Why Israel Matters

by G. Murphy Donovan (January 2024)

The Terrorist Attack at Nova Music Festival— Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi, 2023


… in our war with the Arabs we have a secret weapon — no alternative. —Golda Meir


If you follow American media on any platform, you can’t help but wonder if Israel matters anymore. America, indeed the world, was indignant for a week or two after the 7 October Hamas atrocity. Yet as soon as Netanyahu started to do what needed to be done, the worm turned. Today, Israel is the villain, an oppressor scouring the sewers of Gaza in an effort to eliminate just the most proximate Arab/Muslin terrorists, just one local incarnation of what is in fact a global threat.

Israel is fighting to preserve civilization as we know it and the world is counting body bags as if someone actually knows how many it will take to defeat Hamas.

Indeed, even John Mearshiemer, normally a voice of common sense on conflicts like Ukraine, now argues that Hamas is not an existential threat to Israel. In the short run, Mearshiemier may be right. Gaza is small potatoes, another tactical episode in the jihad, a global conflict, now racking up wins for both Shia and Sunni on both sides of the Islamist ledger.

Given the contemporary “clash of civilizations,” it’s more than a little ironic that the same western coalition that insisted on the unconditional surrender of global political fascism now believes that it can live with the global religious fascism of Islam.

And let’s not be naïve, Afghanistan was a humiliating defeat for the West, especially the U.S., another win for the jihad, a win for Sunni religious fascism. Just as Iran and Yemen are wins for Shia terrorists. There’s no putting lipstick on Islamic pigs. The future of the West is not just brown, it may be dark—and theocratic.

Clearly, religious fascism has more than a toehold in global politics. Indeed, the first casualty in the Hamas war was the Abraham Accords, a sure win for the Shia. In any Muslim calculus, Hamas is a pawn for both sides of the Islamic divide. Gaza and Hamas are clearly expendable.

Israel is now admonished to be more “proportional,” humane, or moderate in the pursuit of Hamas, as if it is possible to discriminate between the guilty and innocent in the fire and smoke of combat. Yes, Israel will discriminate, just soon as the IDF has a metric to separate terrorists, haters, and the so-called “innocents” of Gaza.

The only pragmatic ethic that matters in war is winning or losing.

The moral high ground is irrelevant if  you lose. The 500 million Arabs and 2 billion Muslim can afford to lose a hundred Gaza sized conflicts, Israel can only afford to lose one.

Israel matters because civilization matters. Muslim sectarians are exploiting the crisis precipitated by Hamas on 7 October. Each knows that Biden is weak and politically vulnerable. Biden’s motives may have more to do with the threat from the American left than the threat from Islamists.

Radicals on both sides of Islam’s schism know also that the Pentagon will throw Israel under the bus to save basing rights for the US Navy in Qatar. Ironically, the US Navy and the Hamas high command coexist in Qatar. Both luxuriate as guests of a corrupt Sunni tribal autocrat playing two ends against the middle.

In many ways, the Gaza conflict is just one of many proxy wars where the real belligerents are sponsor states like Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United States. Unfortunately, by attempting to pander to both sides of the Islamic schism, American timidity puts Israel in jeopardy. Most Israelis realize by now that the “two state solution” is America’s rhetorical bone thrown to Islamic partisans. Alas, neither the internal Palestinian divide nor the Israeli/Arab rift will be resolved by creating another radical terror state. In truth, sovereignty for any radical Palestinian state guarantees its demise.

Yet Israel is still ground zero for both Sunni and Shia terror. By proxy, zealots on both sides of the Islamic divide have historically sought to undermine the Jewish state. Ironically, should Hamas succeed; every secular or royal autocrat in the Ummah would be at risk. Religious and/or Islamist political terror is more of a threat to establishment Ummah, than it is to the West or any Jewish government.

If the choice is between Jewish Zionism and Shia/Houti religious recidivism, it‘s a good bet that the Sunni world and Arabia chooses golf, tennis, and another Grand Prix.

The unconditional defeat and/or surrender of Hamas is a win/win end game for Israel, the world, and the Ummah.


