Saturday, January 26, 2008

Living with Middle East Media Bias - an egregious example in Reuters.

By Ami Isseroff

Media bias is apparently an immovable fact of news reporting on the Middle East. I am not talking about doctored photos, use of hate words like "Israel Occupation Forces" and "Apartheid Wall" in more more extremist publications. I am referring to a pervasive standard of more subtle mendacity that we have come to accept. Like people condemned to live near a pigsty or a chemical plant, we have become so used to the stench that we hardly notice it. In the same way, Jews in other times became accustomed to wearing a yellow star, and black people in southern United States understood that they must ride in the back of the bus. That's just the way things are. For many years, black Americans also knew that every time one of them committed a crime, newspapers would be sure to write "A Negro held up a gas station," "A Negro killed a shop owner," but they would never specify the "race" of a "white" perpetrator.

Here is an example of modern Jim Crow. Yesterday, two terror attacks took place in the West Bank. In one, Palestinian Arabs attacked border guards at a checkpoint and killed a border policeman. In another, Palestinian Arabs entered a civilian Yeshiva in the community of Kfar Etzion and tried to kill students there. The students were armed though, and they overcame and killed their attackers.

The Reuters report of this incident is below. It is not outstandingly anti-Israel, just biased and hateful in an ordinary pedestrian way. A casual reader might not notice much bias unless it was pointed out. What do we see here? The headline tells you that two Palestinians and one Israeli was killed. Clearly it is another case of the Israeli Goliath victimizing the oppressed Palestinian David. That is how those lopsided casualty figures pile up - incident by incident.

The lede paragraph tells us that "Jewish settlers shout dead two Palestinians" - without telling us why. It also tells you that "gunmen" (of unidentified origin - maybe Jewish) Killed an Israeli Border Guard (religion and ethnic affiliation unspecified.

Not until many paragraphs later, if you have patience to read that far, does Reuters tell you how the "Palestinians" (of unknown religion) were killed. And when they do tell you, they write, "an army spokeswoman said," and "Israel radio said" as though these are possibly unsubstantiated allegations. The facts therefore are reduced to the same level of credibility as "Martians landed in my back yard, UFO enthusiast IMA Nut said," and "Jews are responsible for the French revolution," Hamas radio said.

Note too, the number of times the words "settler" and "settlement" appear in this article. Reuters has "settlers" on the brain, but they would not think of referring to the Palestinians (possibly Jewish since their ethnic and religious identification is not mentioned - or maybe they were Quakers?) as "terrorists" or even militants.

Two Palestinians, Israeli killed in W.Bank incidents
(Adds Israeli border policeman killed)

JERUSALEM, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Jewish settlers shot dead two Palestinians and gunmen killed an Israeli border policeman in two separate incidents in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, medical and security services said.

Police said Palestinian gunmen shot an Israeli paramilitary border policeman near the Shuafat refugee camp near Jerusalem and that he died of his wounds at the scene.

A woman, also from the Israeli security services, received moderate to serious gunshot wounds in the same incident, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Israel Radio reported that a large number of police and soldiers were combing the area, searching for the gunmen.

In the second incident, settlers overpowered and shot dead two Palestinians who infiltrated a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, an army spokeswoman said.

Israel radio said the Palestinians had stabbed two settlers at the Kfar Etzion settlement, not far from Bethlehem, before being shot, and a hospital spokeswoman in Jerusalem said the settlers' injuries were light to moderate. (Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Tim Pearce)

Admittedly, it is possible to extract the true version of what happened from the above story. However, any neutral or naive person would come away with the idea that all of the deaths were the fault of "Jewish Settlers," who perhaps have a "narrative" that alleges that Palestinians attacked them.

Ami Isseroff

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Friday, January 25, 2008


by Michelle Nevada

Frankly, I'm a bit tired of the word.

There has been a lot of talk of "peace" lately. It seems the word is everywhere. There are rock concerts and congressional hearings and meetings and protests for "peace." But I doubt people have even taken the time to define what they think "peace" is. After all, if you look up the word "peace" you are likely to find at least five, if not twenty-five, different definitions of the word -- everything from "agreements to end hostility" to "silence."

Frankly, I'm a bit tired of the word. It has been greatly overused as some type of panacea for every problem in the world. "Peace" is an abstract, a generalization. Telling people you are in favor of "peace" is very popular, it will probably get you elected, but it really isn't saying anything at all. With so many definitions to play with, I think I could say with great certainty that we are all in favor of peace. For example, I would greatly treasure a moment of peace (quiet) away from all these people promoting the vacuous and empty idea of "peace."

Lake Superior State University, a small college in Michigan, publishes a "Banned Words" list every New Year. The words included on the list are, according to their website, a "Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness." I think I shall suggest "peace" as a word that should definitely be banned for next year. Meanwhile, I want to share my definition of "peace" with you, and the reasons behind my thinking.

Peace, in my opinion, is something that encompasses almost all meanings of the word -- an absence of conflict or struggle, a great quiet, and everything in harmony, etc. I'm sure that this is the idea behind so many politicians' and activists' words. They want a world where all people can be at "peace." It's a nice idea... or is it?

In a religious sense, I think it is a nice idea. If one has great faith and an understanding of an all-knowing, all-seeing, infinite and just G-d, one can believe that there will be, at some time, through the intervention of G-d, a perfect peace. But this is something only G-d can bring. Humanity is incapable of this miracle of peace.

After all, life, as we know it, is a potpourri of conflict, struggle, noise and dissonance. To live life to its fullest, we must make our way through a long list of treacherous and dangerous decisions; we must make sacrifices and ask others to sacrifice; we must compromise and ask others to compromise; we must argue, yell, laugh and make mistakes; we must add spice to our food, our lives and our loves; and we must be demanded of and be demanding. Life is never a place of "peace." Life is messy, and painful, and beautiful.

Likewise, in order for nations to exist, those nations must fight for their right to exist. Nations must insist upon their own borders, their own laws, their own values, and they must work for the betterment of their own population. There are always challenges to a nation's sovereignty, and I don't think there was ever a time when any nation has existed for even a moment without some challenge from inside or outside their borders. A nation cannot hope to have "peace" unless the nation ceases to exist.

To exist, people and nations must fight to survive. If we fail, we die -- and only in death do we have "peace."

So, as I read news stories and hear the speeches of politicians and activists who are promoting "peace," I can't help but say to myself, "They are not G-d, the only peace they can offer is the peace of non-existence, the peace of death."

This new definition of peace is one that has clarified my understanding of a great many things that used to be perplexing to me. For example, when US Secretary of State Rice, or Prime Minister Olmert, or our new President Peres say they will make "peace" with our Arab neighbors by sacrificing large swaths of land, and providing our enemies with money, weapons, power and energy, I understand exactly what the are saying. When activists protest and say we need to embrace "peace" instead of building a separation fence between Israelis and terrorists, I clearly understand. When Israel reaches an agreement to release 250 terrorists for the purpose of "peace," I no longer question what they are saying.

No wonder politicians and activists have never wanted to define the word. If we truly understood what they had been saying all these years, maybe we would have opted for conflict instead.

One reader amplified the 'peace of the grave' idea. It is the peace of the grave that Olmert/Peres embrace

Chaim, (19/07/07)
It is the peace of the grave that Olmert/Peres embrace Before the "peace process" terror attacks against Israelis were rare and severely punished. Israel didn't release terrorists. Israel, though much smaller than today, was respected by friend and foe alike. What have "peace" talks done for Israel? Cost us the Sinai. We'd be infinitely better off with the Sinai than worthless paper. Cost us tens of thousands of murdered and maimed civilians. Cost us the respect of all, including ourselves. Our pursuit of "peace" has been a complete disaster. We'd be far better off pursuing strength and self respect. Olmert/Peres lead us only to the peace of the grave.

Michelle Nevada is a religious Jew from rural Nevada.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Iran Attempted to Sabotage Israeli Spy Satellite Launch.


by Hana Levi Julian

The launch Monday of Israel's cutting-edge spy satellite from a site in India, set originally for September 2007, was delayed for months due to pressure on Indian opposition parties by Iran, according to Western sources quoted by the Jerusalem Post.

The attempted sabotage by Iran carried out through its Muslim and Communist political contacts in the Indian government was ultimately unsuccessful.

