COLUMN ONE: NOT A PERSONAL AFFAIR
Even if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not pocket a shekel of the hundreds of thousands of dollars handed over to him in cash by the American tycoon Morris Talansky, the cloud of suspicion hanging over Olmert makes it impossible for him to fulfill the vital duties of his office . He should step down NOW-or be COMPELLED to do so .
I will not mention the names of other public officials who, because of public suspicion of official misdeeds, resigned their offices and did so even though subsequently shown to be entirely innocent .
Official corruption in Israel is the highest or close to the highest among developed countries, at least as reported by more than one international organization dealing with such matters . What is commonly unknown, however, is that corruption in Israel 's government is not simply the consequence of dishonest politicians .
How institutions are designed can facilitate or diminish political corruption . As I have shown many times, Israel's political institutions are most conducive to corruption by the simple fact that members of the Knesset are not individually accountable to the voters in constituency elections-the practice of almost every country classified as a democracy .
However, what is even more fundamental is this: of 89 nations classified as a democracy-and 26 are smaller in size and population than Israel -only four besides Israel makes the entire country a single electoral district . A single nationwide electoral district necessitates Proportional Representation, which multiplies the number of political parties-more so given a low electoral threshold .
In Israel , moreover, no party has ever come close to winning a majority of seats in the Knesset . This necessitates the formation of coalition cabinet governments with 5 or 6 or more RIVAL political parties . This very much conduces to political corruption (in addition to political instability, ineptitude, and national disunity) .
Now let us return to Olmert . How did he become Israel 's prime minister? To begin with, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon campaigned as leader of the Likud Party in the January 2003 election . His party won 38 seats, twice the number of seats won by the Labor Party-something unprecedented in Israeli politics . The paramount issue of that election was Labor's policy of "unilateral disengagement" from Gaza . The parties that campaigned against that policy won 84 seats, which means that Labor's policy was rejected by an overwhelming majority of the voters .
Nevertheless, in December of the same year, Sharon adopted Labor's policy and thereby nullified the January election . However, having lost a referendum of his own Likud Party on the issue of disengagement, he decided - while in office as Likud prime minister - to form a new party, Kadima . Ever hear of such a thing? Ever hear of a party in reputed democracy - a party that had never competed in an election - taking control of the government? Does this strike you as democratic? Ask the people in Sderot, the victims of Sharon 's betrayal of the voters in the January 2003 election . But we still have to get to Olmert .
In January 2006, Sharon was incapacitate by a stroke and Olmert who, was somewhere around 23rd (!!!) on the Likud Party list, became acting prime minister . The subsequent March Knesset election, in which Kadima won a mere 29 seats, made Olmert prime minister . That's it folks .
I could say much more about Israel 's corrupt system of government, especially about how it maximizes the influence of foreign governments and foreign paymasters . Enough .
But don't think that by getting rid of Olmert you will get rid of the corruption spawned and magnified by Israel 's sick and sickening system of government .
Fundamentally Freund: The real 'delusional fantasists'
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a slight problem on our hands. This coming Sunday night marks the start of Yom Yerushalayim, the annual celebration of Jerusalem's liberation during the heroic 1967 Six-Day War.
Normally speaking, it is a day filled with cheer. Special prayers are recited in synagogues around the world, marches, ceremonies and commemorations are held, and crowds of visitors flock to the Old City to stroll through its narrow streets, caress the gentle stones of the Western Wall, and savor the holiness in the air.
But here's the glitch: just how exactly are we supposed to rejoice over Jerusalem's reunification this year when the Israeli government is now actively seeking to divide it?
It almost seems like throwing a large wedding anniversary party in the middle of divorce proceedings.
Sure, the negotiations with the Palestinians may or may not be getting anywhere, depending on the latest spin being circulated in the media. And the current governing coalition, along with its policy of concessions, might in any event be gone before we know it.
But all that is beside the point. The very fact that Jerusalem is on the table just 41 years after its miraculous emancipation from the shackles of foreign control cannot help but cast a menacing shadow over the festivities.
And yet, oddly enough, despite the uncertainty hanging over the fate of our capital, I intend to whoop it up and revel fully in the spirit of the day. And you should too.
Here's why: the jig is up for the Left and its supporters.
TRY AS they might to let the air out of the balloons, those in favor of tearing apart Jerusalem cannot, and will not, succeed. They and their ideological fellow-travelers are running out of steam, and they long ago ran out of political vision and courage, so it is only a matter of time before their outmoded policies become a thing of the past.
Point of fact: for the past 15 years, ever since the signing of the Oslo Accords, various Israeli leaders have been coaxing and cajoling, pleading and pressing, and even begging and beseeching the Palestinians to make peace with us. And all they have to show for it is a string of failures and half-a-dozen worthless agreements, topped off by a steady stream of Kassam rockets now raining down on Sderot and the Negev.
And yet, that doesn't seem to stop the proponents of retreat from hurling invective at those of us who refuse to buy into their forlorn worldview.
"Delusional fantasists." That is how Prime Minister Ehud Olmert referred to those who believe in the vision of Greater Israel when he appeared before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.
"Only fantasists," he said, "can believe that in this day and age, and in the current situation, it is still possible to cling to the vision of 'Greater Israel.' " But who is really being delusional here? Is it Israel's Right, which has warned from the start about the dangers of appeasing Palestinian terror, or those who persist in clinging to a false hope of forging an even falser peace?
With all due respect to Mr. Olmert, repeatedly banging one's head against the wall of Palestinian obstructionism in the hopes of making peace, even as more and more blood pours forth with each blow, hardly seems to qualify as rational behavior or intelligent policy-making.
If anyone is delusional, it is those who still think that dividing the land of Israel will appease the Palestinian appetite, and quench their thirst for dismantling the Jewish state once and for all.
Believing in the right of the Jewish people to the entire Land of Israel is neither delusional nor fantasy. It has been the basis of our faith, and the core of our national dream, for the past 2,000 years. It was a Divine promise to our ancestors, and it has propelled our people over the past century to climb out of exile and to continue to strive. And over the past six decades we have seen it begin to come to pass.
Herzl too was mocked in similar terms when he boldly predicted the establishment of a Jewish state. Back in 1897, the great Zionist thinker Ahad Ha'am wrote this about Herzl's vision: "only a fantasy bordering on madness can believe that so soon as the Jewish State is established millions of Jews will flock to it, and the land will afford them adequate sustenance."
GUESS WHAT? It happened. Just look around at what Israel has accomplished in the past 60 years.
So in the spirit of the day, I'm going to keep right on celebrating the return of Jerusalem to Jewish control, confident in the knowledge that those who raise a hand against her will not succeed.
And I take solace from a passage in the Talmud in Tractate Taanit (29a), which is well worth pondering as we mark Yom Yerushalayim. The Talmud there contains a description of how the two Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed, centuries apart, by the Babylonians and then by the Romans.
In both cases, when the attackers entered the Temple grounds, it occurred on a Sunday. Nevertheless, says the Talmud, the Levites on duty were singing the Song of the Day normally recited on Wednesdays.
Rabbi Nachman Kahane points out that Wednesday's song, which is Chapter 94 of the Book of Psalms, begins with the words, "O God of vengeance, Lord, O God of vengeance, appear!"
The Levites, he explains, seeing that the Temple was about to fall into enemy hands, issued a last-minute plea to God to avenge its capture, hence they chose Wednesday's song.
But why specifically Wednesday? Jump ahead nearly 2,000 years to the Six Day War, when Israeli soldiers ascended the Temple Mount and restored it to Jewish control. The day that took place was June 7, 1967 which was, of course, a… Wednesday. And so the historical circle was closed. Go ahead, dismiss it all as a coincidence, if you wish.
But don't go calling it "fantasy." The promise of Greater Israel will yet come true. Just you wait and see.
There is a Greek tragedy unfolding today in the Middle East. In response to past mistakes and as a result of hubristic political calculation, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is setting in motion forces that promise to lead inexorably to grief for his nation. The result could be staticide, the destruction of the Jewish State, with incalculably serious repercussions for the Free World in general and the United States in particular.
In the pursuit of peace with its neighbors, Israel has made one strategic concession after another. In 1979, it surrendered the Sinai to Egypt when Anwar Sadat promised peace and then was murdered for doing so. In 1993, Israel adopted the Oslo accords, legitimating one of its most virulent enemies, the PLO terrorist chief Yasser Arafat, and setting the stage for Palestinian control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Eight years ago this month, Israel unilaterally withdrew from South Lebanon, creating a vacuum promptly filled by Iran’s proxy army there, Hezbollah. Then, in 2005, Israel forcibly removed its citizens living in Gaza and turned the Strip over – temporarily – to Arafat’s right-hand man and successor, Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Space constraints will not permit a full rendering of the costs associated with these serial mistakes. The “peace” with Egypt proved to be a very cold one. In Sadat’s stead, the government of Hosni Mubarak has promoted virulent hatred for Israel among its people and assiduously armed for renewed conflict with the Jewish State. It has also used the Sinai to funnel ever-longer-range missiles and other advanced weapons from Iran to the Gaza Strip – now under the control of another Palestinian terrorist faction, Hamas.
The latter and its friends, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, al Qaeda and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, are now using Gaza as a safe-haven for planning and executing terrorism against Israel. It is a safe bet that Israel’s most important ally, the United States, is being targeted from there, as well.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah has not just taken over South Lebanon – its dominance of which was greatly strengthened when Olmert’s government proved incapable of decisively defeating the forces of this so-called “Army of God” in 2006. In recent days, Hezbollah launched attacks in Beirut that effectively produced a coup d’etat. The hopes for a democratic Lebanon, free of Syrian and Iranian interference, have given way to a dark future for the Lebanese people and their neighbors in Israel, alike.
Tragically, despite this sorry record of retreat followed by intensified danger, Ehud Olmert is making further and even more strategic territorial and political concessions to Israel’s enemies. By so doing, the Israeli prime minister evidently hopes to stave off accountability for these past mistakes. He also appears to be calculating that “peace-making” will spare him prosecution on myriad corruption charges.
Unfortunately, there is now no basis for depicting such a policy as one in which Israel trades “land for peace.” Today, Israel is giving up land for war.
In the illusion that that there is any appreciable difference between Fatah and Hamas, Olmert’s government is trying to turn over nearly all the West Bank and even parts of Jerusalem to Abbas and his faction’s Palestinian police force. A similar illusion is causing the United States to give Fatah’s troops training, intelligence collection equipment and arms. The latter have already used their American-supplied know-how and weapons to kill Israelis.
Olmert is also allowing the Egyptians to broker a cease-fire with Hamas. The result is predictable: Hamas will be legitimated, effectively ending international efforts to relegate it to pariah status and probably producing a unity government whereby the two Palestinian factions join forces once again. The stage will then be set for the ultimate defeat of Fatah by Hamas in the West Bank as well, putting all of Israel within range of its weapons.
These tragic steps are now being compounded by one further, potentially staticidal act: Olmert has just launched negotiations to surrender all of the Golan Heights to Syria.
This concession would place Syrian – and quite possibly Iranian – forces on high ground which, in Israeli hands, has kept the peace for 35 years. If once again at the disposal of Israel’s enemies, these heights will put northern Israel at risk of, at best, harassing fire and, at worst, a new invasion in force.
Moreover, as my esteemed colleague, Caroline Glick, observed in her Jerusalem Post column last week, if Israel can no longer use the Golan to threaten Syria, Damascus and Tehran may feel free to redouble their subversion in Iraq. Iran may even conclude the Golan can allow it to checkmate any lingering Israeli willingness to interfere with the mullahs’ pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Importantly, the Israeli people finally seem to have had enough of false peace processes. Recent polls indicate that two-thirds of Israelis oppose their country’s surrender of the Golan; a majority believe it is motivated by Olmert’s efforts to stave off prosecution. Even the Bush Administration is said to be unhappy about his Golan initiative.
This weekend, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) – universally known as “the Israel lobby” – holds its annual Policy Conference in Washington. The organization exists to support the Israeli government. At this juncture, however, attendees have an opportunity and an obligation to object to that government’s increasingly reckless, and predictably tragic, conduct. After all, friends don’t let friends commit staticide.
The terms “Right” and “Left” have been bandied about ever since the French Revolution. Use of these shibboleths to damn individuals or groups or to avoid dealing with the merits of an issue is deeply engrained in the mentality of the modern world. Their use in Israel is especially pernicious, Because Israel is the only country in the world whose very survival is at stake, such labels as “Right” and Left” obscure life and death issues. For generations “Right” and “Left” have taken the place of the traditional distinction between good and bad. To probe beneath this moral obscurantism in Israel, we must see how the terms “Right” and “Left” relate to Israel’s raison d’etre or paramount principle as a Jewish state. Thus, while labeling a party’s position on a basic issue “Right” or “Left,” one must determine whether its position is consistent with Israel’s raison d’etre. 1) Morality: Generally speaking, the Right identifies with the Biblical tradition, hence with “family values.” It abhors the Left’s permissive attitude toward homosexuality, gay marriages, pornography, etc.—the position of left-wing parties like Labor, Meretz, now Kadima parties. Accordingly, whereas the Right would preserve Jewish morality by means of education and indirectly by means of law, the Left regards morality a private matter. Clearly, the Left’s position is contrary to Israel’s raison d’etre, which is not to say that the Right’s conception of education and law is adequate for Israel’s survival in the Middle East. 2) The Territorial Issue: Israel’s territorial retreat from Jewish land cannot but erode Jewish national consciousness and undermine Israel’s survival as a Jewish state. This is precisely why the Kadima, Labor, and Meretz parties favored withdrawal from Judea, Samaria, and Gaza (Yesha) and the deracination of their Jewish communities. Meanwhile, these parties support a Palestinian state. They are clearly opposed to Israel’s raison d’etre as a Jewish state, which is not to say that the Right (if it is more than a name) has the wisdom to deal with the territorial issue. What about the Likud? Former Likud Prime Minister Ariel Sharon advocated a Palestinian state, and he had the support of most of the Likud’s Knesset membership. Although some Likud MKs opposed Palestinian statehood, only former MK Naomi Blumenthal voted to abrogate Oslo. Taken as a whole, therefore, the Likud’s position on the territorial issue is not consistent with Israel’s raison d’etre. It is a thoroughly compromised party and may be classified as the “Reluctant Left”—and for more reasons that will appear below. Consider the reputedly right-wing National Religious Party (NRP). Although it ostensibly opposes a Palestinian state, it signed the March 2003 Likud coalition agreement that binds the signatories to Oslo—hence, a Palestinian state. Moreover, both the NRP and the Likud would submit the territorial issue to a national referendum even though Israel’s Arab citizens make up 20% of the electorate! This would make a Palestinian state almost a certainty.
What about Avigdor Lieberman’s reputedly “right-wing” Israel Beiteinu Party.? Lieberman has advocated Arab “cantons” in Yesha as a transitional stage toward a Palestinian state. Therefore, Israel Beiteinu’s position on the territorial issue is more leftist than rightist. 3) Religion and State: Kadima, Labor, and Meretz, as well as Israel Beiteinu and various members of the Likud, advocate separation of religion and state. This cannot but transform Israel into a “state of its citizens” (which prompts many Arabs to vote for these parties). No wonder these parties tolerate seditious Arab parties in the Knesset. Moreover, Kadima Minister Meir Sheetret advocated rescinding the Law of Return—the foundational law of Israel as a Jewish state. Clearly, these parties oppose Israel’s raison d’etre as a Jewish state. Hence, as concerns Israel’s raison d’etre as a Jewish state, they should be classified as part of the Left!
4) Governmental Structure: No party says anything about the undemocratic character of Israel’s political and judicial institutions, which enables office holders to ignore or trample on the abiding beliefs and values of the Jewish people with impunity. Hence, no party in Israel can be classified as serious nationalist party. It follows that there is no genuine Right in Israel! No party publicly advocates Jewish sovereignty over Judea, Samaria, and Gaza in the name of God’s covenant with the Jewish People. No party boldly proclaims that Israel’s raison d’etre as a Jewish State must be the State’s paramount principle, to which all other principles are subordinate. And no party offers a Constitution that embodies this paramount principle. Insofar as the terms “Right” and “Left” have taken the place of the traditional distinction between good and bad, things are pretty bad in the State of Israel.
MORE ON BARACK HUSSEIN MUHAMMAD OBAMADear Friends,
Letter from Ruth Matar (Women in Green) Jerusalem
Thursday, May 29, 2008
I received an avalanche of email replies to last week’s Letter from Jerusalem, supporting what I had written. Only one letter was hostile. The message was as follows: “Who are you to put down an American candidate for president for meeting with the enemies?”
Okay, here goes: I am co-leader together with Nadia Matar of a political movement in Israel named (WOMEN FOR ISRAEL’S TOMORROW). We have been fighting for Israel’s survival as a Jewish state since the Oslo Accords of 1993.
The name we gave our organization tells you exactly what our agenda is. Our fight is for Israel’s future. We want Israel to remain a haven, now and in the future, for Jews from all over the world.
My personal background: I am a holocaust survivor who escaped Hitler’s death machine as one of the children on a Kindertransport. Subsequently I was fortunate enough to become a naturalized American citizen. Because I am an American citizen, I have a perfect right to comment on Obama’s candidacy.
Why did I write last week’s article? Because I am seriously concerned about Barack Obama’s attitude toward Israel.
* * *I want to share with you some of the responses I received to last weeks article.
1. “I totally agree.” - J.K.
2. “We’re praying with you that Obama doesn’t win the Presidency!” - D.C.
3. “I couldn’t agree with you more. He is a very scary person, and I do believe his change is not what the people are thinking.” - S.W.
4. “Can a good Muslim be a good American?
This question was forwarded to a friend who worked in Saudi Arabia for 20 years.
The following is his reply:
Theologically - no. . . .
Because his allegiance is to Allah, The moon God of Arabia
Religiously - no. . . .
Because no other religion is accepted by His Allah except Islam
(Quran, 2:256) (Koran)
Scripturally - no. . .
Because his allegiance is to the five Pillars of Islam and the Quran.
Geographically - no ... . .
Because his allegiance is to Mecca ,
to which he turns in prayer five times a day.
Socially - no. . .
Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him
To make friends with Christians or Jews.
Politically - no. . .
Because he must submit to the mullahs (spiritual leaders),
who teach annihilation of Israel and destruction of America , the great Satan.
Domestically - no. . .
Because he is instructed to marry four Women and
beat and scourge his wife when she disobeys him (Quran 4:34)
Intellectually - no. . .
Because he cannot accept the American Constitution
since it is based on Biblical principles and
he believes the Bible to be corrupt.
Philosophically - no. . . .
Because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran
does not allow freedom of religion and expression.
Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist.
Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic.
Spiritually - no. . . .
Because when we declare 'one nation under God,'
the Christian's God is loving and kind,
while Allah is NEVER referred to as Heavenly father,
nor is he ever called love in The Quran's 99 excellent names.
Therefore after much study and deliberation..
Perhaps we should be very suspicious of ALL MUSLIMS in this country. - - - They obviously cannot be both 'good' Muslims and good Americans.
Call it what you wish..it's still the truth. You had better believe it.
The more who understand this, the better it will be for our country and
our future. The religious war is bigger than we know or understand.. . ...
And Barack Hussein Obama, a Muslim, wants to be our President?
You have GOT to be kidding!
Wake up America !
Obama even says if he wins the election,
he will be sworn in on the Quran---not a Bible!
He was sworn in on the Quran for his current office and
he refuses to pledge allegiance to the United States
or put his hand over his heart when the National Anthem is played!!!
The Muslims have said they will destroy us from within.....
Hello!!!! Having a Muslem president would seem to fit the bill!
Would you trust this man with our national secrets?????” - G.S.
5. “DEAR RUTH, THANKS FOR YOUR NOTES ON B.HUSSEIN OBAMA.... I AND ALL WHO I KNOW, AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY, HE IS DANGEROUS, AND I COULD TELL YOU MORE ABOUT IT THAN YOU MAY ALREADY KNOW. THE SO CALLED CHURCH THAT HE'S A PART OF FOR SOME 20 YEARS, HAS ALWAYS BEEN ANTI-SEMITIC FOR DECADES, THE 'WHITE VERSION' AS WELL AS THE BLACK BRANCHES OF THAT DENOMINATION. I LEARNED OF THEM YEARS AGO, BEFORE ANY OF US EVEN HEARD OF OBAMA, BECAUSE THEY USED TO LOBBY CONGRESS TO TRY & MAKE AMERICA STOP SUPPORTING ISRAEL, AND CHANGE TO SUPPORT THE PALESTINIANS AND OTHER ENEMIES OF ISRAEL. I'M NOT SURE IF THEY STILL DO THAT TODAY, BECAUSE I'VE FALLEN OUT OF TOUCH WITH THE SOURCES OF THOSE FACTS. BUT SINCE THEY SUPPORT LOUIS FARRAKHAN, I'M SURE THEY DO ALL IN THEIR POWER TO CARRY ON IN THEIR TWISTED WAYS. I INFORMED EVERYONE I KNOW OF, BACK WHEN I FIRST HEARD THE NAME OF HIS 'CHURCH', WHAT KIND OF BACKGROUND RECORD THEY HAD THEN. THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO.” -S.N., Nashville
6. “Your fears are well-founded. Non of the Presidential candidates are going to do anything but support a One World Order, which includes the elimination of the Jewish state as a Jewish state, with the Vatican in control of Jerusalem.
Obama has strong Trilateral Commission ties through Brzezinski, as well as Council on Foreign relations ties:
White House hopeful Barack Obama's foreign policy adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski (Trilateral Commission), is preparing a major, new anti-Israel initiative: an international campaign to pressure the Jewish state into disclosing and dismantling its nuclear arsenal as an inducement to Islamist Iran to permanently end its suspect uranium enrichment program. The campaign will seek to brand democratic Israel as an American North Korea--meaning, a rogue nuclear state--in order to isolate and ultimately defeat and actually destroy the country.
( http://chinaconfidential.blogspot.com/2008/04/obamas-foreign-policy-adviser-preparing.html ).” - B.H.P.
7. “Dear Nadia and Ruth,
Your email is on the ball. Michael Savage, a Jewish radio talk show
host, stated that the "mass" of 75,000 people that turned out in
Oregon to hear Obama, reminded him of Hitler, yimach shimo, addressing
the throngs as well in Germany. It gives one chills up one's spine.
Michael Savage, also continued, that this word "change" that Obama
keeps talking about (with no specifics, no one knows what he really
means or stands for) reminds him of the "change" during the time of
Stalin and Hitler, yimach shimo.
Very scary indeed. Unfortunately, there are die hard Jewish Democrats
who will vote for Hillary or Obama. How do we impress upon them that
McCain is the best of the choices. He is mature and more experienced.
Also, Jews should be wary of Obama's past pastor, Jeremiah Wright's
assocation with the Nation of Islam, Farrakan's organization. They
provided security protection when Wright addressed the NAACP recently.
Jeremiah Wright is anti-American, anti-Semite and hates Israel as
Yes, we are faced with two modern day Haman's- Ahmedinejad from Iran
and Jeremiah Wright.
Keep up your great work and PLEASE enlighten Jews that Obama is bad
for Israel and bad for America.” - J. & L.S.
8. “OBAMA HAS A LOT TO OFFER...HE WAS EDUCATED IN MUSLIM SCHOOLS AND HAS A FATHER WHO IS MUSLIM AND A STEP-DAD WHO WAS.
HIS MINISTER IS IN THICK WITH FARACON...WHAT MORE COULD WE ASK...
HILLARY IS LYING SO MUCH AND IT IS BELIEVED SHE HELPED DIG UP SOME OF THE MESS ON OBAMA. AMERICA COULD NOT STAND 4 YEARS OF THE CLINTONS AGAIN....NO MORE, NO MORE....McCAIN IS THE ONLY RECOURSE.” - S.B.
9. “Shalom I share the same fears and have conveyed to my family and friends that I am not worried about living here but I am worried about their children and grandchildren living in good old America/Canada! And as you are saying, come the elections, we will see a new America 'who want change' and to divest themselves of 'the burden of Israel' .
But it is their futures that I worry more about in terms of security, and our spiritual future is my current worry, But whereas we have hope, the direction that N America is moving is scary. I hear my father's z"l words when I asked why he left Poland way before the war and as a result I live and many, many of our family perished, in that "They loved being Germans/Polish Jews, more than they loved being Jewish". American Jews are comfortable and my fear is that Hashem will once again 'need' to wake His people up from their slumber to realize that America is not our home and a truly Jewish life can only be lived here (no matter how much craziness there is and toiling to change our leaders (political and religious) direction).” -P.A.
10. “I don't know if I sent this to you, but it is another of many reports that have come in.
Obama a Muslim? Missionaries in Kenya Say Yes
The following information was made available by Norma Grooten, an American Missionary to Kenya. I am including it in my column in Freedom €™s Phoenix just as it came to me without any editing.
Each one should make up their own mind as to how they will respond to this warning. In my opinion, if Mr. Obama is elected President, he will take the oath of office on the Bible not the Koran, because if he really is a Muslin at heart, it will be a part of the subterfuge.
At the bottom of the article is a picture of Mrs. Grooten with some of the people that she works with in Kenya. She went to Kenya after her husband Bert, who was one of the original leaders in the unregistered church movement, died.
Following is the warning from Loren and Celeste Davis.
We are living and working in Kenya for almost twelve years now, and know his [Obama €™s] family (tribe) well. They are the ones who were behind the recent Presidential election chaos here. Thousands of people have been displaced by election violence (over 350,000), and I don't know the last count of the dead. Obama under "friends of Obama" gave almost a million dollars to the opposition campaign, who just happened to be his cousin, Raila Odinga, who is a socialist trained in East Germany. He has been trying to bring Kenya down for years and the last president threw him in prison for trying to subvert this country! December 27th elections brought cries from ODM (Odinga Camp) of rigged election. Obama and Raila speak daily. As we watch Obama rise in the US we are sure that whatever happens, he will use the same tactic, crying rigged election if he doesn't win and possibly cause a race war in America.
What we would like you to know is what the American press has been keeping a dirty little secret. Obama IS a muslim and he IS a racist and this is a fulfillment of the 911 threat that was just the beginning. Jihad is the only true muslim way. We have been working with them for 20 years this July! He is not an American as we know it. Please encourage your friends and associates not to be taken in by those that are promoting him. It is world wide jihad. All our friends in Europe are very disturbed by the mulsim infiltration into their countries. By the way. His true name is Barak Hussein Muhammed Obama. Won't that sound sweet to our enemies as they swear him in on the Koran!
God Bless you.
Pray for us here in Kenya. We are still fighting for our nation to withstand the same kind of assault that every nation, including America, is fighting. Takeover from the outside to fit the new world order. As believers, this means we will be the first targets. Here in Kenya, not one mosque was burned down, but hundreds of churches were burned down, some with people in them, burned alive.
I will send you a newsletter we sent out in February documenting in a more cohesive manner what I've tried to say in a few paragraphs.” - C. & L.D.
11. “Dear Ruth:
Although I agree absolutely with your position, I also am greatly concerned for the entire line-up of candidates as far as their perceived policy positions are concerned.
Certainly Obama's inexperience would work against meaningful international decisions, especially in regard to Israel's security and continued existance. Honestly, he strikes me as a little cocky, and too smooth!
However, Hiliary Clinton as President, which at the moment seems unlikely, leaves one just as frightened. She exhibits a left-leaning policy platform that would be questionable both for Israel as well as for dealing with rogue terrorist regimes such as Iran. It scares me to realize there are those who would vote for her simply because they want to prove a social point by electing a woman, rather than vote for the one, whether male or female, who would be best for the position. Even if her policies were more right-wing, which is questionable, she would unfortunately already be at a disadvantage in dealing with Islamic world leaders simply because she is a woman!
