Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Emperor Has Clothes?

The pundits are unamimous.

The Disengagement was a plot for Sharon to assuage the left and avoid indictment.
The Disengagement was a plan foisted upon Sharon by the US.
The Disengagement was a strategy to put Israel in a better defensive position
The Disengagement was a ploy to pressure on Abbas and consolidate the West Bank.

Sharon did not clearly and consistenly explain his thinking, but that is what pundits are for.
But rest assured, there is some real tangible thinking there.

In his article With Gaza pullout, Sharon again has right strategy, Victor Davis Hanson writes:

"Brilliant tactician, lousy strategist." So goes the conventional wisdom about the old bulldozer Ariel Sharon.

But that assessment is exactly backward.

That in itself is scary.

Once Israel is out of Gaza and has fenced off slivers of the West Bank near Jerusalem deemed vital for its security, Sharon can bide his time until a responsible Palestinian government emerges as a serious interlocutor.

I am not reassured.

I enjoy reading Hanson's articles, especially what he writes about Iraq and the war against terrorism. He has a broad sense of history puts events together in context.

But I have difficulty when he writes:

Then any lingering disagreements over disputed land can be relegated to the status of a Tibet, northern Cyprus, Kashmir or the Sakhalin and Kurile Islands — all postbellum "contested" territories that do not prompt commensurate attention from the Muslim world, Europe or the United Nations.

Palestine as a sovereign state rather than a perpetually "occupied " territory also inherits the responsibility of all mature nations to police its own. So when Hamas and co. press on with their killing — most likely through rocket attacks over the fence — they do so as representatives of a new Palestinian nation.

...Politically, Gaza plays well. If the once right-wing Sharon can harness his own zealots, the world wonders why Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas cannot muzzle Hamas and Hezbollah?

When has any issue involving Israel been 'relegated'?
When have Palestinian Arabs ever been held responsible for their own actions?

Since when does the world wonder why Abbas cannot control terrorists? They know the answer: it's because Sharon and Israel is not being supportive enough and needs to make the concessions necessary to strengthen him.

In conclusion, Hanson writes:

The pullout from Gaza is bringing long-needed moral clarity to a fuzzy crisis. Heretofore the Palestinians have counted on foreign support through fear of terrorism, influence with oil producers, unspoken anti-Semitism and carefully crafted victim status accorded savvy anti-Western zealots. But now they are increasingly on their own, and what transpires may soon end their romance of the perpetually oppressed.

But the things that Palestinian Arabs have counted on for support--terrorism, oil dependence, anti-Semitism, and savvy anti-Western zealots--all of them seem to be on the upswing.

When it comes to Israel, whatever physics of politics exist just never seem to apply. Israel just does not seem to produce real leadership.

And contrary to Hanson's keen analysis, perhaps the emperor really has no clothes.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

How Elliot Ness Would Deal With Terrorists?

The Boston Globe reports today that Palestinian Authority's US assets are frozen:

A Rhode Island lawyer trying to collect a $116 million terrorism judgment against the Palestinian Authority has obtained a court-ordered freeze on all its US-based assets, severely limiting most Palestinian economic and diplomatic activities in the United States at a critical moment for the fledgling government.

This is an interesting twist on how they finally caught up with Al Capone and put him in prison--through income tax invasion. After 9/11 there was a lot of talk on the necessity of going after terrorists by drying up their financial sources. Though it seems that in general that strategy has not been too successful, here it might be doing some real good:

Palestinian officials have refused to pay the claim, arguing that doing so would be a politically dangerous admission of responsibility for terrorist acts by militants that the Palestinian Authority contends it does not control. Three officials interviewed by telephone from Gaza and the West Bank say they fear setting a precedent that would spur an avalanche of lawsuits that could bankrupt the new government. At least four other lawsuits involving deaths of US citizens in Palestinian attacks are pending in US courts.

True, these Palestinian Arab officials are exaggerating the effect that the lawsuit is having, and Strachman admits that, " the Palestinians have billions in overseas banks, and that they are exaggerating the hardships that would be caused by paying the judgment," but this will still hit the terrorists, and make some US officials uncomfortable.

The unpaid claim has also brought a diplomatic price. It has frustrated Palestinian efforts to send a new ambassador to Washington because the envoy would have no functioning bank account, according to two of the Palestinian officials based in the West Bank.

Staff at the PLO mission in Washington have not been paid for three months, according to Said Hamad, a senior member of the PLO mission in Washington.

''Unless the mission is able to use these funds, . . . it will be necessary to close the mission with attendant injuries to Palestine and its people and negative consequences to peace in the Middle East," Clark's legal team wrote in a motion earlier this month.


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A Thought: Pipefish Need Better Hasbara

On Sunday we all went to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ. When going through one of the exhibits, I noticed a stira between two of the exhibits.

One of them said that the sea horse and the Pipefish are the only two species where the male is the one that gives birth.

Later, at another exhibit, the sign said that only by sea horses is the male able to give birth.

If in a aquarium, which is put together by experts in the field, cannot keep their facts consistent, what hope is there for the media, where people have no real expertise in the history and background of the areas they are sent to cover.

The people who put together the aquarium have no agenda; we can't say the same about the New York Times.

As I was writing this post, I think I figured out the issue. It turns out that pipefish belong to the same family as the seahorse.

Seems like the name 'sea horse' is sometimes used generically to cover other groups.

Kind of like the term 'Palestinian.'


Instapundit has the following from The New York Times

Dr. Miller's data reveal some yawning gaps in basic knowledge. American adults in general do not understand what molecules are (other than that they are really small). Fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity. Only about 10 percent know what radiation is. One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth, an idea science had abandoned by the 17th century.

If people lack a basic awareness of concrete facts, what hope is there that they will understand such things as the difference between "Occupation" and "Disputed Territories" or the history of "Palestine"? The Palestinian Arabs' propaganda works primarily on the gut emotional level, with "facts" thrown in afterwards.

The sort of things that can fit on a bumper sticker.

We are just getting past the point where our hasbara just fits in a small book.

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Marty Glickman and The 1936 Olympics

This past Shabbos, a history teacher at the local Yeshiva Ketana was talking about an untold part of the 1936 Olympics in Hitler's Germany involving Marty Glickman, the former sports announcer. What I found online seems to confirm what he said.

Everyone knows the story of Jesse Owens.
He won his first gold was in the 100 meters.
He won his second gold in the long jump.
He won his third gold medal in the 200-meter dash.
And he won his fourth gold medal in the 4x100 relay team.

That is where the controversy starts. The 3rd event was supposed to be Jesse Owens' last:

That was supposed to be the end of Owens' Olympic participation. But from out of the blue, Owens and Metcalfe replaced Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller, the only Jews on the U.S. track team, on the 4x100-meter relay.

The rumor was that the Nazi hierarchy had asked U.S. officials not to humiliate Germany further by using two Jews to add to the gold medals the African-Americans already had won. Glickman blamed U.S. Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage for acquiescing to the Nazis.

But there may be more to the story than that, by Glickman's own account:

By Glickman’s own account, the last-minute switch was a straightforward case of anti-Semitism. Avery Brundage, chairman of the United States Olympic Committee, was an enthusiastic supporter of Hitler’s regime and denied that the Nazis followed anti-Semitic policies. Brundage and assistant U. S. Olympic track coach Dean Cromwell were members of America First, an isolationist political movement that attracted American Nazi sympathizers. Additionally, Cromwell coached two of the other Olympic sprinters, Foy Draper and Frank Wyckoff, at the University of Southern California and openly favored those two over Glickman and Stoller.

Anyone who has read David Wyman's The Abandonment of the Jews knows about the Anti-Semitic immigration policies of the US during WWII.

The story of Marty Glickman is a reminder of how real such sentiment was.

His autobiography, The Fastest Kid on the Block, was published in 1996.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Disengagement is Over, Government Can Fall

That is the headline from today's Arutz7:

With Sharon having completed the ousting of Jews from Gaza, MKs across the political spectrum are aligning to topple the government. The next scheduled no-confidence motion is September 1.

Knesset members from the opposition Meretz and Arab parties are now being joined by government coalition members in Labor, and even the Likud, in calls to bring the current government to an end.

Ariel Sharon is now targeted from every angle. His enemies within the Likud vow to topple him, and some voices in Labor as well are saying that the end of the disengagement means the end of the alliance with Sharon.

Of course, it may have been much preferable if those now piling on Sharon had chosen to do this before the Disengagement took effect (Possible Headline: "Government Falls, Disengagement is Over"). Perhaps then Meretz and Labor would not seem like such opportunists.

Labor MK Eitan Cabel says that the time has come to quit the government. The only MK in the party who did not vie for a Cabinet position when Labor joined the government several months ago, Cabel now serves as the party's secretary-general. He says that since the purpose of joining the government was to pave the way for the abandonment of Gaza, there is no further need to prop up Sharon. "The Labor ministers must quit the Cabinet," he feels, "such that Labor can present an alternative to Sharon and work to advance the elections."

Now that Labor has stuck with Sharon with the expressed purpose of facilitating the Disengagement, just what kind of alternative can they present? Are they now going to out-Disengage Sharon and pull out of the West Bank in accordance with Rice's recent statements?

Extreme left-wing Meretz party chairman Yossi Beilin told a television audience last night that Meretz is now abandoning its policy of supporting Sharon, now that the disengagement is completed.

Beilin at least did express reservations. Back in June he was quoted as saying:

If the disengagement does not lead to an immediate permanent status arrangement, it will bring a catastrophe upon both Israelis and Palestinians... It is liable to bring a renewal of violence [that] is liable to bring down the moderate Palestinian leadership...

There is a concrete danger that following the disengagement, the violence will greatly increase in [Judea and Samaria] in order to achieve the same thing [i.e., withdrawal - ed.] as was achieved in Gaza... A retreat from Gaza with nothing in return and with no agreement will strengthen Hamas.

But he will still come across as an opportunist.

What will happen to Likud?

Among the Likud loyalists - those who objected to the expulsion plan - sentiment against Sharon is very strong. MK Ayoub Kara said today, "I will support every move that will lead to the topping of this dictator and his royal family from further abusing the people of Israel."

Kara told Arutz-7 that he does not fear a split in the party. "The fate of the nation is now hanging in the balance," he said, "and this dictatorship is endangering the country. Even if the Likud blows up, what's important now is to save the country."

Fearing that the electorate will punish the Likud, Kara called upon the public to vote for the Likud and thus save it from being taken over by the left. He said that within the Likud, those Knesset Members who supported Sharon's policies will certainly be punished by the Likud membership in the upcoming primaries.

For all their bluster, there does not seem to be anyone who actually comes out of this smelling like a rose.

How ironic if the toppling of the government is successful and the person who benefits most from this is Netanyahu.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Not So Fast, Mr. Halkin

What a difference a day makes.

Just a day ago, Hillel Halkin had us believing that the settlers in Gaza:

have shown us what it takes to move 8,000 Jewish settlers out of a far corner of the land of Israel having no great strategic value or Jewish historical significance. Does anyone care to imagine what it would take to move 60,000 or 70,000 settlers out the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, which sits smack in the middle of this country, scant kilometers from Jerusalem?

...A second disengagement from the West Bank is a dead duck, at least for the foreseeable future - and by the time the foreseeable future is gone, the only politician in Israel capable of carrying out such a step, Ariel Sharon, will be gone too.

And to think that Halkin almost got away with it, making us think further withdrawls were impossible.

Fortunately, we have Reuters to thank for setting us straight and letting us know just how easy this first Disengagement was:

In a few long days, Israeli forces have buried any idea that giving up settlements on land Palestinians want for a state would be impossibly traumatic.

Some had predicted before Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Gaza pullout that it could be so drawn out, painful and even violent that it might put off for years any removal of more West Bank enclaves seen by Palestinians as a prime obstacle to peace.

There was certainly deep personal grief for the Jewish settlers forced from their homes of decades in Gaza and four of the 120 settlements in the occupied West Bank.

But warnings of mass disorder, military mutinies and even civil war proved wrong.

How could we have missed it, this cake walk called the Disengagement. Fortunately, more objective observers are on-hand:

The fact the operation was declared over by police two weeks ahead of schedule showed how smoothly it went. That was not lost on Palestinians or the Israeli leftists campaigning to give up all land occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.

"It has been proven that settlements can be dismantled and must be dismantled," said Uri Avnery, a veteran Israeli left-winger.

Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said: "The lesson here is that it went so peacefully, so smoothly, peace can be doable in the West Bank."


Monday, August 22, 2005

Hillel Halkin Declares Victory

In today’s Jerusalem Post, Hillel Halkin writes about the Anti-Disengagement movement:

...In this they have succeeded. They have shown us what it takes to move 8,000 Jewish settlers out of a far corner of the land of Israel having no great strategic value or Jewish historical significance. Does anyone care to imagine what it would take to move 60,000 or 70,000 settlers out the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, which sits smack in the middle of this country, scant kilometers from Jerusalem?

Just the physical logistics of it would be mind-boggling. Although the Gaza Strip was easily isolable, thousands of protesters have slipped through the army's cordon. Even with its security fence, this is not true of the West Bank. An attempted evacuation of settlements from it could easily result in tens of thousands of protesters flowing to any one of them. The entire Israeli army couldn't handle this, not even if reinforced by the navy and the air force - and if military insubordination has been relatively minor this summer, it could swell to malignant proportions in such a situation.

In a word, it's not going to happen. The settlers can wipe the tears from their eyes and start smiling. The Palestinians giddily celebrating our departure from Gaza might as well make it as big a bash as they can, because they won't have an opportunity for another one soon.

This is an intriguing idea. It might be easier to accept if Halkin didn’t seem so sure about it:

A second disengagement from the West Bank is a dead duck, at least for the foreseeable future - and by the time the foreseeable future is gone, the only politician in Israel capable of carrying out such a step, Ariel Sharon, will be gone too.

What Halkin is less sure about is what to do next.
But in that, at least, he is in the same boat as the rest of us.

But weren’t we also sure, once upon a time, that somehow, some way, the Disengagement from Gaza was not going to happen either?

When the idea was broached back in 2003, the following appeared in Arutz Sheva under the headline
Legal Commentator: Heavy Legal Obstacles On The Road To Uprooting Communities:

Relocating towns is not an impossible mission - we remember that it happened before in Sinai following the peace agreement with Egypt - but it is a very hard mission [in that it] requires legislation - possibly even legislation that requires a special majority of 61 MKs. This is a very very long legal process. Let's remember that the evacuation of the towns in Sinai took five years, more or less. And this time it's more complex."

And here we are less than 2 years later.
And no one knows what Sharon really has in mind for the West Bank.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Arafat: Anything I do or say, ignore me.

Via The Corner comes this article from St. Petersburg Times about the trial of Sami al-Arian, the professor in Florida who is accused of aiding the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organization.

The following is from a wiretap conversation from October 2000, in which one of al-Arian’s co-defendants, Sameeh Hammoudeh, explains the private views of Yassir Arafat about the negotiations with Ehud Barak:

Despite what Arafat was saying publicly about supporting the negotiations, Hammoudeh's telephone conversations tell a different story, according to the prosecution's evidence. Unidentified Male: "Abu Ammar (Arafat) told me that everything has been screwed up . . . Since February (he) has been hopeless, finished. From February . . . eight months ago . . . (Arafat) has had a closing with this Barak . . . I sat with (Arafat) in his room and he told me: 'It's useless.' But he doesn't say this on television. He says 'my partner.'

