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Emet m'Tsiyon

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Western States Overlooked Arab Tyranny on account of Their Own Israelophobia

Anti-Zionism is the anti-imperialism of fools

Lee Smith does it again. He wrote a perceptive, excellent analysis of the Arab Spring revolts, their connection to Israel or lack of same, the reason for the latest terrorist attacks on Israel [including rocket attacks], and the failure of US and other Western policymakers to foresee what was coming or to understand it.

Here are some excerpts:
Regarding the rockets attacks on Israel from Gaza and the terrorist bombing in Jerusalem [to which I would add the recent massacre of five members of the Fogel family in Itamar], Smith writes that the recent revolts against Arab regimes from Tunis to Yemen to Syria [among the most notable] occurred:
without the slightest apparent connection to popular outrage against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians . . . .
That these revolts were motivated by resentments against local, homegrown tyrants who oppressed and impoverished their own peoples while most of the rest of the world was growing more prosperous:
should be surprising to most experts and politicians in the West. For over four decades, the driving idea behind the West’s approach to the Middle East has been the supposed centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to Arab popular anger at the West and its key to ensuring the stability of the West’s favored regimes. That the price tag for this American diplomatic instrument has been thousands of dead Jews and several lost generations of Arabs has, in the upside-down world of Mideast policymakers, made the achievement of an ever-elusive peace deal seem all the more important with every passing year
That all that mattered to the Arabs generally was the alleged "plight of Palestinians" and "Israeli occupation",
was a convenient point of agreement between Washington policymakers and Arab regimes. For Washington, the peace process was a good source of photo ops and a chance to show concern for human rights in the region without interfering with the propensity of America’s Arab allies to torture and murder their political opponents. As for the regimes, they were happy to escape criticism of their own failures—rampant corruption, lack of basic human rights and freedoms, and violence against the Arabs they rule—by blaming Israel. . . .

By pushing the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the past four decades, the West has helped to underwrite Arab repression at home. The rationale behind the emergency laws in places like Syria and Egypt (even now after Cairo’s “revolution”) is that because of the war with Israel, the Arab security states must be ever-vigilant and therefore forbid their people from exercising basic rights like freedom of speech—or, in the words of Gamal Abdel Nasser, “no voice louder than the cry of battle”—diktats that they enforce through torture and murder.
In view of the Arab popular revolts,
the Israeli-Palestinian peace process isn’t even a convenient fiction by which Washington can make nice to the Arabs. Rather, it has been a recipe for failure on a grand scale—social, political, and economic—that has now been laid bare. While the Arab regimes are being held responsible for their failures by their fed-up populations, Washington seems to feel no need to hold itself accountable for the collapse of a set of enabling fictions that has greatly diminished our position in a region that is of crucial strategic importance for the United States both militarily and economically
In this context, who was behind the recent terrorist attacks on Israel:
So, who might have an interest in the sort of disruption and realignments the Jerusalem bus bombing has caused? Maybe it was the Syrians tapping a few of their Palestinian assets to heat things up in Israel. . . .
Or perhaps it was the Islamic Republic of Iran, attacking Israel through proxies. . . .
Bear in mind that
President Barack Obama failed to support the protesters who took to the streets for Iran’s Green Revolution in June 2009
Nor has Obama yet called for Assad to give up power, about three weeks after the Syrian protests began, although he called for Mubarak to give up just three days after the start of the mass protests in Cairo. How do we explain the discrepancies? Apparently, Obama and the rest of his crowd of policymakers in Washington like the Assad regime. Recall that Obama sent Zbig Brzezinski to Damascus to meet with Assad & Co. in February 2008, nine months before the presidential election. He wanted Assad to know that if Obama were elected president, Assad would have a friend in the White House.

