Friday, April 11, 2014

No tears shed for Palestinians

Norman Podhoretz writes, Pity the Palestinians? Count Me Out. Mr. Podhoretz was the editor of Commentary magazine from 1960 to 1995. His most recent book is "Why Are Jews Liberals?" (Doubleday, 2009).   These comments appeared in the Wall Street Journal.  They are reproduced here through a link on Mosaic.
Provoked by the predictable collapse of the farcical negotiations forced by Secretary of State John Kerry on the Palestinians and the Israelis, I wish to make a confession: I have no sympathy—none—for the Palestinians. Furthermore, I do not believe they deserve any.
This, of course, puts me at daggers drawn with the enlightened opinion that goes forth from the familiar triumvirate of the universities, the mainstream media and the entertainment industry. For everyone in that world is so busy weeping over the allegedly incomparable sufferings of the Palestinians that hardly a tear is left for the tribulations of other peoples. And so all-consuming is the universal rage over the supposedly monumental injustice that has been done to the Palestinians that virtually no indignation is available for any other claimant to unwarranted mistreatment.

And why is it "unwarranted?"
As for the monumental injustice supposedly done to the Palestinians, it consists largely of losing territory in the war they themselves provoked in 1967, and the refusal of their demand that every inch of it be returned to them by the Israeli victors in that war. Such demands have always been known and universally denounced as revanchism or irredentism, most recently over the Russian seizure of Crimea. But where Israel is concerned, everything goes topsy-turvy, so that Palestinian irredentism is universally supported.
It's a great column and I recommend you read it here.

That's what I think.  How about you?
Stephen M. Flatow

Harvard students make pilgrimage to Arafat's grave - disgusting

I've commented on the recent pilgrimage of Harvard students to the grave of Yassir Arafat in Ramallah.

I guess their trip to Israel, sponsored in part by the Boston Jewish federation and Harvard's Hillel, included the visit trip to Ramallah to allow an understanding of the Palestinian "narrative" (oh, how I hate that word) as part of the educational purposes of the trip.

As I noted in my column,
One of the Harvard students, by the name of Kelsey, last week defended her participation in the Arafat grave visit on the grounds that, “Acknowledging one person’s lived experience neither negates nor diminishes another person's lived experience.”
Actually, Kelsey, you have not at all acknowledged Arafat’s “lived experience”—you did not write anything about the mass murders and maimings he perpetrated. And you have indeed negated and diminished “another person’s lived experience”—you have negated and diminished the suffering of his victims and their families. Until you understand that, you have learned nothing from your years of learning in the prestigious halls of Harvard.
I pray that this does not become a trend.  Read the full column here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Israel should not release more Palestinian terrorists

SHOULD ISRAEL RELEASE MORE TERRORISTS?

By Stephen M. Flatow

Every time there's a public discussion about whether Israel should release more imprisoned Palestinian terrorists, my heart skips a beat. My daughter Alisa was murdered by Palestinian terrorists in 1995. Two of the killers have been in an Israeli prison since 1995, serving life sentences. I always worry that they will be among the ones released.  So yes, it's personal.

But it's also much more than that.

It's not just about my daughter's killers; it's about dozens of other Israeli and American families whose loved ones also were victimized by Palestinian terrorists. It's about the future Israeli victims, if the released terrorists return to their violent ways, as so many of them do.  It's about what's best for Israel's national security. And, of course, it's about what's best for America, too.

Last year, Israel agreed to release more than 100 terrorists, some of them convicted murderers, in stages, as a gesture of "good faith" to the Palestinians. It was a measure of Israel's desperation for peace, and of the Obama administration's not-so-subtle threats to publicly blame Israel if the peace process derails. So to keep that process going, the Israelis took what everyone agrees is a serious security risk.

Now the Palestinian Authority (PA) is demanding that Israel release yet another batch of terrorists--even though the PA is threatening to walk away from the peace negotiations in the weeks to come.

Sadly, the Palestinian leadership never responds to such gestures with any gestures of its own, any steps that would show their desire for peace. Instead, the released killers are welcomed as heroes, with public celebrations, marching bands, and speeches from PA leaders heaping praise on the murderers. When Palestinians embrace terrorists, it tends to convince Israelis that the Palestinians still, well, embrace terrorism.

In a separate "good will" gesture, the Israelis recently gave the PA the bodies of five terrorists, two of whom were involved in suicide bombings that left 16 Israelis dead and more than 80 wounded. Here is how a reporter on PA Television described the two dead bombers at the March 12 funeral in Nablus: "The skies of Nablus adorn themselves with the stars who loved the soil of the homeland, in which they will lie forever having returned to it as Martyrs (Shahids)."

Imagine the uproar if after the funeral of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, a reporter for a mainstream American television station, declared: "The skies of Oklahoma City adorn themselves with this star who loved the soil of the homeland, in which he will lie forever having returned to it as a Martyr."

PA Television then interviewed the brother of suicide bomber Imad Zubeidi, who said "This is not mourning, but a wedding of Martyrdom--we are very proud that our brother gave of himself for Palestine."  And the sister of the other bomber, Maher Hbeishah, said, "He would always pray, 'Allah, make us live happily and die as Martyrs'--praise be to Allah, he achieved it."

This is the culture of glorifying mass murder that the Palestinian Authority has created. If Israel releases 26 more terrorists, as the PA is demanding, that will mean 26 more celebrations, 26 more parades, and 26 more relatives on television, telling millions of Palestinian and other Arab viewers how wonderful it is to carry out suicide bombings.

You don't have to be a prime minister or a seasoned diplomat or a four-star general to understand that setting more killers free just doesn't make any sense.

It won't increase the chances for peace. It will just give the Palestinian another prime-time opportunity to glorify mass murderers.

It won't help our ally, Israel. It will be just another one-sided concession for which Israel will get nothing in return--and will whet the appetite of Israel's enemies to keep demanding more and more.

It will send a message to the Palestinians that they don't need to change their ways. They can keep on encouraging terrorism, they can keep promoting a culture of violence--and the Obama administration will keep on pushing to give them a sovereign state, even though we know that it will be a terrorist state. That won't be good for Israel, for America, or for peace.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Iran sick puppies love to show bombing

You cannot make up this stuff.  The Iranians do it for you.

Here is a video showing bombings of Tel Aviv, Israel and American sites.



Heaven help us.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Boycott and Israel, an open letter to Emma Thompson

An open letter to Emma Thompson, actress and boycotter of Israel
By Stephen M. Flatow/JNS.org

Dear Ms. Thompson,
 
The Jan. 27 passing of Pete Seeger got me thinking about you. That may seem a little surprising; there’s no obvious connection between a banjo-strumming American folk singer and a British Oscar-winning actress. So let me explain.

The obituaries for Mr. Seeger noted that in the 1930s and 1940s, he had been a supporter of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. But in 1993, Seeger publicly apologized for, as he put it, “following the party line so slavishly, for not seeing that Stalin was a supremely cruel misleader.”

It’s a shame that it wasn’t until 40 years after Stalin’s death that Seeger finally acknowledged the truth about his former idol. I am hoping it won’t take you 40 years to acknowledge the terrible mistake you have made in publicly urging a boycott of Israelis.

You publicly called on London’s Globe Theater to cancel its invitation to the Israeli theatre company Habima to take part in a Shakespeare Festival. You and your colleagues asserted that “by inviting Habima, the Globe is associating itself with the policies of exclusion practiced by the Israeli state.” Allowing Israelis to perform would make the festival “complicit with human rights violations,” you claimed.
 
I know a little something about human rights violations—such as the violation of my daughter Alisa’s right to live. In 1995, Palestinian Arab terrorists associated with the Islamic Jihad movement decided to practice their brand of “exclusion” by bombing the bus on which Alisa was riding. Eight innocent people were murdered, more than 50 were injured. The U.S. State Department publicly identified five of the killers. To this day, they live freely in the territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

Ms. Thompson, please understand me. I am not saying that actors should refrain from taking stands on political issues. But I am directing your attention to the fact that on so many occasions, actors and other entertainers who have injected themselves into public controversies have ultimately proven to be badly mistaken, as the case of Pete Seeger demonstrates.

Many prominent Hollywood figures took part in the 1950s McCarthyite witch-hunts. They said they were defending American culture against radicals. But they didn’t mind slandering innocent people in the process.

Harry Belafonte is a wonderful entertainer. But his support for Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez was reprehensible. And his racially charged attacks on African-American Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice were vile.

Sean Penn is a talented actor. But his embrace of Saddam Hussein was disgraceful. Whatever one thinks of the Iraq war in retrospect, who can deny that the world is better off without Saddam?

When we look at the brutal dictatorship that rules Vietnam today, when we think about the countless innocents slaughtered by that regime, it is impossible not to resent Jane Fonda’s support for the Vietcong. At least the folksinger Joan Baez, who once vocally supported the North Vietnamese, eventually had the decency to repudiate them—but, once again, only after it was much too late.

That, Ms. Thompson, is what I fear will happen to you if you throw in your lot with the haters and boycotters of Israel. The radical chic that is so appealing to you today will be revealed as a horrible mistake soon enough. You will, eventually, recognize the true nature of the tyrants and terrorists of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. But how much must Israel suffer until you, like Pete Seeger and Joan Baez, finally stop romanticizing dictators?
 
Yes, there are evil regimes that deserve to be boycotted. The apartheid regime of South Africa deserved it. So do the terrorists who rule Gaza. But democratic, peaceful, egalitarian Israel does not.

Sincerely,
Stephen M. Flatow

Original January 30, 2014 post on JNS.org is here.