Martha's Vineyard vacation ... Before tropical storm Irene
(If only Israeli children were as free to romp along the beach,
without fear of Hamas rockets, etc. ...)
August 31, 2011
By Lauri B. Regan
The day before Hurricane Irene swept through New York, I received a concerned email from a cousin in Israel asking if we were properly prepared to weather the storm. I responded that I was not too concerned and thought the media and politicians were a bit over the top with the evacuations, warnings, and coverage. The next night, as Americans up and down the east coast remained hunkered down in the safety of their homes, a Palestinian terrorist stole a taxi, ran over two individuals, and then stabbed a number of others outside of a Tel Aviv night club. I emailed my cousin and explained that this is the exact reason that I cannot get excited over a storm -- an act of God. My cousin agreed, saying, "Yes, these are our day to day hurricanes here..."
Israel's day-to-day hurricanes are not caused by acts of God. They are caused by acts of man -- hostile, dangerous, and irrational men (and women). And while humans cannot control the weather, they can erect structures that can withstand wind and rain, hurricanes and tornados; they can build satellites that predict and track weather patterns, providing warning systems to escape the upcoming danger; and they can prevent loss of life.
On the other hand, there is not much that Israel can do to protect herself from the unpredictable acts of crazed lunatics who wish her and her people complete annihilation. And the few steps that she has taken have been attacked by the international community which treats Israel and her citizens as terrorists should be in a sane world. From the barrier erected to protect Israeli citizens from suicide bombers (which has been quite successful) to retaliatory strikes aimed at terrorists rather than full Arab civilian populations (despite the fact that terrorists hide both themselves and their weapons among their populations), Israel is continually demonized at the United Nations, in the international press, and on streets and college campuses across the globe.
Not surprisingly, the Obama administration has turned a blind and biased eye to the storms that Israel confronts daily. The New York Times recently reported on guidelines issued to government officials across the world instructing them how to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. One of the themes in the document is not only to recognize that the attacks are not "just about us," but also that "Americans must be prepared for another attack -- and must, in response, be resilient in recovering from the loss."
As we commemorate the citizens of over 90 countries who perished in the 9/11 attacks, we honor all victims of terrorism, in every nation around the world[.] ... We honor and celebrate the resilience of individuals, families, and communities on every continent, whether in New York or Nairobi, Bali or Belfast, Mumbai or Manila, or Lahore or London.
Conspicuously absent from this official . House policy statement is our ally, Israel. This is appalling While all of these other countries have faced terrorism, Israel is the one country in the world that faces it daily from all sides -- including its border with its former friend Egypt thanks to the Mideast policies of the Obama administration. It is the one country that is threatened with annihilation on a regular basis. It is the one country that this administration has bullied and threatened over and over again since Obama entered the White House. And to issue guidelines recognizing the resilience of individuals from a litany of countries that specifically excludes Israel is simply a disgrace.
As the United States' most important strategic ally, Israel has provided our country's military with invaluable knowledge in the asymmetrical warfare that our troops abroad regularly face in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israelis have obtained this knowledge not only from the multiple wars of aggression against her since her founding but because of the resilience that the Jewish people have acquired from millennia of attacks. It is the Jewish people in general, and Israelis in particular in the latter part of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st century, who have taught the world what resilience is and how to survive the never-ending perfect storms of violence and aggression. To ignore this reality is not only to ignore the lessons of history, but it is cause for real concern over just how out of touch the Obama administration is.
Barack Obama has proven to be an abomination at leading this country. Conservatives and liberals alike agree that the failure of leadership from the White House is leading America down the road to demise. Were it not so sad, it would be amusing that Obama chose to use an act of God for his first attempt at real leadership. But taking the helm at the FEMA offices prior to Hurricane Irene is not leadership -- it was a simple covering-his-butt political stunt.
Leadership is what we see every time that Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu speaks both here in the US and abroad. He does not need two giant teleprompters for a three-minute speech announcing his selection for a new member of his administration. Netanyahu understands storms and the need for his citizens to be resilient because he and all Israelis live in the path of a hurricane daily and it is his responsibility to ensure that his people survive each and every storm.
Leadership is also what House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen exhibited when she unveiled her U.N. reform bill on Tuesday. In the lead up to the Palestinian bid at the UN for a unilateral declaration of independence, Ros-Lehtinen has introduced a bill to cut off U.S. funding of any U.N. agency that recognizes a Palestinian state prior to resolution of the Mideast peace process (the bill also would cut off U.S. funds to UNRWA and the U.N. Human Rights Council). It is no surprise that the White House has reflexively come out in opposition to this bill. As Jonathan Tobin recognized:
Obama's "don't worry, be happy" approach to the UN has done nothing to convince its members to stop trying to kill the peace process by voting to recognize an independent Palestinian state without first requiring it to make peace with Israel. Nor has the administration used its supposedly weighty influence at Turtle Bay to transform UNRWA or the Human Rights Council, both of which exist primarily in order to perpetuate the Arab war against Israel.
September is hurricane season here in the U.S. For Israel, every day is hurricane season; however, September may present her with another perfect storm. In response to intelligence indicating that there is another viable terror threat on her border with Egypt, the Israeli navy has moved two warships to that border. At the same time, Iran has just announced that it is moving a fleet of ships to the area. The ceasefire with Gaza will last only until one of Hamas' crazed lunatics decides to once again begin firing rockets into Israel. And these same people will turn to the U.N. in the hopes that its member-states will approve a unilateral declaration of statehood for the Palestinian people.
Israelis have built effective defensive weapons systems but they cannot build a bomb-proof bubble over their entire country. They have built satellites and drones that can detect and shoot down some of the missiles aimed at their country and citizens but they cannot destroy every fanatic firing at them from his local mosque or schoolyard. They can attempt to prevent loss of life but without leadership from allies and the civilized world, when a hurricane approaches, Israelis can only pray that an act of God will save them.