The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oh, Canada

For the past 50 years, American anti-war activists have threatened to move to Canada when they disagreed with government policy or a sitting president. I never quite understood that position until today.

Reuters reports:
DEAUVILLE, France (Reuters) - Group of Eight leaders had to soften a statement urging Israel and the Palestinians to return to negotiations because Canada objected to a specific mention of 1967 borders, diplomats said Friday.

The government has adopted a staunchly pro-Israel position in international negotiations since coming to power in 2006, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper saying Canada will back Israel whatever the cost.

Diplomats involved in Middle East discussions at the G8 summit said Ottawa had insisted that no mention of Israel's pre-1967 borders be made in the leaders' final communique, even though most of the other leaders wanted such a reference.

The communique called for the immediate resumption of peace talks but did not mention 1967, the year Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza from Jordan and Egypt during the Six-Day War.

Americans often view Canada as our little sister, protected by its proximity to a superpower, sharing (in the main) the same language and culture, and taking the same geopolitical stance. But that was then.

In a compelling rebuke to the anti-Israel stance taken by President Obama in his recent “1967 borders speech,” Canada rejected the notion that negotiation begin with tangible concessions by Israel while the Palestinians are asked to do nothing. Unlike our President, who appears stuck in a Left-wing ideology that demonizes Israel, Prime Minister Stephen Harper took a remarkable stand, and he won. Unlike our President who gave a speech and then needed to “clarify” it once the uproar began, Harper was unequivocal in his support of the tiny Jewish state in the midst of a 100 million Arabs.

Harper, unlike Obama, stood by a long-time ally, a staunch Western democracy, and the only bright spot in the Middle East. Obama threw Israel under the bus and then needed to “clarify” his positions by weaseling the meaning of his words. To be honest, it seems that Barack Obama is more interesting in appeasing 100 million Arabs (ironically, he failed at doing even that) than remaining true to our ally and friend.

So now I get it. In a gesture that can only be characterized as anti-war (because rest assured, the current stance of this administration will lead to war), I’d like to move to Canada.

Yeah, I know, it’s an empty gesture and I won’t really do it. I like the USA too much. It’s just the mistaken policies of current president that I have trouble with.


On CBS’s Face the Nation, Harry Smith asked DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz the following question (video):

Smith: ... the Trustees [of the Medicare program] also said a couple of Fridays ago that this thing (Medicare) could be insolvent in the next decade. Doesn’t something really dramatic have to happen, and as the Congressman suggested, Republicans have a plan, do the Democrats have a plan?

Conforming exactly to the Democratic narrative, Wasserman-Schultz provided no inkling of what a Democratic plan might be, but she did attack:

Wasserman Schultz: Like I said, the Republicans have a plan to end Medicare as we know it. What they would do is they would take the people who are younger than 55 years old today and tell them You know what? You’re on your own. Go and find private health insurance in the healthcare insurance market, we’re going to throw you to the wolves and allow insurance companies to deny you coverage and drop you for pre-existing conditions. We’re going to give you X amount of dollars and you figure it out.

It might be worth parsing Wasserman-Schultz’ response:

“Like I said, the Republicans have a plan to end Medicare as we know it.”

Actually, Medicare will end as we know in little more than a decade—on its own. The Republican plan, however flawed, is an honest attempt to allow Medicare to continue for those who are 55 and younger. By the way, for those who are 55 and older, nothing changes under the Republican plan. However, if the system is allowed to go bankrupt in 2024, it will end for everyone. It appears that Wasserman-Schultz is unable to understand that harsh reality and unwilling to propose a solution because in her view, it’s politically effective to demagogue the issue and frighten seniors.

“You’re on your own. Go and find private health insurance in the healthcare insurance market, we’re going to throw you to the wolves and allow insurance companies to deny you coverage and drop you for pre-existing conditions.”

But wait, that’s exactly what Medicare recipients do right now for 20 percent of their coverage. It’s called Supplemental Coverage, paid for by the senior and purchased from the hated “private health insurance market.” And guess what? No one is denied coverage and no one is excluded because of pre-existing conditions. In fact, insurers compete and the individual—not the government—can pick and choose the price/performance that is best for him/her.

As I understand it, the Republican plan would effectively expand Supplemental Coverage to 100 percent of coverage for those under 55, but would subsidize the cost. Insurance companies would compete using government-mandated coverages.

We’re going to give you X amount of dollars and you figure it out.

Why is it that the DNC chair is so worried about allowing seniors freedom of choice? Why is it that the freedom to “figure out” what is best for you is somehow allowing yourself to be “thrown to the wolves?” Why do Ms. Wasserman-Schultz and many in her party believe that doing nothing will magically make the looming Medicare bankruptcy go away?

The sad thing is that there’s no point in asking her. Harry Smith tried it and got a content-free answer. Maybe content isn’t important to the Democrats in Congress, but I can guarantee you that it’ll become very important to every senior in 2024.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mexico is Watching

CNN reports:
(CNN) -- The Arab League plans to ask the United Nations to grant full membership to a Palestinian state based on borders with Israel that existed before the 1967 Middle East war, according to the state-run Qatar News Agency.

The move comes after President Barack Obama made official the long-held -- but rarely stated -- U.S. support for a Palestinian state based on those borders, a position that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said can never happen.

Of course, CNN is egregiously incorrect in suggesting that Barack Obama’s position is “long-held” by other American Presidents. They also conveniently forget to mention that Obama’s position is inconsistent with mainstream political thinking, or that the counter position, as presented by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to a joint session of Congress, received 27 standing ovations. But no matter. Left-leaning media sources will lie shamelessly and distort context to protect the candidate of hope and change.

So, we move on to other matters …

I’ve heard unsubstantiated rumors that Mexico is going to school on each move by the “Palestinians” and the Arab League. After all, the state of Texas was once theirs and if the Palestinians succeed , there’s no reason why the Mexicans can’t make their own bid for land lost. A brief history from Wikipedia is in order:
When Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, Mexican Texas was part of the new nation. To encourage settlement, Mexican authorities allowed organized immigration from the United States, and by 1834, over 30,000 Anglos lived in Texas,[1] compared to only 7,800 Mexicans.[2]

After Santa Anna's dissolution of the Constitution of 1824, issues such as lack of access to courts, the militarization of the region's government (e.g., response to Saltillo-Monclova problem) and self-defense issues resulting in the confrontation in Gonzales, public sentiment turned towards revolution. Santa Anna's invasion of the territory after his putting down the rebellion in Zacatecas provoked the conflict of 1836. The Texian forces fought and won the Texas Revolution in 1835–36.

Hmmm. I’d have to say that Mexico has a much stronger claim to Texas than the Arabs have to Israel. After all, there actually was a country called Mexico that actually did hold the territory that became Texas. In fact, Mexico existed as a Spanish colony and as an independent country long before the United States came into being. On the other hand, there was never a country controlled by today’s Palestinians, never a king, never a governing body—nothing. Ironically, today, after the Israelis unilaterally gave the Palestinians Gaza, the region is exemplified by (to quote Wikipedia) a “lack of access to courts, [and] the militarization of the region's government.”

But no matter, according to many people, including a significant percentage of President Obama’s advisors (and the President himself), the UN is the icon for worldwide moral governance. So the President may cluck his tongue and publicly disapprove of the Arab’s UN bid, but one wonders what he really thinks.

It doesn’t matter if the Arabs’ claims are counter-historical, it means nothing that the Jews lived in Israel for millennia before Islam existed, it’s irrelevant that the Arabs initiated a war and lost, it’s uninteresting that the Palestinians commit more human rights abuses in one week than Israelis are falsely accused of committing in one year, it’s not worth mentioning that in 1948 the same UN (well, actually its predecessor) gave the “Palestinians” a land of their own and the Arabs spurned the UN’s offer and attacked the infant Jewish state that was to be their neighbor. We live in a new day of blatant anti-Israel bias subtly supported at the very highest levels of our own government.

If the UN says that Israel must give back land to the Arabs, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t do the same for Mexico.

So you ought to visit Dallas while you still can. After all, the football field at Dallas stadium might be limited to 50 yards, with the remainder of this “Jerusalem of the NFL” being partitioned by the UN into a soccer field.

Friday, May 27, 2011


President Obama has been spending a lot of time addressing foreign policy issues and even more time overseas on a variety of visits. That’s what Presidents do when their domestic agenda and accomplishments are in serious trouble.

In just over two years, Barack Obama has spent close to a trillion dollars in a misguided effort to stimulate the economy. Investor’s Business Daily reports the frightening status of our economy:
• Businesses last month slashed orders for autos and other durable goods by the largest amount in six months.
• Industrial output dropped the most in April for any month since the start of the recovery, indicating the manufacturing sector may be rolling over.
• Jobless claims last week unexpectedly shot up and topped 400,000 for the seventh straight week, signaling that payroll growth remains soft — in fact, the pace of hiring may be slowing.
• April housing starts plunged 11%, confirming the housing industry remains moribund.
• Foreclosures last quarter accounted for 28% of all home sales — the highest share in a year and nearly six times above the normal rate.
• Consumer spending last quarter expanded just 2% after rising at a 4% clip in the fourth quarter.
• Net corporate profits last quarter fell 1% after rising 3% in the fourth quarter, and weaker earnings continue to act as a drag on stocks.
• The overall economy last quarter grew a lower-than-expected 1.8% vs. 3.1% in the fourth, showing gross domestic product growth is braking hard.

For those who are old enough to remember, these data are reminiscent of another failed presidency—the Carter administration. In those days, people referred to this as “malaise” or “stagflation.”

In fact, the only thing that seems to have increased significantly is our indebtedness as a nation. In response, the President presented a 2012 budget that was so bad that Democrats and Republicans in the Senate voted against it by an astounding 97 – 0.

Worse, President Obama has shown absolutely no leadership in addressing a need for entitlement reform. Although he’s quick to criticize other proposals and hesitant to condemn the blatant and dishonest scare tactics adopted by his party, he has avoided developing his own proposals to reform Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

So when I hear Obama supporters castigate Republicans for their “weak” field of presidential contenders, I can’t help but wonder why they don’t pause for a moment and realize that they have a very weak contender themselves.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


It’s fascinating to watch President Obama’s supporters in the media work hard to provide cover for his continual and ill-conceived pressure on Israel. This morning the AP (a clear Obama cheerleader) reports:
Middle East envoy Tony Blair says Barack Obama launched his peace initiative because he's concerned about what might happen to Israel if Palestinians unilaterally declare statehood.

Blair told an audience of business leaders gathered in central London on Thursday that Obama is "frankly worried about the position that Israel is in."

So, if we are to believe the AP, Barack Obama is so concerned about Israel that he’s asking them to (1) adopt indefensible borders with “swaps,” (2) negotiate with a group that cannot even state that Israel has a right to exist, (3) make no concrete demands of the “Palestinians” – none.

It’s also very troubling (but not surprising) to learn that the President reacts to Palestinian threats of unilateral statehood with appeasement. If the President is concerned that the Palestinians are wrong in their efforts to attain statehood via fiat, how about dealing directly with them?

For example, he could suggest that if the Palestinians proceed in this fiasco (which will likely succeed) that the United States will cut off all aid to them on the day their pseudo-state is declared. He could further note that when the new Palestinian “state” launches any attack across its border against Israel, it is an act of war and that Israel has every right to counterattack. He could state that he would encourage our allies and NGOs to observe and report human rights abuses (there will be many) inside the new Palestinian state and move toward sanctions once they begin. He could do all of that and much more, but instead, he asks Israel to act “boldly.”

Why not ask the Palestinians to act boldly?

A commenter at RealClearPolitics suggested a few bold moves that the President could suggest

  • Full and unconditional diplomatic recognition of Israel.

  • Full and unconditional recognition of Israel’s right to exist within secure borders.

  • Full cessation of all acts of war against Israel, including but not limited to: full cessation of all economic boycotts and embargoes against Israel; full cessation of military action against Israel by independent states (Syria, Iran) AND their proxies: Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade, ET. AL. (that is, EVERY single proxy).

The fact that President Obama does none of this belies the suggestion that he only has Israel’s best interests at heart. In fact, it makes that notion completedly laughable—except it’s not the least bit amusing to the people of Israel.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Two Things

Two things are pretty much guaranteed every time the President gives a foreign policy speech on the Arab-Israeli conflict: (1) he will backtrack (I know, the operative word is “clarify”) his remarks after the hard-left ideological nature of his biases surface, and (2) his myriad supporters will work very, very hard to convince us all that (a) he was brave to confront the problem directly and (b) his support among the Jewish community is as solid as ever.

In an op-ed in The Washington Post, Joseph Sargent does yeoman’s work to argue part 2b above. Using a tone that can only be characterized as whistling through the cemetery, Sargent writes:
The claim that Obama is on the verge of losing crucial Jewish support is at this point a Golden Oldie of sorts. Back in 2008 — after Obama said that “nobody’s suffering more than the Palestinian people,” and after Obama suggested he’d be open to unconditional talks with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for the destruction of Israel — there were reams of stories about how McCain would be able to make successful inroads with this core Democratic constituency. In the end, according to exit polls, Obama won around 78 percent of the Jewish vote.

Sargent’s wishful thinking is actually amusing and at the same time insulting to Jewish voters.

Jewish voters have had a lot of time to think about the President’s hard left view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, his distain for Israeli leaders (who the media conveniently characterize as far-right), about his long-time association with people (think: the Reverend Wright) who are blatantly anti-Semitic and anti-Israel, about his close advisors like Samantha Power who have had a long and virulent anti-Israel stance, about his continual attempts to draw moral equivalence between apartment buildings in Jerusalem and terrorist rocket attacks by the Palestinians, about his selective memory when it comes to the Palestinians rejection of Israel's right to exist and their inculcation of anti-Semitic hatred in their schools. A lot of time to think -- and reconsider.

The political reality is simple. There's only one state where Jewish voters matter in 2012, and that's Florida. In fact, there's only one part of Florida where Jewish voters matter, and that's in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. If Obama loses support in those counties, Florida swings red.

And after this speech (if anecdotal evidence means anything), Jewish voters in those three counties have taken their true-blue blinders off and are now aware that the President is more transparently sympathetic to the Palestinians than any U.S. President in history, including Jimmy Carter!

Sure, following item 1 in the first paragraph, President Obama has now backtracked at AIPAC, telling us all what a great supporter of the Jewish state he really is and how his speech was mischaracterized by his opponents. All in an effort to shore up eroding support that Mr. Sargent claims doesn’t exist.

We just had dinner with a typical true-blue Democrat couple in South Florida -- party donors, activists for Democrat candidates, the typical M.O. And you know what, Mr. Sargent, they've had it. No money this time, and no vote in 2012. And they're not alone. Not by a long shot. They’ve had enough time to think and the “idea” of Obama just doesn’t match up with the deeds of the man.

Jewish Florida Democrats -- with the exception of mindless partisans like Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- are beginning to realize that hope and change don't make for particularly effective foreign policy. So go ahead, Mr. Sargent, whistle through the cemetery. If Obama doesn't win Florida, he's toast.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


The echos of Barack Obama’s Middle East speech continue unabated. His stated position, although strongly supported by many in the Western Left and much of his beloved “international community,” is counter to American interests, historically tone-deaf, and completely devoid of any connection with the realities on the ground. Richard Fernandez comments on the “asymmetry” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
There was a certain asymmetry in the confrontation that often went unremarked. Israel was the world’s only Jewish state while the Palestinians were part of a larger community in the region, some would say indistinguishable from it. Israel’s existence was its all-in-all. On the other the hand, the Palestinian state was in the final analysis, optional to the Arabs in the region as a whole. Israel non-negotiably needed to live. Palestine’s nonnegotiable demand was that Israel needed to die.

