at Bar-Ilan University on June 14, 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that Israel be given security guarantees in order for there to be any "real peace agreement." He repeated this insistence at the opening of peace talks on Sept. 2nd, referring to guarantees as one of the "twin pillars of peace."
That Netanyahu would want to build a peace agreement on a foundation of security guarantees is surprising, to say the least, given the long and ignominious history of such guarantees. Whether in the form of peacekeepers, demilitarized zones or promises of aid in times of crisis, security guarantees have evaporated like mist at precisely the moment when Israel most needed them.
Security guarantees have always been no more than a sop given by the U.S. during negotiations to lure Israel into making dangerous territorial concessions. One may add that such guarantees were in turn used by Israel's leaders as a sop to convince a skeptical Israeli public to go along with such concessions.
When Israel's birth was threatened by Arab invasion in 1948 and she repelled the Egyptians, she was browbeaten into withdrawing from Sinai, then cajoled into leaving the Gaza area in Egyptian hands. In return, she secured an Armistice Agreement that turned out to be worthless, a worldwide Arab boycott, and a heavy toll of life from endemic Arab forays across the Armistice lines. In 1956-1957, the pattern was repeated.
Forced for the first time to take preemptive action against the immediate threat of attack, and having then driven the Egyptians from Sinai and the Gaza area, Israel was persuaded by Western guarantees and finally lulled by a United Nations military presence into handing Sinai and the Gaza Strip to Egypt once more.
The threat of the Arab onslaught resounding throughout the world in the spring of 1967, and the Egyptians' closure of the Straits of Tiran, were followed by an incredible international response. The United Nations force in Sinai and Gaza - established as an international "guarantee" for Israel in 1957 - was immediately withdrawn at a word of command from Cairo. The American President could not find in the state archives the record of promises made ten years earlier to insure Israel's freedom of navigation. The American President and the British Prime Minister together were unable to get the United Nations Security Council (including the members who had joined in that promise) to consider the Egyptians' demonstrative flouting of that freedom. Overnight, the gossamer safeguards by which Israel had been deluded were blown away.
In "Peril in Sinai" (The Jerusalem Post, Jan. 22, 1982), Shmuel described how Israel awoke to the danger of relying on guarantees after the Six Day War. Quoting Abba Eban, then foreign minister, in a speech he gave to the UN General Assembly shortly after the war, Shmuel wrote:
"What is the use of a fire brigade which vanishes from the scene as soon as the first smoke and flames appear? Is it surprising that we are firmly resolved never again to allow a vital Israel interest and our very security to rest on such a fragile foundation?"
Eban spoke then for all Israel, and his undertaking was unequivocal: that no government in Israel would ever allow itself to forget what happened in 1967, nor ever again rest any part of the security of the state or the lives of its people on the assurances and guarantees of other peoples.
Unfortunately, the awakening was all too brief. Commenting on the Begin government's determination to evacuate the Sinai, Shmuel added:
That agonized declaration, that bold assurance of future steadfastness in the face of foreign promises, has been swept away like chaff in the wind. In the Israeli Government's headlong rush towards the disaster of the surrender of Sinai, it embraced anew the transparent illusion that an international force would be an effective barrier to renewed Arab aggression.
Today, Netanyahu doesn't talk of an international force (that will come later) but of demilitarization. He said in his Bar-Ilan speech, "We are now asking our friends in the international community, headed by the USA, for what is necessary for our security, that in any peace agreement, the Palestinian area must be demilitarized. No army, no control of air space. ... I told President Obama in Washington, if we get a guarantee of demilitarization, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state, we are ready to agree to a real peace agreement, a demilitarized Palestinian state side by side with the Jewish state."
But demilitarization is of little value. In "Peril In Sinai," Shmuel wrote:
Former chief of staff Haim Bar-Lev - in criticizing the surrender of Sinai on security grounds - pointed out that "all security arrangements, from demilitarization to the presence of UN forces, have one single value: a so-many-hours' warning. Even if all of Sinai is demilitarized, and there are large numbers of UN forces and an infinite number of American early-warning stations, the military value is of half a day, at most a day of warning".
