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.

Are U.S. Officials Understanding and Responding to Middle East Crises? Ya Think?


by Barry Rubin

If you've lost faith in the current administration's ability and mass media's ability to respond to Middle East developments, here's more evidence. There's a relatively new American idiomatic expression, "Ya [you] think?" Said sarcastically, it means: Wow, duh, the answer to that question is really obvious!

So consider how hidden, obscure stories [sarcasm] are being dug out by policymakers and top media. The New York Times
reports that the U.S. government is "increasingly alarmed by unrest in Lebanon, whose own fragile peace is being threatened by militant opponents of a politically charged investigation into the killing in 2005 of a former Lebanese leader."

Ya think? Lebanon has been taken over (or recaptured, if you wish) by the Iran-Syria anti-American, revolutionary Islamist, terrorist-sponsoring axis, operating largely--though by no means completely--through their client, Hizballah. Might this be of some concern for U.S. policymakers?

Four years ago, Lebanon was run by an independent-minded, pro-Western government that would have preferred peace with Israel (though knew that was impossible), opposed Iran, and saw radical Islamism as its antagonist. Today, Lebanon has been "lost" in large part through Western (don't forget France's responsibility) weakness and inaction.

I predict that even on this latest point the administration is wrong. There isn't going to be any big conflict over any report that the Syrians murdered former Prime Minister Rafiq Harari. Everybody in Lebanon knows that Syria did so, possibly (though this is far less certain) with Hizballah's help.

But there won't be any problem if the UN-backed investigation publicly states this because everyone in Lebanon has also been intimidated into silence. Even Harari's own son, the most important Sunni Muslim leader and head of the Sunni-Christian-Druze [well, no longer Druze since they have joined the pro-Syrian side for all practical purposes] has surrendered to Damascus.

And of course there remains the question of what, if anything, this administration will do about Lebanon. Answer: Nothing, except continue to aid the army which, at best, is neutral and, at worst, is an ally of Hizballah.

Speaking of Syria and great discoveries. The Washington Post
reports that Syria just doesn't seem to be responding to administration efforts to engage, moderate, and pull that country out of Iran's orbit.

Ya think?

During the last almost two years there has been example after example of Syria opposing all aspects of U.S. policy; sponsoring terrorism to kill Americans in Iraq and against Israel; sabotage the Israel-Palestinian peace process; dominate Lebanon; help Hamas and Hizballah; and build an ever-tighter alliance with Iran.

And now people in Washington are starting to notice this? So what will the administration do, end engagement with Syria and take a tough line? Ya think?

Should I mention the blindness towards the Turkish regime's entrance into the Iran-Syria-Hamas-Hizballah bloc, and the need for U.S. opposition to that government to help ensure its defeat in next year's election? Hint: In an
interview Republican People's Party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu states, "Washington is just beginning to wake up to the true nature" of the current regime. If that government ever does, it will understand that victory for Kilicdaroglu is a vital U.S. interest.

Should I mention that nothing could be more obvious than the fact that the Israel-Palestinian negotiations process is going to go nowhere because the Palestinian Authority doesn't want to make a deal with Israel. And then add that this problem is being exacerbated by U.S. policy making the PA believe this strategy can succeed fully by getting recognition for a unilateral declaration of independence?

Should I mention the new U.S. policy of engaging the Taliban is disastrous and may result in the movement that partnered the September 11 attacks against America returning to power? The New York Times published an anthropologists'
op-ed explaining how the United States can coopt the Taliban and turn it against al-Qaida! Ya think?

But don't take my word for it. Ask the would-be Times Square bomber who worked with that group, or a teenager who
describes how the Taliban tried to recruit him as a suicide bomber (something it will be able to do to lots more youth if it can operate legally.

And here's what New York Times reporter David Rhode wrote after spending several months as a Taliban prisoner in 2009: "Before the kidnapping, I viewed the organization as a form of 'al-Qaeda lite'...primarily focused on controlling Afghanistan. Living side by side with the[m], I learned that the goal [was]...to create a fundamentalist Islamic emirate with Al Qaeda that spanned the Muslim world." Ya think?

Should I mention the total reversal of U.S. policy on Hamas from trying to undermnie [sic] that radical Islamist group's rule in the Gaza Strip to believing Hamas will fall if Gaza becomes prosperous?

Should I mention that most Arab governments are shocked at U.S. expressions of weakness and want a strong American policy to protect them from Iran and revolutionary Islamists?

Should I mention that despite the praiseworthy (but overdue) increase in anti-Iran sanctions there's no doubt that Tehran will get nuclear weapons and this development will transform the strategic balance in the region?

