Martin Wasserman
Longtime pro-Israel activist, writer, speaker, blogger

Schumer gives Israel bad advice

In a major Senate speech, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer described Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an obstacle to peace, and called for new elections in Israel in hopes of getting a more moderate government willing to scale back the war effort and work toward a two-state solution. But Schumer may be misreading the mood in Israel right now. The events of October 7 have pushed many Israelis further to the right, and any new government is likely to be more hawkish and less willing to bend to American pressure than the current one.

Schumer said Israel must assign top priority to avoiding civilian casualties and providing humanitarian aid, even if it means not achieving all of its military goals. If the US had followed such a policy in World War II, it would have lost the war, and Israel will lose the current war if it bows to these American pressures.

He said a high casualty count will make Israel an international pariah, a condition under which it can’t survive, and only a two-state solution can bring about lasting peace. In fact, Israel can survive being a pariah. What it can’t survive is surrendering half its historic homeland to relentless enemies who remain committed to its destruction. And make no mistake, the Palestinian Authority is just as committed to destroying Israel as Hamas, it just has a different strategy for doing so.

The idea that the Palestinians will suddenly become good neighbors once they have their own state has no basis in reality. International “guarantees” will prove as empty as they have in the past. The entire basis of Palestinian nationalism is rejection of Jews and of Israel. Also, their interpretation of Islam tells them that killing Jews is pleasing to God and guarantees them a place in Heaven, which makes them even less amenable to peace. The US may think it can find new Palestinian leaders who are willing to accept Israel’s right to exist, but it will quickly find that it’s unable to protect them from being killed as “collaborators” by Hamas or the PA.

Schumer also said that people everywhere want the same things: peace, security and prosperity. This is not necessarily true. Different cultures can have entirely different attitudes toward subjects such as war and peace, and life and death. Hamas leaders have often said that theirs is a culture that loves death, unlike Israeli culture that loves life, which Hamas regards as a weakness that they can exploit. The unpleasant reality is that these two cultures are diametrically opposed and cannot coexist peacefully side by side, but will always remain in conflict until one succeeds in driving out the other.

If Israel is to survive and thrive, it must reject the mirage of peace without victory, which is what the two-state solution claims to offer. It must deal with its enemies as they are and not as we wish them to be. It must rule out any territorial concessions and strengthen its hold over the land it already controls.

However, this will put it at odds with the US, and also with many influential Jews in both the US and Israel, who are captive to the modern ideology that all conflicts can be resolved peacefully, that any enemy can be transformed by appealing to his material interests, and that the best way to deal with evil is to give in to its demands. According to this ideology, Israel’s best hope for survival lies not in advancing, but in retreating; not in expanding, but in shrinking. This is an ideology that increasing numbers of Israelis resoundingly reject.

The question is, if Israel chooses the path of outright victory rather than territorial appeasement, will it lose US support, and can it afford to lose US support? The answer to this question has to be “yes.” Israel cannot be dependent for its very existence on any nation other than itself. It won its War of Independence in 1948, and the Six Day War in 1967, both against seemingly overwhelming odds, and both without any military help from the US. Jewish history has many examples of the few overcoming the many, and it looks like we’re rapidly approaching another such time.

Ultimately, the land belongs to God, and He gives it to whomever He pleases. At this point in history, He is taking it away from the Arabs and returning it to the Jews, in fulfillment of the promise He made to them many centuries ago. Refusing to take the land that He’s handed them in a nearly miraculous manner could be seen as an act of rebellion against Him, which would surely have greater harmful effects than merely going against fickle and dubious international opinion.

About the Author
Martin Wasserman is the former producer and host of the cable TV series "Spotlight on the Middle East." A long time pro-Israel activist, he frequently writes articles on Jewish and Israeli topics. He is also a retired software developer based in Silicon Valley.
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