The new face of antisemitism

Actually, it’s not a new face at all — it goes back to Mohammed himself, and his paranoid, resentful rants when the Jews refused to accept him as a prophet.  What makes it new is that, thanks to the modern age and the Leftist media, these messages, which used to be confined to backward desert regions, are all the rage, all over the world:

 

New Trends in Arabic Anti-semitism from Henrik Clausen on Vimeo.

It’s that kind of crap (pardon my language), that allows Reuters to write this kind of crap:

Police said it was a “terrorist attack” — Israel’s term for a Palestinian strike. It was the first time Jerusalem had been hit by such a bomb since 2004.

Or that allows Obama to use only passive voice in speaking of Palestinian terrorism, passive voice so extreme he doesn’t even do the usual passive voice technique of waiting until the sentence’s end to include the noun that did the verb.  Instead, he manages never to include any actor in the sentence at all.  He’s not the only one, of course.

The hand is quicker than the eye — or, are we mis-reading Arab misdirection?

Many, myself included, found it heartening that the Wikileaks cables showed that Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries, were talking tough to American diplomats when it came to Iran.  That proved, we said, that, no matter what the leaders said on the streets, behind the scenes they were sensibly aware of their common cause with Israel and America, at least when it came to Iran.

Unfortunately for my peace of mind, Daniel Pipes is now suggesting the opposite:  he says that history indicates that what Arab leaders say on the streets is precisely what they mean, while what they say to American diplomats tends to be what they think those diplomats want to hear.  It’s misdirection, but not running missing the direction we thought it was headed.

The Israelis will never learn

Once again, Israel is apparently blathering on about its willingness to agree to a two state solution.  This so irritates me.  There is already a two state solution.  It’s called Jordan, and has been Jordan since the 1920s.  What the loopy-loo wackos on the Left (and, increasingly, in the middle) don’t understand, is that the Arabs have never wanted and will never want a two state solution.  They want a Judenrein world, and they’re patient.

It is this desire for a one state (all Arab) solution, that explains why, as Rick Richman points out, no Middle East solutions have worked thus far.  Also, as one of Rick’s readers pointed out, we in the West further that goal by making Arab single-mindedness functional (emphasis mine):

The Left has a bromide. “War never solves anything”. This is, of course, nonsense. War ended slavery in North America, ended Nazism in Europe, and stopped Japanese hegemony in Asia. However, in the case of Israel-Arab conflict the case can be made that the bromide is true. This is because the normal parameters of war have been flipped-flopped. One of the reasons nations avoid war is that the consequences of loss, to put it mildly, are prohibitive. In this conflict, the Arabs have no incentive to make peace because no matter how many wars they lose the worst they can do is tie. No matter what framework is devised there will never be peace for Israel as long as the Arabs can never lose.

In other words, not only is the two state solution redundant, it will never happen.

How to avoid the stigma of being called an apartheid state

The head of the UN General Assembly just called Israel an “apartheid” state.  In other words, Israel is emblematic of evil in the world.  I’ve finally realized what the problem is:  Israel has a mixed population.

Think about it:  Iraq expelled her Jews and hounded her Christians into obscurity.  Saudi Arabia makes it illegal to be Jewish or Christian — so there are no Jews or Christians, making it a nice, homogenous population.  Iran also simply expelled or murdered different people.  The same holds true for Arab/Muslim state after Arab/Muslim state, all of whom are in good odor at the UN.

The secret, therefore, to avoid this insulting epithet isn’t to try to accommodate your hostile minority populations.  Instead, the secret is to destroy them entirely.  Once they’re good and gone, and once you’ve become a completely homogeneous racial or religious state by virtue of their (enforced) absence, nobody can tar you with the crime of being an “apartheid state.”

Orwell would be proud.

Perpetually selfish anger and victimhood *UPDATED*

Ymarsakar brought to my attention a post I wrote over three years ago.  I’m reprinting a slightly edited version here, not just because I think it describes well the Arab psyche that drives so much of current international politics (and fears) today, but also because I think it does a good job of describing the Leftist psyche, which sees all politics as personal, and which wallows in victimization and anger:

***

Neo-Neocon got hold of an Atlantic Monthly from October 1961 with a Martha Gelhorn article about the Palestinian refugees, who were still a reasonably new phenomenon back then. Neo-Neocon’s whole post, which excerpts large parts of the article is sad reading, and Martha Gelhorn is amazingly prescient.  I wanted to focus on just one part of the article, in which Gelhorn describes the fact that, despite the rather pathetic situation of many of the Arabs (and Gelhorn is clearly sympathetic to their plight), she simply cannot feel sorry for them:

I had appreciated and admired individual refugees but realized I had felt no blanket empathy for the Palestinian refugees, and finally I knew why…It is hard to sorrow for those who only sorrow over themselves. It is difficult to pity the pitiless. To wring the heart past all doubt, those who cry aloud for justice must be innocent. They cannot have wished for a victorious rewarding war, blame everyone else for their defeat, and remain guiltless….

Arabs gorge on hate, they roll in it, they breathe it. Jews top the hate list, but any foreigners are hateful enough. Arabs also hate each other, separately and en masse. Their politicians change the direction of their hate as they would change their shirts. Their press is vulgarly base with hate-filled cartoons; their reporting describes whatever hate is now uppermost and convenient. Their radio is a long scream of hate, a call to hate. They teach their children hate in school. They must love the taste of hate; it is their daily bread. And what good has it done them?

There is no future in spending UN money to breed hate. There is no future in nagging or bullying Israel to commit suicide by the admission of a fatal locust swarm of enemies. There is no future in Nasser’s solution, the Holy War against Israel; and we had better make this very clear, very quickly.

There are a couple of interesting things about Gelhorn’s conclusion. First, I think it goes a long way to put to rest the Left’s drum beat about our being the logical victims of Arab hate because of the things we’ve done to them. America is not hated because she is the evil Imperialist boogey man of the world.  Instead, she is currently the most logical victim of Arab hate because hate is an integral part of Arab culture and we’re simply the biggest target — not to mention (at least to date) Israel’s staunchest friend.

Second, I found this 44 year old language made a nice bookend to a book review that the American Enterprise Institute did about a book written by a U.N. insider (hat tip: Power Line). The book being reviewed is The UN Gang: A Memoir of Incompetence, Corruption, Espionage, Anti-Semitism and Islamic Extremism at the UN Secretariat, by Pedro Sanjuan, an American who served on the staff of the secretary-general for more than a decade. The review is aptly entitled A Stagnant Cesspool in Turtle Bay.

You don’t need a lot of imagination or insight to realize that both the review and the book describe an organization that, since its post-WWII heyday (or maybe its post-Cold War heyday), is nothing but a money-wasting boondoggle for professional bureaucrats hostile to the U.S. (Nothing like biting the hand that feeds you.) What makes the review interesting for purposes of this post is the fact that the U.N. has gone from being a Western dominated institution to being one in the thrall of multiple Islamic countries who draw their U.N. salaries from the West (mostly America), but are irrevocably (and corruptly) hostile to its interest and to Israel.

In other words, they still are filled with hate, just as they were 44 years ago:

During the Cold War, the most serious problem posed by the organization was infiltration of the Secretariat by Soviet intelligence. Indeed, Mr. Sanjuan writes, “the Soviets actually controlled every important aspect of the U.N. Secretariat.” Some of his anecdotes are wildly funny–though they weren’t so funny at the time.

Since the end of the Cold War, Soviet hegemony at the Secretariat has been replaced by the growing influence of the Islamic bloc. Further, before 1989 the U.N. was basically a playground for representatives of irrelevant Third World states to pretend to be important (and enjoy shopping at Bloomingdale’s), while the U.S. and the Soviet Union confronted one another in more important places. Since the collapse of the latter, however, the Secretariat has refocused on undermining the United States–and the U.N.’s other bugaboo–Israel.

Indeed, the most shocking part of this book is the unwholesome obsession of the U.N. culture with Jews real or imagined, whether in Israel or the United States. Although Israel should have roughly 15 nominees working in the Secretariat, until recently there wasn’t a single one; even now, a disproportionate number are Palestianians with Israeli passports. As for the United States, it is alleged to be wholly under the thumb of Jews. When congressional critics like Senator Nancy Kassebaum or the late Senator John Heinz raise embarrassing questions that have nothing to do with Israel–say, about the U.N.’s finances–they are blithely dismissed as Jews themselves.

Apparently the first question put to Mr. Sanjuan himself when he joined the secretary-general’s staff (by his Soviet deputy) was “So your father was a Jew, yes?”) That such nonsense could take place during the tenure of a recycled Austrian Nazi like Kurt Waldheim can hardly surprise, but what are we to say when they continue under his successor, a low-rent Peruvian with the made-up name of Perez de Cuellar?

The only thing that saves the Jews from the malevolent obsession that the Islamic countries have brought to the U.N. is the organization’s gross inefficiency.  It burns up money, but does nothing (if you ignore school girl rapes and massive financial scandals, of course):

The principal characteristic of the organization, in Mr. Sanjuan’s telling, is its massive waste of resources. The Secretariat alone employs 6,000 people at annual budget of more than $2 billion. What do these people do? Nobody can actually say, and it is considered bad form to ask.  Its functionaries arrive at 10 a.m., take a three-hour lunch, and usually depart for their homes at 4 p.m. to avoid the evening traffic. Even during “working” hours many prefer to while away their time in a luxurious cafe-lounge on the top floor of the building.

It’s not clear, either, what useful tasks are performed by those who bother to remain on the floors below, since there is massive duplication of functions and no attempt whatever at rationalization or coordination. One example of expensive make-work is the U.N. publications department, which churns out thousands of documents that nobody reads in half a dozen languages, at a cost of $750 per page. Perhaps the most serious work being accomplished in the building takes place in the garage, where–during Mr. Sanjuan’s time at least–a very sophisticated drug-smuggling operation was under way.

Don’t rely on my summaries, though. Go to Neo-Neocon’s original post, and check out the American Enterprise Institute book review.

***

The above is (more or less) what I wrote in 2005.  The seething, churning, self-pitying hate, though, should be familiar to all who have watched the “progressives” suffer through the last eight (and, especially, the last eight) years of the Bush administration. Progressives have never really had a plan other than to destroy Bush and everything he respresents absolutely and completely. In this, they differ profoundly from conservatives.

As all of you have noticed, the reaction to this most recent election amongst mainstream (and defeated) conservatives is to engage in rational thought aimed at rejiggering conservatism to help Americans recognize that true conservativism will give the greatest benefits to the greatest number of people.  We’re not shrieking about stolen elections or about the terrible new evil resident in the White House (although I think that Obama, if he fails to recognize the innate evil that lives in Iran or Syria or North Korea or Venezuela, or other like places, is a fool, and possibly a dangerous one). Instead, we’re engaged in self-analysis, a bit of self-pity, and a lot of re-messaging.

Given that those same very self-pitying, perpetually victimized Leftists now hold the reins of American power, I think one of the best things we can hope for is that, like a U.N. populated with Islamic Jew-haters, bureacratic inefficiency will outweigh the hatred.  The desire to change will be there — and the Democrats will undoubtedly effectuate a good many changes — but the sheer weight of their commitment to the governmental, bureaucratic process is going to slow them down.  And if Fred Barnes is right, they’ll manage to do just enough to create openings for thoughtful conservatives who have refined their messages and positioned themselves for a victory predicated, not on victimhood and hatred, but on optimism and a belief in American exceptionalism.

UPDATE:  One of the other things that occurred to me about a commonality between the Left and the Arabs is that they’re not only sore losers (with the most recent evidence amongst the Left being the savage response to the will of the people vis a vis Prop. 8), it’s also that they’re ungracious, vicious winners.  This should be a reminder to Israel (who seems to need this reminder on a perpetual basis) that, when the inevitable upcoming “peace” talks begin with the Obama presidency, she’s still in a no win situation:  win or lose, Arab rage and pity will continue unabated.

Where’s NOW now?

American feminists, who have done quite a number on Palin, are remarkably silent about the mind-boggling restrictions placed upon, and indignities visited upon, their sisters in Saudi Arabia:

A new prohibition may be added to the long list of those placed on women in Saudi Arabia: A new sentence according to Islamic law (fatwa) determines that women exiting the doorways of their homes must cover one of their eyes.

The array of prohibitions currently placed upon Saudi women includes forbiddance to leave home without a familial “patron,” fraternize with men in public, drive a car, put makeup on and wear high heels.

The modesty squad on the streets of Saudi Arabia follows women whose abaya (long cloak) is too tight and likely to reveal their curves or those whose hair is visible through their veils.

A senior religious cleric in the country, Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan demands that the rules of modesty be further enhanced.

In the new Islamic legal sentence, al-Habadan announced that when leaving their homes, women must keep only one eye revealed.

According to the sheikh, “revelation of both eyes behind the veil is likely to encourage women to put make-up on and accentuate their eyes. This is corrupt behavior which conflicts with Islamic principles.”

Read the rest here.

I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: A prescient friend of mine told me before 9/11 that the Muslim hatred of the Western world is grounded in the fear Muslim men have of female sexuality. Everything else — alcohol prohibitions, dog prohibitions, etc. — is just static. In apocalyptic fight between Islam and the West, it’s all about sex.  And in that regard, keep in mind that the incentive for Muslim men to commit suicide/mass murder is, yes, sex with those 70 luscious virgins (or, possibly, which will be a surprise to them, grapes).

A trio on why moral relativism re Israel is morally wrong

I don’t have much time to write now, but I read a trio of stories at the Jerusalem Post that remind us why moral relativism regarding Israel is wrong.  Israel, for all her flaws, is a better, more moral country that the surrounding Arab nations, and that’s regardless of any of their virtues:

Another Arab resident in Israel used his vehicle to try for mass slaughter.  Fortunately, he was the only one to die.

An Arab woman crossing at a checkpoint into Israel threw acid on a soldier, potentially blinding him in one eye.  Keep in mind that the check points exist precisely because those crossing into Israel (by the grace of Israel, because no Israelis are crossing into Arab countries) are trying to achieve maximum bodily arm.

And just so you keep in perspective what these Arab countries are all about, let’s look at Iraq, which is a country that America has sort of, kind of, managed to turn into a Democracy:

First his two sons were murdered. Now he faces prosecution. The reason for Mithal al-Alusi’s troubles? Visiting Israel and advocating peace with the Jewish state – something Iraq’s leaders refuse to consider.

The Iraqi is at the center of a political storm after his fellow lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to strip him of his immunity and allow his prosecution for visiting Israel – a crime punishable by death under a 1950s-era law. Such a fate is unlikely for al-Alusi, though he may lose his party’s sole seat in parliament.

Because he had visited Israel, many Iraqis assume the maverick legislator was the real target of the assassins who killed his sons in 2005 while he escaped unharmed.

Now he is in trouble for again visiting Israel and attending a conference a week ago at the International Institute for Counterterrorism.

“He wasn’t set to speak, but he was in the audience and conversed with a lecturer on a panel about insurgency and terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel,” said conference organizer Eitan Azani. “We didn’t invite him. He came on his own initiative.”

Al-Alusi has a German passport, allowing him to travel without visa restrictions imposed on other Iraqis. Lawmakers accused him of humiliating the nation with a trip to the “enemy” state.

Keep in mind as you read the above that it is just one day’s news from the Middle East, and just a small handful of stories about Israel and her neighbors’ attitude towards her.

Let me reiterate the sentence at the start of my post:  Israel, for all her flaws, is a better, more moral country that the surrounding Arab nations, and that’s regardless of any of their virtues.

Hezbollah turned over mutilated bodies

In my post yesterday about the corpse/prisoner swap in which Israel exchanged, I noted that an inviolate body is a very important part of Jewish religious law, going back to the ancient Jewish revulsion against pagan sacrifice and the subsequent desecration of corpses. (I also noted that I didn’t think that was a sufficient reason to put a whole nation at risk by making it appear very weak in front of an enemy that lives in a hierarchical world, where one is either king of the hill or dirt beneath the enemy’s feet.)

Sadly, it turns out that Israel received two badly (and manifestly intentionally) mutilated bodies:

Rabbi Yisrael Weiss, former Chief Rabbi of the IDF, who was present during the transfer of the fallen soldiers yesterday, said that “the verification process yesterday was very slow, because, if we thought the enemy was cruel to the living and the dead, we were surprised, when we opened the caskets, to discover just how cruel. And I’ll leave it at that.”

I can only hope for the sake of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev that this mutilation took place after their deaths.  It’s too horrible to contemplate that it may have happened before.

Incidentally, based upon my parents’ tales of dealing with Arabs in Palestine/Israel in the 1930s/1940s, I can make one guess as to the type of mutilation involved.  In a routinely used act of desecration that doesn’t need Freud to explain, Arabs who slaughtered Jewish men sliced off the men’s genitals (either before or after death), and stuffed them into the men’s mouths.

Hat tip:  Power Line

One of these Middle Eastern nations is not like the other ones

David Suissa has created a series of ads to remind people of all the marvelous contributions Israel has made to the world during its short time as a country (and, impressively, a country perpetually under siege).

I think it’s time to create some ads for the Muslim and Arab world too (click on thumbnails to enlarge):

Hat tip:  Seraphic Secret

I give it an hour or two at best

Hamas never enters into truces with an eye to peace.  It enters into truces with an eye to getting its troops rested and rearmed before the next offensive.  Israel, equipped with knowledge of both core Islamic doctrine (hudna) and Hamas’ own past behavior, nevertheless keeps giving its opponent a breather, rather than keeping the pressure on when Hamas is on the ropes.

When I was growing up in the 1970s, common currency in the Jewish community was the joke about how much smarter Jews were than their Arab opponents.  The one I remember best from the 1973 Yom Kippur War (although it’s certainly not the best joke) went this way:

Shocked by their losses, the Arabs regrouped and began studying their Israeli enemy.  They realized that one out of every three Israeli soldiers was named David.  They therefore came up with a new strategy.  When they were within shouting distance of the Israelis, the Arab soldiers would holler out “Hey, David,” confident that the David’s would rise up, ready to be shot down by snipers.  It didn’t work quite as planned.  When the Arabs yelled out “Hey, David,” the Israelis would holler back, “Is that you, Mohammed?”  Half the Arab soldiers would then rise up and get shot down by snipers.

Bad joke, but you get the point.  These jokes have no currency now.  Israel has been strategically out-thought at every turn.  All she has left is brute force.

Answering back

One of the things that has infuriated me for years in the roiling battle between Israel and her neighbors is Israel’s utter ineptitude at courting the media.  For decades, after ever single “event,” the Palestinians offered dozens of sympathetic people up for interviews with the MSM, while the Israelis offered terse, uninformative commentaries from tight lipped “military spokesmen.”  It allowed the Palestinians to gain complete control over the dialog.  No matter what was going on on the ground, Israel was steadily losing in the war of ideas.

I’m not the only one, of course, who has noticed this.  Michael Phillips has come up with an idea:  a simple chart that examines, not the facts of every event, but simply the number of times Hamas and its ilk have been caught in lies.  I’m not the only one, by the way, who likes this idea.  Michael got over 3,000 extra daily hits from people interested in the concept.  It might actually impress the Arabs too:  as many have been impressed by Israel’s willingness to go after a corrupt Prime Minister.  It can be very useful to separate facts from ideology.

Why Jews are right to suspect Obama’s advisers

Obama adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski has accused American Jews of McCarthyism for being critical of Israel’s critics. He’s not the first and he won’t be the last. The pattern, repeated over and over as we learn more about Obama’s advisers, is that one of them speaks fondly of the Palestinians or harshly of Israel, Jews get upset and someone then accuses Jews of making any rational dialog about Israel impossible. Jews, they say, are casting a pall on the debate by insisting on unconditional love for Israel as a prerequisite for any discussion about solutions in the Middle East — and that makes it impossible to achieve a solution, since it essentially cuts the Palestinians out of the debate entirely.

In a normal situation, the Obamanites might have a point. Ordinarily, if the world were focusing like a laser on a dispute between two small, bordering countries about riparian rights (or trade agreements, or power plants, or any of the ordinary disputes that might rile adjoining nations), it would be fatal to a peaceful conclusion if the external mediators entered with a preconceived bias in favor of one of the countries. But what Obama and his fellow travelers fail to understand is that the relationship between Israel and her neighbors is not a garden-variety dispute about concrete matters such as borders and water. Instead, it is a binary, existential dispute that demands the answer to a single question: Does Israel have the right to exist?

Israel and her friends say she does have the right to exist. They believe that she and her citizens should not have to worry daily that they will be utterly annihilated by one big bomb or thousands of small ones. The Palestinians and their friends, however, whether speaking through their charters, their rhetoric, their religion, or their actions, say she does not have any such right to exist — and that this is true whether one considers her as a whole nation or as a collection of individual citizens. The Palestinian side to the “debate” has made it patently clear since Israel’s inception (and before), that the beef with Israel is not about a village or a river or a water well. It’s about the genocide of a people and the destruction of a nation.

Keeping the above in mind — and I think you’ll find it a hard conclusion with which to quarrel given a sixty year history of writings, speeches, wars and bombs — the dispute about Israel cannot accurately be framed as “Israel vs. the Palestinians.” Instead, the correct framing is “Israel, alive or dead?” As I said earlier, it’s binary. There is no middle ground. Israel chooses life; the Palestinians and their cohorts choose Israel’s death. To the extent the Palestinians talk of a two state solution, they perceive this, not as an end in itself, but as a means to an end, a useful diversion to keep Europe and the American Left busy and happy while the Palestinians, Arabs and Iranians move forward with the plan for Israel’s ultimate demise.

Given that Israel’s enemies plan to deny her, not a border or a town or a river, but her existence entirely, Israel, Jews and friends of Israel have to accept that those who consistently support the Palestinians are either fools or they have an agenda. That is, they’re fools if they go around spouting off about two state solutions and peace, and completely ignore that the Palestinians give this concept lip service only. Only fools, after all, could ignore entirely the fact that, when the two-state issue was really available on the negotiating table, Arafat said no. Likewise, fools consistently overlook the reality that, when Israel makes concessions, Palestinians make none. Fools claim that no meaning can attach to the Hamas charter, Hamas rhetoric and Hamas actions, all of which make clear that Hamas seeks a Jew-free, one-state solution. And it’s clearly a fool who pretends it’s just rhetoric when Iran barely bothers to hide the fact that, once she builds the bomb, her first target will be Tel Aviv. Only a fool could pretend that a two-state solution would work if only Israel (not the Palestinians, just Israel) would give a little more, and a little more, and a little more, and a little more.

Of course, if these advisers who keep pushing the Palestinian viewpoint, all the while loudly proclaiming their support for Israel, are not fools (and how many are really that stupid?), then they must be aware of the actual Palestinian (Arab, Iranian, Muslim) final solution to the “dispute” between Israel and the Palestinians: The end of Israel’s existence, along with the slaughter of every Jew living in Israel. It is no stretch, therefore, to call these Palestinian mouthpieces in the West antisemitic.  No matter how loudly they proclaim that they love Israel and the Jews and just want peace, their goal is precisely the same that Hitler sought — a Judenrein (Jew-free) world. (Remember, it was the Romans who made a desert and called it peace.)

Ultimately, when one side wants only to live in peace, and the other side seeks only blood or destruction, you have to choose your sides. There is no middle. And one when Presidential candidate consistently chooses as his advisers those who opt for the side that advances death and destruction, no matter how prettily they wrap it up in nice phrases about two state solutions and peace, you begin to get suspicious (to put it mildly).

The moment the Palestinians stop calling for and acting to achieve Israel’s destruction, I will take seriously their claim that they seek a second state (and we’ll just ignore that Jordan was created out of whole cloth decades ago to be precisely that), and I’ll be less suspicious of those in the West who are their champions.

As long as the situation on the ground is binary, though, I’m going to view as hostile those who choose the side of death over the side of life — and that’s true no matter how they protest their deep and abiding philosemitism. Until they assert that an absolute precondition for any negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is that the latter completely renounce their ultimate goal of Israel’s complete destruction (a renunciation that must prove itself by word and deed), I have to conclude that these “peace seekers” in fact view Israel’s destruction as an acceptable result at the end of the negotiating day.

As many have said before me, if Israel were to put down her arms today, she would be destroyed utterly. If the Palestinians were to put down their arms today, there would be peace in that area of the Middle East.

The myth of the occupied territories

I’m beginning to think that incrementalism is one of the most dangerous things out there, whether it’s the way Obama leaks out the truth about his big lies or the way in which the jihadists keep asking for little things from us — no pigs, no dogs, no occupied territories.  As to that latter bit of incrementalism, Charles Krauthammer reminds us of the big lie behind the current theory that the whole problem with Israel is the occupied territories  (so that, if she just gave them up, everything would be hunky-dory, with no further demands against her):

[In the 1948 War of Independence, which had all the Arab nations massed at 650,000 Jews] Israel prevailed, another miracle. But at a very high cost — not just to the Palestinians displaced as a result of a war designed to extinguish Israel at birth, but also to the Israelis, whose war losses were staggering: 6,373 dead. One percent of the population. In American terms, it would take 35 Vietnam memorials to encompass such a monumental loss of life.

You rarely hear about Israel’s terrible suffering in that 1948-49 war. You hear only the Palestinian side. Today, in the same vein, you hear that Israeli settlements and checkpoints and occupation are the continuing root causes of terrorism and instability in the region.

But in 1948, there were no “occupied territories.” Nor in 1967 when Egypt, Syria and Jordan joined together in a second war of annihilation against Israel.

Look at Gaza today. No Israeli occupation, no settlements, not a single Jew left. The Palestinian response? Unremitting rocket fire killing and maiming Israeli civilians. The declared casus belli of the Palestinian government in Gaza behind these rockets? The very existence of a Jewish state.

Israel’s crime is not its policies but its insistence on living. On the day the Arabs — and the Palestinians in particular — make a collective decision to accept the Jewish state, there will be peace, as Israel proved with its treaties with Egypt and Jordan. Until that day, there will be nothing but war. And every “peace process,” however cynical or well-meaning, will come to nothing.

The dishonor of an “honor culture”

The British press was rocked for a few minutes a couple of weeks ago by the story of an Iraqi girl whose father murdered her quite brutally because she’d fallen in love with a British soldier. (There was no hint, by the way, that she’d done anything about the love; it was an infatuation from afar.) An interview with that father gives one a good insight into the culture arrayed against us in the epic clash of civilizations in which we’re now embroiled:

Two weeks ago, The Observer revealed how 17-year-old student Rand Abdel-Qader was beaten to death by her father after becoming infatuated with a British soldier in Basra. In this remarkable interview, Abdel-Qader Ali explains why he is unrepentant – and how police backed his actions.

For Abdel-Qader Ali there is only one regret: that he did not kill his daughter at birth. ‘If I had realised then what she would become, I would have killed her the instant her mother delivered her,’ he said with no trace of remorse.

Two weeks after The Observer revealed the shocking story of Rand Abdel-Qader, 17, murdered because of her infatuation with a British solider in Basra, southern Iraq, her father is defiant. Sitting in the front garden of his well-kept home in the city’s Al-Fursi district, he remains a free man, despite having stamped on, suffocated and then stabbed his student daughter to death.

Abdel-Qader, 46, a government employee, was initially arrested but released after two hours. Astonishingly, he said, police congratulated him on what he had done. ‘They are men and know what honour is,’ he said.

[snip]

It was her first youthful infatuation and it would be her last. She died on 16 March after her father discovered she had been seen in public talking to Paul, considered to be the enemy, the invader and a Christian. Though her horrified mother, Leila Hussein, called Rand’s two brothers, Hassan, 23, and Haydar, 21, to restrain Abdel-Qader as he choked her with his foot on her throat, they joined in. Her shrouded corpse was then tossed into a makeshift grave without ceremony as her uncles spat on it in disgust.

‘Death was the least she deserved,’ said Abdel-Qader. ‘I don’t regret it. I had the support of all my friends who are fathers, like me, and know what she did was unacceptable to any Muslim that honours his religion,’ he said.

You can read the rest — which is as sickening as the bit above — here. First and foremost, the article is a reminder that Islam, as practiced by Arabs at least, is possibly the most self-centered religion in the world. It’s not really about serving God, nor is it about living a moral life where your own behavior must measure up to God’s standards. Instead, it’s all about “me, me, me!” “You embarrassed me, therefore you offended God.” “You aren’t living life the way I think you should, therefore I get to kill you to satisfy my God.” Although Islam apologists try to treat it as part of the modern trinity of non-pagan religions, it is, in fact, a religion deeply rooted in human sacrifice — and the sacrifice isn’t for the greater glory of God (which was, at least, the excuse for the ritual sacrifices in days of old), but simply to satisfy the killers’ egos and insecurities.

Second, although it shouldn’t be any less foremost, is the miserable, craven, ill-informed, stupid, dangerous behavior of those on the Left, who claim so loudly to be the staunchest defenders in the West of women’s rights (and gay rights, and workers’ rights, and immigrant rights). These nincompoops certainly pay lip service to these “rights”, and they’re always willing to assert them against those cultures that accord the greatest respect to women and gays and workers and immigrants. At the same time, though, they’re so blinded by their obsequious desire to placate any group that isn’t America, that they are yielding ground at warp speed to people who firmly believe in an unimpeded right to slaughter women and gays, and to enslave workers (especially those immigrants unlucky enough to end up in such bastions of Muslim paganism as Saudi Arabia or Yemen).

Incidentally, Barack Obama is the ne plus ultra of this foul Leftist trend. Although he is frantically denying it now (once more making a bald-faced liar of himself), and although the NYT’s is desperately trying to work as the enabler for this man’s Leftist pathology, he really thinks he can and should just sit down and have a chat with these fanatics, at which point they’ll smile and retreat permanently.

What an idiot — which would be fine if he confined his stupidities to a small circle of friends and business associates. It’s frightening, though, to think that Obama wants to visit this level of cultural unawareness and blatant stupidity on the American people and the world.

The correct response, of course, to this kind of barbarity is Lord William Bentinck’s response to sati (or suttee), the old Indian practice that required a widow to immolate herself on her husband’s funeral pyre.  When told that the British could do nothing to prevent sati because it was an ancient Indian practice and that outlawing it might destroy Britain’s interests in India, he nevertheless went ahead, in 1829, and made the practice illegal.  It still took decades for the practice to die out, but his legislation struck it the first death blow.

Sunday reading

We received in yesterday’s mail a warning (a very nice warning) that my 5th grader is struggling with geometry. As a former geometry struggler myself, I’m all sympathy. We did not get mad at her. What is infuriating, though, is her absolutely unwillingness to learn geometry. After 1.5 years in public schools, she believes that all she has to do is correct the questions she got wrong on the offending tests and, voila, she will have mastered geometry sufficiently to proceed to the next phase of her learning career. Such is the importance of tests in American education. Even the kids have figured out that, it’s not what you know, it’s how you test. She’s working with my husband now, so I had a few minutes to scan the internet, and came up with four interesting things that I’d like to share with you.

