The Holocaust and the Nakba

Roger Cohen penned a piece in the New York Times Op-Ed on July 15 that suggested the pathway to peace in the Middle East is that “Jews should study the Nakba. Arabs should study the Holocaust.” Putting aside the naiveté of the suggestion, the comparison is disgusting in itself.

The Holocaust was a genocide of a people. It was a deliberate attempt of an elected government to commit genocide against a select group of its own citizens. As Nazi Germany conquered more territory, it continued to implement its plan of eradicating the Jews – which it deemed an inferior life form – in those additional lands. Not satisfied with only killing millions of innocents, the Nazis tortured and performed medical experiments on these unarmed men, women and children. It was one of the darkest periods of mankind.

The Palestinian Nakba was a civil war over control of land. Arabs in Palestine protested to the ruling authority (the British) to block the establishment of a Jewish national homeland as called for by the League of Nations (the precursor to the United Nations). The Arabs themselves initiated the fight to stop the implementation of international law, and launched multi-year riots and then a war to destroy Israel. Their Nakba was that they were not allowed to return to homes in the country they just sought to destroy.

How are these two events remotely comparable?

  • One was about life; one was about land.
  • One was about a government wiping out its citizens; one was about citizens fighting the government.
  • One was about passive unarmed civilians; one was about warring parties.
  • One left survivors scattered around the globe; one left survivors a few miles from their homes, living with the same people in a land that they wanted, which the UN had proposed to split anyway.
  • One made the United Nations call for human rights all over the world; the other had the UN create a special niche entity just for the losing party to perpetuate their civil war.

The events could not be more different. The only things they have in common is that they occurred around the same time in history and both involved Jews.

But Israel was not born from the ashes of the Holocaust and planted in the ground of a Palestinian Nakba. The only “fruit” of the Holocaust was the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The preamble of the UDHR clearly stated that the “disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous act which have outraged the conscience of mankind,” – the sickening actions of the Holocaust created the declaration meant to benefit all mankind.

Regarding Palestine, Jewish history in the land predated the Holocaust by thousands of years. The Ottomans welcomed Jews and they moved throughout the region from 1800 to 1914 at rates that dwarfed all other groups. After the Ottoman Empire broke apart, the League of Nations sought the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” in 1920, decades before WWII. The Arabs rioted in 1920 and 1929 against the action, and in 1936 began what has become a 78-year running civil war to prevent – and later eradicate – the Jewish State. The Arab “Nakba” – their grievance about homes destroyed and left behind – is because they lost the battle they initiated. The “fruit” of the Nakba was the establishment of UNRWA by the United Nations which has encouraged the Arabs to never abandon their civil war. The rotten fruit has left the Palestinians to fester and subject to abuse by their host countries, including Lebanon and Syria. It has benefited no one.

Perhaps the first person to learn about the Holocaust and the Nakba is Roger Cohen.

The Times should be reprimanded for continuing to print pieces that give legitimacy to those who compare Israel to Nazi Germany and Netanyahu to Hitler. It gives cover to anti-Semites in Europe and the world who paint the Jewish state in Nazi colors. The term “Never Again” born from the massacres of innocents in the Holocaust means more than not allowing genocides to happen again. Civilized people should not trivialize evil. For a global paper like the Times to do so specifically against the Jewish State is reprehensible.



Turkish Hypocrisy – Erdogan’s Line of Defense

On July 19, Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued his vile attacks against Israel, comparing Israelis to Hitler. “(Israelis) have no conscience, no honour, no pride. Those who condemn Hitler day and night have surpassed Hitler in barbarism,”

Erdogan is famous for his hypocrisy. He has shelled Syria repeatedly for accidental mortar fire into Turkey. He has refused to admit Turkey’s Armenian Genocide. He has refused to back down from Turkey’s illegal annexation of northern Cyprus.

Maybe his title should be changed to the “Prime Turkey”.


