Thursday, July 9, 2009

President Obama Repeating Errors of a Two State Solution.


by  Louis RenĂ© Beres

In Washington, alas, there has always been too little learning from lessons of the past. Now, President Obama elegantly repeats the worn cliches concerning a "Two State Solution." For his part, in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Netanyahu awkwardly straddles the political fence by first expecting a Palestinian state to be "demilitarized." It is bound to be a vain expectation.

Oddly, especially if real history is taken into account, Mr. Obama still refuses to acknowledge that "Palestine" would represent a distinctly enemy state. Fragmented by civil war, both Fatah and Hamas would seek ever-closer ties to Iran. There would also be substantial collaborations with al-Qaeda, ties that are now already being fashioned in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

On September 11th, celebrations of American distress were evident all over Gaza and West Bank, in areas controlled by both Hamas and Fatah. Now, nothing has changed. America, despite its consistently misplaced largesse, is still widely loathed in all Palestinian territories.

Mr. Obama`s adherence to the so-called "Road Map" will surely backfire. Despite their plaintive pleas for "justice," the Palestinians always manage to stand stubbornly in their own way. Time after time, whenever they seem on the threshold of what appears to be a plausible path to independence, their strife-addicted leaders unleash new and unproductive spasms of random violence. Over time, this collective self-destructiveness has been characteristic of both Fatah and Hamas.

Even after Israel`s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, and even while Israel`s cease fires with Hamas must remain effectively unilateral because of intransigent Palestinian commitments to Jihad, Mr. Obama asks that a Palestinian state be carved from the still-living body of Israel. This rabidly anti-American 23rd Arab state would quickly seek extension across the "green line." The official Palestine Authority (PA) map of "moderate" Fatah already shows all of Israel as part of Palestine. Our principled president should also recall that Arab terrorism arrived long before "occupation" (actually, even before Jewish statehood in May 1948) and that the PLO was founded in 1964 – three years before West Bank and Gaza fell into Israel`s hands. What was it, then, that the PLO was seeking to "liberate?"

Israel remains the front line position of anti-terrorist engagement for the United States in particular, and for the West in general. It is still the lead "canary" in the mine. In this connection, any Palestinian state would have an irremediably injurious effect on Israel`s survival. After "Palestine," Israel`s security would require (1) a far more comprehensive nuclear strategy involving deterrence, preemption and war fighting capabilities; and (2) a corollary and interpenetrating conventional war strategy. Without such strategic improvements, America – not just Israel - would be at greater risk than before.

"Palestine" could affect these two core strategies in several ways. First, it would enlarge Israel`s need for "escalation dominance." With Israel`s conventional capabilities more doubtful, IDF command could decide to make the country`s nuclear deterrent less ambiguous. Taking the Israeli bomb out of the "basement" might actually enhance Israel`s security for a while, but – over time – ending "deliberate ambiguity" could also heighten the odds of nuclear weapons use. If Iran were permitted to "go nuclear," as now still seems certain, such use might not necessarily be limited to the immediate areas of Israel and "Palestine."

Nuclear war could arrive in Israel not only as a "bolt-from-the-blue" surprise missile attack, but also as a result (intended or inadvertent) of escalation. If an enemy state were to begin "only" conventional and/or biological attacks upon Israel, Jerusalem might still respond at some point with nuclear reprisals. If this enemy state were to begin with solely conventional attacks upon Israel, Jerusalem`s conventional reprisals might still be met, sometime in the future, with enemy nuclear counterstrikes.

Why should Israel need a conventional deterrent at all? Even after "Palestine," won`t rational enemy states desist from launching conventional and/or biological attacks upon Israel for fear of an Israeli nuclear retaliation? Not necessarily. Aware that Israel would cross the nuclear threshold only in extraordinary circumstances, these enemy states could be convinced, rightly or wrongly, that so long as their attacks remained non-nuclear, Israel would only respond in kind.

After creation of "Palestine," strategic circumstances in the region would be markedly less favorable to Israel. The only credible way for Israel to deter large-scale conventional attacks following any such creation would be by maintaining visible and large-scale conventional capabilities. Naturally, enemy states contemplating first-strike attacks upon Israel using chemical and/or biological weapons are apt to take more seriously Israel`s nuclear deterrent. Whether or not this nuclear deterrent had remained undisclosed could also affect Israel`s strategic credibility.

A strong conventional capability will always be needed by Israel to deter or to preempt conventional attacks. Obama`s Road Map would critically impair Israel`s strategic depth, and thus the IDF`s essential capacity to wage conventional warfare.

If frontline regional enemy states were to perceive Israel`s own expanding sense of weakness, this could strengthen Israel`s nuclear deterrent. If, however, enemy states did not recognize such a "sense" among Israel`s key decision-makers, these states, animated by Israel`s presumed conventional force deterioration, could be encouraged to attack. Logically, the result, spawned by Israel`s post-"Palestine" incapacity to maintain strong conventional deterrence, could be: (1) defeat of Israel in a conventional war; (2) defeat of Israel in an unconventional chemical/biological/nuclear war; (3) defeat of Israel in a combined conventional/unconventional war; or (4) defeat of Arab/Islamic state enemies by Israel in an unconventional war.

For Israel, even the "successful" fourth possibility could become intolerable. The probable consequences of a regional nuclear war or even a chemical/biological war in the Middle East would be calamitous for the victor as well as the vanquished. Here, all notions of "victory" and "defeat" would promptly lose traditional meaning.

President Obama, please note: The dangers to Israel and the United States of any Palestinian state would outweigh any conceivable benefits.


Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) lectures and publishes widely on Israeli and American security matters. Born in Zurich, Switzerland, on August 31, 1945, he is the author of ten major books on international relations and international law, and is a frequent contributor to journals of law, military strategy, intelligence, and counterintelligence.


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The Judgment of Solomon on a Hot Summer’s Day.



by Moshe Feiglin 


The first summer heat wave is already here, and with it the burning forests. If you have any doubt as to whose land this is, just take a look at the Judgment of Solomon that takes place here every time the desert wind blows in from the East. The Jews say, "the baby is mine" and plant trees. The Arabs say "the baby is mine, and as long as he is in your hands, we will turn him to ashes."

This is nothing new. In February 1947, when British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin explained the decision of her majesty's government to transfer the Land of Israel mandate to the UN, he explained the basis of the Arab-Israel conflict as follows:

"For the Jews, the main point is to establish a sovereign Jewish state. For the Arabs, the main point is to completely oppose any form of Jewish sovereignty in any part of Palestine."

The Arabs are not motivated by positive national aspirations. They have no desire to return to a "homeland" and to realize their imaginary "Palestinian" nationality. They simply want to make sure that the Jews are not in Israel. It is not despair caused by loss of what is theirs that motivates them; it is the hope to destroy what belongs to the Jews. The nurturing of this hope is the factor that gave birth to Arab nationalism. The elimination of the hope of the Arabs to drive us from our land will induce calm.

In his book, The Long Short Way, former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe (Bogi) Ya'alon describes how when he was head of Israeli Intelligence he initially believed that Arafat actually wanted a state. Slowly but surely, and after a horrifying period of bloodshed that left scores of Israelis dead, he reached the conclusion that the Arabs of the Land of Israel do not want a state. If the politicians and generals who determine Israel's policies would only study the roots of the conflict, delve into its historical sources and draw conclusions on the basis of facts and not on the basis of wishful thinking - we could save the painful price that Israel's citizens have been paying as they wait for reality to dawn upon its political and military leaders.

The Arabs in Israel never had a separate self-definition. There is not and there never has been a Palestinian nation or a Palestinian state. There is no cultural difference between an Arab in Shechem and an Arab in Damascus or Baghdad - not in language, not in religion and not in custom. The Arabs in the Land of Israel did not have independent national aspirations until the Zionists arrived here. Even afterwards, their national aspirations were limited to the territory in which the Jews lived. Arab nationalism focused its aspirations - not on the Land of Israel - but on the State of Israel. The only territories that interested the Arabs were those that Jews had already settled.

Israel's War of Independence in 1948 was not waged over Judea and Samaria, Jerusalem or over the Right of Return. According to the Partition Plan, all those territories were to remain in Arab hands. The War of Independence was initiated by the heads of the Islamic movement in Israel. Their purpose was strictly to prevent the Jews from establishing a state on a tiny piece of land - much smaller than the area within the "Green Line." And remember, the Arabs were but a small minority in the area that the UN designated for the Jews.

When the PLO was established - prior to the Six Day War, its national aspirations were focused inside the boundaries of the Green Line - the territory held by the Jews after the War of Independence. But wonder of wonders: After the Six Day War and the liberation of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, everything changed. Now the stolen Palestinian homeland was no longer Israel's coastal region, but rather the mountains. Why? Because that's where the Jews lived.

As soon as an Arab army - any Arab army - be it Jordanian, Iraqi, Syrian or Egyptian - controls territory in the Land of Israel - the Palestinian nationalism evaporates. The motivation of the Arabs of the Land of Israel is negative. Bevin's definition was most exact. The smoke from this year's forest fires is proof of his words. Let the land burn - the main thing is that the Jews should not be here.


Moshe Feiglin 

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

PA Chief Abbas: We Left Galilee on Our Own.


by Hillel Fendel

Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas says the Arabs of the Galilee city of Tzfat left in 1948 not because they were driven out, but on their own volition.

Many biographies of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas imply that his family became “refugees” because of the War of Independence in 1948. For instance, a BBC profile on Abbas when he succeeded Yasser Arafat as PLO chairman in 2005 writes, “In the light of his origins in Safed in Galilee - in what is now northern Israel - he is said to hold strong views about the right of return of Palestinian refugees.” states, “As a result of the Arab-Israel War of 1948, he became a refugee.” Wikipedia articles on the topic say the same – all giving the impression that the Abbas family was driven out and became


It is notable that the Abbas family moved back to Damascus, as that is likely the place where it had originated less than 90 years earlier. However, Abbas himself – co-founder of Fatah with Arafat, and known as Abu Mazen - now tells a different story. Speaking with Al-Palestinia TV on Monday, Abbas admitted that his family was not expelled or driven out, but rather left for fear that the Jews might take revenge for the slaughter of 20 Jews in the city during the Arab pogroms of 19 years earlier.

In the words of Abbas:

“I am among those who were born in the city of Tzfat (Safed). We were a family of means. I studied in elementary school, and then came the naqba [calamity, namely, the founding of the State of Israel – ed. At night, we left by foot from Tzfat, to the Jordan River, where we remained for a month. Then we went to Damascus, and then to our relatives in Jordan, and then we settled in Damascus.

“My father had money, and he spent his money systematically, and after a year, the money ran out and we began to work.

“The people’s basic motives brought them to run away for their lives and with their property. These [motive were very important, for they feared the violence of the Zionist terrorist organizations – and especially those of us from Tzfat felt that there was an old desire for revenge from the rebellion of 1929, and this was in the memory of our families and parents.”

The “rebellion” Abbas referred to was a series of brutal Arab attacks on Jewish towns in the summer of 1929. Nearly 70 Jews were slaughtered in their homes in Hevron, 20 in Tzfat, 17 in Jerusalem, and others were murdered in Motza, Kfar Uriah and Tel Aviv.

The memory of the slaughter, Abbas said, “brought [our familie to understand that the military balance had changed, and that [ no longer had military forces in their real meaning. There were only young people who fought, and there was an initial action. They felt that the balance of power had collapsed and they therefore decided to leave. The entire city was abandoned based on this thought – the thought of their property and saving themselves.”

