Resolution 2334 And The Feral Pack
Most of the commentary from those rightly horrified by the American abstention on Security Council Resolution 2334 has focused either on the perfidy of the Obama administration, the legal and political harm the resolution will do to Israel or the harm it does to any prospects for a two-state solution (since the Palestinians can hardly ask for less than the resolution calls for, which is already more than any Israeli government can grant). Some, like Walter Russell Mead, have described the resolution as masking the true incoherence and weakness of the Palestinians. Others have called on President-elect Trump to cut funding for the United Nations.
All that is very well, but I fear that the real war is being lost at a much deeper level. Since 1967, the strategy of Israel-haters has been to delegitimize Israel in world public opinion — specifically the opinion of the educated, articulate, opinion-forming classes, i.e. the elite. Indeed, the success of reactionary Arab states and fundamentalist Islamist movements in garnering sympathy among the progressive, educated classes in the West is one of the most bizarre and impressive feats of political conmanship since the Middle Ages. How have they accomplished this? In short, by taking the superficial self-disgust felt by the Western elites for the West itself and incorporating into it the narrative of the Palestinians as victims of evil “settlers,” i.e. Jewish refugees — instantly transforming the latter into representatives of the very West, with its imperialism, that the elites fervently disavow. A complex but neat trick whereby Arab lies make a perfect match for Western hypocrisy.
Well, how is the con working? In finally stripping away the American protective veto, the passage of Resolution 2334 has visibly and symbolically united the world — from gutter regimes like Venezuela to generally accepted models of civility like New Zealand — in making Israel a pariah country. On the world stage Israel has now become the traditional Jew among the gentiles, despised and reproved by all. Make no mistake: this is a big, and dangerous, moment. It is the moment when the predators look around, see no one to impede them, feel morally entitled and encouraged, lick their feral chops and get ready to attack. This act of delegitimization effectively serves to deprive Israel of all “civilized” support, rendering it vulnerable to economic sanctions and to limitations in its ability to buy arms. It thus serves the long-term Arab and Muslim goal of making Israel conquerable in one last great jihad.
Nor will any opposition that may come from the next American administration be likely to help much at the fundamental level. Donald Trump is himself tainted, and for pretty good reasons, to most of the nice, well-educated elites who are the crucial people in play all over the West. Even if he Trump moves the American embassy to Jerusalem, even if he cuts funding to the United Nations, even if Ambassador Haley shows herself to be another Daniel Patrick Moynihan, it is likely that this will just reinforce among those people the view that Israel and the Trump administration are both morally repulsive.
There is little point for people like me to turn to our Jewish friends, whose folly supported Obama loyally to the end, and say, “We told you so.” Nor, I fear, is there any reason to believe that many liberal Jews will wake up. (J Street has, to its shame, already endorsed the resolution.) When moral self-esteem is at stake, blindness usually overrides humility. But there is also little point in bemoaning, as I have done so far, unless there is something to be done about it.
That said, there is something to hold on to here and to use. A resolution that describes the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and the Western Wall as “flagrantly” illegally occupied territory shows with absolute clarity the Jew-hating character of the progressive-Islamic alliance. In depriving Jews of the right to sovereignty over these fundamentally Jewish places the resolution instantly resolves the question of anti-Zionism and antisemitism: They become one and the same, for all practical purposes. Just as with the infamous 1975 “Zionism is racism” resolution, Jews and their friends everywhere now need to go on the attack and stay on it. We must initiate a campaign to shame those who initiated it, those who voted for it, a campaign to expose this resolution as the mark of Cain that it is, a campaign that echoes Ambassador Moynihan’s famous phrase: “The United States of America declares that it does not acknowledge, it will not abide by, it will never acquiesce in this infamous act.” Such a campaign could perhaps in the end transform this triumph for the Jew-haters of the world into a defeat. But it will take energy, persistence, and a measured, controlled anger that does not forget or cease.