Posts filed under ‘United Nations’
A humanitarian solution for
Judea, Samaria and Gaza
Last week we held the third talk in our series on “Setting the Record Straight”. The guest speaker was Dr. Martin Sherman, well-known columnist for The Jerusalem Post, lecturer, policy adviser and political and strategic analyst. His subject was “Rethinking Palestine – what would Sherlock Holmes have said?” 90 people filled the hall at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
As the title of Martin Sherman’s talk suggests, it is a highly controversial subject. Rethinking Palestine, according to Martin Sherman, entails scrapping the two-state solution because, in his opinion, it has clearly proved to be a dangerous non-solution and indeed a recipe for catastrophe, both for Israel and the Arabs of Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank).
Martin Sherman quoted Major-General (reserves) Giora Eiland, former head of Israel’s National Security Council, who in 2009 had cautioned that, “The maximum that any government of Israel will be ready to offer the Palestinians … is much less than the minimum that any Palestinian leader can accept.”
Interestingly, 14 years before that, in his last speech to the Knesset before he was assassinated in 1995, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said that Palestine should be an entity which is less than a state, which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority.” He added, “The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines.” He also said, “We have committed ourselves before the Knesset, not to uproot a single settlement in the framework of the interim agreement, and not to hinder building for natural growth.” These are sentiments that today, in his Labor Party, would probably be met with angry calls of “right wing extremist!” How perceptions have changed!
To illustrate even further the shift in perceptions, Rabin’s associate in seeking peace, Shimon Peres, known to be even more willing to make concessions to the Arabs and still to this day urging the relinquishment of more territory, had concurred that the 1967 lines “constituted almost compulsive temptation to attack Israel from all directions …” and warned that “without a border which affords security, a country is doomed to destruction in war.”
Clearly, the desire to reach a peace agreement has been so strong in Israel, that it has brought about a willingness to concede more and more territory, but at the same time, a resolve has emerged on the other side of the political divide to prevent these concessions by holding on to as much territory as possible.
Martin Sherman says that two imperatives dictate the survival of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews: The demographic imperative and the geographic imperative. Geographically, the two-State Solution poses critical security dangers for Israel, because of the longer borders that would result from the various pockets of Jewish and Arab population concentrations and the proximity of Israel’s main urban and commercial centers, power stations, military headquarters, highways and airport to an entity that, despite the proposals for demilitarization, will undoubtedly be armed to the teeth and in all likelihood be summarily taken over by Hamas or a more virulent form of extremism.
On the other hand, the One-State Solution, proposed by right-wing groups posits serious and obvious demographic risks that will generate even more inter-communal turbulence and instability than now, and dangerously erode the Jewish proportion voting for the Knesset – heralding the possible end of Israel as a Jewish state.
To offset both these predicaments, Martin Sherman suggests something which at the outset would upset many people – funded relocation. Many people immediately make the accusation of: “Ethnic cleansing!” Or “Transfer!”
Martin Sherman builds up his premise in a neat modular form, comprising three humane components. Firstly, he says, “End the discriminatory treatment of the Palestinian refugees by abolishing the UN’s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), or bringing it into line with international practice for all other refugees on the face of the globe. Every refugee on earth is under the auspices of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – except for the Palestinians. For them a separate institution exists – UNRWA. Strange, but true!
If the universally accepted UNHCR criteria for refugees were applied to the Palestinian case, the number of “refugees” would shrink from close to 5 million to fewer than 200,000. That’s because refugee status, according to the UNHCR lasts only one generation, and a concerted effort is made to integrate the refugees under its care, into other host countries, where they are expected to eventually receive citizenship. Under UNRWA, once a refugee – always a refugee until … return to their original homes. i.e. Israel!
The second humane component in Sherman’s paradigm is to end discrimination against Palestinians in the surrounding Arab countries and abolish the prohibition they face of acquiring citizenship of these countries in which they have been resident for generations. In most of the Arab countries refugees from the wars with Israel endure grave discrimination, with severe restrictions imposed on their freedom of movement, employment and property ownership.
The third component that Sherman proposes is to provide generous relocation financing directly to the Palestinian breadwinners resident across the 1967 Green Line, so as to enable them to build a better future for themselves and their families in foreign countries of their choice.
Countering the claim that this would arouse great opposition by local Arab leadership and the rest of the Arab world, Sherman says the procedure would not require the agreement of any official Arab organizations or states in order to effect implementation. Since the envisaged compensation would be large enough to allow recipients to comply with immigration criteria in numerous countries – not necessarily Arab or Muslim – and since they would be coming as adequately funded private individuals, quite a few countries would be happy to accept them. All that it requires is for the individual family heads to accept help on an individual and private basis.
Countering the charge of “ethnic cleansing” or “transfer” Sherman claims that the number of international migrants today is approaching a quarter of a billion, and is growing rapidly. Although this is partially a byproduct of wars, political conflicts and natural disasters, it is predominantly motivated by economics. Why should Palestinians be uninterested such motivations and why would it be morally wrong to offer them a better life for themselves, while helping to lessen the turmoil in the region?
There is compelling evidence that a desire to seek a better life elsewhere is widespread among the Palestinians, even without the availability of generous relocation grants. Numerous opinion polls vouch for this. The sense of national pride that obviously prevails in Palestine society, would probably be marginalized if a generously funded exit to other lands was made possible.
As for the overall cost, according to Sherman, it is easy to show that the price of the proposed plan would be comparable to any alternative under discussion, involving the establishment of a new independent Palestine, developing its infrastructure, and presumably absorbing a large portion of a relocated Palestinian “diaspora” within its constricted frontiers.
It should also be remembered that for the prospective host nations, the plan has a distinct economic advantages. The Palestinian immigrants would not arrive as destitute refugees, but as relatively wealthy immigrants in terms of average world GDP per capita. Their absorption would bring significant capital inflows to the host economies – typically around a billion dollars for every 10,000 families given citizenship. Clearly it would be a long-term process.
In his talk, Sherman also discussed the issue of Palestinian nationhood, claiming that they are the only group whose manifest raison d’etre is the not primarily the establishment of their own political independence but rather the denial of that of others (Israel). The fact that Palestinians have shown they are capable of cohesive action against another collective does not prove they are a nation. Virtually their entire collective effort has been directed at an attempt to annul the expression of Jewish sovereignty rather than assert their own.
