Saturday, June 26, 2010

Islamic Dress and No-Win Situationshe Western way of war

 

by David J. Rusin

 

Accommodation of Islamic norms must be weighed against the cost. On the societal level, granting Muslims special privileges comes at the price of not just equality, but also cultural integrity. The tradeoffs can be more personal and immediate on smaller scales.

Consider this no-win scenario: A business owner fears that permitting Islamic garb at his establishment might leave the wearer susceptible to injury. Faced with a covered client, he has to choose between a pair of harrowing options: decline to apply the proper dress code and risk being accused of negligence, or enforce it and risk being accused of discrimination.

Two stories about Australian amusement parks demonstrate that dilemmas of this type can be all too real. In April, a Muslim woman was killed at Port Stephens Go-Karts when her head covering got snagged by the axle of her moving vehicle. IW commented at the time:

Signs at the track reportedly "outline a number of rules, including appropriate footwear for drivers, but do not mention scarves or other forms of head-dress." If they had, a Muslim's life could have been saved — despite the inevitable charges of anti-Muslim bigotry that such restrictions would have provoked.

The facility was ordered to close soon afterward, which seemingly proves that "safety first" is always a wise business mantra, even if the necessary regulations could offend Muslims. However, a second story shows why some are tempted to place Muslim feelings first.

Perth's Adventure World recently agreed to pay $16,000 and apologize to a Muslim woman who accused the park of discrimination and humiliation. Specifically, she and her entourage were denied access to water slides last year because "their three-quarter-length pants and their long shirts" had been deemed inappropriate, a hazard not only to others — an argument often made with respect to Islamic attire in swimming pools — but also to themselves:

She said they were told if they were to enter the water, chlorine levels would have to be raised to counter the unhygienic effect from their clothes.

They were told their clothing could cause injury because it could get caught in the joints of the water slides. One woman in a headscarf was told to leave the baby pool.

Damned if you do and damned if you don't. Yet it is important to recognize the true source of such dilemmas: governments, courts, and media that exhibit ridiculous degrees of deference to Muslim sensitivities and thus encourage discrimination complaints.

The recipe for avoiding no-win scenarios is clear. In every facet of public life, adopt and administer a regime of equal rights for all and special privileges for none. Under this paradigm, Islamic dress may be tolerated, but only if it does not negatively impact security, education, legal proceedings, or other fundamental concerns — like the ability to survive a go-kart or water ride.

 

David J. Rusin

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

 

The Western way of war

 

by Caroline B. Glick

Missed in the hullabaloo over McChrystal's resignation are some important lessons about who we are and why we fight

US General Stanley McChrystal has paid a huge price for his decision to give Rolling Stone reporter Micahel Hastings free access to himself and his staff. But he performed a great service for the rest of us. US President Barack Obama fired McChrystal -- his hand-picked choice to command NATO forces in Afghanistan -- for the things that he and his aides told Hastings about the problematic nature of the US-led war effort in Afghanistan. But by acting as he did, McChrystal forced the rest of us to contend with the unpleasant truth not only about the US-led campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan. He told us the unpleasant truth about the problematic nature of the Western way of war at the outset of the 21st century.

Hastings' now famous article, "The Runaway General," told the story of an argument. On the one hand, there are people who want to fight to win in Afghanistan. On the other hand, there are people who are not interested in fighting to win in Afghanistan. Obama — and McChrystal as his general — occupy the untenable middle ground. There they try to split the difference between the two irreconcilable camps. The inevitable end is preordained.

The US and its NATO allies first deployed in Afghanistan in October 2001 with the aim of toppling the Taliban regime and destroying Al Qaida's infrastructure in the country. They have remained in the country ever since with the goal of preventing the Taliban from returning to power.

After McChrystal took command a year ago, he conducted a review of the allied strategy. His revised strategy was based on counter-insurgency methods developed in Iraq. It called for a surge of 40,000 US forces in Afghanistan. It also recommended that NATO train 400,000 Afghan forces who, in the long term, would replace NATO forces once the Taliban was defeated.

McChrystal's strategy was greeted with moans by leading members of Obama's leftist base in the administration and outside it. Led by Vice President Joseph Biden, they offered a counter-strategy. As Biden has explained it, the alternative would involve deploying special forces units and airpower to target the Taliban as it becomes necessary, and otherwise disengage from the country at quickly as possible.

McChrystal and his allies dismissed Biden's strategy as a recipe for disaster. Without a sufficient number of forces on the ground, the US would lose its ability to gather intelligence and so know what targets to attack. Recent reports that the US drone attacks in Pakistan are killing civilians rather than al Qaida and Taliban members indicate just how difficult it is to gather credible, actionable intelligence from a distance.

Presented with the two opposing strategies, Obama decided to split the difference. He ordered 30 thousand troops to Afghanistan. He refused to increase the target number of Afghan security forces from its previous 230,000. And he announced that US forces would begin to withdraw from Afghanistan in July 2011.

Citing administration officials, last December the Washington Post explained Obama's goal as follows, "The White House's desired end state in Afghanistan… envisions more informal local security arrangements than in Iraq, a less-capable national government and a greater tolerance of insurgent violence."

So too, an administration official stated, "The guidance they [the military] have is that we're not doing everything, and we're not doing it forever. … The hardest intellectual exercise will be settling on how much is enough."

