Israel and the politics of institutional insanity
Israel and the politics of institutional insanity
Although later disputed by those with a vested interest in continuing the misbegotten peace process, it was on January 30, 1996 – over 2 years after signing the Oslo peace treaty with Israel – that Yasir Arafat addressed forty Arab diplomats at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm, and delivered a speech that was quite transparently titled “The Impending Total Collapse of Israel.”

Consider carefully what the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate offered:
“We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem… We, of the PLO will now concentrate all our efforts on splitting Israel psychologically into two camps. Within five years we will have six to seven million Arabs living in the West Bank, and in Jerusalem… You understand that we plan to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian State… I have no use for Jews; they are, and remain, Jews.”
This perspicuous admission of intent should have exposed, and derailed, the peace process which had fallen victim to a misguided and unmistakably failed diplomatic solution that was in fact witness to a subsequent four-fold increase of Arab terrorism victimizing innocent Israeli citizens.  

Instead, Arafat was invited on several occasions to visit as an honored guest of the White House, and in kind, the Israelis pretended that a viable peace option was still somehow extant.

It was the height of deception. Or insanity.

More than two decades later, the deception continues. As does the insanity. The former by the Arabs, the latter, characteristically befitting the political miscalculations of the Israelis.  

After Arafat died, he was replaced by a deputy who remained true to the “impending total collapse of Israel.” It was an admission made frequently, and always in Arabic, by Mahmoud Abbas – the benefactor of the diplomatic war against Israel. Its formula was rather simple: Murder innocent Jews, as many as possible, and wait for the Western world to offer to pay you to stop. Cease fire, and start the killing again, when you want even further concessions from those who you murder, in order to bring the next cease fire. Why have a war when the peace process bears riper fruits?

Let’s look at one of the crooked legs upon which this peace process now stands.

This week, it was announced by the Palestinian Authority, and substantiated by the Israeli government, that Israel would be transferring $1.5 billion shekels (that’s $430 million) to the PA to help with its financial crisis. Why a crisis? Because Israel, in a hollow gesture of national responsibility to the citizens it protects, announced in February that it would hold back monies (mostly tax-generated) that are normally collected for the PA, equal to the amount directed by the PA to subsidize the murder of Jews. Yes. Exactly that. Principled, it seemed until you understood that Israel would willingly transfer the rest of the monies to its declared enemies, those dedicated to destroying Israel (it’s been a couple minutes, so go back and read the opening paragraph).

It is accepted Israeli policy.

The Arabs, it seems, are much more principled. They refused to accept any monies at all from Israel, unless they included the all the sums necessary to pay murderous terrorists (on a sliding-scale so that the more you kill, the more we pay). The murderer would not relent. So its victim did. The European Union decided – well, you know what they decided – to seek the funds necessary to assuage the savage.

This week, Israel – devoid of principles and the ability to understand how this would be viewed in the Muslim world – surrendered. And the Arabs – agreed magnanimously to accept the funds. (Read this again for dramatic effect: they agreed!) Diplomacy works. Not in securing peace, but in feeding the tiger so it might be persuaded to become a vegetarian.

Here’s where the insanity comes in.

That the Western world, oil thirsty for so many decades (and today fearful of the import of Muslim terrorism to its own lands), would capitulate to this formula of rewarding your enemy as a conciliatory gesture is perhaps understandable. It’s only appeasement, and after all, with occasional exceptions, it was the Jews who were the targets of Islamic savagery. But that Israel would consent to play along and reward its own murderers – well, that defies not only common sense, but one’s sanity as well. Worse – it has become to a great degree, a nationally accepted insanity, delusion, idiocy, lunacy, madness and child-like-expectation.

It was none other than one of Israel’s harshest critics, that venomous self-hating anti-Semite Noam Chomsky who defined this unmitigated type of stupidity. As the recipient of the 2014 “Philosophy Now’s Award for Contributions in the Fight Against Stupidity,” he responded with a comment that is appropriate here:

“Stupidity comes in many forms… the most troubling of all… we might call it ‘institutional stupidity’. It’s a kind of stupidity that’s entirely rational within the framework within which it operates: but the framework itself ranges from grotesque to virtual insanity.”

He continued:

“Individual stupidity can be remedied, but institutional stupidity is much more resistant to change. At this stage of human society, it truly endangers our survival. That’s why I think institutional stupidity should be a prime concern.”

Chomsky wasn’t opining about Israel. We know that because his quote would have been obvious in calling for Israel’s demise. His observation was about the sanity of man. Or lack of.

Israel’s now-accepted policy of actually facilitating and advancing the cause of its own enemies by offering goods, services, and enormous amounts of monies, is indeed grotesque and insane. And let’s not pretend that Israel, by withholding funds equal to the amount that the Palestinian Authority was paying murderers and their families as part of the “pay for slay” policy was somehow more kosher. Any first-year economics major can explain the concept of fungibility. It means that, yes, Israel is indeed paying the Palestinian Authority to pay its terrorists.

Let’s introduce an absurd parallel. In June 1941, Hitler’s Nazi armies attacked Russia in Operation Barbarossa – unaware that the frigid Russian winter would, a few months later, foil that adventurous endeavor. The Nazis, unaware of the brutal cold and fatally ill-equipped, would have to retreat.  

Imagine for a moment that Churchill and the Allies, in a gesture of good faith and driven by humanitarian concern, joined Stalin in offering the invaders the winter coats, boots and hot chocolate necessary to demonstrate that they are, even in war, principled. You’d have to be insane to imagine that.

Israel is at war. It was a war that was manufactured by its enemies. It might be a war of attrition, but it is a war. Implacable and relentless, the Palestinian Arabs have admitted to those willing to pay attention that they will never accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State. By the way, the word never has the same meaning in Arabic as it does in English. It really means never.

One last fact, and not an inconsequential one: When proponents of the Israeli position stand baffled, unable to understand why the Palestinian Arabs have rejected the offer of three Israel prime minister’s (Netanyahu, Barak, and Olmert) to the return of 95%, 97% and then 98% of the so-called “occupied” territories, they display their ignorance of this war. The Arabs view that offer as being completely ludicrous. After all – the territories taken by Israel in 1948-49, and later in 1967, do not fully define the Arab notion of “occupied territories.” All of Israel, every square inch, pre-and-post 1967, are occupied territories to them.

If you do not understand that – that this war is religious and not territorial – you might not be insane, but you do open the door to an institutional insanity that will one day consume you.

Do not send hot chocolate to those who would kill you.

Meir Jolovitz is a past national executive director of the Zionist Organization of America, and formerly associated with the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies.