Saturday, September 18, 2010

The “peace process” diverting our leadership’s attention away from Iran and its nuclear weapons program.

by Caroline Glick

The current flurry of diplomatic activity is deeply disturbing. It isn’t simply that the Obama administration has strong-armed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu into participating in diplomatic theater with the PLO whose successful completion will leave Israel weaker and less defensible. It isn’t merely that the newest “peace process” diverts our leadership’s attention away from Iran and its nuclear weapons program.

The most disturbing aspect of the latest round of the diplomatic kabuki is that Israel’s leaders and Israel’s staunch friends in the US are enthusiastically participating in this dangerous project.

True, Netanyahu is in an unenviable position, situated as he is between US President Barack Obama’s rock and hard place. Instead of standing up to this hostile American leader, Netanyahu is desperately seeking a magical concession to get Obama off his back.

Netanyahu’s preference for appeasement is both ironic and destructive. It is ironic because he has turned to appeasement at the very moment that the notion it is possible to appease Obama has self-destructed.

Ten months ago Netanyahu found what he hoped was a magic concession. Capitulating to Obama, the Jewish state’s leader prohibited all Jewish building in Judea and Samaria for a period of 10 months. This unprecedented move to discriminate against Jews was supposed to get Obama off Netanyahu’s back. It didn’t.

Obama’s public demand this week that Netanyahu extend the abrogation of Jewish property rights shows he will not be appeased.

There is no magic concession. Every concession to Obama – like every Israeli concession to the Arabs – is considered both permanent and a starting point for further concessions.

And so Netanyahu concedes more. Not only has he effectively agreed to extend the discriminatory ban on Jewish rights. Netanyahu has moved on to even more outrageous concessions.

According to the Lebanese media, Netanyahu has agreed to surrender large swathes of the Golan Heights to Iran’s Arab puppet, Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. According to the reports, Netanyahu empowered Obama’s emissary George Mitchell to present his offer to Assad in Damascus and even furnished Mitchell with detailed maps of his proposed surrender.

If Netanyahu thinks that this move will diminish US pressure for a full withdrawal from Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, he is in for an unpleasant surprise. Mitchell made this clear at his press conference Wednesday. Mitchell said the “two tracks can be complementary and mutually beneficial if we can proceed to a comprehensive peace on more than one track.”

In plain English that means that the administration feels perfectly comfortable pressuring Israel to surrender to the Syrians and to the Palestinians at the same time.

Leaving aside the strategic insanity of surrender talks with Syria, it cannot be said too strongly that the talks with the Palestinians have absolutely no upside for Israel.

Many observers have pointed out that PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas is unlikely to make a deal. And this is probably true. With Hamas in charge in Gaza and widely supported in Judea and Samaria, Abbas will probably not risk signing a peace deal with Israel that will likely serve as his death warrant. But the same observers who bemoan the poor chances for a treaty ignore the fact that the alternative – that Abbas signs a peace deal with Israel – would be a disaster for Israel. Any deal Israel signs with the PLO will make the country weaker. We know this because we have already signed deals with the PLO. And all of those deals made Israel weaker.

All the agreements between Israel and the PLO have been predicated on Israeli territorial surrenders and Palestinian promises of moderation.

Israel has implemented its commitments and surrendered land to the PLO. The PLO has never abided by its commitment to moderate its behavior. To the contrary, the PLO’s response to every agreement has been to escalate its political and terror war against Israel.

The Palestinian terror war that began in September 2000 was the direct result of the Oslo “peace” agreement of September 1993 that created the framework for Israeli land surrenders to the PLO, and the framework agreement’s followon agreements. The terror attacks that have killed and wounded thousands of Israelis would never have happened – indeed they would have been inconceivable – had Israel not withdrawn from Gaza, Judea and Samaria in accordance with peace deals it signed with the PLO. The track record of the past 17 years demonstrates that withdrawals are dangerous. But still the “peace deal” now on offer is predicated on withdrawals.

Obama and his advisers claim that these talks will improve Israel’s relations with the wider Arab world. But again the last 17 years expose this claim as fatuous and wrong. Israeli land surrenders in exchange for pieces of paper have not convinced the Arab League member states to accept Israel as a permanent state in the Middle East. They have convinced Israel’s Arab neighbors that Israel is weak and getting weaker. This in turn has signaled to the wider Arab world that its best bet is to join forces with the likes of Hamas and fund and otherwise actively support the war against the Jewish state.

ENGAGING IN the phony “peace process” isn’t only bad because there is little prospect for reaching a deal or because any potential deal would be a disaster for Israel. There are three additional reasons the government’s decision to engage in this diplomatic psychodrama is terrible for Israel.

First, there is great harm in talking. Talking to Abbas and his deputies legitimizes a Palestinian leadership that is wholly committed to Israel’s destruction. As Abbas and his mouthpieces make clear on a daily basis, they do not accept Israel’s right to exist. They do not condemn or oppose the murder of Israelis by Palestinians. They will not accept a deal with Israel that leaves Israel in control of sufficient land to defend itself from Palestinian or other Arab attacks in the future.

And they will never end or abate their diplomatic war against Israel. The very act of legitimizing the likes of Abbas expands their ability to wage diplomatic war on Israel.

Second, just as Netanyahu’s magic concessions to the Americans are but a starting point for further magic concessions, so Israel’s willingness to engage in talks with its Palestinian adversaries forces our leaders to concede still more important things to maintain them. For instance, today, in the face of a clear Hamas terror offensive that has already claimed the lives of four Israelis and sent tens of thousands running for cover in bomb shelters, Israel is compelled to sit on its hands. An effective campaign against Palestinian jihadists would weaken the PLO because most Palestinians support the jihad against Israel. In the interest of “peace,” Hamas is allowed to attack at will.

So simply by agreeing to talk with the Palestinians, the government has made it all but impossible to carry out its primary function – defending the country and its citizens from aggression.

The third reason that the talks are inherently against Israel’s interests is because they undermine Israeli democracy. Consistent, multiyear polling shows that the public overwhelmingly rejects more withdrawals. The public rejects any compromise in Jerusalem. The public rejects maintaining prohibitions on Jewish building. The public rejects expelling Jews from their homes. And the public rejects withdrawing from the Golan Heights.

Recognizing this, the Obama administration has insisted that the content of the current talks remain hidden from the public. As far as Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mitchell are concerned, they are better judges of the prospects and wisdom of these talks than the Israeli public that will have to live with their consequences. By agreeing to these demands, Netanyahu is collaborating with a project that is inherently anti-democratic and harmful to Israel’s political order.

There is another aspect of the current diplomatic season that is upsetting. This aspect involves the negotiations’ deleterious role in shaping Israel’s position and options in the US.

When Netanyahu announced he was caving in to White House pressure and barring Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria last November, his defenders argued it was necessary given Obama’s relative political strength at the time.

But a lot has changed in the past 10 months.

Today Obama is deeply unpopular. The Democrats are likely to lose their control of the House of Representatives, and at a minimum, their hold on the Senate will be diminished.

Today Israel has nothing to gain and much to lose by bowing and scraping before Obama.

True, Obama’s positions on issues relating to Israel are not likely to substantively change after November 2. But Obama’s ability to implement his policies will be seriously constrained. Indeed, the anticipated Republican resurgence has already incapacitated him.

By playing along with Obama’s sham peace talks, Netanyahu has made it difficult for Israel’s supporters in the US to explain why these talks are dangerous and offer a counter-policy that is based on experience and reality. Even worse, Netanyahu has encouraged Israel’s friends to support what Obama is doing.

THIS MUCH was made clear by an article penned last week by syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer titled, “Your move, Mr. Abbas.”

Krauthammer is widely perceived by the American public as a firm supporter of Israel. His many readers – who by and large are not close observers of Middle East events – defer to his judgment. Unfortunately, his latest column shows that trust is unfounded. Krauthammer wrote, “No serious player believes [Israel] can hang on forever to the West Bank.”

Not only do many serious players believe Israel can – and indeed should – hang on forever to Judea and Samaria, most close observers of events in the Middle East recognize that the central lesson of the past 17 years is that Israel must hang on to Judea and Samaria. The partial territorial surrenders Israel conducted in the 1990s led to the murder of more than a thousand Israel. Ceding these areas entirely would imperil the country. Even Clinton acknowledged this week that the current situation can continue for 30 years. And as all close observers and serious players in the Middle East know, 30 years is tantamount to forever.

Given Krauthammer’s tremendous influence in shaping public opinion and policy in the US, his arrogant and false portrayal of reality is debilitating.

This is particularly true in the current electoral season where Americans are seriously questioning the received wisdom of their policy elite for the first time in a generation. Now not only will Israel’s supporters need to battle the administration for the US to adopt a rational policy towards the Palestinians and Israel. They will need to battle their supposed allies on the Right.

But while devastating, Krauthammer’s position is a side issue at the end of the day. Krauthammer is not the man charged with defending Israel. He’s a newspaper columnist and television commentator.

The man charged with leading and defending Israel is Netanyahu. Netanyahu is the man who stood for election. Netanyahu is the man who is responsible for leading and defending this country.

And Netanyahu is the man who is now leading us on a path to degradation and defeat.

Caroline Glick

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

How Misreading Hamas’s Motive Undermines Prospects for Peace

by Evelyn Gordon

Israel has suffered almost daily rocket and mortar fire from Hamas-run Gaza this week after 19 months of quiet. Yesterday, for the first time, Gazans launched phosphorus shells at the Negev. And Hamas has twice attacked Israelis in the West Bank this month, again following a long hiatus.

The response from American, European, and Israeli officials has been predictable: Hamas is escalating the terror to foil Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. But this conventional wisdom is false. And this falsehood has been undermining prospects for peace for the last 17 years.

Hamas does oppose a peace deal. But because almost nobody in either Israel or the Palestinian Authority thinks the current talks will produce one, the idea that Hamas leaders are driven by fear of the talks’ success is risible. Hamas knows quite well that the talks will fail even without its help.

Moreover, Hamas has often escalated attacks even when no negotiations were in sight. Between Israel’s August 2005 pullout from Gaza and the Annapolis summit in November 2007, for instance, Hamas fired thousands of rockets and mortars at Israel, a volume that dwarfs the current level. Yet during most of that time, not only were there no peace talks, there wasn’t even any effort to launch them.

So what really motivates Hamas? It’s no secret; Hamas officials proclaim it repeatedly: their goal is Israel’s eradication, and their method is armed struggle. Therefore, they will attack whenever and wherever it’s feasible.

Viewed through this prism, the pattern of Hamas’s terror activity is easily explained: terror escalates whenever Hamas officials think they can get away with it and de-escalates when the danger of a devastating Israeli response becomes too great.

Thus, for instance, terror soared following the 1993 Oslo Accord because Hamas realized it was safe. The Rabin-Peres government, having promised that Oslo would bring peace, couldn’t politically admit it had brought war instead, so it had to downplay the attacks rather than responding. But when Benjamin Netanyahu was elected prime minister in 1996 on a platform of fighting terror, Hamas feared he might be less restrained and de-escalated. Thus the number of Israelis killed by Palestinian terror plummeted 70 percent from 1993-96 to 1996-99.

Similarly, after the 2005 disengagement, Hamas knew the Kadima-led government couldn’t politically admit its flagship initiative had brought war rather than peace. Thus Hamas could safely triple the volume of rocket fire, knowing Israel’s government would downplay it rather than responding.

Today, thanks to the peace talks, escalation is once again safe — because Hamas knows that if Israel responds forcefully, the PA will quit the talks, and the world will blame Israel. Thus, Israel is compelled to avoid responding.

In short, it’s not the peace talks that cause terror to escalate but the world’s insistence that Israel refrain from responding so as not to “disrupt” them. And by taking this attitude, the world has effectively made “peace” synonymous with stepped-up terror.

So if Time magazine really wants to know “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace,” it’s quite simple: as long as “peace” means absorbing ever-increasing casualties without responding, most Israelis would rather do without it.

Evelyn Gordon

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

A BBC Journalist's Fabulist Portrayal of an Israeli City

by Michael Weiss

BBC Arabic’s Jerusalem correspondent Ahmad Budeiri claims that were it not for “hostile environment training,” he might have been beaten and kidnapped by “an angry mob” of Israelis in Ashdod in response to his reporting on the Free Gaza flotilla raid.

In an online dispatch for the BBC World Service, Budeiri describes a scene in the Israeli port city as something out of Somalia or Waziristan. Only by his own quick-witted recourse to the BBC’s safety-first self-preservation seminar, Budeiri insists, did he and his crew narrowly escape being assaulted or taken hostage by a violent gang of Ashdod residents. He writes:

I remembered what I was trained for in a kidnap situation and used the exact process during the mob incident. The cameraman and I had a password that, if used, he will start packing and I would be on the phone for more than ten minutes. By doing this the mob lost interest in me and gave us a gap to leave the location without being spotted. Other Arab crews were beaten when they all left as one big group and were slow departing because of their equipment.

Budeiri says that the Ashdod police merely looked on with indifference and “never reacted to nor stepped in to prevent the threats” – an odd disclosure in that these “threats” were evidently backed up by real actions and yet our correspondent doesn’t explain what the police response to those might have been. Also, assuming others saw and reported on the Ashdod “chaos,” why is this first-person testimony the BBC’s first and only statement on the matter?

Even as a primer on institutional methods of journalistic precaution in the field, Budeiri’s piece does little to avoid a descent into macabre self-parody:

The course also taught me to avoid any confrontation, but at the same time not to be seen as a weak person. While I was on air, the mob tried to distract me and some then even blocked the camera. I tried to get them to speak on air and show I was not weak, but also fight back in a positive way to gain respect for a moment - other reporters did not do that which resulted in more fury.

It seems almost cruel to inquire of Budeiri how a furious mob of would-be kidnappers were first approached for on-air testimony, or to what secret location in Israel’s fifth largest city they might have repaired with a foreign stringer from a multinational news organization. Other daunting obstacles standing in the way of Budeieri’s broadcasts that week included “having to charge my mobile phone four times a day” and tolerating the beastly heat and unreliable bus schedule of Beersheva.

Pseudo-heroics at a nonevent account for only part of the reason why the BBC decided to publish such an article. But there would be appear to be a quieter motive lurking beneath Budeiri’s purposefully vague prose.

A few weeks ago, the BBC earned the enmity of flotilla defenders with its comprehensive and hard-hitting Panorama program, “Death in the Med.” Protestors lined up outside BBC headquarters in London and Manchester to denounce a clear Zionist put-up job that dared to report on what happened on May 31 rather than run through the script of Hamas apologetics. Ken O’Keefe, a former U.S. Marine who renounced his American citizenship in 2004 and now calls himself a “Citizen of the World,” sailed with the Mavi Marmara and was interviewed by Panorama. He’s been especially indignant at the BBC’s journalistic gall of checking the facts against his portrayal of them.

So inundated has the BBC been by complaints of this nature that it is now producing its own internal investigation into the accuracy and fairness of the Panorama broadcast. Britain’s trusted news source is thus examining the examination of an incident that itself is being or has been examined by the United Nations, the IDF, and an independent Israeli commission.

But the Budeiri piece easily qualifies as an early installment of narrative correction: The IHH activists have metamorphosed into thuggish Israelis, a port city normally given to the calm of democratic law and order has been refashioned into the upper deck of a Turkish blockade-runner.

Facile moral equivalence – that’s perhaps the best way to describe the BBC’s reporting in this instance.

Michael Weiss is the executive director of Just Journalism, a London-based think tank that monitors the British media's coverage of Israel and the Middle East.

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

At the U.N. Obama Promotes Human Wrongs Against Israel Instead of Human Rights

by Anne Bayefsky

Wednesday in Geneva during the current session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, the Obama administration became a willing participant in the U.N.’s imposition of an apartheid-style ban on representatives of the state of Israel. Despite the promises made by the administration that by joining the Council the United States would not become part of the problem, U.S. Ambassador to the Council Eileen Donahoe chose to attend and fully participate in a meeting that deliberately excluded anyone representing the Jewish state.

Israel is the only U.N. state not permitted to be a full member of any of the U.N.’s five regional groups. Throughout the Human Rights Council sessions, these groups hold key planning meetings in which countries negotiate and share important information behind closed doors. Even the Palestinian Authority, though not a state, is permitted into the Asian regional group. Israelis are allowed into the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in some parts of the U.N. But WEOG members have chosen to exclude them totally in all of their meetings associated with the Human Rights Council. Rather than refusing to participate until such outrageous discrimination comes to an end, Obama administration representatives walked through the door slammed in the face of Israelis and made themselves comfortable.

While Israelis are left standing in the hall during the Council’s regional group meetings, this week for the first time Libya took its seat as a full-fledged Council member. Other full voting members of the U.N.’s lead human rights body include such model citizens as Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba, Russia and Kyrgyzstan.

Joining the Human Rights Council was one of President Obama’s first foreign policy decisions. He knew then – what is still true today – that the Council has adopted more resolutions and decisions condemning the state of Israel than all other 191 U.N. members combined. He knew that the permanent formal agenda of the Council includes one item to condemn Israel and one for the rest of the world.

But rather than refusing to lend legitimacy to a body with a deeply entrenched bias, the president chose to join and direct U.S. taxpayer dollars its way, claiming that he would be the Council’s great reformer.

On Monday, writing in The New York Times, Ambassador Donahoe repeated the claim that U.S. engagement filled “a vacuum of leadership” and alleged that “the council is engaged in a serious self-reflection exercise for the purpose of improving its work and functioning with respect to its core mandate of protecting human rights.”

On the very same day as Donahoe’s op-ed appeared, the 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) put the president in his place on any notion of reform. The OIC holds the balance of power at the Council, because the Council majority is composed of members from the African and Asian regional groups, and OIC countries form the majority in both the African and Asian groups.

Speaking Monday on behalf of the OIC, Pakistan declared: “the OIC…has always stressed that this is…not a ‘reform’ exercise. It is our considered view that this intergovernmental process…should not reopen the lnstitution-building package [the June 2007 agreement which governs Council operations and adopted the agenda singling out Israel]…The Council is mandated to [do] nothing more but to fine-tune where required.”

The Obama administration’s push to characterize its involvement with the Council as a success is a serious misstatement of the facts on many levels. For example, Donahoe claimed in The Times that “In June the United States co-led a cross-regional effort with 55 other nations to criticize the deplorable human rights situation in Iran…U.S. engagement at the Human Rights Council is working.”

That would be news to human rights victims in Iran. What actually occurred was that on June 15 the Norwegian Ambassador to the Council read a 171-second statement on Iran. She was interrupted 14 times, and the meeting was suspended in the middle of her statement for two hours. When the meeting resumed, Ambassador Bente Angell-Hansen felt compelled to omit the word “Iran” in several places from her original text and painfully read “We call on the *aforementioned government* to live up to the commitments it has undertaken…” Moreover, the Council has never adopted a single resolution on Iran, and behind closed doors it terminated a tentative examination of human rights in Iran on March 26, 2007.

American engagement with the Council is not simply an exercise in futility. The Council is a place where non-democracies have the run of the place, while Israel is forced to operate at a disadvantage. With its active participation in meetings that deliberately exclude only Israelis, the Obama administration is promoting human wrongs, not protecting human rights.

Anne Bayefsky is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust.

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

A Completely New Paradigm

by Moshe Feiglin

We have already been to this movie - over and over again:
The Right wins the elections.
A few months later - its elected leader makes a severely leftist declaration.
Afterwards, his "close aides" explain that it was simply a tactical diversion.
Estrangement and harassment of the settlers and settlements ensue.
Followed by the renewal of the "peace process."
Jews are murdered by Arab terrorists.
The "peace process" continues. "We can't play into the hands of the extremists."
The talks fail.
Unilateral concessions.

The other part of the movie - the reaction of the Right - also follows a set pattern:

The Yesha Council embarks on a public relations campaign.
Massive demonstrations.
Great slogans, gleaned from the prime minister's past promises and warnings.
Possibly even road-blocking.
"Illegal" settlement.
Attempts to cook up all sorts of political magic solutions - inside and outside the Likud.

We all know that the same old methods will not work.
Not because they are not the right way to work. They are the least we can do stop Israel's collapse. But they don't work because they do not address the source of the problem.

The problem is not the government and not the prime minister. They are just the symptoms. Protesting the symptoms has never gotten us anywhere and it never will.

When we blocked the highways, we deceived ourselves into believing that the train had simply fallen off the tracks. We believed that all we needed to do was to put it back on the tracks and all would be well. The same is true of our political campaigns. We deceived ourselves into believing that the problem was a given prime minister. All that we would need to do would be to replace him or his government and then the next rightist coalition would not dare threaten the settlements.

Time and again we held the most massive demonstrations and the most successful public relations campaigns. But instead of achieving our goals, we became Israel's perpetual, irritating cry-babies. Israel continues to fall apart, irrelevant of its government and ministers and irrelevant of its election results. The collapse relentlessly marches on, like a raging tsunami.

It is not the individuals who are at fault here, but the frame of reference from which they work. The Israeli who bares his neck today to Achmadinijad's nuclear sword does so because his frame of reference tells him that there is no alternative. Israel's elite does not recognize the Jewish Nation or its right to self-definition. It maintains that justice is completely on the side of the Arabs. They are the permanent phenomenon here, while the Jews are simply temporary. That is why there is no chance that Israel will take out Iran's nuclear reactor. And it certainly will not insist on keeping Judea and Samaria.

We can demonstrate, we can try to delay the end and we can try to use political pressure. But with our current national frame of reference, we are playing a zero sum game.

We must completely change our national frame of reference. That is where Manhigut Yehudit is focusing its energies. One of the tools that we will employ to change the existing paradigm is a new newspaper that will describe the Jewish State as it should be. When we say that to save Israel from the dangers threatening us we will put out a new newspaper, it sounds detached from reality. A newspaper can stop a country's collapse?

Yes, it can. If we manage to create a new frame of reference throughout Israeli society, we will be able to make the change Israel so desperately needs. When Israelis understand that they are being offered a real alternative, they will choose it.

We are busily working on our new newspaper, to be called, "Tomorrow." The newspaper, to be broadly distributed, will not attack anyone and will not deal with the present outrages. Instead, it will present the alternative on the basis of working papers, interesting ideas and excellent graphics.

The newspaper's readers will begin to experience the new Jewish paradigm and will have a new frame of reference with which to analyze reality. They will realize that we can protect ourselves from destruction, live as a sovereign Jewish state in the Land of Israel and deal with all the accompanying challenges if we finally establish an authentic Jewish state. They will also learn that a Jewish state is not what they have been frightened into thinking it is, and that in most cases, it is just the opposite.

They will learn that a truly Jewish state will restore the liberty that was stolen from them before they were even born. They will learn that in a truly Jewish state their financial situation will be better, their security will be enhanced and their private and national lives will be filled with meaning.

Moshe Feiglin

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

Friday, September 17, 2010

Demographic bogey

by Moshe Arens

Some of those Israeli advocates of the "two-state solution" who trumpet the demographic danger facing Israel may have had a few sleepless nights after perusing the latest demographic report released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. As has been claimed by Yoram Ettinger for the past few years, it turns out that the demographic demon is not what it's cracked up to be. Now it's official. Demography seems to be working in favor of the Jewish population.

You really didn't have to be a professional demographer or statistician to realize that modern times, higher living standards, better education for women, and more women entering the working population were going to reverse the demographic trend of past years. But preconceived notions of permanent fantastic birth rates among Arab women, supported by effective propaganda, have thrown a scare into many of Israel's Jewish citizens. They were made to believe that they were being threatened by a flood of Arab babies that would soon turn the Jewish population into a minority west of the Jordan River, and that salvation lay only in the "two-state solution."

