Thursday, September 09, 2021

Weekly column by Vic Rosenthal


The American debacle in Afghanistan is bad for America, and bad for Europe. The jihadists of the Middle East have received a huge gift of military equipment. They may even receive “humanitarian aid” from the US, in return for releasing some of the Americans still in Afghanistan. The Americans may call it aid, but everyone knows it is ransom for the release of hostages.

Psychologically, this is a massive boost to Islamic militants everywhere. Their belief that Allah is on their side has been confirmed. While I am probably too old to see them marching into the Vatican, unless present trends are reversed, my children probably will. Maybe they will find our Menorah, the one that Titus looted from the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE.

America’s defeat is also bad for Israel, and not just because of the American-made arms that the Taliban is selling to Iran and to every swaggering group of savages who believe they have a divine mandate to loot and rape. Even before the disaster in Afghanistan, the forces of jihad here have been feeling the wind of history at their backs, and have become drunk with their power to make demands and have them met by a government which is always willing to choose, as Churchill said, dishonor over war – and which, like Britain under Chamberlain, got war anyway.

So when six murderous terrorists from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Fatah organizations escaped from an Israeli prison on Monday, their parent organizations threatened violence. Hamas, apparently feeling left out, also made threats of escalation and launched incendiary balloons across the border. The tension has been growing for the past few weeks, as Hamas makes demands for loosening of restrictions on the entry of building materials and financial aid from Qatar, and Israel tries vainly to satisfy them with concessions.

Recently, Israel agreed to “loan” the Palestinian Authority about $150 million, in order to “strengthen the PA against Hamas.” This is a strange “loan:” the source of the money is about $186 million of funds that were collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, for Palestinian taxes on imports that pass through Israeli ports. Israel, however, withheld the money from the PA because of an Israeli law that forbids transferring money as long as it is used to pay stipends to imprisoned terrorists or the families of “martyrs.” The Palestinians have refused to stop paying their heroes, so the transfer is called a “loan” in order to bypass the law. Wrap your head around that.

I know, it’s complicated. There is the PIJ, there is Hamas, and there is the Fatah-dominated PLO which in effect constitutes the PA. But here’s a rule to make it simpler: they are all waging jihad (even Fatah, which is officially secular), they are all deploying terrorists against us, and they are all dedicated to the idea that if they kill enough Jews the rest of us will pick up and go back to Poland, or wherever they believe we come from.

The new government is not quite as dysfunctional as the preceding one, but because of the inclusion of left-wing parties and even an Arab Islamist party – that’s right, a party whose ideology is that Israel should be ruled according to the principles of Islamic sharia is part of Israel’s governing coalition – it seems to be unable to deal with the escalating chutzpah of its Palestinian enemies.

The Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, is someone with a solid right-wing ideology, at least he has always expressed himself as such, but I believe that he is not able to call the shots in a government whose majority is center-left and left. Incidentally, and I know I will get a lot of objections to this, I think he is a courageous person who has sacrificed his political career – I doubt that his party will even get into the Knesset in the next election – to extricate the country from an endless series of elections and caretaker governments. The present situation is not good, but it was worse before. For this, I am grateful to him.

But now is not the time for concessions. America is leaving the Middle East, starting with Obama’s tacit decision to allow Iran to get nuclear weapons (as long as the breakout happens after his presidency), continuing through his inaction when Bashar al-Assad crossed his “red line” by using chemical weapons, and now being concluded by the empty suit in the White House. It should be clear to every American ally in the region, especially Israel, that it is impossible to count on support from America. Of course Israel doesn’t need American troops to fight for it, or even military advisors. But political developments in America make it uncertain if it will continue to support Israel diplomatically, with military aid, or even by selling her weapons for cash.

I don’t want to be even more negative than I have to be, but there is a fundamental cultural instability in America that seems to be becoming more intense with time. I suspect that Americans will soon be concerned more with their own personal security, even their physical safety, than anything else. Maybe it looks worse from here than it is, but I visualize it as an engine revved far beyond its redline, and holding there. At any moment it will fly apart.

We are living at a major historical inflection point, with America withdrawing her influence everywhere. Unfortunately the beneficiaries of this are Iran and the Islamists of all stripes, as well as the totalitarian Chinese Communist party, nuclear-armed Pakistan and North Korea, and others.

The end of the Roman Empire was followed by the Dark Ages, which aren’t called that for nothing. It's going to be hard for everyone.









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