Twenty-five years after Oslo, the PLO is dying

Ari Fuld, z”l

Almost exactly 25 years ago, on September 13, 1993, Israel committed the greatest single strategic mistake in its 70-year history by signing the “Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements,” otherwise known as the Oslo I Accord.

The disaster of Oslo still reverberates today, when it claimed yet another of its thousands of Jewish and Arab victims with the murder of Ari Fuld, a Jewish father of four who was stabbed to death at Gush Etzion Junction, a site of numerous terror attacks, by a young man born in the years after Oslo and educated to be a human murder weapon by the educational system set up for that purpose by our Oslo partner Yasser Arafat.

One of the fascinating aspects of the Oslo saga is the fact that the 25 years of bloody war and terrorism that they have lived through since the festive signing ceremony on the White House Lawn has failed to convince some of its supporters that it was anything other than a good idea, albeit sabotaged by (among others) “settlers,” Benjamin Netanyahu, Yigal Amir, and today even Donald Trump.

Oslo allowed Arafat’s PLO, heretofore a banned terrorist organization, to assume the mantle of “legitimate representative of the Palestinian people,” return to Israel from its exile in Tunisia, and establish the Palestinian Authority (PA) to govern the Arabs of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.

The fact is that Arafat never had the slightest desire to establish a peaceful state alongside Israel, or to join the New Middle East that Shimon Peres was wishfully dreaming about. He did not accept Israel’s right to exist and had no intention of changing the Palestinian Covenant which called for its violent elimination. And he certainly did not intend to “fight terrorism” – rather, he sponsored and encouraged it.

His goal was to make Israel unlivable by terrorism while at the same time applying diplomatic pressure for more and more concessions. Ultimately, he hoped to weaken the country spiritually, psychologically, and strategically, so that Israel’s enemies, the traditional Arab confrontation states and the PLO working together, could physically destroy her. With some modifications, he was following the so-called “Ten-Point Plan” adopted by the Palestinian National Council in 1974.

The most diabolical of his terrorist devices, which continues to murder Jews long after his own death, is the Palestinian Authority educational system, set up immediately upon the establishment of the PA. From their kindergartens through their universities, Palestinian children receive an indoctrination in the Palestinian narrative of victimization and revenge, as well as pure anti-Jewish hate. This is reinforced by official Palestinian media, which presents murderous terrorists as the heroes of the Palestinian people, and killing Jews and especially martyrdom in the process as the most honored act for a Palestinian.

Arafat had to manage the tension between appearing to cooperate with Israel and the Americans so that they would continue to provide money and weapons (to “fight terrorism”), and being an uncompromising warrior for his own people. This required little effort; indeed, the Israeli leadership was so blinded by its vision for peace that almost anything that Arafat did or said was rationalized.

When Arafat called for jihad in Arabic, it was explained as necessary for him to maintain the respect of “hard-liners.” The fact that then his people went out and engaged in the jihad he asked for was considered an unfortunate byproduct of the struggle for peace. Indeed, Yitzchak Rabin sometimes called terror victims “casualties of peace.” When Arafat made a speech in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1994 comparing the Oslo Accords to Mohammad’s treaty of Hudaybiyyah, in which he agreed to a temporary truce in order to gain time to build up his forces and then broke it to defeat his enemy, it was considered mere posturing. But he meant every word.

Many have asked the question, why did Israel not abrogate the Oslo accords and dismantle the PA after countless terror attacks, and after it had hard evidence that Arafat was sponsoring and encouraging terrorism and that weapons given by Israel to the PA were being used against Israeli civilians. One reason has always been American pressure; long after most Israelis realized that the PLO was not and would never be a partner for peace, American officials continued to believe the myth that the PLO wanted a state and would end the conflict if only Israel would make enough concessions.

But that wasn’t the only reason. In a very informative piece, Douglas Feith, who worked in the Reagan and Bush Administrations, argues that even when Israeli leaders realized that the “land for peace” deal would not happen because the PLO could not and would not end the conflict, they still continued to push for the deal because they believed that for demographic reasons, the territories were a poisoned meal that the country couldn’t digest. If a real peace deal couldn’t be obtained, then a unilateral withdrawal was the next best thing. One way or another, they wanted out of the territories. Even Ariel Sharon preferred to withdraw first and then worry about the security problems it created.

How Sharon would have managed what happened in Gaza after the unilateral withdrawal is something we will never know. We do know that his successor, Ehud Olmert tried to give away Judea and Samaria; only Mahmoud Abbas’ fears of making even a token concession to Israel, or perhaps his hopes of getting a better deal from the next US president and the UN, prevented a greater disaster than the flight from Gaza.

