Friday, August 2, 2013

Fixing Palestine

by Shoshana Bryen

The greatest success of the Arab States against Israel (there aren't many) has been to change the terms of reference. In 1947, the Arabs unanimously rejected the UN Partition Plan for Palestine and in 1948 attacked Israel, Goliath against David. Through 1956, 1967, and 1973 Israel was understood to be on the receiving end of the enormous wealth, fury and rejection of the Arab States -- hence the name, "Arab-Israel conflict." But with the exercise of the Arab oil weapon international priorities were transformed, the first priority being not to irritate Saudi Arabia. The Arab States let themselves off the hook, passing the onus of rejectionist thuggery on to Israel, the Goliathite aggressor against the Davidish Palestinians. Now there is the "Palestinian-Israeli conflict," reflecting the preference of the Arab States and priorities of Washington. 

To read the Washington newspapers this week, which are representative, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are meeting under the auspices of the American government to make Palestine. The Palestinians and Secretary of State John Kerry allowed it to be known that the Israelis were asked/pushed/threatened to provide a prisoner release, a settlement freeze, and a commitment to begin negotiations on the 1949 Armistice Line (the so-called 1967 border). The Palestinians were asked to provide... well, nothing, actually because that's not the issue.

The Washington Post subhead on page one read, "Jewish Settlements Pose Major Test." It could equally have read, "Palestinian Veneration of Terrorists Dalal Mugrahi, Wafa Idriss, Um Nadal and Ahlam al Tamimi Poses Major Test." Or "Fatah's Lack of Authority to Negotiate on behalf of Hamas or Gaza Poses Major Test." Or "Abbas's Announcement that No Jews will be Allowed in Palestine Poses Major Test."

Its competitor, The Washington Times, listed five substantive issues for discussion:
The final borders of an independent Palestinian State.
Security guarantees for Israel and the composition of a future Palestinian security force.
The status of Jerusalem, which each side claims.
The limits of the "right of return" for Palestinians who left following the formation of Israel in 1948 and their families.
The future of Jewish settlements on land claimed by the Palestinians.
The image emerges of Palestinians who need to claim their state and their rights from Israel. Israel, it appears, has no corresponding claims on the Palestinians. But each Washington Times issue should be turned the other way around to protect Israel's claims:
Israel is entitled to the "secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force" that are the promise of UN Resolution 242. That obligation accrues to the Arab States that made war against Israel in 1967 and Israel is entitled to have them end it.
Israel is entitled to an end to the Palestinian and Arab state of war against it. An agreement that leaves Israel in need of outside "guarantees" indicates that the U.S. believes Israel should plan to be no more secure, and may in fact be less secure, than it is now.
Israel is entitled to protection of Jewish rights in Jerusalem. Having accepted the 1947 UN decision to make Jerusalem corpus separatum, Israel lost access to the Holy City and lost much of Jewish patrimony there to the illegal Jordanian occupation.
Israel is entitled to redress for more than 800,000 Jews, some of whose families had resided in Arab countries for a millennium, who were made refugees in the mid-20th Century by the Arab States.
Israel is entitled to the legitimation of its sovereignty. Official Palestinian maps, and textbooks in PA schools, indicate that Tel Aviv, Netanya and Ashkelon are all Jewish "settlements."
The special American envoy to the talks, Martin Indyk, is a purveyor of the theme that Israel is required to "fix" the Palestinian problem. In an IDF radio interview more than a year ago, Indyk said, "I think that the heart of the matter is that the maximum concession that this government of Israel would be prepared to make, fall far short of the minimum requirements that Abu Mazen will insist on."

The "heart of the matter" is that Israel can't give enough to make the Palestinians happy. What are the Palestinians offering to make Israel happy? Where is the Palestinian "concession" to Israel's legitimacy, security and peace? What if the Palestinian offer falls "far short of the minimum requirements" that the Government of Israel will insist upon? It doesn't appear to have crossed his mind.

Former diplomat and envoy to many, many "peace talks," Aaron David Miller, wrote recently about clues to watch for during the talks and favors written texts, outlines and maps. "Maps, perhaps more than any other single element... are a critical sign of seriousness or lack of seriousness. If we're talking borders, then maps, particularly those presented by Israel, will become an early test of whether this is serious."

He is almost right.

Maps presented by Israel, however, are already a fairly well known quantity. They will look more or less, give or take, like the outline of the West Bank (and Gaza under some future circumstance) with the "major settlement blocs" ending up inside Israel. The better question -- and the better test of seriousness -- is whether the Palestinians come with a map and where they place the sovereign State of Israel on that map.

Without sharper focus on Israel's rights and requirements as well as Palestinian interests and goals the process deserves to fail.

Shoshana Bryen


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

Ramallah vs. the "Peace Process"

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Abbas may be conducting peace talks with Israel, but at the same time he is also backing campaigns that promote boycotts and hatred of Israel. What Secretary Kerry and the U.S. need to understand is that Abbas has failed to prepare his people for the possibility of peace.
If Mahmoud Abbas does not have the power or courage to allow an Israel-based clothing shop to open branch near his residence in Ramallah, how will he ever be able to make peace with Israel?

This is the question some Palestinian businessmen have been asking during the past few days in light of an organized campaign to prevent the Fox clothing chain from opening a store in the city.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's strenuous efforts to resume peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority led two Israeli Arab businessmen to take the initiative and open the first Fox store in the West Bank.

After investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovations and the training of employees, the two businessmen soon found themselves at the center of a protest organized by "Anti-normalization" activists and journalists.

Opening soon in Ramallah? A Fox clothing store in Israel. (Source: Tzvia/Wikimedia Commons)

Facing daily threats, the two entrepreneurs decided to call off the project, which would have provided jobs to nearly 150 Palestinians.

Although the Palestinian Authority gave permission to the two businessmen to open the Ramallah Fox branch, it was yet unable to do anything to protect them against the threats, including calls for fire-bombing the store.

The opening of a clothing store in Ramallah may be a minor issue, especially compared with the major and explosive issues facing Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.

But this incident, in which a clothing shop is forced -- under threats -- to withdraw plans to open branch in a Palestinian city, is an indication of what awaits Abbas if and when he dares to reach any agreement with Israel.

The same "anti-normalization" movement which Abbas supports will be the first to turn against him if he strikes a deal with Israel.

Although Fox clothes are immensely popular among young Palestinian men and women, the fashion retailer did not have a branch in the West Bank or Gaza Strip.

While many Palestinian merchants have been quietly selling Fox clothes in several Palestinian cities, they are particularly afraid of the strong "anti-normalization" movement that prohibits any form of contact with Israelis.

Ironically, this movement is fully supported by the same Palestinian Authority and Fatah leaders whose leaders do not hesitate to conduct public meetings with Israelis, in addition to security coordination with the Israel Defense Forces in the West Bank.

Just this week, senior Fatah officials were invited to the Knesset for talks with Israeli colleagues about peace and coexistence; and earlier, Fatah leaders in Ramallah hosted scores of Israeli politicians, including members of the Likud and Shas parties, to an event organized by the joint Israeli-Palestinian Geneva Initiative group.

The campaign against the opening of a Fox store in Ramallah also coincided with the launching of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Washington.

