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ccp
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« Reply #1250 on: May 23, 2011, 11:50:18 AM »

 The Failure of the American Jewish EstablishmentJune 10, 2010Peter BeinartE-mail Single Page Print Share 1 2 3 → 
Benjamin Netanyahu; drawing by John Springs
In 2003, several prominent Jewish philanthropists hired Republican pollster Frank Luntz to explain why American Jewish college students were not more vigorously rebutting campus criticism of Israel. In response, he unwittingly produced the most damning indictment of the organized American Jewish community that I have ever seen.

The philanthropists wanted to know what Jewish students thought about Israel. Luntz found that they mostly didn’t. “Six times we have brought Jewish youth together as a group to talk about their Jewishness and connection to Israel,” he reported. “Six times the topic of Israel did not come up until it was prompted. Six times these Jewish youth used the word ‘they‘ rather than ‘us‘ to describe the situation.”

That Luntz encountered indifference was not surprising. In recent years, several studies have revealed, in the words of Steven Cohen of Hebrew Union College and Ari Kelman of the University of California at Davis, that “non-Orthodox younger Jews, on the whole, feel much less attached to Israel than their elders,” with many professing “a near-total absence of positive feelings.” In 2008, the student senate at Brandeis, the only nonsectarian Jewish-sponsored university in America, rejected a resolution commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the Jewish state.

Luntz’s task was to figure out what had gone wrong. When he probed the students’ views of Israel, he hit up against some firm beliefs. First, “they reserve the right to question the Israeli position.” These young Jews, Luntz explained, “resist anything they see as ‘group think.’” They want an “open and frank” discussion of Israel and its flaws. Second, “young Jews desperately want peace.” When Luntz showed them a series of ads, one of the most popular was entitled “Proof that Israel Wants Peace,” and listed offers by various Israeli governments to withdraw from conquered land. Third, “some empathize with the plight of the Palestinians.” When Luntz displayed ads depicting Palestinians as violent and hateful, several focus group participants criticized them as stereotypical and unfair, citing their own Muslim friends.

 
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Most of the students, in other words, were liberals, broadly defined. They had imbibed some of the defining values of American Jewish political culture: a belief in open debate, a skepticism about military force, a commitment to human rights. And in their innocence, they did not realize that they were supposed to shed those values when it came to Israel. The only kind of Zionism they found attractive was a Zionism that recognized Palestinians as deserving of dignity and capable of peace, and they were quite willing to condemn an Israeli government that did not share those beliefs. Luntz did not grasp the irony. The only kind of Zionism they found attractive was the kind that the American Jewish establishment has been working against for most of their lives.


Among American Jews today, there are a great many Zionists, especially in the Orthodox world, people deeply devoted to the State of Israel. And there are a great many liberals, especially in the secular Jewish world, people deeply devoted to human rights for all people, Palestinians included. But the two groups are increasingly distinct. Particularly in the younger generations, fewer and fewer American Jewish liberals are Zionists; fewer and fewer American Jewish Zionists are liberal. One reason is that the leading institutions of American Jewry have refused to foster—indeed, have actively opposed—a Zionism that challenges Israel’s behavior in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and toward its own Arab citizens. For several decades, the Jewish establishment has asked American Jews to check their liberalism at Zionism’s door, and now, to their horror, they are finding that many young Jews have checked their Zionism instead.

Morally, American Zionism is in a downward spiral. If the leaders of groups like AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations do not change course, they will wake up one day to find a younger, Orthodox-dominated, Zionist leadership whose naked hostility to Arabs and Palestinians scares even them, and a mass of secular American Jews who range from apathetic to appalled. Saving liberal Zionism in the United States—so that American Jews can help save liberal Zionism in Israel—is the great American Jewish challenge of our age. And it starts where Luntz’s students wanted it to start: by talking frankly about Israel’s current government, by no longer averting our eyes.


Since the 1990s, journalists and scholars have been describing a bifurcation in Israeli society. In the words of Hebrew University political scientist Yaron Ezrahi, “After decades of what came to be called a national consensus, the Zionist narrative of liberation [has] dissolved into openly contesting versions.” One version, “founded on a long memory of persecution, genocide, and a bitter struggle for survival, is pessimistic, distrustful of non-Jews, and believing only in Jewish power and solidarity.” Another, “nourished by secularized versions of messianism as well as the Enlightenment idea of progress,” articulates “a deep sense of the limits of military force, and a commitment to liberal-democratic values.” Every country manifests some kind of ideological divide. But in contemporary Israel, the gulf is among the widest on earth.

As Ezrahi and others have noted, this latter, liberal-democratic Zionism has grown alongside a new individualism, particularly among secular Israelis, a greater demand for free expression, and a greater skepticism of coercive authority. You can see this spirit in “new historians” like Tom Segev who have fearlessly excavated the darker corners of the Zionist past and in jurists like former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak who have overturned Knesset laws that violate the human rights guarantees in Israel’s “Basic Laws.” You can also see it in former Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s apparent willingness to relinquish much of the West Bank in 2000 and early 2001.

But in Israel today, this humane, universalistic Zionism does not wield power. To the contrary, it is gasping for air. To understand how deeply antithetical its values are to those of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, it’s worth considering the case of Effi Eitam. Eitam, a charismatic ex–cabinet minister and war hero, has proposed ethnically cleansing Palestinians from the West Bank. “We’ll have to expel the overwhelming majority of West Bank Arabs from here and remove Israeli Arabs from [the] political system,” he declared in 2006. In 2008, Eitam merged his small Ahi Party into Netanyahu’s Likud. And for the 2009–2010 academic year, he is Netanyahu’s special emissary for overseas “campus engagement.” In that capacity, he visited a dozen American high schools and colleges last fall on the Israeli government’s behalf. The group that organized his tour was called “Caravan for Democracy.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman once shared Eitam’s views. In his youth, he briefly joined Meir Kahane’s now banned Kach Party, which also advocated the expulsion of Arabs from Israeli soil. Now Lieberman’s position might be called “pre-expulsion.” He wants to revoke the citizenship of Israeli Arabs who won’t swear a loyalty oath to the Jewish state. He tried to prevent two Arab parties that opposed Israel’s 2008–2009 Gaza war from running candidates for the Knesset. He said Arab Knesset members who met with representatives of Hamas should be executed. He wants to jail Arabs who publicly mourn on Israeli Independence Day, and he hopes to permanently deny citizenship to Arabs from other countries who marry Arab citizens of Israel.

You don’t have to be paranoid to see the connection between Lieberman’s current views and his former ones. The more you strip Israeli Arabs of legal protection, and the more you accuse them of treason, the more thinkable a policy of expulsion becomes. Lieberman’s American defenders often note that in theory he supports a Palestinian state. What they usually fail to mention is that for him, a two-state solution means redrawing Israel’s border so that a large chunk of Israeli Arabs find themselves exiled to another country, without their consent.

Lieberman served as chief of staff during Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister. And when it comes to the West Bank, Netanyahu’s own record is in its way even more extreme than his protégé’s. In his 1993 book, A Place among the Nations, Netanyahu not only rejects the idea of a Palestinian state, he denies that there is such a thing as a Palestinian. In fact, he repeatedly equates the Palestinian bid for statehood with Nazism. An Israel that withdraws from the West Bank, he has declared, would be a “ghetto-state” with “Auschwitz borders.” And the effort “to gouge Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] out of Israel” resembles Hitler’s bid to wrench the German-speaking “Sudeten district” from Czechoslovakia in 1938. It is unfair, Netanyahu insists, to ask Israel to concede more territory since it has already made vast, gut-wrenching concessions. What kind of concessions? It has abandoned its claim to Jordan, which by rights should be part of the Jewish state.

On the left of Netanyahu’s coalition sits Ehud Barak’s emasculated Labor Party, but whatever moderating potential it may have is counterbalanced by what is, in some ways, the most illiberal coalition partner of all, Shas, the ultra-Orthodox party representing Jews of North African and Middle Eastern descent. At one point, Shas—like some of its Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox counterparts—was open to dismantling settlements. In recent years, however, ultra-Orthodox Israelis, anxious to find housing for their large families, have increasingly moved to the West Bank, where thanks to government subsidies it is far cheaper to live. Not coincidentally, their political parties have swung hard against territorial compromise. And they have done so with a virulence that reflects ultra-Orthodox Judaism’s profound hostility to liberal values. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Shas’s immensely powerful spiritual leader, has called Arabs “vipers,” “snakes,” and “ants.” In 2005, after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon proposed dismantling settlements in the Gaza Strip, Yosef urged that “God strike him down.” The official Shas newspaper recently called President Obama “an Islamic extremist.”

Hebrew University Professor Ze’ev Sternhell is an expert on fascism and a winner of the prestigious Israel Prize. Commenting on Lieberman and the leaders of Shas in a recent Op-Ed in Haaretz, he wrote, “The last time politicians holding views similar to theirs were in power in post–World War II Western Europe was in Franco’s Spain.” With their blessing, “a crude and multifaceted campaign is being waged against the foundations of the democratic and liberal order.” Sternhell should know. In September 2008, he was injured when a settler set off a pipe bomb at his house.


Israeli governments come and go, but the Netanyahu coalition is the product of frightening, long-term trends in Israeli society: an ultra-Orthodox population that is increasing dramatically, a settler movement that is growing more radical and more entrenched in the Israeli bureaucracy and army, and a Russian immigrant community that is particularly prone to anti-Arab racism. In 2009, a poll by the Israel Democracy Institute found that 53 percent of Jewish Israelis (and 77 percent of recent immigrants from the former USSR) support encouraging Arabs to leave the country. Attitudes are worst among Israel’s young. When Israeli high schools held mock elections last year, Lieberman won. This March, a poll found that 56 percent of Jewish Israeli high school students—and more than 80 percent of religious Jewish high school students—would deny Israeli Arabs the right to be elected to the Knesset. An education ministry official called the survey “a huge warning signal in light of the strengthening trends of extremist views among the youth.”

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« Reply #1251 on: May 23, 2011, 11:55:50 AM »

“Six times we have brought Jewish youth together as a group to talk about their Jewishness and connection to Israel,” he reported. “Six times the topic of Israel did not come up until it was prompted. Six times these Jewish youth used the word ‘they‘ rather than ‘us‘ to describe the situation.”

I don't see that as a bad thing. If you are an American, you should see other countries, even allies as "them", not "us".
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ccp
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« Reply #1252 on: May 23, 2011, 12:06:17 PM »

The Failure of the American Jewish EstablishmentJune 10, 2010Peter BeinartE-mail Single Page Print Share ← 1 2 3 → 
Jim Hollander/epa/Corbis

The writer David Grossman, right, protesting with Palestinians and Israelis against the eviction of Palestinian families from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, April 9, 2010
You might think that such trends, and the sympathy for them expressed by some in Israel’s government, would occasion substantial public concern—even outrage—among the leaders of organized American Jewry. You would be wrong. In Israel itself, voices from the left, and even center, warn in increasingly urgent tones about threats to Israeli democracy. (Former Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak have both said that Israel risks becoming an “apartheid state” if it continues to hold the West Bank. This April, when settlers forced a large Israeli bookstore to stop selling a book critical of the occupation, Shulamit Aloni, former head of the dovish Meretz Party, declared that “Israel has not been democratic for some time now.”) But in the United States, groups like AIPAC and the Presidents’ Conference patrol public discourse, scolding people who contradict their vision of Israel as a state in which all leaders cherish democracy and yearn for peace.

The result is a terrible irony. In theory, mainstream American Jewish organizations still hew to a liberal vision of Zionism. On its website, AIPAC celebrates Israel’s commitment to “free speech and minority rights.” The Conference of Presidents declares that “Israel and the United States share political, moral and intellectual values including democracy, freedom, security and peace.” These groups would never say, as do some in Netanyahu’s coalition, that Israeli Arabs don’t deserve full citizenship and West Bank Palestinians don’t deserve human rights. But in practice, by defending virtually anything any Israeli government does, they make themselves intellectual bodyguards for Israeli leaders who threaten the very liberal values they profess to admire.

After Israel’s elections last February, for instance, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice-chairman of the Presidents’ Conference, explained that Avigdor Lieberman’s agenda was “far more moderate than the media has presented it.” Insisting that Lieberman bears no general animus toward Israeli Arabs, Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that “He’s not saying expel them. He’s not saying punish them.” (Permanently denying citizenship to their Arab spouses or jailing them if they publicly mourn on Israeli Independence Day evidently does not qualify as punishment.) The ADL has criticized anti-Arab bigotry in the past, and the American Jewish Committee, to its credit, warned that Lieberman’s proposed loyalty oath would “chill Israel’s democratic political debate.” But the Forward summed up the overall response of America’s communal Jewish leadership in its headline “Jewish Leaders Largely Silent on Lieberman’s Role in Government.”


 
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Not only does the organized American Jewish community mostly avoid public criticism of the Israeli government, it tries to prevent others from leveling such criticism as well. In recent years, American Jewish organizations have waged a campaign to discredit the world’s most respected international human rights groups. In 2006, Foxman called an Amnesty International report on Israeli killing of Lebanese civilians “bigoted, biased, and borderline anti-Semitic.” The Conference of Presidents has announced that “biased NGOs include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Christian Aid, [and] Save the Children.” Last summer, an AIPAC spokesman declared that Human Rights Watch “has repeatedly demonstrated its anti-Israel bias.” When the Obama administration awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson, former UN high commissioner for human rights, the ADL and AIPAC both protested, citing the fact that she had presided over the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. (Early drafts of the conference report implicitly accused Israel of racism. Robinson helped expunge that defamatory charge, angering Syria and Iran.)

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are not infallible. But when groups like AIPAC and the Presidents’ Conference avoid virtually all public criticism of Israeli actions—directing their outrage solely at Israel’s neighbors—they leave themselves in a poor position to charge bias. Moreover, while American Jewish groups claim that they are simply defending Israel from its foes, they are actually taking sides in a struggle within Israel between radically different Zionist visions. At the very moment the Anti-Defamation League claimed that Robinson harbored an “animus toward Israel,” an alliance of seven Israeli human rights groups publicly congratulated her on her award. Many of those groups, like B’Tselem, which monitors Israeli actions in the Occupied Territories, and the Israeli branch of Physicians for Human Rights, have been at least as critical of Israel’s actions in Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank as have Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

All of which raises an uncomfortable question. If American Jewish groups claim that Israel’s overseas human rights critics are motivated by anti- Israeli, if not anti-Semitic, bias, what does that say about Israel’s domestic human rights critics? The implication is clear: they must be guilty of self-hatred, if not treason. American Jewish leaders don’t generally say that, of course, but their allies in the Netanyahu government do. Last summer, Israel’s vice prime minister, Moshe Ya’alon, called the anti-occupation group Peace Now a “virus.” This January, a right-wing group called Im Tirtzu accused Israeli human rights organizations of having fed information to the Goldstone Commission that investigated Israel’s Gaza war. A Knesset member from Netanyahu’s Likud promptly charged Naomi Chazan, head of the New Israel Fund, which supports some of those human rights groups, with treason, and a member of Lieberman’s party launched an investigation aimed at curbing foreign funding of Israeli NGOs.

