Thursday, August 24, 2006

Espying the Jew

Mark Steyn wrote in NR Earlier this year, I chanced to be at a public meeting with the great Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post. Afterwards, a gentleman from the audience casually made some allusion to some or other aspect of the Jewish calendar, at which I looked momentarily befuddled. And so Caroline helpfully explained to him that “Mark’s not a Jew, but he plays one on TV.” By which she meant that, as I publicly “defend” Israel (which is, in itself, a curious formulation, implying that the issue is the legitimacy of the Zionist Entity) and as I have a suspiciously Jewish-sounding name, I’ve been routinely assumed, at least since 9/11, to be a Jew. I’m honored to be so mistaken. And, in truth, even if I weren’t, there’s not much I could do about it. Someone asked me on the radio in Australia, two-thirds into a long, long discussion, about how Jewish I was, and I answered that the last Jewish female in my line was one of my paternal great-grandmothers and that both my grandmothers were Catholic.... So, yes, I am a Jew, because, after all, only a Jew could “defend” Israel, right?

Actually a lot of Jews in America don't do much to defend Israel, and most of them vote Democratic, even though Clinton tried to sell them down the river with Arafat, and even though George Bush is one of the best friends Israel ever had.
I don’t really “defend” it on anything but utilitarian grounds:
I suspect he does as I do, defend them because compared to their neighbors, they are the ones in the right.
Every country in the region — Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia — dates as a sovereign state from 60–70 years ago. The only difference is that Israel has made a go of it.
That is a very good point. The Arabs claim they have a right to the entire area because they won it by conquest centuries before. But Britain won the area after World War I with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, which foolishly was a key ally of Germany within the Central Powers. They created the different states in the Middle East, and citizens of those states are no more, and no less, entitled to their land than Israel.
So should we have more states like Israel in the region or more like Syria? I don’t find that a hard question to answer.

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