A “Dear Europe” Letter

Negotiations are underway between Israel and the European Union for Israel to sell natural gas to Europe, which wishes to end its dependence on Russia for fuel. Italy and Germany presently get 40% and 35% of their gas from Russia, respectively. Russia recently informed Finland – which just announced that it would like to join NATO – that it would stop selling it gas. The dispute is officially about a Russian demand to be paid in rubles, and it represents only a small amount of Finland’s energy supply, but the political overtones are unmistakable. The delivery of Israeli gas, via Egypt, could begin as early as this coming winter.

Naturally, I welcome the idea that Israel will be able to help the Europeans in their time of need. It can get very cold in Europe in the winter. So I have prepared a draft of a letter that our government could send to the EU in order to get the ball rolling. It’s warmish now at the end of May, but Berlin, for example, is located at 54.5 north latitude, and temperatures there in January average 1 degree C. So let’s get started!

Dear European Friends and Allies,

We in Israel are excited to hear of your interest in buying some of our natural gas. We’ll be happy to sell it to you. But there are a few small bumps in the road to iron out first. So here they are:

  1. We demand that you reverse your blatantly racist decision to demand that Israeli products from Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, and eastern Jerusalem be labeled according to the ethnicity of the producer, and not as products of Israel (see 16 here).
  2. Your subsidizing of illegal construction by Palestinian Arabs in Area C of Judea and Samaria, a zone which by international treaty is supposed to be under full Israeli civil and security control, is an egregious violation of Israeli sovereignty and international law, and must stop immediately.
  3. Your continued financial support, which amounts to millions of Euros annually, to subversive Israeli NGOs, terror-linked organizations in the Palestinian Authority, Gaza, and other locations, and NGOs promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories as well as BDS and lawfare against Israel, constitutes non-military warfare against the Jewish state. We demand a halt to this activity.
  4. Your consistent support for our enemies in the UN in their efforts to deny and obscure the Jewish history of sites such as the Temple Mount, despite the overwhelming archaeological and historical evidence, demonstrates bad faith or cowardice, and is not consistent with a desire for good relations.
  5. Your desire to reach an accommodation with Iran that will allow the regime to have nuclear weapons is not only threatening to Israel, it is dangerous to yourselves, who will soon be in range of Iranian missiles.

We understand that you have strong feelings of guilt for your colonialist past, and for the collaboration of many Europeans with the Nazi effort to liquidate the Jewish people. But it’s absurd, even pathological, to try to ameliorate these feelings by helping the heirs of the Nazis, whose leaders included Hitler’s associate Amin al-Husseini and the Father of Terrorism Yasser Arafat, to continue the Nazis’ genocidal program. We suggest that you apply some of the millions – perhaps billions – that you will save by ending your financial and diplomatic war against Israel to actual humanitarian causes.

We also understand that a growing segment of your population is Muslim, and that the great majority of them are anti-Zionist, even antisemitic. Pandering to these attitudes can be useful for short-term political gain, but you should understand that they are also anti-Western. Appeasing them is much like feeding a crocodile in the hope that he will eat you last (apologies to Winston Churchill).

We are looking forward to working to provide you with a warm winter, just as soon as you reverse your irrational anti-Israel policies!*

Israel

___________________________
* I’m not holding my breath.

Posted in Europe and Israel, Information war, Iran, Terrorism | 11 Comments

Shireen abu Akleh’s Blood is on Palestinian Hands

If the production called “the death of Muhammad al-Dura” is the Gone With the Wind of Pallywood,* then the recent extravaganza starring Shireen abu Akleh is on its way to becoming its Star Wars. Both of these affairs have been huge wins for the Palestinians in the world-wide arena of information warfare.

The image of the frightened 12-year old al-Dura, allegedly under fire by Israeli soldiers, became the inspiration for the violence of the Second Intifada. In the words of journalist Nidra Poller, it

…instantly ignited anti-Israel and anti-Jewish passions all over the world, provoking a wave of violence from the lynching of two Israeli reservists in Ramallah to synagogue burnings in France. In the ensuing years, the story of Muhammad al-Dura has attained near-mythic stature in the Arab and Muslim world. …

That the death of Muhammad al-Dura was the real emotional pretext for the ensuing avalanche of Palestinian violence—and a far more potent trigger than Sharon’s “provocative” visit to the Temple Mount—is attested by the immediate and widespread dissemination of his story and of the pietà-like image of his body lying at his father’s feet. Streets, squares, and schools have since been named for the young Islamic shahid. His death scene has been replicated on murals, posters, and postage stamps, even making an iconic appearance in the video of Daniel Pearl’s beheading.

European TV stations and Aljazeera showed the video of al-Dura – made by Palestinian cameraman Talal Abu Rahmeh – over and over, and the respected French commentator, France 2’s (Jewish) Jerusalem bureau chief, Charles Enderlin, vouched for its authenticity – and provided a heart-rending voice-over.

IDF and Israeli government officials, blindsided, at first stuttered incoherently and even apologized for killing al-Dura, although it shortly became clear that it was impossible that IDF fire could have hit al-Dura and his father. Either Palestinians shot al-Dura or he was not shot at all. The evidence – Poller’s article includes a good summary of it – indicates that the entire scene was faked.

Despite that, neither the Palestinians nor Enderlin ever admitted that the truth was anything other than that brutal IDF soldiers had deliberately and painfully assassinated a Palestinian child, just because they could. And why should they admit anything? Virtually everyone was prepared to believe their lies, except for Israelis and a handful of Zionist bloggers and journalists.

The al-Dura story supported one aspect of Palestinian propaganda that has always been prominent – the accusation that the IDF deliberately targets Palestinian children. This is despite the fact that the truth is precisely the opposite: the IDF tries to avoid harming civilians, especially children; while the Palestinians have carried out numerous attacks whose victims included numerous children: the Bus of Blood (Coastal Road Massacre), the Ma’alot massacre, the attack on Misgav Am, the Dolphinarium and Sbarro Pizza bombings, and more.

Whether it is simply projection – accusing your enemy of the crimes that you commit –  or whether the technique was suggested to them by psychological warfare experts, the Palestinian libels of the IDF have been effective. Perhaps this is because the historical blood libels, in which Jews are accused of kidnapping, torturing, and killing non-Jewish children, still live in in the dark corners of modern minds.

The story of the killing of Shireen abu Akleh is different in one way from Muhammad al-Dura’s: the al-Dura libel required some work to set up, while the gift of abu Akleh just fell into Palestinian hands. The Aljazeera reporter was embedded with terrorists associated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Jenin, where she was caught in a firefight between them and IDF soldiers. The Palestinians immediately announced that abu Akleh had been deliberately shot – “executed” – by IDF snipers. This was echoed immediately in anti-Israel media, and especially in social media, where self-appointed experts like Susan Sarandon, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib explained that she had been “murdered” in cold blood by Israel.

