Friday, November 29, 2013

Why John Kerry Is Always the Last to Know

Why John Kerry Is Always the Last to Know

Seth Mandel 

The search for explanations for the Obama administration’s serially inept diplomacy yielded some clues in the wake of the deal over Iran’s nuclear program. Though Secretary of State John Kerry had emitted an air of desperation in the last couple of weeks, watching the reactions of America’s allies made it clear not only that Kerry’s desperation was not widely shared but also that the Obama administration seems to have stopped listening–indeed, to have completely tuned out voices that may raise dissenting views.

Kerry’s victory tour on the political talk shows was instructive. Kerry repeatedly tried to squelch any talk of “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel on Iran, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was left repeating what he has been saying all week: yes, of course there is daylight between the two. Netanyahu thinks this is a “historic mistake” that will enable Iran to get closer to a bomb and thus put the region in danger. The oblivious Kerry simply ignored that, claiming the Israelis are safer when they say they are not.

Kerry doesn’t hear them, and the Obama administration has a history of claiming to know what Israel’s best interests are, so this is par for the course. The Obama administration is so sure it knows what’s best for Israel, in fact, that it didn’t feel it necessary to keep the Israelis apprised of what they were doing, despite the issue’s obvious impact on Israel and her neighbors. The Wire reports on conflicting claims as to how Israel found out about the U.S.-Iran talks–but neither claim holds that the U.S. told the Israelis what was going on. They apparently found out either through “intelligence” or from the Saudis.

The Saudis, after all, know what it’s like to be ignored by the Obama administration on key issues in the region. As the Washington Post reported earlier this month:

Secretary of State John F. Kerry made what amounted to an emergency fence-mending trip to Saudi Arabia on Monday, reassuring King Abdullah in a rare and lengthy meeting that the United States considers the kingdom a major partner and regional power and that the Obama administration will step up its consultation on issues important to both nations. …

He also denied widespread speculation here that Obama is willing to accept a less-than-ironclad nuclear deal with Iran during the current round of negotiations. “The United States will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon,” Kerry said in an airport news conference with the foreign minister before departing.

“Did I give some assurances? Yes, absolutely. Of course I did,” he added.

Those “assurances” don’t seem to have had their intended effect. The Saudis were concerned enough to, apparently, alert the Israelis to Kerry’s desperation for a deal. But the Saudis and Israelis weren’t the only ones effectively talking to a wall when the Obama administration was involved. Everyone, perhaps Kerry most of all, acted pretty surprised when the French scuppered the initial deal in Geneva. But they shouldn’t have been surprised. Had Kerry been listening to European concerns he would have expected what he heard from the French. They had been making an argument nearly identical to the one many on the right have been making here in the U.S.: the sanctions, once eased, are likely to stay that way.

But of course it’s silly to think Kerry is listening to his domestic critics either. The Obama administration has stuck its fingers in its ears, choosing to deal only in straw men and never with reality. It would have benefited them greatly, however, to not be sealed off from anything that deviated from the administration’s groupthink. The French showed up in Geneva and said what many had said before. They wanted a deal with more restrictions on Iran because pausing the sanctions in Europe could be the beginning of the end of the European share of the sanctions regime:

France and other European Union countries, however, face fewer political restrictions on ending their core sanctions, which means any decision to lift them could be more far-reaching. In addition, officials said, the measures would be harder to reinstate should the talks unravel or Iran renege on its pledges.

Those considerations left the Europeans more hesitant to consider easing sanctions than the United States was.

That should have been a surprise to nobody. Instead it was a surprise only to Kerry and the rest of the administration’s crack negotiating squad. And if the Obama administration didn’t want to listen to America’s allies, officials could have at least paid attention to their negotiating partner, Iran. The wording of the deal would be crucial because permitting the Iranians leeway in their interpretation could be the deal’s undoing.

Sure enough, the New York Times reports:

There were already indications that Iran and the West were interpreting crucial parts of the six-month agreement differently. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has asserted that the agreement explicitly recognizes Iran’s right to enrich uranium. He also said the agreement effectively removed the threat of an American military strike.

Mr. Kerry rejected both of those contentions. “The fact is, the president maintains” the option to use force “as commander in chief, and he has said specifically, he has not taken that threat off the table,” he said on CBS.

Kerry is operating under the assumption that the administration still has reserves of credibility on this issue in the region, which borders on preposterous. But again, how would Kerry even know his credibility is shot? Perhaps the Saudis could let him in on the secret–if he’s willing to listen.

The willful blindness of the Israeli Left

The willful blindness of the Israeli Left

From +972, quoting Daniel Seidemann, founder of Ir Amim:
This afternoon, I paid a working visit to a friend in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sur Bahir, barely a kilometer from my home. When we took leave of one another, I headed home in my car. I had the misfortune of ending up in a traffic jam in the center of the village, just as school was getting out.

I didn’t see it coming, but should have: I was a sitting duck. The rock was probably thrown at point blank range; it smashed the side window with enough force to leave a deep gash in the back of my head. I was fortunate: I did not lose consciousness, nor my sense of orientation. Thankfully, the traffic jam loosened up a bit. Within a minute or so I was out of danger and on my way to get treatment.

This ended with a few stitches and no serious damage (confirmed by a CT).

...I don’t romanticize the prick that cracked my head open. But I don’t find it particularly important if he is or is not apprehended. (OK – I do fear that he might have just been practicing on me, and that more deadly violence can be expected of him in the future).

But this ends not when Palestinians behave better, or when our Shin Bet becomes more efficient. It ends when occupation ends. Until then, I remain a symbol of that occupation, and not without reason. And no good deeds, as it were, will redeem me or protect me.
Seidemann is not a stupid man. But the idea that Arab violence will end if Israel withdraws to the 1949 armistice lines is willful blindness of the worst kind.

He knows that before "occupation" there were Palestinian Arab attacks on Israel - and not on Jordan, which occupied the West Bank at the time. He knows that before the state of Israel was reborn the Arabs (not called Palestinians then) would routinely attack Jews (not called Israelis then.)

