Annapolis and Anihilation

Avoiding a Requiem for Israel

By Louis René Beres

For anyone who can still think clearly, the Annapolis “Peace Conference” last month was the culmination of a very bad dream. Its not that this choreographed assembly actually codified a fixed and precise outcome for Israel, but rather that it highlighted America’s persistent preoccupation with a delusional cartography. Whatever its current diplomatic disguise, the so-called “Road Map to Peace in the Middle East” remains an elaborate fiction drawn only in sand. Should it still be taken seriously, it could transport Israel’s collective intuitions of danger from a disturbing hallucination to an authentic nightmare.

Nightmare. According to the etymologists, the root is niht mare or niht maere, the demon of the night. Dr. Johnson’s dictionary says this corresponds to Nordic mythology – which saw nightmares as the product of demons. This would make it a play on, or translation of, the Greek ephialtes or the Latin incubus. In all interpretations of nightmare, the idea of demonic origin is central.

Israel’s demons are of a different form. Their mien is not directly frightful (one reason that they are so dangerous), but hidden and ordinary. If they are sinister it is not because they are hideous, but because they are commonplace. Their evil is not always readily identifiable. But the demons that stalk the Jewish State are unmistakably palpable and ultimately lethal.

Israel’s demons are those of a people who have become accustomed to strive and to exist without any serious meanings. These demons prey easily upon a state without any real direction, a Jewish state that has forgotten its essential and everlasting purpose in the world. Reducing itself to a “thing” at Annapolis, a tiny, banal and negotiable object in a vast sea of enemies, Israel announced that it was manifestly willing to become a corpse. This cadaverous assessment would surely be disputed by the Prime Minister and by the US Secretary of State, but the Israeli dike is already shot full of holes, and the flood (remember the flood?) may soon be unstoppable.

In matters of war and peace, Israel may take certain lessons in pathos from ancient Troy as well as from ancient Jerusalem. The Prime Minister should recall the solicitous visit of Trojan King Priam to the battle tent of Achilles. Even though Mr. Olmert stopped short of clasping George Bush’s knees and kissing the US President’s hands, the Palestinians and their allies knew that Israel had already lost. If the 23rd Arab state is born sometime in the next year, virtually the entire world will hail its explosive appearance as a triumph of human rights and “national self-determination.” Only then, it seems, when an unhidden gravedigger wields the forceps, will Israel finally learn to tremble.

Israeli novelist Aharon Megged once noted,

    “We have witnessed a phenomenon which probably has no parallel in history; an emotional and moral identification by the majority of Israel’s intelligentsia with people openly committed to our annihilation.”

Whatever the psychiatric origins of such an unprecedented identification, it is a disgusting behavior, one so completely inexcusable that it easily blocks out several thousand years of Jewish wisdom and whole oceans of sacred poetry. Left uncorrected, this grotesque identification could destroy Israel even before the wreckage generated by Iranian missiles or Hezbollah rockets.

Shall Israel finally dare to disturb the universe? If it wishes to live, it must. Israel cannot remain content with treating international relations and diplomacy apart from the essential historic and spiritual fabric of its national existence. From one administration to the next, from Rabin to Olmert, Israel’s leaders remain ordinary and without vision because Israel’s people themselves have largely abandoned what is important.

Nietzsche understood that “When the throne sits on mud, mud sits on the throne.” Israel cannot endure as “mud.” Not a thousand Annapolis promises from Washington can ever compensate for a single act of Israeli auto-destruction. There will be no Arab quid pro quos for hundreds of Israeli concessions, none at all, and absolutely no rewards for millions of deliberately-drifting Jewish souls.

Recently, The New Jewish Congress was launched in Israel. The plenary session was chaired by Professor Hillel Weiss of Bar Ilan University. Dr. Gadi Eshel, an indefatigable and heroic fighter for Israel on all fronts, read aloud from the Congress Charter: “The Eternal People in an Eternal Covenant in the Land of Israel.” Said Dr. Eshel,

    “Every community that we plant throughout the land strengthens the roots of the Eternal Nation’s Eternal Covenant here – while at the same time preventing it from being bound by ‘Auschwitz borders.’ Let us not fool ourselves. ‘Auschwitz borders’ invite Auschwitz – not only for the Jews in Israel, but for Jews everywhere, and for all of humanity.”

In The New Jewish Congress and such kindred movements as Moshe Feiglin’s Manhigut Yehudit (The Jewish Leadership Movement) lie Israel’s best hope. To champion the indissoluble integrity of the Land of Israel and the Nation of Israel is what Israel must pursue now, immediately, at all costs. Abandoning its always futile search for popular approval, especially in Washington and in the similarly declining capitals of Europe, it is time, instead, to heed Dr. Eshel’s still-timely recollection of Joshua and Caleb, when Moses sent them out to reconnoiter: “Let us ascend and inherit the Land, for we can overcome it.”

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LOUIS RENÉ BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971). He is the author of many books and articles dealing with Israeli defense matters. His work is well-known to Israel’s political, military and academic communities. Professor Beres was Chair of Project Daniel.

December 3, 2007 | 4 Comments »

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