Archive for June, 2012

A green light to attempt genocide

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
Iranian VP Mohammad-Reza Rahimi views Israel's border from Lebanon

Iranian VP Mohammad-Reza Rahimi views Israel’s border from Lebanon

News item:

TEHRAN — Iran’s vice president delivered a baldly anti-Semitic speech on Tuesday at an international antidrug conference here, saying that the Talmud, a central text of Judaism, was responsible for the spread of illegal drugs around the world…

Mr. Rahimi, second in line to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said the Talmud teaches to “destroy everyone who opposes the Jews.”

The “Zionists” are in firm control of the illegal drug trade, Mr. Rahimi said, asking foreign dignitaries to research his claims. “Zionists” is Iran’s ideological term for Jews who support the state of Israel.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will pay for anybody who can research and find one single Zionist who is an addict,” Mr. Rahmini said. “They do not exist. This is the proof of their involvement in drugs trade.” …

Mr. Rahimi … told stories of gynecologists’ killing black babies on the orders of the Zionists and claimed that the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 was started by Jews, adding that mysteriously, no Jews died in that uprising.

He also said the Talmud teaches Jews to think that they are a superior race. “They think God has created the world so that all other nations can serve them,” he said. Halfway through his speech, Mr. Rahimi said there was a difference between Jews who “honestly follow the prophet Moses” and the Zionists, who are “the main elements of the international drugs trade.”

This kind of rant serves several purposes. On the most basic level, a great majority of the world’s Muslims probably believe him (although I doubt that the same could be said for Iranians). Belief that Jews are essentially evil in multiple ways leads to dehumanization, stage 3 in Stanton’s 8 stages of genocide.

On a more emotional level, it doesn’t matter if a listener — or even the speaker — believes it or not. It is intended as a message of hate, a verbalization of the upraised middle finger, and a threat. It’s more of an action than an utterance.

It sends a message to other enemies of Israel as well. It says “we are not afraid of them, we will tell them to their faces that we intend to kill them.”

This is not the first time an Iranian official has sent this same message: “you are not human, we hate you, we will exterminate you.” Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khameini and President Ahmadinejad have both compared Israel to a “cancerous tumor,” with obvious implications.

The Israeli leadership — especially PM Netanyahu — has a sense of history and understands that threats like this have to be taken with the utmost seriousness.

This is a test, but not for Israel, which already understands what it is facing. It is a test for the “international community,” whose representatives were present at the conference and heard this atavistic Jew-hatred, as vile as anything that came from Hitler’s propagandists.

European diplomats in attendance expressed shock. Even Iranian participants in the conference, co-sponsored by Iran and the United Nations, privately wondered at their government’s motive for allowing such a speech, even given its longstanding antagonism toward Israel…

A European diplomat said afterward: “This was definitely one of the worst speeches I have heard in my life. My gut reaction was: why are we supporting any cooperation with these people?”

Now there is no excuse for pretending that the Iranian regime is anything other than it is. They have seen the face of the beast. Will they close their eyes to its intentions, as they did to Hitler’s?

The reaction of the European diplomat quoted above wasn’t encouraging:

But the diplomat, who declined to be identified by name or country, defended his presence at the conference. “If we do not support the United Nations on helping Iran fight drugs, voices like the one of Mr. Rahimi will be the only ones out there,” he said.

Do we really need to explain to a ‘diplomat’ that Rahimi speaks for the regime? That his voice is “the only one out there” in Iran? Of course not.

If the reaction from the “community,” particularly the US, is not swift and substantial — a retraction and apology must be demanded — then it will be taken as a green light.

A green light to attempt genocide.

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When does free speech become sedition?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
Neturei Karta leader Rabbi Moshe Hirsch shakes hands with the Devil, 2003

Neturei Karta leader Rabbi Moshe Hirsch shakes hands with the Devil, 2003

In a democratic state where freedom of expression is cherished, can we place limits on expression when the very foundation of that state is attacked? Is there a point at which the state can say “if that’s how you feel, go live somewhere else?”

News item,

Three members of the radical ultra-Orthodox sect Neturei Karta were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion that they had vandalized a Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial earlier this month as well as several additional sites commemorating fallen IDF soldiers in the Jordan Valley.

