Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
L'institut Canadien de Recherches sur le Judaisme
Strength of Israel will not lie

Month: April 2012

WHILE SYRIA BURNS, OBAMA USES HOLOCAUST MUSEUM TO DEFEND ABDICATION

“About a month ago the European Union, showing it will not be trifled with, barred Bashar al-Assad’s wife, Asma, and other women in his immediate family from shopping for luxury goods in Europe. For some reason, going cold turkey on Dior, Armani and Prada failed to bring down the Assad regime or to end its vicious attacks on the civilian population. Now the Europeans, presumably with the staunch support of the Obama administration, have imposed an across-the-board ban on the sale of luxury goods to Syria—and yet, somehow, the killing continues.

The imposition of the luxury goods ban was cited in a New York Times editorial with all the solemnity usually reserved for naval blockades—as good an example of any of how we have gone to dreamland. In the dream, a vicious dictator, fighting for his own and his family’s lives, will somehow come to the bargaining table because he is down to his last Montblanc pen.…

Both the Syrian people and the Assad clan suffer—the former deprived of life and liberty and the latter of this season’s latest shoes.”—Richard Cohen, in “The Luxury We Don’t Have in Syria.” (Washington Post, April 23.)

AMERICA’S SYRIA ABDICATION
Fouad Ajami

Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2012

Antakya, Turkey

Little more than a year into their terrible ordeal, the Syrians are a people unillusioned. “We have been forsaken by the world,” a noted figure of the opposition recently told me in Istanbul.

Days later, in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Antakya, in a tent city a stone’s throw from their tormented homeland, ordinary Syrians reiterate the same message. The ongoing Kofi Annan diplomacy and United Nations-brokered “cease-fire” are seen for what they are—an alibi for the abdication of Western powers, and a lifeline for the regime.…

In the Syria deliberations, deliverance is always around the corner. American diplomacy is always on the verge of making Russia see its way to the proper path. In these tortured discussions, there is no end to finesse and to the parsing of things.

Syria is not Libya, the Obama officials opine. Homs is not Benghazi, they note. The air defenses of Syria are thick when compared with those of Libya, the army of the Damascus regime is mightier. And then there is the mother of all alibis—the borders of Syria are more sensitive, and they preclude a rescue operation akin to the one that delivered the Libyans from the grip of their tyrant.

The truth is that the air defense system of the Syrians can be dismantled with ease. And that mighty army of the House of Assad? The Syrians refer to it as jaysh abu shahatta (the army in slippers). The Sunni recruits are worn out, terrified and underfed, thrown into assignments they abhor and dread—the killing of their fellow Sunnis. As for those sensitive borders, they are, if anything, a warrant for a NATO operation against this rogue regime. In this sense, Syria is not Libya. It’s much more important.

Grant the Assad tyranny its due, it has succeeded in turning its fight for its privileges and dominion into a poisonous religious schism. There may have been Alawis who opposed Bashar al-Assad and his ruthless regime, but this season of killing has turned them into Basharists. The Assads have convinced them that the fall of the regime is a catastrophe for the Alawis as a whole.

Never mind that the Alawis are not doctrinally Shiites. That fine distinction has been lost in the storm. The lines are now drawn in the crudest of ways: an embattled regime of schismatics in Damascus backed by Iran, the Shiite Hezbollah in Beirut, and (shamefully) a Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad against the Sunni majority of Syria and their sympathizers in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the smaller states of the Gulf.…

The defining truth of this struggle is the abdication of the Obama administration. For a year now, American officials have skillfully run out the clock. They made much of the authority of the U.N. Security Council when any model U.N. team in any high school would have predicted the vetoes of Russia and China. It was clear that the Obama administration did not want to arm the opposition for fear of “escalating” the conflict.

But behind the scenes there was a darker play: American officials have resisted and discouraged other players from providing crucial aid to the rebellion. The newly emancipated Libyans had crates of weapons and were keen to dispatch them to the Syrian rebels. But according to the Syrian opposition leader I spoke to in Istanbul, they were discouraged from doing so by American officials. Arab diplomats from the Gulf states confirm the same pattern of American obstructionism.…

Suspicions that the U.S. doesn’t really want to see the fall of the Assad regime have taken hold in the region. In the charitable version, the policy toward Syria is hostage to the electoral needs of President Obama—stasis is to be the order of things until November. The president has no interest in truly taking on the Iranian regime, so Syria twists in the wind.

There is enough outrage—and resources—in the region to bring down the regime in Damascus if and when an American decision to do so is made. And there are two borders, the Jordanian and the Turkish, from which a determined effort could be made. A no-fly, no-drive zone on the border with Turkey would critically alter the terms of engagement and encourage greater defections from the regime’s forces. Everyone is waiting on Washington’s green light and its leadership.… Importantly, none of the proposals for Syria’s rescue call for American boots on the ground.…

In the long run, this [Assad] regime is doomed. But that is hardly consolation to an outgunned rebellion. We shouldn’t be waiting on a Syrian Srebrenica before the regime is pushed into its grave. It is a waste of time—and of precious lives—to buy into a wishful diplomacy that maintains that a few hundred U.N. observers will ward off the evils of a merciless sectarian tyranny.

(Fouad Ajami is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.)

WHERE U.N. MONITORS GO IN SYRIA, KILLINGS FOLLOW
Editorial

Washington Post, April 25, 2012

So far, a U.N. monitoring mission in Syria has had one tangible effect: It has gotten people killed. On Sunday and Monday [of last week], monitors toured neighborhoods in the city of Homs and in the Damascus suburbs of Doura and Zabadani. When they left, the areas they visited were shelled, and security forces carried out sweeps in which civilians suspected of speaking to the monitors were taken from their homes and shot or had their houses burned down.…

How did [U.N. envoy to Syria Kofi] Annan and the Security Council react to these horrific reports? By urging the deployment of more monitors. “There is a chance to expand and consolidate the cessation of violence,” Mr. Annan [said].… “Observers not only see what is going on, but their presence has the potential to change the political dynamics.”

Those words well captured the delusion of Mr. Annan and those who support his diplomacy. There has been no “cessation of violence”; numerous Syrians have been killed every day since the supposed U.N. cease-fire went into effect April 1.… The observers are not “changing dynamics” but providing cover and even targets for the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Yet even when faced with stark facts like the reprisal killings in Homs, the ambassadors sound unfazed: “Targeting by Syrian regime of those speaking w/UN monitors outrageous but not unexpected,” tweeted the Obama administration’s U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice. This raises two questions: If such atrocities were predictable, why did the United States vote to send the U.N. monitors to Syria? And why does it support their continued deployment?

The evident answer is that the Obama administration, like its “partners” on the Security Council, wishes to be seen as doing something to stop the bloodshed in Syria without having to commit resources or exert leadership. Sadly, this is far from the first such failure. In a blog at Foreign Policy’s Web site, Michael Dobbs has been documenting the eerie resemblances between the United Nations’ handling of Syria and its history in Bosnia—where an attempt to stop attacks on civilians by dispatching lightly armed peacekeepers in the 1990s led to the worst massacre in postwar European history.…

It’s bad enough that the Obama administration refuses to learn the lessons of previous failures. More galling is its claim that it has made the prevention of atrocities a priority—as Mr. Obama did [last week] in announcing the creation of an “atrocities prevention board.” “We see the Syrian people subjected to unspeakable violence, simply for demanding their universal rights,” he said. “And we have to do everything we can.”

Is sending unarmed monitors to besieged cities and shrugging when the people they visit are murdered everything the United States can do? Even in an election year, the answer has to be no.

WHILE SYRIA BURNS
Charles Krauthammer

National Review, April 26, 2012

Last year, President Obama ordered U.S. intervention in Libya under the grand new doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect.” Moammar Gaddafi was threatening a massacre in Benghazi. To stand by and do nothing “would have been a betrayal of who we are,” explained the president.

In the year since, the government of Syria has more than threatened massacres. It has carried them out. Nothing hypothetical about the disappearances, executions, indiscriminate shelling of populated neighborhoods. More than 9,000 are dead.

Obama has said that we cannot stand idly by. And what has he done? Stand idly by.

Yes, we’ve imposed economic sanctions. But as with Iran, the economic squeeze has not altered the regime’s behavior. [Last] Monday’s announced travel and financial restrictions on those who use social media to track down dissidents is a pinprick. No Disney World trips for the chiefs of the Iranian and Syrian security agencies. And they might now have to park their money in Dubai instead of New York. That’ll stop ‘em.

Obama’s other major announcement—at Washington’s Holocaust Museum, no less—was the creation of an Atrocities Prevention Board.

I kid you not. A board. Russia flies plane loads of weapons to Damascus. Iran supplies money, trainers, agents, more weapons. And what does America do? Supports a feckless U.N. peace mission that does nothing to stop the killing.… And establishes an Atrocities Prevention Board.

With multi-agency participation, mind you. The liberal faith in the power of bureaucracy and flowcharts, of committees and reports, is legend. But this is parody.…

[Obama’s] case for passivity is buttressed by the implication that the only alternative to inaction is military intervention—bombing, boots on the ground. But that’s false. It’s not the only alternative. Why aren’t we organizing, training, and arming the Syrian rebels in their sanctuaries in Turkey? Nothing unilateral here. Saudi Arabia is already planning to do so. Turkey has turned decisively against Assad. And the French are pushing for even more direct intervention.

Instead, Obama insists that we can only act with support of the “international community,” meaning the U.N. Security Council—where Russia and China have a permanent veto. By what logic does the moral legitimacy of U.S. action require the blessing of a thug like Vladimir Putin and the butchers of Tiananmen Square?

Our slavish, mindless self-subordination to “international legitimacy” does nothing but allow Russia—a pretend post-Soviet superpower—to extend a protective umbrella over whichever murderous client it chooses. Obama has all but announced that Russia (or China) has merely to veto international actions—sanctions, military assistance, direct intervention—and the U.S. will back off.

For what reason? Not even President Clinton, a confirmed internationalist, would acquiesce to such restraints. With Russia prepared to block U.N. intervention against its client, Serbia, Clinton saved Kosovo by summoning NATO to bomb the hell out of Serbia, the Russians be damned.

If Obama wants to stay out of Syria, fine. Make the case that it’s none of our business. That it’s too hard. That we have no security/national interests there.

In my view, the evidence argues against that, but at least a coherent case for hands off could be made. That would be an honest, straightforward policy. Instead, the president, basking in the sanctity of the Holocaust Museum, proclaims his solemn allegiance to a doctrine of responsibility—even as he stands by and watches Syria burn.…

THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING
Lee Smith

Weekly Standard, April 24, 2012

[Last week], the White House’s Atrocities Prevention Board held its first meeting. Chaired by National Security Council staffer Samantha Power, author of A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide, the board will “coordinate action across the entire government on stopping genocide and liaise with the NGO community.”

But even with the best of intentions, boards and committees—and NGOs—do not stop men with guns determined to slaughter. This much should be obvious, even to an administration that thinks there is some purpose to Arab League or U.N. monitors giving witness to the bloodshed in Syria. Surely the White House knows that testimony is not going to slow down Bashar al-Assad’s killing machine. No, it seems that more bureaucracy—the Atrocities Prevention Board—is simply how this administration institutionalizes indifference in the face of mass murder.

At a ceremony [last week] at the Holocaust Museum, Elie Wiesel cut straight to the point. He asked president Obama: “how is it that Assad is still in power?” Wiesel continued: “Have we not learned?…”

Dithering is perhaps the kindest description of the administration’s Syria policy. First, the Obama administration complained that the opposition is too fragmented. How could it support them if it didn’t know whom to back? Then, the White House warned the opposition not to take up weapons, lest it forfeit international support it had earned by walking through Assad’s killing fields unarmed. So what if they were tortured, raped, and murdered? According to administration officials, the revolutionaries still had, as [Secretary of State] Clinton said, the “moral high ground”—as long as they were killed without fighting back.

Next, the administration worried that al Qaeda had infiltrated the opposition. At the behest of the White House, U.S. intelligence officials briefed the press about Sunni radicals who might have been orchestrating attacks on Syrian government installations. The briefings seem to have conveniently elided the fact that it was the Syrian government who had cultivated, and in some cases supported and armed, those al Qaeda elements in the first place.

If only the Syrian opposition would just give up! After all, there’s an election to be won and this president is about getting the U.S. out of the Middle East—even if it means losing an opportunity to advance American vital interests by helping to bring down Iran’s chief regional ally. Besides, it’s not all about nations and national interests. As Obama said recently, in explaining why the administration isn’t going to do anything serious to stop Assad, “You don’t just count on officials; you don’t just count on governments. You count on people mobilizing their conscience.…”

The administration’s Syria policy should serve as a wake-up call to the Israelis. The administration says it has Israel’s back regarding the Iranian nuclear weapons program, but its position on Syria makes it clear that the White House is willing to look the other way. Obama has shown he is capable of doing nothing to help those under fire, even when there are national interests at stake and we share common adversaries—with Israel it’s Iran, with the Syrian opposition it’s Assad, a man who has facilitated the murder of American troops and targeted U.S. allies over the last decade.

For Israelis, the lesson in self-reliance is derived from the Holocaust—don’t count on others to protect you because history is evidence that they won’t. The Holocaust was the pretext for Obama’s remarks on Syria, and for Americans, the speech should serve as a wake-up call. Either we stand with our allies and for ourselves and our interests, or we can tell ourselves beautiful fictions about our consciences when we just can’t be bothered to tell the truth.

SPECIAL ISSUE: PERSPECTIVES ON ISRAEL AT 64—BACKGROUNDS & FOREGROUNDS

ISRAEL’S MIRACULOUS JOURNEY
Joel Lion

Gazette, April 26, 2012

Think “Israel” and what comes to mind? It’s a good question to ask on Israel’s Independence Day.…

The first thing most readers will think of is my country’s decades-long conflict with the Palestinians. To others, the mere mention of Israel conjures up images of a mystic land promised to the Israelites by…God himself. And some see Israel as an exotic land somewhere far, far away—a place where nomadic tribes shepherd their camels through dunes as far as the eye can see.

When I think of Israel, I see my home, a land that is as vibrant and diverse as it is creative. Every time I land at Ben Gurion Airport after a long sojourn abroad, I am amazed at how much Israel has changed in my own lifetime.

From our humble rebirth in the tragic aftermath of the Holocaust, we have, in just 64 years, evolved from a largely agrarian nation of the Third World to a developed nation. Whereas Israel was once the land of Jaffa oranges and raisins, today it is—as one New York Times bestseller coined it—the “Start-up Nation,” the land of Intel microchips and nanotechnology.

In just over six decades, our population has grown more than ninefold, from roughly 800,000 in 1948 to just over 7.8 million today. With immigrants and refugees from 120 countries and an Arab minority numbering about 20 per cent of the population, Israelis are proud to celebrate our different ethnic backgrounds, languages and traditions. We are equally proud of our country’s thriving democracy and robust society.

These strides are all the more remarkable if one examines just how far we have come in the last 20 years. Since the 1990s, our economy has grown by 270 per cent, despite global economic downturns, a deadly five-year terror campaign that claimed the lives of more than 1,000 Israelis and two major wars with the terrorist Hezbollah and Hamas in Lebanon and Gaza respectively.

During the last five years alone, Israel’s economy has grown 21 per cent, the second highest rate of any nation in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and unemployment is at its lowest ever at 5.4 per cent. If all goes well, the recent discovery of large natural-gas reserves in the Mediterranean Sea should see Israel go from a resourceless nation to a net exporter of fuel by 2018.

These leaps have been nothing short of miraculous. Yet much of the world continues to relate to my country through the negative headlines they read, our longstanding conflict with the Palestinians and other neighbouring states and stereotypes that distort reality. That is why we must broaden public discourse to encompass what Israel really is: an innovative nation that has much to offer.

This is especially true in today’s context as the Middle East continues to undergo a tumultuous transformation that no one knows the outcome of. Iran continues to enrich uranium in its quest for nuclear weapons, while the Assad regime is slaughtering civilians in Syria. Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt, meanwhile, is threatened by the growing clout of fundamentalist groups in that country, and the Palestinian leadership continues to opt for unilateralism over a return to the negotiating table.

This is tragic—not only for Israelis, who continue to face the prospect of terrorism and conflict with our neighbours, but also for Palestinians, who have spent much of the last six decades trying to destroy our country instead of building the institutions and civil society that would lead to the creation of their own state.

Still, the last few years have seen notable signs of progress. The easing of travel restrictions and the dismantling of roadblocks have allowed the Palestinian economy to flourish into one of the fastest-growing in the world, and law and order has returned to the West Bank. One major obstacle, however, remains: as long as Hamas continues to wage terrorist attacks and refuses to recognize Israel, the Palestinians will be divided and peace will remain a mirage.

Israel shares the Palestinian people’s dream of statehood. That dream, however, must be based on the principle of two states for two peoples—one state for the Jewish people and another for the Palestinian people—and not of one state on the ashes of the other.

The first step is to sit down face to face. If Israel has accomplished so much in 64 years without peace, just think what Israelis, Palestinians and the region as a whole could accomplish with it.

(Joel Lion is consul general of Israel to Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.)

The following is a press release issued by the International Christian
Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ)—Canada
, titled “Something got left out of the CBS ‘Sixty Minutes’ documentary on Palestinian Christians.”

A question NOT asked by the champions of gotcha television who put together the item on the situation of Palestinian Christians that aired on the CBS ‘Sixty Minutes’ programme on Sunday April 22, was this fairly obvious one: Why are Christians fleeing from every corner of the globe INTO Israel?

Israel is the only polity in the entire Middle East in which Christian numbers are growing absolutely. They have in fact increased 400 percent since 1948. Today there are about 163,000 Christians in Israel—about 2.1% of the total population of around 7 million. This number is growing as Christians flee into Israel from all the nearby African states, such as Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and beyond. They are fleeing also from the states of the former Soviet Empire and from Muslim-majority communities around the world.

Incidentally, the Muslim population of Israel is also growing—from 100,000 in 1948 to 900,000 today—from 9.5% of the whole in 1948 to 14.8%. These Muslims vote in Israeli elections and have always held a significant role in the brokering of interests that go into forming Israeli governments. How can this reality be squared with the Arab cartoon-denunciation of life under the Israeli boot? It would have been good to hear correspondent Bob Simon ask this.

Among many other realities that were overlooked is that Israel does not rule in the Palestine Authority. The Palestine Authority does. The State of Israel does assume responsibility for keeping individuals dedicated to the liquidation of the Jews out of the Jewish state. Some of these are local Palestinians; others are Muslim zealots who have come to the bosom of the PA on commission from al-Qaeda, from Iran, from Hezbollah and other terrorists organizations. The [security] wall is certainly an eyesore, and inevitably it has made life…more difficult.… But it has served its purpose: since it was completed, loss of civilian lives by terrorist deeds has been reduced by at least 80%.

Since 1995, all aspects of daily life in the PA—economic policy, legal realities, schooling, and so on—are presided over by the Palestine Authority. Simultaneously, persecution of Palestinian Christians by Palestinian Arabs has increased—a circumstance attested to without exception by all disinterested journalists and qualified scholars.… The best clue to what life is like under that benign aegis is that between 1995 and 2004, 45,000 Arabs moved out of the PA and into Israel and that of this number four to one were Christians.…

With their feet, the Christian Arabs and a goodly portion of Muslim Arabs are declaring their preference for Jewish rule over Muslim-Arab rule. They are not alone in this: Throughout the Middle East, Christian populations have been declining steadily and dramatically for over a century. Of the handful of Christian communities still extant at the beginning of this century, most of these have been moved out of intensive care and onto their death-beds. Since the beginning of the Arab Spring, an estimated one-third to one-half of the Christian population of Iraq has been displaced from cities and towns where they have lived for centuries.… Many of these are now resident in Israel. In Egypt, 100,000 have already left.…

The bottom line (says Giulio Meotti, who is among the best informed European scholars of this phenomenon), “The Christian era in the Middle East is over.” Everywhere, that is, except in Israel. The one feature that distinguishes Israel from all these other nations is that the former is the nation-state of the Jews, governed by Jewish laws, its government and other institutions reflecting Jewish character. As for all the others, Jews are either totally absent—800,00 of them having been driven out by Muslim mobs following the 1948 war—or present today only in miniscule numbers and living under constant threat of extinction.

The premise governing the Sixty Minutes script was that the flight of Christians from the Holy Land is owing to intolerable conditions imposed upon the Palestinian Arabs by Israeli rule.… Why then is all the traffic out of the lands where Arabs rule and into the only corner of the world in which Jews rule?

(CIJR wishes to recognize the invaluable pro-Israel work of its Academic Council
member Paul C. Merkley, an
ICEJ Canada Board Director and Professor Emeritus
in History at Carleton University. Prof. Merkley is the author of several scholarly books
on Christians and Israel, most recently
Those That Bless You I Will Bless:
Christian Zionism in Historical Perspective.)

ANNE FRANK BROUGHT TO LIFE
Ruth Franklin

New Republic, April 18, 2012

The video lasts all of twenty seconds. We see the doorway of a nondescript apartment building, several stories high, and neighbors above peering curiously down. A newlywed couple proceed down the steps: The groom wears a top hat and formal suit, the bride carries a lavish bouquet. The camera pans up, and there she is, leaning out of a second-floor balcony, instantly recognizable.

It’s Anne Frank: Her mop of thick dark hair, her angular features. She looks down at the bride and groom—she turns her head to call to someone inside—she looks out again. The footage is too grainy to be sure, but it looks like she’s smiling.

This video was posted on YouTube by the Anne Frank House, which identifies it as the only known footage of the future diarist, taken in 1941, the year before she and her family went into hiding. It has been viewed more than three million times.… Comments poured in, in half a dozen languages. One [individual] wrote that watching the video reminded him of Orpheus looking back at Eurydice: We see Anne for a moment as if alive, only to lose her again.…

To readers of the Diary—and which of us is not among them?—the video is all the more affecting because it shows Anne doing something that she could never do in hiding, something that she longed to do: the simple act of looking out the window.… [Click HERE to view the video.]

THE MAN WHO BATTLED ISRAEL’S MOST FORMIDABLE ENEMY—
THE MOSQUITO
Matti Friedman

Times of Israel, April 25, 2012

Ninety-two years ago, a diminutive and determined young scientist stepped from a boat onto a “notoriously malarious” patch of Levantine land and into the middle of a losing war against a tiny, deadly enemy ravaging the population.

Israel Kligler—university professor, Zionist and public health pioneer—played an outsize role in defeating malaria in Palestine beginning in the 1920s. Countering the mosquito-borne disease was not a minor medical success but a crucial victory that paved the way for the growth of Jewish settlement and the eventual establishment of the State of Israel.…

Born in what is now Romania in 1888, Kligler moved with his parents to New York City when he was 9. In 1920, having completed a doctorate in public health in New York and research on malaria in South America, he gave up a promising academic career in the US and arrived instead in British-ruled Palestine, committed to putting his scientific knowledge at the service of the Zionist project.

He found a land devastated by malaria. The illness was, a British report said in 1921, “by far the most important disease in Palestine.” Much of the territory Jews had purchased for settlement was in lowlands infested with malaria—that was one of the main reasons it was available—and the disease was decimating the ranks of the Zionist pioneers and the country’s other inhabitants. Some settlements had been abandoned altogether as a result.…

“There is little doubt that the static condition of Palestine during the last several centuries is due almost entirely to malaria,” Kligler himself wrote a decade after his arrival.… “One sees large stretches of richly watered, potentially cultivable land inhabited only by a few Bedouin tribes, all infected with malaria, and eking out a precarious existence from the proceeds of baskets made of marsh reeds, and from the milk of buffaloes which wallow in the marshes.” If the Zionist project was to succeed, this had to change.

At the time, malaria was treated chiefly by administering quinine tablets, made from the bark of the South American cinchona tree. “Keep quinine at work, at home and on a journey,” new immigrants were urged by a message printed on the back of Palestine entry permits.… “The mosquito is your enemy,” read the text. “Try to stay away from it.”

This wasn’t working, and Kligler had a different idea: Efforts needed to concentrate not on humans but on the mosquitoes, and malaria could be not only endured but eliminated. The Malaria Research Institute that Kligler helped set up, which eventually had hundreds of workers, began draining marshes and spraying areas where they found concentrations of larvae. He developed ways of dealing with the different kinds of mosquitoes, and thought up methods like periodically changing the direction of water flow in an irrigation canal to eliminate the mosquito population breeding inside.…

The results were striking. In Jerusalem, for example, according to British statistics, 633 people were treated for the disease in 1923. The following year, the number had dropped to 347. Four years after that, in 1928, the number was 16.

In 1925, the League of Nations Health Organization—the precursor of today’s World Health Organization—sent its Malaria Commission to Palestine; a resurgence of the disease in Europe after the First World War had made it a pressing concern. The members of the commission met Kligler and were struck by the success of his program.

The anti-malaria work in Palestine, the commission wrote in its final report, “by destroying pessimism, raising hopes, and, when the time is ripe, by providing us with much useful experience, becomes a welcome and invaluable addition to practical malariology, and the men who carried it out can be regarded as benefactors not only to the Palestinian population but to the world as a whole.”

As a direct result of the campaign, land that had previously been considered barely inhabitable could be settled. By the time Kligler died in 1944, at age 55, the disease was in steep decline. By 1967, Israel had been declared entirely free of malaria.

At the time of his death, Kligler was a known figure. “In Prof. I. Kligler’s untimely death,” wrote Hadassah Hospital’s newsletter in 1944, “the Yishuv and the Land lost not only a man of action and ability, but first and foremost a committed and faithful Zionist.…”

BIBI’S POLITICAL FOREFATHER?
Jordan Chandler Hirsch

Tablet, April 20, 2012

Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky—the iconoclastic founder of Zionism’s right-wing Revisionist party and the scourge of David Ben-Gurion—died eight years before Israel’s birth, left to history as his peers went on to glory. But now Jabotinsky is back in the headlines thanks to pundits who see his philosophy reflected in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies.

The argument goes something like this: Beyond the obvious political lineage—the Likud party is the successor to Herut, which was the successor to Jabotinsky’s revisionist faction—Netanyahu’s personal history traces directly back to Jabotinsky. Benzion Netanyahu, the prime minister’s father, was Jabotinsky’s disciple and private secretary. The elder Netanyahu said as recently as 2009 that the Arabs’ existence “is one of perpetual war” and argued that Israel should beat back any hint of Palestinian nationalism with the threat of “enormous suffering.” He passed these beliefs on to his son, and, ergo, Bibi Netanyahu, like Jabotinsky, is a brutal, racist, territorial maximalist who brooks no compromise in his desire to protect the Jewish state by crushing the Arabs.

In February, Roger Cohen wrote in the New York Times that Netanyahu was “raised in the Jabotinsky strain of Zionism by a father who viewed Arabs as ‘semi-barbaric.’” Andrew Sullivan, in his review of Peter Beinart’s book The Crisis of Zionism, argued that Netanyahu’s policy in Gaza and the West Bank, seen in light of Jabotinsky’s influence, “makes more sense.… It’s a conscious relentless assault on the lives of Palestinians to immiserate them to such an extent that they flee.”

But these critics must have forgotten their history. Even a glance at Jabotinsky’s writings suggests that the Zionist pioneer was not the warmongering bigot that these pundits make him out to be. Consider the three main charges commonly brought against him:

1. Jabotinsky was a racist.

Most early Zionist leaders either did not recognize or refused to publicly acknowledge the depth of Arab nationalism and opposition to a Jewish state. They dismissed Arab violence as isolated rabble rousing and thought that adequate jobs and money would quell it. In 1921, for example, Ben-Gurion said that Arab rioters were “wildmen” and “thieves” not driven by anti-Zionist ideology, but by their leaders. Fifteen years later—likely for strategic reasons—he wrote that “the majority of the Arab population knows that Jewish immigration…[is] bringing prosperity.… Their self-interest…is not in conflict with Jewish immigration…but in perfect harmony with it.”

Jabotinsky thought that this view was nonsense. “To think that the Arabs will voluntarily consent to the realization of Zionism in return for the cultural and economic benefits we can bestow on them is infantile,” he wrote in 1923 in “The Iron Wall,” his most famous essay. This fantasy, he argued, “comes from some kind of contempt for the Arab people,” a paternalistic belief that they were “ready to be bribed to sell their homeland for a railroad network.” Jabotinsky understood that the conflict between the Jews and Arabs was not about dollars or land, but about ideology and said that Zionists harmed their cause by failing to address that fact head on.…

What’s more, Jabotinsky was a classical 19th-century liberal who championed full civic equality. Although he would later flirt with the idea of voluntary transfer of Arabs out of Palestine, he firmly opposed their mandatory expulsion.… In a 1940 essay, Jabotinsky laid out a systematic program of rights for the Arabs, proposing, among other things, that every Cabinet led by a Jew in the future Israel should offer the vice-premiership to an Arab. In the very fight song of the Revisionist youth organization that he founded, Betar—which declared that “Two Banks has the Jordan: This is ours, and that is as well”—Jabotinsky also wrote: “From the wealth of our land there shall prosper The Arab, the Christian, and the Jew.” Even at his most militant, he called for fraternity. Far from being an out-and-out racist, Jabotinsky was one of the only Zionist leaders to take the Arabs seriously and promote a significant role for them in the future Jewish state.

It’s true that Jabotinsky did not hold Arab culture in high regard. In the “Iron Wall,” for example, he wrote that “culturally, [Palestinian Arabs] are 500 years behind us.” But in many ways, Jabotinsky openly respected Arab aspirations far more than most Labor Zionists under Ben-Gurion.

2. Jabotinsky’s racism toward Arabs informed his maximalist demand for a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan River.

There is no doubt that Jabotinsky insisted on both sides of the Jordan River—not only today’s Israel and the Palestinian territories, but Jordan as well. But he did not do so out of a desire to punish the Arabs or a belief that they didn’t deserve their own state.

Instead, Jabotinsky justified his demand by invoking the need to save European Jewry from extermination. Years before the Holocaust, he sensed an “elemental calamity” approaching for the Jews of Europe. In a tragically prophetic speech in Warsaw on the Ninth of Av in 1938, he begged the crowd to listen to him and immigrate to Palestine at what he saw as “the very last moment” before catastrophe: “For heaven’s sake! Save your lives, every one of you, as long as there is time—and time is short!” Jabotinsky tirelessly carried this message with him across the continent, a desperate, would-be rescuer of its Jews.

It was Jabotinsky’s obsession with sheltering millions of European Jews, not some anti-Arab bigotry, that drove his territorial claims. Even as he expressed “the profoundest feeling for the Arab case,” Jabotinsky argued that it simply could not compare to the Jewish need for refuge. “When the Arab claim…[for] Arab State No. 4, No. 5, or No. 6…is confronted with our Jewish demand to be saved,” he said, “it is like the claims of appetite versus the claims of starvation.…” To Jabotinsky, Arab desire, however legitimate, could not measure up morally to Jews’ existential crisis.

3. Jabotinsky called for never-ending war against Palestinian Arabs until they succumbed.

In referring to Jews “crushing” and “immiserating” Palestinian Arabs with military might until they break, writers like Peter Beinart and Andrew Sullivan are offering a shallow interpretation of Jabotinsky’s iron wall.

Jabotinsky first proposed the iron wall in 1923 less as a literal buffer than a demonstration of strength meant to convince the Arabs that the Jews were there to stay. Given the natural defiance of the native population to Jewish settlement, Jabotinsky understood that as long as a “spark of hope” remained that the Arabs could expel the Jews, they would not relent. Only when “there is no hope left…when not a single breach is visible in the iron wall,” he wrote, would “extremist groups lose their sway” and moderates rise to “offer suggestions for compromise.…”

The iron wall was not meant to be an excuse for ruthless force, but a display of resolution and permanence that would eventually lead to reconciliation.… Sallai Meridor, the former Israeli ambassador to the United States and Betar youth member…[said that ] contrary to conventional wisdom, “the iron wall article suggests that Jabotinsky was ready for significant compromise under certain circumstances. He was strongly against offering it as long as the Arabs had not given up completely on the desire to get rid of the Jews, but he foresaw that [if they did so], there could be an agreement based on mutual concessions” on the major issues for both sides. As eager as Jabotinsky was to establish Jewish sovereignty, he was just as eager to make peace with the Arabs once they recognized the inevitability of the Jewish state.

Of course, you wouldn’t know any of this from recent critics, who, by reading history backwards from the present, have demonized and simplified Jabotinsky’s legacy to attack their current political foe, Netanyahu. But if Jabotinsky really is central to Bibi’s thinking, then perhaps those critics are as wrong about the present as they are about the past.

L’ISLACCOMMODATION DÉRAISONNABLE

 

 

LE QUOTIDIEN LA PRESSE FLIRTE AVEC L’ISLAMISME
Dépêche 

Postedeveille.ca, 23 avril 2012

L'équipe de Poste de Veille répond à l'article d'Anabelle Nicoud Le Québec flirte avec Marine Le Pen paru dans La Presse du 21 avril dans lequel elle associe Poste de Veille à la «toile brune» qui inciterait à la violence.

 

Parcourir Poste de Veille permet aux lecteurs de lire un nombre significatif d’articles et de chroniques réfutant l’opinion éditoriale du quotidien La Presse telle qu’exprimée par certains de ses éditorialistes et de ses chroniqueurs.

 

C’est que Poste de Veille, dans le souci d’informer objectivement ses lecteurs, s’est donné le mandat de rétablir les faits chaque fois qu’un grand quotidien ou un grand diffuseur s’adonne à la désinformation. L’édition de La Presse du samedi 21 avril ne fera pas exception, il s’agit cette fois d’un reportage signé Anabelle Nicoud et dont le titre est «Le Québec flirte avec Marine Le Pen».

 

Dès l’introduction l’intention de l’auteur est mise en évidence: discréditer les blogues qui informent le public sur l’islamisme et les risques qu’il incarne pour les sociétés occidentales. En guise de rapprochement, trois éléments chocs ont été utilisés dans le même paragraphe: la mention de l’extrême droite européenne, celle d’Anders Breivik le tueur norvégien d’extrême droite et l’expression «toile brune» en référence aux chemises brunes nazies, de sinistre mémoire, dont le rôle était d’intimider et de violenter les adversaires politiques. On peut donc affirmer qu’Anabelle Nicoud n’y est pas allée avec le dos de la cuillère ou comme on dit au Québec «elle en a beurré épais». Le procédé bien connu de reductio ad Hitlerum ne l’a pas rebutée, ce qui dénote chez elle un certain amateurisme. En effet, elle a, sans s’en apercevoir et dès les premières phrases, dévoilé son parti-pris et soulevé des doutes sur son objectivité.

 

L’auteur du reportage ne le dit pas explicitement mais de toute évidence elle considère les craintes que suscite l’islam radical comme non fondées. S’il en avait été autrement elle se serait donné la peine d’investiguer la question pour savoir si les auteurs des blogues ont de bonnes raisons de s’inquiéter. L’égalité des sexes, les droits des femmes, la laïcité dans l’espace public, la démocratie, la liberté d’expression, les droits des homosexuels, la paix sociale etc. sont-ils menacés par l’islam radical? Cette question Anabelle Nicoud ne s’est pas donnée la peine de se la poser et elle n’y a pas répondu dans son reportage, cependant elle laisse entendre que ceux qui soulèvent cette question dans leurs blogues ne sont que des «chemises brunes» virtuelles qui incitent à la violence. L’auteur a emprunté ici l’un des procédés de l’extrême gauche, l’inversion des responsabilités: le danger ne vient pas du fascisme islamique mais de ceux qui tirent la sonnette d’alarme à son sujet!

 

L’auteur associe islamophobie et judéophobie pour mieux discréditer les blogues qui informent le public sur l’islam radical et les forfaits dont il se rend responsable. Jihadwatch, Atlas Shrugs, Gates of Vienna, Riposte laïque, etc., qu’elle mentionne ne s’intéressent aucunement aux juifs sauf quand ces derniers subissent des menaces et des préjudices de la part des islamistes. D’autres groupes, les homosexuels, les coptes, les bahaïs, les ahmadis par exemple, sont également ciblés par l’islamisme, ils obtiennent par conséquent une couverture adéquate dans ces blogues faute d’en obtenir dans les grands médias écrits et télévisés.

 

Mais l’auteur ne se donne pas la peine de définir l’islamophobie, s’agit-il pour elle d’une haine aveugle, d’une peur irraisonnée ou d’une crainte légitime et justifiée de l’islamofascisme? On ne sait trop, ce qu’on constate toutefois c’est qu’elle s’en sert dans un sens péjoratif, imitant en cela l’Ayatollah Khomeiny qui a inventé cette expression pour discréditer ceux qui dénonçaient la tyrannie islamique imposée brutalement aux Iraniens.

 

Madame Nicoud n’explique pas pourquoi il n’existe pas de blogues qui mettent en garde contre le christianisme, l’hindouisme, le bouddhisme, l’animisme ou, tant qu’à y être, contre l’islam alaouite, l’islam ismaélite ou l’islam soufi. Serait-ce parce que ces religions ou ces branches de l’islam ne constituent aucun danger pour notre société? Ou parce que leurs adeptes s’y intègrent facilement et ne cherchent pas à en faire une copie conforme de celle qu’ils ont quittée?

 

L’auteur ne souffle mot des blogues islamistes haineux qui pullulent sur le web, certains de leurs auteurs vivent au Québec. Ces sites ne se contentent pas de semer la haine des non-musulmans, ils vont plus loin et incitent leurs lecteurs à s’enrôler pour le jihad mondial. C’est ainsi que nombre de jihadistes en Afrique du Nord, en Somalie, en Irak, au Yémen, en Tchétchénie et en Afghanistan ont été recrutés en Occident. Et que dire des complots jihadistes fomentés à partir d’internet au cœur même du Québec, ne sont-ils pas de nature à inspirer à madame Nicoud un peu d’islamovigilance? L’auteur ne nous dit pas pourquoi La Presse détourne les yeux quand des conférenciers islamistes sont invités dans nos universités pour endoctriner les jeunes musulmans et les inciter à ne pas s’intégrer dans notre société. Leur enseignement serait-il à ce point conforme aux principes du multiculturalisme défendu par La Presse?

 

Madame Nicoud fait siennes les affirmations d’Oyvind Strommen à l’effet qu'avant de tuer 77 personnes, Anders Behring Breivik s'est nourri des idées propagées sur les réseaux internet de l'extrême droite européenne et américaine. Il soutient par là que les informations objectives qu’il a récoltées ici et là l’ont décidé à commettre son crime. Il s’agit là d’affirmations dénuées de fondements et dont le but premier est de salir ceux qui défendent des opinions et des positions opposées aux siennes. Bat Yeor, Mark Steyn ou Robert Spencer cités par Breivik sont reconnus pour le sérieux de leur travail et de leur documentation, ils n’affirment rien sans preuve bien démontrée. On ne peut, sans mauvaise foi, les accuser d’inciter à la haine ou à la violence.

 

…Oyvind Strommen et tous ceux qui soutiennent sa thèse dont Anabelle Nicoud auraient dû accorder aux islamistes qui massacrent sans discernement, le même traitement réservé à Breivik, à savoir questionner les références sur lesquelles ils se basent pour accomplir leurs crimes haineux

 

Pour être équitable et faire preuve d’objectivité, Oyvind Strommen et tous ceux qui soutiennent sa thèse dont Anabelle Nicoud auraient dû accorder aux islamistes qui massacrent sans discernement, le même traitement réservé à Breivik, à savoir questionner les références sur lesquelles ils se basent pour accomplir leurs crimes haineux. Ces références sont le coran et la sunna de Mahomet, les jihadistes les citent ouvertement pour justifier leurs attentats meurtriers. En effet les textes sacrés des musulmans incitent explicitement au meurtre des infidèles, et pourtant à aucun moment les bien-pensants comme Strommen n’ont dénoncé le coran ou la sunna de Mahomet. Peut-on parler ici de deux poids deux mesures, d’indignation à géométrie variable ou d’aveuglement volontaire?

 

Les lecteurs de La Presse avaient droit à un examen objectif du contenu des blogues qui s’opposent à l’islam radical, en effet dénoncer et condamner sans preuves à l’appui est contraire à l’objectivité la plus élémentaire. Nous pouvons même aller plus loin et affirmer que l’objectivité implique d’informer le public d’une manière équilibrée sans prendre parti et laisser le public juger par lui-même. Or l’auteur n’a rien exposé du contenu des blogues et en ce qui concerne Poste de Veille dont elle parle, elle a choisi de passer sous silence les nombreux articles rédigés par des musulmans modernistes tels que Tarek Fatah, Salim Mansur, Tawfik Hamid, Sami el Beheiri, Amil Imani et bien d’autres qui dénoncent le fanatisme islamique et pour qui nos quotidiens, dont La Presse, ne font preuve d’aucun intérêt.

 

Mais il y a plus quand l’auteur mentionne que: Le site espère inciter ses lecteurs à «passer à l'action», elle fait délibérément usage de guillemets et omet de préciser qu’il s’agit d’action citoyenne. Plus loin dans le reportage elle rapporte les propos d’Oyvind Strommen pour qui «les idées défendues sur la «toile brune» sont virtuelles, mais ne devraient pas être banalisées: leur potentiel de violence, lui, est bien réel.» C’est avec cette phrase que le reportage se termine, et il s’agit là du message que l’auteur cherche à transmettre aux lecteurs. Madame Nicoud aurait pu, sans porter de jugement explicite ou implicite, conseiller aux lecteurs de se faire une idée par eux-mêmes, en allant faire un tour sur les sites qu’elle mentionne dans son reportage. Elle ne l’a pas fait, elle a gardé le silence sur le contenu des blogues, se contentant de les traiter de chemises brunes virtuelles et de sites d’extrême droite.

 

Il sied mal à un journal qui se veut objectif et respectable de condamner sans preuves et sans appel des citoyens qui s’imposent le devoir d’informer le public d’ici et d’ailleurs. Le geste est d’autant plus déplorable qu’il s’apparente à une tentative d’éliminer la concurrence émanant d’individus qui ne disposent pas de moyens comparables à ceux d’un grand quotidien. Mais ce qui est encore plus révoltant c’est le fait que le quotidien La Presse discrédite des opinions contraires aux siennes, sans analyse objective, sans s’astreindre au débat d’idées, sans étayer ses arguments, en un mot sans se donner la peine de réfuter les thèses qu’il ne partage pas.

 

Paresse intellectuelle ou manque flagrant de professionnalisme chez les journalistes de La Presse? Arrogance ou sentiment de supériorité morale qui les dispense d’accomplir honnêtement leur travail? Désir inavoué de maintenir les lecteurs dans leur giron? Volonté de défendre par n’importe quel moyen le multiculturalisme que les Québécois rejettent de plus en plus? Telles sont les questions qu’il convient de se poser après la lecture du reportage d’Anabelle Nicoud.

 

Mais il est également approprié de s’interroger sur le pourquoi du succès de blogues tels que Poste de Veille. Si la presse écrite et électronique faisait convenablement son travail et informait objectivement les gens, si elle ne cherchait pas à leur inculquer par des moyens contestables ce qu’ils doivent penser, les blogues n’auraient jamais vu le jour. S’ils existent et s’ils ont du succès c’est parce qu’ils inspirent confiance et répondent à un besoin. Tant que les grands médias se réfugieront dans le déni et persisteront dans la même voie, les blogues continueront de prospérer et d'attirer un nombre sans cesse croissant de lecteurs.

 

Poste de Veille

PARDONNER AUSCHWITZ AUX JUIFS
David Ouellette

Davidouellette.net, 8 avril 2012

Au lendemain de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale et de la découverte des camps d’extermination nazis, la philosophe juive allemande Hannah Arendt consignait cette réflexion dans une lettre à son ancien maître Karl Jaspers:

 

Ces crimes, il me semble, ne peuvent être appréhendés juridiquement et c’est justement ce qui fait leur monstruosité. […], cette culpabilité, contrairement à toute culpabilité criminelle, dépasse et fracasse tout ordre juridique. […] Cette culpabilité est toute aussi inhumaine que l’innocence des victimes. Les hommes ne peuvent absolument pas être aussi innocents qu’ils l’étaient, tous ensemble, devant les fours à gaz. On ne peut absolument rien faire humainement et politiquement avec une culpabilité campée au-delà du crime et une innocence au-delà de la bonté et de la vertu. Car les Allemands sont accablés par des milliers ou des dizaines de milliers ou des centaines de milliers qui ne peuvent être punis de manière adéquate au sein d’un système légal; et nous Juifs sommes accablés par des millions d’innocents, en raison desquels chaque Juif aujourd’hui se perçoit comme l’innocence personnifiée. [Hannah Arendt/Karl Jaspers Briefwechsel, 1926-1969 / Lotte Kohler et Hans Saner (éd.), Munich, 1985]

 

Plusieurs années plus tard, le psychanalyste israélien Zvi Rex cristallisera le ressentiment engendré par le sentiment de culpabilité incommensurable liée à la destruction des Juifs d’Europe dans cette formule lapidaire: «Les Allemands ne pardonneront jamais Auschwitz aux Juifs». Un antisémitisme, non pas en dépit, mais à cause d’Auschwitz, parce que par leur survie et leur simple présence, les Juifs se désincarnent pour ne devenir qu’un rappel lancinant des crimes perpétrés à leur endroit.

 

Le revers de cet antisémitisme à cause d’Auschwitz est un philosémitisme tout aussi répréhensible, quoique moins répandu. Le philosémitisme projette sur les Juifs une innocence et une vertu inhumaines, mais se retourne rapidement en antisémitisme, dès lors que les Juifs sont perçus comme étant en deçà de cette attente inhumaine.

 

C’est à la formule de Rex que j’ai immédiatement songé en lisant l’étrange coup de gueule travesti en poème du prix Nobel de littérature Günter Grass. Publié cette semaine dans plusieurs journaux internationaux, le poème de la “conscience morale” de l’Allemagne d’après-guerre, lui qui à l’automne de sa vie a levé le voile sur son passé de Waffen-SS, prétend briser un tabou. Lequel? Le tabou qui l’a longtemps prévenu de critiquer Israël en tant qu’Allemand sous peine de passer pour un antisémite. Et la critique? Israël, croit Grass, planifie l’ “extinction du peuple iranien” et “menace une paix mondiale déjà fragile”. Pourquoi? Parce que l’ancien nazi ne voudrait pas devenir un “survivant” du génocide qui vient; tourmenté par son passé nazi, Grass voit dans la dénonciation d’un génocide imaginaire israélien l’occasion de déboulonner l’ “innocence et la vertu inhumaine” attendue des Juifs après la Shoah et de se dérober du fardeau intolérable de la “culpabilité inhumaine” des crimes nazis.

 

De l’extrême-gauche à la droite libérale allemande en passant par l’arc-en-ciel idéologique de la presse européenne, plusieurs soupçonnent Grass d’antisémitisme larvé, voire décomplexé. Mais la critique qui retient davantage mon attention est celle de la projection de son propre sentiment de culpabilité pour Auschwitz sur l’État d’Israël. “Schuldverschiebung und Selbstentlastung“, dénonce le prestigieux hebdomadaire Die Zeit, “transfert de culpabilité et auto-exonération“. “Schuldverrechnung eines Rechthabers“, “virement de culpabilité opiniâtre”, critique aussi l’hebdomadaire Der Spiegel. Le quotidien autrichien Die Presse y voit un mal qui est loin d’affecter le seul auteur du poème: «Grass n’est évidemment pas l’unique intéressé politique en Allemagne (ou en Autriche) qui s’occupe obsessivement d’Israël, qui consacre une bonne partie de son potentiel de protestation au pays. Qui, comme Grass dans un passage particulièrement perfide, reproche à l’État d’Israël de vouloir éliminer un peuple (dans ce cas-ci, le peuple iranien)». Pour le grand critique littéraire allemand Frank Schirrmacher, le poème est un «torchon de ressentiment». «Le débat devrait porter sur la question de savoir s’il est justifié de faire du monde entier la victime d’Israël seulement pour qu’un homme de 85 ans puisse faire la paix avec sa propre biographie», conclut-il sévèrement.

 

Nul besoin d’être allemand ou autrichien pour retourner la Shoah contre Israël et les Juifs. Tourmenté par le sentiment coupable de sa propre survie à Auschwitz, l’écrivain Primo Levi ne fut-il pas le premier à céder à la tentation de faire expier aux Juifs leur statut involontaire de victimes absolues en érigeant Israël en bourreau absolu et ses ennemis au Moyen-Orient en victimes absolues lorsqu’il déclara que «tout le monde est le Juif de quelqu’un, et aujourd’hui les Palestiniens sont les Juifs des Israéliens»? Pensons au philosophe juif français Edgar Morin qui s’exclamait dans Le Monde que «les juifs victimes de l’inhumanité montrent une terrible inhumanité». Au prix Nobel de littérature portugais José Saramago qui pontifiait en 2002: «Ce qui arrive en Palestine est un crime que l’on peut arrêter. Nous pouvons le comparer à ce qui est arrivé à Auschwitz».

 

Plus près de chez nous, pensons à Victor-Lévy Beaulieu pour qui la Seconde Guerre du Liban illustrait l’extériorisation d’une prétendue pulsion génocidaire ancrée dans l’essence même du judaïsme: «de l’assassinat sélectif à la guerre totale, du génocide à l’extermination absolue, les armes du droit judaïque ne connaissent pas la mesure (…) Que sont donc ces guerres contre la Palestine et le Liban, sinon des guerres d’extermination, sinon des génocides odieux». Ou encore à Pierre Vadeboncoeur qui, dans un article intitulé Guernica bis en référence à la destruction de cette ville espagnole par l’aviation nazie, écrivait dans Le Devoir, au lendemain de la Seconde Guerre du Liban, que «le traitement des Juifs dans les pays chrétiens à travers les siècles et finalement l’Holocauste furent des crimes pour lesquels il n’y aura pas de rémission même dans mille ans. Le peuple juif n’aura jamais fini de demander réparation». Ce même quotidien hurlait «Israël ne se défend pas, il extermine» pendant la guerre de Gaza de 2009.

 

Alors qu’on ne cesse de reprocher aux Juifs le chantage à Auschwitz, c’est surtout l’inverse qui est vrai. Il n’y a pas de manifestation “pour la paix” sans assimilation de l’étoile de David à la croix gammée. «Les Juifs n’ont-ils donc rien appris de la Shoah?» est devenu un lieu commun de la “critique” d’Israël et de la démesure avec laquelle on nazifie non seulement les “crimes de guerre” imputés à l’État juif, mais l’existence nationale des Juifs. Et c’est là un cruel paradoxe de la condition juive; pour ceux qui ne pardonnent pas Auschwitz aux Juifs, la restauration de l’existence nationale du peuple juif, qui devait l’émanciper de sa condition d’exception, sert de prétexte pour cimenter l’exception juive.

Shabat Shalom et Yom Haatsmaout à tous nos lecteurs!

 

YOM HA’ATZMAUT, 5772/2012: HERZL, BEN-GURION, TRUMAN & THE MIRACLE OF NEW-OLD ISRAEL

YOM HA’ATZMAUT, 5772
Baruch Cohen

In loving memory of Malca z’l

“And what glory awaits the selfless fighters for the cause! That is why I believe that a wonderful breed of Jews will spring up from the earth. The Macabees will rise again.”—Theodor Herzl, The Jewish State, Herzl Press, (N.Y., 1970), p. 110.

Theodor Herzl was the father of the modern Zionist movement. He, more than any other, shaped and channelled the millennial, theological yearnings of Return to Zion into a modern political movement: Zionism.

Of all the revolutionary national ideologies that sprang onto the political horizon during that time, the Herzelian Vulcan forged Zionism into the most triumphant, one which flourished and eventually evolved into the State of Israel, and which alone survives until today.

Theodor Herzl’s dream became a reality due to the sacrifices of all of Israel’s daughters and sons, who adhered to the principles and values of Zionism and Jewish national Peoplehood.

As Am Israel today celebrates its 64th birthday, let us commit ourselves to ensuring that Israel always remains strong, powerful, successful, and, above all, true to Jewish history and Jewish values—to the fulfillment of Theodor Herzl, David Ben Gurion, and Menahem Begin’s dreams.

(Baruch Cohen is Research Chairman of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.)

APPRECIATING THE ACHIEVEMENTS
Editorial

Jerusalem Post, April 24, 2012

As Israel turns 64, we have much to be proud of. But we do not always appreciate our many achievements.

We agonize over the Iranian nuclear threat, endlessly debating the pros and cons of a preemptive military strike against an Islamic Republic run by apocalyptic mullahs who have expressed their desire to wipe Israel “off the map.” But we, a people who just last week commemorated the Holocaust—the ultimate price paid for Jewish powerlessness—forget to appreciate having the option of launching such a strike single-handedly if we need to. And while we are the strongest military might in the region, we are also the most restrained and most moral.

We take to the streets to protest the high cost of living, skyrocketing housing prices, and the general difficulties of making ends meet every month—and the government does its best to listen, a testament to democracy in action. But we forget to appreciate our low unemployment rate, brisk GDP growth and general economic stability at a time when much of the western world—in particular the US and Europe—is in the throes of one of the worst economic downturns in recent history.

We lament the sorry state of our education system but take in stride the fact that Israel is over-represented in the number of patents it produces per capita, in the number of PhDs, published scientific papers, companies listed on NASDAQ, or start-ups per capita.… Not surprisingly, emigration of American Jews to Israel has been growing incrementally and now stands at more than 3,000 a year. And in recent years the number of Israelis coming home after an extended stay in America has doubled and now stands at about 9,000 a year. With all the criticism leveled against it, Jews are voting with their feet.…

Unfortunately, too much emphasis has been placed on Israel’s faults while ignoring the Zionist movement’s tremendous achievements over the past 64 years.… On one level this propensity for complaining and finding fault is a very Jewish trait. After all, we are a people who believe in tikkun olam, repairing the world. The world cannot be fixed without first acknowledging its flaws. We have, therefore, developed an acute sensitivity to injustices, particularly those said to have been perpetrated by fellow Jews.…

But there is another central idea in Judaism called ahavat yisrael—love of Israel. A hypercritical approach to Jewish sovereignty must be buffered by equally strong expressions of love, commitment and appreciation for the Jews living in Israel.… [And] do [our hypercritics] believe that we, who suffer the direct consequences of the ongoing conflict, do not wish to live in peace with our neighbors?

As Israel turns 64 the Jewish people has much to be proud of. Let’s all learn to appreciate the achievements while recognizing the challenges.

TRUMAN’S RECOGNITION: THE US-ISRAEL RELATIONSHIP IS BORN
Jeff Dunetz

The Lid, April 24, 2012

Sixty-four years ago Israel declared her independence. Israel’s independence would have been short lived were it not for the strong will of President Harry S. Truman, who became the new Jewish State’s first international supporter, not because of any political stance, but because he thought it was the right thing to do.

When Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Isaac Herzog, visited the White House after Israel declared her independence he told Truman, “God put you in your mother’s womb so that you would be the instrument to bring the rebirth of Israel after 2000 years.…”

“What I am trying to do is make the whole world safe for Jews,” Harry Truman wrote as he agonized over his decision to recognize a Jewish state in Palestine. Secretary of State George Marshall  was just as opposed to the creation of Israel as Truman was for it. Clark M. Clifford, Special Counsel to President Truman at the time, remembered the internal US fight regarding the recognition of the Jewish State—the final discussion in the oval office.

The meeting turned out to be an angry battle with Clifford and the President on one side, Marshall and Undersecretary of State Robert Lovett on the other. The argument used many of the same memes as used today.

Lovett first argued that Truman was supporting Israel solely for political gain and he warned the president that the move would lose more votes than it would gain. When that didn’t work, Lovett tried another approach: the red scare:… “Mr. President, to recognize the Jewish state prematurely would be buying a pig in a poke. How do we know what kind of Jewish state will be set up? We have many reports from British and American intelligence agents that Soviets are sending Jews and communist agents into Palestine from the Black Sea area.…”

When Lovett was done speaking it was Marshall’s turn…: “If you follow Clifford’s advice and if I were to vote in the election, I would vote against you, [he said].…” But Truman’s mind was made up.…

At 4 p.m. Friday May 14, 1948 just before the start of Shabbat, David Ben-Gurion read a 979-word declaration of independence in front of a small audience at the Tel Aviv Art Museum. He finished in his usual terse manner: “The state of Israel is established! The meeting is ended.” At midnight, British rule over Palestine lapsed; 11 minutes later White House spokesman Charlie Ross announced U.S. recognition.

In 1961, long after he was out of office, Truman met with Israeli PM David Ben Gurion in New York. Ben Gurion said this about the meeting:

“At our last meeting, after a very interesting talk, I told him that as a foreigner I could not judge what would be his place in American history; but his helpfulness to us, his constant sympathy with our aims in Israel, his courageous decision to recognize our new state so quickly and his steadfast support since then had given him an immortal place in Jewish history.

“As I said that, tears suddenly sprang to his eyes. And his eyes were still wet when he bade me goodbye. I had rarely seen anyone so moved. I tried to hold him for a few minutes until he had become more composed, for I recalled that the hotel corridors were full of waiting journalists and photographers. He left. A little while later, I too had to go out, and a correspondent came to me to ask, ‘Why was President Truman in tears when he left you?’

“I believe that I know. These were the tears of a man who had been subjected to calumny and vilification, who had persisted against powerful forces within his own Administration determined to defeat him. These were the tears of a man who had fought ably and honorably for a humanitarian goal to which he was deeply committed. These were tears of thanksgiving that his God had seen fit to bless his labors with success.…”

WHY 1948 MATTERS MORE THAN EVER
Alex Safian

Jerusalem Post, April 21, 2012

Of all the events surrounding modern Israel’s rebirth—the rise of the Zionist movement, the first and second aliyahs, the building of pre-state institutions in the Yishuv—by far the most important, at least for the prospects for peace, spring from the War of Independence itself, because the competing “narratives” about that period lie at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

If, as is believed almost uniformly throughout the Arab world, Israel was born in original sin, if the Jews really did ransack placid Arab villages, murdering children in front of parents and parents in front of children, and expelling whoever was left, then Arab hatred for Israel and Jews would be understandable, as would their fundamental refusal to really make peace with Israel.

But the Arab narrative (which is often shared by Europeans) is wrong. Israel was not born in original sin.… Even as early as 1937, in a letter to his son Amos, Israel’s founding father David Ben-Gurion wrote: “We do not wish and do not need to expel Arabs and take their places. All our aspiration is built on the assumption—proven throughout all our activity…that there is enough room in the country for ourselves and the Arabs.”

Ten years later [December 1947], even after much violence and conflict, Ben-Gurion’s core beliefs about living in peace with the Arabs had not wavered: “In our state there will be non-Jews as well—and all of them will be equal citizens; equal in everything without exception.… The attitude of the Jewish state to its Arab citizens will be an important factor—though not the only one—in building good neighborly relations with the Arab states.”

Despite the Yishuv’s attempts to live peacefully with their neighbors, the leader of the Palestinians, the Grand Mufti Haj Amin al Husseini, chose to make common cause with the Nazis, meeting Hitler and Himmler in Berlin and pushing them to accelerate the slaughter of the Jews, and helping to create Muslim SS units in the Balkans that committed bloody war crimes against both Christians and Jews.

The Mufti’s actions directly implicated the Palestinian movement in the Holocaust, but the Jews still tried to reach an accommodation with their Arab neighbors. When the United Nations in 1947 passed a resolution to partition the Palestine Mandate (or what was left of it, since most of the original territory had been lopped off by Britain to create Jordan) into a Jewish and an Arab state, the Jews supported the plan despite being deeply disappointed with how little land they would receive. The five Arab states in the UN all denounced the resolution (UNGA 181), voted against it, and together with the Palestinian representatives vowed to go to war to kill it.

At the UN in May of 1948, just weeks prior to partition, Abba Eban once again urged all parties to support the world body’s proposal and to avoid war, “…much suffering and grief can still be avoided by seeking the way back onto the highway of the partition resolution.”

Unfortunately for all involved, the Arabs ignored Eban, and launched a brutal war against the Jews, in which more than one percent of the Jewish population was killed. Expecting an easy victory, the Arabs were surprised to meet stiff resistance, and when the Arab armies began to fall back from their initial victories (an Egyptian armored column had penetrated up the coast to within 21 miles of Tel Aviv), the Palestinians panicked and began to flee, thus creating the Palestinian refugee problem that endures to this day.

Had the Palestinians accepted partition, a Palestinian state would have been created side-by-side with Israel in 1948, and there wouldn’t have been a single Palestinian refugee.

This Palestinian refusal to accept statehood was no fluke—they have refused statehood at least two more times since 1948. In the summer of 2000, President Bill Clinton presented his plan (the Clinton Parameters) at Camp David, which would have created a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, with a shared Jerusalem and free passage. Israel’s Ehud Barak accepted the Clinton plan, but Arafat refused it, and rather than making a counter offer instead returned home and launched the second intifada, or violent uprising, in which more than a thousand Israelis were killed.

Despite this, in 2008 the Israelis tried again, when Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced his own peace plan, which would have uprooted tens of thousands of Israeli settlers, abandoned Hebron, divided Jerusalem, and even offered some accommodation to the Palestinian claim to a right of return. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, refused the peace proposal and once again failed to make a counter proposal.

In the face of the documented truth that it is the Palestinians who have repeatedly run away from a negotiated peace and statehood, it is astounding that both the Palestinians and many Europeans act as if Israel refuses to make peace, as if Israel stands in the way of a Palestinian state. Until the Palestinians and the Arabs abandon their myths and face reality, until they accept the hard truths that they have been their own worst enemy, the prospects for peace will be dim indeed.…

(Alex Safian is associate director of CAMERA.)

ISRAEL, A NATION ONCE AGAIN
Daniel Greenfield

Daniel Greenfield Blog, April 25, 2012

Israel’s Jewish population is approaching six million. If current birth rates hold steady that significant milestone will be reached in time for next year’s Independence Day.…

In the sixty-four years that the revived country has existed, there has been a dramatic population shift. Western and Eastern Europe and Russia, where the majority of Western Jews once lived, now hold a fraction of the Jewish population. The Muslim world, former location of the majority of Eastern Jews, is barely worth mentioning.