Return to Roots - in Damascus

It is notable that the Abbas family moved back to Damascus, as that is likely the place where it had originated less than 90 years earlier. Joan Peters, in her scholarly work “From Time Immemorial” on the Arab population of Israel, writes that in 1860, “Algerian tribes moved from Damascus en masse to Safed.” She notes that the Muslims in the city were mostly descended from Moorish settlers and from Kurds – more evidence negating the claim that the Arabs in the Land of Israel had been there “from time immemorial.”



Hillel Fendel
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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Avoiding Obama's ambush.


by Caroline B. Glick

It works out that US President Barack Obama is a man of heartfelt, long-held principles. It also works out that his principles are divorced from reality and unresponsive to any facts that contradict them.

This much was made clear by a New York Times report on Sunday which discussed a recently "rediscovered" 1983 article Obama published in a student magazine on the subject of nuclear disarmament when he was an undergraduate at Columbia University.

Obama's article, "Breaking the war mentality," was ostensibly a feature story showcasing two student organizations that advocated a freeze in the US's nuclear arsenal. But the young Obama didn't hesitate to use his platform to make his own, even more radical views known to his readers. As he put it: "The narrow focus of the Freeze movement, as well as academic discussion of first- versus second-strike capabilities, suit the military-industrial interests, as they continue adding to their billion-dollar erector sets."

Citing a Rastafarian reggae musician as his foreign policy authority, Obama ruminated, "When Peter Tosh sings that 'everybody's asking for peace, but nobody's asking for justice,' one is forced to wonder whether disarmament or arms control issues, severed from economic and political issues, might be another instance of focusing on the symptoms of a problem, instead of the disease itself."

As one of the freeze advocates explained gently, contending with "the disease itself" was an unachievable goal since "you're not going to get rid of the military in the near future."


THERE IS NOTHING shocking about Obama's embrace of radical politics as a college student. Particularly at Columbia, adopting such positions was the most conformist move a student could make. What is disturbing is that these views have endured over time, although they were overtaken by events 20 years ago.

Just six years after Obama penned his little manifesto, the Iron Curtain came crashing down. The Soviet empire fell not because radicals like Obama called for the US to destroy its nuclear arsenal, it fell because president Ronald Reagan ignored them and vastly expanded the US's nuclear arsenal while deploying short-range nuclear warheads in Europe and launching the US's missile defense program while renouncing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

On Monday Obama arrived in Moscow for a round of disarmament talks with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. According to most accounts, while in Moscow Obama plans to abandon US allies Ukraine and Georgia and agree to deep cuts in US missile defense programs. In exchange, Moscow is expected to consider joining Washington in cutting back on its nuclear arsenal just as the likes of Iran and North Korea build up theirs.

Of course, even if Russia doesn't agree to scale back its nuclear arsenal, Obama has already ensured that the US will slash the size of its own by refusing to fund its modernization. In short, Obama is working to implement the precise policy he laid out as an unoriginal student conformist 26 years ago.


BY NOW of course, none of this is particularly surprising. Since entering office seven long months ago, Obama has demonstrated that his guiding philosophy for foreign affairs is that the US and its allies are to blame for their adversaries' hostility toward them. All that needs to happen for peace to break out throughout the world is for the US and its allies to quit clinging to their guns and religions and start apologizing for their rudeness. In furtherance of this goal, Obama has devoted himself to putting the screws on US allies, slashing America's defense budget and embarking on a worldwide tour apologizing to US adversaries.

The basic reality that the US is being led by a radical ideologue who clings to his views in the face of overwhelming proof of their falsity is the most fundamental fact that world leaders must reckon with today as they formulate policies to contend with the Obama administration. This is first and foremost the case for Israel.

Since the Netanyahu government took office three months ago, the Obama administration has placed inordinate pressure on Jerusalem in a bid to coerce it into making massive concessions to the Palestinians. These concessions are demanded not for peace, but simply for the sake of placing pressure on Israel. Obama wishes to pressure Israel to show his good intentions to the Arabs and Iran.


