World News and Trends: The Axis of Envy

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The Axis of Envy

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Joseph Joffe, editor of Die Ziet in Hamburg, Germany, and an associate of the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University, made this observation in the September- October issue of Foreign Policy magazine.

He wrote: "Pick a peace-minded demonstration in Europe these days or a publication of the extreme left or right, and you'll find anti-Israel and anti-American resentments side by side ..."

Mr. Joffe further explained that "Israel and the United States are the most successful states in their respective neighborhoods: Israel in the regional arena, the United States on the global beat. They boast the most fearsome armies, they command impressive technological infrastructures, and the Israeli economy vastly outperforms those of each of its neighbors while the United States has the world's number one economy. Moreover, both are stable, vibrant democracies. One need not invoke Dr. Sigmund Freud to infer that success breeds envy and resentment" (emphasis added).

Mr. Joffe also notes that, regrettably, anti-Semitism is also a factor. American columnist William Safire summarized what former German defense minister Rudolph Scharping said in a Berlin cabinet meeting about the discussions: "It was all about the Jews. Bush was motivated to overthrow Saddam by his need to curry favor with what Scharping called 'a powerful-perhaps overly powerful-Jewish lobby' in the coming U.S. elections."

Could these trends portend a future threat to Israel and the United States? While noting that Europeans are largely exchanging the national identities that led to two world wars for a vague European identity, Mr. Joffe reminds us that Europe was "the fountainhead of the two greatest evils of the 20th century," namely fascism and communism. (Sources: Foreign Policy, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.