Saturday, June 5, 2010

An Open Letter to Turkey

 

 

by Daniel Greenfield

 

Dear Former Friends,

Ever since you decided to trade in the Secularism of Ataturk for the Islamism of Erdogan, you also seem to have dispensed with the ability to coexist with non-Muslims on a peaceful basis. These days all we ever seem to get from you, is video clips of your leader, Prime Minister Erdogan, barking at us like a dog that its owner carelessly let off the leash. And if you don't know that Erdogan's owner lives in Riyadh, then you don't know very much of what goes on in your own country.

 

But your affairs are your own affairs. And our affairs are our affairs. If you want to let a fanatic in a cheap suit destroy Turkish nationalism in the name of Islam, that's your business. But when he gets into business with terrorist organizations who attack and murder our soldiers, then it's our business. And when a country that persecutes its Kurdish, Assyrian and Armenian citizens, and sends their elected representatives to jail-- presumes to self-righteously lecture us on how to manage our affairs, it had better remember that holding a stone throwing contest in a glass house will just lead to piles of broken glass.

You say you want an international investigation into the flotilla raid? Sure. Right after we have an international investigation into that minor matter of Armenian genocide that you've been ducking for quite a while. As the new "standard bearer" in fighting for human rights, I'm sure you will agree that it's only fair that Turkey should undergo the same scrutiny it demands for other countries.

And then we can move on to the more than
10,000 political prisoners in your jails. A number that at times has topped 100,000. An independent investigation could also begin by looking into the torture and murder of political activists such as Engin Ceber. They could meet with representatives of TAYAD, the organization representing the families of prisoners. And they would no doubt be fascinated by the more than 1500 children in your prisoners who are there on "terrorism" charges. Like that 12 year old you arrested in 2008 for singing a Kurdish folk song. So by all means wrap yourselves in the banner of "Human Rights" and we'll turn it into a noose and strangle you with it.

In Israel, Arabs are a legally recognized minority. Arabic is taught in schools and used as a legally recognized language. Meanwhile Kurdish identity is all but banned in Turkey. Kurdish names, folk songs and even the Kurdish language itself has been repressed. Your regime
has actually prosecuted and removed officials for simply incorporating a Kurdish phrase into a greeting. You screech self-righteously about the "Palestinian children"-- perhaps we should talk about the hundreds of Kurdish children arrested for throwing stones at protests. Arrested and charged with terrorism. Just more of the thousands of political prisoners of oppressed minorities in your prisons.

And perhaps next time your dog Erdogan gets up to bark up at us about human rights, we can stuff this in his mouth. Jenin, the Second Lebanon War and every armed encounter between Israel and Islamic terrorists over the last 20 years combined together killed fewer people, than your country did in 1997 alone. After you get through lecturing us on the use of force against Islamic terrorists, shall we discuss how many times you used jets to bomb Kurdish rebels who were lightly armed at best. Including in 2008 when you invaded sovereign Iraqi soil in order to continue your genocide of the Kurdish people.

You talk about stolen land, when your entire country is stolen land, from Cyprus to Istanbul. Your regime is a racist illegitimate entity based on the oppression of the Kurds, the Armenians, the Assyrians, the Circassians and numerous others. You went directly from being Imperialists to Fascists to Islamists, a truly dubious achievement for any nation. Your history is filled with slavery, ethnic cleansing, genocide and invasion. And that's just in the last century alone. If you had any sanity or shame, you would dig a hole, crawl into it, and hope that no one mentions words like "Minority Rights" or "Territorial Legitimacy" in your presence, instead of trying to use them as a club against a nation whose national history predates yours by thousands of years. We had kingdoms and a civilization that changed the world, back when your ancestors were still trying to decide whether to eat the sheep or rape it.

But let us get back to your precious Islamist flotilla, decorated with Turkish flags that used to be more than just red versions of the Saudi flag. That ship you filled up with
Muslim Brotherhood members and Islamist radicals bound for our shores. Over in your wonderful nation of boundless freedom, reporters have been put on trial for even interviewing leaders of terrorist groups. You sentenced the head of a Kurdish party to six months in prison for calling the head of the PKK, Mr. Ocalan, instead of just Ocalan. He joins the more than 800 Kurdish politicians you imprisoned in the last year alone. And after all that you actually have the nerve to pretend to be "outraged" when Israel intercepts your flotilla full of political terrorists?

But of course we know how strongly you feel about blockades. Like the time
you blockaded Armenia for Sixteen Years. Very well then. If you insist on sending vessels flying the Turkish flag to aid Hamas, perhaps we'll begin sending vessels flying the Israeli flag to aid the PKK. We're not big fans of the PKK, but since you've decided to friend Hamas, then what's good for the turkey, just might be good for the gander. We can also fill a flotilla full of senile troublemakers, phony survivors and leftist radicals-- along with a few hundred well armed "activists" who know how to use a knife. Or perhaps we won't bother with any of that. Instead for every boat flying the Turkish flag that invades our territory, we'll donate a million to the PKK. I wonder how many rocket launchers that would buy. Perhaps the next time, your air force sweeps in to bomb Kurds out of their homes, they might get a surprise or two.

And then there's the Republic of Cyprus, which has actually been helping us stop weapons smuggling. They might benefit from significantly upgraded air defenses. While the US insists on equalizing weapons sales to Turkey and Greece, we just might have something tastier to offer to one side. And the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus might actually be able to sleep soundly in their beds, instead of being intimidated by savages showing off their F-16's over their heads. The Cyprus National Guard likes our drones, just like you do. But what if they had a much better equalizer at their disposal? Being a small non-Muslim nation surrounded by much larger Muslim countries, we do have a certain fondness for the infidel underdog.

