New Israel: A Win-Win-Win Proposal

Let me preface this with the following rather obvious denunciations of terrorism in order to avoid charges of pacifism and anti-Americanism now being hurled at those who dare to question the role American foreign policy might have played in the recent attacks. Here goes. The terrorists are 100% guilty, and they and any governments, organizations, or individuals that aided and abetted them deserve severe punishment. They are really bad guys. American intervention and meddling, even if it helped to provoke these savage people and to make such attacks more likely, provide no excuse for the atrocities of September 11. And since I’m discussing Israel below as well, I suppose I had better also say that I explicitly denounce antisemitism, some of my best friends are Jews, yada yada yada. Okay? Got that out of the way? Are all the PC idiots – whose perverse anti-discrimination laws helped contribute to the recent deaths of over 6,000 people – satisfied? Probably not, but let me proceed.

So. The terrorists are completely responsible for their unjustifiable, murderous actions. Nevertheless, it can still be pointed out that American foreign policy is a significant cause of the anti-American hatred which generates terrorism. It is implausible that we are attacked merely because we are “democratic” and they “hate our freedoms,” as George Bush and others, such as neocons and Objectivists, imply. It is beyond cavil that they hate us, at least in part, because we hurt their fellow Muslims (e.g. civilians in Iraq) and aid their hated enemy, Israel. The enemy of my friend, the friend of my enemy, and all that.

Therefore, in addition to hunting down and extirpating those responsible for the recent attacks, we ought to re-examine our foreign policy. As Justin Raimondo writes, citing George Washington’s Farewell Speech, “Our foreign policy should consist of the following principle, one handed down to us by the Founders: entangling alliances with none, free trade with all. It is a foreign policy that puts America first – not Israel, not Kosovo, not Taiwan, not ‘human rights,’ nor ‘democracy,’ but America’s interests, narrowly conceived.” Therefore, we ought to bring the troops home and stop sending billions of dollars a year to prop up regimes such as Israel and Egypt. Calling some of the troops home would, if nothing else, help save money. And if we had a less meddlesome, more properly limited foreign policy, there might well be less hatred of America and thus fewer terrorist attacks on us. We might not eliminate terrorism, but even reducing its level and frequency would save lives.

As noted above, our support for Israel seems to be one reason that so many Arabs hate us. As Norman Podhoretz reluctantly acknowledges, “To be sure, one of the great ‘crimes’ of America in Arab eyes remains its support of Israel.” And Jacob Weisberg begrudgingly admits that for Osama Bin Laden, “the existence of Israel, and of Jews, is a significant irritant,” and that “[o]ur abandonment of Israel might diminish one of Bin Laden’s sources of suicidal recruits.”

So. Under a proper foreign policy we would not be militarily and financially supporting regimes abroad, including Israel and others in the Middle East. This could also be expected to reduce Arab/Muslim hatred of America.

But obviously, it is not politically acceptable for America to completely abandon Israel. Accordingly, I have another proposal: relocate Israel to America.

Yes, I’m serious. Consider: the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) currently administers 264 million acres of public lands – about one-eighth of the land in the United States. Most of these lands are located in the western United States, including Alaska, and include extensive grasslands, forests, high mountains, arctic tundra, and deserts. The federal government has no business owning millions of acres of public lands. These resources should be put into private hands, not hoarded by government.

Combine these insights – we should not be involved in the middle East; the feds have no business owning public forests – with the political reality that we cannot simply abandon Israel and allow it to be overwhelmed by hostile Arabs, and an obvious solution presents itself: offer to Israeli Jews a new homeland, carved out of BLM-administered public lands.

There is plenty room to do it. Israel has an area of only about 5 million acres (7800 square miles), just slightly smaller than New Jersey. Its population includes about 5 million Jews (about the same as the number of Jews already in America). Israel’s area is less than 2% of the public land controlled by the BLM. Perhaps even a smaller area would suffice, say 2 or 3 million acres. Sufficient space could no doubt be carved out of the public land in any number of states – Alaska, Nevada, Wyoming, or Utah, for example. Or, as suggested in the “New Israel” map above, between Nevada and Utah Utah (yellow on the map denotes BLM-administered public land; the red patch indicates a possible location for New Israel). Or, heck, put New Israel up in Alaska’s 19-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (“Anwar”), and lease the oil exploration and production rights to them. The (New) Israelis an oil power – how’s that for turnabout!

I propose, therefore, that we dedicate sufficient BLM land to form New Israel, and grant it special status as an independent territory. After a sufficient number of Israelis (and perhaps some American Jews) moved there, America could recognize it as a sovereign state. New Israel could either be a successor state to treaty and related obligations of Israel, or it could be a new state altogether, if some remnant of Old Israel survived. A treaty between the U.S. and New Israel should guarantee free trade. And New Israel’s status as an independent state would prevent New Israelis from becoming American citizens, which is important because Israelis are socialistic, at least by libertarian standards.

After selecting a location and dedicating it to this purpose, the U.S. government would announce that it is withdrawing all support for Israel within, say, five to ten years (or sooner, if possible). That would give Israelis sufficient time to relocate. We could save $3 billion a year currently sent to Israel or, if politically necessary, use some or all that amount for some time, to help fund the relocation and to provide seed money to New Israeli businesses and homeowners. (Private alternatives would of course be preferable.) Some Israelis might move; others might stubbornly refuse the offer, valuing consanguinity with a specific patch of dirt over their own safety. That is their right, but I do not see that it is America’s obligation to risk its citizens’ lives to protect this preference. Those that would stay, would do so at their own peril. By offering them New Israel, we would be guaranteeing to Israelis a homeland and a better life (albeit, farther away from the Wailing Wall and Arab bombs). This is overly generous, in my view. We would have done all that is required of us, and more.

It might be objected that this proposal is heartless and does not give adequate weight to the importance Jews attach to the “Holy Land.” I appreciate the argument that we should not let Israel and Jewry perish. But the location is secondary; certainly, it is not worth American lives to have the homeland in this place instead of that place. Why must thousands of American lives be lost to terrorism just because one subset of Jews have a preference for an arbitrary longitude and latitude? The primary purpose of a Jewish homeland was always to provide a sanctuary to Jews, not to give them prime real estate. Let them build a new Wailing Wall in New Israel if they want. It’s what Americans would do.

In fact, Theodore Herzl, the so-called “Father of Zionism,” and the Zionist Congress at one point considered forming a Jewish state in both Argentina and Uganda (see also link2, link3, link4). While these plans were of course ultimately rejected, that they were seriously considered indicates that it is not outrageous or antisemitic to propose a homeland in a place other than Israel (Palestine).

If Uganda and Argentina were once considered possible locations for a Jewish state, why not America? Wouldn’t everyone – Americans, Jews, Arabs – be better off? The New Israelis would be closer to civilization and their 6 million Jewish-American cousins; the land would no doubt be more fertile and scenic; and New Israelis would no longer have to put up with bombings and daily fighting. The Arabs would be happier and maybe even hate us a little bit less. They might even tolerate any Jews remaining in Palestine, as their smaller numbers would pose less of a political threat.

As for America, we could save several billion dollars a year by withdrawing aid from Egypt and eventually eliminating financial aid to Israel. We would also get to unload some of our public lands and put it in private hands. Additionally, Americans would no doubt benefit from a closer relationship with the Israelis, a productive, intelligent, and resourceful group (if that is not politically incorrect to acknowledge). And maybe not quite as many Americans would be murdered by Israel-hating Muslim terrorists.

October 1, 2001