Muslim Anti-Semitism Anchored in Belief that Jews are Responsible for All Wars

There is no shortage of anti-Semitism in the world.

The Anti Defamation League (ADL) conducted polls in 2014 (somewhat updated in 2015) which showed that many people felt that Jews had too much control of the media and financial markets.  Some respondents believed that Jews were too pompous or were engaged in activities that made people hate them.

The Islamic countries were the most anti-Semitic by a far margin. The rankings:

  • West Bank & Gaza: 93% of the areas are anti-Semites
  • Iraq: 92%
  • Yemen: 88%
  • Libya: 87%
  • Algeria: 87%
  • Tunisia: 86%
  • Kuwait: 82%
  • Bahrain 81%
  • Jordan: 81%
  • Qatar: 80%
  • Morocco: 80%
  • UAE: 80%….

you get the idea.

These percentages dwarfed the non-Muslim countries like Japan 23%, Italy 20%, and Brazil 16%.

A further analysis revealed a split in the nature of the anti-Semitic feelings.  Even countries which showed an inclination for Jew-hatred, appreciated that Jews were not responsible for the wars in the world.  That was an opinion uniquely held by Muslims.

Consider Turkey and Greece.  The two neighboring countries have a long and strained relationship with each other, mostly over land and religious matters (Turkey is Muslim and Greece is Christian).  Interestingly, the countries have nearly identical negative feelings towards Jews, with Turkey and Greece having 70% and 67% anti-Semitic attitudes, respectively.  However, the underlying reasons behind the hatred in the two countries were quite different.

In 2015, 76% of Turks felt that Jews had too much power in the financial markets, while 85% of Greeks held that opinion (note that Greece had been going through dire financial problems). Roughly 63% of Turks felt that Jews had too much control over the global media, while 58% of Greeks felt the same. And 55% of Turks felt that Jews discussed the Holocaust too much, while 70% of Greeks felt the same.

Similar attitudes overall, and a trend that would suggest that Greeks were even more anti-Semitic than the Turks.

However, when the question was posed “Are Jews responsible for most of the world’s wars?” 53% of the people in Turkey responded yes, while only 33% of the people in Greece agreed. A wide margin of difference.

Outside of the Muslim world, very few countries believed that Jews were responsible for world wars, even among the anti-Semites.

  • In Poland, with 37% anti-Semites, only 14% believed Jews had anything to do with wars
  • In Ukraine (32% anti-Semitic), only 14% believed Jews were tied to wars
  • Spain, 29% anti-Semitic and 11% believed a Jewish connection to wars
  • Latvia, 28% anti-Semitic; 12% tied Jews to wars
  • Argentina, 24% anti-Semitic and 14% tied Jews to wars

The ADL started to segment the respondents of some European countries with a significant Muslim population. The Muslims were significantly more anti-Semitic than fellow citizens.

  • In France, only 4% and 6% of atheists and Christians, respectively, believed that Jews were responsible for wars. The percentage was 24% for Muslims in France
  • In the United Kingdom, 6% of both atheists and Christians believed that Jews were responsible for wars, but 34% of the Muslims in the UK held that view – over five times as many.
  • In Malaysia, 23% of Buddhists think that Jews are responsible for wars, but 78% of Muslims believe – over three times as many.

As the non-Muslim world sees the Muslim world at war with itself in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere, it has concluded that Jews have nothing to do with the anarchy, death and destruction.  But the Islamic world turns to an old familiar scapegoat and blames the Jews.

Consider the most anti-Semitic regions of the world again. The Palestinian Authority, Iraq, Yemen and Libya top the list. There are fewer Jews in Iraq, Yemen and Libya COMBINED than there are in a New York City subway car. Yet those countries – at war – are the most anti-Semitic.

They believe that the cause of their misfortune is not their own inept governments or co-religionists. It is the Jews.

aleppo

Syrian security officers gather in front of destroyed buildings where triple bombs exploded at the Saadallah al-Jabri square, in Aleppo city, on October 3, 2012.
(AP Photo/SANA)

The terrorist Islamic group Hamas makes its thoughts clear in its charter, Article 22:

“For a long time, the enemies have been planning, skillfully and with precision, for the achievement of what they have attained. They took into consideration the causes affecting the current of events. They strived to amass great and substantive material wealth which they devoted to the realisation of their dream. With their money, they took control of the world media, news agencies, the press, publishing houses, broadcasting stations, and others. With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the world with the purpose of achieving their interests and reaping the fruit therein. They were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about, here and there. With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests. With their money they were able to control imperialistic countries and instigate them to colonize many countries in order to enable them to exploit their resources and spread corruption there.

You may speak as much as you want about regional and world wars. They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it.”

The world watches in horror the brutality of ISIS torturing and slaughtering anyone outside of their narrow Islamic view. The world is appalled at the destruction of Aleppo and the murder of civilians in Syria. And the world understands full well, that this is battle where the Jews have no part.

Except the Muslim world.


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The Selfishness, Morality and Effectiveness of Defending Others

There is a well known quote from a Protestant minister named Martin Niemoller (1892-1984) who argued for the defense of others:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

The argument is by all accounts a practical one, not a moral one. The quote suggests that people should stand up against prejudice because hatred is a slippery slope. The selfish reasoning has different aspects: fight for others before the evil comes for you; and fight for others, and hopefully they will fight for you as well due to the same logic.

Do world leaders actually use such self-motivating arguments in practice?  Are the arguments effective in curbing hate and attacks driven by hatred?

Rallying for the Victims

Consider the situation of Jews in France over the past few years.

The Anti Defamation League did a study of anti-Semitism in 2014 which it updated in 2015.  The study found that while most countries in the world witnessed very small changes in the level of hatred against Jews, France saw a dramatic drop.

  • Christians: In 2014, 40% of French Christians held anti-Semitic views. That number dropped to 17% in 2015.
  • Business: In 2014, 51% of France believed that Jews had too much control of the financial markets. One year later, only 33% held such views – mostly Muslims (63%)
  • Global Affairs: In 2014, 46% of France believed that Jews had too much control over world affairs, a number that dropped to 22% in 2015 (again, predominantly French Muslims, 54% compared to Christians at 21%)
  • Pompous: In 2014, 33% of France thought that Jews thought themselves superior to others, dropping almost in half to 17% in 2015 (Muslims were more than twice as likely as Christians to hold this view)
  • Media: In 2014, 44% of France thought that Jews had too much control of the media, which dropped to only 21% in 2015 (Muslims were almost 3 times more likely to hold that view).
  • World Wars: In 2014, 18% of the French considered the Jews behind major world wars. In 2015, that number was one-third, 6% (with Muslims FOUR times as likely as Christians to hold such view).

What happened between the two polls in France to cause such a dramatic shift in the perception of Jews? ADL commented that various terrorist attacks and violence against Jews over 2014 brought a sense of solidarity for the Jews in France, as well as in Germany and Belgium where other attacks occurred:

“The poll found a marked increase in concern about violence against Jews in all three countries.  The results indicate that heightened awareness of violence against Jews fosters a sense of solidarity with the Jewish community and that strong condemnation by political and civic leaders makes expressing anti-Semitism less acceptable.”

Such statement from the ADL would seem to confirm that speaking up in defense of a persecuted group improves their situation, and indeed that may have been a contributor to the dramatic improvement of the French perception of Jews.

Rallying for the Perpetrator

In June 2015, the Pew Research Center did a survey of the French in their attitudes towards Muslims in the aftermath of deadly attacks committed by Islamic terrorists.  In a surprising finding, the French viewed the group that perpetrated the violence MORE favorably than before, going from a 72% favorability rating to 76%.  The improvement in opinions went across all political ideologies, including the far right which saw a movement of 60% to 63%, including a strong favorability rating doubling from 8% to 16%.

This dynamic happened in the United States after the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks as well. Overall, Americans’ positive impressions of Muslims jumped from 45% to 59%, with the far right jumping the most, from 35% favorable feelings to 64%.

Pew reached a similar conclusion as the ADL, and attributed the increased positive feelings towards Muslims stemming from the call for unity among leaders such as President George W Bush who said: “These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith.  And it’s important for my fellow Americans to understand that.

The famous Niemoller quote considered people’s selfish motivations to defend others, while world leaders appealed to people to turn away from hatred in pursuit of unity. Whether in France or the USA, those calls seemed effective in changing attitudes, but did they lower the number of attacks?

Effectiveness

In the United States, the number of attacks inspired by radical Islam has accelerated since the middle of 2015, with roughly 30 incidents over the past year (compared to 62 in the prior 14 years). Have the number of attacks increased because of the calls by President-elect Donald Trump to perform “extreme vetting” of Muslims interested in coming to the United States from countries at war with the US? Possibly. It is certainly an extreme jump in jihadist attacks.

However France has also seen a dramatic increase in the number of Islamic attacks, which began to spike in December 2014.  There have been roughly 20 attacks over the past two years, which roughly equals the prior 25-years’ of attacks. Various pundits speculate a number of causes including the French colonialist past and the marginalization of Muslim immigrants in French society. But those excuses must be dismissed, as those dynamics have been at play for dozens of years.

Others point out to the rise in the number of Muslim immigrants from the war-torn Middle East.  These immigrants arrived into France, Belgium and other countries, bringing their anger with them. The stories they tell of the destruction of their homes fuels the anger of the resident Muslims that were already in the country.  Rather than be grateful for their safety, they attack the liberal society which replaced their Muslim world. While the attacks by Muslims has led to the growth of far-right nationalist parties that argue to stem the flow of Muslim refugees, the far-right has overall been more positive towards the Islamic community.

obama-red-line


It would appear that calls for calm and unity by government leaders is effective in reducing hatred, but does little to curtail terrorism.  To reduce terrorism, the most effective course may be to end the wars in the Middle East, including Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Peace at home is achieved with peace abroad.


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Time for Obama to Address Palestinian Arabs Directly

The Palestinian Arabs conduct polls of themselves every few months. The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research  publish the polls for all to see.

It would appear that the United Nations and the Obama Administration refuse to read and internalize the clear print.

Consider the poll completed in September 2016.  The findings concluded:

“current level of support for an armed intifada remains high and a majority opposes the Russian invitation for a meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu in Moscow. Moreover, the public remains highly pessimistic about the French Initiative’s chances of success. Finally, Hamas’ candidate for the presidency, Ismail Haniyeh remains more popular than Abbas.”

The Palestinian Arabs continue to “support an armed intifada,” meaning killing Israelis rather than speaking and negotiating with them.  The Arabs further support the terrorist group Hamas rather than the “more moderate” Fatah head Mahmoud Abbas.

But the US and the United Nations don’t acknowledge these persistent inconvenient facts.

On November 29, 2016, the US State Department had its daily press briefing were Spokesperson John Kirby stated:

” in order to get there [two state solution], you have to see tangible leadership on both sides to ratchet down the rhetoric and to reduce the violence and to show a willingness to sit down and have discussions about a two-state solution. That hasn’t been the case….
we need to see the leadership on both sides take the kinds of actions to realize a two-state solution; to commit to a willingness to sit down and have those kinds of discussions and to effect those kinds of negotiations. And his point was exactly and succinctly right: You can lead the horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. You have to – ultimately – and we’ve said this time and time again – you have to see leadership exuded and demonstrated there in the region. They have to be willing to get to this two-state solution or it’s not going to be sustainable. And I think if you go back and look at the transcript of his remarks, you’ll see that he expounded on that thought in exactly – almost exactly those words.

The US State Department seemed to recognize the failure of Palestinian leadership – but not the Palestinian people. It chose to equivocate in condemning Israeli settlements by also blaming the impasse of advancing peace talks on Palestinian leadership.  However, the State Department never is critical of the Palestinian Arabs who continue to favor violence and terrorism instead of coexistence and peace.

On that same November day, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon also blamed the leadership of the two parties. “Israeli and Palestinian leaders still voice their support for the two-State solution. However, without urgent steps to revive a political perspective, they risk entrenching a one-state reality.” According to the UN, the failures of leadership have in turn caused anger from the populations:

“All this has led to growing anger and frustration among Palestinians and profound disillusionment among Israelis. It has strengthened radicals and weakened moderates on both sides.”

The inversion of cause-and-effect never enters the mindset of Ban Ki-Moon, that Acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas cannot take steps towards peace, because his own people demand more forceful actions.  The UN will state that Palestinian Arab civilians are simply “resorting to violence” and are “desperate” for a state, even though the entire fabric of the PA, Fatah and Hamas is about the destruction of the Jewish State.

A New Path

US President Obama declined to address the Israeli parliament when he visited Israel in March 2013, and instead addressed Israeli citizens.   In his opening remarks he said “what I’ve most looked forward to is the ability to speak directly to you, the Israeli people — especially so many young people who are here today — (applause) — to talk about the history that brought us here today, and the future that you will make in the years to come.”

Perhaps the final gesture to advancing peace between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs, is for Obama to address the Palestinian Arabs directly to accept their Jewish neighbors and build a future together, rather than reward the intransigence of the Palestinian Authority as former US President Jimmy Carter suggested on that same November 29 day of willful blindness.


