Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Great Graphic


I've posted some of the great posters and graphics put out by Israel Matzav before. Here's another great one that says it all.

The State of the World, summarized in a single photo

Saturday, March 30, 2013

We Need More Apologies!

Mike L.

{Originally published at the Times of Israel.}
Now that Israel has apologized to Turkey for Turkey's attack upon her, she now must apologize to every other country in the region, first and foremost to Iran.  Israel owes Iran a profound apology because although the ayatollahs have been screeching for Jewish blood for decades, if not centuries, Israel has claimed that it will do what it can to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weaponry.  This high handed and arrogant attitude on the part of the Jewish State cannot go unredressed.
As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has now essentially admitted to the world, the Jewish people have no rights to self-defense and must therefore apologize to Iran and, further, as a gesture of good will, must assist Iran in its march toward nuclear weaponry.  In the name of morality and basic human decency Israel must not only apologize to those who have sworn genocide for the Jews in the Middle East, but beg forgiveness for being so rude as to oppose them.
Israel also owes Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood the most obsequious apology that she can muster.  Sure Muhammed Morsi is a vicious anti-Jewish racist who thinks that Jews are descended from apes and pigs, but he's allowed, obviously.  What's not allowed is either disagreeing or in any way suggesting that just maybe the rise of political Islam throughout the Middle East within the joyous "Arab Spring" is anything other than the great upwelling of democracy.  Many Israelis have expressed a certain doubt about this and must therefore apologize to Egypt, the Brotherhood, and Mr. Morsi, for those doubts.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, The Great Apologizer, has essentially told the entire world that Israel has no national pride and that Jews, as a whole, have no self-respect.  Good job, Mister Prime Minister!  This precedent has now been established and cannot be retracted.  Furthermore, just as Israel must apologize to very many countries around the world it must also immediately apologize to the Palestinian-Arabs for daring to reestablish itself within their historical homeland.  It doesn't matter that Jews have been living in the area for something like four thousand years and that the Arabs didn't show up in the region for thousands of years afterward.  It's their land because they claim it is and thus Israel must not only apologize, but immediately hand over Jerusalem and whatever else that dictator Abbas wants for himself and his people.
Also, there is no one more deserving of an Israeli-Jewish apology than Hamas.  Just because their very charter vows your slaughter and just because they sought to make good on that vow throughout all of last year, it does not mean that you have the right to fight back.  As Hillary Clinton made quite clear last November, Hamas has every right to shoot rockets at you, but you have no rights to resist, which is why she dropped in to begin with, to prevent you from actually defeating Hamas.
Furthermore, the Western Wall must be abandoned and given over to the Palestinian-Arabs so that they can use it for a football court.  The fact that Jews have been withholding this ancient Palestinian-Arab football court for so long is yet another reason to apologize.
Also, of course, the Jews of the Middle East must apologize for their brazen theft of falafel.  Falafel is emphatically not Jewish cuisine, but is a food of other peoples and the Zionist Entity has no right to go around claiming falafel as some kind of national dish.  First you steal their land, then you steal their cuisine, and now you need to apologize.
What I want is for every Jew in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and Haifa to follow PM Netanyahu's lead and apologize.  What we can do is reserve a moment sometime within the next week, or thereabouts, wherein all Jews throughout the country will simultaneously stick their heads from their windows and cry out to the world, "We apologize!"
I have to say, the recent Obama trip worked out very well for everyone involved.  Turkey got its apology, although it clearly wasn't abject enough.  Abbas got 500 million dollars.  Obama got Israeli compliance.  And Israel got to apologize!
I say we need more apologies.  There is nothing like good old-fashioned self-abasement to feed the soul.  And, of course, there is nothing in this world that people respect more than an apology for daring to defend yourself.   I just hope that when Obama left Netanyahu's office that Netanyahu thanked him in the only manner appropriate... on his hands and knees.

AJDS For The High Jump


American and other readers outside Australia who think they have problems with Beinart and "progressive Zionists" and worse  may be interested in this sideshow melodrama currently unfolding in Australia. 

Small Hurricane Hits Melbourne -- No One Hurt. Not Many Homeless.

The cover art of the now defunct and formerly venerable Bulletin magazine  in the 1986 issue that somewhat gleefully announced the imminent expulsion of Bill Hartley from the ALP had the headline "Hartley For The High Jump".  Hartley was an odious old antisemite enabler and channeller of the worst kind from the old hardline Stalinist school and thorough dead beat as this glowing eulogy from GreenLeft verifies. Hartley was the man who corrupted the federal ALP from within by arranging for a secret party donation from the Iraqi regime that was then stolen by a very clever thief. I have never understood why this appalling incident has not got the prominence it deserves and has not destroyed the reputations of those it should have. 

I once heard Hartley, once an ALP Senate candidate for Victoria, complain on national radio that there were too many Jews in the ALP Victorian branches. He thought this inappropriate, even suspicious, given  "their  middle class backgrounds" and "this is the Labor party" which was supposed to be the party of the worker and the disadvantaged.

Sure. That must be it.

Hartley himself was always coy about his background. Given that he was a Young Liberal at university at a time when only people with money could even think about going to university there has to be more than a suspicion Hartley knew what he was talking about. The "Jews" may or may not have had a "middle class" background. But Hartley sure did.