"Demilitarization," Shmuel said, "becomes a fiction precisely when the aggressor decides that he no longer needs it." What's more, the Arabs would never accept demilitarization because it defeats their purpose. As he wrote in "Sharon's Egregious Blunder" (The Jerusalem Post, Jan. 3, 2003):
If Israel were to reach the nadir of political inanity of actually helping to establish a state for the Palestinian Arabs, the Arabs would reject with all vigor the idea that their state would be hobbled by a denial of major armaments. No less emphatic would be the hostile reaction of a large segment of the European and other nations.
Even friends, appalled and distressed, would find themselves bound, albeit reluctantly, to deplore such a limitation of sovereignty. They would find it intolerable.
For the Arabs the military issue is doubly critical. First because the very idea of demilitarization would be regarded as a blow to their honor; second, because a sovereign state has never been the ultimate purpose of Arab policy. The purpose is the destruction of Israel. A state could represent only the penultimate 'phase' in the policy of phases. It could be the staging ground - with a large and variegated arsenal - for the 'final phase.' That is the original Arab game plan.
Netanyahu knows this. It wasn't long ago that he ridiculed the idea of demilitarization himself. In a May 12, 2002 speech to the Likud Central Committee, he argued against then-Prime Minister Sharon's implied support for a demilitarized Palestinian Arab state.
"[I]t [the Palestinian state] will demand all the powers of a state, such as controlling borders, bringing in weapons, control of airspace and the ability to knock down any Israeli plane that enters its area, the ability to sign peace treaties and military alliances with other countries.
"Once you give them a state, you give them all these things, even if there is an agreement to the contrary, for within a short time they will demand all these things, and they will assume these powers, and the world will stand by and do nothing but it will stop us from trying to stop them...We will thus have created with our own hands a threat to our very existence. What will happen if the Palestinians do what the Germans did after World War I, when they nullified the demilitarized zone? The world did nothing then, and the world will do nothing now as well."
Listening to Netanyahu then, one would have felt sure that once in power he would not have adopted the same stance as Sharon. But, alas, in this world, there are no guarantees.
LONDON/CHICAGO (Reuters) - The worldwide costs of dementia will reach $604 billion in 2010, more than one percent of global GDP output, and those costs will soar as the number of sufferers triples by 2050, according to a report on Tuesday.
And that worldwide cost of dementia does not include the three trillion dollars spent by semi-demented American policymakers unable to ask a simple question of themselves -- if the goals, stated or implied, of two very different American administrations, were somehow to be attained in Iraq or Afghanistan, how would this weaken the Camp of Islam or in any way diminish the most effective instruments of Jihad -- deployment of the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da'wa, and demographic conquest -- in the countries of Western Europe?
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a 40-year-old former refugee and a prominent critic of religious extremism, addressed the 15th annual party congress of the Danish People's Party (DF) on Saturday.
She spoke about the importance of integrating non-Western immigrants in Europe and teaching boys about women's rights and sexual morality in the West from an early age.
After building up the party faithful by suggesting that immigrants should enter into a contract to respect the conditions in Danish society, Ali stoked the fire further by saying in English: 'I do not understand Danish, but I've heard rumours that your party will stop all immigration from non-western countries?'
After meeting applause again from the crowd, Ali turned on them with the rebuke, 'I too am from a non-Western country,' and that 'it is wrong to say that all non-Westerners can't be integrated into Denmark'.
The response that time was considerably less enthusiastic, but nevertheless party leader Pia Kjærsgaard remained supportive of Ali. As Kjærsgaard said to her: 'You are many people's idol, and you are my idol.'
Y dn't hv t b Plsh t rd tht, bt t hlps. Brkng nws frm Nwsbsct:
New research published last night claimed that all the consonants in use today were once joined together to form a single giant, unpronouncable consonant, surrounded by an enormous vowel.
