Monday, February 28, 2011

J Street Exposes Itself

Isi Leibler

The scandals and controversies racking J Street over the past year are reflected in the notable absence this year of any high-profile Democratic Congressman at their annual conference, a marked contrast from the preceding year.

Obviously the political mainstream now has a better understanding of the organization. Claiming to be a "pro-Israel, pro-peace" organization, J Street vigorously set itself up as a body with the principal objective being to canvass the US government to exert pressure on Israel to make further unilateral concessions. It had the chutzpa to compare itself with parents obliged to impose "tough love" on drug addicted children J Street condemned Israel for "its disproportionate response" in the Gaza offensive against Hamas – highlighting that "we recognize that neither Israelis nor Palestinians have a monopoly of right or wrong."

It refused to condemn the Goldstone report and, to make matters worse senior officers of the organization actually facilitated meetings between Judge Goldstone and members of Congress.

J Street was challenged for having obtained donations from Arab and pro-Arab individuals and organizations. Over $800,000 came from an anonymous donor in Hong Kong, whose identity the J Street founder, Jeremy Ben Ami, refuses to disclose.

Until recently, Ben Ami had vigorously denied that his organization was receiving funds from George Soros, who is renowned for having proudly proclaimed "I am not a Zionist, nor am I a practicing Jew.”

Yet, last September, the same Ben Ami was obliged to abjectly apologize to the public for having repeatedly lied, after it was disclosed that at least one third of their US budget had been donated by Soros. It was also subsequently disclosed that "The Middle East Lobby of J Street”, a tax-exempt 501(c) 4 organization, had paid tens of thousands of dollars to a consulting firm co-owned by Jeremy Ben Ami, its founder and president. Ben Ami had initially claimed that he did not benefit financially, but had merely chosen the most qualified company.

There were other scandals throughout the year. J Street co-founder Daniel Levy wrote an article describing Israel's creation as, "an act that went wrong."

Barry Rubin disclosed that the head of J Street’s office in Israel, Drew Cohen, was on record describing Operation Cast Lead as being an "unjust and even criminal act." He dismissed Gaza as a “mythic threat" to Israel and referred to the Gaza Flotilla confrontation as "a heinous brutality."

But what tipped the edge and made an absolute mockery of J Street's pretension to be "pro-Israel,"was when it openly began urging its members to lobby the White House not to veto the most recent one-sided UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel.

This led Jewish lawmaker Gary Ackerman, a leading New York Democrat Congressman and former supporter of J Street, to express outrage that J Street’s "decision to endorse the Palestinian and Arab effort to condemn Israel at the United Nations Security Council is not the choice of a friend trying to help. It is rather the befuddled choice of an organization so open-minded about what contributes support for Israel that its brains have fallen out.… I have come to the conclusion that J Street is not an organization with which I wish to be associated."

Thus, despite retaining its position as the darling of the left liberal and anti-Israeli media and continuing to receive funding from somewhat questionable sources, J Street has become marginalized.

Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, who had tentatively opened up a dialogue with the organization said, ”J Street claim they’re pro-Israel. They are calling for Israel to be condemned in the Security Council for the settlements and they are condemning some of our best friends on the Hill. So they can call themselves what they like.” He refused to participate in the conference and instructed members of his Embassy to do likewise. Even Birthright canceled jointly sponsored visits to Israel with the organization.

Needless to say, with the organization quoting Ben Ami "doing whatever we can in Congress to act as [Barack Obama's] blocking back," the administration stood by the organization and Dennis Ross, the senior advisor to President Obama on Middle East issues, was directed to address the conference.

But this year's J Street conference will primarily be catering for far left activists, including some notoriously well-known anti-Israeli personalities.

This is exemplified by the award J Street will be giving to Sarah Beninga of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement, whose manifesto calls for "liquidation or fundamental change of organizations that contribute to the dispossession of Arabs, including the Jewish Agency, the Jewish National Fund and the Israeli Land Authority.”

The only disquieting note is that four Kadima and two Labor MKs decided to participate. It is a somewhat bizarre reflection on our political system, when a number of our mainstream MKs decide to participate in the conference of a group, which only a few days ago had been lobbying President Obama not to veto the UN Security Council resolution and which was boycotted by the Israeli embassy and even US Congressman who had participated in previous conferences.

Whereas Tzipi Livni, the leader of the opposition, who had on previous occasions criticized those condemning J Street, remained silent, to their credit several Kadima MKs condemned the participation of their colleagues. The former chairman of the Jewish Agency, Kadima MK Zeev Bielsky, aptly commented that "it is too bad that some of my colleagues do not understand the danger of supporting an organization that is working against Israel."

The most disappointing participant is Nachman Shai, traditionally regarded as a mature and responsible opposition MK. He defended his involvement by stating that he disagreed with J Street policy. But he decided to participate because he felt there was a need to speak to young people with doubts about Israel rather than losing them and that the bulk of his address would concentrate on defending construction in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem and settlement blocs outside the capital.

Shai is presumably well-intentioned, but he does not appreciate that he will be speaking primarily to hard liners with closed minds and that his very presence at such a conference provides it with an imprimatur and gives this group, consistently hostile to Israel, the respectability it desperately seeks but does not deserve.

Video: "Activists" stealing water from Jewish farm

Elder of Ziyon

Earlier this month, several "peace activists" attempted to pump all of the water out of a well in a Jewish-owned farm in Sussiya. When the manager of the farm, Avidan Ofir, arrived to stop them, one of the women tried to wrestle him, grabbed his hair, ripped his shirt and chased him around. He remained steadfast and almost superhumanly calm as he worked to keep his water from being stolen.

This sort of harassment happens all the time.

Click here to view the video

Comment: Not only does this occur on a regular basis, it is done by outside "activists". Time to call them for what they are. These people do not want peace, they come for purposes of disruption. They spend their time, money, energy doing destruction rather than engaging in construction of peace. They are part of the problem and not part of the solution.I will no longer identify them as "peace activists"-they are hatred promoters and have their egos so vested in doing behavior contrary to how one historically makes peace I find them anti-peaceniks. BTW the "lady" in this clip should be ashamed, this is the type of person had the same behavior been applied to her she would be crying "bloody murder", she would express outrage and of course try to take legal action. she is such a hypocrit and one totally lacking in integrity.

Conference on Persecuted Christians in Middle East‏

The Persecuted Church: Christian Believers in the Middle East -- March 12, 2011

Recent attacks against churches in Iraq and Egypt demonstrate that Christianity faces an uncertain future in the Middle East. More than a dozen church and human rights organizations are hosting a one-day conference to educate the general public about the ongoing threat to Christianity in the Middle East. The event, co-sponsored by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), will take place in Downers Grove, IL, on March 12, 2011.

Walid Phares, author of The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East , will be the keynote speaker.

Representatives from Christian communities in Iraq and Egypt will speak about the day-to-day threats faced by Christian believers in the region. Activists serving the persecuted church in Muslim-majority countries will describe their efforts to promote human rights in the Middle East. The event will take place at the Doubletree Guest Suites & Conference Center in Downers Grove at 2111 Butterfield Road, Downers Grove, IL. It will last from 9 a.m., to 4 p.m.

Advanced registration ($20) is required. To register, call 888 736-3672.

Journalists who wish to cover the event should contact Dexter Van Zile at (617) 789-3672 or

CONTACT: Dexter Van Zile of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, +1-617-789-3672,

SOURCE Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

Fisking Kristof on Arab Capacity for Democracy

Richard Landes

I have watched Nicholas Kristof go from brave denouncer of Darfurian genocide and defender of women the globe over, into a politically correct useful idiot. It’s hard to find a better poster boy for the bizarre way in which intelligent, courageous people can end up spouting drivel as a result of LCE-itis (not). But today’s column is more than I can bear, so here’s a fisking of today’s most valuable idiot of the day (heavy competition).

Unfit for Democracy?
February 26, 2011

Is the Arab world unready for freedom? A crude stereotype lingers that some people — Arabs, Chinese and Africans — are incompatible with democracy. Many around the world fret that “people power” will likely result in Somalia-style chaos, Iraq-style civil war or Iran-style oppression.

That narrative has been nourished by Westerners and, more sadly, by some Arab, Chinese and African leaders. So with much of the Middle East in an uproar today, let’s tackle a politically incorrect question head-on: Are Arabs too politically immature to handle democracy?This issue is politically incorrect, but – surprise! – the answer will be hopelessly politically correct. So before we go into Kristof’s breathless (and superficial) analysis, let’s briefly review the basic elements necessary for a successful democratic experiment. Imnsho, there are at least four critical issues that are necessary cultural changes that must precede a democratic experiment in order for it to work:

1) the principle of equality before the law: unless there is a strong and independent judiciary, based on a widespread cultural commitment to the idea that everyone is “equal before the law” (i.e., everyone should be subject to the same laws and penalties and have the same protection from abuse of the law).

2) the capacity for self-criticism: it’s one thing to demand freedom of speech for yourself, it’s quite another to grant that freedom to people who say things you don’t like. The ability to allow others freedom of speech, to be willing to admit public criticism, to even admit mistakes and wrongdoing publicly, is a critical dimension of any kind of “transparency” in the exercise of power.

3) the ability to allow women freedom: honor-killings, clitoridectomies, banishing of women from public space, insistence on the veil/burka/niqab, all of these reflect a male-chavinist control mania that is both symptom and factor in the inability to sustain a society committed to freedom.

4) positive-sum instincts: these include such things as an ability to trust others as well as to be trustworthy, to avoid conspiracy theories unless the evidence is very strong, to view another’s success as a good thing, rather than as a loss for oneself.

This concern is the subtext for much anxiety today, from Washington to Riyadh. And there’s no question that there are perils: the overthrow of the shah in Iran, of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, of Tito in Yugoslavia, all led to new oppression and bloodshed.

Congolese celebrated the eviction of their longtime dictator in 1997, but the civil war since has been the most lethal conflict since World War II. If Libya becomes another Congo, if Bahrain becomes an Iranian satellite, if Egypt becomes controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood — well, in those circumstances ordinary citizens might end up pining for former oppressors.

