Mideast

JANUARY 2012 OUTPOST

Outpost
Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Ruth King, Rita Kramer

Outpost is distributed free to
Members of Americans For a Safe Israel
Annual membership: $50.

Americans For a Safe Israel
1751 Second Ave. (at 91st St.)
New York, NY 10128
tel (212) 828-2424 / fax (212) 828-1717
E-mail: afsi @rcn.com web site: http://www.afsi.org

Mideast

WILLIAM MEHLMAN: THE PRIME MINISTER VOTES “PRESENT”

“Of all the tyrannies,” Irish novelist C.S. Lewis once noted, “a tyranny sincerely exercised for the ‘good’ of its victims may be the most oppressive.”

Israeli democracy is in the critical round of a battle for its future against just such a tyranny – “sincerely exercised “ to a needle point–in the person of a self-chosen, unvetted “High Court of Justice” that has systematically usurped the powers and prerogatives of the nation’s legislative and executive representatives. In collusion with a phalanx of radical, foreign-funded NGOs and a predominantly leftist media, it has fashioned itself as the engine for the prolongation of a governing course of retreat and appeasement firmly and repeatedly rejected by the Israeli electorate.

Under the “everything is justiciable“ doctrine propounded by Aharon Barak during his ten-year reign (1996-2006) as its president, the High Court has pursued a relentless micro-intrusive path into virtually every aspect of Israeli life. Its course has been marked by the disembowelment of Knesset civil legislation deemed “unconstitutional” (Israel has no constitution) and the countermanding of IDF decisions on everything from troop emplacement to the location of security barriers. Among other acts, it has prohibited Jewish construction on Israeli-owned land; forced the State to pay damages to Arabs suffered in the course of their violent opposition to Israeli laws; shut down the radio broadcasting facilities of “Arutz Sheva,” the Judea-Samaria media network; and asserted the right of Israeli Arabs to bring the Palestinian Arabs they marry into Israel. Most egregiously, it has sanctioned petitions before its body by overseas-funded, far-left NGOs with no material or other legal standing in the outcome of those petitions.

Mideast

FROM THE EDITOR: RAEL JEAN ISAAC

The Muslim Brotherhood Spring

Former Israeli ambassador to the UN Dore Gold notes that’s the name given to the recent upheavals in the Arab world by a Saudi commentator. And it won’t be much longer that Western apologists and Pollyannas will be able to spin their tales of the Muslim Brotherhood as “largely secular” (that whopper came from James Clapper, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence) or “moderate” (the favorite epithet for the brotherhood of the mainstream media and Middle East studies establishment).

Gold writes that former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar of Spain asserted (on December 8 on CNBC’s website) that Abdul Hakim Belhadj, a key leader in the “new” Libya, was one of the suspects in the Madrid train bombing of 2004 that killed 192 people and wounded over 2,000 others. What should have been a bombshell revelation made no waves at all. And then there’s Sheikh Ali Salibi, whom The Washington Post has called “the likely architect of the new Libya,” who lived for years as an exile in Qatar and was a close associate of Sheikh Yusuf Quradawi, the spiritual head of the global Muslim Brotherhood, who has called on Allah to “count their numbers [the Jews] and kill them down to the very last one.”

As for “secular” Tunisia, which set off the so-called Arab spring, the victory of the Islamist party Ennahda in the election there has produced a deluge of apologetics here. Commentator Stephen Schwartz writes that Georgetown University’s John Esposito has been in the forefront, proclaiming Ennahda’s leader Rashed Ghannoushi has transformed the party into “a more Tunisian-centered movement”– from “a militant Qutb-inspired activism to more pragmatic, moderate, accomodationist activism.”

This is reminiscent of the treatment of Ayatollah Khomeini as an ardent democrat in The New York Times op-ed pages prior to his return from French exile to Iran. There was plenty of evidence in Khomeini’s writings concerning his true opinions and targets for those willing to read them–as there is in Ghannoushi’s writings–and previous activities–now. Ghannoushi, says Schwartz, was the paramilitary “emir” of the Jamaah al-Islamiyya, founded under the influence of the Iranian Islamic revolution. As for Israel, Ghannoushi has described it as a “germ,” and promised “resistance will continue even if it lasts hundreds of year ’til we purify our nation’s body and the region from the Zionist state.”

An Invented People
Crime in the Netherlands
Kudos to Gideon Saar

Mideast

YISRAEL MEDAD: ON SHILOH

(Editor’s note: AFSI will be running a series on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Those who live in them are Israel’s most courageous and patriotic citizens, not “occupiers” but people with the faith and determination to recreate Jewish communities in the land of their forefathers who “settled” there millennia ago. We are giving them the voice denied them in an overwhelming hostile media (shockingly, in Israel as well) which depicts them as zealots, fanatics and chief barriers to peace. Yisrael Medad, his wife Batya and their family have lived in Shiloh since 1981 and their grandchildren live in nearby Ofra.)

Thirty-four years ago, on January 9, 1978, the first families and three dozen bachelor Yeshiva students planted themselves on the land of Shiloh, just a few dozen meters from the archaeological mound that was all that was left of the capital of the tribal federation of the Children of Israel. Two weeks later, the official ceremony that inaugurated the community was conducted on the holiday of Tu B’Shvat, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat a day fraught with symbolism regarding the connection of the Jewish people and the land it regards as sacred.

At that ceremony, Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook, the mentor of Gush Emunim, the movement that revitalized the Zionist imperative of reconstituting the Jewish National Home in the Land of Israel, explained that those who assumed the task of living in the newly won areas following the 1967 war were “holy.” In his speech Rav Kuk said:

“We are the restorers of Shiloh and other communities, and we bring our children back to their borders [a reference to Jeremiah 31:16]…our Kedusha [sanctity] doesn’t stem from the individual but rather…is revealed through–the Kedusha of the community of the peoplehood of Israel…this eternally existing and triumphant nation…These skies, these hills comprise the Land of our life, both physically and spiritually, in every mountain and valley in our Land…We have reached our place of rest…we arrive here, slowly, slowly to our comfort and rest. In our place of rest here, we are in the Land of our life, of all the nation of Israel – the land of our past life, our future life, and our life today…”

Mideast

EFRAIM INBAR: THE THREATS IN THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN SEA

The turmoil in the Arab world is changing the strategic landscape around Israel. However, one area that has received little attention is the eastern Mediterranean basin, where elements of radical Islam could gain control. In this region, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey display Islamist tendencies, leaving Israel and Greece as the only Western allies.

A review of the political dynamics in the states on the shores of the eastern Mediterranean generates great concern about the ability of the West to continue enjoying unrestricted access to this area.

Evolving political events in Libya indicate that radical Islamic elements will definitely play a greater role in the future of the country. If the transition to a new regime descends into civil war, the ensuing chaos may allow greater freedom of action for Muslim extremists from the shores of this Mediterranean country.

Next to Libya is Egypt, which is in the midst of a great confrontation between the military and the Islamist parties over the future of the country. In any case, the planned elections will in all probability catapult the Islamist parties into a dominant role in the emerging Egyptian political system.

Apart from managing important ports on the Mediterranean, Egypt also controls the Suez Canal, a waterway that links Europe to the Persian Gulf and the Orient. This is a critical passageway that might fall into the hands of the Islamists.

Significantly, Egypt has already opened the Suez Canal to military vessels belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran. This enhances the ability of radical Iran to supply its Mediterranean allies, such as the current regime in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza. Moreover, it has enhanced Iranian access to Muslim states in the Balkans, namely Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo, thereby increasing its influence in that part of the Mediterranean.

Even if the Egyptian military is able

Mideast

ANN AND JOHN STACEY: A CHANCE MEETING IN DALLAS

(Editor’s note: Ann Stacey was on the last two AFSI Chizuk trips to Israel–on the first with her grandson. Both times the group visited Givat Aryeh, an “outpost” of the Jewish community of Itamar in Samaria. It was created in the wake of the vicious murder in Itamar of five members of the Fogel family, including two children and an infant, as they slept. It was Itamar’s way of signifying that the Jewish response to Arab barbarism was not fear and retreat but creation of a new community in memory of those so cruelly lost. On the second trip, AFSI presented Givat Aryeh’s new synagogue with a handwritten Torah scroll rescued from the Nazis and donated by AFSI member Jack Ross in memory of his parents who had survived the Holocaust. Givat Aryeh, including its new synagogue, was razed shortly after AFSI’s visit by the Israeli government. Horrified, the Staceys wrote this letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu.)

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

We are wondering where the man is that stood up to President Obama as we proudly watched him address our American Congress. A number of years ago we saw a man who simply wanted to start his day with a workout at the Anatole Hotel Gym in Dallas, Texas. Yet on that morning he was interrupted by a horrific phone call regarding yet another murderous bus bombing in Jerusalem. We personally watched your face and the pain that was evident in your heart. Where was that man December 1, that either directly or indirectly ordered the demolition of Givat Aryeh.

The week after the Fogel family was butchered we took all our children and grandchildren to see Irving Roth, a survivor of Buchenwald. As we were discussing Eretz Israel and how to impart this to our family, Mr. Roth suggested, “a trip like no other trip would be with Americans for a Safe Israel”. My husband suggested I take our 15 year old grandson, Matt.

Mideast

DIANA WEST: THE PITFALLS OF “VICTORY” IN IRAQ

(Editor’s Note: Over the last years AFSI has published a number of articles on Iraq critical of the conduct of the war and of the notion that it was in the realm of the possible to create a liberal, democratic Iraq. Diana West has been among the most prescient about the war, as this five year old column of December 23, 2006, on the then newly announced “surge” proves.)

Sure, let’s go ahead and say this new “troop surge” being bandied about Washington comes off, and tens of thousands of additional American troops pacify enough of Iraq to pull off what President Bush this week called the Iraqi dream–“a stable government that can defend, govern and sustain itself.”