I mention Hartley because it shows how easy it is for an extremist group to get itself assimilated into trade union politics and into a mainstream political party and from that platform preach their religion to the wider community. Make no mistake Hartley and his colleagues were extremists. They advocated the overthrow of Western values such as liberalism, individualism and the trade economic system and their understanding of "democracy" was something very different to what you might have in mind. Not that leftist extremists had that game to themselves. Right wing extremists have also been a problem. At one time during this era the League of Rights nearly took over the (then) Country Party in Queensland at grass roots by deploying very similar tactics. 

Nor were the leftist cults in the ALP shy about the need to crack a few eggs to make an omelette when they were behind closed doors and they most certainly approved of those who did smash eggs and heads. Indeed they had an obsession with foreign policy. It was probably their main interest. They were violently anti-American of course which was fashionable in those Vietnam War days. Then as now. That never goes out of fashion with this lot come to think of it.  They were also violently anti-Israel naturally. Always a favourite evergreen. They were "anti-Zionists", you see and you could tell by just looking at them they had never heard of the word a year before. "Zionism" is "Racism". The Bible tells them so. This is a religion do not forget.

This and reflexively supporting every armed revolutionary leftist  group from the Sandinistas and the Provisional IRA to the PFLP was pretty well the extent of their foreign policy interest really but they spent a lot of time on it.

They were specialists you see. 

Nor am I the first to notice the close resemblance between the old Hartley style extremists of the pre intervention Victorian ALP branch, who were never properly cleansed from the party nationally, and the modern Greens and especially the dominate faction in its NSW branch. It's uncanny really. Sometimes they are even the same people.  

It is a sad fact of modern politics that a threshold entrance qualification to the ideological left all over the West is hostility to Israel and the Zionist enterprise. National liberation and self determination for the Jews is anathema to the hard left. To be pro-Israel is an intolerable heresy for this religion. It is perhaps the one thing that is never tolerated in these circles.   

Which brings us to the AJDS now vigorously campaigning for the boycott of "settlement produce" beyond the Green Line. Why? Surely this campaign begs some questions. 

The starting point is their own BDS-lite campaign web site.  Here are their ten reasons for boycotting Jews who are living and earning a living where they say Jews should not.

The first is that it is illegal for Jews to live over a line that no one recognises as an international border, least of all the "Palestinians" but is a no-Jew zone notwithstanding. Even in Jerusalem it seems there is a line beyond which Jews should not be. They must be confined to a certain part of town. That is the law according to the AJDS. "International law" no less.  It is a law that applies only to Jews. It does not apply to Arab Muslims no matter what they do even if they have the temporary misfortune of being Israeli citizens. Does this law have a familiar ring?

They cite the Geneva conventions as the source of this law in what would have to be the most cynical and spit in your face dishonest misconstruction  of an international treaty of the last century. Other than what is illegal under Israeli law the settlements  are not illegal, even if Bob Carr, the ALP and the British foreign office  declare them so. That the Israel bashers have the audacity to claim application of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention says everything you need to know about the Israel bashers and the state of international law. This again is a law that applies only to Jews except in the event that the AJDS and its international allies are successful in the campaign to remove the Jewish population of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.  The ethnic cleansing of Jews, and only Jews,  as proposed by the AJDS and its allies is not a breach of article 49. That is not illegal.

None of this is to contend that a two state solution based on ceding large tracts of Judea and Samaria and combined with a contiguous Gaza is off the table. On the contrary it is the "Palestinians" and their urgers in the Middle East and the West who are shoving this solution where it can't be seen.

And then we have reasons 2-10. Nothing here is original. Nothing here is the truth. It is a mistake to engage on the detail of this because the moment you have they have won. This is war propaganda the AJDS is retailing designed especially for a Jewish market. They themselves do not believe in a Jewish national home and State and as individuals they say so.  They are not antizionists of course even if most of the sites they link are and sometimes violently so. They are "post-Zionists" you understand.  Post-Modernists more likely where truth is another planet and perception and deception rule reality. They sure look like antizionists to me.

Like all anti-Israel activists they mine Israel's vigorous liberal democracy and traditions of free expression for ammunition to attack the foundations of the state. Far leftists do that and they are completely unconscious of the iron paradox of this. Like all free people Israelis as individuals say all sorts of things in all sorts of contexts. This is because they are allowed.     

They arch at any suggestion that their policies utilise antisemitic tropes, (don't they all?), despite the antizionism and the narratives sourced fresh from the "Palestinian" and radical leftist  propaganda mills. Here is a couple of limbs of what antisemitism means for a start that some within the AJDS must have some difficulty with despite the outraged denials. 
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

The AJDS job is to deceive the idealistic and naive longing for peace that if Israel was to abandon the settlements presumably by force and unilaterally withdraw to what Abba Eban called the Auschwitz borders that would be a step to peace. They don't even believe that themselves. That's why the Arab Muslim right of return is always part of the recipe. An extraordinary and glib notion that they must know Israel and any other self respecting sovereign nation would never accept. They are "Zionist" or "pro-Israel" only on condition that  the Jewish state commits national suicide. 

That is not going to happen without a fight to the death. That is what free people do. Wouldn't you, rather than acquiesce to  what much of the Arab and Muslim world makes very clear it has in mind for the Jews?  That is why AJDS and its global allies are pro-war. There is no two ways about it. 

This is a free society, unlike what AJDS and its allies would fit up Israel with, and the AJDS is entitled to say what it likes just as Bill Hartley was. Communal bodies and political parties are also well within their rights to ensure they do so without affiliation with them when their views and campaigns are repugnant. That is how a liberal democracy works.  

cross posted Geoffff's Joint

Friday, March 29, 2013

Latest Times of Israel Piece

Mike L.

We Need More Apologies!

I say we need more apologies. There is nothing like good old-fashioned self-abasement to feed the soul. And, of course, there is nothing in this world that people respect more than an apology for daring to defend yourself. I just hope that when Obama left Netanyahu's office that Netanyahu thanked him in the only manner appropriate... on his hands and knees.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The decline of the Jewish presence in Europe

Mike L.

The Gatestone Institute: International Policy Council

Guy Millière

Exactly one year ago, a killer entered the courtyard of a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, and shot in cold blood a rabbi and three children. He said he had wanted to kill more, and to perpetrate a massacre, but that his gun jammed.

During the previous days, he had shot three French soldiers of Arab origin.

The killer was quickly located, besieged by the police for thirty two hours, then riddled with bullets when he tried to escape.

A few weeks later, his statements to the police during the siege were leaked. They showed that he defined himself as a "soldier of Islam" and that he was trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan by al Qaeda affiliates. He said that he wanted to kill French Arab soldiers because they were "traitors to their religion" and that "all traitors" had to be "eliminated." He also said that he hated "Jews," that Jews had to be "removed form the face of the earth" and that his only regret was that he did not have "the opportunity to kill more Jews." Political leaders and the mainstream media immediately said that these statements did not make sense, and they tried to describe him as a "lone wolf" and a "lost boy" who acted "irrationally." Sociologists explained that he'd had a "hard childhood," and that he'd had to face "French prejudices" all of his life. Radical Islam and hatred of Jews were almost never evoked.

In the months that followed, he became a hero -- almost a legend -- in all French Muslim suburbs. His name, Mohamed Merah, appeared on leaflets and graffiti, and was quoted with praise in rap songs. The number of anti-Semitic attacks increased all over the country: reports show that most perpetrators were young Muslims citing "Mohamed" as an "example" to follow. Two jihadist terrorist cells planning anti-Semitic attacks and assassinations of prominent Jews were dismantled: their members declared after their arrest that they wanted to die as martyrs, and kill Jews, "like Mohamed," who "showed the way." Political leaders and the mainstream media did not speak of leaflets, graffiti, rap songs, anti-Semitic attacks, or references to "Mohamed." They spoke of the dismantling of "terrorist cells" -- as if the cells had no relation to "Mohamed."

The anniversary of the crimes committed by "Mohamed" came, and what happened was not surprising: Reports were broadcast on television concerning "Mohamed," his life and his acts. Pictures of a smiling Mohamed were on the cover of magazines everywhere. Photos were shown of his travels. One of the main French TV channels programmed a "Mohamed Merah Special Evening."

Sociologists were invited. Mohamed's sister, Souad, and his mother, Zoulika, both fully veiled, were interviewed extensively. They said that Mohamed was a "sweet young man" and a "good Muslim," who committed an "inexplicable acts." Mohamed's lawyer said that his client was "depressed." Souad, filmed by a hidden camera a few weeks earlier, stated that, "Mohamed had fought well and bravely," and that "Jews deserved to be killed;" but what she said then, when she thought that nobody was listening, seemed of interest to nobody. Mohamed's elder brother, Abdelghani, published a book, My Brother, this Terrorist, explaining that all his family was radicalized; that he was scared and that he had a "duty to speak," but nobody gave him a chance. His name was not even mentioned.

Once again, radical Islam and hatred of Jews were virtually not evoked. The explanation given by Mohamed Merah, of his decision to kill French soldiers of Arab origin, was totally set aside. The Jewish victims were just evoked as "casualties," and "victims" among others. Mohamed seemed also to be a victim.

The remembrance ceremonies referred to the "victims" in general, and to "terrorism" in general. Although French President François Hollande spoke briefly of "anti-Semitism," he was the only one to do so. "Sadness" was in the air, but it seemed essentially to have no cause and no effect: a "tragedy" had happened, that's all.

When they are in private, the police officials say that there "hundreds of Mohamed Merahs" in France and many Islamist cells, but that they are much more discreet when they are in public.

France intervened militarily against Islamists in northern Mali, but no French political leader ever said that the fight was waged against Islamists: the official word used was "terrorists" -- only "terrorists." Members of the French Council of the Muslim Faith asked the French political leaders to make no reference to Islam; they were obeyed.

French political leaders know perfectly well that there is an Islamist threat in France and that the French army is fighting Islamists in Mali; they are afraid to call things by their name. They fear riots in Muslim suburbs. They know perfectly well that Muslim anti-Semitism is rising in France, but, for the same reason, they are afraid to say it. The mainstream journalists are also scared.

The general atmosphere is impregnated with a submission that dare not speak his name. Those who do not comply and who speak too clearly are vilified, caricatured, excluded. Eventually they submit and they radicalize, and, as many radical Muslims find accomplices, many non-Muslims join soft jihadi movements.

The majority of the population discerns that something is wrong, but cannot find a reliable explanation.

Jews feel threatened, abandoned, and a growing number of them consider exile. Over the last two decades, French Jewish families have gradually withdrawn their children from public schools to protect them against bullying and insults. Today, Jewish schools themselves have become a target. What happened in Toulouse was an unparalleled crime, but every day, Jewish children going to or parting from Jewish schools are assaulted.

Every week, Jewish businesses are subjected to attacks.

The French Jewish community is the largest in Western Europe. Its existence dates back to the early Middle Ages. A decade ago, it had approximately 500,000 members. Last year, its number fell to 400,000, and continues to fall. If the trend does not stop, the Jewish presence in France will, in the medium term, come to an end.

