and so it has preferred to emphasize insteadrnIsrael’s importance to the UnitedrnStates as a reliable ally blocking incursionsrnby the Soviet Union in the MiddlernEast. With the collapse of the U.S.S.R.,rnthe end of the Cold War, and the Alliedrnvictory (to which the Israelis did not contribute)rnin the Gulf War, the rationalernfor America’s paying enormous, unquestioned,rnand regular “tribute” to Israelrnno longer holds. Accordingly, thernBalls propose that such tribute ceasernforthwith, arguing that Washingtonrnwould be spared a very considerablerndrain on its impoverished Treasury whilernIsrael, forced at last to be self-supportive,rnwould benefit immeasurably from a burgeoningrneconomy freed from statist andrnbureaucratic restrictions. Finally andrnmost importantly, the United Statesrnwould be acting in a principled fashion:rnIn the last few decades, Americarnhas progressively redefined itsrnmoral objectives; it now puts specialrnemphasis on the eliminationrnof colonialism, racial and ethnicrndiscrimination; on the advancementrnof human rights; and on thernremoval of bars to economic opportunityrncreated by inefficientrnstate socialism. These newlyrnprominent values have been givenrnsuch priority in American policyrnthat their distortion by our passionaternattachment to Israel castsrnmortal doubt on the sincerity andrncredibility of our leaders.rnWhile this passage shows the Ballsrnthemselves departing from Washington’srnand the other Founding Fathers’ beliefrnthat the safest nation and the one thatrnmakes the best neighbor is the nationrnthat minds its own business and eschewsrncrusades to remake other countries in itsrnown image (that the responsibility of arnnation, in other words, is to be a nation,rnno more and no less), their account of Israelirnmendacity, tergiversation, duplicity,rnarrogance, and recalcitrance toward itsrnchief ally, friend, and benefactor underscoresrnwhat for the United States mustrnbe the secondary indictment: the documentedrncrimes and maltreatment perpetratedrnon the Palestinian people,rnwhose portion of the original Palestinianrnmandate Israel seized by force of arms inrnthe war of 1948 (what Israelis call theirrnWar of Independence), and Jerusalem’srnabsolute refusal to countenance thernmorally and politically justified demandrnfor a Palestinian state. As the Balls plainlyrnshow, however, the cruelty and intransigencernof Israeli generals and politiciansrnhave been equally balanced by thernweakness and temerity of the Americanrnpolitical establishment, which, with thernexception of President Eisenhower whornin 1956 forced Israel to withdraw herrnarmy from the territory it had seized duringrnthe Suez offensive, has talked principlernto the Jerusalem government (and tornthe world) only to back down abjectlyrnwhen its solicitations were rebuffed. Asrnfor the American people themselves,rntheir negligence and passivity in regard tornthe Middle East can be excused only, asrnthe Balls suggest, by the absence of arnDoughty, a Burton, or a Lawrence fromrntheir literature and by their ignorance ofrnArab history and culture, which has beenrnpresented to them almost exclusively as arntale of barbarity and superstition.rnIt is interesting to read in the Balls’rnbook that Israel and the United Statesrnare currently suffering from a similar social,rnintellectual, economic, and politicalrnrot. If the contemporary American andrnIsraeli brands of nationalism are the onlyrnones available at the start of the 21 strncentury, then by all means let us discardrnthem directly into the maw of Paul Kennedy’srncapacious and ever-yawning dustbinrnand follow the professor in his searchrnfor something new. Nations that are under-rnand over-assertive of their own andrntheir people’s rights are respectively likerntoo-slow and too-fast drivers on the freeway:rnthe cause of historical pile-ups, andrninternational catastrophe.rnOn the Municipal Golf Coursernby Richard MoorernOdor of ploughed-up soil drifts through the evening murk;rntonight my tax dollars are still at work,rndigging sand traps beneath the trees,rnwhere golfers pay no fees.rnForget the crumbling schools, and let us all take pityrnon businessmen, the pillars of our City.rnO the injustice here on earth . . .rnthat men of solid worthrncan be impugned by poets with their puny jokes!rnThis shoddy little poem—what a hoax!rnIf I could join them—sad and wistful,rnI’d grab swag by the fistful.rn36/CHRONICLESrnrnrn