Saturday, October 14, 2017

"Palestinian nationalism" is bogus

From INN, 13 Oct, by Dr Martin Sherman:

...both Jordanian and Palestinian [leaders] admit that a separate “Palestinian national identity” is no more than a contrived construct to undermine Jewish claims to sovereignty over the Land of Israel.

Thus, in 1987, while still claiming all of Judea-Samaria as part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, King Hussein declared “The appearance of the Palestinian national personality comes as an answer to Israel’s claim that Palestine is Jewish.” Clearly, this necessarily implies that, had there been no Jewish national claims, no Palestinian national claims would have been raised. Accordingly, we are compelled to conclude that the “Palestinian national personality” is devoid of any independent existence, and merely a fictional derivative, fabricated to counteract Jewish territorial claims.

Significantly, precisely this position was expressed ten years earlier by PLO executive council member, Zuhir Muhsein, in an oft-cited, but never rebuffed, 1977 interview: “[It is] just for political reasons [that]we carefully underwrite our Palestinian identity. Because it is of national interest for the Arabs to advocate the existence of Palestinians to balance Zionism. Yes, the existence of "a separate Palestinian identity exists only for tactical reasons. The establishment of a Palestinian state is a new tool to continue the fight against Israel and for Arab unity.”

Indeed, even in their “National Covenant” the Palestinian-Arabs not only affirm that their national demands are bogus, but that they are merely a temporary instrumental ruse to further a wider pan-Arab cause. 

In it (Article 12), they declare: “The Palestinian people are a part of the Arab Nation... [H]owever, they must, at the present stage of their struggle, safeguard their Palestinian identity and develop their consciousness of that identity...”

So again, we are compelled to ask: What other nation declares that its national identity is merely a temporary ploy to be “safeguarded” and “developed” for the “present stage” alone? ....

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Soros and the New Israel Fund: A radical anti-Israel agenda exposed.

In case you missed this, a year ago, from FrontPage, August 17, 2016  P. David Hornik:

HUGE HACK EXPOSES SOROS’S WAR ON ISRAEL
... hackers leaked reams of confidential reports from the Open Society Foundations, hedge-fund billionaire George Soros’s ostensible charitable network ...Soros, who is of Hungarian Jewish origin, is a major supporter of the Democratic Party and a dogged opponent of the state of Israel, or—at the very least—of the policies and values embodied by its elected governments. 

The leaks shed new light on the intensity of Soros’s animus against the Jewish state.
One of the Open Society Foundations’ aims was to “challeng[e] Israel’s racist and anti-democratic policies” and subvert its image as a democracy in the international arena.


Soros

One way Soros’s outfit did that was to funnel funds to highly adversarial Israel-based organizations. 

Since 2001 the largest total, almost $2.7 million, has gone to the Israeli Arab NGO Adalah. As NGO Monitor details, Adalah vilifies Israel as a “colonial enterprise” and “apartheid state,” charges it with “war crimes,” and calls for its international isolation.

Another $1 million has gone to another Israeli Arab NGO, the I’lam Media Center. During the 2014 Gaza War, I’lam expressed its loyalty to its country—a haven for its Arab minority—by calling on the notoriously anti-Israeli UN Human Rights Council to “[c]ondemn the deliberate, systematic and widespread targeting of Palestinian civilians” and set up an “international commission of inquiry” to criminalize Israel for its war against massive Hamas rocket fire.

Image result for new israel fund

Some of the funding to these and similar NGOs was channeled through the New Israel Fund. ...the NIF ...funds organizations “that are active in international and divisive campaigns that contribute to…the demonization and delegitimization of Israel.” As well as being a conduit for the Soros funds, NIF itself has received a total of $837,000 of them.

“Even more troubling,” as Liel Leibovitz notes on Tablet, “the documents repeatedly indicate that the network actively tried to conceal its engagements in Israel and the Palestinian territories.” As part of what NGO monitor calls “the secrecy and lack of transparency inherent in the [Open Society Foundations’] activities,” one document states:

For a variety of reasons, we wanted to construct a diversified portfolio of grants dealing with Israel and Palestine…and in all cases to maintain a low profile and relative distance—particularly on the advocacy front.

