2003 November 02 Sunday
On European Attitudes Toward Israel, Iran, And North Korea

The Europeans think Israel is the biggest threat to world peace.

"The European Union, which shows sensitivity on human rights issues, would do well to stop the rampant brainwashing against and demonizing of Israel before Europe deteriorates once again to dark sections of its past," Sharansky told Sunday's Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

El Pais reported on Friday that 59 percent of Europeans rate Israel as the most threatening country, ahead of the United States, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea.

Anti-semitism? Could that be the cause of the results of this poll?

The EU mandarins are holding back the results.

The European Commission is coming under fire for publishing the results of a number of questions - relating to Iraqi reconstruction - while failing to publish the results which revealed the extent of mistrust of Israel and the United States in Europe.

Rabbi Marvin Hier says the result defies logic.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center said it was outraged at published reports that the 59 percent of 7,500 Europeans surveyed called Israel a larger threat to world peace than North Korea or Iran. Wiesenthal Center dean Rabbi Marvin Hier said the result "defies logic and is a racist flight of fantasy that only shows that anti-Semitism is deeply embedded within European society, more than any other period since the end of World War II."

Does this result defy logic? I try so hard to understand people and yet a key element of the belief systems of others can escape my notice in large part because I could not imagine actually holding some beliefs that others see as perfectly reasonable to believe. With that in mind here are some tentative wild speculations about what the Europeans might believe that would cause them to decide that the Israelis are the biggest threat to world peace:

  • America is sufficiently angry at Europe to no longer defend it and Europe fears Israel could easily defeat the combined might of European armies. In this scenario what is driving European belief is that Israel will invade and conquer Europe in order to shut down terrorist funding that comes from Europe. Europe, being a civilization that has lost its confidence and helpless in the face of its Eurabian future feels it is stuck between a rock and hard place. Its population just wants a chance to grow old and die off in relative peace before the Muslims seize control.
  • Europe is afraid of the bull and yet the matador keeps waving the red flag. The idea here is that the Israelis, simply by asserting their right to exist, are like a matador waving a red flag at the Muslims. The Europeans, deathly afraid of the bull, want the matador to stop. The matador is making the European policy of appeasement unworkable and it is one of their favorite foreign policy tools.
  • The Europeans have such a low opinion of the Persians and the North Koreans that they can't imagine either peoples creating a great threat whereas the Europeans think the Jews are really smart and capable of making really dangerous weapons. In this analysis the European attitude is actually a compliment to the Israelis in a backhanded sort of way. Though it also betrays a provincial naivete due to the fact that the Europeans have had more direct experience with smart Jews (enough to want to kill them by the millions) than with smart Persians or smart Koreans. Having studied with smart Persians in college I find this hard to believe. But then during the Shah's era the smart Persians went to school in southern California, not in Europe and most Korean immigrants came to the US as well. So I guess the European ignorance on Iran and North Korea is somewhat understandable.
  • The Europeans really do believe the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Again, the explanation here is provincial ignorance. Yes, they live in dense-packed cities and claim to be well-educated. But they are still suckers for historical forgeries and think the Israelis are plotting to take over the whole world. This also explains why they think the United States ranks lower than Israel as a threat. They think of Americans as just a bunch of ignorant yokels that we are just manipulated puppets in the hands of the Israelis. So we join the ranks of the dummies along with the North Koreans and Persians. Cool. Hi there fellow dummies.
  • The Europeans are secretly still doubting Christians and believe that the final war will be fought on the plains of Armageddon just as prophesied in Revelations in the New Testament. In this analysis we have the lapsed agnostic Europeans still fearing the prophetic pronouncements of the old time religion that they claim to have abandoned with their embrace of John Lennon's "No hell below us. Above us only sky."
  • The Europeans figured Muslims would read the poll results and the Euros wanted to signal their sympathy and devotion to the Muslims. The idea here is that many Euros wanted to use the poll result as a form of appeasement toward Arab Muslim populations in Europe and in neighboring Arab countries.

Mind you, these are only wild-eyed speculations. As a ignorant hick sitting on the edge of the Pacific Rim I can't hope to understand the wisdom of those distant people who occupy the exalted center of Western Civilization. If you have any better informed or even less informed speculations on this question please post them in the comments.

