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The PRIMER Blog

Hillel Halkin's Good News

By David Basch

"Halkin evidently does not believe that the Jews and their State of Israel have a moral right to their lands."

"So it is not surprising that in his article, Halkin casts aspersions on the one policy that could potentially save Israel and her Jews, …"

Hillel Halkin brought supposedly good news in his recent article in The Jerusalem Post (11.30.06). What is this good news? It is that "the situation within a smaller Israel, while extremely worrisome, would not be hopeless, as it would be if we kept all of Judea and Samaria."

Like Pangloss in Voltaire's Candide, Halkin takes the most incredibly hopeful view of an Israel dwelling beside a "Palestinian State," a state that would inevitably be irredentist and dedicated to destroying Israel while enjoying the strategic position to do so. In taking this view, Halkin reveals much additional things about his mental cast that ought not to go unremarked upon.

Reading his article, we learn from Halkin that, while massive Jewish immigration is a thing of the past, Israel would still be able to stay just ahead of Arab population growth. Of course, many things would have to go right if Israel were to succeed along Halkin's scenario to avoid what would be an inevitable Lebanonization [my word], that is, being overridden by a burgeoning local Arab population, not to mention a massive illegal influx from the surrounding Arab population of 100 million. That he can conceive of such a scenario reveals him as a man who is "wise over much," thinking he can visualize a future unfolding along the lines he imagines.

For if Halkin is wrong, the truncated Israel that he embraces in his moralistic joy would be destined to run an 100 to 1 chance gauntlet for survival. That seems to be a condition not too different from the "hopelessness" that Halkin would seek to avoid by having Israel cede her territories, including Jerusalem, to the Arab terrorists so as to keep a massive Arab population from becoming part of the Israeli.

Consider the example of Lebanon. In 1948, Lebanon was 90% Christian but is now 60% Muslim. The now Christian minority is submerged by the Muslim and remains in continuous peril. And though Muslims are equally not fond of Christians and Jews, the difference between the latter two is that Christians are part of a 1 billion Christian world that does put some restraints on what Muslims do to Christians while Jews have barely little or no outside support. For example, in 1950, when the Muslims expelled from Arab countries 800,000 Jews that had lived there in ancient Jewish communities predating Islam, the Muslims did so with absolutely no opposition from the world. And that is just a part of the calamities the Jews can expect in Israel when the Muslims get the upper hand, as will inevitably happen following Halkin's moralistic prescriptions not to in any way curb Arab voting rights in Israel or to deter the creation of a new Arab state. He can't curb such voting rights for Arabs because as we have long ago discovered he is "over righteous" in addition to being "wise over much," the character traits that Ecclesiastes observed inevitably lead to self-destruction, but which in this case will guide the state of Israel there too.

For those who don't know about Hillel Halkin, he began as an American from an Orthodox Zionist family. While he was not observant, he nevertheless felt compelled by some kind of cultural imperative to live in the newly established Jewish State of Israel. Halkin had expressed himself on this long ago in an open letter he wrote to Edward Said, an Arab academic that claimed to have been born in Jerusalem but had made his home in New York. Halkin had contrasted his own decision, with some bit of rue, to live in Israel with Said's decision to live in New York. In parallel, both had left a homeland to live elsewhere. Whatever the other similarities, a stark difference between the two was that Said (who, by the way, was actually born in Egypt and falsified his Jerusalem birthplace) unconditionally supported the Arabs of Israel in their worst barbarities against Israelis and in their alleged "inalienable "right" to destroy the Israeli robbers of "Palestine" while Halkin has always placed conditions on his support for Israel, often placing his super moralistic sentiments over Israel's capacity to survive. Over the decades, Halkin has at times championed what he claimed were "Arab rights" to a separate national existence on the lands of Israel and against alleged Israeli "occupation" of "Arab and."

So it is not surprising that in his article, Halkin casts aspersions on the one policy that could potentially save Israel and her Jews, namely, Israel's retention of all Jewish lands West of the Jordan as set aside for the Jewish people under the League of Nations Mandate of Palestine and the expulsion of the Arab population residing there, a population that is actively and implacably devoted in thought and deed to the destruction of Israel. Thus does Halkin consider "immoral" a policy that would render the Arabs incapable of perpetrating their intended new Holocaust on Israel's Jews.

The irony is that while Halkin considers the transfer of Arabs immoral, he has no trouble with the transfer of Jews, as he showed in his support of the recent ethnic cleansing of the Jews of Gaza. In other words, Halkin is a fraud since he has a double standard on the issue of "transfer," which he has revealed by his support of it for Jews is not in principle immoral.

