PRESIDENT TRUMP RECOGNIZES ISRAEL’S SOVEREIGNTY OVER THE GOLAN
Atop the Golan, Thucydides Smiles: L. Scott Lingamfelter, The Washington Times, Mar. 6, 2019 — Since his arrival in Washington D.C., President Donald Trump has been regarded by establishment luminaries as diplomatically incongruent with the foreign policy apparatus.
What To Make Of A Historic Pro-Israel Presidency?: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, Mar. 26, 2019 — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said something last week timed to the Jewish holiday Purim that made a lot of people snicker. When asked by an interviewer by the Christian Broadcasting Network if U.S. President Donald Trump had been “raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace?”
Good Move on the Golan Heights: Douglas J. Feith, National Review, Mar. 27, 2019 — President Trump didn’t spell it out, but there’s a sound rationale for America’s recognizing the Golan Heights as a permanent part of Israel.
Jews Must Never Be Afraid to Use Their Well-Earned Power: Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, Mar. 27, 2019 — Recent comments by members of Congress and their defenders once again raise the question: Are Jews too powerful?
On Topic Links:
Time to Ditch the Old Ways: JOL, Mar. 28, 2019 — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights will help bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Why Israeli Sovereignty Over the Golan Heights Matters: Dore Gold, The Jerusalem Center, Mar. 28, 2019, Video.
Trump: The First Jewish President of the United States: Joseph Taied, The Times of Israel, Mar. 22, 2019 — March 21, 2019 marked several big-league junctures in American-Israeli relations.
Expert Reverses Course, Says Trump’s ‘Most Pro-Israel President Ever’: Meyer Shimon, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 3, 2019 — A week after raising doubts on President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a leading Mideast policy expert reversed course and affirmed Trump as “the most pro-Israel president ever.”
ATOP THE GOLAN, THUCYDIDES SMILES
L. Scott Lingamfelter
The Washington Times, Mar. 6, 2019
Since his arrival in Washington D.C., President Donald Trump has been regarded by establishment luminaries as diplomatically incongruent with the foreign policy apparatus. From his first days in office, diplomats viewed him as disruptive, brash and, frankly, a danger to the best interests of the United States. They were seeking someone who would exhibit a servile mansuetude to their established foreign policy preferences. Moreover, they wanted a meek shopkeeper who would embrace their methodology, not a bull in search of china shops.
Indeed, Mr. Trump’s daring and penchant for productive disruption has confounded career diplomats at Foggy Bottom and liberal national security think-tankers who lack the fortitude to tackle tough foreign policy challenges head-on. They — like the feckless Obama administration who saw the world as ripe for community organizing — fail to grasp its reality: A multi-polar, multi-dangerous globe needing clear-eyed and bold Churchillian leadership. Mr. Trump provides this in his willingness to make profound choices that court danger yet are accompanied by the glory and sublimity that results from bold, not timid, decision-making.
His critics are perplexed by his willingness to take stances and make decisions that actually move the fulcrum under complex problems, getting them off dead center, while positioning America to resolve — not simply preside over — foreign policy challenges that otherwise exist in a state of chronic indecision. Consider just one: The president’s recent decision to formally recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
An area of 690 square miles bordering Israel and Syria, stretching from the southeast corner of Lebanon to the northwestern shoulder of Jordan, the Golan Heights overlooks the Sea of Galilee offering any occupying military force a clear and unobstructed view of the peaceful villages and towns lying below. Prior to Israel’s occupation of the Golan, Syria possessed all of it. In 1965, this region was the launch point for Palestinian military raids into Israel. Two years later during the June 1967 Six Day War, Israel took possession of two-thirds of the Golan.
The Yom Kippur War that followed in 1973, saw the Syrian Army overrun much of the southern Golan, but it was eventually repulsed by the Israel Defense Force (IDF). The ceasefire that followed left almost all the Heights in Israeli hands. In 1981, Israel annexed about 500 square miles of the region, a move condemned by the United Nations, yet regarded by the United States as a de facto necessity for Israel’s security. Indeed, any Israeli leader today, military or political, conservative or liberal, would be thought to suffer from an incurable delusion were they to hand over the strategic Golan Heights to any hostile power, particularly one led by Iranian-backed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, an avowed enemy of the Jewish state.
One can only marvel at why it has taken so long for the United States to recognize that ceding the Golan to Syria would be strategic lunacy and unimaginable military malpractice. Yet for almost four decades — following Israel’s common-sense decision to take the status of the Golan off the table with regard to future peace negotiations — the United States has danced around this issue. Israel was right. And now Donald Trump has wisely exhibited his own common sense in placing the imprimatur of the United States on that decision. There will be no volte-face now that America has made its position clear… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
WHAT TO MAKE OF A HISTORIC PRO-ISRAEL PRESIDENCY?
Jonathan S. Tobin
JNS, Mar. 26, 2019
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said something last week timed to the Jewish holiday Purim that made a lot of people snicker. When asked by an interviewer by the Christian Broadcasting Network if U.S. President Donald Trump had been “raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace?”
Pompeo’s response went directly to the point: “As a Christian, I certainly believe that is possible.” He went on to say that he is confident that the Lord is at work here,” when he surveyed “the work our administration has done to make sure this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state, remains.”
Many heard this and mocked (with good reason) the notion that Trump could possibly be compared to the heroine of the Purim story.
But so deep runs the contempt for Christian conservatives among some sectors of the chattering classes, as well as the foreign-policy establishment, that Pompeo’s willingness to speak of “the Lord” was enough to set eyes rolling.
Others, like Rabbi Jonah Pesner, the head of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, deplored the introduction of theology—even one that is favorable to Zionism and the Jewish people—into any discussion of foreign policy.
That was an opinion echoed in The New Republic. It published a scathing attack on Trump and Pompeo for seeking to carry out a “Christianization of U.S. foreign policy.” The magazine blasted the administration’s policies on Pompeo’s own evangelical faith. TNR and other voices on the left have often blamed Trump’s tilt towards Israel on a desire to curry favor with evangelicals.
As with every discussion of Christian support for Israel, Pompeo’s comments prompted some to regurgitate the familiar claims from some on the left that avowed Christian Zionists, like the secretary of state, are only supporting Israel because they wish to set off an apocalyptic scenario that would generate the return of the Christian messiah.
The support of evangelicals like Pompeo is sincere and rooted in a genuine concern for Israel’s well-being that is rooted firmly in biblical texts, not eschatological scenarios. The notion that Jews should be wary of Christians because of their theology is also absurd. Even if all of them were focused on what would happen after Jesus’ return, the idea that Jews, who don’t believe in such a possibility, should worry about what would happen then is ridiculous.
But the more important question to be asked is how Jews—the vast majority of whom, purport to care about Israel and its safety—can dismiss Trump’s record on this issue as being of either negligible importance or assert that his policies are actually bad for the Jewish state?
After this week’s signing by Trump of a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights, the debate about his attitude towards Israel should be over. The timing of the declaration was almost certainly aimed at aiding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election campaign. But the recognition of Israel’s hold on the Golan sent a stronger message to Iran, whose forces and Hezbollah auxiliaries are occupying Syrian territory, than it did to Israel’s voters. It at least partially offset Trump’s ill-advised desire to pull U.S. troops out of eastern Syria and reinforced the administration’s tough stance against the Islamist republic.
Moreover, when placed in the context of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, his unwillingness to accept—as did previous presidents—the Palestinian Authority’s intransigence and financial support for terrorism, and his pulling out of the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal with Iran brokered by his predecessor, there’s no longer any room to deny the depth of the support of this administration for the Jewish state.
This isn’t to argue that this one aspect of his administration must cancel out any other consideration when thinking about 2020. But it does mean that an honest discussion about Trump’s policy when it comes to Israel requires us to discard our partisan lens and understand that whatever his true motivation or how he arrived at his conclusions, what he has done has greatly strengthened Israel’s strategic position… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
GOOD MOVE ON THE GOLAN HEIGHTS
Douglas J. Feith
National Review, Mar. 27, 2019
President Trump didn’t spell it out, but there’s a sound rationale for America’s recognizing the Golan Heights as a permanent part of Israel. Syria has been an unhappy political experiment. It never secured for its multiethnic population freedom, prosperity, or domestic tranquility. Aided by Iran and Russia, the Bashar al-Assad regime has just won a long civil war through mass murder of its own civilians (including by use of prohibited chemical weapons) and by imposing on other countries millions of desperate, impoverished refugees. Under the circumstances, there is no compelling reason for local or world powers to remain committed to reassembling Syria as it existed before the civil war.
As a rule, preserving borders is a good thing, a contribution to peace and stability. But not always. Syria’s borders have spawned resentment and belligerence among the country’s leaders, who have never respected the lines. They have continually used their military forces or terrorist proxies to violate the sovereignty of Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Israel. In light of the disastrous domestic and international history, it is reasonable to ask, What border changes might better serve the interests of Syria’s people, neighboring states, and the world in general?
Detaching the Golan Heights is a sensible part of the answer.
When Syria someday, with new leadership, seeks to reestablish official relations with the United States, it will now have to do so on the understanding that Israeli retention of the Golan is a closed issue. Syria’s new leadership would not then be asked to humiliate itself by ceding the territory but only to recognize that President Assad lost it permanently as one of the many consequences of the civil war.
Syrians know that the Assad regime prosecuted that war with brutality and is responsible for the awful results. These include hundreds of thousands of dead Syrian civilians, more than 6 million internally displaced people, and approximately 5 million international refugees. An additional result now is that the U.S. government will never again pressure Israel to come down from the Heights.
Why is the Golan strategic, and how did Israel take it over?
