State of Israel

Pro-Israel advocacy with news and views.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Dumb and Dumber Conventional ignorance about the present war (NR)
In a variety of subtle ways, it is alleged that the war is part of a neoconservative (read, Jewish) plot to force us to fight Sharon's battles. This conspiracy theory usually unfolds with preemptive — and often angry — disavowals that the suspicion is not at all anti-Semitic. Then it proceeds to round up the usual suspects: Perle, Wolfowitz, The Weekly Standard, Commentary, etc.

Yet if we choose to concentrate on individuals rather than on the American public (which is 98 percent non-Jewish and living outside New York and Washington, and is being polled weekly), there are really five people who are preeminent in crafting American foreign policy: George Bush, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld. Three of them may be WASPs; the other two are African American. None are Jewish. All have a track record of being testy and independent, and hardly willing to be railroaded by anyone. And past history suggests that American successes in the Middle East usually lead to pressure on, not a free hand for, Israel.

There Will Never be a Palestinian Democracy (NR)
But it's unrealistic, I think, to expect anything like democracy in the southern half of the Middle East any time soon — and a dangerous illusion to expect a Palestinian democracy ever. Look, first, at Egypt, the population giant of the south. Most Egyptians still see Nasser — a megalomaniacal thug, much like Saddam Hussein — as a hero. Most still blame the same scapegoats Nasser blamed for Egypt's poverty, backwardness, and oppression: America and Israel. Egypt's current dictator, Hosni Mubarak, pretends to be our ally, but his government-controlled media is still pumping out the same old lies and excuses, still demonizing us, still pretending that Egypt's half-century of stagnation is our fault, still goading his people to channel their blind rage at us and at Israel. And what is true for Egypt is true for other southern Arab states as well.

Maimonides on War (NR)
Maimonides identifies two categories of justifiable warfare. There is the war which is a divine "commandment," including to save the nation "from the hand of the enemy that has come upon them." This requires no approval from other branches of government. There is also the category of war called "optional," driven by a need to ensure the future safety and prosperity of the country. The Talmud depicts the Biblical King David as making war against corrupt neighbors to provide his country, in danger of starvation, with sufficient sustenance (tractate Berachot, page 3b). This is not theft, but a matter of survival.

Terrorists at the Gate? War in Iraq and the escalating Palestinian rhetoric toward the U.S. (NR)
However, in the months leading up to the current U.S.-led war in Iraq, leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah have issued a chilling series of statements calling for holy war against American targets in and beyond the Middle East. This rhetoric, which unequivocally advocates the use of terrorism and violence, goes even beyond the anti-American sentiments that have exploded in the region.

Getting Syrious A lifeline to the remnants of Saddam. (NR)
With its "Arab" seat in the Security Council, Damascus managed to foment division in the West. Bashar Assad is not his father, but his technique is inherited from Hafez: Divide and rule. Jaques Chirac was conquered by the young dictator, and proceeded to enlist his German colleague, Schroeder. Syria's promise to the Rhine axis was as enticing as the one made on the Russian Volga. The coalition of the unwilling was built on Syro-Saudi promises of fat contracts. Better then pitting NATO's nations against each other, the Baathist elites of Damascus reconciled their Baghdad brothers with their Wahhabi financiers. The picture of Iraq's vice president embracing the Saudi crown prince immortalized the moment. Bashar Assad was like a new Nasser, or thought he was. In short, Syria had started the political battle before the U.S. started the war.

Appease Process Reporters disregard history
So reads the beginning of an Associated Press story last week that passes for objective but betrays the kind of insidious bias that permeates most mainstream news reports from Israel. This particular story is certainly no worse than many, and may in fact be better than most, which makes it useful as an example of what's wrong with the usual reportage.


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