And, of course, all that I’ve outlined above apply to each of these places. But ask Kristof and I’ll bet he thinks the odds are long that these unpleasant outcomes will occur, when my guess is, the odds are highest that they will.

“Before the revolution, we were slaves, and now we are the slaves of former slaves,” Lu Xun, the great Chinese writer, declared after the toppling of the Qing dynasty. Is that the future of the Middle East?

After this brief and superficial acknowledgment of a possible “problem” with thinking that revolution leads directly to democracy, Kristof will now dive headlong into his optimism.

I don’t think so. Moreover, this line of thinking seems to me insulting to the unfree world.

This is the classic trope of LCE political correctness: how dare “we” think badly of “them.” I’ve run into this phenomenon in working on apocalyptic prophecies, which always fail. To claim, for example, that the generation of 1000 thought it was the end of the world, is “unjust, indeed an outrage to human dignity.” (Plaine, “Les prétendues terreurs de l’an mille,” Revue des questions historiques 13 (1873): 164).

In Egypt and Bahrain in recent weeks, I’ve been humbled by the lionhearted men and women I’ve seen defying tear gas or bullets for freedom that we take for granted. How can we say that these people are unready for a democracy that they are prepared to die for?

It is hard to top this for not understanding the issues. Being prepared to die, even for what you believe is democracy, has little to do with whether democracy will result. There were lots of secular Iranians ready to die for their revolution till they found out it wasn’t theirs. And there were plenty of Hamas and Fatah suicide bombers ready to die for the destruction of a democracy.

And while I agree with Kristof that we Americans tend to take their democracy for granted and don’t realize how fragile it is, and may not have the courage to sustain our democracy, much of this derives from our failure to understand how hard it is to launch and sustain a real democracy, a failure that Kristof himself illustrates.

If you want to consult with people who a) have a democracy, b) a citizen army of young and middle aged men who give years of their life to that army, c) citizens who understand that at any time they may die for that democracy, and d) people who know the region well… you might consult the Israelis about your euphoria. Or do you prefer to cling to your absurd obsession with Israel as the source of all the Middle East’s misfortunes, like so many of the Arab oppressors you dislike.

We Americans spout bromides about freedom.

Speak for yourself and your hopelessly superficial profession, journalists and pollsters who come back from the Arab world assuring us the vast majority want democracy without having asked whether they’re ready to make the necessary sacrifices for that democracy.

Democracy campaigners in the Middle East have been enduring unimaginable tortures as the price of their struggle — at the hands of dictators who are our allies —

Allies like Qadafi, Asad, Hamas, Hizbullah? Is there any aspect of this issue that Kristof can’t find a reason to shame us with?

yet they persist. In Bahrain, former political prisoners have said that their wives were taken into the jail in front of them. And then the men were told that unless they confessed, their wives would promptly be raped. That, or more conventional tortures, usually elicited temporary confessions, yet for years or decades those activists persisted in struggling for democracy. And we ask if they’re mature enough to handle it?

I cannot imagine how Kristof reasons here. He can cite some brave men and women who are ready to risk everything to get rid of the current regime. But we have no idea what their idea of democracy consists of, nor whether they have any chance of directing the revolution towards “democracy” once it is set in motion. This is not only wild LCE, projected not only on the cases he knows, but on the entire people.

The common thread of this year’s democracy movement from Tunisia to Iran, from Yemen to Libya, has been undaunted courage. I’ll never forget a double-amputee I met in Tahrir Square in Cairo when Hosni Mubarak’s thugs were attacking with rocks, clubs and Molotov cocktails. This young man rolled his wheelchair to the frontlines. And we doubt his understanding of what democracy means?

I have no idea, and neither do you, even if you actually talked with him. Did you ask him how he feels about stoning adulteresses, or honor-killings, or apostasy from Islam? Or were you too thrilled by his undaunted courage to spoil the moment?

Where was your brave man when Lara Logan was getting whipped and gang raped and pinched violently in the groin to cries of “JEW! JEW! JEW!” the night of celebration at democracy? And if he wasn’t cheering them on, how many anti-Semitic rapists and their admirers are there for every man of “undaunted courage.” How many more “common threads” are there to these “democracy movements” that we are unaware of, partly because people like Kristof won’t disturb their brave illusions – or ours - with such troubling information.

In Bahrain, I watched a column of men and women march unarmed toward security forces when, a day earlier, the troops had opened fire with live ammunition. Anyone dare say that such people are too immature to handle democracy?

This is no longer even an argument. It’s just rhetoric, and fairly empty at that. (Rhetoric is, after all, supposed to persuade. And repetition, as I tell my students, is a sure sign that you don’t have a lot to say).

Look, there’ll be bumps ahead. It took Americans six years after the Revolutionary War to elect a president, and we almost came apart at the seams again in the 1860s.

Let’s not forget the French, who went from “democracy” to Terror to imperialism back to monarchy, and took over a century to finally reach an enduring republic. Or the Russians, Chinese, Cubans, Cambodians, Iranians, Gazans, and so many others who never got out of the terrors.

When Eastern Europe became democratic after the 1989 revolutions, Poland and the Czech Republic adjusted well, but Romania and Albania endured chaos for years.

Wait a minute. Is this Kristof’s way of characterizing the mass rapes and massacres of Kosovo (and other unnamed parts of the Balkans): “chaos”? Is what happened in Romania somehow parallel to what happened in Kosovo? How would the Copts of Egypt feel if their women were systematically raped and they slaughtered on the “bumpy” way to democracy?

After the 1998 people power revolution in Indonesia, I came across mobs in eastern Java who were beheading people and carrying their heads on pikes.

The record is that after some missteps, countries usually pull through.

Some read the record exactly the other way: most revolutions lead to tyranny, often worse tyranny. And of course, in the Arab world, the record is quite consistent: revolution leads to such wonderful regimes as the Asad family in Syria and Saddam Hussein in Iraq – both products of the radical “leftist” Ba’ath party.

Education, wealth, international connections and civil society institutions help. And, on balance, Egypt, Libya and Bahrain are better positioned today for democracy than Mongolia or Indonesia seemed in the 1990s — and Mongolia and Indonesia today are successes.

I think Kristof is far to eager to hand out badges of success. He himself admits that it was decades (at least) before American democracy was secure. But two decades of a very bumpy ride hardly places Mongolia securely in the democratic column. After all, 90 years of “democracy” has not insulated Turkey (which Kristof probably considers a “success” too).

As for Indonesia, by the standards that consider Israel an apartheid state, it’s kind of hard to find even harsher words to describe Indonesian attitudes towards Chinese, Papuans, and non-Muslims. But hey, with a major dollop of affirmative action, their deeds are an improvement over the norm, so why not give them democratic brownie points?

Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain visited the Middle East a few days ago (arms dealers in tow), and he forthrightly acknowledged that for too long Britain had backed authoritarian regimes to achieve stability. He acknowledged that his country had bought into the bigoted notion “that Arabs or Muslims can’t do democracy.” And he added: “For me, that’s a prejudice that borders on racism. It’s offensive and wrong, and it’s simply not true.”

So Cameron is part of the politically correct crowd. Does that indicate anything but how high the problem goes? Is this how Kristof proposes to “tackle a politically incorrect issue”?

It’s still a view peddled by Arab dictatorships, particularly Saudi Arabia — and, of course, by China’s leaders and just about any African despot. It’s unfortunate when Westerners are bigoted in this way, but it’s even sadder when leaders in the developing world voice such prejudices about their own people.

Well it’s obvious why they would do so. Does Kristof somehow think that he can shame these leaders into being more “trusting” of their peoples’ capacities for democracy by deploring how “sad” it is?

In the 21st century, there’s no realistic alternative to siding with people power.

Another piece of cognitive egocentrism: the idea that the 21st century is somehow remorselessly on the way to democracy constitutes perhaps one of the most astonishing follies of the “intellectuals” of our age. Not only are the fledgling democracies in danger, so are the older ones… partly because of the kind of thinking Kristof engages in here.

Prof. William Easterly of New York University proposes a standard of reciprocity: “I don’t support autocracy in your society if I don’t want it in my society.”

There are lots of reciprocities needed here: Am “I” (and here by “I” mean a member of an Arab Muslim society) willing to grant to others – to women! – the same freedoms I myself want? Am I willing to grant to non-Muslims what I demand non-Muslims in democracies grant to my fellow Muslims? Am I willing to grant Jews the right to their own sovereignty as I want to exercise sovereignty?

Or is that just too much to ask? So better we think of more “reciprocities” for ourselves and not trouble our admirably courageous, fledgling democrats.

That should be our new starting point. I’m awed by the courage I see, and it’s condescending and foolish to suggest that people dying for democracy aren’t ready for it.

I think it’s condescending to fantasize that these cultures are ready for democracy, and not submit them to the kind of scrutiny that Kristof would readily apply to his own country, or, say, Israel. Is reverse prejudice – not applying basic standards to “minorities” and other subalterns because they couldn’t live up to them – a form of racism?

As for the folly of it all… n’en parlons pas. If we don’t want autocracy in our own societies, we’d better start confronting the radical asymmetries of our relationship to the Muslim world. I don’t think Kristof is quite ready for so serious an endeavor.

Palestinian Arab Self-Determination

Eli. E. Hertz

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its Advisory Opinion in the matter of the construction of the "wall" in Judea and Samaria, cites the right to self-determination as a fundamental right almost two dozen times, always in the Palestinian context, never in the Jewish framework.

The Bench even takes the liberty to interpret what Israel's recognition of "Palestinian rights" in a legally-binding accord [Camp David] meant, basing its own interpretation on a declarative statement of sentiment by the United Nation's General Assembly. With no reliance on legal standing, the ICJ says:

"The Israeli‑Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip of 28 September 1995 also refers a number of times to the Palestinian people and its "legitimate rights." ... The Court considers that those rights include the right to self‑determination, as the General Assembly has moreover recognized on a number of occasions [see, for example, resolution 58/163 of 22 December 2003]." The ICJ turns General Assembly recognition - this time a March 2004 Resolution recognizing "The right of Palestinian people to self-determination"[1] - into the basis for a legal opinion, ignoring the powers vested [or not vested, as the case may be] in the General Assembly under the UN Charter.