Globally the Jewish population is divided between Israel and the United States. Israel is the home of the majority of the world’s Jews, but the combined Jewish Anglosphere is still larger, not so much because of the United Kingdom, but because of North America, which holds the largest number of Jews. In a development that would have been all but incomprehensible a century ago, the majority of Jews in the world speak English or Hebrew. Smaller numbers speak French and Spanish, but in a generation hardly any will speak Russian or Arabic.…

Had Europe not imploded so badly in the twentieth century, the history of the Jewish State might have been quite different. Israel’s Second Commonwealth didn’t manage to attract a majority of the Jewish population from Babylon and the various Greek states. Israel’s Third Commonwealth was in better shape, despite the tiny borders and constant threats, but it is doubtful that it would have the population that it does today, if Jewish life in the Eastern Hemisphere had not become so impossible.

To survive the hostility and chaos of the Eastern Hemisphere, Jews crossed the ocean to the Americas and rebuilt a fortified republic in their homeland. In the natural course of events, the republic would have mainly picked up idealists, nationalists and the devoutly religious. It would have been a viable country, but a smaller one, with more in common with Ireland than its energetic overcrowded self.

Israel’s composition is a fossil record of various periods of persecution, Russian Jews, German Jews, Middle Eastern Jews and then Russian Jews again.… Israel has been defined as much by that external pressure as by its idealism—and that combination is perhaps the truest summary of the Jewish experience.…

Jews are a peculiar people, there is a great deal of talk about them, good and bad, but like most of the peoples of the world, they simply are. They exist and have gone on existing to the irritation of that part of mankind which was aware of them. There are prophecies about them, in their blood runs the veins of the prophets and kings whose words and deeds are on the lips of even those who hate them. But still they go on living their day to day lives until it seems as if there is nothing particularly special about them, and then unexpectedly they do something extraordinary, cure a disease, unlock the mysteries of the universe or build a country that stands as a bulwark against all the rage and hate of the East.…

[Israel] won its independence as an infant, at 19 it defeated seven armies. At 40 it launched its first rocket into space. At 44 it made a terrible life decision that it has still to recover from. It is 64 now, and yet booming with life, with anger, love, doubt, fear and a thousand other human tremors. It has gathered to itself the dead lost in the ashes and seen them born again amid its rebuilt ruins. It has stood on ancient mountains and reseeded the land and made it green again. It has reclaimed a legacy of a lost people and a lost land better than even its dreamers and visionaries could have imagined.

Who knows what it will do next?

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP—SPECIAL YOM HAZIKARON/REMEMBRANCE DAY EDITION

For bereaved families, time stops when you get the terrible news.… It cuts your life in two: what was before, and what will never be again. When you hear the siren today, we will turn into one family, and the citizens of Israel will be united in our remembrance.”—Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, at a ceremony to usher in Yom Hazikaron, Remembrance Day, in Israel.

“The Tikkun [mending] that is Israel is fragmentary. This fact need not be stressed, for it is reported almost daily in newspapers. The power of the State is small, as is the State itself. It can offer a home to captive Jews but cannot force captors to set them free. Limited abroad, it is limited at home as well. It cannot prevent strife. It cannot even guarantee its Jewish citizens a culture or a strong Jewish identity. Galut Judaism may have ended; but there is no end to Galut itself, inside as well as outside the State of Israel.…

For all the talk of a comprehensive peace, implacable enemies remain; and while enemies elsewhere seek to destroy a regime, or at most conquer a state, these enemies seek destruction of a state—and renewed exile for its Jewish inhabitants.

What then is the Tikkun? It is Israel itself. It is a state founded, maintained, defended by a people who—so it was once thought—had lost the arts of statecraft and self-defense forever. It is the replanting and reforestation of a land that—so it once seemed—was unredeemable swamps and desert. It is a people gathered from all four corners of the earth on a territory with—so the experts once said—not room enough left to swing a cat. It is a living language that—so even friends once feared—was dead beyond revival. It is a City rebuilt that—so once the consensus of mankind had it—was destined to remain holy ruins. And it is in and through all this, on behalf of the accidental remnant, after unprecedented death, a unique celebration of life.

It is true—so fragmentary and precarious is the great Tikkun—that many want no share of it, deny it, distort it, slander it. But slanders and denials have no power over those who are astonished—ever again astonished—by the fact that in this of all ages the Jewish people have returned—have been returned?—to Jerusalem. Their strength, when failing, is renewed by the faith that despite all, because of all, the ‘impulse from below’ will call forth an ‘impulse from above.’”—Emil Fackenheim, To Mend The World, Schocken Books, (New York, 1982), pp. 312-313.

RIGHT TO REMEMBER
Editorial

Jerusalem Post, April 23, 2012

The period that begins with last week’s Holocaust Remembrance Day and continues through today’s Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars is dominated by the themes of sacrifice, death and loss. By the time we get around to the joyous celebration of Jewish sovereignty on Independence Day on Thursday, we will have traversed a turbulent emotional gauntlet of tears and mourning. The sadness that permeates this week leading up to Independence Day is tempered by an accompanying conviction that our collective suffering and sacrifices were not [made in vain].

We are partially consoled by the knowledge that painful sacrifice in the countless wars and battles fought in the past 64 years against those seeking a violent end to the Zionist project has helped ensure political self-determination for Jews for the first time in nearly two millennia. Through memorial services for the fallen, we mourn the deceased while acknowledging their contribution.

Unfortunately…it has become fashionable to criticize the way we memorialize our deceased. Just this week, Prof. Avner Ben-Amos of Tel Aviv University told Haaretz why he thinks the way we memorialize fallen soldiers “flattens history.”

“Since 1967, Israel’s wars have basically been meant to protect territories we captured,” claimed Ben-Amos. “That is, these are wars that actually have no justification.… You could say these deaths were superfluous, but in the ceremonies the soldiers are depicted as passive victims.” Meanwhile, in the same Haaretz article, culture scholar Dalia Gavriely-Nuri lamented the fact that “even if the music [used in memorial ceremonies] is updated, the songs still preserve a military value system and present the IDF as our biggest cultural given.”

For Ben-Amos, Gavriely-Nuri and other like-minded critics of our society, Israel’s purported “militarism” is to be blamed for the ongoing bloody conflict, not Arab aggression and hatred. They [would] have us believe that if only we stop honoring our deceased as heroes or as innocent victims and begin acknowledging our own complicity in the incessant warfare that has plagued the Jewish state from its very inception, we will take a significant step toward ending the conflict. Put in social science terminology, our “construction of collective memory”—via memorial services and the accompanying songs and symbols that “preserve a military value system”—perpetuates the war with our neighbors.

But Ben-Amos, Gavriely-Nuri and other self-styled “radical social scientists” and “new historians” have mixed up cause and effect. Of course we preserve a military value system and encourage our youths to serve in the IDF. But we do this not because Israeli society is inherently jingoistic, rather because we have no other choice. As long as our many enemies continue to try to destroy us, Israel is forced to maintain a policy of universal conscription. But the stream of mainstream Zionism articulated by David Ben-Gurion, Berl Katznelson and Yitzhak Tabenkin is not a militaristic movement.… The pre-state Labor Zionist movement only reluctantly took arms in the face of Palestinian violence.…

Of course the Yom Kippur War—and every other war Israel ever fought—could have been prevented. If only the Palestinians had accepted the 1947 partition plan; if only Gamel Abdel Nasser had not amassed troops on our southern border in 1967 and called for Israel’s destruction; if only Syria and Egypt under Anwar Sadat had not launched a surprise attack on Israel in 1973; if only the PLO had not used Lebanon as a base to fire Katyusha rockets and launch terror attacks in the 1970s and early 1980s.

But there was very little—if anything—that Israel could have done to prevent the many wars it has waged in the past 64 years—besides disappearing. Israel would like nothing more than to live in peace with its neighbors. In the mean time, we mourn our losses and remain ever vigilant.

THE CLUB NO ONE WANTS TO BELONG TO
Pnina Weiss

Jerusalem Post, April 23, 2012

Growing up, I was always part of one club or another.… More than the activities of the club itself, it was the friendships I made and the camaraderie of the group which kept me active. But then, almost 10 years ago, I entered a club I never, ever wanted to be a part of, or imagined I would ever join. It was the club of the Bereaved Brothers and Sisters.

From the moment we got the dreaded knock on the door, informing my family that my younger brother Ari, a sergeant in the Palchan brigade’s anti-terror unit, had been killed in battle, I suddenly found that I “belonged” to a whole new crowd, one from which I can never escape. Our members are spread far and wide, and they come from every sector of society: rich and poor, Sephardi and Ashkenazi, immigrant and Sabra. Generally, they go unnoticed, blending into the general populace. But other members of the club can spot them.

They are the ones standing off to the side, shedding a tear at a friend’s wedding, hoping no one will notice them as they think of their sibling who will never marry or bring children into the world. They are the ones choking up while lighting Shabbat candles, recalling the good times when the entire family sat around the Shabbat table. They are the ones who stop in their tracks and stare at the yahrtzeit [memorial] candles while shopping at the supermarket.

I made aliya with my family when I was just 14. I had never been to Israel before and certainly did not take well to the adjustment.… I resented my new country, and dreaded the task of acclimating to my new life in Israel. Even after I finished my National Service, I applied to college in the USA, thinking that perhaps my life would be better if I just went back to the “old country.” But, for whatever reason, I decided to stay in Israel, and I grew to love this country.… Eventually, I understood that this wasn’t just the proverbial, generic “Land of the Jews”; this had now become my land.…

And then Ari, my beloved brother, fell.…

Many people have questioned why I choose to remain here, after something so terrible and tragic has happened.… [Because] as sad as it may be, this is part of life in Israel. This is part of the sacrifice we make to live free in our own country, and sacrifice has been the way of the Jews since the beginning of our history.… Although I still get teary-eyed when I see chayalim (soldiers)…and still find it difficult to make that switch from Yom Hazikaron to Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day), I cannot imagine my home being anywhere else but here.

I just hope and pray that the dreaded club I joined 10 years ago will soon be closed to new members.

(Pnina Weiss is the sister of Staff-Sgt. Ari Weiss, who fell in battle in September 2002.)

Weekly Quotes

My brothers and sisters, members of bereaved families,…today the People of Israel…stand as one beside you. Today we remember the fallen of Israel’s wars, all of our dear ones. Each one had a family. Every name has a life’s story of its own; an entire world has been cut short.”—Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in a Remembrance Day message to bereaved families of fallen Israeli soldiers. Looking ahead to Independence Day on Thursday, Netanyahu stressed that it is due to Israel’s courageous soldiers that the state arose, and flourishes: “Thanks to them, the State of Israel will continue to develop and prosper, and thanks to them the members of the younger generation will also be able to live their lives in security and tranquility.” (Jerusalem Post, April 24.)

 

The years pass, but the pain remains.”—Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, at the Mount Herzl gravesite of his brother Yonatan prior to Yom Hazikaron. “Yoni” Netanyahu, former commander of the IDF’s elite Sayeret Matkal unit, was killed in the 1976 Entebbe raid. (Jerusalem Post, April 23.)

 

The IDF is a defensive shield composed of thousands of male and female soldiers and commanders in both regular and reserve service.… Shoulder to shoulder, they carry out every mission. As we are gathered here today, they are out in the field…defending us.”—Israel Defense Forces Chief of General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, at a ceremony at the Western Wall in honor of Yom Hazikaron, “promising to fulfill the last eternal will of the fallen—to defend our home in Israel.” (IDF Website, April 24.)

 

A total of 126 new names have been added [in the past year] to the list of Israel’s fallen soldiers and terrorism victims who will be honored at this week’s Remembrance Day events. Israel now has 10,524 bereaved families who have lost 22,993 loved ones.” (Ynet News, April 22.)

 

How is it that the Holocaust’s No. 1 denier, [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, is still a president? He who threatens to use nuclear weapons—to use nuclear weapon—to destroy the Jewish state. Have we not learned? We must. We must know that when evil has power, it is almost too late. Mr. President, we are here in this place of memory. Israel cannot not remember. And because it remembers, it must be strong, just to defend its own survival and its own destiny.”—Elie Wiesel, introducing US President Barack Obama at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, and questioning—as “again” unfolds in Iran—whether world leaders have “learned anything” from the failure to stop the Holocaust. (Pajamas Media, April 23.)

 

I am realistic enough to not be so optimistic about talks with Iran. The Iranians have a history of deceiving the world, sometime through steps like this.”—Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, prior to meeting with US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey in Washington, warning world powers to not allow nuclear talks with Iran to drag on, as “it is clear that the Iranians are focused on reaching nuclear capability.” (Jerusalem Post, April 19.)

