Archive for the ‘Moty & Udi’ Category

Moty & Udi: at the Purim party

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Not everyone is a Star Wars fan, but we are all familiar with the double standard under which it is just fine to accuse ‘Zionists’ of every despicable behavior imaginable, while it is considered inappropriate — and often dangerous — to talk about the Arab and Muslim propensity to terrorism.

For example, a newspaper in the UK has had a complaint filed against it at the Bedfordshire police department because it published a piece by Melanie Phillips containing this:

Today the massacred Fogel family was buried in Jerusalem. And as anticipated, the moral depravity of the Arabs is finding a grotesque echo in the moral bankruptcy and worse of the British and American ‘liberal’ media – a sickening form of armchair barbarism which is also in evidence, it has to be said, on the comment thread beneath my post below.

Overwhelmingly, the media have either ignored or downplayed the atrocity – or worse, effectively blamed the victims for bringing it on themselves, describing them as ‘hard-line settlers’ or extremists. Given that three of the victims were children, one a baby of three months whose throat was cut, such a response is utterly degraded.

The complainant, the head of an organization called “Muslims4UK,” Inayat Bungalawa, said

Her words went far beyond just denouncing the killings. It was a far more generalised racist outburst against Arabs as a whole.

Well, Bungalawa has a blog of his own, called “Inayat’s Corner,” and a filthy little corner it is indeed. Here are some quotations I found there without looking very hard:

(3/11) The Israel lobby views any progress made by UK Muslims in this country’s political life as being against their interests. The only permissible Muslims are those who are prepared to remain silent about the crimes perpetrated by the apartheid state of Israel.

(2/11) Robert Halfon [a British MP] – you are a total and utter coward, much like the members of the murderous Israeli Defence Forces. Whereas the IDF like to hide inside their tanks while firing shells at little children, you hide inside the House of Commons while making your libellous comments.

(10/10) David Cameron spoke out against any calls to punish Israel for its continuing occupation of Palestinian lands, its illegal Jewish settlements, its cruel and barbaric treatment of the besieged and repeatedly bombed people of Gaza and its known stockpile of nuclear weapons.

(9/10) Four Israeli land-thieves killed

All the main news outlets are currently carrying the story of the killing of four Israeli colonist-settlers yesterday by the military wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, near the Palestinian city of Hebron.

(5/10) It is not difficult to imagine that the UK govt’s reaction would have been rather different if it had been, say, Iran that had massacred a group of aid volunteers [on the Mavi Marmara].

If we had the kind of hate speech and libel laws here as they do in the UK (thank goodness we don’t), I’d file a complaint against Bungalawa on behalf of Israel and the IDF.

Almost everything he says is anti-Israel, but I’ve excerpted only those quotations which appear libelous. He is also remarkably rude to Melanie Phillips — perhaps she should sue him too?

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Moty & Udi: Zionism and religion

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

A couple of years ago a guy asked me to contribute to a project to make a film about why Israel should hold on to the territories. “We’ll give strategic, political and biblical reasons,” he said. I disagreed — I thought biblical arguments would hurt his cause. “After all, anyone who will listen to them is either an Orthodox Jew or an Evangelical Christian, and almost all of them are already on our side,” I told him. “You’ll just turn off the secular people.”

But now I’m not so sure. Because this is actually what the conflict is about. There is a reason that we haven’t been able to reach a compromise on borders, refugees, Jerusalem, etc. There is a reason that Arabs are prepared to die for al-Aqsa and Jews want to live in Hevron (other than “why shouldn’t they?” which is also a pretty good reason). There is truth in the remark of PLO official Abbas Zaki, whom I quoted in my post “The Jews and the Land”, that Zionism will collapse if we leave Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, because our relationship to these places is at the heart of Zionism.

Secular Europeans — which today is most of them — and Americans don’t get it. To them, religious beliefs, especially religious beliefs that affect real actions in the world and not just abstract talk, are irrational or worse.  But these beliefs are among the strongest motivators of human behavior.

Religious wars are stupid and pointless, they say. But war is rarely rational, despite the attempts of politicians to make it so. Religious belief is the model for all ideology — today’s progressive secular humanism that animates many of Israel’s left-wing critics is no more rational or better examined than Judaism or Islam.

The struggle for Jerusalem is an ideological one — and the struggling ideologies are religious.

An aside: People often distinguish between ‘religious’ (dati) and ‘secular’ (hiloni) Israelis. What I think they really mean are ‘observant’ and ‘not-so-observant’. I think a majority of the so-called ‘secular’ Israelis, as I wrote previously, have a strong — I would even call it ‘religious’ — connection to the Land of Israel, even if they rarely go to a synagogue and drive on Shabbat.

If we want to make people see our side of the argument, we have to be honest about what we are fighting for and why. We have to be honest about our ideology and our values, and about our story.

The most convincing of the spokespeople for the Arabs are the Islamists. That’s one reason their philosophy has been wildly successful in recent years. I was once told by a Palestinian Muslim (who at least purported to favor coexistence between Jews and Arabs) that he felt much more comfortable with religious settlers than left-wing academics. Why? “They believe in God,” he said.

The story of the Jewish people is written in the Torah. You can treat it as concretely or abstractly, as literally or allegorically as you wish, but it is the most fundamental source of the Zionist idea (even if Herzl wouldn’t have agreed).

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Moty & Udi: Perfidious Albion

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Attaquons dans ses eaux la perfide Albion (let us attack perfidious Albion in its waters) — Marquis de Ximenès, 1793

Britain didn’t do well by the Jews of the pre-state yishuv, and the relationship is not so great today. For example, take the recent remarks of British Foreign Secretary William Hague:

“Amidst the opportunity for countries like Tunisia and Egypt, there is a legitimate fear that the Middle East peace process will lose further momentum and be put to one side, and will be a casualty of uncertainty in the region,” Hague said in an interview with the [Times of London].

