The Canadian Institute for Jewish Research cordially invites you to its
23rd Anniversary Gala
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Congregation Shaar Hashomayim
450 Avenue Kensington, Westmount, Quebec, Canada
DISTINGUISHED KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Former Israeli Defense Minister and Ambassador to the U.S.
Prof. Barry Rubin
Outstanding internationally-renowned Middle East analyst
Tax receipts will be issued for the maximum allowable amount
For additional information. or to register for the 23rd Anniversary Gala,
please call Yvonne at 514-486-5544 or contact us by e-mail at email@example.com.
“Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Fayyad Mustafa said that a deal to release kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit will soon be finalized.… ‘The negotiations between Israel and Hamas, ongoing in Cairo with Egyptian mediation, are close to completion,’ Mustafa said, without providing further details. Commander of Hamas’s military wing in the Gaza Strip Ahmed Jabri [is currently] in Cairo to discuss the release of Schalit with senior Egyptian officials.… According to Palestinian sources, Defense Ministry Diplomatic-Security Bureau Amos Gilad [is] also in Cairo participating in discussions.… Former Egyptian ambassador to Israel Muhammad Bassiouni was quoted in Egyptian paper Al Masry Al Youm on Thursday as saying that an agreement to release Schalit could be reached within hours.…” (Jerusalem Post, June3.)
MOSHE ARENS TO SPEAK AT CIJR BENEFIT
Canadian Jewish News, June 2, 2011
Moshe Arens, Israel’s Defence and Foreign Affairs minister in the 1980s and ‘90s, will make a rare public appearance in North America to speak in Montreal. Now 85, Arens will be the keynote speaker at a dinner benefiting the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR) June 15 at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim.
The independent Israel advocacy organization was thrilled when Arens accepted its invitation. “I think it’s a clear endorsement of the efforts of CIJR,” said associate director David Pariser.…
First elected to the Knesset in 1974, Arens chaired its committee on foreign affairs and security from 1977 to 1982. He was then ambassador to Washington for a year before entering the cabinet. Born in Lithuania, he spent his youth in the United States before making aliyah in 1948.…
[Mideast analyst Barry Rubin, the Gala’s other guest speaker], is director of Israel’s Gloria Center, edits Middle East Review of International Affairs and has written a number of books, including his most recent, Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict and Crisis. He’s a frequent commentator in newspapers and on U.S. and British TV.…
The CIJR, founded 23 years ago by Concordia University professor Frederick Krantz, runs activities aimed at defending Israel and the Jewish People against delegitimization and keeping the Zionist spirit alive.…
The gala is usually held in August, but the CIJR decided June might be better because fewer people are away. The daytime conference that usually precedes it will be held separately this year, in November, on combating the delegitimization of Israel.
The evening will introduce CIJR’s new national chair, Joseph Shier of Toronto, who succeeds Irwin Beutel. With its first-ever non-Montreal lay leader, the CIJR hopes to increase its presence in Toronto and across Canada.
Charles Bybelezer, who joined the CIJR last year, is responsible for its publishing activities: the e-mailed Daily Briefing, a digest of articles related to Israel or the Middle East, as well as Israfax and Israzine, and the student periodical Dateline: Middle East.
He and volunteer Baruch Cohen comb through 75 to 100 articles a day for the Briefing and for a databank. Now available online, the databank contains thousands of articles on the Mideast and Jewish issues.
Among the CIJR’s new projects is retooling its website to include a weekly interactive blog and live streaming of regular roundtable discussions. Another is training students to counter anti-Israel activity on campus. Its Student Israel Advocacy Seminar, a training series given by volunteer professors from Montreal universities, will be revamped and hopefully become a credit course through Concordia.
The CIJR also hopes to raise funds to appoint a resident Israel studies professor, a paid position that would oversee its academic program.
NETANYAHU HAD THE COURAGE TO STAND UP TO OBAMA
Haaretz, May 31, 2011
It’s been a long time since these words were spoken by an Israeli prime minister. “In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers,” Benjamin Netanyahu said in his address to both houses of the U.S. Congress, and the representatives of the American people rose and cheered. Former Israeli prime ministers passively accepted the slurs hurled at Israel over the years at home and abroad that Israel was an “occupier” in the areas beyond the 1949 armistice lines. Even Ariel Sharon in his last years in office began referring to the Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria as the “occupation.”
