Archive for the ‘My favorite posts’ 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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The Obama Sopranos

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

Sometimes something obvious to everyone else comes as a shock to me. I’ve been writing all week (here, here, here and here) about  the sheer lack of logic in the Obama Administration’s linkage theory, the idea that forcing a Palestinian state into existence will give the US and Israel leverage in dealing with the Iranian threat, nuclear and otherwise.

I called it a blinding non-sequitur, a backwards strategy, and argued that it should be obvious to everyone that Iranian mischief, by way of Hamas and Hezbollah, supports and nurtures the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that there will be no solution for Israel and the Palestinians until Iran and its proxies are dealt with — the opposite of what the administration is insisting. The road to Tehran does not lead through Jerusalem, I said, it goes in the other direction.

I tried very hard to find the logic, to understand the reasoning.

Stupid me. It is not a theory — an attempt to explain a phenomenon,  or a strategy — an attempt to approach a final goal by way of an intermediate one. There is no ‘reasoning’ involved. To use the language of philosophical logic, it’s not an argument, it’s a “performative utterance” .

In other words, it’s a threat.

Here is what Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanuel, Joe Biden, James Jones, and who knows who else is saying:

Look, Israel, we know you’re worried about  Iran and the tens of thousands of missiles in Lebanon and Syria that they control, and we know that you’re worried about the atomic weapons that they will have in a year or two. We know that Ahmadinejad has threatened to whack you in the crudest antisemitic terms.

But see, those missiles are a lot closer to you than they are to us. And there are certain things that we want, like a Palestinian state tomorrow and an end to your own nuclear capability. So if you want our help, just roll over and give it up.

You wouldn’t want have an accident with those missiles.

Oh, and don’t go trying to take on Iran yourself. You want protection in this neighborhood, you buy it from us.

Even Tony Soprano couldn’t have put it more clearly.

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No room for Jews

Monday, December 15th, 2008

Ahmed QureiYesterday I wrote that the Palestinians have never negotiated, that they have not reduced their demands since the ‘peace’ process — first Oslo and now Annapolis — began.  Here’s some more evidence:

There will be no room for Jews or settlements in the West Bank because their presence there will always be an obstacle to peace with Israel, Ahmed Qurei, head of the Palestinian Authority negotiating team, said at the weekend…

“Initially, Israel sought to annex 7.3 percent of the West Bank,” he disclosed. “Then it went down to 6.8%. Of course we completely rejected this idea…”

The chief Palestinian negotiator also said Israel agreed to take in 5,000 Palestinian refugees over a five-year period, but this was rejected by the Palestinians…

Qurei said the Palestinians have also rejected the idea of land swap with Israel. How can we give up any part of Jerusalem?” he asked. “For us Jerusalem is not only a spiritual or cultural or historic center, but also the economic center of the future Palestinian state. The settlements surrounding the city will make it hard for millions of Arabs, Muslims and Christians to visit Jerusalem in the future.”

In a few sentences we have the Palestinian position: no compromise on borders, refugees or Jerusalem.

No room for Jews. It has a familiar ring to it.

It’s instructive to ask exactly what justifies Qurei’s stubbornness.

One of the places that the Palestinians do not wish to compromise on is Kibbutz Kfar Etzion, south of Jerusalem. Part of the Palestine Mandate from 1917 to 1948, and the Ottoman empire before that, it was purchased from local Arabs and settled by Yemenite Jews in 1927.  They lived there on and off (they were driven out several times by Arab riots) until 1948 when the invading Jordanian army overran it and executed all but four of its defenders. All of the West Bank and East Jerusalem were made Jew-free by the Jordanians, who illegally occupied the area until 1967, when the kibbutz was reestablished.

So please explain, Mr. Qurei, where the Palestinian claim comes from. And explain why it is that if Kfar Etzion did become part of your state, there would be no room for Jews in it. Will Palestine be a racist apartheid state?

He has an answer for this:

Our experiences have taught us that it’s impossible to coexist with these settlers. We still remember the [Tomb of the Patriarchs] massacre in Hebron in 1994 and the daily attacks carried out by settlers in Hebron, Nablus, Kalkilya and other places.

In other words because a Jew, Baruch Goldstein, acted like an Arab terrorist (after which he and his act were denounced by all but a tiny sliver of Israel’s population), and because some Jewish settlers have become hostile in the face of constant hostility from Arabs — that is, because they have behaved like the imperfect human beings that they are — Jews are not permitted to live in Kfar Etzion?

Does Mr. Qurei have the moral authority to argue that Jews must be expelled (again) from Kfar Etzion because of the settlers’ behavior when his national heroes are murderers like Samir Kuntar and Dalal Mughrabi?

Does he have the moral authority to worry about access to Jerusalem for “Arabs, Muslims and Christians” when Israel has allowed access to the holy places for all faiths, even after Jews were not permitted to set foot in East Jerusalem during the Jordanian occupation?

Does he have any moral authority at all when his PLO has been the world leader in terrorism and murder since the 1960’s?

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The Saudi Initiative

Friday, November 28th, 2008

What’s so wrong with the ‘Saudi initiative’ (more correctly, the Arab League initiative)? Couldn’t issues like the ‘return’ of descendants of Arab refugees be negotiated into return to the Palestinian state and compensation? After all, it does represent a breakthrough in that for the first time the Saudis seem to be saying that under some circumstances they would recognize Israel.

Caroline Glick makes the problem clear, when she writes,

With his enthusiastic embrace of the so-called Saudi peace plan, Olmert is committing Israel to accepting the Arab narrative of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Saudi plan is predicated on the wholly mendacious claim that there has never been any Arab aggression against Israel – only Israeli aggression against Arabs and legitimate Arab resistance to Israel. With Olmert now giving his stamp of approval to the Saudi plan, he is denying the country its moral right to defend itself both militarily and diplomatically. [my emphasis]

Leaving Olmert aside (how wonderful if this were possible in more than rhetoric!),  her point is well taken. The text of the Arab League approved version of the initiative and the original Saudi version can be found here: “The Arab Peace Initiative“.

There are several reasons that Glick is correct. Consider the introduction and point 1 of the proposal:

Reaffirming the resolution taken in June 1996 at the Cairo Extra-Ordinary Arab Summit that a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East is the strategic option of the Arab countries, to be achieved in accordance with international legality, and which would require a comparable commitment on the part of the Israeli government [introduction]

[The Council of Arab States] requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well. [point 1, my emphasis]

In other words,  the Arab states have chosen the ‘strategic option’ of  seeking peace through (their interpretations of) relevant UN resolutions, but Israel has not and must ‘reconsider’. The implication is that the Arabs want peace and Israel does not.

The second point describes the concrete steps that Israel must take — indeed, as the proposal has been presented by the Arabs, must complete — before the Arabs will take action:

I- Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.  [note that this includes all of East Jerusalem — ed]

II- Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194. [This has always been interpreted by the Arabs to mean that all 4-5 million Arabs claiming refugee status have a right to choose between compensation or ‘returning’ to Israel proper — ed]

III- The acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

And here is the third point:

Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following:

I- Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region.

II- Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace.

The third point begins with the word ‘Consequently’, and the Arabs have made it clear that it is to be understood in a temporal as well as a logical sense — “after the above Israeli actions and as a result of them”. Before discussing the content of the third point, let’s look at the implications of this.

One would expect in a compromise made between equals that steps would be taken by both sides simultaneously, or perhaps with each side making a concession in turn. This gives the impression that neither side is admitting that its present position is untenable, but rather that they are moving together in a cooperative fashion. It also has the practical effect of enabling either side to stop the process if it feels that the other is not living up to its commitments.

But the Arab initiative is exactly the opposite. Israel is required to make all the concessions before the Arab states must do anything. This is reasonable only if we understand the first part — in which Israel must “reconsider its policies” as follows: Israel admits that her policies were wrong and agrees to redress the injustices. Then, and only then, will the Arab states grant ‘peace’ (we’ll discuss what this might be later).

So what exactly is Israel asked to redress?

  • By full withdrawal with no adjustments or compromises, Israel admits that the 1967 war was a war of aggression by Israel against the Arabs.
  • By ‘return’ or compensation of  ‘refugees’ Israel accepts that the consequences of the 1948 war are her responsibility. Everyone agrees that if the ‘refugees’ were allowed into Israel it would be the end of the Jewish state. But it’s also true that accepting responsibility for the refugees by compensation — even if not one ‘returns’ — is an admission of guilt.

So Israel is expected to admit her guilt and sole responsibility for the conflict, and give up everything concrete — land, and possibly even her nation itself. As Glick points out, Arab war and terrorism against Israel are therefore excused because they constitute morally and legally (by the Arabs’ interpretations of UN resolutions) justified resistance against an aggressor.

