Tag Archives: Israel

President Trump Should Reject The Failed Peace Process

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

President Trump has made a lot of bold moves in his first few weeks in office. Judged by the mainstream media’s lies, fake news, distortions, and hysteria, his executive actions on immigration, oil pipelines, rolling back federal regulations, and firing an insubordinate acting Attorney General are on the money. But a few of his foreign policy moves are questionable.

Most troubling is the statement on Israel’s announcement about new settlements. “While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal.”

This Delphic announcement has provoked differing interpretations. On the one hand, it correctly rejects the false global consensus that peace would break out in the region if only Israelis stopped building “illegal settlements” on “occupied territory.” On the other, the White House repeats the hoary cliché that settlement construction isn’t “helpful in achieving” peace, implying that settlement developed should be slowed or halted. The statement may just be diplomatic triangulation, an attempt to assure both Israelis and their enemies while the president determines a new approach. But Trump’s repeated statements about forging “peace” between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs suggest he may be trapped by long-exploded assumptions about the crisis, at a time when what we need are blunt truth and decisive action instead of more failed diplomacy.

Take the incoherence of the statement. If “settlements” are not an “impediment” to peace, then how exactly can they “not be helpful”? Because they anger the Arabs and Israel’s other enemies? To think this is to validate the Arabs’ duplicitous pretexts for violence, and to appease their irrational passions––approaches that have distorted our policies in the region for seven decades. And it takes at face value the false assumptions that all the Palestinian Arabs want is their own nation and self-determination, and that their violence and murder are understandable reactions to Israeli intransigence.

But the Palestinian Arabs have rejected multiple opportunities to achieve their own state, starting in 1947-48 when they answered the offer of a nation with a war on Israel that killed 20,000 Israelis. They answered the Oslo Accords of 1993, a framework for creating a Palestinian state, with continued PA corruption and terrorist violence that killed 269 Israeli civilians and soldiers in seven years. In 2000, Arafat rejected Bill Clinton’s plan, and followed up with terrorist attacks that by 2013 had killed 1,227 Israelis. In 2008 Ehud Olmert offered “moderate” Palestinian honcho Mahmoud Abbas another state comprising 97% of the disputed territories, and once again Israel was rebuffed and subject to even more terrorist murder. And for all that time the PA has continued to incite violence against Jews, reward the families of murderers, and brainwash children with virulent Jew-hatred.

The historical pattern is clear: when offered a state, the Arabs respond by killing Jews. To paraphrase Einstein, repeating the same failed policies over and over and expecting a different outcome is the definition of foreign policy insanity.

Clinging to the “two states living side by side in peace” wishful thinking obscures other clear evidence that the Palestinian Arabs prefer killing Jews to building a viable state.  Why, after billions in foreign aid––eleven times more per capita than eight other poorer countries that receive foreign aid––have the Palestinian Arabs not used that bounty to build economic and government institutions? Could it be because in its 2016 budget, the Palestinian Authority paid more than 500 full-time government functionaries to oversee stipends for the families of dead terrorists, spending $315 million, one-eighth of its GDP, to reward murder? Why does this imagined Palestinian state have to be ethnically cleansed of all Jews, when 1.4 million Arabs live as citizens of Israel? How come the holiest site in Judaism, the Temple Mount, has to remain under the control of the descendants of conquerors and occupiers? Why should Jerusalem, for 3000 years the center of Jewish history and faith, be shared with these same scions of imperialists and colonists?

And don’t forget, Israel has already gone down the road of “land for peace.” In 2005 it evacuated 8,500 Israelis from Gaza and turned it over to the terrorist Hamas regime. Instead of building a functioning state, Hamas has spent its money on building tunnels for infiltrating Israel to commit terrorist attacks and kidnap Israelis, and on buying rockets and mortars, 15,000 of which it has rained down indiscriminately on Israeli civilians. Why would Israelis even think about giving Judea and Samaria to an enemy whose missiles and rockets could reach every square foot of Israel? No nation in the world would make such a suicidal concession.