"We sat with (Arafat) . . . and he told me that it was over . . . and we should seek other avenues. . . . "Do whatever you see fit. Military action if you want to, or whatever. . . . I will not interfere.' " He offered this summary of Arafat's private words to him: "Proceed and do not be afraid. Anything I do or say, ignore me."

Andy McCarthy notes that the trial in general is not getting much coverage in the New York area. Revelations such as the above are not likely to make any difference either. Palestinian Arabs don't care and those who idolized him in the West will not change.

They will continue to blame Sharon for triggering the Intifada.

Krauthamer's Missile Deterence

In Friday's Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer, offers Israel advice on how to deal with the Kassam rockets that the Security Fence cannot prevent:

Israel should announce that henceforth any rocket launched from Palestinian territory will immediately trigger a mechanically automatic response in which five Israeli rockets will be fired back. There will be no human intervention in the loop. Every Palestinian rocket landing in Israel will instantly trigger sensors and preset counter-launchers. Any Palestinian terrorist firing up a rocket will know that he is triggering six: one Palestinian and five Israeli.

Israel would decide how these five would be programmed to respond. Perhaps three aimed at the launch site and vicinity and two at a list of predetermined military and strategic assets of the Palestinian militias.

This policy would echo, though in far more benign form, America's Cold War deterrence policy of "massive retaliation." That was all somewhat theoretical, but the Soviets apparently thought otherwise when they backed down during the Cuban missile crisis. In Gaza, the issue is not theoretical. Once Israel leaves, there is no way to dismantle the rockets. Deterrence is all there is. After but a few Israeli demonstrations of "non-massive retaliation," the Palestinians themselves will shut down their terrorist rocketeers.

One potential problem is that "military and strategic assets of the Palestinian militias" are different from those of Russia in the Cold War in that unlike Russia, Hamas and other terrorist groups keep their military assets right in the middle of the civiliam population. Is Israel really going to risk the wrath of the world on this? If a purely defensive security fence gets the UN in an uproar, imagine the mileage they will get from Krauthamer's anti-missle deterence.

Additionally, why would anyone imagine that those firing the missiles into Israel would be impressed with the potential counter-attack, even if it were to hit civilians?

According to Amira Hass in Haaretz:

The main headline in the Palestinian daily newspaper Al-Ayyam on Wednesday, August 3, reported that a boy of 6 had been killed in the northern Gaza Strip and another 10 children had been wounded....Ever since the Palestinians began to manufacture and launch locally produced missiles, about four years ago, most of the casualties they have inflicted - dead and wounded - have been Palestinian, and not Israeli.

Hass goes on to claim that now that the goal in Gaza has been achieved, the firing of the Kassam rockets will be discouraged:

Therefore, it appears that the PA is now trying to strip the armed Palestinian groups, and first and foremost the Islamic opposition organizations, of the halo of heroism created around the firing of mortars and Qassams.

But it remains to be seen whether the PA has the authority and respect needed to end the missle attacks among their own, let alone Hamas which is riding high on its perceived role in forcing an Israeli withdrawl.

Even if the PA and the splinter groups do distance themselves from the collateral damage caused by their missile attacks, is there any reason to think that they will not glorify the collateral damage of Israeli missile counter-attacks?

Why does Krauthamer think that the collateral damage caused by Israel will not be viewed by the terrorists as collateral victory?

While it is tempting and deceptively straightforward to analyze how the Palestinian Arabs should think about and react to the Disengagement (see earlier post), alot of what has been written seems to be based on wishful thinking.

Friday, August 19, 2005

"Sharon's Fateful Choice Sealed in '93"

That is the headline in Sidney Zion's Op-Ed piece today, where he writes:

Before the great handshake on the White House lawn between Yitzhak Rabin and Arafat in 1993, the 8,500 Jewish settlers in Gaza needed no protection from the Israeli Army. A couple of cops looked over them, no problem.

It all changed when Arafat set up shop in Gaza to the cheers of not only the Palestinians, but the world, including the Israeli government and the Jews of the Diaspora. Peace in our time, they said, and to ensure it, Israel delivered weapons to Arafat.

Shimon Peres, who became prime minister after Rabin was assassinated, explained: "Is Arafat to fight Hamas with sticks and stones?"

Arafat didn't even fight Hamas with words. The arms were turned against Israel. And not just Israeli weapons. Throughout the "peace process," arms were smuggled into Gaza through Egypt and everybody knew it. But the Clinton administration, intent on closing a deal, pressured Israel to keep quiet. So the weapons of destruction kept flowing under the sands of the Sinai, and the Israeli leaders turned a blind eye.

It all fell down at Camp David in 2000, when Arafat refused to accept 98% of the West Bank, half of East Jerusalem and all of Gaza. Instead, he opened the second intifadeh, this time with arms and suicide bombers. Then it required a division, 15,000 Israeli soldiers, to protect the Gaza settlers. This sea change was ignored by those who oppose the disengagement, as was the fact that the presence of the settlers did nothing to stop the influx of arms or the terrorists.

A majority of Israelis did notice, and polls consistently showed that they considered the situation untenable. Sharon, the architect of the Gaza settlements, obviously agreed; it's the bedrock of his decision to pull out of Gaza.

Assuming that Zion's timeline is correct, the sheer tragedy of the situation becomes even more mind-boggling. Of all our strengths, politics clearly isn't one of them whether we are talking about today or in the time of the Neviim.

What's in a Name?

Today, John Derbyshire gives 2 reasons for use of the word "Jewish" as opposed to "Jew":

(1) The word "Jew" is now very nearly taboo, except in very restricted contexts. You have to say "Jewish person," or some such formula -- though I suppose in ten years or so that will slip into taboo status, too, and we'll all have to use some different formula ("Hebraic-American"?). Why this should happen to words is an interesting question, which I guess linguists have theories about. "Jew" is awfully short and handy, though, and it's a shame to lose it, especially for headline writers and, well, waiters and bartenders, who have a pressing practical need for short, handy words. (Jonathan Miller in "Beyond the Fringe": "I'm not really a Jew. Just Jew-ish, you know...")

(2) The idea that a person can look Jewish is no longer quite respectable, because of our current determination to believe that differences between human groups don't matter a bit. Whatever you may think of this tendency, it kills about 10,000 jokes stone dead -- all those jokes that end with: "That's funny, you don't look Jewish." These jokes have mainly been told by Jews -- oops, Jewish people -- are in fact a component of Jewish folklore. I suppose they can no longer be told, This, too seems to me a shame.

But there may be more to it than that.

According to an old article by Jonah Goldberg:

But in another sense, hearing "Jew" is a bit jarring.

For centuries "Jew" was the preferred pejorative term for Jewish people. For example, "Don't Jew me" meant don't haggle me down to the lowest possible price. "Dirty" or "filthy Jew" were standard parings. Benjamin Disraeli the 19th century British Prime Minister offered perhaps the most famous defense of the word when he was taunted about being a Jew in parliament. "Yes, I am a Jew, and when the ancestors of the right honorable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon."

Still Hitler was largely successful in smearing the word "Jew." The word was so beaten up that after the Holocaust most American Jews took to saying, "I'm Jewish," rather than say, "I am a Jew."

If Goldberg is right, then in their success in defining "The Occupation" of the "Palestinian" "Homeland", the Arabs are simply following Hitler's succcessful twisting of the very word we use to define ourselves.

Apparently, learning Talmud has taught us how to examine and explain ideas, but still leaves us unable to convince the rightness of our views and who we are--neither to others nor to ourselves.

The Politics of Appeasement, The Diplomacy of Violence: The Legacy of Middle East Negotiations

by Dr. Alex Grobman

If we examine the relationship between the British and the Arabs in Palestine during the period of the British Mandate, we see a pattern of appeasement that has shaped the way in which the Arabs deal with those who oppose them. Arabs insist on concessions as a sign of good faith in negotiations with others, even when the Arabs are at fault. When their demands are met, instead of being appreciative, the Arabs insist on more concessions, as if they were inalienable rights.

