Israel on my mind
On the brink (page)
Boycott discussion: Dispute with Steven Rose
Some European academics have called for a cultural and scientific boycott of Israel. One of the boycott petitions, calling for a MORATORIUM on scientific contacts with the Jewish state, was instigated by Dr. Steven Rose and published in The Guardian. Its full text can be found at http://euroisrael.huji.ac.il/original.html. I sent a letter condemning this moratorium to all signatories of that petition whose email addresses were included in the list published on the same website, and received similarly sounding replies from Drs. Rose and Blakemore, another member of the boycott team. I have decided to publish my exchange with Dr. Rose because it clarifies the opposing views and their origins. It follows below in chronological order.
"The times have made it unpopular, in the West, to proclaim openly a hatred of the Jews. This being the case, the anti-Semite must constantly seek new forms and forums for his poison. How he must revel in the new masquerade! He does not hate the Jews, he is just 'anti-Zionist'!" - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Discovering a European-supported petition for a boycott of academic ties with Israel to promote “many peace plans” (http://euroisrael.huji.ac.il/original.html), I could not help but remember the Western “peaceniks” of the 1970-80’s who demanded of their governments to stop arming against the threat of communism. When a delegation of these leftists came for a visit to the Soviet Union (my country of origin) during the notorious period of “détente,” to embrace those they wanted to live in peace with, they were arrested and deported after an attempt to organize a pro-peace demonstration in Moscow. That must have been a good lesson in the effects of moral equivalence. Just as peace movement in the West was helpful only to the Soviets and supported by the KGB, today’s peaceniks are helping terrorists to achieve their strategic goals. Forcing Israel to stop its fight against terrorism—with no guaranty of the end of terror—would again serve only the terrorist aggressor.
Why is the anti-Israeli sentiment so popular in Europe? Of course, European politicians pressing President Bush to restrain Israel may be taking into account that their electorate is much more Muslim than Jewish. They would not do it, however, if the rest of the voting population did not support their pro-Arab stance, and it is not politicians who write boycott petitions and come to Israel now to defend “Palestinian rights.” Why Europe, which has tried and failed to appease Hitler by betraying Czechoslovakia and largely helped him to annihilate European Jewry, makes the same mistake by trying now to appease the horrific Islamic regimes and terrorist gangs supported by them? It is hard to imagine that Europe can still think that appeasing a murderer can earn protection from him. There is another likely reason for this irrational behavior—an irrational reason. Some Europeans, including, regrettably, intellectuals, have finally found a way to both legitimize their deep-seated antisemitism and exculpate themselves—by wrapping antisemitism in the comme il faut cloth of their “fight for the rights of Palestinians.”
It comes clear from the text of the petition. Its authors call “odd” the situation when Israel is treated as a European state in respect to scientific funding and contracts while no other state in the region is so regarded. Which other states there would the petitioners consider eligible for such treatment—whether from the scientific achievement or accountability viewpoints? This parenthetically introduced rationale for the moratorium on all support of science in Israel is telling because it clearly has nothing to do with its purported causes. Obviously, such moratorium would cover scientists regardless of their political convictions and, as such, is a collective punishment solely based on nationality. Taking into account the international character of science, it would also cover those who collaborate with Israeli scientists and depend on results obtained in that research. One wonders how would the moratorium treat Israeli scientists who temporarily or permanently work outside of Israel, non-Israeli scientists who collaborate with Israelis, or those scientists who openly support Israel? The proposed moratorium clearly smacks of the “Jewish science” label used first by the Nazis and then by Stalin’s inquisitors. Since science benefits all humans, the moratorium, while gaining no political reward for Palestinian Arabs, has nothing to do with humanitarian causes allegedly supported by its drafters and has much to do with Jew-baiting.
This is why these humanitarians do not care that those they call “Palestinians” are in their majority brain-washed descendants of recent in-migrants to the Land of Israel, who came from surrounding Arab countries in the end of XIX-XX century on the heels of Jewish repatriation that transformed the millennia-long desolation of Palestine and created jobs for Arabs. These human rights activists call Jews living in Hebron “settlers” and cite Arab majority as the reason for calling the lands “Arab,” whereas the reason for that majority is that Jews who lived in those lands were subjected to pogroms instigated by Arafat’s uncle and a personal friend of Hitler’s Amin al-Husseini, mass-murdered, evicted, and kept from entering Palestine by the British (just before and at the time of the greatest genocide in history). These European peace-lovers know and are comfortable with the knowledge that the only peace satisfactory for Arafat and the Arab world is where Jews do not fight because there is no more Israel and they are dead—the same way the fathers and grandfathers of these Europeans were undisturbed by the trains leaving their cities for Treblinka.
Steven Rose replies:
If you cant tell the difference between being opposed to illegal occupations, collective punishments and the systematic destruction of a people by a State and anti-semitism you are in pretty poor intellectual shape.
And you should get your history straight. The zionist household in which I was born and reared was clear that Chaim Weizmann was correct to demand the colonisation of Palestine by Jews as 'a land without people for a people without land.'
Joint Gresham Professor of Physic,
Visiting Professor, Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology
University College London,
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The Open University
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Dear Dr. Rose:
Thank you very much for your prompt response to my letter. I regret, however, that instead of addressing its substance, you employ a classic straw man argument (let alone an ad hominem one). I object not to your protest against "illegal occupations, collective punishments," etc.--you are entitled to your views, of course. What I do consider antisemitic is boycotting Israeli scientists BASED ON THEIR NATIONALITY. I am sure that you are capable of seeing that this is a COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT--why then are you trying to impose it? And how exactly would you mete it? My colleague in Israel, for instance, has Palestinian Arab researchers in his team, funded by a European grant--would you exempt him, or them, or no mercy?
I am not sure that it serves your argument well when you support your opinion about a political movement by one slogan taken out of context. Would you apply at least the same standard to the Palestinian nationalist movement whose slogans regarding Jews have been the same as its great supporter's, Hitler, as you, with your knowledge of history, surely know? I also hope you have been as vocal protesting the illegal occupation of the disputed territories by JORDAN until 1967 as well as the truly monstrous acts of Arab and Islamic governments in their treatment of women, minorities, and dissenters (including your colleagues-scientists).
I envy you that you have had an opportunity to be raised in a Zionist household. In the country where I was born and reared Zionism used to be a capital crime, teaching Hebrew entailed years in the GULag, and attending services in a synagogue made you liable to be expelled from a school and blacklisted. The Politburo fully shared your views on Zionism and Israel and would wholeheartedly support your petition. I doubt, however, you would feel more comfortable there than in your "zionist household."
I was glad to receive in response to my letter from one of my correspondents a reply to your petition by EU Commissioner for Research Philippe Busquin (please see attached). He, in his diplomatic but sufficiently scalding way, pointed out some of its major flaws - the same as I did.
Please allow me to conclude with another quote from Dr. Martin Luther King: "My friend, I do not accuse you of deliberate anti-Semitism. I know you feel, as I do, a deep love of truth and justice and a revulsion for racism, prejudice, and discrimination. But I know you have been misled--as others have been--into thinking you can be 'anti-Zionist' and yet remain true to these heartfelt principles that you and I share. Let my words echo in the depths of your soul: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews--make no mistake about it."
Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 3:47 PM
Subject: RE: boycotts etc
the boycott call is not against individual Israelis but against institutional links. And with respect to the question concerning palestinian researchers, we have had strong messages of support for the call from palestinians as you might imagine. The ONLY people who have objected on the grounds of harming Israeli-Palestinian collaboration are Israelis. Draw your own conclusions.
I am not Israeli. Nor are Philippe Busquin, the EU Commissioner for Research (please read his response I attached to my previous message) and my American colleagues. Draw yours.
Your "not against individual Israelis but against institutional links" does not make any difference to me, especially considering that you seem to disregard the objections of "ONLY" individual Israelis (by the way, what conclusions would you suggest I should make?). Don't you think you should pay more attention to Israelis who want to collaborate with their Palestinian colleagues? Or you think that it is Israelis who mainly benefit from that collaboration--and who cares about Israelis?
I may be expecting too much, but you again did not respond to my message, choosing instead to respond to one example I gave.
Fortunately, the number of scientists who have protested anti-Israel boycotts and supported Israel is much greater than that of antisemitic and misguided scientific allies of Arafat. The updates can be found at http://euroisrael.huji.ac.il/news.html. Contrary to Rose's wishful thinking that "ONLY" Israeli scientists protest his boycott initiative and thus are isolated, the anti-boycott support comes from numerous countries, including Rose's own Great Britain, whose leading science journal, Nature, has published a strongly worded objection to any such boycott, and the National Union of Students condemned it.
