Friday, February 27, 2009

U.S. Pulls Out Of Durban II

U.S. pulling out of ‘Durban II’ conference

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The Obama administration has decided to boycott the so-called Durban II conference out of concerns for anti-Semitism.

Multiple sources on a conference call with the White House on Friday told JTA that the Obama administration had opted not to attend any further preparatory meetings ahead of the planned U.N. conference against racism in Geneva in April.

The conference reprises the 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa that devolved into an anti-Jewish free-for-all. Canada and Israel have opted not to attend the conference, and some U.S. Jewish groups had been pressing the United States to do the same.

Preparations for a draft document so far have seen Iran leading a coterie of nations blocking inclusion of anything that might guarantee Jewish protections – including mention of the Holocaust – while inserting draconian language guarding Islam against "insult."

The State Department sent a delegation, including a senior staffer from the American Jewish Committee, to this month's preparatory talks. The delegation's conclusions were that the anti-Israel and anti-Western tendencies were too deeply entrenched to excise.

Now that the United States is withdrawing from the conference, European nations are expected to follow.

Speaking for the White House on Friday's call were Samantha Power and James Warlick, who handle international organizations for, respectively, the national security council and the State Department; and Jennifer Simon, an adviser to Susan Rice, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

More on Durban Hate-Fest

President Obama: Boycott Durban II!

This is an update on the Durban Conference from The Jerusalem Post Online

Michael, Blackburn, Sr.

The draft document for the United Nations anti-racism conference, dubbed Durban II, is problematic both for Israel and western democracies in general, Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva Roni Leshno Yaar told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

Besides issues relating to Israel, the draft has problematic paragraphs regarding free speech, defamation of religion and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, he said.
"At this stage it is not possible to say what in the text would improve, if at all. In fact I expect the text to get only worse on all issues which are important for western democracy," Leshno Yaar said in a telephone interview from Geneva.
He spoke as representatives from 190 nations have been meeting in Geneva to debate the language for a document in which Israel is alluded to as a "racist" and "apartheid" power.
The final draft will be presented at an April meeting in Geneva, which is the follow-up to the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, which took place in Durban, South Africa.
Israel and the United States walked out of the 2001 conference to protest its disintegration into an anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate-fest. Israel and Canada have already announced they do not intend to participate in this April's conference in Geneva.

The United States has yet to announce whether it will participate, but it has been present in Geneva this week with an eye toward helping to produce an acceptable draft.
On Friday, the State Department stated that it had gone to the preparatory meetings in Geneva "to work with countries that want to achieve a successful review conference" and added that the United States had "strong reservations about the direction of the conference, as the draft document singles out Israel for criticism, places unacceptable restrictions on freedom of expression under the guise of defaming religion, and calls for payment of reparations for slavery."
While in Geneva, US representatives met with 30 national delegations to outline their concerns.
The initial draft of the Durban II text, posted on the United Nations Web site, spoke of the suffering of the Palestinians under occupation.
"A foreign occupation founded on settlements, laws based on racial discrimination with the aim of continuing domination of the occupied territories," it adds, is a "contemporary form of apartheid and a serious threat to international peace and security."
An alternative paragraph calls for the right of return for Palestinian refugees and refers to the "racial policies of the occupying power." Israel itself is not named in the document, although the reader can clearly understand where it is being referenced.
Israel has boycotted the preparatory meetings but has kept close tabs on the proceedings and has been lobbying countries to abstain, Leshno Yaar said.
In the last week, the Palestinians tried to introduce language into the document regarding the 2004 advisory ruling by the International Court of Justice at The Hague against the security barrier, said Leshno Yaar.
The Americans were present but did not appear to have made improvement in the document, which he said "is getting worse every day."
Irwin Cotler, a Canadian MP and former justice minister, told the Post that the conference had been initially designed to speak about global issues relating to racism without singling out any country or group.
Israel was the only country that was alluded to in this way, he said.
"Any reference to Israel, directly or indirectly, is wrong and illegitimate, not only in the eyes of Israel but also in the eyes of all western countries," said Leshno Yaar.
On Sunday the Jewish Agency's Task Force to Combat Anti-Semitism held a meeting at the JA's Board of Directors Conference in Jerusalem.
While a briefing was given on the state of anti-Semitism worldwide, the focus was almost solely on Durban II.
While the task force has been following the plenary meetings currently being held in Geneva closely, a sense of doubt was expressed at the meeting that US efforts to change the conference's direction would be successful, while others doubted that the US delegation would walk away from the conference at all, as was the case at Durban I in 2001.
"As far as we believe, Durban II is going to be the anti-Semitic event of 2009," said Amos Hermon, the head of the task force. "It looks worse than we expected, even though it's not yet clear what the end result will be."
The meeting also broached the possibility of demonstrations, the use of Holocaust imagery to draw comparisons between Israel's recent military strike in Gaza and the systematic murder of millions during World War II and an all-out "hate-fest" on behalf of anti-Israel NGO's present at the conference.
"Operation Cast Lead is going to take center stage at Durban II, and we have to be ready for that." Hermon continued. "It was in everyone's homes, on everyone's television sets, and it's going to be everywhere in Geneva as well."

Boycott Durban II Sign The Petition

A friend, Bellatrice, from Twitter encouraged me to pursue this idea, i.e., petitioning the President about U.S. participation in this thinly veiled anti-Israel "conference".
President Obama should be aware that millions of voters will be very unhappy about any decision to give credibility to this racist, anti-Semitic hate fest.

Todah Rabbah, Bellatrice!

Michael Blackburn, Sr.

President Obama: Boycott Durban II!
328 Signatures
Published by Assemblyman Dov Hikind on Feb 02, 2009
Category: International Affairs
Region: United States of America
Target: United States Government
Background (Preamble):
The 2009 Durban Review Conference has been billed as a continuation of the 2001 United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance previously held in Durban, South Africa.

The 2001 Conference failed to meet its stated objectives of addressing issues of international racism, xenophobia, and intolerance, mutating instead into a tribunal which demonized Israel, calling her a perpetrator of racism and intolerance in the Middle East.

The 2001 World Conference Against Racism Draft Declaration equated Zionism with racism, and charged that Israel’s so-called occupation of Palestine was racially motivated and therefore relevant to the Conference agenda.

A working draft of the 2009 Conference Declaration espouses similar anti-Israel rhetoric, stating in part that: a homeland for Jewish people and Israel’s law of return is racially based; Israel is guilty of apartheid; and that the historical accuracy of the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust is subject to debate.

The George W. Bush administration made it a policy not to participate in the Review Conference or its associated preparations, and repeatedly voted against U.N. resolutions supporting or funding the Conference.



WHEREAS, The 2009 Durban Review Conference has been billed as a continuation of the 2001 United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance previously held in Durban, South Africa; and

WHEREAS, The 2001 Conference failed to meet its stated objectives of addressing issues of international racism, xenophobia, and intolerance, mutating instead into a tribunal which demonized Israel, calling her a perpetrator of racism and intolerance in the Middle East; and

WHEREAS, The 2001 World Conference Against Racism Draft Declaration equated Zionism with racism, and charged that Israel’s so-called occupation of Palestine was racially motivated and therefore relevant to the Conference agenda; and

WHEREAS, A working draft of the 2009 Conference Declaration espouses similar anti-Israel rhetoric, stating in part that: a homeland for Jewish people and Israel’s law of return is racially based; Israel is guilty of apartheid; and that the historical accuracy of the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust is subject to debate; and

WHEREAS, the Conference organizers include violent dictators and virulent anti-Semites such as Muammar Al-Gaddafi of Libya, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, and Raul Castro of Cuba; and

WHEREAS, The George W. Bush administration made it a policy not to participate in the Review Conference or its associated preparations, and repeatedly voted against U.N. resolutions supporting or funding the Conference;

NOW THEREFORE, we the undersigned, call upon President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to denounce the U.N.’s relentless condemnation of Israel by officially boycotting Durban II and withholding funding from the Conference.

The President Obama: Boycott Durban II! petition to United States Government was written by Assemblyman Dov Hikind and is hosted free of charge at GoPetition.

Tell a friend | Signature list | Contact author | Forum | Viewed 1051 times and has 328 signatures

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Put Hamas, Not Israel, on Trial

By Alan M. Dershowitz

Originally published Feb. 15
on Web site:

For the Criminal Court to work, the worst must come first.

There are efforts now under way to try to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on charges of alleged war crimes. Neither Israel nor the United States has signed on to this court, primarily out of fear that its power would be used against democracies that try their best to avoid war crimes, rather than against dictatorships and terrorist nations that routinely engage in them. This has certainly been the experience with many United Nations organizations, even including the International Court of Justice, which is largely a sham when it comes to Israel and other democracies under attack.

There has been high hope among some human rights experts that the ICC would be different for two reasons: First and foremost it is not a United Nations court. It was established by the Rome Statute, a treaty adopted in 1998 after years of negotiations, and is largely independent of the United Nations, though not completely so. Cases can be referred to it by the UN Security Council under Article 13(b) of the treaty. The second reason the ICC has encouraged optimism is that the person appointed as the court's Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocompo, has a sterling reputation for objective law enforcement and basic fairness.

The ICC has rightly opened up investigations of genocide in Darfur, Sudan. (It is now under pressure to suspend any prosecution of President Omar al-Bashir). It has not opened investigations with regard to Russia's alleged war crimes in Chechnya and Georgia, where thousands of innocent civilians were killed. Nor has it opened investigations with regard to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, the Congo and other places where civilians are routinely targeted as part of military and terrorist campaigns. Nor — to its credit — has it opened an investigation of Great Britain and the United States, whose armed forces have inadvertently caused the deaths of thousands of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Were it now to open an investigation of Israel, ICC would be violating the cardinal principle that must govern all international prosecutions: namely, that the worst must be prosecuted first. It would also be violating its own rules which mandate that the International Criminal Court will not become a substitute for domestic courts. If there are processes within the State of Israel to consider allegations against the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), then those processes must be allowed to move forward unless Israel is "unwilling or unable genuinely to carry out the investigation or prosecution," according to the Rome Statute. There is no country in the world — literally none — that has a judicial system that is more open to charges against its own government. Not the United States, not Great Britain, and certainly not Russia, Zimbabwe or Pakistan! Moreover, Israel has a completely open and very critical free press, which is constantly exposing Israeli imperfections and editorializing against them.

Third, the IDF has legal teams that must approve of every military action taken by the armed forces. There are obviously close questions, about which reasonable experts can disagree, but there is no country in the world that goes to greater lengths in its efforts to conform its military actions to international law. Listen to retired British Colonel Richard Kemp — a military expert who, based on his experience, concluded that there has been "no time in the history of warfare when an Army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties…than [the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza]."

Despite deliberate efforts by Hamas to maximize Palestinian civilian casualties by firing rockets from behind human shields, Israel has succeeded in its efforts to minimize civilian casualties. Hamas has a policy of exaggerating civilian casualties, both by inflating the total number of people killed and by reducing the number of its combatants included in that total. A recent study conducted by the Italian Newspaper Corriere della Sera disputed Hamas figures and put the total number of Palestinians killed, including Hamas terrorists, at less than 600. And this week, the UN withdrew claims made during the war that Israel had shelled a school run in Gaza by the UN Relief and Works Agency.

The same Rome Statute that established the ICC also describes many of Hamas's actions during the war, such as attacking Israeli civilians and using Palestinian civilians as human shields, as war crimes. Any fair investigation by the ICC would have to conclude that Israel's efforts to prevent civilian casualties, while seeking to protect its civilians from Hamas war crimes, rank it at the very top of nations in compliance with the rule of law. It would also conclude that efforts to brand Israel's actions as war crimes are crassly political, based on ideology and not law. If anything, Hamas belongs in the dock, not Israel.

The prosecutor of the ICC must resist pressures — from the United Nations, from radical ideologues and from other biased sources — to apply a double standard to Israel by singling the Jewish state out from among law-abiding democracies for a war crimes investigation. No international court can retain its credibility if it inverts the principle of "the worst first" and instead goes after one of the best as one its first.

Monday, February 16, 2009


By Barry Rubin

What is the most important theme of Israeli politics, policy, and thinking today? It is pretty simple but you will rarely see it explained in much of the world:
Most Israelis believe that the Palestinians don't want to make a comprehensive peace with Israel in exchange for a Palestinian state. Hamas doesn’t want it; the Palestinian Authority (PA) is both unwilling and unable to do it. Israel faces a hostile Iran, Syria, Hamas, and Hizballah, and various Islamist movements which all want to destroy it. In addition, it cannot depend on strong Western or international support in defending itself.
Therefore, it is not a moment for Israel to make big concessions or take big risks. Peace is not at hand. The priority—even while continuing negotiations and trying to help the PA to survive—is defense.
That’s what the people who voted for Labor or Likud or Lieberman, Kadima or Shas or National Union or Jewish Home or United Torah Judaism believed. More than 85 percent of Israelis voted for parties that hold that basic conception, while that concept itself is the product of a very serious assessment of very real experience. And that—whatever differences they have—is beyond any definition of “left” or “right.”
In contrast, what is the main theme internationally in evaluating the elections? The right in Israel is against peace, Israelis moved to the right in this election hence Israelis are against peace.
To make such a leap, it is necessary to avoid talking about the herd of elephants in the room: Palestinian politics. If anyone looked beyond the most superficial level of English-language interviews by PA leaders trying to make propaganda points, the conclusion is unavoidable that there is no possibility of an Israel-Palestinian peace agreement for years to come. This is regardless of who is Israel’s leader or anything within reason, or even somewhat beyond reason, which could be offered.
Here are some tips toward proving that point:
--Analyze the Fatah Central Committee's membership and the viewpoints expressed by the group’s top leaders. The number who can be called moderates ready to accept and implement a two-state solution stands at about 10 percent of them.
--Mahmoud Abbas is weak. He has neither charisma nor organized base. While relatively moderate he will not give up the demand for all Palestinian refugees to be able to live in Israel, something that is acceptable to no potential governing party in Israel. He is sick and will probably not last in office much longer. He has made no attempt to transform Palestinian political thinking or to provide an alternative vision of peace for his people.
--There is no moderate alternative Palestinian leader in Fatah or elsewhere. Are there those who voice a moderate two-state solution position and who advocate coexistence? Yes, there are some but they have no organization or power whatsoever. Moreover, they say so almost exclusively in English to Westerners and not to their own people. To express anything equivalent to Labor or Kadima, even Likud, positions is to risk your life.
--Schools, mosques, media and other institutions controlled fully or partly by the PA daily preach that all Israel is Palestine, Israel is evil, and violence against it is good. Hardly the most minimal steps have been taken to prepare the Palestinian masses for peace. For example, no one dare suggest that a Palestinian nationalist movement might want to resettle Palestinian refugees in Palestine, not Israel; or that Israel and President Bill Clinton made a good offer in 2000 and it was a mistake to reject it. Or a dozen other points necessary as a basis for real peace.
--Palestinian public opinion polls consistently show overwhelming support for hardline positions and for terrorism against Israeli civilians.
--An unyielding historical narrative still predominates that the whole land between the Jordan River and the sea is and should be Arab Palestine.
--Of course, Hamas governs about 40 percent of West Bank/Gaza Palestinians and opposes Israel’s existence explicitly. The PA and Fatah do not vigorously combat the Hamas world view, except perhaps for its idea of an Islamist state.
--On the contrary, Fatah and the PA put a higher priority on conciliation with Hamas rather than peace with Israel.
--This conflict is not continuing because there is a dispute about the precise boundary line between Israel and a Palestinian state. It is going on because the Palestinian leaders—all of them—are either unwilling or unable to accept Israel’s permanent existence, the end of the conflict, the abandonment of terrorism, and the settlement of Palestinian refugees in a Palestinian state.
--What should have been happening recently is that the PA sent delegations around the world to announce it was the sole legitimate government of the Gaza Strip, that Hamas seized power in a coup and murdered Fatah people in cold blood, that Hamas is an extremist terrorist group, and that the PA demands the international community restore its own rule to the area. Instead, it sent delegations around the world to blame Israel for every problem and tried to negotiate a deal with Hamas without requiring any change in that organization’s policy or goals.
None of the above arguments can be refuted. Literally none of these points—except for the barrier posed by Hamas’s rule over Gaza—is really understood by most governments, academics, or journalists.
Nevertheless, if you add all these factors together it’s clear that whoever governs Israel the PA is incapable of making comprehensive peace. There is no peace process but rather a long-term peace recess.
There’s nothing left or right wing about the above analysis. Tsipi Livni and Ehud Barak know these things. Equally, this analysis doesn’t mean Israel cannot work with the PA on such matters as stability, economic well-being for Palestinians, blocking terrorism, or keeping Hamas out of power on the West Bank.
There is a Palestinian partner for the above four issues, but not for a comprehensive solution ending the conflict forever in exchange for a Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel. As we learned in the 1990s with the peace process and more recently with disengagement, Israel’s actions—no matter how conciliatory and concessionary—cannot make peace when the other side is unwilling and unable to do so. It’s time for the rest of the world to learn this fact.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To read and subscribe to MERIA and other GLORIA Center publications or to order books, write me at

Israeli Tennis Champ Denied Visa to Dubai

Reported: 08:19 AM - Feb/16/09


An Israeli tennis player was denied an entrance visa to Dubai, despite assurances that she would be able to compete in a tennis game there.

Shachar Pe’er intended to play in the Dubais Tennis Tournaments and compete with a German player. However, she was informed Saturday night by the Arab country that she would not receive an entrance visa.

The female tennis player was the first Israeli tennis player to compete in a Qatar tennis tournament last year. The World Tennis Association is considering sanctioning Dubai for its refusal to allow the Israeli player to compete.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The writing is on the synagogue wall

The more things change, the more they remain unchanged.