McCain may be a better choice, but unfortunately his persona has not been covered well by the media. His name seldom is mentined by anyone, and whenever it is, his supposed "far right-wing" stance is presented, certainly erroneously, as negative! Most of the voting public will go for someone who has a higher, and more positively perceived profile.
To be honest, it appears there are no real viable contenders for Presidency of the USA that would support a Zionist Israel without concessions to the Palestinians and Islamic regimes as well. Not only does that not bode well for Israel, but for the stability of the entire world scene! No matter how one cuts it, the future picture may turn pretty bleak for everyone unless new leadership, both in the USA as well as in Israel, with a godly perspective and understanding of the Divine Will for Israel, steps up to the plate before the next presidential election; and time for that is running out!
The next election possibilities certainly leaves one with shivers up one's spine!” -A.M.
12. “Dearest Ruth,
Do you think G-d has [hardened the hearts and minds of the people in America] such as He did Pharaoh’s so He can bring in His end times?” - R.S.
* * *
As you can see from the above selection of the numerous letters I received, you are definitely not alone in worrying about Barack Hussein Muhammad Obama becoming the American President.
WE HAVE BEEN WARNED!
With Blessings and Love for Israel,
The Two-Pronged Assault On Religious Zionism
By Caroline B. Glick
Jewish Press - Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza was presented to the world as a strategic bid to enhance prospects for peace between the Palestinians and Israel. Proponents of the move argued that removing all Israeli civilians and military personnel from Gaza would take away the source of Palestinian grievances. Once fully appeased, the Palestinians would be forced to behave responsibly, abjure terrorism and build their state first in Gaza, and then in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem as well.
This was the pretext of Israel’s withdrawal. But it wasn’t the subtext. The subtext of the withdrawal telegraphed to both Israelis and the international community was that the withdrawal was cause the demise of Religious Zionism at the hands of the leftist progeny of Labor Zionists. That is, the operation wasn’t about peace with the Arabs. It was about cultural supremacy within Israel.
In the countdown to the withdrawal, the Palestinians did everything they could to make clear the move would not enhance the chances for peace. They triumphantly declared that then-prime minister Ariel Sharon’s decision to expel Gaza’s Jews was an admission that Israel had been defeated by the Palestinians. Hamas was ascendant and both Hamas and Fatah declared repeatedly that they would continue their terror war until all of Israel was destroyed. And as the pretext crumbled, the subtext became more prominent.
Haaretz editorialized six weeks before the expulsion of Gaza’s 8,000 Jews, “The disengagement of Israeli policy from its religious fuel is the real disengagement currently on the agenda. On the day after the disengagement, religious Zionism’s status will be different. The real question is not how many mortar shells will fall, or who will guard the Philadelphi route [connecting Gaza with Egypt], or whether the Palestinians will dance of the roofs of Ganei Tal. The real question is who sets the national agenda.”
Religious Zionist leaders were in a horrible bind. If they responded to the demands of their own people and fought fire with fire, they knew given the Left’s control of the media they would be demonized for years to come. And they knew that if the Left succeeded in destroying their reputation among rank and file Israelis, they would be powerless to defend Judea and Samaria.
So in the end, Religious Zionist leaders disappointed their followers, making do with mass protests in the countdown to the expulsions and then allowing the IDF to carry out the expulsions largely unchallenged. While they failed to save Gaza’s Jews from internal exile, they at least succeeded in preventing the demise of Religious Zionism as a political and social force in Israel.
Their success was acknowledged by Haaretz. In the weeks that followed the expulsions, Haaretz columnist Orit Shochat bemoaned the fact that the campaign against Religious Zionism had not succeeded. As she put it, “Soldiers who experienced the evacuation won’t travel to an ashram in India because they discovered that there is an ashram next door. The same Jewish religion that they hadn’t seen up close for a long time embraces them into its fold with a song and a tear for a common fate. They have now sat arm-in-arm at the synagogues in Gush Katif, they have now felt the holiness mixed in sweat, they have now moved rhythmically and sung songs. They have stood in line to kiss the Torah scrolls. They are now half-inside.”
Zionism’s revolutionary message to Jewry was that after 2,000 years of powerlessness, Jews would again become actors on the global stage. But Zionism has many movements and not all of them are equally revolutionary. The two most significant Zionist movements today are Labor Zionism and Religious Zionism.
The inherent weakness of Labor Zionism is that it was never aimed specifically at enabling Jews to be Jews. Rather, its purpose was to enable Jews to be socialists. Understanding that the anti-Semitic climate in Europe in the early 20th century rendered Jewish assimilation into a larger socialist sea impossible, Labor Zionists argued that by establishing a Jewish state Jews would be “normalized” and accepted as regular people and socialists by the nations of the world. That is, Labor Zionism’s message was assimilation on a national rather than on an individual one since conditions in Europe precluded individual assimilation.
Labor Zionists have been confounded by the endurance of anti-Semitism and its transformation of Israel, though anti-Zionism, into the International Jew. The world’s refusal to accept Israel as an equal has been shattering for them. It has caused Labor Zionists to abandon Zionism in the hopes that by doing so they will finally be accepted as equals by the nations of the world. At its core, Labor Zionism is outward seeking rather than inward looking.
In contrast, Religious Zionism is inward looking. It seeks to turn Jews into actors on the international stage as Jews. It also seeks to make Judaism responsive to the imperatives of an empowered people as it was responsive to the imperatives of Jews as a powerless people during the generations of exile. Because of its specific message to Jews as Jews, Religious Zionism is a pure revolutionary ideology.
Religious Zionists are a finger in the eye of the Labor Zionists for their stubborn devotion to Judaism and their relative indifference to whether Israel is accepted by the anti-Semites of the world. And Labor Zionists are not alone in their angry rejection of Religious Zionism’s message. They are joined by the non-Zionist religious establishment.
The non-Zionist religious establishment feels threatened by Religious Zionism’s attempts to reinvest Judaism with its nationalist mission for the Jewish nation. And, unfortunately, the non-Zionist religious establishment is joining forces with the Labor Zionist establishment to attack Religious Zionism.
In early May, a panel of three non-Zionist rabbinic judges on Jerusalem’s High Rabbinic Court published a ruling in a divorce case declaring all the thousands of conversions carried out under the auspices of Religious Zionist Rabbi Chaim Druckman, and the state’s Conversion Authority he headed, null and void. The court argued that Druckman did not investigate sufficiently whether the converts were committed to observing all the mitzvot. Piling on to the non-Zionist establishment’s act, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week removed Druckman from his position as head of the Conversion Authority.
Both Rabbi Avraham Sherman, who wrote the rabbinical high court’s decision, and Druckman’s fellow Religious Zionist rabbis agree that the dispute is an attack on Religious Zionism’s view of the role of religion in Israel rather than a strictly halachic disagreement. In his ruling, Sherman wrote of Druckman and his Religious Zionist colleagues in the Conversion Authority, “All these rabbis have one thing in common. They all see in conversion a sacred commandment as part of their national responsibility…. In other words, the conversion is not primarily the spiritual and religious need of the individual convert who wishes to join the Jewish people and accept upon himself all the commandments. Rather, conversion is a means of improving the spiritual situation of the entire Jewish nation living in Israel. It is a way of bringing Jews closer to their Judaism.”
The Religious Zionist movement is up in arms over the ruling, which its leaders are calling an act of aggression and halachic malfeasance. Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, who heads the hesder yeshiva in Petach Tikvah and is considered a leading rabbinic authority in Religious Zionist circles, called Sherman’s ruling “a desecration of God’s name” and said that if it is not overturned he would set up independent conversion courts outside the aegis of the Chief Rabbinate.
Between the Labor Zionists’ attempts to destroy Religious Zionism politically, and the non-Zionist rabbinic leadership’s attempts to demonize it religiously, Religious Zionism has been under tremendous pressure in recent years. One can only hope its leaders will have the wisdom to persevere. Israel and the Jewish people need Religious Zionism more than anyone will ever admit.
ISRAEL’S WATER PROBLEMS - 2008
by Emanuel A. Winston,
Freeman Center Mid East Commentator & Analyst
Binyamin Ben Eliezer, a not terribly bright politician, has offered various solutions for what is likely to be a water crisis for all of Israel - for a long time to come.
Ben Eliezer wants to build more water desalination plants, apparently to offset his Party’s famous plans to abandon the Golan Heights which is one of Israel’s principal water sources.
But, Eliezer may not have taken into account the raw sewage sabotage that the Palestinians are implementing by letting untreated sewage run into the sea from Gaza. The prevailing currents push the sewage North, contaminating Israel’s coastal areas where more than 70% of Israel’s population and Israel’s main industrial base in centered.
Once the contamination levels of human feces and chemicals reach a certain level of density (PPM = Parts Per Million), any desalination plant will be closed down. Their filter membranes would clog and the disease-laden water would simply flow through. One doesn’t expect Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert or his Leftist Party Coalition (Kadima, Labor and Meretz) to do anything to stop the sewage flow.
Then there is the matter of gifting Jordan with the Millions of Cubic Meters of water as Israel’s singularly most famous gesture of good will. Israeli leadership is full of such "gestures" - among other foul-smelling substances.
Israel’s so-called "Leadership" is gesturing away the Jewish nation into a permanent, ever worsening state of drought. Have you ever spoken to Israel’s so-called "Leadership"? Outside of dirty politics, where they are superb, in practical things they are dumb as a stump.
Water futures? "not to worry". Pollution? "not to worry". Terrorist growth? "not to worry". Loss of the water protected from Israel’s Golan Heights? - "not to worry". Loss of the aquifers under the Israeli mountains of Judea and Samaria? - "not to worry". Sewage contamination? - "not to worry". Why worry when the Members of the Knesset have plenty of food and filtered water in the Knesset dining room? Reality simply doesn’t enter those rooms the lazy, craven Leftist Knesset Members think are hallowed.
As for Prime Ministers, the words "dumb" or "stupid" doesn’t even approach describing their incompetence and corrupt nature. The most recent Prime Ministers are killing the country and, after they have succeeded in despoiling the nation, they will try to escape and live on the loot they scavenged from the Peoples’ Treasury.
WHAT TO DO?
First: Cut off water and fuel supplies to Gaza until they build sewage treatment plants sufficiently large enough to treat sewage to the highest level technology allows.
Get rid of incompetent leaders and make them take educational tests to determine if they are fit to hold any post in government (like the psychometric tests Israeli students must take to attend university).
Start building more desalination plants - which should have started 20 years ago.
Cut the water being delivered free to Jordan.
Dig a channel from the Haifa area down to the Jordan Valley. This channel is to parallel the Jordan River and NOT mix salt water with fresh water. (Note! I offered such a water plan to Israel more than 25 years ago - which contemplated hydroelectric power, desalination plants, modification of the moisture content in the Jordan Valley for improved crops’ production and sea water lakes for recreation and fishing.
But, there were people then in power - like Ben Eliezer, who simply had zero vision and an inability to process information. As they say, those chickens have come home to roost.
Drought is endemic in the Middle East. Biblical records speak of 7 year droughts - as in Egypt - but, in fact, droughts of 50 to 100 years have been recorded in core borings of land. However, when you are a politician and reasonably stupid, you talk about solutions (to raise your public image) but do nothing to implement them or something too little to be effective.
Experts in hydrology, water conservation and recycling of waste water have been alerting successive governments about serious water shortages, pollution and contamination for years but they have been ignored.
How can you expect politicians who have never worked a day in their lives (other than to hustle the Peoples’ money into their own pockets) be expected to deal with down-to-earth critical issues like water, national security, resettling 10,000 Jewish men, women and children they uprooted, etc. when they could not even run a small vegetable stand in Machane Yehuda (the local outdoor market)? This is not a trivial matter, given that droughts can last 50 or more years across the Africa/Asian Middle East, much of which is in an advanced stage of desertification. This is before the forecast effects of climate change due to measurable global warming.
Martin Sherman, for example, has written in great detail about Israel’s water shortages for years - to no avail. Israel desperately needs a highly intelligent government of problem solvers. She cannot survive on government planning shown to be dedicated to graft, corruption by crooks whose first morning thought is how to stay in power and fill their own pockets.
Appropo - the international space station’s single toilet has malfunctioned and the U.S. will now pay Russia $30 million dollars to send up a space craft with a new Russian toilet. Can you imagine what will happen in Israel when, because of a water shortage, your household will be allowed to flush only once a day (or once a week)? Those are simple practical matters which inept government like the current one run by the Kadima/Labor Parties cannot grasp or deal with.
Following is a deeper analysis from a paper I published in 1992:
WATER - 274 April 7, 1992 by Emanuel A. Winston, a Middle East analyst and commentator
Israel has been given a brief reprieve from a critical water shortage. The unlikely once in a century snow and rain cannot be depended upon in future winters.
Let us suggest that this one year be used as breathing space to develop alternate water sources on an emergency basis. There are a few available sources that can be developed. For example:
While waiting to build the necessary but very expensive salt water desalination plants, let us capture more of the run-off that flows into the Mediterranean and is lost. More valleys can be dammed up in lakes and their bottoms sealed to stem seepage and catch surface runoff.
There is another perhaps greater run-off of lost fresh water. Irreplacable aquifers deep under the earth's surface also stretch out under the Mediterranean. Some aquifers are close to the sea floor surface near the point where the continental land mass meets the sea.
Although much of the flow continues to remain trapped in the rock formations beneath the sea basin, a great deal escapes into the salt water of the Mediterranean.
Those off-shore fresh water springs can be drilled, capped and piped. We will only be taking the fresh water which has already escaped the aquifers directly under the land mass of Israel. As many know, we have been depleting those land-based aquifers by excessive pumping. This creates negative pressure, allowing salt water to invade the aquifer, making the aquifer itself and the wells it feeds unusable and often unrecoverable.
Taking fresh water from off-shore points will increase available supplies and allow us to possibly decrease our on-shore pumpage.
Locating fresh water undersea springs is no problem for the senisitive instruments of today which can distinguish levels of comparitive salinity. Where the fresh water does not come to the surface of the sea floor, we can drill, again using techniques developed for drilling shallow oil wells.
There are other methods: The plan suggested by Laudermilk, the founder of Israel's present water system, suggested a pipe from the Haifa area to carry Mediterranean Sea water through the Jezreel Valley directly into the Jordan River and on to the Dead Sea. (No doubt, he intended to separate sea water from fresh water.)
Topographic maps show a drop between the Mediterranean in the Haifa area and the Dead Sea. There is a slight earth bridge of several meters which can be easily breached. I believe that a diversion of Meditteranean water with its relatively low salt content can be extremely beneficial in a new water system. It would entail building a concrete tunnel through the Jezreel valley between the sea and the Jordan valley. The salt water would be contained except where it was diverted for special uses.
The following outlines the general plan. It is intended to provoke the scientific reader into adding his own components, both technical and conceptual.
1. The basic inlet would extend into the sea sufficently far to ensure an uncomtaminated supply of sea water.
2. The water carrier on land could be in an open trough or closed pipe.
3. Whenever there is sufficient slope a section of closed, large diameter pipe would be laid. This section would contain a low incline power generator (possibly an Archimedes Screw). Generator stations would be positioned at certain locations along the pipe. The fall-off from the Mediterranean sea level to the Jordan Valley is sufficient to run these generators.
4. Other sections of the water carrier would have passive desalinization capability. Given the constant sun and high temperatures of the Jordan Valley, passive evaporation can be used in de-salinization of the sea water. This section would be covered with a transparent fiberglass dome. The water flowing in this section would be kept shallow in order to enable the sun to heat the water and accelerate the evaporation. Water would condense on the dome, drip into collection troughs and flow into storage tanks. Perhaps "water farms" could be designed in which the canal water would be allowed to spread to a very shallow depth over an area of many dunams. Solar reflectors could be designed to enhance the evaporation rate of the water onto the condenser domes that would cover the entire area only several centimeters over the water.
5. Using a mix of low-incline generators plus electrical generating sea-water, we can run membrane filtered desalinization plants along the water carrier.
6. Finally, the remaining water would flow into the Dead Sea thus ensuring the future of both the industrial operations and the tourism that the area attracts.
ISRAEL'S LOOMING WATER CRISIS By Emanuel A. Winston - December 1998
Be prepared for the Israel government and American Administration to throw a smoke screen over Israel's soon-to-be-lost water. As part of the Wye "River" fiasco, Israel's leaders have finalized her commitment to give away her irreplaceable underground rivers. Arik Sharon, now Foreign Minister, will soon be visiting Washington, there to discuss, among other things, some of the bribes Israel is to receive for caving in on the Wye Agreement. One of those bribes is to be the construction of a desalination plant, presumably to relieve Israel's coming water shortage. This shortfall will become acute as she transfers control of the aquifers under the Judean/Samarian hills - representing approximately 30% of Israel's fresh water resource.
Since ONE desalination plant cannot possibly produce even a fraction of the lost water, it can now only serve as a political curtain to hide the consummate stupidity of Israel's three successive Governments, namely: Labor/Meretz under Rabin and secondly Peres and now Likud under Netanyahu. I mention these names so the readers may forever mark those responsible for the drying up of Israel.
So, what is wrong with turning sea water into drinking water? Absolutely nothing, IF like Saudi Arabia, you have unlimited billions of dollars to build the "many" plants needed and free fuel to power the high energy needs of such plants. Even California couldn't do it with money and fuel from their own pumped oil. Saudi Arabia had the money and the excess natural gas to literally burn from its vast oil deposits but Israel is not blessed with such reserves.
So, what's the problem? A really big plant can range in cost from $3-5 Billion dollars and that's only to build. Then it needs a huge amount of electrical power. In Israel's case, that would likely require either a vast expansion of present power plants - more coal and/or nuclear - or construction of new electrical plants. Here one has the problem of additional Billions in cost to construct, the continuous maintenance costs to produce the power, the polluting fuel (coal or nuclear) and finally the cost per cubic meter of water which will be so high that it will require government subsidies which then comes back in increased taxes.
So, whether it's paid with the water bill or paid from other tax revenues...the people still pay the enormous increase. And that, dear readers, does not solve the problem of losing 30% of Israel's water. I have the feeling that one could line the shores of the Mediterranean with such plants in order to make up the shortfall of 30%. But, that's not all. Presently, our erstwhile leaders are under pressure from our good friends Madame Albright in cahoots with the EU to give up the Golan Heights to Syria.
So, what's wrong that? Besides having primitive leaders in Syria who are armed to the teeth with chemical weapons and the missiles to deliver them, we again have the problem of water. Israel water resources from the Golan represents 40% of its total water supply. If you couple the 30% being given to Arafat with the 40% to be given to Syria that makes a nice round figure of 70%. But wait...Israeli or American politicians can be expected to jump in to tell you that they will arrange an agreement where, at a fixed price, the Palestinians will sell Israel this water with various guarantees. Certainly our erstwhile Jewish leaders will jump at the chance of accepting more guarantees because Oslo I and II, Hebron and Wye worked out so well.
Today, with the water from the Judean/Samarian aquifers and the waters from the Golan and a rapidly diminishing central aquifer Israel is pushing the envelope of its growing water needs. If Israel lost even 5% of current water resources, certain industries would be closed or rationed. If it went beyond that, civilian rationing would begin with a vengeance. Some may recall a brief drought several years back where the level of the Kinneret (Israel's northern reservoir) fell 5 meters.
The government and the people were beginning to panic as the seculars began to urge to Rabbis to pray for rain. Well, finally the rains came and just in time. Mostly due to a volcanic eruption in the Philippines which spewed forth particulate matter in a plume which drifted over Israel causing a weather change resulting in what was called "Century Rains". However, just as an unexpected quirk of nature (HaShem) caused the rains, other such quirks caused drought. The African continent is undergoing such a drought and a process called desertification is ongoing and expanding rapidly.
Israel is part of the African continent. Droughts of Biblical proportions lasting years are not unknown in this region of the world. Therefore, if one factors in drought; giving away of 70% of her water resources; increased population along with increased water consumption, the inadequate but costly desalination solution - Israel would dry up to a small, burnt out cinder in the next decade. One can hardly wait for Bibi and Arik to drink a water toast with Clinton/Albright/Arafat and Assad over the new miracle of creating water where there is very little.
And then there is the sewage. We are giving the Palestinians clean water and getting their sewage back, just as is presently happening in Gaza. They pour untreated sewage into the wadis and streams, polluting the shrinking water table. The Palestinians ruined the Gaza aquifer in 2 short years as they sunk 2000 wells. This over-pumping lowered the water table, allowing the sea water to seep in. In Gaza they now drink what they call "salt tea". The Gaza aquifer is unrecoverable.
If Israel gives up control of the Judean/Samarian water resources (30%) and possible the 40% under the Golan Heights to Syria, the foreseeable over-pumping will lower the water-table of Israel's only remaining aquifer on the coast and the Mediterranean will invade the sweet water. Everything that Israel made bloom will wither and die - along with the State of Israel herself.
Emanuel A. Winston is a Middle East analyst & commentator and a research associate of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.
ISRAEL’S 60 YEARS OF BREAKTHROUGH ECONOMY –
Wall Street Supersedes Gaza Strip!
“The Jewish World”, Albany, May 8, 2008
The 1948-2008 series of Arab-Israeli wars, coupled with Palestinian terrorism, have been bumps on the path of unprecedented Israeli economic growth: From a $1.2 billion GDP in 1948 to a $170 billion GDP in 2007! From a labor and land-intensive import-based economy, which is vulnerable to security and political uncertainty, to an increasingly know how-intensive export-driven economy, which is less vulnerable to wars and terrorism.
Sixty years ago, Israel was labeled as an economy-deprived country. In 2008, the “London Economist” claims that “Israel has an economy with the power to astonish…[featuring] most NASDAQ-listed companies, other than Canada and the US.” Israel has been recently admitted to the OECD - the exclusive club of the leading global economies - the Shekel has joined thirteen other top-traded currencies, and Israel’s credit rating has been upgraded by Moody’s, Standard & Poor and Fitch.
During the last four years, Israel’s economy has grown 5% annually, compared with a 2.7% annual growth for the OECD countries. Despite the draining 2006 war in Lebanon, the costly 2005 “Disengagement” from Gaza, the unprecedented Palestinian terrorism and prolonged political uncertainty, Israel’s economic fundamentals have been vigorous: minimal budget deficit (1%), low inflation (2.8%) and interest (5%) rates, surplus of trade balance ($4 billion) and balance of payment ($5 billion) and high foreign exchange reserves ($28 billion).
400 global (mostly US) companies have established plants and research & development centers in Israel. They express confidence in the long-term viability of Israel’s economy, notwithstanding the failing peace process and the exacerbation of Palestinian terrorism. For instance, most of Intel’s chips and microprocessors have been developed by Intel-Israel. Hence, Intel constructs its sixth ($4.5 billion) Israeli plant, which will boost the 2007 $1.5 billion export by Intel-Israel.
IBM has just acquired its third Israeli company in 2008 and Microsoft concludes its seventh Israeli acquisition in recent years. HP, Texas Instruments, GE-Medical, Motorola, Cisco, EMC, AOL, Google, Marvelle, Kodak, AT&T, Xerox, Phillips, SAP, Siemens and more giants have followed suit. They have realized that in order to play in the top high tech league, they must set foot in Israel, thus gaining access to Israel’s unique breakthrough technologies. They leverage Israel’s competitive edge: generating groundbreaking technologies. 140 per 10,000 Israelis are engaged in research & development, ahead of the US and Japan with 85 and 70 per 10,000 respectively. As a result, Israel is second only to the US in the absolute number of start-ups, but leads the world in the number of start-ups per capita.
Overseas investment in Israel’s high tech exceeds any single European country and surpasses France and Germany combined. Total overseas investment in Israel reached $23.4 billion in 2006, compared with $10.5 billion in 2005, $9.1 billion in 2004 and $5.1 billion in 2003. In addition to warren Buffet, who made his highest overseas investment in Israel ($4 billion), overseas investors include leading investment banks, such as Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley, prestigious venture capital funds, such as Sequoia, Greylock and Benchmark, prime insurance companies such as Mass Mutual, AIG and Marsh McLennen and state employees pension funds such as California, Illinois, New York and Oregon.
According to Morgan Stanley, “Israel’s economy is robust, able to withstand geo-political constraints and global slowdown, featuring a strong Shekel, low interest rate, reduced inflation and budget deficit, a trade surplus and surge in overseas investment.”
Israel’s 60 year impressive economic track record constitutes a proof that – when it comes to the impact on sophisticated economies - the performance of Wall Street supersedes the terrorism of Gaza Strip.
Hatikva is a new political party in Israel that proudly and forthrightly stands for Zionism. Hatikva vigorously believes that the entirety of the Land of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, and that we must never sacrifice even one inch of our birthright. Hatikva believes in a strong Israel that will not appease its enemies but instead will unapologetically exercise its military power to protect the Jewish people. The American Friends of Hatikva, although legally independent, shares the same principles as the Hatikva party in Israel and is devoted to educating the people about the need for a strong Zionism.
We invite you to visit our website www.HatikvaUSA.org and to join and support the
American Friends of Hatikva.
THE FUTURE IS IN OUR HANDS
by Arieh Eldad,
One of the prime movers behind this party
If the Zionist revolution was intended to bring normality to the Jewish people, it was destined to fail.
The Jewish people is not a normal people. There is no historical parallel to a people with four thousand years of continuous history. You may say that in Egypt there are antiquities that predate our Patriarchs, but there is no connection between the Egypt of the Pharaohs and the Egypt of today. It is not the same people, the same language, the same religion, or the same culture. You may say the Chinese culture is more ancient than ours. But the Chinese remained in their land and were not destroyed and exiled twice and did not return from far away exiles to re-establish themselves. The Jewish people is not a normal people.
In the same way, Judaism is not a normal religion. There is no parallel to the unbreakable tie between the Jewish religion and nationality. And our movement of national liberation – Zionism – is unlike any other national liberation movement of the past centuries. African or European peoples who fought for their freedom had to eject foreign rulers and declare independence. The liberation movement of the Jewish people had a double task: to gather the exiles of Israel from around the world and to free its land from foreign rulers. So Zionism is not a normal liberation movement.
Considering these three anomalies, is it any wonder the Jewish people’s desire for normalization was not realized with the return to Zion? We did become “productive”: no longer just middlemen, brokers, traders, and bankers; the Jews in the land of Israel are also soldiers and farmers and industrialists. But if Zionism hoped to take the Jews out of exile and raise a generation in the land free of oppression and the complexes of exile, we can say we have succeeded in taking the Jews out of exile but not in taking that exile out of the Jews.
Apparently 2000 years of persecution, forced conversion, destruction, expulsion and exile created a new species of Jew who is a professional survivor. Most of those who carried the genes of Bar Kochba fell on the way. The genes of Josephus Flavius keep popping up on the stage of history in characters such as the leaders of the Judenrat, Kastner, those who turned Jewish underground fighters over the British in “The Season,” those who sank the Irgun arms ship Altalena, and the most recent “heroes” who uprooted and exiled the residents of Gaza in what they called a “disengagement.” A direct line leads from Josephus Flavius to Mordechai Vanunu and Ilan Pape. A direct line leads from Aristobulus, the Hasmonean king who opened the gates of Jerusalem to Pompeii of Rome in order to survive the war with his brother Horkynus the Hasmonean, to Ehud Olmert who is ready to open the gates of Jerusalem to the Arab enemy in order to survive politically and win support from the world’s sole superpower.
So Zionism has failed in its mission of normalization. But Zionism had set other goals, first among them saving the Jewish people from the impending disaster. Herzl, who heard the Parisian mob, students of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” yelling “Death to the Jews” during the Dreyfus trial, understood that the Emancipation was not the solution to the problem of the Jews in exile. And Herzl understood that if the existence of the Jews in exile could not be guaranteed and Jews were to be saved, the exile needed to end and they needed to have a state that would be a safe refuge from anti-Semitism.
Zionism also failed in this mission. It came too late. The destruction of the Jews of Europe preceded the establishment of the state. And those who say that the destruction of the Jews contributed to international support for a Jewish state are right.
