Thursday, October 24, 2019

Wrong, Sen. Warren - creating a PA state is not 'official US policy'

Stephen M. Flatow: Wrong, Sen. Warren - creating a PA state is not 'official US policy'

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren has to get her facts straight when it comes to creating a state out of the Palestinian Authority.

My latest column on Arutz Sheva deals with Senator Elizabeth Warren's belief that the so-called "two state solution" is official US government policy.

Here's the column:

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren has raised eyebrows with her not-so-subtle threat to withhold U.S. aid from Israel in order to extract Israeli concessions. But there was another disturbing element to Warren’s statement that is being overlooked.
“It is the official policy of the United States of America to support a two-state solution, and if Israel is moving in the opposite direction, then everything is on the table,” Warren said at an Iowa campaign event this past week, in response to a question about whether she would use aid to pressure Israel.
“Official U.S. policy”?  Not even close.
It is not the policy of the Trump administration to support creating a Palestinian Arab state. In fact, administration officials have specifically said that their forthcoming proposal for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement does not include a Palestinian state.
The London Guardian reported on September 5:  “Although little is known for certain about the Kushner-Greenblatt plan, Trump officials have made it clear it will not commit to supporting the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel…” Other media outlets have reported likewise.
But it didn’t start with President Trump.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower didn’t call for creating a Palestinian state. Neither did Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, or George H.W. Bush. 
In addition, neither Bill Clinton nor Jimmy Carter ever publicly called for a Palestinian state while they were president. Palestinian statehood was not “official U.S. policy” during their administrations.
The first U.S. president to publicly call for a Palestinian state was George W. Bush. That was in 2002. But, significantly, Bush conditioned it on the Palestinians electing a new leadership, and permanently abandoning terrorism. Needless to say, the Palestinians never met those conditions. 
The first—and still only—sitting American president to call for creating a Palestinian state without preconditions was Barack Obama.
There are good reasons why Palestinian statehood has been “official U.S. policy” during only one administration in the past sixty-plus years:
—The Palestinian Arabs have a long record of fomenting regional instability, including an armed conflict with King Hussein of Jordan and a civil war in Lebanon. It’s only a matter of time before a Palestinian state would stir up turmoil and mayhem throughout the region. How would regional chaos be good for America?
—The Palestinians have always allied themselves with the most extreme and aggressive regimes in the world, including the Soviet Union, North Korea and Iran. “Palestine” would become a proxy-state for the world’s worst rogue regimes. How would an Iranian port in Gaza be good for America?
—From the Palestinian Authority’s practices over the past 24 years, we know what kind of state they would have: Islam would be the state religion; elections would be held rarely, if ever; dissidents would be tortured and suppressed; Christians would be intimidated; women would be second-class citizens. How would creating a regime that represent the opposite of American values be good for America?
—Creating a Palestinian state would reduce America’s only real ally in the region, Israel, to just nine miles wide. Making Israel so vulnerable would not only endanger the Jewish state, but would also undermine the confidence of all of America’s allies, and call into doubt the value of America’s promises. How could that be good for America’s strategic position in the Middle East, or its reputation anywhere in the world?
In short, the establishment of a Palestinian Arab fascist dictatorship—for that is certainly what it would be—would be bad for American values, bad for American interests, and bad for America’s allies.
I understand why advocates of the Palestinian cause like to claim that a Palestinian state is longstanding U.S. policy. It makes the idea sound more legitimate. It creates an air of inevitability. But it’s a lie. Somebody needs to explain that to Senator Warren.
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I am pleased to announce that my book, "A Father's Story, My Fight For Justice Against Iranian Terror," is now available on Kindle.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Terrorists as heroes. Is that a way to raise children?

Mixing sports and terrorism

The Palestinian Authority’s Karate Federation recently held a “Sisters of Dalal Mughrabi Championship for Young Women,” named for a cherished mass murderess "heroine."

You have to ask why?  I explore this phenomenon in my recent column on Arutz Sheva, Israel National News.

Here in America we often have debates about whether it’s appropriate to mix sports with politics—whether athletes should speak out on political or social controversies. But in Palestinian Arab society, there is no such debate. Sports are a major platform for glorifying and promoting terrorism against Jews.

Using sports events to glorify mass murder clearly contradicts the spirit of peaceful international sporting competition.
The Palestinian Authority’s Karate Federation recently held a “Sisters of Dalal Mughrabi Championship for Young Women.”  Normal societies name sports events after a prominent figure in that sport, or after the donors who made the event possible. Not Palestinian society; it names sports events after its most cherished heroes—those who have massacred Jews.