TO DATE, Obama's loudest demand has been to officially prohibit all Jewish construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Although the demand is intrinsically bigoted, illegal and immoral, and although the consequences of the expulsion of all Jews from Gaza in 2005 show that Israeli land giveaways and ethnic cleansing bring war not peace, the Netanyahu government has opted not to get into an open confrontation with the administration on the issue.

Instead, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his government have sought to treat Obama's offensive as a routine disagreement between otherwise close allies. Rather than defending the principles of Jewish national, legal and human rights and the country's right to security, Netanyahu has sought to reach an accommodation with Obama by reducing the discussion to a conversation about the inevitable natural growth of Jewish communities due to expanding families.

But what Obama's slavish devotion to his radical world view shows is that Netanyahu's decision to seek an accommodation is not simply an exercise in futility, it is a recipe for disaster. Obama and his advisers do not care that Jewish fertility rates are the fastest rising in the world. They do not care that by arguing for a complete halt in "natural" growth, they are effectively adopting a eugenics argument the likes of which no US policy-maker has dared to advance since before the Holocaust. They are looking to fight because they believe that the US is best served by fighting with its allies - particularly with Israel. Any concession Netanyahu makes will just form the basis for the next round of demands.

Far from seeking an agreement with Obama, Netanyahu should realize that given the president's ideological rigidity, there is no agreement to be had. Instead of trying to resolve the issue, Netanyahu's goal should be to prolong discussions until Obama finds someone else to pick on.

Rather than making wrongheaded concessions to Obama on Jewish population growth in the vain hope of mollifying him, Israel should go on the offensive on issues where it has something to gain from a confrontation. Two specific issues - aside from Iran's nuclear program - should be raised in this regard.


FIRST, IN recent months the Obama administration has applied massive pressure on Israel to remove its military forces from Judea and Samaria, curtail its counterterror operations and allow US-trained, anti-Israel Palestinian military forces to deploy in the towns and cities. Rather than openly oppose these demands, in the interests of cultivating good relations, the Netanyahu government has gone along with the program. This it has done in spite of the fact that the Palestinian forces now deploying throughout the areas have a history of participating in and supporting terror attacks against Israel as well as terrorizing their own people.

Last week the government quietly announced that the IDF is pulling out of most Palestinian population centers and turning the keys over to these hostile US-trained forces. This was a mistake.

In the weeks to come, the government should bluntly and publicly discuss and protest Fatah political and military leaders' continued support for terrorists and terrorist attacks against Israel. Netanyahu and his government should also detail human-rights abuses Fatah personnel routinely carry out against Palestinian journalists, businessmen and other civilians. The administration should be forced to defend its decision to empower these corrupt, terror-supporting brutes at the expense of Israel's security, and to force US taxpayers to foot the bill for its cockamamie priorities.


THE SECOND ISSUE is US military aid. For years Israel's detractors have pointed to this aid as "proof" that Israel is a strategic burden for America. But in recent years, and particularly since the Obama administration took office, it is becoming increasingly clear that US military assistance may be a greater burden for Israel than for the US.

On Sunday The Jerusalem Post reported that the Pentagon has forced Israel Aerospace Industries to back out of a joint partnership with a Swedish aerospace company to compete in a multi-billion dollar tender to sell new multi-role fighters to the Indian air force. And as the Post reported, this is the second major deal the Pentagon has forced Israel to withdraw from in the past year. Last summer it was forced to bow out of a $500 million tender to supply the Turkish army with a new main battle tank. In both cases, US firms were competing in the tenders and the Pentagon threatened that Israeli participation would risk continued US-Israeli cooperation.