As J.E. Dyer noted at the time and reasserted this week at Commentary's Contentions blog, "this was not executable guidance." Or more to the point, as the Rolling Stone article illustrated, when executed, this guidance brings not victory nor even stability.

The White House's guidance, as extrapolated from Obama's chosen strategy for Afghanistan endangers NATO forces. It empowers the Taliban. It demoralizes Afghans who would potentially stand with NATO against the Taliban. And in the end, it ensures that as NATO forces depart, the Taliban will return to power in a blaze of glory marching hand in hand with al Qaida.

In recent months Obama and his advisors have repeatedly attacked Afghan President Hamid Karzai for his problematic positions on the Taliban. But their criticism is unfair. They cannot expect loyalty from a man America is set to abandon in a year. It is up to Karzai and his fellow Afghans to cut deals with the Taliban while they still have something to bargain with.

By all accounts, until was fired Wednesday, McChrystal had a better relationship with Karzai than anyone else in the US government. And this is not surprising. As White House and State Department officials signaled their willingness to cut deals with the Taliban, McChrystal and his forces have fought the Taliban.

Hastings devoted a great deal of attention to the deleterious impact US rules of engagement is having both on the war effort and on troop morale. Due to the administration's aversion to civilian casualties, preventing civilian casualties has become a chief fighting aim for the US military. Yet since the Taliban war effort relies on civilian infrastructures and human shields, the strategic significance of preventing civilian casualties is that US forces' ability to fight the Taliban is dramatically circumscribed.

For instance, Hastings reports on the death of Corporal Michael Ingram. Ingram was killed last month by an explosive device hidden in a house that had been used as a Taliban position.

Ingram's commanders had repeatedly requested permission to destroy the house and had repeatedly been denied permission. Destroying the house, they were told would have run counter to the aim of not upsetting civilians.

Since Obama is commander in chief, it is reasonable for criticism of this losing strategy to be directed towards him. But the truth is that for the better part of the last several decades, with occasional important exceptions, this sort of "half pregnant" strategy for war fighting has been the template for Western armies.

Today US forces in Afghanistan are fighting in a manner that is depressingly similar to that forced upon IDF forces in Lebanon in the 1990s. Like the US forces in Afghanistan today, during the 1990s, concerns about civilian casualties caused Israel's political leadership to constrain IDF actions in southern Lebanon in a manner that effectively transformed soldiers into sitting ducks. Israel's finest were reduced to fighting from fortified positions and Hizbullah was given a free hand to intimidate Lebanese civilians, commandeer private homes and schools to use as firing positions and forward bases, and generally maintain the initiative in the fighting.

As he withdrew IDF forces from south Lebanon ten years ago — like Biden today — then prime minister Ehud Barak claimed that Israel didn't need boots on the ground to fight Hizbullah. If we needed to go in to fight, we would send in commando squads or fighter jets to do the job. Of course, as US drone operations in Pakistan again demonstrate, without a presence on the ground, you cannot have any certainty that you are attacking real targets.

The important story this week was not about a US general with abysmal judgment about the media. Rather the story is that in Afghanistan, the US is repeating a sorry pattern of Western nations of not understanding — or perhaps not caring -- that if you are not willing to fight a war to victory, you will lose it.

The stakes in Afghanistan are clear. NATO forces can defeat the Taliban, or the Taliban can defeat them. To win, all the Taliban needs to do is survive. Once NATO is gone, like Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, the Taliban will be crowned the victors and from their failed state, they will be able to again attack the US and its allies.

There were only two instances in the last ten years where Western forces fought to victory. Israel defeated the Palestinians when in the wake of Operation Defensive Shield in 2002, it retained security control over Judea and Samaria. The US defeated al Qaida and Muqtada el-Sadr's Mahdi Army in Iraq in 2007 and 2008 by taking and retaining security control over Iraq. Both countries' victories have been eroded in recent years as they have removed their forces from population centers and restricted them to more static positions. In both cases, the erosion of the Israeli and American achievements is due to waning political will to maintain military control.

It is hard to imagine that McChrystal's decision to open his doors to Rolling Stone was a calculated move to blow the lid off of the mirage of strategic competence surrounding the "good war" in Afghanistan. This is not the first time that the US military has mistakenly given access to hostile Rolling Stone reporters. And of course, the US military — not unlike the IDF and the British military — has a long history of giving undeserved access to its media foes and paying the price for its mistakes.

But still, the truth remains that by effectively committing career suicide, McChrystal has posed a challenge to his country — and to the Western world as a whole. Now that you know the truth, what is it going to be? Are you willing to lose this war? Are you willing to see the Taliban restored to power in Afghanistan?

This week Haaretz reported on a new hit children's song that is making waves throughout the Arab world. Called, "When we die as martyrs," the song is sung by a children's choir called "Birds of Paradise." In a YouTube video of the song, children between the ages of two and six sing sweetly of their desire to die for Palestine and are shown triumphantly killing kippa-wearing Jews.

The Taliban's perspective on the value of human life is similarly grotesque.

For years, citizens of free nations have willfully ignored or dismissed the significance their enemies' gruesome goals and ideology. They have claimed that what these people stand for is insignificant. At the end of the day, they say, the only reason there are wars is because the nations of the West provoke them by being strong. And so, when they have fought wars, they have fought them with strategies that can bring them nothing but defeat.

McChrystal's final act as US commander in Afghanistan was to show us where this leads. But it also reminds us that there is another choice that can be made. The Western way of war needn't remain the path of defeat. That still is for the people of the West to decide.



