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Commentary :: International
Israeli fallacy
29 Dec 2003
israel is no position to give us anti-terrorism advice.
Off on the Wrong Foot

Since September 11 Israel and American supporters of Israel have made a big show of pointing out that "now we know how they feel". They say that they have been waging a lonely battle against terrorism, but that now thankfully the US has finally recognized the seriousness of the issue and that the US and Israel should join forces to stamp out terrorism worldwide.

As part of this effort Israel has offered to share its counter-terrorism expertise. American supporters of Israel have loudly trumpetted the benefits we could derive from learning directly from the Israelis how to combat terrorism. Reportedly the Israeli military and spy organizations have been forging ever closer links with their US counter-parts, with US forces going to Israel to train and learn Israeli technqiues. This apparently has been going on for a while, and also includes the training of American forces in how to deal with those who oppose the US occupation of Iraq. So in point of fact the Israelis are actually now offering advice on both the subjects of counter-terrorism and armed occupation of Arab land. Both Israel and its American suporters say that Israel is uniquely qualified to give out such advice since they have so much first-hand experience in these areas.

It is true that Israel does have a lot of experience with terrorism and fighting Arabs. Israel and its supporters then draw the inference from this that they have a better handle on these issues than the Americans do.

Unfortunately at this very first step the Israelis and their supporters have already gone wrong, and every further step down that path only brings followers closer to a dead end.

It is true that Israel has a big and long-standing and even growing terrorism problem. But any rational person ought to realize that if a country has a big and long-standing and growing problem with something, then by definition they have not found a way to either reduce or eliminate the problem. In fact, under such circumstances it is likely that the country is probably moving away from the solution rather than towards it. That being the case, what would be the benefit of following that country down the wrong road? There would be no benefit, and it would be the height of foolishness to do it.

And yet this is exactly the prescription that Israel is offering to the US: "After decades of effort we have not solved our terrorism problems, but if you exactly reproduce our efforts we guarantee that you will solve your terrorism problems."

Clearly Israel can not help us rid ourselves of terrorism since they can not even help themselves. At best the Israelis could offer useful advice on how to live WITH terrorism. But no one in the US wants to live WITH terrorism, everyone wants to know how to live WITHOUT terrorism. This why we have a "War ON Terrorism", rather than a "War on PREJUDICE AGAINST LIVING WITH Terrorism".

This point can not be overempahsized: the Israelis do not know how to eliminate terrorism. They are not the people to be talking to. In fact, Israel might every well be the world epicenter of terrorism today. Certinaly for such a small population they seem to have an inordinate number of terrorist attacks. How can we learn to eliminate terrorism from one of the few countries where terrorism is so rampant? When countries look for information on how to combat the spread of AIDS they typically look to countries that have low levels of transmission and infection. Why would you ask the world's most AIDS infected country what it was doing to combat AIDS? Whatever they're doing it obviously isn't working. The same is true with israel.

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Comments

Re: Israeli fallacy
29 Dec 2003
Amen brother.

The best way for the US to end terrorism is to stop acting as the world's greatest terrorist.

Hare Krishna
Re: Israeli fallacy
14 Mar 2004
Sometimes experience that does not work so well for a small sieged country like Israel could be helpful for a great and rich country such as the U.S.