Friday, March 24, 2017

An open letter to David Friedman

Sar Shalom

Congratulations on being confirmed as president Trump's ambassador to Israel. I have no doubt that you will be a good friend of Israel. There are no limits to the extent of which I believe you will be a good friend of Israel. However, can you be a great friend of Israel. Allow me to explain the difference between a good friend and a great friend. A good friend is someone who adopts policies that help Israel. A great friend is someone who induces others to adopt policies that help Israel. This is particularly important because your time in office will be limited and your long-term impact will be based on the effect you have setting the framework for how your successors view the region.

The narrative. As a new report from the BESA Center demonstrates, western support for the Palestinians is based on false narratives. Convincing someone to support Israel thus requires a narrative in which, under that individual's value system, Israel is the good side. In contrast, the currently prevailing narrative is that the conflict is one of Israeli Goliath against Palestinian David. This narrative would explain Obama's obsession with the settlements, even if it can't be proved that it was the motive.

The David and Goliath narrative has two components. One is the Palestinians as innocent victims. The other is of Israelis as capricious victimisers. Both components will have to be confronted explicitly as just providing the litany of Israel's contributions to society will leave adherents of the narrative saying that it does not excuse Israel's victimization of the "innocent" Palestinians.

Overall theme. The main thrust of the following sections is that the essence of the conflict is, as Einat Wilf describes it, is the inability of the Arabs and Muslims to accept the fact that those whom they have historically treated as inferiors are now claiming equality and exercising power in their midst.

The way forward. Many in the West believe that the way to move forward on peace and to help the Palestinian people is to put pressure on Israel. On the latter issue, even many supporters of Israel concur, with the response being only to limit the help given to the Palestinian people if the cost to Israel is too high. Call attention to facts that complicate this narrative. For instance, visit Israeli Arabs like Ali Salam and Gabriel Nadaf who can show what genuine cooperation with Israel can yield. Visit one of get-togethers of Palestinian leaders like Sheik Jabari with the settlers to show that the settlements are not an unambiguous hindrance to Palestinian aspirations.

Media coverage. Bring in Mattie Friedman and Mark Lavie to identify what issues are systematically buried by the media's code of omertà and devise strategies to create scenes that would force those issues onto the media radar screen.

Finally, avoid simply asserting that their narrative is wrong. Simple assertions that the narrative is wrong will be dismissed. Instead, call attention to uncontrovertable facts that challenge the narrative and force them to bob and weave to reconcile the narrative with those facts.


  1. Don't use the terms "settler" and "settlement", or apply it equally to both Jewish and Arab communities.

    1. My objective is to provide reasons why the media should do as you say. Changing the narrative is key to that, whereas simply doing so himself would not.

  2. Friedman is the US ambassador to Israel, not the PLO, Hamas, Uzbekistan or Mars. Talking to or about the 'palestinians' to the so called 'palestinians' is outside his portfolio. The biggest error that US foreign policy ever engaged in was to be an 'honest broker'. Can you imagine if the US announced it would not take sides between the Iraqi government and ISIS, between the Irish government and the IRA, between the Italians and the Red Army Faction, between al Qaeda and whomever?

    Seriously? The elephant in the room is that the US government spent the last 60 years posturing that the Jews and the people killing the Jews are on equal ground here. Or if they are then let's invite the Sinaloa Cartel and the government of the state of Arizona and listen to 'all sides all opinions'.

    1. Are you saying that this should not be brought broader attention: ?

    2. I'm saying that even so much as pretending that there are these mythical Arabs to speak to or speak with is a fantasy. You may as well demand that Israel make peace with Ming The Merciless.

      I'm saying that respecting the US position that there is equity between mass murderers and their victims and that THAT can somehow end in a magical state of grace between the mass murderers and their victims is vaguely suicidal. Show me where the US stakes out a policy where rapists and murderers get to sit on the other side of the table with their victims and the families of their victims and are allowed to articulate their future demands so as to ameliorate all future rapes and murders and give those demands serious consideration. In fact show me where the US demands that consider their demands so seriously that when they demand they be allowed to kill the other residents of the homes of their prior victims so that they can take over those homes we should seriously, very seriously consider it on its merits.

