Friday, October 21, 2016

The Fruits of Lying to the Public

Published October 10, 2016

Back in July, trying to make sense of developments like the Brexit vote and the rise of Donald Trump, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen argued that we live in an age when people are indifferent to truth–when facts are “little annoyances easily upended.” That, however, is a self-serving excuse. The real problem is that people no longer trust the media and other gatekeeping institutions to tell them the truth, and therefore feel the “facts” provided by these institutions are unreliable things on which to base decisions. And that distrust is merited, as two recent examples show.

The first is the obituary for Shimon Peres that ran in the print edition of the International New York Times. It described the collapse of the Oslo peace process as follows:
Mr. Peres, Mr. Rabin and Arafat were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.

But the era of good feelings did not last. It was shattered in 2000 after a visit by the opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the sacred plaza in Jerusalem known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The next day, the Israeli police fired on stone-throwing protesters, inaugurating a new round of violence that became known as the second intifada.

Needless to say, this picture of events is totally false. The “era of good feelings” didn’t sail serenely on until Sharon “shattered” it by visiting the Temple Mount. It was actually shattered almost immediately after the Oslo Accords were signed by a wave of Palestinian terror that claimed more Israeli victims in two and a half years than all the terror attacks of the preceding decade.

Yet two things make this warped presentation of reality particularly remarkable. First, in an obituary for Shimon Peres, you’d think it would be hard to ignore facts that played a seminal role in his political career. The multiple suicide bombings of early 1996, which the obituary omits, were the direct cause of his narrow loss to Benjamin Netanyahu in the 1996 election, a loss that permanently ended his prime ministerial ambitions.

Second, this wasn’t an innocent mistake stemming from ignorance. The obituary’s online version actually does include a paragraph about the bombings and the election, right after the paragraph about the Nobel Prize. It also correctly says that the violence “accelerated” after Sharon’s visit to the Mount, rather than depicting this visit as shattering a nonexistent calm.

In other words, some editor in the Times’ European offices deliberately distorted the obituary writer’s facts to present a false picture of how the Oslo Accords collapsed. He or she cut any mention of the 1996 bombings; substituted the false sentence about “the era of good feelings,” which doesn’t appear in the online version; and then replaced the “acceleration” of the conflict with the false assertion that Sharon’s visit “shattered” the peace.

Nor is the reason for this distortion any mystery. The standard narrative in most of Europe, and also at the Times, is that Oslo’s collapse was Israel’s fault, while the Palestinians were largely blameless. Informing readers that massive suicide bombings began immediately when Oslo’s architects—Rabin and Peres—were still in office contradicts that narrative. So faced with a conflict between the facts and his or her preferred narrative, an editor at one of the world’s most prestigious newspapers chose to rewrite the facts. And then Cohen wonders why so many people are indifferent to the “facts” as promulgated by his profession.

The second example was last week’s astonishing report by the Council of Europe’s human rights agency, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, which effectively urged the British media stop informing readers that terrorist attacks committed by Islamic extremists are in fact committed by Islamic extremists. Granted, it didn’t say so explicitly. If you read the recommendations devoid of context, they merely urge “more rigorous training for journalists to ensure better compliance with ethical standards” and that “the authorities find a way to establish an independent press regulator.” But it’s quite clear what ECRI intends by these seemingly innocuous recommendations because they are immediately preceded by the following paragraph:

ECRI urges the media to take stock of the importance of responsible reporting, not only to avoid perpetuating prejudice and biased information, but also to avoid harm to targeted persons or vulnerable groups. ECRI considers that, in light of the fact that Muslims are increasingly under the spotlight as a result of recent ISIS-related terrorist acts around the world, fueling prejudice against Muslims shows a reckless disregard, not only for the dignity of the great majority of Muslims in the United Kingdom, but also for their safety. In this context, it draws attention to a recent study by Teeside University suggesting that where the media stress the Muslim background of perpetrators of terrorist acts, and devote significant coverage to it, the violent backlash against Muslims is likely to be greater than in cases where the perpetrators’ motivation is downplayed or rejected in favour of alternative explanations.

So unless you assume the recommendations have no connection to the paragraph immediately preceding them, it’s hard to avoid concluding that ECRI, in fact, wants the press to hide the Muslim identity of Islamic terrorists and attribute their motive to something other than Islamist ideology. In other words, it wants the press to lie to the public about who the terrorists are and why they’re committing attacks. And then Cohen wonders why so many people are indifferent to the “facts” as promulgated by the European Union.

I don’t like our brave new fact-free world any better than Cohen does. But it’s the inevitable result of one very ugly fact: Institutions people used to trust, like the media and the EU, have forfeited that trust by repeatedly lying to the public in order to promote their own agendas. And the only way to start repairing the damage is for these institutions to acknowledge their own role in destroying the credibility of “facts” and then finally start telling the truth as it is, rather than as they would like it to be.

Originally published in Commentary   by Evelyn Gordon, on October 10, 2016

Video of the week: Understanding Antisemitism


Monday, October 10, 2016

Abbas’s Fatah party honors Jerusalem killer as ‘martyr’

From the times of Israel, by Stuart Winer 10-10- 2016,
For the full article go to:
PA leader’s faction declares day of mourning for terrorist who shot dead two Israelis; Hamas leader congratulates his parents in phone call
The political faction of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas honored as a “martyr” a gunman who killed two Israelis in Jerusalem on Sunday, and called for a general strike and public mourning in his memory.
Israeli monitor group Palestinian Media Watch noted that the praise for the terrorist, whose identity remains under gag order in Israel, was posted on Fatah’s official Facebook page.
“The one who carried out the operation today in Jerusalem is a pilgrim [to Mecca] martyr, one of the most prominent people in Jerusalem and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and a released prisoner,” Fatah said, according to an English translation of the Arabic provided by PMW.
Israeli officials have long complained that incitement and support from the Palestinian Authority in the form of praise, honorifics, and cash payments to the families of Palestinians killed during attacks encourages further terrorism.
According to PMW, “Fatah referred to the murderer as a “shahid,” an Islamic martyr, a status often depicted by official Palestinian Authority media as the highest achievement to which a Muslim can aspire.
In another post to the Facebook page, the Jerusalem branch of Fatah announced a general strike “in Jerusalem in memory of the souls of the martyrs of Palestine and this morning’s martyr.”
The message quoted a section from the Koran that said, “Permission [to fight] has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory.”
erusalem resident Levana Malihi, 60, and police officer First Sergeant Yosef Kirma, 29, were killed and six others injured after the terrorist sprayed bullets at passersby from a moving car on Sunday morning near Ammunition Hill in the north of the capital. The shooter, a resident of Silwan in East Jerusalem, was shot dead by police.
Hamas claimed the man as one of its members. After apparently taking credit for the attack, the Gaza-based terror group also praised the shooting as “heroic” and “brave.”
The group’s Qatar-based leader, Khaled Mashaal, called the parents of the terrorist on Sunday evening and congratulated him, saying his actions “defended the Palestinian people.”
According to Palestinian reports, he added that Palestinians were “proud” of their son, whom he praised as an “example” to his contemporaries. “Hamas will carry on it its jihad until Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Mosque are liberated from the impurity of the occupation,” he said.
In a separate statement, Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum called the attack “a natural reaction to the crimes and violations of the occupation against our people.”
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement also praised that attack, calling it “heroic.”
The US State Department condemned the attack, saying “there is absolutely no justification for the taking of innocent lives. We also condemn the statements glorifying this reprehensible and cowardly attack.”
The gunman opened fire at a group of people waiting at a light rail stop on Haim Bar-Lev Street, hitting one woman before speeding off toward Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau Street where he shot and fatally wounded Malihi.
After shooting at civilians twice, the assailant continued toward the Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. In a shootout with police, he killed Kirma before officers gunned him down.



Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Israel, not the West, stands for international law

For the full article by Melanie Philips go to:
The West maintains that Israel occupies Palestinian territory in the “West Bank.” This is untrue. There has never been any “Palestinian territory.”
After the death of Shimon Peres, BBC  radio’s flagship current affairs show Today interviewed Israel’s ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev.

The presenter persistently suggested to him that Peres’s record as a peacemaker ran contrary to Israel’s subsequent record of failure to make peace with the Palestinians, and that the absence of a two-state solution was all the fault of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Her questioning reflected the grotesque false assumption underlying Western hostility toward Israel: that if only it wasn’t so belligerent there would be peace. Repeatedly challenged with this claim, Regev refused to engage. Instead he mouthed platitudes about how Peres would always have answered such a question with hope and optimism about a peaceful solution.

This was a missed opportunity. The overwhelming requirement for Israel is always to nail the big lie behind the questions thrown at it.

Regev should have said that the reason for the absence of a two-state solution was displayed last week at the UN, where the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas made a speech expressing hostility to Israel’s very existence.

He falsely presented the Jews of Israel as squatters in the Palestinians’ own land. He even demanded that Britain apologize for the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which first committed Britain to reestablish the Jewish homeland in what was then called Palestine.

Through this declaration, said Abbas, Britain had given “without any right, authority or consent from anyone, the land of Palestine to another people.”

This preposterous speech was notable for three things. First, it rewrote the Jews out of their own history by fabricating an entirely fictitious Palestinian story. The only people for whom the Land of Israel and the disputed territories have ever been their national kingdom are the Jews.

Second, Abbas blamed Israel for his own people’s aggression and murderous violence over the Temple Mount.

Third, his speech showed that the Palestinians’ complaint is not about the absence of a state of their own. It is about the existence of Israel which they want gone.

The full speech received no mainstream coverage in the West. Abbas could be confident, however, that it reflected two entirely false Western beliefs: that Israel acts in contravention of international law, and that the land originally belonged to the Palestinians.

With the West duly softened up, Abbas is thought to be planning a maneuver at the UN. He says he will be pushing a UN Security Council resolution against the settlements. What worries Israel more is the rumor that President Obama will refuse to veto a proposed French UN resolution recognizing a Palestinian state.

If Obama does this, the US will be complicit in tearing up international law and bringing into being a terrorist state whose existential purpose is the extermination of Israel.

As the international law expert Prof. Eugene Kontorovich argued in The Washington Post in September, the proposed French measure repudiates UN Security Council Resolution 242, passed in the wake of the Six Day War. Resolution 242 represented a territorial compromise, with Israel agreeing to cede some but not all the territories it seized during the Six Day War in return for peace.

According to Kontorovich the French resolution, which would push Israel back behind the 1949 “Auschwitz” armistice lines, would repudiate 242 and amount to “a fundamental reversal of 50 years of Middle East diplomacy.”

Instead of a negotiated settlement, the US would therefore not only be aiding the unilateral imposition of a new terrorist entity in the Middle East but would also show its contempt for international law.

In fact the US, Britain and Europe have long displayed this contempt by supporting the big lie that Israel behaves illegally or belligerently.

The West maintains that Israel occupies Palestinian territory in the “West Bank.” This is untrue. There has never been any “Palestinian territory.”

Israel’s presence in the disputed territories cannot be legally defined as an occupation. Under the Hague and Geneva conventions, an occupation can only take place on sovereign land. The territories were never anyone’s sovereign land.

Israel is furthermore entitled under international law to continue to hold onto them as a defensive measure as long as its Arab aggressors continue to use them for belligerent ends.

The West says Israel’s settlements are illegal. This is also untrue.

In the 20s, the Mandate for Palestine gave Britain the legally binding duty to settle the Jews throughout what is now not just Israel but the disputed territories too. That Jewish right has never been abrogated.

The Geneva conventions, cited as the reason the settlements are illegal, prohibit an occupying power from transferring people en masse into occupied territory. This was drafted after World War II to prevent any repetition of the Nazis’ forced displacement of peoples. Israelis resident in the disputed territories, however, have not been transferred but moved there through their own free choice.

Kontorovich has looked at every modern example where occupied territories have been settled. In none of them did the international community denounce such action as illegal or demand that settlers had to vacate the land as a condition for peace or independence. If world powers asked the occupying force to withdraw, they referred only to the army and not the settler population. The only exception has been Israel.

The West makes a fetish of international law. Yet it denounces Israel, the one Middle East state that upholds it. It’s time to call out the US, Britain and Europe for aiding the repudiation of law and justice and thus helping promote the Arab agenda of exterminating Israel.

Melanie Phillips is a columnist for The Times (UK).


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Oslo Disaster

"BIG” wishes all its Jewish subscribers a healthy, happy and peaceful New Year and sends warm greetings to the non- Jewish ones.

by Efraim Karsh  in the “ Middle East Forum”  Sep 14, 2016
For the full article go to:

Viewed from a 23-year vantage point, the Oslo "peace process" between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) stands as one of the worst-ever calamities to have hit Israelis and Palestinians.

For Israel, it has been the starkest strategic blunder in the country's history – establishing an ineradicable terror entity on Israel's doorstep, deepening its internal cleavages, destabilizing its political system, and weakening its international standing.

For West Bank and Gaza Palestinians, it has brought about subjugation to corrupt and repressive PLO and Hamas regimes – regimes that have reversed the hesitant advent of civil society in these territories, shattered their socioeconomic well-being, and made the prospects for peace and reconciliation with Israel ever more remote.

This abject failure is a direct result of the Palestinian leadership's perception of the process as a pathway not to a two-state solution — meaning Israel alongside a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza — but to the subversion of the State of Israel; not to nation-building and state creation, but to the formation of a repressive terror entity that would perpetuate conflict with Israel while keeping its hapless constituents in constant and bewildered awe as its leaders line their pockets from the proceeds of this misery.

Palestinian leaders see the peace process as a pathway not to a two-state solution, but to the subversion of Israel.
So long as things on the Palestinian side are permitted, or even encouraged, to remain as they are, there will be no progress whatsoever toward peace. There will be no advancement towards peace in the framework of a French-initiated international conference, nor even in bilateral talks (were the Palestinians to be somehow coerced to return to the negotiating table).

Just as the creation of free and democratic societies in Germany and Japan after World War II necessitated a comprehensive sociopolitical and educational transformation, so it will only be when Palestinian society undergoes a real "spring" that the century-long conflict between Arabs and Jews can at long last be resolved and a semi-functioning Palestinian state come into being. This requires sweeping the corrupt and oppressive PLO and Hamas rulers from power, eliminating endemic violence from political and social life, and teaching the virtues of coexistence with Israeli neighbors.

Sadly, the possibility of a Palestinian spring, which seemed to be in the offing in 1993 when the PLO hovered on the verge of extinction and West Bank and Gaza leadership appeared eager to strike a historic deal within the framework of the Washington peace negotiations, has been destroyed for the foreseeable future by the Oslo "peace process."

Read the full report: The Oslo Disaster, Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, September 2016. See also Efraim Karsh's article in the Fall 2006 issue of Middle East Quarterly, "Why the Oslo Process Doomed Peace."

Efraim Karsh is emeritus professor of Middle East and Mediterranean studies at Kings College London, a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, and principal research fellow at the Middle East Forum.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Arabs Must Turn a New Page with Israel

By Fred Maroun 10-7-2016
For the full article go to Gatestone Institute -

This is part two of a two-part series. The first part examined the mistakes that we Arabs made in our interactions with Israel.

There is much that we can do to improve our relationship with Israel -- if we want to -- and there is good reason to think that it would be in both our short- and long-term interest if we did. The most critical change is in approach. Changing that would start to repair the foundation of the relationship and would provide a basis for mutual respect and trust, without which any solution would remain fragile.

Understand Israel

We must see the real Israel rather than the monstrosity that Arabs have been brainwashed to see. We are so afraid to call Israel by its real name that we refer to it as the "Zionist entity". The name is "Israel"; as written in Haaretz, "Israel has been the name of an ethnic group in the Levant going back at least 3200 years".

The standard Arab narrative about Israel is that it is the result of Western colonialism. This language has also been adopted by many, who claim that "settler colonialism that began with the Nakba ... in 1948", implying that all of Israel is a colony. This claim is not true, and no healthy relationship can be built while one side keeps repeating lies about the other.
Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, a people with a long and complex history on that land. Attempts to kill them and exile them came from many sources over the centuries, including the Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans and the Crusaders. These are historical facts.

Israel's then Prime Minister Golda Meir said in 1973, "We Jews have a secret weapon in our struggle with the Arabs -- we have no place to go". No matter how much pressure Arabs put on Jews to leave, they are not going anywhere; in fact, that pressure only hardens their resolve. Israel is their home.

We must look at Israel not as foreign presence, which it is not, but as a unique and remarkable component of the Middle East that enriches the region.

Not our enemy

We must stop calling Israel our enemy. We deliberately chose to make Israel our enemy when we attacked it, rather than accept the existence of a tiny Jewish state in our midst.

Israel is only 19% of British Mandate Palestine (which included Jordan), on which Britain promised in 1924 to build a "Jewish National Home". Israel is so small that it would have to be duplicated 595 times to cover the entire Arab world.

We made self-defeating decisions in our relationship with Israel, based on the belief that it is our enemy and that we can only deal with it though force -- but the tiny state of Israel is not a threat to the Arab world.

Every year, Palestinians hold rallies, often violent ones, to commemorate the Nakba ("catastrophe"), which is name they give to the Arab loss in the war of 1948/49. They carry keys, symbolizing the keys to homes that their ancestors fled during that war. This commemoration, like much of the Arab rhetoric about Israel, is a one-sided view that demonizes Israel while it absolves Arabs of all responsibility for starting and continuing a conflict that resulted in decades of violence as well as displacements of both Arabs and Jews.

This false narrative does not leave much room for peace with Israel. How can peace be acceptable to Arabs who are repeatedly fed the false narrative that everything is Israel's fault, when, in fact, "everything" is not "all Israel's fault"?
Building a positive future requires accepting that the past is gone and cannot be restored.

Resolving the Palestinian Question

For a successful resolution of the Palestinian question, we must understand the few fundamental issues on which Israel cannot compromise. At present, the Arab world, and particularly the Palestinians, shows so little understanding of Israel's fundamental issues that the Israeli public's faith in peace negotiations is low. As reported in the Jerusalem Post, "most Israelis (67.7%) do not believe that negotiations will bring peace in the coming years and less than a third (29.1%) think it will ever yield such a result".

Israel's ability to remain a Jewish state and a haven for Jews worldwide is its most basic existential necessity. Without it, Israel would be only a name. For this reason, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated unequivocally that there is "no room to maneuver" on the Palestinian claim of a "right of return" for the descendants of Palestinian refugees. It may be unreasonable to expect relatively small and weak countries like Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan to absorb all the refugees residing there, but rich Gulf countries have the ability to help. If Europe can absorb millions of Muslim refugees, why could we not do it too?

A second existential necessity for Israel is its need for defensible borders, as explained in an extensive report. Israel has been defending its very existence against Arab attacks for seven decades. It has been attacked from all sides using all methods imaginable, from missiles to suicide belts to tunnels. Israel does not see the pre-1967 armistice lines as defensible, as was explained as far back as 1977 by then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, widely considered a pro-peace moderate.

A third fundamental point is Jewish access to holy sites, starting with the most important one, the Old City in East Jerusalem. Jews see their win in East Jerusalem in the war of 1967 not as a conquest, but as the liberation and reunification of their historic home since the time of King David, ca. 1000 BCE. Although Israeli governments, both in 2000 and in 2008, offered to give up control over part of Jerusalem, one should not assume that a similar offer will be likely in the future. In June of this year, PM Netanyahu pledged that, "The idea of a divided, split, wounded city is one we will never return to." Other issues such as borders, compensation for refugees, removal of some settlements, and the level of Palestinian sovereignty appear to be negotiable. Netanyahu further stated, "Israel wants peace. I want peace. I want to renew the diplomatic process to achieve peace".

But we Arabs must understand that this can only be possible within the constraints of the three fundamental issues.

The Arab League's Peace Initiative

A peace initiative was endorsed by the Arab League in 2002 and again in 2007, but this initiative falls short in two ways, first in its substance and second in its form.

The initiative demands that Israel go back to the pre-1967 armistice lines. Not only does Israel not consider those borders defensible, but during the fifty years that elapsed since then, Israel has built large settlement blocks in the West Bank. We Arabs had previously expelled the Jews who were native to that land, and it is unrealistic to expect that Israel would agree to victimize its own Jewish citizens yet again.

The initiative declares that Arab states reject "all forms of Palestinian patriation which conflict with the special circumstances of the Arab host countries", implying that Israel and the new Palestinian state would be responsible for absorbing the descendants of all Palestinian refugees. For the new Palestinian state, it would be a huge burden to add to the task of building a new state, as it would mean an increase to its population from 6 million to 9 million. This would leave Israel to receive the refugees, which it will not do.

Equally unrealistic is the initiative's casual reference to "the establishment of a Sovereign Independent Palestinian State". The creation of such a state under today's conditions is likely to result in a Hamas-dominated state that is violently hostile towards Israel. The Palestinian Authority must be transitioned into a peaceful and stable entity before it can be expected to run a state.

There was no need to write this document at all. All that the Arab League had to do was to declare that Arab states are open to making peace with Israel, accept Sharon's offer to attend, then send a delegation to Israel as a sign of goodwill.

Sadat in His Own Words

We should take inspiration from and follow the lead of Sadat, an Arab leader who took a bold step towards peace and achieved a peace agreement that even the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt felt compelled to respect 35 years later.

We should take inspiration from and follow the lead of Sadat, an Arab leader who took a bold step towards peace and achieved a peace agreement that even the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt felt compelled to respect. Pictured: Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin (right) acknowledge applause during a Joint Session of Congress in which U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced the results of the Camp David Accords, September 18, 1978. (Image source: Warren K. Leffler/Library of Congress)

Sadat knew that taking steps towards peace requires more than simply writing documents and speaking from afar, which is why he went to Israel to present his vision. He said to the Israeli Knesset, "There are moments in the life of nations and peoples when it is incumbent on those known for their wisdom and clarity of vision to overlook the past, with all its complexities and weighing memories, in a bold drive towards new horizons".

Sadat demonstrated that he understood some of Israel's fundamental issues when he said, "What is peace for Israel? It means that Israel lives in the region with her Arab neighbors, in security and safety".

A New Page

The Arab world has an abysmal record on human rights, is mired in internal wars, and continues pointless hostility towards Israel, a neighbor that is far ahead of us scientifically and economically, and from which we could benefit greatly.
We must take ownership of our past actions towards Israel, and we must make the changes needed to turn the page. In the words of Sadat, "We must all rise above all forms of fanaticism, self-deception and obsolete theories of superiority". It is up to us.

Fred Maroun, a left-leaning Arab based in Canada, has authored op-eds for New Canadian Media, among other outlets. From 1961-1984, he lived in Lebanon.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Arabs' Historic Mistakes in Their Interactions with Israel

By Fred Maroun 10-7-2016
For the full article go to Gatestone Institute -
  • We Arabs managed our relationship with Israel atrociously, but the worst of all is the ongoing situation of the Palestinians. Our worst mistake was in not accepting the United Nations partition plan of 1947.
  • Perhaps one should not launch wars if one is not prepared for the results of possibly losing them.
  • The Jews are not keeping the Arabs in camps, we are.
  • Jordan integrated some refugees, but not all. We could have proven that we Arabs are a great and noble people, but instead we showed the world, as we continue to do, that our hatred towards each other and towards Jews is far greater than any concept of purported Arab solidarity.
This is part one of a two-part series. The second part will examine what we Arabs can do differently today.

In the current state of the relationship between the Arab world and Israel, we see a patchwork of hostility, tense peace, limited cooperation, calm, and violence. We Arabs managed our relationship with Israel atrociously, but the worst of all is the ongoing situation of the Palestinians.

The Original Mistake

Our first mistake lasted centuries, and occurred well before Israel's declaration of independence in May 1948. It consisted of not recognizing Jews as equals.

As documented by a leading American scholar of Jewish history in the Muslim world, Mark R. Cohen, during that era, "Jews shared with other non-Muslims the status of dhimmis [non-Muslims who have to pay protection money and follow separate debasing laws to be tolerated in Muslim-controlled areas] ... New houses of worship were not to be built and old ones could not be repaired. They were to act humbly in the presence of Muslims. In their liturgical practice they had to honor the preeminence of Islam. They were further required to differentiate themselves from Muslims by their clothing and by eschewing symbols of honor. Other restrictions excluded them from positions of authority in Muslim government".

On March 1, 1944, while the Nazis were massacring six million Jews, and well before Israel declared independence, Haj Amin al-Husseini, then Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, declared on Radio Berlin, "Arabs, rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion. This saves your honor. God is with you."

If we had not made this mistake, we might have benefited in two ways.

Jews would likely have remained in the Muslim Middle East in greater numbers, and they would have advanced the Middle Eastern civilization rather than the civilizations of the places to which they fled, most notably Europe and later the United States.

Secondly, if Jews felt secure and accepted in the Middle East among Arabs, they may not have felt the need to create an independent state, which would have saved us from our subsequent mistakes.

The Worst Mistake

Our second and worst mistake was in not accepting the United Nations partition plan of 1947. UN resolution 181 provided the legal basis for a Jewish state and an Arab state sharing what used to be British-controlled Mandatory Palestine.

Video of the week- 9/11 memorial monument in Israel -


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Fraying Palestinian Political Entity in the West Bank

By Pinhas Inbari: Jerusalem Centre For Public Affairs

Note Palestinian police in riot gear.
  • The Palestinian Authority is failing to control extensive parts of the West Bank. Some districts are developing in different directions, thereby accelerating the process of the PA's disintegration.
  • In Hebron, the large clans of Mount Hebron have linked up with each other, reestablished the Tribal Council of Mount Hebron, and sent a delegation to Amman to express loyalty to the king of Jordan.
  • Nablus has gone into a tailspin of total anarchy, under the rule of gangs, with exchanges of gunfire in the heart of the city and attempts at political assassinations. Local Fatah strongman Ghassan Shak'a, who resigned as head of the Nablus municipality in August 2015, announced that he will run in the next municipal elections with his own list of candidates against the Fatah slate. On June 1, 2016, unknown persons in Nablus fired at his house. On July 24, bullets struck the home of Muhammad Jihad Dwekat just days after he announced his intention to run for Nablus mayor as an independent non-Fatah candidate.
  • In Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian Authority, a dense network of Palestinian nongovernmental organizations (PNGOs) that relies on European aid is leading a growing opposition to the PA. Europe believes that the successor to Mahmoud Abbas will emerge from this network - from the local Palestinians that the Oslo agreements disinherited when the PLO leadership in Tunis was brought in to rule. However, the PLO is not prepared to agree to any power sharing with the PNGOs. It wants to take measures against them, but is encountering problems with Europe.
  • The PA's loss of control in the West Bank raises questions about its ability to run a state. The fragmented West Bank will be a weaker entity than the weak states that collapsed in the Arab Spring. When the Palestinian entity collapses, the vacuum will be filled by the negative forces that have become the nightmare of the world.
Click here to read the full article.
Pinhas Inbari is a veteran Arab affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper, and currently serves as an analyst for the Jerusalem Center.

Video of the week: Who are the “Palestinians” -