Staying Power Must be Recognized

by Maxwell Bryer | 11/22/05 6:00am

Several weeks ago, when Iran's new President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, declared in a speech that "Israel must be wiped of the map," the world reeled in shock as if it expected more from the leader of a "civilized" government. However, despite the outcry, Ahmadinejad's words are really nothing to cough about. Frankly, they are old news. Arab leaders have been posturing and blustering for half a century about how they are going to drive the Jews into the sea (see Gamel Abdul Nasser) and, at least by my watch, all three major attempts have ended in ridiculous embarrassment for them.

In 1948, on the day following Israel's declaration of independence, five Arab armies invaded the small state. Despite the fact that Israel's army possessed second-rate weapons and a severe numerical disadvantage, these invading forces were fought to a standstill and then expelled. In 1967, Gamel Abdul Nasser, the president of Egypt at that time, moved troops into the Sinai peninsula in an attempt to make good on his fiery oratory to push Israel into the sea. In six days the Israeli Army utterly defeated not only the forces of Egypt but of Jordan and Syria as well. In 1973, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, in an attempt to once and for all rid the region of the "Zionist scourge." Despite achieving shocking initial gains both were sent scurrying back to their respective countries with their proverbial tails between their legs.

The moral here is that all the talk, all the promises and all the oratory have amounted to nothing but a bunch of hot air. After 57 years and three wars, these firebrand leaders have been no more successful at exterminating Israel than they have at creating functional and modern societies in their own countries -- Israel has nothing to worry about from a man like Ahmadinejad.

It's time to get to the bottom line: Israel is obviously here to stay. Continuing this "death to the Jews" charade does nothing but exacerbate the problems in the Middle East because it exists in a fantasy world in which the Arab nations can actually accomplish their oft-denied goal of destroying Israel. It does not consider the reality that the conflict will not be resolved in Israel's destruction but in negotiations between rational and civilized parties.

Although Ahmadinejad claims his comments merely reflect the goals and mission statement of modern Iran, it seems to me that it would be far more productive if he and his fellow leaders would focus all this pent up "patriotic" energy inwards, on their own society, and concentrate on pushing it towards greater modernization and productivity. These inept leaders have been unable to bring anything approaching a civilized society to their lands. Their solution is to distract their uneducated populace from their suffering with the age-old "death to Israel" card. These men are the real culprits in the Middle East today.

Have no illusions -- it is not Israeli soldiers but men like Ahmadinejad who help create terrorism and strife. They do so by substituting hate and pathetic oratory for stability, decent education and a fair and equal society. They do so by building nuclear weapons and AK-47s and funding terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad instead of building schools and a modern infrastructure.

The bottom line is, the state of Israel is not going away any time soon. Ignorance of this fact does nothing but shirk any solution to the current Middle East situation. It is high time that Ahmadinejad and his peers got on board. He may think he is a real "hard guy" for his fiery comments of several weeks ago. But in reality, he is just another in a long line of losers who have done nothing but marginalize and belittle their own people.