Nonetheless, it is another indication of the ongoing effort by the Islamic Republic to do what it can to block Israeli and other intelligence agencies from acquiring up-to-date information on its nuclear development and other activities.

The new TECSAR satellite, produced by Israel Aerospace Industries, (IAI) weighs approximately 300 kilograms and can provide clear images of objects on the ground regardless of weather conditions. The satellite can also see through rooftops made of certain materials.

While Iran is doing its best to sabotage intelligence gathering efforts by Israel and other nations, Russia delivered a fifth shipment of nuclear fuel rods to the Islamic Republic's Bushehr nuclear power plant Monday.

Three more nuclear fuel shipments are expected to arrive from Russia in the coming weeks as well.

Israeli officials continue to emphasize to Western leaders there is evidence that Iran is building a nuclear weapon of mass destruction despite protestations that its activities are geared toward peaceful domestic nuclear power.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has promised repeatedly to "wipe Israel off the map." Israeli leaders have vowed to eliminate this existential threat to the Jewish State if diplomatic negotiations fail to persuade Iran to end its nuclear development programs.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.



Anti-Semitic Attacks and Jihadists Threaten US and Diaspora Jews.


by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

A series of anti-Semitic attacks and threats, including a warning that Lebanese jihadists are targeting Jewish institutions in Germany, struck Diaspora Jews in January.

USA: Arrest of Bomb-Maker Alongside Vandalism and Beatings
On Monday, New York police arrested Ivaylo Ivanov in Brooklyn, after it was discovered that he was behind vandalism of synagogues, private homes and schools in September 2007. More ominously, Ivanov confessed to the vandalism during questioning regarding seven pipe bombs police found in an apartment he shares with a noted Columbia professor. In addition to the bombs, police found the bomb-making machinery, a pistol, a shotgun, a crossbow and a bulletproof vest in Ivanov's home. According to the New York Daily News, Ivanov claimed that the bombs were for fishing.

The vandalism Ivanov is to be charged with includes spray-painting at least 23 swastikas on several buildings he identified with Jews. Ivanov also admitted that he distributed fliers that said, "Israel: Land of Pigs" and "All Jews Die" in the Brooklyn area.

In an incident on Friday night in Brooklyn, a yeshiva student was viciously beaten by five youths, as he walked to a friend's house in the Crown Heights neighborhood. According to the victim, his attackers beat him for more than five minutes while they cursed him with anti-Semitic epithets. Local first responders treated the yeshiva student near the scene and transported him to the hospital for further assistance. Police later discovered a bloody rock apparently used in the attack. On Saturday, detectives from the NYPD Bias Crime Unit interviewed the victim.

Another beating attack was reported in the same Brooklyn neighborhood that same weekend. A gang of five or six teens attacked three yeshiva students on Eastern Parkway, according to CrownHeights.Info. It is unclear if the two incidents are related.

In the Chicago area, anti-Semitic vandals caused at least $100,000 in damage to about 57 gravestones in a Jewish cemetery earlier this month. Swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans were spray-painted on tombstones in the Westlawn Cemetery in Norridge, Illinois.

In California, swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti was discovered last Thursday on residential walls over a two-mile area of Tarzana. The vandalism, targeting the mostly Jewish neighborhood, led police to initiate a hate-crimes investigation.

Democratic presidential primaries candidate Barack Obama said last week, "I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan." His statement came in reaction to revelations that Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, to which Obama belongs, honored Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan as a man who "truly epitomized greatness" at an awards ceremony last year.

The American Jewish Committee called Obama's condemnation "sufficient."

Lebanese Jihadists Threaten Germany's Jewish Community
According to reports in the German press, security officials in Germany warned Jewish leaders in the country that Lebanese jihadists are targeting synagogues and Jewish schools for attack. The warning, which came on January 11, related to Jewish communities across Germany.

Stefan Kramer, General Secretary of the Central Council of German Jews, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur that community leaders were taking increased precautions in response to the warning. Kramer said that police had increased their protection for Jewish institutions in Berlin and elsewhere.

Focus magazine reported that four Arab men had been detained for acting suspiciously near Jewish institutions in Berlin. Three of the men have been released. Other ominous discoveries reported by the magazine include a stolen army minibus with its license plates and a large quantity of explosives.