Pray for a Lack of “Proportionately” in Numbers. There will never be an Equivalence of Intent.

Israel is blessed with many creative minds. It has used this gift to cure diseases and win Nobel prizes in various fields of science and economics. Because of the vicious neighborhood in which it resides, it also uses its creativity to build sophisticated offensive and defensive weapon systems.

Israel has a vastly superior military capability than the Palestinian terrorists. The country’s defensive technological edge has helped to greatly reduce their casualty figures in the latest wave of terrorist attacks. In particular, the “Iron Dome” has shielded Israeli civilians from well over 1000 rockets launched from Gaza towards dense population centers. Had the Israeli technology not been in place, the casualty figures would certainly be high.

Would more Israeli deaths somehow make this combat “fair”? Do an “even” number of casualties make each side comparable? Those are distorted views of proportionality.

Would the world somehow be happier with more dead Israeli teenagers on their way home from school? Happy with dead Israelis who were sent to root out evil by foot rather than through an air campaign? Are drones attacks strictly within the purview of President Obama’s legal and military team?

Remarkably, in an effort to minimize the loss of life of the enemy, Israel continues to put its own young soldiers in harms way.

In the spring of 2002, roughly 50 Israelis and 50 Palestinians were killed over a three week period. To a casual observer, that tragedy might appear “proportionate” because the number of dead were the same for each side. However, the intent was not remotely the same: the Palestinians attacked and killed civilians and then Israeli soldiers who tried to prevent other attacks on civilians while minimizing Arab deaths. (see the video below).

In these past weeks, Hamas has already committed hundreds of war crimes by deliberately attacking civilians. It continues to do so while putting its own civilian population in harms way.  Yet, the world looks away.

The principle of self-defense in the case of Operation Protective Edge is unquestioned. An enemy that is dedicated to the annihilation of a people and the destruction of a country, has launched over 10,000 rockets at civilians over the past six years. Hamas has thousands of additional missiles and is actively using them. The Israeli military goal is clear, although difficult to achieve in a densely populated area like Gaza.

Israel must continue to use care in rooting out the terrorists and their weapons. It will, unfortunately, use ground troops to minimize the loss of life to Arab civilians, which will greatly increase the risk of their own lives.

Now, Israeli soldiers will try to avoid the hornet’s nest of Gaza while eliminating the terrorists and their weapons of terror.  Civilized people around the world should pray for a continued lack of proportionality in casualty figures, as Israel places its technological superiority on hold and attempts to protect innocent lives on both sides.


The United States backs Israel

Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in July 2014 to stop rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. Both the people and government of the USA back Israel in its fight against terrorism, just as it always has.

The Turkish Chickpea: Recep “Hummus” Erdogan

“Israel is dropping 400 tons of bombs on our brothers, not chickpeas…to agree with brutality is brutality itself,” said the prime minister.

The Turkish Prime Minister has come to the side of Gaza again, seemingly with a bowl of hummus.

Just over one year after Erdogan extracted an apology from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the killing of nine “activists” on the Mavi Marmara, Erdogan is pointing an accusing finger at the victim of aggression again.

A satire of the Netanyahu apology to Erdogan is below. Perhaps Erdogan should leave it in his favorites folder.






Opinion: Remove the Causefire before a Ceasefire

Egypt, one of two Israeli allies in the Arab world, has suggested a ceasefire in the current hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza. US President Obama was encouraged about the development and said: “We are encouraged that Egypt has made a proposal to accomplish this goal that we hope can restore the calm that we are seeking.”

A ceasefire at this time would be a mistake.

Israel has already had two engagements in Gaza since it left the area in 2005: Operation Cast Lead in 2008 and Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012. Both of those ceasefires failed to grant any long-term peace to Israeli citizens because they did not address the fundamental cause of the Hamas rocket fire.

Hamas wants Israel destroyed. All ceasefires that Hamas agrees to are simply hiatuses between battles.

