Archive for the ‘Israeli economy’ category

The Palestinians’ Race to The Bottom

January 9, 2018

The Palestinians’ Race to The Bottom, FrontPage MagazineCaroline Glick, January 9, 2018

(Please see also, Egypt quietly urges Palestinians to accept Ramallah as capital. — DM)

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

The PLO’s behavior with Abu Ali and India indicates three things. First, that the PLO/PA is no longer immune from criticism in quarters where it received five decades of unconditional support. Second, it indicates that the PLO/PA is incapable of changing its behavior, even when it is aware that it ought to. Finally, the PLO/PA is still operating under the impression that nations will continue to support them forever because the basis of that support is unchanged.

The problem for the PLO/PA is that the world has changed fundamentally while they were busy embracing terrorists and getting away with it.

The economic and strategic realities of Israel cannot be ignored. Modi and his counterparts worldwide are now recognizing that the Palestinians have nothing to offer them, not even gratitude. When a critical mass of Palestinians recognize that the PLO’s jig is up, they will make peace with Israel. Until then, they will continue to serve as an irritating irrelevancy and nothing more.

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The PLO and the Palestinian cause more generally are sinking into irrelevance and rather than reform their policies to rebuild their position, they have adopted a scorched earth policy that only intensifies their race to the bottom.

On the face of things, the situation isn’t bad. Last month the PLO got 128 nations to vote in favor of their anti-American resolution rejecting US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. One of the states that voted with them was India.

Israel was shocked by India’s move.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rightly touts the growth of Israel’s bilateral ties with the largest democracy in the world. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s extraordinary visit to Israel last July highlighted the change. Netanyahu’s visit to New Delhi later this month will cement the new alliance.

Not only has Modi enthusiastically cultivated close ties with Israel, he has moved closer to Israel in its conflict with the PLO than any of his predecessors. In 2015, India abstained from an anti-Israel resolution at the UN Human Rights Council. Modi refused to visit the Palestinian Authority during his visit to Israel. And PLO chief and PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s visit to India earlier this year, Modi refused to say – as his predecessors have said – that the capital of a Palestinian state should be located in eastern Jerusalem.

And yet, last month at the UN, it felt like none of this had happened. India reverted to its previous posture of blind support for the PLO and joined the chorus in attacking America for recognizing that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

The Palestinians for their part were justifiably elated. Now, they thought, they were back in the driver’s seat. Trump is an aberration and the world – including India, continues to support them no matter what. They are today where they were in 1975 when the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 3371 defining the Jewish national liberation movement as a form of racism.

Then, less than a week after the UN vote, the PLO’s envoy to Pakistan, Walid Abu Ali, shared a stage in Rawalpindi with the mastermind of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

Lashkar e-Taibi leader Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is wanted by India not only for the massacre of more than 160 people in the Mumbai attacks. He is also wanted for his involvement in terrorist attacks in the city in 2006, which killed more than 200 people, and for a shooting at the Indian Parliament, an incident in which another 14 were killed in 2001.

Abu Ali didn’t think there would be any price to pay for his decision to embrace a mass-murdering terrorist. It’s what the PLO has always done. And so he posted photos of himself with Saeed online.

But it turns out that despite India’s vote, things have changed. A lot.

Indian social media exploded in rage against the Palestinians and the PLO. The most common sentiment was, “This is how they pay us back for abandoning the US and Israel to support them at the UN.”

Abu Ali’s embraces of Saeed were widely and angrily reported in the Indian media.

In response, Abbas announced that he was recalling Abu Ali. This would have been fine if it were true.

But this week it was reported that Abu Ali is back in business in Islamabad.

The PLO’s behavior with Abu Ali and India indicates three things. First, that the PLO/PA is no longer immune from criticism in quarters where it received five decades of unconditional support. Second, it indicates that the PLO/PA is incapable of changing its behavior, even when it is aware that it ought to. Finally, the PLO/PA is still operating under the impression that nations will continue to support them forever because the basis of that support is unchanged.

The problem for the PLO/PA is that the world has changed fundamentally while they were busy embracing terrorists and getting away with it.