Smith stresses the Washington obsession with the "peace process" which is strong enough to override common sense and overrule a proper concern for human rights and general decency in politics:
Whoever attacked Israel last week knows how the game works, too, and sure enough in short order the U.S. policy community jumped to attention. Instead of pushing to cut off the regime in Damascus as the Syrian people braved death to go the streets, American policymakers like Sen. John Kerry and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered their bona fides. “There is a different leader in Syria now,” Clinton said of the man believed responsible for ordering the murder of Hariri. “Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.” [that is, Junior Assad is a "reformer"] Never mind that her own State department says rather that Syria is a state sponsor of terror; Washington will do nothing to help the Syrians who’ve come out against their own government, because the U.S. president is going to make good on his word to engage dictators, no matter how many Arabs have to die as he proves his point.
In other words, Smith shows that Washington policy is less concerned with Arab welfare than with enforcing a humiliating, dangerous, likely genocidal, "peace process" on Israel. Smith also demolishes the "linkage" argument, that is, that everything happening in Arab politics is really caused by what Israel does or does not do. This argument supplies an excuse to always pressure Israel no matter what happens among the Arabs. In my opinion, some Western policymakers have been and still are ready to fight Israel to the last Arab. So obviously they couldn't understand why Arabs wouldn't share their obsession with Israel and their eagerness to fight Israel [through the instrumentality of the Arabs], despite the Arabs' own abysmal social & economic situation. This paragraph is my own and does not represent Lee Smith. I conclude that the "peace process" is in essence a Judeophobic endeavor unconnected to any real search for peace.

By the way, Smith provides some interesting info about Olmert's role in the "peace process" and his connection to Washington [here]

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Liberal Franklin Roosevelt Urged Keeping Vichy Anti-Jewish Laws in Place

Many, probably most, American Jews were great admirers of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was considered a great Liberal. He was said to have brought America out of the Great Depression that began in 1929. He showed his Liberalism by formally recognizing the Communist Soviet Union and establishing diplomatic relations with it. He quietly helped labor unions to organize previously unorganized industries. His time was the heyday of the CIO. What most Jews were unaware of at the time or did not understand was how Roosevelt and his Administration, including some Republicans prominent in the Administration's foreign policy & foreign relations establishment (notably the Dulleses, John Foster, Allen, and their sister Eleanor), were allowing Nazi mass murder of Jews to proceed unhindered during the war that the US and Britain were fighting against Nazi Germany. Yet helping the Jews by interfering with railroad transports of Jews to the death camps, bombing the crematoria and gas chambers, supplying weapons to partisans in the forests and the ghettoes could have severely interfered with the German war effort. As we know, these actions were not taken nor was any substantial number of Jewish refugees allowed into the United States or its dependencies nor was significant pressure put on Britain to obey its commitment to foster Jewish immigration into the internationally designated Jewish National Home, Israel, instead of excluding Jews from the National Home.

Raphael Medoff has recently come up with the shocking story of how Roosevelt actually encouraged French authorities in North Africa to maintain Vichy Nazi-inspired anti-Jewish laws in effect in that region after its liberation from Vichy control in late 1942-early 1943. This info is new even to me. Its relevance for today is what Jews and Israel can expect from so-called Liberal American politicians. Obama has often been described by his own supporters and admirers as a Liberal in the grand tradition of FDR. This new revelation by Medoff shows us what the grand tradition of FDR actually meant for the freedom and the very lives of Jews.

The following is the introduction to Medoff's article by Bataween of the Point of No Return blog, followed by Medoff's own article:

At Purim in 1943, Jews in North Africa were celebrating their liberation by US troops from Vichy and Nazi occupation with their very own Megillat Hitler. But Dr Raphael Medoff, in the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, reveals how the US authorities dragged their feet when it came to repealing the Vichy regime's anti-Jewish measures :

Among the more remarkable documents of the Holocaust is a scroll, created in North Africa in 1943, called “Megillat Hitler.” Written in the style of Megillat Esther and the Purim story, it celebrates the Allies’ liberation of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, which saved the local Jewish communities from the Nazis. What the scroll’s author did not realize, however, was that at the very moment he was setting quill to parchment, those same American authorities were actually trying to keep in place the anti-Jewish legislation imposed in North Africa by the Nazis.On November 8, 1942, American and British forces invaded Nazi-occupied Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. It took the Allies just eight days to defeat the Germans and their Vichy French partners in the region.

