The world this week marked the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War while trying to make sense of another murderous rampage in England by believers of a virulent strain of Islam.
Unfortunately, the world’s top diplomat, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, insisted on drawing a shaky line between those two events.
In a statement Monday, June 5, Guterres took a bleak and thus pro-Palestinian view of June 1967. He did not talk about the Arab incitement of that war or Israel’s restraint at not trying to drive farther north or east while its neighbors were reeling.
Guterres focused on the consequences of the war, but not the positive ones. Not the removal of barriers blocking the followers of any religion from their holy sites in Jerusalem. Not the opening of paths to peace between Israel and Egypt or Israel and Jordan. Not the end of the Egyptian occupation of the Gaza Strip or the Jordanian occupation of the West Bank — land seized during Israel’s War of Independence but never handed to the stateless Palestinians.
Guterres highlighted the negative consequences, but not all of them. Not the Jews driven out of Arab nations such as Libya, ending millennia-old communities. Not the deaths of thousands of Israelis in terrorist attacks the past half-century. Not the infamous three no’s of the Arab League: no negotiations, no peace, no recognition.
None of which is surprising. Though Guterres acknowledged the previous week that the denial of Israel’s right to exist is anti-Semitism, and though he is seen as friendly to Israel, he still heads an organization that is better known for issuing mindless, ahistorical denunciations of Israel than for keeping the peace anywhere.
The United Nations has an agency dedicated to nothing but serving the needs — and preserving the status — of Palestinian refugees, so of course the secretary-general is going to think of those Palestinians on the anniversary of the Six-Day War.
We wish he would have taken a balanced approach and cited the Palestinians’ refusal to accept peace and security in their own state and their preference for violence. After all, only eight days earlier he announced the withdrawal of U.N. support for a Palestinian women’s center because it had been named for a terrorist.
But we’re used to elephantine international memories regarding Arab suffering and instant, enduring amnesia about Jewish pain.
What we will never get used to are comments such as this from Guterres: “Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will remove a driver of violent extremism and terrorism in the Middle East and open the doors to cooperation, security, prosperity and human rights for all.”
The logical extension of such thinking is that if only Israel didn’t exist, the Middle East would achieve harmony, and the terrorists slaughtering innocents from Mosul to Istanbul to Paris to London to Manchester to Ottawa to Orlando to San Bernardino would turn in their bombs, automatic weapons, 12-inch knives and car keys and resume peaceful worship.
In other words, terrorism is the result of the Israel problem — or, as those who have slaughtered us in the past termed it, the Jewish problem.
If there’s one lesson Guterres and the rest of the world should take away from the 1967 war, it’s that the era of scapegoating the Jews is over. We don’t know how to stop the killing, whether through Islamist-driven terrorism or supremacist-driven backlash, but we know a long-overdue Israeli-Palestinian peace isn’t the global solution.