The West Just Doesn’t Get It


Regarding the many articles the JT has run on issues in the Arab world, most recently “Another Syria?” (Aug. 23): While the so-called reforms in Tunisia, the hopeful beginnings of what were understood to be the Arab Spring, withers into a conspiracy of failure, unrest and ongoing intrafratricidal self-destruction, and Syria degenerates into a who’s who of every possible conceivable terrorist faction carving out their own piece of territorial niche to threaten other countries within the region, now comes Egypt and the possibility that it too will sink into its own mire of political destruction and civil war anarchy. We may not have heard of this before, but what we are witnessing is a classical tsunami of Arab countries about to go up in flames in a synergistic conspiracy of explosive mayhem. And beware, it won’t stop here. Lebanon is beginning to become embroiled into the flames, and then how much more time before a quiet Jordan becomes embroiled into this catastrophe. And the pity of it all is that the West is totally clueless how to react to all of this, missing, as it has for so long, the national nuances, the internecine hatreds and the building dynamism that is now defining and shaping the current nationalisms of these countries. The Arab world is exploding all around the region, and the world sits and watches like a eunuch unable to do a thing. … Meanwhile, give a moment’s thought to Israel. Threatened from the north by a Syria in shambles and a Lebanon about to catch the fire, and [threatened] from the west by an Egypt that might imitate the Syrian collapse, it would take the wisdom (and patience) of a great statesman to guarantee its existence — and its calm while everyone around it is losing theirs.

Chaim Landau
Rabbi Emeritus
Ner Tamid Congregation

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