Saturday, April 26, 2008

Can Israel withstand US pressure?

ed Belman

Recently we hear that Olmert offered to cede the Golan to Syria and I commented The Golan is safe for now. For now, because ultimately the US will be pressuring Israel to do the deal.

As Ami Isseroff points out in Territorial Integrity: American Middle East policy and what it means for Israel, it has always been US policy to force Israel to trade land for peace forever.

Pres. Johnson wrote on May 3rd ‘67, “the United States is firmly committed to the support of the political independence and territorial integrity of all the nations of the area”. When this was uttered, it served as a balm for Israel as its enemies made ready to attack. After the war it proved to be a double-edged sword. True, that Res 242 promised withdrawal from “territories”, not “all territories” to secure borders but the resolution also prohibited the acquisition of territory by force. Nevertheless it was the US that insisted omitting the word “all” or “the”. This policy was reinforced in Bush’s letter in connection with the Gaza Disengagement wherein he said it was “unrealistic” to expect Israel to give up the settlement blocks. The import of these letters was discussed recently in Israelis Claim Secret Agreement With U.S. Now it appears that Both Rice and Bush refused to talk about ‘67 borders in Abbas’ recent visit.

To accomplish this goal the US proceeded to make Israel dependent on it for military supply and diplomatic support in order to gain influence on Israel. Recently, in keeping with this policy, Rice advised Israel that the US would not send extra supplies to Israel but would keep them in the US.

Now keeping Israel dependent on the US would have no leverage value unless there was a threat to Israel providing the push. So the US did nothing about the Arab demonization of Israel and even supported Arafat as a means to terrorized Israelis. And the US has been building up Egypt’s military capacity to threaten Israel. Get the picture.

There are two factors that remain obstacles to US plans. The determination of most Israelis to not cede all the land required or to divide Jerusalem, is one. The other is the Arab rejectionist camp of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas who reject peace with Israel.

Obviously the US can’t deliver now. It has always wanted to prevent Israel from putting facts on the ground in the meantime, thus the settlement freeze demands. In my opinion the US also instructed Israel to allow Arabs to build in order to keep the pressure on Israel to withdraw.

The Saudi Plan that the US embraced and insisted be included in the Roadmap, held out the prospect of normalization with Israel but not until Israel withdraws. Once Israel withdraws, the US has no way to deliver on this. Israel should be insisting that arrangements with and recognition by the Arabs states be processed in parallel not sequentially. No sign of that happening.

As Isseroff points out in the above linked article which is a must read,

Peace in return for Israeli withdrawal would be a fair bargain, if it is really peace. Unfortunately, we should be well aware that the United States does not possess either the will or the means to guarantee continued peace after Israeli withdrawal, and on the other hand, pressures in the United States are growing to get any kind of settlement and call it “peace.”

Acute analysts will note that if Israel ever does return all of the conquered territories, then Israel would be of no further use in American attempts to ingratiate itself with the Arabs. At the same time, America would have very little leverage with the Arabs unless it pressed Israel for further concessions. Without doubt, there are those in the US diplomatic corps who would not be averse to exerting such pressure.

Israeli politicians therefore have to think ahead to what American policy might be two days after the peace treaty is signed, when some Arab states, or Muslim groups, inevitably, nonetheless declare their objections to the presence of Israel in the Middle East. From the Israeli point, we will have no more territory to concede, but that may not necessarily be the American view. After all, in the early 50s, the US was behind a plan to get Israel to make concessions to Egypt in the Negev.

Israel should abrogate the peace process. I realize that the US won’t take it lying down.

The ‘peace process’ is in need of a paradigm shift.

Let’s hope.

Another Obama foreign policy advisor

Gabriel Schoenfeld reports on the latest Obama foreign policy adviser who

turns out not to like Israel very much. Add Joseph Cirincione to the list

that includes Samantha Power, Robert Malley, Merrill McPeak, Zbigniew

Brzezinski , and his spiritual adviser Jeremiah Wright. (Obama, of course,

loves Israel; he's just unlucky with his advisers). Last September, in response to reports that the site in Syria that Israel

bombed was a potential nuclear facility being established with the help of

North Korea, Cirincione insisted that the site was no such thing. "This

story is nonsense," Obama's adviser on nuclear threats told Foreign Policy

magazine's blog.

And not just ordinary nonsense. According to Cirincione, the reports were

the product of two nefarious, agenda-driven groups: (1) Bush administration

hardliners seeking to derail "the U.S.-North Korean agreement" and (2)

Israelis who "want to thwart any dialogue between the U.S. and Syria."

As with Samantha Power, the number one problem with Obama taking advice from

Cirincione is not his view of Israel; it's that he's a fool. As Schoenfeld

notes, the fact of North Korean involvement in the development of a Syrian

plutonium plant appears indisputable; indeed, the evidence now includes

videos taken inside the facility before it was destroyed. Yet Cirincione

dismissed the reports out-of-hand because he didn't like the implications,

including the adverse implications for Israel's longstanding enemy, Syria.