When Abu Mazen was elected, Israel released 500 convicted Arab terrorists in February 2005, but Hamas threatened that unless every prisoner was released, including murderers of Israelis, they would continue to ambush and murder Israeli troops. One terrorist warned an Arutz-7 TV reporter in Ramallah that Israel would have no “peace or security until all the [PA] prisoners are released.” So Israel agreed to release another 400 prisoners in the next three months.

The 39 terrorists deported for occupying, desecrating and threatening to blow up the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002 are being returned to Arab-held territories in Judea and Samaria.

This method of dealing with Arab threats is typical of the way they have been handled in the past. For example, on May 1, 1921, Arabs in Palestine demonstrated their opposition to British immigration policies by attacking the Immigrants House in Jaffa. The ostensible cause of the riot was “an authorized demonstration” of Communist Jews celebrating May Day.

Moshe Mossek, director of Israel State Archives, observes that Arabs who worked at the Jaffa port registered their demand that no more Jews be allowed to enter the country. False rumors were spread--about Jews murdering Muslim men, women and children--exacerbating the tension, and the Arabs reacted by attacking Jewish settlements.

During the first two days, there were reports of 40 dead and 170 wounded. If the British Army hadn’t intervened, there might have been civil war. Sir Herbert Samuel, the first High Commissioner for Palestine, issued arrest and deportation orders for the Jewish Communist leaders and immigration continued even as the violence spread.

On May 6, 1921, as they gathered in Ramle to celebrate a Muslim festival, the Arabs threatened to attack Jews in the area, unless there was a public acknowledgement of the suspension of immigration to show they had won. In response, Samuel, via the District Governor, assured the crowd that there would be no more immigration for the foreseeable future. Empowered by their success, some people who came to celebrate attacked Jews anyway. The Zionists, on the other hand, told the British that the “victory of the Arabs will arouse in them the desire for still more and more and they will soon arise not only against the Jews, but also against the British rule, which they desire to rid themselves of.”

Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, a non-Jewish Englishman who served as Chief Political Officer in Palestine, Syria and Transjordan and who was Military Adviser to the British Colonial Office, wrote in his diary of July 5, 1921… “The moment the Jaffa rioting broke out, [Sir Herbert Samuel] and his staff seem to be hypnotized by the danger, and everything was done to placate the Arabs. Immigration was stopped; elective assemblies were discussed, whereas what the Arab wanted was a good sound punishment for breaking the peace and killing Jews. The Arab is fast learning that he can intimidate a British Administration.”

The British soon decided to establish controls on immigration that would determine the applicant’s political preferences, his health and ability to integrate economically into the country. The overriding principle was “the inhabitants of Palestine will be satisfied that immigration is controlled and that numbers are only allowed to come to come in as the development of the country demands.” The Arabs rejected the criteria out of fear of the “political harm” that Jewish presence would inevitably “threaten Arab interests.”

Attacks against Jews in 1936 and 1937 prompted the Palestine Royal Peel Commission headed by Lord Earl Peel to conclude: “An irrepressible conflict has arisen between two national communities within the narrow bounds of one small country. There is no common ground between them. Their national aspirations are incompatible. The Arabs desire to revive the traditions of the Arab golden age. The Jews desire to show what they can achieve when restored to the land in which the Jewish nation was born. Neither of the two national ideals permits of combination in the service of a single State.”

In 1938, there were more attacks. Leopold Amery, a member of the Conservative Party and a former colonial secretary, said that the Arab campaign of terror and killings against Jews, the British and Arab moderates would continue. In a letter to Winston Churchill of January 11, 1938, he wrote that if the British had “any real courage…” they would “let it be known that every additional murder would mean an enlargement of the Jewish State. As it is, it looks…[like] a gradual acceptance of murder as the natural expression of political opposition, in fact as an argument whose reasonableness we end up acknowledging.”

The Arab rebellion in Palestine had caused the British to divert troops who were needed elsewhere. At the same time, Jews of Europe were in desperate need to find a safe haven. David Ben-Gurion had little faith that the British would change immigration policy. After all, he said, the British had “yielded to terror in Ireland, in India, in Egypt. How much more likely, then she is to yield when only Jews are concerned.” He was right. The Evian Conference of July 1938, ostensibly convened to find a solution to the European refugees seeking a refuge from the Nazis, failed in its mission. The delegates expressed much sympathy for the plight of the Jews, but Great Britain and the U.S. did not increase their quotas. The Dominican Republic was the only entity to offer a haven to thousands of Jews.

By April 1939, the British White Paper limited Jewish immigrants to Palestine to 75,000 for the next five years—throughout the Holocaust. At the end of that time, Arabs would decide whether to allow any further immigration. Leopold Amery accused the British of appeasement. “The White Paper,” he said, “is a direct invitation to the Arabs to continue to make trouble.”

The anti-British rebellion in Iraq in the early 1940s was designed to disrupt British communication lines and force their troops and ships to be diverted to the Middle East when they were needed elsewhere. Yet there were still members of the British Cabinet who believed in appeasing the Arabs by having the White Paper become British policy after the war.

After the U.N. declared Israel a state on May 15, 1948, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Transjordan invaded the country in order to destroy it. Hal Lehrman pointed out that when an armistice was signed July 20, 1949, the U.S. asked Israel to surrender territory “which did not belong to them [her adversaries], which the U.N. never awarded them, and which they failed to capture during an attack costly to Israel in lives and property.” The U.S. also attempted to pressure Israel to take refugees.

The defeated Arab states insisted on indirect negotiations, and not face-to-face mediation favored by the Israelis. The UN’s Conciliation Commission (the PCC), established by the General Assembly on December 11, 1948 to facilitate a final settlement between the parties, sided with the Arabs. The policy of appeasement, Gilbert points out, was established long before Israel became a state, and it continues to this day.

The underlying problem was revealed by The Palestinian Arab Congress on October 6, 1924 in a report to the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations: “It is a gross error to believe that Arab and Jew may come to an understanding if only each of them exchanges his coat of extremism for another of moderation. When the principles underlying two movements do clash, it is futile to expect their meeting halfway.” As Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen observed, the Arabs learned early on how to manipulate the British. Americans, Europeans and Israelis have continued this policy of appeasement to the detriment of Israel. When Israel releases prisoners and cedes territory lost in an aggressive war, the Arabs see that as a sign of weakness.

Itamar Marcus of the Palestinian Media Watch reports that the “leadership of the PA has taught, and continues to teach, an ideology of virulent hatred of Jews and Israel that mandates the killing of Jews as a religious obligation. Even as the Palestinian Authority works to prevent a few hundred terrorists from attacking Jews and Israelis, it prepares hundreds of thousands more. As in Nazi Germany, there is an entire ‘culture of hatred’ in Palestinian society today, from textbooks to crossword puzzles, from day camps to TV music videos, calling for the murder of Jews, as Jews, as the end result.”

Lord Amery warned in 1938 that there would be “ a gradual acceptance of murder as the natural expression of political opposition, in fact as an argument whose reasonableness we end up acknowledging.” His advice was ignored then, and now it is the violent diplomacy of life in the Middle East.

Why are the Israelis appeasing the Arabs like the British before them? Perhaps it is because some of its leftist intellectuals feel guilty for living there.

In The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel's Soul, David Hazony describes how the rejection of Israel’s right to exist is part of the legacy of Gershom Scholem, Martin Buber, Hannah Arendt and other German-Jewish intellectuals. He quotes Aharon Meged, an Israeli novelist who wrote a polemic, “The Israel Urge to Suicide,” wherein he charges them of attempting to destroy the state they believe was “conceived in sin.” The raison d’etre of the Jewish State “was wrong in principle, and the result was an entire culture of hatred against the Jewish state.”