To their credit, Foxman and other American Jewish leaders opposed the move, which might have impaired their own work. But they are reaping what they sowed. If you suggest that mainstream human rights criticism of Israel’s government is motivated by animus toward the state, or toward Jews in general, you give aid and comfort to those in Israel who make the same charges against the human rights critics in their midst.


In the American Jewish establishment today, the language of liberal Zionism—with its idioms of human rights, equal citizenship, and territorial compromise—has been drained of meaning. It remains the lingua franca in part for generational reasons, because many older American Zionists still see themselves as liberals of a sort. They vote Democratic; they are unmoved by biblical claims to the West Bank; they see average Palestinians as decent people betrayed by bad leaders; and they are secular. They don’t want Jewish organizations to criticize Israel from the left, but neither do they want them to be agents of the Israeli right.

These American Zionists are largely the product of a particular era. Many were shaped by the terrifying days leading up to the Six-Day War, when it appeared that Israel might be overrun, and by the bitter aftermath of the Yom Kippur War, when much of the world seemed to turn against the Jewish state. In that crucible, Israel became their Jewish identity, often in conjunction with the Holocaust, which the 1967 and 1973 wars helped make central to American Jewish life. These Jews embraced Zionism before the settler movement became a major force in Israeli politics, before the 1982 Lebanon war, before the first intifada. They fell in love with an Israel that was more secular, less divided, and less shaped by the culture, politics, and theology of occupation. And by downplaying the significance of Avigdor Lieberman, the settlers, and Shas, American Jewish groups allow these older Zionists to continue to identify with that more internally cohesive, more innocent Israel of their youth, an Israel that now only exists in their memories.

But these secular Zionists aren’t reproducing themselves. Their children have no memory of Arab armies massed on Israel’s border and of Israel surviving in part thanks to urgent military assistance from the United States. Instead, they have grown up viewing Israel as a regional hegemon and an occupying power. As a result, they are more conscious than their parents of the degree to which Israeli behavior violates liberal ideals, and less willing to grant Israel an exemption because its survival seems in peril. Because they have inherited their parents’ liberalism, they cannot embrace their uncritical Zionism. Because their liberalism is real, they can see that the liberalism of the American Jewish establishment is fake.

To sustain their uncritical brand of Zionism, therefore, America’s Jewish organizations will need to look elsewhere to replenish their ranks. They will need to find young American Jews who have come of age during the West Bank occupation but are not troubled by it. And those young American Jews will come disproportionately from the Orthodox world.


Because they marry earlier, intermarry less, and have more children, Orthodox Jews are growing rapidly as a share of the American Jewish population. According to a 2006 American Jewish Committee (AJC) survey, while Orthodox Jews make up only 12 percent of American Jewry over the age of sixty, they constitute 34 percent between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four. For America’s Zionist organizations, these Orthodox youngsters are a potential bonanza. In their yeshivas they learn devotion to Israel from an early age; they generally spend a year of religious study there after high school, and often know friends or relatives who have immigrated to Israel. The same AJC study found that while only 16 percent of non-Orthodox adult Jews under the age of forty feel “very close to Israel,” among the Orthodox the figure is 79 percent. As secular Jews drift away from America’s Zionist institutions, their Orthodox counterparts will likely step into the breach. The Orthodox “are still interested in parochial Jewish concerns,” explains Samuel Heilman, a sociologist at the City University of New York. “They are among the last ones who stayed in the Jewish house, so they now control the lights.”

But it is this very parochialism—a deep commitment to Jewish concerns, which often outweighs more universal ones—that gives Orthodox Jewish Zionism a distinctly illiberal cast. The 2006 AJC poll found that while 60 percent of non-Orthodox American Jews under the age of forty support a Palestinian state, that figure drops to 25 percent among the Orthodox. In 2009, when Brandeis University’s Theodore Sasson asked American Jewish focus groups about Israel, he found Orthodox participants much less supportive of dismantling settlements as part of a peace deal. Even more tellingly, Reform, Conservative, and unaffiliated Jews tended to believe that average Palestinians wanted peace, but had been ill-served by their leaders. Orthodox Jews, by contrast, were more likely to see the Palestinian people as the enemy, and to deny that ordinary Palestinians shared any common interests or values with ordinary Israelis or Jews.

Orthodox Judaism has great virtues, including a communal warmth and a commitment to Jewish learning unmatched in the American Jewish world. (I’m biased, since my family attends an Orthodox synagogue.) But if current trends continue, the growing influence of Orthodox Jews in America’s Jewish communal institutions will erode even the liberal-democratic veneer that today covers American Zionism. In 2002, America’s major Jewish organizations sponsored a large Israel solidarity rally on the Washington Mall. Up and down the east coast, yeshivas shut down for the day, swelling the estimated Orthodox share of the crowd to close to 70 percent. When the then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz told the rally that “innocent Palestinians are suffering and dying as well,” he was booed.

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ccp
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« Reply #1253 on: May 23, 2011, 12:12:00 PM »

The Failure of the American Jewish EstablishmentJune 10, 2010Peter BeinartE-mail Single Page Print Share ← 1 2 3 
Mohammed Saber/epa/Corbis

Palestinian boys standing on the rubble of buildings demolished by the Israeli army near the Israeli settlement of Netzarim, Gaza Strip, July 2004. The settlement was the last to be emptied as part of Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan in August 2005.
America’s Jewish leaders should think hard about that rally. Unless they change course, it portends the future: an American Zionist movement that does not even feign concern for Palestinian dignity and a broader American Jewish population that does not even feign concern for Israel. My own children, given their upbringing, could as easily end up among the booers as among Luntz’s focus group. Either prospect fills me with dread.


In 2004, in an effort to prevent weapons smuggling from Egypt, Israeli tanks and bulldozers demolished hundreds of houses in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip. Watching television, a veteran Israeli commentator and politician named Tommy Lapid saw an elderly Palestinian woman crouched on all fours looking for her medicines amid the ruins of her home. He said she reminded him of his grandmother.

In that moment, Lapid captured the spirit that is suffocating within organized American Jewish life. To begin with, he watched. In my experience, there is an epidemic of not watching among American Zionists today. A Red Cross study on malnutrition in the Gaza Strip, a bill in the Knesset to allow Jewish neighborhoods to bar entry to Israeli Arabs, an Israeli human rights report on settlers burning Palestinian olive groves, three more Palestinian teenagers shot—it’s unpleasant. Rationalizing and minimizing Palestinian suffering has become a kind of game. In a more recent report on how to foster Zionism among America’s young, Luntz urges American Jewish groups to use the word “Arabs, not Palestinians,” since “the term ‘Palestinians’ evokes images of refugee camps, victims and oppression,” while “‘Arab’ says wealth, oil and Islam.”

Of course, Israel—like the United States—must sometimes take morally difficult actions in its own defense. But they are morally difficult only if you allow yourself some human connection to the other side. Otherwise, security justifies everything. The heads of AIPAC and the Presidents’ Conference should ask themselves what Israel’s leaders would have to do or say to make them scream “no.” After all, Lieberman is foreign minister; Effi Eitam is touring American universities; settlements are growing at triple the rate of the Israeli population; half of Israeli Jewish high school students want Arabs barred from the Knesset. If the line has not yet been crossed, where is the line?

 
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What infuriated critics about Lapid’s comment was that his grandmother died at Auschwitz. How dare he defile the memory of the Holocaust? Of course, the Holocaust is immeasurably worse than anything Israel has done or ever will do. But at least Lapid used Jewish suffering to connect to the suffering of others. In the world of AIPAC, the Holocaust analogies never stop, and their message is always the same: Jews are licensed by their victimhood to worry only about themselves. Many of Israel’s founders believed that with statehood, Jews would rightly be judged on the way they treated the non-Jews living under their dominion. “For the first time we shall be the majority living with a minority,” Knesset member Pinchas Lavon declared in 1948, “and we shall be called upon to provide an example and prove how Jews live with a minority.”

But the message of the American Jewish establishment and its allies in the Netanyahu government is exactly the opposite: since Jews are history’s permanent victims, always on the knife-edge of extinction, moral responsibility is a luxury Israel does not have. Its only responsibility is to survive. As former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg writes in his remarkable 2008 book, The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From Its Ashes, “Victimhood sets you free.”

This obsession with victimhood lies at the heart of why Zionism is dying among America’s secular Jewish young. It simply bears no relationship to their lived experience, or what they have seen of Israel’s. Yes, Israel faces threats from Hezbollah and Hamas. Yes, Israelis understandably worry about a nuclear Iran. But the dilemmas you face when you possess dozens or hundreds of nuclear weapons, and your adversary, however despicable, may acquire one, are not the dilemmas of the Warsaw Ghetto. The year 2010 is not, as Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed, 1938. The drama of Jewish victimhood—a drama that feels natural to many Jews who lived through 1938, 1948, or even 1967—strikes most of today’s young American Jews as farce.

But there is a different Zionist calling, which has never been more desperately relevant. It has its roots in Israel’s Independence Proclamation, which promised that the Jewish state “will be based on the precepts of liberty, justice and peace taught by the Hebrew prophets,” and in the December 1948 letter from Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, and others to The New York Times, protesting right-wing Zionist leader Menachem Begin’s visit to the United States after his party’s militias massacred Arab civilians in the village of Deir Yassin. It is a call to recognize that in a world in which Jewish fortunes have radically changed, the best way to memorialize the history of Jewish suffering is through the ethical use of Jewish power.

For several months now, a group of Israeli students has been traveling every Friday to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where a Palestinian family named the Ghawis lives on the street outside their home of fifty-three years, from which they were evicted to make room for Jewish settlers. Although repeatedly arrested for protesting without a permit, and called traitors and self-haters by the Israeli right, the students keep coming, their numbers now swelling into the thousands. What if American Jewish organizations brought these young people to speak at Hillel? What if this was the face of Zionism shown to America’s Jewish young? What if the students in Luntz’s focus group had been told that their generation faces a challenge as momentous as any in Jewish history: to save liberal democracy in the only Jewish state on earth?

“Too many years I lived in the warm embrace of institutionalized elusiveness and was a part of it,” writes Avraham Burg. “I was very comfortable there.” I know; I was comfortable there too. But comfortable Zionism has become a moral abdication. Let’s hope that Luntz’s students, in solidarity with their counterparts at Sheikh Jarrah, can foster an uncomfortable Zionism, a Zionism angry at what Israel risks becoming, and in love with what it still could be. Let’s hope they care enough to try.

—May 12, 2010

Peter Beinart is Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York, a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, and Senior Political Writer for The Daily Beast. His new book, The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris, will be published in June.


Letters
'The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment': An Exchange June 24, 2010

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« Reply #1254 on: May 23, 2011, 08:07:27 PM »

“Six times we have brought Jewish youth together as a group to talk about their Jewishness and connection to Israel,” he reported. “Six times the topic of Israel did not come up until it was prompted. Six times these Jewish youth used the word ‘they‘ rather than ‘us‘ to describe the situation.”

I don't see that as a bad thing. If you are an American, you should see other countries, even allies as "them", not "us".

GM is right; and that has been my point in this whole discussion.  My grandparents were from Norway on my father's side. 
I still remember my grandfather saying, "Don't speak Norwegian (I wish he did so I knew a little) to the boy (me) this is America!  Speak English, we
are American's now!!!"  When the chips are down, them and "US" is important.  I love immigrants if they truly in their heart and mind
want to be Americans.  You cannot serve two masters. 
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« Reply #1255 on: May 24, 2011, 01:32:11 AM »

I've not had the time to digest CCP's post, but I will note that I get a bit testy on the meme that seems to float on the wind about mixed loyalty and Jews.

==================

Israel and Obama’s Radical Past

www.nationalreview.com

Israel and Obama’s Radical Past

May 20, 2011 10:05 A.M.

By Stanley Kurtz 

Does President Obama’s radical past tell us anything significant about his stance on Israel today? Perhaps more important, do the radical alliances of Obama’s Chicago days raise a warning flag about what the president’s position on Israel may be in 2013, should he safely secure reelection? Many will deny it, but I believe Obama’s radical history speaks volumes about the past, present, and likely future course of his policy on Israel.

The Los Angeles Times has long refused to release a videotape in its possession of a farewell dinner, attended by Obama, for scholar and Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi. Obama spoke warmly of his friendship for Khalidi at that event. Unfortunately, the continuing mystery of that video tape has obscured the rather remarkable article that the LA Times did publish about the dinner — and about Obama’s broader views on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. In light of the controversy over Obama’s remarks on Israel in his address yesterday on the Middle East, it is worth revisiting that 2008 article from the LA Times.

The extraordinary thing about “Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Obama” is that in it, Obama’s supporters say that in claiming to be pro-Israel, he is hiding his true views from the public. Having observed his personal associations, his open political alliances, his public statements, and his private remarks, Obama’s Palestinian allies steadfastly maintain that Obama’s private views are far more pro-Palestinian than he lets on.

Having pieced together Obama’s history, I make much the same argument about Obama’s broader political stance in my book, Radical-in-Chief. Obama’s true views are far to the left of what he lets on in public. Yet it’s striking to see Palestinian activists making essentially the same point — not in criticism of Obama, but in praise.

Notice also that, in this article, Rashid Khalidi himself claims that Obama’s family ties to Kenya and Indonesia have inclined him to be more sympathetic to Palestinians than other American politicians are. That sort of claim often gets ridiculed when conservatives make it.

The point of all this is not that, as president, Obama is going to make policy exactly as Rashid Khalidi might. Obviously, no American president could take such a position and survive politically. Rather, the point is that Obama’s stance is going to tilt more heavily toward the Palestinians than any other likely American president, Republican or Democrat — just as Obama’s Palestinian allies argued in that LA Times piece.

The entire article is worth a read, but here are some choice excerpts:

A special tribute [at the farewell dinner] came from Khalidi’s friend and frequent dinner companion, the young state Sen. Barack Obama. Speaking to the crowd, Obama reminisced about meals provided by Khalidi’s wife, Mona, and conversations that had challenged his thinking.

His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been “consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases” . . .

[Obama today] expresses a firmly pro-Israel view. . . .

And yet the warm embrace Obama gave to Khalidi, and words like those at the professor’s going away party, have left some Palestinian American leaders believing that Obama is more receptive to their viewpoint than he is willing to say.

Their belief is not drawn from Obama’s speeches or campaign literature, but from comments that some say Obama made in private and from his association with the Palestinian American community in his hometown of Chicago, including his presence at events where anger at Israeli and U.S. Middle East policy was freely expressed. . . .

“I am confident that Barack Obama is more sympathetic to the position of ending the occupation than either of the other candidates,” said Hussein Ibish…. “That’s my personal opinion, Ibish said, “and I think it for a very large number of circumstantial reasons and what he’s said.”

. . . Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian rights activist in Chicago who helps run Electronic Intifada, said that he met Obama several times at Palestinian and Arab American community events. At one, a 2000 fundraiser at a private home, Obama called for the U.S. to take an “even-handed” approach toward Israel….

Abunimah, in a Times interview and on his website, said Obama seemed sympathetic to the Palestinian cause but more circumspect as he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004. At a dinner gathering that year, Abunimah said, Obama greeted him warmly and said privately that he needed to speak cautiously about the Middle East.

Abunimah quoted Obama as saying that he was sorry he wasn’t talking more about the Palestinian cause, but that his primary campaign had constrained what he could say.

Obama, through his aide, Axelrod, denied he ever said those words, and Abunimah’s account could not be independently verified.

In Radical-in-Chief, I show how Obama generally resorts to obfuscation to hide his radical past, saving outright false denial for those few cases where it is absolutely necessary. Is this another such case?

Radical-in-Chief also shows in some detail, with new information, that Obama had to know about Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s intensely anti-Israel views. I also discuss the triangular relationship between Obama, Khalidi, and Bill Ayers. Ayers and Khalidi were extremely close friends and allies, and both were close political allies of Obama as well.

For further evidence that Obama’s early views tell us more about his actions in the present — and future — than his current “pragmatic” statements, see “Obama’s Past Tells the Truth.”

There is also the question of Samantha Power, Obama’s most important foreign policy advisor during his Senate years, and a guiding force behind our current intervention in Libya. I surveyed her views in “Samantha Power’s Power.” Although Power now disavows it, there is persuasive evidence that she once advocated an American military intervention against Israel to impose a two-state solution. It is extraordinary that someone holding that view should have been Obama’s closest foreign-policy adviser for years, and a continuing influence within his administration today.

It is true, of course, that Obama has long maintained close ties to the Jewish community. Yet the depth of his ties to the pro-Palestinian Left is unmatched among major American politicians. It is reasonable to conclude that this is having an effect on Obama’s policies — more than he admits — and will continue to do so, especially should the president secure reelection.

« Last Edit: May 24, 2011, 01:50:39 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
JDN
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« Reply #1256 on: May 24, 2011, 09:17:33 AM »


Obama's Radical Past

The entire LA Times article is worth a read, but here are some choice excerpts:

A special tribute [at the farewell dinner] came from Khalidi’s friend and frequent dinner companion, the young state Sen. Barack Obama. Speaking to the crowd, Obama reminisced about meals provided by Khalidi’s wife, Mona, and conversations that had challenged his thinking.

His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been “consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases” . . .

[Obama today] expresses a firmly pro-Israel view. . . .

And yet the warm embrace Obama gave to Khalidi, and words like those at the professor’s going away party,

Is there something wrong with this tribute at a famous professor's going away party?  I think not.  You often reference Justice Ginsberg, while you usually don't entirely agree with her viewpoint,
if she had invited you to dinner at her home occasionally with her family when she was your professor and if you had had many talks with her, wouldn't you too say glowing words at her final party?
I think that is what college is all about, to challenge the mind; introduce new thoughts and reasoning.  You don't always have to agree on all issues.


d)  Beinhart also seems to have little problem with the idea of negotiating with Hamas  rolleyes

Understandable; not much good you can say about the Hamas. 

Then again, they did win the free election.  In a democracy, that says something.

And while they are despicable, so are regimes in North Korea, Iran, et all and we do negotiate with them.
Why are Hamas different?


 
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« Reply #1257 on: May 24, 2011, 09:18:48 AM »

I've not had the time to digest CCP's post, but I will note that I get a bit testy on the meme that seems to float on the wind about mixed loyalty and Jews.

I look forward to your thoughts.
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« Reply #1258 on: May 24, 2011, 09:28:02 AM »

Then again, they did win the free election.  In a democracy, that says something.

Yes, it tells you what genocidal scumbags the so-called "palestinians" are. The national socialist party won elections in 1930's Germany as well.

And while they are despicable, so are regimes in North Korea, Iran, et all and we do negotiate with them.

How are those negotiations with the NorKs and Iran working out?
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« Reply #1259 on: May 24, 2011, 09:59:42 AM »

 
May 11, 2011  Clip No. 2934 
 
Hamas MP and Cleric Yunis Al-Astal: The Jews Were Brought to Palestine for the "Great Massacre" through which Allah Will "Relieve Humanity of Their Evil" 
 
Following are excerpts from an interview with Hamas MP and cleric Yunis Al-Astal, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on May 11, 2011:



Yunis Al-Astal: The [Jews] are brought in droves to Palestine so that the Palestinians – and the Islamic nation behind them – will have the honor of annihilating the evil of this gang.



[…]




All the predators, all the birds of prey, all the dangerous reptiles and insects, and all the lethal bacteria are far less dangerous than the Jews.



[…]



In just a few years, all the Zionists and the settlers will realize that their arrival in Palestine was for the purpose of the great massacre, by means of which Allah wants to relieve humanity of their evil.



[…]



When Palestine is liberated and its people return to it, and the entire region, with the grace of Allah, will have turned into the United States of Islam, the land of Palestine will become the capital of the Islamic Caliphate, and all these countries will turn into states within the Caliphate. When this happens, any Palestinian will be able to live anywhere, because the land of Islam is the property of all Muslims.



Until this happens, we must reject all the resettlement plans, naturalization, or even reparations prior to the return of the refugees.
 
So, JDN, where do you start in negotiations with these people?
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« Reply #1260 on: May 24, 2011, 10:04:48 AM »

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Monday condemned the killing by U.S. forces of Osama bin Laden and mourned him as an "Arab holy warrior."
 
"We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood," Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, told reporters.
 
Though he noted doctrinal differences between bin Laden's al Qaeda and Hamas, Haniyeh said: "We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs."
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« Reply #1261 on: May 24, 2011, 10:08:30 AM »

I don't know, but my point was that we DO negotiate with North Korea and Iran et al.
Both countries threaten the US security far more than the Hamas and are equally (?) despicable as the Hamas.
And so what is the difference?

Ignoring the Hamas obviously isn't going to work either.  Why not open negotiations?


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« Reply #1262 on: May 24, 2011, 10:11:30 AM »

Hey, it's failed so far, let's keep trying it!  rolleyes
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« Reply #1263 on: May 24, 2011, 10:45:26 AM »

How do you negotiate with someone who stated purpose is serve as Allah's servant by killling you and yours?
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« Reply #1264 on: May 24, 2011, 10:51:29 AM »

HAMAS: Death to all Jews!

Obama: Howabout just half of them?

HAMAS: Well, maybe 75%.

Obama: I'll meet you at 60%, not one Hebrew more.

HAMAS: Deal!
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« Reply #1265 on: May 24, 2011, 11:28:11 AM »

"where do you start in negotiations with these people?"

From a position of strength.  Giving what they want before negotiations and weakening yourself is no place to start.

"And while they are despicable, so are regimes in North Korea, Iran, et all and we do negotiate with them.  Why are Hamas different?"

On trade, we took opposite paths with China and Cuba; neither strategy delivered change inside the repressive regimes.  Note that N.K. has nukes and Iran wields regional power and energy power.  Nothing went well enough in any other example to risk destruction of an ally. The ones who would risk destruction of Israel don't consider it an ally.  Obama speaks out of both sides of his mouth so I have no idea what his real view of Israel is.  Mentioned already was that the Palestinian leaders of terror are elected leaders, which takes quick fixes like deposing or regime change off the table, until it comes from within.

"Ignoring the Hamas obviously isn't going to work either."

What does Israel want from them, other than to stop attacking.  Has any previous gift / giveback of land stopped the attacks? (No.)

What I don't get is why all the focus from Obama for a certain failure, does he think he is on the brink of a breakthrough? Is his strategy so deep, clever and well-thought out that no one sees it?  Judging his performance in other areas like our economy, energy supply, budget deficit, etc. I would say no. Was he wishing for the public lecture on Israeli survival he received from Netanyahu as part of some larger strategy or thinking Bibi would roll over when the cameras were on? Quite a naive and stupid misjudgment unless I am missing something.  What point is there in making Israel look bad for choosing survival over destruction?
----
Crafty already asked: "a) Why was this speech sprung upon the Israelis?  Why did BO not give N. a heads up with sufficient time for some backchannel communications? b) What the hell does "contiguous" mean in this context?  That Gaza and the West Bank will be connected?!?..."
----

Great question regarding contiguous! Someone please post Obama's ultimate peace map... seriously, with survival, not just an Jewish-Israeli graveyard.

Per capita income for Palestinians is about $1100 in real purchasing power.  For Israel that is close to $30,000?? (http://palsolidarity.org/2010/01/10761/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Israel)  Failed state vs. free society.  That looks to me like the place to start.  Maybe thinking outside the box, our leader with all his deep thinking advisers could suggest some humanitarian path for advancement and self sufficiency along these lines instead of just the endless quest for land grab and terror support.

I would think a 10 year waiting period after all the countries in the region drop their destruction of Israel platform and after the last missile is fired on them would be reasonable before we even ask Israel to negotiate or offer concessions.

Has our current leader with his immense knowledge of history ever explicitly articulated what a good thing it is that the bloody tyrant who paid $25,000 per suicide bombing is gone?
--------
"How do you negotiate with someone who stated purpose is serve as Allah's servant by killing you and yours?"

Why wouldn't those people be more comfortable inside an Arab or Muslim land  instead of living with their most hated enemy and waging eternal war.  Why not have American push that direction, while supporting the survival of Israel, our ally.  'Crazy talk.'
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« Reply #1266 on: May 24, 2011, 01:12:59 PM »

"where do you start in negotiations with these people?"

Similar to the Roman general:

"You want peace we will give you peace."   (And I will add: we prefer this.)

"You want war we will give you war."  (And I add: we will wipe you out.)

As Morris said Obama is asking Jews to choose between:

the Democrat party or

another holocaust wherein 6.5 million Jews will be again murdered.

It really is this plain and simple.

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« Reply #1267 on: May 24, 2011, 06:05:43 PM »

Some points in here with which I distinctly disagree, others make sense:


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech to the U.S. Congress on May 24 spending a lot of his time on the threat posed by Iran and explaining the reason why Israel has not been able to proceed on the peace path outlined by U.S. President Barack Obama and the presidents before him.

The gist of Netanyahu’s argument was that, while Israel is ready to make very painful concessions in this peace deal, it is the Palestinians that have been blocking the peace process. He also maintained that Jerusalem will not be divided and that Israel will not make large concessions on its security or on the borders of a future Palestinian state.

A great deal of attention has been paid to a very specific line in Obama’s speech from last week, where he said the borders of Israel and Palestine will be based on the lines of 1967 with mutually agreed swaps. This was portrayed by much of the media as a major U.S. policy shift and led Netanyahu to declare to the Israeli lobby in Washington that those 1967 borders are indefensible.

There is absolutely nothing groundbreaking in what Obama actually said. The 1967 lines refer to the borders before the 1967 Six-Day War, when Israel captured the Gaza Strip from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, the Golan Heights from Syria, and basically went beyond the border outlined in the 1949 armistice between Israel and Arab states.

Obama is not saying that the 1967 lines will be the exact same borders of a two-state solution; he is saying negotiations need to be held for those mutually agreed swaps that would deal with the very contentious issues of East Jerusalem and West Bank settlements. Obama said he was explicit in what he meant, but no matter which way you look at this issue, this is an issue that remains very much clouded in controversy. The only new aspect to Obama’s roadmap for peace was perhaps the urgency in which he is conveying his message. This does not change the fact that Israel is very unlikely to make significant concessions to the Palestinians, especially at a time when the Palestinians are in a fledgling unity government that includes Hamas, which refuses still recognize Israel’s right to exist. As Netanyahu put it, he declared Hamas the Palestinian version of al Qaeda and called on Fatah to rip up its agreement with Hamas if it wants to negotiate seriously with Israel.

Now, the biggest challenge to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies in the surrounding environment to the conflict itself. Egypt is undergoing a very shaky political transition, and the military regime there is also trying to keep a lid on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Jordan meanwhile is facing much higher levels of political pressure from its Islamist opposition, and the Syrians are throwing all of their effort into putting down a country-wide uprising. Meanwhile, the threat of a third Palestinian intifada continues to loom.

The past 33 years of Israeli history have been largely quiescent, for Israeli standards. Now, Israel faces threats on nearly all of its frontiers. Obama argued that this very uncertainty in the region is exactly why Israel cannot afford to delay the peace process any longer, and why both Israel and the United States should avoid ending up on the wrong side of history, as he put it. This is a point that Israel will likely strongly disagree with. It also brings up a much more important question, one that we addressed in this week’s “Geopolitical Weekly,” of whether there really is a true “Arab Spring” capable of bringing about democratic revolutions that would be friendly to U.S., much less Israeli, interests.

Meanwhile, as Netanyahu emphasized in his speech, a big focus for Israel, and what arguably should be the focus for the United States, concerns Iran, where the United States has yet to devise and effective strategy to counterbalance the Iranians that are waiting to fill a power vacuum in Iraq following the U.S. withdrawal. That remains a key point the Obama presidency must address, and it is largely one that is ignored by the effects of the Arab Spring.

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« Reply #1268 on: May 24, 2011, 07:30:39 PM »


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13530945

IAEA: Syria site bombed by Israel 'was likely nuclear' The US said Syria's reactor was similar to a North Korean one


A Syrian site bombed by Israeli jets in 2007 was "very likely" a nuclear reactor, the UN's atomic watchdog says.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has been investigating US claims that Syria was building a secret nuclear reactor with North Korean help.

The strongest IAEA report yet on Syria came after several years of blocked investigations, and is likely to increase the pressure on Damascus.

Israel bombed the remote desert site of the alleged reactor in September 2007.

Syria says the site - near Deir Alzour in the country's remote north-east - was an unused military facility under construction. It also denied having any nuclear links to North Korea, which has itself denied transferring nuclear technology to Syria.

But the confidential IAEA report, obtained by the BBC, says the bombed building was similar in type and size to a reactor and that samples taken from the site indicated a connection with nuclear activities.
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WSJ
« Reply #1269 on: May 26, 2011, 09:18:01 AM »

By MATT BRADLEY in Cairo and JOSHUA MITNICK in Tel Aviv
Egypt's caretaker government said it will permanently open its border with the Gaza Strip on Saturday, the latest signal that post-revolutionary Egypt is breaking with the past regime's more cooperative policies toward Israel.

Israel relied on the cooperation of Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak to back up its blockade of Gaza, which began in 2007 after Hamas militants wrested control of the coastal Palestinian enclave from the Palestinian Authority.

Mr. Mubarak's policy was extremely unpopular in Egypt. To the consternation of Israel, the military-led government that took over when protests ousted Mr. Mubarak three months ago has taken more populist positions.  Egypt upset Israel last month when it announced it had brokered a unity pact that brought together Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which is led by the more secular Fatah party. A day later, Cairo said it would open the Rafah border crossing, but the move was delayed in what many saw as an incentive for rival Palestinian factions to implement the reconciliation accord.

Egypt's decision to open the border highlighted the growing isolation of Israel, amid new friction between Israel and the U.S. Those tensions broke out last week when President Barack Obama publicly pressed Israel to make concessions on its borders to facilitate a peace deal with the Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visiting Washington, promptly rejected that overture.

On Wednesday, Egyptian officials spoke of the plight of the Palestinian people, and the need for Israel to do more to end the conflict.

"The Egyptian side is doing what they see fit for the sufferings of the people in Gaza. And the occupying power, they too have an obligation toward the people in the territory," said Menha Bakhoum, a spokeswoman for Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "This is the only thing we can tell the Israelis: They too have obligation towards [the Palestinians]."

Hamas officials welcomed the move. "We appreciate what the Egyptian government has done,'' said a spokesman for the organization.

Israeli officials said the border opening could erode Israeli security by allowing militants and weapons into the territory. "Israel is concerned with the potential opening of the crossing without proper control monitoring what's going in and what's going out. Even today the situation is not good enough,'' said an Israeli official.

Analysts said Mr. Netanyahu's hard-line stance has intensified popular pro-Palestinian pressure on Egypt's caretaker military government, which will hold power until parliamentary elections in September and the presidential vote that follows.

Members of Egypt's supreme military council, "like all politicians in Egypt, need to demonstrate a lot of daylight between themselves and the policies of the Mubarak era," said Steven Cook, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

View Full Image
.Some of the revolutionary fervor that felled the Mubarak regime in February has since turned against Israel. Several demonstrations have been held in front of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, most recently to commemorate the anniversary of what Palestinians call the nakba, or catastrophe—Israel's declaration of statehood in 1948.

Police arrested nearly 200 protesters and used tear gas and shot live rounds in the air to disperse the crowds.

A Pew Research Center poll published in late April said 54% of Egyptians wanted to cancel Egypt's peace treaty with Israel. Egypt is one of only two Arab nations that have formal diplomatic ties with Israel.

Ms. Bakhoum said only Palestinian men between the ages of 18 and 40, with some exemptions, will need visas to cross Egypt's border with Gaza. She said she hadn't been told why there was a visa restriction.

The Israeli government will have no say on who will be granted visas, Ms. Bakhoum said.

In the years after Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and before Hamas's takeover in 2007, Israeli security officials were able to veto passage of Gazans at the border under a U.S.-brokered agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

The opening would allow the general public in Gaza to pass without Israeli monitoring.

Palestinians have relied on a network of tunnels under the Gaza border into Egypt to bypass the nearly four-year-old Israeli blockade.

Eli Shaked, a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, said that Israel will, at minimum, seek to clarify what security mechanisms will be used at the border. He said he believed Egypt was opening the border to reward Hamas for saying it would reconcile with the Western-backed Fatah party.

"This is a kind of reward for Hamas behaving according to Egyptian expectations," he said. "This is also a kind of leverage over Hamas—an attempt to tell them that they have a lot to lose if they misbehave."

Security for the Palestinian side of the border is a bone of contention between Palestinian factions. While the Palestinian Authority says it is the job of its security forces, Hamas will be reluctant to hand over control of the sensitive crossing point.

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« Reply #1270 on: May 26, 2011, 03:22:24 PM »

Egypt has announced that it will be opening up the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip this coming Saturday. The move represents a shift in the attitude of Cairo toward the Palestinian territory and is informed by both domestic and foreign policy needs. More important, the move has the potential to create complications between Israel and Egypt.

Egypt has decided to permanently open the Rafah border crossing, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any restrictions for the flow of Palestinian traffic coming from Gaza into Egypt. For starters, it will only be a daytime thing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and there will be no border crossing on Fridays and holidays. Then there is a restriction in terms of demographics — women will be allowed to go back and forth without a visa but men between the ages of 18 and 40 will require a visa, while those who are not within this age bracket will be allowed free movement. It’s not clear right now what will be the rules regulating the flow of goods because that’s the big concern in terms of weapons coming in, which is a primary concern for Israel and of course the Egyptians share that concern because they don’t want a spillover of any militant traffic moving back and forth between their country and the Palestinian territory.

There are a number of reasons why Egypt has decided that it will open up the Rafah border crossing. One has to do with the reconciliation that is taking place and is being brokered by Cairo between the rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah and the efforts toward the formation of a unity government. One of the ways in which Hamas was brought onto the table was that Cairo allow for the opening of the border crossings so this was an incentive which has resulted in Hamas moving forward on the efforts to reconcile with Fatah. That is very important for Egypt because it wants to be able to take a greater ownership over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially as it is trying to manage a transition at home and given the regional turmoil that is taking place in the form of popular unrest in the other Arab countries.

The biggest implication is the Israeli concern about how the opening of this border crossing is going to impact Israeli security, knowing that while Hamas may be ruling Gaza and may not necessarily have an interest in hostilities with Israel but then Hamas does not have a monopoly over the militant landscape in Gaza. There are many rival factions that engage in unilateral firing of rockets and there are forces within Hamas that are not comfortable with the reconciliation and insist on maintaining the path of militancy. So from an Israeli point of view this isn’t good news, but then again it’s difficult to imagine that Egypt went ahead with this policy shift and did not take Israel into confidence. For Israel, the big problem is they have very little faith in this working such that militants don’t take advantage of the opening of this border crossing.

Click for more videos

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« Reply #1271 on: May 26, 2011, 04:09:21 PM »

Woof, Guro... This is the movie I told you about elsewhere.  I post here for others to discuss, if they so desire.

http://littletownofbethlehem.org/
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« Reply #1272 on: May 26, 2011, 04:20:13 PM »

Thank you BD

My third post of the day:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor speaking to the AIPAC conference, May 22:

The following story illustrates Israel's dilemma. A Palestinian woman from Gaza arrives at Soroka Hospital in Beersheba for lifesaving skin treatment for burns over half her body. After the conclusion of her extensive treatment, the woman is invited back for follow-up visits to the outpatient clinic. One day she is caught at the border crossing wearing a suicide belt. Her intention? To blow herself up at the same clinic that saved her life.

What kind of culture leads one to do that? Sadly, it is a culture infused with resentment and hatred. It is this culture that underlies the Palestinians' and the broader Arab world's refusal to accept Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. This is the root of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. It is not about the '67 lines.

And until Israel's enemies come to terms with this reality, a true peace will be impossible.

And the reality, as we say in Hebrew, is "Ahm Yisrael Chai: The people of Israel live. And what they want is to live in peace. If the Palestinians want to live in peace in a state of their own, they must demonstrate that they are worthy of a state.

To Mr. Abbas, I say: Stop the incitement in your media and your schools. Stop naming public squares and athletic teams after suicide bombers. And come to the negotiating table when you have prepared your people to forego hatred and renounce terrorism—and Israel will embrace you. Until that day, there can be no peace with Hamas. Peace at any price isn't peace; it's surrender. For the survival of Israel, for the security of America and peace of the world, now is that time and right here is the place to begin.

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« Reply #1273 on: May 27, 2011, 11:03:36 AM »

Thursday, May 26, 2011   STRATFOR.COM  Diary Archives 

Pragmatism Exacerbating Intra-Hamas Fault Lines

A dispute within the Hamas leadership surfaced in the media Wednesday. Hamas’ No. 2 leader in the Gaza Strip, Mahmoud Zahar, reportedly said the central leader of the Palestinian Islamist movement, Khaled Meshaal, did not have the right to say their group was giving Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas another chance to negotiate with Israel. Zahar said Meshaal didn’t consult the entire leadership and that the statements Meshaal made during the May 4 signing of the reconciliation accord with rival secular faction Fatah in Cairo contradicted Hamas’ long-standing opposition to negotiations with Israel. The Gaza-based leader went on to say Hamas needed to review the decision-making process within the movement because “the leadership is here (in the Gaza Strip), and the part (of Hamas) that is abroad is just a part of that.”

“The Muslim Brotherhood cannot move toward a greater political role via elections in Egypt while Hamas (which is an offshoot of the Brotherhood) continues on the path of militancy next door in Gaza.”
These comments clearly show that a major internal schism is under way within Hamas. STRATFOR for a number of years has been identifying several fault lines within the movement: those between the exiled central leadership based in Damascus and the ones based in Gaza; the differences between those in Gaza and the West Bank; and within Gaza between ideological and pragmatic elements. These various schisms have long been kept in check, but Zahar’s remarks represent the first significant sign of serious internal trouble.

At this point, it is difficult to say whether we are looking at the emergence of two rival factions within the movement or if Zahar is speaking for a relatively small group that is at odds with the Meshaal-led central leadership. Nonetheless, this rift is the natural outcome of the current regional situation and its impact on Hamas. The popular unrest in the region has altered the circumstances within the two Arab states that have the most influence over Hamas — Egypt and Syria.

Egypt is in a state of transition from single-party rule toward a multiparty political system — a process overseen by its military. Elections are scheduled for later in 2011, in which the country’s most organized political force, the Muslim Brotherhood, could emerge as the single-largest political bloc in parliament. At a time when it is on a trajectory toward becoming a key stakeholder in the post-Mubarak state, the Muslim Brotherhood has an interest in making sure nothing derails the process, especially the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

Therefore, it is very likely that the Brotherhood has been working with the new provisional military authority in Cairo to ensure calm in Gaza and the wider Israeli-Palestinian landscape. The Muslim Brotherhood cannot move toward a greater political role via elections in Egypt while Hamas (which is an offshoot of the Brotherhood) continues on the path of militancy next door in Gaza. There has always been a significant degree of coordination between the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and its various sister entities in the region; the Egyptian Brotherhood has likely encouraged its Palestinian counterpart to move toward a more political role and work with Fatah in forming a Palestinian national unity government. This could explain why the military, shortly after taking direct power in Cairo, was able to get the two rival Palestinian factions to finally reconcile with each other after years of feuding.

Also shaping the behavior of Hamas is Syria’s growing popular agitation movement, which threatens the stability of the al Assad regime. Damascus for many years has been a major patron of Hamas, given that the movement’s Meshaal-led exiled central politburo is headquartered in the Syrian capital and much of the group’s financing is handled at the exiled headquarters. The public rising in Syria has led to increased tension between Hamas and the Syrian regime, giving surrounding Arab states an opportunity to try to coax Hamas into relocating their headquarters to another Arab capital — one out of reach of Iran.

Regardless of where and when the relocation takes place, it is associated with a desire by Arab states to pull Hamas out of the Iranian orbit. Given the Iranian-Syrian relationship and Hamas residence in Damascus, Tehran was able to exercise a great degree of influence over the Palestinian movement. Therefore, the hope of the Arab states is that relocating away from Syria will help deny Iran the leverage it has over Hamas — and by extension, the ability to exploit the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

There are too many moving parts in play, and it is too early to tell exactly how Hamas’ regional realignment takes shape. But it’s clear that the evolving regional circumstances have pushed (at least part of) its apex leadership toward privileging the political path over a militant one. Opposition to the agreement with Fatah coming from Israel and from hard-liners within Hamas speaks volumes about this shift.

It is also difficult to speak about the future of this emerging trend because the internal rift within Hamas threatens the integrity of the movement. Meshaal is likely to have significant support from within the movement for his pragmatism. But there is also no shortage of people within Hamas who agree with the ideological position of Zahar. Thus, this internal rift within Hamas threatens the group with splintering into more radical groups, which could further complicate an already complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1274 on: May 28, 2011, 11:17:33 AM »


Caroline Glick   
Lessons of Netanyahu’s Triumph

 
 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was hoping to avoid his clash with US President Barack Obama this week in Washington.

Four days before his showdown at the White House with the American leader, Netanyahu addressed the Knesset. His speech was the most dovish he had ever given. In it, he set out the parameters of the land concessions he is willing to make to the Palestinians, in the event they ever decide that they are interested in negotiating a final peace.

Among other things, Netanyahu spoke for the first time about “settlement blocs,” and so signaled that he would be willing to evacuate the more isolated Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. He also spoke of a longterm military presence in the Jordan Valley rather than Israeli sovereignty along the militarily vital plain.

Both strategically and ideologically, Netanyahu’s speech constituted a massive concession to Obama. The premier had good reason to believe that his speech would preempt any US demand for further Israeli concessions during his visit to Washington.

Alas, it was not to be. Instead of welcoming Netanyahu’s unprecedented concessions, Obama dismissed them as insufficient as he blindsided Netanyahu last Thursday with his speech at the State Department. There, just hours before Netanyahu was scheduled to fly off to meet him in the Oval Office, Obama adopted the Palestinian negotiating position by calling for Israel to accept that future negotiations will be based on the indefensible – indeed suicidal – 1949 armistice lines.

So, just as he was about to board his plane, Netanyahu realized that his mission in the US capital had changed. His job wasn’t to go along to get along. His job was to stop Obama from driving Israel’s relations with the US off a cliff.

Netanyahu was no longer going to Washington to explain where Israel will stand aside. He was going to Washington to explain what Israel stands for. Obama threw down the gauntlet. Netanyahu needed to pick it up by rallying both the Israeli people to his side and rallying the American people to Israel’s side. Both goals, he realized, could only be accomplished by presenting his vision of what Israel is and what it stands for.

And Netanyahu did his job. He did his job brilliantly.

Israel today is the target of an ever escalating campaign to demonize and delegitimize it. Just this week we learned that a dozen towns in Scotland have decided to ban Israeli books from their public libraries. One Scottish town has decided to post signs calling for its residents to boycott Israeli products and put a distinguishing mark (yellow star, perhaps?) on all Israeli products sold in local stores to warn residents away from them.

Israelis shake their heads and wonder, what did we do to the Scots? In San Francisco, there is a proposition on the ballot for the fall elections to ban circumcision.

The proposition would make it a criminal offense to carry out the oldest Jewish religious ritual. Offenders will be punished by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

Israelis shake their heads and wonder, what did we do to the people of San Francisco? It seems that everywhere we look we are told that we have no right to exist. From Ramallah to Gaza, to Egypt, to Scotland, Norway, and San Francisco, we are told that we are evil and had better give up the store. And then Obama took to the stage on Thursday and told us that we have to surrender our ability to defend ourselves in order to make room for a Palestinian state run by terrorists committed to our destruction.

But then Netanyahu arrived in Washington and said, “Enough already, we’ve had quite enough of this dangerous nonsense.”

And we felt things we haven’t felt for a long time. We felt empowered. We felt we had a voice. We felt proud. We felt we had a leader.

We felt relieved.

