By George Gilder (taken from his weekly subscriber newsletter):
It is the view of The New York Times' Tom Friedman that the Israelis, who hold less than half of one percent of mid eastern territory, should trade land for peace with the Palestinians:
After thirty years covering this area, cataloguing every olive tree in the
Middle East, Friedman no can longer see the imperious forest of basic
facts before him in the region. G.K. Chesterton got it right. As I
paraphrase: "If it were true that the man who is trained is the man to be
trusted--if the man who saw something every day saw more and more of its
significance--the argument for expertise would be unanswerable. But the man
who sees and studies and practices something every day does not understand
more and more of its significance, but less and less."
Reflecting this blindness of expertise is the utterly conventional and
obviously fantastic consensus view of Friedman and nearly all the other
authorities on the subject. The key problem in the mid-East, they conclude
in chorus, is that Israel has too much land. Their remedy is for Israel to
give up land for the creation of yet another fanatical Moslem nation-state
in various areas of Palestine amazingly even more cramped than Israel.
Created would be a prospective nation with no identity to sustain it
beyond the Palestinian sense of grievance and its hatred of Israelis.
It is hard to imagine two more preposterous ideas so widely and
prestigiously upheld by experts. Chesterton's law is fully vindicated by
Also supporting this pastiche of absurdities is French writer-"activist"
Bernard-Henri Levy. Author of a book on the killers of Daniel Pearl of the
Wall Street Journal and articles and essays galore on Israel and
anti-Semitism, he amazingly slips into an objectively anti-Semitic mode
himself. Believing that Israel must trade land for "peace," and give the
Palestinians a state, Levy fails to explain why, of all the nations of the
world, the only one not permitted to command a defensible territory,
capture the staging areas of invaders, or exclude immigrants devoted to
their destruction are Israel's Jews.
By contrast to Israel, the Palestinians are surrounded on all sides by
spacious and compatible Arab countries of whom they theoretically could
become citizens. Why not the East Bank? That's Jordan, where 100 thousand
Palestinians voluntarily fled during the 1967 war? As David Pryce-Jones
witnessed at the time on the Allenby bridge, "Fear did not seem to be the
motivation. These people had not seen a single Israeli soldier....Something
in the culture more powerful than either self-interest or common sense was
A Moslem Arab state from time to time sustained by Israel and created in
part as a home for the Palestinians, Jordan held the West Bank until King
Hussain's treacherous 1967 invasion and shelling of Jerusalem. Jordan
retains a far more compelling obligation to these people than Israel does.
In the 1980s, Palestinians taking refuge in Jordan did attempt to
overthrow the Jordanian government. So the Jordan solution may take some
work, but it is surely more practical than the seawater solution favored
by the Palestinians.
Should the Palestinians shun Jordan, perhaps they would prefer the Soviet
Jihad state of Syria, which in its guise as "Greater Syria" stretches its
reptilian tentacles throughout the region, including nearby Lebanon.
Moreover, Egypt is contiguous with Gaza and could easily absorb the Gazan
Palestinians. It is outlandish to say that, because of some democratic
nicety interpreted tendentiously by the U.N., Israel must commit effective
suicide by giving citizenship and equal voting rights to 4.5 million
anti-Semite enemies who want to kill them.
Yet Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, in a helpful piece called "Is Israel
Finished?" reports that accepting this line of democratic thought are not
only leading Israeli writers such as the prizewinning Amos Oz and my own
favorite, the eloquent Edward Grossman, but also the then incumbent prime
minister Ehud Olmert himself. Grossman's waffles may be understandable
because of the loss of his son Uri during the Lebanon War in 2006. But
Olmert and his allies had no excuse. Nonetheless, this former mayor of
Jerusalem nominally dedicated himself to removing the some 400 thousand
Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem. Goldberg's article
justifies this surrender by suggesting that, together with the demographic
trend, the West Bank settlements are "a castastrophe." Echoing Jimmy
Carter's ingenuous view, Goldberg even raises fears that "Israel will
become a state like pre-Mandela South Africa, in which the minority ruled
Clinching the argument, Goldberg writes: "If the Arabs of the West Bank
and Gaza were given the vote, then Israel, a country whose fundamental
purpose has been to serve as a refuge for persecuted Jews [where they
could live as a majority], would disappear, to be replaced by an
Arab-dominated 'binational' state."