Further evidence that transfer is a valid governmental program is the fact that after World War II, the Western Allies -- England and France, with the acquiescence of the United States -- transferred 12,000,000 ethnic Germans from countries surrounding Germany into Germany, doing so for "the sake of peace" in Europe. Though Germany had been defeated and there was no evidence that these now peaceful ethnic Germans, who had lived for many generations outside of Germany, would pose a problem in the future, there was to be no chance of that potentiality to ever occur. The "sake of peace" trumped all. There was not to be the slightest chance for a new Hitler to suddenly emerge in Europe to do what Hitler did in whooping up ethnic Germans to revolt against the nations in which they resided to bring on World War II.

The glaring point here is that it was considered moral to transfer millions of passive German ethnics against their will. But somehow Halkin finds it immoral for Israel to contemplate a similar policy for the same goal of peace and to apply it to a hostile and rebellious enemy Arab population truly dangerous to peace and the existence of Israel. Yet, Halkin found it moral to transfer peaceful Jews living on Jewish land in their own country, which Gaza presently still is.

With regard to Halkin, it appears that Israel would have been better off had he not indulged a half-hearted, self-imposed duty to live in Israel since the price of his doing so was his rebellious moralistic carping that more resembles Freud's "return of the repressed" than a loving return to ones cherished homeland. Freud had observed how socially and personally unacceptable desires and hateful emotions in a person could be repressed but show themselves transformed with all their viciousness into socially approved forms that appear to some eyes as socially acceptable. It seems that Halkin must have a deep resentment of Israel as responsible for his compulsion to live there since he has for decades shown this resentment by harming Israel by his advocacy of policies that undermined Israel and supported enemies under the guise of his interpretation of "high morality."

To those who would question why I would bring up such personal factors in a discussion of issues, I would note that Halkin's decision to live in Israel has been presumed to be a sign of his devotion to Israel. It is this factor that has been exploited by those media that give voice to his ruinous anti-Israel recommendations, such as is now being done by Commentary Magazine and others, in order to give his views unquestioned credibility as coming from a lover of Israel. That there is something pathological in Halkin's mindset is strongly suggested by the fact that he has been unable over decades to recognize the murderous intent behind the horrendous acts and statements of Arabs against the state of Israel. Halkin consistently insists on seeing only the good side of the abundant attempts of the Arabs to destroy Israel and murder Jews -- a conspicuous blindness that bespeaks a most unhealthy mind or, otherwise, he would appear to be a deliberate and cynically motivated foe of Israel.

Halkin evidently does not believe that the Jews and their State of Israel have a moral right to their lands. These rights are based on the historic right of the Jewish people, the successors of two ancient Jewish kingdoms, to return to the lands from which they were banished 2,000 years before. Such rights don't vanish even after millennia.

Anyway, that is what the League of Nations believed when it exercised its authority to confer on the Jewish people the right to build a homeland in region called "Palestine." By the way, this was the same League that established many of the Arab nations of today, having split these off from the Ottoman Empire.

Halkin presumes to be more moral than the League in discounting its bequest to the Jewish people, siding with the Arab world that rejects such a bequest to the Jews, the Arabs having gotten from the League, aside from Turkey, virtually 100% of the lands of the Ottomans. But under the League's Mandate of Palestine, the lands in question are indeed Jewish.

Eugene Rostow, Undersecretary of State under Lyndon Johnson, argued this when he noted that Jews were entitled by the League to unlimited close settlement of the lands of the Mandate and crossed no international boundary when Israel took possession of these lands in resisting illoegal Arab attack from those very lands in 1967. How then can Israel be charged with th sin of "occupation" of what are her own lands?

Nevertheless, 100% of the Arabs reject Israel's claim to existence, partly supported by Halkin who would give them enough to finish the conquest of Israel. Who then is being immoral? Is it the Jews who were given national rights in the Mandate lands or is it the Arabs that have sought to annul all such rights?

In his article, Halkin also dismisses the policy of transfer on grounds of feasibility. Can it be done by Israel? After all, can Israel "transfer" hundreds of thousands of Arabs from Israel? It is most clear, if not to the aberrational minds of those like Halkin, that the Arabs would not hesitate to impose such a policy on the Jews of Israel as they have done with all lands they have come into the possession of within the lands of the Mandate of Palestine. Such a policy of transfer is very feasible when Arabs decide to transfer Jews (and even when Jews decide to transfer other Jews). But then Israel does not have the support for its endeavors that the 300 million Arabs do. Clearly, Israel would be opposed by the world if it suddenly imposed a transfer on peaceful Arabs of the Mandate of Palestine, making such a policy infeasible as Halkin notes.