Abu Akleh was very popular and well-liked in the Arabic-speaking world, and especially among Palestinians. It’s understandable that they are upset and mourning her death. But it would be wrong to accept their verdict of murder against the IDF. At this point it is not known whether the bullet that killed her came from an Israeli or Palestinian gun. Even if the former turns out to be true – and the Palestinians have refused to cooperate in an investigation – assassinating popular journalists would be extremely counterproductive for Israel. If it were an IDF bullet, it was certainly not deliberately aimed at abu Akleh.

In any event, the source of the bullet is entirely irrelevant to the responsibility for her death. The firefight happened because terrorists have murdered 19 Israelis in the past several weeks – and here there is no question of intent! More murders have only been prevented by the actions of security forces, such as the operation in Jenin. Jenin has been the epicenter of terror attacks, and the IDF was there in order to arrest terrorists who were planning additional attacks. Shireen abu Akleh’s blood is on the hands of the terrorists, along with that of the Israelis they murdered.

None of this matters to the entire Arab and Muslim world, to most of Europe, and to many circles in the US and Canada as well, where Palestinian claims are accepted without question. Palestinians and their supporters have long since decided that “the occupation” – that is, the presence of a Jewish state of any size anywhere between the river and the sea – is the root cause of everything bad that happens there. In their view, Jewish victims of terrorism are “settlers,” whose killing is not unjust; the terrorists who murder them, with knives, axes, and guns, are heroes, not criminals; and Israel’s army and police are oppressors who must be resisted by any means possible. Arguments about bullets, therefore, are not to the point.

Palestinian leaders understand their audience, and they know that strong emotions, such as those evoked by the death of a popular personality like abu Akleh, can be turned against Israel. The more emotional the situation, the more useful it will be to inspire acts of violence against Israelis. The objective is a wave of “lone wolf” terrorism that cannot be directly tied to the organizations inciting it. Social media even makes it possible for the PLO and Hamas to outsource not only their terrorism, but the incitement as well.

So the Palestinians have pulled out all the stops, with a funeral perhaps larger than any since that of Yasser Arafat. They have unleashed their friendly media, which parrots their accusations of a deliberate execution, and every anti-Israel voice on social media as well. There will be schools and streets and summer camps named after the “martyr,” and little girls will model themselves after her. She will become a symbol of “resistance.”

There is no doubt that, as happened with al-Dura, we will soon hear terrorists claiming that they were inspired to do their bloody work in memory of Shireen abu Akleh.

_______________________________
* The term “Pallywood” was coined by Richard Landes to describe fake news videos created by Palestinians. See his video, “Pallywood, ‘According to Palestinian Sources…’.

Posted in Information war, Israel and Palestinian Arabs, Media, Terrorism | 1 Comment

Hamas Must Be Destroyed

Whoever has a gun should prepare it, and whoever does not have a gun should prepare his cleaver, axe, or knife. – Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, 30 April 2022.

Nothing characterized Jewish life everywhere during the two millennia of diaspora more than the contingency of it. There were good times, bad times, and worse times, but unless some non-Jewish power protected them temporarily – and it was always temporary – anything could be done to the Jews. Their property could be stolen, their women violated, their homes burned. Over and over.

In her article Nostalgia for a Slaughterhouse, Phyllis Chesler contrasts the reality of the turn-of-the-century shtetel with the sentimental picture of Anatevka presented in Fiddler on the Roof, and quotes researcher Irina Astashkevich’s description of the second day of the pogrom, after the Cossacks and the Jews’ gentile neighbors had already stolen everything of value:

The carnival of violence, complete with scenes of torture, rape, and murder, played out on the second day of the pogrom as ‘celebratory street theater.’ Pogrom perpetrators purposefully drove Jews into the streets and hunted down their victims … acts of torture took place in front of an audience of pogrom perpetrators, the local population, and frightened Jews. The ritualized violence reiterated the previous pogroms, but often in a more grotesque and horrifying form. The elderly couple, Yudko Gurshevoy, aged seventy-five, and his wife Bruckha, mad with fear, were stripped naked and forced to run through the streets as hunted animals, cheered by the Cossacks. Pogromschiki bayoneted their victims, careful not to kill them, but to leave the wounded to suffer and bleed to death in agony that lasted sometimes for several days. Elderly parents were left to die, while their families were not allowed to help them … Pogromschiki made sure that all the apothecaries were wrecked, and there was no medical assistance; the only remaining non-Jewish medical practitioner was strictly prohibited to provide any help to the Jews on pain of death.

Astashkevich notes that in the Pale of Settlement during the period 1917-21 there were “over a thousand pogroms in about five hundred localities.” Anyone who has even a sight acquaintance with Jewish history knows that similar happenings were common everywhere and at any time in the Christian and Muslim worlds that the Jews inhabited, always as a powerless minority. Blood libels that triggered anti-Jewish riots were common during the medieval period, and have continued into the 21st century.

In June of 1941, Jews had lived in Iraq for more than two millennia, since the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 BCE. The Babylonian Talmud was composed here. But here too, Jewish life was always contingent. And in June of 1941 it came to an end in the Farhud, a bloody pogrom inspired by a pro-Nazi regime. Official estimates of the number of Jews murdered are in the range of 100-200, but more recent evidence indicates that the true number may be closer to 1000. The number of raped and maimed is unknown. In any event, it was the beginning of the end for the Jewish presence in Iraq; and in 1952 almost all of the remaining Jews were ransomed by the Israeli government and airlifted to Israel, forced to leave behind (as always) their possessions, including businesses and real estate worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The custom, indeed the institution, that it is always open season on the Jewish people, reached its zenith with the Holocaust, which industrialized the impoverishment, torture, degradation and murder of Jews. We were treated like insects, even exterminated using a product originally intended for fumigation.

The phrase “Never Again,” if it means anything, should mean that the state of imminent victimhood in which Jews have found themselves since 586 BCE must never be allowed to recur. One of the purposes of establishing the Jewish state, which required a massive sacrifice of Jewish lives, was to accomplish this.

But we have not succeeded. Pogroms occur even here in the Jewish state, small scale ones that we call “terrorism,” and larger ones like the “riots” of May 2021 when our Israeli Arab neighbors attacked Jews in the streets, burned their homes and synagogues, and murdered them. On a continuing basis, the small-scale terrorism of rock-throwing and crime-as-jihad happen every single day, wherever Jews and Arabs come into contact with one another.

From time to time, the Jewish state is attacked with barrages of deadly rockets, which kill just a few Jews each time, because the vaunted Jewish intellect and great chunks of Jewish money have built domes of iron (and now, laser beams) to hide behind while our enemies take their potshots at us. Our carefully measured military responses take exquisite care to protect enemy civilians, and always stop before actually defeating the enemy. And afterwards, we avert our eyes as Gaza receives cash from Qatar and cement from Israel, ostensibly to help civilian victims of the conflict, but in fact is used by Hamas to dig more tunnels and build more rockets.

All our wars since 1948 have been, in a political sense, defensive. Even in 1967, when the IDF took control of great swaths of territory, including the heartland of the Land of Israel, one of the first acts of our leadership afterwards was to return the heart of the heartland, the Temple Mount, to Muslim Arab control. In following years, instead of a massive drive to settle the liberated and conquered lands and to drive our enemies out of them, our politicians tried to find ways to return them to our enemies in return for “peace.”

The message that we have been broadcasting non-stop for the last few decades, and that our enemies have been receiving loud and clear, is that “we will defend ourselves, but only just enough to stop your immediate assault.” So naturally, as soon as they can, they try again. And the same goes for our response to terrorism, both large and small-scale. Apprehended terrorists, even mass murderers, are temporarily incarcerated in institutions that they to a great extent control, while their families are richly rewarded by the Palestinian Authority, with money that comes from Israel, Europe, and the USA.

So yes, the situation of the Jews is better today in Israel than it was in Kishinev in 1903, or Iraq in 1941-52. But the basic nature of our response is the same: pay the ransom if possible, and ward off the blows if not. What we do not do is change the perception of the Jew as the victim-in-waiting. What we do not do is discredit, for once and for all, the idea that it is normal to try to kill Jews.

On the evening of 4 May 2022, a few days after Yahya Sinwar exhorted them to use their knives and axes, two terrorists entered the town of Elad in central Israel, murdered three Jews and injured seven others – with knives and axes, as instructed. This continues a streak of terrorism that began in March in which a total of 19 Israelis (including Druze and Christian Arabs) have been killed by Palestinian terrorists.

This is nothing particularly out of the ordinary. The messages that come from the official media of Hamas and the groups that make up the PLO (which constitutes the Palestinian Authority), is that killing Jews is praiseworthy, murderers are heroes, and that continued violent “resistance” will bring about the removal of the Jews from every bit of the land from the river to the sea. This message also permeates social media, mosques in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza (including the al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount), the educational systems of the PA and UNRWA, and every aspect of “Palestinian” culture.

It is time, for the first time since the end of the War of Independence, to permanently end the pernicious perception of Jews as appropriate victims. It is time for all of our enemies to understand that killing Jews or even trying to do so is not an option, because the cost will be astronomical for them. It is time to finally actualize the promise inherent in the slogan “Never Again.”

Today we have a golden opportunity to do this, to demonstrate that finally, after more than two millennia, it is not normal to try to kill Jews.

MK Itamar Ben Gvir of the Otzma Yehudit faction, responded to the terror attack in Elad, saying “in a normal country, an Air Force flyover would now be dropping missiles on the house of [Hamas leader] Yahya Sinwar, who called for attacks with weapons and axes, and killing him. This is how you cut off terrorism.” Some call Ben Gvir an extremist, but numerous other politicians and media personalities agreed with him. The argument against killing Sinwar is that he would be replaced, and terrorism would continue. And Hamas has threatened that if he or any other Hamas official is harmed, they would respond with “immediate war,” including suicide bombings in Israeli cities, like those that took hundreds of Israeli lives during the Second Intifada.

But Israel should assassinate Sinwar tomorrow, and as many of his associates in the leadership of Hamas as possible. And she should preempt the threatened war with a war of her own, on Hamas in Gaza as well as its cells in Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem, and anywhere else they are found. The operation should be carried out in accordance with international law; that is, so that collateral damage to civilian lives and property is proportional to military necessity – as opposed to the previous policy of attempting to achieve military objectives with close to zero civilian casualties.

The operation should have a twofold objective: one goal should be purely military – and it should continue until Hamas (and associated factions like Palestinian Islamic Jihad) in Gaza and Judea and Samaria cease to exist. The other should be in the information arena, to declare to the world that Israel will no longer tolerate attempts to murder Jews. Israel must make it clear to her enemies and allies alike that – as Ben Gvir said – we are a “normal country,” and if you try to murder our citizens, you will pay dearly.

Israel has many enemies, and Hamas is only one. There are many areas in which she has lost the sovereignty so painfully obtained in 1948 and 1967. All of these enemies must be deterred or destroyed, and sovereignty recovered – at the Temple Mount, Joseph’s Tomb, Hevron, and even the Negev and the Galilee. There is a long road to follow to take back what has been given up over the years, and to educate the world that the conditions of diasporic oppression that the State of Israel inherited no longer hold. The destruction of Hamas can be the first step on this journey.

Posted in Information war, Israel and Palestinian Arabs, Jew Hatred, Terrorism, War | 15 Comments

A Long Collection of Short Topics

I don’t want to be one of those writers who keeps writing long past the point at which he should have stopped. This piece will be my last regular blog. It may be the outline for a book. In any event, it summarizes the issues that have occupied me in recent months.

Psychology, strength, and deterrence

Human psychology is not as simple as it may look. There is a dark corner, sometimes more than a corner, of the human soul in which kindness is contemptible, and brutality is respected. Human sensibility is a product of evolution, and evolution teaches people (and other animals) that it is best to be on the stronger side, the winning side. Hamas employed this principle when it kidnapped an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, and then produced propaganda showing him entirely dependent on his captors, weak and without agency. They didn’t need to torture him – just present him, an Israeli soldier, as a weakling.

Especially in the Middle East, where the ascendant ethos is that of nomadic peoples, honor is a key element determining how a person or a tribe or a nation will be treated. Honor comes from defending what is yours without compromise, whether that be land, property, or – even in this supposedly enlightened age – the personal honor of women. The tribe that allows its land to be encroached upon, its property to be stolen, its murder victims unavenged, its religion and history mocked, and its women defiled, loses its honor. And without honor, a people is a target. It is like having a sign on your back: take whatever you want from this creature.

All these and more are done to Jewish Israel every day by her Arab Muslim enemies. It is not accidental. Crime is often jihad. The Arabs believe we have stolen their honor and they are taking it back, attacking our holy sites, stealing our cars (today’s camels), fighting for possession of our capital, colonizing Area C and the Negev, burning our fields and forests, and of course murdering Jews whenever possible.

Israel’s enemies have failed to defeat her, so far, in direct military confrontation. But they have succeeded in gnawing away at her honor.

Deterrence has two components: the power to defeat the enemy and the will to use that power. Israel clearly has the power to depopulate Gaza and to destroy Iran as a functioning nation. Israel’s enemies still have a degree of fear of her military capabilities. But as her honor disappears, they begin to doubt that she has the strength of will to use them, because the very definition of a people without honor is one that allows itself to be preyed upon.

The motivations of countries

Countries are sometimes analogized to people. It’s said that there are “friendly” countries and “unfriendly ones.” Moral concepts are applied to them: countries are said to be “good” or “evil.” This is a mistake (what philosophers call a category mistake), in this case a form of anthropomorphic fallacy. The idea of friendship and systems of morality developed in an evolutionary way from the interactions of people in human societies. But countries aren’t human beings, and the world stage on which they interact is not a human society. Of course countries have leaders, and moral concepts can be applied to them. There can be morally good or evil leaders. But morality is not relevant to the effectiveness of leaders, as leaders.

Countries act (or should act) in accordance with the true interests of their people. It’s the job of their leadership to see to it that they do. That is the content of the contract between the people and their government. Effective leaders align the policies of their countries with the interests of the people. Ineffective ones do not; and really rotten ones pursue their own personal interests and those of their friends, at the expense of their people. I believe that the government of Israel is ineffective.

Offense or defense?

Israel has developed an official military doctrine that calls for her army to take the initiative, and because of Israel’s limited strategic depth, to act preemptively, and to take the fight to the enemies’ territory. But in recent years it seems that her actual strategy has been precisely the opposite. Instead of preemption, she has allowed her enemies to attack, and only then responded. Since the disaster at the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, her ground troops have only rarely entered enemy territory, and even then did not seek to penetrate to the enemy’s headquarters and destroy it. She has developed elaborate defensive systems at great cost, such as the anti-missile systems Iron Dome and David’s Sling, as well as powerful laser weapons capable of countering multiple forms of attack, including mortar fire, low-trajectory rockets, and drones. She has invested huge sums of money in barriers on the borders of Gaza, Lebanon, and Egypt, and even on the non-border with Judea and Samaria.

This strategy has been comfortable for Israel’s governments, which prefer not to take the risks inherent in more proactive policies, which include casualties among our soldiers and condemnation and possible sanctions from European nations and the Biden Administration. But there are several important problems with this policy. One is that it is only temporarily effective. Improvements in defensive weapons are met with improved methods of attack. Israel’s enemies are never conclusively defeated, so after every punishment they come back stronger, with new ideas and capabilities. As is often said, they can afford to lose wars, rebuild, and try again, while Israel can’t afford to lose even once. The case of Hezbollah is particularly problematic, where the lack of a preemptive response to the buildup in Lebanon has allowed a merely dangerous situation to expand into an existential threat.

But of equal importance is the psychological factor: we are forced to hunker down in our ghetto, behind our walls, domes, and lasers, while our enemies throw death-dealing weapons at us. It becomes customary, and then even acceptable to try to kill Jews; after all, they only succeed a few percent of the time, so why worry? What is being missed here is the loss of honor inherent in letting one’s enemies shoot without an equivalent response, and the encouragement to our enemies to keep trying.

The same has been true – although here the situation is improving – of our response to terrorism. Until recently, when rules of engagement were changed, deadly force was rarely used against those throwing firebombs, or dropping rocks from buildings (or the Temple Mount), or throwing them from moving cars. These are all instances of attempted murder with deadly weapons and should be treated as such. When terrorists do survive their murderous attempts, their imprisonment constitutes a mild punishment, and they receive generous salaries from the Palestinian Authority. Unfortunately, the government has chosen to allow the PA to continue paying terrorists, even absurdly loaning it money to compensate for legally mandated deductions from tax receipts due to the PA.

It has been suggested that Israel return to the strategy of reprisals for terrorism, as was carried out by the famous Unit 101. It is very unlikely that today’s Israeli government would do such a thing.

Antisemitism

The proper response to antisemitism – both the large-scale antizionism of the UN and other institutions, as well as the everyday form that that is exploding throughout the diaspora – requires consideration of the principles discussed in the first section of this article. Insofar as Jews and Jewish communities are perceived as weak and as victims, they will be victimized. Personal and communal self-defense will not only deter antisemitic acts, but will act to change the image of the Jew from that of an acceptable victim to that of a person deserving of respect.

This can be very difficult in the diaspora, where Jews are a small minority, and the legal and social structures are unfriendly to the idea of armed self-defense. One can note that leaders of the Jewish Defense League, Meir Kahane and Irv Rubin, were murdered (Rubin’s death was officially labeled a suicide in prison, like that of Jeffery Epstein).

Indeed, a powerful argument for Zionism is the difficulty for a small minority in a hostile diaspora environment to effectively defend itself. Although a Jew in New York City may not be able to carry a firearm, countries – even the Jew Among Nations – can be armed to protect themselves and their people.

Much of the response to antisemitism has traditionally been Holocaust education, which often has precisely the opposite effect from what is desired. The Jews are presented as weak, unable to defend themselves, begging the nations to protect them or take them in. The Nazis – although condemned as evil – are presented as strong and competent. Normal people exposed to this, while horrified by Nazi brutality and pitying the Jewish victims, are nevertheless, in the darker corners of their brains, feeling contempt for the victims, who “allowed” themselves to be murdered. There is also a feeling of satisfaction that they are not among them, which leads to an identification with the victimizers.

Antisemites simply enjoy hearing about the Jews getting what they believe they deserve, find support for their beliefs – Hitler wouldn’t have done what he did without a reason, would he? – and get ideas for the best way to finish his work.

The best educational response to the Holocaust is not to try to evoke pity and tears, but to teach the history of the founding of the state of Israel, and how the barely surviving remnants of the European Jewish people defeated their enemies against great odds, so as to ensure that there would never be another Holocaust.

The Jewish problem

The Jewish people established a sovereign entity in 1948 for the first time since the short-lived Hasmonean dynasty of 142-63 BCE (or perhaps the even shorter-lived Bar Kochva state from 132-135 CE). During most of Jewish history, they lived in various lands under the domination of rulers who varied greatly in the degree of tolerance shown to their Jewish subjects. Always a minority, they suffered from the whims of the local populace, and they generally had to entreat the rulers or princes to defend them when necessary. Often this required the payment of ransom or protection money. When rulers tired of them, the Jews were expelled from the province, often violently, or just murdered.

The lessons they learned from this existence were not suitable for a free people in a sovereign state. In the period leading up to the establishment of the state of Israel, and in the war and difficult times that followed, they had to be unlearned. The Jewish people needed to relearn how to fight, and how to govern themselves. After the state came into existence they had to learn how to negotiate as a sovereign state with other such states, and not as a weak minority with a far more powerful ruler. And they had to learn how to rule a state that had in it a large and somewhat hostile minority, a minority that shared its nationality with the external enemies of the state.

Some of these new lessons were learned well, and some not so well. We’re too willing to try to solve our problems by paying ransom: to Hamas, to the PA, and to our own Arab minority. And where a primarily defensive strategy is appropriate for a small minority in a hostile environment, a sovereign state like ours should adopt a more proactive, preemptive approach to overcoming our enemies.

Another problem that comes from our history is what Kenneth Levin called the “Oslo Syndrome:” our own internalization of antisemitic ideas, which leads us to try to stop attacks against us by becoming “better” people, by those same antisemitic standards. So we accept the Palestinian complaint that we are oppressors and make dangerous concessions to them; and then we beat ourselves up even further when they respond with more violence. Jewish Oslo syndrome sufferers obsess about what they see as the moral weakness, even as the evil nature, of the state that is the homeland of the Jewish people, and are found among the most vicious and mendacious anti-Zionists. One feels that no other group has quite as great a percentage of internal antagonists than the Jewish people. Is there an Arab version of the Ha’aretz newspaper or of its columnist Gideon Levy? I doubt it.