For over two decades after the Oslo Accords – despite more massive financial aid per capita and global political support than any other people, they have produced nothing but a deeply divided entity, crippled by corruption and cronyism and bedeviled by wars against their neighboring Jewish state and among themselves. The result is a dysfunctional polity unable to conduct even the semblance of timely elections, and a puny economy, comprising a minuscule private sector and a bloated public one, totally unsustainable without massive infusions of foreign funds.
Sherman says that In every meaningful aspect, the Palestinians claim to statehood has failed the test of history, as has the two-state endeavor.
Accordingly, the time has come for new, imaginative initiatives to defuse one of the world’s most volatile problems, one for which remedies hitherto attempted have proved sadly inappropriate.
Martin Sherman has a doctorate in political science and international relations and was a lecturer for 20 years at Tel Aviv University. He was a ministerial adviser in Yitzhak Shamir’s government and is the founder and head of the Israeli Institute for Strategic Studies. He has written books and numerous articles and policy papers on a wide range of subjects.
The aim of this series of talks, called “Setting the Record Straight,” is to present the public with the information to understand more clearly the serious challenges that Israel faces, so as to counter the misinformation, ignorance and bias.
To see the video recording of the talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpCEBjkkoC0
Our thanks to Dr. Les Glassman for recording it.
When people accuse Israel …
By RALPH DOBRIN
Author of “How to avoid Armageddon”
Available through Amazon
Click: www.amazon.com type: how to avoid armageddon
When people accuse Israel of all kinds of terrible things, they’re actually indulging in inversion. When they speak about violence against innocent Arabs, they ignore the violence that began the cycle of violence against Jews over ninety years ago, launched by Mufti of Jerusalem and continuously escalating to the present day – violence that necessitates Jewish defensive measures, in which invariably it’s the Arabs who suffer worst.
When people accuse Israel of racism and ethnic cleansing, they invert the perennial aim of the Arabs to eliminate the Jewish entity in the Land of Israel; they ignore the fact that in many Arab countries Jews cannot visit and if they do, they dare not reveal their Jewish identity; detractors of Israel ignore the situation prevailing throughout most of the Arab world, where Jews face the direst discrimination or indeed cannot dwell for fear of their lives.
When people accuse Israel of acting like a Nazi state and committing countless crimes against humanity …again they indulge in inversion of facts and factors, such as what the Arabs have always wanted to do regarding the little Jewish state called Israel, and the numerous acts of savagery that they have perpetrated in the course of trying to fulfill their macabre ambitions, much of it in the name of redemption, revenge and Allah.
Most detractors of Israel either don’t know or choose to ignore the numerous forms of hostility spawned against the Jews of Israel, such as boycott, promoting international condemnation against Israel, trying to cut off its water sources and orchestrating scores of resolutions in the United Nations that condemn Israel, while overlooking the many repressive, murderous regimes in the world – significantly regimes where the worship of Allah is a dominant undertaking.
When accusing Israel of all the above supposed offences it’s like making an accusation that:
- Heart surgery is attempted murder because a sharp knife was thrust into another man’s heart.
- The extraction of a rotten tooth is mutilation of the mouth.
- The killing of a rabid dog is cruelty to animals.
- A tonsillectomy is child abuse.
- The consummation of a marriage, eagerly performed by both partners, is a physical attack against the woman or/and undue physical exertion for the man.
- Long term imprisonment for a dangerous, convicted criminal is cruel mental anguish.
- A person is filthy … because he defecates in the toilet.
Of course, all these examples are ridiculous. But they are parallel to the accusations against Israel – these accusations are largely ridiculous and represent the pinnacle of mendacity and falsehood.
To order “How to avoid Armageddon” click: www.amazon.com type: how to avoid Armageddon
Former slave sets the record
These are the words of SIMON DENG, a former Sudanese slave, in his address at the Durban Conference in New York.
I want to thank the organizers of this conference, The Perils of Global Intolerance. It is a great honor for me and it is a privilege really to be among today’s distinguished speakers.
I came here as a friend of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. I came to protest this Durban conference, which is based on a set of lies. It is organized by nations who themselves are guilty of the worst kind of oppression.
It will not help the victims of racism. It will only isolate and target the Jewish state. It is a tool of the enemies of Israel. The UN has itself become a tool against Israel. For over 50 years, 82% of the UN General Assembly emergency meetings have been about condemning one state – Israel. Hitler couldn’t have been delighted!
The Durban Conference is an outrage. All decent people will know that. But friends, I come here today with a radical idea. I come to tell you that there are peoples who suffer from the UN’s anti-Israelism even more than the Israelis. I belong to one of those peoples. By exaggerating Palestinian suffering, and by blaming the Jews for
it, the UN has muffled the cries of those who suffer on a far larger scale.
For over fifty years the indigenous black population of Sudan – Christians and Muslims alike – have been the victims of the brutal, racist Arab Muslim regimes in Khartoum. In South Sudan , my homeland, about 4 million innocent men, women and children were slaughtered between 1955 to 2005. Seven million were ethnically cleansed and they became the largest refugee group since World War II.
The UN is concerned about the so-called Palestinian refugees. They dedicated a separate agency for them, and they are treated with special privileges. Meanwhile, my people, ethnically cleansed, murdered and enslaved,
are relatively ignored. The UN refuses to tell the world the truth about the real causes of Sudan ’s conflicts. Who knows what is really happening in Darfur? It is not a “tribal conflict.” It is a conflict rooted in Arab colonialism well known in north Africa. In Darfur, a region in the Western Sudan, everybody is Muslim. Everybody is Muslim because the Arabs invaded northern Africa and converted the indigenous people to Islam.
But in the eyes of the Islamists in Khartoum, the Darfuris are not Muslim enough. And the Darfuris do not want to be Arabized. They love their own African languages and dress and customs. The Arab response is genocide! But nobody at the UN tells the truth about Darfur.
In the Nuba Mountains , another region of Sudan, genocide is taking place as I speak. The Islamist regime in Khartoum is targeting the black Africans – Muslims and Christians. Nobody at the UN has told the truth about the Nuba Mountains. Do you hear the UN condemn Arab racism against blacks?
But what you find on the pages of the New York Times, or in the record of the UN condemnations is “Israeli crimes” and Palestinian suffering. My people have been driven off the front pages because of the exaggerations about Palestinian suffering. What Israel does is portrayed as a Western sin. But the truth is that the real sin happens when the West abandons us: the victims of Arab/Islamic apartheid.
Chattel slavery was practiced for centuries in Sudan. It was revived as a tool of war in the early 1990s. Khartoum declared jihad against my people and thus legitimized taking slaves as war booty. Arab militias were sent to destroy Southern villages and were encouraged to take African women and children as slaves. We believe that up to 200,000 were kidnapped, brought to the North and sold into slavery.
I am a living proof of this crime against humanity! I don’t like talking about my experience as a slave, but I do it
because it is important for the world to know that slavery exists even today. I was only nine years old when an Arab neighbor named Abdullahi tricked me into following him to a boat. The boat wound up in Northern Sudan where he gave me as a gift to his family. For three and a half years I was their slave going through something that no child should ever go through: brutal beatings and humiliation; working around the clock; sleeping on
the ground with animals; eating the family’s left-overs. During those three years I was unable to say the word “no.” All I could say was “yes,” “yes,” “yes.”
The United Nations knew about the enslavement of South Sudanese by the Arabs. Their own staff reported it.
It took UNICEF – under pressure from the Jewish-led American Anti-Slavery Group – sixteen years to acknowledge what was happening. I want to publicly thank my friend Dr. Charles Jacobs for leading the anti-slavery fight.
But the Sudanese government and the Arab League pressured UNICEF, which backtracked, and started to criticize those who worked to liberate Sudanese slaves. In 1998, Dr. Gaspar Biro, the courageous UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Sudan who reported on slavery, resigned in protest of the UN’s actions.
Today, tens of thousands of black South Sudanese still serve their masters in the North and the UN is silent
about that. It would offend the OIC and the Arab League.
As a former slave and a victim of the worst sort of racism, allow me to explain why I think calling Israel a racist state is absolutely absurd and immoral.
I have been to Israel five times visiting the Sudanese refugees [seeking refuge] there. Let me tell you how they ended up there. They had fled Arab racism, hoping to find shelter in Egypt. How wrong they were! When Egyptian security forces slaughtered twenty six black refugees in Cairo who were protesting Egyptian racism, the Sudanese realized that the Arab racism is the same in Khartoum or Cairo. They needed shelter and they found it in Israel. Dodging the bullets of the Egyptian border patrols and walking for very long distances, the refugees’ only hope was to reach Israel ’s side of the fence, where they knew they would be safe.
Black Muslims from Darfur chose Israel above all the other Arab-Muslim states of the area. Do you know what this means [in terms of differences in culture, religion and language]? And the Arabs say Israel is racist!
In Israel, black Sudanese, Christian and Muslim were welcomed and treated like human beings. Just go and ask them, like I have done. They told me that compared to the situation in Egypt, Israel is “heaven.”
So, is Israel a racist state? To my people, the people who know the meaning of racism – the answer is absolutely not. Israel is a state of people who are the colors of the rainbow. Jews themselves come in all colors, even black. I met with Ethiopian Jews in Israel. Beautiful black Jews.
So, yes … I come here today to tell you that the people who suffer most from the UN anti-Israel policy are not the Israelis but all those people whom the UN ignores in order to tell its big lie against Israel: we, the victims of Arab/Muslim abuse: women, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, homosexuals, in the Arab/Muslim world. These are the main victims of UN Israel hatred.
Look at the situation of the Copts in Egypt, the Christians in Iraq, Nigeria and Iran, the Hindus and Bahais who suffer from Islamic oppression, and the Sikhs. We – a rainbow coalition of victims and targets of Jihadis – all suffer. We are ignored, we are abandoned. So that the big lie against the Jews can go forward.
In 2005, I visited one of the refugee camps in South Sudan . I met a twelve year old girl who told me about her dream. She wanted to go to school to become a doctor. And then she wanted to visit Israel. I was amazed. How could this refugee girl who spent most of her life in the North know about Israel ? When I asked why she wanted to visit Israel, she said: “This is our people.” I was never able to find an answer to my question.
On January 9 of 2011 South Sudan became an independent state. For South Sudanese, that means continuation of oppression, brutalization, demonization, Islamization, Arabization and enslavement. In a similar manner, the Arabs continue denying Jews their right for sovereignty in their homeland and the Durban III conference continues denying Israel ’s legitimacy.
As a friend of Israel, I bring you the news that my President, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, publicly stated that the South Sudan Embassy in Israel will be built – not in Tel Aviv, but in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people. I also want to assure you that my own new nation, and all of its peoples, will oppose racist forums like the Durban III. We will oppose it by simply continuing to tell the truth! Our truth!
“The Two-State solution” is the constantly repeated remedy for bringing peace to the Middle East. Solemnly declared over and over again by world leaders, public figures and journalists throughout the world, the Two-State solution calls on Israel to let the Palestinians have their own independent state, and thereby at long last, Israel will be accepted by the neighboring Arab peoples. It has been declared so many times that it has become a global mantra, a hallowed principle that brooks no deviation or obstruction – from Israel. But in its insistence, an enormous amount of history – past and current – is ignored, as are the declarations of intent made by Israel’s many mortal enemies. Also overlooked are the dangerous consequences to Israel’s security with each step it has taken in order to comply with the conditions for the Two-State idea.
The alternative to the two-state paradigm would appear to be a single state for all the people in the region of post-1922 Palestine. But demographically, this could lead to the end of Israel as a Jewish state. Another idea is transfer of Arab populations to neighboring countries. However, forcibly imposed this would undoubtedly end any chance of peaceful co-existence with the Arab and Muslim world – probably for generations to come.
Is there another solution? Martin Sherman offers a bold answer in a series of articles, which have appeared in The Jerusalem Post. He says that all policy must contend with prevailing realities as they are and not as we wish them to be. He cautions: “As policy input, political correctness is a poor substitute for factual correctness. Similarly, good intentions are no guarantee of good policy. Indeed, often quite the reverse is true.”