On March 9, 1978, Ms. Mughrabi —who was just 19 years old at the time— led a squad of 13 Fatah terrorists that landed in several small boats on Israel's shore. Another young woman, Gail Rubin, happened to be on the beachfront that morning.  

Gail, an American Jewish nature photographer, was taking photos of rare birds near the water. Gail’s work had been exhibited at the Jewish Museum in New York City and other major venues. She was the niece of U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff (D-Conn.).

One of the terrorists involved in the attack, Hussain Fayadh, later described to a Lebanese Television station what happened next: "Sister Dalal al-Mughrabi had a conversation with the American journalist. Before killing her, Dalal asked: 'How did you enter Palestine?' [Rubin] answered: 'They gave me a visa.' Dalal said: 'Did you get your visa from me, or from Israel? I have the right to this land. Why didn't you come to me?' Then Dalal opened fire on her."

As Gail laying dying on the beach, Mughrabi and her fellow-terrorists walked to the nearby Coastal Road. An Israeli bus approached. They hijacked it. During the ensuing mayhem, they murdered 36 passengers, 12 of them children. Mughrabi was killed by Israeli troops. Ever since, she has been lionized by the Palestinian leadership and news media as a heroine, martyr and role model—including as a role model.

The Palestinian Karate Federation belongs to an international organization known as the Asian Karate Federation, which in turn its part of the World Karate Federation. I have written to both, asking them to take action on the Palestinians’ exploitation of karate to glorify terrorism. Neither federation has responded.

Meanwhile, Palestinian chess players recently took part in the “Martyr Khalil Al-Wazir Abu Jihad Tournament of the Palestine  Northern Districts Individual Chess Tournaments.”
Khalil Al-Wazir, better known as Abu Jihad, was one of the most notorious terrorists in modern history. He was a co-founder, along with Yasir Arafat, of the terrorist Fatah movement in 1965. 

According to news reports as well as the PA’s own boasting, al-Wazir personally organized attacks in which 125 people were killed. Among the most infamous were the murder of American diplomats in Khartoum (Sudan) in 1973, and the above mentioned Coastal Road massacre led by Dalal Mughrabi.

Karate and chess are not the only sports through which the Palestinian Authority glorifies mass murderers. The Ansar Al-Quds soccer club, near Jerusalem, holds an Abu Jihad Tournament. So do the Palestinian Judo Association, the Palestinian Table-Tennis Association, and the Palestinian Boxing Association. 

The international federations to which these Palestinian sports associations belong have an obligation to act. Using sports events to glorify mass murder clearly contradicts the spirit of peaceful international sporting competition. Silence in the face of these Palestinian outrages will imply acceptance of such behavior.

The question of naming sports events after terrorists is not just a matter of symbolism. Young people are influenced by what they see and hear around them. When a society presents Dalal Mughrabi and Abu Jihad as heroes, then young Palestinians will aspire to duplicate their murderous deeds. How can there be any hope for peace if young Palestinians are raised to view massacring Jews as their goal in life?

I am pleased to say that my book A Father's Story: My Fight For Justice Against Iranian Terror is now available on Kindle.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Child abuse at summer camp

Summer camp where war is taught.

Child abuse under a different name

In this column at I look at the summer camps being run by Hamas in Gaza and a sing-along in Turkey.  The affect on children will, in the long run, not be good.  In fact, it's child abuse.

Summer camp, a time for fun?

