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Michael Devolin

Ideas Conquered Long Ago
By Michael Devolin
Feb 19, 2013 - 6:17:53 AM

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"When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago" wrote Nietzsche.

I remember Rabbi Meir Kahane once remarking to an audience, "There is not an Arab in this room who believes that the land of Israel does not belong to him." I do not write here in the hopes of convincing Arab Muslims otherwise. If Rabbi Kahane believed such an adventure was futile, then so do I. His assassination in New York City proves to me that his oft-repeated assessment of the Arab Muslim mind-set as being impervious to any idea of Jews and Arab Muslims living within the same borders was prophetically on the mark.

Today we have, as always, those persistent Jewish politicians who boast of a tomorrow where their political promises will be kept. But Israel's Jews have heard such promises before. There is nothing new under the sun.

What is it that breeds the inertia prevalent within the Knesset? I am not Jewish, don't even live in Israel, but anyone with a brain can see that, as in Canada, politicians aggrandize their capabilities and their powers of persuasion only to be exposed as empty hats when it comes time to deliver on their boasts. Ariel Sharon marched up the Temple Mount like the prophet Elijah only to turn around, march back down and chase Jewish families out of their homes in Gaza.

Mr. Bennett has also made promises, as did Netanyahu before him. Israel is not hurting for more politicians: she is hurting for leaders who "forget not the landmarks of our fathers." As everywhere else in the world, politicians are more numerous than thieves at a fair. But to find a Jew who will shed tears for the Jewish children who still believe HaShem will protect them when Barack Obama will not, now there is an adventure worth a humble beginning.

It's not about democracy and "mitigating circumstances" anymore. It never has been. It's about remembering why Jews returned to Israel in the first place. It's about an idea that can never be conquered but only by those who've repudiated their Jewishness, which isn't a victory at all. Not even close.

It's about Masada, and Entebbe, and Munich, and the Six Day War. It's about remembering why the world is more afraid today than ever before of Jewish intellect and Jewish success. It's about remembering all over again the G-d who brought the Jews to the land of Israel in the first place. It is HE whom the world is afraid of and can never deny the existence of--so long as a Jewish Israel exists. And the arguments against Israel's existence in the Middle East, no matter how violent and spurious, no matter how numerous, are also ideas conquered long ago.

Michael Devolin


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