There’s losing, and then there’s Palestinian losing
Less than two years ago, on 22 June 2019, the United States offered the Palestinians $50 billion in development and economic assistance. The Palestinians rejected it with utter contempt. Today, 25 May 2021, the United States offered the Palestinians $75 million in development and economic assistance. They accepted it. Will someone please tell me that the Palestinians are not professional losers?
This did not stop Josef Federman, picked up by ABC News from Associated Press, you know, Hamas’s friendly neighbour in that building, you know the one, from reporting, “In all, the Biden administration has pledged some $360 million to the Palestinians, after the Trump administration cut almost all aid.” In case you’ve forgotten, “the Trump administration” are those god-awful people who offered the Palestinians their derisory $50 billion in development and economic assistance, and only “cut almost all aid” after it emerged that pay-for-slay, the PA’s top priority never to be abandoned, is not a development project. But the conditions that the journalistic profession is forced to work under these days are a never-ending test of the reporter’s principles. Think, for example, how hard it must have been for poor Mr Federman to come up with this delicate balancing act, “Hamas… which Israel and the U.S. consider a terrorist group.” Professional propagandists have to be worthy of professional losers. Josef Federman is worthy.
Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State and strongman of Alaska China showdown fame, nudged his $75 million development and economic assistance one decimal place closer to $50 billion by counting it “in all” other aid to get to $360 million. Mahmoud Abbas, slumped in his chair with the body language not of a statesman receiving a statesman, but of a man contemplating his final defeat not by the stranger, the Jews, but by his brother, Hamas. It’s an ancient lore that Blinken wouldn’t begin to understand. In any case, the Secretary of State was unaware that he was alone in the room, and that it was only Abbas’s voice speaking from the battle still raging deep within his mind, “There was an agreement of a national unity government,” spake Abbas’s voice, “and our first condition is to commit to international legitimacy known to everyone and after that we will agree to a national unity government.” It was a press release aimed at no one in particular. Abbas will accept the money because, well, what else? Blinken will give the money because, well, what else? If the blinkered Secretary of State could read body language, he would have seen that Abbas was not in the slightest interested in either his money or his visit. In me against my brother, this can turn out only one way for Abbas: he loses. Professional illusionists have to be worthy of professional losers. Antony Blinken is worthy.
Federman reports, “Though deeply unpopular at home, he [Mahmoud Abbas] is seen internationally as the representative of the Palestinian people and a key partner in the long-defunct peace process.” The only question that remains is, whose charade is this, anyway?
The ex-Muslim litmus test
So strongly does Islam repulse increasing numbers of Muslims that they defy even the compulsion on Muslims to kill them for leaving Islam. Despite the threat of death, or at the very least, serious harm, they openly declare their apostasy from Islam. By any measure, this is bravery. Yet there remains one issue where such boldness is scant: Israel and the Arab Muslims who call themselves Palestinians.
Of all the hatred that Muslims instil in their young children, and there’s a lot of it, the vilest is reserved for the Jews. The Qur’an is absolutely obsessed with the imperative for Muslims to hate the Jews. Robert Spencer has done the world the service of collecting a selection of these repulsive verses in one place:
The Qur’an depicts the Jews as inveterately evil and bent on destroying the wellbeing of the Muslims. They are the strongest of all people in enmity toward the Muslims (5:82); as fabricating things and falsely ascribing them to Allah (2:79; 3:75, 3:181); claiming that Allah’s power is limited (5:64); loving to listen to lies (5:41); disobeying Allah and never observing his commands (5:13); disputing and quarrelling (2:247); hiding the truth and misleading people (3:78); staging rebellion against the prophets and rejecting their guidance (2:55); being hypocritical (2:14, 2:44); giving preference to their own interests over the teachings of Muhammad (2:87); wishing evil for people and trying to mislead them (2:109); feeling pain when others are happy or fortunate (3:120); being arrogant about their being Allah’s beloved people (5:18); devouring people’s wealth by subterfuge (4:161); slandering the true religion and being cursed by Allah (4:46); killing the prophets (2:61); being merciless and heartless (2:74); never keeping their promises or fulfilling their words (2:100); being unrestrained in committing sins (5:79); being cowardly (59:13-14); being miserly (4:53); being transformed into apes and pigs for breaking the Sabbath (2:63-65; 5:59-60; 7:166); and more.
It should have surprised no one that, during the latest jihad war that Palestinian terrorists launched against Israel, so little was heard from ex-Muslims. If they do take a public stand, they either declare that they will not comment on the matter, offering some unconvincing excuse, or they’ll try desperately hard to have it both ways, which is not only unconvincing, but downright unedifying to witness.
Let me not be misunderstood. By highlighting ex-Muslim reticence on Israel and especially the jihad waged against her, I am very far from suggesting antipathy towards the Jews. I am suggesting, however, firstly, residual empathy towards the Muslim apparent underdogs whose land the Jews supposedly stole. But that’s a no-brainer to resolve. It’s very easy to do historical research and get to the bottom of whether the Palestinians really are the underdogs that the ruling orthodoxy demands we all fall into line with.
Yet, that isn’t really the problem is it? The real problem, I think, has to do with the fake reality of social media. It is very easy these days, in our world of digital echo chambers, to take very strong positions against Islam and the most ridiculous Muslims without having to face any serious challenges. Muslims are not the world’s strongest rhetoricians and whether they respond inside their own echo chambers, or are bold/foolish enough to vent inside the ex-Muslim echo chambers, they are likely to be decimated. In other words, for ex-Muslims, Muslims are sitting ducks.
The problem such ex-Muslims face is precisely their echo chamber, a precious little safe space that validates them (most of the time). That echo chamber is filled with lots of people, ex-Muslim and non-Muslim, who support “the Palestinians in their plight” against the “bully Israel that commits war crimes.” To take a clear stance corresponding to the prevailing orthodoxy is to go perilously close to anti-Semitism. To take a clear stance for Israel is to lose your echo chamber. What to do? You could uncritically read an uncritical book on the “Israeli – Palestinian conflict”, et voilà! You’re in the clear. You’ve done your homework. Now you’re safe to sit on the fence. But it is quite evidently not a very comfortable place to be.
Israel is the litmus test of the extent to which an ex-Muslim has managed to rid himself or herself of the toxic Islamic need for conformity, for every ex-Muslim knows that the only reason Israel faces the peculiar constellation of problems it does is not because of oppression of either Arabs or Palestinians, but because of Islam. We all know the doctrines, the teachings, what is said in Friday khutbahs, and what is said around Muslim dinner tables.
So what can silence an ex-Muslim when a threat of death cannot? Totalitarian mind control. That most ex-Muslims are unable to take a clear stance one way or the other on the problem facing Israel, a country subject to unrelenting hostility from Day One, should be salutary. Ex-Muslims struggling to take an open, unequivocal stance on Israel need to ask themselves, if I am free from the shackles of Islam, as I claim to be, why am I unable to go after the facts, draw my own conclusions and speak them publicly with confidence? This is not even talking about what stance is taken, only about claiming the right to use your own mind, think your own thoughts and speak without fear.
I say this: the extent to which an ex-Muslim is able to pursue the truth, whatever the truth is and wherever it may be found, considers the truth without constraints on the mind, and speak his or her conclusions without fear, to that extent is such an ex-Muslim free of Islam. The latest jihad terrorist war against the Jewish people, the IDF’s response and commentary in the wake of these, have been revealing. Ex-Muslims can take this opportunity to ask themselves whether they really are as free as they think themselves to be, or are they still subject to “We hear and we obey”?
“Israel has the right to defend itself” — this is all wrong
It goes without saying that every country has the right to defend itself. Asserting such a right implies that there is some basis for drawing this right into question, but that at that moment, the right of self defence happens to be justified. No other country makes an issue of its right to defend itself. In fact, for Israel to claim the right to defend itself amounts an apology for defending itself. It accepts that its actions have to be justified.
