Israeli National flag waving on the top of Mount of Olive with background of residential houses in Jerusalem, Israel
Israeli National flag waving on the top of Mount of Olive with background of residential houses in Jerusalem, Israel

The New Israel Test

Originally published at Gilder's Guidepost

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has once again failed his “Israel Test.”

Divulging his unoriginal thoughts on the horrific invasion of Israel by jihadists from Hamas and other middens of Mid-East murk and malice, he blamed this war on Israel.

While ritually condemning the killings of Israeli civilians, the UN moralist swiftly moves on to his real concern.

“This most recent violence,” he reveals, “does not come in a vacuum. The reality is that it grows out of a long-standing conflict, with a 56-year-long occupation.”

Fifteen years ago, I penned my best, most passionate book. Entitled “The Israel Test: Why the World’s Most Besieged State is a Beacon of Freedom and Hope for the World Economy,” it was initially edited and published by our Richard Vigilante and reissued in a new edition by Encounter Books in 2012.

On the issue of the so-called “occupation,” the book quoted Winston Churchill, who himself said it all in 1939. Responding to parliamentary efforts to withdraw British support for a Jewish state, he described “the magnificent work which the Jewish colonists have done:

“They made the desert bloom…started a score of thriving industries…founded a great city on the barren shore…harnessed the Jordan and spread its electricity throughout the land…”

Then he made the crucial point for today’s crisis. “So far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied…

Churchill continued: “Now we are asked to decree that all this is to stop and all this is to come to an end. We are now asked to submit—and this is what rankles most with me—to an agitation which is fed with foreign money and ceaselessly inflamed by Nazi and by Fascist propaganda.”

Little has changed today. As I wrote in the “Israel Test,” “Everyone knows that the word ‘Nazi’ is used promiscuously in the modern world. But the word does have a real meaning. It means the National Socialist Movement dedicated to murderous anti-Semitism. Socialism everywhere expresses envy of excellence by treating the works and wealth of the successful as the wages of sin. Nazis simply specified the sin as the harvest of a Jewish conspiracy.”

By this definition, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) has always been, at its essence, a Nazi organization. During World War II, the PLO’s spiritual founder, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini declared his view: “Germany is the only country in the world that has not merely fought the Jews at home but has declared war on the entirety of world Jewry; in this war against world Jewry the Arabs feel profoundly connected to Germany.”

After aiding the massacre of Jews in Romania and Bosnia and recruiting Bosnian Muslims into the Nazi forces, Husseini visited Auschwitz. There he urged Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler to extend the holocaust to the some-600 thousand Jews then in Palestine.

Still unsated in his killing frenzies in late 1944, the Grand Mufti launched an attack of parachutists on the Tel Aviv water supply with 10 containers of toxin. Failing in the attempt, he devoted the rest of his life to the cause of destroying Israel.

Arraigned as a war criminal, Husseini gained asylum with the similarly rabid Holocaust celebrants among the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. For his barbarities, the Mufti remains a revered historical figure among the prevailing Palestinians.

This Nazi animus originated long before any of the alleged Israeli offenses that are now cited to justify or extenuate Palestinian atrocities. When Husseini died in 1974, taking up his anti-Semitic cause was his distant relative Yasser Arafat, the PLO leader and eventual Nobel “Peace” laureate.

Arafat characteristically bought Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” in bulk and distributed it to his followers in Arab translation under the title “My Jihad.” Arafat’s successor as PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas, supposedly a “moderate,” devoted his doctoral thesis to a study of what he called “the Zionist fantasy, the fantastic lie that 6 million Jews were killed.”

Contesting Abbas for power and winning Palestinian elections in 2006 was Hamas, whose founding charter and continuing mandate proclaims its devotion to the killing of Jews.

That’s the nature of the Palestinian movement that the world’s most moralistic grandees seek endlessly to appease and justify, blandish and subsidize.

“The Israel Test” pointed to UN chief Guterres’ scores of eminent teachers and precursors. After all, in his reproaches against Israel, the UN leader differed little from most of the paladins of the U.S. State Department, intelligence community, and academy.

Today, these critics of Israel continue their self-righteous pronouncements. From former CIA chief John Brennan to Trump tribune Steve Bannon, from the New York Times to the BBC, they pile on behind Hamas to condemn Israel’s Churchillian leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

Bannon’s complaint is that in the wake of Joe Biden’s apparent election, the Israeli leader put the interests of his nation ahead of President Trump’s effort to contest his electoral outcome. Bannon thus culpably betrayed and misrepresented Trump, who was the nation’s most pro-Israel President and who boldly moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in the teeth of opposition from all the government and academic “experts.”

With an ill-concealed sneer, Bannon implied that Netanyahu had somehow earned his current predicament. All such tut-tut tattlers among the nation’s elite imagine that Israel is somehow a U.S. charity that should show endless and abject gratitude for its sanctimoniously sacrificial benefactors.

In no way do these insidious “defenders” of Israel so clearly concede the National Socialist framing of the debate as on the question of “settlements.” On the “settlements” issue hangs the fate of the several hundred thousand Jews living on West Bank territory.

These so-called “settlements” plant productive people on mostly undeveloped areas of Judea and Samaria that once chiefly sprouted missiles and mortars overlooking Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

The settlers created the wealth and provided the water that enabled massive immigration of Arabs to these lands. Refuting every claim of Arab “displacement” by Jews, the Israelis spurred development and welcomed Arabs thronging to participate in it.

Between the 1967 war and the first “intifada” terror in 1987, Arab settlers moving from Jordan and other Arab countries to the West Bank and Gaza came to outnumber Israeli settlers eight to one.

Nonetheless, ever since Israel’s creation and its accommodation of massive Arab immigration, virtually every Arab state expelled its own Jews. Many residents for generations, Jews in Arab lands then numbered some 800,000 and held some $2.5 billion in land and wealth. Nearly all was expropriated without compensation.

No one should imagine, however, that Palestinians alone are ingrates toward their Jewish benefactors. “The Israel Test” shows that U.S. prosperity, defense, and technological creativity is indispensably reliant on Jewish genius and Israeli ingenuity. Historically and today, the leading U.S. semiconductor company is Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC). From its founding, Intel has been indispensably dependent on Israel for leading engineers and executives, leading-edge chip designs and crucial advanced wafer fabrication. From IBM to Google, other pioneering American technology players depend on Israeli laboratories and inventors.

This dependency continues today. My investment newsletters all are currently exploring the huge promise of the new revolution in materials science and technology represented by the discovery and development of graphene.

You may well already know the pitch. A single atomic layer of carbon atoms that is 200 times stronger than steel and a thousand times more conductive than copper, graphene promises to transform every U.S. industry, from electronics and computation to construction and architecture, from transportation and aerospace to medicine and surgery.

For military and space uses, NASA urges incorporation of graphene “in every part of the space program.”

Yet when I wanted to research the development and application of graphene for everything from biosensors to supercapacitors, from flexible solar panel films to self-driving cars, from construction materials to implants for severed spinal cords, I found I had to go to Israel.

My time theory of money shows that such Israeli contributions to technological progress in graphene and other frontiers of innovation are far greater and more strategic than is gauged by the usual economic metrics and adjusted for inflation by Consumer Price Indices. Propelling the entire world economy for more than half a century have been advances in information technology spearheaded by Israelis. These contributions have radically reduced the work time, measured in universal time-prices, required to earn the money to purchase the fruits of technological progress.

In a dangerous epoch fraught with peril, the Israel test asks whether the world can suppress envy of Jews and recognize its dependence on the supreme contributions of a relatively tiny minority of men and women. The world subsists on hard and possibly reversible accomplishments in medicine, technology, pharmacology, engineering and enterprise. It thrives not on forcibly reallocating land and resources but on fostering their most productive and ingenious uses.

The survival of civilization depends on suppressing envy and jealousy toward achievement, recognizing excellence wherever it appears and nourishing it until it prevails.

We all depend on a vanguard of visionary creators on the frontiers of creativity and genius. We depend now on Israel and Israel depends in part on us. Israel is the pivot, the axis, the litmus, the trial.

Are you for civilization or barbarism, life or death, wealth or envy? Are you an exponent of excellence and accomplishment or of a leveling creed of troglodytic envy and hatred?

That is the “Israel Test,” inescapable today.

George Gilder is a co-founder of Discovery Institute. This piece was originally published in his newsletter Gilder’s Guidepost, which you can sign up for it here.

George Gilder

Senior Fellow and Co-Founder of Discovery Institute
George Gilder is Chairman of Gilder Publishing LLC, located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. A co-founder of Discovery Institute, Mr. Gilder is a Senior Fellow of the Center on Wealth & Poverty, and also directs Discovery's Technology and Democracy Project. His latest book, Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy (2018), Gilder waves goodbye to today's Internet.  In a rocketing journey into the very near-future, he argues that Silicon Valley, long dominated by a few giants, faces a “great unbundling,” which will disperse computer power and commerce and transform the economy and the Internet.