Sunday, 15 May 2011

Love of the Land: NY Times Sinks the Truth: Flotilla 2

NY Times Sinks the Truth: Flotilla 2:

Simon Plosker
Honest Reporting
15 May '11

According to a New York Times report, a second flotilla of vessels led by the Turkish Mavi Marmara is due to sail for Gaza within the next few months. Last time, the real motives and agenda of those involved in the flotilla only became clear after Israeli commandos were attacked by extremists brandishing weapons.

Last time, the flotilla organizers were allowed to sell a false narrative of so-called “peace activists” delivering humanitarian aid to Gazans suffering a humanitarian crisis as a result of an Israeli blockade.

This time, there is no excuse for the media not to question the agenda behind a second flotilla and to include the relevant context. The New York Times, however, has published such a shoddy piece of journalism that it is difficult to believe how such an article was allowed in the newspaper of record.

Where is the context?

According to the NY Times:

Almost a year ago, Israeli naval commandos stormed a previous flotilla sailing to Gaza, killing nine pro-Palestinian activists on the Mavi Marmara, one of six ships in the fleet.

Only this January, The Turkel Commisssion of inquiry into the events surrounding the May 31, 2010 Gaza flotilla concluded that Israeli soldiers only took action in self-defense after being violently attacked by the ship’s passengers and their actions complied with international law.

Having adopted the simple narrative over the events of May 2010, the article continues by describing the owners of the Mavi Marmara as the “Humanitarian Relief Foundation“, a “Turkish nongovernmental organization“.

Why does the NY Times use such a benign description, particularly when the organization is best known by its acronym the IHH, which the article does not refer to? It is no secret that the IHH has a radical Islamic anti-Western orientation, supports radical Islamic networks, including Hamas, and at least in the past, even global jihad elements.

Having interviewed someone from the IHH, did Susanne Gusten, the NY Times journalist not consider this background information on the IHH to be relevant to the story?

(Read full "NY Times Sinks the Truth")

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Love of the Land: NY Times Sinks the Truth: Flotilla 2

Israel Matzav: In their own words: Gaza 'Palestinians' prove there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza

In their own words: Gaza 'Palestinians' prove there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza

Here is a promotional video for Gaza that will prove to you that - surprise - there is no humanitarian crisis there.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Tundra Tabloids).

Come to Gaza, come slay with friends?

Israel Matzav: In their own words: Gaza 'Palestinians' prove there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza

Love of the Land: Hazony: Slanting Nakba

Hazony: Slanting Nakba

David Hazony
15 May '11

Question: What do the following headlines have in common?

1. “Israeli Troops Fire on Palestinian Protesters in Deadly Clashes”—Huffington Post

2. “Israeli Police Fire on Protesters”—Daily Beast

3. “9 Killed as Israel Clashes with Palestinians”—New York Times

Answer: All of these headlines appear today on the sites’ home pages, covering the incident on the border between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights. None of these headlines tells you that the protestors in question were crossing a hostile border between Syria and Israel, en masse, in a violent protest at least permitted (if not organized) by the Syrian government. You see, the term “Palestinians,” when combined with “clashes” and “IDF,” almost always refers to Palestinians in the Palestinian territories, maybe in East Jerusalem. They don’t live on or near the Golan Heights. They have no way of getting to that border. In the interest of being informative about the actual news item, shouldn’t the protestors have been called “Syrians,” even if they were waving Palestinian flags?

Even worse, the first headlines two give you the distinct impression of a moral equivalence with what’s happening elsewhere in the Middle East: that just as Syria and Libya attack peaceful protesters, so does Israel—which, incidentally, is exactly the impression Bashar Assad was hoping you’d get. You’d never guess that hundreds of Syrians stormed the border with Israel, tearing down fences, and hurling rocks.

At moments like these, can supporters of Israel be blamed for accusing these news outlets of bias?

For a totally different report on what happened, here is YNet’s piece. There you’ll discover something that the main news outlets apparently missed: that some of the people who crossed the border into Israel weren’t really protesting at all.

They were defecting.

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Love of the Land: Hazony: Slanting Nakba

Israel Matzav: A political party?

A political party?

Does this man look like a politician? In Turkey, they think he is a politician.
Speaking to Charlie Rose on Wednesday, however, the Turkish PM chimed in on the recently achieved unity agreement between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, indicating that he did not feel Hamas was an obstacle in achieving Mideast peace.

"Let me give you a very clear message, I don't see Hamas as a terror organization. Hamas is a political party -- it emerged as a political party that appeared as a political party," Erdogan told Charlie Rose, adding: "it is a resistance movement trying to protect its country under occupation."

Going further, the Turkish PM said the world should not "mix terrorist organizations with such an organization, and they entered into the elections," adding that Hamas "won the elections, they had ministers, and they had parliament speakers who were imprisoned by Israel, about 35 ministers and members of parliament in Israel prisons."

"Where is terrorism? They entered into the elections and after the elections this is how they were reacted, I mean, calling them terrorists, this would be disrespect to the will of the Palestinian people," Erdogan added.
Funny, Hitler won an election too.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: A political party?

Israel Matzav: Turkey: No shortage of volunteers for suicide mission

Turkey: No shortage of volunteers for suicide mission

Let's make this clear. There is no - and I mean no - way that the IDF or the Israeli government is going to let a Mavi Marmara flotilla sail unmolested into Gaza. At the very least, the ships will be stopped, boarded and inspected - and not by a third country. And yet, the New York Times reports, there is no shortage of volunteers for what might be a quite dangerous mission.
At dawn on May 31 last year, Ms. Sonmez stood on the observation deck of the Mavi Marmara, shouting orders as Israeli helicopters hovered overhead and commandos boarded the ship. Her colleague Cevdet Kiliclar, who managed the relief foundation’s Web site, was shot and killed while taking photographs “just three or four steps away from me,” she recounted.

Now Ms. Sonmez, who is on the board of the foundation, plans to embark on the Mavi Marmara once again and will be one of 150 activists making the trip.

Within 48 hours of application forms being posted on the foundation’s Web site last week, some 2,000 people had volunteered to partake in the journey, she said.

Although Israel has warned that it will continue to enforce its Gaza blockade, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation does not expect another raid on its ship, Ms. Sonmez said.

“I don’t think Israel will make the same mistake again,” she said. “I think Israel knows that it has isolated itself.”

Not everyone agrees with her.