Now let’s look at what Israel gets, assuming that there still is an Israel after the implementation of point 2.

The conflict will be ‘ended’ — there will be no more fighting. There will be ‘normal relations’. The Arabs will ‘provide security’ for all states in the region.

There is no mention of recognition, even less recognition as a Jewish state. Will Israel even have a role in ‘providing security’ for herself? This is a surrender, not a treaty between equals.

The Arab nations have lost every war they fought against Israel and have had the West save them from suffering the consequences of defeat time and again. Yet they try to dictate terms of surrender as though they had been victorious! What arrogance and chutzpah!

But some say that regardless of all this, Israel should take the proposal seriously, at least as a starting point for negotiations. After all, it is the first time the Arabs — in particular the Saudis –have admitted that under some conditions they will live at peace with Israel. This reminds me of a joke: a man proposes marriage to a woman, who responds “I’ll marry you when Hell freezes over!” So the man goes home and tells his mother, “she hasn’t accepted yet but we have a starting point for negotiations. There are some conditions under which she’ll marry me.”

The only form of this initiative that Israel should be prepared to  use as a basis of negotiations should be one turned upside down. Something like this:

Whereas the Arab nations recognize that the state of Israel is fully legitimate and entitled to define itself as a Jewish state for the Jewish people, they agree to end the conflict.

In return, insofar as the Arabs, Iranians and their proxies will prove that they have actually renounced war and terrorism, Israel will negotiate a two-state solution with the Palestinians — those who accept the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state.

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Booth: I’m a celebrity, get me out of here!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

News Item:

Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair’s sister-in-law, who arrived in Gaza with a boatload of activists protesting an Israeli blockade, said on Tuesday she was stuck there because both Israel and Egypt had denied her entry.

Lauren Booth, sister of the former British prime minister’s wife Cherie, revealed her predicament as Blair visited the region to further Western-backed efforts to achieve a limited Israeli-Palestinian peace deal…

Booth said she has tried unsuccessfully in the past few days to leave through Gaza’s land crossings with Israel and Egypt. “I tried through the proper channels, through the United Kingdom’s embassy, but I was told I was not allowed to come through,” she said after trying in vain to enter Israel.

Overheard on a Gaza beach:

“Hello, Tony? It’s Lauren. Yes, how many Laurens do you know? Guess where I’m calling from!”

“Oh please, not that again. I’m a journalist. This is part of my job.”

“Yes, well, anyway, I’m stuck here.  The beastly Israelis won’t let me in, and neither will the Egyptians. And the boat’s already sailed.”

“Yes, of course, I know. But I was so seasick on the way over, and that absolutely horrid Jeff Halper — don’t ask. The freedom fighters here have been very accommodating, but I’m tired of wearing this thing over my face all the time, and although they are fighting for justice and to end oppression, their attitude towards women is still a little too, er, old-fashioned for comfort. By the way, what’s a sharmuta?

“What? Oh my. Can’t you just get them to send a frigate or something? Something large that won’t pitch about so much. Tony, I’m a celebrity, get me out of here!”


Booth claims that Israel is violating the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which affirms a right “to leave any country and to return to his country”. Of course it doesn’t say anything about the right to enter a third country. Look at it this way:

  1. Booth entered Gaza from which rockets continue to be fired despite a ‘truce';
  2. She’s done her best to help the murderous, antisemitic Hamas in their war against Israel;
  3. And now she wants to be admitted to Israel?

Lauren Booth with her Palestinian 'passport'

Lauren Booth and her Palestinian passport. This and  a few quid will get her on the Underground, if she can swim that far

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What we can learn from a people’s heroes

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Monument to the Bus of BloodThe prisoner exchange with Hezbollah, which is expected to happen in a week or so, will include the body of Palestinian terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, according to the Palestinian news agency Ma’an.

They can have her rotting bones.

She was the leader of a unit of eleven Palestinian Fedayeen who  perpetrated a bloody massacre in March 1978. Landing on the beach near Kibbutz Maagen Michael in rubber boats launched from Lebanon, the terrorists met an American nature photographer named Gail Rubin and executed her for taking pictures of ‘Palestine’ without permission.Then they hijacked a bus carrying Egged (the bus cooperative) employees and their families on an outing; there was a shootout with security forces, the terrorists shot many of the passengers and firebombed the bus. Some 35 Israelis, 13 of them children, were murdered before the terrorists were killed. The event is usually called the “Coastal Road Massacre”; Israelis also call it the “Bus of Blood”.