Of course, the demographic demon is not the only - and not even the most convincing - argument for establishing a Palestinian state west of the Jordan. A lot is to be said for dividing the area west of the Jordan between Jews and Arabs in an attempt to settle once and for all the 100-year conflict between Jews and Arabs. Like King Solomon's decision in biblical times, it seems at first sight the just solution. Give each his share of the land he covets and let peace come to the land. No matter that it would not exactly end up being consistent with the popular slogan "two states for two peoples," but rather, as things stand now, three or maybe four states for two peoples - for the Palestinians a state in Jordan, a state in the West Bank and a state in Gaza, and for the Jews a state with a significant Palestinian minority in Israel.

So why do the advocates of the "two-state solution" also drag in the demographic demon, claiming that this "solution" is essential for the continued existence of Israel as a "Jewish democratic state," or in other words, which are endlessly repeated, that continued Israeli control of Judea and Samaria means that Israel would either cease to be a Jewish state or cease to be a democracy?

The answer is obvious - to scare those Israelis who hesitate to part with the biblical heartland of the Land of Israel into accepting this "painful" compromise. In using this argument, seemingly so concerned with the democratic nature of the State of Israel, they turn a blind eye to the sensibilities of Israel's Arab citizens. What they are saying, in so many words, is the fewer Arabs in Israel the better. That may strike a responsive chord with some of the marginal elements in Israeli society, but it is neither democratic nor civil. That kind of talk cannot be music to Israel's Arab citizens.

Now that the demographic demon seems to have been put to rest, where does demography enter the argument about Israel's future? Most Israelis are determined to assure the state's Jewish character, linguistically and culturally, while respecting the language and culture of its Arab citizens. We insist on continuing with the mission that the Jewish state has set for itself of providing a haven for those Jews throughout the world who may need one. What happened during the Holocaust can never be allowed to happen again. This requires a substantial Jewish majority.

How big a majority? That's a question that needs to be pondered. Is the present 80 percent Jewish majority sufficient? Is it just right? Is it already too high? Would a reduction to a 70 percent Jewish majority be a catastrophe? Is it solely a question of numbers or is it also a function of the degree to which Israel's minority population has been integrated into Israeli society? Difficult and inconvenient as these questions may be, they need to be addressed, with full consideration for the sensibilities of our Arab citizens, if we want to discuss our future intelligently. Now that we have at least partially quantified the problem, let's discuss it.

Moshe Arens

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

The Mosques of War

by Victor Sharpe

Of the three monotheistic religions, Judaism is considered the mother faith and the other two, Christianity and Islam, her daughters.

The first daughter, Christianity, under the influence of the early church fathers, rejected the mother and distanced herself from Judaism, even to the extent of changing the Sabbath from the seventh day, Saturday, to Sunday and renaming it the Lord’s Day. Seventh-Day Adventists retain Saturday as their Sabbath.

The younger daughter, Islam, under Muhammad, turned on both the Jewish and Christian tribes of Arabia, who declined to accept that Muhammad was the Messenger of God and the “Seal of all the Prophets.” Both Jews and Christians rejected the claim of the new faith that it alone ushered in “God’s final revelation.”

After Rome embraced Christianity under Constantine, the Church fathers increasingly used temporal powers to discriminate against the Jews and proscribe and mock the practice of their faith. In time, this repeated denigration of the Jewish faith and its believers sadly led to the horrors of the Crusades, the Catholic inquisition, forced conversions, pogroms, and ultimately, to the Holocaust.

Islam’s followers tolerated those they called the “people of the Book,” the Jews and Christians, whose faith was based upon the Bible. But Islam, too, practiced forced conversions, pogroms, massacres, and the discrimination of Jews and Christians through the practice of dhimmitude, whereby the “infidels” were forced into second-class status and forced to pay a tax, the jizzya, as a penalty for remaining outside the Islamic faith while under Muslim control.

Like Christendom, Islam often forced the Jews to live in ghettos, called mellahs. Islamic authorities were the first to coerce Jews into wearing distinctive and often humiliating clothing, preceding the German Nazis by centuries. The Nazis and their European allies forced the Jews into wearing a yellow Star of David, thus marking them for death.

But history is replete with accounts of both daughter religions fighting each other for centuries over territory. When not slaughtering each other, they both often turned upon the hapless and stateless Jews, who, for the most part, had no allies and were unable to defend themselves.

The mother has ample reason to weep at the ferocious degradation and scorn her daughters have heaped upon her with such violence and ingratitude. But many Christians — not all — have come to the realization that biblical Jewish roots are inextricable from their own and that their faith is fatefully incomplete without an acknowledgment of those roots.

Islam, too, is immensely indebted to Judaism. According to Abraham I. Katsh, author of Judaism and the Koran,

… like the Jew, the Moslem affirms the unity of God, that He is one, eternal, merciful, compassionate, beneficent, almighty, all-knowing, just, loving and forgiving.

Like Judaism, Islam does not recognize saints serving as mediators between the individual and his Creator and both faiths believe that each individual is to follow a righteous path and secure atonement by improving his or her conduct and by practicing sincere repentance. But there is another essential and integral part of Islam not shared with Judaism: Jihad.

As Katsh points out in his book, originally written as far back as 1954,

the duty of Jihad, the waging of Holy War, has been raised to the dignity of a sixth canonical obligation, especially by the descendants of the Kharijites. [...]

To the Moslem, the world is divided into regions under Islamic control, the dar al-Islam, and regions not subjected as yet, the dar al-harb.

Between this ‘area of warfare’ and the Muslim dominated part of the world there can be no peace. Practical considerations may induce the Muslim leaders to conclude an armistice, but the obligation to conquer and, if possible, convert never lapses. Nor can territory once under Muslim rule be lawfully yielded to the unbeliever. Legal theory has gone so far as to define as dar al-Islam any area where at least one Muslim custom is still observed.

Thanks to this concept, the Moslem is required to subdue the infidel, and he who dies in the path of Allah is considered a martyr and assured of Paradise and of unique privileges there.

Here one can understand clearly that peace — true and lasting peace — between Islam and nations that adhere still to Judeo-Christian civilization, or to Hinduism, Buddhism, or all other faiths, is a forlorn and baseless hope.

The “peace process” between Israel and the Palestinians, for example, is thus a grand illusion, endlessly fostered by Western politicians and diplomats, along with self-deluded Israeli leaders, who all refuse to see a reality that has existed since Islam’s creation in the 7th century.

And it is in one abiding respect that this endless spiritual and temporal conflict is seen in its most practical and historical context — the conversion of places of worship into mosques.

The result has been that since the time of Muhammad, synagogues, churches, Hindu temples, Zoroastrian temples, and pagan shrines have been all too often violently converted into mosques.

After the conquest of Mecca in the year 630, Muhammad transformed the Black Stone in the Ka’aba, which ancient pagan Arabs had worshiped, into the paramount Islamic holy place. It became known as the Masjid al-Haram, or Sacred Mosque.

During the Arab invasions of neighboring lands in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond, under the new banner of Islam, numerous synagogues and churches were converted into mosques. In Damascus, Syria, the church of St. John is now known as the Umayyad Mosque. Also in Syria, the mosque of Job was originally a church.

The Islamic tide swept into Egypt, and many Christian Coptic churches were converted into mosques. From North Africa, the conquests continued into Spain and Portugal, where again churches were converted into mosques. Interestingly, many churches had been built upon the sites of earlier Roman temples. But during the re-conquest of the Iberian Peninsula by Christian armies — the Reconquista — the mosques were reconverted into churches.

In Gaza, the Great Mosque of Gaza was originally a Christian church. In Turkey, the Hagia Sophia Church was converted in1453 into a mosque and remained so until 1935, when it became a museum. Indeed, the Ottoman Turks converted into mosques practically all churches and monasteries in the territories they conquered.

The most well-known mosques, built upon previous non-Muslim holy sites, are the Al-Aqsa mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock, also built upon the site of the two biblical Jewish Temples.

There are four holy cities of Judaism: Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed, and Tiberias. Hebron is the second-holiest city, and in it is the burial place of the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs, known as the Cave of Machpela, where Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah are buried.

Herod the Great constructed an enclosure for the burial site. During the later Christian Byzantine period, a church was built upon the site, but this was destroyed in 614 by the Persians. Later, the Arab-Muslim invaders built a mosque in its place.

Jews were not permitted to worship at their nearly-four-thousand-year-old holy place by the Muslim Arabs. They could only ascend to the seventh step leading to the tombs. Indeed, they were refused this right as a place of worship from the 7th century until 1967, when Israel liberated the territory from the Jordanian occupiers. Even before the Israeli liberation, a horrifying massacre of Jewish residents in Hebron by their Arab Moslem neighbors took place in 1929 while under the British Mandate of the geographical territory known as Palestine.

Prior to the present-day Palestinian Authority assuming control of the city of Nablus, which was the ancient biblical Jewish city of Shechem, the Tomb of Joseph, the biblical figure, was a place of Jewish pilgrimage. When it was handed over to the PA, as one of seemingly endless Israeli concessions, the tomb was desecrated by a Moslem mob, which proceeded to convert it into a mosque.

On the Indian subcontinent, Hindu temples were similarly converted into mosques. Lately, Hindu nationalists have reconverted some mosques into temples, and, as in so many other parts of the world, considerable bitterness exists between Moslems and members of other faiths or those of no faith.

Mosques now occupy vast numbers of places of worship for other faiths. In Algeria, the Great Synagogue of Oran is now a mosque after the Jewish population was driven from Algeria. Many other synagogues throughout the Arab world are now mosques after the Jewish inhabitants were expelled.

In the 1974 invasion of Cyprus by Turkey, many Greek Orthodox churches in northern Cyprus were converted into mosques. And the process continues.

Saudi Arabia invests endless billions of dollars to build mosques throughout the world. The international blanketing of cities with mosques is just another expression of jihad. In western Europe, most famously renamed Eurabia by the writer, Bat Yeor, there may soon come a time when there will be more minarets than steeples.

Perhaps the most egregious and blatant example of Islamic triumphalism is the planned construction of a giant mosque in New York, almost upon the site of the horrific destruction of the Twin Towers by Moslem terrorists acting in the name of Allah.

The proposed mosque is to be opened in 2011 on the very anniversary of the September 11, 2001 atrocity — a flagrant insult to the memory of the thousands of innocents who died at the hands of Moslem fanatics and believers, most of them Saudis.

But this, after all, is what jihad is all about. Subdue the “infidel” at all costs. The Islamic obligation to conquer and convert the unbeliever must never lapse. Its tangible manifestation can also be characterized as the mosques of war.

Victor Sharpe is a freelance writer and author of Volumes One and Two of Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish state. This appeared July 13, 2010 in American Thinker.

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

Who are the Palestinians?

by Moshe Dann

‘Palestinianism’ no more than political construct, rather than legitimate national identity


Prime Minister Netanyahu has called upon Palestinian leaders to recognize the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination – “two states for two nations.” But are Palestinian Arabs a nation, or a people? What is “Palestinian national identity” based on? Although taken for granted today, Palestinianism has neither a long, nor distinguished history, which may explain why the peace process between Israel and the Arabs has failed and will continue to fail.

Palestinianism, inherently meant only one thing: the rejection of a Jewish state in any form. A few elite Arab intellectuals did talk about Palestinianism, but it was not widely accepted. As Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi shows in his book on the subject, not until Zionists began settlements did local Arabs seek an alternative.

Focused on opposition to Zionists, rather than a positive self-definition, “Palestinian identity” then, as now, was negative. Palestinian leaders, like the mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husayni, an ardent supporter of the Nazis, and arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat – “fathers” of Palestinianism – rejected Zionism and promoted terrorism.

Anti-colonial and anti-Zionist uprisings against British rule were not directed towards another independent Palestinian state. Nor were Arab riots and pogroms, like those in 1929, 1936, for example, nationalistic. There were no calls for a Palestinian state; the battle cry was, “Kill the Jews.”

Arab leaders like Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi told the Peel Commission in 1937: “There is no such country as ‘Palestine’; ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented!”

During the 1930s, anti-British and anti-Jewish riots were enflamed by the newly created “Arab – not Palestinian – Higher Committee,” the central political organ of the Arab community of Mandate Palestine.

In 1946, Arab historian Philip Hitti testified before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry that “there is no such thing as Palestine in history.” In 1947, Arab leaders protesting the UN partition plan argued that Palestine was part of Syria and “politically, the Arabs of Palestine (were) not (an) independent separate … political entity.”

In 1947, the UN proposed a “Jewish” State and an “Arab” – not Palestinian – State. Efforts to organize a political leadership in 1948, in response to the establishment of Israel, soon collapsed.

The womb of Palestinianism was war, the Nakba (catastrophe) in the Arab narrative, the establishment of the State of Israel. Five well-armed Arab countries invaded the nascent state, joining local Arab gangs and militias in a genocidal war to exterminate the Jews. This was not seen as a war for Palestinian nationalism, however; it was a genocidal war against Jews and Zionism itself.

‘Palestinians’ used to be Jews

Arab gangs that attacked Jews in 1947/8 were called the “Arab – not Palestinian – Army of Liberation.” The reason is that prior to Israel’s establishment, the notion of a “Palestinian people” was irrelevant, since Arab affiliations are primarily familial and tribal – not national. And also because “Palestinian” meant something else back then.

Before 1948, those who were called (and called themselves) “Palestinians” were Jews, not Arabs, although both carried the same British passports. In fact, only after Jews in Palestine called themselves Israelis, in 1948, could Arabs adopt “Palestinian” as theirs exclusively. Indeed, the central organ of the pre-Israel Jewish community was called “The Palestine Post” – later changed to the Jerusalem Post.

The establishment of UNRWA in 1949 to provide for Arab refugees provided the institutional structure to build and preserve the idea of an “Arab Palestinian people” – and their “right of return.” Today, in 58 camps, with an annual budget of nearly a billion dollars, the residents are indoctrinated with hatred and Israel’s eventual destruction. Except in Jordan, which granted most citizenship, the residents of these UNRWA towns are severely restricted and denied basic human and civil rights.

Were it not for UNRWA, there would probably be no “Palestinian refugee” problem today. The problem is UNRWA’s controversial definition of “Arab refugee,” which includes anyone who claimed residence in Palestine since 1946, regardless of their origin; this date is important because it marks the high point of a massive influx of Arabs from the region into Palestine, primarily due to employment opportunities and a higher standard of living.

This category of “refugees” was different from all others in that it included not only those who applied in 1949, but all of their descendents, forever, with full rights and privileges; the total population is expected to reach seven or eight million next year, and keeps growing. This is one of the core issues preventing any resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. UNRWA’s existence, therefore, perpetuates the conflict, prevents Israel’s acceptance, and breeds violence and terrorism.

Palestinianism was defined in 1964, in the PLO Covenant, when Jordan occupied “the West Bank,” a Jordanian reference from 1950 to distinguish the area from the East Bank of the Jordan River, and Egypt held the Gaza Strip. On behalf of the “Palestinian Arab people,” the Covenant declared their goal: a “holy war” (Jihad) to “liberate Palestine,” i.e. destroy Israel. There was no mention of Arabs living in “the West Bank” and Gaza Strip, since that would have threatened Arab rulers. Arab “refugees” were convenient proxies in the war against Israel; Palestinianism became a replacement nationalism for Zionism, a call to arms against Jews.

Solution is regional

This balancing act was no longer necessary after 1967, when Israel acquired areas that had been originally assigned to a Jewish State by the League of Nations and British Mandate – Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip – and the Golan Heights, all rich in Jewish history and archeology. A year later, the PLO Covenant was amended to cover both “occupations” – in 1948 and 1967.

Dedicated to armed struggle, its goal has never changed; unable to defeat Israel militarily, however, the Arab strategy is to demonize and delegitimize, creating yet another Arab Palestinian state, in addition to Jordan. In order to accomplish this, it concocted a narrative, an identity and ethos to compete with Zionism and Jewish history: Palestinianism.

Presented in the PLO Covenant and Hamas Charter (1988), the purpose of Palestinianism is to “liberate Palestine” and destroy Israel; neither reflect any redeeming social or cultural values.

“Palestinianism” lacks the basic requirements of legitimate national identity: a separate, unique linguistic, cultural, ethnic, or religious basis; it is nothing more than a political-military construct, currently led by Fatah and Hamas terrorist organizations. However, it became legitimized by the UN.

Despite mega-terrorist attacks and, backed by the Arab League, Muslim and “non-aligned” countries, the PLO was accepted by the United Nations in 1974. The following year, the UN passed its infamous “Zionism is Racism” resolution, sanctioning Israel’s demonization, and setting the UN on a course of Israel’s destruction.

The myth of Palestinianism worked because the media accepted Arab and PLO claims and their cause. Nearly all media, for example, use the term “Palestinian,” or “Israeli-occupied West Bank,” reinforcing Palestinian claims, rather than the authentic designation which appears on earlier maps, Judea and Samaria, referring to its Jewish history. The term “West Bank” is a political, not geographic statement.

By the early 1990s, some Israeli politicians, Left-dominated media, academia, cultural elite and some jurists accepted “Palestinianism as a way of expressing their opposition to “settlements,” and hoping for some sort of mutual recognition with the PLO. Their efforts culminated in the Oslo Accords (1993), which gave official Israeli sanction to Palestinianism.

Anti-Israel academics around the world promote “Palestinian” archeology, society and culture as a brand name, and a political message. Advertising works; every time someone uses the term “Palestinian,” it acknowledges and reinforces this myth. Palestinianism, however, regardless of its lack of historical, cultural and societal roots, is now well-established as a political identity that demands sovereign rights and a territorial base. The question seems to be not if, but where.

The solution is regional. Arab Palestinians are entitled to civil and human rights in their host countries where they have lived for generations. A second Arab Palestinian state, in addition to Jordan, which was carved out of Palestine in 1922 – whose population is two-thirds “Palestinian” – will not resolve any core issue at the heart of the conflict. The conflict is not territorial, but existential; recognition of a Jewish state is anathema. That explains why Palestinian Arab leaders refuse to accept it in any form.

The problem, for Palestinianism, is not “the occupation” in 1967, but Israel’s existence; seen as an exclusively Arab homeland, Palestine is an integral part of the Arab world, completely under Arab sovereignty. This is axiomatic; there are no exceptions and no compromises.

Promoted in media, mosques and schools, anti-Jewish incitement, denial of the Holocaust and Jewish history, and rejection of the right of Jewish national self-determination, by definition, Palestinianism is the greatest obstacle to peace.

Moshe Dann is a writer and journalist living in Israel.

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

The Media’s Antisemitic Hate Machine

by Daniel Greenfield

The Nazi propaganda rag Der Sturmer may have gone out of publication around the time that the Fuhrer’s ashes were smoldering in his bunker beneath the Wilhelmstrasse, but its motto is present today in almost every liberal newspaper in the Western world.

Der Sturmer’s daily invocation of “Die Juden sind unser Unglück!” or “The Jews are our misfortune!” is omnipresent in the media coverage of almost anything involving the Middle East or Islamic terrorism.

The theme is much the same now as it was then, the Jews are responsible for all our problems. The presentation is of course much more subtle, but then Der Sturmer was considered vulgar even by much of the Nazi hierarchy, which preferred the more staid Völkisch Observer. Today’s papers prefer to be in the Observer mode, the Storming they leave to the “plausible deniability” blogs of an Andrew Sullivan or a Glenn Greenwald, material that they pay for, but like a lot of the Nazi hierarchy and Der Sturmer, don’t necessarily want to be too closely associated with.

The ideas, however, are not particularly original. The Jews are to blame both for the wars and for losing them, a propaganda paradox put to good use by the Nazis. The idea that the Jews were physically responsible for 9/11 is an area that the media leaves to the fringe, but the suggestion that the Jews provoked Bin Laden’s anger against America shows up in countless columns and op-ed’s. One is a radical conspiracy theory, while the other is a mainstream media talking point, but in terms of consciously stoking hate, what exactly is the difference. Only that the latter is vague enough to be defensible, especially when bolstered by a few selectively chosen quotes from the man himself.

Linking Islamic terrorism to some form of Israeli provocation, and from there to the support for Israel by American Jews

By linking Islamic terrorism to some form of Israeli provocation, and from there to the support for Israel by American Jews—the same media which would commit seppuku rather than blame Muslims for Islamic terrorism, instead blames Jews for Islamic terrorism. The steady drumbeat of such rhetoric, which exonerates Muslims but indicts Jews, for the actions of Muslims, is brilliantly perverse. And it also puts the lie to the media’s defense that it avoids attributing terrorism to Islam because it does not want to stoke bigotry. In reality, the media has no problem with using Islamic terrorism to stoke bigotry. It just has a different target in mind.

Behind the media’s long ugly history of misreporting terrorism against Israel, has been that one fundamental narrative, that it is not Muslims who are responsible for Muslim terrorism, but the Jews. When a Muslim terrorist attack happens in Tel Aviv, Madrid or New York—it turns out that the Jews are the ones to blame. It really doesn’t matter whether an Israeli soldier kills a Muslim terrorist, or a Muslim terrorist kills a Jewish father of four driving home from work, it is never the Muslim that is at fault. Always the Jew. Forget about even splitting the difference. There is never any difference to split. It is always Israel’s “humiliation” of Arab Muslims that is at fault for provoking their righteously murderous anger. A familiar theme that recalls Hitler’s constant invocation of “German humiliation” at the hands of the Jews.

But all the talk of the Jews “humiliating” other peoples hinges on the topic of the Jews as a “Chosen Master Race”. A superior people. A role that Nazis and Arab Nationalists both reserved for themselves. The theme is taken up in numerous outlets, Jonathan Cook who appears in The Guardian writes: “Israel’s apartheid system is there to maintain Jewish privilege in a Jewish state”. In a Hitlerian formulation, Philip Weiss who appears at the Huffington Post claims that Jeff Greene’s criticism of the Ground Zero Mosque, “how privilege and power have transformed Jewish identity”. Not that Jeff Greene opposes the mosque because he is following the polls as so many other politicians have done, but because he is a Jew. The Guardian charges that Israel is an “an enclave of Israeli Jewish privilege”. That kind of rhetoric should be familiar. It is what Hitler described as “The Antisemitism of reason” which “must lead to the systematic combating and elimination of Jewish privileges”.

The Issue is Rarely the Issue

That is why the issue is rarely the issue. The media began with the narrative that Israel had attacked a flotilla full of human rights activists trying to deliver food and medicine to starving children in Gaza. After demonstrating conclusively that the human rights activists were actually violent Turkish Islamists calling openly for the murder of Jews. That Israeli soldiers had only fired in self-defense. That the medicines were expired, a useless sham by a ship that was actually coming to support Hamas. And finally that no one is starving among Gaza’s well stocked supermarkets and shopping malls. But did that conclusively put the issue to bed? Not at all, because the issue was never the issue.

The media responded that, yes the flotilla was not there to ferry supplies, but run the blockade. And that was entirely justified, because look at how Israel is humiliating the people of Gaza. And yes, the activists may have attacked first, but that was because… look at how Israel is humiliating the people of Gaza. And yes there may be a shopping mall in Gaza, but it isn’t nearly as good as Target, and look at how Israel is humiliating the people of Gaza. The goalposts always get moved until they wind up back in the same place—justifying violence against the Jews, because some people that fancied themselves the master race are feeling bad over their failed attempt to kill Jews.