Oh I know, what you're going to say. This means war. But you might want to consider that we've fought and beaten enemies many times our size. And what exactly was the last war you won single-handedly?  And no, bombing starving Kurdish rebels from the air, or occupying Cyprus doesn't count. And how long could you fight that war, before a domestic Kurdish insurgency overthrows your little empire. If that doesn't happen, you might want to think about the big Russian bear at your back. The bear has been eyeing you for a long time now. And with your military engaged in a disastrous war for the Great Caliphate, your borders would be temptingly open. And who exactly would bail you out then?

Oh I know you've made many great news friends, such as Ahmadinejad and that nice burnoosed king in the Arabian Desert, who tells your Erdogan when to jump and how high, but if you think Iran is about to pass up Russian nukes in order to bail you out, you've got another thing coming. Meanwhile old Abdullah in the desert can't even protect himself without the US Marines. And if you think Obama would send them in to save your asses, you've got another thing coming. I'm sure if there were Russian tanks headed to Ankara, he'd make a vocal statement about it. And Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would pretend not to laugh while hanging up the phone.

There is of course the European Union. Last time Russia pulled that trick, it was Britain that bailed you out in the Crimean War. But these days Her Majesty's Empire isn't quite in the same shape it used to be. Sure Cameron, Clegg and Harman will lick Erdogan's feet. But none of them want to be the next Tony Blair either. Germany doesn't like you very much anymore. Perhaps that time when it got enmeshed in WW1 to protect your Ottoman Empire may have put them off. Or your internal campaign of subversion exploiting Germany's horde of Turkish laborers. What are you left with then? France, Italy or perhaps Austria will forget that whole pesky Gates of Vienna thing and this time ride to your rescue.

No, when Russian commandos are ripping off your wife's Burqa-- there will be no one left to save you. Not your newfound allies, or Erdogan who will take the first plane to Riyadh, with as many Lira as his sweaty hands can shove into the pockets of his cheap suit. And just think of it, as the Hagia Sophia church that you turned into a mosque, will become a church again. Istanbul will once again be Constantinople, which means a certain catchy 20's song will require a rewrite. Of course it may not happen exactly that way. But it will happen. Erdogan's plan to suppress and integrate Kurds into a Muslim Turkey will not succeed. And his antagonizing of former allies means that Turkey is exchanging friends, for enemies. Meanwhile your new friends happen to share borders with you and have territorial claims on your land. 

 

So when that day of reckoning comes, you will find that you have made enemies of former allies such as Israel and the US-- and that the new allies Erdogan has found for you in Iran and Syria would prefer a Russian controlled Turkey, that has no chance of ever reverting to a Kemalist government. And Erdogan's godfather in Saudi Arabia commands oil money, not troops. And while he might be willing to sink Turkey for the sake of Islam, perhaps there are Turks who value their nation, more than Islamism. If not, you can look forward to Erdogan "reforming" your country, until it has the military might of Pakistan, the literacy level of Saudi Arabia and the poverty rate of Egypt. It is of course your choice.

A people have the right to choose their destiny, for good or ill. And if you find that this letter is filled with contempt, it is a contempt fully merited by a regime that seeks to cloak its shameful betrayal of a former ally in the guise of human rights, when it brutally suppresses the rights of its own minorities. You may wish to go on dancing to the tune being played by Erdogan, to sheet music composed in Riyadh. It is a very good tune. Filled with hate, violence and religious fanaticism. That also is your choice. But know that whatever you have was bought and paid by your ancestors who understood that Turkey would either modernize out of the gutter of Islam, or it would be washed away by the colonial tide. Your power does not come from Islam, it comes from the bread crusts of civilization that fall from the table of Europe. Abandon them for the red hued madness of the Jihad, and you will not rule over an empire, but over a wasteland. If you doubt that, look to the south and to the east. Look to the desert. You came from there once. And if you throw away civilization for the fanatical madness of Islam-- you will return there again.

Sincerely Yours

A Descendant of a Subject of the Ottoman Empire

 

 

 

Daniel Greenfield

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

 

 

Don’t Chicken Out with Turkey

 

by Emmanuel Navon

 

At the height of the war between Israel and Hezbollah in July 2006, George W. Bush was caught telling Tony Blair in what was thought to be an off-the-record conversation during the G8 Summit in Saint Petersburg that the war would not have escalated had Syria put pressure on Hezbollah "to stop doing this shit." Bush and Blair didn't know they were being taped but they certainly knew that Hezbollah, acting as Iran's proxy and with Syria's support, was responsible for the war.

 

By contrast, Turkey has so far been off the hook despite its attempts to turn Gaza into another Southern Lebanon. Erdogan is personally responsible for the death of his co-citizens aboard the "Mavi Marmara." He is the one who sent out his jihadist organization Insani Yardim Vakfi (or IHH) to militarize Gaza under Turkey's aegis. Far from scolding him and from asking him to "stop doing this shit," Western leaders have fallen in the trap of his "humanitarian" propaganda. Worse, they still treat Turkey as if it hadn't become an Iranian surrogate.

 

For the past eight years, Erdogan has been provoking Israel. His strategy has consistently been the same: encouraging jihadist attacks against Israel, reacting hysterically to Israel's responses, and "warning" the West that letting Israel get away with its "crimes" would have the effect of pushing Turkey into Iran's arms.