But what if it were in a time of strife and war and to save Israel and her people it turns out that transfer of the Arab population is the only way to do so? We already know how Halkin feels about that: Israel be damned, but no transfer of Arabs. However, under extreme conditions when the safety and security of the Jewish state is in the balance, all things become possible to save Israeli lives and country. The Jewish innocents become more innocent than Arab residents that are massively committed to Israel's destruction and the murder of Jews.

This policy is relevant because the assertion is made that resisting Arab onslaughts is futile since the Arabs who will remain in place will return to aggression again and again and Israel will have accomplished nothing. That is Halkin's excuse for advocating surrender of territory to the Arabs. But were the Arabs removed from those points of assault along with their terrorist fighters, there could be no rerun of such battles. A place to start would be Gaza with a North-South, 20 mile wide corridor to cut off the Philadelphia route from the rest of Gaza to return control to Israel of the Southern Arab invasion route into Israel.

One must recall how "infeasible" it was for Israel to react to the Arab menace in 1967. Israel was actually threatened by friendly nations to not act. Yet Israel did the infeasible then, reacted and saved herself. Pressed today by hostile Arab enemies who pressure Israel and make war, Israel could well find it feasible to not only defeat threatening Arab forces but to massively transfer hostile Arab populations, creating new facts on the ground, that forever destroy the possibility of Arab attack from those sectors. As we have seen, without such action, the Arab enemy merely regroups and waits for another chance at a later time. Removing the enemy and the Arab population sea it swims in prevents such a regrouping and gives Israel greater strategic depth to resist future onslaughts. Who would dare to question such a sweep by Israel to save herself during the heat of battle?

The question then is, where will the transferred Arabs go? For starters, they could be merely compressed into their enclaves away from the assaulted choke points they were in before. Presumably, having to adapt to new straitened conditions will leave them with little opportunity to resume their attacks. Israel could announce her readiness to help in assisting this Arab population to leave their enclaves but will under no conditions allow them to return to their former habitats. These Arabs will become part of the mass of millions of Arabs elsewhere, such as in Lebanon, that Arab nations have been cultivating so as to one day replace the Jews of Israel. The solution to the disposition of these old and new Arab populations. the one thing that will become abundantly clear is that the Arabs can forget about ever sending them to Israel. Perhaps sending them to Iraq to enrich the numbers of the Sunni Arab population as once long ago suggested by some Arab leaders will be the way to go.

Another thing before closing this piece. The Halkins can forget about the nonsense of a "Palestinian people" that has national rights to any of the lands of Israel. There is no such people, but merely Arabs who were former residents of the Mandate of Palestine that had lived among Palestinian Jews, also "Palestinian" residents of the Mandate of Palestine. The difference between the Jewish Palestinians and the Arab Palestinians is that the Jewish Palestinians have national rights given under the Mandate of Palestine and the others don't. And while these Arab residents had once been welcome to live in the Jewish homeland, they despised and betrayed this welcome and sought to usurp the Jewish homeland, committing unspeakable atrocities against Jews in their relentless war against the Jewish people. But now the game is up and they must go.

Yes, this will plunge the region into a humanitarian crisis. But it will be a crisis that the Arabs have brought upon themselves and one which they will be called upon to solve. The Arabs have the resources and the land to for a solution. Meanwhile, better an Arab crisis of this sort than the Jewish crisis that mentally ill moralists like Halkin insist on bringing upon the Jewish people.

As Halkin beats his breast for the suffering Arab terrorist communities, let him think about the thousands of Jews murdered and maimed by the Arabs, supported by the prayers and acts of these communities. He should then consider that, but for the strong action of a courageous and farsighted Israeli government, that plight the Arabs will face could be that of the Jewish people, former Israelis. Though not to Halkin, to whom all life is the same, the life of killers and victims being alike to him, to Israelis it should be far worse that such a plight happen to Israelis than to the wicked Arabs that have brought it about by their attempts to rob and destroy Israel.

Now all that Israel needs is a sane government that believes in the right of Israel to hold her land and to survive and to undertake the one essential policy of Arab transfer that will give Israel a future. The Arabs never will agree to that the way that they did not agree that Israel should survive the 1967 War.



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