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Posted February 6, 2007

February 6, 2007

Food for thought: This morning I attended a program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on Iran’s Holocaust denial and responses to it. In the course of the questions taken, one member of the audience asked if Israel has brought this closer to home: PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas is a Holocaust denier. (He wrote his doctoral thesis, which was later turned into a book, on this.) Has Abbas been challenged by Israel?

The answer by presenter Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld: "Israel is the only country in the world that does not make public the errors of its enemies…(thoughtful pause)…I think we’re idiots."

Indeed, we are idiots, but more to the point, I think, we’re sick. We do not know how to stand up for ourselves and defend ourselves in the forum of world public opinion. I see this as residual from 2,000 years in galut (diaspora), during which time standing up for ourselves was mostly not possible. Psychiatrist Dr. Ken Levin calls this the "Oslo Syndrome": he says that people under siege begin to internalize the viewpoint of those maintaining the siege. (I strongly recommend his book by the same name.)

Gerstenfeld says that what must be done is to turn our accusers into the accused. It does not require statements that are learned dissertations, it requires sound bites that will be remembered by the public and puts our enemies on the defensive.


Speaking of our enemies and Holocaust denial, I want to return to Jimmy Carter. The fact that the Carter Library and the Carter Center have been disproportionately funded by Arab sources has at this point been well documented. Tens of millions of dollars have collectively found their way to these institutions from Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, United Arab Republics, and Saudi Arabia. Needless to say, this makes Carter’s heavy-handed critique of Israel more than a bit suspect, and makes the claim of the Carter Center — that it is nonpartisan and acts as a neutral party in dispute resolution activities" — something of a joke. (The Carter Center, you may recall, monitored the PA election that Arafat won hands down and declared it a fair election.)

Now Alan Dershowitz has written (in the second part of a five-part piece) about Carter’s special connection to Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan, ruler of the United Arab Emirates, and his Zayed Centre, the major think tank for the Arab League. Dershowitz was shocked when he learned that Carter not only had accepted a gift from Zayed, but had declared, "This award has special significance for me because it is named for my personal friend, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan."

Dershowitz, you see, had played a role in convincing Harvard, where he teaches, to return a gift from this same source, after learning what the Zayed Centre stood for: Its director has said, “the truth is that the Jews are the enemies of all nations.” A Holocaust-denying Zayed Centre report stated that “the Zionists are the people who killed the Jews in Europe.” One Saudi speaker sponsored by the Centre announced that “The Jewish people must obtain human blood so that their clerics can prepare for holiday pastries,” while another sponsored speaker praised Palestinian suicide bombers.

We have known for some time that Jimmy Carter is anti-Israel, and more and more these days he has been smelling like an anti-Semite to boot. Now it is clear precisely who he is and there can be no illusions.

Carter is dangerous because he is an ex-president with a reputation as a rather "saintly" do-gooder, and is absolutely venerated in certain quarters; I understand he is the darling of certain liberal Democratic circles these days. The Carter Center, which rushes to publicly criticize alleged human rights abuses against Palestinians perpetrated by Israel, is mum on human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran and Iraq. And Carter has done considerable harm with the anti-Israel distortions and half truths of his recent book.

It is time to accuse the accuser. Dershowitz has started the process admirably. He supplies the information that is required. Now it falls to each of us to expose Carter further, by sharing this information — particularly in liberal circles — and writing letters to the editor.



A number of prominent people are accusing the accuser — in this instance Ahmadinejad — in yet another way: Seeking to indict him on the charge of inciting to commit genocide. Principal author of this effort is Justus Reid Weiner, Esq., who is associated with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (and does some very fine work with regard to such matters as illegal building by Arabs in Jerusalem and mistreatment of Palestinian Christians by Palestinian Muslims). Among those working with him are Elie Wiesel and Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador to the UN and now head of the Center, Professor Dershowitz, and Irwin Cotler, a well known Canadian human rights lawyer.

The approach being taken is a legal one, and is founded in large measure on the Convention of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which is soundly recognized within international law, having been ratified by 138 states including Iran. The Convention recognizes incitement to genocide as a crime. Indictment of Ahmadinejad would proceed within the permanent international criminal court established in 2002.


