Archive for January, 2014

A criminal culture

Thursday, January 9th, 2014
Yasser Arafat in Syria, 1970

Yasser Arafat in Syria, 1970

The Palestinian people deserve an end to occupation and the daily indignities that come with it.  Palestinians deserve to move and travel freely, and to feel secure in their communities. Like people everywhere, Palestinians deserve a future of hope — that their rights will be respected, that tomorrow will be better than today and that they can give their children a life of dignity and opportunity.  Put simply, Palestinians deserve a state of their own. — Barack Obama, March 21, 2013

Not surprisingly, I disagree. Palestinians do not deserve a state.

There are many arguments against creating a Palestinian state: arguments based on Israel’s security, on the Jewish people’s historic rights to Judea and Samaria, on the impossibility of a viable Palestinian economy, etc.

I would like to make another argument, which is not heard so often because it is not politically correct: the Palestinian nation has developed a criminal national culture, a collection of aspirations, modes of thought, discourse and behavior that would make a Palestinian state a destructive element in the community of nations.

Now, please stop screaming ‘racism’ for long enough to understand that this has nothing to do with biology. A baby born to a Palestinian mother in another culture would grow up no different from anyone else in that culture. Palestinian Arabs aren’t biologically different from Arabs anywhere else in the Middle East, and indeed there is a lot of genetic overlap with Israeli Jews. I don’t believe that Palestinians are born violent, angry and dishonest — I believe that the culture that has developed along with the creation of the ‘Palestinian people’ in the past 100 years or so has made them so.

The ancestors of most Arabs living between the Jordan and the Mediterranean migrated into the region starting in the 19th century. They were brought there by an Egyptian military campaign against Ottoman Syria in the 1830’s, by famines and political upheavals in Syria, by the British (in the 20th century) to work on projects such as the construction of railroads, and most of all by the better economic conditions brought about by the British and by the Zionist yishuv.

One of the attributes of present-day Palestinian culture is the belief that history is whatever Palestinians say it is. So we have Palestinians saying that they are descended from ancient Canaanites or Philistines. This is nonsense. Some small number may actually be descended from the Arab conquerors of the 7th century, and some from local Jews or Christians converted by those conquerors. But the idea that there is a unique ‘Palestinian people’ that has lived in the region for centuries is a fable.

What brought these disparate Arabs together was opposition to Zionism. The first great leader of the Palestinian Arabs was Haj Amin al-Husseini, who stirred up anti-Jewish riots and pogroms as early as 1920. The British helpfully made him Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in 1921, and he became the face and voice of the Palestinian cause. During the war, he worked closely with Hitler, raised an SS division among Bosnian Muslims, made Arabic broadcasts to the Middle East from Berlin, and did his best to encourage Hitler to conquer Palestine, where Husseini planned to set up extermination camps for Jews.

Only the British victory at El Alamein prevented his plan from becoming reality. After the war, al-Husseini helped SS officers and other war criminals escape to Egypt and Syria where they aided the regimes in their struggle against the Jewish state. I think we can call him a ‘war criminal’ too, don’t you?

Husseini was overshadowed, though, by Yasser Arafat, one of the founders of the Fatah terror group (around 1959), who became the head of the PLO in 1968. Arafat’s Fatah still holds the record for the most Jews killed by a terrorist organization, more than Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizballah, etc. Arafat took terrorism to new levels, popularized airline hijacking for political purposes, was wholly or partially responsible for several wars — the Black September conflict in Jordan in 1970, the Lebanese Civil war of the 1970’s, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the Second Intifada in 2000, and lesser incidents like the Munich Olympics massacre, the Achille Lauro hijacking, and many more.

In possibly the greatest mistake made by any Israeli government, Arafat and his gang — who had been exiled to Tunisia after the 1982 Lebanese war — were allowed to return to the territories and set up the ‘Palestinian Authority’ (PA) under the Oslo accords. Arafat — now officially recognized as the ruler of the Palestinians in the territories — continued to engage in terrorism while he pretended to negotiate a peace agreement, and established a system of indoctrination for Palestinians in every aspect of their cultural and religious institutions and media.

The Palestinian nation was forged by al-Husseini, Arafat and others who took this disparate group of Arabs and united them under the banner of ‘resistance’ to the Zionists, and later to the state of Israel, who developed the idea of the nakba as a loss of honor that had to be avenged. They created a monster, a culture whose predominant memes are of blood and murder.

The PA continued its indoctrination campaign after Arafat’s death, promoted its invented version of Palestinian and Israeli history, its glorification of terrorists and ‘martyrs’ and its incitement against Jews. Today, Palestinian society is suffused with feelings of anger and frustration over its supposed ‘dispossession’ and continued ‘oppression’, frustration which breaks out every so often in the form of stabbing 9-year-old Jewish girls, shooting anti-tank weapons at schoolbuses, or slaughtering whole families.

Listen to or read an interview with a Palestinian — male or female, any age. You will hear about their victimization and their suffering. You will not hear that it is unfortunate that about 3,700 Jews (and a few others) have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists since 1920 (the number does not include casualties in wars, or Palestinians murdered for ‘cooperating’ with Israel). Nothing is ever their fault; it is always the Jews, the United States, the British, etc. You will never hear about a need for reconciliation; only ‘resistance’.

Look at their heroes: above all, the mass murderer Arafat, along with smaller-time murderers like Dalal Mughrabi, the exemplar for Palestinian womanhood, whose ‘operation’ only killed 37 Jews (12 of them children). Look at the reception they are giving to the murderers that Israel is releasing in response to American pressure.

Since the stupidity of Oslo, Israelis and the PLO have been ‘negotiating’ to arrive at yet another partition of the sliver of Jewish land that exists precariously among the 22 Arab nations of the Middle East and North Africa. The Palestinians have never stopped incitement and terrorism, and they have never negotiated in good faith toward an end to the conflict. They have pursued a strategy of alternating violence and deceitful diplomacy whose objective is the elimination of Jewish sovereignty.

And yet President Obama says they ‘deserve’ a state!

In deciding whether establishing a new state here is a good idea, it makes sense to think about what the character of that state will be. And there is no doubt that ‘Palestine’ will be an aggressor and a locus of terrorism. A criminal culture will produce a criminal state.

How could the embodiment of the philosophy of Yasser Arafat be anything else?

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What is BDS?

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

bds

With the Modern Language Association poised to vote on a BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) resolution, there is a lot of discussion about the whole BDS deal. If you are a progressive person who cares about human rights and wants peace, you might think that it’s not a bad idea. Make Israel behave herself, stop taking Palestinian land and all that.

Well, maybe you should understand its objectives before you jump to sign any petitions. Understand what Israel would have to do to end the boycotts. Because then you would understand that the well-educated academics that are pushing it want the same thing as the terrorists of Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad.

So when will the boycott be lifted? When Israel has done three things:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

These are all supposed to be ‘obligations under international law’, which sounds serious, but is total nonsense. I’m not going to get into the misinterpretations of the 4th Geneva Convention, the politicized UN ‘court’ that has no authority, or the legitimate rights of the Jewish people in the territories. Read this if you feel the need. Let’s just look at what they want Israel to do.

The first demand is the complete evacuation of the territories. The Jordanian invasion, ethnic cleansing and 19-year occupation of land originally earmarked for ‘close settlement by Jews’ in the Mandate has magically made them Arab lands and Jews have to get out! So, if you count eastern Jerusalem (they do), you are talking about more than half a million Jews that will be kicked out of their homes, one of the largest mass ethnic expulsions in decades. Talk about human rights!

Next is the dismantling of the security barrier, more a wire fence than a ‘wall’. The barrier was highly effective in reducing terrorist attacks, which stopped almost totally where it was completed. The terrorists themselves admit it! Naturally, Palestinian Arabs squealed like stuck pigs, because their best tactic was being taken away. Our academic friends, who would never blow up an empty beer bottle themselves, nevertheless think that Palestinians should have the ability to blow up whatever they want. How dare we inconvenience them!

Then we have the somewhat mysterious demand for ‘the fundamental rights’ of Arab citizens of Israel. In all my reading of nausea-inducing BDS materials, this was never explained, and considering that Israeli Arabs vote and elect Arabs to the Knesset, that there are Arab judges, Arab army officers and diplomats, etc., it was a little difficult for me to understand this one.

But the explanation is simple: they see the Jewish character of the state itself as a violation of their rights. Look at the ‘Democratic Constitution‘ for the State of Israel proposed by Adalah, “the legal center for Arab minority rights in Israel”  (funded by the US-based New Israel Fund), which calls for its transformation into a “democratic, bilingual, multicultural state” with a different flag, national anthem, etc.

Why the Jewishness of Israel is intolerable to the BDSers when so many Arab states — indeed, the proposed state of Palestine included — define themselves as ‘Arab states’ in which the official religion is Islam, is not clear to me (actually, it is only too clear).

Finally, we come to the last and really most absurd demand of all. The boycott will continue until Israel permits anyone with Palestinian refugee status — up to about 5 million of them — a special kind of hereditary refugee status that exists only for Palestinians, to ‘return to his/her home’ in Israel. An instant Arab majority, but even before that, a bloody civil war, which would bring on another dark age of dispersion for the survivors.

Just in case you still don’t get it: the Jews must get out of “Arab land,” but there is no “Jewish land” anywhere. There can be 23 Arab states in the Middle East, but not one Jewish state. Because the Jews, unlike other peoples, even newly created ones like the ‘Palestinians’, do not have any rights.

That is the program of BDS, when you take away the language of international law and human rights. Not since Hitler has this point of view been popular in the West.

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Kerry tries to square circle

Monday, January 6th, 2014
Inside John Kerry's yacht Isabel

Inside John Kerry’s yacht Isabel

News item:

Demands that the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state have become a major stumbling block in John Kerry’s search for a settlement to the Middle East’s most enduring conflict.

As the US secretary of state continued a frantic diplomatic quest on Sunday that some have dubbed “mission impossible”, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said Palestinians’ refusal to formally acknowledge the country’s Jewish character had become the key topic in his discussions with Mr Kerry.

Palestinian officials admitted that Mr Kerry has pressed the issue with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, who has so far refused to bend.

“The Americans have made it very clear that [recognition of Israel as a Jewish state] is their position,” one Palestinian official told The Daily Telegraph. “They talk about it in meetings with our side and make an issue out of it. We have made it very clear that we are not going to sign any agreement that recognises Israel as a Jewish state.”

Many people agree with the Prime Minister that the refusal of the Arabs to admit that Israel is the state of the Jewish people is at the heart of the dispute. But then they draw the conclusion that a statement to this effect by the Arabs — the enunciation of a formula that is acceptable to both sides — would represent a ‘breakthrough’ that would enable the end of the conflict. This reasoning is fallacious and naive to the extreme.

John Kerry, who pushes willful ignorance and blindness to new lows, is now searching for such a formula. But words are not actions. The problem isn’t that the Arabs aren’t prepared to say certain words about Israel, but rather that regardless of what they say, they intend to do their worst to snuff out Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel, which they view as an affront to both Islam and Arab honor.

An honest statement that the PLO is willing to accept the legitimacy of a Jewish state in any of the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean would represent a historic turnabout, a complete repudiation of what has been the PLO’s reason for being since its creation in 1964. It would be like a crocodile announcing that it is becoming a kitten. Such a statement, even if made with a wink, a nod and fingers crossed, would endanger the life of the person making it.

But doesn’t Mahmoud Abbas already accept the concept of a two-state solution? Well, sort of: as a temporary stop on the way to replacing the Jewish state with an Arab state. This is why the PLO concept of ‘two-state solution’ includes the ‘right of return’ for Arab ‘refugees’ to Israel as an integral part. If you doubt this, here are some explanations of their understanding of the two-state idea from PLO and Fatah officials and media.

At some point, Kerry may even be able to get Abbas to utter some words that he can make Netanyahu accept, which will then be touted as a ‘recognition’ of the Jewish state of Israel. If so, it will surely be one of those masterpieces of diplomatic equivocation (like ‘two-state solution’), which can be interpreted in precisely opposite ways by the sides.

What would have to happen in order for me to believe that Mahmoud Abbas has suddenly become Nelson Mandela? Well, for starters, the continuous incitement against Israel and Jews, the glorification of terrorists, the maps that don’t show Israel, etc. would have to change. This isn’t going to happen with this generation of Palestinian leaders, and I don’t see it on the horizon either.

I have a suggestion for John Kerry: just go home, spend some time on your nice boat and stop trying to square the circle. The best way for the US to promote peace between Israel and the Arabs is to wholeheartedly support the side that actually wants peace.

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Getting eaten last

Sunday, January 5th, 2014
“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last.” -- Winston S. Churchill

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last.” — Winston S. Churchill

From the NY Times:

…the bloodshed that has engulfed Iraq, Lebanon and Syria in the past two weeks exposes something new and destabilizing: the emergence of a post-American Middle East in which no broker has the power, or the will, to contain the region’s sectarian hatreds.

