Mr. Phil Horn recently wrote about Israel’s “self-created” challenges, and recommends that “Instead of saying that the world is against us, the time has come for Israel and its supporters to ask about policies that contribute to this isolation, not only in the Middle East, but among Western democracies and even the Jewish people.” (“Self-inflicted wounds,” Dec. 18)
Mr. Horn gives examples of Israeli policies that purportedly lead to this isolation. But contrary to his intentions, even a brief reading of these examples shows that they give no moral justification whatsoever for Western democracies and the Jewish people to stand against or isolate Israel. Therefore, these examples appear to be just a pretext to stand against Israel for those already so predisposed.
Specifically, Mr. Horn refers to the seemingly pathological anti-Arab rants of Rabbi Steven Pruzansky of Teaneck, and states that “Israel’s critics charged that Pruzansky’s views were typical of Jews in Israel and abroad.” But this charge is demonstrably false, and consequently those making it merely reveal how duplicitous they are. Israel cannot remove a pathological mass-attitude towards Arabs that does not exist.
Mr. Horn finds Israeli civil law governing marriages to be offensive and alienating to American Jews. Accordingly, he could either campaign to get the law changed through the democratic process, or campaign to isolate Israel, thereby putting pressure on Israel to change its law. I would choose the former method.
Mr. Horn refers to Israel’s “expansion of settlements” and in general to its treatment of the Palestinians, and notes that this has led “some of Israel’s leading men of letters to encourage European countries to recognize a Palestinian state.” This appeal to Israel’s leading men of letters is, as far as it goes, a fallacious argumentum ad verecundium and is clearly redolent of an elitist mentality. Recall that Sartre supported the Soviet Union until 1956. So much for the unerring wisdom of public intellectuals!