Friday, September 3, 2010

Jewish Blood as Portrayed in the Western Media

by Professor Phyllis Chesler

Four young civilians: human beings, fathers, mothers, one of whom was also pregnant, collectively the parents of seven children, were brutally gunned down by armed, masked terrorists. Their murders were openly celebrated in the streets by their attackers and by thousands of their supporters.

You would think that the world would recoil in horror—or that those who report the news, world-wide, would do so. Think again. These four precious souls were Israeli “settlers” and, as such, have already been so demonized that they are now seen as having provoked their bloody, pitiless deaths.

First, they came for the settlers. Then, they came for the secular Israeli pro-peace demonstrators in Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv. And then they came for….you and me.

Predictably, sadly, my three local area New York City newspapers present this tragic news in very different ways.

Allow me to first quote from the Bible of the intelligentsia aka The New York Times, which presents this incident on page 4, not on page 1; the early pages are usually reserved for all incidents in which Israelis fight back so that Israeli “evil” is seen immediately and framed as among the most “important” world news of the day. The accompanying Times headline? Unbelievably, it is this: “Killing of 4 Israeli Settlers on the Eve of Peace Talks Rattles Leaders on Both Sides.” It’s really not clear who killed the “settlers.” What is clear is that “both sides” are “rattled.” The piece opens with a paragraph that made me see red, both literally and metaphorically. It reads as follows:

“The killing of four Israeli settlers, including a pregnant woman, in the West Bank on Tuesday evening rattled Israeli and Palestinian leaders on the eve of peace talks in Washington and underscored the disruptive role that the issue of Jewish settlements could play in the already fragile negotiations.”

Note: This opening paragraph literally blames the past and future peace failures on the Israeli settlements. The Times neither blames nor characterizes Hamas accurately. It does not say the Arab Muslim terrorist group, Hamas, the Palestinian version of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza, probably also backed by Iran and Hezbollah, and the group which is claiming responsibility for the attack—is also responsible for a deadly civil war with the not-so-moderate President Abbas, an Islamist war on Palestinian women, homosexuals, and dissidents; and a jihadic war against the Jews which began a long time ago and which will never stop until either such terrorist leaders and their propaganda are utterly vanquished militarily, or until the Jews have been driven out of the Holy Land once again.

On the contrary. The piece also positions President Mahmud Abbas as the “good” guy who, like his negotiating partner, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has “condemned” the attacks. Yes—even as Abbas is busy honoring the Palestinian terrorist who planned the Munich massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic games, Amin Al-Hindi, as well as the Palestinian terrorist, Omar Muhammad Ziyada, who murdered an Israeli civilian in a human bomb homicide in 2002.

The Gray Lady does not even tell us the names of the Israeli civilian victims, nor are they in any way humanized. Their histories are not presented. They are only “particularly militant settlers”: faceless, shadowy figures. We are not supposed to care about them. We do learn what Hamas said about the attack, namely that it was a “natural response to the crimes of the Israeli occupation and its settlers.” We also learn that “hundreds” of Hamas supporters “took to the streets…to celebrate the news of the attack.”

Shame on you, Isabel Kershner and Mark Landler (who share this byline of infamy), and shame on your editors.

As usual, The Wall Street Journal does better. Their headline reads: “Hamas Attacks Israelis on Eve of Talks.” At least they tell us who the perpetrators and who their victims are. According to Charles Levinson, “multiple gunmen” were involved; the “victims” included “two men, ages, 25 and 40, and two women, also ages 25 and 40, one of whom was pregnant, according to Israeli officials.”

Why do Kershner and Landler consider such facts irrelevant to their piece? Are these facts too hard to find—or are these facts too dangerous because they would begin to humanize the Jewish, “settler” victims?

However, the august WSJ does not name the victims either. For that, I had to turn to The New York Post, which places the terrorist act on its cover with a picture of a fully head-and-face masked Palestinian gunman. The title? “Peace, Hamas Style: Terrorist fiends kill 4 Israelis on the eve of DC talks.” Their reporter, Andy Soltis, begins this way:

“Hamas terrorists yesterday murdered four innocent Israelis, one of them pregnant, in a twisted attempt to derail President Obama’s peace summit in Washington…the soulless thugs sprayed a car on the West Bank with dozens of bullets, leaving behind a gruesome scene on a blood-stained road.”

The Israeli media is filled with the facts which humanize this terrorist act but here, in my home town, I can only find such facts in The New York Post.

The victims were Yitzhak and Tali Imes, who had six children, including a year-and-a-half old infant; and Kochava Even-Haim and Avishai Schindler. One of the members of the Israeli rapid response medical team discovered that his own wife (!) Kochava was one of the victims. Kochava was a “married schoolteacher” who struggled for many years to have a child and finally succeeded. She leaves behind an 8-year-old daughter.

The Post also tells us that the terrorists may have videotaped the assault, that Hamas claimed responsibility for this “heroic” operation and that Hamas also “launched a sickening celebration that drew 3,000 people in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.”

I am purposely remaining silent about the “politics” involved.

My point here is simply this: If American journalists, professors, scholars, teachers, read and trust only the New York Times, they will continue to view “militant Israeli settlers” as more blameworthy than Islamist Palestinian terrorists. This view is confirmed by articles, editorials, and op-eds which appear in their pages almost daily, often two or three in each issue. In edition after edition, this point is made over and over again.

Worse: Those who read The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post are viewed as rabid, right-wing conservatives, racists, “Islamophobes,” non-intellectuals, anti-progressives, anti-feminists, etc., and their views, and the views of the WSJ and the NYP are easily dismissed—demonized—just as the “militant settlers” have been.

If I want to profile the recent and powerful conference on global anti-Semitism at Yale, in which I participated, if I cannot do so in the New York Times, or better yet, in the Times of London, academics will not take a word I write seriously. They will not even bother to read my words.

Quo vadis, my friends?

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

The new Netanyahu?

by Caroline B. Glick

If Bibi actually believes what he has been saying publicly of late, friends of Israel should be worried. Very worried

Despite a multi-million dollar media blitz, Israelis are not buying the US-financed Geneva Initiative's attempt to convince us that we have a Palestinian partner. A week after the pro-Palestinian group launched its massive online promotion urging people to join its Facebook page, a mere 634 people had answered the call.

The US-funded agitprop involved ads in which senior Fatah propagandists were featured telling Israelis we can trust them this time around. The reason for its failure was made clear by a public opinion poll taken Tuesday night for Channel 10. When asked if they believed that Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is serious about making peace with Israel, two-thirds of Israelis said no. Only 23 percent said he was serious and 17 percent said they didn't know.

Moreover, most Israelis have had it with the peace paradigm based on Israeli concessions of land and national rights in exchange for Palestinian terror and political warfare. When asked whether the government should extend the prohibition on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria beyond its Sept 26 terminus, 63 percent said no, it should not. A mere 21 percent of the public believes the government should respond positively to the US demand that Jews continue to be denied our property right in Judea and Samaria.

In his analysis of the results, Channel 10's senior political commentator Raviv Drucker said that if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decides to make a deal with the Palestinians, he will have a hard time convincing the public to support him.

Drucker also argued that the results may have been influenced by the Palestinian terror attack on Tuesday night in which four civilians were brutally murdered on their way home from Jerusalem. That is, Drucker implied that the public is driven by its emotions. But what the results actually show is that the public is driven by reason.

When Palestinian terrorists gun down innocent people on the highway simply because they are Jews, the public's reasoned response is to say that the Palestinians do not want peace. The public's wholly rational reaction to this act of anti-Jewish butchery is to insist that Jews should not be denied our basic civil and human rights in a dangerous bid to appease murderers.

The poll's final question regarded Netanyahu and his intentions at the new round of land for peace negotiations in Washington. Slightly more than half of the public believes that Netanyahu is serious in his pursuit of a deal with the Palestinians and a mere 34 percent believe that he is not serious.

This last response is interesting for two reasons. First it is a strong indication that the public trusts Netanyahu's word. Since taking office a year and a half ago, Netanyahu has said repeatedly that he supports making a deal with Fatah. And a majority of the public believes him.

The second conclusion suggested by the result is more discouraging. With the public convinced that the Palestinians are not to be trusted and that Israel should stop making concessions, the majority of the public believes that Netanyahu is moving in the opposite direction. Netanyahu's statements in Washington give us ample reason for concern.

On Wednesday evening, ahead of a dinner at the White House with US President Barack Obama, Abbas, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah, Netanyahu made a startling statement.

He said, "I have been making the case for Israel all my life. But I did not come here to win an argument. I came here to forge a peace. I did not come here to play a blame game where even the winners lose. I came here to achieve a peace that will bring benefits to all."

This statement is worth considering carefully. Does Netanyahu truly believe that by "making the case for Israel" he and others who speak out in defense of Israel have merely been argumentative?

Does he think that defending Israel's rights diminishes the prospects for peace and so those that defend Israel are actually harming it?

Does he believe that in calling the Palestinians out for their brutality, barbarism and hatred of Jews and Israel he and his fellow advocates for Israel have merely been playing a blame game?

Does he think that a peace forged on the basis of ignoring Israel's case will be a viable peace?

If Netanyahu does believe all of these things - and his statement on Wednesday evening indicates he does, then the public should be very worried. Indeed, if this is what the premier believes, then it is just a matter of time before he begins echoing his predecessor Ariel Sharon and tells us that we are too dim witted to understand him because the world looks different from where he is sitting than from our lowly perches on the ground, in Israel.

And this brings us back to Tuesday evening's highway massacre. Predictably, the Obama administration led the way in framing the terrorist violence as a bid by Hamas to derail the newest round of negotiations. For example, after meeting with Netanyahu Wednesday Obama said, "The tragedy that we saw yesterday where people were gunned down on the street by terrorists who are purposely trying to undermine these talks is an example of what we're up against."

The only party that rejected the administration's rationalization of the attack was Hamas, whose operatives reportedly carried it out. In an interview Thursday with the London-based Asharq al Awsat, Hamas leader Mahmoud A-Zahar said that the talks have nothing to do with the attack. As he put it, "The bid to link this operation to the negotiations is completely wrong. When people have the opportunity, the capability and the targets, they act."

The truth is probably found neither in A-Zahar's claim nor in Obama's assertion. In all likelihood, Hamas was testing the waters. Iran's Palestinian proxy wanted to know whether the regular rules for peace processes have kicked into gear yet. Those rules -- as the families of the hundreds of Israelis murdered by Palestinian terrorists during the peak years of peace processes will attest -- involve Israel giving free rein to terrorists to murder Jews during "peace talks."

Since Yitzhak Rabin first shook Yassir Arafat's hand on the White House lawn 17 years ago, successive prime ministers have opted to not to retaliate for murderous attacks when peace talks are in session. They have justified their willingness to give the likes of Hamas a free hand to murder by claiming that fighting back would be tantamount to allowing terrorists to hold the peace process hostage. Conducting counter-terror campaigns in the midst of negotiations, they have uniformly argued, would endanger the talks and so, Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad must all be given a carte blanche to murder.

Echoing these sentiments precisely, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin all reportedly objected to launching any response to Tuesday's attack. According to the media, the three closed ranks against Netanyahu who reportedly wished to attack Hamas targets in Gaza following the massacre.

Wednesday's roadside shooting attack, in which a man and his wife were wounded, was a clear indication that Hamas and its ilk received the message. Just as A-Zahar said, they are always looking for an opportunity. And in not responding to Tuesday's attack, Israel told them that for the duration of these negotiations, Hamas can again kill with impunity.

Whether Hamas renewed its terror attacks this week because it likes to murder Jews, because it was trying to derail negotiations or because it was testing Israel, the fact of the matter is that from Hamas's perspective, it stood only to gain from attacking. Terror is always popular with the Palestinian public. As the Jerusalem Post reported, when news broke of Tuesday's attack, mobs of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria took to the streets to celebrate.

Part of the reason that Palestinians love terrorism is because they have never had to pay a real price for killing Jews. To the contrary, they have been richly rewarded. The Palestinians believe that it was terror, not negotiations that convinced Israel to withdraw from Gaza. So too, as they glance at the international response to their acts of wanton murder, they see terror has only benefitted them. International monetary assistance and political support for the Palestinians have always risen as terror levels peaked.

Obama's insistence that the talks go on after Tuesday's attack showed the Palestinians that the game is still theirs to win. The US will continue to side with the Palestinian demands against Israel regardless of their behavior.

In Netanyahu's defense, his speech on Wednesday evening was not simply a repudiation of his life's work on behalf of Israel. Netanyahu seemed to hedge his bets when he said, "We left Lebanon, we got terror. We left Gaza, we got terror. We want to ensure that territory we concede will not be turned into a third Iranian sponsored terror enclave aimed at the heart of Israel. That is why a defensible peace requires security arrangements that can withstand the test of time and the many challenges that are sure to confront us."

The problem with this statement is that in light of the free pass he gave Hamas for Tuesday's attack, Netanyahu already conceded this crucial principle. If he believes that the only way for the talks to advance is to stand down in the face of attack rather than aggressively strike back, then Netanyahu has already committed himself to a peace that will create "a new Iranian sponsored terror enclave aimed at the heart of Israel."

Likewise, if he believes that only by ceasing to make Israel's case can he make progress with his "partner" Abbas, then Netanyahu has already conceded his demand that a peace agreement contain security arrangements that will defend Israel's national rights and other vital interests.

The most distressing aspect of Netanyahu's enthusiastic participation in a process the Israeli public rationally opposes is that it is him doing it. With Netanyahu now joining the ranks of those that attack Israel's defenders as enemies of peace and claim that defending the country is antithetical to peace, who is left to defend us?

Caroline B. Glick

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

Preserving Israel at the Eleventh Hour, Nuclear Deterrence, Enemy Rationality and "Palestine"

by Professor Louis René Beres

Faced with the daunting prospect of seemingly endless terrorism, and with staggering global opposition to any of its essential and altogether permissible forms of self-defense, Israel now requires a complex and capable counter-terrorism strategy merely to survive. Simultaneously, the major threats to Israel's physical survival lie in certain mass-destruction (biological and/or nuclear) attacks by enemy states. Ultimately, therefore, the Jewish State's actual continuance rests upon even more than successful counter-terrorism. It rests also upon the inherently fragile and unpredictable foundations of nuclear deterrence.

Israel is tiny. For this beleaguered ministate, U.S. President Barack Obama's preferred "world free of nuclear weapons" would represent a harsh habitat of utterly radical insecurity. Here, amid a literally dreadful anarchy, Israel's enemies could now gratefully inflict mortal harms upon the "Zionist Cancer" without plausible fear of unacceptable reprisals. If, moreover, this particular preferred world were also to embrace Mr. Obama's "Road Map" to an independent Palestinian state, the resultant synergies and (using a productive military concept) force multipliers could further magnify the existential threats to Israel.

Significantly, this does not mean that a still-nuclear Israel would necessary be safe and secure. Nuclear deterrence, after all, depends in part upon enemy rationality. Where this requirement is not met, the nuclear retaliatory threat is immobilized.

Neither Israel nor the United States has been willing to act preemptively against Iran. Why? The answer is that they have chosen instead to rely upon hope.

It is a mistake as old as history. The ancient Greek historian, Thucydides, considering the uncertain fate of Melos during the Peloponnesian War, observed: "Hope is by nature an expensive commodity, and those who are risking their all on one cast, find out what it means only when they are already ruined."

Soon, Iran will almost certainly become a full nuclear weapons state. Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama will then attempt, vainly, to achieve some form of stable deterrence with Tehran. Hoping that a new balance of terror can somehow be premised upon the earlier US-USSR model, Washington and Jerusalem will inevitably discover more-or-less catastrophic failure.

A core of Jerusalem's nuclear strategy has always been to keep its "bomb" in the basement. After Iranian nuclearization, however, there would be unacceptable risks of continuing with its policy of nuclear ambiguity.

Until now, ambiguity has "worked." Although it has done little to deter "ordinary" conventional enemy aggressions or certain acts of terror, ambiguity has succeeded in keeping Israel's enemies from mounting existential aggressions. These particular aggressions could have been mounted without nuclear weapons. There does come a point in any war when mass counts. Israel's enemies have always had an obvious advantage in mass. None of Israel's foes has "the bomb," but together, collaboratively, and possibly even including non-state proxies, they could still have acquired the capacity to carry out intolerably massive assaults.

Israel's policy of deliberate ambiguity will not work indefinitely. To be deterred, a fully nuclear Iran would need assurance that Israel's own nuclear weapons were both invulnerable (safe from Iranian first-strikes), and penetration-capable (able to punch through Iran's own active and passive defenses). Such assurance would be made more likely by particular Israeli steps toward nuclear disclosure.

Ironically, perhaps, Iranian perceptions of mega-destructive Israeli nuclear weapons could undermine Israel's nuclear deterrence. In some circumstances, Israel's deterrent credibility could even vary inversely with the perceived destructiveness of its nuclear arms. The more destructive Israel's nuclear weapons appear to prospective aggressors, the less likely they will actually be fired. An Iranian nuclear threat to Israel could also be indirect, stemming from any willingness in Tehran to share some of its nuclear components and materials with Hezbollah, or another kindred terrorist group. To prevent this threat, Jerusalem would need to convince Iran that Israel possesses a range of distinctly usable nuclear options. Here, too, continued nuclear ambiguity might not remain sufficiently persuasive to sustain Israel's nuclear deterrent.

Jerusalem will eventually need to move from nuclear ambiguity to nuclear disclosure. What will then need to be calculated by IDF planners and strategists is the precise extent to which Israel should communicate its relevant nuclear positions, intentions and capabilities.

Once faced with a nuclear fait accompli in Tehran, Israel would need to convince Iran's leaders that it possesses both the will and the capacity to make any intended Iranian nuclear aggression more costly than gainful. But, again, no Israeli move from ambiguity to disclosure would help in the case of an irrational nuclear enemy.

Were a religiously-driven Iranian leadership to expect a Shiite apocalypse, Iran could readily cast aside all rational behavior. Iran would thus become a nuclear suicide-bomber in macrocosm. Such a terrifying prospect is improbable, but it is not inconceivable.

To protect itself against enemy strikes, particularly those attacks that could carry existential costs, Israel will need to exploit every aspect of its still opaque nuclear arsenal. The success of Israel's efforts will depend not only upon its selected pattern of "counterforce" and "counter value" (counter-city) operations, but also upon the extent to which this choice is made known in advance to both enemy states, and their non-state surrogates. Before these enemies can be deterred from launching first strikes against Israel, and before they can be deterred from launching retaliatory attacks following a still-possible Israeli (non-nuclear) preemption, it will not be enough to know that Israel has the bomb. These enemies would also need to recognize that Israeli nuclear weapons are sufficiently invulnerable to any such attacks, and that some are pointed directly at high-value population targets.

Removing the bomb from Israel's "basement" could enhance Israel's strategic deterrence by heightening enemy perceptions of secure and capable Israeli nuclear forces. Such a calculated end to deliberate ambiguity could also underscore Israel's willingness to use these nuclear forces in reprisal for certain enemy first-strike and retaliatory attacks.

For now, Israel's bomb should remain ambiguous, if only to ward off insistent denuclearization pressures on Jerusalem from Washington. Still, no later than the moment that Iran is revealed to be finalizing its nuclear weapons capability, Israel must put an immediate end to its nuclear ambiguity. Simultaneously, of course, Israel must capably fight its protracted struggle against terrorism, with special reference to the prevention of a Palestinian state.

The worst-case outcome for Israel would be the simultaneous appearance of "Palestine" with a nuclear Iran. Such a portentous outcome must be avoided at all costs.

Professor Louis René Beres, Professor of Political Science at Purdue, was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971). Born in Zurich, Switzerland, at the end of World War II, he is the author of many major books, monographs and articles dealing with international law, strategic theory, Israeli nuclear policy, and regional nuclear war. In Israel, where he served as Chair of Project Daniel, his work is known to selected military and intelligence communities.

