To the Editor
The Jerusalem Post
I noted in an otherwise fine article by Rabbi Avraham Feder ("Worshiping Golden Calves")in the Jerusalem Post (2/24/03), that he refers to "self-determination" as "a noble idea." But rightly understood, this too is a "golden calve" since it is an ill-considered, vacuous formula and a recipe for continuing war, of which Menachem Begin warned many years ago in a speech.
Since all lands are allocated, one man's "self-determination" is another man's "evil rebellion against existing rights." Do the Chinese of San Francisco who have lived there for generations have the right to self-determination in creating a new China or do the Mexicans of the American Southwest have a similar right to create a new New Mexico?
The Palestinian Arabs -- as opposed to the Palestinian Jews, both residents of the Mandate of Palestine, from which the term "Palestinian" comes from -- have no absolute, natural right to self-determination without the reciprocal absolute natural right of the Palestinian Jews to veto such "rights" since Palestinian Jews had a prior right to create a national existence in the lands of the Mandate of Palestine. Moreover, the rights asserted by such Palestinian Arabs would pose the gravest of dangers to the prior rights of the State of Israel and trigger the absolute, natural right of self defense of the Palestinian Jews to preserve themselves by wiping out the challenge so that it does not ever arise again.
Anyway, this is what normal people think, which is probably why Israel is always in grave dangers of her own making since Israel's leaders are not normal but put half-baked theories of high morality over their nation's right to exist. After all, what normal, self-respecting nation will allow itself to be dismembered and destroyed on the basis of dubious moralistic imperatives? What normal, self-respecting nation would be unable to figure out that all these supposed high moralistic principles were designed to impale Israel and prevent her survival. Israel's leaders, having failed to figure this out, makes anyone who still thinks Jews are smart need to have his head examined.
West Hartford, CT
P.S. For your information, the following is an article on self-determination that was written three years ago with points that are even more relevant today.
WOODROW WILSON'S (LETHAL) OBSESSION (by David Basch)
Here, slightly edited, is a timely message as relevant as it was when it was first written more than a year ago. It applies to the penchant of Israel's leftists for self-destruction in the name ofan amoprphous high morality, as they are about to do in the name of making peace with Arab savages who are incapable of this with Israel unless physically coerced:
WOODROW WILSON'S OBSESSION
"It is not an accident that leftist Israelis are drawn to Wilson's conception. It fully meets withtheir atheistic, utopian, universalism. As "true believers" in their man-centered religion, such persons are hungry for the guidance of "universals" ... and ... will literally kill for the shadows of such high sounding slogans of 'equality,' 'democracy,' ... self-determination, sacrificing themselves and their children to these Molechs...."
Woodrow Wilson apparently was typical of many intellectuals who think that, somehow, their thought processes comprehend ultimate truth. They see nothing unusual about pontificating on their personal opinions about reality and prescribing these for the behavior of others as some kind of absolute truth.
Woodrow Wilson's real blooper was his concept of "self-determination." Alone with himself in his study he somehow thought that all groups have the right to "self-determination,"the right to form their own government irrespective of the fact that they be residing in areas with established governments.
Some of the underlying assumptions that Wilson must have had, undoubtedly, was about the uniform nobility of all mankind. For if this is true, then all groups were composed of people like Woodrow Wilson and alike in wanting and seeking the things that Wilson did -- truth, justice, freedom, etc'. If so, it would be wrong to deny such things to such fine people and, therefore, whoever ruled them would just have to be decent and give way to such desires.
Wilson probably generalized from the borders of Europe which encompassed various ethnic groups striving for their own national state, chafing under rulers who were of a different ethnicity and often of a different religion. No doubt this leads to instability. Generalizing from these conditions from the perspective of World War I, Wilson created his view of the intrinsic right of all mankind to self-determination.
What may have seemed self-evident to Wilson turned not to be so at all. Obviously, if Wilson operated from such idealistic assumptions about humanity, he was completely wrong. For real human beings come in a variety of moral levels and capabilities. Many groups have extreme anti-social traits, such as venality, brutality, avariciousness, and murderous and would not shirk from destroying others to rob from others to achieve their desires and will call that "self-determination."