Table of Contents


G. Murphy Donovan writes about the politics of Intelligence and national security,

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


12 Responses

  1. Retired Colonel? I have to assume you’re at a minimum at least that. I have had a brief discussion with you in the past and was impressed with our conversation. As a mere enlisted US Navy puke in the intelligence community, just a question. Has it occurred to you that this is more than mere political posturing in terms of Israel and Ukraine? Is there, in your opinion, more to this current disaster than meets the eye? In my humble opinion, is this coming conflict, a matter of good versus evil? A matter of saving humanity? I don’t think it is something to be dismissed. Just a thought.

  2. Happy New Year, KM. I too was an enlisted puke at one time. The fact that I may have retired as a colonel could be attributed to a military that at one time was a meritocracy, not a social experiment.

    Your Armageddon question is a good one. All civilizations ebb and flow. Maybe the tide is going out on Europe and America. We all, in our own ways, try to be optimistic; but today, the omens are not good. Symbolically, and in ground truth, the Levant always plays a pivotal role in the sweep of our history. Whether Israel, so goes the world.

    Often the prophets are correct. This may be as good as it gets.

  3. Good analysis. Being backed against the wall leaves Israel with no choice. And having no choice is, sometimes, the best position to be in. At least, one ignores the haters.

  4. “It’s a good bet the Sunni world and Saudi Arabia chooses golf, tennis, and another Grand Prix.”

    A wonderfully sardonic Parthian shot, G. Murphy. So apt as the LIV season gets underway!

  5. Israel matters because Good matters and never in human history have the lines of battle between Good and Evil been so clearly marked. If Israel is permitted to fall the world loses its soul and deserves to perish with it.

  6. G Murphy Donovan has authored many outstanding analyses and warnings during his career at New English Review on a variety of many contemporary issues and crises, one more poignant and telling than “Why Israel Matters”. He follows in the footsteps of Lawrence Morrell, a British journalist, was sent by his newspaper to report on the “Czech Crisis” threatening war between Nazi Germany and the Anglo-French Alliance which, along with the USSR, Yugoslavia, and Romania, all of whom had pledged themselves to come to the aid of the beleaguered country in one way or another, in case of German aggression. His aptly named book, I Saw the Crucifixion (London, Peter Davies, 1939), was a cry of despair over how Britain and the other Great Powers had betrayed Czechoslovakia. The moral blindness of western Europe made the transfer of valuable resources and strategic strengths to Nazi Germany and paved the way toward the inevitability of World War II.
    Earlier, Morrell had unsuccessfully tried to warn world opinion of the German threat to absorb Austria and later went on to play an important role in the formation of what became the British Secret Service. His firsthand account of the Sudeten crisis is a masterful portrayal of the immense pressure put on a proud nation to surrender its strategic defenses in the name of “Peace”.

    The book casts an eerie spell over all those concerned about current events and the mounting pressure on Israel from all sides to accommodate the Palestinians who are a Trojan Horse today parallel to the Sudeten Germans in 1938. Czechoslovakia then, like Israel today, had the will and means to defend itself against its mortal enemy but was deprived of the right to do so by its “friends” who exercised enormous pressure to deprive this democratic state of its right to defend itself and its borders. It was not the rights and wrongs of the Sudeten Germans which constituted Hitler’s problem. It was precisely the integrity of Czechoslovakia, the barrier which the Czechs presented to his drive towards becoming the strongest power in Europe. The Sudeten Germans were pawns which he used for his public policy, just as the Sunni-Palestinian pawns today serve both Iran and its proxies on both sides of the Sunni-Shia divide.

    Morrel wrote that England’s vital interest lay in Czechoslovakia. After all, when you play chess, you do not wait until your opponent is two moves off checkmating you before moving to defend your king. (pp. 172-173.). Hel was able to observe how British opinion was deceived by the Chamberlain government and the “establishment,” which had basically used the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 1935 as its starting point for a delineation of a geo-political division of world power between Germany and Britain. This agreement was hailed in much of the press as a step towards “disarmament.” Germany agreed not to expand its battle fleet to more than 35% of British military tonnage thus conceding British dominance of the world’s seas and naval power in return for an acknowledgement that Germany would continue its military build-up on land to dominate Central Europe, an idea that found favor with all those in the West who underestimated Hitler and were frightful of Stalin and Soviet power. Hitler had already acknowledged the truth in Bismarck’s statement that “Bohemia is the heartland from which to control Europe.”