Menahem Milson, professor of Arab literature at the Hebrew University, says Israelis repress the virulent plague of hatred that surrounds them because the goal of Zionism was to put an end to antisemitism. Jews came to Israel to escape antisemitism, and when they arrived there, they discovered it to be part of the historical landscape. Then, to save their own sanity after the Holocaust, they slipped into denial of the potent hatred surrounding them.

Refusal to accept this reality surfaced during the Oslo negotiations. Shimon Peres, then Foreign Minister, writes in his book The New Middle East, that while signing the Oslo Accords on the lawn of the White House, “I could almost sense the breeze of a fresh spring, and my imagination began to wander to the skies of our land that may have become brighter to the eyes of all people, agreeing and opposing. On the lawn, you could almost hear the heavy tread of boots leaving the stage after a hundred years of hostility. You could have listened to the gentle tiptoeing of new steps making a debut in the awaiting world of peace.”

He was deluding himself. Pretty words of peace were mouthed to the press in English, while in Arabic, the Palestine Authority called for the destruction of Israel in their media, schools and mosques. Jews were being murdered, but that did not change the Oslo optimism that blinded Israeli leaders. Milson says that if the Jewish intellectuals and politicians in Israel would concede the strength of the antisemitism poisoning the psyches of their Palestinian partners, it would become a problem because it would justify those who question Arab sincerity in the peace talks and would support those Israelis who refuse to surrender land.

The Americans and British have their own reason for appeasing the Arabs. Cheap oil. While there is much oil in other areas of the world, the cheapest oil comes from the Middle East, where Bush and other national leaders have a financial stake in the outcome.

President Bush’s decision to establish a Palestinian State sends a message that terrorism works. The Arab leaders have zero to lose by using human bombs to blow up Jewish women and children, and they have everything to gain. Soon Israel will be sliced into two pieces and begin to disintegrate, one dunam at a time. The children of Arab leaders are not involved. Their parents spared them so that the Arab streets would provide thousands of children as canon fodder instead—they taught their children to choose death and continuing war, but President Bush just doesn’t see it that way.

A Tale of Two Democracies

From the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page

Indifferent to Democracy
Why the Arab world roots for American failure in Iraq.
BY MICHAEL YOUNG Friday, August 19, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

As the U.S. stumbles in Iraq, many in the Arab world (but also in the American academic left and isolationist right) have solemnly, at times pleasurably, described the situation as fitting retribution for "neocolonialism." The debate on America's imperial calling, particularly in the Middle East, is surely absorbing; yet from an Arab perspective, particularly that of the region's liberals, far more essential than how a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq might smash the Bush administration's hubris is the misfortune it will visit on Arabs striving for change.

Even assuming that carelessness long ago derailed American democratization ambitions in Iraq, failure will, at the very least, push democracy to a far lower rung of regional priorities. This will be a boon to the security-minded Arab regimes that most feared a regional democratic transformation in the first place. And those of the Iraq war's critics who, legitimately, bemoaned Washington's coddling of Arab dictators (but then refused to endorse the exception to the rule in Iraq) may one day see this or a subsequent administration again prefer the steadiness of tyrants to the wishy-washiness of Arab societies that seem to hate the U.S. far more dependably than they do their own lack of liberty.

Conceptually and politically, the Iraqi situation has shown the Arab world and its intellectuals at their stalemated worse. As an idea, the "neocolonial" paradigm is intriguing, because, rhetorically, it goes back decades to when Arab nationalism was at its peak. In holding to a storyline that the Iraqi conflict reflects an Arab desire for release from American hegemony, Arab critics are resurrecting an intellectual phantom. As Iraqis have fallen back on sect, tribe or ethnic loyalties, they have further demolished the myth of an all-encompassing Arab identity that, everywhere in the region, must dissolve primary identities. What the critics won't admit is that Iraq is yet another graveyard of Arab nationalism, not its avatar.

Glenn Reynolds of is fond of saying that democracy is a process, not an event, and historically a long-term process at that. But considering the differences between the road to democracy by Palestinian Arabs as opposed to the Iraqis--the ongoing corruption that did not die with Arafat, the 'justice' arbitrarily being meted out by members of Fatah, the censorship and intimidation (and recently: kidnapping) of journalists--what is going on now in Abbas' democracy is a sham that indeed is a return to the policy of dealing with a 'strongman' (an odd choice of words when referring to Abbas). And it is all the more ludicrous when the 'strongman' fools no one--except for the West that seems more tolerant and more willing to see the success of democracy in the PA than in Iraq, a West that is cynical of including Baathists in the new government in Iraq, but does not blink at the inclusion of terrorists and gunmen under Abbas.

Again, perhaps the biggest difference in the two experiments is that for the US, their experiment is halfway across the world; for Israel it is in their backyard. And Iraq is just down the block.

Alice In Wonderland

by Dr. Alex Grobman

Statements by Arab and Israeli politicians sometimes have an Alice and Wonderland quality to them. Just as Alice had trouble in understanding adult behavior that seemed strange, comments by Shimon Peres often have the same quality. On July 24, 2005, IMRA reported that Peres said that the meaning of President Bush’s letter (that is frequently used to rationalize the expulsion of Jews from Gaza) is that "President Bush does not object to Israel retaining large settlement blocs - if the Palestinians agree.”

Peres believes the Arabs might agree to trade land to allow Israel to keep the Etzion Bloc, Maaleh Adumim and a "tightly defined Ariel bloc," but he is convinced that retaining Hebron and all of Jerusalem would not even be a consideration.

Anyone not knowing the history of the Israeli/Arab conflict might conclude that the Arabs won all of the wars in which they fought, and could therefore dictate the terms of the peace. A logical question might be asked: By what legal right are Arabs permitted to live in Gaza and the West Bank, but the Jews are restricted to only certain portions of these areas? The Mandate for Palestine conferred the right of the Jews to settle anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This entitlement has not been changed in international law.

Does the government believe that leaving Gaza will ensure Israeli security? Shin Beit Director Yuval Diskin said that after Israel leaves Gaza, international Islamists will have the “opportunity to launch terror attacks inside Israel.” Some are reported to be already in Gaza. Other Arabs are moving the fight to the West Bank because “The withdrawal will not be complete without the West Bank and Jerusalem.”

As an added bonus, the Arabs see the retreat as a victory for terrorism. According to a joint Israeli-Palestinian Public Opinion Poll conducted in June 2005 by The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah and the Harry S. Truman Research Institute, 45% of the Israelis and 72% of the Palestinians believe that removing Israeli settlements from Gaza is a triumph for the Palestinian armed struggle against Israel.

Israel historian Jacob Talmon observed that at the end of the First and Second World Wars, the French were not concerned how the Germans might regard them. In both conflicts, the Germans attacked the French and each time the French defeated them. It would not have been surprising, therefore for the French to regard the Germans as an eternal threat. Under the circumstances, “Could anyone have imagined suggesting to the French that they surrender Alsace-Lorraine or make any security concessions so the Germans might accept them?” Talmon asked.

On June 5, 1967, Israeli prime minister Levi Eshkol warned King Hussein of Jordan not to join Egypt and Syria in attacking Israel. The Jordanians attacked Israel anyway, resulting in their loss of the West Bank of the Jordan River.

Because Israel was attacked, Talmon noted, one might have been assumed that the world
would not want to reward the aggressor for their unprovoked attack by asking Israel to give back the land Jordan lost in war. Yet on November 22, 1967 the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 242 outlining the guidelines to achieve a "peaceful and accepted settlement." As Eugene V. Rostow pointed out, Israel is allowed to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until “a just and lasting peace in the Middle East” is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is obligated to withdraw its armed forces “from territories” it occupied during the Six-Day War--not from ‘the’ territories nor from ‘all’ the territories, but from some of the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.”

