In retaliation for more kidnapped soldiers and unfettered launching of civilian-directed rockets, Israel is now dropping bombs on Beirut.
The governments of Lebanon and Palestine have become indistinguishable from the Hezbollah and Hamas militias that have as their explicit goal the elimination of the jewish people. And that’s just two borders: The governments of Syria, Iran, Iraq, and to a lesser extent, Egypt and Jordan are all straightforwardly or latently hostile to Israel, and, to one degree or another, participate in the effort to reclaim the area as an arab state and expel the jews from the region and really the earth.
Jews and arabs have been at war over this slice of land unofficially since the dawn of time and more formally for about a century. Untold numbers of thousands of deaths on both sides, and there is NO END IN SIGHT. It’s clear to me that the people pulling the strings in the countries surrounding Israel, if not the inhabitants of those countries, will not be satisfied until the region has been cleansed of hebrew-speakers, and I’m not sure the Israelis want anything less with regard to the arabs. These two groups of people genuinely hate each other and a significant segment on both sides seems happy to die to advance the destruction of the other.
I’ve had enough of teenagers dying for their fathers’ cause. If we agree there is no foreseeable conclusion, every death is by definition in vain. We get the point. There’s no end to the hatred and killing. Enough is enough.
I propose that we take all the Israeli jews and move them to Wisconsin, leaving the irrigated desert that is Israel to the arabs to do with what they please.
The Wisconsin Plan will not put an end to the hatred between arabs and jews, but it will stop the killing. You could argue that to give up Israel now would be a disgrace to all those who have died in her defense. That may be true, but the importance of that disgrace pales in comparison to the value of a single needless death prevented.
You could argue that only a diaspora jew born 35 years after the holocaust could be stupid enough to suggest that jews don’t need their own state. I don’t doubt that there could be another holocaust – even those who squint through the narrowest peephole recognize the holocausts going on right now all over the world, and it’s obvious that until women take over, the hatred, greed, and aggression that facilitates these holocausts will never go out of style. But I believe that the likelihood of this happening in Wisconsin is sufficiently small that the steady stream of teenagers dying in the name of israel is unjustified. I could be proven wrong on this account; there is no shortage of bigotry in backwoods America, and if this bigotry develops into a force of sufficient magnitude that jews are compelled to flee, I’ll admit my error. But it’s a chance I think is worth taking.
You could argue that there is something about eretz yisrael, something intrinsic to the dirt and stones that make up the buildings in Jerusalem that is vital to the jewish people and worth dying for. If you are in this group, I urge you to stay behind, when everyone else gets on the boat to Wisconsin, to carry on the fight.
It’s also worth considering what a few million jews could do for Wisconsin. Note that while Israel is being bombed from every direction, most Israelis live a modern, comfortable life. All sorts of inventions, vaccines, and expertise come of out Israel, which until not long ago was a mostly cropless sand dune. Wisconsin is the dairy center of America, and I have always felt our potential in this area is unfulfilled. I guarantee that if the Israeli population relocated, within a generation the US would take the lead in manufacturing fine cheeses and other milk products.
There’s another reason why arab and israeli boys and girls dying over a small piece of land is stupid, and that is that we are all going up in smoke. This is not apocalyptic drivel or a critique of George Bush, it is the obvious consequence of technology’s course. 25 years ago, if you wanted to make a movie, you had to have a substantial reservoir of money, time, and expertise. Today, any schlep with a digital camera and a computer can make a movie, and in fact today most movies are made by just such schleps with iMovie. A farmer with 1000 acres used to be able to produce 20 bushels of corn per harvest; today the same farmer can produce 200. Until recently, ultrasound was only available to hospital-based specialists and big companies, now any doc can own and use cheap, portable machines that make better images than their progenitors, which took up most of a room. Technology can only move in one direction, and though the idea that science can be used for good and evil is cliché, the conclusion of this line of reasoning is relegated to doves and hippies on the media fringe, when in fact it is clear and incontrovertible. The US first, now Pakistan and North Korea, soon Iran, and the reservoir of time, money, and expertise needed to make a very powerful weapon will continue to fall, until it falls to a level where any schlep can make one. The iBomb.
I’m not alarmed by this; there’s not much to be done about it. And I’m not a nihilist, the world is ours for now, let’s do a good job with it. But let’s recognize that arabs and israelis killing each other is not going to change any outcome, so fuck Israel. Israel is not too important not to die for, jews(and arabs) are too important to die for Israel.