OK. So then what? It’s not hard to imagine that the United States would take the first opportunity to wish that dream-come-true government well in defending, governing and sustaining itself, and then high-tail it back home.

But that’s no strategy. That’s an escape hatch. What happens after that?

Looking back on, lo, our many costly years of liberation and occupation in Iraq, what would it turn out that we had actually won? In other words, what, in this best-case scenario, is “victory” supposed to look like?

This is an important question. But it’s one that is never, ever asked, let alone discussed. For reasons I can’t altogether explain, tunnel vision on Iraq has led to a kind of dead-end thinking on Iraq. Amid what amounts to a group failure of imagination on the part of our Big Brass and Deep Thinkers, no one takes into account, or even seems curious about what exactly “victory” in Iraq might mean, or, more important, might gain for the United States of America and friends.

To the president, victory must seem self-evident, which is why he will say things like, “Success in Iraq will be success.” Taking the opposite tack, the new secretary of defense explains also that “failure would be a calamity.” But neither of them–and no one else, either–offers much more in the way of hard detail. “Success” may well be the stabilized Iraqi government the president waxes pre-nostalgic about, and “failure” may well be the absence of that “success,” but none of this talk counts for enlightening debate.

What I want to know is what happens if this much-discussed American troop surge actually manages to secure Iraq, which then emerges as a natural ally of Iran and perhaps Syria? Will we salute U.S. efforts that brought into the (Islamic) world another Shi’ite dominated, pro-Hezbollah, anti-American, anti-Israel sharia state with lots of oil? To me, such “success” sounds more like the “failure” that is usually described, roughly, as the loss of American face or the transformation of Iraq into a terrorist haven. In the aftermath of any “victory” in Iraq that benefits Iran more than the United States, our face wouldn’t look so hot with all that egg on it, and the world would surely have a new terrorist haven.

So maybe “more troops” to shore up the Iraqi government doesn’t give us a bona fide win in the so-called war on terror–which is, of course, what this intervention in Iraq was supposed to achieve in the first place. That’s not a failure of our great military; it’s a failure of our best intentions. The next question is, what can we salvage from battle for the United States?

Mideast

AMERICANS FOR A SAFE ISRAEL: THE RECORD BY RUTH KING

AFSI was founded in 1971 by Americans committed to Israel’s religious, historic and strategic claims–as well as those stemming from victory in a defensive war–to the lands conquered in the Six Day War of 1967. These included the Sinai peninsula, Judea and Samaria (then generally known as the West Bank), Gaza, and the Golan Heights. Until Israel’s conquest, many of these areas were launching pads for attacks on Israeli civilians and in the run-up to the war had become staging grounds for military buildups designed to remove Israel from the map.
In the immediate aftermath of the war, Israel’s cabinet unanimously offered to return all the land it had won in war from Egypt and Syria and to negotiate with King Hussein (Israel was not prepared to return Jerusalem to Arab rule) in exchange for a peace settlement. This enormously generous offer was met by the famous three “nos” of Khartoum–no negotiations, no recognition, no peace with Israel. Nasser was soon openly announcing his intention to prepare for a new war. Nonetheless, this Israeli offer became the default standard for negotiations and Israel’s legitimate claims were forfeited in what would become a never ending effort to appease Arab demands.

In Israel, leaders from both left and right on the political spectrum joined together in the Land of Israel Movement to make Israel’s claim to the land when the government failed to do so. AFSI provided an American political support group for the Land of Israel Movement and, as time went by, for the growing resettlement of biblical lands in Judea, Samaria, Golan and Gaza.

Outside Israel, most groups supportive of the state were enthusiastic advocates of the Israel government’s line of “territories for peace.” They stubbornly continued to refer to the area as ”territories” and to Judea and Samaria as the West Bank [of Jordan] even though Jordan’s claim was without legal force and had been recognized only by Pakistan and England. Thus, the need for AFSI.

AFSI was the only, repeat, only, American support group for Israel to denounce the Camp David Accords in which Israel, hounded by the Carter administration, caved in to Sadat’s demands and surrendered the entire Sinai peninsula with its oil fields and strategic depth–at a stroke giving up 92% of all the territories won in 1967. Recent events in Egypt (where all major parties clamor for “renegotiating”, i.e. abrogating, the treaty with Israel) have vindicated AFSI’s conviction that treaties with Arab enemies are temporary hudnas (truces) used to consolidate power in order to destroy.”The Sinai itself is rapidly turning into an al Qaeda base.”

Outpost

Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Herbert Zweibon, Ruth King

Outpost is distributed free to
Members of Americans For a Safe Israel
Annual membership: $50.

Americans For a Safe Israel
1751 Second Ave. (at 91st St.)
New York, NY 10128
tel (212) 828-2424 / fax (212) 828-1717
E-mail: afsi @rcn.com web site: http://www.afsi.org

December 2011
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