Judge for yourself. On May 19th Obama said:
So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.
Only a fool would believe that Israel would be “secure” when its committed enemies are only a stone’s throw away from its major population centers.
It would be fruitless to gainsay Netanyahu’s speech. One cannot envy the Prime Minister for having had to make it. He walks on a political and rhetorical tightrope. Beneath its honesty and sincerity, and to the contrary notwithstanding the numerous standing ovations the speech received, was an undercurrent of trepidation. One could sense it while watching him deliver the speech and by reading between the lines of a transcript of the speech. Will America ask Israel to submit to destruction, to commit suicide? It has been observed by conservative and liberal pundits alike that Obama’s Mideast speech of May 19th was a thinly disguised betrayal of Israel and a communication of an imperative that Israel put itself in fatal jeopardy by going back the “1967 lines.” I am sure this was not lost on Netanyahu. He reminded Obama that those borders are indefensible, and that the idea is a prescription for Israel’s accelerated annihilation.
There were, however, elements in Netanyahu’s speech that do not bode well for the future of Israel. One of them was this statement:
"Militant Islam threatens the world. It threatens Islam."
This is the fatal crack in the dam of Netanyahu’s moral certainty and moral certitude. It can only widen and usher in a flood of concessions to the Palestinians and whatever party brokers an agreement between these savages and Israel. One can see that in the text of the speech, in the Prime Minister’s willingness to make “painful compromises” to accommodate the Palestinians. It is tantamount to saying, “Militant Nazism threatens the world. It threatens Nazism.” The statement, as Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch tries to point out, masks the fallacy that Islam is just another religion whose adherents are married to its core tenets and who are responsible for all the mayhem. These are the “extremists.” All other Muslims are blameless. But they are not blameless, no more blameless than Nazi Party members who did not invade European countries or did not herd Jews into gas chambers. All those “passive,” blameless Muslims must share responsibility for the crimes committed in the name of their religion, for it is an ideology of totalitarianism.
The peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan are vital. But they're not enough. We must also find a way to forge a lasting peace with the Palestinians. Two years ago, I publicly committed to a solution of two states for two peoples: A Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state.
I am willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace. As the leader of Israel, it is my responsibility to lead my people to peace.
This is not easy for me. I recognize that in a genuine peace, we will be required to give up parts of the Jewish homeland. In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. We are not the British in India. We are not the Belgians in the Congo.
There is no way to negotiate with a tribe of savages who wish to destroy you. Netanyahu’s statements suggest that the Palestinians wish for the same things that Israelis want and have. This is placing a benevolent construct on the intentions of a boa constrictor that is already entwined around one’s leg and is working its way up to one’s torso. I believe he knows better. But to condemn the Palestinians publicly would ensure a violent reaction that could lose what little support Israel has in the United States.
One can understand the pragmatism of such a statement. Netanyahu does not have the luxury of speaking his mind about Islam. He could very well be impeached or brought to trial in Israel itself, as Geert Wilders has been in the Netherlands, for even insinuating that Islam is a nihilist ideology which, among other things, regards Jews and other non-believers as the equivalent of pigs and dogs, the eternal enemies of Islam and Muslims. The pragmatism, however, does not make it right.
Islamic ideology is what it is, and nothing else. Would Netanyahu call the Gazans “moderate” Islamists, but not “extremists”? What does Netanyahu think motivates the “extremists”? He has made no connection between the ideology and the actions it inspires. Not publicly. That is a tragic and dangerous failing.
Not entirely unrelated to Netanyahu’s speech, is this news item from Dutch News:
The public prosecution department on Wednesday called for PVV leader Geert Wilders to be found not guilty of inciting hatred, as it tied up its case against the MP. Prosecutors say Wilders' remarks are critical of Islam which is not the same as inciting hatred against Muslims themselves.
This is good news that should be read with reservations. (And I believe that the outrage expressed by bloggers and others over Wilders' plight has influenced the prosecution to ask for a "not guilty" verdict.) One's reservation should be that there should be no recognized crime such as "hate speech." The notion conflicts with the concept of freedom of speech. "Hate speech" bypasses the legitimate notions of slander and libel, neither of which can incite "violence" against the slandered or libeled. "Hate speech" was invented to gag anyone critical of any group's ideology through fear of prosecution. “Hurt feelings” or “loss of dignity” or “insults” are not evidence of a crime. No force was employed by Wilders. Wilders should never have been charged with anything, because the focus of his remarks was on Islam's ideology, not on individual Muslims, singly or collectively. He has said so many times himself.
Notice, for example, that the liars of the University of East Anglia and their allies, such as Al Gore, have not brought suit against anyone for "hate speech" for having discredited the whole global warming theory and the credibility and reputations of the AGW advocates and conspirators. Wilders has done the same service in the name of truth by excoriating the nature of Islam. While the prosecution’s recommendation is a step in the right direction, the Dutch judiciary and government should discard the whole fallacy of “hate speech.”
“Peace” with the Palestinians is also a fallacy. As Ayn Rand succinctly put it, “In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win.” And the Palestinians are a tribe poisoned by generations of racial and religious hate. It is a population of nihilists, of zeroes. They are ruled by a terrorist organization that has declared Israel illegitimate and a legitimate target for eradication.
Florida congressman Allen West, in his response to Obama’s Mideast speech, made this interesting historical note:
America should never negotiate with the Palestinian Authority- which has aligned itself with Hamas. Palestine is a region, not a people or a modern state. Based upon Roman Emperor Hadrian’s declaration in 73 AD, the original Palestinian people are the Jewish people.
My defense of Israel rests, however, on the fact that it is a productive, Westernized, semi-free nation, and not on its historical antecedents. And the creation of Israel was the sole moral action ever taken by the United Nations.