 

In 2004, Erdogan called Israel a "terrorist state" after we eliminated Sheikh Yassin. In February 2006, he hosted Hamas leader Haled Mashal in Ankara. In January 2009, he staged a temper tantrum at the Davos Conference calling Shimon Peres an expert killer. In October 2009, the Turkish state television started airing fiction series showing Israeli soldiers intentionally murdering Palestinian children. In November 2009, Erdogan declared that he'd rather meet with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (accused of war crimes and genocide by the International Criminal Court) than with Benjamin Netanyahu. In March 2010, Erdogan claimed that the Temple Mount, Hebron and Rachel's tomb were never Jewish sites. The list goes on.

 

With the "Mavi Marmara" affair, Erdogan has crossed a new threshold. His is now setting Turkey on a military collision course with Israel while blaming Israel for the consequences of Turkey's provocations and while convincing the West that it will lose Turkey if dares to blame it for its troublemaking. This deceiving stratagem has been working superbly thanks to the cowardice or blindness (or both) of the free world's current leaders.

 

President Obama called Erdogan to express "his deep condolences for the loss of life and injuries resulting from the Israeli military operation." Obama didn't have anything to say about the fact that Turkey was trying to help Hamas import missiles and that the IHH terrorists tried to kill Israeli soldiers. As for President Sarkozy, he denounced what he called Israel's "disproportionate" use of force despite the fact that the Israeli soldiers started using their weapons only to save their lives from the armed mob that tried to lynch them.

 

Jimmy Carter and Valéry Giscard d'Estaing propped-up Khomeini thinking he would appease the "anger" of the Iranian people towards the West. How brilliant indeed. Obama and Sarkozy are making the same mistake with Erdogan. Talk about killing two birds with one stone: Turkey can count both on American chickens and on French pigeons. Turkey is making a disproportionate use of hypocrisy, and it works. Until the West has leaders worthy of that name, Israel has no choice but to fight alone and win.

 

 

Emmanuel Navon

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

 

Arab Israeli Representatives: Representing WHO?

 

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Some representatives of the Arab citizens of Israel have obviously forgotten that they were elected to the Knesset to serve the interests of their voters in the Galilee, Triangle and the Negev and not those of Hamas, Hizbullah Iran and Libya.

One often gets the impression that some of the Arab Knesset members are too busy dealing with the problems of Hamas and the Fatah than with those facing their constituents. By doing so, they are actually shooting themselves in the foot and harming the interests of their people.

Of course the Arab Knesset members have every right to express their opinions on any regional and international issue they wish. They have the right, for instance, to call for lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip or for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

They even have the right to voice their views on the issue of the Iranian nuclear threat and the growing tensions between Hizbullah and Syria on the one hand, and Israel on the other.

But these elected parliamentarians need to know when they should not be crossing red lines.

Earlier this year, a large delegation of Israeli Arabs was invited to Libya for talks with Col. Muammar Qaddafi. It was the first visit of its kind to Libya by Israeli citizens.

Not surprisingly, Qaddafi sought to exploit the high-profile visit to improve his reputation and image in international public opinion. The Israeli Arabs, on the other hand, had nothing to gain from the trip to Tripoli.

It would have been better had the same delegation members traveled to Jerusalem for talks with government officials about ways the problems and needs of the Arab minority.

Qaddafi is certainly not the address for solving these problems. Qaddafi is not going to build infrastructure in the Arab sector inside Israel. Nor is he going to solve the problem of unemployment among the Arab community.

Qaddafi cares only about the welfare of Qaddafi and his autocratic regime.

Similarly, there is nothing wrong with an Arab Knesset members who wants to campaign against the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

However, it is hard to understand how joining the Gaza-bound aid convoy of ships advances the cause of Israel's Arab citizens.

If the Israeli Arabs on board the ships were campaigning for their constituents' rights with the same determination and force, the Arab citizens would be in a better situation.

Israeli Arabs who are aligning themselves with anti-Israel organizations and individuals are in fact causing huge damage to the cause of the Arab minority. They are first and foremost playing into the hands of those Israeli Jews who have long been shouting that the 1.4 million Arab citizens are nothing but a "fifth column" and a "cancer" inside the Jewish state.

The leaders of the Arab community in Israel need to be watch their actions and words to avoid causing further damage to their constituents. It would be more useful if they devoted their energies to improving the living conditions of the their citizens instead of working toward widening the gap between Arabs and Jews.

 

Khaled Abu Toameh

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

 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Those troublesome Jews

 

by Charles Krauthammer

The world is outraged at Israel's blockade of Gaza. Turkey denounces its illegality, inhumanity, barbarity, etc. The usual U.N. suspects, Third World and European, join in. The Obama administration dithers.

But as Leslie Gelb, former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, writes, the blockade is not just perfectly rational, it is perfectly legal. Gaza under Hamas is a self-declared enemy of Israel -- a declaration backed up by more than 4,000 rockets fired at Israeli civilian territory. Yet having pledged itself to unceasing belligerency, Hamas claims victimhood when Israel imposes a blockade to prevent Hamas from arming itself with still more rockets.

In World War II, with full international legality, the United States blockaded Germany and Japan. And during the October 1962 missile crisis, we blockaded ("quarantined") Cuba. Arms-bearing Russian ships headed to Cuba turned back because the Soviets knew that the U.S. Navy would either board them or sink them. Yet Israel is accused of international criminality for doing precisely what John Kennedy did: impose a naval blockade to prevent a hostile state from acquiring lethal weaponry.