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The Many Lies of Jimmy Carter

It is not particularly surprising that Jimmy Carter, former US president and author of “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid,” chose to commemorate the UN’s official Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (November 29), to launch another attack on Israel. Carter did this through lies and half-truths in a New York Times Op-Ed (printed below).

Here are some lying lowlights:

Lie: Israel cannot take control of any of the “West Bank” which it seized during a war. Carter wrote that Israel and Egypt concluded a peace deal because it was based on UN resolution 242 which included the clause “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.” The peace agreement with Egypt has nothing to do with the Palestinian Arabs.

  • The “West Bank” was taken during a DEFENSIVE war. While it is a matter of debate whether Israel’s 1967 preemptive attack on Egypt which was ready to attack Israel was offensive or defensive, there is no debate that the Jordanians (and Palestinian Arabs who had taken Jordanian citizenship) attacked Israel first. The laws about the inadmissibility of taking land have to do with a “belligerent party,” not the defensive party.
  • The international community recognizes Israel’s taking land in a defensive war. After the Arab armies attacked Israel in 1948-9, Israel seized much more land than was granted to it under UN Resolution 181, known as the 1947 Partition Plan. The dynamic of taking more of the “West Bank” in yet another defensive war follows the same principle.
  • The Sinai peninsula was never part of the Palestine Mandate.  Israel returned land to Egypt that it took in the 1967 war, land that was never part of the Palestine Mandate which sought to reestablish a Jewish homeland. However, the “West Bank” is part-and-parcel of the Palestine Mandate, just as the land west of the 1949 Green Line was part of the Jewish homeland.

Lie: The Palestinians seek “a just and lasting peace in the Middle East in which every state in the area can live in security.” Carter continued to recite language from UN resolution 242, but failed to connect Palestinians to the clause.

  • The Palestinian Arabs have voted for war, not peace. The Palestinian Arabs voted Hamas, a recognized terrorist group that seeks the destruction of Israel, to 58% of the parliament in 2006. Palestinian polls show Palestinian Arabs favoring the group in every poll. This is a group that has the most anti-Semitic charter in the world, which specifically calls for killing Jews and destroying all of Israel. The Hamas leadership continues to incite violence against Israelis.

Lie: Carter implied that “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict,” meant withdrawal from the West Bank. It does not.

  • A withdrawal from “territories” but not “all of the territories.”  The language in the UN resolution was approved with specific amendments in the final text. It specifically did not call for Israel to remove troops from all of the new lands, as the 1949 Armistice Agreements with Egypt and with Jordan specifically stated that the Armistice Lines / the Green Line was NOT to be considered a new border.

Lie: Carter stated that Jewish homes in the West Bank were “constructed illegally by Israel on Palestinian territory.” Carter has adopted the anti-Israel United Nations language in describing “settlements” as illegal. He might as well also state that “Zionism is racism,” as stated in UN Resolution 3379 which was passed in 1975 under his watch.

  • Jews living throughout the West Bank is LEGAL. International law in 1920 (San Remo Agreement) and 1922 (Mandate of Palestine) specifically stated that Jewish immigration was to be encouraged throughout Palestine and that “No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief” (Mandate Article 15). You cannot bar Jews from living in the West Bank as a matter of moral and legal principle.

Lie: Carter wrote that Obama declared that the border between Israel and Palestine “should be based on the 1967 lines.”   This is a half-truth that is a complete lie.

  • Obama stated that borders should be negotiated between the two parties and include land swaps to account for current realities. Carter deliberately misled his liberal fans and Israel-bashers by only using half of Obama’s suggested course to peace. Obama stated that the borders would NOT look like the 1967 borders, but Carter piecemealed Obama’s quote into a distortion, a lie.  It should be further noted that Obama’s language was much softer than the assurances that President George W. Bush gave Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2004 that “it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.”

Lie: Carter implied that the Israelis’ “commitment to peace is in danger of abrogation,” and said nothing about Palestinian Arabs lack of desire for peace.

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated repeatedly he seeks to commence negotiations immediately to resolve the conflict. It is Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas that refuses to engage with Israel. It is Mahmoud Abbas that incites terror against Israelis and seeks to deny Jewish rights and history in Jerusalem. Only Israeli leadership has declared the goal of two states for two peoples, while Abbas has called for an Arab state of Palestine devoid of Jews, and Israel, which should be a bi-national state.

Lie: Carter calls all of the West Bank “Palestinian Land,” which are “occupied.”

  • The West Bank includes “Palestinian Authority territory” which is administered by the PA, and Israeli territory, administered by Israel – according to the Oslo Accords, agreed to by both parties. The Oslo I and Oslo II Accords signed in 1993 and 1995 by the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority handed over certain lands to the PA. Those areas, known as Area A, are where the vast majority of Arabs in the West Bank live. They are not under Israeli military control. Area C, which is under Israeli military control, is where the vast majority of Israelis live in the West Bank, and include a minimal number of Arabs.

Lie: Carter claims that the world condemns Israel since Arabs east of the Green Line cannot vote, while Israeli Jews living in EGL can. That is wild distortion of reality.

  • Arabs in Jerusalem can become citizens and vote in Israeli elections. Israel reunited the city of Jerusalem in 1967, and expanded the borders of the city in 1980. Israel gave ALL people living in the city the option to become Israeli citizens, just as the other million-plus non-Jews in Israel enjoy Israeli citizenship. Thousands of Arabs from Jerusalem have become citizens of Israel.
  • People in territories around the world don’t vote. Puerto Ricans, Guam and other US territories, are not eligible to vote in US elections. Does the world condemn the US for this structure? No. Citizens are entitled to vote – regardless of where they live. An American living in Germany for 20 years still gets to vote in US elections, while a Puerto Rican will not. Similar for Israeli citizens that opt to live in EGL/ the West Bank.

Lie: Carter calls the Palestinian Authority a “moderate Palestinian leadership.”

After laying out a package of outright lies and half-truths, Carter calls on President Obama to act quickly and: 1) recognize a Palestinian State; and 2) passing a UN Security Council Resolution that all Israeli “settlements” are illegal.  He added “Recognition of Palestine and a new Security Council resolution are not radical new measures, but a natural outgrowth of America’s support for a two-state solution.

It is beyond “radical.” It is wrong and dangerous.

To this day, Carter remains the only US president to call Israelis living in EGL/West Bank “illegal.” Obama, Bush and others used terms like “illegitimate” (Obama) or “unhelpful” (Bush) or even an “obstacle to peace,” but no other president claimed that settlements in disputed territory are “illegal.” Such a declaration is radical, and the left-wing extremist was the only president to use such terminology.

Further, recognizing a Palestinian State completely ends the Oslo Accords and a negotiated solution. It doesn’t “restart” talks, but puts both parties on the course for unilateral actions, such as annexation of additional lands. It will most likely lead to war.

Carter (like the anti-Israel UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon) has urged Hamas and Fatah to reconcile. They seek to insert a genocidal Nazi party into the Palestinian government as a pathway to peace. These are the same people that recommend these two radical actions.

While Carter and Ban are correct in recognizing that it is unsustainable to have a Palestinian state with distinct governments controlling different parts of the country, that just underscores why there cannot be recognition of a Palestinian state today. It doesn’t mean rewarding a dysfunctional and anti-Semitic government with recognition.

 20161130_070230
Jimmy Carter New York Times Op-Ed November 29, 2016

Seeing Jimmy Carter write again is a reminder of the far left fringe’s inability to see or grasp the truth of the Middle East.  Carter’s adoration of Hamas, underlines his insanity. He imagines and hopes for a world that doesn’t exist, and makes suggestions that are dangerous for civil society.


Here is Carter’s Op-Ed of lies in full. The boldface is meant as reference for the notes above.

ATLANTA — We do not yet know the policy of the next administration toward Israel and Palestine, but we do know the policy of this administration. It has been President Obama’s aim to support a negotiated end to the conflict based on two states, living side by side in peace.

That prospect is now in grave doubt. I am convinced that the United States can still shape the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before a change in presidents, but time is very short. The simple but vital step this administration must take before its term expires on Jan. 20 is to grant American diplomatic recognition to the state of Palestine, as 137 countries have already done, and help it achieve full United Nations membership.

Back in 1978, during my administration, Israel’s prime minister, Menachem Begin, and Egypt’s president, Anwar Sadat, signed the Camp David Accords. That agreement was based on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which was passed in the aftermath of the 1967 war. The key words of that resolution were “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East in which every state in the area can live in security,” and the “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”

The agreement was ratified overwhelmingly by the Parliaments of Egypt and Israel. And those two foundational concepts have been the basis for the policy of the United States government and the international community ever since.

This was why, in 2009, at the beginning of his first administration, Mr. Obama reaffirmed the crucial elements of the Camp David agreement and Resolution 242 by calling for a complete freeze on the building of settlements, constructed illegally by Israel on Palestinian territory. Later, in 2011, the president made clear that “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines,” and added, “negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine.”

Today, however, 38 years after Camp David, the commitment to peace is in danger of abrogation. Israel is building more and more settlements, displacing Palestinians and entrenching its occupation of Palestinian lands. Over 4.5 million Palestinians live in these occupied territories, but are not citizens of Israel. Most live largely under Israeli military rule, and do not vote in Israel’s national elections.

Meanwhile, about 600,000 Israeli settlers in Palestine enjoy the benefits of Israeli citizenship and laws. This process is hastening a one-state reality that could destroy Israeli democracy and will result in intensifying international condemnation of Israel.

The Carter Center has continued to support a two-state solution by hosting discussions this month with Israeli and Palestinian representatives, searching for an avenue toward peace. Based on the positive feedback from those talks, I am certain that United States recognition of a Palestinian state would make it easier for other countries that have not recognized Palestine to do so, and would clear the way for a Security Council resolution on the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Security Council should pass a resolution laying out the parameters for resolving the conflict. It should reaffirm the illegality of all Israeli settlements beyond the 1967 borders, while leaving open the possibility that the parties could negotiate modifications. Security guarantees for both Israel and Palestine are imperative, and the resolution must acknowledge the right of both the states of Israel and Palestine to live in peace and security. Further measures should include the demilitarization of the Palestinian state, and a possible peacekeeping force under the auspices of the United Nations.

A strong Security Council resolution would underscore that the Geneva Conventions and other human rights protections apply to all parties at all times. It would also support any agreement reached by the parties regarding Palestinian refugees.

The combined weight of United States recognition, United Nations membership and a Security Council resolution solidly grounded in international law would lay the foundation for future diplomacy. These steps would bolster moderate Palestinian leadership, while sending a clear assurance to the Israeli public of the worldwide recognition of Israel and its security.

This is the best — now, perhaps, the only — means of countering the one-state reality that Israel is imposing on itself and the Palestinian people. Recognition of Palestine and a new Security Council resolution are not radical new measures, but a natural outgrowth of America’s support for a two-state solution.

The primary foreign policy goal of my life has been to help bring peace to Israel and its neighbors. That September in 1978, I was proud to say to a joint session of Congress, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” As Mr. Begin and Mr. Sadat sat in the balcony above us, the members of Congress stood and applauded the two heroic peacemakers.

I fear for the spirit of Camp David. We must not squander this chance.


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Obama’s “Palestinian Land”

On September 20, 2016, US President Barack Obama spoke at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. His passing comment on Palestinian Arab-Israel conflict underscored why peace did not advance, and his relationship with Israel worsened over his term.

obama-un2016
US President Barack Obama addressing the United Nations
September 20, 2016

Obama’s UN remarks covered a lot of activities during his eight years in office, including the Iranian nuclear deal; opening relations with Cuba; and tackling climate change. He spoke about the Arab-Israeli conflict very briefly, but the remark was telling:

“…surely, Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel, but Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land.  We all have to do better as leaders in tamping down, rather than encouraging, a notion of identity that leads us to diminish others.”

“Palestinian land.”  What exactly is Palestinian land, according to the parties themselves? According to the United States? According to Obama?

Oslo Agreements

Since 1993, successive US governments have stood behind the Oslo Accords signed by both the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel, and its successor document, Oslo II signed in 1995.  That document was the last agreement signed by the two parties to settle the “Question of Palestine.”

Oslo II clearly spelled out what was “Palestinian land” to be fully governed by the Palestinian Authority in regards to military and civil administration.  That area is known as “Area A” in EGL (east of the Green Line) and the Gaza Strip.  Israel handed over all of that land to the Palestinians over a decade ago.

“Area B” in EGL/west bank of the Jordan River, is a mixed territory, in which the Palestinian Authority has responsibilities for civil matters, and military matters are coordinated jointly.  That land is neither “Palestinian Authority” nor “Israeli” exclusively.

“Area C” makes up the majority of EGL, and is “Israeli Territory,” in which Israel administers all matters, including civil and security responsibilities.

egl
Map showing Areas A, B and C, east of the Green Line

The Israelis and Palestinians negotiated and agreed to the contours of these three blocks.  The parties also worked on a plan for additional land to be transferred from “Israeli Territory” to “Palestinian Authority Territory” over the years 1995 to 2000.  However, Yasser Arafat (fungus be upon him) rejected those negotiations at the last moment, and launched the Second Intifada in September 2000, as the interim Oslo II Accord was due to become permanent.  As such, no additional transfer from Israeli Territory to Palestinian Authority Territory has occurred.

As every US administration has pushed for the two parties to negotiate a two-state agreement on the basis of the Oslo Accords, there is NO BASIS for Obama to refer to Area C as “Palestinian Land.”  That land will continue to be Israeli land until such time as they agree to transfer parts of it to the PA.

As there is no Israeli “occupation” or “settlement” activity in the Israeli territory of Area C, Obama’s mischaracterization of Israeli actions in that land that they legally administer explains his comments and treatment of Israel since he took office in 2009.

Mandate of Palestine

It is also worth noting that international law, established in the 1920 San Remo agreement and the 1922 Mandate of Palestine, specifically gave Jews the legal rights to live and settle throughout Judea and Samaria (the entity known as EGL/West Bank did not even exist when five Arab armies illegally attacked Israel (1948-9) and Jordan annexed the region in 1950.)

The Palestine Mandate stated:

secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion” (Article 1) Jews were to have full civil rights throughout Palestine, such as buying and building homes.

The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power.” (Article 5) which Britain did anyway when it separated the east bank of the Jordan River to the Hashemite Kingdom, but which wasn’t a foreign power.

The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.” (Article 6) specifically stating that Jews were to settle throughout Palestine, including lands that Obama believes Jews “occupy”.

The Administration of Palestine shall be responsible for enacting a nationality law. There shall be included in this law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine.” (Article 7) in which Jews do not only move and settle the land, but become citizens of the country if they live ANYWHERE in the land, including Judea and Samaria.

No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the ground of race, religion or language. No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.” (Article 15) clearly states that no person should be barred from living anywhere in the land just because they are Jewish – as if human rights law wasn’t enough.

International law – and human rights law – clearly allow Jews to live throughout EGL/the West Bank. The Oslo Accords signed between the parties specifically state that Israel controls all of Area C until such time as the parties negotiate the transfer of more lands.

The notion that Jews living in houses that they have every legal and moral right to live in, is somehow connected to Obama’s belief of a “permanent occupation of Palestinian land” is false, misleading and arguably anti-Semitic on every level.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Palestinians agree that Israel rules all of Jerusalem, but the World Treats the City as Divided

The Illogic of Land Swaps

The Legal Israeli Settlements

Names and Narrative: Palestinian Territories/ Israeli Territories

Names and Narrative: The West Bank / Judea and Samaria

The Left-Wing’s Two State Solution: 1.5 States for Arabs, 0.5 for Jews

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

New York Times’ Tales of Israeli Messianic War-Mongering

The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

Recognition of Acquiring Disputed Land in a Defensive War

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The Only Precondition for MidEast Peace Talks

Acting President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas has long argued that he needed many preconditions satisfied before he would sit down with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for peace talks. Those requirements included settlement freezes and releasing Palestinian Arab prisoners from Israeli jails. Netanyahu begrudgingly did both of those things, and Abbas slowly showed up to talks, but didn’t actively engage to negotiate a solution.

Instead, during the last talks in 2014, Abbas shuttered the talks by forming a unity government with the terrorist group Hamas. Within a week, Hamas loyalists kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teenagers, leading to the 2014 Gaza War.

More recently, Abbas argued for a new set of preconditions, including that peace talks must continue for at least one year, and that Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank would be concluded by 2017. His preconditions seemingly now include demanding that his end goals (a new Palestinian State without Jews) be met before he even sits at the table.

Abbas sounds like a very serious man seeking peace.

For his part, Netanyahu continues to state that he is willing to sit down with Abbas without any preconditions and that he is open to discuss any matter. In doing so, he hoped to start bilateral talks and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict.

Netanyahu is wrong too.

benjamin-netanyahu-valls-france-israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) holds a joint press conference with Prime Minister of France Manuel Valls, May 23, 2016. (Photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO)

GOALS and PRECONDITIONS

There is nothing wrong with the parties stating the goals they hope to achieve in the talks, whether they be the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with every Jew evicted from the land (PA position), or that such Palestinian state needs to officially recognize Israel as a Jewish State (Israeli position). The desires may be non-starters for the counter-parties, and whether those goals are ultimately achieved will be a matter of negotiations and compromise. However, they are not, nor should they be treated as, preconditions.

Preconditions had historically been viewed as items which the parties required to initiate and sustain the peace talks. In the past, Abbas argued that he needed those tangible results to gain popular support for the talks, and Netanyahu gave in (due to pressure from the USA) with a settlement freeze and releasing prisoners. More recently, Netanyahu banned any member of the Israeli parliament from going to the Temple Mount, to calm the killing spree launched by Palestinian Arabs against Jews in the Holy Land.

Asking for and satisfying these preconditions is flawed and counter-productive.

If peace talks will ultimately put both parties on a path to a better course, why beg the parties to show up?  The Palestinians demand preconditions and use the complaint “show me that you’re serious” to obtain slices of their ultimate goal, while never publicly making a single concession.  They continue to extract items from the Israelis while conceding nothing, as they wait to see what the French proposal will produce for them, before taking any steps towards the Israelis.

The French, while likely well-meaning, have destroyed the basic parameters for peace talks: they have pushed aside bilateral negotiations.  In doing so, there is no chance of bringing the Palestinians to the table.

For the Israelis, satisfying slices of Palestinian goals without any mutual action by the Palestinians before talks commence has two negative consequences: it continues to demonstrate to the Palestinians that they can forever delay publicly stating any compromise position, undermining the Israeli public’s confidence in the talks; and it obfuscates the vital parameter of the peace process, which is not whether the parties can sustain the talks, but whether they have the ability to deliver on the outcome.

THE ONLY PRECONDITION

If the parties negotiating the peace talks have no legitimacy, and no ability to deliver on whatever is negotiated, the talks are a complete waste of time and effort.

Which leads to the only real practical precondition to peace talks: the Palestinians must hold elections.

The Palestinians last voted for president in 2005, and for parliament in 2006. They have held no elections for either president or parliament since that time.

Acting President of the PA Abbas’s term expired in January 2009. He has continued in that post for many years, but has neither mandate nor support of the Palestinian people. The March 2016 Palestinian poll concluded “If new presidential elections are held today in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Hamas’ candidate Ismail Haniyeh would win against Mahmud Abbas with a margin of 11 percentage points.”  Further, “a majority in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip continues to demand his [Abbas’s] resignation.”

