FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
April 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What Will It Take For Trump to Get His Due?
Roy Eidelson
Is the American Psychological Association Addicted to Militarism and War?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Time is Blind, Man is Stupid
Joshua Frank
Top 20 Mueller Report “Findings”
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Will Never Go Away
Paul Street
Stephen Moore Gets Something Right: It’s Capitalism vs. Democracy
Russell Mokhiber
Why Boeing and Its Executives Should be Prosecuted for Manslaughter
T.J. Coles
The Battle for Latin America: How the U.S. Helped Destroy the “Pink Tide”
Ron Jacobs
Ho Chi Minh City: Nguyen Thai Binh Street
Dean Baker
Fun Fictions in Economics
David Rosen
Trump’s One-Dimensional Gender Identity
Kenn Orphan
Notre Dame: We Have Always Belonged to Her
Robert Hunziker
The Blue Ocean Event and Collapsing Ecosystems
Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.
Paddy Wagon
Brett Wilkins
Jimmy Carter: US ‘Most Warlike Nation in History of the World’
John W. Whitehead
From Jesus Christ to Julian Assange: When Dissidents Become Enemies of the State
Nick Pemberton
To Never Forget or Never Remember
Stephen Cooper
My Unforgettable College Stabbings
Louis Proyect
A Leftist Rejoinder to the “Capitalist Miracle”
Louisa Willcox
Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and the Need for a New Approach to Managing Wildlife
Brian Cloughley
Britain Shakes a Futile Fist and Germany Behaves Sensibly
Jessicah Pierre
A Revolutionary Idea to Close the Racial Wealth Divide
George Burchett
Revolutionary Journalism
Dan Bacher
U.S. Senate Confirms Oil Lobbyist David Bernhardt as Interior Secretary
Nicky Reid
The Strange Success of Russiagate
Chris Gilbert
Defending Venezuela: Two Approaches
Todd Larsen
The Planetary Cost of Amazon’s Convenience
Kelly Martin
How the White House is Spinning Earth Day
Nino Pagliccia
Cuba and Venezuela: Killing Two Birds With a Stone
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Guadalcanal and Bloody Ridge, Solomon Islands
David Kattenburg
Trudeau’s Long Winter
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
Ellen Lindeen
What Does it Mean to Teach Peace?
Adewale Maye and Eileen Appelbaum
Paid Family and Medical Leave: a Bargain Even Low-Wage Workers Can Afford
Ramzy Baroud
War Versus Peace: Israel Has Decided and So Should We
Ann Garrison
Vets for Peace to Barbara Lee: Support Manning and Assange
Thomas Knapp
The Mueller Report Changed my Mind on Term Limits
Jill Richardson
Why is Going Green So Hard? Because the System Isn’t
Mallika Khanna
The Greenwashing of Earth Day
Arshad Khan
Do the Harmless Pangolins Have to Become Extinct?
Paul Armentano
Pushing Marijuana Legalization Across the Finish Line
B. R. Gowani
Surreal Realities: Pelosi, Maneka Gandhi, Pompeo, Trump
Paul Buhle
Using the Law to Build a Socialist Society
David Yearsley
Call Saul
Elliot Sperber
Ecology Over Economy 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail