THE RIGGED GAME..............Caroline Glick
WHERE OBAMA BREAKS WITH JEWISH DEMS
By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN --The New York Post
JEWISH Democrats strongly agree with the Israeli position and dis agree with
President Obama's on issues such as a Palestinian state, settlement
construction and trading land for peace. Does the president realize he's at
risk of a break with an important part of his base?
A phone survey (sponsored by the Traditional Values Coalition and conducted
by Global Marketing Research Services on July 22-24) of 500 American Jews
who self-identified as Democrats exposes broad disagreement with Obama's
Middle East policies.
Asked to choose between the Obama view that "if Israel could settle its
dispute with the Palestinian refugees and give them a nation of their own,
that the Arabs would live in peace with Israel" and the Israeli government
view that "the Arabs will never live in peace with Israel and that giving
them a nation of their own will just make them stronger," Jewish Democrats
sided with the Israeli view by 52 percent to 20 percent.
On the contentious issue of construction in existing West Bank settlements,
Democratic Jews also sided with Israel more than with Obama. The survey
asked for agreement with Obama when he "says that it is very important that
Israel not expand its settlements on the West Bank so as not to alienate the
Palestinians," or with Israel that "it should be allowed to build new homes
in existing settlements but not to start new ones" -- and got 52-37 backing
for the Israeli view.
Democratic Jews still strongly back Obama in general, with 92 percent
reporting that they approve of the job he is doing as president. But 44
percent feel that "Obama is naive in thinking he can make peace with the
Arabs," while only 37 percent disagree.
Nearly half of Jewish Democrats still reject the idea that Obama is biased
against Israel: In all, 49 percent said he wasn't and 16 percent said he
was -- but a significantly large number, 35 percent, said they were
By 58-16, Jewish Democrats agree that "Obama is doing a good job of
promoting peace in the Middle East." But they share Israeli Prime Minister
Netanyahu's skepticism about trading land for peace, the cornerstone of the
"road map" to a settlement laid out in the 1990s.
Only 27 percent feel that "President Obama is right that Israel should agree
to let the Palestinians form their own country and return the West Bank to
them. This would defuse the hatred in the Middle East, reduce terrorism and
help America, the Palestinians, and Israel live in peace."
But 55 percent disagree, preferring the statement: "President Obama is naive
in thinking that the Palestinians would make peace, whatever they say. They
will just use the new land as a base to attack Israel like they did in
On the issue of Iran, Jewish Democrats are confused. While they agree, by
67-8, that "if Iran gets nuclear weapons, it will use them to destroy
Israel," only 14 percent said it was "very likely" that "Israel could be
destroyed by an Iranian nuclear attack in the next 10 years." Another 37
percent called it "somewhat likely" and 40 percent said "unlikely."
Only 40 percent said they thought Obama is doing a good job in his efforts
to "stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons." At the same time, by 15-62,
they disagree that "Israel should bomb Iran to stop them from developing
Yet, only 38 percent felt that there "is a real chance that Iran can be
stopped from developing a bomb without an Israeli attack."
Jewish Democrats heartily approve of Israel and most of its policies and
emphatically reject any moral equivalence between the Jewish state and the
* 92 percent have a favorable opinion of Israel; just 17 percent have a
positive view of the Palestinian refugees.
* By 81-6, they agree that "Israel is a democracy and has a free political
* They agree that "it is very important that Jews have a country of their
own, considering their history of persecution" by 86-7.
* Emphatically, by 9-75, they reject the claim that "Israel has become a
bully, pushing its Arab neighbors around."
* By 14-55, they disagree with the accusation that "the Israeli Army and
Mossad are guilty of human-rights abuses." Rather, they say by 59-14 that
"the Israeli Army and Mossad go out of their way to avoid hurting
* Asked if "Israel is always trying to grab more land and throw out the
Palestinians who live there," Jewish Democrats disagree by 11-73. And they
also disagree with the charge that "Israel is intolerant of its neighbors
and does not do enough to get along with them in peace" by 13-70.
The pro-Israeli mindset of Jewish Democrats is most evident on the basic
question of who's to blame for the Arab-Israeli conflict. By 60-20, they
agree that "if the Arabs lay down their weapons, there would be no more war.
It is just their desire to destroy Israel that creates the conflict."
Likewise, they agree by 83-6 that "if Israel were to lay down its weapons,
the Arabs would destroy it."
The fervency of their support for Israel suggests that Obama may suffer real
political damage among a core Democratic constituency if he continues his
Diplomat Slams Israel for Saying No to America
by Maayana Miskin - Arutz Sheva
Israeli diplomat Nadav Tamir has circulated a letter that harshly criticizes his own government for saying “no” to the United States. The letter, titled “Sad thoughts on Israel-U.S. relations,” accuses Israel's leaders of reducing American support for Israel and harming the American Jewish community.
"The favored Israeli approach is always to say to the Americans 'yes, but... ' over no,'” argued Tamir, who serves as Israel's consul general in Boston.
Tamir called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his ministers to “sacrifice tactical issues for the sake of strategic ties.” As an example, he brought former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's agreement to follow the U.S.-backed Roadmap despite reservations.
U.S. diplomats have since demanded that Israel skip parts of the Roadmap requiring the Palestinian Authority to end anti-Israel incitement and violence, and move straight to final-status negotiations and a complete freeze on Jewish growth in Judea and Samaria.
Tamir blamed a loss of support for Israel among American Jews on Netanyahu's refusal to accept some American demands, such as that for a complete building freeze in Judea and Samaria. “The sense of conflict between the Israeli government and the Obama administration puts the American Jewish community in an extremely problematic place... and this conflict draws many of them away from the state of Israel,” he claimed.