Today the Israel Air Force faces the prospect of not having a new-generation fighter. The Pentagon has placed so many draconian restrictions on its purchase of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and raised the price so high, that it makes little strategic or economic sense to purchase it. So too, last week the Israel Navy announced it has decided to explore the option of building its own warships rather than buy one of two competing US naval platforms as planned because the US contractors' costs have gone up so high. The Navy is also taking into consideration the fact that by building domestic platforms, it will provide needed employment to shipyard workers.

All in all, both in terms of pure economics and in terms of the massive and constantly escalating restrictions the Obama administration is now placing on Israeli use of US technologies and munitions, maintaining US military assistance makes less and less sense with each passing day.

Were Israel to initiate a conversation about cutting back on this assistance, it would be able to ensure that the talks take place on its terms. Moreover, given the fact that Israel may indeed be best served by simply ending its military assistance package, the risk involved in such discussions would not be particularly earth shattering. Finally, by making clear that it is not dependent on Obama's kindness, it would be expanding its maneuvering room on other issues as well.

What Obama's radicalism tells us is that he is not a man who is moved by rational discourse. He is not a man who is willing to be convinced that he is mistaken. But even in these dire circumstances, Israel is not without good options for securing its interests vis-a-vis Washington.

To do so, Jerusalem must first understand that it gains nothing from making concessions to a president bent on picking a fight with it. Then it must recognize that there are issues where a confrontation with Obama can serve its interests. Finally it must pursue those issues with energy and passion.

Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post.

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


Monday, July 6, 2009

Dershowitz doesn't get it.


by Melanie Phillips

A sobering view by one of Britain's most respected columnists

Alan Dershowitz is one of the most prolific, high-profile and indefatiguable defenders of Israel and the Jewish people against the tidal wave of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish feeling currently coursing through the west. So a piece by him in the Wall Street Journal giving expression to the rising anxiety being felt about Obama by American Jews naturally arouses great interest.

But just like the majority of American Jews, getting on for 80 per cent of whom voted for Obama, he is a Democrat supporter who is incapable of acknowledging the truth about this President. For most American Jews, the horror of even entertaining the hypothetical possibility that they might ever in a million years have to vote for a Republican is so great they simply cannot see what is staring them in the face — that this Democratic President is lethal for both Israel and the free world. And in this article Dershowitz shows that he too is just as blind.

Acknowledging the anxiety among some American Jews about Obama's attitude to Israel, Dershowitz concludes uneasily that there isn't really a problem here because all Obama is doing is putting pressure on Israel over the settlements, which most American Jews don't support anyway. But this is totally to miss the point. The pressure over the settlements per se is not the reason for the intense concern.

It is instead, first and foremost, the fact that Obama is treating Israel as if it is the obstacle to peace in the Middle East. Obama thus inverts aggressor and victim, denying Israel's six-decade long victimisation and airbrushing out Arab aggression. The question remains: why has Obama chosen to pick a fight with Israel while soft-soaping Iran which is threatening it with genocide? The answer is obvious: Israel is to be used to buy off Iran just as Czechoslovakia was used at Munich. Indeed, I would say this is worse even than that, since I suspect that Obama — coming as he does from a radical leftist milieu, with vicious Israel-haters amongst his closest friends — would be doing this to Israel even if Iran was not the problem that it is.

In any event, the double standard is egregious. Obama has torn up his previous understandings with Israel over the settlements while putting no pressure at all on the Palestinians, even though since they are the regional aggressor there can be no peace unless they end their aggression and certainly not until they accept Israel as a Jewish state, which they have said explicitly they will never do. On this, Obama is totally silent. So too is Dershowitz. That's some omission.

Next, Obama is pressuring Israel to set up a Palestine state — within two years this will exist, swaggers Rahm Emanuel. But everyone knows that as soon as Israel leaves the West Bank, Hamas — or even worse — will take over. The only reason the (also appalling) Abbas is still in Ramallah, enabling Obama to pretend there is a Palestinian interlocutor for peace, is because the Israelis are keeping Hamas at bay. Yet Dershowitz writes:


There is no evidence of any weakening of American support for Israel's right to defend its children from the kind of rocket attacks candidate Obama commented on during his visit to Sderot.