There are two basic actions that must occur that world bodies can help facilitate that will ensure a long-term cessation of hostilities:

  1. the destruction of all missiles in Gaza;
  2. the dismantling of Hamas

Removing and Destroying all Missiles in Gaza

Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu and Acting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spent much of the past year in a fruitless exercise of “Peace Negotiations” which had no chance of success. Much of the reason that talks were D.O.A. when they began, was because Abbas had no control (and still has no control) of Gaza. For Netanyahu, negotiating with a party who could not deliver the peace he sought was a fool’s errand – as the world witnessed.

All of the two-state peace negotiations over the years discussed a demilitarized Palestinian state. The action of removing all of the missiles now, would advance a major goal (and remove a major stumbling block) in moving towards a two-state solution. The removal itself would serve as the impetus for bringing the parties back to negotiations.

President Obama recently touted his accomplishment in ridding Syria of all chemical weapons in a peaceful manner. He said: “The fact that we didn’t have to fire a missile to get that accomplished is not a failure to uphold international norms, it’s a success.” Now would be the ideal time to follow that format and identify, remove and destroy all of the missiles in Gaza. It would save the people of Gaza and the soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces many casualties.

Dismantling Hamas

Hamas is not simply a political party. It is a rabidly anti-Semitic terrorist organization. It should not be allowed to exist in its current form under any circumstances. It cannot solely give up its weapons nor can it merely modify its charter. The entire entity is a cancer and must be dismantled.

The Hamas charter is beyond an obstacle to peace; it is an instrument of war. While former President Jimmy Carter may have tried to overlook a passing phrase of animosity towards Israel and Jews, the basic fact is that the founding document is an unambiguous call to kill Jews and to destroy the Jewish State again and again.

As echoed by its leaders, the essence of the Hamas philosophy is to kill Jews and destroy Israel. No peace will ever come between the Palestinians and Israel as long as the party exists. The time is now for all world bodies to effectively terminate this vile entity.



Around the Country in 80 Miles

In 1873, the science fiction writer Jules Verne imagined a world where a person could circumnavigate the globe in just 80 days. He understood that technology had developed to a point where the assumed correlation between distance and time was no longer part of the here and now.

In 2014, the civil war in Israel-Palestine entered its 78th year. The Arab riots that began in 1936 that sought an end to Jewish immigration, neighbors and nation, entered a new stage. The Arabs’ means of attempting to enforce their xenophobic demand moved from rocks to rockets; from stabbings to missiles.

The Palestinians have launched crude rockets against Israeli towns since 2006. While the Qassam rockets were not very accurate and did not have a particularly long range, Arab terrorists rejoiced as they fired thousands of these rockets at Israeli cities and towns.

In 2006, 2007 and 2008 Arabs from Gaza fired 1777, 2807 and 3716 rockets into Israel, killing 34 people and injuring over 1500. In retaliation, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 to stop the rocket fire. “Relative” calm was restored with “only” 858 and 365 rockets launched against Israel in 2009 and 2010, respectively. But the attacks ramped up again in the following years with 680 and 2273 rockets against Israel in 2011 and 2012. In response, in November 2012, Israel needed to launch Operation Pillar of Defense to protect its citizens. In 2013, rocket fired dropped 95%.

Most of the rockets were the rudimentary Gazan-made Qassam rockets. In recent years, both Syria and Iran have supplied Hamas, which runs Gaza, more sophisticated and longer-range weaponry. The Iranian-made Fajr-5 has a range up to 47 miles and the recent Gazan arrival of the Syria-made M-302s have a range of 93 miles. In just the past few days, the Palestinians have used these new rockets to fire as far north as Haifa, a city of 260,000 about 80 miles north of the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s action to stop the latest rocket fire, Operation Protective Edge, uses advanced technology to both destroy the Palestinians’ ability to fire missiles, and to intercept and destroy incoming missiles with its Iron Dome defense system. In the skies, technology’s reach and technology’s shield clash, while on the ground, Israel considers whether to deploy troops to root out the threat.