Martin Sherman, who grew up in South Africa, has had an eventful academic, military and public career. Graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in 1970 with a B.Sc. in Physics and Geology, he also has a degree in Business Administration, as well as a Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations from Tel Aviv University. He has lectured at numerous universities and written papers for many prominent academic journals. He is the author of two books: Despots, Democrats and the Determinants of International Conflict; and The Politics of Water in The Middle East, (Macmillan). Dr. Sherman is currently the academic director of Jerusalem Summit.
His opinion pieces have appeared in most major newspapers in Israel (both in English and Hebrew). He has also been interviewed on radio and TV including CNN and BBC.
See website: http://www.martinsherman.org
We present here a slightly abridged version of an article about the Two-State solution and its alternatives, which appeared on January 6, 2012 in Sherman’s regular Jerusalem Post column “Into the Fray.”
To be or not to be – that is the
By MARTIN SHERMAN
“The maximum any Israeli government can offer is less than the minimum any Palestinian leader can accept. The real gap between both sides is much greater than perceived, and that gap is growing.”
Maj.-Gen.(reserve) Giora Eiland,
former head of the National Security Council, 2009
The Jewish people is rapidly approaching a crucial juncture. It will soon have to decide whether or not it is willing to maintain its nation-state; whether it is willing to forgo over a century of unparalleled sacrifice, effort and achievement to satisfy the cynical and hypocritical dictates of political correctness; whether it is prepared to surrender substance for form; to forsake real national freedoms for the artificial facade of feigned individual equality.
As the infeasibility of the two-state paradigm becomes increasingly apparent, even to the staunchest of its erstwhile supporters, the need to formulate a cogent alternative that will preserve the Jewish nation-state is becoming increasingly pressing.
It is not only the disillusioned among the Israeli Left who are expressing ever-more despair at the prospect of implementing the two-state solution. It is increasingly being dismissed as a realistic – or even desirable – aspiration by Palestinians, and not only radical Islamists who reject it because it entails recognizing a Jewish state. Thus for example, in his recent book, What is a Palestinian State Worth? even Sari Nusseibeh, a show-case “moderate,” expresses “heretical” doubts as to whether the struggle for statehood merits the effort.
This should be seen against the shift in the general Palestinian attitude toward the two-state principle, reflected in a strangely under-reported and grossly misreported poll conducted recently for The Israel Project by Stanley Greenberg together with Palestinian Center for Public Opinion.
According to the poll, there was a “huge drop in acceptance of a two-state solution.” 52% said they would not accept such a solution – up from 36% less than a year previously – while two-thirds rejected the principle that one of the states should be a Jewish homeland. A similar proportion said, “The real goal should be to start with two states but then move to it all being one Palestinian state;” and 84% said that “Over time Palestinians must work to get back all the land for a Palestinian state.”
Only the grossly undiscerning will fail to notice the tangible change in official Palestinian negotiating strategy in recent years. The pursuit of a two-state solution has become a leisurely distraction rather than a seriously sought after end-of-conflict arrangement. Far-reaching concessions – difficult for Israel to accept even as part of a final agreement – are being presented as conditions for merely resuming negotiations, delaying them for extended periods – hardly a rational tactic for a people eager to extricate themselves from onerous “occupation.”
Facing the inevitable
In view of accumulating evidence, it would be imprudent for Israel to continue deluding itself that Palestinians entertain any serious intentions as to the two-state solution – other than in the two-stage sense. Indeed, the accelerating erosion of support for the idea makes the formulation of operational alternatives a pressing imperative.
The alternatives that have been discussed most often fall into two categories. Those which entail: (a) conferring Israel citizenship on the Palestinians – i.e. various versions of the one-state approach; and (b) transferring civilian rule over the Palestinians to some non-Palestinian Authority Arab administration – such as Jordan or prominent local clan-leaders traditionally well-disposed to Israel, who would preside over scattered enclaves.
For a variety of reasons, neither of these offers a stable long-term formula. As a detailed critique of these alternatives is beyond the scope of this article, I will restrict myself to the following observations.
Regarding the first category, the inclusion of the Palestinian Arab population across the 1967 Green Line into Israel as fully fledged citizens would create an unbearable socio-economic burden on the country that would not only jeopardize its character as a Jewish state but as an advanced Western democracy as well – a problem many EU countries are beginning to experience, even with proportionately far smaller “discordant” populations.
It is a measure that would create difficulties far more complex and profound than could be dealt with – as some naively hope – by adopting a regional electoral system and gerrymandering the boundaries of the constituencies to minimize the impact of non-Jewish voters. Quite apart from the legal challenges – before an inherently amenable Supreme Court – as to the equity of such an arrangement, and possible mass relocation of voters to other constituencies, the cultural and economic disparities would tear society apart.
Regarding the second category, it is wishful thinking – especially in the wake of the Arab Spring – to hope that any “traditional” regime would consent to be seen as “pulling the Zionists’ chestnuts out of the fire.”
It is more than doubtful that any Arab ruler – whether a clan leader or the Jordanian monarch – would be willing, or indeed able, to function for any length of time as what would be perceived as a perfidious “prison warder.”
Moreover, in light of the instability in the region, it would irresponsible to adopt a long-term policy based on the assumption that the regime in Amman would not be replaced or at least dominated by elements inimical to any cooperation with Israel.
In both cases, the consequences of these alternatives are liable to be worse than those they are designed to avoid.
The humanitarian paradigm
These factors – the eroding relevance of the two-state paradigm, the ominous emergence of the one-state paradigm and the inadequacy of proffered alternatives – led to the proposal in my two preceding columns (in The Jerusalem Post) of the humanitarian paradigm, which addressed the fate of the Palestinian Arabs in a comprehensive, non-coercive manner. Operationally it comprised three constituent elements.
• Ending discriminatory treatment of the Palestinian refugees by abolishing or transforming UNRWA.
• Ending discrimination against Palestinians in the Arab world and the prohibition on their acquiring citizenship of countries in which they have been resident for decades.
• Providing generous relocation finance directly to individual Palestinian breadwinners to allow them to build better futures for themselves in third countries of their choice.
Unsurprisingly, numerous reservations were raised as to the feasibility of the proposal. These will now be addressed – at least in part.
