Shame Israel Wasn't Invited to the Islamic State Party

Okay, so Israel wasn't invited to join the war on Islamic State. That's all right, we know we’re the real spearhead in this struggle.

Yitzhak Laor
Yitzhak Laor
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Kurdish Peshmerga fighters pose with an Islamic State flag, which they pulled down after capturing Mount Batnaya, near Zummar September 20, 2014.
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters pose with an Islamic State flag, which they pulled down after capturing Mount Batnaya, near Zummar September 20, 2014. Credit: Reuters
Yitzhak Laor
Yitzhak Laor

The war against the Islamic State has almost begun, and the world — that is, the West — is already insulting us. Presidents are sending fighter planes and commandos, and everyone is ignoring us.

We, who yelled “terrorist” at every guerilla in southern Lebanon, at everyone who threw a stone at a military vehicle or unfurled a Palestinian flag; we, who jailed children and nurtured Islamic terror in our prisons and at our checkpoints; we, who were destroying mosques in 1948. How many more years will we be the common-law spouse of the West, the one who comes to the party under cover of darkness through the back door, because the other party is uncomfortable?

The peak of the humiliation was during the U.S.-led attack on Iraq in January 1991, which began that country’s destruction, in the name of freedom, of course. Our press expressed support for that attack, preparation for which began in the summer of 1990, without asking any moral or utilitarian questions. Columnists, as befits a democracy, were divided in all the papers between the optimists, who promised us that U.S. President George H.W. Bush would attack, and the pessimists, who were warning even then of America’s decline. How pleased we were when the attack began. Our most important writers and artists, in the name of hatred for Saddam and Hitler, condemned the European left, which was still habitually demonstrating against American aggression, a sort of reflex from the days of Vietnam.

But the West told us to be still and keep quiet, even if the Iraqis fired on us — contrary to our ethos of heroism, and contrary to our strategy, by then more than 25 years old, of actively seeking integration into Western military campaigns at any price. They gave out gas masks. We sat in sealed rooms and felt like victims of the Iraqis.

And when the attack ended, the sanctions on Iraq began. Our newspapers never reported on them unless they were violated. Twelve years of headlines on violations of the sanctions. News editors died of boredom, but we reported on them and urged that they be tightened. We didn’t report on the surging infant mortality in Iraq between 1991 and the country’s final destruction in 2003; we never even warned that collapsing nation-states are not good for our security.

We supported America’s freedom to bomb. We supported the destruction of the Middle East; we supported the arms industry and the nurturing of monstrous organizations from Al-Qaida through the Nusra Front and Islamic State. We trusted the almighty dollar and the readiness of our youth to destroy Gaza in the name of the West, because the West is us. And we, who prayed for France to triumph in Algeria and for an American victory in Vietnam, prayed for the victory of George Bush Jr. over Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Could we have known that Islamic State would emerge from the ruins of Iraq? Did we know that there had never been “weapons of mass destruction,” the excuse for the tens of thousands of deaths during the occupation of Iraq? Did we know that the American arms industry never loses, not even in wars against the United States? We knew. We’re not that stupid. We were silent. We loved our master, the bomber.

And right now, on the eve of the bombing of Islamic State, we are sitting submissively in front of the TV, ostracized, embarrassed, but ready to once again settle for the personal, horror-filled images of what this organization does, rather than the collective horror-filled images from Fallujah or Gaza. And Channel 10 news anchor Zvi Yehezkeli will explain to us how we are more European than Europe, how European cities have more Muslims than we have in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. And Channel 2’s Ehud Yaari will make fiery predictions that make us feel chillingly part of the whole thing, just like in 1991 and 2003. Let them destroy Iraq again, and Syria too, and maybe Iran as well, inshallah. We’ve learned to keep our heads down and say, “We won’t intervene, as long as they destroy them,” no matter what.

Just for the record, remember: We were the first to conquer and destroy an Arab capital, back in 1982; the first to name a street after the Pentagon (for a month, after the 9/11 attacks). And we have streets named after King George V, and after Lord Balfour, who promised our forefathers and us that the empire would grant us a state. It could be that citizens of Laos and Iceland are aware of how marginal they are, and rightfully so. But us? We’re the center of the world, the spearhead in the struggle against Islam. They shall not pass! The Bible belongs to us, and to the Christians.

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