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Posts Tagged ‘Fresno Zionism’

Morsi and the NY Times Mislead Americans

Monday, September 24th, 2012

The New York Times published an interview with Egyptian President and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi yesterday.

Morsi made some interesting statements, like this:

If you want to judge the performance of the Egyptian people by the standards of German or Chinese or American culture, then there is no room for judgment … When the Egyptians decide something, probably it is not appropriate for the U.S. When the Americans decide something, this, of course, is not appropriate for Egypt.

I suppose this means that if they want to murder Christians we oughtn’t to judge them, while they reserve the right to attack our embassy whenever someone in the U.S. makes a video that insults them. Unfair? What else could it mean?

He said several times that the U.S. favors Israel over the Palestinians, and that this is a problem in relations between Egypt and the US. I would say two things in response: first, Egypt has never been a friend to Palestinian nationalism, except insofar as it could be used as a weapon against Israel. In 1948, Egypt established a harsh military occupation of the Gaza strip. Arab refugees were forced into refugee camps at gunpoint — by Egyptian soldiers.

Historian Efraim Karsh tells us,

[In 1948] the Egyptian government showed no desire to annex the Gaza Strip but had instead ruled the newly acquired area as an occupied military zone. This did not imply support of Palestinian nationalism, however, or of any sort of collective political awareness among the Palestinians. The local population was kept under tight control, was denied Egyptian citizenship, and was subjected to severe restrictions on travel.

In economic and humanitarian terms, the ‘plight’ of the Palestinians was far worse under Arab occupation before 1967 than after Israel took control of the territories. Karsh writes,

Under Israeli rule, the Palestinians also made vast progress in social welfare. Perhaps most significantly, mortality rates in the West Bank and Gaza fell by more than two-thirds between 1970 and 1990, while life expectancy rose from 48 years in 1967 to 72 in 2000 (compared with an average of 68 years for all the countries of the Middle East and North Africa). Israeli medical programs reduced the infant-mortality rate of 60 per 1,000 live births in 1968 to 15 per 1,000 in 2000 (in Iraq the rate is 64, in Egypt 40, in Jordan 23, in Syria 22). And under a systematic program of inoculation, childhood diseases like polio, whooping cough, tetanus, and measles were eradicated.

No less remarkable were advances in the Palestinians’ standard of living. By 1986, 92.8 percent of the population in the West Bank and Gaza had electricity around the clock, as compared to 20.5 percent in 1967; 85 percent had running water in dwellings, as compared to 16 percent in 1967; 83.5 percent had electric or gas ranges for cooking, as compared to 4 percent in 1967; and so on for refrigerators, televisions, and cars.

This is not to say that the Palestinians are happy being ruled by Jews, which of course is devastating for their sense of honor and Muslim sensibilities. But it does make one wonder how much Egyptians have historically cared for their Palestinian Arab ‘brothers.’

Second, it is simply untrue that the U.S. has favored Israel over the Palestinians, unless you understand this to mean that the U.S. has not (yet) supported maximalist Arab demands for the replacement of Israel by an Arab state. The U.S. has certainly pressured Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians, and it is only the Palestinian desire to ‘have it all’ that has prevented a U.S.-brokered Palestinian state from coming into being.

And here is something else that is untrue:

[H]e also argued that Americans “have a special responsibility” for the Palestinians because the United States had signed the 1978 Camp David accord. The agreement called for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank and Gaza to make way for full Palestinian self-rule (my emphasis).

“As long as peace and justice are not fulfilled for the Palestinians, then the treaty remains unfulfilled,” he said.

The sentence in bold is not presented as a quotation from Morsi. It is a simple statement of ‘fact’ by the Times’ writers, David D. Kirkpatrick and Steven Erlanger. Regardless of who said it, it is quite false. The Camp David agreement called for Israel to end its military government and withdraw troops from areas of the territories where a self-governing authority is elected by the Palestinians. These conditions have been more than met with the establishment of the Palestinian Authority. Elder of Ziyon comments on the text of the agreement thus:

Camp David does not say that there will necessarily be a Palestinian Arab state in the West Bank and Gaza. It most certainly says nothing about a full Israeli withdrawal from the territories, only that its final status (and, by implication, its borders) will be up for negotiation after a transition period. And it explicitly says that there will be a redeployment of Israeli security forces – in order to ensure security for Israel – into locations that can only mean in parts of the territories, or else it would have just said “withdrawal of remaining Israeli forces,” period.

Indeed, the agreement also talks about joint Jordanian-Israeli patrols in Judea/Samaria!

The Arab Street Says ‘Don’t Bomb Iran!’ But Who Cares

Friday, September 21st, 2012

News item:

The U.S. has recently warned Israel that an Israeli strike on Iran will likely cause Egypt and Jordan to annul their peace agreements with Israel and sever ties, according to a senior Israeli official quoted by the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth on Thursday.

“These days, Arab leaders don’t rule their people. Rather, the street rules its leaders,” the official was quoted as saying. “An Israeli strike is exactly what the Iranians need: the entire Arab and Muslim street will go out to demonstrate.”

“What we’ve been seeing with the anti-Muhammad film is nothing but a preview for what’s going to happen if Israel attacks,” the official was quoted as saying.

Well, sure. If they can use a stupid film made by some neer-do-well in L.A. as a pretext for violent ‘demonstrations’ against Western interests, they should have no problem being provoked by an actual bombing raid.

But by the same token, who cares? Anything can be used to provoke “The Street,” which is a cheap, easily deployed weapon in the hands of both the official leaders of the countries in question and the various radical groups.

Israel, of all nations, can’t let the Arab street set policy for it.

Would it help to point out that a nuclear Iran, which wants to set up a Shiite caliphate in the Mideast, also threatens Sunni Jordan and Egypt? No, because an Israeli attack is a win-win proposition for Arab leaders: they are saved from Iran, but they have another reason to stir up hatred against Israel. Guess they never heard of gratitude.

So what about the peace treaties? Again, who cares. The treaties are not accepted — they are considered treasonous, deals with the devil — by a huge majority of the inhabitants of Egypt and Jordan. The leadership has seen to it that there is the absolute minimum degree of normalization in relations. The Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt has said that they will ‘reconsider’ the treaty, which means that they can decide at any time that they can militarize the Sinai, if they dare.

It’s the IDF that prevents war, not the treaties.

And here is a point that American officials may have missed (h/t: Omri Ceren): the US wants Israel to make irreversible, highly concrete concessions to the Palestinians in return for a treaty. But if these treaties can be torn up by the anger of the street, then maybe they are not such a good idea. After all, Israel might have a need to defend itself again in the future.

Recently I mentioned to a friend that the peace treaty with Egypt turned out to be a bad idea. “Oh no,” he said, “we had 40 years of peace as a result.” But the truth is that Israel paid dearly in the coin of natural resources and long-term security for a temporary cease-fire, something which was guaranteed by the IDF anyway. Yes, Israel got U.S. military aid in return — but so did Egypt, which has nobody to use it against except Israel.

Here is a lesson we can learn from history, both from the treaty with Egypt and the Oslo accords: a treaty is a piece of paper which is only good as long as both sides’ interests are served by it. Therefore we should never make a treaty in which permanent concessions by our side are paired with mere promises from the other, because their interests are always maximized by taking what we offer and giving nothing in return.

And while we’re learning lessons from history, let’s not forget this one: the Jewish people cannot afford to outsource its security, even to ‘friends.’

Visit the Fresno Zionism blog.

How our Media Blew a Story

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

In 2010, Egyptian officials claimed that shark attacks were a Mossad plot to disrupt tourism to the Sinai. More recently, Palestinian Arabs have blamed Israel for crop damage by wild pigs. Indeed, there is a Wikipedia entry devoted to Arab Zoological conspiracy theories, of which these are representative.

We laugh — gullible Arabs that believe this stuff, and their media that promulgates it! But how much better is American media?

When this week’s riots in which Americans were murdered and embassies destroyed broke out, national outlets like the AP reportedthat the film-maker responsible for “Innocence of Muslims” was “Israeli born” and the film was funded by “100 Jewish donors.” It soon turned out that this was false; and while some media updated their stories,many did not for several days.

The story now has legs, and is running around the world while the truth is still putting its pants on. The whole thing could have been avoided by careful fact-checking before going public with the fanciful story of the nonexistent “Sam Bacile.”

But that’s not the only way our media have blown this story. Following the administration’s line, many news stories today are still blaming an idiotic amateur film (if there even is a complete film behind the snippets on Youtube) for the coordinated, almost simultaneous riots around the world. Hillary Clinton called the film ‘disgusting’, its maker was brought in for questioning about a a possible parole violation, and the US asked Google to suppress it (Google said no – at least in the U.S.).

But the film was a pretext and “Islamophobia” had little or nothing to do with the disturbances. In general, the goal was to boost the position of radical Islamists in many nations against moderate or nationalist forces. There is no better way to do this than a good anti-Western (especially US) outburst, and any excuse that works will be exploited.

The media are downplaying this angle, because it suggests that the administration policy toward the Muslim world expressed in the President’s Cairo speech of 2009 is dangerously wrong-headed, and because it supports the idea that free expression in the US should be limited in accordance with Muslim concerns, something the Administration also seems to believe.

This story is just one example. There are plenty more. If our media — with a few exceptions, like (sometimes) the Washington Post — could concentrate more on serious journalism and less on re-electing the President, the American people might be better informed than Egyptians reading about Mossad-controlled sharks and Zionist boars.

Visit the Fresno Zionism blog.

The President Sends a Message of Submission

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Yesterday, Sept. 11, Islamist mobs attacked the American embassy in Egypt and our consulate in Benghazi, Libya. In Egypt they destroyed our flag and replaced it with a black banner with the shahada written on it, described as “the flag of al-Qaeda.” In Libya, they attacked the building with RPGs or similar weapons, burned it to the ground and killed the U.S. Ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three others.

The pretext for these attacks was rage over a trailer for a film about Mohammad, dubbed into Arabic and posted on Youtube. Here is an English version of a bit of the film, ungrammatically called “Innocence of Muslims.” The creators or funders of this silly movie, which hasn’t appeared in its entirety yet, were variously described as “Jews” or “Copts,” something which inflamed the masses even more.

Do you think it was an accident that these events happened on the anniversary of 9/11? I don’t. Similar ‘provocations’ against Islam can be found 365 days a year, not just on 9/11. Barry Rubin wrote:

But note well that everyone–except the Western media–understands that holding such a demonstration at the U.S. embassy in Cairo on September 11 means supporting the September 11 attack.

Rubin is only partly correct. The Western media are not the only ones who fail to see the symbolism of raising al-Qaeda’s banner on 9/11. Our President missed it as well. In his statement about the Libyan incident, he mentioned the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks as if it were merely an unhappy coincidence:

Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks.  We mourned with the families who were lost on that day.  I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed.  And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.

Seemingly determined to get every important point wrong, he also said this:

Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths.  We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.  But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence.  None.  The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts.

While he is at pains to say that it is wrong to “denigrate the religious beliefs of others” he does not even mention our commitment to the value of free expression!

Instead of saying that we will not permit our right to free expression to be inhibited by fear of violence, he distances the U.S. from the film-maker, whose expression we “reject.” Yes, he seems to say, insulting Islam is wrong, but you oughtn’t to kill ambassadors over it.

Radical Muslims believe that it is perfectly acceptable for them to ‘denigrate’ other faiths in the most vile way — their Imams do so regularly, in Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, Gaza, the Palestinian Authority, Iran, etc. — but they also believe that the proper response to “denigration” of their faith is violence.

There’s nothing “senseless” about it — it’s a logical consequence of their belief that Islam is superior to all religions. When infidels “denigrate” Islam, they violate the moral order of the universe, and the violent response of Muslims is demanded to put things right.

The President’s statement is a plea for Muslims to understand that we respect Islam and a reminder for Americans to avoid expressions that could insult them. To those who sympathize with the ‘activists’, the statement is apologetic, submissive.

But he isn’t finished displaying weakness:

And make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.

What he should have said, of course, is that the U.S. will apply its considerable power to avenge the murders of Americans, just like we did with their hero, Bin Laden. Not “work with the Libyan government” and not “bring to justice” — avenge.

Visit the Fresno Zionism blog.

Democratic Platform Tilts Against Israel: Side by Side Comparison to 2008, 2004

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

I’ve been beating on President Obama so much lately that I’ve been accused of being, God forbid, a Republican.

My pro-Obama friends have told me over and over that the president is pro-Israel, and they quote administration spokespersons about the relationship being closer than ever, and they quote the president’s comments about the “unbreakable bond” and about “having Israel’s back.”

They tell me that nothing’s changed, that this administration is as pro-Israel as any previous one, Democratic or Republican, and I needn’t fear that a reelected President Obama will punish Israel.

With all due respect, they are full of it.

The Washington Free Beacon compared the 2012 Democratic platform— the Obama platform — with the 2008 and 2004 models. What they found is shocking:

Several pro-Israel sections of the 2008 Democratic Party platform have been removed from the 2012 platform—on Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, and Hamas. The new platform represents another shift by the Obama Democrats toward the Palestinian position on key issues in the peace process.

For Jerusalem, the new platform has been brought into line with the Obama administration’s policy of not recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and supporting its division. Jerusalem is unmentioned in the 2012 document, whereas the 2008 and 2004 Democratic Party platforms declared “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel…It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.” The Obama administration’s refusal to recognize Jerusalem has been a point of significant controversy in recent months.

On the issue of Palestinian refugees, the new document has removed language from the 2004 and 2008 platforms specifying that Palestinian “refugees” should be settled in a future Palestinian state, not in Israel.

The 2004 platform: “The creation of a Palestinian state should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel.”

The 2008 platform: The peace process “should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel.”

The 2012 platform contains no language on the matter.

Previously, Obama has incorporated the Palestinian positions on Jerusalem and borders into his administration’s policies. It appears that with his party’s new platform, he is also doing so with refugees.

Gone as well is the language from 2008 on the terrorist group Hamas, which currently controls the Gaza Strip. That platform declared, “The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.”

The 2012 platform contains no mention of Hamas.

Previous platforms also contained promises to maintain Israel’s “qualitative military edge” in the region. The 2008 platform, for example, spoke of a “commitment which requires us to ensure that Israel retains a qualitative edge for its national security and its right to self-defense.” The 2012 platform mentions only that “[t]he administration has also worked to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region,” with no commitment to doing so in the future.

There is no question of pro-GOP journalistic spin here. These are entirely objective comparisons that anyone can verify.

If you are a Democrat who cares about Israel’s survival — yes, it is that critical — while opposing Romney-Ryan for other reasons, you have a very difficult choice to make in November.

Just don’t make it on the basis of the reassuring lies the Obama campaign is telling about his commitment to Israel.

Visit the Fresno Zionism blog.

Why didn’t they leave the platform alone?

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Earlier today I discussed the surprising degree to which the 2012 Democratic platform differed from the 2008 and 2004 platforms in respect to Israel. The changes represent a significant tilt toward Palestinian positions on Arab refugees,Jerusalem and Hamas. It also leaves out prior language about helpingIsrael maintain a “qualitative military edge” over its adversaries.

The interesting question is “why did they change it?” A platform is not a binding document; it is intended as a general statement of a party or candidate’s positions. Its planks are generally written to appeal the broadest possible constituencies. Most voters never read platforms or care about them.

If they had not changed the 2008 text nobody would have noticed. And at a time when Republican opponents are doing their best to argue that Obama is an anti-Israel president, one would expect Democrats to avoid giving them ammunition.

Unless they think that being anti-Israel is a plus. This would also fit in with recent public statements and actions regarding Iran, which they present as a problem forIsrael but not particularly the US.

But polls consistently show that the majority of Americans supportIsrael. So how can this make sense? To answer this, we need to look at who these pro-Israel Americans are; and by in large, they are not likely Obama voters. Most are white Evangelical Protestants, who are solidly Republican already. Some — a comparatively tiny number — are Jews for whomIsraelis a major issue that influences their vote. Many of these have already abandoned Obama. The majority of Jews, however, lean Democratic on the basis of domestic issues and will not be affected.

If this tilt againstIsraeldoesn’t hurt Obama too much, where does it help him? There are two groups that will take notice and approve of the change. One is his left-wing base. These are mostly students and others who have a “postcolonial” anti-Zionist (and anti-Western) point of view. It is critical for the Democrats to enlist these activists in the final get-out-the-vote effort.

It seems that just as Romney barely budged toward the center after receiving the nomination, so too Obama prefers to activate his troops rather than to reach out for undecided votes.

The second group of voters is the Ron Paul crowd. They have not as yet displayed much affection for either Obama or Romney, but they will find the suggestion of less military aid toIsraelappealing. They are also happy to see Obama avoiding ‘complicity’ in a possible Israeli attack on Iran.These two groups, along with American Muslims, constitute an anti-Zionist bloc. This move locks it in for Obama.

There is another possibility that cannot be discounted. That is that the change is intended to send a message to the leadership of the Muslim nations that Obama has been courting since his 2009 speech in Cairo — Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc. — a message that he is taking concrete steps to weaken the “unbreakable bond” between the US and Israel. Perhaps he is finally working to fulfill his promise to pro-Palestinian activist Ali Abunimah that he would be “more up front” in helping the Palestinians in the future.

Visit Vic Rosenthal’s blog, Fresno Zionism.

Rachel Corrie and Evergreen State

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

I recently wrote about the tragedy of Rachel Corrie (it’s always tragic when a young person dies, more so when she dies for a mistaken cause, and even more when she is cynically brainwashed by a group like ISM which is directly connected to terrorist groups).

Rachel was a student at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, when she proposed an independent study project for her senior year to establish a sister-city relationship between Olympia and Rafah, a town that lies directly on the border between the Gaza strip and Egypt, a nexus of conflict between the IDF and terrorists smuggling weapons into Gaza.

Evergreen is a paradigm of the progressive cause-based model of education, where you can get what author Howard Jacobson (The Finkler Question) called a “modular degree.” For example, the home page for the “Gender and Sexuality: History, Culture and Politics” program includes this bemusing note:

Enrollment is open to any Evergreen student with sophomore through senior standing. It is likely that many students will have a sexual or gender identity, but this is not a prerequisite for enrollment. If you have such an identity, switching it out at any time is also perfectly fine.

Hmmm… everyone that I know has a “sexual of gender identity,” although they don’t “switch it out” too often (not that there would be anything wrong with that).

Among the many courses in gender and ethnic studies, activism, etc., I did not find anything like a course in Western Civilization. The closest to one in American History was “The Formation of the North American State,” described thus:

This program will examine the movement of the North American colonies in their separation from Britain to the emergence of the United States through the election of 1800. It will investigate the conflict; the social, racial and class divisions; and the distinctly different visions of the proper social, economic and political system that should predominate in the new nation. Much conflict surrounded the separation of the settler colonies from Britain, including a transatlantic revolutionary movement, development of slave-based plantations and the birth of capitalism. Capitalism was not a foregone conclusion….

I just bet it wasn’t.

Rachel didn’t get her sister-city project off the ground, although it is presently being pursued in her name. What she did do on arrival was join up with several ISM activists (Olympia and Evergreen have provided a disproportionate number of members to the ISM) for a training session, then traveled to Gaza, where she did her (unfortunately effective) best to throw herself against the machine of Occupation.

Shockingly, Evergreen State College is proud of her, and offers an annual scholarship in her name:

Rachel Corrie, a lifelong Olympia resident, Evergreen student and community activist was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Rafah, Gaza, on March 16, 2003, while defending the home of a Palestinian family against unlawful demolition.

This [$2,000] scholarship is for students dedicated to gaining a better understanding of the Middle East and to working locally or internationally to further Middle East peace. Applicants must show how they will use their studies to promote human rights and social justice through community activism and/or political advocacy.

Areas of interest related to the Middle East may include: Arab culture and Arabic language, U.S. Policy in the Middle East, and peace, justice and conflict resolution studies.

There has been some speculation about the faculty members who encouraged her and perhaps approved her “independent study.” Simona Sharoni, who called Rachel her “beloved student and friend,” and Steve Niva, who “met with Rachel Corrie before she left for Gaza,” appear to have been among them.

Sharoni is aggressively anti-Zionist. Now department chair of Gender and Women’s Studies at SUNY Plattsburgh, she coined the term “compassionate resistance” as she

struggled to reconcile my grief, frustration and anger with the empathy, love and compassion I felt for people who put their bodies on the line to resist oppression.

I could find no expression of empathy, love or compassion in her writing for the Jewish victims of Palestinian terror, except insofar as she sees them as misguided. Indeed, she criticizes left-wing Israelis who are involved in dialogue with Palestinians because they don’t sufficiently understand that the needs of the occupied Palestinians take priority over those of the Jewish occupiers, even leftist anti-occupation types.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/on-campus/rachel-corrie-and-evergreen-state/2012/09/02/

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