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It has become the president’s trademark, perhaps, to engage himself inside the comforting realm of The World That Should Be. In that world, the answers to America’s conflicts with the Islamic world become easily resolvable, because we are one people with a shared destiny. Living in The World That Should Be, the Enlightenment in Europe came about, in large part, due to the contributions of Islam. In The World That Should Be, Islam has always been a part of America’s story. In The World That Should Be, Muslim communities “in our times” have been “at the forefront of innovation and education.”
But while this game of equivalency might be comforting at a base level — and provided plenty of applause breaks for President Obama during his speech in Cairo — it is simply not true. The Enlightenment in Europe had nothing to do with Islam. America’s story is one of Christianity and secularism, not of Islam. Islamic communities in our times are startingly hostile to modernity.
That’s all irritating, but it’s all boilerplate fodder. There’s a real scandal beneath all of this.
It should now be utterly, blindingly apparent that President Obama is hostile to the cause of Israel. His speech to the Muslim world, full of selective facts and platitudes, made this clear. He subscribes to a completely ahistorical leftist narrative of Israeli history. This disturbing development reveals more than ignorance: it reveals utter hostility. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously put it: we’re entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts. Anti-Israel forces have continually made up their own facts, and it appears that our esteemed president has swallowed the Kool-Aid.
It is not true that the Palestinian people have aspired to statehood for 60 years, as Obama stated as fact during the address. The nationalist Palestine Liberation Organization, an invention of the Arab League, did not come to prominence until roughly 40 years ago. Led by Yasser Arafat, the League transformed Palestinianism from an ethnicity into a nationality in order to legitimize the Arab cause. Before the PLO, virtually all Palestinians considered themselves rightly a part of Jordan or southern Syria. To this day, the majority of Jordanians are Palestinians.
Despite this rewrite of centuries of history, Israel has, in order to put this conflict to rest, accepted the cause of Palestinian statehood. The original 1948 United Nations partition of the Palestine Mandate actually created a Palestinian state — one that was promptly rejected by the Palestinians and all of the surrounding Arab states, all of whom declared war on Israel as soon as it declared independence. This Arab-initiated war was the cause of the Palestinian refugee crisis. There would have never been a refugee crisis if the Arab states had simply accepted Israel’s right to exist.
The so-called “humiliations of occupation” in the West Bank and Gaza also would never have existed had it not been for the oh-so-helpful Arabs. Egyptian president Gamal Nasser’s crazed mid-century quest for regional hegemony culminated in the lining up of troops on the Israeli border in 1967. Sensibly, Israel read the tea leaves and struck first. Israel’s famous six-day victory over Egypt and the other Arab states resulted in the annexing of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where attacks upon Israelis were taking place. If the Arabs had left well alone, the West Bank and Gaza would still be theirs today
Ah, but it could have been theirs today, regardless! In the year 2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat a stunning peace deal: 98 percent of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, a shared capital in Jerusalem, and tens of billions of dollars that would be granted to the Palestinians in return for nothing more than an official declaration of an end to the conflict. Arafat rejected it without putting forward a counteroffer. All parties involved, including Bill Clinton and Saudi insiders, blamed Arafat for the deal falling through. Less than a year later, Arafat was back to ordering suicide bombings again. Yes, compromise has truly been “elusive to both sides,” hasn’t it?
But if the PLO is awful, then Hamas is pure evil. All sensible people really need to stop pretending that there’s any chance that Hamas will ever “come around” on the question of Israel’s right to exist. The Hamas charter is available for all to read: the official doctrine of Hamas is that the infamous Russian forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, outlines Israeli policy, that the Russian Revolution was a product of Zionism, that the Rotary Club is a Zionist entity, and that jihad modeled after the Prophet Muhammad’s conquests is the only way forward when dealing with Israel. Good luck negotiating a compromise deal with that sort of lunacy.
With this sort of rhetorical appeasement, historical re-write, and moral equivalency, it’s no wonder that Mahmoud Abbas declared just the other day that America has finally has a president who is “sympathetic to the Arab cause.”
Israel would do well to ignore America whenever possible over the next four years. We’re not on its side right now.
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