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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
December 5, 2023

“Those who experience wake up calls usually discover, in hindsight, that they had received plenty of warning before the poop hit the propeller, but they chose to disregard it…. Whether a wake up call becomes a boon, or a bane, depends on what you’re willing to learn from it, and whether you’re willing to be moved by experience.” (Greg Levoy, a psychologist and an author).

The US-Israel mutual threat of Islamic terrorism

Israel’s war against Hezbollah and Hamas is a wakeup call, highlighting the shared US-Israel war against Islamic terrorism. The latter considers Israel a US geo-strategic beachhead in the Middle East, that should be uprooted as a critical step toward the defeat of the Western “infidel.”

For example:   

*Hezbollah and Hamas are critical proxies of Iran, which funds, trains and supplies advanced ballistic and engineering hardware, aiming to realize its 1,400-year-old vision of toppling all “apostate” (Sunni) regimes, export the Islamic Shiite Revolution globally, and bring “the Great American Satan” to submission.

*Hamas was established in 1988 by the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been dedicated since 1928 to the toppling of all national Islamic regimes, replacing them with a universal Islamic society, establishing Islam as the only, divinely-ordained, legitimate religion on earth, defeating the “infidel” Western culture and bringing down “the Great American Satan.”

*Securing a boon, rather than a bane, requires the uprooting of Hamas’ terroristic, political and educational infrastructure, which would deter anti-US Islamic terrorism. On the other hand, the survival of Hamas would adrenalize the veins of anti-US Islamic terrorists in the Middle East and beyond, afflicting the US with a bane.

Israel’s war highlights Iran’s terrorist nature  

*Heeding the October 7, 2023 wakeup call should trigger a US reassessment of its 44-year-old diplomatic option toward Iran, which has facilitated Iran’s lead role – operationally and financially – in the transformation of Hezbollah and Hamas (as well as a multitude of additional Islamic and non-Islamic terror organizations) into a most effective anti-US global terrorist network. The US diplomatic option has also bolstered the evolution of Iran into the leading regional and global epicenter of anti-US terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and proliferation of advanced military systems.

*An effective wake up call, requires experience-based rather than wishful thinking-based policy making, reassessing the impact of lifted sanctions – especially Iranian oil export – on the supply of advanced Iranian missiles and other military systems to Hezbollah and Hamas.  Thus, Iranian oil exports surged from 500,000 barrels per day (under the sanctions) to 2.5-3 million barrels per day, which has provided the Ayatollahs with some $100bn in additional income, that was dedicated, mostly, to anti-US rogue activities in the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, North, East and Central Africa and Latin America. 

*Heeding the wakeup call should alert the US to the 40-year-old collaboration of Iran’s Ayatollahs and Hezbollah with the drug cartels of Mexico, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, Latin American terror organizations, and every anti-US government in South and Central America (up to the US-Mexico border), which is the US’ geo-strategic soft underbelly. This collaboration includes the training of terrorists and the supply of predator unmanned aerial vehicles and tunnel construction equipment. 

The Palestinian wake up call

*The October 7 wake up call should lead to a reassessment of the US State Department policy on the Palestinian issue, subordinating conventional wisdom to the march of facts. Hence, while the State Department has been eager to establish a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), pro-US Arabs have showered the Palestinians with embracing talk, but indifferent-to-negative walk, refraining from tangible steps toward the establishment of a Palestinian state.

*While Foggy Bottom’s policy has been driven by a moderate Palestinian diplomatic talk and future, subjective and speculative State Department  scenarios of Palestinian compliance and peaceful coexistence, the policy of the pro-US Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and Oman has been driven by the rogue Palestinian track record in the intra-Arab and global context.

*For instance, the systematic Palestinian betrayal of – and violence against – their Arab hosts, such as Egypt (1950s), Syria (1960s), Jordan (1968-70), Lebanon (1970-1982) and Kuwait (1990). Also, Palestinian collaboration with rogue entities, such as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and Palestinian training camps – in Lebanon, Sudan and Yemen – for terror organizations from Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.  

*Contrary to Foggy Bottom, the pro-US Arab regimes have concluded that the rogue Palestinian track record (in addition to the Palestinian hate education, mosque incitement and monthly allowances to families of terrorists) suggests that a rogue Palestinian state would add fuel to the Middle East fire, threatening to consume the Hashemite regime in Jordan and other all pro-US Arab regimes.

*The October 7 wakeup call should clarify to the State Department the reason that the pro-US Arabs extend a shabby-doormat-welcome to Palestinian leaders, contrary to the red-carpet-welcome extended by Foggy Bottom.

The bottom line

Whether the aforementioned October 7, 2023 wakeup call shall be a boon or a bane depends on the US State Department’s own decision. Will its policy remain driven by agreeable conventional wisdom, or will it shift to an experience-based policy, irrespective of the disagreeable, violent, shattering, and frustrating reality?

   Support Appreciated

A new 6-minute-video, https://bit.ly/3ssfqV1, November 8, 2023, Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”

1. Can/should Israel defy US pressure to act against its (Israel’s) own most critical national security interest (e.g., allowing a ceasefire in the war to obliterate the anti-Western Hamas Islamic terrorism; bolstering the Palestinian Authority despite its terror-driven policy and education system; allowing a non-Israeli security control of Gaza following the current war) while the US extends Israel a highly-appreciated(!), vital support, militarily, financially and diplomatically?

2. Israel’s defiance of US pressure has been an inherent feature of US-Israel relations since 1948. It has caused short-term frictions, while generating long-term US strategic respect toward Israel, triggering a dramatic enhancement of mutually-beneficial strategic cooperation. 

3. As expected, Israeli defiance of US pressure spared the US economic and national security setbacks, dealing major blows to enemies and rivals of the US.

Additional brief video are available in here on the following issues: Israel’s contribution to the US economy and defense; the State Department track record in the Middle East; the limits to US security guarantees; the myth of “the Arab demographic time bomb;” the impact of Israel’s control of Judea & Samaria on US interests; the 400-year-old roots of the unique US-Israel nexus, the Middle East labyrinth; Iran – a clear and present threat to the US; the anti-US Islamic terrorism; the Palestinian issue (is it a central element of the Arab-Israel conflict; Arab policy-making and Middle East turbulence?); Palestinian refugees (how many? Their origin?); etc. 

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
February 8, 2024

Prof. Bernard Lewis, who was a leading authority on Islam and the Middle East, shed light on a cardinal aspect of the frustrating, complicated and inconvenient reality of the Middle East: “If the fighters in the war for Islam are fighting for God, it follows that their opponents are fighting against God…. In the classical Islamic view, the world is divided into two: the House of Islam… and the House of Unbelief, which it is the duty of Muslims ultimately to bring to Islam…. The struggle between these rival systems has now lasted for some 14 centuries…. America has become the archenemy, the incarnation of evil, the diabolic opponent of all that is good… of Islam….”

*Western conventional wisdom has been based on the assumptions that Middle East violence is despair-driven; that radical Middle East dictators can be induced to subordinate their radical ideologies to dramatic financial benefits (“money talks”); and that significant gestures and concessions could motivate rogue Middle East leaders to embrace peaceful coexistence, compliance with agreements, adoption of human rights and democracy, to depart from fanatic ideologies, and to join the “multilateral/cosmopolitan club.”

*In order to advance its well-intentioned assumptions, Western conventional wisdom has consistently overlooked the 1,400-year-old shifty, unpredictable, violent, totalitarian, intolerant, anti-“infidel” (Islam vs. the West), anti-“apostate” (Shiite vs. Sunni), fragmented, volcanic and frustrating nature of Middle East (intra-Arab and intra-Moslem) reality. It has also overlooked the supremacy of fanatical ideologies over financial benefits in shaping the policy of Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Moslem Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, as reflected in their (K-12) school curriculum, mosque sermons and constitutions/charters.

*Western appeasement of Shiite, Sunni and Palestinian terrorism has ignored the well-documented fact, that terrorists bite the hands that feed them, as demonstrated by the Mujahideen (who were assisted by the US to drive the USSR out of Afghanistan and proceeded to carry out 9/11), Iran’s Ayatollahs (who were critically assisted by the US to topple the Shah of Iran and proceeded to become the lead  anti-US terrorist and drug trafficker) and the Palestinian leadership (which was hosted by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait and proceeded to subvert and terrorize them).

*In defiance of Western conventional wisdom, the inherent hostility toward the “infidel” West, and especially “the Great American Satan,” has been a dominant feature of fundamental Arab and Islamic education, culture and politics, fomenting epicenters of global anti-US terrorism.

*Notwithstanding Western conventional wisdom-driven gestures, Islamic terrorism has haunted the US since the Barbary pirates in the beginning of the 19th century, irrespective of US policy, and independent of the identity of the US President. Thus, it afflicted the US during Presidents Trump (e.g., the Hudson River Park terrorism murdering 8), Obama (e.g., the Orlando terrorism murdering 49), G.W. Bush (9/11 murdering 2,977), Clinton (e.g., the car-bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania murdering 300), Reagan (e.g., the blowing-up of PanAm-103 murdering 257), etc.

*9/11 underscored the determination of Islamic terror regimes to engage the US in their battle to bring the “infidel” West to submission, irrespective of the US’ intent to disengage from Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East at-large. These rogue regimes view the US’ disengagement, isolationism and gestures as symptoms of Western battle-fatigue and the erosion of a posture of deterrence, which intensifies terrorism and shifts the battle gradually to the US mainland (e.g., Iran’s and Hezbollah’s sleeper cells in the US and collaboration with Latin American terror organizations and drug cartels).

*Islamic terrorism is not driven by despair, but rather by the imperialistic vision of Islam as the only legitimate religion, divinely-ordained to bring “apostates” and “infidels” – especially the US – to submission, peacefully or militarily.

*The following examples demonstrate the unbridgeable gap between Western conventional wisdom (WCW) and Middle East reality:

<While WCW believes in the separation of state and church and secular policy making, Islam believes in the dominance of religion in domestic and foreign policy-making, civic life, justice, law and order, education, culture, peace, war and geo-strategy.

<While WCW is preoccupied with the present and the future, the Middle East is preoccupied with the past 1,400 years as a base for future undertaking. For instance, WCW shapes its positive attitude toward the proposed Palestinian state according to future, speculative scenarios (e.g., peaceful coexistence), but the Arabs shape their indifferent-to-negative attitude toward the proposed Palestinian state according to the subversive and terroristic Palestinian track record in the intra-Arab sphere.

<While WCW underscores give-and-take, Islam is determined to bring the adversary/enemy (especially the “apostate” and “infidel”) to submission, peacefully or militarily, employing dissimulation, in order to mislead naïve opponents.

<While WCW refers to the Arab-Israeli conflict as “the Middle East conflict,” 11 million Muslims have been killed since 1948, of which 35,000 – 0.3% – were related to Arab-Israel wars.

<While WCW assumes that the Palestinian issue is the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a crown-jewel of Arab policy makers and a core cause of Middle East turbulence, no Arab-Israeli war was every triggered by the Palestinian issue.  No Arab country has ever flexed a military muscle, or a substantial financial muscle on behalf of the Palestinians.  No Israel-Palestinian war has ever expanded into a regional war, and no major Middle East turbulence has ever erupted due to the Palestinian issue.

<While WCW has focused on the Arab talk, which embraces the proposed Palestinian state, the Arab walk refrains from advancing the cause of a Palestinian state. It is consistent with Aa dominant Middle East motto: on words one does not pay custom.

<While WCW assumes that ceasefire agreements advance the cause of peace, and peace accords end hostilities and the state of war, Islam considers ceasefires (especially with “infidels”) as an opportunity to regroup for the next phase of a perpetual war until submission of the enemy.  Peace accords are viewed (especially with “infidels”) as temporary ceasefires, serving the cause of the Moslem party, to be abrogated upon amassing sufficient power to bring adversaries to submission.

*The self-destructive nature of WCW (e.g., the 45-year-old diplomatic option toward Iran in defiance of Iran’s rogue track record) is exposed by the march of Middle East facts.

*The attempt to subordinate Middle East reality to WCW, was compared by Prof. Elie Kedourie – who was a leading historian of the Middle East – to trying to make water run uphill.

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
December 5, 2023

“Those who experience wake up calls usually discover, in hindsight, that they had received plenty of warning before the poop hit the propeller, but they chose to disregard it…. Whether a wake up call becomes a boon, or a bane, depends on what you’re willing to learn from it, and whether you’re willing to be moved by experience.” (Greg Levoy, a psychologist and an author).

The US-Israel mutual threat of Islamic terrorism

Israel’s war against Hezbollah and Hamas is a wakeup call, highlighting the shared US-Israel war against Islamic terrorism. The latter considers Israel a US geo-strategic beachhead in the Middle East, that should be uprooted as a critical step toward the defeat of the Western “infidel.”

For example:   

*Hezbollah and Hamas are critical proxies of Iran, which funds, trains and supplies advanced ballistic and engineering hardware, aiming to realize its 1,400-year-old vision of toppling all “apostate” (Sunni) regimes, export the Islamic Shiite Revolution globally, and bring “the Great American Satan” to submission.

*Hamas was established in 1988 by the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been dedicated since 1928 to the toppling of all national Islamic regimes, replacing them with a universal Islamic society, establishing Islam as the only, divinely-ordained, legitimate religion on earth, defeating the “infidel” Western culture and bringing down “the Great American Satan.”

*Securing a boon, rather than a bane, requires the uprooting of Hamas’ terroristic, political and educational infrastructure, which would deter anti-US Islamic terrorism. On the other hand, the survival of Hamas would adrenalize the veins of anti-US Islamic terrorists in the Middle East and beyond, afflicting the US with a bane.

Israel’s war highlights Iran’s terrorist nature  

*Heeding the October 7, 2023 wakeup call should trigger a US reassessment of its 44-year-old diplomatic option toward Iran, which has facilitated Iran’s lead role – operationally and financially – in the transformation of Hezbollah and Hamas (as well as a multitude of additional Islamic and non-Islamic terror organizations) into a most effective anti-US global terrorist network. The US diplomatic option has also bolstered the evolution of Iran into the leading regional and global epicenter of anti-US terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and proliferation of advanced military systems.

*An effective wake up call, requires experience-based rather than wishful thinking-based policy making, reassessing the impact of lifted sanctions – especially Iranian oil export – on the supply of advanced Iranian missiles and other military systems to Hezbollah and Hamas.  Thus, Iranian oil exports surged from 500,000 barrels per day (under the sanctions) to 2.5-3 million barrels per day, which has provided the Ayatollahs with some $100bn in additional income, that was dedicated, mostly, to anti-US rogue activities in the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, North, East and Central Africa and Latin America. 

*Heeding the wakeup call should alert the US to the 40-year-old collaboration of Iran’s Ayatollahs and Hezbollah with the drug cartels of Mexico, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, Latin American terror organizations, and every anti-US government in South and Central America (up to the US-Mexico border), which is the US’ geo-strategic soft underbelly. This collaboration includes the training of terrorists and the supply of predator unmanned aerial vehicles and tunnel construction equipment. 

The Palestinian wake up call

*The October 7 wake up call should lead to a reassessment of the US State Department policy on the Palestinian issue, subordinating conventional wisdom to the march of facts. Hence, while the State Department has been eager to establish a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), pro-US Arabs have showered the Palestinians with embracing talk, but indifferent-to-negative walk, refraining from tangible steps toward the establishment of a Palestinian state.

*While Foggy Bottom’s policy has been driven by a moderate Palestinian diplomatic talk and future, subjective and speculative State Department  scenarios of Palestinian compliance and peaceful coexistence, the policy of the pro-US Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and Oman has been driven by the rogue Palestinian track record in the intra-Arab and global context.

*For instance, the systematic Palestinian betrayal of – and violence against – their Arab hosts, such as Egypt (1950s), Syria (1960s), Jordan (1968-70), Lebanon (1970-1982) and Kuwait (1990). Also, Palestinian collaboration with rogue entities, such as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and Palestinian training camps – in Lebanon, Sudan and Yemen – for terror organizations from Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.  

*Contrary to Foggy Bottom, the pro-US Arab regimes have concluded that the rogue Palestinian track record (in addition to the Palestinian hate education, mosque incitement and monthly allowances to families of terrorists) suggests that a rogue Palestinian state would add fuel to the Middle East fire, threatening to consume the Hashemite regime in Jordan and other all pro-US Arab regimes.

*The October 7 wakeup call should clarify to the State Department the reason that the pro-US Arabs extend a shabby-doormat-welcome to Palestinian leaders, contrary to the red-carpet-welcome extended by Foggy Bottom.

The bottom line

Whether the aforementioned October 7, 2023 wakeup call shall be a boon or a bane depends on the US State Department’s own decision. Will its policy remain driven by agreeable conventional wisdom, or will it shift to an experience-based policy, irrespective of the disagreeable, violent, shattering, and frustrating reality?

   Support Appreciated

A new 6-minute-video, https://bit.ly/3ssfqV1, November 8, 2023, Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”

1. Can/should Israel defy US pressure to act against its (Israel’s) own most critical national security interest (e.g., allowing a ceasefire in the war to obliterate the anti-Western Hamas Islamic terrorism; bolstering the Palestinian Authority despite its terror-driven policy and education system; allowing a non-Israeli security control of Gaza following the current war) while the US extends Israel a highly-appreciated(!), vital support, militarily, financially and diplomatically?

2. Israel’s defiance of US pressure has been an inherent feature of US-Israel relations since 1948. It has caused short-term frictions, while generating long-term US strategic respect toward Israel, triggering a dramatic enhancement of mutually-beneficial strategic cooperation. 

3. As expected, Israeli defiance of US pressure spared the US economic and national security setbacks, dealing major blows to enemies and rivals of the US.

Additional brief video are available in here on the following issues: Israel’s contribution to the US economy and defense; the State Department track record in the Middle East; the limits to US security guarantees; the myth of “the Arab demographic time bomb;” the impact of Israel’s control of Judea & Samaria on US interests; the 400-year-old roots of the unique US-Israel nexus, the Middle East labyrinth; Iran – a clear and present threat to the US; the anti-US Islamic terrorism; the Palestinian issue (is it a central element of the Arab-Israel conflict; Arab policy-making and Middle East turbulence?); Palestinian refugees (how many? Their origin?); etc. 

Support Appreciated


Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
September 18, 2023

The September 20, 2023 meeting

On Wednesday, September 20, 2023, President Biden will meet Prime Minister Netanyahu in order to intensify the pressure on Israel to refrain from an independent military action against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Biden will, also, pressure Netanyahu to make significant concessions to the Palestinian Authority, which would facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Should/could Prime Minister Netanyahu repel President Biden’s pressure?
Does President Biden’s pressure advance regional stability and US interests?

US pressure has been an integral part of US-Israel relations since 1948. In hindsight, it resembles bumps in the road of staggering, mutually-beneficial US-Israel cooperation, militarily and commercially, which has yielded substantial benefits to the US economy and defense. 

In most cases, the pressure has been defied by Israel, triggering short term friction, but long term strengthened US strategic appreciation of Israel.

For instance, at the end of a 1991 meeting between Prime Minister Shamir and Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, Senators George Mitchell and Bob Dole, which was replete with disagreements, the latter said: “Mr. Prime Minister, do you know why the Majority Leader and I absolutely disagree with you, but immensely respect you? Because you’re tough!”