In essence, Cirincione committed precisely the offense he accused the Bush

administration and the Israelis of -- reaching a conclusion of fact based on

an agenda, rather than the evidence.

It's rather frightening to think that Obama has turned for advice on nuclear

matters to someone this grotesquely paranoid about our government and about

the Israelis.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Luckiest Jews In The World

Caroline B. Glick

I just published a collection of my essays in English. Each time I am asked if I am also releasing the volume in Hebrew I feel a pain deep inside me when I answer that no, right now, my publisher is only interested in an English edition. Indeed it is a shame because I wrote most of the essays in Hebrew as well.

Writing in Hebrew is a qualitatively different experience than writing in English. Hebrew is a more compact language than English. It has fewer words and the words it has are denser and more flexible than English words. A 1,200-word essay in Hebrew will be 1,800 words in English. This is a mechanical difference. But there are deeper distinctions as well. One level beyond the mechanics is the multiple meanings of Hebrew words. The density of meaning in Hebrew is a writer's dream. Nearly anyone can imbue a seemingly simple sentence with multiple, generally complementary meanings simply by choosing a specific verb, verb form, noun or adjective. These double, triple and even quadruple meanings of one word are a source of unbounded joy for a writer. To take just one example, the Hebrew word "shevet" means returning and it also means sitting. And it is also a homonym for club – as in billy club – and for tribe.

In 2005, the IDF named the operation expelling the Israeli residents of Gaza and Northern Samaria "Shevet Achim," or returning or sitting with brothers. But it also sounded like it was making a distinction between tribesmen and brothers. And it also sounded like "clubbing brothers."

As this one example demonstrates, one joyful consequence of the unique density of the Hebrew language is that satirical irony comes easily to even the most dour and unpoetic writers.

For a Jew, knowing, speaking and writing Hebrew is an intimate experience. This is particularly so for those of us whose mother tongue is not Hebrew – because as the secrets of the language slowly reveal themselves to us we feel we are discovering ourselves.

Hebrew encapsulates the entirety of the Jewish story. Modern Hebrew in particular is an eclectic amalgamation of classical Hebrew, Yiddishisms, and expressions from the Sephardic Diaspora experience. Greek, Roman, Aramaic, Turkish, Arabic and English expressions meld seamlessly into the stream of words. It is not simply that it is the language of the Bible. Hebrew is also an expression of the unique culture of a small, proud, often besieged, often conquered and permeable people.

Its power to explain that cultural experience and that historical baggage is something that often leaves a newly initiated member of the Hebrew-speaking world gasping in a mixture of disbelief and relief. It is unbelievable that a language can be so immediately and unselfconsciously expressive of feelings that have traversed millennia. Understanding its power as a tool of expressing the Jewish condition is one of the most gratifying discoveries a Jew can make.

But the experience of speaking in Hebrew and of living in Hebrew is incomplete when it is not experienced in Israel. It is one thing to pray in a synagogue in Hebrew or even to speak regular Hebrew outside of Israel. The former is a spiritual duty and a communal experience. The latter is a social or educational experience. But speaking Hebrew in Israel is a complete experience. Hebrew localizes the Jewishness, Judaism and Jews. It anchors us to the Land of Israel. Taken together, the Hebrew language and the Land of Israel stabilize a tradition and make the Jewish people whole.

I write all of this as a means of explaining why a Jew in the Diaspora, particularly the United States, would want to live in Israel. Leaving America is difficult on several levels. In my own experience, it involved physically separating from my entire family. It also involved cutting myself off from my language – English – and immersing myself completely in a tongue I had yet to master. Beyond that, it meant leaving a country that had done only good for me and for the generations of my family who fled to America from the pogroms in Eastern Europe at the turn of the twentieth century.

As someone who loves me told me 17 years ago as I packed my bags for an unknowable future, "People don't emigrate away from America. They beg to come to its shores."

But would it be right to characterize leaving America as an act of ingratitude? Do Jews have to reject America in order to go to Israel? No, we don't.

Coming to Israel is not rejecting America. It is embracing a choice to become whole in a way that life outside of Israel cannot provide. That doesn't mean life cannot be fulfilling for a Jew outside of Israel. Millions of Jews can attest to the fact. It certainly doesn't mean that life in Israel is easier or safer or more lucrative than life is elsewhere.

Israel is a troublesome, hard, often irritating place. It is a young country that belongs to an ancient, eternal people who are all imperfect. Some Israelis, particularly those who today occupy the seats of power, are weak and irresponsible and often corrupt and self-serving.

Israelis have quick fuses. Among other things, this distinctively Israeli rush to anger makes being stuck in rush hour traffic a bit like dancing a waltz in the middle of a shooting range. Then too, service is not a concept that most Israelis – particularly in service professions – are even vaguely familiar with.

Beyond the general fallibility of Israelis, there are the wars and the hatred and the terror that make up so much of life in Israel. Being surrounded by enemies and living in the midst of jihad-crazed Arab states is like sitting on the edge of a volcano. And rather than acknowledge the danger and contend with it, Israelis – frustratingly and dangerously – more often than not blame one another for the heat while ignoring its source.

Yet once a Jew catches the Zionist bug, none of that is important. Once a Jew allows himself or herself to feel the pull of our heritage, of our language and our land, the frustration, danger and hardship of living in Israel seems like second nature – as natural as breathing in and out.

I recently moved to a home on the edge of a valley filled with forests and carpeted by wildflowers. Every day I hike for an hour or two along the trails below. A few days ago, as I walked late at night, I considered the dark and silent hills surrounding me and felt safe. They were liberated in 1948.

As I stood for a moment, I thought to myself, "These hills have already been conquered for you, by people better than yourself. Now it is your job to keep them safe for the next generation. And it will be the next generation's responsibility to keep them safe for the following one."

The thought filled me with a sense of privilege and peace.

People ask me all the time why I insist on living in Israel. Usually I just shrug my shoulders and smile. I, a woman who makes my living from words, find myself speechless when challenged with this simple question.

I spend several months a year away from Israel working. But every time I go away on a long trip, inevitably after three weeks or so, I begin to feel incomplete. I start to long for the smells of Israel. My ears ache to hear Hebrew all around me. I want to go back so I can walk down the streets on Friday afternoons and smile at perfect strangers as we bid each other Shabbat Shalom.

Why do I live in Israel? Because Israel lives in me, as it lives in all Jews. It is who we are. And those of us lucky enough to recognize this truth and embrace it in all its fullness and depth are the luckiest Jews in the world.

Caroline Glick is deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post. Her Jewish Press-exclusive column appears the last week of each month.

Comments:Caroline Glick's feelings mirror those of so many of us who made aliyah. We have had the best of both worlds and certainly appreciate the similarity between the U.S. and Israel - two free countries.

In my case, I came to an already established family - my children and grandchildren (and now another generation!) More than 100 years ago, my great-grandfather's brother, lived in this territory - not a state - called 'Palestine'. He was a 'Palestinian Jew' as were all Jews living here until, in 1948, they became 'Israelis'. To us, this land has always been Eretz Yisrael based on our history and religion both of which have kept alive the dream of return throughout generations.

Within our own family, paternal grandfather (z"l), a Hassid living in what is today Belarus, was editor of a journal and an author who wrote in Hebrew - with commentaries in Hebrew!! This was more than 85 years ago and his book -considered a classic - is still being published today. It is called the 'Bais Rebbeh' and Grandfather's name was Rabbi Chaim Meir Helman.

We all come from different places but to many of us Israel is our 'headquarters' - a beacon of light for a People who have waited so long for a homeland. Jews the world over have a sense of pride because of this tiny jewel of a country. We must all remember that it is our job to keep it safe. The Hebrew "Sheh-lo ya-noom v'lo yi-shan Shomer Yisrael" - "May the Guardian of Israel neither slumber nor sleep "- surely refers to us as well as to the Creator.

I hope that Caroline's article will help native Israelis who receive this understand us - olim - a bit better. We are here for the right reasons and have much to contribute to the continued growth of the country and the preservation of the free world.

in beloved Jerusalem


An April 23 Telegraph (UK newspaper) article by Tim Butcher, "A portrait of life and death in Gaza," butchers the truth about Gaza with distortions, prejudicial language and one-sided reporting. According to Butcher, Gaza's economic woes are due to Israel's actions and it's only natural that Gazans would resent Israel. Nowhere does he mention the rampant anti-Israel incitement or any responsibility the Palestinians themselves might have for the lack of jobs and investment in Gaza. He fails to connect Gaza's poor economy with the Gazans' wanton destruction of the multi-million dollar greenhouse industry given to them after the Israeli withdrawal, the extremism and lack of the rule of law that make it unlikely that any large corporations would feel safe investing millions to turn Gaza's beautiful Mediterranean coastline into a tourist destination, or the relentless bombing of Israel from Gaza, which requires Israel to respond militarily and to close its borders to Gaza's workers and goods.

While noting that Gazans are "without a meaningful economy," Mr. Butcher also never broaches the fact that enormous amounts of international aid have been squandered by the Palestinian leadership on weapons and terrorist training camps in Gaza. There is no focus on Hamas ignoring the basic needs of its electorate, in favor of unrelenting rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.

Indicative of Butcher's partisan slant, he writes: "The Jewish state insists it fires only at confirmed military targets, but the death toll among Gazan civilians dwarfs the number of civilian Israelis killed."

So, according to Butcher's odd logic, if the Palestinians were successful in murdering more Israeli civilians, and the numbers of civilians killed on both sides were more equal, somehow that would convince him that Israel really does aim at military targets? Does Butcher really see no difference between a Palestinian terrorist deliberately striving to bomb Israeli civilians versus an Israeli soldier deliberately striving to strike only terrorist targets, but inadvertently hitting civilians?