What Barack Obama refuses to acknowledge is that the “Palestinian people” did not exist as a named entity prior to 1948. They were, and they remain, part of the 100 million Arabs that inhabit the entire Middle East. There was never a Palestinian monarch, never a Palestinian legislature, never a Palestinian President, never a Palestinian flag … so how can there be “Palestinian” refugees? The answer is that the surrounding countries have refused to absorb the “Palestinians.”

Jennifer Rubin comments on the refugee problem that the President seems unwilling to address directly by quoting the inimitable Alan Dershowitz:
Any proposed peace agreement will require the Palestinians to give up the so-called right of return, which is designed not for family reunification, but rather to turn Israel into another Palestinian state with an Arab majority. As all reasonable people know, the right of return is a non-starter. It is used as a “card” by the Palestinian leadership who fully understand that they will have to give it up if they want real peace. The Israelis also know that they will have to end their occupation of most of the West Bank (as they ended their occupation of Gaza) if they want real peace. Obama’s mistake was to insist that Israel give up its card without demanding that the Palestinians give up theirs.

Obama’s mistake is a continuation of a serious mistake he made early in his administration. That first mistake was to demand that Israel freeze all settlements. The Palestinian Authority had not demanded that as a condition to negotiations. But once the President of the United States issued such a demand, the Palestinian leadership could not be seen by its followers as being less Palestinian than the President. In other words, President Obama made it more difficult for the Palestinian leadership to be reasonable. Most objective observers now recognize Obama’s serious mistake in this regard. What is shocking is that he has done it again. By demanding that Israel surrender all the territories it captured in the 1967 war (subject only to land swaps) without insisting that the Palestinians surrender their right of return, the President has gone further than Palestinian negotiators had during various prior negotiations. This makes it more difficult for the Palestinian leadership to be reasonable in their negotiations with the Israelis.

Dershowitz is shocked that the President has repeated the same foreign mistake yet again. I’m not. The President is an inexperienced leader who takes advice from ideologically-driven advisors who believe that the “oppressed” Palestinians have rights that are non-existent in international law. In the fantasy world of Obama’s advisors, Palestinian Arab “refugees” and Jews can live side-by-side inside a post-modern Israel. They have neither the time nor the inclination to worry about Israel’s right to exist—in fact, I suspect that many of the President’s advisors such as Samantha Powers and possibly Susan Rice, aren’t convinced that Israel should continue to exist in its current state. If they and the President believed otherwise, they wouldn’t have thrown Israel under the bus.

Update 5/21/11
Richard Fernandez provides the following summary of the real problem (as opposed to Obama's fantasy viewpoint):
The key thing to remember is that Middle Eastern politics is about one faction imposing control over another faction. The Jews are but one of several minorities in the Middle East. But the Copts, the Druze, the Maronites and the sundry others are substantially in the same boat. President Obama isn’t doing anything to Israel he hasn’t already done to Lebanon. See where that got him?

Policy has fed the Levant to Syria in the hopes of peeling it off Iran and it has had failed. You can’t buy off the wolf. [a piece of wisdom that seems to elude the President]. It just makes them hungrier. Every minority is fair game. Even the Palestinians. Remember Black September? Done by Jordan, revenged on Israel.

Minorities are there to beat on . The worse things become in Egypt the more the Copts will be blamed. The harder the factional fighting in Iraq, the more the Christians will be bombed. The worse things are for Islamic states in the region, the more the Jew will be hated. Because the basic political idea in the region is to find someone to focus hate upon to divert the attention from the real problem. You are to blame because you either accept the blame or cannot refuse it. It has nothing to do with actual culpability.

