..., Israel is under a new kind of attack. Not conventional war as in 1948, 56, 67 or 73. Not terrorism as we saw in the 70s, 80s and 90s. But a new kind of attack an attack on Israel legitimacy, on her right to exist. A "soft-war", where many of its adversaries are employing legal tricks, multinational bodies, and an army of dubious NGO's to present internationally Israel as an illegitimate state, as a barbarian state, a state that should be isolated and converted into a pariah state.
We think this is intolerable. It is unjust, morally wrong, and a strategic risk -- not only for Israel and its people -- but for all of us.
Israel is an integral part of the West, and the weaker it is, the weaker the entire West will be perceived to be.
Even if we want to turn away from the traumas of 9/11, we simply do not have the luxury to choose our enemies. As Senators Baker, Dole, Daschle and Mitchell made clear in their latest report, published 5 days ago. by the Bipartisan Policy Center, the threat to our way of life from radical Islamists is real, and it has not yet been eliminated.
Let me be clear. We don't want in any case to defend any particular Israeli government or any particular set of policies or any particular party. Israelis' institutions are mature enough to defend their choices. We want to stand up for the right of Israel to exist. Judaeo-Christian values form the roots of our civilization. Delegitimizing Israel undermines our identity, warps our values and put at risk what we are and who we are.
So, dear friends, it is not only the threat that if Israel goes down, which, make no mistake, many of its enemies would like to see happen, we all go down. It is that letting Israel be demonized will lead to the deligitimation of our own cherished values. If Israel were to disappear by the force of its enemies, I sincerely doubt the West could remain as we know it.
So, I conclude: Is it craziness for a group, as I said before, of mostly Europeans and non-Jews, to say: "Enough. Stop this nonsense of making Israel responsible for all the problems in the region, if not beyond? Enough of the short-sightedness which refuses to see Israel as a cornerstone of our Western civilization?"
We do believe that far from it, it is vital. For America, for the West, for Israel. And for our children and grandchildren and the world they will inherit. Because there is still right and wrong in this complicated world. And if we allow those fundamentals to be blurred and eroded and confused, we will all be dangerously adrift.
Defending Israel today means strengthening the West, standing up for our values, and their right to exist as a normal country, a fellow democracy and a celebrated ally in our great western alliance.
I hope that you will share our vision, and will help us in bringing reason and decency back to the discussion concerning Israel.
Thank you very much
Jose María Aznar
The problem of the Arab-Israel conflict begins with the term itself, which misrepresents the unilateral Arab war against Israel as a bilateral dispute. Unilateral aggression is not unheard of—when did Poland ever aggress against Germany or Russia?—but nothing in United Nations history compares in intensity or fixity with Arab belligerence toward Israel, a UN member state.
Now at last comes the information missing from Walt and Mearsheimer's screed. In Mitchell Bard's The Arab Lobby, we see how, in contrast to the altogether transparent workings of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a lobby supported by tens of thousands of American citizens across political lines, the Arab lobby truly does merit being called, in Bard's subtitle, an "invisible alliance that undermines America's interests in the Middle East."
Mitchell Bard was the logical person to supply the untold story. Trained in political science, public policy, and economics, he has made a specialty of separating Middle Eastern myths from facts, and his writing, whether on academic subjects or for popular audiences, is marked by careful research and thorough documentation. The details speak for themselves.
The present book, divided into fifteen chapters, begins with the "seeds" of the Arab lobby that were sown by King Saud of Saudi Arabia in the World War II era and that still bear fruit today. The basic message to America remains remarkably consistent: We have the oil. Maintain us in power and we will guarantee your deliveries. We will also purchase American arms—to the tune, Bard writes, of $100 billion over 50 years—to keep ourselves in power and thus maintain the security of your supply.
Bard does not shrink from the term "blackmail" to describe the process whereby the Saudis have periodically threatened to close the spigot whenever Washington appears to oppose their interests and fixed habits, which happen to include the denial of human rights at home, militant opposition to Israel abroad, the global spread of extremist Islam, and support of international terror.
The last-named activity ought to have turned the spotlight on Saudi Arabian double-dealing when fifteen of the nineteen suicide bombers in the 9/11 attack on American soil turned out to be Saudi nationals. Instead, the opposite occurred, as the royal family seized the opportunity to extend Arab influence in the world of ideas by pouring tens of millions of dollars into Islamic programs in American universities and other educational initiatives. The staggering sums are listed by Bard, along with descriptions of what these sums are buying in programming, from college courses through K-12 education. The influence is palpable not only in what gets taught but in what has been excluded: namely, courses on radical Islam, Arab anti-Semitism, Arab anti-Americanism, or anything else that might explain the real and present danger. What Jewish lobbying works to clarify and uncover, Arab influence has been successfully deployed to obscure.
The research compiled by Walt and Mearsheimer for The Israel Lobby, shoddy as much of it was, was taken from publicly available sources. Arab lobbyists and their clients conduct their most serious business in secret. The U.S. State Department, where Arabists are most influential, does not declassify its cables for 25 years, and even then, Bard writes, "we do not know how much of [Arab lobbying] activity is kept secret for national-security reasons, concealed to avoid embarrassment, [or] destroyed purposely or inadvertently."
The Arab Lobby is not an elegant book, and would have benefited from editorial polishing. But it rests on a solid background of painstaking research. Some of its repetitive quality, moreover, is attributable to the unchanging nature of Arab politics. American Jews could do America—and ultimately the Arabs—no greater service than to focus on setting the record straight, and to do so by taking a page from Bard and rejecting their customary defensiveness. They are not the defendants in this case; they are rightly the plaintiffs.
Ruth R. Wisse is professor of Yiddish and comparative literature at Harvard. Her books include Jews and Power (Schocken), The Modern Jewish Canon (Free Press), and a forthcoming edition of The Glatstein Chronicles (Yale).