I

Mike Devx forwarded to me a link to a Long War Journal article entitled Iraqis begin to ‘despise’ the Mahdi Army. It’s not the kind of article you’ll see in the New York Times, something that probably makes it even more worth the read (“the news that is unpalatable to my ideologically opposed newspaper is my palatable news”). The article discusses the significant changes in Rusafa, a Baghdad neighborhood previously known for its Mahdi Army presence, danger and hostility to Americans. The article describes the inroads that the American and Iraqi armies have made in clearing out that neighborhood. More significantly, it discusses the citizen militias that aim, not to impose some sectarian rule on the community, but to make it a safe place:

But Thornburg attributes most of the improvement in his area in southern Rusafa to the Sons of Iraq, the local neighborhood watchmen who are paid by the US. The Sons of Iraq program was started here seven months ago by local leaders and the 82nd Airborne, the unit last responsible for the southwestern half of Rusafa, which is essentially downtown Baghdad. Local Sons of Iraq leaders claim they were “the first Shia Awakening” against militias and al Qaeda.

“The SOI have exceeded expectations. They’ve turned one of the most violent areas of Baghdad into one of the most quiet,” said Thornburg. “Specifically, they are looking for Mahdi Army. They know who comes into their area, they man checkpoints 24 hours a day, they do vehicle searches, they question people and they patrol. The locals trust them and they are happy with them. They’ve earned a lot of wasta [respect] from the citizens, and the results speak for themselves. It’s a real success story.”

The SOI’s success arises, not just because it’s paid by the US, but because its members hold the Mahdi in genuine dislike, and truly want to uproot this corrupt, thug-like organization from their streets and homes:

Above all, Hassan and his neighborhood watchmen do not like the Mahdi Army.

“Originally, the Jaish al Mahdi [Mahdi Army] in our area used to deceive people by using the name of the religion to do their purposes,” said Dhia, Hassan’s executive officer. “They were all corrupted. They have history in crime, robberies, murders, rapes, and all kinds of bad things. They even reached the level of kidnapping people and demanding ransoms just because they have money. It didn’t matter if he is Shia or Sunni; just because he has money. They gave a bad reputation for Islam.”

American officials assert that the final factor that has improved security is the citizenry’s fatigue with violence and the militias.

This kind of thing was predicted on the Right, and castigated as crazy American thinking on the PC Left — thinking that didn’t respect the unique, animalistic behavior of Iraqis, none of whom (according to the Left) could be expected actually to crave tranquility.  We would do well, in confronting problems created by the Palestinians and other mad mullahs, to start dealing with those who desire peace, rather than cravenly acquiescing on PC grounds to those who insist on slaughter.

II

Speaking of Palestinians, if you’d like an antidote to the crude Leftist history of Israel — which sees Jews as Nazi-like figures who began plotting at the end of the 19th Century to commit genocide against the Arabs, a plot brought to fruition with the creation of Israel — you must read Efraim Karsh’s 1948, Israel and the Palestinians — the True Story.  It’s a real history, based on contemporaneous documents, rather than a false history based on ideological belief and victim sensitivities.

For example, historical records establish that, even on the most extreme side of the Zionist spectrum, Jews anticipated living with a fully integrated Arab population — a population, moreover, that would have the full rights accorded all citizens.  Please contrast this with your average Imam speech likening Jews to apes and monkeys and calling for their total destruction.  Contrast it, too, with children’s television in Gaza, which seeks to brainwash innocent young minds into thinking that their highest role in life is to strap a bomb to themselves to kill multitudes of Jews.  Palestinians may call for a two state solution right now, but they clearly envision two states comprised solely of Muslim Arabs.

These same historical records (including British documents) show that, in the lead-up to Israel’s creation, most local Arabs were amenable to Israel’s full-integration plan.  The Jewish renaissance in what was then Palestine completely revived an economically torporous and backwards area, with huge financial and health benefits to the local Arab population.  The contemporaneous historical record establishes the truth of what my parents always told me (and they lived through those times):  it was distant Arab plutocrats, disturbed that their tyranny over their fellahin might come to an end who fomented the endless genocidal war against the Jews in Israel.

In other words, it was always about power.  Not Jewish power, a la the faked Protocols of the Elders of Zion, but Arab/Muslim political power over the illiterate, starving masses who kept them comfortably ensconced in their desert palaces and Paris flats.

III

Here’s a moving story about one Marine, his old Singer and many, many beautiful stars.  (H/t:  the Anchoress.)

IV

And let me end with my favorite, Mark Steyn.  Many words have been written about Obama’s “speech” (“I could no more disavow this nutty old uncle than I could throw grandma under a train”); the publics’ surprisingly intractable aversion to this same nutty uncle; and Obama’s inevitable narcissistic renunciation of said uncle.  All words written are good, but I happen to like Steyn’s the best.  There’s music to his writing:

It was never a great speech. It was a simulacrum of a great speech written to flatter gullible pundits into hailing it as the real deal. It should be “required reading in classrooms,” said Bob Herbert in the New York Times; it was “extraordinary” and “rhetorical magic,” said Joe Klein in Time – which gets closer to the truth: As with most “magic,” it was merely a trick of redirection.

Obama appeared to have made Jeremiah Wright vanish into thin air, but it turned out he was just under the heavily draped table waiting to pop up again. The speech was designed to take a very specific problem – the fact that Barack Obama, the Great Uniter, had sat in the pews of a neo-segregationist huckster for 20 years – and generalize it into some grand meditation on race in America. Sen. Obama looked America in the face and said: Who ya gonna believe? My “rhetorical magic” or your lyin’ eyes?

That’s an easy choice for the swooning bobbysoxers of the media. With less impressionable types, such as voters, Sen. Obama is having a tougher time. The Philly speech is emblematic of his most pressing problem: the gap – indeed, full-sized canyon – that’s opening up between the rhetorical magic and the reality. That’s the difference between a simulacrum and a genuinely great speech. The gaseous platitudes of hope and change and unity no longer seem to fit the choices of Obama’s adult life. Oddly enough, the shrewdest appraisal of the senator’s speechifying “magic” came from Jeremiah Wright himself. “He’s a politician,” said the reverend. “He says what he has to say as a politician. … He does what politicians do.”

Happy reading this Sunday!

Can this culture be saved?

Honest to God, I really do wonder sometimes if the garden-variety fusion betwen Islamic and Arabic culture is salvageable:

A teenage Iraqi girl who fell in love with a British soldier when he was in Basra was murdered by her father in an “honour killing”, it was revealed today.

Rand Abdel-Qader, 17, was suffocated and then hacked at with a knife after her family discovered she was friends with the 22-year-old soldier who she knew only as Paul.

The pair first met when Rand was working on an aid project for displaced families but it is thought the soldier is unaware of the girl’s fate.

She was stamped on, suffocated and stabbed – leaving her with puncture wounds all over her body, including her face.

Her own mother, Leila Hussein, has spoken out about the crime, revealing how her husband called out that he was cleansing “his honour” as he carried out the murder.

She told the Observer he was arrested after the brutal murder but was released without charge two hours later because it was an “honour killing”.

“He was released two hours later because it was an ‘honour killing’. And unfortunately that is something to be proud of for any Iraqi man,” she told the paper.

***

Five months on, she was brutally killed and buried without the traditional mourning ceremony in a mark of her “impurity”.

Her uncles are also said to have spat on her body because of the shame they felt she had brought on the family.

These people were not “radical Islamists,” they were not bomb throwers, they were just an every day family of Arab Muslims whose men mutilated a 17 year old girl to death and spat on her body because she had the temerity to like a man. This ferocious level of misogyny and self-loathing (because only people who really hate themselves can be so insecure about the face they present to the world) may be beyond any remediation.

The seeds of hatred

The accepted wisdom is that the intense hatred the Palestinians feel for Jews is a direct result of Jewish annexation of the West Bank and Gaza after the 1967 War. Of course, as with most propaganda, this is false. Aside from conveniently ignoring the 1956 and 1948 Wars, not to mention the Koran itself, this view ignores the fact that it was a Nazi/Arab alliance that helped fuel the virulence of modern Arab antisemitism. Indeed, it was this alliance, as much as the oil in Arab lands, that caused the British, who had been fairly philosemitic since Cromwell’s days because of their commitment to the Old Testament, to swing around and become extremely hostile to the movement for a Jewish state. (As to the long-dead philosemitism, I highly recommend Barbara Tuchman’s Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour .)

Mike Devx was kind enough to send me to a great video illustrating the tight ties the Nazis forged with the Arabs as part of their assault on British interests in the Middle East (for British interests, read “oil” and if you’re really interested in how the need to control oil was a driving force in WWII, read Daniel Yergin’s exellent The Prize : The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power.)

Things I never knew

I’ve always referred to the numbers we used as Arabic numerals (as distinct from Roman numerals), and I’ve accepted that it was under Islam that medicine flourished during the Dark Ages.  Turns out I was wrong:

FP: So how about Muslim claims of accomplishment that aren’t real?

BetBasoo: Muslims claim many, many accomplishments we know they had nothing to do with. Arabic numerals? From India . The concept of zero? From Babylonia . Parabolic arches? From Assyria . The much ballyhooed claim of translating the Greek corpus of knowledge into Arabic? It was the Christian Assyrians, who first translated to Syriac, then to Arabic. The first University? Not Al-Azhar in Cairo (988 A.D.), but the School of Nisibis of the Church of the East (350 A.D.), which had three departments: Theology, Philosophy and Medicine. Al-Azhar only teaches Theology.

Speaking of medicine, Muslims will claim that medicine during the Golden Age of Islam, the Abbasid period, was the most advanced in the world. That is correct. But what they don’t say is that the medical practitioners were exclusively Christians. The most famous medical family, the Bakhtishu family, Assyrians of the Church of the East, produced seven generations of doctors, who were the official physicians to the Caliphs of Baghdad for nearly 200 years.

There are many more examples, but I think these are enough to make the point.

Keep Jerusalem whole

If you are like me and think that it’s insane to use the Annapolis gather to pressure Israel to divide Jerusalem, you can make your voice heard through a free phone call.  Go to this link and follow the instructions.

If you’re waffling, keep in mind that, when Jerusalem was in Arab hands after the Israeli War of Independence, the Arabs evicted all Jewish residents, desecrated Jewish graves and sites of worship and denied Jews access to their holy places.  Since 1967, when Israel took Jerusalem, the Israelis have made this holy city freely available to all worshipers.  Also, do keep in mind what happened in Gaza just recently when Hamas took over.  This is a bad idea whose time has not come and whose time should never come.

Hat tip:  LGF

The Bush doctrine at work

The familiar (way too familiar) trope on the Left is that the Bush doctrine is making everyone in the world hate us.  That desire to be loved, and the fear of being hated, is a feelings based mentality, of course, that has nothing to do with justice, morality, right, honor, etc.  My own view, as a Mom, is that I don’t have to be loved, I just have to be right.

