Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Washington's Israeli elites
As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu heads to Washington for another stillborn round of talks with Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas hosted by US President Barack Obama, he will probably be preoccupied with one issue.
It won't be Obama's bigoted demand that Jews be prohibited from building synagogues, schools and homes in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. Netanyahu won't be wondering how long Abbas can keep up with his "Palestinian president" act before his people chase him out of town. Abbas's term ended in January 2009.
Israel's elected leader will be thinking about Iran. He will be wondering how the US government will react if he sends the IAF to bomb Iran's nuclear installations. Will the US permit IAF jets to overfly US-controlled Iraqi airspace? Or will Obama follow the advice of his foreign policy mentor Zbigniew Brzezinski and order the US Air Force to shoot down those jets, abandon the US-Israel alliance and embrace a new role as protector of Iran's nuclear weapons program?
While Netanyahu wonders if the US can be trusted, other Israelis sleep soundly at night knowing that Uncle Sam has their back. The Israeli Left knows that no matter how forcefully its platforms are rejected by the public, the US government will embrace its members and fund its projects.
This week in the leadup to the talks, the openly subversive Geneva Initiative has launched a multimillion dollar public relations campaign targeting the public. Its goal is to persuade Israelis that Fatah is a legitimate partner for peace. The campaign is funded by USAID.
ACCORDING TO Yediot Aharonot, the Geneva Initiative has hired Ron Asulin, one of the country's top directors to stage and direct commercials featuring Fatah members telling Israelis they are credible partners in peace. The Geneva Initiative invited Yediot's Alon Goldstein to watch the recording sessions in Ramallah.
His report, published Sunday, is a fascinating glimpse at the Left's propaganda shop.
Goldstein describes how Asulin told Fatah's Saeb Erekat to begin his greeting with the word "shalom."
"It will be effective," Asulin promised.
Among his other achievements, Erekat played a starring role in the PA's 2002 blood libel in which he and his comrades accused Israel of committing a massacre in the Jenin refugee camp during Operation Defensive Shield. He told CNN that Israel had killed "more than 500 people." He also claimed that more than 300 were being buried in mass graves.
In the event, Palestinian losses in the battle stood at 54; some 90 percent of them were combatants. Twenty-three IDF soldiers were killed. The only massacres were the suicide bombings that killed some 500 Israelis - 80 percent of whom were civilians - in the months that preceded Defensive Shield.
Not only has Erekat never retracted his statements. He has repeated them.
But never mind. He said "shalom" rather nicely.
Next on the list of US-funded spokesmen was Fatah strongman Jibril Rajoub, who was instrumental in forging the operational alliance between Fatah and Hamas that facilitated the terror war against Israel 10 years ago. Throughout the roaring '90s, Rajoub assiduously recruited Hamas members to his Preventive Security Force in Judea and Samaria.
As recently as May 10 he appeared on PA television and said, "Building a school and throwing a hand grenade, in my opinion, are resistance. I build the school in order to strengthen the reasons for my people's resolve, as one of several aspects of the resistance, and when there is a need to throw a grenade [or launch] a rocket, I'll do that as well out of my belief in the inevitable victory of my cause and its justness."
Last week the US paid for him to be filmed telling Israelis we should trust him. It was no mean task. According to Yediot, "Asulin had to work hard" to get Rajoub to say the word "partner."
Then there is Fatah's propaganda boss Yasser Abed Rabbo. As Yasser Arafat's culture and information minister, it was Abed Rabbo who ended press freedom in the PA shortly after it was established in 1994. Under his reign, journalists and editors were detained and beaten, newspapers were closed and printing presses were torched. In 2002, Abed Rabbo outdid Erekat in his mendacious condemnations of Israel. He accused Israel of "digging mass graves for 900 Palestinians in the [Jenin refugee] camp."
In 2001 he ordered the PA media to stop filming mass celebrations of the September 11 attacks on the US.
Despite his long career as a propagandist, Asulin still had his work cut out for him. He had to convince Abed Rabbo to stop waving his finger at the camera. "When you wave your finger, you are actually warning me. You are making threats."
IT IS WORTH pausing for a moment and considering the nature of the US-financed Geneva Initiative that is going to such lengths to present a wholly distorted picture of reality to the public. It is the brainchild of Israel's most successful subversive - former justice minister and former Meretz leader Yossi Beilin.
Beilin is the architect of every major Israeli strategic disaster in the past 17 years. He was the architect of the disastrous 1993 Oslo Accord that lionized Arafat as a peace partner and empowered him to embark on a campaign of terror and political warfare that continued on long after his death in 2004.