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

What Washington’s Lame Response to Terror Says About the Peace Talks

by Evelyn Gordon

If more reasons were needed for concluding that the current Israeli-Palestinian talks won’t produce a deal, here’s another: the designated mediator — i.e., the Obama administration — has just proved itself incapable of providing what even Israeli leftists deem an essential condition for peace.

Tuesday night, Palestinian terrorists murdered four Israeli civilians — two men and two women — by shooting them at close range. Yet as even Haaretz, normally the administration’s reliable flack, noted, “State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley didn’t seem to be in a rush to condemn the attack.” In fact, he didn’t condemn it at all: he merely declared it “a tragedy.”

“Any time one human being takes out a weapon and fires and kills other human beings, it’s a tragedy,” Crowley said. “We just don’t know the circumstances under which this occurred. … We are cognizant that there could be external events that can have an impact on the environment.”

The White House finally issued an unequivocal condemnation only hours later, once “the circumstances” had become clear: namely, that it could condemn the attack safely, because the Palestinian Authority wasn’t involved. Until then, Crowley had hedged his bets, hinting at extenuating circumstances that “we just don’t know,” “external events” that could affect “the environment” — any straw he could grasp to excuse the PA if that proved necessary.

What does this have to do with peace talks? To understand that, it’s worth reading Gershon Baskin’s column in the Jerusalem Post this week. Baskin aptly titled it “The indefatigable peacemaker’s advice,” because he is indeed an indefatigable peace activist. He is co-CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, has been personally involved in many previous rounds of negotiations (both official and unofficial), and continues to believe that “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolvable” right now — a position shared by few other Israelis.

Yet even this indefatigable optimist noted that peace will not be possible if certain conditions aren’t met. For instance, he dismissed the “borders first” idea once touted by U.S. mediator George Mitchell, correctly noting that “the agreement will be a package deal in which there are trade-offs,” and therefore, the various final-status issues “cannot be negotiated separately.” Additionally, he warned, Israel must be convinced that any deal will end with the Palestinians’ recognizing it as “the nation-state of the Jewish people” (to bridge the gap between the PA’s unwillingness to concede this upfront and Israel’s need to know it will happen eventually, he proposed having the Palestinians give such a pledge to Washington as a “deposit”).

But here’s the clincher: “All of Israel’s security concerns must be addressed by the Palestinians (and the American team) with the utmost sincerity. There will be no agreement unless Israel feels its security needs will be met.”

That, however, is precisely what team Obama has just shown itself incapable of doing. Because if you want to convince Israelis that their security concerns will be addressed, offering lame excuses for anti-Israel terror rather than forthrightly condemning it isn’t a good way to start.

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

Iran as the Elephant

by JINSA Reports

President Obama's speech on the end of combat operations in Iraq was a strange muddle of domestic policy, blaming our recession on borrowing for the war (although according to the Congressional Budget Office, seven years of the Iraq war cost less than one year of the Obama Administration's stimulus package) and equating the end of combat operations with providing the resources to turn our attention to economic recovery (as if we couldn't attend to the economy until we "finished" the war, which isn't finished in any event).

But the real wonder is how it was possible for the President of the United States to give a whole speech about Iraq without mentioning Iran. While the United States is "turning the page" and leaving Iraq to the Iraqis, the Iranians are heavily invested in the violence that continues to plague the country. While the President lauds the Iraqis for their courage and their choice to engage in politics (well deserved praise), the shooting war continues, funded and abetted by Iran. President Obama acknowledged:

"Of course, violence will not end with our combat mission. Extremists will continue to set off bombs, attack Iraqi civilians and try to spark sectarian strife. But ultimately, these terrorists will fail to achieve their goals. Iraqis are a proud people. They have rejected sectarian war, and they have no interest in endless destruction. They understand that, in the end, only Iraqis can resolve their differences and police their streets. Only Iraqis can build a democracy within their borders."

The Iraqis might have no interest in "endless destruction," but Iran has no interest in an independent, democratic, pro-Western Iraq. The Iraqis may be able to "resolve their differences and police their streets," but with Iran continuing to fund unreconciled militias, what hope has the Iraqi police/military of getting ahead of the mullahs? "Only Iraqis can build a democracy," but can they build it under military attack from their neighbor Iran?

The President referred to "extremists," but those extremists have a patron. Iran. And if Iran is the elephant in Iraq, it is the elephant in Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and surrounding Israel as well.

The issue of American arms for a Lebanese armed force that shares with Iran's agent Hezbollah has been discussed in prior JINSA Reports. The recent announcement of a Syria-Hezbollah military cooperation agreement, alongside the increased Syrian role in the Lebanese body politic, brings Iran right into Lebanon, north of Israel.

Iran is the elephant in the Israel-Palestinian "peace" talks. Iran provides funds and ideological support to Hamas, while Hamas and Fatah are engaged in a civil war that has moved from Gaza (where Fatah supporters have been pushed underground by brutal attacks) to the West Bank, where Hamas supporters are increasingly visible - including in yesterday's murder of four Israelis. It should be impossible for the Administration to propose a "two state solution" while the Hamas government wages war on both Israel and Fatah.

In each case, violence is treated as disembodied and unsupported. But in fact, in each case, trying to deal only with the closest manifestation of the violence - Israel's Security Fence; the Iraqi army and police trying to disband militias; UNIFIL in Lebanon; the Israel-Egypt embargo of Gaza; or missile defenses against Hezbollah, Hamas or Iran - ignores the relative ease with which Iran is able to resupply and rearm its protégés.

Without an understanding of where the elephant is, and how to tame it or remove it, what success the United States has had in Iraq is likely to be short-lived. That failure will make a mockery of the sacrifices of both Americans and Iraqis in pursuit of consensual government for the Iraqi people.

JINSA Reports (The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs)
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

1-Sep-10: Real people, real terror

by Arnold/Frimet Roth

Reuters reports today that the Hamas terrorist organization has claimed full responsibility for yesterday's ambush and execution of four Israeli civilians.

It quotes a Hamas statement saying it "announces its full responsibility for the heroic operation in Hebron".

This, in Hamas terms, was indeed a heroic operation, a classic of its kind. It was directed at a carload of two men, two women. No Israeli soldiers in the vicinity. No strategic goal other than terrorism for its own sake. The shooters, dressed in civilian clothing, fled into the night. Heroism, pure and simple. Heroism of the kind that the world has come to know and expect from exponents of Islamicism in its various jihadist flavours.

A little reported aspect of the Hamas heroism: one of the rescue service volunteers who arrived on the scene (according to the Jerusalem Post) broke down in tears on viewing the bodies. His colleagues were surprised - this is not a new experience in their line of work. Then they heard him crying out: "That's my wife!' That's my wife!' and indeed his wife is one of the four victims.

Their names again (because these are human beings): Yitzhak and Tali Ames (who leave six orphans), Cochava Even Haim, and Avishai Schindler.

For those of us with some grounding in reality and a sense that what happened here was a human tragedy in a tragically long line of terrorist killings, above are portraits of the men and women murdered by the jihadist Hamas activists, militants, operatives, terrorists. A scene from today's funeral is below.

For those of us who can still summon up a sense of outrage after so much terror, so much hatred, so much hypocrisy, there's the matter of the so-called moderate Palestinian Arabs and their response.

In today's New York Times, the Palestinian Authority's prime minister, Salam Fayyad, expresses his condemnation of the murders. These were offenses against the noble Islamic religion. No, sorry, that's not what he said. The perpetrators betrayed the noble and moral aspirations of the Palestinian people. No, sorry, that's not what he said either. Acts of terrorism and jihadist murder like these undermine the Arab right to a two-state solution. No, sorry again, that's not what he said.

What Salam Fayyad, a man who knows his people very well, said is: “We condemn this operation, which contradicts Palestinian interests and the efforts of the Palestinian leadership to garner international support for the national rights of our people.” As so often in the past, the "condemnation" (which is really not condemnation but tactical criticism) is entirely focused on the effect it might have on other people's support.

Where you stand on terror, terrorism and terrorists says everything about your morality, decency and values. The Palestinian Arab position, in its moderate and other forms, is out there for all to see.

Arnold/Frimet Roth

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

How Could Such a Thing Happen?

by Jennifer Rubin

In this report on the peace talks, we learn:

The administration is frustrated, the sources said, that Abbas keeps publicly insisting on an absolute freeze and positions that may limit his own flexibility in the talks.

“I get a pretty strong sense of exasperation from the administration folks that Abbas keeps climbing up the tree himself,” one Middle East expert in close consultation with the administration said Tuesday. “This time, he is the one putting demands on a moratorium.”

Well, gosh — how in the world did we get to this point? Could it be that Obama tried for 18 months to cram a freeze down the Israelis’ throats? Could it have something to do with a building permit in Jerusalem eliciting a condemnation from the administration?

When you hear things like this, you realize that in many ways it really is amateur hour. At nearly every turn, the Obama team has misread the players, created more conflict than it resolved, and then scrambled to repair the damage. You never realized how smart the Bush Middle East diplomacy was, huh?

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

O, Palestine!

by Moshe Dann

The notion of a Palestinian people and Palestinian identity, although taken for granted today, has neither a long nor a distinguished history. Understanding its origins and what it represents explains why the peace process between Israel and the Arabs has failed and will continue to fail.

Inherent in Palestinianism, from its origins, is the rejection of a Jewish state in any form. That opposition is not negotiable and not open to compromise; it is essential.

Palestinianism was never for anything; its raison d'être was to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state. That purpose has never changed.

Concern for Palestine among a few Arab intellectuals, as Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi shows in his book on the subject, did not exist until Zionists began settlements at the turn of the century. Most weekly newspapers from that period which he surveyed were not even from Palestine and had scant distribution.

"Palestinian identity" then, as now, was negative, focused entirely on opposition to Zionists rather than a positive self-definition. Arab Palestinian leaders, like the mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husayni, an ardent supporter of the Nazis, and arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat -- both "fathers" of Palestinianism ignored by Khalidi -- rejected Zionism and promoted terrorism.

