Israel has largely been abandoned by the world’s democracies – but, like Britain in WW2, that gives it great strength.
In July 1940 the remnants of the British army had limped back from Dunkirk and France had fallen. The US was neutral, providing help to the Brits at the price of the forced sale of every British company in the US and long term leases on Brit territories (not a criticism of FDR – he had no choice).
This isolation had two beneficial effects:
1. The Brits, with no alternative but to fight alone, made enormous sacrifices – spending a much higher percentage of their GNP on the war than the Germans.
2. Without tender-hearted allies to constrain it, the Brits set to burn Germany’s towns, with Churchill saying in September 1940:
“The fighters are our salvation, but the bombers alone provide the means of victory.”
We lost 55,500 aircrew and killed hundreds of thousands of innocents, but created a nation of pacifists, not just in Germany but across the whole of Europe. Here’s Germany’s ambassador to Israel:
“The German public is simply not willing for German soldiers to be killed,”
Stein explains. “It is unwilling for them to become targets for terrorists.” Unlike the United States, Germany, like all of Europe, except for the British in Iraq, is in a post-heroic period. They are not willing to see their soldiers killed in any effort that is not directly related to their own defense.
Europeans do not see themselves, and do not want to see themselves, as responsible for making the world safe for democracy. Furthermore, in Germany and especially in the east, there is a significant pacifist component.”
That’s what happens when your cities are burned and your armies comprehensively defeated.
So the Brit lesson for Israel is that lack of allies will strengthen its peoples’ resolve, enable it to do whatever it takes to destroy its enemies, and to so achieve lasting peace.
(Israel would be vulnerable to UN economic sanctions during a sustained campaign, but that just means it has to fight a quick war – anyway essential given its small population and economy.)