Saturday, December 03, 2011

Into the Fray: Surrendering sovereignty


By adopting a policy to avoid confrontations in which it can prevail, Israel may eventually find itself forced into one in which it cannot.

“Our hope – a hope 2,000 years old – will not be lost: To be a free people in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem” –

From “Hatikva” (“The Hope”), Israel’s national anthem

“Supreme power or authority; the authority of a state to govern itself; complete power to govern a country; the state of being a country with freedom to govern itself”;

Definition of Sovereignty, The Oxford Dictionary

Something is distinctly rotten in the State of Israel. The decision this week to delay – apparently indefinitely – the demolition and the replacement of the hazardous Mughrabi Bridge, linking the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, is a deeply disturbing sign. It is easy to downplay the significance of the decision; to present it as giving precedence to prudence over pride.

That would be a mistake.

For it is yet another symptom of the insidious spread of a malaise, gnawing away at the foundations of the Jewish national ethos. It is a malaise that if not soon confronted, will have perilously corrosive consequences. Success beyond wildest dreams
True, Israel abounds with remarkable achievements in science and technology, in medicine and agriculture. There is impressive economic development; there are cutting-edge industrial advances, there is vibrant artistic creativity and a myriad of acclaimed cultural activities.

Moreover, despite recent – largely choreographed – protests, overall living standards have soared; for large segments of the population, lifestyles have become increasingly sophisticated, polished and leisure-oriented.

The once-horrific Palestinian terror has faded into a faint memory; tourism is at record levels; the much heralded “political tsunami” of the unilateral statehood bid at the UN seems to have dissipated into a harmless ripple. Surreptitious computer worms and mysterious explosions appear to have disrupted – at least to some degree – the Iranian nuclear program.

Indeed, the realities of today would constitute undreamed of success for anyone living under the rugged austerity that prevailed during the first decade of the state.

Then, basic foodstuffs were rationed by government decree; waves of immigrants were housed in tents and tin shacks without running water or electricity; gnawing doubts exited as to whether the new, poorly equipped, largely untested IDF could meet the daunting challenges it faced.

In these forbidding circumstances of chronic scarcity and acute insecurity no one could have pictured that within a few decades, Israel would be traversed by multi-lane highways, that household kitchens would be equipped with modern accessories, that foreign travel would be would be a commonplace experience, that consumerism would rival levels in many developed countries.

Something has gone awry
In many ways, Israel can be considered an awe-inspiring tribute to the strength of the human spirit, a stirring testament to the triumph of resolve and endurance over impossible odds.

Yet for all the trapping of success, for all the material accomplishment, and all the physical achievements, something has gone awry at the most basic, most existential, level of national consciousness.

It seems that in many ways the scale of these successes has blurred our national vision, dulled our sense of national mission, confounded the coherence of our national endeavor. This has filtered through to the leadership, which has become distracted and side-tracked; it has taken its “eye off the ball” and lost sight of the essence of the Zionist enterprise. It has become enamored with the tangible byproducts of Zionism rather than with the conditions for securing its long-term objective.

The results of Israel’s existence seem to have trumped the reasons for its existence; the consequences of its establishment have eclipsed the causes that spurred its establishment; the products of Jewish independence have superseded the purpose of that independence: “Free” – not “flourishing,” not “fashionable.”

To decipher this perhaps abstruse accusation, let’s go back to basics – to the national anthem, which encapsulates the essence of Jewish national aspirations and the 2,000 years of national yearning: “To be a free people in our land.”

Not free, flourishing or fashionable
The fundamental goal, the dream, the hope was political in nature: national sovereignty, not technological advancement; not economic prosperity; not international acclaim.

The primary purpose of Zionism was not to establish a mega-hi-tech conglomerate, or a cutting edge medical laboratory, or an avant-garde workshop for artistic activity, but to facilitate the exercise of Jewish political sovereignty. Jews have been have been at the forefront of many fields of human endeavor – before the state’s establishment, and outside of Israel, after its establishment – but they were always subject to alien sovereignties.

The whole point of Israel was to create a framework in which such endeavor could take place under Jewish national sovereignty, a place (“the land of Zion”) where Jews could be masters of their collective destiny (“be a free people”).

When means supersede ends
To be sure industrial might and technological capabilities are crucial means for preserving national sovereignty, but means – however crucial – should not be confused with the objective. In terms of Jewish national endeavor, if certain levels of development and prosperity can only be maintained by subservience to external dictates, then such maintenance becomes counterproductive, self-obstructive and ultimately, self-destructive.

This is not a call for impervious, self-defeating intransigence.

Diplomatic give and take, political “bobbing and weaving” are often required to navigate towards strategic goals.

But there is a qualitative difference between perceiving diplomacy as a means to achieve strategic goals, on the one hand, and letting diplomatic difficulties/pressures determine those goals, on the other.

Sadly it seems that it is the latter perspective that has long dominated government conduct, which has consistently condoned foreign sovereignties curtailing its own sovereign decisions and discretion.

A bad month for sovereignty
November was a bad month for Jewish national sovereignty.

Barely a week ago, the government perversely obstructed legislative initiatives designed to hinder the ability of foreign governments to undermine, impede or delay policy decisions of the democratically elected executive and legislative branches.

By effectively upholding the right of unhindered access of alien entities to the Supreme Court through approval of their unhindered funding of their NGO-proxies, which lodge petitions against Israeli executive decisions or legislative proposals, the government renounced important elements of its sovereign status. For all practical purposes, its actions (or rather lack thereof) reflect acquiescence to the use of Israeli institutions for the pursuit of foreign interests and at the expense of Israeli ones.

(As this column goes to print, however, there are welcome signs that national resolve may be stiffening with the emergence of new proposals which may win government backing.) But in many respects, the decision to capitulate on the matter of the Mughrabi Bridge was even graver. For it was – or at least can interpreted as – a catastrophic breach of sovereign will, a display of weakness that can be expected to generate more – and more vociferous – demands for more – and more far-reaching – surrender of sovereignty.

Muslim micro-management
The bridge, always meant to be a temporary structure, was deemed by Jerusalem’s chief engineer as in danger of collapse and as a fire hazard. The decision to put off the demolition was taken in response to demands/requests from Amman and Cairo, where fears were expressed that it might ignite unrest in Jordan, and could be exploited by Islamist radicals, spreading far-fetched fabrications, to whip up anti-Israel sentiments in the Egyptian elections.

By deferring to these appeals/threats Israel has empowered Muslim extremists with the micro-management of municipal maintenance in its capital – or at least with veto power with regard to that maintenance.

But worse it has effectively allowed itself to be burdened with all the responsibility – but none of the authority – for the preservation of law and order in Arab regimes. By its inaction the government has in effect conferred the status of force majeure on Muslim rage, as an inevitable force of nature which can only be avoided by Israeli capitulation, thereby exonerating the local authorities of any accountability for events in their jurisdictions.

A recent editorial in this paper summed up matters aptly: “An absurd situation has been created in which some irrational Muslim leaders, intoxicated by their own lies… have intimidated Israel into inaction.

Israel must not cave in to the insanity of Muslim extremism.”

The decision to demolish the Mughrabi Bridge may well have resulted in rage and riots. That does not mean it would be the wrong decision. For it is difficult to overstate the gravity of this ongoing corrosion of the will to exercise Jewish sovereignty.

An inevitable ‘doomsday syndrome?’
An “ethos of expectation” has been created in which continual Israeli concessions have become the norm – and when such concessions, no matter how absurd, are not forthcoming, Israel is blamed for the consequences no matter who produces them.

While such concessions have inevitably been greeted with international approval and hailed as a sign of mature, far-sighted, pragmatic statesmanship, this is is likely to prove to be dangerously deceptive.

Indeed the accumulated effect of these concessions could well turn out to be not only highly detrimental – but deadly.

It is detrimental because a growing perception of enduring and unrequited appeasement is beginning to have a debilitating effect on growing numbers of Israel’s advocates, sowing despair, disappointment and disillusionment among its most devoted supporters – at home and abroad. For time and time again they see Israel adopt a certain position, ask their support for that position, which they enthusiastically give, only to find that after a while Israel abandons the position it asked them to support and adopts one it previously asked them to oppose.

It is potentially deadly because none of the massive concessions Israel has made over the last four decades has removed the potential for conflict. Indeed they have, at best, delayed it – but at the same time have created the potential for a more devastating and lethal one in the future.

By adopting a policy of continually trying to avoid confrontations in which it can prevail, Israel may eventually find itself forced to engage in a confrontation in which it cannot. The ramifications of this chilling prospect will be the subject of an upcoming column.

Friday, December 02, 2011

"Spin Like a Top"

Arlene Kushner

That's what can happen to your head as you try to make sense out of the news -- for it is forever shifting and changing. But we have an obligation to stay informed to the very best of our ability.

Yesterday I wrote about the explosion at Isfahan in Iran, which, according to a Times of London report said to be based on satellite images, a uranium enrichment facility was hit. A reader has now sent me a posting by Elderof Ziyon that says the blast was not at Isfahan, but at air force base 8 near Isfahan, where 400 converted Chinese missiles were destroyed, as well as a rocket fuel depot. Not having the expertise to make judgment on this, I make no comment other than to share it in the interests of keeping my readers as well informed as possible.

You can see the ElderofZiyon post here to follow the logic:
Caroline Glick, in her column today, "The real war in Iran," -- while acknowledging that there is much speculation necessary here because of the "shroud of secrecy that covers all operations in Iran" -- makes some of the same points that ElderofZiyon advanced, although she continues to assume the attack was at Isafan:

She writes that Isfahan, which is not a vital installation, would not be a primary target, for Western sabotage. Citing Dr. Michael Ledeen, an Iran expert from the Defense of Democracies, she advances the idea that the attack at Isfahan, like the attack before it, was mounted by the anti-government Green Movement in Iran -- or possibly this movement working in concert with foreign forces.

The Green Movement, she says, began as a protest movement but has "morphed" into a "full blown revolutionary movement."

The significance of this, Glick says, is that we now have strong indication that elements inside of Iran are willing to target Iranian facilities. Thus, the "popular Western belief that a...strike on Iran's nuclear installations would provoke the Iranian public to rally around the regime is utter nonsense."


Glick also writes about the fact that Obama "still fundamentally misunderstands the situation in Iran.... (Emphasis added)

"Thankfully, Obama's abandonment of the traditional US role as leader of the free world has not prevented Western governments and regional forces for freedom from acting in their common interests...

"In the absence of US leadership, a coalition and strategy for preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons...has emerged."

She is speaking of the Iranian opposition forces, Israel, and now Western nations such as Britain and France. I would say, "is emerging" rather than "has emerged," as this is a relatively new turn of events. But it is a most hopeful turn of events, even as she says, "with the US following far behind."

See her entire article here:


Herb Keinon has an analytic piece in the JPost today about Israel's efforts to solidify relationships with new allies in the face of the growing Islamic threat in the Middle East:

"The first is the eastern Mediterranean circle, made up of Greece, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria. These countries, historic rivals of Turkey, are concerned about Ankara’s widening reach and intentions, and this has brought them into a much closer relationship with Israel than existed in the past.

"The second cluster is a number of countries in sub- Saharan Africa – Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria and South Sudan – whose concern about Islamic terrorism at home has led to growing political and security cooperation with Israel. This cooperation was evident in South Sudan’s opening diplomatic ties with Israel soon after it gained independence earlier this year, and the leaders of both Kenya and Uganda visiting here last month.

"The third cluster includes countries in the region – as yet unnamed – that government officials say are in contact with Israel on issues regarding Iran and the sweeping changes in the region.

"Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently made a couple of opaque references to ties with these countries, believed to be Persian Gulf countries. One official said the prime minister was signaling the Israeli public that despite the turmoil roiling the Middle East, there were some 'points of light.'"

Those points of light (yesterday I spoke of "glimmers") are all important -- a necessary antidote to despair.


And here I will leave matters -- with more to follow soon -- as we approach Shabbat. Thank G-d for the peace of Shabbat.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

See my website at Contact Arlene at

This material is transmitted by Arlene only to persons who have requested it or agreed to receive it. If you are on the list and wish to be removed, contact Arlene and include your name in the text of the message.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Hope and Change in Egypt; Naiveté and Wishful Thinking in the West

Barry Rubin

Much of the mass media seems to be saying, to paraphrase John Lennon and Yoko Ono, “All we are saying is give the Muslim Brotherhood a chance.”

There are three arguments supporting this policy that are worth discussing in large part because the Muslim Brotherhood’s advocates don’t have any others.

The first,which one hears everywhere, is that the Muslim Brotherhood is full of factions that are moderate and hip young people who want real democracy. If this were true it should be easy to prove. Here are some of the ways to do that:

Who are the leaders of these factions? What is their composition? Where have the put forward alternative positions? What posts do they hold in the movement? Was there a battle among factions on choosing the Brotherhood’s parliamentary or presidential candidates? How have they reinterpreted in a more liberal way Sharia law? Do their opponents in Egypt recognize the existence of these factions? Do those who defected from the Brotherhood say that the movement they formerly thought to be irredeemably radical has changed? At the same time, the Brotherhood’s leadership continues to come up, without contradiction in the ranks, with the most extreme, intolerant, and bloodthirsty positions. Even if it were to be established that other factions exist one would have to show that these factions had some chance of directing policy.

And the young hip people in Turkey’s old fogey Islamist movement have now been running the country for almost a decade, carrying out the work of fundamental transformation in that once secular polity toward being an Islamist state. They are far from finished.

It used to be that public debates depended on the ability of those arguing for a given thesis to provide proof. Now they are conducted by one side simply censoring out the other. Apparently on the question of Muslim Brotherhood moderation, the science is settled.

Incidentally, in countering my view on this point, the BBC interviewer kept referring to a New Statesman article on the Brotherhood which he said showed the group was becoming moderate. Not to my surprise, the author was Fawaz Gerges, a propagandist for the Islamists who has done zero research on the subject.

A second argument, expressed, for example, by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, is that we must “hope” for the best. There’s nothing wrong with hoping for the best but that’s not the most effective type of national strategy. In this case, “hope” means doing nothing, saying nothing, and thinking nothing. And we should also remember that hope in the Palestinian Authority’s moderation even as it forms a partnership with Hamas and refuses to negotiate with Israel.

So the problems with hope are: it can paralyze action including efforts to shape the situation; it comes too late, after the new dictators are already in power; and it quickly goes over into being wishful thinking.

It’s also nice if there’s some evidence for having a belief that things will turn out all right. The poet Emily Dickenson wrote that “hope is the thing with feathers.” So is cowardice.

Dickenson wrote of hope:

“I've heard it in the chilliest land,/And on the strangest sea;/Yet, never, in extremity,/It asked a crumb of me.”

Precisely, hope requires you to do nothing. No need for action, confrontation, responsibility, or risk. And some cannot distinguish between the call of that little bird and that of the Sirens, who lured the ships (of state?) onto the rocks where all aboard perished.

Third, there’s the, “This is what democracy looks like” argument. Wadah Khanfar, former head of al-Jazira, has an op-ed entitled, “Islamism’s Positive Side,” that appeared in the Guardian and also The Age, in Australia. Naturally, readers are not told that al-Jazira is an Islamist operation. It’s sort of like presenting a Communist in his role as leader of a front group to tell you that the Communists are very trustworthy.

Still, it is refreshing that Khanfar admits:

“In the Arab world, too, there has been mounting tension between Islamists and secularists, who feel anxious about Islamic groups. Many voices [there] warn that the Arab Spring will lead to an Islamic winter, and that the Islamists, though claiming to support democracy, will soon turn against it.”

Well, perhaps the secularists and others who fear Islamism in the Arabic-speaking world actually know something. After all, they are the ones who are going to be oppressed, imprisoned, killed, and fleeing for refuge in the West.

He continues, “Stereotypical images that took root in the aftermath of 9/11 have come to the fore again.”

You mean like the image that Islamists are extremists who hate Jews and Christians and willing to use violence?

No, he only means the image that Islamists only “use violence as a means and an end.”

He complains that groups like al-Qaeda, “is called `'Islamist’' in the West, despite the fact it rejects democratic political participation.” Read that carefully. He is actually daring to say that al-Qaeda has hijacked the word “Islamist.”

But of course Khanfar knows well that the Islamist electoral strategy is very recent and is being used only because Islamists think—and they’re right—that they can gain state power that way.

All the points Khanfar and the other advocates of Islamism make are purely tactical. For example, he writes, “Reform-based Islamic movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, work within the political process.”

But work within the political process to do what? To pass laws that oppress women, suppress minorities, destroy human rights, sabotage Western interests, and wipe Israel off the map, that’s what.

His final argument is that the West has made Islamists mad by supporting dictatorial regimes. But Islamists have their own ideology, agenda, and worldview. This is the same approach for Western policy that made the Carter Administration try to be nice to the new Iranian revolution in 1979 and the Obama Administration to cuddle with the Syrian regime. Didn’t work then; won’t work now.

Moreover, the West never supported dictatorial regimes because it liked the form of government but because those regimes were helpful to Western interests. Now the Islamist apologists want the West to support what will soon be dictatorial regimes that hate them and seek to do them harm.

What does Khanfar want specifically? He tells us: The West should not support moderate democratic opposition parties. Of course, this is already Western policy in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey. While the Islamists help each other with money and other assistance, the West should shut out the real pro-democratic forces so they die. Alternative media will be shut down; human rights’ groups harassed; dissidents imprisoned.

And here's a bonus, the fall-back excuse: Well, they haven't done anything yet so let's wait and see. That's fine for regular people. But analysts are supposed to tell people what's happening and give some sense of the trends. In this case, you have a radical group--two radical groups now that we have the Salafists, too--with a 70-year-long record and that's making statements every day (in Arabic). We have the case of Turkey, too, which is milder but gives a sense of the direction of events.

Another group that's supposed to do more than just wait, see, and react is the government. That's true, of course, unless the government (of the United States in this case) is enthusiastically positive about the Brotherhood victory, apologizes for the Brotherhood, doesn't help real moderates, and is trying to beat down the only hope for containing the radicals, the armed forces.