Moreover, at any given moment, the world is already divided into regions in which there are preexisting national rights. To confer a natural right to "self-determination" is to immediately pit preexisting rights against would-be usurpers with no guarantee that the usurpers have any greater moral claim to their so called "determination."
What Wilson dreamed up provides the rationale for a Basque Nation in Spain, a Kurdistan in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran, as well as a "Free State of Harlem" in New York City, a Black State of Alabama, and a Hispaniola in the South West United States as the US withdraws from the occupied lands of Mexico.
One bad dream that came true, which shows how ill considered was Wilson's obsession, happened 50 years ago in Czechoslovakia when a German minority demanded "self-determination." This insurgency was promoted by Adolph Hitler in order to expand its Nazi State. It used the Wilsonian rhetoric to plunge Europe into World War II with its 50,000,000 dead. It was all triggered by a German madman who used the tool that Wilson's obsession created.
Today, Wilson's conception is being used by imperialist Islamic nations to expand their Islamic realm at the expense of neighbors. Self-determination is the answer to Islam's prayer as it presses its jihad against the world -- a jihad is at the heart of the Islamic religion. At many of bordering nations around Islamic nations the cry of "self-determination" is raised by Muslims in order to continue Islamic Jihad, the expansion of the Islamic realm.
Yes. Before Wilson really went over the edge, crazy, he managed to saddle the world with an "ersatz" universal right drawn from the predilections of his warped utopian brain. No doubt, there may be situations where conditions do call for the kind of thing that Wilson imagined. But if one looks around, the major forces behind such utopian Wilsonian conceptions today are utopian idealists that have little touch with reality and ruthless imperialists, those who are avaricious and those who believe they have a mandate from heaven to usurp the lands of their neighbors, both understanding Wilson's concepts as a tool to make their aggression possible.
It is not an accident that leftist Israelis are drawn to Wilson's conception. It fully meets with their atheistic, utopian, universalism. As "true believers" in their man-centered religion, such persons are hungry for the guidance of "universals" since they take no such universals from the religions of man -- certainly not from Judaism. Such persons will literally kill in the name of the high sounding slogans of "equality," "democracy, "civil rights," and "human rights" such as self-determination, even sacrifice their own and their children's lives to these Molechs. Meanwhile, all these so-called values are ill-defined and are very susceptible to the manipulation of demagogues and the numerous kinds of "people's republics" that pollute the world that regularly find the support such idealists.
As applied in Israel, the utopian universalists rejected the historic heritage of the Jewish people in their land and chose to make their claim for Israel on the basis of a universal right of self-determination. In doing so, these leftists gave a similar right to the Arab residents who also demand self-determination and who are willing to press this tool given them to determine that Arabs will rule over all of Israel and deny the historic rights of the Jewish people, whose self-determination they don't recognize since the Arabs do not recognize any one else's "natural right" to self-determination in their own countries.
The silly leftist fools of Israel, over righteous and hell bent on their own destruction in the name of half-baked universal ideas, have raised themselves on their own petard and now Israel is in danger of plunging to earth since that insubstantial fuel will not support the existence of the Jewish State.
The latest expression of the Wilsonian obsession has now come from the European Union, the nations that participated in the murder of Jews 50 years ago, who proclaim the natural right of Arabs to steal the lands of Israel in the name of "self-determination."
It is important that this Wilsonian obsession be exposed for the half-baked concept it is. It is a formula for never-ending war and it easily lends itself to service as a tool of aggression. We see it now in action once again in the Middle East in Israel as the Arabs wield this sword to destroy Israel with the help of Israeli leftists, mesmerized by the gleam of the pseudo-absolutist values they crave and must believe in to the death, their own included.
P.S. And now a year later the leftists are about to help Arafat's phased program to destroy Israel. An agreement with the Arabs that cannot be enforced by Israel is not worth the paper it is written on and simply will not offer Israel any protection.