Friday, May 9, 2014

If Mahmoud Abbas Had a Palestinian State

by Reuven Berko

Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri recently called Mahmoud Abbas "a traitor who is selling Palestine." The statement was made in a speech available on al-Qaida-affiliated websites, and he also said that while Fatah claimed to be a national liberation movement, it had in fact become the movement that was selling out the homeland, and that its president had waived the rights of the refugees to appease the United States.
Shortly after the speech was made public, top Fatah members called al-Zawahiri a hypocrite. They accused him of trying, "in the service of the Zionist plot," to cause a rift within the Palestinian people at a time when Mahmoud Abbas was facing threats and pressure to surrender to American and Israeli demands. Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf accused al-Qaida of never having taken an interest in the Palestinian cause, and although the entire world was their battlefield, it had not carried out so much as one action against the Israeli occupation.

Al-Zawahiri's accusations reflect the atmosphere of failure surrounding Abbas and his supporters after the last round of negotiations with Israel, and are an omen for the future. Something upset the Palestinian leadership's recent sense of euphoria, and the situation is such that Abbas has threatened to resign, dismantle the Palestinian Authority and turn everything over to Israel.

Until just recently, Abbas and his supporters were convinced they could link the European Union's pressure on Israel to the American effort brokered by Secretary of State John Kerry to twist Israel's arm and force it to make further concessions toward establishing a "Palestinian state," without the Palestinians having to concede anything. The Palestinian tactic was inherited from Yasser Arafat, author of the "salami plan" to dismantle Israel slice by slice, an illustration of the Arabic saying "khuz watalib," "Take and demand more." The Palestinians had aspirations to obtain a state without having to pay Israel any price that the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic streets might consider "unfavorable." The illusion of exploiting the negotiations' momentum and getting "Palestine" for free was joined by the Israeli left's cry of "gevalt," lest Israel's not caving in to the Palestinians' demands would immediately lead to the third Intifada, to sanctions, to forcing Israel to become a binational state or, heaven forbid, to Mahmoud Abbas' resignation, which would leave Israel to deal with the chaos in Judea and Samaria alone.

In response to the Palestinian mantra of "Take and demand more," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formulated his own mantra, "Give and you will get, don't give and you won't get." In the meantime and quite unexpectedly, the Palestinians had the global media rug pulled out from under them and were forced to the sidelines by the talks with nuclear Iran, the drama unfolding in Ukraine, and the ongoing slaughter in Syria. Israel's firm position on the issue of its Jewish character put the Palestinians in a vise. They are now at a crossroads, where accepting Israel as a Jewish state will write "finis" to the so-called "right of return" (the "right" of all the descendants of the Palestinian refugees to return to the territory of the State of Israel), and will of necessity lead to the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The last round of talks made it clear that Abbas and the rest of the Palestinian leadership reject a peace agreement with Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state, and are manipulating marginal technical excuses. The threats, veiled or not, by radical Islamists (such as those made by al-Zawahiri) and a quick look at Arab-Muslim world, especially Syria, have made it clear to the Palestinians what the future has in store for them, and it now appears that in the meantime, they prefer the status quo to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Thus, it is easy to understand why the negotiations with Israel have faltered and stalled.

Abbas and his advisers are gradually abandoning the illusion that Israel will agree to commit suicide just to please them and are beginning to realize that Israel will never accept the descendants of the original refugees who fled in 1948, to say nothing of the jihadists who will try to hitch a ride on the so-called "right of return." Abbas knows that if the Palestinians really do decide to establish an independent state alongside Israel, as part of the peace agreement they will have to accept all those descendants. That is a message Abbas will never be able to send to the Palestinians in the "dispersal." If he agrees to the condition that there will be no "right of return" into Israeli territory, the future Palestinian state will have to allow the millions of Palestinian descendants spread around the globe to enter "Palestine" and claim Palestinian citizenship. Legions of them will do so to escape the poverty, slaughter, racism and discrimination that have been their lot in the poverty-stricken, conflict-ridden Arab states in which they have lived for years, where they are second-class residents with neither citizenship nor basic civil rights.

The Palestinian leadership knows that if their demand for Palestinian control of the Jordan Valley crossings were accepted, the operative result would be floods of people seeking entrance into "liberated Palestine." They know that among them would be operatives of all the Palestinian terrorist organizations, to say nothing of the armed jihadists currently active in the Arab-Muslim world, especially in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, who would stream in "to liberate all Palestine." The new Palestinian state would have no grounds to refuse entrance to the "jihad heroes," or to close its borders to all those attracted by the prosperity in Judea and Samaria, or to those who hoped to enter Israel or to those who intended use "Palestine" as a convenient base from which to attack Israel.

The Palestinian leadership, which is supposed to establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel in the West Bank, understands that what is happening in Syria, i.e. the destruction caused by the Islamic organizations fighting there, will be replicated in the new Palestinian state itself. Simple observation of the activities of al-Qaida-affiliated organizations in Syria, among them the Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, reveals that they are on a rampage of murder, rape and robbery, and that innocent civilians are their hapless victims. In addition, the Palestinian leadership has not forgotten how its people were killed and thrown from the roofs in the Gaza Strip as Hamas took over, not a particularly encouraging lesson.

