Archive for the ‘Israeli left’ category

The Left’s Abbas problem

June 6, 2017

The Left’s Abbas problem, Israel Hayom, Jonathan S. Tobin, June 6, 2017

Despite repeated Palestinian rejections of peace offers, advocates of a two-state solution still cling to the belief that it is Israel that is inventing conditions designed to ensure that negotiations will fail. But if their goal is to create a genuine consensus behind peace, then rather than lament Trump’s criticisms of Abbas, they ought to hope he will succeed in getting the PA leader to stop the incitement as well as the prisoner payments. If Netanyahu’s opponents continue to refuse to take this issue seriously, they will have no one but themselves — and the Palestinians — to blame if they continue to be marginalized and peace remains a remote dream.

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For the Israeli Left, talk about Palestinian incitement is nothing more than an excuse invented by the Right to avoid peace. The same largely applies to their views about the Palestinian Authority’s payments of more than $1 billion in just the last four years in salaries to imprisoned terrorists and their families.

The PA’s ongoing efforts to inculcate new generations in the ideology of hate that has driven the century-long war on Zionism is itself a barrier to peace. It also ensures that any effort to end the conflict will run counter to notions of Palestinian identity that are inextricably linked to that war.

But if you believe that Israel’s chief objective must be to achieve a separation from the Palestinians and an end to its presence in the West Bank and east Jerusalem regardless of what happens or who governs a Palestinian state, you view the issue differently. If you think separation is the only way to preserve a Jewish majority in the Jewish state and to protect both Israelis and Palestinians from the burden of the occupation, statements of support or even subsidies for those who commit violence are side issues or distractions that obscure the big picture.

Yet opponents of the Netanyahu government are making a big mistake when they downplay these issues. Though they doubt the motives of those who point out what the Palestinian Authority have been doing and even agree with PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ assertion that both sides incite, they are missing the point. A failure to address these questions has been the Achilles’ heel of the Left ever since the Oslo Accords were signed. Doing so is not only political poison, it also sends the wrong message to Palestinians who they insist are, against all evidence, viable partners for peace.

The issue of incitement is at the center of the discussion now because U.S. President Donald Trump has decided it is important. Trump was sufficiently ignorant of the history of the conflict and how the PA operates that he actually seems to have believed Abbas’ assurances about not supporting incitement or payments to prisoners that the PA leader made during their initial White House meeting.

But when the Israelis pointed out to him that Abbas was seeking to pull the wool over his eyes, and backed it up with video evidence, he didn’t like it. More than that, he rightly understood that this lie was an obstacle to achieving the unlikely diplomatic triumph he craved.

That led to Trump reportedly pounding the table and accusing Abbas of being liar when they met in Bethlehem. Since it would be difficult for Abbas to suddenly alter the nature of what is published in PA newspapers or viewed on PA television to mollify Israeli or Western sensibilities, let alone cease payments to the very same terrorist prisoners who are lauded by Palestinians as heroes, Trump’s insistence on these points was no small controversy.

The Left deplores Trump’s embrace of this issue and puts it down to a clever strategy implemented by Netanyahu. But if that’s all they think there is to it, they’re repeating the same mistakes that ensured the failure of peace talks in the past. In the 1990s, both the Clinton administration and Labor-led governments saw PLO leader Yasser Arafat’s words and actions as merely fodder for domestic Palestinian political consumption. But the result of that policy was not only to convey to the PA that it could transgress with impunity; this spirit of complacency also materially contributed to the collapse of faith in the peace process once Palestinian actions moved from words to bombs in the Second Intifada.

The Left’s problem is not just that serious observers understand the implications of incitement and material support for terror and that not enough people share their belief that Israeli actions are as bad or worse than those of the Palestinians. Nor are most Israelis likely to be persuaded to view actions of self-defense undertaken by their government as morally equivalent to the PA’s support for terror. Just as important is that a Palestinian leader who felt constrained to engage in behavior that engendered such deep mistrust among Israelis would be unlikely to muster support for an end to the conflict among his own people, even if he wanted to make peace.

Despite repeated Palestinian rejections of peace offers, advocates of a two-state solution still cling to the belief that it is Israel that is inventing conditions designed to ensure that negotiations will fail. But if their goal is to create a genuine consensus behind peace, then rather than lament Trump’s criticisms of Abbas, they ought to hope he will succeed in getting the PA leader to stop the incitement as well as the prisoner payments. If Netanyahu’s opponents continue to refuse to take this issue seriously, they will have no one but themselves — and the Palestinians — to blame if they continue to be marginalized and peace remains a remote dream.

Jonathan S. Tobin is the opinion editor of JNS.org and a contributing writer for ‎National Review.

Shock Israeli Poll Finds Only 4% Want a Left-of-Center Prime Minister

January 16, 2017

Shock Israeli Poll Finds Only 4% Want a Left-of-Center Prime Minister, PJ MediaAvner Zarmi, January 16, 2017

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But nowhere is this more obvious than in Israel, as a recent poll sponsored by the Jerusalem Post clearly demonstrates.

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The political Left is in full retreat across most of the world.

Certainly, this is obvious in the United States. At present, 33 of the 50 states are governed by Republicans (and one, Alaska, by a fairly conservative independent). Of the twelve most populous states in the union, only one, California, is completely controlled by the Democratic Party. The other eleven are either completely controlled by Republicans or have divided government, including New York, where the state Senate is majority GOP.

This is equally evident across Europe. In the United Kingdom, the Labour Party is a shadow of its former self. The old Liberal Party (now the Liberal-Democratic Party) barely exists, and the Conservatives have a commanding lead in Parliament. The recent government shake-up that resulted in the fall of David Cameron and the rise of Theresa May was a disagreement within the Conservative Party concerning Brexit, an argument which Cameron lost. In France, Socialist President François Hollande is clearly on his way out, and the only real question is whether he’ll be succeeded by the conservative François Fallon or the Populist Marine Le Pen. Similar developments are rocking Germany, the Netherlands, and other European governments.

But nowhere is this more obvious than in Israel, as a recent poll sponsored by the Jerusalem Post clearly demonstrates.

In order to understand the real import of this poll, it is necessary to recount some Israeli history.

Since the founding of Israel in 1948, there have been twenty Knessiyoth (the Hebrew plural of Knesset, Israel’s parliament). Over the years, the number of members has remained stable at 120, but the make-up has changed markedly.

From 1948 to 1977, Israeli politics was completely dominated by the Left. In the first Knesset, parties of the Left (including the Israeli Communist Party) held 74 of the 120 seats. In the second Knesset, elected in 1951, they held 69 seats; in the third Knesset, elected in 1955, they held 70 seats; in the fourth Knesset (1959), they held 81 seats; in the fifth (1961), they held 64 seats; in the sixth (1965), they held 68 seats; in the seventh (1969), they held 66 seats.

In the eighth (December 1973), even after the terrible debacle of the Yom Kippur War, they still held 59 seats, representing the largest single faction in the Knesset.

In 1977, the first political “revolution” (as Israeli television commentators at the time called it) occurred: Likud became the largest faction with 54 seats; the fractured Left still retained 40. Likud continued to dominate until 1984, when the government veered leftward again, and the Leftist contingent had 55 seats. The election of 1988 returned Likud to power at the head of a governing coalition, but parties of the Left still held 53 seats, a balance of power which continued until 1992, when the Left again took power, with 59 seats.

The 1996 election, which saw Benjamin Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister, was a bit anomalous in that for the first time there was an independent election for prime minister. Despite Netanyahu’s victory, the Left still held the largest faction in the Knesset with 48 seats. The dual elections for the Knesset and premiership continued in 1999, when Ehud Barak succeeded Netanyahu and the Left continued to hold the largest faction in the Knesset with 47 seats.

For the 2003 election, the dual system was scrapped. The head of the largest party was invited to form a coalition again and serve as prime minister. This election saw the rise of Ariel Sharon; the Left’s share of the Knesset stood at 46 seats. In 2006 Sharon was succeeded by Ehud Olmert, and the Left’s share dwindled to 27 seats. In 2009 their faction declined to a mere 20 seats; 2013 saw a rebound to 31 seats; and the most recent election, in 2015, saw them rebound again to 42 seats (this includes the new Joint List, an amalgam of three Arab parties and the old Israeli Communist Party, which has both Jewish and Arab members).

Nonetheless, since 2009 the Likud has been the dominant party and Netanyahu has been the prime minister. Now we arrive at the import of the present poll.

Since the so-called “Zionist Union,” a fusion of the old Labor party and Tzipi Livni’s “Movement” party, is the second largest in the Knesset with 24 seats, you might think that its leader Yitzhak Herzog would be the second most popular candidate for prime minister. You would be wrong.

The poll shows — unsurprisingly — that 39% of the Israeli electorate still consider Netanyahu their best option.

But next in line? Five other politicians who do not belong to the left.

The centrist Ya’ir Lapid has 19%, followed by Naftali Bennett of the Bayith Yehudi party at 13%, followed by Gid‘on Sa‘ar of Likud with 10%, then former Defense Minister Moshe Ya‘alon (also Likud) with 8%, and current Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) with 7%.

Herzog is dead last with 4%, falling below the poll’s margin of error of +/- 4.5%.

Even among those who voted for the left-of-center Zionist Union in 2015, 26% favored Lapid and only 15% supported Herzog.

Oh, how the mighty left has fallen in Israel, and seemingly everywhere else.

Israeli media defects show thru Bibi’s cigar smoke

January 14, 2017

Israeli media defects show thru Bibi’s cigar smoke, DEBKAfile, January 14, 2017

(Might the dislike of Trump by the Israeli left, the intensely negative coverage of Trump by America’s “mainstream media” and the apparent cordiality of the Netanyahu – Trump relationship stimulate the anti-Netanyahu media coverage in Israel — at a critical time when Netanyahu’s attention needs to be devoted to warding off or at least ameliorating Obama’s last efforts to doom Israel?– DM)

The torrent of alleged misdemeanors pouring out day after day against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, across the front pages and prime-time news broadcasts of Israel’s mainstream media, this week developed a new angle: Predictions from the same quarters of a summer election.

If the heavily biased media were counting on the police to produce hard evidence to support their charges, they were premature. No evidence of criminal conduct has yet come to light, despite leaked innuendo to favored reporters. Police investigators continue to dig hard, spurred on by the insatiable media appetite for sensational “revelations.”

Known for his penchant for the good things of life, Netanyahu’s fondness for Cuban cigars, paid for by good, very rich, friends, is no crime; nor is imbibing expensive champagne in their company – even if both are provided as gifts in lavish quantities.

Equally, even in democratic countries, politicians are not accused of criminal activity when they engage senior newspersons in hush-hush, give-and-take swaps of favors. It is pretty much par for the course.

However, Netanyahu’s secret conversations two years ago with his arch foe, Arnon Mozes, the publisher and editor of the wide-circulation tabloid Yediot Aharonot, are being branded by the media as “extremely serious.” According to tape recordings leaked from the same police investigation, the deal on the table was this: Mozes offered to tone down his paper’s virulent campaign against the prime minister. Netanyahu would in turn “arrange” to cut down the circulation of the free tabloid Israel Today, which was established by the Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson as a platform for the prime minister to counter the systematic media campaigns against him.

Mozes was – and still is – in serious financial trouble: his paper can’t’ stand up to the competition by Israel Today. But the bargain he hoped for was unlikely to take off for three reasons:

1. The prime minister doesn’t own Israel Today. The paper’s editorial and business staff is not compelled to obey him – only the proprietor. So if Netanyahu did indeed strike a deal with Mozes, which is not proved, he would have been selling a favor that was not his to sell, and liable to be sued, if by anyone, by the real owner.

2.  According to the recordings, Netanyahu repeated that he needed to discuss the issue with Adelson. It sounded as though the prime minister was willing to consider a deal, but deferred to the owner for the final word. He even suggested that it might be possible to persuade Adelson to buy Yediot from Mozes and merge it with Israel Today.

3. Yet in their daily “revelations” on this affair, senior reporters doggedly maintain that Netanyahu calls the shots in the free tabloid. They refuse to back down from the picture they have built up in one false report after another that Netanyahu dictates editorial policy at Israel Today.

What would they say if Adelson got fed up with Netanyahu and decided to turn the paper against him? He is perfectly free to switch the paper’s editorial support to whomsoever he chooses without consulting the prime minister.

Therefore the firestorm around the “Netanyahu affair” is focusing increasingly on the pack of attackers snapping at his heels. The publications which hammer at his culpability are being exposed themselves as far from being practitioners of the neutral, honest, professional, ethical and honest standards they preach for others.

It is common knowledge in the industry that, for years now, the leading news media have habitually sold out to various political and financial interests. The names of the pens, editors and publishers for hire are known to their colleagues.

But the general public is clearly in on the secret. They know which paper or reporter is the hired mouthpiece of a politician or business interest. They are not fooled by the sanctimonious protestations of “values” and “ideals” by the pundits and columnists promoting government critics.

Rather than being scandalized by Bibi’s ways – which are no secret –many have given up reading newspapers and following TV and radio news programs – and not just because they prefer the Internet. Stacks of newspapers on offer for free at cafes, supermarkets, or gas stations are left untouched.

The paucity of readers is countered by a large print to jack up advertising rates. In a flagrant breach of ethics, some newspapers deceitfully hide advertising plugs in regular editorial content, while TV “consumer” programs may be “sponsored” for pay, without informing the public that the “advice” on offer is tainted. In some magazines, cover stories are on sale to the highest bidders, as are prominent interviews in other media.

Certainly, not a few professional journalists who plied their trade honestly have quit the media and given up writing in disgust. The Press Council, which was founded originally as an independent forum for adjudicating on matters of ethics, has held silent in the face of flagrant violationsfor the past 11 years — ever since the appointment of retired high court judge Dalia Dorner as its head – and slept soundly when the Israeli communications media descended to the pits.

Opposition rivals seeking to topple Israel’s third-term prime minister have found a ready bludgeon, the corrupt mainstream media which is more than willing to push its ferocious onslaught on Netanyahu, confident that he can be railroaded into throwing in the towel – either by stepping down or calling an early election.

Netanyahu has so far shown no sign of weakness. He insists that the charges against him are trumped up and he will outlive them all.

The IDF’s New Social Contract

January 6, 2017

The IDF’s New Social Contract, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, January 6, 2016

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Azaria is the first victim of a General Staff that has decided to cease serving as the people’s army and serve instead as B’Tselem’s army. The call now spreading through the Knesset for Azaria to receive a presidential pardon, while certainly reasonable and desirable, will likely fail to bring about his freedom. For a pardon request to reach President Reuven Rivlin’s desk, it first needs to be stamped by Eisenkot.

A pardon for Azaria would go some way toward repairing the damage the General Staff has done to its relationship with the public. But from Eisenkot’s behavior this week, it is apparent that he feels no need and has no interest in repairing that damage.