Grammatologist Professor Theo Black of Cambridge University, who lead the research explained, 'The alphabet of the distant past took a very different form compared to its present configuration. The super-consonant existed for millions of years, before individual consonants eventually broke off and drifted away to occupy their present locations. For example, while the letters 'b' and 'z' are found at opposite ends of the alphabet, new evidence clearly shows that they were once directly connected to each other. Scientists have also long suspected that the letter 'r' once curved over the letter 'j' before they were separated by some cataclysmic linguistic event; and now we have the proof.'
The theory of consonontal drift was first proposed during the 19th century after possible fossilized remains of proto-consonants were found during detailed exploration of the Welsh language. More recently, scientists have found evidence showing a linguistic hot-spot traversing the mid-Pacific that has left a trail of young, almost consonant-free languages in its wake. Another fault line may account for the number of Premiership footballers with no vowels in their name.
However scientists are still at a loss to account for certain aberrations - the only explanation that anyone can come up with for the bizarre German 'ß' is that it must have arrived via a meteorite crash-landing somewhere in central Europe. The ancient Greek alphabet, it is believed, was an entirely human creation, invented by a particularly sadistic Victorian headmaster in order to torment public schoolboys.
An artist's impression of the super-consonant 'bcdfghjklmnpqrstvwxyz' nicknamed 'bryz' was unveiled last night by ex-Countdown hostess Carol Vorderman.
Listen to a 1330 WEBY Interview with Miami Israeli Consul General Ofer Bavly on Middle East Issues today
New English Review, senior editor Jerry Gordon will co-host another in a series of periodic radio interviews on Middle East issues with Mike Bates host of "Your Turn' on Northwest Florida talk radio station 1330AMWEBY. They will be joined by phone with Israeli Consul for Florida and Puerto Rico General Ofer Bavly on a live interview. Bavly had previously attended a Christians United For Israel CUFI Night to honor Israel in April, 2010 in Pensacola.
Israel Consul General
Ofer Bavly at April 15, 2010
Pensacola CUFI Event
Among the issues to be raised during this interview with Consul General Bavly are:
·An assessment of the recently concluded peace talks between the Netanyahu government, Palestinian Authority leader Abbas with active participation by US Secretary of State Clinton and Special Envoy Mitchell, Egyptian President Mubarak, Jordan's King Abdullah at the White House in Washington,DC, Sharm el Sheikh in Egyptian Sinai, and Jerusalem Israel. Among pressing issues is the matter of possible renewal of a settlement freeze by Israel and opposition of recognition of the Jewish State by the PA.
All the trouble in the world began, arguably, with a piece of fruit. And now it can end in a Fruit of Peace. From an email advertisement:
Show your support for Peace One Day with this limited edition Smoothie from Innocent:
A scrumptiously fruit-filled blend of peaches and raspberries, the smoothies have been specially created to help spread the word about Peace Day. From tomorrow, get two 1L cartons, or three 250ml bottles, for just £5.
Did you know that 21st September is Peace Day? Launched by British filmmaker Jeremy Gilley, Peace Day is a day of universal ceasefire and non-violence. It's proven to save lives, and aims to encourage young people to join the peace process.
For an altogether rougher kind of fruit, see here:
Obama's Aunt: "If I Come As An [Uninvited, Illegal] Immigrant, You Have An Obligation To Make Me A Citizen"
Obama's aunt says 'system' was at fault
Zeituni Onyango said President Obama played no part in her asylum process. (Jonathan Wiggs/ Globe Staff/ File)
By Vivian Ho Globe Correspondent / September 21, 2010
"I didn't take advantage of the system,'' she said in an interview with WBZ-TV last night. "The system took advantage of me.''
Onyango, 58, first came to the United States in 2000 with the intention of returning to her home country of Kenya, but she said she became ill and was unable to afford the return trip home. Onyango suffers from Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disorder. [What is the cost to Massachusetts taxpayers of treating that illegal immigrant's medical condition each year?]
She said she has been receiving disability checks of up to $700 a month while living in public housing.
Although Onyango admitted to overstaying her visit, she made no apologies during her interview. She said she lived in a homeless shelter for two years before she was assigned to public housing.
"I don't mind,'' she said. "You can take that house. I can be on the streets with homeless people. I didn't ask for it. They gave it to me. Ask your system. I didn't create it or vote for it. Go and ask your system.''