In addition, the masses that stream into "Palestine" will demand a role in government and will clash with Palestinian property owners and demand that resources be reapportioned. Jihad fighters who enter Judea and Samaria in the name of the "right of return" will use force to introduce a lifestyle based on the Sharia, and with Hamas will begin a revolution that will end with the establishment of an Islamic emirate alongside the one in the Gaza Strip. Later, the Islamist terrorist organizations will quarrel among themselves and vie for control of the territory (exactly like what is happening now in Syria, where the Islamist organizations war with one another as they fight to wrest control from Bashar Assad), even as they wage a military confrontation with Israel.

This scenario will inevitably lead to the end of Palestinian security collaboration with Israel, which the Palestinian Authority currently enjoys and which serves its interests. The final act will be the internal destruction of the Palestinian Authority, crowned by the hanging of Abbas and those close to him, after which their bodies will be dragged to the main square in Ramallah. The property of the corrupt upper echelons of Fatah will be confiscated – property they stole and money they embezzled from Western and Arab aid funds which were originally intended for projects for the Palestinians.

After that, Hamas and the Salafist-jihadi organizations will force themselves on the local population, but the battles between the Palestinian and Islamist organizations will give rise to chaos and destruction within Palestinian territory, mass murders and the destruction of the infrastructure built when the West Bank was under Israeli control. The Islamists, some of them jihad tourists from other killing fields, will wreak havoc among Palestinians civilians, their property and their women exactly as they are currently doing in Syria. Terrorist attacks on Israel will increase and Israel will respond with increasing violence and the almost-flowering Palestinian territory, currently neighboring on Israel, will become a wasteland, sharing the fate of the cities of the Arab Spring. As usual, Israel will be held responsible for the internal Palestinian slaughter, just as it was held responsible for the slaughter of the Palestinians by the Maronites in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut.

Abbas conducted negotiations in an attempt to wrest tactical gains from Israel in order to preserve the momentum, extend his rule (which is neither legal nor supported by a Palestinian consensus) and wait until a better opportunity presents itself to act against Israel, for, according to the Arab saying, "Allah favors the patient." Abbas wants neither peace nor an independent Palestinian state because it would mean the end of the conflict with Israel and the establishment of a state coexisting with Israel, the recognition of Israel as legitimate and as a Jewish state. That result goes against Palestinian interests and is an infallible recipe for the internal destruction of the Palestinian Authority. The establishment of a Palestinian state coexisting with Israel will shatter the newborn Palestinian dream of the "return," the expulsion of the Jews, and the takeover of all "Palestine."

Actually, Abbas does not want an independent Palestinian state under any conditions. An independent Palestinian state would entail free and democratic elections, which he and his associates would lose to Hamas. An independent Palestinian state would need Palestinian leaders who would finally have to take responsibility for their citizens without being able to blame the "occupation" for their own failures. An independent Palestinian state would have to end the embezzlement of funds and force the introduction of an independent economy with fiscal transparency. The establishment of a Palestinian state would end the massive influx of Arab and Western resources delivered in the name of "the Palestinian cause."

The government in the Palestinian state would be forced to prevent the return of the descendants of the original Palestinian refugees even to "liberated Palestine" because of limitations of security, economy and territory. This action will enrage and cause antagonism among those who will not be allowed to settle in "Palestine." The Palestinian state will also have to find a way to deal with the Gaza Strip, whose population suffers from every form of socio-economic backwardness and is completely different from the population of the West Bank. It will have to cope with Hamas, the dominant factor in the Gaza Strip, which is belligerent and hostile to the other Palestinian organizations and their supporters. Hamas will use force to Islamize the secular lifestyle of the Palestinians in the West Bank, just as it has in the Gaza Strip.

Establishing a state side by side with Israel is not good for the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority's situation will deteriorate even further if Israel abandons the Jordan Valley border and turns it over to the Palestinians. Abbas is trying to squeeze interim concessions out of Israel as a way of maintaining his regime's momentum and convincing the Palestinians, an increasing number of whom support Hamas and the Salafist-jihadis in their campaign against Israel and the West and do not want a Palestinian state that will live in peaceful coexistence with Israel, that he has actually achieved something. Secretary of State John Kerry is to be congratulated on his efforts to bring peace to Israel and the Palestinians, but as far as Abbas and his followers are concerned, the vision of establishing a Palestinian state is like the work of recently-deceased Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a "chronicle of a death foretold."

Pursuing a policy of brinkmanship, the Palestinians instituted moves for an international boycott of Israel, increasing the tension and violence on the ground, and also asked for recognition and the status of a national state in various UN agencies, violating agreements with Israel. In addition, Abbas threatened to resign, dismantle the Palestinian Authority and make Israel responsible for the fate of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. His threats were virtually unnoticed and had no effect.

The need for a Palestinian decision to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and abandon the so-called "right of return" was raised in the negotiations Kerry brokered. It is a just, legitimate demand, and it became an obvious and accepted condition for ending the conflict, achieving peace and establishing a Palestinian state. Abbas refused, and his refusal meshed with the ideology of Hamas, an arrogant Palestinian terrorist organization that not only rejects any peace agreement with Israel, but is committed to destroying it. Internal Palestinian reconciliation became attractive to Hamas because of its precarious position, having lost the support of Syria, Iran and Hizballah. In addition, Hamas has been outlawed by Egypt as a terrorist organization and is being pursued as such. The Egyptian army has destroyed 1,400 smuggling tunnels under the border at Rafah, which served to provide Hamas with ammunition, logistics and funding for its terrorist activities.

