by Quin Hillyer
With the unveiling of the new “Decree for America
” co-written by University of Mobile President Mark Foley, some people might wonder why a foreign-policy concern is included in the same document with two domestic, moral issues. In this case, though, the inclusion of unwavering support for the state and people of Israel is absolutely essential. In truth, support for Israel is a fundamentally and overwhelmingly moral concern.
For most Christians, of course, the idea that Israel is sacred ground for the Jewish people is unalterably part of our shared story. Only somebody entirely ignorant of both history and the Bible would fail to understand why the Jews cherish that narrow piece of land on the Mediterranean’s edge. Moreover, those who are Bible-centered should automatically feel a deep commitment toward preserving that land as a Jewish state, as straightforward obeisance to the terms of God’s covenant.
Yet while faith is enough, by itself, for many people to support Israel, it is far from the only reason. And despite some serious and unwise frostiness toward Israel from the current administration, there are plenty of non-religious reasons why the United States, particularly, should hold dear our alliance with that beleaguered nation.
So, while secular reasons for embracing Israel might in some senses be of lesser importance than the reasoning from faith, let us examine the former – because it is on that basis that we must win the debate with those who may not share our faith.
Let’s start with modern history, and in doing so correct the myths pushed by the Islamist ideologues and their sympathizers. It is well known, of course, that Jews have lived continually in “Palestine” for up to 3,000 years, sometimes as the dominant power and sometimes as a powerless but still numerous minority. After World War I, though, European powers set up what was intended to be a benevolent British oversight (the “British Mandate”) of the area. In 1921, in what seemed like an eminently reasonable way to allow peaceful coexistence, the Mandate offered to establish a Jewish Agency and an Arab Agency, each to minister to its own people and to operate schools, hospitals, and other institutions. In what would become a habit, the Jews gladly accepted the idea of coexistence, but the Arabs rejected the idea and declined the offer.
The Jews chose peace, the Arabs rejected it.
Things continued along these lines until World War II. Everybody knows the horrible atrocities committed against Jews during the Nazis’ Holocaust. Everybody knows of their great, unmerited suffering. And everybody with sense recognizes that because Jews were repeatedly persecuted for 2,000 years and then subjected to attempted genocide, it was eminently understandable for the survivors to want to return to their own Holy Land to rebuild their shattered lives in a new nation where they could rule themselves free from fear.
In 1947, the new United Nations voted to create “an independent Arab State, an independent Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem” ... governed by “an International Trusteeship System.” Again, Jews readily accepted the proposal; the Arabs declined. The Jews chose peace; the Arabs rejected it – and waged guerrilla war.
Nonetheless, the Jews succeeded in establishing Israel as their own, new nation. Even in the midst of unrelenting hostility and attacks from its neighbors, Israel was organized as a republic. Citizens enjoyed real, honest-to-goodness civil rights. Representative government, chosen in fair and free elections, set a standard for liberty. The Israelis became known as a tough, tough people, but also – for all with eyes to see – an honorable people wanting no more than to peacefully participate among the world of nations.
But Arabs never accepted this situation. In 1967, a coalition of Arab states amassed troops on the Israeli border, blockaded Israeli shipping, and broadcast threats of a new genocide against Jews. The Jews wanted peace; the Arabs rejected it – and this time, the Arabs paid dearly. Israel mobilized, attacked, and routed the Arab nations.
Six years later, the story was much the same. On the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise military assault intended to wipe Israel from the map. For a while Israel’s very survival looked doubtful, but again the well-trained Israeli military fought back and repelled the invaders.
And so, again and again, for the past 40 years, Arabs have continued to threaten, fire missiles into, and harass Israel; again and again Israel has won the battles, then offered peace (and sometimes given up land) – only to see the Arabs, yet again, reject it.
So, let’s recap: At every turn, the Jewish people have been abused. At every turn, Israelis have asked only to be left alone. At every turn, their attempts for peace have been answered with violence. And, all the while, amidst existential threats, they have gone about their business of building a modern, prosperous, republican (small ‘r’) nation respectful of human rights – and all while providing the United States a stable ally in an unstable region.
Such an example must be admired. Such friendship must be rewarded. Such a history much be honored. To do anything else would be to ignore a deep, moral imperative. Americans, by decree, must consider our alliance with Israel a moral, indeed a sacred, covenant.
About the Contributor
Quin Hillyer is a Senior Fellow for The Center for Individual Freedom, a Senior Editor for the American Spectator magazine, and a Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mobile. He has won mainstream awards for journalistic excellence at the local, state, regional and national levels. He has been published professionally in well over 50 publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Houston Chronicle, the San Francisco Chronicle, Investors Business Daily, National Review, the Weekly Standard, Human Events, and The New Republic Online. He is a former editorial writer and columnist for the Washington Times, the Washington Examiner, the Mobile Register, and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and a former Managing Editor of Gambit Weekly in New Orleans. He has appeared dozens of times as a television analyst in Washington DC, Alabama, Arkansas, and Louisiana, and as a guest many hundreds of times on national and local radio shows.