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

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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