The American people, whose overwhelming support for Israel was demonstrated by their representatives in both houses of the Congress on Tuesday, also felt empowered, proud and relieved. Because not only did Netanyahu eloquently remind them of why they stand with Israel, he reminded them of why everyone who truly loves freedom stands with America.

It is true that the American lawmakers who interrupted Netanyahu’s remarks dozens of times to applaud wanted to use his presence in their chamber to send a message of solidarity to the people of Israel. But during the course of his speech, it became apparent that it wasn’t just their desire to show solidarity that made them stand and applaud so many times. Netanyahu managed to relieve them as well.

Since he assumed office, Obama has been traveling the world apologizing for America’s world leadership. He has been lecturing the American people about the need to subordinate America’s national interests to global organizations like the United Nations that are controlled by dictatorships which despise them.

Suddenly, here was an allied leader reminding them of why America is a great nation that leads the world by right, not by historical coincidence.

It is not coincidental that many American and Israeli observers have described Netanyahu’s speech as “Churchillian.” Winston Churchill’s leadership was a classic example of democratic leadership. And Netanyahu is Churchill’s most fervent pupil. The democratic leadership model requires a leader to set out his vision of where his country must go and convince the public to follow him.

That is what Churchill did. And that is what Netanyahu did this week. And like Churchill in June 1940, Netanyahu’s success this week was dazzling.

Just how dazzling was make clear by a Haaretz poll of the Israeli public conducted after Netanyahu’s speech before the Congress.

The poll found that Netanyahu’s approval ratings increased an astounding 13 percentage points, from 38 to 51 percent in one week. Two-thirds of the Israelis who watched his speech said it made them proud.

As for the US response, the fact that leading Democrats on Capitol Hill, House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, felt it necessary to distance themselves from Obama’s statements about Israel’s final borders makes clear that Netanyahu successfully rallied the American public to Israel’s side.

This point was also brought home with Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s interesting request to Republicans during their joint meeting with Netanyahu. In front of the Israeli leader, Wasserman Schultz asked her Republican counterparts not to use support for Israel as a campaign issue. Her request makes clear that following Netanyahu’s brilliant triumph in Washington, Democrats realize that the president’s poor treatment of Israel is an issue that will harm them politically if the Republicans decide to make it an issue in next year’s elections.

While the democratic model of leadership is certainly the model that the founders of most democratic societies have in mind when they establish their democratic orders, it is not the only leadership model that guides leaders in democratic societies. This week, as Netanyahu demonstrated the strength of the democratic leadership model, two other leadership models were also on prominent display. The first was demonstrated by Obama. The second was exhibited by opposition leader Tzipi Livni.

Obama’s leadership model is the model of subversive leadership. Subversive leaders in democracies do not tell their citizens where they wish to lead their societies. They hide their goals from their citizens, because they understand that their citizens do not share their goals. Then once they achieve their unspoken goals, they present their people with a fait accompli and announce that only they are competent to shepherd their societies through the radical shift they undertook behind the public’s back.

Before Obama, the clearest example of subversive leadership was Shimon Peres. As foreign minister under Yitzhak Rabin, Peres negotiated his deal with the PLO behind the public’s back, and behind Rabin’s back – and against their clear opposition. Then he presented the deal that no one supported as a fait accompli.

And as the architect of the deal that put the PLO terror forces on the outskirts of Israel’s major cities, Peres argued that only he could be trusted to implement the deal he had crafted.

Eighteen years and 2,000 Israeli terror victims later, Israel still hasn’t figured out how to extricate itself from his subversive legacy. And he is president.

Today, Obama recognizes that the American public doesn’t share his antipathy towards Israel, and so as he adopts policies antithetical to Israel’s security, he waxes poetic about his commitment to Israel’s security. So far his policies have led to the near disintegration of Israel’s peace with Egypt, the establishment of a Fatah-Hamas unity government in the Palestinian Authority, and to Iran’s steady, all but unimpeded progress towards the atom bomb.

As for Livni, her model is leadership from behind. Although Obama’s advisers claimed that this is his model of leadership, it actually is Livni’s model. A leader who leads from behind is a follower. She sees where her voters are and she goes there.

In Livni’s case, her supporters are on the Left and their main spokesman is the media. Both the Left and the media oppose everything that Netanyahu does and everything he is. And so, as Livni sees things, her job as the head of the opposition is to give voice to their views.

As Netanyahu stared Obama down in the Oval Office and reminded Israelis and Americans alike why we have a special relationship, Livni was telling audiences in Washington and Israel that Netanyahu is a warmonger who will lead us to devastation if we don’t elect her to replace him soon. With Obama adopting the Palestinians’ negotiating positions and with Fatah embracing Hamas rather than honestly admitting that all hope for peace is dead for the duration, Livni said that Netanyahu is leading us to war by defending the country.

Netanyahu’s extraordinary leadership this week has shown that when used well, the democratic model of leadership trumps all other models. He also showed us that he has the capacity to be the leader of our times.

In the coming weeks and months, the threats to Israel will surely only increase. And with these escalating threats will come also the escalating need for strong and certain leadership.

Netanyahu should realize what his astounding success means for him as well as for Israel.

The people of Israel and our many friends around the world will continue to stand behind him proudly if he continues to lead us as well and wonderfully as he did this week. And we will admire him. And we will thank him.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1275 on: May 31, 2011, 06:57:20 AM »

Not sure that I agree with all of this , , ,

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By George Friedman

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said May 30 that  Israel could not prevent the United Nations from recognizing a Palestinian state, in the sense of adopting a resolution on the subject. Two weeks ago, U.S. President Barack Obama, in a speech, called on Israel to return to some variation of its pre-1967 borders. The practical significance of these and other diplomatic evolutions in relation to Israel is questionable. Historically, U.N. declarations have had variable meanings, depending on the willingness of great powers to enforce them. Obama’s speech on Israel, and his subsequent statements, created enough ambiguity to make exactly what he was saying unclear. Nevertheless, it is clear that the diplomatic atmosphere on Israel is shifting.

There are many questions concerning this shift, ranging from the competing moral and historical claims of the Israelis and Palestinians to the internal politics of each side to whether the Palestinians would be satisfied with a return to the pre-1967 borders. All of these must be addressed, but this analysis is confined to a single issue: whether a return to the 1967 borders would increase the danger to Israel’s national security. Later analyses will focus on Palestinian national security issues and those of others.


Early Borders

It is important to begin by understanding that the pre-1967 borders are actually the borders established by the armistice agreements of 1949. The 1948 U.N. resolution creating the state of Israel created a much smaller Israel. The Arab rejection of what was called “partition” resulted in a war that created the borders that placed the West Bank (named after the west bank of the Jordan River) in Jordanian hands, along with substantial parts of Jerusalem, and placed Gaza in the hands of the Egyptians.



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The 1949 borders substantially improved Israel’s position by widening the corridors between the areas granted to Israel under the partition, giving it control of part of Jerusalem and, perhaps most important, control over the Negev. The latter provided Israel with room for maneuver in the event of an Egyptian attack — and Egypt was always Israel’s main adversary. At the same time, the 1949 borders did not eliminate a major strategic threat. The Israel-Jordan border placed Jordanian forces on three sides of Israeli Jerusalem, and threatened the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem corridor. Much of the Israeli heartland, the Tel Aviv-Haifa-Jerusalem triangle, was within Jordanian artillery range, and a Jordanian attack toward the Mediterranean would have to be stopped cold at the border, since there was no room to retreat, regroup and counterattack.

For Israel, the main danger did not come from Jordan attacking by itself. Jordanian forces were limited, and tensions with Egypt and Syria created a de facto alliance between Israel and Jordan. In addition, the Jordanian Hashemite regime lived in deep tension with the Palestinians, since the former were British transplants from the Arabian Peninsula, and the Palestinians saw them as well as the Israelis as interlopers. Thus the danger on the map was mitigated both by politics and by the limited force the Jordanians could bring to bear.

Nevertheless, politics shift, and the 1949 borders posed a strategic problem for Israel. If Egypt, Jordan and Syria were to launch a simultaneous attack (possibly joined by other forces along the Jordan River line) all along Israel’s frontiers, the ability of Israel to defeat the attackers was questionable. The attacks would have to be coordinated — as the 1948 attacks were not — but simultaneous pressure along all frontiers would leave the Israelis with insufficient forces to hold and therefore no framework for a counterattack. From 1948 to 1967, this was Israel’s existential challenge, mitigated by the disharmony among the Arabs and the fact that any attack would be detected in the deployment phase.

Israel’s strategy in this situation had to be the pre-emptive strike. Unable to absorb a coordinated blow, the Israelis had to strike first to disorganize their enemies and to engage them sequentially and in detail. The 1967 war represented Israeli strategy in its first generation. First, it could not allow the enemy to commence hostilities. Whatever the political cost of being labeled the aggressor, Israel had to strike first. Second, it could not be assumed that the political intentions of each neighbor at any one time would determine their behavior. In the event Israel was collapsing, for example, Jordan’s calculations of its own interests would shift, and it would move from being a covert ally to Israel to a nation both repositioning itself in the Arab world and taking advantage of geographical opportunities. Third, the center of gravity of the Arab threat was always Egypt, the neighbor able to field the largest army. Any pre-emptive war would have to begin with Egypt and then move to other neighbors. Fourth, in order to control the sequence and outcome of the war, Israel would have to maintain superior organization and technology at all levels. Finally, and most important, the Israelis would have to move for rapid war termination. They could not afford a war of attrition against forces of superior size. An extended war could drain Israeli combat capability at an astonishing rate. Therefore the pre-emptive strike had to be decisive.

The 1949 borders actually gave Israel a strategic advantage. The Arabs were fighting on external lines. This means their forces could not easily shift between Egypt and Syria, for example, making it difficult to exploit emergent weaknesses along the fronts. The Israelis, on the other hand, fought from interior lines, and in relatively compact terrain. They could carry out a centrifugal offense, beginning with Egypt, shifting to Jordan and finishing with Syria, moving forces from one front to another in a matter of days. Put differently, the Arabs were inherently uncoordinated, unable to support each other. The pre-1967 borders allowed the Israelis to be superbly coordinated, choosing the timing and intensity of combat to suit their capabilities. Israel lacked strategic depth, but it made up for it with compact space and interior lines. If it could choose the time, place and tempo of engagements, it could defeat numerically superior forces. The Arabs could not do this.

Israel needed two things in order to exploit this advantage. The first was outstanding intelligence to detect signs of coordination and the massing of forces. Detecting the former sign was a matter of political intelligence, the latter a matter of tactical military intelligence. But the political intelligence would have to manifest itself in military deployments, and given the geography of the 1949 borders, massing forces secretly was impossible. If enemy forces could mass undetected it would be a disaster for Israel. Thus the center of gravity of Israeli war-making was its intelligence capabilities.

The second essential requirement was an alliance with a great power. Israel’s strategy was based on superior technology and organization — air power, armor and so on. The true weakness of Israel’s strategic power since the country’s creation had been that its national security requirements outstripped its industrial and financial base. It could not domestically develop and produce all of the weapons it needed to fight a war. Israel depended first on the Soviets, then until 1967 on France. It was not until after the 1967 war that the United States provided any significant aid to Israel. However, under the strategy of the pre-1967 borders, continual access to weapons — and in a crisis, rapid access to more weapons — was essential, so Israel had to have a powerful ally. Not having one, coupled with an intelligence failure, would be disastrous.


After 1967

The 1967 war allowed Israel to occupy the Sinai, all of Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. It placed Egyptian forces on the west bank of the Suez, far from Israel, and pushed the Jordanians out of artillery range of the Israeli heartland. It pushed Syria out of artillery range as well. This created the strategic depth Israel required, yet it set the stage for the most serious military crisis in Israeli history, beginning with a failure in its central capability — intelligence.



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The intelligence failure occurred in 1973, when Syria and Egypt managed to partially coordinate an assault on Israel without Israeli intelligence being able to interpret the intelligence it was receiving. Israel was saved above all by rapid rearmament by the United States, particularly in such staples of war as artillery shells. It was also aided by greater strategic depth. The Egyptian attack was stopped far from Israel proper in the western Sinai. The Syrians fought in the Golan Heights rather than in the Galilee.

Here is the heart of the pre-1967 border issue. Strategic depth meant that the Syrians and Egyptians spent their main offensive force outside of Israel proper. This bought Israel space and time. It allowed Israel to move back to its main sequential strategy. After halting the two attacks, the Israelis proceeded to defeat the Syrians in the Golan then the Egyptians in the Sinai. However, the ability to mount the two attacks — and particularly the Sinai attack — required massive American resupply of everything from aircraft to munitions. It is not clear that without this resupply the Israelis could have mounted the offensive in the Sinai, or avoided an extended war of attrition on unfavorable terms. Of course, the intelligence failure opened the door to Israel’s other vulnerability — its dependency on foreign powers for resupply. Indeed, perhaps Israel’s greatest miscalculation was the amount of artillery shells it would need to fight the war; the amount required vastly outstripped expectations. Such a seemingly minor thing created a massive dependency on the United States, allowing the United States to shape the conclusion of the war to its own ends so that Israel’s military victory ultimately evolved into a political retreat in the Sinai.

It is impossible to argue that Israel, fighting on its 1949 borders, was less successful than when it fought on its post-1967 borders. What happened was that in expanding the scope of the battlefield, opportunities for intelligence failures multiplied, the rate of consumption of supplies increased and dependence grew on foreign powers with different political interests. The war Israel fought from the 1949 borders was more efficiently waged than the one it fought from the post-1967 borders. The 1973 war allowed for a larger battlefield and greater room for error (errors always occur on the battlefield), but because of intelligence surprises and supply miscalculations it also linked Israel’s national survival to the willingness of a foreign government to quickly resupply its military.

The example of 1973 casts some doubt around the argument that the 1948 borders were excessively vulnerable. There are arguments on both sides of the issue, but it is not a clear-cut position. However, we need to consider Israel’s borders not only in terms of conventional war but also in terms of unconventional war — both uprisings and the use of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) weapons.

There are those who argue that there will be no more peer-to-peer conflicts. We doubt that intensely. However, there is certainly a great deal of asymmetric warfare in the world, and for Israel it comes in the form of intifadas, rocket attacks and guerrilla combat against Hezbollah in Lebanon. The post-1967 borders do not do much about these forms of warfare. Indeed, it can be argued that some of this conflict happens because of the post-1967 borders.

A shift to the 1949 borders would not increase the risk of an intifada but would make it moot. It would not eliminate conflict with Hezbollah. A shift to the 1949 line would eliminate some threats but not others. From the standpoint of asymmetric warfare, a shift in borders could increase the threat from Palestinian rockets to the Israeli heartland. If a Palestinian state were created, there would be the very real possibility of Palestinian rocket fire unless there was a significant shift in Hamas’ view of Israel or Fatah increased its power in the West Bank and was in a position to defeat Hamas and other rejectionist movements. This would be the heart of the Palestinian threat if there were a return to the borders established after the initial war.

