Category: Jerrold L. Sobel

Oh, No: The Peace Process Is Dead!


In the annals of Jewish history, following millennia of wandering throughout foreign lands as guests rarely accepted as natives, suffering privations too numerous to recount; December 5, 2017 will be remembered as seminal moment.

To the consternation of many, President Trump announced to the world his intention of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In doing so he will become the first American president to take that unprecedented step since the founding of the Jewish state in 1948.

Even before a planned speech on Wednesday proclaiming his formal recognition, the naysayers in this country, the customary anti-Israel cabal of European nations, and the Muslim World concordant only in their hatred of Israel have united in opposition to the move.

Federica Mogherini, an Italian politician and the current High Representative of the European Union, is aghast, stating:

“A way must be found, through negotiations, to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states.” What that way is after 69 years of wars, terrorism, and intransigent, faux negotiations Ms. Mogherini failed to mention.

Likewise, Germany’s acting foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel chimed in: “unilateral U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would inflame Middle East tensions.” One can only assume the foreign minister has been stranded on a far-off Island, unaware of the Syrian civil war, Hizb’allah taking over Lebanon, civil war in Yemen, Palestinian knifings and vehicular killings of Jews in Israel, ISIS, Hamas, the Taliban, and Iran acting as the puppeteer to all these nefarious groups. To him, recognition of Jerusalem will first “inflame the Middle East.” 

Not missing a beat, on Tuesday Palestinian national and Islamic groups issued a joint statement calling for three days of “popular anger” to protest President Trump’s move, beginning on Wednesday throughout the Palestinian territories and in demonstrations at United States embassies and consulates throughout the world. Setting aside generational recalcitrance, an educational system that lauds killing of Jews from preschoolers on up, payment of subsidies to families of shahids (martyrs) who kill Jews, naming of streets and boulevards memorializing such people. But look out Israel, look out world, now they’re really angry.

Prior to the unofficial announcement, President Trump informed “President” Abbas; entering his 9th year of an elected four-year term, of his intentions. Unsurprisingly the “former terrorist,” cofounder of Fatah, and paymaster of the 1972 Olympic massacre of Israeli athletes warned of the dangerous consequences such a decision would have to the peace process and to the peace, security, and stability of the region and of the world.”

Peace process? At the behest of President Clinton, on July 11, 2000 the Camp David summit convened. Ehud Barak offered to form a Palestinian state initially on 73% of the West Bank (that is, 27% less than the 1967 Green Line borders) and 100% of the Gaza Strip. In 10–25 years, the Palestinian state would expand to a maximum of 92% of the West Bank (91 percent of the West Bank and 1 percent from a land swap). From the Palestinian perspective this equated to an offer of a Palestinian state on a maximum of 86% of the West Bank. Unwilling to settle for anything less than 100%, Yasser Arafat nixed what even ardent supporters of the Palestinian cause said was a very good deal. Israel was willing to take a chance and give up a tangible asset, land for a Palestinian state, in return for the dream of a final peace. It wasn’t to be.

An even sweeter deal was likewise rejected by Abbas in 2008. In an interview that year by Israel’s Channel 10 he unbelievably admitted he rejected an offer from Israel’s Ehud Olmert, which included placing Jerusalem’s Old City under international control because he was not allowed to study the map. Prophetically, then Israeli Prime Minister, Olmert told him: “Remember my words, it will be 50 years before there will be another Israeli Prime Minister that will offer you what I am offering you now. Don’t miss this opportunity.”

On November 25, 2009 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a 10-month settlement freeze as a gesture to Abbas and then President Obama after being lambasted for months by the latter that the settlement issue was the major impediment to restarting what has become to this day the cliched peace talks. Following his settlement announcement, Netanyahu implored Abbas: 

“Now is the time to begin negotiations, now is the time to move forward towards peace,” he said. “Israel today has taken a far-reaching step toward peace, it is time for the Palestinians to do the same.” Although not unexpected, his admonitions fell upon deaf ears. Seeing not a scintilla of movement toward the negotiating table, Netanyahu ended the freeze on September 26, 2010. Immediately, the decidedly pro-Palestinian Obama Administration, France, Britain, and the United Nations pounced upon Israel for not extending the freeze indefinitely.