With no serious opposition or criticism abroad, majority support at home, and with the opposition increasingly intimidated at home, the Islamists will rule forever even if they do hold elections, especially when they--as we have seen in Iran--are counting the ballots. This is what theocracy looks like.

Question: Are the elite newspapers in the United State, the United Kingdom, and France running op-eds warning about Islamism as twenty-first century totalitarianism? I haven’t seen any.

A short history of Obama Middle East policy:

November 2011: We believe that Islamism is not a threat and that they will become more moderate once in power. There is nothing to worry about.

October 2012: Oops! Sorry about that!

Professor Barry Rubin, Director, Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center
The Rubin Report blog
He is a featured columnist at PJM
Editor, Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal
Editor Turkish Studies,

Legalizing the Barrier: The Legality and Materiality of the Israel/Palestine Separation Barrier

Yishai Blank

Tel Aviv University - Buchmann Faculty of Law

Texas International Law Journal, Vol. 46, No. 2, pp. 309-343, 2011

Since 2003, the state of Israel has been constructing a barrier snaking through the occupied territories of the West Bank, seldom adhering to Israel’s internationally recognized border, often protruding, sometimes very deeply, into the territories. This barrier, also referred to as the separation wall, the security obstacle, the fence, and a multitude of other terms, has attracted international and local (Israeli) interest, attention, and critique. While the barrier is clearly unique, a result of the complexities and anomalies of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and context, it was immediately read within the backdrop of the global phenomenon of walling, therefore becoming a symbol of the emerging new global regime of separation and segregation, of risk management, and of growing securitization. Thus the local campaign against the barrier was quickly understood, at least by external spectators (mostly academics), through global theoretical frameworks that were developed in order to analyze the current paradoxical coupling of globalization with segregation, of global openness and renewed national closure, and of decolonization with parochial reterritorialization. ndeed, it is a great paradox of our times that with the weakening of national borders associated with globalization there seems to appear a growing tendency to erect material walls between states. These walls are usually constructed with the declared purpose of fending off terrorists, traffickers, illegal immigrants, or other undesirable persons and things. Long stretches of physical barriers have been built on the borders of USA/Mexico, Israel/Palestine, Botswana/Zimbabwe, India/Pakistan, and elsewhere. These barriers often use a combination of high and low-end technology reminiscent both of antiquity and of futuristic science-fiction movies. In a way, these walls could be seen as the dark side of globalization: They demarcate its limits and its unwanted consequences, those that need to be met with the utmost response, the wall. What makes the phenomenon of walls unique and new is indeed not a result of a particular attribute, but rather that they have become emblematic of our times; as if they are the monument which represent most clearly and vividly the era in which we live. As such, they are a legal and material manifestation of the idea of sovereign states, but also what makes possible its critique.

The legal campaign against the Israeli barrier was both local, in Israeli courts that had to determine its legality, as well as international, in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which issued an advisory opinion concerning its legality. In this article I argue that the unique route of the barrier, crawling through the territories and creating bizarre-shaped enclaves in which Palestinian communities are trapped, caused the legal campaign and court rulings on the matter to take a very specific form. The majority of the legal challenges, as well as the legal principles set out by the courts in response, related to the barrier’s route and to its impact on the lives of the persons in the territories surrounding it. Left out of the legal battle was an attempt to delegitimize the very establishment of a separation barrier between Israel and the occupied territories, regardless of its route, even if it were erected exactly on the Green Line.

In this article I analyze the role sovereignty has had in masking the hybrid nature of the barrier and in shaping the legal campaign against it. As a founding concept, sovereignty shaped (1) the legal norms in which the litigators and the courts operated; (2) the theoretical approaches, often of extra-legal disciplines, regarding the harm that the barrier caused (or might cause); and (3) the strategic and tactical choices taken by the various NGOs which spearheaded the campaign, often a result of compromises among disagreeing parties.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 35

Keywords: international law, sovereignty, occupation, walls, barriers, Israel, Palestine, proportionality, security, terror, settlements, ICJ, protected persons

Yisrael Medad
Mobile Post Efraim 44830

Let Israel have truly independent courts

Prof. J.P. Golbert

There is a great deal of pious nonsense circulating denouncing as “undemocratic” proposed legislation which would require Knesset consent to the appointment of judges. The denunciations have been so vociferous that the Prime Minister has caved in to them. The self-styled defenders of democracy contend it is undemocratic because it impinges on the “independence of the courts.” Of course, no one bothers to explain how it would have that effect or why it is impossible to have too much of a good thing. Shrill generalizations fill the air with no substance

In the United States, as an example, judges have always been appointed by the President subject to the consent of the Senate. State judges are similarly appointed by governors, subject to consent of the legislative branch. Can anyone seriously believe that the American judiciary does not have independence?

In fact, requiring Knesset approval of appointments would have exactly the opposite effect. The truth is that the courts are totally dependent on the President of the Supreme Court who is the only one in the Israeli judiciary who enjoys independence. he Israel Bar Association appoints members of the commission and the Minister of Justice is a member, it is true. But cases before the Supreme Court of Israel are not heard by the whole court, as is the case in the United States, where every justice hears every case. I believe it is unprecedented in democracies and unparalleled that the President of the Israel Supreme Court has the power to select which justices will sit on every case before the Supreme Court.

That means the President decides every case, because all the justices know how every one of them views every issue. The President of the court also wields power over those who supposed curb the President’s power. The members of the commission appointed by the Israel Bar are practicing lawyers and the Minister of Justice is likely to be a practicing lawyer again after leaving office. If they oppose the will of the President of the Supreme Court, they can never expect to win another case before the Supreme Court.

Moreover, since promotion of judges is also controlled by the President of the Supreme Court, lower court judges cannot oppose the President either. So the appointees of the Bar and the Attorney General who will likely go back to private practice can expect never to win another case in court. The “independence of the judiciary” in Israel is, in reality, only the untrammeled power of the President of the Supreme Court, who is answerable to no one.

That, in and of itself, is antidemocratic. The basic premise of democracy is that people are corruptible and need to be governed. Those who govern have a great deal of power and power corrupts. So they too need to be governed. That includes the President of the Supreme Court.

In fact, given the degree of dominance of the President of the Supreme Court, the proposed measure would actually reduce only the power of the President of the Supreme Court over the other judges in the system and would establish the independence of the judiciary for the first time in Israel’s history.

Knesset approval of appointments would also increase the independence of the elected branches of government; namely, the Knesset, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, from the dominance of the Supreme Court, which has arrogated to itself the power to turn the Attorney General into a servant of the Court; to veto appointments to public office, via the Prosecutor’s office, whose career also depends on the President of the Supreme Court, by bringing criminal charges which are then dropped once the appointment is withdrawn; to rewrite or strike down legislation, even to control military actions in the course of battle.

None of the shrill defenders of “democracy” complain about these anti-democratic matters. They warn that Knesset approval of judicial appointments would “politicize” the court, as if the President of the Supreme Court is not political.

The last contention of the opponents of the proposed measures, and the most asinine of them all, is that these measures would bring upon Israel the censure and opprobrium of the Europeans, who would view it as fascistic.

Would they really? First, the Europeans have decided that freedom and democracy are not worth civil war with their militant Islamic populations. They have already decided to surrender to Islamic tyranny. Are we really going to sit and take instruction from them about democracy?


The writer, formerly a practicing lawyer in New York and California and a law professor in Los Angeles, has practiced law in Jerusalem since 1986. Permanent mailing address: Pitum HaKetoret 21/1, Efrat 90435 Tel: (972) 50-7428100 Fax: (972) 2 993-4108 Tel. From USA: (323) 285-

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Flash: What, Me Pessimistic? Egyptian Election Outcome is Worse Than I Expected

Barry Rubin

Since last February I have predicted that the Muslim Brotherhood would win elections in Egypt. People have thought me very pessimistic. Now the votes are starting to come in and…it’s much worse than I thought. But my prediction that the Brotherhood and the other Islamists would gain a slight majority seems to have been fulfilled and then some. According to most reports the Brotherhood is scoring at just below 40 percent all by itself.

Why worse? For two reasons:

First, the votes we now have come from the most urban areas of the country. If there are Facebook sophisticates they’re going to be in Cairo and Alexandria. If the moderates do that bad in the big cities, what’s going to happen in the villages up the Nile? If the fascist party came in first in some European countries Social Democratic districts you know you are in trouble. The Brotherhood came in first in Cairo and Alexandria. Think about that. Of course there are millions of migrants from rural areas in those places but that’s also where the middle class, such as it is, lives.

Second, the moderate parties didn’t even come in second they came in third or close to it. The Salafists—that is people who are even more radical than the Muslim Brotherhood—came in second. That they did that well is a surprise. That they did that well without bumping the Brotherhood down a notch is really shocking.

Estimates for the Justice Party, the Facebook kids of January are getting 5 to 10 percent. Even together with the other two main moderate parties that means the liberals won’t be able to block anything. Already the Brotherhood is tasting blood and talking about pressing the army junta to accelerate the turnover of power.

It’s hard to see, though that there can be any such transfer of power. The voting is far from finished and will be going on for about three months more, followed by a presidential election. Oh, yes, the results so far suggest that the Islamists will also win the presidency.