While technology has enabled Arab terrorists to claw further into the clouds, it has done nothing to help them modify their positions. Their hatred, xenophobia and goals remain fixed.

As a practical matter, the advance of technology and time without progress towards peace leads to a few conclusion for Israelis:

  1. Control of Borders is Essential. The Gaza blockade has minimized the influx of advanced weaponry.  Israel must similarly always enforce border control over Judea & Samaria.  This new Palestinian weaponry in both J&S and Gaza could cover the entire country.
  2. Intelligence in addition to technology.  While technology is essential to protect citizens, intelligence enables it to be used effectively with reduced collateral damage.
  3. Hamas must be dismantled. No terrorist entity may be permitted to exist, let alone participate in elections and govern.  Destructive ideology must be destroyed.

Today, just as in 1873, technology can be used to arrive at places once considered out-of-reach, and one can get there faster than ever imagined.  However, it cannot always modify primitive human emotions and reach places within our psyches.  Until a people can conquer primeval aggression, it cannot be allowed to control advanced technologies.




US Hypocrisy – “Reasonableness and Restraint”

Thirteen years ago, on 9/11/01, 2,977 innocent civilians were murdered in the United States by terrorists armed with nothing more than pilot licenses. Since that time, the US has deployed over 1 million troops and waged two wars in countries thousands of miles from its shores. Over 100,000 Iraqi civilians were estimated to have been killed in the US-led war in Iraq, over 30 times the number of civilians killed on 9/11.

President Obama was critical of that war and pulled the US out of Iraq as he thought the US went to war with the wrong enemy. But when it came to Afghanistan, he engaged fully.

By the time Obama became president in 2009, an estimated 8,500 civilians had been killed in Afghanistan. Under his watch, from January 2009 until June 30, 2014, an additional 15,487 civilians were murdered, including 1,995 children. These totals were a fraction of the number of militants killed over those years.

Why has the Obama administration waged a war for so long? Why has it continued to fight – even though it knows of the terrible collateral damage – years after Osama bin Laden was killed?

The US continues to fight because the enemy still exists and intends to do harm.

President Obama was clear that the destruction of the terrorist infrastructure was one of the goals of his war. In November 2012 he said: “Thanks to sacrifice and service of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over, the war in Afghanistan is winding down, al Qaeda has been decimated, Osama bin Laden is dead.”

Obama clearly articulated his war goals: to get the US out of a war which did not have an enemy threat; destroy the enemy (al Qaeda); and take revenge on the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

However, Obama seemingly does not feel that such priorities relate to Israel. For him, the goal in the region is limited to one thing – stability (which is laughable considering the total instability of Syria, Iraq, Egypt…). Israel, in his mind, is strong enough to take a few murdered teenagers and qassam rockets. Israel’s stability is secondary to that of the region generally.

Witness Secretary of State John Kerry’s prepared remarks towards Israel after the murder of three Israeli teenagers coming home from school: “the perpetrators must be brought to justice. This is a time for all to work towards that goal without destabilizing the situation.”

Obama himself added: “At this dangerous moment, all parties must protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not vengeance and retribution,”

America has been fighting with “vengeance and retribution” for 13 years (and counting), even when the collateral damage meant thousands of civilians murdered. Obama is actively seeking to defeat an enemy, even one thousands of miles away, that poses no existential threat to the USA.

So, how can Obama chide Israel, which has an enemy on its borders that is sworn to the country’s destruction, which fires missiles that can attack 80% of the population? How can he not understand Israel’s need to “decimate” its enemy?

The appropriate “reasonableness and restraint may be limited to a polite response from the civilized world to Obama’s comment, while Israel actively engages Hamas and protects its citizens.