Should I mention that the administration doesn't react to its own intelligence which shows Iran is helping kill Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan through training terrorists and supplying both advisors and military equipment in both countries?

Eighteen months ago I
laid out all of these points in detail and pointed out the needed U.S. policy to respond. Every one of these issues has developed predictably since then.

Anybody in the U.S. government noticing these things and perhaps getting prepared to do something about them?

Ya think?

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).

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

Islamists Accuse Egypt's Christians of Behaving Like…Islamists?


by Raymond Ibrahim

The persecution of Egypt's Coptic minority is taking an ironic, and dangerous, turn: Islamist leaders are now projecting the worst traits of radical Islam onto Egypt's Christians. A psychological phenomenon first described by Sigmund Freud, "projection" is defined as "the attribution of one's own ideas, feelings, or attitudes to other people." As such, consider how the following excerpt from this recent report is a perfect example of projection:

In the last month various fundamentalist groups held ten demonstrations [in Egypt], each after coming out of mosques following Friday prayers, against the 86-year-old ailing Coptic Pontiff, in which he was accused of being a US agent, an abductor and torturer of female Muslim converts from Christianity, of stockpiling weapons in monasteries and churches to carry out war against Muslims, and of plans to divide Egypt to create a Coptic State.

All of these accusations are as ludicrous to apply to the Coptic Church as they perfectly apply to Islamists. Let us first examine the context of these charges:

"Abducting and torturing female Muslim converts from Christianity." Context: The wife of a Coptic priest, Camelia Shehata, was reportedly kidnapped by Islamists, but then returned to her family. In response, Islamist leaders began saying that she had willingly runaway and converted to Islam, and, in fact, has been "re-kidnapped" by the Coptic Church, which has trapped her in a monastery where she is being "tortured" and "re-indoctrinated" to Christianity.

In fact, the opposite scenario — kidnapping Christian women and forcing them to convert to Islam — is a well documented and notorious phenomenon in Egypt. So now the Coptic Church is being accused of behaving identically — not just kidnapping, but torturing, brainwashing, and forcing women to convert. Moreover, that Camelia has appeared on video fervently affirming her Christian faith and denying that she ever converted to Islam has been ignored, no doubt because Islam's ingrained notion of taqiyya, or deceit, is also being projected onto the Copts. Finally, little wonder this charge jibes well with Muslims: their own sharia mandates that Muslim women who apostatize must be incarcerated and tormented until they return to Islam, such as in the recent case of Nagla Imam.

"Stockpiling weapons in monasteries and churches to carry out war against Muslims." Context: On September 15, leading Islamic figure Dr. Muhammad Salim al-Awwa appeared on Al Jazeera and, in a wild tirade, accused the Copts of "stocking arms and ammunitions [sic] in their churches and monasteries"— imported from Israel, no less, since "Israel is in the heart of the Coptic Cause" — and "preparing to wage war against Muslims." He warned that if nothing is done, the "country will burn," inciting Muslims to "counteract the strength of the [Coptic] Church." Awwa further charged that Egypt's security forces cannot enter the monasteries to investigate for weapons (an amazing assertion, considering that Coptic monasteries are not only at the mercy of the state, but easy prey to Islamist attacks, with monks tortured and crucifixes spat upon).

Needless to say, such charges are preposterous: in a nation and society where Islam is supreme; where sharia (which mandates subjugation for non-Muslims, a la Koran 9:29) is part of the Constitution; where Copts have been conditioned over centuries to be happy just being left alone — is it reasonable to believe that these selfsame, down-trodden Christians, who make up 12-15% of the population, are planning a violent takeover of Egypt? It is easy to see, however, why such charges resonate with Muslims; after all, Islamists are constantly arming and stockpiling weapons — a Koranic charge — including in mosques, as they prepare to violently seize power across the nations, Egypt being an especially coveted target. Indeed, at one point, Awwa himself ceded that "Muslims are arrested every day [in Egypt] for extremism and the possession of arms."

"Planning to divide Egypt to create a Coptic State." Context: In a closed conference, Coptic Bishop Bishoy had the temerity to acknowledge history: "Muslims are guests in this country, Christians are the original residents. Prior to the Arab invasion of Egypt, which took place in the seventh century, the majority of Egypt's population was Christian." As usual, this otherwise historically accurate observation has enraged Muslims, been denounced by Al Azhar, and cited as "proof" that the Copts seek to divide Egypt and establish their own state.

