Eye on the Middle East Mar/Apr 2007
Speaking in December 2006 at a Holocaust memorial ceremony in Berlin, Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said:
We have learned and memorialized the lesson: the weak and defenseless are doomed. Doomed are they who do not believe those who threaten to eradicate them. Doomed are they who remain complacent and do not prepare themselves to thwart the danger. Doomed are they who entertain the false illusion that they could escape harm and that they could rely on the mercy of strangers.1
On the other hand, in a speech at an Israel Policy Forum Dinner in June 2005, Olmert said:
We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, we want that we will be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with our enemies. We want them to be our friends, our partners, our good neighbors.2
The lamentable fact is that the Muslim nations will never, in the foreseeable future, become “our friends, our partners, our good neighbors.”
Not long ago I watched a documentary on the Nazi program to solve the “Jewish problem” in Europe more than 60 years ago. Of all of the scenes of barbarism, mutilation, and death, one in particular haunts me. A group of Jewish women were being “processed” before proceeding to a death camp. As one small group was being forced to stand together, a woman approached holding a toddler by the hand. The SS guard tore the screaming child from her grasp and shoved her toward the other women. As the toddler ran after her mother, the mother turned and ran back to retrieve her child. At that point, the soldier grabbed the child and threw her into a nearby field. He then approached the mother and began to kick her toward the circle of condemned women. The scene was enough to tear the heart out of anyone compelled to witness the atrocity.
But there it was, for all to see—a fulfillment of the prime minister’s words. Doomed are they who entertain a false illusion of peace and mercy at the hands of their enemies. The fact is, peace and mercy never arrive. And concessions to tyrants are never a way to obtain them.
Strangely, however, it is the consistent illusion of the West that concessions, accompanied by expressions of benevolence and goodwill, ultimately will initiate a new sense of civility from propagators of violence, mayhem, and malevolence. It doesn’t work that way—not in the real world.
Fortunately, there are those who, like the prophets of old, tell us the truth. When someone threatens to kill you, believe it. I learned this reality in the early days of my ministry as a pastor. When someone says he is going to commit suicide or some other act of violence, believe him.
This is especially true in the environment of the Middle East. Hamas members say they exist to annihilate Israel. Believe them. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he intends to incinerate Israel and its Jews. Believe him.
The great failure of Western politicians prior to World War II was their refusal to face the facts, hiding instead beneath a “peace in our time” illusion.
We can no longer indulge such fiction. To be tired is understandable. We are all tired of war, conflict, and sacrifice—no more so than is Israel. But to give cause to our enemies to view our condition as a terminal weakness is not only surrender; it is treason. Furthermore, it violates every sacrifice made by every patriot—American, Israeli, and others—who gave their last measure for freedom.
This is a battle we must not lose. Or else, as the prime minister said, we are doomed.
- “Address by PM at the Memorial Ceremony at Grunewald Train Station in Berlin,” Prime Minister’s Office <pmo.gov.il/PMOEng/Communication/PMSpeaks/speechgru121206.htm>.
- “JCPA Middle East Briefing: Remarks by Israel’s Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert,” United Jewish Communities, June 22, 2005 <ujc.org/content_display. html?ArticleID=155321>.