Revisionist history aside, any rational human who decries President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as purely a political move defies credulity. Long before the 7th century Jerusalem has been the ancestral capital of the Jewish people. Despite centuries of peremptory emigration and diaspora, forced conversions, and countless invasions, Jews, both physically and spiritually have maintained a continuous relationship to Jerusalem. 

The President’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital is quite laudable and long overdue, but in reality it’s a recognition of an existing fact. To those who will pin the inevitable violence that will surely follow his proclamation and mourn the death of the “peace movement,” be assured the aforementioned is proof there never was a peace movement. 

In the annals of Jewish history, following millennia of wandering throughout foreign lands as guests rarely accepted as natives, suffering privations too numerous to recount; December 5, 2017 will be remembered as seminal moment.

To the consternation of many, President Trump announced to the world his intention of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In doing so he will become the first American president to take that unprecedented step since the founding of the Jewish state in 1948.

Even before a planned speech on Wednesday proclaiming his formal recognition, the naysayers in this country, the customary anti-Israel cabal of European nations, and the Muslim World concordant only in their hatred of Israel have united in opposition to the move.

Federica Mogherini, an Italian politician and the current High Representative of the European Union, is aghast, stating:

“A way must be found, through negotiations, to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states.” What that way is after 69 years of wars, terrorism, and intransigent, faux negotiations Ms. Mogherini failed to mention.

Likewise, Germany’s acting foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel chimed in: “unilateral U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would inflame Middle East tensions.” One can only assume the foreign minister has been stranded on a far-off Island, unaware of the Syrian civil war, Hizb’allah taking over Lebanon, civil war in Yemen, Palestinian knifings and vehicular killings of Jews in Israel, ISIS, Hamas, the Taliban, and Iran acting as the puppeteer to all these nefarious groups. To him, recognition of Jerusalem will first “inflame the Middle East.” 

Not missing a beat, on Tuesday Palestinian national and Islamic groups issued a joint statement calling for three days of “popular anger” to protest President Trump’s move, beginning on Wednesday throughout the Palestinian territories and in demonstrations at United States embassies and consulates throughout the world. Setting aside generational recalcitrance, an educational system that lauds killing of Jews from preschoolers on up, payment of subsidies to families of shahids (martyrs) who kill Jews, naming of streets and boulevards memorializing such people. But look out Israel, look out world, now they’re really angry.

Prior to the unofficial announcement, President Trump informed “President” Abbas; entering his 9th year of an elected four-year term, of his intentions. Unsurprisingly the “former terrorist,” cofounder of Fatah, and paymaster of the 1972 Olympic massacre of Israeli athletes warned of the dangerous consequences such a decision would have to the peace process and to the peace, security, and stability of the region and of the world.”

Peace process? At the behest of President Clinton, on July 11, 2000 the Camp David summit convened. Ehud Barak offered to form a Palestinian state initially on 73% of the West Bank (that is, 27% less than the 1967 Green Line borders) and 100% of the Gaza Strip. In 10–25 years, the Palestinian state would expand to a maximum of 92% of the West Bank (91 percent of the West Bank and 1 percent from a land swap). From the Palestinian perspective this equated to an offer of a Palestinian state on a maximum of 86% of the West Bank. Unwilling to settle for anything less than 100%, Yasser Arafat nixed what even ardent supporters of the Palestinian cause said was a very good deal. Israel was willing to take a chance and give up a tangible asset, land for a Palestinian state, in return for the dream of a final peace. It wasn’t to be.

An even sweeter deal was likewise rejected by Abbas in 2008. In an interview that year by Israel’s Channel 10 he unbelievably admitted he rejected an offer from Israel’s Ehud Olmert, which included placing Jerusalem’s Old City under international control because he was not allowed to study the map. Prophetically, then Israeli Prime Minister, Olmert told him: “Remember my words, it will be 50 years before there will be another Israeli Prime Minister that will offer you what I am offering you now. Don’t miss this opportunity.”