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Sgt. Elor Azaria, who was convicted of manslaughter Wednesday for shooting a terrorist in Hebron last March, is a symptom of what may be the most dangerous threat to Israeli society today.

Azaria, a combat medic from the Kfir Brigade, arrived at the scene of an attack where two terrorists had just stabbed his comrades. One of the terrorists was killed, the other was wounded and lying on the ground, his knife less than a meter away from him.

A cameraman from the foreign-funded, Israeli- registered anti-Israel pressure group B’Tselem filmed Azaria removing his helmet and shooting the wounded terrorist. According to the military judges, the film was the centerpiece of the case against him.

The day of the incident, the General Staff reacted to the B’Tselem film with utter hysteria. Led by Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and then-defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s generals competed to see who could condemn Azaria most harshly.

For the public, though, the issue wasn’t so cut and dry. Certainly Azaria didn’t act like a model soldier. It was clear, for instance, that he acted without proper authority and that his action was not permitted under the rules of engagement then in effect in Hebron.

But unlike the IDF’s senior leadership, the public believed that the fact that it was B’Tselem that produced the film meant that it had to be viewed with a grain of salt.

The name “B’Tselem” was seared into the public’s consciousness as an organization hostile to Israel and dedicated to causing it harm with the publication of the UN’s Goldstone Commission Report in 2009. Among the Israeli-registered groups that provided materials to the biased UN commission charged with finding Israel guilty of war crimes during the course of Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in late 2008 and early 2009, B’Tselem made the greatest contribution.

The Goldstone Report cited B’Tselem as the source for its slanderous “findings” 56 times.

After the UN published the Goldstone Report, Michael Posner, the US assistant secretary of state for human rights, visited Israel and met with Jessica Montell, B’Tselem’s executive director at the time.

The US Embassy’s official report of their meeting was published by WikiLeaks.

During their meeting, Montell told Posner that her group’s goal in providing the Goldstone Commission with materials was to force the government to pay a heavy price for its decision to fight Hamas, by criminalizing Israel in the court of world opinion.

As B’Tselem saw it, Israel needed to come to the point where it would consider whether it could “afford another operation like this.”

Montell explained that from B’Tselem’s perspective the root of the problem with Israel is the Israeli public. The public is the source of Israel’s bad behavior, according to B’Tselem, because it “had zero tolerance for IDF killed.” As far as the public is concerned, she said, harm to Palestinian civilians is preferable to harm to IDF soldiers.

Since, in B’Tselem’s view, the public’s commitment to the lives of its soldiers meant that it would not constitute a “moral check on war,” and check the bellicosity of IDF commanders, it fell to B’Tselem to make the IDF brass and the government care more about world opinion than they care about what the public thinks.

The public’s condemnation of B’Tselem after its role in compiling the Goldstone Commission’s libelous accusations against the IDF was made public made no impression whatsoever on the group.

Following Operation Protective Edge in 2014, B’Tselem’s materials were cited 67 times by the report of the biased UN commission put together to slander Israel.

In 2007, B’Tselem launched its “Camera Program.”

The camera initiative involved providing video cameras to B’Tselem employees and volunteers in Judea and Samaria in order to document the actions of Israeli security forces and civilians in the areas.

In many cases, the videos B’Tselem produced distorted reality for the purpose of criminalizing both groups.

For instance, in 2011, B’Tselem gave a film to Ynet’s Elior Cohen that purported to show Israeli police brutally arresting a young Palestinian boy and preventing his mother from coming to the police station with him.

But as CAMERA showed at the time, B’Tselem’s portrayal of events was fanciful at best. In all likelihood, the event was staged by the B’Tselem photographer.

At the outset of the film the boy is unseen as he throws rocks at a police van. The boy is first seen as he runs toward the B’Tselem camerawoman. For her part, the camerawoman screams at the police and identifies herself as from B’Tselem.

The police are shown asking the boy’s mother repeatedly to join them in the car. As she stands poised to enter the vehicle, a Palestinian man is shown telling her in Arabic not to go.

In July 2016, B’Tselem released a film taken in Hebron during an attempted stabbing attack by a female Palestinian terrorist against Israel police at a security checkpoint outside the Cave of the Patriarchs.

The police reported that the terrorist tried to stab a policewoman who was checking her in an inspection room. Another policewoman shot and killed her.

B’Tselem claimed that its film proved that the female terrorist was shot for no reason. But the fact is that it does no such thing. As NGO Monitor noted, the B’Tselem film neither contradicts nor proves the police’s version of events.

Over the years, the public’s growing awareness of B’Tselem’s unwavering hostility went hand in hand with its growing distress over what was perceived as the IDF’s willingness to sacrifice the safety of troops to prevent it from receiving bad press.

For instance, in 2012, a film went viral on social media that showed a platoon of combat engineers fleeing from a mob of Palestinians attacking with rocks, Molotov cocktails and slingshots.

When questioned by reporters, the soldiers said that they had repeatedly asked their battalion commander for permission to use force to disperse the crowd and they were repeatedly denied permission.

Retreat was their only option.

In 2015, another film went viral showing a group of Palestinian women hitting and screaming at a soldier trying to arrest one of them for throwing rocks at his platoon. He did nothing as he absorbed the blows. And no harm came to the women who assaulted him.

Along with the films, came stories that soldiers on leave told their friends and family about the IDF’s rules of engagement. The tales were always the same. The rules of engagement are so restrictive that all initiative is placed in the hands of the enemy. Not only can terrorists attack at will. They can flee afterward and expect that no harm will come to them, because what is most important, the soldiers explain, is to ensure that IDF maintains its reputation as the most moral army in the world.

This was the context in which Azaria killed the wounded terrorist.

Although the headlines relate to Azaria, and his family members have become familiar faces on the news, the fact is the reason the Azaria affair was the biggest story of the year is that it really has very little to do with him.

There are three forces driving the story.

First of course, there is B’Tselem.

B’Tselem’s produced the film to advance its goal of obliging Israel’s national leadership, including the IDF brass, to care more about “world opinion” than about the opinion of Israeli citizens.

Second then, is the pubic that cares more about the lives of IDF soldiers than about what the world thinks of it.

Finally, there is the IDF General Staff that is being forced to pick which side it stands with.

Since Israel was established nearly 70 years ago, the relationship between the IDF and the public has been based on an often unstated social contract.

From the public’s side, Israel’s citizens agree to serve in the IDF and risk their lives in its service.

Moreover, they agree to allow their children to serve in the military and to be placed in harm’s way.

From the IDF’s side, the commanders agree to view the lives of their soldiers as sacrosanct, and certainly as more precious than the lives of the enemy and the enemies’ society.

The third side is the General Staff. In the years leading up to the Azaria affair the generals were already showing disturbing signs of forgetting their contract with the public.

The films of fleeing soldiers and the rules of engagement weren’t the only signs of our military leadership’s estrangement.

There were also the promotions given to radical lawyers to serve in key positions in the Military Advocate-General’s unit, and the red carpet treatment given to radical leftist groups like B’Tselem that were dedicated to criminalizing soldiers and commanders.

Since the shooting in Hebron, the General Staff’s treatment of the public has become even more disdainful.

Ya’alon and Eisenkot and his generals have repeatedly offended the public with comparisons of “IDF values” with alleged processes of barbarization, Nazification and ISIS-ization of the public by the likes of Azaria and his supporters.

If there was a specific moment where the military brass abandoned its compact with society once and for all, it came on Tuesday, the day before the military court convicted Azaria of manslaughter. In a speech that day, Eisenkot insisted that IDF soldiers are not “our children.” They are grownups and they are required to obey the orders they receive.

