Category Archives: Arab League

Arab League Secretary General calls for ‘Arab Union’

Nissar Hoath / 28 February 2014

Arab League Secretary General Dr Nabil Elaraby says EU-like platform must to address challenges faced by countries.

Arab League Secretary General Dr Nabil Elaraby on Wednesday called for a European Union-like platform for the entire Arab world.

In a lecture at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), Dr Elaraby said Arab countries should develop a common policy to help solve political, economical, social and security problems.

“We are facing internal and regional challenges because of the Arab world’s strategic location and its global importance. Arab countries are surrounded by technologically advanced countries such as Iran, Turkey and others that have ambitions. Therefore, it is time we unite and have a common goal,” Elaraby told the audience that included diplomats and senior government officials.

He also said the UN Security Council has been unable to discharge its responsibilities when it comes to the issues pertaining to the Arab countries. “The reason for this is the misuse of the veto power by the permanent members that always leads to a catastrophic failure of the collective security system,” he added.

All these problems can only be solved when all Arab countries work jointly. “All these challenges make it necessary that we form a platform like the European Union (EU) and the African (AU) Union. We are capable of this if we have the vision and will on developing a common Arab policy.”

The Arab League official further gave the example of how the EU was formed. “I’m very sorry to say that even African countries work more seriously than us, and I hope this will change the Arab world mentality,” he said. No Arab country stands alone. “Therefore, an EU- and AU-like organisation is necessary for Arab countries to deal with all these challenges and problems.”

nissar@khaleejtimes.com

Advertisements

An Open Letter to the Arab League: Thanks, but no Thanks

Throughout all of history, did an Emir, Sultan Caliph or Arab or Islamic King rule in Jerusalem even for one day?

To the Honorable Leaders of the Arab States,

We in Israel received with great pleasure your agreement to normalize relations with Israel  on condition that we agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state and exchanges of territories between that state and Israel. The Palestinian state that you propose to establish in Judea and Samaria would be the second Palestinian state, since the first Palestinian state was established six years ago in the Gaza Strip, and you clearly recognize it as such in practice. How else can the state visits of the Emir of Qatar and the secretary of the Arab League in Gaza  be understood?  Now you propose the establishment of a second Palestinian state? Perhaps a third!! Because Jordan is also a state with a Palestinian majority. And all of these states were established – as you know – on land that the League of Nations had designated for a Jewish state at the San Remo Conference, in April  of 1920. So why should we agree to exchange territories with any state or states that have been established or will be established on our land?

And if indeed a second Palestinian state will arise in Judea and Samaria (that which you call “the West Bank”) can you promise us that this state will not at some time in the future become another Hamas state? Do you not recall that Hamas won a clear majority of the seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council in January 2006? Did you not see how Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip with bombs, fire and kalashnikovs in June of 2007? Will you send a military force to get rid of Hamas after this terror organization also takes over – by means of elections or revolution – the new Palestinian state as well? Or perhaps you will leave us bleeding as a result of the problem that you have created?

We in Israel are very touched by the fact that you, as an Arab collective, not as individual states that have made a peace agreement with us, finally agree to accept us as an existing state in the Middle East. Indeed, it has taken you 65 years to understand that we are here, on the land of our fathers, that we have come back to stay in our land forever and ever until eternity. But why do you call to displant Jerusalem,  the historical capital of the Jewish people, from the Jewish state? Was Jerusalem ever a capital of something connected to the Arab world or Islam? Throughout all of history, did an Emir, Sultan Caliph or Arab or Islamic King rule in it even for one day? Do you not remember that since the Islamic conquest in 637, the capital of “Jund Filastin” (the region of Palestine) was called Ramle? Then why has Jerusalem suddenly emerged as a candidate for capital of the second Palestinian state? Just because it is our capital?

Just to remind you: Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria were under Jordanian occupation for 7000 days, from May of 1948 until June of 1967. You had 7000 golden opportunities to establish a Palestinian state on this territory with Jerusalem as its capital. Why didn’t you do it? Why did you think of it only after the Jewish people liberated the territory from the Jordanian occupation whose legality even you, the Arab League, never recognized? What did you know all those years about “the rights of the Palestinian people” that you don’t know today? And why is Israeli “occupation” worse than Jordanian occupation?