Also in Berlin, five students from a Jewish high school were attacked by a dog set upon them by four adult men. The attack, which took place last week according to the state German news agency, is being tentatively classified as an anti-Semitic incident.

Croatian 'Soccer Fans' Threaten Jews, Serbs With Death
In a letter signed by fans of Hajduk Split, a leading Croatian soccer team, and delivered to a church in Zagreb, Jews and Serbs have been threatened with genocide.

Using Ustashe and Nazi slogans such as "Jews out," the intimidating flier was addressed to Jews and Serbs. It said, "Ask yourself if these are your last days. We are going to exterminate you all."

Local police, informed of the incident by the church, are investigating.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Serbia, according to America's ABC News, a Belgrade hotel is doing a brisk business hosting guests in a Hitler-themed room. The hotel features rooms decorated with images and paraphernalia associated with many world leaders, past and present, but the Hitler room has attracted mainly German, Croat and Slovenian guests, according to the owner. It is also his most popular room.

ABC News reported that the leader of the Jewish community in Belgrade condemned the hotel for contributing to Adolph Hitler's "banalization."

Series of Anti-Semitic Attacks Down Under
The Jewish community of Melbourne, Australia, was also the target of several attacks by vandals last week.

The Caulfield Hebrew Congregation (CHC), one of the city's largest synagogues, and Caulfield North's kosher Park Grill Restaurant were spray-painted with swastikas on Saturday night. Melbourne's popular bagel bakery, Glick's, had its front window smashed, as well. The vandals caused thousands of dollars in damage.

Victoria Police are investigating the crimes, but note that links between the incidents have not been made, nor is there evidence that the Glick's vandalism was an anti-Semitic attack. The bakery has suffered similar property damage in separate incidents over the last six months, according to the Australian Jewish News.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Statistics: Jewish Population Flourishing in Judea and Samaria.


by Hana Levi Julian

The Jewish population in Judea and Samaria is rising steadily despite  Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's stated freeze on building in the expanding Jewish communities in the stony green hills that carpet the region.

The latest figures released by the Interior Ministry show that the Jewish population growth in Judea and Samaria is triple the 1.7 percent increase in the entire Israeli population.

Efforts by the Olmert government to stifle Jewish growth in the region have proved fruitless. Repeated evictions of young activists from new communities and neighborhoods have not discouraged the pioneers from returning to the sites to rebuild demolished structures as often as necessary.

Harassment and even incarceration of minor teenage activists who help established the new communities has only served to strengthen the resolve of the nationalists who are committed to deepen the Jewish connection to the Biblical region.

Prime Minister Olmert's promise to the United States and the Palestinian Authority to eliminate "illegal" outposts has also done little to stem the tide of Israelis moving to the region and of a rising birthrate among its residents.

The American-backed edict forbidding new construction, including any addition to existing homes, in Judea and Samaria towns has been equally ineffective.
The Jewish population in Judea and Samaria grew by 5.2 percent, rising by 14,000 residents from 268,000 at the end of 2006 to 282,000 at the end of 2007.

The figures do not include citizens who reside in communities that the government has deemed illegal. Nor do the statistics include approximately 250,000 Jewish residents of the Jerusalem suburbs built after the 1967 Six-Day War.

All together, over half a million Jews live in the areas of Judea and Samaria liberated in the 1967 Six Day War.

Birthrates rose significantly in the communities of Beitar Illit, Modi'in Illit and Emmanuel, with major increases also noted in Maale Adumim, Givat Ze'ev and Ariel.

Hana Levi Julian

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.



Monday, January 21, 2008

Watchdog Group Slams UK Funding of Hate-Filled PA School Books


by Ezra HaLevi

A British taxpayers advocacy group has published a report slamming England's continued funding of the Palestinian Authority's Jihadist hate curriculum in PA school textbooks.

"How British taxpayers are funding hate education and violence in the Middle East," was the title of the paper published by the TaxPayers' Alliance. "'Funding Hate Education' reveals disturbing evidence showing how British taxpayers' money has been spent helping to fund hate education and promote violence in the Middle East," the report states (Click here to download full report in .pdf format).

