This is not a time for niceties. And “disgusting” is simply a very fitting word to describe what Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL) — a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — is saying. Wexler, who is (was?) here, met with Netanyahu yesterday and then gave an interview to Herb Keinon of The Jerusalem Post — which appeared today.
I was immediately struck by the oxymoronic tone of Keinon’s description of Wexler: “a close political ally of US President Barack Obama and a stalwart Israel supporter.” Nah, I doubt that there is any such animal today. I’m sure Wexler describes himself in these terms. But anyone who is close to Obama, and not challenging his stance on Israel, is suspect in terms of alleged support for Israel. I spoke the other day about how even J Street describes itself as pro-Israel. I’m not saying Wexler is necessarily where J Street is, but terms must be defined. Wexler, it happens, served as a Mid-East advisor to Obama during the presidential campaign.
At any rate, Wexler says:
“A request for a moratorium or freeze in settlement activity that can be mutually agreed upon by the US and Israel in the next several weeks is a tiny, tiny gesture and down payment to make when you look at potentially what is on the other side of the equation.”
A “tiny, tiny gesture,” huh?
How kind of him to diminish the importance to us of what’s going on here. Freezing settlement construction means relinquishing, up front, our right to be in Judea and Samaria. It means negating both our heritage and our legal rights, because this is what a lying Obama — who denies we had an agreement with the Bush administration — wants of us.
So maybe an even better word to describe what Wexler is saying is “enraging.” Methinks that Wexler, a Jew, posing as a “friend,” came here at Obama’s behest to soften us up.
What is it that is on the other side of the equation, according to Wexler?
“…22 Arab countries being urged by the US to take significant steps now towards normalization with Israel.”
Gasp! Can it be? Is he really suggesting that “significant steps toward normalization” would be made by the Arabs if we froze settlement construction?
Yes, he actually says that an Israeli moratorium on settlements would go a long way toward moving the “normalization” process ahead. Either he’s a fool, or he thinks we are fools. And I strongly suspect it’s the latter.
Apparently Wexler missed the article by David Ignatius in the Washington Post that I referred to two days ago. Ignatius (according to the Jerusalem Post) said that an Arab diplomat told him that the Arab demand is not a settlement freeze, but an imposed settlement.
There’s so much to critique in Wexler’s words that it’s difficult to know how to continue.
The “normalization” process he refers to includes such things as fly-over rights and cultural exchanges. That’s all very nice — but these are no more than peripheral perks. What I observe is that there is no mention of the fundamentals such as recognizing our right to exist as a Jewish nation and declaring an end to hostilities (Saudi Arabia, for example, having never signed an armistice agreement with us is technically still at war with us). Or how about a cessation of official government anti-Semitism?
We relinquish our right to natural growth in Judea and Samaria and get the chance to do a cultural exchange with some Arab countries in return. Sounds like a great deal. We can send them some of our singers and maybe they’ll send some dance troops.
Keinon writes that:
“Wexler bewailed that while the US demands on Israel were highlighted in the Israeli press, Washington’s demands on the Arab world were not gaining similar attention.
“According to Wexler, the Obama administration was making ‘equal, if not greater, demands on the Arab world in the context of starting the process and negotiations.'”
This man is shameless. Only a moron would believe this after Obama’s Cairo speech, in which he came down on Israel, and ONLY Israel, with regard to the settlements, while kissing up to the Muslims.
But it gets even worse, for Wexler says:
“The president of the US does not have a view, or an opinion, or either a tactical or strategic posture on the government of Israel. The idea that the president, or anyone in any position of responsibility in Washington, is designing a process to undermine the policy or position or standing of the government of Israel is absurd.”
When you pick yourself up from the floor, where you’ve undoubtedly collapsed with laughter, you can continue to read…
When Keinon asked why the Arab states don’t make some gesture of normalization before we agree to a settlement moratorium, Wexler said this was “childish.”
“I want to call their bluff,” he said. “I want to see, if Israel makes substantial movement toward a credible peace process, whether they are willing to do it. And if they are not, better that we should find out five or six months into the process, before Israel is actually asked to compromise any significant position.”
