The Israel Test

I read an excellent book – entitled The Israel Test.  In some ways it takes “the Start-up Nation” one step further, by saying that – yes – Israel has made major achievements that benefit the world – but then, adds, some will celebrate that fact, while others will be resentful of its success.  Netanyahu gets considerable praise for the economic turnaround in the 1990’s which allowed Israel itself to pass “the Israel test”

Some comments on the book are, first from Amazon … Israel is the crucial battlefield for Capitalism and Freedom in our time. George Gilder makes the case for Israel, portraying a conflict of barbarism and envy against civilization and creativity.  Gilder reveals Israel as a leader of human civilization, technological progress, and scientific advance. Tiny Israel stands behind only the United States in its contributions to the hi-tech economy. Israel has become the world’s paramount example of the blessings of freedom.

Hatred of Israel, like anti-Semitism through history, arises from resentment of Jewish success. Rooted in a Marxist zero-sum-game theory of economics, this vision has fueled the anti-Semitic rantings of Hitler, Arafat, Osama, and history’s other notorious haters.

Faced with a contest between murderous regimes sustained by envy and Nazi ideology, and a free, prosperous, and capitalist, Israel—whose side are you on?

The American Thinker has an excellent review of the book here. by Ron Lipsman.  Lipsman begins the review as follows: “In his remarkably philo-Semitic book The Israel Test, George Gilder poses a short series of moral questions to both individuals and nations, the answers to which determine on which side the respondent falls in the ongoing struggle for the political, economic, and cultural soul of the world’s people. Mr. Gilder’s dramatic thesis is stated forcefully and clearly in the opening paragraphs of his book, which I quote in part:
The central issue in international politics … is the tiny state of Israel. The prime issue is not a global war of civilizations between the West and Islam …The real issue is between the rule of law and the rule of leveler egalitarianism, between creative excellence and covetous “fairness,” between admiration of achievement versus envy and resentment of it.

Israel defines a line of demarcation. On one side…are those who see capitalism as a zero-sum game in which success comes at the expense of the poor…On the other side are those who see the genius and good fortune of some as a source of wealth and opportunity for all.

The test can be summarized by a few questions: What is your attitude toward people who excel you in the creation of wealth or in other accomplishment? Do you aspire to their excellence, or do you seethe at it? Do you admire and celebrate exceptional achievement, or do you impugn it and seek to tear it down? Caroline Glick … sums it up: “Some people admire success; some people envy it. The enviers hate Israel.”
Today tiny Israel … stands behind only the United States in technological contributions. In per-capita innovation, Israel dwarfs all nations.”

.. the article,  and the book itself, is well worth reading.

Lipsam comments:

As if the anti-Semites of the world needed another reason to hate the Jews. Gilder has not only highlighted two of the most historic causes of Jew-hatred, but he has wrapped them in a brilliantly colored package, which on the one hand explains much of the vilification of Israel that occurs today, and on the other, will surely attract more hatred in their direction. To explain, let me quickly recall a (probably incomplete) list of seven main reasons for anti-Semitism. The first four of the following are couched in terms an anti-Semite might use.
1. The arrogance of the “chosen people.” That this tiny, in some ways wretched band of people would declare themselves chosen by God, entrusted with His mission of redeeming humanity, and then flaunt their arrogance by holding themselves above all mankind in their perverted pursuit of that goal is insulting, contemptible, and incendiary. Small wonder that their haughtiness has earned them the enmity of most of humanity.
2. Ethical monotheism. As inventors of a demanding morality (embodied in the Ten Commandments), and by their continued promulgation of their God’s moral law, they render uncomfortable many who would prefer not to be bound by the standards of the Jewish God’s dictates.
3. Refusal to accept Christ. They spurned the true Messiah when he appeared on Earth and their continued existence is an affront to the Christian religion, which superseded the original mandate the Jews received from God.
4. Infidels. They rejected Mohammed and they epitomize the infidels of the world who stand in the way of a worldwide caliphate and the global reign of Islam.
5. Generally obnoxious. I am not engaging in self-hatred here, yet I think that it is not incorrect to assert that no other ethnic group has a leg up on the Jews in the category of “behaving obnoxiously.”
6. Money-grubbers. With their seemingly natural affinity for commerce, the Jews of the world, in their roles as bankers, investors, entrepreneurs, accountants, and businessmen, have proven repeatedly that their ability to accumulate wealth — sometimes deemed at the expense of others — far exceeds that of their neighbors, thereby engendering the envy and resentment of Gentiles.
7. Unnatural success. Envy and resentment of the Jews is not restricted to their role in commerce. In the arts, sciences, technology, politics, law, and even war (at times), the achievements of this tiny tribe is so far above the median that it causes wonder and amazement. The ensuing reaction of many is more than envy and resentment. It encompasses a belief that the Jews must be lying, cheating, and stealing from the Gentiles — behavior that merits punishment and retribution.
It is the last two reasons that Gilder has highlighted and conjoined. How? Well, in the last two decades, Israel has performed a sharp about-face in regard to its fundamental economic philosophy. Its founders a century ago were hardcore socialists, and the Labor Party that unilaterally ruled the nation (from pre-State days until thirty years ago) represented that mentality. From Labor’s fall in 1977, it took more than fifteen years for the nation to overcome its economic blindness. But beginning in the last decade of the 20th century, Israel finally unleashed the entrepreneurial power of its highly educated and creative citizenry. The Zionists became capitalists.

.. here is an interview with  George Gilder

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