Onyango, the half sister of Obama's father, had been living under a deportation order since 2004, when her first request for asylum was denied. She was granted asylum in May, contending that as a member of the Luo tribe, a minority in Kenya, she would be a target if she was to return. [The Luo are the second-largest tribe in Kenya. The most powerful political figure in Kenya, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, is a Luo. Zeituni Onyango's nephew is also the President of the United States. How likely is it that "she would be a target if she was to return"?]
Onyango continually asserted that the immigration system is flawed. "If I come as an immigrant, you have the obligation to make me a citizen,'' she declared.
She was adamant that her nephew, the president, played no part in her asylum process, firmly demanding, "Don't drag my child into this.''
When WBZ's Jonathan Elias asked how she was able to afford a lawyer for her immigration hearings, she cited religious intervention. "When you believe in Jesus Christ and Almighty God, my help comes from heaven,'' she said.
The dhimmi syndrome is analogous to that of the battered woman. An abused woman will often vigorously deny that her husband is doing anything wrong, even when her life is daily at risk from beatings. She will be schooled by the violence to be grateful for any small kindness shown to her, and to insist that he loves her. All the abuse is her own fault. The dhimmi syndrome causes victims to go to extraordinary lengths to preserve their worldview of denial.
I respect but deplore the psychological power of this dynamic. Respect, because these are the strategies of survivors. Deplore, because such soul-destroying strategies rob people of freedom and bind them into self-deception. Indeed I was amazed to discover a Moroccan jurist who in his commentary on Sura 9:29 of the Koran said that the purpose of the dhimmi system is to "kill the soul" of the non-Muslim, so he will render willingly everything demanded of him.
MT: What can be done to reverse the trend of surrendering to Islam's demands?
MD: The most important thing is to understand Islam, warts and all, without camouflage, from the ground up, for ourselves. We must make sense of the theology - or ideology, if you like. We must also insist on reciprocity in all things. We need to recognize that handing over your worldview and allowing it to be shaped by an abuser is a terrible loss of freedom, and no good will come of it. We need to recapture our discourse, and demand that the word jihad be used where it is appropriate. We need to stop talking in circumlocutions which conceal and hide the truth. We need to stop protecting Muslims from being forced to account for their own religion's teachings.
MT: The Ground Zero mosque controversy has amplified accusations against non-Muslims of Islamophobia, fear and ignorance. Are they legitimate, and can we put our trust in interfaith dialogue to resolve tensions?
MD: There is this idea floating around that those who are speaking up about Islamic radicalism must be bigots and therefore they must be ignorant. Ironically the loudest critics of Islam are usually the ones who have studied the fundamentals of Islam the most rigorously. Those crying "bigot" can be the most ignorant, and will come up with absolute howlers, real nonsense, spoken with a poker face as it were the most serious thing in the world. They decry accurate and reliable information about Islam as "Islamophobic facts," just as the Soviet courts used to reject what they called "calumnious facts."
When non-Muslims go into interfaith dialogue without a good understanding of Islam, they are severely handicapped. The dialogue can easily be manipulated to become an exercise in da'wa, or proclaiming Islam. A good example is the label "Abrahamic faith." This is a Koranic term, and in Islam it stands for the idea that Abraham was a Muslim. According to the Koran, the faith of Abraham is Islam. Getting Jews and Christians to speak about "Abrahamic religions" has been a great coup - it is a manifestation of the Islamization of our religious discourse.
The problem of dialogue is especially acute if your Muslim counterpart subscribes to the doctrine of taqiyya, which favors the use of misleading impressions, or even direct lies. Everyone involved in interfaith dialogue with Muslims needs to understand that under certain circumstances - for example, if Muslims feel threatened - giving a misleading impression could be regarded as a righteous act. Not all Muslims will go down this track, but for some it is a real option, and there are plenty of clear examples of it happening all around us. In The Third Choice I give a very clear explanation of the doctrine of taqiyya, and explain how it arises in Islamic theology, how it is being taught by Muslims, and how it is being applied today...
He sniffed at Hillary Rodham Clinton's smugness, denounced Spiro T. Agnew as a demagogue, opposed Pamela Harriman's application to a prestigious Manhattan club and called the Peace Corps elitist. He presciently raised the specter of global warming, advocated for safer cars and championed equal rights and recognition for women, especially his wife.
He huffed about the defense establishment that produced over-reaching military advice about Vietnam, fretted about making enough money, objected to being branded a neoconservative, never recovered from being misunderstood or misrepresented for suggesting that the rhetoric of race would benefit from "benign neglect" and, after Watergate, expressed profound misgivings about having gone to work for President Richard M. Nixon.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, adviser to three presidents, a four-term United States senator from New York and a prolific author, posthumously reveals his insights into personalities and public policy in thousands of pages of intimate and candid correspondence that has been culled from the Library of Congress to produce "Daniel Patrick Moynihan: A Portrait in Letters of an American Visionary," which PublicAffairs is to publish next month.
The letters range from recollections about growing up (his neighborhood in Manhattan, Hell's Kitchen, was so completely Irish, he said, that "I didn't really learn I was Irish until I joined the Navy") to a request to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He was buried there after his death in 2003.
Nothing escaped his attention. He complained to Brooks Brothers about the holes in his socks, urged Mr. Nixon to reverse a Johnson administration austerity measure and use floodlights to illuminate the White House exterior. He described the Peace Corps as: "a rip-off by the upper middle classes. Fortunes spent to send Amherst boys for an interesting learning experience in Venezuela," paid for by "men equally young pumping gas on the New Jersey Turnpike."
In 1965, W. Willard Wirtz, President Lyndon B. Johnson's labor secretary, described Mr. Moynihan's report on threats to the black nuclear family as "nine pages of dynamite about the Negro situation." Mr. Moynihan wrote to Mr. Johnson, perhaps invoking their shared upbringing: "You were born poor. You were brought up poor. Yet you came of age full of ambition, energy and ability. Because your mother and father gave it to you. The richest inheritance any child can have is a stable, loving, disciplined family life."
He would later describe Mr. Johnson as "the first American president to be toppled by a mob. No matter that it was a mob of college professors, millionaires, flower children and Radcliffe girls."
Fully a year before his 1970 memo to Mr. Nixon recommending that the acrimonious issue of race "could benefit from a period of benign neglect," he explained that to "de-escalate the rhetoric of crisis" "does not mean reducing efforts. Not at all. But it does mean trying to create some equivalence between what government can do about certain problems and how much attention it draws to them."
When a Georgia man sent Mr. Moynihan $5 to get a haircut and complained that Mr. Nixon was destroying "the white people of the South," he replied, "It would not be appropriate for me to use the money for personal adornment or otherwise, but I do mean to add it to my annual contribution to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People."
He recounted a conversation between Mrs. Clinton and a health-care policy expert: "He had studied the subject all his life, she had studied the subject three weeks and already knows more than he." (Mrs. Clinton wrote Mr. Moynihan in 2000: "If I had listened to you about health care in 1994, I would be far better off today - but more importantly - so would the nation's health care system.")
In 1989, he wrote the Century Association, the Stanford White clubhouse for New York's cultural, political and professional elite, regarding an application from Mrs. Harriman, widow of the former governor for whom Mr. Moynihan once worked. During his 1976 Senate campaign, she supported a rival and claimed that Mr. Moynihan drank too much.
"I am asked to support the nomination of Pamela Harriman. I regret that I write with the opposite purpose," he began. He said she had slandered him "in the most vicious and hurtful terms." He had never entered her Washington home, he said, and "it is depressing to say this, but I would find it difficult to enter the Century were there any prospect of this person being there." (She was nonetheless admitted the following year.)
He could be as judgmental about himself as about others. In 1973, he pondered whether Watergate reflected "some basic moral and political failing both of Nixon and those of us who saw him in the mainstream of American politics, rather than as some cunning aberration." He asked: "Have I been a fool or a whore or both? Or perhaps something quite different; something perhaps to be forgiven."