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.

 

Caliphate Power

 

by Diana West

 

"How Is Israel the Guilty Party?"

 

We may not live in an Islamic world -- yet -- but we do live with an Islamic worldview. Witness the uniformly Islamicized consensus that met Israel's successful if costly defense of its Gaza blockade.

The blockade, by the way, is a defensive measure that Israel devised after Hamas terrorists were elected to govern Israel-ceded Gaza in 2005 and -- no surprise to any student of jihad -- decided to continue their charter-commanded war on Israel, raining down nearly 10,000 rockets onto Israeli civilians.

The rocketing, of course, was OK with the Islamicized consensus. What wasn't OK happened on the night of May 31 when Israeli commandos, lightly armed with paintball guns and emergency sidearms, unexpectedly battled aboard the Mavi Marmara against trained fighters with ties to the Turkish government, specifically to the ruling AKP party of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, to maintain Israel's lawful blockade.

These hostile forces were organized by the Turkish terror-linked organization known as IHH (which purchased the boat from an AKP entity). They were armed with knives, axes, clubs, Molotov cocktails and more, and they formed a militant cadre barely camouflaged by the "humanitarian cargo" (including night vision goggles, bulletproof vests and nearly a million euros) and other "peace activists," among whom were Muslim Brothers, Hamas partisans (at least one Hamas operative was later arrested), and members of the Turkish supremacist group BBP. At least five "passengers" publicly expressed their wish to become "shahids," or Islamic martyrs. Three got their wish in the fighting that ensued after the ship refused to yield to the Israeli Navy. Some of the Israeli blockade-defenders were wounded, a few seriously; nine jihadist blockade-runners were killed.

An Islamicized world wrath came down on Israel. And with such force as to obliterate what remnants of the Western system -- logic, morality, history - somehow still existed. Simultaneous to the instant apotheosis of blockade-running jihadis into ocean-going pacifists came an avalanche of rage so violent as to reverse the gravitational pull of global politics entirely. Or so it seems.

Thus, Islamicized international pressure weighs on Israel's Netanyahu to justify, to apologize -- and not Turkey's Erdogan, who supports the jihadist outlaws. Outrage boils over at the defense of a lawful blockade to protect civilians from terrorist attack, and not at the Hamas attackers, or at the Turks and others who aid them -- and, again, with the Turkish head of state's support. While Israelis have reason to re-examine the efficiency of their strategy to maintain the blockade, the only so-called "impartial" international investigation required is not, as demanded, into Israel's line of defense, but rather into Turkey's destabilizing culpability in the aggression.

Pure and simple, this was an act of jihadist provocation, even an act of war. If the Western system were still functional, it would be Turkey called to account in the international arena, not Israel; it would be Turkey pressured to unmask itself as a fomenter of global jihad -- not Israel for defending itself against it.

If.

But the Western system no longer functions; it takes its lead from "peace activists." And so --- and this is the tragedy of Western collapse - it is Turkey that the West appeases. There is no logic to this; there is fear. There's no morality here; only dhimmitude. History, meanwhile, is ignored. We hide from the gravity of resurgent jihad in the Ottoman land of the last caliphate, deaf to the declarations of cultural and religious war that Erdogan, for one, has always made, from the 1970s, when he engaged in anti-Semitic agitprop with a play he wrote, directed and acted in known as "Mas-kom-Ya," an acronym for Mason, komunist (communist), and Yahudi (Jew); to the 1990s, when he invoked jihad with the lines, "the mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers"; to today, as he exhorts Turks in Europe to cultural conquest, declaring, "Assimilation is a crime against humanity."

Sounds like the call of the marauder to me. But the United States, pondering "Who lost Turkey?" plugs its ears and scapegoats Israel, or, just as fantastic, blames Europe for a vestigial self-preservation instinct that prevents it from committing demographic suicide by admitting 78 million Muslims into the union.

Anything for "peace."

 

 

Diana West

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

 

A Terrorist's Guide to Improving Israel's Media Coverage

 

 

 

by Daniel Greenfield

 

When you're in a competition and you're losing, one of the first thing to do is to study what your opponent is doing and copy him. In this case Israel is competing for good media coverage with the terrorists. And the terrorists are winning. And if the media likes them so much, maybe it's time to start doing what they do.


1. Get Good Media Coverage By Excluding Bad Media Coverage

 

Say that two movies will be coming out next week. One of those movies has studio which bans all critics who have spoken unfavorably about it from seeing it. The other movie welcomes all reviewers. When the final numbers are tallied, which movie do you think will have the best reviews? The one that didn't screen the movie for any critics who were not favorably disposed toward it. Sure the other movie might claim that its favorable reviews were honest. And that and a dime will buy you a cup of coffee.

Now say that these two studios keep doing this for 10 years, and that they're the only game in town. Eventually just to be able to do their jobs, critics will almost always positively review movies from the studio that bars critics, and almost always negatively review the movies from the other studio to stay on the good side of the first studio. That is because selecting for optimal results will produce them.

Free societies "screen" for all critics. Totalitarian ones only play to supportive audiences. That is why they get the better publicity than free societies. Journalistic integrity is supposed to make up the difference by telling the truth to the public. When it doesn't, then the journalists are functioning willingly as tools of totalitarian regimes. And maybe it's time to give them the boot.

