Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Refugee Crisis and the Abomination that is UNRWA

David Milliband (President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, former British Foreign Secretary and former head of the British Labour Party) boasted that Britain “led the drive to codify the rights of refugees after the Second World War.” If that includes taking responsibility for the UN abomination that is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) then we have nothing of which to be proud. But more about that later.

There were tens of millions of refugees after the war. Germany accepted twelve million ethnically German refugees from European countries. “Between 13.5 and 16.5 million Germans were expelled, evacuated or fled from Central and Eastern Europe, making this the largest single instance of ethnic cleansing in recorded history.” (Deaths are estimated at between half and three million people).

The UN Refugee Agency claims however that the largest single mass migration (expulsion) in history occurred after the partition of India in 1947. Some 14.5 million refugees fled or were exchanged between India and the newly created state of Pakistan.

Korea expelled millions of Japanese after the war.

In terms of scale the Jewish – Arab population exchange is relatively small. It involved up to two million people in roughly equal numbers (over a period of 26 years, between 1947 and 1973). Over 600,000 Mizrahi Jews came to Palestine-Israel. At least 300,000 more went, predominantly, to France but also to Britain and the USA. Jews integrated into their host societies. It has to be a conscious choice to do so.

The conspiracy, if one exists, is that at no time was there ever any intent to integrate Arabs from Israel into the host countries that absorbed them. It was fundamental hostility to the non-Arab, and Arab anti-Jewish racial prejudice, that created a desire to flee an independent Jewish polity. Arab refugees remain uninterested in integration; unless it helps them create a virtue out of their self-inflicted victimhood. And the United Nations, instead of solving global conflicts, perpetuates them. The Palestinian Arab’s greatest collaborator in undermining resolution of the Israel-Arab conflict is UNRWA.

The Arab and greater Muslim world is afflicted by ages old prejudice and this prejudice is fed by its successes throughout the history of the last 1,400 years during which they conquered vast tracts of land and enslaved tens of millions of human beings. We rarely publicly speak of it and we do not ever teach this silent history.

UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) uniquely defines a Palestinian refugee as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1st June 1946 to 15th May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.”...“The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children, are also eligible for registration.”

It means that any temporary worker who resided in Israel (or can “prove” that they did) during a two year period that ended on the 15th May 1948, became a refugee even when they had a home to return to; even better, in terms of eligibility for money transfers from Western nations to Arab nations.

It also means that they have no incentive whatsoever to ever forgo their refugee status.

If I were David Milliband I would not boast about UK complicity in the creation of UNRWA. We could so easily speculate that setting up UNRWA was a Western European conspiracy to undermine regional stability in the Near East (with a secondary antisemitic aim to overthrow Jewish self-determination) by creating an organization that could only ever be a force for lasting regional conflict.

The inheritance of refugee status, in perpetuity, is an ongoing act of regional destabilization! There can be no other explanation for the United Nation’s active collaboration in the creation of a unique, perpetual Palestinian victim-hood. UNRWA created an Arab (Palestinian) underclass, infected by hate and viewing re-conquest of Israel as a pan-Arab racial obligation; as an Arab political and Muslim theological imperative. UNRWA has inculcated three generations of refugees with a desire and an undiluted, blind, passion for revenge against a Jewish enemy it has always held in religious ridicule; colonial domination and pure ethno-religious contempt.

Jews have no reason to want to return to the ugly conditions of permanent, inferior status and intermittent persecution under Arab rule. For too many centuries they lived and died at the caprice of others.

UNRWA has only ever been a vehicle for Arab grievance and a message to any minority in the Arab colonial enterprise that minority aspirations for freedom from Arab persecution is a non starter. UNRWA is nothing less than a European – Arab cabal that stimulates chaos and precludes reconciliation between Jew and Arab. It exists to prevent the modernization of the Arab world, which in turn would end Islamism in the Arab world.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Turkey – Serial Killer or Warrior for God

In order to understand modern day Turkey and the instability it is helping to promote throughout Europe, it would be useful to understand its ‘recent’ history.

Osman Bey (1291-1326) – founded the Ottoman Empire. He took a peripheral fiefdom in the far west of the Islamic empire, on the border between the Islamic and Byzantine (Christian) empires, and made much of it his dominion. Constantinople was the Capital of the Byzantine Empire and the Centre of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. When Mehmet 2nd captured Constantinople in 1453 he is reported to have let loose his troops on the city’s Christian residents and over 3 days they raped, looted and murdered the city’s inhabitants. Paintings celebrating this ‘great lesson’ (of how defiance to conquest would be rewarded) show rivers of blood.

The Ottoman empire (1299-1923) incorporated colonialism with Jihad; justifying conquest and slavery, centuries before White Europe did the same.