Thus, at the end of April, the PLO and Hamas held a series of meetings in the Shati refugee camp near Gaza City. They pieced together a unity agreement on the only single common factor of their totally different ideologies, which is seeking Israel's destruction and the establishment of a Palestinian state in its place, but until recently they disagreed over authority and the way to realize their dream. The agreement reached included the formation of an interim government of "technocrats," elections, and processing a joint new national agenda that would crystalize and express both sides' "national and religious" aspirations. Nevertheless President Mahmoud Abbas claims that he will continue supporting the negotiations with Israel, but his new-found ally Ismail Haniyeh, who is head of the terrorist administration in the Gaza Strip, insists on establishing a Palestinian state on "all the land of Palestine."

Now one can only hope that the Americans finally understand with whom they are dealing. Only the future will tell if the dog is wagging its tail or if the tail is wagging the dog.

Dr. Reuven Berko has a Ph.D. in Middle East studies, is a commentator on Israeli Arabic TV programs, writes for the Israeli daily newspaper Israel Hayom and is considered one of Israel's top experts on Arab affairs.

Reuven Berko


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

Saudi Columnist: The Jihad In Syria Is Jihad For Satan, Not Allah


On March 26, 2014, a video was posted on YouTube showing two Saudi youths being executed by Jabhat Al-Nusra (JN) on charges of fighting for the rival jihad group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).[1] In response, Saudi columnist Dr. Muhammad Al-Harbi published an article in the Saudi daily 'Okaz in which he harshly attacked the phenomenon of Saudi youths traveling to wage jihad in Syria.

Al-Harbi claimed that the fighting in Syria was not jihad for the sake of Allah but rather "jihad for the sake of Satan" and a deviation from Islam. He condemned the preachers and clerics who urge the youth to travel to Syria, accusing them of exploiting the naivety of these youths and their desire to carry out jihad. These clerics, he said, push the youths to join a war they have nothing to do with and provide the extremist terrorist organizations that are fighting each other in Syria with cannon fodder in the form of young fighters from Saudi Arabia and other countries. Al-Harbi called on the Saudi authorities to not make do with the Munasaha program (which provides guidance to mujahideen returning from foreign jihad fronts) but rather to establish an entire system in the Saudi mosques, schools and media to fight extremism and quench it "with an iron fist."

The following are excerpts from the article:[2]

Dr. Muhammad Al-Harbi (image: Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

Death In Syria Is Death For The Sake Of Satan; Allah Forbade Waging War Against Our Fellow Muslims

"'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shumari and Hamoud Al-Saqri, two Saudi youths from Riyadh, were executed in cold blood and in the most heinous of ways. [Their execution] was filmed in order to burn sorrow into the hearts of their parents, families, loved ones, homeland, and the [entire] human race for the rest of their lives.

"Who killed 'Abd Al-Rahman and Hamoud? Did they fight alongside ISIS and were killed by JN, or was it the other way around? Did they fight alongside the Free Syrian Army and were killed by [Syrian] regime soldiers, or was it the other way around? Did they fight alongside Hizbullah and were killed by Al-Qaeda, or was it the other way around?

"It doesn't matter who the two fought for in Syria, and it doesn't matter what organization their killers belong to. What matters is that the two were killed, liquidated! All those who delude themselves [into believing] that Syria is the site of jihad for the sake of Allah will be liquidated this way – because death in Syria is death for the sake of Satan, definitely not for the sake of Allah! Because Allah never commanded us to fight our coreligionists without just cause."

Preachers And Sheikhs Steal Young People's Minds, Toy With Their Faith

"The leaked YouTube video of 'Abd Al-Rahman and Hamoud's execution in Syria revealed the ugly face [of what awaits] those who continue to believe that the jihad there is jihad for the sake of Allah... and the ugly faces of those who preach fitna [civil strife] and encourage the [idea] of death and forbidden bloodshed [i.e. the killing of Muslims]. Furthermore, [the video] revealed the despicable and evil side of those who seduce the youth in order to steal their souls... having pushed them into a war they have nothing to do with and having sold their lives cheaply for a cause that is unjust, especially since their blood, spilled on Syrian soil, achieves no justice over there, in any way!!

"The leaked YouTube video also revealed that those fighting in Syria are Muslims who have deviated from just Islam in their thinking, and have become nothing but pawns in the hands of extremist terrorist organizations who falsely and deceptively don the cloak of religion. These organizations fight amongst themselves and require human shields and victims imported from our country and others, who are easily smuggled to them by false preachers and sheikhs... The satellite channels and social networks open their doors to [these preachers and sheikhs] so they can incite, steal young minds, and toy with [the young people's] faith, while exploiting their desire to attain 'the pinnacle of Islam' [i.e. jihad]. And indeed, [these youths] go there blindly and without thinking, leaving behind wounded mothers and wives, sons and daughters, who are doomed to be orphaned and face perdition.

"Muslims kill fellow Muslims while their real enemy is a few kilometers away, in Israel! Right there in the occupied Syrian Golan! But they do not dare fire a single bullet at it because they are cowards and collaborators, and are betraying their religion, countries, nation, and humanity!! Not just because [Israel] is stronger than they are, but because [Israel] is not [even] part of their priorities and because those who initially incited them work towards the success of the Zionist enterprise in the region. This is the truth, whether you like it or not."

We Require A Total War Against Extremism

"The false jihad in Syria was never anything but death for the sake of Satan, and was never [jihad] for the sake of Allah. To prevent [the events shown in] this tragic video from recurring, we must urgently establish an entire system to fight this deviant idea that led 'Abd Al-Rahman and Hamoud [to Syria]. It is not enough to send them messages via the media to return [home], and it is not enough to [implement] the counseling [program] for those returning [from jihad fronts]. Rather, we must immediately act in the homes, mosques and schools.

