"You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you." - C.S. Lewis
Perspective is the ability to perceive something in its proper context. The Bible's King David had perspective when, as a teen, he was found standing eyeballs-to-bellybutton with the gargantuan man-killer Goliath. Having only a sling and a few stones in-hand and his faith in God in his heart, David assessed the situation, his surroundings, and decided to go for it. From David's view, aloft the mighty power of God, he was actually looking down on Goliath, who didn't stand a chance. David had the right perspective.
Thousands of years later, during World War II, another hero stood against all odds, but his perspective saved the day. Then Lieutenant Colonel Creighton Abrams and his troops found themselves surrounded by the enemy, and rather than accept defeat, Abrams chose to fight. He is quoted saying, "For the first time in the history of this campaign, we are now in a position to attack the enemy in any direction."
And so it is with Israel in 2011.
Humor me long enough to imagine yourself as a citizen of a country that is the size of a city like Houston, Los Angeles or Toronto. Also consider that as an inhabitant of this speck on the map, you must spend your every waking moment wondering if this day will be your last. Will the enemies which utterly surround you fulfill their unified commitment to destroy you and your loved ones - simply because you exist? And every day, Israel, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu look their enemy in the eye and stand their ground. They have the right perspective, but our president does not.
One can only hope President Barack Obama is up to speed on the state of Middle East affairs and especially the Fatah-Hamas alliance and their vow to destroy Israel. The heinous statement suggesting that Israel give up land they fought hard for is not naïveté', but cognizant, reprehensible and malevolent intent. The attempt to backpedal, as soon as the clicking sound of closing Jewish campaign donor pocketbooks was heard - is quite telling.
While other U.S. presidents have made admirable attempts to make peace in the Middle East, Obama is the first to turn his back on Israel, while trying to give to the Palestinians what was never theirs to begin with. There is no country of Palestine nor has there ever been.
Prior to the infamous 1967 Six Day War, Israel made every effort to avoid conflict by attempting negotiations with its hostile neighbors only to be met with threats, taunts and harassments. In 1963, the Arab League organized the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), whose charter called for Israel's destruction. The PLO's guerillas attacked Israeli citizens 35 times in 1965, 41 in 1966 and 37 in the first quarter of 1967, infiltrating Israel from Jordan, the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. Shedding light on the motivation for all the attacks, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser explained, "The danger of Israel lies in the very existence of Israel, "promising Arabs would enter Palestine "with its soil saturated in blood." From 3000 feet above Galilee atop the Golan Heights, Syria joined the attacks by shelling Israeli farms and villages forcing women and children to live in bomb shelters.
Having no choice - after the United Nations refused to intervene on its behalf and America's State Department said America would remain "neutral in thought, word and deed." - Israel proceeded into war alone. In the end, Israel brilliantly captured the Sinai, Gaza Strip, West Bank, Golan Heights-thereby unifying Jerusalem.
From that time, forward, every honest attempt Israel makes in self-defense becomes twisted and contorted into an alternate version of reality. A Middle East expert friend of mine recently told me, "We are in effect codifying insanity by formulating policy based on the legitimacy of the emotional and hysterical Muslim view of the world, which bears no resemblance to historical or political reality."
It truly is all about perspective.
Susan Stamper Brown is a syndicated columnist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org