FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

General Amidror’s Gift

Yaakov Amidror is a retired Israeli Major-General and currently head of Binyamin’s Netanyahu’s National Security Council.   This is a bit surprising, though not because of Amidror’s political views:  he opposed, for instance, the evacuation of Gaza, and called for retaking it.   No, it’s surprising because Amidror is not particularly bright.   How else to explain his excellent case for the defensibility of Israel’s 1967 borders, in an article arguing those borders are indefensible?

Amidror’s argument is based on the idea that you need to secure your borders by ‘defense in depth ‘.  How deep is deep enough?  We only get one number:

“In Cold War Europe, Western military planners understood that it is not the “borderline” that is decisive but rather the “defensive depth.” In Europe this included the entire width of Germany up to the Rhine (over 200 kilometers).”

Oh yeah, and we’re told that, with new military technologies, estimates have “almost doubled in recent years”.   We hear that in 1967, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended Israel keep a chunk of the occupied territories for defensive purposes, to “control the prominent high ground running north-south”.

It’s hard to put all this together.   Controlling some high ground doesn’t  give Israel anything like 200km, yet that Cold War estimate must now need to be doubled.   Is Israel somehow less vulnerable than Europe?   One would have thought the opposite.   And ‘controlling the high ground’ seems a bit medieval given Hizbollah’s rockets, not to mention the much better stuff possessed by every other ‘Arab’ country in the region.  So one might well conclude that having every bit of the occupied territories won’t do one bit of good, because, pretty clearly, it won’t provide anything like the defensive depth that Amidror’s military authorities prescribe.

It get worse, because if military authority is to be heeded, Israel’s neighbors also need defensive depth, which by any comparable measure would include, well, all of Israel.    Recent history does not exactly suggest that Israel’s neighbors should have any less concern for defensible borders than Israel itself.

But all this is small potatoes compared to the great big spud offered up by Amidror, so nice he highlights it:  “While a policy of pre-emptive attack could theoretically create the necessary depth for defense, if the threat to israel were to emanate from states that formally were signatories to peace treaties, the chances that an Israeli government would violate them with pre-emptive action are nil.”

As the nerds say, ROTFL.   Amidror has no professional competence in politics, and his pronouncement shows he’s no gifted amateur, either.  I fear to insult the reader’s intelligence by spelling out what went wrong for him, but bear with me.

Israel is the country of ‘The Samson Option’, a phrase attributed to several Israeli prime ministers.  In its moderate form, it calls for massive nuclear retaliation against any attack which threatens Israel’s existence.   Its less moderate version is articulated by the not unrespectable Martin van Creveld, professor of military history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and sometime lecturer at the U.S. Naval War College.   Van Creveld tells us that “”We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.'”

Now the world, as I understand it, contains quite a few unarmed (not to mention underage) civilians whose nations are big buddies of Israel, not to mention all such persons in “states that formally were signatories to peace treaties”.   Israel has, again and again, almost joyously asserted its iron-clad determination to stop at nothing in the exercise of its very generously conceived right of self-defense.   The chances that it would be let its cities burn and its citizens die in the streets out of scruples about signatures on a peace treaty are…  nil.  What’s more, Israel’s whole strategy of deterrence depends on suggesting that, as Moshe Dayan famously declared, “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.”   Amidror’s pronouncement is exactly the sort of thing to which Israel does not and, in its own strategic view, must not commit itself.

In short, Amidror has given us decisive reason to think that Israel’s 1967 borders are indeed defensible.   He has then made a lame joke.   This adds up to a case for the defensibility of Israel’s 1967 borders, from none less than the current head of Israel’s National Security Council.

Michael Neumann is a professor of philosophy at Trent University in Ontario, Canada. Professor Neumann’s views are not to be taken as those of his university. His book What’s Left: Radical Politics and the Radical Psyche is published by Broadview Press. He contributed the essay, “What is Anti-Semitism”, to CounterPunch’s book, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. His latest book is The Case Against Israel. He can be reached at: mneumann@trentu.ca

 

More articles by:

Michael Neumann is a professor of philosophy at a Canadian university.  He is the author of What’s Left: Radical Politics and the Radical Psyche and The Case Against Israel.  He also contributed the essay, “What is Anti-Semitism”, to CounterPunch’s book, The Politics of Anti-Semitism.  He can be reached at mneumann@live.com

Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
Alycee Lane
Trump’s Federal Government Shutdown and Unpaid Dishwashers
Martha Rosenberg
New Questions About Ritual Slaughter as Belgium Bans the Practice
Wim Laven
The Annual Whitewashing of Martin Luther King Jr.
Nicky Reid
Panarchy as Full Spectrum Intersectionality
Jill Richardson
Hollywood’s Fat Shaming is Getting Old
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Wide Sphere of Influence Within Folklore and Social Practices
Richard Klin
Dial Israel: Amos Oz, 1939-2018
Graham Peebles
A Global Battle of Values and Ideals
David Rovics
Of Triggers and Bullets
Elliot Sperber
Eddie Spaghetti’s Alphabet
January 17, 2019
Stan Cox
That Green Growth at the Heart of the Green New Deal? It’s Malignant
David Schultz
Trump vs the Constitution: Why He Cannot Invoke the Emergencies Act to Build a Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail