Friday, December 22, 2006

The Thai Crisis and Israel


By Douglas Wong and Darren Boey

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) – “Thailand's reputation with investors has suffered long-term damage following a Sept. 19 coup and this week's on-again-off-again capital controls, which wiped out $23 billion of market value from Thai stocks yesterday…

The Bank of Thailand on Dec. 18 announced controls on overseas short-term investments in Thailand to stem a sharp rise in the value of the baht. Yesterday, the Finance Ministry made a volte face and exempted equities from the rules following a 15 percent slide in the benchmark SET index.”


So what does this averted Thai crisis have to do with Israel? Israel’s economy is largely dependent on global trade.

One key reason Israel MUST “cooperate” with world bodies—most of whose members presently do not care whether Israel is squeezed and marginalized—is because failure to cooperate might cut off Israel’s ability to conduct global trade. This could be disastrous for Israel.

Israeli political leaders are aware of this. They are not naive. In choosing their course of political action, they are being probabilistic. No one can foretell the future. They have calculated the odds of future events unfolding in certain ways, and they are acting on their views of expected outcomes.

I believe they are miscalculating. They are focusing on the risks of what can go wrong, and not on the rewards of what can go right.

They should ask themselves: “How large need Israel be to thrive, succeed and be viable in the Middle-East?”

They probably ask themselves: “Will a smaller, less vilified Israel better provide for its citizens than a larger, vilified one?

This latter kind of question, asked because of perceived international pressures may lead to a “Yes” answer that jeopardized Israel in the long-term.

A smaller Israel will be less important in the world, and ultimately less able to provide for itself, and a growing population. Remember, there is plenty of room in the Middle-East for everyone.

Large or small, Israel will still be vilified for years to come.

To stem and fight vilification, Israel must get more important, not less. Israel must take the calculated risk of becoming more demanding of the international community, not less.

Israel must strive to achieve what it needs to succeed, not succumb to current perceived pressure that may make it a perpetually limping, and withering State.

--David Naggar

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

47% Of Americans Believe What?


From, December 15, 2006

“The Iraq Study Group recommended that Syria and Iran be included in talks about the future of Iraq…

A Rasmussen Reports survey conducted in mid-November found that half (52%) of American adults believe that Syria and Iran should be included in the talks….

Forty-seven percent (47%) of Americans believe that Israelis and Palestinians should also be included in the talks about Iraq’s future.”


Why do 47% of Americans think that Israelis and Palestinians should be included in the talks about IRAQ’S future?

Do they hold a sophisticated worldview that calls for the entire British/French contrived colonial map to be redrawn? Or is it their lack of familiarity with the region and the specific Sunni-Shia power struggles in Iraq that inexplicably leads them to call for Palestinian and Israeli involvement in Iraq?

The nature and sources of the various troubles emanating from the Middle-East are not well understood by the public.

Representative, Sylvestre Reyes, incoming House intelligence Committee Chairman, couldn’t even answer whether Al Qaeda was predominantly Sunni or Shia.

It is likely that the results of public opinion polls will guide his behavior in his new job.

To ignore the polls might be fatal at the next election to many Democrats, as Republicans founds out last month when public support for the war in Iraq faded.

If you are a supporter of a viable, successful Israel, you have to ask yourself, what does a powerful man like Rep. Reyes know? And how can you help him know more?

What is your obligation to promote an informed opinion that will doubtless redound to a thriving Israel?

The reason many people believe that a two-state solution within the confines of Israel and the territories is the only way forward is merely a reflection of the conventional wisdom that there is no other option. Do you really believe that President Bush or Secretary Rice would champion such an idea unless world opinion allowed for no other choice?

As long as public opinion is not swayed that there are indeed other more productive options available, there will never be another option available.

The big losers of the current option—executed or not—are both the Palestinians and Israel. And, as for the world, the increased likelihood of a regional war that ultimately flows from pursuing a non-workable option aside, if the citizens of Israel end up in bad shape, the technological and medical benefits that can be brought to all of humanity by the country that currently has the second most listings on the NASDAQ, will be greatly diminished.

There is a better way. Read The Case for a Larger Israel. Do encourage others to read it, including Rep. Reyes.

--David Naggar

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Revisiting Conventional Wisdom—Everyone Wins

These pearls of wisdom from the New York Times best seller Freakonomics, by famed economist Steven D. Levitt, and Stephen J. Dubner.

1. Journalists need experts as badly as experts need journalists. Every day newspaper pages and television newscasts must be filled, and so, an expert who can deliver a jarring piece of wisdom is always welcome. Working together, journalists and experts are the architects of much conventional wisdom.

2. Conventional wisdom must be simple, convenient, comfortable, and comforting—though not necessarily true. Noticing where the conventional wisdom may be false—noticing, perhaps, the contrails of sloppy or self-interested thinking—is a nice place to start to ask questions.

3. The conventional wisdom, however created, can be hard to budge.


If you believe millions of Jews who live in Israel and millions of Palestinians who live in the territories should be free to govern themselves and exercise rights of self-determination, you are probably a candidate for believing in the conventional wisdom. The conventional wisdom calls for a two-state solution. The two-state solution is simple (if only the two sides would smarten up and get along), it is convenient, it is comfortable and it is comforting.

Folks who believe in the idea of a two-state solution within the confines of Israel and the territories undoubtedly believe that this will bring stability or peace.

They are wrong. It will bring more misery. But conventional wisdom, being what it is, is hard to budge.

If you have visited, but have not read the book, please take the time to do so. It will give you a fresh perspective on conventional wisdom, and why it is wrong.

Write to your country’s leaders about it. While they are busy searching out answers to the explosive Middle-East issues, they need to hear from you.

Revisiting conventional wisdom is good for Israel, it is good for Palestinians, it is good for the region, it is good humanity, and it is good for the world.

--David Naggar

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Wrong Vision from Bush, Blair and the Iraq Study Group

“In relation to what the President was just saying a moment or two ago on Israel and Palestine, I think that one thing that is very clear is that the old Middle East had within it the origins of all the problems we see. I mean, this terrorist problem that we faced in the last few years, it didn't originate, I'm afraid, a few years ago. It's been building up over decades. It's come out of a series of states of oppression, of warped ideology, based on a perverted view of the faith of Islam. This has been building up for a long period of time. And it has basically come out of the Middle East.

Now, my view in the end is that you go back to the origins of this and say, well, how do we resolve it? And the only way we resolve it is by having the right vision and then the practical measures to achieve it.

Now, I think the vision is absolutely correct. What we've got to do now -- and this is exactly why the President was talking about the way forward -- is that we've got to get the right way forward -- this is where Baker-Hamilton helped -- in order that we have the practical policy that bolsters and gives effect to the vision, because the vision is the right vision. You leave a Middle East in which the Israel-Palestine issue is not solved, in which there's no moves towards democracy, in which Iraq goes back in its old state, in which the Iranian people have no chance to express themselves, maybe not in the months or one year, two years, but you'll have the same problem.”

Tony Blair—from today’s White House Press Conference with President Bush


Peace between the Arabs and the Israelis won’t come easily, even if one starts with the right vision. But starting with the wrong vision will lead to disaster. Tony Blair’s vision is the same as George Bush’s: a two-state solution contained within the geography of Israel and the territories. His vision is wrong, but his assessment of what happens if one tries to implement the wrong vision is right. Sadly, this wrong-headed vision is endorsed by the Baker-Hamilton, Iraq Study Group Report.

What follows is quoted text from the Iraq Study Group Report dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict (with my interlaced editorial comments).

“The United States will not be able to achieve its goals in the Middle East unless the United States deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict. There must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the United States to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts: Lebanon, Syria, and President Bush’s June 2002 commitment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.”

They favor the unworkable two-state solution. Consider the group’s motivation. As other world community leaders, Bush and Blair included, the study group participants want stability in the region. They can’t be expected to deeply care whether Israel or a Palestinian State is viable, except in so far as it furthers stability. Stability is in their perceived interest. If they can fashion a solution that would leave Jews and Arabs of the region suppressed but quiet, that would meet their interest. Every other achievement might be a welcomed bonus, but not necessary.

“The United States does its ally Israel no favors in avoiding direct involvement to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. For several reasons, we should act boldly:

• There is no military solution to this conflict.”

