Andreas Unterberger is a conservative Austrian journalist, and up until last fall was the editor-in-chief of Wiener Zeitung. Since then he has continued his writings in his own blog.
The following article by Mr. Unterberger, which was published in May at Mission Europa Netzwerk Karl Martell, argues that the survival of Israel is of vital importance to all European nations. Many thanks to JLH for the translation:
Andreas Unterberger: Israel Is Europe
Anyone who in recent years has formulated even one positive sentence in reference to Israel usually encounters blank incomprehension. Not just on the left and right, but in the political middle. Even the leftish Viennese culture community does not speak up for Israel at all.
At the very least you hear over and over: criticism of Israel must surely be allowed. Yes, of course; all criticism must be allowed, and is good. What is currently pelting down on Israel began, perhaps, with legitimate criticism, but it has expanded to a threat which, in the end, could not only see Israel destroyed, but also fundamentally threatens the West. The West, first of all, means us Europeans, even though we sometimes seem to forget that, in the absence of any European foreign policy, security policy, or defense policy. The role of the EU in the Near East — the angriest hot spot in the world — is hardly worth a footnote.
Europe’s current policy in the Near East is limited to appeasement. The dirty work — specifically, military action when necessary — has for a long time been left to the much-maligned Americans. Against this background, the “Obama mania” is even less comprehensible. The American president massively raised the number of troops in Afghanistan and raised the USA’s defense budget again. Obama knows that with an appeasement policy as the European pacifists pursue it, you go under. No matter how hopeless the Afghan involvement in its present form may be.
By contrast, in European rhetoric, the Islamists of Hamas are called “resistance fighters” instead of what they are, namely terrorists. The fact that our security is threatened by Islamists of the same stripe as Hamas is forgotten. Anyone who asks why the survival of Israel is in the interests of Europe and why Israel must act harshly should ask what the alternative is.
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Israel is the only democracy deserving of the title in the entire Near East. Surrounding Israel we find either authoritarian regimes like Syria (which is flirting dangerously with Iran) or Egypt. On the other hand there are Islamist regimes like Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran. In Syria, the elder Assad was only able to avert an Islamic revolution through the massive use of military violence. In Egypt, Mubarak is vulnerable to pressure from the radical Muslim Brotherhood. What would happen if Egypt fell into the hands of these Islamists does not bear contemplating.
It is astonishing how small the minority of people has become who will consider these connections in conversations about Israel. Of course, historical responsibility for the fate of European Jews should lead to support of Israel.
But Israel’s survival is primarily in the vital self-interest of the European countries. Extinction threatens not only the Jewish state, but Israelis themselves, if things go as he Islamists want. As they always make quite clear. And there should be no illusion that that this Islamism will spare the Europeans after an extirpation of Israel. Indeed, the destruction of Israel will demonstrate that a modern Western democracy can be defeated. Then all the hate, and all the greed and the whole Islamic drive to expansion will spread out to the lands north of the Mediterranean. As happened in the Middle Ages.
If the democracies do not pull together and regain something like the ability to defend themselves, the they are in danger of being replaced by other models.
All of this should legitimately be called to mind before we — rightly — begin to discuss Israel’s many faults.