Local Arab uprisings against British rule were anti-colonial and anti-Zionist, not directed toward another independent Palestinian state. Arab riots and pogroms, like those in 1929 and 1936, for example, were not motivated by Palestinian nationalism; there were no calls for a Palestinian state. The battle cry was, "Kill the Jews."

In 1937, Arab leader Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi told the Peel Commission, "There is no such country as 'Palestine'; 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented!"

The riots of 1936 were whipped up by the newly created "Arab [not Palestinian] Higher Committee," the central political organ of the Arab community of Mandate Palestine, organized by a group of elites led by Amin al-Husayni. In 1948, the Arab League organized the All-Palestine Government, the first attempt to establish an independent Palestinian state. Led by King Abdullah of Jordan and nominally Amin al-Husayni, who had returned from Berlin, where he spent the war, it called for the union of Arab Palestine and Transjordan. Husayni later arranged Abdullah's assassination.

A Palestinian National Council convened in Gaza in 1948, under Amin al-Husayni's leadership, passed resolutions calling for an independent state over all of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital. Adopting the flag of the Arab Revolt that had been used by Arab nationalists, it called for the liberation of Palestine. But it had no following.

In 1946, Arab historian Philip Hitti testified before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry that "there is no such thing as Palestine in history." In 1947, Arab leaders protesting the U.N. partition plan argued that Palestine was part of Syria and "politically, the Arabs of Palestine [were] not [an] independent[,] separate ... political entity."

In 1947, the U.N. proposed a "Jewish" State and an "Arab" -- not Palestinian -- State.

The womb of Palestinianism was war, the Nakba (catastrophe) in the Arab narrative, the establishment of the State of Israel. Five well-armed Arab countries invaded the nascent state, joining local Arab gangs and militias in a genocidal war to exterminate the Jews. Yet this was not seen as a war for Palestinian nationalism, or Palestinianism; it was an all-out Arab war against Jews, Zionism, and Zionists.

Arab gangs that attacked Jews in 1948, composed of locals and Arabs from the region, were called the "Arab -- not Palestininian -- Army of Liberation." The reason is that prior to Israel's establishment, the notion of a "Palestinian people" simply did not exist, or was irrelevant, because Arab affiliations are primarily familial and tribal -- not national. And because "Palestinian" then meant something else.

Before 1948, those who were called (and called themselves) "Palestinians" were Jews, not Arabs, although both carried the same British passports. In fact, only after Jews in Palestine called themselves Israelis, in 1948, could Arabs adopt "Palestinian," as theirs exclusively.

The idea of an "Arab Palestinian people" was formed and enshrined in UNRWA "refugee camps" -- today, large, developed towns -- where its residents are indoctrinated with hatred, the "right of return" to Israel, and Israel's eventual destruction. Except in Jordan, which granted them citizenship, the residents of these UNRWA towns in Lebanon and Syria are severely restricted and denied basic human and civil rights.

UNRWA's controversial definition of "Arab refugee" includes anyone who claimed residence in Palestine since 1946, regardless of origin; this date is important because it marks the high point of a massive influx of Arabs from the region into Palestine, primarily due to employment opportunities and a higher standard of living. This category of "refugees," moreover, was different from all others in that it included not only those who applied in 1949, but all of their descendants, forever, with full rights and privileges. This is one of the core issues preventing any resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. UNRWA's existence, therefore, perpetuates the conflict, prevents Israel's acceptance, and breeds violence and terrorism.

Ironically, only when Israel took control of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza could the residents of UNRWA towns in those areas move and work freely, obtain decent education and health care, and express a newly designed Palestinianism -- albeit often dedicated to violence and Israel's destruction.

With an annual budget of over a half-billion dollars, UNRWA supports about one-and-a-half million "refugees" in 58 "camps" and 5 million "registered refugees" (throughout the world) -- who can claim their "rights" as "refugees" at any time. The total population is expected to reach 7 or 8 million next year, and it keeps growing.

Were it not for the policies of Arab countries and UNRWA, the "Arab refugees" might have followed the example of Jewish refugees who were expelled from Arab countries, came to Israel, and went on to live normal lives. Given the same chance, perhaps, Arab Palestinians might have established a state of their own. The desire to destroy Israel, however, trumps state-building, and it is fundamental to Palestinianism.

The first attempt to define Palestinianism was in 1964, in the PLO Covenant, during Jordan's occupation of "the West Bank" (a Jordanian reference from 1950 to distinguish the area from the East Bank of the Jordan River) and when Egypt held the Gaza Strip. On behalf of the "Palestinian Arab people," the Covenant declared their goal: a "holy war" (jihad) to "liberate Palestine," i.e. destroy Israel. There was no mention of Arabs living in "the West Bank" and Gaza Strip, since that would have threatened Arab rulers. Arab "refugees" were convenient proxies in the war against Israel, not their hosts; Palestinianism became a replacement nationalism for Zionism, a call to arms against Jews.

This balancing act was no longer necessary after 1967, when Israel acquired areas that had been originally assigned to a Jewish State by the League of Nations and British Mandate -- Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip -- and the Golan Heights, all rich in Jewish history and archeology. A year later, the PLO Covenant was amended to cover both "occupations" -- in 1948 and 1967.

Dedicated to armed struggle, their goal has never changed; unable to defeat Israel militarily, however, the Arab strategy is to demonize and delegitimize, creating yet another Arab Palestinian state in addition to Jordan. In order to accomplish this, they concocted a narrative, an identity, and an ethos to compete with Zionism and Jewish history: Palestinianism.

Presented in the PLO Covenant and Hamas Charter (1988), the purpose of Palestinianism is to "liberate Palestine" and destroy Israel; neither reflects any redeeming social or cultural values. Moreover, Palestinianism is moving towards Islamist extremism.

According to Palestinian Basic Law (Article 4), ratified by PA President Mohammed Abbas in 2005:

1. Islam is the official religion in Palestine. Respect for the sanctity of all other divine religions shall be maintained.

2. The principles of Islamic Shari'a shall be a principal source of legislation.

3. Arabic shall be the official language.

"Palestinianism" lacks the basic requirements of legitimate national identity: a separate, unique linguistic, cultural, ethnic, or religious basis. It is nothing more than a political-military construct, currently led by Fatah and Hamas terrorist organizations. Yet it became legitimized by the U.N.

Despite PLO mega-terrorist attacks, and backed by the Arab League, Muslim and "non-aligned" countries, the PLO was accepted by the United Nations in 1974. The following year, the U.N. passed its infamous "Zionism is Racism" resolution, sanctioning Israel's demonization and setting the U.N. on a course of Israel's destruction.

The myth of Palestinianism worked because the media accepted Arab and PLO claims and their cause. Nearly all media, for example, use the term "Palestinian" or "Israeli-occupied West Bank," reinforcing Palestinian claims, rather than the authentic designation which appears on earlier maps, Judea and Samaria, which refer to the regions' Jewish history. The use of "West Bank" is a political, not a geographic statement.

Eventually, by the early 1990s, Palestinianism was accepted by some Israeli politicians, Left-dominated media, academia, cultural elite, and some jurists as a way of expressing their opposition to "settlements" and hoping for some sort of mutual recognition with the PLO. Their efforts culminated in the Oslo Accords (1993), which gave official Israeli sanction to Palestinianism.

Anti-Israel academics around the world promote "Palestinian" archeology, society, and culture as a brand name and a political message. Advertising works; every time someone uses the term "Palestinian," it acknowledges and reinforces this myth.

Palestinianism, however, regardless of its lack of historical, cultural, and social roots, is now well-established and here to stay as a political identity that demands sovereign rights and a territorial base. The question seems to be not if, but where.

The solution is regional. Arab Palestinians are entitled to civil and human rights in their host countries, where they have lived for generations. A second Arab Palestinian state, in addition to Jordan, which was carved out of Palestine in 1921 -- whose population is two-thirds "Palestinian" -- will not resolve any core issues at the heart of the conflict. The conflict is not territorial, but existential; recognition of a Jewish state -- i.e., Israel -- is anathema to the Palestinian cause. That explains why Palestinian Arab leaders refuse to accept it in any form.

The problem for Palestinianism is not "the occupation" in 1967, but Israel's existence; seen as an exclusively Arab homeland, Palestine is an integral part of the Arab world, completely under Arab sovereignty. This is axiomatic; there are no exceptions and no compromises.

Promoted in media, mosques, and schools, anti-Jewish incitement, denial of the Holocaust and Jewish history, and rejection of the right of Jewish national self-determination, by definition, Palestinianism is the greatest obstacle to peace.

Moshe Dann is a writer and journalist living in Israel.

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

The Root of the Arab-Israeli Conflict: The Classic Islamic View of Jews, Part II

by Hagai Mazuz

In showing that the Arab-Israeli conflict is religious -- and not territorial -- based on texts from the book Kitāb al-Maghāzī ["The Book of Holy Raids"], which documents how the Muslim raids against the Jews in Medina and Khaybar in ancient Arabia were the source of inspiration for the Islamic terrorist organizations, questions arose as to whether we can generalize about Islam by examining just one book.

Kitāb al-Maghāzī, however, is just one of the many religious Islamic source books which contains anti-Jewish material. The most well known Muslim book is the Quran, which itself is filled with vehemently anti-Jewish material. Muslim sources explain that the Quran is a collection of revelations that Allah gave to Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel. When Muhammad encountered difficulties, Allah told him how to solve these problems via revelations; Uthman, the 3rd Caliph, collected all of them, and that is how the Quran was created.

The Quran is filled with a large amount of material regarding the Jews, most of which labels them as cold-hearted and evil. From this we learn that Muhammad had a lot of dealings with Jews, as Allah "provided" Muhammed with many verses which deal with them. There are also many verses which deal with biblical stories and the history of the Children of Israel (called Isrā'īlīyāt).

There is also a type of Islamic literature called "The Circumstances of Revelation" (in Arabic: Asbāb al-Nuzūl), that details the circumstances in which Allah revealed each and every verse in the Quran to Muhammad. It is clear from this literature that even in many of the verses in which the Jews and Christians are not mentioned, the Quranic scholars, in their explanation of these verses, tell us that this or that verse was "revealed" because of something the Jews or Christians did.