For the 330,000 Jews of North Africa, the Allied conquest was heaven-sent. The Vichy regime that had ruled since the summer of 1940 had stripped the region’s Jews of their civil rights, severely restricted their entrance to schools and some professions, confiscated Jewish property, and tolerated sporadic pogroms against Jews by local Muslims. In addition, thousands of Jewish men were hauled away to forced-labor camps. President Franklin Roosevelt, in his victory announcement, pledged “the abrogation of all laws and decrees inspired by Nazi governments or Nazi ideologists.”

But there turned out to be a discrepancy between FDR’s public rhetoric and his private feelings.

On January 17, 1943, Roosevelt met in Casablanca with Major-General Charles Nogues, a leader of the new “non-Vichy” regime. When the conversation turned to the question of rights for North African Jewry, Roosevelt did not mince words: “The number of Jews engaged in the practice of the professions (law, medicine, etc) should be definitely limited to the percentage that the Jewish population in North Africa bears to the whole of the North African population… The President stated that his plan would further eliminate the specific and understandable complaints which the Germans bore toward the Jews in Germany, namely, that while they represented a small part of the population, over fifty percent of the lawyers, doctors, school teachers, college professors, etc., in Germany, were Jews.” (It is not clear how FDR came up with that wildly exaggerated statistic.)

Various Jewish communities around the world have established local Purim-style celebrations to mark their deliverance from catastrophe.

The Jews of Frankfurt, for example, would hold a “Purim Vintz” one week after Purim, in remembrance of the downfall of an antisemitic agitator in 1620. Libyan Jews traditionally organized a “Purim Ashraf” and a “Purim Bergel” to recall the rescue of Jews in those towns, in 1705 and 1795, respectively.

The Jewish community of Casablanca, for its part, declared the day of the 1942 Allied liberation “Hitler Purim,” and a local scribe, P. Hassine, created the “Megillat Hitler.” (The original is on display at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.) The seven chapters of the scroll poignantly blend the flavor of the tale of ancient Persia with the amazing stroke of fortune that the Jews of Casablanca had themselves just experienced. It uses phrases straight from Megillat Esther, such as “the month which was turned from sorrow to rejoicing” and “the Jews had light and gladness, joy and honor,” side by side with modern references such as “Cursed be Hitler, cursed be Mussolini.”

The Jews of North Africa had much to celebrate. But after the festivities died down, questions began to arise. The Allies permitted nearly all the original senior officials of the Vichy regime in North Africa to remain in the new government. The Vichy “Office of Jewish Affairs” continued to operate, as did the forced labor camps in which thousands of Jewish men were being held.

American Jewish leaders were loathe to publicly take issue with the Roosevelt administration, but by the spring of 1943, they began speaking out. The American Jewish Congress and World Jewish Congress charged that “the anti-Jewish legacy of the Nazis remains intact in North Africa” and urged FDR to eliminate the Vichy laws. “The spirit of the Swastika hovers over the Stars and Stripes,” Benzion Netanyahu, director of the U.S. wing of the Revisionist Zionists (and father of Israel’s current prime minister) charged. A group of Jewish GIs in Algiers protested directly to U.S. ambassador Murphy. Editorials in a number of American newspapers echoed this criticism [here]
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Rafael Medoff is director of the David Wyman Institute which specializes on research into Roosevelt Administration policy towards the Jews during the Holocaust [here]

For info on the coup d'etat --mainly carried out by Algerian Jews-- to ease the American landing at Algiers as part of Operation Torch, see:
Elliot A Green, "Jewish Anti-Nazi Resistance in Wartime Algeria," Midstream (January 1989)

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