Unlike Olmert, Bibi has learned the lessons of Gaza and takes the security challenges seriously. And the Trump Administration’s Mideast team seems, for the first time, to be trying to develop a reality-based policy. In the past few weeks, the administration has sharply cut payments to the PA and UNRWA, the corrupt Palestinian refugee agency. It delivered a serious blow to the PLO’s honor by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the embassy, while not endorsing the Palestinian claim; and it closed the PLO’s “embassy” in Washington.

The PLO under Arafat and his successor, Abbas, has never changed its nature. From its founding as a terrorist militia in 1964, through its success as a Soviet client and its military adventures in Jordan and Lebanon, its exile to Tunisia in 1982, and its return in the guise of a legitimate authority in 1993, it has never been anything else than a weapon against the Jewish state. It has never offered anything to the Palestinians themselves except a chimerical hope of revenge.

Possibly, with the incipient end of the Abbas period and the new policy of the Trump Administration, we can finally say goodbye to the PLO – and the Arafat educational system.

The funeral for Ari Fuld will be starting in a few moments. May God avenge his blood, and make him the last victim of the hateful PLO.

Posted in 'Peace' Process, Israel and Palestinian Arabs | 2 Comments

Criticism or pathological hate?

Hating Jews is a big topic of discussion these days. They’re talking about it in the UK, where Jeremy Corbyn can’t understand why so many are making such a big deal about what he sees as merely a principle of his proposed foreign policy. And they are talking about it in the USA, where 21% of American voters said they had at least a “somewhat favorable” impression of Louis Farrakhan (that was in March, and I would be surprised if the percentage wasn’t greater today).

I should note that I’m trying to stop using the word “antisemitism,” a word invented by 19th century German Jew-hater Wilhelm Marr to make his Judenhass more scientific-sounding. Marr also wanted to express his idea that the problem with Jews was more than just a religious, economic, or national issue: it was biological, racial. Of course this implies that Jewishness cannot be fixed. Even if a Jew got himself baptized, stopped being a money-lender, had German citizenship, or served with distinction in the German army, he was still corrupt and dangerous. We all know where this idea led.

Not using “antisemitism” also has the advantage of forestalling what I’ve called The World’s Stupidest Argument, the one that goes “Arabs can’t be antisemites because they are Semites.” No need to elaborate further on this one.

Jonathan Haidt, in his very illuminating book The Righteous Mind, tells us that the mind is like a rational rider on an emotional elephant. The rider has the ability to use linguistic reasoning to come to conclusions about the best way to proceed, and can nudge the elephant in his chosen direction. But ultimately, the elephant will go where he wants. Haidt argues that in most cases our emotions determine the positions we will take on moral, political, or religious issues, and that we try to justify them after the fact by logical reasoning. This is borne out by a consideration of Jew-hatred, which has had a mind-bendingly long line of pseudo-rational arguments adduced in its favor – everything from our failure to accept the true religion (anything but Judaism), to “racial” characteristics, to the countless Jewish conspiracy theories – but which seems to be at bottom irreducibly irrational.

Jew-hatred is found on all parts of the political spectrum, both right and left, although it is especially fecund at the extremes, where conspiratorial thinking is rife. Jews are seen as weak, cowardly, and corrupt, while at the same time enormously powerful. They are simultaneously held in contempt and feared. The accusation that Jews control the weather, which seems from the outside about as reasonable as the idea that the earth is flat, makes perfect sense to those who live inside the Jew-hating conceptual scheme.

What is most interesting about it is the way it seems to have a life of its own, mutating as societies and cultures change. During the Middle Ages in Europe, the religious aspect, blood libels, and various conspiracy theories about Jewish responsibility for plagues predominated. Later, when the causes of economic cycles proved to be as mysterious as the vector of the Black Plague, the Jews were accused of conspiring to manipulate them. Darwin’s discoveries were pressed into service as support for pseudo-scientific racial Jew-hatred, which enabled it to propagate even in “enlightened” cultures where religion was not an important factor. Jews have been accused of being behind every large-scale catastrophe, from world wars to 9/11.

The Holocaust interfered with the life cycle of the “organism” that is Jew-hatred. Although there were and are many who fully approved of Hitler’s project, and even wish that he had been able to complete it and rid the world of the Jewish menace at last, the sheer horror of the industrial techniques employed by the Nazis had a stunning impact. Certainly the emotional power of Jew-hatred was great, but opposed to it were images of piles of murdered babies, living skeletons, and piles of eyeglasses, hair, and gold teeth taken from humans that had been turned into smoke.