The Palestinian Arabs

The Palestinian Arabs are not considered a serious threat by our military establishment, but in my opinion they are the greatest threat facing the state today. Our external enemies can be defeated militarily – even Iran will be, if it doesn’t collapse on its own – but the Arabs living between the river and the sea present a challenge that is much more difficult. They are intertwined with us physically, but in their minds they are committed to the Palestinian Narrative, a story in which the Jews have stolen their land and their honor, which can only be redeemed violently. Those that are pious believe in addition that there is a religious imperative to return the land to Muslim sovereignty. Of course many of them are not committed to violence themselves, and many – especially the Arab citizens of Israel – believe that their economic and social interests are, at least currently, served by the state of Israel, and would strongly resist an attempt to place them under the Palestinian Authority or Hamas.

Nevertheless, virtually all of them (exceptions include some Christian Arabs) – including the Arab doctors and nurses in our hospitals that we depend on for our lives, as well as the construction workers that build our homes – believe that the Jews are temporary usurpers here, and support the struggle to remove us and establish an Arab state in place of Israel. This belief is essential to Palestinian culture, whose only specifically Palestinian (as opposed to Arab) components are those that arose in opposition to the Jewish state.

That this is true of our Arab citizens can be confirmed by the content of the remarks made by the Arab members of Israel’s Knesset, the writings of Arab Israeli intellectuals, and the violent anti-Jewish riots in Israeli towns with mixed Jewish-Arab populations that took place last May.

The residents of Judea/Samaria and Gaza are even more forthright, demonstrating their point of view with mass celebrations whenever there is a deadly terrorist attack in Israel, as happened three times in recent weeks.

The Palestinian Narrative and Islam, in that order, are the greatest obstacles preventing coexistence between Jews and Arabs in the Land of Israel. Unfortunately there is no easy way to counteract these ideological-religious entities, which appear to be getting stronger with time. Therefore, the possibility of coexistence is decreasing.

Israel and the USA

The US is going through a very difficult period, in which economic injuries caused by globalization, mechanization, and huge debts, have combined with social upheavals to create a period of instability unlike anything that I experienced in my lifetime. The social problems were exacerbated by external hostile actors that manipulated social media to promote extremism of both the Right and the Left. The icing on the cake has been the election of a senile president along with an incompetent vice-president, leading to a situation in which one feels that the country is going to hell in a self-propelled handbasket.

Whatever else can be said of the Biden Administration, policy-making positions that affect relations with Israel have been filled with people who are either outright opponents of the Jewish state (Malley) or naïve about the realities of the region (Blinken, Nides). So far Biden’s people have avoided the kind of clash that characterized the Obama Administration, but that may be just because they are afraid to shake Israel’s coalition so hard that Bibi Netanyahu, Obama’s bête noire, returns to power.

Israel has always held to the concept that she and she alone could be responsible for her defense. No one came to the aid of the Jews during the Holocaust, and we could not assume that other nations would be there for the Jewish state in her hour of need, either. But despite this, we’ve allowed ourselves to become massively dependent on the US for military hardware that can’t easily be replaced from other sources. Our own military industries have been weakened as a result. Although we proudly say that no American soldier will ever fight for us, what’s the difference if we can’t fight without continued American logistical support?

The fact that the younger demographic of the Democratic Party is becoming increasingly anti-Israel – and the aged leadership will soon be gone – is not encouraging. Combined with the instability, which appears to be getting worse, it should be obvious to everyone in Israel that continued dependence on the US is a bad thing.

The future

Unless something unexpected happens to the Iranian regime, a war between Israel, Iran, and Iranian proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and perhaps Yemen, appears inevitable. This will be a very difficult war with a great deal of damage to the home fronts of all participants. I expect also that Hamas will take part, and possibly elements from the Palestinian Authority. It’s also likely that there will be major disturbances by the Arab citizens of Israel, in the primarily Arab and mixed towns.

Israel can defeat Iran. But her continued existence will depend on what she does about the Arabs between the river and the sea.

Posted in American politics, American society, Iran, Islam, Israel and Palestinian Arabs, Israeli Arabs, Israeli or Jewish History, Jew Hatred, Terrorism, The Diaspora, The Future, The Jewish people, US-Israel Relations, War, Zionism | 5 Comments

Israel Must Become an Unaligned Nation

Israel needs to change course, or she will lose the War of Independence she has been fighting since 1948.

It’s not possible for Israel to endure as a satellite of a country whose regime opposes our survival as a Jewish state. The Biden Administration’s policies are no different than those we struggled against during the Obama presidency. There is a de facto freeze on construction east of the Green Line, for Jews. For Arabs, the sky is the limit, all paid for by the Europeans. We are losing Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley, which – whatever you think about their spiritual and psychological importance for the Jewish people – are strategically essential for the defense of our country.

The Palestinian Arabs smell blood in the water and believe there is a possibility to realize their dream of finally kicking the Jews out of our tiny slice of the world between the river and the sea. The Biden Administration has restored funds that Trump cut, both to the Palestinian Authority and to UNWRA, which maintains and grows the army of more than 5 million Arabs with their unique hereditary refugee status (like no other refugees in history). In the last two weeks, 14 Israelis have been murdered in a terror campaign. Just like last year at this time, it appears that both the PA and Hamas are interested in provoking an uprising among Israel’s Arab citizens.

Iran is galloping toward nuclear weapons, with the assistance of the Biden Administration, which is positively lusting to sign a deal that will a) legitimize Iran’s violation of the non-proliferation treaty it signed, b) criminalize any Israeli military action against Iran, and c) provide billions of dollars to finance strengthening Iran’s encirclement of Israel with heavily armed proxy armies.

There are plenty of problems in the country that are the fault of our various governments, both the current one led by Naftali Bennett, and the previous ones of Binyamin Netanyahu. But the greatest threats – the existential threats – are war with Iran and her proxies, and large-scale insurrection by the Arabs living between the river and the sea (which would probably occur concurrently). Both of these possibilities have been facilitated by the West, and in particular by the last two Democratic administrations in the US.

The Trump Administration broke with the US policy since the 1970s, which had been to reverse the outcome of the 1967 war. Trump understood and acted on the truths that a Palestinian state whose western boundary approximated the 1949 armistice line would become a threat to Israel’s heartland, that the Jordan valley and the Golan Heights are essential to make the state defensible, and that Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Israel. He put the brakes on the unlimited expansion of a “refugee” population that would accept no solution other than “returning” en masse to Israel, and converting it into an Arab-majority state. He made the Palestinian Authority accountable for its policy of paying the terrorists that murder Israelis. And finally, he exited Obama’s nuclear deal and initiated a “maximum pressure” campaign that – had it not been cut short by his removal from power – was the only policy short of war that could have stopped Iran.