Zionism had to fail in order for its goal to be achieved. But Zionism was too late for the six million who rose in smoke and whose ashes fertilize the fields of Europe.
As much as the gentiles who refused to give Herzl a charter over the land of Israel are to blame, so are the Jews who refused to unite and redeem themselves. The Haredim waited for a messiah to come from heaven, the Bundists preferred Yiddish and exile, the socialists wanted to redeem to the world and thought that when economic classes would be abolished, the Jewish problem would also be solved. All of them vigorously fought Herzl. And the Zionism of those who followed in Herzl’s path but were unable to free themselves from the chains of exile, who preferred “one more dunam and one more goat and one more rally against the White Paper” to taking up arms and expelling all foreign rulers from Israel – they also bear responsibility for the failure to save the Jews of Europe and for the State of Israel coming too late and not being a safe haven when it was needed.
But even now after the State of Israel has been established, it does not seem a safe haven for the Jews. Over 23,000 Jews have been killed in Eretz Israel since the modern return to Zion, solely because they were Jews. In no other country have so many Jews been killed solely because they were Jews. So perhaps our “safe haven” is not such a safe haven. Perhaps the Jews are safer living in the United States, France or Iran.
Anyone attempting to tally such an “accounting” of deaths of course ignores the six million murdered in Europe. And the hundreds of thousands slaughtered in riots and pogroms and crusades, from Siberia to Arabia, Ethiopia to Spain. The State of Israel was established so Jews could determine their own fate, to fight and defeat their enemies, not to be human dust but to turn their enemies to dust. The State of Israel can fulfill this mission and therefore at least in this regard is the realization of generations of dreams. But as long as its leaders are of the race of Flavius, they may turn Israel over to the worst of its enemies and fail to prevent the destruction now threatened by Iran, and they may themselves bring the Arab enemy into the country and into Jerusalem. They are prepared for the first time in the history of the Jewish people to recognize the right of another people to establish a state in Eretz Israel.
From this point of view, perhaps it would have been better if a Jewish state recognizing the right of another people to Eretz Israel had not been established? Perhaps it would be preferable if a state of six million Jews had not been established, if its leaders are incapable of facing the enemies who want to destroy it, and are Jews of exilic character who prefer that the world fight for us and stop Iran with sanctions and pressure, and they are blind and deaf and do not see what is clear to all: the leaders of Iran act as suicide bombers who are prepared to sacrifice their lives in order to destroy Israel? Perhaps it would be better if the largest concentration of Jews in the world had not been established if its leaders are incapable of preventing its destruction?
No! The law of exile is a law of destruction or conversion. Exile ends either in gas chambers and crematoria, or a golden exile with intermarriage rates above 50 percent. In Eretz Israel, where a state of the Jews has been established, a Jewish State can be established. A state of Jews daring to rise as one and not a state of Flaviuses. A state prepared to deal with its enemies and wipe them out, and not look to the gentiles for salvation. Not even to the good gentiles known as “friends of Israel,” who are ready to promise that if Israel is attacked with nuclear weapons, Iran will be destroyed. We do not want to be an excuse for the destruction of Iran. We want to and we can liberate Eretz Israel from any foreign ruler, whoever it may be. Not because the land is necessary for security. Eretz Israel is our homeland, not a safe haven. It is our only home even when it is under fire. We must and can return Zionism to its forgotten goal – the liberation of the homeland. Zionism is not a mistake. It’s just that those carrying the flag have wearied and have become post-Zionists, if not outright anti-Zionists.
After 2000 years, our fate is once again in our hands. If our leaders have gone bad and are trying to push us into the abyss, we have no one to complain to but ourselves. It is in our hands to guarantee the existence of the State of Israel, and turn it from the state of the Jews into a Jewish State. To turn the State of Israel into the Kingdom of Israel.
PLEASE SUPPORT HATIKVA
A GOVERNMENT GONE WILD - BUT -
THE CROOKS WANT TO STAY IN POWER
by Emanuel A. Winston,
Freeman Center Board Member and Mid East Commentator & Analyst
When an animal becomes rabid, it can be unpredictable and extremely dangerous to all others. Such animals become bold; they will attack; they will infect those they bite. It’s a disease that kills both the rabid aggressor and its victim - unless treated quickly.
What does one do with a government made up of principals and followers who seem to have been infected to the point they can no longer distinguish friends (their own people) from enemies who pledge to kill them - and then actually carry out this pledge?
Unlike rabid animals, it is not the Jewish way to put down government officials, even when they make it possible for their own people to be murdered. Worse yet, those in control, like the biased Court system and certain Police officials delay trials and the subsequent caging of incurable corrupt, ineffective elected officials who have already enabled the murder of Jewish Israeli citizens. Successive governments have done this through secret agreements which have strengthened Israel’s declared enemies and, at the same time, weakened the IDF (Israel Defense Forces).
It would be merciful to the Nation to put these people safely away so they can no longer harm themselves, the Jewish nation and especially the Israeli people.
For exceptional crimes against humanity (the Jewish people), the international Allied community held the Nuremberg Trials in Germany and the subsequent hangings of those convicted criminals. Adolph Eichmann was caught, tried, and executed in Israel. Of course, many were never caught and/or were protected so they could do it again.
We Jews are not immune from having traitors among our own people - in our midst. We remember the ‘Judenrat’ from the days when they served the Nazi regimes. We know them from today, sometimes called Left Liberals, sometimes using the name of "Peace", Kadima, Labor or a dozen other fronts.
Collectively, they have a few things in common. They do not like being Jewish; they do not believe that the Land G-d gave the Jews in perpetuity actually belongs to them - by right and by G-d’s Will. Jews are too quick to kneel before the enemy and will even sacrifice their own kind - their own families - in order to appease Muslim Arabs or Western friends tied to Muslim Arab oil.
The current Olmert government and those who support de-Judaizing Israel are a very sick bunch. Some are in an advanced stage of a "political dementia" - not unlike having gone mad with rabies. They never learned the history of the Jewish people or are anxious to forget it. They are willing to see their own killed IF it will appease the Islamic "Jihadists".
Surely, a compendium should be assembled of those who committed crimes against the Jewish people and the nature of this crime. While it would be preferable to bring them to trial immediately, we Jews are reluctant to mete out Justice - even for the worst of crimes - against our own humanity. So, let this book of dishonor be assembled, with no provisions for exclusions in the future.
The Government of Ehud Olmert, with Ehud Barak, Tzippi Livni and Shimon Peres has made every mistake possible with respect to weakening the Jewish nation.
BUT, THE CROOKS WANT TO STAY IN POWER
The unreliable Kadima members are meeting with urgency to maneuver the public into letting them stay in power after Olmert goes. Remember these are the same moles who planned a "coup d’état" while yet inside the Likud Party. Then, the "Party Jumpers", led by Ariel Sharon, subverted Likud by creating Kadima.
Maybe it’s a good idea to vote for Kadima because we will know where all the crooks are and we can keep an eye on them. Besides, in future criminal investigations they can have one pool of criminals to bring to trial instead of separate indictments.
At the moment, they are trying to rescue Kadima from its all encompassing reputation as being the den of corruption by saying the current Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, is squeaky clean...Oh. Really? Was Livni really so dumb, so unaware of her cohorts’ behavior that she didn’t see (or didn’t want to see) their corruption? If she was that deaf, dumb and blind, then this is a mighty strong reason to insure she never becomes Prime Minister.
Livni is reported to want November elections as Teheran signs a coordinated missile agreement with Syria, Hezb’Allah and Hamas. (1) The Crooks wish to stay in power - even in the face of a saturation missile attack - caused by their naive and stupid policies.
One is reminded of Josephus Flavius "War of the Jews" wherein he describes how the Jews of ancient Israel were consumed with fighting each other as the Romans crept up to cut their throats.
Livni is, however, well loved by the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Andrea Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany because Livni has been so malleable. Whatever they say, she repeats like a wooden lap dummy. Most Israelis know she is a slow thinker, but obedient, which is why she was added to Sharon’s staff and kept on by Olmert. Her decisions have been notoriously problematic and dull-witted - especially when she worked with the U.N. and Rice to end the Lebanon War of 2006 on the worst terms possible.
Now, as before, UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon) troops are working with Hezb’Allah, allowing them free access to South Lebanon and the continual build-up of their missile stockpiles.
The Kadima Party became a magnet for the most inept, corrupt politicians who could be gathered in one spot. There is talk that Likud under Bibi Netanyahu would seek to recruit some Kadimites to "Party-Jump" back to Likud.
Israel never gets a break politically. Here is an opportunity to get rid of the known corrupters gathered in Kadima now and yet Netanyahu wants to rescue them. What does this say about a Likud government under Netanyahu?
Let’s ask Netanyahu to state his platform and then sign a contract with the Israeli people to keep every pledge. (Recall how Sharon lied - lied - lied and, once in power, ignored every pledge he ever made.) I doubt that Netanyahu will make a binding contract with the Jewish people and agree to resign if he breaks this contract.
I wonder what Israel would do if they elected One Honest Man who had backbone and really believed in the Jewish Nation?
What we do not need is another spineless crook ready to give up the Golan and 40% of Israel vital water resource that comes from the Golan Heights. The Golan has been peaceful for 35 years because Israel’s observation posts in the Golan, on Mt. Hermon and Mt. Dov can look down into Damascus and spot the start-up of the first aggressive tank or plane.
We do not need to surrender Judea and Samaria and uproot more than 250,000 Jewish men, women and children. Why should we destroy their lives and homes? How would Israel even begin to pay to re-settle them? The 10,000 Jewish men, women and children evicted from Gush Katif/Gaza in 2005 still do not have permanent homes and most don’t have jobs.
Must Judea and Samaria become like another Gaza with 3 to 5 million Muslim Arab Palestinians dumped into it so they could fire at the entire Israeli coastal area? Add to that the mountain areas aquifers which provides what was once clean water to the Tel Aviv coastal areas. Now the Arab Muslims allow sewage to flow into the valleys and from there into the fresh water resource aquifers.
Israel needs a new government that starts clean with people known to be ethical and well out of the circle of corruption. There really are people like that in Israel but, it will be hard to break the choke-hold the political parties have on the people. It starts with the Prime Minister with a clean record and his willingness to clean house.
I grant you such a successful selection will be a miracle. But, Israel was born and survived many wars by such miracles where the People fought for their lives, rights and the Jewish State so HaShem granted the needed miracles.
A CEASE-FIRE WITH TERROR?
Ha’aretz, May 20, 2008
Terror is endemic to the Middle East. The early Zionist settlers faced acts of terror, and citizens of the State of Israel have been subjected to acts of terror for the past 60 years. But what for many years had been seen as a secondary danger, as compared to the danger of aggression by neighboring Arab states, became a full-fledged threat to the state during the second intifada, when Palestinian terror reached into the heart of Israel's cities almost daily.
How to fight terror became the subject of endless discussions during that difficult time. As long as Israel seemed unable to find an effective answer to Palestinian terror, the defeatists in our ranks claimed that terror could not be defeated by force, while the more cautious argued that terror could not be defeated by the use of force alone. The implication was that Israel had no choice but to concede to at least some of the terrorists' demands—that they must be given a "political horizon."
But once the Israel Defense Forces and the security services began to seriously tackle Palestinian terror, following the massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya in the spring of 2002, it quickly became clear that terror could be defeated by force. As a matter of fact, it could be defeated only by the use of force. The terrorists view any hints of Israeli willingness to give in to a portion of their essentially limitless demands as a sign of weakness, which only serves to encourage further acts of terror.
But Israel's victory over Palestinian terror, which put an end to the daily bouts of suicide bombings, also induced amnesia in the minds of some of Israel's leaders. The lesson was quickly forgotten. The shameful unilateral withdrawal from the security zone in southern Lebanon, which served to trigger the second intifada, was acclaimed by them as a great success that brought peace to northern Israel—until the wake-up call came with the Second Lebanon War. At that point, twisted logic took over the minds of members of the Olmert government, and they acclaimed the first defeat Israel had suffered in its entire history as a defeat of Hezbollah. Maybe they will finally get some sense into their heads when they see what Hezbollah, which they claim to have defeated, is doing in Lebanon these days. What a missed opportunity!
But they forgot everything and learned nothing. Though forcefully denying that they are carrying out any negotiations with Hamas while rockets and mortar shells are falling daily on hapless Israeli citizens in the South, they have actually been proceeding, via Egyptian mediation, with talks on a cease-fire with Hamas in Gaza. Abandoning the strategy of defeating terrorism, they are now offering Hamas terrorists a respite so they can rearm, train and prepare for the next round of attacks against Israel, with the help of the Iranians….
After the latest attack on Ashkelon, the defense minister declared that we must think before we act. He has had two years to think about this problem, but has still not found the answer—which is simple, even if unpleasant: The rockets have to be moved out of range of Israeli towns by the presence of Israeli ground troops in the area.
Now the Olmert government is placing its hopes on proposing a cease-fire to the terrorists. A truce with the terrorists, meaning that Israel would cease its attacks against organizations in Gaza whose leaderships are pledged to Israel's destruction, is ludicrous and self-defeating. It has not worked with Hezbollah, it will not work with Iran, and it won't work with Hamas. Until such time as Israel adopts the only strategy that works in the war against terror—attacking the terrorists until they are soundly defeated—Israel will continue to be weakened, and its citizens will continue to be casualties of terrorist acts.
Our World: Jews united for Israel's friends
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suffered a humiliating setback this week in his quest for international legitimacy. Ahmadinejad is expected to arrive in Rome this week to participate in a UN summit on the global food crisis (which has been caused by the rise in oil prices that Ahmadinejad is so pleased to have had a role in fomenting).
Ahmadinejad was hoping that while in the Italian capital he would be able to have a photo-op with Pope Benedict XVI. To secure the meeting, Ahmadinejad - who has called for all nations to convert to Islam or be destroyed (except for the Jews who can do nothing to avoid destruction) - has been sweet talking the Vatican for months. In his latest move, during a meeting in April with Archbishop Jean-Paul Gobel, the Vatican's representative in Iran, Ahmadinejad referred to the Vatican as a "positive force for justice and peace."
But Benedict was unmoved by Ahmadinejad's flattery. His request for an audience with the pontiff was unceremoniously rejected.
Not surprisingly, the Israeli government has nothing to say about Benedict's humiliation of Ahmadinejad. This is unsurprising because the Olmert-Livni-Barack-Yishai government has never bothered to pay attention to anything that the pope does. His bold moves in recent years to challenge Islamic leaders to repudiate murder and coercion in the name of Allah have elicited no support and indeed no reaction of any kind from Jerusalem.
The Olmert-Livni-Barack-Yishai government's neglect of the Vatican is regrettable, but it is par for the course for this government which has limited Israel's foreign policy to appeasing Palestinian terrorists and kowtowing to the State Department. The best that can be said for this state of affairs is that at least Israel's neglect of the Catholic Church - like its neglect of Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and Australia - is benign. In contrast, the treatment that the Vatican has received from some American Jewish leaders has been far from neglectful and far from benign.
RATHER THAN stand with the Catholic church as Benedict moves boldly against radical Islam, American Jewish leaders led by ADL Director Abe Foxman have been attacking the church for its theological decisions. Last year, fresh from his bitter campaign against Mel Gibson's movie about Jesus, Foxman began targeting the Vatican for its decision to permit wider use of the traditional Latin Mass which includes a prayer for Jews to convert to Christianity.
While it is unpleasant for Jews to consider millions of Catholics praying for us to abandon our faith, it is unclear why what they say in their churches should interest us so long as they aren't demanding our presence at disputations or forcibly converting us. After all, in our prayers, we explicitly reject their faith as false. And this is to be expected.
Every religion asserts itself as the one true faith and demeans all others as false. As the American Jewish radio host Dennis Prager noted at a lecture for the David Horowitz Freedom Center in Santa Barbara, California this weekend, "There is no Judeo-Christian faith. There are Judeo-Christian values."
JUDAISM AND Christianity are different religions. But they share common moral values and it is on the basis of these values that joint action can be taken and separate actions can be judged. Jews and Christians cannot judge each other on the basis of theology, only on the basis of morality.
Pope Benedict's actions clearly show him to be a friend of Israel and the Jewish people. Unfortunately, due to the grave absence of Jewish leadership in both Israel and the US today, he has little to show for it.
But any grief that Israel's neglect, and men like Foxman's unnecessary criticisms may have caused the pope are nothing compared to the insults Jewish leaders have heaped in recent months on our most prominent Protestant Christian friend. The humiliating treatment that Pastor John Hagee, the founder and national chairman of Christians United for Jews has suffered at the hands of American Jewish leaders is simply a travesty.
This week in Washington, DC, AIPAC is hosting its annual policy conference. It will be an illustrious affair. Heavy-hitters from both American political parties will be in attendance, as will scholars and activists from Israel and the US. But one name is noticeably absent from the three-day program. John Hagee - who in three years has transformed CUFI into a grassroots pro-Israel movement that dwarfs AIPAC in size - is not on the program. And this is a horrible thing.
AIPAC's decision to shun Hagee says something terrible about the state of American Jewish politics today. Quite simply, Hagee has become a victim of liberal American Jewish leaders' decision to place their leftist political preferences above their concern for Israel's survival and for the well-being of American Jewry.
SENATOR BARACK Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for President, has a problem with his religious background. Until last weekend, Obama was a 20-year member of the Trinity United Baptist Church in Chicago. In recent months, his former pastor Jeremiah Wright, the man who converted him to Christianity, officiated at his wedding and baptized his daughters, has been exposed as an anti-American, anti-white and anti-Semitic political activist who preaches a black supremacist version of Christian teachings to his enthusiastic congregation. Then too, Obama's Catholic friend, and friend of Trinity United, Father Michael Pfleger, has been exposed as an anti-American, anti-white and anti-Semitic political activist who preaches a black supremacist version of Christian teaching to his enthusiastic congregation.
Obama's longstanding and deep connections to these spiritual mentors have placed him in a problematic position vis-à-vis the American electorate. To mitigate the damage, Obama's supporters have sought to counterbalance Wright with a conservative clergyman of equal weight in the Republican camp. And Hagee, with his avowedly anti-homosexual, anti-abortion views and public prominence was the chosen target.
THE FIRST Obama supporter to hone in on Hagee was Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism. Yoffie has long sought to discredit Hagee who he sees as a threat to his view that the only way to be pro-Israel is to support the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Hagee endorsed Republican John McCain for President in March. In early April, Yoffie called on McCain to reject Hagee's endorsement and he called on American Jews to reject CUFI, claiming that CUFI's unconditional support for Israel precluded its support for a Palestinian state.
In his words, "No, we cannot cooperate with Christian Zionists. What [Hagee and his allies] mean by 'support of Israel' and what we mean by 'support of Israel' are two very different things. Their vision of Israel rejects a two-state solution, rejects the possibility of a democratic Israel, and supports the permanent occupation of all Arab lands now controlled by Israel."
FOLLOWING YOFFIE's lead, Democratic activists desperate to find a Republican counterpart to Wright, focused their fire on Hagee. They attacked him for anti-homosexual remarks he has made. And they grossly distorted remarks he made on historical Christian anti-Semitism to portray him as an enemy of the Catholic church. Then too, they attacked him for a sermon he gave where he argued that the Holocaust was God's way of getting the Jews to Israel and so absurdly implied that a man who has devoted his professional life to improving Jewish-Christian relations, ending Evangelical Christian drives to convert Jews and supporting Israel is an anti-Semite.
The Democratic Jewish charge against Hagee compelled McCain to reject Hagee's endorsement, and so drove another wedge between McCain and the Republican voting Christian Right. It also successfully created an illusion of symmetry between Wright and Hagee.
This in and of itself is morally repugnant since there is no moral equivalence between Hagee and Wright. Hagee clearly loves America, doesn't have a problem with whites or blacks and loves Jews. Wright is a man defined by his hatreds.
But even more insidious than Hagee's forced estrangement from McCain is the effort to have him disowned by the American Jewish community and Israel. Yoffie, together with the pro-Palestinian Jewish American lobbying group J Street, have been pressuring Jewish leaders to distance their organizations from Hagee and CUFI and to boycott CUFI's annual conference in Washington next month. Not surprisingly, Foxman answered their call by announcing that he was placing the ADL's relations with CUFI "on hold." And no doubt bowing to their pressure, AIPAC neglected to invite Hagee to its policy conference this week.
As for Israel, just as Yoffie made his initial attack on Hagee, Hagee was setting out to Israel with a thousand CUFI members on a solidarity mission. He held a rally of his supporters at the Jerusalem Conference Center. There he distributed six million dollars in contributions from CUFI members to Israeli charities and educational institutions. No doubt in response to Yoffie's pressure, the only prominent Israeli politicians who attended the event were Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu and former Likud minister and MK Uzi Landau. No government minister attended and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sufficed with a private meeting with Hagee.
HAPPILY, NOT all American Jewish leaders have agreed to toe the line. Senator Joseph Lieberman has rejected demands by Yoffie and J Street to boycott CUFI's conference in Washington. The American Jewish Committee and the Zionist Organization of America have refused to distance themselves from Hagee. Israel and American Jewry should follow their example.
These are terrible times for world Jewry. Islamic Jew-hatred is genocidal. The international Left has betrayed us. Our leaders are weak. Our friends are few and far between. If we wish to persevere in this environment we must embrace those who support us while eschewing those - even in our own ranks - who tell us that support for Israel is conditional. Now is not the time to quibble over Christian theology. Now is the time to stand united with our friends against our common enemies.
Banners & Miracles Awaiting Our Deed
Prof. Eugene Narrett
“The State of Israel was established so Jews could determine their own fate, to fight and defeat their enemies, not to be human dust but to turn their enemies to dust. The State of Israel can fulfill this mission and therefore at least in this regard [can be] the realization of generations of dreams. But as long as its leaders are of the race of Flavius [rather than the race of Bar Kokhba], they may turn Israel over to the worst of its enemies…” -- Arieh Eldad, “Israel at 2000 and 60” [emphasis added]
In the Hebrew language and consciousness, a flag is a miracle (nase), a banner snapping against the sky to arouse to wonder and thus empower.
The modern State of Israel from its beginning has the wrong flag because it has the wrong leaders, socialists and multicultural globalists who suppress and would obliterate the Jewish substance that alone gives the State meaning and life. Great changes to save the nation and people of Israel can begin with designing, disseminating and displaying the truth and national pride of the Children of Israel.
The symbol of Israel from most ancient times is the Menorah for Israel testifies to the Creator and the purposefulness of life and history. The Menorah awakens people to the Matzui Rishon, the Primary Being as the primary fact of life, the generosity and order that establish abundance and coherence.
The flag of Israel is a golden Menorah on a field of white with a thin blue stripe inset from its border edge; the blue of the infinitely remote, in space, time and concept ‘place’ where the life energy of the Creator appeared and initiated the universe.
The mission of Israel as a witness and teacher of this fact and these qualities, the basis both of science and wonder was set forth at Sinai. There the Eternal One, the Highest Wisdom brought the people He chose to receive his teachings for sanctifying the world. Israel itself, living on its land with its mission is like a banner arousing the nations to awe and respect. Therefore, another flag of Israel shows the tablets of the law flanked by the lions of Judah, rampant on a blue field.
These flags must be displayed prominently in Jerusalem and in every Jewish settlement in the land of Israel which is a “daughter of Israel” married to a Jewish “son of Eve.” The Eternal speaks to the land Israel saying, “you shall clothe yourself with them like jewelry and adorn yourself like a bride…and those who would devour you will be distanced” .
In every generation the world rises up to destroy Israel and the Jews because most people, leaders especially with their fixation on power cannot abide the testimony of Israel to the Eternal One and to the logic and purpose of history and creation. They would rather be fiddling with it, and with people to suit themselves and their ambitions to be as gods. In the Modern period, the ideology of the West, the dominant culture, is increasingly about forgetting, about burial of history and the past, about the radical reformation of family, gender, social relationships, the nature of humanity and its relation to the Creator. Israel embodies remembrance and thus history. So it must proclaim its history, the root-sparks of its integrity on banners seen brilliantly against the sky: this is our strength, our self-respect, our honor and witness of the Highest Wisdom.
Thus, in every tribal territory, in additional to the national flags that teach science and morality, first principles (reisheet) and holiness in life Israel must fly the tribal banners in every settlement. The lion of Judah, the radiant hind of Naphtali, the viper of Dan (“don’t tread on me” as the US Navy flag adapted from this message and blessing proclaims), the silhouette of Shechem on the banner of Shimon, the olive tree of Asher, green on gold must fly everywhere reminding everyone who we are and where we are rooted by the Master and Maker of all things. More than any speeches, legal pleadings, ‘negotiations’ and declarations these banners will establish Israel in its place, deter the devourers and lift up a sign to the exiles.
These uplifted miracles are the counterpart of the lovers of the land that walk it, pitch tents, cook meals and deepen the marriage of the Land and the People. They are these flags and they should carry the flags of the true Israel, the Israel of Sinai and Jerusalem.
And every day, for the same purposes, a brace of shofars should be sounded by these miracles, bannered against the sky.
Last but not least, given the gathering darkness of our times, in every settlement and at every guard post in Yehudah and the Shomron there should fly the banner of the lion and the ox, a golden lion of Judah rampant on a blue field, vertical, next to the black ox on a red field of Joseph to remind us all of Ezekiel’s stirring prophecy of the essence of redemption and the embodiment of mitzvah yichud, the deed that goes with the prophecy and prayer: Judah and Joseph and their brothers with them, “one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel,” the heart of the heartland .
Last but not least, to fulfill Israel’s teaching mission, every day leaders of the heartland must proclaim their brotherhood and unity with all the Jewish people everywhere, especially those living in the State which so greatly needs to return to its root and strength. The oligarchs who grind down the Jewish people can be overcome by these myriad banners of identity and love and by the verbal declaration that “we are all brothers, sons of one man.” Tell them everywhere in the land and in the exile, we will never forsake you; we are one as Hashem is One .
This declaration of unity is essential, a rallying center for all those who know that the Land of Israel is for the People of Israel and only in this way can they flourish in the derekh Yehudi, an example for the world. This alignment is necessary to resist and undo the false collective that the looming “National Unity Government” of the oligarchs plans to squash the heart of the heartland and bury the banners of Israel, its history & witness.
The world will learn and the burden of madness will lift from its rulers. “The earth will yield its produce. May God, our God bless us and all the ends of the earth will know awe of Him” .
Make the banners and raise them now: activate the miracle and the redemption.
1. Rav Yitzhak Ginsburgh, Rectifying the State of Israel (Gal Einai 2003), 78-80, 120-4, 178-9
2. Ezekiel 37:15-28
3. Genesis 42:11, 32
4. Psalm 67: 7-8
THE FREEMAN CENTER VERSUS AIPAC
The Truth and the Consequences
by Bernard J. Shapiro
We recently were witness to the large AIPAC Conference in Wasington D.C. All the presidential candidates plus many Israeli and Amrican political leaders spoke to the group. These included: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Ehud Olmert, John McCain and Condoleezza Rice Ehud Olmert, Benjamin Netanyahu and other major political leaders.
There are many Americans (especially in the State Department, CIA, academic, Muslim and left-wing communities) who believe that AIPAC is an evil force that distorts US Middle East policy to our detriment. On the other hand, there are many pro-Israel Jews and Christians, who believe that it is indispensable in the defense of Israeli interests in Washington. Tens of millions of dollars are raised annually to support this organization.
The Truth is not found in these two views of AIPAC described above. Up until 1992, one could say that the second positive view of AIPAC was correct. For many years Tom Dine headed that organization and led a never ending battle supporting Israel and Zionism. The in the Israeli election of 1992, Labor leaders Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres took over Israel. Rabin became Prime Minister and Peres a Foreign Minister.
Peres with his associate, extreme anti-Zionist Yossi Beilin, began negotiating with the outlawed terrorist PLO. It became necessary to emasculate AIPAC to prevent American Jewish criticism of the planed Oslo Agreements. Dine was ousted after many years of great service in a very nasty coup. AIPAC was now in the hands of pliable leaders who would follow every lead of the Israeli government, NO MATTER HOW SELF DESTRUCTIVE.
And those self destructive plans came one after another in rapid succession: Oslo, Hebron, Wye, Road Map, Expulsion of Jews from Gaza, restriction on building in Judea and Samaria, persecution of religious Jews and violation of their civil and human rights and finally the elimination of the Jewish right to self defense. Education in Israel ceased being patriotic or Zionist and building a Palestinian pseudo state became the goal of the Israeli Government. AIPAC said nothing and cheered the government’s mad dash to dismantle the long sought for Jewish State.
THE BOTTOM LINE
There are still some TRUE Zionist organizations in America. The ones that have fought the longest and the hardest for Israel are American’s For A Safe Israel, Freeman Center For Strategic Studies, Zionist Organization of America and Pastor John Hagee’s Christians United For Israel. These are the organizations deserving of your support.
OUR PRO ISRAEL PHILOSOPHY COMPARED TO AIPAC
1. TRUE ZIONISTS: All of Eretz Yisrael belongs in perpetuity to the Jewish People
AIPAC: We will negociate away any part of Eretz Israel the government believes will bring "peace"
2. ZIONISTS: Israel’s right of self defense should be aggressive and not dependent of America or world opinion
AIPAC: Israel’s defense should be based on what America allow and world public opinion find acceptable
3. ZIONISTS: It is moral and just to expel or transfer a hostile terrorists loving population from Israel. No racial implication, only behavioral characteristics. For example: Those who want to kill us should not be our neighbors.
AIPAC: It is immoral to transfer Arabs but it is Moral to transfer and expel Jews, as in Gush Katif and Yesha.
4. ZIONISTS: Gaza should be re-conquered, put under total siege, and starved until the Hamas terrorists surrender. Than means no food, water, medical supplies, electricity or fuel (which they use to fire rockets into Israel).
AIPAC: Humanitarian aid should flow to Gaza and a cease-fire that, leaves Hamas in place to continue the war, should be worked out
5. ZIONISTS: In order to save IDF lives, no consideration should be made for civilian "human shield" of Hamas. Stand off artillery and aircraft bombs should soften targets before ground invasion. Civilian casualties should be NO more considered than the Allies did during WWI in Dresden and Hiroshima.
AIPAC: The IDF military must act with great restraint, even if this means many more Israeli soldier’s deaths.
6. ZIONISTS: No negotiations on the Golan, except demanding the Syrians return to the lines following the Israeli victory of 1973.
AIPAC: Whatever the Israeli government wants to do.
7. ZIONISTS: Protect all of Israel’s water resources, including the Golan, the Judean-Samarian mountain aquifer, as well as prevent the pollution of water resources by sewage spill off Gaza coast and from Arab villages.
AIPAC: Support the Israeli governments plans to giveaway most of Israel’s water resources to hostile enemies. And then they would want to replace this water through costly desalination schemes.
8. ZIONISTS: Would make Israel militarily independent of America and turn the relationship into a true alliance. Now it is an asymmetrical relationship, despite the fact Israel supplies the US approximately 5 times the military aid as America supplies Israel.
AIPAC: Loves to boast about its getting weapons from America, but never reveals the hidden cost. Every deal adds to the diplomatic pressure on Israel foreign policy. Every deal ends up in massive sales to Arab enemy countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Every deal has some detrimental effect on Israel’s local military industries.
9. ZIONISTS: Never discuss or give away any part of Jerusalem and also take over the Temple Mount from Islamic control. And of course allow regular Jewish prayer on the Mount.
AIPAC: Israel should not offend Muslims by asserting Jewish rights in Jerusalem and the Temple mount.
I could list many more differences between true American Zionist organizations and the pseudo Zionists at AIPAC . The above is enough for you to make a decision on who to support.
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Column One: ElBaradei's candor
Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei's most prominent personality trait is his chutzpah. Two weeks before Israel destroyed the North Korean-built nuclear reactor in Syria on September 6, ElBaradei, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, was complaining to Australian television about the US's decision to augment its military assistance to Israel by $30 billion over the next 10 years. The move, he said, would lead to a regional arms race. As far as ElBaradei is concerned, diplomacy means never having to say you're sorry and always attacking people who actually care what you think. And so it is not surprising that ever since Israel destroyed the installation in al-Kibar, ElBaradei has reserved his sharpest attacks not for Syria, which was exposed as an illicit nuclear proliferator, but for Israel and the US. Unlike Israel, Syria is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. At this week's meeting of the IAEA's Board of Governors, ElBaradei discussed how - in breach of its treaty obligations - Syria has refused IAEA requests to inspect the bombed out site and three other suspected nuclear sites in the country. The IAEA has been asking for permission to inspect al-Kibar since September. And since September Damascus has ignored the requests. Satellite photography has shown that Syria has used the intervening months to build a new structure over the destroyed reactor to hide it. Evidently Damascus is now comfortable with the situation on the ground because it has apparently agreed to allow UN inspectors to visit the site later this month. Damascus's belated response to IAEA requests is anything but a sign that Syria is ready to come clean on its nuclear programs. While allowing inspectors at the altered al-Kibar site, Syria has refused IAEA requests to inspect three other military installations where it is suspected of developing nuclear weapons. Nuclear experts told news agencies this week that two of those sites are operational. One is suspected of having equipment that can reprocess nuclear material into the fissile core of warheads. But ElBaradei doesn't really care. At the Board of Governors meeting this week he sufficed with the laconic statement that Damascus "has an obligation to report the planning and construction of any nuclear facility to the agency." The countries that really got his goat were Israel and the US. ElBaradei complained bitterly that the US waited until April to tell the IAEA what Israel bombed last September. And, of course, he attacked Israel for attacking the nuclear reactor in the first place. In his words, "It is deeply regrettable that information concerning this installation was not provided to the agency in a timely manner and that force was resorted to unilaterally before the agency was given an opportunity to establish the facts." ElBaradei has headed the UN's nuclear watchdog agency for six years. His stewardship of the IAEA landed him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. Given the Nobel committee's open anti-Americanism and embrace of terrorists and their state sponsors, the committee's support for ElBaradei makes sense. For under ElBaradei's leadership, the IAEA has devoted itself to performing two tasks. It seeks to be informed of rogue regime's illicit nuclear weapons programs before those programs are exposed in the media and cause the IAEA embarrassment; and it works to ensure that nothing will be done to thwart these rogue regimes' nuclear weapons programs. If he had to choose between the first and second goal, ElBaradei has been clear that he will always choose to protect rogue nuclear programs - even if they are hidden in plain sight. As he explained to the BBC in May 2007, "I have no brief other than to make sure we don't go into another war or that we go crazy killing each other." Hinting at his reason for obfuscating Iran's quest for the atom bomb he added, "You do not want to give additional arguments to new crazies who say, 'Let's go and bomb Iran.'" To prevent such "crazies" from acting, in August 2006 ElBaradei launched an attack against the US Congress. In an icy letter to the then-chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Peter Hoekstra, ElBaradei attacked the committee's report on Iran's nuclear program that accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons and accused the IAEA of working to prevent conclusions from being drawn about the nature of Iran's nuclear program. IT IS in light of ElBaradei's unrelenting work to protect Iran's nuclear program and his campaign against Westerners who wish to take concerted action to prevent Teheran from acquiring nuclear weapons that the IAEA's latest report on Iran is so remarkable. The IAEA submitted its latest report to the UN Security Council and its own Board of Governors on Monday. A far cry from its anemic predecessors, the latest report is a smoking gun. The report sets out considerable evidence implicating Teheran in an attempt to develop nuclear weapons. It also admits that Iran has failed to explain documented evidence of military aspects of its program. Specifically, the IAEA report noted that Iran is building structures that fit the description of a nuclear test site. Iran has performed work designing a missile re-entry vehicle. It has conducted studies toward building a uranium conversion facility that would convert uranium yellowcake to UF4, or Green Salt - a process vital for producing uranium metal for weapons cores. Iran made advances toward adapting its Shihab-3 ballistic missiles to detonate some 650 meters above their targets - a capacity only relevant for nuclear warheads. It has developed and tested exploding bridgewire detonators "that could be applicable to an implosion-type nuclear device." The IAEA report also warned that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards-owned company Kimia Maadan has been actively involved in the nuclear program, as have several other firms run by the Iranian military. These firms include the Physics Research Center, the Institute of Applied Physics, the Educational Research Institute and the Defense Industries Organization. The IAEA's report is devastating. Indeed, it seems to back up the Mossad's warning that Iran could have an atomic arsenal by next year. At a minimum, it moves the international conversation about Iran's nuclear program from the question of whether Iran is building nuclear bombs to when Iran will acquire nuclear bombs. THE QUESTION that naturally arises from the IAEA report is why did ElBaradei agree to publish it? Given his openly stated objective of preventing anyone from attacking Teheran's nuclear installations, the only reasonable explanation for ElBaradei's behavior is that he is convinced that Iran's nuclear installations are safe. That is, ElBaradei is willing to point a finger at Iran because he is sure that neither the US nor Israel will prevent it from getting the bomb. To have reached this conclusion, ElBaradei needed no further intelligence than the morning papers. Reading them, he would have seen that the US intelligence and foreign policy communities have decided to throw in the towel on the war everywhere other than Iraq. The US capitulation, which began with the Bush administration's decision to appease North Korea last year, went into full gear with December's publication of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran which claimed it had ended its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Then came the Bush administration's embrace of Palestinian statehood as what Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice referred to as "a vital US interest" in her address to AIPAC's policy conference this week. After that came the downfall of Pakistani dictator and guardian of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal Pervez Musharraf. As the effective release of Pakistan's Dr. Strangelove, A.Q. Khan, from house arrest this week, and the new "democratic" Pakistani government's surrender of North and South Waziristan to the Taliban in recent weeks show, the US's support for Musharraf on the one hand, and failure to support or develop anti-jihadist forces in Pakistani society and the Pakistani military on the other, has brought about a situation where the US has no one to turn to in Pakistan today. Rather than take action to secure Afghanistan from the Pakistan-based Taliban or arrest Khan, the Bush administration has sufficed with whining and begging the new pro-jihad and anti-American "democratic" government to accept more US military assistance. On the ideological front, the US has similarly capsized its war efforts. In April the Homeland Security Department distributed a memo instructing US officials not to use the terms "Islamic," "Islamist," "jihad" or "jihadist" to describe the US's enemy in the war. Moreover, the new guidance - which the State Department reportedly adopted happily - also asserts that it is wrong for the US to use the word "liberty" to describe what it hopes to replace jihad with in Muslim societies. From now on, the war is to be described as a campaign to bring "progress" to the Middle East. And the war is no longer a war. Rather, it is the "Global Struggle for Security and Progress." But not everyone was satisfied with the new Orwellian terminology. Last week the Financial Times reported that Charles Allen, the Department of Homeland Security's undersecretary for intelligence and analysis, wrote a memo arguing that the term "war on terror" should also be dropped. In his view, the term creates "animus" toward the US in the Muslim world, which automatically (and unaccountably) associates terrorism with Islam. And of course, in ordering US officials responsible for analyzing intelligence and conducting US diplomacy to ignore the nature of the enemy as well as the US's counter-ideology of liberty, the US is merely following the example of the EU and Britain, which abandoned any attempt to bring rationality into their intelligence analyses long ago. Given that these are the people who are responsible for assessing data on Iran's nuclear program, ElBaradei probably figured that he has nothing to worry about. To all of this, of course, must be added the developments in Lebanon. Apparently, the US's new policy for Lebanon is to ignore the fact that two weeks ago, the Doha agreement between Hizbullah and the Saniora government transferred control of the country to Hizbullah and its state sponsor Iran. In her speech before AIPAC, Rice applauded the Doha agreement as a "positive step." Earlier in the week, in a visit to Beirut, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman announced that the US intends to increase its assistance to the Lebanese army, which takes its orders from Hizbullah and Iran. So through its serial capitulation to its enemies, the US has convinced ElBaradei that Washington has washed its hands of the war. THAT OF course leaves Israel. For the past five years, Israel's leaders - from Ariel Sharon to Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni, Ehud Barak and Eli Yishai - have acted as though Iran's nuclear program is someone else's responsibility. "Washington is leading the campaign against Iran," everyone has said. Aside from issuing periodic backhanded threats, Israel has developed no coherent diplomatic or coercive policy for actually preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Israel can delude itself no longer in thinking that someone else will protect it from annihilation. ElBaradei's lack of concern that "crazies" will attack Iran shows the Israeli people that if we wish to survive, we must ensure that our leaders understand that we alone are responsible for our security and survival.
IN THE MIDDLE EAST
By Dr. Irving Kett
(published in The Maccabean - 2001)
The distinguished U.S. naval strategist, Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, originated the term Middle East in 1902. It designates the vast region between the western border of Pakistan to the western border of Egypt and the countries south of the former Soviet Union. Admiral Thayer used the term to designate a strategic concept for the land bridge connecting the continents of Africa, Asia, and Europe.
The area includes all of the Arab world with the exception of the Mahgreb, that is the northern part of Africa, save Egypt. The region is the cradle of the three major religions of the Western World namely, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Three of its cities, Bethlehem, Mecca, and Jerusalem, are respectively the spiritual centers for each of the three faiths. The northern tier states of the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey, while devoutly Moslem, are not populated by Arabs. Although only a small part of the billion or so Moslems live in the Middle East, Mecca is the focus of their intense beliefs.
Geography and an essential natural resource, namely petroleum, constitute the strategic importance of the Middle East. The struggle for key geostrategic elements of the Middle East is recorded in the history of the region from the time of the Trojan War for control of the Dardanelles down to the present day conflict between nations within the region and those from outside. This was also the situation during the cold war between the United States and Russia. Under the parched, arid lands of the Middle East are located the largest single known oil reserves in the world. The focus of the United States strategic interests in that area stems from these basic factors, oil and the critically important waterways of the region. Petroleum is today the single most valuable commodity in world commerce; an indispensable item in time of peace and of critical strategic importance in time of war.
Energy: A Vital Commodity
The universal demand for energy is expected to double each decade to satisfy economic expansion and burgeoning populations. The single largest source of energy is derived from petroleum. The principle consumers for the foreseeable future will be the United States, Western Europe, and Japan. The United States with six percent of the world's population consumes approximately thirty percent of the annual output of the world's natural resources. As its domestic production of petroleum continues to decline, the demand in the United States continues to rise.
The U.S. still supplies almost fifty percent of its petroleum requirements of 19.6 million barrels per day (mb/d) from domestic production, although that percentage is constantly decreasing. Western Europe and especially Japan, are almost totally dependent upon imported oil, principally from the Middle East. The politically strong environmental movement in the U.S. is preventing the exploitation of other large potential domestic oil resources situated on the California Coast and the northern slope of Alaska. At the same time it has also prevented any shift toward the more extensive utilization of nuclear power for the generation of electricity as is being done in some of the other advanced industrial nations. For example, France produces close to 90% of its electrical energy from nuclear reactors. That source of power is less than 10% in the United States, despite its having been a pioneer in nuclear technology.
The emergence of the Middle East as the world's leading oil producing region has only occurred during the last half century. The first significant discovery of petroleum took place in Iran in 1908. Of the proven crude oil reserves in the world today about two-thirds are in the Middle East. Despite the daily pro- duction of about 23 million barrels a day, the quantity of known reserves in the Middle East continues to rise because of active exploration. It is estimated that one-third of the known natural gas reserves are also located in the Gulf Coast States.
The present and future dependence of the United States, Western Europe, and Japan upon imports is a matter of paramount significance. Oil from the Middle East also supplies United States military forces throughout the Eastern Hemisphere. The disruption of petroleum supplies from the Middle East in 1973, as a result of the Yom Kippur War, when Israel was attacked by Syria and Egypt, caused serious economic problems for the industrial nations of the world.
Aside from strategic considerations, the United States has a huge economic investment in the Middle East petroleum industry. In 1960 the major oil producing countries, led by the Middle East producers, formed the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) which wields tremendous economic and political power. Another Middle East factor that must be considered is the strident nationalism that pervades the region. This is characterized by extreme hostility to the United States as well as Western culture and presence in general. In the last few decades Islam has become a powerful and very aggressive expansionist force throughout much of the world.
With regards to the rising demand for energy, the low priority currently placed upon developing alternate energy sources is a matter of great concern. Not only is there an element of unreliability with respect to the unrestricted flow of Middle East oil, but it is a non-replenishing commodity. There is only a finite amount available in the world. Each day mankind is burning up this resource, which has taken nature millions of years to produce. Probably no nation has acted with greater irresponsibility in this matter than the United States. Consider the production of electricity. In the United States most of it is generated from fossil fuels such as petroleum. While France and other nations, particularly Japan, are increasingly turning to nuclear energy, the United States has not built a nuclear generating plant in over twenty years and there is none contemplated. This would appear to be a very short-sighted approach to a critical problem. An assured supply of energy is of vital interest to the United States not only in time of war, but also in time of peace.
Petroleum is a fungible commodity. Since the 1991 Gulf War, U.S. imports from the Persian Gulf region have decreased. The reverse is true with respect to Western Europe and the Far East. As the demand for petroleum increases, the two most promising sources for further production are both located in the same region of the world, the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Basin. Of these two, the Persian Gulf is the most important. It is estimated that within ten years the Persian Gulf States will supply one half of the total world oil requirement, exporting about 45 mb/d. Since most of the increased production must undoubtedly come from the Persian Gulf region, the percentage of United States imports from the Middle East will also rise. In other words there is no visible alternative to greater dependency upon Persian Gulf oil in the foreseeable future. Petroleum and natural gas there are plentiful and easily extracted at relatively low cost. This reality has a powerful impact on political decisions affecting the Middle East by all of the major democracies, including the United States.
It is ironic that the most likely competitor of the Persian Gulf oil exporting nations is the Moslem region right next door, the Caspian Basin. While the latter may possess huge reserves, estimated as high as 200 billion barrels of petroleum and 279 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the problems attendant to the development of these fields and the distribution of the products are presently still far from solution. The increasing dependence upon petroleum from the Persian Gulf entails serious geopolitical risks. The paramount consideration, however, remains the rising demand for energy. As the sole superpower, the burden of these risks falls upon the United States.
The Middle East and Strategic Waterways
The Mediterranean Sea together with the Turkish Straits and the Suez Canal have for many years been among the most important waterways in the world. The latter entrances and exits in the Eastern Mediterranean have been focal points of conflict throughout history. In the 19th Century the European powers struggled with Turkey for control over the Straits which are actually three distinct but connected bodies of water, the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles. In 1915 Great Britain suffered a crushing defeat in the Gallipoli Campaign for control over the vital Straits between the Black and the Mediterranean Seas.
The Suez Canal was completed in 1869 and it immediately became a target for international diplomacy. When Gamal Abdul Nasser, the dictator of Egypt, seized the Suez Canal in 1956, it precipitated a crisis that brought the major powers to the brink of another world war. As a result of the Six Day War between Israel and the Arabs, the Canal was closed for over seven years.
Even though the Suez is again open for shipping, the Canal has not regained its former prominence because of the development of supertankers for the transport of petroleum products that are too large to transit the Suez Canal. They navigate instead around the Cape of Good Hope.
In World War II the Mediterranean Sea was a fierce battleground whose outcome greatly influenced the course of the conflict. During the Cold War years after WW II, both the United States and Russia invested large naval forces in that Sea. The powerful U.S. Sixth Fleet is still in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Despite the continued importance of the Middle East waterways discussed in the above paragraphs, by far the most critical Middle East waterways today are the Persian Gulf and the Straits of Hormuz. Through these waterways pass the vast petroleum exports of the Middle East. For that reason the United States has kept a significant naval force on station in the Persian Gulf since the Gulf War and will probably maintain that presence for the foreseeable future. The Persian Gulf has serious potential for conflict that could threaten Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf oil supply. For some years Iraq and Iran have posed a significant military threat to each other, to the entire Gulf Region, and coincidentally both are very hostile to the United States as well as to Israel.
The Middle East Battleground
Conflict in this strategic area continuously poses a danger to world peace and to U.S. interests. While the region is criss-crossed with intense internecine strife, the most continuous danger of war is the Arab/Israel dispute that has been festering for over fifty years and between Jews and Arabs for a hundred years. Since 1948 these two contestants have fought five major wars, each at a heightened level of intensity and sophistication. Actually the Middle East conflict that resulted in the greatest loss of life and destruction was between two Moslem countries, Iraq and Iran, which lasted from 1980 to 1988. An objective analysis of the needs of the nations directly involved, as well as that of the United States, clearly indicates the urgent need for a lasting peace.
Aside from those between Israel and the Arabs, the Middle East remains embroiled in intense intraregional rivalries, where direct threats to vital United States interests are involved. In the 1990/91 Gulf War, the U.S. was forced to mobilize an expeditionary force of over half a million troops in order to protect the uninterrupted supply of petroleum from the Gulf region from Iraqi aggression. At the present time the situation is further exacerbated by the introduction of non-conventional weaponry, i.e., atomic, bacteriological, and chemical. A looming crisis which may soon erupt concerns the development of these weapons by Iraq and Iran which poses a direct challenge to the United States.
The strategic importance, coupled with a history of almost continuous crisis, requires the United States to consider the Middle East as a crucial factor in formulating worldwide economic and military strategy. After the Six Day War of 1967, the seeming U.S. support for Israel was a major consideration in the Arab turn to Russia for military support. To cope with the Middle East dilemma, several conflicting alternatives have been postulated by U.S. foreign policy makers. These have ranged from maximum support for Israel to counterbalance the combined power of the hostile Arab/Moslem states to the virtual abandonment of Israel in order to curry favor with the Moslem world and assure the vital supply of oil. While U.S. policy over the years has vacillated between these two extremes, neither one ever gained sufficient currency to completely dominate the other.
The abandonment of Israel may become a more imperative option, however, if the latter permits itself to be further weakened by the process of appeasement. In such an event only direct U.S. military involvement could possibly save a truncated Israel from destruction. It is realistic to imagine that such a move, involving loss of American lives, would be very unpopular with the U.S. public. The continued pressure upon Israel by successive U.S. administrations to satisfy Arab territorial demands would appear to be a gambit fraught with danger for the Jews of Israel as well as for the frequently espoused U.S. moral commitment to Israel's survival. The destruction of Israel stemming from such long standing U.S. policy and the lack of an adequate military response at time of crisis would seriously undermine the credibility of the United States in the international arena.
It would, however, be quixotic to deny the obvious truism that the United States has vital interests in the world and even in the Middle East that far transcend not only the security of Israel but the very survival of Israel. Since the demise of the USSR, it is questionable whether Israel is still the important strategic asset of the United States in the Middle East. Prior to the Camp David Accords in 1978, Israel was a significant regional power. Shorn of the Sinai Peninsula and further reduced by the Oslo Accords of 1993 and threatened with the additional loss of the Golan Heights, the continued viability of Israel as a defensible nation is in question. In the past twenty years, therefore, the United States has begun focusing upon Egypt rather than Israel as its most important strategic asset in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Armed Conflict in the New Middle East
Two approaches exist today concerning tactics that need to be employed in the battlefield. One emphasizes high-tech weapons, including high performance manned aircraft and drones, missiles, c3 communication, electronic sensors, and instantaneous computerized battle information; the other places greater importance upon well trained, highly motivated troops, operating in small, mobile units, and prepared to engage the enemy at close quarters with appropriate light infantry weapons. Indications are that determined enemy forces of the latter type, employing deadly and protracted terrorist and guerilla tactics, are what the U.S. would probably face if it permits itself again to become involved in Middle East conflicts.
Examples of the apparent effective use of high performance weaponry that avoids the risk of significant casualties were the Gulf War and the recent conflict in Kosovo, where the latest technology in weaponry was employed to overcome enemy resistance. One may well point out, however, that Saddam Hussein is still in power in Iraq, and that little damage was inflicted on Serbian military assets in the 1999 Kosovo conflict. Had the Serbs persevered a bit longer, the United States would probably have been forced to employ substantial ground forces. The overall efficacy of high performance weaponry as a single dimension tool is still very much open to question.
The obvious failure of high-tech weaponry to impose one's will upon a determined enemy was certainly the U.S. experience in the traumatic defeat suffered in Viet-Nam. More recently the evidence was reinforced by the humiliating withdrawal of the supposedly powewrful Israeli Army from Lebanon in the face of only a few hundred determined guerrillas, to say nothing of the manner in which U.S. forces turned tail, after licking its wounds in Lebanon and Somalia.
No foreseeable enemy in the Middle East will attempt to engage U.S. forces on the basis of matching tank for tank, aircraft for aircraft, artillery piece for artillery piece, or even soldiers trained in the hubris of the most modern weaponry.
This does not mean that a dedicated force as we have seen to exist in this region, willing to take casualties, fighting a cunning guerilla/terrorist type of war and able to blend in with the local population may not in the end prevail. That enemy will probably consist of highly dispersed, mobile forces, well equipped for its harassing mission, supported by large civilian populations, and again one must emphasize, not afraid to accept death in order to gain its objectives. In such an environment, infantry will again regain its historic role as the queen of battle.
The strategic importance of the vast petroleum reserves in the Middle East, along with its vital sea lanes, requires the United States to consider this region carefully in formulating its foreign policy decisions. These considerations must be coupled with an awareness of the continuous proclivity for violence and fierce hatred of Western culture that is endemic among the people living in the Middle East.
Probably the most visible and persistent flash point will continue to be the Arab/Israel dispute, despite repeated attempts to paper over the deep-seated conflict with agreements and peace treaties. The enmity that exists combines the most explosive mix of extreme nationalism and religious fundamentalism. As opposed to Israel, all of the Arab states are governed by dictatorships, manifesting varying degrees of repression and brutality toward their own people. The United States must eschew permitting itself to become too deeply involved in this intractable dilemma. Possibly the best policy for the United States to follow in the 21st Century Middle East, except where its direct vital interests are immediately concerned, would be one of gradual disengagement and benign neglect. If a solution to the problems is to be found, it will have to be formulated and implemented solely by the indigenous population and governments.
With respect to wars in the 21st Century, the major task of all U.S. governments should be to avoid involvement in the terrible destruction inherent in modern weaponry and tactics, and to protect their nation from international terrorism emanating from the Middle East. Terrorism, together with widespread unconventional guerilla-type warfare, may become the hallmark for future conflict. This is in contradiction to the notion that since high-technology weapons exist, that the wars in the 21st Century will necessarily be waged with them. While the history of the present century will probably record many bloody conflicts, possibly very few outcomes, if any, will be determined by the massive utilization of the most advanced weaponry. One of the greatest challenges facing U.S. military professionals in the 21st Century will be to refute the myth that the United States can wage successful push-button wars that will make combat effective, quick, clean, and bloodless, at least insofar as American forces are concerned.
1. "Area Handbook for Israel", U.S. Dept. of the Army, 1970.
2. "Area Handbook for Saudi Arabia", U.S. Dept. of the Army, 1970.
3. "API Reports", American Petroleum Institute, Fall 2000.
4. "A Proposed Solution to the Arab-Israeli Conflict", Kett, Irving, LTC, U.S. Army War College, 1974.
5. "Command Decisions", Office of the Chief of Military History, U.S. Army, 1960.
6. "Strategic Geography and the Changing Middle East", Kemp, Geoffrey, Harkavy, Robert E., Brookings Institution Press, 1997.
7. "The Middle East in World Affairs", Lenczowski, George, 3rd Edition, Cornell University Press, 1962
8. "United States Military Posture", Moorer, Thomas H. Admiral, USN, Testimony before U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, 1975.
Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired
CO-CONSPIRATORS TO MURDER OF JEWS
by Emanuel A. Winston,
Freeman Center Mid East Commentator & Analyst
Once again the Olmert Gang is talking about releasing a hideous killer of Jews who has pledged in a February letter to Hebz’Allah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, to kill more Jews if and when he is freed in trade for remains of Jewish/Israeli soldiers.
Surely, this is more than sufficient reason to imprison the entire Olmert Gang as co-conspirators to murder. Terrorists released by the Olmert Gang have already resumed killing Jews and Olmert still remains free.
Samir Kuntar is serving 4 life sentences for the heinous murders in Nahariya, landing in a rubber boat on a beach on April 22, 1979.
The militants took twenty-eight-year old Danny Haran hostage along with his four-year-old daughter, Einat. The mother, Smadar Haran, was able to hide in a crawl space above the bedroom with her two-year-old daughter Yael, and a neighbour.
After taking the hostages, Kuntar's group took Danny and Einat down to the beach, where a shootout with Israeli policemen and soldiers erupted. Samir Kuntar shot the father, Danny, in the back at close range in front of his daughter and then drowned him in the sea to ensure he was dead. Next, he smashed the four year old girl's head, Einat, on beach rocks and crushed her skull with the butt of his rifle.
Back in the crawl space, 2-year-old Yael Haran was accidentally suffocated to death by her mother's attempts to quiet her whimpering from revealing their hideout, so that they would not be found by Kuntar's group. (1)
For the past 2 years Ehud Olmert has been in ongoing negotiations with Hezb’Allah to release the 2 Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, kidnaped by Hezb’Allah July 2006. Hezb’Allah’s leader Hasan Nasrallah promised Monday May 23rd that "very soon Samir Kantur and his brothers will be among us." Kantur is considered a key bargaining chip. That piece of immoral thinking is perhaps more heinous than Kantur’s vile murder of a 4 year old girl by smashing her head on the rocks.
This is the monster Olmert and his hideous government wants to release more tried, convicted and jailed Terrorists as a trade for bones of other Israelis murdered in that war for which the kidnapping of Goldwasser and Regev was the ‘casus belli’ .
Much has been made of the recovery of Corporal Gilad Schalit, which is also an essential thing to do. However, the problem is that the Muslim Arab Terrorists can merely capture another Jew to hold hostage in a process that will never end.
The release of Kuntar who certified his pledge to go back to Terror in a letter to Hezb’Allah’s Nasrallah confirms the need to hold Olmert and his Gang responsible. In this case, "responsible" means that all of those who concurred with his release should meet the fate of any Jew who is subsequently murdered by Kuntar. There is nothing less than the death penalty that will suffice and serve justice for those who would, with malice, release this killer and turn him loose on the Jewish public - again.
While returning the remains of IDF soldiers is vital to parents, wives, relatives and friends, it does not prevent that convicted Terrorists who are released from creating more remains of Jews they are yet to kill.
It’s no longer a matter of merely voting Olmert and his gang out of office. Now they must be tried as co-conspirators to murders already taken place by the released Terrorists - plus those murders yet to come. While Olmert, Livni, Barak and Peres are key principals for trial, there are others in Olmert’s Cabinet who also played a contributing role.
Let there be no statute of limitations on criminal prosecution for the rest of their lives. After all, the father, Danny Haran with their 4 year old little girl, Einat, their 2 year old toddler Yael and the police officers he murdered didn’t get "the rest of the lives". Their lives and their families were destroyed - forever.
Our World: The government's plan for Gaza
The Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government is marching the country into another military confrontation with an Iranian proxy army. As was the case in the last confrontation with an Iranian proxy army two years ago, the country's leaders are
fully committed to Israel's strategic defeat in the current one.
Tuesday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak will meet ahead of Wednesday's security cabinet meeting to determine their preferred course of action in Gaza. As media reports and statements by the three's surrogates over the past several days make clear, Israel's political leaders oppose launching a military campaign aimed at defeating Hamas's Iranian directed, financed, trained and armed army and dislodging Hamas's jihadist regime from power. Indeed, as their actions and statements over the past several months make clear, what Israel's political leaders really aspire to is a cease-fire agreement with Iran's Palestinian proxy regime. Under the proposed cease-fire, Hamas will suspend or scale back its illegal missile war against Israeli civilians in the South. In return, Israel will effectively accept Hamas rule of Gaza. Israel will allow Hamas to continue to build up its military forces in Gaza and have open access to the Sinai. In light of Hamas's negotiations with Fatah towards the reestablishment of a Hamas-dominated Palestinian Authority unity government, such a cease-fire will also entail an end to the economic isolation of Gaza. Since they would be formally governed by Fatah - Israel's "peace partner," Gazans will be allowed to use Israeli ports and even build their own seaport and perhaps reopen their airport in Rafah. The debate in the West over whether or not to negotiate with Hamas will effectively end - with an international embrace of Hamas as Fatah's partner. For the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government, a cease-fire is attractive politically. By providing a temporary respite from the jihadist missile attacks against southern Israel, the cease-fire will suspend the local media's coverage of the grave and gathering threat to Israel's security in the South. And the lull in media coverage of the Iranian threat in Gaza will provide breathing room for the scandal-ridden and deeply unpopular Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government as it seeks desperately to avoid new general elections. Gifted politicians that they are, Olmert, Livni and Barak know that if they decide Tuesday to reject the IDF's pleas to conduct a military campaign to dislodge Hamas again and opt instead to sign the Egyptian-mediated cease-fire deal with Iran's Palestinian army, they will be properly accused of political opportunism and cowardice by the media and their political opponents. So to sign on to a deal with Hamas, they need military cover. As The Jerusalem Post reported last week, that smokescreen will likely be what Olmert, Livni, Barak and their surrogates refer to as a "medium-sized military option" against Hamas. The aim of their preferred military approach is not to defeat Hamas. They just want to "send it a message." In plain English, what their preferred military option involves is committing IDF forces to battle in numbers insufficient to defeat Hamas. IDF forces will be killed in battle and in the end, Hamas will still control Gaza. But in their public speeches, Olmert, Livni and Barak will claim victory arguing that now that they have "sent Hamas a message" they can sign the cease-fire agreement. For their part, the local media will justify the government's decisions and agree to present them to the public as a strategic achievement. The media can be expected to do so for two reasons. First, they will not wish to upset the families of the soldiers who will die in the campaign by noting that their lives were sacrificed for nothing. And second, the leftist media is uninterested in general elections which will bring Likud to power and so they will work to block them by collaborating with the government in its attempts to pretend that the "medium-sized military operation" was a good idea. As for the political opposition, as was the case in the Second Lebanon War, they will be unwilling to criticize the government while Israeli forces are risking their lives in battle. Afterwards, they will fear being castigated by the government and its media flacks as "unpatriotic" or "warmongering" if they criticize the outcome of the "medium-sized military operation" that will leave Hamas and Iran strengthened and free to expand their control to Judea and Samaria. In short, Olmert, Livni and Barak are about to decide to sacrifice the lives of IDF soldiers in order to delude the public into believing that signing a cease-fire agreement that leaves Hamas in charge of Gaza and in a position to take over Judea and Samaria is a strategically sound policy. This drastic assertion could be easily attacked as delusional and even paranoid if we hadn't been here before. But we have. Two years ago, Israel was the victim of naked aggression when Hizbullah forces launched an unprovoked attack on an IDF patrol, killed three soldiers and abducted Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser while pummeling northern Israel with Katyusha rockets and short-range missiles. Although Olmert at the time declared war against Hizbullah, he, Livni and then defense minister Amir Peretz refused to order the IDF to defeat Hizbullah. They refused for weeks to launch a ground campaign. They refused for weeks to call up reserve units. Interested in "sending a signal" to Hizbullah rather than defeating its forces, for four weeks they ordered the IDF to conduct operations with no operational logic in which IDF forces were killed in battles that had no strategic purpose. Then, after squandering some 30 days of fruitless fighting, reacting to the public outcry against his incompetence, Olmert belatedly ordered a ground assault of South Lebanon. He ordered IDF forces to move in helter-skelter and attempt to complete an operation that was planned to take more than 96 hours in 48 hours. Most egregiously, the entire operation was launched after the UN Security Council had passed resolution 1701 defining the terms of Israel's cease-fire with Iran's Lebanese proxy army. That is, even if the campaign had been successful, it would have had no impact on the outcome of the war which had already been determined - with Israeli support - in New York. And yet, to assuage the public demand for victory, the Olmert-Livni-Peretz-Yishai government launched the last minute "medium-sized" 48-hour attack in which 33 IDF forces were killed in a battle for nothing. Resolution 1701 left Hizbullah intact and provided the illegal army of jihad with unprecedented political legitimacy. Under the cover of 1701, Iran and Syria have rebuilt Hizbullah's forces, which in turn have reasserted their military control over South Lebanon. Just last week Barak warned that Hizbullah is setting up fortified positions along the border. He also said, "The Syrians are working in intimate cooperation with Hizbullah, and they are in large part responsible for the transfer of weapons and supplies to Hizbullah. The ultimate responsibility, as far as we're concerned, lies with Hizbullah on the one hand, and with the Iranians and the Syrians on the other." Barak's statements came two weeks after Hizbullah effectively overthrew the pro-Western Saniora government and through the good offices of the Qataris, forced the March 14 democracy movement to sign the Doha agreement, which transfers control of the country to Hizbullah. Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah was then quick to announce his army's subservience to Teheran. The Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government responded to Hizbullah's violent takeover of the Lebanese government by rewarding it. As Michael Young of Beirut's Daily Star wrote recently, Hizbullah is presenting its swap of dead IDF soldiers' body parts for Hizbullah spy Nissim Nasser as a first step towards a massive Israeli release of Hizbullah and Palestinian terrorists from its prisons in exchange for Regev and Goldwasser. Such a prisoner release will play directly into Hizbullah's hands. It will effectively justify Hizbullah's decision to go to war with Israel two years ago to the Lebanese public. Such justification is essential as Hizbullah moves forward towards gaining internal Lebanese acceptance of its role as ruler of Lebanon. Beyond its effective support of Hizbullah, the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government is strengthening the Iranian-controlled axis by conducting negotiations toward the surrender of the Golan Heights with Syrian President and Iranian proxy Bashar Assad. Here too, Israel is signaling to Assad that his decision to cast his lot with Teheran was a wise one. The international consequences of Israel's behavior have already been unmistakable. This week both French President Nicholas Sarkozy and British Foreign Minister David Miliband visited Lebanon and accepted Hizbullah's demand for control over Mt. Dov on the Golan Heights. Israel seized the strategically vital area which controls the approaches to the Galilee in the 1967 Six Day War from Syria. Hizbullah claimed that it is continued Israeli control of the area that justified its war of aggression two years ago. This all brings us back to the situation in Gaza. In his post-Doha address, Nasrallah urged Hamas to follow his successful model of war against Israel both in order to hasten Israel's destruction and to facilitate the extension of the terror group's control to Judea and Samaria. And of course, that is precisely what Hamas has been doing for the past two years. The Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government's political opponents have claimed that with the ongoing corruption probes against the prime minister, the government lacks the political legitimacy to conduct a military campaign in Gaza. This is a false assertion. As Israel's elected leaders, the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government has a duty to defend the country and the only way to do so is to launch a military campaign in Gaza.
The problem is that the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government is incompetent to successfully carry out such an essential campaign. As in Lebanon two years ago, so in Gaza today, the type of campaign that this government will launch will only endanger Israel still further.
Samir Kuntar And Other Lessons For The Diaspora ...
by Gerald A. Honigman
Like a broken record, the same story replayed over and over again…ad nauseam.
Israel captures live Arab disembowelers and wannabes of Jews, other Jews pay to keep them alive in jail.
Until the inevitable happens...Arabs capture more live Jews, then offer a swap for hundreds of their comrades.
If the Jews are lucky, they get back a live prisoner or so. In just one example, in 1985 they exchanged almost 1,200 Arabs for three of their own. In January 2004, they handed over more than 400 Arabs for one Israeli businessman and the bodies of three soldiers abducted along the Lebanese border in 2000.
Usually, the deal involves remains of a few dead Jews for hundreds of Arab killers and collaborators--who are soon back in the Jew-killing business.
And I bet you thought Jews were smart…
Well, here we go again...
This time, the potential swap is for a few more Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hizbullah in another cross border raid. Recall the war that this triggered in 2006.
Among the other prizes Israel has supplied room and board to is Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese who the Jews have held for almost three decades. Good way to either directly or indirectly spend Jewish Diaspora funds, heh?
Kuntar’s relevant bio is educational--and only emphasizes how beyond dumb Jews really can be.
On April 22, 1979, Kuntar led a terror team which entered Israel from Lebanon by boat.
Around midnight they reached coastal Nahariya, killed a policeman, and entered a high building.
They next split into two groups, one breaking into the apartment of the Haran family. Danny Haran was taken hostage along with his four-year-old daughter, Einat. His wife, Smadar, hid in a crawl space with their two-year-old daughter, Yael, and a neighbor.
Kuntar's group next dragged Danny and Einat to the beach. Kuntar shot Danny at close range in front of Einat and drowned him to ensure that he was dead.
Next, he smashed the four year old girl's head on beach rocks, crushing her skull with the butt of his rifle.
Meanwhile, back in the crawl space, 2-year-old Yael Haran had been accidentally suffocated to death by her mother's attempts to quiet her whimpering so as not to reveal their hideout.
While Kuntar’s exploits rank “up there” with Arabs as far as his heroics against Jews go, he is no exception to the rule.
As just one of too many other examples, in May 2004 Arabs gunned down a pregnant Jewish mother and her four terrified little daughters.
After spraying their car with gunfire, they next ran up and blasted each of their victims' heads to make sure they had finished the job.
One of the Arab heroes next deliberately shot the swollen belly of the eight-months pregnant mother, Tali Hatuel, at point-blank range.
Note, please, that all of these Jewish victims were/are deliberately targeted--not accidentally caught in the middle because their own folks used them as human shields--a favorite tactic used by Arab “militants.”
Now, combine this above lunacy (knowing what predictable blackmail awaits, the Samir Kuntars should never be taken alive, and if they are, after a quick trial, should be executed soon afterwards) with the additional death wish of still too many Israelis who believe that if they just keep on making concession after concession on crucial security issues, Arabs will finally let the microscopic Jewish rump state that's left live in peace.
Peace of the grave. And it’s that obvious.
That others pressure Israel to act against its own basic needs is no surprise--the American State Department, Dhimmi Europe, and so forth. So the Jewish State should be used to this.
That Israel allows itself to be bullied this way--regardless of the aid issue and such--is beyond pathetic. It truly borders on suicidal, and such behavior should not be repeatedly rewarded.
Why is Olmert still in power, for example? Why can’t the selfish portions of his fragile coalition not see the forest of their miniscule State’s survival for their own individual trees?
How much longer must it take before a new Israeli leadership arises which will not behave like someone else’s collective fool?
Olmert now also apparently seeks to appease Baby Assad--the late Butcher’s son--with the gift of all the territory Syria has repeatedly used to attack Israel from, the Golan.
Think how borders constantly have changed all over the world due to such aggressive, murderous behavior as Syria's--not to mention that the Golan was to be part of the original 1920 Mandate of Palestine after World War I until the Brits and French did some imperial trading. Or that numerous peoples, besides Arabs, ruled the Golan Heights over the centuries…including Jews.
And what of Syria’s oppressive shenanigans in Lebanon, burying hopes of those who wanted an independent, more peaceful path for their country? Or their continued murderous suppression of millions of Syrian Kurds?
Should Israel ignore all of this too in its quest to become a state like all others, with no friends, just interests? That’s where it’s current anti-Jewish, post-Zionist path has been leading it.
So, how to get the message across that such consistent self-destructive behavior cannot be supported?
Think about it…
Perpetually victimized Jews waited millennia to finally live to see the Hebraic Prophetic resurrection of Israel, only to see spineless leaders with head-in-the sand supporters undo the dream.
Perhaps the time has come to send a real wake up call…and it will indeed be a hard one for Diaspora Jews to deliver.
Yet such things as the refusal to enact the death penalty for deliberate butchers of innocents (and please don’t sing to me about allegedly stooping to their level) and the refusal to demand the reasonable territorial compromises allowed by UNSC Resolution 242 require drastic action at this time.
Diaspora Jews have poured many billions of dollars into Israel for well over a century now.
While this doesn’t give them the right to dictate Israeli policy, on the other hand, the Diaspora does not have to continue to support policies which are obviously dead end--both figuratively and literally.
Israel doesn’t have to continuously try to prove how much “better” it is than the mostly giant dung heap surrounding it. Yet it continues to act this way…not that it makes any difference to the world's hypocrites. For the latter, murderers and those who seek to bring them to justice are morally equivalent.
If Samir Kuntar was a Jew, Kurd, Berber, Copt, Black Sudanese, etc. and committed these acts against any of those 'Arab' states in which these non-Arab peoples have lived, he would not have lived to see the light of day.
The Diaspora does not have to continue to pump money into a post-Zionist, anti-Jewish state which insists it’s going to out Christian the Christians, turning cheek after cheek to enemies which will never accept a permanent Jewish neighbor, regardless of size.
Furthermore, the actions of recent Israeli leaders who have played along with the Arabs’ well-known destruction in phases plans borders on treason--regardless of who is tightening the screws from abroad.
Something is needed to open up the eyes of too many who have forgotten what life was like for Jews all over the world before the miraculous Phoenix arose from the ashes of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Perhaps a severe shock is what’s really needed right now to bring the forest back into vision...and one long enough to drive home the message.
I realize it's controversial. It’s hard to say “no” to the many worthy charities and such pulling at Diaspora heartstrings.
But if business stays as usual regarding current Israeli behavior, Iran’s Ahmadinejad will be correct regarding his death forecast for the Jewish State. And the Jews will largely have done it to themselves.
If Israel can no longer count on Diaspora money to fill the many social gaps in society which depend upon it, and it then has to use state funds targeted for defense and elsewhere to cover those costs, perhaps the message will finally get through.
The heirs of Ben-Gurion, Jabotinsky, Golda, Begin, and a younger Arik must now come to the fore and take their rightful place. And an Israeli public finally awoken from its slumber must know how to respond.
How Did We Let It Come To This?
by Gerald A. Honigman
I received a phone call this morning from a friend. Ron wanted me to listen to Chabad’s Jewish radio program in town, where the plight of Sderot’s children would be discussed…the town in the Negev that’s under constant bombardment by Arabs years after Israel’s total withdrawal from adjacent Gaza. The plan evidently involves moving the kids elsewhere, out of harm’s way.
Like many other Diaspora Jews, I’m also deeply concerned about the resurrected Jewish State. But Israel itself has been making serious blunders over the last few decades--and, especially, the past several years--which greatly exacerbates its situation.
Something about this rubs the wrong way… big time.
I know, it’s easy for me to be brave when it’s not my own town in Florida being targeted. But it goes far beyond this…
The Arabs have always planned to make life so unbearable for Jews in Israel that they’d want to abandon the Zionist dream.
When a pressured Prime Minister/General Ariel Sharon came up with his controversial unilateral withdrawal plan for Israel from Gaza a few years back, many of us had mixed feelings. One of our main fears was that it would just bring Arab terror that much closer to Israel proper, while caving into yet another step in the Arabs’ post-’67 War destruction-in-phases plans for Zion. We instinctively knew that Arabs would not take advantage of this to begin a state-building process for their 22nd state and second, not first, within the original 1920 borders of the Mandate of Palestine (Jordan created from almost 80%of this back in 1922).
Yet, we hoped we would be proven wrong.
After all, David Ben-Gurion himself looked to Israel’s own Negev Desert as a major area for a growing Jewish population, not Gaza--despite the latter being used as an invasion route to attack Jews from since the days of the Pharaohs.
Sad to say, the Arab leopard does not change its spots, and the whole area--despite scores of millions of non-Arab Kurds, Berbers, Copts, Jews, black Africans, and so forth--is still regarded as “purely Arab patrimony.”
Episodes such as the Gaza withdrawal only confirm the success of the overall Arab game plan for the region. The Arabs’ ANFAL campaign against Kurds in Iraq and genocide against black Africans in the Sudan are just a few of many other examples.
So, back to Sderot...
I’m all for building strong defenses and shelters to try to keep the town’s citizens as safe as possible from Arab mortars, rockets, and such. But evacuating Jews in Israel proper because of Arab terror is a line which I believe will lead us down a very dangerous slippery slope. Today Sderot, tomorrow Ashkelon, and so forth as Arab missiles gain in range and power.
Jews should not be the ones having to do the evacuating…
Imagine, as Presidential hopeful John McCain has said himself, that it was an American border town in Arizona, Texas, or elsewhere being subjected to this terror.
Would the world expect an America, which dwarfs Israel, to evacuate its own land, or would it expect the aggressors to halt their destructive, murderous behavior? Certainly Mexico has its grievances with America…McCain and President Bush’s home states were once part of that country.
Now, what do you think we--or any other nation--would do (have done) under such circumstances?
Okay? So now here’s the plan…
Since Prime Minister Olmert’s crew lacks the backbone (and a few other analogous body parts) to spell it out and carry it through (letting the Arabs’ good buddies in the American State Department dictate most of Israeli policy instead), let me propose that a major, well-advertised , televised news conference be held to which many of the world’s leading media and diplomats will be invited. It will be broadcast live, all over the world carried by radio too, in many different languages, will explain much of what I have already covered above, and will be delivered by a handsome orator with the talent of the late Abba Eban. Yep, the John F. Kennedy factor won’t be ignored either.
After this general overview of the situation Israel faces, the following will next be stated…
My friends...Please understand that Israel would love nothing more than to be able to live in a true, mutually respectful, peace with our Arab neighbors. Unfortunately, the problem has never been how big Israel is, but that Israel is. For this problem, there is no compromise solution, and poll after poll conducted amongst Arabs has shown this to still be the case. Continuous unilateral Israeli concessions only convince Arabs of Israel’s weakness and the success of their own long term strategy for Israel’s demise.
In light of this, and in consideration of the current main Arab target of terror, please note the following…
Sderot will not undergo any evacuations.
If evacuations are called for, then they will not be those of Jews.
We will soon be delivering to our Arab neighbors one last call for them to begin their own # 22 state-building process, rather than continuing to persist in their quest to destroy our one, tiny, sole state. Gaza was a test of what the future might hold…and the Arabs have flunked it--pure and simple.
If, as we fear, they ignore our plea and continue to wage terror, destruction , bodily harm, and murder, then we will be forced to respond to these open acts of war the way others have and would respond.
Indeed, we have been far more patient than any other nation regarding those who openly seek our destruction. And, in this, the Hamas-led Arabs only differ in timing with those led by Abbas’s Fatah…by the latter’s own words. The quarrel between the two factions is largely about who will control the billions of dollars that will be pouring in from abroad--not over acceptance of a permanent Jewish neighbor.
Those ruling Gaza were openly elected by that Arab population--the same population which shields them as they launch their terror. Furthermore, the same situation awaits us in Judea and Samaria, aka the “West Bank,” unless a reasonable territorial compromise is arrived there as well. Secretary of State Rice might wish us to believe otherwise, but it is our children in the line of fire--not hers.
Let it be known that the next act of Arab terror launched against us will be met by the following sequence of events. We will not pursue tit-for-tat or targeted responses any longer, for those have proven to be virtually useless.
When the next mortar or rocket lands, we will proceed as follows:
We will drop by air--as we’ve done elsewhere before--numerous warnings, in Arabic, to the Gaza population. Unlike Arab terror, we will let Arabs know where not to be in advance.
They will be told that two days following the next terror attack will be answered by a massive artillery bombardment of the entire width of the area in Gaza from which mortars or rockets may be launched from. This is similar to what America calls its Powell Doctrine. The two-day grace period will provide time for Arab evacuation of the area. Note also that we put ourselves at risk by doing this, with the probability of being subjected to massive foreign pressure, and so forth.
Because of the latter, it has also been discussed that we carry out our plan according to the Arabs’ own rules, and launch our response unannounced--without telegraphing our plans or punch. Unlike our neighbors, however, we cannot get ourselves to behave as such.
The day afterward the artillery assault will bring a massive aerial bombardment.
As the Perfidy and other clauses of the Geneva Conventions openly state, warring parties cannot use their civilian populations as human shields, and when they do so, this will not remove such locations as legitimate targets…Any civilian casualties will thus be on the Arabs’ own shoulders.
The presence of the civilian population shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attack...
The parties to the conflict shall...avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas.
There will be no massive infantry invasion, subjecting Jewish soldiers to the deadly surprises Arabs think they have in store for them.
After the bombardment, a fifteen-mile buffer zone will be created which will be a mine field, posted for all to see and keep out of.
If terror continues after our initial responses, we will repeat the above process, extending the mine field, and so forth.
We advise our Arab foes to forget about crying to their hypocritical friends in the United Nations, the American State Department, and elsewhere. We have already displayed a patience far beyond what any of those folks would display themselves given the same circumstances which we have daily faced..
Finally, we are holding this news conference today because we truly hope that we will not have to put these plans into motion.
But we refuse to put up with the murder and destruction any more.
Now, I will open the floor to questions from this distinguished audience…
Ha’aretz, June 04, 2008
It may not be only Ehud Olmert who is so busy worrying about his legal problems that he does not have enough time to address Israel's urgent security issues. Many Israeli citizens, except of course residents of the South, are probably also completely engrossed in studying the details of the current investigations and have little time left to worry about what really needs to be worried about - the ongoing war in the South. One can only hope that the Israel Defense Forces and its commander, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, are continuing to take seriously the awesome responsibility with which they are charged - assuring the safety of the people of Israel.
Maybe our chief of staff needs to be reminded of what he said shortly after he assumed his present position: "In the next war, there will be no doubt about who won." This was said after his predecessor, Dan Halutz, declared after the Second Lebanon War that "the IDF won on points," though it was clear that the IDF had actually been defeated in that war by a few thousand Hezbollah fighters….
After agreeing to a cease-fire with Hezbollah that allowed it to declare victory, rearm and become the dominant power in Lebanon, Israel had a second chance in the war against terrorism: the war in the South against Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists, who, like Hezbollah in the North, are backed by Iran. Again, Israel's civilian population was attacked by short-range rockets. These attacks have now lasted for many months and are reaching deeper and deeper into Israel….
Should this confrontation also end in a standoff, with Israel agreeing to a cease-fire with the terrorists, it would be another defeat for the IDF. Not a "victory on points," and not even a victory on points for the terrorists, but a defeat of the IDF by the terrorists. A defeat, pure and simple. …
This is no minor matter. To those who wonder how Israel has been able to survive for many years in the hostile environment of the Middle East, the answer is that it has been able, time and again, to defeat the enemies that have risen up against…
Thus if Israel's ability to defend itself should be called into question, this would not only spell the end of any chance to widen the circle of peace, but would also increase the probability of another full-scale war. That is what hangs in the balance in the confrontation with the terrorists in the South….
Only a decisive victory in the war against the terrorists in the South will assure Israel's safety. A cease-fire will be a victory for the terrorists and a defeat for the IDF…
Fundamentally Freund: Israel's Big-mouth Syndrome
Jun. 10, 2008
Michael Freund , THE JERUSALEM POST
Here we go again. Every few months, it seems, an Israeli government minister decides to open his mouth nice and wide, and blurt out something entirely superfluous or unnecessary, regardless of the damage that it may cause to the country and its interests.
Back in February, you may recall, it was Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai who needlessly sparked an international uproar when he threatened the Palestinians with a "shoah" if they continued to fire Kassam rockets at Israel.
"The more Kassam rocket fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves," he told Israel Army radio (February 29).
While the word "shoah" means disaster or conflagration, it also just happens to be the Hebrew term used for the Nazi Holocaust.
"It could be that he should have picked another word," Vilnai's spokesman admitted somewhat sheepishly.
You think? Not surprisingly, Reuters and other media outlets had a field day with that one. THEN, LAST week came Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz's turn to speak, well, out of turn.
