Thursday, February 16, 2006

Understanding Anti-Semitism

I haven't said anything about the recent Muslim insanity, ostensibly over cartoon published five months ago in a Danish newspaper. I've been quiet mostly because other bloggers, such as Michelle Malkin, The Anchoress, and Sigmund, Carl, & Alfred, have either said it much more clearly than I could or have extensive links to other bloggers who have.

But SC&A encouraged all his readers to link to this post by Shrinkwrapped: Pity the Poor Anti-Semite.

An acquaintance of mine made the following comment: "I don't understand why the U.S. is fussing about Iran having nuclear weapons. Israel has them and the U.S. doesn't say a thing."

My jaw dropped. I admit, I have an imperfect understanding of the politics involved in the creation of the State of Israel, but, after reading the Wikipedia entry on the history of modern Israel, my impression is that the Arab nations rejected the U.N. plan to partition British Palestine and attacked the nascent nation when their leaders declared their independence.

Looking over the rest of the entry indicates that in every war, Arab nations attacked Israel.

I am old enough to remember the Yom Kippur War, when the world was shocked that Arabs would attack during on the Holiest Day of the Jewish Year. And I remember the Olympics in Munich, where Palestinian guerrillas kidnapped and killed Israeli athletes.

The only riots I remember hearing about in Israel were the people demonstrating against their own government. Have Jews demonstrated worldwide? Have they bombed Egyptian or Iranian or Jordanian embassies or the delegation to the U.N. or the EU?

So, yeah, if I had to choose who would be allowed a nuclear weapon and who would not, I would choose a country whose people have shown considerable restraint, even during the time of war. A people whose leaders do not incite them to riot about cartoons (to the point of adding images that, originally, had nothing to do with Mohammed).

Should we, as my acquaintance also suggested, just leave the Middle East alone and stay out of what she perceives as essentially tribal conflicts that have gone on for millennia?

If these "tribal conflicts" involved throwing stones and spears, perhaps. But these conflicts include the use of sophisticated weapons, bought from the Western Nations. And now our chickens have come home to roost. This "tribal conflict" impacts us--impacts me and my family and my way of life--in a very real way. We--the Western Nations--ignore that fact at our peril. Yes, we should not have sold them (any of them) these weapons in the first place. But we did and now we are responsible. We can't let their hate hurt us.

In a sense, my acquaintance's outlook is similar to child-rearing advice I have often heard: Bad behavior is merely the child looking for attention. If you punish him, you've given him (or her) what he wants. Ignore it and it will go away.

But if one child is hurting another, we cannot ignore that behavior. We cannot allow that behavior. And the child doing the hurting has to learn that such behavior is not acceptable.

We, as Western European nations, have to teach that to the wayward nations of the world. To me, that's patently obvious. I don't understand why others don't see it as well.