That’s when the fun really starts. President Barack Obama is going to face a challenge he is incapable of meeting since he doesn’t even understand what’s going on. He’s like a man who has been told that a ferocious lion is really a playful kitten and then tries to feed it by hand.

Or, to switch metaphors in the middle of the stream of thought, perhaps Dr. Frankenstein is a more apt image:

"`When younger,’" said he, `I believed myself destined for some great enterprise….I could not rank myself with the herd of common projectors. But this thought, which supported me in the commencement of my career, now serves only to plunge me lower in the dust. All my speculations and hopes are as nothing; and, like the archangel who aspired to omnipotence, I am chained in an eternal hell.’” – Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

For the purposes of this election, Egypt has been divided into three sections and each section will have a second round. I predict the moderates will fail to work together and that the Islamists will thus end up doing even better than it seems now.

The Wall Street Journal correspondent is saying that the Salafists will push the Brotherhood further to the “right” and that’s a very sensible point. Why should the Brotherhood even pretend to be moderate when the people have spoken and they want Sharia with cherries on top.

So the Islamists one and the election was fair. Should we feel good that democracy has functioned and that the people are getting what they want?

Or should we feel bad that the people want a repressive dictatorship, the repression of women, the suppression of Christians, conflict with Israel, hatred of the West, and the freezing of Egyptian society into a straitjacket that can only lead to continue poverty and increasing suffering?

As the vote count becomes clearer, I’ll be refining my analysis but now we know: This is what [Egyptian] democracy looks like.

Professor Barry Rubin, Director, Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center
The Rubin Report blog
He is a featured columnist at PJM
Editor, Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal
Editor Turkish Studies,

The Forward reveals that Stand With Us is - gasp! - right of center!

Elder of Ziyon

Here's another Forward expose, this one written by Nathan Guttman, where they find out that a pro-Israel organization is somewhat to the right of the Forward!

Shocking, I know:

[I]n a time characterized by burning debate among Jews regarding what it means to be pro-Israel, SWU’s stance has provoked some strong criticism. Those who claim to be Zionists and supporters of Israel while publicly criticizing its government’s policies towards the Palestinians, says Rothstein, are not supporters at all. For SWU, said [SWU founder Roz] Rothstein, supporting Israel means “respect[ing] the elected government of Israel.”

Rothstein rejects the claims of critics who say this constitutes a right-wing agenda. But a close look at SWU’s learning material and talking points reveals a right of center narrative on issues relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rothstein said that SWU welcomes any pro-Israel view. But in an interview with the Forward she explained that she does not consider the dovish lobby J Street as pro-Israel because “they are lobbying this country to pressure the government of Israel to change its policy.”

StandWithUs has also been active in opposing West Coast communities hosting a speaking tour of Israeli soldiers who speak out against the occupation.

So in The Forward's view of the world, a rightist pro-Israel organization must accept the leftist narrative as equally valid - but where are the Forward articles demanding that J-Street allow Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria to speak at their events, or that left-wing Jewish groups not protest Israeli speakers on campus?

Apparently, The Forward's indignation goes only one way.

One of the oldest tricks in the media book is to hide the reporter's opinions behind a supposed "expert." We saw it in the last hit piece against Zionists we looked at from the Forward, and Guttman doesn't fail us here:

“I think their attitude does harm to Israel,” said Steven M. Cohen, Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. “If we adopt a view that we support anything official Israel says then we’ll deprive Israel of the benefit of our good advice and discourage Jewish Americans from being involved in the discourse over Israel.”

Cohen, who has conducted extensive research into the opinions of American Jews on Israel, said that to win the PR war, “we need outspoken Zionists from all camps.” Cohen believes this discussion should include even representatives from the far left, as well as the right-wing Hilltop Youth settlers.

So Roz Rothstein has an opinion. Steven Cohen has his. The Forward makes clear which side they are on.

The only problem is that Steven Cohen's, and The Forward's, opinions are meant specifically to weaken Israeli democracy. The entire purpose of J-Street is to circumvent Israeli democracy by using outside money and outside pressure to, frankly, change the government to one that they find more palatable. Israeli electorate be damned.

I do not recall StandWithUs protesting against Israeli policy under Kadima, so StandWithUs is consistent in its support of the democratically elected Israeli government's decisions, no matter what its orientation.

Not to say that Jews outside Israel cannot make their opinions known, or that they cannot criticize Israel. But lobbying against the Israeli government is not merely expressing an opinion; it is an attempt to interfere with and undermine a democratically elected government.

Sorry, but that cannot be considered "pro-Israel" by any definition.

If Steven Cohen or any American Jewish leftist doesn't want Israel to be deprived of their "good advice" (as if they can advise anything that Israel's Left hasn't thought of) there is a simple solution that every Zionist, left or right, would wholeheartedly support: They can make Aliyah.

The rest of the article is just smarmy, as the Forward brings facts about SWU that are perfectly ethical and above-board and paints them as vaguely underhanded:

SWU supporters also keep an eye on pro-Palestinian campus activists. In the case involving 11 students at University of California, Irvine, who interrupted a speech of Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, it was an SWU videotape of the protestors that led to their arrest.
Pro-Israel organizations usually take special care not be seen as operating on behalf of the Israeli government, since that would require their registration as foreign agents under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. StandWithUs stressed it did not receive any payment from the Israeli government for the Ayalon video or for any of its other activities. And Craig Holeman, an expert on U.S. lobbying laws, said it was unlikely federal law would require a group like SWU to register as a foreign agent. Holeman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, a citizen rights advocacy organization, said that a group focused on public education, as SWU is, and which does not receive funds from a foreign government, does not need to register as a foreign agent.

And who even intimated that SWU should register as a foreign agent to begin with? Why, Nathan Guttman of The Forward!

Stand With Us is probably the single best proponent for Israel in the US today. Unlike The Forward, SWU is unapologetically Zionist.

Which is the real reason the Forward writes such pieces of drivel to begin with. They are simply uncomfortable that some people love Israel without reservation.

So they must spare no effort in trying to rid the world of such proud Zionists, to assuage their own discomfort.

(Disclaimer: StandWithUs has used some of my posters/graphics in their materials and they have compensated me. And I can tell you Roz Rothstein has personally rejected quite a few of my posters for being too far to the right.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

UN Resolution 181 - The Partition Plan

November 29, 1947

Eli E. Hertz

In 1947 the British put the future of western Palestine into the hands of the United Nations, the successor organization to the League of Nations which had established the Mandate for Palestine. A UN Commission recommended partitioning what was left of the original Mandate - western Palestine - into two new states, one Jewish and one Arab [Not a Palestinian state]. Jerusalem and its surrounding villages were to be temporarily classified as an international zone belonging to neither polity.

What resulted was Resolution 181 [known as the 1947 Partition Plan], a non-binding recommendation to partition Palestine, whose implementation hinged on acceptance by both parties - Arabs and Jews. The resolution was adopted on November 29, 1947 in the General Assembly by a vote of 33-12, with 10 abstentions. Among the supporters were the United States and the Soviet Union, as well as other nations including France and Australia. The Arab nations, including Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia denounced the plan on the General Assembly floor and voted as a bloc against Resolution 181 promising to defy its implementation by force. The resolution recognized the need for immediate Jewish statehood (and a parallel Arab state), but the 'blueprint' for peace became a moot issue when the Arabs refused to accept it. Subsequently, de facto [In Latin: realities] on the ground in the wake of Arab aggression (and Israel's survival) became the basis for UN efforts to bring peace. Resolution 181 then lost its validity and relevance.

Aware of Arabs' past aggression, Resolution 181, in paragraph C, calls on the Security Council to:

"Determine as a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression, in accordance with Article 39 of the Charter, any attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged by this resolution." [italics by author]

The ones who sought to alter by force the settlement envisioned in Resolution 181 were the Arabs who threatened bloodshed if the United Nations was to adopt the Resolution:

"The [British] Government of Palestine fear that strife in Palestine will be greatly intensified when the Mandate is terminated, and that the international status of the United Nations Commission will mean little or nothing to the Arabs in Palestine, to whom the killing of Jews now transcends all other considerations. Thus, the Commission will be faced with the problem of how to avert certain bloodshed on a very much wider scale than prevails at present. ... The Arabs have made it quite clear and have told the Palestine government that they do not propose to co-operate or to assist the Commission, and that, far from it, they propose to attack and impede its work in every possible way. We have no reason to suppose that they do not mean what they say." [italics by author]

Arabs' intentions and deeds did not fare better after Resolution 181 was adopted:

"Taking into consideration that the Provisional Government of Israel has indicated its acceptance in principle of a prolongation of the truce in Palestine; that the States members of the Arab League have rejected successive appeals of the United Nations Mediator, and of the Security Council in its resolution 53 (1948) of 7 July 1948, for the prolongation of the truce in Palestine; and that there has consequently developed a renewal of hostilities in Palestine."

The conclusion:

"Having constituted a Special Committee and instructed it to investigate all questions and issues relevant to the problem of Palestine, and to prepare proposals for the solution of the problem, and

Having received and examined the report of the Special Committee (document A/364). ... Recommends to the United Kingdom, as the mandatory Power for Palestine, and to all other Members of the United Nations the adoption and implementation, with regard to the future Government of Palestine, of the Plan of Partition with Economic Union set out below; ..." [italics by author].