"Occupation" is not the cause of violence, but a trendy excuse for violence. Nothing proves that more than the rocket attacks that not only didn't end after Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, but that increased.

Yet he is willing to ignore all of that, and even his now first-hand knowledge of the dangers of the "non-violent resistance" that Mahmoud Abbas encourages that includes stone throwing. No, he is - like so many in the Israeli Left - so singlemindedly obsessed with "occupation" that simple facts have no meaning to him anymore.

It would behoove him to read this article from earlier this year from a former member of his religion of Leftism:
I participated in the Dialogue for Peace Project for young Israelis and Palestinians who are politically involved in various frameworks. The project’s objective was to identify tomorrow’s leaders and bring them closer today, with the aim of bringing peace at some future time.
The Israeli side, which included representatives from right and left, tried to understand the Palestinians’ vision of the end of the strife– “Let’s talk business.” The Israelis delved to understand how we can end the age-old, painful conflict. What red lines are they willing to be flexible on? What resolution will satisfy their aspirations? Where do they envision the future borders of the Palestinian State which they so crave?

We were shocked to discover that not a single one of them spoke of a Palestinian State, or to be more precise, of a two-state solution.

They spoke of one state – their state. They spoke of ruling Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Akko, Haifa, and the pain of the Nakba [lit. the tragedy – the establishment of the State of Israel]. There was no future for them. Only the past. “There is no legitimacy for Jews to live next to us” – this was their main message. “First, let them pay for what they perpetrated.”

In the course of a dialogue which escalated to shouts, the Palestinians asked us not to refer to suicide bombers as “terrorists” because they don’t consider them so. “So how do you call someone who dons a vest and blows himself up in a Tel Aviv shopping mall with the stated purpose of killing innocent civilians,” I asked one of the participants.

“I have a 4-year-old at home,” answered Samach from Abu Dis (near Jerusalem). “If God forbid something should happen to him, I will go and burn an entire Israeli city, if I can.” All the other Palestinian participants nodded their heads in agreement to his harsh words.
When an Israeli peacenik is attacked, he is instantly willing to forgive. When an Arab liberal is attacked, he is instantly drawn to revenge, even if it takes generations.

Real peace is impossible. All the Daniel Seidemanns in the world willing to work to help all the Palestinian Arabs in the world will not bring them one step closer to accepting Israel's existence. Believing otherwise is not moral - it is delusional. And it will result in more attacks, more terror and more deaths, not less.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Profesor Aumann: PM Wrong on Iran Danger

Profesor Aumann: PM Wrong on Iran Danger

Nobel Prize winner tells students that Prime Minister Netanyahu has got his priorities wrong on Iran, Palestinian Authority.

David Lev

At a special event Wednesday, Nobel Prize winner Professor Yisrael Aumann told students at Bar Ilan University that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was “making many mistakes” in his policies towards the Palestinian Authority, Iran, and in dealing with foreign pressure to withdraw from areas of Judea and Samaria.

Aumann was speaking at the University's Student Union sponsored by Project Yuvalim, a new initiative meant to broaden the discussion of Zionist issues on campuses throughout Israel. Headed by activist Yigal Brand, the Project is sponsored by Zionist Council of Israel, a part of the World Zionist Organization.

“Concessions and 'gestures' do not bring peace,” Aumann said. We need to understand that if we do not have a right to Hevron, Gush Etzion, or Ariel, we do not have a right to Tel Aviv,” Aumann said.

“We are all 'Palestinians',” he said, referring to the fact that until relatively recently, the term “Palestinian” referred not to a particular nation, but to those living in the geographical area that was termed by world powers as “Palestine”.

“Before we try to convince our enemies that the land belongs to us, we must convinced ourselves that this land is holy for us as well. I do not say that as a right-wing supporter of full settlement in all parts of the Land of Israel,” the Nobel laureate said, but from a purely geopolitical point of view.

“The only chance for peace is not to choose the path of concessions – that only leads to war,” Aumann said. “If we were playing soccer, we would look at the best teams in the world in order to learn the best strategies.” In the same way, he said, Israel should look at the powers that managed to keep the peace the longest – with the ancient Romans the most relevant example. “Look at the Roman Empire,” he said. “They managed to keep the peace for 238 years, by preparing for and being ready to fight in wars.”

Aumann also criticized Netanyahu for his stance on Iran, saying that the Prime Minister was wrong in his assessment of the level of danger to Israel from Tehran – while not worrying enough about the much more serious threat from PA controlled areas and Gaza. Netanyahu's loud comments about Iran and attempts to convince other countries to take very hawkish positions were not helping Israel, he said.

“I think he is making a mistake on Iran, a big mistake. I don't think the problem is as serious as he seems to think,” said Aumann. The real problem for Israel, he said, is the PA's terrorism and incitement, about which the government has much less to say.

Going “easy” on the PA has led to Israel's failing to stand up for itself in the international arena, Aumann said. “Ever since the disengagement, in which thousands were evicted from their homes, we have seen pressure for concessions increase. We did what everyone wanted us to do, but they hated us even more.”

As a result of the disengagement, defending Israel against terrorism has become more difficult as well, he said.

“After the disengagement, in which Israel abandoned large areas, it has become harder to convince Palestinians that we mean to remain here,” Aumann warned.

Palestinian State Without Final Status Agreement Recipe For Disaster

Palestinian State Without Final Status Agreement Recipe 
For Disaster

Dr. Aaron Lerner 

Who would gain from the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state before an 
agreement is reached on final status issues?

President Shimon Peres has claimed that this will somehow promote peace and 
stability, but he doesn't offer much substance to his argument beyond a best 
case assumption that things will be so good for the Palestinians when they 
have a sovereign state that they will bend over backwards to behave 

This is a pretty insulting take on the will and determination of the 
Palestinians to achieve their aspirations.

It doesn't require much imagination to come up with a Palestinian plan of 
action to exploit Palestinian sovereignty to facilitate increasing security 
and other pressures against the Jewish State.

And this with most of the world "understanding" if not downright accepting 
and even applauding the argument that the Palestinians had every right to 
continue with their "struggle against the occupation" given that final 
borders and other key issues had yet to be agreed upon.

Israel's enemies would come to the aid of sovereign Palestine on a scale 
magnitudes greater than current clandestine operations.

Israel's friends would counsel the Jewish State to show more "flexibility" 
and accept various Palestinian demands, in order to bring peace, arguing 
that "after going so far and making so much "progress" (aka concessions) it 
would be irresponsible for Israel to jeopardize this by taking a "hard 

All this while Israeli security operations would be subject to even greater 
international review, criticism and even sanctions as they are carried out 
within sovereign Palestine.

And let's not forget that a sovereign state is a sovereign state even if it 
should violate the conditions under which it was formed.

Those suggesting that we conclude the remaining six months of talks with a 
sovereign Palestinian state in "temporary border" and with issues still on 
the table are more like anarchists than diplomats.

And the last thing we need in this region is to add to its instability.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730

Why die for Danzig (Israel)

Why die for Danzig (Israel)

Sarah Honig

There’s every reason to assume that US President Barack Obama has never heard of the pre-WWII demagogic question “Why die for Danzig?” The same can be as safely assumed regarding his Secretary of State John Kerry.

Oddly enough, however, their policy appears to draw inspiration from the same ideological wellspring that gave the world the above rhetorical tease.

The slogan, very famous (or infamous) in its day, made its debut on May 4, 1939 as the title of an op-ed in the Parisian newspaper L’Œuvre. Its author was French socialist Marcel Déat and his message was that another follow-up appeasement of Adolf Hitler is mandatory in order to prevent war.

That was already half-a-year after the September 1938 Munich agreement which wrested the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia and awarded it to Hitler to satiate his appetite. That, in the words of Britain’s then-Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, guaranteed “peace for our time.”

When he landed at Heston Aerodrome right after the deal was done, Chamberlain told the cheering crowd that awaited him:

“The settlement of the Czechoslovakian problem, which has now been achieved is, in my view, only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace. This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine… We regard the agreement signed last night as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.”

Not too many hours afterwards Chamberlain repeated the same performance outside his official residence, assuring his supporters that he had brought them “peace with honor” and patronizingly recommending they “go home and get a nice quiet sleep.”

But no one in Europe was to sleep soundly again for many years to come, despite Chamberlain’s cynical sacrifice of a small democracy on the altar of peace.

*Frustratingly, the nature of tyrants is that they aren’t impressed by nice-guy naiveté. Hitler’s appetites weren’t sated and by March 1939, he invaded the remainder of Czechoslovakia – the very one for which Chamberlain expressed so much support post-betrayal and whose security he solemnly claimed to have upheld.

*Even the definitive end of “the Czechoslovakian problem,” didn’t end Hitler’s provocations – as the appeasers had trusted it would. Hitler robbed Europeans of “a nice quiet sleep” with yet new demands. These involved the Free City of Danzig, a semi-autonomous entity created in 1920 as part of the Treaty of Versailles and placed under League of Nations protection.

Hot on the heels of the Munich Conference, Hitler began agitating for Danzig’s incorporation into the Third Reich. In April 1939 Poland warned that it would defy any German incursion. That presumably would subsequently oblige Warsaw’s allies to come to its aid.

And to forestall this, Déat wrote his commentary with the stirring headline that tauntingly asked Frenchmen whether they should really want to put their lives on the line for Danzig. Not only did Déat think that they shouldn’t, but he further portrayed the Poles as intransigent firebrands, whose irresponsible politicking was the source of all their tribulations. They bring calamity on themselves by opposing Germany’s territorial demands, he asserted.

This should sound ominously familiar to us Israelis all these decades after Déat’s powerful pro-appeasement piece. We have been told that we would bring calamity on ourselves if we continue to oppose Ramallah’s territorial demands. This reprimand was delivered by none other than America’s top diplomat – precisely when he and his boss also bent over backwards to appease the tyrants from Tehran.

Anyone who gets in the way of appeasers is sure to be castigated by them. In his address to the British people on September 27, 1938, a couple of fateful days before the signing of the Munich Agreement, Chamberlain made it seem that Czechoslovakia is the troublemaker, that it harasses Europe’s fellow-democracies with impertinent expectations:

“We cannot in all circumstances undertake to involve the whole British Empire in war simply on her [Czechoslovakia’s] account. If we have to fight it must be on larger issues than that.”

And after putting Czechoslovakia in its place, as a diminutive no-account bother, Chamberlain proceeded to defend his duplicity as morality incarnate: “Since I first went to Berchtesgaden, more than 20,000 letters and telegrams have come to No.10, Downing Street. Of course, I have been able to look at a tiny fraction of them, but I have seen enough to know that the people who wrote did not feel that they had such a cause for which to fight, if they were asked to go to war in order that the Sudeten Germans might not join the Reich.”

This is exactly what Déat did to the Poles six month later – depict their ostensible obstructionism and obduracy as the only obstacles to world peace. This is what Kerry does to us Israelis when he warns that if the so-called peace talks fail, it will be our fault and we will reap the whirlwind. We will only have ourselves to blame for the misfortunes we bring on ourselves.

“The alternative to getting back to the talks is the potential of chaos,” Kerry admonished. “I mean does Israel want a third Intifada?” He added overbearingly:  “I’ve got news for you. Today’s status quo will not be tomorrow’s… Israel’s neighbors” will “begin to push in a different way.”

And there was more about the comeuppance we should expect for our reluctance to subordinate our survival prospects to his say-so: “If we do not resolve the issues between Palestinians and Israelis, if we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel, there will be an increasing campaign of delegitimization of Israel that’s been taking place on an international basis.”

But then came the clincher: “If we do not resolve the question of settlements, and the question of who lives where and how and what rights they have; if we don’t end the presence of Israeli soldiers perpetually within the West Bank, then there will be an increasing feeling that if we cannot get peace with a leadership that is committed to non-violence, you may wind up with leadership that is committed to violence.”

In Washington’s eyes, he emphasized, the “settlements are illegitimate” and thus “the entire peace process would be easier if these settlements were not taking place.” That means that it would be easier if many Jerusalem neighborhoods too “were not taking place.”