Oh, but weren't the Gaza-bound ships on a mission of humanitarian relief? No. Otherwise they would have accepted Israel's offer to bring their supplies to an Israeli port, be inspected for military materiel and have the rest trucked by Israel into Gaza -- as every week 10,000 tons of food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies are sent by Israel to Gaza.

Why was the offer refused? Because, as organizer Greta Berlin admitted, the flotilla was not about humanitarian relief but about breaking the blockade, i.e., ending Israel's inspection regime, which would mean unlimited shipping into Gaza and thus the unlimited arming of Hamas.

Israel has already twice intercepted ships laden with Iranian arms destined for Hezbollah and Gaza. What country would allow that?

But even more important, why did Israel even have to resort to blockade? Because, blockade is Israel's fallback as the world systematically de-legitimizes its traditional ways of defending itself -- forward and active defense.

(1) Forward defense: As a small, densely populated country surrounded by hostile states, Israel had, for its first half-century, adopted forward defense -- fighting wars on enemy territory (such as the Sinai and Golan Heights) rather than its own.

Where possible (Sinai, for example) Israel has traded territory for peace. But where peace offers were refused, Israel retained the territory as a protective buffer zone. Thus Israel retained a small strip of southern Lebanon to protect the villages of northern Israel. And it took many losses in Gaza, rather than expose Israeli border towns to Palestinian terror attacks. It is for the same reason America wages a grinding war in Afghanistan: You fight them there, so you don't have to fight them here.

But under overwhelming outside pressure, Israel gave it up. The Israelis were told the occupations were not just illegal but at the root of the anti-Israel insurgencies -- and therefore withdrawal, by removing the cause, would bring peace.

Land for peace. Remember? Well, during the past decade, Israel gave the land -- evacuating South Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005. What did it get? An intensification of belligerency, heavy militarization of the enemy side, multiple kidnappings, cross-border attacks and, from Gaza, years of unrelenting rocket attack.

(2) Active defense: Israel then had to switch to active defense -- military action to disrupt, dismantle and defeat (to borrow President Obama's description of our campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaeda) the newly armed terrorist mini-states established in southern Lebanon and Gaza after Israel withdrew.

The result? The Lebanon war of 2006 and Gaza operation of 2008-09. They were met with yet another avalanche of opprobrium and calumny by the same international community that had demanded the land-for-peace Israeli withdrawals in the first place. Worse, the U.N. Goldstone report, which essentially criminalized Israel's defensive operation in Gaza while whitewashing the casus belli -- the preceding and unprovoked Hamas rocket war -- effectively de-legitimized any active Israeli defense against its self-declared terror enemies.

(3) Passive defense: Without forward or active defense, Israel is left with but the most passive and benign of all defenses -- a blockade to simply prevent enemy rearmament. Yet, as we speak, this too is headed for international de-legitimation. Even the United States is now moving toward having it abolished.

But, if none of these is permissible, what's left?

Ah, but that's the point. It's the point understood by the blockade-busting flotilla of useful idiots and terror sympathizers, by the Turkish front organization that funded it, by the automatic anti-Israel Third World chorus at the United Nations, and by the supine Europeans who've had quite enough of the Jewish problem.

What's left? Nothing. The whole point of this relentless international campaign is to deprive Israel of any legitimate form of self-defense. Why, just last week, the Obama administration joined the jackals, and reversed four decades of U.S. practice, by signing onto a consensus document that singles out Israel's possession of nuclear weapons -- thus de-legitimizing Israel's very last line of defense: deterrence.

The world is tired of these troublesome Jews, 6 million -- that number again -- hard by the Mediterranean, refusing every invitation to national suicide. For which they are relentlessly demonized, ghettoized and constrained from defending themselves, even as the more committed anti-Zionists -- Iranian in particular -- openly prepare a more final solution.

 

Charles Krauthammer

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

 

Nice Countries Finish Last

 

 

by Daniel Greenfield

If Israeli soldiers had boarded the Mavi Marmara armed with assault rifles instead of paintball guns, would the Turkish Islamists on board have been just as eager to attack them? The odds are against it. In order to attack soldiers, you have to believe that they won't be able to turn you into a smear on the deck. And it's not hard to see why they would have believed that.

 

Not only did Israeli soldiers come on board armed with paintball guns, but the Islamists and their left wing allies had every reason to believe that Israel would retreat again. Because two weeks earlier, Israel had backed off and allowed Noam Chomsky in after a storm of left wing protest. That fateful decision made Israel look weak and easily maneuvered, which helped set the stage for what followed. The Islamists could reasonably believe that if Israel retreated before one elderly left wing academic, their accompanying elderly left wingers would be just as effective.

But the flotilla encounter is a useful model, not only of Israel's own weak response toward terrorism, but that of the Western world toward Islam as a whole.

Going in with paintball guns to stop people who genuinely want you dead, does not deescalate the situation-- it escalates it. There are after all two kinds of violence. Violence that occurs as a misunderstanding and can be talked out. And violence that is the result of people who want to kill thinking they've got a shot at accomplishing their goal. And there's no better way to insure violence than to give those kinds of people the idea that this is their moment.

But Israel has been responding with metaphorical paintball guns to terrorism for too long now. How many times has Israel bombed empty buildings or sent tanks on pointless raids with no strategic objective except to show the flag. How many times has Israel arrested terrorists, only to let them go as a "confidence building" measure. For that matter the entire Gaza blockade, in which Israel reacted to the Hamas takeover of Gaza with a partial blockade (accompanied by large doses of aid) in order to isolate Hamas. Instead Hamas has used the blockade to isolate Israel even further. That you see is the problem with paintball guns. Not only aren't they of much use, but they actually invite further conflict, and when you finally have to use real guns, more people will die as a result.

