Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Someone in America is targeting Jews

In America 2017, someone is targeting Jews. 

Consider some facts:

On January 5, 2017, an Orlando, Florida (Jewish) Chabad Center was evacuated for the second day in a row. It had received two consecutive bomb threats (Jason Le Miere, "Anti-Semitism timeline: when, where, JCC bomb threats, cemetery vandalism, swastika graffiti have happened since election 2016", internationalbusinesstimes, February 27, 2017). 

Four days later, on January 9th, 16 Jewish institutions across the Northeast and South received called-in bomb threats ("In second wave of bomb threats at least 30 US Jewish institutions targeted", jerusalempost, January 18, 2017).

9 days later, on January 18th, another 30 Jewish institutions, this time all of them Jewish Community Centers (JCC), received a wave of bomb threats (ibid). 

Three days after that, on January 21st--the day after Donald Trump's inauguration as US president--Rabbi Marvin Hier, who gave a public blessing at the inauguration ceremony, was hit with a wave of on-line anti-Semitic abuse on social media ("Trump's inauguration Rabbi targeted by anti-Semitic messages", sandiegojewishworld, January 21, 2017).

On January 31st, a third wave of bomb threats hit 13 JCC's in 10 states (internationalbusinesstimes, ibid). 

Next day, February 1, 2017, some 50 headstones in a Jewish cemetery in Fort Wayne, Indiana were overturned (Angelica Robinson, "Dozens of headstones vandalized at Fort Wayne Jewish cemetery," wane, February 2, 2017). Several had been "severely" broken (ibid).

On February 4th, public transportation riders in New York City, Chicago, Houston and Oregon found windows and posters covered over with anti-Jew graffiti (internationalbusinesstimes, ibid).  

Two weeks later, over the weekend of February 18-19, 2017, another cemetery attack occurred. This attack was at a historic Jewish cemetery in St Louis, Missouri.  Vandals had either knocked over or broken more than 150 headstones ("Vandals wreck headstones at historic Jewish cemetery in St Louis", usatodaynetwork, February 20, 2017).  

On February 20, 2017--just after the cemetery in St Louis had been vandalized--11 Jewish community institutions in 5 states received bomb threats (Eeta Prince-Gibson, "Leaping to West Coast: 29 Bomb Threats Against Jewish Targets Across U.S. in Fifth Wave, haaretz, February 28, 2017).  This was the fourth wave of bomb threats since January 1st.

Five days later, during the weekend of February 25-26, 2017, between 75-100 headstones in a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia were knocked over (Sarah Kaplan, "Dozens of headstones vandalized at Philadelphia Jewish cemetery", washingtonpost, February 26, 2017). Several headstones were broken (ibid).

Someone in America is targeting Jews. How many 'someones' are we talking about?

Next day, on February 27th, the day after the Philadelphia cemetery attack, it was reported that a "high-ranking" official at a CUNY college campus in the New York City area had recently complained there were 'too many Jews' on the college faculty ("College administrator allegedly said thee were 'too many Jews' on his staff", foxnews). His complaint was said to have been secretly recorded by a college professor (ibid).

That same day, Monday, February 27, 2017, another 29 Jewish community institutions in 16 states received bomb threats. This was the fifth--and most recent--wave of called-in threats, year-to-date.  One JCC in Alabama had to be evacuated for the third time since January 1st (internationalbusinesstimes, ibid). 

So far, all the bomb threats have been hoaxes. But no one is taking any chances. So far, local Jewish community leaders have erred on the side of caution. 

Someone in America is targeting Jews. How many 'someones' are involved?

Since the beginning of 2017, during the period January 1, 2017-February 27, 2017, a total of 89 anti-Jew incidents like these have occurred in the US. They happened at 72  locations across 30 states (and one Canadian province) (Prince-Gibson, ibid). At least, that's what the haaretz story said (ibid). For the same time period, the latimes reported a total of "at least 92" of these incidents across America (Barbara Demick, "More bomb threats at Jewish schools and community centers, and another Jewish cemetery is vandalized", latimes, February 27, 2017).

If you go back to the beginning of December, 2016, you'll find 195 anti-Jew incidents in the US in the last 45 days (Eeta Prince-Gibson, "US security expert baffled and concerned by 'unprecedented' anti-Semitic attacks", haaretz, February 28, 2017). If you're counting, that total adds up to more than 4 anti-Jew attacks per day. 

Someone in America is targeting Jews.

If you are Jewish and live in America, are you paying attention? Someone in America is sending a message to you. Part of that message is, as one phone caller put it, "In a short time, a large  number of Jews are going to be slaughtered" (latimes, ibid). 

Someone in America is targeting Jews. Are your children safe?

Is their day school safe? Is their community center safe?

On February 26, 2017, Israel's best-known aliyah NGO, nefeshbnefesh, finished its largest-ever pre-aliyah 'Mega event', in New York City. The fair's aim was to help American Jews make aliyah to Israel, our ancestral Jewish homeland. 

This year's New York City fair was the most successful ever for New York. It set new attendance records (Eliran Baruch, "Record interest in aliyah at New York event", arutzsheva, February 27, 2017).

Perhaps some Jews in America now understand that America is not the safe haven for Jews it might once have been. Some of the Jews who went to that Fair in New York City may understand that America is not their Jewish homeland. They're planning to come home to Israel. 

Are you?

Monday, February 27, 2017

A regional Middle East peace plan? Don’t bet on it

There’s a new idea for peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours: a regional peace plan. Its goal is to make sure both Israelis and ‘Palestinians’ are pressured to make concessions. Some think it’ll work. Veteran Middle East journalist Khaled Abu Toameh thinks it won’t work (“Palestinians: Why a "Regional Peace Process" Will Fail”, gatestoneinstitute, February 27, 2017). Why? Because of Arab attitudes.

Take a look at this essay. Note that I’ve edited it for this format. You can read the unedited original at gatestoneinstitute:

With a regional approach to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as many Arab countries as possible would be directly involved in the effort to achieve a lasting and comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Advocates of the regional approach believe that Arab countries such as Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have enough leverage with the Palestinians to compel them accept a peace agreement with Israel.

But as Toameh points out, Palestinians dismiss this idea. They see it as just another American-Israeli-Arab conspiracy to liquidate their cause and force them to unacceptable concessions. Chief among these ‘unacceptable concessions’ are recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and giving up the demand for a 'right of return’ for millions of Palestinian refugees into Israel.

What advocates for this regional approach miss is that Palestinians simply don’t trust their Arab brothers. The Palestinians consider most Arab leaders and regimes as "puppets" of the US. Worse, Many Palestinians actually refer to Arab leaders and regimes as the "real enemies" of the Palestinians. They’d rather have France, Sweden, Norway and Belgium oversee a peace process with Israel than any of the Arab countries.

Palestinians don’t trust their Arab brothers. They have more confidence in Western countries than they do in their Arab brothers. That’s why the Palestinian Authority (PA) headed by Mahmoud Abbas continues to insist on an international conference as its preferred method for achieving peace in the region. He doesn’t want Arab countries to have a role in solving the conflict. Such involvement, Toameh argues, is the last thing Abbas wants (ibid).

Helping Palestinians, meanwhile, may also be the last thing Arab countries want to do. This is what Hani al-Masri, a prominent Palestinian political analyst, believes.  

Arab countries worry about themselves, al-Nasri says, not Palestinians.

-Jordan worries that a regional solution would promote the idea of replacing the Hashemite kingdom with a Palestinian state.

-Egypt worries that a "regional approach" could force it to give up land from Sinai to the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip.

-Lebanon worries that a "regional solution" might somehow force their country to grant full citizenship and equal rights to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon.

-Syria is far too preoccupied with own implosion to think about peace between the Palestinians and Israel. Besides, when have the Syrians ever expressed concern for Palestinians? Since the beginning of the civil war five years ago, more than 3,400 Palestinians have been killed and thousands injured. In addition, more than 150,000 Palestinians have been forced to flee Syria to neighboring Arab countries or to Europe. The Syrian regime doesn’t care about its own people, who are being massacred on a daily basis. Why would it be expected to care about Palestinians?

So, which Arab countries would help to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Saudi Arabia? Qatar? Kuwait? Oman? Tunisia? Morocco? Really?

A regional approach would suggest some kind of Arab-Israel rapprochement. Abbas isn’t interested in such rapprochement. Abbas's Foreign Minister, Riad al-Malki, made it clear this week that the Palestinians reject the idea of a regional solution that would give Arabs any role in the peace process. He denounced Netanyahu's regional approach as a ‘twisted policy’, adding: "Netanyahu thinks that by establishing ties with Arab governments he could force the Palestinians to enter negotiations with Israel." According to al-Malki, Palestinians wish to see Europeans, not Arabs, at their side when they ‘negotiate’ with Israel.

The Palestinian Foreign Minister is saying that the Palestinians would rather have the Europeans in their court than their Arab brothers when it comes to trying to squeeze the life out of Israel. They believe that this is their best bet.

In any event, Toameh says, any regional solution involving Arab countries would be doomed to fail. Palestinians and their Arab brethren hate each other too much. Besides, even if Abbas accepted terms dictated to him by such an alliance, his own people would reject them.

Toameh’s essay suggests that ‘Palestinian’ leaders don’t just hate Jews. They also hate other Arabs.

With that kind of hate, can ‘Palestinians’ make peace with anybody?  Don't bet on it. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Nazi hate appears again

In the concentration camps of Nazi Germany, Nazi overlords made every effort to erase all evidence of an inmate's individual, unique identity. They took away clothes, jewelry and personal religious articles. They stripped Jews, herded them naked, humiliated them. 

They took their names away. They tattooed numbers on inmates' arms. By this means, Nazis took away a human being's name and identity. The Nazi goal was to disconnect every Jew from his people, his identity, his religion and his humanity. With six million Jews, they succeeded.

Today, the Arab leaders of the Palestinian Authority do the same thing to Israel--on a national level. They make every effort to erase all evidence of Israel's Jewish identity. They take away Jewish names from Jewish holy sites. They give Arab names to Jewish places. They deny Jewish history in Israel. 

The goal of Arab leaders in the PA is the Nazi goal: to disconnect every Jewish place in Israel from its people, its history, its religious Jewish roots and its national Jewish significance.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) wants to do to the state of Israel what the Nazis did to individual Jews--erasure. The PA tries to erase not only individual Jewish identity (with its calls for Intifada) but the entire national Jewish identity.

Some argue that it was the resiliency of Jewish identity that helped many Jews survive those Nazi concentration camps. While that may not be entirely true, it seems far more compelling to state that it is Israel's national resiliency in the face of PA hate that has made Israel a secular Light unto the Nations in such areas as medicine, agriculture and computer science.

Nazis lost their humanity trying to deny Jews their humanity. Today, when you compare how both Israel and the so-called 'Palestinians' have developed since 1948, you see that too many 'Palestinians' have lost both their individual humanity and their communal commitment to build a 'nation-state'. 

They don't dream of nationhood.  They dream of destroying the Jewish state so as to deny Israel its Jewishness.

The Nazis of Germany were able to achieve great evil because powerful men decided that their beliefs were supreme over the word of the Jewish G-d. The leaders of the Palestinian Authority seek the same evil Nazi goals--religious supremacy, conquest and extermination. 

Unchecked, the Nazis of Germany destroyed all of Europe, a large portion of Russia, and perhaps 40 million people. How many millions of Jews do today's 'Palestinian' leaders want to kill?  

Nazis subjected Jews to inhuman, horrific treatment. Those Nazis created, empowered and implemented Man's worst horror against Man--all in the name of a new world order. 

Today, 'Palestinian' leaders would do that again. They want to sweep across Israel and kill in the name of a new, holier 'Palestinian' national social order.

Nazi hate has not disappeared. It has come again to life--in the Palestinian Authority. 

(Much of this essay derives from a speech given by Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice David Stras at a dinner sponsored by the Twin Cities Cardoza Society, in Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 2, 2016, as reported by Scot Johnson at powerline on November 28, 2016) 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday cartoon

Today is Friday. Shabbat, the day of rest, approaches. 

News headlines tell us Israel is in trouble, for one reason or another. What do these difficulties mean for us (in Israel)? Perhaps a cartoon can give us some perspective. 

This week's cartoon comes from the website, tlvfaces. The cartoon isn't new. But it still makes a statement. 

The cartoon remains relevant. Even if the faces have changed, the point of the cartoon hasn't. Take a look:

Image result for today's israel cartoons

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Trump comes out fighting for Israel at the UN

When South Caroline Governor Nikki Haley was recently confirmed by the US Senate to be Donald Trump’s new US Ambassador to the United Nations, some felt she wasn’t the right person for the job. She had no international diplomatic experience (Patricia Zengerle, “U.S. Senate confirms Haley as Trump's U.N. ambassador”, reuters, January 25, 2017). Therefore, she wasn’t qualified.

Well, here’s a formal statement from Amb Haley following her very first experience sitting in on a UN Security Council session. These Freshman remarks tell you three things. First, she really is new to the UN. Second, she has a very clear view of what she expects from the UN. Third, the Trump administration is certainly not afraid to talk tough (“Remarks at a Press Availability Following UN Security Council Consultations on the Middle East”, Ambassador Nikki Haley, usun.state.gov, February 16,2017):

 “The first thing I want to do is talk about what we just saw in there. The Security Council just finished its regular monthly meeting on Middle East issues. It’s the first meeting like that that I’ve attended, and I have to say it was a bit strange. The Security Council is supposed to discuss how to maintain international peace and security. But at our meeting on the Middle East, the discussion was not about Hizballah’s illegal build-up of rockets in Lebanon. It was not about the money and weapons Iran provides to terrorists. It was not about how we defeat ISIS. It was not about how we hold Bashar al-Assad accountable for the slaughter of hundreds and thousands of civilians. No, instead, the meeting focused on criticizing Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East. I am new around here, but I understand that’s how the Council has operated, month after month, for decades”.

How’s that for a Freshman Ambassador? Is it clear enough? She continues:

“I’m here to say the United States will not turn a blind eye to this anymore. I am here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel. I’m here to emphasize the United States is determined to stand up to the UN’s anti-Israel bias. We will never repeat the terrible mistake of Resolution 2334 and allow one-sided Security Council resolutions to condemn Israel. Instead, we will push for action on the real threats we face in the Middle East”.

These words are not diplomatic expressions of nuance or suggestion. They’re fighting words. They’re the diplomatic equivalent of a punch in the UN’s nose.

"We stand for peace. We support a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is negotiated directly between the two parties, as President Trump reiterated in his meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday. The outrageously biased resolutions from the Security Council and the General Assembly only make peace harder to attain by discouraging one of the parties from going to the negotiating table".

No one in recent memory from the US government has spoken so bluntly to the UN about Israel. No one from a recent US administration has called out the UN this way:

"Incredibly, the UN Department of Political Affairs has an entire division devoted to Palestinian affairs. Imagine that. There is no division devoted to illegal missile launches from North Korea. There is no division devoted to the world’s number one state-sponsor of terror, Iran. The prejudiced approach to Israeli-Palestinian issues does the peace process no favors. And it bears no relationship to the reality of the world around us.

The double standards are breathtaking. Just a few days ago, the United States sought unsuccessfully to have the Security Council condemn a terrorist attack to Israel, where the terrorist opened fire on people waiting for a bus and then stabbed others. The Security Council would not hesitate to condemn an attack like that in any other country. But not for Israel. The statement was blocked. And that’s downright shameful".

Haley had first signaled her strong support for Israel before her Senate confirmation hearing (Elad Benari, “Trump's UN ambassador blasts world body's anti-Israel bias”, arutzsheva, January 18, 2017). It seems she wasn’t grandstanding. After being confirmed, she declared that the Trump administration would hold accountable any nation that refused to back the US at the UN (Somini  Sengupta, “Nikki Haley Puts U.N. on Notice: U.S. Is ‘Taking Names’ “, newyorktimes, January 27, 2017). Now, with this press statement, she appeared to be building a case for defending Israel upon that tough foundation:

"Israel exists in a region where others call for its complete destruction and in a world where anti-Semitism is on the rise. These are threats that we should discuss at the United Nations as we continue working toward a comprehensive agreement that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But outside of the UN, there is some good news. Israel’s place in the world is changing. Israel is building up new diplomatic relationships. More and more countries recognize how much Israel contributes to the world. They are recognizing that Israel is a beacon of stability in a troubled region, and that Israel is at the forefront of innovation, entrepreneurship, and technological discovery.

It is the UN’s anti-Israel bias that is long overdue for change. The United States will not hesitate to speak out against these biases in defense of our friend and ally, Israel.