July 12, 2002. - Meanwhile, I have not waited too long to get an answer to my question above, how the moratorium would treat Israeli scientists working outside of Israel: a British professor of Egyptian origin, one of the signatories of Rose's petition, has just fired her Israeli colleagues from the editorial boards of the two journals she owns (?) - for no other reason than their nationality (and she is not unique - June 28, 2003). She did that in accordance with her "interpretation of what a boycott of Israel means." Like Rose, "[she is] not actually boycotting Israelis, [she is] boycotting Israeli institutions." To emphasize the collective punishment character of her action, one of the Israelis is a former chairman of Amnesty International's Israeli branch and has criticized Israel's "policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip." Is Dr. Rose going to protest such a wrong interpretation of his fight (he himself kindly promises to continue "to collaborate with, and host, Israeli scientific colleagues on an individual basis") on the side of Hamas and Hezbollah? I would not hold my breath.
July 23, 2002. - ...And I shouldn't have. See the Roses' new, verbose and lame attempt to justify their despicable action. I have written the following to email@example.com [needless to say, as of August 9, it has not been published].
On July 15, your newspaper published another letter from Drs. Steven and Hilary Rose, in which they attempted to justify their call for anti-Israel boycotts, including the unprecedented boycott of Israeli science. Not only this new letter, replete with non-sequiturs, does not contain anything new and gives no response to the numerous critiques of their boycott call (including those published in The Guardian), but it also contains striking examples of the authors' intellectual dishonesty uncommon among scientists of the Roses' caliber.
In particular, they finish their letter with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which has nothing to do with the topic of the letter. Being the last sentence, however, it creates an impression that Dr. King's views on the topic are somehow positively associated with the Roses' position. Dr. King did indeed express his views on Zionism and Israel, but they were exactly opposite to the Roses'. In his words, "The times have made it unpopular, in the West, to proclaim openly a hatred of the Jews. This being the case, the anti-Semite must constantly seek new forms and forums for his poison. How he must revel in the new masquerade! He does not hate the Jews, he is just 'anti-Zionist'!... My friend, I do not accuse you of deliberate anti-Semitism. I know you feel, as I do, a deep love of truth and justice and a revulsion for racism, prejudice, and discrimination. But I know you have been misled - as others have been - into thinking you can be 'anti-Zionist' and yet remain true to these heartfelt principles that you and I share. Let my words echo in the depths of your soul: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews - make no mistake about it."
Drs. Rose object to "collective punishments" by the Israeli government, which is trying to protect its citizens from the terror that, in proportional terms, no other country has ever experienced and which is the terrorists' reaction not to that government's actions but to the very existence of Israel (Hamas, Hezbollah, and Jihad Islami do not recognize Israel's right to exist). The Roses do not find, however, anything wrong with their own call for the COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT - of Israeli scientists, including those (as the recent example with the two Israeli professors has shown) who object against their government's policies. Even if they somehow had failed to see that obvious flaw in their boycott call, I communicated it to them before their last letter was published (the communication also included the above quotes from Dr. King). That failure is, therefore, another example of their intellectual dishonesty.
July 31, 2002. - Hamas supported today the Roses' boycott of Israeli academic institutions - by its murderous bombing of Hebrew University. Seven killed, 86 wounded. Out of 23,000 students of this school, 5,000 are Arabs, but, like the Roses, Hamas does not care about that as long as the Jews are harmed. "Hamas said the attack marks a change in strategy. It will now use bombs instead of suicide bombers following Israeli punishments against the families of suicide bombers by demolishing their homes and exiling them to Gaza" (Jerusalem Post, August 1, 2002).
August 8, 2002. - Dr. Rose keeps trying to prove how much he hates the Jewish state and has nothing to do with it and his "zionist household." Today's issue of The Guardian (this newspaper seems to have no other newsworthy items than anti-Jewish actions of antisemitic Jews) reported of another act of intellectual terrorism against Israel by Rose and his marginal accomplices. This time these British "writers, academics and artists," just a week after the Hebrew University mass murder, find nothing more pressing than "to renounce their right to Israeli residence and citizenship in protest at Israel's 'barbaric' policies towards the Palestinians." As if the families of the recent victims of "Palestinians" in Israel could not wait to embrace these collaborationists of Hamas at the Ben Gurion airport.
I remember only one similar renunciation of the right of return to Israel - by the members of the Soviet "Anti-Zionist Committee." This was done under the KGB's pressure, as all other activities of that committee formed by the Soviet Gestapo to project to the world the "Soviet Jews don't need Israel" image. Regrettably, the British left are conditioned in antisemitism so well that they do not need any such pressure.
One point in The Guardian's report, however, can be viewed as a sign of movement in the right direction and instills hope. The report's author, Steven Morris, correctly calls the territories "disputed," instead of commonly and wrongly used "occupied." I sincerely hope Mr. Morris does not get punished for his deviation from The Guardian's party line.
"It must have been June 1996 when the telephone rang. It was David Shapiro, at that time the Executive Secretary of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics." This is a quote from an online article by Andrew Wilkie (firstname.lastname@example.org), an Oxford professor and a world-renowned expert in the molecular genetics of skeletal malformations. Continues Dr. Wilkie, "Would I like to join a working party to examine the ethical issues raised by genetic research into mental disorders?... David reassured me that it would not be onerous. Having slept on it, I agreed to join."
As it has just become clear, not only ethical issues were not onerous for Dr. Wilkie, David Shapiro successfully passed another test of Dr. Wilkie's: he was not an Israeli. Other people were not as lucky. To wit, Dr. Wilkie has recently received an application from a PhD candidate for working in his lab. The candidate was an Israeli. Below is Dr. Wilkie's response, laconic but rich in content, as befits a true intellectual. The esteemed professor succeeds in expressing his righteous anger regarding how the Israelis exploit their "treatment" in the Holocaust to grossly abuse "the Palestinians'" rights just because these victims of abuse want to live in their own country. He does not enter into any unpleasant detail as to what abuses and what exactly country are meant, or how he knows what they wish. He keeps his style in further communication.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrew Wilkie" <email@example.com>
To: "Amit Duvshani" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, June 23, 2003 9:58 AM
Subject: Re: PhD application
Dear Amit Duvshani,
Thank you for contacting me, but I don't think this would work. I have a
huge problem with the way that the Israelis take the moral high ground from
their appalling treatment in the Holocaust, and then inflict gross human
rights abuses on the Palestinians because the (the Palestinians) wish to
live in their own country.
I am sure that you are perfectly nice at a personal level, but no way would
I take on somebody who had served in the Israeli army. As you may be aware,
I am not the only UK scientist with these views but I'm sure you will find
another suitable lab if you look around.
Like other people who received this incredible information about UK scientists, I wanted to verify it and clarify Dr. Wilkie's position. The below exchange followed.
I have been forwarded an email indicating that you refused to accept an
Israeli candidate for a PhD program because he had served in the Israeli
army. This basis for your refusal, if true, would render virtually all
Israeli citizens ineligible for your collaboration with them, as military
service is mandatory in Israel. I'd greatly appreciate your letting me know
if this information is accurate, and, if so, whether there are any other
countries you exclude from your scientific contacts.
Dr. Wilkie replies:----- Original Message -----From: "Andrew Wilkie" <email@example.com>To: "Michael Vanyukov" <firstname.lastname@example.org>Sent: Friday, June 27, 2003 4:45 PMSubject: Re: international collaboration
Please find attached my unreserved apology for what I have done. I was wrong.
Please feel free to circulate this letter.
The text of the letter (Oxford University press-release):
27 June 2003
Comments by Professor Andrew Wilkie
A spokesperson for the University of Oxford said:
"Our staff may hold strongly felt personal opinions. Freedom of expression is a fundamental tenet of University life, but under no circumstances are we prepared to accept or condone conduct that appears to, or does, discriminate against anyone on grounds of ethnicity or nationality, whether directly or indirectly. This candidate is entitled to submit an application and to have it dealt with fairly according to our normal criteria.
"Professor Wilkie has issued a personal apology regarding remarks he made by e mail to an applicant for a research degree at Oxford. An immediate and thorough investigation of this matter is now being carried out in accordance with the University’s procedures and a report will be presented to the Vice-Chancellor next week."
Note to editors:
The full text of Professor Wilkie’s apology is:
"I recognise and apologise for any distress caused by my e mail of 23 June and the wholly inappropriate expression of my personal opinions in that document. I was not speaking on behalf of Oxford University or any of its constituent parts. I entirely accept the University of Oxford’s Equal Opportunities and Race Equality policies."
I'd greatly appreciate receiving your response to the questions in my
previous message. As for your apology, it does not appear to be
satisfactory, since it is for the "inappropriate expression" of your
personal opinions, not for the opinions you expressed. Which is probably
honest if you do hold them, but then your stated acceptance of Oxford's
anti-discrimination policies is not. Your apology leaves an impression that,
given an opportunity, you'd find a more appropriate expression of the same
Dr Wilkie replies:From: "Andrew Wilkie" <email@example.com>To: "Michael Vanyukov"Sent: Friday, June 27, 2003 8:55 PMSubject: Re: international collaboration
As I said before, my actions were wrong and I apologise.
In my opinion, this repeated apology indicates that Dr. Wilkie regrets his sincerity rather than his discrimination of Israelis based on their nationality. It is for Oxford University to decide whether he is compliant with its policies, which go against abhorrent "personal opinions" held by the University's faculty and, as Dr. Wilkie intimated, by other UK scientists. I could not find the anonymous press-release anywhere on the University of Oxford home page.
June 28, 2003
July 2, 2003. The story made its way to The NY Times today.
August 28, 2003. I found out that Dr. Wilkie was slated to be one of the two invited speakers at the annual meeting of the Society of Craniofacial Genetics and wrote the following letter President of the Society, Dr. Boyadjiev-Boyd:
Dear Dr. Boyadjiev:
It has come to my attention that one of the keynote speakers at the forthcoming meeting of the Society of Craniofacial Genetics is slated to be Dr. Andrew Wilkie. Scientific achievements of Dr. Wilkie's notwithstanding, his behavior as a scientist can hardly be considered exemplary. Dr. Wilkie is currently under a disciplinary investigation at Oxford for rejecting a graduate student based on his nationality. The University's press-release (http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/po/wilkie2.shtml) states, "The University of Oxford is appalled that any member of its staff should have responded to an inquiry from a potential graduate student in the terms in which Professor Wilkie (Nuffield Professor of Pathology) emailed Amit Duvshani on 23 June. A thorough investigation began as soon as the University became aware of this correspondence. Based on the information that was collected during this process, and in the light of all the circumstances, particularly the importance attached by the University to fair processes of selection, the Vice-Chancellor, Sir Colin Lucas, has taken the view that this matter should be referred for consideration by the University's disciplinary panel for academic staff, known as the Visitatorial Board. While the matter is under consideration by the Board, Professor Wilkie will not be taking part in the selection of any members of staff or students. The Visitatorial Board has power to recommend warnings or dismissal or removal from office." Dr. Wilkie's apology (http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/po/wilkie.shtml), issued by him when the matter became known to Oxford authorities, indicates that he regrets his sincerity in expressing his opinions rather than the opinions themselves.
Dr. Wilkie's fame as a researcher is rivaled by his notoriety as a bigot, now that the story has become known to the general public from such a widely read source as The New York Times
(http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/02/international/middleeast/02ACAD.html). Considering the seriousness of Dr. Wilkie's offense, his selection as an invited speaker is puzzling, the more so as it may be perceived as the Society's approval and support of his behavior. In addition to the grave ethical concerns this would certainly raise, it hardly serves the purposes of the Society, whose existence, as you note in your presidential message of April 15, 2003, is threatened "due to its shrinking popularity and low membership." Withdrawal of the invitation appears to be an appropriate reaction of the Society to Dr. Wilkie's abhorrent "personal opinions." I hope you will support this request.
Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.
Dr. Boyd responded with understanding of this position. Dr. Wilkie, who had been invited to the conference before the events under consideration, would not be a speaker at the conference that took place on Nov 4, 2003 (perhaps unrelated to this letter).
October 28, 2003. As a punishment, Oxford suspended Wilkie for two months and required him "to undergo further equal opportunities training" (news-release). Pembroke College announced that, "in the light of the ruling by the University of Oxford announced today, Professor Wilkie offered his resignation as a Fellow of the College and as a member of its Governing Body. This has been accepted by the Governing Body of the College. Professor Wilkie's resignation takes immediate effect."
The words “Palestine” and “Palestinians” have become household terms referring to the Arab population of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Gaza Strip. This meaning is planned to be codified in the name of the possible future Arab state discussed between the PLO and Israel. The adoption of this terminology as official, however, would be a mistake contradicting history and perpetuating dangerous falsehoods. This argument is based upon well-known facts that have long been textbook material.
The term “Palestine” was introduced by the Romans in the 2nd century CE in their attempt to eradicate all traces of the Jewish existence in Eretz Israel, the Land of Israel. The name was derived from the Hebrew name of Philistines (plishtim), long since defeated and extinct enemies of the Jews, who 3200 years ago occupied a small piece of land between Tel Aviv and Gaza. “Palestine” (Syria Palaestina) was to replace the name “Judaea,” after the last Judean war where the Roman troops, vastly superior in number and weapons, had been repeatedly defeated until all the resources of the Jews were exhausted. The name of Jerusalem was to be replaced by “Aelia Capitolina,” which, fortunately, has never become part of common language. The term “Palestine,” whose official use ceased after Romans, would, however, be revived to designate the area mandated to Great Britain by the League of Nations as a consequence of the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Mandatory Palestine included the territory both to the east and to the west of the Jordan River—contemporary Jordan (formerly Transjordan) and Israel. The British were charged with “placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home.”
After the British had decided to create the emirate of Transjordan—the Arab state in Palestine “across the Jordan river,” —they reneged on the promise to the Jews that was contained in the original mandate where “recognition has 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.”
In September 1922, merely two months after that text was confirmed by the League of Nations, the British used the clause of the mandate that allowed them, “[i]n the territories lying between the Jordan and the eastern boundary of Palestine as ultimately determined,” to “postpone or withhold application of such provisions of this mandate as he may consider inapplicable to the existing local conditions,” and made the area to the east of the Jordan (three quarters of mandatory Palestine) off-limits to Jewish immigration. In the years that followed, up to the very establishment of the state of Israel, they also restricted Jewish immigration to western Palestine and made it virtually impossible by World War II.
Thus, according to the definitions in existence, be it the Roman one or the pre- and post-Transjordan ones, the territory described by the term “Palestine” includes either Israel, or both Israel and Jordan. Therefore, calling the future possible Arab state “Palestine” would imply either a nonexistent definition of the term or that the state of “Palestine” has not yet reached its actual borders, incorporating at least Israel (click here to see the official confirmation) or both Israel and Jordan. The latter interpretation is more likely, because the Palestine Liberation Organization, under the putative head of the future state, Arafat, has attempted to “liberate” both Israel and Jordan. This interpretation is also consistent with the Palestinian National Charter (1968), Article 2, which states that “Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.” Also likely, he will make another “liberation” attempt, if, and when, the second Arab state in Palestine is established—contrary to history, logic, and justice. Similarly, “Palestinians” as the term to use for the future citizens of this state is a misnomer with equally wrong implications. Moreover, this term has been used to denote Jews living in Palestine as opposed to those living in the diaspora. Arabs started applying this term to themselves only after the establishment of Israel, when their stated goal became, as it had been for Romans, the elimination of Jews from “Filastyn” (the Arabic version of the word). People to whom it is applied are those who left the newborn state of Israel. Some of them followed their leaders’ calls to leave and promises that they would get everything after the Jews are drowned in the sea. Some feared that victorious Jews would do to them what they, guided by people like the Jerusalem mufti Amin al-Husseini, a personal friend of Hitler’s and Arafat’s predecessor in the role of the "leader of the Palestinian people," intended to do to Jews. They are still kept in the limbo of "refugee camps" by their Arab brethren as pawns in their leaders’ cruel game, breeding hatred and terror [more]. There, of course, would be no refugees—and what is now wrongly termed “Palestinians”—if the Arab armies did not attack Israel in 1948 and lose. Nor there would be any refugees if the numerous Arab states absorbed them, as Israel did with no less the number of Jewish refugees from Arab countries—with no compensation from the latter.
As John Stewart Mill noted, “the tendency has always been strong that whatever received a name must be an entity or being, having an independent existence of its own.” The use of the term “Palestinians” to denote Arabs is either a misleading abbreviation for “Palestinian Arabs” (which would then include the Arabs of Israel and Jordan), or an attempt to reify a nonexistent entity.
One of the reasons why the New York mayor Rudy Jiuliani has become “America’s mayor” in the aftermath of 9-11 is his unsentimental, business-like approach to the critical situation. People do like that approach by their leaders under extreme conditions, when they need reliable guidance and hope for success in coping with disasters. Albeit the emotions of grief, desperation and fear are human and expected under such conditions, the leaders may not be governed by them because this will be translated into their government of the people. The opposite emotions, however,— like Jiuliani’s cold fury, with which he returned the $10 million check to a Saudi prince who dared to make an impertinent remark regarding American actions—are not only welcome, but desirable as they are associated with strength and self-confidence.
This is why it seems that the approach generally undertaken by the American administration leaves much to be desired. On this day, a year after the fanatic Muslim—predominantly Saudi—attack on the American soil, it seems that the affect expressed by the administration as well as the American media has largely been that of teary frustration and pain, not unlike the “why me?” feelings experienced and expressed by anybody in grief. There has been little anger, let alone fury, in words or facial expressions of the nation’s leadership; instead, there is a lot of solemnity, quivering lips, and—especially initially—calls for reconciliation with Islam that was translated by the President as “peace” instead of “submission.” The mighty thunder of the only great power left on Earth, which all terrorists in the world—from Arafat who donated his poisonous blood to injured Americans, to Saudi financiers of terror—braced themselves for, has never come. The mosques, planted in the US and everywhere in the world by the Saudis to teach hatred in preparation for the whole world to become Dar-ul-Islam, the “abode of Islam,” are still churning out brain-washed fanatics ready to die while killing unnumbered “kaffirs” regardless of their age and sex. Arafat has just recently become undesired in the administration’s eyes, but still remains the “leader of the Palestinian people” instead of being recategorized into the oldest living terror chieftain. The “Palestinian” state is still discussed as a desirable goal, while the majority of its potential citizens support continued murder of innocent Israelis. The administration is still trying to convince Arabs that they should support an attack against Iraq, while even its European continental allies, faithful to their familiar tactic of appeasing the murderer, deny their support. And American airlines, ready to risk passengers’ lives in fear of offending “Middle Eastern” guests, waste the effort of their security personnel, incompetent as it is, on checking the underwear of grandmothers in wheelchairs for explosive nail clippers they could hide there.
The somber mood dominating this day needs to be changed into cold determination guided by moral clarity. While we are flying flags and erecting memorials, the terror-supporting regimes of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Lebanon need to be treated in accordance with what used to be called the Bush doctrine, but is hardly ever repeated anymore: “[e]very nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.” Without such regimes’ support, terror will crumble. The barbaric and corrupt governments of these countries with their horrible ideology will likely also crumble to open these countries to the civilized world. Like it was with communism, which had been considered unshakeable by its US experts, and with Afghanistan freed from the Taliban, the whole world will benefit from that. I remember the song that inspired the people in what was then the Soviet Union in their fight against Hitler’s hordes: “Rise, the giant country, rise for the mortal fight!.. Let the noble fury rage…”
September 11, 2002
To successfully treat a disease, one needs to know its etiology, its causes. Palliatives like treating symptoms sometimes help, but assuming wrong causes is dangerous and, if the disease is life-threatening, potentially lethal. Diseases of humanity such as international conflicts require even more exact knowledge and are even less tolerant to mistakes as they are potentially lethal to enormous masses of people, if not to humankind in its totality. Fortunately, in contrast to the frequently intractable etiologies of human diseases and confusion between causes and effects, the causes of international conflicts, however complex, often need only an unbiased list of historical facts to be revealed and differentiated from their effects.
It is thus very sad to listen to professional peace-mongers like former senator Mitchell, who, interviewed on Fox News, insists, neglecting textbook truths, that the problem of the Middle East is not Saddam but the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” The conflict implied is between Arabs who currently live under Israeli “occupation” in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and, supposedly, only wish to create an ethnically cleansed, Judenrein, state in those territories, and evil Israelis who do not allow that. Never mind the fact that there were neither Palestinians who wanted a state of their own in the “occupied territories” nor the “occupied territories” themselves until 1967. That is, the territories in question, Judea, Samaria and Gaza, had been then illegally occupied as a result of a war of aggression, but by Jordan (which renamed Judea and Samaria the West Bank), and Egypt. Israel holds these territories since 1967, having captured them in a defensive war, which makes these territories disputed rather than “occupied” (see in-depth analysis by Dore Gold.) The Palestine Liberation Organization was created in 1965—before any Israeli “occupation.” The goal of the PLO was, and still is—its ruling Charter has never been rewritten,— “liberation” of the whole territory that used to be Mandatory Palestine, which includes Israel and Jordan (see Article 2 of the Charter).
Saddam is not the whole universe of the causes of ongoing tragedies in that part of the world. Would not it be parsimonious, however, to suppose that if any conflict in that area involving Israel had existed before 1967, the conflict that immediately followed 1967, involving the same sides, would be the same? Namely, isn’t it clear that, were it not for the Arab states’ refusal to have Israel, the Jewish state, in their midst, there would be no 1948-49 war, no Palestinian refugees, no Six-Day War, no “occupied territories,” and—most likely—no “Palestinian” nation? There would be no “Jewish settlers,” just as there are none in Eastern Palestine currently called Jordan—as per a fascist, racist clause in that “moderate” Arab state’s nationality law (1954) that allows no Jew to become its citizen. (Arab settlers in Israel are Israeli citizens represented in the Knesset). No UN resolution, however, was ever proposed to equalize Islam(ism) with racism, and no outcry has been heard regarding the rights of religious minorities in Saudi Arabia. "Voices of moderation" invariably call for territorial losses for Israel, hardly ever asking of Arabs anything more than words (whose meaning radically changes when spoken in Arabic). There is, however, no logically sound explanation why Israel, or anybody calling himself Israel's ally, would be willing to create another Arab state, side by side with Israel. States are not created just because a compact group of a certain ethnicity happens to reside in a certain territory.
Israel has absorbed a population of Jewish refugees from Arab countries that is about equal to that of the so-called “Palestinian refugees” and immensely larger per capita of Israel’s population. There is no sound reason why Palestinian Arabs should not be accepted as citizens by the surrounding twenty-one Arab states, from whose citizens they do not differ in any meaningful respect and from where their majority originally came. There is no other reason why the Palestinian refugee population has not been absorbed by these countries but their decision to cultivate its hatred for Israel, whose right to exist they have never accepted. Conceivably, Israel as a democratic multinational state could have them as her citizens, and, in fact, extended this offer to Arabs when she was created, but to have now a huge mass of people who have sworn hatred of Israel join her population would be suicidal. Needless to say, hating the Zionist state so much, their only motivation in joining it would be their hope to destroy it. Israel must insist on being Jewish state because Arab irredentism continues unabated and is built in the Islamic ideology. There is also no sound reason why Israel's ancient capital—the capital of the existing state—should be turned over to any newly created state to become its capital, and the Arab demand for this indicates no goodwill either.
Isn’t it thus clear that there is no “Israeli-Palestinian” conflict, nor is there even an Arab-Israeli conflict, but there is instead a continued and unremitting morbid hatred of the Arab and Muslim states toward Israel, predating even the creation of that state? Isn’t it therefore clear that an attempt to treat this disease by giving in, forcing Israel to give up any territory in response to nothing but continued terror, creating another hatred-based and hatred-fomenting Arab state, led by the PLO, a clique of life-long professional terrorists, is not going to cure it but rather would expand the lesion? Unless, that is, this will finally be the end of the Jewish state, which has always been the goal of the Palestinian Liberation Organization—after all, this is what “liberation” meant and still means in that name. Isn’t it also clear that Bush’s offering Arabs “a vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security” in the same speech that reports on the progress in the war against a source of terror is not only a non-sequitur, but a misguided attempt to reward another source of terror, the PLO, and punish its enemy, Israel? It is possible that a state leader’s policy can be sometimes guided by visions, but those visions must have firm foundations in reality, otherwise they are mirages. President Bush’s vision of peace and security is a mirage, even if only because the overwhelming majority of the future citizens of “Palestine” support suicide terror against Israel. They also, not surprisingly, support the President’s own enemies, Saddam and Osama, who they call “beloved.”
Saddam is not the universe of causes of the Middle East tragedies. Moreover, he is rather an effect, an eruption of the same pathological process that manifests in the “Arab-Israeli” conflict, in the creation of other megalomaniacal dictators like Qaddafi, Nasser, and the Assads, or fascist kingdoms like Saudi Arabia, and in the backwardness, endless bloody civil and interstate wars, and terror as one of the main domestic and exported products of the Arab world. It is no accident that a mass murderer like Osama is worshiped in that world, and “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a forgery that was loved by Hitler, is a #1 bestseller in the Arab countries. It is also no accident that a movie based on this book is produced and shown on the main Islamic holiday, prime-time, on the state-owned TV, in Egypt, the most moderate Arab state (judging by its “diplomatic” relations with Israel, which are paid for annually by $2 billion of American help to Egypt).
The causes of this festering pathological process are grounded in centuries of oppressive and xenophobic ideological indoctrination and regimes reflecting the power structure peculiar to Islamic countries. Dictators and kings ruling these countries do not come from outer space. A direct line can be drawn from the family system, in which Islam codifies absolute submission to the rule of man, to the tribal system to the state system, which is invariably centered around a dictator or, if he gets lucky and happens to be born at a right historic time, an absolute monarch. Lacking blood relations that protect a patriarchal family structure, a dictator has to protect himself with an army, which is, in turn, prone to look outward for enemies, thereby also feeding ambitions of the ruler and perceptions of his strength. The ambitions tend to grow, both as self-rewarding indicators of strength and potency and to prevent taking over by competitors, who try to project even greater strength and thus claims to power by ever louder threats directed at a common enemy. These enemies have changed throughout centuries, but there have always been, since Islam’s birth, constant common ones—Jews and Crusaders, People of the Book. It does not matter much whether Saddam, Assad or Arafat are secular dictators as long as they choose the same traditional enemies and invoke their Islamic heritage and its inherent ideological systems on the need-to-use basis. To award any of these dictators with any perceived gains is to feed their power base, strengthening the need for further gains. This is why Arafat left the negotiation table upon receiving the most spectacular offer of his whole career of a gangster chieftain. Receiving it endowed him with enormous strength on a par with state rulers. Accepting it would, among other things, deprive him of his and other competing groups’ “best” traditional enemy, which would greatly benefit those groups while greatly inconveniencing him. Hence, walking out and exercising the newly gained strength by raising an unprecedented wave of terror.
The United States should be aware that in the part of the world where this country’s citizens are considered Jews and Crusaders goodwill offers have no redeeming value and only lead to more demands. It is especially dangerous if Crusaders are perceived as selling off Jews, which would inevitably happen as it rings a very familiar bell. Pressure on Israel—in order to get on the good side of Arabs—will lead to an increase in Arab terror against both Israel and the West, negating any achievements made in the Iraqi war in the standing of the West from the position of force. Peace-mongering and attempts to impose “road maps” leading to creation of another terrorist state will lead to greater wars, as Middle East dictators will erupt with vying for regional power by attacking an ostensibly weakened enemy.
March 30, 2003
 Press-conference transcript, NY Times, March 28, 2003: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/28/international/worldspecial/28PTEX.html?tntemail0
President Bush has declared that "the Holy Land must be shared between the state of Palestine and the state of Israel, living in peace with each other, and with every nation of the Middle East." Perhaps nobody among his immediate circle can remind the President that the one and only reason why that land is holy is because it was promised by God - to Jews. The heart of that Promised and Holy Land is what Jordanians, who illegally occupied it in 1949-1967, renamed into the "West Bank" -Judea and Samaria. This heart the President feels authorized to cut from the Land of Israel and hand over to Arabs, whose only claim to it is contained in their worthless promise of taking vacation from some of their everyday terror acts.
The very notion of "Palestine" was invented by the Romans in order to replace the land's real name, Judea, and thus eradicate its connection to Jews - along with its holiness. It is therefore offensive to Jews, just as it should be to Christians - the President included, - whose concept of this land's holiness is founded in the Temple rather than in the al-Aqsa mosque that currently occupies the Temple Mount and is a namesake of a group of suicidal mass murderers. The word historically denotes the whole territory on the east (Jordan) and west of the Jordan River (including Israel). Neither the chief terrorist Arafat nor his deputy Abbas have repudiated the Palestinian National Charter, which calls for that whole land to be Judenfrei (as Jordan is, by its nationality law).
The President should check whether his "vision" of two states living side by side is not an illusion based on misconceptions and wishful thinking. The future 22nd Arab state, with which he plans to replace the Holy Land, with its government of the terrorists, by the terrorists, and for the terrorists, will have nothing in common with his aspirations.
June 5, 2003
President Bush has informed the public that he is "troubled" by the recent Israeli attack on Rantisi and regrets the loss of innocent life. He is also "concerned the attacks make it more difficult for the Palestinian leadership to fight off terrorist attacks." He probably does not see that this "concern" may be perceived as justification for Abbas's inaction. What is really troubling, however, is that this language of the State Department has not changed since before the war in Iraq. It should have, because it has become even more cynical in the aftermath of the war.
The president had no trouble sending an army equipped with everything short of nukes to attack a country that had never been any threat to the US nor had attacked it in any shape or form, just because that country - maybe - had some sort of a still unproven WMD program. Neither did the President have any trouble recognizing that the war would lead to an immense loss of innocent life (which is still uncounted) or make any peace process more difficult because of the opposition of the Arab states to that war. Nor was he troubled by the refusal of the "Palestinian leadership" to engage in anything more than ceasefire negotiations with terrorist groups, or by Rantisi's calls for genocide against Jews, by his leadership in the murderous campaign against Israeli civilians, and his refusal to even discuss ceasefire with Abbas.
It is hard to understand why the President thinks that the Israeli blood is cheaper than American when it comes to fighting terror. It is impossible to share his "vision of two states living side by side," when it is clear that his vision is obscured by double standards and his readiness to sacrifice as many Jews as he deems necessary to pave the road to that mirage.
June 11, 2003 (just before the Jerusalem bus bombing by Hamas)
P.S. June 22, 2003. No wonder Powell parroted Bush today, "regretting" the elimination of another murderer, Abdullah Kawasmeh, a leader of Hamas, declared by Powell himself "enemy of peace." This is on the day the US Army made another attempt to kill Saddam and his sons by incinerating a convoy of vehicles, knowing only "that the convoy was tied to former Iraqi officials" (see CNN report). There is no end to the State Department's hypocrisy.
I was invited to celebrate Independence Day by a nice American couple. Almost everybody there, with a rare Canadian exception, was a US-born American citizen. I would like to emphasize this ''US-born,'' the point close to the root of the problems discussed here.
As usual, where a group of Jews is gathered, the conversation turned to Israel. I had known that the hosts were staunch liberals. For this reason, and because of the traditional voting pattern, I expected everybody to be a Democrat (which I, increasingly reluctantly, was myself). Unexpected, however, were the opinions regarding Middle East conflicts. First, even though, according to the polls, support for the Iraq war is the same among Jews as in the rest of the population, in this highly educated group it was scarce. More dramatic, it was even scarcer for Israel. There was little time left to find out why exactly, but two main points were clear: Israel was considered a cruel occupying power, and Arabs were unreservedly viewed as the suffering party.
I do not need to go into the much discussed issue of why Israel's rule in the disputed territories of Judea, Samaria and Gaza is not occupation - an interested reader is referred to the in-depth and definitive treatment of this issue by Eugene Rostow (former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, 1966-1969, and one of the drafters of UNSC Resolution 242) and Dore Gold. Jews have full legal right to live anywhere in these territories - the same as the right to live in Tel Aviv or Haifa. Clearly, however, the pro-Arab propaganda, operating with lies and distortions, has suppressed the influence of any objective information. Indeed, the human mind is selective in its information processing. It assimilates better what goes along with a pre-existing perspective (which, if not based on objective knowledge, is called prejudice), and, within the time limits afforded, can absorb only a limited amount. This is why the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, can comfortably lie about "500 victims" of the Israeli operation in Jenin, perfectly knowing that this lie will be disproved. He does not care about his credibility - he knows he has none. What matters to him as an experienced disciple of Goebbels is that this abhorrent misinformation is thunderously amplified by the media and fills the limited information space, feeding on old prejudices and supplanting truth, just as poisonous carbon monoxide supplants oxygen in the blood. This means that even if an equal amount of truth were to follow, it would be inadequate to set the record straight.
Any truth, however, is hardly forthcoming from major media sources, whose reporting standards have been hopelessly compromised by outright fraud compounded by anti-Israel bias. Nobody is surprised any longer that The New York Times published that photograph of a bloodied Jewish youth, Tuvia Grossman, protected from the Arab mob by a vicious-looking Israeli policeman – with the title “An Israeli policeman and a Palestinian on the Temple Mount” - and this is on the clearly seen background of a gas station (see Mr. Grossman's own account of that lynch attempt). The pro-Arab bias of the BBC reaches the level that is no longer tolerable even for the British government, when this government-funded medium suggests that Iraqi lives are more endangered now than they were under Saddam (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A13753-2003Jul5.html). BBC’s reporting in Israel has deserved its comparison with another notorious media source, Nazi “Der Stuermer,” which incited Germans to genocide (http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGAWJW9PJHD.html).
The gross distortion of truth about Israel is promoted, as it was regarding Jews in Nazi Germany, by a distinct group of intellectuals, whose left, right, Muslim, socialist and other platforms converge on one point – their otherwise covert or overt Jew-hatred. The difference from the Nazi situation is two-fold. First, as Martin Luther King incisively commented, “The times have made it unpopular, in the West, to proclaim openly a hatred of the Jews.” Second, the left were themselves persecuted by Hitler, so that they had little chance to join him in his genocidal effort. The same is true about Jew-haters among the Jews themselves, whose participation in Nazi crimes was limited to the few collaborationists who served in Judenrats (ghetto councils) and ghetto police. The times of war usually polarize people’s positions, and gradations in politically charged opinions become less likely. Nowadays, in what we – erroneously - perceive as peace, the Jewish opponents of Israel vary in shades from disliking the thought that they may be identified with whatever antisemitic/anti-Israel stereotypes and prejudice the Gentile population may entertain (which in Steven Rose's case extends to disliking the source of his misfortune of being born Jewish – his parents) to acting as a supporter of the mass murderers of Jews. These supporters, the contemporary candidates for the ghetto police and Auschwitz kapo jobs, include, but are not limited to, Stanley Cohen, the narcissistic Hamas attorney paid from the money this terrorist group gets from Saudis for murdering Jewish babies, and the Jewish members of the International Solidarity Movement who "recognize the Palestinian right to resist Israeli violence and occupation via legitimate armed struggle".
Regardless of psychological and historical roots of anti-Israelism (have I just coined a term for a variety of good old antisemitism?), the result is the same – the unshakeable belief that Israel is illegitimate and occupies the land whose natives – Arabs – have been treated as (or more) unjustly as were American Indians. The peculiar interweaving of these roots has resulted in the cancellation of a simple truth that the natives in the Land of Israel are Jews. Arabs are invaders or, at best, settlers, just as, before them, were Babylonians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans and whoever else tortured the Holy Land. The only difference from other invaders is that Arabs have never even ruled over “Palestine,” except when 80% of it was cut off by the British in 1921 and handed over to their puppet Abdullah bin Husayn for his service as his fiefdom. It is ironic that the emirate, and later kingdom, where Jews have been prohibited by law from settling, was given a Jewish name – the name of the Jordan river.