In the late 1990s, more than 50 years after Resolution 181 was rejected by the Arab world, Arab leaders suddenly recommended to the General Assembly that UN Resolution 181 be resurrected as the basis for a peace agreement. There is no foundation for such a notion.

Resolution 181 was the last of a series of recommendations that had been drawn up over the years by the Mandator and by international commissions, plans designed to reach an historic compromise between Arabs and Jews in western Palestine. The first was in 1922 when Great Britain unilaterally partitioned Palestine. This did not satisfy the Arabs who wanted the entire country to be Arab. Resolution 181 followed such proposals as the Peel Commission (1937); the Woodhead Commission (1938); two 1946 proposals that championed a bi-national state; one proposed by the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry in April 1946 based on a single state with equal powers for Jews and Arabs; the Morrison-Grady Plan raised in July 1946 which recommended a federal state with two provinces - one Jewish, one Arab. Every scheme since 1922 was rejected by the Arab side, including decidedly pro-Arab ones because these plans recognized Jews as a nation and gave Jewish citizens of Mandate Palestine political representation.

Arabs Rejected the "Unbalanced" Partition Plan

The UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) uses the term "unbalanced" in describing the reason for Arab rejectionism of Resolution 181. This description hardly fits reality. Seventy-seven percent of the landmass of the original Mandate for the Jews was excised in 1922 to create a fourth Arab state - Trans-Jordan (today Jordan).

In a statement by Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, the representative of the Jewish Agency for Palestine to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), he had that to say about fairness, balance, and justice:

"According to David Lloyd George, then British Prime Minister, the Balfour Declaration implied that the whole of Palestine, including Transjordan, should ultimately become a Jewish state. Transjordan had, nevertheless, been severed from Palestine in 1922 and had subsequently been set up as an Arab kingdom. Now a second Arab state was to be carved out of the remainder of Palestine, with the result that the Jewish National Home would represent less than one eighth of the territory originally set aside for it. Such a sacrifice should not be asked of the Jewish people."

Referring to the Arab States established as independent countries since the First World War, he said:

"17,000,000 Arabs now occupied an area of 1,290,000 square miles, including all the principal Arab and Moslem centres, while Palestine, after the loss of Transjordan, was only 10,000 square miles; yet the majority plan proposed to reduce it by one half. UNSCOP proposed to eliminate Western Galilee from the Jewish State; that was an injustice and a grievous handicap to the development of the Jewish State." [italics by author].

Arab's Aggression Before and After the Adoption of Resolution 181

Following passage of Resolution 181 by the General Assembly, Arab countries took the dais to reiterate their absolute rejection of the recommendation and intention to render implementation of Resolution 181 a moot question by the use of force. These examples from the transcript of the General Assembly plenary meeting on November 29, 1947 speak for themselves:

"Mr. JAMALI (Iraq): ... We believe that the decision which we have now taken ... undermines peace, justice and democracy. In the name of my Government, I wish to state that it feels that this decision is antidemocratic, illegal, impractical and contrary to the Charter ... Therefore, in the name of my Government, I wish to put on record that Iraq does not recognize the validity of this decision, will reserve freedom of action towards its implementation, and holds those who were influential in passing it against the free conscience of mankind responsible for the consequences."

"Amir. ARSLAN (Syria): ... Gentlemen, the Charter is dead. But it did not die a natural death; it was murdered, and you all know who is guilty. My country will never recognize such a decision [Partition]. It will never agree to be responsible for it. Let the consequences be on the heads of others, not on ours."

"H. R. H. Prince Seif El ISLAM ABDULLAH (Yemen): The Yemen delegation has stated previously that the partition plan is contrary to justice and to the Charter of the United Nations. Therefore, the Government of Yemen does not consider itself bound by such a decision ... and will reserve its freedom of action towards the implementation of this decision."

The Partition Plan was met not only by verbal rejection on the Arab side but also by concrete, bellicose steps to block its implementation and destroy the Jewish polity by force of arms, a goal the Arabs publicly declared even before Resolution 181 was brought to a vote.

Arabs not only rejected the compromise and took action to prevent establishment of a Jewish state but also blocked establishment of an Arab state under the partition plan not just before the Israel War of Independence, but also after the war when they themselves controlled the West Bank (1948-1967), rendering the recommendation 'a still birth.'

The UN itself recognized that Resolution 181 had not been accepted by the Arab side, rendering it a dead issue: On January 29, 1948, the First Monthly Progress Report of the UN-appointed Palestine Commission charged with helping put Resolution 181 into effect was submitted to the Security Council (A/AC.21/7). Implementation of Resolution 181 hinged not only on the five member states appointed to represent the UN (Bolivia, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Panama, Philippines) and Great Britain, but first and foremost on the participation of the two sides who were invited to appoint representatives. The Commission then reported:

"The invitation extended by the [181] resolution was promptly accepted by the Government of the United Kingdom and by the Jewish Agency for Palestine, both of which designated representatives to assist the commission. ... As regards the Arab Higher Committee, the following telegraphic response was received by the Secretary-General on 19 January:


The UN Palestine Commission's February 16, 1948 report (A/AC.21/9) to the Security Council noted that Arab-led hostilities were an effort

"To prevent the implementation of the [General] Assembly's plan of partition, and to thwart its objectives by threats and acts of violence, including armed incursions into Palestinian territory."

On May 17, 1948 - after the invasion began, the Palestine Commission designed to implement 181 adjourned sine die [Latin: without determining a date] after the General Assembly appointed a United Nations Mediator in Palestine, which relieves the United Nations Palestine Commission from the further exercise of its responsibilities.

Some thought the Partition Plan could be revived, but by the end of the war, Resolution 181 had become a moot issue as realities on the ground made the establishment of an armistice-line (the "Green Line") - a temporary ceasefire line expected to be followed by peace treaties - the most constructive path to solving the conflict.

A July 30, 1949 working paper of the UN Secretariat entitled The Future of Arab Palestine and the Question of Partition noted further that:

"The Arabs rejected the United Nations Partition Plan so that any comment of theirs did not specifically concern the status of the Arab section of Palestine under partition but rather rejected the scheme in its entirety."

By the time armistice agreements were reached in 1949 between Israel and its immediate Arab neighbors (Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Trans-Jordan) with the assistance of UN Mediator Dr. Ralph Bunche, Resolution 181 had become irrelevant, and the armistice agreements addressed new realities created by the war. Over subsequent years, the UN simply abandoned the recommendations of Resolution 181, as its ideas were drained of all relevance by events. Moreover, the Arabs continued to reject 181 after the war when they themselves controlled the West Bank (1948-1967) which Jordan invaded in the course of the war and annexed illegally.

Attempts by Palestinians to 'roll back the clock' and resuscitate Resolution 181 more than six decades after they rejected it 'as if nothing had happened' are a baseless ploy designed to use Resolution 181 as leverage to bring about a greater Israeli withdrawal from parts of western Palestine and to gain a broader base from which to continue to attack an Israel with even less defendable borders. Both Palestinians and their Arab brethren in neighboring countries rendered the plan null and void by their own subsequent aggressive actions.

Professor Stone wrote about this 'novelty of resurrection' in 1981 when he analyzed a similar attempt by pro-Palestinian 'experts' at the UN to rewrite the history of the conflict (their writings were termed "Studies"). Stone called it "revival of the dead"

"To attempt to show ... that Resolution 181(II) 'remains' in force in 1981 is thus an undertaking even more miraculous than would be the revival of the dead. It is an attempt to give life to an entity that the Arab states had themselves aborted before it came to maturity and birth. To propose that Resolution 181(II) can be treated as if it has binding force in 1981, [E.H., the year the book was written] for the benefit of the same Arab states, who by their aggression destroyed it ab initio, [In Latin: From the beginning] also violates 'general principles of law,' such as those requiring claimants to equity to come 'with clean hands,' and forbidding a party who has unlawfully repudiated a transaction from holding the other party to terms that suit the later expediencies of the repudiating party. [italics by author].

Resolution 181 had been tossed into the waste bin of history, along with the Partition Plans that preceded it.

Israel's Independence is not a Result of a Partial Implementation of the Partition Plan

Resolution 181 has no legal ramifications - that is, Resolution 181 recognized the Jewish right to statehood, but its validity as a potentially legal and binding document was never consummated. Like the proposals that preceded it, Resolution 181's validity hinged on acceptance by both parties of the General Assembly's recommendation.

Cambridge Professor Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, Judge ad hoc of the International Court of Justice, a renowned expert on international law, clarified that from a legal standpoint, the 1947 UN Partition Resolution had no legislative character to vest territorial rights in either Jews or Arabs. In a monograph relating to one of the most complex aspects of the territorial issue, the status of Jerusalem, Judge, Sir Lauterpacht wrote that any binding force the Partition Plan would have had to arise from the principle pacta sunt servanda, [In Latin: treaties must be honored - the first principle of international law] that is, from agreement of the parties at variance to the proposed plan. In the case of Israel, Judge, Sir Lauterpacht explains:

"The coming into existence of Israel does not depend legally upon the Resolution. The right of a State to exist flows from its factual existence-especially when that existence is pro­longed shows every sign of continuance and is recognised by the generality of nations."

