Tag Archives: Roger Cohen

Contentions Israel’s True Friends Dont Understand What Neighborhood It’s Living In

In a rare moment of perception, Thomas Friedman wrote recently that if you want to be taken seriously in Israel, “there is an unspoken question in the mind of virtually every Israeli that you need to answer correctly: ‘Do you understand what neighborhood I’m living in?’”

What brought this to mind was the latest broadside by Friedman’s fellow New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, who reiterated what has become the favorite mantra not only of those who support Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense, but of liberal American Jewish groups like J Street and even the Union for Reform Judaism: that Israel’s “true friends” are those who tell it, loudly and publicly, that its policies are “self-defeating and wrong,” in an effort to stop what they perceive as its rush to self-destruction. I fully agree that friends should warn against behavior they view as self-destructive. But anyone who thinks that confronting Israel publicly is helping rather than hurting it doesn’t understand what neighborhood Israel is living in.

As even Cohen acknowledged, Israel has real enemies. He cited Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal’s eliminationist threats; one could quote identical rhetoric from Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, “moderate” opponents of Ahmadinejad like former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, and Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Egypt. A good example is this clip (courtesy of MEMRI) of Egyptian cleric Mahmoud Al-Masri being interviewed on Egypt’s Al-Nas TV in November: After gleefully prophesying that the Brotherhood’s rise in Egypt and a successful conclusion to the revolution in Syria will enable Egypt and Syria to unite in a war of annihilation against Israel, Al-Masri assures his followers that this is just the beginning: “Ultimately, not a single Jew will be left on the face of the earth.”

So given that lots of people truly want to destroy Israel, how do Israel’s friends keep that from happening? The only way is through deterrence: convincing these enemies that, however much they’d like to annihilate Israel, they lack the capability to succeed. First and foremost, of course, that depends on Israel’s own military capabilities. But it also depends on perceptions of Israel’s international support.

To understand why, it’s worth reviewing that clip of Al-Masri’s, in which he blithely declares that Israel would have been annihilated in 1973 had the superpowers not intervened to stop the war. In reality, that’s nonsense: The war ended with the Israeli army threatening both Cairo and Damascus. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that millions of people all over the Middle East believe it. And they believe the same about Israel’s victories in 1948, 1956, 1967, etc.–that Israel won only thanks to nefarious international assistance.

For that reason, perceptions of Israel’s international support are crucial: The more Israel’s enemies come to believe that Israel’s traditional supporters are drawing away, the more they will believe the ultimate military victory they seek is achievable. And since Israel has no more important supporter than America–its government, its public and its Jewish community–the perception that Americans are drawing away from Israel is particularly harmful. Yet when Israel’s “true friends” in America pick very public fights with it, that’s precisely the perception they create, however unintentionally.

People like Cohen or the leaders of the URJ would be genuinely horrified if Meshaal’s eliminationist vision came to pass. But by their very public broadsides against Israel, they make it far more likely that Israel’s enemies will seriously attempt to realize this vision. Thus with the best of intentions, they are causing Israel enormous harm–just because they refuse to understand what neighborhood it’s living in.by @evelyng1234


Hamas Nazis and Their American Supporters


“For our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave,” the introduction to the Hamas Charter states. That isn’t the right way to say it of course. It’s supposed to say Israelis or Zionists. That way there would be plausible deniability. That way Thomas Friedman and Roger Cohen could look at it and believe that Hamas doesn’t mean them.

Not them. Not the good Jews who go to work every day at 620 8th Avenue in Renzo Piano’s modernist New York Times skyscraper. Certainly Hamas might have issues with the bad Jews, the ones who cling to the hills of the West Bank, who walk the length of their farms and vineyards with assault rifles on their backs, but not with the good Jews. The Jews so good that they’re hardly Jews at all.

But Hamas, that long branch of the Muslim Brotherhood reaching from Cairo to Gaza, does say Jews. Not a political identity, but a racial one. Still Roger Cohen and Thomas Friedman might protest that if Hamas has come to hate Jews, it is only because of Israel. The Anti-Zionist chicken gave birth to the Anti-Semitic egg.  Hamas however would beg to differ.

“Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims,” Article 28 of the Charter says, proving that the Anti-Zionist chicken hatches out of an Anti-Semitic egg.

