Monday, June 8, 2009

Middle East Hypocrisy

Despite massive human rights violations perpetrated by despotic regimes around the world, everyone from useful idiots like Tom Brokaw (more about that below) and other talking heads, to current and past U.S. presidential administrations, to the entire diplomatic bureaucracy of the UN and the EU, seem to be obsessed by make-believe allegations against the state of Israel.

The Jewish state, a heretofore stalwart U.S. ally in the war on terror, is a tiny country about the size of New Jersey--which global political elites are hell-bent on making smaller--that serves as the only democracy in the Middle East. Like the U.S., it has it flaws, including corruption and political infighting. But it's the only country in that region where Arabs and non-Arabs alike enjoy full civil and religious rights (there are mosques in Tel Aviv, for example). And unlike each and every one of its neighbors, it has a freely elected government and a productive market economy.

Two independent states side by side? The idea that the so-called two-state solution would cause all terrorists to immediately cease and desist is another way of saying... the check is in the mail.

As analyzed by Stratfor (see prior post), even the Arab regimes, despite all the rhetoric, are only going through the motions in supporting a Palestinian state. For its own reasons, the UN has created a very fluid definition of refugee that only applies to Palestinians and their descendants, but would there be a refugee crisis in the first place if the Arabs had not conducted numerous wars against Israel?

With that in mind, Big Hollywood columnist Bert Prelutsky observes the following:
In a speech delivered in Norway, [Yelena Bonner, the widow of Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov] pointed out that the Palestinians are still being referred to as refugees even though only a tiny percentage of them have ever even set foot in Israel. According to my dictionary, and I assume Ms. Bonner’s, a refugee is someone who has fled from violence and wars. How on earth can the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those who left Israel in order to avoid being killed or injured by the invading Arab forces in 1948, 61 long years ago, be regarded as refugees?
Oh, and does the right of return apply to the hundreds of thousands of Jews that had to flee for the lives from Arab countries?

On Friday, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer cut through the hypocrisy:
President Obama repeatedly insists that American foreign policy be conducted with modesty and humility. Above all, there will be no more "dictating" to other countries. We should "forge partnerships as opposed to simply dictating solutions," he told the G-20 summit. In Middle East negotiations, he told al-Arabiya, America will henceforth "start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating."
An admirable sentiment. It applies to everyone -- Iran, Russia, Cuba, Syria, even Venezuela. Except Israel. Israel is ordered to freeze all settlement activity. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton imperiously explained the diktat: "a stop to settlements -- not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions..."
In his much-heralded "Muslim world" address in Cairo yesterday, Obama declared that the Palestinian people's "situation" is "intolerable." Indeed it is, the result of 60 years of Palestinian leadership that gave its people corruption, tyranny, religious intolerance and forced militarization; leadership that for three generations rejected every offer of independence and dignity, choosing destitution and despair rather than accept any settlement not accompanied by the extinction of Israel.
In the 16 years since the Oslo accords turned the West Bank and Gaza over to the Palestinians, their leaders built no roads, no courthouses, no hospitals, none of the fundamental state institutions that would relieve their people's suffering. Instead they poured everything into an infrastructure of war and terror, all the while depositing billions (from gullible Western donors) into their Swiss bank accounts.
Again, for all the rhetorical concern over the plight of the Palestinians over all these years, why does the UN, the Arab world generally, and other agencies force these poor people to live in refugee camps and under other intolerable conditions rather than absorbing them within the vast landmass of the 21 Arab countries?

Perhaps the most cogent summary of the worldwide anti-Israel hypocrisy was written not by a Middle East scholar or a university egghead. It was instead written in 2002 by comedian/character actor Larry Miller. Miller has appeared on many TV shows (such as Seinfeld) and movies, including a hilarious portrayal of the minister in the romantic comedy A Guy Thing. Miller's piece can be found here.

Just asking, but did the UN pass a stream of vitriolic resolutions against Jordan when it controlled the West Bank? In a Washington Times editorial, super Clinton/Obama apologist Lanny Davis (you probably have seen him making the rounds of the Cable news channels) even noted the following:
Between 1947 and 1967, Arab nations at any time could have declared a Palestinian state, as Jordan controlled all the West Bank and East Jerusalem during that time period, including the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, and the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, and Egypt controlled all of Gaza. Why didn't they?
The West Bank and Gaza were "occupied" (as was the Golan Heights) only after Israel was attacked by Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt in 1967, with its very existence threatened.
Which brings us to the disgusting and stunningly ignorant question posed to Obama by Tom Brokaw of NBC News (we refuse to embed the interview here, but it is readily available online) at Buchenwald. Brokaw asked Obama what Israel can learn from Obama's Buchenwald visit in relation to their treatment of the Palestinians. To Obama's credit, he rejected the premise of Brokaw's question. But Brokaw, the so-called hardnews journalist, really needs to get out more--or do some homework rather than listening to the what the producer is telling him in his earpiece. He owes an immediate apology for one thing to the families of the Israeli soldiers who have been sacrificed (perhaps sacrificed is too strong a word) in the name of reducing civilian casualties. Other than the U.S. military, no other army in the world exercises more restraint the Israeli military despite constant terrorist attacks against the Israeli people.

By the way, Obama's uncle, the World War II GI who helped liberate the Buchenwald death camp (which Obama initially misidentified as Auschwitz), thinks the visit is just a another part of the permanent campaign.
“This is a trip that he chose, not because of me I'm sure, but for political reasons,” Charles Payne told the German magazine Spiegel. “Perhaps his visit also has something to do with improving his standing with (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel. She gave him a hard time during his campaign and also afterwards.”
Obama does seem determined to force Israel into unilateral assured destruction, especially with his recent comment that Iran has the "right" to develop nuclear facilities. Obama's leverage over the country is primarily financial, so perhaps it's time for Israel in its own interest to get off the U.S. dole once and for all. Prime Minister Netanyahu is due to make a major speech this week. Stay tuned.

Update:In his June 14 speech, Netanyahu acknowledged the ultimate goal of two states living side by side as "good neighbors with mutual respect, each with its own flag and national anthem."
Mr. Netanyahu went further than any leader of the Likud party in recognizing the need for a Palestinian state, but he placed two conditions: that the United States gives a guarantee that it remain demilitarized and that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.