Friday, September 28, 2012

Mordechai Kedar: The End of Oslo - and a Glimmer of Hope

by Mordechai Kedar

Read the article in Italiano (translated by Yehudit Weisz, edited by Angelo Pezzana)
Read the article in French (translated by Danielle Elinor Guez)

Recently, it seemed that the "Arab Spring" might have come to Judea and Samaria, when demonstrations broke out protesting the rise in the prices of gas and food. Palestinian Authority officials blame - could it be otherwise? - Israel for all of its troubles, and can even point to the source of the problem: the Paris Protocol, which binds the economy of the PA to the Israeli economy, the Israeli currency, the Israeli tax system and from here also to the prevailing prices in Israel. Their conclusion is that the PA must detach itself from the Israeli economy so that it can be independent. This demand was supported by several international bodies, who determined almost unanimously: The occupation is strangling the Palestinian economy.

However, the situation is much more problematic, because the economy is only the symptom of the illness; its result, not the real problem. The actual problem is the failure of the Palestinian project to establish one unique "Palestinian people", with a shared national identity, on the basis of which civil systems can be established, like an economy and legitimate self-administration. The Oslo Accords brought refugees to the area of Israel known as Judea and Samaria, most of whom are not native to the area (Abu Mazen was born in Safed) and were never accepted by the local Arabs as "one of us".

Those "architects of Oslo", chiefly Shimon Peres, imported these foreigners and put them in control of the local population, lacking any legitimacy to rule. Perhaps Yasir Arafat - who was born in Egypt - had the aura of a national symbol, but his successors do not enjoy this aura. He was a leader, and they are politicians. The intention of Oslo, from Israel's point of view, was - as the late Yitzhak Rabin put it - that Fatah should deal with Hamas "without the constraints of the Supreme Court or human rights organizations", meaning that Fatah would do the security work for Israel, and it would be its collaborator.

Arafat and his successors never intended to carry out this task, because the Hamas movement is composed of locals, especially in the Gaza Strip, and if the PLO waged a real war against Hamas, it would cause the whole population to rise up against it. So the PLO played the "revolving door" game: they arrested a few activists for the sake of appearances to appease Israel, and freed them after a few days. Therefore the PA and its security apparatuses never fought seriously against terror, and for long periods even engaged in terror actively. As a result, the Hamas movement grew and developed so that today it rules in Gaza.

Unsolved Problems

Another basic and negative feature of the Oslo Accords is the fact that these agreements left the settlement of the fundamental problems for the phase of the final status agreements: nothing at all was agreed upon regarding issues such as the borders, the Jewish settlements of Judea and Samaria, Jerusalem, the refugees, water, security arrangements and other issues, and they were left for settlement by negotiations that were supposed to have occurred within five years ("the interim period"). The architects of Oslo naively thought that within five years the two sides would be able to arrive at a final status agreement. The great failure of the Oslo architects is that they did not determine in the agreements what would happen if the two sides did not arrive at a final status agreement. If the agreements expired would all that was written in them be cancelled? Would each side be free to do whatever it wants? The fact that the agreements do not relate to this is criminal negligence, because the manner of exit from agreements must be written into them: If a person rents out an apartment, and the tenant doesn't pay the rent, the agreement must stipulate what will happen in this case, and what the exit strategy is. Without a detailed description of an exit process, no agreement is worth more than a garlic peel, and this is the case with the Oslo Accords.

Since in July 1999, the "interim period" of five years had elapsed without achieving a final status agreement, the Oslo Accords are now hanging in the air and are subject to the interpretation of each side: the Palestinians claim that it is their right to declare a state unilaterally, despite Israel's objection, and Israel disagrees with this interpretation. The Palestinians rush toward international recognition, and Israel gnashes its teeth but does nothing to prevent it. The Palestinian Authority fights Israel in every international organization, and Israel thinks when it is spit upon that rain is falling.  The Palestinian Authority continues its wild incitement against Israel and its undermining of the legitimacy of Israel as the state of the Jewish people.

If a Palestinian state is established in Judea and Samaria, it will continue to be hostile to Israel, even if only because Israel will not allow the refugees of ‘48 to return to Jaffa and Netanya. Such a state might become a Hamas state within a short time after its inception by means of elections as has already occurred in January 2006, or by means of a violent takeover as happened in Gaza in June 2007. Can anyone in the world guarantee that this scenario will not occur? Can anyone prevent a mutual defense pact with Iran for example?

The people who control the Palestinian Authority are not authentic leaders and therefore it is quite possible that a local movement such as Hamas might conquer it and overthrow it shortly after it becomes independent, and the question that stands before Israel and the world is: should we be a party to a such a development? Can Israel function as a state when the Qassam missiles, the grads, and the katyushas of Hamas are falling on Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Petach Tikva, Ra'anana, Kfar Saba, Netanya, Hadera, Afula, and Haifa, not to mention Ben Gurion Airport, as they have been falling for years on Sderot, Ashkelon and the area surrounding  Gaza? And if we take defensive action against the missiles, will there not be another Goldstone waiting around the corner?

Clearly, the PA exists only due to these three things: the IDF, which protects the PA and subdues its opposition, the handouts that the world transfers to the PA, which serve as the blood in its veins, and the economic treaty with Israel. Without these three components the PA would collapse within one day like a balloon that encounters a pin. The Arab public identifies with the PA only as long as it proves to be economically useful, and will get rid of it as soon as it ceases to be an employment agency, the largest provider of jobs.

The Real Solution

The Arab public in Judea and Samaria remains basically faithful to the tribe, not to national Arab ethnicity or the Palestinian narrative. In this it is no different from the other Arab countries surrounding Israel, the "Lands of the Mashreq (Orient)":  Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Every time the Palestinian police try to get involved with family disputes, clan feuds or tribal struggles, they are thrown out because they are "not one of us". The large clans have much more meaningful control of the cities than the security organizations of the PA, so it's important to base any future arrangement on them. Contrary to the corrupt politicians of the PA, clan leaders are legitimate, accepted and  welcome leaders, and therefore they will succeed precisely where the PA fails: To gain legitimacy and recognition in the hearts of the public, and to be accepted by it as natural leaders.

For this reason Israel must encourage the local authentic leaders of the cities to establish political frameworks, or emirates, defined according to the known sociological divisions: The  Jabbari, Qawasmi, Natsha, abu Sneina and Tamimi  tribes in Hebron, who have known for hundreds of years how to function with one another and are accepted as legitimate local leaders, of the Jabbari clan. In Nablus the al-Masri family can stand at the head of a local coalition with the Tuqan and Shak'ah families, and thus with all the other Arab cities of Judea and Samaria: Jericho, Ramallah, Tul Karem, Qalqiliyya and Jenin. Israel must forever keep control of the rural area between the cities in order to ensure that the mountains will not become Hamas Mountains with missile launching stations dug into the rock, as they are in South Lebanon.

The fact that the Palestinian emirates in the cities will be based on local sociology and local leadership, not the illegitimate rule that Israel imported, will afford to these emirates social stability, and therefore also political stability and economic prosperity. These emirates will live in peace with one another because they will be separate; each one will deal with its own issues and leave the others alone. 

This model is the only model that can exist in the Middle East. The troubles in this region stem mainly from the fact that groups that are different from one another and hostile to each other have been forced to live together. Also the fact that the regimes of the Middle East are mostly dictatorships stems from the fact that most of the population sees its ruler as "not one of us", and therefore illegitimate.

The time has come when Israel should dismantle the artificial and illegitimate framework called the "Palestinian Authority" and on its ruins establish eight emirates, one in Gaza, which has been alive and kicking for five years already, and seven more in the seven cities in Judea and Samaria. Israel should annex the rural area and offer citizenship to the villagers. From the demographic point of view this solution does not present a problem, and from the security point of view this is a necessary condition for Israel to be able to exist in the very dynamic and unstable Middle East, where treaties are disregarded, Jordan may break up to form a Palestinian state and a Bedouin state, Egypt is becoming increasingly Islamized, Syria is disintegrating and becoming a terror state and Lebanon may fall totally under the control of Hizb'Allah. A return to the '49 armistice lines, which would mean abandoning the Jordan Valley and retreating from the mountain ridge, would be suicidal for Israel.

It is to be hoped that our leaders will see the long-term Israeli interest and prefer it to the artificial, surface calm that Israel buys by "contracting" the PA at the cost of hundreds of millions of shekels and dollars. International recognition of a Palestinian state may perpetuate the Oslo disaster, and it will be very difficult to cope with such a state after it is declared and recognized. It is still not too late to prevent the establishment of a second Hamas state, this time in Judea and Samaria, and every day that passes without Israel dismantling the PA brings Israel closer to a most difficult situation, a real existential threat, which is that a Hamas state may sprout up in Judea and Samaria.

May we all have a good year and be inscribed in the Book of Life.

[For more information on Dr. Kedar’s  proposed solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, see ]


Dr. Kedar is available for lectures in the U.S. and Canada 

Dr. Mordechai Kedar ( is an Israeli scholar of Arabic and Islam, a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and the director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation), Bar Ilan University, Israel. He specializes in Islamic ideology and movements, the political discourse of Arab countries, the Arabic mass media, and the Syrian domestic arena.

Translated from Hebrew by Sally Zahav.

Links to Dr. Kedar's recent articles on this blog:

Source: The article is published in the framework of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation), Bar Ilan University, Israel. Also published in Makor Rishon, a Hebrew weekly newspaper.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

UN Security Council Resolution 242

Adopted: November 22, 1967
The first principle of international law
Agreements must be honored and adhered to

by Eli E. Hertz

Resolution 242 is the cornerstone for what it calls "a just and lasting peace." It calls for a negotiated solution based on "secure and recognized boundaries" - recognizing the flaws in Israel's previous temporary borders - the 1948 Armistice lines or the "Green Line"[1] - by not calling upon Israel to withdraw from 'all occupied territories,' but rather "from territories occupied." The United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 242 in 1967 following the Six-Day War. [2] It followed Israel's takeover of the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria, and the West Bank from Jordan. The resolution was to become the foundation for future peace negotiations. Yet contrary to Arab contentions, a careful examination of the resolution will show that it does not require Israel to return to the June 4, 1967 Armistice lines or "Green Line." 

Resolution 242 was approved on November 22, 1967, more than five months after the war. Although Israel launched a pre-emptive and surprise strike at Egypt on June 5, 1967, this was a response to months of belligerent declarations and actions by its Arab neighbors that triggered the war: 465,000 enemy troops, more than 2,880 tanks and 810 aircrafts, preparing for war, surrounded Israel in the weeks leading up to June 5, 1967. In addition, Egypt had imposed an illegal blockade against Israeli shipping by closing the Straits of Tiran, the Israeli outlet to the Red Sea and Israel's only supply route to Asia - an act of aggression - in total violation of international law. In legal parlance, those hostile acts are recognized by the Law of Nations as a casus belli [Latin: Justification for acts of war].

The Arab measures went beyond mere power projection. Arab states did not plan merely to attack Israel to dominate it or grab territory; their objective was to destroy Israel. Their own words leave no doubt as to this intention. The Arabs meant to annihilate a neighboring state and fellow member of the UN by force of arms: [3]
  • "We intend to open a general assault against Israel. This will be total war. Our basic aim will be to destroy Israel." (Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser, May 26, 1967)
  • "The sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war, which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence." (Egyptian Radio, 'Voice of the Arabs,' May 18, 1967)
  • "I, as a military man, believe that the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation." (Syrian Defense Minister Hafez al-Assad, May 20, 1967)
  • "The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. ... Our goal is clear - to wipe Israel off the map." (Iraqi President Abdur Rahman Aref, May 31, 1967)
Arab declarations about destroying Israel were made preceding the war when control over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (or Sinai and the Golan Heights) were not in Israel's hands, and no so-called Israeli occupation existed.

That is why the UN Security Council recognized that Israel had acquired the territory from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria not as a matter of aggression, but as an act of self-defense. That is also why Resolution 242 was passed under Chapter VI of the UN Charter rather than Chapter VII. As explained above, UN resolutions adopted under Chapter VI call on nations to negotiate settlements, while resolutions under the more stringent Chapter VII section deal with clear acts of aggression that allow the UN to enforce its resolutions upon any state seen as threatening the security of another state or states.

Although Resolution 242 refers to "the inadmissibility" of acquiring territory by war, a statement used in nearly all UN resolutions relating to Israel, Professor, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, former President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague, explains that the principle of "acquisition of territory by war is inadmissible" must be read together with other principles: 

"Namely, that no legal right shall spring from a wrong, and the Charter principle that the Members of the United Nations shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State."[4]
Resolution 242 immediately follows to emphasize the "need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every state in the area can live in security." 

While Resolution 242 may call upon Israel to withdraw from territory it captured during the war, the UN recognized that Israel cannot return to the non-secure borders existing before the Six-Day War that invited aggression - frontiers that the usually mild-mannered and eloquent former Israeli diplomat, the late Abba Eban, branded "Auschwitz borders." 

The Meaning of the Words "All" & "The"

As noted above, the UN adopted Resolution 242 in late November 1967, five months after the Six-Day War ended. It took that long because intense and deliberate negotiations were needed to carefully craft a document that met the Arabs' demand for a return of land, and Israel's requirement that the Arabs recognize Israel's legitimacy, to make a lasting peace.
It also took that long because each word in the resolution was deliberately chosen and certain words were deliberately omitted, according to negotiators who drafted the resolution. 

So although Arab officials claim Resolution 242 requires Israel to withdraw from all territory it captured in June 1967, nowhere in the resolution is that demand delineated. Nor did those involved in the negotiations and drafting of the resolution want such a requirement. Instead, they say Resolution 242 explicitly and intentionally omitted the terms 'the territories' or 'all territories.' 

The wording of UN Resolution 242 clearly reflects the contention that none of the territories were occupied territories taken by force in an unjust war. 

Because the Arabs were clearly the aggressors, nowhere in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 is Israel branded as an invader or unlawful occupier of the territories. 

The minutes of the six month 'debate' over the wording of Resolution 242, as noted above, showing that draft resolutions attempted to brand Israel an aggressor and illegal occupier as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War, were all defeated by either the UN General Assembly or the Security Council.

Professor Eugene Rostow, then U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, went on record in 1991 to make this clear:
"Resolution 242, which as undersecretary of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969 I helped produce, calls on the parties to make peace and allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until 'a just and lasting peace in the Middle East' is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is required to withdraw its armed forces 'from territories' it occupied during the Six-Day War - not from 'the' territories nor from 'all' the territories, but from some of the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip."
Professor Rostow continues and describes:
"Five-and-a-half months of vehement public diplomacy in 1967 made it perfectly clear what the missing definite article in Resolution 242 means. Ingeniously drafted resolutions calling for withdrawals from 'all' the territories were defeated in the Security Council and the General Assembly. Speaker after speaker made it explicit that Israel was not to be forced back to the 'fragile' and 'vulnerable' Armistice Demarcation Lines ['Green Line'], but should retire once peace was made to what Resolution 242 called 'secure and recognized' boundaries ..."[5]
Lord Caradon, then the United Kingdom Ambassador to the UN and the key drafter of the resolution, said several years later:
"We knew that the boundaries of '67 were not drawn as permanent frontiers; they were a cease-fire line of a couple decades earlier. We did not say the '67 boundaries must be forever."
Referring to Resolution 242, Lord Caradon added:
"The essential phrase which is not sufficiently recognized is that withdrawal should take place to secure and recognized boundaries, and these words were very carefully chosen: they have to be secure and they have to be recognized. They will not be secure unless they are recognized. And that is why one has to work for agreement. This is essential. I would defend absolutely what we did. It was not for us to lay down exactly where the border should be. I know the 1967 border very well. It is not a satisfactory border, it is where troops had to stop in 1947, just where they happened to be that night, that is not a permanent boundary ... " [6]
In a 1974 statement he said:
"It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of 4 June 1967. ... That's why we didn't demand that the Israelis return to them and I think we were right not to."[7]
It is true, as Arab leaders correctly note, that certain suggested drafts of Resolution 242 exist that contain that tiny controversial "the" in reference to territories. Arab leaders say this proves that Israel must withdraw from all territories captured in 1967. However, those versions of the resolution are in French. Under international law, English-language versions are followed and accepted as the conclusive reference point, and French versions are not. 

Arthur J. Goldberg,[8] the U.S. Ambassador to the UN in 1967 and a key draftee of Resolution 242, stated:
"The notable omissions in language used to refer to withdrawal are the words the, all, and the June 5, 1967 lines . I refer to the English text of the resolution. The French and Soviet texts differ from the English in this respect, but the English text was voted on by the Security Council, and thus it is determinative. In other words, there is lacking a declaration requiring Israel to withdraw from the (or all the) territories occupied by it on and after June 5, 1967. Instead, the resolution stipulates withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal. And it can be inferred from the incorporation of the words secure and recognized boundaries that the territorial adjustments to be made by the parties in their peace settlements could encompass less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territories." [9]
Political figures and international jurists have discussed the existence of "permissible" or "legal occupations." In a seminal article on this question, entitled What Weight to Conquest, Professor, Judge Schwebel wrote:
"A state [Israel] acting in lawful exercise of its right of self-defense may seize and occupy foreign territory as long as such seizure and occupation are necessary to its self-defense. ... Where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense has, against that prior holder, better title.

"As between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967, on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively, in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has the better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem, than do Jordan and Egypt." [10]
Professor Julius Stone, a leading authority on the Law of Nations, has concurred, further clarifying:
"Territorial Rights Under International Law. ... By their [Arab countries] armed attacks against the State of Israel in 1948, 1967, and 1973, and by various acts of belligerency throughout this period, these Arab states flouted their basic obligations as United Nations members to refrain from threat or use of force against Israel's territorial integrity and political independence. These acts were in flagrant violation inter alia of Article 2(4) and paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of the same article."[11]
If the West Bank and Gaza were indeed occupied territory - belonging to someone else and unjustly seized by force - there could be no grounds for negotiating new borders.
The Drafting History of 242 Shows it Pertains to all Refugees - Jewish and Arab
Lastly, Resolution 242 speaks of "a just settlement of the refugee problem," not 'the Palestinian or Arab refugee problem.' The history of the resolution shows that it was intentional and reflected recognition that the Arab-Israeli conflict created two refugee populations, not one. Parallel to the estimated 600,000 Arabs who left Israel, more than 899,000[12] Jews fled from Arab countries in the aftermath of the 1948 war - 650,000 of them finding asylum in Israel. 

A history of the behind-the-scenes work drafting the resolution shows that the former Soviet Union Ambassador Vasiliy Vasilyevich Kuznetsov sought to restrict the term 'just settlement' to Palestinian refugees only. But former U.S. Justice Arthur J. Goldberg, the American Ambassador to the UN who played a key role in the ultimate language adopted, pointed out:
"A notable omission in 242 is any reference to Palestinians, a Palestinian state on the West Bank or the PLO. The resolution addresses the objective of 'achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem.' This language presumably refers both to Arab and Jewish refugees, for about an equal number of each abandoned their homes as a result of the several wars." [13]
Appendix A - UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967)
of 22 November 1967
The Security Council,

Expressing its continuing concern with the grave situation in the Middle East,

Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,

Emphasizing further that all Member States in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter,

1. Affirms that the fulfilment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;

(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

2. Affirms further the necessity

(a) For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;

(b) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;

(c) For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;

3. Requests the Secretary-General to designate a Special Representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution;

4. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the progress of the efforts of the Special Representative as soon as possible.
Adopted unanimously at the 1382 meeting

[1] Israel's pre-1967 borders reflected the deployment of Israeli and Arab forces on the ground after Israel's War of Independence in 1948. Professor Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, the former President of the International Court of Justice clarified in his writings Justice in International Law that the 1949 armistice demarcation lines are not permanent borders: "The armistice agreements of 1949 expressly preserved the territorial claims of all parties and did not purport to establish definitive boundaries between them."
The boundaries were labeled the "Green Line" merely because a green pencil was used to draw the map of the armistice borders.
[2] See Appendix "A" - full text of UN Resolution 242. [3] Disputed Territories: Forgotten Facts about the West Bank and Gaza Strip, MFA, February 2003,[4] Judge Schwebel, "What Weight to Conquest?" in Justice in International Law, Cambridge University Press, 1994. Opinions quoted in this article are not derived from his position as a judge of the ICJ. [5] Professor Eugene V. Rostow, The Future of Palestine, Institute for National Strategic Studies, November 1993. Professor Rostow was Sterling Professor of Law and Public Affairs Emeritus at Yale University and served as the Dean of Yale Law School (1955-66); Distinguished Research Professor of Law and Diplomacy, National Defense University; Adjunct Fellow, American Enterprise Institute. In 1967 as U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs he become a key draftee of the UN Security Council Resolution 242. [6] Lord Caradon, interviewed on Kol Israel (The Voice of Israel Radio) in February 1973. Lord Caradon (Sir Hugh Foot) was the UK representative to the UN in 1967. His final draft becomes the foundation for UN Resolution 242.[7] Lord Caradon to the Beirut Daily Star on 12 June 1974.
[8] Arthur J.Goldberg, was a professor of law at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. He was appointed in 1962 to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1965 he was appointed U.S. representative to the United Nations. Judge Goldberg was a key draftee of UN Resolution 242. [9] Judge Goldberg. U.N. Resolution 242: Origin, Meaning, and Significance. National Committee on American Foreign Policy. See article at: (10159)[10] Professor, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, "What Weight to Conquest?" in Justice in International Law, Cambridge University Press, 1994. Opinions quoted in this critiques are not derived from his position as a judge of the ICJ.[11] Professor Julius Stone, Israel and Palestine, Assault on the Law of Nations The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981. [12] The New York Times. "Jews in Grave Danger in all Moslem Lands" May 19, 1948.[13] Judge Goldberg, Resolution 242 After Twenty Years at: (10789)
This document uses extensive links via the Internet. If you experience a broken link, please note the 5 digit number (xxxxx) at the end of the URL and use it as a Keyword in the Search Box at:

Eli E. Hertz


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Obama, Democrats and the Jews

by Isi Leibler

The disproportionately high profile of American Jews in the U.S. presidential election contest and the efforts invested by both candidates portraying themselves as supportive of the Jewish state has assumed surrealistic levels.

Overall, Israel's standing in the U.S. today is at an all-time high. Yet, the Democratic convention spotlighted the emergence of a hostile anti-Israeli component of the party, which threatens to undermine the long-standing bipartisan support of Israel exemplified by the standing ovations Netanyahu received during his May 2011 address to Congress.

Economic issues will invariably be the dominant factor influencing voters and most American Jews will base their political choice on a multi-dimensional basket of issues. But the majority would like to be assured of the well-being of the Jewish state and expect their president to behave toward Israel as an ally and be sensitive to its security requirements.

Although most Jews continue to support Obama, growing numbers, especially the Orthodox, have concluded that on the basis of his tortuous Cairo speech and his earlier diplomatic battering of Israel, he is more committed to the Palestinian than the Israeli narrative and will vote against him. 

With the impending elections, Obama launched a concerted charm offensive to avoid further defections from his Jewish constituency. He repeated that he will “always have Israel’s back”, emphasized his exemplary record in strengthening Israel’s defense capabilities and reiterated that he had delivered the most pro-Israeli speech at the U.N., unprecedented by any U.S. president. 

Initially, it seemed he was succeeding. But subsequently, Jewish angst was revived by numerous aspects of Obama’s behavior. There are intensified doubts regarding his genuine intention to resort to the military option if needed to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. These anxieties were reinforced by Obama’s failure to repudiate the intimidating rhetoric from Administration spokesmen conveying veiled threats against Israel acting independently, especially the offensive remark by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, who did not wish “to be complicit” if Israel acted against Iran’s nuclear project.

Another cause for concern was the cozy U.S. relationship with Turkey in which the U.S. surrendered to their demands to exclude Israel from joint military exercises or even participate in a conference on global terrorism. There was also Obama’s failure to adequately condemn the Nonaligned Movement summit which endorsed Iran’s nuclear policy, appointed a Holocaust denier as its new head and whose representatives from 120 countries listened politely to the genocidal ravings of their Iranian hosts. 

But the most chilling message was the elimination of pro-Israel components from the current Democratic Party Platform. In particular, the deletion of all reference to recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — which conformed to the policy of the Administration. After a huge outcry and following three calls for approval from delegates, it was clumsily reinserted, provoking a flood of audible boos from many delegates. 

But other key clauses relating to Israel were not restored. These included reference to “Israel, our most reliable Middle East ally”, condemning Hamas, rejecting a return to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines and calling for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to be resettled in a Palestinian state rather than in Israel. Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin described this platform as “the most radically unsupportive statement of policy on Israel by any major party since the founding of the state of Israel.”

Subsequently, Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s harsh dismissal of Israel’s plea to draw red lines in relation to moving beyond sanctions combined with the president’s refusal to meet Netanyahu during his visit to New York, served to heighten tensions with Israel even before the elections. It also provided a chilling projection of what to expect from a second Obama term. 

Why don’t Jews abandon a party that is, at best, ambivalent toward the Jewish state? 

The reality for most American Jews is that since the era of President Franklin Roosevelt, their bond with the Democratic Party is embedded in their political DNA and even considered a quasi-religion. 

Yet it is likely that President Barack Obama would have acted even more harshly against Israel were Jews not such an important component of the Democratic Party. There is therefore a positive aspect to ongoing Jewish involvement to retain existing Democratic congressional bipartisan support — in the absence of which Israel’s defense infrastructure would erode and the international community would undoubtedly throw us to the wolves. 

So when influential pro-Israeli Democratic congressmen or prominent Jewish Democrats like Stuart Eizenstat or Dennis Ross retain their party affiliation, even those disagreeing with them should be relieved that within this prevailing dangerous Democratic political terrain there remain influential Jews willing to combat those seeking to distance the U.S. from its traditional alliance with Israel.

Alan Dershowitz exemplifies this. He is a devoted champion of Israel who recently reaffirmed his support of Obama despite having previously condemned his policies, even comparing him to Chamberlain. 