This bit of conventional wisdom, often repeated, has always been false. Why does the world request Israel to return to the 1949-1967 borders and not to the smaller 1947 U.N. General Assembly partition plan borders? Or the smaller Jewish State borders proposed in the 1930s? When winners truly win and losers truly lose, the losing side loses its taste for battle for a very long time. Witness Germany.

No one likes war, but it is the threat of it, and the fear of it, that makes the other side do what it otherwise is not inclined to do. The real threat of military conflict, and the knowledge by one side that they will likely lose that conflict is the prime driver of diplomacy. Fear of being next, kept Syria and Iran at bay in Iraq for a while. When the fear was gone, all hell broke loose.

Treaties, agreements and contracts are not worth the paper they are written on unless there is a remedy section that can be enforced against the party that is contemplating a breach. Yes, there are incentives, and disincentives—even out and out bribes—used by the stronger side to help the weaker side see the bigger picture of what’s in its interests, but the truth is, there is always a military threat that stands behind diplomatic efforts.

“• The vast majority of the Israeli body politic is tired of being a nation perpetually at war.”

This is true. And it is dangerous. This situation leads to extremes: capitulation, or lashing out at one’s enemies.

“• No American administration—Democratic or Republican—will ever abandon Israel.”

This is not a thoughtful statement. Even a fortune-teller wouldn’t be so bold. Demographics change. Interests change. Alliances change. France was once an ally of Israel. For a variety of self-interested reasons, among them oil and a growing Muslim population, France is no longer Israel’s ally.

“• Political engagement and dialogue are essential in the Arab-Israeli dispute because it is an axiom that when the political process breaks down there will be violence on the ground.”

It is also axiomatic that when a party to a conflict cannot thrive on the scraps the world is willing to allow it to have, the political process will break down. A wrong-headed political process in the Middle-East, even if it brings temporary respite, will over time lead to greater violence, not less. Tony Blair is right about this.

“• The only basis on which peace can be achieved is that set forth in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and in the principle of “land for peace.””

The only basis on which peace can truly be achieved in the Middle-East is through a new Muslim consensus understanding of the Quran. Until then, there will be no peace for the nations of the mostly Christian West, between Muslim sects, or for Israel.

With or without peace, Israel must be large enough to be viable or it will wither. But only with a new understanding of the Quran will Israel be allowed to live peacefully in borders of a sufficient size for it to be viable. Only in that day will Muslim society at large prosper throughout the vast amount of Middle-East territory that they dwell in.

“• The only lasting and secure peace will be a negotiated peace such as Israel has achieved with Egypt and Jordan.”

There is no lasting and secure peace between Israel, on the one hand, and Egypt and Jordan on the other. Free elections in Egypt would lead to the nullification of the treaty. A treaty with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is only good as long as a Hashemite King rules over Jordan—not a good long-term bet.

“This effort would strongly support moderate Arab governments in the region, especially the democratically elected government of Lebanon, and the Palestinian Authority under
President Mahmoud Abbas.”

Moderate governments that are not democracies (i.e., all Arab governments) shouldn’t be afforded the label “moderate.” They are unelected, and supporting them is no virtue. Lebanon is a place on the map drawn by the French. It is a country in name only. Its army does not control the State. The weeks ahead are likely to show this once again.

“RECOMMENDATION 13: There must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the United States to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts: Lebanon and Syria, and President Bush’s June 2002 commitment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.”

This is the wrong approach as noted above, and discussed in more detail in my book.

“RECOMMENDATION 14: This effort should include—as soon as possible—the unconditional calling and holding of meetings, under the auspices of the United States or the Quartet (i.e., the United States, Russia, European Union, and the United Nations), between Israel and Lebanon and Syria on the one hand, and Israel and Palestinians (who acknowledge Israel’s right to exist) on the other. The purpose of these meetings would be to negotiate peace as was done at the Madrid Conference in 1991, and on two separate tracks—one Syrian/Lebanese, and the other Palestinian.”

What is the true point of any Israeli meeting with Palestinians that excludes Hamas? The world will not let Israel defeat this foe, and unless it is defeated, Israel cannot have peace with the Palestinians.

What is the true point of any Israeli meeting with Lebanon that excludes Hezbollah? Unless it is defeated, Israel cannot have peace with Lebanon.

“RECOMMENDATION 15: Concerning Syria, some elements of that negotiated peace should be:
• Syria’s full adherence to UN Security Council Resolution
1701 of August 2006, which provides the framework for Lebanon to regain sovereign control over its territory.
• Syria’s full cooperation with all investigations into political assassinations in Lebanon, especially those of Rafik Hariri and Pierre Gemayel.
• A verifiable cessation of Syrian aid to Hezbollah and the use of Syrian territory for transshipment of Iranian weapons and aid to Hezbollah. (This step would do much to solve Israel’s problem with Hezbollah.)
• Syria’s use of its influence with Hamas and Hezbollah for the release of the captured Israeli Defense Force soldiers.
• A verifiable cessation of Syrian efforts to undermine the democratically elected government of Lebanon.
• A verifiable cessation of arms shipments from or transiting through Syria for Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups.
• A Syrian commitment to help obtain from Hamas an acknowledgment of Israel’s right to exist.
• Greater Syrian efforts to seal its border with Iraq.”

All one can truly say about this recommendation is that it is fantasy. For instance, can one really expect the Syrians to cooperate in an investigation of the Harari/Gemayel assassinations when the West has already suggested that Syria had a hand in it?

“RECOMMENDATION 16: In exchange for these actions and in the context of a full and secure peace agreement, the Israelis should return the Golan Heights, with a U.S. security guarantee for Israel that could include an international force on the
border, including U.S. troops if requested by both parties.”

It is true that if there is full peace with Syria, like the peace that exists between the Untied States and Canada, it really won’t matter who controls the Golan Heights—as long as Israel has sufficient other territory to be viable. When Syria is a democracy, and when the vast majority of the people who dwell within the confines of this modern-day British/French created entity agree that their territorial borders are final for the foreseeable future, Israel ceding the Golan might be a safer bet.

“RECOMMENDATION 17: Concerning the Palestinian issue, elements of that negotiated peace should include:
• Adherence to UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and
338 and to the principle of land for peace, which are the only bases for achieving peace.
• Strong support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority to take the lead in preparing the way for negotiations with Israel.
• A major effort to move from the current hostilities by consolidating the cease-fire reached between the Palestinians and the Israelis in November 2006.
• Support for a Palestinian national unity government.
• Sustainable negotiations leading to a final peace settlement along the lines of President Bush’s two-state solution, which would address the key final status issues of borders, settlements, Jerusalem, the right of return, and the end of conflict.”

Again, the contemplated two-state solution is no favor to Israel or the Palestinians. Read my book for greater detail. Pushing and attempting to implement a wrong-headed vision will lead to regional, if not global disaster.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Menachem Begin, Jimmy Carter and Today’s Troubles

As a lawyer and in business, I always told the other side in any negotiation that no individual term of a deal was final until the entire deal itself was final.

In other words, any point on which we had reached an understanding was subject to renegotiation until we reached an understanding on all points.

A decent negotiator understands that all contended points in a negotiation are connected.

I might agree to concede point x if the other side would concede point y, but if we had an impasse on point z, we might have to revisit point x again to forge ahead on point z.

This brings me to Menachem Begin. I always felt that Menachem Begin made a terrible mistake in signing over all of the Sinai in exchange for a piece of paper from a dictatorial Egyptian regime—even if everyone likes the dictator.

There are a few reasons I feel this deal was a mistake—in spite of the cold peace that has lasted for nearly 30 years—but the negotiator’s reason is the one that I’d like readers to appreciate.

Once Egypt received 100% of the captured territory it held before the ’67 war, it painted Israel, Syria and Jordan (later the Palestinians) into what I call a “negotiating corner.” It is difficult to get out of such a corner.

How could Syria or Jordan (now the Palestinians) possibly accept different terms from Israel from those offered to Egypt?

Rather than waiting for the right time to negotiate a final peace with all the Arab countries, so that the Arab parties could weigh their success or lack of success against each other, the “Egypt only” deal set the benchmark.

For any sitting Syrian or Palestinian regime, accepting anything less than 100% of the pre ’67 territory (allowing for minor border adjustments) will be unacceptable.

And the deal with Egypt was destined to bind the international community, sooner or later, to pressure Israel into making the same deal with the other regimes that it made with Egypt—notwithstanding any perceived differences (from the Israeli point of view) in circumstances.

