Archive for the ‘Moty & Udi’ Category

Moty & Udi learn about democracy

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Thousands of demonstrators protested the ‘anti-democratic’ actions of the government Saturday night, in particular the decision to create a Knesset commission to investigate the sources of funding for non-governmental organizations active in Israel.

I’ve already discussed this at length. Regardless of the applicability of this or some other remedy, no country can be expected to tolerate massive foreign-financed subversion.

Here’s how it works:

  • Arabs claim that IDF soldiers or ‘settlers’ have committed some kind of atrocity: mistreating Arabs, uprooting olive trees, even burning sheep.
  • An NGO like B’Tselem, funded by organizations and countries hostile to Israel — the New Israel Fund, the Ford Foundation, the governments of The Netherlands, the UK and Norway, and various left-wing church groups — ‘investigates’, meaning they uncritically accept Arab claims.
  • The NGO holds a news conference or releases a report, which is picked up by the press as fact — period. Even when what is alleged is unlikely or impossible, there is no attempt at confirmation beyond the NGO report.
  • Anti-Israel media then present it to the world in dramatic, emotional ways.
  • UN commissions add it to their list of verified Israeli crimes. A case is built which can be grounds for future resolutions or, at some point, even sanctions.
  • European activists file charges based on universal jurisdiction, so that Israeli officials become fugitives subject to arrest if they land in Europe.

This process is ongoing. Every day there are new incidents. It’s a highly leveraged attack, since it’s trivial to make up stories, but responding to them takes actual investigation, which is time- and resource-consuming, and in many cases nearly impossible. Anyway, even when they are proven false, the damage is done.

The demonstration, which was organized by a coalition of left-wing political groups and some of the same organizations that are at the center of the funding controversy, was aimed at Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, whose Israel Beitenu party introduced the bill to investigate the NGOs into the Knesset, and who has spoken strongly about the issue.

Lieberman was also attacked for championing a loyalty oath for Israeli citizenship, which his opponents consider ‘racist’.

Lieberman gives voice to a reaction against increasing — and increasingly damaging — anti-Zionist activities by extreme left-wing Israeli Jews and Arab citizens of Israel. In my opinion, such a reaction is justified and has been a long time coming, although perhaps Lieberman presents himself in a way that many see as demagogic.

Nevertheless, Israel is a small and vulnerable society and cannot survive if there are absolutely no limits on subversive behavior within the state.

There is now a counter-reaction from the Left, which is also spilling over into the US, with numerous articles springing up like mushrooms after a rain, all viewing with alarm various ‘undemocratic’ phenomena in Israel. As usual, Israel is expected to be more tolerant of ‘dissent’ than any nation in history, even when the ‘dissent’ is paid for by its enemies and involves deliberate violent provocations, such as occur every week at Bili’in.

In fact there is something profoundly undemocratic in Israel, but it is not the democratically elected center-right government. Rather, it is the undemocratic proclivity of the Left to try to deny the fact the Israeli public democratically kicked them out of power and reduces their influence with every succeeding election.

The public, who were the targets of the suicide bombers of the intifada, who continue to be the targets of Hamas rockets, and who will probably bear the brunt of casualties in the next war, understand that the ‘peace process’ failed because the Arabs didn’t want peace. They voted. The precipitous drop in the number of seats held by Labor and left-wing parties was a mandate that said: don’t inflict this on us any longer.

Those politicians, extreme leftists, anarchists and paid agents for the hostile European governments, who simply will not accept the verdict of the public, and who insist that the ‘peace process’ has to be jammed into them no matter what — they are the ones who are behaving undemocratically.

Barack Obama once said “elections have consequences,” but the establishment that ruled Israel from its founding until the shocking upset of 1977 has never understood this. They have always believed that they know better than the voters, and often made Faustian bargains with the Europeans or the NIF, for example, to get their way.

But — as literature has told us ever since the theme came into being — any profit from making a deal with the devil is short-term at best. Ultimately, you lose your soul.

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Moty & Udi: Meet Baruch

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Nobody knows who created the Stuxnet virus, but former Mossad head Meir Dagan recently said that the Iranian bomb project would likely be delayed until 2015.

Our artist’s idea of how this happened appears above. Baruch is a new member of the Moty and Udi cast.

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Moty & Udi and Zionist Potter

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Details here.

I am always surprised at the lack of understanding of the idea of Zionism. It’s really simple: it’s the movement for national self-determination of the Jewish people in the land of Israel. Unlike some national movements, it does not declare that the Jewish people is superior to other peoples.