The shape of Israel’s borders doesn’t really have an effect on the threat posed by CBRN weapons. While some chemical artillery rockets could be fired from closer borders, the geography leaves Israel inherently vulnerable to this threat, regardless of where the precise boundary is drawn, and they can already be fired from Lebanon or Gaza. The main threat discussed, a CBRN warhead fitted to an Iranian medium-range ballistic missile launched from a thousand miles away, has little to do with precisely where a line in the Levant is drawn.

When we look at conventional warfare, I would argue that the main issue Israel has is not its borders but its dependence on outside powers for its national security. Any country that creates a national security policy based on the willingness of another country to come to its assistance has a fundamental flaw that will, at some point, be mortal. The precise borders should be those that a) can be defended and b) do not create barriers to aid when that aid is most needed. In 1973, U.S. President Richard Nixon withheld resupply for some days, pressing Israel to the edge. U.S. interests were not those of Israel’s. This is the mortal danger to Israel — a national security requirement that outstrips its ability to underwrite it.

Israel’s borders will not protect it against Iranian missiles, and rockets from Gaza are painful but do not threaten Israel’s existence. In case the artillery rocket threat expands beyond this point, Israel must retain the ability to reoccupy and re-engage, but given the threat of asymmetric war, perpetual occupation would seem to place Israel at a perpetual disadvantage. Clearly, the rocket threat from Hamas represents the best argument for strategic depth.



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The best argument for returning to the pre-1967 borders is that Israel was more capable of fighting well on these borders. The war of independence, the 1956 war and the 1967 war all went far better than any of the wars that came after. Most important, if Israel is incapable of generating a national defense industry that can provide all the necessary munitions and equipment without having to depend on its allies, then it has no choice but to consider what its allies want. With the pre-1967 borders there is a greater chance of maintaining critical alliances. More to the point, the pre-1967 borders require a smaller industrial base because they do not require troops for occupation and they improve Israel’s ability to conduct conventional operations in a time of crisis.

There is a strong case to be made for not returning to the 1949 lines, but it is difficult to make that case from a military point of view. Strategic depth is merely one element of a rational strategy. Given that Israel’s military security depends on its relations with third parties, the shape of its borders and diplomatic reality are, as always, at the heart of Israeli military strategy.

In warfare, the greatest enemy of victory is wishful thinking. The assumption that Israel will always have an outside power prepared to rush munitions to the battlefield or help create costly defense systems like Iron Dome is simply wishful thinking. There is no reason to believe this will always be the case. Therefore, since this is the heart of Israeli strategy, the strategy rests on wishful thinking. The question of borders must be viewed in the context of synchronizing Israeli national security policy with Israeli national means.

There is an argument prevalent among Israelis and their supporters that the Arabs will never make a lasting peace with Israel. From this flows the assumption that the safest course is to continue to hold all territory. My argument assumes the worst case, which is not only that the Palestinians will not agree to a genuine peace but also that the United States cannot be counted on indefinitely. All military planning must begin with the worst case.

However, I draw a different conclusion from these facts than the Israelis do. If the worst-case scenario is the basis for planning, then Israel must reduce its risk and restructure its geography along the more favorable lines that existed between 1949 and 1967, when Israel was unambiguously victorious in its wars, rather than the borders and policies after 1967, when Israel has been less successful. The idea that the largest possible territory provides the greatest possible security is not supportable in military history. As Frederick the Great once said, he who defends everything defends nothing.

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« Reply #1276 on: June 03, 2011, 06:17:36 PM »

This Thomas Sowell column is more about Glibness but the quoted shows his (lack of) respect and commitment to Israel.

First my question/request.  While I was distracted with tornadoes impending I missed all coverage of the state dinner held in honor of Netanyahu's visit.  Could someone please post the details.
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http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/05/31/seductive_beliefs_part_ii_110015.html

The only thing surprising about Barack Obama's latest blow against Israel is that there are people who are surprised. As for a Palestinian homeland, that was never a big issue when the Arabs controlled that land, up to 1967.

Obama's declaration that Israel must give up the land it acquired, after neighboring countries threatened its survival in 1967, is completely consistent with both his ideology of many years and his previous actions as President of the United States.

Whether as a radical student, a community organizer or a far left politician, Barack Obama's ideology has been based on a vision of the Haves versus the Have Nots. However complex the ramifications of this ideology, and however clever the means by which Obama has camouflaged it, that is what it has amounted to.

No wonder he was moved to tears when the Reverend Jeremiah Wright summarized that ideology in a thundering phrase-- "white folks' greed runs a world in need."

Israel is one of the Haves. Its neighbors remain among the Have Nots, despite their oil. No wonder that Barack Obama has bent over backward, in addition to bowing low forward, to support the side that his ideology favors.

Whether at home or abroad, Obama's ideology is an ideology of envy, resentment and payback.

Israel is not simply to have its interests sacrificed and its security undermined. It is to be brought down a peg and-- to the extent politically possible-- insulted. Obama has already done all these things. His latest pronouncement is just more of the same.

One of the first acts of Barack Obama as president was to send money to the Palestinians, money that can be used to buy rockets to fire into Israel, irrespective of the rationale for the money.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. A photograph that should tell us a lot about Barack Obama shows him on the phone, talking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Obama was seated, leaning back in his chair, with his feet up on the desk, and the soles of his feet pointed directly at the camera. In the Middle East, showing the soles of your feet is an insult, as Obama undoubtedly knows.

This photograph was no accident. Photographers cannot roam around White House, willy-nilly, taking snapshots of the President of the United States as he talks to leaders of foreign nations.

It was a photograph with a message. No one would have known who was on the other end of the line, unless Obama wanted them to know -- and wanted to demonstrate his disdain.

Prime Minister Netanyahu's visits to the White House have been unlike previous Israeli leaders' visits to the White House, and certainly unlike the pomp and circumstance accompanying other nations' leaders' visits to the White House over the years.

After one of his meetings with Netanyahu, Barack Obama simply told the prime minister that he was going upstairs to have dinner. You wouldn't say that to an ordinary neighbor visiting in your home, without inviting him to join you.

Obama knew that. Netanyahu knew that. It was a calculated insult. And the American public would have heard about it, if so much of the media didn't have such a hear-no-evil, see-no-evil and speak-no-evil attitude in its coverage of Barack Obama.
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Whoops, no state dinner?
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« Reply #1277 on: June 03, 2011, 06:28:06 PM »

"Obama was seated, leaning back in his chair, with his feet up on the desk, and the soles of his feet pointed directly at the camera. In the Middle East, showing the soles of your feet is an insult, as Obama undoubtedly knows."

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1278 on: June 05, 2011, 12:03:24 PM »



Colin: Attempts to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict have hit another brick wall. Nothing really new at that, but with instability all around Israel’s neighborhood, where does that leave Israel’s future?

Colin: Welcome to this special edition of Agenda on Israel. With me is George Friedman. George, picture a typical young couple who’ve just visited their siblings in Israel and finding a country that’s alone in a region of increasing turmoil and, to some extent, isolated from its traditional friends. After talking to strategists and having read a lot, including your book, what would they see as its medium-term future?

George: Well, in the medium term Israel is a very secure country. Its greatest threat of a full peripheral war in attacks of the Jordan River line and from Egypt aren’t there, even though there’s unrest in Egypt, even though it’s possible Egypt might up abrogate peace treaty. Egypt isn’t about the surge into the Sinai because they can’t. They’re heavily dependent on American contractors to maintain their military. They have primarily American military equipment; the Americans will turn off the spigot very quickly if the Egyptians become aggressive; Egypt can’t wage war I suspect for a generation. There could be an uprising in Israel but the Israelis are ultimately able to handle that. There have been two intifadas. A third is not to destabilize them. They had trouble dealing with Hezbollah to the north but they could manage them in the end. There is increasing diplomatic isolation but to a great extent that’s more paper than reality, so whether someone recognizes the Palestinian state or not doesn’t change the reality on the ground.

It’s in the long run, the very long run, that Israel has its greatest problem, which is that, in the end, Israel is exactly what it says it is - a very small country surrounded by enemies. Many Israelis draw from this conclusion that they must be vigilant, which is true, and fairly rigid in their foreign policy. The problem is that, as a small country surrounded by enemies, there may arise circumstances in which they will be unable to resist. They are heavily dependent on the United States to be willing to support them because in the end Israel’s national security requirements outstrip their national security capabilities. The United States must support them in an extreme case. Any country that’s dependent on another country for their long-term survival is always vulnerable to shifts in that country’s policy. The United States at the moment shows no inclination to shift its underlying policy toward Israel, but in any worst-case scenario, which is what military planning is about, you really can’t tell. You therefore have a situation in which, if the conservatives in Israel are correct and they say the Palestinians will never make peace, Israel is a small country and it is surrounded by enemies, you have now described a long-run picture of extreme danger.

Colin: Extreme danger?

George: Here is the paradox in Israel: those who feel that the Arabs are absolutely implacable and that Israel is small and vulnerable and therefore it must not change are really the ones who were painting the bleakest picture of the future of Israel because they’re simply asserting that in the long-run, no matter how weak they are and how implacable their enemies, they can resist and win. That’s an improbable outcome. And therefore the real problem that Israel has is this: in the long-run, if it reaches no accommodation with the Palestinians either because they won’t or because the Palestinians won’t, Israel faces an existential threat. Israel, as the Israelis like to say, has very little room for error, to which the answer is always inevitable that Israel will commit an error, either an error as being too weak or an error of being too assertive. The real crisis that Israel has is if you accept the premise that they are weak, small and surrounded by enemies, you have also basically said that given the margin of error, Israel is in mortal danger in the long-run. Therefore Israel must somehow redefine the game either becoming more powerful, and many point to its nuclear capability as being that power, although I don’t see it as useful as others do, or reaching some sort of more dynamic diplomatic relationship. Can Israel do that? It’s a question of domestic political politics. But again, and this is really important point I want to make, if you believe the position of someone like Avigdor Lieberman, who was the foreign minister and the most aggressive, if you will, who asserts most vigorously the implacability of the Arabs and the vulnerability of Israel, it seems to me that his foreign policy of rigidity is ultimately, at some point, going to get Israel in deep trouble.

Colin: You say the United States at present shows no inclination to shift its policy towards Israel, but in your new book, you say the two countries’ interests are diverging.

George: The United States has interests in the Middle East beyond Israel and that includes good relations with Muslim countries. And the United States sees what the administration wrongly calls the Arab Spring as an opportunity. Israel has a very different set of interests in terms of establishing their position on the West Bank and in building settlements. These are two countries with different interests; they have an underlying interest in common in resisting certain tendencies in the Islamic world but not in others. It’s a complex relationship. The United States has already pulled away from Israel, as president Obama’s speech really made clear, whatever he said afterwards. The Israelis certainly have pulled away from the United States. They are not prepared to follow the American lead on a whole bunch of issues. This is a divergent relationship and it has to be recognized.

In the end, I think the divergence in a relationship puts Israel in substantial danger. I think that in the end Israel is the lesser power that is going to have to accommodate itself to the United States. But Israel, on the one hand, seems not to think that it’s in that much danger and can afford this and, on the other hand, thinks it is in so much danger that it can’t afford any flexibility whatsoever. Either one of Israel’s positions leads it to the same place: a fairly inflexible foreign policy, which is a perfectly good idea unless you hit the margin of error and something goes terribly wrong. It’s interesting that those who believe that there’s a margin of error, a very small margin of error, for Israel are those who argue that they’re the safest by being the most rigid and assertive. That may be true but small margin of error could exist on both sides of the equation. It’s hard to predict where it is. The key is that there is a small margin of error and Israel, I think, makes it smaller by taking positions that alienate it from the United States, no matter how unreasonable the United States appears to be. Ultimately Israel needs the strategic reserve that the United States represents.

Colin: Is it then inevitable Israel has to resolve the Palestinian question or could it find some accommodation elsewhere?

George: Israel has reached an accommodation with its neighboring countries in spite of its inability to settle the Palestinian dispute. Egypt has a peace treaty, has had a peace treaty for over 30 years, and that’s a very viable one. Israel has a very close working relationship with a Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Israel has many allies inside of Lebanon. Israel even has a quiet understanding with the Syrians, or has had one, concerning Lebanon and Syria’s assertion of control over Hezbollah. It’s been a complex relationship. It’s not really a question of Israel not having decent relations with its neighbors. But the real problem is these relationships change. We have the possibility of Egypt changing its foreign policy. Many things can shift. The worst-case scenario for Israel would be a conventional war along its frontiers and simultaneously an uprising among the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and perhaps in Israel itself. That’s the worst-case scenario and a scenario that really is frightening because it’s one that is difficult for Israel to survive and certainly difficult to stop with nuclear weapons. What are you going to do with nuclear weapons? Even if you wipeout Cairo or Damascus, it’s very difficult to use them against armies because your own armies are so close to them. You really are in an interesting situation and that’s why the Palestinian issue, if it can be settled, needs to be settled. Israel is in the potential position, it’s not there now but in the potential position, where it’s facing significant foreign threats and a massive uprising simultaneously. It’s hard to imagine anything worse than that, and therefore finding some settlement with the Palestinians is in their interests. Of course it has to be remembered that for all the discussion of a settlement with the Palestinians, a substantial number of Palestinians adhere to Hamas. Hamas opposes the existence of the state of Israel. Hamas’ position on any sort of a settlement is that it’s only an interim settlement and in the long-run the conflict will continue. So it’s very difficult to understand how Israel creates a peace treaty with the Palestinians when the Palestinians are so widely divided between Fatah and Hamas and where Hamas commands so much respect among the Palestinians and where Hamas simply opposes the existence of Israel. In looking at all of this, whereas you can point to what Israel should do, you also have to point at what can it do when the question of the survival of Israel is not a principle that the Palestinians will accept. This does not mean that Israel doesn’t have a problem, that the solution is not a Palestinian state. The problem is that the Israelis have is the danger that arises if the Palestinians are as implacable as they appear to be. And if you have a massive political shift over the next generation in the states bordering Israel, then Israel is truly in a strategic bind.

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ccp
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« Reply #1279 on: June 05, 2011, 02:08:54 PM »

Interesting thought piece with in depth philosophying about Israel's position short and long term.

Yet he keeps pointing out how Israeli conservatives are inflexible while at the same time saying "if" they are correct that for at least many Muslims the ultimate goal is to destroy the "Jewish" state.  If this is true and certainly appears this way then any real attempts at the accomodation he is calling for is no more than a mirage.

By thinking it through as he has he inadvertantly, I think, has expressed the dilema which faces Israel and about which there is NO good answer.

So then what does Israeli leaders, or better stated what CAN Israeli leaders do?

"The United States has interests in the Middle East beyond Israel and that includes good relations with Muslim countries. And the United States sees what the administration wrongly calls the Arab Spring as an opportunity."

First.  Why must the US throw the Jews under the bus in order to have "good relations" with Muslims?

