Saturday, April 24, 2010






 Barack OBAMA, in his Cairo speech,  said:   "I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of  America 's story."






Dear Mr. Obama:


Were those Muslims that were in America when the Pilgrims first landed?  Funny, I thought they were Native American Indians.


Were those Muslims that celebrated the first Thanksgiving day?  Sorry again, those were Pilgrims and Native American Indians.


Can you show me one Muslim signature on the United States Constitution?


Declaration of Independence?


Bill of Rights?



Didn't think so. 



Did Muslims fight for this country's freedom from England ?  No.


Did Muslims fight during the Civil War to free the slaves in America ?  No, they did not.  In fact, Muslims to this day are still the largest traffickers in human slavery.  Your own half brother, a devout Muslim, still advocates slavery himself, even though Muslims of Arabic descent refer to black Muslims as "pug nosed slaves."  Says a lot of what the Muslim world really thinks of your family's "rich Islamic heritage," doesn't it Mr. Obama?


Where were Muslims during the Civil Rights era of this country?  Not present.


There are no pictures or media accounts of Muslims walking side by side with Martin Luther King, Jr. or helping to advance the cause of Civil Rights.


Where were Muslims during this country's Woman's Suffrage era?  Again, not present.  In fact, devout Muslims demand that women are subservient to men in the Islamic culture.  So much so, that often they are beaten for not wearing the 'hajib' or for talking to a man who is not a direct family member or their husband. Yep, the Muslims are all for women's rights, aren't they?


Where were Muslims during World War II?  They were aligned with Adolf Hitler.  The Muslim grand mufti himself met with Adolf Hitler, reviewed the troops and accepted support from the Nazi's in killing Jews.





And THAT, Mr. Obama, is the "rich heritage" Muslims have here in America .


Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot to mention theBarbary Pirates.  They were Muslim.


And now we can add November 5, 2009 - the slaughter of American soldiers at Fort Hood by a Muslim major who is a doctor and a psychiatrist who was supposed to be counseling soldiers returning from battle in Iraq and Afghanistan .



That, Mr. Obama is the "Muslim heritage" in America .


American Neutrality Toward Israel Invites Violence


by  Victor Davis Hanson

When Israel is alone, its opportunistic enemies pile on.

American relations with our once-staunch ally Israel are at their lowest ebb in the last 50 years.

The Obama administration seems as angry at the building of Jewish apartments in Jerusalem as it is intent on reaching out to Iran and Syria, Israel’s mortal enemies. President Obama himself, according to reports, has serially snubbed Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A new narrative abounds in Washington that Israel’s intransigence with its Arab neighbors now even endangers U.S. troops stationed in the Middle East. Obama is pushing Netanyahu’s Likud government to make concessions on several fronts, from supplying power and food to Gaza to hasten Israel’s departure from the West Bank.


These tensions follow the Obama administration’s new outreach to the Muslim world. Obama gave his first interview as president to the Middle East newspaper Al Arabiya, in which he politely chided past U.S. policy on the Middle East.

In his June 2009 Cairo address, the president again sought to placate the Islamic world — in part by wrongly claiming that Islamic learning had sparked the European Renaissance and Enlightenment.

Lost in all this reset-button diplomacy is introspection on why past American presidents sought to support Israel in the first place. We seem to forget why no-nonsense Harry Truman, against worldwide opposition, ensured the original creation of the Jewish state — or why more than 60 percent of Americans in most polls continue to side with Israel in its struggle to survive.

In contrast, most of the rest of the world does the math and concludes Israel is a bad investment. It has no oil; its enemies possess nearly half the world’s reserves.

There is no downside in criticizing Israel, but censuring some of its radical Arab neighbors might prompt anything from an oil embargo to a terrorist response.

There are about 7 million Israelis; the Muslim and Arab population in the rest of the Middle East numbers in the hundreds of millions.

According to the academic cult of multiculturalism, it is fashionable to see pro-American, democratic, and capitalist Israel as a symbol of a pernicious Western culture of oppression; its enemies are seen as underdog liberationists.

No wonder that in the ongoing dispute, most of the world adds up the pluses and minuses and concludes that it is wiser to side with Israel’s foes than to become its friend. But why, until now, has America always bucked the tide?

The reason was not the so-called “Jewish lobby” here in the U.S., but the fact that a clear majority of non-Jews supported Israel. They saw that in a sea of autocracy, Israel is a democracy and a free and open society, one quite different from its neighbors.