"In order for a [peace] deal to stick over the long term, it is essential that the Palestinian population fully accepts it," said Matthew Sinclair, the author of the report and a policy analyst at the TaxPayers' Alliance. "This is why it is particularly concerning that British aid is supporting the radicalization of the Palestinian population, particularly the children… British taxpayers' money is supporting the radicalization of Palestinian youth and hurting our objectives in the region. This needs to, and can, change."

According to the report, the L47.5 million of British aid to the PA is supporting:

* Textbooks praising insurgents in Iraq, arguing for the execution of apostates and the idealization of martyrdom.
* Television broadcasts aimed at children that urge violence against non-Muslims and promote the view that Israel should not exist.

The British newspaper Express elicited a response to the report from the Department for International Development (DFID), which answered: "We don't fund the Palestinian Authority directly and therefore don't fund textbooks."

The TaxPayers' Alliance fired back almost immediately: "How strange, on the 11th of July last year they put out a press release titled: 'UK leads the way in resuming direct aid for Palestinian Authority,'" the group pointed out on its web site, reprinting the release, which boasted: "The UK has underlined its support for the Palestinian Authority with a contribution of L3 million to allow it to begin paying off its private sector debts, Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development, announced today. A month after Hamas's takeover of Gaza and the establishment of a new Government by President Mahmoud Abbas, today's announcement makes the UK one of the first countries to resume direct financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority."

"Our report raises serious issues about how the UK contributes to the long-term prospects for an end to the Israel-Palestine conflict.  It makes positive recommendations, modeled on longstanding practice in Northern Ireland, for how our aid money can encourage an end to radicalization and hate education.  The DFID should look at those recommendations instead of issuing nonsensical rebuttals."

For more information on incitement in PA textbooks, visit the Israel-based Center For Monitoring the Impact of Peace, whose reports are widely quoted in the TaxPayers' report.

Ezra HaLevi


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Sunday, January 20, 2008



by Moshe Sharon

   The war of terror, which has been waged against Israel since October 2000, has brought again to the fore simple facts, which the government of Israel, as well as most of the media, refuse to understand and face boldly. The facts are derived from one truth which should be presented in the clearest words possible: the Arab-Moslem strategic decision has always been, and will always remain, the destruction of the State of Israel, and the annihilation of its Jewish population. The Palestinians are the spearhead of this Arab-Moslem long-term strategy, and terror has been chosen as the method to weaken Israel by spreading in it defeatist feelings, and loss of self confidence.

One of the tactical weapons in the overall plan of the materialization of this strategy is also the exploitation of the general sincere hope and yearning for peace in the Israeli public. The Arabs have long ago discovered that it is enough to use this word "peace" in English or its equivalents in Hebrew and other European languages (but not in Arabic) in order to win to their side almost any public. Nobody has asked them to explain what they mean or compelled them to act according to the simple message of the word among civilized people. The Arabs have learned to make good use of the term "peace" -- they would sign any document and distribute any promise knowing that in return for meaningless words they would achieve real territorial and other strategic gains and improve their positions on the ground from which an attack on Israel can be carried out with more deadly success.

To make things look "genuine" and to impress the fools of Israel and Europe, three words are used by the Arabs who use three Arabic words for their war and peace, and these three words sum up their aim and policy: jihad, hudnah, and sulh. Any one who knows anything about Islam understands their true meaning.

Jihad is a holy war against the infidels -- namely the Jews (later against the Christian too). It is war, and killing, and nothing else; but the Moslem propagandists speaking to the delicate European ear sells the story that it is not a real war but a metaphorical expression. This is a lie. Jihad is a holy war and the Islamic Jihad is nothing less than an organization of murder. The person killed in the jihad is a martyr -- shahid, who goes directly to heaven to enjoy food, drink, and sex. The killing of a Jew, any Jew -- man, woman or child, is regarded as holy war.

The second word is sulh. Sulh is not peace. It is an agreement, which Islam bestows upon the vanquished enemy. The Moslem side decides the terms of the sulh, and it can be reached only after the enemy has capitulated, and raised the white flag

The third word is hudnah. Hudnah is concluded only between the Moslems and non-Moslems, when the Moslem side feels itself, at a certain point, too weak to carry on the jihad. The aim of the hudnah -- cessation of hostilities for a limited period -- is to gain time in order to strengthen the Moslem military capability, and restart the war from a better condition. Hudnah also aims at tranquilizing the enemy to believe that it has achieved peace, and catch him off guard. The Islamic side can abolish the hudnah at will even before the time of expiry, if it feels strong enough to resume the war. Yet hudnah is the only possible relation of no-war with the non-Moslems. But for this, the enemy must be very strong. Only its strength justifies the postponement of its destruction through jihad.