By making this statement the day before the verdict in a case that pitted society against the General Staff, which sided with B’Tselem, Eisenkot told us that the General Staff no longer feels itself obligated by a sacred compact with the people of Israel.

Azaria is the first victim of a General Staff that has decided to cease serving as the people’s army and serve instead as B’Tselem’s army. The call now spreading through the Knesset for Azaria to receive a presidential pardon, while certainly reasonable and desirable, will likely fail to bring about his freedom. For a pardon request to reach President Reuven Rivlin’s desk, it first needs to be stamped by Eisenkot.

A pardon for Azaria would go some way toward repairing the damage the General Staff has done to its relationship with the public. But from Eisenkot’s behavior this week, it is apparent that he feels no need and has no interest in repairing that damage.

As a result, it is likely that Azaria will spend years behind bars for killing the enemy.

Moreover, if nothing forces Eisenkot and his generals to their senses, Azaria will neither be the last nor the greatest victim of their betrayal of the public’s trust.

The PLO’s Zero-Sum Game

January 3, 2017

The PLO’s Zero-Sum Game, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, January 3, 2017

(Please see also, Fatah Honors Islamist Terrorists For 52nd Anniversary. – DM)

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Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

The time has come for the government to move ahead boldly. In their post-Obama, post-2334 state, the Israeli Left and its American Jewish supporters are in no position to stop the government from doing what needs to be done. But, if the government fails to act now, when the Democrats return in two or four years, the opportunity now upon us may be lost forever as the PLO comes back to win its zerosum game against Israel.

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Since its inception in the late 1970s, the Israeli peace movement has been based on one thing: hope.

Members of the peace movement hoped the PLO’s war with Israel could be resolved through compromise. Proponents of peace with the PLO hoped that Yasser Arafat and his terrorist minions weren’t truly committed to Israel’s destruction.

The two-state formula was based on the hope that Israel could reach an accommodation with the PLO. To wit, in exchange for parts of Judea and Samaria and Gaza (no one was talking about Jerusalem), Israeli peaceniks, who over time came to encompass all factions of the Left in Israel, hoped the PLO would bury the hatchet, build a state, or federate with Jordan, and that would be that.

In 1992, the peace camp took over the government. Under the leadership of then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and then foreign minister Shimon Peres, hope became the basis for Israel’s national security strategy. That strategy was followed by every Israeli government since. The basic idea was clear enough. In exchange for land and guns and legitimacy, Arafat and his goons would be domesticated.

The peace camp’s hope was never based on evidence. Indeed, it flew in the face of the PLO’s track record. By the time the Israeli peaceniks began negotiating with Arafat and his deputies in the late 1980s, the PLO had already controlled two autonomous areas. In both Jordan and Lebanon, Arafat and his terrorists transformed peaceful areas into bases for global terrorism and launching points for massacres of Israelis and of victims from Africa to Europe to the Americas.

The secret of the PLO’s success was that it didn’t simply kill people. It combined murder with political warfare. The PLO’s political war had two goals. First, it aimed to make killing Jews politically acceptable a mere generation after the Holocaust.

Second, the PLO devoted great resources to wooing the Israeli and Western Left. It sought to convince a sufficient core of leftists that the PLO wasn’t really committed to its goal of eradicating Israel. It actually was a peace movement in terrorist disguise.

Arafat and his deputies whispered in the ears of their gullible Israeli “partners” that they weren’t an implacable foe. They were partners for peace just waiting to be convinced that they could make a deal.

The success of both political warfare strategies has been on prominent display of late. On December 23, the ambassadors of state members of the UN Security Council broke out in spontaneous applause after they unanimously passed Resolution 2334, which declares Israel an outlaw state populated by criminals and bereft of all rights to its capital and its historic heartland.

A week later, the PLO’s largest terrorist faction Fatah celebrated its founding day. The largest celebration this year reportedly took place in Bethlehem.

Fatah was actually founded in 1958. But Arafat chose December 31, 1964 as its founding day because that was the day his terrorists carried out their first terrorist attack against Israel.

In Bethlehem Saturday, thousands of Palestinian youths – starting at the age of four or five – marked the day with a march through town.

This was no ticker tape parade.

In classic PLO fashion, the young people – including the preschoolers – were clad in military uniforms and had their faces covered with sheets. They marched through the streets behind banners sporting the images of Fatah terrorists like mass murderer Dalal Mughrabi and pledged to complete their heroes’ mission.

The message of the spectacle was straightforward enough. Fatah remains utterly committed to eradicating Israel through terrorism and war.

Covering the march for the Israeli media was Channel 2’s far-left correspondent Ohad Hemo. In a manner comprehensible only to true believers, Hemo stared at the march and saw a reason for restored hope for peace.

Speaking to masked grand masters, without a tinge of embarrassment, Hemo asked if they supported the two-state solution.

Lo and behold, as they marched behind banners of Mughrabi, who led the PLO terrorist cell that massacred 38 Israelis including 13 children in 1978, Hemo’s minders told him that indeed, they support a two-state solution!

Hemo was exultant.

Even with its chokehold on the media and its control of the judicial system and state prosecution, the Israeli Left would have never been successful in maintaining this murderous joke without outside help.

And that’s where the American Jewish establishment came in.

For more than 20 years, led by AIPAC, the American Jewish establishment has insisted that the two-state solution is the only option. That is, empty faith in a terrorist organization fully committed to Israel’s destruction is the only acceptable policy for Republicans and Democrats alike to follow in respect to Israel.

For 23 years, despite the ever increasing dubiousness of Republican leaders and a few Democratic lawmakers, the consensus view was maintained.

The Jewish community’s slavish devotion to the PLO stemmed from two sources. First, by insisting that the PLO is a credible force, the American Jewish community has been able to keep peace in its ranks, which are populated overwhelmingly by leftists.

Second, by promoting a policy at odds with reality, communal leaders have been able to pretend that there is no qualitative distinction between Democratic and Republican support for Israel. This claim, which has become downright implausible during President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House, is vital for enabling American Jews to pretend that Israel is a voting issue for them and that they aren’t simply motivated by their leftist world views.

It would appear that the jig is up on this position.

Obama’s lame-duck war against Israel and the rise of anti-Jewish forces in the Democratic Party led by Rep. Keith Ellison make it practically impossible to continue to claim that the Democratic Party is a home for pro-Israel forces in America.

On the other hand, President-elect Donald Trump’s full-throated support for Israel and promotion of advisers who openly oppose a PLO state has opened the door for Republican lawmakers to abandon their half-hearted support for the PLO. Beginning this month, they may very well begin ending US recognition of the PLO and cut off taxpayer funds to its terrorism-cultivating autonomy in Judea and Samaria.

In this state of affairs, American Jewish groups will either support Trump and the Republicans or lose their ability to influence events. In either case, for at least the next two years, they have lost their capacity to support the Israeli Left in a significant way.

This is important for Israel to understand because the clock is ticking. Obama’s onslaught has made clear that the Democratic Party no longer supports Israel. Like the PLO, Obama and his advisers view the PLO’s conflict with Israel as a zero-sum game and they have cast their lots with the terrorists against the Jewish state.

It is to be expected that under the leadership of former president Obama and Ellison the Democrats will expand the openness of their hostility to Israel.

Under these circumstance, Israel has but two years – until the mid-term congressional elections when the Democrats may be empowered in Congress – to decide what it wants to do with Judea and Samaria.

