Fortress Israel?Both NY Nana and NormanF sent me links to the same article from the New York Times Co. albeit from two different newspapers: The Times and the Herald Tribune. The argument made is that the combination of the 'brutal force' used in Operation Cast Lead and the 'racist' Avigdor Lieberman becoming Israel's foreign minister have brought about our isolation in the world community and have necessitated a 're-branding' of Israel as a kinder, gentler country.
I have several comments on this issue. First, the idea that Israel needs to work on its 'branding' is not an outgrowth of Operation Cast Lead or of the elections. It is something that the foreign ministry has been discussing at least since last summer. Here are some of the things I said about it then, and I stand by them today.
Israel IS a Jewish state and that's nothing of which we should be ashamed. I'd be curious to know more about the focus groups and whether they were a true cross-section even of 'upscale Americans.' We were told that the focus groups specifically did not include Jews who were deemed 'too passionate' about Israel. I wonder whether they also excluded fundamentalist Christians, most of whom are supporters of Israel. The video that Yehuda describes was horrendous: It showed a focus group that envisioned Israel as 'all stone buildings,' only men (women being hidden at home as in Saudi Arabia) and highly militaristic. That is NOT the country in which I live. But I wonder if the sample from which that video was produced was truly representative. I don't believe the average American views us as negatively as the people in that video.What was right with the foreign ministry's concept last summer is still right today, and what was wrong about it then is still wrong about it today. Neither the war nor Lieberman's accession to office as foreign minister (assuming that it happens) has changed anything.
While I agree that it makes sense to brand Israel in a way that people do not focus entirely on one aspect, I don't think that means we have to hide or be ashamed of the fact that we are a JEWISH state (which is what the foreign ministry is clearly trying to do - Zavi made some comment about how we are a state of three religions and that's what elicited the "Jewish state" comment). I don't think that branding Israel means we have to promote ourselves with pictures of bikini-clad women on the beaches of Tel Aviv - we're not France. We certainly don't need the likes of airhead Bar Refaeli acting as our spokespeople.
The foreign ministry may not like it because it does not fit in with their worldview, but our most loyal supporters are Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians. During the intifada - from 2000 to 2004 - the only foreigners in the hotels came from those two groups. While it may be a worthwhile venture to increase our 'customer base,' doing so at the cost of losing our existing clientele doesn't strike me as worthwhile.
Second, people who believe that we used 'brutal force' in Operation Cast Lead are being sold a bill of goods that's simply false. If we had wanted to do all the terrible things we have been accused of doing, there would have been 130,000 dead Gazans and not 1,300. War is brutal and sometimes people do things that they shouldn't do (someone on the radio this morning complained of 'indiscriminate shooting' by ground troops in Gaza, but that sort of thing is the exception rather than the rule). As I have explained before, the idea that Israel could have or should have responded 'proportionately' to 'Palestinian' rocket fire is a canard, and I suggest that those raising it take their spouses and children and go live in Sderot for a month and come back and tell me that the rocket fire is a 'minor nuisance.' The rocket fire is anything but a minor nuisance. People also think that throwing stones at cars is a minor nuisance, but I recall from when I lived in the US that people are charged with attempted murder for throwing stones at cars - and for good reason. The whole idea that we used 'brutal force' in Gaza is a creation of the 'Palestinians' and their allies in the Leftist media.