On November 25, 2009 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a 10-month settlement freeze as a gesture to Abbas and then President Obama after being lambasted for months by the latter that the settlement issue was the major impediment to restarting what has become to this day the cliched peace talks. Following his settlement announcement, Netanyahu implored Abbas: 

“Now is the time to begin negotiations, now is the time to move forward towards peace,” he said. “Israel today has taken a far-reaching step toward peace, it is time for the Palestinians to do the same.” Although not unexpected, his admonitions fell upon deaf ears. Seeing not a scintilla of movement toward the negotiating table, Netanyahu ended the freeze on September 26, 2010. Immediately, the decidedly pro-Palestinian Obama Administration, France, Britain, and the United Nations pounced upon Israel for not extending the freeze indefinitely.

Revisionist history aside, any rational human who decries President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as purely a political move defies credulity. Long before the 7th century Jerusalem has been the ancestral capital of the Jewish people. Despite centuries of peremptory emigration and diaspora, forced conversions, and countless invasions, Jews, both physically and spiritually have maintained a continuous relationship to Jerusalem. 

The President’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital is quite laudable and long overdue, but in reality it’s a recognition of an existing fact. To those who will pin the inevitable violence that will surely follow his proclamation and mourn the death of the “peace movement,” be assured the aforementioned is proof there never was a peace movement. 



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The Six-Day War: A Retrospective


Several weeks from now Israel and Jews around the world will be celebrating a seminal moment in Jewish history — the 50th anniversary of Israel’s monumental victory in the Six-Day War. For those of us alive during those daunting days in May 1967 leading up to the war, it was a period in time we will never forget, nor should we. Its ramifications were and are germane to this very day.

No discussion of the Six-Day War can be made without the background of its major protagonist, Gamal Abdel Nasser. Whereas today ISIS is attempting to dominate the Islamic world under an Islamic Caliphate, Nasser, then president of Egypt, attempted to do the same but with a secular approach. On July 23, 1952, he and a group of officers staged a coup and ousted the Egyptian King Farouk. Although the real leader, Nasser initially remained in the background but in fact was instrumental in abolishing the monarchy in 1953. The following year he came out of the shadows to assume absolute power and began instituting far-reaching economic reforms which instantly made him the darling of the Arab world. By 1956 his relations with the West had deteriorated to the point that he brazenly nationalized the Suez Canal, prompting an invasion by England, France, and Israel. Under pressure from the U.S., these forces withdrew, and a United Nations Emergency force was subsequently placed as a buffer between Egypt and Israel; the withdrawal of which would play a pivotal role in the conflict 11 years later. 

At the pinnacle of his popularity, Nasser joined with Syria forming what became the United Arab Republic (U.A.R.), a move which encouraged the Syrians to ramp up incessant attacks against Israel from their vantage point on the Golan Heights, towering 3,000 feet above the Galilee. No Israeli farm or Kibbutz was spared the wrath of Syrian artillery. Much like the residents of Sderot and other Israeli towns adjacent to Gaza today, Jews were forced to sleep and conduct their lives in bomb shelters.

Terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians were ratcheted up by then arch terrorist Yasser Arafat and the recently formed PLO. As the rhetoric increased, so did the violence. Throughout the days and weeks of May 1967, Nasser made speeches stating: “We shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand; we shall enter it with its soil saturated in blood.” Today the ostensible excuse for opposition to Israel is support for a Palestinian state. The lead-up to the Six-Day War was likewise professed to be support for the Palestinian cause but the literature then and now prove otherwise. During both these periods cartoons with extreme anti-Semitic motifs have inundated the Arab press.

Throughout the days leading up to war Nasser challenged Israel to fight on a daily basis, stating: “Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight.” Echoing these threats of annihilation with equal and perhaps greater vigor was then Syrian Defense Minister Hafez al-Assad, the father of today’s mass Syrian murderer, Bashar Al-Assad: “The Syrian army, with its finger on the trigger, is united…. I as a military man believe the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation.”

When King Hussein of Jordan signed a defense pact with Egypt on May 30, 1967 the noose around Israel’s neck further tightened. Nasser gleefully proclaimed: “The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are poised on the borders of Israel… to face the challenge, while standing behind us are the armies of Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan and the whole Arab nation. This act will astound the World. Today they will know that the Arabs are arranged for battle, the critical hour has arrived. We have reached the stage of serious action and not declarations.” This was the one point of agreement Israel shared with her unremitting foes.

