Sunday, October 13, 2013

Can Israel Be Both Jewish and Democratic? By Ted Belman.

Can Israel be both Jewish and democratic? By Ted Belman. American Thinker, October 13, 2013.

The Latest in Islamic Revisionism. By Joe Herring and Mark Christian.

The Latest in Islamic Revisionism. By Joe Herring and Mark Christian. American Thinker, October 13, 2013.

Q&A: Maen Rashid Areikat. By David Samuels. Tablet, October 29, 2010.

The Time for a Palestinian State Is Now. By Maen Rashid Areikat. Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2012.

Western Civilization Saved from Islam at the Battle of Tours. By Raymond Ibrahim.

In History: Western Civilization Saved from Islam at the Battle of Tours. By Raymond Ibrahim. American Thinker, October 13, 2013.

To Stand or to Kneel? By Jonathan Neumann.

To Stand or to Kneel? By Jonathan Neumann. Commentary, October 12, 2013.

I Cannot Stand with Women of the Wall. By Aryeh Cohen. Sh’ma: A Journal of Jewish Ideas, October 1, 2013.


Aryeh Cohen, a leading voice in the left-wing Jewish social justice movement, has pointed out a hypocrisy on the left which has baffled some Jewish conservatives for a while. He doesn’t stand with Women of the Wall–a liberal organization in Israel looking to establish egalitarian prayer rights at the Western Wall (Kotel)–because it is seeking to advance Jewish rights in an area not only “occupied,” but where an Arab neighborhood once stood. In other words: how can Jewish liberals promote Jewish egalitarianism in a place they don’t even believe Jews should be?
Beyond the particular question of egalitarianism, Cohen’s post in fact speaks to the wider issue of American Jewish liberal treatment of Israel. How are the competing claims of Jews and Arabs to be decided? “In some other world in which peace and justice reign, and nobody harbors any agendas aside from bettering the good of all,” Cohen writes, “everybody would be able to pray together, or as they wished, at the Western Wall or on the Temple Mount itself.” Unfortunately, as Cohen points out–and many conservatives would agree–this is not presently possible. The conclusion seems, then, that for now the will of one side must prevail over that of the other. The problem is that the American Jewish left believes the side that should prevail is that of the Arabs. If only one side of this conflict can pray on the Temple Mount, they say, it must be the Arabs. If only one side can have access to the Kotel, they say, it must be the Arabs. If only one side can have sovereignty in parts or all of the Land of Israel, they say, it must be the Arabs.
This sentiment crosses the border of self-effacement into the region of self-hatred. To insist that the Jews owe so much to others and are themselves owed nothing is to ask of one’s tribe to be nothing more than a doormat. Such an analogy might describe much of Jewish history, yet now that, thanks to the achievements of the modern State of Israel, it may no longer be applicable, the American Jewish left is prescribing it. If rights are to clash in the Middle East, they declare, the Jews should sacrifice theirs. This, we are told, is “justice.”
We are also told it is “peace”–thus compounding the perverseness of these liberals’ recommendations. If the route to reconciliation in the Middle East is through the elevation of one side’s claims over the other’s, is peace likely to emerge from Arab hegemony, under which Jews are denied most rights (including, as it happens, the right to pray on the Temple Mount, which is administered by an Arab authority), or through Jewish democracy, where Arabs are afforded maximal rights?
(Those who contest this last point are referred to Cohen’s admission that “Nothing in Israel, or in the Middle East, is disconnected from anything else,” yet these issues are treated by North American Jews as if they “exist in a vacuum.”)
The Jewish left may think that the answer to Israel’s problems is to go back to the 1940s. Others, though, think “peace and justice” might come a different way.

The Shadow of the Palestinian Refugees. By Alon Ben-Meir.

The Shadow of the Palestinian Refugees. By Alon Ben-Meir. American Thinker, October 13, 2013. Also at

The Palestinian Refugees: A Reassessment and a Solution. By Alon Ben-Meir. Palestine-Israel Journal, Vol. 15, No. 4/Vol. 16. No. 1 (2008/2009). Also at

Facing the Truth About Jerusalem. By Alon Ben-Meir., September 26, 2013. Also at American Thinker.

Is Islam Compatible With Democracy? By Alon Ben-Meir. American Thinker, July 13, 2013. Also at

Chinese State Media Calls for a De-Americanized World. By Liu Chang.

U.S. fiscal failure warrants a de-Americanized world. By Liu Chang. Xinhua, October 13, 2013.

China to U.S.: Who’s a “Responsible Stakeholder” Now? By Joshua Keating. Slate, October 14, 2013.

For Israelis and Palestinians, the Two-Stage Option. By Dani Dayan.

For Israelis and Palestinians, the two-stage option. By Dani Dayan. Los Angeles Times, October 11, 2013. Comments (mainly name-calling rants).