Please note that the onus is entirely on us in his scenario. He is asking for “substantial movement” on our part without any balanced reciprocity — just as a “test.”
Then, too, he contradicts himself, because he speaks at one and the same time about “substantial movement” and says this would be before we are asked to “compromise any significant position.” Now what does he have in mind? Maybe the “substantial movement” would be dismantling some major settlements, but we wouldn’t be asked to “compromise any significant position,” such as giving the Arabs half of Jerusalem, until later?
Wexler declares himself to be confident that our government will agree to this moratorium on building in the settlements:
“I don’t see an equation where it is in Israel’s interest to say no, so I believe Israel will say yes, under a certain set of qualifications that Israel will agree to. This is one hundred percent in Israel’s national security interest.”
My friends, I can hear the voice of Barack Hussein, saying “Bob, old buddy, we go back a long way. Now, take yourself to Israel and do what you can for the cause.”
Since Wexler is one hundred percent wrong about what’s in our security interest, let us hope and pray (pray, please!) that he’s also wrong about Israel saying yes.
But, better, let’s help make certain that he’s wrong. Presumably at this point you’re as furious as I am.
I suggested yesterday that Prime Minister Netanyahu needs to be contacted on this issue. Now I implore everyone to do this. He needs to receive a barrage of calls and faxes (faxes are good!) and e-mails on the subject.
Please, act while you remember to do this, or post a reminder! And then share this with others and urge them to contact Netanyahu as well.
Fax: 02-670-5369 (From the US: 011-972-2-670-5369)
Phone: 03-610-9898 (From the US: 011-972-3-610-9898)
E-mail: email@example.com (underscore after pm)
Urge him not to cave on this issue!
Communication to our prime minister from outside the country cannot hurt. But most significant are messages from Israeli citizens. If you are an Israeli citizen, please identify yourself as such when sending your message, and pass this to other citizens.
I will not make this posting unwieldy by providing the contact information for other members of the government.
Instead, I advise you to go here:
and cull that contact information yourself. All MKs are listed with phone numbers and e-mails. Most also have fax numbers.
Be in touch with those who have clout or reputation in Likud: Yaalon, Begin, Danon, Edelstein, Hotovely Sa’ar, Steinitz, Y. Katz. Contact, as well, Yishai (Shas), Hershkovitz (Habayit Hayehudi). And Foreign Minister Lieberman (Yisrael Beitenu).
A light-hearted break here (because smiling keeps us sane):
I had seen the cartoon below from Yaakov Kirschen, who does the delightfully on-the-mark Dry Bones cartoons, several times. Finally, today, I decided that I would share it with everyone. It is so in line with what I’ve been writing about. (Thanks, Roberta)
With respect to this particular cartoon, Kirschen writes:
“During the Hillary Clinton / Barack Obama primary battle, Hillary famously asked whether we’d feel safe with a President Obama answering a crisis phone call at 3AM.
“What she was questioning was his sense of judgment. Well, it seems to me that it’s 3AM, the phone is ringing, and I’m afraid that for a lot of us it’s a wake-up call.”
And then a couple of links also relevant to the topic at hand:
See an article by David Wilder, spokesman for the Hevron Jewish community, “In the footsteps of the Mufti” — a painful but important look at the vilification of “settlers.”
It’s perhaps the height of irony that Jews living in the ancient Jewish city of Hevron, the second holiest of cities for Jews, which connects to the time of our father Avraham, are today called “settlers,” as if they are usurpers.
Then an informative posting by one Rachel Abrams on the Weekly Standard blog, “Among the settlers,” written about Kfar Adumim in Judea. (Thanks, Micki L.)
A couple of sentences in particular struck me:
“Across the wadi is Mitzpeh Hagit, an ‘illegal outpost’ named for a daughter of Kfar Adumim murdered by a Bedouin terrorist as she hiked in the crevice ten years ago. ‘This is a response of settlers to terror murders,’ says our host, one of the original 18 settlers of Kfar Adumim. ‘We don’t rush out to seek revenge by murdering in return. We respond to it and honor the murdered by establishing outposts in their names.'”