America's determination to bring a solution to Israel-PA conflict will benefit Israel, he claimed. Tamir said he sees “no indication” that Israel's interests are being sacrificed in order to improve U.S. ties with the Muslim world.
Sources in the Prime Minister's office said the letter was an unprofessional attempt to spread Tamir's own political views, and was “not worthy of a response.” Tamir apparently wrote the letter in a deliberate attempt to damage the government's image, they said.
Column One: Israel and the 'realists'
Aug. 6, 2009
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST
Voices in America calling for downgrading US relations with Israel seem to multiply by the day. One of the new voices in the growing anti-Israel chorus is the Atlantic's well-respected military affairs commentator, Robert Kaplan. This week Kaplan authored a column for the magazine's online edition titled "Losing patience with Israel."
There he expressed his support for the US to downgrade its relations with Israel while pressuring Israel to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and to facilitate the establishment of a Judenrein Palestinian state.
Although Kaplan's piece adds nothing new to the current pile-on against Israel, it is a relatively concise summary of the so-called "realist" view of Israel, and for that reason it is worth considering his arguments.
As Kaplan sees things, the US's experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan in the eight years since the September 11 attacks have transformed America's interests and goals in the Middle East. The frustrations in Afghanistan and the combat losses in Iraq have rendered "the search for stability, rather than democracy, paramount, and created a climate in which interests are to be valued far more than friends."
The notion that friends and interests may actually not be in conflict is roundly rejected by Kaplan, particularly in the case of Israel. He gives three reasons why the US's alliance with Israel no longer serves its interests. First, he repeats the familiar "realist" claim that the only way for America to build good relations with the Muslim world is by distancing itself from Israel.
Second, he argues that after September 11, the US was wrong to believe that it shares common interests with Israel. Whereas Israel's interests would be served by preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, in Kaplan's view, the US can afford to look on a nuclear-armed Iran with indifference. On the other hand, an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear installations can place US forces in Iraq at risk. Hence, as far as Kaplan is concerned, American interests are best served by allowing Iran to become a nuclear power and preventing Israel from doing anything to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
The third reason why Kaplan views Israel as a strategic liability to the US in this new era of "realism" is because it is no longer a strong military power. As he put it, Israel's failure to defeat Hizbullah and Hamas in its recent wars in Lebanon and Gaza "reduced its appeal."
LIKE HIS anti-Israel colleagues in Washington, Kaplan claims that his is a "realist" approach to the region. But this is untrue. The realist foreign policy doctrine assumes that all nations' foreign policies reflect their national interests rather than their sentiments. That is, in determining their foreign policies, states are not motivated by their passions, but by rational choice.
Beginning in the first Bush administration, Arabists like former US secretary of state James Baker began co-opting the realist label. In so doing, they sought to obfuscate their sentimental pro-Arab views of Israel behind the veneer of rational choice. Specifically, they popularized the anti-realist notion that due to their emotional rejection of Israel, Arab and Muslim states will not support America unless it puts the screws in Israel.
The realist foreign policy doctrine rejects this notion out of hand. Given its assertion that states base their foreign policies on unsentimental assessments of their national interests, true realists would argue that there is no rational bar to enemy states sharing the same allies if doing so advances their national interests. And they would be correct. Indeed, examples of such behavior abound.
India and Pakistan are enemies and yet they both ardently seek closer ties with the US. So too, China has massively expanded its ties to the US since 1971 despite US sponsorship of Taiwan.
The same is also the case with the Arabs and Israel. Contrary to the Arabists' impassioned claims, the waxing and waning of America's relations with Arab states over the years has borne little to no relation to the state of America's relations with Israel.
The US and the Saudis have been strategic allies for upwards of 70 years. These ties have been based on their mutual interest in the free flow of Saudi oil. US-Saudi ties have been consistently maintained regardless of the vicissitudes of Washington's views of Jerusalem, or even of Washington's views of Saudi Arabia.
In 1972, when president Anwar Sadat kicked the Soviet military out of Egypt and began moving his country toward the US, America was rapidly expanding its strategic ties to Israel. Sadat's decision to switch Cold War camps was a product of his own assessment of Egypt's national interests.
In December 2003, Libya paved the way to renewing its diplomatic relations with the US by agreeing to disarm from its illicit nuclear program. Libya's action came at a time of unprecedentedly warm US-Israel relations. Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi made his move because of the US invasion of Iraq, not because of US ties to Israel.
All of these examples disprove the Arabists' most ardently held conviction. And the fact that this conviction is so easily refuted raises the question of why the belief that the US's alliance with Israel harms its ability to maintain and expand its alliances with Muslim and Arab states holds such currency today. The fact that President Barack Obama and his senior foreign policy advisers are themselves Arabists no doubt is a significant contributing factor to the increased popularity of fake realism. But their hostility toward Israel doesn't explain how Israel's adversaries continue to successfully hide their Arabist ideology behind the "realist" label.
THE SAD truth is that for the past 16 years, the greatest champion of the view that Israel is a strategic liability rather than a strategic asset for the US, and that the US gains more from a weak Israel than a strong Israel, has been Israel itself. Successive governments in Jerusalem, from the Rabin-Peres government to the Barak, Sharon and Olmert governments, all embraced the Arabist view that regional stability and hence Israeli security is enhanced by a weakened Israel.
Ehud Olmert's much-derided 2005 assertion that "we are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies," was simply a whiny affirmation of Israel's leaders' embrace of the Arabist worldview.
Kaplan cited Israel's incompetent handling of the war with Hizbullah in 2006 and its bungling of the campaign against Hamas in Gaza this past December and January as proof of the Arabist claim that it is a strategic burden.