Amid this vacuum, fanatical Islamists have flourished in both Iraq and Syria under the banner of Al Qaeda, as the two countries’ conflicts amplify each other and foster ever-deeper radicalism. Behind much of it is the bitter rivalry of two great oil powers, Iran and Saudi Arabia, whose rulers — claiming to represent Shiite and Sunni Islam, respectively — cynically deploy a sectarian agenda that makes almost any sort of accommodation a heresy. …

The Obama administration defends its record of engagement in the region, pointing to its efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis and the Palestinian dispute, but acknowledges that there are limits. “It’s not in America’s interests to have troops in the middle of every conflict in the Middle East, or to be permanently involved in open-ended wars in the Middle East,” Benjamin J. Rhodes, a White House deputy national security adviser, said in an email on Saturday.

The incompetent Obama Administration is incapable of stopping the deluge of blood that is inundating the Mideast, though great power polices over the years set the stage. Obama’s withdrawal of the US from the region has opened the floodgates, but the cynical trading of weapons and technology for oil, which has now placed the most fearsome weapons of all in the hands of seventh-century cultures with the moral intelligence of chimpanzees, has been going on for decades.

The US role in all of this has been various. We supported Saddam Hussein as a countervailing power against Iran, until he got too big for his britches and went after our pals in Saudi Arabia. Then, in effect, we switched sides, smashed the chains holding Iraq together, and left — at which point it became a battlefield for Iran and radical Sunnis like the ones that attacked us on 9/11. Together with the Europeans, we removed Gadhafi from power in Libya, leaving multiple radical groups contending for power and destabilizing weapons scattered throughout the region.

We encouraged a revolt in Egypt against Hosni Mubarak, then supported the radical, anti-Western, anti-Christian and Jew-hating Muslim Brotherhood (yes, we really did that!) and got egg on our face when it was overthrown by the army, which had originally put Mubarak in power. Now the Egyptian economy is in shreds, the army is fighting Salafist rebels and repressing the Brotherhood, and no side in Egypt trusts us.

In Syria, we initially pretended that the vicious Bashar al-Assad was a ‘reformer’ and tried to get Israel to surrender the Golan heights to him. Then we provided a small amount of help to some groups opposed to him, and — after it became impossible to ignore the killing of more than 1000 Syrians with poison gas — allowed the Russians to turn this crime into a reason to keep him in power. By now, between 100,000 and 200,000 have been killed, mostly civilians, in a proxy war which pits Saudi-supported Sunni Islamist militias against Assad’s forces, Hizballah, and even Iranian Quds Force troops.

Talking about Iran, we opened a diplomatic process that provided the regime with time to move closer to nuclear weapons capability, prevented Israel from carrying out a plan to attack its atomic facilities, and began to weaken economic sanctions. In other words, we facilitated the Iranian weapons program rather than stopping it. This infuriated the Saudis, who understand that the Iranian goal is to replace them as the dominant regional power; and made it clear to Israel that it could not depend on US promises to stop Iran.

During all of this, Israel has been warily looking east at Iran, north to Hizballah’s estimated 100,000 rockets aimed at its cities (many built into civilian Lebanese homes), and south to Hamas, which hasn’t stopped its preparations for war despite its changing fortunes (the Muslim Brotherhood was its most important patron). From time to time there are attempts to transfer game-changing weapons from Syria to Hizballah, which Israel does its best to interdict without provoking a wider conflict.

The mission of John Kerry seems to be to force Israel to make an agreement with the PLO that will result in its evacuation of most of Judea and Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem. Such a deal would enormously weaken Israel strategically. At the same time, it would have no positive results, because the PLO does not want and is not able to deliver (even if it wanted to) an end to the conflict. Keep in mind that the Palestinian Arabs share the tribal, racist and overall atavistic politics of the rest of the Arab Middle East.

Given that Israel has a powerful army, good intelligence capabilities and is a Western-style democracy with close ties to the US, one would think that the US would support Israel and work together with it to avoid spreading the conflagration to yet another theater. But instead, it is trying to weaken Israel at the moment of greatest danger, and therefore encourage Iran/Hizballah and Hamas to attack it. In other words, the US is acting to increase the danger of regional war, not decrease it.

If I may engage in speculation about the motives of this policy, I will say two things: 1) it does not represent a consistent strategy, but is a series of ad hoc responses to perceived crises. And 2), it is based on fear.