Many is the time that I have written about an “unauthorized outpost” (such as Maoz Esther outside of Kochav Hashachar) and explained, it was named for such and such, who was killed in a terrorist attack. But never have I made the point this clearly — that we honor the murdered by building, rather than seeking revenge. Something greatly to be proud of.
The flip side: More than once I have felt heart-sick that the Israeli government has deemed it necessary to take down a tent, or a few houses, erected to honor the memory of a murdered Israeli. That these memorials are immediately rebuilt is also something to be proud of. Blessed are the builders.
Let me turn for a few moments here to the concept of “reciprocity” in our dealings with the PA — a concept to which Netanyahu at least gives lip service. Whether it’s more than lip service will soon be tested. The failure to truly honor such a concept is part of what infuriates me so very much about Wexler’s (and Obama’s) approach.
One of the commitments that the PA has — via Oslo and the Road Map — is the elimination of all official incitement. Obama has spoken about this, but it isn’t real and there is no intention of holding Palestinian feet to the fire on this subject.
Easy to say, “And the Palestinians must eliminate official incitement.” But what does this mean in real terms? Let’s talk tachlis here (i.e., get down to serious stuff). The PA-produced textbooks lack maps of the area that have “Israel” delineated — it’s all “Palestine.” The message that is being delivered to school kids via these maps is not exactly what we might expect if there were sincerity about “peace,” with two states for two people living side by side…
How about if new maps had to be introduced in all grades that did denote the existence of Israel? In truth the books should be re-printed, as there’s a great deal more wrong with them than the maps. But we can deal with that later. Issuing maps now would be easier, cheaper, and achieved far more quickly. It could be a start — a concrete act that would show good faith. The PA version, in Wexler’s words, of a “tiny, tiny gesture.”
Americans — how about raising this issue with your government in very concrete terms? How about insisting that your government start demanding real signs of commitment to peace from the PA?
The place to go with this is to Congress. So I repeat here the sites for locating your representatives. Please, contact them, and share this with others who will do the same. (If your representative is Wexler, let him know what you think.)
For your Congresspersons:
For your Senators:
In fact, while you are at it, how about writing letters to the editor proposing this demand of the PA.
Before I leave the subject of incitement, I want to touch about one other issue — courtesy of the Palestinian Media Watch, As Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook have written:
“US law prohibits the funding of Palestinian structures that use any portion of their budget to promote terror or honor terrorists. But $200 million of the US’s proposed $900m. aid package is earmarked to go directly to the Abbas government, which regularly uses its budget to honor terrorists.”
“The PA chose to name its latest computer center ‘after the martyr Dalal Mughrabi,’ who led the most deadly terror attack in the country’s history. Her 1978 bus hijacking killed 37 civilians, 12 of them children, including American photographer Gail Rubin. The new center is funded by Abbas’s office, which is bolstered by Western aid money. (Al-Ayyam, May 5, 2009)
“Last summer the PA sponsored ‘the Dalal Mughrabi football championship’ for kids, and a ‘summer camp named for martyr Dalal Mughrabi… out of honor and admiration for the martyr.’ It also held a party to honor exemplary students, also named ‘for the martyr Dalal Mughrabi,’ under the auspices of Abbas and at which Abbas’s representative ‘reviewed the heroic life of the martyr [Mughrabi].’ (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, July 23, 24 and August 8, 2008). All these PA-funded activities were to teach kids that a killer of women and children is a role model.”
Don’t close your eyes the way the government does, my friends. Scream long and loud about this, and demand accountability.
A bad sign: As of tomorrow, the checkpoint at Hawara, near Shechem in Samaria, will no longer check Arabs who are passing through on foot, only cars will be checked. But over the years Hawara has caught many an intended-terrorist who was on foot, carrying a long knife, or wearing an explosive belt. I myself over time have noted that when I reported a terrorist caught, very often it was at this one site.
This, of course, is one more “good faith gesture” /concession. Are they crazy?
This link, which ends this posting on an upbeat note, is a highly unusual version of Hatikva (“The Hope”) — our national anthem. I would not have thought that I would like it, but I really did. Maybe you will too.