A reader known only to me as “Jake,” in a posting about my “On Planet Obama” commentary, which also appeared on Capitalism Magazine, provided an excellent précis of Middle East history in the context of the continuing Israeli-Arab conflict. I reprint his entire commentary here because, first, it is educational, and second, it is an instance of clear thinking one will not encounter in the news media or in politics.
The “Palestinians” are a recent invention and a myth propagated to demonize Israel. There is no nation called “Palestine” and there is no such thing as a “Palestinian” people. There never has been such a nation or such a people. “Palestine” simply refers to the state that fanatic Islamists hope will replace Israel, once it is destroyed.
After the Great War [World War I], the British controlled a chunk of land that they dubbed “the Palestine Mandate.” Even though they promised the Zionists a “national home” for Jews on this land; they soon caved to Arab hysteria and gave the Arabs 80% of the land in 1921 (this is modern-day Jordan). What was left of the Mandate had already long been settled by Arabs and Jews. Jews had lived there continuously for 3,700 years. Indeed; there had been no Arabs on this land, ever, until the barbaric Muslim Imperial invasions of the 7th Century. Since the Jews had been living here for thousands of years; there was no reason at all why these Jews could not set up a formal government on their homeland to be recognized by the UN.
In 1948; the Jews were given less than half of the 10% that was left of the Mandate, with the rest going to the Arabs who had also lived on the land that remained. They were given three slivers of indefensible, disconnected land less than 10 miles across. The Arabs were given the ancient Jewish homes of Judea and Samaria, and the UN got control of their holy city of Jerusalem (which was surrounded by Arab land). This tiny nation of literally only 800,000 Jews, many of whom were Holocaust survivors, and with absolutely no natural resources in the barren wasteland of desert that represented 60% of the land it controlled; was now surrounded by declared enemies with a total population exceeding 100 million.
The Arab populace in Israel was almost as large as the Jewish population. The Israelis declared that any Arab who chose to stay in Israel would enjoy equal rights under the law, and decided to make both Arabic and Hebrew their official languages. Due to the industrial and agricultural development the Jews brought about; the Arab population of this land had actually more than tripled from what it was. If the Arabs had been willing to accept more than 90% of the land when they were offered it, there would have been no Middle East conflict.
Instead; the murderous Arab dictatorships of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Saudi Arabia, urged on by Yemen; declared war and attacked Israel on the day of its creation. In an astonishing display of courage and heroism on a breathtaking scale; the Israelis swiftly defeated them all without much trouble. Urged on by their political and spiritual leaders, an estimated 472,000 Arabs fled their homes in Israel on their own accord to escape the danger and brutality of the invading Arab armies. The Arab dictators assured them that Israel would be promptly destroyed, and that they could return once all the Jews were dead.
The “Palestinians” who lived in the Arab area of the UN partition never attempted to set up a “Palestinian” state, because the myth of their distinct “Palestinian” nationality had yet to be devised. So Jordan took over the entire West Bank in 1950. There was no call for “ending the occupation.”
The Israelis properly refused to let back in the Arab savages who had left Israel in order to celebrate the hope of its violent destruction. They let any Arab who chose to stay remain, and today those Arab Israelis enjoy far more rights and privileges, and a greater standard of living, than that which any other Arab population anywhere else in the entire Middle East enjoy. This is because Israel is the only free country in the entire Middle East region: All the rest are feudal monarchies, theocratic dungeons, or totalitarian slave states.
More than 600,000 Jews were forcibly evicted from the lands on which they had lived for centuries under threat of torture or murder by the tin-pot Arab strongmen. The Israelis welcomed them all into Israel and today they enjoy a wonderful standard of living in a beautiful and well-developed nation. The unwanted “Palestinian” refugees, urged to leave by their own leaders, were deliberately kept by those same leaders in squalid camps of unspeakable poverty for decades—despite the oil wealth the Arab nations gained by simply stealing Western oil fields and nationalizing them. They did this in order to keep the so-called “Palestinians” desperate and angry enough to be easily indoctrinated with the hatred necessary for future wars against Israel. Naturally; their self-created debased condition was blamed on Israel.
Israel has had to fight five wars in self-defense against the hostile Arab aggressors. Despite having every right to annex the land it seized from the aggressors—as every other nation has done—Israel astonishingly refused to do so, and expressed the hope that the land could be traded for peace. The Arabs, however, remained in a declared state of war against Israel. Given that they were determined to destroy Israel; Israel had no choice but to hold onto some of the land from which the Arabs had launched their previous attacks in order to render itself defensible. The Arabs who denounce this are nothing but criminals protesting the alleged “injustice” of having their guns confiscated by the police.
Israel has offered the Palestinians 95% of their demands and received nothing in return but terrorism. There is nothing Israel could ever do to satisfy the blood-lust of the Palestinians. They want the destruction of Israel more than they want a better life for themselves. They admit as much with pride every time Westerners go to “Palestine” to poll them on their opinions. Israelis who bring fuel and electricity into Gaza are regularly murdered or mutilated by fundamentalist killers. Israel allows sick or injured Palestinians to seek medical treatment in Israel. Hamas poses as Palestinian patients in order to suicide bomb Jewish doctors. While there are hundreds of thousands of Jews in Israel who call for “Peace Now” with the Palestinians and speak with passion about their sufferings; there are no notable Palestinian spokesmen who even recognize Jews as human.
In short, knowingly or not, constant and repeated reference to the “Palestinians” represents the reification of a tribe of zeroes, who wish to be something they are not and can never be by murdering those who are something. They are nothing, identityless. They wish to reduce Israel to nothingness. That is Islam. That is nihilism. And pragmatism, compromise, and moral relativism make it possible.
The only true “Palestinians” are the Israelis.