I will say that I think we saw maybe a slightly different tone in the meeting, but we will have to see how it goes.

Thank you".

No one knows where such tough talk for Israel will lead. For now, one thing seems certain: Trump begins his presidency fighting for Israel at the UN. 

Will that bring good things to Israel? Stay tuned.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Did Netanyahu just sell Judea-Samaria down the river?

Last week, three days before Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in the US with newly elected US president Donald Trump, I wrote the following about Trump and Israel  ("Will there be a real Trump-Israel alliance, or not?”, tuviabrodieblog, February 12, 2017): 

“Trump is neither politician nor diplomat. He’s a deal-maker--and he's aggressive. When he gives something, he expects something in return.

Today, Trump protects Israel [at the UN]. Will he now expect something in return from Israel? What could that ‘something’ be?”

On February 12, no one could answer that question. Everyone was ‘on hold’. They had to wait for a February 15, 2017 meeting between Trump and Netanyahu to learn if Trump expected something from Israel.

Three days later, that meeting took place. At a post-meeting joint news conference, Trump said he’d like to see Israel hold back on settlements “for a little bit” (“Read full transcript: Trump and Netanyahu's Joint Press Conference”, haaretz, February 15, 2017). No one knew what ‘a little bit’ meant.

Headlines in Israel now reveal what Trump meant.  The news isn’t good for Israel:

- Elad Benari, “ 'We can't build [in Judea-Samaria] without coordinating with the U.S.' “, arutzsheva, February 17, 2017;

-“Netanyahu, Trump, agree to create Judea and Samaria 'team' “, arutzsheva, February 19, 2017;

- Nitsan Keidar, “ 'We might not be able to keep our promises on Amona' “, arutzsheva, February 20, 2017.

In exchange for protection on the international stage, Trump wants control of what happens in Judea-Samaria.   

‘Amona’ is the name of a tiny Jewish community (perhaps 60 buildings) in Judea-Samaria. The state of Israel has recently torn it down. Arabs had claimed the land upon which that community had been built was their land. Interestingly, these Arabs didn’t go before Israel’s High Court to sue for this land. They were pretty much invisible (Moshe Arens, “Israel's Supreme Court Wants Amona Demolished. Where Are the Palestinian Plaintiffs?”, haaretz, November 21, 2016). Only the anti-Israel NGO Peace Now (which has an anti-Israel agenda) appeared in court, even though it was not an aggrieved party.

The Court didn’t mind. Despite the Arabs’ invisibility, the High Court ruled in their favour. It ordered all houses in Amona torn down.

Amona residents resisted. They refused to move.

The state negotiated. It made promises: if Amona residents permitted their homes to be destroyed by the state, the state would give them new land—nearby--and build new buildings for them. The residents accepted these promises. Then they were evicted.

Now there’s a new Trump-Netanyahu ‘team’ approach to Judea-Samaria. The US and Israel will ‘work together’ on Judea-Samaria issues. As a result of this arrangement, Netanyahu believes he has a problem. He says he doesn’t know if he can now fulfill his promises to Amona (Keidar, above).

The wording of the report that Netanyahu might not now be able to fulfill these promises suggests two observations: (1) Netanyahu had neglected to tell Trump that pre-existing ‘settlement’ promises are in place for Amona; and (2) Netanyahu appears afraid to declare to Trump that these promises must stand because they pre-date the ‘team’ agreement.  

Netanyahu simply returned home and announced that, oh, there’s a problem. We may not now be able to keep those Amona promises after all (Keidar, ibid).

Trump has brought confusion to Israel. Netanyahu said he doesn’t know if he can fulfill his Amona promises (above). His office announced he will not renege on these promises (Ido Ben Porat, “PM will not renege on Amona commitment”, arutzsheva, February 20, 2017). Then Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (the final authority over Judea-Samaria) declared, Israel would be crazy to defy Trump (Jacob Magid, “Liberman: Israel would be crazy to defy Trump on settlements”, timesofisrael, February 20, 2017).

Certainly, Netanyahu’s ‘oops’ moment (above) doesn’t mean his promises to Amona will be abandoned. But if Netanyahu is even thinking he may not be able to keep his promises to Amona, then he reveals three new (and extraordinary) realities for Israel: (1) his agreement to a ’team’ approach to Judea-Samaria is not a ‘team’ concept at all, but a relationship where Trump’s opinion regarding Judea-Samaria is more important than Israel’s; (2) Netanyahu can no longer make or keep promises to anyone in Judea-Samaria without Trump’s approval; and (3) because of (1) and (2), Netanyahu has given up Jewish control of Judea-Samaria to a non-Jewish power.

If this conclusion (3) is correct, it would be an historic first. The underlying anti-Israel truth of this ‘team’ agreement would represent the first time in modern Israel history that the nation’s Prime Minister has voluntarily given control of ancestral Jewish homeland to a non-Jew.

If this conclusion is not correct, why does Netanyahu sigh that he may not now be able to keep his promises to Amona?

To sell someone ‘down the river’ is to betray them. Is that what the Netanyahu-Trump ‘team’ agreement has done to the Jews of Judea-Samaria? Is this what Israel must do to gain Trump’s protection?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Dershowitz, Trump--and the 'Palestinians'

Alan Dershowitz, who has been on the political scene for years, has written much about Israel. I don't always like what he says. Sometimes, I think he's totally off-target. 

But I'll usually read at least a portion of what he's written. Even when I think he's dead wrong, I'll still click on an article he's written to give it a look.   

Now, I've found an essay by Dershowitz that's worth reading all the way through. In this essay, I especially likes what he has to say about how to win the lottery.

Take a look at this most recent Dershowitz essay. If you've already read it, please take a second look. It's worth your time. 

The essay title is below. It comes from newsmax. it was published at newsmax February 18, 2017:

Trump: Palestinians Must Earn a Two State Solution

President Trump raised eyebrows when he mentioned the possibility of a one state solution.
The context was ambiguous and no one can know for sure what message he was intending to convey. One possibility is that he was telling the Palestinian leadership that if they want a two state solution, they have to do something. They have to come to the negotiating table with the Israelis and make the kinds of painful sacrifices that will be required from both sides for a peaceful resolution to be achieved. Put most directly, the Palestinians must earn the right to a state. They are not simply entitled to statehood, especially since their leaders missed so many opportunities over the years to secure a state. As Abba Eben once put it: “The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”
It began back in the 1930s, when Great Britain established the Peale Commission which was tasked to recommend a solution to the conflict between Arabs and Jews in mandatory Palestine. It recommended a two state solution with a tiny noncontiguous Jewish state alongside a large Arab state. The Jewish leadership reluctantly accepted this sliver of a state; the Palestinian leadership rejected the deal, saying they wanted there to be no Jewish state more than they wanted a state of their own.
In 1947, the United Nations partitioned mandatory Palestine into two areas: one for a Jewish state; the other for an Arab state. The Jews declared statehood on 1948; all the surrounding Arab countries joined the local Arab population in attacking the new state of Israel and killing one percent of its citizens, but Israel survived.
In 1967, Egypt and Syria were planning to attack and destroy Israel, but Israel preempted and won a decisive victory, capturing the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Sinai. Israel offered to return captured areas in exchange for peace, but the Arabs met with Palestinian leaders in Khartoum and issued their three infamous "no's": no peace, no recognition, and no negotiation.
In 2000-2001 and again in 2008, Israel made generous peace offers that would have established a demilitarized Palestinian state, but these offers were not accepted. And for the past several years, the current Israeli government has offered to sit down and negotiate a two state solution with no pre-conditions — not even advanced recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. The Palestinian leadership has refused to negotiate.
President Trump may be telling them that if they want a state they have to show up at the negotiating table and bargain for it. No one is going to hand it to them on a silver platter in the way that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon handed over the Gaza strip in 2005, only to see it turned into a launching pad for terror rockets and terror tunnels. Israel must get something in return: namely real peace and a permanent end to the conflict.
The Palestinian leadership’s unwillingness to come to the negotiating table reminds me of my mother’s favorite Jewish joke about Sam, a 79 year old man who prayed every day for God to let him win the New York lottery before he turns 80. On the eve of his 80th birthday, he rails against God: "All these years I've prayed to you every day asking to win the lottery. You couldn't give me that one little thing!" God responded: "Sam, you have to help me out here — buy a ticket!"

The Palestinians haven't bought a ticket. They haven't negotiated in good faith. They haven't accepted generous offers. They haven't made realistic counter proposals. They haven't offered sacrifices to match those offered by the Israelis.
Now President Trump is telling them that they have to "buy a ticket." They are not going to get a state by going to the United Nations, the European Union, or the international criminal court. They aren't going to get a state as a result of the BDS or other anti-Israel movements. They will only get a state if they sit down and negotiate in good faith with the Israelis.
The Obama Administration applied pressures only to the Israeli side, not to the Palestinians. The time has come — indeed it is long past — for the United States to tell the Palestinians in no uncertain terms that they must negotiate with Israel if they want a Palestinian state, and they must agree to end the conflict, permanently and unequivocally. Otherwise, the status quo will continue, and there will be only one state, and that state will be Israel.
The Palestinians are not going to win the lottery without buying a ticket.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The press vs Trump. The press is shocked. Trump laughs.

On February 15, 2017, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ended his first official visit in America with new US president, Donald Trump. As happens with all state visits to the US, president Trump closed this official visit with a joint press conference with his guest, Netanyahu.

For me, this press conference was what one expects from such a formal environment: caution, pleasantries, only hints of substance. But world-press reactions to the press conference were harsh. Those reactions suggest that Trump and the press don’t speak the same language. When Trump speaks, the press doesn’t seem to understand a word he says.   

I know this experience. When I first made aliyah from the US, my Hebrew was, understandably, an Americanized Hebrew, not an Israeli Hebrew. To many Israelis, my Americanized Hebrew just wasn’t Hebrew. Therefore, when I spoke to an Israeli with my Americanized Hebrew, the reaction I often got was, ‘What? What? I can see your lips moving. But the sounds coming out are nonsense!’ That’s how the press reacts to Trump.

For example, here’s what Trump said about a two state solution: “So I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.  (Laughter.)  I’m very happy with the one that both parties like.  I can live with either one.  I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two.  But honestly, if Bibi and if the Palestinians -- if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best” (Read full transcript: Trump and Netanyahu's Joint Press Conference” haaretz, February 15, 2017). From other comments Trump made at the press conference, Trump appears to be  signalling (1) his goal is peace between Arab and Jew; (2) he wants to work towards that goal; (3) he has no pre-conceptions about what ‘peace’ should look like; and (4) he’ll be happy with whatever makes the two parties involved happy.

Do you have a problem with that? What he’s saying is, he’s more concerned with the end result—peace—than he is with how to get there. He recognizes that ‘two-states’ isn’t the only road to peace. He recognizes that the ‘two-states’ model hasn’t worked.

In fact, given the chronic failure of the ‘two-state’ idea, I’d say his approach is refreshing. It’s also more than reasonable for than American leader.

The press doesn’t think so. It has a huge problem with Trump’s answer.  