"Every father and mother should be aware of their responsibility to watch their children, educate them, condemn extremist thought on their part, keep an eye on their circle of friends and help them choose [their friends]. Furthermore, there is no escaping [the need to] reexamine the education system and focus on retraining teachers before developing or changing the curricula. We must [also] choose mosque preachers well and follow their sermons, restrain all those who preach fitna and encourage [their followers] to travel abroad for wars, and prevent their appearance on satellite channels and media outlets. As we all know, prevention is better than treatment, and therefore we must formulate a plan to combat deviant thought [and fight it] with an iron fist."

[1], March 26, 2014.
[2] 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), April 5, 2014.



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When Celebrity Politics Died

by Geoffrey P. Hunt

Tragedy often befalls fascination.  A day hiker falls to his death from a slippery overhang while peering down at a spectacular waterfall.  A child is swept into the breaking swells of the incoming tide while playing too close to the edge of an ocean-rinsed granite ledge.

Yet as Auden wrote in “Musée Des Beaux Arts”:

In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure…
Four dead Americans in Benghazi.  No one responsible cares.  Dude.

Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
And a nation reaps tragedy from fascination in choosing a president because of his captivating celebrity, the color of his skin, and his speaking style.  Nothing else.  And we are expected to move on.  A black man as president, check.  Next up, a woman.

The serial fascination with celebrity politics – or, if you prefer, identity politics – moving on from race to gender, has appeared seamless as Hillary Clinton, with fragrant garlands inevitability headlining her trellis, has been anointed to succeed Barack Obama.  The electorate saddled up to ride another identity pony has been undeterred by the fiascos of the Obama presidency, either not paying attention or expecting something different the next time around.

An economy in shambles, historic joblessness, legislative debacles, constitutional breaches, the ObamaCare catastrophe, and abject foreign policy meltdowns – all of this is accented by increasing distrust in big government from IRS, Department of Justice, and NSA domestic spying scandals.  Wrapped in dissembling and divisiveness — the hallmarks of the Obama presidency — flippantly dismissed by the mainstream opinion-makers who have escorted Hillary as the next celebrity darling to redo all of it.  Or repeat all of it.

Until Benghazi.  Benghazi not only was the place where four Americans were murdered.  Benghazi was the place where celebrity died, marked by cowardice, incompetence, complicity, and casual disregard of duty.

Until Benghazi, Hillary requited the fascination with her as the rightful celebrity next in line for the White House.  Unable to claim any accomplishments, despite the apparition of an impressive résumé, Hillary at least avoided having to account for any monumental screw-ups.  After all, celebrities don’t have to be accountable for anything other than sustaining their celebrity.  Until Benghazi.

With the job as secretary of state, her first having direct consequential authority, Hillary failed at due diligence, the most fundamental task of statecraft.  This was no miscalculated act of omission.  This was pre-mediated amnesia.  Hillary would prefer us to believe she was disengaged from the decision-making chain with Benghazi – just another tiresome detail buried amongst dozens of similarly trivial chores, flyspeck annoyances unfit to merit a one-line entry in her million-mile travelogue.

Fascination with celebrity politics, where glamor, virtue-speak, and cosmetic posturing have displaced any notion of authentic leadership, had its beginnings with JFK, taking a breather until the Bill Clinton years.  George W. Bush’s failure to draw bipartisan support, in part, was due to his antipathy towards celebrity.

In former times, leadership was the ability to mobilize complex forces in resolving conflict, protecting the sovereign integrity of the nation.  But no longer.  We have lately defined leadership as mobilizing adolescent emotions for shallow, fleeting, and overwrought causes, where oratory has a higher purpose than action.  Where campaign fashion – pant creases and manicures – and high-stepping the ascending platform towards the teleprompter triumph over moral courage.

Great presidents and statesmen resolve conflicts.  Conflicts where resolutions are unclear, uncertain, and nearly impossible to imagine, accompanied by perilous threats to one’s reputation and legacy.  That is why FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Reagan, Polk, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington occupy the mantle.  Presidents who dither, demur from duty, or delegate valor join the likes of James Buchanan and Barack Obama in the unredeemable landfill of history.

Obama’s conduct the night of the paramilitary terrorist assault was despicable enough – AWOL as usual, designed to insulate him from his national security nihilism in the midst of his re-election auction.  But Hillary was supposed to be better, more engaged, tougher-minded, the architect of “smart power.”  Instead she abandoned any pretense of statesmanlike leadership, calculating the most plausible deniability to best suit her own next election campaign.

Of course, it is increasingly obvious that Hillary either engineered or eagerly participated in a crude and disgraceful cover-up, lied about her complicity to sustain a self-serving political narrative, and most egregiously dismissed the intelligence of the American people while insulting the families of the assassinated ambassador Stevens, along with his brave dead colleagues Woods, Doherty, and Smith.

Hillary’s ascension died that night in Benghazi.  Stalled not by a glass ceiling, but by a bloody battle waged on the consulate compound and CIA Annex rooftop.  The celebrity-in-waiting couldn’t be bothered.  Stevens's, Woods's, Doherty's, and Smith’s deaths will not have been in vain if celebrity politics also expired that night.