On June 2, 1967, three days before actual hostilities would erupt, Israel’s Chief of Staff, Gen. Yitzhak Rabin called a meeting with the Israeli Ministerial Committee of Defense. Although the IDF had been on full alert for three weeks, arrayed against Israel were approximately 465,000 troops, more than 2,800 tanks, and 800 aircraft. In a grave but steady tone Rabin addressed the Committee: “We don’t want war for its own sake. I think we may find ourselves in a military situation in which we have lost many of our advantages, reaching a position, which I don’t want to express too harshly, in which our existence is in serious danger.”… “Time is not on our side. And in a week or two, or in three or four weeks, the situation will be worse.”

In the early hours of June 5, 1967 Israel launched a preemptive air strike on the air forces of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria with devastating effect. Five days later the armies of these nations along with Iraq, which also joined the fray were crushed and forced to sue for a ceasefire. The war may have taken only six days but its ramifications and similarities to today’s Middle East conflict is unquestionable. What were the accomplishments?

  • For the first time since prior to the Ottoman Empire, Jews have unfettered access to their Holy sites and a united Jerusalem their ancient capital.
  • The indefensible 1948 armistice line which bisected Israel from the Jordan River to within 9 miles of the Mediterranean Sea had been abrogated.
  • Israel took control of Judea and Samaria, which was illegally annexed by Jordan following the ’48 armistice.
  • Israel commands the highly defensible Jordan Valley where terrorist attacks had emanated from both Jordan and Syria.
  • Israel was able to trade the Sinai Peninsula for a peace treaty with her main antagonist, Egypt.
  • The Golan Heights, the onetime haven for terrorists and Syrian artillery, was annexed and have remained relatively quiet for the past 50 years.
  • Most importantly, by winning the war decisively, Israel staved off what was intended to be another mass genocide of the Jewish people….

What was not accomplished?

  • An end to terrorism.
  • An end to Anti-Semitic cartoons and rhetoric throughout much of the Islamic world, particularly Iran.
  • An end of vilification of Israel by the Palestinian leadership, media, and educational system.
  • A Palestinian leader willing to recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.
  • A United Nations only united in castigating the only true democracy in the Middle East.
  • A total negation of slander on campus against Jews masked under the pretense of Anti-Zionism; particularly the BDS movement.

Despite these and other seemingly irreconcilable problems, winning the Six-Day War has allowed the Jewish state to survive and rise from its fledgling third-world status into a technological, economic, and military behemoth; an island of democratic renaissance surrounded by a sea of despair.

Several weeks from now Israel and Jews around the world will be celebrating a seminal moment in Jewish history — the 50th anniversary of Israel’s monumental victory in the Six-Day War. For those of us alive during those daunting days in May 1967 leading up to the war, it was a period in time we will never forget, nor should we. Its ramifications were and are germane to this very day.

No discussion of the Six-Day War can be made without the background of its major protagonist, Gamal Abdel Nasser. Whereas today ISIS is attempting to dominate the Islamic world under an Islamic Caliphate, Nasser, then president of Egypt, attempted to do the same but with a secular approach. On July 23, 1952, he and a group of officers staged a coup and ousted the Egyptian King Farouk. Although the real leader, Nasser initially remained in the background but in fact was instrumental in abolishing the monarchy in 1953. The following year he came out of the shadows to assume absolute power and began instituting far-reaching economic reforms which instantly made him the darling of the Arab world. By 1956 his relations with the West had deteriorated to the point that he brazenly nationalized the Suez Canal, prompting an invasion by England, France, and Israel. Under pressure from the U.S., these forces withdrew, and a United Nations Emergency force was subsequently placed as a buffer between Egypt and Israel; the withdrawal of which would play a pivotal role in the conflict 11 years later. 