Beilin is the architect of the disastrous 2000 Taba negotiations in which an embattled prime minister Ehud Barak offered Arafat the Temple Mount even as Arafat's men were butchering Israelis on the roads, in buses and cafes.
In 2002 Beilin worked with Colin Powell's State Department to draft the so-called road map for Middle East peace. That document was the most anti-Israel ever adopted by a US administration. The Sharon government managed in large part to scuttle the initiative by convincing president George W. Bush to agree that the document's draconian demands could only be implemented after the Palestinians suspended their terror war.
His ambitions checked by the unremitting Palestinian violence, Beilin found another outlet for undermining his government. In 2003 he partnered with the Swiss government and the EU in founding the Geneva Initiative. The initiative was an open bid to subvert the writ of the government to conduct foreign policy. Beilin and Abed Rabbo gathered their followers in Geneva, held staged "negotiations" and signed an "agreement" in which the Israelis agreed to every Palestinian demand and the Palestinians thanked them.
Ariel Sharon's chief of staff Dov Weissglas claimed in a 2005 interview that Sharon was so spooked by the affront that he was convinced to embark on the withdrawal from Gaza.
Together with the 2000 withdrawal from south Lebanon - which Beilin also spearheaded - the withdrawal from Gaza will go down in the annals of Israeli history as the greatest strategic blunder until that time.
Not surprisingly, the public takes a dim view of Beilin and his ilk. This is why in the last elections Meretz was destroyed as a representative political force. It won only three seats in the Knesset.
But Beilin and his supporters don't care.
They are not trying to win over the public in any real sense. In many ways they are the flip side of Fatah. Just as Fatah is the lawful representative of no one, so they are the lawful representative of next to no one. And just as Fatah rules through a mix of tyranny and corruption, so they seek to dictate Israel's path through a mixture of corruption and political subversion.
THE NEWEST Geneva Initiative campaign was far from the only display of the far Left's contempt for the Israeli people this week.
Over the weekend, more than 50 far Left activists who double as actors, writers and tenured professors signed open letters pledging not to perform at Ariel's new theater.
Since Ariel is beyond the 1949 armistice lines, as far as these self-described artists are concerned, its residents have no right to watch plays. On the other hand, as actor Doron Tabori, one of the signatories, argued in an appearance on the Knesset channel, the very idea that the state might consider ending its funding of his work in light of his discriminatory position is proof that his critics are all "fascists and racists."
Tabori is far from alone.
His rejection of the legitimacy of public criticism and his demonization of his critics is the hallmark of the Left.
Take Hebrew University Prof. Ze'ev Sternhall for instance. In 2001 he published an oped in Haaretz advising the Palestinians to limit their acts of murder to Israelis who live beyond the armistice lines. As he put it, "There is no doubt about the legitimacy of armed resistance in the territories themselves. If the Palestinians had a little sense, they would concentrate their struggle against the settlements... and refrain from planting bombs west of the Green Line."
On Sunday, in response to the Im Tirtzu student movement's recent campaign against Ben-Gurion University's anti-Zionist Politics and Government Department, Sternhall wrote a new piece in Haaretz. Under the headline, "Only force will stop force," he threatened the government. If it continues to back Im Tirtzu, if its members maintain their call to fire state-funded professors who call for a boycott of Israel, then Israeli professors should work to foment an international boycott.
As he put it, "Any attempt to harm a lecturer's status for political reasons will met with a firm response from Israel's academic faculty. The expected reaction from the international community, including the possibility of a boycott, could be no less painful."
It is from the Sternhalls and Taboris of Israel that groups like the Geneva Initiative draw their support base.
On Sunday, Charles Krauthammer wrote about the American public's abandonment of the political and cultural Left. Rather than consider the possibility that the public may have a point, he claimed that the American Left has responded to their fellow Americans' repudiation by demonizing their countrymen as a bunch of bigots.
Krauthammer concluded that the Left will pay for its assault on American society at the ballot box in November. As he put it, "A comeuppance is due the arrogant elites whose undisguised contempt for the great unwashed prevents them from conceding a modicum of serious thought to those who dare oppose them."
He is probably right about America. But their comrades in Israel will suffer no similar drubbing.
While Israel's elected leaders are left guessing if the US will stand behind the country at its moment of greatest need, the likes of Beilin and Sternhall know that they can rely on Washington come rain or come shine.
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.