Only consistently leveraging force provides a deterrent. That is something Israel once understood, but has long ago forgotten. Instead Israel has inconsistently employed force, which has naturally led to charges of "disproportionate use of force", because the government has set a bottom basement value for the use of force, which means that both its friends and enemies have learned to expect minimal responses. This means that when we do go to war, we get less support from our friends who are suddenly shocked by what we're doing, and when we don't go to war, we give our enemies the idea that they can get away with anything.

Remember Osama bin Laden's shock as the scale of the US attack in Afghanistan. Or Hassan Narsallah's at the Second Lebanon War. Bin Laden had gotten used to being able to carry out attacks like that on the USS Cole, without expecting anything besides a few poorly aimed missiles in return. Nasrallah had assumed that Israel's tolerance of terrorism from Hamas and Fatah meant that it was a soft target. America and Israel's response to one particular attack, shocked the Islamic terrorist groups responsible. But that shock also demonstrates the problem. Terrorists should naturally expect a ruthless response. When we tolerate terrorism, we create the expectation that they can get away with anything. Then they cross a red line, we strike back hard, and buy ourselves some peace. The terrorists begin scaling up their attacks again, certain this time that we're incapable of fighting back. Until they hit another red line.

If we consistently deployed force against terrorism, we wouldn't have this seesaw cycle that the left wing media routinely dubs the "Cycle of Violence". Instead we react inconsistently, which fails to function as a deterrent. Our inaction lulls terrorists into thinking that they have a free pass, which only demonstrates that we don't have a deterrent. Next to outright inaction, the inconsistent use of force is destructive to maintaining a stalemate. Because if given two possibilities with equal amounts of evidence for both, one that you will strike back with full force and one that you will remain apathetic-- most motivated enemies will find ways to argue themselves into believing the latter. And they will attack.

Carrying paintball guns will not win you love. During the Munich Olympics in 1972, the German police handed out flowers. The flowers did not stop PLO terrorists from invading the Olympic Village and murdering Israeli athletes. On the other hand Israel's response of hunting down and killing those responsible, sent a decisive message that even murdering its people on foreign soil, among police who hand our flowers, would not save them from retribution. A year after the Munich Massacre, the Black September branch of the PLO was shut down.

But we still keep using paintball guns. For 17 years Israel has tried to show goodwill toward the PLO formed Palestinian Authority and even toward Hamas. And the PLO and Hamas unsurprisingly responded with massacres and atrocities. If you run from a rabid dog, the dog will chase after you. If you stand and confront the dog, you might have a chance to beat it off, or shoot it. But if you always run from the dog, the dog will feel entitled to chase you and try to bite you. And so every time Israel responded, there was an outcry. But it was Israel that had taught its enemies that it would not respond to terrorism, only to then sometimes respond. That sort of inconsistent behavior is extremely confusing to rabid dogs.

 

Meanwhile in New York, 9 years after 9/11, we're still going to allow a mosque to be raised near Ground Zero. Naturally we think this will convince Muslims to like us. In reality it all but insures more terrorist attacks. Just as the Taliban didn't make their resurgence, until it was clear that we wouldn't be willing to hunt them down wherever they are. Just as Iraq didn't go to hell until we put more priority on reconstruction, over armed force. That's the problem with trading in assault rifles for paintball guns. It tempts the people with assault rifles to try to use them on you.

When dealing with enemies who want to kill you, one thing is certain-- nice countries finish last. Totalitarian regimes and homicidal ideologies view "niceness" as an admission of weakness or guilt. And here's the dirty little secret, often we tend to view it that way too. Backing down before enemies becomes learned behavior. The human mind rationalizes it by embracing pacifism and then finally the enemy's point of view. Inaction in the face of terrorism becomes Stockholm Syndrome. The more you teach soldiers to carry paintball guns, the less psychologically able they are to wield real guns in an actual battle. Because you can't win by giving up. And giving up convinces your own people that the battle isn't worth fighting anyway.

It's all well and good to be nice, but when confronting enemies who seek to destroy you-- remember, nice countries finish last.

 

 

Daniel Greenfield

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

 

The Lessons of Hanin Zuabi’s Big Lie

 

by Evelyn Gordon

Yesterday's press conference by Hanin Zuabi, an Israeli Arab Knesset member who was on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara when Israeli commandos boarded it on Monday, should be studied by every journalist or human-rights activist who ever believed a Palestinian atrocity tale. Here is Haaretz's report of it:

According to Zuabi, when the flotilla was 130 miles from shore, 14 naval ships approached and opened fire without warning. Only journalists, nurses and a doctor were on deck; none of them carried weapons. All the other passengers were either in their rooms or fled there as soon as the shooting began. …

Over and over, she insisted that the passengers engaged in no violence, that the soldiers had come with intent to kill and intimidate, that it was all planned in advance.

When reporters confronted her with the video footage released by the army and the soldiers' testimony, and with the fact that several soldiers were wounded, Zuabi first evaded the questions, then finally insisted, "This is what I saw."

This is a classic example of the Big Lie: even faced with incontrovertible evidence of her story's falsity — the video footage of those peace-loving "journalists" and "nurses" attacking the soldiers, the seven hospitalized commandos — Zuabi stuck to it. And without this evidence, most of the world would surely have believed her. As David Horowitz noted in analyzing the army's scandalous decision to withhold the footage for 12 hours, the claim that civilians overpowered highly trained commandos is not instantly plausible.