“If the ship sails, it will be a disaster,” said Osman Bahadir Dincer, a specialist in Middle Eastern affairs at the International Strategic Research Organization in Ankara. “In this atmosphere in the Middle East, we do not need a provocation,” Mr. Dincer said by telephone this week. “This would absolutely be a provocation.”
What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Turkey: No shortage of volunteers for suicide mission

Love of the Land: More celebrating

More celebrating

Frimet/Arnold Roth
This Ongoing War
15 May '11

Hat-tip to Jameel from for alerting us to a four-minute-long video of yesterday's Nakba-ready rock-throwing party in Silwan, a neighbourhood a few minutes' drive from where we live in Jerusalem. In the background, you hear local children shouting throughout the video "Allahu Akbar", an expression of their aspiration for peaceful relations along secular, democratic, live-and-let-live lines, as received from their parents, teachers and religious leaders.

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Love of the Land: More celebrating

The rise of true Israeli democracy

The rise of true Israeli democracy

In: Israeli Politics|Zionism

A heated debate has taken place in the last few decades on the definition of what is a true democracy. While democracy has traditionally been seen solely as the implementation of majority rule, a new definition has risen among academics who were unhappy of the results of democratic decisions.

“A democracy of the majority alone that is not accompanied by a democracy of values is but a formal, statistical democracy. True democracy limits the power of the majority in order to protect society‘s values.” (Chief Justice Aharon Barak in the famed Bank Mizrahi case)

With these few sentences, Justice Barak redefined Israeli democracy from that of majority rule to that of a society ruled by “proper values”. Of course, what Justice Barak failed to clarify who would be responsible for deciding what values deserve protection. A deeper look at Barak’s philosophy gives us a clear answer: the decisions are made by a small group of homogenous academics sitting in a body called the High Court of Justice. This small group of intellectuals have more legitimacy, according to Barak, than the majority of Israelis to decide what values are proper for the State of Israel.

The elitist coterie of Supreme Court judges is but one example of how unrepresentative the State of Israel’s main institutions have become. It is well known in Israel that the media is highly tilted to the left. Haaretz, for example, is considered the most influential newspaper in Israel (Rebecca L. Torstrick. Culture and Customs of Israel). Yet, Haaretz has been accused of clear bias for the opinions of its small elite of journalists and editors, with few dissenting voices ever appearing on its pages. Its readership is far from representative of the Israeli public, as most are wealthy Ashkenazim. Israeli author Irit Linur has even canceled her subscription, accusing Haaretz of an anti-Zionism that turns too often to “foolish” journalism. While Haaretz is an extreme example of the media’s bias, its influence is unmatched by any other newspaper and is the most read newspaper by decision-makers. Therefore, in Israel, a small elite is writing the newspaper that is influencing decision makers.

In the last year, much has been said about the high level of bias in Israeli universities. Reports by Im Tirtzu and the Institute of Zionist Strategies have shown that Israeli universities and professors tend to skew towards post-Zionist and anti-Zionist views. While much noise has been made about Im Tritzu’s alleged McCarthyism, no one in the academia bothered denying the accusations made by the organization. Once again, we see that an essential and influential institution in Israel is being run by a small, elitist minority.

Finally, in Israel, many organizations calling themselves human rights organizations, funded by European countries, have put all their energies in the de-legitimization of Israel. Instead of protecting the legitimate human rights of Israelis, Palestinians and all other human beings, those organizations have constantly attacked the State of Israel, fought against its right to defend itself, and often even questioned the very legitimacy of the existence of the Jewish State.

When the courts (and the very definition of democracy), the media, human rights organizations and the academia is all run by a small minority that does not represent the majority opinion, it is only natural that the majority stands up and demands to re-take control over these institutions.

This year was transformative for Israeli democracy.

This year, the nation of Israel rejected Justice Barak’s vision of democracy and decided to take its fate back in its hands. Through campaigns by organizations like Im Tirtzu, NGO Monitor and various other organizations, Israelis rejected the values of the minority elites who’ve never represented them and demanded that the power centers of Israeli society be returned to the Nation.

Unbiased news started appearing both through online technologies and blogs, as well as the growth of more representatives competing newspapers. Human rights organizations were put to task and a law was passed which will require those organizations to provide full transparency. The academia has been served a serious message when, for the first time ever, individuals started requesting that the bias be stopped and that all opinions be given equal treatment in academic discourses. Democracy has moved once again: It has left the hands of the small and unrepresentative elites and is slowly returning to the nation.

Of course, this change has created a lot of opposition. Every time transparency was required from these small elite, they argued that this request for transparency is undemocratic. Instead of admitting that this is a fight between the right of the nation to decide its own fate, and a small elite that does not want to lose its power.

Surprisingly, and to their credit, Tamar Hermann and David Newman (“Israel’s democratic veneer”) properly diagnosed the cause for the current struggle in Israel. They properly defined this struggle as a struggle between the sectors which have been left out of the decision making process and the small elite which has decided for them. However, instead of welcoming the fact that those sectors are finally speaking up, they are worried of the consequences of such a trend. Yes, they, like Justice Barak, do not trust the majority.

They describe their fears from the rule of a majority which is formed of, amongst other people, the Hareidim, Mizrachi Jews, Religious Zionists, and Russian immigrants. As a proud Mizrachi (Moroccan) Religious Zionist Jew, who also respects the human rights of Russian immigrants and Hareidim, I am not only insulted at the insinuation that our right to speak challenges the democratic ethos of the State of Israel, but I am also worried that unless we give these groups the right to express themselves and to be part of the decision making process, Israel will stop being a true representative democracy with majority rule.

My answer to Hermann and Newman is simple: Do not be afraid of true democracy. Yes, the elites will change, but Hareidim, Mirazchi Jews, Religious Zionists and Russian immigrants are also allowed to have a say as to the nature of the State of Israel. If we truly seek to have a democracy that reflects all of our views, we must help them get their voice heard and help the State of Israel decide its fate through democratic means, through elections which allow for majority rule, and not through the forced rule of self-appointed elites.

Dan Illouz is the former Overseas Communications Coordinator for Im Tirtzu. He currently blogs at

Taken from:Dan (

Israel Matzav: The most anti-Semitic country in the West?

The most anti-Semitic country in the West?

Which is the most anti-Semitic country in the West? Go here to find out.

Israel Matzav: The most anti-Semitic country in the West?

Israel Matzav: Briefing on Sunday's event with IDF Lt. Col. Avital Leibovitch

Briefing on Sunday's event with IDF Lt. Col. Avital Leibovitch

I participated in a bloggers' briefing with IDF Lt. Col. Avital Leibovitch. The briefing took place at approximately 5:30 this evening. A summary is below.

At the Syrian border, the IDF noticed a few thousand Syrians gathered in the area of the Syrian side of Majdal Shams. Because there is a protest there every year on 'Naqba Day,' they didn't consider it unusual, but suddenly approximately 1000 people ran for the border fence, including women, children and youth. A few dozen Syrians managed to cross the fence to the Israeli side.

The IDF commander in the area decided only to open fire at those people who started to destroy structures in the area. Some of the civilians in Majdal Shams helped Syrians to cross the border.