It is instructive to compare such "instant recognition" to the way the Jewish People's right to self-determination, totally ignored by the ICJ, was anchored in a series of genuine international accords.

The British objectives in "mentoring" a national home for the Jewish People under the "Mandate for Palestine" were not based solely on the 1917 Balfour Declaration. While international support for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine was set in motion by this landmark British policy statement, international intent rested on a solid consensus, expressed in a series of accords and declarations that reflected the "will" of the international community, hardly the product or whim of a colonial empire with its own agenda.

The Mandate itself notes this intent when it cites that the Mandate is based on the agreement of "the Principal Allied Powers" and declares:

"Whereas recognition has therefore been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstructing their national home in that country." [Italics by author]

A June 1922 letter from the British Secretary of State for the Colonies, Winston Churchill, reiterated that:

"The [Balfour] Declaration of 1917 [was] re-affirmed by the Conference of the Principle Allied Powers at San Remo and again in the Treaty of Sevres" ... "the Jewish people ... is in Palestine as a right and not on sufferance. That is the reason why it necessary that the existence of a Jewish National Home in Palestine should be internationally guaranteed and that it should be formally recognized to rest upon ancient historical connection." Italics by author]

In his first Report of the High Commissioner on the Administration of Palestine 1920-1925 to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, published in April 1925, the most senior official of the Mandate for Palestine, the High Commissioner for Palestine, underscored how "international guarantee[s]" for the existence of a Jewish National Home in Palestine were achieved:

"The Declaration was endorsed at the time by several of the Allied Governments; it was reaffirmed by the Conference of the Principal Allied Powers at San Remo in 1920; it was subsequently endorsed by unanimous resolutions of both Houses of the Congress of the United States; it was embodied in the "Mandate for Palestine" approved by the League of Nations in 1922; it was declared, in a formal statement of policy issued by the Colonial Secretary in the same year, 'not to be susceptible of change;' and it has been the guiding principle in their direction of the affairs of Palestine of four successive British Governments. The policy was fixed and internationally guaranteed."

It is remarkable to note the Report of The High Commissioner on the Administration of Palestine to the Right Honourable L. S. Amery, M.P., Secretary of State for the Colonies' Government Offices in 22nd April, 1925, describing Jewish Peoplehood:

"During the last two or three generations the Jews have recreated in Palestine a community, now numbering 80,000, of whom about one-fourth are farmers or workers upon the land. This community has its own political organs, an elected assembly for the direction of its domestic concerns, elected councils in the towns, and an organisation for the control of its schools. It has its elected Chief Rabbinate and Rabbinical Council for the direction of its religious affairs. Its business is conducted in Hebrew as a vernacular language, and a Hebrew press serves its needs. It has its distinctive intellectual life and displays considerable economic activity. This community, then, with its town and country population, its political, religious and social organisations, its own language, its own customs, its own life, has in fact "national" characteristics.

When it is asked what is meant by the development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine, it may be answered that it is not the imposition of a Jewish nationality upon the inhabitants of Palestine as a whole, but the further development of the existing Jewish community, with the assistance of Jews in other parts of the world, in order that it may become a centre in which the Jewish people as a whole may take, on grounds of religion and race, an interest and a pride. But in order that this community should have the best prospect of free development and provide a full opportunity for the Jewish people to display its capacities, it is essential that it should know that it is in Palestine as of right and not on sufferance. That is the reason why it is necessary that the existence of a Jewish National Home in Palestine should be internationally guaranteed, and that it should be formally recognised to rest upon ancient historic connection."

Far from the whim of this or that politician or party, 11 successive British governments, Labor and Conservative, from David Lloyd George (1916-1922) through Clement Attlee (1945-1952) viewed themselves as duty-bound to fulfill the "Mandate for Palestine" - placed in the hands of Great Britain by the League of Nations in 1922.

This is a far cry from the instant approval noted in the UN's General Assembly upon which the ICJ bases its findings, totally ignoring that at no point in the "Mandate for Palestine" is there any granting of political rights to non-Jewish entities (i.e. Arabs), only civil rights, because political rights to self-determination as a polity for Arabs were guaranteed in four other parallel mandates for Arab peoples, initially - in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq - and later, Transjordan.

There is one more point that should be mentioned at this juncture: the ICJ's highly irregular perception of peoplehood, eligibility and readiness for self-determination. In paragraph 118 the ICJ says:

"As regards the principle of the right of peoples to self-determination, the Court observes that the existence of a 'Palestinian people' is no longer in issue. ... The Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip of 28 September 1995 [Oslo II Accords] also refers a number of times to the Palestinian people and its 'legitimate rights.'"

Making its judgment, the ICJ concludes:

"The Court considers that those rights include the right to self-determination, as the General Assembly has moreover recognized on a number of occasions."

Professor Rostow, examining the claim for Palestinian's self-determination on the bases of law, concludes:

"The mandate implicitly denies Arab claims to national political rights in the area in favour of the Jews; the mandated territory was in effect reserved to the Jewish people for their self-determination and political development, in acknowledgment of the historic connection of the Jewish people to the land. Lord Curzon, who was then the British Foreign Minister, made this reading of the mandate explicit. There remains simply the theory that the Arab inhabitants of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have an inherent "natural law" claim to the area. Neither custom ary international law nor the United Nations Charter acknowledges that every group of people claiming to be a nation has the right to a state of its own." [2] [Italics by author]

[1] UN General Assembly - 58/163. A/RES/58/163. 77th plenary meeting. 22 December 2003. The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. See:
[2] Eugene V. Rostow, "The Future of Palestine," Institute for National Strategic Studies, November 1993. Professor Rostow was Sterling Professor of Law and Public Affairs Emeritus at Yale University and served as the Dean of Yale Law School (1955-66); In 1967 as U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs he become a key draftee of the UN Resolution 242. See also his writing: "Are Israel's Settlements Legal?" The New Republic, October 21, 1991.

The Middle East's Third Wave

Heritage Foundation

In a private phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, almost two weeks after the unrest began, President Barack Obama finally called for Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi to step down. While the President’s inertia may have been mitigated by the need to get Americans out of the country so Qadhafi could not take any hostages, the incident demonstrates again that the wave of revolution currently sweeping North Africa and the Middle East took the Obama Administration completely by surprise. And for good reason: President Obama’s “engagement” strategy toward the “Islamic world” is thoroughly outdated and irrelevant. The first wave of revolutions in the region came in the middle of the last century and was made up of nationalist revolts against European colonialism. The next wave, the Islamist revolt, came a generation later, upending corrupt monarchies and nationalist regimes set up after the colonial era. Each of these movements—nationalist and Islamist—pretended to be “pan” movements of some kind. But they never caught on for very long because their universal claims were myths, undermined by tribal, religious, and nationalist divisions. The third wave we are witnessing today is completely different. Heritage Foundation Vice President and former Assistant Secretary of State Kim Holmes explains:

Arab nationalism was largely an elite phenomenon that drove and exploited popular sentiments. Islamism is driven by clerics and political ideologues like the Muslim Brotherhood who likewise exploit peoples’ religious beliefs and social resentments. The current third wave of revolt is truly a bottom-up, people driven movement. It’s driven not by nationalism, Islamism or any other 20th Century “ism,” but by a 21st Century socially linked-up mass movement of people who are sick of corruption, the lack of representative government, and being poor. … Despite the unique national and tribal features of each movement, it is united by the same emotional revulsion to the ruin and corruption created by the first two waves of revolution in the Middle East. The people of Libya are no less disgusted with Qadhafi than the people of Iran are with Ahmadinejad. One may be largely Sunni Arabs and the other Shiite Persians, but both are utterly finished with the ideologies, pretentions, and results of the Middle East’s first two failed revolutions.

This new movement exposes the fact that everything the Obama Administration believed was important in the Middle East – from the Arab-Israeli talks to Obama’s apology tour – is completely irrelevant. Just look at how al-Qaeda has been sidelined by events. Its leaders have been horrified by the outbreak of demands for democracy and freedom, since they are utterly against those values. Of course, groups like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt are trying to figure out how to take advantage of this new opening, so we must watch out for an Islamist backlash. But that is all the more reason the world needs a strong voice in favor of democracy and individual freedom from the United States.

The Administration must get our objectives and strategy clear very quickly. If we want to see the Egyptian revolution turn out well, we need to be more forceful in talking with the army there about how to proceed with elections and reform the economy. If we want Qadhafi out of power without further bloodshed, we need a clearer and more public voice. And most importantly, if we find Ahmadinejad’s behavior unacceptable, we need to consider options more forceful than talking with “multilateral institutions.”

Quick Hits:

* According to a survey of the National Association for Business Economics, the massive U.S. budget deficit is the gravest threat facing the economy.
* More than half the states are pressuring the Obama Administration for more flexibility on Medicaid than Obamacare currently allows.
* Just one in four of the 2.7 million homeowners who sought to participate in the Obama Administration’s signature mortgage assistance program have succeeded in getting their monthly payments reduced.
* The online activist group “anonymous,” which has used coordinated denial of service attacks to promote WikiLeaks, attacked Americans for Prosperity yesterday.
* Chinese police unleashed a show of force in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities to clamp down on public gatherings after a second week of calls for protests across the country.

Congress: Yes, We Can!

Yoram Ettinger, "Second Thought: A US-Israel Initiative"

It was Congress – on both sides of the aisle - which led the Obama Administration to veto its own ideology and policy, at the UN, on February 17, 2011. Majority leader Cantor, Minority Whip Hoyer, Foreign Relations Committee Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen and Ranking Democrat Berman, Middle East Subcommittee Chairman Chabot and Ranking Democrat Ackerman spearheaded the flood of determined Congressional messages to the White House. Once again, Congress demonstrated its role in co-determining US national security, possessing the power to direct the Executive. Thus, the occasional conflict between the Legislature and the Executive over national security policy is inevitable and inherent, as prescribed by the US Constitution with its elaborate system of checks and balances. Congress is not eager to challenge a president, but is capable of the challenge if required by constituents.

Once again, Congress demonstrated its independence, adhering to the principles of Separation of Powers. The late Senator Robert Byrd (West Virginia - Democrat) addressed President Clinton during a floor speech: "I am the obedient servant of the Constitution and not of the President."

Once again, Congress leveraged its Power of the Purse and its power to supervise the Administration, to shape, suspend, amend and even reverse policy. For example, it was Congress – and not the Administration - which terminated the US wars in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, US military involvement in Angola and Nicaragua, US ties with the white government in South Africa, the acquisition of the B-2 and the civil war in El Salvador. It was Congress which coerced the USSR to allow Jewish emigration, cut foreign aid to Turkey, imposed sanctions on Uganda, extended the acquisition of the F-117, prevented the ratification of Clinton's Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, restructured the US intelligence community, upgraded the port of Haifa for the Sixth Fleet, initiated the US-Israel Bi-national Industrial Research & Development (BIRD) Foundation, which produced a multi-billion dollar bonanza for the US economy, etc.

Once again, Congress highlighted the key axis of the US Constitution: Constituent and constituent-loyalty over party-loyalty.

Once again, Congress exposed the endemic constraints of presidential power, as stipulated by the US Constitution: To prevent Executive tyranny by limiting the power of the Executive. The term "Commander in Chief" has often been misinterpreted as if it were "Omnipotent President." A US president is not "The Government" – a US president constitutes one of three branches of government, which operate through genuine power-sharing.

Once again, Congress leveraged the relative weakness of a president, who is transformed from a Coattail President (Obama – 2008) to an Anchor-Chained President (Obama – 2010), as was President Carter. Traditionally, presidents benefit from their stature, which enables them to mold public opinion and influence legislators. However, Obama's stature has been eroded severely during the first two years of his administration.

Once again, Congress justified the Founding Fathers, who featured Congress – the most authentic representation of the American people - in the opening article of the Constitution, while the president was accorded the second article.

Once again, Congress highlighted the Jewish State as one of the very few common denominators on Capitol Hill, binding Democrats and Republicans, during one of the most polarized congressional sessions. Moreover, Congress – reflecting most constituents – does not consider Israel as a classic foreign policy issue. Congress considers the Jewish State a non-conditional strategic ally and also as a domestic issue, which is related to the moral Judeo-Christian foundations of the USA.

In light of the congressional reality, and the consistent and systematic congressional support of the Jewish State, Jerusalem should resurrect the policy of its 1948-1992 Prime Ministers (Ben Gurion through Shamir), who acknowledged Congressional (equal) power in co-determining national security. The Jewish State should, also, emulate the US Constitution, restructuring the Israeli political system by highlighting the constituent – and not political parties and prime ministers - as its chief axis, introducing genuine systems of separation of powers and checks and balances, and significantly enhancing the power of a newly-created bicameral Legislature.
no url today

Hebron demonstration signals a new intifada in the West Bank?

Joseph Dana

Riding the wave of unrest in the Arab world, the PA called for a carefully controlled ‘day of rage’ throughout the West Bank against the United States for their recent veto of an internationally accepted resolution declaring (once again) that Israeli settlement activity is illegal. While in Ramallah the PA sponsored demonstration was weak with almost no one showing up, in Hebron one thousand people, including Israeli peace activists, took to the streets. Feburary 25th also happened to be the Open Shuhada Street Global Day of Action. Organized by the Palestinian NGO, Youth Against Settlements, protests were held in more than thirteen cities including New York, Cape Town, London and Rome. The demonstration was called for 25th February because it marks the anniversary of the Baruch Goldstein massacre and subsequent closing of Shuhada street to Palestinians. The Global Day of Action demands for the re-opening of Shuhada Street to Palestinians and an end to the Occupation. All of the factors for present for a peaceful demonstration to get out of hand. With the first salvo of tear gas, the demonstration quickly turned into a riot. According to Open Shuhada Street, a South African based advocacy website,

Shuhada Street used to be the principal street for Palestinian residents, businesses and a very active market place in the Palestinian city of Hebron/ al Khaleel. Today, because Shuhada Street runs through the Jewish settlement of Hebron, the street is closed to Palestinian movement and looks like a virtual ghost street, which only Israelis and tourists are allowed to access. Hate graffiti has been sprayed across the closed Palestinian shops and Palestinians living on the street have to enter and exit their houses through their back doors or, even sometimes by climbing over neighbor’s roofs.We are focusing on Shuhada Street as a symbol of the settlement issue, the policy of separation in Hebron/al Khaleel and the entire West Bank, the lack of freedom of movement, and the Occupation at large.

Winding through the narrow ally ways of the ancient city of Hebron, one thousand demonstrators reached Shuhada street around 12h30 on Friday. A massive force of Israeli soldiers/border police were waiting for them and had formed an impenetrable line. Soldiers had stationed themselves on surrounding rooftops in order to have complete control and ability to repress the demonstration at any point. This is exactly what happen.
Israeli peace activists in Hebron demonstration 25 Feb 2011. Photo:

Israeli peace activists in Hebron demonstration 25 Feb 2011. Photo:

Soldiers began firing indiscriminately at protesters, using tear gas canisters as large bullets. A thousand people spread in every direction and chaos ensued. Palestinian youth began throwing rocks at the attacking soldiers. Due to the political climate in Hebron, a Palestinian Authority police force was deployed on the borderline between Palestinian H1 and Israeli H2 in order to stop Palestinians from joining the clashes. The scene was bizarre in its layout: the empty and deserted Shuhada street filled with Palestinian, International and Israeli demonstrators inspired by the tide of revolution spreading in the Arab world, caught between heavily armed Israeli border police guarding Jewish settlers on one side and armed (but not so heavily) Palestinian Authority police on the other trying to keep Palestinians from joining.
Palestinian youth arrested in Hebron demonstration 25 Feb 2011. Photo:

Palestinian youth arrested in Hebron demonstration 25 Feb 2011. Photo:

Clashes continued and intensfied. A number of Israeli demonstrators were detained by border police but released. Palestinians and Israelis were injured as the rampaging soldiers pushed closer to the PA controlled area of H1. More Israelis were detained and released. One reporter from Al Jazzera was arrested and charged with stone throwing. At the time of this writing, he remains in an Israeli jail. After two hours of cat and mouse clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli soldiers, the demonstration was finished. The PA police, however, remained on the streets in order to ensure that another demonstration would not break out, this time against the PA itself.
Palestinian Authority police in Hebron 25 Feb 2011.

Palestinian Authority police in Hebron 25 Feb 2011.

From the vantage point of nonviolent demonstration, last Friday’s demonstration was not as much a success as it was an indicator of what is to come in the West Bank. The nature of the demonstration reinforced the notion that Palestinians are ready for a new wave of popular civilian resistance to the Israeli Occupation and its agents (the Palestinian Authority?). Israeli peace activists, who have courageously struggled for the past eight years against the separation wall and Occupation in many Palestinian border villages, will soon have difficult and important questions to ask themselves. Namely, if a third intifada breaks out and there is mass unarmed resistance in Palestinian cities, will the village model of ‘joint struggle’ survive and translate to the urban context? Direct action for Israelis supporting Palestinian nonviolence has been confined, by and large, to villages for the past years. Some activists associated with the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement have been forging relationships in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, where the last six months have seen serious urban clashes. Members of Anarchists Against the Wall routinely visit demonstrations when they happen in Qalandiya and Hebron. Yet, there has been an absence of large scale resistance to Israeli Occupation emanating from the cities in the past years and the villages such as Bil’in and Nabi Saleh have been centers of violent clashes.
Demonstration in Hebron 25 Feb 2011. Photo: Oren Ziv/

Demonstration in Hebron 25 Feb 2011. Photo: Oren Ziv/

Many Palestinians believe that another Intifada is inevitable and almost all argue that it is going to be in the spirit and style of the First Intifada. This means that massive unarmed civilian resistance will sweep through the West Bank in a similar way that it has throughout the Arab world from Egypt to Libya. It remains to be seen weather there will be large scale Israeli support in these demonstrations to bring about the end to Occupation and resistance to Israeli domination.

The Thug of War in Wisconsin

Daniel Greenfield

Obama has chosen to continue his war against the states by using the unions. Like the rest of his objectives, the goal is to kill any attempts at reform and destroy all forms of authority not directly under his control. The integration of Democratic party political machines with public sector unions create a corrupt political trust that is being leveraged to impose heavy burdens on the taxpayers, even while his volunteers organize to terrorize state governments and voters. Like the czars, the public sector unions represent a system of organization loyal to him, that is outside the system. Any attempt to bring it into line touches off a thug of war. The talking point to those who talk up this thug of war is that instead of "penalizing" unions, we should be penalizing Wall Street. In a column titled, 'Stop Scapegoating Teachers", Susan Estrich demands to know, "Where are the Wall Street banks for whom there was no limit to greed?" Well they certainly aren't in Wisconsin. It's almost a thousand miles from the gray towers of Wall Street to the overarching dome of the Wisconsin state capitol. And the Wisconsin state budget is not in hock to Wall Street bank bailouts, but to a teacher's union that runs its own insurance company. Like a store owner who picks out a gift for himself from his own store and then makes you pay for it, the Wisconsin teacher's union is forcing the taxpayers to buy insurance from them... for them.

If taxpayers are the bosses of public employees-- then this is a unique case where the workers live better than their employers do. Unions and their supporters have pretended that their fight is with Governor Walker and with the Koch Brothers, when it's actually with the taxpayers. Walker isn't Governor because of a vast conspiracy by Wall Street, but because the public is fed up and wants actual reforms. If that weren't the case, or if Walker was just a fluke, the Democrats would have the majority they need to block this legislation, instead of resorting to thuggery, vandalism and fleebaggery.

The left insists on casting every one of their fights as a struggle between the powerless and the powerful, the well connected and those on the fringes denied access to political power. But is there any measure by which the unions can be said to be on the fringes, and can public employees who use money harvested from taxpayers to subvert the will of the taxpayers, really be said to be powerless? Their dichotomy demands that we choose either the side of Wall Street or the unions. But what if we choose neither? What if we choose to be equally disgusted by corporate lobbyists who got their bailouts and stimulus packages, and union lobbyists who make sure to get their own piece of the action, and go to war against the will of the voters when they don't get their way.

What we have are two sets of greedy bastards, and the left expects us to cheer for their set of greedy bastards as if they were the starving children in a Victor Hugo novel. And it's their greedy bastards that are the problem in Wisconsin right now. It's their greedy bastards who run their own insurance company, which puts them a lot closer to Wall Street than the poorhouse. And this entire protest circus, that liberal pundits label "class warfare", has gotten a helping hand from a man who makes the worst Wall Streeters look like plaster saints-- George Soros.

For all the posturing about the Koch Brothers, there are far more billionaires on their side, than there are on ours. You know that time when the richest man in America suggested that we could save money on health care by killing sick people? He wasn't one of the Koch Brothers, he was one of Obama's own fundraisers. If you wanted a villain to star in a Dickens or Hugo novel, perhaps the one who pushes the dying old lady into the snow, he's available. Unfortunately he's actually a liberal hero, eugenics being one of those quirks that many noble progressive souls looking for a way to improve society have embraced in their time.

Eugenics is about making choices. So is forcing taxpayers to pay for health care for public service employees that they can't afford themselves. When police union thugs march into the capitol and announce that they will disobey the law, because the capitol "belongs to the people", they only mean certain people. And it isn't the majority who voted for the governor, but the angry minority of public employees that they happen to belong to. "Our house" is their house. They paid for it with money they extracted from the taxpayers, and now they want it back from the elected representatives of the taxpayers. So they can continue holding the taxpayers hostage.

When all the union songs die down, then all the dirty little secrets come out. Like the nearly half a million dollar salary of the president of the union's health care service. These are the things that are truly being fought for. The power and privilege of an entitled elite. Public sector unions are not fighting for the right to organize, but for the power to organize the system around them. To keep the flow of money moving from taxpayer pockets into their pockets and into the pockets of their pet politicians. Unions represent an establishment like any other. The difference is that there is no way to opt out of dealing with them.

Liberal columnists have tried to make the rich into the villains, but it is not the billionaires who are losing their homes due to high property taxes, it is not the billionaires who have to cut back so that union bosses can play on their own private golf course, and it is not the billionaires who have to tighten their belts so more government workers can be hired at their expense, and without their consent. And it is not the rich who pack the pockets of politicians, nearly so much as the unions do. Because those politicians are how the unions get rich.

The Koch brothers have become default villains in this Alinsky puppet theater meant to identify all calls for reform with a nefarious cabal of billionaires. All the better to shift attention away from the real villains. Attacking the Koch brothers personalizes the enemy. Better than attacking the 1,128,887 Wisconsinites who cast their ballots for Walker in the hopes of reform. Better than dealing with the hard truths that voters are in no shape to subsidize their privileges anymore.

Calls for higher taxes war with calls for cuts in government spending. That's the red line that comes up when the money gets tight enough that we can't just keep letting it ride anymore. And that's when the tug of war begins. Or rather the thug of war. Political systems being held hostage by the people who run them. As much as the public cries, "Stop", they bellow "Onward". Their right to make money off us trumping our right to stop them from doing so.

Who are the exploiters and the exploited. The public has voted. Their representatives have voted. And the unions have brought out their thugs and the politicians have headed for the border. It's the Middle East but , with the despots and the thugs on the union side. It takes a lot of spin to turn the unions and their pols into the exploited. But minor matters like the color of the sky, the distance between two objects and the nature of reality have never stopped the media from performing their sworn duty as tinpot agitators for their ideological friends. Banging their drums loudly for civil unrest, so long as it's the right kind of civil unrest by privileged public servants, and not those nasty tea party people who want to pay less taxes and enjoy more freedoms.

The Guardian labels it class warfare, but between which classes? The class of union members who can hold the public hostage for their benefits, and the class of the public which is supposed to pay for it all or get beaten down in the streets when they try to protest.

Government workers have become the Second Estate of the American Republic, with most of the population reduced to the Third Estate grubbing through to pay their wages. And the more the Second Estate keeps growing, the more it impoverishes the Third Estate, pushing them down further below the Middle Class line. If this goes on, then the Middle Class will consist entirely of government workers. And America will cease to exist as a free country. Then the class war that the left has been fighting inst the rest of the country will finally end in victory.

Freezing Palestinian myths

Gerald M. Steinberg

Palestinian myths of victimization have been the major obstacle to peace for more 60 years, but they’re largely ignored by journalists, diplomats and would-be peace activists.

Instead, the spotlight has been misplaced exclusively on Jewish settlements and the “occupation” that resulted from the 1967 war. The first two years of the Obama administration’s peace efforts were entirely wasted because of the illusion that settlements are the cause of the conflict.

In order to break the long stalemate and end decades of failure, the myths of Arab victimization must be exposed – in place of a “settlement freeze,” we need a “victimization freeze.” False histories that blame Zionism (or European antisemitism) only serve to make peace based on mutual acceptance even more unlikely. To move forward, Palestinians and their supporters need to be brought back to reality. In place of the myths, they will have to acknowledge that their “suffering” and the refugee problem were the result of the unanimous Arab rejection of the UN Resolution 181 – the November 1947 version of the two-state solution. This was followed by military invasions that killed one per cent of the Jewish population. The Arab defeat on the battlefield was followed by the entirely fictitious claim to a “right of return” as refugees from illegal wars for which the Arabs themselves were responsible.

This is difficult to capture in an emotional photo, dramatic headline, television documentary or YouTube video. Israeli settlements, scenes of the occupation and the inevitable images of Palestinian suffering are easy to portray and manipulate in order to evoke immediate and unquestioned sympathy with the perpetual victim. And while the number of Jews expelled from Arab countries in this period is roughly equal to the displaced Palestinians, the Jewish refugees were absorbed into the Israeli population.
Indeed, the Palestinian refugee industry is thriving, reinforcing the wall it has created to block any peace agreement based on a two-state framework that ends the conflict. UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) provides hundreds of millions of dollars every year, and many officials are totally devoted to this anti-peace mythology, and to perpetuating the false refugee claims. When one UNRWA employee, Andrew Whitley, dared to question the myth, he was immediately attacked and forced by UNRWA’s victimization police to recant his honest assessment. Expect him to be looking for alternative employment soon.

In addition, a vast network of non-governmental organizations using the language of human rights and humanitarian aid promote Palestinian refugee myths. Powerful groups such as BADIL (“The Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights”) get hundreds of thousands of dollars every year from a number of European governments to fuel the conflict in this way. For many years, allies in the International Development Research Centre funnelled Canadian taxpayer funds to BADIL.

In parallel, young Jews, many of whom have joined groups such as J-street and the misnamed “Jewish Voices for Peace,” as well as some Israelis, have been exposed incessantly to these images and myths, and adopted the false narrative. Exploiting this situation, Palestinian officials such as Saeb Erekat – described by diplomats and journalists as a “moderate” because he looks and sounds reasonable – continue to weave false tales to sell to naive audiences.

Another myth, promoted during the failed Oslo peace negotiations, was that the Palestinian leadership was “holding the refugee card” in order to play it at the last minute. According to this script, former Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat would suddenly reverse decades of Palestinian theology, and tell his people that the “right of return” was exchanged as part of a comprehensive peace. Like other parts of the Oslo process, this was based entirely on wishful thinking.

An alternative scenario that has survived Oslo and Arafat depicts the Palestinian leadership as knowing they’re not going to return en masse and turn the Jewish state into another Muslim stronghold. All that they want, we are told, is a symbolic recognition of the “injustice” and their “suffering” resulting from the creation of the State of Israel. But this is simply another version of the victimization myth, which, if accepted, would be used to justify more terrorism and delegitimization of Israel.

Until these dimensions are addressed, peace efforts will be stillborn. In this framework, a freeze on refugee myths and false narratives is long overdue.

Iran inspired the Islamic awakening in the Arab world

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian

TEHRAN,(MNA) -- The model of Iran’s Islamic Revolution can be regarded as the engine of the current innovative and creative atmosphere of political discourse in confronting the hegemonic systems in the region.

On the recent anniversary of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (S), Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei pointed to the latest developments in the Middle East and said, “The interference of arrogant powers, especially the United States, in the social, economic, cultural, and political affairs of Middle Eastern countries has plagued the life of the people and has made them think. The elite of the region have to do their best to counter this hegemonic system, which wants to hijack the people’s uprising and take control of the great movement.”

So, what are the factors related to the current developments in the Middle East and how can the people maintain the achievements of this Islamic uprising? In a short answer to the above questions, one can say the following:

(A) The Arab rulers in the Middle East did not pay enough attention to the people’s demands, which were based on the institutionalized Islamic values of their countries, and they were always subservient to the arrogant powers and increasingly reduced the political autonomy and social welfare of their countries. They insisted on the continuation of monarchism and never allowed the people to participate in the political process. And finally, the Islamic awakening of Arab nations triggered the recent developments in the Middle East.

The model of Iran’s Islamic Revolution is regarded as the engine of the current innovative and creative atmosphere of political discourse in confrontation with the hegemonic systems. One Arab author wrote, “In the first decade of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, we called the Iranians warmongers; in their second decade, we said they had a reactionary political system; but now we are witnessing a dynamic and strong Islamic political system in the country, which enjoys political independence and accomplishes incredible achievements in various scientific, cultural, political, and international spheres. While the Iranian youth are active in science and innovation, in many Arab countries, young people are busy hunting and riding horses.”

(B) The principal actors and players in the recent developments in the Middle East are first of all the people, the youth, and political, national, and religious parties and groups; second, the governments; and third, various foreign elements.

Thus, the people are the main players. The youth, political leaders, and religious scholars, both Shia and Sunni, are trying to bring about fundamental changes based on Islamic values and the people’s main interests. The current hereditary regimes are now offering the people some minor concessions in the hope of surviving the upheaval, but they will never accept a comprehensive restructuring and change in their systems of government. And foreign players, especially the U.S. and Israel, are all making efforts to ensure that the people do not attain their goals.

The Zionist regime regards any change in the current political systems as contrary to its interests, but the United States has selected the “managed change process” and the Greater Middle East Initiative as its main policies. In his final hours in power, Hosni Mubarak told a regional official, “If anyone wants to cover himself with the clothing of the United States, he will remain naked forever.” Of course, Mubarak learned this important lesson too late.