Reviewing Lauterpacht's arguments, Professor Stone, a distinguished authority on the Law of Nations, added that Israel's "legitimacy" or the "legal foundation" for its birth does not reside with the United Nations' Partition Plan, which as a consequence of Arab actions became a dead issue. Professor Stone concluded:

"The State of Israel is thus not legally derived from the partition plan, but rests (as do most other states in the world) on assertion of independence by its people and government, on the vindication of that independence by arms against assault by other states, and on the establishment of orderly government within territory under its stable control."

For the article including notes and map, please go to:

Monday, November 28, 2011

"A Menace to the West"

Today this news, which was released on Friday, takes precedence.

From the NY Times:

"The White House on Friday threw its weight behind Egypt's resurgent protest movement, urging for the first time the handover of power by the interim military rulers in the Obama administration's most public effort yet to steer the course of the Egyptian democracy.

"'The United States strongly believes that the new Egyptian government must be empowered with real authority immediately,' the White House said...

"The statement is a significant escalation of the international pressure on the generals because the United States is among the Egyptian military's closest allies. "But speaking out against the military could be a risky bet for White House if the transition to democracy moves out of the hands of the military to less predictable civilian control.

"Since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in February, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has held itself up as the sole guardian of Egypt's stability against chaos and radicalism."


Undoubtedly, encouraging the "transition to democracy" would be what the Obama administration would cite as its goal in pressuring the military this way. But for anyone with eyes in his head to see, it is clear that we are headed towards that radicalism. There is not going to be a Western style liberal democracy emerging from the chaos that is Egypt today. That much is a given, as clear anything might be. The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood is waiting in the wings, ready to take control. (More on this below.)

Put simply and boldly: President Obama is giving the Muslim Brotherhood a boost. In doing so, he is enhancing dangers for Israel, and for the US.

Should I be surprised? Not really. After all, he invited members of the Brotherhood to his speech in Cairo over two years ago. But I'm more than a bit angry.


Obama pulled the rug out from under Mubarak last February, thereby helping to generate the current situation in Egypt. Now, the Times piece explained that, "the United States is among the Egyptian military's closest allies." But no, better to have said, had been among the military's closest allies. For he has attempted to pull the rug out from under them, as well. The world is watching and the lesson is that the US cannot be trusted as an ally. There will be a price to pay for the president's behavior.

What makes his policy here even more reprehensible is that he wouldn't back the Iranian street against the current Iranian regime. How selective is his support for "democracy," and how perverse.

And so...the president is a menace to the West. And I advise everyone who thinks that Obama is doing a good job in the White House to seriously consider his behavior in this regard.


Israel has been very critical of this move by Obama: "The U.S. is repeating the same mistake it made during the first revolution in Egypt, when it called on Mubarak to turn over the government," said one diplomat. The Israeli Foreign Ministry is now sending messages via its ambassadors in Britain, Germany and France to do nothing that would shake up the structure of the government in Egypt.


Middle East analyst Barry Rubin has been following events in Egypt closely and put out a new piece today.

"During the Mubarak era, Egyptian foreign policy was based on a pragmatic consideration of Egyptian national interests. That included supporting regional stability rather than wasting resources on losing battles to destroy Israel or seeking Egyptian leadership of the Arab world...

"Now those mistakes are likely to be repeated, although it is not clear to what extent. The new-old Egypt is likely to try to battle Israel in some way, to promote Islamist subversion elsewhere, and to seek Egyptian leadership in the Sunni Arab Muslim-world.

"For Egypt-Israel relations, the removal of the military from power (probably sometime around June 2012) will mean a turn toward total hostility. (Emphasis added, but note that this is what Obama would advance.)

"For all practical purposes, this would mark the end of the peace treaty even if there is no actual war. Whether or not the treaty is formally reviewed or abrogated doesn’t matter in terms of this practical impact. US policy, enamored of the Muslim Brotherhood and not warmly supportive of Israel, will be useless on these issues. (Emphasis added, but mark this well.)

"That doesn’t mean, however, that Egypt would go to war against Israel. The main danger is that Hamas would try to lure Egypt into the conflict by attacking Israel. In such a case, however, Egyptian actions might be limited to letting Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist volunteers cross into the Gaza Strip to fight while permitting money, weapons and foreign terrorists to pour into Gaza to help Hamas...

"While the impact of Egyptian policies would be anti-American, Cairo would do the bare minimum necessary to keep the Obama administration deluded that this is not the case. Such a success might come with minimal effort." (Emphasis added. But note this well, too, please!)


At the Cabinet meeting yesterday, Netanyahu suggested that it may be time to recalibrate its security needs and increase defense spending. This is in light of what's happening across this entire region; as one person present at the meeting explained, "People here are very concerned about Egypt. It looks now as if the revolution is going in a certain direction. Wherever the Arabs vote, the Islamists are winning."

Netanyahu has been referring to the situation as "unprecedented regional instability" -- the biggest shakeup since the Ottoman Empire collapsed and the allies carved new nations out of what had been that empire.

The prime minister obviously sees the need for a heavy investment in defense.


Let me turn now to some other events within Israel -- involving the prime minister -- that require a closer look.

We have seen in recent months a welcome move by activist MKs to promote legislation that would strengthen not only Israeli democracy, but the nationalist position within Israel. I am able to link the two because it is the left-wing anti-nationalist elements of the nation that have leveraged control for a long time.

One of those bills -- proposed by Likud MKs Danny Danon and Yariv Levin -- was designed to regulate which public petitioners -- associations, most notably NGOs -- would be permitted to file petitions with the High Court of Justice. Requirements for petitioning the court were that the case be significant to the country's general public, that its foreign funding sources be disclosed to the court, and that its petition be done jointly with someone directly affected by the case.

All of this is exceedingly pertinent, because there are very left-leaning NGOs that will petition the court solely in order to further their political agenda. What is more, frequently they are NGOs that are receiving funding from abroad, so that the political agenda they adopt may not even be that of the Israeli general public.

As MK Levin it, "The bill will put an end to the absurd situation in which foreign elements intervene in the affairs of the State of Israel and flood the legal system with petitions whose main goal is to weaken Israel from within."

And yet, a cry went up (from the left) that this was undemocratic, as everyone should be able to petition the court. But this is nonsense. In the US, the Supreme Court may be petitioned only by someone who has standing in the case -- that is, who would be affected.

But here we have a situation in which Peace Now, supported by funds from European nations with a strong pro-PA agenda, is able to go to the High Court and say it objects to a particular outpost in Samaria, when no Arab is objecting to it and claiming he is affected.

Such a petition, it should be added, would has a reasonable chance of being entertained by the High Court because that court is inclined to the left itself. This is well understood here in Israel.


There was at least a chance that this legislation might have made it through the system. That is, until yesterday, when Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that he was opposed to any legislation that would limit the High Court.

That was the kiss of death and the Ministerial Committee on Legislation has now rejected it.


The question then, is why Netanyahu took the position he did. He understands full well what the situation is.

I am able to come to no conclusion other than that he dropped the ball on this one: He caved to left wing pressures.


Today I spoke with Moshe Eyal, Associate Director of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel. He was rather optimistic, in spite of the fact that this particular legislation was effectively blocked. For he says progress is being made in educating the public to what is going on and now there are Knesset members prepared to act:

"We are beginning to see a weakening in the post Zionist hegemony in the court system and a decline in the influence of other countries on the political views of the State of Israel...we rejoice in the essence of the process...since until now legal terms were used as a cover for post Zionist political opinions which we are now able to change...

"We plan on continuing our work to strengthen the State of Israel as a Jewish state, to bring about proper democratic rule and to protect the human rights of groups which have been abandoned by existing organizations."

Please note: Moshe Eyal, speaking for the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, will be in the US from December 5 - 14. He will be primarily in the NY area but is prepared to travel. His goal is to raise funds and awareness for the Forum.

If you have a serious interest in having him meet with your group, let me know.


Another decision was made by the prime minister on Friday that I want to mention here:

I have written extensively in the past weeks about the Mughrabi Bridge, which leads from the Western Wall Plaza to the Temple Mount, and is the only access to the Mount for non-Muslims. The current wooden bridge was considered temporary when it was put up after the existing bridge was destroyed by weather conditions. For some time now there have been plans extant for its replacement by a permanent bridge but the work has not taken place because of various objections from the Arab world, and most notably the Wakf -- the Islamic Trust that administers matters on the Mount. Totally fallacious charges were made that Israel was digging under the Temple Mount in order to bring down Al Aksa Mosque on the Mount.

This was clearly a turf dispute, with the issue being one of who has the right to make decisions regarding the bridge. And it was quite obvious that it was time for Israel to move on this -- in particular as the current bridge is deemed unsafe -- and assert Israeli authority .


At long last, the work was due to start this past Sunday (or late Saturday night) -- beginning with a 72 hour period in which destruction of the present bridge would be done followed by construction of the new bridge. But on Friday, Netanyahu called for yet another delay. This was because of warnings he had received from both Jordan and Egypt regarding the fact that this construction would cause unrest.

In the case of Jordan, it was said this work might spur riots that could spread to Judea and Samaria. This seems not an insurmountable crisis. Generally speaking, it is unwise idea to be intimidated by threats of violence -- these threats are fairly ubiquitous and are used as a political tool by the Arabs. As it was, the IDF was supposed to deploy in anticipation of unrest in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.