For example, The Guardian said Trump acts to “dismantle” years of US policy (Julian Borger, Peter Beaumont, “Donald Trump says US not committed to two-state Israel-Palestine solution”, guardian, February 15, 2017). The BBC said Trump has “dropped decades of US policy insisting on a two-state solution” (“Trump relaxes US policy on Middle East two-state solution”, February 15, 2017). CBSnews said Trump “broke” with two decades of US policy” (“In significant shift of U.S. policy, Trump backs off two-state solution for Mideast to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, February 15, 2017). CNN said Trump “rejected the long-established US framework for Middle East peacemaking” (Nicole Gaouette, Elise Labott, “Trump backs off two-state framework for Israeli-Palestinian deal”, February 16, 2017) [The emphasis here is mine].

Apparently, the press rejects allowing Arab and Jew to decide what kind of peace they can live with. The press seemed shocked by Trump’s words.

To the press, Trump isn’t talking about anything new. But he is, unbelievably, dismantling, rejecting and breaking something of value—past US peace efforts.  

The press refuses to see value in Trump’s Middle East thinking. Press reports of the news conference suggest shock that Trump should drop long-standing US policy, as if that policy was the Gospel. Indeed, this ‘two-state’ idea has been called an American ‘article of faith’ (Ishaan Tharoor, “The Trump-Netanyahu road map to nowhere”, washingtonpost, February 16, 2017) which Trump now trashes.

This reaction against Trump suggests an incredibly arrogant worldview, wherein both Arab and Jew are so incapable of reaching peaceful cooperation, they must have peace imposed upon them by outsiders who, of course, know better than either Arab or Jew.

I can’t say such a worldview is itself racist. But it certainly smells of racist preconceptions.

The inference of this arrogant dismissal is that Trump, by not endorsing ‘two states’, is repulsive to the civilized. He’s uncouth. Look at him—such a fool.

Trump is no fool. Have you seen how he reacts to the way the press treats him? He smiles. He laughs to himself. He knows exactly what he’s doing.

He’s having a good time. He drives the press insane.

The press get so red with rage at him, it fails to see that he acts on his own agenda, unseen.

Trump has a plan for the Middle East. The press can’t see it.

Israel must be careful. Netanyahu will have to be skilled when dealing with him.

Forget the press’ arrogant disdain for him. Trump will be a formidable ‘negotiator’.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

As Netanyahu meets Trump, watch the protesters

Earlier this week, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left Israel. He flew to the US to meet with US President Donald Trump. His meeting with Trump is set for today, Wednesday, February 15, 2017. 

These two leaders will have much to talk about. Pundits say they'll talk about Iran. They'll talk about the UN--and more. 

For example, Israel has just passed a new 'Regulation Law' that legitimizes small communities in Judea-Samaria. it's considered to be controversial because the anti-Israel industry calls this law the death-knell for peace. Trump will probably have a comment or two to say about this. What will he say?

Then there's the question of coordinating security and intelligence issues that affect both countries. There's also Syria and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to talk about ("Netanyahu heads to Washington for first meeting with Trump", timesofisrael, February 13, 2017). 

This meeting with Trump is part of a brief world-sprint for Netanyahu. Last week, he was in Britain to meet with British PM Theresa May. This week, he 's gone to the US for his meeting with Trump. Later this month, he's scheduled to fly to Australia and Singapore for more high-level meetings. 

It's not certain how he'll be received during these trips. But if what happened in London during last week's meeting with British PM Theresa May, the reception he gets from local citizenry may teach us something about the state of anti-Israelism in the era of a tough Donald Trump.

Briefly, anti-Israelism in London, as characterized by protesters who turned out last week to voice their opposition to Israel, is loud, hateful and anti-Semitic. 

As you'll see in a  moment, pro-Israel 'defenders' at this London protest scene actually outnumbered the anti-Israel 'protesters'. As you watch the video below, you may notice that slogans used by the anti-Israel crowd had more to do with destroying Israel than with any demand for peace or a 'two-state' solution. 

You should remember that. Anti-Israelism isn't about peace. it's about destroying Israel.

In this video, you'll hear a chant: 'From the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea'. For this chant, 'Palestine will be free' refers to replacing the entire state of Israel with a 'Palestine'. In other words, the chant--a favorite among the anti-Israel crowd--calls for the destruction of the Jewish state in order to create the Muslim state of 'Palestine'.

The British protesters below spent more time demonizing than 'peace-ifying'. They demonized Israel with the exaggerated claim of 'world's greatest terrorist state'. They demonized by associating Netanyahu's political party, Likud, with the 'KKK'. At least one protester claimed that Israel was out to start a World War; but then, he didn't seem to know what he was talking about.

Does that matter? The man still got out his anti-Israel message: those Jews are going to start a World War.

See for yourself. The video below is just over 4 minutes. It appeared on youtube on February 7, 2017. It comes from the website, unitedwithisrael:

As Israel's leader meets president Trump, follow the protesters. As they chant and shout, listen, if you can, to the words they use. 

I suggest that these protests will not be about, 'we want peace'. They'll focus on demonizing the Jewish state. 

Of course, local media in the US might not show you protests. You may have to surf the 'net to get that story.

Take the time to find the protesters. You might get a real education.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Will Trump end the Obama-Abbas-UN love triangle?

If love is blind, former US president Barack Obama must have truly loved Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas. During his entire eight years in office, Obama never wavered from calling Abbas a ‘peacemaker’. He never wavered from turning a blind eye to Abbas’ open incitement to kill Jews. He never wavered from his commitment to support Abbas over Israel.

He also never condemned Abbas for anything (Morton Klein, Daniel Mandel, “Obama’s inconsistent treatment of Netanyahu and Abbas, washingtontimes, April 7, 2015). Instead, he condemned Israel (ibid).