To his credit, Dershowitz condemned the Democratic Party platform and even after the amendments told the Algemeiner that he was bitter “not only with regard to Jerusalem”, but also with the other crucial issues which were not reinstated. He accused “rogue elements” within the Democratic Party, from Arab-Americans to anti-Israeli Jews, of seeking to undermine “the bipartisan support for Israel which characterized American politics since 1948” and destroy the U.S.-Israel alliance. He vowed to convey this to the president who he hoped would “make statements prior to the elections reaffirming the contents of his 2008 platform.” 

Thus, even those who would aspire to see more Jews demonstrating displeasure with Obama at the polls should realize that it is a disservice to Israel to demonize Democratic supporters like Dershowitz if they speak up and protest against anti-Israeli policies. 

This is not an endorsement of those who argue that Jews should avoid regarding Israel as a wedge issue in the elections. It is precisely during the election season that American Jews should maximize their democratic right to influence policy by responsibly criticizing and objecting to policies they consider to be flawed or immoral. 

Indeed, to ensure that politicians take greater account of Jewish sensitivities, one would expect mainstream American Jewish leaders, whilst remaining apolitical, to speak out far more aggressively against any party which adopts anti-Israeli positions, whether Democrat or Republican.

This applies especially now, despite that if re-elected, Obama is capable — as he was following the last elections — of reneging on his undertakings. Indeed, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently unblushingly told an international journalist that like all politicians, Obama’s remarks about Israel prior to elections should not be taken too seriously.

Indicators suggest that the majority of Jews will continue to vote for Obama but despite conflicting polls, an increasing minority, especially the most committed, is likely to oppose him and may well provide the lowest level of support for a Democratic president since Carter. 

In addition, many Jews, unwilling to sever their umbilical cord with the Democratic Party, may well continue supporting their Democratic congressional representative yet oppose Obama at the presidential poll — which would actually serve to reinforce bipartisanship toward Israel, currently under siege.

Isi Leibler's website can be viewed at He may be contacted at


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Will the World Heed Netanyahu’s Warning?

by Jonathan S. Tobin

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations today centered on trying to convince the world that a red line needs to be drawn to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. To do that he literally drew a red line on a cartoon picture of a bomb. To the chattering classes following the speech on Twitter, this was a joke. But the reaction to the simplistic bomb diagram illustrated Netanyahu’s problem perfectly. Iran is getting closer every day to achieving its nuclear ambition. In response, world leaders, like President Obama, talk about the need to stop Tehran and even pledge not to contemplate containment of a nuclear Iran. But unless they make it as clear as that red marker line on the diagram, they will fail.

That is the key issue. Netanyahu thanked President Obama for his promises on Iran, but pointed out that without a red line that will make it clear that Iran will not be allowed to accumulate enough uranium to build a bomb, such pledges are meaningless. The Israeli’s frustration stems from the fact that an international consensus about an Iranian bomb being a bad thing won’t stop it from happening. The complacent attitude that always thinks failed diplomacy and ineffective sanctions can be given more time is a guarantee of such failure.

Critics will claim that Netanyahu’s description of Iran’s enrichment process doesn’t tell the whole truth because they believe that the uranium accumulated so far isn’t of weapons grade material. But, as the UN’s own investigative body, the International Atomic Energy Agency has reported, the progress made in the last year makes the advances Netanyahu discussed quite realistic.

The wiseacres can laugh all they like about Netanyahu’s cartoon. But the facts that it represents cannot be dismissed with witticisms. Talk about Iran not backed up with clear warnings is exactly what the ayatollahs are counting on.

Jonathan S. Tobin


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How Irrelevant Are the Palestinians? Very.

by Jonathan S. Tobin

The key phrase in Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly today didn’t mention Israel. He had promised Jewish leaders he would recognize Jewish rights to the land that is disputed by Israelis and Palestinians. He moved a little closer to such recognition with his mention of the ties of the three monotheistic religions to the country and did say he didn’t want to delegitimize Israel–though much of his speech was clearly aiming at just such a goal. But the most important sentence was the one where he complained about the Palestinians being moved “to the bottom of the global agenda.” He then went on to claim that the PA alone was the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians and that there could not be two such bodies.

It was those sentences, in which he vainly banged his head against the wall of world indifference to his cause, that were telling. The fact is the Palestinians are at the bottom of the world agenda. That’s because, contrary to his boast, the PA is a corrupt, ineffective state which doesn’t control all of the territory it claims since Gaza is ruled by Hamas. Thus, while much of the world applauds Abbas’s imprecation of Israel as a racist, colonialist state and his outright lies about the fomenting of hatred that his government promotes, they have no interest in supporting him. It was for that reason that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu gave Abbas’s speech barely a mention as he went on to concentrate on his country’s real problem: a nuclear Iran.

Abbas’s unhappy acknowledgement of the world’s opinion of the PA summed up exactly why the “diplomatic tsunami” that was supposed to engulf Israel last fall never happened. The global community may not like Israel and is not enraged by the anti-Semitic incitement that the Palestinians routinely produce. But they know that Abbas can’t make peace with Israel and won’t negotiate with it to create a state that will, as Netanyahu said, recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state. They also know the PA is incapable of governing such a state and that Abbas, in the eighth year of his current four-year term as president, fears that Hamas will supplant him if given the chance.

The Palestinian issue is one that the world cares about. But it doesn’t care about the PA. That is why they are on the bottom of the global agenda and will stay there so long as they produce leaders such as Abbas.

Jonathan S. Tobin


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US and Europe's "Oneness" Integration Project

by Daniel Greenfield

Being "one with the tiger" is a popular goal in the modern world, and our leaders are forever leaping into tiger dens in the hopes of becoming one with the beast.
In the Bronx Zoo, David Villalobos was rescued from a tiger den after leaping inside to, in his own words, "Be one with the tiger."

Being "one with the tiger" is a popular goal in the modern world, and our leaders are forever leaping into tiger dens in the hopes of becoming one with the beast. These leaps of faith end about as well as they did for Villalobos who was mauled by the tiger, but like Villalobos they never seem to draw the proper conclusions about the dangerous nature of tigers.

British, French and German leaders did not hop into tiger enclosures in the London Zoo, the Parc Zoologique de Paris and the Berlin Zoological Garden. Instead they turned these cities into open air safaris where the natives were encouraged to mingle with the tigers. The multicultural safari has not been going well, with the tigers mangling the natives, burning their cars and chewing on their police officers. The European Union zookeepers have been wondering loudly what they can do to fix their oneness integration project, while releasing still more tigers into the streets of London, Paris and Berlin.

The United States did not jump into a tiger den in the Bronx Zoo. That would have been fairly sane compared to its leap into Libya. With the Arab Spring, the tigers were freed and men like Christopher Stevens jumped inside. The bloody marks on the walls of the Benghazi consulate are a grim reminder of what tigers eventually do to the men who move into their dens.

In his Cairo speech, Obama let the Muslim world know that he wanted us to be one with the tiger.
"I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles."

Three hundred million Americans and one billion Muslims would no longer be exclusive; they would overlap, like a plane overlapping with a skyscraper, a bomb overlapping with a consulate and a falling man overlapping with the open mouth of a tiger.

Oneness is a noble goal, but unlike seeking oneness with the universe, when seeking oneness with a tiger it is best to consider the terms on which that oneness will be achieved. While the man's idea of becoming one with the tiger is to give it a big hug, the tiger's idea of becoming one with the man is to devour him. Both are forms of oneness but only of them is survivable for the man.

The Islamist mobs burning embassies, smashing cars and assaulting police officers are the tiger's growl warning us of the terms on which that overlapping oneness will occur. Islamist rulers in Turkey and Egypt are giving interviews telling us that oneness with them will depend on our willingness to accept their values and laws. The question is whether, like Villalobos, we will be as besotted with the tiger as to accept oneness with it on those devouring terms.

There is a Chinese proverb that says, "If you ride a tiger, it is difficult to get off." Riding the tiger is difficult enough, but getting off it is even harder.

The United States leaped on the back of the tiger when it began its dangerous relationship with Saudi Arabia. Europe tumbled on when it allowed itself to be flooded with Muslim immigrants who established Islamist mosques and schools in its cities. Both the United States and Europe have been mauled by the tiger, but still believe that there is nothing to do but to go on riding the beast deeper into the jungle until it becomes convinced of our common overlapping values and stops trying to eat us.

The deeper we go into the darkness, the harder it is to tell whether we are riding the tiger or the tiger is riding us. As newspapers tremble at the thought of a Mohammed cartoon and government officials beg YouTube to take down a Mohammed trailer that offends the tiger, it seems as if the tiger is riding us.

According to police detectives, Villalobos became obsessed with tigers. The West has in its own way become obsessed with the Muslim world. Westerners going off to seek oneness with the mysterious east are not a new phenomenon, but a hundred years ago they did not drag entire countries and civilizations them with into the tiger's maw. Today the new Lawrences of Arabia are no longer playing with Eastern empires; they are trifling with the survival of the West.

When Villalobos jumped into the tiger's den, there were police officers and zookeepers there to rescue him. But as the West leaps into the tiger's den, who will be there to save us?

Daniel Greenfield


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Muslim ‘Offenses’ Are About Power, Not Words

by Fjordman

The historian Nils Rune Langeland, a Professor at the University of Stavanger in Norway, dared to make some statements about possible future conflicts caused by Multiculturalism and mass immigration that the establishment, self-appointed guardians of Goodness, did not like. Frithjof Jacobsen, formerly the vocalist in a hard rock band and currently the leader of newspaper VG’s regular columnists, toyed in a column with the idea that maybe the security services should quietly search the flat of Mr. Langeland. He even suggested that the good Professor perhaps deserved to be “tarred and feathered” for his views.

This full-length essay was published in the country’s arguably most powerful newspaper and was illustrated by a drawing made by respected illustrator Roar Hagen, showing the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) spying on a brain filled with ideas about an Islamic threat to Europe and the Western world. Columnist Jacobsen furthermore wrote that Anders Behring Breivik’s mass murder was simply the “natural product” of mudslingers on the Internet who tirelessly keep repeating the same otherworldly tales about a supposed Islamic threat to our societies. In his opinion, using Breivik’s atrocities to confront people harboring such opinions is “completely natural,” since their criticism of Islamic aggression and terrorism means that they “share opinions with terrorists and murderers.”

Frithjof Jacobsen suggested that one of these dangerous and extremist ideas that should be confronted and possibly lead to closer personal surveillance by the country’s security services is the use of the term “dhimmi.” Yet this is a perfectly acceptable Arabic word that has been part and parcel of Islamic vocabulary and mentality for over a thousand years. Mr. Jacobsen thus first and foremost betrayed his own profound ignorance and mistook this for tolerance, which is a fairly common flaw for his kind of people.

Dhimmis are non-Muslims under Islamic rule who are not just second-rate citizens in their own country but could almost be described as non-citizens, lacking basic rights and protection for themselves and their families in many situations. Dhimmis are supposed to be subservient and obedient to Muslims at all times and are required to forever pay them substantial amounts of protection money, jizya, in “willing submission” to Islamic rule.

Muslims love to portray themselves as innocent, blameless victims and predictably complain after nearly every Jihadist terror attack that all Muslims should not be punished for the actions of a few individuals. However, they carefully leave out the fact that this is precisely what their own Islamic law and logic dictates for non-Muslims.

If even one non-Muslim dhimmi says or does something that displeases a Muslim, this can and sometimes does trigger violent retribution against his entire community. In practice, a mere rumor falsely planted by a Muslim who holds a personal grudge against a specific non-Muslim can be enough to trigger riots, murder and mayhem. This means that non-Muslims in countries harboring sizable Muslim populations live under a constant shadow of fear of Muslim violence and abuse. If one of them at any given time says something critical of Islam or its founder, this can trigger violent attacks and murder against his entire clan, tribe or nation based on the flimsiest excuse.

What Western mass media have nearly universally failed to point out is that Muslims have now advanced to the point where they treat the entire Western world as dhimmis, hostages to Muslim abuse and threats of violence. On September 11th 2012, the anniversary of the 9/11 Jihadist attacks against the USA, Muslim mobs attacked several American embassies in the Middle East and killed the US Ambassador in Libya, Christopher Stevens. Evidence indicates that this attack had been planned in advance.

In multiple Middle Eastern cities, crowds shouted slogans in praise of Osama bin Laden, whose terror network al-Qaida killed thousands of Americans on September 11th 2001. The date was no doubt chosen to mock the USA and show continued support for Jihad against the West, yet the pretext for these attacks was an obscure movie made under unclear circumstances in the USA that was considered offensive to Muslims. Western media who present this movie, Innocence of Muslims, as the “cause” or direct trigger of these attacks fail to note that Muslims will pick up any pretext to riot. They have been known to make complaints and threats to hamburger stores or coffee shops because they claimed to have seen hidden references to the words Allah or Muhammed in their products. Muslims are skinless people in a sandpaper world, as one observer once put it. Their feelings would always be “hurt” by something even if we removed all offensive cartoons and movies on the planet. This is about power, fear, dominance and Islamic aggression.

When Muslims worldwide use violent riots as tools of intimidation and blackmail in response to what a few individuals in one Western countries have done, they are in effect treating the entire Western world just like they treat the abused Christians in their home countries, or other religious minorities that have not yet been persecuted into non-existence. It is remarkable how most Western mass media and political commentators have systematically failed to point this creeping dhimmitude out to the public.

VG’s column by Frithjof Jacobsen was published on September 17th 2012, after nearly a week of angry Muslim protests and deadly riots which were still spreading to different countries around the world. Not only did the newspaper fail to point out that Muslims are increasingly treating Europeans and Westerners as dhimmis. On the contrary, Mr. Jacobsen went far in suggesting that those mentioning the very term “dhimmi” are suffering from delusional paranoia, are extremists and perhaps potential terrorists who should possibly be put under surveillance by the security services.

This is not a unique case, either. Another one of VG’s regular columnists, Anders Giæver, previously claimed that my readers react as strongly to any criticism as Muslims do to any criticism or mockery of their Prophet Mohammed. Giæver has some explaining to do after September 2012, when Muslims were attacking embassies and killing people in various countries while none of my readers seem to be doing the same. He is wise enough to remain silent on his matter, though — or perhaps we should say cowardly enough.

I have some positive things to say about VG’s debate editor Elisabeth Skarsbø Moen. VG have, for the most part at least, allowed me to reply to statements about me in their newspaper. This is, strictly speaking, only fair and in accordance with their own ethical guidelines, but I know from experience that some media don’t follow their own guidelines. Elisabeth Skarsbø Moen is willing to write sarcastic comments about “angry white men,” but seems more reluctant to write about angry Muslim men in the same manner.

On the negative side, however, she and her newspaper often cut out elements of my essays without asking me first, despite prior assurances that they would not do this. I have noticed that the newspaper tends to cut out references or quotes indicating that Islam itself, not just “radical Islamists,” might present a problem. They also cut out a reference made by me to the fact that Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the powerful spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, supports marriage with children based on the fact that Muhammed himself had sexual relations with his child wife Aisha when she was just nine years old.

Skarsbø Moen told me by email that they would not allow such statements to be published in their newspaper. However, theologically speaking this is a fact. It says so in the most revered hadith collections for a billion Sunni Muslims, and the Shias have similar traditions of their own. That is why the Islamic Republic of Iran under Khomeini after the revolution in 1979 lowered the legal marriage age of girls to just 9 years.

VG’s staff thus actively censors critical — but factually correct — information regarding Islam and Islamic practices, yet at the same time mock writers suggesting that such censorship exists. This represents a pattern of submission and hypocrisy that has sadly become all too familiar among Western mass media today.



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