Saturday, October 30, 2010

Offensive Jihad - The One Incontrovertible Problem with Islam


by Raymond Ibrahim

A recent MEMRI report titled "Arab Columnists: Stop Talking About Offensive Jihad," alludes to the ultimate problem between Islam and the non-Muslim world: offensive jihad, or jihad al-talab — the Islamic imperative to subjugate the world. The report opens by saying "One dominant theme during Ramadan in the Arab world is the discussion, in the media and in religious circles, of the commandment of jihad and the obligation therein to wage war against the infidels." It then focuses on two recent op-eds, written by Arab-Muslims, that discuss the need to suppress Muslim talk of offensive jihad.

One writer, Khaled Al-Ghanami, states that the "wiser" supporters of offensive jihad believe that Muslims "must sit and wait until the era of our strength returns." In the meantime, according to these Muslims, "there is nothing shameful about taqiyya [deception] until the time is ripe." Al-Ghanami bemoans the fact that such Muslims operate naively "on the assumption that the world doesn't read, doesn't monitor… and is not paying attention to the calls for killing, tyranny, and aggression that we are spreading."

Similarly, Abdallah Al-Naggar writes: "Today, the Muslims' circumstances are different [i.e., they are weak], and talk of this aspect [of jihad] requires a smart approach, one that stresses the aspect of self defense, instead of aggression and onslaught," since discussing offensive jihad "arouses the enmity of people"; thus, "there is a need for wisdom [i.e., kitman] in our impassioned discussions of war and battles."

These writers are insightful enough to understand that Islam's imperative for Muslims to wage offensive jihad is the one insurmountable obstacle for peace between Muslims and non-Muslims. Best not to keep reminding the infidel world, then.

Consider: most of the things Islam gets criticized for — lack of democracy, male-female relations, draconian punishments, etc. —are intra-civilizational to Islam; that is, they affect Muslims alone. As such, it is for Muslims to decide on their utility; for it is the responsibility of every civilization to reform itself from the inside, not through outside "help" or coercion, the former mistrusted, the latter resented. Modern democracy in the West developed only after the people of the West wanted it bad enough to fight for it themselves, and only after centuries of bloody — but internal — conflicts. Feminism was not forcefully imported from some alien civilization but homegrown in the West. Pragmatically speaking, then, so long as sharia's mandates affect Muslims alone, non-Muslims have no legitimate grievances.

And this is the dividing line: what one civilization maintains as "right" and "normal" for itself is acceptable. However, when one civilization tries to apply, through force, those same principles onto other civilizations — whether the West trying to import liberalism to Islam, or Islam trying to spread sharia-style fascism to the West — that is objectively wrong. After all, the age-old argument that "we must supplant your ways, with our better ways, for your own good," works both ways, and in fact has been an oft cited justification for offensive jihad since the 7th century. Or would the reader be surprised to learn that jihadists (i.e., terrorists) regularly posit their war as an expression of altruism to "liberate" Westerners from their self-imposed "delusions"? Even Al Qaeda partially justifies its jihad against America for being "a nation that exploits women like consumer products"; for not rejecting the "immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling, and usury." In short, if the "white man's burden" is to "civilize" Muslims, the "Muslim man's burden" has long been to "civilize" Western man, namely, by enforcing sharia law. To justify the one is to make allowance for the other.

Yet while civilizations continue to quarrel over the philosophical position of man, one fact remains: all humans — secular or religious, Muslim or non-Muslim, from antiquity to today — agree that being forced to uphold a particular lifestyle against their will is wrong, bringing us right back to our topic: the purpose of offensive jihad is to do just that — forcefully impose a particular way of life on non-Muslims, culminating with dhimmitude for those who, after being conquered, refuse to convert.

Worse, offensive jihad is part and parcel of Islam; it is no less codified than, say, Islam's Five Pillars, which no Muslim rejects. The Encyclopaedia of Islam's entry for "jihad" states that the "spread of Islam by arms is a religious duty upon Muslims in general … Jihad must continue to be done until the whole world is under the rule of Islam … Islam must completely be made over before the doctrine of jihad can be eliminated." Scholar Majid Khadurri (1909-2007), after defining jihad as warfare, writes that jihad "is regarded by all jurists, with almost no exception, as a collective obligation of the whole Muslim community."

Even that chronic complainer Osama bin Laden makes it clear that offensive jihad is the root problem: "Our talks with the infidel West and our conflict with them ultimately revolve around one issue… Does Islam, or does it not, force people by the power of the sword to submit to its authority corporeally if not spiritually? Yes. There are only three choices in Islam... Either submit, or live under the suzerainty of Islam, or die."

Clearly, then, it is in the Muslim world's interest to keep the West ignorant of the fact that, irrespective of all Muslim grievances — real or feigned — nothing less than Islamic law itself mandates a state of constant hostility. Indeed, if the implications of offensive jihad were fully embraced, humanity might be compelled to view the Muslim world as a perpetual, existentialist threat, in need of preemptive containment. That said, and considering the willful ignorance of the West's political elite — who are guided less by objective facts and more by their "feel-good" ideals — Muslim talk of offensive jihad, no matter how loud or ubiquitous, will likely continue to fall on deaf ears.

Raymond Ibrahim is associate director of the Middle East Forum, author of The Al Qaeda Reader, and guest lecturer at the National Defense Intelligence College.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

PA Against Persuading Hamas to Join Peace Process


by Khaled Abu Toameh


The Palestinian Authority said on Wednesday that it was worried about “attempts” by the US and EU to persuade Hamas to join the Middle East peace process.

The PA’s announcement came as Fatah and Hamas were preparing to resume reconciliation talks next week.

In another development, a PA official said that Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Aboul Gheit and General Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman may visit Ramallah on Thursday for talks with PA President Mahmoud Abbas on the future of the peace talks with Israel and efforts to end the Hamas-Fatah rift.

The two rival parties have expressed cautious optimism in recent weeks about the prospects of reaching an agreement that would end their dispute.

But despite the upbeat mood, the PA said that Hamas couldn’t be part of any political process because its main objective was to undermine and replace the Palestinian government in the West Bank.

Gen. Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the Fatah-dominated security forces in the West Bank, said that the PA leadership was deeply concerned about Western attempts to incorporate Hamas into the peace process.

“The Palestinian leadership has learned that the US officials are now studying the situation of Hamas the same way they studied the situation of the PLO in 1990,” Damiri said during a tour of Bethlehem. “Back then, the US used to consider the PLO a terrorist organization, as is the case with Hamas today.”

He said that the PA viewed these attempts with deep concern and considered them dangerous.

“Hamas is seeking to cancel the role of the Palestinian Authority,” he charged.

“Hamas wants to replace the Palestinian leadership. Hamas has no vision or political program.

They are using various methods to undermine the Palestinian Authority, but we won’t sink to their low level.”

Damiri claimed that Hamas and the “right-wing extremist government” in Israel had a lot in common.

“Both agree on a temporary solution,” he added. “Hamas wants a hudna [temporary truce] that does not solve the conflict, while the extremist government in Israel also does not want a lasting solution and is talking about temporary borders for a Palestinian state in the context of a phased solution.”

The top PA official said that while Hamas and the Israeli government were not coordinating positions, “it’s obvious that they have common interests. They don’t want comprehensive and thorough solutions. They don’t want to discuss basic issues that could lead to a solution.”

Damiri said that Hamas was exploiting security coordination between the PA and Israel to discredit the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank.

“We’re not ashamed of security with the Israeli side,” he explained. “This is a coordination between a warden and his prisoner. We are using this coordination to meet day-to-day needs of the people because this occupying warden controls everything.”

He said that the PA security forces recently seized many weapons belonging to Hamas in the West Bank, including rocket-propelled grenades and automatic rifles.

“These weapons were not intended for use against the occupation,” he said.

“They were being stored to attack the Palestinian Authority.”

In the Gaza Strip, meanwhile, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh renewed his call on Western governments to talk directly to Hamas. He said that such a dialogue was necessary so the West could hear directly from the Hamas government about its positions and views.


Khaled Abu Toameh

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

UN Undeterred by Attack on Investigators in Lebanon


by Massoud A. Derhally


(Adds Nasrallah comment from 10th paragraph.)

Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- The United Nations tribunal investigating the killing of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri said it is undeterred by an attack on its investigators at a clinic in a southern suburb of Beirut.

Two investigators and their interpreter were “violently attacked” yesterday morning by “a large group of people” when they went to meet a doctor at a private women’s clinic, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon said in a statement late yesterday.

The Lebanese army rescued the three staff members, and they received medical attention, according to a statement from the prosecutor’s office at the Hague-based court.

The attack “is a deplorable attempt to obstruct justice,” the tribunal said in the statement. “Those who carried out this attack must know that violence will not deter the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, a court of law, from fulfilling its mandate.”

