Mideast

MIDEAST OUTPOST OCTOBER 2012

Join AFSI for the next Chizuk trip to Israel, Nov 7-15 2012.
For reservations call AFSI (212) 828-2424.
To see reports and photos of past trips, go to www.afsi.org.

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

Coming Apart William Mehlman

The Iranian nuclear impasse is beginning to tell on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s nerves.

Strains created by Jerusalem’s loss of confidence in Washington’s bet on sanctions to pull the plug on Tehran’s uranium-enriching centrifuges reached a breaking point in early September, resulting in what was described as a “highly undiplomatic exchange” (read “shouting match”) between the prime minister and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro. Republican Congressman Mike Rogers, chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, who witnessed the scene, described the clash to a radio reporter in his home state of Michigan as “unusual to say the least.” “We’ve had sharp exchanges with other heads of state and intelligence services,” he averred, “but nothing at that level that I’ve seen in all my time, where people were clearly that agitated, clearly that worked up about a particular issue.”

Two days later, Shapiro was on Israel Broadcasting Authority’s Channel 2 claiming that accounts of the fallout were overblown, but conceding it was “very very clear” that the Israelis had lost patience with the [Obama] Administration. “They don’t believe the Administration is serious when it says that all options are on the table,” Rogers asserted, “and, more importantly, neither do the Iranians. That’s why the nuclear program is progressing.” Rogers said he walked out of the meeting feeling that Israel was at its “wit’s end.”

If Mr. Netanyahu’s wit’s end is still somewhat down the road, he signaled it was well within reach with his over-the-top response to an admittedly outrageous leak to a reporter for the Hebrew daily Yediot Aharonot of an intelligence services’ squabble during the course of what was billed as a deep-cover, two-day meeting of the “national security cabinet” aimed at forging a policy consensus on Iran. Media leaks are an endemic feature of Israel’s predatory political landscape but the prime minister was so incensed by this one that he cancelled the second portion of the meeting five minutes after it was convened and ventured the possibility of submitting all those present, himself included, to a polygraph test. “I have no claim against the media,” a statement from his office declared. “I do have a claim against whoever violated the most basic trust needed to hold security cabinet discourses on matters having to do with Israel’s security and undermined the ability to hold confidential discussions.”

If the prime minister can’t trust his own cabinet, pray tell, who can he trust? Clearly not Shimon Peres. It wasn’t but two hours after Defense Minister Ehud Barak finished laying out the government’s case in the Knesset plenum for “the risks of dealing with Iran’s nuclear threat [being] less than they will be in dealing with them later” that Israel’s 89 year- old bemedaled and betrophied president was telling Channel 2 that an Israeli air strike against Tehran’s nuclear installations, uncoordinated with the United States, was simply out of the question. “It’s clear to us (sic) that we cannot do it alone,” Peres declared. “I am convinced that this is an American interest. I am convinced [President Obama] recognizes the American interest…I have no doubt about it after having had talks with him.”

Mideast

From the Editor: Rael Jean Isaac

Niebuhr Revisited

The following passage from a 1941 article in Christianity and Crisis by Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr applies equally well today as Iran is poised on the nuclear threshold while the West fumbles and crumbles in the face of Islamic violence. I have changed only two words in the original: where Niebuhr wrote “Nazi tyranny” I have substituted “Islamic tyranny.”

“That there are historic situations in which refusal to defend the inheritance of civilization, however imperfect, against tyranny and aggression may result in consequences even worse than war… Islamic tyranny intends to annihilate the Jewish race, to subject the nations of Europe to dominion of a ‘master’ race, to extirpate the Christian religion, to annul the liberties and legal standards that are the priceless heritage of Christian and humanistic culture, to make truth the prostitute of political power, to seek world dominion through its satraps and allies, and generally to destroy the very fabric of our civilization.”

Their Lying Eyes

A long standing–still regnant–characteristic of American Jews is to see in American Presidents what they want to see, impervious to the evidence of their lying eyes. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the adulation of Roosevelt. Long time Zionist leader Emanuel Neumann provided a harsh verdict on Roosevelt, and indirectly also on the overwhelming majority of American Jews who chose to be fooled by him.

“Whatever his attitude toward the Jews and the apparent absence of anti-Semitism in his makeup, there is no doubt that Roosevelt did nothing effective to stay the hands of the Nazis in their extermination of European Jewry, and little or nothing to help Hitler’s victims find a refuge in the United States or to induce England to admit Jewish refugees to Palestine…[Yet within the Zionist movement] he was regarded as a devoted friend of the Jewish people….He came to be looked upon by American Jews not only as their champion, but as the personification of all that was noble in the American character. As this feeling grew he came to be revered and adored by the Jewish masses, to criticize him was blasphemy…I came to realize that Roosevelt’s favorable attitude to our cause was not much more than ‘platonic love,’ or, as Abba Hillel Silver came to describe it in his own inimitable way, a case of ‘uninvolved benignancy.’ I gradually came to doubt even the ‘benignancy’ and considered it a misfortune that at such a critical time the government of the United States should be headed by a President who was clothed with great power and imperturbable charm, but who seemed determined to do nothing of substance for our people and its cause.”

Mideast

To the Shores of Tripoli Sarah Honig

It is written in the Koran that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet are sinners, whom it is the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every Muslim who is slain in this warfare is sure to go to Paradise

–Tripoli’s envoy, Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja

Difficult as it may be for some New York Times devotees to believe, the above wasn’t enunciated in response to an esoteric 14-minute YouTube clip which few actually viewed but which invisible Islamic puppet-masters belatedly decried as too offensive to overlook.

The above quote dates back to 1785 but it undeniably bloviates in precisely the same spirit as latter-day Muslim rabble-rousers. Nothing has changed since these supremacist sentiments were sounded to American emissaries Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who were dispatched to London in an attempt to reason with the proto-al-Qaeda leaders of their day.

Suffice it to say that the negotiations led nowhere. What the two future American presidents– both Founding Fathers with the impeccable credentials of enlightened political philosophers–would hear was that Muslims are above accommodating themselves to lowly infidels and that the infidels had better admit their inferiority and pay the obligatory penalty for being inferior.

In time, this standoff would escalate to what became known as the First Barbary War. America’s ability to strike far from home was tested for the first time. It was also the first time a united American force was deployed as distinct from a collection of local militias.

This chapter in American annals was seminal enough to be immortalized in the official hymn of the American Marine Corps via the phrase “to the shores of Tripoli.”

Few Americans today have an iota of non-romanticized inkling about their own country’s beginnings, never mind the realization that the first foreign war the US fought was with Muslims.

From this history-deficient worldview springs the politically correct rationalization about why assorted Muslim fanatics have taken to the streets of far-flung cities to vent hate. Like an imperious choirmaster, the Obama administration inculcates into the public’s mind the convenient pretext that an inane YouTube clip could automatically trigger the uncontrollable fury of the mobs.

To hear Obama’s mouthpieces, the to-be-expected reaction of the faithful is to riot against diplomatic sanctuaries (of different nations), despoil foreign-franchised eateries and obviously–it goes without saying–hoarsely recommend the slaughter of all Jews everywhere.

Mideast

Reflections of a Diaspora Jew David Horowitz

Editors’ note: Horowitz gave this speech (slightly abbreviated here) at a ZOA dinner on Sept. 6, 2012.

Today, anti-Zionism is the cause of Jew-haters and anti-Semites the world over, and for Jews embarrassed by the fact that they are Jews and that others fear and despise them for that reason. Even the rare Jewish magazine of the left that is actually a supporter of Israel is uncomfortable with the connotations of the Zionist label, and with what it means for Jews to defend themselves. In a recent unflattering profile, the Tablet magazine described me as touring the country “making the case for a muscular Zionism.”

I plead guilty to this charge. Yes, I want muscular Jews and a muscular Israel. I want Jews proud of the extraordinary nation-state Jews created in 1948 out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. I want Jews who are armed, and Jews who will defend themselves with arms if necessary. Muscular in every way. Yes.

I want more than just individual Jews armed. I want a Jewish nation-state possessing in its arsenal the most advanced modern weapons available, a state that can be counted on to defend Jews from their global enemies, and particularly their enemies in the Muslim world who are legion and who have sworn our destruction, and who are openly planning to complete the job that Hitler started. I want a Jewish state, armed to the teeth, because Islamic Nazis, who are the storm troopers of a second Holocaust, are already mobilized, and because—as we discovered during the first Holocaust—there are not enough non-Jews in the world who are willing and prepared to defend us.

I am glad that Israel exists. I am glad that there is a country that will preserve Jewish culture, and be a model to the world of what Jews can do when they are given the chance. Today Israel is per capita the world’s leading scientific and technological innovator and contributor to human advancement. As a Jew I am proud of that.

I am also thrilled that in the creation of Israel Jews have regained their birthright. After 2,000 years of exile, the oldest surviving indigenous people in the world has won the right to some of its stolen homeland. I look forward to the day when Judea and Samaria, the historic centers of Judaism, become part of the Jewish homeland as well.

That homeland is now occupied by Palestinian Arabs who are at war with Israel, who have proclaimed their Jew-hatred to the world, and who have forfeited any right to the territories by conducting five unprovoked, armed aggressions against the Jewish state. The official policy of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank is to make Jerusalem and the entire region of Palestine Judenrein. No other country in the world is expected to suffer such genocidal assaults without securing borders that are defensible, and Israel should not be expected to either.

Nonetheless, there is a paradox in this honor given to me, a Jew who has never been to Israel and who has never considered himself a Zionist in the sense that its founders intended.

Herzl’s Zionist idea was grounded in the belief that the establishment of a Jewish state on Jewish land would finally “normalize” the Jewish people and end their persecution. The Zionist idea was that by including Jews among the nations, Jews would become ordinary, and like other peoples—that their inclusion would finally “solve” the Jewish problem. That was the meaning of Zionism as Herzl understood it, and indeed as it was understood until the Holocaust and the actual creation of the Jewish state.