World depressions lead to a rise in anti-Semitism. All over Europe, the evidence is around us

The periodic crises that have shaken world capitalism in the century and a half since Marx wrote Das Kapital are marked by a common political phenomenon. It is the rise of political anti-Semitism. Attacks on Jews and Jewishness constitute the canary in the coal mine that tells us something is going seriously wrong.

Last month a 32-year-old IT worker, Michael Booksatz, was beaten up in the streets of north London by two hooded men shouting about Palestinians. Jewish students at the London School of Economics - home to many brilliant Jews who fled Hitler's Germany - are now frightened by anti-Jewish abuse from Islamist students. Graffiti such as “Kill the Jews” or “Jihad 4 Israel” appear close to synagogues in London.

The Metropolitan Police report four times as many anti-Jewish incidents in recent weeks as Islamaphobic events. The respected Community Security Trust, which records anti-Jewish attacks with scrupulous rigour, reports as many attacks on Jews - verbal, vandalism and some violent - in the first weeks of 2009 as in the first six months of last year.

As the world enters a new era of crisis, anti-Semitism is back. History, as ever, begins to repeat itself. The slumps and stock market fever expressed in Zola's novel, L'Argent, or the populist anger against Wall Street at the end of the 19th century gave rise to the virulent anti-Semitic politics witnessed in France in connection with the Dreyfus case or the takeover of Vienna by openly anti-Semitic politicians. The Great Depression gave rise to the worst expressions of anti-Semitism ever seen, namely the politics that led to the Holocaust. But even in Britain the Duke of Wellington of the time was leader of a secret anti-Jewish organisation which had the initials PJ - Perish Judah - on its letterhead.

The economic crises of the 1970s led to a marked increase in the vote for the National Front in Britain and the openly anti-Semitic BNP, its successor extreme party, is doing very well in local elections - below the radar of the national opinion polls.

The distress and upset over the terrible pictures of children killed in Israel's attacks on Hamas in Gaza have allowed anti-Israeli feelings to be more violently and vehemently expressed than ever before. Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic. But all anti-Semites hate the existence of a Jewish state and hiding behind code words such as anti-Zionism increases the density and viciousness of their anti-Jewish utterances.

In Italy, the streets of Milan are daubed with slogans urging Italians not to buy goods at Jewish shops - an echo of the Nazi slogan “Kauft Nicht Bei Juden”. In Germany, radio phone-ins are full of accusations that the bankers accused of being responsible for the current economic crisis are Jews. In anti-Israel demonstrations in Berlin, placards stating “It was a good idea to use gas” or “I'm anti-Semitic and that's a good thing” were carried. Thus every Jew is made to feel as if they do not fully belong in the countries where they were born or the societies that they participate in.

Terrible massacres of Muslims have taken place in different parts of the world so far this century, from Kashmir to Gujarat. In Iraq and Afghanistan, Nato soldiers are accused of brutality but the men with the most blood on their hands of fellow Muslims have been Islamist ideologues. Yet there is no outrage against the perpetrators of those attacks compared with the onslaught on Israel and on Jews.

Is it unreasonable to argue that the reason that there is worldwide anger against Israel but not against other regimes or religions that carry out massacres of Muslims is because the Israelis are Jews? Has legitimate criticism and anger against Israel allowed Jew hate to become almost acceptable politics again? Add to this a world economic crisis in which it is so easy to point at the names of the swindlers and banksters that happen to be Jewish, and a new perfect storm of anti-Semitism begins to take shape.

Today in London a conference of parliamentarians from different legislatures in Europe and around the world will gather to discuss what can be done. Michael Gove, for the Conservatives, will join Labour Cabinet ministers Hazel Blears and Jim Murphy in saying it is time for the Parliaments of the democractic world to take action against anti-Semitism - especially Islamist attacks against young Jewish students on university campuses.

The Pope embraces a Holocaust-denying Winchester and Cambridge-educated bishop; slogans such as “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas” are chanted in Amsterdam;

Jews are again made to feel they are not full citizens of the countries of their birth because they refuse to support the right of Hamas and Hezbollah to use terror attacks against Israeli civilians. The canary in the coal mine seems in danger of its life once again.

Denis MacShane, MP, is a former Minister for Europe and the author of Globalising Hatred: the New Anti-Semitism

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fatwa: Saudi women must cover one eye

There are no feminists that I know of fighting to rescue Arab women from a life of being treated as property.


Sheikh says women’s modesty laws not stringent enough, revelation of both eyes causes ‘corrupt behavior, conflicts with Islamic principles’
A new prohibition may be added to the long list of those placed on women in Saudi Arabia: A new sentence according to Islamic law (fatwa) determines that women exiting the doorways of their homes must cover one of their eyes.
The array of prohibitions currently placed upon Saudi women includes forbiddance to leave home without a familial “patron,” fraternize with men in public, drive a car, put makeup on and wear high heels.
The modesty squad on the streets of Saudi Arabia follows women whose abaya (long cloak) is too tight and likely to reveal their curves or those whose hair is visible through their veils.
A senior religious cleric in the country, Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan demands that the rules of modesty be further enhanced.
In the new Islamic legal sentence, al-Habadan announced that when leaving their homes, women must keep only one eye revealed.
According to the sheikh, “revelation of both eyes behind the veil is likely to encourage women to put make-up on and accentuate their eyes. This is corrupt behavior which conflicts with Islamic principles.”
So, how will the women conduct their daily lives with one eye?
According to al-Habadan, “when a woman goes out into the street or to a public place she will wear a veil and cover one eye with a piece of cloth.
“When she goes shopping and wants to assess a product, she will completely remove the piece of cloth and will be able to use both eyes for a limited amount of time.”
In the United Nation’s annual report on the state of women in the Arab world, over the past five years, Saudi women have been ranked as the most deprived and devoid of rights in Muslim society.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Why We Hear the Muslim World All Too Well

By Barry Rubin

Message to New York Times: Read your own op-ed page.

The Times and other American media and educational institutions are giving increasing amounts of space to people from the Moslem-majority and Arabic-speaking states to understand their view on the world. Sometimes, however, they have a hard time hearing what is said.

Here is what the newspaper’s editorial for February 8 claims and urges:

We don't know if there is any mixture of incentives or sanctions that can wean Iran of its nuclear ambitions. But we are certain that the Bush administration never tried to find it. This means not only direct talks, but also far more persuasive diplomatic incentives, including a credible offer of improved relations and security guarantees.”

And this, of course, is what the Obama administration is going to do with Iran and Syria. Others urge the same techniques are applies to Hamas, Hizballah, and even—though this is rarer—the Taliban and al-Qaida.

But to understand why this belief is so misguided one merely need read…the Times of February 8, within inches of the above-quoted editorial.

I’m referring here to the truly shocking op-ed by Alaa al Aswany entitled, “Why the Muslim World Can’t Hear Obama.” A better title would be, “Why the Muslim World Won’t Hear Obama.”

The piece is overlong, convoluted, and not particularly well written. It should be noted that the author, a novelist among other things, is considered a moderate.

Alas, for moderation in the Arab world.

There are two themes: the one against Israel and the one against Arab governments. Because these have not been resolved, the author says, all of President Obama’s apologies and efforts are a big yawn.

So what would the author—and presumably all the Arabs and Muslims—want Obama and America to do? Well, to put it briefly, help overthrow all the Arab governments and help wipe Israel off the map.

I wrote the above sentence in a particularly blunt way but it really does not exaggerate the message here.

First of all, Egypt and other Arab states are dictatorships: “Here in Egypt, we don't have previous or future presidents, only the present head of state who seized power through sham elections and keeps it by force, and who will probably remain in power until the end of his days.”

Wait a minute, though! Remember the last president of the United States, the one who pushed for democracy and criticized the governmental systems? The Arab world didn’t seem too thrilled about him. Egyptian intellectuals screamed this was imperialist interference in internal affairs and so on. So after all those years of bashing Bush for—rightly or wrongly—proposing dictatorships be replaced with democracy are we to believe that they will now bash Obama for proposing to work with the existing regimes?

This, of course, is an unsolvable problem. Whatever the United States does here is going to be wrong. There is no way America can please Iran. Well, I take that back. If America helps it overthrow all those bad Arab dictatorships and replace them with Islamist regimes then Iran will probably be happy.

And Alaa al Aswany will be able to read the Times more easily, as a political refugee living in New York.

Then there’s point two:

We expected him to address the reports that the Israeli military illegally used white phosphorus against the people of Gaza. We also wanted Mr. Obama, who studied law and political science at the greatest American universities, to recognize what we see as a simple, essential truth:
the right of people in an
occupied territory to resist military occupation.”

Regarding “essential truth,” isn’t the Times supposed to publish things that are factually correct? Israel has already been cleared of the phony white phosphorus charge. So why is this article allowed to repeat it? Here is indeed a lesson: people in the Arab world often lie about you. No matter what you do, how much aid you give, how many concessions you offer or implement, it will be said: you didn’t do anything. Give more. Pay more. Apologize more. Change more.

But perhaps the most important and chilling sentence of the op-ed is this, and if people were paying attention to such things nowadays they would be thoroughly shocked:

We also wanted Mr. Obama, who studied law and political science at the greatest American
universities, to recognize what we see as a simple, essential truth: the right of people in an occupied territory to resist military occupation.”

What are the implications of this sentence: that the United States should endorse terrorism and violence in at least three conflicts. According to the terrorist forces, Afghanistan and Iraq are under foreign occupation. If Obama was to do as suggested, he would be backing attacks not only on civilians and governments there but also the killing of American soldiers.

As for the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, south Lebanon, and much of the West Bank and still faces attacks. In 2000, Israel proposed to make peace based on a two-state solution with a Palestinian state having its capital in Jerusalem. The Palestinian side turned it down.

Since Hamas and other radical forces assert that Israel is an occupying power, attacking it—which includes firing rockets at civilian targets—is legitimate. Moreover, if there is any occupation left, it is due to the political strategy of the Palestinian Authority in rejecting a political solution.

Yet that is far from the entire problem here. For much or most of the Muslim and Arab world views all of Israel as “occupied territory.” The only way for occupation to end is for Israel to end. The author here does not make clear what land is being discussed, though the op-ed easily could have limited the territory in question to the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem. Have no doubt how most Muslims and Arabs read the phrase about occupied territory: Obama must abandon Israel altogether.

So how can Obama appease or please the Muslim-majority world? We are told by this moderate: by backing the right of Hamas and Hizballah to attack Israel.

This, then, is the supposed moderate position, the minimum way by which Obama can make friends in the region. Clearly, the author here doesn’t speak for everyone. Certainly the relatively moderate Arab regimes and their supporters want more U.S. support for themselves.

Yet there is much truth in this article’s stance. The only way for America to “win over” this public opinion and the radical groups is to surrender to them or join them. President Obama and editors of the Times, please hear what you are being told here, and despair of ever satisfying such enormous and dangerous demands by some combination of charm and concessions.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To read and subscribe to MERIA and other GLORIA Center publications or to order books, write me at

Sunday, February 8, 2009



Many people don’t understand what’s happening now in Israeli politics, so here’s a brief, and non-partisan, appreciation. Compared to the past, there’s far less difference between the three main parties. This is largely due to the objective situation, which is rather inflexible.

It is easy to characterize some as rabid right-wingers who throw away chances for peace and others as rabid left-wingers who are ready to make too many concessions. Neither argument is correct except for the fringes, which are not going to shape Israeli policy. I am tempted to add that abroad, the left thinks we’re evil, while the right thinks we’re stupid. All of this has little to do with reality.

The dominant theme in international media coverage is to say Israelis are moving toward the right. Yet this is both misleading and misinterpreted. On the first aspect, the real Israeli move has been toward the center, which is represented not only by Kadima and Likud but also by Labor. The great majority of Israelis are about to vote for parties close to centrist positions than at any time in history.