This false role that Israeli prime ministers regretfully assumed in the name of the people of Israel, causing inestimable damage to Israel’s image throughout the world, helped embed the concept that this “occupation” was an evil that had to be eliminated. It was no mean feat that Netanyahu had the courage to deny the falsehood of the “occupation” in speaking to Congress.…
The many disappointed Israeli commentators who had hoped that Netanyahu would herald the end of the “occupation” had no difficulty finding excuses for the rousing reception his words received in Washington. One went so far as to write that even if Netanyahu had been reading from the telephone book he would have received standing ovations. Others remarked that no significance should be attached to the enthusiastic reception his words received in Congress, reminding the reader that all Israeli prime ministers had been greeted by standing ovations when addressing Congress.
But they just forgot to mention that those former Israeli prime ministers addressed Congress on occasions when their policy was completely coordinated with the White House. This time it was different. Netanyahu spoke to Congress after he had made it clear that he did not agree with Barack Obama’s call for Israel to withdraw to the “1967 lines,” and he reiterated that position in his speech.
So now come the self-anointed Israeli experts on the American system of government and explain to their readers that in the United States, foreign policy is made by the president and Congress plays no part. So it really doesn’t matter if the present Congress is especially friendly and supportive of Israel and the positions of the democratically elected government of Israel if it has no voice in making foreign policy.
But these “experts” are only displaying their ignorance of the checks and balances in the United States between the president and Congress, a system that extends to foreign policy. While executive authority rests with the president, he is limited in pursuing a foreign policy that runs counter to the position of the majority in Congress.
In any case, even these “experts” must understand that Netanyahu’s reception in Congress was an impressive demonstration of the strong bond between the people of America and the people of Israel. They might also take a look at the Washington Post headline the day after Netanyahu’s appearance in Congress, which stated that senior Democrats had criticized the president. When a few days later Obama took part in the G8 meeting in Europe, he was probably surprised when the prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, objected to the inclusion of the “1967 lines” in the G8’s resolution on the Middle East. North of the U.S. border there is another great friend of Israel who seems to agree with Netanyahu.
Obama probably realizes by now that he made a mistake when he said the “1967 lines” should serve as the baseline for territorial negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Somebody should have told him that for most Israelis the “1967 lines,” those that Abba Eban in his famous UN speech referred to as the “Auschwitz borders,” are like a red rag to a bull.
Another person probably made a mistake on this occasion. The leader of the Israeli opposition, Tzipi Livni, without giving it a moment’s thought, used the opportunity to criticize the prime minister, announcing that Netanyahu should have accepted Obama’s proposal. She is likely to discover that withdrawal to the “1967 lines” is going to make for an unpopular Kadima platform in the next election.
(Mr. Arens is Israel’s former Defense Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister, and Ambassador to Washington. He will be the keynote speaker at CIJR’s upcoming Gala, scheduled for June 15.)
MR. PRESIDENT, THERE CAN BE NO ‘TWO-STATE SOLUTION’
Louis Rene Beres
FrontPage, June 3, 2011
Mr. President, the “two-state” approach to peace between Israel and “Palestine,” strongly reaffirmed in your recent meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accepts the position of an Israeli “occupation.” Yet, even the most cursory look at pertinent world history would reveal several compelling reasons to reject any such position. Organized Arab terrorism against Israel began on the very first hour of Israel’s independence, in May 1948. Indeed, virulent anti-Jewish terrorism in the British Mandate period had even taken place many years before Israel’s statehood.
What about the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)? It was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came to control the West Bank (Judea/Samaria) and Gaza. Mr. President, what was the PLO planning to “liberate” between 1964 and 1967? The answer, of course, must be all of Israel within the “green” armistice lines” of 1949. These are precisely the 1967-borders that you have recently identified as the appropriate starting point for current peace negotiations.
What should we now know about the PLO? Significantly, it was declared a “terrorist organization” in a number of U.S. federal court decisions, including Tel-Oren v. Libyan Arab Republic (1984).
More than five years ago, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, seeking peace with the always-recalcitrant Palestinians, forcibly expelled over 10,000 Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria. Immediately, these areas were transformed by Hamas from productive growing and living areas to terrorist rocket launching sites. Today, in obvious synergy with a new regime in Cairo—a military governing council soon to be intimate with powerful elements of the Muslim Brotherhood—Egypt’s newly reopened Rafah border is creating an unobstructed terrorist path directly into Israel.
Mr. President, why aren’t the Palestinians reasonably expected to cease deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being admitted into the community of nations? Isn’t it already clear that they seek something other than an “end to occupation.” Isn’t it already very likely that both Fatah and Hamas still regard all of Israel as “occupied” territory. After all, their official maps, long familiar in Washington, still include all of Israel as part of “Palestine.”
Mr. President, without an alleged “occupation,” there could remain no possible legal or moral justification for Palestinian policies of relentless terror. Nonetheless, the fact that “occupation” is a contrived legal fiction has had little or no impact upon your own administration’s position on Palestinian statehood. Nor, somehow, has it occurred to your administration that both Hamas and Fatah still find their common ideological mentors in Hitler and Goebbels, two figures for whom the prospective rulers of a nascent “Palestine” are ardent objects of unhidden admiration.
Mr. President, at its core, your policy toward Israel and “Palestine” reveals certain incremental bewitchments of language. Over the years, Arab patience in building an expanding Palestinian state upon mountains of Israeli corpses has been achieved systematically by linguistic victories. However untrue, the ritualistic canard of an Israeli “occupation” has been repeated so often that it is now generally taken as irrefutable fact.
Mr. President, why is it simply disregarded that Israeli “occupation” followed the multistate Arab aggression of 1967. Egypt, Syria and Jordan (now in the throes of a so-called “Arab Spring”) have never even denied this aggression. And who bothers to recall that these very same Arab states were also the principal aggressors in the explicitly genocidal Arab attacks that began on May 15, 1948, literally moments after the new Jewish State’s UN-backed declaration of independent statehood.
Mr. President, please recall that a sovereign state of Palestine did not exist before 1967, or before 1948. Nor did UN Security Council Resolution 242 ever promise a state of Palestine. A state of Palestine has never existed. Never.
Even as a non-state legal entity, “Palestine” ceased to exist in 1948, when Great Britain relinquished its League of Nations mandate. During the 1948-49 Israeli War of Independence, West Bank and Gaza came under incontestably illegal control of Jordan and Egypt respectively. These Arab conquests did not put an end to an already-existing state or to an ongoing trust territory. What these aggressions did accomplish was the intentional prevention of any Arab state of Palestine.
From the Biblical Period (ca. 1350 BCE to 586 BCE) to the British Mandate (1918—1948), the land named vengefully by the Romans after the ancient Philistines was controlled only by non-Palestinian elements. A continuous chain of Jewish possession of the land was legally recognized after World War I. At the San Remo Peace Conference in April 1920, a binding treaty was signed in which Great Britain was given mandatory authority over “Palestine.” This authority was based on the expectation that Britain would prepare the area to become the “national home for the Jewish People.” Previously, since 1516, the Ottoman Turks had ruled the area cruelly, as an undesirable provincial backwater.
Palestine, according to the Treaty, comprised territories encompassing what are now the states of Jordan and Israel, including the West Bank and Gaza. Present day Israel, Mr. President, comprises only twenty-two percent of Palestine as defined and ratified at the San Remo Peace Conference.
In 1922, Great Britain, unilaterally and without any lawful authority, split off seventy-eight percent of the lands promised to the Jews, all of Palestine east of the Jordan River, and gave it to Abdullah, the non-Palestinian son of the Sharif of Mecca. Eastern Palestine now took the name “Transjordan,” which it retained until April 1949, when it was renamed “Jordan.” From the moment of its creation, Transjordan was closed to all Jewish migration and settlement, a clear betrayal of the British promise in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and a patent contravention of its Mandatory obligations under international law.