Talmon asked if there had ever been another case in history where, “the victor has been expected to withdraw from conquered territory before the defeated party agreed to discuss peace terms, where the vanquished had openly avowed he would never make peace under any circumstances, would never recognize the right of the victor to exist… but would continue to pursue his mission to destroy and annihilation the victor until he succeeded?"

For years the Israelis have been negotiating with themselves—something that no self-respecting politician or nation would do. Attempts to accommodate the Arabs by offering them one concession after the next are seen as signs of weakness-not sincere attempts at making peace. When the Arabs are willing to accept the existence of the Jewish state, when they are prepared to accommodate the Israelis instead of expecting the Israelis to accommodate them, then we will know that they are serious about peace. Transferring Jews from their legal residences, pitting one Jew against another will not bring peace-only aid and comfort to our enemies.

Dr. Grobman’s most recent book is Battling for Souls: The Vaad Hatzala Rescue Committee in Post War Europe [KTAV]. He is also co-author of Denying History: Who Says The Holocaust Never Happened? (University of California Press, 2000) His next book Zionism Equals Racism: The New War Against The Jews will be published in 2005.

Can Israel Afford the US's New POV?

According to Yediot Acharonot, Rice is making it clear--both to Israel and the Palestinian Arabs--that the Disengagement in Gaza is only the beginning:

Speaking to the New York Times, Rice called Prime Minister Ariel Sharon "enormously courageous" and said the pullout represented a"dramatic moment in the history of the Middle East."

But she also warned, “It cannot be Gaza only,” and clarified that the Bush administration expects the IDF to withdraw from Palestinian cities in the West Bank following the Gaza operation.

This makes Michael Freund's point all the more poignant when he quotes Bush:

"I also have heard the voices of those saying, pull out now, and I've thought about their cry, and their sincere desire to reduce the loss of life by pulling our troops out. I just strongly disagree. Pulling the troops out would send a terrible signal to the enemy. Immediate withdrawal would say to the Zarqawis of the world, and the terrorists of the world, and the bombers who take innocent life around the world, you know, the United States is weak; and all we've got to do is intimidate and they'll leave."

All you need to do is replace the word “Zarqawis” with “Abu Mazens”, and “the United States” with “Israel”, in the President’s remarks, and you have a darned good reason why the proposed Israeli retreat is a mistake of strategic and historic proportions.

But the question has now been raised as to just how committed Bush is to staying the course in Iraq. The Washington Post recently came out with the headline "U.S. Lowers Sights On What Can Be Achieved in Iraq" based on some anonymous sources. According to its sources:

"Washington now does not expect to fully defeat the insurgency before departing, but instead to diminish it, officials and analysts said. There is also growing talk of turning over security responsibilities to the Iraqi forces even if they are not fully up to original U.S. expectations, in part because they have local legitimacy that U.S. troops often do not."

Is Bush now accepting that terrorism is a reality that will not go away in Iraq? And is so, does he feel the same way about Hamas and Islamic Jihad--that it cannot be defeated and the best that can be expected is to have Abbas try on some level to keep it in check? More importantly, would such diminished expectations be superimposed on what is expected from--and demanded of--Sharon?

To a degree, Bush can walk away from Iraq in a way Israel will never be able to walk away from its terrorists. Israel can hardly afford the approach that the Post claims Bush is now taking.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Is Disengagement The Answer?

Dr. Alex Grobman

That Jews need to be “disengaged” from the Arabs is not a new idea. In July 1937 the British issued the Palestine Royal Peel Commission that concluded: “An irrepressible conflict has arisen between two national communities within the narrow bounds of one small country. There is no common ground between them. Their national aspirations are incompatible. The Arabs desire to revive the traditions of the Arab golden age. The Jews desire to show what they can achieve when restored to the land in which the Jewish nation was born. Neither of the two national ideals permits of combination in the service of a single State.”

Expelling Jews from their homes in any part of Israel or in the disputed territories will not solve the Arab/Israeli conflict. How do we know? The Arabs have been quite explicit in explaining why the conflict persists. PLO spokesman Bassam-Abu-Sharif and other leaders claim, “The struggle with the Zionist enemy is not a matter of borders, but touches on the very existence of the Zionist entity.” In other words, it does not matter whether Israel retreats to her 1967 borders, those mandated by the UN in 1948 or the 1949 cease fire lines. As long as the Jewish State exists, the Arabs are determined to bring about her demise.

Deporting Jews from their homes is also illegal. Writing in The New Republic on October 21, 1991, Professor Eugene V. Rostow made this clear when he declared, “[UN] Resolution 242, which as undersecretary of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969 I helped produce, calls on the parties to make peace and allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until ‘a just and lasting peace in the Middle East’ is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is required to withdraw its armed forces ‘from territories’ it occupied during the Six-Day War--not from ‘the’ territories nor from ‘all’ the territories, but from some of the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.”

In another essay in which he investigates the Arab claim for self-determination based on law, Professor Rostow concludes, “the [British] mandate implicitly denies Arab claims to national political rights in the area in favor of the Jews; the mandated territory was in effect reserved to the Jewish people for their self- determination and political development, in acknowledgment of the historic connection of the Jewish people to the land. Lord Curzon, who was then the British Foreign Minister, made this reading of the mandate explicit. There remains simply the theory that the Arab inhabitants of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have an inherent ‘natural law’ claim to the area.”

“Neither customary international law nor the United Nations Charter acknowledges that every group of people claiming to be a nation has the right to a state of its own. International law rests on the altogether different principle.”

In the absence of a peace agreement, how can one legally or morally justify forcing Jews to leave their homes? What did the Jews do to warrant this treatment? They were encouraged by Israeli administrations to establish residences and business in the area. Isn’t expulsion penalizing the victim, while rewarding the aggressor? And when peace negotiations do begin, wouldn’t it be better to have a presence in the area as a bargaining chip?

Another concern must be that expulsion clearly demonstrates that the Arab Intifada was not fought in vain. If the Israelis retreat under fire as they did in south Lebanon, the Arabs will once again see that terrorism is the most effective means to ensure acknowledgment for themselves, their goals, and to achieve their objectives. According to a joint Israeli-Palestinian Public Opinion Poll in June 2005 conducted by The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in Ramallah and the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 45% of the Israelis and 72% of the Palestinians believe that Ariel Sharon's decision to remove Israeli settlements from Gaza is a triumph for the Palestinian armed struggle against Israel, compared to 52% among Israelis and 26% among Palestinians.
Furthermore, 51% of the Israelis and 66% of the Palestinians believe that the Intifada and armed confrontation has helped Palestinians achieve national and political objectives that negotiations could not have achieved. Israeli settlers share these perceptions with the Palestinians. 72% of the settlers think the disengagement is a victory for the Palestinians and 77% believe the Intifada has helped them achieve political goals.

As to the long term possibility for a political solution to the Israel/ Palestinian conflict, 46% of the Palestinians and 36% of the Israelis believe that there never will be a political settlement, 29% of the Palestinians and 31% of the Israelis think that this goal can only be realized either in future generations or in the next generation, 19% of the Palestinians and 27% of the Israelis expect it will be achieved in the next decade or within the next few years.

In a recent interview, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who presided over the retreat from south Lebanon and the failed Camp David 2000 Summit, said that Sharon surrendered to terror after realizing that his attempts to curb the violence had failed. Barak believes that the disengagement policy is flawed because even after the Israelis evacuate their armed forces and civilians from Gaza, international law dictates that Israel will be held accountable for everything that occurs there.

Barak further claims that president George Bush did not promise Sharon that Israelis will be allowed to remain in Gush Etzion, Givat Zev, Ariel, and Maaleh Adumim. Israel will not be allowed to remain in this as a reward for leaving Gaza. Behind closed doors, Barak says, Americans will tell you that this in not true. “The public is being deceived,” he asserts. Why? Because “Sharon is not strong enough to tell the Israeli public the truth.” Sharon and Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz have replaced the former Mossad chief, the head of the security service, IDF Chief of Staff, and the National Security Advisor, and appointed people who support disengagement.

Sharon is not being honest about the security fence either, according to Barak. The communities behind the fence will be abandoned. Several areas of the fence have been left open allowing terrorists access to Hadera, Afula, Be'er Sheva and Tel Aviv. Sharon has also lost the city of Ariel, and soon Maaleh Adumim.

Equally disturbing is the admission by Moshe Ya’alon, former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff that the IDF did not participate in most of the discussions that formulated the expulsion plan. Only after the Americans and Egyptians were informed of the arrangement did he learn about it.

After his recent meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Sharon once again called upon the Arabs to adhere to their agreement to stop the terrorism, violence and provocation, dismantle the terrorist organizations, collect their weapons and carry out organizational changes as a prerequisite to resuming the diplomatic process. Unless the threats are backed up with action, the Arabs will be even more encouraged to continue flaunting their agreements, if there are no consequences.

Another problem not openly discussed is that once Jews have been transferred out of the area, other Jewish communities will be exposed to Qassam rocket fire and terrorist infiltration. In January of this year, Colonel Uzi Buchbinder, head of the Home Front Command's civil defense department, warned that 46 western Negev communities would be within range of enemy rockets and terrorist attacks after the retreat.

That the Arabs will not be swayed in any way by Israeli withdrawal should not come as a surprise. As political scientist Shlomo Avineri observes, the Arabs see themselves as the only “legitimate repository of national self-determination” in the region. They do not accept that national groups in the Middle East have the same right to self-determination that they have properly demanded for themselves. This exclusivity “borders on political racism,” and should not be tolerated in the Middle East any more than it is Europe.”

A few examples he points out will illustrate the problems Arabs have with minorities. The Kurds have a different language, culture and customs than the Arabs, and the Iraqi and Syrian governments (and the non-Arab Muslims in Turkey and the Persians in Iran) have oppressed them for decades. Yet no Arabs have ever asked that the Kurds be given the right to self-determination. In 2005, when the international community supports the establishment of a state for the Palestinian people, no Arab moderate or academic has requested comparable rights for the Kurds.

The Berbers in Algeria and the Christian Maronites in Lebanon are similar situations, he continues. The Darfur region of Sudan can be added to this group. Arab militias, with the support of the Arab dominated government in Khartoum, have committed what UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has called “ethnic cleansing” against the indigenous black population. The refusal by the Sharon government to explain adequately the reasons for giving up land and transferring Jews in response to repeated terror attacks against its citizens, the failure to engage the Israeli public and politicians in an open dialogue about the implications of this policy, and its unfortunate success at fomenting distrust, alienation and hatred among various segments of the population does immeasurable damage to the Jewish people and weakens the Israeli and the American war on terrorism.

Before Israel “disengages,” there should be legal and moral justifications for uprooting Jews who have not violated any Israeli or international statue. When the Arabs are willing to accept the existence of the Jewish State and live in peace with her, then negotiations about future borders should be discussed. As long the Arabs want to destroy Israel, concessions only convince them that terrorism, rather than negotiation, is the best method to achieve their goal.

It appears that we have not progressed much since 1994, when Aharon Megged, the respected writer and supporter of the Labor Party, complained: “Since the Six Day War, and at an increasing pace, we have witnessed a phenomenon which probably has no parallel in history: an emotional and moral identification by the majority of Israel's intelligentsia with people openly committed to our annihilation." He also saw a trend by them “to regard religious, cultural, and emotional affinity to the land...with sheer contempt.” “You make peace with your enemies,” they incessantly proclaim, yet as Professor Edward Alexander observed, “it is clear that they can far sooner make peace with enemies wearing keffiyehs than with enemies wearing yarmulkes and tefillin.”

Dr. Grobman’s most recent book is Battling for Souls: The Vaad Hatzala Rescue Committee in Post War Europe [KTAV]. He is also co-author of Denying History: Who Says The Holocaust Never Happened? (University of California Press, 2000) His next book Zionism=Racism: The New War Against The Jews will be published in 2005.

UN Bankrolls Latest Anti-Israel Propaganda

According to Wednesday's NY Sun, "The United Nations bankrolled the production of thousands of banners, bumper stickers, mugs, and T-shirts bearing the slogan "Today Gaza and Tomorrow the West Bank and Jerusalem," which have been widely distributed to Palestinian Arabs in the Gaza Strip, according to a U.N. official."

The key paragraph:

"A UNDP spokesman, William Orme, said his office gave money to the Palestinian Withdrawal Committee to "help the Palestinian Authority communicate to the populace about the withdrawal and its economic and social impact."

Imagine! At last a UN-sponsored program that is an unqualified success!!

Bedein Leaves More Questions Than Answers

Back on August 10, Bedein wrote in US Pressures Determine Israeli Policy:

Yet, one of the common assumptions over the past two years is that the Sharon government's plan to expel Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria, and unilaterally hand the area over to an independent Palestinian entity, had been an entirely autonomous Israeli decision.

It can now be determined that the US government was behind it all along.

Apparently he is saying that the US is behind the Disengagement and initiated it. But looking at the sources he brings in his article to prove this point seem to only indicate that the US is pressuring Sharon to follow through on the idea as part of an agreement with the US, an idea that Sharon picked up on back in 2003 after opposing the idea during the election.

For instance:

1. Sharon's answer to Rabbi Cohen: "This is what the U.S. StateDepartment is demanding that I do, and I must do it". [After Sharonkept pushing the Disengagement, what did he expect?]

2. "Sharon is now making it clear that he is under pressure from theU.S. government, and that its that." [Pressure from the US on this isnothing new--Sharon made a promise and the US expects him to deliver]

3. "In meetings with concerned American citizens, Danny Ayalon, Israeliambassador to the U.S, clearly states that Sharon's disengagement planis part of an overall Israeli-American agreement." [An agreement--nomention of it being Bush's idea; and the US expects Sharon to do whathe agreed to do]

4." In late June, Ayalon met with representatives of the OrthodoxUnion, one of the largest contingents of United States Orthodox Jews,and told them clearly that "Prime Minister Sharon is left with nochoice. He is doing exactly what the U.S. expects him to do"" [Again,the US expects Sharon to do what he promised]

5. "Furthermore, the Israeli ambassador asserted that "Disengagementhas to be viewed in the context of Israel-United Statesrelations…"This pullout did not follow an agreement with thePalestinians, but it followed something which is much more important,an agreement with the United States. Disengagement is something thatcreates a common agenda between us and the United States."" [same asbefore]

So maybe Bedein is just saying that the US was "behind" the idea "all along" as in supporting it all along.

But that doesn't jive with his saying that our previous assumption was that the Disengagement "had been an entirely autonomous Israeli decision." The US being supportive all along has nothing to do with, nor does it contradict, the idea that the Disengagement being an "autonomous Israeli decision"

Besides, on December 18, 2003 at a Press Briefing with Scott McClellan we have the following:

Q Scott, if I could follow. Sharon also said, however, that if the Palestinians don't make some headway within several months on the U.S. backed road map, he's calling for implementing what he's calling "severance procedure," a procedure he said that is pursued in maximum coordination with the United States, including moving some settlements, drawing new security lines, and altering the deployment of Israeli forces. Is this a plan the administration endorses?

MR. McCLELLAN: A couple of things -- one, the plan the administration supports is the road map, because that is the way to get to the President's vision that he outlined on June 24, 2002, here in the Rose Garden of two states living side by side in peace and security. And Prime Minister Sharon, as I pointed out, again said that that is the best way to achieve true peace. And we believe that the road map is the way to get to the President's two-state vision.

Secondly, we would oppose any unilateral steps that block the road toward negotiations under the road map that lead to this two-state vision. Steps that ease the conditions of Palestinian life, that reduce friction and violence, or that help block terrorist activities are, of course, part of the road map. And they are steps under the road map.