In the opening chapter of the Quran, for example, in verse 7, we find: "The path which You have blessed (i.e., the Muslims; not those for whom Allah has felt wrath (in Arabic: al-Maghḍūb 'alayhim)) and those who went astray (in Arabic: al-Ḍālin)." The Quranic commentators explain the former as the Jews, and the latter as the Christians. Further, whereas Muslim commentators often give several explanations for many verses, in this case, every commentator agrees with this interpretation. Muhammad uses this imagery to describe the Jews in other places in the Quran as well (Quran: 2:159, 6:64, 58:14). This, according to Muhammad, is because the Jews perverted God's words by altering their meanings (Quran: 2:75, 2:79, 3:87, 4:64. 5:13), and hid the true copy of the Torah (Quran: 2:76, 2:140, 2:159, 2:174, 4:37). According to the Muslim understanding, Jews fabricated many of their laws and customs that were not in the original Torah that God gave them, so it follows that believers should not follow the ways of the Jews.

The Jews became the source of all evil in Muhammad's eyes; and according to Islamic tradition, Allah revealed to Muhammad many verses which condemn the Jews and blame them for a large number of sins, notably religious skeptics (Quran: 5:64); "murderers of prophets" (Quran: 2:91, 3:112, 3:181, 3:183); deceivers; and interest- and bribe-takers (Quran 4:161, 5:42). The Quran also claims that Jews have no equal in their hatred of Muslims (5:82).

Besides the Quran and the Kitāb al-Maghāzī, there is also the Hadith [prophetic traditions], which describes Muhammad's customs and sayings. The Hadith, filling the void of what is missing in the Quran, is also known in Arabic as the Sunna, from which we get the word Sunnis -- those who followed Muhammad's example. Muhammad, for them, is the ideal Muslim whom Sunnis strive to imitate in every way possible.

Together, the Quran and the Hadith form the basis of the Shari'a – Islamic Holy Law. Apart from what is written in the Quran, Hadith literature goes into even greater detail than the Quran does about how and why the Jews are the greatest enemies and haters of Islam.

One Hadith blames the Jews for delaying the redemption of mankind, and explains why the Jews therefore should be killed: "As is it written: the hour (of Judgment Day) shall not arrive until the Muslims fight and kill the Jews. Who are hiding behind stones and trees; and (then) the stones and trees will say: 'Oh Muslim, be the servant of Allah, there is a Jews hiding (behind me). Come and kill him.'" Incidentally, this Hadith appears in Paragraph #7 of the Hamas Charter, and is often cited in mosque sermons and in Muslim theological conferences, most notably in Cairo's al-Azhar University, the most important Sunni seminary in the Sunni Muslim world.

Beyond Muhammad's raids on the Jews of Medina and Khaybar listed in the Kitāb al-Maghāzī, there are many other stories about how Muhammad and his followers dealt with non-Jews. Muhammad and his followers raided many other Arab tribes in the Hijaz, and made the Christian community of Najran (in southern Arabia north of Yemen) into dhmmis (protected people, though discriminated-against). There are also detailed descriptions about how many of Muhammad's followers sacrificed their souls for Allah in the battles against the infidels (a process called istishhād, which comes from the same Arabic root for the word shahīd [martyr], and about how the Muslim warriors shouted "Allahu Akbar" [Allah is the most great] as the swords of the infidels went straight through their bodies on their way to the 72 virgins awaiting them in the special chamber of heroes in Paradise.

The "dhimmitude" mentioned above became the model for the status of the non-Muslims in the Islamic State, who were thereafter to be regarding as inferior and second-class citizens because they are not members of the "true faith" Besides that, these dhimmis were forced to obey the rules of what later became known as the "Pact of 'Umar" (known as Shurūṭ 'Umar), which require them to wear specific garments to distinguish them from the Muslims (the Jews were obliged to wear a yellow star, from which the Nazis took their yellow star), not to build a place of worship higher than Muslim mosques; not to ride on saddled horses; to pay a special tax; to give way to Muslims on the street, and to follow various other laws which humiliate and point out their secondary status in relationship to the Muslims.

There are other important Islamic source books as well; for example, the biography of Muhammad (called the Sīra) which includes a summary of the stories that are mentioned in the Kitāb al-Maghāzī. All of these books are the basis of the Sunna.

After Muhammad's death, the Muslims rode out of Arabia and conquered a vast area extending from Spain to the borders of China: in 100 years, they went from being a small community to an imperial conqueror. The wars fought to capture this huge territory are described in minute detail in a book called "The Islamic Conquest of the Lands" (in Arabic: Futūḥ al-Buldān).

According to Muslim tradition, every land conquered by the Muslims becomes holy (called waqf) and must remain in perpetuity under Muslim control. If, however, some of these lands are taken back by the infidels, Muslims must do everything in their power to re-capture them. Today, there are at least two countries which fit this category: Spain and Israel.

The hostility Muhammad felt towards the Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims continued to be a major topic in medieval Islamic religious literature. This meant that the early hostility Islam felt towards the non-Muslims continued to plague the non-Muslims. Medieval works antithetical to the Jews and other non-Muslims include the descriptions of such Muslim theologians and scholars such as the often-quoted al-Jāḥiz (781-868); Ibn Taymiyya (1260-1327), the intellectual godfather of the Wahhabis of the Arabian Peninsula; and Ibn Hazm (994-1064), who raved against the Torah and the Talmud.

There is, therefore, a whole collection of early and medieval Muslim works which lambast and denigrate Jews, Christians, and a myriad of other non-Muslim peoples – works which are still quoted widely throughout the Muslim world. The heroes of these books are virtually as alive today in the hearts and minds of the Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists as they were at the time that they were written -- which does not bode well for the future of Muslim/non-Muslim relations: what appear to us in the West to be territorial conflicts are, in fact, religious conflicts, which, sadly, do not lend themselves to simple solutions.

Hagai Mazuz, Ph.D., is an expert on the Arabic language, Islam, and the culture of the Islamic world.

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

Moment of Opportunity?

by Jennifer Rubin

One of the many disagreeable aspects of the “peace process” is that people say very silly things. A case in point:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “are two leaders who I believe want peace,” Obama said in the Rose Garden Wednesday evening, flanked by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell. “As I told them today, this moment of opportunity may not soon come again. They cannot afford to let it slip away.”

Well this moment won’t come again, by definition. (He’s very big on “this” moments — he used it a lot in his campaign speech in Berlin. It didn’t make any more sense then.) But what opportunity? Is there some hint that this moment of opportunity is any different from past moments of opportunity? And who is to say that there won’t be better prospects in the future — when, for example, the West Bank’s economic gains mount and its civil institutions mature. Maybe if Iran is toppled, externally or internally, and support dries up for Hamas and Hezbollah, the moment will be ripe.

But not now. By investing such expectations in this “moment” and suggesting that this is an especially opportune time to reach an agreement, when the opposite is likely the case, Obama risks — again — losing credibility.

Meanwhile, the real moment of opportunity is with Iran — before it gets the bomb. If only the administration had an appropriate sense of urgency for the right things.

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

Delusions of "peace:" Breaking the conspiracy of silence

by Ami Isseroff

It hurts me to admit this. As a Zionist, I really wish that the much hoped-for peace was really just around the corner. I wish that Israel could give up a few square meters of real estate and obtain peace. I know it will not happen. I am compelled to admit that by every indication, the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that begin this week will be a farcical charade. They cannot be saved by any amount of Israeli concessions. I know this not just because of the impossible "peace" conditions of the Palestinians. or the needless hateful utterances of Rabbi Ovadia Yossef, nor even because of the usual, conveniently deniable, terror attack that announced the opening of the talks.

One certain indication that the peace talks must fail is the flood of mail that I have gotten of late from Palestinian peace and dialog groups, and from every Palestinian or other Arab who ever spoke out for peace or sanity. They beg me to remove this or that article or section from a Web site where they are quoted as advocating peace with Israel or coexistence. They say - not for publication - that they are subject to a reign of terror: Emails; Hints; Phone calls in the night; Officials of the '"clean-as-a-whistle" "moderate" "not-like-Arafat" Palestinian National Authority telling them they had better toe the line - or it will be bad for their organization or their personal health.

My Palestinian and Arab friends and others who have asked me to remove their Web pages and demanded that I be silent about it, can be thankful that I do not follow their wishes: Speaking out is the only way to expose state terror. My advice to all those who are threatened is to speak out, loud and clear. But it is their decision. I will not name names. I can only decide what is right for myself.

Everyone who is in any way active in peace and dialog has to have heard echoes of the whisper campaign. The Palestinian youth orchestra that was dismantled because it played for Israeli Holocaust survivors, the One Voice event that was canceled because of death threats, are public manifestations of the same terror. All this happened not in Hamas - ruled Gaza, but, embarrassingly, in the West Bank, ruled by the "moderate" Fatah and the Palestinian National Authority, Israel's "peace partners." The people who are terrorized into begging me to remove their names, their articles and their organizations from any Web site that has the remotest connection with Israel, all are from the West Bank, the land of the Palestinian National Authority, not Gaza. Think about what this means.

As for myself, I still live in a free country. I will not tamper with the record of history. I will not succumb to terror. I dare anyone of the moderate and peace-loving Palestinian National Authority to hurt my friends, the friends of peace.

I will not be quiet in order to support mistaken ideas about peace and dialog. We must not allow the "moderate" Palestinian National Authority to quietly export Soviet-style terror in the name of "peace." If we allow them to do so, what sort of peace will it be?

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

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Will Obama Use His UN Veto?

by Steven J. Rosen

Just before dawn on May 31, 2010, a team of Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish ship to enforce a blockade against the terrorist organization Hamas in Gaza. As they came aboard, the Israelis were assaulted by a violent faction of Islamic militants. A melee followed in which several of the commandos were seriously injured and nine of the Turkish militants were killed. The clash was over before the sun came up.