It’s worth keeping those two conflicting sentiments in mind — “everyone must love me” versus “do the right thing regardless of how people feel about you” — as you look at a series of cartoons that MEMRI has assembled from Arab newspapers.  Lately, of course, to read a sentence that contains both the words “cartoons” and “Muslims” (or “Arabs”) usually means bad news.  This time, however, the opposite is true.  While the cartoons show absolutely no love for America (nor even any mention of America), they contain something much more important:  a denunciation of terrorism.

Bush doesn’t have to be loved but, boy, it would help us over here if the world would realize that he’s right.

News out of the Middle East

A few stories caught my eye regarding the Middle East:

The Palestinians say that they won’t negotiate with Israel until Israel agrees in advance to their demands.  (That’s an interesting negotiating tactic and definitely one to try during my next Court-ordered settlement conference.)

Egypt has discovered a smuggling tunnel into Gaza, a squiblet that tells lots about how neighboring Arab states feel about the Palestinians (useful tools, but dangerous), the risks Israel took when she left Gaza and stopped being able to police it, and the reason why Gaza should be viewed and treated as an enemy nation.

Syria is celebrating the anniversary of the Yom Kippur War — which it lost.  Again, you can read into that fact a whole lot about the Arab and Muslim psyche.  Local papers in Syria are issuing a call to war saying that this time they’ll be victorious (so last time should be celebrated as a trial run).  Sadly, one of these days, they’re going to be right.

The Israel lobby

With the resurgent charge that there is a pro-Israel lobby destroying U.S. interests around the world, I’d like you to read this essay, from George Friedman, of Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence organization. I’m publishing it with permission of Stratfor, which included this message in the email I receive regularly with Stratfor articles:

This report may be distributed or republished with attribution to Strategic Forecasting, Inc. at www.stratfor.com. For media requests, partnership opportunities, or commercial distribution or republication, please contact pr@stratfor.com.

Having got the legalisms out of the way, here’s the analysis:

The Israel Lobby in U.S. Strategy

 

By George Friedman

U.S. President George W. Bush made an appearance in Iraq’s restive Anbar province on Sept. 3 — in part to tout the success of the military surge there ahead of the presentation in Washington of the Petraeus report. For the next month or two, the battle over Iraq will be waged in Washington — and one country will come up over and over again, from any number of directions: Israel. Israel will be invoked as an ally in the war on terrorism — the reason the United States is in the war in the first place. Some will say that Israel maneuvered the United States into Iraq to serve its own purposes. Some will say it orchestrated 9/11 for its own ends. Others will say that, had the United States supported Israel more resolutely, there would not have been a 9/11.

There is probably no relationship on which people have more diverging views than on that between the United States and Israel. Therefore, since it is going to be invoked in the coming weeks — and Bush is taking a fairly irrelevant pause at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Australia — this is an opportune time to consider the geopolitics of the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

Let’s begin with some obvious political points. There is a relatively small Jewish community in the United States, though its political influence is magnified by its strategic location in critical states such as New York and the fact that it is more actively involved in politics than some other ethnic groups.

The Jewish community, as tends to be the case with groups, is deeply divided on many issues. It tends to be united on one issue — Israel — but not with the same intensity as in the past, nor with even a semblance of agreement on the specifics. The American Jewish community is as divided as the Israeli Jewish community, with a large segment of people who don’t much care thrown in. At the same time, this community donates large sums of money to American and Israeli organizations, including groups that lobby on behalf of Israeli issues in Washington. These lobbying entities lean toward the right wing of Israel’s political spectrum, in large part because the Israeli right has tended to govern in the past generation and these groups tend to follow the dominant Israeli strand. It also is because American Jews who contribute to Israel lobby organizations lean right in both Israeli and American politics.

The Israel lobby, which has a great deal of money and experience, is extremely influential in Washington. For decades now, it has done a good job of ensuring that Israeli interests are attended to in Washington, and certainly on some issues it has skewed U.S. policy on the Middle East. There are Jews who practice being shocked at this assertion, but they must not be taken seriously. They know better, which is why they donate money. Others pretend to be shocked at the idea of a lobbyist influencing U.S. policy on the Middle East, but they also need not be taken seriously, because they are trying to influence Washington as well, though they are not as successful. Obviously there is an influential Israel lobby in Washington.

(more, including an update)

Remembering a classic

I’ve always loved Leon Uris’ epic Exodus, a novel that is ostensibly about the founding of the State of Israel, but that also manages to blend in the pogroms in Russia, the Holocaust, and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, all of which are necessary preconditions to understanding Zionism; anti-Semitism; and Arab hatred for the West and, especially, for Israel. Uris is not an elegant writer, but he is a compelling story teller, which is why the book works so well.

I’m not the only one who appreciates this book, warts and all.  Michael Medved recently reread it, and comments on one of its great strengths when read now, in this modern age:

Most importantly, it remains blessedly free of trendy notions of sensitivity, diversity and moral equivalence. This fifty year-old book, still haunted by ghosts of World War II, makes clear that the dysfunctions and dementia of Arab culture never amounted to a reaction to controversial US policies (like the War in Iraq or support for Israel) since those dysfunctions (so memorably delineated by Uris) clearly pre-dated the nation’s current posture toward the Middle East.

In other words, US foreign policy didn’t cause the pathetic breakdown of Arab societies, but rather those policies did represent a reaction to that long-standing record of breakdown and violence. The novelist noted that “cruelty from brother to brother was common” among the Arabs and commented on the “cunning, treachery, murder feuds and jealousies” in their culture—a situation that can hardly be blamed on George W. Bush since he was only in Middle School when those words were written.

For all his faults, Uris also sounds downright prophetic regarding the power of oil. Early in the book, a British general lectures his subordinate that he should never expect fairness in affairs of state. “Foreign policies of this or any other, country are not based on right and wrong. Right and wrong? It is not for you and me to argue the right or the wrong of this question. The only kingdom that runs on righteousness is the kingdom of heaven. The kingdoms of the earth run on oil. The Arabs have oil.”

If you haven’t yet read Exodus, I highly recommend it.  If you’ve read it a long time ago, you might want to join Medved in rereading it.  And if you’ve only seen the dreadful movie (although it’s got a great soundtrack), be sure to read the book, since the movie cannot give you a sense of what Uris really wrote.

“Death to America”

Satire is always a wonderful weapon.  In the satire arsenal, the following is a Howitzer:

Hat tip:  Lulu

The truth about Israel, America and the rest of the world

The Washington Post’s Richard Cohen is no friend of the Bush administration, is staunchly anti-War, and, as he’s proven in past columns, he’s certainly not an unbiased admirer of Israel.  Nevertheless, he’s astutely put his finger on the fact that America’s support for Israel, not the Iraq War, is one of the reasons that the Arab and Muslim world loathes us so much — as well as the fact that America cannot in good conscience abandon Israel to the Arab and Muslim dogs:

Tidying up the other day, I came across an old newspaper and, flipping through it, saw a picture on page 22 that made my heart stop. It showed Palestinians, most of them young, all of them males, reacting with glee to a particularly heinous terrorist attack. The date was Sept. 12, 2001, and the Palestinians were cheering the deaths of about 3,000 innocent Americans the day before. You can, as they say, look it up.

What you don’t have to look up, though, is the fact that this was before America’s retaliatory invasion of Afghanistan or the war in Iraq. It was also before Guantanamo became shorthand for abuse of the president’s constitutional authority and before the outrage of Abu Ghraib, the U.S.-run prison in Iraq where suspected terrorists were sometimes sexually abused. In other words, the demonstration by Palestinians (in the Lebanese refugee camp of Shatila) preceded most of the usual reasons given for why America today is held in contempt by much of the world.

***

Still, the chief reason for the cheering on 9/11 was U.S. support for Israel. Sometimes that support has been mindless and sometimes it has been over the top, but fundamentally it is based on certain truths. The first is that Israel is a legally sanctioned state, created by the United Nations in 1948 and recognized soon after by most countries, including — amazingly enough — those Cold War adversaries, both the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

The second is that at least one Islamic state (Iran) and a host of militant organizations — Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and, of course, al-Qaeda — fervently wish Israel’s destruction. There is no way the U.S. could appease these groups and not, in the process, trample on its own moral values. Israel on occasion is wrong — and the settlements are an abomination — but its existence is right.

***

But, in a way, America has little choice but to be hated in some parts of the world. The U.S. is never going to truly popular as long as it insists on adhering to certain principles. Russia, which is creeping back to totalitarianism, does not have this problem. China, which is already authoritarian and obstructionist on Darfur, does not have this problem, either. Cuba, which is authoritarian, obstructionist and vile, also does not have this problem. Many Serbs hate America for the NATO bombing of that country, but it stopped the killing in the Balkans. Tell me that was the wrong thing to do.

Alastair Campbell, a one-time spokesman for Tony Blair while he was prime minister, has published a book in Britain titled “The Blair Years.” In it, he recounts Sept. 12, 2001, at 10 Downing Street and the procession of briefers who came to the prime minister that day: “One of the experts … a total Arabist, came very close to saying the attack was justified, saying the Americans should look to their own policy on the Middle East to understand why so many people don’t like them.”

It’s always nice to have friends. Sometimes, though, it’s more honorable to have enemies.

Hat tip:  Independent Women’s Forum

Not the fog of war, the fog of memory

The fog of war has become a cliche, with everyone comfortably believing that, in the wake of war, one can finally get some perspective and sort out truth from fiction. The Six Day War is different, with more and more errors arising from false understandings about the lead-up to the war, the war itself, and its immediate aftermath. (Indeed, to the extent there is still fog, perhaps the Six Day War should be better understood as a 40 year war, with six days of active battle, and 40 years of propaganda battle.) Bret Stephens takes some time to sort out fact from fiction:

It is also often said today that the Six Day War humiliated the Arabs and propelled the region into future rounds of fighting. Yet President Aref of Iraq had prefaced his call to destroy Israel by describing the war as the Arabs’ chance “to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948.” It is said that the war inaugurated the era of modern terrorism, as the Arab world switched from a strategy of conventional confrontation with Israel to one of “unconventional” attacks. Yet hundreds of Israelis had already been killed in fedayeen raids in Israel’s first 19 years of existence.

It is said that the Palestinian movement was born from Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. Yet the Palestine Liberation Organization was already in its third year of operations when the war began. It is said that Israel enjoyed international legitimacy so long as it lived behind recognized frontiers. Yet those frontiers were no less provisional before 1967 than they were after. Only after the Six Day War did the Green Line come to be seen as the “real” border.