Last week the government signaled that its first step will be to apply Israeli law to Ma’ale Adumim. A bill to this effect is expected to be brought before the government shortly after Obama leaves office.

While a good first move, our leaders must recognize that it needs to be quickly followed up by additional administrative changes. The goal of those additional steps is to dismantle the military government which administers Area C – 60% of Judea and Samaria – by 2019 and transfer full administrative responsibility for the area, which includes Israel’s border with Jordan and all the Israeli communities of Judea and Samaria, to the government.

The time has come for the government to move ahead boldly. In their post-Obama, post-2334 state, the Israeli Left and its American Jewish supporters are in no position to stop the government from doing what needs to be done. But, if the government fails to act now, when the Democrats return in two or four years, the opportunity now upon us may be lost forever as the PLO comes back to win its zerosum game against Israel.

Patience is a virtue

January 3, 2017

Patience is a virtue, Israel Hayom, Dr. Haim Shine, January 3, 2017

For years, the leftist Israeli media has waged a timed and organized campaign against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family, a campaign the likes of which has not been seen in the history of the country. A Bibiphobic psychosis born of the Left’s deep frustration, dismay and helplessness at its inability to carry out regime change through the ballot box. Desperation that intensified after the last elections, in which millions were invested, mostly from foreign sources who collaborated with well-known figures in the Israeli media to take down the Right.

Every day, Israeli citizens were force-fed stories and about the Netanyahu family; a series of rumors and accusations circulating endlessly. A journalist creates a headline in the morning, the television networks echo it at night and esteemed pundits, including lawyers, pile on with their creative theories. “Truth of the day” at its most wretched.

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit’s statement Monday made it clear that most of the cases made famous by the Bibiphobes were groundless, including claims of illegal financing in the 2009 elections, tilting the Likud primary election results, receiving benefits abroad and the double-billing of travel expenses, dubbed “Bibi Tours.”

I am sure many Israelis remember the media frenzy over “Bibi Tours” all too well, but as it turns out, those things never happened. There is no doubt that those who celebrated the allegations won’t do any soul-searching regarding their contribution to the erosion of public faith in much of the media.

While many in politics and in the media treated Netanyahu’s statements — that nothing would come of these alleged affairs because there would be nothing to find — with blatant cynicism, as it turns out, he was right.

In their battle against Netanyahu, the media — in their efforts to pressure the attorney general to advance the interests of those propagating the allegations — have trampled on Mendelblit’s credibility.

There are allegations Mendelblit instructed the police to investigate. That is the role of the police. But here too, one cannot expect the media to allow the police to do their work without interfering and creating smoke screens. In the coming days, we will hear and read countless speculations. A degree of restraint, patience and caution is important to afford the media the respect it deserves, as it is essential to democracy. And perhaps, in relation to these allegations, it will turn out that nothing will come of them because there was nothing to investigate. Time will tell.

The issue is Israel’s existence

December 28, 2016

The issue is Israel’s existence, Israel Hayom, Dr. Ephraim Herrera, December 27, 2016

The current phase is no less dangerous: diplomatic, legal and public relations warfare against Israel — a variety of initiatives aiming to present it as an immoral, apartheid, “illegal” country that must be denounced. Lest we delude ourselves: The goal of the public diplomacy war is the collapse of the Jewish state. International pressure demanding that Israel return  to the June 4, 1967, borders is understood as the first stage, not the last. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has consistently declared that he will never recognize the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people. And that he will never surrender the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

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The U.N. resolution on Israeli settlements is perceived throughout the entire Muslim world as a giant victory and a historic achievement for the rights of Palestinians. Indeed, the resolution, which “will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations,” renders negotiations pointless because the international community rejects outright any Israeli legitimacy over any land beyond the lines drawn before the Six-Day War. In other words: Israel must withdraw from the Jewish Quarter, from Jerusalem’s new neighborhoods and from all of Judea and Samaria.

The common denominator in the Palestinian reaction — whether Fatah, Hamas or Islamic Jihad — is that this victory has to be leveraged, with vigor. A Palestinian Authority spokesman said actions must be taken to isolate Israel in the international arena, and called on the international community to take the necessary steps to implement the resolution ratified by the United Nations. The PA foreign minister called for actions that would put an end to the “Judaization” of Judea and Samaria. Other mouthpieces noted the need for legal action against Israelis for war crimes.

From the onset of Israel’s creation, the Muslim world without exception has sought to exterminate the Zionist entity. Its initial efforts focused on classical armed conflict: from the War of Independence to the Lebanon War, the enemies’ armies suffered staggering defeats, even if exacting from us a painful price. From the mid-1980s, the Muslim world shifted to a different strategy: intifadas. Here, too, Israel paid a heavy price, but was able to withstand the threat. For years now, calls for another intifada in Judea and Samaria and among Israeli Arabs have fallen on deaf ears. The third wave of terrorism, which is still ongoing, has introduced a new method of resistance: lone-wolf attackers, armed with knives or behind the wheel of a careening vehicle, seeking to terrorize the civilian population. However, a series of measures implemented by Israel’s security forces, alongside quick and effective action by civilians at the scene of attacks, have suppressed the phenomenon significantly.

The current phase is no less dangerous: diplomatic, legal and public relations warfare against Israel — a variety of initiatives aiming to present it as an immoral, apartheid, “illegal” country that must be denounced. Lest we delude ourselves: The goal of the public diplomacy war is the collapse of the Jewish state. International pressure demanding that Israel return to the June 4, 1967, borders is understood as the first stage, not the last. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has consistently declared that he will never recognize the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people. And that he will never surrender the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

The heated argument between the Israeli Left and Right overlooks the essence of the problem: The issue is not the territories but the very existence of the State of Israel. It is imperative that Israel find effective ways to counter this new type of warfare, which is no less an existential threat than classic wars, intifadas and knives.

The Hostility and Hypocrisy of Left-Wing Israeli NGOs

October 31, 2016

The Hostility and Hypocrisy of Left-Wing Israeli NGOs, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Noah Beck, October 31, 2016

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Israeli human rights group B’Tselem recently appeared before a special session of the United Nations Security Council, excoriating Israel and pleading with the body to act against Israel’s settlements.

In 1975, the UN famously declared that “Zionism is racism” and, four decades later, the organization continues to hound Israel. In each of the last four years, as the Syrian bloodbath claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, there were at least five times as many resolutions condemning Israel as those rebuking the rest of the world.

The UN’s cultural body, UNESCO, recently passed a motion ignoring any Jewish (or Christian) historical ties to East Jerusalem holy sites, referring to the Temple Mount and Western Wall only by their Muslim names and condemning Israel as “the occupying power.” It turns out that some of Israel’s left-wing NGOs worked to help produce the UNESCO motion.

Given the UN’s chronic hostility, efforts by Israeli NGOs to persuade the UN to act against Israel are arguably treasonous. Indeed, one attorney and activist for Israel’s left-leaning Labor party filed a police complaint alleging treason against B’Tselem, arguing that the NGO has harmed state sovereignty, tried to give land away to a foreign entity, and taken steps that could cause a war.

Israeli democracy is extremely tolerant, to the point of allowing its members of parliament to openly support terrorism and terrorist groups. Last March, several Israeli Arab Knesset members condemned Arab states for labeling Hizballah a terrorist organization, even though it has been at war with Israel for decades and regularly threatens new hostilities.

