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Standing before the EU parliament in Brussels on May 16 2001, French EU parliamentarian Paul Marie Couteax made a stunning statement. After condemning Israel's actions to defend itself against Palestinian terrorism as the "theocratic excesses of this religious state," Couteax declared that Europe should supply the Arab world with nuclear weapons. In his words,
"I have no hesitation in saying that we must consider giving the Arab side a large enough force, including a large enough nuclear force, to persuade Israel that it cannot simply do whatever it wants. That is the policy my country [France] pursued in the 1970s when it gave Iraq a nuclear force."
Couteax's statement, though over the top, follows a flow of seemingly obtuse and illogical statements and actions by the EU and its member states since the start of the Palestinian terror war almost four years ago.
For instance, in the midst of the IDF's counter-terror operations in Rafah last week, Ireland's Foreign Minister Brian Cowan, speaking for the EU whose presidency his country currently holds, condemned Israel's actions in the most hysterical and factually inaccurate terms.
After meeting a delegation from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (the same people who gave a standing ovation to Malaysia's then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad last fall when he claimed that Jews were the source of all the troubles in the world), Cowan all but accused Israel of carrying out war crimes when he stated that "Israeli forces showed a reckless disregard for human life."
Placing the IDF's military operations directed against Palestinian terrorists on par with the murder of Tali Hatuel and her four young daughters in a deliberate attack by Palestinian terrorists, Cowan said, "I would once again remind Israel, the occupying power, that the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War is fully applicable to the Gaza Strip."
Like almost all of the EU's statements, Cowan's remarks ignore basic facts.
As a database comprised by the International Policy Institute for Counter Terrorism shows quite clearly, Israel targets terrorists in its operations while Palestinians attack Israelis indiscriminately. The institute's figures show conclusively that since the start of the Palestinian terror war, non-combatants have made up 80 percent of Israeli casualties, whereas on the Palestinian side, 56% of casualties have been verified combatants. Since Palestinian terrorists generally do not wear uniforms, Dan Radlauer – who oversees the database – explains that it is quite possible that the percentage of Palestinian casualties who are combatants may actually be significantly higher than that figure. This information is readily available to Cowan and his EU colleagues. They could easily have put together a similar study.
But that would not advance their interests.
In a revealing incident, earlier this month, the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG) released a report outlining the systemic abuse of power by Palestinian security forces against Palestinian civilians.
According to an account in The Scotsman, the report has not won PHRMG accolades for its brave and honest reporting in an atmosphere of terror and repression cultivated by Arafat and his henchmen.
Rather, in response to the organization's decision to document human rights abuses by the PA and by Israel, the group has seen its financial support from the EU slashed.
If one believes the EU's rhetoric of support for the peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the EU's actions make no sense. After all, if the EU is interested in an end to the terror war, it should be empowering anti-terror groups in the PA to uncover abuses and fight them. Yet rather than do so, the EU has shelved every report that has proven that EU funds to the PA are actually diverted to finance terrorism and incitement. If the EU wishes to play an active role in the search for peace and security in the region, it should not be condemning lawful Israeli actions against terrorists and ignoring the fact that, by its indiscriminate nature, Palestinian terrorism is an affront to the very notion of international law.
Yet, this is precisely the point. There is a yawning gap between the EU's rhetoric and its actual policies. Its rhetoric purports to work toward a workable peace between Israel and its neighbors. Its actual policy is to support the Arabs against Israel. Indeed, Europe has a three-tiered approach to the Arab world, each policy layer of which is inherently inimical to the notion of fairness and balance in relation to Israel.
Since the 1970s, Europe has embraced appeasement of the Arabs as a central plank of its foreign policy. This became entrenched in the wake of the 1973 OPEC oil embargo. As well, following the trail blazed by Charles de Gaulle, sympathy to the Arabs and hostility towards Israel has served Europe's interest in differentiating itself from the US. Because the US is committed to European security through the NATO alliance, Europe can curry favor with the Arabs from whom the US will protect it. At the same time, it can deflect Arab wrath onto the US, which is unwilling – for strategic and moral reasons – to sever its alliance with Israel.
Finally, Europe has a domestic interest in currying the favor of the Arabs over Israel. Europe has a growing Muslim population that has been inculcated with a fanatical form of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is also rife on both the left and right sides of the European political spectrum. Given this, it is good politics domestically to condemn Israel, while turning a blind eye to Arab terrorism and human rights abuses.
So what we have in Europe, then, is not an otherwise friendly continent that condemns Israel out of sheer ignorance. Rather, we have a hostile continent that condemns Israel to advance its perceived political and strategic interests.
While hostility towards Israel is comprehensible when it comes from a militarily weak and self-interested Europe, such refusal to acknowledge the reality of the nature of the Palestinian war against Israel makes less sense in the American context. The US cannot depend on a security guarantee from any foreign power. It must defend itself and its global interests. From this distinction, it necessarily transpires that US national security interests cannot be long advanced by appeasement of terror-supporting regimes in the Arab and Muslim world which declare the US to be the primary source of evil in the world.
Yet since last spring, we have seen concerted American moves toward embracing Europe's hostile positions towards Israel. The latest example was the American refusal to cast a veto on last week's UN Security Council's condemnation of the IDF operations in Rafah. This move must be seen in the context of an overall US policy of giving the EU and the UN a larger role in the formulation of America's policy towards Israel. This trend was instigated by Washington's decision last year to work with the UN, the EU and Russia in formulating and launching the road-map plan for peace.
The US has moved in this direction because it believes that its national interest is served by placating the EU and UN on Israel in the hopes that doing so will make them more supportive of US initiatives in Iraq and elsewhere. Yet, what we have seen in Iraq is that regardless of the role that Washington charitably gives to the EU and the UN regarding Israel, these bureaucracies do not respond by supporting the US in Iraq and elsewhere. Again, since the EU has an institutional interest in not working in concert with the US, an American turn towards Europe simply causes Europeans to take even more extreme positions regarding both Israel and Iraq.
It isn't that all Europeans are inherently hostile towards Israel. In an amazing display of pride and wisdom two weeks ago, French Jews boycotted a rally against anti-Semitism. The boycott came not because the Jews of France do not view anti-Semitism as a salient threat. On the contrary, they boycotted the rally because its organizers refused to link anti-Semitic attacks in the country to anti-Zionism.
Given the direct link between anti-Semitism and hostility towards the Jewish state in Europe, it is important to question what Israel has been doing to diminish Europe's perceived interest in appeasing the Arab world. Looking at the government's policy towards Europe over the past few years, the answer is that it has done nothing effective to change European perceptions. Last summer, for instance, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom expressed an interest in applying for membership in the EU.
When the EU condemns Israel, as it did last week, Israel may express revulsion. Yet, it continues to call for Europe to play an active role in the search for peace. In so doing, Israel maintains a fiction of European friendship and fair-mindedness in the pursuit of its Middle East agenda that simply do not exist.
Were Israel to treat Europe as the hostile force it is, it could craft a workable policy. This should be aimed at strengthening the voices in Europe calling for an abandonment of anti-Semitism and a reckoning with the actual threat that the increasingly radicalized Islamic world manifests to its own security.
As it stands, the current policy of sweeping European hostility under the rug of diplo-speak cocktail parties and press conferences is detracting from Israel's national security interests. The government's policy of denial is legitimizing hateful voices and blocking voices of reason to be heard above the din of anti-Zionist propaganda. At the same time, Israeli tolerance for European hostility strengthens the forces of appeasement in the US and weakens those allies who understand the strategic necessity of supporting Israel.
On Friday, May 21, buried deep in a lengthy Haaretz article, Amir Oren related a tidbit about a much-publicized incident two days earlier. When an Israeli tank fired a warning shot to the side of an approaching crowd of Palestinians in Rafah, Palestinians were accidentally killed. According to Oren, previously some of the marchers had “obeyed the calls over the loudspeakers to turn themselves in to the IDF authorities” but “were confronted by members of the terror organizations, who opened fire on them and killed two children. A senior officer in Gaza reported . . . that the IDF have in their possession pictures of this incident, of Palestinians killing their children. He expressed amazement as to why the army has refrained from publishing them.”
Naturally, Oren’s tidbit didn’t spark a firestorm of concern; it would have made Palestinians look bad, not Israel, and the focus of media, leftist, UN, and EU moralism is always to make Israel look as bad as possible. But when IMRA, an independent Israeli news-monitoring agency, asked the IDF about the incident, an official source confirmed Oren’s story and said the pictures had not been released to the media because aspects of them could compromise security in the field.
Palestinian aggression toward their own children is, unfortunately, nothing new, and the world’s apathy toward it is, unfortunately, nothing new either. “The world” didn’t get mad at the Palestinians when in the opening weeks of the “second intifada” in fall 2000, over 40 Palestinian children were killed who had been sent to the front lines by their parents. No surprise there, since the same world had yawned two years earlier when an Israeli video documentary showed a Sesame Street-like children’s program on Palestinian TV in which very young children sang songs about wanting to become suicide warriors and fire machineguns at Israelis.
When in November 2000 the Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, called for the complete “liberation” of all Israel by the Palestinians and said “The younger the martyr, the greater and the more I respect him,” the Security Council didn’t meet in urgent session to take up this open call to politicide and child sacrifice by the PA-appointed cleric. Sabri, when asked “Is this why the mothers cry with joy when they hear about their sons’ death?” replied, “They willingly sacrifice their offspring for the sake of freedom. . . . The mother is participating in the great reward of the Jihad. . . . ”
Reports that pictures of “martyrs” and child “martyrs” are plastered not only on buildings throughout the Palestinian Authority but in schoolrooms, that children avidly trade “martyr cards” sold to them in local shops, that Arafat calls children “the generals of the stones” in speeches and lauds their role in the violence, that the PA awards families $2000 per child killed and $300 per child wounded, that official PA fifth- and sixth-grade textbooks sing the praises of shahada (martyrdom), that signs on the walls of kindergartens proclaim children “the martyrs of tomorrow”—none of this has ever prompted demands for regime change in the PA or for efforts to rescue Palestinian children from the murderous abuse and manipulation. Nor have, to date, any of the 29 suicide bombings perpetrated by Palestinians younger than 18.
On October 8, 2003, prominent columnist Mark Steyn was inspired by a visit to the Palestinian Authority to call it
“a wholly diseased environment. On the West Bank, almost all the humdrum transactions of daily life take place in a culture that glorifies depravity: you walk down a street named after a suicide bomber to drop your child in a school that celebrates suicide-bombing and then pick up some groceries in a corner store whose walls are plastered with portraits of suicide bombers.”His words didn’t gain any special notice.
This year “the world” was treated to two televised cases of would-be Palestinian “child martyrs” who were save by Israel. In March, 11-year-old Abdullah Quran approached an IDF checkpoint in Nablus carrying—apparently unknowingly—a powerful bomb in his schoolbag. After a border policewoman discovered the bomb, he told her someone had promised him “lots of money” to take his cargo past the checkpoint and enter Israel-proper; indeed, an attempt was made to detonate the bomb by cellphone while sappers went through the bag. Not much would have been left of Abdullah Quran if the bomb had gone off, but the whole PA would have celebrated the exploit since Israelis would have died too.
Just a week later Husam Abdu, a mentally slow 16-year-old known to his peers as “the ugly dwarf,” was also caught at a Nablus checkpoint with a suicide-bomb belt. This time his adult handlers seem to have explained to him his mission while offering him 100 shekels (less than 25 dollars) for his efforts. TV crews captured IDF soldiers helping the terrified boy remove the belt and averting another catastrophe.
But Israel’s present operations against terrorists and arms smuggling in Gaza reveal that none of this has had the slightest effect on the media, the UN et al. The reflex is still to swallow whole the PA version of events and leap to condemn Israel. Nothing that’s been publicized about the PA, not even its systematically turning its own children into human bombs, has sullied its image in the least for its admirers. One can hope the IDF will see fit to release the photos of the terrorists killing the two children in Rafah; one cannot hope the strongholds of world opinion will be moved by them.
The sources I found for this report were all from one side of the fence. They include a Jerusalem Post article by the Israeli moderately right-wing professor Gerald Steinberg; two reports in the conservative WorldNetDaily.com; a Jerusalem Post article by Justus Weiner of the right-leaning Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs; an article in CapitalismMagazine.com by Reuven Koret, the right-wing publisher of IsraelInsider.com; the piece by conservative columnist Mark Steyn; an article by Ted Lapkin on this website; and an article on the website of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. Except for the embedded tidbit in Oren’s report in the left-wing Haaretz, I didn’t come upon a single left-wing source giving information, let alone an opinion, on the subject at hand.
For some reason, it’s “right-wing” or “conservative” to care about Palestinian child sacrifice and “left-wing” or “liberal” not to give two hoots about it.
P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Jerusalem whose work has appeared in many Israeli, Jewish, and political publications. Reach him at email@example.com
As war news turns sour, critics point their fingers at who else — the Jews.
It is a rule of thumb that has been tried and tested many times over the last 2,000 years. When things go bad, blame the Jews.
So it can hardly be termed a surprise that the problems that have arisen for the United States in Iraq have led some of the conflict's fiercest critics to trot out the same bag of tired tricks. When in doubt, they always turn to the familiar refrain of thinly and not-so-thinly veiled canards directed at Israel and the Jews.
The Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal, accompanied by a rise in insurgent violence in Iraq, has left the Bush administration looking shaky. But these setbacks aren't sufficient for the partisans and radicals determined to end the war on terror, and to return the country to its pre-Sept. 11 indifference to the Islamist assault on America.
From the beginning of the debate over Iraq, discrediting some of the war's more prominent architects has always meant one thing: smearing them as Zionist tools determined to drag America into a war for Israel's sake. It is a now familiar rhetorical drill: Claim that the war is an invention of the "neoconservatives," then produce a roster of the neocons that is solely inhabited by Jews.
DIPLOMATIC FLOP TURNS ACCUSERThe latest instance of this little trick was seen Sunday night on the CBS news show "60 Minutes," which featured a softball interview with retired Marine Gen. Anthony C. Zinni. Zinni rose briefly to fame in 2002 during a brief stint as Washington's envoy to the Middle East, an experience that gave new meaning to the word fiasco. The man was so ineffective that the post itself was obsolescent. The general who'd helped inflame Arab expectations that the U.S. would pressure Israel to appease Palestinian terrorists dropped from the public eye.
But there's no keeping a publicity-hungry ex-military man down. Zinni used the commencement of the war in Iraq to begin to try and even the score with his political foes inside the Pentagon. This campaign of self-aggrandizement via anti-war rhetoric has now reached its climax with the publication of a book (co-authored by techno-thriller maven Tom Clancy), coupled with the "60 Minutes" interview.
Correspondent Steve Croft played right into Zinni's hands as he described the Iraq invasion planners as "a group of policymakers within the administration known as 'the neoconservatives,' who saw the invasion of Iraq as a way to stabilize American interests in the region and strengthen the position of Israel.
They include Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz; Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith; Former Defense Policy Board member Richard Perle; National Security Council member Eliot Abrams; and Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis 'Scooter" Libby.'
Following in the footsteps of other media outlets, including Business Week, that have played the same tune, Croft managed to list only those members of the administration who are Jewish. That's a neat trick when you remember that neither Bush, Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld nor any member of the Cabinet is Jewish. Nor did he mention the fact that a broad cross-section of the defense and intelligence establishment viewed Iraq and Saddam Hussein as threats to U.S. security and to the security of "moderate" Arab states.
Responding to previous criticisms of his singling out Jews, Zinni stretched his thin supply of credibility to the breaking point: "Because I mentioned the neoconservatives … I was called anti-Semitic. I certainly didn't criticize who they were. I certainly don't know what their ethnic religious backgrounds are. And I'm not interested."
Given the confrontational culture of the "60 Minutes" genre, you would have expected Croft to nail Zinni for uttering such disingenuous tripe. At the very least, you would expect a follow-up question. But just because he plays "journalist" on television — like the rest of "60 Minutes" on-screen celebrities — doesn't mean he actually practices the craft of journalism. Zinni was allowed to get away with not only spreading a whopper of a lie, he wasn't even challenged to defend it.
Zinni's screed is, of course, just the tip of a growing anti-Semitic iceberg that stands ready to sink public discourse on the war into a morass of hate.
Other recent entries in the "blame the Jews" derby included Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D-S.C.), who told the Senate that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has been dictating policy to the White House and Congress for decades, and that the reason the Bush administration went to war was to gain Jewish votes.
Days later, another variation on the theme was voiced by United Press International editor-at-large Arnaud de Borchgrave, who wrote in a May 24 column in The Washington Times that the reason Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi was dropped by his former sponsors in the Pentagon is that he had reneged on a pledge to recognize Israel and sign a peace treaty with the Jewish state once he was installed in power in Baghdad.
JEWS CONTROL EVERYTHING?The embattled Chalabi was never in any position to make good on such a pledge, and it's highly unlikely that the Pentagon demanded he even do any such thing. But if, like de Borchgrave, you are a longtime critic of Israel, anything — even an unsubstantiated story like this one — is fair game.
And for those who are fascinated with the bizarre anti-Israel slurs circulated in the Arab media, such as the disgusting lie that Israel was behind the Sept. 11 terror acts, another example has popped up. The conservative Web site NewsMax.com circulated a story on May 24 that claimed "Israeli nationals" were behind the Iraq prison controversy. The unattributed report proved once again that in the anti-Semitic mindset, everything — even the perversions of out-of-control American reservists — can be blamed on Israel or the Jews.
Whether or not the war in Iraq proves to be a success (and heaven help the Middle East if our Islamist foes win), the idea that this project was all an Israeli plot is an obvious falsehood. Whatever possible gains in security the war inadvertently made for Israel are far outweighed by the potential boost to the American security and regional stability.
Should the tables turn in the coming months and American strategy is seen as succeeding in Iraq, you can expect to hear talk of Jewish plots cease. But don't worry, the next time anything else goes wrong, we know whose heads are going to be offered up on a plate.
As a result of a terrible explosion, that split our body into six million parts that were dispersed throughout the continent of Europe, the State of Israel was born.
Only such a terrible explosion could have overcome the critical mass of anti-Semitism and led it to that moment of grace on November 29, 1947. Afterwards the Americans and the Soviets changed their minds, but it was too late -- the State of Israel has been born.
Israel exists by virtue of a rare historic moment in which Western/Christian morality precisely matched reality at the right second. Every clock indicates the right time at least twice a day, but this clock has a million hands and they all fit into place in that historical moment, and the UN Partition Plan Resolution was passed.
Immediately afterwards all the hands started moving again and the world was stuck with us. For 56 years the nations of the world have been attempting to get rid of us, each in his own way. Those who think that only the Arabs and the Poles act like this are invited to join the long lines of people waiting to buy tickets for Mel Gibson's new film in New York, or to join the workers removing the swastikas from the walls of the prestigious homes of Jews in Toronto, or the policeman permanently guarding the entrance to the synagogue in Melbourne, Australia. We need hardly mention what is happening in France and Belgium.
According to the morality of the Gentiles, only when our bodies are dispersed in every direction, revealed to the light of day in the most horrible way possible, are we in the right. This is our basic ethos, our starting event. Here we built the Israeli Temple. We called it "Yad Vashem", and every time an important personage arrives we take him there for a visit. For the last 56 years we have tried to freeze the unique second in which the hands of the clock were matching. We have no morality other than yours, but come and see our dispersed bodies, see how right we are, see how justified is the existence of our country.
And so for 56 years IDF soldiers have paid the price of our flight from ourselves, the price of the Christian morality we have adopted. The weak party is in the right, the martyr may retaliate, but only with his last gasp, or preferably later.
Our bodies are lying here, in a million parts. Because it's immoral to cut off electricity to a neighborhood in which they're manufacturing Kasam missiles.
Because it's immoral to demolish houses of Arabs in Rafiah. Because how can we endanger the Egyptian "peace" with a demand to guard the entrances to their tunnels.
Because it's immoral to bomb a lathe above which an innocent old woman is living. Because we have to send a soldier to give her bread to eat.
We, who have become enchained by that "morality," will act cruelly towards our own people and send them into this Hell, and then thank the Egyptians for helping to locate the parts of their bodies.
Once again it seems that for a moment the hands are again matching. The Christian world is "shocked" at the sight of these savages playing with parts of bodies. We are again in the right in the way they like. Suddenly Netanyahu suggests cutting off their electrical supply. No, not in order to defeat the savages, nor to force them to stop producing Kassam missiles, nor to make them hand over their weapons.
Just in order to force them to return the parts of the bodies. The Jews are in the right when their bodies are smashed into pieces.
Meanwhile the hands of the clock are advancing, and CNN is showing other pictures.
Netanyahu has already changed his mind.
Until the next explosion.
"Our terrorist enemies ... seek to impose Taliban-like rule, country by country, across the greater Middle East."- US President George W. Bush, May 17, 2004
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