Today the policy has become almost entirely pro-Iranian (in the past, it was mostly pro-Saudi). This is because the Obama Administration is presently held hostage by Iran. Despite the US’s ability to deploy massive amounts of force, the administration feels constrained by political and economic considerations against using it. It is also deterred by the ability of Iran, a superpower in the field of terrorism, to both strike directly at the US homeland (Hizballah has many resources in South America, and our southern border is porous) and at the world economy, which is still dependent on Middle East oil.

The Obama Administration seems to think that if it feeds the Iranian crocodile, it will be eaten last.

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Land/population swap idea is a non-starter

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

News item:

Israel has raised the idea of transferring parts of the territory in “the triangle” southeast of Haifa — along with the hundreds of thousands of Israeli-Arab citizens who live there — to a future Palestinian state in return for annexing West Bank territory including settlement blocs, Maariv reported on Wednesday. …

The idea is aimed at addressing two central issues in a possible peace agreement: first, land swaps between Israel and a Palestinian state that would enable Israel to expand its sovereignty to encompass major West Bank settlements, while compensating the Palestinians with territory that is currently part of sovereign Israel; and second, preserving Israel’s Jewish majority. …

There are currently around 1.6 million Israeli Arabs in the country and Maariv estimated that transferring 300,000 of those residents to a Palestinian state would leave Israel’s Arab population at around 12%.

By drawing on land from the triangle, where two of Israel’s largest Arab towns, Tayibe and Umm al-Fahm are located, Israel would be able to offer the Palestinians more territorial compensation in order to annex more West Bank settlement areas, the report said.

This idea has been around for a long time. Avigdor Lieberman was pushing it in 2010. It makes sense to someone who wants to find a compromise solution that will reduce conflict between Israel and a future Arab state.

There are, however, several reasons that it is a waste of time to talk about it.

The first is that the Arab citizens of Israel aren’t insane. There is no way they want to trade the freedom, healthcare, education and economy of the Jewish state to join up with another corrupt, kleptocratic, backward, totalitarian Arab state. This is the case even if they talk like Palestinian nationalists.

The second is that it directly contradicts Palestinian goals. They do not want to reduce the number of Arabs in Israel, even if they are the relatively moderate ‘Israeli Arabs’, they want to increase it.  There is no shortage of Arabs who claim to be ‘Palestinian’ — by their figures, there are about 11 million ‘Palestinians’ in the world, all of whom supposedly have a right to live in what we call ‘Israel’!

There is another reason. The Arabs believe that they are the true ‘owners’ of the land, all of it between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. Listen to MK Haneen Zouabi:

I do not represent the State of Israel or speak in its name, but rather in the name of the [Palestinian] struggle, which does not in any way recognize Israel as a Jewish state. [I speak] in the name of a struggle that is performing a role precisely opposed to that of the Israeli Knesset, from the [Knesset’s] standpoint…

… Our platform [of the Balad party] is based on the demands for national and civil equality, for recognition as owners of this homeland, and for the Jewish state to become a state for all of its citizens. This is the compass that directs our political action… Since we define ourselves first and foremost as Palestinians who are owners of the homeland, we view it as part of our platform to defend the right of our people to put an end to the occupation. [This] is not limited to the ’48 territories, but applies to the historical borders of our people. Therefore, our platform includes [supporting] the return of the Palestinian refugees, defeating the occupation, dismantling the settlements, and [securing] East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state. [my emphasis]

Arabs like Zouabi are infuriated by the idea of land swaps, because it would exclude them from part of their ‘patrimony’ and keep it for Jews. They are opposed to partition, except as a temporary solution on the road to a unified Arab ‘Palestine’. The only acceptable Jewish state for them is no Jewish state.

There is a fundamental asymmetry of objectives in the negotiations between Israel and the Arabs. Israel wants to end the conflict and is willing to give up much (way too much, in my opinion) in order to move toward a solution. The Arabs want to kick the Jews out of the territories, pump hostile ‘refugees’ into Israel, and replace the Jewish state with an Arab one.

It illustrates the asymmetry to note that the Arabs — and the US — expect that an agreement would result in the expulsion of tens or hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes (indeed, the Arabs want to maximize the number). But the idea of changing the status of Arabs, who would remain in their homes and on their land, will not be on the table.

Where is the US in this? The administration cares about one and only one thing: reversing the outcome of the 1967 war. Anything that will bring this about is fine with a regime, which — this is the only possible interpretation of its proposals and Middle East policy in general short of idiocy — could not care less about the continued existence of a Jewish state.

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