And I think what you're referring to was that Prime Minister Sharon stated that such actions, under what you discussed, would be undertaken only if there is no progress on the road map.

We are continuing to work hard with Israel and the Palestinians to make progress on the road map. And we don't think it's best, at this point, to be discussing now what to do if progress is not made, because we're staying focused, working with the parties to achieve progress on the road map.

So the US was not behind/supportive of the Disengagement all along and originally saw it as an obstacle to the Road Map.

So what exactly is Bedein saying?

He can't just be talking about increased pressure from the US to get this done, because that is clearly in the news and there is no chiddush in Bedein writing an article about it.An article with a name like "US Pressures Determine Israeli Policy" is not telling us anything that has not been true since 1948 and beyond.

And if Sharon really has been railroaded into a US planned Disengagement all along against his will, why has he not come forward saying so or resign?

If we knew for sure the beginnings Sharon's plan for the Disengagement, maybe we would have a better of idea of where this will end up.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Peace At What Price?

Dr. Alex Grobman

For years, Israelis were reluctant to acknowledge the potent and inexhaustible stream of antisemitism in Arab media and in pronouncements by Arab religious and political leaders.

According to Menahem Milson, professor of Arab literature at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the Israelis repress the virulent plague of hatred that surrounds them because of the Zionist ideal. Zionism, the dream, was supposed to be the end of European antisemitism. Jews came to the Promised Land to escape Jew-hatred, and when they got there, they discovered it to be ubiquitous. And then, after the Holocaust, by psychological necessity, they slipped into denial.

Milson says if the Jewish intellectuals and politicians in Israel concede that the strength of Arab antisemitism has poisoned the psyches of their Palestinian partners in peace, it justifies those who question Arab sincerity in peace talks and support those who refuse to surrender land.

Itamar Marcus, who monitors Arabic sermons, speeches and media via the Palestinian Media Watch, reports on the constant barrage of hatred and lies broadcast by the Palestinian Authority, much of it imported from other Arab lands. Arie Stav, director of the Ariel Center for Policy Research, reports that, in general, Israeli academic institutions were minimally interested in analyzing this phenomenon and its effects.

Shimon Peres as Foreign Minister in 1993, Stav notes, ordered the Palestinian Covenant removed from all Israeli government offices. The Covenant is anti-Israel and contains the PLO’s ideology, its objectives and calls for the “elimination of Zionism in Palestine (article 15). It also proclaims the “entire illegality of the establishment of Israel” (Article 19) and the need “to destroy the Zionist presence.”

After a number of wars, two intifadahs and the failure of the Oslo Accords to bring peace, some Israelis are now convinced that the Arabs will never accept the existence of the Jewish State and will use every subterfuge to destroy it. Not all Israelis share this view. There are those who believe that there are Arabs who want peace. That is understandable, at least from a psychological perspective.

Sixty years after the Holocaust, the Jewish State is negotiating with an Arab leader who denies that it ever happened. He used his “knowledge” to spread lies and hatred for Jews among Arabs in many lands, lies and hatred found in his 1982 doctoral dissertation for Moscow’s Oriental College. The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Mazen), claimed that the Nazis and the leadership of the Zionist movement conspired together to create the Holocaust.

In 1984 he published a book based on his dissertation, questioning if gas chambers were used to exterminate Jews, and claiming that “even less than a million” might have been murdered. The Zionists used a higher number of victims, he said, to extract “greater gains” when they would “distribute the spoils.” He asserted, “Raising a discussion regarding the number of Jews [murdered] does not in any way diminish the severity of the crime committed against them, as murder – even of one man – is a crime that the civilized world cannot accept and humanity cannot accept.”

Abu Mazen’s Holocaust denial challenges the legitimacy of the Jewish State. Scholars at MEMRI say that he does that by showing how the Zionists worked with the Nazis to destroy the Jewish people—because only “Palestine” was the right place for Jews. He claims “The Zionist movement led a broad campaign of incitement against the Jews living under Nazi rule in order to arouse the government’s hatred of them, to fuel vengeance against them, and to expand the mass extermination.”

Denying the Holocaust is part of a strategy to deny the Jews any connection to the Land of Israel, including the strategy of denying the Bible. Itamar Marcus illustrates the problem:

*“Biblical Judaism is really Islam. Biblical Jews are really Arab, and the Land of Israel is really the Arabian Peninsula [Judaism is not a religion on the full sense of the word…] The religion of Moses is a religion, apparently it is the Islamic religion, and some research that was published find[s] that, when translated correctly, the Torah texts show that it is a continuation of Islam.”
*“It is known scientifically as well, that a homeland of all the [Israeli] tribes exists today in Asir [in the Arabian Peninsula]. Their history is there.”

*“Modern Judaism, the Torah and Bible are forgeries. Jews are falsifiers and the enemies of Allah and Islam. The Torah was brought down while it contained guidance…. They [the Jews] faked the words of Allah and changed their religion and laws are wicked…

Professor Arthur Hertzberg, a Jewish leader and major historian, says, “The attack by Holocaust deniers is… the most hurtful that has ever been leveled against Jews. We have long been prepared to defend our religion and our corporate character …but the immediate reaction to the Holocaust deniers is outrage….”

In our book Denying History, Michael Shermer and I note that Holocaust denial is a form of pseudohistory. It is an affront against history and how the science of history is practiced. To deny the Holocaust is shocking because it attempts to deny our search to understand extreme acts of humanity. Holocaust denial is so dangerous and despicable—it is an attempt not just to deny a true past, but to deny a meaningful one.

By denying the Holocaust and vilifying Zionist leaders, Abu Mazen declares Jews have no legitimate right to any part of Israel.

Before anyone signs an agreement involving the security of the Jews in the State of Israel and perhaps its viability, is it unreasonable for someone to go up to Abu Mazen and just ask him if he really believes what he wrote? Don’t we need to know if there is a reason to believe he is different from his predecessor? So far, the only difference is better personal grooming. Since his election, things do not bode well. For years the Jews in America and many of its leading academics argued against meeting with deniers lest they be given legitimacy. Are we legitimizing Holocaust denial and Jew-hatred while we delegitimize Israel?

We yearn for peace, but at what price?

An historian, Dr. Grobman most recent book is Battling for Souls: The Vaad Hatzala Rescue Committee in Post War Europe [KTAV]. He is also co-author of Denying History: Who Says The Holocaust Never Happened And Why Do They Say It? (University of California Press, 2000). His next book Zionism Equals Racism: The New War Against The Jews will be published in 2005.

Derbyshire and Simon on How Palestinians Should View the Disengagement

John Derbyshire and Roger L. Simon write on why the Palestinian Arabs should be afraid, very afraid, of the responsibilities and consequences facing them as a result of the Disengagement.
According to Derbyshire, "Israel has fought wars against Jordan, Egypt, and Syria; but she has neverf fought a war against Palestine. What would an Israeli-Palestine war look like? If I were a Palestinian Arab, I think I'd hope never to find out."

Simon writes, "But if events continue without a major snafu, the ball will soon enough be in Mohammed Abbas' court. Gaza will be his playground and he will have Hamas and Islamic Jihad to deal with. I don't envy him.... As we used to say on our own playground, 'No backsies!'"

But why should the Palestinian Arabs be afraid? They have never had to take any responsibility for supposed agreements with Israel. They have always been able to count on the West to pressure Israel or to provide the PA with billions of dollars.

As far as Abbas handling Gaza, who should really be afraid of "no backsies"? The Gaza playground is in Israel's backyard, and they will bear the brunt of the Abbas' failure to deal with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Is there anything the West will not do in order to bolster Abbas at the expense of Israel--including preventing Israel from stepping in when Abbas cannot control them?

Rather than being concerned with how they should be thinking, we should be worried about how the Palestinian Arabs have been and will continue to think about the Middle East.