Rising like a steep, 3,000-foot wall from the northern and eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights look down onto all of northern Israel to the Mediterranean. Enemy artillery on the Golan could bombard those fertile Israeli lowlands with precision. In Israel’s early years, as in the pre-state era, Syrian gunners on the Heights often targeted Israeli farmers in the Galilee and Lake Hula areas.
In 1967, in alliance with Egypt and Jordan, Syria threatened to plunge down from the Golan Heights to strangle and overrun Israel. Skill, courage and luck allowed Israel to conquer the Heights. For the past 52 years, it has retained control, reducing the dangers of war. Only once, in 1973, did Syria try to win the Golan back by force. The number of non-Israelis living there under Israeli rule is small (approximately 20,000).
Syria’s borders do not have deep roots in religion, culture, or history. They reflect nothing profounder than the interests of France and Britain at a moment in the early 20th century. In the Middle East, some countries, such as Egypt and Persia, have long histories as independent powers. Syria is not one of them. Like most of the Middle East, it was a region of the Turkish Empire for 400 years until British forces conquered it in 1917–18 during World War I. The name “Syria,” like “Palestine” and “Mesopotamia,” was an ancient but indefinite geographical term. Until the 1920 post–World War I peace conference, there had never been a nation called “Syria.”
That conference awarded France the mandate to administer Syria until self-government could be achieved. At the same time, Britain received a similar mandate for Mesopotamia (now Iraq) and another for Palestine (now Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan). At that time, no borders for these mandate territories had yet been drawn.
To protect local Christians, France carved out of western Syria a new country, Lebanon. British officials bent Syria’s southern border so that the Jewish settlement of Metulla would be within Palestine. In 1923, an Anglo-French commission formally drew the Syria–Palestine border. This was the body that allocated the Golan Heights entirely to Syria, though an earlier agreement had put the Heights partially in Palestine…[To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
JEWS MUST NEVER BE AFRAID TO USE THEIR WELL-EARNED POWER
Alan M. Dershowitz
Gatestone Institute, Mar. 27, 2019
Recent comments by members of Congress and their defenders once again raise the question: Are Jews too powerful? This question, which has never been raised about other groups, manifests a double standard against the Jewish people. It must not be ignored. Here is my answer.
When I hear that Jews are too powerful, my response is, we are not powerful enough. When I hear that AIPAC is too influential a lobby, I say it must become even more influential. When I hear that Jews contribute too much money to support pro-Israel causes, I say we must contribute more. When I hear that Jews control the media, I ask “Why is so much of the media so anti-Israel?” When I hear that Jews have too much influence on the outcome of elections, I say we need to increase our influence. We aren’t doing enough. We must do more.
Jews have contributed enormously — disproportionately — to America’s success. Along with other immigrants, Jews have helped change our country for the better: academically, scientifically, economically, politically, militarily, medically, legally, technologically and in so many other ways. We have earned the right to act as first-class citizens. No other group is ever accused of having too much power and influence. That false claim — dating back to times and places where Jews had little or no influence — is an anti-Semitic trope that tells us more about the anti-Semites who invoke it that it does about the Jews.
History has proven that Jews need more power and influence than other groups to secure their safety. During the 1930s and early 1940s Jews had morality on their side, but they lacked the power and influence to save six million of their brothers and sisters from systematic murder. If Israel had existed then, with the powerful army it now has, the history of European Jewry might well have been different. If Jews had more political power in the United States during that time, the doors of our nation would not have been shut to our brothers and sisters seeking asylum from Nazism.
In the Middle East, Israel must have more military power than all of its enemies and potential enemies combined. As Benjamin Netanyahu wisely put it: “The truth is that if Israel were to put down its arms there would be no more Israel. If the Arabs were to put down their arms there would be no more war.” Israel therefore must maintain, with or without the help of the United States, its qualitative military superiority in the region. And the region of its enemies has now expanded to Iran and Turkey, two Muslim, non-Arab, extreme anti-Israel nations with powerful armies. So, Israel must get stronger, not weaker, despite its current military superiority.
Elie Wiesel once said that the lesson of the Holocaust is that, “We must believe the threats of our enemies, more than the promises of our friends.” For me, an additional lesson is that Israel and the Jewish people must be more powerful than their enemies.
The Psalmists put it very well when they wrote, “hashem oz l’amo yiten; hashem yivarech et amo b’shalom.” I interpret this wonderful verse to mean that, “God will give the Jewish people strength, and only through strength will they achieve Shalom, peace.”
When anybody ever challenges Jewish power and influence, remind them that Jewish power is the best road to peace: that history has proven that Jews without power are vulnerable to the oldest prejudice known to humankind — a prejudice that may abate, as it did for several decades following the Second World War, but it always rears its ugly head as it is now doing in England, France, Eastern Europe and on the hard left in the United States. When Jewish power and influence are used in the cause of peace and justice — as it is today — there is nothing to be ashamed of. It should be a source of pride.
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends and Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!