Last February, members from the Joint (Arab) List paid a solidarity visit to relatives of Palestinian terrorists security forces killed to stop them from murdering Israelis. In 2014, MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) drew praise from Hamas by asserting that the kidnappers of three missing Israeli youths were “not terrorists.” Hamas’s connection to the young men’s abduction and murder helped to spark the third war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Thus, Israel already has plenty of dissenting voices and activists without foreign intervention. Nevertheless, foreign interests have identified Israeli NGOs as the soft underbelly of Israeli democracy and have leveraged them to promote their own agendas. The problem became so acute that a watchdog, NGO Monitor, was formed in 2002 to track the self-hostility being funded largely by European and other foreign sources. As the organization notes: “NGOs lack a system of checks and balances, and…provide accountability to their funders and activist members, and not to the citizens or societies whose lives are directly impacted by their activities.”

NGO Monitor also notes that, even though most of the foreign government funding for these Israeli NGOs is “formally designated for ‘educating the Israeli public’ and ‘changing public opinion’ (both in violation of the norms on non-interference in other democracies), these Israeli NGOs are very active externally, in the delegitmization and political warfare against Israel.”

These left-wing Israeli NGO’s receive money from about two dozen foreign governments, and some private organizations. That includes millions of dollars from billionaire George Soros.

In Catch the Jew, author Tuvia Tenenbom exposed how foreign-funded “human rights” and “cultural” organizations in Israel tend to serve as vehicles for attacking Israel. By presenting himself to interview subjects as “Tobi the German,” Tenenbom elicits some surprising confessions. For example, the New Fund for Cinema and TV, a foreign-funded Israeli cultural NGO, told him that that about 80 percent of political documentaries made in Israel are co-produced by Europeans. That includes a documentary called “10%—What Makes a Hero,” which equates Israel’s military with the Nazis. Such films would be too scandalous to be produced in Germany, but German-sponsored NGOs can safely pay left-wing Israelis to make such movies.

Some foreign funders of Israeli NGOs have even unwittingly enriched Hamas. Last August, Hamas allegedly siphoned off “tens of millions of dollars” from World Vision, a U.S.-based charity, and used the funds for weapons purchases, tunnel construction, and other military activities.

The Knesset passed a law in July requiring disclosure of foreign funding sources for NGOs that get more than half of their money from overseas. The law is “clearly aligned with the American Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA),” wrote legal scholar Eugene Kontorovich.

“Israel is unique in the sheer scale of the foreign government sponsorship of domestic political groups,” he wrote. “For example, the European Union alone has in recent years given roughly 1.2 million Euro a year for political NGOs in the US and roughly an order of magnitude more in Israel—a vastly larger per capita amount.”

The Obama administration opposes foreign influence only when that influence promotes a dissenting view. President Obama opposed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the U.S. Congress against the Iranian nuclear deal, but was happy to give a speech to the UK parliament against Brexit. The Obama administration critiqued Israel’s NGO-funding-disclosure law, even though it sent U.S. taxpayer money to an Israeli NGO working to oust Israel’s prime minister.

The same hypocrisy seems to prevail among Israel’s foreign-funded NGOs. They ostensibly exist to promote democracy and peaceful co-existence, but are conspicuously silent when Palestinian institutions violate those ideals. Such silence enables abuse by Palestinians and promotes a distorted and incomplete picture of the complex reality in which Israelis operate. Foreign-funded Israeli NGOs remained silent  after the Palestinian Authority arrested Palestinians who visited a Sukkah in a symbolic peace event promoting coexistence.

“These organizations are silent when the Palestinian leadership pays salaries to the families of terrorists, glorifies murderers and calls streets and city centers after them,” Netanyahu said. “These organizations prove again and again that they are not actually interested in human rights, but only in shaming Israel and libeling it around the world.”

If Israel’s left-wing NGOs truly are committed to democracy and peace, why haven’t they condemned the PA’s efforts to prevent “normalization” with Israel? In 2014, Jibril Rajoub, the deputy secretary of the Fatah Central Committee and the head of the Palestinian Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs, condemned a coexistence-promoting soccer match between Israeli and Palestinian youths on a southern kibbutz, as “a crime against humanity.”

Last week, a Palestinian newspaper came under intense criticism for publishing an interview with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. The Jerusalem-based newspaper Al-Quds was denounced by Hamas, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, and the supposedly “moderate” PA. The “chilling effects” and anti-peace message implicit in the harsh reactions to the interview have yet to catch the attention of any left-wing NGOs supposedly working for peace and democracy.

Israel in Wonderland

October 7, 2016

Israel in Wonderland, Algemeiner, Martin Sherman, October 7, 2016

obamaatfunderalUS President Barack Obama speaking at the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres on September 30. Photo: YouTube screenshot.

The demise of Shimon Peres unleashed a tidal wave of mendacity and hypocrisy that underscores the dominance the delusional dictates of political correctness have over political discourse in (and on) Israel…On Friday, the world proved that what it really wants is to embrace Israel. Oslo, the disengagement and Peres were enough for the world to carry Israel aloft…But Israel repeatedly bites the outstretched hand, pushes the world to detest it… — Gideon Levy, “Shimon Peres’ funeral proved that anti-Semitism is dead,” Haaretz, October 2, 2016.

…No Israeli government has made any efforts in the past decade to move the peace process forward… — Lior Ackerman, former division head of the Shin Bet, “Wanted: Two courageous leaders,” Jerusalem Post, October 3, 2016.

Alice in “Alice in Wonderland”

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It would be so nice if something would make sense for a change.

In the past two and half decades — almost a quarter-century — truth has always been, at best, incidental to much of the manner in which the political discourse in, and on, Israel has been conducted. More often than not, political truth was surrendered as sacrificial offerings on the altar of the omnipotent deity of political correctness — regardless of how far the precepts of the latter diverged from those of factual correctness.

Appeasement as a yardstick for statesmanship

However, in the past 10 days, since the sad demise of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, it seems the floodgates of falsehood and fabrication have been opened even wider than usual, resulting in a veritable deluge of drivel that distorts the nation’s past, disregards present perils it faces and dismisses its future prospects with prophesies of impending doom.

Every endeavor at appeasing Palestinian-Arab demands, no matter how gruesome the results it precipitated, was applauded as far-sighted statesmanship. Any show of resistance to such demands was disparaged as short-sighted political partisanship; any skepticism as to the consequences of complying with them was denigrated as narrow-minded nationalism; any warning that caution should be exercised before accepting them was disparaged as radical right-wing rejectionism; any suggestion that the risks entailed in acceding to them should be thoroughly assessed was dismissed as extremist scare-mongering.

On the one hand, the discourse has been dominated by an approach that insists on making future Israeli concessions — no matter how fruitless (indeed, counter-productive) past concessions have proven. Moreover, it persists in trivializing all past concessions — no matter how far-reaching these have been, and no matter how calamitous the consequences in which they have culminated. On the other hand, the intransigence of the Palestinian Arabs, and their naked Judeocidal bloodlust, whose lethal consequences have hitherto been constrained only by the physical limitation on their practical capacity to murder and maim Jews, have been met with expansive understanding — even empathy — and are seldom, if ever, mentioned as the cause of conflict.

Indeed, in the dominant political discourse in/on Israel, it would appear that abject appeasement has become the sole yardstick for statesmanship — at least, where Israel is concerned.

Eulogizing the imaginary

Much of this mindset — the need for Israeli consideration for its enemies’ positions, coupled with total disregard for their incandescent anti-Israel hated — was reflected in the eulogies at Peres’ funeral last Friday.

Thus, Barack Obama claimed, “I don’t believe he [Peres] was naïve,” when it is clear that “naïve” is the most charitable characterization of the policies Peres forged in the last quarter-century of his life that proved so disastrously detached from reality.