Half an hour ago a group went back to Syria and a few hours ago another group left. There may still be (!) a few left.

In Majdal Shams, 30 Syrians were lightly wounded (estimate) and the IDF gave them medical attention. Lt. Col. Leibovitch could not confirm the number of Syrians killed that was reported in the media today.

Syrian troops did not intervene - they sat and watched. The IDF thinks it's a distraction from Assad's problems and that the Syrian army intentionally let it happen.

They believe they have intelligence to know if anyone from Syria stays in Majdal Shams or tries to enter Israel. She did not get into specifics.

There was also a demonstration in Quneitra but that was quiet.

On the Lebanese border, there were demonstrations (she called all the demonstrations riots) near the Good Fence in the Metualla area, but the Lebanese Armed Forces used weapons to control the crowds.

At Maroun Aras (also called Ras Amoun elsewhere in this blog), rioters tried to break the border fence, IDF opened fire selectively at those who tried to approach the fence. The Syrian and Lebanese borders are 120km long so today's events were a huge test. The IDF has ten wounded soldiers and three officers - all lightly wounded from rocks.

600 people protested at Qalandia on the outskirts of Jerusalem, and teargas was used against them. Footage is being put up showing the 'Palestinian' rioters hiding behind ambulances. It took a few hours and was contained.

At the southern border, the IDF identified a large number of Gazans moving toward Erez late this morning. This did not succeed. The IDF opened fire with warning shots in order to keep the 'Palestinians' on the Gaza side. Hopefully tomorrow will be quiet. The IDF is controlling all areas.

The IDF believes that the situation is under control. They believe Hezbullah, Hamas and Iran were behind this, and that they coordinated today's attacks.


From here on is NOT from Lt. Col. Leibovitch.

Israel Radio adds that the big fear is that this will happen again in September. It is difficult for the IDF to deal with 'unarmed' protesters approaching the border area (it's not clear to me why - it's an act of war for a hostile company to send its citizens charging at another country's border whether they are armed or not). The Israel Radio analyst suggested mining the entire northern border area.

More to follow....

Israel Matzav: Briefing on Sunday's event with IDF Lt. Col. Avital Leibovitch

Israel Matzav: Breaking: 10 Syrians killed, Bibi reacts

Breaking: 10 Syrians killed, Bibi reacts

Israel Radio reports at 6:00 pm that Israel has returned 10 bodies to Syria.

Some Syrian wounded may be treated in Israel.

The IDF is searching for those who did not return to Syria from Majdal Shams.

In Lebanon, 6 dead and 71 wounded in Maroun Aras.

After the 6:00 pm news we got reactions from Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has ordered the IDF to calm things down as quickly as possible.

Prime Minister Netanyahu says we are determined to defend our borders and our ownership. Important to note that this day is meant to mark the establishment of the State of Israel. The fight isn't over the 1967 borders, but over the very existence of Israel, which they call a catastrophe. It's important to know with whom and what we are contending.

Hopefully, Netanyahu will remember that when he speaks in Washington next week, and tell the Congress and President Obama that this is not about the 1967 borders, but about Israel's very existence.

Finally, Israel Radio is reporting that all the Syrian infiltrators left and the Syrian buses returned them home.

The border fence will be repaired - it was broken open in two places. The IDF is fixing it now.

Israel Matzav: Breaking: 10 Syrians killed, Bibi reacts

Israel Matzav: Video: 'Palestinian' rioters in Qalandia use ambulance for cover

Video: 'Palestinian' rioters in Qalandia use ambulance for cover

Here are 'brave' 'Palestinian' rioters in Qalandia on the outskirts of Jerusalem using an ambulance for cover.

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Video: 'Palestinian' rioters in Qalandia use ambulance for cover

Love of the Land: The Point of Nakba Day

The Point of Nakba Day

Jonathan S. Tobin
15 May '11

This morning crowds of Arabs stormed Israel’s borders along the Golan Heights and Lebanon. The reason for these demonstrations, and others that took place in the territories is that it is May 15. That makes it the 63rd anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence (celebrated earlier this week according to the Hebrew calendar) but for Arabs, it is Nakba or “disaster” day.

In a sense the attempts to cross Israel’s borders is a highly appropriate way to commemorate the events of May 15, 1948. On that day, the British Mandate for Palestine expired and the forces of the United Kingdom withdraw, allowing the residents of the country to sort out their own disputes. The United Nations had voted the previous fall to partition the country into two states: one Arab and one Jewish. The Jews accepted the deal. The Arabs refused, insisting that there be no Jewish state, not even one with the truncated borders of the partition resolution that didn’t even include any of Jerusalem.

When the British withdrew, the Jews declared their state. The Arabs, who had spent the past few months launching attacks on Jewish towns, villages and cities, urged the surrounding Arab nations to invade to wipe out the newborn state of Israel. Five Arab armies complied with the request, as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan (today’s Jordan) and Iraq sent troops into the former Mandate. When the fighting stopped in 1949, Israel was still standing and parts of Palestine (including half of Jerusalem) were occupied by foreign armies and remained under the rule of Egypt and the Jordanians until 1967.

The point of this history lesson is this: From the day of Israel’s birth, the purpose of its Arab foes was not to truncate its borders but to make sure it had no territory at all. Nakba Day should illustrate that it is not the eviction of the Jews from parts of the West Bank that has inspired Palestinian Arab nationalism but the notion that Jewish sovereignty anywhere in the country is unacceptable.

This is something that Israel’s liberal critics who continue to carp that its government must give up nationalist and religious dreams and make peace don’t understand. The fact that even the current supposedly hard-right wing government has embraced the concept of a two state solution is ignored. The history of the last 18 years of peace processing which brought the Palestinians autonomy in the West Bank and a Jew-free Hamas-run state in Gaza but no peace for Israel is of no interest to those who prefer to insist that somehow the lack of peace is still somehow Israel’s fault.

Nakba Day helps remind the Arabs that their goal is the “return” of the descendants of millions of descendants of Arab refugees of the war of 1948-49. Which is to say that they have not given up their dream of wiping out Israel. It ought to remind Israel’s critics of the same thing.

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Love of the Land: The Point of Nakba Day

Israel Matzav: Massive anti-Israel rally in Cairo on Friday

Massive anti-Israel rally in Cairo on Friday

As well continue to repeat the mantra that the 'Arab spring' has nothing to do with Israel or Jews, a massive rally against Israel took place in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday.
Egyptians gathered at Cairo's Liberation Square -- the epicenter of the Egyptian revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak's regime.

The Cairo rally -- named a million-man march -- coincides with the anniversary of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories in 1948.

Activists have called for a march to neighboring Gaza, which is under Israel's siege.

Meanwhile, several thousand also held protest outside the Israeli consulate in Alexandria, calling for an end to Cairo's relations with Tel Aviv.