On a rainy day, the US prefers a strong backboned, principle-driven ally, who does not succumb to pressure, refusing to sacrifice long term historic and national security assets on the altar of short term diplomatic, economic and strategic convenience.

Israel’s defiance of pressure benefits the US

In fact, Israeli defiance of US pressure – which has been mostly instigated by the State Department’s misreading of the Middle East – has spared the US major setbacks.  For example:

*If Israel had surrendered to US pressure in 1981 and 2007, it would not have destroyed nuclear reactors in Iraq and Syria, which spared the US, Saudi Arabia and other pro-US oil-producing Arab countries a traumatic 1990-91 confrontation with a nuclear Saddam Hussein. It, also, eliminated the horrific option of a nuclear civil war in Syria, a nuclear ISIS or a nuclear Assad.

*If Israel had succumbed to pressure in 1948-49, to withdraw to the suicidal lines of the “1947 Partition Plan,” Israel would not have evolved into the most effective force-multiplier for the US.  This spared the US the necessity of deploying more aircraft carriers and ground troops in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean, saving an annual cost of mega billions of dollars.

*If Israel had submitted to US pressure in 1967, it would not have pre-empted and crushed the Soviet-backed Egypt-Syria-Jordan military offensive, expunging the Egyptian-Soviet drive to topple all pro-US Arab oil-producing regimes. This would have devastated the US economy and national security, at a time when the US was heavily dependent on Persian Gulf oil.

*If Israel had not fended off severe US pressure and refrained from the application of Israeli law to the Golan Heights, and eventually retreating from the Golan Heights, it would not have been able to constrain Russian, Iranian and Syrian maneuverability in Syria and Lebanon, while bolstering the defense of the pro-US Hashemite regime in Jordan, which has enhanced US interests.

*If Israel had not stood up to US pressure, allowing the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, it would have led to the toppling of the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the Jordan River, transforming Jordan into an uncontrollable platform of anti-US Islamic terrorism, posing a lethal threat to all pro-US oil-producing Arab regimes. This would have upgraded the stature of Iran, Russia and China at the expense of the US economy, national security and homeland security.

The bottom line

Principle-driven defiance of US pressure is critical to Israel’s posture of deterrence, which is a major component of the US posture in the Middle East, generating stability and deterring anti-US rogue entities.

Moreover, Israeli failure to fend off pressure yields more pressure, which would erode Israel’s posture of deterrence, intensifying terror and war and destabilizing the Middle East at the expense of Israel, the pro-US Arab regimes and the US economy and defense. 

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
July 19, 2023

State Department policy

*The June 2023 banning of all Israeli research and scientific entities in East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Golan Heights from the mutually-beneficial US-Israel binational commercial research and development projects, such as BIRD, BARD and BSF, reflects the return of the State Department to the center stage of foreign policy making.

*This ban is consistent with the State Department’s systematically erroneous and counterproductive policy on critical Middle East issues, as documented by this video and this article.

For example:

*The State Department provided an essential tailwind to the Ayatollahs’ rise to power in Iran and the toppling of the Shah, who was “America’s policeman in the Gulf.” Foggy Bottom contended that the Ayatollahs would be moderate, anti-Soviet, pro-US, preoccupied with tractors and not with tanks, and refrain from the global exportation of the Islamic Revolution….

*The State Department considered Saddam Hussein as a potential ally (until the day of his 1990 invasion of Kuwait), worthy of an intelligence-sharing agreement, financial assistance, and the supply of advanced dual-use systems. It communicated to the ruthless despot that a military invasion of Kuwait would be treated as an intra-Arab matter.

*Foggy Bottom welcomed the 2010 turbulence on the Arab Street – which is still raging – as a “Facebook and youth revolution” and the “Arab Spring,” failing to realize that it has been an Arab Tsunami

*The State Department establishment has opposed the Abraham Accords because they bypassed the Palestinian issue, centering on Arab interests,. However, all of the State Department’s own peace initiatives have crashed on the rocks of Middle East reality, because they dwelt on the superficial assumption that the Palestinian issue was the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a crown jewel of Arab policy making and a core cause of regional turbulence.

*Since January 2021, the State Department has resumed its role as the chief foreign policy maker, as evidenced by the shift from unilateral policy making – based on an independent US national security action – to multilateral policy making, seeking a common denominator with the anti-US UN and international organizations, as well as with Europe, which has lost its will to flex a muscle against Iran’s Ayatollahs and Sunni Islamic terrorism.

*In July 2023, reflecting its multilateral policy, the US rejoined UNESCO, following the 2011 congressional suspension of the annual US contribution to the organization, and the 2018 US withdrawal from UNESCO for falsely disclaiming the 4,000-year-old Jewish roots in the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria – the cradle of Jewish history, religion, culture and language, as documented by a litany of archeological findings throughout the area.

In fact, the rejoining of UNESCO commits the US to transfer to UNESCO all its arrears, which amount to some $600mn.

Legal status of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria

The State Department claims that banning Israeli research and scientific entities in Judea and Samaria from the mutually beneficial US-Israel binational commercial research and development projects is consistent with international law. The State Department claims that international law considers Judea and Samaria an “illegal occupied” area, and that the UN Security Council Resolution 242 mandates an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.

Is it true?

*According to Prof. Eugene Rostow, a former Dean of Yale University Law School and Undersecretary of State, who co-authored the November 22, 1967 UN Security Council Resolution 242: “[Under international law], Jews have the same right to settle in the West Bank as they have in Haifa…. [According to Resolution 242], Israel is required to withdraw ‘from territories,’ not from ‘the territories,’ nor from ‘all the territories,’ but from some of the territories, which included the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Desert and the Golan Heights…. Proposed resolutions calling for withdrawal from ‘all the territories’ were defeated in the Security Council and the General Assembly…. Israel was not to be forced back to the fragile and vulnerable 8-15-mile-wide lines… but to ‘secure and recognized’ boundaries, agreed to by the parties…. In making peace with Egypt in 1979, Israel withdrew from the entire Sinai… [which amounts to] more than 90% of the territories….”

*Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, a former President of the International Court of Justice, Deputy Legal Advisor at the State Department and Prof. of International Law at Johns Hopkins University stated: “[The 1967] Israeli conquest of territory was defensive rather than aggressive… as indicated by Egypt’s prior closure of the Straits of Tiran, the blockade of the port of Eilat and the amassing of troops in Sinai… [and] Jordan-initiated hostilities against Israel…. Jordan’s annexation of the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem in the 1950 were unlawful…. Modification of the 1949 armistice lines [by Israel] were lawful….”

*The legal status of Judea and Samaria is embedded in the following binding internationally ratified documents:

<The November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration, which called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people [on both sides of the Jordan River]…. Nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine….;”

<The April 24, 1920 San Remo Peace Conference of the Allied Powers Supreme Council, which incorporated the Balfour Declaration, and carved the boundaries of over 20 countries in the Middle East;

<The July 24, 1922 Mandate for Palestine, ratified by the Council of the League of Nations, and dedicated exclusively to Jewish national rights;

<The October 24, 1945 Article 80 of the UN Charter incorporated the Mandate for Palestine, which means that Jewish rights in Palestine are legal and may not be transferred;

<The November 29, 1947 General Assembly Partition Resolution was non-binding and superseded by the Mandate for Palestine.

The bottom line

*The State Department’s determination that Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria constitutes “illegal occupation” has been based on mistaken and misleading interpretation of international law. This determination has yielded false expectations among rogue elements in the Middle East (e.g., Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorists and Iran’s rogue Ayatollahs), which has undermined the attempts to minimize regional instability and advance the cause of peaceful coexistence.

*The decision to punish Israel, by blackballing research institutions in Judea and Samaria – while courting the rogue Ayatollahs, the Muslim Brotherhood and the hate-education Palestinian Authority – is interpreted as an erosion of US’ regional stature by pro-US Arab regimes, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. These regimes have expanded their defense and commercial cooperation with Israel irrespective of the Palestinian issue. In additon, they have also been subjected to US pressure; they oppose the US diplomatic option toward Iran’s Ayatollahs, and they are concerned about the lack of a determined US response to Iran’s aggression (which has pushed them closer to China and Russia).

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
July 13, 2023

US pressure

*The extended delay of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s invitation to the White House, the threat to reassess US-Israel relations and the ostensible White House’s concern for the future of Israeli democracy, constitute means to intensify pressure on Israel to refrain from any independent military action against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, to freeze Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and East Jerusalm (while inducing Arab construction there), to redivide Jerusalem, to retreat to the pre-1967 lines (which were defined as “Auschwitz Lines” by the late very dovish Israeli Foreign Minister, Abba Eban) and to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state.  

*Intensifying pressure on Israel also aims to deter Israel from sharing with the co-equal, co-determining Congress its concerns about the adverse impact of the Administration’s policy toward Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Palestinian issue on vital US interests.

*The methodical presidential pressure on Israel, which is mostly generated by the State Department, reflects Foggy Bottom’s worldview and policy, which has been systematically wrong on the Middle East. For example, it brutally opposed the establishment of the Jewish State (contending that Israel would join the Soviet Bloc….). It embraced Arafat and the PLO, Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. And, it has played a dominant role in anxiously courting the anti-US Iran’s Ayatollahs, while pressuring pro-US Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

Israeli response to US pressure

*Israel’s Prime Minister is advised to follow in the footsteps of Israel’s Founding Fathers – from Prime Minister David Ben Gurion through Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir – who realized that defiance of US pressure is critical to Israel’s national security policy. While it triggered short term confrontations with the White House, it yielded long term US strategic respect for Israel.  In addition, these Prime Ministers recognized that the US prefers allies driven by vision and historic and national security principles, who do not sacrifice their cradle of history, religion and culture (the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria) on the altar of diplomatic and economic convenience, even when it entails defiance of US pressure.  

