As America, and the West, in general, find themselves under attack both physically and culturally, it is no coincidence that America and Israel are considered the two faces of the same evil Satan by so many in the Arab and Muslim worlds.
Both the US and Israel were conceived of on the Idea of individual liberty in a civil society in the promised-land. For Americans, it is called the American Dream. For Israelis it is called Zionism. Some origins of the dream are also shared: The Bible, the idea of a shelter from persecution, the pursuit of individual liberty.
However, this liberty is being attacked, not only from without but also from within. It is sad to note that in the land of free speech, in some of the best universities in the. US, Europe, Israeli and Jewish speakers need police protection to speak out on behalf of Israel, if they are given permission to speak at all. The eminent lawyer and defender of civil liberties, Alan M. Dershowitz, for example, was recently denied any platform altogether in three leading universities in Norway, in Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim, one of which told him that the topic of Israel was "controversial." Of course, no one would ever expect universities to permit "controversial" subjects to be discussed! Does this mean that universities now prefer everyone to be pre-vetted to think alike before they are allowed to speak? Also last winter, in Scotland, the Edinburgh Student Union voted to boycott goods from Israel.
These repressions of democratic processes are really attacks on the entire Western culture and the value of the open exchange of ideas. Attacking Israel is just a convenient manifestation of it: the attackers know there will be no serious consequences to them as there might be if they started boycotting oil from Saudi Arabia, a country that could far more easily be accused of racism and apartheid in its rejection of Christians, Jews and other "infidels and unbelievers," and any religion other than Islam. But then one would have to go without driving one's car or heating one's home, wouldn't one?
The American Anthem speaks of the land of the free and home of the brave. Israel, the size of Vancouver Island, is also the home of the brave: it has shouldered the role of protecting our common freedom, which is tested daily there in the form of rocket attacks on its southern cities, and the danger of exploding cars, armed invaders and other mass civilian threats everywhere else. The defense of both societies rests on the young men and women of their respective armed services who daily require the same breathtaking courage shown -- among other examples of bravery --by the passengers of flight 93 and the firefighters of New York during 9/11. Sometimes a common fate can be seen in the life one person, an American, who served as an Israeli elite commando officer, and was one of the first to stand up against the hijackers of flight 11 as it was flying toward the World Trade Center, and was also one of the first victims of the terror on 9/11.
It is the 10th year since that day, and to it we can add the sacrifices of American soldiers, fighting to eliminate terror in foreign lands, from all the way across the last century to the present.
We hear today prominent people in American politics who do not believe in American exceptionalism and who wish to defer even more to international bodies for major international decisions and validation. They seem to forget that international institutions, such as the U.N., are controlled by the automatic votes of a majority of non-democratic nations, many of which not only fail to respect human rights, but who comfortably murder their own people . It is only the American belief in its special role as a defender of humanity against atrocities, barbarism and tyranny that can keep us all safe.