If Israel wants the same supportive coverage that Fatah and Hamas get, it needs to play by their rules. Press credentials would then go to those who provide positive coverage. Those reporters who want to take pictures of wall graffiti and stage photos of Muslim children throwing stones at Israeli tanks need not apply. If the New York Times or NBC News can't find anyone willing to play by those rules, the way they do in Gaza and Ramallah, then they can stay home and they won't be able to do their jobs.

The mainstream media will be outraged, you say. There will be even more negative coverage. As if there isn't heaps of it now. And what will the negative media coverage be of? Reporters forced to stay home. Foreign correspondents who have to cover an election in Hungary, instead of eating caviar in a Jerusalem hotel and writing vicious articles about Jewish Middle Eastern refugees living in East Jerusalem. Haaretz reporters will have to move to London to write biting columns in the Guardian about how racist the country they used to live in, is. Before they move on to the inevitable theater reviews and finally begin writing ad copy for insurance agencies. Oh the pathos, the pity. No one will care.

Should Israel do this? It's not the way of a free society, but there's only so much propaganda for a totalitarian society that even the freest society can endure before it is destroyed. Freedom comes with responsibility. The main responsibility is not to use that freedom to destroy the free society whose freedom you enjoy. Drill enough holes in a boat, and either the boat will sink or you'll be escorted off and Carnival Cruises will never let you brook a cruise with them again.


2. Get Good Coverage by Killing People All the Time

Terrorist groups are always killing people, which the media is fine with. Israel on the other hand mostly doesn't kill anyone. Occasionally it goes after terrorists and kills some of them. An international outcry immediately results. This paradox is explained by a well known defect commonly present in children and moral idiots. This moral defect judges consistently evil behavior more favorably, than inconsistently good behavior.

 

In other words, someone who steals all the time is viewed more favorably than a seemingly solid citizen who gets caught shoplifting. Don't believe me? Count how many ballads have been written about highwaymen, bank robbers and terrorists. The answer is a whole lot.

This defect does not judge the morality of behavior, but its consistency. Someone who is consistently bad is seen as good, because he sticks to his principles. Which are bad. Clearly proving that he's good. Because if he weren't good, why would he be bad all the time? It must be because he believes that his behavior is really good. So all we have to do is understand his point of view to see why he acts this way.

On the other hand someone who is inconsistent is clearly a hypocrite. Otherwise why is his behavior inconsistent? Clearly he knows he's doing wrong and occasionally tries to restrain himself, but still keeps engaging in wrongdoing. Which means he has no principles, and his behavior is therefore unjustifiable.

Applied to the Israeli-Muslim Terrorist conflict, this means that Israel is bad because it only inconsistently kills terrorists. On the other hand the terrorists consistently kill Israelis, which must mean that they're good. By only killing terrorists sometimes, Israel shows that it doesn't believe that killing them is ever right. By constantly trying to kill Israelis, the terrorists demonstrate a consistent value system that shows they always believe the are doing the right thing.

This seems like madness only because you aren't a cultural relativist. Which is to say that you believe some things are right and other things are wrong irregardless of who believes them or does them. But if you were a moral idiot, or a cultural relativist (but I repeat myself), you would understand that subjective labels such as right or wrong don't matter. What matters is that people behave in a way consistent with their cultural imperatives and global context. Which generally means killing people or feeling bad because their ancestors killed all those people, depending on their level of industrial development, infrastructure and average family income.

Back when Israel was much more consistent about killing enemy insurgents and terrorists, there was also a general consensus in its favor. In the 50's, Ariel Sharon snuck into Egypt and blew up an entire village being used as an insurgent base. Today a single targeted assassination of a terrorist results in shrieks of global outrage. The problem here is the "single" and the "targeted" part. The answer is to kill terrorists like you mean it.

Not only does consistently doing something result in a better global image, but it also deadens any scandal by turning it into static. Assassinate one terrorist in Dubai and the world is upset. Assassinate ten terrorists a day and the world quickly gets bored a month later after the 300th terrorist. There are only so many headlines reading, "Israel Still Killing Terrorists" that anyone will bother to read. And as a major bonus, killing enough terrorists tends to put an end to that whole terrorism thing.


3. Victims of Our Own Competence

The real problem with Israel is not that it has jets and tanks and nuclear weapons. Most of the Middle East has at least two out of three of those. North Korea has all three. The problem is that Israel works a little too well.

 

What do I mean by that? Israel has working traffic lights, electricity, airlines, police forces and stores filled with things made in the country. Back around 1950 when countries were expected to be able to do things for themselves, this was considered a good thing. But today the anti-capitalism paradigm is dominant, which means that any level of competence defines you as a villain.

When a reporter goes to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, he notices that despite all the flaws, things somewhat work. No one generally tries to murder him on the street. The Jewish residents at least, aren't using donkeys as transportation, no one throws rocks at his head, and sewage isn't flowing through the street.

But when he goes to Ramallah or Gaza, he sees gorgeous villas and classic Mercedes cars, but he also sees dust, dirt and yes raw sewage. Things don't work, or work only unpredictably. Abused animals are everywhere. Militia gangs prowl the streets. Kids throw rocks. The electricity goes on and off. The doctors occasionally work at the hospital, when they aren't heading up the local wing of Hamas\Fatah or selling drugs. Naturally he thinks these people must be the victims.

