web analytics
August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘the Middle East’

A Monumental Distortion Of History

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently continued a long tradition of attempting to question a Jewish link to Jerusalem by expressing his mendacious notion that “Jerusalem’s identity is Arab, and the city’s and Christian holy sites must be protected from Israeli threats.”

The same scholar of history who wrote a doctoral dissertation that questioned the extent and truthfulness of the Holocaust was now making his own historical claim that there has never been a Jewish presence and history in the world’s holiest city.

Israeli archeology and a Jewish biblical connection to Jerusalem, specifically the Temple Mount, “will not undermine the fact that the city will forever be Arabic, Islamic and Christian,” Abbas crowed, adding that “there will be no peace or stability before our beloved city and eternal capital is liberated from occupation and settlement,” suggesting that even Jerusalem itself is in fact occupied and that it was, and still is, the capital of a putative Palestinian state.

This airbrushing out of a Jewish presence from Jerusalem – in fact, all of Palestine – is not a new message for Abbas, of course. In 2000 he expressed similar contempt for the idea that a Jewish temple had ever existed on the Temple Mount, and argued that, even if it had existed, the offenses committed by Israel against the Palestinians negated any claim Jews might have enjoyed, absent their perfidy.

“Anyone who wants to forget the past [the Israelis] cannot come and claim that the [Jewish] temple is situated beneath the Haram,” he asserted in a 2000 article in Kul Al-Arab, an Israeli Arabic-language weekly newspaper. “They demand that we forget what happened 50 years ago to the refugees…while at the same time they claim that 2,000 years ago they had a temple. I challenge the assertion that this is so. But even if it is so, we do not accept it, because it is not logical for someone who wants a practical peace.”

In characterizing East Jerusalem – or any part of Jerusalem, for that matter – as territory that Israel “occupies” but over which it enjoys no sovereignty, Abbas (and the Obama administration’s State Department, too) is misreading, once again, the content and purpose of 1967’s UN Security Council Resolution 242 that suggested an Israeli withdrawal “from territories” it acquired in the Six-Day War.

Critics of Israeli policy who either willfully misread or deliberately obscure the resolution’s purpose say the Jewish state is in violation of 242 by continuing to occupy the West Bank and Jerusalem, including what is mistakenly now referred to as “Arab” East Jerusalem. But the drafters of Resolution 242 were very precise in creating the statute’s language, and never considered Jerusalem to have been “occupied” by Israel after the Six-Day War.

* * * * *

Former U.S. ambassador to the U N Arthur Goldberg, one of the resolution’s authors, made this very clear when he wrote some years later that “Resolution 242 in no way refers to Jerusalem, and this omission was deliberate…. At no time in [my] many speeches [before the UN] did I refer to East Jerusalem as occupied territory.”

Along with their unwavering and various demands, including a “right of return” of all refugees and sovereignty over the Temple Mount, the Palestinians now insist that Jerusalem must be divided to give them a capital in its eastern portion. That view is troubling because it reveals a pattern in which Arabs endow Jerusalem with intense significance to serve purposes of political expediency.

In fact, as Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes has observed, a “historical survey shows that the stature of the city, and the emotions surrounding it, inevitably rises for Muslims when Jerusalem has political significance. Conversely, when the utility of Jerusalem expires, so does its status and the passions about it.” When Jordan illegally annexed the West Bank and purged Jerusalem of its Jews from 1949 to 1967, for example, Jerusalem’s stature declined. But Israel’s recapture of the territory in 1967 changed the political landscape, including an Arab desire for Jerusalem, suggesting to Dr. Pipes that “the Muslim interest lies not so much in controlling Jerusalem as it does in denying control over the city to anyone else.”

Dore Gold, Israel’s UN ambassador from 1997 to 1999, noted in his book The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy City, that many in the Muslim world, and even some individuals in the West, have begun a sinister process aimed at establishing a spiritual as well as political presence in Jerusalem for Islam, while simultaneously diminishing Jewish historical links to the city.