Since Palestinians from Gaza launch rockets at Israeli civilians on a daily basis, it's certainly not for lack of trying that they haven't murdered scores of Israeli civilians. Butcher omits the fact that it is Palestinian war crimes that are responsible for the death of civilians on both sides. Palestinians launch rockets at Israeli civilians from within heavily populated Palestinian civilian areas, knowingly inviting Israeli fire at the launch sites, which will unfortunately sometimes result in death and injuries to innocent Palestinian bystanders.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ross Issues Urgent Warning on Iran

The U.S. and its allies probably have no more than a year to take action against Iran before that nation acquires nuclear weapons, warns Dennis Ross, an architect of the Mideast peace process.

By 2009, Iran “could be a nuclear power, if not a nuclear weapon state, said Ross, who served as the director for policy planning in the State Department under President George H.W. Bush and special Middle East envoy under President Bill Clinton.

If not stopped by next year, Iran will have “crossed the threshold of stockpiling fissionable material,” Ross said in remarks to Toronto’s Shaarei Shomayim Congregation that were reported by the Canadian Jewish News.

“Once they cross that threshold, we’re going to be in a different ball game. We have to approach this with a high degree or urgency. We’re running out of time.”
ANot only did Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vow to “wipe Israel off the map,” but former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami has stated that it would “take only one bomb” to annihilate Israel, Ross told the gathering.

“Is that their intention?” he asked. “Can you ignore what they say?”

Ross helped the Israelis and Palestinians reach the 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, facilitated the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, and also worked on talks between Israel and Syria.

Regarding Iran, he said the country is vulnerable to economic pressure because it derives 85 percent of its export revenue from oil, and squeezing Iran’s oil revenue can push the “not very popular” regime into abandoning its nuclear weapons efforts, according to the Jewish News.

But there are clear signs that the Bush administration will not wait that long and military action is imminent.

As Newsmax reported in mid-April, a leading member of America’s Jewish community disclosed that a military strike on Iran was likely, and said Vice President Dick Cheney’s recent trip through the Middle East should be seen as preparation for the U.S. attack.

The source also told Newsmax that Israel “is preparing for heavy casualties,” expecting to be the target of Iranian retribution following a U.S. strike.

And Saudi Arabia is reportedly taking emergency steps in preparing to counter any radioactive hazards that may result from an American attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

© 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Fitzgerald: Rice, in over her head

“A reliable source has informed me that Condoleeza Rice has approved a new lexicon for State Department usage, absolutely forbidding the use of the terms "jihad" and "jihadist" by any State Department official.” -- Robert Spencer Without intelligent use of the word "Jihad," a word both accurate and useful (these qualities do not always coincide), a word that demands to be explained, and in that explanation -- the same kind of explanation that the word "dhimmi" calls for, Infidels will be forced to learn certain home truths about the meaning, and menace, of Islam.

By banning use of the word "Jihad," Rice makes much more difficult the intelligent dissemination of information about Islam. She makes more difficult the task of seeing the war of self-defense in all of its dimensions, and furthermore, far from encouraging peace, defined as the absence of open warfare through military means, makes such open warfare through such means more likely, by preventing the United States and other Infidel lands, from working to divide and demoralize the Camp of Islam and Jihad. That can only take place, it is clear, once the conflict is understood, and once the most effective instruments of Jihad are grasped, and the monomaniacal emphasis on "terrorism" has come, as it must, to an end. For that emphasis has served to divert attention from the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da'wa, and most important of all, demographic conquest that, in Western Europe, proceed without Infidel governments taking the kind of minimal measures that, at any other time in history, would long ago have been sensibly undertaken.

Whatever the peoples of the West may have lacked in the past -- cars and computers, say -- they did at least forthrightly, uninhibitedly, recognize the nature of Islam, its meaning, its menace. Rice wishes to prevent this, in order to curry favor with Arab states, and possibly in order to prevent having to begin the difficult work (but hardly too difficult) of figuring out the kinds of things that might best work to weaken the Camp of Islamic Jihad. Those ways have all been set out here, over the past few years -- often in great detail. But Rice hasn't time in her datebook. She hasn't space in her brain, to consider how best, how most effectively, how at the least cost, without all the squandering (of men, money, materiel, morale both civilian and military) that the Iraq folly continues to cause, to undo or hold in check the forces of Jihad.

She's in over her head, and not waving, but drowning.

And despite all this, a Jihad Watch commenter said in the wake of this news that "our administration is doing just fine."