The Dutch view Israel with particular fear. (Daily Telegraph, free reg. reg'd)

The Eurobarometer poll of 7,500 EU residents found that 59 per cent deemed Israel "a threat to peace in the world", with the figures rising to 60 per cent in Britain, 65 in Germany, 69 in Austria and 74 in Holland.

...

Asked if America posed a threat to peace, the "yes" response was 55 per cent in Britain, 52 in France and 45 in Germany.

In Greece, the figure reached 88 per cent, with 96 per cent calling the Iraq war "unjustified".

The Greeks are hysterically hostile toward the United States. Why? My guess is the US handling of the Balkans. The Greeks identify with their fellow Orthodox Serbian brothers. They were mad that the US sided with the Muslim Albanians and Bosnians and the Catholic Croats against the Serbs. From a Greek perspective the Serbs were just trying to hold on to territory that had been Serb for very long time. At the same time, the Greeks feel threatened by an Albanian influx.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 November 02 02:46 PM  Civilizations Decay


Comments
Bob Badour said at November 2, 2003 6:41 PM:

Um... How about? The Europeans don't really believe what they said, but they figured it would stir up the most shit to say it.

John Moore said at November 2, 2003 10:08 PM:

Perhaps they interpret the phrase to mean which state is most likely to incite war. Since Israel's mere existence has caused three wars in 55 years, and it is still hated, it might meet the definition.

But I think more likely they consider Israel to be a bad place (part out of anti-semitism, part out of the leftist's emotional link to the "oppressed", part because Israel defies the UN regularly) and so they are, in effect, voting against it.

In any case, it is clear that Europe is rapidly becoming a place of ignorance and hatred. Furthermore, the citizens are fed a daily diet of propaganda. As such, Europe itself is probably one of the most dangerous threats to world peace!

Oh, re any fantasy of Israel attacking them. Since France has a significant number of nukes, this fantasy is insane. What is scary is imagining who will be controlling those nukes as the Muslim population rises and the French population descends even further into insanity!

M said at November 3, 2003 6:03 AM:

John,how difficult would it really be to stir up the muslims in France?A little money,a few incidents,etc.Or for that matter,the Corsican seperatists!Nukes may not help them much,after all.

P.S.,I think we'll see at least an attempt at ethnc cleansing in Europe before a muslim take over.

A Berman said at November 3, 2003 7:38 AM:

Personally, I vote for the matador/flag/bull. It fits in with the French Ambassador's "shitty little country" remark, the Tony Judt essay, the notion of Israel as the "experiment that failed..," and countless other anecdotes I've read about.

It also fits in with the way the Europeans and the UN have dealt with crises-- look at the arms embargo during the Bosnian/Serbian wars where they de-facto let the superiorly-armed Serbs run all over the place. They tend to view a conflict not in terms of right or wrong, but that the presence of the conflict itself is wrong. Now, who has the most conflicts right now? If you consider Matathir's speech and its response, you could say that Israel has 57 conflicts with the 57 members of the OIC. The Europeans obviously view Jihad as a silly argument between Muslims and Jews-- two equally backwards, unenlightened groups in their view. So why support the smaller against the larger?

I remember many years ago watching George Ball on a TV show talking about the Middle East. He was a senior guy in many US administrations ( http://www.yale.edu/yup/books/069693.htm ). He was arguing the pro-Arab view and started to say "There's a hundred million arabs and only a few million.." but he stopped himself and said something else. His view is, in my mind, the current European view.

Randall Parker said at November 3, 2003 10:09 AM:

Andy, I agree that the matador/flag/bull explanation makes the most sense. It also makes the Euros look particularly unprincipled of course. They are willing to sacrifice others for their own perceived benefit.

I threw in some of the other ones to illustrate the absurdity of the European view. What can Israel actually do that they would do under any but the most extreme circumstances that would cause tremendous harm to others. If Israel was about to be overrun they would use nukes of course. But, hey, shouldn't Israel not be overrun by the Arabs in the first place?