The Battle of Vienna, in late 1683, saw the end of Muslim-Ottoman expansion into Europe. 18th Century Turkey maintained its territorial integrity but mainly because of divisions within a Europe which was obsessed by ethnocentric nationalism. Perversely, this nationalism drove the 19th Centuries European colonial enterprise into Africa and the Far East.

On February 3, 1830 an international conference in London led to a guarantee of territorial integrity for an independent Greece. Britain, France and Russia were its guarantors. The Greek revolt against Muslim rule was the Colonial eras first war waged against foreign rule. The two bookends of colonial independence (Greece in 1830 and Israel in 1948), suffered terribly under Turkish misrule. Yet when we rage against colonialism we see only Western crimes and not their equivalent enterprise, of which the Islamic slave trade was a key enabler. It is a bizarre and inexplicable omission that gives the Muslim world an aura of respectability and revolutionary virtue as an “oppressed people” though it is simply not justified.

Europe made several attempts to prop up the corrupt Ottoman Empire. Turkey’s predecessor was a Muslim empire 5.2 million square kilometres in land area (2 million square miles) compared with Turkeys’ current territorial base of 0.8 million square kilometres (0.3 million square miles.) Turkey’s collapse simply whet the appetite of Arab dictators across the Near East.

The dissatisfaction and enmity that suffuses the Arab world today is a direct result of the disintegration of the Ottoman empire. It left local Arab leaders baying for blood and empire, fed by Muslim myths and tales of violent slaughter. That slaughter of infidel peoples is a guide to modern behaviour modelled on the brutality of Islam’s founders and their subsequent conquering aspirants. It helps to explain the fanaticism that drives the killers of Islamic State. That we fail to connect the dots between their willing executioners and the Western World’s Muslim Fundamentalists is therefore incomprehensibly naïve.

In 1878 the Treaty of Berlin was signed, in order to protect minorities throughout the Turkish (Ottoman) Empire from persecution. It was needed. It was also ignored. An indirect result was that in 1895-96 Abdul Humid, the 34th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, (also known as the Red Sultan or Abdul the Damned) murdered up to 200,000 Armenians in a campaign that was intended to ensure submission for the survivors.

Many Armenians fled to Europe and the USA. Dispersal and exile is common enough for survivors. But perhaps, the Ottoman empires Armenians (those who remained behind) thought they would be protected by Britain, France and even their enemy, Russia.

Turkey systematically discriminated against the church and to this day they refuse to recognize the 1890’s organized murder of the Armenians. Nor do they recognise the next stage in Armenia’s tragedy. Disarmament, elimination of anyone who might be in a position to fight back, and resettlement, were all weapons intended to facilitate the final Armenian solution.

In a frightening rehearsal for Hitlers organized and multiple genocides, towns were systematically cleansed of Armenians. Death came quickly but disease also took many of those waiting to die. There is general agreement that between one million and one and a half million Armenians died. Atrocities were documented by numerous diplomatic missions and interested parties. Foreign records of the events are undeniable. Extermination had one added advantage for the Turkish government. Muslims could be housed in the homes of the dead; houses left fully furnished, unless pillaged by former friends and neighbours.

Theological justification could be made at every stage of the process. Slavery, dispossession, theft and extermination; all these things were meant and are still meant to demonstrate, in an unambiguous and tangible way, the superiority of Muslim civilization. Theologically all property is the material right of ownership of the global Islamic nation. Retribution reinforced a message that resistance is futile. Resistance will provoke a terrible price, one which will be seared into ethnic memory.

More important than that message is the lesson Hitler, Stalin and today’s Islamic State learnt from the inaction and the indifference of other nations.

The Armenian genocide took place between 1915 and 1917. Greek and Assyrian Christians were also targeted as part of a policy of ethnic cleansing.

And then we have the Kurds. The Kurds of the Near East have been denied any justice by the global community. Kurdish persecution has been ignored partly because their ethnic geographical boundaries transect the borders of four competing bully empires (Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey). Fear of the effects of destabilising the three remaining political entities can be better appreciated when we look at Syria after almost six years of civil war. Syria had a population of 22 million people and today 11 ½ million of them are either internally displaced or refugees now residing in other countries. The remaining three nations have a combined population of almost 200 million people.

Arab, Turkish and Iranian political ambitions are never questioned unless they threaten to impede the flow of oil to Europe. If no-one will stand against them then it is also clear that no one is safe.

Turkey has destroyed at least three thousand Kurdish villages since the 1980’s and evicted millions of Kurdish people from their ancestral homes. There are over three million Kurdish refugees. Turkey tortured tens if not hundreds of thousands of Kurdish people and has murdered over 37,000 of them (since the PKK’s armed uprising began in 1984). Turkey denies the Kurds any right to self determination.

