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Israel’s Sovereignty

Must The State Perish For Israel To Live?

In his Epistle to Yemen, Maimonides tells us how the nations have tried to destroy Israel. He prefaces his analysis by saying “God has made us unique by His laws and precepts, and our pre-eminence is manifested in His rules and statutes, as Scripture says, ‘And what great nation is there, that has statutes and ordinances so righteous as this Law [the Torah], which I set before you this day?’” (Deuteronomy 4:8).[1]

To be sure, history records various individual gentiles who have spoken of the Jews in superlative terms. Theophrastus, Aristotle’s successor at the Lyceum, called the Jews “a nation of philosophers.”[2] Harvard graduate John Adams, second president of the United States, declared: “The Jews have done more to civilize men than any other nation.”[3] Friedrich Nietzsche writes: “Wherever the Jews have attained to influence, they have taught to analyze more subtly, to argue more acutely, to write more clearly and purely: it has always been their problem to bring people to raison.”[4]

Such praise stands in striking contrast to the calumnies which the nations have heaped upon the Jewish people. Maimonides explains: “[Because of Israel’s unique and divinely inspired way of life], all the nations, instigated by envy and impiety, rose up against us…”. In each era they employed a new method to destroy Israel and its Torah. Maimonides first mentions conquest or brute force, e.g., Amalek, Nebuchadnezzar, and Hadrian. A second and more refined method was argumentation. Thus the Greeks sought to demolish the Torah by means of philosophical controversy. After this, says Maimonides, “there arose a sect which combined the two methods, conquest and controversy, into one, because it believed that this procedure would be more effective in wiping out every trace of the Jewish nation and [its faith]. It therefore resolved to lay claim to prophecy and to found a new faith, contrary to our Law, and to contend that it was equally God-given [but that it superceded the Torah].”[5] None of these methods, Maimonides points out, has succeeded in destroying Judaism or in thwarting the will of God. The Jews survived and remained loyal to their Torah.

Turning to modern times, a fourth method has been used to undermine the Torah, namely, “Biblical criticism,” which denies the Torah’s divine origin and, therefore, the chosenness of the Jewish People. This method, which begins with Spinoza in the seventeenth century, was amplified by the nineteenth-century German school of Bible critics. These critics tried to prove, by literary analysis, that the Torah is a human product of multiple authorship. Although this method has often been refuted, most recently by means of computer analysis of the text, it remains very much in vogue.[6] Indeed, its skepticism has shaped the mentality of Israel’s intellectual and political elites, who remain oblivious of the scientifically-based renaissance in Torah philosophy that has taken place during the last three decades.

I now turn to a new method which is being employed to destroy Israel and its Torah, that of “peace.” Some preliminary statements are necessary.

Ever since the Six-Day War of June 1967, when Israel miraculously gained control of Judea, Samaria, Gaza, the Sinai, and the Golan Heights, the nations have sought to roll Israel back to its precarious 1949 armistice lines. This is the practical intention of United Nations Resolution 242, which declares the following principles: (a) withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories of recent conflict, and (b) termination of all claims of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.[7]

Inasmuch as the Arab states have never recognized Resolution 242, it harbors a fundamental contradiction. For the borders which Israel deems “secure”—and which Israel alone is qualified to determine—will simply not be “recognized” by Israel’s Arab neighbors. Nevertheless, Israel’s government acquiesced in Resolution 242, which means that it sanctioned what has come to be known as the policy of “territory for peace.”

That Israeli governments agreed and still agree to Israel’s territorial contraction is truly remarkable, given the obscene anti-Semitism and the enormous military expenditures of Israel’s Arab neighbors, including Egypt. Most observers attribute Israel’s adherence to the policy of “territory for peace” to American pressure. It may also be said that this policy has been utilized by the Labor Party to win the Arab vote on which that party’s power ultimately depends. Be this as it may, we have touched only the surface of the “peace” method of destroying Israel and Judaism.

The UN-US policy of “territory for peace” means that Jews must forsake their heartland, Judea and Samaria, including eastern Jerusalem and its Temple Mount. (UN Resolution 303 of 1949 calls for the internationalization of Jerusalem.) The loss of the Temple Mount strikes at the heart of Judaism, of biblical prophecy. It places in question the Torah, its truth and its promise. It fosters doubt among Jews and undermines their national self-confidence. It degrades God’s Chosen people, but therefore the God of Israel. Therein is the ultimate price of the “peace process.” We must now enlarge on the fact that Jews are not only the victims but also the villains of this peace process.

In his commentary on Pinchas (Numbers 25:12), the illustrious Torah philosopher Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch defines peace as a state of the most complete harmony, and not only between man and man, but between man and God. God’s covenant of Peace or Brit Shalom with Pinchas represents God’s promise that peace will ultimately reign over the whole world.

Hirsch emphasizes that “True peace of men with each other rests on the peace of all of them with God.”—meaning the God of Israel. He points out that he who dares to wage war with people who are against the Torah is actually fighting for the Brit Shalom on earth. Conversely, “he who, for the sake of so-called peace, quietly leaves the field to people who are at variance with God, his love of peace is at one with the enemies of the Brit Shalom on earth”[8] (italics added).

Hirsch’s commentary has shocking implications. What is shocking is not that the land-for-peace policy has nothing to do with true peace. That should have been obvious to any intelligent and forthright student of Arab-Islamic culture. It is simply stupid or dishonest (and cowardly) for Israeli governments to pursue a policy of land for peace with Arab despots, more so than it was for England to have pursued such a policy with Nazi Germany (at the expense of Czechoslovakia).

What is shocking is that the dishonest (and cowardly) quest for peace in Israel applies not only to the secular parties but to the religious parties as well! According to Hirsch’s commentary, those who oppose Torah governance—hence Israel’s secular parties—do not seek true peace because true peace requires making peace with God. But Hirsch also indicates that “he who, for the sake of so-called peace, quietly leaves the field to those who are at variance with God [including those very secularists], his love of peace is at one with the enemies of the Brit Shalom on earth”! Which means that the religious parties, which have acquiesced in the policy of land for peace, are no less blameworthy for Israel’s distance from the Brit Shalom promised by God.

Of course the “enemies of the Brit Shalom on earth” include the nations in general, and Israel’s bellicose Arab neighbors in particular. Since they do not recognize the God of Israel, they cannot make genuine peace with His Chosen People. Besides, the idea of the Chosen People contradicts the democratic structure of the UN General Assembly, which is based on the egalitarian principle of “one nation/one vote.” The General Assembly thus places Israel (at best) on the same level as any other country. This leveling of all nations (leaving the Security Council aside) is a precondition of alleged peace.

The promotion of “peace” is of course the prescribed purpose of the UN. This purpose, from the Torah’s point of view, is beyond the UN’s power given its secular character and egalitarian structure. The General Assembly sanctifies the moral equivalence of all nations. (“We are all equally holy”, to paraphrase Korach’s rebellion against Moses and Aaron’s pre-eminence in Numbers 16:3.) But the moral equivalence of nations—democracies, oligarchies, and tyrannies—renders true peace impossible. Peace can be imposed on this or that nation, but it will not be true peace, or the harmony of which Rabbi Hirsch speaks, but only the absence of conflict. This is the peace which the UN via the United States wishes to foist on Israel. But this peace entails Israel’s physical truncation and spiritual emasculation. Let us probe still deeper.

Although the UN Charter explicitly acknowledges the sovereignty of each nation, the UN increasingly interferes in the purely internal affairs of nations, and on matters having nothing to do with international peace.[9] The aim of the UN is to promote indiscriminate moral equality within as well as between all nations.[10] This requires the worldwide recognition of moral and cultural relativism. Once nations see there are no moral or religious absolutes, then, given the global prosperity promised by scientific technology, national borders and war will be a thing of the past.[11]

This is the agenda of international socialism manifested in the UN. The UN is attempting to create a “New World Order” devoid of absolute ethics and sovereign states. It is in this light that we are to understand the “peace process” and UN hostility toward Israel.

Of course antipathy toward Israel may also be understood in economic terms. One does not have to be a Marxist to see that economics is indeed the essence of the nations. The ultimate purpose of social as well as liberal democracies is commodious living, which today depends to no small extent on Persian Gulf oil and arms sales to Arab states. But rather than succumb to vulgar Marxism by explaining human behavior simply in terms of material interests, a deeper truth must be emphasized. Advocates of a “New World Order”—international socialists above all—cannot endure a strong and sovereign Jewish state. The basic reason is this: A strong and sovereign Jewish state—Israel—disturbs the conscious or subconscious minds of internationalists because Israel’s Bible prophesizes a world that acknowledges the sovereignty of God rather than any world-leveling organization.

Now we can better understand the American State Department’s long enduring antipathy toward Israel and its support for the PLO in the so-called peace process. Of all departments of the American Government, the State Department has the most highly educated personnel. It so happens, however, that higher education in the United States has long been dominated by left-leaning cultural relativists who have embraced multiculturalism. This is one reason why many American campuses (on which the PLO is well-represented) are breeding grounds for “anti-Semitism,” meaning hatred of ethical Jewish nationalism (“particularism”), the alternative to the moral leveling of socialist internationalism.

This anti-Semitism will be found in Israel among a clique of left-wing Jews, “post-Zionists” aligned with Israel’s Arab enemies. Their irrational commitment to the “peace process” is actually motivated by the desire to destroy Judaism. Thus, soon after the Labor-Meretz troika of Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Shulamit Aloni came power in the June 1992 elections—it was an electoral coup d’etat—the words “Judaism,” “Zionism,” and “Eretz Israel” were stricken from the Soldiers Code of Ethics. Aloni was made Education Minister and proceded to deJudaize education in the public schools. (Her two successors, Amnon Rubenstein and Yossi Sarid continued this process of transforming Jewish youth into Hebrew-speaking, anti-Zionist gentiles.)[12] Nor is this all. To fully appreciate the fact that a veritable revolution was taking place in Israel as a result of the 1992 Knesset elections, one must say a few words about Shimon Peres, the father of the Israel-PLO Agreement of September 1993 (hereafter called “Oslo”).

This erstwhile hawk of the Labor Party had become an intoxicated internationalist. Addressing the UN in October 1992, a few months after becoming Israel’s Foreign Minister, Peres announced that “national conflicts and national rivalries” were coming to an end, indeed, that “war is obsolete.”[13] It must be borne in mind, however, that Peres, as a Labor socialist, has diluted Marxism in his veins. In his book The New Middle East, he declared that regional economics and the progress of science and technology foretell the passing of the sovereign state. “At the threshold of the twenty-first century, we do not need to reinforce sovereignty, but rather to strengthen the position of humankind…”[14] For Peres, the idea of the small national state, including Israel, has collapsed. “Particularist nationalism is fading and the idea of a ‘citizen of the world’ is taking hold.”[15] Consistent therewith, Peres not only applied for Israel’s membership in the Arab league, but he also allied himself with Arab Knesset Members who advocated Israel’s transformation into a “state of its citizens.”

More serious and subtle, and more subversive of the Jewish state, are the sophistry and decisions of Supreme Court President Aaron Barak: “The content of the phrase ‘Jewish state,’” he writes, “will be determined by the level of abstraction which shall be given to it. In my opinion … the level of abstraction should be so high, that it becomes identical to the democratic nature of the state…. The values of the state of Israel as a Jewish state are those universal values common to members of democratic society.”[16] Judge Barak’s goal is to erase, by judicial fiat, the distinctively Jewish character of the supposed-to-be Jewish state.[17]

Finally, with the election of Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 1999 and the departure of the religious parties from his coalition government the following year, the stage was prepared to complete the Revolution of 1992 and establish a New Israel. Barak announced his intention to promulgate a secular revolution, one that would separate religion and state.[18] To complete this revolution and, at the same time reveal his contempt for two thousand years of Jewish yearning, Barak employed the Oslo “peace process” to offer the Temple Mount, the holy of holies of Judaism, to Yasser Arafat, an arch Jew-hater. Oslo’s but therefore Peres’s hidden agenda thus came to the surface: the destruction of the Jewish state, hence of Judaism. This was well understood by Israeli leftists. Thus, whereas Ha’aretz journalist Gidon Samet gleefully saw Oslo as nullifying a century-old effort at building a Jewish “national identity,” author David Grossman cynically described Israel’s military redeployment, as prescribed by Oslo, as “a redeployment from entire regions in our soul.”[19]

No wonder Israeli governments have tolerated countless violations of Oslo by Arafat and have made Jewish blood cheap in the process. “Peace”—the peace of Jews who hate Judaism—requires the degradation of Jews and the Jewish state![20] Animating these Jews is fear, or the inability to stand alone vis-a-vis mankind. (See Numbers 22:9.) The concept of the Chosen People is beyond their meager intellects and timid souls. They abandoned austere and exclusive Judaism and joined the herd: much safer and respectable to be members of all-inclusive democracy and secular humanism. It matters not that contemporary democracy is steeped in vulgarity, and that humanism in our time lacks the exalted conception of man manifested in the eighteenth century, let alone in the Bible of Israel. Today, the main thing is to be safe and comfortable. All the more reason for these assimilated Jews to march under the banner of “peace.” This makes them “politically correct,” indeed, unassailable.

Spinoza also hated Jews and Judaism.[21] It was obvious to the father of liberal democracy that democracy and the Torah are incompatible. Spinoza would laugh at the mental gymnastics of judge Barak.

Spinoza aside, who is not the last word on democracy, nor on the Torah, it must here be emphasized that, although Judaism embodies certain democratic principles, these are constrained by ethical laws and institutions of government which are in essence aristocratic.[22] But unlike democratized universalists, Judaism envisions a universal aristocracy. The Torah projects Israel as a nation of noblemen, a nation that is to enlighten mankind. Nietzsche marveled at the incomparable nobility of the “Old Testament.” He writes:

In the Jewish “Old Testament,” the book of divine justice, there are human beings, things, and speeches in so grand a style that Greek and Indian literature have nothing to compare with it. With terror and reverence one stands before these tremendous remnants of what man once was, and will have sad thoughts about ancient Asia and its protruding little peninsula Europe, which wants by all means to signify as against Asia the “progress of man.”[23]

All this is beyond the mentality of those who rule Israel and derive their dignity or acceptability as democrats and internationalists. These conformists aspire to nothing higher than peace, meaning comfortable self-preservation. For these fearful Jews, Israel must not be conspicuous. Its lifestyle must blend with America’s and Europe’s. God forbid that Israel should again conceive of itself and strive to become a light among the nations. Enough for Israel to have A Place Among the Nations.

While contemporary democracy has leveled the people of Israel, nothing has so degraded Jews as the peace process. This degradation, displayed in Ramallah, where Arabs savagely murdered two Jewish reserve soldiers, is precisely the intention of Arafat’s terrorist war of attrition against Israel. Arafat is the Amalek of this generation. But for a deeper understanding of Amalek’s significance, ponder the insights of Rabbi Matis Weinberg: “Amalek’s attack [on Israel] does not take the form of anti-God argumentation. In fact, it takes no intellectually overt form whatsoever—their entire focus is on perception, not reason. They [the Amalekites] were willing to suffer [great losses] in order to strike a blow at the perceived godliness and prestige of Yisrael.”

Weinberg then quotes from an ancient commentary: “Yisrael left Egypt and God split the sea for them and destroyed the Egyptians; and everyone was in awe of them. Until Amalek attacked. They [the Amalekites] suffered terrible losses, [but] they deflated the image of Yisrael in the perception of the nations.” Weinberg comments:

A terrorist organization may take enormous risks to carry out an operation whose only strategic value is damage to the government’s aura of invincibility. The Amalekites do the same. They are the image breakers; they play to the media, utilize communication to manipulate perception. The name of their game is defamation in the literal sense—to defame, tearing down esteem and maligning fame.[24]

In a marginal note, Weinberg quotes Emil M. Fackenheim: “The whole purpose of the [Nazi] program was to reduce Israel to excrement. That program included the God of Israel.”[25] This, in effect, is the program of Yasser Arafat. We see the results. We see the Temple Mount desecrated; Joseph’s Tomb destroyed; Jews dismembered; Jewish school buses bombed; Jewish children crippled and orphaned; Jewish communities shelled. And yet, despite all this humiliation and degradation, Israeli governments are still waving the banner of peace. This peace is destroying the State of Israel.

Can it be that this state must perish for Israel to live?

[1] Cited in Isadore Twersky (ed.), A Maimonides Reader (New York: Behrman House, Inc., 1972), p. 439.

[2] See Isaac Herzog, Judaism: Law and Ethics (London: Soncino Press, 1974), pp. 213-214.

[3] Cited in Pathways to the Torah (Jerusalem: Aish HaTorah Publications, 1988), p. A6.2.

[4] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Joyful Wisdom (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1960), p. 289. T. Common, trans.

[5] Twersky, pp. 440-441.

[6] See Paul Eidelberg, Judaic Man: Toward a Reconstruction of Western Civilization (Middletown, NJ: The Caslon Co., 1996), pp. xviii-xx, 163-178.

[7] See Paul Eidelberg, Sadat’s Strategy (Quebec: Dawn Publishing Co., 1979) Appendix 3. Although the definite article “the” does not precede the word “territories,” which omission gives Israel the right to retain some of the land it conquered in this war of self-defense—for example eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights—the fact remains that the nations, including the United States, have never recognized any part of Israel’s post-1967 borders.

[8] Raphael Samson Hirsch, The Pentateuch (Gateshead: Judaica Press, 1982).

[9] In 1992 UN Security Council unveiled An Agenda for Peace, which warns that “The time of absolute and exclusive sovereignty has passed,” that a “UN army is required for securing justice and human rights.” Also, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child claims that governments must guarantee children “freedom of expression … freedom to seek, receive, and impart information … freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.” The effect is to undermine parental authority and thereby undermine the traditional family.

[10] In 1993, and in contrast to the preceding footnote, the UN Economic and Social Council granted consultant status to the International Gay and Lesbian Association which includes the North American Man/Boy Love Association, which promotes the use of children as sex objects.

[11] See Shimon Peres, The New Middle East (New York: Henry Holt, 1993), pp. 95, 99. For a critique, see Paul Eidelberg, Jewish Statesmanship: Lest Israel Fall (Ariel Center for Policy Research, 2000), ch. 8.

[12] See Yoram Hazony, The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel’s Soul (NY: Basic Books, 2000), pp. 41-46.

[13] See Shimon Peres, The New Middle East (New York: Henry Holt, 1993), p. 51.

[14] Ibid., pp. 171-172.

[15] Hazony, pp. 64-66.

[16] Ibid., p. 51. See Eidelberg, Jewish Statesmanship, ch. 3, which articulates two kinds of democracy, contemporary or “normless” democracy, which contradicts Judaism, and classical or “normative” democracy, which can be assimilated to Judaism.

[17] For a critique of judge Barak, see ibid., p. 150 and pp. 156-158 (citing Professor Ruth Gavison’s critique). To hasten the demise of the Jewish state, Israeli governments have allowed hundreds of thousands of gentiles, especially from Russia, to enter the country, which of course cannot but diminish the voting power of religious Jews.

[18] For a carefully reasoned argument that separation of religion and state would subvert Israel, see Shlomo Sharan, “State and Religion in Israel: Why the Separation of State and Religion is Inappropriate for Israel” (Ariel Center For Policy Research, Nov. 1999).

[19] Cited in Hazony, pp. 71-72.

[20] The Talmud states that Jewish ignoramuses—they may have a university degree—are the greatest haters of Israel (Pesachim 49b)!

[21] See Leo Strauss, Liberalism Ancient & Modern (New York: Basic Books, 1968), p. 244, affirming Hermann Cohen’s view of Spinoza’s hatred of Jews and Judaism as “unnatural.”

[22] See Paul Eidelberg, Judaic Man: Toward a Reconstruction of Western Civilization (Middletown, NJ: Caslon, 1996), ch. 8.

[23] Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, in Basic Writings of Nietzsche (New York: Modern Library, 1968), Aph. 52, W. Kaufmann, trans.

[24] Matis Weinberg, FrameWorks (Exodus) (Boston/Jerusalem: The Foundation for Jewish Publications, 1999), p. 114.

[25] Ibid., p. 115, from What is Judaism (New York: Macmillan Books, 1987), p. 289.

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