April 20, 2003
I heard a radio interview last week with Justice Minister Yosef (Tommy) Lapid in which he assured listeners that he regularly participates in a family Pessah Seder "like all good, traditional Jewish families." In the same breath, Lapid was quick to disassociate himself from one passage of the good old traditional Seder: "We never recite the shfoch hamatcha section," he declared.
This is the prayer asking God to "pour out" His wrath upon the enemies who seek to destroy the Jewish people, inserted in the Seder as the door is opened for Elijah the prophet.
Pour out thy wrath, I guess, is too tough-minded for Lapid. Coming from a Holocaust survivor who ought to know a thing or two about evil and the need for its eradication, I find such sensitivity a bit strange.
Over the past two months the world has witnessed Lapid-style liberal benevolence and kindliness writ large. It is the self-destructive, misguided tenderness that passes for humanism and which leads intellectuals and countries to express sympathy for dictators while shunning and condemning the courageous leaders who lead the way in combating evil.
This Lapid-, and Chirac-, and Schroeder-styled pacifism is the smug tolerance for Saddam Hussein and his ilk that pretentiously, but falsely, calls itself a peace movement. It is the artsy, fashionable sentiment that condemns all war as wrong while in fact endangering the free-thinking world and coddling the evil that deserves all the wrath, including Divine wrath, we can muster.
"Pour out Thy wrath upon our enemies" is part of the Haggada text for a reason: to purposefully exclude and ward off the placid, falsely high-minded thinking that has overtaken so much of today's Western world.
The overpowering global spread of this off-beam humanism explains why President George W. Bush will never win the Nobel Peace Prize. Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt were never seriously considered for the prize, either despite the fact that by championing war against, and defeating, Hitler, they did more for global peace, humanism and liberal democracy than anyone else this past century.
SO TOO Bush's valiant, successful war against Saddam; it will hang back, alas, widowed of any liberal peace prize. Undoubtedly, the denizens of the Nobel would not have awarded Moses a peace prize either. His campaign to free the Jews from Egypt involved the use of violence.
Instead, the Nobel peace prize remains the province of Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat.
Arguably, the wishy-washy thinking of Carter, Annan and Peres, not to mention the bloodthirstiness of Arafat, have brought the world more war, not peace.
Had Carter taken a more aggressive stance toward revanchist Iran and its Islamic expansionism in the early days of the revolution, it's unlikely that today we would be facing Hizbullah and Hamas terrorist threats of the current magnitude. Had Peres held Arafat to the terms of the peace deal Peres himself negotiated, it's certain that Israel would never have fallen prey to so much terrorism.
Had Annan led the UN with wisdom, it would have held Saddam's feet to the fire on the several dozen Security Council resolutions over the past 15 years demanding WMD disarmament. And then, Bush's war to disarm and liberate Iraq might not have been necessary.
Instead, the paragons of virtue sit in French cafes and Norwegian love-boats sniffing pacifism, organizing demonstrations against American and Israeli militarism, and gaily handing out more Nobels for peace. Perhaps next year they'll make Jacques Chirac a laureate.
Wars of ideas are too important to be ignored; and make no mistake, this is an ideological war within the West of enormous significance. Therefore, I think it is time for the creation of an alternative global award for the advancement of peace. Let's call it the Noble Prize for Fighting Evil. Its first recipient: George W. Bush.
Down the road, the Noble Prize for Fighting Evil could be awarded posthumously to Menachem Begin for bombing the Osirak reactor in 1991; to Steven Emerson for exposing the dangers of Islamic fundamentalist terror long before 9/11; to British Prime Minister Tony Blair for staking (perhaps sacrificing) his political career in order to stand by Bush; even to Ariel Sharon for Operation Defensive Shield.
The Noble prize committee might even consider incorporating a version of the Pessah Seder prayer, "Pour out Thy wrath upon those who seek to destroy freedom and democracy," into the award ceremony. Even Tommy Lapid might agree to participate.
The writer is director of public affairs at Bar-Ilan University's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.