And then we have the Turkish conquest of Northern Cyprus. All but ignored by European nations that usually grovel before an expansionist Turkey, they ensure nothing offensive is ever passed at the United Nations; nothing that might offend Turkey’s neo-Ottoman rulers. Turkey has invaded Christian Cyprus and replaced the population it killed or expelled by the forcible transfer onto the land it conquered with Kurds it displaced from elsewhere in Turkey. This is in direct violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention but the United Nations will never invoke Article 49 because it has only ever done so with the Jewish state, with Israel.

The Fourth Geneva Convention on the Rules of War was adopted in 1949. Switzerland, the Depository of the Fourth Geneva Convention profited more than any other nation from the hell that was the Second World War. Switzerland must agree to call a special meeting of the High Contracting Parties (representatives of states who have signed or ratified the treaty). It has met only three times since the Convention was enacted. That is three times in sixty-seven years. On each occasion it was convened to condemn Israel. There have been hundreds of wars since WW2 ended and over 50,000,000 deaths attributed to those wars. The total number of deaths in Israel-Palestine represent less than 1:1,000 of the total and yet as indicated by the Swiss example the relevance of the UN to solving or preventing human conflict is non-existent.

None of the wars that took place since the second half of the Twentieth Century took place because of poverty. The wars have been politically or religiously inspired. Many secular causes display religious devotion based on either a single catechism or a series of devotional texts that must be accepted without question and that are overseen by a secular ecclesiastic body of political purists.

Amos Alon in “A Blood Dimmed Tide” describes a theology of conflict made worse by the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is because the conflicting racial and colonial ambitions of Islam’s warrior clergy has seen Turkey and Iran clamour for control of their geopolitical neighbourhood. And to those I would add Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. All have exercised their expansionist colonial ambitions at a cost of hundreds of thousands of human lives.

The following is from an article by the Henry Jackson Society: “Turkey is to the Syrian jihad what Pakistan was to the Afghan jihad or Azerbaijan was to the Chechen jihad—or indeed Syria was to the Iraqi jihad. A rear-base from which fighters can enter the battle, but to which they can take shelter to hide, recuperate, fundraise, and organise.” Turkey will probably never be called to account by any international community.

neo-Ottoman expansionism is driven by a theologically fundamentalist doctrine which makes Turkey a threat to world peace precisely because it instructs and therefore infects the nation and as the previous paragraph indicated, it contaminates not just its hinterlands but the nations it comes into contact with.

Pinhas Inbari, writing in the journal of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (Can Israel and Turkey Reconcile?) said “Turkey is in the midst of defining its identity – as Turkish first or Muslim first with a “neo-Ottoman underpinning. If Turkey chooses its “Turkish” identity, a true Israeli-Turkish reconciliation may be possible, but if Erdogan chooses his neo-Ottoman Muslim path, obstacles may block the reconciliation.”

I would disagree with Pinhas on the simplicity of his statement. Before the Islamic political revolution began to take hold in Turkey, it was a secular society governed along strict lines of separation between Mosque and State. But still it was awash with racism, ethnic-religious belligerence and chauvinism. Tolerance of intolerance creates the atmosphere that eventually leads to fascism, and fascism is the handmaiden of dictatorship.

In politics, to negotiate from weakness is a sign of capitulation. The Muslim world understands this far better than we do. Terrorism is a political act, never a moral choice even when people use simplistic arguments in their attempt to create justification for it. The Western world is economically vulnerable and exposed to every means of blackmail that the Muslim world can throw our way. Threats of violence, terror and fear of economic and terminal decline are powerful enablers for acquiescence to positive discriminatory treatment towards the faithful, especially when they also tap into ancient prejudices that have never been eliminated.

The assassination of the Russian ambassador in Ankara just over two weeks ago is a symptom of Turkish jingoism. It is a lesson that Israel and the rest of Western Society must learn from. And Israel must never drop its guard in its awareness of the threat posed by fundamentalism, either from Turkey or, from within its own society.

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Rule of Law and Assassination in Turkey (Part 1)

On Monday the 19th of December a Turkish police officer, smartly dressed in civilian clothes, walked up to Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey. As the ambassador spoke at the opening of an art exhibition in Ankara the off-duty policemen calmly murdered him. The killer said in his native Turkish “Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria. Unless our towns are secure, you won’t enjoy security. Only death can take me from here. Everyone who is involved in this suffering will pay a price.”

He also shouted in Arabic: “We are the one who pledged allegiance to Muhammad, to wage jihad.”

(Ynet news 19-20/12/2016)

It is a sad but timely reminder that Islamist Turkey can as much be trusted as theocratic, traditionalist Iran or Saudi Arabia.

Is that fair? Political murders have taken place in Britain, Sweden, Norway, the USA and Israel to name just a few of the Western countries afflicted by acts of political violence against the state and its civilian population. Italy had the Red Brigade, Germany had Baader-Meinhoff and Japan had the Red Army.

