Rabbi Steven Pruzansky in Israel National News: The missing piece
March 18, 2024

by Rabbi Steven Pruzansky in the Israel National News

The National Guard is patrolling New York City subways to keep the people safe and even that is not working. There are homeless encampments in every major city, cities that are already being overrun by the millions of illegal migrants who are crossing America’s porous borders. The United States has $133 trillion in debt. And Chuck Schumer thinks that Israel’s government needs to be changed.

Schumer’s obscene outburst – which he has since tried to partially retract – was revolting both in style and substance. Yes, who is he? This gross interference in Israel’s domestic affairs exposes the hypocrisy of the Democrats who whined (falsely) about Putin’s alleged interference in America’s elections; yet, they have no hesitation at all interfering in Israel’s internal affairs – again. Both Clinton (1999) and Obama (2015) sent staff and money to try to defeat Binyamin Netanyahu. Now Schumer is doing Biden’s bidding in this vile display of contempt and condescension towards Israel, our electorate, and our government.

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Schumer has always fancied himself Israel’s ‘shomer’, a play on his name, but he has more consistently been, throughout his career, a schemer, a partisan Democrat hack. Schumer, who has the distinction of achieving the highest elected office of any American Jew now has the dishonor of being the highest elected American Jewish official ever to betray Israel. Let us not forget that it was Chuck Schumer who in 2015 pushed through Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran that will (barring some intervention) enable them to produce nuclear weapons and provided them up front with billions of dollars in cash that was and is being used to murder Jews. Having ensured there were enough votes not to override the dirty deal in the Senate, the oleaginous Schumer voted against it (to save face in the Jewish community, which bought it).

Besides calling for elections in Israel and the defeat and removal of Netanyahu, whom he deemed “an obstacle to peace,” Schumer emitted this gem: “The world has changed, radically, since [October 7], and the Israeli people are being stifled right now by a governing vision that is stuck in the past.” By this, he meant that the path to “peace” lies in indulging the two-state delusion. Well…talk about being stuck in the past.

The “two-state delusion” is not October 6 thinking. It is November 1947 thinking. It is an archaic, discredited, wholly deranged idea that rewards terror and will only encourage the enemy to plot more, to attack more, and bomb more because there is literally no downside to it. The Knesset made this quite clear just a few weeks ago. An unprecedented 99 MKs voted against an imposed “Palestinian state,” and close to 80% of Israelis oppose it as well. It’s not just Netanyahu or Smotrich or Ben Gvir – it’s us, it’s the people, it’s common sense, it’s elementary morality.

Sure, “the world has changed radically” since October 7. Evil is ascendant across the globe. Rather than fight and destroy it, Schumer, Biden, Blinken, and many in the Democratic Party want to appease it in the finest tradition of Neville Chamberlain. But Israel is not South Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Taiwan, all abandoned by the US in one way or another. They can either aid Israel in this struggle or not. But if US military aid is only granted not with strings but with chains, Israel does have the capability and the obligation to protect our interests.

Israel cannot prevail with this type of US support, the kind that demands – as Antony Blinken unctuously intoned, words then read verbatim by his water-carrier Schumer – that Israel’s “priority number one” must be the protection of Gaza’s civilians. No, no, no. That is depraved, preposterous, and defeatist. The fate of Gazan civilians should not be in the top ten of Israel’s concerns – or as much as the fate of enemy civilians was America’s concern in Germany, Japan, Vietnam and Afghanistan.

In truth, but for Israel’s excessive concern about enemy civilians, we would have fewer dead soldiers and the war would be over by now. The stated war objectives are destroying Hamas’ terror capability, liberating our hostages, and ensuring that Gaza is never again a center of terror.

Gazan civilians – the ones whose homes all had tunnels and were used as weapons depots – are not our problem. Months ago, they should have been resettled elsewhere – perhaps in the US, which annually admits millions of people who have identical problematic pasts.

Despite Blinken’s blathering, our concern should prioritize our civilians – those who were murdered, those who were kidnapped, and those who remain homeless because of the predations of our enemies. Blinken never mentions displaced Jews – only displaced Gazans. His priorities are skewed and should never be ours. We must never intentionally target civilians – and we never do – but that is wholly different than prioritizing their safety at the cost of victory.

What are we missing? Why is Schumer, like a lapdog with a bone, suddenly obsessed with a Palestinian state? What do the Democrats – and the Israeli left – not understand? Why do even genuine supporters continue to speak of coexistence as if, with just a little more goodwill, it is right over the horizon?

There is a missing piece to this puzzle.

In a private conversation some thirty years ago as the Oslo debacle unfolded, I spoke with a former State Department official, a former ambassador, and someone gung-ho about the prospects for peace in the Middle East (always just a few more Israeli concessions away). I asked him one simple question: “What if this is all a ruse? What if the real objective of the Arab countries is to destroy Israel, and all the peace process does is incrementally weaken Israel until it is ripe for conquest?”

His answer was telling and frightening. He said: “We do not factor in that possibility at all. If we did, we could never have a peace process.” It emerges that the likeliest explanation for all the terror, the missiles, the invasions, the wars, the bombings, the stabbings, the ramming, and the incitement – that many Arabs reject Israel’s very existence and always will – is never a consideration in the halls of diplomacy.