“Hitler, thank you for the wonderful Holocaust” was one of the slogans spray painted some two weeks ago on the open campus of Yad Vashem, Israel’s main Holocaust memorial site…

Judea and Samaria District Police found spray cans in the suspects’ homes as well as posters inciting against the state and PLO flags, Army Radio reported Tuesday…

The three, aged 18, 26 and 27, call themselves the “Palestine Jews.” They confessed to the crimes and remarked that they had committed the act out of hatred toward the Zionist entity and the state.

There is no doubt that if they are convicted of the crime of vandalism they should be punished. But is the state required to tolerate residents who express hatred of “the Zionist entity” in any form?

In the US, almost all such expression is permitted (there are exceptions). But the population here is almost 312 million people, and only a tiny proportion of those want to overthrow the Constitution. Israel has about 7.6 million, and when you include fanatics like the “Palestine Jews,” Arab nationalists, Islamists, and extreme leftists or anarchists, it becomes a significant proportion of the population.

Consider the extreme academic Left, which literally dominates academic departments in some Israeli universities. They regularly call for a binational state, support boycott-divestment-sanctions, compare Israel to Nazi Germany, sign petitions favoring a right of return for Arab refugees, etc. (details are here).

Another example is the Israeli Arab (oops, ‘Palestinian resident of Israel’) organization Adalah. Supported by the US-based New Israel Fund, Adalah is openly anti-Zionist, advocating for a right of return, for Israel to admit its guilt and compensate Arabs for the nakba [disaster] that was the founding of the state, change its flag and national anthem, and give Arabs a veto power over all decisions of the Knesset.

Then there is the Islamic Movement in Israel. The leader of its Northern Branch, Ra’ed Saleh, openly supports Hamas and has incited riots in Jerusalem several times with claims that Israel is trying to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque.

The vandals of Neturei Karta have been around for years, appearing at anti-Israel demonstrations around the world. They were paid by Yasser Arafat and even visited Tehran where they embraced Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There are other Hareidi extremists that are less well-known, but also oppose the Jewish state, while accepting its charity and protection.

When does this become too much for a small state which does not lack for external threats?

There is a word for the behavior of the groups described here — sedition — and a surprising number of liberal democracies have laws against it. Perhaps Israel should as well?

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Reality vs. fantasy

Monday, June 25th, 2012

I spent the weekend in the Sierra at 8500 feet. No Internet, not even cell service. When I returned, I found that the army had allowed Mohammad Morsi to be elected president of Egypt. Although the struggle for control isn’t over, I think that barring a violent confrontation (which the generals don’t appear to want), what we can expect is a gradual consolidation of power into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood.This doesn’t mean that war with Israel is imminent or inevitable, but it does mean that it will be impossible to depend on Egyptian security forces to prevent — or even to not abet — terrorism on the southern border. It also means that the position of Hamas, the Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, will be greatly strengthened.

This is just one of the recent developments that have increased pressure on Israel. The emergence of Turkey as a hostile power, the determination of Iran in pursuit of nuclear weapons and the West’s tepid response, the ascendance of Hizballah in Lebanon, the threat from Syria’s non-conventional arsenal, the weakness of  the non-hostile (we can’t quite use the adjective ‘friendly’) regime in Jordan, the unprecedented anti-Israel atmosphere in much of Europe — all of these combine to make Israel’s security situation as dangerous as it has been at any time since 1948.

As I wrote last week, the lever that Israel’s enemies depend on, our own Sudeten Germans, are the Palestinian Arabs. At this historical moment, as external threats mount, so does the force applied to this lever. It is absolutely necessary to develop a consistent and reality-based policy towards the Arabs of the territories (and also the so-called ‘Palestinian citizens of Israel’, as well as the Arabs who are permanent residents of Jerusalem but choose not to be citizens). But we continue to be bombarded with fantasies that have nothing to do with the world in which we live.

Martin Sherman boils over with frustration at the disconnect between the prescriptions offered and the real world:

Take for instance Dennis Ross’s latest “contribution” at this week’s Presidential Conference in Jerusalem – where he prescribed that Israel should not only undermine its security, but its economy as well, “to restore belief in a two-state solution.”