The Jewish presence in the whole of the Land of Israel has never been interrupted, despite all efforts of invaders. But even in places where it was, as it happened in Hevron (Hebron) after Arab pogroms inspired by the Nazi mufti Amin al-Husseini, this does not make invaders natives - just as nobody would think of white New Yorkers as Native Americans, even though the tribes who used to live on Manhattan may not even exist anymore. Being US-born, even in several generations, does not make you a native of the land. The difference in the perception of “nativeness” is all the more striking considering that Indians left no cities on Manhattan, whereas the “Palestinian” city of Hevron, under this very name, was the first capital of Israel under King David, when nobody had even heard of Arabs. The tombs of the Jewish patriarchs are there, in the place bought by Abraham. That Jews could come and worship there again only after the Six Day War, after 700 years of prohibition under Muslim “tolerant” rule, had not made the cave of Machpelah Arab. It is the Jewish names under which this land is known to all humanity, despite all efforts to rename Hevron into al-Khalil, Jerusalem into Aelia Capitolina (Romans) or al-Quds (Arabs), and the whole land into Syria Palaestina (Romans), Palestine (British), or Filastiniya (Arabs). No Orwellian effort to rewrite history can change the fact that Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) has been the capital of the Jewish - and no other - State since King David. Hevron is located in Judean Hills, Judea, the land of Jews.
July 19, 2003
Israel is in the self-destruct mode. It ignores the fact that, electing Hamas, the whole population of Palestinian Arabs has, at last, come in the open as Israel's sworn enemy. Israel destroys Jewish homes built on the land the enemy wants. It has bought into the pompous phraseology of world politics, having forgotten that the world couldn't care less about the existence of the Jewish state, just as it did not care in 1948, 1967, or 1973.
Israel may seem to have lived without a war since then, but it has not. The war has merely changed. And Israel's self-destruct mode that led to the Yom Kippur war - wishful thinking and arrogance - has been turned on again, helping the enemy. Only this time, instead of helping by inaction - despite all the obvious signs of the coming enemy attack, - it is helping the enemy by action. This time, it is not passive help before the war - it is active help during the war.
If the world wakes up tomorrow and finds out that the entire population of Israel - merely the size of a city, about the same number as in the Holocaust - is annihilated, what will it do? Build another Holocaust museum and buy more oil from the murderers? Will the world say it did not know, as if Iran and its appendages, Hamas and Hizballah, kept their plans in secret? Will it continue finding justification for the murder of Jews in the poverty of Arabs, their 'humiliation', and the inefficiency of their governments? Will the UN Secretary General apologize to the speechless Diaspora Jews for another failure to prevent genocide? - That is, if the UN, after long discussions and threats of veto by Russia and China, decides that it was indeed genocide rather than a successful - finally! - 'intifada.' It won't matter, however, what the world will do, because it will mean the end of civilization. Not 'civilization as we know it,' but the complete end. Not because the world cannot survive without another 6 million Jews - it has proven it can the first time around, - but because the civilization will not be able to sustain the level of cynicism, doublespeak and open lies that will be necessary to continue dealing with the victorious Islam. The Western civilization will collapse, because no moral axioms that make up its foundation will hold any longer.
But even if Iran and its Arab allies do not manage to wipe Israel off the map, as they have promised so many times, Israel's government has started doing their work for them, like the ghetto Judenrats of the past. Accepting ethnic cleansing, rendering the land of Israel Judenrein without even a token of quid pro quo, universally perceived as a victory of Islam - this tells the world that the Jews no longer feel they are entitled to hold on to the land. And the world tells the Jews, we don't feel that either, if you don't. The Muslims supply the world economy with its blood - oil, and spill the world's own blood when they are angry - what can the Jews show for themselves? Their brains, which, despite the Holocaust, have produced 20% of Nobel prizes? But the brains are portable, as is, clearly, their homeland. Why irritate 1.3 billion Muslims with this sore stuck smack in their midst, when Jews do not want to hold on to the land they have the same degree of legitimacy for possessing as they do for Tel Aviv?
The US State Department, which does not want to irritate its Muslim 'allies' and currently defines Israeli politics, is traditionally pro-Arab. It is also grossly incompetent, having been incapable to even predict the terrorist election outcome in the terrorist-admiring population. This incompetence is also traditional. The same people, including the great Sovietologist, Dr. Rice, were as incapable of foreseeing the collapse of the Soviet Union right before it happened, and had spawned the despicable policy of détente that propped the dying Soviet regime. The US could afford that, because the Soviet Union was not a mortal threat to the US - not with assured mutual annihilation that neither wanted.
Israel cannot afford propping the terrorist Hamas-Fatah regime, because that serves this regime's avowed goal of Israel's annihilation. Any Israeli action that would be formerly considered part of the illusory "peace process" - upon the Arabs' electing the openly murderous Hamas, such action has turned into aiding and abetting the Hamas's goal. When Israel conducts the ethnic cleansing of Gaza and Judea, breaking skulls of Jewish children, it sides against itself and with the murderers. Israel may not survive this kind of self-destruction. As a consequence, the world will not.
Peters, J. From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine. J K A P Pubns, 2001.
This book is a systematic fact-based account and debunking of pervasive myths regarding the relationships between Arabs, Jews, and "Palestine." Joan Peters competently and unambiguously exposes, in particular, a facet of Arab history that is a series of invasions into the prosperous Jewish lands, from Medina in Arabia, first populated by Jews-to the "land of milk and honey," followed by the persecution, extermination and displacement of Jews and the conversion of the lands into desolation and desert. The robbery of the territory - including that with the help of the British who gave 80% of historic Palestine to Arabs to form Trans-Jordan (Jordan) - still continues in the creation and reification of the mythic notion of Arab "Palestinians" as the native population of ... "Palestine," which population is thus naturally entitled to what is left of that land. This is despite the facts that the only state that has ever existed on that territory is Jewish, Arabs ruled that territory (and Arabs in general) only for decades under Omayyads in 7-8th centuries CE, Jews have had an uninterrupted presence there in defiance of continuous Arab and Christian violence, and the overwhelming majority of Arabs came there recently from surrounding countries on the heels of Jewish repatriation that provided jobs for them. The territorial robbery by Arabs was preceded by and further extended into the robbery of ideas and Orwellian attempts to displace Jewish and Christian history, with the immediate distortion of these ideas to fit the mentality of the plunderer - subjugation of non-Muslims ("dhimmis"), women, and - a logical development - their own peasants and subjects. This system for its maintenance has required constant invention of an external enemy, for which Jews and the West in general are convenient and traditional targets. This is a system of continuous warfare - and war, as Mohammed said, "is deception." It is this deception that is exposed and destroyed by "From Time Immemorial."
Friedman, T.L. From Beirut to Jerusalem (Updated with a New Chapter). Anchor, 1990.
The book attempts to compensate the lack of depth and informative reporting by personal anecdotes and descriptions of the author's thought processes triggered by very newsworthy but scarcely described events. Posturing as omniscient judge, he grades peoples and governments, particularly Israel and Israelis, probably assuming that he has a right to do that as a Jew (and what kind of Jew would the Jew-hating and terror-supporting Saudi crown prince Abdullah trust, as it has recently happened, to be his personal spokesman?). As for his self-perception as a Jew, he provides a telling detail: on Israeli Remembrance Day, when, on a siren signal, everybody stops to honor those who fell fighting for Israel, he, "still sitting in [his] car, was the only one not affected" (p. 275). He seems to take unhealthy pleasure in unreservedly assigning Israel as a country "a one-year warranty - that no one is sure will be honored" (p. 277). Importantly, the credibility of the narration is undermined by what looks like the author's lack of knowledge (which would be strange) or misinformation, as when he repeatedly excludes what is now Jordan from mandatory and historic Palestine.
2.21.2001. - Thank you for your message. This idea [internationalization of Jerusalem] has actually been discussed a lot. My guess is that one of the reasons why the idea of the internationalization of Yerushalayim is so popular is the very fact that people think of the city as "Jerusalem." This, i.e., the fact that they read about this city in their own language starting as children--and it is called by an oh-so-familiar name--gives people a feeling they can consider it their own. Related to that, it would probably be difficult for any non-Arab Christian to think of it as "al-Quds," wouldn't it? That's how Arabs think of it, though, which makes the city "theirs." Since, however, it's about as legitimate as thinking of it as "Jerusalem," there is a chance that Christians would readily endorse shared sovereignty over it with Muslims (even though they used to be very much against that, especially during the Crusades).
The problem is, both these religions hold the city holy (although Muslims officially rank it #3, as you know--I don't know whether there is a rank ascribed to it by any branches of Christianity) only because it is holy to Judaism. Hence, to Jesus; hence, to Mohammed (with a possibility that the latter did not consider it holy at all). This is somehow frequently forgotten. Muslims used to remember it well, when, under Turks, they handed the keys from the Old City to Yerushalayim's Chief Rabbi on the death of one sultan and the accession of another. Arabs did not raise any intifadas then about that--they could not care less (the city was also considered a backwater by Turks), and the Turks dealt harshly with rioters.
There is probably no precedent in history for making a city exterritorial just because, in addition to the nation to which it belongs, somebody else considers it holy. Imagine what the Saudis would say if Iraqis and Jordanians suggested to make Mecca exterritorial because it is holy to all Muslims--and this is just Muslims only, and Mecca is the #1 Muslim holy place and is not even the kingdom's capital.