The feasibility factor – I
The proponents of the Oslowian two-state principle are the last who can invoke feasibility as a precondition for the admissibility of an operational proposal –at least as an item on the agenda of public debate. After all, this is a formula that has been tried for almost two decades, and despite massive international endorsement and financial support, has wrought nothing but death, destruction and despair. Surely a proposal that has proved so disastrous should by any rational yardstick be branded unworkable and hence unfeasible. And if the demonstrable infeasibility, futility and failure of the two-state paradigm has not disqualified it as meriting serious consideration, why should a conceptually consistent, untried humanitarian paradigm not be accorded the same opportunity – at least as a legitimate topic for debate.
The feasibility factor – II
Inevitably, any radical departure from long-established conventional wisdom will be met with stiff resistance. However, the existing configuration of public opinion should not be considered immutable. Indeed, imagine how hopeless the notion of a Palestinian state was in the late 1960s in the wake of Israel’s sweeping Six Day War victory. Even in the late 1980s the idea was dismissed as unrealistic, unreasonable radicalism by all but a minuscule albeit determined minority on the far Left. However, it was a minority that managed to enlist the resolve, resources and resourcefulness to transform the marginal into mainstream in remarkably short order.
Given the paltry funding and the puny efforts that have characterized Israel’s public diplomacy in the past two decades, the current public perception can hardly be taken as persuasive gauge of what might be achieved with adequate financing and appropriate focus. Today the entire public diplomacy budget is reportedly of the order of magnitude of what a medium-to-large Israeli corporation spends on promoting fast-food or snacks.
The feasibility factor – III
According to the International Monetary Fund, Israel’s GDP is approaching a quarter trillion dollars. If it were to allot less than one half of 1% of GDP to public diplomacy, that would be over $1 billion – enough to swamp anything the George Soroses of the world devote to Israel’s delegitimization.
Given the nation’s achievements in many other fields of human endeavor, one can only surmise what impact a determined assault on the authenticity and legitimacy of the Palestinian narrative, financed by an annual $1b. budget over two decades – the length of the post-Oslowian era – might have on the acceptability of a humanitarian rehabilitation of Palestinian Arabs, cruelly misled by their leaders for decades.
Indeed, important elements of the humanitarian paradigm are already gaining international legitimacy. The anomalous and detrimental role of UNRWA – a pivotal element in the proposal – has been recognized by countries such as Canada and the Netherlands which have either curtailed their funding to the organization or are considering doing so. It is distinctly plausible that the US could be convinced – especially in these days of austerity – to terminate its funding for this wasteful and counter-productive body which perpetuates the Palestinians’ dependency and statelessness.
Likewise, the brutal discrimination against Palestinians in Arab states, allegedly to “help preserve their identity,” is also the subject of increasing international attention and censure. Pressure should be brought to bear on Arab regimes to end this unacceptable practice, even if it means temporarily channeling budgets formerly allotted to UNRWA to facilitate their integration as citizens of the countries of their longstanding residence.
These elements cannot be detached from the overall thrust of the humanitarian paradigm, which is to focus on ameliorating the situation of the individual Palestinian rather than promoting the nefarious goals of an invented national entity.
The estimated cost of implementation is strongly dependent on the level of compensation and the size of the Palestinian population in the “territories,” which is the subject of intense debate.
A few years ago, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research conducted a survey on the level of compensation Palestinian refugees considered fair to forgo the “right of return.” If we take more than double the minimum amount specified by most pollees as fair compensation for relocation/rehabilitation, and if we adopt a high-end estimate of the Palestinian population, the total cost would be around $150b. for the West Bank Palestinians and $250b. if Gaza is included. This is a fraction of the US expenditure on its decade-long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which have produced results that are less than a resounding success.
Spread over a period equivalent to the current post-Oslo era, this sum would comprise a yearly outlay of no more than a few percentage points of current GDP – something Israel could well afford on its own.
If additional OECD countries were to contribute, the total relocation/rehabilitation of the Palestinian Arabs could be achieved with an almost imperceptible economic burden.
How can the U.N. turn
a blind eye?
FLAME is an acronym for “Facts and Logic About the Middle East,” which is a non-profit organization, based in San Francisco, California, that tries to set the record straight about the Israel-Arab conflict. Its purpose is to expose false propaganda about Israel and the USA. And false propaganda is largely the rule, produced and promoted by people all over the world, many of them knowing that they are lying, but most believe that the misinformation that they spread is the truth. Their readers and viewers believe this too.
Flame combats this calumny by publishing articles in major publications such as U.S. News and World Report, The New York Times, The Nation, The National Review, The American Spectator, The Washington Times National Weekly, and The International Edition of the Jerusalem Post. Flame’s articles also appear in over 50 small-town newspapers, all across the United States and Canada, covering an important segment of the population that might otherwise not have access to mainstream media.
Flame was founded by GERARDO JOFFE in the mid-nineties. Here is a recent, slightly modified article that has appeared in the media all over the world.
How can the U.N. turn a blind eye to hateful, state-sponsored discrimination
While apartheid – the legally-sanctioned practice of segregation, denial of civil rights and persecution because of race, ethnicity, religion or gender – has been eliminated in South Africa, it continues to be practiced in many parts of the world, particularly in the Arab Middle East and Iran. Why does the United Nations Human Rights Council continue to attack free, democratic Israel, yet refuse to condemn these flagrant crimes against humanity?
Apartheid has been practiced in Middle East nations for decades, yet it has managed to escape the scrutiny and condemnation of most of the world, including the United Nations Human Rights Council. It’s time to denounce these discriminatory laws and customs and declare them illegal. Here are a few examples:
One of the world’s most deadly examples of racism is in Sudan, where native black Sudanese have been enslaved, persecuted and slaughtered by Muslim Arabs. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the “Darfur pogrom is part of a historic continuum in which successive Arab governments have sought to entirely destroy black Africans in this bi-racial nation … The reason for the atrocities committed by government-supported Arab militias is the racist, fundamentalist, and undemocratic Sudanese state.” Since 1983, more than two million black Sudanese have been killed, displaced or exiled.