Predictably, Ross studiously disregarded the fact, once so compellingly conveyed by his host Shimon Peres, that “if a Palestinian state is established, it will be armed to the teeth. Within it there will be bases of the most extreme terrorist forces, who will be equipped with anti-tank and anti-aircraft shoulder-launched rockets, which will endanger not only random passersby, but also every airplane and helicopter taking off in the skies of Israel and every vehicle traveling along the major traffic routes in the Coastal Plain.”

Ross suggested that the first step Israel should take to demonstrate that it is serious about a Palestinian state in the “West Bank” is to publicly announce that the government will provide financial compensation to settlers who are prepared to leave their homes and to move to “Israel proper.”

Of course Ross, who today serves as a counselor for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and was a senior director in Barack Obama’s National Security Council, offered no assurances that what is sweeping through the Arab world would not sweep through “Palestine” or what occurred in Gaza would not occur in Ramallah. Nevertheless, he suggested that the government go ahead and plan not only to bring millions more Israelis within the range of weapons being used today from territory Israel ceded to the Palestinians, but it should take measures that would increase both the demand (and hence the price) of housing in country, and the unemployment. Stupid or subversive?

Even in the early 1990’s, when Iran and Iraq were exhausted and the Soviet Union had recently collapsed, the chance of a positive outcome from a “two-state solution” was negligible. Arafat’s PLO insisted — on pain of death — that it was the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people,” and of course as we found out, had no intention of creating a peaceful state alongside Israel.

Today, after almost 20 years of Arafat’s educational system and media, the rise of Hamas, and the Second Intifada (which some call “the Oslo War”), the idea that yet another partition of the land set aside for “close Jewish settlement” by the Palestine Mandate could somehow end the conflict is as likely as the development of a perpetual motion machine or warp drive (actually, warp drive is more practical).

Despite this, the official position of the Government of Israel and its “hardline, right-wing” Prime Minister is to seek such a partition. The intention of the Obama Administration is to try to make it happen, almost entirely by pressuring Israel to make concessions. The official positions of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Union of Reform Judaism support it (in the US, opposition to the two-state solution is a litmus test for extremism of the Right or Left). And of course, many ‘experts’ like Dennis Ross have been presenting it as the Holy Grail since the 1980’s.

Sherman is almost beyond words:

For in light of the recurring failure of [the two-staters] prognoses, there are only two explanations for their obduracy – malice or idiocy. And whatever the truth is, it must be exposed.

As I like to say, “stupid or evil?” But there is a third possibility: mental illness, in particular, “Oslo Syndrome”. That’s another topic.

In any event, Sherman does not vent his anger only on the Left:

But when confronted with such infuriating dogmatism on the one hand, and inept dereliction on the other, everyone has his limit when it comes to courtesy and decorum.

And there are indeed limits – a limit to how long one can extend the benefit of the doubt to those who insist on advancing a consistently failed policy and still continue to believe they are doing so in good faith.

Or a limit on continuing to believe that those who ostensibly oppose this policy, but refrain from offering any real alternative, are sincere in their opposition to it. [my emphasis]

Mea culpa. I am one who criticizes the Left but doesn’t present alternatives. So I will outline an alternative now. I will leave it to the experts to fill in the details.

The Left continually says that the status quo is unacceptable; that if Israel doesn’t take “bold steps for peace” (by which they mean some form of surrender), then the international community will force Israel to accept a solution which will be worse for it. I am not sure about what the “international community” can or cannot do, but I do understand that the status quo is bad.

It is bad for the Jewish residents of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem who have to deal with ongoing ‘misdemeanor terrorism’ like stone-throwing, which can easily become felony terrorism, like murder. It is bad for Israelis inside the Green Line, for the same reason. It is bad for Israel’s economy, and it is bad for Israelis who have to do reserve duty. It is bad because the so-called ‘occupation’ is used to transform self-defense into oppression, providing a never-ending justification for anti-Israel UN resolutions, prosecutions of officials, ‘human-rights’ investigations, etc.