Although Biden’s administration may have some of its teeth pulled by the upcoming midterm elections, we need to recognize that the US Democratic Party as a whole has become far more anti-Israel than it was even during the Obama period, and this is even more pronounced for its younger members. It’s impossible to predict the outcome of the next presidential election (2024) and even if a Republican wins, it’s not clear that his or her policies will be pro-Israel. Anti-Israel attitudes in general are increasing in the US, and it is unlikely that we will see an administration as friendly as Trump’s in the future.

Like methamphetamine users who steal from their families or sell their bodies in order to obtain drugs, Israel has bartered her future in order to support her addiction to American military aid. I’ve argued that it’s unnecessary, that it skews our military procurement toward “free” systems rather than what fits our needs best, that it cripples our own defense industry, that it corrupts our military establishment, and – most important – that it gives the US far too much leverage over our political and military decisions.

So we agree to stop construction in communities in Judea, Samaria, or eastern Jerusalem. We don’t enforce our laws and court decisions concerning illegal Arab building. We accept limitations on our trade with China. We are pressured not to sabotage Iranian facilities or assassinate their personnel, and even not to comment on Iran so as to protect the nuclear negotiations. During the Obama period, deliveries of critical weapons were held up, and the FAA declared our international airport off limits in order to pressure us to agree to a cease-fire with Hamas.

Our defense officials tend to follow Washington’s lead, because US aid is something like a quarter of Israel’s military budget. It is very hard to say no in such circumstances. In 2012, Netanyahu and Ehud Barak came close to bombing the Iranian nuclear facilities; opposition from the US and from our own military and security officials torpedoed the plan.

This problem has been with us for decades, since Jimmy Carter sweetened the Camp David deal between Israel, the US, and Egypt, with big chunks of military aid for the former antagonists. Today our dependence on the US, which may have once been a minor concern, has grown into a major one. As Iran comes closer and closer to its nuclear weapon and as we are on the verge of losing control of much of Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley, we are feeling the pressure of the American “golden handcuffs.”

As a tiny nation in a world of competing imperial powers, our survival depends on our being able to maintain a degree of distance from all of them. While we have to be careful not to make enemies of any of them, it is also a mistake to put all of our eggs in one basket, to the point that our fealty is taken for granted – especially when the empire in question has interests that more and more diverge from ours.

I would like to see our government begin a gradual phase-out of American military aid, along with a study of what kind of systems we need the most to maintain our deterrence. Maybe instead of buying astronomically expensive F-35s with American money, we should be building more drones and missiles ourselves? This is a decision that should be made here – and not in Washington.

Although we are a small country, we have technological know-how that could be leveraged by cooperation with other unaligned countries, like India for example. There is already some progress in this direction.

It also wouldn’t hurt to improve our relations with China; a repressive, nasty regime, but one that unfortunately may become the dominant one on the planet in a decade or two.

Posted in American politics, China, Iran, Israel and Palestinian Arabs, Terrorism, US-Israel Relations, War | 10 Comments

Summer Weather Comes to Israel

The weather has finally turned warm here. It seems like we skipped spring and went straight to summer. Along with the heat and the haze come incitement and terrorism, which will very likely develop – as it did last year at this time – into war and insurrection.

Last month saw three high-profile terror attacks inside the Green Line, in which 11 people were murdered (including Christian Arab and Druze police officers, and two Ukrainian workers). Fatah* and Hamas praised the terrorists, and as usual sweets were distributed in Gaza and weapons fired in the air to commemorate the success of the “operations.” Significantly, two of the three terrorists were Israeli Arab citizens.

The events of last year began with demonstrations at the Temple Mount in support of the Arab families in the Shimon Hatzadik (Sheikh Jarrah) neighborhood who were to be evicted for non-payment of rent (they are still there, thanks to the Israeli Supreme Court). When police entered the Mount to confiscate stockpiled weapons, violent clashes ensued. Hamas issued an “ultimatum,” and then began launching rockets at Jerusalem and other cities in Israel. Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired 4,350 rockets; 680 of them fell short, landing in Gaza and causing numerous casualties there. 12 Israeli civilians were killed by rockets, and one soldier died when his jeep was struck by an antitank weapon.

During the 12 days of war, violent clashes between police and Arabs in eastern Jerusalem continued. At the same time, an unprecedented wave of what could only be called pogroms swept over Israeli towns with mixed Jewish-Arab populations. In Lod, Ramle, Acco, Yafo, and Haifa, Jews and Jewish property were attacked:

In little more than a week, Arab rioters set 10 synagogues and 112 Jewish residences on fire, looted 386 Jewish homes and damaged another 673, and set 849 Jewish cars on fire. There were also 5,018 recorded instances of Jews being stoned. Three Jews were murdered and more than 600 were hurt. Over 300 police officers were injured in disturbances in over 90 locations across the country.

… although some commentators have push [sic] the ‘both sides’ line, no mosques were damaged, one Arab home was firebombed (by Arabs that mistook it for a Jewish home), 13 Arab homes and cars were damaged, and 41 Arab bystanders were hurt by hurled stones. There were also two attacks by Jewish extremists against Arab bystanders …

This was an attempt to incite a full-fledged insurrection against the Jewish state. The police were unprepared for the scope of the violence and in many cases Jewish residents were left to fend for themselves or flee (to find their homes ransacked on their return). To many who remembered life in the diaspora, the feeling of helplessness was familiar.

This year, as Ramadan begins and Passover approaches, the situation is similar to that before the previous outbreak. Hamas and the PA have been inciting their (apparently easily suggestible) clientele with the traditional calls to “defend al-Aqsa” against Jewish desecration. Recently Foreign Minister Yair Lapid visited the Damascus Gate (Sha’ar Shechem), the site of nightly violent demonstrations, to show support for the police, who are doing their best to keep them from getting out of hand. Hamas called the visit – of the Israeli FM to a location in Israel’s capital city! – a “dangerous escalation,” and threatened unspecified “consequences.”

Several nascent terror attacks have been nipped in the bud by the actions of security forces. In one case, three terrorists on their way to carry out an attack were intercepted by the special counterterrorism unit of the border police (Yamam), who engaged in a firefight, killing the terrorists. Four of the officers were wounded, one seriously.

The policy of the government seems to be to avoid escalation, while the PA and Hamas want the opposite. It won’t take much to set it off, and the expectation is that if there is another explosion, it will be characterized by rocket attacks – possibly with more and better long-range rockets than last year – as well as terrorism from Judea and Samaria and riots by Israeli Arabs. Each time this happens there are new touches. The weather has turned hot and dry, so we can expect fires to be set in the forests around Jerusalem and the agricultural lands in the Negev.

Also each time this happens, the propaganda assault against Israel takes off: the exaggeration of casualties in Gaza (and the attribution of self-inflicted ones to the IDF), the stories about security personnel “murdering children in cold blood” (an 18-year old shot with a flaming firebomb in his hand), or the reports of “extrajudicial executions” (of terrorists on murderous rampages). We will see the usual comparisons to Nazis and perhaps now also to Russians.