The Europeans are essentially holding a single country responsible for the irrational hatreds of the populaces of the 57 OIC members. That hatred is so far in excess of anything justified by events on the ground in Israel and the territories that the source of the hatred ought to be what worries the Europeans in terms of threats to world peace. Even though I think the Israelis are unfair to the Palestinians in ways that are unwise for their own interests the Palestinians and the Arabs have been quite unfair to Israel as well. I don't see what the Israelis do as even beginning to approach what, for instance, Saddam did to the Kurds or what the Iranian mullahs did or what the Taliban did to the Afghanis or what the Lebanese did to each other or what the Algerians have been doing to each other or what the Arab Sudanese have been doing to the black Christian Sudanese.

Yet Israel is the focus of their ire because of course the Israelis are not Muslims. The moral double standard here is glaring. Essentially the Europeans are endorsing this double standard.

George Peery said at November 3, 2003 10:12 AM:

Westerners tend to rage most at those they suspect might respond to "moral" arguments and thus are potentially capable of being influenced. Europeans know they have no influence with, e.g., North Korea or even the Arabs. But the US and Israel -- perhaps.

Observer said at November 3, 2003 12:08 PM:

Andy, I agree that the matador/flag/bull explanation makes the most sense. It also makes the Euros look particularly unprincipled of course. They are willing to sacrifice others for their own perceived benefit.

Randall, you seem like a bright guy. So maybe you can explain to my why Europeans should put Israel's interests above their own? Why is it Europe's (or America's) responsibility to prop up an ethnic nationalist state in the Mid East?

BTW, when was the last time Iran or North Korea attacked their neighbors? I can't say I recall that happening within the past month.

The Europeans obviously view Jihad as a silly argument between Muslims and Jews-- two equally backwards, unenlightened groups in their view.

A. Berman: So Europe should be in the business of taking sides in the squabbles of Middle Eastern tribes?

Randall Parker said at November 3, 2003 12:44 PM:

Observer, Europe is taking sides. The EU supports the Palestinian and Arab side. You think they should stop doing so?

Do you think morality has any place in international affairs? If not then the Europeans should do whatever they hold to be in their best interests.

On the time of a last attack: Why should this matter? If a country is developing the ability to do harm and makes its hostility clear do we need to wait until they have done so in order to act? Think about how many lives would have been saved had the French and Brits sent a few battalions into the Rhineland in 1935.

As for America propping Israel: The main effect the US has upon Israel at this point is to restrain it. Take away American support and what reason would the Israelis have to restrain from preemptive attacks or, say, the expulsion of all the Palestinians from the West Bank? Their own consciences and calculations and little else would hold them back.

George Peery said at November 3, 2003 1:27 PM:

So maybe you can explain to my why Europeans should put Israel's interests above their own?

There is no reason, Observer; just as there was no reason for Europeans to put the interests of European Jews above "their own" 60-70 years ago. The Europeans did not do so then, and (in a parallel matter) they are not doing so now. European anti-Semitism is deep-seated, long lasting and perfectly consistent.

Andrew Berman said at November 3, 2003 1:28 PM:


The Europeans are not observers. They may wish to be, but they are not. Do you know *why* Israel was (re)created?

As far as propping up, the Europeans seem to work hard to prop up Yassir Arafat, care to explain why?

As far as ethnic nationalist, you say it like it's a bad thing. Perhaps European ethnic nationalism with their history of killing each other and everyone else. But outside of Europe, Ethnic Nationalism is sometimes the key to individual freedom and a cornerstone against Totalitarianism. Or should Tibetians just stop complaining about the Chinesification of their country and people?

As far as Europe's self interest and Middle-Eastern squabbles: If common morality won't sway you, I suggest you research the phrase "In aharda il Yahoud, bokra il Massihian."

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/047146502X/qid=1067893882/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_1/102-5377343-2992117?v=glance&n=507846

Observer said at November 3, 2003 1:44 PM:

Observer, Europe is taking sides. The EU supports the Palestinian and Arab side.

Do they support the Palestinians militarily and economically to the tune of $billions per year? Or just make a few statements you interpret as being pro-Palestinian?

You think they should stop doing so?

That's their business. As an American, I believe America should cease all involvement. I'm sick of being bombarded with "Mid East coverage" every time I listen to the news. It's not my fight, and I don't wish to pay for it.

Do you think morality has any place in international affairs?