What he failed to recognize was that the Olmert government made a clear decision not to win those wars. Doing so would have exposed as folly the government's central assertion that Israel is better off being weak than strong. In light of this, it is obvious that the Arabist desire to see Israel weakened is not supported by Israel's performance in Lebanon and Gaza. Israel's performance in Lebanon and Gaza was a consequence of its leaders' adoption of the Arabist worldview. Had they rejected it, the results of those wars would likely have been much different.
So too, Israel's leaders' adoption of the Arabist view caused the Rabin-Peres government to empower and legitimize terrorists from Fatah and the PLO in the 1993 Oslo Accord. It similarly convinced the Barak government to surrender south Lebanon to Hizbullah in 2000, and it persuaded the Sharon government to surrender Gaza to Hamas in 2005.
In each case, buying into the Arabist view that stability is enhanced through Israeli weakness rather than strength, Israel exacerbated regional instability and imperiled its own citizens by empowering its enemies at its own expense. Most devastatingly, the Sharon and Olmert governments imperiled Israel's very survival by deciding from 2003 through 2008 to trust the US, Europe and the UN to prevent Iran from acquiring the means to destroy the Jewish state.
TODAY, WITH Iran on the cusp of a nuclear arsenal, Fatah openly calling for a renewal of the Palestinian jihad against Israel, Hizbullah pointing its expanded missile arsenal at Tel Aviv and Dimona, and the Obama administration, with the help of an ever-expanding chorus of foreign policy "realists," advocating full-blown appeasement of both Iran and the Palestinians at Israel's expense, it is clear that the time has come for Israel to end the Arabist charade. The time has come for Israel to stop being an engine of its own demise.
The Netanyahu government has a clear choice before it. On the one hand, it has Defense Minister Ehud Barak calling for business as usual. This week Barak recommended that Israel preemptively surrender to the Obama administration and accept its demand that Israel capitulate to Fatah. On the other hand, Ministers Yuli Edelstein and Yisrael Katz pointed out that at its leadership conclave in Bethlehem, Fatah exposed itself as an implacable enemy of Israel. Both Edelstein and Katz demanded that the government stop pretending Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is a moderate who is interested in peace and expose him for the fraud that he is.
Edelstein and Katz are right. It is vital for Israel to stop catering its foreign policy rhetoric to the preferences of its Arabist camp. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu must courageously acknowledge that Fatah remains a terrorist organization dedicated to Israel's violent demise.
But more important than harsh words about Fatah are actions against Iran. With a growing international consensus that Teheran has passed the point of no return on its nuclear program and will produce nuclear bombs in the next six to 12 months if left to its own devices, it is clear that as far as Iran is concerned, words are of no value today. Only actions count.
Israel's willingness and capacity to effectively strike Iran's nuclear installations will be the ultimate proof that Arabists like Kaplan are wrong to castigate Israel as a strategic burden. By freeing itself, the region and the world from the threat of a nuclear armed Iran, Israel will strike a blow not only at Iran's ability to wipe it off the map, but at the threefold contentions of the false realists.
An Israeli strike would prevent a regional nuclear arms race by freeing Arab states of the need to develop their own nuclear arsenals and so prove that a strong Israel enhances regional stability. An Israeli strike will rebuild Israel's eroded deterrent posture and put paid to the notion that Israel is no longer a military power to be reckoned with. And the destruction of Iran's nuclear capacity will weaken its military posture throughout the region and so weaken its terror proxies from Iraq to Lebanon to Gaza to Afghanistan.
In short, a successful Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear installations will demonstrate to real rather than fake realists that a strong Israel is indispensable to regional stability and international security.
In 1995, Kaplan published a critical book about the Arabist elite at the State Department in which he condemned their simplistic foreign policy outlook. No doubt an Israeli body-blow to the Arabist worldview will compel Kaplan and other new members of the anti-Israel camp to reconsider their views.
BERNARD J. SHAPIRO TO SPEAK ON ISRAEL'S FUTURE SECURITY AND SURVIVAL
by Erin O'Reilly
Bernard J. Shapiro
Lecture to be held on Labor Day evening,
Monday, September 7th at 7:30 pm --
Marriot Westchase Hotel, Houston
2900 Briarpark Drive (1 mile West of the Beltway)
Mr. Shapiro is Chairman of the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies,
Shapiro is also the editor of The Maccabean Online,
an internet magazine which reaches tens of thousands around the world,
the Freemanlist, an email broadcast service, and the Freeman Blog. He
has been a student, lecturer, writer, and advocate for Israel for over
It will be a great honor to hear Mr. Shapiro speak to us about Israel,
providing an invaluable analysis during these critical times. He will
present perspectives on his areas of specialty: relevant military,
strategic, and political matters. He will discuss various aspects of
Israel's security, foreign and economic policies, and Israel's
relationship with America and President Obama. Essential to Israel's
survival, Shapiro feels, is the preservation of its present secure
borders including Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights. He will
portray Israel in the proper context of its 3,500 year history and its
unique Jewish religion.
"The primary purpose of the Freeman Center is to improve Israel's
ability to survive in a hostile world. This will be accomplished
through research into the military and strategic issues related to the
Arab-Israeli conflict and Islamic terrorism and the dissemination of
that information to the Jewish and non-Jewish community. Essential to
Israel's survival, we feel, is the preservation of its present secure
borders including Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and the Golan Heights. We will
be strong allies of America in our common War against International
Islamic terrorism. We will seek to improve Israel's image in this
country as well as counteract Arab propaganda in the community and on
college campuses. In pursuit of these goals we intend to maximize
solidarity with Israel among both the Jewish and non-Jewish community
and combat media bias. We will also work to strengthen Jewish
communities in the Diaspora and help ensure their survival."
The discussion is relevant to everyone, not just those of Jewish
background. Israel's status impacts the world and concerns people of
all faiths. In fact, the Freeman Center has established a relationship
with both the Christian Zionist, Hindu, and black communities, and was
the first Jewish organization in Houston to do so.
The views of the Freeman Center may not be popular, having been
shunned by many in the organized Jewish community. And you may not
agree with what Mr. Shapiro has to say, but whether you agree with him
or not, it is still important for Houstonians to hear him speak. The
Harsh Reality of his message has repeatedly proven correct.
The Freeman Center has issued many accurate statements and predictions
over time, often a lone and courageous voice amid a clamor of
political correctness. In 1993, it was the only Jewish organization in
Houston to express dissent to the Oslo agreement, issuing a press
release on September 2 exposing it as a hoax which would not bring
peace. It opposed the expulsion of Jews from Gaza and exposed the
plots of the Labor Party (now Kadima) for the division of Jerusalem.
The Freeman Center warned the Jewish community and the nation about
Obama's Islamic, anti-Semitic, and radical extreme leftist connections.
The Freeman Center works to combat and counteract Arab propaganda,
which is full of slanders and libels, and the media bias against
Israel. These and the rewriting of history are all working to the same
end: to make Israel appear illegitimate. Israel is the only country
considered by many to be guilty of original sin by virtue of its very
existence. This process of de-legitimation has as its goal creating a
world climate in which the destruction of Israel is acceptable. Many
in the Jewish community are either apathetic or fail to recognize this
This may be Mr. Shapiro's last public lecture, as he is suffering from
renal and cardiac problems. Shapiro has a proven record in the past on
analyzing events in the Middle East. Houstonians now have an
opportunity to hear his expert analysis on Israel's future struggle
for security and survival.
The lecture will be held on Labor Day evening, Monday, September 7th,
at 7:30pm at the Marriot Westchase Hotel (Houston), 2900 Briarpark
Drive (one mile west of the Beltway).
Seating is limited. Please come early.
For more information, see ads in the Jewish Herald-Voice (Houston) on
August 27th and September 3rd.
Bernard J. Shapiro was born in Houston, Texas and received his higher
education at the University of California at Berkeley, where he
received degrees in both Political Science and in Communication and
Public Policy. Shapiro lived in Israel for several years following
graduation and has traveled there dozens of times to remain abreast of
current developments. He wrote the NEWS, VIEW, & REVIEWS column in the
Jewish Herald-Voice from 1990-1995.
"I founded the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies in order to create
a powerful voice to arouse the Jewish and non-Jewish community to the
action necessary to frustrate the evil designs of the enemies of
Israel. I need your help to accomplish this mission." ....Bernard J.
Erin O'Reilly is a freelance writer. She is presently employed as an
associate editor at The Freeman Center and is working on The Collected
Works of Bernard Shapiro (1996 - 2009).
Column One: Netanyahu's perilous statecraft
Aug. 20, 2009
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST
This week we discovered that we have been deceived. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's principled rejection of US President Barack Obama's bigoted demand that Israel bar Jews from building new homes and expanding existing ones in Judea and Samaria does not reflect his actual policy.
Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias let the cat out of the bag.
Attias said that the government has been barring Jews from building in the areas since it took office four months ago, in the hopes that by preemptively capitulating to US demands, the US will treat Israel better.
And that's not all. Today Netanyahu is reportedly working in earnest to reach a deal with the Obama administration that would formalize the government's effective construction ban through 2010. Netanyahu is set to finalize such a deal at his meeting with Obama's Middle East envoy George Mitchell in London on Wednesday.
Unfortunately, far from treating Israel better as a result of Netanyahu's willingness to capitulate on the fundamental right of Jews to live and build homes in the land of Israel, the Obama administration is planning to pocket Israel's concession and then up the ante. Administration officials have stated that their next move will be to set a date for a new international Middle East peace conference that Obama will chair. There, Israel will be isolated and relentlessly attacked as the US, the Arabs, the Europeans, the UN and the Russians all gang up on our representatives and demand that Israel accept the so-called "Arab peace plan."
That deceptively named plan, which Obama has all but adopted as his own, involves Israel committing national suicide in exchange for nothing. The Arab plan - formerly the "Saudi Plan," and before that, the Tom Friedman "stick it to Israel 'peace' plan" - calls for Israel to retreat to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines and expel hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. It also involves Israel agreeing to cease being a Jewish state by accepting millions of foreign, hostile Arabs as citizens within its truncated borders.
The day an Israeli government accepts the plan - which again will form the basis of the Obama "peace conference" - is the day that the State of Israel signs its own death warrant.
Then there is the other Obama plan in the works. Obama also intends to host an international summit on nuclear security in March 2010. Arab states are already pushing for Israel's nuclear program to be placed on the agenda.
Together with Obama administration officials' calls for Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - which would compel Israel to relinquish its purported nuclear arsenal - and their stated interest in having Israel sign the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty - which would arguably force Israel to allow international inspections of its nuclear facility in Dimona - Obama's planned nuclear conclave will place Israel in an untenable position.
Recognizing the Obama administration's inherent and unprecedented hostility to Israel, Netanyahu sought to deflect its pressure by giving his speech at Bar-Ilan University in June. There he gave his conditional acceptance of Obama's most cherished foreign policy goal - the establishment of a Palestinian state in Israel's heartland.
Netanyahu's conditions - that the Arabs generally and the Palestinians specifically recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state; that they relinquish their demand that Israel accept millions of hostile Arabs as citizens under the so-called "right of return"; that the Palestinian state be a "demilitarized" state; and that Arab states normalize their relations with Israel were supposed to put a monkey wrench in Obama's policy of pressuring Israel.
Since it is obvious that the Arabs do not accept these eminently reasonable conditions, Netanyahu presumed that Obama would be forced to stand down.
What the prime minister failed to take into consideration was the notion that Obama and the Arabs would not act in good faith - that they would pretend to accept at least some of his demands in order to force him to accept all of their's, and so keep US pressure relentlessly focused on Israel.
Unfortunately, this is precisely what has happened.
Ahead of Obama's meeting on Tuesday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Al-Quds al-Arabi reported that Obama has accepted Netanyahu's call for a demilitarized Palestinian state. Although Netanyahu is touting Obama's new position as evidence of his own diplomatic prowess, the fact is that Obama's new position is both disingenuous and meaningless. Obama's supposed support for a demilitarized Palestinian state is mendacious (A LIE) on two counts. First, Palestinian society is already one of the most militarized societies in the world. According to the World Bank, 43 percent of wages paid by the Palestinian Authority go to Palestinian militias. Since Obama has never called for any fundamental reordering of Palestinian society or for a reform of the PA's budgetary priorities, it is obvious that he doesn't have a problem with a militarized Palestinian state.
The second reason his statements in support of a demilitarized Palestinian state are not credible is because one of the central pillars of the Obama administration's Palestinian policy is its involvement in training of the Fatah-led Palestinian army. US Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton is overseeing the training of this army in Jordan and pressuring Israel to expand its deployment in Judea and Samaria.
The US claims that the forces it is training will be responsible for counterterror operations and regular police work, and therefore, it is wrong to say that Dayton is raising a Palestinian army. But even if this is true today, there is no reason not to assume that these forces will form the backbone of a future Palestinian army. After all, the Palestinian militias trained by the CIA in the 1990s were trained in counterterror tactics. This then enabled them to serve as the commanders of the Palestinian terror apparatus from 2000 until 2004, when Israel finally defeated them. It is the uncertainty about these forces that renders Obama's statement meaningless.
And that gets to the heart of the problem with Netanyahu's conditional support for Palestinian statehood. Far from deflecting pressure on Israel to make further concessions, it trapped Israel into a position that serves none of its vital interests.
For Israel to secure its long-term vital national interests vis-a-vis the Palestinians, it doesn't need for the US and the Palestinians to declare they agree to a demilitarized state or for a Palestinian leader to announce that he recognizes Israel's right to exist or even agrees that Israel doesn't have to commit national suicide by accepting millions of Arab immigrants. For Israel to secure its national interests, Palestinian society needs to be fundamentally reorganized.
As we saw at the Fatah conclave in Bethlehem last week, even if Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas were to accept Netanyahu's conditions, he wouldn't be speaking for anyone but himself. Fatah's conclave - like Hamas's terror state in Gaza - gave Israel every reason to believe that the Palestinians will continue their war against Israel after pocketing their state in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. There is no Palestinian leader with any following that accepts Israel. Consequently, negotiating the establishment of a Palestinian state before Palestinian society is fundamentally changed is a recipe for disaster.
Furthermore, even if Netanyahu is right to seek an agreement with Mitchell next week, he showed poor negotiating skill by preemptively freezing Jewish construction. Domestically, Netanyahu has lost credibility now that the public knows that he misled it. And by preemptively capitulating, the prime minister showed Obama that he is not a serious opponent. Why should Obama take Netanyahu's positions seriously if Netanyahu abandons before them before Obama even begins to seriously challenge him?
Beyond the damage Netanyahu's actions have inflicted on his domestic and international credibility is the damage they have caused to Netanyahu's ability to refocus US attention and resolve where it belongs.
As the prime minister has repeatedly stated, the Palestinian issue is a side issue.
The greatest impediment to Middle East peace and the greatest threat to international security today is Iran's nuclear weapons program. A nuclear-armed Iran will all but guarantee that the region will at best be plagued by continuous war, and at worst be destroyed in a nuclear conflagration.
Netanyahu had hoped that his conditional support for Palestinian statehood, and his current willingness to bar Jews from building homes in Judea and Samaria would neutralize US pressure on Israel and facilitate his efforts to convince Obama to recognize and deal rationally with the issue of Iran's nuclear weapons program. But as Ambassador Michael Oren made clear on Sunday, the opposite has occurred.
In an interview with CNN, Oren said that Israel is "far from even contemplating" a military strike against the Islamic republic's nuclear installations. He also said, "The government of Israel has supported President Obama in his approach to Iran, initially the engagement, the outreach to Iran."
From this it appears that Israel has not only made no headway in convincing the administration to take Iran seriously. It appears that Jerusalem has joined the administration in accepting a nuclear-armed Iran.
It is possible that Oren purposely misrepresented Israel's position. But this too would be a disturbing turn of events. Israel gains nothing from lying. Oren's statement neutralizes domestic pressure on the administration to get serious about Iran. And if Israel attacks Iran's nuclear installations in the coming months, Oren's statement will undoubtedly be used by Israel's detractors to attack the government.
Some critics of Netanyahu from the Right like Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman claim that it may well be time to begin bringing down Netanyahu's government. They are wrong. We have been down this road before. In 1992, the Right brought down Yitzhak Shamir's government and brought the Rabin-Peres government to power and Yassir Arafat to the gates of Jerusalem. In 1999, the Right brought down the first Netanyahu government and gave Israel Camp David and the Palestinian terror war.
There is another way. It is being forged by the likes of Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon on the one hand and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on the other.
Ya'alon argues that not capitulating to American pressure is a viable policy option for Israel. There is no reason to reach an agreement with Mitchell on the administration's bigoted demand that Jews not build in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. If the US wants to have a fight with Israel, a fight against American anti-Jewish discrimination is not a bad one for Israel to have.
