Motzei Shabbat (After Shabbat)
The "he" I am referring to in this instance is John Kerry, Obama's secretary of state-designate. At confirmation hearings on Thursday, he spoke about his hope that he will be able to get the "peace process" going again.
He described this as "an incredibly important issue," explaining that (are you ready?):
"So much of what we need to aspire to achieve and what we need globally -- all of this is tied to what can and doesn't happen with respect to Israel/Palestine (sic).
They won't give it up: this fiction that Israel's achieving a negotiated settlement with the PLO will ameliorate problems across the Middle East, if not, as Kerry indicated, around the world. It should only be that we had this power, and I ponder what it is that makes Kerry, as well as his soon-to-be boss Obama and others in the Obama stable of decision makers, so unwilling to let go of this ludicrous myth.
Jonathan Rosenblum, in an excellent piece -- "One nomination worse than the next" -- in yesterday's JPost, addresses this same issue. Rosenblum writes about Hagel, Obama's choice for secretary of defense, who said:
"The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is central, not peripheral, to US vital security interests in combating terrorism, preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon, stability in the Middle East and US and global energy security."
Rosenblum deals with precisely how ludicrous this notion is. He doesn't say this explicitly, but I will: anyone with a capacity to critically analyze the situation in the Middle East cannot honestly arrive at the conclusion that the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict is at the heart of it all. It does not compute. Although various Muslim nations make declarations about their support for the Palestinian Arabs, it is obvious as they go about their tortured business that this issue is not what is driving them.
What Rosenblum does say is this:
"...[Ayatollah Khomeini] defined the 1979 Iranian revolution from the start as an Islamic revolution. He and his successors identified nuclear weapons as a potentially important tool in spreading that revolution and immunizing Iran against countermeasures from the West.
"And Israel has precious little to do with the instability in the Middle East, as the events of the past year have made abundantly clear. Israel has not kept Egypt from being able to grow enough grain...
"...Israel has nothing to do with the second-class status of women in almost every Muslim society, and the lost potential that follows. Israel is not responsible for the high rates of illiteracy and paucity of academic production of the Arab world...The Sunni-Shi'ite divide that continues to roil Muslim countries pre-existed the State of Israel by more than a millennium.
"Israel was not an issue during the Arab Spring, or in the Libyan civil war, or in the Syrian civil war...
"It is the perpetual backwardness of Arab and Muslim societies that causes such resentment and hatred of the West, of which the US is the principle representative..."
Rosenblum begins this piece by quoting Barry Rubin (I have added emphasis): "one of the Middle East's shrewdest analysts," who said of Obama's three nominees, Kerry, Hagel and Brennan, "they are all stupid people...stupid arrogant people with terrible ideas."
Rosenblum ends his piece by asking, "Could someone in the White House be sending Israel a message?" This is, I assume, a rhetorical question. Clearly, Obama has selected individuals who reflect and will advance his own viewpoint.
Another excellent article in yesterday's JPost was that of Sarah Honig, a tell-it-like-it is commentator par excellence. In "The unwitting indecency," she gives us a painful and startling look at what Israel is up against in world opinion. Another instance of mindlessness -- of conferring attributes upon Israel that do not conform to reality. In this instance, however, it's not about power that ostensibly Israel has, but how thoroughly vile Israel is.
Writes Honig (emphasis added):
"Our image has exasperatingly little to do with who we are. Distortions about us are blithely disseminated to the most susceptible and gullible members of society. Israel's role as a scoundrel is made an axiomatic given, a premise for decent by distant folks, who know next to nothing (least of all Israel's size) and couldn't care less about the Mideast and its staggering complexities. But they are convinced that we are the bad guys.
"...Europe fully lives up to all the antagonism we have come to expect from the continent's denizens. They were always highly adept, especially in their darkest epochs, at dressing up their intense bigotry in holier-than-thou sanctimony. It's no different now...
"...to deny a grotesque double standard against Israel is either to misperceive reality or to deliberately misrepresent it for narrow political purposes."
Recently, Honig was in Cahersivseen, a tiny, picturesque town in southwestern Ireland. There, on the main street, she encountered "three boisterous teenagers in Santa hats, carrying a collection box and big signs reading 'Free Palestine.' They solicited my contribution.
"I asked, 'Free Palestine from whom?'
"The cheery trio's swift answer was unambiguous: 'The Jews.'
"I pressed on. 'Do you know where your money would go?'
"The boys: 'To plant olive trees.'
"'Are you sure,' I continued, as kindly-looking little old ladies generously opened their purses and dropped coins and bills into the collection box, 'that this money wouldn't fund terrorists and murders?'
"Their retort threw me for a loop: 'What do you have against Palestinians? What have they done to you? They are only against Jews. Jews are evil.'
Honig subsequently discovered that these kids were part of an official school project, and encountered their teacher who explained this was part of a project to further a humanitarian goal.
"The squawking was all about rights, but distinctly not about the rights of Jews which are excluded from the curriculum. The violated rights are those of Palestinian Arabs and the violators are Israeli Jews. And all this is crudely imparted under the auspices of a state's school system.
"And herein lies our problem--the one too many Israelis avoid, be it out of ignorance or political machination. We, as a people, face bias we can do nothing about. There's power predisposition against us. It's not fueled by our behavior, because nobody knows much how we behave and nobody cares to learn.
"The Cahersiveen youngsters will surely grow into charming decent adults, but ingrained in their psyches from a young age will be the vague notion of Jewish villains and Palestinian martyrs. Indoctrination of impressionable minds -- who regard their instructors as respected experts -- creates biased adults. Their bias, because it was formed so early, is intangible and im impervious to all Israeli public relations and learned discourse."
Honig notes that some may say Ireland, with its history of anti-Semitism, is atypical. But, she argues, "Ireland isn't unique. What's bon ton there is very bon ton in other countries, with other sordid pasts and intrinsic predilections against our sort -- predilections that our homegrown left-wing and post-Zionist politicos persuade naive and complacent Israelis to forget, so we may persist in our self-flagellating ways."
If we are not already into the third intifada, we're on the edge. According to Kfir Brigade Commander Colonel Udi Ben Muha, cited by YNet, "The trends on the ground are changing. There is a rise in hostile and terror activity ever since Operation Pillar of Defense and a single event can, indeed, ignite the entire sector."
His comment followed an incident in which a protest by 200 Palestinian Arabs in the village of Anin, west of Jenin, became violent, with rioters hurling stones at soldiers. They were dispersed by crowd-control measures.
Currently battalions within the Kfir Brigade are undergoing special training in urban warfare. Included in the training is filming proof that terror groups operating in its areas of responsibility are using kindergartens and mosques as their bases of operation.
There is very little additional to say at this point regarding the elections here and the negotiations for the coalition which are now about to take place. There are too many conflicting rumors floating to permit further analysis now.
While the impression is being advanced that the make-up of the new Knesset -- the 19th -- will be more left-leaning than the previous, the facts don't bear this out:
The incoming Knesset will be the most religious in the State's history, with one out of three living a religious lifestyle. Additionally, 12 members of the new Knesset -- 10% -- live over the Green Line.
Counted in both of these groups is Orit Struk, who has lived with her husband, a rabbi, in Hevron, for over 30 years, and came in on the Habayit Hayehudi list. She has served as a spokesperson for the Jewish community of Hevron, founded the Organization for Human Rights in Judea and Samaria, and served as director of the Knesset's Land of Israel caucus, which has had several successes.
I believe this is the first time that someone from Hevron will be in the Knesset and I would be hard put to think of anyone better to serve in this position.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.