The first lesson is that the army must film every encounter with Palestinians or their supporters and make the footage readily available. It should have started doing so long ago; perhaps the success of the Marmara footage — which Haaretz said was the second-most-watched clip on YouTube yesterday, beating the third-place clip, Al-Jazeera's version of the incident, by 150,000 hits — will finally persuade it.

The second lesson, as Noah correctly argued, is that Israel must start playing PR offense, not just defense: it can't win if it spends all its time refuting Zuabi-style Big Lies, especially since proof won't always be available. In June 2008, for instance, Hamas accused Israel of bombing a house in Gaza and killing seven civilians; it later emerged that the house blew up because Hamas operatives were making a bomb for use against Israel, which exploded prematurely. But since Israel wasn't involved, there could have been no exculpatory Israeli footage even if a "film-everything" policy existed.

Noah outlined a case against Turkey, but top priority must be the case against the Palestinians. That requires a PR offensive covering everything from Palestinian hate education to Hamas's abuse of its own people to Israel's own legal claim to the territories.

Israelis often assume that what's obvious to them is also obvious to the rest of the world, and therefore doesn't need saying. That is partly why the army felt no need to immediately release the Marmara footage: Israelis already knew "their boys" weren't wanton murderers. But most people don't know what Israelis know. And they never will unless Israel tells them.

 

Evelyn Gordon

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

 

Israel's daunting task

 

by Caroline B. Glick

Today's global campaign against the Jewish state is the product of three recent developments

The ferocity and speed of the current international assault on Israel has left the government in a daze. Statements from our leadership are marked by confusion. This reaction is understandable. Everywhere Israel turns it is met with hostility.

Turkey — which just a decade ago was Israel's most important regional ally — has taken a leadership position next to Iran in the Islamist and global assault against the Jewish state. Under President Barack Obama's stewardship, the US has joined the international bandwagon against Israel. Ireland — never a friend — is now openly siding with Hamas against Israel. And as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu noted on Wednesday evening, Britain, France and Germany and the rest of the Western democracies calling for Israel to end its blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza's coast are effectively arguing that Israel should give Iran — which controls Hamas — a seaport on the Mediterranean.

The footage of the IDF's celebrated naval commandos falling prey to an Islamic lynch mob on the deck of the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara on Monday morning serves as a perfect simile for the national mood. The commandos boarded the ship armed with paintball guns expecting to be greeted by hostile, but non-violent humanitarian activists. Instead they were accosted by a murderous mob.

Similarly, the Israeli public feels that when we go out of our way to show our peaceful intentions and nature to the world, we are greeted with an international lynch mob. Rather than listen to us, the world shouts us down with mendacious propaganda in act after act of political theater.

In a situation when everything seems hopeless and futile, it is important to take a step back and consider what stands behind the assault. Only by understanding why what is happening is happening will Israel's leaders be able to formulate a strategy for navigating the country through the current straits.

Today's global campaign against the Jewish state is the product of three recent developments: The waning of traditional Arab power relative to the waxing of non-Arab Islamic states including Iran, Pakistan and Turkey; the concomitant rise of anti-Semitic incitement throughout the Islamic world; and the US's attenuation of its ties with its allies generally and the US abandonment of its support for Israel specifically.

Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, Arab states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been the widely recognized leaders of the Islamic world. Over the past several years, their power has waned and it is now being overwhelmed by the waxing of non-Arab Islamic states Iran, Pakistan and Turkey.

Pakistan — so far the only Islamic country with a nuclear arsenal — is the home base of the wildly popular al Qaida movement. Despite its nuclear and jihadist cache, Pakistan's ability to challenge the power of Arab governments is limited. Its financial dependence on Saudi Arabia, its strategic ties with the US and the ongoing war between its government and the Taliban/al Qaida have all rendered Pakistan — for now — unable to compete with the Arab world for the mantle of Islamic leadership.

But Pakistan's nuclear arsenal has helped place Iran on the verge of regional domination. Iran's long-held nuclear aspirations only became realistic when Pakistan shared its nuclear and ballistic missile technologies with the mullocracy. Iran's nuclear weapons program is the stick it now wields to coerce the Arab world to bow to its will.

Iran isn't all about threats and coercion though. It also offers the Arab world an attractive carrot. Since the US invasion of Iraq and even more forcefully since the 2006 war between Israel and Hizbullah, Iran has taken the lead in fighting the great enemies of the Arab world: the US and Israel.

In 2006, the Arab masses rallied to Iran's side as Israel fought its Shiite Arab proxy to a draw in Lebanon. Hamas's willingness to serve as Iran's Palestinian proxy has given Iran complete control over the most active fronts against the hated Jews.

Since the radical Islamic AKP party took over Turkey in 2003, its leader Prime Minister Recip Erdogan has presided over the thorough brainwashing of the Turkish people. According to repeated polling data, the majority of Turks believe that Israel and America are demonic, murderous nations that kill innocent people for entertainment. Erdogan has cultivated anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism for two reasons. First, doing so enables him to divert his people's attention away from his government's economic failures. Stirred into frenzies of hatred, the Turks willingly rally behind their leader who is saving them from the Jewish and Yankee beasts.

Then there is Erdogan's goal of reasserting Turkish regional dominance and reclaiming the lost power of the Ottomans as the leader of the Islamic world. His decision in 2006 to be the first world leader to host Hamas terror masters on an official visit after their victory in the Palestinian elections was a clear bid to win popularity for Turkey among the Arab masses.

Iran and Turkey understand that attacking the Jewish state is the fastest route to the top of the Muslim world.