But as those who know well the history of Abbas, “it is a lie to say that Mahmoud Abbas is committed to a diplomatic resolution” to the Arab-Israel conflict (Matthew Continetti, “The Obama Intifada”, nationalreview, October 17, 2015). It’s a lie to call Abbas a peacemaker (ibid).

But even when Abbas fuelled terror-wave after terror-wave against Jews in Israel, Obama couldn’t restrain his praise. In 2016, Obama actually said of Abbas, “I have to commend President Abbas…He has been somebody who has consistently renounced violence, has consistently sought a diplomatic and peaceful solution that allows for two states, side by side, in peace and security” (ibid). It was, of course, all lies.

The UN has been just as bad. The UN is obsessed with censuring Israel at every turn (Hillel Neuer, “The Demonization of Israel at the United Nations in Europe” , jerusalemcentreforpublicaffairs). During Obama’s two terms, the UN unleashed a virtual torrent of anti-Israel decisions and actions. The flood of anti-Israel votes by UN agencies and organizations got so bad that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in 2016 that the UN has “a disproportionate volume of resolutions, reports and conferences criticizing Israel" (“Ban Ki-Moon says UN has ‘disproportionate’ focus on Israel”, jerusalempost, December 16, 2016). That’s an understatement. Between the period 2007-2017 (including all of the Obama years), the UN condemned Israel more than 220 times (ibid). At UN organizations and agencies, Israel was condemned more times than all other nations combined.

Obama, Abbas and the UN were perfect political love-mates. Each carried an animus towards Israel. Each condemned Israel. Each used lies—or empowered lies--against Israel.

Thank G-d, this love triangle appears to be over. Obama is no longer president. Abbas is close to the end of his rule. The UN has not only lost its richest cheerleader (Obama), it’s just gotten its first (and bitter) taste of having to deal with a tough, anti-UN, pro-Israel 8000-pound gorilla (Trump).

For Abbas and the UN, Trump is a shock (Adam Kredo, “White House Puts Palestinians, United Nations in Crosshairs”, washingtonfreebeacon, February 13, 2017). In office less than a month, Trump has already got Abbas and the UN reeling.

According to Washington insiders, the White House sends an aggressive signal to both Abbas and the UN: the US will no longer tolerate ‘Palestinian’ intransigence (ibid). The US will no longer tolerate continued anti-Israel actions by the UN (ibid).

Trump has just blocked the appointment of a ‘Palestinian’ to be UN envoy to Libya. UN officials are not happy with that (Olaniyi Deborah, “UN Chief Defends Choice Of Palestinian As Libya Envoy”, newsofafrica, February 13, 2017). They’re not happy with Trump, either (Barbara Crosette, “Trump Could Be the Most Hostile American President the UN Has Ever Faced”, thenation, January 9, 2017).

The UN is in trouble. Trump has promised that things will be different at the UN during his term of office (Crosette, ibid). The UN sees Trump as an ignorant bull in a luxury china-shop. It’s afraid Trump will wreck everything the UN has worked for since at least 2009 (ibid).

Can the UN survive a tough, demanding Trump? It may not.

Abbas is also in trouble. If he doesn’t continue to build a winning (anti-Israel) record at the UN, his days will be numbered. He is not popular. Grassroots support among ‘Palestinians’ for his PA is extremely low (Rafael Medoff, “Jewish Leaders Denounce Palestinian Authority’s ‘Fort of Torture’”, algemeiner, February 7, 2016). In the Hevron area, Abbas’ support could be as low as 2% (ibid).

On a national level, 65% of ‘Palestinians’ polled wanted (in 2016) Abbas to resign (Ahmad Abu Amer, “Poll: 65% of Palestinians want Abbas out”, al-monitor, June 21, 2016).  Six months later, that number didn’t change (Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No (62), December 29, 2016).

Can Abbas survive a tough Trump? Possibly; but if he fails to convince the UN to criminalize Israel, he may not survive.

If a tough Trump forces the UN to decide between Abbas or surviving as a world body, will it embrace Abbas? It may not. 

With no Obama in the White House, the Obama-Abbas-UN love triangle could collapse. The UN could shrink in size, stature and impact. Abbas’s international reputation could plummet along with his popularity among ‘Palestinians’. Abbas' anti-Israel dreams could evaporate.

If this  political love triangle does collapse, it will because Donald Trump does the opposite of Barack Obama: Trump ties his fortune to Israel, not ‘Palestinians’.

Perhaps this is why Trump got elected. He knows how to win.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Why Trump stopped a Palestinian from becoming a UN envoy

Here's a video I've received from a reader. It's about Trump at the UN. It provides some background to the essay I published yesterday, "Will there be a real Trump-Israel alliance, or not?"

This video, 3:11 long, addresses only Trump's apparent reasons for refusing to approve a former 'Palestinian Authority' Prime Minister to become a UN envoy (ibid). The additional information provided here is useful. It reveals something about how an anti-Israel UN thinks about Israel. It may also reveal something about how Trump may deal with that kind of 'thinking'.

The video appears to come from a Christian pro-Israel source. It's quotations seem accurate.

Take a look. It was posted on February 13, 2017. 

This video suggests a strong, focused pro-Israel Trump. It suggests a US President not easily fooled--or intimidated--when dealing with Israel-related issues at the UN.

Is that a correct assessment of Trump? 

We're going to start the discovery process for this question on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. That's the day Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet for the first time with the newly-elected Trump. 

Netanyahu will get to make his own assessment of the new US President. We in Israel, meanwhile, will also get to make our own assessment--of Netanyahu.

One question some are asking in Israel is this: with regard to Judea-Samaria, is Trump more pro-Israel than Netanyahu? 