Few ethnic minorities in the Middle East have suffered as much repression as the Kurds. In Syria in 1962, hundreds of thousands of Kurds had their citizenship taken away. In 2008, the Syrian government issued Decree 49, which expelled Kurds from the country’s so-called “Arab Belt” and dispossessed them of rights to own land. The Kurdish Union Party called this an “ethnic cleansing decree … aimed at ending national Kurdish existence.” In Iran, following the Islamic revolution, the Shiite majority denied the Kurds a role in defining the new constitution, and in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini declared a holy war against Kurdish political organizations: Entire Kurdish villages and towns were destroyed, and thousands of Kurds executed without due process.
For some 40 years Palestinians have been denied citizenship in Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Palestinians have been expelled from many Middle Eastern countries, including Kuwait, Jordan, Libya and Iraq. In Lebanon, Palestinians must live in designated areas, cannot own homes and are barred from 70 occupations. These are all copy-book imitations of classical Apartheid perpetrated against Palestinian Arabs.
By contrast, Palestinians in the West Bank (often tendentiously called Occupied Territories) are self-governing. They have their own government – the Palestinian Authority – hold elections (albeit irregularly) and run all aspects of civil society. It is the same with Hamas-run Gaza.
Persecution, discrimination and attacks against religious minorities, especially Christians and Jews, are rampant in the Middle East. Pressure by radical Islamists has become so great that in the last 20 years some two million Christians have abandoned their Middle East homelands. Christians in the Palestinian territories have dropped from 15 percent of the population in 1950 to just two percent today. In Egypt, two Coptic Christian churches were burned down over the past year, and Egyptian police commonly stand by and watch as Copts are physically attacked by Islamist vigilantes. In Saudi Arabia, Christians and Jews may not be citizens at all. Over 800,000 Jews have been forced out of Arab nations, effectively extinguishing the Jewish population in the region, except in Israel, the world’s only Jewish state. In the disputed Palestinian territories, Jews are the victims of hate-motivated murders and, according to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, Jews will be banned from any future Palestinian state.
Apartheid also applies to women in Arab lands. A 2002 United Nations report states that “women in Arab League countries suffer from unequal citizenship and legal entitlements often evident … in voting rights and legal codes and from inequality of opportunity, evident in employment status, wages and gender-based occupational segregation.” In Saudi Arabia, women must walk on separate sidewalks, be covered from head to toe, and are not allowed to drive or vote in municipal elections. Women in many Middle Eastern countries are commonly forced into marriages, the law usually requires absolute obedience to husbands, and millions of girls must undergo genital mutilation.
Only Israel, among all Middle Eastern nations, guarantees equal civil rights for all its citizens, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual preference. Israel is the only country in the Middle East in which the Christian population is growing. Some 1.4 million Israeli Arabs enjoy more rights than citizens in any Arab country.
Isn’t it time for the U.N. Human Rights Council to stop exclusively condemning Israel – one of the few non-apartheid states in the Middle East, and demand immediate sanctions against all countries that commit such crimes against humanity?
See more in Flame’s website: www.factsandlogic.org
Prodigiously setting the
When he first came to Israel from South Africa as a volunteer during Israel’s War of Independence, Maurice Ostroff was a key figure in setting up Israel’s then non-existent radar system. Initially they had to make do with a lot of ingenuity and spare parts that included bicycle sprockets. Amazingly, they managed to locate enemy fighter planes. Over sixty years later, Maurice Ostroff is still scanning the atmosphere for hostile movement against Israel.
His website www.2nd-thoughts.org is widely regarded as a reliable source of information about the Arab-Israel conflict, as well as a forum in which he challenges Israel’s many detractors with facts and logic. People with whom he has exchanged viewpoints or who chose to remain mute to his incisive observations, include the hapless Judge Richard Goldstein, as well as others far more inflexible such as bashers of Israel, such as South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils and Nobel Prize recipient Bishop Desmond Tutu. He has taken on former US President Jimmy Carter, Mearsheimer and Walt, as well as Jews whose concern about Arab adversity (brought about almost entirely through the mendacity of their own leaders) blocks out any consideration for the rights and mortal dangers faced by their fellow-Jews.
Like many other people who try to correct the false impressions that Israel’s many adversaries spread in the media, campuses and lecture halls, Maurice Ostroff has had a very variegated career as an engineer, company director and as a member of the Israel-South Africa Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Governors of the Technion in Haifa.
In this slightly abridged item that we present here, Maurice Ostroff deals with the controversial issue of Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank).
This article is intended neither as an argument for, nor against, Israel retaining some or all of the West bank settlements. Rather it urges that any discussion of the subject be based on the facts …
Proponents of sanctions against Israel refer repeatedly to Israeli violations of international law as if the alleged illegality is axiomatic. However if we look only at facts without being diverted by preconceived, unsubstantiated opinions there is a strong likelihood that we might revise our conclusions.
Contrary to the intellectually honest approach of seeking credible information from a wide variety of sources and following the facts wherever they may lead, Israel’s attackers regularly quote only sources that support their belief that Israel is an illegal occupier, and exclude others of equal or possibly better authority that conflict with what they wish to believe.
Ostroff continues by listing some of the sources that Israel’s detractors invariably choose to ignore:
THE 1915 McMAHON-HUSSEIN AGREEMENT
In 1915 Sir Henry McMahon made promises on behalf of the British government, via Sherif Hussein of Mecca, about allocation of territory to the Arab people. Although Hussein understood from the promises that Palestine would be given to the Arabs, the British later claimed that land definitions were only approximate and that a map drawn at the time excluded Palestine from territory to be given to the Arab people. However in a subsequent change of policy in recognition of McMahon’s correspondence, and in violation of its mandate, Britain separated the territory east of the Jordan River namely Transjordan, since named Jordan from Palestine west of the Jordan.
In his book “State and economics in the Middle East: a society in transition” (Routledge, 2003), Alfred Bonné included a letter from Sir Henry McMahon to The Times of London dated July 23,1937 in which he wrote, “I feel it my duty to state, and I do so definitely and emphatically, that it was not intended by me in giving this pledge to King Hussein, to include Palestine in the area in which Arab independence was promised. I also had every reason to believe at the time that the fact that Palestine was not included in my pledge was well understood by King Hussein.”
