Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Denial of History -- updated


From any standpoint apologising for the Balfour Declaration would have to be the goofiest campaign since this same squalid witless mob started picketing Australian chocolate shops because of a perceived Israeli/Jewish connection. There is a risk of paying someone like Dr James Renton more attention than he deserves. There are three reasons it should be pursued. It is a very clear example of how far standards  of scholarship have slipped and raises again questions about the value of an education from that tier of university. It shows how seamlessly something purporting to be academic opinion merges into blind ideology. It indicates how far the dhimmification of Jews has advanced in the UK and how important antizionist Jews of the far left once again are to what is essentially a genocidal  antisemitic campaign.

I made a start on the outer layers of fatuousness here but almost everything Dr Renton has to say, even in his keyhole take of history, is wrong.

Dr Renton contends that the Declaration was essentially driven by antisemitic notions of tremendous Jewish power and ignorance about the stretch of Zionism among Jews.  British efforts therefore were nothing more than a:

.. propaganda policy  based on mistaken assumptions about Jews, derived from influential anti-Semitic ideas and conceptions of race and nationalism. Figures like Balfour and Prime Minister Lloyd George thought that Jews possessed immense power, especially in the U.S. and Russia. They also believed that most Jews were Zionist. Both of these assumptions were incorrect. The upshot, however, was the Government conclusion that support for Zionism would be a great help to British interests in the war against Germany and its partners. 

The truth of course is that the British adopted the policy because they had decided that there should be a national homeland for the Jews in Palestine. No ambiguities. No sleight of hand. No attempts to play both the Jews and the Arabs for mugs. If there is any racism in this it is in the explicit observation of Dr Renton that the Jews and Arabs were "politically backward".  The Zionists and the Hashemites were tricked by some smooth talking Brits? It really is quite bizarre.

Of course there were  Realpolitik  considerations in the British decision and in that regard the British calculations were not nearly as racist and ignorant as Dr Renton would have it. 

Zionism had already developed as a strong , well organised movement among the Russian and Ukrainian Jewish communities well before the First World War.  November 1917 was also the month of the Bolshevik revolution and British policy was formulated  in the  fear that the turmoil in Russia would take Russia out of the war. The Declaration had an immediate impact with pro-British articles in the Russian Jewish press and pro-British demonstrations in Odessa and Petrograd..  And if the British overestimated the influence of Zionism in America then so did the Bolsheviks. The founder of the Soviet secret police (Chekka later KGB) supported a soft line on the Zionists given their "considerable influence in Poland and America". 

I am using as reference for this Dr Robert Wistrich and in particular

Wistrich;  From Ambivalence to Betrayal ; University of Nebraska ; Chapter 13 From Lenin to the Soviet Black Hundreds  pages 419 - 421 

These posts are being emailed to Dr Renton and he has been invited to comment here.  


3 July . I omitted to note that Zionism or "Palestinism" as it was known in some British circles was popular in the US and Britain at the time and not just among Jews. The pogroms of Russia and Eastern Europe had been vicious and the idea of a Jewish homeland in the Holy Land struck a chord among the allied countries at a time of terrible war which still had another year to run

The Declaration was widely announced and as Dr Renton noted the British foreign office set up a unit specifically to publicise it. Not the act of a Government involved in a cynical and squalid deceit.

The troops in Palestine including those who had just taken Beersheba had a clear war aim.. So did the homefronts. So did the Jewish Legion and the Palestinian Jews. All knew this land was to be restored to the Jews as a a national homeland.  New Zealand troops took Jaffa in mid November and in December British, Australian and New Zealand troops took Jerusalem. The Jewish Legion took a critical role in the climactic battle of Megiddo and by September 1918 the Australian Light Horse took Damascus unopposed. 

The global support for a Jewish homeland was strong enough years later to enshrine it forever in international law. 

cross posted Geoffff's Joint 

Apologising For The Balfour Declaration


We should take a special interest in a pending centenary  I suggest because some others are taking an interest in another centenary almost to the day and in a very real way especially for Australians they are closely related. The Battle of Beersheba  on 31 October 1917 when the Australian Light Horse  took the town in what would have been the last successful cavalry charge in military history but for it having been carried out by an infantry regiment.

Two days later the Balfour Declaration was signed.

Now Beersheba  is a thriving city of 200 000 in the south of Israel with ambitious urban plans. Most are Jews driven from Muslim lands and their descendants.  These people are now free and equal citizens in a free state. Since the coming of Islam to the lands where they had lived for generations before the birth of The Prophet that had not been possible. They lived at a formally imposed inferior status or they lived not at all. Where pogroms were a frequent problem they might live not at all anyway.

There is a movement in Britain to apologise for the Balfour Declaration.  There has even been suggestions that the long overdue apology to indigenous Australians is some sort of noble precedent for such a craven rebuttal of truth and history. That is another reason to take an interest in any link. Such a thing strikes as a grave insult to indigenous Australians. Indeed surviving indigenous peoples everywhere. I expect many will agree.   

Richard Millet has a post about a history teacher at a British university who is pushing the case for an apology under the auspices of the usual suspects. This gentleman. Dr James Renton. The teacher has invited comment on his proposal and the theory behind it. How could I decline? Where can I start?

