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It was the former Beatle, John Lennon, who famously sung in his Christmas Carol “Happy Christmas” “War is over, if you want it.” His sentiment, I believe was genuine and decent. John Lennon was generally a good, yet misinformed person; who hated seeing people getting blown up by airstrikes on the TV News.
However, his lyric contained a vital logical fallacy. He concluded correctly that any war that any particular hegemony was engaged in would only end when that hegemony got sick of being belligerent. This, I grant to Mr. Lennon, is a necessary logical condition for hostilities to cease.
His philosophical error was to assume this condition as sufficient. Both sides have to be willing to forego further hostility to end a war. To understand John Lennon’s well-intentioned yet regrettable error is to understand why people who put one-sided pressure on Israel will never succeed in ending Middle East hostilities – unless it is in the most vile way possible for the Jewish People.
Israel, given the proper terms and conditions, would prefer to sit around and sing happy songs about Hanukkah rather than Christmas. Perpetual Middle Eastern conflict costs them in population, money and time. When the Jewish have been briefly able to escape their long and sad history of persecution and pogroms, they’ve put their money, people and time to far better uses than most other cultures in human history.
Names like Einstein, Oppenheimer, Goldman, and Bernstein evoke images of the greatest success in American science, culture and high-finance. They also have a Jewish ring to them. This is not accidental and results from a culture that values hard study, hard thought and painstaking hard work. This sort of high cultural standard of excellence should be commended and emulated by more non-Jews – not persecuted.
Jewish success is not limited to Jews in America. David Goldman describes some of the things the nation of Israel has achieved with very limited territory, population and resources.
Israel already is a high-tech superpower. Israeli leads the Group of 7 industrial nations in patent applications…With a total fertility rate of three children per woman, Israel’s total population will rise to 24 million by the end of the present century…Israel has one the largest local audience for chamber music recitals of any country in the world, and its leading musicians occupy top slots around the world – for example Guy Braunstein, concertmaster (principal violin) of the Berlin Philharmonic.
Human nature is often brutal and sad. The long list of Israel’s achievements doesn’t make everyone else on that end of The Mediterranean Sea like and appreciate Israel. Unfortunately, these nations won’t ask them for economic or societal advice. Instead, Israel’s neighbors burn with an unquenchable fire of hatred – fueled by envy and shame. This envy and shame far outstrips religious and cultural differences as a driver of malice.
To properly understand the wellspring of the current anti-Semitic malevolence, look at the recent “Revolution” in Egypt. I put “Revolution” in scare quotes because I believe the term is a misnomer for what took place in Cairo this spring. Egypt is beset with economic hardships and devoid of any the characteristics that allow for cultural success in the brutally competitive Modern Period. Thus, Egypt is convulsed in a spasm of envy-driven class warfare.
What happened in Cairo, wasn’t a revolution, it was a Falo Delle Vanita. Egypt’s government, culture and society cannot adapt to the world around them. Their culture contraindicates evolution and modernity so they lashed out and destroyed every vestige of it they could find. A recent Pew Survey describes some of the things Egyptians like and believe in.
A Pew survey released in December showed that a trifling 95% of Egyptian Muslims thought it a “good” thing for Islam to play a “large” role in politics. Roughly four out of five said they favored stoning adulterers, whipping and dismembering thieves, and the death penalty for any believer who dares to abandon Islam.
The results of this sort of worldview are predictable. People who attempt to compete in the 21st Century don’t do well if they still stone adulterers and hold public floggings. The people of Egypt starve when wheat gets expensive and rot in parlously unsanitary slums when they regularly eat. Getting them across the river to modern times is like explaining The Internet to a tribe of Cro-Magnons.
Yet they also can’t abide the shinning success of Israel less than one day’s drive away from the misery in which the typical Egyptian now lives. This gives the powerful religious mullahs that wield what passes for authority a Hobson’s Choice. They can disbelieve virtually every “fact” and document of “settled science” that they spent a good decade learning in seminary school so that Egypt can modernize. Or, they could take the easier path and just exterminate these meddlesome Jews.
A powerful Islamic Cleric, Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, preached the following sermon to the newly “liberated” people of Egypt.
In a special mention of the Palestinian issue, Al-Qaradhawi asked the Egyptian army to open wide the Rafah crossing and to pray for the re-conquest of Jerusalem by the Muslims, so that he and the Muslims could pray in security at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
It’s safer and more secure for him if his followers continue to pray in utter ignorance. Dark Ages start that way. Somebody in power sees societal ignorance as a rational method of hanging on to power and influence. People who hate the entire Modern Age will not be able to abide any culture, any religion, and any nation that can succeed therein. People who hate Modernity are forced to be anti-Semitic.
War can never be over in The Middle East as long as The State of Israel continues to exist. Pace John Lennon, Sheik Al-Qaradhawi wouldn’t want it to be. Thus war and the continued existence of Israel that ongoing conflict implies are preferable in The Middle East. The alternative would violate Goodwin’s Law in a way no foolish Internet Blog post ever could.