Abbas plo council
Acting President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas at the
Central Council of the PLO in Ramallah

(photo: Reuters)

Hamas won 58% of the seats of parliament in the 2006 elections and subsequently routed the rival Fatah party out of Gaza. Abbas and his Fatah party have almost zero influence in the coastal strip.  That coastal strip has launched three wars against Israel since Abbas took power, in 2008, 2012 and 2014.

So Abbas has no legitimate authority, no popular support, and no ability to deliver peace.

Yet the world wants the Israelis to negotiate with a straw man.  Why should they?  For photo ops?

The only precondition for peace talks are for the Palestinian to hold new elections and for that winner to control both Palestinian Authority territories in Gaza and Area A in Judea and Samaria.

PALESTINIAN ELECTIONS AND RAMIFICATIONS

One of the fears in the global community about holding Palestinian elections is that Hamas would win the presidential contest. Almost every poll of Palestinian Arabs over the past ten years shows Hamas winning, particularly against Abbas. As such, world leaders have been reluctant to force an election as a Hamas victory would destroy any peace process, as Hamas states clearly in its charter (Article 13), “so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement…There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.

As such, the world must be clear about the elections: Hamas, in its current configuration, with its current charter cannot participate in the elections. Should the Palestinians allow Hamas to run, the world will view such action as a rejection of any peace with the Jewish State.  The ramifications would be severe:

  • Nations would begin to cut off all Palestinian aid
  • From the United Nations perspective, the UNRWA relief agency which was initially designed as a short-term agency almost 70 years ago, will cut its staff and funding in half (and move those resources to help actual refugees at the UNHCR)
  • The global community would not put forward any international peace process, nor consider permitting a Palestinian admission into any UN agency for a decade

However, should the Palestinians have elections which exclude the Hamas terrorist group, the Palestinians would be represented by a leadership with a mandate, authority and capability of delivering on peace.  Such a leadership would be an actual counterparty that could deliver on the necessary compromises with Israel.

 

It is well past time to stop calling international conferences that exclude the Palestinians and Israelis, and forcing Israelis to negotiate with a straw man.  Begin the process of holding genuine Palestinian elections now.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Disappointing 4+6 Abbas Anniversary

The United Nations Applauds Abbas’ Narrative

The Undemocratic Nature of Fire and Water in the Middle East

The Israeli Peace Process versus the Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

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The Arab Middle East Makes Refugees, They Don’t Help Them

The Middle East is producing refugees in great numbers, as the civil wars in Syria and Sudan drag on, ISIS takes over large swathes of Iraq, and Libya and Yemen deteriorate into failed states.

The refugees are being welcomed into various western countries including Germany, Sweden and Canada. Just recently, Canada changed its laws under its new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to facilitate refugees becoming citizens.

In the Arab Middle East, only Jordan has opened its doors to fellow Muslim Arabs. The Islamic country of Turkey is not Arab, and prefers to act as a way station to refugees in transit to Europe.  The vast Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has not opened its doors. The rich states of Oman, Qatar and Kuwait have done nothing.

syrain refugees jordan
Syrian refugees in Jordan

There is a long history of the Muslim Arab Middle East creating refugees, but not welcoming them.

  • In 1991, after the Palestinians supported Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in his takeover of Kuwait, the Kuwaitis expelled over 300,000 Palestinians. Goodbye.
  • In 1967, after the Egyptians and Syrians threatened to destroy Israel, but ended up losing the war, the countries did not welcome any Arabs from the region into their countries as new citizens.
  • In 1948-9, when the Arab countries surrounding Israel launched an attack to destroy the Jewish State, but failed to do so and consequently helped create 711,000 Arab refugees, they let the people suffer.  While the Syrian government allowed the United Nations to establish refugee camps for the Palestinian Arab refugees inside Syria, it never allowed those refugees or their descendants to obtain work permits to get professional jobs.

And so it continues to this day. While the Islamic State dreams of building a unified caliphate to unite the Muslims of the Middle East, the established monarchies continue to do their utmost to cement divisions.

The Muslim Middle East today is divided between the genocidal jihadists of ISIS who seek Muslim unity by killing anyone not like themselves, and the corrupt, racist monarchies that do nothing to promote unity.

Will the Muslims that flee the insanity of the region adopt western values of tolerance, or will they bring one of these brands of barbarism to the western world?


Related First.One.Through articles:

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

Palestinian “Refugees” or “SAPs”?

Considering a Failed Palestinian State

The United States Joins the Silent Chorus

A Flower in Terra Barbarus

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The Color Coded Lexicon of Israel’s Bigotry: It’s not Just PinkWashing

Opponents of Israel have come up with a variety of terms to portray the Jewish State in a negative light. Terms like “Zionist Entity” and “Apartheid Wall” are meant to show the country as a transient racist place.

Over the past years, a new term arose which doesn’t paint Israel in negative colors, but begrudgingly acknowledges the country as a liberal democracy, and does so as it calls out the actions as a flimsy veneer to an otherwise disgraceful country.

Pink Washing” is when entities promote themselves as gay-friendly. The anti-Israel community considers Israel’s actions in this regard a “cynical use of gay rights to distract from and normalize Israeli occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid.”

pinkwashing

Below, I offer the rest of the color-coded lexicon of Israel’s “bigotry” against Palestinian Arabs.

PinkWashing– touting Israel’s rights for the LGBT community, in the face of surrounding Muslim countries that execute homosexuals.

GreenWashing– touting Israel’s leadership role in environmental projects and technology, as a mockery of Arab world dropping chemical weapons on its own civilian populace in places like Syria.

OrangeWashing – mentioning leaving Jewish homes in Gaza in 2005, while Gaza voted for Hamas in 2006, let that terrorist group take over in 2007 and then launch three wars against Israel with over 10,000 missiles fired since 2008.

RedWashing – mentioning that Arabs and Muslims are responsible for over 90% of Muslim deaths in wars, while Israel accounts for less than 1% of Muslim deaths, even though the country is surrounded by 8% of the Muslim world.

BlackWashing – noting that Israel is the only country in the region that does not have capital punishment, while the other Arab countries execute people for reasons including adultery, apostasy and withcraft.

SilverWashing – pointing out that Arabs in Israel have the longest life expectancy of Arabs in the region. The second-longest life expectancy for Arabs is in Judea & Samaria/ the West Bank.

WhiteWashing – constantly calling Israel the only democracy in the region, next to the various dictatorships and monarchies nearby. Beyond Syria and Saudi Arabia, even the Palestinian Authority is inept at democracy: it held elections for Prime Minister to a four-year term in 2005, and hasn’t had another election since; they voted in parliamentary elections in 2006, and the terrorist group Hamas got the most seats.

