Jordan’s King Abdullah II Fights to Retain His Throne

On May 29, 2019, the United States team tasked with forging peace in the Middle East met with Jordan’s monarch Abdullah II. Abdullah insisted that the so called “deal of the century” include an independent sovereign state of Palestine with “East Jerusalem” as its capital.

On its face, the king’s comment might seem a gesture of support for the Palestinian Authority. It was actually more than that. It was a statement made out of fear about losing his own monarchy.

To understand the current state of the Jordanian king, one must appreciate two factors: the history of Jordan regarding Palestine and the current situation in the country.

History of Jordan / Transjordan / Palestine

When the Ottoman Empire was facing defeat in World War I, the world powers sought to set up distinct new entities in the Middle East. The broad region now known as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Israel were to be administered by the United Kingdom and France for a period of years until each would become an established new state. The Mandate of Palestine (1922) fell under the UK and included the area now known as Jordan.

Due to effective lobbying of the British government, the Hashemite family was able to secure a monarchy on 77% of the Palestine Mandate in 1924, incorporating all of the area east of the Jordan River. Such division was hinted at in the Mandate (Article 25), but other key provisions of the Mandate were ignored by the Hashemite king, notably Article 15 which forbade the exclusion of any person based on religion (no Jews allowed as detailed below).

The Hashemite kingdom’s quest for more of Palestine would play out over the years 1948 to 1954.

When Israel declared itself an independent state in May 1948 as the British mandate ended, the Jordanians attacked the nascent Jewish State together with armies from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt. At war’s end in 1949, the Jordanians took over Judea and Samaria which would later become known as the “West Bank.” They ethnically cleansed all Jews from the region, including the eastern portion of Jerusalem, while tens of thousands of Arabs from Israel moved to the West Bank and Jordan. In 1950, Jordan officially annexed the West Bank in a move not recognized by any country other than the United Kingdom and Pakistan.

In an effort to further cement its ownership of “Greater Jordan,” the Hashemites gave all West Bank Arabs Jordanian citizenship, as well as those who moved to Jordan. The 1954 Jordanian Citizenship law specifically forbade Jews from obtaining citizenship (Article 3), a bold anti-Semitic initiative which received no condemnation at the United Nations.

In June 1967, Jordan attacked Israel again. However this time it lost the territory it had illegally annexed. Many of the Arabs who had moved to the West Bank in 1948-9 then moved to Jordan, while many others remained, holding onto their Jordanian citizenship even though they no longer lived in Jordanian-ruled land.

Many Arabs were furious with the failures of the leadership.

In 1964, several Arabs decided that they did want to be ruled by the Hashemites of Jordan nor the Jews of Israel and established the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to launch a “holy war” to free the land from “International Zionism and colonialism.” The 1967 loss of more land was an alarming setback in those goals.

In September 1970, the PLO fought to topple the Hashemite monarchy attempting to kill King Hussein, King Abdullah’s father, and take over Jordan. The Jordanian army routed the Palestinian fighters, killing over 3,000 of them. The remaining fighters were expelled to Lebanon, where they would later participate in the Lebanese Civil War and then wars against Israel.

The Jordanians would not be done with the Palestinian issue.

After Israel fought to expel the PLO terrorists from Lebanon in 1982, they moved on to Tunisia, but only for a few years. The Tunisians withdrew the passports issued to several members of the PLO leadership and cancelled the residency permits of many others in 1986. The group began to spread throughout Algeria, Yemen, Sudan and Syria, establishing terrorist training camps around the region.

And they would soon find themselves back next door to Jordan.

In 1988, Yasser Arafat nominally recognized Israel’s right to exist, as the Palestinians declared an independent state, a move not recognized by most of the world. The Jordanians revoked the Jordanian citizenship of the Palestinians at this time, leaving them theoretically with Palestinian citizenship, but effectively no citizenship since no countries recognized Palestine. The Jordanians would also give up all claims to the West Bank (indicating that they clearly sought to recapture that land before such time).

A few years later in 1991, 400,000 Arabs of Palestinian descent were expelled from Kuwait, due to the PLO’s siding with Iraq in its war with Kuwait. The vast majority of these Arabs would settle in Jordan, inflating the already significant number of Stateless Arabs from Palestine (SAPs) in the country.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Arab “intifada” against Israeli Jews would rage from 1987 until 1993. It was in that year that Yasser Arafat, the head of the PLO, moved from Tunisia to Gaza, and the current Jordanian King Abdullah would take a Palestinian bride, Rania. The Oslo I Accords of September 1993 set in motion a plan for a “two-state solution,” one for Arabs (Palestine) and one for Jews (Israel), helping pave the way for the Jordanians to make peace with Israel in the following year, in October 1994.

The tug-of-war between the Palestinians-and-Jordanians, the Palestinians-and-Israel, and Israel-and-Jordan was seemingly coming to a peaceful conclusion.

It was not to be.

Current Situation of the Hashemite Kingdom

The Oslo I Accords would be followed by the more comprehensive Oslo II Accords in 1995 which set in motion a plan to arrive at a conclusive deal within five years, by September 2000. Those five intermediate years were marked by constant Arab terrorist attacks against Israel, but the two parties still tried to advance to a peace agreement.

The Jordanian King Hussein who forged the peace agreement with Israel died in February 1999, and was succeeded by his son King Abdullah II. Abdullah kept the peace treaty with Israel in place, a move unpopular with many Jordanians during the Second Intifada which began in September 2000 when the Oslo II Accords failed to bring about a Palestinian State. Abdullah’s police and military fought with members of the Parliament and countered riots in the street which were committed to the Palestinian cause.

