This is the question history professor Thaddeus Russell would have had Britons ask each other in 1938, when Neville Chamberlain sold out the Czechs to Hitler at Munich.

Does Israel Make Us Safer?
. . . Though many Americans think of Islamic terrorism against the U.S. as part of an inevitable “clash of cultures,” not one American died at the hands of a politically motivated Arab or Muslim until June 5, 1968, when Robert F. Kennedy was shot to death by Sirhan Sirhan.

Russell then goes on to assert that anti-American sentiment in the Islamic world is entirely a consquence of U.S. policy. Change the policy — especially, end U.S. support for Israel — and everybody who hates us now will be our friends. There are two clear errors in this way of thinking:

  • It is never smart to allow your enemies to tell you who your allies should be.
  • Yielding to aggression tends to result in more aggression.

This is what Churchill understood, but Chamberlain did not. Chamberlain believed that Hitler was an ordinary politician who could be dealt with as if dealing with were any responsible leader. Churchill was never deceived about Hitler’s nature, repeatedly describing him as a “gangster” who could only be stopped by force. So when Hitler, having repudiated the Versailles Treaty, remilitarized the Rhineland and annexed Austria, then demanded that the Czechs surrender the Sudetenland, Churchill clearly saw that Hitler was preparing for further aggression (i.e., the invasion of Poland) while Chamberlain foolishly thought he could bargain for peace.

Israel is analogous to the Sudetenland here because no change in U.S. policy will appease Hamas, Hezbollah and other America-hating extremists in the Islamic world. Yes, the annihilation of Israel is a major goal of the jihadis, but it is not their only goal.

They are gangsters, as Churchill would say and, to borrow another of Sir Winston’s favorite expressions, those who hope t0 appease these gangsters are feeding the crocodile, hoping to be eaten last.

Russell advocates abandonment of Israel as an act of foreign-policy “realism,” but as Elder of Ziyon says, “This is not realism — this is surrender to an enemy that will be emboldened by a show of such weakness.”

(Cross-posted at The Other McCain.)

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