Israel must assume the mantle of moral leadership in the West. A decisive military victory, buoyed by a program of De-Nazification, will compel the West to abandon its obsession with luxury beliefs and empower the West to solve problems that matter.
Israel and the Morality of the West
October 7, 2023 was a colossal strike against the West. Contrary to popular opinion, it was not another battle amidst a long-standing territorial dispute. Israel occupies a special place in the minds of everyone, including the antisemites. Israel’s significance to the world is larger than its modest territory suggests, and our cherished traditions, morality, and government in the West have deep roots in the Israelite kingdom. It is only right that Israel, the modern nation state born after 2,000 years of exile from the Israelite kingdom, awaken the West from its slumber and preoccupation with identity politics to confront the problems facing the West—porous borders, rise of Islamic terror, erosion of the family unit, a weakening middle class, and the absence of national purpose. Israel will fight, and its valor will provide the clarity and inspiration that the West needs to restore its purpose.
The ancient Israelite Kingdom left an indelible footprint on morality and political philosophy in the West. The kingdom was revolutionary in reinforcing that every person is fashioned in the image of God and every person including the king is bound by the laws of God. In The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture, Yoram Hazony writes,
The contract that establishes the state….includes a clause that the king must rule not only in a fashion that is (i) consonant with the consent of the people who have established the state, but also (ii) in a manner that is in keeping with that Samuel here calls haderech hatova vehayeshara—’the way that is good and right.’ His rule must be in keeping with a standard of what is right and wrong.¹
The bedrock of this system was a covenant— a binding agreement between God and the Jewish people, based on mutual responsibilities and obligations. As Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote in A Letter in the Scroll,
A covenant is not held in place by power but by an internalized sense of identity, kindship, and loyalty……The Hebrew Bible, far more than Athenian democracy, is the source of some of the noblest ideas in the Western political tradition: constitutional government, the rule of law, the moral limits of power, the higher law that mandates civil disobedience, the institution of social criticism, the sovereignty of justice, the welfare state.²
The morality of the Bible has bound people into healthy, productive lives and limited the abuses of kings. While a majority of Americans are now secular, their way of life is deeply informed by Judeo-Christian teachings. The political theorist Samuel Huntington wrote in a seminal text Who Are We,
Emphasis on the individual conscience and the responsibility of individuals to learn God’s truths directly from the Bible promoted American commitment to individualism, equality, and the rights to freedom of religion and opinion.³
Our customs and cherished freedoms will erode if we fail to appreciate where they come from. Many were shocked at the demonstrations throughout Europe and the United States in support of Hamas. After decapitating children, burning babies alive, and raping women, one would assume that Hamas would be a pariah. In reality, over 100,000 supporters descended on the streets of London, and crowds formed in front of various Muslim countries’ embassies to galvanize them to participate in Jihad. Mobs firebombed synagogues in Berlin, and terrorists killed a French teacher, heeding the orders of Hamas. Even in the United States, students at public and private universities organized events, honoring the ‘martyrs’ and physically intimidated Jewish students. The leaders of the West appear feckless and impotent. Constrained by a dogmatic allegiance to free speech and assembly, the leaders fail to appreciate that such Judeo-Christian liberties can only thrive in a society with a shared morality. All freedoms are accompanied by constraints and responsibilities—these are the inherited norms of the Bible and the West. The West should look to Israel for inspiration and counsel to revitalize their countries to serve the common good. If we know and honor our origins, we know where we are going and how to address the problems of the future.
Israel is the Antidote to Western Decline
Israel is a proud nation-state, tasked with preserving the continuity of the Jewish people. Given its unique role in conferring the world with a covenantal morality, it should assume a much-needed role in providing moral and spiritual leadership to the West. In recent years, many have questioned the will of the West to survive. Amidst the rise of secularism, identity politics, and the declining trust in our leadership, the West was possibly gasping its last breaths. It was fatigued, confused, and plagued by an endemic birth rate; it was unable to present a coherent vision of what a nation-state should be and what its priorities are. It was beset by luxury beliefs like defunding the police and transgender bathrooms. Affluent societies produce people that bring new and contrived problems to the table. In 75 years since its founding, Israel had achieved the GDP per capita of Germany, invented life-saving innovations, and was tragically mired in civil unrest. Debilitating protests occurred in response to judicial reform. The Nazi invasion on October 7th resuscitated Israel and the West from its complacency and dalliances with luxury beliefs to confront evil.
Nazism’s Re-emergence: The Axis of Islamic Nazism
The nation-state of Israel represents the long-awaited return of the Jews from exile since the fall of the Israelite kingdom. At times throughout history, evil men have scoffed at the morality birthed by the Jews and attempted to engineer a new world, justifying unspeakable horrors. Nietzsche saw the values promulgated by the bible as restraining the natural potential of those stronger. The Nazis famously heeded this and exterminated six million Jews in pursuit of their Third Reich.
The term ‘Nazi’ is thrown around loosely in today’s discourse. A Nazi is not a person who seeks to curtail the power of a judiciary. A Nazi is not a person who opposes abortion. A Nazi is not a person who fights with another person over a disputed territory. Rather, Nazism elevated the most primal characteristics of man and encouraged sacrifice and violence to promote blood purity. The disciples of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran are Nazis. Despite Nazism’s obsession with paganism, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran share much in common. They weaponize horror, preach sacrifice, abhor modernity, and call out for the blood of the Jews. Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran constitute today’s Axis of Islamic Nazism.
In September 1941, over 30,000 Jews in Ukraine were exterminated by Einsatzgruppen Commandos at Babi Yar. A witness said,
[the Jews] were led into the ravine … When they reached the bottom of the ravine they were…made to lie down on top of Jews who had already been shot … The corpses were literally in layers. A police marksman came along and shot each Jew in the neck with a submachine gun … I saw these marksmen stand on layers of corpses and shoot one after the other … The marksman would walk across the bodies of the executed Jews to the next Jew, who had meanwhile lain down, and shoot him.4
On October 7, 2023, Hamas commandos invaded Israel and stormed a music festival intended to celebrate peace, massacring 1,600 Jews. A witness said,
The terrorists, people from Gaza, raped girls. And after they raped them, they killed them, murdered them with knives, or the opposite, killed — and after they raped, they — they did that. They laughed. They always laughed. It’s — I can’t forget how they laughed on the — in this situation.5
The terrorists would laugh and eat as they burnt babies alive. The Hamas charter is genocidal and prophesies a time in the Koran where the Earth will cry out for Jewish blood. It writes, “O Muslim, there’s a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him.” This is not a territorial spat; this is a clash of civilizations, and Israel is on the front-line.
De-Nazification is the Ultimate Goal
Given this enormous burden of revitalizing the West’s spirit, Israel must do more than neutralize Hamas. It must extinguish the Axis of Islamic Nazism and embark on a program of De-Nazification. After the horrors of the Holocaust, the Nuremberg trial underscored that Hitler could not have succeeded in his goals without the consent and indifference of the German population. First, he emerged victorious in an election. Second, it was inconceivable that Germans did not notice the millions of starving slave laborers or the trains transporting Jews. In her coverage of Adolf Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt expounded upon questions surrounding the complicity of the German population. She writes,
And just as the law in civilized countries assumes that the voice of conscience tells everybody ‘Thou shalt not kill’ even though man’s natural desires and inclinations may at times be murderous, so the law of Hiter’s land demanded that the voice of conscience tell everybody: “thou shalt kill”. Many Germans must have been tempted not to murder, not to rob, not to let their neighbors off to their doom…but, God Knows, they had learned how to resist temptation.6
The population of Gaza is complicit in its government. At best, they are indifferent and ‘learned to resist the temptation not to murder’; at worst, they are cooperative. The Israeli Defense Forces do not target civilians, but civilians will inevitably die in large numbers as Hamas shields themselves in hospitals, schools, and shelters and suppresses their movement. Israel will take extraordinary measures to minimize civilian casualties, especially compared to the Allies in World War II. Winston Churchill remained insistent that “…there is one thing that will bring [Hitler] down, and that is an absolutely devastating, exterminating attack by very heavy bombers from this country upon the Nazi homeland.” Between 1939 and 1942, the allies steered away from bombing only targets of direct military significance to ‘area bombing’, the large-scale bombing of German cities to destroy housing and civilian infrastructure. While killing civilians was not an explicit military objective, there was consensus that area bombing would cause large-scale civilian casualties. To defeat Nazism, one must be clear-eyed and resolute.