As long as what happens in France also happens in other European countries, what is taking shape could be a shift towards the end of the Jewish presence in Europe. It is impossible to assess the consequences that such an event could have, but one would have to be blind to underestimate its significance.

A Letter From Israel

                                      elinor        אלינור   


You'll never find work if you don’t speak Hebrew (1)
[Yes, I speak French]

In the late ‘80s, those who made aliyah under the auspices of the Jewish Agency were assigned a madricha, someone who interviewed (and ostensibly followed the early path of) the oleh hadash or in my case, ola hadasha, the new immigrant. In the only interview I ever had with her, my case manager fretted over my future and coined the title of this piece for me. She was kindness personified, just out of school and wearing one colour from her hair ribbon to her socks. Somehow I felt I would survive without her.

Two things became obvious as I stumbled through ulpan, the internationally acknowledged total-immersion system which Israel created for teaching Hebrew: (1) I was not learning up to my own expectations and (2) I wanted to work only in English, since I had become something of a mumkhit(specialist) over the years.

Gradually I recognized that learning Hebrew was influencing my English, which was not a good thing. So I stopped trying to perfect my Hebrew and started looking for work, which was forbidden to state-sponsored ulpan students. We were granted a small monthly stipend on the assumption that we’d study all day and be fluent, if starving, Hebrew speakers at the end of the course. Didn’t work that way at all; at least half the class had surreptitious employment. They were the ones who bolted immediately after hours saying 'I have an appointment' and not hanging around to smoke, drink diet drinks and bitch about Israeli bureaucracy.

It’s funny how law-abiding citizens will adjust to atypical circumstances. I hove up to the offices of Manpower and asked if they had work for an English/French-speaker who could—Yes. They did.

Bituach Leumi, the National Insurance Institute, was looking for someone who could type in French and yes, I was available in the afternoons, since my mornings were occupied with my becoming another North American with a bad accent.

The offices of the NII were a bus ride away from ulpan but that was the only easy bit. The building, just at the entrance to Jerusalem, was a nightmare for someone on a moderate learning curve. And like many institutional buildings in this country, it had signs and rumours of signs. And arrows. Lots of arrows.

My job was to answer requests—sometimes demands— for possible pension rights from Holocaust survivors who had lived in Israel at some point but who had subsequently moved to other (presumably French-speaking) countries. Not just type the answers, mind you, but create them in French, a language I hadn't used for decades. I was reminded of the Hollywood saying: If they ask if you can tap-dance, say Yes and go out and learn.

The requests that were accepted had been shifted to another department. The ones I had to deal with bore an enthusiastic No scrawled at the top of the page and many of those heart-breaking notes were fast becoming antiques.

I sorted through the letters to find the eldest request that was considered illegitimate by NII. A quick calculation showed that the writer was probably deceased by now, so here goes nothing: Cher monsieur… Regret flowed from my keyboard. A tear struck the back of my hand. Imagine having to reject financial assistance to a Holocaust survivor.

Proudly showing my first draft to my boss, I was hit with rejection as stunning as that which I was writing: Don’t write a damned manuscript, woman—just say No! When I had emptied the basket of sadness he said, Good work, get lost, we'll call you if we need you.

As is thought in so many situations here, Never again. 

cross posted Geoffff's Joint

Israel's Insightful Cynicism

By Robert D. Kaplan

Chief Geopolitical Analyst

Stratfor Global Intelligence

Israel is in the process of watching a peace treaty unravel. I don't mean the one with Egypt, but the one with Syria. No, I'm not crazy. Since Henry Kissinger's shuttle diplomacy in 1974, the Israelis have had a de facto peace agreement of sorts with the al Assad family. After all, there were clear red lines that both sides knew they shouldn't cross, as well as reasonable predictability on both sides. Forget about the uplifting rhetoric, the requirement to exchange ambassadors and the other public policy frills that normally define peace treaties. What counts in this case is that both sides observed limits and constraints, so that the contested border between them was secure. Even better, because there was no formal peace agreement in writing, neither side had to make inconvenient public and strategic concessions. Israel did not have to give up the Golan Heights, for example. And if Syria stepped over a red line in Lebanon, or say, sought a nuclear capacity as it did, Israel was free to punish it through targeted military strikes. There was usefully no peace treaty that Israel would have had to violate.

Of course, the Syrians built up a chemical arsenal and invited the Iranians all over their country and Lebanon. But no formal treaty in the real world -- given the nature of the Syrian regime -- would likely have prevented those things. In an imperfect world of naked power, the al Assads were at least tolerable. Moreover, they represented a minority sect, which prevented Syria from becoming a larger and much more powerful version of radical, Sunni Arab Gaza. In February 1993 in The Atlantic Monthly, I told readers that Syria was not a state but a writhing underworld of sectarian and ethnic divides and that the al Assads might exit the stage through an Alawite mini-state in the northwest of their country that could be quietly supported by the Israeli security services. That may yet come to pass.

Israeli political leaders may periodically tell the media that Bashar al Assad's days are numbered, but that does not necessarily mean Israelis themselves believe that is an altogether good scenario. Indeed, I strongly suspect that, for example, when the Israelis and the Russians meet, they have much in common regarding Syria. Russia is supporting the al Assad regime through arms transfers by sea and through Iraq and Iran. Israelis may see some benefits in this. Russian President Vladimir Putin may actually enjoy his meetings with Israelis -- who likely don't lecture him about human rights and the evils of the al Assad regime the way the Americans do.