The Bush Administration has had nearly seven years to educate itself, and then to help educate those whose duty it is to instruct and to protect, in the nature of Islam, and in the meaning, and instruments, and goals, of Jihad. It has failed completely to do so. In fact, it has chosen to squander men, money, materiel in Iraq, in a venture that, if it might conceivably be justified initially, is so no longer. And that initial justification depends on one's judgment in the Administration's presentation of, and belief in, evidence concerning weapons, and ongoing projects to produce weapons of mass destruction by the regime of Saddam Hussein. For that was the argument presented to Congress -- that and that alone, and not the idiotic bringing of "freedom" to "ordinary moms and dads" in Iraq, or any other such impossible and irrelevant nonsense. Such nonsense stands in the way of the icy exploitation of ethnic and, especially, sectarian fissures that, once openly on display with the removal of the iron hand of Saddam Hussein, could have led, and can still lead -- and indeed inevitably will lead, as soon as the Americans get out of the way -- to a situation that will demand the attention, and the volunteers, and the materiel, and above all the money, of both Iran and Saudi Arabia, and will necessarily cause difficulties within many Muslim countries, including Yemen, Bahrain, Pakistan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia (in the Eastern Province populated by Shi'a), well beyond the immediate and permanent problems that will remain in Iraq.

Having used up -- having squandered -- so much political capital in Iraq, the Administration has failed completely to deal with Iran. And if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, one can thank those who were so convinced that the Iraq Project made sense, though no one has yet been able to utter an articulate paragraph explaining just how the stated desired outcome or goals of the Bush Administration in Iraq would help weaken the Camp of Islamic Jihad or, for example, lessen the threat of the Money Weapon, Da'wa, and demographic conquest in the threatened lands of Western Europe. They haven't explained this, because they can't.

And the unpopularity of the Iraq War, and failure to explain the nature of Jihad, has made it domestically harder to obtain from Congress the support necessary for domestic security measures that make sense, if explained by an administration that had a policy that made sense. But the Iraq policy does not make sense. It makes the very opposite of sense. American forces should leave Iraq, indeed should have started to leave by February or March 2004 (by that time Saddam Hussein had been captured, his sons killed, his chief collaborators captured or killed, and the country scoured for weapons and weapons projects).

But the Bush loyalists, incapable of independent analysis, and still so incapable, saw support for the idiotic Iraq War as a test of wills with those they deem "lefties" (or some such vulgarism). And so they continue to pour this nonsense into the ear of McCain, who if he does not come to understand that the American forces should leave Iraq not because the Total Belief-System of totalitarian Islam is not a great and universal menace, but precisely because it is, will undoubtedly lose the election. And at least one of his potential opponents apparently has views on Islam that rival those of Jimmy Carter, indeed is a Carter in posse waiting to become one in esse.

"Our administration is doing just fine."

"Our" administration could hardly be doing worse.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How Israel got Trashed

Isi Leibler
April 23, 2008

How was it possible? Only 30 years ago, we were still being hailed as the greatest success story of the 20th century. We were regarded as the people who rose from the ashes of the Holocaust and resurrected ourselves into an independent democratic nation, an oasis in a region dominated by tyrannies and despotisms. We were applauded for having successfully resisted the violent efforts of our neighbors to destroy and deny us our right to exist as a sovereign Jewish nation. Yet today, even in Western Europe, we are reviled as the greatest threat to world peace, just behind a rogue state like Iran. What happened? Why and how were we so effectively vanquished in the battlefield of the war of ideas?
In the early days, the Zionist leaders and founding fathers of Israel were at all times conscious that the war of ideas was a critical element in the struggle to establish and retain a Jewish state.

Prior to the Oslo Accords, when Israelis presented their case to the world, they did so with undiluted passion, convinced beyond doubt that justice was on their side. In those days, our diplomatic representatives were recognized as being among the most outstanding in the world. They were invariably dedicated idealists and also capable of articulating the case for Israel with style.

The 1967 Six Day War was a turning point. Until then, as the plucky little country struggling for survival against overwhelming odds, we enjoyed the support of most Western nations. But we were always sensitive to the fact that the world was traditionally more inclined to comfort Jews as victims rather than admiring them as victors.

Indeed, between the Six Day War and the Oslo Accords, the global support we had enjoyed eroded dramatically. That did not happen simply because Arabs had assumed a new underdog role. It was largely a consequence of the attitude of the newly empowered sabra elites, who displayed open contempt for hasbara, arrogantly asserting that military strength was the only factor to be considered. They dismissed the war of ideas as so much hot air.

The Israel sea change occurred at the onset of the Oslo Accords. Land for peace negotiations with the Palestinians bitterly split the nation. Despite all evidence to the contrary, our government became frenetically obsessed in trying to persuade the people that Arafat was a genuine peace partner. In desperation, it began covering up and making excuses for the criminality of the Palestinians. It even resorted to creating false illusions about our "peace partner," highly reminiscent of what we are witnessing today.

In addition, then deputy foreign minister Dr. Yossi Beilin persuaded Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that Diaspora Jews lobbying on behalf of Israel were hindering Israeli negotiations with the Arabs. Rabin brutally told AIPAC and other Jewish groups that their interventions on behalf of Israel were counter productive and instructed them to butt out.