Many parents of my age remember striving to be able to send their children to summer camp. Now, as grandparents, we see our own children doing the same. I believed then, as I do now, that summer camp is a time when children make new friendships—many of which last into their adult years—grow emotionally and learn what we call “people skills.”
Somewhere in the boxes that accumulated over the years in our basement are videotapes of our five children at summer camp. We see our kids in various activities—playing baseball and basketball, jumping into the pool, holding the rabbits in the “nature shack,” and, the mother of all activities, “color war.”
Color war is a good kind of war; it’s bloodless, unless you bang your nose during a hotly contested rebound under a basketball hoop, and perhaps the most fun part of it is watching your child sing his or her heart out in the song competition. In the end, one team won, the other lost, and the war came to an end. You hope your child comes away with the lesson that competition requires teamwork, and that, in turn, builds character.
Videos have now emerged of children at summer camp practicing for war of a different sort. For instance, from Turkey there’s a video that has gone viral of a teacher prompting a group of young girls in a camp setting by shouting the word yahudiye—Turkish for “to the Jew,” which results in the children responding by raising their fists and shouting “death.”
The video is seemingly so disturbing within Turkey that a member of its parliament has demanded an explanation from the government as to how this could have happened.
Perhaps more chilling than the Turkish episode are the video scenes coming out of Gaza’s summer camps. No basketball contests or visits to the nature shack. No, instead we are treated to young boys going through military training, running obstacle courses and crawling under barbed wire with what appears to be live fire overhead. We are also shown images of these “campers” field-stripping rifles while blindfolded. This is done in all armies to simulate nighttime fighting conditions.
Perhaps we should be numb to this by now as we’ve been watching, thanks to the folks at MEMRI and Palestinian Media Watch, two decades’ worth of children’s shows on official Palestinian Authority television of children pledging to seek martyrdom when they are older as they “liberate” Palestine.
But we’re not numb, and the images coming out of Gaza are too disturbing to be cast aside as nothing more than daily Palestinian efforts to undermine Israel.
What are to make of all this?
First, let’s call this phenomenon of young children and teens being used for the purpose of instilling them with Jew-hatred and preparing them for death in war what it is: child abuse.
If you look up the definition of child abuse, you’ll see a thread running through the term as defined the United Nations, the United States and children’s aid organizations around the world. But they all boil down to this as succinctly stated by ChildHelp on its website:
“Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child. There are many forms of child maltreatment, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation and emotional abuse.”
Second, nothing good is going to come from this. Is Hamas planning to turn these teens into a child army as we’ve seen in Africa with gruesome results? Is Hamas planning to destroy a whole generation of young men in the way that Iran did during the eight years long Iran-Iraq war, when 95,000 Iranian child soldiers were made casualties, mostly between the ages of 16 and 17, and many younger than that?
I don’t have the answers to those questions, and I’d also like to know the answer to the question I have been asking for almost 25 years:
Where are the Palestinian parents who love their children and want to keep them out of harm’s way?
Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is the author of “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror,” available at Devon Square Press.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Why do we tolerate giving money to schools that teach antisemitism?

The ‘David Dukes’ Of The Middle East

By Stephen M. Flatow

My column from the Jewish Press.

Imagine if David Duke or some other white supremacist leader opened his own private elementary school with a blatantly anti-Semitic curriculum, and a United States senator proposed giving Duke’s school a government grant. Naturally we would all be outraged.
So why isn’t there similar outrage when a senator proposes giving a government grant to Palestinian Arab schools that feature a blatantly anti-Semitic curriculum?
At a July 3 press conference, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) spoke
about the importance of what he called “maintaining a constructive dialogue with the Palestinian Authority.”

As an example of something which harms America’s “ability to have that kind of discussion and dialogue,” Sen. Van Hollen said it was wrong for the U.S. to “cut off assistance” to the PA “for things like…schools.” Because, after all, who can object to helping schools? Is there a more innocent and deserving cause than educating little children?
The answer to that question can be found in a recent report by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) called “Palestinian Authority Education: A Recipe for Hate and Terror.” This is not the first report on the subject by PMW. On the contrary, it is just the latest of many such studies that PMW has published over the years. PMW spokesmen have even testified before Congress about the anti-Semitism in Palestinian Authority schools. Perhaps Senator Van Hollen was absent that day.
Here are the report’s main findings:
  • “The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education, as well as PA-sponsored informal education…are actively ensuring that the conflict, terror and war will continue into the next generation.”
  • “Palestinian education is indoctrinating Antisemitism. PA children are taught to see Jews as their enemy and the enemy of Allah. Jews are said to be cursed by Allah, descended from monkeys and pigs and ‘the most evil of creations.’ Children who recite these messages on children’s programs are applauded, not corrected.”
  • “PA schoolbooks teach that Islam mandates that Muslims fight Israel and Jews, ‘until Resurrection.’”
  • “The Palestinian Authority has named dozens of schools after terrorists, and honors them in ceremonies and events, guaranteeing that Palestinian children see terrorists who murdered Israelis as heroes and role models.”
  • “Palestinian children are taught to reject Israel regardless of its policies, since Israel’s existence in itself is intolerable. All of Israel is said to be ‘Palestine’ and eventually Israel will be erased.”
This PMW report includes a foreword by the Association of Secondary School Teachers in Israel. Here’s what the association says:
Sadly, this report by the research institute Palestinian Media Watch shows that the Palestinian Authority leaders have not yet chosen this path. The PA teaches its children to reject Israel’s right to exist, encourages them to view Jews as evil and directs them to embrace terrorist murderers as role models.
This report exposes a world of demonization, incitement and hate that Palestinian children are urged to adopt. Children deserve to be brought up valuing peace, but Palestinian children are being deprived of a peaceful future and are victims of their own leaders.
So, let’s maintain one standard: No U.S. government funds for David Duke or other white supremacists, and no U.S. government funds for the David Dukes of the Middle East and their schools of hate.
My book, A Father's Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror is available at Devon Square Press.