I am mindful that Menachem Begin had at his disposal more pertinent information than I do today, and hindsight isn’t a fair standard by which to judge any decision.

So I wonder…

I wonder if his motivation for a separate deal with Egypt was the thought that there wouldn’t be a western front should there be another war with other Arab regimes.

I wonder if he thought the deal he made would help him reestablish a Jewish presence in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

I wonder if Jimmy Carter exerted so much pressure on him—i.e., take the deal or we will cut Israel off—that the Prime Minister felt he had no choice but to take the deal, or risk Israel’s survival.

He must have weighed many factors before agreeing, knowingly or unknowingly, to paint Israel into a future negotiating corner.

Still, I think it was a wrong decision.

In my eyes, Menachem Begin does not stand alone in this negotiating failure. And maybe he was left with no alternative.

Jimmy Carter, the President whose failed foreign policy eased the way for the Ayatollahs to come to power in Iran, must share in the blame for the current troubles.

The former President takes credit, and credit is given from many quarters, for his “achievement” at Camp David.

I think history will take the credit away for this failed policy. A partial solution that in all practicality prevents a workable full solution is no solution at all.

Now that all leaders in the Middle-East are boxed in by the Camp David Accords, the international community is forced to deal only with the part of the negotiation that remains “unsolved.”

And what to do? Conventional wisdom dictates that the only solution is to split Israel and the territories between Israelis and Palestinians.

But if there cannot be a viable Israel and a viable Palestine within the borders of Israel and the territories, how will forcing this solution on the parties, serve anyone in the long term?

If the “only solution” cannot work, there can only be trouble ahead.

That is why it is imperative to persuade international leaders to explore new ways of looking at the situation.

If Israel is to be viable in the long-term, if the Palestinians are to be allowed to escape from their current plight, the deal that puts to rest the Arab/Muslim-Israeli conflict must involve more than negotiating concessions from the Palestinians, Syrians or Israelis.

--David Naggar

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Bad Idea Attached to an Engine of Power Can Triumph, and Lead to Disaster

Take Jimmy Carter’s new book, “Palestine, Peace not Apartheid.” Even Norman Finkelstein—considered by most in the mainstream to be highly biased against Israel—concedes, “The historical chapters of Peace Not Apartheid are rather thin, filled with errors small and large, as well as tendentious and untenable interpretations.”

But Finkelstein sets aside these errors and accepts the former President’s broader recipe to bring about a peaceful future. Picking through the anti-Israel rhetoric, President Carter arrives back at the conventional norm: Except for mutually agreeable negotiated modifications, Israel must live within its pre-1967 borders and, “all Arab neighbors must pledge to honor Israel's right to live in peace...”

Sounds like a good idea if you accept two premises: 1) The people of the Arab/Muslim world will allow a non-Muslim, Jewish majority State to live in peace within the pre-1967 borders, and 2) A Jewish majority State can be successful and thrive within those borders in the long run.

If either premise is wrong, implementing President Carter’s idea is likely to lead to disaster.

Part of the reason any well-intended person reaches a faulty conclusion about the Arab/Muslim-Israel conflict is a lack of historical understanding. If a former President of the United States can’t be bothered to write accurate history, can you imagine the accumulated false history that may impact the thinking of those who are only marginally acquainted with the conflict?

If truth matters at all to a peaceful outcome, it must be disseminated.

The first step is this: Anyone who supports solving the “Israeli/Palestinian problem,” must be shown a map of the region such as is found at The picture brings the real problem—the Arab/Muslim-Israel conflict—into perspective. Most people simply do not know that Israel is less than 1% the size of the Arab world. Calling the problem "the Israeli/Palestinian problem" incorrectly frames the issue and makes it more difficult to solve. There is a lot to do to set the record straight, and there are powerful engines intentionally pulling in the wrong direction.

Look at all the misery caused in pursuit of implementing the “Road Map.” Bad ideas must be exposed as bad ideas before they become too attached to the engines of power, or real people suffer.

--David Naggar

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Good Idea that is Unattached to an Engine of Power, Cannot Triumph

Standing up for a self-sufficient home where Jews live in the majority is not asking a favor from the world. Likewise, accepting a withering, failing Jewish majority homeland is no favor to the world.