BuffWashing – a slightly off-white/ taupe color has been used to describe Israel’s discussing that Arab population in Israel and its territories have gone up more than the Arab population in any of the surrounding countries.

BrownWashing – the insulting practice of describing the long history of Jews throughout the holy land, dating back over 3700 years, while also noting that Arabs only came to the region en masse in the 7th century, and that more Arabs than Jews moved to Israel during the British Mandate.

BlueWashing – pointing out that Jews were the only people to ever have distinct self-governing governments in the holy land – three times.

PurpleWashing – is relaying that Jews have been the majority in Jerusalem since 1870, and are the only people who made Jerusalem its capital.

YellowWashing – is the rude process of pointing out that Palestinian Arabs are the most anti-Semitic people in the world, that has a leader that wrote his doctoral paper on Holocaust denial, and that United Nations-run schools in areas controlled by Palestinian Arabs, are the only UN schools in the world that are prohibited from teaching the Holocaust.

GoldWashing – is the terrible tendency of Israelis to point out that they are the only country in the Middle East that built a thriving economy without relying on commodities, that survived the market meltdown in 2008-9, and continues to excel as the oil economy plunges its neighbors into distress.

A few terms have also been introduced beyond the rainbow, as Israel’s “bigotry” and “racism” is quite extensive.

SiliconWashing – is the annoying situation of Israel touting itself as a “Start-Up Nation” and a huge technology powerhouse, while the rest of the region struggles with obtaining broadband.

XXWashing – is the insulting tendency of Israelis to note that they have more women in Parliament than the United States, while the Palestinian Authority territories lead the world in “honor killings” of women per capita.

LegalWashing – mentioning Israel’s rights for living and buying land throughout the holy land as established in international law in 1920 and 1922, while also noting the illegal annexation of Jordanian Arabs seizure of the “West Bank” in 1949, and its expulsion of Jews counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

PluralismWashing – is the noxious narrative of noting that Israel granted over 100,000 non-Jews citizenship when it declared statehood in 1948, offered citizenship to non-Jews in the eastern part of Jerusalem when it reunified the city in 1967, and has over 25% non-Jewish population today.  This is done to only highlight that when Jordan illegally attacked Israel in 1948, it granted citizenship to everyone EXCEPT JEWS, passed laws prohibiting the sale of any land to Jews punishable by death – which was later adopted into law by the Palestinian Authority. Of course, there is the Palestinian Authority’s publicly-stated goal of having a new State of Palestine devoid of any Jews at all.

 

The list of affronts to global sensibilities does not stop at “PinkWashing.”  Israel has a multi-color rainbow of insults that discredits the Palestinian Arabs’ quest for self-determination, while highlighting the anti-Semitic, misogynistic, racism of Palestinian Arabs themselves.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Israel, the Liberal Country of the Middle East

A Flower in Terra Barbarus

Israel’s Peers and Neighbors

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Civil Death and Terrorism

Many governments are trying to develop legal structures to prevent and punish acts of terrorism. Their proposals and actions would extend to those who have not (yet) committed terrorism in their countries, to those who join terrorist groups such as the Islamic State/ ISIS.

France has considered stripping a person of their French citizenship if they engage in terrorist acts, if they were not born in France and held a second passport. The United Kingdom is considering a law of stripping British citizenship for naturalized Britons (those not born in the country).

While western European governments consider different ways of inhibiting terrorism and would-be terrorists, rights groups have argued that these steps infringe on an individual’s freedoms.  The groups contend that a government should not take punitive actions against a person before they actually commit a wrongful deed.

The governments are seeking a middle ground: not incarcerating a person if they are not found liable of committing a crime, yet still punishing them from embarking on a path towards terrorism.  Indeed, prison takes away a person’s freedoms, while withdrawing citizenship removes a person’s rights. Placing a person in jail removes a potential threat; the softer stance of removing citizenship inhibits dangerous associations.

The governments’ course of actions are not without precedent.

Civil Death

The United States has a legal concept called “Civil Death.” A “civil death” essentially strips a person of their rights that are connected to the government. For example, a violent felon would lose:

  • The right to vote
  • The ability to hold public office
  • The ability to be licensed for a business (many businesses require licenses to operate)
  • Ability to enter contracts or sue in court
  • The right to obtain insurance or pension
  • Any and all property

These are no small matters. Such person would not be in prison, but remain very limited in the ability to live, work and function freely in society. The courts effectively rule that if a person has shown a willful intolerance and disdain for society’s rules and laws, they will no longer be protected by those same laws.

Israel has used a similar approach in its ongoing war against terror.

Israel

Israel has long struggled with how to deter terrorists.  The military reduces acts of terrorism through roadblocks, checkpoints, and barriers, but they do not inhibit a person from considering such action.  The difference is significant, particularly for people who are willing to kill themselves in the act of terrorism.  There is no jail sentence for a suicide bomber.

Israel has ruled that people who aid and abet violent acts can be found liable, or at least partially liable, for the criminal behavior.  Israel has used home demolitions of suicide bombers as a means of punishing the murderer’s family who knowingly enabled the act of terrorism.

demolition
IDF demolishing home of Palestinian Arab terrorist
(photo: Reuters)

Rights groups have condemned the Israeli policy.  They claim that such actions amount to collective punishment against ordinary civilians who did not participate in any crime.  That position, while used by B’Tselem broadly, is actually unclear.  Not only may the family members be aware of the planned attack, but if the terrorist was the owner of the house, then the government could claim that all such rights to property ownership were null and void the moment the owner committed the terrorist act.  As such, the home became government property, which it can handle as it sees fit.

The Israeli government is exploring other punitive acts that are similar to the actions taken by European governments, such as revoking work papers or residency rights for terrorists and those that assist them. Other penalties could be handed down for the “civil dead” should they be found guilty of crimes in the future:

  • Forfeit any chance for parole
  • Never be exchanged in a prisoner swap

 

Governments around the world are investigating ways to slow the tide of would be terrorists.  As they do, the various punishments of a civil death will likely be explored in the future.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Collective Guilt / Collective Punishment

UN’s Confusion on the Legality of Israel’s Blockade of Gaza

Alternatives for Punishing Dead Terrorists

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Israel’s Peers and Neighbors

Observers of Israel often consider the appropriate benchmark for the country. To whom should Israel be compared? Against the Western world or its neighbors in the Middle East?

Western World Peers

The arguments to compare Israel to western countries such as in Western Europe and North America are plentiful.