Assassinations and atrocities against civilians have always been part of revolutionary politics. The difference today is that radicals, progressives and others on the fringe of Western society try to justify the immorality of their cause (s) through their control of the electronic media. They are able to then embrace the war crimes committed by those terrorists they choose to call “friend,” to move peripheral political ideology into the centre.

They share a contempt for the rule of law which must be bent to accommodate their political vision and ignored when it fails to conform to their ignorance and their prejudice.

What makes the new fascist Left no different to the Inquisitors and Jihad-is of previous generations is their blind obedience to the Cause. They daily demonstrate this latter fealty by controlling the narrative. And they control it by their suppression of freedom of speech and association, occasionally by violent means but with increased frequency as their successes grow.

What makes this generation empowered in ways that previous generations were not is that the internet has enabled the every-man and every-woman with any talent for exploiting the electronic media to spread so much poison that no-one is safe. Because there is no regulation there is no difference between the lie and the truth and because the fascist (left) has no respect for the inconvenient truth they will use every means to suppress it. Unfortunately, our inability to internalise this lesson is our great failure.

Mevlut Mert Altin said “Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria. Unless our towns are secure, you won’t enjoy security.” The Russians have been bombing rebels which will include supporters of Islamic State. The issue for the Turkish Islamist is that many of them support the aims of Islamic State. When Altin shouted in Arabic: “We are the one who pledged allegiance to Muhammad, to wage jihad” he was declaring that “WE” (Turkey) will judge you. It is one of those truly frightening declarations of fanaticism that mark out radical, fascist movements. Altin may or may not have been acting alone but Turkey is the ideal incubator for the creation of regional, if not global instability. Its size, population and theological indifference to genocide ensure that there are far more people like Altin, many of them sitting within the Islamist government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

We have a dishonourable expression in the English world: “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” to that I would add that “One man’s Serial Killer is another man’s Warrior for God (or the Prophet).” The latter is the Turkish view of their “glorious” history. But the history of modern Turkey is an execrable one (and I will explain why in my next blog).

The US-Turkey partnership was a product of the Cold War. The two nations never shared a special affinity but both feared the communist enemy. Turkey has changed in terms of strategic orientation and national purpose since that partnership was formalised in 1947 with the passage of the Truman Doctrine. It has gone from being a secular but racist and jingoistic society to one that is dedicated to an Islamic neo-Ottoman revival. America has failed to recognise the threat Islamist Turkey poses to world peace. It has tried to pacify the Muslim threat through policies of appeasement while doing everything possible to antagonise Russia. Instead of focussing its energies on bringing Russia into a European-Western alliance that would isolate the Islamists it has managed to re-invigorate the Cold War and give them a European champion.

Turkey is not Europe. It will not accept the view that the original sin of its creation myths are not just soaked but also nourished in rivers of blood. It is violently opposed to granting human rights to its minorities. It persecutes its Kurds. Christians and Jews fear for their lives and are occasionally murdered because they are hostages to Islamic mood swings of intolerance and conditional benevolence. Turkey will once again reassert it’s hegemonic geopolitical ambitions.

The strategic partnership between Israel and Turkey was inspired by pragmatism. And this is where the problem lies. An Islamic nation with its historic legacy of ridicule for its minorities, conquest, domination and human slavery is continuously reinforcing an internalized image of God-given superiority over its non-Muslim neighbours. It is a world view that is not congruent with any relationship of equality.

Israel and not just Israel must not trust Turkey.

The issue that defines the problem separating western political violence from Turkey’s problem is that the outlier (the radical, ‘progressive’ or the extremist) does not define the relationship within Western orientated nations (even if they are trying to make it so). With Turkey it does. Turkey’s past is one of genocide, ethnic cleansing and fascism. Any crime is justified through the prism of Islamic triumphalism and an irredentist philosophy. Islamic fundamentalists do not desire peace, what they do desire is glory and at any cost to those that oppose them.

Unless Turkey is willing to banish fundamentalism forever (and not as an expedient to maintain full access to Europe and America) it cannot be trusted, not as an economic partner or, as a strategic military ally.

Andrei Karlov’s assassin represents the activist for the new Turkey. We’ve been warned.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Shimon Peres and the Arab Apartheid Issue

Shimon Peres, Israel’s ninth president, was laid to rest at Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem on Friday 30th September 2016. Writing in Israeli newspaper Yedioth Achranot, David Grossman said: “Peres’s entire being stood facing the future. In a country that is being sucked ever deeper into a mythological, religious and tribal narrative, he turned towards the universal, towards science, rationality and the democracy of open information. He cast himself as an anchor on the seabed of the future, the distant, invisible, imagined, utopian and optimistic future, and began tugging himself towards it.” (The article was also featured in the UK’s major anti-Zionist media outlet, The Guardian).