Geoffrey P. Hunt


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PM: Refusal to Recognize Israel as Jewish is the Root of the Conflict

by Shlomo Cesana and Gideon Allon

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells Likud Convention he plans to promote legislation that defines Israel as Jewish and democratic, leaving no room for claims otherwise • Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon says Hamas-Fatah deal unlikely to work.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo credit: Yossi Zeliger

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo credit: Yossi Zeliger

Shlomo Cesana and Gideon Allon


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The Fake “Martyrdom” of J Street

by Isi Leibler

Despite widespread predictions to the contrary, J Street failed dismally to gain admission into the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (Presidents Conference).

It was unable to obtain the constitutionally required two thirds majority and could not even muster a simple majority. Only a third of the constituents supported its affiliation.
An embittered J Street and its allies have launched a campaign seeking to portray itself as a martyr, claiming to have been blackballed by a fanatically right-wing Jewish establishment which is blindly supportive of Israel, brooks no dissent in its ranks and is effectively a bigoted reactionary body undermining the pluralism and tolerance of the American Jewish community. The reality is that the Presidents Conference also includes left-wing organizations such as Americans for Peace Now, Ameinu and the Jewish Labor Committee. It is also noteworthy that Rabbi Meir Kahane’s right wing Jewish Defense League was previously excluded.
There have even been false allegations that the voting was rigged. In fact, J Street was given a fair hearing and overwhelmingly rejected by a majority of organizations, many of whom were neither right-wing nor Orthodox.
The most vocal condemnation against the exclusion came from Rabbi Richard Jacobs, head of the Union of Reform Judaism - a former member of the J Street Board of Rabbis – who even threatened to withdraw the Reform movement from the Presidents Conference. Yet, were he to do so, this would create a schism within his own movement. One need only read the recent moving appeal by Rabbi Richard Block, President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform) calling on rabbis to stand by and express solidarity rather than continuously criticize Israel, to appreciate that Rabbi Jacobs’ enthusiastic support of J Street would not be endorsed by all his colleagues and constituency.
His criticisms were endorsed by Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice President of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly who described the vote as “misguided and destructive”. Yet, in the same breath, she conceded that she had “painfully witnessed” rabbis in her own movement facing searing criticism from members for having joined the J Street “rabbinic cabinet”.
What was the justification for excluding J Street from the Jewish mainstream umbrella organization? Was it, as J Street would have us believe, an intolerant expression of prevailing bigotry, a fear of engaging in dialogue, an attempt to deny freedom of expression to a dissenting minority, an effort to enforce conformity and exclude dissidents from the ‘big tent’ of the Jewish community?
Nobody is seeking to suppress the right of J Street to express its views - which receive media coverage far in excess of its standing and influence within the Jewish community.
Nor is there fear of engaging in dialogue and debate with J Street. On the contrary, I recollect that a few years ago during a visit to New York, when invited to participate in a TV debate, J Street informed the compere that it refused to share a platform with me.
The crux of the issue, which has distressed many well-intentioned people, is the confused belief that the community has a moral obligation to encompass all viewpoints in the ‘big tent’ and that this was breached by excluding this purportedly “pro-Israel, pro-peace” liberal, humanistic organization.
This presupposes that an organization, primarily created with the express purpose of serving as a vehicle to express support for Israel, should take under its umbrella organizations committed to opposing its raison d’etre.
Most committed Jews believe in the centrality of Israel in Jewish life. They also recognize that as a matter of decency, Diaspora Jews should recognize that issues relating to security should be determined exclusively by Israelis whose decisions could have life and death repercussions on them and their children.
The Presidents Conference has respected this status, irrespective of the political composition of the democratically elected government of Israel and despite its constituents spanning the broad political spectrum from Americans for Peace Now to the hawkish ZOA. Despite J Street allegations to the contrary, the Presidents Conference also steadfastly endorses a two state policy.
AIPAC is the most proactive organization promoting the case for Israel on a ground level and can take most of the credit for the bipartisan Congressional support that Israel currently enjoys. One of J Street’s principal objectives is to undermine AIPAC by maliciously and falsely labeling it an “extreme right wing organization”, even accusing it of generating anti-Semitism by its “one-sided support for Israel,” which creates hostile feelings that American Jews harbor dual loyalties.
When J Street describes itself as “pro-peace pro-Israel”, it is simply engaging in Orwellian doubletalk. In reality, it is actively campaigning to encourage the US government to exert greater pressure on the democratically elected government of Israel. It has the chutzpah to insist that it knows better than Israelis what is good for them and that they should be treated with “tough love” like parents with drug-addicted children.
To cite a few examples of J Street’s bizarre “pro-Israel” initiatives:
  • During Operation Cast Lead, J Street described Israel’s action as an “escalation” that was “counterproductive” and “disproportionate”. It ascribed moral equivalency to both sides, finding difficulty in distinguishing “between who is right and who is wrong” and “picking a side”.
  • Despite its self-designated “pro-Israel” tag, J Street actively canvasses for and raises millions of dollars to fund anti-Israeli Congressional candidates.
  • J Street claims to oppose Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, but invites pro BDS groups to promote their case at its conferences.
  • A cofounder of J Street, Daniel Levy, is on record describing Israel’s creation as “an act that went wrong”.
  • J Street collaborated with the biased UN Goldstone Committee which accused Israel of engaging in war crimes. It even facilitated meetings on Capitol Hill for Goldstone to promote his wretched now discredited report.
  • For a long time, J Street totally opposed any sanctions being applied against Iran. It now lobbies against promoting the threat of military action.
  • In 2011 J Street actively canvassed the White House not to veto a one-sided UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel.
  • J Street described the behavior of IDF commandos on the Mavi Marmara Gaza flotilla ship as “cruel brutality”.
  • J Street encourages its campus extension to promote discredited anti-Israeli groups like “Breaking the Silence” which promote lies about alleged IDF war crimes.
  • It opposed a 2011 congressional petition condemning Palestinian incitement.
  • J Street refuses to condemn the PA-Hamas deal.
  • Most recently, it defended Secretary of State John Kerry’s offensive remarks that Israel could become “an apartheid state”.
  • Until it was conclusively exposed, J Street leader, Jeremy Ben Ami, lied repeatedly to conceal that George Soros, the vicious anti-Israeli financier, was and still represents one of the principal funders of J Street. There are also other donors with questionable political interests.
It is surely undeniable that J Street is in fact canvassing and promoting anti-Israeli initiatives whilst castigating and seeking to undermine the policies of the democratically elected government of Israel. If J-Street’s self-description of being pro-Israel were to be accepted, we would truly be living in Alice in Wonderland.
Reform leader Rabbi Jacobs says that there should be “no litmus test of ideological orientation” applied to candidates for the Presidents Conference. Under such terms Jews-for- Jesus and the Neturei Karta would presumably also qualify for membership.
Rather than sanctimoniously castigating the majority of organizations who voted to reject J Street, Rabbi Jacobs and Rabbi Schonfeld should consider reviewing their own educational programs which seem to lead many of their rabbis towards supporting anti-Zionist leftists who demonize the Jewish state. They should concentrate on educating youngsters about the values and achievements of the Jewish state and its central role for the future of the Jewish people.
Bringing organizations which display constant hostility to Israel into a mainstream umbrella body committed to promoting Israel would not widen the Jewish tent. It would destroy it.
The writer’s website can be viewed at
This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom

Recent articles:
Proposed PA – Hamas Union Based on Common Objectives (April 28, 2014)
Incentives for Murdering Jews (April 23, 2014)
Jewish Leaders Down Under not intimidated (April 15, 2014)

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Hamas tells Israel, 'No Hope'

by Shoshana Bryen

Sometimes it is braggadocio. Sometimes it is the last rhetorical shot before making a political change previously thought impossible. But sometimes, just sometimes, it is truth as the teller sees it.

Hamas released a video for Israel's 66th anniversary, entitled "No Hope," (a play on Israel's national anthem, Hatikva, or "Hope"). It is vile, putrid and an absolutely true rendering of Hamas thinking, breathing, and being. The Times of Israel described it in all its slavish devotion to death, delusion and Hamas imperialism:
“The army of the Zionists was built of wax and now it is melted and has no hope,” the singer croons as a computer generated militant character smashes Israel’s state symbols into rubble. The song says that smart Israelis will be allowed to leave the country and return “to their homelands” while those who are stubborn and remain will have their fates “sealed beneath the dirt.” The YouTube clip intersperses various historical photos of the conflict with computer-generated Hamas gunmen who are seen driving the Jews out of Jerusalem and onto ships and celebrating on top of the al-Aqsa mosque, as the bodies of IDF soldiers riddle the streets. “The Holy city will return to its former name,” the singer warbles as the distorted anthem draws to a close. “My capital Beyt al-Maqdis, not Jerusalem.”
Yes, "sticks and stones" and all that, but this isn't about the words -- it is about the intention of Hamas to stick to its Charter, kill Jews, and be master of Jerusalem. It is about Hamas's intention to override whatever niggling negotiations the Palestinian Authority (PA) feels it has to conduct -- whether with Israel or with the bodies of the UN. Hamas plans to roll over the first and ignore the second. It is about the inutility of negotiations because Hamas plans no compromise with anyone -- first and foremost, it will not compromise with the PA.
Moussa Abu Marzouk, head of Hamas' political bureau, told Al-Monitor-US:
"Hamas will not recognize Israel. This is a red line that cannot be crossed." He said the Quartet's requirement that Hamas recognize Israel "does not concern us one bit." "We would have spared ourselves seven years of misery under the siege and two wars in 2008 and 2012 had we wanted to recognize Israel." He also reiterated Hamas' refusal to disarm the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. "The Quartet negotiations require that violence be renounced, which, in effect, means that the al-Qassam weapons must be decommissioned. But this is unacceptable, and Hamas will reject it outright."
No, Hamas doesn't have the ability to take control right now, but this is where some Americans and some (but fewer) Israelis get confused. There is no neat division between Hamas and Fatah. Although Hamas rules Gaza, many Fatah operatives remain there and there are increasing Hamas cells in the West Bank. The Hamas view (shared by many Palestinians) is that the Fatah-led PA exists a) to administer the territory to free Israel of the responsibility -- how many Israelis openly admit they don't want an aid cutoff to the Palestinians precisely because they don't want to be completely responsible, and b) to cooperate with Israel on security measures that in many cases protect Israelis, but equally protect the Abbas government from its own unhappy people. The Palestinian Authority is understood by Palestinians as corrupt, malign, and Quisling in its subservience to the Government of Israel. Abu Mazen, now in the 9th year of his single 4-year term, commands neither respect nor fear -- an unhealthy situation for the ruler who faces a determined, revolutionary faction.

Think Putin, Crimea and Ukraine. Putin's agents in Crimea and eastern Ukraine made it possible for "Ukrainians" to take action that Putin claims is an internal uprising against a corrupt government.