This week, The Economist published its annual data on per capita GDP in countries throughout the world. For the first time, Israel’s GDP per capita has jumped above $40,000. According to the Economist’s data, per capita GDP in Israel jumped from $38,127 in 2016 to $44,019 in 2017. GDP grew 4.4% last year. Today Israel’s GDP per capita is higher than GDP per capita in Japan, Britain and France. The gap in Israel’s favor is expected to widen in the years to come as Israel’s GDP continues to grow and the GDPs of European states and Japan continue to stagnate due to negative fertility, continued migration of uneducated newcomers and lack of innovation.

In its own neighborhood, Israel’s neighbors remain economic and political basket cases. As Dr. Guy Bechor noted in his analysis of the data earlier this week, Egypt’s per capita GDP of $2,519 is one seventeenth of Israel’s. Jordan’s per capita income dropped last year from $4,648 to $4,135 and prospects for 2018 aren’t positive.

The situation is similarly bleak in the Gulf States, despite their oil and gas reserves. Iran, for instance, is poor and forecasts for the future are terrible. Last year, despite the $100 billion windfall the regime received from sanctions relief, per capita GDP in Iran dropped from $6,144 in 2016 to $5,879. Wars in Syria, Yemen, Iran, Lebanon and Gaza don’t come cheap.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states are drawn to Israel not only because of their joint security concerns about Iran. They are also eager to expand ties with Israel to benefit from its civilian technologies in everything from agriculture and water technologies to digital communications. And they are not about to allow the Palestinians to stop their cavalcade to Israel.

As The New York Times reported last week, Egyptian intelligence officer Capt. Ashrag al-Kholi called four different television hosts last and told them that Ramallah can serve as the capital of a Palestinian state just as well as Jerusalem. Kholi was also taped telling them that the Palestinians have to compromise for peace. In his words, “How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah, really? At the end of the day, later on, Jerusalem won’t be different from Ramallah. What matters is ending the suffering of the Palestinian people. Concessions are a must and if we reach a concession whereby… Ramallah will be the capital of Palestine, to end the war and so no one else dies, then we should go for it.”

Kholi explained that a new Palestinian campaign of terrorism against Israel will harm Egypt by strengthening Islamic State (ISIS), Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

So while it is true that 128 countries – including India, Egypt and Saudi Arabia – voted with the PLO against Israel and the US at the UN last month, it is also true that their votes don’t signify as much as they used to. It is equally true that the Palestinians can’t try their patience by pushing anti-Israel resolutions every day as they have for the past 45 years. Because as the Palestinians keep playing their old tricks, Israel is becoming a more and more significant regional and global power and the nations of the world aren’t interested in weakening Israel when Israel is helping them survive and prosper.

As Abu Ali’s continued tenure in Pakistan shows, rather than recognize the shifting power balance and update their positions to align with it, the PLO has become even more brittle and reactionary and extreme. If Egypt doesn’t support their war against Israel, then they will take their roadshow to Tehran, or its Lebanese satrapy.

On December 31, Fatah Central Committee member Azzam al-Ahmad met with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut. After meeting with al-Ahmad, Nasrallah told al Mayadeen TV that Fatah – led by Abbas – agreed to “activate a third intifada,” or terror war, against Israel. PA parliament members also visited Lebanon and met with Iranian-controlled Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Sunday night, Israel Channel 2 reported that terrorist incitement is rising steeply in the official PA media and social media networks. One video, of a faked shooting of a Palestinian teenage girl by an actor dressed in an IDF uniform, has gone viral. Thousands of viewers have responded to the fake scene with pledges to kill Israelis to avenge the fake death.

When later this month Netanyahu meets Modi in Delhi, India’s UN vote and Abu Ali’s embrace of Saeed will be on the agenda. And there is good reason to believe that Modi will recognize the linkage and vote differently in the future. Like Netanyahu, he recognizes that the PLO’s basic case is wrong. Peace is achieved by defeating terrorists, not by empowering them.

Moreover, Israel beckons. The economic and strategic realities of Israel cannot be ignored. Modi and his counterparts worldwide are now recognizing that the Palestinians have nothing to offer them, not even gratitude. When a critical mass of Palestinians recognize that the PLO’s jig is up, they will make peace with Israel. Until then, they will continue to serve as an irritating irrelevancy and nothing more.