That has, of course, gotten increasingly difficult in a world of hackers and mysterious websites.

In seeking to blacken Israel’s name, Soros’s network had an eye for what it saw as golden opportunities. One, as stated in a report by the network, was “a particular shift in political dynamics particularly in the US reflected by the publication of the Walt and Mearsheimer article ‘The Israel Lobby’ [denounced as antisemitic] in Spring 2006.” 

“Another encouraging shift,” as Leibovitz notes, was “the rise of the international movement to boycott Israel.” As the same Soros-network report stated:

A number of factors make this a good moment to review this portfolio, including some new or improved opportunities we may choose to exploit. In recent years there’s been heightened international solidarity around Palestinians’ rights, the rise of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and other economic levers, and increased use and traction of arts and culture by Palestinians as a means to raise awareness of violations and the impact of the conflict.”

It translates into: make use of anything—including the BDS movement, whose explicit aim is to destroy Israel—to weaken, harass, undermine, and defame the state of Israel.
Soros, himself, said that he
“grew up in a Jewish, anti-Semitic home,” and that his parents were “uncomfortable with their religious roots.” They even changed their name from Shwartz to Soros in 1936 to disassociate themselves from the Jewish community.
That Soros has also acknowledged being neither “a Zionist, nor…a practicing Jew,” nor very “engaged in Jewish affairs,” is one thing. That he works to drag the Jewish state into oblivion along with him is, of course, quite another...

Sunday, October 08, 2017

The Palestinian State of Delusion

From BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 606, October 7, 2017, by Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) and a Fellow at the Middle East Forum:

“Occupation” has become an all-purpose Palestinian tool. On the one hand, the Palestinians claim the Israeli “occupation” makes serious negotiations with Israel impossible. On the other, they claim the “occupation” makes the development of local institutions and civil society impossible. Western and Israeli diplomats have largely avoided criticism of this strategy, possibly because it has become a central tenet of Palestinian identity.

A consistent Palestinian strategy for seeking statehood while blaming Israel for its absence has been codified through the narrative of “occupation.” The anniversary of the 1967 war brought this to the forefront in endless accusations regarding the Israeli “occupation” of the West Bank. There is even an assertion that Gaza is still “occupied.”


PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi: "Quenn of Delusion". 
(photo credit:Wikimedia Commons)

Occupation is a Palestinian tool to avoid negotiations, since “no tactical brilliance in negotiations, no amount of expert preparation, no perfect alignment of the stars can overcome that obstacle.” Nor is progress in Palestinian economics, institution-building, or civil society possible, because –  as Nabeel Kassis, Palestinian Minister for Finance, put it – “Development under occupation is a charade.” Even the Palestinian Authority’s own repression and crackdown on freedom of the press is, according to Hanan Ashrawi, caused “of course [by] the Israeli occupation.” And despite the palpable underdevelopment of Palestinian institutions and civil society, Europe must keep funding them, since “Preparedness for several possible scenarios with a long-term focus on functioning institutions is what is required from the EU and other donors in Palestine.”

In 2011, when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas put forward the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) at the UN, we saw this process in action. The approach is specifically designed to prevent any direct negotiations with the State of Israel. Some Palestinian supporters even opposed the UDI precisely because Palestine “lacks the most essential elements of statehood: independence and sovereignty, and effective control over its territory. The fact is that Israel, the occupying power, has the final say in most matters affecting the destiny of the Palestinian people.”

Despite the high-sounding rhetoric about the declaration, which followed the 1998 Palestinian “Declaration of Independence,” its goal was to put the onus for a Palestinian state on the UN. But Palestinians are already treated by the UN like no other entity, whether state or people. Vast financial and administrative resources are dedicated to the “Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.” Despite these efforts, which have cost many millions and have lasted almost 70 years, long predating the 1967 “occupation,” there is still no Palestinian state.