On July 20, 1951, a Palestinian Arab assassinated King Abdullah in reprisal for the latter’s hostility to Palestinian aspirations and concerns. Regarding these aspirations, Jordan’s “moderate” King Hussein, nineteen years later, during September 1970, murdered thousands of Palestinians under his jurisdiction.
In 1947, several years prior to Abdullah’s killing, the newly formed United Nations, rather than designate the entire land west of the Jordan River as the long-promised Jewish national homeland, enacted a second partition. Ironically, because this second fission again gave complete advantage to Arab interests, Jewish leaders reluctantly accepted the painful and unjust division. The Arab states did not. On May 15, 1948, exactly twenty-four hours after the State of Israel came into existence, Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, declared to a tiny new country founded upon the still-glowing ashes of the Holocaust: “This will be a war of extermination, and a momentous massacre.”
This declaration has been at the very heart of all subsequent Arab/Islamist (now including Iranian) orientations toward Israel, including those of the “moderate” and U.S.-supported Fatah. Even by the strict legal standards of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Arab actions and attitudes toward the microscopic Jewish state in their midst have remained authentically genocidal. Jurisprudentially, what they have in mind for Israel is formally called crimes against humanity.
In 1967, the Jewish State, as a result of its unexpected military victory over Arab aggressor states, gained unintended control over West Bank and Gaza. Although the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war is codified in the UN Charter, there still existed no authoritative sovereign to whom the Territories could possibly be “returned.” Israel could hardly have been expected to transfer them back to Jordan and Egypt, which had exercised unauthorized and terribly harsh control since the Arab-initiated “war of extermination” in 1948-49. Moreover, the idea of Palestinian “self-determination” had only just begun to emerge after the Six Day War; it had not even been included in UN Security Council Resolution 242, which was adopted on November 22, 1967.
The Arab states convened a summit in Khartoum in August 1967, concluding: “No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it[.]” The Palestine Liberation Organization had been formed three years earlier, in 1964, before there were any “Israeli Occupied Territories.”
Mr. President, your proposed two-state solution derives from an historical misunderstanding of Israel and “Palestine.” Even if Prime Minister Netanyahu were to agree to a complete cessation of all so-called “settlement” activity, no quid pro quo of any kind would be forthcoming from any quarter of the Arab/Islamic world. On the contrary, for Israel, any two-state solution would conclusively codify another Final Solution.
(Louis Rene Beres [Ph.D., Princeton, 1971] is the author of many books
and articles dealing with military affairs and international law.)
THE U.N. CAN’T DELIVER A PALESTINIAN STATE
Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2011
It had been quite a scramble, the prelude to the vote on Nov. 29, 1947, on the question of the partition of Palestine. The United Nations itself was only two years old and had just 56 member states; the Cold War was gathering force, and no one was exactly sure how the two pre-eminent powers, the United States and the Soviet Union, would vote. The Arab and Muslim states were of course unalterably opposed, for partition was a warrant for a Jewish state.
In the end, the vote broke for partition, the U.S. backed the resolution, and two days later the Soviet Union followed suit. It was a close call: 10 states had abstained, 13 had voted against, 33 were in favor, only two votes over the required two-thirds majority.
Now, some six decades later, the Palestinians are calling for a vote in the next session of the General Assembly, in September, to ratify a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. In part, this is an appropriation by the Palestinians of the narrative of Zionism. The vote in 1947 was viewed as Israel’s basic title to independence and statehood. The Palestinians and the Arab powers had rejected partition and chosen the path of war. Their choice was to prove calamitous.
By the time the guns had fallen silent, the Yishuv, the Jewish community in Palestine, had held its ground against the combined armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. Its forces stood on the shores of the Red Sea in the south, and at the foot of the Golan Heights in the north. Palestinian society had collapsed under the pressure of war. The elites had made their way to neighboring lands. Rural communities had been left atomized and leaderless. The cities had fought, and fallen, alone.
