Tag Archives: Palestine

Netanyahu –again!

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has done it again: he has repeated what any historian of the Middle East knows, that the so-called Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al Husseini, was a buddy of Adolph Hitler’s. Netanyahu has a terrible way of reminding the world of awful truths at a time – has it ever been otherwise? – when most people including major politicians would like to look away.
One is reminded of an old very Jewish joke: Britain’s then general, Harold Alexander [the hero of the ordinary Tommy, not “the movie star” Gen.Bernard Montgomery] was making a protocol visit to a synagogue in Jerusalem. He was back in British Mandated Palestine to check out logistics for Britain’s see-sawing grim war in the Western Desert against legendary Nazi Gen. Erwin Rommel. The president of the Congregation made a little speech: “General, I want to you to know that everyday we pray 24 hours a day for an Allied victory in The Desert”. One of the little old congregants, in tallis and phylacteries, totters up, tugs the president’s sleeve, and whispers in Yiddish, “Don’t say that! If they lose, they will take it out on us”.
There was never any question of what would happen to the Mandate’s then small Jewish community if the Germans did break through. It was well known at the time that Hussein, the leader of the Arabs’ war against the Jews, had escaped British capture and was in Germany. [“Palestinian” did not designate the Arabs of the Mandate until the 1960s but contradictorily did the two Jewish brigades recruited in Tel Aviv fighting with the British in Italy].
Netanyahu, not for the first time of course, has been misinterepted, in that he did not suggest Hussein gave Hitler the idea of wiping out the Jews but simply that they had mutual ideas on the subject. [The Wannsee Conference of January 20, 1942, which gathered high Nazi officials to lay out the techniques of the Holocaust would only take place a year after the publication of the official photograph of Hitler with Hussein.] It’s likely Hitler had already considered the ways in which he would try to extinguish the Jews long before Husseini recommended burning them, if he indeed he did.
Does any of this have relevance today?
Does the fact that the Palestinians only became Palestinians recently mean that their cause is any less just?
One is reminded that Ferhat Abbas, the leading Algerian intellectual, only a few years before the beginning of the bitter war by Algerian Muslims for independence from France, had questioned whether there was such a thing as an Algerian identity. He, like so many other Algerians, unlike Arab Muslims as well as those to be called Pieds Noir [Black Feet], European refugees, who later flooded into metropolitan France, came to believe in their “nationhood” as he came to be its first president on independence.
But whatever the present day claims of “The Palestinians” to “an independent state, living side-by-side in peace” with a Jewish Israel, the long history of Arab aggression and institutionalized hatred of and warfare against the Jews in that tiny piece of land must be taken into account. At a time when the Mainstream Media, again, distorts the fundamental aggression of Arab terrorists, in personal attacks, often on civilian targets, it is well to be reminded of the long history of violence and who perpetrated it.
Yes, it will be argued that the Jewish state is a colonial manifestation, the imposition of a Western culture in an aggression on a “native people”. That appeals as such leftwing rhetoric has so often to some American “political pilgrims” [see Paul Hollander’s Political Pilgrims: Western intellectuals in search of the good society]. They have in the last half century jumped from one miserable cause to another in search of perfection – Communist China, Castro Cuba, Sandinista Nicaragua, and now, “Palestine”, only to be disillusioned by oppression and corruption. Fulsome examination of a blind loyalty to “the Palestinian cause” will eventually return the same results.
Netanyahu, as brutally frank as he sometimes is, was right to remind us of this little tidbit of history.


Political Pilgrims [Cont.]