However, the matter of Egypt is something else. For working on the bridge now -- when that work is being widely represented as a move by Israel to usurp what belongs to the Muslim world and to do damage to a site of Islamic sanctity -- seems unwise in the face of the situation in Egypt. There is no question but that this would be parlayed by the Muslim Brotherhood into a reason for further unrest in Tahrir Square and nearby mosques.

In fact, there is a very good chance that the Brotherhood would utilize this as a campaign point -- a reason why the people of Egypt need them at the helm of their government so that they might take strong action on behalf of the Islamic world. Anti-Israel sentiment broadly plays into the hands of the Brotherhood.

And so here I think Netanyahu's judgment was proper and he made the right decision. The election in Egypt is hardly a trivial matter. At the moment, he has delayed the work for a week, but he will be consulting with officials (unidentified) in order to resolve the matter.


A correction: The very positive video about Israel that I wrote about yesterday will be shown on PBS in south Florida, but it is not a PBS film. It was made by Rafi Shore of JerusalemOnlineU --

Sorry for the error (and thanks to Judy B. for catching it).

© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

See my website at Contact Arlene at

This material is transmitted by Arlene only to persons who have requested it or agreed to receive it. If you are on the list and wish to be
removed, contact Arlene and include your name in the text of the message.

The bloodless war on Israel

Op-ed: After failing on battlefield, Arabs resorting to other means in bid to destroy Israel

Eitan Haber

High up in the sky, somewhere above us, sits the angel assigned by God to look over the State of Israel and scratches his head. Until now, for almost 63 years, he came up with solutions – some better than others – for every problem. Yet now he is sitting there and thinking, but cannot come up with a solution.

The angel in charge of Israel must be saying the following to himself: Thus far, Arab states attempted to eliminate the Israeli entity using military force. They tried once, twice, even three times – yet failed. They sought to turn Israel into a theater of terror and horror – yet failed. They tried several wars, and in between them even tried peace here and there – yet failed. The Zionist entity on the shores of the Mediterranean is alive and kicking. Arab sages got together to come up with a solution, and decided: From now on, we shall fight the cursed Zionists using means they have no answer for. And even if they did not gather and come up with the possibilities below, history smiled at them:

The Arab Spring – Although there is no link whatsoever between Israel and the revolutionary developments in Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Tunisia, Libya and other Arab countries, there is no doubt that their outcome will resonate on Israel’s borders and gravely affect each and every one of us in the future. The states around us will be enveloped by headscarves and a radical Islamic atmosphere, courtesy of the Muslim Brotherhood. An atmosphere that does not recognize Israel’s right to exist will take over the Arab street.

Such grave atmosphere may prompt the almost immediate annulment of our peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan and an almost complete halt to any Israeli-Palestinian cooperation – in terms of security, economics and so on. The Islam that shall be draping Israel on all sides will also require us to undertake extreme defense expenditures, which will affect every citizen. In fact, we shall be a state under radical Islamic siege, which will keep on pushing us and require the highest state of alert and never-ending watchfulness.

These processes won’t happen overnight, yet this is precisely the advantage possessed by the Arabs around us. They have all the time in the world. “For how many years did the Crusaders rule the Land of Israel?” they ask with disparagement.

De-legitimization – The latest developments on the Arab side are manifested through an immense effort to de-legitimize Israel among the nations of the world. This is a war without boundaries and it spreads across continents.

At this time, dozens of Arab states are taking part in the de-legitimization campaign, including ones considered Israel’s friends in the past. This new situation, a war without shots or blood, is already producing significant difficulties for our economy, our academia, and other areas of life. The Arabs, who see their achievements on this front, are not letting up, and we (still) have no proper Zionist answer.

Demographic developments – it appears that everything had already been written and said about this matter, which we would never be able to resolve: Not in our contest with Israel’s Arabs, not in the battle against the Palestinian womb, and certainly not in the balance between us and Arab states. The clichéd example of 32 million Egyptians the day we signed our peace treaty compared to 84 million today serves as a warning signal for many in Israel. Any commentary here is needless.

In order to overcome these obstacles, we do not need an IDF General Staff with the finest generals. We need a “White General Staff,” as proposed by Uri Avnery years ago; a civilian General Staff that would think in a different, creative fashion. And thank you to another Uri, retired General Uri Saguy, who turned my attention to the new war against us; a bloodless war.

Killings Jews is More Popular than Soccer

By Norma Zager

“Yet, nearly six decades after the Holocaust concluded, Anti-Semitism still exists as the scourge of the world.” Eliot Engel

Jewish life comes cheap.

Killing Jews is a blood sport practiced throughout the world.

Sometimes it seems as though killers seek a prize for the most effective methods, the most kills. Giant trophies passed out among haters like chocolates at a PMS seminar. There have been other genocides, other people singled out for death, but one difference remains in place. No other sport is attended with such gusto, such outright enthusiasm as the taking of Jewish life.

It is applauded, cheered and done with a strange and surgical precision that makes one ponder.

They do not die for money; nor for any cause. They die because they are. They have no right to exist; they are Jews.

Jewish families must live with the reality their hearts have been torn from their bodies and buried with their loved ones for no reason. For no more than the sickness that is pure unadulterated hatred.

Few take exception to these murderous results, even – strangely enough – other Jews.

Jewish people are so desperate to distance themselves from the killing fields they are actually aligned with the fans in the grandstand. They can be heard espousing the hateful rhetoric of the anti Semites who have so effectively perfected the “blame the victim” mentality. “They had it coming, they brought it on themselves, they are to blame for their own troubles.”

And this from the mouths of other Jews as Jewish babies bleed to death, life oozing from their tiny bodies before even experiencing what it means to mature and be despised simply because you exist.

Even today as the haters continue to cheer on the murderers, small, calculated remarks place Jewish children’s lives in jeopardy.

French President Sarkozy makes a hateful remark to his compadre President Obama calling Netanyahu a “liar.” The world sees, but agrees then ignores. What’s one more hateful anti-Semitic remark?

What’s one more dead Jew?

The world would not even for a moment mourn the death of another. In fact they would welcome it as a family anticipates that moment when a hateful old relative dies, and they are bothered with him no longer.

Kill the Jews. The words are posted on the signposts of every nation, on the lips of the world. Spoken aloud or silent, they are always there.

Funny, the way Obama’s comments were so offhandedly dismissed.

After all, what did he say that was so bad? He was merely agreeing with Sarkozy that dealing with Netanyahu – i.e. Israel – is unpleasant. Complaining about his existence in his life as an annoyance he must endure.

Damn those Americans and their pro-Israel crap.

And that’s just the point.

The President’s remarks were not benign at all. In fact they were as dangerous and deadly as a KKK mob with a rope chasing after a victim in the woods of Alabama.

The world heard.

The world agreed.

Damn those Jews, What a pain they are.

Why can’t they all go away?

Yes, the remark was duly noted and embraced by the haters of the planet.

There is nothing innocent or offhanded about racism or hatred.

How much more egregious that the remark came from a Black man.

A man who was to be a symbol of the end of hatred and racism in America.

“I have to deal with him all the time.”

No, nothing benign about that remark.

And so incredibly ironic were the words of Sarkozy.

It has long been very obvious the French hate Jews.

Anti Semitism is so pervasive in France today, Jewish people are in danger for their lives every minute. Violent incidents are occurring there each day. I have no doubt that if things continue, all Jews will be forced out of France. And that is the irony.

For as Sarkozy espouses his hatred for the Jews, he battles a Muslim presence, soon to overtake his country. His precious France.

Yet, hating Jews is politically correct. Murdering Jewish children acceptable in this world. Speaking against Muslims is a dangerous sport. Sarkozy is a coward. No one is afraid of a Jew, as they are easy to kill. Like a mosquito you can swat away at a summer picnic.

Please do not insult my intelligence by denying this claim. It makes one sound so damn foolish.

And I for one am sick to death of fools.

Jewish life comes cheap at wholesale prices. Oh it is not the only life nowadays that does, I will admit.

Somalian children are starved.

Who cares? Who acts on this offense?

Twenty one thousand children a day die on this planet. Who cares? Who speaks out?

We are a world of idiots watching some celebrity tramp’s trumped-up wedding and paying attention to the minutia that our tiny minds can absorb.


There is a saying, fifty million Frenchmen can’t be wrong. Ah, but they are. And their leader is the most wrong of all.

Life is filled with irony.

I never believed I would live to see the day when Germany spoke up for Israel.

I doubt I’ll see the day when France or England ever does.

Hatred is rampant but Jewish hatred is acceptable, understandable and righteous in the world’s eyes.

The United Nations, the vortex of evil on Planet Earth, openly espouses anti Semitism every minute of every day. And the United States of America, land of the free, funds these hateful efforts to the tune of two billion dollars a year.

I am sick to death of the depths to which mankind has sunk.

We have reentered that slimy mud bath from whence we came.

Perhaps it is time for evolution to begin once more.

It certainly did not work the first time around.

The series “Postcards from America—Postcards from Israel” by Ari Bussel and Norma Zager is a compilation of articles capturing the essence of life in America and Israel during the first two decades of the 21st Century.

