Anti-Semitism is spreading disease like through Europe. England, France, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries have all witnessed a spike in violent Anti-Semitic attacks. Most recently, suicide bombers blew themselves up in two Turkish synagogues. The blast killed 23 people. Earlier that day a Jewish school in Paris was firebombed. Muslim leaders bobbed their heads in agreement when Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's snorted that Jews rule the world by proxy.
Extremist terrorist groups continue to attack Jewish citizens and institutions. These attacks target not only Jews, but also the basic freedoms we associate with happiness. You would think that the Western world would rush to defend Israel against these anti-human attackers. Instead, a European Commission poll revealed that 59% of European citizens consider Israel to be the top threat to world peace, greater even than Iran and North Korea. "An ever stronger Muslim presence in Europe is certainly endangering the life of Jewish people,'' Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said during a recent interview.
In the United States, a dark undercurrent of anti-Semitism has always run through the evangelical and southern revival belts. Since 9-11, that bigotry has been amplified, as some attempt to give order to the Middle East chaos by transferring their fears and confusion onto some external threat, vaguely defined as "Jewish special interests." They reason that we are tethered to the sloppy situation in the Middle East by virtue of our support of Israel. Thus, Israel is to blame by proxy. (The Anti defamation League reports a huge spike in anti-Semitic beliefs since September 11, reversing a decade long decline.)
What the Anti-Israel stylists do not understand is that to cut ties with Israel would be to invite disaster. A war is presently being fought against America. Israel is the western world's most important ally in staving off this tide of hatred. Just as Israel provided an invaluable counterbalance to Russian influence in the Middle East during the cold war, the lone democracy in that region now provides a powerful deterrent to the further radicalization of Muslim states intent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction.
In a nutshell, the close relationship between the U.S. and Israel sends a signal that any violent fundamentalists in the region will have to answer to the United States. This accountability keeps the peace process from completely unraveling. It also provides a hedge against the violent expansion of religious zealots. For example, if Muslim fundamentalists were to engineer a violent coup in Egypt, they would be forced to either adhere to the peace treaty with Israel, or thrust themselves into a war that they could not possibly win. Either way, America's close relationship with Israel maintains the balance of power in the middle east. Remove our staunch support of Israel and a tide of violent fanaticism sweeps over the region, destabilizing the entire area.
This is especially true since the collapse of the Soviet Union, who had previously funneled huge amounts of resources into the region. This post-Soviet vacuum gave rise to increased religious fanaticism as the populace looked for a new enemy to train their anger and fears upon. As Muslim fanaticism continues to spread like a bacteria throughout the region, the role of Israel as a counter balance becomes more crucial than ever.
Our close relationship with Israel also presents a rapid response option. During Desert Storm, Israeli forces prevented Saddam's troops from invading Saudi Arabia and Jordan until General Schwarzkopf arrived with the Calvary. Given the inevitability that Iran will become nuclearized, we are increasingly dependent on Israel's military might to launch quick strikes against rogue states.
At bottom, Israel provides the civilized world with a foothold in a region that has resolved to destroy us. Every American should be deeply sensible about the value of this relationship.