Bottom line, if Israel doesn’t tamely toe the Obama-Kerry line, it will deserve whatever punishment is meted out to it – either via the ostracism of the otherwise loving family of nations or via more bloodshed in a new terror campaign, which has been a priori justified by the American president and his secretary of state.

All this wasn’t whispered in a private conversation. It was literally broadcast (in a televised interview with Israel’s Channel 2) for all to be suitably impressed with the current American Administration’s zeal for peace for our time – at Israel’s expense.

And since the entire Arab/Muslim world was tuned in, we may be forgiven for wondering just what an effect Kerry’s endorsement of the “Palestinian narrative” might have on Ramallah’s purported peace negotiators. Will they discern in Kerry’s bitter scolding of Israel an incentive to greater flexibility on their part? Or will Kerry’s espousal of their propaganda line embolden Ramallah’s honchos to remain every bit as uncompromisingly inflexible as they had been hitherto?

They have just about as much reason to seek the middle ground as Hitler did after Chamberlain had assured Britons that they wouldn’t fight on Czechoslovakia’s account and after Déat had indicated that the French might not be ready to die for Danzig.

This is moreover colossally underscored by the spectacle of Obama’s and Kerry’s desperate efforts to ease the sanctions against Tehran and appease its nuke-craving regime. Can anyone rationally expect that Iran’s fanatics would be more forthcoming if pressure on the ayatollahs were alleviated?

The chances of that happening are just as promising as were the chances that Hitler would be satisfied after swallowing the Sudetenland.

It pays us to recall that Chamberlain maintained that “what we did was to save her [Czechoslovakia] from annihilation and give her a chance of new life as a new State, which involves the loss of territory and fortifications, but may perhaps enable her to enjoy in the future and develop a national existence under a neutrality and security comparable to that which we see in Switzerland today.”

Without undue cerebral contortions, we can credibly hear Obama likewise contending that he is only doing the right thing by the Jewish state, crowing about saving us and giving us unappreciative Israelis “a chance of a new life…” to enable us “to enjoy in the future and develop a national existence under a neutrality and security comparable to that which we see in Switzerland today.”

Honeyed blandishments aplenty ooze forth periodically from Obama’s lips in one adaptation or another. It’s only our stiff-necked obstinacy which prevents us from seeing his light and bowing down in gratitude.

Of course, if we persist in our disruptive disobedience, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for Obama to hector: “We cannot in all circumstances undertake to involve the United States in war simply on Israel’s account. If we have to fight it must be on larger issues than that.”

With mutating measures of subtlety and bluntness Obama does already regale his radicalized political home base with kindred sentiments about not getting entangled on account of pesky Israel. Indeed, that’s the not-so-understated subtext of the riot act Kerry read us and of Obama’s strategic decision to appease Iran.

Had Obama and Kerry ever heard of Déat, they would – by only changing the place name – regurgitate his “Why-die-for-Danzig” theme in our context.

A final footnote – Déat became a leading Nazi-collaborator in Vichy France.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Advantage, Iran

Advantage, Iran

Dr. Reuven Berko

During the Cold War, at the border crossing between East and West Berlin, police would stop a laborer returning home every evening from work to the impoverished eastern side of the city. They would search through the box of sand he carried on his bicycle and find nothing. Eventually, when they had given up, police promised the worker that they would stop their searches if he told them what he is smuggling in the box of sand. The worker agreed and confessed that each evening he smuggled a bicycle into east Berlin.

The P5+1 group, led by the United States, is now conducting negotiations with representatives of the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to remove sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran's ceasing to develop its bomb. Khamenei has described the United States as the "great Satan." The West, surprisingly, is acting in accordance with the maxim that the "devil is in the details."

In the beginning, the U.S., Baroness Catherine Ashton and her friends were in a hurry to sign an agreement, but found themselves, willy-nilly, in pointless discussions of devilish subclauses. The Iranians are insisting on their right to enrich uranium, operate centrifuges, operate the heavy water reactor in Arak as well as the facility in Parchin, enrich uranium and continue to develop ballistic missiles. Representatives of the West are anxiously studying the "good cop and bad cop" dynamics in internal Iranian politics, lest the Iranians, God forbid, get angry and leave the negotiating table.

Thus the West has prepared in advance a plaster of semantics that will suffice to cover up the expected outrageous agreement.

Everyone knows that Iran is a country with no enemies threatening its existence, nor does it need nuclear energy as it is blessed with sufficient oil for its own energy needs as well as for export.

So what are they smuggling over there in Arak? Khamenei studied the Quran, as opposed to nuclear physics, and yet declared with expertise that enriching uranium was a "red line" for Iran. This declaration should have been enough for the Western powers to look for the bicycle. Iran's foreign minister tries to allay fears by saying that the negotiators have to iron out certain "conceptual differences as well as wording differences." Indeed, despite his careful study of the Quran, Khamenei managed to curse Israel's prime minister in colloquial Iranian as "a rabid dog" and declared Israel as "a country that will collapse."

Khamenei's "wording" troubles Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The threat to destroy Israel has become so trite and habitual that it does not even merit an apology or a cessation of talks.

Not one of the participants, not even Baroness Ashton, would continue talks in Geneva if their own country were threatened with destruction. This is a grave matter because the P5+1 has already caught Iran smuggling nuclear weapons on its bicycle under everyone's nose. For now, the West is in denial. This denial could ultimately descend into a nuclear arms race, and chaos.

The problem is that U.S. President Barack Obama, who has many failures under his belt, longs for an achievement for his administration. He is not interested in a military showdown with Iran on his watch. Perhaps he believes that the Russians, who brought about the dismantlement of Syrian chemical weapons, will do the same for a nuclear Iran?

The Iranians are feeling pressure, but not enough. The Iranian foreign minister, who "desires trust and dialogue," discerned Western weakness and eagerness to "close the deal," and therefore refuses to discuss demands to stop enriching uranium and stop operations of the heavy water reactor in Arak, the facilities in Parchin, the centrifuges and the missile development sites on the claim that these are basic Iranian rights.

On the other hand, Iran categorically demands the right to enrich uranium while expecting the revocation of banking and oil sanctions, and even threatens to abandon the discussions.

A famous producer of animated films, Leon Schlesinger, who happened to be Jewish, created the character of Bugs Bunny, a "rascally rabbit" who is continually taunting the clumsy, stupid, fat, rifle-toting American, Elmer Fudd. Sometimes Fudd wears a policeman's uniform, sometimes he is a hunter, but his stupidity always leads to tragedy: Fudd falls into an abyss while Bugs Bunny continues to insouciantly chomp on a carrot.

The results are foreordained. Despite Netanyahu's warnings, the U.S. at this very moment is rushing headlong into a deal while still hovering over an abyss along with Baroness Ashton and her friends. But like in the cartoons, these hasty actors will crash only when they look down and see the depth of the abyss beneath them. With or without sanctions, the Iranian nuclear bomb is being completed.

Why are we feeding Palestinian terrorism?

Why are we feeding Palestinian terrorism?

David M. Weinberg

American investigative journalist Edwin Black (author of the award-winning international bestseller "IBM and the Holocaust") has just published a book called "Financing the Flames: How Tax-Exempt and Public Money Fuel a Culture of Confrontation and Terrorism in Israel."

His timing couldn't be more appropriate, since we have learned that our Palestinian peace partners are giving generous grants and stipends to terrorists recently released from Israeli prisons.

Palestinian Media Watch revealed that prisoners freed by Israel as part of John Kerry's peace process are getting PA grants of up to $50,000 each and monthly stipends of $3,975 (14,000 shekels) if they spent 25 years in Israeli jails. Those who spent 15-25 years in jail get over $2,600 (NIS 10,000) per month. Those who served between 11 and 15 years in jail for terror receive $1,500 for each year of imprisonment; and terrorists who served up to 10 years in jail get "only" $1,000 for each year served. These sums are about four times the average monthly salary in the PA.

Black showed that the PA also makes large monthly payments to Palestinians and Israeli Arabs still in jail, as long as they were imprisoned for terrorism against Israel. This includes prisoners serving multiple life sentences for murder. Their families receive the stipends. Arabs from Jerusalem and Israeli Arabs imprisoned for terror offenses get additional supplements, in honor of their "exceptional heroism."

On a sliding scale basis, carefully articulated in the Palestinian "Law of the Prisoner," the more heinous the act of terrorism and the longer the prison sentence, the higher the salary. Detention for up to three years fetches a salary of almost $400 per month. Prisoners incarcerated between three and five years are paid about $560 monthly, a compensation level already higher than that for many ordinary West Bank jobs. Sentences of 10 to 15 years fetch salaries of about $1,690 per month. More severe acts of terrorism, those punished with sentences between 15 and 20 years, earn almost $2,000 per month. The PA ensures the greatest financial reward for the most egregious acts of terrorism.

And the PA is an equal opportunity terrorist employer. Its salaries for terrorists are granted to members of Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad alike.

Hamas terrorist Abbas al-Sayyeed, convicted of planning the 2002 Park Hotel massacre in which 30 Israeli civilians were killed as they sat at a Passover Seder, has been paid $3,000 (NIS 12,000) per month from PA coffers.

Former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, a darling of Western donor countries, was the individual who regularized and tripled these payments during his tenure.

These benefits are administered by the PA's Ministry of Prisoner Affairs. A Palestinian watchdog group, the Prisoners Club, ensures the PA's compliance with the law and pushes for payments as a prioritized expenditure. This means that even during frequent budget shortfalls and financial crises, the PA pays the terrorists' salaries first and foremost, before other fiscal obligations.

More than 6,000 Palestinians are serving time in Israeli prisons for terror-related offenses. As a result, it is estimated that at least 6 percent of the Palestinian budget is diverted to paying terrorist salaries.

All this money comes from donor countries like the U.S., U.K., Norway and Denmark. I've scratched my head again and again wondering why.

I understand why Western donor countries prop up the Palestinian Authority itself, as does Israel. The alternative to the cardboard PA is Hamas government or total breakdown of any order in the West Bank. So we all make continuous life support payments to the Palestinian Authority, seeking to buy quiet and build moderation. This frustratingly includes paying the salaries of tens of thousands of truly unnecessary PA "civil servants," many of whom don't have real jobs and some of whom live in Gaza and are paid to stay home, as opposed to working for Hamas.

Furthermore, it makes sense to invest in quality-of-life infrastructures in the PA like industry, modern housing, the justice system and water and waste facilities, all of which are necessary if a long-term architecture of peaceful coexistence is to emerge.

But why look the other way when Abbas signs checks to terrorists, feeding the narrative that murdering and maiming Israelis is a heroic enterprise?

Shouldn't this be a central topic for discussion in the current Israeli-Palestinian peace talks? Shouldn't abjuring terror, refraining from glorifying terror and stopping payments for terror be a central Israeli and international demand of the Palestinians?

Furthermore, you have to ask the question: If the PA has all this money available to distribute freely, maybe we should force the PA first to pay off its almost $300 million (1 billion shekels) debt to the Israel Electric Company, a debt that continues to grow at the rate of about $20 million a month?

Perhaps Israel should cut back transfer of the tax monies it regularly collects on behalf of the PA? Since the beginning of the year, Israel has transferred to the PA about $850 million in accrued taxes. And when the PA experienced a budget crisis in the second half of 2012, Israel transferred to the PA an advance of over $250 million to help it pay salaries to its "employees," including the terrorists. According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, as of this month the PA has NIS 560 million of these advance funds still available to pay out.

Furthermore, Israel supplies to the Palestinians 53 million cubic meters (more than 1,400 million gallons) of water annually, about 22 million cubic meters (582 million gallons) more than the amount set in the Oslo Accords. The water is supplied at the original cost of NIS 2.6 million, NIS 1.26 million less than the price of water sold to local authorities in Israel. In other words, Israel subsidizes the PA's water to the tune of almost $20 million annually. And in the summer of 2013, Israel increased the amount of water supplied to the PA by 11,000 cubic meters daily (or about 4 million cubic meters annually).

Furthermore, Israel allocates more than $1 million a year to cover the hospital expenses of thousands of Palestinian patients hospitalized in Israel, as well as the expenses of many Palestinian medical personnel who train in Israel every year. Yesterday, we learned that Israel just treated the sick granddaughter of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (at the Schneider Children's Hospital).

So the PA rewards terrorists in jail and those released from jail, handsomely, for killing Israelis, with money from Israel and the international donor community. Meanwhile, Israel subsidizes PA water, electricity and health care, even for the family members of our meanest radical Islamic enemies. Talk about asymmetries. Talk about absurdity.

So exactly how did Yasser Arafat get so rich?

So exactly how did Yasser Arafat get so rich?

THE usual suspects are making a fuss since it was discovered after an exhumation that Palestinian terrorist leader Yasser Arafat might have been poisoned with polonium and the finger might be pointed at Israel.

By: Frederick Forsyth

Yasser Arafat was the unchallenged leader of Palestine for many years

Yasser Arafat was the 'unchallenged' leader of Palestine for many years [GETTY]

I have seen acres of breast-beating journalism about the Palestinian misery but never an examination into where all the donated money has gone over the years. For this is certain: Arab donors and a generous non-Arab world have donated many billions to the Palestinian cause.

Take the Gaza strip. It is a bloc of land 25 miles long and six miles wide on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean.

Its northern and eastern borders are Israel, its 11-mile southern border is Egypt and its western border the glittering Med. Over the years since the founding of Israel in 1948 literally billions of pounds have been donated to help its people have a decent life.

If it had been invested shrewdly and well Gaza today could be a mini-Monaco. It could have a deepwater freight port, a flourishing fishing port and a leisure harbour crammed with the yachts of wealthy visitors. It could have resort hotels on the sea and farms, ranches and orchards in the hinterland producing nutritious food.
It has nothing of these. It is a failed state of poverty, misery and violence. So what happened to all that money? Well, a lot went on guns, explosives for bombs and material to build rockets to launch at Israel. But the bulk has certainly suffered the fate of most wealth in that neck of the woods. It has simply been embezzled, not by Israelis but by Palestinians and above all by their leadership cadres.
Gaza, Arafat, Yasser, Palestine, leader, rich, violence, money, SuhaYasser with Suha Arafat who lived a life of luxury at the time of their marriage [GETTY]
The money has simply been embezzled by Palestinians and their leadership cadres
Yasser Arafat was the virtually unchallenged Palestinian leader for many years. He never had a visible salary above his modest earnings from the Palestinian government in his West Bank fiefdom.

Yet in his dotage he was strongly rumoured to be worth many hundreds of millions of pounds. His wife Suha lived in luxury in a five-star Paris hotel. As the Americans say: go figure.

It is perfectly feasible that after leading his people to failure and poverty even his colleagues had had enough and slipped him a toxic cocktail.

The donations continue to flow in… and disappear.
Gaza, Arafat, Yasser, Palestine, leader, rich, violence, money, SuhaGaza - a failed state of poverty, misery and violence [GETTY]

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The rules of the bazaar

The rules of the bazaar

Dror Eydar

1. The emperor has no clothes. Last weekend, American Secretary of State John Kerry threatened us with a third intifada if we did not hurry up and agree to the suicidal peace plan that his government has cooked up for us. Unbelievable as it was, Kerry's implicit message to the Arabs of the region was that if they began a campaign of terrorism against us, the United States would show understanding behind the scenes even if it issued a public condemnation.

What does Kerry know about our region that we don't? Nothing at all. But his efforts are bearing fruit. This week, I also heard an Arab Knesset member threaten: "Just wait. Just you wait." We are waiting. A third intifada, another installment of the constant rampaging (with time-outs) against the Jews' return to their homeland that has been going on for the past hundred years, will ruin the Palestinians just like it did the previous times.

Kerry's brilliant influence on our conflict was not enough for him. Right afterward, he flew off to Geneva to ruin yet more negotiations. The New York Times wrote this week that there were differences of opinion about why the round of talks with Iran failed. While John Kerry put the blame on the Iranians, a New York Times editorial quickly countered with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's version of events: that Kerry's "conflicting statements" had damaged confidence in the process. The New York Times was not satisfied until it put the blame on the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, who called the talks a "'fool's game' just as negotiations were at a critical point." That was really wrong of you, Laurent. Why did you annoy the Iranians? Don't you know how delicate their feelings are? Everyone else does.

The farce goes on. "It would be alarming if his comments seriously impair chances of a deal," states the editorial. Mr. Foreign Minister, shut up! You are supposed to go outside waving a piece of paper (can we do without the umbrella?). It is not every day that a person is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize just for statements. There has to be some content to them. But there's more. The fourth reason that the New York Times, the newspaper of the defeated members of the global left-wing movement, gave for the failure of the talks was ... wait for it ... Netanyahu. Oh, Saudi Arabia and the American members of Congress who opposed the agreement were to blame as well.

All this in a newspaper that, we are told on a regular basis, is the most important in the world. Did somebody say something about the emperor's new clothes? This self-important group of pallid liberals is acting like a bunch of rank amateurs concerning an existential issue on which not only Israel's security, but also the security of the entire Western world, depends. Does that remind us of anything?

2. The real reason the talks failed is the West's own attitude toward the Middle East and Islam. That is the simple truth. The West prides itself on its scientific achievements, but fails time and again to understand how negotiations work in the Middle East. The countries of this ancient region have refined the art of negotiating to such a degree that Western diplomats are no match for them.

Twenty years ago, Professor Moshe Sharon, one of the world's most prominent experts on Islam and former Prime Minister Menachem Begin's adviser on Arab affairs, published an essay, entitled "The Middle Eastern Bazaar," which enumerated the rules for negotiating in the Middle East. These rules also hold true for Iranians, those artists of trade.

"In Middle Eastern diplomacy, agreements are kept not because they are signed but because they are imposed," Sharon writes. He continues: "The most important rule in the bazaar is that if the vendor knows that you desire to purchase a certain piece of merchandise, he will raise its price."

In our own case, where the merchandise on the table is Iran's nuclear disarmament, the West is bending over backwards to buy it. The Iranians are creating the impression that they hold the keys to the warehouses where these highly desired goods are kept, but in truth the warehouses are empty. The Iranians have no interest in giving up their ability to obtain nuclear weapons. Although they have said so, implicitly and explicitly, any number of times, the West has lost its sense of hearing.

Anyone with a scrap of discernment and even superficial knowledge of what is published in the Arabic and Iranian press, and who listens to the statements of Iran's leaders, including those of the current Iranian president in an interview on Iranian television that was broadcast worldwide, knows that Iran has no interest in supplying the goods that the West longs for so much. The opposite is true: the Iranians want nuclear capability. Since they are having a hard time doing so because of the sanctions and isolation that have been imposed on them, they are making noises of moderation that they hope will get the embargo lifted and give them some breathing room. During this time, they will gather enough strength to push on to the final stage of their nuclear program. When they return to their evil ways and the West howls in protest, another round of talks will begin, and the next John Kerry, whoever he may be, will race to placate the Iranian merchants. But this time, he will find that he is too late, and the bad guys already have the real thing in their warehouses.

3. "This is the wisdom of the bazaar: if you are clever enough and the other side naive or foolish or both, you can sell nothing -- and at a high price. The Arabs sell words, they sign agreements, and they trade with vague promises, but are sure to receive generous down payments from eager buyers," Sharon writes. This is exactly what the Iranians are doing.

This week, I heard a story from Gen. (res.) Yossi Peled about Gen. Antoine Lahad, the commander of the South Lebanon Army, whom he described as a French gentleman. Yitzhak Rabin was angry about a cruel retaliatory operation that the SLA had carried out in a Shiite village in response to a terror attack. "That's not how we behave," Rabin told him. As the story goes, Lahad turned red in the face and said to Rabin: "I dress like you and speak like you, but I am not really like you. The rules here in Lebanon are different from the ones that are conventional in the West. If I do not follow them, I will not survive."

Despite the Iranian regime's cruel repression of its own people; despite the global terrorism that Iran exports everywhere it can; although everyone knows that Iran is behind the Islamofascist ferment in Arab countries and throughout the Muslim world, including within the West; despite direct Iranian involvement in the massacres in Syria in which more than 120,000 men, women and children have been killed, despite all that, the Iranians have won legitimacy. Their regime is recognized by every country on earth, and they are invited to international conferences as respected representatives, give speeches about human rights everywhere, continue to spread their venom throughout the world and openly threaten our destruction. As if all that were not enough, they are also developing nuclear weapons (for peaceful purposes, of course).

But even with all that, the West still does not get it. The Iranians have set conditions, demanding high prices for the West's security. How dare they do that? They dare because they have discovered that the world ignored their transparently cruel acts and even justified them.

The West has merchandise that the Iranians want: a lifting of the economic sanctions, diplomatic relations and removal of the military threat. Sated as the West is with Iranian promises and lies, it should offer Iran nothing but a continuation, and even a worsening, of the current situation. If the Iranians want peace, fine. Let them pay the price they know will be demanded: complete dismantling of Iran's nuclear facilities. Will the West learn?

To PalArabs, education is only meant for "resistance"

To PalArabs, education is only meant for "resistance"

There are two tracks to the Palestinian "Right to Education" week: the lies that they tell local students and the lies that they tell international students.

From Ma'an:
Right to Education Week at Birzeit University commenced Monday with a workshop on the education of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation jails. 

Events will be held on campus throughout the week highlighting the obstacles faced by Palestinians under occupation in their pursuit of education.

Sundos Hammad, coordinator of the campaign at Birzeit, stressed the importance of education for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.

"Education is our tool to resist occupation. It is important to keep our Palestinian heritage and to resist the narrative of the occupier."
Let's look at the history of this initiative:
"Initially, Right to Education Week was only on the international level," explained Hammad, who has been an active organizer in the campaign for more than two years.

"The campaign started during the Intifada, when every Palestinian was living under occupation and was always aware of the violations taking place."

"We wanted the international community to be in solidarity with our cause."

However, in the last five years, as Israeli troops have withdrawn from West Bank city centers, campaign organizers realized the need for the campaign to have a local dimension to help educate the public about ongoing violations of the right to education.

"Now, there are violations that are not visible. Occupying the minds of Palestinians, changing the history of Palestine in textbooks, giving the narrative of the occupier- there [sic!]systematic violations changing how we think about Palestine."
Did you catch that? The very organizer of this campaign is admitting that there are no barriers to education in the West Bank and Gaza. And he is saying that there is not even occupation in areas under PA (and Hamas) control!

But Israel's existence, which ensures that there will be no Palestinian Arab state from the river to the sea, is an "occupation of the mind."

However, the message sent to universities worldwide is quite different:
The week of events at Birzeit University is part of a global movement supporting the Palestinian Right to Education. Events will take place on at least 25 campuses in the UK, USA, Norway, Netherlands, South Africa, Canada, and Ireland.

As part of the week, Birzeit University students will participate in events that help students abroad see the obstacles Palestinian students face under occupation, including video conferences.

At the 25 campuses around the world that are celebrating this "right to education" week, the "education" being offered is propaganda - even according to the organizers of the event! There, the college students are being lied to and told that Israel is still stopping Palestinian Arabs from attending university, even though Palestinian Arabs know that it isn't true and adjust the local message accordingly.

The local initiatives, however, stress the "right" to teach Palestinians that Israel is illegal, that terror is legitimate and that resistance is the purpose of education. (Read the whole article if you don't believe me.)

The most successful export under PLO rule is lies.

How Much Hatred of Israel Is Too Much?

How Much Hatred of Israel Is Too Much?

By Daniel Greenfield

The Israelophobic left is a spectrum of hatred that stretches from the commonplace mainstream media basher who pounds out innumerable columns blaming Israel for everything wrong with the Middle East to the Gilad Atzmons and Israel Shamirs who claim that Israel is evil because the Jews are the devil.

Within that spectrum, everyone agrees that Israel is really bad and more responsible for international Muslim terrorism than the Muslim terrorists who are actually carrying it out. But that catechism of Israelophobic progressives is only a surface rationalization for the underlying hatred.

Opposition to Israel has never been rational or objective. It has always been emotional and subjective.

The left’s opposition to Zionism began as a toxic mixture of bigotry and self-hatred; influenced by everything from Karl Marx’s declaration that Jews were the embodiment of capitalism to Lenin’s denunciation of the illegitimacy of Jewish nationhood.

The left’s antipathy to Jews was always entangled with its antipathy to Israel. That is why there is no “New Anti-Semitism”. The virulent hatred of the left for Israel and the Jews is not a new phenomenon. And like all hatred, it has no bottoming out point.

Reasonable opposition has a natural limit. Emotional hatred has none. Opposition to Israel has no end point and few objectives except the ultimate expression of its hatred.

Anti-Semitism encompasses no broader political objectives beyond its hatred of Jews. Likewise the point of hating Israel is to hate Israel. After decades in which Israel has negotiated and conceded territory, the hatred for it has only become more extreme.

The BDS boycott movement is the embodiment of that irrational hatred. It has few demands and no constructive goals. It doesn’t so much support a Palestinian state as it borrows material from the conflict to express its hatred of Israel. Indeed many BDS’ers don’t even support a Palestinian state. They support a One State Solution as long as it destroys Israel.

A movement that runs on hate has no way of stopping it. The debate in Anti-Israel circles is how mainstream can extreme be. How much hatred of Israel is too much?

M.J. Rosenberg, who hates Israel quite a bit, recently wrote that he had to stop reading Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah because “it is clear that he cannot stand Jews… he is careful to scream about Israelis or Zionists and not Jews, but he doesn’t fool me. Or any Jew who doesn’t want to be fooled.”

M.J. Rosenberg had, ironically enough, been fired by Media Matters for hating Israel too much.

Eric Alterman of The Nation, who had declared that “Israel is no democracy” and predicted a coming conflict between “Israeli Theocracy” and liberal American Jews, decided that Max Blumenthal’s hatred of Israel had gone too far.

Reviewing Max Blumenthal’s book, Goliath, Alterman dubbed it the “I Hate Israel Handbook” and wrote that it could have been published by the “Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club”.

M.J. Rosenberg however is a big fan of Goliath. Meanwhile Ali Abunimah has been accusing Rosenberg of being a Zionist. Ali Abunimah had decided that Gilad Atzmon hated Israel too much. However Gilad Atzmon claims that Abunimah urged him to use “Zionist” instead of “Jews” when spewing his hate.

Expecting Israelophobes to agree on a hard limit to their hatred is expecting too much.

Alterman isn’t wrong about Blumenthal. Goliath is a hateful screed that doesn’t even pretend to be anything else. And maybe that’s why he decided to draw the line there.

What distinguishes Blumenthal and the BDS crowd, Gilad Atzmon and Israel Shamir is that they don’t play the liberal game of feigned constructiveness. Blumenthal isn’t pretending that he wants to make Israel over into a proper liberal democracy. Instead he told an audience that he favored not only the destruction of Israel, but also the destruction of the Jews in Israel as a separate people.

Even veteran haters of the Jewish State at the event were taken aback. But they shouldn’t have been.

Max Blumenthal’s call follows the natural radical logic of the left. Blumenthal is uncompromisingly committed to hating Israel. In the radical purity test, he hates Israel more than Eric Alterman, perhaps even more than his supporters; M.J. Rosenberg and Glenn Greenwald. It only remains to be seen whether he can hate Israel and Jews more uncompromisingly than Gilad Atzmon and Ali Abunimah.

In a movement fueled by hate, Max Blumenthal has briefly become King of the Haters because his hate is unapologetic. Blumenthal doesn’t hide behind farcical concerns about democracy or justice. Instead Blumenthal reflects his audience’s hatred back at them.

He gives them what they really want.

That’s why the mainstream left finds Max Blumenthal disturbing. He’s a demagogue without any saving graces. His naked rhetoric exposes what their entire movement is really about. It’s the same naked hatred that can be seen on the faces of the BDS crowds screaming about Max Brenner chocolates in Australia or smashing Ahava cosmetics store windows in the United Kingdom.

Those same faces were seen in Germany before the war. Behind them was that same irrational hatred whose roots were not in the politics of reason, but in the unreason of hate.

In 1963, a few years before it backed a Muslim war of extermination against Israel, the USSR published Judaism Without Embellishment. The book was indistinguishable from Nazi literature, blending attacks on Israel with attacks on Judaism and the Jewish people.

“Taking advantage of the legends of the Old Testament, the Jewish capitalists and their ideological parasites—the Zionists—together with the rabbis in Israel, kindle religious-nationalistic passions, and incite the Jews against other peoples who inhabit Palestine.”

A year later, the USSR realized that it had gone too far by revealing that its hostility to Israel was rooted in a hatred for Jews. And so the book was withdrawn. And yet today that passage would not only seem mild compared to Blumenthal’s rhetoric in Goliath, but, slightly reworded it could easily be dropped into a New York Times or Time Magazine article about Israel.

One of the most memorable moments in George Orwell’s 1984 is the Two-Minutes Hate in which the audience of the left-wing tyranny is whipped into a deranged frenzy at the image of a bespectacled Jewish figure on a movie screen.

Another British writer, Howard Jacobson, added an equally powerful, but more ambiguous scene, in his novel The Finkler Question as Sam Finkler, a leftist intellectual who proudly participates in Anti-Israel activities, experiences a recurring dream in which he finds himself punching his father in the stomach.

It is only when Finkler has another dream in which a mob begins beating his father that he recognizes that his Israelophobia is no longer a personal Oedipean tic, but collaborates in mass hatred. Every Jewish Anti-Israel leftist has a similar experience of encountering a hatred that forced him to recognize that he was no longer just punching his own father in the stomach; he had become part of a hateful mob.

Max Blumenthal’s Goliath is one of many reminders that hatred for Israel has no logical endpoint. Blumenthal is the true face of the Anti-Israel left in the same way that Judaism Without Embellishment was the true face of the Soviet Union.