Friday, March 31, 2017

Israel Has Made Enough Sacrifices - Dan Calic

by Dan Calic

Let's take a look at the balance sheet

One of the oft-repeated laments from many world leaders when speaking about the long-festering Arab-Israeli conflict is regarding sacrifices.

How many times did former U.S. secretary of state John Kerry, former president Obama, or other leaders talk about the need for both sides to make sacrifices for peace? We've heard it repeatedly. Yet the truth of the matter is that only one side has made sacrifices, while the other side has not made any. One side has continuously demonstrated its desire for peace, while the other side has continuously demonstrated it wants the other destroyed.

The Arab population makes up over 98% of the Middle East, while geographically covers more than 99% of the land compared to the size of Israel. These facts are merely to provide some perspective. Yet despite of the overwhelming advantage the Arab world enjoys, the tiny Jewish nation of Israel is considered intolerable by many.

List of Jewish Sacrifices

1. In June 1967, Israel was forced to defend itself against Syria, Jordan, and Egypt in the Six-Day War. During this decisive Israeli victory the Holy Old City of Jerusalem was captured from the Jordanians, who had been in control of it since the Independence war ended in 1949. The victory reunited the Jewish people with Temple Mount and the Western Wall of the Second Temple compound. Israeli flags flew over their holiest site for the first time in modern history.

Yet, at the conclusion of the war, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan made a huge sacrifice in the interest of peace by awarding administrative control of Temple Mount to the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic Trust). He ordered Israeli flags removed and he banned Jews from praying on Temple Mount. This remains in effect today. In spite of Israel’s sacrifice Temple Mount remains a flashpoint issue and numerous riots have taken place at Al Aqsa mosque.

In the same war Israel captured the Gaza Strip and virtually all of the Sinai Desert.

2. On Yom Kippur 1973, the holiest day of the Jewish year, Israel was attacked on two fronts from Egypt and Syria. Caught by surprise, many Israeli lives were lost before they were able to turn the tide. After Israel successfully crossed the Suez Canal and had tanks in route to Cairo, Egypt summoned the U.S. to broker a ceasefire. Six years later in an historic agreement, Israel signed its first formal peace treaty with a sovereign Arab nation. The Camp David Accord was brokered by President Jimmy Carter and signed by Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin on the White House Lawn in March 1979.

In the interest of peace, Israel gave up the entire Sinai. Later that year Israel also turned over control of the Alma oil field, which had an estimated $100 billion in untapped reserves. Anwar Sadat later lamented “poor Menahcim, I got back the Sinai and the Alma oil fields, and what has Menachim got? A piece of paper.”

3. Since Israel’s independence in 1948, repeated terror attacks had taken hundreds of Israeli lives. In an effort to secure peace with the ‘Palestinians’ in 1993 Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, founder of the PLO terrorist group signed the Oslo Accords. Once again the U.S. played the key role and the formal signing took place at the White House. Just under 1,600 Israelis had been murdered between ’48 and ’93, an average of one murder every other week for this 53-year period.

The accords were designed to provide self-rule for the Palestinians. Israel was willing to give up control over specified areas on the condition the Palestinians stopped terror attacks against Israeli civilians. This was an effort to build trust between the two sides. The longer the Palestinians refrained from terror, the more land Israel would turn over to them. All they were asked to do is stop murdering Jews. This agreement led to Yitzchak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Yasser Arafat being awarded the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize. Yet the murders did not stop. In 1994 Palestinian terrorists murdered 65 Israelis and another 29 in 1995.

Then tragedy struck in 1995 when Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated.

The terror continued. Between 1996 and 2000 Palestinians murdered another 165 Israelis. The Oslo Accords all but collapsed because the Palestinians refused to honor their commitment to stop murdering Jews.

The Israeli government had to come up with something to protect Jewish civilians from being murdered. A highly controversial decision was made to construct a security barrier. The Palestinians and Israel’s critics called it a land grab. However, this reluctant decision had to be made for one simple reason -- to protect Jewish civilians from being murdered.

Throughout the first phase of the barrier’s construction the Palestinians not only did not stop the terror, they increased it significantly. During that four-year period they murdered 984 Israelis -- an average of just under five a week.

The sacrifice Israel made by turning over land to the Palestinians was a total bust. Responsibility for its failure rests with the Palestinians.

4. Now we come to one of the most gut-wrenching sacrifices Israel made in their desire for peace. In 2005, after a 38-year presence in the Gaza Strip, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to pull all 8,000 Jews out of the coastal enclave. Heartbreaking images of Israeli soldiers physically dragging screaming families from their homes brought the country to its knees. The tiny Jewish nation came to the brink of civil war. Yet the task was completed and the Gaza Strip was turned over to the Palestinians to establish self-rule.

After Israel vacated the strip the Palestinian held elections in 2006. They voted the terrorist group Hamas into power. Since then Hamas has fired over 15,000 rockets and mortar rounds and Israel has been forced into three wars with them. To this day, Hamas has been relentless in its effort to deny Israel peace. It constructs underground terror tunnels made from supplies designed for humanitarian purposes while continuing a hateful campaign of Israel’s destruction.

Once again Israel’s huge sacrifice for peace backfired.

Another Sacrifice?

Then there is Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. Most world leaders consider Abbas a moderate. Since October 2015 the so-called ‘knife intifada’ has been going on. This has been a series of stabbings and vehicle rammings by Palestinians against Israeli soldiers and civilians. At least 44 Israelis have been brutally murdered. Abbas reacts by praising the murderers, saying “we bless every drop of blood.” In addition he demonstrates his disdain for Jewish lives by meeting with the families of Palestinian terrorists.

He also has said on numerous occasions he will never accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. Abbas says Israel is the obstacle to peace because of its ‘settlement’ construction. But if anyone is responsible for lack of progress on the peace front it is Mahmoud Abbas.

Once again, world leaders and organizations are pressuring Israel to consider yet another sacrifice for peace by giving up land the Palestinians demand for a state, which Abbas says must be 100% Jew-free. They offer nothing in return, not altering their charters calling for Israel’s destruction, not renouncing terror, not even recognition.

Let There Be No Doubt

It should be clear by now who has made the sacrifices for peace -- Israel. Both land and lives have been sacrificed. What has been asked of the Palestinians? Stop the murder of civilians and accept Israel as a Jewish state. They offer neither. Yet, despite not making a single compromise for peace, the Palestinians are not penalized and keep receiving hundreds of millions in aid. Plus, they continue to pay salaries to terrorist who murder Jews.

When the Palestinian people hear and see their political and religious leaders glorify murderers by naming schools and summer camps after them, these become their role models. This makes peace impossible. It’s not to say there aren’t Palestinians who want peace. There are. However, they are in the minority and afraid to speak out because due to threats by the fundamentalists. I am still waiting to see the first peace demonstration in the streets of any Palestinian city. When the response to terror is viewed as less acceptable than terror itself, something is terribly wrong.

List of Palestinian sacrifices: Zero

That says it all.

Dan Calic  - More of Dan Calic’s articles are on his Facebook Page.


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Democrats: Party of Obstruction - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

The “resistance” remains determined to sabotage the Trump presidency -- rather than help the American people.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.

Forget all the pages of the Democratic Party platform. The only real Democratic platform left is the one sung by Groucho Marx in Horse Feathers. “Whatever it is, I’m against it.”

The elected Democrats still surviving amid the trendy restaurants of Adams Morgan and the boutiques of Dupont Circle are convinced that the voters elected them and that taxpayers are paying them to get nothing done.

Not one thing.

The ordinary leftist wearing a pink hat and clutching a Resistance sign either has no job or a government job. At the pinnacle of this pathetic movement sits the Democratic member of Congress making $174,000 a year, with Nancy Pelosi and Schumer taking home $193,000, and being paid to do nothing.

Around them circulate a vast network of staffers who are also being paid to do nothing constructive.

Taxpayers are on the hook for over $4 mil for the salaries of Senator Feinstein’s staffers. Schumer needed a $3.5 million staff even before he took power. Franken’s posturing requires a mere $2.8 million in staff salaries. It’s certainly a step up from 5 minutes with a comb on Saturday Night Live.

Alcee Hastings, threw a tantrum during the ObamaCare debate. "I don't have to be nice to nobody," he ranted. While Hastings was accusing Republicans of abusing poor people, the former impeached judge was carrying out his own charity work by paying his girlfriend $168,411 a year.

Taxpayers are spending a fortune to subsidize a corrupt bunch of clowns who spend all their time trying to bring down the government. The Democrats are not the opposition. Opposition parties oppose, but they also work for the common good. The Democrats only oppose for the sake of opposition. Their likeliest nominees burnish their presidential credentials by voting against everything.

The Democrats are not an opposition party, but an obstructionist party.

New presidents traditionally have a honeymoon period in which to assemble their administration and put forward an agenda. As David Horowitz has frequently pointed out, President Trump was denied any space in which to assemble an administration. Instead Democrats openly and covertly worked to prevent him from assembling an administration, let alone enacting an agenda.

The distinction is an important one.

Opposing parties can challenge an agenda. But preventing an administration from assembling a cabinet and putting its appointees into place is not opposition. When you set out to stop an administration from functioning, it’s government shutdown by deliberate sabotage. It brutally disregards the welfare of the country in a power struggle that damages the critical functions of government.

Crippling the government doesn’t just hurt Republicans. It means that critical agencies that should be fighting terrorism, dealing with international threats, maintaining crucial infrastructure and taking care of those who need help the most have been kneecapped by the partisan obstructionism of the Dems.

But obstructionists don’t care. Their goal isn’t to get anything done, but to get things undone.

The Democrats don’t see themselves as an opposition party. They’ve made that clear. Instead they’ve adopted the radical left’s mantra of “resistance”. Opposition and ruling parties can compromise. But a resistance cannot compromise with the enemy. Compromise is collaboration. It’s treason to the cause.

To call yourself the resistance is to define your objective as the obstruction and destruction of the enemy. And the enemy is President Donald J. Trump, the Republicans and all conservatives.

The Obstruction Party isn’t out to stop some things and get other things done the way that opposition parties usually do. It’s out to stop everything for the sake of stopping it. And that’s not how our system was ever meant to function. Our system of government was meant to mediate opposing views. It was not meant to allow a fractious faction to declare war on it from within under the false flag of procedure.

And so the system is breaking down. The civility of the Senate has imploded. And Democrats cheered this implosion using the hashtag #ShePersisted. The Senate was once the more civilized and reflective body. Now it’s churning with mediocrities aspiring to be the 2020 candidate while outdoing each other in bellicose obstructionism, manufacturing fake scandals and fighting every step of the way.

Once upon a time a commitment to mindlessly blocking everything the other party might do out of partisan spite would render a politician utterly unfit for higher office. But that is exactly what the leftist masters of today’s jackass party want from their Senate servants. Polls show that Democrats, unlike the rest of the country, want their representatives to sabotage and obstruct everything for the resistance.

And that is the dysfunctional mess that they are getting.

The Party of Obstruction claims that they are patriots. But trying to bring down the government under the pretext of the scandals you invented doesn’t make you a patriot. Patriots put their country first. Obstructionists put their agenda first. Ideologues put their ideology first. And that’s what leftists are.

Leftists aren’t loyal to America. They’re only loyal to the left.

The “resistance” isn’t motivated by patriotism. Patriotism is rooted in the idea of loyalty to a country. The leftists rioting in the streets and undermining the government from within are not loyal to any country. When Germany’s leader opens the doors to Muslim migrants, they hail her as the leader of the free world. If she closes the gates tomorrow, they’ll hail the leftist leaders of Canada or Venezuela.

When the Democrats allowed the left to take over, they put ideology over loyalty. The left led them into a treasonous allegiance to a foreign cause and insurrection against an elected government.

The Democrats never accepted their election defeat. They have rejected a peaceful transition of power. In their minds they weren't rejected by the people, but occupied by some vast shadowy conspiracy whose outlines mutate with every Maddow broadcast, New York Times tweet and Salon blog post. It is their duty to save their illegal alien transgender Muslim allies from Trump before he deports them to Alaska and destroys the planet by allowing coal miners and their families to earn a living.

Such lunatic reactions had always existed on the left, but they became mainstream within the Democratic Party when Bush beat Gore. After Trump beat Hillary, the elected leadership put aside governing to spend all its time obsessed with a twisted fantasy of reclaiming to the power they had held under Obama by forcing an elected president out of office.

The low intensity civil war waged by them has made governing difficult. But unlike authentic rebels, this civil war is being waged by entitled officials with six figure salaries against the will of the people.

An elementary qualifier for holding public office, like sitting in an airplane exit row, is a willingness to do the job. Taxpayers are not obligated to spend their hard-earned money on men and women who want to live out their resistance fantasies. That's what Soros is for.

If the Democrats want to obstruct the government, the first things that should be obstructed are their salaries.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.


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Political Rights in Palestine Were Granted to Jews Only - Eli E. Hertz

by Eli E. Hertz

"... the mandate implicitly denies Arab claims to national political rights in the area in favor of the Jews"

The "Mandate for Palestine" clearly differentiates between political rights-referring to Jewish self-determination as an emerging polity-and civil and religious rights, referring to guarantees of equal personal freedoms to non-Jewish residents as individuals and within select communities. Not once are Arabs as a people mentioned in the "Mandate for Palestine." At no point in the entire document is there any granting of political rights to non-Jewish entities (i.e., Arabs). Article 2 of the "Mandate for Palestine" explicitly states that the Mandatory should:
"... be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish National Home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion."
Political rights to self-determination as a polity for Arabs were guaranteed by the League of Nations in four other mandates – in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and later Trans-Jordan [today Jordan].
International law expert Professor Eugene V. Rostow, examining the claim for Arab Palestinian self-determination on the basis of law, concluded:
"... the mandate implicitly denies Arab claims to national political rights in the area in favor of the Jews; the mandated territory was in effect reserved to the Jewish people for their self-determination and political development, in acknowledgment of the historic connection of the Jewish people to the land. Lord Curzon, who was then the British Foreign Minister, made this reading of the mandate explicit. There remains simply the theory that the Arab inhabitants of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have an inherent ‘natural law’ claim to the area."
Eli E. Hertz


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Ireland: Undermining Academia, Implementing Anti-Semitism - Denis MacEoin

by Denis MacEoin

It has from the beginning been designed to denounce Israel as an illegal state, all under the cover of supposed neutral academic inquiry.

  • It has from the beginning been designed to denounce Israel as an illegal state, all under the cover of supposed neutral academic inquiry.
  • It is not, however, in the least surprising that an Irish government would pass a motion like that so wholeheartedly. After all, links with the PLO and other terrorist groups were connived at or even encouraged by the Irish government itself.
  • The conference put itself in the welcoming hands of the city council, a body thoroughly in agreement with the aims of the event, to find spurious legal arguments for the delegitimization and eventual destruction of Israel.
Readers may remember a controversy reported in January. It was proposed that an international "academic" conference about the legitimacy of Israel would take place in University College Cork in the Republic of Ireland. There have been several developments in this sorry enterprise since then.

What the conference, which goes under the revealing title, "International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism", was about may be summed up in a few sentences. It has from the beginning been designed to denounce Israel as an illegal state, all under the cover of supposed neutral academic inquiry. The organizers had previously tried to hold the event at Britain's Southampton University and, reportedly, other European universities, each time without success.

The new plan was to hold the conference with virtually all the same speakers and papers at Cork's University College from March 31 to April 2 this year. When that plan became known, several people in Ireland and elsewhere, including this author, contacted the college in an attempt to persuade its administration to cancel the event. We did so on two principal grounds. One, that it proposes to be an anti-Semitic event according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition. That definition, like two earlier international versions, includes several clauses in which overt demonization of Israel and attempts to deny the Jewish people their right to self-determination are treated as equally anti-Semitic as previous figures of speech in classical anti-Semitism. Here are the relevant clauses from that Definition:
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.
The IHRA definition has been recognized by 32 countries, including the UK and the Irish Republic.

Secondly, we argued that the unrelieved presence of speakers with documented bias against Israel -- participation in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (including the boycotting of Israeli academics), or even more heavy-handed political involvement supporting Palestinian terrorism -- undermined the notion that this was in any sense a balanced academic event. Since the formerly-planned event was first mooted, that high level of politicization has become even more marked.

Throughout the period when protests were made, representatives of the small Irish Jewish community advanced concerns about the anti-Semitic nature of the advance, and for some time they believed they were making progress on the diplomatic front. Others engaged with the administration on this and the political level. Our efforts were confused when the existing president of the college was replaced by a new man, Professor Patrick O'Shea. This meant we had to start our representations more or less from scratch. In the meantime, the conference organizers were aware of the growing opposition to their event.

A letter advancing our two main arguments, and signed by several academics belonging to Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), was sent to President O'Shea towards the end of February. So far, no reply has been received. However, some of our joint representations seem to have made an impact. One of the things we had all emphasized was that we had no wish to prevent the organizers and panelists from exercising their right to free speech. Our problem was, and still is, that, as a thoroughly political event, the conference should not take place on the UCC campus. This seems to have made some impact. On March 8, it was announced that the event would take place, but that only one day would be held on College premises. This seemed (and as it turned out, was) a step forward. Not surprisingly, we read in the same place, that "UCC Professor of Computer Science James Bowen, who is one of the conference organisers, said he believed the university had become alarmed after pressure was brought to bear by international zionist lobby groups."

The problem, however, was not really solved by this shift. A second problem emerged, and that was the identity of the new premises. The conference is now to take place chiefly in Cork City Hall. Now that may seem an improvement, but in some ways it is even worse. Cork City Council, who have permitted the organizers to hold the event in their City Hall, has thirty-three members. These individuals represent most of Ireland's several political parties. Fifteen belong to either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael, Ireland's two leading parties, eight are Sinn Féin, a republican party with considerable support in both the Republic and the North, three representing the Anti-Austerity Alliance (Chomhghuaillíocht in Aghaidh na Déine-Daoine Roimh Brabús (renamed Solidarity in March), a socialist party, one from the Workers' Party (Páirtí na nOibrithe), a Marxist-Leninist republican group linked to the Official Irish Republican Army (IRA), and another three with the right/far right National Party (An Páirtí Náisiúnta).

The City Hall of Cork, Ireland. (Image source: Klaus Foehl/Wikimedia Commons)

At first glance, this might seem reasonably balanced. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, for example, are center-right parties who dominate the Oireachtas, the two houses of the Irish Republic. In terms of Irish politics that is a reasonable state of affairs. But when it comes to Israel, a very different picture emerges.

In 2016, the ruling party, Fine Gael, joined with Fianna Fáil to agree on a "Programme for Government", committing Ireland to honor "our commitment to recognise the state of Palestine as part of a lasting settlement of the conflict". This was repeated last February, forcing the Israeli embassy to attempt a diplomatic intervention. Ireland's Foreign Minister, Charles Flanagan, declared that the country "constantly considers recognizing a Palestinian State". In the same month, Fianna Fáil voted to fast-track the motion to recognize Palestinian statehood:

Fianna Fáil foreign affairs spokesman Darragh O'Brien said the party intended to bring its motion forward by a number of weeks, and table it before party leader Enda Kenny travels to the US for St Patrick's Day in order to make the Dáil's position clear.

O'Brien, a TD [Teachta Dála, member of parliament] for Dublin Fingal, said every Opposition TD in the Dáil supported the motion, which means it will almost certainly pass, given the extreme minority nature of the government.

The motion was supported by, among many others, Fine Gael's Olivia Mitchell TD in response to the embassy's call for reconsideration. Her arguments for doing so are entirely well intended, with expressions of sympathy for Israel and condemnation of Palestinian violence, yet a poor understanding of the justifications for that violence and the total absence of legal grounds for such a unilateral recognition.