Fog also surrounds memories of the immediate aftermath of the war. To read some recent accounts, a more sagacious Israel could have followed up its historic victory with peace overtures that would have spared everyone the bloody entanglements of its occupation of the Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Or, failing that, it could have resisted the lure of building settlements in the territories in order not to complicate a land-for-peace transaction.

In fact, the Israeli cabinet agreed on June 19 to offer the Sinai to Egypt and the Golan to Syria in exchange for peace deals. In Khartoum that September, the Arab League declared “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.” As for Jewish settlements, hardly any were built for years after the war: In 1972, for instance, only about 800 settlers had moved to the West Bank.

It’s true that the war caused Israel to lose friends abroad. “Le peuple juif, sûr de lui meme et dominateur” (“the Jewish people, sure of themselves and domineering”) was Charles de Gaulle’s memorable line in announcing, in November 1967, that France would no longer supply Israel militarily. Such were the Jewish state’s former friends.

On the other hand, Israel gained new friends. The U.S., whose declared policy during the war was to be “neutral in thought, word and deed,” would never again pretend such indifference, something that made all the difference to Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Tens of thousands of American and European Jews immigrated to Israel after 1967, sensing it was a country not on the brink of extinction. Christian evangelicals also became Israel’s firm friends, expanding the political base of American support beyond its traditionally narrow, Jewish-Democratic core.

That’s just a part of Stephens’ column. You can read the rest here.

The Six Day War in real time

This June marks the 40th Anniversary of the Six Day War, a war that shaped Israel’s current geography and that continues to have a profound impact on the Middle East to this day.  Last year, I got hold of a copy of a 1967 Life Magazine that was rushed into press immediately after the War.  The collected articles in that magazine make fascinating reading because (1) they position Israel as David to the Arab Goliath, (2) they recognize that Israel has always been a proxy fighter (then, in the Cold War; now, in the Jihadist War against the West), and (3) they predict the coming refugee problem.  I’m consolidating three old posts for this one new one, so long-time readers will recognize a lot of this.  Familiarity shouldn’t breed contempt for this content, though, because it’s very interesting stuff, both as contemporaneous news, and as a snapshot of reporting that enables us to understand how the American media has changed.

The source for all of the following is a 1967 issue of Life Magazine entitled “Israel’s Swift Victory.” It’s a 100 page special edition, so I won’t attempt to retype all of it here. Instead, I’ve cherry-picked those articles that resonate most strongly insofar as they contrast with today’s view of Israel and her role in the Middle East.  Unlike today’s media, both at home and abroad, the Life editors admired Israel tremendously for standing up to the overwhelming odds the Arab nations presented, and triumphing. The very first story identifies Israel as a beleaguered haven for refugees, surrounded by an ocean of hostile Arab nations:

The state of Israel, no bigger than Massachusetts, was established in 1948 in Palestine as a haven for the war-ravaged Jewish communities of Europe. Bitter fighting attended her birth and fixed her boundaries against the surrounding phalanx of hostile Arab states: Jordan cut into her narrow wasp waist and through the holy city of Jerusalem; Egypt along her western desert flank was entrenched in the coastal strip of Gaza. At Israel’s southern tip is the strategic port of Elath, against which Egypt made the play that brought on th war and unhinged the entire Middle East.

The magazine places the blame for the war squarely on Nasser, whose conduct presented such a threat that Israel had no option but to react. It makes for interesting reading because it assumes a legitimacy to Israel’s 1967 preemptive strike. After describing how Pres. Abdel Gamel Nasser, speaking from Cairo, demanded Israel’s extermination, the Life editorial board goes on to say this:

The world had grown accustomed to such shows [of destructive hatred towards Israel] through a decade of Arab-Israeli face-offs that seasonally blew as hot as a desert sirocco. Since 1948, when Israel defeated the Arabs and won the right to exist as a nation, anti-Zionist diatribes had been the Arab world’s only official recognition of Israel. Indeed, in the 19 years since the state was founded, the surrounding Arab states have never wavered from their claim that they were in a state of war with Israel.

But now there was an alarming difference in Nasser’s buildup. He demanded that the U.N. withdraw the 3,400-man truce-keeping force that had camped in Egypt’s Sinai desert and in the Gaza Strip ever since Egypt’s defeat in the Suez campaign of 1956 as a buffer between Egyptians and Israelis. A worried United Nations Secretary-General U Thant agreed to the withdrawal, then winged to Cairo to caution Nasser.

He found him adamant. Plagued by economic difficulties at home and bogged down in the war in Yemen, Nasser had lately been criticized by Syrians for hiding behind the U.N. truce-keeping force. With brinksmanship as his weapon, Nasser had moved to bolster his shaky claim to leadership of the divided Arab world.

While news coverage certainly has changed, the above quotation highlights a couple of things thing that haven’t (other than Arabs’ genocidal hatred for Israel, of course):  First, the UN has always been craven. Egypt demands that UN forces withdraw and, voila, they withdraw.  Second, although it’s no longer spoken of in polite MSM company, is the fact that the Arab nations have always used anti-Israeli rhetoric and conduct to deflect attention from their failures and as a vehicle to establish dominance over other Arab nations in the region. In other words, if there weren’t an Israel, the Arab nations would have had to invent one.

In contrast to the fevered, irrational hatred on the Arab side, the Life editors are impressed by the Israelis. Under the bold heading “Israel’s cool readiness,” and accompanied by photographs of smiling Israeli soldiers taking a cooling shower in the desert, listening to their commander, and attending to their tanks, Life has this to say:

With the elan and precision of a practiced drill team, Israel’s largely civilian army — 71,000 regulars and 205,000 reservists — began its swift mobilization to face, if necessary, 14 Arab nations and their 110 million people. As Premier Levi Eshkol was to put it, “The Jewish people has had to fight unceasingly to keep itself alive…. We acted from an instinct to save the soul of a people.

Again, can you imagine a modern publication pointing out the vast disparity in landmass and population between Israel and the Arabs, or even acknowledging in the opening paragraph of any article that Israel has a right to exist? The text about Israel’s readiness is followed by more photographs of reservists preparing their weapons and of a casually seated Moshe Dayan, drinking a soda, and conferring with his men. Under the last photograph, you get to read this:

The Israelis, Dayan said, threw themselves into their hard tasks with “something that is a combination of love, belief and country.”

After admiringly describing the Israelis’ offensive strike against the Arab air-forces, which gave Israel the decisive advantage in the War, Life addresses Israel’s first incursion into Gaza. I’m sure you’ll appreciate how the Gaza area is depicted:

Minutes after the first air strike, a full division of Israeli armor and mechanized infantry . . . was slashing into the Egyptian-held Gaza Strip. A tiny wasteland, the strip had been given up by Israel in the 1956 settlement and was now a festering splinter — the barren harbor for 315,000 refugees bent on returning to their Palestinian homes and the base for Arab saboteurs.

Wow! Those clueless Life writers actually seem to imply that Egypt, which controlled Gaza for eleven years, had some responsibility for this “festering,” dangerous area.

The Life editors are agog about Israeli tactics.

The Israeli plan was so flexible that its architects at the last minute switched strategy to avoid a new deployment of enemy forces in southern Sinai. After the air strikes that wiped out the Arab air forces, Israeli armor and infantry swept westward across the waist of Sinai, parallel to the path of the Gaza breakthrough. A smaller column cut south from El Kuntilla, then raced toward Suez. Patrol boats and paratroops were sent to Sharm el Sheikh to break the blockade of the Gulf of Aqaba, but the airborne troops were able to land at the abandoned airfield because the Egyptians had fled. Meanwhile, fighting erupted on another front — the divided city of Jerusalem, where an Israeli pincer column encircled the old, Jordanian section. Yet another Israeli force moved against Jenin, north of Jerusalem. The final Israeli attacked, at the end of the week, was mounted against Syria, which had been shelling border settlements.

(Regarding the last sentence in the above quotation, it seems as if some things never change.)

The Life editor’s tactical admiration emerges again when speaking about Israel’s successful taking of the Sinai Peninsula:

Stabbing into the Sinai desert, the Israelis stuck to the same strategy that in 1956 had carried them to the Suez Canal in 100 hours: never stop. Although outnumbered more than two to one — by an Egyptian force of almost 100,000 men grouped in seven divisions and supported by 900 tanks — they smashed ahead day and night, outracing the foe, encircling him time and again and trapping thousands of prisoners as Egyptian discipline collapsed. *** The battle — one of the epic armored engagements in history — lasted 24 hours and involved some 1,000 tanks.

A couple of things occur to me as I read this: First, in last year’s Israeli/Hezbollah war, if press reports are to be believed (and that’s always a leap of faith), Israel did not demonstrate either flexibility or speed. She remained rigidly fixated on using air power, despite the fact that (a) this hadn’t served the Americans that well in Iraq and (b) it didn’t appear to be achieving her objectives. Israel did not seem to have a plan for air power’s failure, and the subsequent land-based incursions seemed ad hoc and half-hearted. Israel was also afraid of casualties, which is logical and humane, on the one hand, and a dangerous way to wage war, on the other hand. As for the “never stop” doctrine, Israel seemed constantly to want to stop — partly because of that same fear of casualties and partly, I think, because Israel didn’t have a clearly defined goal going in.

The other thing that occurred to me reading the above was the fact that the Life writers are describing a traditional war: army versus army. Under those circumstances, there’s a tremendous virtue in cheering for the underdog who routs the larger force. Nowadays, where asymmetrical warfare means that there’s a traditional army on one side and terrorists hiding amongst and targeting civilians on the other side, the battle lines, the tactical lines, and the victory lines can easily be confusing. This is especially true when you have those, like members of MSM, who don’t understand the nature of the war (one side wants peaceful coexistence; one side wants genocide), and who focus on the minutiae of the daily casualty reports. It was interesting to see how, in a traditional army versus army conflict, the press could still distinguish the forest from the trees, as demonstrated in this paragraph:

The Sinai victory had cost the Israelis heavier casualties than the 1956 Suez campaign, 275 dead and 800 wounded. . . . The Egyptian losses were staggering — 20,000 dead by Israeli estimates and perhaps a billion-dollar lost in war materiel. But the objective was gained. Israeli troops took up positions on the east bank of the Suez Canal — and trained their guns on Egypt’s homeland. [Emphasis mine.]

The above is specific reporting about the battles.