Well, unfortunately I was wrong, and now it gets more and more ridiculous. I have just written about Israeli renovation of the access path to the Mugbri Gate, outside the Kotel adjacent to the women’s section; it is the only entry way to the Temple Mount for Jews. Local Muslims, I reported happily, had apparently perceived that there was no danger to the Mount from this work, for they had failed to heed a call from the Islamic Movement to mob the Mount.

But that was yesterday, and what a difference a day makes!

The background is this: Two years ago, a stone ramp leading to Mugbri Gate had come close to collapse after a snow fall and was taken down; a temporary ramp was put in its place, but it has been deemed insecure. Now a new bridge leading to the Gate is to be constructed. It is entirely — entirely! — outside the walls of the Mount and does not remotely cause a threat to the Mount. It is not under the Mount but near the Mount that work will be done. The new bridge will not follow the same path as the original ramp, and will move through an archeological garden. As is the law, a salvage excavation — to determine that there is nothing of archeological value at the site of construction — is being done before the support columns for the new bridge are put in place. This excavation is a serious matter; from time to time it happens that some planned construction in Jerusalem is halted because of what is discovered; i.e., the work on the bridge would not continue if it were to be determined that it would disturb something of archeological significance. The work is being done under the auspices of the Antiquities Authority and has been approved by the planning committee of the city.

But now terrorist groups — including Al Aksa Brigades — are threatening attacks inside Israel if this work continues. And the Islamic Wakf is threatening disturbances. And there have been riots by Arab youth.

And what has, for me, been most shocking is the response today of Jordan’s King Hussein:

"Israeli excavation works near the al-Aqsa mosque in the holy city of Jerusalem have led to a dangerous rise
in Middle East tensions and could derail revival of Arab-Israeli peace talks…What Israel is doing in its practices and attacks against our sacred Muslim sites in Jerusalem and al-Aqsa is a blatant violation that is not acceptable under any pretext."

Huh?? "Attacks against our sacred Muslim sites"? "Could derail peace talks"? He cannot believe what he is saying.


I take this seriously and see at least two things going on at the same time.

We are, first of all, looking at an issue of control. The primary mistake was made in 1967, when finally finally Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount) was in our hands. Even though Jews had not been permitted anywhere near this area for the 19 years it was in Jordanian hands and we could have said, "Tough, guys, it’s ours now," Moshe Dayan called in the Muslim Wakf (religious trust) and gave them partial control. He was being peaceful and conciliatory. And foolish and naive.

We should have said, "Tough guys, it’s ours now." They saw that they had a part of the whole and decided we were weak, and that they could get more over time. The deal was that Israel maintained full security control, but that the Wakf maintained every day control over the Mount, where its Mosques and Dome of the Rock sit. Nothing was said about Muslim control of the Kotel or the areas around the Mount. But little by little over the years, they have attempted to represent themselves as having final claim to it all.

The second issue is the pretext for violence. On a regular basis it is possible to find in Arab media and Internet sites announcement of threats by Israel to their Al Aksa Mosque, done to rile the people against us. The most well known incident of this sort of incitement occurred with the beginning of what became known as the Al Aksa Intifada. Ariel Sharon, with the knowledge and approval of PA security, went up on to the Mount. Palestinians, looking for an incident to spark the violence they had already planned, used this.


There is considerable unease being reflected in Israeli media with regard to the meetings between Hamas and Fatah now taking place in Mecca. The fear is that if they were to agree on a unity government, with Hamas being permitted to participate without really changing its policies and goals and with Abbas as the pretend moderate heading things up, international pressure for us to negotiate with them would be considerable. Cooler heads are still of the opinion, however, that there is too much animosity between the groups for a unity agreement to truly hold.


In a statement made today, Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya’alon, former chief of staff, said that Iran funds Fatah as well as Hamas and Hezbollah.


Professor Daniel Friedman was approved unanimously by the Cabinet as a replacement for Haim Ramon as Justice Minister.


This posting can be found at: https://arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2007/2/6/posted-february-6-2007.html


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