*In 1948/49, the US, Britain and the UN threatened Israel with severe economic and diplomatic sanctions, to coerce the newly born Jewish State to end “occupation” of areas in the Galilee, coastal plain, the Negev and West Jerusalem; and to absorb Arab refugees, who joined in the failed Arab military attempt to annihilate the newly born Jewish State. Prime Minister Ben Gurion fended off that overwhelming pressure even though Israel only had a population of 650,000 Jews with hardly any military and economic infrastructure.

*Ben Gurion’s steadfastness earned him and Israel long term strategic respect, as evidenced by James McDonald, the first US Ambassador to Israel, who wrote in his book, My Mission in Israel, 1948-1951, page 241: “The more I studied and observed the manner in which he [Ben Gurion] met the burdens placed upon him, the more convinced I became that he was one of the few great statesmen of our day…. The comparison [to Winston Churchill] did not exaggerate the Israeli Prime Minister’s natural qualities of leadership…. Small in stature [5 feet], he was big in spirit…. He had unfaltering faith in the future of Israel…. The Prime Minister had no fear….”

*Notwithstanding the systematic US pressure in 1948-2017 and 2021-2023, US-Israel strategic cooperation was enhanced dramatically during that period, due to the volcanic Middle East and its threats, which are mutual to the US and Israel (e.g., Shiite and Sunni Islamic terrorism), as well as the principle-driven pro-US conduct of Israel’s Prime Ministers and Israel’s unique technological and military capabilities. US strategic cooperation with Israel has also been a derivative of Israel’s growing contribution to the US economy and national security, which exceeds – in dollar terms – the US “foreign aid” to Israel.

*Most Israeli Prime Ministers demonstrated that historic and national security concerns superseded diplomatic convenience.  They realized the difference between short-term popularity and long-term strategic respect. The latter requires defiance of the odds and pressure.

*They recognized the fact that repelling US pressure was an integral part of US-Israel relations, which attested to Israel’s effectiveness and reliability as a strategic partner.

*They knew that there are no free lunches; that a failure to fend off the State Department’s pressure would yield more pressure, coupled with eroded strategic respect and reduced posture of deterrence, which would embolden enemies. 

*These Israeli Prime Ministers were aware that simultaneously with pressure by the Executive, Israel has enjoyed – since 1948 – the support of most of the US constituency, and therefore most of the co-equal and co-determining US Legislature. They concluded that succumbing to pressure would injure Israel’s stature among its allies on Capitol Hill and the US population.

Milestones of US pressure

*During 1948-1955, Ben Gurion declared independence in defiance of brutal pressure by the State Department, the Pentagon, the CIA, the New York Times and the Washington Post, and rebuffed US and global pressure to withdraw to the suicidal 1947 lines of the “Partition Plan.”

*During 1967-1974, the Labor Prime Ministers Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir repulsed US pressure to desist from construction of Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem.

*In 1981, Begin ordered the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor and applied Israeli law to the Golan Heights in defiance of ferocious US pressure, followed by a suspension of delivery of critical military systems and joint defense agreements.

*In 1982, Begin forthrightly rejected the “Reagan Plan,” which stipulated Israel’s withdrawal to the pre-1967 ceasefire lines.

*During 1983-1992, irrespective of the outrageous smear campaign conducted by the State Department, Shamir expanded the construction of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria in defiance of the State Department and the White House.

Shamir was not liked, but he was highly respected by most of his US critics.

The bottom line

*The aforementioned documented facts illustrate that defiance of pressure has enhanced Israel’s posture of deterrence, and has therefore minimized regional instability, reducing the prospects of war, advancing US interests and bolstering US strategic appreciation of Israel.

*Regardless of the systematic State Department pressure, the US is well-aware that on a rainy day it can rely on the performance of Israel – its principle-driven, backboned ally, which refuses to sacrifice long-term historic and national security assets on the altar of short-term diplomatic and economic convenience.

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
July 5, 2023

According to the late Prof. John Galbraith, the enemy of conventional wisdom is not ideas but the march of facts, which may expose conventional wisdom as useless or dangerous.  Prof. Galbraith also suggests that conventional wisdom does not accommodate itself to the real world, but to a certain view of the world.

Indeed, the march of Middle East facts has exposed the alarming flaws of the Palestinian-oriented Western conventional wisdom, which has attempted to reshape Middle East reality in accordance with its own worldview.

For example:

*Since 1948, contrary to Western conventional wisdom, Arab countries have never flexed their military (and barely their financial and diplomatic) muscle on behalf of the Palestinian cause, as evidenced by the July 2023 war/battle between Israel and Palestinian terrorism, the previous 2021, 2014, 2012 and 2008 wars against Gaza Palestinian terrorism, as well as the 2nd (2000-2005) and 1st (1987-93) Intifada and the (1982) war against the PLO in Lebanon.

*Since 1948, Middle East reality has demonstrated that in contradiction of Western conventional wisdom, Arab national interests transcend – and often conflict with – the Palestinian issue. Therefore, no Arab-Israel war (1948/49, 1956, 1967 and 1973) erupted due to – or on behalf of – the Palestinian issue. Moreover, the six Israel-Arab peace accords with Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan were concluded because they bypassed the Palestinian issue, eliminating the Palestinian veto power, which has been enshrined by Western conventional wisdom, torpedoing all Western peace proposals.

*Moreover, no Israel-Arab peace treaty has been suspended due to Israel’s wars/battles against Palestinian terrorism. Arabs concluded peace with Israel, in order to advance their own interests, and do not sacrifice these interests on the altar of Palestinian interests.

*In contrast to Western conventional wisdom, Saudi Arabia and the six Arab partners to peace treaties with Israel are aware that the Palestinian issue is neither the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, nor a crown-jewel of Arab policy making, nor a core cause of Middle East turbulence. 

*Similarly, the central role played by Saudi Arabia in the conclusion of Israel’s peace treaties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, along with the substantial expansion of Israel-Saudi Arabia defense and commercial cooperation has proceeded irrespective of fierce Palestinian opposition.  

*In fact, the relatively-moderate pro-US Arab regimes do not subscribe to the philo-Palestinian Western conventional wisdom. They have demonstrated indifference and/or opposition to the idea of a Palestinian state.

*While Western conventional wisdom is based heavily on the pro-Palestinian Arab talk, Middle East reality is shaped by the Arab walk, which has been forged in response to the intra-Arab Palestinian rogue track record.  Hence, the critical/hostile Arab policy toward the Palestinians. Arabs are aware of the Middle East rule: one does not pay custom on words.

*Unlike the Western conventional wisdom, the Arabs – and especially Saudi Arabia and the other Arab Gulf states – base their Palestinian policy on the Palestinian intra-Arab track record, which has transformed Palestinians into a role model of intra-Arab subversion, terrorism, ingratitude and treachery (e.g., the collaboration with Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which was their most generous Arab host; the 1970-1982 plunder of Lebanon; the 1970 civil war in Jordan; the 1960s and 1950s terrorism in Syria and Egypt). They have experienced the Palestinian tendency to brutally bite the hand that feeds them.  They are also aware of the Palestinian strategic ties with Islamic, Latin American, African, Asian and European terror/rogue entities, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran’s Ayatollahs, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba, as well as the Palestinian collaboration with Nazi Germany (Mein Kampf is a popular book in the Palestinian Authority) and the Soviet Bloc.

*Contrasting Western conventional wisdom, the relatively-moderate pro-US Arab regimes are convinced that the proposed Palestinian state cannot be different than the Palestinian rogue track record,adding fuel to the 1,400-year-old Middle East fire and yielding a tailwind to rogue elements.  

*The US economy, national and homeland security would be severely undermined by a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, which would induce the toppling of the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River, transforming Jordan into a chaotic state like Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, serving as another epicenter of anti-US regional and global Islamic terrorism. Such an uncontrollable entity would be leveraged by Iran’s Ayatollahs and Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, triggering a ripple effect into the Arabian Peninsula. It would threaten every pro-US, oil-producing Arab regime, jeopardizing the supply of Persian Gulf oil (48% of the proven world reserves) and the state of global trade, increasing the price at the pump in the US, advancing the stature of Iran’s Ayatollahs, China and Russia, and causing a major setback to the US economy, national and homeland security.  

*While Western conventional wisdom professes that Palestinian terrorism is driven by despair, reality attests that it is driven by the hope to uproot the “infidel” Jewish State. This is documented by the Palestinian hate-education, which is the most authentic reflection of the Palestinian vision, and the most effective production line of terrorists, bolstered by the idolization of terrorists via public monuments and buildings, and extending monthly allowances to families of terrorists. The Palestinian vision is codified by the 1964 charter of the PLO, which supersedes the Palestinian Authority, as well as the PLO’s June 1974 Phased Plan.  These pivotal documents reveal that the Palestinians are not preoccupied with the size – but with the demise – of Israel.  

*The terroristic nature of the Palestinian leadership is also gleaned through its attitude toward Christians. Since its 1993 establishment, Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority has induced – through repression and discrimination – a Christian exodus from Bethlehem, demoting Christians to the status of Dhimmi, a tolerated second-class people. The city of Bethlehem was transformed from a Christian majority to a tiny 12% Christian minority.

In conclusion

*Will US policy makers adhere to the advice by Dr. Albert Ellis – who was one the world’s leading psychologists: “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior”?!

*Do US policy makers – who extend a red-carpet reception to Palestinian leaders – realize the reason for the shabby doormat awaiting Palestinian leaders in most Arab capitals?!

*The proposed Palestinian state, on the one hand, and US values and national security and peaceful coexistence, on the other hand, constitutes a classic oxymoron.

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
June 27, 2023

Notwithstanding the current tension between the Administrations of the US and Israel, and while there is an erosion in Israel’s high favorability among Americans (according to Gallup: Israel’s favorability – 68% compared to 71% in 2022; Palestinian Authority’s – 26%), the US-Israel defense and commercial cooperation keeps expanding.  This expansion responds to mutual threats and challenges, such as Iran’s Ayatollahs, Sunni Islamic terrorism, the vulnerability of all pro-US Arab regimes, and the need to bolster the US’ global, technological competitive edge. Facing these threats and challenges, the US is leveraging Israel’s unique defense and commercial capabilities, which have contributed to the US economy and defense – in dollar terms – more than the annual US “foreign aid” to Israel.   

The mutually-beneficial US-Israel partnership has been a derivative of the following factors:

1. US-Israel relations transcend the reality of international relations, in general, and US foreign relations, in particular.  US foreign relations are usually determined by the State Department establishment and the “elite” media, streaming in an up-bottom manner to the public. However, in the case of the US policy towards Israel, the direction of the policy has been determined by the general public’s state-of-mind – which has prevailed since the Early Pilgrims and the Founding Fathers – streaming in a bottom-up manner to elected officials in the House, Senate and White House.  Moreover, US elected officials are accountable to their constituents, who expect them to faithfully represent their worldview (including their pro-Israel sentiments), or “we shall remember in November.”

2. While the White House tends to adopt the State Department’s worldview – which opposed the establishment of Israel in 1948, and has criticized Israel since then – both chambers of Congress (which are the most authentic representatives of the US constituency in the 435 Districts and 50 States) welcomed the newly-established Jewish State in 1948, and have always favored enhanced US-Israel cooperation. Furthermore, the US Congress is the world’s strongest Legislature, co-equal and co-determining to the President, capable of blocking, altering and initiating policy, as demonstrated by a litany of precedents, such as:

*Congress overruled Nixon and Reagan, ending the US military involvement in Southeast Asia (1973), Angola (1976) and Nicaragua (1984);
*Congress prevailed over Nixon (1974), forcing the USSR/Russia to allow free emigration;
*Congress overrode Clinton, Obama and Trump (1996-97, 2011, 2013, 2017), imposing sanctions on Iran, Egypt and Russia;
*The Senate did not ratify the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran (JCPOA), which enabled Trump to withdraw from the accord;
*Congress substantially expanded US-Israel strategic cooperation, in defiance of the Bush/Baker opposition (1990-1992);  
*Etc.

3. The roots of Israel’s favorability among most constituents – and therefore among most legislators – are linked to the legacy of the Founding Fathers, who were inspired by Moses and the Exodus in shaping the Federalist Papers, the US Constitution, Bill of Rights and the Federal system (e.g., separation of powers and checks and balances). They considered the colonies and the emerging USA as “the modern day Promised Land” and “the New Israel.” Hence, the bust of Moses facing the Speaker of the House of Representatives; statues and engravings of Moses and the Tablets in the halls of the US Supreme Court; over 200 monuments of the Ten Commandments throughout the USA; and Biblical names of well over thousand sites in the US, such as Jerusalem, Salem (the original name of Jerusalem), Shiloh, Bethel, Zion, Boaz, Moab, Gilead, Pisgah, Canaan, Rehoboth, Sharon, Hebron, Bethlehem, Joshua, Hephzibah, etc. While the attachment to the legacy of the Founding Fathers is waning, it is still consequential among most constituents and legislators.

4. The dramatic, demographic transformation of the US through waves of immigration from Latin America, Africa and Asia has eroded the attachment to the legacy of the Founding Fathers. For example, in 1990, there were 20 million Americans, who were foreign born; the number surged to 45 million in 2023. This dramatic demographic transformation has yielded cultural, ideological and political transformation, increasingly distancing the US population from the legacy of the Founding Fathers, adversely impacting the appreciation of Israel; thus, facilitating presidential pressure on Israel.

5. Presidential pressure on Israel – which has been fended off on many critical occasions – has been a frequent feature of US-Israel relations since 1948, when Truman and then Eisenhower attempted to force Israel to withdraw from areas within its pre-1967 boundaries, including the whole of West Jerusalem.  Presidential pressure on Israel, as currently exercised by the Biden Administration, clouds US-Israel relations whenever the State Department dominates foreign policy making, irrespective of its systematic failure in the Middle East at-large. The aim of the current pressure is:

*To prevent a large scale Israeli military operation, intended to obliterate the infrastructure of Palestinian terrorism, which is also a potential threat to every pro-US Arab regime;
*To forestall an independent Israeli military assault on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, which is a clear and present danger to the “Great American Satan” and every pro-US Arab regime;
*To induce Israel to retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), and facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state, while ignoring the volcanic nature of the Middle East and the rogue Palestinian intra-Arab track record, as well as the lethal impact (of the proposed Palestinian state) on the pro-US Hashemite regime in Jordan, and the devastating ripple effect on the oil-producing, pro-US Arab regimes, as well as on the US economy and national security.

However, simultaneously with 75 years of presidential pressure on Israel, the mutually-beneficial US-Israel strategic cooperation has surged to a startling level.

6. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the US does not extend foreign aid to Israel, but makes an annual investment in Israel, which yields to the US taxpayer an annual Return-on-Investment of several hundred percent. For example, Israel has served as the cost-effective, battle-tested laboratory of the US defense and aerospace industries, sharing with them operational lessons, which have been integrated as upgrades into the US products; thus, sparing the US mega-billion-dollars of research and development, enhancing US competitiveness in the global market, which results in mega-billion-dollar exports, and expanding the employment base. The US commercial industries benefit in a similar way through some 250 research and development centers in Israel, owned by US high-tech giants, and leveraging Israel’s brainpower for the benefit of the US commercial industries. The Israeli battle-tested laboratory has also contributed to the battle tactics of the US armed forces, as has the flow of Israeli intelligence (worth five CIAs according to former Chief of Air Force Intelligence, General George Keegan), which exceeds the intelligence shared with the US by all NATO countries combined. Israel has been “the largest US aircraft carrier,” which does not require any American on board, deployed in a critical area for the US economy and defense. If there were not Israel in the Middle East, then the US would have to manufacture and deploy a few more real aircraft carriers to the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, in addition to several ground divisions, which would cost the US taxpayer $15-$20 BN annually.

7. The mutually-beneficial US-Israel two-way street is shaped by shared history, values and geo-strategic interests, much more than by the worldview of the State Department.

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
June 20, 2023

*In 1989, at the conclusion of a meeting between Prime Minister Shamir and Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, George Mitchell and Bob Dole, the latter told Shamir: “The Majority Leader and I completely disagree with your policies, but immensely respect you because you are tough!”

*The legacy of the late Prime Minister Shamir (who passed away on June 30, 2012) would be useful for Israeli leaders, who face systematic pressure, by the State Department, to restrain Israel’s military response to Palestinian terrorism, forestall an independent Israeli military action against Iran’s Ayatollahs, and retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) , in order to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state.

*The late Prime Minister Shamir was very short in size (5 feet tall), but a giant of a statesman and a geo-political game-changer in the areas of Aliya (Jewish immigration to Israel), economy, US-Israel strategic cooperation and defiance of odds and pressure.

*Former Secretary of State George Schultz was a systematic critic of Shamir’s policy on the Palestinian issue, but rarely failed to express his utmost respect for Shamir’s integrity and perseverance, which transformed Shamir into a most reliably effective ally on a rainy day. 

*While the 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment opened the doors of the USSR and Russia for emigration, Shamir’s pro-active Aliya policy was chiefly responsible for the arrival of over 1.25 million Olim (Jewish immigrants) from the former USSR to Israel, rather than to the US, Germany, Canada and Australia. Former US Assistant Secretary of State, Dick Schifter, experienced Shamir’s relentless and aggressive lobbying of Secretaries of State, Schultz and Baker, to stop issuing refugee certificates to Soviet Jews, and facilitate their relocation to Israel.  According to Shamir: “Jews are not refugees, since they have a home – the Jewish State!” In addition, Shamir initiated an appeal to the US Senate to send a letter, instructing Russia to direct all Jewish emigrants to fly directly to Israel, and not to Rome or Vienna. All 100 Senators signed the letter, which transformed an 80% dropout rate (until 1990) to an almost 100% arrival of Soviet Jews to Israel.  

*Shamir orchestrated the absorption of over one million Soviet Jews and 60,000 Ethiopian Jews, by less than five million Israelis (in 1990) – an unprecedented human accomplishment.  He considered Aliya to be the raison d’etre and the destiny of the Jewish State, its moral compass, top priority and its turbo growth engine of demography, science, technology, economy and medicine.  He was aware that Aliyah determined Israel’s posture of deterrence, which is the most critical element of national security and peace.

*During the 1990s, Shamir projected a future Aliya wave from France, resulting from anti-Semitism and Islamic migration.  

*President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State Jim Baker, who were among the crudest detractors of Shamir’s policies, respected Shamir’s ironclad commitment to deeply-rooted ideology and Israel’s national security, irrespective of their brutal opposition to Shamir’s view of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria as the cradle of Jewish history, religion and culture, as well as a prerequisite for Israel’s national security and survival in the ruthlessly unpredictable Middle East. Therefore, they considered Shamir a trustworthy – although non-subservient – ally of the USA. 

*Shamir was consistently guided by principles, values and history-steered vision/ideology; he was not herded – zigzagging – by pollsters and public opinion consultants. 

*In 1991, at the height of the bitter conflict between Prime Minster Shamir and Republican President George H.W. Bush, then Republican House Whip, Newt Gingrich, shared with me: “How can anyone expect smooth communications between Bush the aristocrat, who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and given the presidency, as well as the CIA and the UN ambassadorship, on a golden platter, and Shamir the freedom fighter, who has demonstrated willingness to sacrifice his life on the altar of his principles?!”