Yes and no. I don't think there is any stance in international relations more moral than "isolationism". I don't particularly buy into the sort of international do-goodism that ended apartheid in South Africa, for example; but, if many Europeans take that sort of thing seriosly, it's understandable they'd favor Palestinians over the Israelis.

If not then the Europeans should do whatever they hold to be in their best interests.

In this case, it's not either/or. I see no reason to doubt that those Europeans who support the Palestinians believe it's the "moral" thing to do. Do you?

If a country is developing the ability to do harm and makes its hostility clear do we need to wait until they have done so in order to act?

Israel is a nuclear power. Israel is hostile to its neigbors. Until very recently, neither North Korea nor Iran had nukes. Unlike Iraq or Iran, North Korea may pose an actual threat to the US in the near future. So the question is why we tied ourselves up in Iraq instead of dealing with a real problem.

As for America propping Israel: The main effect the US has upon Israel at this point is to restrain it. Take away American support and what reason would the Israelis have to restrain from preemptive attacks or, say, the expulsion of all the Palestinians from the West Bank? Their own consciences and calculations and little else would hold them back.

And as a fan of Israel, you'd support this disposition, I presume? If Israel doesn't need US support, why does AIPAC exist? I'm in favor of cutting off all aid to Israel and letting the chips fall where they may. Are you?

Randall Parker said at November 3, 2003 2:05 PM:

Observer, I don't think we should send $3 bil per year to Israel or a couple billion more to Egypt. I realize that that in combinatiom with my other views on the Middle East puts me in some category that you might not think even exists.

I am not sure how much the EU sends to the Palestinians It is at least in the hundreds of millions.

As for the European position being due to morality: I don't think so. I think they rationalize it as morality. People are powerful rationalisers.

Mid East coverage: Complain to all your fellow citizens who obviously want to watch it. Ditto for Kobe Bryant trial coverage as far as I'm concerned. Or anything that Arianna Huffington says about anything at all. I have a great solution: I do not watch TV news.

Israel is hostile to its neighbors? I missed that somehow. I thought the neighbors were hostile toward Israel and Israel has been forced to fight wars with them.

I'm a fan of Israel? Not sure what you mean by that. I think it makes sense for Israel to exist given how the Europeans and Arabs have treated the Jews. I can certainly understand how the Jews would conclude they need their own country. I think the Kurds deserve their own country for similar reasons.

Support this disposition? What, you mean for the Israelis to expel the Palestinians? Do you read me regularly? Apparently not. I support withdrawing the remote settlements and building a barrier between the West Bank and Israel. I want the death rates on both sides and the impositions on both sides to go down.

AIPAC is just another group looking for hand-outs. Why do various other lobbyists lobby for benefits from Uncle Sam? Because they can. Do we need to give subsidies to farmers? No. So why do they goet tens of billions per year? Oh, you might say they are citizens. But what about illegals that cost us tens of billions per year? They have lobbyists too.

Observer said at November 3, 2003 2:06 PM:

Andrew Berman :

Do you know *why* Israel was (re)created?

Yes, I do.

As far as propping up, the Europeans seem to work hard to prop up Yassir Arafat

As hard as the Israel lobby in America works to prop up Ariel Sharon?

care to explain why?

Because the Palestinians were there first?

As far as ethnic nationalist, you say it like it's a bad thing. Perhaps European ethnic nationalism with their history of killing each other and everyone else. But outside of Europe, Ethnic Nationalism is sometimes the key to individual freedom and a cornerstone against Totalitarianism. Or should Tibetians just stop complaining about the Chinesification of their country and people?

Nice double standards there. Jewish nationalism is good. European nationalism is bad. Tibetan resistance is good. Palestinian resistance is bad.

As far as Europe's self interest and Middle-Eastern squabbles: If common morality won't sway you, I suggest you research the phrase "In aharda il Yahoud, bokra il Massihian."

Here's another fun phrase to research: "tov shebagoyim harog". Muslim dreams of conquest are no reason to support Israel.

Randall Parker said at November 3, 2003 2:18 PM:

Observer, Do you support the return of former East Prussian territory from Poland to Germany? Or former Polish territory from Ukraine, Belarus, Russia (Konigsberg), and Lithuania? After all, the transfers all happened within a couple of years of the creation of Israel.

