Even President Barack Obama understands that credible threats to annihilate Israel are now commonplace. Such threats, sometimes boisterous, sometimes subtle, originate in several different countries. Were it not for Israel's "bomb in the basement"—its still unacknowledged nuclear force—these more or less openly genocidal warnings would portend authentically existential harms.
Applying economic sanctions to Iran has always been foolish. Soon, Iran will join the Nuclear Club. When this happens, Tehran's membership may coincide with a persisting Iranian leadership belief in the Shiite apocalypse. Israel, therefore, could soon face not only more Palestinian suicide-bombers (Obama's recycled plans for a "Two-State Solution" will only enlarge Palestinian terrorism), but also a "suicide state."
Barack Obama still refuses to understand something very important and fundamental to "peace." The goal of all of Israel's Islamist enemies remains Jewish extermination. Significantly, this goal is generally unhidden. In the bitterest of ironies, an ancient nation that was ingathered and reborn to prevent another Holocaust has now become the determined focus of a second "Final Solution."
President Obama does not understand. The goal of all of Israel's enemies, especially Iran and the now-impending Palestinian state, is to be left standing while Israel is made to disappear. For these enemies, there can be no coexistence with Israel. Never. This is because their own survival presumably requires Israel's extinction.
In his Cairo speech, Obama put new wine in old bottles. Again, Mr. Obama extolled the clichéd virtues of a twisted cartography. Ironically, in the fashion of his predecessor, Mr. Obama also offers the "Road Map to Peace in the Middle East." Yet, like the always ill-fated Oslo Agreements that came before, this one-sided plan is premised on Israel's coerced acceptance of land for nothing.
Yet again, Israel is being asked by Washington to collaborate in its own disappearance. It would be a fatal mistake for Israel to share Mr. Obama's belief that reason can govern the world. It would be a grievous error for Israel to continue to project its own Western, rational, and humane sentiments upon the most relentless and barbarous jihadist foes. It would assuredly be a "life risk" for Israel to seek to endure by continuing to cling to numbingly false promises and manifestly false hopes.
Barack Obama will not save Israel. Once Iran had decided to launch nuclear missiles at Israel—a plausible prospect in a few years—Washington's only real assistance would be to help Jerusalem bury the dead. For this, whole Israeli cities would have to become cemeteries.
Whether in Gaza, West Bank (Judea/Samaria), or Tehran, Israel's jihadist enemies wish to kill Jews because any such homicide is felt to be a sacred obligation. For these enemies, killing Jews is a uniquely praiseworthy expression of religious sacrifice. Such killing is expected to confer immunity from personal death. Could there ever be a more precious or compelling expectation?
There is no greater power in world politics than the power over death. The idea of death as a zero-sum commodity—"I kill you; I therefore remain alive forever"—has been explained elsewhere. It is captured perfectly, for example, in Ernest Becker's paraphrase of Nobel laureate Elias Canetti: "Each organism raises its head over a field of corpses, smiles into the sun, and declares life good."
To stay alive, Israel must finally understand what psychologist Otto Rank revealed: "The death fear of the ego is lessened by the killing, the Sacrifice, of the other; through the death of the other one buys oneself free from the penalty of dying, of being killed." This difficult insight is at the very heart of Islamist orientations to Israel. But Barack Obama does not understand.
Israel's enemies, in order to remain standing—and to prevent Israel from standing up—seek to sacrifice the Jewish State on an endlessly bloodstained altar of war and terrorism. Sacrifice is central to what is now happening in the Middle East. Genocidal destruction of Israel is integrally part of a system of religious worship that is directed toward an enhancement of life, and—simultaneously—the conquest of personal death. No "Road Map" can possibly compete with such a system.
Prof. Louis René Beres of Purdue University lectures and publishes widely on Israeli security matters. Beres was chairman of Project Daniel, meant to ensure that the Jewish People never experience another Holocaust.