“This should not be a time for belligerent language,” Hague argued when asked about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu call to prepare for “any outcome” and comments that he would “reinforce the might of the State of Israel” should it prove necessary.

Hmm… perhaps, living on an island as he does, Mr. Hague doesn’t understand. Suppose by some tectonic magic Scotland were to be suddenly replaced by Germany. Suppose that the friendly German government were overthrown, the future uncertain. And then suppose that a large number of Germans, perhaps a majority, supported a neo-Nazi party that called for the destruction of England. Netanyahu belligerent? I’d call him prudent.

Hague continued:

“It is a time to inject greater urgency into the Middle East peace process,” the foreign secretary told the Times. He called for “strong leadership from the US” and “equally bold steps by Israelis and Palestinians.”

Hague said Israel’s stance on settlement activities in the West Bank was “disappointing” and that peace may become “impossible” within a few years.

I am always bemused when someone argues that Israel must hurry up and make a deal with the Palestinian Authority because otherwise Palestinian Arabs will lose patience and allow ‘extremists’ to take over. Then, they say, it will be too late. But what if Israel does make a deal, gives up Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem, and then Hamas takes over anyway?  It’s not like a ‘peace’ agreement that does not include all of Israel would satisfy Hamas.

Hague is not the dumbest of Brits, not by a long shot. Consider Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, the former British Ambassador to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan (I did not make up his name). Among other things, he said that Israel should have accepted “the peace that has been on offer essentially since 1937 when the Peel Commission recommended partition…” Well, duh, Sir Sherard, the Jews did accept (with considerable misgiving) the Peel Commission proposal for a tiny, attenuated Jewish state.

And they also accepted the UN partition resolution of 1947, as well as proposing partition themselves in 2000 and yet again in 2008. Guess who rejected all of these proposals? There’s no prize for a correct answer.

But no matter how hostile and uninformed British officials may be, they can’t hold a candle to some segments of the press. For example, The Guardian’s policy seems to be to support and promote the racist, terrorist Hamas organization. The website “Just Journalism” did a devastating study of Guardian coverage of the ‘Palestine Papers’, which showed that

– The Guardian’s handling of the Palestine papers story demonstrated a preference for a hardline Palestinian stance over one of moderation, best illustrated by their call for Hamas to be brought into the diplomatic process and their hosting an opinion piece by the group calling for action.

– Content of the documents attesting to Israel’s efforts and desire for peace were downplayed or ignored; in particular, the content of Olmert’s 2008 offer was not reported and a key quote was elided.

– The Guardian scandalised Palestinian negotiators’ acceptance that Palestinians would not be admitted en mass [sic] as part of a two-state solution.

– The newspaper strongly implied that it does not accept Israel as a Jewish state and would maintain this position in the event of the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza.

– The Palestinian offer to allow Israel to retain most of its settlements in east Jerusalem was treated as an outrage, when such an arrangement would be in line with the 2000 Clinton Parameters.

– The Guardian treated any outcome on the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif other than total Arab control as a betrayal of the Muslim world, despite the site’s place as the holiest site in Judaism.

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Moty & Udi: the new Middle East

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Moty and Udi were on hofesh [vacation] last week, but they are back. I’m going to present this week’s cartoon without comment — none is needed!

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Moty & Udi: It’s security, stupid!

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

I wrote about crazy Israeli politics last week. But today I want to explain why, despite the confusing electoral system, the multitude of parties, the coalition maneuvering, etc., it is really quite simple. There is one issue that is of paramount importance to the great majority of Israelis, and nothing else comes close.

That issue, of course, is security, or how to manage the hundred-year old conflict with the Arab and Muslim world.

While there are strong feelings about the balance between religious and secular society, economic issues, etc., all of these things are clearly of secondary importance when most Israelis vote. If you read the American press, which relies greatly on Israeli voices from the left-wing media and academic establishments, you would think that there is presently a burning issue about whether the government or right-wing groups or Avigdor Lieberman is suppressing free speech. You would think that large segments of Israeli society closely follow the progress of the ‘peace process’ and that many of them are sympathetic to the efforts of the Women of the Wall to be permitted to read from the Torah at the Western Wall.

You would be mistaken.

Israelis are worried about Hizballah and Hamas rockets aimed at their homes, and they want to know what politicians plan to do to defend them. They are worried about the Iranian nuclear threat. Many are uncomfortable with uncontrolled immigration of third-world refugees across the porous Egyptian border. They are concerned by the radicalization of Arab citizens of Israel. Most think that the ‘peace process’ is a charade carried on to please the US. They think the Women of the Wall are silly, if they think about them at all, and don’t understand why they want to make trouble with the Orthodox authorities, even if they abhor those authorities.

But keep this in mind when the next elections come around: the winning parties will be the ones that have the best answers to the security question, the ones that will most persuasively explain how they intend to disarm or defeat Hamas and Hizballah, and prevent Iran from getting the bomb.

Before 2000 many Israelis believed that the Oslo process could be made to work. When Ariel Sharon proposed his disengagement plan, a large number followed him. Both of these programs were associated with  political parties, Labor and Kadima respectively, and when they failed, the parties behind them took hits as well.

Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, while they come from different parts of the political spectrum, have this in common: their background as commanders of the top commando unit in the IDF, the sayert matkal. This counts — not because Israelis are militarists, but because they see competence in military matters as an absolute necessity for a nation that is unfortunately always at war.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this sign hanging on the wall behind the next PM:

It’s security, stupid!

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