(C) There is no doubt that the Middle East is currently a “battlefield of wills” and the most important components which are emerging from this battle are the Islamic awakening and the willful and conscious resistance of the people. The West is using two tactics: giving the green light to suppress the people and simultaneously feigning solidarity with the people in order to control and manage the changes. So, as Ayatollah Khamenei said, the elite in these countries must make vigilant efforts to prevent the enemies from realizing their goals of hijacking the people’s uprising and taking control of their popular movement.

Comment: Knowing this, does our strategy change? Should it change? Any doubt 2here this is going?

Make or Break

Javad Mahzadeh

Hashemi is the most valuable man in the post-election political chess, but is he the one who forces checkmate?
By Javad Mahzadeh

Recent weeks have become so replete with striking political episodes that newspapers can even design a new column to report on daily political events and forecast next day’s developments. At present, the two political camps are overstraining to overcome the other and amid their struggle, Hashemi Rafsanjani is under pressure more than any other figure.

Since Rafsanjani’s historic sermon in Friday prayers, the political fissure has moved into a new foggy phase which adds to concerns. Even Iranian intellectuals can not give a clear picture of the future that awaits the Iranian society. Continued schism among they Iranian society and statesmen defies any sort of prediction. The schism has impelled well-known, rational figures of the Islamic Republic to direct a great portion their efforts towards ridding of the current situation and regaining public trust in order to stand against foreign pressures.

After Rafsanjani’s speech, which received a flood of comments and analyses even continuing up to the present day, the opposite camp has come out with a new card to turn the tables and corner the powerful cleric. Releasing a meaningful letter, a group of Assembly of Experts members have tried to counter his efforts. Their letter has called Rafsanjani to accept the result of elections and abide by Supreme Leader’s ’final word’.

The letter, although not as weighty as Rafsanjani’s sermon in 17th of July, is another step in a project which intends to defame –or better say, oust- Rafsanjani from power circles. But this time his opponent clerics in the assembly have been nominated for the attack.

It seems that both the past and the future of Iran’s politics are in hands of the Assembly of Experts. The letter released by anti-Rafsanjani clerics showed that theoretical and practical schisms in Iran’s political stage have become so deep that even bending down and taking a look seems like a daring experience.
Now we can talk with confidence about the effect of Rafsanjani’s visits to Qom and Mashhad during the past weeks. Fierce criticisms pointed at Hashemi Rafsanjani by some pro-Ahmadinejad clerics, culminating in their latest letter as members of the Assembly of Experts, signifies the impact of Rafsanjani’s negotiations with influential clerics and religious leaders who are also worried about the future of the country and the Islamic establishment.

Up to his Friday prayers speech, the general belief was that with successive political beatings, Rafsanjani would show no overt reaction to the results of tenth presidential election. However, the course of events showed that even Ahmadinejad’s presidency is not the last wish for some power circles, and it was Rafsanjani’s mindset which should be obliterated from political structures. That was when the aged cleric decided to break his silence, come to the front line in support of people and lead their protests.
Of course, Rafsanjani knows better than anyone else that despite bringing relative balance to the political struggle, his appearance in the vanguard has brought him closer and closer to danger. Hashemi is now completely on target, even more than late 1990s during reformists’ anti-Rafsanjani campaigns. But this time his marginalization may be tantamount to the death of a political current, at least for long years.
For some years a group of political analysts believed that Hashemi Rafsanjani is planning a power transition to discharge the Supreme Leader from his powers. However, it seems that the scenario is enacted against no one but Hashemi himself and his position appears shakier than ever.

Joining the group who object election results, Hashemi has tied his future to the future of protestors and now, whatever their destiny, Hashemi has to wait for the same. And let’s not forget that the opposition of the ruling coterie to reformists such as Khatami, Musavi and Karrubi is in fact their opposition to Hashemi’s tradition.
Hashemi is a determining factor whose absence or presence will have significant impacts on Iran’s political structure. While he is under crushing pressure to retract his remarks, he knows well that a moment of compromise and withdrawal equals entering the land of no return.

Without wanting to give an apocalyptic interpretation of the recent developments, we have to say that Iran’s political stage has now turned into a chessboard. Both whites and blacks have valuable men but the result of the game is determined by their most powerful ones. A relative balance is now dominating the game, but game reading power and promptness can determine the ultimate winner.
Hashemi upped the ante with his July 17th speech and visit to Mashhad. His moves were responded with a letter, a check which may receive no response until the day of inauguration. But checkmate seems to be far from close.

Egypt's Future Starts Coming Into Focus: There's Good News and Bad News

Barry Rubin

“All that [glitters] is not gold;
Often have you heard that told...
Gilded tombs do worms enfold….
--William Shakespeare, “Merchant of Venice”

Is this the long-awaited Arab Spring of Democracy or is it a stealth Islamist revolution? Every country is different and most governments other than Egypt and Tunisia, possibly Bahrain, Yemen, and Libya, will survive. One should not assume the results will be the blessings of democracy or the sufferings of an even worse dictatorship. Facts, not assumptions, should produce conclusions. There are, however, serious reasons to worry about Egypt. The two leading contenders for president so far are Muhammad ElBaradei and Amr Moussa. It is an interesting exercise to figure out who would be worse. ElBaradei is an inexperienced politician dependent on Muslim Brotherhood support. Moussa is a mercurial, irresponsible radical Arab nationalist known for demagoguery.

And so while ElBaradei would probably run a government characterized by growing Islamism at home and support for Hamas, attacking Israel, and subverting Jordan abroad; Moussa would probably head a government using an economically ruinous nationalist populism at home and support for Syria, attacking Israel, and subverting Jordan and Saudi Arabia abroad.

Neither would be particularly friendly to the United States and Western interests, though keeping American aid might make them somewhat cautious. Unless a strong moderate, liberal democratic or a conservative status quo oriented candidate appears, Egypt and the world will be stuck with one of those two choices.

While it is too early to figure out what is going to happen, we are now at the point where it is possible to make an educated guess. So here it is: there’s good news and there’s bad news.

The good news is that the Muslim Brotherhood is unlikely to take Egypt over and turn it into an anti-American Islamist state eager to go to war with Israel.

The bad news is that the next government of Egypt is likely to be a radical nationalist regime that is anti-American and likely to push relations to Israel to a limit where conflict might result.

And that is what goes for an optimistic assessment in the Middle East.

We now have two polls and while both are flawed the basic theme is extremely telling. A Siraj poll for al-Aan television concludes that 49 percent think Moussa will be the next president. Another poll—focuses on urban, middle class Egyptians (so it is misleading but still gives some sense of proportion) gives Amr Musa 29 and ElBaradei 4 percent.

What all this means is that ElBaradei is totally dependent on the Muslim Brotherhood since the urban liberal middle class--supposedly his fans--don't back him. The Brotherhood would have to turn out a really massive vote among the urban poor and in the villages to win. Very few people will vote because they like ElBaradei on his own merits. It doesn’t matter whether the Western media likes him (or thinks him moderate), only Egyptians have a vote.

In other words, even if the Brotherhood could produce a vote of 30 or 35 percent for ElBaradei, he still wouldn't win if he faced a strong nationalist candidate like Moussa.

The Muslim Brotherhood is also forming its own party, for the parliamentary elections, and it has given us an important hint (not yet noticed by anyone in the Western media) by naming the party, “'hurriyya wa adala,” which means the Freedom and Justice party. This is very close to the Turkish Islamist party, the Development and Justice Party (AKP). Some might take this to mean the Brotherhood is going to be moderate. I take it as showing that the Brotherhood is going to be crafty, pushing Islamism step by step so that, among other things, the Western media and governments don’t wake up and see what’s happening.

Again, the Brotherhood isn't going to win a majority in parliament. But unlike the presidential election, the ability to elect, say, one-third of the members in a multi-party legislature will give them enormous influence in shaping the new Egypt. The U.S. government has already announced--without being asked--that it doesn't mind the Brotherhood being in government.

So consider, for instance, that the Brotherhood enters a coalition as a junior partner. It takes social welfare, labor, religious affairs, and some other "unglamorous" ministries where it can wield influence, broaden its base, hire its people, and seize control of institutions. We could have the prospect before year's end of Muslim Brotherhood ministers spending U.S. tax dollars to teach young Egyptians to hate the United States and support an Islamist state in Egypt.

Maybe they won't be part of the coalition. But in that case the Brotherhood is likely to lead the opposition. And if the government fails--economic problems, rising disorder at home, disappointment at the revolution's results--the Brotherhood can prepare itself to lead some future government. Or, alternatively, the nationalist government would try to outbid the Brotherhood by proving its own militancy, piety, and hostility to the West and Israel.

The political battle lines forming are quite different from what Westerners think. Take the yuppie, Facebook, Google hero Wael Ghonim, the symbol of the “anti-Islamist” moderate democratic reformer. He was reportedly not even allowed on the stand for Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s massive pro-Islamist rally in Cairo. Nonetheless, Ghonim tweeted:

“I loved Sheikh Qaradawi['s semon] today. Was truly inspired when he said: `Today I'm going to address both Muslims and Christians.' Respect!”

And then:

The pleasure of the presence of a sermon by Shaykh Qaradawi. Today I more than liked what he said..."I will say O Muslims O Muslims and Copts because you are all Egyptians.” (sic)

Notice what is happening here. Ghonim endorses the most moderate thing Qaradawi said—about Muslim-Christian understanding--but ignores the rest. Is he afraid of Qaradawi? Trying to flatter him? Trying to use Qaradawi for his own purposes?

I do not think Ghonim supports the Muslim Brotherhood. What's happening is worse: He knows that the Brotherhood is too powerful for him to criticize, so he must endorse the most "moderate" aspect of its message, that is, the coexistence of Muslims and Christians, hoping to steer it in a less radical direction.

It doesn’t matter. Qaradawi is the one who draws the masses with his Islamist ideas. Ghonim knows it and that’s why he doesn’t mention the fact that he was thrown off the stage. And he also doesn’t mention the chants of, “To Jerusalem we go, for us to be the Martyrs of the Millions."