The concept of a ‘people’ carries a lot of baggage. Some think that there should be no such artificial separations. “We’re all human beings,” they say.  But I think part of the evolutionary construct that embodies the human species is the need to divide ourselves into families, clans and peoples. It’s not going to go away, and attempts to ignore it make it impossible to understand our behavior.

Others think that the concept is unacceptably vague because there’s no list of characteristics that clearly include or exclude a person from membership in a people. But there are lots of perfectly meaningful concepts that are like this: Wittgenstein discussed the idea of a ‘game’, which could include everything from football or chess to children running around in circles. There will be borderline cases for which it is hard to determine whether or not they belong, but that doesn’t make the concept meaningless.

In my view, membership in a people is determined by a list of characteristics. To be a member, someone does not have to have all of the characteristics, but he/she must have some of them. The more that apply, the more certain it is that the person is a member. Here is a list of what I have in mind, in no particular order:

  1. Common ancestry
  2. Language
  3. Religion
  4. Self-identification
  5. Identification by others
  6. Acceptance of a particular ideology or ideologies
  7. Common history, especially of trauma
  8. Geographical location
  9. Historical persistence

No deep thought went into the above, but you get the idea. Fill in the blanks for any particular people.

Arabs and Iranians are fond of saying “there isn’t a Jewish people, just a religion” (of course they insist that there is a ‘Palestinian people’). Shlomo Zand claims that there isn’t a Jewish people because he believes that it can’t be proven that present-day Jews are descended from the inhabitants of 1st-century Judea. Both of these arguments show a lack of understanding of what a people is.

There is no doubt that there has been a Jewish people for millennia, and there is probably a ‘Palestinian’ people by now, although it has not been in existence as a people for more than a few years.

By the way, there is nothing illegitimate about consciously trying to create peoplehood, as the Palestinian Arabs are doing — what I object to is their invention of a false historical narrative that purports to give them exclusive possession of the land, and their embrace of a culture of murder and death. But that’s another article.

One of the ideologies of the Jewish people is Zionism. No magic, no devils — and no racism. Just self-determination.

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Moty and Udi: Moty watches Palestinian TV

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

There’s lots more, too. The story of the Palestinian ‘Jesus’ is here, and more examples of invented history are here,  as recorded from the official Palestinian Authority (PA) TV station by Palestinian Media Watch.

It may appear absurd and funny to us, but many people believe this stuff, just like they believe stories about Israeli ‘war crimes’ in Gaza, or that the Israeli naval commandos landed on the Mavi Marmara with guns blazing, or that Israel plans to occupy the Middle East from the Nile to the Euphrates, etc.

The Arabs believe that if they print enough maps on which Israel does not appear and tell enough lies about ancient and recent history, they can cause Israel to disappear (with a little help from Hizballah and Hamas, of course).

There are also attempts to spread less-obviously wacky — but still perniciously false — stories in Israel and the West.  For example, the organization “Peace Research in the Middle East” (PRIME) publishes a high school textbook in Hebrew and Arabic called “Learning Each Other’s Historical Narrative” which purports to present the Israel and Palestinian Arab “narratives” side by side.

In fact, it presents neither — you’d think the Israeli narrative would include a mention of the cooperation between the Grand Mufti al-Husseini and Hitler, or that Jews fought to kick the British out of Palestine, or that the British often helped the Arabs in the pre-state period — but none of these facts are mentioned. The Zionist enterprise is presented as an extension of Western colonialism, and Arab rejectionism as a struggle against colonization.

Unsurprisingly, two of the consultants who worked on this project were ISM founders Huweida  Arraf and Adam Shapiro. Now there’s an unbiased pair! By day they try to bring Israeli Jews and Arabs together, while by night they make naive foreigners like Rachel Corrie into human shields for Hamas and Fatah terrorists.

Oh, did I mention that

This project and publication of this booklet have
been made possible by:
The Public Affairs Offices of
The United States Embassy, Tel Aviv,
The United States Consulate General, Jerusalem.
The Wye River Foundation.

I just did.

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Moty and Udi: California vs. the Middle East

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Moty and Udi remind us of a point that I’ve made before, and just the other day Daniel Gordis expressed it beautifully. He writes,

This week, real wisdom hid between the extreme positions so commonly staked out in this country. There was the fatwa against Israelis who would “dare” rent or sell their homes to Arabs. Dozens of rabbis have signed the letter forbidding such sale, while a smaller number have also had the courage to reject it outright. But virtually no one has pointed out that the choice isn’t a simply one between racism and human rights. It’s more complicated.