The Left is right: the status quo is unacceptable. And they are right that it cannot continue forever. World opinion is increasingly getting used to the mistaken idea that the territories are ‘Palestinian’. Israel needs to take “bold steps.” For example:

  1. Israel will issue a white paper explaining that the Jewish people are the primary benficiary of the Mandate, and have prima facie rights to settle in all of the territory from the Mediterranean to the Jordan.
  2. The paper will also state that the PLO has abrogated the Oslo agreements by continuing terrorism (to the point of war) and incitement, by not changing its charter, and by presenting a unilateral declaration of statehood to the UN.
  3. Israel will determine what parts of Judea and Samaria are either heavily populated by Jews, or strategically or historically important, and annex these areas. Arabs living in them will have the option of accepting Israeli citizenship or receiving compensation and leaving.
  4. Part of the application for citizenship — for anyone, Jew or Arab — will be a declaration of loyalty to a Jewish, democratic state. Incidentally, this is presently a requirement for Knesset membership (Meir Kahane was not allowed to take his seat on these grounds). It should be enforced for Arab MKs too.
  5. Israel will close and defend its borders.

Will there be an outcry in the “international community?” You bet. But the aforesaid “community” is now fixed on the idea that the only solution is to force Israel to commit suicide by agreeing to a partition that will provide its enemies a platform to destroy it. So there will be an outcry anyway.

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Why there are Palestinians

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Yaakov Lozowick has written a fascinating report on a newly declassified transcript of the Israeli cabinet’s discussion about what to do with the captured territory immediately after the Six Days War.

Something he said struck me:

Sometime in the 1980s the general perception of the conflict changed. No longer seen as Arab rejection of a Jewish State, the conflict was understood as a conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, which the Arab world would maintain only until the two central protagonists reached an accommodation. Since the Israelis and Palestinians have not yet reached accommodation this proposition has never been tested, a fact which contributes to its explanatory power. 1967, however, was before the 1980s, and participants and observers the world over saw the conflict as an Arab-Jewish conflict, with the local Arabs playing a subordinate role; they were not generally referred to as Palestinians.

I know this is hard to believe, but it’s true.

Yesterday I fantasized about how the world would relate to Israel if there were no Palestinians. My answer was “not all that differently.” Not only would non-Palestinian-related geopolitical issues like Turkish neo-Ottomanism and Iran’s ‘tomorrow the world’ attitude still create conflict, but there is that old regret in Europe that maybe the idea of allowing a Jewish state was an overreaction to the mess of WWII. And in the Arab world — where Palestinians are only valued as victims of Israel and treated badly in any other context — Jewish sovereignty has always been seen as a crime against Allah.

Suddenly, sometime after the 1973 war and succeeding oil price spike, there was an explosion of concern for the Palestinians. The UN has since then established what seem like dozens of agencies and functionaries relating to their ‘plight’, despite the fact that Arab citizens of Israel and those “under occupation” have fared much better economically and have more individual freedom than Arabs anywhere else in the Middle East. This has become even more clear as the great majority of Arabs in the territories are now ruled by Hamas or the corrupt Palestinian Authority (PA).

This is a point, incidentally, which many miss: very few Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens live under Israeli administration any more. Oh, there is still a blockade of Gaza which prevents weapons and explosives from arriving by sea, but the Egyptian border is essentially open, and Israel does not interfere with deliveries of food, gas and other staples across its land border. And while the PA doesn’t have full sovereignty in Judea and Samaria — the IDF enters Palestinian areas from time to time to arrest wanted terrorists — the PA does govern the day-to-day lives of the residents, often to their great unhappiness.

In other words, the ‘yoke of occupation’ under which the Palestinians are groaning these days is more or less whatever security measures are necessary to prevent them from killing Israelis.

Nevertheless, we have the aforementioned UN functions, the numerous NGOs supported by the European Union, the massive Human Rights industry and of course all of the student groups, academic champions and ad hoc organizations concerned with the condition of the Palestinians.

Why is this?

The centrality of the Palestinians in the political life of the world today is not accidental. And in order to understand it, I want to do the opposite thought experiment to the one I did yesterday:

Let’s imagine that all the Israelis disappeared tomorrow. What would happen?

After the initial candy distribution and ceremonial firing of rifles in various directions, Hamas, unrestrained by the IDF, would quickly swallow up the PLO. Unrepentant Fatah-ists would be tossed off tall buildings, and the long-awaited Islamic Republic of Palestine would be declared.