The monarchy was once again caught in the three-way fight between Jordan, Israel and the Palestinians.

And then 9/11 happened.

King Abdullah strongly condemned the attacks against America, and pushed forward a much more authoritarian shutdown of the public protest in support of Palestinians. However, the daily bloodshed of the Second Intifada made the protests from the streets where most people were SAPs and had relatives in the West Bank hard to contain. Queen Rania herself led some of the protests.

But King Abdullah saw that America was coming to wage war again in Iraq after the attacks of 9/11. He ruled over a people who overwhelmingly supported Iraq just a decade earlier, and who cheered when Iraq fired scud missiles into Israel which wasn’t even part of the battle. How could Abdullah manage such a population when he relied on America for economic aid and military protection?

As described in an article by The Middle East Policy Council, King Abdullah instituted a “Jordan First” policy, to manage the internal threat.

“Through its emphasis on domestic priorities, Jordan First offered an innovative political strategy that mixed elections with repression in an effort to ensure a loyalist parliament that would allow the Hashemite regime to continue its support of American policies in an effort to secure the economic benefits essential to the regime’s long-term survival…. In brief, these policies are the maintenance of normal ties with Israel, alignment with U.S. policies toward the Middle East, and active support for the American war on terror.”

Abdullah prioritized Israel-Jordan over Jordan-Palestine while he ignored Palestine-Israel. And he would continue to do so throughout the Second Intifada, even while occasionally berating the Israeli government, in an effort to convince the Arab street that he was not a puppet of the US administration or a closet Zionist.

And then the “Arab Spring” happened in December 2010, devolving most notably into the Syrian Civil War in March 2011.

The bloodshed and anarchy of a fellow Arab monarch slaughtering his own citizens at his borders was difficult for Abdullah to watch. So his country of 9.7 million people welcomed almost a million Syrian refugees, almost 10 percent of its population. This was on top of the over 2.3 million people in Jordan who were registered as Palestinian refugees.

In total, King Abdullah rules over a population in which one-third of the people don’t identify with the country. The loyalties, allegiances and aspirations of the “Palestinian”- Jordanians and Syrian refugees lie elsewhere, in neighboring lands. The country is like an airport waiting area in which the flights keep on getting delayed and the people become more and more restless.

Which brings us back to King Abdullah’s comments today.

The Tottering Hashemite Crown

Jordan’s unemployment rate now stands at 18.7%, roughly the same high mark for the past six quarters. By way of comparison, Israel’s unemployment rate is at a remarkable low of 3.8%, a level which keeps getting lower. Jordan may have survived the Arab Spring violence that engulfed Syria, Iraq and Yemen, but it is limping along.

The “Arab Spring” may not have liberated the Arab world, but it made the populations question the legitimacy of their governments. This is much more true in the motley group of “Jordanians” who have nothing to do with the Hashemite who sits on the throne, a man who cannot deliver jobs.

It is therefore impossible for Abdullah to take on another 2.9 million Arabs living in the West Bank in a possible confederation scenario. Such a move would bring the Palestinians to roughly 42% of the Jordanian population, and together with the Syrians, a majority. And this majority has no loyalty for a small tribe which took control of the area almost 100 years ago. In Abduallah’s calculation, the Palestinians must gain their own state, or he risks losing his monarchy in Jordan.

The Jordanian king often uses passionate and flowery speech to convince his audience of his good nature. But as a creature of the volatile Middle East, he is simply a crafty survivor, fighting to retain his family dynasty among a restless and poor population which doesn’t recognize him.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Oh Abdullah, Jordan is Not So Special

The Jordanian King Abdullah’s Absurdities

Time for King Abdullah of Jordan to Denounce the Mourabitoun

The Original Nakba: The Division of “TransJordan”

Jordan’s Deceit and Hunger for Control of Jerusalem

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Jordan’s Hypocrisy: Queen Rania on Palestinians and UNRWA

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The Palestinian-American You Never Heard Of: Issam Akel

The mainstream media often reports on a handful of Palestinian-Americans. The most dominant two are women who live in America: freshman member of Congress Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Linda Sarsour, a co-chair of the 2017 Women’s March. The outspoken women often attack the the State of Israel and Zionists who support the Jewish State and they get to enjoy the press coverage which magnifies their prominence.

The press also highlights certain Palestinian Americans who live in the Middle East to portray a particular narrative of events between Israel and the Stateless Arabs from Palestine (SAPs).

Consider Tariq Abu Kheidar, a 15-year old who was beaten by Israeli police for taking part in riots. The New York Times featured a picture of the Palestinian American teenager in a huge color photo on its front page on July 7, 2014. For the paper, it symbolized the conflict of an aggressive Israeli force beating up on Arab teenagers.

Tariq Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian-American teenager who was beaten up by an Israeli border police officer in 2014. Oded Balilty/Associated Press

The Times would cover the story again in November 2015 in a follow up article “Israeli Officer Sentenced to Community Service in Beating of Palestinian American.” The Times not only got to rehash the story, but highlight that Israeli courts did not aggressively prosecute zealous law enforcement officials who beat up Arabs, in an attempt to make a parallel to police officers in the United States attacking minorities.