Tensions have risen in the country in anticipation of an indictment by the UN tribunal, which may implicate members of the militant Shiite Muslim Hezbollah movement, a member of U.S.- backed Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s national unity government.

Hariri supports the inquiry into his father’s assassination, while Hezbollah says the court was set up unconstitutionally, is politicized and biased, and should be abolished. A showdown over the issue could lead to violence, according to Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Middle East Center in Beirut.

Women Charged Clinic

A crowd of women charged the clinic and attacked the investigators, Iman Sharara, the doctor at the clinic, told local Lebanese television channels.

The visit was handled “in accordance with legal safeguards,” had been approved by the Lebanese authorities, and investigators were accompanied by members of the judicial police and the army, the court said.

Several items belonging to the tribunal staff were stolen during the attack and Lebanese authorities are investigating, the court said. Hezbollah has said it had nothing to do with the incident.

In a televised speech tonight Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah reiterated his attack on the tribunal saying it was biased and collecting information outside the realm of the investigation into the killing of Hariri and sharing it with Israel and the U.S.

“I call on every official and every citizen in Lebanon to boycott the investigators and not to cooperate with them,” Nasrallah said. “Continued cooperation with the investigators contributes to attacks on the resistance,” he said, referring to Hezbollah.

Hezbollah, classified by the U.S. and Israel as a terrorist organization, won popularity in Lebanon by helping force Israel’s army to withdraw from the country in 2000, ending an 18-year occupation. Lebanon has seen repeated episodes of sectarian strife since a 15-year civil war ended in 1990.

Massoud A. Derhally

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Hamas's Iranian puppeteer


by Melanie Phillips


For those who so naively believe that the way to defuse the Islamist threat to the world is first to solve the Israel/Palestinian conflict, further evidence – not that anyone who has eyes to see actually needs it – of the way in which the Palestinians are themselves being controlled by the forces of the jihad. For the third time, Iranian arms destined for Hamas in Gaza to attack Israel have been intercepted, this time in Nigeria. Ha’aretz reports:

Nigeria's secret service said on Tuesday it had intercepted 13 containers of weapons from Iran in what Israeli defense sources believe may be part of a new smuggling route from Iran to Hamas in Gaza. Rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives camouflaged as building material were seized in the Nigerian port of Lagos after being unloaded from an Iranian ship.

So many in the west – including, I suspect, those who are not hostile to Israel, merely indifferent – fail to grasp that a key reason for the Israel/Arab impasse is that the Palestinian side has always been controlled by state actors pulling its strings. The current chief puppeteer is Iran, assisted by its ally in infamy, Syria. This is even more striking since Hamas, who are Sunni Muslims, are in cahoots with Shia Iran, theologically their sworn enemies.

Palestinian reformist Zainab Rashid absolutely gets the point. In an important article on which should be disseminated far and wide, she writes on the liberal Arab website Aafaq:

"What exists is an Arab-Israeli conflict, not a struggle as the resistance front's media continuously claims. The Arab dictatorships use this conflict... as a pretext [to avoid reform] whenever questions arise regarding democracy, pluralism, and government turnover. This is the truth, and there is much evidence to support it.

"The most convincing proof is the attempts of these regimes to make deceitful and callous use of the Palestinian cause and to manipulating Palestinian elements in order to spark disputes. They miss no opportunity to sabotage peace efforts, as we saw at the outset of the latest round of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, when Hamas received a directive from the Syrian and Iranian regimes which control it to carry out two attacks in the West Bank, shortly before the first session of peace talks, with the intent of undermining the negotiations. This is what all the dictatorships have done throughout the history of this struggle in order to prevent its resolution.

"If we want this struggle to end, we must stop Islamizing the [Palestinian] cause by interpreting [current] affairs according to what is written in religious texts... How can we resolve this struggle while people, relying on the holy texts, still believe in the depths of their hearts that it will continue until Judgment Day, when the trees and rocks will call on the Muslim to come kill the Jews hiding behind them?”

In other words – as I have said before -- those who think resolving the Israel/Palestinian issue will help defeat radical Islam have got it precisely the wrong way round. The Israel/Palestinian issue will only be resolved if radical Islam is first defeated.

Even more important is what Zeinab Rashid goes on to say:

"Today, nine years after the terrorist crime of 9/11, the number of condemnations against this crime from the Muslim world has yet to reach the number of condemnations which the entire world voiced against the Reverend Terry Jones's intentions to burn the Koran. Reverend Terry Jones's initiative revealed the difference between the diffident and embarrassed tone of the Muslim condemnation [of 9/11]... and the harsh condemnation voiced by the entire world [against Terry Jones's intentions]...

"Up till now, no important and widely-followed Muslim leader has dared to declare that the head of the terrorists, Osama bin Laden, or the perpetrators of this crime, are heretics. The reason for this is that they carried out jihad al-talab [holy war against infidels on their own soil], which is considered an obligation incumbent upon all [Muslims], [but] which, if carried out by some, exempts the rest... [In other words,] the crime of 9/11 was carried out by [people who acted as] representatives of all Muslims.

In another sense, according to shari'a, those who carried out the 9/11 crime were immeasurably better Muslims than the so-called moderate sheikhs. The problem lies in the fact that in Islam there is no moderation versus extremism. [My emphasis] [Moreover,] in reality, one who calls himself a moderate has no power, money, or equipment with which to carry out what can be carried out by an extremist, who does have some power, as well as plenty of money...

..."Violence is at the foundation of Islam. Any attempt to claim that violence has no roots in Islam, and that [Islam] was spread by pleasant and tolerant means, is an attempt to turn religious texts upside down..."

I hope this woman has personal protection. What courage.

She undoubtedly puts herself in danger by speaking such home-truths. How shameful that, in the land of the free, our spoiled and frivolous liberals are quite incapable even of hearing them.

Melanie Phillips

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Palestinian Authority vs. Freedom of Media


by Khaled Abu Toameh

In what is seen as yet another bid to restrict freedom of the media, the Palestinian Authority government has announced that journalists who wish to report "accurately" on Palestinian life are urged to do so directly with Palestinians.

The Palestinian government's decision is aimed at sending a warning to journalists who dare to report anything that may reflect negatively on its reputation.

It is not clear why representatives of the foreign media have not protested against the new restrictions directed against them.

The Western-funded Palestinian government is actually telling foreign journalists that from now on they should report only on matters that shed a positive light on the Palestinian Authority and its leaders.

By insisting that foreign journalists arrange their visits to the Palestinian territories only through Palestinians, the Palestinian government is proving that its attitude toward freedom of the media is not much different that that [sic] of Hamas, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Bashar Assad.

Foreign journalists covering the conflict in the Middle East should not allow a situation where anyone would threaten them or tell them what to write. Foreign journalists should be allowed to work freely both inside Israel and in the Palestinian territories; they should also have the right to consult with whomever they wish and visit any place through anyone they feel comfortable working with.

The government's announcement came in response to a plan by the Jerusalem-based Media Central organization to arrange a tour to Jericho for foreign journalists based in Israel.

Upon learning about the tour, Palestinian government officials rushed to warn the organizers that journalists who come to Palestinian territories through "Israeli organizations dedicated to propaganda in support of the Occupation" are not welcome.

"All journalists are welcome at any time to approach the Palestinian Government Media Center directly, as we build our capacity as an institution of government, rather than feel it necessary to go through an organization promoting the Occupation and denying the reality," the Palestinian government explained.

In light of the warning, Media Central was forced to cancel the tour to Jericho. Palestinian officials who were supposed to meet with the visiting journalists backtracked, apparently at the request of the Palestinian government.

The decision, according to informed Palestinian sources, came in the aftermath of a news story that appeared in the Los Angeles Times and which obviously embarrassed the Palestinian government.

The story, which was related to a ceremony marking 10,000 years for Jericho's birthday, said that many Palestinians and foreign dignitaries who were invited to the party did not show up.

Obviously, the Los Angeles Times correspondent had failed to "coordinate" his visit to Jericho with the Palestinian government spokesman's office.

Otherwise, he would have avoided mentioning embarrassing facts about the poor planning and attendance, as the Associated Press and other media outlets did.

Khaled Abu Toameh

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pilar: Jews Have Six Arms


by Pilar Rahola

A meeting in Barcelona with a hundred lawyers and judges a month ago.

They have come together to hear my opinions on the Middle-Eastern conflict. They know that I am a heterodoxal vessel, in the shipwreck of “single thinking” regarding Israel, which rules in my country. They want to listen to me, because they ask themselves why, if Pilar is a serious journalist, does she risk losing her credibility by defending the bad guys, the guilty? I answer provocatively – You all believe that you are experts in international politics when you talk about Israel, but you really know nothing. Would you dare talk about the conflict in Rwanda, in Kashmir? In Chechnya? – No.

