BEN WEINGARTEN

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Tag: Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel’s Temple Mount Policy is a Microcosm of What Ails the West

In a new piece for the Claremont Review of Books, I argue that Israel’s Temple Mount policy from its reclamation in 1967 to today — intended to appease Arab aggressors — is a microcosm of what ails the West. In fact, it reflects the perfect symbol of our civilization’s lack of confidence in its moral legitimacy, sovereignty, and the right to defend against aggression.

Here’s a taste:

Israel does not err alone. The Temple Mount, which is core to the Judeo-Christian world generally, and to Israel—which is the first line of defense of Western civilization against Islamic supremacism—is symbolic of the West’s broader ideological maladies. Leftism sees the West as an evil, oppressive, occupying force. The hysterical reaction to President Trump’s Poland speech in defense of Western civilization—which was read by the Left with scare quotes as a defense of racism and colonialism—is the product of such “progressive” brainwashing.

The West has deemed itself morally illegitimate, the decadent and depraved creation of dead European white males. To make up for real and imagined historic injustices, the West has frequently repudiated its fundamental principles, and actively undermined its institutions. Its crisis of moral legitimacy is revealed in virulently anti-religious secularism, and in attacks on the natural rights to life, liberty, and property by an administrative state operating without the consent of the people.

The West’s lack of confidence in its sovereignty is revealed in open-borders policies that result in endless migrant floods, regardless of whether the migrants will or can enhance economic or social development. Progressive activists go so far as to imply that every migrant—legal or not—has an inherent right to citizenship, or at least to the rights guaranteed by citizenship. The multicultural credo that holds all cultures to be equal and inherently valuable is thought to obviate the need for borders.

The West’s unwillingness to defend itself against Islamic aggression reveals itself in Europe’s “no-go zones.” In America, it reveals itself through our see-no-Islam national security and foreign policy, and in the pervasive belief that we must appease our enemies with bribery (Iran Deal), sacrifice our rights (anti-free speech measures so as not to offend), or remove our defenses through politically correct policies chiefly oriented towards concession rather than victory (“Countering Violent Extremism”). At the heart of these policies is a belief that the West is the aggressor, and our enemies are the aggrieved.

The West’s lack of confidence ultimately extends to its right to survive. If one of the least abashed Western nations won’t assert itself at Temple Mount, it is hard to be sure where other nations will draw lines they are prepared to defend without yielding.

Read the whole thing here.

Trump Reinvigorates the US-Israel Relationship Upending Obama’s Anti-Zionist Agenda

In the days since becoming president, Donald Trump took swift action indicating that days of Obama antipathy were coming to an end, through his symbolic and substantive appointment of staunch Zionist David Friedman as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, to his putting Iran “on notice” and imposing sanctions against it, and his reversal of U.S. policy on Judea and Samaria.

But February 15, 2017, the day that President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood side by side at the White House for the first time, may have marked the official end to the shameful Obama years.

I write about this heartening change for the benefit of all of Western civilization in a new piece at Conservative Review.

Here are seven fundamental takeaways from the recent Trump-Netanyahu joint press conference:

1. Mutual dedication to thwarting Iran and fighting Islamic supremacism more broadly:

Contrary to an Obama administration that coddled Iran and allowed Islamic supremacism to metastasize, President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu mutually agreed to mitigate the disaster that is the Iran Deal, including stopping Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon and pushing back against its proxies like Hezbollah. Prime Minister Netanyahu lauded President Trump for his commitment to defeating jihadism more broadly, a fight Israel deals with daily in the form of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist threats. A common understanding of the nature of the Islamic supremacist threat to both nations, and Western civilization more broadly, is in and of itself a profound change.

2. Upending the two-state peace paradigm:

Turning the decades-old status quo on its head, the Trump administration indicated it would no longer be official U.S. policy to seek a peace agreement between the Israelis and Arabs of Palestine that takes the form of two states. As both leaders suggested, such an agreement could take many forms, but “labels” were secondary to substance.

3. The U.S. will not dictate the peace:

President Trump suggested that only a direct agreement between the Israelis and their Arab counterparts would clinch a deal. The U.S. will be happy to facilitate such conversations, including broader ones with Sunni Arab partners, but President Trump indicated a deal would not be forced on Israel by other parties. Moreover, President Trump appeared to endorse the preconditions Prime Minister Netanyahu put on such a peace, including recognition of Israel and its ability to adequately secure Judea and Samaria. Consistent with the administration’s prior statement, President Trump did not call the settlements an obstacle to peace, but did call for a pause seemingly in connection with forthcoming negotiations.

4. Recognition of Arab Jew-hatred as a primary obstacle to peace:

Both President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke about the pervasive fundamental Jew-hatred animating large numbers of the Arabs of Palestine, which has stood as a main obstacle to peace. Trump did not draw moral equivalence between the Israelis and Arabs, solely stating that both sides would have to make compromises in a deal.

5. Engaging with Sunni Arab partners:

One of the few silver linings of the Obama administration’s Iran-strengthening policy is that Israel and its Arab neighbors were drawn closer than perhaps at any time in the last hundred years given their common existential threat from Tehran. President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu pledged to work with such powers on areas of common interest, presumably including countering jihadists that would threaten their regimes and in context of a broadly negotiated Israeli-Arab peace deal. One such potential plan floated on the eve of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s trip to the U.S. involves creating an area for the Arabs of Palestine spanning from Gaza to the Sinai.

6. Ensuring protection at the United Nations:

Contrary to the Obama administration, President Trump pledged to work to protect Israel from the many hostile nations comprising the United Nations. Trump’s statement comes on the heels of UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s rejection of former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority Salam Fayyad’s appointment as the UN representative to Libya.

7. Rejecting the BDS movement:

Again contra the Obama administration, President Trump declared that he would oppose boycotts targeting Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu concluded the press conference by stating:

I’ve known the president and I’ve known his family and his team for a long time. There is no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than President Donald Trump. I think we should put that to rest.

The positive rapport between the two figures appeared genuine, based on a shared worldview and mutual respect.

Watching the press conference, it was self-evident that the pall cast over the relationship between the U.S. and Israel under President Obama has lifted, and the U.S.-Israel alliance reset at an auspicious moment in history.

A rebooted and robust U.S.-Israel relationship will play a central role if we are win the fight to preserve Judeo-Christian Western civilization against the jihadist forces that threaten our survival.

Read the whole thing here.

Obama Makes the Worst Trade in US History: Israel for Iran

On the eve of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, a despicable and disastrous betrayal has become clear: President Barack Obama has traded Israel for Iran.

In the annals of the history of American foreign policy filled with pages of willful blindness, amorality and often State Department-led folly, there are few things more substantively and symbolically egregious than this fundamental transformation.

Consider the two nations of which we are speaking: One is the largest state sponsor of terror in the world, run by genocidal jihadist theocrats who in their Twelver Shiite theology seek to bring on the apocalypse by destroying the cradle of world civilization. The other is a bastion of liberty, plurality, dynamism, creativity and innovation, despite being surrounded by myriad hostile regimes.

In a sane world, it would be unthinkable, unconscionable, and un-American for us to turn on the state of Israel – the front line of Western civilization against barbarians who seek to take us, and who are fast taking themselves, back to the seventh century.

But then we are in year seven of the Obama presidency, an “Alice in Wonderland” world in which the seemingly perverse has become the norm, all in the name of regressive progressivism.

While Americans focus on the seen of beheadings or the destruction of ancient artifacts by Islamic State in high definition, that shock our collective conscience, the unseen is that Iran is quietly becoming the hegemon in the Middle East – and perhaps in the eyes of President Obama, America’s top ally in the region.

The easing of sanctions allowing billions of dollars of wealth to flow to a tottering economy and allowing the continued enrichment of uranium – will provide legitimacy to a terrorist regime and show the world that – like Neville Chamberlain’s England – America has chosen to appease evil rather than confront it.

Meanwhile, as DEBKA asserted in a recent memo, Iran has concurrently been “taking up forward positions in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, where they are busy fashioning a Shiite Crescent that encircles Sunni Arab states as well as Israel.”

(Image Source: DEBKA)

(Image Source: DEBKA)

America under this president has consciously chosen to stand by all the while. As Tony Badran wrote in a stunning analysis at NOW [emphasis mine]:

In one of Obama’s several letters to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, he reportedly presented finalizing the deal on the nuclear program as the gateway to a broader regional partnership, especially against Sunni extremist groups like the Islamic State (ISIS).

This partnership is central to Obama’s broader objective of extricating the U.S. from the Middle East and leaving in place a new security structure, of which Iran is a principal pillar. His tacit policy from Baghdad to Beirut has been to partner with Iranian-backed forces as the boots on the ground in the campaign against Sunni extremists. In Iraq and Lebanon especially, the U.S. partnership with Iranian assets and Iran-dominated state institutions has created a de facto condominium between the U.S. and Iran. 

Lest we conclude the spread of Iran’s tentacles throughout the Levant primarily endangers Sunni jihadists, the title of a recent paper from MEMRI spells out the real casualty: “From The Mediterranean to the Golan, Iran Builds Active Front And Direct Military Presence On Israel’s Border To Deter Israel And Further Ideology Of Eliminating The Zionist Regime.”

MEMRI quotes from a columnist for the Lebanese Al-Akhbar paper:

Continue reading at TheBlaze…

An in-depth interview with Jerusalem Post editor and former Netanyahu staffer Caroline Glick on her controversial one-state plan for peace in the Middle East

Caroline Glick is out with a new book we have been covering of late entitled The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East” [reviewed here].

The central premise of Glick’s — the Deputy Managing Editor of the Jerusalem Post’s — book is that the two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians is unfeasible, legally, historically and morally unjustifiable, and based on a discredited world view. Glick argues instead for a one-state solution whereby Israel would apply Israeli law, and through it Israeli sovereignty to the entirety of Judea and Samaria (commonly referred to as the West Bank).

Below is our interview, conducted with Glick from TheBlaze’s newsroom in Manhattan. The conversation has been transcribed and slightly modified for clarity. All emphasis is ours.

Give us your pitch for why Americans should be interested in this book.

Glick: The United States has been pushing this idea of a two-state solution for over a generation. It was first pushed by the Nixon Administration in 1970 and it’s based on this totally false understanding of the Middle East which places Israel at the center of everything. It says that the size of Israel is really responsible for all the bad things in the Arab world, and if we can make Israel smaller than the problems will be smaller. And the ultimate idea is partition and establishing a PLO state in areas that Israel controls.

The problem with this paradigm is that it’s totally false. Israel doesn’t dictate events in the Arab world. Those are dictated by internal issues in each Arab state as we’ve seen now with the revolutions going through all of them that have absolutely nothing to do with Israel. They all have to do with the internal dynamics and pathologies of Arab societies. But because the U.S. has been pushing this idea for so long, what has happened is that U.S. policymakers are fundamentally incapable of understanding the Middle East, because they’re basing everything on this false assumption of Israeli culpability. And once you start with that, you can’t think about anything else. So they didn’t understand Iraq when they went in, because they didn’t think about it. They didn’t understand Egypt when they decided to overthrow Mubarak because they didn’t think they had to think about it. They put everything into prisms, so “democracy,” “Israel,” “peace process” and they’re all very convenient but they’re all completely irrelevant.

So what this book does is it shows why this is false, how devastating it has been for American policymakers’ capacity to analyze situations as they unfold based upon reality, and so I think it’s absolutely critical for Americans who are concerned about U.S. national security and their interests abroad. Furthermore, this has had a debilitating impact on Israel because basically you have the centerpiece of U.S. Middle East policy is to pressure Israel, which is the U.S.’ only stable ally in the Middle East, and so by necessity this policy has weakened Israel, and as threats rise in every area of the Middle East against Israel or simply rise because of the massive instability and empowerment of the most radical extremist actors in the Muslim world in places like Syria, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia…and of course in Iran, Lebanon, you need Israel to be as strong as possible and so Israel itself has to get out from under the tyranny of the two-state paradigm, which places again all of the blame for everything on the Jews.

And so it’s imperative for Israel to get past this; it’s imperative for the United States to get past this and to move on and base a policy on reality. The policy that I put forward here seems radical, but actually it’s not at all radical because it’s based entirely on reality and fact, statistics…and interests and values. And what it says is, the West Bank of the Jordan River, what we in Israel refer to as Judea and Samaria, is part of Israel: by law, by national rights. And Israel has to control it for those reasons as well as for military necessity because it can’t defend itself without them.

As I argue in my book, America is much better off having an Israel that is stable and capable of defending itself against all aggressors because the stronger Israel is the more secure U.S. interests are and so this book is both for people who are involved in policy and national security, it’s also for people who care about Israel, and understand that there’s something fundamentally wrong when the centerpiece of U.S. Middle East policy is to push for the establishment of a terrorist state that is dedicated to destroying Israel but can’t figure out what to do about it because they’ve been told all of this time that Israel is the problem, or the absence of a Palestinian State is the problem; that if they care about Israel they should support America financing a Palestinian terrorist army and spending upwards of $500 million a year bankrolling Palestinian terrorists. It’s always been crazy, but that’s what people have been told and they’ve come to believe it over time. It was always a lie, and so that’s something else that I focus on in my book and I think is critical for people to understand.

Describe what the “Israeli solution” is.

Glick: The Israeli solution involves the application of Israeli law and through it Israeli sovereignty to the entirety of Judea and Samaria — the West Bank of the Jordan — and providing the Palestinians who live there with automatic permanent residency status and the right to apply for Israeli citizenship in accordance with Israel citizenship law, and through that, the dismantlement of the Palestinian Authority and the abandonment of the two-state paradigm for peace-making. This is an idea, this is a policy that is based on an understanding that at base the Palestinian national movement since its inception in 1920 has not been about the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state but rather the destruction of the Jewish state or earlier the prevention of the establishment of a Jewish state and so it remains to this day which is why the PLO has consistently refused statehood every time it has been offered them since 1993. And so it’s about abandoning a fake idea, an idea that’s based on lies, that is that the Palestinians aspire first and foremost to a state of their own, and embracing instead the truth that Israel is capable of absorbing the Palestinians of Judea and Samaria, and giving them what they’ve always lacked which is full civil rights, and through that their ability to determine their own fate as individuals and as members of a society of Israel.

Read more at TheBlaze…

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén