Democracy & Technology Blog Israel defines a line of demarcation


The Israel Test will be published Jul. 22. The following is an excerpt:

The central issue in international politics, dividing the world into two fractious armies, is the tiny state of Israel.
The prime issue is not a global war of civilizations between the West and Islam or a split between Arabs and Jews. These conflicts are real and salient, but they obscure the deeper moral and ideological war. The real issue is between the rule of law and the rule of leveler egalitarianism, between creative excellence and covetous “fairness,” between admiration of achievement versus envy and resentment of it.
Israel defines a line of demarcation. On one side, marshaled at the United Nations and in universities around the globe, are those who see capitalism as a zero-sum game in which success comes at the expense of the poor and the environment: every gain for one party comes at the cost of another. On the other side are those who see the genius and the good fortune of some as a source of wealth and opportunity for all.
The Israel test can be summarized by a few questions: What is your attitude toward people who excel you in the creation of wealth or in other accomplishment? Do you aspire to their excellence, or do you seethe at it?
Do you admire and celebrate exceptional achievement, or do you impugn it and seek to tear it down? Caroline Glick, the dauntless deputy managing editor of the Jerusalem Post, sums it up: “Some people admire success; some people envy it. The enviers hate Israel.”
. . . . Today in the Middle East, Israeli wealth looms palpably and portentously over the mosques and middens of Palestinian poverty. But dwarfing Israel’s own wealth is Israel’s contribution to the world economy, stemming from Israeli creativity and entrepreneurial innovation.
Israel’s technical and scientific gifts to global progress loom with similar majesty over all others’ contributions outside the United States.
Though Jews in Palestine had been the most powerful force for prosperity in the region since long before the founding of Israel in 1948, more remarkable still is the explosion of innovation attained through the unleashing of Israeli capitalism and technology over the last two decades.
During the 1990s and early 2000s Israel sloughed off its manacles of confiscatory taxes, oppressive regulations, government ownership, and Socialist nostalgia and established itself in the global economy first as a major independent player and then as a technological leader.
Contemplating this Israeli breakthrough, the minds of parochial intellects around the globe, from Jerusalem to Los Angeles, are clouded with envy and suspicion. Everywhere, from the smarmy diplomats of the United Nations to the cerebral leftists at the Harvard Faculty Club, critics of Israel assert that Israelis are responsible for Palestinian Arab poverty. . . .
Denying to Israel the moral fruits and affirmations that Jews have so richly earned by their paramount contributions to our civilization, the critics of Israel lash out at the foundations of civilization itself–at the golden rule of capitalism, that the good fortune of others is also one’s own.
In simplest terms, amid the festering indigence of Palestine, the state of Israel presents a test. Efflorescent in the desert, militarily powerful, industrially preeminent, culturally cornucopian, technologically paramount, it lately has become a spearhead of the global economy and vanguard of human achievement. Believing that this position was somehow captured, rather than created, many in the West still manifest a primitive zero-sum vision of economics and life. . . .

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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.