Sunday, 25 October 2009

Love of the Land: One Man, One Vote, One Time

One Man, One Vote, One Time

Noah Pollak
24 October 09

That is the oft-repeated formulation that describes the problem with the participation of Islamist and terrorist groups in elections. They pretend to be committed to democratic politics so long as democratic politics provide a vehicle for them to take power. But the moment elections no longer favor them, they no longer favor elections.

Many have been wondering where Hamas would come down on this question since the group’s rise to power was given democratic legitimacy in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections. It appears that we have an answer. Mahmoud Abbas, president of the PA and the leader of Fatah, has announced that he will schedule presidential and legislative elections for January 24th, 2010. Hamas’s reaction?

Salah Bardawil, a senior Hamas official in Gaza, said Abbas’ “declaration will blow away in the wind.”

Hamas’s Syrian leadership added:

“Mahmoud Abbas cannot hold elections only in the West Bank,” said Moussa Abu Marzouk, Hamas’ Syrian-based deputy political leader. “Everything he says on this subject is to put pressure on Hamas.”

So Hamas will not participate in elections, and will in fact attempt to undermine and delegitimize them. This is unsurprising to most observers of Islamist politics. But then, there are legions of westerners who counsel Israel and the United States to “engage” Hamas. To take one of many examples, here is Daniel Levy, a leading spokesman for this view:

One can’t marginalize Gaza — it’s part of the two-state solution. And we’re most certainly going to have to bring Hamas inside the tent to make this work. I think that’s doable and the first imperative for the U.S. is to leave the Palestinians to do their own internal politics, and to reconstitute their own reformed national movement.

The obvious question is: If Hamas will neither participate in elections nor temper its ambitions, how do we bring it “inside the tent”? The engagers are being either lazy or dishonest when they take as their unspoken premise that Hamas itself desires to come into the tent. What if Hamas cares more about maintaining its ideological purity and guarding its Gaza fiefdom than it does about earning good PR from the West? Indeed, isn’t it perfectly rational that Hamas should seek to protect its hard-earned sovereignty in Gaza by rejecting participation in a process whose goal is ending that sovereignty?

It is precisely the fear of becoming entangled in a system that it cannot dominate — i.e., elections or a national-unity government — that provokes Hamas’s rejectionism. As David Makovsky notes,

Surveys conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, led by Khalil Shikaki, found that current Palestinian support for Hamas stands at 28 percent, compared to 44 percent for Fatah. In fact, Hamas has not polled better than Fatah since June 2006.

The lesson here is obvious, but alas too simple for sophisticates like Levy: Hamas will not participate in elections. It will not compromise on any of its positions in order to join a national-unity government with Fatah. It will not participate in a peace process or agree to any previous Palestinian agreements. Why would it do any of these things — why would it come into “the tent” — when doing so would require the group to surrender its one great accomplishment: its control over Gaza?

Love of the Land: One Man, One Vote, One Time

Love of the Land: Another Tack: Condemnations are commendable

Another Tack: Condemnations are commendable

Sarah Honig
22 October 09

In my very early childhood I used to let out a whoop of joy whenever the radio reported yet another UN condemnation for another Israeli anti-terrorist retaliation. As it turned out, I had lots of opportunity for elation. When my bemused parents admonished me with increased exasperation, I explained that I was happy because the UN had again rewarded our battlefield triumph.

Plainly, I didn't understand what the word condemnation meant, nor had any notion about Orwellian doublespeak, international hypocrisy or diplomatic duplicity. I simply noticed that when things go well for Jews, they get condemned.

That made condemnation sound like a good thing. Each condemnation became akin to a trophy or a victory medal for letting our tormentors have it.

More years than I care to admit later - after I had learned the definition of long strange words and became aware of the real dangers inherent in a tarnished national image - I still can't entirely fault my juvenile interpretation of grown-up events.

EVEN THE Goldstone report fits so well into my kindergarten-age perceptions. When rockets were rained on Sderot and environs for nearly a decade, Israelis were obviously faring badly. Yet so long as Israelis were victimized by Arabs, the rest of the world said nothing. Our weakness and our pain seemed to excite no reaction, indeed draw no notice, as if they occurred in a sealed vacuum.

However, as soon as the victims defended themselves, albeit belatedly, a tempest was stirred. The entire world's attention was suddenly riveted on little old us and the condemnations - familiar, strident and ever-hectoring - came, fast and furious as they had during all the decades of Israel's existence and even prior to Jewish independence. Only a show of Israeli deterrence brought Goldstone here. His very interest in us must indicate that we had done something worthy in our self-interest.
(Full Article)

Love of the Land: Another Tack: Condemnations are commendable

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Love of the Land: Waging Diplomatic War

Waging Diplomatic War

Caroline Glcik
23 October 09

If, to paraphrase Carl von Clausewitz, diplomacy is war by other means, then just as armies are called upon to concentrate their efforts and resources where they can do the most good for their cause, so governments must utilize their diplomatic resources - whether plentiful or scarce - to advance their most important national interests.

The Palestinians and the Iranians have formidable diplomatic resources at their disposal. Both the Palestinians and Iran can expect to receive the support of automatic majorities at the UN for everything they do. And today most international diplomacy is conducted under the aegis of the UN or its affiliated bodies. Understanding their strength, the Palestinians and the Iranians use the UN and its affiliated organs to advance their most important goals. In the Palestinians' case, UN-based diplomacy is used to delegitimize Israel. In the Iranian case, UN-based diplomacy is used to facilitate the mullocracy's acquisition of nuclear weapons. Over the past week, both the Palestinians and the Iranians enjoyed strategic victories in their diplomatic campaigns.

