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Whosoever Blesses Them

The intifada and its defenders.

12:00 AM, Apr 22, 2002 • By LARRY MILLER
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Okay, so the Adjacent Jew-Haters want their own country. Oops, just one more thing. No, they don't. They could've had their own country any time in the last thirty years, especially two years ago at Camp David. But if you have your own country, you have to have traffic lights and garbage trucks and Chambers of Commerce, and, worse, you actually have to figure out some way to make a living. That's no fun. No, they want what all the other Jew-Haters in the region want: Israel. They also want a big pile of dead Jews, of course--that's where the real fun is--but mostly they want Israel. Why? For one thing, trying to destroy Israel--or "The Zionist Entity" as their textbooks call it--for the last fifty years has allowed the rulers of Arab countries to divert the attention of their own people away from the fact that they're the blue-ribbon most illiterate, poorest, and tribally backward on God's Earth, and if you've ever been around God's Earth, you know that's really saying something. It makes me roll my eyes every time one of our pundits waxes poetic about the great history and culture of the Muslim Mideast. Unless I'm missing something, the Arabs haven't given anything to the world since Algebra, and, by the way, thanks a hell of a lot for that one.

Chew this around and spit it out: Five hundred million Arabs; five million Jews. Think of all the Arab countries as a football field, and Israel as a pack of matches sitting in the middle of it. And now these same folks swear that if Israel gives them half of that pack of matches, everyone will be pals. Really? Wow, what neat news. Hey, but what about the string of wars to obliterate the tiny country and the constant din of rabid blood oaths to drive every Jew into the sea? Oh, that? We were just kidding.

My friend Kevin Rooney made a gorgeous point the other day: Just reverse the numbers. Imagine five hundred million Jews and five million Arabs. I was stunned at the simple brilliance of it. Can anyone picture the Jews strapping belts of razor blades and dynamite to themselves? Of course not. Or marshalling every fiber and force at their disposal for generations to drive a tiny Arab state into the sea? Nonsense. Or dancing for joy at the murder of innocents? Impossible. Or spreading and believing horrible lies about the Arabs baking their bread with the blood of children? Disgusting. No, as you know, left to themselves in a world of peace, the worst Jews would ever do to people is debate them to death.

Mr. Bush, God bless him, is walking a tightrope. I understand that with vital operations coming up against Iraq and others, it's in our interest, as Americans, to try to stabilize our Arab allies as much as possible, and, after all, that can't be much harder than stabilizing a roomful of supermodels who've just had their drugs taken away. However, in any big-picture strategy, there's always a danger of losing moral weight. We've already lost some. After September 11 our president told us and the world he was going to root out all terrorists and the countries that supported them. Beautiful. Then the Israelis, after months and months of having the equivalent of an Oklahoma City every week (and then every day) start to do the same thing we did, and we tell them to show restraint. If America were being attacked with an Oklahoma City every day, we would all very shortly be screaming for the administration to just be done with it and kill everything south of the Mediterranean and east of the Jordan. (Hey, wait a minute, that's actually not such a bad id . . . uh, that is, what a horrible thought, yeah, horrible.)

There's bad news on the losing moral weight front, and the signs are out there. Last week, the day after Secretary Powell left on his mission (whatever that was), the Los Angeles Times ran its lead editorial in one hundred percent support of the trip and the pressure he and President Bush were putting on Israel. Here's a good rule of thumb: If the Los Angeles Times thinks you're doing a great job, everything you're doing is wrong, stupid and mortally dangerous. If they think everything you're doing is wrong, stupid and mortally dangerous, you're doing a great job, and, in fact, your chances are probably very good for getting on the fast track for sainthood.

So, now, back to Greta. You know what made me mad enough to shout? You might not even think it was that big a thing.

After the show she said to these guys, "Thank you, gentlemen, for being my guests." "Gentlemen." "Guests." "My guests." That's what it's come to with these non-judgmental hosts and hostesses. Nice, huh? "Thank you, Mr. Stalin, sir, for being so gracious in giving us your valuable time." "My eternal gratitude, Chairman Mao, for taking precious moments away from your splendid Five-Year Plan and visiting with us in this most convivial way."

And I winced, and grunted, and shouted. Oh, yeah, and made that drink.