Saturday, December 17, 2016

Block vs. Wenzel on Trump's Nominee for Ambassador to Israel

The below email exchange between Dr. Walter Block and me took place following my posts, WOW Former US Ambassador to Israel Rips Trump's Choice for the Position and Trump Names "Far Rightist On The Israeli Political Map" His Ambassador to Israel.

From Walter Block:
Dear Bob:

It would appear you and I have very different views of the Israeli situation (e.g., your support for criticisms of Trump's appointee, David Friedman).

I base my views on libertarian property rights theory:

Block, Walter E., Alan G. Futerman and Rafi Farber. 2016. “A Libertarian Approach to the Legal Status of the State of Israel.” Indonesian Journal of International and Comparative Law. Vol. 3, Issue, 2, June, pp. 435-553; (a critique of Murray Rothbard)

Futerman, Alan, Rafi Farber and Walter E. Block. 2016. “The Libertarian Case for Israel.” October 13; The Forward;;

On what do you base your views?

Best regards,


Walter E. Block, Ph.D.
Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics
Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business
Loyola University New Orleans
 RW response:
 Dear Walter,

I take no position on the Arab-Israeli conflict. I have no idea who is right and who is wrong and I fear to get to the bottom of the question  would require more time and study than the climate question---and I have no plans to study in depth the climate question even though I consider the climate question more important than picking who should wave the banner of righteous indignation in the AI conflict.

That said, when I am not looking at politics from a pure libertarian perspective, I look at things from a realpolitik perspective.

From that perspective, I take into consideration that I live in the United States and that there is no special meaning to me, a non-Jew, a non-Muslim, concerning the AI conflict.

My view is that the United States should stay out of it just like the hundreds of other conflicts currently going on in various parts of the planet.

That is from a realpolitik perspective I am not interested in aggressively riling up large masses of people across the planet for no damn good reason. The US embassy in Tel Aviv was functioning quite well in that location, there is no reason, as an American with a realpolitik perspective, for me to see this moved to Jerusalem, which Trump's nominee for United States ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, claims must be done.  Muslims will correctly see it as a stand against their claims. It's a crazy foreign entanglement that we should have nothing to do with.

The realpolitik perspective for an American libertarian should be a real America First position. That is to stay out of this stuff.

If you want to go over there, put on combat gear and fight the "good cause," I have no objection, as I have no objection to anyone who wants to go over there, put on combat gear and shoot back at you. (Though I would mourn if they took you out.) But, it is not my battle. It is a long and complex history that is so far down my value scale as something I want to study that I'm not even sure it can be considered as even on my value scale.

Thus, when Donald Trump proposes to name an ambassador who is clearly in the aggressive Israeli camp, who will do nothing other than rile up Muslims (possibly here in the United States) against Americans, I am horrified.

I don't appreciate any US leaders who act in a way through their leadership, or that of their representatives, to put additional targets on our backs. That is what I object to.

America First!

A further response from Dr. Block:

Dear Bob:

We have no disagreement here. I agree with everything you say (an unwise decision on Donald's part from an America first point of view - which I share).

I misinterpreted your inclusion of the attacks on David Friedman as opposition to his specific views on justice in the AI dispute. You have no views on that at all. I've studied that a bit, and have strong views on it. So, no dispute between the two of us on this matter.

Best regards,



  1. I agree with Wenzel as well. And this is one (of only two) areas of Blocks I'm not enthusiastic about - I agree with Jeremy Hammond.

  2. Bob, I am also in agreement that America should take an America First attitude.

    That being said, you really do need to study the history of Muslim interaction with West in order to understand why seeming favoritism of Israeli interests is perfectly compatible with America First. The Muslims do not compromise in the Western sense of the word. Every bit of land that was once Muslim is considered Muslim always. They're still sore over the loss of the Iberian peninsula and to this day talk of reclaiming it! Same with Israel. And the Balkans. They wreaked horrific havoc against the Southern Europeans (ie the Northern Mediterranean coast) for centuries, plundering and enslaving at will due to the lack of determined response (ie Europe First). And so forth.

    Once the Muslims understand that the West won't compromise and won't back down, they themselves will back down (this is how they "compromise"). But extending peaceful overtures in the face of endless efforts to reclaim their losses only inflames them. The only peaceful coexistence possible with them is dominate or be dominated.