The obstacle of world opinion (ISRAEL HAYOM OP-ED) Yoram Ettinger 05/16/12)
Israel Hayom Articles-Index-Top
World opinion should not deter Israel from enhancing Jewish roots and
national security, expanding the Jewish presence in Jerusalem, Judea,
Samaria and the Golan Heights, and pre-empting Palestinian and
Adverse world opinion and global pressure have always been an
integral part of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. The aim of
this global campaign has been to eliminate the unique national,
religious, cultural and territorial features of the Jewish people,
including Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel.
The bolstering of Jewish sovereignty generates negative world opinion
(except in the U.S. and a few other countries), but enhances respect
toward a conviction-driven Jewish state. On the other hand, when
Jewish sovereignty retreats and Israel submits to world opinion, it
just reflects weakness. Israel will never satisfy world opinion, and
such action only further fuels global pressure, which erodes respect
toward the Jewish state.
World opinion toward the Jewish state was not improved by Israel’s
1957 and 1982 mega-retreats from the Sinai Peninsula (almost three
times as large as Israel), the transfer of 100% of Gaza and 45% of
Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian Authority, and the 1993 Israeli
importation of PLO terrorists to the doorsteps of their intended
However, going against the grain has been a prerequisite for game-
changing human endeavors in general, and Jewish initiatives in
Going against the grain has been a Jewish trait since the
introduction of Abraham’s monotheism. Moreover, a defiant Jewish
people has preserved and advanced the Jewish vision and strategic
Jewish goals – while contributing uniquely to humanity – in the face
of devastation, decimation, exiles, pogroms, expulsions, public
burning, discrimination, forceful conversion and the Holocaust. If
they had allowed themselves to be intimidated by world opinion, the
Jewish people would have been doomed to oblivion.
Theodore Herzl, the father of modern-day political Zionism, was
considered a messianic wishful thinker at the end of the 19th
century. He was initially resented by most Jews, ridiculed by
demographers and dismissed by world opinion.
Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s 1948 decision to declare the
independence of the Jewish state was opposed by most of his party
members, as well as by the U.S. Secretary of State Gen. George
Marshall, who was then the most charismatic U.S. leader; the State
Department´s bureaucracy; U.S. Defense Secretary James Forestall; the
CIA and The New York Times. Israel’s founding father had to overcome
a U.S. military embargo while the British supplied arms to the Arabs.
Following the War of Independence, he ignored global bullying,
refused to consider a return to the pre-war lines and the
internationalization of Jerusalem, declared the Israel-controlled
parts of Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish state and did not end
the “occupation of the Negev.”
Prime Minister Levi Eshkol pre-empted Egypt and Syria, in 1967, in
spite of adverse world opinion and specific warnings from the U.S.
administration. Eshkol also defied Washington, and the world, by
reuniting Jerusalem and launching construction projects in Jerusalem
across the 1949 cease-fire (Green) line.
Prime Minister Golda Meir dared to provoke world opinion, laying the
foundations for four major neighborhoods in Jerusalem across the
Green Line which today house some 150,000 residents.
Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir were criticized and
condemned by the world for their claim that Judea, Samaria, the Golan
Heights and the whole of Jerusalem were indivisble parts of the
Jewish state. However, their slackened global popularity was matched
by deep respect for their principle-driven policies, which made them
worthy allies in the face of mutual threats, triggering a significant
enhancement of U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation. Begin’s 1981
destruction of Iraq’s nuclear reactor – which spared the U.S. a
nuclear confrontation in 1991 – was carried out despite U.S.-led
global condemnation, depicting Israel as a lawless entity.
Contemporary Israeli leaders benefit from dramatically improved
circumstances, compared with the meager resources at the disposal of
their predecessors, demographically (more than 6 million Jews live in
Israel), economically (the best ever economic indicators),
technologically (the site of 400 high-tech global giants),
industrially (unprecedented trade relations), militarily (expanded
cooperation with Western military forces) and scientifically (a
leading space power). Moreover, the world is increasingly exposed to
the anti-Western explosive Arab and Palestinian street, the deeply
and violently fragmented Arab world, the rising threat of Islamic
terrorism in the U.S., Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa and
Australia, the intensifying demographic Islamic threat in Europe, and
Iran’s nuclearization. Recent polls document bolstered support of
Israel in the U.S. (71% favorability according to Gallup, compared
with 19% support of the Palestinians).
History and current global reality reaffirm that Israel is facing a
unique window of opportunity to enhance its strategic posture.
Israeli leaders should not sacrifice such an opportunity upon the
altar of world opinion. Leaders who fluctuate policy in order to
appease world opinion are leaders exercise followership and not
leadership. Such moves jeopardize the survival of their own people.
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