They are jurists, their turf is not geopolitics. But against Israel they dare, as does everybody else. Why? Because Israel is permanently under the media magnifying glass and the distorted image pollutes the world’s brains. And because it is part of what is politically correct, it seems part of solidarity, because talking against Israel is free. So cultured people, when they read about Israel, are ready to believe that Jews have six arms, in the same way that during the Middle Ages people believed all sorts of outrageous things.

The first question, then, is why so many intelligent people, when talking about Israel, suddenly become idiots. The problem that those of us who do not demonize Israel have, is that there exists no debate on the conflict. All that exists is the banner; there’s no exchange of ideas. We throw slogans at each other; we don’t have serious information, we suffer from the “burger journalism” syndrome, full of prejudices, propaganda and simplification. Intellectual thinkers and international journalists have given up on Israel. It doesn’t exist. That is why, when someone tries to go beyond the “single thought” of criticizing Israel, he becomes suspect and unfaithful, and is immediately segregated. Why?

I’ve been trying to answer this question for years: why?

Why, of all the conflicts in the world, only this one interests them?
Why is a tiny country which struggles to survive criminalized?
Why does manipulated information triumph so easily?
Why are all the people of Israel, reduced to a simple mass of murderous imperialists?
Why is there no Palestinian guilt?
Why is Arafat a hero and Sharon a monster?
Finally, why when Israel is the only country in the World which is threatened with extinction, it is also the only one that nobody considers a victim?

I don’t believe that there is a single answer to these questions. Just as it is impossible to completely explain the historical evil of anti-Semitism, it is also not possible to totally explain the present-day imbecility of anti-Israelism. Both drink from the fountain of intolerance and lies. Also, if we accept that anti-Israelism is the new form of anti-Semitism, we conclude that circumstances may have changed, but the deepest myths, both of the Medieval Christian anti-Semitism and of the modern political anti-Semitism, are still intact. Those myths are part of the chronicle of Israel.

For example, the Medieval Jew accused of killing Christian children to drink their blood connects directly with the Israeli Jew who kills Palestinian children to steal their land. Always they are innocent children and dark Jews.

Similarly, the Jewish bankers who wanted to dominate the world through the European banks, according to the myth of the Protocols, connect directly with the idea that the Wall Street Jews want to dominate the World through the White House. Control of the Press, control of Finances, the Universal Conspiracy, all that which has created the historical hatred against the Jews, is found today in hatred of the Israelis. In the subconscious, then, beats the DNA of the Western anti-Semite, which produces an efficient cultural medium.

But what beats in the conscious? Why does a renewed intolerance surge with such virulence, centered now, not against the Jewish people, but against the Jewish state? From my point of view, this has historical and geopolitical motives, among others, the decades long bloody Soviet role, the European Anti-Americanism, the West’s energy dependency and the growing Islamist phenomenon.
But it also emerges from a set of defeats which we suffer as free societies, leading to a strong ethical relativism.

The moral defeat of the left. For decades, the left raised the flag of freedom wherever there was injustice. It was the depositary of the utopian hopes of society. It was the great builder of the future.

Despite the murderous evil of Stalinism’s sinking these utopias, the left has preserved intact its aura of struggle, and still pretends to point out good and evil in the world. Even those who would never vote for leftist options, grant great prestige to leftist intellectuals, and allow them to be the ones who monopolize the concept of solidarity. As they have always done. Thus, those who struggled against Pinochet were freedom-fighters, but Castro’s victims, are expelled from the heroes’ paradise, and converted into undercover fascists.

This historic treason to freedom is reproduced nowadays, with mathematical precision. For example, the leaders of Hezbollah are considered resistance heroes, while pacifists like the Israeli singer Noa, are insulted in the streets of Barcelona. Today too, as yesterday, the left is hawking totalitarian ideologies, falls in love with dictators and, in its offensive against Israel, ignores the destruction of fundamental rights. It hates rabbis, but falls in love with imams; shouts against the Israeli Defense Forces, but applauds Hamas’s terrorists; weeps for the Palestinian victims, but scorns the Jewish victims, and when it is touched by Palestinian children, it does it only if it can blame the Israelis.

It will never denounce the culture of hatred, or its preparation for murder. A year ago, at the AIPAC conference in Washington I asked the following questions:

    Why don’t we see demonstrations in Europe against the Islamic dictatorships?
    Why are there no demonstrations against the enslavement of millions of Muslim women?
    Why are there no declarations against the use of bomb-carrying children in the conflicts in which Islam is involved?
    Why is the left only obsessed with fighting against two of the most solid democracies of the planet, those which have suffered the bloodiest terrorist attacks, the United States and Israel?

Because the left no longer has any ideas, only slogans. It no longer defends rights, but prejudices. And the greatest prejudice of all is the one aimed against Israel. I accuse, then, in a formal manner that the main responsibility for the new anti-Semitic hatred disguised as anti-Zionism, comes from those who should have been there to defend freedom, solidarity and progress. Far from it, they defend despots, forget their victims and remain silent before medieval ideologies which aim at the destruction of free societies. The treason of the left is an authentic treason against modernity.

Defeat of Journalism.
We have more information in the world than ever before, but we do not have a better informed world. Quite the contrary, the information superhighway connects us anywhere in the planet, but it does not connect us with the truth. Today’s journalists do not need maps, since they have Google Earth, they do not need to know History, since they have Wikipedia. The historical journalists, who knew the roots of a conflict, still exist, but they are an endangered species, devoured by that “fast food” journalism which offers hamburger news, to readers who want fast-food information. Israel is the world’s most watched place, but despite that, it is the world’s least understood place. Of course one must keep in mind the pressure of the great petrodollar lobbies, whose influence upon journalism is subtle but deep. Mass media knows that if it speaks against Israel, it will have no problems. But what would happen if it criticized an Islamic country? Without doubt, it would complicate its existence. Certainly part of the press that writes against Israel, would see themselves mirrored in Mark Twain’s ironical sentence: “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.”

Defeat of critical thinking. To all this one must add the ethical relativism which defines the present times: it is based not on denying the values of civilization, but rather in their most extreme banality.

What is modernity?

I explain it with this little tale: If I were lost in an uncharted island, and would want to found a democratic society, I would only need three written documents: The Ten Commandments (which established the first code of modernity. “Thou shalt not murder” founded modern civilization.); The Roman Penal Code; and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And with these three texts we would start again. These principles are relativized daily, even by those who claim to be defending them.

“Thou shalt not murder” … depending on who is the target, must think those who, like the demonstrators in Europe, shouted in support of Hamas.

“Hurray for Freedom of Speech!”…, or not. For example, several Spanish left-wing organizations tried to take me to court, accusing me of being a negationist, like the Nazis, because I deny the “Palestinian Holocaust”. They were attempting to prohibit me from writing articles and to send me to prison. And so on… The social critical mass has lost weight and, at the same time ideological dogmatism has gained weight. In this double turn of events, the strong values of modernity have been substituted by a “weak thinking,” vulnerable to manipulation and Manichaeism.

Defeat of the United Nations. And with it, a sound defeat of the international organizations which should protect Human Rights. Instead they have become broken puppets in the hands of despots. The United Nations is only useful to Islamofascists like Ahmadinejad, or dangerous demagogues like Hugo Chavez which offers them a planetary loudspeaker where they can spit their hatred. And, of course, to systematically attack Israel. The UN, too exists to fight Israel.

Finally, defeat of Islam. Tolerant and cultural Islam suffers today the violent attack of a totalitarian virus which tries to stop its ethical development. This virus uses the name of God to perpetrate the most terrible horrors: lapidate women, enslave them, use youths as human bombs. Let’s not forget: They kill us with cellular phones connected to the Middle Ages. If Stalinism destroyed the left, and Nazism destroyed Europe, Islamic fundamentalism is destroying Islam. And it also has an anti-Semitic DNA. Perhaps Islamic anti-Semitism is the most serious intolerant phenomenon of our times; indeed, it contaminates more than 1,400 million people, who are educated, massively, in hatred towards the Jew.

In the crossroads of these defeats, is Israel. Orphan and forgotten by a reasonable left, orphan and abandoned by serious journalism, orphan and rejected by a decent UN, and rejected by a tolerant Islam, Israel suffers the paradigm of the 21st Century: the lack of a solid commitment with the values of liberty. Nothing seems strange. Jewish culture represents, as no other does, the metaphor of a concept of civilization which suffers today attacks on all flanks. The Jews are the thermometer of the world’s health. Whenever the world has had totalitarian fever, they have suffered. In the Spanish Middle Ages, in Christian persecutions, in Russian pogroms, in European Fascism, in Islamic fundamentalism. Always, the first enemy of totalitarianism has been the Jew. And, in these times of energy dependency and social uncertainty, Israel embodies, in its own flesh, the eternal Jew.

A pariah nation among nations, for a pariah people among peoples. That is why the anti-Semitism of the 21st Century has dressed itself with the efficient disguise of anti-Israelism, or its synonym, anti-Zionism. Is all criticism of Israel anti-Semitism? NO. But all present-day anti-Semitism has turned into prejudice and the demonization of the Jewish State. New clothes for an old hatred.
Benjamin Franklin said: “Where liberty is, there is my country.” And Albert Einstein added: “The World is a dangerous place. Not because of the people who are evil; but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” This is the double commitment, here and now; never remain inactive in front of evil in action and defend the countries of liberty.

Pilar Rahola is a Spanish Catalan journalist, writer, and former politician and Member of Parliament, and member of the far left.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

National Survival for America and Israel in the Age of Bureaucracy and Terror


by Daniel Greenfield


The following is based on a talk and Q&A session that I gave this week in Encino, California at the home of Tammy. Thanks to her and to all the guests who helped make this a great event.)


Today we live in the age of terror. And we're reminded of that every time we turn on the news or go through the airport, as I did on the way here. And for millions of Jews and Non-Jews around the world, Israel has come to be seen as the canary in the coal mine, whose status testifies to our status, and whose health testifies to our own.

If Israel, small and isolated, populated by a widely hated and persecuted people, can survive the age of terror, so can America and Europe. If they can make it, so can we.

Israel's placement on the front line of terror has been a double edged sword. On the one hand, as the age of terror has moved across America and Europe, Israeli techniques and technologies, consultants and tactics have shown up here too. From using drones against insurgents to profiling potential terrorists in airports, Israeli techniques have become the gold standard in anti-terrorism.

But on the other hand, Israel has also taken much of the blame for the age of terror. As irrational as that may be. As much as blaming Israel for the spread of Islamic terrorism is as absurd as blaming the lead swimmer caught in the tsunami, for the tsunami itself. People in authority have a habit of shooting messengers who bring bad news. Because it's easier to shoot a messenger, than to cope with his message.

After September 11, the United States was forced to adapt to a different kind of war. A war without conventional armies clashing on the battlefield, deploying tanks, infantry and aircraft to overrun and crush each other. A war in which the terrorists use the freedom and infrastructure of a target country against it. But Israel has been fighting that war for some time already.

Terrorism in Israel originally existed as part of a conventional war fought by Egypt and Syria against Israel. Terrorists crossed the border from Egyptian Gaza before 1967, and murdered Israelis, and then retreated back across the border. Israeli forces sometimes covertly crossed the border and went after them. One such famous mission was led by Ariel Sharon who destroyed an entire village in Egypt that the terrorists were using as a base. This was part of life in a war zone.

Once Israel signed a treaty with Egypt though, terrorism was isolated from conventional warfare. Israel had to learn to focus on fighting terrorists, rather than entire armies.

In 2001, America was also forced to shift to fighting terrorists rather than armies. Weapons systems designed for large scale conventional wars, such as the Crusader Artillery System, had to be scrapped. The role of the special forces went up. Drones were ordered. The game changed. And we still haven't learned how to play it yet.

The problem is that the armed forces of first world countries are not designed for fighting terrorists.

Armies exist to fight other armies. When there is another army to fight, they can perform brilliantly and efficiently. But when there no army... they are out of their element.

The United States and the rest of the coalition neatly destroyed Saddam Hussein's armies twice, yet the actual occupation of Iraq took far longer and cost far more American lives.

When one army fights another, there are laws of war. Soldiers and commanders know what they can and can't do. Mutual agreements protect any prisoners on both sides. But what happens when an army has to fight terrorists. Do they get the benefit of an agreement such as the Geneva Convention that they don't abide by, or is everything on the table. The debate over that has been raging for nine years and it still hasn't been settled. And it won't be any time soon.

It's the Goldilocks problem. Goldilocks had to deal with three bowls. One that was too big. One that was too small. And one that was just right. We have the army, which is too big to deal with terrorists. We have the police, who are too small to deal with terrorists. And we still haven't found the bowl that's just right.

There's a reason for that. Terrorists exploit the weak spots and vulnerabilities in our armor. They know what we can and can't do. Sometimes they underestimate us. But they know the places they can slip through.

Throughout the 20th century, the United States Army has only lost when it had to deal with armed bands and guerrillas, whether it was Pancho Villa or the Viet Cong. Israel used to know how to deal with armed bands and terrorists, but as the generation that had founded the country died, it began to forget. The Israeli army's roots go back to small groups of volunteers, who watched over fruit orchards and waited for bandits to come. Even today many Israeli soldiers come from rural towns and villages, places that the media sometimes calls settlements. But the Israeli worldview has become too urban and detached from the life of the Kibbutz and the settlement.

That sense of being on the frontier, of standing watch at the edge of civilization, of looking beyond the campfires into the darkness and waiting to see what comes from there, not just during a period of army service, but as a way of life, has grown absent.

It's not that we have gotten too big. It's that we think big. We think in terms of gigantic solutions and global problems. Rather than seeing, than looking across the fence of that one fruit orchard at night, and waiting to see if raiders cross that fence.

The idea that we should be thinking of that orchard, rather than the world, seems silly. But America and Israel were both founded by men who saw that orchard, who worked and farmed, and knew that at any moment, they could find themselves under attack.

Why is this so important?

First of all, we are fighting men who live that way. The terrorists we see are mainly middle and upper class and Western educated, but once we set foot in a Muslim country, past that thin wedge of the terrorists who infiltrate our own countries, then we are dealing with raiders and bandits.

Al Queda in Iraq was built out of bandits and smugglers. In Afghanistan, we are fighting tribesmen paid with Iranian money. In other words once we bring out the troops, we find that we're fighting the same kind of enemies that those orchard watchmen who gave birth to the IDF were fighting.

Second of all, it's a matter of scale. The terrorists aren't launching another Pearl Harbor with hundreds of planes in the air. They operate on a small scale. Even 9/11 was carried out by a small group of men using box cutters. Since then terrorists have continued to slip through into the United States in order to stage new attacks. We've stopped most of them. But in many cases, such as the Times Square Bomber, it was because the terrorists were incompetent. Not because our security is tight.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan, we're bogged down fighting small unpredictable groups of attackers, who can come and go unexpectedly. In Israel, it's the same thing. A small group affiliated with Hamas or some subgroup of Fatah, can slip across and kill or kidnap Israelis, and then escape back. Unlike America, Israel is still better at tracking down and killing those responsible. But it's not nearly as good as it used to be.

It's a question of scale. When General Wingate was training many of the Israelis who would eventually become the core of the IDF, he taught them to know each square centimeter of the ground, and every village in between. To know everything about the territory they are going to be fighting on. To take the lead and be unpredictable. A great deal of the IDF's success can be credited to that culture in which officers lead and men fight on their own soil. In which the IDF acts confrontationally and unpredictably.

On the other hand when the IDF becomes predictable and entrenched, then it loses. The difference between the two is as great as the difference between the Six Day War, in which Israel struck first and unpredictably, and the Yom Kippur War, in which Israel allowed itself to become entrenched in a defensive position in the Bar Lev Line, in response to a war of attrition. We are seeing the same thing now as Israel takes the defensive position in response to attacks, or takes the bait by responding to a terrorist attack.

Today the IDF is expected to think globally. An exchange of fire with terrorists quickly becomes front page headlines. An Israeli soldier has to think about the media consequences of firing in self-defense. And so he freezes. And the IDF freezes. And we can see the consequences of that attitude over and over again. The flotilla disaster happened because Israel had become predictable and reluctant to use force. And it's a subset of the entire blockade of Gaza, in which Israel waits for Gazan Arabs to come to their senses, while Hamas makes propaganda and terror, and waits for Israel to give in.

That same attitude has come to the United States. American soldiers are dying in Afghanistan because of tight rules of engagement. Rules similar to those that Israeli soldiers operate under. And that's where the scale problem comes in. Armies are naturally big. They act in an organized fashion. They have a large support structure. Terrorists look small, because they stay out of sight, and pose as civilians. When armies feel obligated to play nice so that they don't look like bullies, they become vulnerable and predictable. And they can be defeated.

That is what happened to the United States. It's what happened to Israel.

Third, and most importantly, people will fight for their orchard, more than they will fight for the foreign policy of a government. Human beings are motivated to fight for their homes and families, more than for something abstract. As long as the government represents the orchard and everyone's orchards, then it will have motivated soldiers. When it stops representing that, then the soldiers are now just doing a job. And waiting to go home.

