I ran across the blog of a Jerry Haber, which apparently is a pseudonym for the author (see below).  The post below is copied from http://972mag.com/thank-you-mr-president/ so I can reply, point by point, to his comments, which I find incredibly naive (at best) and incredibly malicious toward Israel.  I suspect (LOL!) that Haber’s comments are sarcastic.  I’m happy to respond to them anyway.

Jeremiah (Jerry) Haber is the nom de plume of an orthodox Jewish studies and philosophy professor, who divides his time between Israel and the US. This article was published on Jerry’s blog, The Magnes Zionist.

I do frequently wonder how people who should know better arrive at views like those of Mr. “Haber”.

Please see his comments and my response to them below:

Haber: Thank you, Mr. President, for vetoing the UN Security Counsel Resolution condemning the Israeli settlements as illegal.

Poris: Well, I agree with that statement, even though I believe that the resolution wouldn’t have existed had Obama and Biden made such a colossal blunder last year by making an enormous issue of Jewish building in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem.  Neighborhoods, by the way, that broad consensus agreed would remain part of Israel in any peace agreement.  That blunder drove the PA away from the negotiating table and set the stage for the current round of Abbas going all over the world to gain support for a unilateral declaration of statehood, and refusing to negotiate without his “pre-conditions” being met in advance of any negotiations.  Of course, those “pre-conditions” simply give the Palestinians everything they claim to want.  As a negotiating tactic, it’s smart, but as a tool to reach an actual peace agreement, it’s beyond stupid (and harmful).

Haber: Thank you for making America the only country in the world to support Israel on this matter.

Poris: Again, I have to agree with Mr. Haber.  Indeed, thank you for actually supporting our only real ally in the Middle East, no matter how grudgingly you did it, and no matter how backhanded the commitment to Israel’s security and status as our ally.

Haber: Thank you for contradicting long-standing US policy on the settlements.

Poris: See my comment just above.  Add to it my contempt for that “long-standing US policy on the settlements.”   While I am not a proponent of settlements deep inside the West Bank, it is not because I think they’re illegal.  It’s simply because I believe that they are counter-productive to reaching a long-term peace agreement.

Haber: Thank you for not abstaining on this vote – which is what the US has done in the past.

Poris: Again – on a roll here.  I totally agree with that statement, although I suspect Haber might have meant it “tongue in cheek”.  See my comment above.  The US DEFINITELY needed to veto this.  Abstaining would imply that we agree with the resolution, but don’t have the courage to stand up and be counted one way or the other.  I do not believe the settlements, especially those in Jerusalem (which are NOT settlements, but neighborhoods, some of which have been Jewish for hundreds and thousands of years aside from 1948-1967, when they were occupied by Jordan).

Haber: Thank you for talking the talk on settlements but not walking the walk.

Poris:  Well, I actually have to agree that Obama contradicted himself here, although as you might have inferred from my comments, I’m glad he did.  I think the US’ stance is wrong, as is that of the rest of the world, especially with regards to Jerusalem and the settlements straddling or just over the “Green Line”.   Again, it’s not a matter of law, since I don’t think the Palestinians have any more legal claim to the land than do the Israelis.  They clearly have world opinion on their side, but that is not a legal argument, nor really a moral one.

Haber: Thank you for allowing Israel to say, as it always does, “We and the US have disagreements on various items, but our bond is strong.”

Poris:   Why shouldn’t Israel say that we have disagreements but our bond is strong?  What is wrong with that?  Because we’re allies, are we required to be locked together on every issue?  Is Israel required to salute and say “yes sir, may I have another” every time the US decides something that is NOT in Israel’s best interests?  What alliance does not have disagreements, including marriage?    Do husbands and wives, or friends, always agree, or do they sometimes agree to disagree even though they stay friends?   Somehow, Haber seems to imply by that statement that Israel has no right to determine its own foreign or domestic policy, and that they are bound to do whatever the US says.  That clearly is not the case with other US “allies” who receive huge amounts of military and foreign aid, but NEVER vote with or support the US in any way.  Israel has earned the right to disagree sometimes.  They are clearly the most faithful ally this country has, and the only one in the Middle East with values even remotely close to our own.

Haber:  Thank you for doing nothing about the biggest settlement activity within East Jerusalem in over forty-three years.

Poris:  Hmmmm.  I think that Haber’s comment about “settlement activity within East Jerusalem” is actually an oxymoron.  The neighborhoods in East Jerusalem are not “settlements”.  Many of these neighborhoods were Jewish before 1948, when Jordan occupied them and drove out the Jewish residents.  Other areas were vacant.  Clearly, some had Arab residents.  Some left, some sold, and some were driven out.  None of those things are very nice.  But frankly, there is a lot more Arab building going on in both the West Bank and in East Jerusalem than Jewish building, most without permits.  I don’t see anyone complaining about how the Arabs are disrupting the “status quo” by creating “facts on the ground”, even though if a Jew does it, suddenly it’s horrific.  Many of these areas have been understood for years to be part of Israel in any peace agreement.  That has been verified by the recent leak of the Palestine Papers published by Al Jazeerah and the Guardian.  Surely, no one can claim that those two media outlets are pro-Israel and taking Israel’s side.  Everything they write is significantly biased against Israel.  That they published those papers at all is staggering since they clearly demonstrate that the PA has been ready for years to concede those areas of Jerusalem to Israel.  Why SHOULD Israel stop building in them?  It’s clear that they will remain part of Israel.  In the event they don’t, Israel will either leave Jewish residents as part of a Palestinian state, or evacuate those areas.  Pretty simple concept, really.

