Reflections for Yom Hashoah. Diplomatically, the world has failed the Jewish People and the State of Israel. Having done nothing to prevent the Holocaust, and little to halt the Iranian nuclear campaign, the world has no right to tell Israel how to defend itself, where to erect its fences, or what ancestral lands to hand away to the Palestinians.
Quartet diplomats, Russian diplomats, Norwegian diplomats, French diplomats, and even well-meaning American diplomats, ought to approach us with a great deal of humility when they come to discuss our diplomatic well-being and before they attempt to dictate terms of our future.
Published in Israel Hayom, April 8, 2013, Yom Hashoah 5773.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres used their Yad Vashem speeches last night to explain that the Jewish People will never again entrust their security to others. “The Jewish people must never again trust others with their fate,” said Netanyahu.
“Iran openly declares its intention to destroy the State of Israel, and is using all means to achieve this goal. What has changed is our ability to defend ourselves by ourselves…. We appreciate the efforts of the international community to stop [Iran’s] nuclear program. But at no stage would we surrender our fate in the hands of others, even those of the best of our friends,” said Netanyahu.
Similarly, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, speaking at Auschwitz as part of a delegation of top officers participating in the IDF’s “Witnesses in Uniform” program, said that “The State of Israel is the assurance that such an atrocity doesn’t repeat itself, and the IDF is the shield that protects the national home, a safe haven for the entire Jewish people.”
In other words, the Jewish People’s Holocaust experience is an important factor in the State of Israel’s security doctrine. Israel must maintain an independent ability to defend itself by itself when it feels its security at risk. Moreover, Israel maintains the right to defend itself by itself at the times and places of its choosing, even if this is not always in synch with all its allies.
While neither Netanyahu nor Peres said this explicitly last night, I think that the same doctrine of self-reliance applies not only to the security sphere, but also to the diplomatic arena.
While only the Nazis and their immediate allies in Western Europe (Vichy France) and Eastern Europe (collaborators in Poland, Romania, Ukraine and more) were directly complicit in the Holocaust, the rest of the world basically stood by. The world stood by as Hitler grew in power and began persecuting the Jews of Germany. They stood by and did mostly nothing during the war even as the contours of the Nazi extermination regime against Jews became apparent. They failed to bomb the railways to Auschwitz, and more. Diplomatically, the world failed us.
Today too, the international community has largely done nothing to halt the Iranian and Islamic campaign of delegtimization and defamation of Israel that has swept and spread across the Arab world and spread into the Western world. The United Nations itself has become one of the greatest purveyors of anti-Israel incitement and defamation on the globe. Its so-called “Security Council” is more seized with Israeli housing starts than genocidal threats against Israel.
It also bears noting that the world is doing nothing, as Arabs – the same Arabs who wish to destroy Israel – slaughter other Arabs openly and wantonly in Syria, for two years now, with no end in sight. There are no World War II-era excuses of not knowing or unclear information. The massacres in Syria are ongoing in full view of a well-wired world.
So diplomatically, the Jewish People and the State of Israel owe the world nothing. Broadly speaking, the nations of the world have no right, no moral basis, to tell us what to do, how to conduct our politics, where to erect our security fences, how to conduct our military campaigns, what ancestral lands to hand away to the Palestinians, or where draw our borders.
I’m not suggesting a policy of defiance of the world. Obviously, Israel must conduct itself wisely and work cooperatively with the good friends it does have in this better world. But Quartet diplomats, Russian diplomats, Norwegian diplomats, French diplomats, and even well-meaning American diplomats, ought to approach us with a great deal of humility when they come to discuss our diplomatic well-being and before they attempt to dictate terms of our future.