Third, although I did not vote for him, I vehemently protest the characterization of Avigdor Lieberman as a racist. Lieberman's idea of a loyalty oath - which I believe he would apply across the board - is telling people that if you don't like it here, and you'd rather live elsewhere, please feel free to leave. The United States also has a pledge of allegiance, and yes, I know, the Supreme Court ruled that you cannot be forced to say it, but the United States doesn't live with the existential threats with which we have been living for sixty years. Lieberman's idea of exchanging territory with a 'Palestinian' state is much of the same ilk. The 'Israeli Arabs' in the Wadi Ara triangle have been telling us for years that they consider themselves 'Palestinians' and that they don't accept the State of Israel. Given that we have thousands of Jews who live over the 'green line' in Judea and Samaria who want to be part of a Jewish state, and that the Arabs are insisting that their
Fourth, our election results are what they are. We are a democracy, we went to the polls and these are the Knesset members we chose. I'm sorry that we are no longer dominated by Kibbutznikim in kova tembles, short shorts and sandals since some of you seem to think that's what Israel means. We've grown up. And you know what? I'm not sorry about that either. You may not like our election results and you may not like our democracy, but we are the only democracy in this region. You can't dictate beliefs to people. Walk in my shoes before you condemn me. Sit on an Egged bus in 2002 or 2003 and wonder whether the guy who looks kind of funny is wearing an explosives vest. Sit in a restaurant in Jerusalem and think about whether you should get up and leave every time someone walks in with a guitar case. Go through the search routine at every mall and theater in the country and wonder whether the person behind you is going to explode - literally - out of impatience. And then tell me with a straight face why I should want a 'Palestinian' state. I'd rather stay alive than please you.
Fifth, why is it that the world ignores every other trouble spot and focuses only at the 'Palestinians'? Why haven't the Darfuris been sent $900 million in American aid and why does no one care that hundreds of thousands of them have been killed in recent years? Why did no one care about the Tutsis and Hutsus of Rwanda, the Bosnian Serbs in Bosnia, and the Protestants in Northern Ireland? Why didn't the United States throw $900 million at each of them? Why didn't the World throw $15 billion (at the height of a worldwide economic crisis no less) at them? Why is it only the 'Palestinians' that benefit from such largesse? Why is the World so obsessed with the 'Palestinians'? My Jewish readers all know why: The World hates us. Don't give me this peace and love and hope and change crap - the World hates us. And now that the Democrats and the Left have taken power in the US, we can look forward to the US hating us too.
An unnamed former highly-placed U.S.intelligence official has broken silence and says that America may soon be abandoning Israel in favor of the Arabs. “This is just the beginning”, he said, "Israel could be about to lose the support of the United States."Here's the interview with Hagmann (it runs a bit more than 45 minutes):
The source made these remarks in an exclusive interview with Douglas J. Hagmann, the director of the Northeast Intelligence Network (NIN), which is comprised of veteran licensed professional investigators, analysts, military affairs specialists and researchers. The group has combined their resources to provide accurate and well-sourced information via their website.
When questioned about the possible abandonment of Israel by America, Hagmann told Yonah, "The Obama administration is no friend to Israel, is no friend to the Jews in America and is no friend to democracy or freedom in America. …Just by his very appointments, we can see him filling positions of power with people who are anti-Semitic, who want to see Israel essentially dissolved as a nation, if not by diplomacy, then certainly by war."
In his report, the unnamed intelligence source told Hagmann, “I have every reason to believe, based on what I’ve seen at my level of [security] clearance especially over the last several years, that Israel will soon be completely on their own… or worse.” He explained this would happen “when our administration provides more support to Arab countries [with] financial and military aid, undercutting Israel’s defense efforts all while pushing Israel to succumb to the pressure of unreasonable demands designed to end with their political annihilation as a nation.”
Haggman told Yonah that this official broke silence because he had already retired from his highly placed position, and because of his knowledge of the NIN's (Northeast Intelligence Network) position as pro-Israel and the way it valued the relationship between Israel and America. Another reason, he said, was his own perception of the Biblical aspect of this scenario developing.
The intelligence officer explained that the turnover of American policy towards Israel could occur through a manner that he dubbed 'malicious intelligence," which Haggman defined as information that is taken from its raw form. It then is morphed into something else to promote different interests, "where intelligence and politics meet and often collide,” he said. A method “that has been molded and massaged to advance the agendas of a select few,” he elaborated.
In the case of the relationship between America and Israel, he noted, malicious intelligence is being used to turn over the U.S. to a more anti-Israel policy and forge ahead with a more pro-PA or pro-Islamist one.
Read the whole thing. Read Hagmann's article too.
I'd rather stay alive than worry about my 'image.' I don't know whether Hagmann's right, but I'm not taking any chances.