As a result, a strong counter-force against Jew-hatred came into being. In the West, at least, it became taboo to speak explicitly of hating Jews (or indeed any distinct group) or to advocate any kind of discrimination against them, because – well, because everyone knows where that leads. This doesn’t mean that nobody still harbored the old feelings, that Jews were economic parasites, sexual predators, conspirators, and even Christ-killers, but it was considered unacceptable to publically express these thoughts or to act on them.

But as always, the organism began to mutate. If it was no longer possible to express hatred for individuals, hating a country was still allowed (indeed, many governments encouraged hatred of rival countries). And unsurprisingly, one particular country has become the target for a hatred as popular, vicious and irrational as pre-Holocaust century Jew-hatred.

The pathological anti-Zionist, like the Jew-hater, will invent history and current events so as to “establish” that the Jewish state is illegitimate, evil, and should be extirpated from the land, which anti-Zionists believe was stolen from saintly Arabs by conniving, conspiratorial Je— er, Zionists. Like Jew-haters, who could be convinced that Jews committed ritual murder just on someone’s say-so, the Israel-haters have no trouble believing that IDF soldiers deliberately shoot at Arab children for fun, despite a total lack of evidence. The most ridiculous motives and impossible crimes are routinely attributed to Israel’s government and army, and are automatically believed by the legions of obsessive anti-Zionists.

Double standards for legitimacy, conformance to international law, treatment of minorities, and proportionality of actions taken in self-defense, are applied shamelessly by pathological anti-Zionists. Crimes like genocide, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing are falsely attributed to Israel, when these are precisely what would be done to Israel’s Jewish population if the remedies (like the “return” of Arab “refugees”) espoused by the anti-Zionists were adopted. The ideals of human rights and self-determination are strictly upheld for Palestinian Arabs, but ignored for Israel’s Jews. Any behavior is excused if it is called “resistance to occupation,” but Israel is held to the highest possible standards in self-defense.

The truth is that pathological anti-Zionism – as Fred Maroun, an Arab, says – “is a hatred worse than traditional anti-Semitism – it rivals Nazi-level anti-Semitism.”

Maroun argues, and I agree, that the question of whether anti-Zionism is antisemitism is not important. Analytically, they are different things, although very often the same people who fit one description also fit the other. But pathological anti-Zionism is a form of irrational bigotry that is no less evil and reprehensible than Jew-hatred, racism, homophobia, misogyny, or any similar moral aberration.

But it’s only “criticism of Israel,” say those like Jeremy Corbyn, who is as thoroughly suffused with the illness as the Munich terrorists that he honored with a wreath.

No. It’s simple to tell the difference. The easy acceptance of the false accusations, the double standards, the dehumanization of Israelis, and the association with those who express their hatred by acts of terrorism leave little room for error. It’s not criticism. Like old-fashioned Jew-hatred, it resembles demonic possession.

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Upsetting the narrative

Do you want to know what your enemies are thinking?

Listen to what they say. Usually they won’t tell you where and when the next terrorist attack will be but they will tell you their intentions and their strategy.

Even when they lie through their teeth, as Yasser Arafat was accustomed to do when speaking in English, the truth is discoverable. You just have to shut down the wishful thinking centers in your brain and listen to their words.

Mariam Barghouti is described as a “Palestinian American writer based in Ramallah.” In a recent article published in the Forward, she explained precisely how the concept of “Palestinian refugee” functions as an integral part of the Arab project to eliminate any Jewish sovereignty between the river and the sea and establish an Arab state in the place of Israel (h/t to Jim Wald):

Because of the Nakba, there is a part of Palestinian identity that is inherently linked with being a refugee. Those who fled the Nakba are banned from their cities of origin, their identities transformed and their past covered up under the signifiers of a new culture and language that is foreign, and hides what little remains of the past.

The Palestinian refugee story is the backbone of the Palestinian struggle. It is referenced in the poems we write and in the nostalgia that comes with exile, and it is the symbol of return to a life of dignity and belonging. [my emphasis]

There is much to learn from this. First, we see that although she mentions the pre-Zionist past, it’s clear that the specifically Palestinian part of her identity grows out of the Arab struggle against Jewish sovereignty that began about 100 years ago, and whose most poignant and definitional event was the nakba, the defeat in 1948, and the flight of many of the Arab residents from what would become Israel. The poems and nostalgia to which she refers are all connected to this defeat, in what contemporary Arab voices admitted would have been another Jewish bloodbath had they won.

The families of Arabs that fled before and during Israel’s War of Independence had lived in the land for various amounts of time. Some truly could trace their lineage back to the Arab conquest, others for several hundred years, and perhaps some were even descended from Jews that stayed in their ancestral home after the Roman destruction of Judea, and converted to Islam in the 7th century. But a large number were relatively recent immigrants from the surrounding countries, who migrated to Mandate Palestine because of economic opportunities offered by the British and Zionist development of the land.

Though defeated on the battlefield, the Arab nations were not prepared to end the struggle. In a stroke of strategic genius, they refused to agree to permit any solution for the Arab refugees other than return to the territory now occupied by the State of Israel. The strategy was then translated to a masterful tactical gambit: they convinced the Western nations that dominated the UN to create and place under Arab control an agency (UNRWA), paid for by a West guilt-ridden for its perceived crimes against both Jews and Arabs. UNRWA would not only feed, clothe, and house the refugees, but would guarantee the unlimited and open-ended growth of the refugee population and its indoctrination as a force to use against the Jewish state.

Unlike other UN agencies, UNRWA was designed to perpetuate the problem, not to solve it. To ensure the maximum number of refugees, UNRWA decided that anyone who could show that he or she had resided in the land for as little as two years prior to the war and left for any reason would be counted as a refugee; and to keep the population growing, that refugee status would be inherited in perpetuity.

Although in some cases children of non-Palestinian refugees can get “derivative” refugee status, it is not passed down further. And a non-Palestinian refugee who becomes a citizen of another country loses refugee status. But Palestinians in Judea and Samaria who had Jordanian citizenship were still considered refugees. When the Palestinian Authority was established, they remained refugees; and according to PA officials, even if a state of Palestine is established, they will still be stateless refugees (until they can “return to their homes” in Israel).

What Palestinian children learn in UNRWA schools is the narrative of expulsion and struggle, and that the only acceptable solution is “return” for the approximately 5.5 million people with Palestinian refugee status. As everyone knows, this is incompatible with the existence of a Jewish state.

This is why “the Palestinian refugee story is the backbone of the Palestinian struggle,” as Barghouti writes. The narrative that is taught to the descendants of the refugees blames the Jews for all Palestinian misfortunes, leaving out the fact that the Arab nations prevented the resettlement of the refugees after the war, as was done for the Jewish refugees from Arab nations, and continue to treat them like dirt. It focuses the resentment of the Palestinian Arabs on Israel, and defines the Palestinian identity in terms of opposition to Israel.

Importantly, the narrative does not allow for compromise. If the struggle to restore the refugees and their descendants to their “rightful” homes is essential to Palestinian identity, then denying them that return is denying them their identity. If you accept the narrative – and virtually all Palestinians do – then without complete victory, they are nothing, nobody.

I have argued and will continue to argue against those who insist that there is no Palestinian people, just a motley group of Arabs with no unique language, religion or culture. There is a Palestinian people, but it is not a remnant of ancient Canaanites. It is a group that has coalesced quite recently, perhaps as recently as the 1960s, when large numbers of Arabs began to self-identify as “Palestinians.” The Palestinian people was forged by the conflict with the Jews in the past 100 years, developing a unique culture different from that of Jordanians or Syrians, a culture in which – as Barghouti says – the story of the refugees is central.

What distinguishes Palestinian culture is its bottomless reservoir of resentment and hate for the Jews of Israel, a resentment so great and so pervasive that young children are encouraged to stone and stab Jews to death, and treated as heroes when they succeed in committing murder. It is a culture that doesn’t recognize any degree of responsibility for its problems, which are all attributed to others (Western colonialism, the Jews, Arab leaders, the US, and so on). This is not a healthy culture, and its narrative is anything but truthful.

But by cutting funding to UNRWA, the intended instrument of  Israel’s destruction, and by “stripping [the Palestinians] of their narrative,” as Barghouti says, Donald Trump is contributing to ending a historic injustice against both Israel and the Palestinian “refugees,” who have been denied the opportunity to create a real national identity by having the nakba narrative rammed down their throats.

If there will ever be a reconciliation between the Jews and Arabs in the region it can only happen with the replacement of the story of Palestinian victimization, along with the murderousness it engenders, with a true historical narrative.

***

To my readers: best wishes for a happy and healthy new year. Shana tova umetuka!