It’s time for someone to write an update of Paul Hollander’s marvelously insightful and humorous [after a fashion] 1981 Political Pilgrims. For those kiddies for whom all this, and the environment in which it was written, is ancient history, may I remind you of Hollander’s hypothesis he fulfilled so well. It was to expose those Western intellectuals who flitted allegiance from one Marxist paradise to another.
That followed, of course, their final acceptance that their initial unassailable infatuation with the Soviet Union was a failed love affair however bitter sweet. Even their political naiveté could no longer take the strain between their hopes for a collectivized paradise on earth and the stark realities of one, if not the worst, of tyrannies the world had ever known. So they transferred their political affections to Communist China, then Castro’s Cuba, then to Sandinista Nicaragua, and so on, sometimes falling off the train even into North Korea, Albania, Romania, or Mozambique, along the way.
True, there was a basis in the excoriation of the ancien regimes: Tsarist Russia was an abomination, Nicaragua’s Somoza was the epitome of petty tyrants [even if FDR did say “he’s a SOB, but he’s our SOB” after weaning him from pro-Nazi sympathies], Batista’s Cuba was infinitely corrupt, etc., etc.
But the Political Pilgrims were willing to excuse almost anything in the hope that the new revolutionary regimes would deliver on the promised “from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs” in their hoped for utopias. Along the way, however, they picked up rationalizations for the absence of the rule of law and new, bitter human rights transgressions. And, so, on to the next candidate with the help, often, of a compliant media. [There was The New York Times’ Herbert Mathews famous infatuation with Fidel Castro, the Christian Science Monitor’s Moscow correspondent as a Soviet agent, etc.!]
One would have thought with the dramatic and swift implosion of the Soviet Union and its empire, and for all but the most delusional, Communism as a solution to life’s problems, the whole pilgrimage might have ended. But as Hollander speculated in the final pages of his book, the Western intellectuals’ problem is not in the stars but in themselves.
Although enormously influential in deciding the fate of their societies, they nevertheless have an unrequited hunger for more direct power, often denied them by the structures of the Western democracies and the good sense of their electorates. They are left often to squabble, as Henry Kissinger has acknowledged as “one who knows one”, as fiercely as any other contest in the modern world for the scraps and bones of academia. [Looking over the shoulder of my academic contemporaries, I am not so sure they are indeed “scraps].
All this comes to mind as I watch, fascinated, as all the diverse antidemocratic elements of the Western intellectual environment coalesce behind the reputed cause of the Palestinians. “Palestine” has become the new fashionable mantra which unites single-minded political fanatics, the usual student adolescent ebullience, tired old ex-Stalinists who have no other place to go, and the assortment of dizzy Hollywood bimbos [male and female] who must make a political statement whatever their apolitical heritage, training or talents. More sinister.”Palestine” now becomes a “front” for the jihadists in their murderous rampage against the West and its humanism.
Of course, without getting into the terribly complex history of Zionism, Jews and the state of Israel, except to point out that initiatives for compromise by the Israelis have generally been met with Arab rejection, there is a real Palestinian Arab cause. More than anything else, it is hidden by the guilt of dozens of Arab and Muslim states – many of them with enormous inflows of petrodollars they cannot efficiently absorb – who have refused to take in their Palestinian Arab brothers, or having done so, assign them to second-class citizenship.
One simple equation is that while “the Zionist entity” has taken in more than 800,000 refugees from Arab and Muslim countries – most of them robbed of everything they owned but lucky to escape with their skins – the Arab-Muslim world has used the Palestinian Arabs as a political foil for 60 years to rally opposition to the Jewish state, a scapegoat to fend off agitation against their own corrupt and oppressive regimes..
One must distinguish between the real and continuing problem of the Palestinian Arabs as a people suffering as much as anything from the opportunism and adventurism of their self-appointed elite. [The West Bank Palestinian leaders have virtually abandoned even their earlier corrupt elections.] That elite has lived off vast sums from international donors for Palestinian relief. Sec. of State John Kerry just announced $212 million as an initial down payment for rebuilding Gaza after the destruction the Hamas leadership brought on it with their attempt to terrorize the Israelis into military defeat with a massive missiles attack on civilian populations. That makes more than $400 million Washington has thrown into the hopper this year, with the well publicized theft of much of such American and European donations by corrupt politicians who prance around the UN seeking support from the new Political Pilgrims.
For rather suddenly as political movements go, “Palestiine” has become the new home for our Political Pilgrims. Coincidentally, in Western Europe, it has become the camouflage for the traditional and yet to be explained historic anti-Semitism. Except for France with its 400,000 Jews, it becomes all the more inexplicable since in such countries as Poland – whose population pre-World War II was a quarter Jewish — it is a reawakened anti-Semitism without Jews courtesy of Adolph Hitler.
But “Palestine” has become much more than all that. It is the excuse used by bright, young twisted intellectual university students to deny the platform and a hearing to spokesmen to what they consider an unacceptable cause or line of reasoning. Alas! Political Pilgrims today have turned their back on the very raison d’etre of the university as a forum for all ideas and their advocates. That “intellectual trend” and the state of mind it epitomizes threatens the very soul of Western culture.