Rather, Israel must assert that it has the right to live in peace, the right to not be attacked. The defenders are not the violators and have nothing to explain to anybody. The attackers, however, do. In a debate about whether or not Israel has a right to defend itself, we accept ipso facto, that those who attack her may do so constantly and with impunity. Talking of “the right to defend oneself” normalises the condition of being permanently under attack. This is nonsense.
As Ahlam Tamimi's account of Arab Muslim happiness at the massacre of Jewish diners in a restaurant that she had just had a hand in (see caption above) illustrates, the very existence of Arab Muslims within the borders of Israel, in Gaza and in Judea and Samaria, is an endless string of deadly attacks waiting to happen. "Kill them wherever you find them." The smiles, the warm acknowledgement of oneness with the unknown murderers of unknown people, the bonds of affinity and kinship washing over "Palestinians" and "Israeli Arabs" alike. Whether you have the right to self-defence or not, that right is irrelevant if all around you are people with the right to attack you.
The ruling orthodoxy already speaks of “the next Gaza war”, the way one might speak of the next solar eclipse. And more than that, it is accepted that Gaza will launch that war, as it did all the others. Yet no one questions the terrorist organisation’s arrogated “right to attack”. To accept that Israel’s attackers have the right to attack her is to state, in not so many words, that Israel has no right to exist, which is, of course, precisely the Islamic position. This is how Israel, by limiting itself to the right to defend itself, grants those waging jihad against her the right to attack her.
Putting Israel in the position of having to justify defending itself has created a milieu in which such precautions as Israel might take to protect her own people from suicide bombers, knife attackers, car rammers, kidnappers and snipers operating out of Gaza or Judea and Samaria, or, as we have seen a week ago, within Israel itself, are portrayed as arbitrary and unjustified violations of Palestinian human rights, which includes the right to attack Jews. Countless violent attacks on Jews, two intifadas, innumerable suicide bombings, endless rockets, mortars and incendiary kites and balloons, several kidnappings — the list goes on — but none of this the world recognises as happening. There is no reason for the security barrier, no reason for the buffer zone, no reason for the checkpoints.
Furthermore, when Israel comes under direct military attack, she has to listen to such ridiculous formulations as “both sides must de-escalate”. How the Israeli leaders keep their cool in the face of such insults isn’t clear. I have no idea how it might be accomplished, but the frontline at which Israel fights its hearts and minds battles needs to shift away from the defenders towards the attackers. Perhaps everyone’s acceptance that Hamas will launch yet another war, plus that organisation’s track record, provides the opportunity to make that shift. It worked so spectacularly well in the Six-Day War and Iraq, and is working well in Syria and Iran. “The near enemy” has no more right to attack than the far one.
New Zealand face-off with China: Let’s focus on our weaknesses and ignore our strengths
The relationship with China has moved beyond the relationship of firsts – we were the first to achieve a free trade agreement with China – to a maturing relationship … where we can be respectful, consistent and predictable on the issues that are important to us, but also on the issues that separate and differentiate our view of the world from China.
— Nanaia Mahuta, New Zealand Foreign Minister, quoted in The Guardian, 24 May 2021.
This has to be one of the most naïve statements I’ve heard from a Foreign Minister in a long time. China does not trade. China does not invest. It does not partner, team up or collaborate. It does not deal. It makes no agreements. It most certainly does not respect. It is, however, consistent and it is predictable: China infiltrates, takes control and dominates. Always. China has no friends and seeks none. It has never wanted friends, partners or alliances. To fail to see this is to fail to see why it calls itself Zhong Guo, The Middle Kingdom, and why it considers itself the only civilisation on earth, all around its periphery being barbarians. Any interaction China has with anyone is a cover for its hidden war with them. Always. It is Mahuta’s job to know this and protect New Zealand accordingly. Apparently, her boss never put it in the job spec.
