Trudy Rubin: Trump Further Destabilizes Middle East

Columnist Trudy Rubin. Photo: @trudirubin

Columnist Trudy Rubin. Photo: @trudirubin

Despite the cold, over 100 people came to Congregation Adath Jeshurun (AJ) in Elkins Park on a Sunday morning to hear Trudy Rubin speak about foreign policy, including the politics and prospects for the Middle East. Rubin is the well known “Worldview” columnist for “The Inquirer” and is syndicated in other newspapers across the nation. The event was sponsored by the AJ Adult Education Committee.

Coming just two days after President Trump’s travel ban on Muslim countries, Rubin had much to say. The travel ban, she pointed out, does not reach the countries from which the largest number and worst terrorists have come to the United States. (Editor: By far, the majority of U.S terrorist attacks are perpetrated by Americans!) Neither does it take into account its possible destabilizing effects. For example, she noted that Jordan is an important ally of the U.S. But it is also host to one hundred thousand Syrian refugees, and is unable to afford to house or feed them or find them jobs. The American ban sets a precedent that is bad for the situation in Jordan. The government of Jordan holds a tenuous grasp on the situation, and our action endangers it. [Read more…]

Who Asked You To Boycott?

“Who asked you to boycott Israeli companies?” questions Bassem Eid, a Palestinian human rights activist. It may be surprising to those unfamiliar with the on-the-ground economic conditions for Palestinians in the West Bank to hear him say, “We Palestinians are not boycotting them, so what do we need you to boycott them for?”

Bassem Eid was born in the Jordanian controlled part of the Old City of Jerusalem in 1958, and grew up in the Shuafat refugee camp. He became a journalist, and worked for B’Tselem, an Israeli non-profit organization whose goal was to document Israel’s human rights violations in the West Bank. In 1996, he founded the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, whose mission is to monitor human rights violations by both Israel and the Palestinian National Authority. Bassem Eid has spent twenty-six years studying the United Nations organization that supports Palestinian refugees, UNRWA. He told me that his family’s experience was “of Arab leaders promising Palestinians short-term suffering for long-term benefit, since 1948. All we saw was long-term suffering. Everybody is using the Palestinians for their own gain. The United Nations, the Palestinian Authority, and others all make money by keeping us poor and dependent. For them, we are a business.” Mr. Eid is a vocal critic of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. About the BDS activists he observed, “They are trying to survive on the conflict, attaching themselves to it in order to remain relevant. Most of them have no idea what the conflict is about, how Palestinians live with Israelis, or about coexistence.” He has come to believe that economic cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis, even where it involves Israeli-owned enterprises in the West bank, is a key to improving the economic situation of Palestinians and of forging the bonds of economic inter-dependence and trust required the create peace.

Eid’s emphasis on improving the economic conditions of Palestinians, and his willingness to see Palestinians partner with Israelis to achieve this, is exemplified by his current speaking tour. Eid is on a tour of the United States, sponsored by StandWithUs, a pro-Israel solidarity group, with Erez Zadok. Zadok, the Israeli CEO of Aviv Fund Management, invests in Israeli factories that employ Palestinians. Like Mr. Eid, he wonders why the BDS movement would want to deprive Palestinians of their livelihoods.

Erez Zadok, Israeli investor

Erez Zadok, Israeli investor

Erez Zadok invested in SodaStream three years ago. The company’s mission, through its location in the West Bank, was “to make peace, and to also make soda.” Israeli companies located in the West Bank must comply with Israeli law. “Palestinians working for Israeli companies in this region earn five times more than the Palestinians who work for Palestinians’ factories,” he explained. “This money enters the Palestinian economy and goes to private consumption, to buy food, clothes, shoes and other needs. These Palestinians support their families and other circles of Palestinians working to provide them with the goods and services they need,” he added.

Last September, SodaStream shut down its West Bank factory due to pressure from the BDS movement. It relocated to a new factory in the Negev, next to the Bedouin city of Rahat. Three hundred Bedouins now work for SodaStream. The Palestinians who lost those jobs will have a hard time finding a new source of livelihood in a region with 23% unemployment.