In the coming weeks or months Palestinians will likely put an end to the latest peace talks, just as they did in 2000 and 2008. Israel will of course be blamed; however, the reality will remain the same as it has been for the last 20 years: The so-called two-state solution is far from a solution but rather is a recipe for disaster.
Even if by some miracle Secretary of State John F. Kerry and the U.S. administration are able to push through a historic compromise, it may only aggravate the conflict, creating an extremist and belligerent entity on the hills of Judea and Samaria (commonly referred to as the West Bank) overlooking Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ben Gurion Airport.
With Israel’s major population centers in close missile range, a new confrontation would be almost inevitable, with dire consequences.
It doesn’t have to be this way. If we admit the failure of the two-state formula, we could slowly and realistically move toward peace and reconciliation.
The time has come to replace the old two-state paradigm with a new and more achievable goal: the two-stage solution. The first stage is ensuring security, stability and prosperity for both Israelis and Palestinians — what I call peaceful non-reconciliation. The second would be a gradual move toward a final resolution of the conflict, consolidating peace and political rights by bringing Jordan back into the picture and dividing functions, not territory.
Stage one is already under way without the need for lengthy diplomatic deliberations. In game theory terms, a stable equilibrium is already being forged. The status quo as it relates to Israelis and Palestinians is not an ideal situation, nor does it fulfill all the aspirations of either population. But the players on both sides know that they will not benefit from radically changing the current reality, given the existing options.
With some tragic exceptions, security for both Jews and Palestinians prevails. Both economies have been growing at decent rates over the last decade. A modern Palestinian city, Rawabi, is being built north of Ramallah, making it the largest construction project in the area. The Palestinians fly their own flag over their own government buildings. Their uniformed police patrol their streets. In fact, about 95% of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and 100% in the Gaza Strip are governed by their own brethren, not Israel.
In addition, Israel and the international community can and should actively work together with the Palestinians to improve their quality of life.
As long as security is assured, checkpoints and even the entire security barrier can and should be removed. The so-called refugee camps, in which the fifth-generation descendants of the original refugees still live in squalid conditions, can and should be completely rebuilt and modernized.
At the same time, the Palestinians must abandon their policy of hatred, incitement and glorification of terrorism to give a new generation of Israelis hope that peace can be achieved.
Naturally, even an improved status quo in Judea and Samaria would be a temporary situation. However, if supported by the world, it could prevail as long as a final-status agreement remains out of reach.
It may take decades to recover from the last 20 years of negotiations, which raised premature and irresponsible expectations that there can be two separate states between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. However, once this has begun to be achieved, the second stage of the two-stage solution can evolve. It will have to include Jordan.
Situated on what was once the eastern side of British Mandatory Palestine, with a majority of Palestinians among its citizens, Jordan bears a great deal of responsibility for the creation of the current territorial conflict.
Preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state, Jordan annexed Judea and Samaria after taking the area in the 1948 Israeli war of independence.
Then, in 1967, Jordan joined forces with Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Palestine Liberation Organization in an attempt to annihilate Israel. Israel prevailed, liberating Judea and Samaria, but Jordan continued to assert some responsibility over the Palestinians living there, despite the area being under Israeli control. Those Palestinians were given Jordanian citizenship until 1988, when Jordan conveniently relinquished its legal and administrative connection to Judea and Samaria, thereby reframing the conflict as one exclusively between the PLO and Israel.
The strategic hills of Judea and Samaria are the ancient Jewish heartland and the cradle of Jewish civilization; therefore, no other nation state but Israel can exist west of the Jordan River. This doesn't mean the process of self-rule of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria should regress; it should advance.
For instance, in what may well be a new and unique political model, Jordan could take full responsibility for residents of the Palestinian Authority, effectively replacing it with a Jordanian “functional exclave” while Israel has overall sovereignty. Israel would continue to be responsible for the hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens who would reside in their own communities. Amman would be the site of the Palestinians’ government, and they would receive full political rights as Jordanian citizens, able to elect and be elected to the highest positions of government. Gazans would have to decide if they wish to join or remain isolated.
In the rapidly changing Middle East, there are no quick-fix solutions. A new, gradual approach is needed that takes into account the Palestinian choice of war over compromise in 1947, 1967 and 2000. Israeli President Shimon Peres used to advocate for the “Jordanian option” and a functional compromise for Judea and Samaria, but he abandoned the idea for the sake of the Oslo accords. With the 20 years of hindsight, maybe the younger Peres was right.

Walter Russell Mead on American Liberalism, the Blue Model, and American Foreign Policy.

Walter Russell Mead on American Liberalism, the Blue Model, and American Foreign Policy. Video. Interview by Charles R. Kesler. The American Mind. The Claremont Institute, September 12-26, 2013. Also at Via Meadia, October 13, 2013.

Part 1: A Historical Look at American Liberalism. YouTube.

Part 2: The Blue Model for Economic Recovery. YouTube.

Part 3: The Four Schools of American Foreign Policy. YouTube.

Part 4: American Foreign Policy in the Middle East. YouTube.