True, a post-al Assad Syria may undermine Iranian influence in the Levant, which would be a great benefit to Israel, as well as to the United States. On the other hand, a post-al Assad Syria will probably be an anarchic mess in which the Iranians will skillfully back proxy guerrilla groups and still be able to move weapons around. Again, al Assad is the devil you know. And the fact that he is no longer, functionally speaking, the president of Syria but, rather, the country's leading warlord, presents challenges that Israelis would prefer not to face.

What about Hezbollah, in this admittedly cynical Israeli view? Hezbollah is not a strategic threat to Israel. Hezbollah fighters are not about to march en masse over the border into Haifa and Tiberias. Anti-missile systems like Iron Dome and David's Sling could reasonably contain the military threat from the north. Then there are Israel's bomb shelters -- a one-time only expense. Hezbollah, moreover, needs Israel. For without a powerful Israel, Hezbollah would be robbed of the existential adversary that provides Hezbollah with its immense prestige in the Lebanese political universe, making Hezbollah so much more than just another Shiite group battling Sunnis.

Israel's war against Hezbollah in 2006 is known as a disaster. But it did have its positive side effects: Israel has had seven years of relative peace on its northern border, even as the war usefully exposed many inadequacies in the Israeli military and reserve system that had been building for years and were henceforth decisively repaired, making Israel stronger as a consequence.

Threats abound, truly. The collapse of the al Assad regime may lead to a weapons free-for-all -- just like in post-Gadhafi Libya -- that might force Israel to "mow the lawn" again in southern Lebanon. As for Hassan Nasrallah, the charismatic and capable Hezbollah leader, maybe he, too, is the devil you know, informally obeying red lines with Israel since 2006. Nasrallah appears to be less extreme than his deputy, Naim Qassim, who would take over if Nasrallah were ever assassinated by the Israelis, unless the Sunnis in a Lebanon and Syria thrown into utter, post-al Assad chaos assassinate him sooner.

Then there is Gaza: once again, like southern Lebanon, "mow the lawn" once or twice a decade, though this might be harder in a post-Arab Spring geopolitical environment because of the greater danger of unhinging Israeli-Egyptian relations. Still, in Gaza there is no existential threat, nor a real solution, regardless of what the diplomats say. Idealists in the West talk about peace; realists inside Israel talk about spacing out limited wars by enough years so that Israeli society can continue to thrive in the meantime. As one highly placed Israeli security analyst explained to me, the East Coast of the United States and the Caribbean have periodic hurricanes. After each one, people rebuild, even as they are aware that a decade or so down the road there will be another hurricane. Israel's wars are like that, he said.

Presently a real underlying worry for Israel appears to be Jordan. Yes, King Abdullah has so far expertly manipulated the growing unrest there, but to speculate about the collapse of the Hashemite dynasty is only prudent. More anarchy. More reason to heed Ariel Sharon's analysis of four decades ago to the effect that Jordan is the real Palestinian state, more so than the West Bank. And because Jordan and Saudi Arabia could conceivably unravel in coming decades, maybe Israel should seek to avoid attacking Iran -- which along with Israel is the only real state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Iranian Plateau. Iran may have a repulsive regime, but its society is probably healthier than most in the Arab world. So there is some hope.

You get the picture. Israel had a convenient situation for decades, surrounded as it was by stable Arab dictatorships. Israel could promote itself as the region's only real democracy, even as it quietly depended on the likes of Hosni Mubarak, the al Assad clan and the Hashemites to ensure order and more-or-less few surprises. Now dictators are falling and anarchy is on the rise. Fighting state armies of the kind that the Arab dictators built in wars in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973 was simpler compared totoday's wars: Because the Arabs never really believed in their dysfunctional states, they didn't always fight very well in state-organized formations. But sub-state militaries like Hezbollah and Hamas have been more of a challenge. In the old days, Israel could destroy an Egyptian air force on the ground and solve its security dilemma in the south. Nowadays, to repeat, there are no solutions for Israel: only sub-state adversaries that hide among civilian concentrations in order to attack your own civilian concentrations. No peace ever, therefore, just periodic wars, hopefully spaced-out.

The Middle East today has turned out perfectly if you are a Jewish West Bank settler. The divisions within Palestinian ranks, coupled with the increasing anarchy of the Arab world, mean the opportunities for territorial concessions on Israel's part have diminished. In fact, Israel's only option may be more unilateral withdrawals. That is probably the only thing the settlers have to worry about.

But the Zionist dream lives on. Jerusalem and much of the rest of Israel are thriving. Light rail and pedestrian walkways make Jerusalem more vibrant than ever. The Arabs in the Old City survive well -- under the circumstances, that is -- on the "Jewish" side of the "fence," where the standard of living and quality of life is so much better than on the Arab side. The "fence" is both a monstrosity in abstract moralistic terms and a practical solution in an age of repeated diplomatic failure and fewer and fewer diplomatic opportunities. From 28 percent of the gross domestic product in the mid-1970s, Israeli military spending is down to between 6 and 8 percent of the country's GDP. Life is good in Israel. The unemployment rate is lower than in the United States and Europe, despite high housing costs and the need for reform in health care and education. One could argue that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- so vilified in the West -- has not handled the economy altogether badly.

But what about idealism? What about a better, more humane Middle East? What about the wise and talented statesmen who periodically see opportunities where others see none? What about slowing down Israel's drift to a quasi-Apartheid society, characterized by Israeli domination of the more numerous Arabs and something certainly not in Israel's interest? These are all real things to constantly keep in mind and to struggle for. But the Levant remains a zero-sum struggle for physical survival. So it is a place where there will always be benefits to dealing with strong dictators. Given their geographical circumstances, Israelis can be forgiven their cynicism.


