A Test of Decency: Supporting Israel

I’m sure everyone has had at least some look at Secretary of State Kerry’s speech – mostly it’s just a recitation of things Obama and his Administration have been saying for nearly 8 years; but when coupled with our abstention in the UN, it actually shows a policy which is just flat wrong.

The basic US policy has been for a Two State solution – and this remains the most logical way to assure basic justice and freedom for everyone. But a Two State solution has some firm requirements – first and foremost that all major Palestinian political groups acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign, Jewish nation. Right up to now, there has yet to be any firm commitment by any of the Palestinian leadership on this. A bit of lip service from the so-called “moderates”, but no concrete effort to get the bulk of the Palestinian leadership on board with the idea, while the propaganda put out for consumption by the Palestinian people indicates no desire for the existence of a Jewish State. Other requirements are that the Palestinians acknowledge Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and that the 1967 borders are a dead letter – whatever borders are eventually made will have to be made by free and fair negotiations between the two sides. Finally, whatever settlement is made must have as a key element the inability of the Palestinians to reverse by military means the final settlement – Israel’s military security must be paramount.

It must be kept in mind that the eastern part of Jerusalem and the West Bank was conquered by Israel in defensive war. It was the Palestinian/Arab/Muslim side of the conflict which was preparing apocalyptic war against Israel in 1967, not the other way around. As it relates to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, those who lead the Palestinians in 1967 gambled on war, and lost. Badly. And, so far, no one on the Palestinian side has acknowledged either their war-guilt, nor their crushing defeat (histories produced for the youth of the Muslim world still claim that it was US and British intervention which caused their defeat…they just won’t admit that the Jews beat them). Traditionally, those who launch a war and then lose are in no position to make demands. Now, a wise people will be merciful in victory – magnanimous, even. The Israelis have shown time and time again that they are willing to go quite far towards the needs of the Palestinians in pursuit of peace. In fact, things like the Oslo Accords probably went a bit too far towards the Palestinian position. At the end of the day, any peace deal will leave a very hostile people with authority deep in Israel’s strategic vitals – it would be like us making a peace with an enemy and allowing them to live just outside of Washington, DC.

The problem with the position of the Obama Administration is that by their policies they have entirely undercut any ability to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians. By saying we want a return to the 1967 border, by saying we consider all settlements to be illegal, by saying that Israel has no rights in Judea and Samaria, we are essentially saying to the Palestinian leadership that Israel, itself, is on the negotiating block. What else is there? If our position is for the Israelis to surrender what they won in defensive war, then what is there to negotiate about save Palestinian designs upon the territory of Israel? And that is how the Palestinian leadership views it. Remember, 30 years ago such leadership were hunted criminals in exile…by action of the “peace process”, they have been allowed to return home and erect a government in the West Bank and Gaza and take full control over large numbers of Palestinian people. And what have they given up? Nothing. They haven’t given up terrorism. They haven’t given up the so-called “right of return” (and, remember, that right of return is a claimed right to return to Israel for those who left in 1948 and their descendants). They haven’t given up their position that Israel, itself, is illegitimate. Now they’ve got a US Administration saying that we back them in demands for all the pre-1967 territory…which includes the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. Roll that around a bit – the Jewish Quarter is “illegally occupied territory”. No word about how the Jewish Quarter was ethnically-cleansed of it’s ancient, Jewish population by the Arabs in the aftermath of the 1948 war. Such a policy is the result of sheer stupidity, or an anti-Israel view. It can’t be anything other than one of those two views…unless it is a combination of both.

The proper position for us to take is that Jerusalem is entirely Israeli, forever, and that the rest of Judea and Samaria is up for negotiation. We must also insist that all of the Palestinian leadership renounce in public the “right of return”, as well as acknowledging that Israel will exist after the peace deal as a Jewish State. To do otherwise is just to play into the hands of the most radical elements of the Palestinian leadership – because doing otherwise allows them to tell their people, “see, we’re pushing them back: just keep with us and eventually we’ll push the Jews into the sea”. And if the Palestinian leadership will not or cannot make such declarations, then there is no possibility of peace. Peace requires that the Palestinian leadership acknowledge Israel and it’s Jewish character. If there isn’t that, then the Palestinian leadership has determined upon continued war.