Palestine had become a great Arab shame. Few Arabs were willing to tell the story truthfully, to face its harsh verdict. Henceforth the Palestinians would live on a vague idea of restoration and return. No leader had the courage to tell the refugees who had left Acre and Jaffa and Haifa that they could not recover the homes and orchards of their imagination.
Some had taken the keys to their houses with them to Syria and Lebanon and across the river to Jordan. They were no more likely to find political satisfaction than the Jews who had been banished from Baghdad and Beirut and Cairo, and Casablanca and Fez, but the idea of return, enshrined into a “right of return,” would persist. (Wadi Abu Jamil, the Jewish quarter of the Beirut of my boyhood, is now a Hezbollah stronghold, and no narrative exalts or recalls that old presence.)
History hadn’t stood still. The world was remade. In 1947-48, when the Zionists had secured their statehood, empires were coming apart, borders were fluid, the international system of states as we know it quite new. India and Pakistan had emerged as independent, hostile states out of the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, and Israel had secured its place in the order of nations a year later. Many of the Arab states were still in their infancy.
But the world is a vastly different place today. The odds might favor the Palestinians in the General Assembly, but any victory would be hollow.
The Palestinians have misread what transpired at the General Assembly in 1947. True, the cause of Jewish statehood had been served by the vote on partition, but the Zionist project had already prevailed on the ground. Jewish statehood was a fait accompli perhaps a decade before that vote. All the ingredients had been secured by Labor Zionism. There was a military formation powerful enough to defeat the Arab armies, there were political institutions in place, and there were gifted leaders, David Ben-Gurion pre-eminent among them, who knew what can be had in the world of nations.
The vote at the General Assembly was of immense help, but it wasn’t the decisive factor in the founding of the Jewish state. The hard work had been done in the three decades between the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the vote on partition. Realism had guided the Zionist project. We will take a state even if it is the size of a tablecloth, said Chaim Weizmann, one of the founding fathers of the Zionist endeavor.
Sadly, the Palestinian national movement has known a different kind of leadership, unique in its mix of maximalism and sense of entitlement, in its refusal to accept what can and can’t be had in the world of nations. Leadership is often about luck, the kind of individuals a people’s history brings forth. It was the distinct misfortune of the Palestinians that when it truly mattered, and for nearly four decades, they were led by a juggler, Yasser Arafat, a man fated to waste his people’s chances.
Arafat was neither a Ben-Gurion leading his people to statehood, nor an Anwar Sadat accepting the logic of peace and compromise. He had been an enemy of Israel, but Israel had reached an accord with him in 1993, made room for him, and for a regime of his choice in Gaza. He had warred against the United States, but American diplomacy had fallen under his spell, and the years of the Clinton presidency were devoted to the delusion that the man could summon the courage to accept a practical peace.
But Arafat would do nothing of the kind. Until his death in 2004, he refrained from telling the Palestinians the harsh truths they needed to hear about the urgency of practicality and compromise. Instead, he held out the illusion that the Palestinians can have it all, from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean. His real constituents were in the refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria and Jordan, and among the Palestinians in Kuwait. So he peddled the dream that history’s verdict could be overturned, that the “right of return” was theirs.
There was hope that the Arafat legacy would go with him to the grave.The new Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas had been a lieutenant of Arafat’s, but there were hints of a break with the Arafat legacy. The alliance between Fatah and Hamas that Mr. Abbas has opted for put these hopes to rest. And the illusion that the U.N. can break the stalemate in the Holy Land is vintage Arafat. It was Arafat who turned up at the General Assembly in 1974 with a holster on his hip, and who proclaimed that he had come bearing a freedom fighter’s gun and an olive branch, and that it was up to the U.N. not to let the olive branch fall from his hand.
For the Palestinians there can be no escape from negotiations with Israel. The other Arabs shall not redeem Palestinian rights. They have their own burdens to bear. In this Arab Spring, this season of popular uprisings, little has been said in Tunis and Cairo and Damascus and Sanaa about Palestine.
The General Assembly may, in September, vote to ratify a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. But true Palestinian statehood requires convincing a decisive Israeli majority that statehood is a herald for normalcy in that contested land, for Arabs and Jews alike.
(Mr. Ajami is a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.)