Differentiating Hamas

It is with confusion that I watch the press try to present different sides of Hamas.  While the press may say that some Hamas members belong to the “political wing” and others the “military wing”, the simple fact is that Hamas is:

  1. a terrorist group;
  2. the most anti-Semitic ruling party in the world;
  3. a group of Holocaust deniers;
  4. committed to destroying ALL of Israel;
  5. the leading democratically elected party (winning 58% of the Palestinian parliament in their last election in 2006)

To put it another way, splicing Hamas is like differentiating between the Nazi Party, the SS and the Gestapo.  While there were differences in their roles, each was evil and guilty of genocide.

Do not kid yourselves. Hitler was democratically elected and a politician too.

Political music video on Hamas Theme Song (CSNY):

Every Picture Tells a Story, the Bibi Monster

The “Every Picture” series highlights the power of photographs in the media and reviews the impact of size, color and placement of pictures along with their captions. The first installment reviewed how the New York Times painted a picture of Arab grief and suffering while portraying Israelis in a more aggressive and less sympathetic manner in a series of articles from June 30 to July 3 about the murder of three Israeli teens and a Palestinian teenager. If that article had a subtitle, it could have been “Palestinians trump Israelis”. You might think this second article in the series could be entitled: “Palestinians trump the World”, but the reality is much more subtle.

On July 7, 2014 the New York Times posted, on the top of its front page, a large color photograph of a Palestinian youth who was injured during riots against Israeli police. The bruised teenager was deemed to be a bigger story than victims of mass murders in other countries on a particularly violent day in Africa and the Middle East:


On page A4, the paper posted a large black and white photograph and article about  20 people who had their throats slashed in Kenya;

On page A7, the NYT posted a black and white photograph of soldiers and militiamen in Uganda where 50 people were killed in a battle between security forces and a tribal militia;

On the bottom of that same page, a short article (with no associated picture) described how 35 to 40 people were killed in Yemen in a fight between “Shiite rebels and tribesmen associated with the government.”

Pictures of mass murders buried in the NYT pages

While over 100 people were slaughtered in the region, the Times thought that a bruised youth was more significant than any and all of those atrocities. Could that have been because the teenager was a Palestinian Arab? That wouldn’t be logical as the Yemenis are Arab too. Could it be because the injured boy was a Muslim? That also would not make sense since al-Shabab is the Islamist terror group in Kenya that has been killing dozens of people every week, and both parties in the slaughter in Yemen are Muslim.

The difference in the dynamic of these stories lies in the counter-party – Israel – as evidenced by the other pictures in the news story. In a small picture on the (extreme right) side of the cover page, and then again in a color photograph on page A5, are close up pictures of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu. Netanyahu is possibly the only world leader who is more despised by the NYT editorial board than former US President George W. Bush. The Times often uses pictures of Netanyahu alongside stories of Israeli aggression. It does this uniquely and consistently for Bibi.

By means of comparison, imagine an article about US drones killing civilians in Afghanistan, and then a picture alongside of it of US President Barack Obama. It doesn’t happen in the NYT or liberal media outlets. You probably wouldn’t even see a picture of injured people or mourning mothers in US papers. That is because they do not want to sketch a killer in Obama’s image.

As examples, here are two NYT articles that are critical of US policy of drone attacks – but include no pictures (let alone two!) of Obama. These are attacks that Obama ordered, (compared to a general situation in Israel which Netanyahu was not directly involved). Needless to say, the articles that simply report on the use of drones have no pictures of the US Commander-in-Chief.

In another article that is completely about Obama’s war on terrorism, the picture puts Obama so far in the background you would think he was accidentally caught in the photo.

However, the New York Times and various liberal publications like to paint Bibi and Israel as attackers. They use his image alongside articles which describe attacks and counter-attacks. He has been made into a caricature of war; a cartoon of a blood libel.

Every picture tells a story. It is time to ask what the artist had in mind.