The Arabs, as Moslems, and of course Arafat, build on the ignorance of the Israelis, on the one hand and on their dreams of peace on the other in order to sell them the poison of death in the wrapping of "peaceful jihad", "sulh peace" and "hudnah ceasefire". Sulh is not peace and hudnah is no unconditional armistice. The only condition which compels the Muslims to keep the hudnah is the their conviction that the enemy is too strong to allow the renewal of war. Weakness of the enemy encourage s the resumption of jihad.

Moshe Sharon is Professor of Islamic History at the Hebrew University.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


Response to Mark Cohen’s article in the Jerusalem Post of January, 2008


Recently the Jerusalem Post ran an article by Mark R. Cohen, "The New Muslim Anti-Semitism," which repeated many politically correct and comforting historical fictions, including:

THE FLIP SIDE of the discriminatory regulations imposed upon Jews is that they (as well as Christians) were a "protected people," ahl al-dhimma or dhimmis in Arabic, who enjoyed security of life and property, religious freedom, freedom from forced conversion, communal autonomy, and equality in the marketplace. For all its religious exclusivity and hostility towards the Jews, expressed in the Koran and in other Islamic literature, Islam contains a nucleus of pluralism that gave the Jews in Muslim lands greater security than Jews had in Christian Europe. For other important reasons, too, Jews in the Islamic orbit were spared the damaging stigma of "otherness" and anti-Semitism suffered by Jews in Europe. They were indigenous to the Near East - not immigrants, as in many parts of the Christian West - and largely indistinguishable physically from their Arab-Muslim neighbors.

Bat Ye'or, the pioneering historian of dhimmitude, wrote this in response and sent it to the Post:

Response to Mark Cohen's article in the Jerusalem Post of January, 2008
Bat Ye'or*

In his article "The New Muslim anti-Semitism" (Jerusalem Post, January 2, 2006), Mark R. Cohen unfortunately provides nothing new on a subject that now involves a global jihad war and a genocidal threat. It merely rehashes a short-sighted article he published over twenty years ago, "Islam and the Jews: Myth, counter-Myth, History" (The Jerusalem Quarterly, n° 38, spring 1986) to which I wrote a rejoinder, "Islam and the Dhimmis" (JQ n° 42, spring 1987). Still no changes! Then, like today, Cohen stated that Muslim "anti-Semitism" (an inappropriate word borrowed from European context) is a new phenomenon as if this Princeton professor of Near Eastern Studies has never read the Koran, the hadiths and the biographies of the Prophet Muhammad. As in his 1986 article, he encompasses in one sweeping global judgment the civilizations expanding over territories covering Africa, Asia and Europe during thirteen centuries. History loses its events, transformations and evolutions as if it is reduced to the stillness of an empty shell.

This reductionist mental attitude upholds the dogma of Islamic goodness and tolerance versus Christian timeless evilness in all places. Cohen is not troubled by the complexities involved in comparing utterly different civilizations, religions, jurisdictions, political ideologies and transformations over a millennium. Faithful to himself over the years, he remains deaf to the Islamists' Judeophobic references in their religious texts, praising the system of dhimmitude as one would admire slavery, since the slave might escape death if he obeys his master's orders. As in his earlier article, Cohen pretends that the persecutions Jews suffered under Islamic jurisdiction are an invented myth, a mimicry of Ashkenazi sufferings in order to grab more than Oriental Jewry deserves of the "Zionist pie". Thus Oriental Jewry not only should be grateful to its Muslim rulers for not having been wiped out entirely, but it is not even entitled to have its own history without being accused of posturing as Ashkenazim, thereby obtaining undeserved advantages by out-stepping its position in Israel.