The writers invite readers to view and experience an Israel and her politics through their eyes, Israel visitors rarely discover and Israelis often ignore.

This point—and often—counter-point presentation is sprinkled with humor and sadness and attempts to tackle serious and relevant issues of the day. The series began in 2008, appears both in print in the USA and on numerous websites and is followed regularly by readership from around the world.

Zager and Bussel can be heard on live radio in conversation on the program “Conversations Eye to Eye between Norma and Ari.”

© “Postcards from America — Postcards from Israel,” November, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

'The greatest crime'?

Israel Matsav

What do you think was the greatest crime in human history? The Holocaust comes to mind. So do many of the pogroms in Europe starting with the crusades and continuing right up to the end of World War II. Of course, I'm being pretty parochial. So how about the Armenian genocide? The Sudanese war on non-Muslims? The Hutu's and Tutsi's of Rwanda?

'Palestinian Authority' television, run by our 'peace partner,' has decided that there's something worse - much worse - than all that. Would you believe the Balfour declaration?

Every year on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, Palestinian Authority leaders and official media issue harsh statements attacking it. According to the Palestinian narrative, Jews have no history in the land and therefore have no right to exist as a state. Consequently, Israel exists only because of the Balfour Declaration. This year, the PA Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Culture organized a workshop for high school girls in Tulkarem in cooperation with the city's Education Administration. The girls wrote "letters of sorrow and pain to the Queen of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II, and to the British Foreign Minister, William Hague, since it was the letter by that country's Foreign Minister Arthur James Balfour, which has caused the Palestinian people ongoing suffering," reported the official PA daily.

One girl wrote to Queen Elizabeth:

"The real reasons that caused Balfour to give his dark promise, first and foremost [the desire] to be rid of the Jews in Europe and to award them a prize for the genocidal weapons which they had invented, which helped Britain to annihilate more people."

PA leaders and official media have published claims on many occasions that the establishment of Israel was a European plot to get rid of the Jews in Europe because the Jews were a burden on European society. The Balfour Declaration is cited by many Palestinians as proof that Zionism was not a Jewish idea but a colonialist idea, and it was this idea that the Palestinian girl was expressing in her letter.

Let's go to the videotape.

Here's another one. Let's go to the videotape.

Despite the PA's claims in English to the international community that it recognizes Israel, the PA openly continues to indoctrinate its people with significant historical revision, to reject and deny Israel's right to exist.

Click here to read more

Who will sue Ahmed Tibi?

Under the terms of Israel's new anti-boycott law, those who call for a boycott of the Jewish state may be sued for damages. Former political adviser to Yasser Arafat and current 'Israeli Arab' MK Ahmed Tibi (pictured here with his good friend Muammar Gadhafi) has called for a boycott of Israel. Will anyone step to the plate to sue him?

Arab MK Ahmed Tibi (Balad) has called on the world to boycott all Israeli companies that help perpetuate the “injustices” of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, in an op-ed published in the New York Times earlier this week.

Tibi wrote the op-ed as a direct response to the Knesset's recent approval of the boycott law forbidding individuals or organizations from publicly calling for a boycott against Israel or the settlements under its contro A In the op-ed, Tibi declared that his support for the right to boycott stems from his belief in ending the “Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory”, in granting “equal rights for Palestinians and Jews”, and implementing the right of return “for Palestinian refugees forced from their homes and lands in 1948”.

* * * * * * * * *

First Publish: 9/20/2011
MK Ahmed Tibi in Ramallah
MK Ahmed Tibi in Ramallah
Israel news photo: Flash 90

On Sunday, MK Ahmed Tibi’s office denied reports that he was traveling to New York as part of a Palestinian Authority delegation. The next day, Tibi uploaded pictures to his Facebook page in which he can be seen alongside PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, senior PA negotiator Nabil Shaath and other PA delegates on a plane to New York.

The pictures, printed Tuesday by Maariv/Nrg, show Tibi deep in discussion with Abbas, and reviewing documents with other delegates.

Despite the photos, Tibi continues to deny that he is part of the PA delegation. “I was honored and gratified to fly on the plane of Abu Mazen, president of the Palestinian Authority… I flew on the plane from Amman to New York as a guest, not as a member of the Palestinian delegation,” he told Maariv.

While Tibi denied official support for the PA, he proudly admitted to helping the PA advance its cause. “I support the Palestinian position and work to promote it. I do not hide this,” he stated.

The PA has linked its own statehood bid to terrorism, choosing Monday to have the mother of several terrorists who murdered Israelis kick off the appeal to the UN.

Tibi and several other Arab MKs have openly backed the PA over Israel in recent weeks, encouraging PA leaders to go ahead with attempts to establish a state unilaterally, and undermining Israel’s efforts to win foreign support for negotiations over unilateral moves.

Suspicions were raised over Tibi’s PA ties when the Bethlehem-based Maan news agency listed him as one of the members of Abbas’ delegation. The veteran MK worked as an advisor to the PA prior to joining the Knesset, and even represented the PA in talks with Israel.

Several Zionist MKs attempted to bar Tibi from Knesset in 2003 over his support for the PA and for terrorism. While their initiative was successful, it was later overturned by the Supreme Court, and Tibi has since gone on to be reelected three times.

MKs in Likud and the National Union expressed outrage at Tibi’s latest activities. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said he would demand an explanation, while MK Ofir Akunis (Likud) said he would file a complaint to the Knesset’s Ethics Committee.

A7 - 11.24.11

8. Arab MK Wants 'Settler-Free' Supreme Court
by Gavriel Queenann Arab MK Wants 'Settler-Free' Supreme Court

MK Ahmad Tibi (Ram-Ta'al) – a former political adviser to late PLO arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat – proposed an amendment to Israel's Basic Laws on Wednesday that would proscribe Israeli residents in Judea and Samaria from serving on the Supreme Court.

The bill reads candidates "will not be appointed as Supreme Court justice if he does not reside within the State of Israel, or he lives in violation of international or national law."

"Recently, there were attempts to promote the candidacy of certain judges by politicians from the right with some of these judges live outside the sovereign state of Israel, as recognized by international law - including the settlements in the occupied territories after 1967 constitute a violation of international and national law," Tibi wrote in explanatory notes for his proposal.

He added, "The servant of jurisdiction must send a message of respect for national law and international law. Settlements are living in blatant violation and defiance of international and national law and whoever does so is unfit to serve."

Contrary to Tibi's assertions the pre-1967 armistice lines are not "internationally recognized borders." Israel won Judea and Samaria from Hashemite Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War, but it was never sovereign territory.

Rather, Judea and Samaria were a part of British Mandate Palestine designated to become a part of a future Jewish state that Jordan seized during Israel's War of Independence in 1948. As such, Israel maintains Judea and Samaria are properly designated 'disputed territories' under international law.

Building communities in ‘disputed territories,’ while politically controversial, is not a violation of international law.

Nor, as Tibi bizarrely asserts, are Israeli citizens living in Judea and Samaria violating national laws. Indeed, Israel's government has recognized numerous communities in Judea and Samaria as municipalities where it provides essential services.

Additionally, Israel's Supreme Court frequently rules on matters in Judea and Samaria demonstratively showing it regards Israeli jurisdiction as extending to those regions – even if formal sovereignty has not been declared.

Critics say Tibi's proposed amendment is a clear anti-democratic attempt to disenfranchise a significant segment of the Israeli public he is in political conflict with.

Knesset observers say his proposal is unlikely to find support among the ruling coalition or government ministers – effectively dooming it to failure from the outset. Instead, they say, Tibi’s move is most likely a hollow propaganda stunt.
Comment:After reading the following, Americans should ask themselves if they would agree to the presence of enemies of the U.S. serving in Congress. It is obvious that the answer would be a resounding 'NO'! In Israel, however, the Arab community is represented by those who advocate the destruction of the state!

A fact that must be repeated over and over again is that it was the JEWS who were called 'Palestinians' until 1948 when they became 'Israelis. The Arabs in Palestine did not want to use that term and preferred to identify themselves as 'members of the larger Arab people'. They referred to themselves according to the countries from which they had come -i.e. 'southern Syrians'.

Initially, the conflict was between Israel and the Arabs; then, for political expediency, the latter adopted the 'Palestinian' identity which made them appear to be the indigenous inhabitants of the territory with Jews having no rights in the land. They have attempted to destroy the proof of the rich ancient history of Israeli ancestors who dwelled in the land for more than 2000 years before the several conquests that uprooted them. However, even during that time there was always a Jewish presence in the land, awaiting the 'return of her children' to that which was promised her even by the League of Nations in a unanimous vote by her 51 members on July 24, 1922. Every person ought to investigate this for him/herself and to understand that Israel is not an 'occupier' but is rather 'being occupied'.


An excerpt from Arutz 7 - Nov. 24,11 - provides an opportunity to comment on the status of Arab MKs (Members of the Knesset) who will say anything and do everything to delegitimize the State of Israel. For better understanding of the country's situation read the following about 2 Arab MKs and then the Arutz 7 piece:

Among Arab MKs is Wasil Taha who admitted advocating the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers; Gilad Shalit was recently released after more than 5 years in isolated captivity without even a visit from the International Red Cross.