The solution is to make Israel appear just as dysfunctional. While the country has its problems, by comparison things do generally work. Now is the time to stop making them work. During a crisis, major cities in Israel should repeatedly lose power. The Knesset will have raucous debates by candlelight. Traffic jams will be orchestrated and donkeys will replace taxis. Raw sewage will spill out in the street and doctors will leave their jobs and do nothing but conduct press conferences denouncing Sweden for making us live this way.

Photographers will be invited to take pictures of senior citizens struggling to manually translate Henning Mankell and Iain Banks novels by hand, due to their boycott of Israel. And of children who are receiving inadequate medical care because of being boycotted by British medical journals. And of course there will be people posing buried in rubble due to the boycotts of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Presbyterian Church and Swedish dock workers.

Of course none of this makes any sense. But it doesn't have to make any sense. The facts don't matter. The Muslim terrorists proved that already. The point is to create a lot of sympathetic dramatically staged photos and blame someone for them. It might as well be Sweden since they're spoiling for a fight anyway. This is not about the facts. It's about making the competent feel guilty for their competence. If Israel is demonized because Fatah and Hamas can't provide basic services even with billions of dollars in foreign aid, then it's time for Israel to stop providing basic services.

In the anti-capitalist dogma, competence is criminality. A more advanced society is always more wrong than a less advanced one. Clearly the only way to win their sympathy is a race to the bottom. If the lights go out in Gaza, let there be no lights and sewage in Haifa. In Ramallah has open sewage, then Tel Aviv should go back to using donkeys. If Jenin has armed militias riding on donkeys that are swimming in pools of sewage, it's time to close all the hospitals in the Israel and gather gangs of schoolchildren and start stoning foreign planes.

At some point where Israeli schoolchildren achieve a lower literacy rate than their counterparts in the West Bank. When there is no electricity anywhere in the country, and cold running water only twice a week. When the only forms of transportation in the country are rusting 1960's classic American cars and mistreated donkeys. When there is no working fire department, but cell phones are everywhere. When you can't go a hundred feet without hearing the sounds of machine gun fire. And when there is an entire branch of the UN dedicated to feeding and clothing Israelis. Then finally the public relations battle will be won. Because Israel will truly be a failed state-- and therefore wholly moral.

Only successful states take the blame, because only they are judged as being responsible. Failed states on the other hand are always someone else's victim. If paradoxically the only way to be a successful state, is to be a failed state-- it's time to start failing upward.



Anyone who supports the Muslim terrorist side, and disapproves of the article should ask him or herself, why?

 

If censorship, homicidal mania and deliberate dysfunction are effective media relations tools for the poor "Palestinian Arabs" who can hardly walk four steps without claiming citizenship in the great state of victimhood, maybe it's time their victims got a piece of the action. If the left doesn't like working countries that don't throw critics off buildings or constantly try to kill people-- then they're writing a scenario in which those countries will transform themselves into the image of the sort of countries that the left does like.

This is only a satirical piece, but all satire has more than a grain of truth to it. If the media left calls democracy, tyranny and tyranny, democracy. Then perhaps the only way for them to recognize a country as a democracy is for it to become a tyranny. If they praise countries that violate civil rights, for their freedom, and damn countries with freedom for violating civil rights-- clearly then the only way to the leftist heart is by violating civil rights. By calling good, evil, and evil, good-- the left has written this narrative itself with the inkstains of its own moral hypocrisy. It cannot complain about its consequences.

 

 

Daniel Greenfield

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

 

Palestinians' Chances for Peace

 

by Hagai Mazuz

 

In every society, people invest in and cultivate the young, hoping that this up-and-coming generation will accomplish what previous generations have failed to do. Europeans, for example, having been wrenched by two brutal wars, have understood that they must do everything possible so that there would be no more wars; the result has been an education system based on finding peaceful solutions, tolerance, and acceptance of the other as he is. We can already see the results of their efforts: the age of great wars between European powers seems to have come to an end; within Europe's borders, there seems to be peace and quiet. "Soft power" reigns.

 

The Europeans have since been trying to impose their Soft Power solution on the Middle East in general, and on Israel and the Palestinians in particular. The central problem facing the Europeans in carrying out their strategy for making peace between the two sides is that the Europeans are guilty of "mirror imaging:." They see Israel, justifiably so, as a Western country in every sense of the word; and start with the assumption that both the Palestinians and Israel want to get along with one another the way the Europeans now do. This is Europe's problem. Israel educates its young to pursue peace. Some Israelis have made this their utmost goal, even to the point of ignoring -- or even blinding themselves -- to the Middle Eastern reality in which they live. The Palestinians, on the other hand, have done the exact opposite.

 

Examining the Palestinian Authority's Educational Curriculum -- both in the West Bank and Gaza -- exposes the bitter truth. In the textbook "Our Beautiful Language," which is used in the first grade, there is a picture on page 142 of a teacher telling her students about the Arab world. The Muslim countries are all colored in green (the color of Islam); and that includes the State of Israel. On page 153 of the 12th grade book, "The History of the Arabs and the World in the 20th Century," all of the names of these countries are listed except Israel, which is listed as "Palestine." This occurs again and again in other educational texts; for example on page 143: on the maps used in Palestinian schools, there is a map of Israel on which is superimposed the PLO flag; and on the Internet home page of the Palestinian Central Statistical Office, Israel is listed as Palestine. This same map, incidentally, is also on the wall of Mahmoud Abbas's office.