But then what? Would mutual enemies Iran, Turkey and Egypt — all of which support Hamas today — continue to do so? Or would Egypt grab what it could, Syria retake the Golan, Hizballah invade the Galilee, maybe even Jordan try to get Jerusalem back?

Europe and the US, after some lip service to decry the violence, would quickly lose interest. Perhaps the New Ottomans would try to step into the power vacuum. The one thing that would almost certainly not happen would be the development of a stable Palestinian state:

  • Because the Palestinians do not have institutions, only militias.
  • Because they don’t have an economy, only international donors.
  • Because they don’t have a national consciousness, only tribal loyalties.
  • Because nobody, not the UN, not the Arabs, not even the Palestinian leadership itself, cares about the actual Palestinians.

The “Palestinian people” are useful for one and only one reason, as a weapon against the Jewish state. And their prominence, their 15 minutes of fame on the world stage, was granted to them by the Arab and European enemies of Israel, who would take it away in a moment once their function was performed.

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The Rapture of the Palestinians

Monday, June 18th, 2012
No, they don't look Palestinian. But the picture is evocative anyway.

No, they don’t look Palestinian. But the picture is evocative anyway.

By Vic Rosenthal

At exactly 6 PM on November 29, 2012 (the UN’s “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People”), Allah in His mercy transported all 11,000,000 ‘Palestinians’ — those living in Israel and the territories, in refugee camps in various Arab countries, and in their worldwide diaspora — to heaven, where they received the rewards denied them on earth.

After collecting the piles of clothing, Kalashnikovs and explosives left behind by the departing Palestinians, Israelis heaved a sigh of relief. Now that they could no longer be accused of mistreating Palestinians, they would be welcomed into the family of nations.

No such luck.

On the day after the Rapture, UNRWA officials announced a crash program to hire new employees to replace the 29,700 out of 30,000 who were Palestinian. “We have a huge task ahead of us,” said John Ging, head of UNRWA in Gaza, as he walked through the deserted streets of Gaza City, among wind-whipped black ski masks and green headbands. “One we get staffed up again, we’ll begin the task of repopulating the refugee camps. Maybe we can get Egyptians to live here — they don’t have any food in Egypt.” Deftly stepping over a Qassam rocket rolling on the sidewalk, he continued: “After all, we can’t let the Zionists come back. And we have $1.2 billion to distribute!” In the distance, the detonation of an empty suicide belt was heard.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon issued a statement, in which he congratulated the Palestinians, and wished them luck in finally achieving Fatah-Hamas unity. “But we must keep in mind,” he said, “that there are still many obstacles to peace in the Middle East to be overcome, such as Jewish settlement construction. And the lack of Palestinians may slow down negotiations for Israeli withdrawal.”

The New York Times, in an editorial, agreed, and added sternly that “the hardline right-wing Netanyahu government should be put on notice that this event does not give it the right to violate international law and Judaize the city of Jerusalem, which is holy to three great religions, and which some Arabs probably want as capital of their future state.”

In his column, Thomas L. Friedman suggested that perhaps the disappearance of the Palestinians opened up a long-awaited window of opportunity: “If the hardline right-wing Likudniks over there would just get down on their bellies and crawl to Riyadh where they can bow to the King the way Obama did, then maybe there could be progress,” said Friedman. “But they must act quickly, before the world loses patience.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the possibility of a miracle. “If anybody brings Muslims to heaven, it’s going to be me, and it’s not going to be those Sunni heretics that get to go, either. Probably the Zionists, who are still a cancer on the pancreas of the Islamic Middle East, murdered them and hid their bodies somewhere. ”

“Yeah,” piped up Hassan Nasrallah, “and they are still occupying the Shabaa Farms, whether or not there are any Palestinians.”

US President Barack Obama, now a lame duck and too depressed to talk, did not make an official statement. But he was overheard when he spoke into an open microphone, saying “f-k the Jews, they didn’t vote for us anyway.”

Finally, a joint delegation from Students for Justice in Palestine, J Street, Jewish Voice for Peace and Peter Beinart appeared on MSNBC. “We are pleased to see that the oppression of Palestinians has finally come to an end. But there is still much to do in order to sma– er, improve — the undemocratic, racist, right-wing theocratic state of Israel. We are all Palestinians now!”

There was a soft pop, and they disappeared.

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