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