The Heavy Burden of Israel Upon the West
During the past two years there has been a marked increase in hostility towards the West by Moslem countries and by a range of Moslem organisations, extending to terrorist groups. Most dramatically this hostility led to the World Trade Centre attacks in September 2001 and the more recent Bali bombing in October 2002.
There has been a tendency to obscure the fact that the major cause of Moslem animus against the United States has been U.S. support for Israel. Israel was brought into being after the end of the Second World War as a direct result of Jewish terrorist activity. Jewish terrorist groups targetted and killed British soldiers and Western politicians, who suffered a large number of casualities. Simultaneously there was intense pressure upon the United States government by the well-organised and powerful New York Jewish lobby, and the United States has emerged as Israel's chief supporter, often voting alone with Israel in the United Nations.
Since the formation of Israel and the dispossesion of Palestinians by the Jews visceral hatreds have developed on the part of Arabs and, subsequently, of other Moslem countries that support the Palestinians. These hatreds arose primarily against Jews, but increasingly they have spread against the United States, which is viewed as Israel's main protector.
Anti-Jewish hatreds amongst Moslem countries have been fed by Israel's aggressive course of establishing new "settlements" in territory seized by it in the 1967 War. Sharon has been viewed as a persistant supporter of Jewish expansionism. Palestinians in refugee camps and their supporters amongst Moslem countries have become infuriated by what they regard as an aggressive and callous Jewish policy of creating settlements intended to prevent the recovery by Palestinians of the lands of which they have been dispossessed.
In other circumstances these matters might not have had direct bearing upon Australia. However unfortunately Australia has been drawn increasingly into conflicts caused by the United States’ extreme support for Israel. As was recently commented,1
"U.S. Middle East Policy, because of its pro-Israeli bias, is perceived throughout Europe as a hindrance to the quest for peace. President Bush's unwillingness or, worse, still, inability to put any real pressure on Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon is seen in European capitals as puzzling and counterproductive."
It was commented in The Guardian,2
"To enforce this abandonment of reasoned argument in the name of a witch-hunt against terrorists, a strange alliance of evangelical Christians in Congress has come together with the leaders of American Jewish organisations who normally support the Democratic party."
Robert Fisk is one of many other commentators who have expressed concern on these matters:3
"But the key point, according to Fisk, is the growing evidence that Israel's policies have become America's policies: Iran, Lebanon, and Syria, as well as Iraq, are all threatened by the United States. But Ariel Sharon, who Israel's own inquiry determined was personally responsible for the Salra and Shatila massacre is - according to President Bush - ‘a man of peace’."
In short, the danger in this situation is that American foreign policy (and derivatively Australian foreign policy) has become dictated by Israeli interests. This is not a mere theoretical concern. Australia is close to being drawn into an attack upon Iraq, which would probably see a cost in Australian lives and certainly large expenditures, and which would understandably create further Moslem animosity against Australia. And the Bali bombing of October 2002, which cost many Australian deaths, was a direct product of pressure by the American and Australian Jewish communities for anti-Palestinian and anti-Moslem action.
A more satisfactory solution of the problem of Israel should be found: in particular, a solution that will avoid the dangerous enmities that have arisen. Especially in view of the part that Jewish terrorism played in Israel's creation, and of the legitimate claims of the Palestinians who have been dispossessed, consideration should now be given to a new state, with wider geographical boundaries, in which Jews, Palestinians and Christians will have equal voting rights, and the constitution of which will protect minorities.
Meanwhile Australia should not be drawn into inappropriate actions against Moslem countries. In particular Mr. John Howard, the Prime Minister, should not allow himself to be pressured by Australian Jewish groups into unwise actions, nor should a sense of self-importance lead him to follow the curiously obsessive President Bush and the American Jewish lobbies into causes of action that are not for Australia's benefit. Mr. Howard may well be regarded as Australia's preferable choice of Prime Minister, but he should recall that this is so only in view of the unsatisfactory alternatives: Mr. Simon Crean represents a Labor Party in which extreme groups have excessive influence, and Mr. Peter Costello is increasingly perceived as an unreliable contender whose principles are co-extensive only with perceived political correctness from time to time.4 Mr. Howard evinces a tendency (unfortunately not uncommon amongst Australian politicians) to wish to be important internationally and to ingratiate himself with the United States and "international opinion". Instead he should bear constantly in mind the fact that he is the Prime Minister of Australia and that his obligations are to the Australian people. His obligations are not to President Bush or the citizens of the United States nor to Ariel Sharon or the citizens of Israel.
1. Chronicles, July 2002, page 48.
2. The Guardian, 16 May 2002.
3. Chronicles, July 2001, pages 48-49.
4. See, for example, "Mr. Peter Costello: A Poor Man's Paul Keating", National Observer, No. 50, Spring 2001, pages 10-12.
National Observer No. 55 - Summer 2003