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What Syria Says About Israel

The transitive principle comes to geopolitics

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Syrian rebels in Idlib mourn a killed youth. They wave the flag of the pre-Assad Syrian republic.(Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

Fact: Israel does not have an official position on Syria. In fact, its cabinet is fiercely divided over whether to take a position, with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s preference of tactical ambiguity winning out. So technically, we don’t know how Israel feels about President Assad’s butchering of his own people.

Of course, we do know that the regime has killed more than 6,000 people and that the United Nations has found evidence it has committed crimes against humanity. We know its remaining friends on the world stage are Venezuela and China, Russia, and Iran.

We know that, as former Mossad director Ephraim Halevy explained, bringing down the Assad regime will strike a fierce blow against Iran. We know the unrest has already pulled Hamas away from Damascus and toward Cairo and possibly Amman or Qatar—which, again, brings it out of Iran’s orbit, and which is therefore very good for Israel. Just today, Hamas’ leaders endorsed the rebellion against Assad.

And we know that Israel has quietly pointed out that Assad’s fall would be great news. Many months ago, before most countries had taken a position on Syria, the talk was that Israel would kind of prefer that Assad stay: it had just lost President Mubarak, this thinking went, and couldn’t afford more instability. “For the second time, a recent Journal article asserts that Israel has expressed fears of instability in Syria if leader Bashar al-Assad is overthrown,” wrote Ambassador Michael Oren in a letter to the Wall Street Journal last June. “I emphatically denied this the first time and categorically deny it again. Israel has expressed no such concerns. Allied with Iran, Mr. Assad has helped supply 55,000 rockets to Hezbollah and 10,000 to Hamas, very likely established a clandestine nuclear arms program and profoundly destabilized the region.” He concluded, “The violence he has unleashed on his own people demonstrating for freedoms confirms Israel’s fears that the devil we know in Syria is worse than the devil we don’t.”

I’ll step aside and let contributing editor Jeff Goldberg finish my thought:

The hatred of Jews and the Jewish national home by men whom history has adjudged to be comprehensively evil should suggest a couple of lessons. The possible theological and cosmological lessons I will leave for another day, but the political lessons are more obvious: Good people should take the hatred directed at Israel by evil people as a sign that, just maybe, Israel’s basic cause is just. Israel and its supporters should understand that the enmity reflects well on their cause, and they should do whatever they can to guarantee that their behavior could never possibly be seen as analogous to the behavior of their enemies.

Israeli Government Sharply Divided Over Response to Syrian Unrest [Haaretz]
Iran’s Achilles’ Heel [NYT]
Hamas Ditches Assad, Backs Syrian Revolt [Reuters]
U.N. Report Finds Syria Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity [FP Turtle Bay]
Israel Prefers The End of the Assad Regime To Its Continuance [WSJ]
With These Enemies, Israel Needs More Friends [Bloomberg View]

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Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

The slaughter that goes on in the Muslim-Arab world, be it Syria and before that Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq, etc. where children, the elderly and men and women of all ages are being mass murdered is a symptom of a culture – although it is not “politically correct” to say so – one in which the value of life itself is minimal if any, and the permissiveness for cruelty is prevalent.

I suggest that we, Jews, as well as none Jews of course, look carefully at events there, and attempt to imagine: if this is what the Muslim-Arabs do to each other, what would they do if they had the opportunity to lay their hands on the Jews of Israel…

A reminder: Jews in Eretz Israel (Land of Israel) have been slaughtered by the Muslim-Arabs in exactly the same way since 1920, when the war-of-attrition-through-terror commenced against the Jewish community of the country. At the time it came in the form of the pogrom against the Jews of Jerusalem – children, women, men, the elderly – following the Nabi Mousa ceremonies in April of that year; pogroms that were then spread to other parts of the country.

And, during the early 1940s the Muslim-Arabs’ leadership of the country collaborated with the authorities in Berlin in the setting up of a death camp between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem, in the Latrun area, so that when the Germans arrive through Egypt, their death factory will be ready for them. The intended victims at the time were both Jews and Druze.

No wonder, therefore, that the Jews of Israel refuse to lower their guards and take additional risky steps for “peace” that may turn out to be a stage towards a collective suicide.

Hershel (Heshy) Ginsburg says:

The general (and there are exceptions) consensus here in Israel is that yes, it would be an improvement for Israel if / when Assad falls, but what will come in his place won’t be a metzia either. Assuming the Sunni (either a plurality or a majority of Syria) take over, there will be a bloodbath of the Alawites & likely other segments of the Syrian population. And like in Egypt, the one segment of the non-Alawite Syrians that is well organized and well positioned to take power is the Muslim Brotherhood. Not exactly pro-Israel Zionists.

The WMD that Syria is known to have are of concern, particularly its stores of VX gas and the missiles needed to “deliver” the gas. If the country descends into full blown civil war (not unlikely) the WMD could easily fall into the wrong hands. For more on this, see Lenny Ben-David’s warning in the welcome upstart “Times of Israel” here:

Interviewed on Israel Radio’s Reshet Bet this morning, elder statesman & academic (with impeccable left-wing credentials, albeit of the saner ilk) Prof. Shlomo Avineri noted that the government, as opposed to the general population, has to take a more cautious, responsible approach to the Syrian situation because of the difficult consequences to various policy options. He also noted that both the pro-Assad & anti-Assad forces regularly blame the other side for being Israel’s proxy in their conflict. Again, just like in Egypt. It would behoove the Tabletarians to solicit an article from Avineri to enlighten those who still hold pollyannish views of the mid east.

Also worth soliciting is Dr. Motti Kedar from Bar Ilan U. Kedar, whose specialty is Arab Sociology, spent ~25 years in the Mossad. He writes on the true (rather than the P.C.) sources of identity in the MidEast & how this will likely lead to fragmentation throughout the region. A bracing cold splash of reality for naifs.

J’lem / Efrata

Shalom Freedman says:

The question is what exactly Israel can do in this situation when the United States and the Western world as a whole is extremely reluctant to involve itself directly in support of the anti- Assad forces. It seems to me that Israel has no real option for intervention and action. It seems to me Israel should strongly condemn the human rights violations, should point out the true character of the Assad regime. It should not just remain silent. But it should not involve itself in direct support on the ground of the rebelling forces.

This is the beginning of the 3rd world war and we are living in the END OF THE END days as per BIBLE.

God bless Israel and Good Human beings on the Earth. God love righteous ppl.

This is the COMING SOON OF JESUS CHRIST for the next TIME.

Charles Kirby says:

There is hope for those who sin because almost all sin can be forgiven, even major sin. However, there is one thing that is unforgivable and that one thing is self-righteous, (urb).

A human tragedy is currently unfolding in Syria. Some estimates state that as many as 6,000 deaths have already occurred in the past year.

In a couple (2) of months in 1982 the Israeli military slaughtered (murdered) over 20,000 Lebanese and Palestinians in Lebanon.

In 1993 Israeli intelligence (Mossad) predicted that that Iran would possess at least one atomic bomb by 1998 at the latest. Game over.

Shalom Freedman says:

Barry Rubin one of the most distinguished commentators on Middle Eastern affairs has suggested that the overthrow of Assad would not be like the overthrow of Mubarrak. The Syrian population is much more diverse than the Egyptian one, and the Muslim Brotherhood has not had the hold on Syria that it has had on Egypt.


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What Syria Says About Israel

The transitive principle comes to geopolitics

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