They demanded their military rulers to abandon Israel and lift the blockade on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Protesters have threatened to continue massive protest rallies if the current government does not move to cut off ties with the Israeli regime.

Egypt's political parties say the Gaza blockade serves the interests of Israel and the US and threatens regional stability and independence.
Barry Rubin adds:

Oh, and guess how the demonstration was largely organized. Ready? On Facebook! Hahaha. Those youthful hip twittering moderate young people!

Also notice how this is all happening before elections install a radical, nationalist, anti-Israel, anti-American president and a parliament dominated by revolutionary Islamist anti-American antisemites. What are we going to see after the people have spoken?

We can also look forward to similar demonstrations in Palestine’s capital, after Linkindependence takes place, demanding an abrogation of the Israel-Palestine peace treaty and the end to Israeli occupation of…Israel.

After people finally figured out in April-May what they should have known in January-February about Egypt, might be better to learn the lesson now rather than to repeat the same mistakes infinitely?
You will recall that in the Glenn Beck video I showed you in an earlier post, he pointed out the difference between democracy and freedom. Egypt is a classic example. They don't want democracy - they want Islamism. And they want the freedom to go to war with the Jews. As the Sandmonkey pointed out before he got sucked in to the current revolution (and wiped this post clean):
But then I rememebrd that we- the majority of us anyway- don't want peace with Israel, and are not interested in any real dialogue with them. We weren't then and we are not now. The Entire peace process has always been about getting the land back, not establishing better relations. Even when we do get the land back, it's not enough. People in Egypt lament daily the Camp David treaty that prevents us from fighting. In Gaza they never stopped trying to attack Israel. In Lebanon Hezbollah continued attacking even after the Israeli withdrawel. And the people- the majority of the arab population- support it. Very few of us are really interested in having any lasting Peace or co-existance. I mean, if our left is asking for war, what do you think the rest of the population is thinking?

I think that the Israeli want peace with us because they don't want their lives disrupted. They don't want to have the IDF soldiers fighting in Gaza, rockets coming into their towns from Hamas or having to go to wars against Hezbollah to get their soldiers back. I think they want peace because they want their peace of mind. They view us as if we were a headache. We view them as if they are a cancer.
And now with Mubarak gone they're free to try to cut the 'cancer' out. What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Massive anti-Israel rally in Cairo on Friday

Love of the Land: Same Arabs, Same Sea

Same Arabs, Same Sea

West Bank Mama
15 May '11

(A good description of how today started out and it's progression. Regular updates of the days events can be found at Israel is Strong on FB also at LoveoftheLand on Twitter. Yosef)

Yitzchak Shamir, the former prime Minister of Israel, had an expression. “The Arabs are the same Arabs, the sea is the same sea”. He used this expression when people would try to convince him that there was a chance for a “new Middle East” and that we could somehow make peace with the Arabs, distinguishing one group from another. He refers of course, to the fact that the Arabs wan’t to destroy the State of Israel and push the Jews into the Mediterranean Sea.

Today is what the Arabs call “Nakba” day – the catastrophe. They refer to the English date of the Israel Independence Day. Today they “commemorated” by doing what they did 63 years ago – trying to kill Jews.

An Arab from Kfar Kassem went on a rampage with his truck, killing a 28 year old and injuring 17 in south Tel Aviv this morning. He rammed pedestrians, 15 vehicles including a motorcyclist, hit a bus (thankfully empty of passengers), and slammed into an iron fence guarding an elementary school. He then ran from his truck and started to hit passersby. Eyewitnesses said he was shouting “death to the Jews”. He was subdued by two Israelis and taken into custody by police.

He now says it was an “accident”.

In Gaza a group tried to go over the fence into Israel and the IDF shot at their legs, injuring some. In another part of Gaza, near the fence, a person trying to set a bomb was killed by the IDF.

In the north Arabs from Syria flying Palestinian flags crossed over the fence in the Golan and were fired upon by the IDF. As of this writing there are some Israelis injured and one Arab dead – although there is no confirmation yet about the numbers.

Arabs are also trying to enter Israel from the Lebanese border and the IDF is firing at them.

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Love of the Land: Same Arabs, Same Sea

Love of the Land: Protesting the protest

Protesting the protest

Liat Collins
My Word/JPost
14 May '11

The government must draw up a policy on the release of abducted soldiers, and abide by it.

The Schalit family almost lost me on the way to Jerusalem last July. I felt the solidarity march for Gilad Schalit should have concluded on the Gaza border with a call to Hamas for his release. The Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, outside which the family has been living in a protest tent, is the wrong address.

A yellow ribbon flies outside my apartment window and I participated in the five-minute countrywide vigil a few weeks ago. I include Gilad Schalit in my thoughts and prayers. I long to write about his return home, almost five years after his abduction. It would certainly be pleasanter than writing this piece, criticizing the direction the campaign for his release is heading.

When Schalit’s brother, Yoel, and Yoel’s girlfriend, Ya’ara, burst onto the stage on May 9, during the traditional ceremony on Mount Herzl marking the transition from Remembrance Day to Independence Day, they crossed a line I’m not willing to cross with them.

“Can you imagine what it’s like for the family?” a friend asked me. It was meant to be a rhetorical question. No one who hasn’t actually suffered such a dreadful ordeal can know how they would react, but we can all imagine. I started imagining a long time ago – before Gilad, now 24, was born.

In 1982, during the First Lebanon War, my brother served in the armored corps. His unit suffered tremendous casualties, and my family was constantly worried that he would be either wounded or killed.

Then a new fear hit us: The brother of the store owner next to my parents’ print shop was taken prisoner. It raised a dreadful possibility that kept us awake at nights and tense during the days.

The soldier was eventually returned in a prisoner exchange after two years in captivity. Not all the families whose loved ones went missing at the time have been so lucky.

The families of Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman and Yehuda Katz – all missing since the Battle of Sultan Yakoub in June ’82 – still endure that all-consuming fear. Miriam Baumel, Zachary’s mother and a family friend, once told me: “You don’t know what they are going through and this is the thing you have nightmares about.” IAF navigator Ron Arad hasn’t celebrated Independence Day since 1986; Guy Hever has been been missing since 1997, and Majdi Halabi disappeared in 2005.

Do the families think mistakes have been made over the years? I bet! Would they handle the campaign for the release of their loved ones differently today? Obviously. Who wouldn’t want their son to return home alive? They have failed in their ultimate goal.

No wonder the Schalits are willing to do anything to prevent Gilad from disappearing forever.

Hence they have ensured, in a dignified way until now, that Gilad Schalit’s name is known to every household in Israel and a huge number of homes abroad. His fate has touched the hearts of decent human beings around the world.

The Schalits can complain of many things, but lack of publicity is not one of them. There was no need to violate the most Israeli experience possible – the almost sacred moment when Remembrance Day transforms into Independence Day in what is more a national ritual than a state ceremony.

Remembrance Day comes with its own special emotional baggage for Israelis, nearly all of whom can put a face to the name of someone among the fallen. Independence Day is the release mechanism.

You can’t forget those you’ve lost – you don’t need Remembrance Day for that – but at least you can celebrate in a country which is very much alive, against the odds.

THE FATE of Gilad Schalit has been, until now, a consensus issue. But when Yoel Schalit unfurled the banner which read “My father was a bereaved brother. I don’t want to be one too” there was no doubt where it was directed – at the prime minister, below the belt.

Netanyahu, after all, probably wouldn’t even be in politics had not the death of his brother, Yoni, during the legendary Entebbe rescue operation of July 1976 changed the course of his life.

As Yoel and Ya’ara were ushered out of the area by security personnel, I realized that the ceremony would never be the same again.

From now on, every year, we will wonder who is going to try to grab the country’s attention – striking doctors, poorly paid social workers, relatives of the fallen firefighters, struggling single parents or just some would-be celebrity desperate for 15 minutes of fame without the bother of auditioning for a reality show? And there are other questions, too: Do such stunts help bring Gilad a little closer to crossing the Gaza border or raise the price Hamas feels it can demand? Does it save one, infinitely invaluable, life or put at risk others whose names we do not yet know? Gilad Schalit could be anybody’s brother; so could the next soldier kidnapped by Hamas when it feels it serves its purposes.

The Hamas members in Israeli prisons are not there – in vastly better conditions than Schalit, I might add – because Netanyahu, or prime minister Ehud Olmert before him, didn’t like them. They are terrorists – murderers – and nothing indicates that they have become peaceloving members of the global village in the meantime.

I WOULDN’T want to be the person who has to decide what price should be paid for the return of one soldier.

Israel has a moral obligation “to bring its boys home,” but, alas, the “morals” are only being felt on this side of the border, and that complicates the issue in an excruciatingly painful way.

Instead of trying to put more pressure on the prime minister, the Schalits could turn the force of their pain in the direction of those who could help over the border: the UN and the Red Cross. The protest tent could be outside their offices.

As for the limelight, they might just as well grab some on a stage where Daniel Barenboim is conducting a concert. Barenboim, after all, performed in Gaza a week ago without mentioning one word about the abducted soldier, who has not had any contact with the outside world for five years.

Yes, the prime minister ultimately is the one who has to take the decision. That decision isn’t what is best for Gilad Schalit, but what is best for the whole country.

It can be assumed that he is privy to information that the general public isn’t – not the Schalits, not bereaved parents, or anyone else who believes they have a right to know. This knowledge will help him make up his mind. Heaven help us, all of us, if the prime minister takes a decision with such huge potential ramifications based on the gimmicks dreamed up by PR experts and carried out by a family living a nightmare.

Once Schalit is safely back home, the rules must change. The country cannot afford to be held hostage. The government must draw up a policy on the release of abducted soldiers, and abide by it. No diplomatic process should be considered complete unless it addresses the matter of the MIAs.

Such issues must be placed beyond the realm of politics.

Only then, having matured, can we truly celebrate our independence.

The writer is editor of the International Jerusalem Post.

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Love of the Land: Protesting the protest

Love of the Land: The Börne identification

The Börne identification

Sarah Honig
Another Tack
13 May '11

“Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth.” – Ludwig Börne (1786-1837)

One of the wittier and more brilliant satirists ever to have come out of Germany, Börne identified with characteristic precision that indispensable preliminary step in Everyman’s quest for solutions to whatever plagues us. “If you seek wisdom,” he advised, “seek the destruction of the illusions you hold as true more than you seek new truths.”

This is counsel that should be heeded here and now by our inveterate hawkers of mega-delusion – Israel’s very own proponents of the two-state solution. Unflaggingly they peddle tattered, intrinsically disorienting delirium. Incredibly they never seem to tire of pulling the wool over their own and our eyes. They present themselves as possessors of singular insight, as harbingers of a greater truth and as wise beyond our plebeian grasp.

They won’t let go of the grand delusion that underlies their self-professed wisdom and purported truth. Their two-state delusion was certainly sweet – simplistically and seductively so. It claimed that all conflicts can be amicably and fairly settled by just dividing up whatever is contested. It touted idealistic goodwill and seemed compellingly rational. But it was from the start delusionary.

By all empirical yardsticks, that delusion has finally and undeniably crumbled into grimy dust. The illusion of a reasonable accommodation with genocidal foes – which without fail anyhow failed the test of coolheaded analysis – ignobly disintegrated when Ramallah’s Fatah and Gaza’s Hamas banded back together, at least pro forma, for the sake of expediency.

Whatever their motives and whatever the long-range plans of the old-new partners, their joint venture should persuade even the most diehard of our peaceniks that the time has come to finally wise up and lose the illusion.

The prevalent illusion thus far was that we face two dissimilar Palestinian entities – negotiation- espousing Ramallah and Gaza, whose unaltered goal is Israel’s annihilation. Now that the pair has retied the knot, their deception has been exposed. That should mean that the illusion has been shattered irrefutably once and for all.

In reality the only distinction between the two always was tactical. Ramallah excels at propaganda warfare, while Gaza fires rockets. Ramallah is funded by the Quartet, while Gaza is underpinned by Damascus and Tehran. Both wish to obliterate Israel, but Ramallah is more cunning and Gaza more candidly confrontational.

Neither Ramallah nor Gaza was ever a reliable or viable peace partner. Only our indomitable wishful thinking and obsessive illusion kept conjuring up interlocutors on whom we could unload slices of homeland, directly atop the soft underbelly of our densest population centers.

Gaza’s Hamas thumbs its nose at us and glorifies the Islamo-Nazism of infamous Second World War-criminal Haj Amin al-Husseini, who from his Berlin residence avidly abetted Hitler’s Final Solution, recruited Muslims to the SS and actively foiled the rescue even of several thousand Jewish children.

Conversely, in his Moscow Friendship University PhD treatise, Fatah figurehead Mahmoud Abbas attempted to dwarf the Holocaust’s proportions drastically, while simultaneously accusing Zionists of colluding in Holocaust perpetration – i.e., it didn’t happen, but Israel is guilty. This history-warping dissertation is compulsory study material in his fiefdom’s schools.

Abbas’s Fatahland is nothing but a more outwardly decorous version of Hamastan. All the rest is desperate illusion.

Moreover, our self-imposed hallucination arises from deep desires for something that far transcends Israel’s well-intentioned, if strategically misguided, yen for compromise. Our irredeemable devotion to delusion is inherently Jewish. Perhaps it’s the defensive adaptation of the weak.