In an interview with Yediot Aharonot, Mofaz declared that "If Iran continues with its program for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack it. The sanctions are ineffective."
Now don't get me wrong. I am all in favor of bombing Iran in order to stop the would-be Hitler of Persia from obtaining nuclear weapons. But why on earth did Mofaz have to telegraph Israel's intentions to the enemy? It's the equivalent of a football coach announcing his team's next play for the benefit of the opponents. Only this is a matter of life and death. Mofaz's comments were roundly and summarily condemned across the political spectrum, if only because of their sheer inanity.
Indeed, it was widely theorized that with talk of Kadima planning to hold party primaries in the near future, Mofaz was anxious for a dramatic headline that would position him to Olmert's right.
And so, in a mad rush for the limelight, the former IDF Chief of Staff breathlessly threw caution to the wind, even if it came at the country's expense. Will these guys ever learn to shut up?
OF COURSE, this is hardly the first time that loose Israeli lips have nearly sunk ships. Back in February 1978, Moshe Dayan revealed that Israel was secretly selling arms to Ethiopia, which led the Addis Ababa government to angrily halt the nascent aliya of Ethiopian Jewry.
Seven years later, in early 1985, the covert airlift of Ethiopian Jews known as Operation Moses was called to an abrupt halt after it too was leaked to an Israeli newspaper.
And even on the most sensitive of military subjects, Israel's politicians often seem unable to contain themselves. Take, for example, the deliberate veil surrounding Israel's nuclear ambiguity, which was a cornerstone of national policy for decades.
That carefully constructed strategy was rudely shattered in an instant back on July 13, 1998, when Shimon Peres told an audience in Amman, Jordan, that Israel had "built a nuclear option not in order to have a Hiroshima but an Oslo." And so, with one slip of the tongue, Peres undid what teams of Israeli diplomats and strategists had spent years carefully trying to calibrate. Sadly, Israel's leaders seem to suffer from an acute case of BMS, or Big-Mouth Syndrome. Drunk with power, they spill the beans faster than a child caught with his hand in a cookie jar.
Their behavior brings to mind Plato's observation that "wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something."
Or, as the sages of the Talmud (Pesahim 99a) put it, "Silence is fitting for the wise, and all the more so for fools." Of course, all this would make for little more than entertaining copy if it weren't for the severity of the consequences.
But gratuitous blather is a luxury that Israel can ill-afford, particularly when we are in a high-stakes game of survival facing down enemies such as Hamas, Hizbullah and the ayatollahs.
Our leaders' habit of speaking out of turn only serves to cast further doubt on their already dubious sense of judgment. If they can't even keep their mouths closed about matters of great national import, can they really be relied upon to make the right decisions?
MOREOVER, EXCESSIVE talk is often the last refuge of the powerless. Just think of how many times in recent months various Israeli leaders have warned Hamas to stop firing rockets at Sderot and the Negev. These threats have proven empty time and again, diluting their deterrent value and impact, and making a mockery of Israel's defense.
The evident gap between our words and our actions invites more than just accusations of posturing. They project a cartoonish sense of weakness, which the enemy is only too happy to exploit.
So here is a simple piece of advice for all the Matan Vilnais, Shaul Mofazes and various other loquacious types who currently inhabit our government: please stop talking, and start acting. Instead of hurling empty threats at Hamas, or well-intentioned threats at Teheran, why not devote your precious time and energy to actually doing something about these issues. Stop blowing off a lot of hot air, and start taking care of business, before it's too late.
Don't tell us what you might do, what you want to do, or even what you're going to do to our foes. Just do it already, and let your actions speak for themselves.
Oh, and one more thing. The next time you feel an unquenchable urge to throw open your jaws and blabber about some state secret to the nearest guy with a microphone, just take hold of yourself and remember Will Rogers' timeless counsel: "Never miss a chance to shut up."
Believe me - you'll be doing yourself, and your country, a well-deserved favor.
Column One: Peace with friends
Jun. 12, 2008
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST
There's one thing you have to admire about the Iranians - they always tell you just what they think of you. They never beat around the bush. On Tuesday, the day after Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki completed his three-day visit to Iran, his envoy to the Islamic Republic received a care package - delivered to his front door. When Iraqi Ambassador Muhammad Majid al-Sheikh's driver opened the package, he discovered it was a bomb.
In their best Farsi imitation of the Godfather, Iranian police spokesmen claimed that the package was not a bomb - but aquarium equipment. And in a way, they were right. The package was supposed to help Sheikh "sleep with the fishes."
Just as is the case with their Syrian allies, the Iranians view assassination as the easiest way to "signal" their displeasure with diplomatic developments. In this case, clearly the Iranians were acting out after what they considered to be a deeply disturbing discourse with Maliki.
Until recently, Maliki was viewed with suspicion by many observers due to his apparently warm relations with Iran. Indeed, ahead of his visit, just to make sure he got the message, US military commanders in Iraq stated clearly that they hoped Maliki would protest the fact that Iran is the central engine of the now waning but still murderous insurgency in Iraq. The Iraqi people too, expected him to be clear about the untenable state of affairs where Iran wages war against Iraq through proxies on the one hand, and waxes poetic about its great friendship with Iraq on the other.
Writing in Iraq's Al-Dustour newspaper ahead of Maliki's visit, editor-in-chief Bassim al-Sheikh opined, "Maliki's delegation will be presenting the Iranian side with irrefutable evidence of Iranian interference in Iraqi domestic affairs. In this light, the visit could prove to be a watershed in Iraqi-Iranian relations, especially now... that the covert game Iran has been playing in Iraq has become all too overt, with very few hidden cards left in Teheran's hand."
Then too, Iraq's Al-Sabah al-Jadid editorialized, "Maliki's visit to Iran could be the last chance for a rational settlement of any differences and a final dissipation of any misunderstanding that may still exist between us and our big neighbor. There is nothing in the lexicon of political pragmatism that will help us evade the consequences of living next door to this neighbor, as recent history has shown with such clarity."
Media reports of the visit included no details of what Maliki told his Iranian hosts. But given their attempt to assassinate his ambassador the day after he left, it can be assumed that the Iranians were uninterested in "a rational settlement of any differences." And indeed, it can be assumed that Maliki didn't mince any words as he discussed the war Iran is waging against his people.
What the media reports of Maliki's visit did highlight was Iran's apoplectic response to Baghdad's current negotiations with the US toward an accord on the modalities of the long-term deployment of US forces in Iraq. The Iranians - from supreme mullah Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - were absolutely clear that from their perspective, if the Iraqis sign such an agreement, there will be hell to pay.
But the Iraqis have also been clear that they are interested in signing such an accord. While in its coverage of the negotiations, the Western media has concentrated on statements by Iranian-backed Iraqi lawmakers voicing their staunch opposition to the agreement, most Iraqis support it. They simply want to ensure that the agreement that is eventually signed protects their interests as a country. As Iraqi blogger Muhammad Fadhil noted last week in an article published on the Pajamas Media Web site, this is why the Iraqi government has "sent delegations to Germany, Japan and South Korea to listen to what they - and not the mullahs - have to say about [their experience with long-term US troop presence on their soil]."
The strategic agreement now being negotiated between the US and the Iraqi government is a watershed event. Five years after Saddam Hussein's terror-supporting, weapons of mass destruction-seeking regime was brought down by the US-led coalition, a democratically elected Iraqi government has emerged that views its strategic interests as aligned with the US's. Its forces are fighting side by side with US forces toward the shared goal of routing al-Qaida and Iranian-backed terror militias in Iraq. Indeed, in March, Maliki himself led the Iraqi assault on the Iranian controlled militias in Basra. Two months later, Iran had been routed not only in Basra, but in Sadr City in Baghdad where Iraqi and American forces fought side-by-side in street after street.
Although referred to as a security agreement, to all intents and purposes, the agreement that the US and Iraq are now negotiating is a peace agreement. As most political theorists will attest, peace agreements are contracts between countries with shared interests whose representatives sit down and write out how they will advance their shared interests together. So five years after the fall of Saddam, a multi-ethnic, multi-confessional democracy in Iraq has emerged that views the US as its primary ally.
This is what a strategic victory looks like.
NOT SURPRISINGLY, just as the meaning of developments in Iraq has escaped the notice of most Americans, so too, it has escaped the notice of most Israelis. And this is a shame for two reasons. First, it is a shame because Israel is missing out on the most significant development in our neighborhood since the Six Day War. And like the Six Day War, Operation Iraqi Freedom holds great opportunities for Israel. The second reason that Israel's almost complete ignorance of the significance of events in Iraq is a shame is because as Israel moves toward early elections, developments in Iraq point the way toward a new strategic framework for the next Israeli government to base its policy-making on.
For months, US commanders in Iraq have been saying that the Iraqi people cannot abide the Iranians, the Syrians or the Saudis. They know that these countries have been the chief sponsors of the insurgencies that have killed tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens over the past five years. From the mass graves of al-Qaida victims in Diyala Province to the death squads of Iranian-backed militias in Basra, the Iraqis know that these countries have acted with malice aforethought in their actions aimed at transforming Iraq into a massive killing field.
For Israeli ears, what is striking about the Iraqi discourse is the near total absence of anti-Israel or anti-Semitic propaganda. Indeed, there is no discussion about Israel at all. From the 1930s through the fall of Saddam's regime, Iraq was one of the central propagators of Arab hatred of Israel of both fascist and jihadist pedigrees. Successive Iraqi regimes have used hatred of Israel as a way of solidifying and justifying their tyranny. And now, for the first time, Israel isn't an issue.
The Iraqis are concerned about their future. Whether US forces remain in place for years to come under a President John McCain or they are summarily withdrawn by a President Barack Obama, the Iraqis know that one day they will be on their own. And they will need allies. They cannot trust their Arab neighbors, which treat the Shi'ite majority country now governing democratically with hostility and suspicion. Obviously Iran and Syria aren't good options. They will both be quick to pounce on a post-US withdrawal Iraq.
And then there is Israel.
THERE IS no reason to doubt that Israel has a potential strategic ally in Iraq today. Indeed, Iraq could become the next decade's version of Turkey in the 1990s or Iran in the 1960s and 1970s. Both in their day were Israel's primary regional ally.
Diplomatic and military discussions may be drawn out and difficult. They may even be exasperating. And depending on developments in Iran in the coming years they may never lead to the signing of a peace treaty on the White House lawn or the exchange of ambassadors. On the other hand, they might.
But what is clear enough is that today Iraq shares vital interests with Israel. It has common enemies. It has common challenges as a democracy. And it doesn't hurt that Palestinians are nearly universally reviled by Iraqis who view them as Saddam Hussein's most stalwart henchmen.
An Israeli-Iraqi alliance would help secure Jordan. It would frighten Syria and perhaps force Damascus to reconsider its alliance with Teheran. It would provide Israel with a new source of natural gas and so end its dependence on fickle Egypt. It would mitigate Israel's political isolation in the region. It would provide Iraq with a safe port in the Mediterranean for its oil exports in the event that the Shaat al-Arab is closed by Iran in a future war. Iraqi Shi'ite leaders could help draw Lebanese Shi'ites away from Iran's Lebanese proxy Hizbullah. Indeed, the potential of an Israeli-Iraqi alliance is seemingly endless.
A basic political fact of life stands at the heart of this theoretical Iraqi-Israeli alliance. Peace is possible for the first time between Israel and Iraq because, for the first time, Iraq perceives its interests as aligned with Israel. That is, peace is possible because at a very basic level, Iraqis today - whether they admit or not - are Israel's friends. And they know it.
And this raises the larger point that should inform the next Israeli government. Specifically, unlike what Israel's Left has been preaching for the past 20 years, peace is made with friends and not with enemies. It is impossible to make peace with enemies because enemies perceive their interests as being in competition with one another. And since peace agreements are nothing more than codifications of the modalities for acting on perceived shared interests, no peace treaty with an enemy is worth the paper it's written on.
It is hard today to find an Iraqi leader who overtly states his desire for peace with Israel. Mithal Alousi is the one heroic exception. But that is not important. By signing a peace treaty with the US and confronting Iran head-on, the Iraqis are making it abundantly clear where they believe their interests lie. By way of comparison, of course, there are Iran's Palestinian and Syrian allies and proxies who claim that they are desirous of peace with Israel at the same time as their actions - and indeed their other statements - make clear that they perceive their interests as antithetical to Israel's. As a result, no matter how hard Israel tries, it will be unable to make peace with them - unless the Palestinian and Syrian perception of their interests changes.
There is little doubt that the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government - which has ignored Iraq throughout its tenure as it has capitulated to Iranian proxy after Iranian proxy - will fail to recognize this opportunity. But the next government's strategies should be informed by the call: Give peace with friends a chance!
HOW SECURE ARE JEWS IN THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD?
By Dr. Irving Kett
Freeman Center For Strategic Studies
June 16, 2008
One of the significant milestones in Jewish history has recently taken place. The largest Jewish community in the world today lives in Israel. Within about ten years, it is anticipated, that in Israel will live the majority of World Jewry for the first time in 2,000 years. There are two reasons for this development. First the Jewish population in Israel is growing and that of diaspora Jewry is declining all over, including in the United States.
About 20 years ago I read a book by Rabbi Meir Kahane, Z’L’, who was assasinated in New York City. The approximate title of the book was, Uncomfortable Questions for too Comfortable American Jews that deeply impressed me. It describes how we Jews have a predilection for avoiding looking at our own situation and the world that we live in realistically. It is for that reason that Jews are continuously searching for other people to help, such as those in Darfur and all the other unfortunate Hopttentots of the world, while purposely avoiding to examine the dangers and challenges confronting their own existence. We today face a serious worldwide recrudescence of anti-Semitism, the likes of which has not existed since the 1940,s. I firmly believe that we, our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren are confronted with a repeat of the tremulous year of 1938 and the subsequent tragedies that befell the Jewish people. In my opinion our only possible salvation is to strengthen the State of Israel demographically, physically, militarily, and spiritually. The Nazi Holcaust, which came almost a half century after the establishment of the modern Zionist movement, compelled the Jews to fulfill its destiny to return and found the new Jewish State. After twenty years of independence, the Jewish People, meaning principally American Jews again went to sleep. Just as Jews did not prepare to confront the enemy planning the first Holocaust, Jews are again in deep slumber as 1.5 billion Moslems are committed to carry the second Holocaust of the remaining Jews.
My friend Elyakim Haetzni, a former member of the Knesset recently wrote bemoaning the desertion of Israel on the part of many if not most American Jews. He said this, “Where are you in our hour of need? Don’t you know that if we sink, the ground beneath your feet will quake? Have you not yet learned that the very fact that Jews have their own country has buttressed your status in the Diaspora?”
Psychologists claim that between 1/4 to 1/3 of Jews are so emotionally traumatized by centuries of persecution and discrimination that they reject their own heritage and immerse themselves instead in the culture and problems of other people, even when the latter groups vehemently reject them and pour scorn and abject hatred upon them.
The huge sums being spent on Arab oil-funded propaganda, combined with the ever present indigenous latent anti-Semitism, along with the large scale immigration of fanatic Jew-hating Moslems, has turned Europe once again into a threat to Jewish existence. Hitler 85 years ago proclaimed his aim to achieve a
Judenrein Europe. By all indications Europe, both West and East will be substantially cleansed of any significant Jewish presence within 25 years. Currently the most anti-Semitic country in Western Europe is reputed to be Great Britain, with significant numbers starting to come to Israel. Melanie Phillips, an English Jew, is the author of the best selling book, LONDONSTAN. It describes London having become the prime focus if the Islamo-Fascist objective to take over all of Europe.
Melanie Phillips recently wrote a shocking article, “The Jewish Enemy Within”. She describes the particularly grotesque aspect of the self-hatred displayed by an increasing number of Jewish academics and so-called intellectuals Jewish leftists, spewing their hatred of Judaism and of Israel. They redefine virtue as excluding every characteristic other than those displayed by the red-fascist leftists who proudly refer to themselves as Liberals and Progressives@ They seek to redefine Jewish moral values to exclude Zionism and any manifestation of the historical heritage of the Jewish People to Eretz Yisroel. They claim to represent authentic Jewish values by saving Jews from embracing the reprehensible non-Jewish patrimony of Zionism and devotion to Israel. Fundamentally these red-fascist Jewish self-haters reveal an abysmal ignorance of Judaism, of Jewish history, and of Jewish ethics. One of the profoundest of our internal scourges is the catastrophe of the hundreds of Israeli academics who are in the forefront of international anti-Zionist, anti-Israel propaganda.
To these so-called liberal Israel haters, Jewish victimhood is the only authentic moral Jewish existence. To them the most spiritually elevated virtuous Jew is the dead Jew. The fundamental crime of Israel in their eyes is that Israel represents Jewish power. The real vendetta of these red-fascist Jews of the left, who in reality besmirch the term “liberal”, is against their Jewish heritage. I strongly recommend that you read a book published in 2007 by Ruth R. Wisse, of Harvard University, “JEWS and POWER”.
American Jews, by and large, smugly and erroneously have themselves convinced that somehow they are different. That unlike the deluded Jews of the past who lived in Spain, or Poland, or Hungary, or Austria, or France, or Great Britain, or Germany, in America they have found the authentic “New Jerusalem”. Unfortunately history has shown that wherever Jews have enjoyed freedom and a high level of success, there are forces working to undermine that favorable environment. The Jews of the United States have experienced periods of intense anti-Semitism. Remember that the Holocaust could never have taken place without the overt complicity of the United States and Great Britain. The latent anti-Semitism that has turned Europe into that simmering cauldron of Jew-hatred may very well be revisiting the United States. A recent ADL study concluded that 15% of Americans or about 35 million adults harbor strong anti-Semitic views. The survey found that 29% of foreign-born Hispanics harbor hard-core anti-Semitic beliefs, as do 1/3 of all Blacks, 31% of Americans believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the U.S. and 1/4 still blame Jews for the death of Jesus. All of these figures indicate a latent upward trend in animosity toward Jews.
Jonathan Pollard would not be imprisoned for the past 23 years if he were not a Jew nor would the 2 AIPAC officials be under indictment today. 20 years ago Scribners would not have published the blatantly fraudulent book by Professors Meirsheimer and Walt accusing the Jews of controlling U.S. foreign policy for the benefit of Israel. Nor would former president,
Jimmy Carter, been able to spew his anti-Zionist venom. The latter is a more presently acceptable term for anti-Semitism propaganda that will soon appear as a popular motion picture. Today we are witnessing an ever growing hostility toward Israel in the Democratic Party, despite the 80% Jewish support that they receive at the polls and are a leading source of their financial support.
Let us briefly peruse the more recent history of anti-Semitism in the United States. Social discrimination against Jews became the norm in American society soon after the Civil War in 1865. When my grandparents landed in the U.S. from Europe in the 1880's, they were confronted with signs at hotels and restaurants, NO JEWS AND DOGS ALLOWED. By 1900 Jewish university students were barred from membership in fraternities and sororities. Jews found it increasingly difficult to obtain faculty positions. Certain professions such as engineering, medicine and the teaching of English literature were especially hostile to Jews.
By the 1920's quotas on Jewish students were commonplace in most of the prestigious colleges and universities. In Europe it was called NUMERUS CLAUSUS. In the 1920's the immensely wealthy automobile manufacturer, Henry Ford, spent many millions of dollars popularizing the fraudulent anti-Semitic tract, THE PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION, is a perennial best seller in the Arab world today.
In 1924 the U.S. Congress passed the JOHNSON-REED IMMIGRATION
ACT in order to restrict the number of Jews entering the United States, with disastrous consequences for the Jews trapped in Europe during the Nazi era.
American anti-Semitism climbed to even higher levels in the 1930's, in response to Hitler, and continued to do so during the period of 1940 to 1944. In the decade before Pearl Harbor, there were reputed
to be over 100 active organizations spewing anti-Semitic hate propaganda throughout the U.S. As a teenager I remember listening to one of the leading purveyors of Jew-hatred on nationwide radio each week, a Catholic priest named Charles E. Coughlin from Royal Oak, MI. He had a following of many millions. I recall attacks on Jews in the Yorkville section of Manhattan in New York City by gangs from Fritz Kuhn’s German-American Bund. Some of these organizations were disbanded when the U.S. entered WWII after the attack on Pearl Harbor but other took their place under different guises.
The hatred of Jews in this country promoted and nurtured during many years had devastating results at the time of the Holocaust. One of the reasons why American Jews maintained such a low profile during WWII, even when reports of mass extermination of their European brethren could no longer be doubted, was the actual fear of pogroms in the U.S. and of officially inspired anti-Semitism. Peter Bergson, a member of the Irgun and a nephew of the legendary Rav Kook, tried to arouse U.S. Jewry on behalf of European Jewry. I suggest you get hold of and read a fascinating book on this subject by the Hollywood playwright Ben Hecht called, PERFIDY. The Jewish establishment as exemplified by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise were bitterly hostile to the Bergson effort.
During WWII I served as an ordinary infantry soldier in the U.S. Army. As a youngster born and raised in New York City, I was shocked at the extent
and intensity of anti-Semitism that I was suddenly confronted with as a soldier.
Surveys published in the NEW YORK TIMES, TIME
and MERCURY magazines pointed out that during the period starting with the summer of 1940 until the end of WWII, 15 to 24% of respondents to polls considered the Jews to be a menace to America. These and many other publications reported that Jews were considerd a
greater threat to the security and welfare of the U.S. than the Japanese and the Germans with whom America was at war in a life and death struggle. In the halls of Congress attacks on Jews were so vicious that a Jewish congressman from New York, Michael Edelstein, in 1944, collapsed and died from a heart attack after hearing a Nazi-style diatribe from a Democratic Congressman named, John Rankin. Anti-Semitism climbed to a historic peak late in 1944 according to Elmo Roper, a leading pollster of that era. I call your attention to another important book, culled largely from U.S. State Department documents, THE ABANDONMENT OF THE JEWS, by an eminent historian, David S. Wyman, a scion of an old New England family.
Today there are at least 100 web sites on the internet devoted to hatred of Jews and of Israel. Now most of this hatred is emanating from the socalled liberal and Marxist left.
At places like the huffington.com and other web sites where the red-fascist MoveOn.org crowd congregate, the comments range from the scatological to the blatantly anti-Semitic. We are entering a political environment in which hostility to Israel and the perceived Jewish influence on U.S. foreign policy is rampantly gaining widespread currency.
Even such a bastion of Jewish liberalism as the JEWISH FORWARD reluctantly had to conclude that the reaction to Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut
constituted far more “than the familiar tinge of bigotry in the Democratic Party that Jews have long become accustomed to and ignore.” The FORWARD pointed out in its editorial that such anti-Semitic conspiracy mongering was unfortunately indicative of an alarming shift in American political culture which Jews have grown unaccustomed to for the past 60 years.
This does not mean that the entire Democratic Party has become completely subservient to the Jimmy Carters, the George Soroses, and the Michael Moores. Though it is true that the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic forces are not an insignificant factor in one of our two leading political parties.
At a time that Europe has reverted to its historic anti-Semitic configuration, much of the international community, including the U.S., denounces Jews who possess the effrontery to attempt to defend themselves and applauds the killers. As a result of Oslo Accords in 1993 approximately 2,000 Jews were murdered, thousands more crippled for life, as well a huge number of wounded in Israel. 5 1/2 million Israeli Jews find themselves confronting a shockingly hostile world and yet perhaps a 1/4 of Israeli Jews are traitors to their own country. Except for a minority of Diaspora Jewry and our loyal supporters in the Christian Fundamentalist community, most of whom are in the United States, we Jews have few if any friends in the world. American Jews have every reason to be ashamed that the only organized community in this country that recognizes and vigorously supports the historic right of the Jewish People in all of the Land of Israel, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan Rift, which includes Gaza, Samaria, Judea, and the Golan Heights are the 60,000,000 Evangelical Christians. Only they support the Zionist destiny of the Jewish People. When they bring their followers to Israel, they go to Hebron, Kiryat Arba, Shilo and Beth
El, places most American Jewish leaders shun from fear or political correctness.
An esteemed Evangelical Christian Zionist, Cal Thomas, recently wrote concerning Israel’s sequential appeasing concessions to its avowed mortal enemies, “It is particularly unpleasant when Jews are co-conspirators in their own destruction.”
It seems to me that we are destined to relive the nightmare of 1938. We have seen the pattern before: a nation=s economy is in shambles, its people lacking food, shelter, and the other bare necessities of life cry out in desperation and quickly point the accusing finger at the Jews. Today it is not the Germans, it is not the Nazis. But it is happening throughout Europe, the Middle East, South America, and elsewhere around the world. It is fueled by Islamo-Fascists, Communists, other assorted leftists, extreme nationalists and diverse groups venting their hatred at Western civilization and particularly Israel and the Jews.
In the 1920's and 30's a great farsighted Jewish leader, Vladimir Jabotinsky was one of the few who foresaw the coming Holocaust. In vain he tried to warn European Jewry. Wide spectrums of Jewry shunned him. They denounced him as a fascist fear-monger and many congregations refused to even let him speak. He was actually expelled from the World Zionist Organization in 1933. In the summer of 1940 I attended Jabotinsky’s funeral in New York City.
In August 1942, at the start of the Nazis mass transport of Jews to the death camps, a young Warsaw Jew purposely went on one of the early transports. Remember the Jews were told that they were being relocated to work camps. When they arrived at their destination, he managed to furtively escape and witnessed what was happening. He risked his life once
again and made his way back to the Warsaw Ghetto, which at the beginning held perhaps a half million Jews. When this young man tried to warn the Jews of Warsaw, about the fate that awaited them at the transports, he was denounced as a fear monger and almost lynched. Like most human being, Jews are reluctant to face unpleasant truths.
As one who has been for many years and still is currently a university professor, I can tell you that the hatred and condemnation against Israel and Zionism
being propagated on almost all leading American and Canadian universities as well as those in Europe should be of deep concern to every Jew. Please recall that at the time of the Weimar Republic, the Nazi Party in Germany was strong in the universities and indoctrinated their youth, before Hitler became a serious political factor in Germany. The same anti-Semitic syndrome has been taking place in western universities for the past 40 years and is intensifying. Remember that anti-Zionism is the post-Holocaust term for anti-Semitism.
I am not predicting that American Jewry is immanently in danger from the imposition of the Nurenberg Laws or that the U.S. foreign policy toward Israel is destined to become overtly hostile in the immediate future. We are, however, faced with foreboding portents of change. Let us not blind ourselves to that possible reality. In my opinion American Jewry may be living in a fools’ paradise, much like the German Jews before the rise of Hitler. One needs merely to analyze the dynamics of the current presidential campaign.
I do urgently believe that the Government of Israel should assiduously be investing great capital on planning the future of the Jewish State without U.S. military and diplomatic support. Do I believe that is possible? I absolutely do which is why my
children and grandchildren are living in Israel. In fact severing the umbilical chord to the U.S. would result in a number of significant benefits for Israel as well as critical challenges. I am convinced, however, that Israel can exist without that special U.S. support which she has actually had only since the Six Day War.
The great Spanish philosopher, George Santayana once wrote that “those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it”. A perusal of Jewish history confirms the truism of Santayana’s astute observation. I believe that had Jews been true to Judaism and cognizant of the foibles committed by the Jewish people in the past, the Nazi Holocaust of the 1940’s might have been prevented or at least attenuated. Our Islamo-Fascist enemies today are planning a second Holocaust against Israel and Jews everywhere to complete the Hitler’s ambition of a “Judenrein world”. Once again the governments and peoples of the Western supposedly civilized world are actively abetting this genocidal plan through diplomatic and material support.
