YALE LECTURE ON ISRAEL
by David Basch
Freeman Center For Strategic Studies
January 22, 2009
On 1.22.09, I attended a lecture at the Yale Institute for
Interdisciplinary Studies (YIISA) and had the privilege of hearing a
real live Israeli news correspondent give his views of the situation of
Gaza, the history leading up to it, and the likely Israeli reaction at
the polls in February. The speaker concluded that most probably
Netanyahu will come to power, but opined that he is not far from Livni
in his views.
The speaker, a fine looking young man, stressed how close in views the
so-called left of Israel is from the so-called right, how it was that
supposedly right wingers in office have been the ones that put into
orbit many of the programs advocated by the left, including the many
so-called peace processes, as though these failed programs were the
ones that had been most right. The speaker stressed that Israel seeks
peace with the Arabs and that he believed that eventually there will
There was not a word of recognition raised in his talk about the fact
that the Israeli people were actually more to the right than their
leaders but that right wing leaders had, again and again, betrayed
their followers with predictable disastrous results. The speaker
overlooked this trail of failed overtures and appeasements of the
Arabs that had backfired against Israel. He was of a mind that such
policies "for peace" should be tried anew, as though history taught
nothing -- the jackal will eventually turn vegetarian because ideology
says he must.
As far as Gaza is concerned, the speaker stressed that now Hamas had
been taught a lesson and would not soon resume firing rockets on
Israeli cities and that this was the very same painful lesson Israel
taught Hizbollah and Lebanon.
The speaker's views illustrated why Israel is in mortal danger. He
spoke for the leftist Israelis that, because of liberal ideology, were
incapable of recognizing Israel's true plight, namely, that she faces
an implacable Arab adversary that is determined to destroy her and
that will use every opportunity gained to further that goal, as the
experience of Gaza had taught once again.
But the speaker insisted that Israel had won the latest round in Gaza.
He had to be forcefully reminded that the weapons tunnels in Gaza
still remained and, hence, the traffic in deadly rockets had not
ended. Contrary to the speaker's insistence, the expectation now is
that, just as the number of the enemy's rockets overlooking northern
Israel have multiplied many times over, so eventually will those in
the south multiply. And while Israel's enemies may not immediately
want to resume the rocketing, when they get good and ready at a time
opportune for them the rockets could resume with even deadlier impact.
No doubt this would then be part of a more extensive assault on
Israel. This could be especially dangerous if, as Livni wants to do,
Israel vacates her eastern strategic territories along the Jordan to
enable a new Arab state. This will make possible an eastern Gazastan
and the same kind of rocket barrages as had come from the north and
south. These could very well be accompanied by Arab military strikes
by regular and guerilla forces coming from the territories vacated --
the kinds of attacks that leftist Israeli leaders have always insisted
could never happen, said every time before they did indeed come to
I mentioned to the speaker after the session that the Arabs had 150 to
200 million people against the 5 million of the Jews and that those
Arabs do not want a Jewish state in what they regard as their region.
The speaker quietly shrugged and accepted this as "a view."
What I had in mind was that the only way that Israel can survive
against such an enemy is by being strong and that talk of making peace
and conducting policies in that expectation and surrendering lands
prevents Israel from coming to grips with the fact that the enemy must
not just be responded to tit for tat but must be defeated and rendered
incapable of mounting his devastating attacks on Israel.
The idea that Israel must build and support an Arab state diverts
Israel from her goal of survival and enables the Arab enemy to nourish
the population sea in which Arab terrorists swim and from which their
armies are drawn. It makes certain that the cataclysm for Israel to
which it leads will be many times deadlier than it would be now if
Israel, instead, acted decisively to prevent it.
The Arabs will not willingly change their mind about destroying
Israel, any more than they will abandon their Islam that drives them.
But, in fact, Islam gives the Arabs an escape clause from imposing
jihad if the enemy is too strong, a loophole that Israel should seize
upon. Instead, thanks to incompetent Israeli governments, the opposite
message is sent. The Arabs think that, step by step, they are
attaining their goal of destroying Israel.
In the questioning, I noted that there were some in the audience that
shared the speaker's views, one of whom had been against Israel's
military reaction in Gaza. Of interest also was that, a young lady, a
dual citizen of Israel and the US, showed that, above all things,
gender was her chiefist concern. She asked whether it was Livni's
gender would keep her from getting elected and was reassured, no. I
later went up to her and averred that it was the fact that Livni was a
dove that was the more crucial factor. The young lady readily agreed
that Livni was a dove but insisted that "that was what was needed to
make peace" -- as though the Arabs had any intention of making peace.
With mind sets like these among Israelis, I was reminded how
problematic indeed was Israel's survival.
David Basch is an architect and city planner in New York as well as the Freeman Center's political philosopher. Basch is also an expert on Shakespeare and the author of the book, The Hidden Shakespeare, which proves through talmudic and other Jewish sources that Shakespeare was in fact Jewish.