So far, the motion has not passed, and things may change should the new American administration apply pressure to prevent the move. It is not, however, in the least surprising that an Irish government would pass a motion like that so wholeheartedly. After all, links with the PLO and other terrorist groups were connived at or even encouraged by the Irish government itself:
From its inception in 1964, the PLO enjoyed generous support from the Irish government, which turned a blind eye to the IRA's growing relationship with Palestinian terrorist groups. Ireland also played a major role in the UNIFIL peace-keeping force on the Lebanon-Israel border, creating tensions between Dublin and Jerusalem.
Those ties continue. Speaking of Michael Higgins, the current Irish president (the Uachtarán na hÉireann), Shimon Samuels, the director for international relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, wrote:
Higgins' record is unambiguous: mourned for Arafat; denied Hamas is a terrorist organization; in 2007 shared a platform with Ibrahim Mussawi of Hezbollah's Al Manar TV; in 2008 spoke at a march surrounded by Hezbollah banners; and in 2010 proclaimed in Parliament his support for the Gaza flotilla.
Back in 2010, Vincent Dowd wrote a piece for BBC News, citing Irish senator Eoghan Harris, a rare pro-Israel voice in the Irish parliament. Harris's comments are striking:
For three years journalist Eoghan Harris has been an independent member of the Irish Senate.
How does it feel being avowedly pro-Israel in today's Republic of Ireland?
The Senator sighs. "I would probably be the only voice currently in the upper house of the Irish parliament to support Israel.
"The fact is there's a whole consensus now in Ireland against Israel."
This enduring link between Ireland and the Palestinians has been well analyzed in an article in Crethi Plethi.

Since we have mentioned the legal situation, let us go back to Cork. We have referred to Sinn Féin's membership on the Council, and it is worth a further look at the negative role this particular party and its allies have played in the debate about Israel and the Palestinians. Sinn Féin is, in reality, the political wing of the IRA, a terrorist organization that has committed many crimes in Ireland and the UK mainland. It is a revolutionary party that has linked itself to some of the most appalling regimes and organizations on the planet for many decades. Extremist Irish republicans and the IRA allied themselves with Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, have had links to North Korea and Cuba, and have been directly involved with innumerable terrorist entities from Colombia's FARC and Baader Meinhof, to the Basque ETA and the Kurdish socialist PKK.

In the present context, however, we should note the close link between Sinn Féin/the IRA and three of Israel's greatest enemies: Hamas, the PLO, and Hezbollah. For example:
"In 2005, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams met members of Hamas - the largest militant group in the region - in the Palestinian parliament and laid a wreath at the tomb of the former president Yasser Arafat."
And again, from last year:
"The latest delegation to Istanbul at the weekend was headed by Sinn Fein's national chairperson Declan Kearney who met one of the main Hamas leaders, Musa Abu Marzouk, among others."
At the time, a Democratic Unionist member of the European Parliament, Diane Dodds commented: "The reality is that those they met in Istanbul have as their number one goal the destruction of the State of Israel."

It should not come as a surprise that the organizers of this anti-Israel conference chose to head to Ireland as its new venue, selecting not the leading university there, Trinity College Dublin, but a college situated in the heartland of nationalist sentiment. Nor is it strange that, having been outfoxed by the college itself (see below), the organizers put themselves in the welcoming hands of the city council, a body thoroughly in agreement with the aims of the event. Their joint purpose was to find spurious legal arguments for the delegitimization and eventual destruction of Israel. There is no other country in Europe where a conference like this could have been held under the auspices of a political body.

Ireland is a small country, Cork is a small city, and UCC ranks only at 283 in the QS Top Universities list. Given the high level of anti-Israel sentiment and activism on university and college campuses around the world, especially in the United States, we can predict that many eyes will focus on the papers delivered in Cork. Those papers have not yet been published, but a list of their titles has just been made available online. The majority are couched in the vague jargon beloved of so many modern academics, and do not give away very much about their likely contents. But several are less concealing and are worth a look:
Dr. Ghada Karmi, University of Exeter
How Legitimate is Israeli Statehood? Factors and Implications of the UN Creation of Israel
(This in itself shows a basic misunderstanding of international law. Israel was not created by the 1947 UN Partition Plan. It is founded on the San Remo decisions of April 1920, the League of Nations Mandate of July 1922 and the Covenant of the League of Nations, Article 22.)
Dr. Blake Alcott, Unaffiliated Researcher, London
Denial of Self-determination as a Sufficient Condition for Illegitimacy
(But on what grounds can one deny the legal concept of self-determination, which is one of the foundation-stones of all modern sovereign states? Chapter 1, Article 1, part 2 states that purpose of the UN Charter is: "To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.")
Dr. Markus Gunneflo, Lund University
"But we have a state": The International Law of Settler Colonialism in Palestine
(Although frequently bandied about in anti-Israel circles, the concept of "settler colonialism" is meaningless in the Israel-Palestinian context. Israel is not an imperial power. The presence of Israeli settlers in Judaea and Samaria is legal under several international rulings. Settlements are not intended to create a colony, have never been declared as such by the Israeli government, and are the subject of negotiations under the Oslo Accords and UN resolutions 242 [1967] and 338 [1973].)

This use of the term is repeated in Panel 4, entitled "Zionism/Israel & Settler Colonialism: Exceptional or Typical. Here are the titles of three papers from that Panel:
Dr. Ronnen Ben-Arie, Tel Aviv University
Settler Colonialism in Palestine and the Logic of 'Double Elimination'

Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Hebrew University
Israel's Settler Colonialism, Stolen Childhood, and the Creation of Death Zones

Adv. Leah Tsemel, Israeli lawyer and human rights activist
The Israeli Legal System: The Practice and Ideology of Eternalizing the Occupation
"Death Zones"? "Eternalizing the Occupation"? Are these really papers in an "academic" conference?

There are several more of these inflammatory and ill-advised papers, with titles citing Israel "apartheid" and anti-Zionism (e.g. "Britain's Responsibility for the Apartheid in Israel-Palestine Today: From Balfour to the Nakba", "We Fight, Therefore we are! A Muslim DeColonial Critique of Zionist Epistemology", "An Essentialist Critique of Zionism", and more).

Two final points should be mentioned. The first and keynote paper is to be delivered by none other than the notorious international extremist, Professor Richard Falk, whose name may be well-known to all readers. His reputation as an apologist for dictators, Islamists, terrorists and the Palestinian hatred for Jews and Israelis goes before him. His racism has been cited as reason for the UK government to expel him from the country. He has advanced conspiracy theories about the United States and Israel. He has carried on his work against human rights and democracy through several appointments to senior positions within the United Nations, notably his function as a Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.

A report by him on behalf of the UN Economic and Social Commission was published in March this year to wide acclaim. In the report, Falk condemned Israel as an "apartheid state", but his extremism was quickly identified and the entire document was withdrawn and deleted by UN Secretary-General Antonió Guterres. In consequence, Under Secretary-General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf was obliged to resign her post.

There is no room here to delve further into Falk and his prejudices. But while writing these words, news has just come in that one of the two pro-Israel speakers slated to speak in Cork, Professor Alan Johnson, has withdrawn in protest at the presence of Falk as the keynote speaker. That is recognition of the fact that the tenor and purpose of the Cork conference can be summed up by Falks's role as a figurehead for anti-Israel extremism. That is a reputation it will not live down.