The idea behind the book, The Case for a Larger Israel, is based on many premises.

Here are eight:

1) There is not enough room for the only Jewish majority State and a Palestinian State to successfully exist within the confines of Israel and the territories.

2) The sole Jewish majority State needs more territory in order to be self-sustaining. The call for a larger Israel is not an imperialistic call, despite Muslim outrage, real or feigned (don’t you hate feigned outrage?). Imperialism is based on the idea of superiority and the desire to rule over others. Neither Israel in particular, nor Jews in general, have any such desire.

3) Humanity will greatly benefit from a Jewish majority State that is self-sustaining. A larger Israel is in the world’s best interest because it will free up tremendous capacity to bring about advancement. For rich Nations and poor, it brings the promise of technological breakthroughs that more readily makes ocean water potable, food supplies more plentiful, medicine more accessible, and energy sources renewable.

4) It will not hasten peace to deny that Palestinians (without “quotation marks”) exist, even if the use of the term Palestinian, to describe certain Arabs, is a recent phenomenon in history. Palestinians, like all people, should be free to exercise self-determination, either in their own State or as citizens of one of the 21 other Arab majority States.

5) There is plenty of land in the Middle-East for all of the people who live there now.

6) The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is NOT the cause of the trouble in the Middle-East (as one can readily surmise by the unrelated example of Sunni-Shi’a violence in Iraq, or the violence in Lebanon). It is an effect of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which is an outgrowth of the long-standing Islamic struggle against non-believers, particularly the Christians of Europe and the West.

7) Many Arabs and Muslims will work actively to see that Israel doesn’t exist in the future.

8) Isolating and shunning these particular Arabs and Muslims, rather than negotiating with them, is the only way to get them to stop, and so, isolating and shunning them is in the best interests of the world. Only when their heinous cause is voluntarily abandoned, or its implementation deemed to be utterly impossible, will it cease to be a force in the world.


Though being a proponent of a viable (i.e., larger) Israel does not make one an imperialist or an extremist, calling for a larger Israel will trigger the accusation. Fear of being tarred with these labels precludes many politicians, power brokers, and mass media outlets from ever suggesting that the case for a larger Israel has merit and should be considered.

That is why is important to persuade as many folks as possible that supporting a larger Israel is rational and moral. It is one way to begin reaching the engines of power. If enough regular folks are convinced of the rightness of case for a larger Israel, some engines of power will not be far behind.

We (and that includes you, if you support a viable, thriving Israel) must take part in spreading this message. With a proper, non-confrontational effort, I believe that over time, most people in the world, including Muslims, can be persuaded that it is moral for Israel be large enough to be viable. Many Muslims, of course, will only be persuaded by a moral case that can be understood with reference to the Quran. So what? It can be done. (Keep in mind that it took Martin Luther King a decade to persuade folks in the U.S. of what we all take for granted today. Poor tactics failed to persuade many generations of people before then.)

Help in the effort to attach this idea to an engine of power. An idea that not attached to an engine of power cannot triumph. It will die.

--David Naggar

Monday, November 20, 2006

Here Comes Pressure

Blair: New initiatives could come soon to resolve Mideast conflict
By The Associated Press 11/17/2006

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in an interview published Friday that new initiatives could be presented soon to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…

He said British officials were holding talks with the U.S. and Middle East governments, but declined to discuss specifics…

Blair said the next few months are critical in resolving the conflict.

"So we either decide that we are going to take this moment and use it to drive forward or obviously there's a danger that the whole region takes a wrong turn," he said.


Here comes the Bush-Blair pressure to “solve” the “Israeli-Palestinian” problem NOW. None of Israel’s needs, other than security needs, will be taken into account unless they are raised, explained over and over again, and appreciated by those who drive global decisions. Keep in mind that decision drivers will only back what they perceive to be in their own national or personal interest. They don’t care, and can’t be expected to care about Israel unless it serves their interest.

If you believe in a vibrant Israel, not a struggling one, now is the time to make your voice heard. We must convince a great deal of people, including many Muslims, that a viable, successful Israel benefits humanity and is in their self-interest. This won’t be easily done. But that is no reason not to try.