The dominant narrative of “land for peace” and “two-state solution” is dead, kept on life-support by the endless kabuki theater of “diplomatic engagement” intended to avoid meaningful action, or to undermine a vibrant democracy that is ruled by law and recognizes human rights. So what should Trump do?

Announce that the old “peace process” is dead. No more complaints about “settlements,” no more “shuttle diplomacy,” no more “special envoys,” no more “summits” or “conferences” that bestow international prestige on corrupt thugs and inciters of terror. Tell the Palestinian gangster regime it will not receive one more dime of U.S. taxpayer money, whether through direct payments––$5 billion since the mid-nineties––or through international agencies like the corrupt United Nations Relief Works Agency, to which the U.S. contributed more than $350 million in 2015. Tell the U.N. that the U.S. will withdraw completely and withhold funds from the anti-Semitic U.N. Human Rights Council. Make it clear that an attack on Israel will be considered an attack on the U.S., to be met with the full force of American military power. And back it all up with military deeds the next time Hamas or Hezbollah starts firing rockets or mortars into Israel.

Of course the State Department will squeal, the Europeans will fret over lost business deals and their own volatile Muslim immigrants, and the Arab world will issue condemnations filled with blustering vocatives. Chin-tugging foreign-policy clerks will recycle received wisdom, false assumptions, and tired clichés. They should all be ignored. For the simple fact is, there will be no peace for Israel, no “two-state solution,” because Israel’s enemies want to destroy it, not live side-by-side with it. And they want to destroy it because its existence is an affront to Allah and the faithful, whose prophet beheaded 600-900 Jews after the Battle of the Trench in 627, and whose Koran calls Jews apes and pigs.

The so-called “international community,” and too often the U.S. as well, has enabled this faith-based revanchism for seven decades. Rather than continuing the failed policies that reward the murders of our allies and harm our national interests, it’s time to face reality with bold words and bolder deeds.

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Israel Belongs on the UN Security Council

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The Trump administration has stated that it intends to move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. While this is important, there is a far more urgent goal because time is running short: helping Israel get a seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC), for which Israel has formally applied, when vacancies open up in 2019. There won’t be another opportunity until 2029.

Some background information is in order before considering strategies. The relevant facts are disturbing, to say the least, and deserve to be better known.

From 1946 to 1965, the UNSC had eleven members. Five were permanent: the US, the UK, France, the Republic of China (later PRC), and the USSR (later Russia). The six non-permanent members were drawn from five regional groups: two from Latin America and one each from Commonwealth of Nations, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Western Europe. To qualify for a nonpermanent seat on the UNSC, a UN member had to satisfy three conditions, which still apply today: (1) membership in a regional group; (2) group concurrence; and (3) concurrence by a majority of the entire UN membership.

Though a UN member after 1948 when it was created, Israel never even qualified for a seat on the UNSC because it did not belong to any of the five regional groups and thus failed to meet the first condition. The countries belonging to the Middle East group, which were dedicated to the destruction of Israel, conspired successfully to keep the Jewish state out of the group and in bureaucratic limbo. Why they were able to get away with it is not a mystery. The UN was perfectly content to treat Israel as a pariah state hoping it would disappear, an attitude that persists to this day.

After 1966, UNSC membership expanded to 15. The five permanent members kept their seats while the five regional groups were redefined and got two non-member seats each: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin-America and Caribbean, Western Europe and Others (WEOG), and Eastern Europe.

If it’s not apparent where Israel belonged under this reconfiguration, the answer is nowhere. The usual suspects, now in the Asia-Pacific group, were successful in continuing to keep Israel in bureaucratic limbo despite the new iteration of UN-style gerrymandering skullduggery. Once again, the rest of the UN didn’t care.

Incredibly, there the matter rested until the year 2000, when Israel became a temporary member of the WEOG in May of that year. In 2004, Israel obtained a permanent renewal of its membership in the group’s US headquarters but was granted only observer status at UN offices in Geneva, Nairobi, Rome, and Vienna — more UN skullduggery. Finally, in December, 2013, Israel became a full permanent member of WEOG. Thus, it took 65 years for the Jewish state to have the same rights as every other UN member! How many people knew that, I wonder? I hereby challenge Bill O’Reilly to run a “Watters’ World” segment on the question.

There are 28 countries in the WEOG: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, Australia, Canada, Israel, and New Zealand. The US holds only observer status in the group.

Except Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland (which is neutral), all 28 WEOG countries have been on the UNSC, even Malta and Luxembourg. It’s worth adding that several WEOG members have been on the UNSC three or more times: Italy (six times), Spain (five), Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.

Two WEOG vacancies on the UNSC will open up in 2019. Initially, only Israel and Belgium applied. In a surprise move, Germany announced in 2013 it would compete. Group members would gladly push Israel aside in favor of Germany and Belgium.

Observers have rightly criticized Bonn for trying to spoil Israel’s chances and have urged the Germans to withdraw. But there is another alternative.

At the moment, the WEOG has three non-permanent members on the UNSC instead of two: Italy, Sweden, and the Netherlands. This unusual situation occurred because Italy and the Netherlands tied in a contested race for a UNSC seat and were allowed to split a two-year term. Germany or Belgium could perhaps be persuaded to use this as precedent and make room for Israel. Germany has been a supporter of Israel at the UN and might go along. NATO is in Belgium, so President Trump would have clout if he decided the issue had high enough priority.

It’s by no means a sure thing that the State Department would go along or move quickly enough once President Trump made his wishes clear. The pro-Arab faction at Foggy Bottom is powerful, well-entrenched, and would resist a change of direction on a policy they managed to keep in place for decades. The new sheriff just sworn in, Rex Tillerson, will only be effective after some serious housecleaning.

The real fight will be on the floor of the General Assembly, where a majority of the UN’s 193 members will have to approve Israel’s assignment to the UNSC even if for only one year. The many countries that conspired over the decades to keep Israel in limbo or tried to destroy it are still around singing the same tune. Muslim populations all over Europe are expected to exert pressure on UN ambassadors, as will the mainstream media. And then there’s the fact that, aided and abetted by the outgoing Obama administration, the UNSC last December voted unanimously to condemn Israel’s settlement policy.

Some will ask why the US should get involved. These are the folks who think the Middle East is a quagmire and we should stay away because nothing good will come of it. They would add that the US secretaries of state during 1948-2000 — from George Marshall to Dean Rusk to Henry Kissinger to Alexander Haig to James Baker to Warren Christopher — were right to ignore the appalling treatment of Israel at the UN.

So, Mr. President, which side will you be on? What about House Speaker Ryan, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, House Minority Leader Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Schumer? This is an issue on which our most senior officials can speak with one voice.

Will Obama be barred from golf club for anti-Israel policies?

Some in Maryland golf club looking to block outgoing president’s application over recent UN Security Council vote fiasco.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., speaks at a Chicago 2016 Olympic rally at Daley Plaza in Chicago Friday, June 6, 2008.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., speaks at a Chicago 2016 Olympic rally at Daley Plaza in Chicago Friday, June 6, 2008.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Members of a predominantly Jewish golf club in the Washington DC metro area are considering barring the outgoing president from joining the organization, after his administration’s refusal to veto a controversial anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations Security Council.

The Woodmont Country Club in Maryland, a posh golf club established more than a century ago by Jews barred from traditional country clubs in the area, is divided over Obama’s application, with some members lambasting him as the most anti-Israel president in history.

While some have extended a friendly welcome to President Obama and even suggested waiving the membership fees – $80,000 for entrance, plus nearly $10,000 each year in dues – others expressed outrage.

“Can you imagine how angry I would be if I had paid $80K to have to look at this guy who has done more to damage Israel than any president in American history?” a senior official at a DC Jewish organization told the New York Post.

“After the UN vote and attack on Israel, I think it probably hurts the club. If there is a club that excludes Jews, he would probably be more comfortable around those folks.”

The club’s general manager, Brian Pizzimenti, said his organization would be “honored to have” Mr. Obama as a member, a source told the Post that opposition to the president’s membership is widespread.

“In light of the votes at the UN and the Kerry speech and everything else, there’s this major uproar with having him part of the club, and a significant portion of the club has opposed offering him membership.”

The president will be able to apply to the club formally once he becomes a private citizen following President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration next Friday.