Most members of the dysfunctional family of nations indeed advocate the two-state solution, but we alone are delusional. All the others are stimulated by cynical vested interests, which impair our self-preservation prospects. In other words, other states don’t push us into the two-state abyss for our own good. Quite the contrary.

Nevertheless, too many of our headliners and opinion-molders voluntarily embrace that detrimental external pressure. They avidly engage in scare-mongering. If we don’t succumb to what’s dictated from abroad, they hector, we’ll be left alone, ostracized, vulnerable and on the verge of extinction.

But are these demoralizers weakening our resolve for altruistic ends? Or, perhaps, are they identifying with foreigners whom they regard as sources of clout and influence? Are they obsequiously out to win coveted international credentials of enlightenment, that would differentiate them from all those bothersome insular, intransigent and politically incorrect Israelis?

A cooperatively toadying disposition could secure Israel’s peaceniks the acceptance they crave, allow them to bask in the limelight of those who really scorn Israel, win accolades in places Israelis should naturally shun, and earn approval from the most disapproving sorts.

The illusion is that serving the purposes of powers whose greedy, shortsighted interests negate one’s own interests will help promote personal or factional aggrandizement. This isn’t a recently evolved illusion. It has been with us for at least two millennia, perhaps the manifestation of a persistent, pesky mutation in the Jewish genome that keeps popping up exasperatingly in all manner of circumstances, no matter how superficially different.

Somehow Jews appear to crave acceptance, to seek to bask in the limelight of those who really revile them, to win accolades in places they should naturally shun, to yearn for approval from the most inimically disapproving sorts. Ingratiating ourselves with our enemies – and friends-of-enemies – seems preprogrammed into too many of us.

The Jews of Germany, who historically comprised one of the most successful of Diaspora communities, were mind-bogglingly susceptible to the aberration. The list of famous Germans who were born Jewish yet strove not to stay Jewish is unbelievably long. For those cursed with Jewish parentage, talent and brains were never enough to make it in intensely Judeophobic surroundings.

Too many Jews with both talent and brains deluded themselves that Christian credentials would secure them the acceptance they craved, allow them to bask in the limelight of those who really reviled them, win accolades in places they should naturally have shunned, and earn approval from the most disapproving sorts.

Razor-sharp Börne was disturbingly typical. He was born in Frankfurt as Leib Baruch, and that critically was a colossal fly in his ointment. He couldn’t even keep a bureaucratic public-sector job because of his Jewishness. His illusion was to ditch said Jewishness by becoming a Lutheran convert with a suitably Teutonic name.

Gallingly, though, even that failed to erase the original sin of Baruch’s extraction. Eventually he ended up in Paris banding with other frustrated Jews to fix up the world.

Börne-Baruch’s illusion of ingratiating himself didn’t pan out. He didn’t succeed in currying the favor of non-Jews. To them Börne remained who he was born. Perhaps it was this life experience that led him to conclude that the prelude to any progress is losing one’s illusions.

Illusions won’t lead any of us anywhere – not to peace with Ramallah or with Gaza, and certainly not with both. Before we rummage around for yet more appeasement-expediting supplementary sacrifices, we must rid ourselves of specious illusion. First things first.

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Love of the Land: The Börne identification

Love of the Land: Nakba Myths: Refugees ... and Refugees ...

Nakba Myths: Refugees ... and Refugees ...

Daphne Anson
14 May '11

David Ben-Gurion's Declaration of Independence on 14 May 1948 (to use the secular calendar) was of course followed by the Arabs' determined but heroically thwarted attempt to wipe the fledgling state off the map, and in the course of hostilities - started of course by the surrounding Arab nations, not by Israel, which sought only peace - some 600, 000 Arabs (now termed, in hindsight, Palestinians, as cunning and effective a propaganda move as there ever has been) became refugees.

A few years ago a writer in a Palestinian Authority newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadeedah, laid the blame for the so-called Nakba ("catastrophe") squarely where it indeed resides: with the Arab leaders themselves.

"…The leaders and the elites promised us at the beginning of the “Catastrophe” in 1948, that the duration of the exile will not be long, and that it will not last more than a few days or months, and afterwards the refugees will return to their homes, which most of them did not leave only until they put their trust in those “Arkuvian” [i.e. unkept] promises made by the leaders and the political elites. Afterwards, days passed, months, years and decades, and the promises were lost with the strain of the succession of events…" (hat tip: Elder of Ziyon)

But, as David Gutmann, a former Palmach fighter, observed in an article entitled "The Arab Lie Whose Time Has Come" :

"To back up its demands for full repatriation to Israel of Arab refugees and their descendants, the Palestinian leadership has—for over fifty years—busily spun the story of their "Naqba," their catastrophic flight from Palestine during 1947-48, in all the media available to them. This version of events—replete with Jewish brutality and Arab victimization—is a lie whose time has come, one now almost universally believed by Gentile and Jew alike.

It has become the latest Blood Libel against the People of the Book; and like the others it will never go away. Nevertheless, many Jewish Peaceniks—both Israeli and American—have signed on to the Naqba narrative, and Jewish authors and intellectuals now number among its leading proponents...."

Testified Gutmann from his own firsthand knowledge:

"The Palestinians initiated the war that led to their Naqba. Troops from Tel-Aviv eventually conquered Jaffa, but it was Arab fighters in Jaffa who, from the towers of their mosques, first fired into Tel-Aviv, and turned the intercity border areas into a battleground.

The first refugees were not Arabs but Yemenite Jews, from the Tel Aviv-Jaffa No-Man's Land that Arab aggression had created. Unlike the Palestinians, theirs was only a temporary refugee status. Instead of packing them away and forgetting them in squalid refugee camps, their Ashkenazi compatriots took them into their own neighborhoods. For the most part the Yemenites camped out in Tel Aviv apartment lobbies, and used the cooking and sanitary facilities of the permanent residents. When Jaffa fell to Irgun soldiers, they went back home.

The Palestinians fled for many reasons and from many threats, both real and imaginary, and that thousands upon thousands fled when nobody pushed them. As an example, when my unit occupied the abandoned British police station at Sidn'a Ali in the Sharon Plain, British troops were still stationed in the vicinity, and we had to train and patrol with our few guns (antiquated or homemade) concealed. Nevertheless, the Arabs of Sidn'a Ali were long gone, way before we could have pushed them out, and while the Brits were still in place to protect them from us. Needless to say, in the absence of any Palestinian targets (save for some abandoned camels) we committed no rapes." (For the rest see:

One of the most intriguing and insightful commentaries on the refugee issue and Arab rejectionism of Israel has been made by Francisco Gil-White in a well-documented article:

"Critics of Israel from the moderate ... to the most extreme portray it as an example of colonialism: European settlers push out the native population turning them into homeless refugees. And sure, they say, those Europeans were themselves victims of genocide, but do two wrongs make a right?