But Herzl’s dream proved to be a fairy tale, as delusional in its way as the dreams of socialism, communism and progressivism, whose believers hoped would provide solutions to the conflicts and sufferings that blight our human state. All these isms took hold in the 19th Century, and became forms of modern faith. The traditional religions they supplanted had trusted in a Divinity for such a solution, but were forced into retreat before the advance of Darwinian theory and modern scientific developments. All the messianic visions of the modern age were driven by the desire for an earthly redemption that would resolve our human dilemmas and achieve what the heavenly redemption could no longer convincingly offer.

Mideast

Living Without Solutions in Samaria Spengler

I am in Samaria, the northern half of the West Bank, inside a cement shed in a drab industrial park loaded with high-tech equipment, hearing a harangue by a fiftyish fellow wearing a knit skullcap , a torn t-shirt, shorts and sandals. His name is Amichai Lourie, and he points to a slim glass container holding an ominous-looking amber liquid.

“I’ll never do it again,” sighs Lourie. “I had to sleep in the vineyard and tell the growers exactly when to harvest every bunch of grapes. But I ended up with 8% residual sugar. Chardonnay is a tough grape for a late harvest wine. Getting the sugar is one thing, but it’s especially hard to get the right balance of fruit acid.” Clearly this man is a dangerous fanatic.

Lourie is referring to a late harvest Chardonnay dessert wine wrung out of the Samarian hills, one of wine-making’s trickiest products in a region that has made wine for less than a generation, in the present millennium, that is. His specialty is Merlot.

“It’s an unforgiving grape. With Cabernet, you can make a mistake or two and still get a decent wine, but Merlot requires perfection from harvest to fermenting to aging.” Anything easier wouldn’t interest the Pennsylvania-born vintner, who won’t be deprived of the chance to be part of a miracle.

Wine might seem a distraction as the Oslo accords disintegrate. Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is threatening to annual the 20-year-old foundation for the “peace process”. Now that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi has embraced Hamas – the Brotherhood’s Palestinian wing – over the protests of the Palestine Authority, [1] the Fatah-led PA has lost its main Arab supporter. Earlier this month, West Bank Palestinians rioted against the PA over economic grievances.

In vino veritas, though not in the way the proverb is usually understood. Wine has geopolitical significance on the West Bank. Samaria’s wine boutiques help explain why the Jewish presence in ancient Judea and Samaria has become a permanent fact of life in the region. Like Mr Lourie, the winemakers of Samaria are on a mission from God. The region is in ferment, but not the way you might think.

Lourie’s Shiloh winery took the top prizes at Israel’s main wine competition, but he’s one of several settler-vintners who set out to turn what the international media call the Occupied West Bank into Israel’s Napa Valley. Next door to his winery, ancient Israel kept the Ark of the Covenant for the 400 years preceding King David’s conquest of Jerusalem in BCE 1000. Judah Maccabee routed his first Greek column. Beth-El, where Jacob dreamed of angels going to and from heaven is on the next hill.

Ten minutes from Shiloh is the Psagot Winery, already equipped with a tasting cellar and historical sound and light shows. It offers different grades; all are workmanlike, but the artisanal single-vineyard Cabernet is brilliant.

Mideast

Get Over It! It is Not and Has Never Been a Special Relationship Ruth King

Partisans of Israel from left and right keep evoking the so called America/Israel special relationship. The left worries that a muscular Israeli response to a mortal threat will threaten the relationship, and the right frets that it has seriously frayed under the Obama administration.

They are both wrong. The so called special relationship is a chimera.

Let’s revisit some history.

In closing critical international shipping lanes, the nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser in July, 1956, was a serious provocation to Great Britain, France and Israel. Furthermore after continual terrorism and threats Israel had credible intelligence that the Arabs were preparing for war. On Oct. 29, 1956, Israeli forces, directed by Moshe Dayan, launched a combined air and ground assault into Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. Early Israeli successes were reinforced by an Anglo-French invasion along the canal. The November 6 cease fire, demanded by the United Nations and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles led to a total withdrawal by Israel, England and France in exchange for reassurances that the U.N. would monitor the Sinai and keep open the Straits of Tiran crucial for Israel’s shipping. That was special only in the thinly disguised animosity of John Foster Dulles.

Border incidents and terrorism continued against Israel for the next decade. Egypt’s President Nasser escalated his blood curdling threats to destroy Israel and in 1967 he requested the withdrawal of United Nations forces from the Sinai and closed the Gulf of Aqaba and Straits of Tiran.

When Israel complained of these flagrant violations of the 1956 agreement, Secretary of State Dean Rusk and President Lyndon Johnson declared that they could not find the agreement and therefore could not issue any warning to Egypt. Israel launched a pre-emptive lightning strike which crippled the forces of Syria, Egypt and Jordan arrayed against it. By the time Israel heard Dean Rusk’s demands for a cease fire it was all over, and the era of so called “occupation,” which has been flogged by every successive administration, began.

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

September 2012
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