This animal is very malicious...
("This animal is very malicious; when attacked it defends itself.")
-La Menagerie (Traditional French song.)
If you go over here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Io4_vjiyM
you'll find something you don't want to miss, a video with voiceover by the incomparable Oriana Fallaci. (Found at Atlas Shrugs: http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/ )
If you go here: http://www.hsje.org/oriana_fallaci_on_antisemitism.htm
you'll find an English transcript of the article "Sull'antisemitismo," published in April, 2002.
But watch and listen to the video by all means, you don't want to miss that passionate woman speaking in the language of passion.
My God, I wish I'd known her! When I hear Fallaci, I think, "the last Roman."
The term "Ultimus Romanorum" was historically given to any man whose life embodied the values and virtues of an idealized vision of a Roman citizen. Which virtues became extinct on his death.
People who've been honored as "the last Roman" include Julius Caesar, the first so called. And ironically, to the leader of his assassins Marcus Junius Brutus, "the noblest Roman of them all."*
Others who have earned the accolade include: the 5th century Romano-British Dux bellorum Ambrosius Aurelianus, the Byzantine general Flavius Belisarius, the philosopher Boethius, and the last de facto Roman Emperor of the West, the otherwise undistinguished Romulus Augustus.
Now we can say Orianna Fallaci was "the last Roman," there may be no other. Future generations may date the death of Europe - from hers, the last, most courageous defender of European civilization.
The occasion of the post is of course, the Israeli attack on the Hamas strongholds in Gaza. After enduring daily rocket attacks for months, the Israelis are striking back.
In part it's a cynical political ploy by an Israeli government about to lose power, because of a widespread realization that a policy of appeasement is just flat not working.
The Israelis are responding to deliberate, albeit clumsy, attempts to maximize civilian casualties, with surgical strikes designed to minimize civilian casualties.
Which is made difficult by the Hamas practice of basing their attacks among civilians, precisely because any retaliation inevitably results in the maiming and death of non-combatants. Which plays well in the western and Islamic media.
One wonders why the Israelis bother anymore? No matter what they do, no matter how much they try to limit their response to actual combatants, they are going to get blamed for any deaths.
Those who care about the survival of Israel, America and the West, point indignantly to the double standard in judging Israel and the terrorists.
They miss the point entirely. It's perfectly logical if you consider the ultimate goal, the extermination of the Jews. Not the end of Israel as a nation - but the death of all Jews. Everywhere.
We don't need to guess in the case of the jihadists, because they tell us that's what they want. It's we who aren't listening.
The west Europeans and appeasing Americans are not quite as candid, at least not in public. But the fact is, more and more it is becoming apparent that a lot of people in Europe and America would breath a sigh of relief to see the last Jew buried, or burned as the case may be.
And if you'll look at the pictures of anti-Israel demonstrators in America and Europe, these are not redneck Southerners, or Slavic peasants, but the products of university educations in New York, Paris, London, Brussels, etc.
So as the old joke goes**, why the Jews?
What I'm guessing is, it's the classic trinity of greed, shame and cowardice.
Greed: The Islamic states have the oil Europe can't do without. Israel does not.
I'm often reminded these days of meeting a middle-aged Dutch couple about 20-odd years back. It was during another oil crisis, when U.S. Navy ships were escorting oil tankers through the Straits of Hormuz, past the warring Iraqis and Iranians.
We were talking about the then-current mess in the Middle East, and I expressed my sentiments, which at the time were pretty isolationist.
The woman interrupted passionately, "You've got to protect those ships, that's OUR oil!"
Shame: Eric Hoffer observed, we hate most strongly those we are most conscious of having wronged.
The Holocaust happened in Europe. Though perpetrated by the German/Austrian Reich, France voluntarily passed "racial purity" laws that were actually stricter than the Nazi occupation authorities demanded.
Now they are trying to promote a cosmopolitan pan-European identity, centered around a Franco-German alliance. But the existence of living Jews is a constant reminder of how fragile that pan-European civilization is.
When the Jews are gone, they can forget their history.
Cowardice in several forms:
1) Islamists will kill you for offending them. Americans and Isrealis do not. So who is it safer to offend?
And while cowards through and through, they can posture as brave, "Look at me, I'm shaking my fist at the mightiest power on earth!"
2) Victim-blaming; the desire to believe the victim "had it coming," to distance yourself from the idea that it could happen to you.
3) Appeasement, what Winston Churchill called, "feeding the crocodile in the hopes it will eat you last."
In this case, "Give them the Jews, and they'll leave us alone."
And, shame + cowardice: After the war, the west Europeans cowered behind a ring of American steel while "communism wrung the necks"*** of their fellow-Europeans in the east, and they pretended not to notice.
Rather like a man who locks himself in the bathroom and runs the shower so he doesn't have to notice the burglar is raping his wife.
The European Jews who became Israelis, learned to fight back.
There is something that every person who has ever successfully defended themselves against an aggressor learns. A certain kind of people are going to think you are a bad person for doing so.
The very existence of someone who dares to defend himself, is a reproach to everyone who dares not.
Update: See here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3Xl68kP4wo&eurl=http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2009/01/gaza-war-brings-out-moral-bankruptcy-of.html
for a video of a Dec. 30 demonstration in Ft. Lauderdale, during which the Palestinian demonstrators made their sentiments known.
This was the noblest Roman of them all:
All the conspirators save only he
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar;
He only, in a general honest thought
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mix'd in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world 'This was a man!'
-William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act V Scene V
** An SS officer in Europe stops an old Jew in a concentration camp and demands, "Who is responsible for all of Germany's problems today?"
"The Jews and the bicycle riders," the old man responds.
"Why the bicycle riders?"
"Why the Jews?"
*** "Communism wrung our neck while the honorable democracies issued communiqués." Romanian newspaper retort to Jacque Chirac's remark that the Eastern Europeans "...missed a good opportunity to shut up," during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.