American officials will take time off from appeasing Iran to demand a cease-fire, especially if it appears (as is highly unlikely) that the IDF intends to actually harm Hamas in Gaza. The PA will get a pass for its incitement, and continue to receive funds from the US and Israel to pay the terrorists that murder us. Terrorism, rioting, and anti-Jewish pogroms will be attributed to poverty and discrimination, and we’ll be told that more money needs to be invested in Gaza, the PA, and Arab towns inside the Green Line.

My personal feeling is this: let it come, and let us for once strike back like we want to win, and not just return to normalcy. What we have now isn’t normalcy, it’s attrition. They are wearing us down, in Judea and Samaria, in the Negev, in the Galilee, in the mixed towns, and around the border with Gaza. Let it come, and let us take the opportunity to begin the long, difficult process of reasserting our sovereignty – over all of the Land of Israel.

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* Fatah was founded in 1959 by Yasser Arafat and several others with the goal of “liberating Palestine.” By 1967, under the tutelage of the Soviet KGB, it became “the dominant force in Palestinian politics.” In 1969, Arafat became the chairman of the PLO, an umbrella organization of Palestinian nationalist groups. When Israeli leaders stupidly agreed to recognize the PLO as the “legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” (instead of an outlaw terrorist gang) in the Oslo Accords, the PLO became – in its incarnation as the Palestinian Authority (PA) – a quasi-government which came to rule those parts of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza (from which they were ousted by Hamas in 2007) with large Arab populations. Essentially, the PA is the PLO, which in turn is Fatah. Mahmoud Abbas, the “president” of the PA – he calls it the “State of Palestine” – is also the chairman of the PLO and the head of Fatah.

This is important, because Fatah explicitly promotes violent action against Israel, and many terrorist acts have been carried out by its operatives. Thus the acceptance of the PA as a partner in any way, or cooperation with it, or providing financial support to it – all of which Israel has done and continues to do – is equivalent to cooperation with terrorism.

Posted in Israel and Palestinian Arabs, Israeli Arabs, Terrorism, War | 1 Comment

Israel Isn’t Switzerland

As Ramadan begins and Passover draws near, Israel faces pressure on almost all fronts. Last night in a firefight near the Palestinian Authority city of Tulkarem, three terrorists associated with Fatah were killed. Four members of Israel’s Yamam counterterrorism unit were wounded, one of them seriously. The terrorists were on their way to carry out an attack, possibly against Israeli military installations or civilian homes. Army radio reported that one of them left a “will” in which he claimed a connection to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization in order to provoke Israel to retaliate against that group, which would in turn respond by launching rockets from Gaza. Security forces say they have foiled several other planned attacks by Arab citizens of Israel and residents of the Palestinian authority areas.

Following three murderous attacks in the space of one week, there have been violent demonstrations in Jerusalem and in various locations in Judea and Samaria. The terrorists are trying to escalate the situation as much as possible, while Israel wants to avoid a general conflagration. Many disturbances and non-fatal attacks on soldiers, police, and civilians are not reported in the mainstream press even here in Israel, and information is disseminated by Telegram and WhatsApp groups.

This is in keeping with the general progression of the conflict, which I and many others see as the continuation of Israel’s War of Independence. In recent years, Israel has moved from the offensive strategy that produced the military (but not always political) successes of 1948, 1956, and 1967, to an overall defensive posture. Rocket attacks and terror tunnels from Gaza have been met with economically unsustainable missile defense systems and an astronomically expensive underground barrier. Recently new defensive laser weapons have been developed, with science fiction-like capabilities to shoot down drones, rockets, and possibly ballistic missiles.

Surrender to extortion is another kind of defensive weapon. Israel has arranged for large sums of money to be transferred to Hamas in Gaza from Qatar, and has made large “loans” to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Purportedly this is done in order to “improve the Palestinian economy,” on the grounds that “poverty breeds terrorism;” but a) this is demonstrably not true, and b) much of the money is used to produce weapons and pay terrorists, and to personally enrich the leaders of Hamas and Fatah. One wonders how either Ben Gurion or Begin would respond to this strategy.

So why do we do this? Why don’t we just crush Hamas, and expel the terrorists and their sympathizers both in the territories and among our own citizens? Why don’t we stop trying to “improve the economy” in Gaza and the PA, and do the opposite in order to encourage the populations to emigrate? Why don’t we apply the death penalty and family expulsion to terrorist murderers? Why do we cooperate with the PA, which is identical with the PLO, which in turn is dominated by the antisemitic, murderous Fatah organization? Why don’t we subsidize builders that do not use Arab labor? Why did we withdraw from Gaza? What came over us to make us sign the Oslo Accords? There are several answers to these questions:

It is easier to pay than to fight. Politicians always prefer to kick problems down the road, because by the time an issue becomes inescapable, they will have banked the rewards of “public service” and someone else will deal with it. Especially when all they have to do to postpone a crisis is to spend someone else’s money.

The West treats us like Switzerland. European and American regimes threaten and sometimes even sanction other countries for “violating human rights,” which includes any form of discrimination, the death penalty, anything that can be called “collective punishment,” and so on. But what works for countries with a strong common national identity and friendly neighbors does not necessarily work for us. Often Western countries apply a double standard and judge Israel by criteria applicable to, for example, Switzerland. And we accept this.

We ourselves believe that we are Switzerland. Some Israelis, including many of our politicians and officials of the legal system, act as though we are not really threatened by our hostile neighbors and from a minority within the country that is ideologically and religiously committed to our removal from this land. This leads to our inability to fight terrorism effectively, and produced the Oslo Accords, one of the most suicidal initiatives in history since someone pulled that wooden horse through the gates of Troy.

The first and third of these are our own fault. When the new state was declared, the goal of creating a “New Jew” free of diaspora timidity was ascendant. The New Jew, among other things, was aggressive and not afraid to fight for his or her historical homeland. The New Jew was self-sufficient and didn’t shirk from hard work or hard choices. Some things about the New Jew were less attractive, such as a lack of understanding of the importance of religion (or respect for our own). But in general the New Jew was well-suited to the struggle to re-establish a sovereign Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael. New Jews like Moshe Dayan and Arik Sharon won Israel’s first few wars for us. Unfortunately, the diaspora caught up with some of our leaders, like Ehud Olmert, who once admitted that he was tired of winning wars. Did he think we would survive losing one?

We can’t face our enemies, or even our “friends” – unfortunately the quotation marks seem more appropriate every day in connection with the EU and the Biden Administration – if we don’t change our own attitude. Certainly they would treat us with more respect if we restored the offensive element to our military doctrine, instead of cowering behind higher, deeper, ever more sophisticated barriers and under iron and photonic domes.