When most of the Arab countries of the Middle East invaded Israel, and Israel beat them back, the Jews were accused of humiliating the Arabs. In 1970, when Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser died, the AP ran a wire story which explained that Israel had made peace with Nasser impossible by twice defeating him on the battlefield, both times after Nasser had committed acts of war. Nasser is quoted as saying; “Israel is a country of two million people, and we are a country of 30 million people. For Israel to be able to fly its warplanes over Cairo any time it wants is as humiliating to me, as it would be to you if the Cubans were able to fly over Washington and your armed forces were powerless to stop them.”

Nasser, leader of a country that was 20 times the size of Israel, and had 15 times the population, had 300,000 troops, nearly 2,000 tanks, over 500 aircraft and combat helicopters, felt humiliated by Israel. And rather than feeling sorry for the country that he had attacked, a country that you could drop into the Sinai desert without anyone being the wiser, the media felt sorry for Nasser’s “humiliation”. That despite his huge military, massive population and territory—he was the victim. Because the Chosen People had once again humiliated a man whom the French and British governments had described as a New Hitler.

All the media’s talk about Israeli disproportionate force in relation to Muslim terrorists in Gaza and the West Bank has nothing to do with it. Back when Israel was fighting wars for survival against enemies that vastly outnumbered it, the Jews were still to blame for humiliating their enemies by refusing to die. That is “Jewish Privilege”. To go on living, even when people who fancy themselves nobler and better, who have wonderful ideas about a Third Reich or a Pan-Arab or Pan-Islamic union want them dead.

Back in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War, while Israel was desperately fighting for its survival, the Deseret News was worried that an Israeli victory would lead the “humiliated Arab world” to refuse peace negotiations. The Wall Street Journal editorialized, “the Arabs may be more willing to talk peace when they can look proudly across a bargaining table, rather than after a humiliating defeat”. The Nevada Daily Mail warned that “humiliation can only lead to more fanatical dreams of revenge”. Israel might be allowed to survive. It might even be allowed to fight to a draw. But not to win. Winning decisively would humiliate the Arab Muslims. It would undermine their sense of superiority in relation to the people who had formerly been second-class citizens under their dominion.

It is a common phenomenon, a short hop and skip, from the Nazi press ranting about the humiliating professional successes of Jews in Germany, to the Liberal press ranting about the humiliating military successes of the Jews in Israel. The underlying narrative is not so much that Jews came by their success unfairly, as that they have no right to it because they are foreigners, outsiders and interlopers. And that too is a fundamental part of the media’s Anti-Israel narrative. That despite a history dating back thousands of years, Jews are outsiders in the region. That they have no right to “Arab land”, just as they had no right to “Aryan jobs”. And who decided that all the land belongs to the Arabs and all the jobs belong to the Aryans?

That is where Der Sturmer or Der Guardian comes in, to demonize millions of people as greedy usurpers bent on seizing what belongs to others. And so a complex regional history is reduced to, “Die Juden sind unser Unglück!” To a narrative in which arrogant Jews displace their betters, subjugate and abuse them. One that is more ancient than Rome, when Cicero echoed it, that rolls back to the ancient Pharaohs, one of whom proclaimed that the Jews must be enslaved because they had become too prosperous and numerous, and will otherwise take over all of Egypt. Over 3000 years later, Antisemitism has not changed very much.

The dirty little secret is that it is an upper class bigotry with populist overtones. Rulers and would be rulers, employ it with the people to legitimize their tyranny. Hitler’s Third Reich and Stalin’s USSR, like Nasser’s Pan-Arabist dreams, Iran’s Shiite expansion or the Muslim Brotherhood’s Caliphate all require a defeatable enemy close at hand. Pharaoh had his construction projects, Hitler had Albert Speer’s fortresses and Islam has the skyscrapers of Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Their visions are grandiose, but inhuman. They are bent on a united world under their authority. And somehow the Jews always prove to be in the way. The foreign element that spoils their plan for a homogeneous empire.

The media’s liberalism has made it notoriously sympathetic to dreamers of that sort. It is not sympathetic to ethnic or religious separatists. Just ask the Kurds or the Basque. Even the Tibetans for all their non-violence have hardly gotten more than a casual shrug. If the issue of Muslim terrorism in Israel were really a matter of another Middle Eastern minority looking for rights or a state of its own, the media could not be paid enough to care. But the issue is not separatism, but unity. To the left, it is not the Arab Muslims in Israel who are separatists, but the the Jews living in the Middle East who are the real separatists. Who insist on their own state, their own laws and their own identity. The Jews who obstructed socialism with their separatism in Europe and Russia, are now obstructing those who would regionally unite Arabs and Muslims, as a prelude to global unity.

That is the issue. That has always been the issue. That will always be the issue. It is why Jews are hated. It is why Israel is hated.

The Media Hate Machine Grinds On

And so the media hate machine grinds on. With a touch of paint and the whisk of a brush, Der Sturmer’s cartoons of greedy murdering Jews defined by the Star of David, have been reborn in the pages of the Guardian, the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times. Except now they’re greedy murderous Israelis, who often seem to have the same hooked noses and fat necks that they did in the pages of Der Sturmer, and are back to their old tricks again. When they’re not menacing innocent women and children, they’re corrupting politicians and arrogantly shoving their weight around—all favorite themes that would have been met with a knowing smirk from Julius Streicher himself.

The modern professional cartoonist has generally studied enough to be familiar with the work of Fips and Seppla and knows exactly what he is doing. Associating Nazi imagery with Jews serves not only as a vicious smear, but as his best defense against accusations that he is recycling Nazi imagery. Even when he’s caught doing it, his defense is that he’s doing it to indict Jews for their Nazi-like behavior. It is not a defense that a Nazi cartoonist like Fips could have used, but it is an easy defense for a post-Nazi cartoonist like Pat Oliphant or Dick Locher. The obsessive use of Nazi themes allows them to project their own use of Nazi ideas onto Israel. The more they associate Israel with the Nazis, the less anyone will notice whose pencil they borrowed to draw those cartoons with.

And so the Jews become the “Real Nazis”, just as they are the real “Religious Terrorists”. The crimes committed against Jews, become the crimes of the Jews themselves. Because the guilty never want to take responsibility for what they have done. And so when Muslims set off a bomb in Jerusalem, their clerics announce that Islam abhors violence, and that Israel is the real terrorists—while Jewish clerics rush to the scene of the bombing to scrub fragments of skin and bone, pull fingers out of trees, in order to bury what’s left of the dead in the same place. And the media in all its studied liberalism nods its head and agrees. The Jews indeed are the ones responsible. After all by thwarting the dreams of Arab Nationalists and Islamists to build a superstate, by refusing to make enough concessions at the negotiating table to insure their own destruction—the Jews bring terror on themselves.

The media has not gotten better, it has gotten better at packaging its bigotry. It has learned that using Jewish pundits allows it to serve as a platform for ideas on the same level of discourse as Streicher, without being vulnerable to accusations of bigotry. After all Greenwald, Klein and Blumenthal are Jewish names, aren’t they? It’s not a new idea. The Soviet Union routinely used press conferences by Jewish writers and artists to legitimize the persecution of Jews. These were the “Good Jews”, loyal Communists and devoted to the Soviet Union, who were here to condemn the Judaism, Zionism and Cosmopolitanism of the “Bad Jews”. The “Good Jews” worked at magazines like Krokodil, drawing Soviet versions of Der Sturmer’s cartoons of greedy murdering Jews wearing the Star of David. The “Bad Jews” died. Tens of thousands in Holodomor. Hundreds of thousands in the Gulag. Millions of more might have died, had Stalin’s plan for a Soviet Holocaust come to fruition. But the Soviet Union had, what Nazi Germany did not have, but the modern day left wing hate machine does, men and women with Jewish last names, up in front to defend its bigotry.

Howl Like the Wolves

The constant drumbeat of the media hate machine against Israel has the same effect on Europeans and some Americans that Der Sturmer’s hate sheets did on ordinary Germans. Bias, hate and bigotry free some to be Nazis, and teach others that it is best to go along with the crowd. Max von der Grün wrote about his childhood growing up in Nazi Germany. The title of his book was Howl Like the Wolves. When the wolves are howling you had better join them, or be prepared to take on the entire pack. And eventually most people begin to howl too. Some howl quieter than others. Some howl just for show. But others get into it all the way. Some who were once lambs become the worst of the wolves, because they find strength in being a wolf.

What the Nazis knew is that weak people are drawn to identities that give them strength. So many timid people looking for a way to express their anger. A chance to be wolves rather than sheep. A chance to hurt someone, rather than be hurt. To release all their decades of grievances and grudges on a deserving target. To whine like a mosquito while drinking their fill of blood. The ecstasy of crowds at Hitler’s speeches, was the pathetic and disgusting sight of weak-minded people eagerly transfigured with a feeling of strength. The Jihadist who kills himself among a crowd of the innocent feels that same ecstasy. The savage joy of a manipulated sheep who thinks that participating in violence somehow makes him a wolf.

Allah Akbar or Heil Hitler, it makes no real difference. Both mean the same thing. It means that I am strong because I am the tool of those who are stronger than me. Who are more ruthless than me. Who give me orders that I will follow, because I lack the initiative to make my own decisions. Tell me what to do, and I will kill, a single man, or a million. It makes no difference. What matters is that sense of strength that comes through unity. A billion bodies and one mind. One will. One Fuhrer. One Reich. One dream. And in the middle of that dream is the Jew.

The Bad Jew who stands in the way of that overpowering unity. A foreign element. An interloper. The one thing standing in the way of all those people feeling their strength for the first time. All those strong people suddenly make weak by his very presence. Humiliated. And humiliation is the one thing that cowards and the weak-minded can never forgive. It is why they become Nazis and Islamists. To feel strong. To overcome their personal humiliations in a mass identity. When their mass identity cries “Kill the Jew”, and the Jew survives, then they feel even more humiliated. Then they feel weak and the only thing that will make them feel strong again, is revenge.

Think about it. Think about Marc Garlasco talking about how an SS jacket is so cool, “makes my blood go cold”. Or the Chairman Of Finnish Amnesty International calling Israel a “scum state”. Helen Thomas telling Jews to go back to Poland and Germany. Oliver Stone discoursing on how Jewish influence caused Hitler to be misunderstood. The Daily Mail shrieks, “Israel Accuses UK of Antisemitism”, a headline that echoes, The Daily Express’ famous 1933 headline, “Judea Declares War on Germany”. Jewish stores and companies are boycotted. Papers from Jewish researchers from Israel are rejected. Wolves must howl. And howl they will. Some are true wolves, eager to spill blood. Some are only weak-minded people looking for an enemy to give them strength. And some only go along out of conformity, echoing the opinions of those around them, clinging to them for comfort. And the drumbeat goes on.

The media’s Antisemitic hate machine does for the far left, what Der Sturmer once did for the far right. It makes their hatred and bigotry mainstream. It feeds the wolves. It teaches people to be Nazis. To find strength in an age-old hatred for age-old reasons. To howl at the Jew, while the Muslim slits their throat.

Daniel Greenfield is a New York City based writer and freelance commentator. “Daniel comments on political affairs with a special focus on the War on Terror and the rising threat to Western Civilization.

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

What is a mosque?

by Mark Durie

What is a mosque? This is an important and pressing question.

I am reminded of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein's observation:

"One thinks that one is tracing the outline of the thing's nature over and over again, and one is merely tracing round the frame through which we look at it."[1]

I suggest that this is how a lot of people form their understanding of mosques — they look at a mosque and think 'Islamic church', because a church is what they are familiar with. It is the frame they are looking through.

Rabbi Bretton-Granatoor presented a sermon for the 9/11 anniversary in which he stated that "a mosque should be a place of peace, prayer and study", as if this were a self-evident truth. But is it? Or was he in fact describing his ideal synagogue?

To understand what a mosque is in Islam, we need to grasp that Islamic practice and belief is based upon the example and teaching of Muhammad. What determines the function of a mosque — from a religious perspective — is how Muhammad used mosques. The question "What is a mosque?" begs the question "How did Muhammad use mosques?"

What needs to be kept in mind is that Islam does not separate faith from politics. This is becauase Muhammad combined in himself the offices of chief priest, head of state, general of the army, and chief justice. Just as he combined all these functions, so in Islam, the mosque can be a site for political, military, religious and legal activities. It can be a parliament, military parade ground, church and a court. And during Muhammad's life time, mosques were at various times, all these things. This is all explained in the handy booklet The Mosque Exposed by Sam Solmon and E Alamaqdisi, who give examples of Muhammad using mosques for such diverse purposes.

But let's consider what a significant contemporary scholar has said on the subject. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is an influential person. He is no lightweight or fringe-dweller. A trustee of the Oxford University Centre for Islamic Studies, he was named by Foreign Policy Magazine as number 3 in a poll to determine the top 20 public intellectuals in the world today.

In 2006 Al-Qaradawi produced a fatwa (a religious ruling) to answer the question: "Is is permissible to use a mosque for political purposes?" (The Arabic text can be found here.) (Apparently this was a revision of an earlier fatwa, issued in 2001.)

Al-Qaradawi's answer was 'Yes it is,' and included the following remarks:

The mosque at the time of the Messenger of Allah [Muhammad] was the center of the activities of the Muslim community as a whole: it was not just a house of worship and prayer, but included worship, a university for science, a forum for literature, and a parliament for consultation ... it was used by delegations from various places in the Arabian peninsula to meet with the prophet [Muhammad], and it was the place where he gave his sermons and guidance in all religious, social and political aspects of life.

In the life of the prophet there was no distinction between what the people call sacred and secular, or religion and politics: he had no place other than the mosque for politics and other related issues. That established a precedent for his religion. The mosque at the time of the prophet was his propagation center and the headquarters of the state.

This was also the case for his successors, the rightly guided Caliphs: the mosque was their base for all activities political as well as non-political.

... Politics as a science is one of the best disciplines, and as a practice and career it is the most honorable. The surprising thing is that it is politicians, who are totally immersed in it [politics] from the top of their heads to the soles of their feet, who are inquiring if the mosque should embark on and leap into political affairs. Politics in itself is neither vice, nor evil, according to Islam. ... For Muslims it is part of our religion: doctrine and worship constitute a system for the whole of life.

... It must be the role of the mosque to guide the public policy of a nation, raise awareness of critical issues, and reveal its enemies.

From ancient times the mosque has had a role in urging jihad for the sake of Allah, resisting the enemies of the religion who are invading occupiers. That blessed Intifada in the land of the prophets, Palestine, started from none other than the mosques. Its first call came from the minarets and it was first known as the mosque revolution. The mosque's role in the Afghan jihad, and in every Islamic jihad cannot be denied.

The last point about jihad is an important one. It explains why time and again intelligence agencies have established links between jihadis and particular mosques, where the faith and intentions of young men have been so nurtured that they were ready and willing to undertake jihad for the sake of Allah.

There are reported to be 40,000 to 50,000 mosques in the United States, but there is not a single church in Saudi Arabia. The issue for municipal planning authorities to consider, when they receive a request to issue a permit for a mosque, is how can they know what kind of facility this will turn out to be? No doubt there are many mosques which are simply places of private devotion and public worship. But, according to Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, there is much more to a mosque than this.

[1] Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Philosophical Investigations. Prentice Hall, 1973. p. 114.

Mark Durie

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

Shining Light on the Israel-Haters

by Jennifer Rubin

The Jew-haters among the European elite (yes, there’s quite a bit of overlap there) are pitching a fit. Why? Israel is moving ahead with a measure to force NGOs to be more transparent. Nervous that anti-Zionist groups will be unmasked as pawns of anti-Israel figures in European governments, the European Parliament “devoted [a session] to attacking a Knesset bill that seeks greater transparency regarding foreign governmental funding of NGOs operating in Israel.” There is reason for the members of Parliament to freak out:

Gerald Steinberg, the head of Jerusalembased NGO Monitor, told the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that the session “was led by a small group of MEPs who work closely with the NGOs involved in the demonization of Israel.”

German Alexandra Thein, one of the European Parliament members who submitted the motion to debate the Knesset bill represents the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, and is a member of the Free Democratic Party (FDP). Thein, who is married to an Israeli- Arab, visited the Gaza Strip last January and met with Hamas legislators along with 49 other MEPs.

At one point her party’s Web site contained a link to the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza group. On her own Web site, Thein has a section called “Focus Palestine,” and posts notices about Israeli acts of “land discrimination.”

Steinberg also took time out to blast Human Rights Watch and its founder George Soros (who also provided the seed money for J Street) :

Steinberg said that “HRW claims to be ‘even-handed’ and to publish ‘credible reports,’ but this is contradicted by highly biased activities in the Middle East, particularly on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“Time and again, HRW reports on Israel are based on false or unverifiable claims, and the analysis strips away the context of the conflict, denying Israelis the right to self-defense. George Soros has supported this travesty,” he said.

Well, the Knesset certainly hit a nerve, revealing once again that the political and social ostracism which kept anti-Semitism under wraps in the post-Holocaust years has vanished. It’s about time some light was shed on those who fund the demonization of Israel from the cafes and salons of European capitals.

Jennifer Rubin

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

On All Fronts

by Marc Prowisor

The problems of the world are all based on Israel giving up its historic heartland, everybody knows that. The peace loving Arab nations are willing to let bygones be bygones, and are willing to live in peace, side by side in harmony with their Jewish neighbor Israel…NOT. I am constantly amazed by those who believe in that scenario. Time magazine has clarified the issue for many by explaining how we Jews in Israel are not even interested in peace, you see we like sending our children to the army, we like terror attacks against us, you know you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a bus load of people blow up in front of your eyes.

This battle is on all fronts now, in all locations, so many fail to notice it, so many innocent fall victims to the treachery and lies. In true Arab custom, the weak are targeted, those that lack strength or means to truly defend themselves, no, I am not just talking about the Jews in Israel anymore, I am talking about Jews throughout the Diaspora.

College campuses have become the new killing fields, the targets – unaffiliated Jews, Jews who are ignorant about their faith and their history, children of Israeli immigrants and a slew of others who tend to be oblivious to the reality in Israel.

Various Islamic groups along with supposed “Human” rights groups and others who claim to champion justice ambush these unsuspecting souls in the name of the school of progressive and liberal thought, often turning them into violent and extreme adversaries, brainwashed to hate themselves, their history and their identity. Bastions of safe Jewish havens such as Hillel houses have become bases of operations against any hint of Zionism or support of Israel.

Most are not even aware of the dangers present and all too often fall into these traps. Funding for these anti-Jewish workshops supposedly comes from sources ranging from foreign governments to our own quasi Jewish Funds, masked efficiently to hide their true intentions of harming the Jewish State of Israel by alienating these young people from themselves and the possibility of a future strong Jewish leadership in the Diaspora.

The Arab nations have always been an enemy to the existence of the State of Israel, nothing has changed, and peace is not in their lexicon regarding Jews ruling over the Land of Israel. Growing up in Israel prepares you for this reality, it is one of the advantages of being surrounded by bullies who only wish you harm and worse. But most Jews in the Diaspora are not prepared for this aggressive behavior that they witness on their campuses. Their reactions vary, most either hide their identities and thoughts waiting quietly for still waters, while others join this parade of hatred, fooling themselves into thinking that they are a part of a new order that will bring a just change to a region, culture and in many cases, a people they do not even know.

There are of course the few, the minority that does fight back, that attempt to stand strong. These smaller Israel Advocacy groups lack the numbers, funding and fashionable stance to compete and present a viable challenge to this on going and growing threat. Never the less they do try and at times, just like Israel, they are victorious against what is perceived as overwhelming odds.

It used to be that for many American Jews, the problems and challenges that Israel faces are far away, not their problem, not their concern, …no longer.

If you are Jewish, you have no choice but to ultimately, eventually face the same challenges, the same enemies that Israel must contend with, the same challenges, the same enemies that our people have contended with throughout history, wherever you are.

We will do this together.

Marc Prowisor served as the Chief Army Security Coordinator for the Shilo Region in Israel from 1996 through 2006.

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

Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People

by Joshua Teitelbaum

From the San Remo Conference (1920) to the Netanyahu-Abbas Talks

  • According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the real root of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians had been their ongoing refusal to recognize "the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own in their historic homeland" and he has singled out this issue as a key "prerequisite for ending the conflict." Netanyahu's proposal puts back on the global agenda a fundamental Jewish national right that was once axiomatic but today is rarely mentioned.

  • Ninety years ago at the San Remo Conference following World War I (April 1920), the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers determined the allocation of the Middle Eastern territories of the defeated Ottoman Empire and decided to incorporate the 1917 Balfour Declaration supporting a Jewish national home in Palestine into the British Mandate for the territory, a move which confirmed international recognition of the right of Jewish self-determination.

  • The language adopted at San Remo was a triumph for Zionism, which saw a national solution to the problem of the Jews. It recognized the existence of the Jews as more than individuals who subscribed to a certain religion - Judaism - but rather as a corporate group deserving of national expression, in this case in the form of a national home. And this home was to be in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jews. The language agreed upon at San Remo was, as British Foreign Secretary Lord Curzon put it, "the Magna Carta of the Zionists." It was clear at the time that the term "national home" really meant a state.

  • Jewish self-determination was part of a process that ended up decolonizing the Middle East in an effort that led to Arab as well as Jewish independence. Repeated recent associations of Israel with colonialism - an ahistorical canard that erases the millennia-long association of Jews with the Land of Israel as an indigenous people - ignores the benefit that Zionism actually brought to the Arabs through the process of decolonization. The British Peel Commission Report of 1937 was quite clear on this. Indeed, it was the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel that gave critical mass to a distinct and unique Palestinian identity as well.

  • The Jews have been brought back into history through the establishment of the State of Israel. This was accomplished with the aid of international institutions which recognized the justice and importance of Jewish national self-determination. These institutions accepted the validity of Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jews. Today, those who deny the Jewish right to national self-determination, more than 60 years after the founding of Israel, engage in a new kind of anti-Semitism.

In his June 14, 2009, address at Bar-Ilan University in which he accepted the principle of a demilitarized Palestinian state, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly emphasized an important Israeli requirement for a final peace agreement: Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. For Netanyahu, this was not a precondition for negotiations. But, according to his analysis, the real "root of the conflict" between Israel and the Palestinians had been their ongoing refusal to recognize "the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own in their historic homeland." He thus singled out this issue as a key "prerequisite for ending the conflict."1

The recognition of the right of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland is not a new idea. It actually has long historical roots which, unfortunately, have been forgotten in much of the public discourse on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Indeed, the denial of this right has been part of the international campaign to challenge Israel's very legitimacy. For that reason, it is critical to reemphasize the international, legal, and historical foundations of this idea in order to challenge the current discourse of delegitimization and restore the idea of Jewish self-determination as an internationally-accepted norm. Thus, Netanyahu's proposal is important for reasons that go beyond the peace process, for it puts back on the global agenda a fundamental Jewish national right that was once axiomatic but today is rarely mentioned.

Historical Roots of the Internationally-Recognized Right of Jewish Self-Determination

Ninety years ago at the San Remo Conference in Italy following World War I (April 1920), the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers (Great Britain, France, and Italy) determined the allocation of the Middle Eastern territories of the defeated Ottoman Empire. At San Remo it was decided to incorporate the 1917 Balfour Declaration supporting a Jewish national home in Palestine into the British Mandate for the territory, a move which confirmed international recognition of the right of Jewish self-determination in the place known to the Jews as the Land of Israel (in Hebrew, Eretz Yisrael).

While some have viewed the mandate system as a continuation of British and French colonialism, the mandates were temporary by design and eventually gave way to Arab and Jewish independence. Indeed, the mandate system could be viewed essentially as a move toward decolonization (U.S. President Woodrow Wilson certainly saw it as such),2 a step on the way to returning much of the Middle East to its indigenous peoples and freeing them from the Ottoman colonizers who had ruled for 400 years.

Ironically, the peace process of recent decades, which revived the idea of a two-state solution which would allow the fulfillment of both Jewish and Palestinian self-determination, has also resurrected the idea of a one-state solution - a move which in time would bring about an Arab majority in the land, thus ending Jewish self-determination. Although the supporters of a one-state solution or a Palestinian "right of return" may drape their ideas in the cloth of human rights, in effect they would be denying the Jewish people their fundamental right of self-determination. Beyond the great injustice this would bring upon the Jewish people, it would most certainly not bring about peace. Those truly concerned with peace and stability should support self-determination for both peoples in two states, since in the Middle East a one-state solution would only bring death and destruction. Think Lebanon, Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan - not Switzerland.

The Lead-Up to San Remo

By the time the San Remo Conference convened in April 1920, the Allies had already made some progress regarding the disposition of Ottoman territorial possessions. The British had become convinced of the desirability of a post-war British Palestine, but still needed to convince the French, since this contradicted the terms of the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 which determined that Palestine was to be under international control. The best way for the British to gain French support was first to convince them to support a Jewish national home in Palestine, which was achieved in June 1917.3 As a result of this diplomacy, the Balfour Declaration was issued on November 2, 1917. French acquiescence to British rule in Palestine was a result of the realities brought about by British military successes in the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire and Palestine in particular - in which the French played practically no role at all.4

The Covenant of the League of Nations, which was approved by the Paris Peace Conference in April 1919 and later incorporated in the Treaty of Versailles, signed on June 28, 1919, recognized the mandate system of "tutelage" and gave international validity to it in Article 22 of the Covenant.5 But the nature of the mandates and who would be the actual mandatory powers was negotiated between the victorious powers, Britain and France, who first met in London during February 12-24, 1920. The London conference, and the San Remo meeting which followed in April, were aimed at establishing an Allied consensus prior to signing a treaty with the Ottoman Empire, which would become known as the Treaty of Sèvres (and which would eventually be replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne with Turkey).

At San Remo

Britain, France, Japan, and Italy, with the United States observing, met from April 18 to April 26, 1920, as the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers to discuss the mandates and the future of the Middle Eastern territories of the recently defeated and now defunct Ottoman Empire. Britain was represented by Prime Minister David Lloyd George and the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Lord George Nathaniel Curzon. At the table for the French were Prime Minister Alexandre Millerand and the director of political affairs for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Philippe Berthelot. The significance of what transpired at San Remo on April 24-25, 1920, has not always received the attention it deserves, for in a sense, it was at San Remo that Israel was born.6

On April 24, Britain and France, with Italy chairing the meeting and Japan observing, discussed the future of Palestine. The British, led by Lloyd George and Lord Curzon, were keen to have the mandate for Palestine awarded to Great Britain, and to include the language of the Balfour Declaration in the treaty with Turkey. The French, however, were not enthusiastic, despite what the British perceived to have been prior agreement on the issue. Berthelot argued that the Balfour Declaration was a unilateral British document, and "an unofficial declaration made by one power" had no place in the treaty. Furthermore, the French wanted some recognition of their role as a custodian and protector of Christian holy sites, which the Balfour Declaration did not mention.

Lloyd George, however, would hear nothing of a French presence. Two mandatory powers in Palestine were quite impossible, and, he threatened ominously, "it might even easily raise difficulties in regard to [Great Britain's] relations with France." France should let Britain handle Palestine alone and have mercy on London's burden, since "[i]n any case the task of governing Palestine would not be an easy one, and it would not be rendered less difficult by the fact that it was to be the national home of the Jews, who were an extraordinarily intelligent race, but not easy to govern."7 The French eventually relented, reducing their demands to a stipulation in the procès verbal that the rights of non-Jewish communities would not be suspended. A draft of the article was put before the Supreme Council on April 24 and it was officially approved on April 25. In the end, the British had carried the day.

The San Remo language gave detailed content to the general provisions regarding the mandate system as formulated in Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations noted above. The operative paragraph reads:

The mandatory power will be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on the 8th [2nd] November, 1917, by the British Government, and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.8

The parties also agreed that France would be the mandatory power for Syria, and Great Britain for Mesopotamia (later Iraq) and Palestine.9

The language with respect to Palestine adopted at San Remo is remarkable for several reasons. First, it established recognition by the Great Powers of the principle of Jewish national self-determination. As such, it was a triumph for Zionism, which saw a national solution to the problem of the Jews, as opposed to other proposed solutions, such as assimilation. It recognized the existence of the Jews as more than individuals who subscribed to a certain religion - Judaism - but rather as a corporate group deserving of national expression, in this case in the form of a national home. And this home was to be in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jews. Interestingly, the rights of the Arabs ("non-Jewish communities") in Palestine did not include national, but only civil and religious rights.

The language is a verbatim repetition of the Balfour Declaration, with one significant change. Whereas in the Balfour Declaration, Great Britain promised to "use their best endeavours to facilitate" a Jewish national home in Palestine, at San Remo this became an operative obligation. As the mandatory power, Britain was directly charged with "putting [the Balfour Declaration] into effect." But most importantly, when the Balfour Declaration was first issued, it was little more than a political declaration. Once it was embedded into the Palestine Mandate, it became "an international legislative act" by the Principal Allied Powers.10

The language agreed upon at San Remo was, as Lord Curzon put it, "the Magna Carta of the Zionists."11 It was clear at the time that the term "national home" really meant a state. Back in 1917, three months after his declaration was issued, Lord Balfour confessed: "My personal hope is that the Jews will make good in Palestine and eventually found a Jewish state."12 U.S. intelligence recommendations drafted for President Wilson at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference had the same impression: "It will be the policy of the League of Nations to recognize Palestine as a Jewish State as soon as it is a Jewish state in fact."13

In the Wake of San Remo

On April 26, 1920, acting upon instructions, British Major General Louis Jean Bols, Chief Political Officer and Chief Administrator, Occupied Enemy Territory Administration (South), announced to the heads of the communities in Jerusalem that the Supreme Council had approved a mandate for Palestine that would probably go to Great Britain. Most importantly, he told them, "the Balfour Declaration regarding a Jewish National Home shall be included in the Turkish Peace Treaty."14 The announcement, reported the Times, "was quietly received."15 But in Jewish communities throughout the world, there were celebrations.16

The agreed language of San Remo was incorporated verbatim into the Treaty of Sèvres, signed with Turkey on August 10, 1920, as Article 95.17 The treaty, however, was never ratified by Turkey since the new nationalist government headed by Mustafa Kemal, the hero of Gallipoli, would have no part of the treaty due to its many clauses - unrelated to Palestine - that he considered prejudicial to Turkey. By the time a replacement treaty, the Treaty of Lausanne, was signed with Turkey on July 24, 1923,18 the mandate for Palestine had already been confirmed in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine of July 24, 1922.19 It went into effect on September 26, 1923.

The League of Nations Mandate for Palestine is a key document that underscores the international legitimacy of the right of Jewish self-determination in the Land of Israel, or Palestine. According to Howard Grief, this can be seen in the three "recitals" occurring in the Preamble.20 The first recital is embodied in the reference to Article 22 of the League of Nations Covenant, which, by implication, represents self-determination as "the well-being and development" of the former subject peoples. The second recital is the repetition of the Balfour Declaration as changed at San Remo, where Britain is charged with actually carrying out the intent of the Declaration. Finally, the third and perhaps the most important recital in the Preamble recalls and notes that "recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine"; it further stresses that this was "grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country."21

It should be clear from the above that Jewish self-determination was part of a process that ended up decolonizing the Middle East, if not entirely by design. This effort led to Jewish as well as Arab independence. Repeated recent associations of Israel with colonialism - an ahistorical canard that erases the millennia-long association of Jews with the Land of Israel as an indigenous people - ignores the benefit (even if ironic) that Zionism actually brought to the Arabs through the process of decolonization. The British Peel Commission Report of 1937 was quite clear on this:

The fact that the Balfour Declaration was issued in order to enlist Jewish support for the Allies and the fact that this support was forthcoming are not sufficiently appreciated in Palestine. The Arabs do not appear to realize in the first place that the present position of the Arab world as a whole is mainly due to the great sacrifices made by the Allied and Associated Powers in the War and, secondly, that, insofar as the Balfour Declaration helped to bring about the Allies' victory, it helped to bring about the emancipation of all the Arab countries from Turkish rule. If the Turks and their German allies had won the War, it is improbable that all the Arab countries, except Palestine, would now have become or be about to become independent states.22

With respect to the Palestinians per se, it is clear that for many years after the end of World War I, they considered themselves part of Syria,23 although through constant contact with the challenge of Zionism, and with the independence of the Arab states, a separate Palestinian identity later developed.24

Indeed, it was the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel that gave critical mass to a distinct and unique Palestinian identity. If Jewish national self-determination had not been fulfilled, it is debatable if an entirely separate Palestinian nation would have emerged. The Syrian delegate raised this issue during the UN debate on the 1947 partition plan:

Palestine used to be a Syrian province. Geographical, historical, racial and religious links exist there. There is no distinction whatever between the Palestinians and the Syrians and had it not been for the Balfour Declaration and the terms of the mandate, Palestine would now be a Syrian province [emphasis mine - J.T.], as it used to be.25

Putting Jewish Self-Determination into Action: The Partition of Palestine and the Admission of Israel to the United Nations

If there were some lingering doubts in the international community about the wisdom of a Jewish state, the German Nazi horrors of the Holocaust made abundantly clear its absolute necessity. On November 29, 1947, the United Nations, in General Assembly Resolution 181,26 agreed to the partition of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state,27 to share an economic union, with a special international regime for Jerusalem. The tally was 33 votes in favor, 13 against, 10 abstentions, and one absent. At the time, the idea of a Jewish nation-state was internationally accepted, even taken for granted. Jews were referred to in national terms - not just religious - throughout the UN document, as are Arabs. The term "Jewish state" is mentioned 27 times in the resolution.

Israel is both a Jewish nation-state and a democratic state. This was neither an impossible feat nor a contradiction in terms to the framers of the partition resolution, who stipulated that both the Jewish and Arab states in partitioned Palestine would have to be democratic and protect the rights of the national minority in their respective states.28 But Israel's legitimacy as a state is not by definition connected to its democratic nature. That Israel's democracy is imperfect - and what democracy is not - does not detract from its legitimacy. As Alexander Yakobson and Amnon Rubinstein write,

Even nations that do not maintain even a semblance of democracy are universally recognized as entitled to national independence, and even in such cases (not in fact wholly exceptional in the Middle East) no one claims that the very idea of national independence is an undemocratic one.29

Israel allowed a large national minority to remain in its territory after the 1948 war. (Jordan and Egypt did not allow Jews to remain in the territory they captured, which had been allotted to the Arab state authorized by the UN to come into existence in Palestine.) It naturally gave expression to the Jewish majority by using Jewish symbols in the national flag and seal, and in national culture and the designation of Saturday as the day of rest. This is no different from the many democracies that give expression to the Christian identity of their majority populations. For example, several states have Christian crosses in their flags: the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia (these actually have threes crosses in their flags); Switzerland; Norway; Finland; Denmark; Switzerland; and Greece. Pakistan and Turkey make use of the Islamic crescent in their flags, while India uses a religious symbol in its flag. Britain's head of state, the Queen, is head of the Church of England.