Friday, July 5, 2019

The fable of the frog in the cooking pot. Well, Israel is no frog.

How to squeeze Israel, gradually

David Makovsky is at it, again

Squeeze Israel more gradually!

That’s the advice a former U.S. Mideast emissary is offering Jared Kushner, courtesy of the op-ed page of Tuesday’s Washington Post.

David Makovsky, formerly the right-hand man to the Obama administration’s top Mideast envoy, Martin Indyk, was given the front-and-center spot on the Post’s op-ed page in order to tell Kushner what he’s doing wrong in his Mideast peace efforts.

There is more than a little irony in the fact that Makovsky presumes to lecture the current U.S. Mideast negotiators, after he and Indyk spent years at the exact same task and completely failed. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

According to Makovsky, Kushner’s big mistake is that he is trying to achieve too much, too soon. Kushner should seek “short-term gains” instead of “a grand peace deal.” What Makovsky has in mind is “incremental economic progress,” meaning that Israel should make one-sided economic concessions to the Palestinian Authority and the United States should start pouring money into the PA again.

Such economic “progress” would “create the political space to deal with tough policy issues later,” Makovsky claims, because it “would give Palestinian something to lose and would mitigate the chances of an explosion.”

Makovsky apparently wants us to forget that it’s all been tried before, with dismal results. From 1994 until last year, the U.S. donated a total over $10-billion to the Palestinian Arabs. Other countries around the world gave billions more. The Palestinians have had plenty “to lose,” yet they have continued to wage war against Israel anyway.

The notion that economic improvements will “mitigate the chances of an explosion” is an absurd fallacy that State Department Arabists have been promoting practically since time immemorial. Yet it has never proven true. Even at the peak of post-Oslo international largesse, the Palestinian Authority—not just Hamas, but the PA, too—actively sponsored suicide bombings, sniper attacks, stabbings, and the lynching of Jews.

The essence of the Makovsky Plan is to gradually squeeze Israel. He knows it’s too hard to get Israel to surrender everything at once, so he counsels doing it step-by-step, slice-by-slice.

 Here are some of the other “small steps” he has previously recommended:
 — Allow the PA to build in areas that the Oslo accords do not give them the right to build. (Politico, 3-30-15)
 — Admit 100,000 workers from Gaza into Israel every day. (JNS, 7-3-15)
 — “Stop [Jewish] building in 92 percent” of Judea-Samaria, and stop building even in existing communities that are “on the edge of the security barrier.” (Wash. Post, 2-26-16)
 — A U.S. declaration that moving the American embassy did not mean that the U.S. recognizes the Old City of Jerusalem as part of Israel’s capital. (NYTimes, 1-22-17)
 — Immediate restoration of $200-million U.S. aid to the PA. (The Hill, 9-23-18)

 And where will all this lead? What does Makovsky have in mind when he says that the U.S. will “deal with tough policy issues later”?

We know the answer to that because we know the demands that Makovsky and Indyk were making of Israel during the Obama years. They wanted to establish an independent Palestinian Arab state alongside an Israel that would be nine miles wide at its mid-section.
We know that’s where the border will be, because that’s where the Palestinian Arab cities of Tulkarm and Qalqilya are located. They are two of the largest cities under PA rule. There’s no way they will ever revert to being ruled by Israel. Tulkarm and Qalqilya will sit on the western-most edge of Makovsky’s State of Palestine. And only nine miles of Israel will separate them from the Mediterranean Sea.

In the days leading up to the 1967 war, Israeli mothers living in the narrow coastal region kept their children home from school, because they feared that an Arab tank column would cut the country in half, and they didn’t want their children to be trapped on the other side. That’s the kind of precarious fate that will again await Israel if Makovsky’s Gradual Squeeze Plan is ever implemented.

For those who sit on the comfortable banks of the Potomac and pontificate about what Israel should do, it’s all a matter of semantics and clever arguments and theoretical lines drawn on theoretical maps. But for every citizen of Israel, it’s a matter of life and death.

This column appeared in Arutz7, Israel National News.  It, and other columns by me,  Stephen M. Flatow, can be read here.

Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is the author of “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror.”