In the mood for some Bob Dylan? It's good timing. Prescient as ever, in 1983 Dylan wrote "Neighborhood Bully" about the state of Israel. Today the lyrics put perspective perfectly on the week we just lived through, as the world arrayed its opinion against Israel once again:
The neighborhood bully just lives to survive.
He's criticized and condemned for being alive.
He's not supposed to fight back, he's supposed to have thick skin.
He's supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in.
He's the neighborhood bully.
The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land.
He's wandered the earth an exiled man.
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn.
He's always on trial for just being born.
He's the neighborhood bully.
Those are just excerpts. The entirely of Dylan's 11 verses amplifies the effect proportionally.
The U.N. General Assembly needs to listen to it on repeat, until it gets the message that Israel ought to be commended. In an international strategic mix devoid of moral certainty and stability, Israel's insistence on defending its right to exist is the greatest gift and example the world of nations could possibly receive. But the world refuses to recognize this.
An ancient Israeli prophet, Zechariah, wrote "Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it."
Another Israeli named Solomon said that there is nothing new under the sun. No, there is not.
The nations of the earth are definitively gathered against Israel. We must wonder: When the international "community" unites in condemnation of the only nation whose claim to existence is denied by many of that same community's members, and the leadership of the United States casts its own aspersions at Israel in a seeming attempt to keep pace with international sentiments, have we not attained a condition of global political insanity?
But Israel is not insane. Israel is the one nation acting most certainly in its right mind. So how does Israel end up with the entire world enraged against it?
Writing in the Wall Street Journal last week, Ronen Bergman, senior military and political analyst for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, offered the explanation that Israel is "fatigued" in its attempts to ameliorate the negativity of world opinion it has come to know will certainly follow its every action. In the midst of this fatigue, says Bergman, Israel chooses its course without regard for the world's approval.
But in the face of any fatigue, Israel nevertheless shows steel and strength. It is resolute. It owes nothing. Israel knows the world around it, and responds accordingly.
Israel's action on May 31 to stop the transport of terrorist supplies to Gaza displays unapologetic moral clarity. This is a good thing. The world needs the certainty of right and wrong and its attendant consequences.
By refusing its enemies' formula for its denigration and defeat, Israel has provided a worthy example. In refusing to accept its demise at the hands of the terrorists that are pledged to destroy it, Israel is fighting in favor of the very civilization its enemies enjoy, with cocktails and high-minded denouncements, as they condemn the very ideals that protect them.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a voice of reason in a world of confusion, made his nation's case: "Our policy was and will continue to be that Israel would let humanitarian aid, any kind of goods that are meant for peace, to the civilian population of Gaza. . . . We have no problems with the people of Gaza. We do have a conflict with the terrorist regime of Hamas, supported by Iran. We want to maintain a situation where we prevent weapons and war materials from coming into Gaza, and allowing humanitarian aid to go to the population of Gaza."
Netanyahu knows what he's talking about. He knows Ahmadinejad and Ahmadinejad's Iran, just as he knows his enemies in Hamas. Any reasonable, responsible head of state would act as Netanyahu did. To accommodate the designs of Israel's enemies is suicide. "The pretext for the creation of the Zionist regime is false," said Ahmadinejad. "Confronting the Zionist regime is a national and religious duty. . ." And in response, Netanyahu recognizes Israel's duty.
It comes down to this. Ahmadinejad, the penultimate anti-Semite, is mad, and amazingly dangerous. Israel is sane, and throughout recorded history has been an originator and guardian of the best human energies and accomplishments.
As Ronald Reagan once famously asserted, this is "a time for choosing." In the wake of the flotilla incident, the world is choosing to support the Ahmadinejad model. It needs more than ever to choose the opposite, because the "neighborhood bully" is all that stands between civilization and an unprecedented worldwide terrorist ascendancy.
Matt Kinnaman is an occasional Eagle contributor.