Palestinians and their supporters want to have the occupation both ways. It is the trump card for their own refusal to negotiate and failure to develop their own society, but it is also a useful tool for further internationalization of the conflict and prolongation of their international welfare status.

This pattern has been clear for decades. Even Hillary Clinton, then US Secretary of State, understood the fa├žade. “There is no substitute for face-to-face discussion and for an agreement that leads to a just and lasting peace,” she said. “That is the only path that will lead to the fulfillment of the Palestinian national aspirations … Nor is it viable to build the institutions of a future state without the negotiations that will ultimately create it.”

Until now, however, successive American administrations have challenged only Palestinian rhetoric, not Palestinian methods – and the rhetoric of “occupation” has not been directly challenged at all. This is because, alongside “refugee-ness” and victimhood, it stands close to the center of Palestinian identity, at least in political terms.

The UDI strategy was a diplomatic way of selling the so-called “occupation.” Nothing can happen in Palestinian society or politics, such as the development of Palestinian state institutions or a culture of peaceful coexistence with Israel, because of the “occupation.” Empty symbolism like the UDI shrewdly facilitates the long-term Palestinian goal of eradicating Israel by co-opting the UN and the international community of NGOs. This long march through the institutions has broadened the global delegitimization of Israel at a low cost. The inevitable failure of UDI efforts to create a viable Palestine nonetheless rally the cause, while its political successes undermine Israel. The speed of change is slow enough to maintain the illusion of peace and all-important Western aid.

Threats are part of any diplomatic toolbox, and Palestinians excel at them. Insufficient American trumpeting of “even-handedness,” and, above all, any challenges to Palestinian narratives of victimhood (and the resulting need for international aid), produce new rounds of threats. The Palestinian Authority now sees stagnation and lack of appetite within the Trump administration, especially after Jared Kushner’s last visit. Thus did Ahmad Majdalani, an aide to Abbas, comment after the meeting that “if the US team doesn’t bring answers to our questions this time, we are going to look into our options, because the status quo is not working for our interests.”

A new approach to internationalizing the conflict and promoting the Palestinian narrative is being developed. Hence the plan to change the international definition of “Palestinian territories under occupation” into “a Palestinian state under occupation.” This would shift attention back to the “occupation” while requiring nothing from the Palestinian Authority.

Of course, declaring a de facto state does not make it a reality. Nor will declaring that state to be “under occupation.” The reality is that both the essential non-existence and the victimized character of the Palestinian state represent a conscious decision to embrace failure. This will not change unless there are direct negotiations, a choice the PA has consistently refused.

While a functioning Palestinian state remains desirable, it is telling that the Palestinian leadership has refused to directly negotiate with Israel and uses bodies like the UN to endorse a “virtual” state with no viable institutions. Is the Palestinian goal a state of their own, or just the erasure of Israel? If the latter, it is to be followed by what? Insisting upon a Palestinian state must go hand in hand with reviving the moribund Palestinian political system and institutions that would support it, like a free press. But these are demands that should come first from Palestinians. When such demands come from Israel or Western countries, they collide with the narrative of “occupation.”

Palestinian nationalism has never seen the conflict as one between two national groups with legitimate claims and aspirations. Israel’s existence – indeed,  Zionism itself, the very idea of Jewish nationalism – is regarded as wholly illegitimate. Palestinian acceptance of the two-state solution was a means of appeasing the West and its stated desire for all parties to live in peace according to democratic, national ideals. But for Arafat in his day and now for Mahmoud Abbas, the two-state solution was a mechanism with which to buy time until the Palestinians can finally overcome and defeat Israel. The language of “occupation” plays a key role.

Whether Palestinians think they are an “occupied state” or “Palestinian territories under occupation,” as long as Palestinians cling to the notion of being “occupied” and Israel remains the “occupier” we are destined to see more of the dynamics of the past and fewer possibilities in the future. Until we see more self-awareness, self-criticism, and a sense of accountability, Palestinian identity and statehood will remain occupied in perpetuity. Palestine is indeed “occupied” by shadows of its own making.