Just imagine that we had made a peace agreement with Assad’s Syria. Would the Saudi Arabian jihadists, followers of al Qaeda who want to eliminate Assad, honor the peace agreement that he signed with the Zionists? And what about the Palestinians in Jordan –  if they will also rise up and overthrow the royal house that the British imported from Saudi Arabia, are you sure that they would honor the agreement that that royal house signed with us over the Palestinians’ objections? Are you willing to assure us that the Muslim Brotherhood, which has taken over Egypt, will always honor the peace agreement with Israel after all the years that they said that they would cancel it when they could? Just to remind you, Israel has had agreements of mutual recognition on different levels with Qatar, the United Emirates and Tunisia. Why did they cancel these agreements and close the Israeli diplomatic missions? Is this what your signature is worth?

And in general, why should we, the citizens of Israel, believe you? Is your promise worth anything? Does the Arab League indeed function as a relevant and effective body? In the covenant of the Arab League, which all of the Arab states have signed, there are articles that state principles of behavior among yourselves, but you behave in the totally opposite way!! Article 5 prohibits your states from using force against each other. Were there not wars between Egypt and Libya? Between Egypt and Sudan? Between Saudi Arabia and Yemen? Between Iraq and Kuwait? Between Syria and Iraq?

And while we’re on the subject of Syria and Iraq, Article 6 of the League’s covenant states that if a foreign state attacks an Arab state, the League must take measures against this attacker. What did you do when your brother, Saddam Hussein, was attacked in 2003 by foreign states? Not only did you not help him but you joined the attackers!!! So can anyone trust you?

And when Syria occupied Lebanon what did you do? And in August 1976, when Syria slaughtered Palestinians in the Tel al-Za’atar refugee camp in Lebanon, what did you do? and when Kuwait eliminated many thousands of Palestinians after it was liberated from Iraqi occupation, what did you do to your Palestinian brothers? And what did you do in order to solve – not perpetuate – the problem of your brothers,  the “Palestinian refugees” since 1948? Why have you not allowed those “refugees”, who originally came to Israel from your countries before 1948, to return to their homes in your countries after they fled the wars that you started?

And when Qadhaffi slaughtered 50,000 of his citizens, what did you do as an Arab collective besides calling on Europe to do your work for you, to rescue Arabs from the knife of the Arab butcher!!! When ‘Ali abdAlla Salah, the former dictator of Yemen, slaughtered his citizens what did you do? And during the past two years, while your brother Bashar Asad, has been slaughtering 80,000 of his citizens until today, where have you been? If this is the way you behave, allowing so very many thousands of Arabs, your brothers, to suffer and be killed in vain, only because they want to live the normative lifestyle of a human being, then why should we, citizens of Israel, think that you would care at all about us? Would you come to our aid if one of your countries decided to attack us?

The way you relate to one another is so terrible that we are not sure that we want anything to do with you. Can an Arab travel to another Arab state without a visa? How does any Arab state treat foreign workers who come from other Arab states? And why do the Egyptians kill Sudanese living in Egypt when they demonstrate against the humiliating way they are treated by their Egyptian brothers? And what did the Iraqis do to the Palestinians who were in Iraq until 2003? Did they not persecute them and chase them with knives into refugee camps of Rawishad on the Iraqi-Jordanian border and al-Kaaam on the border of Iraq and Syria? And why have Arab citizens of Lebanon been slaughtering Arab citizens of Syria for the past year?Only because the killers are Shi’ites and the victims are Sunnis?

And why does Saudi Arabia send criminals to Syria in order to slaughter Assad’s soldiers, who only wanted to slaughter Syrian citizens? And why does the Sudanese government slaughter its citizens in Darfur? Is this any way for a nation that proposes peace to the citizens of Israel to behave? And what has the Arab League ever done in order to bring a little calm to the Arab nation? Why do people say that the Arab League is like a frozen body in a morgue, that no one has the courage to declare as dead?

And even if we assume that there will be peace between us and all of the Arab states, what will that give us? Will you be able to buy our products? Do you think that we will allow tourists from your countries to visit us freely? We tried this in the nineties, when hordes of tourists came from Jordan, and more than a hundred thousand of them “disappeared” into Israel. We have learned the lesson, and many years will pass until we’ll want to see your tourists in Israel again.