Hamas, like all Islamists, does not seek to kill Jews because of Israel. It seeks to destroy Israel because it is filled with Jews. The Jews are not hated because of Muslim opposition to Israel. Israel is opposed because of the Muslim hatred of Jews. There is no deal to be made here. The trouble with Israel is not that it sits on a piece of land that someone wants. The trouble with Israel is the ethnic and religious composition of its people. The trouble with Israel is that it’s in the way of Islamic Armageddon.

“Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take,” Article 7 states. “The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The (end) time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him!”

During the last Gaza conflict, Al-Aqsa TV, Hamas’ own propaganda station, aired a music video that included the message, “Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah.” When two Al-Aqsa TV operatives were killed during the conflict, the New York Times’ David Carr penned a furious piece accusing Israel of “using war to target journalists.”  By journalists he meant the jolly folks from the Gaza version of Der Sturmer who were worshipping Allah by trying to kill Jews.

Another of the journalistic videos on Al Aqsa TV featured their cheerful ditty, “We are [Hamas’ Al-Qassam] Brigades. We kidnap soldiers. We kill Jews.”

Human Rights Watch criticized Israel saying, “Civilian broadcasting facilities are not rendered legitimate military targets simply because they broadcast pro-Hamas or anti-Israel propaganda.” And what could be more civilian than a genocidal propaganda facility run by a terrorist organization that is then run by a worldwide terrorist organization whose members have included Osama bin Laden. I am speaking of course of the famously moderate Muslim Brotherhood.

The Nazis used to fund the Muslim Brotherhood. These days we fund the Muslim Brotherhood. And the Third Reich at least didn’t get around to shipping warplanes to the Brotherhood the way that the Obama Administration has.

Hamas, we have been told often enough in Time Magazine, the New York Times and the Washington Post is pragmatic. And when Obama got on the phone with Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader of Egypt, he reportedly admired Morsi’s pragmatism. After Hamas’ electoral victory, the head of the PLO Washington mission said that power would make Hamas pragmatic. That was in 2006.

But pragmatism to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood does not mean what it does on 620 8th Avenue. Hitler, Stalin and Mao were pragmatists. They told foreign diplomats one thing while building mountains of skulls at home. Hitler had a pragmatic program. He wanted to conquer major portions of the world and wipe out the Jews. This is rather close to the pragmatic program of the modern day Nazis of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah,” say the famously pragmatic journalists of Al Aqsa TV. When an organization like the Muslim Brotherhood announces that “Jihad is its path and death for the cause of Allah is its most sublime belief,” then its forms of worship will by their very nature be very bloody. Some of us go to synagogue or church. Others go and blow up buses.

The religion of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood is killing Jews. And the latest survey of the Palestinian Arab public shows that 87.8 percent of them, or 9 out of 10, support Hamas’ war against the Jews. How do you find common ground with people whose form of worship is killing you? There is only one way. By joining the war on their side.

Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood are pragmatists. That means that they are willing to sit down and chat with New York Times reporters until it becomes expedient to chop their heads off. Being a pragmatic serial killer is all about this kind of divide and conquer triage; figuring out which of your victims to kill now and which of your victims to manipulate into seeing you as a moderate serial killer. A serial killer who can be reasoned with and counted on to keep the unreasonable serial killers in line.

Hamas’ American supporters have found their common ground with a genocidal terrorist organization by counting on that same pragmatism to keep them alive. That is how Cindy Sheehan can troop down to Gaza or Pakistan. It is why New York Times reporters in Gaza don’t meet the same fate as Daniel Pearl.

The endgame for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood is still that glorious genocidal apocalypse where every rock and tree will turn into a snitch. But they are willing to be pragmatists until they can get there. For the moment New York Times reporters are useful for covering up Hamas rocket launches from schools and hospitals. For the moment Human Rights Watch activists are good for faking a human rights crisis and allowing the terrorist group to rearm. For the moment America is good for some free money and even weapons.

For the moment the pragmatic serial killers will pick and choose which Jews they will commune with Allah by trying to murder. But moments pass quickly. And with enough F-16s, even pragmatically genocidal groups no longer need to be very pragmatic about their genocide at all.

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