However, the Times never reported on another Palestinian American who was the focus of international diplomacy, a man sentenced to a life in prison with hard labor by the Palestinian Authority for the “crime” of selling land to a Jew.

Issam Akel, a 55-year old man with American citizenship who lived in the eastern part of Jerusalem, was arrested by the Palestinian Authority in October 2018. His crime of selling his house to a Jew could have carried a death sentence, but he “only” received a life sentence, possibly because he was an American. The Trump administration secured his release to American authorities in January 2019. The Times would neither report on his arrest nor his release.

(Screenshot/Wattan News Agency)

The Times will not write about the vile antisemitism and suffering of Palestinian Americans under the Palestinian Authority as doing so undermines the narrative that the PA is moderate. The Times will only write stories where Palestinian Americans are victims of right-wing Americans and Israelis.


Related First.One.Through articles:

For The NY Times, Antisemitism Exists Because the Alt-Right is Racist and Israel is Racist

A Review of the The New York Times Anti-Israel Bias

The New York Times Knows It’s Israeli Right from It’s Palestinian Moderates

NY Times Disgraceful Journeys

The New York Times Whitewashes Motivation of Palestinian Assassin of Robert Kennedy

Thomas Friedman is a Peddler of Racist Fiction and Adolescent Fantasy

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Seeing the Holocaust Through Nakba Eyes

People have accused U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) of getting her facts wrong about her version of history as it related to the Holocaust in stating that Palestinian Arabs helped European Jewry when they did the exact opposite. Her defenders explained that her words were misconstrued and taken out of context and that she merely suggested that it was the Palestinian Arabs who were the principle party who were left to deal with the “Jewish Problem” after Europe murdered its Jews.


U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)

The direct connection of the “Nakba” of Palestinian Arabs to the Holocaust of European Jewry is not simply a falsification of history by a lone congressman. The connection is widely promoted in progressive circles.

The New York Times suggested that both Jews and Palestinians have endured suffering, and the key to the parties living with each other is for the Palestinians to understand the Holocaust and for Jews to understand the Nakba.

Putting aside the fact that comparing the Holocaust and the Nakba is akin to a ten-car fatal accident relative to a parking ticket, the two parties comprehend each other’s narrative completely differently.

Jews understand the Nakba. They are a people consumed with guilt for anything and everything they may or may not have done. What other people could produce comedians plagued with anxiety like Woody Allen and Richard Lewis or psychologists like Sigmund Freud? This is a group of neurotic people who, upon accusation of doing something intentionally or not, real or imagined, will immediately ask for forgiveness before they even know the topic of discussion. While the Bible asked Jews to feel empathy, Jews contorted that message into always feeling guilty.

Israelis appreciate the Nakba from an ARAB POINT OF VIEW. They understand the Arabs’ grievance and position about Jews coming into Palestine and changing the demographics of the land. The Arabs were a majority and now they’re not; they were under Muslim control (Ottomans) and now they’re not; grandparents used to live in Israel and now they don’t. Further, the ongoing situation of many Arabs being stateless is understood as a fact. While Jews might use different language – for example, not saying that they are “colonizers” since they are indigenous to the land – and have a wide variety of opinions regarding the methods of paving a path towards an enduring peace, the Palestinian Arab perspective is not distorted by Jewish claims.

For Jews of all political leanings, the Palestinian narrative has been heard and internalized.

However, the situation is not remotely the same for the Arabs regarding the Holocaust. Palestinians have been taught that they cannot accept the Holocaust from a Jewish perspective, as IT MUST BE TIED TO AND SEEN THROUGH THE NAKBA.

  • The Holocaust showed off the worst side of humanity: To acknowledge Palestinian Arab participation would be to admit that your ancestors were evil anti-Semites. Maybe it would imply that current Arabs are as well, and their desire for a Jew-free country has nothing to do with ancestral claims, but naked antisemitism.
  • The Holocaust was a uniquely European affair and it was the western world’s guilt that made them vote at the United Nations to create a Jewish State: Convincing the West that it made the Palestinians pay the price for European crimes might change their behavior to favor Palestinians in the Arab-Israel conflict today.

For Palestinian Arabs, the Holocaust is used as a vehicle to undermine Israel today.

Just as over 3,000 years of Jewish history in the Jewish holy land is ignored because it undermines Arab claims that only they are indigenous to Palestine, rewriting the history of the Holocaust can burnish the Palestinian position.

Mahmoud Abbas wrote his doctoral dissertation on a particularly noxious form of Holocaust denial in which he claimed that Jews around the world had no interest in moving to Palestine in the 1920’s and the 1930’s. Therefore, to encourage immigration to Palestine, a number of leading Zionists conspired with the Nazi regime to make life unbearable for Jews so that they would flee to Palestine to create a viable Jewish State.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s recent comments are complements to the theme, claiming that not only did the Palestinians not conspire with the Nazis, it was the Palestinians who gave the Jews a state.

When Palestinians view the Holocaust, they think Jewish suffering literally CAUSED Arab suffering in losing the land, while they see Palestinian suffering of the Nakba as causing Jewish joy in creating Israel. This clouded vision leads Palestinians to believe that misery can yield a global reward, so they will continue to distort the actual history of the Holocaust and Nakba to get the outcome they desire today.

It is a sick by-product of ignoring the history of Jews, denying the rights of Jews, and refusing to accept Jews.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

The Ultimate Chutzpah: A New Form of Holocaust Denial

The Palestinian’s Three Denials

Palestinians of Today and the Holocaust

The Termination Shock of Survivors

Extreme and Mainstream. Germany 1933; West Bank & Gaza Today

Abbas’ European Audience for His Rantings

Failing to Mention the British White Paper of 1939 when Discussing Refugees

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The Calming Feeling of Palestinian Refugees: Rashida Tlaib in Her Own Words

Curiously, but not surprisingly, the alt-left has run to the defense of U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) over the bizarre comments the Muslim woman of Palestinian decent made about the Palestinian Arabs helping European Jews survive the Holocaust. In order to help shed light on why many Jews were offended by her statements, below is the essence of Tlaib’s comments, but applied to Palestinians, in remarks which perhaps Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) should give:

U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)
(photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

“There’s a kind of comforting feeling I get when I think about the terrible situation of Palestinian refugees from the event they call the ‘Nakba,’ and the fact that it was my ancestors, Jews in Israel, who gave up half of their homeland, many people their lives, their livelihood and their basic human dignity – their Jewish souls in many ways were wiped out – to make space for these refugees.

I mean, to think that these Jews gave up so much of their homeland as determined by international law in the 1920’s, first giving Arabs the land east of the Jordan River in what became the country of Jordan, and then giving additional Arabs half of the remaining land to be their own. Then, as if that were not enough, my ancestors welcomed over 100,000 Arabs into their own remaining sliver of the Jewish holy land when it became a state in 1948. These Jews gave up the opportunity to have a purely Jewish State – like the pure Arab regions they gave to the Arabs in Jordan as well as in Judea and Samaria and Gaza – and awarded these Israeli Arabs full rights even while Jews were not even allowed to live in the Arab territories in return. The division of the land may have been forced on my ancestors, but they accepted it and I am humbled by the grace they exhibited towards the Arab refugees by giving them so much to realize their dreams.

My Jewish ancestors continued to bestow on the Arabs so many benefits over the following decades. In 1967 they extended their hands in the goal of peace and coexistence in Judea and Samaria (which the Arabs had renamed the “West Bank”) and Gaza, and tried to help build a thriving economy as they had done with Arabs in Israel. In 2005, seeing how the Arab refugees still suffered, Jews handed the local Palestinian Arabs their own complete independence for the very first time in Arab history, by removing every Jew from Gaza without an ask of anything in return.

To this day, Jews continue to work with every Palestinian man, woman and child – both refugee and non-refugee – to have a better life, providing electricity, food and supplies into Gaza and to try to give them a kinder and gentler leadership. In the West Bank, Israel helps ensure the peace by working with the Palestinian Authority, in a region beset by wars that have killed millions in surrounding Muslim countries since 1967, including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Yemen. Even though these Arabs do not recognize the Jewish State, my Jewish cousins cover them in an umbrella of safety from the wars of the Middle East.

It was both my ancestors and my cousins of today that gave up their homes and dignity for the Palestinian Arabs, even after the deep Jewish longing for a return to their homeland after two thousand years, so that the Arabs would know peace and calm after the trauma of the Nakba.

However, while the Palestinians in Gaza have complete independence they still unfortunately suffer, and I think about whether there could have been a better way. Perhaps removing all of the Jews as the Arabs wanted was a mistake. Perhaps asking the Arabs for nothing in return was a poor decision. If so, the promotion of more coexistence in the West Bank may be a better course to alleviate any remaining Arab suffering.

Perhaps there should be two Jewish States: the one with the boundaries of Israel today and a distinct second one in Judea and Samaria. Maybe Israel and the world will create a fund to expand investment in the economy and Jewish homes and businesses throughout Judea and Samaria so another Start-Up democracy can spring up between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

I am awed by how much the Jews have done for Palestinian Arabs over the past 100 years and how much more they continue to be willing to do together, even at the cost of their own dreams and dignity. While there is much that needs to be done for the Arabs impacted by the Nakba, I am comforted knowing that Israeli Jews made, and continue to make, so many accommodations to help settle the Palestinians peacefully.”

Tlaib may be right: it does make you feel better to complement yourself.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Ultimate Chutzpah: A New Form of Holocaust Denial

Palestinians of Today and the Holocaust

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

Mahmoud Abbas’s Particular Anti-Zionist Holocaust Denial

The Holocaust and the Nakba

Examining Ilhan Omar’s Point About Muslim Antisemitism

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The Ultimate Chutzpah: A New Form of Holocaust Denial

A curious thing is unfolding in the world of intersectionality and Muslim antisemitism: the migration from the status of victims to saviors.

For the last several years Palestinians sought to gain global succor for their situation through outrageous lies. The Palestinians sought to revise ancient history with claims that Jesus was a Palestinian Arab and not a Jew, and that the Jewish Temple never stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. They also claimed that Palestinians were descendants of Canaanites, all in an attempt to make their historic claims to Israel and Jerusalem as much greater than the Jews. That the Arab invasion of the Jewish holy land happened thousands of years after the Jews had been living there was viewed an inconvenience to be dismissed.

Regarding modern history, the Arabs sought to invert cause-and-effect and claim the mantle of victimhood to appeal to the alt-left contingent in the western world. Jews were labeled as colonialist invaders who ethnically cleansed the indigenous Arabs, rather than a people who returned to their homeland and uniquely sacred land. The Arabs claim ongoing apartheid-like conditions, rather than acknowledge their own overt racism in demanding a state free of Jews, even to the extent of having a law sentencing an Arab to death for selling land to a Jew.

But in May 2019, the outright lies and inversion of facts took a curious turn. Instead of only manufacturing a narrative that Palestinian Arabs are victims of Jewish aggression and racism, a new voice directed the message that Palestinians were the saviors of Jews.

U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)
(photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

The new Palestinian-American Congresswomen from Michigan, Rashida Tlaib made the following public comment:

“There’s kind of a calming feeling I always tell folks when I think of the Holocaust, and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the fact that it was my ancestors, Palestinians, who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in many ways, h⁷ave been wiped out, and some people’s passports.

“I mean, just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time, and I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right, in many ways. But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away, right, and it was forced on them. And so when I think about a one-state, I think about the fact that, why couldn’t we do it in a better way?”

It’s not just that she lied about the gross antisemitism that pervaded her “ancestors” who actively lobbied the British government to STOP Jews from coming to Palestine and she ignored the role of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who supported the Nazis and Adolph Hitler. We get that: the Palestinians have perfected #FakeHistory like no people on the planet.

But at least people understood WHY the Palestinians lied. They wanted to look like victims to get support from the world. They sought to appear as indigenous so their claims should be validated. Complete lies, but understandable.

But Tlaib went in a new direction. She created a whole new lie for the purpose of trying to make Jews appreciate what Palestinians did for Jews! Palestinians gave up their homes, livelihood and dignity for you Jews, so be thankful! It gives Tlaib “comfort” that her ancestors “saved” Jews from the Holocaust, and you Jews should look at Palestinians as your benefactors.

Outrageous.

Let me make this clear: Tlaib, you can continue to manufacture lies to make yourself comfortable all you want. Your orientation of talking “Truth to Power” works only in Pathological Liarland. That’s your business and we all understand your sickness to make yourself feel better.

But to now go beyond inverting cause-and-effect and aggressor-and-victim, and to state that Palestinian Arabs were the saviors of European Jews is a whole new form of Holocaust denial. It is beyond chutzpah and beyond disgraceful.

It is vile and inexcusable. And to continue to stand behind such sentiments does not simply make the statement vile. It makes you evil.


Related First.One.through articles:

Palestinians of Today and the Holocaust

Mahmoud Abbas’s Particular Anti-Zionist Holocaust Denial

The Holocaust and the Nakba

Examining Ilhan Omar’s Point About Muslim Antisemitism

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Quantifying the Values of Gazans

People typically use the term “values” to describe things that are important to them and what drives their behavior, in an expression like “core values.” It is strange to use the word “value” for something that is almost impossibe to quantify. How do you put a number on freedom? Time with family? What about honesty, transparency or kindness?

What is important to people may be better explained by quantifying how they spend their finite resources like time, money or space. Core values can be extrapolated by examining what people say is important to them (say time with family) and then quantifying how they utilize such time (comparing time spent with family to time in the gym or watching TV).

Consider the 600 rockets fired by the Palestinian Arab terrorists in Gaza into the civilian areas of Israel over the weekend of May 5, 2019 and want can be learned.

More rockets than bullets. The roughly 600 rockets launched from Gaza is more than the total rounds of bullets used to shoot Muslim worshipers in a New Zealand mosque, the Jewish congregants in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA and at the Jewish worshipers at a Chabad House in Poway, California.

Bullets are cheap relative to rockets. Bullets are purchased by the caseload. They are one of the cheapest armaments used to kill people. While the media often portrays the “protesters” in Gaza as throwing rocks because of their “impoverished” and “desperate” situation, the people of Gaza obviously prioritized much more lethal and sophisticated weaponry.

Rockets take up much more space than bullets. Thousands of bullets can be stored on a bookshelf. Not so rockets. Each rocket takes the physical space of 1,000 bullets. Many warehouses must have been used to store the hundreds of rockets. So while the news describes the cramped quarters of the “coastal enclave” of Gaza, the militants have to qualms in using the finite space to store large weapons of destruction.

Elected terrorist army versus lone gunmen. There were a few racist murderers that burst into the mosque and synagogues in New Zealand and the U.S.A. They were fanatical “lone gunmen” who operated without support. However, the terrorists of Gaza number thousands of people who build, buy, transport, store and launch rockets. The terrorist group Hamas was democratically elected by the Palestinian people to 58% of parliament. This is not a lone lunatic, but the mainstream desire of Palestinians.

Nearly a million targets versus a thousand people. The Muslim and Jewish houses of worship which were attacked held around a thousand people in total. But nearly a million people live within 25 miles of Gaza including the city of Ashdod with 225,000 people, Be’er Sheva with 186,000 and Ashkelon with over 100,000. These men, women and children in Israel were bombarded by the Palestinian Arab terrorists.

Antisemitic charter and mission compared to momentary lapse of reason / consumption of hatred. The racist killers in the New Zealand and American houses of worship were definitely consumed with hatred for Jews and Muslims well before they took violent action, but it is unclear what made these individuals act at that particular moment in time. Perhaps the hatred was “triggered” by a news item or something read online. Maybe it was an accumulation of things. It is possible that it was simply a moment of rage which might have passed without actually harming anyone. But not so for the Palestinian Arabs firing into Israel. Their charters calling for the death of Jews and destruction of Israel took months to write. The wars they fought against Israel have been going on for years. The 600 rockets fired into Israeli cities and towns went on all weekend. There was no momentary “snap” for the terrorists of Gaza.


We are told that Gaza is impoverished and cramped and that Gazans just want jobs, yet the Palestinian Arabs spend their finite resources on thousands of rockets. We are led to believe that there are just a few radical “militants” in Gaza, instead of acknowledging that there is an established military. We are told that the people of Gaza just want peace, even though they elected and continue to support the antisemitic jihadists of Hamas.

The Palestinian Arabs in Gaza demonstrate over and again that one of their core values is the destruction of the Jewish State.

If the madmen who killed worshipers in New Zealand, Pittsburgh and California had an army it would look like Hamas and Islamic Jihad. If they ruled a country, it would look like Gaza.

The “humanitarian crisis” of Gaza is not in the lack of jobs, food and infrastructure; it is that the people of Gaza continue to deny the humanity and rights of the Jewish people and Jewish State.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Shrapnel of Intent

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

Looking at Gaza Through Swedish Glasses

Extreme and Mainstream. Germany 1933; West Bank & Gaza Today

The Palestinian State I Oppose

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Netanyahu Props Up Failed Arab Leaders

To read New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is to live in another universe. While he once had some basic understanding of the Middle East, that seems to be a long time ago.

Friedman’s view – and that of almost every journalist for The Times – is that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a right wing lunatic, while his counterparts around the Arab world including acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II are simply weak and incompetent. The left wing media will have you believe that the Arab people are peace-loving people who are frustrated with their economy, while Israeli public are racists. The media tells this narrative over-and-again in various ways.

But the reality is much more shocking for both pro-Zionists and pro-Arabs and those who seek an enduring peace in the region.

The Arab leaders are indeed very weak. They hold onto whatever power they have by criticizing Jews and Israel to gain public support. The Arab masses are broadly antisemitic and celebrate any insult and setback of the Jews and their leaders are happy to supply the red meat.

Netanyahu knows all of this. He therefore allows his Arab counterparts to rant and rave while saying and doing nothing, to keep a lid on the Arab masses and stability in leadership. He knows that if the Arab leaders appear to be on overly positive terms with the Jewish State, the Arab street will turn on their leaders and remove them from power.

So when the Jordanian king claims rights over the Christian sites in Jerusalem even though he has none, Netanyahu stays silent. In 2010, when Jordan denounced the rebuilding and reopening of the Hurva Synagogue which it had destroyed in 1949, Netanyahu decided to skip the re-dedication. When Abdullah cries that the biggest crisis in the Middle East is the lack of a Palestinian State while millions of Syrians, Iraqis and Yemenites are slaughtered by fellow Arabs, Netanyahu lets the venting at him proceed without comment.

The theater is because Abdullah needs Netanyahu to prop up his veneer of strength, and noting does that better than castigating the “little Satan” on the world stage for everyone to see and hear. For his part, Netanyahu needs to keep the Arab masses from tearing the Jewish State apart and to keep Jordan as a stable buffer from the crazy Islamic radicals at home and beyond.

The dynamic is not different regarding the two major Palestinian political parties, the terrorist group Hamas and the politely antisemitic Fatah.

Hamas has a stated goal of seeking the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews. Yet Netanyahu has not assassinated the entirety of its leadership even though he could do so easily. Instead, he allows hundreds of millions of dollars to flow through into Gaza from Qatar to give Hamas a little breathing room with its populace. By controlling the spigot of cash, Netanyahu exerts additional leverage over Hamas.

In exchange, Hamas keeps the rocket attacks to a minimum over the Israeli election season. Fatah occasionally keeps its incitement in check and coordinates security with the Israeli police. Netanyahu goes on to victory and the Palestinian parties get some ammo to trade with Netanyahu down the road.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife
celebrating his 2019 election victory

Right wing Zionists would be upset to learn that Netanyahu is softer than he appears and right wing Arabs would be appalled how their leaders actively consort with their enemy even as the Arab leadership gives public lip service to the masses. For its inept part, the media cannot cover the political machinations anywhere close to as well as they write about every nuance of The Game of Thrones. Their liberal goal is to undermine American support for Israel, not to tell the news.

The leader of the Jewish State has learned how to survive in the turbulent Middle East, playing politics to its fullest both inside and outside of Israel. He leaves behind a media scratching their heads only able to call out “victor” as fact and “right-wing radical” as uninformed biased opinion.


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The Debate About Two States is Between Arabs Themselves and Jews Themselves

The common refrain surrounding the Arab-Israeli Conflict is that the Israelis and Arabs need to find a compromise solution that will work for both parties. People on the left believe that Israel, as the entity which is much stronger than the Palestinian Authority, must make the majority of that compromise. For those on the right, Israel is the smaller party that has always been under attack by the surrounding Arab and Muslim world, and therefore will demand that Arabs must make significant concessions.

This viewpoint is valid in concept, but lacks any nuance to capture the situation as it exists today. In reality, it is the Palestinian Arabs themselves and the Israelis themselves who are torn on the path towards an enduring peace. Until each party can arrive at a consensus internally, the only bridge with consensus regarding a two state solution is found between the Palestinian Authority leadership and far left progressive Jews; a failed partnership, as the PA is despised by the Arab masses and fellow Jews in Israel and the diaspora consider the progressives a dangerous fringe group, as discussed below.

The Arabs

The Palestinian Arabs have three distinct viewpoints regarding the conflict, and a fourth approach among Israelis Arabs who share some commonality with Jews.