But the most important thing is the fact that despite the terrible holocaust, in which  the Palestinian Mufti – your brother, Hajj Amin al-Husseini – took an active part, and despite the wars and the terror between the wars that you have imposed upon us, we have established a democratic and developed country, and we have proven to the whole world that we need you, our dear neighbors, about as much as we need a headache.

We have managed very well without you, and according to all the signs, we will continue to manage not at all poorly without you. You have nothing to offer us besides the poverty, unemployment, corruption, backwardness, violence and neglect that characterizes your societies and countries. Believe us, nothing, absolutely nothing, makes us want to connect ourselves with you. Do you want peace with us? We’re willing – but what do you offer us in return? What will you give to us in exchange for our agreement to get into the same picture frame with you and to sit  around the same table with you?

Peace with you will come only after we see that you really want peace. As long as you encourage and arm terror organizations who act against us, incite against us in your media, erase the State of Israel from the geography books in your schools and act against us in international arenas, why should we believe that you indeed want peace? A peace agreement should be a recognition of actual peace in the field, for one important reason: when we see how you behave with yourselves, no one in Israel believes even one word of yours, because you have no idea what peace is. If you want peace with us, show us please that you have some concept of the term “peace”. Begin with making peace within your countries, continue with peace between your countries and then perhaps we will believe that you know what peace is.

And if anyone thinks that our requirement is absurd, because there will never be peace in the Arab world, this is the proof that we are right. There is a saying in Arabic “Faqd a-Shay la y’atiha” – “He who has nothing, cannot give to someone else.” How can a nation that has no notion of peace, give peace to others?

In conclusion, dear neighbors, we – citizens of Israel – want very much to live in Peace, in a region of peace where you and we enjoy it together. But we do not think that there is any point in signing an agreement with someone who today is here and tomorrow is in a grave, and his successors won’t honor his signature. When the Middle East becomes a region of peace, give us a call, perhaps we will join the peace that you will begin in the Middle East. until then please leave us alone.

Signed: Mordechai Kedar, and many, many more citizens of Israel.

Originally published at Middle East and Terrorism. Translated from Hebrew by Sally Zahav.

Muslim Antisemitism: What everyone needs to hear

Great read: :Muslim Antisemitism: What My Daughter’s Friend and Ambassador Gutman Need to Know by Richard Landes.

One of my daughters recently wrote me about a friend who thought
that “most of the Muslim antisemitism in Europe wasn’t based on their
dislike of what is going on in Israel and not so much on religion.” I knew
this belief was widely held not only by anti-Zionists, but also by liberals in
general, including Jews. It includes the widely held assumption that suicide
bombings were a response to the despair that Palestinians felt because of
how Israel treated them. It is also directly related to the problem of
“Islamophobia is the new Antisemitism,” in which speaking of Muslim
antisemitism becomes a new form of racist antisemitism. Of course, I did
not expect a Jewish U.S. ambassador to make those kinds of remarks, which
is just what Howard Gutman said to a group of Jewish lawyers in Belgium:
What I do see as growing, as gaining much more attention in the newspapers
and among politicians and communities, is a different phenomena

Antisemitic caricature by C.Léandre (France, 1898)

. . . It is the problem within Europe of tension, hatred and sometimes
even violence between some members of Muslim communities or Arab
immigrant groups and Jews. It is a tension and perhaps hatred largely
born of and reflecting the tension between Israel, the Palestinian Territories,
and neighboring Arab states in the Middle East over the continuing
Israeli-Palestinian problem.

Either the good ambassador has no awareness of just how paranoid,
genocidal, and depraved Muslim antisemitism is, or he is contemptuous in
his lack of standards.

He would never excuse virulent Jewish hatred for Palestinians “merely” on the basis of the fact that Palestinians target Israeli children, dance in the street when they succeed, and display exhibits honoring the dead Jews. And yet, somehow, virulent Palestinian hatred is
understandable.

Of course, the actual situation differs radically from this benign contempt.
Most of this regional tension is a product of the mainstream [news]
media (MSM), both ours and theirs. Virtually none of the people who hate
Israel have seen this matter up close: their impressions and beliefs about
what’s happening are the product of what they read in the media, and
reports from activists who document the “apartheid” ways.