The left-wing mantra is peace, though how we can reach peace with Iran, Syria, Hamas, and Hizballah is rather hard to see. With the PA the situation is a more complex but, briefly, it doesn’t control Gaza, is still full of radical elements, and has weak leadership.

The PA is nowhere near being able to make peace on a realistic basis. Everyone in the PA and in Israel’s leadership knows this; few in the Western media and academia seems close to comprehending it. A lot of governments understand the situation privately but talk quite different in public.

The right-wing mantra is victory, though how Israel is going to replace the Iranian and Syrian governments, or destroy Hamas and Hizballah is equally hard to see. Israel has minimal to no international support for these goals and lacks great alternatives to what exists at present.

What have Israelis learned over the last decade that shapes their thinking?

We discovered that Palestinians and Syrians are unwilling and unable to make peace.

We saw that Fatah is still full of extremism and its leadership is too weak and too hardline itself to make a comprehensive peace agreement.

We viewed the rise of Hamas as a group dedicated to permanent war with Israel and its seizure of one-half of the Palestinian-ruled territories, using land from which Israel withdrew as a base for attacks.
We experienced the continuing hatred of the Arab world and Muslim world toward Israel, largely undiminished by Israeli concessions.
We observed Iran’s rise as a power, potentially nuclear armed, whose regime explicitly seeks Israel’s extinction.
We noted the world didn’t reward Israel for making concessions and taking risks. Indeed, the more Israel gave, the higher the degree of slander and hostility rose in many sectors.

As a result of this, there has arisen in Israel a national consensus around the following points:

--Israel wants peace and will make real concessions for true lasting, stable peace and a two-state solution

--Few think the Palestinian leadership—PA, Fatah—is willing or able to make such an agreement for decades. The same applies to Syria.

--As a result, any real changes on Jerusalem, the Golan Heights or West Bank settlements are far off.

--No deal can be made with Hamas. But Hamas isn’t going to disappear either. The same applies to Hizballah.

--The key point is to defend Israel and its citizens so they pursue their normal lives.

--Iran is a real danger and when it appears about to get nuclear weapons, a big decision will have to be made on attacking these facilities.

As a result of this national consensus—accepted by Labor, Likud, and Kadima, along with many others—the next government can be a national unity government. Whoever becomes prime minister would do well to bring in one or both of the other two main parties. What is Israel’s consensus policy for the next government?

--To stress that we want peace, are ready for a Palestinian state, aren’t responsible for the conflict and violence continuing.

--To maintain deterrence and defend ourselves.

--To preserve the best possible relations with the United States, Europe, and other countries as long as it does not involve risks to Israeli national interests and citizens.

--Security cooperation with the PA to prevent terrorist attacks on Israel in exchange for helping them economically and against Hamas to ensure that it doesn’t take over the West Bank. Without illusions regarding Fatah and the PA, this effort seems to be working.

--To decide when to strike back at Hamas—and potentially Hizballah—based on any attacks on us. Precise response depends on timing, opportunity, and their behavior.

--To work for the isolation of Iran, Hizballah and Hamas.

Where are the main differences among the leading parties? They are more atmospherics than real: offering small concessions; making small demands. If much of the election revolves around personalities that is because strategy and policy are not hugely different among them. Bibi isn’t going to embark on a settlement-building campaign; Tzipi isn’t going to give away east Jerusalem.

And that’s a good thing for whatever faults they have, this trio is basically making appropriate responses to the situation.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To subscribe to Gloria Center publications for free, write

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Five Basic Arguments Against A Palestinian State

Thanks to Israpundit for this excellent article.

The dynamic of convential wisdom is for a two-State solution.
This article demonstrates why that is not a good solution, in fact, it is not a solution at all.

Prof. Paul Eidelberg

Contrary to the governments of the United States and Israel, various experts in both countries reject the “two-state” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
I shall mention their views while developing five decisive arguments against a Palestinian state: Economic, Demographic, Political, Strategic, and Democratic. Let’s begin with the