Obama continued to say that Peres “understood from hard-earned experience that true security comes through making peace with your neighbors” — seemingly oblivious to the reality that nearly all previous land-for-peace endeavors have left Israel in a more precarious position than before, and its civilian population commensurately more exposed to attack, despite the fact that the prospect of a conventional military threat has receded significantly.

The president went on to cite a prime example of latter-day “Peresian” pathos, recalling Peres’ remark regarding Israel’s wars: “We won them all…But we did not win the greatest victory that we aspired to: release from the need to win victories.”

Indeed, this is such an illusionary, rather than visionary, pipe dream that even Peres’ protégé and devoted acolyte, former MK Einat Wilf (a dedicated two-state adherent herself) recognized that Israeli victory, or at least Palestinian defeat, is a precondition for peace.

Illusion not vision

In a recent Haaretz op-ed, “When Palestinians acknowledge defeat to Zionism, peace will follow,” published just days prior to Peres’ passing, Wilf wrote, somewhat remarkably:

The Zionist left wants to see the defeat of the Palestinian national movement just as badly as the right wing does. Only when it admits that, will the Left be able to lead the state of Israel to a peace deal, if and when that becomes feasable. That is because a peace agreement based on dividing the land will be possible only when the Palestinian nationalist movement acknowledges its defeat to the Jewish nationalist movement – Zionism.

Sadly, however, it seems the iron grip of political correctness can obfuscate the perspective even of the most sober pundits. Thus, in a piece written on the day of Peres’ demise, Wilf, after crediting Peres for helping ensure “that the Jews fighting a war of annihilation…had the weapons they needed to ultimately prevail,” went on to claim, “When decades later he recognized that the region might be turning somewhat less hostile, he grabbed the opportunity and brokered careful understandings between former sworn enemies.”

Really??

The region was “turning somewhat less hostile”?  With the Sunni Islamic State, on the one hand, and the Shia Islamic Republic, on the other? True, the conventional threat from several Sunni state actors had diminished, for the time being, only to be replaced by the arguably even more menacing specter of fanatical non-state actors, with quasi-state capabilities and global reach, as well as the Obama-facilitated threat of a nuclear Iran.

Peres “brokered careful understandings between former sworn enemies”? Hmm, one wonders what “careful understandings” those would be. The Oslo Accords? And which “former sworn enemies”? Hamas? Hezbollah? Arafat?

Eulogies (cont.): prattle on peace

Of course, in the labyrinth of contorted rhetoric and distorted polemics that comprise the political discourse in/on Israel, “peace” is no more than a code-word for Israeli capitulation to Arab demands, and the “peace process” an encrypted synonym for “Israeli withdrawal.”

Accordingly, when Obama lauded Peres in his eulogy, declaring, “He understood the practical necessity of peace. Shimon believed that Israel’s exceptionalism was rooted not only in fidelity to the Jewish people, but to…the precepts of his Jewish faith: ‘The Jewish people weren’t born to rule another people,’” the allusion is clear — to achieve peace, Israel must withdraw from the ancient homeland of the Jewish people. As if Arab or Muslim enmity began only in 1967, and the desire to annihilate the Jewish state was fueled only by the “occupation” of Judea-Samaria and not by an implacable Arab refusal to countenance any expression of Jewish sovereignty in any territorial configuration whatsoever.

Then, of course, there was famed author Amos Oz, the ever-eloquent “oracle” of the obsessive dovish Left, who in a 2000 Haaretz interview promised: “The minute we leave south Lebanon we will have to erase the word Hezbollah from our vocabulary, because the whole idea of the state of Israel versus Hezbollah was sheer folly from the outset. It most certainly will no longer be relevant when Israel returns to her internationally recognized northern border.”

Of course, the realities today, long after “Israel return[ed] to her internationally recognized northern border” and the bloody 2006 Second Lebanon War, demonstrate just how wildly inaccurate Oz’s prognosis was, proving he is far more adept in the world of fanciful fiction than that of cold political realities.

Amos Oz: “Peres, a banal hawk”

Past errors, of course, have never swayed Oz’s absolute belief in the infallibility of his political credo, no matter how often and how incontrovertibly it has been disproven in the past. This should be kept in mind when assessing Oz’s remembrance of Peres. Just prior to the funeral, Oz disparagingly dismissed earlier periods of Peres’ political life, saying, “In the early ’70s, he was, in my eyes, a banal hawk. Supporting settlers, a settler lover, a security man, the more land the better, the more power the better.” Having reduced Peres’ more impressive security successes as a hawk to the “banal,” Oz then enthusiastically gushed over Peres’ later failed fiascoes as a dove, saying, “He changed before my eyes…into an enthusiastic and stubborn believer in Israeli-Palestinian peace.”

In Oz’s graveside eulogy, he proclaimed that, despite naysayers who believe peace is impossible, “Peace is not only possible, it is imperative and inevitable.” But then he elaborated with a simplistic — the less charitable might say puerile — analogy, which revealed that what Oz envisaged was not really a harmonious peace, but (unsurprisingly) Israeli withdrawal and separation from the Palestinian Arabs. Relating to the Jewish homeland as innate real estate, he declared: “Since Israelis and Palestinians cannot suddenly become one happy family, there is no alternative to dividing this house [Israel] into two, and converting it into a duplex building.”

Of course, nowhere in this silly, shallow analogy is there any reference to the fact that the “their” apartment will abut a hostile Islamist neighborhood, whose belligerent inhabitants are very likely to turn it into a base from which to launch deadly attacks against “our” apartment and its vulnerable tenants.

But hey, why let pesky details impede a noble vision?

Where are Peres’ successors?

Convinced with cult-like conviction, despite all the evidence to the contrary, of the absolute truth of his ideological creed, Oz pontificated dogmatically: “In their heart of hearts, all sides know this simple truth. Where are the brave leaders who will stand up and make these things a reality? Where are Shimon Peres’ successors?” Indeed, one can only marvel with stunned amazement at this callous (or is that masochistic?) nostalgia for “successors,” who will lead us back into the horrors of charred buses, mutilated bodies and bombed cafes that were the hallmark of the Oslo-ian “peace process” that Oz perversely yearns for.

This call for “brave leaders” was echoed in a particularly inane and incoherent article by Lior Ackermam, titled “Wanted: Two courageous leaders” in the Jerusalem Post(see introductory excerpt), a publication that, since the departure of editor-in-chief Steve Linde, seems to have adopted a dramatically more leftist (and anti-Netanyahu) line.

In it, Ackerman bewails the continued dire conditions under which the Palestinian Arabs live under the regime of the Abbas-headed Palestinian Authority, suggesting that this has understandably precipitated the latest wave of so-called “lone-wolf” terror. He warns that the only thing preventing “total anarchy or a Hamas takeover” is the hard work of the Israeli security forces. But he raises the outrageous claim that “no Israeli government has made any efforts in the past decade to move the peace process forward.”

From the inane to the insane

I guess he must be unaware of Ehud Olmert’s wildly concessionary offer to Abbas in 2008, which the latter flatly rejected. Or the unreciprocated steps Netanyahu took, cutting sharply across the grain of his political base, to coax the Palestinians back to negotiations: the building freeze in Judea-Samaria; the implicit agreement to have the pre-1967 borders serve as a point of departure for negotiations; the release of convicted terrorists with “blood on their hands.”

