29 July 2014   Leave a comment

Just as there are anti-Jewish lunatics in the world, there are anti-Arab lunatics as well.   In protest of a (much larger) left-wing pro-Palestinian demonstration, some right-wing Israelis held a counter-protest in which the deaths of Palestinian children was celebrated.  The video of the counter-protest is below.  As analysts, we all need to keep certain things in perspective.  First, there are always irrational people involved in any political movement and it is crucial that their influence is not amplified by our sense of outrage–generally speaking, the fringe elements have limited power but they always get press attention.   Second, anti-Arab sentiments are pervasive in many places in the world over many time periods, but no ethnic or religious hatred has the horrific legacy of anti-Jewish sentiment.  For many reasons, we should be especially  vigilant when anti-Jewish sentiment arises.

There is increasing evidence of a growing rift between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu.  Today, Channel 1 in Israel published a transcript of an alleged telephone conversation between the two leaders.  Both the US and Israel have condemned the leak and denied that the transcript is accurate.  It is highly likely that the transcript does not fairly represent the total tenor of the conversation, but the published excerpt is highly credible given what we know about the publicly stated positions of the two states.  The excerpt is as follows:

The following is an English translation of the Hebrew account of the talk given in the report:

Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.

Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?

BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire — silence will be met with silence.

BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It’s a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel’s position.

BN: Kerry’s proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.

BO: Within a week of the end of Israel’s military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel’s commitment to removing the siege and restrictions on Gaza.

BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It’s impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.

BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.

BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks –

BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball’s in Israel’s court, and it must end all its military activities.

The position of the US is quite consistent with the leaked Kerry proposal for a cease-fire that was referred to in an earlier blog post  (27 July 2014).  Even if President Obama is adopting a harder line with respect to Israel, there is no evidence that the US Congress is changing in any way its strong support for Israel.   And the 22 July CNN poll, the evidence is that the American people also strongly support the state of Israel.  I suspect, however, that Israel would not change its policy even if the US decided not to support it in the current conflict.

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Posted July 29, 2014 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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