Haber: Thank you for undermining the PA and Abu Mazen.

Poris: Truthfully, I’m having trouble not laughing out loud to the point of collapse.  Obama doesn’t need to undermine Abbas and the PA.  They have done that just fine all by themselves by lying to their people about what they were willing to give up in negotiations, in their support for terror and terrorists, in their horrendously vile anti-Semitic “education”, in their glorification of a culture of death, and even more, by their inability to even reconcile with the “government” in Gaza.  Frankly, THERE ISN’T ANYONE FOR ISRAEL TO NEGOTIATE WITH.

Israel is willing to sit down with the Palestinians, with no pre-conditions on either side.  The Palestinians and the world can continue to excoriate and pillory Israel, but the FACT is that the Palestinians refuse to sit down and negotiate.  That is not something I’m making up.    It’s pretty clear if you listen to and read their statements.    But, again, the problem is, even if the parties DO sit down to negotiate, what would an agreement be worth?  Would the PA be able to honor it, or would they be thrown out of office a la Mubarak?  What about Hamas?  They control Gaza.  Will Gaza be part of a Palestinian state, together with the PA, or not?  Right now, the two sides can’t even agree about holding internal elections.  How should Israel approach negotiations with a PA/Fatah government that has passed its elected mandate by a couple of years already and a group of terrorist thugs whose stated aim is to wipe Israel off the map?

If one could “undermine” them any further than they’ve already done for themselves, I really don’t see how it is possible.  What a dumb statement.

Haber:  Thank you for showing the Palestinian people how much – or how little – you can be relied upon.

Poris:  Hmmm.  Why should the Palestinians be any different from Mubarak?  The Israelis?  Anyone else Obama and his crew have shown that their word is worthless, and that we (the US) won’t honor any commitments?  The whole Middle East is shifting toward Iran as a result of Obama’s inability to comprehend that one supports ones’ friends and stands tall against common enemies.

Haber:  Thank you for holding the Palestinians hostage to a non-existent (fortunately) peace process.

Poris:  The Palestinians are quite good at holding themselves hostage to a non-existent peace process.  I fail (utterly) to understand Haber’s parenthesized comment about “non-existent (fortunately) peace process”.  Is he saying that there should not be a peace process or negotiations?    The only impediment to the Palestinians having a state, as has been demonstrated amply in the past, is the Palestinians themselves.  They have turned down flat every offer that even came close, launched intifadas, refused to negotiate, and incited violence against Jews around the world.  They act like spoiled children having a temper tantrum and wonder why they don’t get what they profess to want.  Unfortunately, what they profess to want (a state of their own on something close the the 1948-1967 armistice lines) and what they really want are not the same.  That is the root cause of the issue.  The Palestinians want ALL the land from Jordan to the Mediterranean.  They state it clearly, often enough, and show it on their maps of the region, which don’t even show Israel.

Haber:   Thank you for allowing Israel to kill any chance of a two-state solution.

Poris:  Israel hasn’t done that – the PA has.  But, the chance isn’t dead, it’s just dormant.  Even Benjamin Netanyahu, a hawk if ever there was one, has spoken openly about Israel’s willingness to see a Palestinian state on Israel’s Eastern border.   All the Palestinians need to do is sit down and hammer out the details.  It is not Israel’s doing that Abbas and the PA continue to play games.  I will agree with Haber’s comment, though, to the extent that Obama and Biden’s blunder (discussed above) last year set the stage for the Palestinians to refuse to negotiate without getting an unconditional freeze on the vaguely understood concept of “settlements” and building in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem.  Had Obama come out at the time and told the PA flat out that the only way to get Israel to stop building is to sit down and talk, that might have worked.  Instead, Obama decided that appeasement and propitiation of the entire Arab and Muslim world is the best way to make friends.  Too bad that’s not the case….

Haber:  Thank you for making the United States irrelevant in the Middle East.

Poris:  Well, I can hardly argue with that!  But, it’s not the result of vetoing this resolution.  It goes back to Obama’s speech in Cairo 2 years ago, where he decided to try talking with enemies and essentially lost the respect (very important in that part of the world!) of pretty much everyone.

Haber:  And Shabbat Shalom from your neighbor up 16th Street.

Poris:  Whew!!  Something we can totally agree on!!!  Shabbat Shalom!

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