This is a democratic ideology that accords no significance to the prospect
that an Arab run Israel would quickly expel all its Jews and cripple its
capitalist economy. Such rules of democracy would make democracy a suicide
Without a functioning and legally protected capitalist system, democracies
swiftly sink into ochlocracies, ruled by mobs. Without the independent
private sources of power imparted by free businesses, unbiased courts, and
other institutions of economic order, any democracy becomes a despotism
ruled by any tribe of thug politicians that manage to gain control. If
they have oil or foreign aid they may stay in power for decades. The
failure of leading Israeli intellectuals and politicians to comprehend
this reality is far more portentous than any supposed demographic trend.
In stark terms, Israel and Palestine raise the issue not only of the
prerequisites of viable democracy but also of the nature of capitalist
wealth. Are entrepreneurs, in Israel and around the world, chiefly givers
and benefactors, or are they predators and exploiters? Should policy focus
on fostering economic growth for all or on closing "gaps" between rich and
poor? Should it seek to enable an economic spearhead of excellence and
creativity or to dispossess the successful to subsidize the wretched of
the earth? Clutching their Fanon and their Koran, their Howard Zinn and
their Noam Chomsky, the ersatz voices of the "wretched of the earth"
punctuate their claims by a flaunted fist of hate, a clenched mind of
murder. Does Israel owe anything at all to such people?
To many observers--in the army of the left--it is obvious that Israeli
wealth causes Palestinian misery. How could it be otherwise? Jews have
long been paragons of capitalist wealth. Capitalist wealth, as
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon put it in regard to "property," is "theft." Karl
Marx was said to have shaped his opposition to property rights and his
Jewish self-hatred, by reading Proudhon, who in anti-Semitic virulence,
exceeded even Marx. In an 1883 diary, Proudhon declared that, "The Jew is
the enemy of mankind. This race must be sent to Asia or eliminated." This
fits well with Osama Bin Laden's view that warping the entire U.S. economy
and its global impact has been the effects of Jewish usury.
History, however, favors the view that poverty springs chiefly from envy
and hatred of excellence--from class war Marxism, anti-Semitism, and
cleptocratic madness. It stems from the belief that wealth inheres in
things and material resources that can be seized and redistributed, rather
than in human minds and creations that thrive only in peace and freedom.
In particular, the immiseration of the Middle East stems chiefly from the
covetous and crippling idea among Arabs that Israel's wealth is not only
the source of their humiliation but also the cause of their poverty.
Most of the world, even many citizens of Israel itself, want to muddle
these issues. The favored answer to all categorical pronouncements is:
"All of the above." Democracy, equality, multicultural kumbaya, Sharia
law, gay marriage, capitalism and freedom, the children of coddled West
want it all in a cornucopian cocktail party of inebriated contradictions,
from green austerity to entitled affluence. They mix nominal political
support for Israel with celebration of Palestinian voters who elect and
applaud anti-Semite terrorists. They match a devout belief in abortion
with fears of demographic disaster in Israel, and with continual bows of
political reverence toward an ever-diminishing complement of children.
They combine opposition to nuclear weapons and defense spending with
demands for American intervention everywhere the U.S. has no conceivable
national interest, from Burma to Tibet. They oppose nuclear proliferation
while urging US nuclear disarmament that hugely enhances the incentives
for secret nuclear programs. Without peremptory US nuclear superiority a
small complement of nukes can confer global dominance and make it
impossible for the US to defend Israel or anyone else.
The Israel test forces a remorseless realism. It disallows all the bumper
sticker contradictions of pacifistic bellicosity. Either the world,
principally the U.S., makes the sacrifices to support Israel or Israel,
one way or another, will be destroyed. There are no other realistic
choices. And if Israel is destroyed, capitalist Europe will likely die as
well, and America, as the epitome of productive and creative capitalism,
spurred by Jews, will be in jeopardy.