A Tip O' the Kippa to Empress Trudy.

The Great Egyptian Faux Democracy

Mike L.

This is an email that I received from Stand for Israel:

We have, many times, said that it takes more than an election to be a democracy. Free, open elections are merely an expression of the will of the sovereign people. Democracies are a much bigger thing; they require institutions like a free press, independent judiciary, and others to actually function after the election night celebrations are over. It’s easy to start a democracy, much harder to keep one.

We have also, many times, said that Egypt is not a democracy. They’re a country that held a free, open election and – unfortunately – chose to elect the Muslim Brotherhood. The people of Egypt do not enjoy a free press. They do not enjoy an independent judiciary. Half of the population (the female half) does not enjoy basic civil liberties. There is rampant illiteracy (according to the CIA Factbook, more than one in four Egyptians age 10 and over cannot read or write) and growing food insecurity.

And the Muslim Brotherhood has demonstrated a number of times that it is not interested in maintaining a free society. Earlier this week, the Shura Council – the main Islamic legal body in Egypt – approved a new law that would severely restrict the right of the Egyptian people to protest. Protesters will need to notify police three days in advance of a protest larger than 20 people, and keep protests at least 600 feet from government offices (far enough away for the government to safely ignore them). The law imposes stiff fines and jail time for the non-specific crimes of “harming citizens’ interest” or “jeopardizing national security.”

In short, the Muslim Brotherhood is outlawing protest. Which is ironic, since the Muslim Brotherhood came to power following the popular uprising that ousted former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. Democracies, it’s worth repeating, are more than the presence of a free election.
It should be noted that the Egyptian election which brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power, with a little help from their friend Barack Obama, was not "free and open."  Reportage that I have read suggests that the Copts were sometimes (often?) prevented from voting at the point of a rifle.

The single most under-reported story in the world today is the rise of political Islam throughout the Middle East and the role of the Obama administration in its assistance of that rise.  I am confident that future historians will look back on this moment and wonder how it is that Americans watched it without seeing it and saw it without speaking about it.

Syria is next.

Palestinian journalist jailed for 'insulting' Abbas

Mike L.

Journalist gets one year sentence after sharing photo comparing Abbas's face to a villain on a Syrian TV show.

Palestinian journalist Mamdouh Hamamreh from Bethlehem was sentenced on Thursday to one year in prison for “insulting” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Facebook.

He is the second Palestinian to be sentenced to prison for one year on the same charges since the beginning of the year. for “insulting” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Facebook.

Hamamreh, who works for the Palestinian Al-Quds TV station, was found guilty of sharing a photo on Facebook that compared Abbas with a villain who played the role of a French spy in a popular Syrian TV series.
Those who call for a single democratic state between the river and the sea with equal rights for all always seem to ignore the fact that there is nothing within Arab political culture to suggest that what the Arab-Muslim world wants is democracy.

They don't want democracy.

From a political standpoint the Arab world tends to be theocratic and authoritarian.  Mahmoud Abbas is a dictator, not a president as we generally understand that word in the west.  Palestinian-Arab political culture is not so different, if it is any different, from Arab political culture more generally.  Its defining feature is that of coercion and force.  When well-meaning westerners talk about a single democratic state they are asking the Jewish people, who are among the most persecuted people in recorded history, to place their fate in the hands of a majority population who do not share our values and who have continually harassed Jews for the last fourteen centuries.

This is why we will not go for these utopian dreams.  They sound nice on paper, but we do not live life on paper.

Mahmoud Abbas is sending a journalist from Bethlehem, Mamdouh Hamamreh, to one year in prison merely for the picture above.  Whatever criticisms that anyone may have concerning Israel, it would never put a journalist in prison for mocking Benjamin Netanyahu.  One of the major problems that we have in the ongoing Arab-Israel conversation in the west is the tendency among some to advance a narrative of moral equivalency.  One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter, we sometimes hear.

I wonder if Chuck Hagel doesn't believe that?

But there is no moral equivalency between the Palestinian-Arabs and the Palestinian-Jews.  The Jews of the Middle East are a persecuted minority who remain under intense pressure from their Arab persecutors.  Following 1948 they were driven from their homes and robbed of their possessions all throughout the Arab world.  From the seventh century until the end of World War I they were second and third class citizens under the system of slavery known as dhimmitude.  Although in some places it was better and in some places it was worse, dhimmitude was never better than was the American system of Jim Crow at its worst.

Nonetheless, millions upon millions of well-meaning westerners would like to see the Jews of the Middle East place themselves under the tender mercies of their long-standing persecutors within a single democratic state.  I would not have a problem with that if I thought for one moment that the Arabs favor democracy and human rights, but they don't favor democracy and human rights.  What they favor is power politics and Sharia and we are simply not going to allow ourselves to go back into living under those conditions.  You cannot ask a people who have lived under persecution for fourteen centuries to simply have faith that their former masters will treat them fairly.

Furthermore, the Palestinian-Arabs can have a state carved out of historically Jewish land if they would accept such a state in peace next to the Jewish people.  If they cannot bring themselves to make such a terrible compromise then, I am sorry, but they get nothing.

Or, actually, they don't get nothing, now do they?

500 million is most certainly not nothing and yet they still won't stop inciting genocidal hatred toward Jews.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Brief Notes: So, What's Next?

Mike L.