Shimon Peres was a contradiction.  Secular but respectful of religious faith he was humble to the detriment of his political ambitions.  He was a private individual in a job that celebrated public participation. His staff made sure that his every move was posted to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. He relentlessly pursued the fulfillment of his ideas on economics, science and defense, along the way helping to build Israel into a stable and strong country. But he was viewed in Israel as secretive, and therefore untrustworthy.  Ridiculed at home he was admired abroad; described as an international statesman in the same class as Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth II.  Domestically, he was a serial loser whose first electoral victory, at the age of 84, occurred when he was elected President of Israel.

If Shimon Peres was contentious, what has emerged from his death and funeral is the work that Israel must urgently undertake to marginalize and exclude the Arab apartheid activists, their Israeli fellow travelers on the far left and those foreign critics for whom, we can do no good.

There are those people who live to remember his failures (and ours) and their hatred is not just our problem but the world’s.  In their eternal denigration of “our kind” this type of person will forgive every abomination the anti-Zionist or antisemite commits while rarely, if ever, acknowledging our shared humanity.

According to the headline in a Times of Israel article published the day of Shimon Peres’s funeral, Ayman Odeh, head of the 13-MK (member of the Knesset) anti-Zionist political bloc the “Joint (Arab) List” extended condolences to the late president’s family but also made it emphatically clear that his group had ‘no place’ in this ‘day of national mourning’

Like every nation, the Arab world has its problems.  The first is a racial ideology that places “the Arab” above all other human beings. Most Arab countries reflect this prejudice within their national legal system.  Not just the Arab nations.  Many Muslim countries are in competition with the Arab world in providing proof of their religious purity.  They are disadvantaged in terms of theological credibility because of their Jonny-come-lately status vis-à-vis their “post-Arab” adoption of Muslim faith.

The second issue is a theological conquest narrative ordained by the Prophet that gives each Muslim the task of not simply defeating the infidel but also humiliating them along the way.  Then the victor refashions their conquered foes history to claim ownership of any good done by their dishonored enemy.

For much of the last two and a half centuries and especially in the 21st Century the Islamist message has been incongruent with a Western (and now) a secular, pluralistic and internationalist outlook that continues to spread its gospel across the globe.  A modern, Western, democratic and secular orientated model for human society stands in contradistinction to an Islamist theology.  And yet, the multiculturalists choose inexplicably, to ignore any misbehavior, to excuse every atrocity carried out in the name of Islam, or worse, to explain away such behavior.  Islamism has given the world Wahhabism (18th Century), Salafism (19th Century), the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda (20th Century) and now in the 21sth Century, Islamic State.  Human misery and death is their shared and unbroken legacy.

Modern Israel was founded along Zionist lines of secular, universal, utopian principles meant to benefit all people.  Being secular, Israel’s Jewish pioneers failed to see and they then failed to acknowledge the religious and racial dimensions of Arab opposition to Jewish self-determination.  They did not appreciate the historical baggage that the Arab conquest narrative endowed them with.  It blinded most Arabs to ever considering an accommodation with the inferior Jew.  That same Arab blindness rules opposition to the state of Israel more so now than before.  This lack of understanding was and remains Zionism’s failure because it prevents us from confronting it.

Post 1948, some of the early Arab Israeli leaders not only accommodated but also embraced the nascent state of Israel.  Their children, people such as Basel Ghattas (Christian) and Haneen Zoabi (Sunni Muslim) went in the opposite direction.

It was no-one’s fault. Israel was a wasteland that had been abused and desolated by over a thousand years of willful neglect. Arab and Bedouin marauders destroyed any possibility for material or physical progress; the Ottoman Empire in its last few hundred years was relentlessly corrupt and just let the gangs get on with extorting whatever they could from whoever they could.  “To a very large extent Palestinian Arab middle and professional classes ‘emigrated’ with most of their property as soon as it was proposed that a Jewish state should be established in the country.” (“Whose Land” by James Parkes). The issue here is that a group of people without leadership soon descends into anarchy. Leaderless, the people will listen with eagerness to any demagogue who will offer them a way, any way. If they were told to flee by their Arab brethren, they would do so.

Israel in 1948 had a nation to build, with few resources and always under threat of violence from its Arab enemies. Israel had to find a way to feed and protect its people against a bellicose enemy.  That enemy talked itself out of any peaceful debate through its perceived hostility.  The Arab world used triumphal and irredentist rhetoric and religious bigotry to preclude debate with their Jewish enemy (as Palestinians continue to do today) and it ethnically cleansed all its Jewish citizens.  A people who, just a few years earlier, had suffered the slaughter of a third of their number was threatened by the Arab world with “finishing the job.” Consolidation and protection took precedence over creating an integrated society.  Israel’s mutually antagonistic ethnic groups incrementally grew more distant with each passing decade. The dominant Ashkenazi Jews dictated government policy while doing nothing to discourage separate non-inclusive identification. A melting pot takes multiple generations, a collective will to integrate and it requires a national dialogue which with one exception (Mizrachi-Sephardi society) did not exist.

