My cover story for Foreign Policy magazine, on seven myths about Israel and why they’re misleading, is still available only to paying customers at FP’s own site. But it’s been reprinted by a Texas paper that was kind enough to put it online .
Update: The article is no longer on the newspaper’s site, but at least for now can be read via Google cache here.
Here’s myth #4:
“Israel’s existence is in danger.”
Not anymore. When Israel declared independence May 14, 1948, its Arab neighbors responded by invading. “It does not matter how many [Jews] there are,” said Arab League Secretary-General Abdul Rahman Azzam. “We will sweep them into the sea.”
Instead, disorganized and inexperienced Arab armies quickly crumbled before them. By the war’s end, Israel held more land than the United Nations had allocated it.
Before the June 1967 Six-Day War, as Arab states massed their forces on Israel’s borders, Israelis feared a second Holocaust. Israel’s astonishing victory showed that it had become the regional superpower, a status confirmed when it repulsed Egypt and Syria’s surprise attack in October 1973. Five and a half years later, the peace agreement with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat neutralized Israel’s most formidable foe.
Today, there is no conventional military threat that remotely compares with the alliance led by Egypt. Left isolated by the Israeli-Egyptian peace, Syria has carefully observed a cease-fire since 1974. Afraid to risk full confrontation, Damascus has supported substate forces such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories. They employ terrorist tactics and rocket fire.
Those methods have claimed many Israeli civilians’ lives. But on a national level, they’re equivalent to a chronic illness, not a fatal disease.
For the rest of the debunking exercise, click here .