Probably enough has been said about Israel, but little of it concerns common sense. People are too busy defending their allegiances -- or their cash supporters -- to mention the obvious: decaying empires love foreign wars to distract their populations.
Everyone can get behind a foreign war. "Go get the bad guy! He threatens our freedom!" -- so we troop off to Afghanistan, to Viet Nam, to Iraq, to Cuba, to Grenada, to Lebanon, or wherever. Flags come out, patriotism blares over the radios, and we consider it a great victory when political objectives are achieved.
Yet the situation itself never changes. Soon a new war is needed.
Israel's policy has been for some years now to hold off its Arab nations with two powers: its submarine-delivered nuclear missiles and the military might of the United States. Jews and Muslims know their faiths are incompatible and that one alone can rule the Middle East.
An intelligent policy for Israel would be to admit that only ethnic Jews belong in Israel, and to exclude all others and cease trying to influence broader policy in the region. This contradicts the Western mandate of multiculturalism and would make Israel an obvious "bad guy" according to centuries of Judeo-Christian thought, so this cannot be publically admitted. A grotesque compromise results.
When Muslims look at the United States, they see a country that elects exclusively church-going leaders. They see a right wing dominated by radical Christian interests, and a left predominantly financed and driven by radical Jewish interests. They see AIPAC, the American-Israeli Political Action Committee, be accused of stealing state secrets and exeuting phone taps, and no vast action being taken.
It is no surprise that when Osama bin Laden refers to America as "the Crusaders" he is given rounds of applause. He predicted that combined Jewish and Christian forces would attack Islam, and with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq he has been proven right. Furthermore, he is about to be proven right again, because there will be no resolution to the current Israel-Lebanon "crisis."
A world without either Jews or Muslims would be a form of poverty. Both groups have made immense contributions to culture and learning disproportionate to their numbers (for the record: so have Europeans, to a wider degree). Both have respectable traditions of learning and culture and religious discipline that are admirable on every continent. Both are incompatible with the other.
Islam is a religion of self-negation; Judaism is a religion of self-affirmation. Islam is a religion of struggle for the higher soul shared by all life, where Judaism is a religion for struggle of individual definition. While once ethnically similar, the two groups have diverged -- Jews have become increasingly European in character, where Muslims have become increasingly Asiatic. Compatibility is not an option.
Jewish populations have thrived in some Muslim countries, thanks to tolerant leaders and the tendency of those populations to keep to themselves and avoid offending local conventions (sensible behavior for any long-term guests). The same cannot be said of Israel, but this reflects the split between Jewish and Muslim populations: Israel has pursued modernity and technological wealth, where Muslims have pursued tradition and religion. Thus in Israel the role of Muslim is most commonly similar to that of Mexicans in the United States, as imported browner labor to which a pittance is paid.
This is a situation that, despite its popularity with voters, will not end well...