The historical connection of the Jews to the Land of Israel was clear to the international community, as manifested in the League of Nations mandate which recognized the "historic connection of the Jewish people with Palestine" and their right to reconstitute "their national home in that country."30 UNSCOP, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine which recommended partition, clearly saw the historical connection of the Jews to the Land of Israel and its report mentions this several times.31

On May 11, 1949, the UN admitted Israel, the Jewish state created by the United Nations, as "a peace-loving State which accepts the obligations contained in the Charter and is able and willing to carry out those obligations."32

Europe and America: The Denial of the Legitimacy of Jewish Self-Determination is Anti-Semitic

Not only is Jewish self-determination a right recognized by the international community for nearly a century, it has been defined as such by the European Union and the U.S. State Department in recent years, and the rejection of that right has officially been declared to be anti-Semitism.

The EU's European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia arrived at a "Working Definition of Anti-Semitism" in 2005. In elaborating the various manifestations of anti-Semitism, the document notes that the State of Israel is "conceived as a Jewish collectivity," and cites as an example of anti-Semitism:
denying the right of the Jewish people to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of Israel is a racist endeavor.
This definition was adopted verbatim by the U.S. State Department in March 2008.33

The International Legal Status of the State of Israel

In traditional international legal theory, states deserving of recognition are those which "possess a defined territory; a permanent population; an effective government; and the capacity to enter into relations with other States."34 Israel met and continues to meet these criteria. The fact that Israel is a Jewish state did not add to (or, for that matter, hinder) its acceptance as a legitimate state among the family of nations. It is legitimate because it meets these criteria.

The State of Israel is the legitimate expression of Jewish self-determination. This is in keeping with universal human rights, including the right to self-determination. While there are those who deny Jewish self-determination by claiming that the Jews are only a religion, this is not the position historically shared by the international community. This is because the Jews have a history of attachment to the Land of Israel and a constant yearning for a return to it, whether it is physical and contemporary, or metaphysical and anchored in messianic times.

The term "Jewish state" refers to national, not religious, identity. Most Israelis would claim they are members of the Jewish people, but are not religiously observant Jews. As Ruth Gavison admits, the relationship between Jews and Judaism is a unique one, since

[n]o other people has its own specific religion. The Arab peoples, for example, comprise Christians, Muslims, and Druze. While there was a time when the French were mostly Catholics or former Catholics, they still waged religious wars with the Huguenots, and today a large number of Frenchmen are Muslim. At the same time, no other religion has a specific nationality of its own: Christians can be French, American, Mexican, or Arab; Muslims, too, can be Arabs, Persians, or African-Americans. This distinction is not merely the result of secularization: Judaism, at least from a historical perspective, has never differentiated between the people and the religion. Nor was there any belated development that altered this unique fact: Social stereotyping never allowed an individual to be a part of the Jewish people while at the same time a member of another religion; nor could one be an observant Jew without belonging to the Jewish people.35

Denying Israel's Legitimacy: Thoughts on Root Causes

The legitimacy of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people seemed unassailable when the UN Partition Plan was approved in 1947 and the State of Israel was admitted to the United Nations the following year. What has happened to change that?

Supporters of Israel continue to be baffled by the constant barrage of media attacks on Israel, no matter what Israel does. Sure, Israel still controls the West Bank, and its settlement policy is controversial, but this is not for lack of trying to reach an agreement based on far-reaching and serious offers to the Palestinians (Camp David, 2000; Taba, 2001; and Prime Minster Ehud Olmert's proposals, 2008). Yet Jerusalem seems to get no credit for withdrawals from Sinai (1982), Lebanon (2000), and Gaza (2005). In addition, clear acts of self-defense when attacked from these areas: Lebanon (2006) and Gaza (2008-2009), and defending a legal blockade against Turkish blockade runners (2010), receive little sympathy from self-righteous pundits and government officials. In September 2010, TIME magazine published a cover story entitled: "Why Israel Doesn't Care About Peace," just as Israel and the Palestinians re-embarked on direct negotiations, which had been delayed for a year and a half at Palestinian insistence. The article itself suggests that Israelis (read Jews) care more about money than about peace.36

Some American audiences have difficulty reconciling their notions of democratic freedom with that of Israel's. This is because the American idea of freedom revolves around the right of the individual to be free from tyranny - foreign and domestic - while the founders of Israel, heirs to a European legacy of nationalism, conceived of freedom as the collective rights of a certain nation or people - in this case, the Jewish people. Daniel Gordis writes that while America has inspired much of the Israeli project, each country had a different founding ethos. America was about freedom as defined by breaking away from an undemocratic monarchy, designed to end "the long train of abuses and usurpations," as stated in the American Declaration of Independence, while Israel's Declaration of Independence is based on the Land of Israel "as the birthplace of the Jewish people."37

Edward Said, drawing on Michel Foucault and others, taught us about the importance of narrative and discourse in the Arab-Israeli conflict.38 He was sensitive to how capturing the discourse - that nexus of language, knowledge, and power - was essential for promoting the Palestinian cause. Said and his followers have been enormously successful. Israel is often cast in the role of colonialist, and words and phrases such as "occupation" and "right of return" have become politically saturated expressions with only one meaning. They then play an insidious psychological role in forming and weighting the discourse against Israel.

Certain elite circles in Europe have their own reasons for denying Israel's legitimacy, especially the right of the Jewish people to a nation-state of their own. Daniel Hannan, a British Conservative Party member of the European Parliament, pointed out during an address in Jerusalem in early 2010 that Israel, by its very existence, challenges the intellectual basis of European integration, which seeks to supplant the old national ideal on the European continent with the European Union.

After all, Hannan argues, the EU was founded on the idea that old national loyalties are arbitrary, transient, and ultimately have been discredited since they were the cause of many of Europe's great wars. In contrast, Israel, which was resurrected after 2,000 years, is the embodiment of the national ideal. If Israel was right to re-establish itself, Hannan concludes, and the national ideal is correct, then some in Europe might feel challenged that their multinational alternative was a mistake, explaining their need to attack Israel and undermine its legitimacy.39

There is something particularly galling about denying Jewish peoplehood and self-determination. Identity is by definition self-defining. The Jews define themselves as a people and overwhelmingly support the embodiment of Jewish self-determination as manifested in the State of Israel. Just as there can be a Palestinian state, since the Palestinians choose a unique identity, there can be a Jewish state. Affirming the right of the Jewish people to a nation-state, however, is not only important in the context of the Arab-Israeli peace process. It is critical for countering the forces that need to delegitimize the Jewish state for their own internal political reasons.

The Jews have been brought back into history through the establishment of the State of Israel. This was accomplished with the aid of international institutions which recognized the justice and importance of Jewish national self-determination. These institutions accepted the validity of Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jews. Today, those who deny the Jewish right to national self-determination, more than 60 years after the founding of Israel, engage in a new kind of anti-Semitism, one that calls for the elimination of a state created by the United Nations.

This cannot stand. The circumstances that led the international community to support the establishment of a Jewish and an Arab state (the Arab state did not come into existence because the Arabs made war on Israel and took over the territories allotted to the Palestinians) still obtain today. The international community thus has an obligation not only to work for peace and a two-state solution, but also to stand by its previous decisions and stop the campaign to delegitimize Israel as the nation-state of the Jews.

* * *


1. Address by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Bar-Ilan University, June 14, 2009,

2. Irwin Mansdorf, "Is Israel a Colonial State? The Political Psychology of Palestinian Nomenclature," Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs, Jerusalem Viewpoints, No. 576, March-April 2010,

3. French Foreign Minister Paul Cambon to Zionist Executive Member Nahum Sokolow, June 4, 1917, in J.C. Hurewitz (ed.), The Middle East and North Africa in World Politics: A Documentary Record, Vol. 2, British-French Supremacy, 1914-1945 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), p. 103.

4. Hurewitz, p. 119; 202-203.

5. Avalon Project - The Covenant of the League of Nations,

6. The most exhaustive study of the international legal basis for the State of Israel is Howard Grief, The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law (Jerusalem: Mazo Publishers, 2008), which attributes great importance to the San Remo decision, and which he terms the "San Remo Resolution."

7. See Efraim Karsh and Inari Karsh, Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East, 1789-1923 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001), pp. 256-258. The minutes of the meeting from which these quotations are taken, as well as the text of the draft and final articles, are in Rohan Butler and J.P.T. Bury, Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919-1939, First Series, Vol. 8 (London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 1958), pp. 156-185.

8. Balfour's letter to Lord Rothschild was dated November 2; the text was published in the Times on November 9, after probably being communicated to the press by the Foreign Office on November 8.

9. Butler and Bury, p. 177.

10. See Allan Gerson, Israel, the West Bank, and International Law (London: Routledge, 1978), p. 43. This was the language used by Judge Moore in the Mavrommatis case heard by the Permanent Court of International Justice.

11. Grief, p. 39.

12. Benny Morris, 1948: The First Arab-Israeli War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), p. 10.

13. "Tentative Recommendations for President Wilson by the Intelligence Section of the American Delegation to the Peace Conference," January 21, 1919, in Hurewitz, pp. 132-36.

14. FO 371/5114, Bols to Lord Curzon, June 7, 1920, reprinted in Isaiah Friedman (ed.), The Rise of Israel: Riots in Jerusalem-San Remo Conference, April 1920, Vol. 12 (New York: Garland Publishing, 1987), pp. 212-221.

15. Times, May 1, 1920, reproduced in Friedman, p. 222.

16. FO 371/5118, Geddes (Washington) to Foreign Office, May 3, 1920, and editor's introduction, in Friedman, p. 224.

17. Peace Treaty of Sèvres - World War I Document Archive,

18. Treaty of Lausanne - World War I Document Archive,

19. The Avalon Project - The Palestine Mandate,

20. Legally, a "recital" is "the repetition of some former writing, or the statement of something which has been done. Recitals are used to explain those matters of fact which are necessary to make the transaction intelligible.", at

21. Grief, pp. 143-146.

22., (ch. II, para. 19, p. 24), cited in Mansdorf, "Is Israel a Colonial State?"

23. Peel Report, paragraph 23, p. 25, cited in Mansdorf, "Is Israel a Colonial State?"

24. For important views on the historical development of Palestinian identity, see Muhammad Muslih, The Origins of Palestinian Nationalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989); Yehoshua Porath, The Emergence of the Palestinian Arab National Movement, 1918-1929 (London: Frank Cass, 1974); Rashid Khalidi, Palestinian Identity (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998).

25. Alexander Yakobson and Amnon Rubinstein, Israel and the Family of Nations: The Jewish Nation-State and Human Rights (New York: Routledge, 2009), p. 38.


27. It was clear why the term "Arab" and not "Palestinian" was used for the Arab state. The Mandate for Palestine had included both Jews and Arabs, and the use of "Palestinian" only for the Arabs would not have made semantic sense at the time.

28. Yakobson and Rubinstein, p. 2;

29. Ibid.

30. Ibid., p. 41

31. Ibid., pp. 41-42, and quotation from the report therein.


33.; U.S. Department of State, Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism, I thank Prof. Amnon Rubinstein for these references.

34. Sean Murphy, "Democratic Legitimacy and the Recognition of States and Governments," International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 3 (July 1999), pp. 545-581. I thank international law expert Dr. Amichai Magen for discussing this issue and providing me with this reference.

35. Ruth Gavison, "The Jews' Right to Statehood: A Defense," Azure (Summer 2003), pp. 70-108 (pp. 101-102 quoted),

36. See Daniel Gordis, "Acceptable in Polite Society,", September 7, 2010, The online version of the TIME article is significantly abridged and edited and does not give the full effect of the print version.

37. Daniel Gordis, Saving Israel: How the Jewish People Can Win a War That May Never End (Hoboken: Wiley, 2009), pp. 136-137.

38. Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1979).

39. See Daniel Hannan on "Europe's Antagonism to Israel," Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, February 14, 2010,

Joshua Teitelbaum, Ph.D., is Principal Research Fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He holds research positions at the GLORIA Center, IDC Herzliya, and the Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University. He also holds visiting positions at the Hoover Institution and the Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, both at Stanford University.

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