While Palestinian activists were busy threatening the owners of the clothing store, their representatives, Saeb Erekat and Mohamed Shtayyeh, were sitting with Israeli minister Tzipi Livni in Washington and talking about ways of achieving peace and coexistence between the two sides.

What Kerry and the U.S. Administration need to understand is that Abbas has failed to prepare his people for the possibility of peace with Israel. Abbas may be conducting peace talks with Israel, but at the same time he is also backing campaigns that promote boycotts and hatred of Israel. It is important to talk peace. But it is even more important to educate people about peace -- something that neither Yasser Arafat nor his successor, Abbas, have done for the past two decades.

Khaled Abu Toameh


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Hamas Can’t Be Wished Away in Gaza

by Jonathan S. Tobin

Even optimists about the new round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks acknowledge that the Hamas problem makes it difficult to imagine an actual agreement coming out of the negotiations. So long as Gaza is ruled by Hamas and Hamas is unwilling to recognize Israel’s existence, let alone its legitimacy, how could any accord survive? But some are seeking to downplay this all-too-obvious flaw in Secretary of State John Kerry’s reasoning in making his diplomatic push by arguing that the Islamist rulers of Gaza (which contains 40 percent of the Arab population of the disputed territories) are either weak or about to fall.

The glass-half-full peace process scenario seems to rest on the assumption that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas will get a major boost in popularity if he is able to win, with the help of American pressure, an Israeli withdrawal and an independent state. The hope is that this will render Hamas’s opposition ineffective. An even more wildly optimistic scenario goes so far as to envisage Hamas falling from power or becoming so weak that talk of a merger with Fatah becomes a reality, thus ending the Palestinian schism and easing the way to peace.

Unfortunately, this sort of optimism tells us more about the desire on the part of some in both the United States and Israel to ignore the reality of Palestinian politics than it does about the possibility of regime change in Gaza. For example, even if we take all the assertions in veteran Israeli journalist and author Ehud Yaari’s analysis of the situation in Gaza in the New Republic at face value, there is very little reason to believe that the downturn in Hamas’s fortunes will be translated into it being more amenable to peace or a genuine chance that it will loosen its hold on power.

Yaari is right when he asserts this isn’t the best of times for the Hamas regime. The fall of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt is a body blow to the Palestinian group that traces its own origins back to that organization. Though relations with the recently toppled Morsi government were not always smooth, his military successors are openly hostile to Hamas. They have not only shut down the border with Gaza and closed many smuggling tunnels, they have publicly charged Hamas with providing assistance to Brotherhood efforts to subvert the new regime as well as implicating it in violence and murders associated with Morsi’s escape from a Mubarak regime jail in 2011. This has not only deepened its isolation but shut down a vital source of funds.

While significant in and of itself, the loss of Egypt is all the more devastating to Hamas because of its decision to part ways with Iran in the last year. Siding with the Syrian rebels and discarding its formerly close ties with Tehran may have made sense in 2012 for a Hamas that thought it could count on both Egypt and Turkey. Iran was once Hamas’s primary source of both funding and weapons, but the Islamists thought they were better off sticking with the Sunnis against the Shiites. But the ability of the Assad regime to hold onto power in Damascus with the aid of Iran and Hezbollah is making it look as if they backed the wrong horse. With the Turks and the Gulf states that have pledged money to keep Hamas afloat primarily interested in the Syrian struggle these days, Gaza now finds itself more isolated than ever. That has also accentuated the split in the Hamas high command that has always existed between the Gaza leadership and its political bureau abroad.

All this has also strengthened the heretofore-marginal Islamic Jihad terror group that now represents itself as the true face of Palestinian resistance instead of a Hamas that is seen by some radicals as at fault for seeking to preserve the current cease-fire with Israel. As the New York Times reports today, Iran’s increased funding of the group in the wake of its dispute with Hamas over Syria has raised its profile and its ability to compete with the bigger terror group for popularity in Gaza.

But however serious these problems may be, they do not at present constitute anything that comes even close to a mortal threat to Hamas. The group’s iron grip on Gazan society remains undiminished. Though it is broke, even in times of plenty it has always depended on UNRWA, the United Nations agency devoted to aiding and perpetuating the Palestinian refugee problem, to take care of the strip’s poor.

Moreover, Hamas officials are as capable of seeing which way the wind is blowing in the Middle East as anyone else and have launched diplomatic initiatives to get back into Tehran’s good graces. Though these efforts have, as yet, yielded no concrete results, should they deem it necessary, there is little doubt that Hamas will bend to Iran’s will in order to keep themselves afloat.

Moreover, the expectation that the peace talks will sink Hamas’s standing among Palestinians has it backwards. Should the negotiations succeed, Hamas will be well placed to blast Abbas for betraying the refugees and Palestinian hopes of destroying Israel. Should they fail, they will assail him for groveling to the Jews and America. Either way, they are set up to make political hay and mayhem from Kerry’s folly.

The fantasy of Hamas fading away is just that. In spite of its serious problems, the Islamist group is in no imminent danger. The same can’t be said of its Palestinian rivals and no amount of optimism about the talks can change that.
Jonathan S. Tobin


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

"Radicalizing" the Muslim Brotherhood

by Shoshana Bryen

For many people in the Arab world, "democracy" is good and people should vote only because voting can bring the undemocratic Muslim Brotherhood to power. But if voting does not bring the desired outcome -- a Muslim state wedded to Sharia law -- then back to the revolution and the caliphate.
Following another night of violence in Cairo during which 72 people were killed, The New York Times accused the military led government of Abdul Fattah al Sisi of "radicalizing" the Muslim Brotherhood. "For all its stated commitment to democracy and nonviolence, the Brotherhood's only reliable partners now are other Islamist groups whose members may be more willing to use violent or radical tactics -- partners that would tar the Brotherhood's identity as a more pragmatic movement with a broader base."

The poor Brotherhood. It seems, according to The Times, that people it cannot control are pushing it into violence it does not want. Pardon me, but how do you "radicalize" an organization the credo of which is, "Allah is our objective; the Quran is our law, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations"? The Brotherhood was born in violence and knows the value not only of violence, but also of martyrdom. Since its ouster, its leaders have been threatening and inciting violence, hoping to provoke the secular government into killing.
The organization works much the same way Hamas -- the Brotherhood's Palestinian franchise -- does. Hamas implants its military capabilities, storehouses and launch sites in civilian neighborhoods in Gaza. From behind the captive civilians, it fires rockets and missiles at Israeli towns, putting on high alert a million people on who will have exactly 15 seconds to find shelter when the alarm goes off. When the situation becomes intolerable, Israel responds and Hamas wins: if the Israelis are cautious, and there are no civilian casualties, Hamas has terrorized Israel with no consequence. If there are civilian casualties, Hamas wins again, bewailing Israeli brutality in front of Western media.

The wailing and moaning of Cairenes over the Brotherhood dead is similarly suspect. The temporary, albeit decades-long non-violence of the Egyptian Brotherhood was the product of decades of imprisonment and persecution at the hands of secular Egyptian governments, and the knowledge that it would not come to power in Egypt by the sword. But what The Times calls the Brotherhood's "stated commitment to democracy and nonviolence," was belied by its violent and non-democratic year in power, and by its behavior since its ouster.

Coptic Christians have born the brunt of the Brotherhood's disregard for minorities in general and Christians in particular. The Morsi government denied culpability in an attack on April 4, in which four men were killed and homes, a nursery and a church were burned. But video from an April 7 attack on St. Mark's Church , in which two Copts were killed and 84 wounded, show Egyptian security forces ignoring the perpetrators. When it was over, the only people arrested were four Copts. Coptic Christians have been fleeing the country to wherever they can find asylum.

So it may have been out of an interest in self-preservation that the Coptic community supported the ouster of Morsi, and the Coptic Pope Tawadros II agreed to sit on the Interim Council. The Brotherhood, however, has been looking for scapegoats, and at least nine Copts have been killed as the Brotherhood has denounced Christian support for the al Sisi government.

Far from showing itself to be inclusive, the Muslim Brotherhood has denounced the Copts, the liberals and even the Salafists who were part of the anti-Morsi coalition of 2011-12. "These people dare to mock our religion!" shouted Safwat Hegazy, a Brotherhood leader, as reported in the New York Times. "God will punish them."

Far from being "democratic," the Brotherhood simply found the ballot box a convenient mechanism for lifting the better-organized parties to victory in what was more a referendum than an election of competing ideas and competing parties. One young man told reporters, "No more ballot boxes. We used to believe in the caliphate. The international community said we should go with ballot boxes, so we followed that path. But… if ballot boxes don't bring righteousness, we will all go back to demanding a caliphate."

And here, in a single sentence, is the problem not only of Egypt, but of the American desire to implant "democracy" in hostile territory, as if elections were the same thing as democracy instead of just one small part of many institutions, including free speech, equal justice under law, freedom from religion, property rights, and other systems that need to be implanted before elections, not after. For many people in the Arab world, though, "democracy" is good and people should vote only because voting can bring the undemocratic Muslim Brotherhood to power in a way the international community finds acceptable. But if voting does not bring the desired outcome -- a Muslim Brotherhood state wedded to Sharia law -- then back to revolution and the caliphate, "democracy" and the Western world be damned. The Muslim Brotherhood was born radical, and its relative "moderation" was at best a temporary expedient.

This leaves the Obama Administration in a difficult position. Violence by the interim government makes it harder to move Egypt toward the economic and political changes required to keep the country afloat, despite the cash infusions by Saudi Arabia and the UAE. But having lost power and with nothing more to lose, it is the Muslim Brotherhood that is provoking the government. The United States, in this event, should make it clear we will stand by the interim government. The descent of Egypt into violent chaos has to be as unacceptable to Washington as it is to Cairo.

Shoshana Bryen


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

One Million pro-Morsi Protesters, 30 Million Opponents in 1432 July Demos: Democracy Index

by Ahram Online

The Democracy Index publishes an analysis of the pattern of demonstrations in Egypt in July, predicting further violence if a political solution is not reached

Mohammed Morsi
July 26, 2013 file photo released by the Egyptian army, opponents of Egypt's ousted 
President Mohammed Morsi demonstrate at Tahrir Square in Cairo (Photo: AP)
The Democracy Index released, by the International Development Center, Thursday statistics on Egyptian nationwide demonstrations in the month of July, stating there were 1432 demonstrations, with an average of 46 demonstrations a day and two demonstrations every hour. 

The Democracy Index, a body that measures the state of democracy in 167 countries, described July's protests as "one of the biggest waves of demonstrations in Egyptian and international history."

The Index discussed the issue of contested numbers in protests nationwide. It stated that more than 30 million protesters participated in nationwide protests against Mohamed Morsi's rule and the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, demanding their fall and supporting the transitional period.

On the other hand, the Index stated that less than one million protesters nationwide took to the streets in support of Morsi, denouncing what they describe as a military coup on constitutional legitimacy.

The first three days of July, according to the Index, witnessed a sum of 420 protests that ended in the toppling of Morsi from power along with his Cabinet. The numbers of demonstrations then fluctuated throughout the month, with the least number of demonstrations on 10 July, with only 12 demonstrations nationwide, and the most demonstrations on 1 July, where 147 demonstrations took to the streets across the country.

The Democracy Index concludes that Morsi opponents outnumber his supporters by 30 to one. However, despite what the Index dubs a "vast difference" in numbers, both Morsi opponents and supporters managed to organise almost equal numbers of demonstrations.

In July, there were 24 different forms of protesting witnessed: the top three, in terms of frequency, were marches, where 582 marches were organised, representing 40.89 percent of all forms of protest; demonstrations, where 264 demonstrations represented 18.55 percent of all protests; and roadblocks, at 8.29 percent of all protests.

Cairo took first place among Egyptian governorates for most protests, witnessing 19.74 percent of total demonstrations. Gharbia governorate came second with 6.76 percent, while Giza came third with 6.69 percent. Surprisingly, Alexandria governorate was not in the top three places — it came fifth, witnessing 5.83 percent of the nation's protests.

Reasons for protesting were divided into two: protesting for political and civil rights increased 60 percent from June to 89.50 percent in July, while protesting for economic and social rights marked 10.50 percent of total demonstrations, including denouncing power cuts and water shortages.

In the categories of the protestors, 37.66 percent were categorised under political Islamist currents, 27.19 percent as people and citizens, and 16.2 percent political activists. The least percentage went to intellectuals, at 0.08 percent.

The Index noted the emergence of "dangerous" developments in protests, including civilians trying to confront other protesters, which is attributed by the Index to a lack of security forces on the ground, and also the use of weapons by Morsi loyalists. The Index also noted the use of children by pro-Morsi protesters, the same observation made by UNICEF Tuesday, decrying the use of children and indicating that such use can have "long-lasting and devastating physical and psychological impacts on children."

The Index noted an unprecedented general propensity to use violence in protests.
Egyptian labour movements also organised tens of demonstrations, according to the Democracy Index.

Labour demonstrations have called for better work conditions. Some 38 demonstrations were organised in July by factory and company workers; 36 by workers in the educational sector; 31 by the workers in governmental sectors; 18 in the security sector; and 16 by workers in the medical sectors.

The Index predicted an increase in the use of violence by pro-Morsi demonstrators, to the extent of "terrorist attacks" if a political solution is not reached.

Continued tensions are also predicted between people and protesters, even if protests are not for political reasons, which might endanger the "right to organise" in Egypt.

In addition, if security forces do not adopt international standards in dispersing the pro-Morsi Rabaa Al-Adawiya sit-in, there will be disputes and conflicts on domestic, regional and international levels, the Index noted.

The Index recommends adopting lawful means to disperse pro-Morsi sit-ins, so Egypt can be an example of freedom and democracy, and not return to the repressive and violent state it was.

Ahram Online


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Hating Jews: A Global Study

by Bruce Bawer


“The study of antisemitism,” admits Bruno Chaouat, a professor of French in Minnesota, “can be tedious.” This admirably candid confession appears relatively early in the pages of Resurgent Antisemitism: Global Perspectives, a collection of nineteen new essays edited by Alvin H. Rosenfeld, the distinguished director of Indiana University’s Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and author of several major books about the Holocaust. Chaouat is right, of course: while a single anecdote about irrational hate can breed sorrow, anger, and/or shock, a thick book consisting entirely of such material is more likely to be, quite simply, numbing. It is Rosenfeld’s accomplishment to have assembled a volume that, rather than seeming to repeat the same points over and over again, feels consistently fresh as it moves from region to region, approaches its topic from one angle after another, and serves up new historical information and cultural insights at every turn.

Most of the essays illuminate the current situation for Jews in a specific corner of the world: Alejandro Baer sums up antisemitism in today’s Spain; Zvi Gitelman does the same for the former Communist countries of Eastern Europe; Szilvia Peremiczky focuses on Hungary and Romania; Rifat N. Bali, on Turkey. And Paul Bogdanor proffers an account of antisemitism in modern Britain, as expressed in a thoroughly ugly-sounding play, “Seven Jewish Children,” by Caryl Churchill, and an equally horrid little poem about “the Zionist SS,” written by the well-known poet (and Oxford professor) Tom Paulin and published a few months before 9/11 in The Observer. 

Anna Sommer Schneider, for her part, takes on Poland, noting that while Pope John Paul II was vividly aware of Polish antisemitism and addressed it publicly on many occasions, other church leaders have not been so sensitive to the problem, the result of which is that the years since his papacy have yielded first-class examples of ecclesiastical Jew-hatred. Schneider quotes the observation of one Polish priest that “the Jews are not needed to perpetuate antisemitism. A sick Christianity is sufficient. And Polish Christinaity – and more precisely, what dominates in Polish Catholicism – is sick and infected with anti-Judaism.” Schneider also cites a Polish archbishop’s explanation of the affliction, rife in his country, known as “the antagonism of suffering”: while both Jews and Catholics in Poland were victims of the Nazis, he explains, the Jews were of course the greater victims; yet Polish Catholics are offended when they feel that their victimization is being overshadowed by that of the Jews, and the consequences of this feeling of offense are, shall we say, not always salutary.

I was especially taken by Eirik Eiglad’s essay on antisemitism in Norway, not just because I live in the land of the fjords but because Eiglad does a splendid job of elucidating just how a nation with so few Jews came to be infected with such a virulent strain of Jew-hatred in the years after World War II. It all began, he tells us, when Maoists acquired a “disproportionate influence” on Norwegian society in the 1960s. A significant part of their hideous contribution to postwar Norwegian thought, alas, was a fierce enmity toward Jews and the Jewish state. For these Norwegian Maoists, writes Eiglad, “Palestine was the new Vietnam, and the Israeli state was…a lackey for U.S. imperialism” – its objective, in the words of one of them, being “to conquer land for ‘European culture.’” The views on Israel and Palestine that, a half century ago, were held by virtually no one in Norway except for its small cadre of Maoists are now a key component of the cultural elite’s orthodoxy in that country, where, Eiglad notes, “explicit calls for the destruction of Israel are accepted as ‘criticisms of Israeli policies,’ and anti-Zionist hatred is discreetly tolerated as legitimate frustration over alleged acts of Israeli inhumanity.”

The one criticism I might make of Eiglad’s piece is that, even though he does make the important point that many of those former Norwegian Maoists are now Muslims, he doesn’t place sufficient emphasis on the way in which Islam factors into antisemitism in today’s Norway. Still, his relative inattention to this subject is nothing alongside the approach of Gunther Jikeli, who in an essay entitled “Antisemitism among Young European Muslims,” makes the mindboggling statement that “issues such as terrorism plots by young European Muslims, public approval of the Shari’a, clashes in reaction to cartoons mocking the prophet Muhammad, public discussions about Muslim women wearing a veil or about outlawing the burkha, forced marriages, and ‘honor killings’ mostly concern a minority of Muslims and do not lead to a general alienation of Muslims from mainstream society.” Jikeli, author of a book (in German) on the topic of his essay, insists that the real problems involving Europe’s Muslim communities are anti-Muslim “discrimination,” “racism,” “xenophobia,” and “negative stereotypes.” As if this weren’t baffling enough, Jikeli, after supplying a quick overview of European Muslim attitudes toward Jews as expressed in man-in-the-street interviews, concludes that the interviewees’ overwhelmingly hostile attitudes “are fragmented and multifaceted” and “can neither be reduced solely to hatred of Israel nor to references to Islam or Muslim identity.” For Jikeli, apparently, the fact that not all of those surveyed explicitly mentioned Allah, Muhammed, or the Koran while raging violently against Jews and Israel is reason enough to question the religious roots of their hatred.

Then there’s Matthias Küntzel, who, writing about antisemitism in the Middle East, quite properly rejects the argument, advanced by many, that that antisemitism is the result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – but also embraces the ridiculous claim that there wasn’t any appreciable level of anti-Semitism among Muslims in the Middle East before they were touched by the influence of Hitler. In other words, “the roots of Arab antisemitism” lie in Nazism – not in the Koran. (Küntzel, it should be noted, is the author of a 2007 book entitled Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism, and the Roots of 9/11 – which Andrew Bostom, writing at this website shortly after its publication, criticized at length for absurdly underemphasizing the Koranic origins of both jihad and Islamic Jew-hatred.) Another view of the Islamic world is provided by Jamsheed K. Choksy, who, in an essay on Iran, recalls that 2500 years ago, Cyrus the Great practiced “civility” toward Jews, and that during World War II the Pahlavi dynasty, resisting Nazi pressure, made clear that it regarded Iranian Jews as full and equal citizens of the kingdom. Indeed, Choksy points out, “Iran even became a transit point for approximately 2,000 Jews escaping Europe,” and retained “vibrant” ties with Israel right up until Khomeini’s revolution – all of which makes Choksy hopeful for Muslim-Jewish relations in a post-sharia Iran.

Less encouraging is the essay by Tel Aviv University’s Ilan Avisar, who, pondering the especially depressing topic of Israeli antisemitism, declares: “Anti-Zionist argumentation has become a major phenomenon in Israeli intellectual life.” Emanuele Ottolenghi, who also probes Jewish antisemitism, is particularly interested in the history of the self-hating Jew, a type exemplified by “Jewish converts, like Pablo Cristiani, who led the medieval trials against the Talmud, and Alfonso de Valladolid, who wrote ferocious anti-Jewish polemics in the fourteenth century.” Dina Porat explores Holocaust denial; Tammi Rossman-Benjamin examines the way in which victim-group studies at U.S. colleges have intensified antisemitism on campus; and then there’s Chaouat’s piece, in which, among much else, he tells us about a colleague at the University of Minnesota who ranted at a faculty party that Caouat’s department, with a total of two Jewish professors out of twelve, was a “Jewish enclave” with a “Jewish agenda,” and so forth. “What we have here,” Chaouat observes, is “a textbook case: postcolonial, anti-Israeli ideology directly inspired by Edward Said, coupled with a traditional antisemitism.” Welcome to the American academy, A.D. 2013.