I suspect that when there is a final two-state settlement, Arabs wishing to remain inside Israel will be treated far more humanely as citizens than any Jews who stay on the West Bank and take their chances as residents of the new Palestinian state. We suspect that when Israel pulls back from lands occupied in the 1967 war, there will remain prominent calls in the Arab world to continue the withdrawal — and finish Israel altogether.


Holocaust denial is still a staple in intellectual circles of the Middle East, and embraced by the Iranian government.

Fashionable anti-Israeli sentiment is de rigueur in European elite society. Nearly a third of all country-specific resolutions passed by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and its successor, the United Nations Human Rights Council, have damned Israel — far more than anything it has directed at the mass-murdering regimes of Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, or the Taliban.

In contrast, America’s traditional bipartisan support for Israel put the world on notice that the United States would never allow another Holocaust — or the destruction of Israel, or even serial attacks against it.

Yet if we are seen as neutral, just watch the rest of the world get the message and start piling on. Anti-Jewish terrorism will gear up again. Frontline entities like Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran will ready their missiles without worry of American anger. Iran will assume we are resigned to its acquisition of the bomb. And the U.N. will again begin providing cover by issuing its pro forma denunciations of Israel, counting on a newly diffident United States to vote “present.”

Perhaps the Obama administration genuinely believes that by pressuring Israel and reaching out to its enemies, it can at last achieve peace. Perhaps a few key figures in this administration simply do not like or trust the Jewish state — support for which now polls only 48 percent among Democratic voters (versus 85 percent among Republicans).

No matter. This administration should take a deep breath and review history. It would learn that when Israel is alone, its opportunistic enemies pile on. And then war becomes more, not less, likely.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and editor, most recently, of Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome

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

Shadow Play


by  Lee Smith


Syria may be getting a new U.S. ambassador, but the problem of Syrian engagement is far from solved


Ambassador Robert Ford is a career foreign-service officer with a distinguished record who now finds himself under a strange spotlight, one that illuminates one of Washington's most heated debates: What direction should U.S. policy on Syria take? Some argue that the United States should continue to isolate a regime that has declared itself our enemy, as we did during the Bush years; others contend that we should turn the page and engage Damascus. Ford is the man the White House has tapped as the next U.S. ambassador to Damascus, five years after the last one was withdrawn following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Hariri's murder touched off the Cedar Revolution that seemed, for a time, as if it might herald the rebirth of a democratic Lebanon, free from the control of the Assad regime in Syria, which saw Lebanon as part of its historical inheritance. The prospect of an independent Lebanon was even less appealing to the Syrians than was the prospect of a democratic neighbor in Iraq, where Damascus also employed terrorism as part of its strategy to roll back the United States and its partners in the Middle East. Syria's war targeted not only American allies in Lebanon, Iraq, and Israel, but also U.S. diplomats and military personnel. Since 2003, Syria has served as the main transit route that foreign fighters use to enter Iraq, and it has provided financial, logistical, and operational support to a wide range of insurgent forces aiming to kill American soldiers.

Accordingly, Damascus has few friends in Washington. But it nonetheless occupies a unique position in U.S. policymaking circles: Syria kills Americans and our allies, but its strategic significance pales in comparison to China, Russia, and Iran, which makes it a second- or even third-tier issue. And even as Syria policy fosters loud debate, surprisingly, that debate doesn't break over strictly partisan lines; the split is reflected throughout Washington, even in the U.S. military, and within the Obama Administration.

The foremost proponent of reaching out to Syria is the commander-in-chief, and yet more than a year after taking office, President Barack Obama has been unable to make good on his campaign promise of engaging this adversary. The first step is to return an ambassador to Damascus, a White House campaign spearheaded, oddly, by Sen. John Kerry, who has effectively become Damascus's voice in official Washington and the most prominent U.S. official with a soft spot for a regime that much of Washington loves to hate.

This past week was a bad one for those eager to reach out to Syria. It was reported that Damascus is believed to have transferred to Hezbollah Scud missiles that would be able to reach any part of Israel. "The threat that Syria might transfer more advanced weapons to Hezbollah has existed for a long time," says Elliott Abrams, who oversaw Middle East affairs in the George W. Bush White House and is now a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. "With respect to Scuds, it has been understood the Israelis would interdict such a shipment. I do not recall the Bush Administration ever expressing disagreement with that view."

The Obama Administration seems to feel differently. Initial reports explained that the White House convinced the Israelis not to attack the arms shipment and promised that Kerry would deliver a strong message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during his visit to Damascus early this month. U.S. officials confirmed Kerry did indeed convey the Americans' displeasure even as more recent reports suggest that the Obama Administration now believes that the actual transfer may not have occurred.

"If it didn't happen now it will happen in the future," says Dov Weisglass, at one time a close adviser to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, speaking by phone over the weekend from Israel. "The concern is about long-range missiles, which would put two halves of Israel under threat by Iranian assets. Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south. You don't have to be a strategist to understand that if Iran will be pressured, or there will be an operation against Iran by any party, the entire length of Israel will be in range of missiles fired by Iran's allies."

There are others in Israel, however, who don't think it's that large a cause for concern. "It's not that dramatic," Giora Eiland, Israel's former national security adviser, told me last week. "It means that for the first time Hezbollah has ballistic missiles, but this is not a game-changer. Due to Israeli air superiority, their launchers would be a relatively easy target. We are much more concerned about the thousands of other rockets in Lebanon that despite their limited size and effective range can cause much more significant damage." Even Weisglass is quick to admit that Israel has more pressing concerns than the Scud story, noting that the story didn't even make the local front pages, which are occupied with a corruption case against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Despite the claims of some American analysts that Israel is using the Scud scare to change the subject and divert attention from the stalled peace process, the Syrian Scud story has had more traction in the United States than in Israel. The story is less about Israeli security than it is a chapter in the ongoing Washington feud over Syria policy, an intra-American conflict that touches on larger issues like terrorism and the direction of U.S. foreign policy.

Even those who want to engage the Syrian regime do not necessarily believe that Damascus is a likely friend. While it is no secret in Washington that CENTCOM commander General David Petraeus wants to speak with the Syrians himself, his reasons for wanting to go to Damascus have never been clear. Does Petraeus think he can make the Syrian regime see the light, or does he just want to stare down the men he and his successor in Iraq, General Raymond Odierno, accuse of backing the foreign fighters that kill U.S. soldiers?

Many of those who are most contemptuous of the Syrian regime are to be found in the State Department, which in the past has been an Arabist stronghold where Damascus has held pride of place. That is no longer the case, at least in part due to the history that the Arabists' boss, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, has with the Assad regime. Three years ago, when Feltman was serving as the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, Syria tried to assassinate him in Beirut. Today, the State Department barely conceals the fact that one of their reasons for wanting to send an ambassador back to Damascus is to allow U.S. diplomats to circumvent the untrustworthy and obnoxious Syrian envoy to Washington, Imad Moustapha.

One of the best known, and least liked, diplomatic presences inside the Beltway, Moustapha was heard around town boasting that Syria had the new president in its pocket before Obama even came to office. So, when Feltman invited Moustapha to Foggy Bottom for the 2009 meeting that was meant to signal a new beginning between the two countries, State Department staffers enjoyed humbling Moustapha: Among other things, the Syrian ambassador was unceremoniously yanked off a red carpet that he assumed had been rolled out for his arrival. The State Department believes that Moustapha can't even be trusted to relay simple messages back to Damascus, and indeed it was Middle East envoy George Mitchell who had to explain U.S. sanctions to the Syrians when Mustapha had failed to perform his job.

That brings us to what is perhaps the most salient point of the Scud story—that the political official representing Washington's views to Damascus is Kerry. Some of those in favor of engaging Syria—a group that might include Kerry himself—would argue that having a senator rather than a diplomat running interference proves that the U.S. needs an ambassador in Damascus who can deliver tough messages to a recalcitrant regime. However, it is not clear that the White House really wants to send tough messages or it would not be using Kerry, as it is an open secret around town that the Massachusetts senator and his wife, Teresa, are enamored of Bashar al-Assad and his stylish first lady, Asma.

One American official who is less smitten with the Assad regime is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who, like others in Foggy Bottom, has a history with the Syrians. Her sentiment is at least partly due to her husband having sent his secretaries of state, Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright, to Damascus almost 50 times during the 1990s in a series of unsuccessful attempts to broker a deal between Bashar al-Assad's father, Hafez, and successive Israeli prime ministers. Maybe Clinton is not handling Syria policy because she does not want a Syrian president keeping her waiting on the tarmac at Damascus Airport for hours, as Hafez al-Assad did to Christopher, or perhaps it is because Obama trusts Kerry more. In any case, the fact that Kerry is on point and Clinton has been silent on the Scud story is a sign of how high up the split over Syria policy goes.

While the senators holding up the appointment of the ambassador are all Republican, the Syria argument crosses partisan lines, with prominent Democrats like Eliot Engel, Gary Ackerman, and Sen. Barbara Boxer having expressed their misgivings about the aadministration's stated policy of engaging Damascus. Washington officials' feelings about Syria are not determined by their affection for Israel. Indeed, this is one place where America's pro-Israel camp and Israeli opinion appear to part company. Surprising as it may seem, many Israeli political, military, and intelligence officials are somewhat kindly predisposed toward Syria.

From the Israeli perspective, Syria's is a weak regime that can make neither war nor peace. Assad is an Alawite, a minority Muslim sect that would incur the wrath of the country's majority Sunni population if he dared sign a treaty with the Zionists. This suits Jerusalem just fine, as it has no desire to return the Golan Heights to Syria. While Damascus is allied with Iran and supports proxies that wage war against Israel, a more significant fact for many Israeli strategists is that the Assads, father and son, have kept the Syrian-Israeli border the most peaceful in all the Middle East for more than 35 years. Jerusalem is loath to change the equation by risking an attack on Syria that, in some Israeli scenarios, may topple Assad and bring to power a militant Islamist regime.

It's true that in the wake of the Scud story, the Israelis warned Damascus that missile attacks from Hezbollah would precipitate immediate retaliation against Syria itself. But it's unclear how seriously anyone takes that threat. After all, a few months ago when Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman engaged in a constructive bit of deterrence and warned Assad that, "when there is another war, you will not just lose it, but you and your family will lose power," he was quickly hushed by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

In the event of a Hezbollah attack, all that is certain is that Israel will level Lebanon. "People believe there is a confrontation in Lebanon between the bad guys, Hezbollah, and the good guys, the government of Lebanon," Giora Eiland says. "But the only real strategic decisions are made by Hezbollah. So, if there is real violence from Lebanon, Israel policy will be very different than it was during the 2006 war. We will hold the government of Lebanon responsible, and the immediate consequence will be the total destruction of Lebanon."

That prospect, which is abundantly clear in Washington, is one reason for the split on Syria policy. Lebanon's Cedar Revolution won a lot of sympathy on both sides of the aisle. We may have abandoned Lebanese democracy, but that doesn't mean that the sentimental attachment to the country and its citizens in the pro-democracy March 14 movement is entirely dead. Lebanon's American friends do not want to see the land of cedars turned to rubble on behalf of a joint Syrian and Iranian project.

The argument over how to engage Syria encompasses, then, both sentimental and strategic logic. It's a debate in which emotions run surprisingly high for a country that has nothing like the significance of China, Russia, or Iran, because finally the argument is little more than a shadow play. Washington doesn't like the fact that Syria kills Americans and our friends, but since we are not willing to stop them by killing those Syrians responsible, there is little that we can do about it. So, we argue with ourselves about sending an ambassador to Damascus.

The reality is rather more consequential than the phony argument over Syria policy would suggest. The issue is finally about terrorism, which is not the work of shadowy networks hiding in caves and rogue operators whose grievances about the end of the Ottoman caliphate and the plight of the Palestinians can be soothed by an American public diplomacy campaign. This is a fiction, and the truth could not be any clearer. As Syrian support for Hezbollah, Hamas, Al Qaeda in Iraq, and a host of other organizations shows, Islamic terrorism is how Middle Eastern regimes fight for their strategic interests. If we let Syria off the hook for its proven acts of terror against U.S. military and diplomatic personnel, as well as U.S. allies in Israel, Lebanon, and Iraq, we have all but announced that in the event of future attacks on the U.S. homeland we will never retaliate against the states without which so-called stateless terrorist organizations cannot exist. We will have effectively disabled any deterrence we have against our adversaries and make our cities vulnerable to anyone who can lie his way past the Transportation Security Administration.

Obama's public diplomacy is premised on the notion of reaching out to the Muslim masses and encouraging moderate streams of Islam, a strategy that is incongruous with a diplomacy that also reaches out to Muslim states that not only breed and support extremism but also arm it to kill Americans.


Lee Smith

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


Bibi Tells Obama “Officially”: No Jerusalem Housing Freeze


by Jennifer Rubin

According to the AP, Bibi has told Obama — "officially" — to forget his Jerusalem housing freeze:

Aides to Israel's prime minister said Thursday that he has officially rejected President Barack Obama's demand to suspend all construction in contested east Jerusalem, a move that threatens to entrench a year-old deadlock in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.

The aides said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered his government's position to Obama over the weekend, ahead of the scheduled arrival later Thursday of the U.S. president's special Mideast envoy, George Mitchell.

This report suggests that Bibi may have offered some other "confidence building gestures." ("The release of some Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails; the easing of the flow of goods into the Gaza strip, and the removal of more roadblocks in the West Bank.") And of course the Palestinians are threatening to walk from the proximity talks, having been served up a ready-made excuse by the Obami.

The players all continue the useless charade. The Palestinians claim outrage. Israel will be pressured to cough up more concessions. And for what? To lure the Palestinians back to "proximity" talks — where precisely nothing productive will be accomplished. This is what passes for smart diplomacy. It is hard even for the most die-hard peace processors to pretend this is doing anything but aggravating all sides and straining U.S.-Israeli relations to the breaking point.

What is most notable in the reports is this nugget:

U.S. officials said Mr. Netanyahu's government has been communicating much of its position through the White House's senior Middle East adviser Dennis Ross, at times bypassing the Obama administration's special Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell.

That decision has been interpreted by some in the administration as an attempt to sideline Mr. Mitchell in favor of Mr. Ross, who has advocated U.S. cooperation with Mr. Netanyahu, rather than confrontation. Mr. Ross has publicly taken positions in line with Mr. Netanyahu's government, particularly the centrality of stopping Iran's nuclear program as a means to underpin Mideast peace efforts.

That tells you all you need to know about Israel's confidence in Mitchell and the prospects for the proximity talks.


Jennifer Rubin

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


Arab refugees: The Real Story


by  Abba Eban

Editor's Note: Tuesday, April 20 is Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day. To mark the occasion, we've excerpted portions of an address by then-Israeli Ambassador Abba Eban to the UN General Assembly's Special Political Committee on November 17, 1958.

The speech makes for remarkable reading, as it was written and delivered just ten years after Israel's founding. The events described were still fresh in people's minds; the historical distortions popularized by the ensuing decades' relentless drumbeat of anti-Israel propaganda had yet to gain traction.

The Arab refugee problem was caused by a war of aggression, launched by the Arab states against Israel in 1947 and 1948. Let there be no mistake. If there had been no war against Israel, with its consequent harvest of bloodshed, misery, panic and flight, there would be no problem of Arab refugees today.

Once you determine the responsibility for that war, you have determined the responsibility for the refugee problem. Nothing in the history of our generation is clearer or less controversial than the initiative of Arab governments for the conflict out of which the refugee tragedy emerged.

The origins of that conflict are clearly defined by the confessions of Arab governments themselves: "This will be a war of extermination," declared the secretary-general of the Arab League speaking for the governments of six Arab states, "it will be a momentous massacre to be spoken of like the Mongolian massacre and the Crusades."

The assault began on the last day of November 1947. From then until the expiration of the British Mandate in May 1948 the Arab states, in concert with Palestine Arab leaders, plunged the land into turmoil and chaos. On the day of Israel's Declaration of Independence, the armed forces of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, supported by contingents from Saudi Arabia and the Yemen, crossed their frontiers and marched against Israel.

The perils which then confronted our community; the danger which darkened every life and home; and the successful repulse of the assault and the emergence of Israel into the life of the world community are all chapters of past history, gone but not forgotten. But the traces of that conflict still remain deeply inscribed upon our region's life. Caught up in the havoc and tension of war; demoralized by the flight of their leaders; urged on by irresponsible promises that they would return to inherit the spoils of Israel's destruction, hundreds of thousands of Arabs sought the shelter of Arab lands.

A survey by an international body in 1957 described these violent events in the following terms: "As early as the first months of 1948 the Arab League issued orders exhorting the people to seek a temporary refuge in neighboring countries, later to return to their abodes in the wake of the victorious Arab armies and obtain their share of abandoned Jewish property" (Research Group for European Migration Problems Bulletin, Vol. V, No. 1, 1957).

Contemporary statements by Arab leaders fully confirm this version. On 16 August 1948 Msgr. George Hakini, the Greek Catholic Archbishop of Galilee, recalled: "The refugees had been confident that their absence from Palestine would not last long; that they would return within a few days [or] within a week or two; their leaders had promised them that the Arab armies would crush the 'Zionist gangs' very quickly and that there would be no need for panic or fear of a long exile."

A month later, on 15 September 1948, Emile Ghoury, who had been the secretary of the Arab Higher Committee at the time of the Arab invasion of Israel, declared: "I do not want to impugn anyone but only to help the refugees. The fact that there are these refugees is the direct consequence of the action of the Arab states in opposing partition and the Jewish state. The Arab states agreed upon this policy unanimously and they must share in the solution of the problem."

No less compelling than these avowals by Arab leaders are the judgments of United Nations organs. In April 1948, when the flight of the refugees was in full swing, the United Nations Palestine Commission inscribed its verdict on the tablets of history:

"Arab opposition to the plan of the Assembly of 29 November 1947 has taken the form of organized efforts by strong Arab elements, both inside and outside Palestine, to prevent its implementation and to thwart its objectives by threats and acts of violence, including repeated armed incursions into Palestine territory. The Commission has had to report to the Security Council that powerful Arab interests, both inside and outside Palestine, are defying the resolution of' the General Assembly and are engaged in a deliberate effort to alter by force the settlement envisaged therein."


* * * * *

Even after a full decade it is difficult to sit here with equanimity and listen to Arab representatives disengaging themselves from any responsibility for the travail and anguish which they caused. The claim of the world community on the cooperation of Arab governments is all the more compelling when we reflect that these states, in their vast lands, command all the resources and conditions which would enable them to liberate the refugees from their plight, in full dignity and freedom.

The refugee problem was not created by the General Assembly's recommendation for the establishment of Israel. It was created by the attempts of Arab governments to destroy that recommendation by force. The crisis arose not, as Arab spokesmen have said, because the United Nations adopted a resolution eleven years ago; it arose because Arab governments attacked that resolution by force. If the United Nations proposal had been peacefully accepted, there would be no refugee problem today hanging as a cloud upon the tense horizons of the Middle East.

Apart from the question of its origin, the perpetuation of this refugee problem is an unnatural event, running against the whole course of experience and precedent. Since the end of the Second World War, problems affecting forty million refugees have confronted governments in various parts of the world. In no case, except that of the Arab refugees - amounting to less than two percent of the whole - has the international community shown constant responsibility and provided lavish aid.

In every other case a solution has been found by the integration of refugees into their host countries. Nine million Koreans; 900,000 refugees from the conflict in Vietnam; 8.5 million Hindus and Sikhs leaving Pakistan for India; 6.5 million Muslims fleeing India to Pakistan; 700,000 Chinese refugees in Hong Kong; 13 million Germans from the Sudetenland, Poland and other East European States reaching West and East Germany; thousands of Turkish refugees from Bulgaria; 440,000 Finns separated from their homeland by a change of frontier; 450,000 refugees from Arab lands arrived destitute in Israel; and an equal number converging on Israel from the remnants of the Jewish holocaust in Europe - these form the tragic procession of the world's refugee population in the past two decades.

In every case but that of the Arab refugees now in Arab lands, the countries in which the refugees sought shelter have facilitated their integration. In this case alone has integration been obstructed.

The paradox is the more astonishing when we reflect that the kinship of language, religion, social background and national sentiment existing between the Arab refugees and their Arab host countries has been at least as intimate as those existing between any other host countries and any other refugee groups. It is impossible to escape the conclusion that the integration of Arab refugees into the life of the Arab world is an objectively feasible process which has been resisted for political reasons.

Recent years have witnessed a great expansion of economic potentialities in the Middle East. The revenues of the oil-bearing countries have opened up great opportunities of work and development, into which the refugees, by virtue of their linguistic and national background, could fit without any sense of dislocation. There cannot be any doubt that if free movement had been granted to the refugees there would have been a spontaneous absorption of thousands of them into these expanded Arab economies.

The failure or refusal of Arab governments to achieve a permanent economic integration of refugees in their huge lands appears all the more remarkable when we contrast it with the achievements of other countries when confronted by the challenge and opportunity of absorbing their kinsmen into their midst.

Israel with her small territory, her meager water resources and her hard-pressed finances, has found homes, work and citizenship in the past ten years for nearly a million newcomers arriving in destitution no less acute than those of Arab refugees.

Refugees [to Israel] from Arab lands left their homes, property and jobs behind. Their standards of physique and nutrition were in many cases pathetically low. They have had to undergo processes of adaptation to a social, linguistic and national ethos far removed from any that they had known before. Thus, integration in this case has been far more arduous than it would be for Arab refugees in Arab lands, where no such differences exist between the society and culture of the host country and those with which the refugees are already familiar.

This is concisely described in the report published by the Carnegie Endowment:

"There is another aspect of the Middle East refugee problem that is also frequently ignored. It is necessary to remember that concurrently with the perpetuation of the Arab refugee problem, more than 400,000 Jews have been forced to leave their homes in Iraq, Yemen, and North Africa. They have not been counted as refugees because they were readily and immediately received as new immigrants into Israel. Nevertheless, they were forced to leave their traditional homes against their will and to abandon, in the process, all that they possessed. The latest addition to their number are the 20,000 Jews for whom life has become impossible in Egypt. Fifteen thousand of them have sought asylum in Israel while the remainder are in Europe seeking other solutions to their problem."


* * * * *

Indeed, compared with other problems, the Arab refugee problem is one of the easiest to solve.

The Research Group for European Migration points out in its report that "The Palestine refugees have the closest possible affinities of national sentiment, language, religion and social organization with the Arab host countries and the standard of living of the majority of the refugee population is little different from those of the inhabitants of the countries that have given them refuge or will do so in the future."

Any discussion of this problem revolves around the two themes of resettlement and what is called "repatriation." There is a growing skepticism about the feasibility of repatriation.

These hundreds of thousands of Arab refugees are now in Arab lands on the soil of their kinsmen. They have been nourished for ten years on one single theme - hatred of Israel; refusal to recognize Israel's sovereignty; resentment against Israel's existence; the dream of securing Israel's extinction.

Repatriation would mean that hundreds of thousands of people would be introduced into a state whose existence they oppose, whose flag they despise and whose destruction they are resolved to seek. The refugees are all Arabs and the countries in which they find themselves are Arab countries. Yet the advocates of repatriation contend that these Arab refugees should be settled in a non-Arab country, in the only social and cultural environment alien to their background and tradition.

The Arab refugees are to be uprooted from the soil of nations to which they are akin and loyal and placed in a state to which they are alien and hostile. Israel, whose sovereignty and safety are already assailed by the states surrounding her, is invited to add to her perils by the influx from hostile territories of masses of people steeped in the hatred of her existence. All this is to happen in a region where the Arab nations possess unlimited opportunities for resettling their kinsmen, and in which Israel has already contributed to a solution of the refugee problems of Asia and Africa by receiving 450,000 refugees from Arab lands among its immigrants.

There are three other considerations which must be placed on the scale against repatriation.

First, the word itself is not accurately used in this context. Transplanting an Arab refugee from an Arab land to a non-Arab land is not really "repatriation." "Patria" is not a mere geographical concept. Resettlement of a refugee in Israel would be not repatriation, but alienation from Arab society; a true repatriation of an Arab refugee would be a process which brought him into union with people who share his conditions of language and heritage, his impulses of national loyalty and cultural identity.

Secondly, the validity of the "repatriation" concept is further undermined when we examine the structure of the refugee population. More than 50 percent of the Arab refugees are under 15 years of age. This means that at the time of Israel's establishment many of those, if born at all at that time, were under 5 years of age. We thus reach the striking fact that a majority of the refugee population can have no conscious memory of Israel at all.

Thirdly, those who speak of repatriation to Israel might not always be aware of the measure of existing integration of refugees into countries of their present residence. In the Kingdom of Jordan, refugees have full citizenship and participate fully in the government of the country. They are entitled to vote and be elected to the Jordanian parliament. Indeed, many of them hold high rank in the government of the kingdom.

Thousands of refugees are enrolled in the Jordanian army and its National Guard. It is, to say the least, eccentric to suggest that people who are citizens of another land and are actually or potentially enrolled in the armed forces of a country at war with Israel are simultaneously endowed with an optional right of Israel citizenship.

Every condition which has ever contributed to a solution of refugee problems by integration is present in this case. With its expanse of territory, its great rivers, its resources of mineral wealth, and its accessibility to international aid, the Arab world is easily capable of absorbing an additional population, not only without danger to itself, but with actual reinforcement of its security and welfare.

Abba Eban was a career Israeli diplomat and politician, serving in a variety of positions including ambassador to the U.S. and the UN; member of Knesset; foreign minister; and deputy prime minister. He passed away at age 87 on November 17, 2002 - 44 years to the day after delivering this address.


Defeating Radical Islam - The Herculean Strategy


by Raymond Ibrahim


Will the recent killings of al-Qaeda leaders Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayub al-Masri have any tangible effects on the "war on terror"? Vice President Joe Biden — who referred to the slayings as "devastating blows to Al Qaeda in Iraq" — certainly seems to think so.

The situation is reminiscent of when al-Qaeda leader Abu Laith al-Libi was killed in early 2008. Then, Congressman Peter Hoekstra issued a statement saying al-Libi's death "clearly will have an impact on the radical jihadist movement."

And who could forget all the hubbub surrounding the killing of that notorious decapitator, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Then, almost every major politician, including President Bush and Iraq's Prime Minister Maliki exulted.

It is, of course, a good thing to eliminate terrorists. But will the deaths of individual Islamist leaders — including Ayman al-Zawahiri or Osama bin Laden himself — eliminate the ideology that creates them in the first place?

History provides an answer:

Consider the progress of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world's largest and oldest Islamist organization. Founded in 1928 in Egypt by Tariq Ramadan's grandfather, Hasan al-Banna, it originally boasted only six members. In the following decades, in part thanks to the radical writings of Sayyid Qutb — whom al-Qaeda quotes liberally in their many writings — the Brotherhood, though constantly clashing with Egypt's government, grew steadily.

As leaders, both Banna and Qutb were eventually targeted and killed by the Egyptian regime. Yet the Brotherhood continued thriving underground. Then, to the world's surprise, the partially-banned, constantly-suppressed Brotherhood managed to win 88 out of 454 seats in Egypt's 2005 parliamentary elections — making them the largest opposition bloc in the government.

After two of its most prominent leaders were killed, after thousands of its members have been harassed, jailed, or otherwise eliminated, today the Brotherhood is stronger and more influential and secure than at any other time in its history.

Palestinian Hamas, itself an offshoot of the Brotherhood, furnishes another example. Founded in 1987 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Hamas has since been labeled a terrorist organization by several governments, including the United States, most notably for its suicide operations against Israel. Yassin was eventually assassinated in March 2004.

The result? Far from fizzling away, Hamas, like the Brotherhood, went on to win a major landslide election in the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, establishing it even more than previously.

Then, of course, there is the Ayatollah Khomeini — the original poster-boy for radical Islam. Overthrowing Iran's secular government in 1979, Khomeini transformed Iran into a theocratic state — precisely what all Islamists yearn to see for the rest of the world. From precipitating the American hostage crisis to issuing a fatwa condemning a novelist to death to taunting the U.S. —which he dubbed "the Great Satan" — for one decade, Khomeini was the West's bane.

Today, over 20 years after his death, not much has changed in Iran: Sharia law still governs; Sharia-endorsed enmity towards the West still thrives. In fact, the only real difference is that Iran's nuclear aspirations are nearly fulfilled.

There are numerous other historical examples, both past and present, where popular Islamist leaders were either killed (or died naturally), only for their Islamist movements to grow and consolidate more power.

Ayman al-Zawahiri summarizes this phenomenon well. Asked once in an interview about the status of bin Laden and the Taliban's Mullah Omar, he confidently replied:

Jihad in the path of Allah is greater than any individual or organization. It is a struggle between Truth and Falsehood, until Allah Almighty inherits the earth and those who live in it. Mullah Muhammad Omar and Sheikh Osama bin Laden — may Allah protect them from all evil — are merely two soldiers of Islam in the journey of jihad, while the struggle between Truth [Islam] and Falsehood [non-Islam] transcends time (The Al Qaeda Reader, p.182).

In short, Islamists — whether Khomeini, Banna, Qutb, Yassin, bin Laden, Zawahiri, al-Baghdadi, or al-Masri — are not the cause of hostilities; they are symptoms of a much greater cause — the "struggle between Truth and Falsehood [that] transcends time." Individually killing them off — which is nice — only temporarily treats the symptom; it does not permanently eliminate the cause that motivates them.

Thus the West would do well to take a lesson from Hercules' legendary encounter with the multi-headed Hydra-monster. Every time the mythical strongman lopped off one of its serpentine heads, two new ones grew in its stead. To slay the beast once and for all, Hercules had to cauterize the stumps with fire, thereby preventing any more heads from sprouting out.

Similarly, while the West continues to lop off Islamist "monster-heads" — most recently, al-Baghdadi and al-Masri — to achieve true and lasting victory, the fascist ideologies that generate these monster-heads must first be cauterized.

In the meantime, believing that the deaths of individual terrorist leaders (whom are seen as martyrs living in eternal bliss) will somehow hamper the progress of radical Islam is no less erroneous than thinking the deaths of American leaders will hamper the American way of life.


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.