Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The LA Times' Anti-Israel Bias

Some time ago, I gave up my subscription to the LA Times because of their leftist and anti-Israel bias. They just love printing opinion pieces by anti-Israel Arabs, intellectuals and leftists in general; but they really love it when they get a liberal/leftist Jew to rant against Israel. The latest anti-Israel piece was this past Sunday (7/17/11) on the op-ed pages entitled "'Delegitimization' is just a distraction." It is written by M.J. Rosenberg, described as a senior foreign policy fellow at (the far left) Media Matters Action Network. In browsing through his web page it became apparent that he supports virtually every far left policy position and greatly admires Obama.

The thrust of the article is that Israel makes up the seriousness of the delegitimization efforts in order to distract from the "real" issues: the "settlements" and the need for a palestinian state. The truth, however, gets left behind. Here are a few examples:

1. "...the Palestinians who intend to go to the United Nations are seeking establishment of a state alongside Israel." I agree. The problem is that as soon as they get their state they plan on continuing their political, economic and military attacks on Israel until they get all of the land between the Jordan River and Mediterranean. Everything Hamas and even Abbas say supports that proposition. Curious how a "media expert" is unaware of all threats made by the Arabs against Israel's continued existence.

2. "That state (a new palestinian state) would encompass 22% of the British mandate for Palestine, approved by the League of Nations in 1922, with Israel possessing
78%." Hardly. The original British Mandate included what is now the country of Jordan. The idea was to split the Mandate into an Arab state and a Jewish state. But Britain reneged and rewarded an Arab ally (the Hashemite King) with the territory that became Trans-Jordan (now known as Jordan). Jordan occupies 34,495 square miles. Israel occupies only 8,550 square miles. The West Bank and Gaza occupy 2,183 square miles. So the reality is that Israel would occupy only 18.9% of the original Mandate if a new palestinian state is created. The other reality is that, contrary to the original intentions, there would be two Arab states and only one Jewish state created from the Mandate territory.

3. After noting that the UN recognized Israel (not quite accurate), and referring to Israel's military might, Rosenberg says: "...the whole idea of delegitimizing Israel sounds silly. Israel can't be deligitimized." This is from a foreign policy and media expert? What country does not have either a governmental or private organization(s) that does not have an anti-Israel divest, boycott and deligitimization movement? Iran. 57 muslim countries. Turkey. Venezuela. England. France. And lots of private groups in this country and throughout the world. Not to mention the efforts by Abbas, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Maybe Mr. Rosenberg should read some of my earlier blogs as he seems to be unaware of just how significant the anti-Israel and (let's be honest) anti-semitic bias is in the world.

4. "If the Israeli-Palestinian discussion is about Israel's right to defend itself, Israel wins the argument. But if it is about the occupation - which is, in fact, what the conflict has been about since 1993, when the Palestinian Liberation Organization recognized Israel - it loses." The reference to 1993 is to the Oslo Accords. But the palestinians will not renounce violence. They will not recognize Israel as the Jewish state. They insist on a "right of return" for millions of descendants of the original "refugees"- not to the new Palestinian state, but to Israel, resulting in the destruction of Israel as the Jewish state. And if the settlements ("occupation") were really the issue, why did the Arabs attack the new Jewish state in 1948 when Israel did not yet control the West Bank or Gaza? Why did they make war again in 1967, when Israel did not yet control the West Bank or Gaza?

5. After stating that Netanyahu received what he calls an "embarrassing" number of standing ovations from Congress, he goes on: "It is doubtful that Netanyahu would get a single standing ovation in any other parliament in the world - and that includes Israel's." Israel's is easily explained by the internal politics of that country (as would happen in any free country). But how ironic and revealing that Rosenberg is embarrassed by the warm reception Netanyahu received from Congress. And what does it say about the rest of the world if he is right; if Netanyahu were to be shunned by other world leaders - as if Israel were the most evil country in the world? Or, without even realizing it, is Rosenberg actually acknowledging that Israel has in fact been delegitimized by every country around the world - except for the USA?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Obama Doctrine

The July/August issue of Commentary magazine has an interesting article by two former undersecretaries in the defense department, Douglas Feith and Seth Cropsey. Entitled "The Obama Doctrine Defined," they posit two central themes to Obama's foreign policy. "The first is that America's role in world affairs for more than a century has has been, more often than not, aggressive rather than constrained, wasteful rather than communal, and arrogant in promoting democracy, despite our own democratic shortcomings." They explain that this belief reveals much about Obama's need to apologize for America's past actions. "The second idea is that multilateral institutions offer the best hope for restraining U.S. power and moderating our national assertiveness." Hence, the Obama Administration's affinity for institutions such as the United Nations.

The first proposition helps explain many of Obama's comments and actions and appointments. Obama's statement that "any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail," can now be understood in light of the first theme of the Obama Doctrine. The same can be said about his reply, when asked if he believed in American exceptionalism, that he does - just like the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism. The first prong of the theory helps put in context his apology tour, especially his speech to the muslim world from Cairo.

The first part of the theory helps explain why Samantha Power is one of his senior advisors. This comment from Power: "...Instituting a doctrine of mea culpa would enhance our credibility by showing that American decision-makers do not endorse the sins of their predecessors." And then we have these comments from Anne-Marie Slaughter, another top advisor: "It will be time for a new president to show humility rather than just talk about it. The president must ask Americans to acknowledge to ourselves and to the world that we have made serious, even tragic, mistakes in the aftermath of September 11..." And this: "The more that America is respected and admired in the world, the greater our diplomatic powers will be." This theory also helps to explain Obama reaching out to our enemies, and apologizing for past transgressions, while ignoring our allies, who apparently have much of their own apologizing to do.

As one group of people is not to be elevated above any other, we now have diplomats in the State Department being allowed to deal directly with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (as reported in the 7/7/11 Investor's Business Daily). (We also have an ambassador in Syria now, even though the Syrian government ignores him.) The Botherhood is the same group banned by Mubarak, and whose motto is: "Jihad is our way, and dying in the cause of Allah is our highest hope." (Why is dying the highest goal?)The same article presents a frightening timeline of Obama's involvement with radical muslim groups: 2009 - the president of the Islamic Society of North America (a group with terrorist ties) is invited to the inauguration; 2009 - Obama invites the Brotherhood, a group banned by then President Mubarak, to his Cairo speech; 2009 - Obama appoints an Islamist to be our envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference; 2010 - after meeting with Egypt's foreign minister, the minister states Obama revealed he is a muslim; 2011 - James Clapper, the intelligence czar, tells Congress that the Brotherhood is a moderate, "largely secular" organization (one of the most moronic comments since Pelosi's "we have to pass the bill to see what's in it"); 2011 - the Brotherhood threatens to end Egypt's 30 year peace with Israel, and Obama gives his Mideast speech telling Israel to create what would likely be an islamic state on its new, and indefensible, borders; 2011 - the Justice Department decides not to pursue further prosecutions against Brotherhood front groups in the U.S. which send money to the terrorist group Hamas. (Which is made all the more frightening in light of research by the Center for Security Policy, reporting that 81% of U.S. mosques have Islamic literature advocating violence, and 85% of the imams recommend these reading materials; as reported in the 6/21/11 I.B.D.)

The theory also explains Obama's lack of discomfort in listening for twenty years to the sermons of Reverend Wright, including his most well known line of: "G-d bless America? No, G-d damn America." Obama's "mentor" was in the news again recently with this gem: "The State of Israel is an illegal, To equate Judaism with the State of Israel is to equate Christianity with Flavor Flav (a rapper)." (As reported by Caroline Glick in the 6/24/11 Jerusalem Post online.) Recall that Obama only broke ties with Wright when it became politically untenable during the campaign to maintain the relationship.

And as we understand that Obama believes the U.S. has more often been a force for evil than good, the reduction in defense spending under this president makes perfect sense. The weaker the U.S. is, the less harm it can cause the world. Defense spending has been falling in real terms, and as a percentage of the federal budget, and as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product. Furthermore, the U.S. Navy, which allows us to project strength around the world as needed, is the smallest it has been since 1916! (As reported by former U.S. Senator James Talent and Mackenzie Eaglen in the Spring/Summer, 2011 edition of The Journal of International Security Affairs.) Others, however, are not following the U.S.lead. Iran is moving ahead with its nuclear production, and is now considered the leading sponsor of terrorism worldwide. China has a new stealth fighter; and, according to the Pentagon, "China has the most active land-based ballistic and cruise-missile program in the world." (Again, as reported by Talent and Eaglen.) And while America reduces its military strength, other forces remain real and credible threats: Russia, Venezuela, the drug cartels, and, of course, islamofascism.

The second prong of the Obama Doctrine is the deference given to international organizations, such as the U.N. We have heard Obama and others in his administration speak highly of the U.N. on numerous occassions. Most recently, he deferred to the U.N., rather than the U.S. Congress, in deciding what action to take against Libya. He appointed Harold Koh, former dean of Yale Law School, to be the top attorney in the State Department. Koh is a believer in transnationalism; essentially less U.S. autonomy and more reliance on international law and international institutions. (As reported in the Commentary article referenced above.)

Only an ideologue, or ivory tower academic, can believe that the U.N. can be a source for good. Iran recently hosted a "World Without Terroism Conference." The U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, lauded Iran for "holding this very important conference." (Just how important can it be when the leading sponsor of terrorism in the world is the host? And just what outcomes could be expected - other than the usual condemnations of the U.S. and Israel?) A featured speaker at the conference was Omar al-Bashir, the genocidal leader of Sudan. Meanwhile, North Korea heads the U.N.'s Conference on Disarmament. North Korea has developed nuclear weapons, has threatened to use those weapons, secretly helped Syria build a nuclear facility (subsequently taken out by the Israelis), and provided ballistic missile technology to Iran. A perfect choice to lead a conference on disarmament. (All as reported by Catoline Glick in the 7/1/11 Jerusalem Post online.)

I believe Ms. Glick said it best in describing the U.N. as: "...wholly and completely corrupt. It is morally bankrupt. It is controlled by the most repressive regimes in the world..." Unfortunately, that description seems to fit the Obama Administration's thinking about the U.S.A.