Oh, and a minor (?) point -- if Hamas and Fatah do unify, who will control the military forces? The answer isn't simple -- Hamas is a revolutionary force, but Fatah's army was built by an American general, funded (about $400 million annually) by the American taxpayer and learned operating procedures from the IDF. It is the best, most capable and most modern force the Palestinians have ever had. Could it fight Hamas? Maybe. The general is gone, but the IDF remains -- and if it remains interested in the continuance of PA rule, distasteful as that would be, nothing precludes the IDF and PA fighting on the same side. On the other hand, what if the PA uses its American-trained troops as the leadership cadre of a Hamas/Fatah joint force? Or what if Hamas provides the leadership for PA troops? Hamas is not without goodies to offer. It is entirely possible that missiles have been smuggled into Gaza; Israel cannot expect to catch everything every time. Is it possible that those missiles have crossed into the West Bank or that they will cross? You run a risk no matter which way you answer.

The Obama Administration gingerly supports plans for unification. Does it plan to sever its military training mission before formal unification? That would leave the PA without the wherewithal to protect itself, making a self-fulfilling prophesy of the notion of a Hamas takeover. Does it maintain the mission and risk having Hamas operatives join the PA army? Does it pray the Palestinians will remain more loyal to the U.S. and the IDF than to its Hamas cousins? If so, the administration is as lost as those long-sought Palestinians "moderates."

Sure, some of these are rhetorical questions -- and anyone who doubts that Israel can take Gaza at the time of its choosing is making a big mistake. But when your enemy -- and Hamas is recognized as a terrorist organization not only by Israel, but by the EU and the United States -- describes the end game, it would be foolish not to pay attention.

Hamas either really believes in the destruction of Israel, or puts out a pretty good facsimile thereof. It would be wise of Israel and its supporters to recognize the implications and the threat of reunification to prevent the institution of either.

Shoshana Bryen


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Rice, Rutgers and Academia Today

by Jack Kerwick

Condi Rice will not be this year’s commencement speaker at Rutgers University after all.
Due to the controversy generated by some students and faculty over Rutgers’ decision to invite the former Secretary of State, Rice decided to back out, explaining that she didn’t want to be “a distraction” at a college graduation.

This whole ugly affair is revealing, not just of the atmosphere of this one institution of higher learning, but of the atmosphere of the contemporary academic world.

It’s true that President Robert Barchi did not succumb to the students’ and faculty’s demands that the school disinvite Rice due to her involvement in the Iraq War. But neither did he utter a syllable’s worth of condemnation of their tactics, proving that, as always, the lion’s share of grease always goes to the leftist squeaky wheel in the world of higher education.

Beyond this, Barchi passed the buck, and actually encouraged the notion that the anti-Rice forces were in the right. Barchi insisted that he hadn’t “the power” to rescind the invitation to Rice—implying, of course, that had he the power, he would’ve done so. Only the Board of Governors, Barchi continued, has that power. “If you want to discuss ways of how we can (choose a commencement speaker) going forward, where we can guarantee that the Board has more input when they arrive at the discussion,” he told protestors, then “I think we can do that.”

Translation: We won’t make the mistake of inviting a Republican ever again.

The notion that, as Barchi suggests, the controversy over Rice reveals that the Rutgers community welcomes a marketplace of ideas, a vigorous exchange over contentious issues, is more than a fiction; it is a lie.

And that is the real scandal that the Rice affair unveils, the dirty secret that academia, the one place in American life where it should be possible to discuss, genuinely discuss, all manner of disputable topics, is nothing of the kind.

The faculty and students of Rutgers didn’t disagree with their school’s decision to invite Rice. They refused it. Between the one and the other lies the difference between civilization and barbarism.

There was no spirited discussion over the administration’s selection of Rice for commencement speaker. Rather, the invitee’s enemies employed the kinds of strong-arm tactics for which leftist student and faculty activists have become known. To see that this is so, we need only consult those of Rutgers’ students who wanted for Rice to speak at Rutgers.

The Rutgers College Republicans, the Eagleton Undergraduate Associates, and Greek Life at Rutgers University were among those student groups that petitioned Barchi to denounce the anti-Rice forces for having engendered a “hostile campus environment” on campus. Speaking on their behalf, Donald Coughlan, chairman of the New Jersey College Republicans, wrote that all it took was a “small minority of the student body and intolerant faculty members” to frustrate the desires of an “overwhelming” majority of students that had looked forward to hearing Rice speak.

Not only had Rice’s detractors “protested loudly” from the time that it was announced that she would be the commencement speaker. Not only did dozens of them hold a “sit in” at Barchi’s office. Disgruntled faculty fired off an email to all students urging them to participate in a “teach-in” to rally against Rice.

Coughlan notes that “most students…who do not share the opinions of” these professors and who know them well were “intimidated” by the emails.

A college education is, or is supposed to be, an education into the best of what students’ civilization has to offer, an inheritance, comprised as it is of millennia worth of achievements both intellectual and moral, at once encourages and requires for its appreciation the cultivation of the virtues of head and heart, mind and character.

As the situation at Rutgers clarifies for all with eyes to see, this civilizing mission has been radically turned on its head. Coercion and intimidation, after all, are the tried and true methods of choice of the savage, the barbarian. Infinitely worse, though, is that it is faculty—those entrusted with taming the beast that is the next generation—that have instructed their students in the art of wielding these weapons as they crusade for one cause after the other.

