Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Calpundit links to a rather remarkable Instapundit post.

A REQUEST....Can somebody please give this post of Glenn's the attention it deserves? I've got a houseguest this week and I just don't have the time. Or the energy.

Although I do wonder what he means when he says "It's not clear that they even deserve to keep what they've got." What, exactly, does he think they have?

THE UNITED STATES SHOULD NOT TRY to play a "neutral arbiter" in the Israeli/Palestinian dispute. We should, in fact, be doing our best to make the Palestinians suffer, because, to put it bluntly, they are our enemies. Just read this post and follow the links to see how they feel about America.

And read this piece by Amir Taheri on the Iraqi "resistance," which notes Palestinian terror connections by the Iraqi insurgents, and features a Palestinian "journalist" egging them on.

These folks are our enemies, and deserve to be treated as such. They don't deserve a state of their own.

First, who is MEMRI? It hardly seems reasonable to use their translations without asking this. The most balanced answer I have found so far is here:

To be fair, MEMRI's picture of an extreme, militant and delusional Arabic press allows for a few shadings. One recent article notes the efforts of Kuwaiti professor Ahmad Al-Baghdadi to critique Arab Muslims as 'the masters of terrorism towards their citizens.' Another cites a rhetorically deft dismantling of current anti-American and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories by Saudi columnist Hamad Abd Al-Aziz Al-'Isa. But there are enough stories about extremist kindergartens and calls for jihad to attract criticism from the growing Arab and Islamic lobbies. 'They tend to translate non-representative stories,' says Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, 'and members of the pro-Israel lobby then use them to club Muslims.'

That MEMRI has a bias against Arab societies can hardly be disputed. Although chairman Yigal Carmon occasionally argues for restraint in Israel's dealings with the Palestinians, he has been fixated on both the failure of the peace process and extremist Arab media for many years. Co-director Wurmser argues at length for blood-and-iron approaches to Israeli nationalism. MEMRI writers stay focused on the Middle Eastern culture of incitement when writing for other publications.

What is not clear is why this is necessarily an unfair representation of the Arabic media. 'They look for the absolute worst, most inflammatory rhetoric they can find in the Arabic press,' says CAIR's Hooper. 'It's kind of like if we translated Franklin Graham's remarks [condemning Islam as a 'wicked' religion], and then went to the Arabic press and said 'See, this is what they're saying in America.''

Well, since Franklin Graham is the son of a prominent U.S. religious leader, and his views are neither unique nor even particularly unusual, it would be quite fair to do just that.

Here's a link to a debate between MEMRI and one of their sharpest Arab critics.

Here is an article from the Guardian and a reply from MEMRI.

Now back to the post itself. Joe Katzman of Winds of Change asks, "Someone remind me again why creating another Talibanesque terror-state in the Middle East is a good idea?", in the article linked to by Glenn Reynolds (above). Well, clearly we don't want a Talibanesque terror-state. Anyone who is truly more concerned about the fate of Isreal than the neocon agenda has to remember the choices which currently face Isreal. From a purely military point of view, they could exterminate the Palestinians - but the vast majority of Isrealis would find that horrifying. It might actually create an effective Arab military alliance against Isreal, and certainly it would guarantee the loss of American support eventually, although I'm not absolutely sure it would happen while this administration was in power. They could not be driven into Jordan without wholesale slaughter, and perhaps war with Jordan. Other than that, the alternatives are some kind of negotiated settlement, acceptance of the status quo of terrorist, or the hope of somehow defeating the Palestinians short of a huge bloodbath in such a way as to actually put an end to terrorism. Some will find the latter attractive, but the historical evidence makes it look at least as difficult as permanent and lasting peace through a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians. Sometimes the last appears impossible, but a great many Isreali's consider the attempt better than any of the other alternatives, and the primary reason to act as a neutral arbiter is to help THEM achieve that goal. Isreal hasn't even asked us to help make the "Palestinians suffer", and it's far from clear how we might help them if we did.

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