Thursday, July 2, 2015

What to look for from the Presidential candidates

Sar Shalom

With the presidential election cycle gearing up, it is time to ask the question of what we as the pro-Israel community would want from the next president. The most common items would probably revolve around providing materiel support to Israel during conflicts, reliably voting against one-sided resolutions at the UN particularly at the Security Council, and validating some subset of the settlements or at least not making a major todo about them. However, I would like to suggest that if we do not see presidential action until one of those items is relevant, we should not be satisfied. What we really need is someone who will combat the lethal narratives promoted by the Palestinian national movement and parroted by the global media which induce people to believe being on the side of justice requires calling on the president to allow the Security Council to take meaningful action against Israel and all the rest. While the aforementioned items can only be done once elected, the candidates will have as much capacity as the president to combat the lethal during the campaign with the winner of the election only gaining the ability to hold on to the microphone past the election.

Combating the lethal narratives would not mean simply repeating the our narrative. Rather, it would mean discussing inconvenient truths that complicate the Palestinian narrative. Some points I would like to see someone in the presidential field raise, in no particular order:

Define terrorism. Terrorism is violence which targets those who are unconnected to whatever the grievance is. By the same token, causing harm, or even killing, innocents while targeting those responsible to the grievance is not terrorism. If insufficient effort was taken to prevent the harm to those innocents in the course of attacking a legitimate, such an action may be a war crime, but it is not terrorism. Thus, even if resisting occupation is a legitimate activity, families enjoying a meal at a restaurant are not connected to the grievance meaning that targeting them is terrorism. Similarly, any casualties resulting from bombing a rocket launcher are not terrorism because the target, the rocket launcher, is part of the grievance of rockets coming in to one's territory. These rules apply whether one is Muslim, Christian or Jew, or if one's target is Muslim, Christian or Jew. This is particularly important because if you poll the Middle East, you'll find that no one supports "terrorism." Instead what you'll find is that wide sections of the public will define terrorism as based on the cause, in other words, if the cause is just, no action constitutes terrorism.

Abbas' perfidy. In almost every venue, it is taken as a given that Mahmoud Abbas is a partner for peace, if only Israel would yield what is the Palestinian people's due. However, no attention has been paid to Abbas' refusal to yield on demographically destroying Israel through immigration, his denial of any Jewish connection to the Jewish homeland, or of any senior member of his administration declaring that their objective remains to reclaim all of Palestine only that they cannot say so openly to western audiences.

Border status. The armistice line delineating Israel prior to 1967 was a result of Jordan's conquest in 1949. That means that if acquisition of territory through conquest is what makes Israel's possession of Judea and Samaria illegitimate, then it also makes Israel's non-possession illegitimate. Further, today's Very Serious People invoke Resolution 242 to justify calls for complete withdrawal from the territories. The problem is that language for Resolution 242 calling for complete withdraw was rejected. In addition, Resolution calls on the Arabs to end all claims against Israel and for Israel to have secure and recognized borders. Somehow, the international community does not seem to be bothered by Abbas' unwillingness to delineate any conditions under which he would end all claims and giving the Palestinians the ability to import munitions at will while putting them within mortar range of the bulk of Israel's population is not secure.

Jewish history. Several things need to be pointed out. One, Jews had not abandoned and forgotten the Land of Israel between the Roman exile and the First Aliyah. This means that the justification for the state of Israel does not start with the Holocaust. Two, the conflict between the Jews and the Arabs in the Levant did not start with Zionism. Three, the blood libel is a hoax and the Protocols of Zion are a forgery (could someone ask if Obama believes otherwise?).

There are other facts that would be worth adding to the list, feel free to add.

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