American troops in Afghanistan are fighting for someone else's orchards. The orchards of people who grow opium in them. People who will sometimes invite them in for coffee and sometimes tip off their location to the terrorists. How much motivation can they have fighting to protect someone's else opium harvest. How much motivation can they have fighting to protect people who will betray them in the blink of an eye?

The situation is even worse in Israel. The left wing denounces anyone who fights for land, as worshipping land. Peace Now files petitions to evict the widows of murdered heroes, such as Major Klein, from their homes. But if the soldiers aren't fighting for homes and land, than what are they fighting for? The institutions of the state? The flag? The chain of command?

The terrorists know what they are fighting for. They are fighting to seize the land. All of the land. Palestine, from the river to the sea, is their motto. Meanwhile the Israeli motto has become, creating Palestine, but not all the way from the river to the sea. How motivated will soldiers fighting for such a slogan be?

This is not just the situation in Israel or America. It is the situation throughout the free world. We have lost sight of that orchard. The enemy has not. The terrorists want the orchard. They want all the land around it. They want Israel. They want America. They want Europe. And if things keep going as they are, then they will have them.

And that is the ugly truth. So long as we keep retreating and accommodating, facilitating and appeasing-- then time is on their side.

The battle is easiest for those who know what they want and are prepared to do anything to get it. It is hardest for those who do not know what they want and will only act in self-defense. We thought that our best defense was the disparity in power between ourselves and the enemy, but that disparity is being used by the enemy to their advantage.

We have lost sight of the orchard. And we are paying the price for that.

But all this is only a small part of the picture. Terrorists are not small isolated groups with grievances, they are well funded and armed proxies of enemy countries. These countries use them to make war, without putting their own soldiers in harm's way.

We are not fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. We are fighting Iran in Afghanistan. We are fighting Iranian money and Iranian bombs. But we are not killing Iranians, because they never have to point a gun at an American soldier to kill an American soldier. All they have to do is provide the weapons and the money.

In the same way, Israel is fighting Iran and Saudi Arabia. And Europe is fighting Saudi Arabia at home. And America is fighting Pakistan and Saudi Arabia at home too.

Terrorism is not about a solution. It's about terrorist groups being used to sow chaos, fear and doubt. It's about using those groups to destroy their enemies economically and politically, bankrupting them, breaking their morale and isolating them internationally. That is what is being done to Israel. It is what is being done to America.

Every boycott, every protest and every ugly word of hate directed at Israel, will eventually be directed at America. It will be directed at every European country and at every European who stands up to terrorism. This is not an accident, it is a deliberate campaign.

Why did Guantanamo Bay become synonymous with evil? It became synonymous with evil because the Kuwaiti government hired a top American law firm to sell the idea that detaining terrorists there was horrible and cruel. They put up a website, developed media contacts and told the terrorist's stories. They sold the narrative, sold out their country and they got paid.

But that is only one example. Well-funded campaigns are being waged against America and Israel from all directions. Their goal is not just to prevent those countries from defending themselves, but to break them down, destroy their sense of rightness and isolate them.

It's easy to get lost in that narrative. To see only a few men in masks firing machine guns or throwing grenades. But they are only the tip of a spear that is being held hundreds and thousands of miles away.

The narrative exploits one of our greatest weaknesses. We want to be liked. We want to be well thought of. We want applause. We want to be loved.

Our enemies don't want to loved, they want to be feared. Because they know that in international affairs, only those who are feared, are loved.

Since 9/11, Islam has become surprisingly popular in America. The number of Americans converting to Islam has dramatically increased. The government is constantly worried about the threat of Islamophobia. NASA has jettisoned the space shuttle. Its new purpose is to make Muslims feel good about themselves. Is all this because America now loves Muslims, or because it fears them?

Is it really violence against Muslims that the authorities are worried about, or violence by Muslims?

When Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer justified a ban on burning the Koran by suggesting that it could incite violence, whose violence was he really worried about? That of the Koran burners or the same Muslims who had terrorized a cartoonist who proposed Draw Mohammed Day?

In Israel, a woman was sentenced to jail for drawing a cartoon of Mohammed as a pig. But cartoonists who draw Jews as pigs don't go to jail. Because even in Israel, there is fear over what the Muslims will think, but no fear over what the Jews will think.

Countries generally do not love each other. But they certainly do appease each other. And the free world is appeasing the Muslim world like mad. Is it doing so out of love, or out of fear? Or out of a poisonous blend of something in between?

This is about more than whether we still have free speech when it comes to the Koran, or whether there will be a mosque near Ground Zero. It is about what unites and divides us in the Age of Terror.

The Muslim world is united by a sense of manifest destiny, by a vision of Islam spreading across the world and ruling over it through Islamic law. They may and do differ on the details. Whether it will be Sunnis or Shiites, doctrine and interpretation, primacy and tactics. But they agree on the end result.

We have no such sense of destiny. We did once, but we no longer do. Once we regarded our nations as gifts from a merciful G-d, today we regard them as the products of colonization and conquest. We tear down the myths and write hostile and hateful history books. It is no wonder that we have lost not only that sense of destiny, but even the sense of justification for our presence here. We have lost that pride in a destiny realized, and in its place has come a creeping sense of guilt. Why are we here? Why do we have land and money? Why are we safe and secure? Why do we have clean drinking water?

You can see that guilt embodied in commercials and editorials. Millions of people being taught to say, "We are not worthy." And if we are not worthy, then our enemies must be. The worse they treat us, the worse we must be. If they kill us, then we must be even worse murderers. If they blow themselves up, then clearly we have made them feel so awful, that they have no choice but to kill both themselves and us at the same time.

We have become self-absorbed. Unable to see past ourselves. We think that it is all about us. We ignore the motives and beliefs of the terrorists themselves. Instead we assume that everything they do is only because of us.

Liberalism fosters this manner of grandiosity, the belief that a man is homeless because I earn a paycheck, that children in Africa don't have enough to eat because I stole all their food, that terrorists want to kill me because I have oppressed them. All this is unforgivably arrogant. It treats us as the center of the universe, around which everyone and everything revolves.

And so we ignore Islam, as a religion that has been doing this sort of thing for over a thousand years. Instead we point to our foreign policy. We point to Israel. As if Muslim violence was born 60 years ago, when it wasn't even born 600 years ago.

We take the blame for everything. And that allows us to feel good about our sense of responsibility. While they practice the martyrdom of murder. We practice the martyrdom of taking responsibility for their murders. The relationship is similar to that of the abusive husband, who feels upset because he has to beat his wife all the time, and the wife who feels upset because she thinks she can't get anything right, and that causes her husband to beat her. That sort of thinking is sick and it is victim thinking. But this kind of thinking has become commonplace in the free world.

Once again, does the free world really love Muslims or does it love them because it fears them, like the battered wife, or the victim of Stockholm Syndrome who feels empowered by siding with the hostage takers, so that she can pretend she isn't really a hostage anymore.

Muslims do not feel a need to be loved, respected and feared yes, but loved no. But we do. We want them to love America. To love Israel. To join hands and sing about how much we all have in common. And even though we know that is never going to happen, we want it anyway.

Why do we need to be loved? Because as countries we do not love ourselves anymore. America used to love itself. Israel used to love itself. The nations of Europe used to love themselves. Today they go around looking for someone else to love them. And if they find themselves in an abusive international relationship instead, then they are sure that they deserve it, because they are no good anyway.

And when terrorists kill us, we are afraid to fight back, because we might look like bullies. And then we wouldn't be lovable anymore. Sometimes when the offense is terrible enough, when the streets are covered in the blood of our dead, then we get angry. Really angry. We get so angry that we strike back and lash out. But our enemies know that with enough law firms and PR firms in their corner, we will go back to blaming ourselves. Because retaliation alone is not enough. Fighting back out of pain is not enough. That is how a cornered animal acts. That is how an abuse victim who has taken too much acts. But it's not long term. And that rush of moral adrenaline can't be sustained.

That's what happened in America after 9/11 and in Israel after the Passover Bombing. Some wonder if a big enough terrorist attack happens, if an entire city vanishes in atomic fire, whether we will wake up. The sad answer is that we will wake up, we will fight back, but unless we change the way the free world thinks, we will go back to sleep again.

We need to do more than lash out because we have been hurt. We need to regain that sense of destiny. That knowledge of exceptionalism, which says that, in Reagan's words, G-d is not indifferent to America, or to Israel or to any country we live in. We need to believe that we have a right to exist and a duty to exist. Without that, we will always wind up in the path of creeds and nations who believe in their own sense of manifest destiny. That happened with Nazism and Communism. It is happening again with Islam now.

The world is not a place of peace. There is a constant struggle between different cultures, religions and ideologies. When the Soviet Union fell, a power vacuum opened up. Islam stepped into that vacuum. If we defeat the Islamists, something or someone else will come along to take their place. There is no avoiding that. And there is no surviving that, unless we learn to believe in ourselves again. Not just in institutions, but in the land, the people and the culture.

A strong foe believes that they have something special to offer to the world. Our own academics and popular entertainment say that we have nothing to offer to the world. It says that we are the problem. That is the case all across the free world. And if we believe that we are the problem, how are we ever going to stand up to people who claim to be the solution?

During World War 2, Germans and Russians both believed that they had a special destiny to save the world. Back then we believed that we had a special destiny too. That was then. This is now.

Today Muslims claim to be the solution, and those who claim that America, Israel and Europe are the problem, are tripping over their own feet to roll over and roll out the red carpet for them.

And how can it be otherwise? If you think that you represent a worthless country, a worthless culture and a worthless people-- then why would you not surrender to Islam?

To stand up for something, you must believe in its worth. To stand up to something, you must believe that it is less worthy. If you don't believe that, then it is easier to sit down, to give in and let them do whatever they want.

And what happens to the rest of the world? The United States is selling out Israel for Saudi oil. The UK shipped the Lockerbie bomber home in exchange for Libyan oil. And that's not surprising. Anyone who will sell out their own country, will even more eagerly sell out their allies. And this makes it all too easy for the Muslim world to play divide and conquer, to promise, for example, that terrorism will end when Israel does.

When you throw history and culture overboard, you are left with no unifying bonds between nations. Nations that once shared a common history and culture. And then self-interest rules. The old game of feed your allies to the crocodile, so that you're the one last one it eats. Divide and conquer. We betray each other, and then one by one we fall.

The political leadership of the free world believes in a world without nations. And if we are all meant to live in a global community without borders or nations anyway, then why quibble over whether a Czechoslovakia or an Israel survive. Those are minor points. Irrelevant in the bigger picture of the EU and the UN. What matters are not nations, but institutions. And so the nations fall apart, the institutions degenerate into tyranny, and those who do believe in something other than an undifferentiated world overseen by bureaucrats... take over.

And that brings us back to the orchard. It's the orchard that people go out and fight for. Not for institutions. When a country represents that orchard, then people will willingly fight and die for it. When it only represents a bureaucracy, then they will not.

The orchard is ownership. It says this land is my land. It says that if you will it, it is no dream. It gives each and every person a stake in the country, rather than a chance to be managed by a vast bureaucracy, told what to eat and how much of it. The orchard is America. The orchard is Israel. As they should be. But increasingly not as they are.

All nations and creeds can in the end be reduced to a plot of land, a space that people can call their own. That sense of ownership is the orchard. America and Israel were both created by men and women, who left where they were in order to be free, to find their orchard, cultivate it and watch over it. And that orchard grew. It drew millions who wanted a space of their own, an orchard of their own. Take away that orchard and what is left cannot stand on its own.

I began by speaking about the threat of terrorism to Israel and America. For many though, the Iranian nuclear threat overshadows that of terrorism. And it is a serious threat, but also an inescapable one.

Israel can take out Iran's nuclear program if it makes the decision to. But that is only a matter of delaying the inevitable. It is possible to destroy Iran's nuclear program. But sooner or later, all those Muslim countries that want nuclear weapons, will have them.

We might have been able to break the chain of proliferation, but when the Clinton Administration failed to halt North Korea's nuclear program, resorting instead to appeasement and bribery, the writing was on the wall. North Korean nuclear technicians have shown up in Syria. Libya abandoned its nuclear program, or supposedly abandoned it, only because Khaddafi was briefly afraid of America. Egypt and Saudi Arabia, among others are already pursuing their own nuclear programs. In other words, even by the most conservative estimates, it's inevitable that much of the Muslim Middle East will have nuclear capability within a generation. Probably less.

There is a great deal of focus now on not allowing Iran to get nuclear weapons. As a result we're going through the same circus that we did in the 90's with North Korea. Despite all the aid and proposals and a signed basketball presented to Kim Jong Il, none of it worked. Diplomacy will not stop Iran from getting the bomb. A massive series of strikes might, but only temporarily. As long as Iran wants nuclear weapons and as long as there are countries willing to help them build a nuclear program, then they will have them sooner or later.

There's nothing wrong with making that later, rather than sooner. Later is a wise policy, particularly since Iran's nuclear program, has triggered an arms race among Sunni countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who are advancing their own nuclear programs. But later is not never. And it's very important to understand that.

Only one thing will prevent a nuclear weapon from being used on Tel Aviv or Haifa. And it's not diplomacy or viruses released into nuclear facilities. Those too delay the inevitable. The one thing that will stop it, is the same thing that stopped nuclear weapons from being used on New York, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

Deterrence. Mutually Assured Destruction.

The only way to check the threat of force by an opponent with no regard for your life, is by demonstrating equal or superior force. When it comes to nuclear weapons, that means an awareness that any nuclear attack will be met by nuclear attack.

Mutually Assured Destruction or MAD was denounced during the Cold War, but it may have well saved a billion lives. The motto of the Strategic Air Command was Peace is our Profession. And their profession did indeed insure peace. World War 3 was averted not because of peace rallies or people of goodwill meeting around tables and shaking hands, but because the Strategic Air Command was ready and able to put an end to the USSR in retaliation for any attack.

Let us turn back to Israel now. Why did the Camp David Accords really happen? Because Israelis and Egyptians reached out and took a courageous step for peace, as popular history would have it? The Camp David Accords happened because the Yom Kippur War demonstrated the futility of further egyptian attacks on Israel. That demonstration carried with it a heartbreaking cost, but it is what brought peace. Sadat was not a better man than Nasser, but unlike Nasser he was able to see a dead end when it was staring him in the face. And that dead end was the Israeli army.

If Israel is to prevent a nuclear attack, then it will only be able to do so by demonstrating that a nuclear attack will be suicide for the attacker. That doesn't just mean revealing its own nuclear capabilities. Capabilities are meaningless without the will to use them. Capability alone is not deterrence. Only capability and determination together equal deterrence.

For 17 years, Israel has negotiated with terrorists, appeased them and allowed them to operate inside its borders and kill its citizens. If Israel cannot even credibly deter Hamas, how much credibility does its deterrence have toward Hamas' Iranian masters? The answer is very little.

Slightly more than Mutually Assured Destruction does for the United States under Obama.

To protect itself from nuclear attack, Israel must reestablish its determination. Bombing Iran might help, but cleaning house and clearing out terrorist groups at home, would help far more. Right now Israel has demonstrated that it can be led around the nose by international opinion. And if it is afraid to kill terrorists inside its own borders, that gives Muslim countries reason to believe that it has become a paper tiger. If IDF soldiers are afraid to pull the trigger when under fire by terrorists only a few miles from Jerusalem, will Iran believe that Israel will push the button to launch nuclear missiles?

Even if Iran never launches a single nuclear missile at Tel Aviv, the chain of proliferation will not end there. Iran has become the world's most enthusiastic sponsor of terrorists, from Israel to Lebanon to Afghanistan.

Israel needs to demonstrate more than that it will respond to a nuclear missile with a nuclear missile, it needs to demonstrate that it will respond to a nuclear attack with a widescale nuclear response. It needs to create an environment in which Iran will not turn over nuclear materials to terrorist groups. These terrorist groups could then detonate suitcase nukes inside Israel. A scenario which would allow Iran to claim plausible deniability.

If Iran and the rest of the Muslim world are not made actively afraid of doing something like that, then Israel is doomed. And the clock is ticking. Israel has to reclaim its deterrence, or the clock will reach zero, and it will be all over. If Israel acts with its hands tied behind its back, then it shows that it is vulnerable, that it can be manipulated and destroyed through that vulnerability. If Israel allows its hands to be tied when it's only a family being murdered here or there, then its enemies will assume that it will act the same way when the lives of all its families are on the line.

That is the challenge which Israel has to overcome to truly avert a nuclear attack. That is what it has to do to protect the orchard. To protect the orchard, you have to claim the orchard and then demonstrate that you will shoot to defend your claim. Otherwise you'll be run off the land by anyone who has a gun and is willing to shoot in order to take it from you.

It's the same challenge that America has to overcome. 9/11 happened because we gave Muslim terrorists the impression that their terrorist attacks against us would be tolerated. That you could bomb US embassies in Africa or US ships in Yemen, and that we would just sit back and take it. That you could bomb the World Trade Center, and we would write some news stories about it, and then go on about our business. We made ourselves a target, because we didn't stand up for ourselves.

The left likes to say that we act like bullies. On the contrary, we attract bullies. We attract bullies by letting ourselves be bullied.

We let terrorist attack after terrorist attack happen, and we didn't do much about it. Then we wondered how could 9/11 happen? It happened because we treated those terrorist attacks like a criminal problem, no different than any other. Buildings were blown up, bombs were planted and an American vessel bombed. And the United States Government went on with business as usual. Until 9/11 when business as usual was suspended.

Had we demonstrated from the first that we would respond ruthlessly to any attack, the probability of 9/11 would have been significantly decreased. It might have happened anyway, but the odds against the Taliban or Bin Laden's backers in the Gulf funding or tolerating such an action would have been far less. And had we hit him hard from the first, Al Queda's network would be a mess, the way it is today, and much less capable of launching an organized attack.

The situation is not so different in Europe, where appeasement leads to greater aggression and uglier demands. This is how the game is played. If you tolerate intimidation, the intimidation increases. If you respond to violent threats over a cartoon with appeasement, the threats will be acted on. The more you retreat, the more they advance. You cannot be polite in the face of terror, unless you want to be terrorized. You cannot compromise with violent threats, unless you want to turn over power to those who are making them. And then violent threats, not the ballot box or the rule of law, become the new form of power.

I said before that you can only check the use of force through superior or equal force. But whether you need to use that force and how much of it you need to use, depends on timing. If you check the use of force early, then you can do it with minimal harm. Mutually Assured Destruction is one example. On the other hand if you allow yourself to be slapped around, then the amount of force you will need to use goes up by a whole lot.

England found that out the hard way during World War 2. Hitler tentatively sent German troops into the Rhineland. ready to retreat if France took a stand. France did not take a stand. By the time it took a stand, German troops were in Poland. Soon afterward they were in France. And so it goes. If you won't take a stand when it's easy, you'll have to do it when it's hard. If you won't rattle sabers when the enemy is still afraid of you, you'll have to use them when they're not afraid of you anymore.

Of course that's not easy to do. It's much easier to compromise. To give away Czechoslovakia and Israel. To pretend that if you get rid of the victims, you'll also eliminate the motive for the violence against them.

Bill Clinton visited Egypt and announced that terrorism all over the world will go away, if Israel makes enough concessions to create a Palestinian state. Let's put aside the fact that it would be easier to create a Palestinian state made of cards, than an actual working one. Let's put aside the fact that half the proposed state is run by Hamas which refuses to sign any permanent peace accords, and which actually won the election. Let's also ignore the fact that Israel is negotiating with terrorists who are continuing to kill Israelis, have already said that they will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and refuse to hold elections, because they know they'll lose.

Let's ignore all that, and instead point out the absurdity of believing that Islamic violence will go away, if some sort of deal is struck.

First of all, any such deal would not be recognized by Hamas and numerous other terrorist groups backed by Iran. It would certainly not be recognized by Al Queda. In short it would never be recognized by the actual active terrorist groups who are carrying out the attacks. Those groups would call the deal a sellout and a betrayal, and carry out another round of terrorist attacks. This has already happened before. Indeed Hamas ramped up its terrorist attacks in time for the latest negotiations.

So why would a final status agreement change anything? The Palestinian Authority has its own flag and observer status at the UN. If they get full membership at the UN, will Hamas and Al Queda decide to call it a day? It's utter nonsense.

Israeli attempts to negotiate with terrorists have caused far more terrorism, than anything else. Fatah and Hamas killed more Israelis competing to prove who was more dedicated to terrorism, than they did before the Oslo Accords.

And there's plenty of precedent for that. The Camp David Accords helped cause Sadat's death. In the days of the Mandate, Arab leaders who were willing to come to terms with the Jews, were routinely assassinated.

So not only would a Final Status Agreement not end terrorism around the world, it wouldn't even end terrorism in Israel.

Secondly, Clinton is pretending that Islamic terrorism worldwide is caused by Israel. This is an obscene lie. Are Buddhist teachers being beheaded in Thailand because of Israel? Are there bombings in Kashmir because of Israel? Did 9/11 happen because of Israel? Did 7/7? What about Somalia or the Al Queda presence in Yemen? Do any of those have anything to do with Israel.

To answer this, all we need to do is look at the motivations of Islamic terrorists. That motivation is to impose Islamic rule and Islamic law. That is the reason for the terrorism against Israel, India, America and Thailand and everywhere else.

If you believe that the only moral government is a Communist government, then you will naturally work to impose Communist governments on the rest of the world. If you believe that Islamic law is the only moral law in the world, then you will impose Islamic law on the rest of the world. Particularly on countries with Muslim majorities or sizable minorities. That is what is at work here.

But that is a scary idea, because it requires admitting that we are under siege, not just by a few acts of terrorism, but by a war of ideas. That this is not just about foreign policy differences, but by huge numbers of people around the world and in our own countries who sincerely believe that there is only one right way to live, and that they have the right to impose that way on others by any means necessary.

It's easier to reduce the problem, to say that it's not about Islam, but about us. It's not about Islam, it's about Israel. It's not about Islam, it's about Islamophobia. But those are all coping mechanisms for people who want to deny the truth.

If you're a politician, you naturally want to minimize and manage the problem. If the problem is Islam, then you have a huge unmanageable problem. On the other hand if the problem is Israel, then all you need to do is pull the foreign aid strings, send a few diplomats, have a few angry phone conversations and browbeat those damn Jews into giving those crazy Muslims whatever they want, so the violence stops.

If the problem is Islam, then what do you do? But if the problem is us, then we can change. We'll tour some mosques, talk about how much all the major religions have in common and praise the Koran. We'll also promise to crack down on anyone who offends Muslims. And boycott Israel. There, problem solved.

And so our leaders pretend that the problem is manageable, by making it into something that we can control. By promising that if we just make Israel give up some land and create a Palestinian state, terrorism all over the world will magically vanish down the drain. The terrorists will throw away their weapons into the sea and open up organic bakeries. And everyone will be happy again.

It's easier to think that way. It's certainly a lot more cheerful and a lot less depressing. At least until the truth becomes impossible to deny.

But the victim of this behavior isn't just Israel. Like the canary in the coal mine, Israel is only the first victim. But certainly not the last.

When you ignore the real problem, it doesn't go away. It gets worse. If you agree to play divide and conquer, then not only will there be fewer allies to stand with you when the day comes, but you will have become an accomplice to the worst crimes of your enemies.

In Bethlehem the graffiti already reads, "First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people." In the West it could easily be rephrased as, "First they came for the Saturday people and we said nothing. Then they came for the Sunday people, and who was left to speak up for them?"

The answer is no one. No one will be left.

It is easier to look away. It is easier to say nothing. Even easier still, to join with the attackers. To wave the Palestinian flag and scream, Boycott Israel. End the War. Open Immigration. It is always easier to join the mob, than run from their stones. Always easier to try and be the hammer, rather than the anvil. And if not, then at least to stand on the sidelines.

And if you're hit, then you take it. You absorb it. Because if you fight back, then you're only feeding the cycle of violence.

Obama has said that America can absorb another 9/11. It can. Just as most people can absorb numerous beatings. If the beatings are far enough apart, then you can heal from them and recover in time for the next beating.

As the canary in the coal mine, Israel shows what happens when you absorb beatings. Israel has been absorbing beatings for a long time now. Once it was famous for hitting back, and hitting harder than it was hit. But for the last 17 years of the peace process, Israel has been absorbing the beatings. Or rather its citizens have been absorbing them. Not just soldiers on patrol, but couples sitting down for a meal in a cafe, families driving home from Jerusalem, children sitting in school and waiting for the siren to go off.

What absorbing terrorist attacks does is it allows the terrorists to set the terms of the battle. Then it allows the mediators to discuss the terms of the peace. And since the terrorists have already set the terms of the battle, they go on to set the terms of the peace.

Once you negotiate with terrorists, then you reward terrorism. And when you do, there is no end to it.

Absorbing terrorism is not the same as defeating terrorism. Absorbing terrorism changes you. In Israel, living with terrorism has dramatically changed the country and its people. Parents give children cellphones so they can check in after the next suicide bombing. Families who travel in dangerous areas split up into different cars so if there is a drive by attack, the entire family won't be wiped out. And there will be someone left to care for the children.

We have seen the first beginnings of that here already. We see it when we are told to throw out liquids and walk through scanners. We're told to get used to a lack of privacy and autonomy. To have an escape plan in the event of a terrorist attack. As terrorism continues to be a threat, we will also change. Just as Israel changed. We will come to terms with a life in which we, or any member of our families, could be killed at any moment by terrorists. And that will change us. It will change who we are. It will change how we approach life.

That is what absorbing terrorism does to you. And why are we absorbing terrorism, in order to avert a full scale war. To avoid, what the media charges, was an overreaction to the attacks of September 11. We absorb terrorism, for the same reason that Israel does, in the name of peace.

Peace is indeed a beautiful thing. The Sages of Judaism teach that when G-d wished to bless Israel, he found no better vessel for blessing, than the blessing of peace. That is why the blessing of the priests in the Temple of Jerusalem was the blessing of peace. But while you can be blessed with peace, you cannot buy peace. You certainly cannot buy it from those who claim that there will no peace unless you pay them for it first. Peace that has to be paid for is never worth the price. It is surrender by another name, without the dignity of fighting a war first.

Peace is priceless unless you pay for it, and then there is a price, and that price is everything you have.

The free world has been trying to buy peace for a long time now. It tried to buy peace from Hitler. Now it is trying to buy peace from Islam. Those who once said, "We created Czechoslovakia in 1918, so why not give it to Hitler in order to bring peace", now say, "We created Israel in 1948, why not give some or all of it to the Muslims in order to bring peace." A little compromise here. A little compromise there. And soon there will be peace. The peace of the slave and the silence of the grave.

During the second World War, the song on the lips of every British sailor was, "There'll Always Be an England". But now many are asking, whether there will indeed always be an England. And the answer is often skeptical.

The second to last paragraph of Israel's Declaration of Independence concludes with the words, LeGeulat Yisrael, proclaiming that the founding of the modern State of Israel represents the realization of the age-old dream - the redemption of Israel. But has Israel really been redeemed at last? Or is it only another exile. Have the Jews come home, or are they still strangers in someone else's land.

Questions like these are being asked by the concerned citizens of every nation, about their own nations, their own covenants and their own laws. Europe is in the thick of that fight, as it drifts toward the dark shores of Eurabia. The EU celebrated the breakdown of nation states, but now Europe needs those nation states more than ever. But instead of nations, it has bureaucracies that cheer on not merely the end of nation states, but the end of Europe itself.

The orchards are burning now. Others have grown wild and tangled. The rest are touched by the winter frost.

Today East Jerusalem is on the table. Before the 1967 war liberated Jerusalem, Jordanian snipers from illegally annexed East Jerusalem used nearby Jewish buildings for target practice. Residents had to keep their curtains closed and the lights dim in rooms with a view of East Jerusalem, because if they didn't, they might be killed in their own living rooms.

Only when Israel liberated East Jerusalem, only then could the shades be pulled back and the lights be lit brightly again. But with missiles raining down today, if East Jerusalem is turned over to the terrorists, then those shades will have to be drawn shut again, and the light will die out.

That light will die out not only in Jerusalem, but all around the world. Everywhere that terrorists are and everywhere that they dream of being. Everywhere. If we don't keep the light lit, then the darkness will grow and the light will be lost.

Daniel Greenfield

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

There is always an Israeli ‘massacre’


by M. Aljayyousi


As I practice filmmaking, I’d like to give a cinematic introduction to this article. Here are five scenes:

Scene 1, 2010, Carnegie Mellon University campus, Pittsburgh: Shabbat dinner for grad students. Two young ladies at the ticket-selling desk, switching between English and Hebrew; I said, “Shalom” and smiled, they smiled back. I thought of joining in, but then what would the reaction be when I introduced myself to the kippa-wearing guys saying, “My name is Mohammad”?

Scene 2, 2008, Jordan. Azmi Bishara, in a documentary about the Sabra and Shatilla massacre on Al Jazeera, noted how it was unlikely that Israeli soldiers would commit the crime; it would not fit their professionalism as soldiers in a regular army.

Scene 3, 2010, US, on the phone with a friend. Checking my following of homefront news, he asked: “Have you heard about the latest Israeli massacre?” referring to the flotilla incident.

Scene 4: 2004, Jordan, a rainy winter night. I was replaying a scene from Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List in which a little girl in red against a black-and-white background runs for shelter. So sad I wept a lot; I felt guilty – for weeping – especially as to the “Zionist” ending of the film.

Scene 5, can’t recall the time or place but definitely 21st century, planet Earth. In an academic, specialist discussion of literary criticism and philosophy; by way of concluding and at the mention of Marx, Freud and Darwin, one of our Arab colleagues exclaimed in a matter-of-fact tone: “They are all Jews... trying to lead humanity astray. You know, part of the Zionist Protocols.”

I have a large repertoire of similar scenes from everyday life, but those will do for now.

The first observation is how much our worldview in the Middle East, especially on the Arab side, is fraught with assumptions, misconceptions and stereotypes, all presented as historical facts. Those facts-in-disguise program us and interfere in all levels of our lives, even the most basic ones, like forming a friendship or taking interest in others.

The second issue is the centrality of the enmity toward Israel, which often takes an anti-Semitic nature. Recognizing Israel as the archenemy seems to have an ontological dimension. It is a way of defining ourselves in the world, a ritual of coming into political existence, a baptism.

An immediate consequence of this is that we end up having ready-made scenarios of how events go and, no matter what the facts are, we tend to accept and assign credibility only to our own story.

The general framework goes something like this: In an encounter between an IDF soldier and a Palestinian, or an Arab in general, there is only one of two outcomes: a murder (a massacre, a martyrdom) or a heroic victory. The soldier will do his best to kill, the Palestinian (or Arab) will do his best to struggle.

THIS MIGHT look like a simplification, but let me illustrate it with a recent example, the Turkish flotilla incident.

The popular interpretation in the Arab world about what happened on that May 31 morning and the interpretation now, after several months, are one and the same. How is that possible?

Before we had any facts, everybody “knew” what had happened – an Israeli massacre. As I said, this is the ready-made scenario. I had difficult times trying to offer an even slightly altered situation.

“Those on board the flotilla, who are they?” “Freedom fighters, heroes, mujahedeen.”

“Fine, are they willing to die for their cause?” “Definitely.”

“What do you think they will do if they spot an Israeli soldier?” “They will fight heroically.”

“So they will try to kill him.”

“Definitely, it is their duty”.

This is what everyone in the Arab world knew about the feelings of those aboard the ship. But they themselves panic when a more “realistic” scenario is suggested: The soldiers came for inspection. On spotting them, our friends did what they thought was their duty, and what they were prepared, at least mentally, to do. The soldiers acted accordingly, and since they were more professional and better equipped, they ended up with no casualties [ed: - the writer probably means no fatalities].

This scenario can in no way be accepted except as an attempt to defend the Israelis and “collaborate” with them. The other scenario, ready before and despite any facts, is as follows: The soldiers intercepted the Mavi Marmara with the intention of killing as many people as possible. They started shooting in all directions. The heroes had to fight back, and were able to hurt some of the enemy fighters, but many fell as martyrs. The soldiers might also have offered a villain-like grin at the end.

THE SABRA and Shatilla massacre is another relevant example. Like everyone else in my part of the world, I was raised to believe that the Israelis planned and committed that heinous crime – led by the ultimate butcher, Ariel Sharon. The involvement of Lebanese militia was a marginal, secondary issue. Of course I had to discover the facts through my personal research, and away from our mass media.

The unlikelihood of IDF soldiers slaughtering civilians is such an esoteric issue that it needs an intellectual insider to Israeli politics, like Bishara, to grasp.

The massacre is a good case in point also in that it shows how the reaffirmation of enmity to Israel is manipulated in the resolution of national and local conflicts. It is reactionary to accuse Israel. In Lebanon, it was easier and more useful for the national compromise after the Taif agreement to let the blame fall on Israel. Everyone is happy.

Although it is common to dehumanize enemies, in our case the process is overwhelming. Attempting any “humanized” presentation of Israelis is not tolerated, regardless of one’s ongoing enmity with Zionism and the “Zionist state.” This is what Mahmoud Darwish, the top Palestinian nationalist poet, tries to do in his poem “A Soldier Dreaming of White Daffodils” where he presents an “imaginary” dialogue with an IDF soldier and shows him victimized by the Zionist discourse.

The poem is always criticized, not esthetically, but due to the fact that the “humanity” of the IDF soldier is “beyond the norm.” In this context and to mention another work of art, the problem with Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir, from our point of view, would be the “humanized” presentation of IDF soldiers, who seem to not act like butchers or killers all around.

This kind of prejudiced, ready-made thinking, besides perhaps Israeli preoccupation with security, is what made something like the flotilla incident possible both in the reality of the event and its repercussions.

It is becoming challenging to state that you need not be a Zionist or a collaborator to understand the flotilla incident was not a massacre, or to believe that the Israeli army would have prevented the Sabra and Shatilla massacre, or to argue that the Israelis are not after genocide in Gaza, but rather interested in a more pragmatic objective – blocking the traffic of weapons and missiles.

Sadly enough, it is still hard to see where in our discourse the boundaries, if any, exist between ending Israeli occupation and “wiping out” Israel and “the Jews.”

M. Aljayyousi is a PhD researcher at IUP and an independent filmmaker.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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