Renton says that as the Declaration refers to a "national home" and not a "state"  Britain should apologise for creating a false expectation of a "state" among Zionists that is the source of the ongoing misery of the "Palestinians". The Brits had something else in mind all along and it was a deception to win over antisemitic  notions of "Jewish power" to the war effort.

That's about it really. Oh, and the Jews were not all Zionists anyway and the Brits didn't know that.

If you think I'm being unfair to Dr Renton  read the article. If you do not want to pay Haaretz anything Richard Millet will email it to you as he did to me. Or I will of course  if you have my email address. 

First of all . it rankles that issues like this are always cast as an entirely British affair and very often as a projection of Britain as an imperial power. I think we need to be clear about this. This land fell to British and French administration as a consequence of the Ottomans being on the losing side of a war that engulfed scores of countries big and small and the Declaration was made when it was known this was likely no matter what happened in Europe. You can call this an imperial war if you want but it is just weasel words. It was a world war.

Moreover the Declaration was enshrined in international law  by formal convention of the nations including those that actually fought in that part of the war. At that point the Balfour Declaration became something else and not just in a formal legal sense. Britain was in Palestine not as an imperial power but by global license subject to a formal mandate that defined the parameters by which she had any right to be in Palestine at all. It was not the British Mandate. It was the League of Nations Mandate. It is unacceptable to breeze over this as a technicality.  Dr Renton refers to this  "as the rental contract, if you will, for ruling the Holy Land". I'm not quite certain what is meant by that but those who speak like this should not expect to command much respect when they  invoke allegations of contempt for principles of international law in any other context.

It should take only a moment's reflection how fatuous a demand for a British apology is and on so many levels. How can a British apology mean anything at all without that of all the powers at San Remo and in the League of Nations? Including Australia. Don't hold out for that one.

But it gets worse. Although Britain was the Mandate authority obligated to carry out the terms of the Mandate, and not as an imperial power administering a colony,  it does not follow that she did not behave as an imperial power. She most certainly did. Old habits die hard. 

Notoriously the British never delivered on the terms of the Mandate. It is the mother of moot points whether the obligation was for a Jewish national home or Jewish state (as if there is any material difference but let's indulge this for moment). The British never delivered either. They blocked it.  A country from which Jews were blockaded  by the Royal Navy on the eve of the Second World War, and even after when survivors were in desperate need of a place to live, by no stretch qualifies as the Jewish national home.   

The British failed miserably on their obligations under the Mandate. They sold out the Jews in the most terrible way in a futile rush to appease violent  Arab extremism at exactly the same time as they were appeasing the Nazis. In the case of the Palestinian Arab leadership they could appease both together.   Why would  the Palestine Return Centre  demand an apology for that?

The distinction between a Jewish state and a Jewish national home is an illusion. It is merely a reflection of the language of the era. Is Dr Renton suggesting that the Arab leadership was violently hostile to a Jewish state but would have come smiling bearing gifts for the Jewish national home? If that is the case then it behoves him to define what he means by a Jewish national home. 

For certain the British and Zionists would stretch for a broad concept and of course the British would have been considering options that embraced a permanent place within the British empire and Commonwealth as they should have. Something similar to the self governing dominions of the time and a political evolution similar to that of Australia or Canada may well have been very attractive to the Zionists who prominently included Anglophiles especially if it came with British protection. It would have been very nice for it to have been offered I expect. 

 Dr Renton cites every reason for why the Declaration was made but the obvious one. The British were considering the shape of the world post war at a time when nations locked in moribund and collapsing empires were asserting self determination across three continents. One of those national groups was the Jews. Their case was compelling and urgent and won the support of important politicians who supported the dream because it was the right thing to do. One of them was Winston Churchill who was a passionate and effective advocate of Zionism throughout his career. The Jews in Palestine had fought with the allies to liberate the land.  For certain there would have been be policy noise around Whitehall about its impact on war strategy  and some of it would have been harebrained. This is the Foreign Office after all. 

We know what Dr Renton would like to see by 2 November 2017 but I have a very different proposal for 31 October 2017. A celebration in Beersheba of the event that saw the town  become a city of free people in their own homeland in a free state and which helped  make possible the Declaration. Although the British were to betray that it did not kill the dream.

Could things have worked out any other way given the measure of Arab self destructive intransigence, then as now? Perhaps not but the administration of Palestine couldn't have been worse.  It would have helped not to have made a Nazi civil head of the Muslim population. There could have been a real attempt to take power from the hate fill clerics rather than give it to them and it is a curious fact that is exactly what was going on in Turkey as it dramatically transformed itself into a secular Muslim state that was later to become a firm ally of Israel. Perhaps that was the greatest irony of all.  Turkey would have made a much better job of the Mandate than Britain. The "rental contact" should have been leased back to Istanbul. Ataturk would have delivered on a Jewish national homeland. He would have understood the need for it and how to deal with the rank and medieval opposition.

hat tip CiFWatch

cross posted  Geoffff's Joint

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Barack Obama and Political Islam

Mike L.