 

"The war over Palestine ended more tragically than any war in history. The Zionist gangs stole Palestine and expelled its residents from their cities, villages, and lands and established the State of Israel on this land…" This is not some Hamas propaganda poster; this is a paragraph (page 104) taken from the educational text, "The Arabic language: Discussion, Literature, and Criticism," used in the 12th grade.

 

Educational texts used in both the Palestinian Authority and in Gaza indoctrinate and encourage children to prefer death over life and call for jihad:

 

"Oh heroes, Allah has promised you victory… Don't speak to yourselves about fleeing … Your enemies desire life while you desire death."

 

" Don't worry about encountering the enemy because the taste of death is not bitter in the faces of the believers…" [See "Discussions and Texts for the 8th grade, Part 2, (2002) Page 16]

 

In the Palestinian textbooks, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is defined in Islamic terms as "ribat" (i.e., a religious war), and in these books, the message which is being taught is that the war with Israel must be pursued until the end of days. (Source: Islamic Education, 12th grade text, pages 86-87).

 

In February 2007, after these texts were exposed, Hillary Clinton at a news conference said that "These schoolbooks… are engaged in brainwashing… In a very basic way, they are poisoning the minds of the children."

 

In "educational" and documentary TV programs, the message is clear: Israel stole Palestine. In one of the children's programs, the hostess asks a boy: Name three Palestinian ports. The boy answers: Haifa, Ashdod, and Gaza. The hostess answers "Excellent. And let me add Jaffa, Ashkelon, and Eilat." The hostess then asks the boy: Name three countries which border Palestine. He responds: "Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt. The audience, hearing the "correct" answer, cheers and claps. But Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt are the borders of the State of Israel, not Palestine.

 

Even the images of small, seemingly innocent children are enlisted in the campaign against Israel. Farfur the Mouse (Hamas's version of Mickey Mouse) preaches about the superiority of Islam: he is imprisoned by the Israel Defense Forces [IDF], and interrogated in the supposed dungeons of the Israeli security services, Shabak. He is tortured and eventually dies, becoming a martyr. The veiled eight-year-old hostess of the program has a solemn look on her face as she praises the martyrdom of Farfur the Mouse.

Farfur is not alone. There is Nahul, the bumble bee, who dies a martyr's death: as a result of the Israel siege of Gaza, Nahul cannot be taken to an Israeli hospital in Israel for treatment; he therefore dies. That same eight-year-old hostess who eulogized Farfur the Mouse remarks: "Today we say to you Nahul: Congratulations. This is your wedding! We do not see this as your death, but as your wedding". -- meaning that now Nahul will be in the bosoms of the 72 virgins awaiting him in Paradise.

 

Naur the Bear expresses his desire to join Hamas's Iz Ad-Din Qassam brigades, and announces his intent to wage a war on the "Zionist criminals." He asks the program hostess, that same eight-year-old girl, "Are you with me?" She answers: "We are all ready to sacrifice ourselves for our homeland."

 

This fabulous team also includes Asud the Rabbit and Trabishu the chick, who prances around threatening in the air that he will come with Kalashnikovs and tanks against the Zionist enemy.

 

The result is that children from the age of 7 to 18 – both boys and girls – publicly express their desire to sacrifice their lives on the altar of the Palestinian people and become martyrs. Some of them undergo battle training and join the ranks of the terrorists.

All of the above is just the tip of the iceberg: there are thousands of additional examples of Palestinian anti-Israeli educational indoctrination which completely negate the idea of living in peace with Israel.

 

If this is how the Palestinians are educating their next generation, can there really be a chance that there will be peace between Israel and the next generation of Palestinians?

 

 

Hagai Mazuz

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

 

Hamastan’s happy birthday

by Sarah Honig

 

Hamastan has just marked its third birthday. It was a glad gala indeed, punctuated with buoyant morale and maritime hijinks by "freedom flotillas" raucously rushing to spark the celebrations.

Unbelievably the anniversary of Hamas's hegemony in the Gaza Strip came and went with scant critical appraisal anywhere. The Muslim Brotherhood offshoot, which took over Gaza in a spasm of violence during June 2007, now appears an acceptable regional fixture. Nobody demands even a modicum of good behavior from it. Hamastan gets such pampering press that it seemingly cannot set a foot wrong.

At first the international Quartet (US, EU, UN and Russia) mildly hiccupped with reluctant disapproval, not so much for Israel's sake but out of concern that its darling Mahmoud Abbas, figurehead president of the rival Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, might lose ground. Formally the above guardians of global propriety request that Hamas recognize Israel, forswear terror and acquiesce to previous Israel-PA deals. But in reality they itch to backtrack.

Their pretext is alleviating what's depicted as Gaza's heart-wrenching humanitarian crisis. Disinformation that serves cynical purposes quickly forms an axiomatic premise. It matters diddly, therefore, that no humanitarian crisis grips Gaza. If the Quartet and willing media accomplices claim something with sufficient alacrity and frequency, it becomes fact.

Willy-nilly this has triggered a curious momentum. In three years, during which Hamastan functioned as an Iranian terror outpost as well as imposed an Iranian-like theocratic tyranny on Gazans, it incongruously gained legitimacy and sympathy throughout the liberal West. Its sins and excesses are invariably blamed on Israeli "occupation," although the last Israeli exited the Strip in August 2005.

Concomitantly, Israel's legitimacy has steadily eroded throughout the West. The two dynamics are intrinsically interconnected.