  1. Hamas. Hamas has no interest in a two-state solution as they believe that Israel has no right to exist. While it may make some short-term accommodations related to a cease-fire or an interim acceptance for a two-state solution, the concept of an enduring peace between two countries is abhorrent to Hamas and all of its supporters.
  2. The Palestinian Authority. The PA is a corrupt and inept kleptocracy which seeks a two-state solution to empower and enrich themselves. It has stated it will make the great “compromise” of not demanding the entirety of Israel as part of its state and “very reasonably” demand that its country be stripped of any Jews while refusing to accept Israel as a Jewish State. From such perch, the PA flies around the world with honor, pomp and circumstance while fattening their bellies as foreign nations pour money into the wallets of its leadership.
  3. The Palestinians. The Palestinian Arabs have no interest in a two-state solution according to their own polls, even if they get everything which the PA demands. They are fed up with everybody – the PA, Hamas, the Israelis and the Arab world which has forgotten about them. They view any and every deal with deep distrust.

This is not very promising. The only Palestinians who want the two-state solution today is a leadership which has no legitimacy as it is ten years past its stated term limit, and the majority of Palestinians want the acting leadership to resign.

A softer position in the Arab world which is closer to the Jewish positions on two states is held by Israeli Arabs.

Israeli Arabs. The Israeli Arabs are eager for a two state solution which looks very different than what the PA has proposed. They want NO RETURN of any Palestinian refugees into Israel. They want Israel to be recognized as the nation state of the Jewish people. They demand institutions that are transparent and devoid of any fraud – all desires which the PA will not accept.


Arabs in the Old City of Jerusalem
(photo: First.One.Through)

The wide range of opinions regarding a two state-solution is not limited to Arabs, as Jews also have their own spectrum of ideas.

The Jews

  1. The Far Right. Israel has a number of political parties including Yisrael Beiteinu, United Right (each with 5 seats in the new Knesset), Zehut and the New Right (which got zero seats in the 2019 election) who support annexing Judea and Samaria/ the area east of the Green Line (EGL) commonly called the “West Bank.” The extent of Palestinian “sovereignty” would be limited to Gaza which will be denied any standing army, and essential be an entity with autonomy but will likely need to be a territory of either Egypt, Jordan or Qatar. Israel would likely never permit it to be aligned with Turkey.
  2. The Right. Is represented by the majority Likud party and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is in favor of annexing blocs of the West Bank such as the Gush Etzion area and Maale Adumim, but would give the Palestinian Authority large sections of the West Bank where the majority of Palestinian Arabs live including Areas A and B and parts of Area C. There would be no admittance of any Stateless Arabs from Palestine (SAPs). Good news is that the Israelis just held elections so there is clarity that this is the majority consensus view.
  3. The Left.The left is represented by the Blue and White party which came in second in the Israel elections. They would allow as many as 100,000 SAPs into Israel as part of a peace deal and give virtually the entirety of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem to the PA. A bit further to the left in Israel are the Labor and Meretz parties in Israel (6 and 4 seats, respectively) and in the diaspora in groups like J Street and the Israel Policy Forum who oppose the notion of Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish people.
  4. The Far Left. Believes that Israel should cease to exist as a Jewish State. They advocate for folding all of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza into a bi-national state with no special rights or privileges for Jews. Essentially the Hamas platform, without the murder of Jews, but with all of the demonization. There is virtually no one in Israel with such views, but is in vocal extremist diaspora organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace, the New Israel Fund and Code Pink.

Lining up the groups against each other reveals interesting bedfellows between Arabs and Jews:

  • Hamas <> JVP/ Code Pink
  • the PA <> Labor/ J Street
  • Israeli Arabs <> Likud/ Republican Jewish Coalition
  • some Israeli Arabs <> Yisrael Beiteinu/ the New Right
  • The Palestinians <> everyone who has given up hope for any solution

Hamas, JVP, Code Pink, Students for Justice in Palestine and similar groups have tried to gain legitimacy in the public sphere. Former US President Jimmy Carter blessed Hamas despite its vile antisemitic charter and the United Nations has sought to fold it into the Palestinian Authority. Groups like SJP are getting awards on college campuses like New York University. These are hate groups and should be condemned and boycotted by everyone who wants to see an enduring peace in the Middle East. They will never be accepted by any Israeli administration forging a peace settlement, and will only make Israelis move further rightward.

J Street and progressives around the world have been reaching out to the PA as the best chance for peace. However, the PA is despised and disrespected by Palestinians. Until there are legitimate Palestinian elections, reaching out to the PA is a fool’s errand. Most Jews and conservatives see through the chimera and think J Street’s moves to weaken Israel and go against the Israeli government by advancing condemnations at the United Nations and promoting a deeply flawed Iranian nuclear deal are dangerous and divisive. The liberal media mostly follows this narrative and will promote the PA as “moderate” which is counter-factual and J Street as “mainstream” which is liberal wishful thinking. However, if they can tack towards the center instead of continuing to lurch leftward, perhaps they can be part of forging an enduring solution instead of today’s alt-left miasma.

For their part, Israeli Arabs and Likud consider the past decade a tremendous success. While the neighboring region had wars killing nearly a million people in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and other countries; with millions of war refugees scattered around the world; military coups taking over Egypt and almost Turkey; and heads of state chopped off in Libya, Israel was relatively calm. When the financial markets took the western world into an abyss, Israel emerged unscathed and its economy boomed. Riding the status quo has worked, and selectively extending that secret sauce with more global partnerships and annexing blocs of the West Bank are logical next steps.