One of this collection’s most eminent contributors is Robert S. Wistrich, who heads up the antisemitism center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has written several books on the subject. Here, in addition to outlining the role of the USSR in turning the UN against Israel and in shaping its post-1967 image “as a racist, Nazi state,” Wistrich explains how Soviet rhetoric about Israel was picked up “by Arab intellectuals, nationalists, Islamists, and Marxists” – and, reaching across the Atlantic (as these essays otherwise seldom do), how antisemitism in Venezuela surged under the Hugo Chávez regime. Finally, Rosenfeld himself winds up the anthology with an essay asking, apropos of antisemitism around the world today: “How bad is it likely to get?” The pages that follow, in which he ticks off gloomy predictions by one respected observer of current events after another, are sobering indeed. (Here’s Ron Rosenbaum in 2004: “The second Holocaust. It’s a phrase we may have to begin thinking about. A possibility we may have to contemplate. A reality we may have to witness.”)

This is a serious book – an important book. Yet it is also a book, alas, in which several of the contributors seem to shy away from spelling out the role of Islamic theology itself – of, most fundamentally, the actual contents of the Koran – in Islamic antisemitism. Yes, the Nazi-Muslim connections are important; but the reason why Nazi attitudes toward Jews took root so swiftly in the dry sand of the Muslim world, and flowered so lushly, is that they differed very little, in substance, from attitudes that are articulated repeatedly throughout Islam’s holiest of books. I can understand, to be sure, why authors on the subject of Jew-hatred might want to take extra pains to avoid saying anything that might expose them to charges of Muslim-hatred; but let’s face it, those charges will be leveled anyway. What matters is the truth: and the truth is that Islam, from its very beginnings, has demonized Jews, and that this demonization is not a peripheral but a central element of the Muslim faith. Unless and until we recognize this fact, and address it head-on, we will not get very far at all in our effort to challenge the toxic Jew-hatred that is on the rise everywhere on the planet where the followers of Muhammed make their homes.

Bruce Bawer


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

Freedom Center Brings Campus Anti-Semitism to Light

by Sara Dogan


The David Horowitz Freedom Center’s public opposition to an extreme anti-Israel candidate for UC Student Regent has helped to trigger a national conversation about the growing problem of anti-Semitism on college campuses.

UC Berkeley student Sadia Saifuddin was recently appointed student regent-designate for the University of California over protests by the Freedom Center and a few others who opposed her nomination on the grounds that her extreme anti-Israel views and activism with organizations known for their anti-Semitism make her unfit to represent all students in the UC system. The controversy sparked by the Freedom Center’s opposition has become national news.

During her years at Berkeley, Saifuddin was a leader in two Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations, the Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine, which regularly invite anti-Semitic speakers to UC campuses and sponsor an annual hate-week known as “Israeli Apartheid Week.” She was also an active participant in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement which calls for the destruction of the Jewish state and led vicious attacks on Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a lecturer at UC Santa Cruz who has dedicated herself to protecting Jewish students from anti-Semitism on UC campuses.

In an open letter sent to the University of California Board of Regents, the Freedom Center’s chairman, David Horowitz, and director of campus campaigns, Jeffrey Wienir, urged the Board to reconsider their selection: “Appointing Sadia Saifuddin to the Board of Regents would be an offense to the ‘Principles of Community’ for UC Berkeley which are supposed to be core values in the UC system, and which call on UC students to ‘respect the differences as well as the commonalities that bring us together and call for civility and respect in our personal interactions,’’ the letter stated. “How is it respectful for the organizations that Sadia Saifuddin represents to sponsor ‘Israeli Apartheid Weeks’ which support terrorist organizations like Hamas and call for the destruction of the Jewish state?”

Despite the regents’ failure to reconsider their nomination of Saifuddin, the Freedom Center’s protests garnered widespread press coverage of Saifuddin’s questionable ties to anti-Semitic organizations and helped to raise awareness of the often-threatening environment confronting Jewish students on UC campuses.

In covering the story, the Associated Press framed their coverage in light of the Freedom Center’s objections: “The University of California’s governing board confirmed its first Muslim student member Wednesday, despite some Jewish groups’ claims that she marginalized Jewish students and promoted an anti-Israel agenda.” The AP story about Saifuddin’s controversial nomination was picked up by dozens of other newspapers and websites.

Numerous other publications and websites including The San Francisco Chronicle, The Los Angeles Times, The San Jose Mercury News,, and The University Herald picked up the story that Saifuddin’s confirmation was controversial because of her anti-Israel leanings and associations, with many directly citing the Freedom Center’s stance.

In an editorial in the Los Angeles Times, the editors offered their congratulations to Saifuddin but noted that the “one glitch” in her resume is her outspoken criticism of Israel which the editors labeled “the third rail of UC politics.” The Times editorial went on to quote David Horowitz’s statement in his open letter that “If [Saifuddin] were confirmed, it would set a dangerous precedent to encourage anti-Semitism on campus, which is already a big problem in the UC system.”

We may have lost the battle against Saifuddin’s confirmation as UC Regent. But by sparking a national conversation about how her anti-Israel activism and leadership in organizations known for their anti-Semitism should disqualify her for such a position, we are a step closer to winning the war.

Sara Dogan


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Al-Qaida is Back!

by Clifford D. May

By all accounts, the attack was planned with care and executed with precision. At two notorious Iraqi prisons, Abu Ghraib and Taji, al-Qaida combatants last week used mortars, small arms, suicide bombers and assault forces to free 400 prisoners, including several who had been on death row. Al-Qaida spokesmen hailed those released as mujahedeen -- holy warriors -- who will rejoin the jihad on battlefields throughout the Middle East and beyond.

Soon after, we were seeing headlines such as this: "Al-Qaida is back."

Where had al-Qaida gone? Dig deep in the memory hole -- all the way to last summer. At the prestigious Aspen Security Forum, Peter Bergen, CNN's national-security analyst and a director at the New America Foundation, gave a talk titled "Time to declare victory: Al-Qaida is defeated." 

Lt. Col. (ret.) Thomas Lynch III, a distinguished research fellow at the National Defense University, was writing and speaking widely on the same theme. And U.S. President Barack Obama's re-election campaign was making similar claims, for example, "the tide of war is receding" and "Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive." Mitt Romney hardly attempted to rebut the thesis. 

I don't like to say "I told you so" -- oh, whom am I kidding? Of course I do. But in this instance, there is more than ample justification. Scholars at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, in particular Thomas Joscelyn and Bill Roggio, have argued consistently and forcefully, based on solid evidence, that the May 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden, followed by the elimination of other al-Qaida leaders, did not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean the demise of al-Qaida.

Instead, it led al-Qaida to adapt, evolve and morph. It is essential to study these changes and probe their strategic significance -- an assignment unlikely to be seriously undertaken by those convinced al-Qaida swims with the fishes. 

On July 18, Joscelyn testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, attempting to make clear to members of Congress that al-Qaida has become "a global international terrorist network … that, despite setbacks, contests for territory abroad and still poses a threat to U.S. interests both overseas and at home." 

The nodes of al-Qaida's network are affiliates that pledge "bayat," unswerving allegiance, to "core al-Qaida" while retaining substantial operational autonomy. That makes them harder for intelligence operatives to monitor, penetrate, weaken or eliminate. Nine years ago, Foundation for Defense of Democracies's Jonathan Schanzer wrote a book called "Al-Qaeda's Armies," predicting that such al-Qaida affiliates would increasingly constitute the organization's "outer perimeter and the pools from which new terrorists can be drawn. Indeed, al-Qaeda affiliates, in the Arab world and beyond, represent the next generation of the global terrorist threat." 

Since the waving of the "mission accomplished" banner last summer, al-Qaida affiliates have killed an American ambassador in Libya, and hoisted their flag above the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. They have taken the lead in the rebellion against the Assad dynasty in Syria. They have fought an American-backed government in Yemen, and conquered much of Mali until French troops drove them back into the desert. They continue to slaughter Christians in Nigeria -- more than a thousand last year. They have regenerated in Iraq since the departure of American troops, killing 700 people in July alone. They remain undefeated in Afghanistan and Pakistan, poised for the opportunity further American troop withdrawals will present. Last week, they attacked Turkish diplomats in Somalia. On Monday, al-Qaida's close ally, the Taliban, attacked a jail in northwest Pakistan freeing as many as 200 prisoners.

Joscelyn and Roggio have been making another argument that has challenged the conventional wisdom: They have maintained that al-Qaida has long had a working relationship with Iran's rulers. Two years ago, the U.S. government formally affirmed that hypothesis, yet now as then, many Iran experts deny the links, arguing that there is no way that Sunni al-Qaida and Shiite Iran could collaborate.

What those experts fail to grasp is that Iran's rulers and al-Qaida's commanders, despite very real theological disagreements and differing strategic interests -- indeed, they are literally at each other's throats in Syria -- are united in their commitment to what they see as the moral imperative of Islamic supremacy and domination. Their shared goal is a global revolution leading to the defeat and/or submission of those they regard not just as inferior, but also as "enemies of God." America and Israel top both their lists.

This worldview is very difficult for Westerners to take seriously. Surely, there must be a less medieval explanation -- perhaps grievances that can be addressed or fears that can be assuaged. But this conflict is deeper and more complex. Until that is understood, the U.S. and its allies cannot possibly devise a coherent strategic response -- which is why 34 years after Iran's revolution and 12 years after 9/11 we still don't have one. That is another point that Joscelyn and Roggio have long been making, and that too many in the government and the foreign policy community have been either unable or unwilling to grasp.

Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on national security.


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Erdogan Takes Revenge

by Michael van der Galien

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a signing ce 

Now that most protests have come to an end and the rest of the world is focusing on Egypt rather than Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has decided that the time is ripe for some good, old-fashioned revenge. Turkish style.

As I reported earlier for FrontPage Magazine, it started early in July, when a few journalists were publicly harrangued for their coverage of the protests in Gezi Park. One of them was even publicly called a “traitor“ by the mayor of Ankara, a member of the prime minister’s party, the AK Parti (Justice and Development Party).

In the following weeks, as many as 22 journalists and columnists have been fired since the start of the famous protests in Istanbul and other major Turkish cities. Thirty-seven others had to accept a “forced leave of absence,” meaning that they had to pretend to enjoy some precious off-time, while they, in fact, were desperate to get back to work.

One of the fired columnists is Yavuz Baydar from the daily Sabah. His first mistake was, as Sabah’s ombudsman, publishing letters from readers that criticized the government’s stance on the protests. After that he went even further by writing a column related to the protests and media-government relations. The editorial board refused to publish his piece, however.

At that moment, Baydar decided to take a leave of absence. Instead of keeping silent about the stranglehold in which the government holds the media, he decided to speak out. In a column for the New York Times, he explained that media moguls are undermining the “basic principles of democracy” in Turkey.  He added that media “bosses fear losing lucrative business deals with the government.”

After having written the opinion piece for the New York Times, Baydar once again tried to get a similar critical column published in Sabah. Instead, he was fired.

Many other journalists have have gone through the same ordeal in the last few weeks. And they are the lucky ones. According to Reporters Without Borders’ (RWB) World Press Freedom Index, the situation has gotten so out of hand that Turkey is now “the world’s biggest prison for journalists.” Yes, the country beats Afghanistan, North Korea, China, Iraq and Iran in that regard. Of course more journalists may be killed in some of those countries, but with regards to locking them up, Turkey leads them all.

Apparently, Erdogan is quite happy with that remarkable record. Instead of backing down, his government is arresting even more people. Not only journalists, but whomever has the audacity to criticize the AKP. For instance, nine more Twitter- users and protesters, living in five different cities, were recently detained.

At the same time, two “suspects” were sent to court on July 30 to face charges of “opposing the law on public marches and demonstrations.” Their crime? They had organized an iftar dinner in Gezi Park. An iftar dinner is the evening meal that breaks the fast during Ramadan. Erdogan organizes such dinners for his own supporters, but when those critical of him try to do the same they are considered enemies of the state, and quickly detained.

University students are in trouble too, for it was announced Tuesday that students who engage (or engaged) in “resistance, stage boycotts, chant slogans or become involved in similar activites” will no longer be granted student loans. The Higher Education Loans and Dormitories Institution (KYK) says that such activities constitute “a violation of the right to an education.”

That the constitutional and human right to free speech is being violated by punishing students apparently does not bother the Institution one bit. “In the education institutions he/she attends, in its extensions in the dormitory he/she resides, outside of the education institution or the dormitory, either solely or collectively, in whichever form, those who are concerned with events of anarchy and terrorism, engaging in behaviors violating the right to education (resistance, boycott, occupation, writing, painting, slogan-chanting, et cetera), whether attempted partially or fully,” are ineligible.
Note how the KYK uses words such as “anarchy” and “terrorism”: These are the same phrases Erdogan uses to describe the Gezi Park protesters. When he is not calling them “piteous rodents,” that is. Somewhat surprisingly, this report was later denied by Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kilic.
However, according to Hurriyet Daily News, the anti-protesting policy has been in place for several years, but has simply not been implemented. That might, the Turkish English-language newspaper says, change this year around.

Going after students in this fashion would undoubtedly make sense to the increasingly paranoid and authoritarian Erdogan since the protests were led by them and soccer (football) supporters … which leads me to another measure the AKP government may take according to the Interior Minister: outlawing “chanting political or ideological slogans at stadiums/matches.” If Erdogan and his allies have their way, no opinions critical of the AKP will be heard on campus, in stadiums, in parks, or on the streets. In other words: anywhere.

If Erdogan continues down this path, freedom of speech will be no more in Turkey.  Sadly, I have little reason to believe that terrible fate can be averted. There still are no alternatives for voters who have had enough of the AKP, except the notoriously corrupt (secular) CHP and the radically-nationalist MHP. For many, that isn’t a choice at all.

Additionally, increasingly more people are allowing the government to silence them out of fear for their livelihoods. After all, students want – no, need – loans and journalists need to make money. Rather than growing a backbone and continuing their resistance regardless of the price to be paid, many opt for the easy way out: remaining silent, not saying a word about what they really think.
That’s why the freedom of speech may not only be on trial in Turkey, but may very well have already been sentenced to death. The prosecution and the judge want to end its life, and dissenting jurors, who understand what is at stake, are too afraid to intervene on the defendant’s behalf.

Michael van der Galien


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Tom Cotton and the Foreign Policy Debate

by Seth Mandel

The decision by Tom Cotton, a rising Republican star and congressman from Arkansas, to challenge Democratic Senator Mark Pryor fits seamlessly into the news of the week. Cotton’s reputation as a foreign-policy hawk and a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as his age (36), will undoubtedly cast him as heralding the arrival of reinforcements for the GOP’s internationalist wing.

In Politico’s story on Cotton’s candidacy the author even gives more prominence to his role as a “counterweight” to Rand Paul and Ted Cruz (though Cotton shares Cruz’s Ivy League pedigree) than to the possibility Cotton could help the GOP win back the Senate, though the latter is arguably the more significant aspect of his candidacy. But national-security rhetoric is what, still more than a year out from this Senate race, the political sphere is looking for, and on this Cotton doesn’t disappoint. There are few young Republicans willing to say things like “I think that George Bush largely did have it right,” as Cotton said to Politico in an earlier interview. He went on to state:
That we can’t wait for dangers to gather on the horizon, that we can’t let the world’s most dangerous people get the world’s most dangerous weapons and that we have to be willing to defend our interests and the safety of our citizens abroad even if we don’t get the approval of the United Nations.
On this, Cotton’s Senate candidacy joins that of Liz Cheney, daughter of the former vice president, who is running a primary challenge against Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi. Though foreign policy doesn’t usually play much of a role in Senate elections (or even, arguably, presidential elections), this debate should not surprise. The GOP is (mostly) in the wilderness, a time when parties traditionally look inward and chart their future path back to power.

The Republican Party’s identity on fiscal issues is more settled than its foreign policy identity. Neither the libertarians nor the internationalists campaign for tax increases, but they do disagree on foreign affairs. Just how even that disagreement is remains up for debate. When asked whether retrenchment chic is gaining a wide following in the GOP, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said: “I think Christie-Cotton is much more likely in 2016 than Paul-Amash.”

That is true enough in that particular hypothetical, and the temporary halt in hostilities called by Chris Christie and Rand Paul may give it an added boost. Paul proposed a beer summit between the two men, an invitation Christie rejected while taking a parting shot at Paul. How this ceasefire came about can be interpreted in one of two ways. Paul is surely hoping it makes him look mature and statesmanlike, sending out a peace offering and backing off, citing concerns for the party. Christie, on the other hand, seemed happy to keep swinging away, as if Paul was the one who had had enough.

Paul is also coming off a setback in the Senate, where his attempt to cancel American foreign aid to Egypt was brushed aside by his party and soundly defeated on the Senate floor. Christie may think his side has the momentum–and in any case he enjoys a good verbal sparring too much to want to pipe down. But the interesting question here relates more to what each combatant has to lose in the exchange. Christie’s weakness in a presidential primary contest would be the suspicion with which the conservative base views him after his embrace of the president. For Paul it’s the question of his mainstream appeal and electability.

Paul hinted at this aspect of the dust-up in his beer-summit proposal: “I think it’s time to dial it down. I think we’ve got enough Democrats to attack. I’ve said my piece on this. I don’t like Republicans attacking Republicans because it doesn’t help the party grow bigger.” But that’s not exactly accurate in this instance: Christie probably thinks he can win over independents and undecideds by establishing himself as a mainstream alternative to a supposedly fringe element in his party.

Whether or not Paul actually belongs to a “fringe” is far from settled. As I’ve written before, there has always been a strain of conservatives who genuinely worry that the national security state represents a military twin of the New Deal: expensive, secretive–and now, with the NSA scandals, seemingly intrusive–bureaucracies whose budgets grow inexorably even at a time when conservatives broadly favor austerity.

Those who support a robust American presence in the world counter, correctly, that Western prosperity relies on the peace kept by America and the orderly system of global trade that is highly dependent on the U.S. In many cases foreign aid, too, is a bargain–for the influence it earns the American government abroad, the prevention of armed conflict in some cases, and even the direct economic benefits it secures by spurring foreign investment in the American defense sector. Christie may not have the ear of the base when he makes these points–and the same can be said for veteran senators like John McCain and Lindsey Graham–but Cotton does, and that’s why his candidacy is already generating this attention, and will continue to do so.

Seth Mandel


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Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Unfolding Failure

by Dr. Reuven Berko

With the beginning of meetings in Washington, Mahmoud Abbas announced that in a future Palestinian state "we would not see the presence of a single Israeli -- civilian or soldier -- on our lands."

It is possible that the Palestinian Authority's president was referring to the land swap formula the negotiations are predicated upon. Within such a framework, Israel would retain large settlement blocs, and perhaps Abbas was hinting that he would not accept Israeli enclaves inside a sovereign Palestinian state. Surely the president, known for his Holocaust denial, meant to say, "Palestinian area completely free of Jews."

Also this week, right in the center of Israel at the junction along Highway 4 near Moshav Beit Hanania at the foot of the Carmel mountain range, stood Sammi el-Ali, the parliamentary assistant for MK Jamal Zahalka (National Democratic Assembly), leading a protest rally from the village of Jisr az-Zarqa while proudly waiving a Palestinian flag and demonstration signs.

Ali is a central and vociferous activist in the committee trying to expropriate agricultural lands from Beit Hanania for the Arba village's real estate ventures, which he claims are the result of demographic growth. The expropriation of this land -- which serves Ali and his people in their desire to raise apartment blocs for the village's Arab residents -- will cost the tax payer both in the loss of agricultural lands and in an investment of over half a billion shekels to build bypass roads and bridges.

The situation is Kafkaesque: While Israeli leaders are busy preparing a deal that will provide two states for two peoples, Ali is protesting with the people of his village just a few meters away from the land he claims for himself and his friends. He is waging his battle in and against the Israeli homefront. With Palestinian flags at his back, he defiantly flashes the Arafat-like "V" sign (all of this is Palestine) toward the abashed gazes of Beit Hanania's residents, who shamefully swallow their outrage. Ali stands proud, in all his democratic glory, while voicing nationalistic Palestinian slogans, including a few "for the Arab lands of the Negev."

Something strange is happening in the Jewish state: Abbas is declaring a "territory free of Jews" but is demanding the release of Arab-Israeli murderers, those who have killed Jews in the name of the Palestinian problem but who were never under any form of Palestinian jurisdiction. Arab citizens of Israel, protesting with Palestinian flags in their hands, are demanding state lands that never belonged to them within the 1967 borders [sic], and Arab MKs are telling their youth to refrain from performing any type of national service. On top of all this, Palestinian leaders continue to demand a "return" of refugees, to Israel of all places, which they call a state of Apartheid, oppression and occupation, and not to the Palestinian state they are seeking to establish.

The strangest phenomenon is that in Umm al-Fahm of all places, the hotbed of hatred toward the Jews and the state, residents are rejecting any proposal that includes "freeing themselves from the occupation" and transferring, with their lands and property, to the jurisdiction of an independent Palestinian state, the same one that will be "clean of Jews."

How pathetic it is to recall that every time peace efforts have failed and it was apparent that the Palestinians, despite the generous offers they received, were neither ready "nor able" to reach an agreement and recognize the state of Israel (fill in the blank here with the unmentionable). The shocked and dumbstruck Left would gather itself and again blame the Israeli negotiators for the failure. 

A Palestinian friend used an Arab allegory to tell me bluntly, "Just as you came empty handed, so you will leave." In the jails for security prisoners, the murderers know they will go free. Those who planned and carried out terrorist attacks know in advance that if they are caught, they will be released and will return to their activities. The refugees are certain they will return to Palestine, in other words to Jaffa, Acre and Haifa. Hamas, the "rejectionist organizations" and the refugees continue to demand their "return" to Palestine.

According to my friend, most Palestinians are of the mind that Abbas barely represents himself, and any agreement he signs, much like the ancient Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, will be broken and the conflict will resume -- only this time under more optimal conditions. 

As for Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, my Palestinian friend left me with one more allegory, this time about a woman who "wistfully returns to her old habits." Because Mrs. Livni refuses to kill hope with the weapon of cynicism, we can only hope that the paper the deal is signed on is soft and gentle.

Dr. Reuven Berko


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Europe's "Moral Values"

by Guy Millière

European governments speak as enemies of Israel, behave as enemies of Israel and take decisions only enemies of Israel would take. They are at war with Israel. There is no doubt they hope for results similar to those at Auschwitz, just by other means. If moral values are what Israelis and Jews are looking for in Europe, they are looking in the wrong place.
For nearly two millennia, the European continent has been a land of persecution and hatred for the Jewish people. The blood libels and the vilest accusations against the Jews have been accompanied by violence, pogroms, and confinement in ghettos and of course death camps. Eight decades ago, in the 1930's, anti-Semitism was considered honorable and aroused few objections. Later, the Nazi machine set into motion the "final solution," and zealous collaborators existed in virtually all of continental Europe. "Willing executioners" were not only Germans -- far from it.

After 1945, anti-Semitism suddenly became unmentionable, and European anti-Semites had to be silent. But they did not disappear. In the 1960s, after the Six Day War, a new way of being anti-Semitic emerged that allowed them to recycle their old way: they could not be "anti-Semites", but they could be "anti-Israelis". They rejoiced when General de Gaulle in France spoke of the Jews as a "proud and domineering people," and saw those words as a kind of official sanction, a green light. Since then, "anti-Israelism" rapidly became mainstream. European politicians, diplomats and journalists have done their best never to miss an opportunity to berate and criticize Israel. Anti-Semitic terms used in the 1930s began to be used again, this time to describe the Jewish State.

When the "Palestinian cause" appeared, it immediately became a sacred cause in Europe, never mind what sort of values or governance it espoused. When it seemed possible to accuse Jews of "behaving like Nazis," the opportunity was not missed.

Today, hatred of Israel is one of the most shared and prominent feelings in Europe. Using anti-Semitic terms to criticize Israel is common, normal and "politically correct." Fighting for the "Palestinian cause" in the name of "peace" is the only fight that can bring together politicians from the left and the right. Any terrorist attack against Israel is almost unanimously described as a fruit of the "cycle of violence" and of "Israeli intransigence," never mind that it is actually the Palestinians who historically have been intransigent. An Israeli response to a terrorist attack is immediately criticized by European diplomats as "disproportionate." A Palestinian attack is never criticized at all.

When anti-Israeli groups rally to boycott Israel and violently invade stores selling Israeli products, the only condemnations to be heard are from Jewish organizations.

It is in this context that the recent EU decision to ban its members from dealing with Jewish communities and with any Jew living beyond "1967 borders" must be viewed.

European leaders who took the decision, and those who approved it, know perfectly well that there has never been a "1967 border," only armistice lines drawn in 1949, but they act as if they did not know. European leaders know perfectly well how indefensible the "1967 borders" are for the Israeli army, but again they act as if they did not know.

European leaders also know that the "1967 borders" place the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall and the Temple Mount (the holiest site of Judaism) outside the boundaries of Israel. They know, too, what the loss of these would mean for Israel and the Jewish people, but they stand their ground. They know, as well, that their position is similar to that of the Palestinian Authority, which seeks ethnic cleansing of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, but self-righteously insist. They know that the Golan Heights, under Israeli law and administration since 1981, was used for years by Syria to shoot down from the plateau at the farmers in the valley, and are fully aware of the situation in Syria and its al-Qaeda affiliates near the Golan Heights today, but nonetheless stand fast.

For more than four decades, several European countries, and the European Union itself, have established close and compromising relationships with various regimes in the Arab world. They have become prisoners of what is called Europe's "Arab Policy" -- with full support for the "Palestinian cause" and "anti-Israeli" activities and movements, regardless of how thoroughly detrimental these might be to their own survival -- as so presented by Bat Ye'or in her prophetic book, Eurabia, published in 2005.

European leaders who voted for the ban and those who approved it also stand their ground in part because migration flows have changed the demographics of Europe, and because in Europe the number of Muslims -- a significant proportion of whom have become radicalized -- has sharply increased. Europe today is therefore not only a prisoner of Europe's "Arab Policy," support for the "Palestinian cause" and "anti-Israeli" activities and movements: it is also hostage to its Muslim population, to Islamists, and to the immense success of the campaign of intimidation waged against it by Muslims, such that any incident, or any political position unpleasant to Muslims, can lead to riots.

When Israel's leaders appeal to Europe's "moral values," they should realize that when the subject is Jews, almost all Europeans abandoned moral values seven decades ago, and the same may be said for their views of Israel. If moral values are what the Israelis and Jews are looking for in Europe, they are looking in the wrong place.

Europe has once again chosen cowardice and complicity.

European governments and the European Union are the biggest donors of financial assistance to the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian Authority. They are also the biggest donors to most anti-Israel movements operating in Europe and in Israel. They in fact funded BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movements long before they took the decision that now makes BDS official.

The Israeli government has warned European governments and the European Union that this may trigger a "serious relationship crisis between Europe and Israel;" in reality the crisis has been ongoing for a long time.

On July 26, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon ordered the Coordinator of Government Activities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza to turn down any request by the European Union concerning these regions.

In an article published July 27 in the Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick suggested further Israeli responses to the European decision: "passage in the Knesset of a law requiring all Israeli entities that agree to operate under the EU's funding guidelines to register as foreign agents and report all EU contributions." "Those contributions," she added,"should be taxed at the highest corporate tax rate."

As "Area C" is the area of Judea and Samaria where Israel exercises most civil and military authorities, Glick writes that Israel should "suspend all EU projects in Area C. Future EU projects should be subject to intense scrutiny by the civil administration. Israel's default position should be to reject, rather than approve such requests, given their hostile intent."

Israel's leaders surely see that European governments and the EU are not friends of Israel.
European governments and the EU have never been friends of Israel. Now, they are less friends of Israel than ever. The likelihood that they will adopt a more positive attitude toward Israel is nil.

They speak as enemies of Israel. They behave as enemies of Israel. They take decisions only enemies of Israel would take.

They are at war with Israel. They do not wage war directly: they engage battle through other channels, hypocritically, viciously, and cowardly.

In the 1940s, Europe was the continent of Auschwitz. Today, Europe is a continent where politicians and technocrats support what Abba Eban called the "Auschwitz borders". There is no doubt they hope for results similar to those obtained in Auschwitz, just by other means.

Guy Millière


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