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A matter of courage and wisdom



The Knesset: 61 years of parliamentary democracy, and counting, in Israel. But do its members properly love their country? Or does the dysfunctional way Members are chosen, with their election rules that do not conform to Jewish law, lead to a pointless scramble for patronage? A new Manifesto calls for radically reforming the way Israel picks Members of this body. Furthermore, terms like right and left, as in other parliaments, mean little when no one will articulate first principles.

There are many people in Israel, even in the Knesset, that regard Bibi as intelligent but timid. Caroline Click of the Jerusalem Post called him a “hack politician” when he released Arab terrorists in subservience to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry, in lock-step with President Barack Obama, is hardly an admirable personality. Any fool or coward can urge Israel to retreat to her 1967 Auschwitz lines. But there is some confusion here between moral and intellectual virtues.

Wisdom requires courage

As may be gleaned from Plato’s dialogue, the Apology, where Socrates is condemned to death for undermining the attachment of youth to the gods of democratic Athens, where the moral relativism of the Sophists reigned unchallenged, courage is a precondition of wisdom. People lacking courage tend to be “politically correct.”  They will not be inclined to think of some way of avoiding intellectually complex and life-threatening situations.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel. Hardly a profile in courage or wisdom.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel. Photo: US Department of State (taken during his visit to the USA, during which Obama had him ushered out the back door of the White House while Obama dined privatelyl with his family.)

Israel’s situation is certainly complex and life-threatening. Not only is Israel threatened from afar by genocidal Iran; she is also assaulted close at hand by Palestinian Jew-killers – and both enemies are supported by a multicultural or cockamamie Muslim in the White House. Barak Obama is not likely to go down in history as a man of wisdom and courage.

Wisdom and courage represent, respectively, intellectual and moral virtues. What is not common knowledge is that courage is a precondition of wisdom, but by no means a sufficient precondition. Israel’s most highly decorated general, former PM Ehud Barak, a smiling clod, not only deserted Israel’s Christian friends in Lebanon, but also offered Yasser Arafat Judea and Samaria, Israel’s heartland. Sadly, Bibi’s Osolovian predecessors are examples of buffoons if not poltroons. Calling any of them “hacks” is flattery.

Netanyahu knows better

What makes Bibi particularly unpalatable as Israel’s prime spokesman is that he knows, better than most, the utterly malicious and mendacious character of the Palestinian, the Arabs whom he appeases, and with whom he yearns to negotiate on the basis of “reciprocity.”

He also knows that that the idea of “reciprocity,” foreign to Islam, appears eminently reasonable and fair-minded to benighted Americans. Habituated to compromise at home, Americans still genuflect to “détente” abroad. Recall Kissinger’s morally neutral policy of “détente” with the Soviet Union, which Ronald Reagan, to the consternation of many academics, called the “Evil Empire.”

As for Barack Obama, he chokes on the term “Muslim terrorists” to describe members of another Evil Empire, Islam.

To be fair, however, Truth is out of fashion in post-modern America and in post-modern Israel, where political scientists have replaced the word “evil” with the “Three blind Mice” concept of “conflict resolution,” in consequence of which concept decision makers “See no Evil,” “Hear no Evil,” and “Speak no Evil” about the disciples of Mohammad.

Bearing this optical situaton in mind, let us now take cognizance of the recent eruption of racial violence in some American cities. How easy it is to trace the causes of that violence to unemployment. Who would hasten to say the upsurge of that evil is tacitly encouraged by the occupant of the White House: a post-American multicultural moral relativist, who often attended a church whose pastor preached “god damn America” without a murmur from the man so many “educated” Americans twice elected their President? To see and say this does not require much wisdom and courage.☼

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Robert Houlst

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