Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Discussion: Contrast Between Supporters and Haters of Israel

The Danbury News-Times today published the included "Sunday Discussion: Israel-Palestine -- How to resolve the conflict," consisting of a biased, error-filled, anti-Israel diatribe from Gulamhusein A. Abba and a balanced op-ed by Lew Siegel, who bent over backwards to show an understanding of the Arab positions.

The contrast in their op-eds mirrors the contrast between Israel's continual efforts to reach an accommodation with its enemies and the refusal of the Palestinian Arabs to end their drive to destroy Israel.

We post those commentaries and follow them with some comments.




Sunday discussion: Israel-Palestine -- How to resolve the conflict

Enforcement, not negotiations, is needed

Gulamhusein A. Abba

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has turned that region into a dangerous and smoldering tinderbox that can flare up anytime, sucking into its vortex a number of world powers.

This conflict, which has been raging for years now, continues to decimate the Palestinian population, destroy their lands and infrastructure, drain Israel's economy and seriously strain relations between the US and its Arab allies and Muslim nations all over the world.

It is obviously in the interests of not only Israel and the Palestinians, but also the US and world at large to bring this conflict to an end.

All concerned, including Hamas, have accepted the two state solution.

And yet, though the quest for peace between Israel and the Palestinians has been going on for generations now, a resolution of the dispute remains elusive.

The chief reason for this is that the Zionist leaders who control the government of Israel, though they pay lip service to peace and the two state solution, persist in their determination and efforts to establish Eretz Yisraeel on all of the land west of the Jordan River.

This was their intention when Zionism was born and this was the declared intention of the Israeli leaders when Israel was established in 1948.

There is ample documentation of the fact that Israeli leaders assured the Jews that the establishment of Israel was the first step to reclaim all of Palestine as it existed just prior to the creation of Israel.

In pursuance of this goal, Israel fired the fist shot in 1967, launched the war, invaded and captured the West Bank, The Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, Sinai and the Golan Heights. Its dream of reclaiming all of Biblical Israel was realized.

Left to itself, Israel would not part with an inch of all this land. If it now talks of a two-state solution it is only because Israeli leaders realized, rather late in the day, that demographics would pose a serious problem to their holding on to all the land.

Soon the Arab population would outstrip the Jewish population. Then Israel would cease to be Jewish or it would have to turn itself into an Apartheid State. This, they realized, was not feasible.

And hence the "commitment" to two states. But what Israel intends is to divest itself o f as many Arabs as possible and corral them on small, disconnected pieces of land surrounded by Israel! And call this conglomeration of Bantustans the state of the Palestinians, the second state with which it will live in peace side by side.

This, clearly, the Palestinians cannot and will never accept.

All this talk of peace and the peace process is a farce, a facade to enable Israel to put more "facts on the ground" and consolidate its hold on the Palestinians.

Israel's refusal to meet the recent demand of the Obama administration to freeze all construction of settlements on Palestinian lands is stark proof of this.

Asking the Israelis and the Palestinians to resolve the "dispute" by bilateral negotiations is unrealistic and a grave injustice to the Palestinians. It is unbearably and obviously asymmetric.

Israel has, in defiance of a number of UN resolutions, continued to illegally occupy the Palestinian lands for more than 40 years now.

It has been the longest and most brutal occupation in current history. Israel has killed thousands of Palestinians, demolished their homes, devastated their cities and confiscated their lands.

It continues to humiliate Palestinians daily and make their life as miserable and impossible to live as possible. And all this in full view of the entire world.

This is not a "dispute" to be settled between two parties, but a case of aggression and illegal occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel.

The UN must live up to its responsibilities and take firm steps to bring an end to this illegal occupation.

If it cannot, then the nations of the world that believe in justice and in the rule of law must start bringing pressure on Israel, through boycott, divestment and sanctions, to let the Palestinians establish an independent, sovereign, contiguous and viable state on a mere 22 percent of the land they enjoyed prior to the establishment of Israel.

That is all that the Palestinians want. Surely that is not too much to ask for.

Gulamhusein A. Abba, a native of India, has been a Danbury resident since 1982.




Sunday discussion: Israel Leaders must put aside pre-conditions

Leaders must put aside pre-conditions

Lewis Siegel

As an example of how far the Israelis and Palestinians are apart on issues, they can't even agree on the names of the wars that they have fought.

The 1948 Israeli War of Independence was called by the Arabs, "Al Nakba"( the catastrophe). The 1967 war, which the Israelis called the Six Day War, was called by the Arabs, "An Naksa" (the setback), and the 1973 war, which was called by Israel "The Yom Kippur War," was called by the Arabs, "The War of Ramadan."

Things are no better today.

Neither side can agree on how to even begin negotiations. Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Mahmood Abbas of the Palestinian National Authority claim a willingness to arrive at a peace conference with no pre-conditions.

However, their starting points could very well preclude ever reaching the negotiating table.

Abbas has not relinquished two positions that would be untenable for Israel.

The first one is that he will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

There are 21 Nations in the Arab League, of which 18 have Islam as the official state religion. Only Syria, Lebanon, and Eritrea do not. But he finds that one Jewish state is disproportionately too high a number, relative to 18 Islamic states.

I believe that he hopes to eventually convert the Jewish state into a Muslim one, having more Arabs than Jews.

This is linked to his second pre-condition, in which Abbas wants assurance that the descendants and relatives of Arab refugees from the 1948 and 1967 wars will be allowed to return to Israel. This could number about 3 million people.

Israel, being a democratic state, with both Arab and Jewish residents as citizens, would soon have an Arab population that would outnumber the Jews, and then could vote the Jewish character of Israel out of existence.

If this is Abbas' goal, then he is not really committed to a genuine two-state solution, and such a development would mean political suicide for Israel.

On the other hand, before a Jewish and Palestinian state can be made to co-exist peacefully, the lingering Arab refugee problem would have to be solved somehow.

One possibility would be that Israel provides monetary compensation or assists in housing construction outside the borders of Israel, to help the resettlement process.

So unless Abbas abandons his two pre-conditions -- refusal to recognize Israel as Jewish state, and visions of eventually transforming Israel into a second Palestinian state -- the parties may never get to the bargaining table.

Netanyahu also claims to arrive with no pre-conditions, but maintains vital starting positions.

First, he insists that Israel will not stop settlement building that would allow for natural expansion of existing settlements, but will curtail construction of any new settlements.

His second starting position is that the new Palestinian state must be completely demilitarized. Of course, Israel would never accept a Palestinian state on its borders with a military setup that would place every city in Israel within range of Palestinian rockets.

The settlement issue has been amplified far out of proportion to its importance, and unfortunately, to some has been seen as an obstacle to the peace process.

The fact is that since the early part of the twentieth century, the Arabs have not accepted the arrival of Jews into Palestine.

The Arab attacks on Jewish villages in 1920, 1929, the Arab rebellion of 1936-1939, the wars intending to obliterate Israel in 1948 and 1967, all occurred before the settlements were ever an issue.

Nevertheless, Netanyahu could neutralize his critics by issuing a stop order for now on settlement construction.

The creation of a formal Palestinian state would require a permanent solution of the settlement problem.

One approach could take into consideration the fact that a highly concentrated population of settlers live in a region of the West Bank in fairly close proximity to Jerusalem.

Israel might annex that land, provide the new Palestinian state with an equivalent portion of Israeli land in exchange, and remove most of the more distant settlements from the West Bank.

Alternatively, some could be allowed to remain in the newly formed Palestinian state.

The thought of Jewish settlers living in a Palestinian state is not unreasonable considering that 1.2 million Arabs live as citizens in Israel.

There are probably other viable options which could be acceptable to both Israelis and Palestinians.

In summary, particularly Abbas, and to an extent, Netanyahu, have not been willing to recognize that their own pre-conditions may be obstructing the path towards the peace table.

If they can find a way put them aside, then, perhaps, real negotiations can take place, and the continuing conflict will not have to be an unhappy, long term reality.

Lewis Siegel is a resident of Ridgefield.




Comments. (We quote from each article and follow each quote with a comment.)




Re the Abba article:




All concerned, including Hamas, have accepted the two state solution.


Comment: This is false. The Hamas charter - as well as that of the supposedly "moderate" Fatah -- continues to call for the destruction of Israel.

In a May 4 article in the New York Times, based on a long interview with Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, The Times says Meshal explained "the movement was seeking a state only in the areas Israel won in 1967." (These are the words of The Times, not a quote from Meshal.)

More relevant is the following paragraph from later in the article:

"On the two-state solution sought by the Americans, he said: "We are with a state on the 1967 borders, based on a long-term truce. This includes East Jerusalem, the dismantling of settlements and the right of return of the Palestinian refugees." Asked what "long-term" meant, he said 10 years."

In other words, acceptance of a two-state solution is only temporary, with the long-term goal still the elimination of Israel.

The article from The Times may be read at .




And yet, though the quest for peace between Israel and the Palestinians has been going on for generations now, a resolution of the dispute remains elusive.

"The chief reason for this is that the Zionist leaders who control the government of Israel, though they pay lip service to peace and the two state solution, persist in their determination and efforts to establish Eretz Yisraeel on all of the land west of the Jordan River.


Comment: The chief reason is the Arabs, including the Palestinian Arabs, refuse to agree to any peace that would leave Israel intact. Israel has repeatedly offered the Arabs almost all the disputed territory, including at the Camp David talks in 2000 and more recently when Ehud Olmert was prime minister, but the Arabs have rejected the establishment of their own state in that territory.




There is ample documentation of the fact that Israeli leaders assured the Jews that the establishment of Israel was the first step to reclaim all of Palestine as it existed just prior to the creation of Israel.


Comment: Abba cites no documentation, because none exists.




In pursuance of this goal, Israel fired the fist (sic) shot in 1967, launched the war, invaded and captured the West Bank, The Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, Sinai and the Golan Heights. Its dream of reclaiming all of Biblical Israel was realized.


Comment: Israel responded to Egyptian acts of war, including firing from Sinai and the illegal blockade of Israeli access to the Straits of Tiran, by attacking Egypt. It has since given back to Egypt almost all the territory it captured in what was a defensive war. The exception was the Gaza Strip, which Egypt refused to take back and which Israel eventually simply left in 2005. It is now under the control of Hamas.

The territories in dispute between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs were captured from Jordan, not Egypt. In the 1967 war, Israel did not attack Jordan and pleaded with the Jordanian leaders to stay out of the war. Despite these pleas, Jordan attacked Israel and it was in response to the Jordanian attack that Israel came into possession of the disputed territories, which had been illegally occupied by Jordan since 1948.

Early in the Oslo years, Israel turned over to the Palestinian Authority nearly half of the remaining disputed territory and has offered to give up almost all of the rest, but the Palestinian Arabs have refused to accept it if the price was peace.

This is hardly the behavior of a nation bent on conquest.




Left to itself, Israel would not part with an inch of all this land. If it now talks of a two-state solution it is only because Israeli leaders realized, rather late in the day, that demographics would pose a serious problem to their holding on to all the land.


Comment: See above. Also note Israel made it clear immediately after the Six Day War that it was prepared to give up the territory it captured if the Arabs would simply agree to peace, but the Arabs refused to even negotiate. The Arab League met in Khartoum and agreed to their infamous "Three Noes:" no recognition of Israel, no peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel.




And hence the "commitment" to two states. But what Israel intends is to divest itself of as many Arabs as possible and corral them on small, disconnected pieces of land surrounded by Israel! And call this conglomeration of Bantustans the state of the Palestinians, the second state with which it will live in peace side by side.


Comment: Maps showing the offer made at Camp David show this to be completely false.




This, clearly, the Palestinians cannot and will never accept.


Comment: What the Palestinian Arabs will not accept is the continued existence of Israel.




Israel's refusal to meet the recent demand of the Obama administration to freeze all construction of settlements on Palestinian lands is stark proof of this.


Comment: There is no construction on "Palestinian lands," of which there won't be any until the Palestinian Arabs agree to turn portions of the disputed land into Palestinian Arab land in exchange for peace. The Jewish communities have been built primarily on previously vacant land which was either unowned or owned by Jews. Many were built on land which had been owned by Jews before the Jewish owners were either slaughtered or driven off by Arabs and their land stolen.

The United States and Israel had an understanding about construction; the demands of the Obama administration are in violation of that understanding and call into question its ability to act as an honest broker, thus undermining efforts to reach peace.




Asking the Israelis and the Palestinians to resolve the "dispute" by bilateral negotiations is unrealistic and a grave injustice to the Palestinians. It is unbearably and obviously asymmetric.


Comment: There is no basis for this absurd opinion, which is simply part of an attempt to get the international community, which is heavily biased against Israel, to impose a solution based on the demands of the Arabs, one which would lead to the destruction of Israel.




Israel has, in defiance of a number of UN resolutions, continued to illegally occupy the Palestinian lands for more than 40 years now.


Comment: Since the Arabs never accepted the United Nations Partition Plan, those territories are disputed, not Palestinian Arab. Indeed, the last legally binding determination was the League of Nations mandate which called for the territory to be part of the Jewish homeland.

Security Council Resolution 242, enacted at the conclusion of the 1967 war, called for a negotiated peace including, among other factors, secure and recognized borders. Israel has tried to negotiate borders, but the Arabs, including the Palestinian Arabs, have continued to refuse to agree to either peace or borders. Until there is an agreement, it is impossible for Israel to even determine from where it should withdraw. In the meantime, the so-called "occupation" is legal both under United Nations resolutions and under the Oslo accords.




It has been the longest and most brutal occupation in current history. Israel has killed thousands of Palestinians, demolished their homes, devastated their cities and confiscated their lands.

It continues to humiliate Palestinians daily and make their life as miserable and impossible to live as possible. And all this in full view of the entire world.


Comment: Actually, conditions for the Palestinian Arabs in the disputed territories improved dramatically when they came under Israeli administration after the 1967 War. Schools and hospitals were built, universities opened where none had existed under Egyptian and Jordanian occupation. Infant mortality dropped dramatically and life expectancy soared.

This came to an end when the Palestinian Arabs launched their first intifada in the late 1980's, with conditions deteriorating further when most of the Arabs living in the disputed territories came under the corrupt rule of the Palestinian Authority early in the Oslo Experiment, getting much worse with the launching of their terror offensive after they rejected the establishment of their own state in 2000, and then getting even worse for the residents of Gaza after that portion of the disputed territories was taken over by Hamas.

The misery of the Palestinian Arabs is primarily the result of their own actions, including their refusal to make peace and their continued use of terrorism.




This is not a "dispute" to be settled between two parties, but a case of aggression and illegal occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel.


Comment: See above. It takes two parties to agree to settle a dispute; until the Palestinian Arabs put their own welfare above their desire to destroy Israel, there can be no settlement.




The UN must live up to its responsibilities and take firm steps to bring an end to this illegal occupation.


Comment: See above. The UN has been part of the problem by encouraging Arab intransigence.




If it cannot, then the nations of the world that believe in justice and in the rule of law must start bringing pressure on Israel, through boycott, divestment and sanctions, to let the Palestinians establish an independent, sovereign, contiguous and viable state on a mere 22 percent of the land they enjoyed prior to the establishment of Israel.

That is all that the Palestinians want. Surely that is not too much to ask for.


Comment: Abba is ignoring the roughly 78 percent of Palestine severed from the rest and handed over to the Hashemites as well as the fact that the Palestinian Arabs have repeatedly rejected almost all of the land Abba claims is all they want as long as the price has been peace with Israel.




Re the Siegel article:




Neither side can agree on how to even begin negotiations. Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Mahmood Abbas of the Palestinian National Authority claim a willingness to arrive at a peace conference with no pre-conditions.


Comment: Siegel bends over backwards to be fair to the Palestinian Arabs, to the point of ignoring the fact that the supposedly moderate Abbas has insisted on preconditions. He has repeatedly insisted he will not return to the negotiating table unless Israel first stops all construction in the disputed territories.

It is interesting that the Oslo Accords provide "neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations." Continued Arab building in the disputed territories while building for Jews would effectively violate this provision.




This is linked to his second pre-condition, in which Abbas wants assurance that the descendants and relatives of Arab refugees from the 1948 and 1967 wars will be allowed to return to Israel. This could number about 3 million people.


Comment: Technically, since those people never lived in Israel, they could not "return" to Israel.




On the other hand, before a Jewish and Palestinian state can be made to co-exist peacefully, the lingering Arab refugee problem would have to be solved somehow.


Comment: Again, Siegel bends over backwards to be overly fair to the Palestinian Arabs, declining to mention the Jewish refugee problem. Nor does he point out the Arab refugee problem was a direct result of the Arab invasion of Israel on the very day it was reestablished.




Final Comment: It's worth repeating that these two commentaries mirror the positions of the parties involved in the conflict. They also demonstrate that one can present a strong position in support of Israel while sticking to the facts and showing compassion for Israel's enemies; a symmetrical statement cannot be made about the Israel-haters.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Abusing Freedom: The Missing Link Between Rights and Responsibilities

The controversy over the irresponsible publication by the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet of a modern blood libel and the immoral defense of that newspaper by the Swedish government highlights something that too often gets neglected when rights are defended: with rights come responsibilities.

The Swedish government was correct in saying freedom of the press gave Aftonbladet the right to publish Donald Bostrom's article. The Swedish government was incorrect in disavowing the condemnation by its ambassador to Israel of that article, a condemnation that was well-deserved.

One can - and often should - defend the right of a person or organization to act in a certain way while simultaneously condemning that action. By disavowing its ambassador's condemnation of Bostrom's libel while defending his right to write, the Swedish government effectively gave its approval to Bostrom's article. For this, the Swedish government merits condemnation and also owes the world an apology.

One of the alternative haggadahs we use at Pesach refers to each generation discovering new freedoms. Since my formative years in the 1950's and 1960's, we in America have rightly expanded a number of rights and freedoms, but we have erred in ignoring the responsibilities that come with those rights.

Two examples.

The right to abortion. My first memory of abortion involved the police discovering the dismembered body of a young woman who had been hacked to pieces after dying during a back-alley abortion. I think of that whenever so-called "pro-lifers" campaign to make abortion illegal; safe, legal abortions need to be available in order to save human lives.

This necessary right to an abortion does not conflict with the responsibility to use it as a last resort, to try to avoid needing to avail oneself of that right. Those of us who support the right to abortion too often ignore this responsibility.

The second example, censorship, is more closely related to the Aftonbladet abomination.

The censorship of sexual content and violence that stifled artistic expression until relatively recently was juvenile and, as far as it was mandated by government in the United States, unconstitutional. It had to be eliminated.

Lost in the transition was the responsibility of the entertainment industry and media to act responsibly. The current freedom does not require gratuitous sex and foul language that has nothing to do with either art or entertainment but which does desensitize people, particularly our youth, with negative consequences to society.

Donald Bostrom, the writer of the blood libel published in Aftonbladet, admitted he had "no clue" as to whether what he wrote was true. Effectively, he admitted he was unethical, since journalists have the responsibility to verify the truth of what they write. Based on his own admission, he should be censured by his fellow "journalists," although given the sorry state of journalistic ethics these days that's highly unlikely to happen.

Back to the Swedish government, had it not disavowed the condemnation of its ambassador to Israel, it would have no obligation to say anything about the article. It did, however, get involved and once it did its involvement has been despicable, albeit in character.

Friday, August 21, 2009

It’s not only about Yaalon’s Comments, it’s much more that is in the balance

GS Don Morris, Ph.D.

Israel prides itself as being the only true Democracy in the Middle East and actually uses this as a public relations tool. It also is quick to demonstrate how other countries in the region professing to also be democratic are not even close to representative governments. Along side Israel with this mantra is the USA and other western governments. This has justified specific interventions in the region, as preservation of the only Democracy in the ME is paramount to security in the West. Yet there has been a significant violation of a major democratic principle in Israel-freedom of speech.

Of course right at this moment there are those reading this who are challenging my previous statement and they would be correct were I not to follow up with an explanation. There is law, written statements of behavior identified as consistent with the philosophical intent of the body creating it. Then there is the application, implementation and interpretation of these same-set of laws; herein comes the “rub”. In Israel it is a recognized legal principle not a mere “public interest”, but an integral part of the Israeli legal system.

J.S. Mill wrote of the need for protection not only against 'the tyranny of the magistrate' but also against 'the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling'. These can indeed be powerful, especially when backed by social coercion, threats and intimidation, the treatment of the dissident as a pariah so that on all sides he or she faces rejection, derision, contempt.1, 2 What has gone on in Israel for years and seems to have been “ramped up” significantly since the Netanyahu administration has come to power is the tyranny of the Left wing media, political groups, NGO’s, and other influential groups left of center. Discussion and debate are simply words belonging to polite social groups and are not part of the lexicon in Israel today. The ability to control public conversation and public information/data undermines the very principles grounded in freedom of speech.

The current Ya’alon firestorm surrounding his recent comments addresses some critical issues today for the future of Israel. Allow me to identify a few of his comments and share how they were taken out of context and used as examples of poor behavior. Oh yes, he does have “the right to say them” however, this statement is always followed with a BUT … We know in this type of sentence that all the words left of the BUT are dismissed and not accepted by the words that follow the BUT.

He said, ““The media is biased... Unfortunately, there are those, one could call them elites, who influence the Israeli public discourse in a warped, dishonest, manipulative and misleading manner,” he warned. The reporting media lead into his statement with “Yaalon warned that public opinion in Israel has been taken over by a small group of elites.”3 He did not say that this group was small; this is the editor making the supposition. A minor point yes and if words have meaning than one should report and not offer analysis.

He also said, ““We're in a situation where there are centers of power with authority, but no responsibility. This is not democracy... The wealthy form one such center of power, the media is another, as is the Supreme Court.”3 Now what really rankled the Left was the following statement regarding a foreign funded Left group known as “Peace Now”-it is an elite group and a virus.” Here it is, he challenged directly a peace group or what some of us in Israel call a so-called peace group. So what were the responses to General Yaalon voicing his protected freedom of speech?

Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer accused Yaalon of making Peace Now “a target” for hate from the nationalist camp. Defense Minister Ehud Barak came to the group's defense, calling Peace Now “an important part of the peace camp.”3 Having stated what is considered politically incorrect comments he was back lashed by members of his own party. Likud politicians gave anonymous interviews accusing Yaalon of “running to the extreme right” in an attempt to garner support. Of course it was not mentioned that they did this to curry political favor with Mr. Netanyahu in order to further their own political careers. No, this was reported to try to demonstrate what a political isolate Mr. Yaalon was becoming. Yes, this is pure politics-understood!

The vitriol immediately appeared in the Left Wing press. Name-calling ensued, one of the tactics used to undermine a person’s opinion that is different from your own.

Time to call spade a spade: Minister Ya'alon simply not a very smart man was the banner line in Sima Kadom’s piece today on YNET.

These were the kind words. This is expected from the Left as they have learned several tactics to apply to those daring to oppose them. Some, but by no means all, of these tactics include name-calling, demonization of a person, attacking his/her human values, linking a person to either a fictitious other group or known group antithetical in view point, misrepresentation of the facts and character assassination. I could offer multiple more examples but this would change the focus of my argument. Those of us who live here understand this is the daily response to opposing points of view. Do the reporters have the same right of “freedom of speech”-of course they do. Every one has a right to an opinion but we do not have the right to misrepresent facts. When this occurs, we challenge the speaker or writer. However, if one does not have access or control over the media the message does not reside in the universe of public knowledge and our freedom to deliver is abated.

Have you ever offered an idea at a staff meeting only to have the leader rebuke you in front of your peers? How many times did this happen before you stopped offering your ideas? Although you have the “freedom to speak”, you learned you do not have control or power to deliver-the result is to refrain from speaking. Repeat this often enough, over time, one learns to not exercise this precious freedom. Politicians understand this human behavior principle-for example; Mr. Netanyahu “called Yaalon to his office” to scold him for making such remarks. Mr. Yaalon responded by saying he was misunderstood. You say to this na├»ve writer that don’t you know, this is only politics? Of course I know, and do you know it is damaging Israel? The danger is that most do not see the dangers and this is the pity of all of this.

Israel is transfixed with America. It is therefore no wonder that the same tactics are used there. Currently Whole Foods, a large food chain in America is under siege.
“Meanwhile, a la Saul Alinsky, the Left isolates, demonizes and destroys their "enemies," that is anyone who disagrees with them.
Case in point: The current boycott of Whole Foods because John Mackey, the CEO, has his own opinions about health care and expressed these in the Wall Street Journal.”4 If you disagree using your freedom of speech the Left responds in kind.

“The result: a nation wide, well publicized campaign of nasty phone calls and e mails to local stores. Ironically, if you've ever been in a Whole Foods, you know that 99.9% of the employees are mega Obama fans. And when Obama was campaigning in Iowa, didn't he wax rhapsodic about the arugula there?4

I mention this one case from America because it personifies the essence of the tactics used here in Israel. Some would submit that we learned from the Americans and are currently funded by international sources. We have been “coached” by Left wing individuals who have “visited” Israel as “consultants”. Collectively the Left controls the information and the public talking and the result is the lack of implementation of freedom of speech as it was intended.







End Notes
1. John Stuart Mill (1806–1873). On Liberty. 1869
2. Gal Wettstein, Graduate Student, Tel Aviv
3. Israel National News
4. YNET News, August 21,2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lieberman is Wrong: Fatah didn't just bury any chance of peace in the next few years

The Jerusalem Post had the following article on its web site. I agree with most of it, but must point out Avigdor Lieberman is wrong in asserting Fatah just buried any chance of peace in the coming years.

The Palestinian Arabs buried any chance of peace in the foreseeable future when they rejected peace in 2000 and launched their terror offensive. They buried it more deeply when the supposedly "moderate" Abu Mazen repeatedly insisted he would never adhere to his only real obligation under the "road map," the dismantling of the terror infrastructure built up by the Palestinian Authority during the period of the Oslo Experiment. The buried it even further when they launched thousands of mortars and rockets from Hamastan.

It already would have taken decades to undo the damage to the prospects for peace done by the Palestinian Arabs since the start of the Oslo Experiment. Fatah's extreme, bellicose, rejectionist positions taken at its convention have buried it still further, but in context they really didn't change much at all.



Lieberman: Fatah 'burying' any chance of peace in coming years

The political platform formulated at the Fatah General Assembly in Bethlehem, combined with unrest in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, "has buried any chance of coming to an agreement with the Palestinians in the next few years," Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday.

Speaking to 29 Democratic congressmen in his Jerusalem office Monday, Lieberman said that "the Palestinians' uncompromising, extremist positions on Jerusalem, right of return, and settlements are making a gap between us that can't be bridged."

According to a statement from the Foreign Ministry, he also stated that there was no body representing all Palestinians, though there is "Hamastan in Gaza and Fatahland in Judea and Samaria."

The foreign minister told the congressmen that Israeli policy regarding the Palestinians should include continuing dialogue, and improving both security arrangements and the economic situation in the West Bank.

He warned that trying to force an agreement would inevitably end in failure, calling the current government policy "realistic."

The Democrat delegations, led by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and accompanied by spouses and one mother, arrived in Israel on Sunday night and met on Monday with President Shimon Peres.

In explaining to the congressmen some of the problems that impeded the advancement of the peace process and the reaching of a permanent settlement, Peres said, "We have to be careful not to repeat the mistakes of Gaza. We left, and Hamas came in and started shooting against us."

Peres also said that basically, Israel was in agreement with the US regarding settlements.

The present government of Israel has committed itself not to build or provide funding for new settlements and to dismantle illegal settlements, he said, adding that the only real point of contention was over natural growth in existing settlements.

He believed that with a little ingenuity, a solution could be found - and if not it was not a tragedy for Israel and America to disagree on one or two point. From his own perspective, Peres considered Obama's plan to be "positive, serious and sincere."

Greer Fay Cashman contributed to this report.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bayann Hamid: Right About One Thing

This is a response to a column entitled "Obama is right on Israeli settlements," distributed by Minutemanmedia.org and published in a number of outlets, including the New Britain Herald.

In his op-ed published July 25, Bayann Hamid may be right about the lack of legitimacy of the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, but he's right about little else.

Only in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict could a Holocaust denier like Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, his nom de guerre, be considered "moderate."

Since the start of the Oslo Process, Israel has made extraordinary concessions and at least twice offered to help establish another Palestinian Arab state including almost all of the disputed territories, yet Abbas' basic demands are indistinguishable from the outlandish ones made by Yasser Arafat sixteen years ago.

Abbas is now refusing to even negotiate with Israel unless our democratic friend first begins the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the disputed territories by ending all construction, including within areas all reasonable people recognize will be incorporated into Israel under any conceivable agreement.

The heart of the Palestinian Arab-Israeli part of the more general Arab-Israeli conflict remains the refusal of the Palestinian Arabs and their leadership, including the so-called "moderates" like Abu Mazen, to place their own welfare above their hatred of Israel.

Efforts to achieve peace which fail to deal with that reality, particularly those centered on pressuring Israel into making even more one-sided concessions, are not only doomed to failure but counterproductive. As much as Israel yearns for peace, it needs a partner willing, even reluctantly, to make peace.