--David Naggar

Friday, November 17, 2006

Work on the Cause, not the Effect

From The Associated Press 11/16/2006

“Spain will sponsor a new Middle East peace initiative along with France and Italy, the Spanish prime minister said Thursday, stressing that the international community cannot remain idle as violence rages between Israel and the Palestinians…

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced the initiative at a summit with President Jacques Chirac of France. "Peace between Israel and the Palestinians means to a large extent peace on the international scene," Zapatero told a news conference.”


As pressure mounts to end Middle-East conflicts, it should become clearer and clearer that if we do not educate people regarding the cause and effect of violence in Israel and the territories, misguided solutions, based on an incorrect set of “facts,” may be imposed. These will undoubtedly work towards Israel’s detriment. If this happens, all of humanity loses.

In the end, it will work to the detriment of Palestinians, too. Humanity loses again.

A lack of clarity between cause and effect leads people to refer to the situation between Israel and Palestinians as a “cycle of violence”—violence on one side begetting violence on the other, in an endless cycle. They want to put an end to the cycle, and they gear their solutions accordingly.

But it is not a cycle. It is a situation. If the Israelis stopped all violence, the violence would continue. That is why Israel cannot simply do this. If, on the other hand, the Palestinians stopped all violence, the violence would end. But the Palestinians WON’T do this.

Without a proper understanding of cause and effect, well-intended solutions will not serve the interests of long-lasting peace.

The Palestinian-Israeli violence is an effect of the Arab/Muslim conflict with Israel, it is not the cause if it, as Prime Minister Zapatero’s comments suggest. True peace between Israel and the Palestinians will not happen until there is peace between Israel and the Arab/Muslim world. This what the world should work on… the cause, rather than the effect. But as Dennis Ross concluded after years of negotiation, the Arabs don’t yet recognize Israel’s moral legitimacy. Will someone inform the Prime Minister?

--David Naggar

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Faulty Assumptions Generally Foretell Faulty Conclusions

From the Reut Insitute…

“Head of Israel's security service Shin Bet, Yuval Diskin, warned yesterday that Israel may have to launch a large-scale military action in Gaza in the near future (Haaretz, 11/15/06).

[Our publication] emphasizes the tension between Israel's military logic and its national security.

According to Israel's military logic, only through military presence in Gaza is it possible to contain the firing of Qassam rockets and the build-up of Palestinian terrorism. However, Israel's national security requires the ending of its control over the Palestinian population in order to maintain its Jewish and democratic identity.

Israel's present policy is first and foremost based upon its military logic. However due to several emerging trends, these policies may cause Israel to renew its responsibility over the Palestinian population and undermine its national security.”


What’s the assumption underlying the Reut Institute’s publication? It is this: that Israel can be any two of the following three, but never all three: (1) a democracy, (2) a Jewish state, and/or (3) a country composed of all of historic Israel—whatever it is that historic Israel is defined to include.

But what if their assumption is faulty? What if agreeing to live inside diminished borders isn’t Israel’s “only reasonable choice?" What if it is a dangerous, and perhaps fatal, choice?

Here’s my point: The first assumption underlying any policy decision must NOT take for granted what the only Jewish majority State CANNOT BE. Any assumption underlying all policy decisions must promote Israel’s long-term viability in all respects—a successful, thriving State that can meaningfully participate in the community of Nations, and help foster the betterment of humanity.

We must not accept the logical conclusions of any analysis which takes for granted that the focus of the international debate—how to implement a two state solution within the confines of Israel and the territories—will never change. The terms of the debate are not written in stone. They are the current faulty assumptions underlying many people’s perceptions of how to promote peace.

Together we must change the terms of the debate.

--David Naggar

Monday, November 13, 2006

Blair's “Whole Middle East Strategy” is Coming

Blair Says Stabilizing Iraq Requires Engaging Whole Middle East

By Mark Deen and Robert Hutton

Nov. 13 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair said stabilizing Iraq requires engaging nations across the Middle East, pressing the U.S. to open more diplomatic channels 3 1/2 years after Saddam Hussein was toppled.

``A major part of the answer to Iraq lies not in Iraq itself but outside it, in the whole of the region where the same forces are at work,'' Blair said in the text of a speech given in London today. ``This is what I call a `whole Middle East' strategy.''