Look at a picture of the massive crowd for Qaradawi and you know who’s boss.

We should remember that not only does Qaradawi endorse terrorism but he’s the kind of guy who can say that the Jews are so evil that God sent Hitler to smite them, though he adds, having it both ways, that the Holocaust is exaggerated by the Jews. Pro-Hitler revolutionary Islamists are not the best bet for building the kind of democracy Westerners seem to expect in Egypt. Here’s a detailed bibliography of past statements by Qaradawi.

As part of this reality check, we should already note that the military regime is gradually easing up on travel and trade between Egypt and the Gaza Strip (publicly) and also on trying to stop weapons’ imports by Hamas (secretly).

Meanwhile, for comic relief, the U.S. government has announced that it will give Egypt another $150 million (that’s about $1.50 for each Egyptian) to assist the country’s democratic transformation. Egypt is going to need more like $150 billion.

But, as I noted above, most Egyptians at present don't want the Brotherhood to run the country. They are looking for an alternative. The only other fully realized world view available is nationalism and the only alternative identity is Arab.

Let’s assume that Moussa is the next president of Egypt. What can we expect? He won’t abrogate the peace treaty with Israel but, to be popular, will violate to the greatest possible extent and denounce Israel regularly as a (the?) cause of Egypt's problems. Moussa (though less than the Brotherhood) will help Hamas (bad news for the Palestinian Authority) and get along with (but mistrust and keep his distance from) Iran. He covets popularity which means—especially when he can’t solve Egypt’s economic problems—he will play the demagogue and stir up hatred against the United States, the West, and Israel.

I would bet that he gets along well with the army, giving it what it wants, and also seeks good relations with Syria. In other words, this would be bad news for Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. Not as bad as ElBaradei perhaps but bad enough.

Asad Abu Khalil, aka "The Angry Arab"--sometime consultant to the U.S. Defense Department by day, anti-American radical by night--defines this situation well by writing:

"We don't know how the foreign policies of new Arab democracies will shape up. But here is a simply formula: FPAD (Foreign Policy of Arab Democracies) will at least be: at least the current foreign policy of Turkey PLUS the Arab factor. That can only result in...panic of Israel and Zionists."

I must say that I have not detected any panic in those quarters. It is a revealing idea that Israel should be the one most upset at the idea of Arab peoples trading a chance for democracy, freedom, and progress to prefer decades more of fruitless strife and scapegoating. I'd think Arabs should be the ones most upset by such prospects.

Perhaps they should learn something from Germany and Japan after 1945, turning away from past ambitions and aggressions. Or the Central European countries escaped from Communism, dispensing with ideology, mobilization for perpetual strife, and state-sponsored enmities.

Instead, it's like someone not merely angry but quite mad, raving: "You think I'm going to settle down, turn away from failed battles I always lose, and raise living standards, avoid conflict, get along with the West, and expand freedom! I'll show you! I'm going to hate even more and fight even harder! Mu-ha-ha-ha!"

They don't understand that Israel's success is based on an ultimately pragmatic approach that puts first its own people's welfare rather than seeking revenge or impossible ambitions.

Yet the apparent satisfaction of the perpectually Angry Arab about how much this is supposedly going to upset Israel, indifferent to how much this will hurt Arabs, is indeed the very stuff Arab politics has been made up of for about the last sixty years.

Certainly, the Western countries aren't panicking since they aren't even aware of what's going on. After all, we are already hearing that the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate and so is Moussa. Wait for when they discover he even has his own Facebook page (albeit only in Arabic)!

It makes me want to paraphrase an ancient Greek saying in this way: Those whom the gods would destroy they first make define their enemies as well-intentioned moderates.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why Policy Forces the U.S. Government to Become the Muslim Brotherhood's Press Agent

Barry Rubin

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Select Intelligence Committee recently that he thinks the Muslim Brotherhood is against the Egypt-Israel peace treaty but isn't really sure and also doesn't know much about the Muslim Brotherhood.

Clapper earlier famously said that the Muslim Brotherhood is a secular and moderate group. Is Clapper that stupid? Well, he was stupid to go so far as to say that the Brotherhood is secular but the rest seems policy-oriented.

Remember that the Obama Administration earlier said (without being asked) that it would accept the Brotherhood in an Egyptian government if it met two very vague conditions--rejecting violence and supported democratic goals--which U.S. officials said had already been fulfilled. Since everyone seems to think that the Brotherhood has somehow already rejected violence (it hasn't, it just doesn't use violence within Egypt and thinks that terrorism abroad is just dandy), this shouldn't be much of a barrier.Policy often reasons backward. Since the Obama Administration has accepted a Brotherhood role in government, it cannot say that the Brotherhood is radical Islamist, pro-terrorist, antisemitic, seeks to wipe Israel off the map, and will do everything it can to help Hamas. Because if the U.S. government does say such things the next question from a member of Congress or the media would be: then how could you possibly accept its role in Egypt's government and seek a dialogue with such a group?

So the policy must make the analysis stupid. Of course, this is a major mistake by the Obama Administration. It has painted itself into a corner in which it cannot say anything bad about the Brotherhood or try to urge (or even help) the Egyptian military to keep the Brotherhood out of power. It and the supportive media also thus need to suppress quoting what the Brotherhood says in Arabic about such things.

In short, the U.S. government has paralyzed itself from doing anything to combat or even publicize the greatest threat to democracy and stability in Egypt. Or, to put it another way, U.S policy scored an "own goal" and thinks it won the game.

Note: "own goal" is a football (soccer) term for when a team accidentally kicks the ball into its own net, thus giving a point to the other team. The closest American football equivalent would be a safety, though in this case it is a reduction of safety for everyone in America and everyone in the Middle East.

The truth must be spoken...

Nurit Greenger / February 27, 2011

In the conflict the Arab world has with Israel, one side – the Arab side – wants the other side – Israel – dead! If they did not, there will be peace!

Remember this: there has never been, never in the history of the world, a state in that area, in what is known and is geographically called Palestine, that was not Jewish. Modern Israel is the third (3rd) autonomist Jewish state to exist in that area. There was never an autonomist Arab state there, there was never an autonomist Moslem state there, there was never an autonomist any other People state there.

History, archaeology, comparative religion 101, all prove this is the Jewish Nation's land; unfortunately, no one wants to hear it. Regrettably, when exposing the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)/Palestinian Authority (PA)/their political party Fatah/Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies' Islamic ideology, curriculum, political/media rhetoric, which is our #1 job, it falls on deaf ears.

No one is willing to listen to the Jewish People side of the story...

The successful myth, the Arabs, who adopted the baseless name "Palestinians", created about who they are – their invented name and history - their claim to the land and the land's history is one of the greatest con games ever perpetrated. So successful this myth is that when people say "Israel commits genocide" it is incontestably believed, even though, since 1967, the Arab-aka "Palestinian" population has increased approximately 250%. If we do not tie the pretending to be moderates PA/Fatah ideology to Hamas/Hezbollah/Muslim Brotherhood/al Qaeda and point out that they all have the same goal and want the very same, only their tactics differ, we can not only forget about having a Jewish State, we should consider ourselves all dead.

Like in the USA, the citizens of Israel need to have a "Tea Party" (TRUTH NOW-NANA TEA PARTY of ISRAEL) to demand of the Israeli government to redirect its governing policy or else. Israel needs to end the "peace" talks fiasco. Only if and when the PLO/PA/Fatah/ Mahmoud Abbas do a 180 degrees change in their behaviour, then and only then, talks and negotiations will take place. We do not want to hear empty words saying, "we will recognize Israel". That has no meaning in the Moslem culture where lies and deception (Taqiyya) is ideologically and religiously justified, even hailed.

The change Israel wants to see is the one that must permeate the entire PalArabs' society. An entire generation of PalArabs-"Palestinians" must grow up with the know and believe in the ideology that "all men and women are created equal irrespective of religion". All the PalArabs must know and believe that Jews are not the descendants of pigs and apes, thus must be destroyed. That Israel has been the home of the Jewish people only, and Jerusalem its capitol for 3000 years, 2000 years BEFORE the advent of Islam. Also that Jerusalem has never, EVER been the capital of ANY Arab state, of any state, but of the three Jewish autonomies that existed on the land. Note: it is too bad that not only non-Jews, but too many Jews don't know this part of Jewish history.

The message to the ambiguous Israel's leadership and the rest of the biased West is, if and when the PalArabs get their values and their history straight, we can "talk". Each and every one of the Western leaders has a growing "Muslim problem" at home. Why? Because of the Islamic supremacy ideology, the exact same ideology that drives and guides the PalArabs-"Palestinians", including the fake "moderates" PA/Farah/Abbas.

Israel took a huge risk in appeasing the PalArabs-"Palestinians", its results has proven to be a total loss for Israel; continuing this appeasement policy equals to the destruction of Israel.

The question is: Why can't a tiny state, the size of El-Salvador or New Jersey, that calls itself Israel be allowed to exist?

Remember, if you support the PalArab cause you support the demise of Israel and Jews!

Terror Attacks Near the Gaza Strip Security Fence, 2009-2010

IDF Blog

The following graphs illustrate the number and type of some of the terror activity occurring near the Gaza Strip security fence by month, for the years 2009 and 2010.
To view all graphs click here

Between 2009 to 2010, the number of terror attacks near the Gaza security fence has dropped by approximately 27%. The Gaza Strip security fence has been a source and site for various terror attacks launched by the Hamas terror organization as well as other smaller militant groups. The IDF holds Hamas as responsible for all terror attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip.

The attacks target both IDF soldiers (planting explosive devices, anti-tank missiles, shooting towards IDF forces) and civilians residing inside Israeli territory (firing rockets and missiles).

