Saturday, November 12, 2011

UNESCO's Cartoonish Idiocy

Credit: Eran Wolkovsky, Haaretz

The leadership of UNESCO has officially complained to the Israeli government about a satirical cartoon in Ha'aretz. The cartoon, shown above, depicts Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak instructing Air Force pilots to hit UNESCO offices in Ramallah on their way back from attacking nuclear facilities in Iran.

This complaint is so dumb on so many levels. First of all, it's quite clear that the cartoonist was attacking Netanyahu and Barak, not UNESCO. They are depicted as overreacting to the admission of Palestine as a member state of UNESCO. Second of all, what do they expect the government to do? We're a democratic country. Our government doesn't control the newspapers (maybe accept for the free daily Yisrael Hayom, owned by Sheldon Adelson, a Netanyahu supporter).

Maybe UNESCO is too used to working with non-democratic regimes that it thinks that it can complain about what appears in newspapers, and the government will make things go away. Rather than spending time filing silly complaints, the organization should be finding new ways to fund itself, now that the United States and other countries have stopped paying it.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Syria, Iran and Israel

The threat of rocket fire all over Israel, including Tel-Aviv, is looming large over our heads. There are two very possible scenarios that would bring about such a hellish result. Both scenarios involve best buddies Iran and Syria, as well as their allies Hamas and Hizbullah. If Israel (or anyone else) attacks Iran's nuclear facilities, Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas will attack the entire state with rockets. If NATO intervenes militarily in Syria, then Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas will attack Israel.

Action in either Iran or Syria is stupid. In Iran, an attack on the nuclear facilities may eventually be the last option, but we aren't there yet. Impose tougher sanctions and see if they work. As for Syria, let them deal with their own internal chaos on their own. I'm not willing to risk Israeli lives to save the Syrians who are rising up against Assad.

However, since either situation would lead to all-out war and missiles all over Israel, if one scenario comes to fruition, then the other one should be executed as well. A NATO attack on Syria would make an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities a wise move, provided that Syria does indeed retaliate with rockets. And vice versa - if Iran's atomic plants are attacked, followed by an attack on Israel, NATO should help take out Assad's regime, like it did with Qaddafi.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Peace Now and Jerusalem

According to Haaretz, Americans for Peace Now has filed a brief with the United States Supreme Court, arguing against recognition of Jerusalem as part of Israel. They believe Americans born in the city should be listed as having been born in "Jerusalem", without the name of a country, rather than writing Israel as their place of birth. This is the case even if a person was born in the western portion of Jerusalem, the part under Israeli sovereignty since the War of Independence.

It is unclear whether the Israeli Peace Now agrees with the actions of its American sister organization. If it does, it's very troubling. An Israeli organization that not only does not recognize West Jerusalem as Israel's capital, but doesn't even recognize it as being a part of the State, in effect, does not recognize the results of the War of Independence. What is the difference between the the areas gained by Israel in 1948 which were intended for the Arab State in the Partition Plan, and the parts of the Corpus Seperatum of Jerusalem which Israel took over during the same war? Neither the Arab State or the Corpus Seperatum ever came into being, so there should be no difference.

It makes no sense not to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the western portion of Jerusalem while recognizing its sovereignty over Nazareth, Be'er-Sheva, Nahariya, Akko, Jaffa and Ramla - all cities intended to be part of the Arab state. They are now rightly recognized by all the countries of the world as legitimate parts of Israel - except for countries that don't recognize Israel at all.