So what exactly does he think would happen if Israel came out of the West Bank and the Hamas rockets were down the road from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv (literally: many in the west have absolutely no idea how tiny Israel is). It's not a question of Israel's 'right to defend its children'. If Obama has his way, Israel would not be able to defend its children or anyone else, because Obama would have removed its defences by putting its enemies in charge of them. It is astounding that Dershowitz can't see this.

Then there was Obama's appalling Cairo speech in which he conspicuously refrained from committing himself to defending Zionism and the Jewish people from the attacks and incitement to genocide against them, but committed himself instead to defending their attackers against 'negative stereotyping'. On this, Dershowitz has nothing to say.

Worse still, by falsely asserting that the Jewish aspiration for Israel derived from the Holocaust, Obama effectively denied that the Jewish people were in Israel as of right and thus endorsed the core element of the Arab and Muslim propaganda of war and extermination. On this, Dershowitz has nothing to say.

Obama drew a vile — and telling — equivalence between the Nazi extermination camps and the Palestinian 'refugee' camps. On this, Dershowitz has nothing to say. Obama's statement that the Palestinians 'have suffered in pursuit of a homeland' was grossly and historically untrue, and again denied Arab aggression. On this, Dershowitz has nothing to say. Equally vilely, Obama equated genocidal terrorism by the Palestinians with the civil rights movement in America and the resistance against apartheid in South Africa. On all of this, Dershowitz has nothing to say.

Dershowitz also grossly underplays the terrible harm Obama is doing to the security not just of Israel but the world through his reckless appeasement of Iran. In the last few weeks, this has actively undercut the Iranian democrats trying to oust their tyrannical regime, and has actually strengthened that regime. All the evidence suggests ever more strongly that Obama has decided America will 'live with' a nuclear Iran, whatever it does to its own people. Which leaves Israel hung out to dry.

But even here, where he is clearly most concerned, Dershowitz scuttles under his comfort blanket — Dennis Ross, who was originally supposed to have been the US special envoy to Iran but was recently announced senior director of the National Security Council and special assistant to the President for the region. It is not at all clear whether this ambiguous development represents a promotion or demotion for Ross. Either way, for Dershowitz to rest his optimism that Obama's Iran policy will be all right on the night entirely upon the figure of Dennis Ross is pathetic. Ross, a Jew who played Mr Nice to Robert Malley's Mr Nasty towards Israel in the Camp David debacle under President Clinton, is clearly being used by Obama as a human shield behind which he can bully Israel with impunity. American Jews assume that his proximity to Obama means the President's intentions towards Israel are benign. Dazzled by this vision of Ross as the guarantor of Obama's good faith, they thus ignore altogether the terrible import of the actual words coming out of the President's mouth.

The fact is that many American Jews are so ignorant of the history of the Jewish people, the centrality of Israel in its history and the legality and justice of its position that they probably saw nothing wrong in Obama saying that the Jewish aspiration for Israel came out of the Holocaust because they think this too. Nor do they see the appalling double standard in the bullying of Israel over the settlements and what that tells us about Obama's attitude towards Israel, because — as Dershowitz himself makes all too plain — they too think in much the same way, that the settlements are the principal obstacle to peace.

Many if not most American Jews have a highly sentimentalized view of Israel. They never go there, are deeply ignorant of its history and current realities, and are infinitely more concerned with their own view of themselves as social liberals, a view reflected back at themselves through voting for a Democrat President.

Whatever else he is, however, Dershowitz is certainly not ignorant. Which makes this lamentable article all the more revealing, and depressing.




Melanie Phillips is a British journalist and author of, most recently, Londonistan. She is best known for her controversial column about political and social issues which currently appears in the Daily Mail. She was awarded the Orwell Prize for journalism in 1996.

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