I think we need to draw a line at some point and say that the outcome of some conflict is some new set of borders and be done with it. Otherwise we get into Forever War.

Observer said at November 3, 2003 2:27 PM:

As for the European position being due to morality: I don't think so. I think they rationalize it as morality. People are powerful rationalisers.

Okay. But are you immune? You live in a culture where it is extremely convenient to support Israel.

Mid East coverage: Complain to all your fellow citizens who obviously want to watch it.

I think it's more a matter of a small minority with disproportiate representation in media production being obsessed with it. Though I suppose certain types of misguided Christians also watch the Mid East situation with interest.

I have a great solution: I do not watch TV news.

Nor do I. However, Mid East coverage is unavoidable on NPR or network radio news, which I sometimes hear while driving.

I'm a fan of Israel? Not sure what you mean by that. I think it makes sense for Israel to exist given how the Europeans and Arabs have treated the Jews. I can certainly understand how the Jews would conclude they need their own country. I think the Kurds deserve their own country for similar reasons.

Okay. I don't personally have a problem with Israel, either. Except inasmuch as Zionists meddle with the internal workings of my country. I'd welcome all those Jews who feel strongly about a Jewish homeland to go to Israel and leave my country alone.

AIPAC is just another group looking for hand-outs. Why do various other lobbyists lobby for benefits from Uncle Sam? Because they can.

One has to wonder why there is no Irish equivalent of AIPAC (nor any other ethnic equivalent, for that matter).

A Berman said at November 3, 2003 2:37 PM:

Observer:
The "Israel Lobby" works to promote Israel. When Barak was PM, they supported Barak. When Rabin was PM, they supported Rabin. Now that Sharon is PM, as the democratically elected leader of Israel, they support Sharon--- but never unconditionally.

As far as double-standards, you misapplied my point. It was simply that current views of ethnicity in Europe have been shaped by their wars. And yes, I do view Tibetian and Jewish actions to maintain cultural integrity as superior to, oh, Nazism, or Cromwell's behavior in Ireland.

As far as "Tov shebagoyim harog," that's very telling of you. An ancient commandment referring to 3000 year old wars is not the same as a current phrase being currently applied in too much of the Arab-Muslim world. Next thing you're going to do is complain that we killed Christ, right? That was 1000 years *after* your quote. And I can't wait until you quote some passages out of our "Secret Talmud"

Observer said at November 3, 2003 2:39 PM:

Randall :

Observer, Do you support the return of former East Prussian territory from Poland to Germany? Or former Polish territory from Ukraine, Belarus, Russia (Konigsberg), and Lithuania? After all, the transfers all happened within a couple of years of the creation of Israel.

A difference here is that Poles and Germans are actual neighbors. Israel was created out of nothing by Zionist immigration starting about a century ago.

I think we need to draw a line at some point and say that the outcome of some conflict is some new set of borders and be done with it. Otherwise we get into Forever War.

Sure. I just don't like the hypocrisy of those who demonise European or American ethnic nationalism while practicing Zionism.

Observer said at November 3, 2003 2:51 PM:

As far as "Tov shebagoyim harog," that's very telling of you. An ancient commandment referring to 3000 year old wars is not the same as a current phrase being currently applied in too much of the Arab-Muslim world.

Okay, you want more current Jewish opinion?

Jewish social scientist and political activist Earl Raab 1 who remarks very positively on the success of American immigration policy in altering the ethnic composition of the United States since 1965. Raab notes that the Jewish community has taken a leadership role in changing the Northwestern European bias of American immigration policy (1993a, p. 17), and he has also maintained that one factor inhibiting anti-Semitism in the contemporary United States is that "(a)n increasing ethnic heterogeneity, as a result of immigration, has made it even more difficult for a political party or mass movement of bigotry to develop" (1995, p. 91).

Or more colorfully:

The Census Bureau has just reported that about half of the American population will soon be non-white or non-European. And they will all be American citizens. We have tipped beyond the point where a Nazi-Aryan party will be able to prevail in this country. We [i.e., Jews] have been nourishing the American climate of opposition to bigotry for about half a century. That climate has not yet been perfected, but the heterogeneous nature of our population tends to make it irreversible- and makes our constitutional constraints against bigotry more practical than ever. (Raab 1993b, p. 23).2 (PDF)

And I should be enthusiastic about funding a Jewish state?

Next thing you're going to do is complain that we killed Christ, right?

Of course Jews killed Jesus. Not that I care how Jews dealt with a Jewish cult leader two millenia ago.

A Berman said at November 3, 2003 3:00 PM:

Observer-- I think your quick response, full of entertaining quotes, has told us quite enough about your opinions. So sorry that the Nazi-Aryan party won't be able to prevail, either in Germany, or here.


George Peery said at November 3, 2003 3:03 PM:

Observer, Israel is a beacon (more or less) of liberal democracy in the heart of the Middle East. And it is liberal democracy (or failing that, some measure of liberalism) which the USA is trying very hard, and at great cost (witness Iraq), to interject into this very dangerous part of the world.

I gather that you are American. So am I. If we Americans (and other Westerners) are to live without fear of future catastrophic attack by, e.g., Islamic terrorists, then it is imperative that some measure of liberalism and pluralism be introduced into the Islamic Middle East. This is what the US has tried to do in Afghanistan and, now, in Iraq. Support of a democratic, pluralistic Israel is an integral part of this undertaking.

If the US were to abandon Israel (just as other Western countries have, de facto), it would be saying that America is comfortable with leaving "Arab lands" to the Arabs, who would be free to do what Arabs have recently seemed most interested in doing (such as the events of 9/11).

Observer said at November 3, 2003 3:17 PM:

George Peery :

Observer, Israel is a beacon (more or less) of liberal democracy in the heart of the Middle East. And it is liberal democracy (or failing that, some measure of liberalism)

Accepting your reasoning, for the sake of argument, one could similarly say apartheid South Africa was "a beacon (more or less) of liberal democracy" on the dark continent. That didn't stop the international community from attacking South Africa with sanctions.

which the USA is trying very hard, and at great cost (witness Iraq), to interject into this very dangerous part of the world.

I gather that you are American. So am I. If we Americans (and other Westerners) are to live without fear of future catastrophic attack by, e.g., Islamic terrorists, then it is imperative that some measure of liberalism and pluralism be introduced into the Islamic Middle East. This is what the US has tried to do in Afghanistan and, now, in Iraq. Support of a democratic, pluralistic Israel is an integral part of this undertaking.

I see you seem to have bought the entire neocon line. I am not of the neocon worldview. I suggest you read this article, but I won't bore anyone by debating these points.

Bottom line: I believe that if we want to eliminate non-Western terrorism in the West, a more straightforward way would be eliminating non-Western immigration, rather than invading the Middle East.

Sean O'Callaghan said at November 3, 2003 4:03 PM:

Who is suprised by this? Not I. And they wonder why they don't run the world anymore...

Randall Parker said at November 3, 2003 4:08 PM:

Observer,

So then it is okay for neighbors to take each other's territory?

Yes, Zionism is a form of ethnic and religious nationalism. It started out more ethnic than religious since a lot of the original Zionists were more socialist and communist than religious.

As for my taking positions because they are easy to take: Do read my archives. I take all sorts of politically incorrect positions. I'm happy to bash libertarians who I think are as ideological and as denying of aspects of human nature as are the communists. I take positions that are highly critical of neocon arguments and of course, being on the Right side of the political spectrum I oppose all sorts of left-wing ideas. Plus, for both moral and strategic reasons (and strategic for both the US and Israel) I'm critical of Israeli handling of the Palestinians and have even had one commenter telling me I'm embracing Jihadi propaganda.

Still, I know what Hafez al Assad did to Hama and I suggest anyone who thinks the Israeli Jews are immoral brutes should compare it to the IDF operation in Jenin. Yet the Euro critics of Israel are as silent as lambs when it comes to the behavior of Israel's neighbors.

But other countries, religions, and ethnic groups do have lobbies in Washington DC. Everyone knows the Saudis, to take one example, have paid big money to be influential. Mexico's politicians routinely lobby state legislators, city councilmen, and other politicians in the United States. Many other examples can be cited. How about the Chinese money flowing to Clinton's campaign from mainland China? Remember Johnny Chung and that cast of characters and all the allegations made then?