But scapegoating doesn’t work in the long run. That’s why Obama’s ploy is doomed. Forcing Israel back to the 1967 boundaries does nothing to fix the dysfunction of the region. It is as irrelevant as astrology is to the stock market.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Ideologically driven fantasy is fascinating to observe—butterflies and rainbows, soft music, whale sounds, and … two countries living side-by-side in peace. That’s President Obama’s ideological fantasy of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or at least that’s what one could conclude after listening to his major speech delivered this afternoon at the US State Department. The problem, of course, is that fantasy has a way of colliding head-on with reality—something that the President prefers not to consider when pontificating on a conflict that has stymied every attempt at resolution since 1948.

But it gets worse. The President stated:
So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.

As an outspoken opponent of anything “unilateral,” it’s troubling that Barack Obama has unilaterally decided that the pre-1967 borders are appropriate for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement. And this after noting that "the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated." Are the borders not a core issue?

Never mind that those borders were not annexed via unprovoked aggression, but rather as a consequence of a war that was initiated by the Arabs, who lost. To the victor goes the land, or at least a very tiny part of it that (1) unified Jerusalem and (2) provided a necessary buffer for the tiny Jewish state that is surrounded by 100 million hostile Arabs.

Now, Obama has provided a perfect excuse for the Palestinians to demand pre-1967 borders, even if they may have been willing, at some time in the far distant future, to settle for less. After all, the President of the USA says it’s the right thing to do, how can Abbas or his successor settle for anything less.

The incompetence of the Obama administration with respect to the Middle East is matched only by the Carter administration. Carter jettisoned an American ally, the Shah of Iran, all in the name of human rights and “freedom” for the people of Iran. The result was, well, something less than optimum. Obama jettisoned an American ally, Hosni Mubarrak all in the name of human rights and “freedom” for the people of Egypt. Tony Blankley comments on the result:
That "democratic revolution," as the administration persistently called it, seems to have settled down into an ugly accord between the Army-run government, the Muslim Brotherhood and the fanatical salafists -- which the new regime has been releasing from the prisons into which Mubarak very usefully had sent those dreadful men. Killing Coptic Christians, attacking women on the street for non-Muslim garb and other pre-Mubarak attitudes are thus now back in vogue in "democratic" Egypt.

And now, the President unilaterally blind-sides our ally Israel by dictating absurd constraints on any settlement that might occur in the future. With this speech, the President has yet again demonstrated that he is either spectacularly naïve or dangerously ideological when it comes to the Middle East. He is no friend of Israel.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


The New York Times is certainly no friend of Israel—the only democracy and steadfast ally of the United States in the Middle East. In its news and editorial pages, the NYT subtly and repeated characterizes Israel as an oppressor of the beleaguered Palestinians—a people, the Time claims—that simply want to live in peace. When Israel defends itself from wanton Palestinian terror attacks against civilian targets, the NYT leads the left-wing media in sensationalizing Israel’s defensive attacks. But when the terrorist group Hamas, now a partner of Fatah, launches rockets across the border, when it murders innocent families, when it calls for all its people to pray for the destruction of Israel, the NYT is strangely silent. If the news is reported, it appears under the fold on page 23.

Today, the NYT provides op-ed space for Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. In what is nothing more than a propaganda piece, Abbas states:
The State of Palestine intends to be a peace-loving nation, committed to human rights, democracy, the rule of law and the principles of the United Nations Charter. Once admitted to the United Nations, our state stands ready to negotiate all core issues of the conflict with Israel. A key focus of negotiations will be reaching a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on Resolution 194, which the General Assembly passed in 1948.

