By Schmoel Yitzhak
"We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender." -- Winston Churchill, Speech on Dunkirk, House of Commons, June 4, 1940.
The State of Israel is not facing its Dunkirk; at least not yet but it could come as soon as the next United Nations vote and we all know what that's all about.
Israel does not have a Winston Churchill -- who does? -- but it does have Benjamin Netanyahu and that's the best the Middle East's only democracy has to offer. Furthermore, Bibi can be a dynamic leader in a crisis and soon will obtain the opportunity to prove his worth.
Over the past month the Prime Minister has been the very soul of diplomatic decorum.
He has deflected the assorted Turkish slings and arrows with aplomb, sticking to the venerable bromide, "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."
Bibi has been the mensch throughout Recep Tayyip Erdogan's babbling blitz and in diplomatic circles has -- at least for the moment -- emerged as a kosher Mister Clean.
Likewise, while Egyptian mobs invaded the Israeli embassy in Cairo, Netanyahu stayed cool never once uttering a word about re-taking the Sinai -- a good idea; and the sooner the better -- nor hitting the decibel count barrier over the post-Mubarak mess.
I don't pretend to know what Israel's plans are post-September 23 when, according to some "seers," all hell will break loose among the Arabs no matter what takes place at the United Nations. But I firmly believe that a time soon will come when Bibi must abandon his current role as a diplomatic Fred Astaire, take off his gloves and start fighting back, a la Jimmy Cagney or, better still, Winston Churchill.
Unless all signs fail, Egypt's most powerful Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, will emerge as that country's ruling body and when that happens, Israel can toss its Sadat-conceived "peace" treaty into the round file.
Benign diplomacy has done Israel absolutely no good if you consider the endlessly hostile behavior toward Israel at the UN; not to mention the European Union's equivocation vis-a-vis Jerusalem and the manner in which the Arabs -- mistakenly called "Palestinians" -- have bombarded the media with an assortment of lies that defy credulity.
A new tact is in order for Israel. If most of the world media insists on describing Israel as "militant" -- despite endless attempts by Netanyahu to re-launch peace talks -- then Bibi must launch a counterattack on behalf of his people.
"FIGHT BACK" should be the theme of the day, week, month, and years if necessary.
British author ("The World Turned Upside Down: the Global Battle over God, Truth and Power") Melanie Phillips has come to grips with the problem -- and solution -- as well as anyone we've encountered.
"Both Israel and diaspora Jews have to stop playing defense," writes Phillips, "and go onto the offense. Israel has nothing to be defensive about or for which it needs to apologize.
"It is the enemies of Israel who are promoting injustice and the denial of international law and human rights. Playing defense intrinsically cedes ground to the enemy. It is time for Israel and its defenders to stop conniving with that smokescreen for the war of annihilation being waged against Israel -- the claim that the Middle East impasse would be solved by establishing a state of Palestine to which the settlements, and thus by extension Israel, are the obstacle.
"It is time for them to stop agreeing that the Jews are to blame for their own predicament."
I can pinpoint clearly when Israel started "playing defense" and it happened on both the northern and southern ends of the country. The evacuation from Southern Lebanon -- whether one can make a case for it or not -- looked like a retreat simply because it was a retreat; not to mention the abandonment of the Southern Lebanon Army, Israel's ally and buffer between Hizbollah and the northern border.
Perhaps even worse, was the withdrawal from Gaza. Any one who ever visited a shuk automatically knows that you never -- ever! -- give an Arab something for nothing. Bargaining is a must and harsh bargaining is even better; assuming that you want to come out even.
Ariel Sharon meant well when he called for evacuation of Israeli settlements in Gaza but he was living in Dreamsville by not demanding something in return BEFORE evacuating the strip.
The hope, of course, was that the Arabs would greet Israel's retreat as a peace-inducing gesture; that rocketry would cease and that the "Palestinians" would extend the hand of friendship. Yeah, Israel did get a hand but it was accompanied by a resounding slap in the puss.
Most tragic of all was the fact the Sharon suffered the devastating stroke that rendered him comatose and therefore unable to respond to the kassam barrage that emanated from Gaza. Many believe -- me among them -- that had Israel's then Prime Minister been functioning normally, he would have reacted to the opening rocket barrage with words like these: "If this is what we get for withdrawal, then, the hell with it; we bombard Gaza until the Arabs get the message; and if that doesn't work, we invade the strip, big-time. One way or the other we'll stop the attacks -- for good!
Instead, the post-Sharon leaders treated the increasing rocket and mortar attacks on Sderot, then Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beer-sheba as mere pin pricks instead of terror devices. Emboldened by the timid Israeli response, the Arabs smuggled in newer, long-range missiles, threatening to reach Tel Aviv.
Except for Operation Cast Lead -- aborted far too soon because of American pressure -- Israel has failed to punish the assailants and this submissive posture has infected the country's psyche. As Melanie Phillips so accurately postulates, the Jews must grow spine.
"For years," explains Phillips, "Israel has been playing a defensive diplomatic game, which suggests inescapably that it has a case to answer. Such diplomatic cringing has badly undermined it and hugely strengthened its enemies who are taking advantage of such weakness over and over again."
Yes, there's a two-part war to be waged by Bibi & Company; 1. Military campaigns as in the case of the Sinai, if necessary; 2. On the diplomatic front with a massive offensive.
Phillips: "It's time for Israel to realize that military campaigns against its enemies are not enough. It has to call time on its false friends too, and start fighting both these and its more obvious enemies on the battleground of the mind."
"FIGHT BACK!" must be the rallying cry for Netanyahu as it was for Churchill. The time is now -- and never surrender!