Modi’s visit: Strategic leap in Indian-Israeli ties

July 4, 2017

Modi’s visit: Strategic leap in Indian-Israeli ties, DEBKAfile, July 4, 2017

Narendra Modi’s three-day visit Israel on 4 July is imbued with symbolism, breathtaking benefits to the two countries and an era of promise for both. Its timing underlines the slow upswing in ties from years of aloofness to the establishment of diplomatic ties 25 years ago and the onset of flourishing relations ever since.

Modi stands out for Israel – not just as the first Indian prime minister to visit, but also as a prominent world leader willing to skip the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, thereby removing the automatic bracket attached to most foreign visits. This gesture is appreciated in Israel no less than booming defense deals totaling more than $1 billion a year and the joint projects in water management, cyberspace, data protection, agricultural innovation, medicine, digitalization and numberless other fields with the world’s fastest growing major economy. Fighting terrorism and sustainable development are watchwords shared by one of the largest and one of the smallest Asian nations.

On the eve of his visit, the Indian leader spoke of Israel’s innovativeness, high technological attainments and economic success against all odds, in the face of few natural resources and decades of near-isolation. He saw his visit as a turning point for catapulting the two countries to new horizons.

Since Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party stormed to power in 2014, New Delhi has signed more big-ticket defense deals than ever before for his program of updating his country’s Soviet-era military hardware to counter long-standing rivalry with China and Pakistan.

While Russia – followed by the United States in recent years – remains India’s top defense supplier, Israel is fast catching up. In April 2017, Israel Aerospace netted its biggest ever contract to supply the Indian armed forces with $2 billion worth of the groundbreaking Barak 8  Medium Range-Surface to Air Missiles as well as Long Range-Surface to Air Missiles for India’s warships and its first indigenous aircraft carrier, the Vikrant.

The two-way trade between the two countries amounting to $4.16 billion gives Israel a large surplus of $2.4 billion in exports compared with $1.7 billion of imported Indian products.

Prime Minister Modi will certainly want to discuss with Israel’s leaders ways to correct this imbalance. Many of the defense deals already signed include military components to be manufactured in plants established in India for this purpose. The two governments also work together in a joint industrial R&D fund which provides funding for industries carrying out bilateral research projects.

While computerized drip irrigation developed by Israel is gaining extensive use in India, New Delhi is also interested in the Israeli start-up ecosystem and incubation centers.

It was in a far-distant age, that Prime Minister Indira Ghandi authorized the Indian army to buy weapons from Israel during India’s 1971 war with Pakistan. But the sale had to go through Liechtenstein after Ghandi turned down Golda Meir’s request for India to recognize the fledgling Jewish state. It took 21 years and a new era for both countries to correct that omission..

While in Jerusalem, the Indian prime minister plans to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial center. Touching a moment in past history, he will also pay his respects to the memory of the Indian soldiers who laid down their lives for the liberation of Haifa by the British army in 1918. From Jerusalem, Modi travels to Hamburg, Germany, for the G-20 summit beginning later this week.

Israel’s 69th Independence Day: Remarkable Achievements, Continuing Dangers

May 2, 2017

Israel’s 69th Independence Day: Remarkable Achievements, Continuing Dangers, PJ MediaP. David Hornik, May 2, 2017

Israeli youths wave national flags as they enter Jerusalem’s Old City through Damascus Gate during a march celebrating Jerusalem Day, Sunday, May 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

Israel’s growth is not, of course, merely quantitative; today it punches far above its weight in a wide range of fields. It was recently ranked the eighth most powerful country in the world. Compared to Israel’s 8.7 million people, the seven countries ranked above it have populations of: United States, 324 million; China, 1.37 billion; Japan, 127 million; Russia, 142 million; Germany, 81 million; India, 1.27 billion; Iran, 83 million.

Israel shines its light to the nations from a dark region, and its emergence as an incubator of optimism, vitality, and creativity is one of the great stories of our time.

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Today, Israel marks its 69th Independence Day. The country is a success beyond what anyone could have dreamed when independence was declared on May 14, 1948. (Today is May 2; Israeli holidays are guided by the Hebrew calendar.)