THE MAY 1916 SYKES-PICOT AGREEMENT
This secret agreement between Britain, France and Russia was concluded by British diplomat, Sir Mark Sykes and French diplomat Georges Picot. In seeking to divide the Middle East into areas of influence for each of the imperial powers but leaving the Holy Land to be jointly administered by the three powers, it clashed materially with the McMahon Agreement. It was intended to hand Syria, Mesopotamia, Lebanon and Cilicia (in south-eastern Asia Minor) to the French and Palestine, Jordan and areas around the Persian Gulf and Baghdad, including Arabia and the Jordan Valley to the British. Although intended to be secret, the Arabs learned about the agreement from communists who found a copy in the Russian government’s archives.
THE 1917 BALFOUR DECLARATION
The Balfour Declaration is contained in the following letter from Lord Arthur Balfour, the British foreign secretary, to Lord Rothschild, president of the British Zionist Federation, dated November 2nd, 1917.
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Arthur James Balfour
The declaration was accepted by the League of Nations on July 24, 1922 and embodied in the mandate that gave Great Britain administrative control of Palestine as described in more detail below.
THE SAN REMO CONFERENCE 1920
After ruling vast areas of Eastern Europe, South-western Asia, and North Africa for centuries, the Ottoman Empire lost all its Middle East territories during World War One. The Treaty of Sèvres of August 10, 1920 abolished the Ottoman Empire and obliged Turkey to renounce all rights over Arab Asia and North Africa. It was replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
The status of the Ottoman Empire’s former possessions was determined at a conference in San Remo, Italy on April 24-25, 1920 attended by Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan and as an observer, the United States. Syria and Lebanon were mandated to France while Mesopotamia (Iraq) and the southern portion of the territory (Palestine) were mandated to Britain, with the charge to implement the Balfour Declaration.
While the Balfour Declaration was in itself not a legally enforceable document, it did become so by being en- trenched in international law when it was incorporated in its entirety in a resolution passed by the Conference on April 25. Significantly, the only change made to the wording of the Balfour Declaration was to strengthen Britain’s obligation to implement the Balfour Declaration. Lord Curzon described the San Remo resolution as “the Magna Carta of the Zionists”.
The conference’s decisions were confirmed unanimously by all 51 member states of the League of Nations on 24 July, 1922 and they were further endorsed by a joint resolution of the United States Congress in the same year.
The San Remo resolution received a further US endorsement in the Anglo-American Treaty on Palestine, signed by the US and Britain on 3 December, 1924, that incorporated the text of the Mandate for Palestine … The Senate ratified the treaty on 20 February, 1925 followed by President Calvin Coolidge on March 2, 1925 and by Great Britain on March 18, 1925.
Britain was specifically charged with giving effect to the establishment of the Jewish National Home in Palestine that was called for in the Balfour declaration that had already been adopted by the other Allied Powers. Clearly, the legitimacy of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq & a Jewish state in Palestine as defined before the creation of Transjordan all derive from the same binding international agreement at San Remo, that has never been abrogated.
In April 2010, a ceremony attended by politicians and others from Europe, the U.S. and Canada was held in San Remo at the house where the signing of the San Remo declaration took place in 1920. At the conclusion of the commemoration, the following statement was released:
“Reaffirming the importance of the San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1920 which included the Balfour Dec. in its entirety – in shaping the map of the modern Middle East, as agreed upon by the Supreme Council of the principal Allied Powers (Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States acting as an observer), and later approved unanimously by the League of Nations; the Resolution remains irrevocable, legally binding and valid to this day.
“Emphasizing that the San Remo Resolution of 1920 recognized the exclusive national Jewish rights to the Land of Israel under international law, on the strength of the historical connection of the Jewish people to the territory previously known as Palestine. … “Recalling that such a seminal event as the San Remo Conference of 1920 has been forgotten or ignored by the community of nations, and that the rights it conferred upon the Jewish people have been unlawfully dismissed, curtailed and denied. …. Asserting that a just and lasting peace, leading to the acceptance of secure and recognized borders between all States in the region, can only be achieved by recognizing the long established rights of the Jewish people under international law.”
THE BRITISH MANDATE OVER PALESTINE
As stated above, the San Remo Conference decided to place Palestine under British Mandatory rule making Britain responsible for giving effect to the Balfour declaration that had been adopted by the other Allied Powers. The resulting “Mandate for Palestine,” was an historical League of Nations document that laid down the Jewish legal right to settle anywhere in Palestine and the San Remo Resolution together with Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations became the basic documents on which the Mandate for Palestine was established.
The Mandate’s declaration of July 24, 1922 states unambiguously that Britain became responsible for putting the Balfour Declaration, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, into effect and it confirmed that recognition had thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.
It is highly relevant that at that time the West Bank and parts of what today is Jordan were included as a Jewish Homeland. However, on September 16, 1922, the British divided the Mandate territory into Palestine, west of the Jordan and Transjordan, east of the Jordan River, in accordance with the McMahon Correspondence of 1915. Transjordan became exempt from the Mandate provisions concerning the Jewish National Home, effectively removing about 78% of the original territory of the area in which a Jewish National home was to be established in terms of the Balfour Declaration and the San Remo resolution as well as the British Mandate.
This action violated not only Article 5 of the Mandate which required the Mandatory to be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power but also article 20 of the Covenant of the League of Nations in which the Members of the League solemnly undertook that they would not enter into any engagements inconsistent with the terms thereof.
Article 6 of the Mandate stated that the Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.
Nevertheless in violation of article 6, in a 1939 White Paper Britain limited Jewish immigration from Europe, a move regarded by Zionists as betrayal of the terms of the mandate, especially in light of the increased persecution of Jews in Europe. In response, Zionists organized Aliyah Bet, a program of illegal immigration into Palestine.
The frequently voiced complaint that the state being offered to the Palestinians comprises only 22 percent of Palestine is obviously invalid. The truth is exactly the reverse. From the above history it is obvious that the territory on both sides of the Jordan was legally designated for the Jewish homeland by the 1920 San Remo Conference, mandated to Britain, endorsed by the League of Nations in 1922, affirmed in the Anglo-American Convention on Palestine in 1925 and confirmed in 1945 by article 80 of the UN. Yet, 77% of this territory was excised from the territory in May 1923 when, in violation of the mandate and the San Remo resolution, Britain gave autonomy to Transjordan (now known as Jordan) under as-Sharif Abdullah bin al-Husayn.
Furthermore, as the San Remo resolution has never been abrogated, it was and continues to be legally binding between the several parties who signed it. It is therefore obvious that the legitimacy of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and a Jewish state in Palestine all derive from the same international agreement at San Remo.
In essence, when Israel entered the West Bank and Jerusalem in 1967 it did not occupy territory to which any other party had title. While Jerusalem and the West Bank, (Judea and Samaria), were illegally occupied by Jordan in 1948 they remained in effect part of the Jewish National Home that had been created at San Remo and in the 1967 6-Day War Israel, in effect, recovered territory that legally belonged to it. To quote Judge Schwebel, a former President of the International Court of Justice, “As between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967, on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively, in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has the better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem.
A very small list of other authoritative experts who have declared Israel’s presence in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan to be legal, include Professor Julius Stone, one of the twentieth century’s leading authorities on the Law of Nations. See http://www.2nd-thoughts.org/id160.html
Eugene W. Rostow, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs between 1966 and 1969 who played a leading role in producing the famous Resolution 242. See http://www.2nd-thoughts.org/id45.html
Jacques Gauthier, Canadian lawyer who spent 20 years researching the legal status of Jerusalem leading to the conclusion on purely legal grounds, ignoring religious claims that Jerusalem belongs to the Jews, by international law. See http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/125049#.TkAg4mGuySo
There are a lot of very sensible voices coming out of Israel nowadays – perhaps more than ever before because of the growing gang-up against this beleaguered country by foes growing in number, military capacity and wrath. Even our friends seem to be mostly fair-weather friends. Israel’s struggle to survive has led to a concept known in Hebrew as “hasbara.” Translated directly, “hasbara” means “explanation.” But in the context of Israel’s stand, it means much more than that. It’s a requirement that is unique to Israel in order to combat the enormous amount of falsehood spread about this ancient nation by the neighboring peoples, leaders, politicians and public figures around the world, the media, as well as many Jews and Israelis whose criticism often slips into downright disloyalty and betrayal
All this has aroused a large number of very gifted writers, trying to set the record straight in various ways – through newspaper articles, television interviews, video clips on YouTube, and the use of other social media tools. Many of these people have been highly successful in other careers. Now they devote a lot of their time to “hasbara.”
In this blog we are featuring Sherwin Pomerantz, president of Atid EDI Ltd., a Jerusalem-based economic development consulting firm, and a prolific writer and lecturer. He has been sending out a daily blog which presents a countdown towards the upcoming United Nations General Assembly debate on Palestinian statehood. His blog appearing here is “22 days to go” in which he says, “I Agree – Glenn Beck Gets It!” You can read all his other blogs at: http://israelstreet.blogspot.com/
22 Days to Go –
I Agree – Glenn Beck Gets It!
By SHERWIN POMERANTZ
On September 13th at 3 pm Eastern Daylight Time in New York the 66th Regular Session of the UN General Assembly will convene … just 22 days from today. Will the leaders assembled there understand what the real issues are that face humanity at this critical time in world history? I’m not sure.
Glenn Beck, the Mormon commentator who has now allied himself with the Christian Evangelical Movement is in Israel this week for three events associated with his “Restoring Courage” project aimed at making the world aware of the perils that face humanity if support for Israel fails. Should we feel good about that or is he just another charlatan pouncing on a hot topic to grab headlines? As for me, I’m happy he is here and grateful for his support.
You can say what you will about his motives, his carelessness with certain words and his sometimes lack of critical research but, in the words of Barry Rubin, Director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, Beck “gets it.”
In an op-ed in today’s Jerusalem Post Rubin says that Beck’s common sense, courage, knowing the difference between right and wrong, a willingness to learn and a readiness to admit when one has been wrong has allowed Beck to understand the real truths present in this region and what must be done to address the dangers we must engage. And what does Beck get right? 10 specific points:
1. The main threat in the Middle East is revolutionary Islamism, and the United States must combat it.
2. The problem is not Islam as a religion but revolutionary Islamism as a political ideology that draws on normative Islam to product its own plausible interpretation.
3. The revolutionary Islamist side is winning.
4. The “Arab Spring” contains many dangers.
5. Israel just happens to be largely right and deserves support.
6. One man’s terrorist…is still a terrorist.
7. The Obama administration has messed up the Middle East to a phenomenal extent.
8. One should be fearless in facing intimidation and politically motivated ridicule.
9. We must re-evaluate friends and enemies in this new era of revolutionary Islamism and post-Marxist leftism.
10. Whatever mistakes the United States has made, it is a good country and the hope of the world.
Rubin concludes with the words:
Any criticism one can make of Beck pales in comparison to all of the above points, on which he is quite correct. But then, as Jews, and Israelis most of all, should know, to be falsely reviled in not proof of being wrong or evil.
So, in spite of earlier criticism of Beck by respected members of the American Jewish Community such as ADL National Director Abraham Foxman and this morning’s diatribe against Beck in the Jerusalem Post by Likud right-winger Moshe Feiglin, because Beck “gets it” and he is prepared to put his money where his mouth is, I, for one, welcome his support.
Zev Chafets, who was former Prime Minister Menahem Begin’s Press Secretary writes in today’s Washington Post that in those days Israel was seeing the very beginning of Christian Evangelical support and did not really know how to deal with it. But Chafets recalls that:
“Begin asked his staff how many of these evangelicals there were in the United States. The answer was upward of 20 million. And that settled that. American Jewish leaders, virtually all of whom were (and are) liberal Democrats, were (and remain) scandalized. They argued that evangelical Christians believe that Jews don’t go to heaven and that they will die in some end-of-the-world scenario. Begin – and every subsequent Israeli prime minister of both the left and the right – preferred to let God sort out eternity. Here on Earth, actions speak louder than words.”
I agree with that and in this world, where Israel struggles every day to find supporters I am happy to take the support of the now 50 million Evangelical Christians and even the likes of Glen Beck, who proudly proclaim that they not only love Israel they love the Jewish people. As Pastor John Hagee often says, someday he and his Jewish friends will be walking the streets of the old city of Jerusalem and the Messiah will be coming the other way. At that point in time one of them will need to change their theology. Until then we need to be grateful for their support and bless them for it.