 

Such reports are from the sphere of science fiction and do not correspond with the truth.”—Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, after meeting with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev in Baku, dismissing as a “James Bond story” recent reports that Israel purchased airbases in Azerbaijan to facilitate a potential attack on neighboring Iran’s nuclear facilities. (Jerusalem Post, April 23.)

 

This is a dangerous precedent that clouds the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt.”—Israel’s Finance Minister, Yuval Steinitz, describing as a “great concern” the decision by Egypt’s state-run gas company to terminate the supply deal signed with Israel in June 2005. (Wall Street Journal, April 22.)

 

Israel has gas reserves that will make the country totally energy independent, not only from Egypt, but from any other source, and which will turn Israel into one of the world’s largest exporters of natural gas. So we are quite confident on that score.”—Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, striking a reassuring tone despite Egypt’s cancellation of gas shipments to Israel. (Jerusalem Post, April 23.)

 

We will break the legs of anyone who dares to come near our borders. That’s why our troops should always be ready.”—Chairman of Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Hussein Tantawi, after Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman suggested the Jewish state take action to neutralize the growing threat emanating from Sinai. (Jerusalem Post, April 23.)

 

Dear Sir, we are turning to you…in order to save the life of our dear friend Muhamad Abu El Rachman Ayesh Abu Shahala.… Muhamad is a former Palestinian Authority officer married to 2 wives and father of 7.… [He] has been [detained] for the past 2 months at the Palestinian security headquarters in Ramallah, and suffers of heart disease and diabetes and needs medicine. He has been brutally tortured both physically and mentally…after ‘confessing’ to have sold a house to Jews.… The absurd is that as much as we know, without a legal trial, it has been decided to execute him for his ‘felony’.… We ask for your immediate assistance in order to save Muhamad’s life. Sincerely, his close friends.”—Excerpt from a letter sent to Andrew Standley, head of the European Union delegation to Israel, urging the EU to intervene on behalf Muhamad Abu El Rachman Ayesh Abu Shahala, sentenced to death for allegedly selling property to Jews. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, April 20.)

 

Three weeks ago, AMCHA Initiative co-founders Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and Leila Beckwith posed a simple but very significant question to top University of California administrators and faculty. They asked whether UCLA Professor David Delgado Shorter’s promotion of the academic and cultural boycott of Israel on his official UCLA class website was protected by the University of California rules of academic freedom.… After consulting with top UCLA administrators, [Dr. Andrew Leuchter, head of the UCLA Academic Senate, responded] in an email… ‘that posting of such materials was a serious error in judgment.’ Professor Shorter…was then counseled by his department chair not to repeat the mistake. Dr. Leuchter’s statement is an implicit acknowledgement by UC faculty and administration, for the first time, that promoting the boycott of Israel is a political action and therefore subject to state laws and university policies that prohibit the use of public resources for political activities.… UC President Mark Yudof also spoke out publicly about this issue for the first time…stating: ‘professors are there to educate—not to rouse the troops for their cause.…’” (AMCHA Initiative Website, April 20.)

 

There were 752,000 tourist entries during the first quarter of 2012, an all-time high.”—Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, announcing that a record number of tourists visited Israel in the first quarter of this year. The Bureau also confirmed that Israel’s population recently surpassed 7.8 million, a growth of 1.8% or an additional 137,000 new citizens; 75.3 percent of the total population, or 5,931,000 people, is Jewish. (Globes, April 16 & Jerusalem Post, April 24.)

 

Short Takes

 

SUSPECTED CYBER ATTACK HITS IRAN OIL INDUSTRY—(Dubai) According to Iranian sources, the Islamic Republic’s oil industry has been targeted by a suspected cyber attack. Preliminary reports claim the computer virus, likely to be compared to the Stuxnet worm which affected Iranian nuclear facilities in 2009-10, was detected inside the control systems of Kharg Island, the country’s largest crude oil export facility, and also hit the Internet and communications systems of Iran’s Oil Ministry and national oil company. Hamdullah Mohammadnejad, the head of civil defense at Iran’s oil ministry, has allegedly set up a crisis unit to figure out how to neutralize the threat. (Reuters, April 23.)

 

MUFTI’S J’LEM VISIT ANGERS EGYPT’S ISLAMISTS—(Cairo) One of Egypt’s highest religious authorities, grand mufti Ali Gomaa, has visited Jerusalem for the first time, angering Islamist groups opposed to any step that might be viewed as legitimizing Israel. To reassure detractors, Gomaa described his pilgrimage to the al-Aqsa mosque as an “unofficial visit” that was not undertaken “under the banner of normalization” nor implied “any recognition of the Zionist entity.” Nevertheless, Salafi MP Mamdouh Ismail called the trip a “poisoned dagger that stabbed the [Palestinian] case,” and, Osama Yassin, a senior Muslim Brotherhood official, said Gomaa must be held to account, as what “he did cannot be justified and cannot be endorsed.” Chairman of the “liberal” Wafd Party’s parliamentary bloc, Mahmoud al-Sakka, also weighed in, saying, “if [Gomaa] was sincere in his visit, he would have returned with Jerusalem in his right hand.” Coptic Christian MP Margaret Azer said the visit would have no impact on Egyptian Christians’ decision to avoid visiting Jerusalem “until after its liberation.” Parliament Speaker Saad al-Katatny has since demanded Gomaa’s “repentance to God,” “an apology to the Arab and Islamic peoples” and his resignation. (Reuters, April 18 & 20 & Independent Media Review and Analysis, April 19 & 22.)

 

LAWSUIT AGAINST ASSAD FILED AT ICC—(Jerusalem) Lawyers representing Syrian refugees in northern Lebanon have filed a lawsuit at the International Criminal Court against Syrian President Bashar Assad. The lawsuit accuses Assad and his accomplices of committing “murders, war crimes, genocides and crimes against humanity,” with evidence including videos, filmed confessions, photos, witness statements and written documents. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, April 20.)

 

BARGHOUTI ADMITTED COORDINATING WEST BANK TERROR ATTACKS—(Jerusalem) According to Israeli interrogation documents obtained by Haaretz, Palestinian Marwan Barghouti, regarded as a leader of the First and Second Intifadas, admitted in 2002 to coordinating terrorist attacks in the West Bank. The founder of Tanzim, the armed wing of Fatah, Barghouti also claimed that attacks against Israeli civilians and military personnel were carried out with the tacit approval of Yasser Arafat, then chairman of the Palestinian Authority. Barghouti is currently serving five consecutive life sentences. [see ‘On Topics’ below for the full Haaretz report—Ed.] (JTA, April 20.)

 

NEW NAMES ON WIESENTHAL CENTER’S NAZI LIST HAVE CANADIAN LINKS—(Toronto) The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s latest list of the world’s 10 most-wanted Nazi war criminals contains three new names, all with Canadian connections. Topping the list of suspected former Nazis who are still alive and have evaded prosecution is Ladislaus Csizsik-Csatary, who allegedly escaped to Canada after organizing the deportation to Auschwitz of approximately 15,700 Jews in 1944. He was stripped of his Canadian citizenship in 1997 and left the country; he reportedly lives in Hungary. At the no. 4 spot this year is Vladimir Katriuk, said to have commanded a Ukrainian army unit that committed mass murder of Jews in Belarus. Katriuk, now 91, also escaped to Canada after World War II and was stripped of his Canadian citizenship in 1999. In 2007, his citizenship was reinstated, a decision upheld by a court in 2010. However, the Wiesenthal Center says “new research” has revealed Katriuk’s “active role in…mass murder” and “provides a firm basis to overturn the decision not to strip Katriuk of his Canadian citizenship.” In the no. 10 position is Helmut Oberlander, believed to have served with an Einsatzkommando unit in Ukraine and Crimea that murdered more than 23,000 people, mostly Jews. Oberlander fled after the war to Canada and was stripped of his citizenship in 2001. In 2004, his citizenship was restored but it was revoked a second time in 2007, a decision that was overturned by a court two years later. The case is still pending. Canada was again assigned this year a failing grade for its prosecution of suspected Nazi war criminals [see ‘On Topics’ below for an article on Canada’s historic and ongoing failure to prosecute Nazi war criminals—Ed.] (JTA, April 20.)

Recap: CIJR’s National Conference

The Canadian Institute for Jewish Research held its first National Conference in Toronto at Shaarei Hashomayim Congregation on Sunday, 22 April, 2012, 12:00 noon to 3:30 p.m., on “Israel’s Threatened Security: The Failed ‘Arab Spring’, Iran’s Imminent Bomb, and U.S. Foreign Policy, before a large and enthusiastic c audience. Professor Frederick Krantz, Director of CIJR, gave a luncheon address defining CIJR’s now-24-year-long pro-Israel work as a unique internationally-respected academic think-tank which addresses the public, Jewish and non-Jewish, and works closely with students, on- and off-campus.

 

He also put the Conference panel topics, to be addressed by CIJR Academic Fellows, into the wider historical-political framework of the global delegitimation campaign against the Jewish State. This well-funded campaign, in Europe, at the UN, and on our campuses, includes the increasing ubiquity of antisemitism and Holocaust denial. Prof. Krantz, while noting independent Israel’s existence and Hitler’s lack of a nuclear weapon as key differences, nevertheless underlined the striking similarities between our own historical-political moment and the pre-WWII 1930s, stressed the implications for existentially-threatened Israel of the US and “international community”’s failure, to date, effectively to blunt genocidal Iran’s drive to nuclear capability.

 

The Conference was divided into two Panels, the first with three papers, on “The Failed “Arab Spring’ and Israel” (Frederick Krantz, Concordia U., Montreal); “Russia in the Middle East: The Perils of Pretensions” (Aurel Braun, U. of Toronto), and “Homegrown Delegitimation: Jewish Anti-Zionists” (Sally Zerker, U. of T.); the second Panel included “Israel and the Iranian Bomb” (Norrin Ripsman, Concordia U.) and “Iran’s Challenge: Obama’s Moment of Truth?” (Harold Waller, McGill U.). Both panels were followed by vigorous Question and Answer periods, with much active audience participation.

 

CIJR’s presence in Toronto was capped after the Conference by a well-attended and enthusiastic meeting which founded a regular Chapter of the Institute, at which, after much discussion of possible programs and activities, David Freeman was elected Chair. One of the suggestions for the coming year was establishment of a Toronto-area wing of CIJR’s innovative, and proven, academic-year “Student Israel-Advocacy Program”, given by respected academics and designed to counter increasing anti-Israelism and antisemitism on campus. Prof. Krantz thanked all present, and said he and CIJR look forward to an active 2012-13 presence in Toronto.

“LETTERS, WE GET LETTERS…”—ABBAS, HAMAS DEMONSTRATE BANKRUPT PALESTINIAN INTRANSIGENCE

The following is an excerpt of a letter delivered last week
to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu by a Palestinian delegation
:

…Mr. Prime Minister,

Twenty years ago, we concluded with Israel an agreement under international auspices which was intended to take the Palestinian people…to independence. Now, as a result of actions taken by successive Israeli governments, the Palestinian National Authority no longer has any authority, and no meaningful jurisdiction in the political, economic, social, territorial and security spheres. In other words, the P.A. lost its raison d’être.

In recognition of the above and in furtherance of the peace process and the agreements we signed with Israel…we call on the Government of Israel to do the following:

1. Accept the two-state solution on the 1967 borders with possible minor and mutually agreed upon land swaps of equal size and value;

2. Stop all settlement activities, including in East Jerusalem;

3. Release all prisoners, in particular those imprisoned prior to the end of 1994; and

4. Revoke all decisions taken since 2000 which undermine agreements signed between Israel and the PLO.

Should the Government of Israel refuse to honor these above-referenced obligations, we will seek the full and complete implementation of international law as it pertains to the powers and responsibilities of Israel as occupying power in all of the occupied Palestinian territory. For the Palestinian Authority—now stripped of all meaningful authority—cannot continue to honor agreements while Israel refuses to even acknowledge its commitments.…

Sincerely Yours,

Mahmoud Abbas

Chairman of the P.L.O. Executive Committee

President of the Palestinian National Authority

MAHMOUD ABBAS’S UNHAPPY ANNIVERSARY
Jackson Diehl

Washington Post, April 19, 2012

It was a year ago this month that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas turned his back on the U.S.-sponsored “peace process” with Israel and embarked on a radically different strategy for achieving Palestinian statehood. It’s time for a reckoning.

Abbas’s step one was the…signing of an agreement in Cairo with the Islamic Hamas movement, ruler of the Gaza Strip, that promised to end the rift between Hamas and Abbas’s…Fatah movement. A joint government was promised that would stage parliamentary and presidential elections within a year—i.e., by now. Needless to say, no Palestinian elections are on the horizon. The joint administration, despite several subsequent announcements, has not been established.