Soda Stream Seltzer Maker

Soda Stream Seltzer Maker

The new SodaStream factory is within Israel’s 1948 borders. The BDS movement is still promoting a boycott of its products. When SodaStream was in the West Bank, Palestinians and Israelis worked together under the same conditions, receiving the same benefits, and the same opportunities. Some of them befriended each other, trusted each other, and respected each other. According to Mr. Zadok, “SodaStream manufactured peace, co-existence and normalization between the peoples.”

Bassem Eid and Erez Zadok are working together to achieve peace. They don’t believe that boycotting Israel is the way to get there. Bassem Eid is finding a very receptive audience in the United States. “People are thirsty for first hand information,” he said. “My message is probably upsetting and provoking to many of them.” From his perspective, it’s time to stop blaming Israel for the problems of the Palestinians. “Refugees from every other country have rebuilt their lives after one generation. It’s time for the Palestinians to also pull themselves up and develop,” he concluded.

Palestinian Official: “If We Had a Nuke, We’d Have Used it on Israel”

(CAMERA) On April 30th, a senior Palestinian Authority official, Jibril Rajoub, deputy secretary of the Fatah Central Committee and chairman of the PA Olympic Committee said in regards to Israel, “We as yet don’t have a nuke, but I swear that if we had a nuke, we’d have used it this very morning.” Most of the popular press has not covered this threat.

Maybe, you’re thinking, they haven’t reported this shocking statement because they don’t know about it. Maybe he said it in a closed room or maybe to himself. Well, no. Rajoub made this declaration on Lebanese television and the video has been posted, translated and transcribed by Palestinian Media Watch.

More after the jump.
The Israeli and Jewish press found out about it and reported on it, as did The Washington Times, and just as this post was writen, The Wall Street Journal too. In FrontPage Mag, Daniel Greenfield notes:

CBS News describes him in its bio as “Rajoub, a moderate, was a longtime player in peace talks and truce negotiations with Israel.”

The New York Times wrote of him as, “the West Bank security chief, who is known as one of the more moderate and pragmatic Palestinian officials.”

Perhaps these same news outlets don’t want to cover this threat to nuke Israel because it would give lie to their portrayal of Rajoub as a moderate. But what’s the excuse of The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, ABC News, NBC News, National Public Radio, PBS, etc.?

Secretary of State John Kerry is returning to the region to try to restart peace talks between Israel, and the Palestinian Authority and one of the PA leaders threatens to nuke Israel. This doesn’t strike anyone as newsworthy? Where’s the coverage?

Mahmoud Abbas’s words at U.N. need cleansing

Whatever your view of the United Nations resolution recognizing “Palestine” as a state, Mahmoud Abbas’s speech revises Middle East history — to the point of being downright insulting to supporters of Israel.

“Without a Palestinian state,” says Australian Prime Minister Bob Carr, as quoted by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “there can’t be peace in this region.”

What “peace in this region” can there be if the leader of the so-called state of Palestine demonizes Israel in front of the General Assembly of the United Nations?

More after the jump.
Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and forced expulsion of the Arabs from Israel in 1948.

Strange. That’s exactly what the Arab world intended for Israel from the instant the U.N. approved its creation as a state of its own.

It is fair game for Australia and five other developed nations to criticize Israel for apparent retaliation of the GA’s vote to recognize “Palestine” as an independent state. However, they opened themselves up to accusations of bias for letting Abbas get away with his brazen lies before an assemblage that was formed to solve the world’s turf battles through reason and fair play.

Carr and the other leaders — from Britain, France, Spain, Denmark and Sweden — probably did not even read Abbas’s speech before they summoned Israel’s ambassadors to register their anger with Israel’s decision to build 3,000 housing units in the West Bank.

Abbas lost all credibility when he declared:

“The Palestinian people, who miraculously recovered from the ashes of Al-Nakba of 1948, which was intended to extinguish their being and to expel them in order to uproot and erase their presence, which was rooted in the depths of history.”

Nakba” has been traditionally translated to mean “catastrophe.”

He then accused Israel of “one of the most dreadful campaigns of ethnic cleansing and dispossession in modern history.”

History contradicts Abbas. Israel accepted a U.N. partition plan to allow Jews and Arabs to live in separate enclaves… in peace. Instead, Arabs from within the partitioned areas and from five Arab nations attacked Israel.