It the stakes weren’t so serious, that statement would actually be funny. The Palestininian authority (Fatah) has given no sign that it “intends” anything of the sort. Its new partner, Hamas, calls for the outright destruction of Israel. Both Hamas and Fatah refuse to even agree that Israel has a right to exist. Abbas blithely avoids any mention of the terrorist atrocities committed by his organization and its new partner, avoids mentioning that the Palestinians have walked away from offered peace deals repeated over the past 50 years, and avoids and admitting that they have offered nothing tangible—absolutely nothing—except broken promises in return for very tangible concessions made by the Israelis (e.g., unilateral land concessions, housing freezes). And UN resolution 194—a 70 year old document that has no bearing in modern times—mandates a return of all “refugees”—a move that would, in itself, destroy Israel (oh wait, that’s exact what the Palestinians want).

Abbas also distorts history suggesting that the “refugees” were forced to flee. In reality, the Arab armies of 1948 were so sure they’d push the infant country of Israel into the sea, that they asked Arab residents to leave, promising that they’d be able to return and take over confiscated Jewish property. When that didn’t happen, the “refugees" were allowed by their Arab brothers to fester in camps that soon became small cities. Their suffering is wholly self-inflicted. And those many "Palestinians" who remained in 1948—they are now third generation Israeli citizens and lead productive lives.

This week President Obama will likely continue to champion the Palestinian cause and pressure Israel into still more tangible concessions, matched by empty Palestinian promises, or more likely, nothing at all. The President cannot accept the hard reality that the Arabs want to see Israel go away. They will stop at nothing—including using the Palestinians—to accomplish that goal, including creating an alternative history. But what is really shocking is that Barack Obama appears to believe the Abbas' distorted history, and defines his policy based on it.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Arab Winter

President Obama is set to give a major speech on the Middle-East and on America’s relationship with Islam later this week. In the post Osama bin Laden era, it seems that the President is again relying on his oratorical skill to reset our relationship with the Muslims in that part of the world. No matter that his Cairo speech accomplished exactly nothing, he’ll try and try again.

Although we don’t yet know what he’ll say, it’s likely he’ll make allusions to the “Arab Spring”—a fantasy conjured up by the media and the President’s supporters in an effort to put the best face on what is becoming a debacle in many Arab countries.

Take Egypt—a dictatorship prior to the Arab Spring, but also one of only two Arab countries at peace with Israel. Egypt certainly wasn’t perfect, but it did project a moderate stance toward the world. Many of us in the Center warned that the President’s enthusiastic support for the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak might have unintended consequences. It has.

In the first vote after Mubarak was deposed, the Egyptian people, by a vote of 78 – 22 percent, voted to position the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood (the progenitor of al Qaida) as the dominant political party. The freedom loving Egyptian college kids, the ones who espoused liberal politics, yearned for “freedom,” and used Facebook and Twitter to topple the dictator (if we’re to believe the hyperbole of our own media) got 22 percent! Not a good sign.

The interim military leadership of Egypt now allows weapons to be smuggled into Gaza and has suggested that the peace treaty with Israel be abrogated. But it gets worse.

Andrew McCarthy reports:
Screaming “With our blood and soul, we will defend you, Islam,” jihadists stormed the Virgin Mary Church in northwest Cairo last weekend. They torched the Coptic Christian house of worship, burned the nearby homes of two Copt families to the ground, attacked a residential complex, killed a dozen people, and wounded more than 200: just another day in this spontaneous democratic uprising by Muslim hearts yearning for freedom.

In the delusional vocabulary of the “Arab Spring,” this particular episode is known as a sectarian “clash.” That was the Washington Post’s take. Its headline reads “12 dead in Egypt as Christians and Muslims clash” — in the same way, one supposes, that a mugger’s fist can be said to “clash” with his victim’s face. The story goes on, in nauseating “cycle of violence” style, to describe “clashes between Muslims and Coptic Christians” that “left” 12 dead, dozens more wounded, “and a church charred” — as if it were not crystal clear who were the clashers and who were the clashees, as if the church were somehow combusted into a flaming heap without some readily identifiable actors having done the charring.

It’s interesting that the President—a staunch defender of human rights—has said relatively little about this. I wonder whether he’ll mention it in his speech.