Around this time of year, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics publishes its annual data. Some of this year’s highlights:

Israel’s current population of 8.7 million is almost eleven times its population of 800,000 when it was established. Back then, 6 percent of the world’s Jews lived in Israel; now it’s home to 43 percent of world Jewry.

Since last Independence Day, the country’s overall population — Jews and non-Jews — has grown by 159,000: 174,000 births, 44,000 deaths, 30,000 new immigrants. Estimates show the population will reach 15 million by 2048; by then the Jewish portion of it should, by current trends, constitute a considerable majority of world Jewry.

In 1948, the “ingathering of the exiles” was a Zionist slogan. Today it’s a statistically demonstrable fact.

Since that era, large numbers of Jewish immigrants have come to Israel — particularly from post-Holocaust Europe, the Middle East, the Soviet Union, and the post-Soviet nations. At a time when Western countries’ fertility rates are falling perilously, Israel’s fertility rate keeps growing — and is far beyond that of any other Western country.

Israel’s growth is not, of course, merely quantitative; today it punches far above its weight in a wide range of fields. It was recently ranked the eighth most powerful country in the world. Compared to Israel’s 8.7 million people, the seven countries ranked above it have populations of: United States, 324 million; China, 1.37 billion; Japan, 127 million; Russia, 142 million; Germany, 81 million; India, 1.27 billion; Iran, 83 million.

How does Israel do it? By having incredible capabilities to offer in various domains.

Just some examples: Only the United States and China have more companies listed on the NASDAQ. Last year, a top Google official ranked Israel’s tech sector as second only to Silicon Valley for innovation. Israel also has “one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed” and “the 2nd highest publication of new books per capita.”

In the crucial field of desalination and water management, tiny Israel is the world’s leader. It’s also a “powerhouse in medical innovation.” And it’s a leader in disaster relief; last year the UN – which is generally hostile to Israel — ranked its army’s emergency medical team as “No. 1 in the world.” Israeli agriculture, too, is exceptionally innovative, and feeds a considerable part of the planet’s population.

Because of its circumstances, Israel has had to excel not only in saving and sustaining life but also in protecting it. It has the world’s most technologically advanced army and is “rapidly becoming the world leader” in cybersecurity. The prowess of its intelligence agencies, particularly the Mossad, has an almost mythological status.

When you’re so good at so many things, others want to benefit from it. The past few decades have seen a dramatic increase in the number of countries having diplomatic ties with Israel. From a pariah status in the 1970s, as of last year Israel had diplomatic relations with 158 of the world’s 193 countries. Apart from Arab and Muslim countries that still — at least officially — boycott Israel, that means almost all of the world’s countries.

That trend has included, perhaps most dramatically, rapidly growing ties with the world’s two largest countries, China and India. Both were formerly hostile to Israel, but are now — despite their size — eager to gain from what it can offer.

For all that, the world’s per capita most innovative, productive, beneficent country remains, almost seven decades after its birth, the only country specially marked for annihilation in some quarters.

Whereas decades ago Arab states led the push to eradicate the world’s only Jewish state, today the dubious mantle has passed to the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies. Second only to that axis is the worldwide BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement, which uses the Goebbels big-lie technique to spread canards about “Israeli Apartheid” and the like — particularly on Western campuses where minds are being formed.

But after almost seven decades at the front line of civilization, danger and hostility are not new to Israel. Despite the pressures, the aggressions, and the losses, Israel ranks — perhaps surprisingly — high in yet another, more subjective domain. This year’s UN Happiness Index ranked Israel 11th in the world; other surveys have placed it in the top 10.

Israel shines its light to the nations from a dark region, and its emergence as an incubator of optimism, vitality, and creativity is one of the great stories of our time.