And university administrators cower.

This is the academic world today.

Jack Kerwick


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

Imam Pushing to Sanitize 9/11 Museum's Al-Qaida Film Slurs Jews

by IPT News

A Muslim religious leader who helped spearhead a push to get the National September 11 Memorial Museum to censor references to Islam in a short film about al-Qaida has said Jews "killed the Prophets and Messengers" and are a "cancer ... in every generation as they get in power."
Mustafa Elazabawy, imam at Masjid Manhattan, made the remarks in a December 2008 khutbah, or sermon, called "Children of Israel." A recording of the sermon remains on the mosque's website.

Elazabawy wrote a letter to museum leadership last month, complaining that the 6-minute film about al-Qaida's rise "would greatly offend our local Muslim believers as well as any foreign Muslim visitor to the museum," if it is not changed. "Unsophisticated visitors who do not understand the difference between Al Qaeda and Muslims may come away with a prejudiced view of Islam, leading to antagonism and even confrontation toward Muslim believers near the site."

He also joined in a follow-up complaint sent to museum Director Alice Greenwald on behalf of New York Disaster Interfaith Services' advisory group. Critics have taken issue with the film's references to "jihad" and the hijackers' Islamist ideology. "If generalized labels are needed, we suggest using specific terms such as "Al Qaeda-inspired terrorism," the letter from the Interfaith Services group said.

Similar complaints were issued by Islamist groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).

The museum is scheduled to open in two weeks. Thus far, officials have indicated they do not plan to make changes to the film.

Elazabawy's demands for interfaith sensitivity were absent during the 2008 sermon, which came during Israel's Operation Cast Lead incursion into Gaza aimed at curbing Hamas rocket-fire toward civilian communities in Israel. He emphasized a series of Quranic verses depicting Jews as mischievous and corrupt.

"And after the mischievement (sic), they will seem arrogant," Elazabawy explained after reading one verse. "'We are the powerful. We are the most powerful people. We could defeat whomever we need.' Arrogance actually came from the shaytan [devil] all the time."

Later, he seemed to blame Jews for the war in Afghanistan.

"What they did, if you remember my brothers, the war in Afghanistan, behind that, the war is exactly the state of violence. They went in that land after Allah give the victory for the people of Afghanistan against Russia, they came because they don't want anybody to have power, except them ... and they bring all their allies to Iraq to finish Iraq, return Iraq, 100 years back. Why? Because Iraq used to be number four in power. They don't want anybody in power. And they use the hypocrites of the Muslims to help them, and the Muslim follow them, because they control the money, they control the weapons, they do everything."

Jews were spreading mischief in Egypt, Sudan and Somalia, he said.

"They are cancer in everywhere, in every generation as they get in power. People turn their face, and they know they are tyrants, they know they are oppressors. They know that they kill the children of Muslim[s] all the time. But everybody permits it because they controlling the money and the position in the whole entire world."

At another point, Elazabawy said it wasn't Jews that he opposed, but "the state of violence ... that will kill even the Yahud [Jew]."

The rare Jews Elazabawy embraces are radical orthodox Jews who see Zionism, the belief in a Jewish homeland, as sacrilegious. Two months after delivering this sermon, Elazabawy joined Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss at a City College panel discussion in New York. Weiss leads Neturei Karta, which opposes Israel's existence.

Zionism, Weiss said that night, "is rooted in blasphemy, in, in a rebellion against God. But the whole concept of having a piece of land happens to be, in the teachings of the Torah, forbidden."

Weiss must have felt he was in good company with the panelist to his right, Elazabawy, to whom he makes brief reference, as a fellow anti-Zionist. According to Weiss, Jews and Muslims have almost always lived in harmony:

"It was mentioned that the Jews, Muslim people… these are people, we have been living together truly for hundreds and hundreds of years," Weiss said. "This was prior to any human rights, before there was a United Nations, before any human rights were there to protect, there was no protection – except of course, God the Almighty. And we were able to coexist, live in harmony, in every single Muslim country, in every single Arab country, we were able to coexist, and there was, without any police protection."

Elazabawy does not object. So even though Elazabawy has said Jews are a "cancer" in every generation and have "killed the Prophets and the Messengers," Weiss and Elazabawy manage to bond over their shared antipathy toward the Jewish state.

In his khutbah two months earlier, however, Elazabawy said Jews rejected the prophet "because he came from the Arab and he did not come from them, what they said? They declare a war from the first day and hatred against Islam."

And in a world in which baseless anti-Semitic conspiracy theories like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion continue to circulate, Elazabawy told worshipers a story so grotesque it cannot be found on Internet trash sites.

During the Six Day War, then-Israeli military leaders Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon would butcher pregnant Palestinian women for sport, Elazabawy said:
"They kill our children. It's halal [kosher] for them. It is a hero. It is a victory ... Begin and Sharon in 1967, they used to bring the Palestinian women, pregnant Palestinian women. They used to bet between both of them is it son or girl, boy or girl, between Sharon and Begin. And then after all what they did, they killed with a knife, and they opened the belly of the woman to find out if there is a boy or there is a girl. If they found it's a boy, they killed the boy and they leave it exactly the same what Pharaoh did with them before.

It is a disgusting canard. Had it any legitimacy, it would be widely reported and invoked incessantly. But Elazabawy wasn't interested in facts that day. And this is the faith leader who is admonishing the National September 11 Memorial Museum about language in a film about al-Qaida that is accurate.

IPT News


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