It was still daylight when, 5,600 miles away, the Israeli delegation to the United Nations was summoned to appear before an emergency session of the Security Council to be chastised for the actions of the commandos. Convened just hours after the violence, the council spent the night of May 31, into the wee hours of the morning, absorbed in "a highly emotional emergency session...[to express] international anger over the Israeli attack," as the Washington Post described it.

The scene was a familiar one. In 1983, Ronald Reagan's ambassador to the UN, Jeane Kirkpatrick, described it thus: "What takes place in the Security Council more closely resembles a mugging than either a political debate or an effort at problem-solving....Israel is cast as [a] melodrama...that features...many attackers and a great deal of verbal violence....The goal is isolation and humiliation of the victim....The attackers, encountering no obstacles, grow bolder, while other nations become progressively more reluctant to associate themselves with the accused, out of fear that they themselves will become a target of bloc hostility."

The reenactment of this familiar drama on May 31 opened with a presentation by Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, the assistant secretary-general of the United Nations for political affairs. His job was to speak for the institution as a whole and to frame the issue objectively for the debate, on behalf of his boss, Ban Ki-moon. Fernandez-Taranco explained that the bloodshed had occurred because Israel had refused to end "its counterproductive and unacceptable blockade of Gaza," which was exacerbating "the unmet needs of Gaza's civilian population." For balance, Fernandez-Taranco took note of Israel's claim that the demonstrators on board the Mari Marmara had used knives and clubs against Israeli naval personnel.

Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, followed in lockstep. This was, he said, "murder conducted by a state" with "no justification whatsoever" against a flotilla whose "sole aim had been to provide much-needed relief." The doctrine of self-defense "did not in any way justify the actions taken by the Israeli forces." It was an "unlawful act of barbarism...aggression on the high seas."

One speaker after another repeated the themes of an unjustified blockade using excessive force with no legal basis. None made any distinction between a blockade of arms and one against civilian goods. Each called for an end to the blockade, without explaining how Israel is to protect itself from terrorist contraband.

Finally, the Israeli representative, Daniel Carmon, got his chance to respond. He was the only speaker to point out that a state of armed conflict exists between Israel and Hamas; that Gaza is dominated by terrorists who seized it in a violent coup; and that arms were being smuggled into the territory, including by sea. He pointed out that a maritime blockade, even in international waters, is a legitimate and recognized measure in an armed conflict. Any responsible government would act accordingly in similar circumstances to protect its civilians. Israel regretted the loss of innocent life, but could not compromise its security. The soldiers boarding one of the ships were violently attacked and threatened with kidnap and lynching. They acted in self-defense.

I have saved the American delegation's response for last, because it is the one we want to examine closely. This emergency session of the Security Council was a moment of truth for the Obama administration, the kind of agonizing decision that reveals character and intent and priorities. Had George W. Bush still been in the White House, the action of the U.S. delegation could have been predicted with some confidence. In July 2002, the Bush administration announced a policy toward Security Council resolutions against Israel, known as the Negroponte Doctrine.

The Negroponte Doctrine, which was explicitly posted on the website of the U.S. mission to the United Nations in 2003, says

"We will not support any resolution that dodges the explicit threat to Middle East peace posed by Hamas and other such terrorist groups....Any Security Council resolution...must explicit condemnation of Hamas [and other] organizations responsible for acts of terrorism; for dismantling the infrastructure, which supports these terror operations."

The Obama administration has not yet revealed whether the United States remains committed to these Negroponte principles. As a candidate running against Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama implied that he was. On January 22, 2008, on the eve of the Democratic presidential primaries, he wrote to Zalmay Khalilzad, who was then Bush's ambassador to the United Nations, in words that could have been written in response to the post-flotilla meeting:

"I urge you to ensure that the Security Council issue no statement and pass no resolution on the Gaza situation that does not fully condemn the rocket assault Hamas has been conducting on civilians in southern Israel....All of us are concerned about the impact of closed border crossings on Palestinian families. However, we have to understand why Israel is forced to do this. Gaza is governed by Hamas...a terrorist organization sworn to Israel's destruction, and Israeli civilians are being bombarded....Israel has the right to respond while seeking to minimize any impact on civilians. The Security Council should...make clear that Israel has the right to defend itself against such actions. If it cannot bring itself to make these common sense points, I urge you to ensure that it does not speak at all."

In other words, he was urging an American veto.

The 6 million Jews of Israel, who have only one vote in the UN, face a billion and half Moslems, who have 50 votes. It is the American veto in the UN Security Council that provides a potential line of defense for them.

But the statement actually made by Obama's spokesman at that emergency session on the Gaza flotilla incident in May 2010 fell far short of the pointed language used in Obama's 2008 letter to Khalilzad. Alejandro Wolff, the deputy permanent U.S. representative to the United Nations, did not threaten to veto. He did not put the focus on the threat of Hamas. He did not mention the danger of arms infiltration. And he was silent on the legitimacy of the Israeli blockade. He did say that nonconfrontational mechanisms were available for the delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza and that direct delivery by sea was not appropriate. He said that Hamas's interference had complicated humanitarian efforts in Gaza and had undermined security and prosperity for all Palestinians. But Wolff balanced this by saying that Israel had to do more to allow humanitarian goods, including construction materials, into Gaza, while recognizing Israel's legitimate security concerns.

At the end of the 90-minute public session devoted to these statements, the council went into a private executive session for intense behind-the-scenes bargaining over the wording of a statement to be issued by the council's president.

Turkey demanded that the Presidential Statement condemn "in the strongest terms" the "Israeli act of aggression" as a "clear violation of international law"; that it ask Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to "undertake an independent international investigation by the U.N.," including "punishment of all responsible authorities"; and that it call for the immediate lifting of the blockade on Gaza.

The adoption of such a Presidential Statement requires consensus. Votes are not recorded. Here was an opportunity to defend Israel without necessarily going the whole way to a formal veto. Obama could have ensured, in his own words of 2008, "that the Security Council issue no statement and pass no resolution on the Gaza situation that does not...make clear that Israel has the right to defend itself....[and] why Israel is forced to do this." He could have insisted, as he once urged Khalilzad to insist, that if the Security Council "cannot bring itself to make these common sense [should] not speak at all."

But that is not what happened. Negotiations produced a Presidential Statement weaker than the one demanded by Turkey but still very unfriendly to Israel. The statement condemned only "those acts" that resulted in deaths and did not cite Israel by name -- an elision for which the administration deserves credit. But it contained none of the elements that Obama had said were indispensable and should be sine qua non for the U.S. to agree to a Security Council statement. It made no reference to the threat that gave rise to the blockade; no mention of Hamas or its commitment to destroy a member-state of the United Nations; no acknowledgement that Israel's purpose is to prevent smuggling of arms; no affirmation of Israel's right of self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter; not a syllable about terrorism; and overall, not one word that could be said to reflect the Israeli point of view.

Then there was this sentence: "The Security Council takes note of the statement of the U.N. Secretary-General on the need to have a full investigation into the matter ...conforming to international standards." This was taken to mean an investigation conducted by an international commission appointed by the secretary-general. This just months after the Goldstone Report, a UN report on the situation in Gaza about which the Obama administration declared it had "serious concerns" because of the report's "unbalanced focus on Israel" and its "moral equivalence between Israel...and the terrorist group Hamas."

American diplomats did prevent the Council Statement from authorizing such a UN investigation outright. The U.S. said that Israel, a country with a fiercely independent judiciary and strong democratic institutions, should be allowed to conduct its own investigation with the participation of international observers.

The result of Obama's reluctance to state unequivocally that he is opposed to a UN investigation was summarized by a Politico headline: "Secretary-General Gaza investigation gathers steam, as U.S. stays neutral." As former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said in response, "President Obama has not moved decisively to quash the idea, and his inaction is understood in U.N. circles as implicitly consenting to Mr. Ban's illegitimate initiative."

Obama's stance at the May 31 emergency session on the Gaza flotilla incident was the second time in a week that this administration put its multilateralist objectives ahead of the defense of Israel. At a UN conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which ended three days before the flotilla crisis, the Obama delegation agreed to unanimous adoption of a final statement. It did so even though the administration let it be known that it had "serious reservations" about its section on the Middle East, which singled out Israel as a violator of nonproliferation efforts and made no mention of Iran.

U.S. National Security Adviser James Jones said after the vote, "The United States deplores the decision to single out Israel in the Middle East section...[as well as] the failure of the resolution to mention Iran." The U.S. let it pass anyway, so that the conference could be considered a success. After the fact, the administration tried to undo the damage it had caused. "The United States will not permit a conference or actions that could jeopardize Israel's national security," Jones said. "We will not accept any approach that singles out Israel or sets unrealistic expectations." But just hours earlier, the U.S. had done just that.

The questions raised by the U.S. response to the flotilla ambush and the proliferation issue are pointed and pregnant. Are we in for a stream of Security Council Presidential Statements and resolutions that are silent on the terrorist threat, that delegitimize and condemn Israel, summon it before hostile tribunals, curtail its freedom of action to defend its citizens, indict its leaders, and maybe eventually put it under sanctions?

FOR NEARLY 40 YEARS, since Richard Nixon's first veto in Israel's defense on September 10, 1972, every American president has used the veto to block resolutions hostile to Israel. Richard Nixon vetoed two such draft Security Council resolutions, Gerald Ford four, Ronald Reagan 18 (!), George H.W. Bush four, Bill Clinton three, and George W. Bush nine. Even Jimmy Carter mustered the courage to veto one, on April 30, 1980, because it was inimical to the Camp David Accords he had brokered.

In all, seven American presidents have recorded 41 vetoes in Israel's defense at the UN Security Council. Lack of balance in the 41 draft resolutions vetoed was the reason stated or implied most frequently to explain the need for a veto. Resolutions deploring Israel's use of force or Israeli security measures have been vetoed for failing to acknowledge and equally criticize actions on the Arab side, especially terrorist acts, that gave rise to the Israeli measures for self-defense. Resolutions proposing international conferences and other diplomatic initiatives favored by the Arabs have been vetoed because they would conflict with U.S. peace initiatives and direct negotiations among the parties. Several draft resolutions were vetoed because they were deemed inconsistent with Resolutions 242 and 338 or with signed peace agreements. At least two draft resolutions were vetoed because they blamed the government of Israel for extreme acts that were committed by a few Israeli citizens who were being investigated and prosecuted by the Israeli authorities.