US-Israel security interests converge

April 28, 2017

US-Israel security interests converge, Israel Hayom, Yoram Ettinger, April 28, 2017

In 2017, the national security interests of the U.S. and Israel have converged in ‎an unprecedented manner in response to anti-U.S. ‎Islamic terrorism; declining European posture of deterrence; drastic cuts in ‎the U.S. defense budget; an increasingly unpredictable, dangerous globe; ‎Israel’s surge of military and commercial capabilities and U.S.-Israel shared ‎values. ‎

Contrary to conventional wisdom — and traditional State Department policy — ‎U.S.-Israel and U.S.-Arab relations are not a zero-sum game. This is ‎currently demonstrated by enhanced U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation, ‎concurrently with expanded security cooperation between Israel and Egypt, ‎Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other pro-U.S. Arab countries, as well as stronger ‎cooperation between the U.S. and those same Arab countries. Unlike the ‎simplistic view of the Middle East, Arab policymakers are well aware of their ‎priorities, especially when the radical Islamic machete is at their throats. They ‎are consumed by internal and external intra-Muslim, intra-Arab violence, which ‎have dominated the Arab agenda, prior to — and irrespective of — the ‎Palestinian issue, which has never been a core cause of regional turbulence, a ‎crown-jewel of Arab policymaking or the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict. ‎

Israel’s posture as a unique ally of the U.S. — in the Middle East and beyond — ‎has surged since the demise of the USSR, which transformed the bipolar ‎globe into a multipolar arena of conflicts, replete with highly unpredictable, ‎less controllable and more dangerous tactical threats. Israel possesses proven ‎tactical capabilities in face of such threats. Thus, Israel provides a tailwind to the ‎U.S. in the pursuit of three critical challenges that impact U.S. national security, significantly transcending the scope of the Arab-‎Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue: ‎

‎1. To constrain/neutralize the ayatollahs of Iran, who relentlessly aspire to ‎achieve nuclear capability in order to remove the ‎U.S. from the Persian Gulf, dominate the Muslim world, and subordinate the American “modern-day Crusaders.”‎

‎2. To defeat global Islamic terrorism, which aims to topple all pro-U.S. Arab ‎regimes, expand the abode of Muslim believers and crash the abode of non-Muslim “‎infidels” in the Middle East and beyond.‎

‎3. To bolster the stability of pro-U.S. Arab regimes, which are lethally ‎threatened by the ayatollahs and other sources of Islamic terrorism.

Moreover, Israel has been the only effective regional power to check the North ‎Korean incursion into the Middle East. For instance, on Sept. 6, 2007, the ‎Israeli Air Force destroyed Syria’s nuclear site, built mostly with the support of ‎Iran and North Korea, sparing the U.S. and the globe the wrath of a ruthless, ‎nuclear Assad regime. ‎

While Israel is generally portrayed as a supplicant expecting the U.S. to extend a ‎helping hand, Adm. (ret.) James G. Stavridis, a former NATO supreme commander, ‎currently the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts ‎University, says otherwise. He maintains that Israel is not a supplicant but ‎rather a unique geostrategic partner, extending the strategic hand of the U.S. ‎through a mutually beneficial, highly productive ‎relationship with the U.S.

On Jan. 5, 2017, Stavridis wrote: “Our ‎best military partner in the region, by far, is Israel … as we stand together ‎facing the challenges of the Middle East. … Israeli intelligence gathering is ‎superb. … A second zone of potentially enhanced cooperation is in technology ‎and innovation. … In addition to missile defense, doing more together in ‎advanced avionics (as we did with the F-15), miniaturization (like Israel’s small ‎airborne-warning aircraft) and the production of low-cost battlefield unmanned ‎vehicles (both air and surface) would yield strong results. … We should up our ‎game in terms of intelligence cooperation. [The Israeli intelligence ‎services] of our more segregated sectors on a wide range of trends, including the disintegration of Syria, the events in Egypt and the military and nuclear ‎capability of Iran. … Setting up a joint special-forces training and innovation ‎center for special operations in Israel would be powerful. … It truly is a case ‎of two nations that are inarguably stronger together.” ‎

Unlike other major U.S. allies in Europe, the Far East, Africa and the Middle East, ‎Israel does not require U.S. military personnel and bases in order to produce an ‎exceptionally high added value to the annual U.S. investment in — and not ‎‎”foreign aid” to — Israel’s military posture.

For example, the plant manager of Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the ‎F-16 and F-35 fighter planes, told me during a visit to the plant in Fort Worth, Texas: “The ‎value of the flow of lessons derived from Israel’s operation, maintenance and ‎repairs of the F-16 has yielded hundreds of upgrades, producing a mega-‎billion-dollar bonanza for Lockheed-Martin, improving research and ‎development, increasing exports and expanding employment.”