It is this missing piece, this willful blindness, that shapes international diplomacy and now has produced the wailing for the “two-state delusion.” Would it not endanger Israel’s existence? No, say the grand poohbahs of diplomacy, because they have categorically ruled out that Israel’s existence is in danger and that our enemies want us dead.

Think of how we could change the world as we know it if we just ignored inconvenient facts. Why, human beings could fly… if we ignore the effects of gravity. And perhaps with enough international goading, and the magical words uttered by the right people that produce the ostentatious signing ceremony, Israel can be convinced that it can really fly, far and high.

Two months ago, my wife sat on a plane next to an American Israeli woman from a leftist kibbutz in the south who was also returning to Israel. Asked if she supports the “two state delusion,” the woman demurred. Everyone else on her kibbutz did before the Hamas massacre, but she did not. Why not? She explained that she studied just a few years earlier for a graduate degree in London, and there befriended some classmates who were from Gaza. Talking about politics, she questioned them about the two-state delusion, and, as she described it, they laughed at her. “We don’t want two states. We will not rest until we destroy Israel. You have no right to live on any part of that land – our land. And we don’t care how long it takes.”

So many of Israel’s devoted defenders have publicly repudiated the accusation that Gaza was “occupied,” and that the “occupation” was the cause of the invasion, because, indeed, Israel (foolishly) abandoned Gaza in 2005. All true – but it misses the point.

To our enemies, Gaza is occupied, as are Ashkelon, Beer Sheva, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Yerushalayim, Tzfat, and Kiryat Shemonah. That is the sum and substance of the “river to the sea” chant. Why do we ignore what they are saying? Why do we act horrified when we point out “That means no Israel!” Duh – that is exactly what they mean. Why do we pretend otherwise? We do so because we are loathe to consider the implications, but that does not make it any less true.

Freed from the illusion that peace will ever be possible with enemies who will never stop and never give up, our entire statecraft should change. Our strategies, our public presentation, and our narrative cannot be the same. We would not just be managing the conflict. Our settlement policies would be efficient and coherent, not protracted, and reactions to terror. We would not worry about antagonizing our enemy because they cannot already be more antagonized.

We no longer have the luxury to fantasize that our enemies do not mean what they say. We must somehow get it through our skulls that too many Arabs – in Gaza, Judea, Samaria, Lebanon, Syria, and even among Israeli Arabs, not to mention the Iranians – want to smother us and strangle our reborn state. And there is not much we can do to change that. We can through strength, vigilance, and fierce determination convince them that in the short term, their dream is dead. They will not defeat us and we should prove that by re-claiming Gaza and dispossessing them. But we should not allow continued residence in the land of Israel to those who harbor these genocidal fantasies. No one should live here – from the river to the sea – who does not want to dwell in the Jewish state of Israel.

To be sure, the Abraham Accords demonstrated that there are Arabs and Muslims throughout the region who respect our existence and sovereignty. There have always been such voices in the Arab world, although many have been muted, silenced, and killed over the last century. Time will tell if this friendship is based on the love of Mordechai (the Jew) or hatred of Haman (the Persian). But if we refuse to acknowledge this basic truth – that those who are our enemies will never be reconciled to our existence – nothing will change, even if Hamas is destroyed in Gaza.

If we ignore this reality, painful as it is, we will wake up the day after to still more rockets, bombs, stabbings, and shootings. We will be lamenting how hard it is to be a Jew in Israel rather than lamenting how hard we make it on ourselves to be a Jew in Israel because we choose to ignore reality. Perhaps it will take new leaders untainted by conceptions, fantasies, and illusions, and willing to tell the truth to our citizenry, to recognize what has been obvious for most of the last century.

There is a reason Arabs have rejected the two-state delusion consistently from 1937 to 2024. They do not want us here and they will never abandon that dream. The fact that we do not mind having some of them here – we welcome co-existence if they recognize our rights and our sovereignty – does not alter the reality that many of them do not want us here. And they prove that almost daily through acts of terror and violence, through the propaganda and incitement they feed their children in school and their worshippers in the mosques, and through their explicit statements.

But this is why Schumer can say what he says, and Biden and Blinken can carry on as they do, and Israel’s left can continue to foster the illusion that if only they were in power, we would be the darlings of the Middle East, eating hummus in Damascus because they would know how to make peace with our enemies who feel religiously compelled to destroy us. Like Frankenstein’s monster, the Oslo crowd is resuscitating itself before our eyes hoping we have short memories.

Perhaps it is time that our leaders spoke frankly to us, to the Americans, and to the world, about our intentions in the land of Israel. We are fools if we again relinquish Gaza having conquered it for the third time, fools if we indulge the diplomatic delusions of Americans and Europeans, fools if we worry about enemy civilians more than we do our own, and fools if we pay no attention to what our enemies say and mean.

Perhaps we would benefit if we, a “wise and understanding people” as the Torah describes us, started acting like it, with pride and confidence in our national mission.

Originally published in the Israel National News

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