Hell-Broth in the Middle East
“Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.” William Shakespeare from Macbeth
Background regarding the modern Middle East crisis can be said to have begun with a letter written (by British PM Lloyd George) in 1917 to Baron Rothschild, with the approval of American President Woodrow Wilson and other allies, proposing a national home for the Jewish people in Ottoman Palestine. The proposal was finally supported by the United Nations in 1948, after the devastation to European Jews in WWII, and immediately all hell broke out in the region. To stem the panic, the UN immediately appointed Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte to mediate the crisis. He was assassinated in Jerusalem by an extremist Jewish militia opposed to his ideas. The beginnings, one might say, of hell-broth boil and bubble.
While even the most conscientious scholar has difficulty factually following subsequent events in this saga, protesters from all over the world seem to know all the twists and turns, all the national motives, all the attempts at peace, all the eyes of newt and toes of frog included in the bubbling caldron, and have come to the conclusion that the answer lies in exterminating one of the sides in the conflict. With lightning speed, after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, 2023, thousands of signs were printed, Palestinian flags and scarves produced, and marches organized. Former President Obama opined that one has to be comfortable with the complicated to have an intelligent opinion. Okay; here are the complications the demonstrators purport to know:
They know that the original UN Resolution created a two-state solution as did the proposal by Count Bernadotte that added provisions for an open seaport, shared airports, and special provisions for historic Jerusalem. Palestine was to include part of Galilee, Samaria, Gaza, and the West Bank; Israel was to include a large portion of the desert in the south. Count Bernadotte proposed a “right of return” for Palestinians who fled in panic and also a United Nations Commission on Refugees.
They know that modern Israel was immediately unsuccessfully attacked by its Arab neighbors. Attacks on Jews and retaliatory attacks on Arabs continued for years. They must know of Egypt’s hostility regarding the Suez; of the 1967 Six-Day War in which Israel was completely surrounded by hostile actors and had to take preemptive action; of the 1969 War of Attrition in which the Soviet Union participated; and of the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the role America played in it. With each victory Israel acquired more land.
Image: Kibbutz Be’eri. YouTube screen grab.
They know that the UN in 1975 declared that Zionism is equivalent to Racism, though they rescinded the Resolution in 1991. They know that Arab Oil sanctions in the 1970s devastated Israel’s economy and they turned, in the 1980s, from Marxism to capitalism to thrive. They know of the 1978 Camp David Accords for comprehensive peace that failed; of Israel’s necessary preemptive strike on Iraq’s nuclear reactor that the UN condemned; of the Arab Summit rejecting any Arab-Israeli peace; of the bombing of a UN peace-keeping force in Beirut; of a 1983 belligerence pact between Lebanon and Israel that the Syrians forced Lebanon to renounce; of the 1988 US recognition of the PLO; of the 1993 Oslo Accords for peace opposed by Hamas; of the Hebron Agreement to limit settlements near Jerusalem; of the Wye River Memorandums that were not honored; of Hamas taking over Gaza in 2007; of endless rocket attacks on Israel and subsequent cease-fires; and of Palestine declaring an Islamic Jihad against Israel. Finally, they know that Hamas attacked Israeli settlers on October 7, 2023, with such brutality and inhumanity that pictures of it cannot be shown to the public. Two-hundred plus hostages were also taken and are still in captivity awaiting rescue.
Here’s what the demonstrators might not know:
They might not know the United States, by current policy, does not support Israel’s existence. The United States, by current policy, supports an Iranian regime that funds the terrorist groups that have attacked Israel and will do so again. All rhetoric to the contrary by the State Department is disingenuous. The protesters, on behalf of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, are supporting a hell-broth in the Middle East.
They might not know Israel herself has changed. When formed she had no Constitution or Bill of Rights. Her religious matters were controlled by the extreme orthodox. She was a Marxist-Zionist state. But Israel made a decision to become more entrepreneurial, more free market, less socialistic and she began to thrive. When the Soviet Union fell in 1991 professional Russian Jews emigrated to Israel to her benefit. Israel’s Zionist beginnings, the boil and bubble of lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing, her rejection by the Arab world, the assassinations of her leaders, countless massacres and revenge massacres, all have taken their toll on the Israeli people and her Arab neighbors, and while she will defend herself from attack, seems ready to share prosperity with her neighbors.
They might not know the entire world-wide Evangelical Christian community is deeply attached to the Holy Land, Ancient Israel, and the precious history discovered there. Archaeological digs have confirmed many historic aspects of the Bible. Scientists and scholars of all religions find the region priceless.
What can we conclude?
Factually, we can conclude that what the UN created in 1948 has been mostly abandoned by that international body. We can conclude that at the present time the government of the US has also abandoned Israel, although the US official position is the opposite. It is also possible that many Arab states are weary of the 75-year-old religious battle and are ready to support a new path.
One might infer that the programmed demonstrations against Israel are partly a product of flash mob social media, particularly Communist China’s TikTok. America has also slipped from the rational and empirical to an elevation of the meritless. Our entire system of education, from once-great universities to K-12, needs to be re-examined. “Double, double toil and trouble. . .like a hell-broth boil and bubble.” It is possible to cool this hell-broth – all it takes is honesty, savvy, and strength – all qualities America has traditionally had, and a willingness to turn the ship of state around and return to a moral path. Let’s hope Israel and the Palestinians can find that path, as well, as shared stewards, along with the entire international community, of a very important part of the world.