A similar ‎added value has benefitted McDonnell Douglas, the manufacturer of the F-15 fighter plane ‎in Berkeley, Missouri, as well as hundreds of U.S. defense manufacturers, ‎whose products are operated by Israel. The Jewish state — the most ‎predictable, stable, effective, reliable and unconditional ally of the U.S. — has ‎become the most cost-effective, battle-tested laboratory of the U.S. defense ‎industry. ‎

According to a former U.S. Air Force intelligence chief, Gen. George Keegan: ‎‎”I could not have procured the intelligence [provided by Israel on Soviet Air ‎Force capabilities, new Soviet weapons, electronics and jamming devices] with ‎five CIAs. … The ability of the U.S. Air Force in particular, and the Army in ‎general, to defend NATO owes more to the Israeli intelligence input than it ‎does to any other single source of intelligence.” The former chairman of the ‎Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Daniel Inouye, revealed that “Israel ‎provided the U.S. [operational lessons and intelligence on advanced Soviet ‎ground-to-air missiles] that would have cost the U.S. billions of dollars to find ‎out.”

On Oct. 28, 1991, in the aftermath of the First Gulf War, then-Defense ‎Secretary Dick Cheney stated: “There were many times during the course of ‎the buildup in the Gulf, and subsequent conflict, that I gave thanks for the ‎bold and dramatic action that had been taken some 10 years before [when ‎Israel destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak].” The destruction of Iraq’s ‎nuclear capabilities in 1981 spared the U.S. a nuclear confrontation in 1991.

An Israel-like ally in the Persian Gulf would have dramatically minimized U.S. ‎military involvement in Persian Gulf conflicts, and drastically reduced the ‎monthly, mega-billion dollar cost of U.S. military units and bases in the ‎Gulf and Indian Ocean, as is the current Israel-effect in the eastern flank of ‎the Mediterranean.‎

Yoram Ettinger is a former ambassador and head of Second Thought: A U.S.-Israel Initiative.

Why the Anti-Israeli Sentiment?

January 5, 2017

Why the Anti-Israeli Sentiment? Town HallVictor Davis Hanson, January  5, 2017

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Secretary of State John Kerry, echoing other policymakers in the Obama administration, blasted Israel last week in a 70-minute rant about its supposedly self-destructive policies.

Why does the world — including now the U.S. — single out liberal and lawful Israel but refrain from chastising truly illiberal countries?

Kerry has never sermonized for so long about his plan to solve the Syrian crisis that has led to some 500,000 deaths or the vast migrant crisis that has nearly wrecked the European Union.

No one in this administration has shown as much anger about the many thousands who have been killed and jailed in the Castro brothers’ Cuba, much less about the current Stone Age conditions in Venezuela or the nightmarish government of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, an ally nation.

President Obama did not champion the cause of the oppressed during the Green Revolution of 2009 in Iran. Did Kerry and Obama become so outraged after Russia occupied South Ossetia, Crimea and eastern Ukraine?

Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power was never so impassioned over the borders of Chinese-occupied Tibet, or over Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus.

In terms of harkening back to the Palestinian “refugee” crisis that started in the late 1940s, no one talks today in similar fashion about the Jews who survived the Holocaust and walked home, only to find that their houses in Eastern Europe were gone or occupied by others. Much less do we recall the 11 million German civilians who were ethnically cleansed from Eastern Europe in 1945 by the Soviets and their imposed Communist governments. Certainly, there are not still “refugee” camps outside Dresden for those persons displaced from East Prussia 70 years ago.

More recently, few nations at the U.N. faulted the Kuwaiti government for the expulsion of 200,000 Palestinians after the liberation of Kuwait by coalition forces in 1991.

Yet on nearly every issue — from “settlements” to human rights to the status of women — U.N. members that routinely violate human rights target a liberal Israel.

When President Obama entered office, among his first acts were to give an interview with the Saudi-owned news outlet Al Arabiya championing his outreach to the mostly non-democratic Islamic world and to blast democratic Israel on “settlements.”