Maybe Mark Cohen has never heard of the Human Rights Declarations promulgated in Europe and America with its subsequent developments in matters of equality and democratic rights. Or does he imagine that a caliphate ruled these continents? Has he even forgotten the letter sent by George Washington to Moses Seixas, president of the Newport Hebrew Congregation on August 17, 1790, and inscribed on a stone at the Touro Synagogue (Newport R.I.), stating the inalienable human rights for Jews, as opposed to tolerance? Does he unconsciously assume that George Washington was a caliph and that the regions from Afghanistan to Yemen and Algeria were Christian countries, since there – at the time of Washington and the Enlightenment – Jews were still obliged to walk barefoot, with distinctive clothing, live in social segregation, pay countless security ransoms, suffering the rape of their women, the abduction of their children, while the Muslim courts refused their testimony? They were exposed to murders (Maghreb, the Levant, Yemen), deportations, forced conversions (Persia, Afghanistan) and in many regions enslavement to tribal chiefs (Maghreb). Such situations, of course, could not happen in Islam according to Professor Cohen -- unless the Jews became arrogant by overstepping their place and imagined they were human beings.

The current fanaticism and mass killings perpetrated in Lebanon, Algeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Darfur, Indonesia and the Philippines evoke the continual tribal wars that have permanently ravaged the dar al-Islam with their religious-cleansing, the exodus or the deportation of populations, mainly non-Muslim, and the associated pillage, destruction, abduction and enslavement. Jihadist terrorism that has, over the centuries, eliminated the indigenous Jewish and Christian populations from their Islamized homelands continues unabated today, giving us a glimpse of this past, rosy time of dhimmitude. It is strange that Cohen remains at Princeton instead of emigrating to Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, even Sudan, to enjoy, under a shari'ataliban type rule, that dhimmi condition he admires so much for Oriental Jewry.

* * * * *

* The latest book by Bat Ye'or, Eurabia: the Euro-Arab Axis, (English, French, Italian, Dutch) will be published in a Hebrew edition by Schocken in spring 2008.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.



by Moshe Sharon

        Everybody says that his donkey is a horse.
     There is no tax on words.
     --(Two Arab proverbs)

On December 24th 1977, at the very beginning of the negotiations between Israel and Egypt in Ismailia, I had the opportunity to have a short discussion with Muhammad Anwar Sadat the president of Egypt. "Tell your Prime Minister," he said, "that this is a bazaar; the merchandise is expensive." I told my Prime Minister but he failed to abide by the rules of the bazaar. The failure was not unique to him alone. It is the failure of all the Israeli governments and the media.

On March 4, 1994, I published an article in the Jerusalem Post called "Novices in Negotiations" The occasion was the conclusion of the "Cairo Agreement." A short time later, Yasser Arafat, proved yet again that his signature was not worth the ink of his pen let alone the paper to which it was affixed, and his word was worth even less. Then, as in every subsequent agreement Israel was taken aback when her concessions had become the basis for fresh Arab demands.

In Middle Eastern bazaar diplomacy, agreements are kept not because they are signed but because they are imposed. Besides, in the bazaar of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the two sides are not discussing the same merchandise. The Israelis wish to acquire peace based on the Arab-Muslim acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state. The objective of the Arabs is to annihilate the Jewish state, replace it with an Arab state, and get rid of the Jews.

To achieve their goal, the Arabs took to the battlefield and to the bazaar diplomacy. The most important rule in the bazaar is that if the vendor knows that you desire to purchase a certain piece of merchandise, he will raise its price. The merchandise in question is "peace" and the Arabs give the impression that they actually have this merchandise and inflate its price, when in truth they do not have it at all.

This is the wisdom of the bazaar, if you are clever enough you can sell nothing at a price. The Arabs sell words, they sign agreements, and they trade with vague promises, but are sure to receive generous down payments from eager buyers. In the bazaar only a foolish buyer pays for something he has never seen.

There is another rule in the market as well as across the negotiating table: the side that first presents his terms is bound to lose; the other side builds his next move using the open cards of his opponent as the starting point.

In all its negotiations with the Palestinian Arabs, Israel has always rushed to offer its plans, and was surprised to discover that after an agreement had been "concluded" it had become the basis for further demands.

Most amazing is the reaction in such cases. Israeli politicians, "experts" and the media eagerly provide "explanations" for the Arabs' behaviour. One of the most popular explanations is that these or other Arab pronouncements are "for internal use," as if "internal use" does not count. Other explanations invoke "the Arab sensitivity to symbols," "honour," "matters of emotion" and other more patronising sayings of this nature. Does Israel possess no "sensitivities" or does it have no honour? What does all this have to do with political encounters?

It is therefore essential, as the late President Sadat advised, to learn the rules of the oriental bazaar before venturing into the arena of bazaar diplomacy. The most important of all the rules is the Roman saying: "If you want peace -- prepare for war." Never come to the negotiating table from a position of weakness. Your adversary should always know that you are strong and ready for war even more than you are ready for peace.

In the present situation in the Middle East and in the foreseeable future "peace" is nothing more than an empty word. Israel should stop speaking about "peace" and delete the word "peace" from its vocabulary together with such phrases as "the price of peace" or "territory for peace." For a hundred years the Jews have been begging the Arabs to sell them peace, ready to pay any price. They have received nothing, because the Arabs have no peace to sell, but they have still paid dearly. It must be said in all fairness that the Arabs have not made a secret of the fact that what they meant by the word "peace" was nothing more than a limited ceasefire for a limited period.

Since this is the situation, Israel should openly declare that peace does not exist as an option in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and that it has decided to create a new state of affairs in the Middle East, compelling the Arab side to ask for peace; and pay for it. Unlike the Arabs, Israel has this merchandise for sale.

From now on Israel should be the side demanding payment for peace. If the Arabs want peace, Israel should fix its price in real terms. The Arabs will pay if they reach the conclusion that Israel is so strong that they cannot destroy it. Because of this, Israel's deterrent power is essential.

Therefore, if anyone asks Israel for plans, the answer should be: no "plans," no "suggestions," no "constructive ideas," in fact no negotiations at all. If the Arab side wants to negotiate, let it present its plans and its "ideas." If and when it does, the first Israeli reaction should always be "unacceptable! Come with better ones." If and when the time comes for serious negotiations, once the Arabs have lost all hope of annihilating the Jewish state, here are ten rules for bargaining in the Middle Eastern bazaar:

1). Never be the first to suggest anything to the other side. Never show any eagerness "to conclude a deal." Let the opponent present his suggestions first.

2). Always reject; disagree. Use the phrase: "Not meeting the minimum demands," and walk away, even a hundred times. A tough customer gets good prices.

3). Don't rush to come up with counter-offers. There will always be time for that. Let the other side make amendments under the pressure of your total "disappointment." Patience is the name of the game: "haste is from Satan!"

4). Have your own plan ready in full, as detailed as possible, with the red lines completely defined. However, never show this or any other plan to a third party. It will reach your opponent quicker than you think. Weigh the other side's suggestions against this plan.

5). Never change your detailed plan to meet the other side "half way." Remember, there is no "half way." The other side also has a master plan. Be ready to quit negotiations when you encounter stubbornness on the other side.

6). Never leave things unclear. Always avoid "creative phrasing" and "creative ideas" which are exactly what your Arab opponent wants. Remember the Arabs are masters of language. Playing with words is the Arab national sport. As in the market, so also at the negotiating table, always talk dollars and cents.

7). Always bear in mind that the other side will try to outsmart you by presenting major issues as unimportant details. Regard every detail as a vitally important issue. Never postpone any problem "for a later occasion." If you do so you will lose; remember that your opponent is always looking for a reason to avoid honouring agreements.

8). Emotion belongs neither in the marketplace nor at the negotiating table. Friendly words as well as outbursts of anger, holding hands, kissing, touching cheeks, and embracing should not be interpreted as representing policy.

9). Beware of popular beliefs about the Arabs and the Middle East -- "Arab honour" for example. Remember, you have honour too, but this has nothing to do with the issues under negotiation. Never do or say anything because somebody has told you that it is "the custom." If the Arab side finds out that you are playing the anthropologist he will take advantage of it.

10). Always remember that the goal of all negotiations is to make a profit. You should aim at making the highest profit in real terms. Remember that every gain is an asset for the future, because there is always going to be "another round."

The Arabs have been practicing negotiation tactics for more than 2000 years. They are the masters of words, and a mine of endless patience. In contrast, Israelis (and Westerners in general) want quick "results." In this part of the world there are no quick results, the hasty one always loses.

Moshe Sharon is Professor of Islamic History at the Hebrew University.

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