It is actually Muslim minorities who habitually try to secede from non-Muslim countries. Whether by creating their own nations (Pakistan), or creating enclaves in the West, the notion of separating from the infidel is commanded in the Koran (e.g., 3:28, 4:89, 4:144, 5:54, 6:40, 9:23, and 58:22), codified in the doctrine of wala wa bara, and imprinted on the Muslim psyche. Unsurprisingly, then, Muslims have come to project this divisive impulse onto the Copts as well.

Yet, there is perhaps no clearer example of Muslim projection than when the aforementioned bishop, in response to the anti-Copt upsurge, declared that Egypt's Christians are reaching the point of martyrdom; amazingly, this, too, has been thoroughly "Islamicized" as a declaration of war-to-the-death, including by Awwa, who, during his Al Jazeera rant, asserted that "Father Bishoy declared that they would reach the point of martyrdom, which can only mean war. He said, 'If you talk about our churches, we will reach the point of martyrdom.' This means war."

Of course, the notion that a martyr is someone who wages and dies in jihad, or "holy war," is intrinsic to Islam (e.g., Koran 9:111). Even the authoritative Hans Wehr Arabic-English Dictionary translates shahid ("martyr") as "one killed in battle with infidels." On the other hand, Christian martyrdom has always meant being persecuted and killed for refusing to recant Christianity — and this is precisely the definition that has for centuries applied to Egypt's Copts, the definition that Bishop Bishoy clearly meant. (See this article for the pivotal differences between Christian and Muslim martyrdom.)

To recap: Islamists regularly abduct, abuse, brainwash, and compel Coptic girls to convert — and now Copts are accused of doing the exact same thing; Islamists regularly smuggle and stockpile weapons, including in their holy places — and now Copts are accused of doing the exact same thing; Islamists are constantly either trying to break away or conquer infidel nations — and now Copts are accused of doing the exact same thing; Islamic martyrdom means participating and dying in jihad — and now Christian martyrdom is defined as the exact same thing.

While anti-Copt sentiment is as old as the Muslim conquest of Egypt, this recent batch of bizarre accusations is making Muslims more irate and paranoid, and bodes greater evil for Egypt's beleaguered Christians. According to sharia's dhimmi pact, the necessary condition for Copts to be tolerated is that they live as subordinate, second-class "citizens." The Islamist psyche — and Egypt is increasingly Islamicizing — expects this. Yet these recent charges portray the Copts as violent antagonists bent on war and conquest. If the Muslim popular mind accepts this new interpretation, far from subjugated dhimmis, or even co-equals, the Copts will be perceived as little better than infidel terrorists, and treated accordingly, that is, barbarously.

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.

Russia denies contract to sell MiG-31 fighter jets to Syria


by Agence France Presse

MOSCOW: Russia denied Wednesday having signed a contract to deliver MiG-31 fighter jets to Syria, a deal that would provoke tensions with Israel and the United States.

“The contract for deliveries of MiG-31s to Syria exists only in the tall tales of journalists,” Anatoly Isaykin, the head of Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, told the RIA Novosti news agency.

“Rosoboronexport has not signed any such contract and there are no negotiations on this subject,” he told the agency during the Euronaval 2010 international aerospace exhibition at Le Bourget, near Paris.

Russian media have repeatedly reported on the alleged contract, despite frequent denials from authorities.

According to the newspaper Kommersant, a contract for the sale to Syria of eight MiG-31s for a price of $400-$500 million was signed at the beginning of 2007.

Syria and Israel remain technically in a state of war, and Russia’s arms sales and possible nuclear cooperation with Damascus, which has close ties to Iran, is unnerving for both Washington and Tel Aviv.

Agence France Presse

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Man accused of Metro bomb plot


by Peter Finn, Spencer S. Hsu and Caitlin Gibson

Federal law enforcement authorities arrested a Northern Virginia man Wednesday in connection with an alleged plot to carry out terrorist bombings at stations in the Washington Metro system.

Farooque Ahmed, 34, of Ashburn conspired with people he thought to be al-Qaeda operatives to bomb the Arlington Cemetery, Pentagon City, Crystal City and Court House stations, according to a federal indictment.

An Obama administration official said Ahmed, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, first drew the attention of law enforcement officials by seeking to obtain unspecified materials. He later became the target of an undercover sting, officials said.

According to the indictment, federal agents posing as Islamic radicals began meeting with Ahmed in April. At the meetings, held in Northern Virginia hotels, he allegedly agreed to conduct video surveillance of the stations and suggested the best time to attack and the best locations to place explosives to maximize casualties. He is also accused of later turning over video and sketches he made of the stations.

Officials stressed that the public was never in danger. Still, Neil H. MacBride, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said it was "chilling that a man from Ashburn is accused of casing rail stations with the goal of killing as many Metro riders as possible through simultaneous bomb attacks."