Hence from Hamastan's vantage point, it had proved itself a sterling success. Nothing it does seems to incur particular odium. Moreover, everything it does seems to make Israel stink more. That leaves Israel serially and cripplingly hobbled, while Hamas can do pretty much as it pleases with impunity.

Not a bad deal – especially when we keep in mind that fanatical Hamas hasn't budged from its charter, which calls for Israel's utter destruction and its replacement with an Islamic theocracy. At the same time Israel has made concession after concession. So why are we getting the bad rap?

Perhaps partly because of our inclination to give a little ground and buy time and goodwill. With each concession we appear to admit wrongdoing. We paint ourselves as villains who expediently promise to commit a little less villainy. It's one thing when a disingenuous world defames us; it's quite another when we even look like we're buying into that defamation.

ACCORDING TO anecdote, George Bernard Shaw once asked an attractive socialite whether she'd sleep with him for a million pounds. After she answered in the affirmative, he offered her a mere 10 shillings. Outraged, she railed: "What do you take me for? A prostitute?"

Shaw reputedly replied: "We've already determined that. We're just haggling over the price."

When Binyamin Netanyahu agrees to a Palestinian state inside Israel's national cradle and adjacent to its soft underbelly, when he freezes Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem and lately when he alleviates the blockade on Hamastan, he establishes the principle that his principles are for sale and all that's left is to fix the conditions.

This isn't clever "moderation." In any case moderation isn't all it's cracked up to be. It may work in certain circumstances but bomb in others. Moderation isn't even necessarily synonymous with pragmatism.

And pragmatism isn't always wise and mustn't be confused with levelheadedness. History is replete with examples of catastrophic and cowardly choices paraded as pragmatic. All too often the road to disaster is paved with pragmatic considerations. Conversely, sometimes bold and nonconformist responses prove in retrospect to have been actually pragmatic. Hawkish Winston Churchill was realistic on the eve of World War II, while popular dove Neville Chamberlain was the dupe.

Pragmatism is akin to focusing on specific potholes in our national path rather than sometimes lifting our eyes from the ground to scan the horizon, survey the sweep of the land and behold the full track ahead. Pragmatism is getting bogged down in details and neglecting the whole. It's quibbling about issues and forgetting the basics.

And so, despite our efforts to ingratiate ourselves, it's not Hamas which is treated as a pariah and which becomes increasingly isolated. Israel is.

For all intents and purposes Hamastan is a fully-fledged bona fide state. More and more of the international community's pompous pontificators promote outright negotiations with it as an upstanding partner. Foreign leaders know there's no dire humanitarian calamity in Gaza and hence, when they demand Israel lift its blockade, they essentially campaign for an unlimited influx of military fortification materiel and rocketry into Gaza, precisely what they allowed into south Lebanon in insolent contravention of UN Resolution 1701.

Their peace prattle is sure to make the next bloody war inevitable. But international duplicity parading as diplomacy is nothing new. In 1967 nobody in the White House could find the 1957 document spelling out US assurances that Egypt wouldn't obstruct the Tiran Straits again. American infidelity made the Six Day War unavoidable. Washington could have preempted that showdown and its derivative "occupation."

Remember US undertakings not to deal with the PLO? Count on Barack Obama to just as cynically overlook more recent proscriptions against powwowing with Hamas. His administration has removed the term "terrorist" from America's official lexicon. The corollary is that Israel's emphasis on its enemies' terrorist proclivities rather than on Jewish rights is wasted breath. It only serves to magnify the inimical trendy perception that we're in the wrong and that those who would annihilate us are desperate insurgents against injustice.
Instead of being reduced to prostitute status, we're better off going back to basics, proclaiming loud and clear that the Arabs only conjured Palestinian nationality to stake rival claims to ours. If the world misrepresents this bloody dispute as being about a Palestinian state, we must protest that it's really about denying the right of a Jewish state to exist. Otherwise, to please our critics, we concede the Palestinian argument.

We gain as much respect via ignominious compromises as did the woman whose asking price George Bernard Shaw attempted to lower. As soon as we turn our existential struggle into something that resembles negotiations about the prostitute's remuneration, we forfeit everything because promises made to a prostitute are never kept. No one owes her a thing.

The assumption is that everything she does is illicit, that at most she can expect a little condescending pity mixed with disgust, that she resides outside normative society and cannot expect what others perceive as their natural due. Most of all, she can be endlessly pushed around and her prices pushed down. Just like Israel.

 

 

Sarah Honig

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

 

White House Announcement on Gaza Shows the Missing Element: Strategic Rationality

 

by Barry Rubin

"As a general rule, you should assume that the more unlikely the action I lay upon this stage for you, the more likely it is that I have evidence of its having happened." --Clive Barker,

Galilee.

Everyone will probably view the just-released official document, "White House on Israel's Announcement on Gaza," as purely routine government rhetoric that means nothing. But that just shows how much people have become used to taking for granted the lack of any strategic sense in this U.S. government.

The June 20 White House statement opens thusly:

"The President has described the situation in Gaza as unsustainable and has made clear that it demands fundamental change."

One would expect that a rational policy would use the words "unsustainable" and "demands fundamental change" to mean that the president demands the overthrow of Hamas. In fact, it signifies the exact opposite: he demands the stabilization of that regime.

The statement continues:

"On June 9, [Obama] announced that the United States was moving forward with $400 million in initiatives and commitments for the West Bank and Gaza. The President described these projects as a down payment on the U.S. commitment to the people of Gaza, who deserve a chance to take part in building a viable, independent state of Palestine, together with those who live in the West Bank."