Obviously, it is mortifying to live in a country where “religious” leaders speak about Arabs the way that the enemies of the Jews spoke about us for centuries in Europe. And yes, as some observers have noted, it is virtually impossible to imagine a rabbi in the US saying anything remotely similar.

But the US isn’t Israel, and America does not need to struggle to guarantee its Christian nature. Our society, though largely Jewish now, could easily become something very different with time. If that is what these rabbis meant to say, they were right.

Apply the ethnicity-blind standards of American life here, and in a generation or two, Israel’s Jewish quality might be gone.

Why, after all, are most Israelis and American Zionists opposed to the Palestinian “right of return”? Isn’t that also a human rights issue? The answer, of course, is that on that issue, people recognize that the country’s Jewish character is at stake. Allow the refugees to return, and Jews become a minority almost overnight. (That is precisely why the Palestinians insist on it.)

Israel is a tiny speck of Jewishness in an ocean of Arabs and Persians in the Middle East, and to be clear about it, the ocean doesn’t appreciate the speck. How often do the Islamists of Hamas or Iran talk ab0ut ‘cleansing’ the land of its Jewish ‘infestation’!

Possibly I’ve repeated the same message enough that it’s boring some, but — especially for readers in the US — it needs to be emphasized:

Israel is not California, and the USA is not in the Middle East.

Arab and Islamic rejectionism hasn’t stopped trying to crush the idea of Jewish sovereignty anywhere in the Middle East for a hundred years. The war has multiple aspects where battles take place simultaneously: that of conventional and semi-conventional warfare, of terrorism, of subversion and sabotage (often seen simply as ‘crime’), of psycho-war, and finally, of demographics.

The US faces threats too, particularly that of terrorism. But there is nothing comparable to the demographic struggle.

Fully one-fifth of Israel’s citizens are Arabs. They are increasingly becoming ‘Palestinized’, that is, sharing the objective of the Palestinian Arabs in the territories to replace Israel with an Arab state. Some of them are secular nationalists and some (increasingly) are radical Islamists.

There may have been a time when Israel’s Arab citizens were reconciled to living in a Jewish state, where they would aspire only to equal rights and benefits as citizens, along with Jews and other groups. Today, as Jonathan Spyer has argued, the rise of Islamism and its ‘optimistic’ prediction that a corrupt and weak Israel will be defeated in the long run has reawakened hope, even among secular Arabs, that they can succeed in reversing the outcome of the 1948 war. Paradoxically, this has worked against the realization of full rights and benefits for Arabs.

In any event, the demographic front is alive, with Arabs from the territories wanting to live within the Green Line both to obtain the very real benefits of living in a Westernized, democratic and abundant society as well as to work to change it into an Arab state (they do want to keep the abundance, if possible).

There are other concerns than Arabs. There are hundreds of millions of inhabitants of sub-Saharan Africa who are living in unbelievable poverty under dysfunctional, kleptocratic, murderous ‘governments’. Many of them would like to live in secure, abundant Israel. Should Israel open its borders? How long would it continue to exist as a modern state if it did that? Even the US can’t sustain unlimited immigration.

Here in America, particularly in liberal Jewish America, discrimination of any kind is considered equivalent to racism. The outcry against the rabbis that signed that ‘fatwa’ was predictable and entirely misses the point.

Why is Israel’s ‘Jewish character’ so important anyway, ask my California friends. Surely that kind of ethnic nationalism is outdated, they say.

There are 22 or 23 (if you count the Palestinian Authority) Arab states in the Middle East.  They take up the overwhelming portion of the land area and resources of the region. None of them are true democracies, none have anywhere near the tolerance found in Israel for religious, ethnic, or sexual-preference minorities. None come close in provision of equal rights for women. They have in general cooperated in creating the ‘Palestinian Refugee Problem’, started wars and supported terrorism. Indeed, they gave birth to al-Qaeda and other groups now threatening the West.

Many of these countries do not allow Jews to live within their borders at all.

This is not a question of civil rights for Palestinian Arabs. It’s a question of survival for Israeli Jews. If Israel loses its Jewish majority and Jewish character then it becomes just another Arab state, with all that implies.

Israeli Jews would be killed, subjugated or expelled. Jews around the world would no longer have a homeland — not just a refuge from antisemitism, but a symbol and sometimes active agency against antisemitism. One can imagine the world of 1939, in which no place on earth would provide a safe haven for Jews that nobody wanted.

We’re not prepared to let that happen again.

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