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Friday, March 26, 2010

Takeaways from Washington

The trauma that our Prime Minister underwent this week in Washington leaves us some lessons that must be internalized quickly. Here are some things I think the government needs to take into consideration as it moves ahead. I'm going to quote from an article by Avi Issacharoff because I think it does a fair job of summing up American perceptions and I'm going to give what I believe our counterpoints must be.
Netanyahu must also recognize the changing reality on the Palestinian side. Until 2004, the Palestinian Authority was led by Yasser Arafat, who was perceived by the Americans and Europeans as a terrorist. Now, the Palestinian leaders are viewed in Washington and within the EU as true partners in the peace process and in the effort to create a Palestinian state. It is Israel's leaders - specifically Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Likud Minister Benny Begin and Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon - who are far from being perceived in that way. In the past, the U.S. saw settlement construction as a "stick" used to deter Palestinian terror, but today it is viewed as an obstacle.
Israel was seriously mistaken in attacking Abu Mazen only for weakness. There is so much more to attack about him and Salam Fayyad. For example, how many Americans even know that Abu Mazen is a Holocaust denier who continues to call for violence against Israelis and Jews? That point needs to be driven home again and again. Abu Mazen is a Holocaust denier who incites and threatens violence against Jews. He is also a corruptocrat. I understand why Obama is giving him a free pass. Why are we? Why are we pulling our punches?

The same goes for the 'educated' and 'cultured' Fayyad. He is neither of the above. He's just another power grabbing politician without a base. He too is corrupt and a liar. Let's call him that.

We need to drive home again and again that there is no difference between Hamas and Fatah. They both want to destroy us. Why is no one saying this in Washington? Why isn't the 'peace process' being exposed as a sham? Israelis all know it. The days of Shimon Peres' 'New Middle East' are over - it's been exposed as a pipe dream. So why aren't we saying that in Washington? Why are timid in our own defense?
Obama's reaction is not a result of his victory in passing health care reform. The American president doesn't needto be strong to offend an Israeli prime minister over a matter such as settlements. And despite the hopes of some in Israel, it doesn't appear that the U.S. Jewish community will go out of its way to defend Israel on the settlement issue either.

"Netanyahu should have taken into account the change within the American Jewish community," Dov Weisglass, a senior adviser to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, told the MESS Report. "Their support for Israel is decreasing and they will defend Israel in the face of the administration only on matters where there is a real threat to Israel. I have serious doubt that U.S. Jews see the Netanyahu government's territorial aspirations in Judea and Samaria [West Bank] and the Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem as an existential matter."
This is true. It's partly because we have pretended for the last 16.5 years that the 'peace process' will lead to 'peace' and that we can afford to give up Judea and Samaria. We have to stop doing that. We have to show again and again why Judea and Samaria are vital for Israel's security. If Judea and Samaria - God forbid - go to form a 'Palestinian state,' the Jewish state's long-term survival is very much in jeopardy.

But the second part of that statement is also true. We have lost American Jewry. Not all of it. But we've lost most of the non-Orthodox and nearly all of the intermarried. We have to acknowledge that - like it or not - our power base in the US is Christian. Without Christian support, America would not be supporting us. The Jews will vote for Obama regardless of what he does to us. The Christians won't. Either we cultivate that relationship or somewhere down the road they will tire of us and we will lose it. How do we cultivate that relationship? Stand up for ourselves. Show off our history. Judea and Samaria are where our biblical forefathers walked. They are God's country and God promised it to us. There's nothing wrong with making the security argument and the entitlement argument side by side. One doesn't preclude the other.
"The current Israeli government, which was founded on different guiding political principles and does not recognize the Road Map, essentially abandoned the doctrine outlined in Bush's letter. Israel brought the subject of settlement construction back to square one - and the Americans obliged them by returning to their default stance that Israel cease building beyond the Green Line."
For better or for worse - mostly for worse - Israel signed the road map. Democracies are expected to live up to their written commitments. But, Israel signed the road map subject to fourteen reservations. It is only obligated by the road map subject to those reservations. It never agreed to anything else. Why are those reservations ignored? Why were we silent when Condi Clueless decided to skip Phase One of the road map (a phase that the 'Palestinians' will never fulfill - it requires them to uproot terrorism) and go straight to Phase Three at Annapolis? Why aren't we asserting those rights now? Why are we letting Obama go to final status talks without the earlier phases being fulfilled? Why are we agreeing to negotiate 'final status' issues with an errand boy?

Why are we complicit in giving the 'Palestinians' a free pass on their obligations under dozens of signed instruments?

We woke up late to defend ourselves from the Goldstone Report accusations. But now that we have defended ourselves, we can see that there is plenty to be said in our favor. The same goes for the current crisis with the US. We have rights and we need to assert them. The American people aren't fools. The Congress is on our side. Let's give them the ammunition to fight for us.


At 10:22 AM, Blogger Ashan said...

Excellent analysis, Carl. Right on target.

At 4:12 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Exactly. Netanyahu can be a doormat for Obama and go down in history who as the Prime Minister who signed the Jewish State's death warrant - or he can stand up, change course and fight back for Israel's survival. Its said a crisis does nothing better than to reveal the true character of a man. And we will soon find what kind of man Netanyahu aspires to be.


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