The first part of the above quoted sentences makes this essentially a prerequisite; that is that the US must take sides with the Palestinians in order for  good relations with the Arabs, Persains etc.

Second I wonder more in detail what he means by Obama *misreading* the Arab "spring" as it is so called.   How so? And how should they read it?

After reading this I cannot change my agreement with Dick Morris' conclusion that liberal Jews can either choose between the Democratic party, or risk the mass slaughter of Jews in Israel..  The liberal demo(socialist)crats including those like Soros and his funded lobbying groups are absolutely risking the existence of Israel.  The support of all liberal Jews for Obama is taking this risk.

As I have posted for years on this board.  Liberal Jews hate Republicans more than Hitler.  They will do anything to defeat the Republican party.  Even risk the existence of their fellow Jews in Israel.

I don't know how to see it any other way.

 
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JDN
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« Reply #1280 on: June 05, 2011, 02:47:46 PM »

CCP said, "As I have posted for years on this board.  Liberal Jews hate Republicans more than Hitler.  They will do anything to defeat the Republican party.  Even risk the existence of their fellow Jews in Israel."

CCP, i'm not sure I agree.   smiley

Even I hate/despise what Hitler did and stood for and I'm not a Jew.  I think liberal Jews, Jews in general believe (hopefully) in America first, then Israel. I don't think it's a Republican/Democrat issue.

CCP said, "First.  Why must the US throw the Jews under the bus in order to have "good relations" with Muslims?"

I don't think Jews need to be "thrown under the bus", but to have "good relations" with Muslims, I think we should lean toward impartiality and therefore
focus on what's good for America first; Israel second. 

Israel does have a dilemma, but I don't understand why it has to be America's dilemma.  Problems exit between Taiwan and China, Japan and China, South Korea and North Korea, etc. but we try negotiation with China and North Korea and while we promise to defend our allies, we keep in mind what is good for America first.  It should be the same with Israel.  No more no less.  As an American, I do not feel a greater obligation to Israel than I do to Taiwan or South Korea or any other good ally.  We can agree to disagree on many issues; that does not mean we are throwing them under the bus.



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DougMacG
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« Reply #1281 on: June 05, 2011, 03:44:03 PM »

"Problems exit between Taiwan and China, Japan and China, South Korea and North Korea, etc. but we try negotiation with China and North Korea and while we promise to defend our allies, we keep in mind what is good for America first.  It should be the same with Israel.  No more no less.  As an American, I do not feel a greater obligation to Israel than I do to Taiwan or South Korea or any other good ally."

The threats each of those face is different.  In each or in all of them it would be better to help in a small way now than to fight a regional or world war on their behalf later.  Managing different threats requires different strategies.  In all cases the underlying theme is peace through strength, not through giveaways.  What part of Taiwan do we propose to give back?
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G M
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« Reply #1282 on: June 05, 2011, 04:11:56 PM »



It is the policy of the United States--


http://www.ait.org.tw/en/taiwan-relations-act.html

1.to preserve and promote extensive, close, and friendly commercial, cultural, and other relations between the people of the United States and the people on Taiwan, as well as the people on the China mainland and all other peoples of the Western Pacific area;

 2.to declare that peace and stability in the area are in the political, security, and economic interests of the United States, and are matters of international concern;
 3.to make clear that the United States decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China rests upon the expectation that the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means;
 4.to consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States;
 5.to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character; and
6.to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan.
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G M
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« Reply #1283 on: June 05, 2011, 04:18:20 PM »

http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/2011/06/obama-inspired-ship-sets-sail-to-join-leftist-islamist-gaza-flotilla-ii/

OBAMA INSPIRED SHIP, Funded By Obama’s Pals, Sets Off to Join Jew-Hating Leftist-Islamist Gaza Flotilla II

Posted by Jim Hoft on Saturday, June 4, 2011, 9:32 AM
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G M
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« Reply #1284 on: June 05, 2011, 04:22:27 PM »

What's the negotiating point for those who want to kill all the Jews? How exactly do you wish to meet them halfway?
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G M
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« Reply #1285 on: June 05, 2011, 07:45:11 PM »

What's the negotiating point for those who want to kill all the Jews? How exactly do you wish to meet them halfway?

A decent, rational people, with a unique religious ontology, so I'm told.

http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/5331.htm

At Gaza Rally: "America is the Enemy of Allah"

Crowds: "There is no god but Allah.

"America is the enemy of Allah." […]

At Rafah Rally: "Osama Destroyed America"

Crowds: "Our souls and our blood we will give for you, oh Osama.

"Our souls and our blood we will give for you, oh Osama.

"Our souls and our blood we will give for you, oh Osama."

Demonstrator: "There is no god but Allah."

Crowds: "There is no god but Allah."

Demonstrator: "Sheikh Osama is loved by Allah."

Crowds: "Sheikh Osama is loved by Allah."

Demonstrator: "There is no god but Allah."

Crowds: "There is no god but Allah."

Demonstrator: "Sheikh Osama is loved by Allah."

Crowds: "Sheikh Osama is loved by Allah."

Demonstrator: "Osama destroyed America…"

Crowds: "Osama destroyed America…"

Demonstrator: "…using a civilian plane."

Crowds: "…using a civilian plane."

Demonstrator: "Say: 'Allah Akbar.'"

Crowds: "Allah Akbar!"

Demonstrator: "Beware, oh Pakistan…"

Crowds: "Beware, oh Pakistan…"

Demonstrator: "…of the soldiers of Taliban."

Crowds: "…of the soldiers of Taliban."

"Khaybar, Khaybar, Oh Jews, the Army of Muhammad Is Returning"

Demonstrator: "Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews…"

Crowds: "Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews…"

Demonstrator: "…the army of Muhammad is returning."

Crowds: "…the army of Muhammad is returning." […]

Sheikh Munir Al-'Aydi: "This blessed man, Osama, Allah's mercy upon him, has given his money and his soul for the Jihad for the sake of Allah. At a time when real men are few, he united the nation around monotheism. Allah's mercy upon you, oh Osama. You were good in your life, and you were good in your death. That man Osama thwarted the American plan in this region, and did what no man has ever done before, especially in our times. He is not a man like all men. He is a man who was true to the pledge he made before Allah.

"That is the man who said: 'I pledge before Allah that America and its people will enjoy no security before we enjoy true security in Palestine.' He was always devoted to the land of Palestine. He was always devoted to the liberation of the holy places. He was always devoted to the instating of the law of Allah. […]

"Today, this proud lion has been dumped in the sea by the country of heresy and prostitution, America. They wanted him dead or alive. […]

"That is the man who brandished his weapon to fight the enemies of Allah. He led the Global Front for Jihad against America and its allies, the worshippers of the cross. He rightfully earned the title of the imam of our times."

Sheikh Munir Al-'Aydi: Bin Laden Is "The Man Who Shattered the Crosses"

Demonstrator: "Say: 'Allah Akbar.'

Crowds: "Allah Akbar!"

Demonstrator: "Say: 'Allah Akbar.'"

Crowds: "Allah Akbar!"

Demonstrator: "Say: 'Allah Akbar.'

Crowds: "Allah Akbar!"

Sheikh Munir Al-'Aydi: "That is the man who shattered the crosses. That is the man who brought the Americans to their knees. That is the man who humiliated the hypocrites in the East and West. That man through whom Allah distinguished men of truth from men of falsehood.  […]

"In the days of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, when there were claims that the Koran was man-made, the scholars of those times would say that you could distinguish between a man of truth and a hypocrite by his love for Imam Ahmad. In our times, we too say that you can tell a believer from a hypocrite by his love for Osama bin Laden."

Crowds: "Allah Akbar!

"Allah Akbar!

"Allah Akbar!

"Allah Akbar!"

Sheikh Munir Al-'Aydi: "You are not dead, oh Osama. You live on in the hearts of us all. Osama lives on in the heart of every man. All our sons are Osama. Our entire nation is Osama." […]

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JDN
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« Reply #1286 on: June 05, 2011, 09:54:56 PM »


It is the policy of the United States--

http://www.ait.org.tw/en/taiwan-relations-act.html

1.to preserve and promote extensive, close, and friendly commercial, cultural, and other relations between the people of the United States and the people on Taiwan, as well as the people on the China mainland and all other peoples of the Western Pacific area;

 2.to declare that peace and stability in the area are in the political, security, and economic interests of the United States, and are matters of international concern;
 3.to make clear that the United States decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China rests upon the expectation that the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means;
 4.to consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States;
 5.to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character; and
6.to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan.

I like your analogy.  As far as I'm concerned you can absolutely substitute, no more, no less, the word Israel for Taiwan above.   grin

1.   promote good relations between the US and Israel AND Arab countries
2.   we want peace and stability in the Middle East
3.   maybe we should recognize Palestine based upon the EXPECTATION (no promises) that Israel's future will be determined by peaceful means
4.   we should be CONCERNED (that's it-no promise to act) if Arab countries impose a threat to the peace of the Middle East or to Israel
5.   We already do sell/give arms to Israel
6.   We do have the capacity to resist force against Israel.  NOTE it does NOT say we would defend.
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G M
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« Reply #1287 on: June 05, 2011, 10:08:07 PM »

Both the PRC and the ROC expect that the US would defend the ROC, although with this president, there are serious doubts on both sides.
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JDN
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« Reply #1288 on: June 05, 2011, 10:19:29 PM »

Are you crazy?  You expect that we would go to full all out war with China over Taiwan?  I hope not.  Sorry....
This President has it right...  It's a dance until one day Taiwan becomes part of China whether Taiwan likes it or not.

However, that being said, I do think we should defend Israel if they are about to be over run.  But short of that,
let's follow your points in your analogy, point by point, ok?   No more, no less.   grin
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G M
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« Reply #1289 on: June 05, 2011, 10:25:26 PM »

Obama's weakness encourages aggression, makes military conflict more, not less likely.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2011/01/20/2003493940


Former Chinese leader Mao Zedong (毛澤東) once said that “all political power comes from the barrel of a gun.” Whether his apostolic successor, Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), who is visiting US President Barack Obama this week in Washington, believes this particular line in Mao’s catechism is unclear. Completely clear, however, is that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) not only believes it, but is implementing it.

Systematic expansion of China’s strategic nuclear weapons and delivery capabilities; rapid growth in submarine and blue-water naval forces; substantial investments in anti-access and area-denial weapons such as anti-carrier cruise missiles; fifth--generation fighter-bomber platforms and sophisticated cyber-warfare techniques all testify to the PLA’s operational objectives.

Western business and political leaders have chattered for years about China as a globally “responsible stakeholder” enjoying a “peaceful rise.” This is the acceptable face Hu will present in Washington. However, just because the musclemen aren’t listed on the Chinese leader’s passenger manifest doesn’t mean they aren’t flying the plane. The Chinese Communist Party remains unquestionably dominant and the PLA remains its most potent element.

During US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ Beijing meetings last week, China tested its stealthy new J-20, a prototype combat aircraft. Many scoffed at the notion that Hu seemed surprised when Gates raised the test and at the Chinese leader’s explanation that the timing was coincidental. Was the J-20 flight intended to embarrass Gates and Obama prior to Hu’s Washington visit or was it a signal to China’s civilian leadership about who is actually in charge? In truth, both seem likely.
 
Both Hu and the PLA undoubtedly understand that China is dealing with the most left-wing, least national--security-oriented, least assertive US president in decades. This matters because China will be heavily influenced by its perception of US policies and capabilities. Obama’s extravagant domestic spending, and the consequent ballooning of US national debt, has enhanced China’s position at the US’ expense. Indeed, the only budget line Obama has been interested in cutting, which he has done with gusto, is defense.

Sensing growing weakness, therefore, it would be surprising if Beijing did not continue its assertive economic, political and military policies. Thus, we can expect more discrimination against foreign investors and businesses in China, as both the US and EU chambers of commerce there have recently complained. Further expansive, unjustifiable territorial claims in adjacent East Asian waters are also likely. While the Pentagon is clipping coupons and limiting its nuclear capabilities in treaties with Russia, the PLA is celebrating Mardi Gras.

Consider two further important issues: Taiwan and North Korea. When Beijing threatened Taipei in 1996, then-US president Bill Clinton sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to the Taiwan Strait, demonstrating the US’ commitment to Taiwan’s defense. Does anyone, particularly in Beijing, believe Obama would do anything nearly as muscular faced with comparable belligerence today? On the North Korean menace, meanwhile, Obama is conforming to a 20-year pattern of US deference to China that has enabled a bellicose, nuclear Pyongyang.
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G M
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« Reply #1290 on: June 05, 2011, 10:29:44 PM »




"Are you crazy?  You expect that we would go to full all out war with China over Taiwan?  I hope not.  Sorry....
This President has it right...  It's a dance until one day Taiwan becomes part of China whether Taiwan likes it or not."

And our defense treaty with Japan? The Chinese want Taiwan under their control, but they really HATE the Japanese.
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JDN
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« Reply #1291 on: June 05, 2011, 11:19:31 PM »

At the current time we DO NOT have a Mutual Defense Treaty with Taiwan.  So AGAIN, what is your point?   huh

Nor, I might point out do we have a Mutual Defense Treaty with Israel.   shocked

We do have a Mutual Defense Treaty with Japan.   smiley

You are not doing well tonight.   evil


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G M
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« Reply #1292 on: June 05, 2011, 11:55:19 PM »

You do realize that the American Institute in Taiwan is a US Embassy with a different name, just as the Taiwan Relations Act is a defense treaty with a different name.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1293 on: June 06, 2011, 08:15:39 AM »

Gentlemen:  Please take this to the US-China thread.  Thank you.
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ccp
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« Reply #1294 on: June 06, 2011, 09:41:33 AM »

"Even I hate/despise what Hitler did and stood for and I'm not a Jew.  I think liberal Jews, Jews in general believe (hopefully) in America first, then Israel. I don't think it's a Republican/Democrat issue."

Liberal Jews live like capitalists with all its luxury and advantages but speak like socialists.  I call that a fork tongue.  They are wedded to the Democrat party.
Party politics certainly is a big issue here.  That is why 75% are die hard Democrats and do all they can do to keep a President in power who clearly tilts away from the Jews and towards the Muslims.   Do you think they would have been as kind to a Republican who sat for twenty years in an anti-semite's church?

"CCP said, "First.  Why must the US throw the Jews under the bus in order to have "good relations" with Muslims?"

*I* didn't say we need to.  George Friedman was clearly implying that in *his* statements.

Bottom line.  Jews can choose the Democrat party and risk the existence of several million Jews or not.  That is the way the Democrat party is tilting at least since we have the abomination called Obama there.
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ccp
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« Reply #1295 on: June 06, 2011, 12:38:20 PM »

Certainly, it is just a matter of time.  The US has already decided against anything other than diplomacy.