As Israel held its ground, many Arabs fled for a variety of reasons, according to historians. Their leaders demanded they move out so Arab troops could conquer Israel, and the Arab inhabitants would return a few days later. Others understandably feared being caught in the cross-fire.

Perhaps Jewish extremists drove some Arabs out, but this has yet to be proven. If indeed they did, the Arabs provided them with the opportunity by initiating the war from the outset.

No doubt that some Israelis were pleased that a large number of Arabs fled, yet this was not their responsibility.

A half-century later, the Israelis offered the Palestinian Authority an independent state, but then-PA leader Yasser Arafat turned it down and facilitated a war against Israel.

Abbas likely bypassed the negotiating process because he is afraid that powerful blocs among his people are demanding more — the “right of return,” which will mean flooding Israel with 5 million refugees.

Granted, Netanyahu authorized settlement expansion on the West Bank, which gave Abbas an excuse to ignore negotiations.

In the midst of this 64-year span of events, a 30-year-old Israeli colonel known as “Yoni” died in 1976 while leading the rescue of 100 Israeli hostages held in Uganda by a group of Arab and German gunman. His brother is now Israel’s prime minister.

“Extinguish their being?…Expel them?” First Abbas’s associates cause the death of Netanyahu’s brother, and all these years later Abbas casts Israel as the villain. One needs not to have lost a brother to these creeps or even live in Israel to take offense with Abbas’s version of history.

Bruce S. Ticker of Philadelphia is author of the e-book George Costanza Goes to Washington available at TheWriteDeal.

 

U.S. Voters Opposed to Unilaterally Declared Palestinian State, New Poll Shows


— Alan Elsner & Nathan Klein, The Israel Project

  • Majority opposes U.S. recoginition of unilaterally declared Palestinian state.
  • Israel seen to be making efforts for peace, not Palestinians.
  • Voters who say U.S. should support Israel rises.

Some 51 percent of U.S. voters oppose the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state without a signed peace treaty with Israel, a new TIP poll finds. And, 54 percent believe that without a peace treaty, the United States should not recognize a Palestinian state.

The poll was mostly completed before Palestinian terrorists attacked a school bus in Israel on Thursday wounding two people.

More after the jump.
U.S. leaders on both sides of the aisle have also expressed their opposition to a unilateral declaration of statehood by the Palestinian Authority. President Obama’s representative in the U.N., Ambassador Susan Rice, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week: “The tough issues between Israelis and Palestinians can be resolved only by direct negotiations between the parties, not in New York,” referring to U.N. headquarters there.

Republican Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18, R) said in opening remarks, “I ask that the U.S. do all we can to ensure that the Palestinian lobby does not gain member status in the U.N. before negotiating a true peace with our ally Israel.”

Speaking about the theoretical declaration of a Palestinian state, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Founder & President of The Israel Project said: “Many Americans feel that the problem is not territory, but rather the culture of hate that encourages young Palestinians to commit acts of terrorism against Israeli civilians. They do not see how an empty declaration of Palestinian statehood can bring peace until the hatred ends.

Added Mizrahi: “Israeli and Palestinian relations are very complicated with shared power, water, security and refugee issues affecting both sides. These issues must be worked out before there is peace. It is vital to settle all the outstanding issues to the satisfaction of both sides with mutual respect and security.”

Supporting these opinions, 61 percent of voters say that Israel is making an effort for peace, while 53 percent believe the Palestinians are making “not much” or “no” effort.

Neil Newhouse, Republican partner of TIP’s bipartisan polling team, said: “There is a clear perception that the Palestinians are not stepping up to the plate on working toward a real peace agreement.”

Additionally, as political turmoil roils the Arab world, 58 percent of American voters say the United States should support Israel – a jump of seven percentage points since January. This represents a three-point rise since February to the highest level of support for this position since October, 2009. The survey also found an increase in positive feelings toward Israel – and negative feelings toward the Palestinians.

“Instability in the region and recent events in Israel are causing an increase of support for Israel among the American electorate,” said Stanley Greenberg, Democratic partner of TIP’s bipartisan polling team.

The national survey of 800 registered voters was conducted April 5-7, 2011 by Public Opinion Strategies on behalf of The Israel Project. The margin of error is +/- 3.46%.