    Morrell observed how Walter Runciman, 1st Viscount Runciman of Oxford, a prominent National Liberal politician in the United Kingdom between the 1900s and 1930s with a distinguished background of humanitarian aid he helped organize during World War I, was deceived by Chamberlain to lend his hand as an “impartial mediator.” Runciman returned to public life at the beginning of August 1938, at the cynical invitation of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and sent on a mission to Czechoslovakia to “mediate” in the dispute between the Czechoslovakian government and the Sudeten German Party (SdP), representing the ethnic German population of the border regions.

    Although Chamberlain knew full well of the Nazis’ unalterable demands, he nevertheless played with the idea to satisfy anti-Nazi sentiments at home, that various compromise positions based on the Swiss cantonal arrangement of local autonomy might be reached in which the Sudeten region would still formally remain part of Czechoslovakia with only the local police and army units still under the control of Prague.

    When the Czechs had reluctantly agreed to accept even this—which granted the local Sudeten regions the right to introduce the same policies as Nazi Germany including anti-Semitic measures (Czechoslovakia had granted full equality to its Jewish population—the only state in Central or Eastern Europe who actually lived up to this promise during the Versailles Treaty deliberations)—the SdP leader, Konrad Henlein, balked and withdrew from what were, in fact, his original demands. He and Hitler had agreed not to stop short of anything less than a complete annexation by Germany of the entire Sudeten region. Can the Israelis expect any better type of negotiation and “compromise”?

    Runciman was chosen for his readiness for compromise and a well-deserved reputation as someone who had served in humanitarian relief to war-torn European areas after World War I. The SdP, while ostensibly calling for local autonomy, had received instructions from Nazi Germany not to reach any agreement and thus all attempts at mediation failed in much the same way that Arafat’s PLO, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and a dozen other Palestinian “resistance groups” backed by the political strength at the U.N. of almost all the two dozen Muslim majority countries, never were ready to honestly negotiate a compromise.

    Time and again, Morrell was an eye-witness to purported events falsely claiming “Czech atrocities against the local Sudeten population” but unable to get his evidence in time for publication to deny German propaganda eagerly swallowed by the British press at home. Today these seem trivial compared to the indulgent international press and massive marches in favor of Palestine “From the River to the Sea” implicitly accepted by a large part of the marchers in countries such as the U.K. and the U.S.

    While international tensions rose in Central Europe, Runciman was recalled to London on 16 September 1938 and his controversial report devoted to achieving what he believed was “peace in our time” provided support for British policy towards Czechoslovakia and culminated in the dismembering of the country under the terms of the Munich Agreement. Further controversy arose from Runciman’s use of his leisure time in Czechoslovakia where he was wined and dined by the pro-SdP aristocracy and afforded the mistress of his choice. The Runciman Report, issued on his return to London, recommended the transfer of the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany and asserted that there was “massive” discrimination against ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia.

    The parallels and sense of deja vu between Morrell’s book and today’s continued mounting pressure on Israel to throw away all its advantages and risk all it has achieved is startling. Many historians are reluctant to make historical comparisons but, in this case, the parallels are inescapable. They extend to the very similar sense of a far-flung diaspora and its aspirations for the continued welfare of the original homeland and close cultural ties. Not only the Czechs and Slovaks abroad but all of the Southern Slavs that comprised Yugoslavia identified with the most successful, vibrant, culturally creative and democratic state of Czechoslovakia.

  7. Donovan’s an old fool. If he had any honesty he’d be holding forth on how the corrupt Biden should be respecting the rightful sphere of influence of the autocrats in the Middle East, and encouraging the Israelis to roll over and die in accordance with their wishes. Maybe throw in a mention too of how if Trump were in charge he’d wave his Magic Wand Which Makes All Complexity Simple, and have everything solved in twenty-four hours.

    The stuff Donovan writes is mainly a good illustration of how pointyheads with agendas and a selective view of reality, and who like to puff up credentials which don’t really count for much, exist not only in academia but in the military too.

      1. Donovan’s an old fool. If he had any honesty he’d be holding forth on how the corrupt Biden should be respecting the rightful sphere of influence of the autocrats in the Middle East, and encouraging the Israelis to roll over and die in accordance with their wishes. Maybe throw in a mention too of how if Trump were in charge he’d wave his Magic Wand Which Makes All Complexity Simple, and have everything solved in twenty-four hours.

        The stuff Donovan writes is mainly a good illustration of how pointyheads with agendas and a selective view of reality, and who like to puff up credentials which don’t really count for much, exist not only in academia but in the military too.

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