Gleanings, 26.04.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

TheBlogIsMine: WikiLeaks: BBC Part of ‘Propaganda Media Network’ for Al Qaeda

The BBC could be a part of a ‘possible propaganda media network’ for al-Qeada, according to the leaked U.S. files on the Guantanamo detainees, published by WikiLeaks.

A phone number of someone at the BBC Bush House, the headquarters of the BBC World Service, was found in phone books and programmed into the mobile phones of a number of militants seized by the U.S. forces.

“The London, United Kingdom, phone number 0044 207 XXX XXXX was discovered in numerous seized phone books and phones associated with extremist-linked individuals,” according to the assessment on one of the detainees at the Guantanamo camp, dated 21 April 2007. “The number is associated with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).’

The U.S. assessment file said forces had uncovered many ‘extremist links’ to the BBC number – indicating that extremists could have made contacts with employees at the broadcaster who were sympathetic to extremists or had information on ‘ACM’ (anti-Coalition militia) activities.

It says: “Analyst Note: Numerous extremist links to this BBC number indicates a possible propaganda media network connection. Network analysis might provide leads to individuals with either sympathetic ties to extremists or possibly possessing information on ACM operations.”

[NB: This is a key element in cognitive war, and a good reason why the progressive West is losing to regressive fanatics. Apparently hatred of self overrides any commitment to real values. -RL]

Benny Morris: Palestinians Dupe West

Palestinian strategy is rather simple (and not particularly clever, though it does manage to take in a surprising number of Westerners): Because of the demographic threat (an Arab majority in a Jewish state) and because of international pressure for self-determination for the Palestinians and an end to Israel’s military occupation, Israelis will eventually accept, however reluctantly, a Palestinian state encompassing the Palestinian-majority territories of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Israel will eventually unilaterally withdraw (as it has already done from the Gaza Strip). So why offer or give the Israelis recognition and peace in exchange?

Rather, once this mini-state is achieved, unfettered by any international obligations like a peace treaty—and having promised nothing in exchange for their statehood—the Palestinians will be free to continue their struggle against Israel, its complete demise being their ultimate target. Inevitably, the armed struggle—call it guerrilla warfare, call it terrorism—will then be resumed. And, alongside it, so will the political warfare—the delegitimization of the Jewish state and, most centrally, the demand for the refugees of 1948/1967 to be allowed to return to their homes and lands (what the Palestinians define as the “Right of Return”). The refugee issue plays well with public opinion in the West, which somehow fails to notice that such a return will mean that Israel proper will become an Arab-majority territory, i.e., no more Jewish state. In democracies, what publics accept or support eventually becomes what leaders advocate.

And, on the military and political levels, no one will be able to fault the Palestinians. They will have broken no treaty and violated no solemn agreement. They won’t have signed a “no further claims” clause or a “no more war” commitment, as Barak, Clinton and Olmert had demanded as essential components of a two-state peace settlement. They will have received their mini-state, a launching pad for further assault on Israel, without giving anything in return.

FP: Palestinians preach to the choir. But Morris contradicts himself at the end of his article.

Howard Jacobson: Ludicrous, brainwashed prejudice (MUST READ)

Myself, I wouldn’t bet heavily on there being good times ahead for Jews. Anti-Zionists can assure me all they like that their position entails no harm to Jews – only witness how many Jews are themselves anti-Zionist, they say – I no longer believe them. Individually, it is of course possible to care little for Israel and to care a great deal for Jews. But in the movement of events individuals lose their voice. What carries the day is consensus, and consensus is of necessity unsubtle. By brute consensus, now, Israel is the proof that Jews did not adequately learn the lesson of the Holocaust.

Forget Holocaust denial. Holocaust denial is old hat. The new strategy – it showed its hand in Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children, and surfaced again in Channel 4′s recent series The Promise – is to depict the Holocaust in all its horror in order that Jews can be charged (“You, of all people”) with failing to live up to it. By this logic the Holocaust becomes an educational experience from which Jews were ethically obliged to graduate summa cum laude, Israel being the proof that they didn’t. “Jews know more than anyone that killing civilians is wrong,” resounds an unmistakably authorial voice in The Promise. Thus are Jews doubly damned: to the Holocaust itself and to the moral wasteland of having found no humanising redemption in its horrors.

It matters not a jot to me that the writer/director of The Promise is a Jew. Jews succumbing to the age-old view of them and reviling what’s Jewish in themselves has a long history. Peter Kosminsky would have it that his series is about Israel, not Jews, but in The Promise Israel becomes paradigmatic of the Jews’ refusal to be improved by affliction.

Cinnamon Stillwell and Judith Greblya: Anti-Israel Jewish Studies

The field of Middle East studies is notorious for producing apologias for radical Islam, particularly where anti-Israel and, at times, anti-Semitic sentiment is concerned.

These same tendencies are also increasingly common in an unexpected sector of university life: Jewish studies. An open letter dated March 3, 2011, and signed by 30 University of California Jewish studies faculty members, is a case in point.

… Unbelievably, one of the signatories actually opposes efforts to combat the crisis. When the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights reinstated protection for Jewish students from ethnic- or race-based harassment in October 2010, UC Davis professor David Biale criticized the decision, calling it “a very bizarre tactic” because, as he put it, “the Jews are a group with power.”

FP: Note carefully how leftist ideology overrides reason and drives against Israel.

Robert Satloff: The Middle East Needs More Israels

If anything, Oren — currently Israel’s ambassador to the United States — understates the case for Israel’s value as a strategic asset to America. For example, his diplomatic mantle prevents him from discussing at length the unique contribution Israel has made to counterproliferation, i.e., its raids on nuclear facilities in Iraq (1981) and Syria (2007). There has been much armchair-quarterbacking about the wisdom of these attacks, but it does not really take a Metternich to realize that the Middle East — and U.S. interests — are better off without either Saddam Hussein’s clan or Bashar al-Assad’s wielding nuclear weapons. And Oren’s diplomatic politesse prevents him from banging his fist on the table to remind Barack Obama’s administration that now is precisely the time to bolster America’s remaining allies in the Middle East, especially the limited number that are democratic allies (still, ahem, one).

Last July, in a debate with another realist making the case for Israel-as-a-liability (Chas W. Freeman), I argued that “what we really need in the Middle East are more ‘Israels’ — not more Jewish states, of course, but more strong, reliable, democratic, pro-American allies…. The absence of those sorts of allies is precisely what has gotten us into such deep trouble over the past 30 years.” I hope that the Arab Spring produces a few more Middle Eastern states that are “strong, reliable, democratic, pro-American allies” — and I believe there is a chance that this may eventually come to pass. In the meantime, as Oren persuasively argues, Washington should be wise to do everything it can to strengthen and protect the only one it has.

Lawrence F. Kaplan: How Libya revealed the huge gap between U.S. and European military might (MUST READ)

A campaign devised to showcase the benefits of multilateral action has done exactly the reverse. Easy talk about declining power, multipolarity, and cooperation raises a fairly straightforward question: Exactly whose cooperation do we mean to obtain? Here, the reply also tends to be straightforward: the Europeans, obviously. Leaving aside the question of will—that is, whether the Europeans wish to cooperate in garrisoning the farthest-flung precincts of (what used to be) American influence—is it really necessary to point out that, given the assumption European power alone would suffice to persuade Qaddafi to back down, someone on the Obama team ought to have inquired about European capabilities—that is, whether the Europeans can do this or, more to the point, anything at all? Because, for ten years—or 20, or 60, depending on one’s reading of the international scene—it has been fairly straightforward, obvious even, that the Europeans have left their historical role to history.

… For ten years now, it has been clear that, as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has put it, NATO is “evolving into a two-tiered alliance, in which you have some allies willing to fight and die to protect people’s security and others who are not.” What Gates said was true in Kosovo, where 83 percent of the bombs dropped came from U.S. planes; in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops account for two-thirds of the NATO presence (and a much higher fraction of the combat force); and now, in Libya, where, at least before it abandoned the battlefield, America’s strike aircraft were flying more than one half of the sorties.

… “The Libyan crisis has strikingly exposed the lack of a European defense policy: no ability to achieve a common political vision and no capacity to take on an operation of this kind,” said French defense analyst Bruno Tertrais, while a European diplomat predicted to the German news agency Deutsche Press Agentur that a common European defense policy “died in Libya—we just have to pick a sand dune under which we can bury it.” Indeed, the Germans have remained strenuously neutral during the conflict, other than to snipe at the French and the British, while the latter, according to The Washington Post, have nearly run out of bombs to drop.

… Where all this leads is clear. Regardless of his own inclinations, President Obama has been presented with successive crises to which he has been obliged, kicking and screaming, to respond. The United Nations has not been able to. Europe has not been able to. Either the United States will respond, or no one will.

David Pryce-Jones: How Many Torments Lie . . .

These are important developments with the potential to change the balance of power in the world. Whether Syria ends up as an even more subservient colony of Iran in its campaign against the United States, or on the contrary becomes independent and — who knows — free, is an issue of life and death. Nobody would think so from the lukewarm responses of Washington and London. It is hallucinating to hear that the White House is examining policy choices towards Syria and considering imposing sanctions. How urgent is “considering?” The president is not even recalling the American ambassador who has just arrived in Damascus, which is inexplicable. William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, trots out the word “unacceptable” about the crimes of Assad against his subjects. Unacceptable, from the man who occupies the office once held by Lord Palmerston, Canning, Curzon.

JOSEF JOFFE: The Arab Spring and The Palestine Distraction

In politics, shoddy theories never die. In the Middle East, one of the oldest is that Palestine is the “core” regional issue. This zombie should have been interred at the beginning of the Arab Spring, which has highlighted the real core conflict: the oppressed vs. their oppressors. But the dead keep walking.

Every “Palestine-first” doctrine in the end comes down to that fiendish “Arab Street”: The restless monster must be fed with Israeli concessions lest he rise and sweep away our good friends—all those dictators and despots who pretended to stand between us and Armageddon. Free Palestine, the dogma goes, and even Iran and Syria will turn from rabid to responsible. The truth is that the American and Israeli flags were handed out for burning by those regimes themselves.

5 Responses to Gleanings, 26.04.11

  1. Cynic says:

    With regard to Robert Satloff: The Middle East Needs More Israels, did anyone read the link. in a previous Gleanings to Oren’s article?
    Just reading the comments is enough to expose the ignorance and incomprehension that many of the readers display.
    Not only does the Middle East need more Israels but but that articles of this sort need to be directed to more intelligent minds to have any success in getting the facts out into the open.
    If anything Oren doesn’t say enough about the wealth that accrued to the US from Israeli R&D for many American companies and from the many Israeli companies enticed to make home in the US, that could possibly penetrate the heads of some of those commenting.
    He doesn’t make any argument for the monetary and technological return on the US loan guarantees and aid to Israel compared to the non-return, basically wasted bribes in most cases with not even a warm fuzzy feeling to compensate, on American aid to other countries.

    • oao says:

      I don’t think that the commenters are the informed and educated. and they will never be open to arguments such as Oren’s.

      There have been several articles today on US Syria policy (see tomorrow’s gleanings) and if you read them carefully you’ll see that if the US govt has failed in anything it is in strategic incompetence and in distinguishing between friends and enemies. The US govt KNOWS the benefits from Israel, yet its position is increasingly hostile to it.

      The articles also make clear the difference from Iran — it has a strategy and it has systematically implemented it effectively. The resulting power imbalance between the West and Iran is the determinant and Iran is winning.

      This has little to do with ignorance of the benefits, but rather with the collapse of the West and its efforts to make nice to the new overlords. Israel is a peon in that game and the benefits are no longer important: the West has lost.

  2. Cynic says:

    With regard to JOSEF JOFFE: The Arab Spring and The Palestine Distraction
    this from Jpost US: Assad no longer potential peace partner for Israel

    “It’s hard for us to stand by and see [President Bashar] Assad and his government engage in the kind of things they’re doing against their own people and to then think easily about how to pursue other diplomatic missions,” Jacob Sullivan, director of policy planning at the State Department, told reporters.

    Well, it would have been far easier had they not drunk the Kool Aide and been able to see the real world.
    Maybe with this it will be easier to see the shortcomings of forcing the 1949 armistice lines to become the international border between Arab spring and summer fall.
    So what will be left for the State Department to play Peace Plans with, as now it appears that a majority of Egyptians want to trash the peace agreement with Israel? North Korea?

    • oao says:

      Tomorrow gleanings will also show the ideological blinders that have guided the Syria policy. It has failed again and again and yet it has never changed. I am considering a post on my blog that there has been no learning curve in the US govt with respect to foreign policy.

      As to the Peace Plan, Elliott Abrams has written on rumors of a Fatah-Hamas agreement to rule for a year and elections afterwards. If true, either Hamas will use the opportunity to finish off Fatah, or the coalition will survive enough to make the West happy and agree to a Pal state. In any case, Benny Morris latest describes what will transpire, which is what THE OSLO SYNDROME predicted.

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