For decades two things limited the salience of Jew hatred as a political force in the Muslim world. First, Israel's reputation as a regional power deterred Arab states from attacking it. And second, the US's Middle East policy of rewarding states that lived at peace with Israel and spurning those that did not made attacking Israel a less attractive option for most Muslim states. The likes of Iran and Syria were punished for their support for terrorism and their refusal to make peace with Israel. Then too, Turkey's rise in prominence in the US in the 1990s owed a great deal to its close strategic ties with Israel. Israel's reputation as a regional power was diminished by its 2000 withdrawal from south Lebanon and its less than stellar performances in the 2006 war.

As for the US, in the year and a half since Obama took office he has fundamentally restructured US foreign policy in a manner that rewards US enemies at the expense of US allies. From Honduras and Columbia to Britain, Poland, and the Czech Republic, to Japan and India to Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama has treated US allies with contempt and hostility. At the same time, his repeated bids to woo US adversaries have rewarded the leaders of Iran, Venezuela, Russia and others for their aggression.

Israel of course is the US's most threatened ally. And Obama's treatment of Israel has been uniquely shabby-and dangerous. Guided by his ideological worldview which argues that US support for Israel is the root of the Arab and Islamic world's animus towards the US, Obama has advanced a policy of punishing Israel and wooing its worst enemies that has radically changed the Islamic power calculus. By seeking to appease Iran and Syria for their aggressive behavior and by courting an ever more radical Turkish regime, Obama has humiliated Egypt and Jordan that signed peace treaties with Israel. In so doing, he has convinced the Arabs that the only way to retain and expand their power is by attacking Israel.

This brings us to Israel's current quandary about how to respond to the international campaign against it. Israel of course can do nothing to change the potency of Jew hatred in the Islamic world. It can also do nothing to change American behavior. For as long as Obama is president, US foreign policy can be expected to remain on its current trajectory. That is, for at least the next two and a half years, the US will continue to play a destabilizing and hostile role in the region.

What this means is that Israel should adopt a strategy that minimizes the international lynch mob's ability to get close to it and maximizes Israel's ability to knock the mob off balance. Take for instance the UN Security Council call for an independent investigation of the Mavi Marmara incident. Israel rightly rejected such a UN inquiry understanding that its aim is to diminish Israel's sovereign right to self defense. On the other hand, on Thursday morning Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman offered that Israel could establish its own judicial inquiry and that there was no reason for international investigators not to be members of the Israeli committee.

This idea is ill-advised for two reasons. First by its very nature, a judicial inquiry would place Israel in the role of criminal defendant. And second, given the nature of the international assault on Israel, no international observers or investigators can be given any role in investigating the Mavi Marmara episode.

In contrast, Israel could benefit from a domestic investigation of the operational and diplomatic aspects of its handling of the Turkish-Hamas flotilla. It is in these areas — rather than the legal areas — that Israel has failed and must learn the lessons of those failures. Moreover, appointing a committee would buy Israel time in the face of the anti-Israel campaign now sweeping the globe.

And as to that campaign, it is time for Israel to launch a counter-offensive. Its representatives at the UN should demand an investigation into Turkey's illegal sponsorship of the pro-Hamas flotilla. They should raise such protests at every UN forum and continue to protest until they are thrown out of the meetings and then return, the next day to relaunch their protests.

The Justice Ministry should issue international arrest warrants against the flotilla's organizers and participants and prepare indictments against them for trial in Israeli courts. Israel's embassies throughout the world should call for their host governments to outlaw organizations involved in the Gaza flotilla movement.

No, these Israeli efforts will not change anyone's vote in any UN forum. But they will place these wholly corrupt institutions on the defensive. For decades Israel has taken for granted that the UN is hopelessly hostile and left things at that. Israel's willingness to declare defeat has emboldened UN officials. By putting them on the defensive, Israel will force them to devote time to staving off Israeli attacks and so have less time available for initiating new assaults against Israel.

In Los Angeles on Monday, a crowd of Muslims carrying signs calling for Israel's destruction gathered outside the Israeli Consulate. As they shouted Allahu Akhbar, a lone Jewish high school student carrying an Israeli flag appeared on the scene. Suddenly, the protesters forgot that they were supposed to be demonstrating against the State of Israel and began threatening this single Jewish boy who held his head high and waved the Israeli flag.

As they converged around him, a cordon of policemen headed them off and surrounded the young Jewish boy who refused to be intimidated. Speaking to reporters, clearly moved by his courage, the boy said, "I came out because I want to defend Israel." Asked if he was affiliated with any group, he responded, "Just Judaism and Israel."

Israel's task is daunting and the stakes couldn't be higher. But our cause is great and it is far from lost.

 

Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post.

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

 

Joining the Jackals - The Obama administration abandons Israel.

 

by Elliott Abrams

 

At the United Nations, a lynch mob for Israel is always just a moment away.  The Islamic countries are a reliable source of venom, led by the Arab bloc; what we used to call the “non-aligned” are all aligned against Israel and happy to join the fun; and the Europeans can be counted on for hand-wringing rather than staunch resistance. Only the United States, and a few brave allies like Canada and Australia, can be counted upon to oppose diplomatic lynchings year after year; and only the United States can stop them in the Security Council.

 

In the American government, it is never the State Department bureaucracy that wishes to brave the endless assaults at the UN. Normally the resistance comes not from the various regional bureaus or from the International Organizations bureau, where Israel is so often viewed as a giant pain, but from the White House and sometimes (example: George Shultz) the Secretary of State.

