Criticizing Israel

Statement by incoming Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman at the ministerial inauguration ceremony

The Israeli government never approved Annapolis, neither the Cabinet nor the Knesset, so anyone who wants to amuse himself can continue to do so. I have seen all the proposals made so generously by Ehud Olmert, but I have not seen any results.

So we will therefore act exactly according to the Road Map, including the Tenet document and the Zinni document. I will never agree to our waiving all the clauses – I believe there are 48 of them – and going directly to the last clause, negotiations on a permanent settlement. No. These concessions do not achieve anything. We will adhere to it to the letter, exactly as written. Clauses one, two, three, four – dismantling terrorist organizations, establishing an effective government, making a profound constitutional change in the Palestinian Authority. We will proceed exactly according to the clauses. [continued…]

Editor’s Comment — Lieberman needs to study the agreement that he just promised Israel will assiduously abide by. Phase One concludes:
— Government of Israel immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001.

— Consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements).

Prominent gentiles must get over their hangups and start criticizing Israel

This post is not aimed at Jews. Note the headline. Many non-Jews have not come into this space–Criticizing Israel– because of fears of being called anti-Semites and written off. Years ago my friend Rob Buchanan said to me, Phil you have to speak out on this ’cause they’ll just smear non-Jews as anti-Semites. And I accepted that responsibility.

But the point of this post is that the passivity of likeminded gentiles has now become a problem. We need more prominent gentiles to step forward. [continued…]

Editor’s Comment — I can’t claim to be a prominent gentile but I’m certainly one who has never been terribly worried about being accused of being an anti-Semite. (Everyone has to be able to read their own moral compass and so long as you are confident in doing that, it doesn’t really matter what kinds of slurs get flung in your direction.)

But the challenge now is not one of recruiting gentiles; it is one of transcending tribalism.

Pro-Israel Jews have two weapons that they predictably unleash. They demean and belittle fellow Jews by calling them “self-hating” whereas they vilify non-Jews by implying that they harbor the murderous intent of anti-Semites.

This is a divide-and-rule tactic and maybe the best way of responding to it is by forging solidarity and recognizing that those who draw attention to the ethnicity of Israel’s critics are merely trying to deflect attention from the criticism to the critic.

New town may be death blow to hopes for Israel peace

The sign in big, red Hebrew letters reads “Welcome to Mevasseret Adumim, the Harbinger of the Hills”. A three-lane road with roundabouts leads up the hill to a police station and street lamps line the flyover that links the new town to neighbouring Ma’aleh Adumim, one of the largest Jewish settlements in Israel.

There are no houses, cars or people in Mevasseret Adumim: it is a town laid out, waiting to be built. That is because international pressure has so far prevented construction from going ahead. The area is the last piece of open land linking Arab East Jerusalem to the West Bank and critics said that to develop it would bury the very notion of a two-state solution to the Middle East crisis.

According to reports in the Israeli media, the area has been earmarked for development under a secret accord between Binyamin Netanyahu, the new, conservative Israeli Prime Minister, and his ultra-nationalist Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman. [continued…]

Netanyahu, America and the cow in the house

To understand how Israel’s new Netanyahu government will handle relations with its neighbours, and a US administration with which it is clearly at odds, it is worth recounting an old Hasidic Jewish folktale

A man’s wife nags him relentlessly that their home is too small. A poor man, he can afford nothing larger, so he asks the advice of his rabbi. “Bring your chickens into the house,” the rabbi advises, which the man duly goes home and does. Naturally his wife’s anger escalates, which he reports back to the rabbi the following day. “Now bring in your goat,” the sage advises – a course of action with predictable consequences, but when the man returns the rabbi orders him to bring a cow into the house the next night. The man returns red-eyed and frantic after a sleepless night. “Rabbi, what can I do, my wife is threatening to leave.” To which the rabbi replies: “Now, take out the cow.”

The basic principle is simple: when you have a problem you can’t solve, create a bigger one. Plainly, Benjamin Netanyahu has a problem he can’t solve: Israel is highly dependent on US support, but America now has an administration determined to move quickly to end the conflict that has raged since Israel’s creation in 1948 by creating a viable, independent Palestinian state. And Mr Netanyahu has repeatedly insisted that he cannot accept such an outcome because he deems sovereign independence for the Palestinians to be an intolerable threat to Israel’s security. [continued…]

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