Last Friday, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution condemning Israel in every possible way for asserting its sovereignty over its capital city and for defending its citizens against wanton, massive, unprovoked and illegal terror from the skies emanating from Hamas-controlled Gaza. The resolution represented a massive achievement for the Palestinians. It referred Israel to the Security Council with the recommendation that Israel's leaders be tried as war criminals before international tribunals. That is, the UNHRC's resolution effectively delegitimized Israel's right to exist by denying that it has a right to defend its territory and its people from illegal aggression carried out by an illegal terrorist organization.

Then on Wednesday, Mohamed ElBaradei, the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency's virulently anti-Israel chairman, announced a deal has been reached between Iran and the US, Russia and France regarding Iran's nuclear program. The deal - which the parties initialized in Geneva after just three days of talks - legitimizes Iran's nuclear weapons program and effectively transforms the US, the EU and Russia into facilitators rather than opponents of that program.
(Full Article)

Love of the Land: Waging Diplomatic War




I'm reading Timothy Garton Ash's The Polish Revolution: Solidarity (Third Edition) - his 1983 history-and-eyewitness-report on the rise and fall of Solidarity in 1980-81. I'm preparing a lecture I need to give next month in Warsaw, but it just so happens that we're about to mark the 20th anniversary of the extraordinary events of 1989, when the Soviet Empire dissolved; since Garton Ash is such a fine historian and eye-witness, the New York Review of Books has asked him to write on those days. The first of two installments is here:

The year 1989 was one of the best in European history. Indeed, I am hard pushed to think of a better one. It was also a year in which the world looked to Europe—specifically to Central Europe, and, at the pivotal moment, to Berlin. World history—using the term in a quasi-Hegelian sense—was made in the heart of the old continent, just down the road from Hegel's old university, now called the Humboldt University. Twenty years later, I am tempted to speculate (while continuing to work with other Europeans in an endeavor to prove this hunch wrong) that this may also have been the last occasion—at least for a very long time—when world history was made in Europe. Today, world history is being made elsewhere. There is now a Café Weltgeist at the Humboldt University, but the Weltgeist itself has moved on. Of Europe's long, starring role on the world stage, future generations may yet say: nothing became her like the leaving of it.

Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Debunking Shakespeare

Debunking Shakespeare

According to the New York Times, a group of historians is applying new methods to military history, and one of the things' they've found is that Henry V wasn't. Or if he was, his victory at Agincourt wasn't. Or if it was, it wasn't all that important - that was merely Shakesperian agitprop.

Well, immortal agitprop, you'll have to admit.

The article contains a link to a database the historians are setting up with all the possible names of the soldiers of the 100-Year-War; so far, they've got 20,000 names, apparently. So I snooped around. As far as they know to tell, there were no soldiers in the 100-Year-War (1369-1453) with any of the following names: Cohen, Levy, Mizrachi, Atias, or Rabinowitz. (No Lozowick's either).
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu claims not to back Gaza probe

Netanyahu claims not to back Gaza probe

In an interview with Newsweek's Lally Weymouth that was published in Saturday's Washington Post, Prime Minister Netanyahu seemed to back an Israeli probe of Operation Cast Lead (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

Q. What did you think of the Goldstone report?

A. I thought there were limits to hypocrisy but I was obviously wrong. The so-called human rights commission accuses Israel that legitimately defended itself against Hamas of war crimes. Mind you, Hamas . . . committed four. First, they called for the destruction of Israel, which under the U.N. Charter is considered a war crime -- incitement to genocide; secondly, they fired deliberately on civilians; third, they hid behind civilians; and fourth, they've been holding our captured soldier, Gilad Shalit, without access to the Red Cross, for three years.

And who gets accused of criminal behavior at the end of the day? Israel that sent thousands of text messages and made tens of thousands of cellular phone calls to Palestinian civilians [to warn them to evacuate]. . . .

[Q.] So you're not in favor of an independent inquiry?

[A.] We're looking into that not because of the Goldstone report but because of our own internal needs.

The best way to defuse this issue is to speak the truth because Israel was defending itself with just means against an unjust attack. Serious countries have to think about adapting the laws of war in the age of terrorism and guerrilla warfare. If the terrorists believe they have a license to kill by choosing to kill from behind civilian lines, that's what they'll do again and again. What exactly is Israel supposed to do?

On Saturday night, the Prime Minister's office issued a clarification.

"The prime minister actually hinted in the interview that if something needed to be investigated, then it should be the very establishment of the Goldstone commission," the bureau said in a statement.

The bureau also released what it said was the full transcript from the interview, in which Netanyahu says Israel has already investigated 24 of the 36 cases of alleged the violations during the operation.

Netanyahu's comments triggered associates of Defense Minister Ehud Barak to declare that the minister opposes the establishment of a state inquiry into the Gaza war. They said the defense minister voiced his opposition to the move at recent meetings.

Barak said that had complete trust in the inquiries carried out by the Israel Defense Forces after the 3-week campaign, the associates said, and those that the army conducts continuously.

"Barak believes there is no other army that investigates itself like the IDF," the associates said.

I'm with Barak on this, and I believe Netanyahu is with him on it too. What Goldstone wants isn't a 'probe': It's Israeli blood. Any commission is going to find that no 'war crimes' were committed. And to Goldstone and the 'Human Rights Council,' that's just not an acceptable result.

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu claims not to back Gaza probe


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...