Mar 28, 2011

It's Magic!

The US has magic cruise missiles, which do not kill civilians. They have fired hundreds of missiles into Libya, which, to listen to US spokesmen, have not killed one civilian.
            The British and French also have magic bombs. They have dropped hundreds on Libya without killing one innocent man, woman or child. Only Kadaffi's bullets kill civilians. The bombs and missiles save them.
            If you believe this I have a Brooklyn Bridge in slightly used condition to sell you. I don't own it, but why should that matter?
            What Israel can learn from this (and boy, do we need to learn it) is that today it is just as important to control the news field as the battle field.
            In previous years an example of complete media control was given by Margaret Thatcher, when the British went to war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. The British Defense Ministry offered all the journalists transportation for the long trip to the war zone on a British naval ship. Then they stranded all of them in mid-ocean until the fighting was over. The only news items that reached the world were the official releases and films of the British Army spokesman.
            That coup is difficult to repeat, but the American armed forces encouraged favorable coverage by embedding journalists with various military units in the war against Saddam Hussein.
            The queen in "Alice in Wonderland" said, "A word means exactly what I want it to mean." I remembered this when I watched Hillary Clinton on TV, trying to keep a straight face, while she explained that Bashir Assad sending his army to kill Syrian civilians was different from Kadaffi sending his army to kill Libyan civilians, so that the US should stay out of Syria while intervening in Libya.
            Most countries, if not all, in this imperfect world are not impressed by virtue, but by strength. Thus we should not knock ourselves out trying to prove to most of them that we are the good guys, which they are programmed not to accept, but that we are the winners.

Mar 16, 2011

Re-Educating Ourselves, Re-Educating the World


            Mr. Prime Minister, I don't want to attack you, but to convince you.
            The peace policy of successive Israeli Governments, including yours, has been to propose ever-increasing concessions to the Arabs. They have consistently rejected all offers as not enough and insisted we come up with more, which they will also always reject as insufficient.
            We have educated ourselves and the world that "peace process" means ever increasing Israeli offers of concessions, while the Arabs do nothing except reject and demand more. This has not brought peace one inch closer, but it has landed us in the almost total isolation in which we find ourselves today.
            We have educated ourselves and the world that we are the ones who have to make the concessions, and if the Arabs are not satisfied, it must be because our concessions have not gone far enough, and we must be pressured into making more.
            No concessions we can ever offer, short of our national suicide, will satisfy the Arabs and therefore they will not satisfy the "world". Nonetheless, Ministers and officials, who should know better, insist that the only path open to us is to give in more and faster.
            Now we are not only expected to make concessions in negotiations, we are supposed to make substantive concessions to wheedle the Arabs into talking with us at all, while they sit back and give us failing marks for not conceding enough and fast enough. How much time will new concessions buy us? A day? A week? A month? Then back to isolation.
            We must recognize this and change course, not increase speed.
            The UN has 192 member states. Any resolution the Arabs submit against Israel will automatically get universal support. We must stop trying to convince these countries that we are really nice guys, which they will never accept, and start acting like strong guys, which paradoxically will get us much further.
            Your government has made the point that it is ready to sit down for direct negotiations at any time and place. Now stop repeating that every day. Any country which is willing to hear it already has. Those who are not willing to hear it, will not be moved by the repetition.
            You should announce Israel's conditions for resumption of direct negotiations:
  1. The Palestinian Authority must acknowledge Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People.
  2. The Palestinian Authority must control and reduce anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement in its media and schools.
  3. Until there is a final peace treaty, Israel will continue building in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria in accordance with its discretion.
The purpose of these conditions is to "even out the playing field" so not only the Arabs have conditions, and also to give governments and inter governmental bodies more scope for their diplomacy.
            There is no need to answer those who say this proves Israel doesn't really want peace. Let them convince us.

Mar 10, 2011

An Open Letter to Benjamin Netanyahu

Bibi, you are a very smart man. So why do you fall (or jump) into the same trap time after time?
            Two of the last bastions of support for Israel in the US are the Congress and AIPAC. So why are you preparing to announce new Israeli concessions to the Arabs in one of these forums? In other words, why will you equate support for Israel with support for Israeli concessions, "davka" before Israel's strongest supporters?
            The Senators and Congressmen and the AIPAC delegates want to give you repeated standing ovations to express their support for Israel. Why are you going to force them to make these into support for Israeli concessions as if the only way to support Israel is by supporting Israeli concessions? And who will tell them this? The Prime Minister of Israel, so how can they be "more Catholic than the Pope"?
            You may comfort yourself that your proposed concessions will be balanced by demands for security measures like keeping the IDF on the Jordan. But all experience shows that these will be "gone with the wind", while the concessions (which the Arabs will anyway reject as insufficient) will remain as the new, reduced Israel opening position for negotiations, if and when they ever take place. Do you remember the 14 Israeli conditions which Arik Sharon tacked on to approval of the "Roadmap" in order to get it accepted by the Israeli Government? If so, you and I are the only ones who do, while the roadmap (without the conditions) binds us.
            Or do you remember Resolution 1701, "Tzippy Livni's triumph", which was going to stop the smuggling of Iranian Arms to Hezbollah? UNIFIL never saw even one of the 60,000 smuggled missiles, but they protest every Israeli overflight to gather intelligence as a violation of Lebanese sovereignty.
            So at least don't fool yourself that anything good will come out of announcing new Israeli concessions before Israel's greatest supporters, and thus forcing them to regard supporting Israeli concessions as the only way to support Israel.
            It appears so far that you intend to keep the contents of your speech secret from your own septet, security cabinet and government; consulting only with your paid professional assistants. But ours is not a presidential system and you are not President Obama, who can bind the US without consulting his "pkidim", the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, Secretary of  the Treasury, etc.
            Apparently the only minister you consult (and who does not consult you in return) is Ehud Barak, who has gone completely off the tracks. His call for an additional $20 Billion in US aid to Israel will alienate every supporter of Israel in Congress and give new aid and comfort to those who want to increase aid to the Arabs. What brilliance!