The Light of Peace

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the UN General Assembly, Friday, September 23, 2011.

Ladies and gentlemen, Israel has extended its hand in peace from the moment it was established 63 years ago. On behalf of Israel and the Jewish people, I extend that hand again today. I extend it to the people of Egypt and Jordan, with renewed friendship for neighbors with whom we have made peace. I extend it to the people of Turkey, with respect and good will. I extend it to the people of Libya and Tunisia, with admiration for those trying to build a democratic future. I extend it to the other peoples of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, with whom we want to forge a new beginning. I extend it to the people of Syria, Lebanon and Iran, with awe at the courage of those fighting brutal repression.

But most especially, I extend my hand to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace.

Ladies and gentlemen, in Israel our hope for peace never wanes. Our scientists, doctors, and innovators apply their genius to improve the world of tomorrow. Our artists, our writers, enrich the heritage of humanity. Now, I know that this is not exactly the image of Israel that is often portrayed in this hall. After all, it was here in 1975 that the age-old yearning of my people to restore our national life in our ancient biblical homeland – it was then that this was branded shamefully, as racism. And it was here in 1980, right here, that the historic peace agreement between Israel and Egypt wasn’t praised; it was denounced! And it’s here, year after year that Israel is unjustly singled out for condemnation. It’s singled out for condemnation more often than all the nations of the world combined. Twenty-one out of the 27 General Assembly resolutions condemn Israel – the one true democracy in the Middle East.

Well, this is an unfortunate part of the UN institution. It’s the theater of the absurd. It doesn’t only cast Israel as the villain; it often casts real villains in leading roles: Gadhafi’s Libya chaired the UN Commission on Human Rights; Saddam’s Iraq headed the UN Committee on Disarmament. You might say: That’s the past. Well, here’s what’s happening now – right now, today, Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon now presides over the UN Security Council. This means, in effect, that a terror organization presides over the body entrusted with guaranteeing the world’s security.

You couldn’t make this thing up.

So here in the UN, automatic majorities can decide anything. They can decide that the sun rises in the west. But they can also decide – they have decided – that the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest place, is occupied Palestinian territory.

[...]

Ladies and gentlemen, when I first came here 27 years ago, the world was divided between East and West. Since then the Cold War ended, great civilizations have risen from centuries of slumber, hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty, countless more are poised to follow, and the remarkable thing is that so far this monumental historic shift has largely occurred peacefully. Yet a malignancy is now growing between East and West that threatens the peace of all. It seeks not to liberate, but to enslave, not to build, but to destroy.

That malignancy is militant Islam. It cloaks itself in the mantle of a great faith, yet it murders Jews, Christians and Muslims alike with unforgiving impartiality. On September 11th it killed thousands of Americans, and it left the twin towers in smoldering ruins. Last night I laid a wreath on the 9/11 memorial. It was deeply moving. But as I was going there, one thing echoed in my mind: the outrageous words of the president of Iran on this podium yesterday. He implied that 9/11 was an American conspiracy. Some of you left this hall. All of you should have.

[...]

Now, some argue that the spread of militant Islam, especially in these turbulent times – if you want to slow it down, they argue, Israel must hurry to make concessions, to make territorial compromises. And this theory sounds simple. Basically it goes like this: Leave the territory, and peace will be advanced. The moderates will be strengthened, the radicals will be kept at bay. And don’t worry about the pesky details of how Israel will actually defend itself; international troops will do the job.

These people say to me constantly: Just make a sweeping offer, and everything will work out. You know, there’s only one problem with that theory. We’ve tried it and it hasn’t worked. In 2000 Israel made a sweeping peace offer that met virtually all of the Palestinian demands. Arafat rejected it. The Palestinians then launched a terror attack that claimed a thousand Israeli lives.

Prime Minister Olmert afterwards made an even more sweeping offer, in 2008. President Abbas didn’t even respond to it.

But Israel did more than just make sweeping offers. We actually left territory. We withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 and from every square inch of Gaza in 2005. That didn’t calm the Islamic storm, the militant Islamic storm that threatens us. It only brought the storm closer and made it stronger.

Hezbollah and Hamas fired thousands of rockets against our cities from the very territories we vacated. See, when Israel left Lebanon and Gaza, the moderates didn’t defeat the radicals, the moderates were devoured by the radicals. And I regret to say that international troops like UNIFIL in Lebanon and EUBAM in Gaza didn’t stop the radicals from attacking Israel.

We left Gaza hoping for peace.

We didn’t freeze the settlements in Gaza, we uprooted them. We did exactly what the theory says: Get out, go back to the 1967 borders, dismantle the settlements.

And I don’t think people remember how far we went to achieve this. We uprooted thousands of people from their homes. We pulled children out of their schools and their kindergartens. We bulldozed synagogues. We even moved loved ones from their graves. And then, having done all that, we gave the keys of Gaza to President Abbas.

Now the theory says it should all work out, and President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority now could build a peaceful state in Gaza. You can remember that the entire world applauded. They applauded our withdrawal as an act of great statesmanship. It was a bold act of peace.

But ladies and gentlemen, we didn’t get peace. We got war. We got Iran, which through its proxy Hamas promptly kicked out the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority collapsed in a day – in one day.

President Abbas just said on this podium that the Palestinians are armed only with their hopes and dreams. Yeah, hopes, dreams and 10,000 missiles and Grad rockets supplied by Iran, not to mention the river of lethal weapons now flowing into Gaza from the Sinai, from Libya, and from elsewhere.

Thousands of missiles have already rained down on our cities. So you might understand that, given all this, Israelis rightly ask: What’s to prevent this from happening again in the West Bank? See, most of our major cities in the south of the country are within a few dozen kilometers from Gaza. But in the center of the country, opposite the West Bank, our cities are a few hundred meters or at most a few kilometers away from the edge of the West Bank.

So I want to ask you. Would any of you bring danger so close to your cities, to your families? Would you act so recklessly with the lives of your citizens? Israelis are prepared to have a Palestinian state in the West Bank, but we’re not prepared to have another Gaza there. And that’s why we need to have real security arrangements, which the Palestinians simply refuse to negotiate with us.

Israelis remember the bitter lessons of Gaza. Many of Israel’s critics ignore them. They irresponsibly advise Israel to go down this same perilous path again. You read what these people say and it’s as if nothing happened – just repeating the same advice, the same formulas as though none of this happened.

And these critics continue to press Israel to make far-reaching concessions without first assuring Israel’s security. They praise those who unwittingly feed the insatiable crocodile of militant Islam as bold statesmen. They cast as enemies of peace those of us who insist that we must first erect a sturdy barrier to keep the crocodile out, or at the very least jam an iron bar between its gaping jaws.

So in the face of the labels and the libels, Israel must heed better advice. Better a bad press than a good eulogy, and better still would be a fair press whose sense of history extends beyond breakfast, and which recognizes Israel’s legitimate security concerns.

I believe that in serious peace negotiations, these needs and concerns can be properly addressed, but they will not be addressed without negotiations. And the needs are many, because Israel is such a tiny country. Without Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, Israel is all of 9 miles wide.

I want to put it for you in perspective, because you’re all in the city. That’s about two-thirds the length of Manhattan. It’s the distance between Battery Park and Columbia University. And don’t forget that the people who live in Brooklyn and New Jersey are considerably nicer than some of Israel’s neighbors.

So how do you protect such a tiny country, surrounded by people sworn to its destruction and armed to the teeth by Iran? Obviously you can’t defend it from within that narrow space alone. Israel needs greater strategic depth, and that’s exactly why Security Council Resolution 242 didn’t require Israel to leave all the territories it captured in the Six-Day War. It talked about withdrawal from territories, to secure and defensible boundaries. And to defend itself, Israel must therefore maintain a long-term Israeli military presence in critical strategic areas in the West Bank.

I explained this to President Abbas. He answered that if a Palestinian state was to be a sovereign country, it could never accept such arrangements. Why not? America has had troops in Japan, Germany and South Korea for more than a half a century. Britain has had an air base in Cyprus. France has forces in three independent African nations. None of these states claim that they’re not sovereign countries.

And there are many other vital security issues that also must be addressed. Take the issue of air space. Again, Israel’s small dimensions create huge security problems. America can be crossed by jet airplane in six hours. To fly across Israel, it takes three minutes. So is Israel’s tiny airspace to be chopped in half and given to a Palestinian state not at peace with Israel?

[...]

In the last few weeks, American officials have put forward ideas to restart peace talks. There were things in those ideas about borders that I didn’t like. There were things thereabout the Jewish state that I’m sure the Palestinians didn’t like.

But with all my reservations, I was willing to move forward on these American ideas.

President Abbas, why don’t you join me? We have to stop negotiating about the negotiations. Let’s just get on with it. Let’s negotiate peace.

I spent years defending Israel on the battlefield. I spent decades defending Israel in the court of public opinion. President Abbas, you’ve dedicated your life to advancing the Palestinian cause. Must this conflict continue for generations, or will we be able our children and our grandchildren to speak in years ahead of how we found a way to end it? That’s what we should aim for, and that’s what I believe we can achieve.

In two and a half years, we met in Jerusalem only once, even though my door has always been open to you. If you wish, I’ll come to Ramallah. Actually, I have a better suggestion. We’ve both just flown thousands of miles to New York. Now we’re in the same city. We’re in the same building. So let’s meet here today in the United Nations. Who’s there to stop us? What is there to stop us? If we genuinely want peace, what is there to stop us from meeting today and beginning peace negotiations?

And I suggest we talk openly and honestly. Let’s listen to one another. Let’s do as we say in the Middle East: Let’s talk “doogri”. That means straightforward. I’ll tell you my needs and concerns. You’ll tell me yours. And with God’s help, we’ll find the common ground of peace.

There’s an old Arab saying that you cannot applaud with one hand. Well, the same is true of peace. I can not make peace alone. I cannot make peace without you. President Abbas, I extend my hand – the hand of Israel – in peace. I hope that you will grasp that hand. We are both the sons of Abraham. My people call him Avraham. Your people call him Ibrahim. We share the same patriarch. We dwell in the same land. Our destinies are intertwined. Let us realize the vision of Isaiah – [Isaiah 9:1 in Hebrew] – “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.” Let that light be the light of peace.

Source

Fiasco

From the New York Times:

The news release promoting the latest edition of Britain’s influential Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World hailed it as “the Greatest Book on Earth.”

Not the way climate scientists see it.

“Fiasco” was the word chosen by one scientist in an e-mail to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., alerting his colleagues to erroneous claims made by the publishers of the atlas (whose name derives from The Times of London) about the speed at which Greenland’s glaciers are melting.

[...]

The news release, echoed by the news media, claimed that Greenland had lost 15 percent of its permanent ice cover from 1999 to 2011. That translates to 125,000 cubic miles, according to a rough calculation by Etienne Berthier, a glaciologist with the University of Toulouse, enough melted ice to raise sea levels three to five feet.

The corresponding map in the atlas itself indicated that significant portions of Greenland’s coastline had become ice-free.

Glaciologists, previously bruised by an exaggerated claim about the melting of Himalayan glaciers in a 2007 United Nations report that became fodder for global warming skeptics, mobilized as a truth squad.

On blogs, on radio programs and in newspaper columns, they stated emphatically that Greenland has not lost 15 percent of its ice cover in recent years. The retreat, they said, is more like one-tenth of 1 percent. They were quick to add that nobody at the atlas had consulted them.

Source

HT: Dennis Prager

Spendocrats

From Charles Krauthammer:

In the end: 10 years, no second attack (which everyone assumed would come within months). That testifies to the other great achievement of the decade: the defensive anti-terror apparatus hastily constructed from scratch after 9/11 by President Bush, and then continued by President Obama. Continued why? Because it worked. It kept us safe — the warrantless wiretaps, the Patriot Act, extraordinary rendition, preventive detention and, yes, Guantanamo.

Perhaps, says the new conventional wisdom, but these exertions have bankrupted the country and led to our current mood of despair and decline.

Rubbish. The total cost of “the two wars” is $1.3 trillion. That’s less than 1/11th of the national debt, less than one year of Obama deficit spending. During the golden Eisenhower 1950s of robust economic growth averaging 5 percent annually, defense spending was 11 percent of GDP and 60 percent of the federal budget. Today, defense spending is 5 percent of GDP and 20 percent of the budget. So much for imperial overstretch.

Source

A Sad, Irrelevant Little Man

My God, the rabid need Paul Krugman has to see others as moral inferiors has eliminated any ability he may have had to see reality.

From VDH:

One unfortunate current in the commemorations of the tenth year after 9/11 has been a widely promoted narrative that we lashed out, overreacted, and — through Afghanistan, Iraq, and the war on terror — not only lost our post-9/11 unity and “civility,” but supposedly alienated most of the world while playing into the hands of al-Qaeda.

In this regard, most unfortunate was the blog posting (replete with all the tired formulaic slurs about “fake heroes,” “hijacking of the atrocity,” “neocons,” etc.) by Paul Krugman today that reprehensibly scoffed, “The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame.” It most surely has not. Such an unhinged view would imply that we would have escaped comparable serial attacks without the provisions we took, and that Krugman’s view was widely shared by liberal politicians who at least since 2009 were invested with the ultimate responsibility of governance. Untrue on both accounts, as we just saw in Vice President Biden’s moving speeches about the act of war once declared on us by these “stateless actors” and his thanks to a previous administration for crafting a successful response.

So we forget both that we now have the luxury of such second-guessing only because some thirty major terrorist plots aimed at strategic U.S. targets were subsequently foiled through our new anti-terrorism protocols, and that the most prominent critique of the Bush administration’s national-security effort — mostly strongly voiced during Barack Obama’s long 2007–08 presidential campaign — quickly transmogrified into an official embrace of the Bush-Cheney policies during the Obama presidency between 2009 and 2011. Apparently the responsibilities of the presidency are not those of writing a blog.

Source

And from James Taranto:

Krugman concludes his 10th-anniversary objurgation as follows:

The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.

I’m not going to allow comments on this post, for obvious reasons.

As the Village Voice’s Nick Greene sums it up: “I need to get something off my chest today, but you can’t.” Blogger Ed Morrissey adds:

After reading this, you seriously have to remind yourself that the New York Times pays Krugman to write it; this wouldn’t even pass muster for a Letter to the Editor at most newspapers. It’s so trite, sad, and cliched that it’s hardly worth the effort to rebut. He’s mailing this in from 2003.

[...]

That may explain why, even a decade later, someone like Krugman sees 9/11 as an occasion to lash out at his domestic political opponents. “Everybody’s angry, to judge from my email, about Paul Krugman’s typo-burdened 9/11 screed,” writes Glenn Reynolds. (For at least 15 hours after Krugman posted it, the screed referred to “te atrocity.”)

Reynolds offers some advice: “Don’t be angry. Understand it for what it is, an admission of impotence from a sad and irrelevant little man.” Indeed. That post was monstrous, but it was trivial in equal measure. Paul Krugman is history’s smallest monster.

Source

The Special-Needs Economy

From James Taranto:

“Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Democrats have dropped the word ‘stimulus’ from their vocabulary,” the Hill reports. The news comes on the eve of President Obama’s history-making speech before a joint session of Congress, in which, as Bloomberg’s Al Hunt reports, the president is expected to propose a $300 billion “jobs plan” that “follows the contours of his $830 billion 2009 economic [CENSORED] package.”

The Hill report adds that “the House minority leader and her caucus are still pushing an economic [CENSORED] agenda,” but because the 2009 whatchamacallit was a ruinously expensive failure, “they’ve radically changed their rhetoric.” Do the Nolabelists know about this?

“Democrats are now being careful to frame their job-creation agenda in language excluding references to any [CENSORED], even though their favored policies for ending the deepest recession since the Great Depression are largely the same,” the Hill adds:

The Democrats’ signature “Make it in America” platform aims to create jobs by increasing infrastructure spending, providing financial help to struggling states and expanding tax credits for businesses, all of which were key elements of their 2009 economic [CENSORED] bill.

Recognizing the unpopularity of the 2009 package, however, Democratic leaders have revised their message with less loaded language–”job creation” instead of “[CENSORED]” and “Make it in America” in lieu of “Recovery Act”–in hopes of tackling the jobs crisis.

Pelosi is working out on the “euphemism treadmill.” Cognitive scientist Steven Pinker described this metaphorical fitness machine in a 1994 Baltimore Sun op-ed: “People invent new ‘polite’ words to refer to emotionally laden or distasteful things, but the euphemism becomes tainted by association and the new one that must be found acquires its own negative connotations. ‘Water closet’ becomes ‘toilet’ (originally a term for any body care, as in ‘toilet kit’), which becomes ‘bathroom,’ which becomes ‘rest room,’ which becomes ‘lavatory.’ “

Another example: “Idiot,” “imbecile” and “moron” are now insults, but they originated as clinical terms referring to various degrees of low intelligence. “Retarded” became the euphemism of choice until it too took on an insulting connotation. Now there’s actually a website, R-word.org, whose goal is “to eliminate the demeaning use of the R-word.” Meanwhile, the people to whom the R-word referred when it was a euphemism are said to have “special needs.”

Maybe Pelosi and Obama could take a cue from the R-worders and start a site called S-word.org to eliminate that hurtful $830 billion word. For that matter, why doesn’t Obama explain that the purpose of the $300 billion he’s going to ask Congress to blow is to help the economy with its special needs? The Republicans probably wouldn’t have a response to that!

Source

Faith in Experts

Leftism is their religion and experts their clergy. From Jonah Goldberg:

There are no more devout members of the cult of expertise than mainstream journalists. They rely on experts for guidance about what is “mainstream” and accurate and what is not. Sometimes that’s fine. Surgeons are extremely reliable sources to explain how a heart attack happens. They’re not as reliable at telling you who will have one, save in a statistical sense, and even less reliable at telling you when a specific person will have one.

That’s because prediction is hard. Experts — in politics, economics, climate — are very, very bad at telling people what will happen tomorrow, let alone next year or next century. How many of the economists who tell us what to do now failed to see the mortgage debt crisis coming? Nearly all of them.

Philip Tetlock’s 2005 book, Expert Political Judgment, documents that the predictions of even the most credentialed and experienced experts are often worse and very rarely better than random guessing. “In this age of academic hyperspecialization,” he writes, “there is no reason for supposing that contributors to top journals — distinguished political scientists, area study specialists, economists, and so on — are any better than journalists or attentive readers of the New York Times in ‘reading’ emerging situations.”

The cult of experts has acolytes in all ideological camps, but its most institutionalized following is on the left. The Left needs to believe in the authority of experts because without that authority, almost no economic intervention can be justified. If you concede that you have no idea whether your remedy will work, it’s going to be hard to sell it to the patient. Market-based ideologies don’t have that problem because markets expect events in ways experts never can.

No president since Woodrow Wilson or Franklin Roosevelt has been more enamored with the cult of expertise than Obama. That none of his economic predictions have panned out is not surprising. What is surprising is that so many people are surprised.

Source