Leave aside notions of “illegally occupied”. Also, forget about supposed prohibitions against population transfers. Constantinople is “illegally occupied”…heck, a stronger case can be made on that than on any Israeli occupation. Remember, Israel got the West Bank in defensive war – Constantinople was taken in aggressive and entirely unjustified war. And if we’re going to get hung up on population transfers as part of a permanent peace deal, then what is one to say to all the Germans – and their descendants – who used to live in East Prussia and Silesia? The Greeks and the Turks settled their affairs in the 1920’s by population transfers. This is a tricky situation and there aren’t a lot of cut-and-dried things about it (for instance, a good number – perhaps a large majority – of the Palestinian population are descendants of people who arrived in Palestine after Zionist immigration started…it was the rising prosperity of Palestine created by the Zionists which induced many Arabs to move to Palestine in the early part of the 20th century; what is today Israel and the West Bank was a burned-out wasteland 150 years ago – the population of Jerusalem was only a little over 15,000 in 1850 or so; it had been 80,000 under the Romans; 30,000 during the Crusades).

It is a requirement, in my view, for all free people to back other free peoples. That is the central fact in my view of Israel. Israel is a democratic republic. While no nation is perfect, in Israel people of all faiths – or none – can live in peace and freedom. While there is official and un-official discrimination in Israel against non-Jews, that is changing – for instance, not a lot of non-Jews serve in the IDF, but some do…and the number is increasing as Israeli Christians and Muslims realize that defending Israel means defending themselves (anyone really think the Muslims of, say, Nazareth want to come under Abbas’ rule?). There is also a debt we of the West – especially we Christians – owe to the Jews. It isn’t just the Holocaust (though that is a gigantic part of it), but the general discrimination and injustice we visited upon the Jews for centuries which we atone for by supporting Israel. We cannot allow that a free people come under tyranny (and, so, I also back our defense of Taiwan, come what may, against China) and we also cannot allow another Holocaust to happen…and such would happen if the Arabs, as things currently are, got atop the Jews of Israel. As my title says, this is a test of decency – defense of Israel is a Pass/Fail thing on that matter. This does not mean we have to just blindly defend Israel in all circumstances – if a reasonable Palestinian leadership arises willing to meet all legitimate Israeli demands and then the Israelis balk, it would be time for us to pressure Israel…but such a Palestinian leadership would only fully arise under a free Palestine…not free of Israel, but free of tyranny. And, as that works out, if there was genuine freedom in Palestine, then I’m confident that the free people of Palestine and the free people of Israel could come to a swift and equitable arrangement.

In return for an Israeli-Palestinian peace, I’d be willing for our nation to do quite a lot…and not least for the people of Palestine, many of whom are my brothers and sisters in Christ. The real cost, given our wealth, would be small…but we could help the Palestinians make their land bloom with prosperity as much as Israel does. A grand and glorious future awaits – the Holy Land should be a place of peace and justice, and I pray for the day when it is. But we also must be realistic – there are bad actors in the world. Those who take the tiny resources of a poor people and turn them into rockets to fire at random civilians are bad actors…not people who, at present, can be partners in peace and construction. Peace can be had in short order, as soon as both sides want it. Right now, honestly, only one side does…and as they are the democratic side, I must back them. It is the only decent thing to do.

Why There Must be an Israel

At the end of the day, it is the only place earth where a Jew can be sure of being safe:

…Jewish emigration from France is accelerating. From being the largest Jewish community in the EU at the start of this decade, with a population of around 500,000, it is expected by Jewish community leaders to have fallen to 400,000 within a few years. That figure is thought by some to be too optimistic. Anecdotally, every French Jew I know has either already left or is working out how to leave.

Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet refusenik who is now chair of the Jewish Agency Chairman, said last year that 2,254 French Jews moved to Israel during the first five months of 2014, against only 580 in all of 2013. That is a staggering 289 per cent increase, but in recent months the figure is thought to have increased exponentially…

We here in the United States can take pride in the fact that we are the most Jew-friendly nation in the world – but even here, forces and voices are growing more hostile to Jews. The American left is picking up the worst aspects of anti-Semitism, hiding it behind a bogus concern for Palestinians – the reality is that the left hates Israel because it is safer to hate Israel than to hate Islamism; haters gotta hate, but always better to hate those who won’t chop off your head (at least, for now: the leftists don’t realize how much the Islamists hate them, too).

The exodus of Jews from France will probably only accelerate after the events of the past few days. This exodus from France and the rest of Europe will merely accentuate the growing anti-Semitism of Europe…as more Jews leave and more Muslims move in, it’ll become ever more politically acceptable to be anti-Semitic in Europe.

The reason I defend Israel is two-fold: First off, because it is a fellow democracy. I just can’t agree that any free people should be subjugated. Secondly, because Jews have to have a place to run to. I hope and pray that my nation is always a friend of Israel – but I can’t be sure of that. Things change; people change. Appeals to hatred and fear are often successful. Israel must exist so that the Jews may be sure of existing. Period.

Making a Deal With Iran

It is hard to say what the real goal here is – it is clear that no matter what Iran does, while Obama is President we won’t go to war to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.  Come what may, no amount of non-military pressure on Iran will succeed in convincing the Iranian government to give up their nuclear ambitions.  Given this, why make a deal, at all?  What is it that impels Obama and Kerry to seek a deal?

By making any sort of deal, all we do is increase Iranian legitimacy in the eyes of the world, alienate Israel and lower our prestige among both friends and enemies – the world will see that, in the event, we daren’t attack Iran…that we are, in some sense, afraid of them.  The Gulf States will either make the best deal they can with Iran, while Saudi Arabia and Turkey obtain nuclear weapons of their own to counter the Iranian force.  Can it be that Obama and Kerry, ignorant academics that they are, simply believe that a deal is better than a non-deal?  That the results don’t matter so much as the process, itself?

And here’s the bad news – an Iranian nuclear force is an existential threat to the life of Israel…just how long will the Israeli government hold off from saving themselves from extermination?

Why I Support Israel and the Jews

With the nomination of Chuck Hagel to Defense Secretary, the issue of Israel and America’s relationship with her is squarely on the table and so I think it an appropriate time to re-state my views.

As for Hagel, himself, I don’t have much of a concern, one way or the other.  He’s clearly not qualified to be Secretary of Defense but, then again, we can say that about pretty much all of Obama’s nominees (the only two who had a shred of credibility in their posts were former CIA Director Petraeus and outgoing SecDef Panetta).  Hagel also has clearly stupid views about Iran and what our policy towards the Muslim powers should be but, once again, that is common for Obama Administration officials.  In Hagel we’ll get a man who doesn’t know how to do his assigned job and who will bring to his job a set of beliefs which are divorced from reality:  the Obama Administration in a nutshell.  But there is something disturbing in Hagel’s apparent views about the Jews and Israel.

There seems to be a gigantic shift in views about Israel and the Jews going on.  I won’t call it so much a throwback to the old anti-Semitism but, rather, just a resurfacing of anti-Semitism which never died out.  Think about it – Hagel, himself, has complained about the “Jewish lobby” and its influence on American policy, and that is nothing more than a re-phrasing of a thousand statements by Hitler and his minions about the baleful influence of the Jews and how Germany must be protected against the machinations of the Jews.  For some reason, hating Jews and being worried about their alleged influence is a hardy perennial among people – and for those who try to ascribe it to some particularly Christian ideal, I point that ancient pagans felt the same sort of hostility and, of course, modern pagans called communists, fascists and Nazis have been hostile to Jews to one degree or another.  The bottom line is that anti-Semitism is back, in force, and is steadily gaining in social respectability.

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Culture Does Matter

From NRO’s The Corner:

During my recent trip to Israel, I had suggested that the choices a society makes about its culture play a role in creating prosperity, and that the significant disparity between Israeli and Palestinian living standards was powerfully influenced by it. In some quarters, that comment became the subject of controversy.

