I used to be an American Jew. And then I read Daniel Pipes.
"As Israelis go to the polls," Dr. Pipes wrote this week in an article that originally appeared in The New York Sun, "not one of the leading parties offers the option of winning the war against the Palestinian Arabs."
Dr. Pipes goes on to admit "a certain frustration" with the apparent unwillingness of Israelis to go out there and do the right thing: bring the Arabs to heel, by use of overwhelming force.
The article, entitled "Israel shuns victory," sets out a kind of self-test for us, listing nine different options by which Israelis from far left to far right, and moderates in between, all "manage the conflict without resolving it," "ignore the need to defeat Palestinian rejectionism," and "seek to finesse war rather than win it."
This is not the first time Dr. Pipes has let Israelis have it for letting him down. In a 2003 speech to college students - cited on his Web site: www.DanielPipes.org - he suggested that Arabs will not truly accept Israel's existence until Israel "punishes violence so hard that its enemies will eventually feel so deep a sense of futility that they will despair of further conflict."
Where did we go wrong? "Wars are won, the historical record shows, when one side feels compelled to give up on its goals," Dr. Pipes writes, indicating that Israel will win only when Arabs are forced to give up their goal of eliminating a Jewish state.
He notes, by way of inference, that the wars in 1948-49, 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982 failed to persuade them. I guess we didn't fight hard enough, or well enough.
I suppose if I were living in, say, Philadelphia, Dr. Pipes' frustration, disappointment, and prescription for setting things right, might make perfect sense.
In fact, a number of our readers who live in North America, some of whom regularly use the word coward to describe Israeli moderates, have any number of suggestions for us as well, up to and including the use of weapons of mass destruction on Palestinians, apparently in an effort to change their minds about us.
That said, I have a couple of questions. The first concerns people like Mahmoud Masharka, 24, of Hebron. Masharka was apparently disguised as an Orthodox Jew when he set out hitchhiking late on Thursday and was picked up by a car in which four Israelis were traveling. He then detonated the bomb belt he was wearing, incinerating the car and killing everyone inside.
Does Dr. Pipes really believe that people who crave a violent, Jew-murdering death are really going to accept Israel if only enough military force is applied?
Is Dr. Pipes telling us that people who celebrate the sacrament of suicide are going to think differently of us if we send in more tanks, bigger bombs, more F-16s, more Apaches, more infantry brigades, more commandos, demolish more homes, demolish more olive trees, demolish what little is left of the Palestinian Authority?
I understand that we have disappointed the analyst with the Harvard pedigree. But if he'll allow me one more question: Since when did we become mercenaries for Daniel Pipes?
After reading Dr. Pipes, I'm not sure I can be an American Jew anymore. I guess, at long last, I've become an Israeli. Unlike Dr. Pipes, I can't bring myself to win the war against the Palestinians. At least not the way Dr. Pipes would have me do so. I guess the guy's right. My friends in my Israel Defense Forces battalion couldn't do it either.
Of course, there might be another explanation. One that might fit a guy who lives 6,000 miles away and lets us know we don't have the Right Stuff to show these Arabs what for.
Daniel Pipes is a new kind of Israel-basher. He is an equal-opportunity hater of Israelis. None of us is good enough for him. We lack the will to fight like the man he quotes as a role model for us, Douglas MacArthur. From unilateralism to transfer, nothing we come up with is good enough for him.
Try as we might, we just can't seem to win his war for him.
I guess he'll just have to do it by himself.
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