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By Professor Paul Eidelberg

March 16, 2009

If there is a single power Israel underestimates it is the power of collective hatred, meaning the hatred that animates the Arab-Islamic world.

Israel’s ruling elites do not understand the delicious appeal of hatred. They will not face the fact that man is a killer. They have learned nothing from the genocidal wars and wholesale massacres of the twentieth century.

There is at least a minority of human beings who enjoy killing. That minority may be small, but it does not take many enthusiastic killers to trigger a genocidal war. The Arab Palestinian Authority consists of such killers. Indeed, they have educated a generation of Arab children to become killers.

Nevertheless, Israel’s government sends its soldiers into conflict or harms way in which the rules imposed on them leave them practically defenseless, or ensures unnecessary Jewish casualties.

Israel plays by rules, some encoded in its own laws or in international laws, others in long-established customs, which are part of the West’s collective consciousness. But Israel’s enemies don’t give a damn about our laws and customs.

Again and again we find that hard-won treaties or agreements mean nothing to our enemies. While Israel is word-oriented, its enemies are action-oriented. Israelis, like Americans, mirror-image and think that their enemies are like them, that they want peace, even though they have repeatedly said, “peace means the destruction of Israel.” Israelis live in a state of denial.


Even the terms used to describe the enemy—“terrorists” or “Islamic fundamentalists”—are misleading. Such terms hinder the political and military echelons from developing an appropriate strategy against the enemy. Former U.S. army intelligence officer Ralph Peters calls these terrorists “warriors.” He speaks of various types of warriors—because if we do not understand the enemy, we won’t win the war against them.

  • One pool of warriors comes from the underclass, a male who has no stake in peace, a loser with little education and little legal earning power. It’s easy to recruit such warriors against the Great or against the Little Satan. These warriors are bloody savages.
  • A second pool of warriors consists of youth and young men who join and fight for the Arab cause. Their savagery increases with the duration and intensity of the conflict.
  • A third pool of warriors consists of opportunists, entrepreneurs who profit from the conflict. They traffic in arms and drugs. Their great strength is their cynicism. The Palestinian kleptocracy—once Arafat, now Mahmoud Abbas and Ismael Haniyeh—belong to this pool. They are chameleons and very dangerous. This type of warrior is the most likely to be underestimated, especially by wishful thinking Jews.
  • A fourth pool of warriors consists of true believers like Osama bin Laden. These warriors fight out of religious conviction and become infected with bloodlust. They are the products of a failed civilization that blames the Americans or Zionists for its inability to adapt to modernity and compete with the West. They burn with resentment and the desire for revenge.

But the greatest danger to Israel is when the cynic is working together with the true believer.

All of these warriors are habituated to violence; they have no stake in civil order. Unlike soldiers, they do not play by the rules of the Geneva Convention; they do not respect human life; and they regard compromise as equivalent to prostitution. Negotiation with warriors is sheer folly. We should not negotiate with them until they surrender. Until then, they must be killed.

Unfortunately, Israelis, like Americans, believe that all men want peace, that all conflict can be resolved through compromise and understanding. But many men have no stake in peace. Many would be bored by peace, and would lose honor or be out a job with peace. You find such men in the Palestinian Authority—in Fatah, Tanzim, Hamas, Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad.

  • Israeli opinion-makers refuse to believe that many human beings thrive and profit on disorder and on killing other human beings.
  • Americans profit from peace; warriors profit from war, and Israelis suffer the consequences.

As Peters points out, we refuse to understand that certain human beings cannot accept that their culture is failing. These human beings do not realize that they are failing individually because of the mode of thought and behavior to which their culture has conditioned them. They want someone to blame, and they want revenge on that someone.

But our intellectual elites—the educators of our politicians and judges—are so conditioned by the moral relativism that permeates all levels of education in the democratic world that they cannot think of a failed culture such as Islam. They would accuse me of racism. One does not have to be a racist to recognize that Israel’s Janus-faced enemies are killers.

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Israel faces an enemy whose sole motivation to refrain from killing is the fear of being killed; but since many of them love of death, the only deterrent is to kill them in sufficient numbers before they kill us. It is the only rational and humane policy, the only policy that can lead to genuine peace. It was the policy of the United States in the Second World War, in consequence of which both Germany and Japan, contrary to their warlike heritage, are now peace-loving nations.

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Internationally known political scientist, author and lecturer, Eidelberg is the founder and president of The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy with offices in Jerusalem.

Prof. Eidelberg served in the United States Air Force where he held the rank of first lieutenant. He received his doctoral degree at the University of Chicago. He designed the electronic equipment for the first brain scanner at the Argonne Cancer Research Hospital.

Before immigrating to Israel in 1976, Prof. Eidelberg wrote a trilogy on America’s founding fathers: The Philosophy of the American Constitution, On the Silence of the Declaration of Independence, and a Discourse on Statesmanship.

In 1976 he joined the faculty of Bar-Ilan University in Israel. He has written several books on the Arab-Israel conflict and on Judaism. Demophrenia: Israel and the Malaise of Democracy analyses the mentality of Israel’s ruling elites. Jewish Statesmanship: Lest Israel Fall, which has been translated into Hebrew and Russian, reveals the flaws inherent in Israel’s system of governance and how they may be remedied. A Jewish Philosophy of History investigates the world-historical events leading to the rebirth of Israel in 1948.

His latest publication, The Myth of Israeli Democracy, provides an abbreviated version of a Constitution which shows how to make Israel a genuine democracy based on a Jewish conception of freedom and equality.

Eidelberg is on the Advisory Council of the Ariel Center for Policy Research, which has published many of his policy papers. In addition to writing more than 1,000 articles for newspapers and scholarly journals in the U.S. and Israel, he has a weekly program on Israel National Radio.

Prof. Eidelberg has been lecturing throughout Israel and the United States. He conducts seminars on constitutions, diverse parliamentary electoral systems, Jewish law, and related topics at the Jerusalem center of the Foundation for Constitutional Democracy.

Web site: Foundation for Constitutional Democracy

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All of these warriors are habituated to violence; they have no stake in civil order. Unlike soldiers, they do not play by the rules of the Geneva Convention; they do not respect human life; and they regard compromise as equivalent to prostitution.