There are two problems with this view. First, it incorrectly portrays the makeup of the people who constitute most of the Jewish population in Israel. And second, it incorrectly describes the causes and nature of the Palestinian refugee problem....
Is Israel a European “Settler State”?

That is the commonly held view, but the truth is quite different."

Pointing out that, following the establishment of and Israel in 1948, refugees from Iraq (130,000), Yemen (45,000), Libya (35,000) and other mizrachi communities took refuge there - in such numbers that some of the countries were virtually depleted of Jews altogether, he states the obvious truth:

"Thus, the general perception that Arabs are the only refugees produced by the Arab-Jewish conflicts since 1947 is simply wrong. The difference is that Jewish refugees who fled to Israel – and who had everything taken from them in the process – became Israeli citizens (or citizens of other countries). By way of contrast, Palestinian refugees were refused citizenship by every Arab state except Jordan."

The number of Oriental Jews (450,000) who fled to Israel between 1948 and 1956 was markedly higher than the number (360,000) who made aliya from Europe and the USA.

Gil-White cites studies that show that by the early 1970s, the number of Israelis of mizrachi and background outnumbered Jews of other origins, and that in 1985, the "Oriental Jews" constituted the majority of the Israel's Jewish population, a proportion later diminished by the arrival of Jews from the Soviet Union.

Regarding the lands the mizrachim left behind:

'Many claim that the status of Jews in the Arab world was not like that of Jews in Europe (i.e., it was supposedly better), and therefore Arabs did not have anti-Semitic attitudes until Zionists came to Palestine. In truth, Jewish life in the Arab world was characterized by institutionalized racism....

Why did Zionism, the movement for a Jewish state in Palestine, elicit fury in many Arabs from its very beginnings? To understand this, one must look at the world from a traditionalist Arab/Islamic point of view.

The Arab upper classes saw "dhimmitude" as the cement of the social fabric, helping guarantee the loyalty of 'the street'. Many ordinary Arabs perceived in the lowly status of Jews – that is, in "dhimmitude" – a confirmation of their own worth. And there was special contempt for the Jews, perhaps because, unlike the Christian case, no Jewish states existed to compete with Islamic states....

Why did millions of Arabs all over North Africa and the Middle East, who never met a Zionist, hate them? There are two reasons. First, they did not act like proper dhimmis. Second, the Zionist Jews carried the dangerous contagion of modern ideas....

This helps explain why the Mufti of Jerusalem, Nasser, Arafat, Hamas, etc. have not merely called for defeating Israel and/or extracting political concessions, but rather have always agitated for Israel’s total destruction. The existence of a Jewish State in the Middle East is seen as an offense to the natural order of Allah-proclaimed Jewish inferiority – and as a source of ideas that challenge the traditional Middle Eastern practices and power-relations. Arab leaders use both these perceived offenses to mobilize popular support from the Arab 'street'.

This also explains some otherwise odd facts. For example, the Mufti, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, organized a murderous attack against Jewish civilians in 1920.

It was directed primarily at members of the ‘Old Yishuv’. These were not recent Jewish immigrants. Their families had been in Palestine for over 2000 years. In 1929, Mufti-organized Arabs slaughtered Jews in Hebron and other towns. Although Palestinian leaders speak of the Hebron massacre as a heroic act of resistance to Zionism, in fact, it was a terrorist pogrom, and directed largely at indigenous Palestinian Jews, not recent immigrants.

The context of "dhimmitude" explains why so much terrorist violence was directed against non-immigrant Jews in Palestine. By presenting themselves as equal to Muslims, the Zionists had cancelled the dhimma; therefore, jihad could resume. Since the dhimma was an agreement that applied to the entire community, all Jews were now subject to jihad slaughter...

The Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian and Saudi armies and Iraqi and Palestinian irregulars did not invade Israel because it had attacked or threatened those countries, but because Israel had chosen to exist. By doing so, it had cancelled the dhimma on a grand scale.'
Read all of Gil-White's article here:

There's also another pertinent point to be made.

Last September, a guest post on this blog reminded us of the uniqueness of the Palestinian Arabs' insistence on the right to return to their former homeland - other persons displaced as a result of other twentieth-century events, including catalysts during the 1940s, made new lives for themselves, but only in the case of the "Palestinian refugees" is the right to return - a sine qua non for a peace deal as far as the PA is concerned - demanded. See

See also:

And for great posts on the Nakba question from the archives of a master see:

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Love of the Land: Nakba Myths: Refugees ... and Refugees ...

Love of the Land: Glick: Obama's newest ambush

Glick: Obama's newest ambush

Caroline Glick
13 May '11

It is hard to believe, but it appears that in the wake of the Palestinian unity deal that brings Hamas, the genocidal, al-Qaida-aligned, local franchise of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, into a partnership with Fatah, US President Barack Obama has decided to open a new round of pressure on Israel to give away its land and national rights to the Palestinians. It is hard to believe that this is the case. But apparently it is.

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that while Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is in Washington next week, and before the premier has a chance to give his scheduled address to a joint session of Congress, Obama will give a new speech to the Arab world. In that speech, Obama will praise the populist movements that have risen up against Arab tyrannies and embrace them as the model for the future. As for Israel, the report claimed that the Obama administration is still trying to decide whether the time is right to put the screws on Israel once more.

On the one hand, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told the Journal that Arab leaders are clamoring for a new US initiative to force Israel to make new concessions. Joining this supposed clamor are the administration-allied pro-Palestinian lobby J Street, and the administration-allied New York Times.

On the other hand, the Netanyahu government and Congress are calling for a US aid cutoff to the Palestinian Authority. With Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization, now partnering with Fatah in governing the PA, it is illegal for the US government to continue to have anything to do with the PA. Both the Netanyahu government and senior members of the House and Senate are arguing forcefully that there is no way for Israel to make peace with the Palestinians now, and that the US must abandon its efforts to force the sides to sign an agreement.

The Israeli and congressional arguments are certainly compelling. But the signals emanating from the White House and its allied media indicate that Obama is ready to plough forward in spite of them. With the new international security credibility he earned by overseeing the successful assassination of Osama bin Laden, Obama apparently believes that he can withstand congressional pressure and make the case for demanding that Israel surrender Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria to Hamas and its partners in Fatah.

THE SIGNALS that Obama is setting his sights on coercing Israel into agreeing to surrender its capital and heartland to Hamas and its partners in Fatah came in three forms this week. First, administration officials are trying to lower the bar that Hamas needs to pass in order to be considered a legitimate political force.

After Fatah and Hamas signed their first unity deal in March 2007, the US and its colleagues in the so-called Middle East Quartet - Russia, the EU and the UN - set three conditions that Hamas needed to meet to be accepted by them as legitimate. It needed to recognize Israel's right to exist, agree to respect existing agreements with Israel, and renounce terrorism.

These are not difficult conditions. Fatah is perceived as having met them even though it is still a terrorist organization and its leaders refuse to accept Israel's right to exist and refuse to abide by any of the major commitments they took upon themselves in precious agreements with Israel. Hamas could easily follow Fatah's lead.

But Hamas refuses. So, speaking to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius two weeks ago, administration officials lowered the bar.

They said Hamas had made major concessions to Fatah in their agreement because it agreed to accept provisions of the 2009 unity deal drafted by the Mubarak government that it rejected two year ago and because Hamas agreed that the unity government will be manned by "technocrats" rather than terrorists.

Even if these contentions are true, they are completely ridiculous. In point of fact, all the 2009 agreement says is that Hamas will refrain from demanding to join the US-trained and funded Fatah army in Judea and Samaria. As for the "technocratic" government, who does the Obama administration think will control these "technocrats"? And as to the truth of these contentions, in an interview last week with the New York Times, Hamas terror-master Khaled Mashal denied that he had agreed to the terms of the 2009 agreement.

Indeed, he said that Fatah agreed to add annexes to the agreement reflecting Hamas's positions.

The second pitch the administration and its friends have adopted ahead of Obama's address next week is that Hamas has become more moderate or may become more moderate.

Robert Malley, who in the past advised Obama's presidential campaign, made this argument last week in an op-ed in the Washington Post. Malley claimed that by joining the government, Hamas will be more moved by US pressure. A New York Times editorial last Saturday argued that Hamas may have moderated, and even if it hasn't, "Washington needs to press Mr. Netanyahu back to the peace table."

Adding their voices to the din, Middle Eastern leaders like Amr Moussa, the frontrunner to serve as Egypt's next president, and Turkish Prime Minister Recip Erdogan, have given interviews to the US media this week in which they denied that Hamas is even a terrorist organization.

Here it is important to note that none of the administration's statements about the Hamas- Fatah deal and none of the media coverage related to it have included any mention of the fact that Hamas deliberately murders entire families and targets children specifically. No one mentions last month's Hamas guided rocket attack which deliberately targeted an Israeli school bus. Hamas murdered 16-year-old Daniel Viflic in that attack. No one has mentioned the café massacres, the bus bombings, the university campus massacres, the breaking into homes massacres, the Passover Seder massacres Hamas has carried out and bragged about in recent years. No one has mentioned that when seen as a portion of the population, Hamas has killed far more Israelis than al-Qaida has killed Americans.

The final pitch the administration and its surrogates are making is that the deal needs to be seen as part of the overall regional shift towards popular rule. This pitch too is difficult to make.

After all, the first casualty of the Arab world's shift towards popular rule is the 30-year-old Camp David peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Now that Egypt's citizens have gotten rid of US-ally Hosni Mubarak, they have committed themselves to getting rid of the peace he upheld with Israel throughout his long reign.

Again, despite the difficulties, the Obama administration is clearly willing to make the case. Regarding Egypt, they argue that the Muslim Brotherhood's rise to power is a good. This was the point of Obama's Passover and Israel Independence Day messages.

As for the regional shift, the fact that Obama reportedly intends to place the so-called Palestinian- Israeli peace process into the regional context signals that he sees potential for an agreement between Israel and Syria as well. His advisers telegraphed this view to Ignatius.

Obama's advisers made the unlikely argument that if Syrian leader Bashar Assad survives the popular demonstrations calling for his overthrow, he will feel compelled to distance his regime from Iran because his Sunni-majority population has been critical of his alliance with the Shi'ite mullocracy.

This argument is unlikely given that the same officials recognize that if Assad survives, he will owe his regime's survival to Iran. As they reminded Ignatius, US intelligence officials reported last month that Iran has "secretly supplied Assad with tear gas, anti-riot gear and other tools of suppression."

WHAT IS perhaps most remarkable about Obama's apparent plan to use the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as an excuse for a new round of diplomatic warfare against Israel is how poorly coordinated his steps have been with the PLO-Fatah. Mahmoud Abbas and his predecessor Yasser Arafat always viewed the US obsession with getting the Arabs and Israel to sign peace treaties as a strategic asset. Anytime they wanted to weaken Israel, they just needed to sound the fake peace drum loudly enough to get the White House's attention. US presidents looking for the opportunity to "make history" were always ready to take their bait.

Unlike his predecessors, Obama's interest in the Palestinians is not opportunistic. He is a true believer. And because of his deep-seated commitment to the Palestinians, his policies are even more radically anti-Israel than the PLO-Fatah's. It was Obama, not Abbas, who demanded that Jews be barred from building anything in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. It is the Obama administration, not the PLO-Fatah, that is leading the charge to embrace the Muslim Brotherhood.

Like his belated move to demand a permanent abrogation of Jewish property rights in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, Abbas arguably embraced Hamas because Obama left him no choice. He has no interest in making peace with Israel, so the only thing he can do under the circumstances Obama has created is embrace Hamas. He can't be less pro-Islamic than the US president.

ALL OF this brings us to Netanyahu and his trip to Washington next week. Obviously Obama's decision to upstage the premier with his new outreach-to-the-Arab-world speech will make Netanyahu's visit more challenging than it was already going to be.

Obama is clearly betting that by moving first, he will be able to coerce Netanyahu to make still more concessions of land and principles.

Certainly, Netanyahu's earlier decisions to cave in to Obama's pressure with his acceptance of Palestinian statehood and his subsequent acceptance of a Jewish building freeze give Obama good reason to believe he can back Netanyahu into a corner. Defense Minister Ehud Barak's hysterical warnings about a diplomatic "tsunami" at the UN in September if Israel fails to capitulate to Obama today no doubt add to Obama's sense that he can expect Netanyahu to dance to his drums, no matter how hostile the beat.

But Netanyahu doesn't have to give in. He can stick to his guns and defend the country. He can continue on the correct path he has forged of repeating the truth about Hamas. He can warn about the growing threat of Egypt. He can describe the Iranian-supported butchery Assad is carrying out against his own people and note that a regime that murders its own will not make peace with the Jewish state. And he can point out the fact that as a capitalist, liberal democracy which protects the lives and property of its citizens, Israel is the only stable country in the region and the US's only reliable regional ally.

True, if Netanyahu does these things, he will not win himself any friends in the White House.

But he never had a chance of winning Obama and his advisers over anyway. He will empower Israel's allies in Congress, though. And more importantly, whether he is loved or hated in Washington, if Netanyahu does these things, he will be able to return home to Jerusalem with the sure knowledge that he earned his salary this month.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post

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Love of the Land: Glick: Obama's newest ambush
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