 

This week the mob formed again, instantly, after the Gaza flotilla disaster, reinforced this time by the leadership of Turkey, whose language at the UN was more vicious than that used by the Arabs.  As usual there was really only one question once the mob began to gather.  It is the question that arose repeatedly in the Bush years—when the Hamas leaders Sheik Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi were killed by Israel, when Israel acted in Gaza, when Israel put down the intifada in the West Bank, and during the 2006 war in Lebanon and the late 2008 fighting in Gaza: would Israel stand alone, or would the United States stand with her and prevent the lynching? Would the U.S., in Daniel Patrick Moynihan's memorable phrase, "join the jackals?"  

 

This week the Obama administration answered the question: Yes we would, and Israel would stand alone.  It is simple to block the kind of attack issued as a “President’s Statement” on behalf of the Council, for such a statement requires unanimity.  The United States can just say “No,” and make it clear that orders have come from the White House and will not be changed.  Then negotiations begin on a serious statement—or, there can be no statement at all.  The killing of dozens of South Korean sailors by North Korea in an action that truly threatens the peace did not evoke the kind of action the Security Council took against Israel, proving that the UN does not always act, or act in the same way, when news flashes hit.  Whether Israel is slammed depends on whether the United States is willing to take a stand.

 

On the Gaza flotilla, the Obama administration waffled and straddled.  It agreed to a statement in which the United Nations condemned the “acts” that led to loss of life but did not say “We condemn Israel.”  Presumably White House congratulated itself on this elision, but no one is fooled: the world media keep repeating that the Security Council condemned Israel, and in this case it is hard to argue.  Yet it would have been simple to stop the mob had the White House wanted to.  The facts were not in yet and indeed are still not in.  The videos suggest that dozens of people (all Turks, it appears, but that too is not fully clear) on the boats were armed and dangerous.  Reports are circulating here that some of those “peace activists” had gas masks and night vision devices, carried no identification papers, wore bullet-proof vests, and carried large amounts of cash.  The background, the Hamas coup in Gaza and more than three thousand rockets into Israel from Gaza, is clear.  The fact the Egypt has for three years (until the pressure mounted this week) refused to open its border to Gaza is understood at the UN.  So the material was at hand to block the lynch mob and say we would accept only a statement that mourned the loss of life.  We did not have to accept the word “condemn” or join in the call for another Goldstone Report.

 

No doubt the administration will claim it avoided a worse result, a Council resolution condemning Israel.  To which the answer is, "not good enough." The U.S. has the power to block all anti-Israel moves in the Security Council, not just some of them, and to do so without agreeing to unfair, damaging compromises.

 

So why did we agree to the presidential statement?  The White House did not wish to stand with Israel against this mob because it does not have a policy of solidarity with Israel.  Rather, its policy is one of distancing and pressure.  This was evident last week at the NPT conference as well, where a final statement that singled out Israel while ignoring Iran—precisely what the Bush administration blocked in 2005—was permitted by the United States.  From this perspective, it is just as well that Prime Minister Netanyahu did not make it to Washington this week, where a phony love fest would have pictured him in the Obama embrace.  The entire purpose of the invitation was to “change the atmosphere” and reverse the damage done during his last visit, where photos of Netanyahu with Obama were not permitted. There were no doubt many rabbis, Jewish leaders, and Democratic party pols prepared to beam and conclude that all the troubles are behind us.

 

But the events at the UN this week showed that they are not, because Obama policy has not changed.  This reality is sinking in fast in Jerusalem, where the UN is understood as an excellent barometer of the White House—in any administration.  Does the White House accept, indeed relish, the need to defend Israel against all comers—Pakistan, Turkey, the Arabs, weak-kneed Euro-dips, UN bureaucrats?  Is this understood as a chance to show what America really stands for in the world? Or is Israel seen by the president as a burden, an albatross, a complication in his grand struggle to re-position the United States as a more “progressive” power? 

 

We got the answer, again, this past week, and so did Israelis.  

In Israel, the press reporting on the Gaza flotilla is straightforward: there were probably intelligence and operational failures; why did we not know how many armed men there were on board, and come prepared; the Ministry of Defense and the IDF must investigate; but the moral equation is clear. This flotilla was an act of solidarity and support for terrorism, and thirty or forty armed men lay in wait for Israeli commandos.  Had the commandos not fired to save themselves, this would have been Israel’s very own “Blackhawk Down” incident.

 

Israelis see clearly the problems they face when the United States is calling for another international investigation and will not defend Israel.  They understand that no one is going to investigate Turkey and its role, nor investigate the pro-terror groups on board those ships—not if the United States fails to insist on it.  They realize that, thanks to the Obama policies, it is now open season on Israel in Europe and at the UN.  They speak candidly (Israelis of the left, center, and right, not just Likud supporters) in private about all these problems, but they cannot speak openly about them, not when they may have the Obama administration to deal with for six and a half more years. They wonder most about whether their friends see their predicament, and will speak up for them even when they must—to retain a working relationship with the White House—remain silent or speak very carefully. So this crisis is not only a test for Israel, which faces difficult weeks ahead, and for the Obama administration, which in fact has already failed. It is a test for Israel’s supporters, facing the combined onslaught of the news media (from BBC coverage to New York Times editorials), scores of governments, UN bureaucrats, and a White House that views excessive solidarity with Israel as a diplomatic inconvenience. 

 

The United States abandoned Israel in the United Nations and in the NPT Conference in the course of one week.  Israel’s friends in the United States should say so, say it was shameful, and gear up for a long fight. 

 

 

Elliott Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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

 

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