For the sake of this discussion, the Western view of Israel will primarily be the American view of Israel. Most would agree that America has been the dominant force in the world since at least World War II. For the last 65 years there has perhaps been no greater western influence regarding world opinion towards Israel than that of the United States. Most of what is stated here can of course be debated six ways to Sunday. However, with a little research and objectivity, the basics regarding relations between America and Israel can be agreed upon. The intricacies, although surely important, are best saved for more lengthy discussions.
General government policy towards Israel as viewed by the public and dispersed through the media has been one of support if not outright alliance. The Eisenhower years (1953 to 1961) were perhaps the most neutral – meaning the U.S. seemed to maintain neutrality between Arab/Jewish relations. Other than the Six-Day War of 1967, the years of 1961 to 1969 were generally pro-Israel. There are many still unresolved issues surrounding the Six-Day War where Israel eventually claimed it was a mistake of “friendly fire” when 34 American sailors were killed. Whatever the case, both sides agreed that it was indeed a case of mistaken identity resulting in friendly fire. The years between 1969 and 1977 were tumultuous, but the end result was one of American support in a war where Soviet backed Egypt lost an attempt to destroy Israel. The Carter years (1977 to 1981) were less pro-Israel as the Camp David process eventually led Israel to give up occupied territories for promises of peace from Egypt. President Reagan’s personal support for Israel help carry the relationship through some trying times and in the end the years of 1981 to 1989 were regarded by many as the “most pro-Israel ever”. The relations between Israel and America during the remaining years to the present, while perhaps not as hospitable as during the Reagan years, have been generally favorable.
The truth and what gets reported as the truth is sometimes conflicting. For example, another seldom publicized account of the Six-Day War is that the U.S. was spying on Israel via the USS Liberty and relaying strategic information back to the Egyptians. Thus the Israeli’s felt they had no option but to disable this line of communication and fire upon the U.S. ship. Essentially, while the American government often portrays itself in the public eye as an ally to Israel, there have been many instances when actual behavior indicated otherwise.
Perhaps the most obvious Western influence on Israel is the insistence that Israel bargain for peace when time and time again this “appeasement” comes back to bite Israel in the ass. Before World War II Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister from 1937 to 1940, was promised peace by Adolf Hitler. After many meetings with Hitler, Chamberlain was convinced Hitler wanted nothing but peace. These “peace negotiations” resulted in Chamberlain giving Germany the fortified region of Sudetenland, all but wiping out Czechoslovakia’s major defenses against the Nazis. Chamberlain then announced “peace in our time.” Bargaining with terrorists and war mongers has never benefited the Jewish people or the rest of the world for that matter.
It did not take Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Palestinian National Authority, much time at all to learn that the West was willing to pay almost any price at Israel’s expense when new pressure was applied. “A great propaganda advantage and other rewards were reaped from intifada, suicide bombers, and false accusations about Israeli atrocities such as the alleged massacre in Jenin that the media eagerly reported, only to learn that the PLO had lied to them – again”(Judgment Day by Dave Hunt). In 2002 there were many sensational stories of how hundreds of civilians had been massacred by Israeli troops in Jenin, but later the media was forced to admit they had been duped by the Palestinian propaganda machine, but not before worldwide protests against Israel.
Not long after Yasser Arafat appeared near the top of a list of world terrorists released by a congressional committee and Al Gore had signed a petition in 1988 to have Arafat arrested and tried as a terrorist, Clinton and Gore received him repeatedly as an honored statesman and good friend in the White House. Suffice to say that still waters run deep or should we say that oil wells run deep? The West obviously has a stake in keeping peace with both Israel and the Arab world. In order to do this, however, the West has negotiated with proven terrorists and bargained for peace treaties insisting Israel give up her land for nothing in return but signed documents by terrorists who have no intention of honoring any agreement.
Public opinion of Israel varies according to party lines. Most polls suggests that conservatives, evangelicals, and older Americans tend to be more favorable of Israel while the liberal elite, universities, and younger democrats have a less favorable views of Israel. The reasons for these varying views will not be explored here. However, it is highly recommended that before forming an opinion regarding Israel based on media, government, religion, or familial ties that one do their own objective research. Read the previous posts in this series. Study what the Quran states about the Jewish people. Read the Old Testament, a reliable and accepted testament of history even by secular standards. Read historical accounts of past interactions between Israel and it’s neighbors.
One world war has already been waged against the Jewish people. Today there is a country called Iran that has leaders declaring ” “Israel must be wiped off the map.” As recently as August 17, 2012 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, called Israel’s existence an “insult to all humanity.” There is even more recent speculation that Israel is planning to wage war against Iran in order to stop the possible nuclear threat to Israel’s existence. Don’t kid yourself that this stuff is not important. Don’t think that one of the smallest countries in the world, Israel, is a trivial player in world affairs. Don’t think understanding major world religions is for the elite or scholarly. Understanding what Islam is and how the Quran expects it’s followers to behave is of the utmost importance in today’s political climate. Importance should also be given to understanding the New testament and the Western world’s interaction with these entities. The world is a global community like never before and what one country does or does not do effects all of us. It is our duty to understand and cast our allegiances accordingly.