A commentator noted that maybe we should call the “Arab Spring” the Arab Winter.” All things considered, that may be too optimistic a phrase as well.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


In his speech announcing that US special forces operatives killed Osama bin Laden, President Obama, like his predecessor, was careful to emphasize that the United States was at war with al Qaida, not Islam. Although this statement is appropriate, voices on the Left, such as Matt Yglesias, are already claiming victory—theiur (il)logic works sonething like this: if Osama is dead, al Qaida is defeated, and if al Qaida is defeated, then the war on terror can be deemphasized.

The problem, of course, is that the “war” we’re fighting isn’t against al Qaida, but rather against Islamism—an ideology that encompasses myriad extremist Muslim groups in almost every country with Muslims and millions upon millions of sympathizers around the world.

Ironically, where al Qaida planned and executed isolated terrorist attacks, Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Hezballah take over entire governments. They, not al Qaida, are who we must fight.

Barry Rubin comments:
  • An Islamist regime rules Turkey and has seized control of most institutions and is gradually crushing democracy. This regime has aligned itself with Hamas, Hizballah, Iran, and Syria.

  • An Islamist regime rules the Gaza Strip and has already set off one war and will no doubt do so again. Its patrons are Iran, Syria, and now Egypt. This government now exercises veto power over any Israel-Palestinian peace which means there won’t be an Israel-Palestinian peace.

  • An Islamist-oriented regime rules Lebanon, backed by Iran and Syria. It has already set off one war and will no doubt do so again.

  • The Iranian regime has weathered a major internal upheaval and is heading full-speed ahead toward nuclear weapons.

  • With Western help the regime in Egypt — one of the main bulwarks against revolutionary Islamism — has fallen, and whether or not Islamists there take over they will be a lot stronger, able to act freely, and direct a movement of millions seeking to Islamize and eventually make Islamist the largest Arab country of all.

  • Revolutionary Islamism is also a serious threat, though so far has been kept at bay, in countries like Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan while in other parts of the world it has spread to places like Chechnya, the northern Caucasus, the Balkans, Nigeria, Somalia, southern Thailand and the southern Philippines, and Indonesia. The resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan seems far from impossible, as does a revolutionary Islamist upheaval in Pakistan.

  • Serious Islamist movements have gained political hegemony over growing Muslim communities all over the West. While many Muslims are indifferent to the movement and a few courageous dissidents combat it, Western governments and elites often blindly favor the Islamists.

Parenthetically, these same Islamist groups—The Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezballah— all expressed "outrage" when bin Laden was killed.

The death of bin Laden is something to celebrate—long delayed justice delivered unequivocally and without mercy. But the war is hardly “over,” and any implication to the contrary is either naive or dishonest.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Tasted Cold

There’s an old Spanish proverb that goes something like this: “Revenge is a dish best tasted cold.”

In the case of Osama bin Laden, it took well over 10 years of grinding intelligence gathering, continuous analysis by hundreds of intelligence officers, and in the end, outstanding effort by a special forces team to bring down the world’s most infamous terrorist thug.

Most of the lessons here are symbolic and bin Laden’s demise telegraphs one very important message. Those who succeed in doing grave harm to the USA and those who try will be hunted down and killed. No matter how long it takes, no matter how many resources must be expended, no matter how much it antagonizes other terrorists.

The leader of a dominant Islamist movement has been brought to justice, but the movement itself will persist. For Islamist groups worldwide, the death of bin Laden will become a rallying cry for more violence. Al Qaida and its spawn will continue their cowardly attempts to harm innocents Some terrorist groups, notably the Palestinian group Hamas, have already condemned our work to eliminate bin Laden.

I found it interesting that Bin Laden was “buried at sea.” A nice touch by the President and his people. The last thing bin Laden deserved was a memorial in some Islamist stronghold where pilgrims could visit. Instead he sits at the bottom of the ocean—alone, anonymous, and invisible.

Congratulations to the administration, the national intelligence agencies, and the military for a job well done. The dish was tasted cold, but it was delicious nonetheless.