Muslim leaders in Northern Virginia said that, as of late Wednesday, no one had reported knowing or having interacted with Ahmed at local mosques. His arrest, however, touched off a conversation about whether Ahmed might have initiated a plot or whether law enforcement officials had floated the idea to him, as has been suggested in other FBI sting operations.

"It's a conversation that's definitely going on in the community," said Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, spokesman for Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church. "At the same time, though, if you're dumb enough and sick enough to think you're working for al-Qaeda, then maybe your behind should be put in jail. If what the authorities accuse him of turns out to be true, I have very little sympathy for someone who plans something like that."

Ahmed was arrested in Herndon at 9:40 a.m. Wednesday after he was told to come to a meeting where he would discuss his surveillance activities, officials said. He later appeared in U.S. District Court in Alexandria on terrorism charges.

Sporting a full beard and wearing a gray polo shirt and bluejeans, Ahmed shook his head and let out a deep sigh in apparent disbelief as the charges against him were read. "Yes, yes," Ahmed said as the judge told him the charges were serious.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John F. Anderson ordered him held until a detention hearing Friday.

'Too close to home'

Ahmed, who holds a bachelor's in computer science from City University of New York, works in Northern Virginia for Ericsson, a telecommunications company, according to his LinkedIn profile. He was pursuing a graduate degree online in risk management and data security at Aspen University, according to the profile.

Kathy Egan, an Ericsson spokeswoman, confirmed that Ahmed is a Reston-based contractor for the firm but declined to release any other details about his employment. "We will cooperate with the authorities," she said.

Neighbors described Ahmed as pleasant but private.

Shaya Fitzgerald, 39, a physician's assistant who lives across the street from Ahmed's brick townhouse, said he has a young son and a wife who dress conservatively.

She "wore a full hijab, the whole thing. She seemed relatively young," Fitzgerald said. "My only impression of him was that he was not that sociable."

Ahmed moved to Virginia from Staten Island, N.Y. His wife, Sahar Mirza-Ahmed, is from Birmingham, England, and is an active member of "Hip Muslim Moms," a Northern Virginia playdate group for women with children younger than 5.

"I don't know what to do. This is too close to home. You don't know anybody," said Esraa Bani, an organizer of the mothers group. She said she wants people to understand what her group is really about: "We are hip, as in a lot of us are born and raised here. We're very savvy moms, working moms, tolerant moms. If we saw any signs of this, it's just not at all part of our demographic."

Phone messages left for Mirza-Ahmed were not returned.

Barbi Shires, Ahmed's next-door neighbor and a resident of the Ashburn neighborhood for 16 years, said that she occasionally exchanged greetings with Ahmed but that they never got together socially. She said that Ahmed's wife once brought over a traditional chicken dinner, soon after his family moved in, and that Ahmed once invited her into his home when she noticed that he was looking at the night sky through a telescope.

"He invited me over," Shires said, "and I looked at Jupiter through his telescope. . . . He was a very nice gentleman."

According to the indictment, Ahmed planned to attend the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, next month and told the people who he thought were his co-conspirators that he would be ready to go overseas "to conduct jihad" in January.

Unlike other U.S. citizens implicated in recent terrorism plots, Ahmed does not appear to have received overseas training from al-Qaeda or any of its affiliates, intelligence sources said. In some previous investigations, however, evidence of connections to overseas organizations have surfaced several days after an arrest.

Series of cases

The arrest is the latest in a series of cases involving U.S. citizens, including another Pakistani American, who was convicted of planning to set off a car bomb in Times Square, that have raised concerns about an increasing number of Americans drawn to violent jihad.

Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old Connecticut resident, was sentenced to life in prison this month; the bomb he left in a car in Times Square in May failed to detonate.

Since last year, more than 6o U.S. citizens have been charged or convicted in terrorism cases, according to federal officials. And in some of those cases, suspects were caught in sting operations.

In one case, the suspect allegedly drove an FBI-supplied van that he thought contained a ton of explosives to blow up the Paul Findley Federal Building and Courthouse in Springfield, Ill. The suspect, Michael Finton, 29, is awaiting trial.

This month, a Jordanian man was sentenced to 24 years in prison for attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction to blow up a Dallas skyscraper. Hosam Smadi, 20, was arrested in September 2009 after leaving what he thought was a truck bomb but was really a decoy from FBI agents posing as al-Qaeda operatives.

Staff writers Greg Miller, Anne E. Kornblut, Jerry Markon, William Wan, Katherine Shaver, Ann Scott Tyson, Derek Kravitz and Kafia A. Hosh and staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

Peter Finn, Spencer S. Hsu and Caitlin Gibson

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

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