In about half of the 41 veto statements, the American representative acknowledged that the United States shared concerns about a given Israeli action but objected to the wording of the resolution or with the appropriateness of bringing the issue to the Security Council.

The actual number of anti-Israel resolutions and Presidential Statements that have been prevented from coming to a vote at all due to the credible threat of an American veto was probably far larger than these 41 recorded votes. Céline Nahory, an expert on the Security Council, says they "must add up to many closed-door informal consultations [where] the Council largely conducts its business."
But this "hidden veto" is only as effective as the perceived threat of an actual veto. If it becomes clear that there is an Obama policy of Veto Reticence, other members may lose their fear of an American slapdown—and the hidden veto will be lost, too.

Is Obama soft on the veto? There are many reports suggesting exactly that. On April 29, the Guardian reported that David Hale, a deputy to U.S. special envoy George Mitchell, told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Obama "may consider allowing the U.N. Security Council to censure Israel on settlement activity...rather than use its veto."

Foreign Policy magazine's Josh Rogin reported on June 14 that National Security Adviser Jones said the White House planned to support a separate international investigation if one was initiated at the UN. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley responded noncommittally that day, "We'll listen to what the Secretary-General has in mind and make a judgment then."

Reuters concluded on June 8 that "under President Barack Obama, the United States no longer provides Israel with automatic support at the United Nations, where the Jewish state faces a constant barrage of criticism and condemnation."

Obama may face more draft Security Council resolutions on Israel before long. In November 2009, "chief negotiator" Saeb Erekat said that the Palestinian Authority was preparing to approach the UN Security Council for a resolution declaring a Palestinian state within the 1967 boundaries, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Abbas had presented it to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and to Russia, Erekat said, and had received positive responses. If the Security Council recognized a Palestinian state conforming to the boundaries that prevailed before the outbreak of the Six-Day War in 1967, Israeli communities across the "Green Line," including those in East Jerusalem, would be considered null and void. Erekat said that the Arabs would approach the Security Council when the time was right. And it might be—soon. If the Israeli cabinet resumes construction in settlements when the self-imposed 10-month moratorium ends on September 26, the Palestinians may think it prudent to move on their provocation.

Other matters could also reach the UN Security Council in the next 12 to 24 months. Obama's decision to reject compromises over settlements that had been crafted by previous administrations and to confront Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the issue in May 2009 and March 2010 may have planted ideas in Arab minds. They may think that a wedge can be driven between the United States and Israel by putting the settlements and Jerusalem issues in a Security Council resolution that Obama might be loath to veto.

Nor does this exhaust the list. Hamas and Hezbollah could launch terrorist acts against Israel from behind civilian shields, and when, inevitably, the Israeli response causes civilian casualties on the Arab side, their allies can go to the Security Council to condemn Israel for "excessive" or "disproportionate" use of force.

It is reasonable to predict that Barack Obama will soon face the veto issue again at the Security Council. If Obama intends to be the first president since 1970 not to cast a veto in Israel's defense, the consequences for the Middle East are going to be grave. If the United States will no longer stand in the way, why would Palestinians and Arabs feel they might have to make sacrifices in honest and direct negotiations with Israel when they have an automatic majority at the Security Council that can give them what they want for free?

Obama himself might pay a price. History tells the tale. On nine substantive votes on the Middle East taken in the Security Council between January 1979 and August 1980, the administration of Jimmy Carter abstained seven times, and, in March 1980, it voted for a resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity in Jerusalem. Democrats were aghast. New York Senator Daniel P. Moynihan, who had served as UN ambassador five years earlier, said, "As a direct result of [Carter Administration] policy, the Security Council was allowed to degenerate to the condition of the General Assembly."

Carter admitted that the March 1980 Security Council vote against Israeli housing in Jerusalem hurt him badly in the 1980 Democratic presidential primary in New York, where earlier polls prior to that vote had shown him leading. Senator Edward Kennedy beat the incumbent president, by 59 percent to 41. Carter told the New York Times, "it was the United Nations vote," a conclusion shared by his top strategists.

An interesting augur for the future, perhaps.

Steven J. Rosen served for 23 years as a senior official of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He is now the director of the Washington Project of the Middle East Forum.

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

A world without Baronesses

by Vic Rosenthal

News item:

PARIS — France wants the European Union to have a seat at the table during next week’s start of US-backed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Washington.

"French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said it would be 'too bad' if the EU were locked out — noting the bloc’s political involvement in the region and its role as a top contributor of financial aid to the Palestinians." — Jerusalem Post

Let’s see. We have the Obama Administration, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. Now we need the EU? Let’s invite J Street, too. After all,we need someone to be ‘pro-Israel’.

Not only is the EU a ‘top contributor’ to the Palestinian Authority, it also finances numerous non-governmental organizations in Israel whose primary function seems to be to delegitimize or even destabilize the Jewish state.

And the EU doesn’t shrink from trying to directly intervene in the internal affairs of Israel. For example,

"Abdallah Abu Rahmeh, an organizer of the weekly Friday protests at Bil’in of the West Bank security fence, was convicted Tuesday in an Israeli military court of inciting protesters to attack Israeli soldiers and for holding protests without a permit. He will be sentenced next month. The 39-year-old schoolteacher has been jailed since December."

"EU representatives attended every day of the trial, and the body’s foriegn policy chief, Catherine Ashton, released a statement Wednesday expressing concern at the conviction, saying, 'The possible imprisonment of Mr. Abu Rahmeh is intended to prevent him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to protest against the existence of the separation barriers in a non-violent manner.'"

“The EU considers the route of the barrier where it is built on Palestinian land to be illegal,” it quoted her as saying in a statement. — JTA

Where to start?

The weekly protests are anything but non-violent, with Arab and international organizers doing their best to physically destroy the separation barrier, and to injure or provoke Israeli soldiers and police who are trying to defend it. One of their goals is to place international ‘activists’ in harm’s way in order to generate sympathy overseas for their cause. In several cases — for example the recent incident in which American student Emily Henochowicz lost an eye when she was hit by a teargas canister — they have succeeded too well.

The land that Ashton refers to is not ‘Palestinian land’. It is land that happened to be east of the line that divided Israeli from Jordanian troops in 1949, and by international law it still awaits disposition by a peace treaty between the combatants — despite the fact that Jordan decided in 1988 to give it to the PLO — a terrorist organization.

Here’s an analogy: You and I both claim to own a car. You take possession of it by force (1949), I take it back (1967), and you transfer your claim on it to the Mafia (1988). Then (2010), the EU objects to my driving it because “it belongs to those Sicilian guys.”

Our original claim, by the way, is pretty good, consisting of the original League of Nations Mandate which calls for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” Clearly this doesn’t mean that all of ‘Palestine’ of the Mandate must become the Jewish national home, but it certainly doesn’t limit it to any given part (not to mention that right off the bat the British gave away a good 70% of it to their ally, Abdullah, to create the state of Transjordan).

As an aside, if the area is in dispute and you don’t want to create facts on the ground, then nobody — not Jews and not Arabs — should build anything on it. Saying that only Jews are forbidden to build looks tacky.

Some people think that the EU, being a postnational entity itself, doesn’t take kindly to Zionism. World citizens like the Baroness Ashton think that nation-states based on ethnicity or even religion — although Zionism is not essentially a religious concept, clearly Judaism has something to do with it — are passé and dangerous. Nationalism, they would say, is the main cause of war.

They are wrong. These days, the most dangerous ideology is a universalist and anti-nationalist one: radical Islam.

But note that the proposed state of ‘Palestine’ is a nation-state based on ethnicity with an established religion.

Also, I thought I’d mention that in a world without nation-states there wouldn’t be any baronesses.

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

Time stands still in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

by Richard Cohen

Say what you will about the Arab world, it's hard to earn its gratitude. President Obama went to Egypt and not Israel. He demanded that Israel cease adding new settlements in the West Bank. He treated Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with a chilling disdain. For all of that, though, Obama's approval rating in Arab countries has sunk. Unlike almost a fifth of Americans, the Arab world clearly knows Obama is no Muslim.

The polls show some startling numbers. When this spring the Pew Global Attitudes Project asked residents of Islamic countries what they thought about Obama, he got good marks when it came to such matters as climate change. But when the question was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the numbers not only declined in Indonesia and Turkey, they nearly went through the floor in the three Arab countries polled. In Jordan, 84 percent disapproved of the way Obama was handling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In Egypt, the figure was 88 percent and in Lebanon it was 90 percent.

For Obama, the figures must be disheartening. They strongly suggest that his attempt to woo the Arab world, to convince it that America can be an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians, has dismally failed. In fact, the extent of this failure is most stark in Lebanon. There, 100 percent of Shiite respondents -- in other words, Hezbollah and others -- have no faith in Obama and his good intentions. This may be a setback for Obama, but it is paradoxically a success for American values.

What the Arab world seems to appreciate is that America will never agree to what the Arab world most wants -- an Islamic state where a Jewish one now exists. This entirely reasonable conclusion is based on what has long been American policy -- not what the State Department wanted but what the American people supported. America has always liked the idea of Israel. The Arab world, for totally understandable reasons, has always hated it. Nothing has changed.

A fundamental document in this area -- a once-secret CIA analysis from 1947 -- was unearthed (to my knowledge) by Thomas W. Lippman and reported in the winter 2007 issue of the Middle East Journal. The CIA strongly argued that the creation of Israel was not in America's interests and that therefore Washington ought to be opposed. This was no different than what later diplomats and military men (most recently, David Petraeus) have argued and it is without a doubt correct. Supporting Israel hurts America in the Islamic -- particularly the Arab -- world and, given the crucial importance of Middle Eastern oil, makes no practical sense.

The CIA further argued that the so-called Arab-Israeli conflict would soon widen to become an Israeli-Islamic conflict -- another bull's-eye for what was then an infant intelligence service. That process was already underway, which is why some non-Arabs (Bosnian Muslims, for instance) fought the creation of Israel, and has only intensified as radical Islam, laced with healthy doses of anti-Semitism, has gotten even stronger.