The magazine also includes would what one might call “side stories”:  one about the refugee situation, one about Russia’s involvement in events.  Life’s, June 23, 1967 editorial about the refugee problem, which is both clear-headed and prescient, is as follows (without any editorial deletions on my part):

The 20th Century’s excellence — and its horrid defects — find some of their most vivid monuments in the hate-filled camps of Arab refugees. The refugees have been supported by the voluntary U.N. contributions of some 75 governments, not to mention the Inner Wheel Club of Hobart, Australia, the Boy Scout Union of Finland, the Women’s Club of Nes, Iceland, the Girls High School of Burton-on-Trend, England, and (for some reason) a number of automobile companies including Chrysler, Ford, G.M. and Volkswagen.

The philanthropy, governmental and private, that has aided these displaced Arabs is genuine — and admirable. The stupidity and political selfishness that have perpetuated the problem are appalling.

Down the ages, there have been thousands of episodes in which whole peoples fled their homes. Most were assimilated in the lands to which they fled. Brutally or beneficently, previous refugee groups were liquidated. Not until our time have there been the money, the philanthropy, the administrative skill, the hygienic know-how and the peculiar kind of nationalism which, in combination, could take a wave of refugees and freeze it into a permanent and festering institution.

In the wake of Israeli victories, the refugee camps received thousands of new recruits, and there may be more if, as seems likely, Israel successfully insists on some enlargement of its boundaries. Thus the refugee problem, one of the main causes of Middle East instability, is about to be magnified.

The early Zionists, looking toward a binational state, never thought they would, could or should replace the Arabs in Palestine.  When terrorism and fighting mounted in 1947-48, Arab leaders urged Palestinian Arabs to flee, promising that the country would soon be liberated.  Israelis tried to induce the Arabs to stay.  For this reason, the Israelis do not now accept responsibility for the Arab exodus.  Often quoted is the statement of a Palestinian Arab writer that the Arab leaders “told us:  ‘Get out so that we can get in.’  We got out but they did not get in.”

After the Israeli victory, Arab leaders outside of Palestine reversed their policy and demanded that all the refugees be readmitted to Israel. Israel reversed its policy, [and] refused to repatriate large numbers of Arabs on the ground that they would endanger the state. Nasser, for instance, has said, “If Arabs return to Israel, Israel will cease to exist.”

Now 1.3 million Arabs, not counting the recent influx, are listed as refugees. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has an international staff of about a hundred and spends nearly $40 million a year, 60% of it from the U.S. government. UNRWA services are performed by 11,500 Arab employees, most them refugees. Obviously, this group has an interest in not solving the refugee problem.

So have the host governments. Consistently they have refused to go along with any plan or policy for the resettlement or assimilation of the refugees, preferring to use them politically. In 1955 the Arab League scuttled a Jordan Valley development project precisely because it would have reduced, perhaps by 250,000, the number of Arab refugees.

It’s about time this dangerous deadlock ended. The inevitable reshuffle of the Middle East ought to include a plan to phase out the refugee problem in five or 10 years. Israel, to show goodwill, should repatriate a few thousand refugees per year. All of the 1.3 million could be absorbed in underpopulated Iran and Syria, provided their governments would cooperate in internationally supported developments projects. Persuading Arab governments to adopt a policy of resettlement should be central to U.S. policy, and it would be worth putting up quite a lot of A.I.D. money to get the job done. [Bolded emphasis mine.]

History has shown the Life editors to be correct when they believed that UN economic interests and Arab political interests would leave the refugee camps as a permanent blight on the Middle Eastern landscape. They were naive only in believing that anyone had the political will to solve the problem. They also could not have anticipated that, in a very short time, the same refugee scenario, with its same causes, would be plunged into a looking-glass world, where the Arab governments and the UN were absolved of their sins, and the blame was placed on Israel for not having engaged in an act of self-immolation by taking in these 1.3 million (and counting, and counting, and counting) hate-filled refugees.

The 1960s editors also understood the Cold War aspects of the 1967 War. They editorialized about the Soviet Union’s UN fulminations (an editorial I’m also quoting in its entirety):

As the Arab soldiers and refugees made their sad and painful way from the scenes of their defeat, the Soviet Union threw its heaviest oratorical gun into the United Nations in an effort to salvage some of what it had lost in the Mideast. Premier Aleksei Kosygin arrived at the General Assembly with an arsenal of invective.

Kosygin put all the blame on Israel and its “imperialist” backers (i.e., the U.S. and Britain). As he saw it, Israel’s “atrocities and violence” brought to mind “the heinous crimes perpetrated by the fascists during World War II.” He demanded the Assembly’s approval for a resolution — rejected earlier by the Security Council — that would condemn Israel as sole aggressor in the conflict, and he proposed that Israel not only be made to pull back to her prewar borders but also to pay reparations to the Arabs for their losses.

He was answered by the Israeli foreign minister, Abba Eban [his speech is here], whose detailed documentation and eloquence told how the Arabs had given his country the choice of defending its national existence or forfeiting it for all time. Then he put Kosygin himself in the defendant’s dock. Russia, he charged, was guilty of inflaming passions in a region “already too hot with tension” by feeding the arms race and spreading false propaganda. He called Kosygin’s reference to the Nazis “an obscene comparison . . . a flagrant breach of international morality and human decency.” As for the Russian demand that Israel pull back to her prewar lines, that, he said, was totally unacceptable until durable and just solutions are reached “in free negotiations with each of our neighbors.” The Arab states “have come face to face with us in conflict; let them now come face to face with us in peace.” Israel was determined not be deprived of her victory. [Bolded emphasis mine.]

Did you catch that the Soviet speaker used precisely the same rhetoric about Israel that has become normative throughout Europe and in most Leftist publications? He castigated Israel as an imperialist entity and claimed that her tactics were “atrocities” that were identical to those the Nazis used. Unlike today’s MSM, Life’s 1967 editorial team appears appalled by the tenor and falsity of those accusations.

I’ll close this post by quoting from introduction to Life’s special Six Day War edition.  As you read it, try to imagine this same rhetoric in any news publication today:

The tremendous discrepancy between the competence of Israeli and Arab armies is the most obvious fact from which to start [in searching for meaning about the War].  The Israelis are very patriotic, brave and skillful soldiers, brilliantly led.  But that only gives half an explanation of their huge — and mounting — military superiority.  The other half may yield to an impolite but unavoidable question:  what is the matter with the Arab armies?  Was there ever a people so bellicose in politics, so reckless and raucous in hostility — and then so unpugnacious in pitched combat — as Nasser’s Egyptians?

The editors than take on what they perceive as the canard that the U.S. blindly allies itself with Israel.  Au contraire, say the editors.  The fact is that the U.S. allies itself with the moral side, and that side is Israel (can we find some editors to write this way now?):

The error [the belief that the U.S. unthinkingly supports Israel] arises out of the fact that in most disputes the U.S. has been found on Israel’s side.  That’s because it is the Arabs who challenge the existence of Israel, and not vice versa.

There you have it, in a 1967 nutshell.  The U.S. sides with Israel not because of any hostility to Arabs, but because it recognizes the right of a sovereign nation to defend itself against annihilation — a principle that should be as operative today as it was 40 years ago.

By the way, my friend Soccer Dad, at his wonderful eponymous website, has given me the heads-up that Time Magazine has put online its original coverage from the 1967 War.   In his cover email to me, he notes “What I find remarkable is the absence of cynicism that so often marks today’s reporting from the Middle East.”  Not only an absence of cynicism but (Obama, please take note), the actual presence of intelligence!

Fool me once, shame on you….

Last week, in what I now think was a foolish burst of optimism (in my defense, it was a lovely, sunny day), I noted that the Arabs were resurrecting the Saudi peace plan. It’s a lousy plan for the Israelis, which is why, despite the New York Times‘ urging, they’ve been rejecting it. I naively suggested, however, that it might not be mere posturing, but might actually stand as the opening salvo in a series of negotiations. Unfortunately, others may think the same, including Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert:

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has proposed holding a regional peace conference following the revival of an Arab peace initiative.

Mr Olmert said if Saudi Arabia arranged a conference of moderate Arab states and invited him and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, he would attend.

Earlier, Mr Abbas urged Israel to engage in direct serious negotiations as soon as possible.

Last week Arab leaders urged Israel to accept a peace plan proposed in 2002.

Saudi Arabia has yet to respond but the BBC’s Alim Maqbool in Jerusalem says Mr Olmert’s call for a regional summit suggests the plan could at least form a basis for fresh negotiations.

The Saudi plan offers Israel normalisation of ties with Arab states if it pulls out of all Arab land it occupied in 1967 and a “just solution” for Palestinian refugees.

Israel rejected the plan outright when it was first proposed.

But Mr Olmert said on Thursday Israel was ready to make “big and painful” concessions to advance the peace process.

While I rather quickly realized that the Arab states were posturing for the Western media and politicians, Olmert seems to be willing to place Israel’s collective neck onto the chopping block and to hand the Arabs the sword. Why else would he open his negotiation by saying that “Israel was ready to make ‘big and painful’ concessions to advance the peace.” In what rational world does a party walk into a negotiation announcing his intention to abase himself to the other side’s interests?

Really, I despair of the Israelis — or at least the Israeli leaders. Somehow they seem to have lost the will to be smart. Instead, they’d rather be popular. They are precisely the same as the smart kid in school who starts taking hard drugs in the forlorn hope of getting “in with the In crowd.” The In crowd still knows an outsider when it sees it, and the smart kid is lucky to end up merely damaged and degraded, rather than dead.

UPDATEHere’s the NY Times, via the Boston Globe, trying to urge Israel to take the political/national equivalent of Meth.

Fool me once, shame on you….

Last week, in what I now think was a foolish burst of optimism (in my defense, it was a lovely, sunny day), I noted that the Arabs were resurrecting the Saudi peace plan. It’s a lousy plan for the Israelis, which is why, despite the New York Times‘ urging, they’ve been rejecting it. I naively suggested, however, that it might not be mere posturing, but might actually stand as the opening salvo in a series of negotiations. Unfortunately, others may think the same, including Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert:

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has proposed holding a regional peace conference following the revival of an Arab peace initiative.

Mr Olmert said if Saudi Arabia arranged a conference of moderate Arab states and invited him and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, he would attend.

Earlier, Mr Abbas urged Israel to engage in direct serious negotiations as soon as possible.

Last week Arab leaders urged Israel to accept a peace plan proposed in 2002.

Saudi Arabia has yet to respond but the BBC’s Alim Maqbool in Jerusalem says Mr Olmert’s call for a regional summit suggests the plan could at least form a basis for fresh negotiations.