The argument, of course, can work inversely: Palestinians have produced
a constant stream of lethal narratives describing Israelis as baby-killers,
and have spread the virus throughout the Muslim world. These
narratives inspire suicide bombers and their cheering supporters, and the
violence that Israel does against the Palestinians—from targeted killings to
the separation barrier, to the Gaza blockade responding directly to
antisemitic propaganda.

Because the Western mainstream news media has focused some of this
propaganda, people, including my daughter’s friend, have formed beliefs
that are based on the television images and justify their disdain. “No wonder
French Muslims hate you,” the French Christians say to their French
Jewish co-citizens, “look at what your brethren in Israel do to their cousins
in Palestine.” To grant the Palestinians and other Muslims permission to
hate the Jews reveals unthinking racism: I don’t really expect anything
remotely rational or balanced from these folks. If you piss them off, you
deserve their rage.

The MSM not only report lethal narratives as news, but omit reporting
the hatreds that inspired such narratives. In the summer of 2000, the PA was
blasting hatred of Israel. If the MSM were surprised by Arafat’s Camp
David “no,” it’s because they ignored what he and his friends were saying
in Arabic. On the contrary, driven by a belief that peace was around the
corner, they felt that dwelling on such bad news would queer the peace
process. Nor did the Oslo war make a difference. Sheikh Halabiya gave a
sermon calling on Muslims to “slaughter the Jews everywhere.” William
Orme wrote a piece on Palestinian incitement in which he quoted Halabiya
saying: “Labor, Likud, they’re all Jews.”

As a result, the ferocious strain of antisemitism in Palestinian irredentism
transferred easily from the mufti’s contribution to the Final Solution,
Nazi propaganda, and helping Nazism flourish in Egypt and Syria, to
Arafat’s national liberation and Hamas’s apocalyptic paranoia. Nor is this
merely a quirk of journalism, but a widespread practice of the “post-colonial” field of Middle East studies in the wake of Edward Said’s masterpiece
of cognitive warfare forbidding Westerners from othering Muslims.

Yet, what are we to make of crowds rallied by the moderate Muslim
Brotherhood chant, “One day we will kill all Jews”? Since 2000, Arab and
Muslim news media have been awash with gory video depictions of the
Elders of Zion carrying out their blood sacrifices of innocent Muslim youth.
Specialists disagree over whether this is primarily an import from the worst
of European hate-mongering, or an indigenous growth with roots in the
Koran. European anti-Zionists may like their fantasy that their attitude is
not antisemitic, but in the case of the Arab and Muslim world, the slide
from opposing Israel to ranting about al Yahud everywhere is effortless.1
Phillip (Mondo) Weiss’s response to Ambassador Gutman offers additional
insight. Citing two other comments, Weiss proves Gutman’s thesis by
pointing to a study showing that antisemitic incidents in England spiked
after the Mavi Marmara incident. Of course, the near doubling of
antisemitic incidents did not arise in response to Israel’s behavior, but to the
reports of them, in which the MSM reported unfiltered anti-Zionist lethal
narratives about the IDF coming down spraying bullets and killing 19
peaceful, humanitarian activists. He also omits data showing that, compared
to Arabs, Israelis commit a faction of violence. Weiss, who never met a
lethal anti-Zionist narrative he didn’t like, probably still believes the initial
reports. But unless you are willing to argue that when Israeli soldiers carrying
paint-gun rifles, defending themselves from a lethal assault by Jihadis
posing as activists, kill nine of their assailants, that justifies a wave of
antisemitism, this case hardly supports Gutman’s analysis. On the contrary,
it proves the opposite.

No violent anti-Arab demonstrations exploded on British soil when
Lebanese soldiers killed seventy Palestinian refugees in a massive air
assault in 2007, or during the last year while the Syrian army killed over
3,000 of its own people. If you were to argue that Islamophobia is caused
by Muslim behavior, would you not get accused of Islamophobia by the
same people so ready to blame Israel for antisemitism?
All of it is linked to a particularly dangerous form of political correctness,
in which criticism of Muslims is the new form of antisemitism. As a
Parisian colleague insisted, “The experience of the Muslims in Europe
today is exactly the same as the Jews a century ago.” Of course, that’s not
the case at all: both in terms of the wildly different behavior of the two
minorities, and in terms of how the European elites reacted to their presence.