And just to make matters worse, University College Cork has completely distanced itself from the event by stating that the university authorities confirmed last month that "it is not a university-sponsored or promoted event". The organizers have rented a room on college premises, but they are not entitled to brand the conference as a UCC event. That must be a serious blow to their reputation as academics and to their claim that the conference is a valid commentary on the realities of Israel and the Palestinians.

Denis MacEoin shares Irish and British citizenship. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, Edinburgh and Cambridge universities, he is currently a Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.


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The Muslim Brotherhood: Peddling Sharia as Social Justice - Judith Bergman

by Judith Bergman

"Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope". — Muslim Brotherhood motto.

  • Human Rights Watch, an organization that is supposed to look out for victims of human rights abuses, not abusers of human rights is begging US decision makers not to designate the Muslim Brotherhood -- which, if it had its way, would take away everyone's human rights and substitute them with sharia law -- a foreign terrorist organization.
  • "Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope". — Muslim Brotherhood motto.
  • Conveniently, Hamas -- which according to article two of its charter, is "one of the wings of Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine" -- is, it seems, working on a new charter. The new charter would declare that Hamas is not a part of the Muslim Brotherhood, despite its always having been so. That way, is the Muslim Brotherhood's "narrative" of newfound "nonviolence" suddenly supposed to become believable?
Gehad el-Haddad, official spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), is on a mission to rewrite the terrorist and radical history of the MB. He seems to be doing this for the consumption of naïve Americans. These seem only too willing to believe -- in the name of tolerance, diversity and trying to be non-judgmental -- that an organization whose ultimate goal is the supreme reign of Islamic sharia law everywhere -- if necessary through violent jihad -- could possibly value anything even approximating equality and the rule of (non-sharia) law.
"We are not terrorists," wrote el-Haddad in a recent article in the New York Times.
"The Muslim Brotherhood's philosophy is inspired by an understanding of Islam that emphasizes the values of social justice, equality and the rule of law... We believe that our faith is inherently pluralistic and comprehensive and that no one has a divine mandate or the right to impose a single vision on society... Nothing speaks more to our unequivocal commitment to nonviolence than our continued insistence on peaceful resistance, despite unprecedented state violence".
The "faith", which el-Haddad avoids naming, is Islam. The very essence of Islam, as sanctioned in the Quran and the hadiths, however, seems to be the belief in a divine mandate to impose the single vision of Islam on the world -- if necessary, through violent jihad. Its motto is:
"Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope".
Even dawa, the Islamic call to conversion, or proselytizing -- as explained by the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, host of one of Al Jazeera's most popular programs, Sharia and Life, which reaches an estimated 60 million viewers worldwide -- is an Islamic summons for the non-violent conquest of non-Muslim lands. As Qaradawi told a Muslim Arab Youth Association convention in Toledo, Ohio, in 1995, "We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through sword but through Da'wa."

Qaradawi, in a recording from 2007, says that the aim of this "peaceful" conquest consists mainly of the introduction of Islamic law, sharia. According to Qaradawi, sharia should be introduced in a new country gradually, over a five-year period, before implementing it in full. Sharia includes the end of free speech under "blasphemy laws"; the oppression of women, including women being worth half as much as a man in court and inheritance; polygamy, and the persecution of Jews (Qaradawi advocates killing all of them). Qaradawi has explained in TV recordings how sharia also includes chopping off hands for theft, killing apostates and homosexuals, as well as beating women as a means of "disciplining" them.

The New York Times, ostensibly concerned with "fake news", evidently has no qualms about lending its pages to such straightforward propaganda as El-Haddad's piece on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.

According to a recent report by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), the MB recently launched a lobbying offensive in the United States to charm decision-makers in the Trump administration and Congress to give up on the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2017, re-introduced on January 9, 2017, by Senator Ted Cruz.
According to the MEMRI report, the Muslim Brotherhood's lobbying efforts include:
"Launching a widespread informational media campaign, including the hiring of U.S. lobbying and legal firms, outreach to the press in the U.S., and dissemination of informational content aimed at improving its image in the West, particularly in the U.S."
The purpose is "to convey that it is not a terrorist organization, but rather an ideological movement whose methods of operation are peaceful".

Human Rights Watch, an organization that is supposed to look out for victims of human rights abuses, not abusers of human rights, also jumped on that bandwagon. Human Rights Watch is begging US decision makers not to designate the Muslim Brotherhood -- who, if they had their way, would take away everyone's human rights and substitute them with sharia law -- a foreign terrorist organization.

The MEMRI report also cites former MB official Tareq Abu Al-Sa'ad's claim that, as part of its efforts to improve its image in the U.S., "the MB relies on specific American families who are members of the MB and have close ties to the U.S. administration... to contact human rights organizations to help improve its image in Washington".

Conveniently, Hamas -- which according to Article Two of its charter, "is one of the wings of Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine. The Moslem Brotherhood Movement is a universal organization which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times..." -- is, it seems, working on a new charter which would declare that Hamas is not a part of the Muslim Brotherhood, despite always having been so. That way, is the MB's "narrative" of newfound "nonviolence" suddenly supposed to become believable?

The Muslim Brotherhood evidently considers the West filled with utter dupes, willing to take anything at face value that is served up to them. One can hardly blame them. The West has swallowed whole the propaganda of Islam as a "religion of peace". Why should the US not buy the equally false idea that the MB is a non-violent, pluralistic, social justice movement?
According to the MEMRI report:
"Evidence of the lobbying moves could be seen in comments by a London-based MB official, Mohamed Soudan, who said in late January that the Muslim Brotherhood was speaking to American politicians, State Department officials, members of Congress, and academics, in order to explain the nonviolent history of the movement since its establishment in 1928".

Left: The emblem of the Muslim Brotherhood. Right: While being hosted by the State Department on a visit to Washington in January 2015, Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood judge Waleed Sharaby flashed the organization's four-finger "Rabia" sign.

Also according to the MEMRI report:
"On February 5, the Saudi website Elaph reported that the MB had signed a contract with an American lobbying firm, paying it $4.8 million to help it establish ties with Trump administration officials in order to improve its image in U.S. media. According to the report, the contract included organizing meetings with Trump administration officials, submitting documents on Egyptian government mistreatment of the movement and its members, publishing articles in American media, and providing platforms for MB officials in the American print and TV media. Elaph added that elements close to the Obama administration had helped the movement sign the contract with this firm, whose officials include figures close to Obama's election campaign and to Hillary Clinton. According to Elaph, the firm employs dozens of former White House and State Department staffers who have extensive ties to members of Congress and political and strategic research centers in the U.S".
Is anyone doing anything substantial to counter the Muslim Brotherhood's lobbying offensive in the United States?
Judith Bergman is a writer, columnist, lawyer and political analyst.

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Five Former Lebanese Officials To Arab League Convey Opposition To Hizbullah's Weapons And Involvement In Syria, Iran's Involvement In Arab World - MEMRI


In the letter, which was published March 28, 2017 in the Lebanese daily Al-Nahar, the five set out the principles which they believe should inform Lebanon's domestic and foreign policy

Ahead of the March 29, 2017 Arab League summit in Jordan, five former Lebanese presidents and prime ministers – Amine Gemayel, Michel Suleiman, Najib Mikati, Fuad Al-Siniora and Tammam Salam – sent a letter to Jordan's King 'Abdallah, who chaired the summit, and to the other Arab leaders who attended it.

In the letter, which was published March 28, 2017 in the Lebanese daily Al-Nahar, the five set out the principles which they believe should inform Lebanon's domestic and foreign policy, including: avoiding affiliation with various regional and international axes and involvement in the Syrian crisis; condemnation of any outside interference in Arab affairs; commitment to Arab League and UN resolutions, especially UN Security Council Resolution 1701; upholding the exclusive authority of the Lebanese state and its security apparatuses to wield arms and opposing illegal arms; and upholding the exclusive sovereignty of the Lebanese state over all Lebanese territories.

These principles implicitly express the five figures' opposition to Hizbullah's possession of weapons, its control of various parts of Lebanon and its involvement in Syria, as well as their rejection of Iran's involvement in Arab affairs. Drafted and sent without coordinating with Lebanese President Michel 'Aoun, who represented Lebanon at the summit along with Prime Minister Sa'd Al-Hariri, the letter reflects the dispute within Lebanon between Hizbullah's supporters and opponents regarding this organization's weapons and its fighting in Syria, and regarding Iran's interference in the Arab world. It also appears to convey the signatories' opposition to the statements recently made by 'Aoun in support of Hizbullah's weapons, statements that sparked criticism from the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag.[1]

The letter came against the backdrop of tense anticipation in Lebanon ahead of Aoun's speech at the summit and regarding the position Lebanon would take on the intention to condemn Iran for its interference in Arab affairs. This, especially after Lebanon's failure to condemn Iran at previous Arab and Islamic forums sparked anger from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states and even led to a disconnect between the countries and to the taking of economic measures against Lebanon.[2]
It should be noted that the letter triggered harsh condemnations against its signatories from Hizbullah's supporters in Lebanon.

The letter's signatories (right to left): former presidents Michel Suleiman and Amine Gemayel; former prime ministers Najib Mikati, Tammam Salam and Fuad Al-Siniora (image: Al-Nahar, Lebanon)

The following is a translation of the letter:[3]

"To His Majesty King 'Abdallah bin Al-Hussein, monarch of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and chair of the Arab summit.

"In light of the dangers threatening our homeland Lebanon and our Arab ummah, we, former presidents and prime ministers of Lebanon, saw fit to present you with an appeal to the Arab leaders who are to attend the summit in Jordan several days from now, clarifying our position on the situation in Lebanon and the region, on the dangers facing Lebanon, and on the need to confront [these dangers]. Therefore, we emphasize [that Lebanon must adhere to the following principles]:

"1. Complete commitment to the Taif Agreement and to the full implementation of all its clauses, as well as to the [Lebanese] constitution and to coexistence among all Lebanese – for these are the principles that safeguard Lebanon and the relations among the Lebanese.

"2. Lebanese commitment to its Arab affiliation, to the Arab consensus, and to the resolutions of the Arab League and of the legitimate international [bodies] regarding Lebanon and the Arabs – first and foremost [UN] Resolution 1701 that guarantees Lebanon's security vis-à-vis Israel and upholds its right [to regain] its territories that remain under Israeli occupation.

"3. Commitment to the 2011 [sic] Ba'abda Declaration,[4] which pronounced Lebanon neutral vis-a-vis the policies of [regional] axes and regional and international crises, in order to spare it the negative consequences of regional tensions and crises and safeguard its supreme interests, its national unity and the security of its citizens. This, with the exception of [Lebanon's] commitment to international resolutions and to the Arab consensus, as well as to the just Palestinian cause, including the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their lands and their homes rather than be naturalized [in Lebanon]; [as well as] commitment to refrain from interfering in the Syria crisis and to condemn foreign interference in the affairs of Lebanon and [other] Arab [countries].

"4. The Arabs must show solidarity with Lebanon [in the following matters]: the liberation of its lands [the Shab'a Farms, held by Israel]; the rejection of illegal arms [i.e., Hizbullah's arms]; and the need for the Lebanese state and its military and security apparatuses to exercise sole control over all Lebanese territory, as entailed by [the principles of] sovereignty, rule of law, and legitimacy. [The Arabs] must also support Lebanon so it can meet the challenges [posed by] the crisis of the Syrian refugees [living] in Lebanon and extend it political and material assistance until the [refugees] return to their homes.

"5. We, the undersigned, believe that the security and unity of Lebanon are based upon several foundations, chiefly support for a [Lebanese] state that exercises full and exclusive control over all Lebanese territories; rejection of illegal arms; opposition to all forms of terror; and respect for the Arab and international legitimacy [i.e., resolutions] and the principles of coexistence. We fervently hope that, in the present circumstances, the Arab League summit in Amman will address the urgent problems of the ummah and especially of the Mashraq countries [the Arab countries in the eastern Mediterranean basin]. We also expect [this] convention of the Arab leaders to open up a broad new horizon for solidarity with Lebanon in light of the threats it faces from within and without."

[1] On 'Aoun's statements and Kaag's criticism, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6783, Lebanese Daily 'Al-Akhbar' Attacks UN Special Coordinator For Lebanon Over Opposition To Hizbullah Weapons, February 14, 2017.
[2] On this crisis between Lebanon and the Gulf states, see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1232, Lebanon's Failure To Support Saudi Arabia In Struggle With Iran Sparks Crisis Between Lebanon And Saudi-Led Gulf, March 7, 2016.
[3] Al-Nahar (Lebanon), March 28, 2017.
[4] A declaration issued in 2012 by the major political forces in Lebanon, including Hizbullah, in which they agreed, inter alia, that Lebanon would avoid affiliation with any regional axis and involvement in any regional conflict. The declaration was initiated by then-president Michel Suleiman in light of the Syria crisis and the dispute in Lebanon regarding the position it must take on this crisis.



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The Inverted Ideological Pyramids of Anti-Zionist Jews: The Case of Moshe Zuckermann - Evyatar Friesel

by Evyatar Friesel

Zuckermann's approach to developments in modern Jewry is based on assumptions that do not stand the test of historical analysis. The central factor in his thought is a visceral aversion to the Zionist idea and its realization.

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 436, March 30, 2017

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Israeli professor Moshe Zuckermann's notions about antisemitism, Israel, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are representative of a current in Jewish thinking: anti-Zionism among Jews in both Israel and the Diaspora. Zuckermann's approach to developments in modern Jewry is based on assumptions that do not stand the test of historical analysis. The central factor in his thought is a visceral aversion to the Zionist idea and its realization. 

It is remarkable how one remains in the grip of the cultural patterns of the group one was born into without necessarily being aware of it. Among Jews, there can be detected – even in unlikely sources – a distinctly Talmudic approach to logical thought. In this way of thinking, a scholar, building upon religious texts, comes to bizarre conclusions by dint of sheer mental gymnastics.

Professor Moshe Zuckermann, a highly assimilated Jew and a declared Marxist with no known ties to Jewish Orthodox circles, is an interesting example of this cultural power. His political ideas regarding Zionism and Israel follow one of the routes of Talmudic thinking: the pattern of the inverted pyramid, in which a broad, eloquent, and often fierce array of related views is built on a given premise. The problem with Zuckermann’s logic is that his premise – the single point on which the inverted pyramid stands – is a subjective hunch that does not stand up to historical analysis.

Born in 1947 in Tel Aviv, Zuckermann spent part of his youth in Germany and returned in the late 1960s to Israel. He studied at Tel Aviv University, where he later became a professor of history and philosophy, but has remained attuned to the German academic scene. Most of his books and articles are in German, and he is a frequent participant in interviews in the German press and at German academic conventions.
Here we consider an article Zuckermann recently published in a German Marxist review, Neue Welt (no. 34, February 10, 2017), entitled “German Sensitivities” (“Deutsche Befindlichkeiten”). In two interwoven themes in the article, antisemitism and the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Zuckermann repeats positions he has made elsewhere. His basic assumptions regarding both themes – the points on which the inverted pyramid stands – are dubious.

Regarding antisemitism: Zuckermann explains Jew-hatred as a prejudice like any other, such as xenophobia, anti-Islamism, or discrimination against women or homosexuals. This is incorrect. Anti-Judaism is doctrine, Christian doctrine deeply embedded in Western culture. It goes back to a confrontation at the very foundation of Christianity. It started with the Apostle Paul, got a full formulation by Augustine of Hippo in the fourth century, and took on new expressions in the Middle Ages.  Jew-hatred underwent an astonishing transformation in modern times through adaptation into a mainly secular framework under the new name antisemitism. This strain contained a radical new goal that was not present in older Judeophobia: the extermination of the Jews, now defined as a pernicious race.
One of the illusions of our times, an understandable case of wishful thinking, is that the horrors of the Holocaust rattled Western culture enough to pave the way to an eventual end to Jew-hatred. Sectors of Western society were indeed rattled (including the Church), but a few decades of soul-searching have not proved sufficient to erase a millennia-old component of the Western spiritual heritage. Like a chameleon, Judeophobia has changed colors and leitmotifs over the centuries, and it continues to do so. Today, before our eyes, it is reformulating itself into anti-Israelism. Although anchored in the broad ideological spectrum of Western society, much of the ideological impulse of Jew-hatred in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries came from the political right and nationalist circles. At present, the main impulse of the new Judeophobia comes from the political left.

Back to Zuckermann: since his starting hypothesis regarding Judeophobia is incorrect, his subsequent conclusions do not make sense. Zuckermann is certainly aware that there is an anti-Jewish trend in modern-day leftist circles, but his reasoning is complicated and unconvincing. The left, for ideological reasons of its own, is straining to find areas of understanding and collaboration with the Islamic camp. The problem is that the fundamental values of the two sides are incompatible. Leftists and Islamists disagree on secularism, human rights, separation between state and religion, equality for women, and more. However, there is one issue on which the two sides are in accord: they both oppose the Jewish state. For Western leftists, it is a case of the old Judeophobic itch again making itself felt, unconsciously or even consciously, under new mottos. It is not so much the Jews, nowadays, but the Jewish state that is in leftist sights.

Regarding the second case of Zuckermann’s inverted-pyramid thinking, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: one of my teachers at Hebrew University, Shmuel Ettinger, had a parable that is very much to the point. “Imagine a film of a boxing match that is cut lengthwise, so we can only see the movements of one of the fighters,” he said. “What do we think we are seeing? A nut whose behavior defies all common sense.” This is exactly how Zuckermann portrays the Israelis in conflict with the Palestinians: he cuts the film lengthwise. The aims on the Arab side, the intentions of Hamas and of Hezbollah, the threats of Iran, the fact that in the century-old history of the conflict there has not been a single case of a whole-hearted Arab initiative to reach an understanding – all this is cut from his narrative. About Arab behavior in conflicts among themselves (or with non-Muslims), there is similarly not a word. In Zuckermann’s books and articles, one finds only bad Israelis burdening the region with their bad intentions.

How to explain such lopsidedness? Here, in the best Talmudic tradition, there is an additional twist (a drey, in Yiddish) to Zuckermann’s thought. The main factor shaping his views (and the views of similar Jewish intellectuals) with regard to the conflict has nothing to do with the Arabs. What really moves him is a visceral aversion to Zionism.

Where the inverted pyramids meet: Zionism

At first glance, Zuckermann’s views about Zionism seem uncomplicated. As he describes it, Zionism is one of three Jewish answers to antisemitism, the others being assimilation and socialism. Here we find yet another inverted pyramid. Antisemitism was not the main reason for the emergence of the Zionist movement, and nor was Zionism, before the creation of Israel, capable of answering the antisemitic onslaught. In 1939, on the eve of the Shoah, after more than forty years of organized, worldwide Zionist activity, the number of Jews in Mandatory Palestine reached approximately 400,000 – only about 2.5% of world Jewry. And even then, a significant part of the Jewish population in Palestine, including the ultra-Orthodox and others, were not Zionists. Antisemitism might have directed Jews to America, but it brought only a few to Palestine.

Antisemitism undoubtedly played a role in Zionism, but so did the other ways taken by modern Jewry as delineated by Zuckermann. Zionism internalized a measure of assimilation, in the sense that it adopted many of the political concepts of modern Europe. There was also a powerful socialist trend in the Zionist movement that created some of the most interesting social experiments of modern times, such as the kibbutz and the moshav. All three – antisemitism, assimilation, and socialism, as well as nationalism – were ideological elements integrated in the Zionist idea, but none was its driving power.
The thrust impelling Zionism was a potent, specifically Jewish ideal: ahavat-tzion (love-for-Zion) and shivat-tzion (the-return-to-Zion). Admittedly, these are spiritual/ideological concepts difficult to place in Western intellectual categories, and especially into Marxist ones. It was the combining of essential values of traditional Jewry with ideas taken from modern European life that produced the powerful spark contained in Zionism.

That spark was powerful enough to overcome the destruction of European Jewry in the 1940s. It was powerful enough to create a Jewish state and defend it in one of the darkest hours in Jewish history, an amazing feat. From the perspective of broader Jewish history, the creation of Israel repeated a historical pattern that is essential for the continuing existence of the Jewish people. Jewish statehood expresses the repeated adaptation of the Jews to the possibilities and demands of the present time, combined with the preservation of their specificity as a people.

None of this, however, is Zuckermann’s view, and it obviously makes little impression on him. His is not an isolated case. He is part of a community of like-minded Jewish intellectuals inside Israel as well as in the Diaspora. The inverted reading of the modern Jewish condition by certain Jewish academicians is a baffling phenomenon. Among them are intelligent people and trained scholars. How is it that they lose their compass when it comes to Zionism and Israel to the point that they slip into sheer nonsense? Zuckermann, in a classical Marxist inversion, states that Zionism was always interested in the continuation of international antisemitism, since it represented – of course dialectically – a means for its own ends. Micha Brumlik, a German-Jewish soulmate of Zuckermann’s, recently proclaimed that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s call to French Jews to emigrate to Israel was an expression of a “Jewish death wish.” In Brumlik’s considered opinion, this longing “runs like a red thread through Jewish history.” Zionism, then, is a death wish, not an expression of Jewish existential power.

Ideological directions in contemporary Jewry          

On the map of present-day Jewish identities, where are anti-Zionist Jews? Admittedly, reflective Jews might have questions about their Jewishness, a result of the internal and external upheavals that befell Jewry in the last century. On the one hand, we have modernization, social integration into non-Jewish environments, massive migrations from one geographic environment to another, the Zionist upheaval, and the emergence of a Jewish state. On the other, we have antisemitism, the Holocaust, and now renewed Jew-hatred from diverse non-Jewish quarters. Furthermore, life does not stand still. New developments, both within Jewish society and without it (the relationship between Jews and non-Jews), are changing the character of Jewry also in our days.

Although the rebirth of the Jewish state is a historical fact for most Jews, the Zionist concept, meaning the attitude towards Israel, represents a major dividing line running through contemporary Jewish life – indeed, one that encompasses the very definition of what it means to be Jewish. Of course, the terms “Zionist” and “non-Zionist” have to be applied carefully, considering Jewish realities, and each camp has its sub-currents. The Zionist current runs from a large, general Jewish sector (inside and outside Israel) to the Judea/Samaria settlers’ movement on the other. The latter is mostly religious and politically extremist-right, and relations between the two sides of the Zionist spectrum are complex and frequently tense. Non-Zionists have their nuances too, but many of those Jews are so assimilated into their general environment that matters Jewish are almost without significance for them. They are close to a human type described by Isaac Deutscher decades ago as the “non-Jewish Jew.” There is also a third camp in contemporary Jewry: the haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, communities. In the last decades, the haredi have been growing into an increasingly substantial, if controversial, presence in Jewish life. Anti-Zionist Jews should be understood as a sub-group by itself. Last, it should be noted that it is in Israel that almost all new spiritual or ideological positions in contemporary Jewry are developing.

In that broad range of positions, running from ultra-Orthodoxy to almost total integration into the non-Jewish world, many anti-Zionist Jews belong to the assimilated fringe of Jewry. Some are perplexing figures who carry with them the hard consequences of Jewish fate in the twentieth century, yet are thoroughly immersed in Western life and culture. Their critics frequently excoriate them as self-hating Jews, a view that is simplistic and inexact: most of them are quite normal persons as long as Zionism is not mentioned. Some define themselves as Jews, most are indifferent to their Jewishness, and one, the Israeli professor Shlomo Sand, recently proclaimed (in a whole book) that he is abandoning Judaism altogether, whatever he means by that. In general, these people show little interest in or understanding of issues that matter to contemporary Jews, such as assimilation or the resurgence of Judeophobia. Although they frequently collaborate with anti-Israel non-Jews, they do not oppose other Jews in the sense that classical antisemites do. Although critical of Israel and Israeli society, several of them live very well in Israel.

A large part of modern Jewry was touched by the Jewish spark, the dream of shivat tsion (the Return), and finds an emotional and conceptual anchor in the new Jewish reality of Israel even if they do not live there. Strangely enough, anti-Zionist Jewish intellectuals were also affected by the Zionist spark – but negatively. Their deeply emotional aversion to Zionism suggests a personal dimension, but that is beyond my expertise as a historian.

Anti-Zionist Jews concentrate primarily on one theme, the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but the solutions they offer are as imaginary as their analyses. Worse, their influence on the debate is highly problematic. The fact that Muslims have a misguided understanding of the connection of the Jews to Palestine is a major reason for their consistent failure to cope with what has become a major political and ideological problem for them. I have not met a single Muslim intellectual who did not repeat the canard that “antisemitism caused Zionism,” the inevitable corollary being: “The persecution of the Jews in Europe was a terrible thing. But why do the poor Palestinians have to pay for it?” Jewish intellectuals who support this approach bestow weight onto an ideological misconstruction, the ultimate effect of which is to perpetuate the conflict between Israel and the Arabs.

Anti-Zionist Jews also have a penchant for the theatrical. “The Destiny of Israel: How Zionism Pursues Its Doom,” thunders Zuckermann in the title of a recent book, in fine prophetic style. Neo-prophetic, actually. Unlike the prophets of old (or the anti-Zionists of the early twentieth-century), these Jewish critics do not sermonize “inside” but “outside”: they preach to non-Jews. Jewish anti-Zionism was once an internal dispute, with Jews debating Jews. Contemporary Jewish anti-Zionism and anti-Israelism is mostly an external affair, with Jews addressing non-Jews, many of them Jew-haters. And those Jews say exactly what many of their non-Jewish listeners want to hear, giving the whole exchange a surreal dimension. I cannot imagine an American intellectual critical of the US government or of American society whose main forum is, let us say, in France.

We live in a time when classical Judeophobia, in the new garb of anti-Israelism, is spreading.
Encumbering the search for a solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is a political and ideological confrontation between most of world Jewry and the Muslims. There is no reason on earth not to believe the Iranian ayatollahs, or any other Islamists, when they declare repeatedly that their aim is to destroy the Jewish state, and that they will do their best to achieve that goal. And they are openly supported by Judeophobic sectors of Western society.

Obviously, it is absolutely legitimate to criticize this or that aspect of Israeli life and politics. Every newspaper in Israel does it every day. To call for the destruction of the Jewish state is something else: it is Judeophobia in contemporary dress. To collaborate with parties, states, or people who support such plans, as many Jewish anti-Zionists do, is sheer irresponsibility. It is one thing when Professor Judith Butler, securely ensconced in her American university, euphemistically proposes “changes” for the Jewish state and describes Hamas as a social movement with leftist characteristics. It is something else when anti-Zionist Israelis, who live well in the country, support those intent on taking over their homes and expelling them from the land.

The “anti”-positions of anti-Zionist Jews provide them with a platform, but one does not find in their utterances an anchor in matters Jewish. Their trumpets are shrill but their analyses are incorrect, and over their message hangs a cloud of hopelessness. A bit more modesty and a dose of reflection may, hopefully, bring these anti-Zionist Jews to a better and more balanced understanding of modern Jewish history and actual Jewish realities.

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BESA Center Perspectives Papers are published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family

Evyatar Friesel is professor emeritus of Modern Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


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