Quid but no Quo

Cal Thomas

9/9/2009 12:01:00 AM - Cal Thomas

HBO showed the film "Schindler's List" last week. The 1993 Steven Spielberg movie never ceases to arouse my deepest emotions. The perennial question put forth in the film remains: How could people wantonly kill so many others as a matter of state policy? This is more than history, however. There are those who would gladly "finish the job" the Nazis started. The Obama administration -- like previous administrations -- is pressuring Israel in ways that, if the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu succumbs, will effectively give Israel's modern enemies the opportunity to destroy its people. Next time it is unlikely there will be an Oskar Schindler to save even a remnant.

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There are other questions related to the pressure the Obama administration is applying to Israel to stop building "settlements," which supposedly will persuade that nation's sworn enemies to stop killing Jews. They are linked to the false premise that it's only what Israel does, or doesn't do that affects the so-called "peace process." If peace doesn't happen, blame it on the Jews. It's always their fault.

Those questions include: What could the Jews have done seven decades ago to dissuade Hitler from his "Final Solution"? What can modern Israelis do today to keep from being murdered by those who continue to hate Jews simply for being Jews? The answer to both questions is: nothing. Jews were murdered then and now, not for anything they did, but simply for being Jewish.

The notion that modern Israel, which was created out of the ashes of the Holocaust precisely because much of the world (the Arab world excepted) did not want another Holocaust, could have done something to prevent the killings has been the fundamental flaw in American foreign policy for decades.

The Latin phrase "quid pro quo" means "something for something." Israel has given lots of quid, but has received little quo. The Obama administration is again pressing Israel to stop building homes on its historic territory. The political geniuses believe this will magically cause Israel's enemies to either reciprocate with a peaceful act, or at least suspend the terrorism for a while in order to give the administration political cover for another sellout of the Jews. But as Middle East commentator Yoram Ettinger writes on his Website "Israeli policy-makers and public opinion molders tend to accept U.S. administrations as top authorities on the Middle East." Ettinger lists numerous instances -- beginning with the founding of Israel in 1948 -- that remind how they have been consistently wrong in their judgments.

George Mitchell, the administration's Middle East envoy, is visiting Israel this week to continue "negotiations." These are not real negotiations because only one side is expected to give anything and the other side is never held accountable for failing to live up to its promises.

Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian National Authority, has conditioned any new peace talks on the cessation of Israeli "settlements" in the "occupied Palestinian territories." No one asks Abbas what he would give in return for putting Israeli construction on hold, other than more talks that would bring more empty promises. As Israel is pressured to stop building, Palestinian construction continues unabated. A new Palestinian housing project has begun in Ramallah. It is expected to provide 2,000 housing units, accommodating 10,000 people. Thousands of Arabs are moving into Jewish areas of Jerusalem, but don't look for Mitchell to suggest they live elsewhere. Only Israel is not allowed to determine where it's own people live.

Can anyone doubt the goal? It is to overwhelm the Jewish population and eventually eliminate all Jews from the land, not just land that is in dispute and which Israel holds onto because of its legitimate fear that Arab and Muslim nations, having started five wars, might go for number six if they believe they can win the next one. Only a fool would believe otherwise, given their repeatedly stated intentions and behavior.

In the Middle East and in Washington, there is a surplus of fools.