By that logic, however, any attack on Islam is immediately comparable to an attack on Jews a century ago.

Even those Jewish organizations designed to protect Jews from
antisemitism share this attitude. Berlin’s Zentrum f ¨ur Antisemitismusforschung
held a conference whose main theme was the close identity of
Islamophobia and Judaeophobia. In the United States, the Anti-Defamation
League released only 2.6 percent of 4,269 press releases since 1995 on
either Islamic extremism or Arab antisemitism, of which only .005 were
released since September 11, 2001—precisely when the threat to Jews from
Islamic extremism dramatically increased. That is almost as small as the
percentage of Jews in the world, or the percentage of the Arab world “occupied”
by Israel: 0.002.

Which brings us to the dilemma that faces the morally concerned
Western observer. We are faced with two opposing narratives: one in which
the Muslims/Palestinians are victims who might be forgiven their imperialist
Israelis hate; and one in which the Israelis are victims, who might be
forgiven their resistance to assaults from paranoid, sadistic antisemitism.
Why not toss a coin? Aside from the fact that in so doing one would
greatly increase support for the imperialist Zionists to 50 percent, there are
serious consequences to misreading this situation.

If I am wrong, and Palestinian hatred is merely a result of the occupation,
then Israeli concessions should lessen Palestinian hatred. Of course, if
the Palestinians really are rational—really want their own state rather than
to destroy Israel, then they should be amenable to making some important
moves toward reconciliation, such as, for example, cutting off the hate
incitement on TV, and resettling their refugees out of the miserable camps
they’ve been confined to since 1948.

If I am right, if Muslim antisemitism is profoundly rooted among
Arabs and Muslims today, then it’s another story entirely. Solving the refugee
problem by allowing these poor victims of war to have a real home is
not on the Palestinian agenda. On the contrary, these refugees are designated
victim-weapons in a war of annihilation.

If I am right, then every time Israel makes concessions, it encourages
further aggressions. So despite the politically correct paradigm, each time
Israel engages in anti-imperialist activities—withdrawing from most of the
West Bank (1994-2000), southern Lebanon (2000), and Gaza (2005)—
increased aggression occurred.
There is a widespread fantasy that throwing Israel into the maw of the
beast will somehow solve the problem. Ultimately, the dilemma of
antisemitism is not a Jewish but a Christian problem. Granted, the Jews
suffer from antisemitism, but the ultimate price is paid by those foolish enough to get sucked into the vortex of hatred and paranoia that antisemites
peddle. As any historian of World War II can tell you, if six million Jews
were murdered, more than ten times as many Christians died in that
madness!

The Arab world in the latter half of the 20th century offers a striking
parallel to Spain in the 16th century. Both worlds had expelled their Jews
(Spain in 1492, Arabs in 1948); both experienced a flood of wealth (New
World gold and petrodollars); and both failed to parlay that wealth into a
thriving culture that made life better for its people.

In a recent article, Jeffrey Goldberg tried to acknowledge the problem
of antisemitic sentiments pervading the Arab Spring, all the while preserving
the belief that “the people of the Middle East are finally awakening to
the promise of liberty.” But the two are intimately related. Indeed, Judeophobia
is not the problem, but the symptom.

It’s the conspiracy thinking that blames everything on the other—Muslims
attack Copts? It’s the Jews. Arab Spring turning into Islamist Winter?
It’s the Jews. If you’re the BBC, it’s the Jews, aka “outside forces.” How
can one possibly inaugurate, foster, and sustain a democratic culture of freedom,
one that, in words of Isaiah Berlin, considers it “shameful not to grant
to others the freedom one wants to exercise oneself,” without an ability to
self-criticize?

Antisemitism is everyone’s problem—my daughter’s friend, Ambassador
Gutman, and the Muslims. The sooner well-meaning progressives stop
feeding their antisemitic vulnerabilities and begin critical thinking, the
sooner we will see a real Arab Spring—one in which all people can rejoice.