Whatever agreement China enters into, it has no intention whatsoever of honouring. Right from the very moment it signs, it violates the agreement. Now it is in a race against the clock to extract as much advantage out of its violation while its naïve "partner" sticks to the agreement. Years go by until it is found out. Of course it denies all allegations. Then an investigation begins, setting off the second race against the clock to extract as much advantage as it can while its "partner" continues to observe the agreement. Years go by until the investigation finds irrefutable evidence of Chinese violation, which China continues to deny. Then a legal process starts and the third race against the clock commences to extract as much advantage as it can while its "partner" continues to observe the agreement. Finally, years later, China is declared to have violated the agreement. It ignores the findings and its stupid "partner" still observes an agreement that never existed in the first place, feeling superior for having played by the rules.
Professor Alexander Gillespie is quoted in the same source as saying,
China will know our vulnerability in this area. And I think the way that we’re positioning ourselves with our statements shows that we’re conscious of that vulnerability as well... Right now, China will be delighted with us because they will see us as the weak link in the Five Eyes. …For a country like New Zealand to steer away from that (sic) words like genocide when the other countries use it, symbolically, it’s important.
I recognise this sycophantic mindset from the context of Islam. It’s called dhimmitude: recognising your immutable subservience and being permanently on tenterhooks never to displease your overlord. Has the international law professor even considered China’s vulnerability and China’s dependence on New Zealand, or is this a thought beyond the reach of the mind? Palau has taken a firm stand against China. Fiji has done this. Papua New Guinea has done so. The Philippines have done it. New Caledonia has done this. Kiribati has done it. Samoa, too, has done this. They’re all taking a very firm stand against China. Because in the balance of vulnerabilities, something the NZ government won’t even consider, each of these tiny island nations has concluded that China is more dependent on them than they are on China.
Local giant, Australia, has obviously done the same calculation, and the Australians are at least having a vigorous national debate about the many different ways in which China has been infiltrating their country. They are at least looking at the whole picture, not just the balance of trade. China’s malicious activity is everywhere: from Chinese international students to real estate to investments in infrastructure and utilities. All of these much smaller island nations see their proximity to Australia as a strength; only NZ, which is one of the closest to Australia and furthest from China, sees it as a weakness.
Question: What do all these countries have that China lacks and desperately needs? Answer: secure military access to the Pacific. And since all of these countries are denying China such access, New Zealand now has a monopoly. Yet who is dictating terms here? China! Who is kowtowing? New Zealand. China has already taken control through what NZ thinks is a trading partnership. They dare not even speak their mind anymore, exactly like the population of China. All that remains is to dominate. China has lost the potential naval facilities they’ve been hard pursuing in each of these small island countries, but there might be a bigger prize to be had in New Zealand, if they play their cards right.
And of course, just because New Zealand doesn’t understand the Chinese mindset, does not mean the reverse is true. The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, knows exactly which buttons to push and is playing NZ superbly. China’s priority now is to drive a wedge between NZ and her Western allies, especially the Five Eyes security network. And they are taking full advantage of the tailwind that the NZ Foreign Minister has just provided them. Let the good times roll, and roll, and roll some more.
Instead of going in hard, the only action that China respects, as all these countries have understood, New Zealand kowtows. Compare the Foreign Minister’s cautious semantics, “We’ve said that it’s ‘China, and,’ not ‘China, or’,” to the Philippines Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin’s tweet, “China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see... O... GET THE F*** OUT." Of course this is far from acceptable language and the diplomat knew he was going to have to issue a public apology of some sort, but China got the message. That is the point. “Don’t mess with us. Go mess with somebody else!”
Already completely open to jihad infiltration, New Zealand would do well to look beyond the obvious vulnerabilities like town councils and chambers of commerce, especially of all the east coast towns and cities, such as Gisborne, Dunedin and Christchurch, and the Members of Parliament for east coast constituencies, assuming they are even doing that. What scientific research facilities do Chinese students have access to in New Zealand universities? The mere fact of all the publicity surrounding the national security risks to Australia of leasing Darwin Port to a Chinese company, and the likely cancellation of its lease, are already severely affecting its business. Look out for academic papers and think tank reports suddenly highlighting the potential economic boom awaiting New Zealand east coast port cities, if only they could attract major foreign investors as a way of reducing NZ’s vulnerability to China! And watch New Zealand fall for it, again. Jacinda might yet look more fetching in a qipao than she does in a hijab.