But what exactly accounts for prosperity if not culture? In the case of the United States, it is a particular kind of culture that has made us the greatest economic power in the history of the earth. Many significant features come to mind: our work ethic, our appreciation for education, our willingness to take risks, our commitment to honor and oath, our family orientation, our devotion to a purpose greater than ourselves, our patriotism. But one feature of our culture that propels the American economy stands out above all others: freedom. The American economy is fueled by freedom. Free people and their free enterprises are what drive our economic vitality…

Read the rest of it here.  Romney is completely correct – is the the culture of barbarism which prevents the Palestinians from enjoying a better life.  Give up the terrorism, give up the “death to Israel” nonsense and get rid of the kleptocrats who run the place and the Palestinians will swiftly be as prosperous as the Israelis.  It is up to the Palestinians – they have to decide what kind of life they want to live.  The world waits – you can be sure of it that the United States, alone, would pour untold billions in to the West Bank and Gaza.  Make the West Bank and Gaza a free market enclave like Hong Kong used to be and in 20 years you wouldn’t recognize the place…and you’d have Israelis asking real nice if they can join in (Israel does have a lot of success, but they still over-tax and over-regulate a bit; a leftover from the socialist days of the past).

Things can change.  People can change.  But they have to want to – and as an aside, all you liberals out there who are supporting the current Palestinian regime:  you’re part of the problem.  You’re propping up the very people who ensure endless war, endless oppression and endless poverty for the Palestinian people.

UPDATE:  Yet another reason to vote for Romney – our recovery weakest in all the world since 1970.

Syria: How Global Power Works

Like this; from the New York Times:

With evidence that powerful new weapons are flowing to both the Syrian government and opposition fighters, the bloody uprising in Syria has thrust the Obama administration into an increasingly difficult position as the conflict shows signs of mutating into a full-fledged civil war.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Tuesday that the United States believed that Russia was shipping attack helicopters to Syria that President Bashar al-Assad could use to escalate his government’s deadly crackdown on civilians and the militias battling his rule. Her comments reflected rising frustration with Russia, which has continued to supply weapons to its major Middle Eastern ally despite an international outcry over the government’s brutal crackdown…

Meanwhile, the report goes on to note that the rebels are being armed by the Turks with assistance from other Muslim powers.  Here’s what is actually going on:

No one outside of the precincts of the West gives a hoot about the sufferings of the Syrian people.  We here in the United States are disgusted with the mayhem and slaughter but people who are not like us don’t care – they only look at the mayhem and slaughter and think, “can I gain any advantage out of it?”.  No amount of moralizing by Obama and Clinton or anyone in the West will make the least impression upon the Turks, Russians, Iranian,  Saudis or anyone else who is so far involved in the war in Syria.  In fact, they’ll probably view such statements as a sign of weakness – figuring that if we really had a pair we’d intervene so we can grab what advantage we want out of the situation.  Holding back and lecturing all concerned is, in the view of such people, the act of cowards.

Russia and Iran want to maintain their Syrian ally.  Iran because it allows Iran to keep up pressure in Israel while also allowing Iran to project power in to the center of the middle east.  Russia because Syria is on Turkey’s southern flank and puts the Turks between two fires if any Russo-Turkish conflict arises…plus it sticks a finger in our eye and Putin (utter fool that he is) thinks that Russia’s proper role is to oppose the United States (the truth is that Russia can only survive in alliance with the United States, but Putin is just too blinded by his Great Russian nationalism to see this).  In service of this goal the Iranians have shipped thugs to Syria for the purpose of massacring Syrians who oppose the Assad regime (probably the very same thugs the Iranians use to massacre Iranians who oppose the Mullah’s regime in Teheran…so, they’re likely experienced killers who no how to choke off a rebellion).  Russia won’t send troops but is clearly sending arms – and in spite of bland words to the contrary, is sending arms which are useful in fighting the increasingly competent Syrian rebels.

Turkey would love to turn Syria in to a satellite State – the Turks, after all, were the imperial overlords of Syria for more than four centuries and while we here in the United States might not know it, the Turks understand that controlling Damascus is just as important as controlling Baghdad if you want to dominate the middle east (this is why Iran continues to press their power in Iraq along with trying to sustain their ally in Syria).  The Turks also have a very long history of enmity with the Russians (there have been, I think, 9 Russo-Turkish wars over the centuries) and so would love to reduce Russian influence in the area.  Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and other States in the area have a vested interest in curbing Iranian influence – and taking out Iran’s key ally in Damascus is worth a lot in Saudi eyes.

Our problem is that we have as President and Secretary of State two people who appear to have zero knowledge of how the world works.  Obama and Clinton seem to think that there is, somewhere, a genuine desire in Syria and in the other players to end the bloodshed.  There isn’t.  There is a desire to win.  Assad wants to win.  The rebels want to win.  Iran wants to win.  Russia wants to win.  Turkey wants to win.  Saudi Arabia wants to win.  All of them won’t win, of course – but they are all fighting for victory as they see it.  We, under Obama and Clinton, don’t want to win – we don’t even know what we want other than an end to the violence; an admirable desire, but violence can be ended in good or bad ways.  Obama and Clinton are ensuring that when the violence ends there is sure to be one nation which won’t have won:  the United States.

Proper American policy in this matter is not to get involved in Syria – we have no dog in that hunt, unless we could grab Damascus and keep it.  That would involve a major military offensive too fraught with risks right now to be envisioned.  So, nothing to do in Syria – but we do have a strong interest in completely ending Syria’s (and, thus, Iran’s) role in Lebanon.  Syria’s armed forces are, naturally, being concentrated on the rebels.  I’ll bet their forces in Lebanon are thin on the ground:  the opportunity is for us eject them completely – ending Syrian domination and at the same time vastly undercutting the ability of the Iran-backed terrorist groups to operate there.  It is a certainty that Lebanon’s Christian population wouldn’t be adverse to a change in Lebanon’s status – certainly in the southern regions of the country, which we are most concerned about as it borders Israel.  A bit of thought and effort and some coordination with Israel and the thing could be done…by the time Syria is able to respond, it would be too late.

Will we do this?  Not a chance – Obama doesn’t even see it.  I doubt that anyone in his Administration does.  So, we’ll get more liberal hand-wringing while the Russian and Iranians battle it out with the Turks and Saudis and the winner of that not only gets Syria, but Lebanon thrown in to the bargain.  Just monumental stupidity brought about by rank ignorance on the part of our leadership.

 

Corrupt, Thuggish “Palestinian” Regime Applies for Statehood

From CBS:

Defying U.S. and Israeli opposition, (the ruffians who rule over the West Bank) asked the United Nations on Friday to accept them as a member state, sidestepping nearly two decades of failed negotiations in the hope this dramatic move on the world stage would reenergize their quest for (unfettered rule over a kleptocracy which likes murdered Jews).

Shortly after submitting the application to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, “Palestinian” (capo) Mahmoud Abbas was greeted by sustained applause and appreciative whistles as he approached the dais to deliver a speech outlining his (fellow thugs and kleptocrats) hopes and dreams of becoming a full member of the United Nations…(MSM report edited to make it accurate)

Thing is, such a State would fit right in with the UN…seriously, what would be the difference between such a regime and UN stalwarts like Zimbabwe, Syria, Sudan, Iran and Cuba?  Probably get them right on the Human Rights Commission in time to issue some more anti-Semitic statements while ignoring massacre and robbery in other lands.

The bottom line here is not the absurd demand for Statehood, but the fact that we are even part of this corrupt organization.  The United States cannot with honor remain in the United Nations…we have to cut the ties and seek to build a global organization of decent, free nations.  Sticking with the UN is akin to the police making common cause with drug gangs.

In practical terms, all this will do is allow the thugs and thieves of the world – especially those of the Islamo-fascist variety – to be yet more thuggish and criminal.  They’ll be encouraged to steal and kill even more, because stealing and killing is clearly the path to glory in the UN.  Time we were well done with it…and we should start pressing the GOP contenders on how they view our relationship to the UN and how they will propose to reform it, how long they’ll wait, and when they’ll withdraw us from it once the UN proves itself incorrigible.