Ya'alon's argument was borne out by Huckabee's visit this week to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Huckabee's trip showed that the administration is not operating in a policy vacuum. There is plenty of strong American support for an Israeli government that would stand up to the administration on the Palestinian issue and Iran alike.
Netanyahu's policies have taken a wrong turn. But Netanyahu is not Tzipi Livni or Ehud Olmert. He is neither an ideologue nor an opportunist. He understands why what he is doing is wrong. He just needs to be convinced that he has another option.
A TROJAN HORSE
Freeman Center For Strategic Studies
August 26, 2009
"These Arab residents [of the lands of the Mandate of Palestine]
are hardly a minority since they are part of the Arab ummah,
the Arab people, more than 250 million strong, that are determined
to rid the Middle East of a non Muslim nation like Israel,
a kind of Trojan Horse behind Israeli lines to achieve that
which the legendary one achieved."
"The logic and reality of the situation is that the only force
for peace in the Israeli region is the strength of Israel that
discourages Arab adventurism...."
The letters today in the Wall Street Journal (8.26.09) commenting on
Sam Bahour's earlier article (8.26.09) scarcely do justice to the
issues these letters raise.
Bahour had bitterly complained of the maltreatment of the
"Palestinians" under Israel's oppression as the reason why the economy
of the Arabs in the territories of Israel has not prospered. Of
course, as Andrea Levin rightly remarked in her letter today, the
reason for the poor Arab economic performance is hardly Israeli
maltreatment but owes to the consequences of massive Arab aggression
directed against Israel as well as Arab internecine strife -- all
factors ignored by Bahour.
But a supporting view for Bahour was given in the letter by Larry
Pilz. Bahour. Like Bahour, Pilz portrays the situation in Israel as
though it involved an overbearing powerful, selfish, and ruthless
economic power, namely, Israel, crushing the less powerful and
struggling economy of the victims, the "Palestinians."
The WSJ editorial caption for this round of letters, "Both Sides of
the Jordan River Have Room for Humility," would, in even-handed
fashion, place "a pox on both their houses." However, I would suggest
that the WSJ editor too has similar "room for humility" since he
grossly misreads what is happening. He is apparently under the
illusion that economically helping the Arabs of the territories is a
sure road to peace. In fact, it will achieve no such end, any more
than nourishing baby jackals to health and strength will lead to their
refraining from devastating the cows and sheep in the pasture.
Bahour's original article, conjures up images of the German ethnics in
Czechoslovakia in 1939, who bitterly complained of Czech oppression.
This was the pretext, the Trojan Horse, Hitler used to have
Czechoslovakia surrender its strategic territory to Germany as a
"just" settlement of the issue of a "maltreated" German minority.
I once saw an old German propaganda film that depicted pitiful German
ethnic peasants against a dramatic background of a cloud-filled sunset
pleading for the world's help. The film was very effective, but it was
all phony. It stirred the emotions that enabled Hitler with the help
of the bleeding hearts, England and France, to get possession of Czech
territory. Hitler then marched his army over the formidable, blocking
mountain in that piece of geography, rendering Czechoslovakia
defenseless against the Nazi war machine and enabling Hitler to embark
on his conquest of Europe without having to fire a shot. The
parallel's to Israel's situation vis a vis the ethnic Arabs of the
territories starkly resembles that of the unfortunate Czechoslovakia.
The parallels are striking. First, the Arabs of Israel's territories
are not a "people" but residents of the Mandate of Palestine,
residents in the very lands set aside by the nations of the world
through the League of Nations for a Jewish homeland. A large
contingent of these Arab residents had been recent arrivals from
outside lands seeking to take advantage of the new economic
opportunities that Jewish people were making possible. Also, while
smaller in number than the Jews, these Arab residents are hardly a
minority since they are part of the Arab ummah, the Arab people, more
than 250 million strong, that are determined to rid the Middle East of
a non Muslim nation like Israel -- a kind of Trojan Horse behind
Israeli lines to achieve that which the legendary one achieved.
Through the wonders of propaganda -- slander, misrepresentation, and
outright lies -- the real struggle of Israel against the determined
Muslim Arab giant has been disguised to appear as a struggle between
Israel and an Arab minority. However, the full panoply of the Arab war
machine was evident in 1967 when five Arab armies made war against
Israel. At that time, Israel had scored a dramatic victory over these
forces and gained control of lands of the Mandate of Palestine, stolen
by Arab nations in 1948. These lands were also militarily strategic
that, prior to the 1967 war, had served as launching platforms for
What we are witnessing today are Arab machinations to wrest control of
these strategic territories, which otherwise make any of their
military campaigns problematic. What we have been witnessing as "peace
processes" are the means the Arabs are using to gain control over
these territories and have nothing to do with peace, unless Israel's
destruction is considered tantamount to achieving peace in the region.
The Arabs have succeeded in winning world support for a gambit in
which they regain strategic territories under the name of peace
making. But we have recently witnessed the fruits of this deceptive
process when Israel turned over the Gaza strip to Arab control,
ethnically cleansing her own Jewish people from their homes and
properties. The area promptly became a military base, free of Israeli
restrictions on receiving weaponry from the Muslim world. The
continuing rain of deadly rockets on Israeli cities is Israel's reward
for failing to recognize that goal of the Arabs is Israel's
destruction, not peace, and that this goal is not limited to Hamas but
one that unites all Arab factions however they may differ in detail.
The so-called "two-state solution" is not at all a solution. Note that
the Arabs refuse to recognize a Jewish Israel. They have retrojected a
false history of the Arab residents as the original indigenous
population of the lands of Israel with exclusive claims to historic
Jerusalem and all historic Jewish sites to deny Israel of her historic
claims, hardly a conciliatory outlook. Note, also, the Arabs insist on
bringing in millions of Arabs, descendants of Arabs that had left
Israel years before, considering them as "refugees" and the true
owners of Israel's lands. These would overwhelm Israel's population
and destroy Jewish Israel.
If that is not all, Arab children are taught hatred of Jews and Israel
in Arab schools and are today one of the most militarized populations
on earth -- hardly peaceful. As had occurred with the lands of Gaza
that Israel stupidly surrendered, given this combustible Arab
community, placing them within a new state will not be a step forward
for living in peace with Israel but, rather, like the Gaza example, a
crucial strategic step in menacing Israel and eventually removing
Israel from the Middle East.
As occurred with Czechoslovakia, where the motivation of other nations
was to appease a feared and dangerous Nazi dictator, the safety,
security, and the rights of the Czechs were sold out under the
pretext of high-sounding, questionable diplomatic principles, the same
motivation of appeasing a feared, powerful Arab world is at work in
applying today's series of questionable and falsified diplomatic
principles in getting Israel to embrace conditions in which she loses
control of her own territory and defense. The reality is that the
Arabs do not have a willing peace to offer Israel and will use their
strength gained from the eastern strategic territory and from sucking
up the wealth of Israel to achieve the Arab goal that has not been
abandoned since 1948, Israel's destruction.
What, then, for the Arabs of Israel's territories? Will failure to
achieve a new Arab state condemn the region to war? From the
foregoing, clearly, fashioning such a state which is sure to be
irredentist, is not a road to peace. Other avenues to attain that
peace ought to be pursued, avenues that break out of myths of historic
Arab claims and from rigid theories of self-determination that bitter
experience has shown are of limited and questionable value and do not
require the only democracy in the Middle East to immolate herself.
I am disappointed that WSJ -- even in this limited way suggested by
the editor's caption -- joins in support of the Muslim propaganda war
that is ultimately directed against the existence of Israel. The logic
and reality of the situation is that the only force for peace in the
Israeli region is the strength of Israel that discourages Arab
adventurism. The West should think twice before supporting policies
that remove Israel's more reliable deterrence to war -- as occurred in
Gaza -- and end up losing a valuable Western ally in the region, an
ally that is sure to come in handy one day, if not already.
David Basch is an architect and city planner in New York as well as the Freeman Center's political philosopher. Basch is also an expert on Shakespeare and the author of the book, The Hidden Shakespeare, which proves through talmudic and other Jewish sources that Shakespeare was in fact Jewish.
Column One: The rigged game
Aug. 27, 2009
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST
On Tuesday the Guardian reported that the Obama administration is now making Israel an offer it can't refuse: In exchange for a government order to freeze construction for Jews in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, the administration will adopt a "much tougher line with Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons program."
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu prior to their meeting in Berlin, Thursday.
Israel should refuse this offer.
What the Guardian account shows is an Obama administration looking to blame Israel for the failure of its policy of attempting to appease the likes of Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Come September, US President Barack Obama is going to have a difficult time of it. He set a September deadline for his strategy of diplomatically courting the mullahs. This policy involves deferring further sanctions against Teheran and all but openly renouncing the option of using military force to destroy Iran's nuclear installations while waiting politely for the mullahs to sit down for tea with US officials.
Far from accepting Obama's offer, the Iranians have spit on it. Indeed, they have been too busy brutalizing their own people and building bombs and missiles to even respond to him directly. Instead, they have signaled their contempt for Obama by promoting known arch-terrorists to high office. For instance, Ahmadinejad just appointed Ahmad Vahidi, the suspected mastermind of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia where 19 US servicemen and women were murdered to serve as defense minister.
In support of Obama's appeasement efforts, both the House and the Senate Foreign Relations committees set aside veto-proof bills that would place sanctions on companies exporting refined fuel to Iran. But Congress, now on summer recess, reconvenes in September and members are anxiously awaiting a green light from the White House to put the bills before a vote.
So unless something saves him, Obama will look like quite a fool next month. His appeasement policy has given the mullahs eight precious months of unimpeded work at their nuclear installations. Their uranium enrichment facility at Natanz is now operating some 5,000 centrifuges, with another 2,400 centrifuges about to go on line. That is an eightfold increase in centrifuge activity from a year ago.
Obama now turns to Israel to avoid embarrassment. If he can convince Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the White House will only get serious about Iran's nuclear weapons program if Netanyahu freezes Jewish building in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, then Obama can present his sudden willingness to sign on to veto-proof congressional sanctions legislation not as a consequence of his own failure, but as a result of Israeli pressure.
If Obama succeeds in getting Netanyahu on board, the American media discussion of sanctions will focus on the issue of Israeli power over US policy. The so-called Israel lobby will be pummeled as pundits argue about whether Obama was right or wrong to succumb to Israeli pressure to support congressional sanctions. No one will remember that Obama was forced to support the sanctions because he had no other choice, since next month his engagement policy will become indefensible.
On the other hand, if Israel refuses to play ball and doesn't provide Obama with a concession which he will be "forced" to pay for with a harder line on Iran, then he will still have to adopt a harder line. In this case, however, it will be attributed to the failure of his appeasement policy toward Iran rather than to the success of his Middle East diplomacy against Israel.
Obama's apparent interest in setting Israel up as the fall guy for the failure of his engagement policy is the same policy he will doubtless follow if matters continue on course and Teheran acquires nuclear weapons. At that point, Obama can be counted on to claim that it was Israel's recalcitrance in the negotiations with the Palestinians or the Syrians or the Lebanese that forced the mullahs' hands. That is, he will say it is the absence of "progress" in the "peace process" due to whatever imagined Israeli intransigence that made it impossible for the Iranian "moderates" to convince the "hardliners" to give up their nuclear weapons program.
In Obama's defense, it should be noted that at least he worries about being embarrassed by the failure of his Iran policy. He knows that the overwhelming majority of Americans consider Iran to be an enemy of their country. In a poll of US voters taken in May, some 80 percent of Americans claimed that a nuclear-armed Iran would constitute a threat to US national security and 57% said that Israel would be justified in launching a preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear installations.
Things are different on the other side of the Atlantic. Obama's European counterparts do not face a comparable situation. They have no reason to fear being embarrassed when and if Iran emerges as a nuclear power, because their constituents view Israel as threat equal to or greater than Iran.
European politics - particularly as they relate to the Middle East - are not informed by rational interests so much as they are defined by attitude. Facts today mean little in Europe. They are easily crushed under the weight of the fantasies that dominate European political discourse.
The main fantasy governing Europe's attitude toward the Middle East is the belief in Israeli militaristic venality, fundamentalist messianism, and territorial greed. It is this fantasy that protects European leaders from the need to account for their six years of failed appeasement toward Iran, during which Iran has made its swiftest progress toward completing its nuclear weapons program.
It is the predominance of anti-Israel attitudes throughout the continent that enables European leaders to make light of the Iranian nuclear threat even as ever growing swathes of the continent fall within the range of the Islamic republic's ballistic missiles.
A mere glance at the daily Middle East coverage of your standard European newspaper suffices to demonstrate the depths of Europe's obsession with hating Israel. The absence of peace is always Israel's fault. The fact that the Arabs have never accepted Israel's right to exist is either whitewashed or justified. So too, Arab terrorism is explained away while every act - small and large - that in any way asserts Israel's right to defend itself is pounced upon as proof of Israel's criminality and brutality.
Case in point is an interview Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor gave to Der Spiegel's diplomatic correspondent Erich Follath ahead of Netanyahu's visit to Germany this week. The entire interview consisted of interchanges like the following:
Follath: You blame Palestinian intransigence [for the absence of peace]. Western leaders are, of course, demanding that the Arab side compromise on some issues. But they are also putting pressure on Israel to make concessions, as well, especially when it comes to its aggressive settlement policy in the West Bank.
Meridor: There is no such policy.
Follath: You don't regard new settlements in the occupied territories as being a major stumbling block in the peace process?
Meridor: That's exactly why we aren't building new settlements. We haven't approved any.
Follath: You are sidestepping the issue. US President Barack Obama wouldn't urge Israel to stop its settlement policies if he didn't have a reason to do so...
Meridor: What you describe is neither the official policy of Prime Minister Netanyahu nor the official policy of the government."
Follath's questions, and his dogged determination to ignore everything that Meridor said reflect this general European propensity to embrace the fantasy of Israeli criminality over the reality of Israeli willingness to do just about anything for peace.
Israel has for years based its public diplomacy regarding Teheran's nuclear weapons program on successive governments' assessments that given Iran's global reach and the threat it poses to global security, states will be more willing to act to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons than they are to acknowledge Palestinian terrorism which is employed almost exclusively against Israel. What Israeli leaders - including Netanyahu - have failed to recognize is that the antipathy of Europeans toward Israel is so great that they are willing to explain away Iran's nuclear weapons program because it is aimed first of all against Israel.
Case in point is yet another screed by Follath published in Der Spiegel in June. There he characterized Netanyahu and Ahmadinejad as "twins," who are united in their "apocalyptic religious visions."
As Follath sees it, both are equally responsible for the rising likelihood of war between Israel and Iran that is liable to suck in countries around the region and the world. As far as he - and his loyal readers - are concerned, Israel and Iran deserve each other.
Such views inevitably temper any propensity European leaders may have to act against the Islamic republic. This was demonstrated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her appearance with Netanyahu in Berlin on Thursday. Merkel rejected Israel's comparison of Iran's stated aim of destroying Israel to the Shoah, saying, "There is no comparison between the Holocaust and the Iranian nuclear program."
If there is no comparison, then Germany, which she claimed is duty bound to defend Israel due to the Holocaust, has no obligation to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
But if Merkel is wrong, and as a result of the lackadaisical attitude she, her European colleagues, and the Obama administration have adopted, Iran acquires nuclear weapons and as promised, uses them to commit a new genocide of Jewry, she has no reason to worry. The anti-Israel attitude now rampant in Europe will ensure that she will pay no price, and will not even be embarrassed for her failure to heed the warnings.
Case in point is the newest Swedish media blood libel against Israel, and the numerous blood libels - most prominently France 2's Muhammad al-Dura blood libel from September 2000 - that preceded it. Stories like Aftonbladet's fiction of IDF theft of Palestinian organs and France 2's false allegation that the IDF murders Arab children sell newspapers and raise television ratings because the popular animus against Israel is so great that people are willing to buy newspapers and watch television networks that propagate obvious lies that feed this irrational hatred. Indeed, it pays to disseminate such lies.
France 2's Charles Enderlain, the father of the al-Dura lie, just received France's Légion d'honneur from President Nicolas Sarkozy. Then, too, anti-Israel activist Felicia Langer just received Germany's Federal Cross of Honor, and Israel-hater and former Irish president Mary Robinson was just awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The lesson of all of this for Israel is clear. Whether Netanyahu is dealing with Obama or European leaders, the game is rigged against us. Any move that Israel makes toward these leaders will simply facilitate their further castigation of the Jewish state and support their clear intentions to do nothing to prevent Iran from acquiring the means to destroy Israel.
As we have been all too often in our history, today Israel stands alone against our enemies. We can either defeat them, or we can be defeated.
The choice is ours.