As for Jewish support for immigration of people in order to change the United States into a place that is less white as a perceived benefit to Jews to make the place safer for Jews: Yes, there are some Jews that think that way (and I'm insulted by what this implies about their views of us WASPs). I don't know that most have even thought about it though. My guess is that the bigger motive for Jewish support for lax enforcement of immigration laws in recent decades has been the desire to amke the US open to Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe and Russia. They wanted general looseness so that they wouldn't seem to be asking for specific favors for their group. Plus, most Jews are in denial that they are smarter on average than other groups and therefore they ignore the fact that there are going to inevitably going to be big differences in the relative success of various immigrant groups.

Of course, Ted Kennedy has inserted stuff into immigration legislation in order to increase Irish immigration over that of immigration from other countries.

Zionists who oppose ethnic nationalism by others: yes, that is hypocrisy. Still, being an unrepentant nationalist myself I'm not going to oppose Jewish nationalism just because some Zionists are hypocrites. I think given the way the Arabs are toward Jews (and toward anyone really) and the way Europeans have been (and so a considerable extent still are and are going to become more so as more Muslims move there) the Jews deserve their own country.

I am, as you will see if you take the time to read my Immigration and Border Control archive, opposed to current immigration policy. Yes, I am aware that most liberal and neocon Jews are in favor of it and, yes, I think the results of that policy are very harmful to the United States.

Observer said at November 3, 2003 5:51 PM:

Randall, I apologize for mischaracterizing your views on Israel based on this single entry. But, I still have issues with how you presented this story, applying terms like "anti-Semitism" and listing outlandish theories to explain the results.

The poll did not ask people to make moral judgements. It asked them whether or not they considered each of 15 countries to be a threat to world peace. Considering the constant low-level violence in Israel and the fact that the conflict in Israel has been made a focus of international attention, it is understandable that people would consider it a "threat to peace". I don't think there can be much disagreement that Israel, both by its existence and its actions, constitutes a "threat to world peace". No moral judgement is necessarily implied. Of the 50% who responded that Afghanistan was a threat to world peace, I doubt most believed there is a danger of Afghanistan launching an offensive war -- merely that Afghanistan is a site of conflict. But, with the "outraged" reactions and claims that "the only aim of this poll was to denigrate Israel at a very delicate time" (even though the EU apparently tried to keep the results quiet) and whines about victimhood, I think Israel doth protest too much.

Randall Parker said at November 3, 2003 6:13 PM:

Observer,

Most of my outlandish theories are absurd. That was the whole point. The posting has an element of satire to it. My wild speculations are a reflection of my belief that the idea that Israel is the biggest threat to world peace is absurd. I think the Europeans are being petty and I don't think their views on this reflect well of them either with regard to their view of Israel or of the real threats the world faces.

Look, the existence of Poland, France, the Soviet Union were considered an affront to Hitler, an affront that drove him to invade them. So were they the big threat to world peace or was Hitler? It is ridiculous and grossly unfair to say the objects of hostility are threats to world peace. Just because you feel some resentment about the influence of Jews in American politics is not a reason to exaggerate the size of what problems can properly be laid at the feet of either the Israelis or the Jews in America who support Israel right or wrong.

People who have raging hostility toward other groups are the biggest threat to world peace.

China is a threat to world peace. The huge sense of historical grievance found among mainland Chinese toward Japan, the United States, and Europe is an example of a big future threat to world peace. That the Chinese are, for the most part, the authors of most of the bad that has befallen them is ignored by them and they blame outsiders. Their own distortion of their own history overlooks the corruption of their own governments, the massive killings of Chinese carried out by other Chinese, and focuses instead on the relatively smaller role played by outsiders.

Muslims are a threat to world peace. Huge festering resentments and hostility toward out-groups is found among Muslims. That is another big threat to world peace. They manage to similarly point to others as the authors of all their problems and imagine elaborate conspiracies being conducted against them even as they run their governments, schools, economies, and private lives in ways bound to lead to their own failure.

Observer said at November 3, 2003 8:04 PM:

I think the Europeans are being petty and I don't think their views on this reflect well of them either with regard to their view of Israel or of the real threats the world faces.

I think you're reading too much into this poll. The question is ambiguous, and it seems people called countries "threats to world peace" for at least two different reasons: (1) they think the country is belligerent (e.g., the US) or (2) the country is the site of ongoing conflict (e.g. Afghanistan). It's impossible to know what combination of reasons Europeans had in mind when they answered yes to Israel being a threat to world peace. And the respondents were not asked to rank the level of threat posed by each country, only whether it did or did not constitute a threat. So, it is wrong to say the poll shows Europeans think Israel is the "biggest threat".

Muslims are a threat to world peace.

Of course. And I'm sure that more than 59% (probably 90%+) of respondents answered "yes" to at least one Muslim country being a threat to world peace. Respondents were not asked to choose between Israel and Muslims. They were asked to answer yes or no to a list of 15 countries.

China is a threat to world peace

But what percent of Americans realize this? Why would you expect the average European to? Americans tend to have China in mind as a pool of cheap labor rather than a military threat.

joe blow said at November 4, 2003 2:10 AM:

Randy:

The quote from the Rabbi badly mischaracterizes the poll. It's not true that 59% of Europeans ranked Israel as the _biggest_ threat to world peace. Instead, 59% rated Israel as _a_ threat to world peace: "According to the Eurobarometer poll, based on interviews with 500 people in each of the 15 EU states, some 59 percent of Europeans replied "yes" when asked whether or not Israel presents a threat to peace in the world. A total of 53 percent said Iran, North Korea and the United States pose a threat, followed by 52 percent for Iraq, 50 percent for Afghanistan and 48 percent for Pakistan. Countries lower down the list included Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, China, India, Russia and Somalia. The EU itself was described as a threat by eight percent of respondents."

From a cold-blooded perspective, that seems reasonable to me. If you rank countries objectively on who has the means and motive to start a sizable shooting war over the next decade (which seems like the best operational definition of "threat to world peace", I would think you'd have to rate at top of the list the U.S. (which already started one war this year alone), followed by a regional African power such as Uganda, and Israel. All of these countries have the opportunity to attack other countries with little fear of defeat on the battlefield. In contrast, many of the other countries on the list face near-national suicide if they start a war and lose.

Randall Parker said at November 4, 2003 9:09 AM:

Joe Blow,

Motive: What would Israel's motive be? Even in wars where Israel gained territory its motive was defensive. I don't see where Israel has a motive to start a war except to preempt an enemy from striking first. Well, then we get into the whole problem of the Islamic countries whose pulpits and presses and schools and government leaders say things that feed anger and create the conditions for war.

I go back to 1939: Suppose Poland was a stronger power and that the Poles knew that Hitler meant to attack them. Would that have made Poland a threat to world peace?

Also, I don't think motive and means for starting a war is the only way to get to a threat to world peace. If a country has no motive for starting a war of its own but is willing to, say, sell nuclear weapons to other countries and to terrorist groups then isn't it a threat too? And isn't our biggest problem with North Korea not that we fear it attacking South Korea (though it can not be ruled out) but that we think it will sell nukes to others?

Randall Parker said at November 4, 2003 10:38 PM:

And another point: The US has been in a number of smaller wars during the Cold War. Was the US then a threat to world peace? Or was it, by intervening to check the Soviets, preventing a far more dangerous condition from developing?

Was Gulf War I, started by the US, a threat to world peace? Or was it a necessary check on the ambitions of someone who was at least a threat to regional peace?

To put it another way: Suppose the United States took all its marbles and went home. Would the world then be a safer place? I mean, imagine the US went major isolationist in a way that fit the Cato Institute's wet dream and closed all its foreign bases and brought all its soldiers back to US territory and told the world that it would not intervene abroad if it was not attacked itself. Would there be more or less warfare in the world in the following 5 years? I'm thinking the answer is obvious here and it is not pretty...

My point is that an analysis of threats to world peace is not as straightforward as you make it sound.

Uganda as a threat to world peace? Er, how exactly? Even if the US went totally isolationist what could the Ugandan military accomplish exactly?

Bob Badour said at November 5, 2003 7:03 PM:

Perhaps those who think the US is a threat to world peace worry about exactly that: US isolationism and the ensuing anarchy... ? Look at all the trouble Jimmy Carter caused.


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