*In 1991, Shamir preconditioned participation in the Madrid Conference upon a US commitment to avoid any reference to Land-for-Peace in the context of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, and to veto PLO participation. The US stood by its commitments.

*Shamir’s defiance of US pressure – when it came to Jewish roots in the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria and Israel’s fundamental security requirements – eroded his popularity, but earned him substantial long term strategic respect.  His image as a strategic partner was upgraded by his dismissal of international guarantees of Israel’s security and any proposition to station foreign troops on Israel’s borders. On a rainy day, the US is not looking for a “punching bag,” but for a reliable, capable, democratic, unconditional, can-do ally, which is willing to defy even the US.

*In 1992, the Republican Whip, Senator Alan Simpson from Wyoming, who was critical of Prime Minister Shamir’s policies, told me: “How can I like Prime Minister Shamir when he resembles a roaring tiger?  However, how can I but respect a roaring tiger?!”

*The late Prime Minister Shamir was a role model of Jewish patriotism, modesty, tenacity, optimism, principle-driven and security-based statesmanship, reliability, independence and endurance in the face of brutal pressure.

*Shamir laid down the foundations (in the mid-1980s) for the resurgence of Israel’s economy from a potential meltdown to one of the most fiscally responsible economies in the world.  His composure in the face of lethal pressures, marathon-like (rather than sprint-like) style of leadership, strategic thinking and willingness to lead through delegation of authority to experts, paved the road to the stabilization of Israel’s Shekel, the dramatic restraint of inflation, interest and unemployment rates and the drastic reduction of budget deficit.

*Shamir’s seven years at the helm were characterized by unprecedented expansion of US-Israel strategic cooperation – despite severe disagreements with the US Administration over the Palestinian issue – from the April 1988 Memorandum of Understanding through the 1990-1991 unprecedented enhancement of strategic cooperation, including bolstered defense industrial cooperation, joint exercises, intelligence and counter-terrorism cooperation, prepositioning of US military hardware in Israel, the upgrading of the port of Haifa facilities for the Sixth Fleet, etc.

*Most of these joint projects were initiated by Congressional amendments to the Appropriations Defense Bill in defiance of brutal opposition by the White House and the State Department. Shamir recognized the co-equal stature of the US Legislature, and considered Congress as a co-driver, rather than a backseat driver in the bolstering of the mutually beneficial US-Israel cooperation.

*In the face of mutual homeland and national security threats, as well as commercial and defense technology challenges, Israeli and US leaders would do well to follow in the footsteps of Prime Minister Shamir’s legacy – a role model of principle-driven and defiance of odds leadership.

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Demography

Demographic optimism IN, demographic pessimism OUT

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
October 2, 2023

The suggestion that Israel should retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) is based, partly, on the assumption that the Jewish majority is exposed to an “Arab demographic time bomb,” which would explode if Israel were to apply its law to Judea and Samaria.

However, Israel’s Jewish majority is not vulnerable to an “Arab demographic time bomb,” but benefits from demographic momentum, fertility-wise and migration-wise.

Arab demography artificially inflated

This erroneous assumption is based on the official Palestinian numbers, which are embraced and reverberated by the global community – with no due-diligence auditing – ignoring a 1.6-million-person artificial inflation of the reported number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria.

For instance:

*The official Palestinian census includes 500,000 residents, who have been away for over a year, while international standards require their elimination from the census (until they return for, at least, 90 days).  This number was documented by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (325,000 in 1997), Election Commission (400,000 in 2005) and the Ministry of Interior, increasing systematically through births.

*The Palestinian census ignores the net-emigration of 390,000 since the first 1997 census, as documented by Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority, which supervises Israel’s international passages.

*375,000 Jerusalem Arabs and more than 150,000 (mostly) Judea and Samaria Arabs, who married Israeli Arabs are doubly-counted (by Israel and the Palestinian Authority). This number increases systematically through births.

*A September 2006 World Bank report documented a 32% artificial inflation of the number of births.  At the same time, death has been substantially underreported as evidenced by the 2007 Palestinian census, which included Arabs born in 1845….   

*The aforementioned data indicates an artificial inflation of 1.6 million in the Palestinian census of Judea and Samria Arabs: 1.4 million – not 3 million – Arabs.

Arab demography Westernized

Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, Arab demography has been westernized dramatically in recent years, from a fertility rate of 9 births per woman west of the Jordan River during the 1960s to 2.85 births in 2021 in pre-1967 Israel and 3.02 in Judea and Samaria.

The westernization of Arab demography has been a result of sweeping urbanization. From a 70%-rural-population in Judea and Samaria in 1967, to a 77%-urban-population in 2022.  In addition, almost all girls complete high school, resulting in the expanded integration of women in employment and academia, as well as an increase in wedding age (from 15 to 24-year-old).  Moreover, there has been an expansion of the use of contraceptives (70% of women in the Palestinian Authority) and a shorter fertility cycle (25 through 45 in 2022 compared to 16 through 55 during the 1960s).

Demographic westernization has occurred in the entire Moslem World, other than the Sub-Saharah countries: In 2022, Jordan – 2.9 births per woman, Iran – 1.9, Saudi Arabia – 1.9, Morocco – 2.27, Iraq – 3.17, Egypt 2.76, Yemen – 2.91, the UAE – 1.62, etc.

Jewish demographic momentum

Israel’s Jewish demography features a fertility momentum – especially in the secular sector – simultaneously with a moderate decline in the ultra-orthodox sector. In fact, Jewish fertility (3.13 births per woman) is higher than any Arab country, other than Iraq’s (3.17). The OECD’s average fertility rate is 1.61 births per woman.

In 2022, the number of Jewish births (137,566) was 71% higher than in 1995 (80,400), while the number of Arab births (43,417) was 19% higher than in 1995 (36,500).

Contrary to most global societies, Israel enjoys a positive correlation between the level of fertility, on the one hand, and the level of education, income, urbanization and (the rise of) wedding age on the other hand.

The growth of Jewish fertility reflects a high level of patriotism, optimism, attachment to roots, communal responsibility, frontier mentality, high regard for raising children and the decline in the number of abortions.

The Jewish population is growing younger, while the Arab population is growing older.

Until the 1990s, there was a demographic race between Arab births and Jewish immigration.  Since the 1990s, the race is between Jewish and Arab births, while net-migration provides a robust boost to Jewish demography.

The Jewish demographic momentum has been bolstered by an annual Aliyah (Jewish immigration) – which has been the most critical engine of Israel’s economic, educational, technological and military growth – simultaneously with the declining scope of annual emigration.  From an additional 14,200 emigrants in 1990 to 10,800 in 2020, while the overall population has doubled itself since 1990. A substantial decline in emigration has taken place since the 2007/2008 global economic meltdown, which has underscored the relative stability and growth of Israel’s economy.

In 2023, there has been an increase in Aliyah. This highlights a potential of 500,000 Olim (Jewish immigrants) in five years – from Europe, the former USSR, Latin and North America – should the Israeli government resurrect the pro-active Aliyah policy, which defined Israel from 1948-1992.

The bottom line

In 1897, upon convening the First Zionist Congress, there was a 9% Jewish minority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel.

In 1948, upon the establishment of the Jewish State, there was a 39% Jewish minority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel.

In 2022, there was a 69% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel (7.5 million Jews, 2 million Arabs in pre-1967 Israel and 1.4 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria), benefiting from a tailwind of fertility and net-migration.

Those who claim that the Jewish majority – in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel – is threatened by an Arab demographic time bomb are either dramatically mistaken, or outrageously misleading.

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Iran

Diplomatic option toward Iran is self-destructive

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
December 19, 2023

*The US State Department’s diplomatic option has facilitated the transformation of Iran from “the American policeman of the Gulf” to “the largest anti-American venomous octopus in the world,” stretching its rogue arms from the Persian Gulf through Africa to Latin America and the US-Mexico border, which it perceives as the soft underbelly of the US.

*The diplomatic option – including a frail US response to sustained Iranian attacks on US installations in the Persian Gulf region – has aggravated Middle East instability, threatening the survival of every pro-US Arab regime, and is inducing anti-US global Islamic terrorism.  This is severely eroding US posture of deterrence, benefitting Russia, China and mostly Iran, while undermining US national and homeland security. 

*The diplomatic option has suspended most economic sanctions – without Congressional consent – surging Iran’s oil export from 500,000 barrels per day to 2-3 million barrels per day, increasing Iran’s national income by some $100bn, mostly dedicated to bolster Iran’s anti-US rogue operations, increasingly in Latin America, the US’ backyard.

*The diplomatic option has consistently overlooked the decisive power of the Ayatollahs’ imperialistic ideology, and its determination to export the anti-US Islamic Shiite Revolution. Consequently, the State Department has deluded itself into believing that an astounding financial and diplomatic bonanza would induce Iran’s Ayatollahs to accept peaceful coexistence with their pro-US Arab Sunni neighbors, become good-faith negotiators, and abandon their 1,400-year-old religious, fanatic vision, which is enshrined in their Constitution, K-12 school curriculum, Friday mosque sermons and official media.

*However, as expected, the mega-billion-dollar bonanza yielded by the diplomatic option (e.g., the 2015 JCPOA and the current suspension of economic sanctions) has bolstered its global terroristic network, advancing its vision to topple all pro-US Sunni regimes, and bring the “infidel” West to submission, especially the “The Great American Satan,” while egregiously oppressing and suppressing Iranian women and religious and ethnic minorities.  

*The State Department’s diplomatic option was initiated in 1978/1979, stabbing in the back the pro-US Shah of Iran, and contending that Ayatollah Khomeini was anti-Communist and therefore potentially pro-Western and a stabilizing element geopolitically, “…holding a Gandhi-like positionpreoccupied with tractors, not tanks….”

*Has the diplomatic option dumped the Monroe Doctrine?! In 2023, Iran’s Ayatollahs invest mega billions of dollars in fueling civil wars, terrorism, drug trafficking and money laundering throughout the Middle East, Africa and especially in Latin America. There, they collaborate – along with Hezbollah terrorists – with the drug cartels of Mexico, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, and train terror organizations. They cooperate with all anti-US governments (especially Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Bolivia), testing ballistic missiles, and supplying predator drones, attack boats, anti-ship missiles, and equipment for the construction of underground tunnels along the US-Mexico border, which smuggle drugs and illegal Middle East terrorists into the US.

*The bottom line is: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me!  After 44 years of being fooled by the Ayatollahs, critically undermining the strategic posture of the US and its allies, it is time to reassess the diplomatic option, and consider other options, such as regime-change and a credible military threat hovering above the head of the Ayatollahs.  

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Judea & Samaria

Israel-Saudi accord and Israel’s control of Judea & Samaria (video)

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
September 15, 2023, https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/377022

*The platform of an Israel-Saudi accord is the volcanic, violent and unpredictably tenuous Middle East, not Western Europe or No. America;

*Saudi Arabia is driven by Saudi – not Palestinian – interests;

*Unlike the State Department, Saudi Arabia accords much weight to the rogue Palestinian track record in the intra-Arab arena, and therefore limits its support of the proposed Palestinian state to (mostly) talk, not to walk; *An accord with Saudi Arabia – in the shifty, tenuous Middle East – is not a major component of Israel’s national security. On the other hand, Israel’s control of the mountain ridges of Judea & Samaria is a prerequisite for Israel’s survival in the inherently turbulent, intolerantly violent Middle East, which features tenuous regimes, and therefore tenuous policies and accords.

Jerusalem

United Jerusalem – a shared US-Israel legacy and interest

US departure from the recognition of a United Jerusalem as the exclusive capital of the Jewish State, and the site of the US Embassy to Israel, would be consistent with the track record of the State Department, which has been systematically wrong on Middle East issues, such as its opposition to the establishment of the Jewish State; stabbing the back of the pro-US Shah of Iran and Mubarak of Egypt, and pressuring the pro-US Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, while courting the anti-US Ayatollahs of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Arafat, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and the Houthis of Yemen; transforming Libya into a platform of global Islamic terrorism and civil wars; etc..

However, such departure would violate US law, defy a 3,000 year old reality – documented by a litany of archeological sites and a multitude of documents from Biblical time until today – spurn US history and geography, and undermine US national and homeland security.

United Jerusalem and the US law

Establishing a US Consulate General in Jerusalem – which would be a de facto US Embassy to the Palestinian Authority – would violate the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which became US law on November 8, 1995 with substantially more than a veto-override majority on Capitol Hill.

According to the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which enjoys massive support among the US population and, therefore, in both chambers of Congress:

“Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected….

“Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the state of Israel; and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem….

“In 1990, Congress unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 106, which declares that Congress ‘strongly believes that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected….’

“In 1992, the United States Senate and House of Representatives unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 113… to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, and reaffirming Congressional sentiment that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city….

“In 1996, the state of Israel will celebrate the 3,000th anniversary of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem since King David’s entry….

“The term ‘United States Embassy’ means the offices of the United States diplomatic mission and the residence of the United States chief of mission.”

United Jerusalem and the legacy of the Founding Fathers

The US Early Pilgrims and Founding Fathers were inspired – in their unification of the 13 colonies – by King David’s unification of the 12 Jewish tribes into a united political entity, and establishing Jerusalem as the capital city, which did not belong to any of the tribes (hence, Washington, DC does not belong to any state). King David entered Jerusalem 3,000 years before modern day US presidents entered the White House and 2,755 years before the US gained its independence.

The impact of Jerusalem on the US founders of the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist system and overall civic life is reflected by the existence, in the US, of 18 Jerusalems (4 in Maryland; 2 in Vermont, Georgia and New York; and 1 in Ohio, Michigan, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Utah, Rhode Island and Tennessee), 32 Salems (the original Biblical name of Jerusalem) and many Zions (a Biblical synonym for Jerusalem and the Land of Israel).  Moreover, in the US there are thousands of cities, towns, mountains, cliffs, deserts, national parks and streets bearing Biblical names.

The Jerusalem reality and US interests

Recognizing the Jerusalem reality and adherence to the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act – and the subsequent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the site of the US Embassy to Israel – bolstered the US posture of deterrence in defiance of Arab/Islamic pressure and threats.

Contrary to the doomsday assessments by the State Department and the “elite” US media – which have been wrong on most Middle East issues – the May 2018 implementation of the 1995 law did not intensify Palestinian, Arab and Islamic terrorism. State Department “wise men” were equally wrong when they warned that Israel’s 1967 reunification of Jerusalem would ignite a worldwide anti-Israel and anti-US Islamic volcanic eruption.

Adherence to the 1995 law distinguishes the US President, Congress and most Americans from the state of mind of rogue regimes and terror organizations, the anti-US UN, the vacillating Europe, and the cosmopolitan worldview of the State Department, which has systematically played-down the US’ unilateral, independent and (sometimes) defiant national security action.

On the other hand, US procrastination on the implementation of the 1995 law – by Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama – eroded the US posture of deterrence, since it was rightly perceived by the world as appeasement in the face of pressure and threats from Arab/Muslim regimes and terrorists.  As expected, it radicalized Arab expectations and demands, failed to advance the cause of Israel-Arab peace, fueled Islamic terrorism, and severely undermined US national and homeland security. For example, blowing up the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and murdering 224 persons in August 1998; blowing up the USS Cole destroyer in the port of Aden and murdering 17 US sailors in October 2000; the 9/11 Twin Towers massacre, etc.

Jerusalem and Israel’s defiance of US pressure

In 1949, President Truman followed Secretary of State Marshall’s policy, pressuring Israel to refrain from annexing West Jerusalem and to accept the internationalization of the ancient capital of the Jewish people.

in 1950, in defiance of brutal US and global pressure to internationalize Jerusalem, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion reacted constructively by proclaiming Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish State, relocating government agencies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and settling tens of thousands of Olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel) in Jerusalem. He upgraded the transportation infrastructure to Jerusalem, erected new Jewish neighborhoods along the 1949 cease fire lines in Jerusalem, and provided the city land reserves for long-term growth.

In 1953, Ben Gurion rebuffed President Eisenhower’s pressure – inspired by Secretary of State Dulles – to refrain from relocating Israel’s Foreign Ministry from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In 1967, President Johnson followed the advice of Secretary of State Rusk – who opposed Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence – highlighting the international status of Jerusalem, and warned Israel against the reunification of Jerusalem and construction in its eastern section. Prime Minister Levi Eshkol adopted Ben Gurion’s statesmanship, fended off the US pressure, reunited Jerusalem, built the first Jerusalem neighborhood beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines, Ramat Eshkol, in addition to the first wave of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights.

In 1970, President Nixon collaborated with Secretary of State Rogers, attempting to repartition Jerusalem, pressuring Israel to relinquish control of Jerusalem’s Holy Basin, and to stop Israel’s plans to construct additional neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.  However, Prime Minister Golda Meir refused to rescind the reunification of Jerusalem, and proceeded to lay the foundation for additional Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines: Gilo, Ramot Alon, French Hill and Neve’ Yaakov, currently home to 150,000 people.

In 1977-1992, Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir defied US and global pressure, expanding construction in Jerusalem, sending a clear message: “Jerusalem is the exclusive and non-negotiable capital of Israel!”

“[In 1978], at the very end of [Prime Minister Begin’s] successful Camp David talks with President Jimmy Carter and President Anwar Sadat, literally minutes before the signing ceremony, the American president had approached [Begin] with ‘Just one final formal item.’ Sadat, said the president, was asking that Begin put his signature to a simple letter committing him to place Jerusalem on the negotiating table of the final peace accord.  ‘I refused to accept the letter, let alone sign it,’ rumbled Begin. ‘If I forgot thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning,’ said [Begin] to the president of the United States of America, ‘and may my tongue cleave to my mouth’ (The Prime Ministers – An Intimate Portrait of Leaders of Israel, 2010)”

In 2021, Prime Minister Bennett should follow in the footsteps of Israel’s Founding Father, Ben Gurion, who stated: “Jerusalem is equal to the whole of the Land of Israel. Jerusalem is not just a central Jewish settlement. Jerusalem is an invaluable global historical symbol. The Jewish People and the entire world shall judge us in accordance with our steadfastness on Jerusalem (“We and Our Neighbors,” p. 175. 1929).”

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Jewish Holidays

Chanukah guide for the perplexed, 2023

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
November 29, 2023

More on Jewish holidays: SmashwordsAmazon

1. According to Israel’s Founding Father, David Ben Gurion: Chanukah commemorates “the struggle of the Maccabees, which was one of the most dramatic clashes of civilizations in human history, not merely a political-military struggle against foreign oppression…. Unlike many peoples, the meager Jewish people did not assimilate.  The Jewish people prevailed, won, sustained and enhanced their independence and unique civilization…. It was the spirit of the people, rather than the failed spirit of the establishment, which enabled the Hasmoneans to overcome one of the most magnificent spiritual, political and military challenges in Jewish history….” (Uniqueness and Destiny, pp 20-22, David Ben Gurion, IDF Publishing, 1953).

2. A Jewish national liberation holiday.  Chanukah (evening of December 7 – December 15, 2023) is the only Jewish holiday that commemorates an ancient national liberation struggle in the Land of Israel, unlike the national liberation holidays, Passover, Sukkot/Tabernacles and Shavu’ot/Pentecost, which commemorate the liberation from slavery in Egypt to independence in the land of Israel, and unlike Purim, which commemorates liberation from a Persian attempt to annihilate the Jewish people.

3. Chanukah and the Land of Israel.  When ordered by Emperor Antiochus IV Epiphanes of the Seleucid region to end the Jewish “occupation” of Jerusalem, Jaffa, Gaza, Gezer and Akron, Shimon the Maccabee responded: “We have not occupied a foreign land…. We have liberated the land of our forefathers from foreign occupation (Book of Maccabees A: 15:33).”

Chanukah highlights the centrality of the Land of Israel in the formation of Jewish history, religion, culture and language. The mountain ridges of Judea and Southern Samaria (the West Bank) were the platform for the Maccabean military battles: Mitzpah (the burial site of the Prophet Samuel, overlooking Jerusalem), Beth El (the site of the Ark of the Covenant and Judah the Maccabee’s initial headquarters), Beth Horon (Judah’s victory over Seron), Hadashah (Judah’s victory over Nicanor), Beth Zur (Judah’s victory over Lysias), Ma’aleh Levona (Judah’s victory over Apolonius), Adora’yim (a Maccabean fortress), Eleazar (named after Mattityahu’s youngest Maccabee son), Beit Zachariya (Judah’s first defeat), Ba’al Hatzor (where Judah was defeated and killed), Te’qoah, Mikhmash and Gophnah (bases of Shimon and Yonatan), the Judean Desert, etc.

4. Historical context  Chanukah is narrated in the four Books of the MaccabeesThe Scroll of Antiochus and The Wars of the Jews.

In 323 BCE, following the death of Alexander the Great (Alexander III) who held Judaism in high esteem, the Greek Empire was split into three independent and rival mini-empires: Greece, Seleucid/Syria and Ptolemaic/Egypt.

In 175 BCE, the Seleucid/Syrian Emperor Antiochus (IV) Epiphanes claimed the Land of Israel. He suspected that the Jews were allies of his Ptolemaic/Egyptian enemy.  The Seleucid emperor was known for eccentric behavior, hence his name, Epiphanes, which means “divine manifestation.”  He aimed to exterminate Judaism and convert Jews to Hellenism. In 169 BCE, he devastated Jerusalem, attempting to decimate the Jewish population, and outlaw the practice of Judaism.

In 166/7 BCE, a Jewish rebellion was led by the non-establishment Hasmonean (Maccabee) family from the rural town of Modi’in, half-way between Jerusalem and the Mediterranean.  The rebellion was headed by Mattityahu, the priest, and his five sons, Yochanan, Judah, Shimon, Yonatan and Eleazar, who fought the Seleucid occupier and restored Jewish independence.  The Hasmonean dynasty was replete with external and internal wars and lasted until 37 BCE, when Herod the Great (a proxy of Rome) defeated Antigonus II Mattathias.

5. The reputation of Jews as superb warriors was reaffirmed by the success of the Maccabees on the battlefield. In fact, they were frequently hired as mercenaries by Egypt, Syria, Carthage, Rome and other global and regional powers.

6. The significance of Chanukah. Chanukah celebrates the Maccabean-led national liberation by conducting in-house family education and lighting candles for 8 days in commemoration of the re-inauguration of Jerusalem’s Jewish Temple and its Menorah (candelabra).

The Hebrew words Chanukah (חנוכה), inauguration (חנוכ) and education ((חנוך possess the same root.

7. As was prophesized by the Prophet Hagai in 520 BCE, the re-inauguration of the Temple took place on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, which is the month of miracles, such as the post-flood appearance of Noah’s rainbow, the completion of the construction of the Holy Ark by Moses, the laying of the foundations of the Second Temple by Nehemiah, etc.

In 1777, Chanukah candles were lit during the most critical battle at Valley Forge, which solidified the victory of George Washington’s Continental Army over the British monarchy.

The 25th Hebrew word in Genesis is “light,” and the 25th stop during the Exodus was Hashmona (the same Hebrew spelling as Hasmonean-Maccabees).

The first day of Chanukah is celebrated when daylight hours are equal to darkness hours – and when moonlight is hardly noticed – ushering in brighter days.

8. Chanukah highlights the defeat of darkness, disbelief, forgetfulness and pessimism by the spirit of light, faith, commemoration and optimism over.

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Golan

US interests and Israel’s control of Judea & Samaria (West Bank)

A new 8-minute-video: YouTube, Facebook

Synopsis:

*Israel’s control of the topographically-dominant mountain ridges of the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria has enhanced Israel’s posture of deterrence, constraining regional violence, transforming Israel into a unique force-multiplier for the US.

*Top Jordanian military officers warned that a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River, transforming Jordan into a non-controllable terrorist heaven, generating an anti-US domino scenario in the Arabian Peninsula.

*Israel’s control of Judea and Samaria has eliminated much of the threat (to Jordan) of Judea and Samaria-based Palestinian terrorism.

*Israel’s posture of deterrence emboldens Jordan in the face of domestic and regional threats, sparing the US the need to deploy its own troops, in order to avoid an economic and national security setback.

*The proposed Palestinian state would become the Palestinian straw that would break the pro-US Hashemite back.

*The Palestinian track record of the last 100 years suggests that the proposed Palestinian state would be a rogue entity, adding fuel to the Middle East fire, undermining US interests.

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Islamic Terrorism

US and Israel facing the mutual threat of Islamic terrorism

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
February 21, 2024

*FBI Director Christopher A. Wray visited Israel on February 14, 2024, during the Israel-Hamas and Israel-Hezbollah wars, meeting with leaders of the Mossad, Israel’s Secret Service, and Israel’s National Police in order to benefit from Israel’s unique urban and tunnel warfare experience and battle tactics in the war against Islamic terrorists, who are advancing the vision of Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Moslem Brotherhood.

*Director Wray considers Israel’s as the most effective battle-tested laboratory of the US armed forces, law enforcement agencies and defense industries.

*Director Wray is aware of the Ayatollahs’ and Hezbollas’ growing entrenchment in Mexico, along the US-Mexico border and throughout Latin America. In fact, since the early 1980s, Iran’s Ayatollahs and Hezbollah have entrenched themselves in Latin America, bolstering collaboration with the drug cartels of Mexico, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, all Latin American terror organizations, and each anti-US Latin American government. They supply the drug cartels underground tunnel construction equipment, and train them in the areas of car bombs and Improvised Explosive Devices. In addition, they have leveraged the convoys of illegal aliens from Guatemala to the US-Mexico border, smuggling terrorists and drug traffickers into the US.

*Islamic terrorism has targeted the US since the early 19th century irrespective of US policy and independent of the identity of the US President.  Thus, Islamic terrorism afflicted the US during the presidencies of both Trump and Obama, G.W. Bush and Clinton, Reagan and Carter.

*Hamas is a branch of the Moslem Brotherhood – the largest Sunni terror organization with religious, educational and welfare branches – whose charter aims to topple all national Islamic regimes, establish a universal Islamic society, bring the Western “infidel” – and especially the USA – to submission, and establish Islam as the only legitimate and divinely-ordained religion.

*Hamas and Hezbollah are proxies of Iran’s Ayatollahs, whose Constitution highlights a megalomaniacal vision, which stipulates the toppling of all “apostate” (Sunni) regimes, asserting itself globally – beyond the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, Europe and Africa, all the way to Latin America – and bringing the “infidel” West, and especially “The Great American Satan” to submission.

*Since February 1979, when it toppled the Shah of Iran, the Ayatollahs’ regime has transformed Iran from “The American Policeman of the Gulf” to the leading anti-US epicenter of global terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and the proliferation of advanced military systems.

*Israel’s war against Hamas and Hezbollah terrorism has bolstered the US’ defense against Islamic terrorism.

*On November 15, 2023, Director Christopher Wray testified at the House Committee on Homeland Security:

“The war in the Middle East has raised the threat of an attack against Americans in the US to a whole other level…. Since October 7th, we’ve seen a rogue gallery of foreign terrorist organizations call for attacks against Americans and our allies. Hezbollah threatened to attack US interests in the Middle East. Al-Qaida issued specific calls to attack the US. Al-Qaida called on jihadists to attack Americans and Jewish people everywhere. ISIS urged its followers to target Jewish communities in the US and Europe.

“Our most immediate concern is that individuals or small groups will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home. That includes homegrown violent extremists inspired by a foreign terrorist organization and domestic violent extremists…. We cannot discount the possibility that Hamas or another foreign terrorist organization may exploit the current conflict to conduct attacks on our own soil…. But it’s not just Hamas. As the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, Iran has directly, or by hiring criminals, mounted assassination attempts against dissidents and high-ranking current and former U.S. officials, including right here on American soil. Hezbollah, Iran’s primary strategic partner, has a history of raising money and seeking to obtain weapons here in the US…. Hezbollah has tried to seed operatives, establish infrastructure, and engage in spying here domestically, raising our concern that there may be contingency planning for future operations in the United States….”

*The bottom line is that FBI Director, Christopher Wray, is driven by Middle East reality, not by alternative, less frustrating, but self-destructive reality. Therefore, he does not subscribe to the diplomatic option in the battle against Islamic terrorism, and does not propose to negotiate with – and make financial and diplomatic concessions to – terrorists. He does not expect Iran to accept peaceful coexistence with its pro-US Sunni Arab regimes, conduct good faith negotiation, or abandon its 1,400-year-old fanatic vision. Director Wray attempts to defeat Iran-controlled Islamic terrorists. He does not expect Israel to slow down its war on Hamas, which is a proxy of Iran. Just like Saudi Arabia and all other pro-US Arab countries, Director Wray is aware that the obliteration of Hamas, militarily, politically and educationally, will bolster the posture of deterrence of both Israel and the USA, reducing terror assaults on pro-US Arab countries (e.g., Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco) and in the US mainland.

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