The first stage in the implementation of this nefarious plan is the so-called “peace process” to weaken and strip Israel of strategic territories which began with the Camp David Accords in 1978. It deprived Israel of the Sinai Peninsula in exchange for a worthless piece of paper from Egypt. As a result of that agreement, the latter has become, in my opinion, the most serious threat to Israel’s continued existence. Unfortunately, many Jewish leftists even in Israel have fallen prey to the seductive allure of “peace in our time”. They actively advocate a policy of appeasing the Arab terrorists similar to that tried by the “peace people” of the 1930’s viz-a-viz Hitler. The results will certainly be the same and especially catastrophic for the Jews. Arab propaganda and the hatred of the so-called “liberals” of today, many of
whom are really red-fascists, are intensively engaged in the process of delegitimizing Jewish history and the right of the Jewish people to have their own country. Israel is the only nation on the Earth whose very right to existence continues to be challenged. Many in the Jewish community are either apathetic or fail to recognize this existential threat. American-Jewish leaders once again justify their compliance to U.S. State Department policy possibly for fear once again of an anti-Semitic backlash in the United States. Yet that is no justification for a policy based on abject cowardice.
We all tend to hear and to repeat many negatives with regards to Israel and Israeli society: the shockingly incompetent governmental leadership; the corruption in high places; the frequent lack of public civility, etc. etc.. Yet as I look around Israel I see a booming economy; an energetic, enterprising people, with (for the most part) a clear-eyed approach to their national security; flourishing arts, sciences, universities, an ever strengthening of Jewish institutions; and even an astonishing advanced architecture and infrastructure. Israel is truly an outstanding success story in the annals of human history. What Israel and the Jewish People have accomplished there in the past 125 years should give enormous confidence and immense pride to every Jew and especially to every Jew living in Israel.
Dr. Irving Kett
Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired
Professor of Civil Engineering
California State University, L. A.
Our World: Bush's rhetoric, Bush's policies
Jun. 16, 2008
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST
In an interview Sunday with Britain's Observer, US President George W. Bush made an important observation. The president argued that the common wisdom about the Middle East, which argues that Palestinian statelessness is the root of regional instability and jihadism, is incorrect. It is Iranian aggression rather than the lack of Palestinian sovereignty that lies at the root of the war.
As Bush put it, "When you go to the Middle East and you sit in my seat and listen, yes, there's concern about the Palestinian state. But the dialogue has shifted dramatically from 'solve the Palestinian state and you've solved the problems in the Middle East,' to, now, 'solve the Iranian issue and you solve the problems in the Middle East.' "
In acknowledging this basic reality, the president finally accepted the self-evident truth that people like US scholar Michael Ledeen, the author of The Iranian Time Bomb: The Mullah Zealots' Quest for Destruction, have been pointing out for years. It is Iran which is fueling the war in Iraq. It is Iran that has used its proxy in Lebanon to attack Israel and assert control over the country. It is Iran that stands behind the resurgence of the Palestinian jihad against Israel. And it is Iran that is developing nuclear weapons both to destroy Israel and to assert its control over global petroleum markets.
Given the continuously escalating nature of the Iranian threat to global security, Bush's remark was significant. And since Britain has led the campaign to convince the US that it is the absence of Palestinian sovereignty that stands at the root of the war, the fact that Bush made this statement of strategic lucidity to a British newspaper on the eve of his trip to Britain made it doubly significant.
So it is especially troubling and disappointing that in spite of the president's clear recognition of the nature of the Iranian challenge, he is refusing to confront Iran in any practical way.
As he moved through European capitals, Bush asserted repeatedly that he is completely committed to Europe's policy of diplomatically engaging Iran on its nuclear weapons program. He never once brought up the option of forcibly preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Rather, he sufficed with calling for the three, toothless UN Security Council sanctions resolutions against Iran to be enforced.
BUSH'S STATEMENTS came against the backdrop of Iran's latest rejection of the West's latest offer to buy it off in exchange for a mere "suspension" of its uranium enrichment activities. That is, he embraced "negotiations" after Iran essentially said, again, that its nuclear weapons program is non-negotiable.
Bush tried to place a wedge between the Iranian regime and the Iranian people by arguing - correctly - that the Iranian people are suffering under the mullahocracy's jackboot. But he has also taken toppling the Iranian regime off the table. So the oppressed Iranian people have no reason to believe that were they to risk their lives in an attempt to free themselves of their leaders, the US would support them.
According to the US media, there was some talk a while back about a US strike against terror training camps in Iran that are used to train insurgents who are killing coalition forces and Iraqi citizens in Iraq. According to international law, such an attack would be permissible. But the Pentagon reportedly nixed the idea, arguing that while the US may start such a confrontation, it would have no control over how events would unfold.
This unfortunately, is a wild distortion of reality. The reality is that Iran has been actively engaged in confronting the US and its allies since 1979. And in every theater of action, it is Iran that has been calling all of the shots. A US strike against the terror training facilities in Iran would mark the first time that the US has ever seized the initiative in Iran's war against it and against the rest of the free world. So opposing such a strike is not an argument against confrontation, but an argument against acknowledging the existence of Iran's ongoing war against the US.
LEBANON IS one of Iran's key battlegrounds for regional dominance. Through its Hizbullah proxy, last month Iran consolidated its control over Lebanon. Hizbullah's bloody takeover of the country was capped off with the signing of the Doha agreement. In Qatar, Lebanon's defeated pro-democracy forces from the March 14 movement officially accepted Hizbullah control of the country by acquiescing to Hizbullah's demand for control over the Lebanese government.
Rather than accept that at Doha the Lebanese government became an open tool of Hizbullah, the Bush administration has decided to pretend - along with Europe - that nothing has happened. As far as the Bush administration and Europe are concerned, a pro-Western, democratically elected government still runs Lebanon's government.
Sadly, there is nothing new about this policy of denial. After the March 14 democracy movement successfully forced Syrian forces to withdraw from Lebanon in 2005, Hizbullah stepped in to protect Syrian and Iranian interests in the country by joining Fuad Siniora's supposedly pro-Western government. Like Europe, the US refused to acknowledge the fact that Hizbullah's partnership with Siniora rendered the Lebanese government - and with it the March 14 movement - proxies of Hizbullah and Iran. And so, prodded by France, throughout the 2006 Israel-Hizbullah war, the US ignored the fact that the Siniora government was nothing more than Hizbullah's diplomatic cover.
In 2006 the US and Europe justified their studied denial of Lebanon's political realities by arguing that Hizbullah was only a minority member of Siniora's coalition. This argument was never persuasive given that Hizbullah's Iranian-trained, financed and armed military force is more powerful than the Lebanese army. But it was a convenient excuse for inaction for leaders unwilling to acknowledge that Iran is the source of regional instability. Today, with Hizbullah in control over the Siniora government, this dubious argument has been wholly discredited. And yet the West's policy of denial has only escalated.
Immediately after the Doha agreement was concluded, the US announced its desire to expand its support for the Hizbullah-controlled Lebanese military. And Monday, Al Hayat reported that during his visit with French President Nicholas Sarkozy, Bush agreed to reward Hizbullah for its aggression directly.
Al Hayat reported that during his visit with Sarkozy, Bush agreed to accept Hizbullah's demand that Israel surrender its control over Mt. Dov - or what it refers to as the Shebaa Farms - to Lebanon. Israel's control over Mt. Dov has served as Iran's justification for its proxy's continued aggression against Israel since Israel withdrew from Lebanon in May 2000.
ISRAEL SEIZED control over Mt. Dov from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War. It was never considered Lebanese territory. In 2006, Lebanese Druse leader Walid Jumblatt stated outright that Hizbullah's claim to the vast, strategically critical area which separates the Syrian-controlled Golan Heights from the Upper Galilee was a complete fabrication. Yet, acting as Hizbullah's mouthpiece, in 2006 the Siniora government demanded that Israel surrender the area to Lebanon. Refusing to acknowledge that Siniora was controlled by Hizbullah, in August 2006 the US placed this groundless demand before the UN for consideration in the UN Security Council's Resolution 1701 which set the terms of the ceasefire.
And now, with Hizbullah - that is Iran - the undisputed ruler of Lebanon, Bush has reportedly accepted Hizbullah's unjustifiable demand for control over the area.
Then of course there is the Palestinian war against Israel, which Bush himself acknowledges is a consequence of Iranian aggression rather than its source. And yet, rather than embrace the policy which logically stems from this correct assessment - namely that the Palestinians' role as an Iranian proxy means that it makes no sense to support them - the Bush administration has made pressuring Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians the core of its Middle East policy. And in so doing, the administration has contributed to the solidification of Iran's rule in Gaza through Hamas and the expansion of Hamas's Iranian-controlled power in Judea and Samaria.
As is the case with the Hizbullah-controlled Siniora government, so with the Palestinians, the US refuses to acknowledge that the Fatah terror group is indistinguishable from and acts as diplomatic cover for the Hamas terror group. And so it forces Israel to make concessions to Fatah that directly endanger Israel and strengthen Hamas and Iran. As IDF commanders warned during Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's latest trip here this week, the thousands of US-trained security forces that Rice forced Israel to permit to deploy in Jenin and Nablus last month have overseen the expansion of terror attacks against Israel and enabled Hamas to expand its influence. The same is the case in Ramallah.
Then too, IDF commanders warn that if Rice succeeds in forcing the weak and incompetent Israeli government to take down yet more roadblocks in Judea and Samaria, Israelis can expect for the Palestinians to begin shooting rockets and mortars at Jerusalem and central Israel from Judea and Samaria. That is, by purposely undermining Israel's military control over Judea and Samaria in favor of Fatah - which is Hamas's proxy - the Bush administration is actively promoting the expansion of Iran's control over Judea and Samaria.
Sunday it was reported that Pakistan may have sold designs for advanced nuclear warheads capable of being launched from Iran's Shihab-3 ballistic missiles to Iran. These reports came as Pakistan's new "democratic" government has signed agreements transferring control over border areas with Afghanistan to the Taliban and al-Qaida. That is, the report of Pakistan's nuclear proliferation activities came to light as Pakistan openly supports the war against NATO and Afghan national forces in Afghanistan.
For years, the US has been very careful not to attack Pakistani territory in spite of the fact that it is used as a sanctuary for the Taliban and al-Qaida because Pakistan has nuclear weapons. That is, the US's inability to contest the actions of a nuclear proliferating, terror supporting state is the consequence of its refusal to take action to prevent Pakistan from acquiring nuclear weapons in 1998. And of course, compared with Iran, Pakistan is "moderate."
Throughout much of his presidency, and especially since 2006, what has been most notable about Bush's rhetoric is that it has been completely disconnected from his policies. As he considers the legacy he is about to leave behind, it will hopefully occur to the president that the only way to leave the world more secure is to match his policies towards Iran to his rhetoric.
To Disenfranchise or to Empower the Jewish People
The present writer congratulates those members of the Knesset that supported a bill whereby 60 MKs would be elected in regional districts, while 60 would be elected under the present system of Proportional Representation. This fulfills one provision of a draft constitution set forth in my book Jewish Statesmanship: Lest Israel Fall (2000)-which is not to say this book should be credited for the bill in question.
Although the bill was vetoed by the Shas Party, a member of Ehud Olmert's coalition government, it should soon resurface as a private member's bill. At stake is the empowerment of the Jewish people and even the preservation of Israel 's Jewish heritage.
It cannot be said too often that the law that makes Israel a single electoral district in which fixed party slates win Knesset seats via Proportional Representation has effectively disenfranchised the Jews of this country. This law has enabled members of the Knesset, especially those who become prime ministers or cabinet ministers, to violate the abiding beliefs and values of the Jewish people with impunity. A conspicuous culprit is Shas.
Ironically, this ultra-Orthodox party is especially responsible for undermining Israel 's Jewish character. This it obviously did when it virtually empowered the Rabin government after the cliff-hanger elections of June 1992. This leftwing government not only emasculated the Jewish content of the public school curriculum; it also concluded the Israel-PLO Agreement of 1993, which has truncated Israel and led to the murder of some 1,600 Jews by Arab terrorists.
If it were legally possible to ban Shas, it would be a mitzvah to do so. But then any party that has been complicit in any governmental decision to surrender Jewish land would have to be banned! This would include the Likud, Labor, Kadima, Torah United Judaism, and the National Religious Party. Nevertheless, if any single party wins the prize, it's Shas, without which the curse of Oslo would not have been inflicted on the Jewish people.
Aside from sustaining today's horrendous Olmert government, consider the prolongation of Israel 's current system of Proportional Representation, for whose prolongation we may thank the Shas veto. David Ben-Gurion's Memoirs reviews some of the evils of this system.
Ben-Gurion saw that Proportional Representation (PR), in addition to fragmenting the nation, severs the representational bond between the voter and members of the Knesset. He saw that PR in a single nationwide electoral district "would cut any connection between the voter and his representative, who would be dependent on his party leadership rather than on those who elected him and whom he would not even know." The plethora of parties produced by PR would also produce governments consisting of several rival parties that form a ruling majority "not on the basis of a common program but merely to divide up positions of influence and the national budget." This spells corruption.
Only regional elections, said Ben-Gurion, can ensure representational democracy, for the representative would know and be accountable to those who had elected him. "To win a majority, the candidate would have to gain the approval of a majority of voters in his own constituency and concentrate on the problems of that majority . Instead of a multiplicity of parties and election lists, a constituency system would promote national unity and an organic link between the voter and his legislative representative."
I would add the following:
(1) The actual configuration of geographic districts needs to be designed by mathematically-trained political scientists. They can configure districts in such a way that neither diminishes the influence of nationalist oriented voters, nor increases the representation of Arab voters. On the contrary, any fair system of direct district elections will automatically increase the influence of Israel 's Jewish majority on the laws of the state and thereby magnify Jewish national principles.
(2) Since any geographic district is likely to consist of citizens having diverse interests and opinions, a candidate for the Knesset will have to appeal to a majority of these citizens and not merely to a single ethnic, religious, or ideological group. This would not only moderate politics and enlarge the mentality of politicians. It would also shift Israel 's the territorial policy toward the right consistent with the abiding convictions of Israel 's Jewish majority. District elections would therefore make Israel more Jewish, as I will now illustrate.
Studies of the Guttman Institute indicate that 25% of Israel 's Jewish population is "orthodox," and at least 50% is "traditional." No less than 75% therefore identify with the Jewish heritage. This corresponds to the 76% of the Jewish electorate that voted against the Labor Party's policy of "unilateral disengagement" in the January 2003 election-the paramount issue of that election.
Nevertheless, thanks to political bribery-facilitated by the system of voting for party slates-the Knesset, by a margin of 67 to 45, voted for territorial withdrawal and the expulsion of 10,000 Jews from their homes! Surely, few if any of the 23 Likud MKs would have voted for that defeatist and criminal policy had they been individually accountable to the voters in constituency elections.
This vividly illustrates how Proportional Representation in a single nationwide electoral district undermines political accountability. It also shows how PR has diminished Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel and, to that extent, has undermined the Jewish heritage. (I have elsewhere cited polls going back to 1992 showing that a substantial majority of the Jews have opposed surrendering Jewish land. See Ariel Center Policy Paper No. 172 for details.)
In view of the preceding facts, I conclude that Shas, by vetoing constituency elections, perpetuates a system that disenfranchises the people; and since most of the people identify with the Jewish heritage and expect law-makers to uphold Jewish beliefs and values, it follows that Shas, despite its religious orientation, has undermined, to no small extent, Israel 's Jewish character.
Dear World - Reflections
by Jack Berger
In a few weeks we, in America, will be remembering and celebrating the Fourth of July. I will be reflecting and remembering two Jewish Fourth of Julys from our history. On July 4, 1946, Polish Jews liberated from Nazi death camps gratefully made their way back to their "hometown" - and were welcomed then slaughtered by their Polish neighbors in a town called Kielce. The welcome home was not very welcoming. Thirty years later on July 4, 1976, there was also a moment of liberation and welcoming, for it was on July 4, 1976, that the Israeli Defense Forces rescued Jewish hostages kidnapped by PLO terrorists, from a place called Entebbe. While there was joyous celebrations and relief in Israel, at the United Nations there was only the usual condemnation. How dare Israel invade a sovereign country?
Yet it was President Gerald Ford who captured the moment when, in the middle of the Fourth of July celebrations in Washington, D.C., he interrupted the festivities to proudly announce that America had just been given a gift commemorating this special day of independence and freedom - "We have just been informed that the Israeli forces have rescued their hostages at Entebbe and have returned home safely." On wings of eagles I shall bring you back!
In 1946, Jews who had survived the death camps returned to what they believed was their home - in 1976 Jews survived death at an airport in Africa to return safely to their home - our homeland, given to us by our G-d in a covenant with our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob long ago. Some believe it has been a miraculous 60 years but the truth is, it has been a miraculous 4,000 years. As Ben Hecht wrote so cogently in his Guide for the Bedeviled,"... one should have some sympathy for Europe, Christendom and the lands of Islam. To have fought tirelessly and with so many ingenious and powerful weapons, and to have fought so small a foe as the Jew and to have lost always. is a debacle calling for some sympathy". (p.90) Yet you Dear World have been and continue to be very persistent.
Indeed it appears that you have been quite upset and even angry with us Jews over the past 60 years. Today it is the repression of the Palestinian Hamasnik murderers in Gaza, yesterday it was Hizbalnik terrorists of Lebanon and before that it was the bombing of the nuclear reactors in Iraq, and just a few months ago it was the bombing of the nuclear facilities of Bashir "chip off the old block" Assad in Syria. It appears that Jews, who triumph and therefore live, upset you greatly. For too long, Dear World, you had always enjoyed your Jews served up powerless. but over the last 60 years our people in our homeland have become less accommodating.
Of course, Dear World, long before there was the modern state of Israel, we, the Jewish people, upset a German people who elected a man named Hitler and we upset an Austrian people who cheered his entry into Vienna and we upset a whole slew of Slavic nations - Poles, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Russians, Hungarians and Romanians. We go back a long way in the history of upsetting you. We upset a Cossack by the name of Chmielnicki, who massacred our people by the tens of thousands. and we upset the Crusaders who on their way to the Holy Land decided to slaughter defenseless Jews for the sport of it. We upset a Roman Catholic Church that did its best to define our relationship through Inquisitions and we upset the arch-enemy of the church, Martin Luther, who in his call to burn synagogues, preferably with Jews in them, while showing a less than admirable Christian spirit of love for his brother.
And it is because we became so upset over upsetting you that we decided to leave you and go back to our homeland - the same homeland that you drove us from 1900 years ago. Having left you and your pogroms, inquisitions, crusades and holocausts - we still seem to upset you. You are angry that we have not given up our biblical homeland where our patriarchs and matriarchs walked, and where our prophets heard the words of our G-d, and spoke truth to the world. you call it the West Bank; we call it by its historical name of Judea and Samaria, our ancient land revived where our people today, over 300,000 flourish, have lots of babies and build homes and where, to your astonishment, the once barren soil has come back to life. I know it perplexes you. Is it because we Jews have so much land and your oil bearing friends the Arabs have so little that you desire to take our land from us through lies and revisionist history? Where were you, the mythological Palestinians and your
quest for a mythological homeland from 1948 to 1967! From 1948 to 1967 you were Jordanians or Syrians and so today you can take your choice, but not one inch of our land.
In 1920, 1921 and 1929 there were no territories of 1967 to prevent peace between Arabs and Jews - in fact there was no Jewish State to upset anybody. Never the less you watched as Arabs slaughtered Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa, and Safed and in one day in 1929 managed to slaughter 67 Jews in Hebron. Why in 1929 did Arabs massacre 67 Jews? Could it have been because you were upset over "Israeli aggression" in 1967? And why were 510 Jewish men, women and children slaughtered between 1936 and 1939 - because you were upset over the "Israeli aggression" of 1967? And when in 1948, when our state was reborn thru a democratic vote by your friends at the United Nations, another 6,000 Jews were killed in a vicious war you began. Was that because of the war to defend our country in 1967? Today your double talking Abbas is just another Arafat terrorist in a suit. You knew Arafat was a homicidal pimp who brainwashed the gullible, while blessing his suicide-bombers claiming they were
courageous martyrs. but you, Dear World, praised and honored him as Jewish women and children were slaughtered by his delusional "shahids" looking for those 72 black-eyed virgins. The truth is it was your appeasement that encouraged him. It was those Kodak moments at the White House where you acted as a cheerleader giving him smiling handshakes and peace prizes. You knew that the Palestinian Liberation Organization - PLO - was an Egyptian terrorist organization created by Nasser in 1964. They never ruled Palestine. There is nothing in their history that tied them to this land. These are the same Arabs who in their vile hatred in the 1920's and 1930's swore "it bach al Yahid" - "massacre the Jews. destroy Israel" How pathetic that Arab mothers have only dreams of martyrdom for their children's future, as they languish in the 1300 year old hatreds of their grandfathers.
Dear World, you stood by in 1948 as seven Arab states launched their Final Solution promising to finish the work that their hero Hitler had begun. You expected to once again feast on powerless Jews, but it was you who forged our strength in the ovens at Auschwitz. Having closed all avenues to your countries of refuge, you gave us no choice - and we thank you for finally wiping all illusions from our eyes giving us our only option. to take up the sword and return and rebuild our ancient homeland.
You stood by in 1967 as Nasser, cheered by wild mobs, again vowed to drive the Jews into the sea. and let's be honest, you will stand there silently tomorrow preparing magnificent eulogies written by your shameless speechwriters, for piles of dead Jews, as Iran develops its nuclear capabilities offering us extinction. You've no doubt heard the Iranian boasts of what its country will do when it gets the bomb. You may not believe Mr. Ahmadinejad, but we have experience in believing such people. Today we of numbered arms remember and are willing to trade all of your pornographic eulogies for live Jews. You have allowed the noble dreams of the United Nations to become a hypothetical circus for Jew hatred. We know, and you know, that the dreams of the Arabs is for our extinction but this time we will do everything necessary to defend our people and our land and if that bothers you, Dear World, think of how many times in the past you have bothered us. (Adapted from my
proud, strong, Jew-loving Rav.of blessed memory)
Yet the wisdom and truth of our Torah are as relevant today as when it was first given to our people.
For it was that ".Yaakov had not been seen in over 20 years and there was joy in the land. There was no longer anyone to disturb the stability of a society built on materialism and idolatry, or to point an accusing finger saying, 'You are immoral.' Then one day, Yaakov returns. The inhabitants are informed that the Shechina (the spirit of G-d) is again active in the holy land, so Hashem prepares the conditions necessary for the newly arrived Hebrews. On their return, their sister Dinah is attacked and violated, and family honor and justice demand retribution. The brothers of Dinah, Shimon and Levi, the sons of Yaakov, go to war... The news travels far and wide to every corner of the land, "Yaakov has returned. and has taken his toll on the immoral people of Shechem. Things will never be the same again. The Jews have returned!
". For the actions of his sons, Yaakov is gripped with fear of what awaits him at the hands of the pagan peoples of Canaan. "You (Shimon and Levi) have made me odious in the eyes of the inhabitants", yet he travels to Bet El to offer a sacrifice to Hashem, and, to his amazement, he is not attacked. It now becomes glaringly apparent that the pagans are more afraid of him than he is of them. The lesson becomes internalized by Yaakov and his sons. This is the language which speaks to these people - they scavenge at the blood of the weak but shrink away before the courageous and strong. With this lesson firmly imbedded in his consciousness, Yaakov can now have the peace he so desires." Appeasement only brings dishonor and emboldens our enemies. Justice comes before mercy. Peace after victory.
Sixty years ago, Dear World, after having taken six million of our brothers and sisters, you were still not satisfied, so Hashem produced the conditions for the world to learn that there are Jews who have decided to live and that they have returned to their ancient homeland - Eretz Yisrael. The War of Independence; the Six Day War; the Yom Kippur War; the destruction of the Iraqi atomic reactor and so much more. This is the language which you the nations of the world understand. (adapted from Rav Nachman of Yerushalayim).
Dear World, my people would like nothing more than to continue to share their incredible medical, cultural and technological discoveries as gifts to mankind and live in peace but clearly understand your gas chambers are no longer an option. If you have noticed, in just 60 years we have created a pretty incredible country and to be clear, have learned to do whatever it takes to observe our Torah's commandment to Choose Life! As I began, we hope that doesn't upset you too much, but if it does - get used to it. Now recite after me - Am Yisroal Chai and Happy Sixtieth and many more!
Column One: Israel's darkest week
Jun. 19, 2008
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST
The Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government's liquidation sale of Israel's strategic assets opened officially this week. Iran's proxies have pounced on the merchandise.
The first asset sold was the security of southern Israel. The Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government's "cease-fire" with Hamas transferred all power to determine the fate of the residents of southern Israel to Iran's Palestinian proxy.
Under the "agreement," Hamas will refrain from attacking Sderot, Ashkelon, Netivot and surrounding kibbutzim for as long as it serves its interests. Since temporarily halting its attacks on southern Israel is the only thing that Hamas has agreed to do, it will use the lull in fighting to build up its arsenal and its military infrastructures in Gaza. When it has built up its forces sufficiently, or when its Iranian overlords give it the order, Hamas will again attack southern Israel. And when it reengages, it can be assumed that it will do so with a vastly expanded missile range. So under the guise of the "cease-fire," Hamas will place hundreds of thousands more Israelis at its mercy.
The Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government's agreement with Hamas does more than sell out the security of the South. The agreement also divests Israel of its former ability to isolate Hamas diplomatically. Fatah's renewal of negotiations toward reconciling with Hamas is a direct consequence of Israel's actions. As these talks unfold, it is clear to all concerned that they will not lead to any sort of power sharing agreement between the two parties. Hamas today holds all the power in Palestinian society. Israel's acceptance of Hamas's power over the safety of Israeli citizens only amplified this fact. Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas - who cannot even travel to Nablus without IDF protection - is not approaching Hamas as an equal, but as a supplicant.
Moreover, Israel's willingness to allow Gazans to enter Israel, and its acceptance of Hamas's control over the Rafah international terminal that separates Gaza from Egypt, constitutes de facto Israeli recognition of the Hamas regime in Gaza. And the direct consequence of Israel's diplomatic and strategic capitulation to Hamas is that no one in either the Arab world or the West today will agree to isolate or boycott Hamas.
But the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government apparently doesn't care. Israel's leaders actually don't want anyone to isolate or boycott Hamas anymore. The government's reported negotiations regarding the deployment of an all-Arab "peacekeeping" force in Gaza in a later phase of the "cease-fire" make clear that Israel is pushing for Hamas's international legitimization.
After all, unlike Israel, Hamas would never allow any government that doesn't recognize its legitimacy to deploy forces in its territory or along its borders. So any Arab force that deployed in Gaza or along Gaza's borders would have to recognize Hamas's regime. Beyond that, of course, Israel's advocacy of such a force indicates that the government has no interest in ever confronting Hamas militarily and is ready to tie the hands of any future Israeli government to do so since the presence of Arab forces in Gaza will render it much more difficult for Israel to defend itself. For if such a force is deployed, any future counter-terror operation in Gaza is liable to cause casualties among foreign Arab soldiers and so risk escalating the conflict to the level of regional war.
Israel's decision to embrace Hamas is so outrageous that even the US State Department apparently hasn't had a chance to get its bearings. Reacting to the news on Wednesday, State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said, "Saying you've got a loaded gun to my head but you're not going to fire today is far different from taking the gun down, locking it up, and saying you're not going to use it again." The agreement "hardly takes Hamas out of the terrorism business," Casey added.
The "cease-fire" with Hamas also has direct implications for Judea and Samaria. If Hamas holds its fire for six months, then Israel will be obliged to end its counter-terror operations in Judea and Samaria. That is, if Hamas keeps its powder dry until January, Israel will effectively enable it to assert its control over Judea and Samaria and so place Iran in control of the outskirts of Jerusalem, Kfar Saba, Afula and Netanya.
IF THE US was aghast at the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government's capitulation to Hamas, UN officials are aghast at its second asset drop. This week the government conducted its second round of negotiations toward the surrender of the Golan Heights to Syria. Speaking of the surrender talks to a group of Israeli diplomats, Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559, condemned the move, arguing just by holding the negotiations, "Israel has given Syria a huge gift, without thus far receiving anything in exchange."