As President Bush and Prime Minister Blair struggle to find ways to stabilize Iraq before they leave office, they (and the entire international community) will be examining ways to stabilize the whole region. Much will be on the table. Israel will be directly impacted.

If you support Israel, now is the time to join in promoting the idea that all of Israel’s long-term needs must be taken into account, not just its security needs. Peace is at stake. Israel's long-term viability is at stake. The betterment of the world is at stake.

--David Naggar

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Things Change; Slowly at First, and then, They Snowball

Who would have thought that the Soviet Union would collapse as it did? That Iran would be so quickly transformed with the ouster of the Shah in favor of an Ayatollah? Or that international pressure on South Africa would be so severe, that it had no choice but to reform itself? Events beneath the surface had been playing themselves out for years, and then boom! Things seemed to change suddenly.

It takes a great deal of effort to change the terms of any public debate. But it happens.

That Israel should live within viable, defensible, sustainable and even peaceful borders is not an unattainable utopian ideal. But this reality is certainly not at hand today. It will only happen with the concerted effort of many.

The terms of the debate must change. First, the prospects for Israeli and Palestinian long-term viability within the borders called for by current international consensus must be reexamined. Only when they are fully studied by world leaders, will they be rejected as unworkable. Only then will responsible leaders put forth alternative solutions without fear of ridicule.

Since posting The Case for A Larger Israel a week ago, and telling a few friends to pass the site along, well over a thousand different people have visited the site from all continents, save Antarctica. Beyond the United States and Israel, people from all over Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, and Australia have also visited. More people visit each day as word spreads. I am pleased that the reach of the internet has included places such as Ethiopia, Pakistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. The site has been picked up by blogs, it has become searchable in Google and Yahoo, and I was interviewed by Tamar Yonah on Israel National Radio. The show aired on November 7th (

Please keep spreading the word to visit Spread the word to read the book. Let’s together change the terms of the debate.

--David Naggar

Friday, November 03, 2006

This Shouldn't Come As A Surprise

Arab parties skip Knesset session marking Rabin Memorial Day.
By Amiram Barkat, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service. 11/2/06

As the Knesset convened for a special session on Thursday to mark the 11th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, representatives of the Israeli Arab parties were not in attendance.

Kadima, Labor and Likud issued a joint condemnation, saying "the absence of the Arab party MKs is inappropriate, offensive to their constituency, and expresses disrespect for a ceremony that exemplifies commitment to Israeli democracy."

Hadash Chairman Mohammed Barakeh said the absence of the MKs was an "unfortunate coincidence."


I do not blame any Arab for preferring not to live in a Jewish State. But this does not mean that Zionism was a mistake. The establishment of a Jewish State in the historic homeland of the Jews, where there has been a continuous presence for thousands of years, is a legitimate one.

For most States to work, a cohesive demographic identity among its inhabitants is a must. Jewish Israel will never fully be legitimate in the eyes of its Arab citizens, just as an Islamic nation ruling over many Jews would never be fully legitimate in the eyes of its Jewish citizens. One unified Palestine with a large Jewish minority would not be a viable State, just as Israel with a large Arab minority will not remain viable. History shows an inevitable tension when disparate populations are forced together to live in one State. But because the international powers generally prosper from stability, they instinctively, rightly or wrongly, wish to maintain and promote the status quo everywhere. The result of this international pressure in so many places is that matters for local populations are made worse than if a clumsy separation was sanctioned.

In Israel and the territories, the international inclination to promote the status quo manifests itself as the imposition of a two-state solution within limited geographical confines—an attempt to avoid interfering with boundaries of neighboring States. Unchanged, this concoction is a recipe for future disasters.

What do you think?

--David Naggar

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Now Is The Time

From the Associated Press

ALICANTE, Spain. "Diplomats from 11 countries called Saturday for a multilateral approach to resolving the Middle East conflict, proposing an urgent revision of the "road map" process and an international conference to end what it called the current state of stagnation." Published: October 28, 2006


To me, it is not difficult to proudly stand up for Israel, even while acknowledging the hardships of Palestinian Arabs. Now is the time, at this critical junction in history, for many voices to make the case for a larger Israel. Otherwise, no internationally sanctioned roadmap will take Israel's full legitimate needs into account.

Visit Post your comments here.

--David Naggar