1. Economic Arguments
a. A RAND study indicates that a Palestinian state would not be economically viable. It would require $33 billion for the first ten years of its existence—and this study was made before the economic crisis now confronting the United States and entire world.
b. Besides, to confine more than two million Arabs to the 2,323 square miles of the so-called West Bank, and to squeeze another million into the 141 square miles of Gaza , is to doom these Arabs to economic stagnation and discontent. The projected state would be a cauldron of envious hatred of Israel fueled by the leaders of one or another group of Arab clans or thugs parading under the banner of Allah.c. Moreover, to compensate perhaps 200,000 Jews expelled from the “West Bank”—or even half that number—would bankrupt Israel’s government, to say nothing of the resulting trauma and civil discord.
2. Demographic Arguments
a. “Two-state” solution advocates warn that the Arabs between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean will soon outnumber the Jews, and that this necessitates a Palestinian state. The Sharon government, without public argumentation, used this demographic contention to justify its perfidious implementation of Labor’s policy of unilateral disengagement from Gaza in 2005. The Olmert-Livni government is using the same policy to withdraw from Judea and Samaria including eastern Jerusalem.
b. However, a groundbreaking study by the American-Israel Demographic Research Group (www. aidrg. com) revealed in 2005 that Israel does not need to retreat from Judea and Samaria to secure Jewish demography. The study shows that the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics exaggerated the Arab population in Judea, Samaria , and Gaza by nearly 50%. Rather than 3. 8 million Palestinians, it was no more than 2. 4 million. Since those registered as Jews in Israel comprise almost 80% of Israel’s population, they make up a 59% majority with Gaza and Judea and Samaria, and a solid 67% majority with Judea and Samaria without Gaza!
c. The American and Israeli researchers also found that Jewish fertility rates are steadily increasing while Arab fertility rates are steadily decreasing. Not only is there no demographic time bomb necessitating the surrender of Judea and Samaria to Palestinian terrorists, but Israel’s demographic position should encourage its government to develop a strategy for annexing Judea and Samaria.
3. Political Arguments
a. According to Maj. -Gen. (res. ) Giora Eiland, former head of Israel ’s National Security Council, “the Palestinians do not truly desire the conventional two-state solution. The Arab world—especially Jordan and Egypt —does not truly support it either …” (Jerusalem Post, September 23, 2008).
b. Dr. Yuval Steinitz, former Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman, said that the idea of a two-state solution should be dead. “A Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria ,” he said, “would bring about Israel ’s demise. … Such a Palestinian state would immediately become an outpost for Iran ” (Jerusalem Post, September 14, 2008).
c. Advocates of a Palestinian state live in a fantasy world or lack the intellectual courage to acknowledge the obvious: the Palestinians are committed to Israel ’s annihilation. A generation of Arab children has been educated to hate Jews and emulate suicide bombers. Daniel Pipes said it would take at least two generations to undo such indoctrination. (This would require, among other things, basic changes in the Quran. Muslims would have to renounce the ethos of Jihad No American or Israeli official has the guts to speak of this religious-cultural issue. )
4. Strategic Arguments
a. On December 29, 2002, the freighter Karin-A set sail from Iran en route to the Suez Canal. It was boarded by Israeli commandos without opposition from the four crewmen, who were members of the Palestinian naval force. When the commandoes examined the ship’s cargo, they discovered launchers and rockets, mortars, anti-tank weapons, mines, 2 tons of explosives, assault rifles, machine guns, sniper rifles with telescope lenses, hand grenades, and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition—enough weaponry to tilt the balance of terror against Israel. The destination of the Karin-A was Gaza.
Consistent with Dr. Steinitz’s warning, this Iranian arms shipment arms signifies that Iran views the Palestinians as a battle field in its 30-year war with Israel. (See Ronen Bergman, The Secret War with Iran, 2008, p. 270. )
b. Even if it were agreed that a Palestinian state would have to be demilitarized, only fools would believe that the Arabs would abide by such an agreement—no more than they adhered to the arms limitations in the Oslo Agreement.
c. Some 80 percent of Israel’s population is concentrated on the coastal plain. Arab control of the Judean and Samarian hills would expose those people to constant missile attack. Preoccupied with such attacks, Israel could no longer serve effectively as America ’s strategic ally in the Middle East. No longer could it provide the U. S. with priceless intelligence and technological assistance whose value far exceeds the value of U. S. military aid. And I have not mentioned the multibillion dollar economic market Israel provides the fifty states of the American Union.
d. Ponder also the fact that rewarding the Palestinians with statehood would promote irredentist movements or civil war and terrorism throughout the world.
5. Democratic Arguments
a. Doctrinaire adherence to the democratic principle of self-determination would encourage any ethnic group to seek independent statehood. It would endow any ethnic group with the right to elect a tyrannical form of government, whether fascist, communist, or Islamic.
b. Hamas, an Islamic terrorist group dedicated to Israel ’s destruction, was victorious in the 2006 democratic elections. Lincoln echoed Jefferson when he said, “No people have a right to do what is wrong. ” Ponder the American Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ”
c. Underlying these words is the Biblical conception of man’s creation in the image of God. The Declaration portrays man as a rational being possessing free will and capable of distinguishing right from wrong. Without such a conception of human nature, the signers of the Declaration would have had no rational or moral grounds for rebelling against Britain, whose colonial governments violated the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God. ”
d. This “Higher Law” doctrine of the Declaration provides a set of standards by which to determine whether granting national self-determination to any ethnic group can be justified. It cannot be justified among people steeped in ignorance or habituated to violence and servitude. In his classic, Representative Government, John Stuart Mill said that a people may lack the moderation that representative government requires of them: “Their passions may be too violent, or their personal pride too exacting, to forego private conflict, and leave to the laws the avenging of their real or supposed wrongs. ”
e. The “Palestinians” have not only bungled their every chance of self-government by making Fatah and Hamas terrorists their leaders.
Having educated their children to emulate suicide bombers, the goal of these thugs is not statehood but Israel ’s annihilation.
The democratic principle of self-determination is not an absolute; it is limited by rational and ethical considerations.
It would be irrational—indeed, criminal—to establish a Palestinian state on Israel ’s doorstep.
a. Since it would be insane and destructive to establish a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria , many observers have said that the proper venue of such a state is Jordan whose population is 60 percent Palestinian.
I outline a phased solution to the problem in my book A Jewish Philosophy of History.
b. Here I ask: What has prevented the U. S and Israel from developing a strategy to overcome the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians? Can it be, more than anything else, a lack of intellectual integrity and moral courage—preconditions of statesmanship? America ’s decision-makers and opinion-makers have been stunted by the university-bred doctrine of moral equivalence.
Having abandoned the principles of Jefferson and Lincoln, they drift without steadfast conviction and purpose.
Meanwhile, Israel ’s ruling elites, having abandoned the Book that inspired Western civilization, behave like grasshoppers.
Mired in a Lilliputian politics, they permit barbarians to encroach on Jerusalem and mankind with a new dark age.

c. Both Israel and America need a very large dose of truth and courage.