But where the CIA went wrong -- and not, alas, for the last time -- was in predicting that the Arabs would defeat Israel and that the state would not survive. The CIA was pretty sure of the outcome, what a later CIA figure might have called a "slam dunk."

What neither the CIA nor, for that matter, the anti-Israel State Department recognized in the late 1940s is that America's interests are not always measurably pragmatic -- metrics, in the jargon of our day. Sometimes, our interests reflect our national ethic, an affinity for other democracies, sympathy for the underdog. These, too, are in America's interests and they may be modified, but not abandoned, for the sake of mere metrics.

This is why Obama's overture to the Arab world, clumsily executed, was never going to succeed. America can please some Arab governments -- Egypt and Jordan, for instance -- but not the Arab people. What they want, and what they have been told repeatedly they deserve, is a return of Palestinian refugees to what is now Israel and control over all of Jerusalem. These are both out of the question as far as Israel is concerned. It is not willing to give up its capital and, in a relatively short time, its Jewish majority.

This week, Palestinians and Israelis will once again talk peace in Washington. But until both sides, particularly the Arab peoples, give up on what they really want, the clock will remain where it has been. Those Pew polls show that's around 1947.

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

Washington's Israeli allies

by Caroline Glick

As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu heads to Washington for another stillborn round of talks with Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas hosted by US President Barack Obama, he will probably be preoccupied with one issue.

It won't be Obama's bigoted demand that Jews be prohibited from building synagogues, schools and homes in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.

Netanyahu won't be wondering how long Abbas can keep up with his "Palestinian president" act before his people chase him out of town. Abbas's term ended in January 2009.

Israel's elected leader will be thinking about Iran. He will be wondering how the US government will react if he sends the IAF to bomb Iran's nuclear installations. Will the US permit IAF jets to overfly US-controlled Iraqi airspace? Or will Obama follow the advice of his foreign policy mentor Zbigniew Brzezinski and order the US Air Force to shoot down those jets, abandon the US-Israel alliance and embrace a new role as protector of Iran's nuclear weapons program?

While Netanyahu wonders if the US can be trusted, other Israelis sleep soundly at night knowing that Uncle Sam has their back. The Israeli Left knows that no matter how forcefully its platforms are rejected by the public, the US government will embrace its members and fund its projects.

This week in the leadup to the talks, the openly subversive Geneva Initiative has launched a multimillion dollar public relations campaign targeting the public. Its goal is to persuade Israelis that Fatah is a legitimate partner for peace. The campaign is funded by USAID.

ACCORDING TO Yediot Aharonot, the Geneva Initiative has hired Ron Asulin, one of the country's top directors to stage and direct commercials featuring Fatah members telling Israelis they are credible partners in peace. The Geneva Initiative invited Yediot's Alon Goldstein to watch the recording sessions in Ramallah.

His report, published Sunday, is a fascinating glimpse at the Left's propaganda shop.

Goldstein describes how Asulin told Fatah's Saeb Erekat to begin his greeting with the word "shalom."

"It will be effective," Asulin promised.

Among his other achievements, Erekat played a starring role in the PA's 2002 blood libel in which he and his comrades accused Israel of committing a massacre in the Jenin refugee camp during Operation Defensive Shield. He told CNN that Israel had killed "more than 500 people." He also claimed that more than 300 were being buried in mass graves.

In the event, Palestinian losses in the battle stood at 54; some 90 percent of them were combatants. Twenty-three IDF soldiers were killed. The only massacres were the suicide bombings that killed some 500 Israelis - 80 percent of whom were civilians - in the months that preceded Defensive Shield.

Not only has Erekat never retracted his statements. He has repeated them.

But never mind. He said "shalom" rather nicely.

Next on the list of US-funded spokesmen was Fatah strongman Jibril Rajoub, who was instrumental in forging the operational alliance between Fatah and Hamas that facilitated the terror war against Israel 10 years ago. Throughout the roaring '90s, Rajoub assiduously recruited Hamas members to his Preventive Security Force in Judea and Samaria.

As recently as May 10 he appeared on PA television and said, "Building a school and throwing a hand grenade, in my opinion, are resistance. I build the school in order to strengthen the reasons for my people's resolve, as one of several aspects of the resistance, and when there is a need to throw a grenade [or launch] a rocket, I'll do that as well out of my belief in the inevitable victory of my cause and its justness."

Last week the US paid for him to be filmed telling Israelis we should trust him. It was no mean task. According to Yediot, "Asulin had to work hard" to get Rajoub to say the word "partner."

Then there is Fatah's propaganda boss Yasser Abed Rabbo. As Yasser Arafat's culture and information minister, it was Abed Rabbo who ended press freedom in the PA shortly after it was established in 1994. Under his reign, journalists and editors were detained and beaten, newspapers were closed and printing presses were torched. In 2002, Abed Rabbo outdid Erekat in his mendacious condemnations of Israel. He accused Israel of "digging mass graves for 900 Palestinians in the [Jenin refugee] camp."

In 2001 he ordered the PA media to stop filming mass celebrations of the September 11 attacks on the US.

Despite his long career as a propagandist, Asulin still had his work cut out for him. He had to convince Abed Rabbo to stop waving his finger at the camera. "When you wave your finger, you are actually warning me. You are making threats."

IT IS WORTH pausing for a moment and considering the nature of the US-financed Geneva Initiative that is going to such lengths to present a wholly distorted picture of reality to the public. It is the brainchild of Israel's most successful subversive - former justice minister and former Meretz leader Yossi Beilin.

Beilin is the architect of every major Israeli strategic disaster in the past 17 years. He was the architect of the disastrous 1993 Oslo Accord that lionized Arafat as a peace partner and empowered him to embark on a campaign of terror and political warfare that continued on long after his death in 2004.

Beilin is the architect of the disastrous 2000 Taba negotiations in which an embattled prime minister Ehud Barak offered Arafat the Temple Mount even as Arafat's men were butchering Israelis on the roads, in buses and cafes.

In 2002 Beilin worked with Colin Powell's State Department to draft the so-called road map for Middle East peace. That document was the most anti-Israel ever adopted by a US administration. The Sharon government managed in large part to scuttle the initiative by convincing president George W. Bush to agree that the document's draconian demands could only be implemented after the Palestinians suspended their terror war.

His ambitions checked by the unremitting Palestinian violence, Beilin found another outlet for undermining his government. In 2003 he partnered with the Swiss government and the EU in founding the Geneva Initiative. The initiative was an open bid to subvert the writ of the government to conduct foreign policy. Beilin and Abed Rabbo gathered their followers in Geneva, held staged "negotiations" and signed an "agreement" in which the Israelis agreed to every Palestinian demand and the Palestinians thanked them.

Ariel Sharon's chief of staff Dov Weissglas claimed in a 2005 interview that Sharon was so spooked by the affront that he was convinced to embark on the withdrawal from Gaza.

Together with the 2000 withdrawal from south Lebanon - which Beilin also spearheaded - the withdrawal from Gaza will go down in the annals of Israeli history as the greatest strategic blunder until that time.

Not surprisingly, the public takes a dim view of Beilin and his ilk. This is why in the last elections Meretz was destroyed as a representative political force. It won only three seats in the Knesset.

But Beilin and his supporters don't care.

They are not trying to win over the public in any real sense. In many ways they are the flip side of Fatah. Just as Fatah is the lawful representative of no one, so they are the lawful representative of next to no one. And just as Fatah rules through a mix of tyranny and corruption, so they seek to dictate Israel's path through a mixture of corruption and political subversion.

THE NEWEST Geneva Initiative campaign was far from the only display of the far Left's contempt for the Israeli people this week.

Over the weekend, more than 50 far Left activists who double as actors, writers and tenured professors signed open letters pledging not to perform at Ariel's new theater.

Since Ariel is beyond the 1949 armistice lines, as far as these self-described artists are concerned, its residents have no right to watch plays. On the other hand, as actor Doron Tabori, one of the signatories, argued in an appearance on the Knesset channel, the very idea that the state might consider ending its funding of his work in light of his discriminatory position is proof that his critics are all "fascists and racists."

Tabori is far from alone.

His rejection of the legitimacy of public criticism and his demonization of his critics is the hallmark of the Left.

Take Hebrew University Prof. Ze'ev Sternhall for instance. In 2001 he published an oped in Haaretz advising the Palestinians to limit their acts of murder to Israelis who live beyond the armistice lines. As he put it, "There is no doubt about the legitimacy of armed resistance in the territories themselves. If the Palestinians had a little sense, they would concentrate their struggle against the settlements... and refrain from planting bombs west of the Green Line."

On Sunday, in response to the Im Tirtzu student movement's recent campaign against Ben-Gurion University's anti-Zionist Politics and Government Department, Sternhall wrote a new piece in Haaretz. Under the headline, "Only force will stop force," he threatened the government. If it continues to back Im Tirtzu, if its members maintain their call to fire state-funded professors who call for a boycott of Israel, then Israeli professors should work to foment an international boycott.

As he put it, "Any attempt to harm a lecturer's status for political reasons will met with a firm response from Israel's academic faculty. The expected reaction from the international community, including the possibility of a boycott, could be no less painful."

It is from the Sternhalls and Taboris of Israel that groups like the Geneva Initiative draw their support base.

On Sunday, Charles Krauthammer wrote about the American public's abandonment of the political and cultural Left. Rather than consider the possibility that the public may have a point, he claimed that the American Left has responded to their fellow Americans' repudiation by demonizing their countrymen as a bunch of bigots.

Krauthammer concluded that the Left will pay for its assault on American society at the ballot box in November. As he put it, "A comeuppance is due the arrogant elites whose undisguised contempt for the great unwashed prevents them from conceding a modicum of serious thought to those who dare oppose them."

He is probably right about America. But their comrades in Israel will suffer no similar drubbing.

While Israel's elected leaders are left guessing if the US will stand behind the country at its moment of greatest need, the likes of Beilin and Sternhall know that they can rely on Washington come rain or come shine.

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

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