Just think of the calm insanity of that paragraph. The United States is going to pump money into Gaza. That money is a "down payment on the U.S. commitment," that is, it is not an act of generosity for which the United States deserves to get something in return. No, the phrasing makes it seem that the United States owes them the money.

Moreover, giving this money does not really advance the cause of building a Palestinian state but retards it by shoring up a Hamas government which is against the Palestinian Authority, against peace with Israel, and against a two-state solution.

Note, too, that Hamas is put on an equal plane with the Palestinian Authority. The people of Gaza and the people of the West Bank will build a state, says the statement. Couldn't the administration even have said that the state would be built in the context of the Oslo accords or under the leadership of the Palestinian Authority?

This is truly amazing. There is no mention of even the Quartet conditions: nothing said about Hamas abandoning terrorism or accepting Israel's existence or returning to recognition of the Palestinian Authority's rule as the legitimate government. The statement is unconditional, absolutely unconditional. Only the "humanitarian" consideration counts, as if the U.S. government is a community organizer organizing a food stamp program.

In seeking an analogy to this abdication of strategy and politics, it would be like the United States making a commitment to help the people of North Vietnam during the Vietnam war or North Korea during the Korean war by pouring in money and goods unconditionally, saying this would help lead to a moderate unified state.

Doesn't who governs the Gaza Strip as a dictatorship (an antisemitic, anti-American, terrorist, revolutionary Islamist, would-be genocidal, Christian-expelling, women-repressing, terrorist, and allied to Iran dictatorship at that) matter a bit?

The announcement continued by welcoming Israel's new policy as something that "should significantly improve conditions for Palestinians in Gaza, while preventing the entry of weapons."

In other words, the United States has no problem with Hamas ruling Gaza as long as weapons are kept out. There is absolutely no strategic concept in the U.S. approach.

Meanwhile, the White House makes clear that Israel's concessions aren't sufficient. "There is more to be done, and the President looks forward to discussing this new policy, and additional steps, with Prime Minister Netanyahu during his visit to Washington on July 6."

So the U.S. government wants the Hamas-ruled statelet to get even more. Blandly but incredibly, the statement continues: "We will work...to explore additional ways to improve the situation in Gaza, including greater freedom of movement and commerce between Gaza and the West Bank."

Now while it is true that this could mean supporters of the Palestinian Authority will be able to go to Gaza and have more influence, what it will mean in practice is that Hamas militants (including bomb-makers and agitators) will be more able to get into the West Bank. Though Israel will no doubt closely vet those who pass between the two areas, will it then be accused of inhibiting Palestinian "freedom of movement"?

Of course, there is the requisite paragraph voicing support for Israel, but note that it gives nothing more to Israel whatsoever:

"We strongly re-affirm Israel's right to self-defense, and our commitment to work with Israel and our international partners to prevent the illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition into Gaza. As we approach the fourth anniversary of the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, we call again for his immediate release, and condemn the inhumane conditions of his detention."

Did anyone in the administration think of conditioning the easing of the embargo and the U.S. aid on Shalit's release? Of course not.

The statement adds: "We believe that the implementation of the policy announced by the Government of Israel today should improve life for the people of Gaza, and we will continue to support that effort going forward." But wait a minute. If this further entrenches a terrorist, repressive regime will that "improve life" for the people of Gaza?

And the statement ends:

"We urge all those wishing to deliver goods to do so through established channels so that their cargo can be inspected and transferred via land crossings into Gaza. There is no need for unnecessary confrontations, and we call on all parties to act responsibly in meeting the needs of the people of Gaza."

Of course, all of this won't discourage the flotilla ships which will continue to sail and at times will seek confrontation. After all, if confrontation results in gaining such victories why should anyone dismiss them as "unnecessary?" And finally note the veiled hint about all parties acting responsibly. The administration won't even come out openly to demand that Hamas lets in goods and doesn't steal them!

So in this statement there is not one word--not one word--of direct criticism of Hamas. And there is no hint that any thought has been given about the strategic implications of accepting a Hamas regime and allowing it to normalize the economic situation even while it is creating a nightmare political and social situation for Gazans.

Let's assume the administration had the same goals but went about it with a different rhetoric. It would condemn Hamas extensively but then say that, of course, it should not be able to hold the people in Gaza as hostages and that they should not suffer just because they are ruled by a terrible dictatorship. The statement could look forward to the day when they are liberated from these extremist, repressive rulers. I'm not saying this is my preferred policy but it is a far better way the Obama Administration could implement its own wishes.

In other words, the administration could have played it this way: Hamas is our enemy; the people of Gaza are our friends. We don't want you to suffer. We want you to get rid of Hamas, join with the PA, and make a lasting peace with Israel. If you are moderate and abandon terrorism, you will be better off and get your own state through negotiations with Israel. But that is not the strategic line taken.

Yes, it is incredible. The Obama Administration refuses to criticize Hamas in its own statement. Why? Is it afraid that the need to send money and goods into the Gaza Strip is so great that no offense can be given to Hamas lest the regime would refuse these concessions?

In this bland little White House statement we see the policy insanity of the current U.S. government. Again, as problemmatic as the president's goal is--reducing the sanctions against the Gaza Strip--the real craziness is in the way it is being conceived, explained, and implemented.

 

 

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

 

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