Posted in Israel and Palestinian Arabs | 3 Comments

Why we are so happy (and the staff of Ha’aretz is not)

Who is rich? He who is happy with what he has. – Shimon ben Zoma (2nd century CE)

As the new year approaches, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released its annual report. It contained the astonishing detail that 89% of Israelis – including Jews, Arabs, and other minorities – say they are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their lives.

This is the case despite the fact that everyone believes that we are on the verge of what promises to be a bloody war with Iran and its proxies, and that despite the vaunted success of the Israeli economy, some 31% of Israelis have trouble “finishing the month” – their income fails to cover their expenses. It is the case despite the high cost of living, especially the cost of housing, and despite the fact that of all 37 OECD countries, Israel has the largest share (19.5%) of her population earning less than 50% of the median income. Most Israelis aren’t rich, many are poor, and the amount of money (public and private) allocated to the social safety net is comparatively small.

But this isn’t a fluke. The 2018 World Happiness Report (WHR) came out in March, and like the last few years Israel was in 11th place out of 117 countries (the US came in 18th). The ratings are based on survey respondents’ subjective evaluation of how happy they are.

Israelis prove they are happy in other ways, too. The fertility rate of 3.1 children per woman is by far the highest in the OECD.  The number of Israelis that left the country for a year or more was the lowest since 1990. I’ve often heard that Israelis take out their considerable frustrations on each other when driving, but surprisingly the rate of injuries or deaths per million from road accidents is among the lowest in the developed world.

So what is the explanation?

Obviously, there are some things that are necessary, though not sufficient, for a happy population. Israel has a decent, relatively inexpensive health care system. The educational system is generally acceptable, although not outstanding, based on test results. Unemployment is low. There is poverty, but not starvation. But none of this stands out among developed nations.

The answer lies in the social structure, the relationships between people and their families, and the individual’s feeling about his or her place in the world.

The WHR evaluates six factors: per capita GDP, healthy life expectancy, social support, generosity, freedom to make life choices, and perception of corruption. Then it attempts to correlate them to the reported perception of happiness. In some cases (e.g., Singapore and Hong Kong), the correlation between the six factors and reported happiness is high; in others, like Israel and some Latin American countries, there is a larger “residual” component of happiness: in other words, people are happier than one would expect, given their circumstances. Something else explains why people in those countries are happy.

The WHR discusses the special case of Latin America, noting that “…high happiness in Latin America is neither an anomaly nor an oddity. It is explained by the abundance of family warmth and other supportive social relationships” which counterbalance to some extent the negative influence of low income and high rates of crime and corruption. Their data suggests that Latin American cultures emphasize close and long relationships between immediate and extended family members and close friends, while civic and political connections are relatively weak. This is also the case in more traditional Jewish and Arab cultures here in Israel.

But there’s more to it. Despite the perception that Israelis are a rude, pushy bunch, there is actually a large degree of consideration for others in everyday life, especially if someone perceives that another person, even a stranger, is in trouble. Alongside the real phenomenon of Palestinian terrorism, there are also cases of Jews and Arabs helping one another. Possibly there can even be an excess of empathy, as when the government is forced by public pressure to exchange hundreds or a thousand murderous terrorists for one or two hostages.

Rogel Alpher, the post-Zionist Ha’aretz staffer whose specialty seems to be supercilious bleating about how Israel doesn’t live up to his moral standards and atheist sensibility, has argued that the happiness of Israelis comes from their being in engaged in a long-term war. It’s having a common enemy that gives us a warm feeling about our country, he says.

In addition to this being enormously offensive to victims of terrorism, his argument doesn’t account for the happiness reported by Arab citizens of Israel, which was somewhat less than that of Jews, but still remarkably high. Perhaps some of the Arabs have looked over their shoulders at Gaza and the Palestinian Authority (not to mention Syria) and decided, although they would never admit it, that there could be worse things than living a Jewish state. The fact is that Israel, over all, is a good place to live for Jews, and even for Arabs.

Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that the pressures of the conflict drive us – at least within the Jewish and Arab cultures – closer together, even while it separates the cultures from each other.

Ben Zoma might have said that happiness is closely related to gratitude to Hashem. The bitter post-Zionists like Alpher and his Ha’aretz colleagues practically ooze ingratitude, to Hashem for giving the Jewish people another chance at the Land of Israel, and to those who gave their lives so that we could realize this gift. No wonder they are so unhappy!