Now that we are in the midst of the Passover holiday and now that Obama has departed Israel we seem to be in a moment of stasis, wondering what will come next.  Most of the Arab-Israel conversation at this point revolves around The Great Netanyahu Apology and the releasing of 500 million dollars worth of tax funds to the Palestinian Authority... although one wonders how Mahmoud Abbas can possibly stuff 500 million dollars into his rather ample mattress.

We also know that John Kerry has no intention of going away... sadly.

I would emphasize, again, that Obama does not seem to have done quite so much damage as I initially expected.  The reason for this is because he did not demand "total settlement freeze" among the minority population of Palestinian-Jews as a precondition for talks with either the occupying Arab majority, nor their Palestinian-Arab front-line troops.

In regards The Great Netanyahu Apology, Smadar Bat Adam of Israel Hayom has this to say:
Turkish media reported this week that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's apology has paved the way for a massive joint pipeline project carrying natural gas from Israel to Turkey and from there to Europe. There is no overestimating the influence joint economic interests can have on stable relations between countries.

It is said that during a private conversation, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion once thanked French President Charles de Gaulle for France's help to Israel, attributing it to the strong alliance and friendship between the two countries. To which De Gaulle replied, "France has no friends, only interests."
Israel intends to sell about a gazillion dollars worth of natural gas to Turkey and Europe and to that I say, G-d bless 'em.  I am not the least little bit happy about Netanyahu's apology to Turkey because it is not only unwarranted, but affirms the common implication that the Jewish people have no honest rights to defend themselves from harm.  Nonetheless it should be reasonably obvious that Israel's future depends on Israeli technological ingenuity and trade.  The reason that BDS tends to fail, as Jon Haber has done a terrific job of documenting, is because the world wants to purchase Israeli goods and the reason that they want to purchase Israeli goods is because the UpStart Nation is on the technological cutting edge.

After all, if one honestly wants to boycott Israel then one needs to stop purchasing cell phones and computers.  {Good luck with that.}

I suppose that my real concern at the moment, however, is the possible damage that the Obama administration may do as they publicly indulge the Oslo Delusion.  When I was a young Hard-line, Right-Wing Zionist Fascist from Hell, I held considerable hope that Bill Clinton would convince Yassir Arafat that accepting a state in peace next to the Palestinian-Jewish one might be a good idea for the Palestinian-Arabs.

I no longer hold out any such hope and fail to understand how anyone aware of the last one hundred years of Jewish history in the Middle East could possibly conclude otherwise.  Nonetheless, if the Palestinian-Arabs honestly want to sit down for negotiations with the Palestinian-Jews, let them do so, but there is absolutely nothing to suggest that this is what they want.  On the contrary, the Palestinian-Arabs have demonstrated consistently that the last thing in this world that they want is a negotiated conclusion of hostilities.

What they want, obviously, is victory, not compromise, and a big part of the reason that they hold out for eventual victory is because the western states, including the United States, give them every reason to hold out and continue to fight.  This is why forking over that 500 million dollars is a huge mistake.  What it means is that the Palestinian-Arabs never have to suffer any consequences for their behavior.

I was never a huge fan of Benjamin Netanyahu, but I was never much of a critic, either.

Now I just feel disappointed in his leadership and very much look forward to the next turning of the page.

Have a terrific Pesach!

We're holding our seder on Saturday night and our old friend PaulinBerkeley will be in attendance.

He brings the Charoset!


Oh, and by the way, Am Yisrael Chai!

Which is just another way of saying that The Day of the Dhimmi is Done.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

3-year-old critically injured by stones near Ariel

Mike L.

{Cross-posted at Geoffff's Joint and Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers.}

Vehicle carrying woman, her three daughters, crashes into truck that veered off course due to stones hurled by Palestinians in West Bank road; 3-year-old critically injured; three others moderately wounded 
A woman and her three daughters were injured on Thursday in a car accident caused by stones hurled by Palestinians on Route 5 connecting Tel Aviv and Ariel.

One of the girls, three-year-old Adele, was critically wounded, while the mother, Adva Biton, 40, and her two other daughters, Avigail and Naama - ages four and five - sustained moderate injuries.
Progressives tend to think that the reason that Arabs seek to murder Jews, including Jewish children, is because the tiny Jewish minority in the Middle East is persecuting the vast Arab-Muslim majority, particularly those who now go under the moniker "Palestinians."

This is a lie.

The is the Big Lie.

Arab-Muslims have been throwing rocks at Jews for fourteen centuries.  It is only in very recent years that people started discussing the Arab inclination to stone Jews as a matter of "civil rights" and "social justice."  It was only shortly after the Holocaust that the Soviets decided that Arab attempts to murder Jews should be placed into the context of human rights and national liberation.

But the fact of the matter is that Arab-Muslim justification for the murder of Jews is embedded in Islam.

The only difference now is that we have millions upon millions of westerners, including G-d knows how many western Jews, who think that Arab efforts to kill Jews are morally justified.  They have even convinced themselves that the tiny bit of land that has been known for four thousand years as Judea is being illegally "Occupied" (with the Big O) by Jews.

The violence toward this family and toward this little girl is not a merely because of Arab-Muslim genocidal racism, but because that genocidal racism is justified by "liberals" throughout the western world who fund the very hatred that gets us killed.  The west funds Hamas which calls for the murder of Jews in its very charter.  The United States funds the Palestinian Authority which incites hatred toward Jews among Arab-Muslim children in Judea and Samaria, thus ensuring that the long Arab war against the Jews in the Middle East will continue for generations to come.

