Wednesday, August 20, 2014

God is Great Even During Gang Rapes

Michael L.

Our friends in the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq are so pious that they even pray to Allah during gang rapes.

The entire west should be outraged at what these guys are doing in Syria and Iraq and now they tell us that they are looking forward to attacking the United States and, although they just beheaded an American journalist, the western left still hates the Jews more.

It's quite remarkable, actually.

The Jews of the Middle East are, for the most part, bunkered down in Fortress Israel, doing their best to survive as the much larger malicious Arab population seeks to wear them down during an ongoing, and entirely unjust, war of attrition.

While the western-left ponders sanctions against Israel and considers hurting the Jews of the Middle East economically via an international boycott, the fun-loving guys in the Islamic State are busy raping and murdering and beheading their way throughout much of that part of the world.

But, hey, that is OK.

The important thing to remember is that they are not building housing for themselves in the wrong places.  Oh, wait, what are the restrictions on Muslims building houses for themselves, other than the normal bureaucratic whatever?

Ah, right, there are none.

Jews, on the other hand, are highly constricted in terms of where the international community and the Obama administration believe we should be allowed to live.  The Middle East is a vast land mass, but Jews can only live in a very, very small part of it.  Jews may live within the Israeli "green line," but that's pretty much it.  Actually, as far as the larger Arab world is concerned, even that is entirely unacceptable.

The Arabs, generally, do not believe that Jews have any right to live on their sacred, Allah-drenched land without demonstrating the proper submission.  Israel is, therefore, an affront, an insult to Arab honor, and for this reason Jews have been kicked out of every country from Egypt to Iraq to Syria.

Of course, Jews were not kicked out of Saudi Arabia because Jews have not been allowed to live in Saudi Arabia since that Muhammad guy killed a bunch of us there and laid down that decree.

There are, of course, a few Jews living in Iran and, by all accounts, they are the happiest people on the planet.  There are around ten thousand Jews in Iran and the great thing is that the Persians are so open-minded that they actually allow those Jews not only to live, but to live among them... so long as they know their place.

So, Muslims can pretty much live anywhere on the planet that they want to, so long as they can afford the price of admission.  This is emphatically not the case with Jews in the Middle East.

Jews are not allowed to live in peace, or even at all, in virtually any part of the area where Jews have lived for millennia.  While Eretz Israel is our patrimony, Jews have lived in the rest of the Middle East since long, long before Muhammad was even born.  But we are no longer allowed to peacefully live, or live at all, in Egypt or Lebanon or Syria or Yemen or Pakistan or Turkmenistan or any of the other Stans.

Therefore Jews live in Israel.  It is a tiny little country, but it is our country.  It is the country where the Jewish people come from and we are the closest thing to an indigenous population in that area.  Of course, Barack Obama is entirely opposed to Jews living in certain parts of Eretz Israel.  We may be allowed to live in Tel Aviv (and environs) and Haifa (and environs) and certain parts of Jerusalem, but that is pretty much it.

Both Barack Obama and his partner, Mahmoud Abbas, agree that Jews must not be allowed to live in Judea otherwise they are just begging for violence.

The problem with this picture is not that I have painted it, however crudely, but that the Arab-Muslim world, via the Pact of Omar, created a system of submission and contempt that has dominated the region since that Muhammad guy's armies marched out of the Saudi Peninsula.

The system is effective.  There was a time when almost the entire Middle East was Christian, but now the Christians have it worse than the Jews.  The Jews can at least protect their children.  The Christians, on the other hand, are subject to the tender mercies of their Islamic neighbors.

As a poker player, I wish them nothing but luck.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Eliminate Hamas

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at Jews Down Under.}

Yoav Zitun and Elior Levy write in Y-Net:
hamasA heavy barrage of rockets was fired at Israel on Tuesday night, around 10:40pm. Loud explosions were heard in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, while Code Red sirens blared throughout southern and central Israel.

Hamas said it fired 40 rockets at Israel. Among them, two hit open areas in the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council, four more in open areas in the Eshkol Regional Council, and five hit open areas in the Be'er Sheva area.
Hamas apparently believes if enough people such as this idiot call upon Obama to pressure Israel to give in to their demands then maybe Netanyahu will fold.  And Netanyahu may very well fold.  In fact, as far as I am concerned, he already has.

By not finishing the job - which is to say, by not eliminating Hamas - he is damning Israel to never-ending war in the Gaza strip.

Furthermore, if he gives in to Arab demands to significantly lift the blockade, he signals to Hamas and Hezbollah and the Islamic State (ISIS) and the Palestinian Authority and Islamic Jihad, and all the enemies of the Jewish people and the Jewish State, that if they hit us hard enough and long enough, we will give them whatever they want.

This is a huge mistake.

Every time Hamas breaks another cease fire by shooting rockets at Tel Aviv - Tel Aviv, for chissake! -  it opens an opportunity to hit them hard enough to wreck their ability to operate as a significant organization.

Israel should do what is necessary to finish this, once and for all.

I know that it is hard and I know such a thing would be bloody and awful, but I also know that so long as Israel negotiates with this group of theocratic fascists they legitimize an organization that calls specifically for the murder of the Jews wherever we might be found.

So long as Israel caves to Obama's demand that it not defend its people, the more it will have to in the years and decades ahead.

This is simply not acceptable.

Israel should seek, as it always does, to minimize civilian casualties, but it should not allow either the prospect of collateral damage, nor the PR storm that will inevitably result, to prevent it from completing its operational objectives.

The western-left, it should be understood, has lost any ethical standing with which to criticize Israel.  For years southern Israel withstood the rocket fire and they said not a word.  Thus anything that they say now should be entirely dismissed on moral grounds.


By the way, my non-peace process predictions turned out to be largely correct:
1) The US and the EU demand negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

2) The parties agree to talk and then the PA, the US, and the EU demand various concessions from Israel for the great privilege of sitting down with the PA's foremost undertaker.

3) Israel fails to meet all the concessions, thus causing the PA to flee negotiations, which they never had any intention of concluding to begin with.

4)  The PA and the EU and the Obama administration place the blame for failure at Jewish feet.

5)  The EU and various European countries announce additional sanctions, thereby essentially joining the anti-Semitic anti-Zionist BDS movement.

6)  Arabs seek to murder Jews.

Let's hope that I am wrong.
Well, as it turns out, I was not.

Here is a question:

How is it that the same people who spout the same worthless ideas, over and over again since 1992 - ideas that never work and that never change no matter how circumstances evolve - are still considered respectable for their analyses?

{For example, should not Thomas Friedman be out someplace selling pencils out of a tin cup on a street corner, by now?}

These also tend to be the same people who claimed that the misnamed "Arab Spring" was the great up-welling of Arab democracy.

These are the same people who supported Obama even when he supported the Brotherhood, which is the parent organization of Qaeda.

These are the same people who never breathe a word about the absolutely mind-boggling degree of Muslim-on-Muslim violence that reaches easily into the hundreds of thousands of dead and millions displaced, yet will bang their fists on the floor and demand that the Jews stop defending themselves in Israel.

The western liberal-left has been consistently wrong about almost everything when it comes to foreign policy under the Obama administration, particularly the Arab-Israel conflict, yet they never admit a mistake and excoriate those who point them out.

We need a new paradigm to discuss the long Arab war against the Jews, because relying upon the terms of Oslo is to rely upon the enemy's terms.   It is not merely that we yield the home field advantage, but that we concede the debate before it begins.

What I suggest, as a preliminary to even thinking about the question, is to remember to expand the context historically.  It is exceedingly important to include thirteen hundred years of dhimmitude in the conversation if Jews wish to have any hope of appealing to rational liberals... which, in itself, does not seem very likely.

It is also exceedingly important, and for the same reason, to get them to understand the conflict is not some Jewish "Goliath" against a thumb-sucking and helpless Arab "David."  Arabs outnumber Jews 60 or 70 to 1 in that part of the world and are more than willing to use their cousins in Gaza, and in Judea and Samaria, as a club against the hated Jewish prophet-killers.

We can never win the argument so long as we fight on progressive-left anti-Israel rhetorical turf and, yet, with few exceptions, we almost never seem to fight anywhere else.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review: What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?

Michael L.

(Originally published at the Elder of Ziyon and cross-posted at Jews Down Under.)

gershon1 David Harris-Gershon's, What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife? is a fascinating read.

Harris-Gershon is a progressive-left American Jew who supports the anti-Semitic BDS movement and spends much of his time bashing Israel before a non-Jewish left-leaning audience.

I, as a matter of public disclosure, have been highly critical of his writings in the past.

Nonetheless, I would say that the first one hundred pages of Harris-Gershon's book are terrific.  There is no question but that the man can write and that this is a quirky and sad and heart-felt page-turner.

In 2002 Harris-Gershon's wife, Jaime, sat in the cafeteria of Hebrew University atop Mount Scopus in northeastern Jerusalem, speaking with fellow students, when Mohammad Odeh ignited a bomb killing nine people and injuring Jaime, among numerous others.

This, needless to say, was a cause for celebration in Gaza City, where they presumably handed out cakes and candies to children in joy upon this great victory over the "Zionist entity."

Harris-Gershon's book was written, therefore, as part of a healing process.  It is deeply personal and demonstrates a braveness of character.  It is not everyone, after all, who has the strength to bare oneself to the world in the way that Harris-Gershon does, as he tries to understand the motivation of the killer and what that means not only to himself and his wife, but to the State of Israel, if not the Jewish people, as a whole.

As someone familiar with Harris-Gershon's writings on Israel I expected an anti-Israel narrative in his book and, through the first third, was pleasantly surprised to find none of the usual malicious insinuations, self-righteousness chest-beating, acidic implications of Jewish-Israeli racism, or the kind of general contempt one usually finds within a Harris-Gershon Daily Kos "diary."

Slowly, however, mid-way through the book, the narrative becomes increasingly negative not toward the people responsible for nurturing a culture of hatred toward their Jewish neighbors over the course of fourteen centuries, but toward the Jews, themselves.  For reasons that he never makes entirely clear, at least not to my satisfaction, Harris-Gershon comes to relate to the Palestinian narrative of pristine victim-hood while blaming his fellow Jews, or at least those in the Israeli government, for the bombing at Hebrew University and the conflict with Arabs, more generally.

Harris-Gershon's turn against Israel, a country that he claimed to love, begins with an apology.

Apparently after his capture Mohammad Odeh apologized for the lives he destroyed and that apology loomed large for Harris-Gershon.

He writes:
“But those words – he was sorry – backlit everything, threw shadows upon the walls which the darkness had concealed.  I saw myself.  I saw Mohammad.  I saw the destruction.  And for the first time, I felt an intense need to speak with Mohammad, to understand him.”
For some reason it does not occur to Harris-Gershon that perhaps Odeh apologized in order to help ease his situation as much as possible.  While it is true that good Jihadi ideologues are not likely to apologize for anything, it is also true that good Jihadi ideologues are human beings many of whom, under duress, will say almost anything to keep their interrogators at bay.

Due to this apology, genuine or not, Harris-Gershon contacts the Israeli government out of a desire to meet with the murderer.  In my estimation, there is nothing particularly unusual about Harris-Gershon wanting to meet the man who injured his life and almost killed his wife.  Had I been in his situation I might have wanted to meet Odeh as well... although, perhaps not to have a heart-to-heart conversation.

Harris-Gershon writes:
“I had no interest in reconciliation, had no interest in some granola-caked forgiveness trek toward Mohammad.  I just wanted to square the words ‘terrorist’ and ‘sorry’ so that I might be able to, once again, sleep through the night.”
That seems more than fair, although I have to wonder why throughout the book he refers to the Jihadi murderer by the familiar first name?  This may sound like a rather strange criticism, I suppose, but imagine that Charles Manson almost killed your husband or wife.  In reference to the guy would you likely call him "Charles" or "Manson"?  I am pretty sure that most people would not use the familiar and friendly term "Charles" under such circumstances, yet throughout the book Harris-Gershon refers to Odeh as "Mohammad."

It was just one of those little things that raised an eyebrow for me as I read.  It is clear that Harris-Gershon sought to humanize the murderer in order to understand his motivation and that is, I suppose, an admirable inclination.

There were, however, two other little eyebrow raisers toward the middle of the book.

The first is concerned with a discussion of apartheid South Africa seemingly out of nowhere.  What Harris-Gershon claims is that in his Google investigations into the experiences of others who have faced "perpetrators" the term "reconciliation" kept coming up.  This, allegedly, led him to the example of apartheid South Africa which he therefore felt a need to discuss in the middle of the book.

There is no reason to include a discussion of apartheid South African in this book unless one wishes to plant into the mind of the reader a highly unjust, malicious, and dangerous comparison.

Yet another eyebrow raiser was Harris-Gershon's assumption that because Israel turned down his request to visit with Odeh in prison, on the grounds that Odeh did not want to see him, that the Israelis were obviously up to no good.
“I began to suspect that the Israeli government might not have given my request any consideration, that Ruti Koren, Bureau Manager, Ministry of Public Secrurity, might have used Mohammad’s refusal as easy cover.”
Easy cover for what is entirely unclear.

At this point Harris-Gershon turns to left-wing anti-Israel activists who are willing to help him meet with Odeh and it is among them that he discovers his true soul-mates.
“As I sought the assistance of these peace activists, I began to sympathize with their mission: working for the human rights of both Palestinians and Israelis.  Things were not black and white, as I had been led to believe.  It was not good versus evil.”
Just who it was that deceived Harris-Gershon is entirely unclear.  Was it his parents?  His teachers?  The Israeli government?  His rabbis?  Random Jews on the street?  Someone apparently led him to believe that Arabs are "evil" and Jews are "good" and he was rather shocked to discover, as a full-grown adult, that others disagree.  This led to a great opening of the soul to such an extent that he wrote the following to the family of the murderer.
“If you can find it in your heart, I ask that you speak with Mohammad and let him know why I would like to speak with him.  And if you find my motivations pure, I humbly ask that you encourage him to agree to speak with me.”
I have to say, it is not everyone who is quite so pious as to grovel before the family of the man who hospitalized and almost murdered his wife.

{As anyone who knows me can tell you, I am not nearly so holy... you can be sure.}

The final third of the book is essentially a repetition of Arab complaints concerning Jewish malfeasance in that part of the world and Harris-Gershon's success in bringing presents to the children of the murderer.

It took professor Mordechai Kedar from Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv to make that happen through his sympathy with Harris-Gershon's desire to meet with the killer.  It should also be noted that Dr. Kedar has recently been defamed by people on Harris-Gershon's own Daily Kos blog who shamelessly and falsely claim that he favors rape as a tactic in war.

One would think that since this allegation is absolutely outrageous nonsense meant to undermine the integrity and reputation of the Jewish Israeli scholar that helped Harris-Gershon, he might come to his patron's defense in the defamatory "diaires" published at his home blog.

He did not, however, neither here nor here nor here..

At the end of the day, I feel bad for Harris-Gershon.  There is no doubt that he and his wife, Jaime, went through a traumatic experience that altered their lives and his book is a well-written testament to that fact.  I find nothing the least bit dishonest in Harris-Gershon's memoir.  On the contrary, I have little doubt that he means every word that he says.

Where he fails to convince, however, is in his explanation for his transition from pro-Israel ideologue to anti-Israel ideologue.  There is little in his story that accounts for this beyond the fact that the Israeli government refused to give the man permission to visit a murderer in prison.

Certainly, his brief dipping of the toes into Israeli history for a few pages toward the end of the book is little more than a repetition of the so-called "Palestinian narrative," which is actually a negation of Jewish history in the sense that it refuses to acknowledge thirteen hundred years of Jewish subjugation under Arab-Muslim imperial rule within the system of dhimmitude.

That Harris-Gershon is an anti-Israel ideologue is beyond doubt.  Even pro-Israel people who despise my own contribution to the discussion, and who are familiar with the man's blogging, would agree that Harris-Gershon is a toxic individual when it comes to Israel.

gershonHe even casts a gimlet eye upon the Balfour Declaration which he considers unjust toward the local Arabs.

There is no doubt that he and his wife went through something horrific and life-altering.

In my opinion, however, he would have done better to spend that money on a gift for his own kid, rather than the kid of the guy who tried to murder his wife.

I know where my loyalties lie, but not all of us can be - or should be - quite so saintly as David Harris-Gershon.

Are the Yazidis "White"?

Michael L. 

Writing in Arutz Sheva, Ari Soffer tells us:
Yazidi1In yet another harrowing chapter in the tragic plight of Iraq's Kurdish Yazidi population, eyewitnesses have described how girls raped by Muslim fighters from the "Islamic State" (formerly ISIS) committed suicide en-masse after returning to their families, as evidence of systematic rape by Islamists against non-Muslims continue to surface. 
Among the tens of thousands of Yazidi refugees trapped in the Shingal mountains while fleeing IS's deadly advance through Iraq, several survivors told Kurdish Rudaw TV how a group of three girls were returned after being abducted and raped - only to hurl themselves off a cliff after being traumatized by their ordeal.
Meanwhile throughout Europe and Canada and Australia and the United States ethically-bankrupt leftists are screaming about the fact that Jews build housing for ourselves in Judea and finally dared to fight back when the entire southern part of Israel was being harassed by rocket fire, thus ruining the economy and wrecking lives over years.

Of course, the left was entirely silent when it was Jewish lives in Israel being ruined.  They did not care that Jewish kids are being raised with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or that residents of S'derot had 15 seconds to run for their lives when the Arabs shot their rockets.

As far as I am concerned the progressive-left, as a movement, has lost all ethical standing to complain about anything that Israel does.  So long as they continue ignore real atrocities around the world, such as the 5.5 million dead in Congo, the hundreds of thousands of dead and millions displaced in Sudan and Syria, then they should be confronted.  So long as they honestly do not care that the Islamic State is committing a genocide of heinous proportions characterized by rape and the outright assassination of children - with the barrel of a pistol directly to the head - then they should be castigated as the malicious hypocrites that they are.
"The Kurds and Yazidis are originally Aryans. But because the Yazidis are such a closed community they have retained a fairer complexion, blonder hair and bluer eyes. They don't marry non-Yazidis," Adnan Kochar, chairman of the Kurdish Cultural Centre in London, explained to the Daily Mail.

"ISIS have taken around 300 women from Sinjar to give to jihadists to marry and make pregnant to have a Muslim child. If they can't kill all Yazidis, they will try to smash the blond bloodline," he said.

The Yazidis have blonde hair and blue eyes and refuse to marry outside the race?

The Yazidis are white people, so no wonder leftists do not care about them.  It all makes sense now.  The Islamic State is engaged in resistance against the colonialist, imperialist white oppressors of which the Yazidi act as a front.

Someone needs to tell the Yazidis that they need to check their privilege.

You cannot expect progressive-left anti-imperial anti-racists to step up for white people in a conflict with persecuted people of color, like those in the Islamic State.

Seriously, though, the Yazidis haven't much of a chance. Since this is not a matter of Jewish self-defense there is nothing for leftists to care about in it.  The Obama administration - since it is the Obama administration - will do as little as possible, but just enough to placate the left-liberal Democratic Party base, which, you can be sure, will not take much.

From the comments:
Russ Bubb

No... Not, "Where is the US?" Where is Obama? After he clandestinely created these crises that have resulted in the Islamists obtaining dominance, he now goes dark and insists on a dovish, hands-off policy.
There are many, many people who ascribe anti-American anti-Israel anti-Western malice to Obama's behavior via foreign policy.  Russ thinks that Obama "clandestinely created these crises."  Clandestine would suggest intentionally and in secret.

I disagree

Obama was very open in his favoritism toward political Islam beginning with the famous Cairo speech shortly after taking office.  What drives this favoritism is a heavy dose of neo-colonial theory, as derived from Edward Said and Rashid Khalidi, that pits white western imperialists against their victims of color.  From Obama's perspective an organization like the Brotherhood represents a not unreasonable response to that white western imperialism.
Rohima Begum ·  Top Commenter · London, United Kingdom

Don't blame Islam for this, I am a Muslim and I strongly condemn these violences, the punishment in Islam for innocent murder is death. To kill an innocent life in Islam is as though you have killed humanity. I cannot stand these people, they have no place within Islam - they use religion to justify their crimes but NO religion ever allows the killing of innocent people.
We desperately need more Muslims like Rohima to stand up against political Islam.

{I am not holding my breath.}

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Using comparisons to other issues to convey the media's Mid-east bias

Sar Shalom

Previously, I raised the issue of drawing a comparison between Mid-east coverage and media coverage of other issues in order to convey how the media are biased in covering the Middle East. Instead of developing the how-to of drawing such comparisons, I would like to explain why such comparison might convince some people who otherwise could not be convinced.

Imagine that the media have been running a series of articles castigating some entity that you consider to be the devil incarnate. Now you come across someone who defends that entity. You wonder how that person could possibly defend the devil incarnate and in trying to convince this person of that, you cite the media reports castigating that entity. Your interlocutor responds, "the media are biased," what would you think of that retort.

Probably you would think that your interlocutor does not like the message that the media are conveying, and instead of substantively rebutting that message, this interlocutor is attacking the messenger. Often this line of reasoning would be correct, which is why burden of proof of bias falls on the party making the allegation.

Now let's add to your interlocutor's response that she cites someone you consider an upright individual whom you consider to have been savaged by the media. Your interlocutor proceeds to bring parallel after parallel of how ignore relevant facts and accept other facts too readily when they can be easily disproved in order to castigate both the person you consider upright and the entity your interlocutor defends. Would this not induce you question the media coverage that "confirms" your belief that the entity you had in mind is the devil incarnate?

In the case of convincing the left, which, at least in the US, constitutes the vast majority of those unfavorably disposed towards Israel, the issue to draw parallels would have to be one in which the media give outsized deference to right-wing memes. One example is the media's past deference to the notion that excess debt threatens to put the US into the position that Greece is in. Another issue the media's assignment of equal blame to the Democrats and Republicans for the "cycle-of-intransigence" no matter what concessions the Democrats offer only to be spurned by the Republicans. A further example is the media's reduction of Campaign 2000 to "Pinocchio vs. Dumbo" and, as the left would surely describe it, the media's distortion of Al Gore's statements to portray him as a serial exaggerater or liar. My previous post described some of the parallels on those issues, though the point here is to show why we should present those parallels rather than to describe how.

An issue that would cater more to elites, particularly media elites, more than the left in general is that of medical malpractice. It is generally known that in certain American counties, when juries see images of injured people they shut down all thinking and look to find ways to compensate the victims, even if the facts clearly show that all they are victims of is maloccurrence. Such is the case with the images of dead children coming out of Gaza. Anyone know any medical malpractice defense attorneys who could write on this?

One potential difficulty in raising parallels between Middle East coverage and coverage of other issues is that unlike exposing Middle East biases in a vacuum, drawing parallels requires knowing things about issues beyond the Middle East. Potentially, forming alliances with those who are expert on the issues with which we wish to draw parallels and who are sympathetic to Israel, even if they are not expert on the Middle East, could address this challenge.

Lessons from Iraq

Sar Shalom

Among many on the left, the only "lesson" from the Iraq War is that we should stay out of such adventures. However, a closer look at the war, particularly what worked and what did not work, would reveal more significant lessons. As is well known, the conventional phase of the war succeeded brilliantly, toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein in less than a month. The problems in the regime-replacement phase of regime change, Phase IV in military language. Even in Phase IV, there was a mixture of results, with some areas of operations (AOs) showing greater receptiveness to American efforts than others.

A summary of what distinguished the more receptive AOs from the less receptive ones would be that the commanders focusing on kinetic operations (kill-capture and other direct actions) found their AOs to be less receptive while commanders embracing a full spectrum approach found greater receptiveness. A figure in an earlier version of Army Field Manual 3-24 illustrated this by showing parallel campaigns starting with a small share of the population supporting the counterinsurgency, a small share supporting the insurgents, and the vast majority on the fence. In the campaign in which the counterinsurgency efforts focus exclusively on kinetic operations and training indigenous forces, the population shifts to majority support or the insurgents with most of the remainder on the fence. In contrast, in the campaign that adds lines of operation for economic development and critical infrastructure to the traditional military lines of operation, the population shifts to majority support for the counterinsurgents.

The important lesson is not the tactics of selecting lines of operation, rather it is the strategic objective of winning support from the population. When the insurgents have the support of the population, whether by offering a more compelling vision of the future or through intimidation, it would become difficult of control them other than through a "Carthago delenda est" approach. It is also not that force should be avoided. Indeed a major component in turning the tide in Iraq was nightly raids conducted by JSOC in order to eliminate targets identified through intelligence, often from intel gained from the raids of the previous night. Rather it is that force has to be targeted and restrained as much as possible to those who are identified as irreconcilable.

Before discussing what lessons Iraq offers for Israel, it would help to examine what distinguishes unconventional conflicts like Iraq and the Palestinian national movement's war against Israel from conventional ones like World War II and Korea. The main point I would highlight would be to ask if Hitler would have had a single tank more to dispatch to the Battle of the Bulge if the population of Germany had been ready to form a human chain in the way of the Allied advance than he would have if the population had been ready to impale him. The answer is of course no, popular support does not affect the availability of heavy armaments for a war effort, and convention conflicts are characterized by dependence on heavy armaments. In contrast, unconventional combatants can pack more of a punch from light armaments and thus can more readily put popular support to use in their efforts. Further, the unconventional combatant typically aims to hide among the people as much as possible in order to minimize the opponent's ability to strike back without hitting noncombatants, a task which depends on having support from the local population.

It is in the role of popular support of allowing the combatants to hide among the people that there is a parallel between Iraq and Israel. As in Iraq, the Palestinian population is divided between those who support Palestinian national movement's aim of complete liquidation of Israel, those who support accommodation, and those who are non-committed. Also like in Iraq, the hard-line rejectionists use overwhelming force to compel their compatriots to at least acquiesce to their cause rather than seek accommodation. Some actions against this threat will transfer directly. For instance, the principle of "first with the truth" will apply in Israel the same as it did from MNF-Iraq and ISAF, a notion which should resonate with anyone who has watched Hamas' lies get half way around the world before the truth could get its shoes on. However, there are differences, most notably the ratios, with a vastly higher share of Palestinians supporting liquidationism than Iraqis who supported AQI. Further, the Palestinian national movement (PNM) has far greater control over information operations than the Americans did in Iraq. However, these are tactical issues that affect how one would convince more Palestinians to support accommodationism, not strategic issues of what the impact of being able to do so would be.

There are two messages that I would present based on this approach to advancing national interests. One message is directed to the peace camp, which would include the Obama administration. It is that actions undertaken in the name of advancing peace should be evaluated based on the effect they have on the public esteem of groups like Wasatiya which seek genuine accommodation with Israel. This is in contrast to the current approach of imposing on Israel to yield to any "reasonable" demand, as determined by the peace camp, of PNM whether the peace camp does so as a strategiless tactic or if they see some strategic significance to Israel making such concessions.

A separate message is directed to those seeking the noble objective of putting an end to Hamas and the more radical organizations. One fact that people must recognize is that as long as the Islamists have a constituency, they will exist. There are two ways of undermining their constituencies. One would be the Carthaginian approach, that is to kill everyone who could possibly come to support one of the Islamist movements, which would be fairly called genocide. The other approach would be to convince their constituents to abandon them for some other more accommodating movement. The former approach cannot be done with more targeted killings because that approach induces those who might otherwise not support one of the Islamists to do so. This is not to deny that targeted killings can disrupt an enemy group's operations or that such killings could be a part of undermining its constituency. However, on its own, killings can not undermine its constituency.

In order to undermine support for the Islamist movements, and any secular movements opposing Jewish self-determination, it is thus necessary to build support among the Palestinians for some party that supports Jewish rights to self-determination. Doing so does not mean polyanishly labeling any group that recognizes the strategic value of being perceived in the west as supporting Jewish rights to self-determination, most notably Fatah, as genuinely supporting Jewish self-determination no matter what they do that the west does not factor in to their assessment. Indeed, doing so merely tells the Palestinian people that they don't have to support Jewish self-determination to gain anything, only con the west into believing they do, while setting back the cause of building support parties that genuinely support Jewish self-determination.

I am well aware that the Palestinian parties, such as Wasatia and Sheikh Jabari, currently have little to no influence in Palestinian society. However, as GEN David Petraeus said when he assumed command of MNF-Iraq, "hard is not hopeless." What their present lack of influence indicates is that we should not make concrete concessions based on the hope that Wasatia or Jabari will take control, or that someone adopting their ideology will. On the other hand, outlining what concessions can come if such an event will occur would provide some reason for the populace to support them. In the meantime, a start would be lend these groups international prestige as the real force, as opposed to Fatah, for advancing peace.

Latest Sunday Column for the Elder of Ziyon

Michael L.

The Elder was kind enough to publish my latest Sunday column entitled, Book Review: What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?

Here is a tid-bit:

gershon1Harris-Gershon's book was written, therefore, as part of a healing process. It is deeply personal and demonstrates a braveness of character. It is not everyone, after all, who has the strength to bare oneself to the world in the way that Harris-Gershon does, as he tries to understand the motivation of the killer and what that means not only to himself and his wife, but to the State of Israel, if not the Jewish people, as a whole.

 As someone familiar with Harris-Gershon's writings on Israel I expected an anti-Israel narrative in his book and, through the first third, was pleasantly surprised to find none of the usual malicious insinuations, self-righteousness chest-beating, acidic implications of Jewish-Israeli racism, or the kind of general contempt one usually finds within a Harris-Gershon Daily Kos "diary."