Israel-Palestine — enough already!

By Sol Sanders

It must have been a shock to its “allright-nick” listeners. But even government-subsidized National Public Radio [NPR] had a commentator last week declaring that the so-called Israel-Palestine “Peace Process” isn’t going anywhere. And, more importantly, he noted, the rest of the Middle East at the moment doesn’t care all that much about the issue. That’s quite an admission for the increasing anti-Israel lobby which now counts The New York Times and NPR among its brightest stars.

Nor was Pres. Barack Obama likely to have heard much about the Israel-Palestine schmoozle in his peripatetic travels including trying to put a band aid on worsening Washington-Riyadh relations. True, the Arab League – which has more differences among its members than the United Nations Security Council –recently did come out against “a Jewish state”. But the Arab League has become less and less a spokesman for the Arabs. Its anti-Israel screeds are all that’s left of what broke away from British tutelage with Gama Nasser’s overthrow the British protected Egyptian monarchy in the early 50s.

Indeed, the list of issues is long facing the Arab world, and Muslim majority nations in general, and the Western powers ostensibly led by the U.S. in the Middle East. It is fraught with so many other threats that the problem of Israel’s relations with the Arabs pales in comparison. Nor does anyone believe the myth held among Pres. Obama’s Arabist coterie that “solution” of the Israel-Palestine problem would be an open sesame to solving all the Middle East myriad difficulties.

Foremost now, for the Sunni Arab regimes – and even those nominally secular such as Egypt’s new military rule – is the specter of the growing regional power of the mullahs in Tehran. That’s exemplified for the Saudis by the growing evidence that the bloody Syrian Dictator Basher Assad relies on Iran for life support. The Saudis publicly keep reminding Obama and the Europeans they had promised to eliminate him. Instead, there is even the prospect that Assad may negotiate his way into some sort of permanence through, ironically, Washington-sponsored peace talks.

The Saudis, who continue to call for an American commitment in Syria – which Pres. Barack Obama originally promised and then welshed on — see it as an extension of Tehran’s increasingly successful reach for regional hegemony. That’s not only by its support of Assad [along with Moscow] with both boots on the ground and armaments, but its encouragement of the Lebanese Shia Hezbollah. Hezbollah, the terrorist organization which before 9/11 had taken most American lives, has now become the dominant force in always sectarian strife-torn Lebanon. Furthermore, its troops blooded in the Syrian civil war are armed by Iran with increasingly state of the art missiles for any new engagement with Israel. Hanging over all this is the threat of the Tehran mullahs acquiring nuclear weapons and delivery systems which U.S. allies in the region increasingly see Washington’s efforts to halt faint-hearted.

Yet Obama puts an Israel-Arab settlement at the top of his public agenda most of the time, and Kerry frenetically hops from one side to another with professions of “progress”. They both ignore the reality, clear to all to see but Washington and Obama’s advisors – including CIA Director John O. Brennan, who continues to view the notorious Moslem Brotherhood as the Islamic equivalent of European Christian Democrats.

As this is written, there appears to be a considerable chance “the peace process” will break down completely. That could be the best thing all around, at least for the time being. In fact, there is in reality no negotiating process because there is no Arab partner and no policy but stonewalling from the Palestinian self-appointed leadership. No Israeli government facing these conditions can do more than stall, too. So anti-Israel forces in Europe and America use the failure as a weapon to beat the Israelis.

As this is written, a further “dispute” has paralyzed continuing talks: Israel refuses to release unilaterally another 30 Palestinian prisoners – some terrorist killers – unless the Palestinians agree to further “talks” before they are released. And the Palestinians say no talks resumption until the prisoners are released. This is just one more piece of the inanity of the whole “process”.

In the first place, Washington’s efforts are with an Arab leadership –only installed on the so-called West Bank. No one is prepared to negotiate, were it possible, with Hamas in Gaza. There terrorists, officially labeled by both the U.S. and the Europeans. publicly boast of their refusal to recognize Israel or give up claims to the whole of the old British League of Nations Palestinian Mandate.

No Palestinian leader – speaking in Arabic rather than English or French – has given a clear-cut statement of acceptance of the existence or the right to exist of an Israeli state. More recently, that has been reinforced with Washington’s chief Arab interlocutor, Mahmoud Abas now rejecting the concept of “a Jewish state”.

Obama and Kerry have reinforced the Palestinian objections to Jewish “settlements” on the West Bank, although, obviously, any agreement would have to include some 1.7 million Arabs living within Israel’s 1967 armistice lines. A two-state solution would have to include large minorities of each group or call for an enormous population swap – which Israeli Arabs have already forcefully rejected.

Demilitarization of any future Palestinian state would have to be a basic issue for the Israelis given the pattern in Gaza, where a withdrawal [including the Israeli destruction of Jewish “settlements”] has resulted in a base for constant missile harassment. Yet Abbas has already rejected the Israeli insistence that its security [concurred on by Jordan] requires it hold on to bases in the JordanValley, its first line of defense on the east.

Abandonment of the traditional Hebrew centers in Judea and Samaria [the time-honored names for the West Bank] would further the outrageous radical Muslim campaign to deny Jewish/Hebrew history despite their own religious texts reliance on it. In fact, it was there for the most part where the ancient Hebrew kingdoms which the Zionists seek to restore in their modern state were located – not in the plains around Tel Aviv, now its largest center of Jewish population. Abandoning them would further the whole campaign to delegitimate Israel.

Increasingly, so-called “pro-Palestinian” sentiment in the West has either merged with traditional anti-Semitism or the remnants of the Communist and their fellow travelers.. Whatever excesses exist – in an embittered Israeli Occupation of predominantly Arab areas — have followed six unsuccessful attempts of the Arab coalitions to wipe out the Jewish state.

Hamas and its rival Islamic Jihad in Gaza are gaining strength for Muslim jihadists in the West Bank [as witness recent rioting in Jenin, a flashp[oint going back to 1936 Arab attacks on British Mandate authorities and the then small Jewish community.]. There is every reason to believe that were elections held, Abbas and his “moderate” following in the non-Gaza areas would be decimated by Hamas [which may partially explain his tortured extension of his current office]

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees [UNRRA], the only organization created for a single refugee group, has well over a billion dollar basic annual funding. It perpetuates the refugee problem by including all descendants of those who either voluntarily left or were pushed beyond the 1948 armistice lines, its schools are a hot bed of racist propaganda against Jews and its summer camps sponsor training for terrorists according to its former counsel. The Palestinians’ negotiating demand for a return of all Arab “refugees” to Israel is not only unrealistic but is just one more stumbling block to real negotiations.

And the list goes on and on.

So what are Obama and Kerry talking about when they sponsor a continued “peace process”?

It appears more than anything else an extension of Obama’s highly trumpeted outreach to the Muslim world announced early in his first Administration [with the rather shaky historical review of his Istanbul and Cairo speeches]. Since then, we have seen The Arab Spring turn to The Arab Winter, a brutal massacre of his own people by Assad in Syria with an answering radicalization of the opposition, the fall of an Egyptian autocrat to the Muslim Brotherhood’s “one man, one vote – one election” to the reinstitution of a military authoritarian Cairo regime which Obama has spurned and therefore with whom Washington has little influence, and a frightened and disaffected group of Persian Gulf American allies.

There are times when “just stand there” is the proper advice.

Minus the encouragement – and financing of some of the most corrupt politicians in the world – by the U.S. and the Europeans of the so-called Palestinian cause, the current Israel-Palestinian stalemate continues intractable. Statesmanship dictates that it be put on the back burner, at least for a while, and a turn to other far higher priority problems from the Black Sea to the Baltic as well as the continuing threat of the Iranian bomb and East Asia where the results of the ballyhooed “pivot” are still awaited.