At the pinnacle of his popularity, Nasser joined with Syria forming what became the United Arab Republic (U.A.R.), a move which encouraged the Syrians to ramp up incessant attacks against Israel from their vantage point on the Golan Heights, towering 3,000 feet above the Galilee. No Israeli farm or Kibbutz was spared the wrath of Syrian artillery. Much like the residents of Sderot and other Israeli towns adjacent to Gaza today, Jews were forced to sleep and conduct their lives in bomb shelters.

Terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians were ratcheted up by then arch terrorist Yasser Arafat and the recently formed PLO. As the rhetoric increased, so did the violence. Throughout the days and weeks of May 1967, Nasser made speeches stating: “We shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand; we shall enter it with its soil saturated in blood.” Today the ostensible excuse for opposition to Israel is support for a Palestinian state. The lead-up to the Six-Day War was likewise professed to be support for the Palestinian cause but the literature then and now prove otherwise. During both these periods cartoons with extreme anti-Semitic motifs have inundated the Arab press.

Throughout the days leading up to war Nasser challenged Israel to fight on a daily basis, stating: “Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight.” Echoing these threats of annihilation with equal and perhaps greater vigor was then Syrian Defense Minister Hafez al-Assad, the father of today’s mass Syrian murderer, Bashar Al-Assad: “The Syrian army, with its finger on the trigger, is united…. I as a military man believe the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation.”

When King Hussein of Jordan signed a defense pact with Egypt on May 30, 1967 the noose around Israel’s neck further tightened. Nasser gleefully proclaimed: “The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are poised on the borders of Israel… to face the challenge, while standing behind us are the armies of Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan and the whole Arab nation. This act will astound the World. Today they will know that the Arabs are arranged for battle, the critical hour has arrived. We have reached the stage of serious action and not declarations.” This was the one point of agreement Israel shared with her unremitting foes.

On June 2, 1967, three days before actual hostilities would erupt, Israel’s Chief of Staff, Gen. Yitzhak Rabin called a meeting with the Israeli Ministerial Committee of Defense. Although the IDF had been on full alert for three weeks, arrayed against Israel were approximately 465,000 troops, more than 2,800 tanks, and 800 aircraft. In a grave but steady tone Rabin addressed the Committee: “We don’t want war for its own sake. I think we may find ourselves in a military situation in which we have lost many of our advantages, reaching a position, which I don’t want to express too harshly, in which our existence is in serious danger.”… “Time is not on our side. And in a week or two, or in three or four weeks, the situation will be worse.”

In the early hours of June 5, 1967 Israel launched a preemptive air strike on the air forces of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria with devastating effect. Five days later the armies of these nations along with Iraq, which also joined the fray were crushed and forced to sue for a ceasefire. The war may have taken only six days but its ramifications and similarities to today’s Middle East conflict is unquestionable. What were the accomplishments?

  • For the first time since prior to the Ottoman Empire, Jews have unfettered access to their Holy sites and a united Jerusalem their ancient capital.
  • The indefensible 1948 armistice line which bisected Israel from the Jordan River to within 9 miles of the Mediterranean Sea had been abrogated.
  • Israel took control of Judea and Samaria, which was illegally annexed by Jordan following the ’48 armistice.
  • Israel commands the highly defensible Jordan Valley where terrorist attacks had emanated from both Jordan and Syria.
  • Israel was able to trade the Sinai Peninsula for a peace treaty with her main antagonist, Egypt.
  • The Golan Heights, the onetime haven for terrorists and Syrian artillery, was annexed and have remained relatively quiet for the past 50 years.
  • Most importantly, by winning the war decisively, Israel staved off what was intended to be another mass genocide of the Jewish people….

What was not accomplished?

  • An end to terrorism.
  • An end to Anti-Semitic cartoons and rhetoric throughout much of the Islamic world, particularly Iran.
  • An end of vilification of Israel by the Palestinian leadership, media, and educational system.
  • A Palestinian leader willing to recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.
  • A United Nations only united in castigating the only true democracy in the Middle East.
  • A total negation of slander on campus against Jews masked under the pretense of Anti-Zionism; particularly the BDS movement.

Despite these and other seemingly irreconcilable problems, winning the Six-Day War has allowed the Jewish state to survive and rise from its fledgling third-world status into a technological, economic, and military behemoth; an island of democratic renaissance surrounded by a sea of despair.



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