At the same time, the high standard of Israeli diplomats eroded dramatically virtually overnight, as jobs for the boys and seniority rather than merit became the main criteria for key ambassadorial postings. Simultaneously, Beilin engineered early retirement for many old timers in the Foreign Ministry, replacing them with people fully aligned with his approach. The new diplomats were instructed to concentrate on promoting the peace process, explain the need to accommodate the rights of two peoples to the land, and avoid acrimonious debates. As a consequence, Israeli spokesmen tended to avoid confronting Arab lies, and instead conceded that both sides had made mistakes, suggesting that the time had arrived to move forward and avoid dwelling on contentious issues from the past.

It was truly a sea change. From passionately promoting our case, we had turned a full circle. Not only did we recoil from repudiating falsehoods, but when Arab casualties incurred as a consequence of IDF efforts to defend targeted Israeli civilians, the government began instinctively apologizing instead of blaming the murderers.

The final nails on the coffin were struck when Haaretz, the prestigious Israeli daily newspaper, launched an English print and Internet version which inter alia published articles implying that Israel had been born in sin and radically disparaged, even demonized, Israeli policies. Prior to this, mainstream Western media outlets rarely carried such articles.

Haaretz effectively provided the mainstream Western media with a kosher certification to incorporate the most extreme anti-Israeli content. "If Israeli papers can publish this, why should we be less inhibited?" became the standard response of numerous editors when accused of anti-Israeli bias and double standards.

To make matters worse, most foreign embassies in Israel began relying as an authority on the English Haaretz version, and its radical post-Zionist critiques were incorporated into reports dispatched to their governments.

Our global standing plummeted as international public opinion began to regard us as a rogue state. I recollect discussing this with Prime Minister Rabin and his successors, who were all either unwilling or unable to relate to the problem. Their eyes simply glazed over whenever the subject of the war of ideas was raised.

The situation worsened under Ehud Barak's premiership, when cabinet responsibility collapsed and individual ministers began publicly contradicting one another on crucial issues. In contrast, the Arabs and their allies became more disciplined and ensured that their spokesmen all parroted the same falsehoods. Regrettably, other than Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli leaders failed to appreciate the importance of refuting these lies. Soon, the distorted Arab narrative not only received greater global prominence, but became increasingly accepted in many quarters as the true one. Israel's interests were further undermined when Education Minister Yuli Tamir gave greater credence to the falsehood that Israel had been born in sin by agreeing to incorporate the Nakba (the Palestinian day of mourning for the creation of Israel) into the Israeli Arab state school curriculum.

Yet in retrospect, despite this self-inflicted denigration, our government's greatest failure was its reluctance to expose to the world the criminal nature of our Palestinian neighbor, the PA no less than Hamas. To this day, we continue understating the barbaric culture of death and the ongoing anti-Semitic incitement which permeates every sector of society under the jurisdiction of our Palestinian neighbor: mothers joyfully dispatching their own children to Paradise as suicide bombers; schools (even kindergartens), mosques and media inciting to kill Jews; Mahmoud Abbas, our peace partner, providing pensions for families of terrorists; spontaneous street celebrations erupting whenever terrorists succeed in killing Israelis in restaurants or shopping malls. The failure by our government to internationally expose such barbaric behavior reflects its slavish denial of reality.

In fact, despite all the evidence to the contrary, we ourselves still promote the lie that the conflict with the Palestinians is a struggle between two peoples over land. Were that so, we would have achieved a peace settlement many years ago. It is Islamic xenophobia denying the Jewish people the right to sovereignty which remains the root of the conflict. This was even reaffirmed as recently as Annapolis, when Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his determination never to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Over the past few years, matters have sank to an all time low. To pave the way for the unilateral disengagement, Sharon became the first Israeli leader to formally describe the Jewish presence over the Green Line as "the Occupation."

Annapolis was the final straw, when Olmert, desperate to please President Bush and appease the Palestinians, endorsed the Arab narrative on refugees. Feeling empowered, the impotent Mahmoud Abbas refused to concede anything. Just recently, in an interview with a Jordanian newspaper, Abbas brazenly stated that "At this time I am against armed struggle because we cannot achieve it, but things might be different in the coming stages." That the Olmert government failed to even condemn and alert the world after such an outrageous statement by our duplicitous "peace partner," who has described our efforts to protect our civilians from rocket attacks as "worse than the Holocaust," demonstrates the depth of self delusion we have reached and exemplifies why we continue losing the war of ideas.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Support for a Palestinian state is Soft & Reluctant

Yoram Ettinger

1. Support – among Israeli Jews – for the proposed Palestinian state (“Two States Solution”) is soft and reluctant, according to a March 31-April 1 poll conducted by the Tel Aviv University Center For Peace Research.

2. The establishment of the proposed Palestinian state is supported by 68%, many of whom – other than the Israel’s traditional Left – subordinate their security and historical concerns to their demographic concern. However, the demographic scare has been debunked by the Bennett Zimmerman-led American-Israel Demographic Research Group (AIDRG), as summarized below.

3. 55% of Israeli Jews define Judea & Samaria as “Liberated Territory,” compared with 32% who consider it “Occupied Territory,” in defiance of a 15 year old Political-Correctness promoted by Israel’s government, media, academic and k-12 education systems.

4. 57% of Israeli Jews do not accept the “Green Line” as Israel’s border, compared with 23% who accept it.

5. 49%:43% oppose an agreement, which entails painful concessions - a code name for substantial withdrawals.

6. 47%:40% of Israeli Jews consider the 1993 Oslo Accord a mistake.

7. 75% of Israeli Jews don’t believe that negotiation would lead to an agreement with the Palestinians. 75% believe that even if an agreement would be concluded, the Palestinians would not consider it an end to their conflict with Israel.

8. Most Israeli Jews oppose the tangible – potentially lethal - consequences of the “Two State Solution.” Their soft & reluctant support of the “Two State Solution” has been based on unfounded demographic fatalism. It has benefited from the absence of a systematic, full scale educational media campaign, highlighting historical, security and demographic aspects of Judea & Samaria mountain ridges (the “Golan Heights” of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the 9-15 mile sliver along the Mediterranean, surrounded by the conflict-ridden, volatile, violent, non-compliant Arab Mideast, which is yet to experience inter-Arab peace).

Happy Passover,

Yoram (website –

The American-Israel Demographic Research Group (AIDRG)

Key Findings

April 2008

Western taxpayers have provided, since 1994, a multi-billion dollar foreign aid to the PA, based on dramatically inflated Palestinian numbers. President Bush stated that Prime Ministers Sharon and Olmert argued that Israeli territorial concessions were required, in order to spare Israel a demographic calamity. Really?

I. AIDRG documents a 1.1MN (46%) inflation in the official number of Palestinians in Gaza, Judea & Samaria (2.7MN and not 3.8MN) and a 53% inflation in the official number of Palestinians in Judea & Samaria alone (1.5MN and not 2.3MN). The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) includes in its census some 400,000 overseas residents, 200,000 Israeli (Jerusalem) Arabs who are also counted as “Green Line” Arabs, ignores about 200,000 emigrants (since 1997), etc. The World Bank documents a 32% gap between the PCBS and the Palestinian Ministry of Education - documented – number of Palestinian births.

II. A long-term 67% Jewish majority on 98.5% of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean (without Gaza). A long-term 60% Jewish majority west of the Jordan River compared with 33% and 8% minority in 1947 and 1900 respectively.

III. Arab fertility rate (within the “Green Line”) has declined 20 year faster than conventionally projected – due to modernity and integration - while Jewish fertility rate is rising.

IV. A 40% rise in annual Jewish births (from 80,400 to 112,000) and a stagnation of annual Arab births (39,000) in the “Green Line” during 1995-2007. Arab-Jewish gap of fertility (number of children per woman) reduced from 6 in 1969 to 0.8 in 2006. Arab fertility rate has declined, in Judea & Samaria, to about 4.5 since its peak (about 8) in the late 1980s.

V. Arab-Jewish fertility rates have converged in Jerusalem – 3.9 children per woman – for the first time since 1948.

VI. Net annual emigration of over 10,000 has characterized Judea & Samaria (mostly) and Gaza Arabs since 1950: 12,000 in 2004, 16,000 in 2005 and 25,000 in 2006.

VII. The Jewish State has benefited from annual Aliya (immigration) since 1882. Repeatedly, since 1948, Israel’s demographic establishment has projected no waves of Aliya.

VIII. Secular Olim (immigrants) from the former Soviet Republics experience fertility increase from the Russian rate of one child per woman toward the average secular Israeli rate of 2.2.

IX. Repeatedly, projections of demographic doom have been refuted by robust Jewish demography between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. For example, Ben Gurion was urged by Israel’s demographers to delay declaration of independence, lest the 600,000 Jews of 1948 become a minority by 1967!

X. There is a demographic problem, but it is not lethal, and the demographic trend is Jewish and not Arab. The demographic momentum is shifting from the Arab to the Jewish sector. Demography constitutes a strategic asset, not a liability, for the Jewish State.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Obama Aesthetic

Thomas Lifson

Barack Obama's campaign has been all about image. The well-dressed, impeccably groomed, and elegantly articulate speaker was able to speak of hope, change, and unity, and for awhile the public bought it. Capitalizing on the huge store of guilt, compassion, and hope for better racial relations among the vast majority of Americans of all races, Obama posed as the man who might heal the wounds of the past. The bonhomie lasted for months, as the press corps, no strangers to their own guilt and hope and leftist inclinations, averted its eyes from those elements of his politics and life story that were discordant with a unifier's mission, and portayed him as almost supernaturally virtuous. Obama long ago learned how to disarm strangers who might find him an unusual or perhaps threatening figure, and as long as the scrutiny didn't get too detailed, the game worked splendidly.