Above is a picture of the monument to the victims along the coastal road near Herzliya, where the bus stopped.

This is an old, familiar horror. There have been more massacres since then, lots of Jewish blood under the bridge. But here’s the important part:

To this day, Dalal Mughrabi is a heroine of Fatah, the ‘moderate’ Palestinian leadership for which my tax dollars are buying guns, ammunition and armored vehicles.  There are several girls’ schools, summer camps, and kindergartens named after her. Her name has been given to soccer teams, to police training courses, and to numerous children. There are annual ceremonies and TV broadcasts celebrating her ‘heroic action’ [Palestinian Media Watch].

Dalal Mughrabi, as well as Wafa Idris, the first female suicide bomber, master bombmaker Yehiyeh (the Engineer) Ayyash, and countless other ‘martyrs’ are venerated in Palestinian culture, and — significantly — by the official organs of the Palestinian Authority. Aaron Klein reports,

An official PA pamphlet obtained by WND asks Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip and West Bank to prepare victory celebrations for the day Mughrabi’s body is released by Israel.

“We call upon all regional Fatah leaders to make the necessary activities, demonstrations, festivals and symbolic funerals in a very significant way to glorify this big hero. We call upon Fatah sections to form special committees with the mission of coordinating these preparations,” read the pamphlet.

The communication went on to call for Israeli Arabs to also celebrate the release of Mughrabi’s body.

The pamphlet was sent from the PA’s “ideological and organic” department, which is led by Chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmad Qurei, who has been overseeing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks initiated at last November’s U.S.-sponsored Annapolis summit.

According to PA sources, preparations are underway for Mughrabi to be buried in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, which is home to the Church of the Nativity, the believed birthplace of Jesus.

When the official heroes — not the cult heroes of some extremist group, the official heroes of a people that wants to become a nation — are murderers and terrorists, creatures that would kill a nature photographer in cold blood because she had the temerity to take pictures of what they claim as theirs, monsters that would shoot and burn children on a holiday outing, then what does that tell us about that people? And what does it tell us about their leadership that promotes this sickness?

Here is what Israel should say to Fatah: here are the bones of Dalal Mughrabi, whom you hold up as the model for every young Palestinian girl. Have big funerals with lots of shooting in the air and giving out of candy. Talk about her heroism in confronting the Zionist oppressors (like the Zionist oppressor children of bus drivers). Make speeches about redeeming  all of Palestine with your blood, display pictures of ‘martyrs’, and above all of the Original Terrorist, the father of the Palestinian nation and still its inspiration, Yasser Arafat.

And then understand this:

We know that there can be no peace with you. We know that giving you a state, giving you anything, will only bring your terrorist ‘heroes’ closer to our population. We know what’s in your hearts because you tell everyone who is willing to listen, and the message has come through loud and clear. You are our deadly enemies, and peace will not come until you no longer have the power to hurt us. And we are going to do whatever we can to bring about that state of affairs.

Just what this will mean to you in practice is up to you.

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J Street is anti-Israel and anti-Peace

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

The organization which calls itself “J Street” is billed as “pro-Israel and pro-peace”. It presents itself as an alternative to AIPAC, which it says is dominated by the “far right”. It appears to be very well-funded and has numerous well-known liberal Jews among its supporters.

In fact, J Street’s goals are inimical to the continued existence of the state of Israel. Its supporters either desire the elimination of the Jewish state or do not understand the consequences of accepting its principles.

Here is J Street’s Statement of Principles, with my comments.

We support:

  • Consistent and concerted diplomatic engagement by the United States to achieve Israeli-Arab peace. A negotiated end to the Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts serves both U.S. and Israeli strategic and security interests. Achieving it must be a priority for any future U.S. administration;

“Engagement” is a code word for pressure on Israel to make concrete, irrevocable concessions — giving up territory — in return for unenforceable promises of peace and normal relations. Whenever the US has been “engaged” — after the 1967 and 1973 wars, the Israeli-Egyptian ‘peace’ deal, the 1982 agreement that let Arafat and his terrorists escape Beirut, and of course Oslo — Israel has been forced to give up gains earned in blood in return for promises, both from the US and the Arabs, that were not fulfilled.