***Researcher: Iran can produce nuke within 2 months

Airstrikes can no longer stop nuclear program, US can do nothing short of military occupation, says report

The Iranian regime is closer than ever before to creating a nuclear bomb, according to RAND Corporation researcher Gregory S. Jones.

At its current rate of uranium enrichment, Tehran could have enough for its first bomb within eight weeks, Jones said in a report published this week.***

 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1296 on: June 06, 2011, 01:26:50 PM »

Although this is obviously of intense interest to Israel, would you please post this in either the Iran thread or the Nuclear War thread?  TIA
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1297 on: June 07, 2011, 10:55:43 AM »



   
The Palestinian Move
June 7, 2011


By George Friedman

A former head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, has publicly criticized the current Israeli government for a lack of flexibility, judgment and foresight, calling it “reckless and irresponsible” in the handling of Israel’s foreign and security policies. In various recent interviews and speeches, he has made it clear that he regards the decision to ignore the 2002 Saudi proposal for a peace settlement on the pre-1967 lines as a mistake and the focus on Iran as a diversion from the real issue — the likely recognition of an independent Palestinian state by a large segment of the international community, something Dagan considers a greater threat.

What is important in Dagan’s statements is that, having been head of Mossad from 2002 to 2010, he is not considered in any way to be ideologically inclined toward accommodation. When Dagan was selected by Ariel Sharon to be head of Mossad, Sharon told him that he wanted a Mossad with “a knife between its teeth.” There were charges that he was too aggressive, but rarely were there charges that he was too soft. Dagan was as much a member of the Israeli governing establishment as anyone. Therefore, his statements, and the statements of some other senior figures, represent a split not so much within Israel but within the Israeli national security establishment, which has been seen as being as hard-line as the Likud.

In addition, over the weekend, when pro-Palestinian demonstrators on the Golan Heights tried to force their way into Israeli-held territory, Israeli troops opened fire. Eleven protesters were killed in the Golan, and six were killed in a separate but similar protest in the West Bank. The demonstrations, like the Nakba-day protests, were clearly intended by the Syrians to redirect anti-government protests to some other issue. They were also meant to be a provocation, and the government in Damascus undoubtedly hoped that the Israelis would open fire. Dagan’s statements seem to point at this paradox. There are two factions that want an extremely aggressive Israeli security policy: the Israeli right and countries and militant proxies like Hamas that are actively hostile to Israel. The issue is which benefits more.


3 Strategic Phases

Last week we discussed Israeli strategy. This week I want us to consider Palestinian strategy and to try to understand how the Palestinians will respond to the current situation. There have been three strategies on Palestine. The first was from before the founding of Israel until 1967. In this period, the primary focus was not on the creation of a Palestinian state but on the destruction of Israel by existing Arab nation-states and the absorption of the territory into those states.

Just a few years before 1967, the Palestine Liberation Army (PLO) came into existence, and after Israel’s victory in the June 1967 war, the Arab nations began to change their stance from simply the destruction of Israel and absorption of the territories into existing nation-states to the creation of an independent Palestinian state. The PLO strategy at this time was a dual track divided between political and paramilitary operations and included terrorist attacks in both Israel and Europe. The political track tried to position the PLO as being open to a negotiated state, while the terrorist track tried to make the PLO seem extremely dangerous in order to motivate other nations, particularly European nations, to pressure Israel on the political track.

The weakness of this strategy was that the political track lost credibility as the terrorist track became bound up with late Cold-War intrigues involving European terrorist groups like Italy’s Red Brigade or Germany’s Red Army Faction. Their networks ranged from the Irish Republican Army to the Basque terrorist group ETA to Soviet bloc intelligence services. The PLO was seen as a threat to Europe on many levels as well as a threat to the Arab royal houses that they tried to undermine.

For the Palestinians, the most significant loss was the decision by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to shift from the Soviet alliance and make peace with Israel. This isolated the Palestinian movement from any significant regional support and made it dependent on the Soviets. With the Cold War winding down, the PLO became an orphan, losing its sponsorship from the Soviets as it had lost Jordanian and Egyptian support in the 1970s. Two main tendencies developed during this second phase. The first was the emergence of Hamas, a radically new sort of Palestinian movement since it was neither secular nor socialist but religious. The second was the rise of the internal insurrection, or intifada, which, coupled with suicide bombings and rocket fire from Gaza as well as from Hezbollah in Lebanon, was designed to increase the cost of insurrection to the Israelis while generating support for the Palestinians.

Ultimately, the split between Hamas and Fatah, the dominant faction of the PLO that had morphed into the Palestinian National Authority, was the most significant aspect of the third strategic phase. Essentially, the Palestinians were simultaneously waging a civil war with each other while trying to organize resistance to Israel. This is not as odd as it appears. The Palestinians had always fought one another while they fought common enemies, and revolutionary organizations are frequently split. But the Hamas-Fatah split undermined the credibility of the resistance in two ways. First, there were times in which one or the other faction was prepared to share intelligence with the Israelis to gain an advantage over the other. Second, and more important, the Palestinians had no coherent goal, nor did anyone have the ability to negotiate on their behalf. Should Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas engage in negotiations with Israel he could not deliver Hamas, so the whole point of negotiations was limited. Indeed, negotiations were likely to weaken the Palestinians by exacerbating intra-communal tensions.


Post Cold-War Weakness

One of the significant problems the Palestinians had always had was the hostility of the Arab world to their cause, a matter insufficiently discussed. The Egyptians spent this period opposed to Hamas as a threat to their regime. They participated in blockading Gaza. The Jordanians hated Fatah, having long memories about the Black September rising in 1970 that almost destroyed the Hashemite regime. Having a population that is still predominantly Palestinian, the Hashemites fear the consequences of a Palestinian state. The Syrians have never been happy with the concept of an independent Palestinian state because they retain residual claims to all former Syrian provinces, including Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. When they invaded Lebanon in 1976, they were supporting Maronite Christians and trying to destroy the PLO. Finally, the constant attempts by Fatah and the PLO to overthrow the royal houses of Arabia — all of which failed — created massive mistrust between a number of Arab regimes and the fledgling Palestinian movement.

Therefore, the strategic position of the Palestinians has been extremely weak since the end of the Cold War. They have been able to put stress on Israel but not come anywhere close to endangering its survival or even forcing policies to change. Indeed, their actions tended to make Israel even more rigid. This did not displease the Palestinians as an outcome. The more rigid the Israelis were, the more intrusive they would be in the Palestinian community and the more both Fatah and Hamas could rely on Palestinian support for their policies. In a sense, the greatest threat to the Palestinian movement has always been the Palestinians losing interest in a Palestinian state in favor of increased economic wellbeing. The ability to force Israel to take aggressive measures increased public loyalty to each of the two groups. During a time of inherent civil conflict between the two, provoking Israel became a means of assuring support in the civil war.

From Israel’s point of view, so long as the suicide bombings were disrupted and Gaza was contained, they were in an extraordinarily secure position. The Arab states were indifferent or hostile (beyond public proclamations and donations that frequently wound up in European bank accounts); the United States was not prepared to press Israel more than formally; and the Europeans were not prepared to take any meaningful action because of the United States and the Arab countries. The Israelis had a problem but not one that ultimately threatened them. Even Iran’s attempt to meddle was of little consequence. Hezbollah was as much concerned with Lebanese politics as it was with fighting Israel, and Hamas would take money from anyone. In the end, Hamas did not want to become an Iranian pawn, and Fatah knew that Iran could be the end of it.

In a sense, the Palestinians have been in checkmate since the fall of the Soviet Union. They were divided, holding on to their public, dealing with a hostile Arab world and, except for the suicide bombings that frightened but did not weaken Israel, they had no levers to change the game. The Israeli view was that the status quo, which required no fundamental shifts of concessions, was satisfactory.


A New 4th Phase?

As we have said many times, the Arab Spring is a myth. Where there have been revolutions they have not been democratic, and where they have appeared democratic they have not been in any way mass movements capable of changing regimes. But what they have been in the past is not necessarily what they will be in the future. Certainly, this round has bought little democratic change, and I don’t think there will be much. But I can make assumptions that the Israeli government can’t afford to make.

One does not have to believe in the Arab Spring to see evolutions in which countries like Egypt change their positions on the Palestinians, as evidenced by Egypt’s decision to open the Rafah border crossing. In Egypt, as in other Arab countries, the Palestinian cause is popular. A government that would make no real concessions to its public could afford to make this concession, which costs the regime little and is an easy way to appease the crowds. With the exception of Jordan, which really does have to fear a Palestinian state, countries that were hostile to the Palestinians could be more supportive and states that had been minimally supportive could increase their support.

This is precisely what the Palestinians want, and the reason that Hamas and Fatah have signed a grudging agreement for unity. They see the risings in the Arab world as a historic opportunity to break out of the third phase into a new fourth phase. The ability to connect the Palestinian cause with regime preservation in the Arab world represents a remarkable opportunity. So Egypt could, at the same time, be repressive domestically — and even maintain the treaty with Israel — while dramatically increasing support for the Palestinians.

In doing that, two things happen: First, Europeans, who are important trading partners for Israel, might be prepared to support a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders in order to maintain relations in the Arab and Islamic world on an issue that is really of low cost to them. Second, the United States, fighting wars in the Islamic world and needing the support of intelligence services of Muslim states and stability in these countries, could support a peace treaty based on 1967 borders.

The key strategy that the Palestinians have adopted is that of provocation. The 2010 flotilla from Turkey presented a model: select an action that from the outside seems benign but will be perceived by the Israelis as threatening; orchestrate the event in a way that will maximize the chances for an Israeli action that will be seen as brutal; shape a narrative that makes the provocation seem benign; and use this narrative to undermine international support for the Israelis.

Given the rigid structure of Israeli policy, this strategy essentially puts the Palestinians or other groups in control of the Israeli response. The Palestinians understand Israeli limits, which are not dynamic and are predictable, and can trigger them at will. The more skillful they are, the more it will appear that they are the victims. And the conversation can shift from this particular action by Israel to the broader question of the Israeli occupation. With unrest in the Arab world, shifting evaluations of the situation in the West and a strategy that manages international perceptions and controls the tempo and type of events, the Palestinians have the opportunity to break out of the third phase.

Their deepest problem, of course, is the split between Hamas and Fatah, which merely has been papered over by their agreement. Essentially, Fatah supports a two-state solution and Hamas opposes it. And so long as Hamas opposes it, there can be no settlement. But Hamas, as part of this strategy, will do everything it can — aside from abandoning its position — to make it appear flexible on it. This will further build pressure on Israel.

How much pressure Israel can stand is something that will be found out and something Dagan warned about. But Israel has a superb countermove: accept some variation of the 1967 borders and force Hamas either to break with its principles and lose its support to an emergent group or openly blow apart the process. In other words, the Israelis can also pursue a strategy of provocation, in this case by giving the Palestinians what they want and betting that they will reject it. Of course, the problem with this strategy is that the Palestinians might accept the deal, with Hamas secretly intending to resume the war from a better position.

Israel’s bet has three possible outcomes. One is to hold the current position and be constantly manipulated into actions that isolate Israel. The second is to accept the concept of the 1967 borders and bet on the Palestinians rejecting it as they did with Bill Clinton. The third outcome, a dangerous one, is for the Palestinians to accept the deal and then double-cross the Israelis. But then if that happens, Israel has the alternative to return to the old borders.

In the end, this is not about the Israelis or the Palestinians. It is about the Palestinian relationship with the Arabs and Israel’s relationship with Europe and the United States. The Israelis want to isolate the Palestinians, and the Palestinians are trying to isolate the Israelis. At the moment, the Palestinians are doing better at this than the Israelis. The argument going on in Israel (and not with the peace movement) is how to respond. Benjamin Netanyahu wants to wait it out. Dagan is saying the risks are too high.

But on the Palestinian side, the real crisis will occur should Dagan win the debate. The center of gravity of Palestinian weakness is the inability to form a united front around the position that Israel has a right to exist. Some say it, some hint it and others reject it. An interesting gamble is to give the Palestinians what the Americans and Europeans are suggesting — modified 1967 borders. For Israel, the question is whether the risk of holding the present position is greater than the risk of a dramatic shift. For the Palestinians, the question is what they will do if there is a dramatic shift. The Palestinian dilemma is the more intense and interesting one — and an interesting opportunity for Israel.

 
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ccp
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« Reply #1298 on: June 07, 2011, 02:31:16 PM »

Accomodation, or appeasement, whatever one wants to call it - giving in to the demand to go back to '67 borders.
I get Freidman's arguments. 
By doing what he calls accomodation he feels Israel can then say look we have given in to all requests and if Palestinians still don't accept our right to exist than the honus is on them.

"But Israel has a superb countermove: accept some variation of the 1967 borders and force Hamas either to break with its principles and lose its support to an emergent group or openly blow apart the process. In other words, the Israelis can also pursue a strategy of provocation, in this case by giving the Palestinians what they want and betting that they will reject it. Of course, the problem with this strategy is that the Palestinians might accept the deal, with Hamas secretly intending to resume the war from a better position.

Israel’s bet has three possible outcomes. One is to hold the current position and be constantly manipulated into actions that isolate Israel. The second is to accept the concept of the 1967 borders and bet on the Palestinians rejecting it as they did with Bill Clinton. The third outcome, a dangerous one, is for the Palestinians to accept the deal and then double-cross the Israelis. But then if that happens, Israel has the alternative to return to the old borders.

In the first part of this he assumes that Israel can use a "superb countermove by accepting some version of /67 borders and that this will put all of the pressure on the Arabs. 

My question is how do we know this and why is he so sure this will stop the pressure on the Jews?

"One is to hold the current position and be constantly manipulated into actions that isolate Israel."

Well if the US is going to abandom them aka Obama....

"The second is to accept the concept of the 1967 borders and bet on the Palestinians rejecting it as they did with Bill Clinton."

In that case we have already gone down that road.  What makes anyone think it will be different now?

"The third outcome, a dangerous one, is for the Palestinians to accept the deal and then double-cross the Israelis. But then if that happens, Israel has the alternative to return to the old borders."

That is if the Israelis are not wiped out first.

If I were Netenyahu I would not give in till there is another US President.  He cannot count on Bama.
If the US had a President (as well as both houses) who really would be committed to helping Israel in an existential crises, and the Israelis went back to close the '67 borders as they could reasonably do safely and with a timetable by which Arabs have to commit and recognize the right of a Jewish state then maybe this would be a way to go.




 
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G M
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« Reply #1299 on: June 07, 2011, 04:45:42 PM »

"The third outcome, a dangerous one, is for the Palestinians to accept the deal and then double-cross the Israelis. But then if that happens, Israel has the alternative to return to the old borders."

That is if the Israelis are not wiped out first.

That's the key problem. Israel has no strategic depth. They have no margin of error. Losing a battle can mean losing everything. It's easy to try to impose ivory tower solutions from the safety of the US, another from the hard realities of a nation on the razor's edge.
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