Partly, the reason for such inordinate criticism of Israel is sheer cowardice. If Israel had 100 million people and was geographically large, the world would not so readily play the bully.

Instead, the United Nations and Europe would likely leave it alone — just as they give a pass to human rights offenders such as Pakistan and Indonesia. If Israel were as big as Iran, and Iran as small as Israel, then the Obama administration would have not reached out to Iran, and would have left Israel alone.

Israel’s supposed Western friends sort out Israel’s enemies by their relative natural resources, geography and population — and conclude that supporting Israel is a bad deal in cost/benefit terms.

Partly, the criticism of Israel is explained by oil — an issue that is changing daily as both the U.S. and Israel cease to be oil importers.

Still, about 40 percent of the world’s oil is sold by Persian Gulf nations. Influential nations in Europe and China continue to count on oil imports from the Middle East — and make political adjustments accordingly.

Partly, anti-Israel rhetoric is due to herd politics.

The Palestinians — illiberal and reactionary on cherished Western issues like gender equality, homosexuality, religious tolerance and diversity — have grafted their cause to the popular campus agendas of race/class/gender victimization.

Western nations in general do not worry much about assorted non-Western crimes such as genocides, mass cleansings or politically induced famines. Instead, they prefer sermons to other Westerners as a sort of virtue-signaling, without any worries over offending politically correct groups.

Partly, the piling on Israel is due to American leverage over Israel as a recipient of U.S. aid. As a benefactor, the Obama administration expects that Israel must match U.S. generosity with obeisance. Yet the U.S. rarely gives similar “how dare you” lectures to less liberal recipients of American aid, such as the Palestinians for their lack of free elections.

Partly, the cause of global hostility toward Israel is jealousy. If Israel were mired in Venezuela-like chaos, few nations would care. Instead, the image of a proud, successful, Westernized nation as an atoll in a sea of self-inflicted misery is grating to many. And the astounding success of Israel bothers so many failed states that the entire world takes notice.

But partly, the source of anti-Israelism is ancient anti-Semitism.

If Israelis were Egyptians administering Gaza or Jordanians running the West Bank (as during the 1960s), no one would care. The world’s problem is that Israelis are Jews. Thus, Israel earns negative scrutiny that is never extended commensurately to others.

Obama and his diplomatic team should have known all this. Perhaps they do, but they simply do not care.

The Resilience of Israel

December 29, 2016

The Resilience of Israel, Town HallVictor Davis Hanson, December 29, 2016

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The Obama administration’s estrangement from Israel has had the odd effect of empowering Israel.

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Israel would seem to be in a disastrous position, given the inevitable nuclear capabilities of Iran and the recent deterioration of its relationship with the United States, its former patron and continued financial benefactor.

Immediately upon entering office, President Obama hectored Israel on so-called settlements. Obama promised to put “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel — and delivered on that promise.

Last week, the U.S. declined to veto, and therefore allowed to pass, a United Nations resolution that, among other things, isolates Israel internationally and condemns the construction of housing in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Obama has long been at odds with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Over objections from the Obama administration, Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress last year about the existential dangers of the Obama-brokered Iran deal and the likelihood of a new Middle East nuclear proliferation race.

Obama then doubled down on his irritation with Netanyahu through petty slights, such as making him wait during White House visits. In 2014, an official in the Obama administration anonymously said Netanyahu, a combat veteran, was a “coward” on Iran.

At a G-20 summit in Cannes, France, in 2011, Obama, in a hot-mic slip, trashed Netanyahu. He whined to French President Nicolas Sarkozy: “You’re tired of him? What about me? I have to deal with him every day.”

In contrast, Obama bragged about his “special” relationship with autocratic Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Never mind that Erdogan seems to want to reconstruct Turkey as a modern Islamist version of the Ottoman Empire, or that he is anti-democratic while Israel is a consensual society of laws.

The Middle East surrounding democratic Israel is a nightmare. Half a million have died amid the moonscape ruins of Syria. A once-stable Iraq was overrun by the Islamic State.

The Arab Spring, U.S. support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the coup of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to regain control of Egypt, and the bombing of Libya all have left North Africa in turmoil.

Iran has been empowered by the U.S.-brokered deal and will still become nuclear.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bombers blast civilians not far from Israel’s borders.

