The Sigh of Relief Heard ‘Round the World’

We present this essay by Paul Merkley,  The Sigh of Relief Heard ‘Round the World’, reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work. The essay follows.

A World without Israel will be a world without the God of Israel.

— Abraham Joseph Heschel.

A few days ago, a great sigh of relief was heard coming out of the White House. The Obama government had just announced its decision to abandon America’s traditional support for democracy, civility and legitimacy in order to begin working openly towards what it has always imagined that the best opinion wants and what it has always known was the secret thought of the collective heart of the State Department — that day when Israel shall be no more.

Obama Endorses the Hamas-Fatah Coalition.

Shortly after Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh announced their agreement to form a new “Government of Palestine,” President Obama sent out his press spokesperson, Jen Psaki, to announce that “at this point, it appears that president Abbas has formed an interim technocratic government that does not include ministers affiliated with Hamas. With what we know now, we will work with this government.”

No one in the government of the United States — and for that matter no one responsible for writing the editorials in all of our newspapers — ever pauses to note that no element of such a “government” has any legitimacy. To begin with: Mahmoud Abbas himself has absolutely no right under the Basic Law of Palestine to refer to himself as President of anything. The term of office to which he was elected by democratic vote ran out on January 9, 2009. The office has been vacant ever since; if constitutionality meant anything in Arab circles Abbas should be judged a usurper; and if legitimacy meant anything in our media or in the minds of our own rulers, he should have been shown the door long ago.  It is exactly as though Paul Martin (remember him?) were still strutting around as Prime Minister of Canada.

It was not Abbas’s party (Fatah) but Hamas that had won the mandate of January, 2006, after which the leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, was appointed Prime Minister of the Palestine Authority by President Abbas (February, 2006.) But the ensuing round of assassinations of Hamas figures by Fatah figures and vice versa led Hamas’ leaders to conclude that more could be gained by quitting Ramallah, the administrative capital pro tem of Palestine, seizing all of Gaza, liquidating the leading Fatah figures there, and proclaiming  themselves to be the rightful rulers of Palestine. Haniyeh has no more right to any of his self-declared titles than Abbas has to the title of President, as the tenure of the Parliament elected in 2006 has also run out.

The ruthless and hopelessly incompetent kleptocracy called “the Palestine Authority” has been kept afloat for about twenty years through massive inflow of U.S money and other aid from Western governments and NGOs, including churches. Fatah still operates under a published Palestine National Charter that dedicates it to the eradication of the State of Israel [www.iris.org.il/plochart.htm.] Hamas can at least claim the virtue of honesty: it has never deviated publicly from its pledge to liquidate the sons of pigs and monkeys from the face of the earth.

Now Fatah and Hamas have entered into agreement to form an “an interim technocratic government” — which (being translated) means that its ministers will not be drawn from the active leaders of these two parties but from other deep-thinkers flourishing today in the larger world of Palestine. We have been down this “technocratic” route before with the PA, and again we must ask: Why   is it considered a virtue that the politicians who control the public life and enjoy its privileges are now admitting to be so lacking in public confidence and trust of one another and so unconvincing collectively to other governments that we should now be applauding as we hear them recuse themselves from governing?

Furthermore, what must one expect of the pool of “experts” who flourished in Arafat–land for all those years and now flourish under the equally authoritarian and repressive Abbas government? The thinking behind this “technocratic” dodge is that the party hacks will now become totally free to concentrate on the spoils of public office while the guys with the gucchis run the shop and go off to the international conferences .

Over the several weeks since a Hamas-Fatah coalition was publicly-proposed, the United States has being saying that, given Hamas’ unblushing commitment to liquidation of the state of the sons of pigs and monkeys, it would be unthinkable to have any dealings with any institution that includes Hamas. But all along Kerry & Obama have been greasing the skids towards this present moment by allowing themselves to be overheard proposing that Israel is already on the way to becoming an Apartheid State – et cetera.

Now the tune has changed completely. As soon as Israel is no more, the cause for all unhappiness in the Middle East will disappear. Surely every competent student of geopolitics can see this. It is, as the expression goes, a no-brainer. To accomplish this redress of all past injustice it is only necessary to turn inside-out the assumption on which the fantasy known as The Middle East Peace Process was raised over thirty years ago.

With this recent decision to give conditional approval to a Hamas- Fatah government the United States has joined the ranks of those who look forward to the day when Israel – the source of all unhappiness in the Middle East and the principal obstacle to global peace — will be no more. Gratitude will swell up throughout the Arab and Muslim world, and all the indignities visited on the “Palestinians” from King David through the Crusaders and European Empires will be forgotten.

A Foreign Policy Coup.

The most thorough sifting of editorial opinion and academic foreign policy thinking will disclose that there are no admirers of US foreign policy anywhere to be found in the world today. Response to Obama’s behavior over the last two years currently ranges from despair on the mild end through rage to mockery.

A generous estimate of what might be happening is that the Obama government has thrown out the moral compass altogether. Having failed to prevent what they believe is Putin’s piecemeal campaign to re-establish the Warsaw pact, Obama & Kerry are now in the position of having threatened to hold their breaths, and been left to turn blue – to universal mockery.

Plainly, Obama & Kerry imagine that embracing this immoral and strategically ruinous tactic is just the ticket for turning around the pattern of foreign policy humiliations that began in the first year of the Obama government and has built up with increasing rapidly over the past couple of years. These recent humiliations will be so well known to the reader that we can list those of the last few weeks as a series of proper names: Benghazi; Syria; Egypt; Ukraine; Crimea, Edward Snowden, Sgt Bowe Bergdahl and his daddy — et cetera ad nauseam.

By sidling up to Hamas, Obama has now committed the U.S to the gradual destruction of the Jewish state – winning the applause of the EU, the majority of governments in the UN, the major NGOs and the so-called mainline churches, including the Roman Catholic church. The Foreign Policy wing of the European Union has “welcome[d] the declaration by President Abbas that this new government is committed to the principle of the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders, to the recognition of Israel’s legitimate right to exist.” (Similar declarations have ensued from China, Turkey and India.)

But there is not and never has been a public declaration of Israel’s right to exist from Haniyeh’s party

“Doughface Democracy.”

During the 1850s, the Democratic party so thoroughly dominated national politics that their opponents generally despaired of ever defeating them again at the polls. The office of the President of the United States became the property of a species of Democrat whom politicians of the newly-formed Republican Party mocked as “Doughface” – famous for their righteous noise and their freedom from principle. The key to success for these Doughface politicians was their ability to persuade the voters that as clamour for Secession rose higher and higher so did the national government’s obligation to concede to its demands. However, as one compromise after another was sorted out and then quickly overtaken by the need for another, the Doughface Democrats came to doubt that the nation had much of a future. What really mattered was to be found in a safe place when it came apart.

The doughface President James Buchanan (1857-1861) had spent all of his public life proposing noble-sounding grounds for surrendering to the Secessionists—to the dismembering of the Union. Out of fear of being remembered in the history books for rash action, he dedicated the months between Lincoln’s election in November 1860 and his Inauguration on March 4, 1861 to high-sounding jawboning while major assets were surrendered to the enemies of his nation. Today, he is at the very top of the list of The Worst Presidents (as determined by consensus among presidential historians.) Given just a few more months, he could be bumped from that position by the newcomer.

The Longest Historical View.

There is little evidence that Barack Obama is aware of very much history of any sort – a trait that equips him for the challenge of coming out before the press day after day and reversing direction on one problem after another while always insisting that “this is the right thing to do.” We can assume therefore that any analogy between his Presidency and that of the Doughface Presidents of the 1850s will not have occurred to him.

Equally, we can be assured that he has never spared a thought for the awesome reality that the nation Israel has survived betrayal of this kind for millennia before he came along. Not just years, not just decades, not just centuries, but millennia.

The anti-Zionist (that is, anti-Israel, that is anti-Semitic) bloc that has presided over State Department Middle East policy since the days of F.D.R. may reasonably imagine that, having now heard the President of the United States surrender the moral foundation of America’s foreign policy, it will be relatively easy from here on to silence those contrarian, citizen-voices who still believe that blessing America requires blessing Israel. But they should pause and consider the following: The first mention of the name “Israel” in an extra-biblical text is on a list of the enemies of Pharaoh Merneptah some thirty-two centuries ago. It reads “Israel is no more.” Yet today, there is in the world only one nation which speaks the same language, practices the same religion, and occupies the same portion of the earth’s surface that it did when that document came into the world. And that is Israel.

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