As the Allies realized, a military victory is table stakes. De-Nazification means obliterating the Hitler inside of Germans. Similarly, we must obliterate the Islamic Nazism inside of the Palestinians and their allies. This will entail a systematic program that purges Islamic Nazism from the education system, showcases the crimes and atrocities in a tribunal broadcast around the world, and removes any sympathizers from any professional institution—lawyer, doctor, librarian or media outlet. One may be startled, as such actions are antithetical to western proclivities for free speech and assembly. In likeness to the Allies in WWII, this program will require patience and a military occupation. In wartime, such actions are necessary to preserve the sanctity of our cherished liberal democracy at home. A liberal democracy that fails to protect its citizens breaks the covenant and will not survive. The citizens of Israel will not live in Israel if their children risk being decapitated or burnt alive every few years. Israel must be bound by the rules of a proud nation-state empowered by its biblical traditions. It is not a supplicant to a morally vacuous international body like the UN. Rather, Israel will serve as an inspiration to the West.
The People of the West Live
Strategically, Israel must demonstrate that it’s inconceivable to attack a nuclear power and restore the integrity of deterrence. The military superiority and nuclear arsenal of Israel should have been sufficient to discourage even the prospect of funding and coordinating an attack against Israel. Some may question the prudence of an aggressive counter-terror approach given US follies in Iraq and Afghanistan. History is rife with successful examples of rooting out terrorists (e.g. ISIS, Chechnya, and more). Israel should punish the Axis of Islamic Nazism and prevent it from re-emerging through a program of De-Nazification. Unlike the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Israel will not entertain fanciful ideas of regime change, and it will not institute western democracies in places where it does not belong.
Stalin famously summarized the contributions of the allies to the Second World War, stating “The British gave time, the Americans gave money, and the Russians gave blood.” In this war with Islamic Nazism, the Israelis will provide the blood and the Americans will provide the money. Who in the West will provide the time? Our duty in the West must be to provide Israel the time to fulfill this mission and use all available means to protect us from a similar fate. The West is already cracking under pressure—proud nation-states like the US, Britain, and France are monitoring the condemnations of the United Nations and cautioning Israel to temper its military actions. The West cannot outsource its morality to an international body—be proud of your Judeo-Christian values and proclaim that the West does have the will to survive.
Chants of “Am Yisrael Chai” have echoed throughout Israel since the start of the war. It means the ‘people of Israel live’. Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, standing in Auschwitz-Birkenau at the March of the Living several years ago said, “We always knew how to die together. The time has come for us to know also how to live together.” The people of Israel live. As a consequence, the people of the West will live.
- The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture, Yoram Hazony
- A Letter in the Scroll, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
- Who are We, The Challenges to America’s National Identity, Samuel Huntington
- Michael Berenbaum, “Statement of Truck-Driver Hofer describing the murder of Jews at Babi Yar”, Wikipedia
- Survivors of Hamas assault on music fest describe horrors and how they made it out alive, PBS
- Eichmann in Jerusalem, A Report on the Banality of Evil, Hannah Arendt
- The Meaning of Am Yisrael Chai, Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, Aish.com