Israel? Israeli roads, restaurants, coffee shops, bars and beaches all packed on a Shabbat bear witness to Israel’s modern society. Yes, there are elections, and yes the religious parties get their share of Knesset seats, as do Israeli Arabs. This alone is proof that the Jewish state remains the only real democracy and open society in the Middle East.
Mr. Lauder! You have nothing to fear on this issue. What you do have to fear is the drift away from Judaism in the United States. With that comes the lack of care about the Jewish State as American Jewish youth get sucked into gender politics and intersectionality as the guiding principles in their lives. The radical left and the BDS exploit these issues to ostracize and outlaw Israel supporters with their rancid totalitarian hatred disguised as liberal thought.
While that is going on, we in the Jewish State will do what we have to do to defend and protect our beloved nation.
Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is the author of ‘BDS for IDIOTS,’ and ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS, and anti-Semitism.’
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