By Ted Belman
On Monday evening I attended a get together of Israel advocates in the home of Richard Landes. Richard’s primary focus is now and has been for many years on cognitive dissonance as it affects public opinion and on the Arab Honour/shame culture and its affects on the peace process.
About 10 people attended.
Jan Sokolovsky was kind enough to drive me there as she was going. She is a member of both the Israel bar and an American Bar. With this legal background she helps Regevim protect the land of Israel. She is currently researching the requirements of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) requiring American lobbyists to register as foreign agents if they receive foreign funds. Its her opinion that the Clinton Foundation is a foreign agent and should have registered. If she is correct then its directors and officers, including Hillary Clinton are guilty of a crime. She has been discussing this with prominent lawyer Marc Zell who is Chairman of the Republicans in Israel Group.
Among those in attendance was Vic Rosenthal whose articles I often publish. He was sorta new to the group so I brought to their attention that he was very worthwhile reading.
Harold Rhode was there. Received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in Islamic History, specializing in the history of the Turks, Arabs, and Iranian peoples. Also studied in the universities in Iran, Egypt, and Israel. He pointed out the huge differences between the Persians and the Arabs which is often ignored in favour of focusing on the Sunni-Shia divide. He argued that Iran could easily fall apart or the regime could fall given the right encouragement. Unfortunately as we know, Obama is strengthening them, not weakening them. He also argued that the Iranians could switch on a dime and embrace Israel.
I met for the first time Nevet Basker who lives in Seattle but tries to spend her summers in Israel where she was born and educated. I perused her website,Broader View and wrote to her the following:
I was happy to meet you last night. I looked over you site and was quite impressed with your professionalism. I particularly looked at the articles you posted regarding the legality of the settlements. You highlighted the main articles.
But I do have a concern. You wrote, “including the Palestinian right to political self-determination and Israeli right to security; and should be reached through negotiations and mutual compromise.”
There is no Palestinian right to self-determination any more than there is a Kurdish right or Basque right and perhaps less of a right.
Secondly you support Israel’s right to security, which goes without saying. How about Israel’s right to the land? Does that not deserve a mention?
You are implying that their right to self-determination should be reconciled with our right to security. The contest should be between their right to the land or part of it vs our right to the land.
Melanie Phillips, whom I know, was also there. She divides her time between London and Jerusalem and is a highly regarded journalist. She expressed her pet peeve about the Israeli government which is AWOL when it comes to public diplomacy. She said she has tried talking with government officials who she said don’t have a clue about what’s going on out there and who are unwilling to do something about it.
I expressed the view that unfortunately we have a fundemental problem which isn’t going to be solved by better public diplomacy. Jewish particularism and rightwing Zionism are both antithetical to the progressive values of liberal American Jews. They are at odds with Netanyahu, who they dislike, and the Likud Party whom they eschew, not to mention Bennett’s Party. They reject settlement construction and strongly support the two state solution. They are also very unhappy with the appointment of Danny Danon. There is very little daylight between them and Obama.