  • An enduring relationship between the US and Israel that promotes their common interests. We recognize and support Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, a democratic country that promises equal rights for all its citizens and that has the right to defend itself against external threats;

This paragraph makes two points: Israel is the “homeland of the Jewish people”, but not a Jewish state; and it only promises, but does not provide, equal rights for all of its citizens. In order to understand the importance of the juxtaposition of these statements, we need to consider the demands presently being made by the elite of the Israeli-Arab population: their understanding of ‘equal rights’ essentially calls for the elimination of the Jewish character of the state.

  • The creation of a viable Palestinian state as part of a negotiated two-state solution, based on the 1967 borders with agreed reciprocal land swaps. The future Palestinian state will require unprecedented levels of international economic and political support to succeed, including a resolution of the refugee issue within the new Palestinian state and in current host countries;

For various reasons, including the lack of support among Palestinians for any non-rejectionist leadership, majority support for Hamas, and the military capabilities of the Iranian-funded and armed Hamas, a peaceful Palestinian state simply impossible. A fantasy. If we ignore this and create a state anyway, we will be helping set up a terrorist entity like today’s Gaza strip right next to Israeli population centers.

  • An Israeli-Syrian peace agreement based on the land-for-peace formula, security guarantees, and details outlined in previous negotiations;

Another fantasy. Giving up the Golan heights will drastically reduce Israel’s deterrent against Syrian attack, allow renewed terrorism on what has become a quiet front, allow Hezbollah to grow even stronger. In return, Israel will get less than what she got from Egypt, not even a prolonged cease-fire.

  • A comprehensive regional peace that builds on the Arab Initiative, leading to recognition of Israel by all its neighbors in the Middle East and the creation of a new regional approach to cooperation and security;

The Arab (Saudi) Initiative is a surrender document. It requires Israel to return to the 1967 lines with no exceptions and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes; it calls for a solution of the refugee problem in a way which can only be understood as their return to Israel; and Israel gets nothing until she has entirely met Arab demands. The Arab initiative directly contradicts J Street’s planks calling for land swaps and for refugees to return to the Palestinian state and not to Israel, so one wonders what it’s doing here.

  • An American policy in the Middle East more broadly based on diplomacy, multilateralism and real partnership with the European Union, the Quartet and others. We support dialogue with a broad range of countries and actors, including Iran, over confrontation in order to find solutions to the region’s conflicts.

The European Union and the Quartet members other than the US (Russia, the EU, and the UN) are all quite hostile to Israel. How does involving them help? And what exactly does J Street propose to offer to Iran in order to ‘find a solution’ to Ahmadinejad’s desire to replace US influence in the Middle East with a Shiite Caliphate? Permission to build nuclear weapons?

To advance these goals, we seek to build a broad and inclusive campaign that crosses ethnic and religious lines and in which American Jews play a prominent role.

Yes, it really helps the argument when you can say “See, even the Jews think Israel is intransigent and must be forced to make peace”.

We believe honest discussion of American and Israeli policies is healthy for the U.S., for Israel and for the American Jewish community. We will actively promote debate in the United States that is as open and spirited as it is in Israel.

In other words, Mearsheimer and Walt were right, AIPAC and the Israel Lobby ‘muzzle’ debate about Israel in the US.

In that debate, we will oppose alliances with the religious right or any radical religious ideologues in the name of supporting Israel as well as efforts to demean and fan fears of Islam or of Muslims.

It’s interesting that on the J Street site, there is no mention of any of the real threats faced by Israel from Hezbollah, Hamas, and Iran. No mention of the tens of thousands of Syrian and Hezboillah missiles targeting Israel at this moment, no mention of the liklihood of war with Hezbollah and Hamas. What we find instead is an attack on Christian Zionist John Hagee! Does J Street think John Hagee is a greater menace than Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad?

The statement of principles is not in any way pro-Israel or pro-peace. It is a blueprint to force Israel back to the indefensible 1967 borders and to entirely surround her with armed terrorist entities that will continue to build up their military capabilities with Iranian funding; it encourages the radical elements among the Israeli Arabs in their struggle to turn Israel herself into a Palestinian state from within; it promotes the completely unacceptable Arab Initiative; suggests that dialogue is the way to deal with imminent military threats; makes approving noises in the direction of the antisemitic doctrine of Mearsheimer and Walt; and tries to drive a wedge between Israel and the 100+ million evangelicals in the US who want to support her.

