Last week, Captain Airhead, or Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as those who are less acquainted with his true character call him, gave Canadian neoconservatives among others something new over which to be furious. The government he leads voted for a UN General Assembly resolution the description of which varies depending upon how the commentator views it. Those who agree with the resolution would call it a resolution in favour of Palestinian self-determination or a Palestinian state. Those who disagree would call it a resolution that condemns or bashes Israel.
This resolution, whether interpreted as pro-Palestinian or anti-Israel, with or without Canada’s support, in no way affects either the security and stability of the state of Israel on the one hand or the future of the Palestinians on the other. In this it is no different than the numerous other resolutions on the Israel-Palestinian conflict that are perennially raised in the UN General Assembly, all of which receive the support of a large majority of the member nations, all of which are voted against by the United States. It is because of the last mentioned fact that none of these resolutions has ever had any real effect on the conflict.
In this can be seen one of the few aspects of the United Nations that I would consider to be worthy of – moderate – praise. Don’t get me wrong. I despise the United Nations with all my heart and see it as being generally a force for evil rather than a force for good. I wish that Canada and the rest of the Commonwealth, including the mother country, would withdraw from it. However, I must begrudgingly say that it was a stroke of genius on the part of those who set up the United Nations, that resolutions by the General Assembly go absolutely nowhere when opposed by the Security Council – or even just one of its veto-holding, permanent members, such as the United States. Therefore the General Assembly, in which all the military dictatorships, Third world kleptocracies, and other failed states on the planet form a majority, serves as a sounding board, allowing the representatives of these worthless governments to vent their inanities in toothless resolution after toothless resolution, while all meaningful international business is conducted by the grown ups in the Security Council.
Although it would be undoubtedly wiser to say nothing about this at all I feel compelled to comment on the fact that no other controversial geopolitical issue has the ability to generate as much irrational thinking, self-righteousness, and hypocrisy on both sides as the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Both sides see the conflict as a zero-sum game, both sides think the media is hopelessly biased against them and in favour of the other side, both sides rely upon a highly selective and revisionist history of the conflict to support their claims. In the Western countries to which both sides appeal for support on the international stage, Israeli supporters and Palestinian supporters alike find it difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between the two sides in the Middle Eastern struggle for territory and power and the host of domestic issues that, however irrelevant, have become intertwined with these causes through the bonds of race and religion.
When two opposing sides have a “winner take all” approach to their conflict, their claims are mutually exclusive and it is not rational to say that both sides are right. It is perfectly reasonable, by contrast, to argue that both sides are wrong. Liberals prefer to take the “both sides are right” position, despite its irrationality, which is why they are usually wrong about everything, but in this case they have never been inclined to be on both sides at the same time. Seventy-one years ago, when Israel declared her independence, they were mostly on Israel’s side. Today, they are mostly on the side of the Palestinians.
Their arguments in favour of the Palestinians are the same arguments, derived from their abstract doctrine of human rights, that they used fifty to sixty years ago to support every nationalist movement in the Third world against European imperialism, and thirty to fifty years ago to support the Communist-backed terrorist movements against the Rhodesians and the South Africans. To this day they insist that they were right to support these causes, even though in each case the triumph of the cause they supported brought about the collapse of civilization in the country in question. Liberals maintain that the immense problems these countries have faced ever since are the legacy of “imperialism” and “colonialism” even though it is glaringly obvious that it was the removal of these things that caused the collapse of civilization. There is no good reason to believe that these arguments, which have produced such horrendous results in the past, will work out any better in application to the Israeli-Palestinian situation.
Conservative views have also changed. At the time of Israel’s independence, conservatives were either very skeptical of the project or mildly supportive of the new nation. They were rarely enthusiastic Zionists. Today, a much stronger Zionism has become the norm among conservatives. It would be one thing if this were because of all the things mentioned in the preceding paragraph, if they were taking the position “look, it is thanks to your moronic bleeding heart foolishness in the past that Rhodesia, South Africa, and every other country in the Third World has gone to pot, we are not going to let you destroy yet another civilized country in your idolatrous worship of human rights.” They are not. Their reasons for supporting the Israelis are almost as stupid as the reasons the liberals support the Palestinians.
There are basically two segments of the right today which are militantly Zionist – the neoconservatives and the Christian Zionists. The neoconservatives maintain that we ought to support Israel because she is a “liberal democracy”, the only one in the Middle East, and because she is a loyal ally. With regards to the first point, while it is not entirely false, there are many things about Israel that the neoconservatives would find intolerable in any other “liberal democracy.” The last point, however, is laughable in the extreme. No one has supported her as faithfully as the Americans have since the Lyndon Johnson administration, and no other country has she stabbed in the back and betrayed the way she has the United States. Her attack on the USS Liberty in 1967, her sale of American secrets to the Soviets in the 1980s and to the Red Chinese in the 1990s and much more recently are but three examples. Many more could be given.
The neoconservative arguments are, however lame, better than those of the Christian Zionists which rely upon abysmally bad theology. By Christian Zionist, I mean something more specific than just someone who is both a Christian and a supporter of Israel in the Israel-Palestine conflict. I mean someone who holds to a theology that says that God requires him as a Christian to be a supporter of Israel. The foundation of this theology is the idea that God irrevocably gave the land of Canaan to the nation that grew out of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Old Testament and that therefore it belongs to the Jews by divine right today. The following will demonstrate what is wrong with this kind of argument. While the term Jew originally designated a member of the tribe of Judah, and later, by the end of the intertestamental period, all of national Israel, by the end of the first century AD it had come to refer to an adherent of the religion Judaism and it has held this meaning ever since. Although the adherents of Judaism are for a large part drawn from the ethnic stock of ancient Israel, Judaism has always admitted converts even though it has never made seeking them the high priority that Christianity and Islam have. Post-Second Temple Rabbinic Judaism explicitly rejects Jesus of Nazareth’s claim to be the Christ or Messiah, the Son of the Living God. Somebody who converts to this religion is a Jew even if he has no Hebrew blood. For Christian Zionism to be true, it would have to be true that everyone without a drop of Abraham’s blood in him who converts to this religion that explicitly rejects Jesus’ claim to be the Christ, the Son of God, thereby gains a God-given right to an inheritance in the land of Canaan/Palestine/Israel. Do I really need to explain further why from the perspective of Christian orthodoxy this is rank and utter heresy?
Of course, the theology of those who argue that Christians need to support the Palestinian cause because “social justice, blah, blah, blah” is no better.
While I see no good reason for civilized Western countries to be drawn in to this Middle Eastern tribal blood vendetta and plenty of good reasons for us not to touch it with a ten-foot pole, if we absolutely must stick our noses in where they don’t belong it seems to me that the most rational position is to support – in a very moderate way - Israel. I would base this on everything that I said five paragraphs previously although the fact that Captain Airhead is now supporting the Palestinians is also a pretty good argument for the Israeli side.
Israel’s supporters, however, need not be worried that Canada’s reversal on this UN resolution is going to harm that country in any way. Captain Airhead knows as well as I do that UN General Assembly resolutions are toothless when opposed by a permanent member of the Security Council and the United States is not likely to change its position any time soon. Like everything else Captain Airhead does, this is all for show. In this case, Airhead wishes to dazzle all the Third world countries who hate Israel into supporting his bid for a temporary seat on the Security Council. With any luck, not only will he fail to obtain this goal which would serve only his own vanity and not any real need of Canada’s, but he will also alienate the large segment of the Canadian Jewish community which have historically been faithful supporters of the Liberal Party and do irreparable damage to that party’s interests.
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