If the United States were to walk away from Israel, would Osama bin Laden and terrorist networks back off, as some San Francisco Chronicle readers apparently believe?
First, bin Laden hates the United States more than Israel. As Afghanistan specialist David B. Edwards of Williams College noted: "The biggest issue for Osama bin laden isn't Israel. The biggest issue is the U.S. troops in the (Persian) Gulf, near holy places." Bin Laden readily admits that he turned against America after U.S. troops were deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1990.
"If Israel had never been created," asserts pro-war activist Clifford May, "we'd still be going through this." Former GOP Gov. Pete Wilson, now a member of the Bush administration's Defense Policy Board, adds, "If Israel had not existed, Iraq still would have attacked Kuwait."
Or take the word of bin Laden himself: "The call to wage war against America was made because America has spearheaded the crusade against the Islamic nation, sending tens of thousands of troops to the land of the two Holy Mosques," he told Time Magazine in 1999, referring to the Persian Gulf War deployment.
Two, you don't appease mass murderers.
"The people who say that (America should abandon Israel) are precisely like the people who said back in the 1930s that if we just let Hitler have Czechoslovakia, he'll be satisfied. It doesn't take very much research to understand that these militant Islamic terrorists want much more than the destruction of Israel. They seek the destruction of America and the West." Said Wilson: "There is no appeasement. Appeasement does not do more than gain a small amount of time at a great cost, because it encourages aggressors to expand their evil efforts."
Edwards, who thinks to the left of May and Wilson, has a different take, but ends up at the same place: "There is no doubt that as long as the Palestinian-Israel situation festers, there is going to be terrorism. There's going to be a deep-seated mistrust of the United States." But, "If we were to suddenly drop our support of Israel, it would be tremendously destabilizing, and a sign of weakness."
Three, if America ends its alliance with Israel, more blood will flow, not only here, but also in the Mideast.
The only question is whose blood, and for that there is no good answer. Wilson fears terrorists "would try to murder every last Israeli. They would try to literally destroy Israel. May believes "if Israel is destroyed, it will only whet their appetite."
Edwards has a different take: He fears that in an isolated Israel "the temptation would be much greater to use nuclear weapons if need be to protect themselves. I'd hate to see the Masada complex come to life again." Masada is the high mesa on which almost 1,000 Israelis killed themselves rather than submit to a Roman army in A.D. 73.
Four, free people must defeat murderous thugs.
Many times I've heard people wonder out loud how it is that the world could turn a deaf ear to Hitler's well-aired genocidal plans. Of course, it's easier to accept murderous intent when other people are the target. But also, the answer can be found today when well-meaning people say that they need to understand the motives of the terrorists, as if they is some mystery (there isn't), or worse, some redeeming cause behind the slaughter. Some, to their discredit, see Israel as the sop to throw at Terror.
They do not understand that they can't feed Jews to Terror, and then expect Terror to not crave other Infidels. They do not understand that peace and terror cannot coexist. They do not understand that sometimes people have to fight for freedom, or that freedom is worth fighting for.