Democrats are considering Rep. Keith Ellison as the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee despite his past ties to the Nation of Islam and his history of anti-Israel remarks.

Yet in all this mess, somehow Israel is in its best geostrategic position in decades. How?

The answer is a combination of unintended consequences, deft diplomacy, political upheavals in Europe and the United States, and Israel’s own democratic traditions.

Huge natural gas and oil finds off Israel’s Mediterranean coast and in the Golan Heights have radically changed Israel’s energy and financial positions. Israel no longer needs to import costly fossil fuels and may soon be an exporter of gas and oil to needy customers in Europe and the Middle East. (America recently became the world’s greatest producer of carbon energy and also no longer is dependent on Middle Eastern oil imports, resulting in less political influence by Arab nations.) Israel is creating its own version of Silicon Valley at Beersheba, which is now a global hub of cybersecurity research.

The Obama administration’s estrangement from Israel has had the odd effect of empowering Israel.

Rich Persian Gulf states see Obama as hostile both to Israel and to themselves, while he appeases the common enemy of majority-Shiite Iran.

After a “leading from behind” U.S withdrawal from the Middle East, many Arab nations now see Israel more as a powerful ally against Iran than as an old existential enemy. They also see Israel as a country that has likewise been snubbed by America.

The idea of an Arab-Israeli understanding is surreal, but it is developing from shared fears of being targets of Iranian bombing and American indifference.

Many of Israel’s neighbors are threatened by either ISIS or al-Qaida nihilists. Those deadly dangers remind the world that democratic, free-market Israel is the sole safe port amid a rising Middle East tsunami.

Changing Western politics are empowering Israel as well.

More than 2 million migrants — for the most part, young males from the war-torn Middle East — have terrified Europe, especially after a series of radical Islamic terrorist killings. Suddenly, Europe is far more worried about Israel’s neighbors than about lecturing Israel itself.

Pushback against the Obama administration extends to its foreign policy. President-elect Donald Trump may be more pro-Israel than any recent U.S. president. And he may be the first U.S. leader to move the American embassy to Israel’s capital in West Jerusalem.For all the chaos and dangers abroad, the map of global energy, Western politics and Middle Eastern alliances has been radically redrawn.At the center is a far stronger Israel that has more opportunities than at any other time in its history. It will have an even brighter future after Obama has left office.

UN Committee to Vote on Blacklist Against Israel-Linked Companies

December 10, 2016

UN Committee to Vote on Blacklist Against Israel-Linked Companies, The Jewish PressHana Levi Julian, December 10, 2016

Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, speaks at the Conference for Fighting Anti-Semitism, at the Begin Center in Jerusalem, on January 31, 2016. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** ??? ???? ????? ????? ???? ??? ????????? ??????? ???? ????

Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, speaks at the Conference for Fighting Anti-Semitism, at the Begin Center in Jerusalem, on January 31, 2016. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90

A budget and administration committee within the United Nations is set to vote next week on a blacklist against firms with ties to Israel.

The UN “Fifth Committee” is scheduled to vote on funding for the blacklist, which names Israeli and international firms with offices located in post-1967 areas of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights.

The black list was initiated this past March in a resolution approved in 32-0 vote (15 abstentions) by member states at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. According to a report published Friday in Haaretz, the resolution required UN ‘human rights officials’ to create a database of “all business enterprises” that have enabled or profited from the growth of Israeli settlements.

Proposed and sponsored by the Palestinian Authority and the Arab nations, it includes a condemnation of ‘settlements’ and a call for companies not to work with Israeli communities in post-1967 areas.

The blacklist, to be updated annually, is expected to become a useful tool for activists in the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, according to Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon.

Israel’s mission to the UN will publicly oppose the list, Danon said. The envoy added that he intends to organize a task force comprised of international pro-Israel organizations and other partners to fight the move.

“We will not be silent in the face of this shameful initiative,” said Danon. “The UN’s intent to mark Jewish businesses and international companies with ties to Israel, so that they can boycott them, reminds us of dark times in history.

“The Human Rights Council has already become notorious as an anti-Semitic and anti-Israel entity.

“But it’s unacceptable for the UN itself to continue to support this despicable decision,” Danon added.