But that was before Hillary Clinton's campaign took him seriously. Before the Clinton war room wizards, past masters of planting stories and themes in friendly media hands, got to work on him. American Thinker and other conservative websites long have been pointing to his Alinskyite past, noting his Senate voting record and his propensity to associate with left wing extremists like Bill Ayers. But until very recently, the major media were content to allow his chosen narrative of centrism and unity to prevail. No messy qualms about actual policies disturbed the aesthetic of hope and optimism and unity.

The press collaboration with Obama's PR became so sickeningly obvious that Saturday Night Live was able to mock it savagely, and receive kudos for puncturing the bubble. With the impetus of scornful laughter haunting them, mainstream journalists began to pay more attention to Obama's dubious associations. Video of Pastor Wright hit ABC, and from there the rest of the mainstream media began to pay attention to discordant notes in his rhetoric of reassurance to middle Amercia.

The ABC News-sponsored debate Wednesday night featured unprecedentedly tough questioning (at least for a liberal) by George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson. Obama stumbled in his responses, comparing admitted terror bomber Bill Ayers to United States Senator Tom Coburn, a physician who has delivered thousands of babies. Even more astonishingly, when reminded that capital gains tax increases actually decrease tax revenue while cap gains tax cuts increase them, he actually retreated to the realm of class warfare, insisting that regardless of the consequences, he wants to punish the owners of capital in the name of "fairness."

Welcome the new aesthetic of Barack Obama, the left wing ideologue. The signs have long been there, for those with the eyes to see them.

It is no accident that Obama has become the candidate of the Democrats' left wing fringe, typified by the Daily Kos crowd, despite his continuing efforts to sound a centrist note. The kind of people who are comfortable working with a poster of Che Guevara looking over their shoulders have been attracted to Obama because they read the little signals belying his centrist pose.

Of course, it may be unfair to hold a candidate responsible for all the actions of any of his supporters, but when a campaign itself indulges in the aesthetic of leftism, it may actually mean something. Take the striking posters of the candidate created by left wing artist Shepard Fairey and sold by the online Obama store run by his campaign. The entire run of the Fairey posters has sold out, so popular are they among the leftist cognoscenti whose aesthetic tastes run to nostalgic socialist realism.

Of the Fairey posters, the "Progress" poster is the most interesting. "Progressive" is, of course, the favorite euphemism for the hard left today.

Take a close look at the Obama campaign emblem placed on the "progress" poster. It is placed almost as if it were a medal worn on his lapel. And in place of the ordinary Obama campaign "O" seen on the "Change" poster, the "Progress" poster features a five pointed star in the middle. Look at it close up:

The symbol is almost reminiscent of the Soviet medal the Order of the Red Star [hat tip to reader Mark Roth]:

This is not to suggest that Obama is some Manchurian Candidate controlled by a conspiracy from the vanished USSR, but rather that his campaign is choosing to cultivate a hard left constituency via semiotic means. There is in America a substantial faction of the hard left which waxes nostalgic for the good old days of Soviet art and culture, and members of this group have been cultivated by the Obama campaign.

(source: Jay Nordlinger, National Review Online)

Of course, the smug in-group nostalgia for an evil and murderous ideology is not only repellant to most Americans, it is easily mocked.

Image by Daniel Montrose

Barack Obama has been able to preach racial harmony while attending and donating to Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church for two decades. He has been able to masquerade as a centrist while hobnobbing with the radical chic activists and unrepentant terrorists of Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. He has been able to pose as a centrist while believing in the necessity of punishing owners of capital. But with Hillary Clinton and her minions aggressively pursuing him, and an awakened press chagrinned at giving him a pass for so long, those days may be numbered.

Thomas Lifson is editor and publisher of American Thinker.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Condoleezza Rice opposed Israel’s takedown of Syrian nuke site

She was afraid it would destabilize the region -- apparently in a way that a nuke in Tel Aviv wouldn't.

And after, the region is such a marvelous model of stability now.. "Condoleezza Rice opposed Israel’s attack on Syrian nuclear site," by Sarah Baxter in the Times (thanks to Pamela):

A MYSTERIOUS Israeli military strike on a suspected nuclear site in Syria last month was opposed by Condoleezza Rice, the American secretary of state, because she feared it would destabilise the region, according to a report this weekend.

Rice persuaded the Israelis to delay their operation, but not to call it off, after US officials were presented with “jaw-dropping” evidence of Syrian nuclear activity, the report said.

The Sunday Times revealed two weeks ago that Israeli commandos had seized samples of nuclear material, said to be of North Korean origin, during a daring raid on a Syrian military facility to prove to the Americans that an air attack was essential.

According to ABC News, Rice led the opposition inside the Bush administration to the Israeli strike, persuading them to shelve initial plans to hit the Syrian facility in the week of July 14.

The nuclear samples seized by ground commandos remain unidentified, but defence and intelligence sources in Washington believe they may have been connected to uranium enrichment.

Ilan Berman, a Middle East expert at the American Foreign Policy Council, said: “The consensus is that Israel struck a nuclear facility and the probability is that it was linked to enriching uranium.”...