Abbas’s step two was the publication in the New York Times of an op-ed in which he declared his intention to take the Palestinian case to the United Nations, where he would seek full membership from the Security Council or General Assembly. This, he wrote, would “pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter” and allow “us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.”

Last September, Abbas duly launched his campaign at Turtle Bay. But neither the Security Council nor the General Assembly ever voted on the Palestinian case. In the Security Council, it turned out that the Palestinians lacked the votes to win even a simple majority, despite months of globe-trotting and lobbying of world leaders by Abbas. The only result of the U.N. campaign was the admission of Palestine to UNESCO—and the subsequent devastation of that cultural agency’s budget by the loss of U.S. funding. Other U.N. agencies quietly begged the Palestinians not to apply.

The final phase of the Abbas strategy was supposed to kick in last fall: Palestinians were urged to turn out for mass pro-statehood demonstrations. Abbas’s aides made no secret of their hopes that a new popular intifada would erupt.… That, combined with the U.N. votes, would bring unprecedented pressure to bear on Israel. Only nothing happened. There were a couple of West Bank demonstrations but no intifada.

[Last] week, Abbas effectively brought his campaign to a close with a last, pathetic gesture: a letter, under preparation for months, that was delivered to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by a Palestinian delegation. Predictably, the missive faulted Israel for the failure of peace talks; somewhat audaciously, it also blamed Netanyahu for the collapse of Palestinian reconciliation.

Even the small bombshell Abbas planned to drop this time fizzled: Under pressure from U.S. and European leaders, the 77-year-old leader merely threatened rather than declared the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority. “This situation cannot continue,” the letter ominously states. But the disappearance of Abbas’s administration looks no more likely than reconciliation with Hamas, admission to the United Nations or a new intifada.

Abbas’s defenders will claim that Netanyahu’s right-wing government, and the Obama administration’s inability to influence it, left him with few options. That’s a canard. In fact, Abbas has…repeatedly backed away from serious diplomacy, citing as an excuse Israeli settlement construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank—something that did not stop him from participating in negotiations with previous Israeli governments. He embarked on his unity-U.N.-intifada strategy on the premise that it would bring about Palestinian statehood without the need for negotiations with Netanyahu.

And, not for the first time, Mahmoud Abbas succeeded only in delaying Palestinian statehood—and weakening his own cause.

PALESTINIAN OBSTRUCTIONISM
David M. Weinberg

Israel Hayom, April 17, 2012

The letter that Palestinian [Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent] to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a prime example of everything wrong with the current Palestinian leadership. The letter…mixes fact with fiction, is maximalist and threatening, and indicates no real desire to negotiate, only to place Israel in the international dock of criminality.…

What the letter has in spades is a lot of bogus diplomatic history. [It] lists every Israeli-Palestinian agreement since 1993 (Oslo I and II, Wye, Hebron, Taba, Camp David, Annapolis, etc.) as if these were Palestinian concessions to Israel, but fails to mention that the Palestinians turned down offers from Israel in 2000, 2001, and 2008 that would have given them a state in virtually all of the West Bank, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem.

As has been their wont for the past three years (ever since Obama took office), the Palestinians in this letter yet again set impossible and outrageous preconditions for entering real peace talks with Israel. Basically, they want Israel to concede every point of contention such as borders and settlements in advance of the talks. Otherwise, no talks.

Furthermore, the letter expresses Palestinian maximalism. This includes a state on all of the pre-1967 territories, with only “possible minor and mutually agreed upon land swaps of equal size and value.” Note the new phraseology “possible” and “minor.” And of course, the “right” of return to Israel for refugees “as specified in the Arab Peace Initiative,” and so forth and so on. There is no preparation of the Palestinian people for “painful compromises,” as every Israeli leader is expected to repeatedly warn the Israeli public.

The letter falsely claims that the Palestinians have honored all their obligations, including the “reactivation of the trilateral anti-incitement committee.” This, from an “authority” that names streets after arch-terrorists and broadcasts anti-Semitic and virulently anti-Israel sermons on its official television station. (It is also an “authority” which imprisons journalists and Facebook bloggers who write favorably of Israel and unfavorably about Palestinian leaders).

[Abbas]’s propaganda missive claims Palestinian ownership and responsibility over the West Bank and Gaza “as a single territorial unit,” but amazingly fails to mention a slight problem named Hamas. As if Hamas didn’t exist; as if Hamas control of Gaza wasn’t a problem; as if…Abbas had control over Hamas. What a joke!

The bottom line is that the current Palestinian leadership (never mind the Hamas leadership) has no intention of truly entering realistic peace talks that involve compromise with Israel, or ever signing a piece of paper that recognizes the legitimacy of a Jewish state and therefore end the conflict for all time. Instead, Abbas…know[s] how to threaten: That unless Israel bows to [his] demands, the Palestinian Authority “will seek the full and complete implementation of international law” to criminalize and penalize Israel’s presence “as an occupying power in all of the occupied Palestinian territory.” To seek to further isolate Israel internationally.

In truth, this is what the Palestinian national movement has always been about: the delegitimization of the Jewish state. I would say that the…letter constitutes another missed Palestinian opportunity to gain their own state, but clearly and unfortunately, that is not what today’s Palestinian leaders are after.

HISTORY LESSONS FROM ABBAS
Elliott Abrams

Weekly Standard, Apr 23, 2012

The situation of the Palestinian Authority is grim. Its diplomatic offensive against Israel in the United Nations did not win it statehood, there are no serious negotiations with Israel because the PA refuses them, Hamas controls Gaza, and Palestinian elections keep getting postponed despite the “Arab Spring” and the wave of elections in Arab countries. Internally, relations between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad were recently so poor that for several days Abbas apparently refused even to speak to Fayyad.

So what is on Abbas’s mind right now? The Jews of Iraq, and they way they were driven out of that blessed land…by the Zionists.…

In [an] article [he published April 4th], Abbas claims that Iraqi Jews were “forced and compelled to leave.” Here is his explanation: “This is what happened to the Iraqi Jews, who were relocated to Palestine as the result of a tripartite Zionist-British-Iraqi conspiracy. The role played by Ben Gurion in this [conspiracy] has already been exposed: he sent his emissaries [to Iraq] to intimidate the Jews, and they harmed and killed [Jews]. Then they left it to the media to spread rumors that extremist Arabs had been behind the despicable acts.”

Why did the wicked Zionists do this? Because European Jews were not coming to Israel in sufficient numbers. So, he recounts, “the Zionist movement turned to the Jewish communities in Iraq, Yemen, North Africa, Egypt and Syria, urging them to emigrate, though these [communities] had no motivation to leave, for they all enjoyed high standards of living, as well as civil and political rights that the European Jews had not even dreamt of for centuries.”

In this context it is probably impolite to mention Abbas’s 1982 doctoral dissertation in Moscow, in which he argued with respect to the Holocaust that “the number of Jewish victims might be 6 million and might be much smaller—even less than 1 million.” Nor perhaps is it charitable to harp on his assumption that the Jews in Arab lands “all enjoyed high standards of living.” In any event it should not be necessary to go over the well-known history of what happened to Jewish communities in Arab countries after the establishment of the state of Israel: the riots and pogroms, the theft of property, the anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist legislation, which led a million Jews to flee to Israel.

Abbas is not, then, a very reliable commentator on Jewish history, in Europe or in Arab lands. What is more remarkable is that he would choose this moment to publish such ‘reflections’ on the subject. On March 19, President Obama and President Abbas spoke, by telephone, for the first time in six months. Perhaps in their next conversation Mr. Obama—who appeared at the Holocaust Museum in Washington on Monday—might tell Mr. Abbas to knock off the history lessons if he wishes to salvage what tarnished reputation he has left.

HAMAS: WE’LL NEVER RECOGNIZE ISRAEL
Jonathan S. Tobin

Contentions, April 20, 2012

For those optimists who continue to believe peace with the Palestinians is possible, the focus in the Middle East continues to be on Israel.… However, [last week brought] a reminder that those who view Middle East peace as something that only is about Israeli decision-making are looking at the situation through the wrong end of the telescope.

The Forward’s Larry Cohler-Esses snagged an interview with Mussa Abu Marzook, the second-highest ranking official in Hamas, and what he found out was something that caused him, as the journalist later told Haaretz, to view the situation with less optimism. Though apologists for Hamas claim the group is moving toward peace with Israel, Abu Marzook made it plain that the best that could be hoped for is “hudna,” or truce, rather than a peace that would end the conflict. He also defended Hamas’s right to continue attacks on Jewish civilians.

Pressed by Cohler-Esses to define what even a hudna, rather than peace would mean, Abu Marzook said it would be similar to Israel’s relationship with Syria and Lebanon. Both countries remain in a state of war with Israel.…

In particular, Abu Marzook took issue with the idea that Hamas is dropping its legacy of violence.… The Hamas leader stands by his group’s charter that, as Cohler-Esses points out, contains blatantly anti-Semitic material including “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and passages of the Koran that call for the death of the Jews.

Whatever changes may be happening inside Hamas, as Abu Marzook jockeys with his rivals for the leadership of the group, it remains an Islamist terrorist group committed to Israel’s destruction. If the Fatah-Hamas agreement is finalized and men like Abu Marzook assume power in the West Bank while continuing their tyrannical rule over Gaza, it will mean the end of any hopes for a Western-style Palestinian government dedicated to cooperation with Israel and economic development.… [See ‘On Topics’ below for the full interview—Ed.]

PALESTINIANS ARE NOT WANTED IN JORDAN
Moshe Arens

Haaretz, April 17, 2012

Jordan refuses to let in the more than 1,000 Palestinians stranded along the Syria-Jordan border, even though it has allowed 100,000 Syrian refugees to enter. There are at present an estimated 500,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria, and clearly the last thing the rulers of Jordan want is for them to come streaming into Jordan.

The rulers of Jordan believe they have a demographic problem, and Palestinians are not wanted in Jordan. Jordanian spokesmen insist over and over again that Jordan is not a Palestinian state, and the assertion heard now and then that Jordan is Palestine is considered subversive propaganda in Amman.

How things have changed since the time that Jordan’s King Abdullah sent his British-officered and -equipped Arab Legion into western Palestine in 1948 and, at the conclusion of hostilities, annexed the areas of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria that had come under his control during the fighting and awarded Jordanian citizenship to the Palestinian population there, turning the Palestinians into a majority of Jordan’s population. As far as the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization was concerned, Jordan was most definitely Palestine, as seen when the PLO tried to take over Jordan during Black September, in 1970. The Jordanian army routed the Palestinian forces, leaving King Hussein in control.

The vagaries of Middle East borders and national identities come to mind when we recall the birth, more than 90 years ago, of what is today the kingdom of Jordan. In 1921, Winston Churchill, the newly appointed British colonial secretary, hurried from London to Jerusalem and offered Emir Abdullah, the son of Sharif Hussein of Mecca, the territory of Palestine east of the Jordan River. That was three-quarters of the area that had been intended to serve as the national home of the Jewish people, but Churchill assured Emir Abdullah that, contrary to the League of Nations mandate on the matter, these territories would be closed to Jewish immigration and settlement.

This gratuitous offer was followed in 1922 by the Churchill White Paper, which declared that “unauthorized statements have been made to the effect that the purpose in view is to create a wholly Jewish Palestine. Phrases have been used such as that Palestine is to become ‘as Jewish as England is English.’ His Majesty’s Government regard any such expectations as impracticable and have no such aim in view.” It signalled…Britain’s retreat from the commitments it had undertaken in the Balfour Declaration and its obligations under the League of Nations mandate.

What began as the Emirate of Transjordan developed over the years, under British tutelage, into the Kingdom of Transjordan, which during 1948 extended its control to the Old City of Jerusalem and areas west of the Jordan river. Transjordan renamed itself in 1949 as the Kingdom of Jordan, and a “Jordanian” nation was born.

During the first intifada, Jordan’s King Hussein, fearing that the intifada might spill over into Jordan, decided to cut Jordan’s legal and administrative ties to eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and distance himself from the Palestinian population living there. In 2009 he began a process of revoking Jordanian citizenship from Palestinians. He is trying to bring his demographic problem under control.

But there is no changing the fact that Palestinians constitute a majority of the population in Jordan; the rest of the population consists of Bedouin tribes. If one were to apply the definition used by the advocates of the Palestinian cause in Israel, who maintain that the Bedouin in Israel are also Palestinians, then all of Jordan’s population can be counted as Palestinians.… [Accordingly], the proponents of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are actually calling for the establishment of a second Palestinian state.…