The root of the problem is not in the name of the city, of course, but in the very existence and legitimacy of Israel, with which neither the Western nor the Arab mentality seems to be able to come to terms. That's why there is a notion that anybody but not the Israelis can decide what should be done with the Holy Land (another convenient euphemism allowing one to disregard the primary reason for its holiness) and Jerusalem, and what capital, if any, they should have. It's encouraging that there are at least some (eg Buddhists) that "might not be interested" in having their say about converting another nation's capital into an international retreat :-) . I also know for sure that Yerushalayim's being under Israel's jurisdiction has never prevented anybody, Christians included, from meditating there (unless meditating included stoning)--ask anybody who visited the city. The same cannot, of course, be said about the time when the Old City was under the Arab (Jordanian) control.
On a lighter note, there might be some logistic problems with your retreat plan: one part of the city is internationally recognized Israeli (if we need this recognition for "the claim of the Israelis for possession of and political sovereignty over Jerusalem")--I am afraid Israelis won't cede it to be a retreat. As for a "place with no materialistic culture at all" [you want it to be] -- the other part, particularly a huge portion of the Old City, has been converted by Arabs into a market, including a meat market with sheep heads prominently displayed (I could show you a tape of my own production), which is hardly conducive to meditation. The Old City, by the way, IS Yerushalayim: there was no city outside its walls until at least mid-19th century, and there were twice as many Jews as Muslims or Christians there even then. So you may not need what is already recognized as Israeli, after all, and will first have to convince Pal. Arabs that they need to forget about east Jerusalem as their capital, which they unconditionally claim as such even before having any state. And anyway, if the "human species needs to try the experiment of having a genuine place of peace to visit but not to live in" [as you put it]--why should it be at the expense of tiny Israel and its capital, where people have LIVED IN for over 4,000 years?
"If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."
10.2.2001 - In biology--my field of work--there is a clear understanding that infection cannot be stopped unless the infectious agent is controlled. In the current situation with the increasing spread and severity of terrorism, one of the most likely agents of religious, moral and monetary support for terrorism and anti-Americanism is the currently predominant orthodox branch of Sunni Islam. This branch originates from Saudi Arabia (Wahhabi, absolute monarchy with no dissent or political parties allowed, the Shari'a law no less enforced than under the Taliban). The other, no less orthodox, branch of Islam, is, of course, Iran's Shi'a.
However strong our desire is to exculpate these versions of Islam (again, currently covering almost the whole religious Islamic community) as such, there seems to be no deviation from these orthodox interpretations of the Koran and Hadith by terrorists, which is probably why there have been no fatwahs prohibiting terrorism as commonly understood in the West. Instead, the "killing of innocents" is condemned by almost all Islamic clerics--with any Muslim's understanding that infidels and unbelievers are not innocent, whereas if any righteous Muslim happens to perish in the terrorist act, he, just like the perpetrator, becomes a "martyr" with the consequent benefits. The fact that orthodox Islamists have access to Western education and technology is analogous to bacteria's obtaining genomic components that provide them with resistance to antibiotics and increase in virulence. Regrettably, reading the Koran and Hadith leaves an impression that, if they are accepted as a guide for physical and spiritual life, other than an orthodox interpretation of these sources is difficult and requires effort and intelligence that are unlikely to be widely available.
It is thus likely that if an Islamic reform--viz., its forced global deradicalization--is not included in strategic planning, the war on terrorism is to fail in the long run. As long as Islam remains in the form of its current predominant strains, it will continue erupting in increasingly more severe terrorism and create conditions propitious for other kinds of societal disorder. The latter is especially noteworthy considering the fast spread of Islam in the world, the US included. It should be taken into account that the goal of orthodox Islam is world-wide conversion. No homeland defense or counter-terrorism agency is capable of coping with that problem, any more than local disinfectants are capable of helping in leprosy.
The reform cannot be conducted without the removal of orthodox Islamic governments. A working model for their replacement in an Islamic country was provided by Ataturk (the threat of orthodoxy in Turkey would also subside if other countries are reformed). The removal of the Taliban (or even Saddam, who represents an eruption rather than a causative agent) is insufficient. Links to Osama need to be found in the Saudi government starting with the king and crown prince Abdallah, all princes arrested and their assets seized and redistributed by the new regime with an Ataturk-like outlook. Saudi citizens are unlikely to mind, because they know that the princes rob them. This is likely to press orthodox Islamic regimes (regardless of whether Sunni or Shi'a) into starting a jihad (the terrorists' plan they will pursue anyway), which should lead to their replacement with Ataturk-like secular governments. This will move action from the level of a poorly defined "terrorist network" to the transparent level of states. The PLO--a terrorist organization that usurped the rights of moderate Arabs and has had an explicit goal of the physical elimination of Israel--will be disbanded, its leaders tried, and the "refugees" resettled in Jordan and other countries where they currently live in "camps," thus solving the "Palestinian" problem and ensuring security for Israel. The war will result in the deradicalization of Islam similar to how Germany was denazified and Japan was demilitarized. The combined resources of Arab and other Islamic states are unlikely to withstand a NATO or US/British/Israeli assault.
8.7.2002. - A follow-up. Fortunately, understanding that the roots of terror are in the sands of Saudi Arabia seems to be reaching the decision-making level. As reported by the Washington Post (Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post Staff Writer, Tuesday, August 6, 2002, Page A01), a briefing by a Rand Corporation analyst presented on July 10 to the Defense Policy Board that advises the Pentagon on defense policy concluded that "Saudi Arabia supports our enemies and attacks our allies." It correctly described Saudi Arabia as "the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent" in the Middle East. It indicated that the "Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader." The paper informs that "One administration official said opinion about Saudi Arabia is changing rapidly within the U.S. government. 'People used to rationalize Saudi behavior,' he said. 'You don't hear that anymore. There's no doubt that people are recognizing reality and recognizing that Saudi Arabia is a problem.'"
Whereas the briefing suggested removing Saddam first, describing him as a larger problem may be related to his immediate capabilities with weapons of mass destruction. The "kernel of evil" characterization (clearly in the development of the "axis of evil" metaphor) and the "prime mover" role point in the right direction. Leaking through the media this information, including the recommendation "that U.S. officials give it [Saudi Arabia] an ultimatum to stop backing terrorism or face seizure of its oil fields and its financial assets invested in the United States," can be considered an ultimatum by itself.
4.10.2002. - After saying many times that the President “understands” Israeli actions, the administration has given no explanation for its demand for Israel to stop its offensive and withdraw. In a striking demonstration of double standard, President Bush cites “daily humiliation of Palestinians” at check-points, perfectly knowing the reason for these check-points’ existence and—contrary to his own statements—invoking the notion that somebody’s grievances can justify terror. The Israeli government, however, performs its duty by protecting its nation following the Bush Doctrine and pursuing terrorists and those who harbor them. Israel is much more considerate of civilian casualties that the US in its current war effort, abstaining from using its air force, and risking soldiers’ lives for the sake of innocent civilians. It may be worth remembering that the United States has had a harsh and—still—unique response to one of its enemies that used to send suicide bombers against its military: two nuclear attacks on heavily populated cities with exclusively civilian population, immediately killing 115,000 people and maiming countless others. This has frequently been justified as an operation that prevented many more deaths. Japan was hardly a threat to the United States' existence. The Arab world has had the goal of Israel's annihilation from the moment of its birth. It is not going to change overnight after over half a century of antisemitic incitement from Arab leaders. There are thus no “two sides that need to talk to each other.” Israel has never had a purpose of eliminating an Arab state, but the Arab world has never reconciled itself with Israel’s existence. Israel should be helped in its fight, instead of protecting terrorists from it by stopping Israeli military operations, and the US needs to expand its operations to uproot the causes of terrorism. Only elimination of terrorism can bring peace to the Middle East.
Jerusalem, Israel's capital (firstname.lastname@example.org)
August 11, 2002. - Israel is the only sincere ally of the United States in our war against terror. Israel has also been under continuous Arab and Muslim attack since the moment of its birth. It has defeated its enemies in all wars it has had and is currently waging a war imposed on it by the bloody Arafat regime supported by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. These are the same enemies that the US will have to deal with.
While it has been victorious, Israel is the only state in contemporary history that is not allowed to benefit from its victories and is criticized for the collateral damage that Israel ensures to be minimal by risking lives of its own soldiers in its response to aggression. Even the eternal capital of Israel, Jerusalem, which had been illegally held by Jordan before it was liberated in 1967 after Jordan attacked Israel, is not recognized as such by the "international community," including," regrettably, the United States.
The long-promised transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem and the recognition of the city as Israel's indivisible capital by the US government would be a clear signal to both friends and enemies that justice prevails in this world, not only in the World To Come.