However, the masses are unhappy. The lack of self-determination for the SAPs is not in anyone’s interest and everyone should want to see a resolution to their status. But with no consensus between the Arabs themselves and Israelis themselves, there is little hope for an enduring peace anytime soon.

It may therefore be time for some Israeli Arabs to assume a leadership role in the negotiations to help both the Arabs and Jews each reach a centrist consensus among themselves, and then ultimately with each other.


Israeli Arab women entering the Western Wall Plaza
(Photo: FirstOneThrough)


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Israeli Arabs SUPPORT Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People

On a good day, the mainstream media will spin narratives of alternative facts. On bad days, they will completely lie to their readership, either deliberately or through indifference to doing research which might reveal facts counter to their preferred narratives.

A favorite repeated lie for the New York Times is that Israel’s Nation State Law was anti-Arab, racist and loudly condemned by Israel Arabs (or as the Times prefers to call them, “Palestinian citizens of Israel.”). It simply is not true.

At the same time that Israel was debating and passing the new Basic Law on July 18, 2018, detailed polling was going on among Palestinians, Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs on a wide range of issues. The splits between the various groups on different topics were interesting, but perhaps nothing was more revealing than the questions which garnered almost unanimous approvals.

The Palestinians and the Israeli Jews were divided among themselves on every issue. However, the Israeli Arabs showed overwhelming consensus on four questions:

  1. Support for the recognition that Israel is the home for Jewish people and Palestine is the home for Arab people received 84.8% approval (compared to Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews who only favored it by 42.9% and 61.9%, respectively).
  2. Palestinian refugees will return to Palestine and a cap of 100,000 refugees will move to Israel as part of family reunification. The balance of refugees will receive compensation, got 84.1% approval (compared to Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews who only favored it by 47.5% and 21.3%, respectively).
  3. The future Palestinian state and the state of Israel will both have a democratic
    political system based on rule of law, periodic elections, free press, strong parliament, independent judiciary and equal rights for religious and ethnic minorities as well as strong anti-corruption measures received 91.2% approval (compared to Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews who only favored it by 48.2% and 61.7%, respectively).
  4. The Israeli-Palestinian agreement will be part of a larger peace agreement
    with all Arab states according to the Arab Peace Initiative received 84.5% approval (compared to Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews who only favored it by 45.8% and 50.8%, respectively).

Israeli Arabs – more than Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs – want distinct Jewish and Arab states and want to be a protected minority in the Jewish State. They DO NOT want to see millions of refugees descend and transform Israel into a bi-national state. They want those refugees to go to a new Palestinian Arab state while they remain citizens of the nation state of the Jewish people.

That is what the Israeli Arabs say. Would you rather believe them or a media industry intent on telling you that Israel is a racist apartheid state?


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Israeli Arabs in the Galilee
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

What the Palestinians Were Thinking While Israelis Were Voting

While the Israelis went to the polls again to elect their government in a democratic process, the Palestinian Arabs could only watch with envy. They have not held an election since 2006, when they elected the terrorist group Hamas to 58% of Parliament. They last got to vote for a president in 2005 for what was supposed to be a four-year term. Mahmoud Abbas has opted to not hold elections for 10-plus years passed his expiry date and counting.

Political pundits will comment about what the new Israeli government will mean for the peace process, as if the tango just involved a single party. In fairness, the ineptitude and corruption of Palestinian Authority which cannot even broker a peace between the rival Fatah and Hamas parties make them easy to ignore as a counter-party for Israel. But if one wants to actually be able to achieve an enduring peace, it is important to understand what Palestinian Arabs think about their situation and the Jewish State next door.

The latest Palestinian poll results were released on April 9, 2019, on the same day as the Israeli elections, and reflect polling done March 13-16. Here is snapshot of some of the findings:

  • 60% of Palestinians want acting-President Mahmoud Abbas to resign, with 62% being dissatisfied with his job performance
  • Only 54% of Palestinians believe that the PLO is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, a low-water mark
  • More Palestinians blame their own leaders for the conditions in Gaza than Israel
  • 50% of Palestinians oppose the two-state solution; more people in Gaza support two states than people in the West Bank
  • Even if the Peace Plan contained everything that Abbas currently claims to desire (East Jerusalem capital, 1967 borders, return of refugees) only 43% of Palestinians would vote in favor of it and 52% would reject it
  • 47% support a return to armed intifada
  • 71% want an armed battalion to exist outside of the control of the Palestinian Authority
  • 64% oppose the Palestinian Authority engaging with the Trump Administration
  • 60% fear for their safety if their criticize the Palestinian leadership
  • 95% of Palestinians consider themselves religious

Based on these results, there is no pathway towards an enduring peace anytime in the near-future regardless of who leads the State of Israel. The Palestinian Arabs have no faith in their own leadership and no interest in accepting the most generous two-state solution (which Israel wouldn’t offer anyway).

It is therefore ridiculous to look at the Israeli elections through the prism of a peace process. Instead, the orientation should be about shrinking the conflict with the Stateless Arabs (SAPs); dealing with Iran and Hezbollah; establishing more diplomatic and trading partners around the world; continuing to build the economy; developing a comprehensive housing strategy; and bringing the devout communities (Haredi and Arabs) into the workforce and out of poverty.

We wish the new Israeli government best of luck in tackling these issues.


The Menorah outside of the Knesset
(photo: FirstOneThrough)


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