But one thing we can learn from the double standards applied to us is that it is not all our fault. Many in the West, and among our more open antagonists in our own region, are antisemites who hate and fear us, but at the same time hold us in contempt. There is little that we can do about the hate (the fear should be encouraged), but we can gain respect by dropping the pretense that we are a kind of Switzerland. If we want to live in the Middle East, then we have to behave like a Middle Eastern nation – one that doesn’t shrink from using whatever means necessary to reach its national goals.

Posted in Europe and Israel, Israel and Palestinian Arabs, Israeli Arabs, Israeli Society, Jew Hatred, Terrorism, US-Israel Relations | 4 Comments

How to Survive in the Middle East

Last week, after a terrorist attack in Beer Sheva that took four lives, I (rhetorically) asked our leadership if they had a plan to deal with Arab terrorism, something more long-range than beefing up the police presence over Ramadan. Since then, there have been two more attacks, one in Hadera and one in Bnei Brak, bringing the total number of murder victims to eleven in one week.

The Beer Sheva terrorist was a Bedouin Arab, a citizen of Israel. The Hadera murderers were also Israeli citizens, from Umm al Fahm in the “Arab triangle” east of that city, who identified with the Islamic State. The terrorist who murdered five on Tuesday in Bnai Brak was from the Jenin area in the Palestinian Authority. He was in Israel illegally, working on a construction project. Some reports say that he was associated with Fatah, the party of PLO/PA leader Mahmoud Abbas. Diversity in terrorism.

Three of the murdered and one of the seriously injured victims were policemen. And of those, one was a Druze and another was a Christian Arab.

These terror attacks are the tip of an iceberg. Part of the rest of it showed itself last May, when during a war that was provoked by Hamas rocket attacks, we experienced a murderous uprising by Arab citizens:

In little more than a week, Arab rioters set 10 synagogues and 112 Jewish residences on fire, looted 386 Jewish homes and damaged another 673, and set 849 Jewish cars on fire. There were also 5,018 recorded instances of Jews being stoned. Three Jews were murdered and more than 600 were hurt. Over 300 police officers were injured in disturbances in over 90 locations across the country.

That wasn’t a peaceful demonstration. It wasn’t even a riot. It was a rebellion, an attempt to open a second front during a war. And it wasn’t “clashes between Arabs and Jews”:

By contrast, although some commentators have push [sic] the ‘both sides’ line, no mosques were damaged, one Arab home was firebombed (by Arabs that mistook it for a Jewish home), 13 Arab homes and cars were damaged, and 41 Arab bystanders were hurt by hurled stones. There were also two attacks by Jewish extremists against Arab bystanders, in Bat Yam and Herzliya. Bat Yam saw a large and violent demonstration by far-right Jews.

More of the iceberg, which has been growing for years while Israelis and their leaders have kept their eyes shut, has recently become visible. That is the astonishing fact that a great deal of the Negev and the Galilee have become no-go zones, controlled by Bedouin crime gangs:

Residents of the Negev (and parts of the Galilee) have felt, for years, that the government has abandoned them to the violence and crime of the Bedouin community. According to some estimates, some 100,000 acres of Israeli land have been ceded to the Bedouin—security forces will not or cannot exercise control in those areas, and the Bedouin have, some say, created a state within a state. … today the amount of weapons that the Bedouins in the Negev have right now … they have more weapons than two divisions of the IDF right now in the middle of the Negev. They smuggle weapons and drugs of more than 4 billion shekels a year between the Negev and Egypt …

Israel has very strict firearms laws. An Israeli citizen generally cannot possess a rifle, and must demonstrate a need (living in a dangerous area, a job as a security guard, etc.) to obtain a permit for a pistol. The amount of ammunition one can have is also limited. Yet the Bedouins and the criminal gangs in Israeli Arab towns are armed to the teeth with weapons stolen from the IDF, smuggled from Egypt or Lebanon, or even homemade. The murder rate among Israeli Arabs reflects this, being 12 times greater than that of Israeli Jews. Possibly the next time there is an uprising like the one last May, these guns will be turned against the Jews.

The trends are not encouraging. Our Muslim Arab citizens increasingly believe that the State of Israel is illegitimate, built on land “stolen” from them, and is a temporary edifice that will soon be liberated and replaced by an Arab state. Although it is true that only a small minority would engage in terrorism,

According to statistics published by Professor Sammy Smooha of Haifa University, 77.1 per cent of Israeli Arabs view Zionism as a colonial and racist movement, and demand that Israel be replaced with a binational state. 70.5 per cent of Israeli Arabs demand the right of return of Palestinian refugees, a move that would turn Israeli Jews into a minority. According to a 2017 study carried out by Smooha, Arab-Jewish relations have deteriorated since the previous survey done in 2015. In 2017, only 58.7 per cent of Israeli Arabs recognized Israel’s right to exist, as opposed to 65.8 per cent in 2015. In 2017, 44.6 per cent accepted Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state as opposed to 60.3 per cent in 2015. The acceptance of Israel retaining a Jewish majority declined from 42.7 per cent in 2015 to 36.2 per cent in 2017. …

The perpetrators of … violence operate in a society that is to a large extent sympathetic or supportive of their goals, if not always their methods.

The above is true not only of the “Arab in the street,” but especially so of their representatives in the Knesset and their academic intellectuals.

This situation has arisen because of a basic misperception of who we are – or rather, who we must be – in order to survive as a Jewish nation in the Middle East. The same misperception also weakens us in our relations with other nations, both our “friends” in Europe and North America, and our enemies. Israel cannot continue to survive as a “villa in the jungle,” in the words of Ehud Barak. We cannot establish a Scandinavian country here. Israel is part of the Middle East. We must put limits on who can live here and who can have political power.

In the Middle East, religion and ethnicity, tribal characteristics, are of great – no, overwhelming – importance. The idea that these can be ignored and a democratic and egalitarian state maintained here, given the demographic reality of today’s Israel, is delusional.

As everyone knows, in a non-totalitarian state, most people don’t obey laws because of fear of the police. They do so because they accept the principle that laws exist for the common good, and the legitimacy of the state that enforces them. If this were not the case, there would need to be almost as many police as citizens (as was close to the truth in communist East Germany). But most members of the Muslim Arab minority in Israel do not accept these propositions. Although we need to act with greater harshness against terrorism – a good start would be a death penalty for terrorist murder – we would need to become a police state like East Germany before we could suppress what is a genuine popular movement among one-fifth of the population. And keep in mind that this popular movement also has a great deal of external support (as well as help from the masochistic, autoantisemitic Left within the country).

We will not convince the acolytes of the Palestinian Movement to turn around and support the Jewish state. No amount of money or benefits to this segment of the population, or the participation of their representatives in the government will help (indeed, they have had the opposite effect). The only way to defeat this movement is to remove its supporters from the country. It would be good if this could be a gradual, nonviolent process effected by incentives, as suggested by Martin Sherman. But if that is impossible, then we must force them to leave.

Either we will face these facts and deal with them head-on, or we will not survive in the region.

Posted in Israel and Palestinian Arabs, Israeli Arabs, Jew Hatred, Terrorism | 6 Comments