The consequence of allowing a Hamas state to be set up in the West Bank and of failing to firmly oppose Iran and her proxies, to weaken Israel and strengthen its enemies cannot possibly be peace, but its opposite.

The primary goal of J Street appears to be to get Israel out of the territories, even though there is no partner which could create a peaceful Palestinian state. Secondarily it opposes the Jewish character of the state. Its domestic goals in the US are to reduce the influence of the Christian right and to keep Jews from making alliances with right-wing forces.

J Street is just another part of the general offensive against support for Israel in the US that has been taking place for the past few years. This one is aimed at support from liberal or uncommitted Jews, just as Jimmy Carter’s book is designed to weaken pro-Israel sentiment among Protestants.

It would be very interesting to learn the sources of funding for this slick group’s disingenuous propaganda.

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US helps Saudis, gets $128/bbl. oil in return

Friday, May 16th, 2008

News item:

President George W. Bush and [Saudi] King Abdullah formalized new cooperation on Friday between the kingdom and the United States on a range of topics, including the development of civilian nuclear energy in Saudi Arabia and US protection of Saudi oil fields.

The agreements came as Saudi Arabian leaders made clear that they saw no reason to increase oil production until their customers demanded it, apparently rebuffing a request made by the president directly to the king in an effort to stay the soaring US gasoline prices. — Jerusalem Post

I wish I had been a fly on the wall to hear the discussion, but Mr. Bush must have said something like this:

“We’ll help you develop nuclear technology (theoretically only for non-military use), and we’ll use our military forces — already fighting the Iranians for your interests in Iraq — to protect your oil fields. In return, you’ll keep the price of oil high in order to crush our economy. At the same time, you’ll use your windfall profits to finance the most radical forms of Islamic fundamentalism around the world, including in the USA.”

“In the Israeli-Palestinian arena, we’ll continue to support the Fatah terrorists so that they can form a unity government with the Hamas terrorists, splitting the latter from Iran. We’ll force the Israelis to give up land for a new Sunni state on their doorstep. We’re equipping and training its army right now.”

“Maybe we’ll get Israel to fight Hezbollah in Lebanon for you. That will weaken both Israel and Iran.”

What a great deal!

Update — Saudi Arabia has agreed to increase oil production by about 3.3% — a token increase which did not prevent oil from reaching a new high of $128/bbl. today.

Who's in charge here?

Who’s in charge here?

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Hopeful Palestinians and manufactured nonsense

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

There are real problems and there is nonsense manufactured to keep our minds off the real problems.

A real — and immediate — problem is the fact that Iran’s wholly-owned subsidiaries Syria and Hezbollah have tens of thousands of missiles, short, medium, and long range, all aimed at Israel. Another real problem, although slightly less immediate, is that Iran is moving along on her nuclear weapons program.

In the category of nonsense, Condoleezza Rice has said that “Young Palestinians are losing hope for an agreement with Israel”.

Losing hope? Were there ever “young Palestinians” (or even old Palestinians) pining away for a deal between Israel and the US-armed, Western-financed Fatah faction that they don’t support?

Here is what Palestinians think, young ones and old ones:

A public opinion poll [March 2008] reveals that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians – 84 percent – support the shooting attack at the Marcaz HaRav yeshiva on March 6 that left eight Jewish boys dead.

The most recent Israeli and Palestinian public opinion poll conducted jointly by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, describes Palestinians’ ‘staggering’ support of violent acts against Israel. Support for the shooting attack was greater in the Gaza Strip – at 91 percent, compared to the West Bank at 79 percent.

A further 64 percent of Palestinians polled support launching rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli towns, such as Sderot and Ashkelon.

The idea that Palestinians want a state in the territories is a wish-fulfillment fantasy of the Israeli Left and a useful fiction for the US State Department. The ongoing negotiations between Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction and Israel, in which Abbas continues to insist on impossible conditions (like 1967 borders and a right of return for descendants of 1948 refugees), and which Israel pretends to take seriously, are manufactured nonsense.

What almost all Palestinians, young and old, hope for is the collapse of the state of Israel, brought about by a combination of their ‘armed struggle’, regional war with Syria and Hezbollah, and diplomatic pressure from the oil-addicted and — at least in the case of the US — Saudi-subverted West.

Hopeful young Palestinians

Hopeful young Palestinians

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US reneges on commitments to Israel

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

When Caroline Glick was here yesterday I wanted to ask her about the 2004 letter from President Bush to then-PM Ariel Sharon. At that time, immediately before the withdrawal from Gaza, Bush made two ground-breaking statements. First, he said that

In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949…

And then he added this:

It seems clear that an agreed, just, fair and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue, as part of any final status agreement, will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than Israel…

I wanted to ask Ms. Glick how she understood the first of these statements, in the light of the continued complaints by Condoleezza Rice that Israel is “violating the road map” by constructing new homes inside existing settlements such as Elkana and in Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, places which certainly count as ‘Israeli population centers’ which would remain in Israel in any reasonable final agreement.

And I wanted to ask why, considering the second statement, the US insists that ‘everything is on the table’ for negotiations, including the unacceptable and absurd demand for a right of return for millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees, something that is equivalent to ending the Jewish state.

I have written about this contradiction before (see “Annapolis is an irrelevant joke“), but I remained profoundly mystified by my own government’s schizophrenia with respect to its ‘valued ally’, Israel.

I didn’t have an opportunity to ask Ms. Glick what she thought, but in her column today she has answered my question without being asked:

According to last Thursday’s Washington Post, Bush administration officials are doing everything they can to try to get out of the President’s commitment to Sharon. Justifying the letter as an insincere piece of political maneuvering used to help Sharon expel the Jews from Gaza and Northern Samaria in 2005, they explain that the letter is no longer politically necessary. It served its purpose of drumming up domestic Israeli support for the now completed withdrawal and expulsion and ought to be set aside.

From the Washington Post item referenced by Glick:

National security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, at a news briefing in January, suggested that Bush’s 2004 letter was aimed at helping Sharon win domestic approval for the Gaza withdrawal. “The president obviously still stands by that letter of April of 2004, but you need to look at it, obviously, in the context of which it was issued,” he said. [my emphasis]

So there’s nothing to be mystified about. Bush wrote the letter to help smooth the path to Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, and now that that is done it has become ‘inoperative’.

The Washington Post, by the way, consistently refers to ‘settlement expansion’, but in fact the boundaries of the ‘settlements’ and neighborhoods in question are not being expanded; homes are being constructed within them.

There is apparently a disagreement between the US and Israel about unpublicized understandings of what constitutes ‘good’ and ‘bad’ settlement construction. The US claims there are no such understandings, and that any construction outside of 1967 borders is a problem. Israel says that there is an understanding that unsubsidized construction can continue within settlements and neighborhoods that are expected to become part of Israel.

But if the Bush letter has any significance, it certainly must imply that what Israel does within the boundaries of Elkana, for example, is none of our business. If it doesn’t mean at least that, then what does it mean? What exactly is it that President Bush “stands by” in the letter?

Present State Department positions seem to be indistinguishable from those of Mahmoud Abbas, who continues to insist on 1967 borders and a right of return.

If Hadley’s remarks are taken seriously, the word of the President of the United States is no better than that of Yasser Arafat, who lied about recognizing Israel and renouncing terrorism in order to get his foot in the door when he signed the Oslo Accord.

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Palestinians have been made into moral monsters

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

The NY Times reports:

RAMALLAH, West Bank — A new poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians support the attack this month on a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem that killed eight young men, most of them teenagers, an indication of the alarming level of Israeli-Palestinian tension in recent weeks.

The survey also shows unprecedented support for the shooting of rockets on Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip and for the end of the peace negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli leaders.

“There is real reason to be concerned,” [pollster Khalil] Shikaki said in an interview at his West Bank office. His Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, which conducts a survey every three months, is widely viewed as among the few independent and reliable gauges of Palestinian public opinion.

His explanation for the shift, one widely reflected in the Palestinian media, is that recent actions by Israel, especially attacks on Gaza that killed nearly 130 people, an undercover operation in Bethlehem that killed four militants and the announced expansion of several West Bank settlements [building within existing ‘settlements’ near Jerusalem that are expected to be retained by Israel in a final agreement — ed.], have led to despair and rage among average Palestinians who thirst for revenge.

How did it get to this point? Why has it been impossible for Jews and Arabs to reach an accommodation in the region?

Palestinians never accepted the presence of the Jewish state, and always believed that the land on which it was built was stolen from them. They never accepted any of the responsibility for the events of 1948 and thereafter. The Arab nations and media always presented this distorted view of historical events, and Arab and Palestinian leaders — the Mufti, Arafat, Nasser, etc. — consistently rejected any attempts to make peace or solve the refugee problem.

According to the Palestinian story, they are entirely the victims, and everything is the Jews’ fault. Therefore there is no reason to compromise, since real justice would require the elimination of Israel and the removal of the Jews from their land.

Over the years, under the guidance of such as Arafat, Palestinians tried to achieve their goals by murder and terrorism. Israeli attempts at self-defense have always been interpreted as aggression, both for external consumption — to create sympathy for the Palestinians in the West — and in their own minds. After all, since the Jews are entirely culpable for Palestinian suffering, anything may be done to them in order to obtain justice and end the suffering.

The Oslo debacle demonstrates this clearly. While Israelis were prepared to make concrete concessions and to re-educate themselves to the new reality of a Palestinian state, Arafat was not prepared to give anything — not recognition of Israel, not a cessation of terrorism, and, probably most significant for today’s situation, not a reduction in anti-Israel incitement.

In fact, Arafat created a massive indoctrination machine which included all Palestinian media, the educational system, PA-associated mosques, etc., all focused on delegitimizing and demonizing Israel, and preparing young Palestinians for their roles as soldiers in the coming war.

The truly remarkable thing about this period was the way that Israel and the US managed to ignore all this, to ignore Arafat calling for jihad in Arabic while talking peace in English, to discount his sponsorship of terrorism — even after it was proven beyond a doubt — and to offer him an unprecedented deal in 2000 in which the Palestinians would receive between 95 and 97 percent of the West Bank and all of Gaza for their state.

But anyone who knew the Palestinian story could have predicted that Arafat would reject even this, because it did not redress the primary Palestinian grievance, the creation of Israel on ‘their’ land.

And in the same way, the Palestinian story implies that anything that Israel does in self-defense — the security barrier, arrests of terrorists, incursions to stop rocket fire — is done to perpetuate the injustice, and will only create more outrage.

So here we are, 60 years after 1948 and the Palestinians are furious and want revenge. 60 years have passed, during which time the Palestinians have focussed on themselves and the historic injustice that they understand to have been done them so narcissistically that they are now unable to see that slaughtering innocent teenagers and randomly bombing civilians is evil. We have a situation in which a majority of a population has been turned — by systematic manipulation and indoctrination — into moral monsters.

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Common knowledge

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

YNet reports:

The US is transferring $150 million in aid to the Palestinian government in coming days, the Palestinian Prime Minister announced Wednesday.

The payment is part of a total of $550 million the US pledged to pay to the Palestinians over three years, part of a total of $7.7 billion in pledges from international donors made at a conference in Paris in December.

[Palestinian Authority PM Salam] Fayyad said the US money would go directly to the national treasury, to be used for running the cash-strapped government.

Everybody knows that the Palestinian Authority (PA) under Mahmoud Abbas and Fayyad does not represent a significant number of Palestinians, is not capable of making a peace deal with Israel that both sides could accept, and could not enforce such a deal if it were made.

Everybody knows that the only thing keeping the PA from losing control of the West Bank as happened in Gaza is the presence of the IDF.

Abbas’ frustration at the failure to make progress in talks that are supposed to lead to an independent Palestinian state is disingenuous: he knows that Israel cannot accept a right of return for refugee descendants, and he knows that Palestinians will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Israeli PM Olmert’s pretense at negotiating with Abbas is just that, because he knows the same things.

President Bush knows that “a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that defines a Palestinian state” will not be signed this year, at least not a meaningful one.

Everybody knows that Hamas is more popular among Palestinians than any other political entity.

Everybody knows, even Javier Solana of the EU must know by now, that Hamas is committed to destroying Israel, not ‘liberating the Palestinians’ from the 1967 occupation. And everybody knows that Hamas is funded by Iran, which is also committed to same goal.

And everybody knows that establishing a peaceful Palestinian state — especially one which is “viable, contiguous, sovereign, and independent” in President Bush’s words — while Hamas controls Gaza and threatens to take over the West Bank — is simply impossible.

So why are millions, indeed billions, earmarked for this project, when everyone knows it is entirely a charade?

Why do we continue to hear the same nonsense from politicians and media about the importance of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, when the greatest problem — the problem that threatens to engulf the world in nuclear war — is the struggle between Iran and its allies and proxies and the West for control of the Middle East and its resources? Why is less attention paid to the nuclear weapons presently in the hands of the highly unstable Pakistan and those soon to be built by Iran than to the importance of a ‘contiguous’ Palestinian state?

Good questions.

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