Religious groups remained wholly uninterested in integration and therefore accommodated each other only to the degree that self-interest dictated their engagement with the state.

It is therefore hardly surprising that the Joint (Arab) List as referred to earlier is primarily interested in sowing discord between Israeli Arab and Israeli Jew.  A person born in Israel is an Israeli by nationality, whether they are ethnically Arab, Circassian, Jewish, or anything else.  The politics of division is meant to create a fractured society that will become unstable and inevitably ungovernable.

Arab MKs like Ghattas and Zoabi and religious leaders such as Raed Salah of the Islamic Movement’s Northern Chapter preach division. They want separate education, cultural autonomy and administrative independence from the Jewish state. Arabs live throughout the state. A Jew could only ever aspire to live among the Arabs if he or she first converts to Islam. Violence is the Arab response to physical co-existence with Jews.  The apartheid that exists in Israel is Muslim, it is Arab and it is essentially unchanged from its pre-1948 prejudiced origins. It is the same bigotry that greeted The First Aliyah (between 1882 and 1903).  It is the same religious hatred that has greeted successive waves of Jewish immigration to the Holy land for over one thousand years.

In 1948 and beyond, the State of Israel had neither financial resources nor the concentrated intellectual focus to address the integration issues of all its citizens. Many of them were waiting for the state to fail and the victorious Arab armies to destroy the Jewish Republic.  Suspicion, fear and the politics of sectarian advantage dominated the first phase of development.

While Ashkenazi and Mizrachi Jews now intermarry at a rate that is greater than 50% there will always be those people who will want to point out that the cup is almost half empty rather than greater than half full. Dissatisfaction and discord encourages the bureaucracy of state to buy off the professional malcontent.

Israel may not be able to solve the intractable conflict between the Jewish state and Arab Palestine but it must address the Jews as well as Arabs who sow discord in society by emphasizing our differences. The MKs who refused to participate in Israel’s day of national mourning did so but their excuses are mendacious at best. They could not forgive a Jewish state its existence if it was located on the dwarf-planet Pluto.

The next phase in the development of the state must address prejudice and inequality from every quarter of society and that includes the ultra-orthodox bigots who deny Mizrachi children places in their schools, as well as the people who fear the Arab moving in next door.  It includes the racist who chants abuse in football matches and MKs who rejoice at our enemies’ successes against us.

The MK who urges separation from Israel and subsumation into the greater Arab world does not desire peace or justice but the next phase in an Arab conquest story that should shame them but only inspires them to greater degrees of prejudice.  The Jew who wants to keep the faithful loyal to a narrowly interpreted sectarian image of circumscribed piety does not care for the survival of the state but only for his own narrowly tribalistic and dysfunctional world view that can only, counter-intuitively inhibit Jewish spiritual growth in the reborn Jewish state.

The next phase in Israel’s development must see every effort made to integrate all sections of society into a Zionist state for all its citizens.  That is what the dreamers saw, on both Left and Right, in the original Zionist vision.  Shimon Peres would smile at that.

Shanah Tovah to everyone.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and the War of Words

A key indicator that Israel has lost the current (and probably the next) generation of public opinion was brought home to me when I was recently asked, rhetorically, if I sympathized with the Palestinians.  My questioner then added “after all, they are treated unfairly by Israel.”

I had no pithy one line response because the way the question was raised meant that anything I said was going to be irrelevant. In our mass communication age, pictures and instantly recalled memes are all the average attention span can tolerate.

So here are a few ideas for when and if we finally do begin to respond in a meaningful way to our aggressors and the press hounds that disseminate their global propaganda:

1)     Palestinians are in the first instance Arabs and the Arabs have been ethnically cleansing Jews (among every other minority) for 1,400 years.
2)     Palestinian Arabs desire a return to Arab apartheid against Jews and you blame us for rejecting the offer?
3)     The German people admired the British nation so much so that after they offered Briton “Peace in our Time” they opted for conquest instead.  Palestinians are the modern era’s Aryan (German) nation.
4)     The British were not heartless nor in World War 2 did it stop Briton from leveling their German mortal enemy’s cities.
5)     Look at the genocide of non-Arabs in Iraq, Syria and the Sudan. This is what Palestinian Arabs have openly preached against Jews since the struggle for Jewish independence began.
6)     The United Nations (UN) has done nothing to prevent even a single case of ethnic cleansing or genocide in its 71 years of existence. And yet uniquely, it is the Jewish nation that you demand gives its trust to Palestinians who in their entire history have only ever preached ethno-religious hatred as an ethnic Arab right!
7)     A constant of Palestinians aspirations has been cultural genocide.  They have always preached it against Jews and where possible practiced it.

I could continue as I am sure you all can. We are constantly placed onto the defensive by our opponents, even by those people who are not yet our enemy.

If they have any tolerance at all for us, it is wearing thin as time progresses and it is doing so because we are not fighting back.  It is not sufficient to assert our rights when on university campuses across the globe it is with unchallenged aggression that our pleas for civilized debate are not unsurprisingly met with derision and even violence.

The chauvinist is incapable of accepting essential equality because it will always collide with his or her narrow world view.

The Arab and Islamist world uses its maximalist, colonialist and exclusive political-religious theology to justify its crimes against humanity and through its manipulation of the UN it stifles, even prevents any debate about its own guilt.  It is an axiom of racial politics that any truth which collides with the accepted narrative must be suppressed.

It is this hegemonic behavior that is at the heart of modern political division.  Identity politics, intersectionality, hierarchical victimhood are all symptoms of a damaged and fascistic mindset.  See the apartheid Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as the perfect example.

The racists in the Western World will gravitate towards anyone whose twisted narrative validates their bigotry against Jewish independence in Israel or even, (and the British Labour Party is the perfect example of this) against Jewish equality in the Diaspora.

A strong nation requires a focused, competent and well funded Department of State that will direct foreign policy irrespective of the fitness of the political party in power.  It must have a dedicated political master. Instead, Israel has Benjamin Netanyahu for head of state and he has undermined Israel’s most important ministry of government because he is incapable of delegating power.  That makes him a bad Prime Minister.  In the government that was sworn in May 2015 he retained control over 4 separate ministries, all crucial to the health of the nation. It is inconceivable that the prime minister of a minority or coalition government would hang onto such an important department, as State is, while also trying to run the country. 

Under Netanyahu’s’ tutelage foreign policy has lurched from one crisis to another and the bureaucracy of State has been incrementally undermined.  When the state’s enemies openly boast of their intent to keep Israel in an existentially precarious state (as Hassan Nasrallah did only a few weeks ago) a full-time Foreign Minister with a well funded department is the minimum that is needed.

We are fighting BDS (which always focuses on the message no matter how many lies it contains) without support from the primary target of that boycott and I blame this situation on the prime minister of Israel.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Zionism and the Jewish State

“Except for two periods when Palestine was its correct political title it has usually been called the Land of Israel, the Promised Land, the Holy Land.  It was called Palestine from the second Jewish War with Rome to the conquest, when it formed the province of Palestina, and the second time during the British Mandate Arab for Palestine.”  (Whose Land? A History of the Peoples of Palestine by James Parkes)

To the first generation of fair minded people who came after the Second World War the Shoah proved the wisdom, not just the need for a Jewish safe haven.   It  is therefore all  the more ironic that it was the United Nations with its 1975 General Assembly Resolution equating Zionism with racism that signaled the first volley in  a relentless assault on Jewish legitimacy (and a stepped return  to organized anti-Semitic bigotry).  Then, Jews and their Christian supporters may not have missed the message but by dropping their guard they certainly neglected the long-term threat which eased the infiltration of Islamists and their neo-McCarthyist collaborators on the political Left into every aspect of public life.

McCarthyism was anti-internationalist in tone which naturally led it into antisemitic territory by virtue of accusations often leveled at Jews for dual-loyalty and their ‘cosmopolitan outlook’.  Soviet antisemitic vitriol usually came with a reference to cosmopolitanism, a meme everyone understood to be synonymous with Judaism. Again this is ironic, given communism’s claim to an egalitarian communalism and its international efforts for cross border legitimacy.    Today, Islamic and neo-McCarthyist radicals use classic antisemitic tropes to silence any criticism of their own history and their contemporary use of past antisemitic tactics.

For example no-one questions from where Arab-Muslim and radical left-wing funds originate, particularly when they are used to assault ‘Zionists’ and Jews who may be suspected of having Zionist sympathies. But Rothschild conspiracies and the ‘undue influence’ of any Jewish donors are oft-repeated accusations leveled against the Jewish community here in the UK.  The press will often publish articles that skirt and even cross the border between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, very rarely publishing a retraction when found to have erred. Debate around the influence of Islam and its obvious literary impact on antizionism as antisemitism is banished as Islamaphobic.

The extreme left’s antisemitism has been debated within the right-wing British press since Jeremy Corbyn notoriously became leader of the Labour opposition in the British parliament but even then that debate is very much circumscribed within parameters set by examining the Corbyn phenomena in British politics.  Little, if any examination is provided to the Left’s antisemitic origins or its contemporary racist bedfellows.

If Zionism and Judaism are forces for good they must be able to explain themselves in a world that is simultaneously inundated with and at war with a world of competing ideas. Zionism, as a Universalist and utopian Jewish idea is attacked by Muslims for denying Arab Particularism and its conquest narrative yet another victory but also Zionism is attacked because the State represents living proof of Islam’s failure to dominate all geographical areas with its exclusive Universalism.

Persistent attacks by Muslim and fascist proponents of an end to the Jewish National Homeland have rendered the gains made by advocates of Jewish autonomy subject to doubt and questioning which is unprecedented with respect to any other community. Moreover, the negative reinforcement of anti-Zionist and antisemitic Western propaganda has assailed Jewish self-confidence as perhaps never before in history.  As a way out, it has never been easier to cease to be Jewish.

Zionism has been a support for Jewish faith.  It has also been a weapon that antisemites use to bludgeon the ignorant and to assault Jewish faith.  The current crisis in Jewish identity has much to do with the bad press that Israel and the established Jewish communities failed to fight against with adequate vigor.

Identity, nationalism and religion are all weighty and conflicted subjects that so many of us do not want to discuss or even to define.  And yet a state of all its citizens must retain characteristics that give it an identity which differentiates it from its neighbors; unless of course we are all to be subsumed by a singular, neutralized identity, devoid of personality and character.   Ze’ev Maghen pointed out in an essay in “New Essays on Zionism (2006)” that “We all love preferentially.”   Preferential love is equal to sociocultural diversity; universal love is the death of intimacy without which all the great questions are without relevance.   An identity is crucial for self-expression; you cannot reach for the stars if you possess no passion for engagement. Our identity drives us to search for, to demand answers to the questions we have seen the urgency to ask.

Nora Sternfeld has written that Universalism is generally attributed to the majority society – both within its own paternalistic discourses and amongst a large proportion of its critics. She continues that it is possible to offer another perspective on this: the appropriation of a strategically universal perspective from the marginalized side, a perspective that steps out of the position of the victim and the object, and that takes pride in its capacity to act in solidarity with others.

However, choosing one minority position of oppression over another creates its own oppressive dialogue.  Just because we view a minority as disadvantaged it does not have to follow that their cultural tradition is worth supporting. Not all cultural narratives are equal in validity.

There is a reason that the Muslim world has a history of despotism and malevolent dictatorship. To question is to engage with the divine.  In the practice of a religion of submission one can only acquiesce. In the fourteen hundred years that is the lifespan of Islamic history there has only ever been exploitation by rulers who profited from those to whom submission as an article of faith meant unquestioning acceptance of a ruler’s fiat.  But at least according to Islamic theology, it also follows that even the most impoverished Muslim is superior to the Christian, Jew, or ‘other’ in their midst.  And that creates painfully dissonant questioning as to why the superior race is not in charge.

Therein is the origin of many conspiracy theories and hate filled diatribes against ‘a smart but perfidious enemy’ whether that enemy is Zionism, Capitalism, America, Israel, Western civilization, Crusader (Christianity) or Judaism!

If fear has meant that minorities failed to stand up to their persecutors, the last five years have signaled an end to any accommodation that non-Muslim minorities thought would keep their tormentors from oppressing them.  Islamic State (or Daesh) has nothing to do with either an Israel-Palestine conflict or Zionism, unless we now explain away the Arab Spring as inspired, not by Arab despotism, but by the success of Jewish self-determination (as expressed in the political independence of the nation-state of Israel).

The Christian Middle East is in full flight. There are no safe-havens for any non-Muslim (non-Arab) minority, excepting in Israel.  A Jewish state is of greater importance in the Middle and greater Near-Eastern region than at any time in history.

Democracy and human rights are not universally cherished.   Israel’s status as the Jewish nation is continuously questioned by ‘liberal’ exponents of secular republicanism.  They argue for separation of synagogue and state as a means of providing focus for a more inclusive (de-Judaised) national identity.  But that is something they would never dream of demanding from any other religious faith.

If modern Israel arose out of the moral disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, the catalyst to its integration into global society was not the Shoah but what preceded it, at the end of the nineteenth century.  Large scale Jewish immigration encouraged a similar wave of Arab immigration.  Legitimacy for one means legitimacy for both.  But this right is one the fascist left is unwilling to grant to Jews.  If as Ruth Gavison claims, changing circumstances affected the balance of legitimacy in favor of Jewish self-determination, a history of Arab persecution of Jews and denial of Jewish rights in the land of Israel were and remains the principle impediment to the realization of universal autonomy.

I began this blog with a quote from James Parkes.  A Jewish right to live in peace in the Land of Israel is what Ruth Gavison calls “an elemental point of religious belief”. She argues for a justification outside of religious belief in order to avoid “a pointless clash of dogmas that leaves no room for dialogue or compromise.” The most important of the universal values of any society is the right to live one’s life without fear.  On this one factor in human existence everything else pivots. Israel stands in contradistinction to every Arab, to every Muslim state.  This and this alone is the justified Zionist product that is Jewish secular nationhood. (New Essays on Zionism - 2006)