We've got questions for Netanyahu. For example, Trump may be more willing to allow Jewish settlement expansion in Israel than Netanyahu. Trump may be more aggressive with regard to Israel's security than Netanyahu. Trump may also be more aggressively pro-Israel than Netanyahu regarding the question of a 'two-state solution' (Hillel Fendel, "Ignoring warnings, PM already told Trump he favors two states", arutzsheva, February 13, 2017) 

[Some of us don't see a 'two-state solution' as being pro-Israel. We see it as an anti-Israel solution].

How well will Netanyahu handle Trump? The Jewish Prime Minister has spent the last eight years learning how to bow, prostrate himself, appease and eat humble pie before a hostile US president. What will Trump want from Netanyahu?

We won't know the answer to this question this week. But one thing is very possible. Once Netanyahu's airplane lands back in Israel, Israelis might give Trump a higher grade for this first meeting than they give to Netanyahu.

Will that be a problem for Netanyahu?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Will there be a real Trump-Israel alliance, or not?

New US President Donald Trump has been in office less than a month. He’s barely gotten started. Yet, we’ve already seen changes in how the US treats Israel.

The change is obvious. For example, when Israel passed its “Regulation Law” on February 6, 2017 to legitimize small Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria, Trump refused to criticize or condemn the law. The only comment he made was that ‘West Bank settlement building’ “may not be helpful” to achieving peace (“New Israeli law legalizing settlements draws harsh reaction worldwide”, jweekly, February 9, 2017). Such a muted response from Trump seemed a far cry from Obama’s more strident ‘settlements’ reaction just 28/29 days earlier: “Obama says Israeli settlements making two-state solution impossible” (reuters, January 11, 2017).

Israelis noticed this difference. After the Regulation Law passed, MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home), a major advocate of the legislation, thanked the American people for electing Trump (“Israeli lawmakers pass controversial Regulation Bill to legalize West Bank outposts”, i24news.tv, February 6, 2017). Smotrich declared that, without the Trump election, the law might not have passed (“Israeli lawmakers pass controversial Regulation Bill to legalize West Bank outposts”, i24news.tv, February 6, 2017).

In a Friday, February 10, 2017 interview with the Israeli news outlet, israelhayom, Trump was asked, “Will we see America condemn Israel a lot during your Presidency?” (Boaz Bismuth, “'I won't condemn Israel, it's been through enough'”, israelhayom, February 10, 2017). Trump began his answer with, “No, I don’t want to condemn Israel…” (ibid).

While Trump’s full answer can be read more than one way, Israelis responded positively to it (see the headline, ibid). Many saw Trump as a true friend in the White House.

While Trump was giving this interview (February 10th), his US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley was blocking a UN decision to appoint a PLO official as a UN envoy (“US blocks appointment of former Palestinian PM as UN Libya envoy”, dailymail, February 11, 2017). The PLO wasn’t happy. The UN wasn’t happy. But Amb Halley was firm: she said, "For too long, the UN has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel…Going forward, the United States will act, not just talk, in support of our allies" (ibid).

This statement seemed to put the US squarely in Israel’s corner. For Israelis, that was a change.

On the same day Trump and Haley were being pro-Israel (February 10th), the UN made a new decision regarding Israel. It had been preparing a report for an upcoming February 27th meeting of the UN’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC). That report was to contain a database of companies who do business in Judea-Samaria, the Golan and East Jerusalem. That database was being developed to create a blacklist for, essentially, a boycott-Israel purpose. That boycott would effectively target all of Israel because most companies that do business in Judea-Samaria, etc. also do business elsewhere in Israel.

The February 10 UN decision was simple: it said it needed more time to figure out how to build its blacklist database (Stephanie Nebehay, “Exclusive: U.N. set to defer report on companies with Israeli settlement ties”, reuters, February 10, 2017). The report suggested another reason for delay: pressure from states (like the US) which didn’t support the creation of a blacklist (ibid).  

The UN announced the database would be ‘delayed’. It didn’t give a future publication date. This seemed a win for Israel. Some attribute this win to Trump’s strong support for Israel (ibid).

That same weekend (February 11-12), the UN floated a rumour: Israel’s Tzipi Livni will be offered the post of UN Under-Secretary General (Nitzan Keidar, “Will Tzipi Livni be appointed UN Under-Secretary General?”, arutzsheva, February 12, 2017). If true, it would be a first for the Jewish state.

Such an honor has never been offered to Israel. It’s considered inconceivable that Obama would have supported it. It’s said that this offer is connected directly to Trump’s UN muscle-flexing on Israel's behalf (ibid).

So far, the only negative in all this pro-Israel news is Trump’s apparent ‘walk-back’ of his pre-election call to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But even if such reports are true, does a walk-back signal a retreat away for Israel?

For the moment, that seems unlikely. If Trump were retreating from Israel, his UN ambassador wouldn’t have blocked a UN attempt to elevate a PLO anti-Jew, the UN wouldn’t suddenly delay a BDS-friendly anti-Israel blacklist—and no one at the UN would be suggesting an Israeli Jew be appointed to a high UN position for the first time in UN history.

Today, Trump stands strong for Israel. Because of him, the future looks bright for Israel. But will that ‘brightness’ last?

Trump is neither politician nor diplomat. He’s a deal-maker--and he's aggressive. When he gives something, he expects something in return.

Today, Trump protects Israel. Will he now expect something in return from Israel? What could that ‘something’ be?

Answer those two  questions, and you’ll know if there’s a true Trump-Israel alliance, or if Trump’s current pro-Israel support is just the opening move in a carefully planned-out ‘deal’ that will push Israel into a corner it won’t want to be in.

Stay tuned.