Larsen continued bitterly, "Syria is receiving legitimacy for free. Europe is courting the Syrians because of the negotiations with Israel, and they are no longer being asked to give anything in exchange."
Indeed, far from moderating their behavior, the Syrians seem only to have strengthened their already intimate ties with Iran since Israel initiated the surrender talks last month. Reacting to the second round of talks, Iran's Ambassador to Syria, Sayyed Ahmed Moussavi, told a German news agency that Iranian-Syrian ties have strengthened still further over the past four months. Moussavi, who also serves as a general in Iran's Revolutionary Guards and as a senior adviser to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, hinted that Iran is planning on sharing its nuclear arsenal with Syria. As he put it, "Islam taught us to pass on our knowledge and we can pass our [nuclear] experience to Syria if it wants it."
In its rush to obliterate Israel's defensive positions, the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government apparently doesn't care that Iran may well attack Israel with nuclear warheads launched from a post-withdrawal Golan Heights. What is most important to the government is to make Syria look good. And so, following the second round of negotiations with the Syrians, Olmert practically got down on his hands and knees to beg Assad to meet with him face to face when they visit Paris together next month. The two have been invited by French President Nicholas Sarkozy to participate in the launch of his Mediterranean Union initiative on July 13. Assad, no doubt enjoying the moment, rejected Olmert's pleas. As Larsen warned, Assad has no reason to pay for something he is already getting for free.
APPARENTLY, THE Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government couldn't suffice with capitulation on three fronts in one week. And so it moved to a fourth one. Far from displaying alarm or anger over US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's decision to visit Beirut and give the US's blessing to the new Hizbullah-controlled Lebanese government, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert joined her defeatist bandwagon. He announced that he wishes to open negotiations with Iran's Lebanese proxy and to that end he is willing to surrender strategically critical Mount Dov - or what Hizbullah refers to as Shaba Farms - to Hizbullah. So eager is Olmert to surrender, that even after Hizbullah's puppet Prime Minister Fuad Saniora rejected his offer, he reiterated it.
Like Assad and Hamas, Hizbullah sees no reason to honor Olmert and his colleagues with direct talks. As Hizbullah parliamentarian Nawar Sahili said this week, "If they really want to give us back our land, they can withdraw."
Finally, there is the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government's handling of the Israeli soldiers being held hostage by Hamas and Hizbullah. The government agreed to the "cease-fire" with Hamas without securing Gilad Schalit's release from captivity. Rather than acknowledge that they have likely signed his death warrant, the government insists that it's not done capitulating. It will begin begging Hamas to accept hundreds of Palestinian murderers jailed in Israeli prisons in exchange for Schalit next Tuesday.
As for Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, who were kidnapped to Lebanon by Hizbullah two years ago and haven't been heard from since, the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government is poised to spring arch-murderer Samir Kuntar from prison together with three other Hizbullah terrorists in exchange for their release - dead or alive.
In a naked attempt to divert the public's attention away from its surrender drive, Thursday morning the government initiated a violent confrontation with Israeli residents of Samaria by ordering the destruction of homes in the community of Yitzhar. In other words, while surrendering to Iranian proxies on four fronts, the government has turned its guns against Israeli citizens.
THE GOVERNMENT'S actions no doubt increase prospects for a major war. But beyond that, it is important to note that Israel is discarding its strategic assets in the face of the burgeoning threat of nuclear annihilation.
No doubt buoyed by the government's strategic incapacitation, Iran mockingly told the Europeans that it will be happy to consider their European-American offer to build Iran nuclear reactors and normalize relations with it - so long as it is understood that they will accept their largesse while continuing their uranium enrichment activities.
In Israel's 60-year history, there is no precedent for the government's actions this week. And if history is any guide, Israel can only expect more of the same in the government's remaining time in office - however long that might be.
Until Olmert was elected prime minister in 2006, Defense Minister Ehud Barak enjoyed the distinction of being the worst prime minister in Israeli history. And Barak's behavior in his waning days in power is instructive for understanding what we can expect from Olmert and Livni and Barak today.
In July 2000, after he lost a no-confidence vote in the Knesset, Barak went to Camp David and shot for the moon, offering PLO chieftain Yasser Arafat a state in all of Gaza, 90 percent of Judea and Samaria and parts of Jerusalem. Arafat rejected his offer and went to war. Facing the rejection of the Israeli electorate at the polls, rather than curtail his capitulation efforts, Barak redoubled them. As Arafat's soldiers were busy blowing up buses and lynching Israeli soldiers, Barak offered Arafat still more land in Judea and Samaria and the Temple Mount.
And today, with Barak at his side, Olmert - who similarly has been rejected by the electorate - is repeating Barak's move fourfold. And he can be expected to continue on this course until elections are held and he is sent packing.
Next week the Knesset is expected to vote on a motion to disband and move to general elections. It is far from clear that the vote will pass. Barak and his Labor Party may well decide that capitulation suits them just fine and remain on board Olmert and Livni's sinking ship.
As the Israeli public stares at the wreckage and danger that has marked this disastrous week, hopefully it understands that this is what happens when we elect bad leaders. All of this was eminently predictable in 2006 when Kadima and Labor both ran for office on capitulationist platforms. Choices have consequences. And we will be suffering with the consequences of the 2006 elections until its winners are finally thrown from office.
Column One: Not a personal affair
Jun. 26, 2008
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST
| | On Sunday Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will bring the matter of IDF reserve soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser before his cabinet. The two reservists, who are presumed dead, have not been heard from since they were kidnapped to Lebanon by Hizbullah on July 12, 2006. Olmert will instruct his ministers to vote on whether Israel should release Samir Kuntar and three Hizbullah terrorists from its prisons to secure the return of their bodies.
On April 21, 1979, Kuntar and four other terrorists infiltrated Israel from Lebanon. Kuntar entered the Nahariya apartment belonging to Danny and Smadar Haran and their daughters, two-year-old Yael and Einat, a four-month-old baby. Kuntar forced Danny and Einat to the beach below. There he shot Danny in the head and then drowned him in the sea. He crushed Einat's skull on a rock with his rifle butt. Smadar evaded capture by hiding in a crawlspace of their apartment with Yael. While trying to keep Yael silent, Smadar inadvertently suffocated her.
Kuntar has pledged that if released, he will join Hizbullah and continue his quest to bring about the destruction of Israel. He has no regrets.
As the government ministers vote to release Kuntar and his associates in exchange for Goldwasser and Regev's bodies, Ofer Dekel, Olmert's point man for hostage negotiations, will be sitting in Cairo. There he is negotiating the price of releasing IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, who for two years has been held hostage by Hamas and its fellow terror groups in Gaza. Unlike Regev and Goldwasser, Schalit is presumed alive. His captors have forced him to send messages to his parents demanding that Israel release Palestinian terrorists in exchange for his freedom.
According to the Egyptian media, Hamas is demanding 1,000 terrorists now in Israeli jails in exchange for Schalit. Most of them are convicted murderers. For its part, the government has expressed its willingness to release murderers for Schalit. But it is still unclear how many.
Among the many killers whose release Hamas demands are the masterminds of the Seder massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya where 30 people were murdered on March 27, 2002. According to the Arab media, most of the masterminds of suicide bombings in recent years are on Hamas's list.
It is impossible to know precisely how many Israelis will be killed in the future if the deals now on the table are approved. But past experience shows that at a minimum, dozens of Israelis now innocently going about their business will be murdered by the terrorists Israel releases. And at a minimum, one or two Israelis will be abducted by Hamas or Hizbullah or one of their sister terror organizations. They will be abducted in Israel or while they are travelling abroad and they will be brought to Lebanon or Gaza and the cycle of blood extortion and psychological warfare will begin anew.
That Israel will pay a price in blood if the deals go through is a certainty. That more families will meet the fates of Schalit, Regev and Goldwasser is a certainty. The only thing we do not know today is the names of the victims. They could be any one of us. Indeed, they are all of us. For all of us are equally targeted simply by virtue of the fact that we are Israelis.
Given these certainties, it is obvious that the deals now on the table ought to be rejected completely. And yet, they will both almost certainly be approved. The fact that this is the case is yet another damning indictment of Israel's elected leaders and its media. In equal parts, they share the blame for the fact that Israel is about to accede to Faustian bargains that will bring untold suffering to the country.
TO DATE, the only clear public call to reject these deals was made by former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Moshe Ya'alon. At a conference on military leadership Tuesday, Ya'alon argued against the deals explaining, "In some situations, the price to pay as part of the deal is much heavier than the price of losing the captive soldier."
Ya'alon's statement should have been a springboard for a reasoned debate. But the local media would have none of it. Rather than enable a responsible debate, the media called on Schalit's father, Noam Schalit, to rebut Ya'alon.
Noam Schalit brutally and unfairly denounced Ya'alon as a political operative. In his words, "No politician or political operative has the right to determine the fate of an IDF POW, except a commander during battle. Ya'alon was an army commander, but today he is mainly a politician and a political operative. He and anyone else can determine a POW's fate only if it concerns their own son."
Piling on, Goldwasser's father, Shlomo Goldwasser, said, "Such words can only be spoken by a man whose son is not held captive by the enemy. He would have spoken differently had the matter been a personal concern of his." The brutal truth is that the hostages' fathers have things precisely backwards. With all due respect, it is they that should not be listened to.
Through no fault of their own, the Regev, Goldwasser and Schalit families have become the mouthpieces of Hizbullah and Hamas. This is as natural as it is tragic.
The moment their sons were abducted, the Schalit, Regev and Goldwasser families also became prisoners. In constant agony over the fate of their sons, these families are incapable of acknowledging the cruel and devastating fact that the safety of three soldiers cannot be placed above Israel's national security. In their unmitigated suffering, they cannot come to terms with this horrible fact because for them the country, and indeed the world, is made up of their loved ones. This is the natural human condition. Each person's world is defined by the presence and absence of his loved ones. For the Goldwassers, Regevs and Schalits, Israel is a meaningless, cold, dark place when it doesn't include their sons Ehud, Eldad and Gilad.
And it is precisely for this reason that they cannot be allowed to dictate policy. It is precisely for this reason that the only ones who can responsibly weigh Israel's options for releasing them are those who are not personally affected by their plight.
IN 2005, then-prime minister Ariel Sharon had his ministers vote on a proposed deal in which Israel would release hundreds of terrorists in exchange for the bodies of IDF soldiers Benny Avraham, Omar Suweid and Adi Avitan, and for Elhanan Tenenbaum, an Israeli drug dealer held hostage by Hizbullah. Among the few ministers who voted against the deal was former Prisoner of Zion Natan Sharansky.
Sharansky recalls that Sharon called him the evening before the vote in an effort to secure his support. "He told me, 'As a former prisoner, you above all should understand our moral responsibility to bring about their release.'"
Sharansky responded that, indeed, "As a prisoner, it is important to know that your country is doing everything it can to secure your release. But it is also true that you are not willing to be released at any price. There are things that are more important than your personal survival."
It is a stinging indictment of Israel's political and media culture that the debate about these life-threatening deals has been dominated by the impassioned and tragic pleas of the hostages' families. As Sharansky notes, if as the Schalit and Goldwasser fathers argue, issues of paramount national security are to be determined by the parents of soldiers, then no government can ever commit forces to battle. It is an abdication of national responsibility for Olmert to send the Goldwasser, Regev and Schalit families to his colleagues to beg them to vote in favor of these blood deals. And it is an abdication of responsibility by the media when they provide these terrified, victimized families with an open microphone to rail against our politicians for refusing to have mercy on them.
Due to Hizbullah's and Hamas's deliberate, evil designs, the Goldwasser, Schalit and Regev families find themselves set apart from the rest of their countrymen. And since their personal suffering is easier to understand than the general suffering of the public if the murderers go free, it is difficult, but not impossible to understand what is at stake.
Again, that the price is not clear is the fault of the media and the pandering politicians. Disgracefully, both have left the Israeli people as a whole unrepresented in this debate.
AND THIS is not a unique situation. In recent years, led by the hydra of its media and self-interested politicians, the Israeli public has had next to no representation in the public square. This came across clearly in the politicians' handling and the media's coverage of the other major story of the week. That story of course was the backroom deal forged Tuesday night between the Labor Party and Kadima that torpedoed the opposition's plan to hold a preliminary vote Wednesday to dissolve the Knesset and move to general elections in November.
The deal, in which Kadima committed itself to holding a primary for its leadership post in September, guaranteed the Kadima-Labor-Shas government another nine months in power. Olmert, Labor Chairman Ehud Barak and their surrogates have defended the deal by arguing that what Israel needs most now is political stability. The only one harmed by their decision, they proclaimed, is Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu. The media parroted their arguments, scoffing at Likud politicians for "sewing their ministerial suits too early."
As with the hostages-for-terrorists deals, by personalizing the issue at hand, both the politicians and the media ignored the public. The reason that "stability" can only be assured by preventing elections is that for the past two years, public opinion polls have consistently shown that the public wants to replace the Kadima-Labor-Shas government with a Likud-led government. It is not the personal ambitions of Likud politicians that were scuttled on Tuesday night. It was the public's will.
It may seem crass to conflate issues affecting Israel's national security with issues affecting the identity of Israel's national leadership. It can be argued that they are unrelated. But the fact of the matter is that in both cases, no one is representing the public interest. In their rush to treat general issues as personal stories, whether of victimized families or of ambitious politicians, both our media and our leaders behave as if there are no general consequences for their actions.
Personal stories are always powerful. Whether they are tragic, titillating or irritating, they never fail to attract our attention. But their attraction must not dwarf matters of national concern. Looking ahead, Israel's troubles will not end until our leaders and our media finally accept that Israel's collective fate is not the personal affair of any one of us.
Our World: Livni the leader, or Livni the lamb?
Jun. 30, 2008
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST
What is one to make of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni? Is she the next Golda Meir? Is she a woman of steel who can stand before world leaders and demand that they treat Israel with respect? Can she win a war? Can she - as Golda did in the Yom Kippur War - keep her head when all about her are losing theirs and blaming it on her?
On Sunday, Livni dutifully followed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in voting to approve the terrorists-for-dead-hostages deal with Hizbullah. Despite the government's best efforts to put a brave face on the decision, the deal with Hizbullah is arguably the most humiliating step ever taken by a government of Israel.
In exchange for the bodies of two dead soldiers - Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser - Israel has succumbed to all of Hizbullah's demands. It will release six murderers from prison and send them to Lebanon for a hero's welcome. It will give Hizbullah the bodies of 200 terrorists and so empty Israel's Potters Field for terrorists. Moreover, it has pledged to close Israel's graveyard for terrorists and so has committed future governments to never keeping terrorists' bodies as bargaining cards for future swaps of Israeli hostages. Israel has agreed to provide Hizbullah with information on four missing Iranian "diplomats." And it has agreed to release an unknown number of Palestinian terrorists from prison.
This deal will cement Iran's control of Lebanon through Hizbullah. It also all but guarantees that any future Israeli soldiers taken hostage by Hizbullah will be killed on the spot. Why care for hostages when you can murder them and expect to receive the same payoff you would get if you kept them alive? Livni voted for this deal along with 21 of her fellow ministers. Unlike her colleagues, who hide behind their surrogates and spokesmen, Livni is out in front - lying to the public about the nature of her action.
Obviously cognizant of just how humiliating and strategically disastrous this deal is for Israel, Livni is spinning her move in a naked attempt to shirk her responsibility for having voted as she did.
After the government's vote, Livni told reporters that she will not support implementing her own decision if the Palestinians Israel releases are "central terrorist operatives." She will only agree to release terrorists who are small-time operators. And if she is called upon to release senior terrorists, she will not support moving ahead.
LIVNI'S STATEMENT is disturbing on many levels. First, it raises the disconcerting prospect that the government never discussed the identity - or number - of Palestinian terrorists it just agreed to release. Are we to believe that Livni sat through a five-hour cabinet meeting and never once asked who she was voting to release? Is it possible that Israel's Foreign Minister never took it upon herself to be informed of the substance of her decisions? Beyond that, how could she have voted to approve a deal that she doesn't understand?
More than anything, Livni's statement is depressing for what it says about her character - or lack thereof. By making this statement, Livni was attempting to evade responsibility for her own actions. And these actions go beyond her vote in favor of this execrable, morally atrocious and strategically disastrous deal with Hizbullah. They consist of all her moves as foreign minister since Regev and Goldwasser were abducted from their position at the border with Lebanon on July 12, 2006.
From the earliest stages of Israel's war with Hizbullah two years ago, Livni preached defeatism. Livni began calling for a negotiated cease-fire that would leave Hizbullah in charge of South Lebanon just hours after Hizbullah attacked Goldwasser's and Regev's unit and began bombing northern Israel with rockets. She exhorted her colleagues that Israel had no prospects for military victory. Livni did this even as it was clear that the only good option Israel had was to fight for a military victory.
Had Israel defeated Iran's foreign legion in Lebanon on the battlefield, it would have secured northern Israel and enabled the March 14 democracy movement to fulfill its promise of transforming Lebanon into a multi-ethnic democracy. Already on July 12, 2006, it was clear that an Israeli defeat would pave the way for Hizbullah's takeover of the country.
Yet in the face of this known reality, Livni called for Israel to capitulate. The policy she advocated involved Israel throwing itself at the mercy of the UN and begging the Security Council to deploy forces to the border to protect Israel. And in the end, Livni's defeatism was embraced by Olmert and her fellow ministers and so Israel lost its first war.
On the ground, the international forces whose deployment along the border was the centerpiece of Livni's policy are a joke. As was foreseen by her critics both within the government and in the public discourse at the time, UNIFIL is wholly ineffective because it has absolutely no interest in fighting Hizbullah. As expected, it has done nothing to prevent Hizbullah's rearmament. It has done nothing to protect the pro-democratic forces in Lebanon from Hizbullah. Indeed, in Hizbullah's putsch last month, UNIFIL forces behaved as if nothing was going on. Far from protecting Israel's border, UNIFIL forces have acted as a buffer to enable Hizbullah to reassert its control over the border unchallenged.
LIVNI OF course, has never acknowledged her own mistakes or share of responsibility for this dismal state of affairs. And now, after voting to cement Hizbullah's victory over Israel, far from accepting responsibility for the situation she has been instrumental in fomenting, Livni makes self-serving and patently false statements to reporters in an obvious attempt to hide her own basic defeatism.
Livni's character and behavior are worth considering because the media has all but anointed her Israel's next prime minister. Every article about businessmen making cash payments to Olmert is accompanied by a fawning profile of Livni. She is down to earth. She looks good in tailored pants suits. She is hard working. She isn't a thief. And she plays the drums.
The media would have us believe that the mere fact that Livni is not under police investigation renders her competent to lead the country. Obviously this is ridiculous. The real question is not whether Livni is a crook, but whether she is a leader. Is she?
OVER THE past three years, Livni has introduced and implemented a new doctrine for Israeli foreign policy. Its central theme is Jewish powerlessness. Livni has expressed this basic guiding notion in every major foreign policy address she has given since late 2005. Most recently, she repeated her view at a speech at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies on June 22.
There Livni explained that Israel's legitimacy as the Jewish state is conditional. The Jewish people's right to sovereignty is completely dependent on Israel's acceptance by the international community. And in her mind, that acceptance is completely contingent on the push to establish a Palestinian state.
As she put it, "Today, the existence of Israel is being delegitimized, not just its physical survival, but also its existence as the national home for the Jewish people... Only the fact that a profound international argument is being waged because of the Palestinians' demand for their own national state leads the world to perceive Israel's demand to be recognized as a national home for the Jewish people as legitimate... That means that [the Palestinians‚] demand solidifies and reinforces the perception of the existence of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people."
In other words, as Livni sees things, if Israel is not perceived as wholly committed to Palestinian statehood - by the Arabs and the West alike - then the world will never accept Israel and therefore, in her view, Israel's right to exist will disintegrate.
Livni's doctrine is unacceptable for two basic reasons. First, it is inherently bigoted against Jews. Livni's world view is built on the assertion that unlike every other nation on earth, the Jewish nation has no inherent, natural right to self-determination.
Moreover, from her perspective, Israel itself is completely powerless to change the situation. It cannot defend itself in international arenas. It can only bow to the prevailing winds and hope for the best. So in Livni's view, the fact that Israel has already existed as the sovereign Jewish state for 60 years has in no way changed the Jewish people's status. We are just as vulnerable to the political machinations of others today as we were for 2000 years of stateless exile, and we are fated to always be powerless. By her lights, our hard-won sovereignty is an empty shell that can never be filled.
LIVNI'S DOCTRINE does not merely make clear that she is a deeply limited thinker. It also exposes her as a follower. British Field Marshal Bernhard Montgomery once said, "My definition of leadership is this: The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence." The essence of leadership is the ability to present people a vision of a goal and then rally them to work with you towards achieving it.
Livni's world view is completely antithetical to this basic central notion of leadership. Far from rallying the people to a common purpose, she tells us that there is no goal we can achieve. As far as she's concerned, our state is nothing at all. Our power is nothing. Our collective will to persevere is counter-productive. Our heritage has value only if outsiders recognize it. Our rights are only as great as others‚ willingness to accept them.
Livni is not the first empty shell to be proclaimed by Israel‚s media as the next great white hope. Others, such as former IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. (ret.) Amnon Lipkin-Shahak and former Labor party leader Amram Mitzna, have also enjoyed that distinction. After years of media build-up, both men were quickly exposed as followers once they were actually challenged to lead. It can only be hoped that Livni will be similarly challenged and so exposed before she is propelled to Israel's top spot. The nation can scarcely afford to be led by another weak-kneed sheep.
The Same Old National Camp:
Prof. Paul Eidelberg
It has been reported that concerned citizens in Beit El recently invited several leaders of the “political right” to a panel discussion on the proper course for the ‘national camp’ in the next Knesset elections. Only two politicians turned up: Knesset Member Effie Eitam, who is heading a new faction called Achi ("My Brother") within the National Union party, and Moshe Feiglin, head of the Jewish Leadership faction within the Likud party, whose ambition is take over the that party.
The two politicians offered different approaches as to the best strategy for the national camp. Eitam emphasized “political unity” among the so-called nationalist parties. Feiglin focused on the ultimate goal of installing what he calls a “faith-based, ideological leadership for the nation as a whole.”
Although the reported positions of these two religious politicians are not contradictory in theory, they are not harmonious in fact, since most members of the so-called national camp are not religious. What most unites the parties composing the national camp is opposition to territorial withdrawal. This is a 30-year old story that dates back to Camp David 1978.
Obviously, political unity is necessary if the parties of the national camp are to win control of the government in the next election. To this extent, Eitam is right, but also banal. But if political unity is to amount to something more than political expediency, it must manifest ideological unity: it must be animated by distinctively Jewish goals. To this extent, Feiglin is right, but also banal.
The trouble is that neither politician offers the public ideas that can liberate the people of Israel from the tyranny underlying the present system of governance. Indeed, these politicians fail to clearly appreciate the fact that Israel has never had a genuine national camp and never will under its present political system—a system that fragments the nation on the one hand, and effectively disenfranchise the people on the other.
What fragments the nation is simply this: Israel makes the entire country a single electoral district in which party lists compete for Knesset seats by Proportional Representation. Given a low electoral threshold, this cannot but produce a multiplicity of parties supposedly representing the discordant groups composing Israeli society: ethnic, religious, ideological, sociological, economic, etc.
To talk about political unity or faith-based Jewish identity or leadership is just talk—or vague ideas disconnected from the means required for their implementation. This is not the way the American Founding Fathers—the greatest gathering of statesmen—forged the basic political unity and national identity of the American people.
No: To overcome the disunity and discordant identities of the original thirteen independent states—which may be likened to thirteen Israeli parties—jealous of their power, America ’s founders empowered the people. They shifted power from the states—read “parties”—to the people by establishing a House of Representatives whose members are individually elected by, and accountable to the voters, in constituency elections.
Moreover, to further promote national unity and American national identity, they replaced the state-dependent—read “party-dependent”—Executive prescribed by the Articles of Confederation, with the popularly elected Unitary Executive or Presidential System of government prescribed in the Federal Constitution.
As philosophic statesmen, they understood that without well-designed institutions it’s futile to talk about ideas such as Jewish leadership and national identity. It was only in his “Farewell Address” that George Washington spoke of national unity and of what it means to be an American.
Admittedly, the defining principles of America ’s national identity were embodied in America ’s Declaration of Independence, whose profundity, by the way, puts to shame its Israeli counterpart, whose shallowness and internal contradictions have been obscured by Israeli politicians, judges, and academics.
In any event, if Eitam and Feiglin insist on putting the cart before the horse by talking about vision and values, they might begin by telling the truth about Israel ’s political system: that it is a mockery of democracy; that Israel has never had a government of the people, for the people, and by the people.
Neither politician has emphasized on public forums that Israel ’s system of government makes national unity as well as Jewish national identity impossible. Neither has emphasized on public forums that Israel ’s system of government, which compels citizens to vote for a fixed party list that doesn’t mention the name of a single candidate, enables Knesset members and cabinet ministers to ignore Jewish beliefs and values with impunity.
Neither politician has emphasized on public forms that coalition cabinet government fosters self-aggrandizement and corruption, that it renders it impossible for the government to pursue coherent, resolute, and long-term national policies.
I cannot but wonder why these two religious politicians refrain from telling the people the truth about Israel ’s dysfunctional and undemocratic system of government. But let me address Knesset member Effie Eitam.
“You know that Israel is suffering from a crisis of leadership; you speak of a lack of vision and values. Then why don’t they tell the people that no government can display leadership, let alone vision and values, when its cabinet consists of a multiplicity of rival party leaders more concerned about their personal or partisan interests than the national interest?”
“You surely know that no government has made this more obvious than the Olmert government. This being so, why don’t you stand up and tell the people the truth about Israel ’s corrupt system of multi-party cabinet government? Why don’t you stand up and tell the people that multi-party cabinet government must be replaced by a Unitary Executive or Presidential system of government, where the President’s cabinet consists, not of rival party leaders, but of professional people who support the President’s principles and program?”
“And to prevent possible abuses of presidential power, why don’t you tell the people that Israel needs a strong and independent Legislature, whose members are individually accountable to the voters and not to party machines?”
“What prevents you from telling the people truth that since no party has ever come close to winning a Knesset majority, no party has ever been in the position to develop and pursue a national strategy to foster the abiding beliefs and values of the Jewish people?”
“Indeed, why don’t you tell the people that Israel ’s electoral system fragments parliament so much that the Knesset does not even have an effective opposition party to criticize the government and offer the people alternative national policies?”
There will be no political unity, there will be no ideological unity, there will only be the same old political self-aggrandizement after the next election. For what is involved here is not only flawed politicians but patently flawed institutions that magnify the vices of human nature?: egoism, avarice, and paltry ambition.
Finally, understand that nothing I have said should be construed as a personal attack on the gentlemen here mentioned. What I have said of them could be said of virtually all members of the Knesset—the best and the brightest. What I see is that none places the necessity of reconstructing Israel ’s governmental system at the center—the center—of his public oratory.
Perhaps they lack the professional knowledge required to make the case for a presidential system comparable, say, to that of the United States or of France or of Ireland ; or to make the case for parliamentary elections using the Australian system of Preferential Voting. But this does not excuse them from publicly and emphatically exposing the obviously undemocratic nature of Israel ’s system of governance.
This system reminds me of what William Dembski, a professor of science and theology, said about colonialism: “A feature of colonialism is that colonialists are always vastly outnumbered by the people they are controlling, and maintaining control depends on keeping the requisite power structures in place.” That’s why I call for regime change, for shifting power from parties to the people, and I urge Messrs. Eitam and Feiglin to join me in this endeavor. At stake is nothing less than Israel ’s survival.
*Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, June 30, 2008.