    3. Trudy,
      You have a great point.
      But let's not forget the narrative we're up against of an indigenous people who were dispossessed. It's a compelling narrative. And it happens to be the Jewish narrative.

    4. Are you saying that Sheikh Jabari is a myth? Ok, he has limited influence, but he is realand he has a following.

      What we need is for the general public to become aware of his existence so that perhaps instead of pining for Israel to make that magical concession that will mollify Abbas, they will pine for Jabari to gain more influence.b

    5. "I'm saying that respecting the US position that there is equity between mass murderers and their victims and that THAT can somehow end in a magical state of grace between the mass murderers and their victims"

      Your argument is the flip side of what was done to Andrew Pessin. As you may recall, Pessin made reference to rabid dogs in Gaza, implicitly specifying those launching rockets and other attacks on behalf of Hamas, which became twisted by the defenders of Hamas to mean he was calling all Palestinians, whether they participate in such activities or not, rabid dogs. Now I refer to Palestinians who not only refrain from pursuing Hamas' aims, but who actively promote acknowledging the RIGHT of Jews to live as non-dhimmis in the region, and you treat my point the same as if I had argued for magnanimity to mass murderers. The arguments display the same degree of intellectual integrity.

    6. You cannot to pretend to 'negotiate' for BOTH sides of an argument using the assertion of how you WISH one side was as opposed to how they actually are. In defense law there's an old aphorism, a guiding principle really "You take your clients as they are". Meaning that you do your job as an attorney using the scenario, facts, realities you are handed.

  3. The first and biggest threat to any possible peace deal is the murderous hate of Jews by Arabs. I can't see any way to ever change that outside the demise of Islam.

  4. Sar Shalom correctly emphasized that:

    "...Western support for the Palestinians
    is based on false narratives."

    To help expose the false narratives of the Palestinians, please read these blog-posts:

    Ancient Roman historians connected Jews with the Land of Israel:

    Why Muslims Hate Jews:

    Forgotten Muslim Oppression against Jews:

    Why Israel’s 1967 Borders are Undefendable:

  5. There is more to the sheik than there appears.

    "The sheik’s truth is based upon the Koran, which forbids giving up Islamic land, period. One who gives up even a centimeter of it – his blood be upon his own head. Therefore, the formula of evacuating settlements is nonsense. It will solve nothing. In the same breath, the sheik also remembers the statements of the Prophet Muhammad, who said that if the enemy wished for silam (half-peace), half-peace could be made with him, a kind of hudna (temporary cease-fire), until you become stronger and can defeat him."

    " In the end, the Messiah will come. If our Mahdi comes first, all the Jews will become Muslim. If the Messiah of the Jews comes first, we will all become Jews.”

  6. Suggesting that the Jews are the victimizers of Arabs is something akin to suggesting that the Nazis were the victims of the Jews. It is to turn history - as well as common human decency - inside out and backwards.

    1. Thus I agree with your thesis.

      It "is the inability of the Arabs and Muslims to accept the fact that those whom they have historically treated as inferiors are now claiming equality and exercising power in their midst."


      We need to make it relentlessly clear to people that Jews are the indigenous people of the land of Israel and the Arabs are the invaders. This is one of those historically incontrovertible truths that we need to raise in the discussion every time some SJW says that Israelis are, y'know, bad.


    Talk about narratives; the hypocritical EU

  8. The biggest risk to any deal is assuming that any deal can exist or that one can exist at all costs. It cannot. Like any other tribal war of extermination there is but one outcome. You either destroy your enemy leaving no stone atop another, you build an iron wall to keep them out or you go extinct. Pick one.

  9. The Arabs have made it clear many times there will be no deal; perhaps a Hudna until they are strong enough to win-something happening as we speak with Hezbollah's huge arsenal and new Iranian based weapons factory.