by Jeff Godley
My Facebook feed has been inundated in the last week with posts expressing support for Israel.
Of all the well-intentioned-yet-hopelessly-misguided political sentiments out there, "Stand with Israel" is among the worst. Westerners should not be standing with Israel; nor should they should be standing with Palestine. Westerners should be staying out of this conflict altogether and stop trying to impose their own will on affairs in the Middle East.
Here are a few reasons why you should stop "Standing with Israel."
1. It makes the situation worse.
Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that Israel really is "the good guy" and Palestine really is "the bad guy." If Palestine really is committing unprovoked aggression against Israeli civilians, is having leaders from all the most powerful nations publicly state that they stand against Palestine likely to make the Palestinians see reason? Or is it more likely that this will simply make them desperate and lead them to redouble their efforts? This is hardly a fair question; a dangerous animal when cornered is more dangerous still - so why are we in such a rush to force Palestine into a corner?
2. It promotes entangling alliances
Idle words and political posturing are bad enough on their own. However, if recent history is any indication, expressions of political commitment may all-too-easily escalate to military commitment. Politicians who trumpet that they "Stand with Israel" may soon have their bluff called and asked to put their troops where their mouth is.
The conflict between over the Holy Land has been ongoing since the 7th Century. Do we truly believe that this time if we just send some people with guns into the region we will achieve lasting peace? Every time the West marches into the Middle East to "keep peace" they create more chaos and bloodshed. Even if our motives were pure each time, at what point will learn from our mistakes and admit that maybe, just maybe, our presence in the region will NOT make the situation any better?
3. It decreases security at home
Westerners have been sold the bald-faced lie that terrorist attacks against Western nations are because terrorists "hate us for our freedoms." The truth is, terrorism is retaliation for the West's decades-long political and military intervention into the Middle East. Indeed, such "hippie" "peacenik" organizations as the CIA and the 9/11 commission have identified "blowback" (the politically correct way of saying "they hate us because we won't leave them alone") as a primary cause of the attacks of September 11th.
If China decided that it wanted to install a leader in Canada who was "friendly to the East" or if Russia invaded the U.S to "make the world safe for dictatorship," I imagine the idea would not sit entirely well with the citizens of those countries. But that is precisely what the Western world has done in the Middle East for the better part of a century. They hate us because we try to rule their countries in a way that best suits us. And we wonder why they attack us.
Intervening in the Middle East does not make Israel safe, and it certainly doesn't make us safe either.
4. It is bad for Christians in Palestine
Many of those who are "standing with Israel" are professing Christians, who invoke the idea that the Jews are "God's people" to justify their support of Israel. If so, what about God's "other" people - the many Christians in the Middle East?
Fact: there are far more Palestinian Christians than their are Israeli Christians. Fact: Palestinian Christians are not well-treated. Fact: every time conflict between Israel and Palestine breaks out in earnest, Christians are persecuted even more heavily. By "standing with Israel" Christians are choosing to stand against their brothers and sisters in Palestine.
The better path: non-intervention.
As long as Western nations continue choosing sides in border disputes that do not involve them, war will be the daily reality for countless millions of people. If we truly take pity on the victims of war, we must accept responsibility for our own part in creating that reality - by interfering in international disputes we provoke war, we make war worse and we keep wars going.
Ron Paul said it best: the West serves foreign nations best when it stops inserting itself into their affairs. Be friends to other nations, trade freely with them, take no sides in any of their conflicts, and set an example of peace. That is how we ought to treat Palestine. If we won't stop provoking other nations, why should they?