Posted in Israeli Society | 2 Comments

A few questions for our leaders about the next war

Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more. – George S. Patton

The idea that a war can be won by standing on the defensive and waiting for the enemy to attack is a dangerous fallacy, which owes its inception to the desire to evade the price of victory. – Douglas Haig

Without a plan, there’s no attack. Without attack, no victory. – Curtis Armstrong

***

It has recently been reported that Iran is deploying ballistic missiles in Iraq, and is even manufacturing them there. And it seems that every few days we read about another Israeli strike in Syria against a shipment of advanced weapons to Hezbollah. The Russians have in the past said that Iran shouldn’t be allowed to establish a permanent military presence in Syria, but they have recently walked this back and are suggesting that it is legitimate after all. The US is already sanctioning Iran, but has no further leverage short of military intervention, which is highly unlikely.

Military analyst J. E. Dyer argues that the new developments are a part of Iran’s strategic plan to obtain a land corridor across Iraq and Syria to the Mediterranean that will directly threaten Israel. Of course the ballistic missiles also threaten other Iranian targets, such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and American forces in the region.

Iran is trying hard to provide components to convert the 130,000 relatively dumb rockets already deployed by Hezbollah in South Lebanon into precision guided missiles that can hit specific targets in Israel, such as military bases and high-value civilian infrastructure. It is also building factories in Syria to manufacture such missiles.

A Hezbollah attack will not just be rockets next time. They plan to cross the border and kill or kidnap Israeli civilians, and to attack Israel’s offshore gas platforms.

Iran is also helping Hamas improve its fighting capabilities. And it is very carefully and incrementally pursuing the ability to make nuclear weapons.

The Iranians, like the good chess-players that they are, are playing for position. They are careful to stay away from direct clashes, satisfied to get all their pieces into place before drawing their swords. Nevertheless there is no doubt of their objectives: to dominate the region and ultimately create a Shiite caliphate, to push out the remnants of US influence, to gain control of the Mideast oil supply (which can be wielded as a powerful weapon against the West), and to destroy Israel, which is both offensive to their Islamic sensibilities and a practical obstacle to all of their other plans.

None of this is hidden. It is known in Jerusalem, Riyadh, Washington, and everywhere else. J. E. Dyer has been writing about it for years. Benjamin Netanyahu has given dozens of speeches about it, even one to a joint session of the US Congress.

So here are my questions for Israeli Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, PM Netanyahu, and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman:

How long do you want to wait?

Do you have some intelligence that someone is about to overthrow the revolutionary regime? Do you believe that the real source of power in Iran, the Revolutionary Guards, can be dislodged and Iran converted from an aggressive, expansionist, terror-exporting nation to a peaceful neighbor to the rest of the Middle East?

If not, do you think the regime will be destroyed by the American sanctions? Or isn’t it more likely that it will continue to be able to divert resources from its civilian population to preparations for war indefinitely?

Do you think the US will go to war for us? Donald Trump has been a friend to Israel, but there’s a limit to what you can expect from a friend. Both he and his base, not to mention the opposition, have made it clear that they are not interested in another Mideast war.

Trump is an ally, and we would receive material and diplomatic support from the US in the event of war. But how long will he remain in power? The most vicious political opposition that I’ve seen in America in my lifetime is gunning for him. Maybe he will have a second term, and maybe he won’t finish his first. But one thing that is certain is that when (not if) the other side takes over, there will be a massive backlash against all of his policies, and that includes support for Israel. So do you want to wait for President John Kerry, Michelle Obama, Cory Booker, or Elizabeth Warren?

We know that Iran is preparing the ground for a nuclear breakout. Do you have confidence that we can predict precisely when that will be?

What, if anything, do you think is going to happen in the next months and years that will improve our strategic position against Iran? Or is the balance shifting in Iran’s direction?

Do you want to fight on their terms, at a time of their choosing, or on ours? Do you prefer absorbing a 1973-style sneak attack or would you rather knock out the enemy’s offensive capability in a 1967-like preemptive strike?

Admittedly, that last question is unfair. It’s unlikely that an Israeli preemptive attack today could come close to replicating the success of the one in 1967. The Iranian enemy is far more militarily sophisticated and its assets are better hardened and dispersed. Israel wouldn’t be able do what it did in 1967. But it could dramatically shorten the war and reduce the damage the enemy could do. On the other hand, a sneak attack by Iran and its proxies might be even more traumatic for Israel than 1973. The element of surprise is a great advantage. Why would we give it up to them?

So here is my last question:

Will you cut off the head of the snake before or after it has buried its fangs in our flesh?

Posted in Iran, War | 6 Comments