International Law
and Internationalism:

A Snare For Israel, A Deformation of Judaism

By Eugene Narrett, PhD

The leaders of the mighty nations of the world have enflamed the Balkans again and are busily managing the crisis for their own profit and prerogatives. Once again, like the chorus of sheep in Animal Farm, the global media echo the pieties of the diplomats. The bombing is a "humanitarian mission" to "avert another holocaust." Slobodan Milosevic is "another Hitler" who must be tried before an International Tribunal. On and on drone the cliches, a thousand, ten thousand, a hundred thousand times a day from hundreds of millions of television sets in the hypnopedia of our Brave New World. Just as in Huxley's version, their goal is that "ten thousand repetitions make one truth."

The First World War was a watershed demonstrating that Modernity had become the paradigm of West Civilization that since then has spread worldwide. The Godless epistemology of this era is relativism, the dogmatic belief that truth does not exist. The consequent ethic is might makes right, the law of the jungle because if nothing is true, everything is permitted, -- to those with power and correct ideas. (The post War therapeutic state is refining this dictum: soon, everything will be either forbidden or mandatory.) Having mocked tradition and degraded the family by rhetoric, law and in "entertainment," the ontology of Modernity is loneliness and fear. Its metaphysics is the rule of impulse and sensation: forgetting trumps memory, feminized bureaucracy crushes manliness. The Modern age is the dominion of Egypt.

Modernity, the Modern State and internationalism are the antithesis of Judaism and have been lethal for the Children of Israel. They ought to be anathema to Jews and yet internationalist slogans and assumptions continue to exert a strange and dangerous hold for the descendants of Jacob. One major reason for this tragic misperception was that the Enlightenment brought the promise, and to a limited extent (more illusory than real) the fact of emancipation from centuries of systematic gentile persecution. It also promised to remove the weight of Jewish moral and social traditions. That some of the latter had distorted Torah and made it seem joyless, irrational or petty only whetted the appetite of Jews for the new light, a cold glare that soon deformed all upon which it shone. Like most people, Jews are readily corrupted by the exaltation of human reason, its appeal to universal justice and the supposedly exalted passions that follow in its wake. Was this after all not the vision of Abraham, Moshe, Isaiah and the other prophets, as revealed by the LORD?

It was not, nor is it now. Deification of the intellect is the original sin and like it, leads promptly to the dominion of the passions and the subordination of reason into their slave and pander. The French Revolution had scarcely begun when it devolved into terror, orgies of mass murder and sexual transgression that prefigured the 20th century. This is what happens when God and Godliness is removed from joy. It was because of this deadly bargain that the leader of Russian Jewry in 1812 directed his people to remain loyal to and pray for the Czar, despite the centuries of brutal and official persecution that was the lot of Russian Jewry. For all his promises of liberation and re-establishing Israel (promises unfulfilled) the Torah masters of that day saw the Revolution and Napoleon for what they were, forces of atheism and disorder that not only negated Judaism but that threatened new and unprecedented dangers for Jews. The 20th century confirmed their vision as the legacy of the French Revolution birthed militantly secular centralized states (1918 and 1933) that made themselves into gods, tyrannizing in the name of "the people" and specializing in the murder of Jews.

Woodrow Wilson won re-election in 1916 by promising to keep America out of WW I. Within a month of his inauguration, he broke his pledge. Wilson was driven by another secularized corruption of Isaiah's prophecy, an internationalist vision of peace dictated and policed by the great powers in the name of "self-determination," a high-sounding phrase as alluring as the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Careful listeners could have detected the appeal to radical autonomy at the core of this modern self-worship. Every individual, every town and mini-state would decide for itself who would rule. Law would become lawlessness and in the name of the autonomous self, the State would dominate. Borders and patterns of authority worked out over hundreds or thousands of years would be re-designed by the new masters of creation. Thus ensued the Treaty of Versailles and its "peace to end all peace" as historian David Fromkin called it.

British and French imperial maneuvering, complicated by the half-hearted moral preaching of American politicians lit the fuse for World War II. For Jews, the lessons of Versailles about the hubris of secular internationalism were even more immediate. When the empire of the Ottoman Turks was carved up by the victorious powers, the tireless work of Vladimir (Ze'ev) Jabotinsky and the supportive idealism of numerous British officers led Britain to secure a League of Nations Mandate over Palestine to "create a National Home for the Jewish people." It soon became apparent that the main intent of the British Foreign Ministry in taking the Mandate was "to biff the French out of Syria" as one diplomat said and to link the new British protectorate of "Iraq" (another artificial state with no historical substance) to the Mediterranean. Within a year of formally receiving the Mandate in 1921, Winston Churchill let T.E. Lawrence and others persuade him to sever Trans-Jordan from Palestine as a temporary "administrative measure." The real intent was clear when Jews were forbidden to own land or settle there. Even before the pitiless and treacherous "white paper" of 1939 restricting Jewish immigration to 15,000/year (if the Arabs agreed), the British suspended aliyah a dozen times and actively fomented Arab attacks on Jews, particularly in 1929 and 1936-8. At the same time the global empire of that day forbade the Jews to possess arms for their own defense, an invitation to others to murder Jews that was elaborated by the nations from 1948-67, the first twenty years of the reborn state's life.

This treachery was not unique to the British. As Boris Shusteff recently noted, in March 1938, Franklin Roosevelt convened an international conference at Evian at which thirty-three nations decided that none of them would take Jewish refugees from the looming Nazi threat. The British response was to close off Palestine, despite their duty to "facilitate Jewish emigration...and settlement of the Land." In 1942, the world watched for months while the ship "St. Louis," carrying nearly 1000 refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe sailed up the East Coast of America pleading for the right to land. Roosevelt's government refused and the ship eventually returned to Hamburg. The refugees went to horrible deaths.

Was there or will there be justice from the powers, from the "coasts and islands" and "great mountains" of the world? Late in 1941, British cryptographers cracked the German wireless codes and from then on, the British and American governments knew the numbers and fact of genocide against the Jews. While the passengers on the St. Louis went to their fate, the leaders of the major Jewish organizations in America placed their fearful hopes in the righteousness of the leader of the international coalition. They saved their bile for the brave Jews who urged an assertive approach. During the last two and a half years of the war, American and England ruled the skies over Europe. Day and night they bombed cities and factories and airfields ringed with lethal anti-aircraft weapons that took a heavy toll of airmen. They even sent squadrons as far as the Ploesti Oil refineries in Rumania. Yet they never bombed the undefended railroad tracks leading to the death camps of whose operations they knew. To leave absolutely no doubt that the Jews were not intended to be part of their new world order, after they won the war, the British, with American acquiescence, interned the survivors in camps rather than let them go to "Palestine." Thousands died in misery while the level of Arab violence and British oppression of the Jews in the Land intensified.

Yet many Jews continued to be entranced by the cold light of internationalism, including its Marxist-Leninist variety. They poured energy and hope into the United Nations that would serve them in place of Zion as a source of teaching and moral example. After all, the internationalist project seemed to justify itself at the Nuremberg Trials. Hollywood even made a film, the imprimatur of what serves for official history. But despite the just satisfaction of seeing some Nazis hanged, the Trials were worse than nothing. They provided an illusion of recompense for the millions of victims and gave to the presiding powers a fund of (self) righteousness they did not merit. Having condemned six million Jews at Evian (and encouraged Hitler's regime to launch a war that would kill millions of others, too), the powers preened themselves at Nuremberg (even as their governments were absorbing thousands of Nazis and helping thousands of others escape to the Western Hemisphere). More dangerously for the future, they established the principle that a self-selected group of powers would indict, judge, sentence and execute sentence on other sovereign powers less powerful than they were.

Having been murdered by the millions during the war, Jews in their new state were to be among the first and most consistent targets of this new internationalism. Many Jews still revere the United Nations for having recognized Israel in 1948, awarding it, -- as if it was their right to give or withhold -- a tiny, indefensible territory. It was like hanging a sign on the Jews that said, "here they are, kill them." When by the grace of Hashem and their own faith and courage Israel survived, the nations turned a cold shoulder. After each of Israel's subsequent victories in 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982, the nations, not least the false friend, Laban-America, exerted intense pressure through their diplomatic and media channels to un-man and reverse Israel's progress toward its true borders.

The snare of internationalism now is closing around Israel's neck. The failure to immediately annex all of Judea and Samaria in 1967 and to clear the Temple Mount of foreign domination and religious imperialism was compounded at Camp David, Madrid, Oslo and Wye River, the list denoting the legacy of undying gentile hatred and fear of Israel and its promise. Despite this animus, many Jews (not least in America) remain enamored of international diplomacy, the pretensions to justice and peace of international law and the raw force that imposes its dictates. As ought to be abundantly clear in Kosovo, international law is a faux-moral fig leaf for the great powers. They impose it when it suits their purposes and abrogate it with impunity when they wish. Underscoring the danger, on April 16, one of Arafat's advisors, Ahmed Rahman announced that "the war in Yugoslavia is a new development in international relations by which the international community uses force to impose its agreements." He added, "we [the PA] will ask the international community to intervene to end the Israeli occupation and expel the settlers." The penultimate warning for Israel was the March 30 declaration by the European Union (its NATO branch now bombing the Serbs as an admonitory lesson to Jews) that Israel is not sovereign in Jerusalem. (This also is the official position of the U.S. State Department, as Shoshana Walker has discovered in the omission of Israel from the passports of her children, born in Jerusalem). Acting with their long time Arab allies, the Europeans have served notice that they expect Israel to expedite a Palestinian State in Judea. Mach schnell, Juden! Juden aus!

International law imposed by a culture sick with relativism and self-loathing is lawlessness and gangsterism. No wonder that, like the British Foreign Office before it, it allies itself with the most violent and aggressive elements in the Islamic world and with the brutal despots of China. The century had to end this way, since the moral pretensions of the New World order are an apelike parody of Israel's obligation to illuminate the world with the transcendent truths of Torah. To do this, Israel must secure its boundaries and drive out trespassers and invaders who contest Jewish sovereignty in the Land. This process, as Hashem instructed, also includes gathering in Jerusalem for every pilgrim feast. "I will broaden your boundaries when you go up before Me to celebrate my pilgrim feasts."

If Israel continues to look to the Babel Tower of Nations and to the Goliath among them it will become a UN protectorate and branch of the Vatican. The alternative as David told the Goliath of his day unites peace with glory in the Eternity and Victory of Israel. This imperative is not across the sea for Jews to ask, "who can cross the sea to do it for us?" Rather the matter is very near to us, in our hearts and in our mouths to perform it and dwell upon the Land that the LORD swore to our forefathers, to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, to give them, and us.


Eugene Narrett, PhD teaches writing and Literature at Boston University.

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