Democracy: Israel is a democracy in which all citizens of the country elect its leadership, similar to the western world. That is in stark contrast to its neighbors that have monarchies and dictatorships.

Freedoms: Israel believes in various freedoms, including of religion, assembly and press. Such freedoms are cornerstones of western values, but difficult to find elsewhere in the Middle East.

Economy: Israel’s economy is based on capitalism. It has been termed the “start-up nation” due to the tremendous number of companies that are launched by ordinary Israelis. This compares to the economies dominated by oil money controlled by governments among Israel’s neighbors.

The long list of commonalities is detailed in “Israel, the Liberal Country of the Middle East.”  The peer group for Israel according to its principles and values is indeed the western world, not the MENA region.

Neighbors in MENA
(Middle East and North Africa)
israel_surrounded_sm
Arab World

Israel resides in a predominantly Arab neighborhood.  The people of the Arabian Peninsula spread en masse from the region shortly after the founding of Islam, during the 6th and 7th centuries.  In some locations, like Turkey, the Arab invasion was repelled, even while the Islamic religion still took hold in the area.  There are now 22 Arab countries and 57 Muslim countries, most of which surround Israel.

muslim_distribution
Muslim World

While Israel is unique in being the only Jewish State in the world, it’s uniqueness is magnified within its neighborhood that is almost uniformly Arab and Muslim.  Many of these Muslim countries are governed by Sharia, Islamic law, while others have laws that are Sharia-inspired.  These laws have little in common with laws found in western countries.  This is even true where the British held Mandates after World War I, such as in Jordan and Iraq.

Judging Peers

English Common Law has a concept that a person should be judged by a group of one’s peers.  The rationale for this provision was to afford context and humanity to the cold rule of law.  As peers should know a defendant better than a judge, those individuals in the jury could fine-tune the rule of law for the specific case and party.

In the United States, the concept of “peers” has been adjusted to “neighbors.”  The jury pool in the US courts system pulls in people from an entire region.  The individuals in such neighborhood likely have a wide range of backgrounds, including: race; religion; occupation; wealth; political views, to name a few.  US law requires that any party that knows the defendant – presumably who are more likely to be “peers” – to be excluded from the jury so as to avoid favoritism.  As such, the US system has moved from a court of peers to one of neighbors.

What happens when one’s peer group and one’s neighbors have nothing in common?  An extreme example happens every day in the court of world opinion regarding Israel.

Judging Israel

Neighbors: Israel’s neighbors have opposed the very existence of the Jewish homeland since such concept became international law in the 1920 San Remo Conference and the 1922 British Mandate for Palestine.  Sporadic riots in the 1920s became a multi-year war 1936-9, when the Arabs convinced the British to roll back the essence of the laws to curtail Jewish immigration and cap the number of Jews in Palestine, as well as to limit where Jews could live.  When Israel declared independence in 1948, Arab armies from that surrounded Israel fought to destroy the country.

The parties have been at war ever since, with the exceptions of Egypt and Jordan which made peace with Israel in 1979 and 1994, respectively.

Today, the 57 Muslim nations that comprise the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), vote as a bloc at the United Nations, and consistently condemn Israel for anything and everything, as they view the “Zionist entity” as illegal and unjust.

Clearly, this is not a group of neighbors that can be used as a “jury of one’s peers” to assess whether Israel is acting appropriately in any given matter.

oic_11
Representatives of the OIC

Peers: Israel cares about the opinions of its peer group in western Europe, North America and Australia.  These countries share Israel’s values and have ongoing trading and commercial relationships with Israel.

Much of the criticism against Israel from its peer group relates to Israel’s activities in the disputed territories east of the Green Line (EGL/West Bank). Some governments claim that Israel “occupies” the Palestinian people and takes over “Arab land.” Those critics call out Israel for its use of its military and point to lopsided casualty figures in Israeli-Arab wars. They protest Israel’s use of roadblocks, the security barrier, and of house demolitions of terrorists.

The flaw of such commentary is that it inherently assumes that Israel’s peer group exists – or could exist – in the same environment as Israel.

A Mile in Their Shoes

As detailed in “Israel: Security in a Small Country,” Israel is almost 1/500th of the size of the United States, but has three times as many neighbors. It is half of the size of the Netherlands, but no Dutch neighbor refuses to recognize its right to exist. Israel may have a similar number of countries bordering it as Argentina, but none of Argentina’s neighbors have launched numerous wars against it over the past decades.  The United Kingdom may have knowledge of the region from managing the Palestine Mandate from 1924 to 1948, but when was the last time England had foreign tanks and fighters on its home soil?  France may have experienced terrorism, but is there a country working to obtain nuclear weapons that threatens to wipe it off the map?

In short, Israel’s values’ peers do not have comparable security issues.

conflict map
Israel’s values’ peer group of western Europe, North America and Australia
are peaceful relative to the raging conflicts in MENA

When countries in the western world do have moments of inflamed security concern, such as when France suffered from terrorist attacks in November 2015, that country quickly went on the offensive. It instituted curfews. It performed raids on apartments. It curtailed a range of freedoms…. much as Israel does when it confronts security concerns on a continual basis.

Members of French special police forces of the Research and Intervention Brigade (BRI) and forensic experts are seen near a raid zone in Saint-Denis, near Paris, France, November 18, 2015 during an operation to catch fugitives from Friday night's deadly attacks in the French capital. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann - RTS7R5L

Members of French special police forces of the Research and Intervention Brigade (BRI) and forensic experts are seen near a raid zone in Saint-Denis, near Paris, France, November 18, 2015 during an operation to catch fugitives from Friday night’s deadly attacks in the French capital. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann – RTS7R5L

After the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001, it went on a multi-year, multi-country war, which is still ongoing in Afghanistan.  Many more people have been killed in the US wars on terror, than were killed on 9/11.

Israel has faced more than a terrible day of violence; it has daily assaults.  Israel has faced more than just terrorism; it has existential threats.  And it has continued to confront these security concerns, ever since the country was reconstituted in the 20th century.

Israel’s peers have not walked a mile in Israel’s shoes.  They have simply put them on and taken an uncomfortable first step.  And as they have done so, they have shown their determination to protect their civilian population and way of life.


Israel shares the democratic values of much of the western world. The critics from Israel’s peer group should recognize and celebrate the society that Israel has been able to create inside the illiberal Middle East. Those peers must also come to recognize and differentiate between the peaceful environment in which they live and the hostile environment in which Israel resides.


Related First.One.Through articles:

A Flower in Terra Barbarus

Murderous Governments of the Middle East

Seeing Security through a Screen

Obama’s “Values” Red Herring

The Disproportionate Defenses of Israel and the Palestinian Authority

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