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July 20, 2006

No, We're Not 'All Israelis Now'


Just because the neocons and al-Qaeda say it, doesn't make it so

by Peter J. Lynch

Even in an age when e-mail, word processors, and high-speed Internet connections allow writers to almost instantaneously publish glaringly inchoate offerings, it is not often that one comes across a work as poorly conceived as Larry Kudlow's contribution to National Review online (NRO) on Monday. In a piece less than 800 words long on the recent unpleasantness in the Middle East, NRO's economics editor provides enough hackneyed neocon propaganda, apologetics for limitless Israeli aggression, and plain old unhinged bluster to fill an entire book. The article, entitled "Israel's Moment, the Free World's Gain," is so crammed with ludicrous statements, so "target-rich" (to use a phrase from the armed forces vernacular the wannabe militarists at NRO would no doubt appreciate) that it could serve as a warning to aspiring authors to always have at least one other person read your work prior to publication.

The madness begins thus: "All of us in the free world owe Israel an enormous thank-you for defending freedom, democracy, and security against the Iranian cat's-paw wholly-owned terrorist subsidiaries Hezbollah and Hamas." Israel is not simply defending itself you see; it's nobly defending baseball, Mom, and apple pie too. Thanks, Israel. No one will complain about those billions of U.S. tax dollars you receive or protest your treatment of the Palestinians ever again. At least Kudlow waits until sentence number two to drag God into his fantasy world, pronouncing Israel's current crusade as, that's right, "the Lord's work." Some (the Pope, for example) might suggest that the Lord may have other, less destructive plans in mind for the Middle East – after all, He's originally from there – but what do they know?

Once the reader has finished asking the Almighty to smite the Arabs with that divine instrument, the IDF, Kudlow believes he ought to offer an additional prayer of thanksgiving to brave President Bush for "steadfastly" giving Israel a free hand to do whatever it sees fit … which is exactly what AIPAC (arguably the most powerful and well-funded lobby in Washington), all Republicans, and 90 percent of Democrats want George W. to do. Talk about a profile in courage. Then again, Kudlow thinks that Iraq of all places represents "a forward beachhead … for liberalization and representative government." Clearly a unique take on reality, to say the least.

According to Kudlow, since "the terrorist groups that started this fight have shown no restraint," Israel should feel free to go nuts. But wait, Hezbollah initially killed three IDF soldiers and kidnapped two more to set off this latest spat, which is actually somewhat restrained, especially when one considers all the horrible things that have been done to civilians in the course of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Of course, if all this really was just about those abducted soldiers, who were taken as bargaining chips to secure the release of Palestinian political prisoners, Israel could have sent the celebrated Mossad on a rescue mission and presumably avoided a lot of collateral damage on both sides.

To drive the absurd point home, the subtitle (and concluding sentence) of the piece defiantly proclaims: "We are all Israelis now." What makes that overwrought slice of rhetoric truly appalling is that Islamic terrorists – probably the only people on the planet more fanatical than the neocons – have been saying something similar for years. Just as Kudlow and his war-loving pals blur the distinction between Iran and the Islamic terrorists that it supports, Islamic terrorists, equally desperate for a fight, issue blanket condemnations of the United States and much of the West for what they perceive as those countries' support for Israel. Thanks to decades of Uncle Sam backing Israel, no questions asked, Osama bin Laden does not distinguish between the two. And Larry Kudlow could not be happier.

 

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Peter J. Lynch has written for Chronicles and The American Conservative.

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