Israeli Students Rally in Support of America at US Embassy

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

A small group of Israelis, many university students, gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv on Monday evening in a show of support and friendship with America.

The rally, organized by the pro-Israel student movement, Im Tirzu, came in response to the recent attacks on U.S. embassies across the Middle East.

The attacks first began in Cairo when the American embassy was stormed two weeks ago, and then in Benghazi, when a U.S. consulate was penetrated by armed jihadists who killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens and three other U.S. employees.

Im Tirzu director Ronen Shoval explained that he and his team organized the rally in order to show that in Israel “we are behind America.”

“Israel and the United States share many important values including those of freedom and liberty,” Ronen told Tazpit News Agency. “It is crucial that we show America that there is one country in the Middle East that will always stand with her no matter what.”

Anti-U.S. demonstrations have also taken place in Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Bahrain, Afghanistan and elsewhere from North Africa to south-east Asia, apparently fanned by a crudely produced anti-Islamic video that had been made in California. German and British embassies have also been attacked. In Sudan, the German embassy was set on fire and significantly damaged.

At the Tel Aviv rally, a passing American visitor, Tani Zarelli, of Washington State, stood with the Israeli demonstrators and was clearly moved by the enthusiastic support.

“This means a lot to us,” Zarelli told the crowd, which chanted ‘freedom,’ ‘democracy’ and ‘liberty’ while waving Israeli and American flags. Several Israelis even attempted to sing The Star Spangled Banner.

“University students have come all over Israel to be here at the U.S. Embassy today to show their pride in the special friendship between the United States and Israel. No matter who attacks the values of freedom that define Western society, America can always count on Israel to her friend,” concluded Shoval.

Obama at the UN: A Speech That Has Nothing to Do with Either his Policies or the Real Middle East

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Visit Rubin Reports.

President Barack Obama’s speech is a fascinating document. The theme is this: absolutely nothing can go wrong with political change in the Middle East and that the United States helps moderate forces, defined as anyone who isn’t actively trying to kill Americans. The fact that some-to-many of those revolutionary forces favor killing Americans is outside his purview. And the fact that his policy has supported militantly anti-democratic groups far more than the (far weaker) moderate ones is airbrushed away.

That’s not to say there weren’t good-sounding formulations in his speech. Either due to a learning process, the impact of events, or–most likely–the immediacy of an American presidential election to whose voters he is actually addressing himself—you decide—Obama hit some of the right notes also. The problem is the isolation of this soaring rhetoric from his actual policies. That’s what’s important here, not the discussion about the video and its relationship to the rioting which has drawn literally all of the attention in analyzing the speech.

By the way, what’s really amazing, but no one has noted, is that almost every word of the speech could have been given by President George W. Bush. Obama has totally accepted the dangerous “neo-conservative” approach to the region despite the fact that this label makes his supporters foam at the mouth.

In basic terms, Obama urged the world to support the good people and not the bad people. Why should the U.S. ambassador to Libya be killed? After all, Obama claims, “He supported the birth of a new democracy” and was allegedly in Benghazi to review plans for a new cultural center and a modernized hospital. “Chris was killed in the city he helped to save,” said the president. Yet the most powerful force in the Middle East views his actions not as saving the city but as delivering it to U.S. control.

The anti-American riots were “an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded – the notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully; that diplomacy can take the place of war; and that in an interdependent world, all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens….Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations.”

That passage is unintentionally funny. After all, for decades violence and intolerance has been central at the U.N. and this will continue to be true. Indeed, the Obama Administration has supported many of these forces of violence and intolerance or, in other places, not stood up to them. After all, the minister of railroads in Pakistan, a country which has received billions in aid by the Obama Administration, has just offered a reward for murdering an American citizen without fear of any consequences for his regime. Amidst a thousand other examples that gives a sense of the reality of the contemporary situation compared to Obama’s rhetoric.