{Cross-posted at the Times of Israel.}

In a recent article for the Gatestone Institute entitled, "U.S. Keeps Joining the Forces of Jihad," analyst Clare Lopez writes the following:
With the June 13, 2013 confirmation by senior Obama administration officials that the president has authorized sending weapons directly to Syrian rebels, there is a trend developing that can no longer be ignored. This is the third country and the third instance in which Barack Obama has leapt into the fray of revolution to the defense of al-Qa'eda and Muslim Brotherhood...
I have, of course, been discussing this kind of thing in these pages for years now.

Obama supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and he supported al-Qaeda in Libya and now he supports the Islamist rebels in Syria and, yet, if I say that Obama supports political Islam my progressive-left friends look at me as if I am speaking in Swahili.

Can we finally, at long last, put aside the fiction that Obama does not support political Islam?  Can a little bit of obvious reality begin to seep into the discussion among progressives concerning this?  I have been smeared as some sort-of hard-line right-wing monster for daring to acknowledge the obvious.  It's as if one's liberal credentials can only be maintained through sticking one's head in the ground and keeping it there.

I am going to keep this very brief because, I tell you, it is just too damn hot in Oakland today.

But the fact of the matter is that Obama supports political Islam and yet 69 percent of American Jews still voted for him in his run for re-election.  The only way that result was possible was through silence by the mainstream media concerning Obama's support for political Islam and by the brick wall-like ideological blinkertude of Obama's Jewish supporters.

However inconvenient it may be, the truth is not dependent upon one's political inclinations.

Sometimes the truth is just the truth and it is unquestionably true - and it has been obviously unquestionably true for a long time now - that Barack Obama supports political Islam.  Now, he may do so out of the very finest intentions, but whatever his intentions, it remains the case that he does so.

My only real question is whether Obama's Jewish supporters will finally acknowledge the truth?

My suspicion is that, no, they will not.  The very same people that supported the misnamed "Arab Spring," even as we all watched it devolve into a series of murders and riots and rapes, will continue to pretend that Barack Obama is not a friend to radical Islam and is, thus, a good friend to the Jewish people and to the Jewish State of Israel.

How anyone can continue to maintain that fantasy after all this time just boggles the imagination.

Yet, they will.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Barry Rubin Exposes the Truth about the "Peace Process"

Mike L.

{Cross-posted at Geoffff's Joint.}

If you want to cut through the yammering mierda around the Arab-Israel conflict one of the best scholars and analysts to consider is professor Barry Rubin.  In a recent piece at his blog, Rubin Reports, entitled "It's Time to Tell the Truth About the 'Peace Process'" he writes:
Has it become time that the absurd paradigm governing the Israel-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflict as well as the “peace process” be abandoned or challenged?

After all, this narrative has become increasingly ridiculous. Here is what is close to being the official version:

The Palestinians desperately want an independent state and are ready to compromise to obtain that goal. They will then live peacefully alongside Israel in a two-state solution. Unfortunately, this is blocked either by: a) misunderstanding on both sides or b) in the recent words of the Huntington Post, “the hard-line opponents who dominate Israel's ruling coalition.” Israel is behaving foolishly, too, not seeing that, as former President Bill Clinton recently said, Israel needs peace in order to survive. One aspect—perhaps a leading one—why Israel desperately needs peace is because of Arab demographic growth. The main barrier to peace are the Jewish settlements.

This interpretation has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with reality. People on both sides know this, even if they rarely say so publicly. For the Palestinian side, the pretense of peacemaking—which every Palestinian leader knows—obtains money, diplomatic support, popular sympathy, and pressure on Israel. 
Here's the dirty trick involved. If anyone raises... issues about whether a "peace process" can really bring peace, concerns about how it would be implemented, and documented experience about Palestinian behavior in the past, the response is that Israel doesn't want peace. 
The actual arguments and evidence about these problems is censored out of the Western mass media and distorted in terms of political stances.
Rubin is correct.  One of the main things that it is necessary for us to understand concerning the long Arab war against the Jews in the Middle East is that it is cognitive war, in a certain kind of way.  Whatever else it is, it is a propaganda war in which our Arab opponents seek to influence western understanding.  They seek to present a progressive "narrative" of Arab-Muslim persecution within the Land of Israel at the hands of Israel and the Jews.

Let's go through some of this:
The Palestinians desperately want an independent state and are ready to compromise to obtain that goal. 
This is what many, or even most, on the western left, particularly in Europe, believe.

They honestly believe that the local Arabs are largely innocent and that when their young ones stone Jews it is due to righteous indignation against Jewish wrong-doing.  From an historical perspective this is entirely nonsense.  The "Palestinian narrative" as it has been adopted by the west wipes out fourteen centuries of Jewish persecution under the boot of Arab-Muslim imperialism.

They are robbing us of our history.
They will then live peacefully alongside Israel in a two-state solution. 
The fact of the matter is that the vast Arab-Muslim majority in the Middle East - which outnumbers Jews by a factor of 60 or 70 to one -  has never accepted the existence of Israel as a Jewish State and its governments have vowed the destruction of the Jewish homeland from even before UN Resolution 181 in November of 1947.
Israel is behaving foolishly, too, not seeing that, as former President Bill Clinton recently said, Israel needs peace in order to survive.
One of the most insidious notions often peddled on the western left is that the Jews of the Middle East do not want peace.  We read this kind of thing all the time in western left journals like the Huffington Post or the UK Guardian.  The Jews of the Middle East are a people continually hounded, harassed, and murdered - thus keeping our numbers artificially low - for fourteen hundred years.  Israel is a bunker because the only way that the Jews can survive in that hate-filled environment is with a bunker.  Yet these smug, safe westerners throughout Europe and in the United States honestly believe that the Jews of Israel do not want peace and thus do not deserve peace. This is, essentially, what they are saying.
One aspect—perhaps a leading one—why Israel desperately needs peace is because of Arab demographic growth. The main barrier to peace are the Jewish settlements.
To blame the refusal of the local Arabs to even negotiate a peaceful settlement of the issues on the fact that Jews build housing for themselves in Judea and Samaria is racist on its face.  For something around four thousand years Jews have lived in Judea. The very first thing that we must understand is that this small bit of the planet is, in fact, Jewish land.  It is not just as much Jewish land as France is French land, but far more so.  Four thousand years we have lived in those hills.  Four thousand years we suffered armies marching through and throwing us into the sea and off of Jewish land.

The main barrier to peace is not Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria.  They aren't "settlements," they are homes, townships, and communities.  I understand, of course, that I am critiquing Rubin's interpretation of how the western world, particularly the western left, views the conflict, but he happens to be correct.

The characterization by Rubin, in italics above, is an exceedingly accurate view of how the western left views the conflict.

They honestly believe that the tiny Jewish minority in the Middle East - which is doing nothing more than trying to protect itself from the relentless anti-Jewish violence characteristic of the Muslim world - is guilty of the persecution of the Arab majority population.

And that, my friends, is the Big Lie.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Paid in Full...


With apologies to Eric B. & Rakim.

Hezbollah's master plan destroys our cities, and sets up scenes like this.

This is not The Headless Bus Rider.  It's just some dude who should probably be in a rehab somewhere.

Tell-tale sign of a heroin addict.  I feel bad for the bus driver, who has to wake him up at the end of the line, and let him know where he is.

They wake up with a bit of a start when the bus turns or stops suddenly, but then nod right back off into their doper dip again.

Amazingly enough, they never fall down to the ground, though I can't imagine how they manage to maintain balance considering the precariousness of their perching at times...


Welcome to Kensington.  It gets a little depressing here sometimes.

Concerns about Hezbollah’s crimes are growing throughout the international community. In April of this year, the United States Treasury Department took action against Hezbollah for working as a drug cartel. The department also blacklisted two Lebanese financial institutions, accusing them of transferring tens of millions of dollars to the terror group. 
As American officials revealed last Tuesday, one of the banks agreed to pay the United States $102 million to settle a lawsuit involving Hezbollah's money laundering scheme. 
In 2001, international intelligence sources identified Lebanese residents operating for Hezbollah in South America’s tri-border area (Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil). The area has become a major source of funding for Hezbollah’s terror activities. In October 2008, investigators took down a cocaine smuggling operation in Colombia, noting that “profits from the sales of drugs went to finance Hezbollah.”
In Germany, officials arrested two suspects in Frankfurt’s airport after linking four Lebanese individuals to nearly 10 million euros in drug profits. Officials accused the suspects of trading drugs and sending the proceeds to relatives directly connected to top Hezbollah officials. 
In 2011, the U.S. government seized drug profits linked to Ayman Joumaa, a drug trafficker and money launderer, linked to Hezbollah. His network was earning as much as $200 million per month. More recently, in June of this year, four Lebanese men were sanctioned for effectively acting as “ambassadors” for Hezbollah in West Africa. 
We need to understand that Hezbollah is a progressive social movement, though,  because some 'progressive' tool tells us this.

(How about we dump their junkies off on her stoop?)

Letter From Israel

  elinor        אלינור   


Early Days—Very Early Days I

The Bank

At first I didn’t understand why the bankers’ cheque I’d brought with me from ‘the old country’ would take three weeks to process.  A bankers’ cheque, I had always understood, was the same as cash.  I went from bank to bank and received the same answer.  But why? 

The Head Banker of my neighbourhood branch took the cheque, examined it over and over, then nodded.  A foreign cheque, is this?  Nodding.  Slowly.  He opened an enormous account registry out of which might have flown moths.  He struggled to find the right page and picked up a pen. Dickens, I kept thinking, Dickens.  I expected quill and ink.  By that point in my previous life I had been using a computer for more than 10 years.

If you live in a place for a very long time you stop noticing how things are done by other people.  I noticed.  I looked up at my Israeli friend who made a ‘relax, don’t say anything’ gesture, so I didn’t.  I wanted to, though.  (FYI:  This gesture includes an elaborate closure of the eyes, a squinch of the lower lip, a slight nod of the head to the side and a minimal hand movement.  Good thing I speak body language.)

With effort, the banker found the right place to register my precious cheque.  Having done so, he stood, reached over to shake my hand and assured me that ‘within a month or so’ I would have access to my very minor fortune.   I froze.  How to pay first, last and security rental requirements?  Grocery bills?  Not his problem.  A cheque book?  Not until the cheque clears. How about a modest starter loan?  No such thing.  However, there was a small amount of money to come from the Jewish Agency if I were to stay a full year.  I looked up over my glasses at him.  I understand, he said. 

(I now compare this experience with e-mail money transfers of today.  Some twenty-four hours and your bills are paid.  Who said modernisation would be the ruin of civilisation?)

Oh dear, what to do?  In the country for three days and flat broke already.  OK, how about a new one for my worry space? 

This bank had been shoe-horned into a once-upon-a-time ground-floor flat in a large, elderly apartment building.  Fair enough; free-standing bank buildings were rare with the urbanisation of landscapes everywhere.  But had the bank ceiling/upstairs flat floor been reinforced?  Could some enterprising bank robber just drill through the floor/ceiling and clean out the bank on one pre-Pesach evening when no one was working and celebrants were moving furniture, throwing books on the floor to dust them and banging pots around?  I proposed the situation to my Israeli companion who looked at me with a marvellous combination of doubt and disbelief that I should say or even think such a thing.  It has since happened.

Always on the alert for problems, I enquired about a safety deposit box for my precious documents and few gems.  Never heard of it, not in this district, try over there.  Four years later I wandered into a distant neighbourhood bank and much to my delight, they had one available.  My delight diminished with every step I took into the dark, dank basement.  Many years later I saw this basement being robbed in films with Sean Connery, Wesley Snipes and too many others.  Nothing ever happened to mine.  If only they had known.

cross posted Geoffff's Joint

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Arab Anti-Semitism and Progressive-Left Complicity

Mike L.

{Cross-posted at the Times of Israel.}

The foremost reason for the ongoing Arab war against the Jews of the Middle East is Koranically-based Arab-Muslim hatred for the Jewish people.

This is, in fact, the main reason for the conflict.  During the period between 1948 and 1967 the Arabs of Judea and Samaria lived under Jordanian rule.  They were Jordanians.  Throughout that period the quality of life there was considerably worse than it is now.  Their incomes were lower.  Their educational rates were lower.  Life expectancy was shorter.  By all measures of human decency life is considerably better now for the local Arabs than it ever was under Jordanian rule, yet the local Arabs never called for a "Palestinian" state on that land until the Jews returned.

The main reason that the local Arabs came to refer to themselves as "Palestinians" in the mid 1960s, and demanded yet another Arab state in the region - because controlling 99.9 percent of the land was not enough - was because they found themselves in the humiliating position of being under the authority of their former slaves and dhimmis.

Israel is, after all, The Dhimmi That Go Away.

Today I read an article by Khaled Abu Toameh, at the Gatestone Institute, entitled Palestinians: "No Jews Allowed!"

He writes:
"We will approve the meeting on condition there are no Jews."

This is what you are likely to hear these days if you request a meeting with any senior Palestinian Authority official in the West Bank.

Palestinian journalists who try to arrange meetings or interviews with Palestinian Authority representatives for Western colleagues have become used to hearing such things almost on a daily basis.

Just last week, for example, a journalist who requested a meeting between Western journalists and a top Palestinian Authority official was told "to make sure there were no Jews or Israelis" among the visitors.

The official's aide went on to explain: "We are sorry, but we do not meet with Jews or Israelis."

Another Palestinian journalist who tried to arrange an interview with a Palestinian Authority official for a European colleague was turned down "because the man's name indicates he is a Jew."
This is the basis of the conflict and it has been ongoing within Arab-Muslim circles since Muhammed sacralized the killing and subjugation of the Jews as a matter of religious obligation.

The western left likes to talk about the killing and subjugation of the Jews as if it is a moral imperative, which is to say, as a matter of social justice.  When Arab teens stone Jews in Jerusalem, we are told it is out of a righteous concern for civil liberties and human rights.  When Arabs from Gaza terrorize the southern Israeli towns of S'derot and Ashkelon with rocket fire - as they did in a very intense way throughout most of last year - this aggression against the tiny Jewish minority is justified as resistance.

Just as in the lead up to the Holocaust the German people were told how vicious and cruel and ugly and bad the Jews of Germany were, so today throughout the Arab-Muslim world (and throughout much of the west, as well) people tell one another just how vicious and cruel and ugly and bad Jews, in general, are.  This has become so acceptable that even president Morsi of Egypt can speak openly to his people about the necessity of continuing to create additional hatred for Jews - the children of apes and pigs - and, yet, still receive Abrams tanks and F-16 fighter jets from the Obama administration.

Almost all the western assumptions concerning this ongoing, millennia-long, Arab-Muslim persecution of the Jewish people are grounded in fundamental lies.  The foremost among those lies - a lie designed to create western sympathy for genocide - is that the tiny Jewish minority in the Middle East is subjugating and oppressing local members of the great Arab imperial majority.  In this way history is turned entirely upon its head and morality is flushed down the toilet.

John Kerry and Barack Obama think that the conflict is about Jewish injustice toward Arabs, but this is false.  It is the prevailing notion among western elites, but western elites, as usual, have no idea what they are talking about when they discuss among themselves the "Israeli Occupation of Palestinian lands."  There is no "Israeli Occupation of Palestinian lands."  What there is is a tiny Jewish minority desperately trying to survive on historically Jewish land and doing so under the most remarkably hostile conditions imaginable and, yet, those Jews get the blame for the aggression against them even by people who consider themselves friends.

It's an amazing thing, really.  The issue is so vital and so horrible that it makes other progressive concerns, such as the fight for women's rights or Gay rights or economic justice, seem paltry in comparison.

The fight for Jewish sovereignty on Jewish land should be among the foremost issues within the western progressive-left today.  Standing up for Israel is a matter of standing up for the human rights of the Jewish people, who are among the most subjugated people within recorded history, and yet our natural allies on the left have turned their backs on us.  Through decades of toxic propaganda, mainly coming out of Arab and Soviet sources in previous decades, they have convinced themselves that the tiny, persecuted Jewish minority is the aggressor against the vast Arab imperial majority and it is for this reason that they often think that stoning Jews in Jerusalem is natural and right as a a matter of human justice.

This is how twisted the conversation around the Arab-Israel conflict has become within progressive-left western circles.

The only way to turn this situation around is for western leaders to tell the Arab peoples and their governments, and their progressive-left western allies, that this ongoing campaign of hatred toward the Jews must end; that it is not acceptable and that any western aid or assistance will be predicated on ending it.

Until we do that the persecution of the Jews in the Middle East will go on and on and on, long into the future.

And that is precisely what you should expect.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

We need to talk about Naftali

Empress Trudy

It is vitally important to see things as they are not as we wish them to be or how we need them to appear.  A few weeks ago Naftali Bennett spoke, possibly out of school, that Israelis would no longer support the ‘two state solution’ and that it was, effectively, DOA.  This created a firestorm of accusations both from the AJC here in the US and from some parts of the Israeli government as well as the media in and out of Israel. There were threats, condemnations, calls of racism of course, and the requisite spin management and ‘walking back of statements’ although to my knowledge Bennett himself hasn’t qualified or modified that statement since.

But what is Bennett saying? Did he say, as some have jumped on, that Israel is going annex all of Yesha? Did he mimic the Arabs reared on the mother’s milk of “one Palestine from the river to the sea”?

No and No.

What he said was that Oslo was over, the Peace ‘process’ is over and there is no purpose in flogging an idea that was stillborn 20 years ago and hasn’t magically come to life to since. He said simply, that Israelis are fed up with pretending there’s anyone on the other side of the table at all. There is not. Not an enemy, not a partner, nothing. No one.  He said that the tactic of talking to yourself at the behest of the President of the US or Tony Blair is a dead end. That the so called “Arab Plan” which was concocted by Saudi Arabia in 2002 and pulled off the shelf last month is still the dead letter it always was. He said the details don’t matter because the whole farce is imaginary.

But what is this mythical beast? A two state solution is the end result of hammering out the terms of separating the Arabs and the Israelis from one another. It is not and was never a statement of what or how the Israelis were going to create a national identity FOR the Arabs. No amount of concessions is going to do that. A ‘two state’ solution is the condition where the Arabs do whatever it is they do over there and they don’t muck with anyone else. And the Israelis pull up the drawbridges and do the same. This is the basic nature of countries. We do our thing and you do yours. Where we have something to do with one another is generally in the areas of trade and treaties.  “Two-states” assumes that a permanent state of war doesn’t exist between the two states.

But let’s sweep aside all the blather about Abu Mazen’s pre-conditions. Let’s look for example at the Israeli PoV suggested that ‘peace’ is preferable to whatever this is because it would afford a ‘peace dividend’ to Israel which could then be used for some other domestic purpose. The left we imagine expects the peace dividend to take the form of cash gifts to the Arabs.  But most Israelis, if current polling is to be believed don’t believe that a ‘two-state’ would result in a sufficient reduction of Arab terrorism to take advantage of that peace dividend. Israelis would be pressed back to the 1949 Armistice Lines AND have to defend themselves just as they do today. In fact it would cost a great deal more to accommodate the exodus of all the Jews in Yesha who would have to be evacuated since Abu Mazen and every single Arab leader since forever has stated categorically that the #1 or #2 requirement of any ‘palestinian’ state is complete ethnic cleansing of all Jews.

The very idea is absurd. Does anyone see the silliness of John Kerry coming to Israel and meeting with everyone EXCEPT their elected leaders? He visits Abu Mazen, Shimon Peres, and Livni, not Netanyahu or one from Israel either in a leadership role or a position of bargaining. And Bennett got TWICE the votes of Livni in the last election.

This is why the two-state has always been a dead letter. It relies on two people’s two governments that function to some goal. It doesn’t even have to be the same goal – just some direction at all. After 20 years of nothing most Israelis have come to the conclusion that there’s no Arab goal and no one to implement one if it were handed to them. They turned down three offers of statehood. Fair enough, now they can figure out whatever they can to do whatever they want in terms of their own future.
On June 21, Naftali gave an interview with Lally Weymouth of WaPo where he touches on these points and more. 

You can debate the merits and efficacy of annexing all of Area C, 60% of Yesha, as he proposes. Or you can look at it, as I do as a starting point to an annexation of perhaps no more than 8-10% of Yesha plus East Jerusalem. Or you can come up with your own plan.  Here’s one that proposes annexation of all of Yesha:

In any case it doesn’t matter what the Arabs think. We know what they think. They think ‘no’. Whatever it is, whatever you say whenever you say it. Doesn’t matter. “No”. 

The idea of ‘peace’ and the idea of a ‘solution’ have been inextricably linked for decades where the result has been neither of those things. Like Hank Hill (KotH) telling a Christian Rocker “You’re not making Christianity any better and you’re making rock and roll worse”. The time has come to end all of that. If ‘peace’ and a ‘solution’ are ineffable together then they might as well be ineffable separated from one another. Tackle them separately, or don’t tackle either one – not in any way that requires talking to anyone else. The peace process was never more than a force fit that suggested if you talk about talking about talking about these ineffable things long enough, someone will eventually get so tired of hearing it they’ll cave. It’s half-right. Everyone is sick of hearing it and they’re not going to cave. They’re just going to stop pretending.  

In Lionel Shriver’s book “We Need to Talk About Kevin”, a mother blinded to her own son’s sociopathy ignores what he does TO HER and others until he massacres his entire school. At the end, Kevin’s asked why he did it and he answers, honestly, that he doesn’t know why. As if that would matter now. It’s a story about denial, about sticking your head in the sand.  It’s a dark joke where the ending is a punchline spoken by God Himself to a man who drowns in a flood waiting for God to miraculously save him, and it goes something like “Hey! I sent two boats and a helicopter, what other miracles did you expect?”

Is the Obama Administration Targeting Pro-Israel / Pro-Jewish Groups?

Mike L.

According to Alana Goodman, of the conservative Washington Free Beacon, they are.

She writes:
A watch list from the Internal Revenue Service listed “Occupied Territory Advocacy” as a criterion for flagging nonprofit organizations for further scrutiny, according to documents released by Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee.

Pro-Israel organizations and groups that support the Israeli settlements have alleged that the IRS singled them out for additional scrutiny since 2009.

The watch list defines these groups as “Applications [that] deal with disputed territories in the Middle East. … Applications may be inflammatory, advocate a one-sided point of view and promotional material may signify propaganda.”

“If you see these cases, please forward to the TAG Group, 7830,” the document continues.
The “TAG,” or “Touch-and-Go” group, is responsible for identifying groups that may be involved in terrorism, according to the IRS Tax Exempt Organizations Determinations group.
If what Goodman writes is true it means that the Obama administration is targeting pro-Jewish groups who support Jewish sovereignty on Jewish land as terrorist organizations.

Week by week, month by month, it becomes harder to see the Obama administration as anything other than anti-Israel and anti-Jewish.  I often point out that the Obama administration supported the Muslim Brotherhood in its rise to prominence throughout the Middle East, particularly in Egypt.  The reason that I do so is because the Obama administration supported the Muslim Brotherhood in its rise to prominence throughout the Middle East, particularly in Egypt.

How it is possible that Obama's Jewish supplicants and sycophants ignore this is beyond me.

That the Obama crew supported the rise of radical Islam throughout the Middle East is a matter of recent historical fact.  Whether or not the Obama administration supports the targeting of pro-Israel and pro-Jewish groups by the IRS has yet, to my mind, to be entirely determined.

Nonetheless, there seems to be considerable evidence to suggest that they have.

Goodman writes:
One of the pro-Israel groups targeted was HaYovel, a Nashville-based pro-settlement charity that was mentioned prominently in the New York Times article. Six months after the article appeared, HaYovel was audited by the IRS.

“We bookend that story. We were the first [group mentioned]. They really kind of focused on us,” HaYovel’s founder Tommy Waller said in May. “Then six months later we had an audit.”

“We 100-percent support Judea and Samaria, and Jewish sovereignty in that area, and the current administration is 100 percent opposed to Jewish sovereignty in that area of Israel,” Waller added. “That’s why we suspected that we would have to deal with [an audit].”
I know nothing of HaYovel, so I cannot speak to whether or not I agree with their politics, but whether I or Barack Obama agree with their politics, or not, is entirely irrelevant to the question of whether or not they were targeted by the Obama administration due to those politics.

The truth of the matter is that - in my opinion - Obama's Jewish supporters, unless they are anti-Zionists, are dupes.  Even as we speak US Secretary of State, John Kerry, is trying to force Israel to release Jihadis and murderers in order to persuade the allegedly much oppressed local Arabs to come to the bargaining table.  Yet I have never heard of an oppressed people who require concessions from their oppressors in order for them to even consider gaining their own autonomy.

It's a puzzlement, really.

But if the Obama administration is targeting pro-Israel / pro-Jewish groups for economic persecution then I would hope that progressive-left "Zionists" might reconsider their support for the administration.

I can hope, but I would not count on it.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Failures of Progressive-Left Zionism: Frenemies

Mike L.

{Cross-posted at the Times of Israel.}

If the first way in which progressive-left Zionism is failing is in its ostrich-like reluctance to acknowledge, and seriously discuss, the rise of the Jihad throughout the Muslim Middle East, and another way is through their justifying bigotry against their own people, and yet another is in the fact that they always play defense, and yet still another way is through the tendency to fall into the moral equivalency canard, and if they also fail to place the conflict within the context of Jewish history, yet another failing is in their inability to stand up to their own movement.

I feel bad for progressive-left Jews who care about Israel and who care about America and American politics.  They are in an entirely untenable position and have been put into that untenable position by their own frenemies within the larger progressive-left.  A recent comment by Ziontruth says it neatly.

He writes:
The sad thing is that Jewish Progressives don't need to abandon any Progressive positions except anti-Zionism in order to be considered Zionists even by the rightmost of right-wing Zionists, yet they do, increasingly, have to renounce just that one tenet—Zionism—if they don't want to be ostracized by their fellow Progressives.
That is correct and directly to the point.  I am not of the Jewish right-wing, nor am I of the American right-wing, but there is no question that even right-wing Zionists do not push any Jews out of their tent besides anti-Zionists.  Anti-Zionists, including Jewish anti-Zionists, are bigots who work directly against the well-being of the Jewish people because they would deny to us precisely what they accept for everyone else on the planet, i.e., self-determination.

At the same time it is becoming, year by year, increasingly difficult to participate on the progressive-left if one is out as a Jew and supports the Jewish State of Israel.  Polls have consistently shown that Republicans and conservatives are far more friendly toward Israel than are Democrats and progressives.  As anyone who follows Jewish politics - or, at least, American Jewish politics - knows, during the last Democratic Party national convention Israel was literally booed by Democratic Party officials who whittled away support for that country in their party platform.

As someone who participated for many years on the progressive-left, and within the grassroots / netroots of the Democratic Party, I saw the acidic erosion of support for Israel among them first-hand.  In prominent journals such as the Huffington Post or the Guardian, not to mention formerly prominent blogs like Daily Kos, to be pro-Israel is fine so long as one is anti-Israel in the process.  This what David Harris-Gershon, of Daily Kos and Michael Lerner's Tikkun Magazine, has done much to prove.

One can only be a Jewish "pro-Israel" advocate on the progressive-left if one agrees that Israel is a racist, colonialist, imperialist, militarist, apartheid, racist state that, perhaps, should never have come into being to begin with.  So long as one accepts that proposition one can participate on the left as a "pro-Israel" advocate.   If, on the other hand, one honestly supports the rights of the Jewish people to peace and sovereignty on historically Jewish land, and if one is willing to stand up and say so, then you've got trouble.

It is like waving a red banner before a charging bull.  It is not, by the way, that most progressives despise Israel.  It is simply that they tend to agree that Israel is a racist, colonialist, imperialist, militarist, apartheid, racist state and are thus in sympathy for those who would see the Jewish people robbed of self-determination and self-defense on moral grounds.  It is for this reason that anti-Semitic anti-Zionism has made a cozy home for itself within progressive-left venues.  Without the acceptance and approval of the larger left, progressive-left anti-Zionism could not have made a place for itself within that movement.

And this represents the dilemma for progressive-left Zionists.

The Jewish left has failed on so many levels and part of what we do at Israel Thrives is discuss this sad phenomenon.  The reason that we do so is because many of us are refugees from the progressive-left, itself.  Progressive-left Zionists, however, are trapped like rats.  As progressives they cannot really support Israel and as Zionists they cannot really not support Israel.  This makes them something like a still living bug pinned to a board.  They can wave around their six or eight legs, but they cannot actually get anywhere.

There are any number of ways to react to this situation.  The way that I have chosen is to withdraw all support from the progressive-left and the Democratic Party and to be a critic of that movement and party so long as they persist in accepting anti-Semitic anti-Zionism as part of their larger coalition.  This is not the only option, however.  I see no reason why a genuinely pro-Israel person cannot remain identified with the left if they wish to reform the movement from within.

For most diaspora Jews being pro-Israel is simply one position among others.  It is often a prominent position, but it is not our sole concern.  A pro-Israel advocate on the progressive-left need not make their pro-Israel advocacy their foremost defining political feature.  One can work for women's rights and for Gay rights and for the anti-war movement and for the environment and for a tax code more genuinely fair to the poor and the working class.

What one cannot do, however, is deny the truth about left-wing disdain for Israel.

There is no reason that a pro-Israel advocate cannot remain on the left so long as he or she understands, and is willing to acknowledge, that the progressive movement - which is the home for the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel - is not a friend to either the Jewish people or the Jewish State of Israel.

It seems to me, as one who comes out of the Jewish left, that the Jewish left has much to answer for, whether they like it or not.  As a general rule, they refuse to seriously address the rise of political Islam.  They justify bigotry against Jews who live in Judea and Samaria.  They seem always to play defense in their support for Israel.  They often fail to understand that Jewish self-defense is not morally equivalent to anti-Jewish violence.  They fail to place the conflict within the long history of Jewish oppression under the boot of Arab-Muslim imperialism.  And they do not do a very good job of standing up to their own movement, their own frenemies.

Progressive-left Zionism, in its current form, is a failed movement.

I say it's time to move on.