October 1, 2002. - Follow-up. As today's New York Times reports in Debating Israel's 'Capital' (I don't know why Capital is in quotes in the title of that brief report), "President Bush, at the risk of angering the Arab and Muslim worlds, signed legislation today [September 30] that requires his administration to identify Jerusalem as Israel's capital." As reported by the Jerusalem Post, Section 214 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, "United States Policy with Respect to Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel" that was signed into law by Bush, prohibits the use of congressionally approved funds for any US government document that lists countries and their capital cities but does not identify Jerusalem as the capital of Israel." Sounds great, doesn't it? It is unclear, however, how exactly the US risks the fearsome Arab and Muslim anger in this case (if not because of the pervasive hatred of the US in the Muslim world). The clause calling on the president to immediately begin relocating the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was said in the statement by the White House, "if construed as mandatory rather than advisory, [to] impermissibly interfere with the president's constitutional authority to formulate the position of the United States, speak for the nation in international affairs, and determine the terms on which recognition is given to foreign states. US policy regarding Jerusalem has not changed." This disgusting policy, promised to be changed by every presidential candidate only to be reneged on the promise after election, is that the US does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying such recognition would prejudge final status negotiations with Palestinian Arabs, who want part of Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. The White House invokes a national security waiver every six months to avoid moving the embassy to Jerusalem, as required by a law passed in 1995.
In summer of 2002, a letter with this title was circulated via email soliciting signatures in its support. It also appeared as a (very expensive) full page ad in the New York Times (July 17). The letter purported to offer a solution to the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict from the positions that have deserved this letter's publication and signature collection at an Israel-hating "Palestine Media Watch" website. (You won't find there any reports of the extrajudicial Palestinian killings of SUSPECTED "collaborators," including a 35-year old mother of seven after her son was tortured into a "confession"). I sent my response to this letter to its originator, Alan Sokal, with no luck for getting a reply (the quoted text informs of the letter's content).
August 1, 2002. - Dear Dr. Sokal:
Whereas I wish nothing more than peace for Israel (in addition to my love for her, my close relatives live there), I am writing to express my disagreement and deep concern with the letter. The reasons include but are not limited to, the following:
1. There is no "Palestinian" people - there are Arabs living in Israel, Jordan, and disputed territories (please see http://www.pitt.edu/~mmv/israel.htm#misnomer);
2. the Arabs have no "legitimate fears" outside of Israeli response to terror;
3. they suffered no "great wrongs at the hands of the other" [the letter suggests that "both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples have suffered great wrongs at the hands of the other"];
4. their notion of "compromise" does not include Israel's existence;
5. they have already got MORE THAN their "fair share of the land and resources of historic Palestine" (Jordan) wherein Jews are explicitly constitutionally banned from settling;
6. "partition along the pre-1967 border as modified only by minor mutually agreed territorial swaps" would be extremely dangerous for and unfair to Israel (the territories were gained as a result of a war of defense - and not from "Palestine," but from Jordan and Egypt who had illegally occupied them after a war of aggression); the territories, according to the legal definition, are not occupied, but disputed;
7. "Israeli evacuation of all settlements in the occupied territories except those within the agreed swapped areas," i.e., ethnic cleansing of Jews, should logically be reciprocated by all Arabs' "evaculation" from Israel;
8. "Arab recognition of Israel and renunciation of any further territorial claims," even if made, cannot be trusted any more than Arafat's Oslo and other promises (the "Hudaybiya" peace); it cannot be enforced because their governments will not be made responsible for anti-Israel terror just as they are not now;
9. "Palestinian acceptance of negotiated limitations on the "right of return" in exchange for financial compensation for refugees" is (a) as trustworthy as anything they ever lied about, (b) the terrorist groups would negate any such acceptance, (c) there has been no "right of return" for any refugees anywhere in the world, (d) nobody has compensated or is going to compensate Jewish refugees, including those from Arab/N. African/Muslim countries (half of the Israeli Jewish population), (e) the Arab refugees' plight is completely the responsibility of Arab states who created them in the first place by attacking Israel in 1948 and then prevented them from absorption and immigration;
10. the assumption that "Despite the current carnage... Israelis and Palestinians [may still be] willing to accept a compromise" based on the polls "several years ago" is wrong because the CURRENT polls indicate otherwise;
11. presenting the situation as that "majorities on both sides support provocative military actions" is egregiously wrong as it equalizes deliberate terror and defense against it, and calls terror attacks a "military action" on a par with the IDF's response to them, thus legitimizing them;
12. American "national security is deeply undermined" not by "instability and injustice in the Middle East" (to whom?) but by the existence of the virulent strains of Islam that legitimize terror and violence and by the incessant indoctrination of the young people to that effect by Arab and Islamic governments, in schools, mosques, and the media;
13. "the international community"'s taking "the lead in promoting" "a workable peace" is vague, condescending to both parties, and will unlikely be agreed upon by at least one of them;
14. the HIGHLIGHT of the letter is in the point that the US "has an extraordinary leverage on Israeli policy, if only our government would dare to use it," which indicates that it is directed at prompting the US government to pressure Israel - and Israel only - to make more unreciprocated concessions with no guaranty that the other party will even consider any;
15. a suggestion that "Foreign troops may well be required to enforce it [two-state settlement], and they must be prepared to accept casualties" shows how little trust the letter's drafters have in the positive outcome that is supposed to result from a long gradual process. This outcome cannot be termed "an imperfect peace," and it does not differ from "endless war."
Finally, I request and sincerely hope that the authors change the title of the letter by deleting "American Jews" from it, because, as it stands now, it can be conceived of as the letter's expressing the opinion of all or the majority or at least a significant proportion of the American Jews, which may be an erroneous assumption. Even if it were not so (which we cannot know without, at least, a poll), it could imply that those Jews who, like myself, disagree with the letter, are not American, or not Jews, or both.
(this Letter to the Editor, published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on November 23, 2003, p. E-6, was in response to the editorial in that newspaper).
8/27/2006. - At a press-conference, Steve Centanni, a Fox News reporter just released from Arab captivity in Gaza, expressed his hope “that this never scares a single journalist away from coming to Gaza to cover the story because the Palestinian people are very beautiful, kind-hearted, loving people… The world needs to know more about them. Don't be discouraged." Perhaps, to fully understand this beauty and kindness, one has to be kidnapped at gunpoint and spend a couple of weeks in really close proximity to these people. “Held at times face down in a dark garage, tied up in painful positions.” And “forced at gunpoint to make statements, including that they had converted to Islam.” These beautiful people should be hired by travel companies to arrange vacations.
This is a clear case of Stockholm syndrome (unless he was still too afraid to show his real feelings). Centanni’s expressed lack of concern for his colleagues’ safety, which he seemingly values less than the “Palestinian” beauty, is not otherwise justifiable. The “beauty” of the Palestinian people is also well known – from their happiness about the 9/11 American deaths. Centanni’s liberator, the “kind-hearted” Hamas prime-minister Haniyeh, is one of those who planned and executed murders of Americans and Israelis. It may well be that he arranged the whole operation – from kidnapping to release.
8/30/2006. - On the Fox News' "On the Record" tonight, Olaf Wiig, Steve Centanni's photographer captured and released with him, admitted that he indeed had experienced Stockholm syndrome. Steve did not comment on that, and there was no discussion of the press-conference, their conversion to Islam, or any details on the "loving people." Steve's brother, Olaf's wife, and Jennifer Griffin (a Fox News Middle East reporter - usually from Jerusalem or Gaza) talked briefly about the effort made to achieve their release, sometimes risking their own security. Jennifer noted particularly the Israeli Fox News chief, who obviously ran a high risk. At the meeting that she described, there were representatives of about all Gazan terror groups (those were called by names without mentioning the T word). Since they did not appear to cooperate and seemed to work on their internal problems, Jennifer got angry with them (she said, "we got angry," but I have a distinct feeling it was herself) and "read them the riot act." She must have been pretty confident in her own invulnerability and the certainty of the reporters' release to show such bravado.
Only once during the program's hour, Gilad Shalit, still in captivity, was mentioned in passing - Olaf had heard Gilad's name during the "interview" he had with his captors. No international reporters rushed to demand Gilad's release, with or without the riot act. There is no certainty even in his being alive, just as there is none for Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, captured by Hizballah more recently. The fate of Benny Avraham, Omar Sawayid and Adi Avitan, captured and murdered by Hizballah in 2000 under the UN observation, does not offer comfort. Perhaps the names of the Israeli captives, including Ron Arad, Guy Hever, Tzvi Feldman, Yehuda Katz, and Zehariah Baumel were not mentioned for the same reason why there was not much discussion about Steve and Olaf on the news while they were with the "beautiful people" - to preclude any provocation that could jeopardize their lives. That reason was clear, and expectations were high - as is now justified. Unfortunately, no such confidence exists regarding captured Israelis. And it is not very likely that Jennifer Griffin or any of her colleagues will feel comfortable enough to demand their freedom.
This website started when I failed to abstain from reacting to the seemingly illogical behavior of a portion of scientific community. The calls for boycotting Israeli scientists were on the top of, and even less forgivable than, the similar and habitual inconsistency of many political figures, the media, and the lay public in their treatment of Muslim terror.
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Site posted: May 4, 2002
Updated: August 29, 2006
©Michael Vanyukov, 2002-2006