Israel has a population of about 10 million and is home to about half the world’s Jewish population.
After the mass murder by Nazi Germany of six million Jews, the founding idea for modern Israel was that it would provide a refuge for Jews to return to their biblical homeland in the Middle East.
Anti-Israel protestors in the Middle East and the West, as well as at prestigious American universities, continue to chant death threats, “Palestine is free from the river up to the sea.” The slogan they use is a shorthand way of erasing the Jewish state and all its inhabitants.
There is no chance for Jews to live in peace under the current Middle Eastern governments. Nearly a million Jews, despite living in the Arab world for hundreds of years, were forced out of all major Arab countries, including Algeria, Egypt, and Libya.
Anti-Israel hate is still a common occurrence in the majority of the 500 million Arabs and among the 1.6 billion Muslims at the United Nations.
Israel is just one of many small and vulnerable states. The majority of these states are located in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean, which is a volatile region. All are surrounded by hostile neighbors. All are surrounded by hostile neighbors.
The bitter proxy war between Azerbaijan and Armenian forces along the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh corridor ended recently with the defeat of Armenian forces. Azerbaijan, which is Muslim and speaks Turkish, expelled 120,000 ethnic Armenian Christians from the area shortly before Hamas’ massacre of Jews in October 2007.
The current ethnic cleansing of Nagorno Karabakh comes just a few years after the Turkish genocide against Armenians, which led to over 1 million Armenians being forced out of their ancestral home and killed.
Christian Armenia is smaller than Israel, with just 3 million residents. It is also nearly surrounded by hostile Muslim states. In the case of Israel, the world either ignores or doesn’t care about the familiar, brutal scene that is now repeated with the same aggressive actors.
Christian Greece, a NATO member and European Union Member, is also similar to Israel with its population of 10,5 million. More than 400 years ago, Greece was under Ottoman Turkish occupation. Around a century before, Turkish forces ethnically wiped out Greeks in ancient Ionia, including its capital Smyrna. This was the homeland of the Greeks for millennia.
It shares a border, like Armenia, with its historical aggressor Turkey. The Turkish military is currently overflying the Greek islands near Asia Minor. The historically volatile Balkans are located to the north of Greece. Overlooking the Mediterranean, a number of violent and unstable North African countries are the main source of illegal immigration to Greece.
The tiny nation of Cyprus is also vulnerable. Cypriots have a history of invasions and occupations. In 1974, Cyprus was divided between Greek and Turkish states after Turkey had invaded the island and forced 200,000 Greeks to leave their homes of centuries in the north.
All these vulnerabilities of small nations are not abstract theories or ancient history. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, recently commented on tensions that are currently affecting them all.
Erdogan, who has been threatening to launch a missile shower into Athens amid growing concerns over Turkish violations of Greek Air Space in the Aegean Sea, said: “We could come down one night at the right time.”
Erdogan has also threatened Israel with a similar warning about a preemptive nighttime missile attack by Turkey, boasting that Turkey “could come at any time unexpectedly.” He has also sounded ominous about the massacres of October 7 and Israel’s response in Gaza. “We will tell all the world that Israel is a war criminal.” “We are preparing for this.”
Erdogan boasted that he would continue the mission his grandfathers had carried out in the Caucasus for centuries. Erdogan’s remarks referred to both the Ottoman conquest and the Turkish efforts to ethnically purge Armenians in the early twentieth century.
All these small, vulnerable countries have transparent elections that respect individual rights. This is in stark contrast with their larger, more aggressive neighbors. They depend on Western alliances for their very existence – the European Union, NATO, and the United States.
They all suffered disasters because of their differences in religion, ethnicity, and history from their neighbors. And they were either seen as expendable or irrelevant by their supposed Western allies and patrons.
If we are not careful, what supposedly cannot happen again, most surely will.