And yet they blame us for the ongoing violence toward us, but this also is nothing new.

If you were to talk to your average "progressive" he or she would say that the historical persecution of the Jewish people was a terrible injustice.  They would claim to be opposed to Nazism and the Holocaust, and yet they would still tell you that the Palestinian-Arab cause is moral and should be supported.  In other words, while all efforts in the past to kill Jews were wrong, the current effort is justified.

Every generation they justify it.

This one is no different.

Is Israel a Sovereign State?

{Originally published at the Times of Israel.}

In a piece entitled, Sovereign State or Colony?, the well-respected American analyst and blogger, FresnoZionist, wonders about the meaning of Netanyahu's recent apology to Turkey for the nine dead aboard the Mavi Marmara.
Among the things that many of us also wonder about is the purpose of Obama's recent trip to Israel and to the city of Ramallah and just what the actual consequences of this trip might be?  One of the few direct consequences that we see, so far, has been The Netanyahu Apology... which to my ear sounds something like a Robert Ludlum spy-novel title.
I don't know if Obama actually twisted Netanyahu's arm, as the New York Times put it, but it is certain that the apology is the one direct result we can know, as of this moment, due to Obama's visit.  Were there no visit there would have been no apology.
Many Israelis, probably most, and many Jews throughout the diaspora, including me, are somewhat less than pleased that Netanyahu decided to take this step, which is seen as humiliating to the Jewish State of Israel, as well as entirely unjust.
The FresnoZionist writes:
There is good reason to believe that top levels of the Turkish government planned this incident with the intention of provoking violence. The performance succeeded spectacularly, the final incident in an escalating series of dramas orchestrated by Turkish PM Erdoğan with the intention of weakening and ultimately destroying the formerly good relationship between Israel and Turkey (and especially the Turkish armed forces).

US pressure following the incident caused Israel to significantly loosen the blockade, rendering it ineffective as economic warfare against Hamas, and providing a propaganda victory to Hamas supporters, including Erdoğan.
I find it fascinating that just as me and one of our commenters at Israel Thrives discussed whether or not the Obama administration sought to diminish or stifle Israeli efforts at self-defense in both Gaza and Iran, right at that moment Netanyahu apologized for Israeli self-defense to the Prime Minister of a country that attacked it and who just recently called Zionism a crime against humanity.  Furthermore he did so, perhaps to his shame, merely because Obama was in town.
If there was a quid pro quo we do not know what it is.
In his interpretation of what the Obama visit meant, the FresnoZionist suggests that it was mainly about Obama, himself, in his desire to score the following points:
Points with Muslims around the world, by affirming that a Jew is never justified in killing a Muslim.
There is no question but that Israel had no reason to apologize to Turkey for Turkey's attack upon her.   The vessel contained actual Jihadis seeking martyrdom in an effort to kill Jews.  To apologize is to do precisely what the FresnoZionist suggests.  It affirms that a Jew is never, under any circumstances, justified in killing a Muslim, even in self-defense.
Whatever Obama's intentions, and I am sure that they are of the very purest, this is the direct implication.
Points with his “outstanding partner and … outstanding friend,” Erdoğan.
Here is a question:
Everyone who follows the Middle East knows that Obama has made great claims of friendship to the anti-Semitic and Islamist-leaning Turkish Prime Minister.  Why is it that diaspora Jews are not supposed to care about such a thing?  Why is it that we give Obama a total pass on this?
Why are progressive-left diaspora Jews often so weak in their defense of the Jewish people and the tiny Jewish State of Israel?  The American president seems a little over-friendly to openly anti-Semitic leaders of certain Muslim countries and, yet, American Jews are supposed to jump up and down and clap like monkeys.
It's just disgraceful and diaspora Jewish leadership needs to stand the hell up, as they failed to do during the recent Hagel nomination for Secretary of Defense.
To prove that an Israeli leader has to do whatever the US President tells him, no matter how wrong or degrading.
To suggest that Israel has no right of self-defense.
This episode is, in fact, degrading.  To apologize for self-defense couldn't be more pathetic.  Nonetheless, as Dr. Barry Rubin points out, the apology wasn't technically an apology to the government of Turkey, but merely to the people of Turkey
While the word “apology” appears in Netanyahu’s statement, it is notably directed at the Turkish people, not the government and is of the sorry if your feelings were hurt variety.

Moreover, Israel denied that it killed the Turkish citizens intentionally, a situation quite different from what Erdogan wanted, and offered to pay humanitarian assistance to families.
While Rubin is correct, it doesn't much matter.  The press is spreading the idea that Israel apologized for its behavior during the Turkish flotilla attack and this will justify in people's minds the idea that Israel was not only wrong in its behavior, but brutal and murderous, when in fact it was a matter of Jews defending Jews.  It will therefore do precisely what the FresnoZionist suggests.  It will convey the message to the vast and generally hostile Arab-Muslim majority that Jewish life is cheap and that we have no real rights to self-defense.
To show that Israel is not a sovereign nation, but rather a colony of the US, which can decide what its borders are, where its capital isn’t, and when it can or cannot use force.
Much of the media and much of the progressive-left is hailing Obama's recent visit to Israel as a success.
I have been waiting and thinking and looking and so far I see very little consequences of this trip that are positive.
Barack Obama and John Kerry are, for political reasons of their own, seeking to breath new life... yet again... into the Oslo Delusion.
Some of us, however, are no longer buying the Big Lie that what the Palestinian-Arabs want is a state for themselves in peace next to Israel.