By Leonidas Donskis
How about the genocidal regime of Sudan, or the theocratic Iran, whose dynamic and talented people deserve far better than their deranged, fanatical mullahs who run the state, and even more so with regard to a Holocaust-denying political buffoon as their president, all increasingly bearing a family resemblance to the former Soviet political elite, with the only exception that the Soviet Union was a militantly irreligious state? It does suffice to mention them, and you have a smile on the face of your opponent: “Since when is Israel a club member of such states? Would you like to position it this way? Is that what you want?”
Well, we can do much more than that. Think of Russia and China, two major actors of world politics. Confronted with the facts of outrageous human rights violations and systematic murder of political opponents and journalists in Russia, or of a shocking denial by Chinese authorities to allow the Nobel Peace Prize winner to participate in the award ceremony, not to mention China’s awfully declining human rights record, its nasty policies vis-a-vis disbarred human rights lawyers, etc., anti-Israel leftists would insist on Israel’s greater responsibility as a democracy.
OK, we can take that as an argument, although it is difficult to regard it as terribly plausible and convincing. We know that democracies at war are far from being at their best, and that war may disfigure politics and change the country beyond recognition. Israel is at war since its inception. As long as the opposing criminal and homicidal organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah deny Israel its rights of existence and regard the Jewish State itself as a crime and as a catastrophe, we cannot be surprised. No civilized state on earth would ever do business with agencies or power structure units that do not respect the lives and well-being of its citizens and that wish to outlaw and delegitimize it.
If the measures undertaken by Israel or the militancy of its policies come as a shock, then let us try to imagine what would have been the reaction of the UK if thousands of missiles had been launched into its territory, say, from Calais. Or, for instance, the reaction of France to the massacre of its civilians on its territory as retribution for its foreign policies in North Africa. If we still think that it would be any better and more humane than those of Israel, then we are at the peril of losing a sense of reality.
No war has ever done any good to any nation, even if that war happens to be just and nearly saintly. Even World War II, which gave the allies a sense of a just war, had its unjustifiable cruelties, atrocities, and iniquities. Nobody will ever be able to justify the atrocities in Dresden and the British and American bombing and killing of German civilians when everybody understood that the story was over and that the Nazis were defeated. And yet, we can easily expect the argument that the backbone of fascism had to be crushed and that fascism had to be smashed from the face of the earth.
If this is so, why on Earth should we bypass and overlook the fact that anti-Israel forces and organizations in some Arab countries, and even in Palestine itself, have their roots in their historical alliance with the Nazis? If anybody doubts that, it is high time then to remind them of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was a friend and ally to Adolf Hitler, and whose convictions hardly differed from the Nazis. One of the most unfortunate and ludicrous mistakes made by the allies after the war was their reluctance and failure to bring the Grand Mufti to justice for his criminal activities and alliances whose aim was a Jew-free Palestine.
As Elena Bonner, Andrei Sakharov’s widow and herself a legendary Soviet dissident, rightly noticed, the idea of the founding of the Jews-free state of Palestine, while regarding Israel as part of the Palestinian Arabs’ fatherland lost after the Nakba (that is, Israel’s Independence Day regarded by the Palestinians as the Day of the Catastrophe), looks like a posthumous grimace of the Nazi project. There should be somewhere a Judenrein world…
No sound, conscientious person would ever suggest painting the Palestinian-Israeli conflict black and white. It is far from the struggle of good and evil. In most cases, it would be easy to argue that, as the Israeli writer Amos Oz pointed out, the tragedy there is that the right fights the right. Another tragedy is that the war gradually kills the human soul, depriving us of our sensitivity and powers of association. No nation has ever benefitted from war, and no one ever will.
Yet the idea that what is happening in Israel now is a recurrent colonial policy, rather than merely an unfortunate and unresolved territorial conflict between two nations, is nonsense on the stilts. If we are not trapped by our troubled imagination, we have to distinguish between reality and our wish to project Europe’s colonial guilt and bad conscience on quite a different and specific conflict which itself was, and continues, to be the outcome of World War II caused by Europe.
This is why the idea of the UN to legitimize the state of Palestine would be a grave mistake. No state can come into existence without negotiations, political compromise, and dialogue with the neighboring countries, especially those that are bound to live side by side forever.
Leonidas Donskis, Ph.D., is a Lithuanian Member of the European Parliament. © 2011 The Baltic times. All rights reserved.
Leonidas Donskis, Ph.D., is a Lithuanian Member of the European Parliament.
© 2011 The Baltic times. All rights reserved.