The Saudi plan offers Israel normalisation of ties with Arab states if it pulls out of all Arab land it occupied in 1967 and a “just solution” for Palestinian refugees.

Israel rejected the plan outright when it was first proposed.

But Mr Olmert said on Thursday Israel was ready to make “big and painful” concessions to advance the peace process.

While I rather quickly realized that the Arab states were posturing for the Western media and politicians, Olmert seems to be willing to place Israel’s collective neck onto the chopping block and to hand the Arabs the sword. Why else would he open his negotiation by saying that “Israel was ready to make ‘big and painful’ concessions to advance the peace.” In what rational world does a party walk into a negotiation announcing his intention to abase himself to the other side’s interests?

Really, I despair of the Israelis — or at least the Israeli leaders. Somehow they seem to have lost the will to be smart. Instead, they’d rather be popular. They are precisely the same as the smart kid in school who starts taking hard drugs in the forlorn hope of getting “in with the In crowd.” The In crowd still knows an outsider when it sees it, and the smart kid is lucky to end up merely damaged and degraded, rather than dead.

UPDATEHere’s the NY Times, via the Boston Globe, trying to urge Israel to take the political/national equivalent of Meth.

Fascinating stuff in an Israeli online paper

Sometimes, you open a web page, and find the most interesting things.  Today, I found slightly heartening (the first two stories) and definitely heart warming (the last story) three of the stories at YNet news, as of 8:13 PST (some of the others were less than thrilling).  Briefly:

Arabs are talking peace with Israel.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that they’re trying to revitalize the Saudi plan, which called for Israel to retreat to her pre-1967 borders.  Even the UN had figured out that was a bad idea.  So, either this is the opening in a real negotiation, or this is just the kind of pap Arabs put on for a credulous Western media.  The only reason I’m somewhat sanguine about it is because I read somewhere (can’t remember where) that Arabs are finally slowing on their demand for a right of return — a demand that would have flooded Israel with Muslims and destroyed the State from the inside out.

Israelis and Palestinians may be returning to security coordination.  Working with each other is a start, I guess….

And, best for last:  “Evangelical Christians from around the world have presented a ‘letter of repentance’ to the Jewish people expressing remorse for Christian persecution throughout history, during a ceremony at the Knesset on Wednesday.”  Here’s one Jew who says thank you!

They’ve finally admitted it

A trope on the Left is that, if Israel will just give the Palestinians back their land, glorious peace will instantly descend upon the entire Middle East, whether in the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Iran. All of those nations are convulsing, runs this trope, not because they are backwards dictatorships, whether the dictators use religion (Iran or Saudi Arabia, for example), or just old fashioned terror tactics (Egypt and Syria, for examples) against their citizens.

I fall into the group of people that has said for years that even if Israel were to vanish from the face of the earth (something Ahmadinijad seems to be working on), nothing would change in these Muslim, Middle Eastern nations. This is so becase the leaders in these countries use Israel to keep their uneducated masses from noticing that they are being fiercely abused by their leaders. It’s the strong anti-Democratic tendencies in these countries, not Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians, that have kept Arab (and Persian) Muslims chained to the mud.

I was therefore entirely unsurprised when, after Israel yielded to Leftist and Muslim importuning and violence, a new dawn of peace did not instantly break. Instead, the Palestinians turned on each other with a vengeance. Meanwhile, the Leftists and Muslim world continued to castigate Israel as if she hadn’t done just what everyone insisted was a necessary precondition to the instant creation of a new Utopian Middle East.

What staggered me today was something I read in the AP story about the horrible bakery bombing in Eilat yesterday. The two factions claiming responsibility for the bombing explicitly admitted that they murdered innocents solely to return Israel to her scapegoat status in the hope that this would take the Palestinians’ mind off of their own internecine warfare:

A Palestinian suicide bomber killed three Israelis at a bakery Monday in the first such attack inside the country in nine months, and the two radical groups that claimed to have sent him said they were trying to end weeks of Palestinian infighting by taking aim at
Israel instead.

***

Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed joint responsibility. Both militant groups said they hoped to encourage warring Palestinian factions to end weeks of clashes.

“The operation has a clear message to the Palestinian rivals. It is necessary to end the infighting and point the guns toward the occupation that has hurt the Palestinian people,” a posting on the Islamic Jihad Web site said.

Early Tuesday, officials from the rival
Fatah and Hamas movements announced a new cease-fire. Negotiated by the two sides with Egyptian mediators at a midnight meeting, the agreement was supposed to end bloodshed that has left over 60 Palestinians dead since early December.

But fighting continued in downtown Gaza after the truce was supposed to have taken effect. Several earlier truce agreements have broken down.

I think this must be the first explicit admission from the Muslim world that a primary purpose of fighting Israel is to keep Muslims from fighting each other. And there’s no question but that part of this Arab/Persian need to fight each other arises because the myriad strictures of the Muslim world, whether arising from religion or old-fashioned despotism, have created a very small economic pie indeed. There’s definitely not enough to go around, and the leaders of those countries know that they need an emotionally resonant target to distract the people from their grinding poverty and oppression.

UPDATE:

They’ve finally admitted it

A trope on the Left is that, if Israel will just give the Palestinians back their land, glorious peace will instantly descend upon the entire Middle East, whether in the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Iran. All of those nations are convulsing, runs this trope, not because they are backwards dictatorships, whether the dictators use religion (Iran or Saudi Arabia, for example), or just old fashioned terror tactics (Egypt and Syria, for examples) against their citizens.

I fall into the group of people that has said for years that even if Israel were to vanish from the face of the earth (something Ahmadinijad seems to be working on), nothing would change in these Muslim, Middle Eastern nations. This is so becase the leaders in these countries use Israel to keep their uneducated masses from noticing that they are being fiercely abused by their leaders. It’s the strong anti-Democratic tendencies in these countries, not Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians, that have kept Arab (and Persian) Muslims chained to the mud.

I was therefore entirely unsurprised when, after Israel yielded to Leftist and Muslim importuning and violence, a new dawn of peace did not instantly break. Instead, the Palestinians turned on each other with a vengeance. Meanwhile, the Leftists and Muslim world continued to castigate Israel as if she hadn’t done just what everyone insisted was a necessary precondition to the instant creation of a new Utopian Middle East.

What staggered me today was something I read in the AP story about the horrible bakery bombing in Eilat yesterday. The two factions claiming responsibility for the bombing explicitly admitted that they murdered innocents solely to return Israel to her scapegoat status in the hope that this would take the Palestinians’ mind off of their own internecine warfare:

A Palestinian suicide bomber killed three Israelis at a bakery Monday in the first such attack inside the country in nine months, and the two radical groups that claimed to have sent him said they were trying to end weeks of Palestinian infighting by taking aim at
Israel instead.

***

Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed joint responsibility. Both militant groups said they hoped to encourage warring Palestinian factions to end weeks of clashes.

“The operation has a clear message to the Palestinian rivals. It is necessary to end the infighting and point the guns toward the occupation that has hurt the Palestinian people,” a posting on the Islamic Jihad Web site said.

Early Tuesday, officials from the rival
Fatah and Hamas movements announced a new cease-fire. Negotiated by the two sides with Egyptian mediators at a midnight meeting, the agreement was supposed to end bloodshed that has left over 60 Palestinians dead since early December.

But fighting continued in downtown Gaza after the truce was supposed to have taken effect. Several earlier truce agreements have broken down.

I think this must be the first explicit admission from the Muslim world that a primary purpose of fighting Israel is to keep Muslims from fighting each other. And there’s no question but that part of this Arab/Persian need to fight each other arises because the myriad strictures of the Muslim world, whether arising from religion or old-fashioned despotism, have created a very small economic pie indeed. There’s definitely not enough to go around, and the leaders of those countries know that they need an emotionally resonant target to distract the people from their grinding poverty and oppression.

UPDATE:  The plan seems to have worked.  In the wake of the bombing, Hamas and Fatah have announced a ceasefire.  It would be too optimistic to believe that the ceasefire is so that they can work on building their community, rather than destroying Israel’s.

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Tracking the Muslim moderates

My host during the Thanksgiving break introduced me to a newspaper called Muslim World Today. It’s editor-in-chief is Tashbih Sayyed, who is also the president of the Council for Democracy and Tolerance, which sponsors the paper. The CDT is a grassroots organization which has as its unabashed goal the dethroning of radicalized Islam as part of an ecumenical vision.

Using a mix of news stories and editorials, this weekly paper has comprehensive information about Muslims worldwide. This week’s issue, for example, has stories about the probable civil war in Lebanon, an extract from a British book about a spy inside Al Qaeda, and an op-ed about the increasingly moribund Israeli/Egyptian peace treaty. Everything is an interesting read.

What’s rather sad about this publication, though, is the paucity of Muslim-authored stories and op-eds. As I page through the November 17 edition, what I see are articles that are mostly written by Jews, with a few non-Jewish authors thrown in for good measure. Thus, Daniel Mandel writes that “Israel Still Has No Genuine Peace Partner;” Daniel Pipes opines that “Europe Is Finished, Predicts Mark Steyn;” Frederick Forsythe writes about the “Blatant Hypocrisy” that characterizes about the disproportionate aggression accusation hurled at Israel during the recent war; Gerald A. Honigman talks about the “Conflict of Interest” that James Baker has with Israeli policy; and Alon Ben-Meir questions whether the Iraq War is “The Last War for Oil?” — and that’s just in the papers first five pages. The same pattern continues throughout the paper.

The only Arab authored stories (and I can’t tell if the writers are Christian or Muslim) are about the Abaya, the full covering that ensures that Muslim women are kept invisible and subjugated; and about Palestinian groups that plan to target the U.S. Maha Al-Hujailan wrote the first story, and Ali Waked wrote the second. There’s also an editorial by Mohammed Shaker Abdallah, but I think it was written for the Palestinian daily Al-Quds, and not for the Muslim World Today.

I think Muslim World Today definitely falls into the weekly must read category, simply as a clearinghouse for information about a group that will have more impact on the world in the near future (if only demographically) than any other single group. However, to the extent that Mr. Sayyed obviously cannot find moderate Muslim voices to fill his paper, and has to rely on the same Jews the Muslims hate with such ferocity, I have my doubts about whether the paper can itself make headway towards its goal of harnessing radical Islam. In any event, I admire tremendously Mr. Sayyed’s bravery and integrity, and I wish him all the luck in the world.

By the way, if you’d like to subscribe to the paper’s hard copy, and help support Mr. Sayyed’s laudable goal, you can do so here.

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