Obama says that the United States “has supported the forces of change” in the Arab Spring. But he does not evaluate these forces. The old regimes were tyrannical but what will replace them? Well, to prove he doesn’t comprehend there is a serious battle within the “forces of change” Obama could actually say:

We again declare that the regime of Bashar al-Assad must come to an end so that the suffering of the Syrian people can stop, and a new dawn can begin.

A new dawn? Almost a century ago, revolutionaries were overthrowing the czar, widely viewed in the West as the world’s worst tyrant, and it was assumed that whatever happened would mark the beginning of a new dawn. Thirty years ago, those assumptions were repeated with Iran, where the world’s worst tyrant was supposedly being overthrown and the result had to be a “new dawn.” Each of these events generated massive sufferings and several wars.

The implication is that Obama believes that all change is good; that nothing can be worse in the region. This is a very dangerous conclusion, especially about the Middle East. It is not a strategy but merely a tossing of the dice in a casino where the dice are very crooked indeed.

Happy 5773 From The Yishai Fleisher Show

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by alternative peace activist Baruch Widen, to talk about the nature of Rosh Hashana and how the true meaning of the holiday is not being observed.  They move on to talk about the need for both love and respect in all types of relationships and how it does not exist in the relationship between the west and a majority of the nations in the Middle East and end the segment by discussing the return of the Jewish Warrior to the world and get a quick check in from Malkah about Rosh Hashana preparations in the Fleisher home.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Aussies, Danes, Swedes Turks, and Bedouins Learn New Media & Public Diplomacy at Ariel University

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

The delegates arrived from all over the world including Denmark, Sweden, Turkey and Australia, to take part in the New Media & Public Diplomacy Seminar at Ariel University in Samaria. Their formal goal is to “gain a better understanding of how public diplomacy shapes the Middle East conflict,” but they are also counting on having a lot of fun.

“It is wonderful to be here again,” said Turkish delegate Aga Beck. Although he had recently visited Israel two months ago, this was his first time over the 1967 green line.

“I’m not shocked to be here, since I don’t believe the news in Turkey” he said. But his friends from home see it differently: “My friends are shocked that I came to Israel, because they have really ‘interesting’ views concerning Israel.”

I met Diana Nujidaat, from the Galilee, at the entrance to the dormitories. She’s in her last year of high school and dreams of becoming a member of the Israeli parliament. She has lived her entire life in Israel yet she’s never been over the 1967 green line. “It’s my first time here and I’m very excited to be here.” Nujidaat hails from a Bedouin tribe in Israel and explained that “It’s an Israeli state, the majority is Jewish, and I accept that, but this is also my state.”

Magnos Frank, a delegate from Denmark, is very exited to have come to Israel. “I’m very glad to be here, and I’m looking forward to this seminar.”

The program’s field trips are of special interest to him as he pointed out that “it’s a rare opportunity, you can’t just call the army and ask to be shown around.”

The seminar is sponsored by the Communications School at Ariel university and the Ministry of Public Diplomacy & Diaspora Affairs. It is taking place throughout this coming week, concluding on September 14th.

As part of the program, delegates will meet with Israeli officials, reporters, professors and political activists such as the ‘watch’ women and settlers. The delegates will also travel in the West Bank and visit sensitive area in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

‘I am Refugee’: Israel Launches Int’l Campaign on Expulsion of Jews from Arab Lands

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Before 1948, there were close to one million Jews living in the Arab world, while today only a few thousand still remain. During the four years following the establishment of the state of Israel, violent anti-Semitic riots broke out across the Middle East and restrictive government measures were put in place, which forced ancient Jewish communities, some thousands of years old, to dissolve. Driven from their homes and properties, 856,000 Jews were expelled from Arab countries and Iran, fleeing mostly to Israel but also to the United States, Europe, Canada, and elsewhere.

The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has launched a new campaign to mark this tragedy in cooperation with the World Jewish Congress and the Ministry of Pensioner Affairs. Called ‘I Am a Refugee,’ the international campaign seeks to bring the forgotten and often overlooked stories of Jewish refugees from Arab countries to both Israel and the international community.

The campaign, led by Deputy Foreign Minister, Daniel Ayalon, whose own father’s family was forced to flee Algeria, aims to highlight the injustices that were done to the Jewish refugees, via Facebook and online sources. “The time has come to correct an ongoing historical injustice that has affected half of the population of Israel,” said Deputy FM Ayalon on the MFA website.

Jews living in Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Iran, Morocco, Egypt, Yemen and Syria lost their legal status, properties and homes, which in many cases were seized by the government.  On the I Am a Refugee Facebook campaign page, personal stories, photos, video documentaries, and documents have been uploaded of Jewish life and escape from these different Middle Eastern countries.  In one pre-World War II photo, a class of Jewish youngsters can be seen in a Benghazi synagogue, while another photo depicts a Jewish wedding in Aleppo, Syria in 1914. In others, Iraqi and Kurdish Jewish refugees are seen arriving to Israel in the 1950s, while other photos show life in the Israeli transit camps that absorbed these refugees.  An uploaded video documentary tells the story of a Jewish family’s exodus from Egypt.

According to MFA website, the personal stories that appear on the Facebook page will be presented at a conference in New York when the United National General Assembly convenes at the end of September.

Ayalon has asked Jewish refugees and their families to take an active part of this campaign via Facebook, to “tell the world your personal story, which is an inseparable part of the Jewish people and the story of the re-establishment of the State of Israel.”

This past June, the United Nations marked World Refugee Day, where only one group of refugees—the Jewish refugees from Arab countries– was noticeably absent, according to a recent Huffington Post article written by Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Proser. “The historic Jewish presence in the Arab World must be recognized. The grave injustices inflicted upon them must be acknowledged,” Prosor wrote in response to the UN oversight.

The I Am a Refugee campaign aims to open the way to international acknowledgement and recognition of the Jewish refugee issue. This coming Monday, an international conference of jurists and experts on the refugee matter will be held in Jerusalem, to continue to advance this campaign.

Some Love Lost: Dems Drop ‘Special Relationship’ Language from 2012 Platform

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The pro-Israel news wires have been abuzz over the excision of core pro Israel language from the 2012 Democratic Party Platform. But it is not only the changes in the Democrats’ planks that should be examined.

For those who missed it but who care about Israel, here’s a recap.

Statements in the Democratic party platform referring to Israel that were included in their 2008 document, such as America’s “strongest ally in the region,” and mentioning “our special relationship with Israel” are gone.

Not only that, but Jerusalem does not merit even a single mention in the Democrats’ 2012 document.  The 2008 commitment that “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel” which “should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths” has evaporated.

State Department Spokewoman Victoria Nuland, Obama White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz, the Chair of the Democratic National Committee, have all refused to allow the phrase “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel” to pass their lips.  Did they not know that those words were an essential component of the Democratic Party’s public pledge in 2008?

The 2012 Democratic Party Platform now simply refers to aid to Israel and the maintenance of Israel’s qualitative military edge as something for which this president was responsible, rather than, in truth, that congress is where those decisions were made.  What’s more, in this year’s version there is no explicit promise to maintain that edge going forward.  Support for Israel’s right to defend itself and the president’s “steadfast opposition to any attempt to delegitimize Israel on the world stage” similarly seem stuck in time, with no forward-looking commitment whatsoever.

Also missing is what had been a solid commitment to isolate Hamas.  Instead, the only pre-conditions imposed are the same for all Arabs in the area – “we will insist that any Palestinian partner must recognize Israel’s right to exist [not to exist as a Jewish State, just to exist], reject violence, and adhere to existing agreements.” That’s it.

But what about the Republican Party Platform?  Maybe US politicians are all beginning to turn away from the Middle East, where the conflicts never seem to end.  Maybe a decision to step away from an ally who some claim only brings its supporters down, while never seeming to gain traction for the ally, is happening across the board.

Nope.

But there have been changes regarding Israel between the 2008 Republican Party Platform and the one just passed in Tampa at last week’s Republican Party Convention.

So what are they? And how significant are they?

It’s hard to tell what the significance of the change in language regarding the peace process – just four years ago the Republican Platform included the following sentence:

We support the vision of two democratic states living in peace and security: Israel, with Jerusalem as its capital, and Palestine.

In the 2012 Platform:

We support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state with secure, defensible borders; and we envision two democratic states – Israel with Jerusalem as its capital and Palestine – living in peace and security. (emphasis added)

In other words, one is an imperative with which the Republicans agree, and the other is simply what they are imagining, but it is not an essential outcome.  And in both Republican platforms, the creation of a future state of Palestine is conditional upon the people who are seeking its creation to “support leaders who reject terror, embrace the institutions and ethos of democracy, and respect the rule of law.”

Here’s a clear language change: the bold print introducing the Platform section having to do with Israel has expanded from the 2008 one word name of the state to 2012′s “Our Unequivocal Support of Israel.”

And here’s a huge difference between the visions of the two parties: the single essential goal for Israel and her neighbors sought by the Republican Platform “is a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.”  In the Democratic National Platform, an essential component for achieving this country’s commitment to Israel’s security is “two states for two people.”  In other words, the Democratic Platform will not allow for any conclusion to the Middle East peace process without the creation of a Palestinian State, whereas the Republicans’ sole end goal is peace, without attaching any collateral pre-conditions.

In addition to the central role of the creation of a Palestinian State and the rejection of Jerusalem as having plank-worthy stature, there are several other respects in which the language of the current Democratic Party Platform differs starkly from that of the Republicans’.  The need to isolate both Hamas and Hezbollah is in the Republicans’ but not the Democrats’ Platforms.  And finally, the pronouncement by the Republicans (in both 2008 and 2012) that Israel not be forced to negotiate with entities pledged to her destruction is not discussed by the Democrats.

On the other hand, there are two significant pro-Israel deletions from the Republicans’ 2012 Platform.  In 2008, there was both a pledge to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the avowed support for Jerusalem to remain undivided.  That language is not in the 2012 Republican Platform.

Is there anything both parties have abandoned this time around?  Yes.  There is no mention of the Arab Palestinian refugee issue in either current Platform.

So, what’s the score?  Deleting familiar terms of support and ignoring a central issue like Jerusalem has to be troublesome for pro-Israel voters who planned to vote for the President.  But even the Republican Party has decided that moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem and insisting that the Holy City not be divided is no longer considered a promise worth making.

In the end, reading any platform, like listening to any speech, is a way to try to figure out how a candidate will govern if he wins.  And at the end of the day, that’s about what’s in his heart, not what’s on his posters.  Changes of tone of voice, of emphasis, like the deletion of issues or the difference between a commitment and a vision, are straws in the wind.

The weather’s been rough in Charlotte for lots of people these last few days, but the changes to the Democratic Platform about Israel really do tell us important things about which way the wind is blowing down there – and it’s hard not to see a change in direction from the way it has blown, for the Democratic party, for a long time.  If Obama wins, these new planks suggest, Israel will have less support on such key issues as Jerusalem.

As for the Republicans, the changes they’ve made seem to have split the difference, with some additions strengthening their commitment to the Jewish state, and others seemingly weakening it.

What that means for Jewish voters, or for others concerned about Israel, and the Middle East, will only be known a long time after the first Tuesday of this November.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/some-love-lost-dems-drop-special-relationship-language-from-2012-platform/2012/09/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: