May 18, 2011
Glenn Beck and the Struggle for Israel's Survival
Glenn Beck has announced a "Restoring Courage" rally in Israel this August. He has been a singular voice of late in the defense of Israel. I am very happy to see someone with a huge voice taking a stand and speaking out for the good and for righteousness.
For this, I forgive his previous intellectual failings and indiscretions (his denunciation of Geert Wilders, for example). Because strong voices in defense of Israel are so urgently needed right now. The Jewish people are under relentless and unremitting attack from the Muslim world. The dictatorships in Egypt, Syria, Iran, and Gaza are redirecting the rage of their people to storm Israel's borders and kill Jews. On Sunday, Muslims across the world marked May 15, 1948, the day of Israel's birth, as the great "catastrophe" (nakba). Violent demonstrators stormed Israel's borders on four sides. Only an ideology so evil and debased could declare such a righteous occasion as something horrible and catastrophic, but that is what the free world is dealing with (despite our reluctance to fight this evil or even call it by its name).
Glenn Beck is taking a stand and standing for the good. This is righteous. My only concern, and it's a big one, is the context in which he's framing his position. Glenn Beck is making a religious case for the defense of Israel. And I take exception to that. While of course the religious argument can be made, the defense of Israel is not a religious issue. This is an issue of shared values. This is an issue of humanity, decency, and morality. The case for Israel is plain for agnostics and atheists as well. Beck should not risk giving the impression that if you don't buy religious arguments, then there is no reason to stand in the defense of Israel.
Adherence to the Golden Rule may very well be a religious notion, but it is a rational and reasoned premise, with or without a deity. The existential war that Israel is facing is our war. It is the war of the individual. The eternal struggle of man against state, of the individual against collectivism, of freedom versus slavery. Since man rose up and walked on two legs, from the ancient era to the modern era, the fight is still the same. It is a struggle as old as time.
That is what is really at play here: the struggle between good and evil.
The hatred of Israel is a hatred that in itself is reviled by good rational men. Islamic societies are among the least developed cultures, the product of nomadic civilization. Their culture is primitive and barbaric, and they hate Israel because it is the sole beacon of modern science and civilization and technology in the Middle East. Ayn Rand said that when you have civilized men fighting savages, you support the civilized men, no matter what.
Israel is the only democratic nation in an otherwise Islamic Middle East of dictatorships and repressive Islamic states. Only in Israel can citizens, including Israeli Arabs, dissent from the government's line and exercise the freedom of speech -- yet "Palestinians" have the gall to claim that Israel is a human rights abuser. Israel's legitimacy is established by its political freedom as much as by any religious and historical claims. It is a free society; the Muslim countries are slave societies. There is no comparison.
Israelis have made something of land that the Arab Muslims had largely abandoned as a desert. That, too, gives them a right to it. Israel has again and again sought peace with its neighbors, yet they've attacked it five times, and fired rockets and sent suicide bombers to murder Israelis on buses and in restaurants during periods of "peace." Israel doesn't "occupy" any land -- Judea and Samaria were captured in war, and that is Jewish land in the first place, anyway. Throughout history, countries have occupied territories they needed to protect them from aggressive neighbors. Only Israel is denied this right.
The only thing Israel has done wrong has been to give away land in a vain hope for peace and not be tough enough with the genocidal Jew-hating jihadists. If the U.S. can bomb al-Qaeda sites in Afghanistan and Pakistan, why can't Israel bomb Hamas fighters in Gaza? Israel stands for peace, for freedom, for democracy, and for human rights. Its enemies stand for jihad and the subjugation of the kuffar, and the enslavement of women. This is not a nationalist struggle; it is a jihad, and all the people that want to be free from Islamic law should stand with Israel.
Traditionally, Judaism has taught the importance of peace, the value of study, the centrality of family life, and the necessity of benevolence. Meanwhile, Islam teaches the importance of using physical force to get what one wants, the value of brute strength, polygamy (which reduces women to commodities and destroys the family as we know it), and the necessity of being "harsh" toward the unbelievers (cf. Koran 48:29, 9:123). The Islamic jihadists, far from valuing life, love death; as they themselves say, inflict pain without remorse and lack any respect for other human beings if they are not Muslim.
Therefore the struggle for Israel is the struggle between good and evil, light and darkness, life and death. If Israel dies, one of the primary forces for good in the world will have been overcome by evil, and evil will be that much closer to taking over the world.
The conquest of Israel would indeed be nothing more than the conquest of the good. That piece of beach, that narrow strip of land, produces no oil, gold, or any other valuable resources. It, however, holds the Jewish people. The Islamic world knows that getting control of that tiny patch of land is meaningless; it is getting the Jew out that will be the victory for the forces of evil. However, if the Jew dies, the Muslims will die as well: their survival depends on their constant jihad, because without it they will lose the meaning and purpose of their existence.
And so it goes. It is a never-ending struggle. And it is one in which the lines are drawn quite clearly. All decent people, all free people, whether or not they are religious, must stand with Israel. It is a matter not only of the survival of the Jewish people, but of the survival of all free people, and, indeed, the principle of freedom in the world.
That is my only quibble with Mr. Beck. Mainly, I am grateful to him. Why aren't any of the Republican candidates taking a bold stance like Beck's? Standing with Israel is rational, humane, and civilized. Israel is the best indicator of a man's moral compass. The Republican candidate better show political will, or he or she will fail.
Meanwhile, Glenn Beck, kol hakavod!
Pamela Geller is the editor and publisher of the Atlas Shrugs website and former associate publisher of the New York Observer. She is the author of The Post-American Presidency.