By Barry Rubin 
 What direction is the Turkish regime heading? 
  A pessimistic view goes like this: The ruling AK party is pushing toward an Islamist agenda both at home and abroad. It is moving closer to Iran, Syria, and Hamas. In some ways, Turkey might become part of the Iran-led alignment in the region. Anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-Israel feeling is growing. The government is making a sharp break with the past, based on structural changes in the country. It is gradually capturing institutions: buying up or intimidating the media; allied with a rising, more traditionally oriented new business class and village migrants to the city; naming judges; and neutralizing the army. 
            The hopeful view sounds like this: The Turkish people haven’t changed. A lot of this is temporary, problems stemming from friction with the previous U.S. government in Iraq as well anger at Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip. National interests—hope of getting into the European Union; need for U.S. backing; high levels of trade, tourism, and military cooperation with Israel—will pull the government and country back onto its usual course. 
            Both courses are still open to Ankara’s rulers. But at the moment the more pessimistic analysis seems the likelier outcome. It is true that the key factor is Turkey’s people: but will they speak out and do so effectively? 
            Before considering this, it should be understood that the policy changes in Turkey do not just include criticism of Israel or some highly publicized events. Rather, there is a systematic shift going on. Internationally, the developments include closer relations between Turkey and such countries as Iran, Syria, and Sudan. Internally, the focal point is the AK’s introduction of more Islamic or Islamist norms, the placing of its people in key positions in the civil service and social institutions, the rising pressure in daily life for conformity with Islamist-dictated behavior, and so on. 
            The intensity of such changes can be seen also in rarely reported details. Take, for example, the behavior of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in attacking Israeli President Shimon Peres in an insulting fashion, then walking out of their session in the Davos conference. Erdogan used, in Turkish, a derogatory form of address toward Peres, and then referred to the one-sided confrontation as a new Gallipoli. 
Gallipoli was the World War One battle in which the Ottoman Empire defeated a British invasion attempt. To equate this verbal exchange with a bloody battle in which Turks defended their country from invasion was about the most inflammatory patriotic language the prime minister could use to stir Turk passions. 
While Turkish officials issue some soothing public statements, emphasizing their opposition to antisemitism, those who know Turkish or are in the country are getting a different picture. Turkish officials are investigating the possibility of initiating war crimes’ charges against Israeli leaders as they welcome top Sudanese officials who are engaged in mass murder in their own country. 
Educated, modernist, moderate Turks have not wanted to face what is happening in their country and up until recently have been able to believe the AK is a moderate center-right reformist party with a slight pious tinge. This is becoming more difficult to sustain. 
Some months ago I sat around a table with a dozen Turkish professors near Istanbul, people who fit the profile of what would be expected to be strongly anti-AK types. Unanimously they agreed the party was no threat. 
One of them, added, however that his sister-in-law told him he was crazy and that the government was leading the country into a disastrous transformation. He then told me that their young nanny had to wear a headscarf and “Islamic-style” clothing, not because she wanted to but because otherwise she might be harassed or even attacked in her neighborhood. But this was all anecdotal information that could be disregarded in favor of heeding what top AK leaders promised. 
For me, the most dangerous sign was that while the AK promised not to pick the hardline Abdullah Gul as president, to occupy the post once held by Kemal Ataturk, before the last election, the moment it won by a big margin it did so any way. Gul made an extremely arrogant speech saying, in essence, we won and can do whatever we want. 
Now we are seeing the result of that confidence. Believing it can win any election, knowing that there will not be strong international condemnation or pressure, aware that the political opposition is divided and poorly led, and not too worried about an army intervention, the AK is marching faster and more visibly down the road a more Islamicized Turkey at home and abroad. 
The next, local elections will tell the tale. If the AK loses in Istanbul and Izmir then it might become more cautious. If not things are going to get worse, much worse. 
            Right now, the situation of Turkey’s Jews is perilous. There has been no violence and the government might well prevent that from happening. But the signs are dangerous. The Ankara branch of the AKP put up a terribly antisemitic item as an apparent official statement. It said that Hitler was Jewish and the Holocaust was a plot to force Jews to emigrate to Palestine. It came down only after the newspaper Radikal protested. The branch’s leader denied all knowledge of the article. 
          I append below a letter from Istanbul by a very good friend of mine, a Turkish Jew who is 100 percent reliable and the most moderate, mild-mannered, apolitical person you can imagine. He writes: 
          -The crowd demonstrating in front of the Neve Shalom Synagogue after a speech of Erdogan was chanting: “Tell us to die, we (will) die; tell us hit; we (will) hit”. (MY BROTHER HEARD IT) 
          -A neighboring Jewish woman who spoke Turkish with a “Jewish” accent was told by the taxi driver I wish I hadn’t picked you up. (A FRIEND OF MINE TOLD ME) 
          -In two elementary schools 10 yrs old Jewish boys were called “Dirty Jew” by their peers, something unheard of in the last 60 years. (A FRIEND OF MINE TOLD ME) 

          -The Jewish youth who were supporting assimilation have debates on this topic, now. (MY FATHER SAID THAT) 
          -Some Muslim customers/clients are telling jokes to Jewish shopkeepers or businesspeople: “You will butchered, ha ha ha …!” (A FRIEND OF MINE TOLD IT). 
          -Jewish soldiers –having their obligatory service- were sent home in order to be protected from the harassment of peers.(A FRIEND OF MINE TOLD IT) 
          -In the exit of the Neve Shalom Synagogue after a wedding was a signboard “Go away Jews , Down with Israel”… (MY COUSIN SAW IT) 
          --A day after the “Go away Jews” part was covered but the rest remained. 
          --Jews are wounded by the words of Erdogan implying they are “guests” not citizens after 500 years in Turkey. (EVERYWHERE) 
          -They were announcements on the billboards in Istanbul “You cannot be the son of Moses!”  After some objection they removed the signs from billboards but put them on the buildings (I SAW IT) 
          -The police has the power to stop any march in Turkey, only if they want to. They have stopped leftist marches immediately, but let the demonstration outside the Israeli consulate continue though it had no permit. 
          -There is anxiety and discomfort among the community from either terrorist groups or individuals who wage violence thinking that they enjoy government support for doing so. 
          He ends: I personally thank you for your support to the Turkish Jews –hopefully not Jews from Turkey, soon. 
          On reading this, a non-Jewish Turk from another city wrote me: “This brought tears to my eyes. I feel the pain for a tree dying in the orchard where I spent my childhood.” 
           As someone who has spent 35 years working on Turkish history and politics; as the first Israeli exchange professor to teach there; and as someone with scores of close friends, I hope that moderate prevails.   
            Many Turks are horrified by what they are seeing. Some say these concerns are alarmist and exaggerated. It is the Turkish people alone who will decide their direction and future. But the stakes are high. Not only is their liberty and society in question but also there are wider implications. For if Turkey cannot sustain itself as a tolerant, secular, moderate republic, what hope is there for any other Muslim-majority country to do so? 
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To read and subscribe to MERIA and other GLORIA Center publications or to order books, write me at 

The Chomsky Hoax

The Chomsky Hoax
Exposing the Dishonesty of Noam Chomsky