Examples of terror activities near the security fence:

* 13.04.09 – In the morning hours, an unmanned fishing boat exploded near an IDF Navy boat which was engaged in routine activity in the area. No casualties or damage were caused.
* 08.06.09 – IDF forces thwarted an attempted attack under the cover of fog. Ten terrorists riding horses and booby-trapped trucks approached the fence. IDF forces spotted the group and commenced to fire at them. A later scan of the area revealed approximately 40 planted land mines and IEDs.
* 01.02.10 – Civilians at the beach of Ashkelon recognized a suspicious object which was later determined to be an explosive device. At the same day, barrels loaded with explosives were found at the Ashdod beach. The barrels were detonated in a controlled manner.
* 25.05.10 – A farming cart loaded with explosives was sent towards Israeli territory by a Palestinian child wearing civilian clothes. The cart exploded near the fence in the northern Gaza Strip.
* 28.06.10 – During a seemingly non-violent civilian protest, an explosive device was planted near the security fence by two of the protesters.
* 19.01.11 – Shots were fired at an IDF force from a farmer’s cart near the security fence. No casualties or damage were caused.

In March 2010, one IDF soldier and one IDF officer were killed in an exchange of fire with terrorists placing explosives along the Southern Gaza Strip security fence.

The most recent attempt to plant an IED was detonated at IDF soldiers and was followed by the firing of a mortar shell at the force, resulting in no injuries. Two mortar shells were additionally fired at Israeli territory. The IDF force returned fire, resulting in a direct hit.

For a detailed breakdown of rockets and mortars which have landed into Israel, please see our Rocket Attacks page under ‘Facts and Figures’.

WESTERN FRONT: No Settlement

Daniel Greenfield


During a week in which half the Middle-East was in flames, the diplomatic chatter over a UN condemnation of Israel's so-called "settlements" showed just how irrelevant Western diplomacy is to the real issues in the region. The riots in Bahrain, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Iran were not about a few Jewish villages on one side of a line on a map that has been redrawn half a dozen times in the 20th century. The trouble with the Muslim world does not lie in the vineyards of the Judean Hills, the glass factories of Ariel, the academies of the revived Maccabean town of Modi'in Illit, the solar panel plants of Nazareth Illit, the dairies of Carmel or the fruit orchards of Gush Etzion.

Ever since ten Arab nations lost a war to Israel over six days in the spring of 1967, too many diplomats have acted as if it were its

"Barking about the Jews of Judea and Samaria requires no courage, standing up to the Muslims of Birmingham, Goutte-d'Or or Essen does."

responsibility to fix the Muslim world. In 1973, Israel was set up to lose a war in order to bolster Muslim self-esteem. But Israel still won and while its people buried more of their dead this time around, Muslim self-esteem did not noticeably improve. In the early 90's, Israel was pressured into providing an autonomous territory for Islamo-Marxist thugs who had been trained and equipped by its neighbors to carry out terrorist attacks on its citizens. And year after year, for almost two decades, Israel has been held responsible for all the problems in the region because it has been unable to achieve a lasting peace with the terrorists. Only a few weeks before the rioting started, American diplomats and journalists were being told by Arab leaders that a solution to the Palestinian problem would stabilize the region. It would be interesting to go out into the streets of Cairo, Manama, Tripoli and Tunis to find out how many of the rioters would be willing to go home if there were a Palestinian state tomorrow. The answer would be none. Palestine has never been anything but a myth used as a channel for Muslim anger. Like Al-Andalus or the Mu-Pan-Li myth, (which Muslims use to claim that they were the first discoverers of America), Palestine feeds the Muslim ego and its sense of victimization. And like all xenophobic myths, its emotional teeth cannot be pulled by any amount of appeasement or concessions.

The reason Western intelligence didn't see this coming, and Israeli intelligence did, is that the West was successfully gulled and deceived by Arab leaders who insisted that the only real source of regional instability was Israel. And now even when half a dozen cities are burning, Western diplomats wrangle over a few Israeli towns and villages as if they were the real threat to peace. European leaders like Sarkozy, Merkel and Cameron may be proclaiming the failure of multiculturalism, but they are still unable to stop pandering to it.

When New Zealand's Clarke government wanted to sell some sheep to the Muslim world, Wikileaks reveals that it staged a crisis with Israel. Such second-hand bigotry has since become commonplace as nations already drowning in violent Muslim immigrants, queue up to inveigh against the peach tree orchards, olive groves and wineries of Israel's native inhabitants.

But European leaders aren't selling sheep to the Saudis, they are selling themselves. The ancient cities of Europe have their own settlement problems. And it is not too difficult to foresee an age when London, Paris, Berlin and Rome are as Muslim as the former Constantinople.

Ceding towns and cities to Islam has not worked out for Israel or for Europe. And while many Americans may not be aware of the Little Mogadishus and the Dearbornistans in their own country, the fruited plain and purple mountain majesties set from sea to shining sea, are bringing forth mosques and terrorists out of the ground like thorns. The secular republicanism of France has faltered in the face of millions of angry Algerians and Moroccans. And Albion's bid for a multicultural New Britain has been overwhelmed by Pakistanis and Egyptians. Germany grits its teeth at the Turks and it is not the cold that sends shivers up Sweden's spine.

Israel is a convenient whipping boy for European leaders who know this can't go on, but also believe that it must. Their assents to denunciations of Israel by such solid UN citizens as Libya, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are acts of moral cowardice by men and women who would rather collaborate than lead. It is easier to condemn the settlements of Israel, than the settlements of Europe. Barking about the Jews of Judea and Samaria requires no courage, standing up to the Muslims of Birmingham, Goutte-d'Or or Essen does. Jews may write angry letters to newspapers, but Muslims lop off the heads of newspaper cartoonists.

And what goes for the millions of Muslims scattered across Europe, goes double for the billion or so Muslims of the globe. Western leaders have no clue what to do about the rush of events in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. But they still know how to push the automatic 'condemn' button when it comes to Israel. These events have shown the impotence of the post-colonial Western order when it comes to dealing with the Muslim world. And faced with that impotence, the gaggle of politicians, diplomats, foreign policy
Abbas' stock is that of a telegraph company after the invention of the telephone.
experts and journalists who in a space of a month have proven that they know less about the region than any child, revert to the known. To the proven and failed methods that are safe, because they are useless.

As the Camp David accords, the original treaty that paved the way for all the others, is being disowned by Egypt's liberals, the push for a settlement goes on. A settlement with Mahmoud Abbas, who refuses to stand for elections, gets most of his money from America and is about as popular as Mubarak was in Egypt. That Abbas looks exactly like all the tyrants who are being overthrown across the region has yet to come up, because it's another of those inconvenient observations. The last time Condoleezza Rice pushed for democracy, Abbas nearly lost his head to Hamas. No one will be making that mistake this time. Instead Israel is expected to turn over half its capital and large portions of its country to a flimsy dictator who remains in power only by the grace of American assault rifles and an Israeli blockade of Gaza.

With the Egyptian peace treaty going down in flames, Israeli leaders would have to be out of their minds to stake half their country on a deal with Abbas, an unpopular terrorist group's office boy. Signing an agreement with an Arab leader is like buying stock in a bankrupt company. And Abbas' stock is that of a telegraph company after the invention of the telephone. The only thing left to do is lay down the law, but a leader with the brass to do that is as hard to find in Israel, as in Europe. They exist, but are invariably treated as dangerous warmongering pariahs on every continent, when the real dangerous warmongers can be found shouting the Koran from the floor of every mosque.

For America and Europe, the settlement comes down to the settlements. A term that has been defined so far down that Jerusalem, one of the oldest cities on earth, is now being called a settlement. Turn them over to the terrorists and there will be peace, the diplomats and the pundits pant. But is there actually a way to settle this?

Israel could sign yet another agreement with the terrorists. But which terrorists. Like a Sheikh in a preschool, there are too many to choose from. There is Abbas, who might be willing to negotiate and sign an agreement, but won't abide by it. Then there's Hamas, who run Gaza and will eventually run the rest of the Palestinian Authority, but the only agreement they're willing to sign is a temporary truce. Islamic Jihad won't even go that far. Jaysh al-Islam, the Al Qaeda affiliate in Israel, has condemned Hamas as a bunch of Zionists for offering a temporary truce. Instead it's bombing coffee shops in Hamas run Gaza, because all the other terrorist groups have cornered the local market on everything else.

The pundits assured us a month ago that if Israel signs a deal with Abbas, it will stabilize the region. Now that the region is burning, they tell us that if Israel doesn't sign a deal with Abbas, he will be overthrown by Hamas. And then if Israel doesn't sign a deal with Hamas, it will be overthrown by Al-Qaeda, and then if Israel doesn't sign a deal with Al-Qaeda-- that is proof positive that Israel doesn't want peace. Somehow the burden is never on the alphabet soup of Muslim terrorist groups to reach an agreement, but on the civilized nations who must somehow find a way to accommodate them-- instead of shipping the whole bunch back to
The Arab Street is angry, but it was angry even before it had actual streets.
Egypt, Jordan and Syria marked, 'Return to Sender'.

Israel can dig up Hitler's corpse, wrap a turban around his skull and sign an agreement with him, and it still won't make a bit of difference. Land for peace is as dead as Goebbels and twice as useful. So is blaming Israel for the New Brownshirts and Blackbeards striding around Berlin, London and Paris as if they own the place. Bashing the Jewish state may sell sheep to the Saudis, but it won't make the 16 million Muslims of Europe sit up and Baa. Instead the Muslims are the ones holding the shears.

The Muslim world's problem is not in the vineyards of the Judean Hillside, but in the demons fluttering around their own skulls. The Arab Street is angry, but it was angry even before it had actual streets. Perpetual anger is not righteous, it's just plain mental. People who are angry all the time are not in the right, they are out of their minds. For too long the Arab Muslim world has solved all of its problems by blaming them on someone else. This hasn't resolved a single problem, but it has led to most of the wars fought over the last 50 years.

Now quite a few of them have decided to pile together all their social dysfunction and cultural malaise into one heap and call it a Caliphate. Women will know their place, so will Jews and Christians and anyone else who doesn't bow on his knees to heaven five times a day. That will fix the Muslim world, about as well as Nazism fixed Germany and Communism fixed Russia, but as usual it will get a lot of people killed.

It already has, from Russia to Israel to America to Afghanistan to Iraq, to less likely places like Thailand, the Philippines and Nigeria. And it won't stop there. Because for all the talk of settlements, there isn't enough wine in the Judean Hills to put a stop to all this-- even if someone could talk the Muslim world into drinking it.
© Copyright