I could go on and elaborate on the array of patently useless, self-contradictory, already-tried-and-failed “remedies’” that Ackerman proposes to ameliorate the situation until such adequately “courageous leaders” emerge, but that would take more than the remaining space in this essay…

Instead, allow me to conclude with the buffoonish comments of Haaretz’s Gideon Levy. In a delusional piece entitled “Shimon Peres’ funeral proved that anti-Semitism is dead” (see introductory excerpts), he wrote, “On Friday, the world proved that what it really wants is to embrace Israel. Oslo, the disengagement and Peres were enough for the world to carry Israel aloft…But Israel repeatedly bites the outstretched hand, pushes the world to detest it…” He added, “Every Israeli could be proud of being Israeli and not have to hide it out of fear and shame. How much Israel’s fate is in its own hands depends on its behavior. If it wants, it can be admired.”

The world according to Gideon Levy

So, dear Israelis, there you have it — the world according to Gideon Levy. All you have to do to be admired is to endorse fatally flawed and failed formulae that leave your streets strewn with dead bodies and the world will love you.

Simple, isn’t it?

As Alice in Wonderland sighed: “It would be so nice if something would make sense for a change.”

The Old Generals’ Old Plan

May 31, 2016

The Old Generals’ Old Plan, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, May 31, 2016

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Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

The Israeli Left is a one trick pony. As it sees things, all of Israel’s problems – with the Palestinians, with the Arab world, with Europe and with the American Left – can be solved by giving up Judea and Samaria and half of Jerusalem (along with Gaza which we gave up already).

Once Israel does this, the Left insists, then the Palestinians, the Arab world, Europe and Bernie Sanders voters will love us as they’ve never loved us before.

The events of the past quarter century have shown the Left’s position to be entirely wrong. Every time Israel has given the Palestinians land, it has become less secure. The Arabs have become more hostile.

The West has become more hostile. The Palestinians have expanded their demands.

Because of their negative experience with the Left’s policy, most Israelis reject it. This is why the Right keeps winning elections.

Given the failure of its plan, the Left could have been expected to abandon it and strike out on a different course. But it didn’t. Instead it has tried to hide its continued allegiance to its failed withdrawal strategy by pretending it is something else.

A central component of the Left’s concealment strategy is its use of former generals.

Over the past quarter century, and particularly since the Palestinians began demonstrating in 2000 that they have no interest in a state living side by side with Israel, the Left has carted out retired generals at regular intervals to proclaim that continued allegiance to the Left’s failed policy of withdrawal is not irrational.

Every couple of years, a new initiative of former generals – often funded by the EU – is published.

Each in turn uses whatever the popular memes of the day may be to repackage their call for withdrawal from Judea and Samaria and the partition of Jerusalem.

The media, itself dominated by the Left, backs these initiatives. The retired war heroes are paraded before the cameras and presented to the public as responsible adults who have grudgingly entered the political fray, despite their aversion to it, because of their patriotism. Just as they heeded the call of duty and led forces in wars of earlier generations, so today, we are told, they heed the call again, in yet another last-ditch effort to save the country.

Just in time for Avigdor Liberman’s swearing in as defense minister, a new group of old generals released a new version of their old, discredited plan.

A group calling itself “Commanders for Israeli Security” has mobilized an impressive roster of 214 generals that have signed on to a new position paper called “Security First: Changing the rules of the game, a plan to improve Israel’s security-diplomatic position.”

The group has a great website replete with a highend web commercial that has been flooding social media feeds for the past several days. The ad shows a person ripping up a “Peace Now” bumper sticker and replacing it with a call for “Security now, peace later.”

Their plan, the ad proclaims, will improve Israel’s security, strengthen its international position, repair the cleavages in Israeli society and set the conditions for future negotiations with the Palestinians.

Unfortunately, like every leftist plan to date, if the generals get their way and the government takes their advice, the results will be precisely the opposite of what they promise. As has been the case with every other well-packaged withdrawal plan, Israel’s security will be harmed. Our international position will be wrecked. Bernie Sanders voters along with the Europeans will expand their devotion to bashing Israel. And the Sunni Arab states that now flock to us will again abandon us.

The generals’ new package involves opening their plan with a hawkish call for continued Israeli security control over Judea and Samaria, until the Palestinians decide to make peace with us.

But as we soon see, that was just throat clearing.

Having established their sober-mindedness, the generals turn to the Left’s unchanging fantasy.

They call for the government to formally relinquish Israel’s sovereign rights over the vast majority of Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.

They call for the government to permanently stop respecting the property rights of Jews in the areas of Judea and Samaria outside of the security perimeter.

The more than one hundred thousand Jews who live in those areas, they insist, must be denied all right to property, save the right to sell whatever they now own.

They must not be allowed to build anything – no new houses; no new communities; no new infrastructure.

As for the communities inside the perimeter, the generals insist that those should be permitted to continue respecting Jewish property rights, within limits, albeit. For instance, those communities must not be permitted to expand beyond their current construction boundaries. In other words, Jews can build up, but not out.

Jerusalem, which they believe should never have been unified in 1967, should be effectively partitioned.

The generals call for the municipal government to stop administering the city as a unified mixed Jewish and Arab city. Instead, they say, the city should set up a separate governing authority for Arab neighborhoods in eastern, northern and southern Jerusalem. That separate authority should be responsible for all planning and zoning activities in Arab neighborhoods as well as the education system and every other aspect of the daily lives of the Arabs of the city.

Gaza, which has been operating as a Hamas state since 2007, is also brought in from the cold. The generals call for the government to continue to supply Gaza with everything that Hamas demands – water, electricity, employment in Israel, a Hamas-controlled port. They even call for Israel to allow Europe to pay the salaries of Hamas terrorists.

Moreover, the generals recommend that the government announce that Gaza, Judea and Samaria and partitioned Jerusalem are one political entity, despite the fact that they aren’t.

The generals insist that by taking these steps, Israel will prove its devotion to peace and keep the dream of a Palestinian state alive. As a consequence, they say, the Palestinians will be happy and stop trying to murder Israelis. The Arab world will line up to sign peace treaties with Israel. Europe along with Bernie Sanders’ voters will bury the hatchet and embrace Israel.

The problem with the generals’ newest plan and the ones its replaces is that they all ignore basic facts.

There is no Palestinian constituency for peace with Israel. The more Israel offers the Palestinians, the less interested they are in settling.

By announcing that Israel renounces its claims to Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, and treating the Jews east of the 1949 cease-fire lines as second class citizens, the generals will not only widen Israel’s social cleavages. They will tell the Palestinians that they are right to feel contempt for us. The worse they behave, the more we will offer them. The more Jews they murder, the more the Jews will turn against one another.

As for improving Israel’s international position, it is hard to understand why the generals refuse to learn the lessons of the Gaza withdrawal. Despite the fact that Israel uprooted 24 Jewish communities in Gaza and northern Samaria, and removed its military forces from the area, without exception, the international community insists that Israel still “occupies” Gaza. How can the generals expect the world to act more fairly towards a more limited withdrawal plan from Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem? As for Gaza, Operation Protective Edge brought out into the open the fact that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Arab states support Israel in its war against Hamas. They do so because they fear Islamic State and Iran more than they hate Israel, whose power they trust.

If Israel announces its intention of leaving Judea and Samaria, which the Arabs know will become a Hamas enclave faster than Gaza did, the Arab faith in Israel’s power will diminish. As a consequence, if Israel follows the generals’ advice our relations with the Sunnis will worsen, not improve.

It is a tragedy for Israel that the generals have allowed the Left to use them in this way. Their role in perpetuating Israel’s destructive adherence to the devastating two-state policy model diminishes their past contributions and endangers Israel’s future.