Monday, 22 February 2010
IT IS AN AID TO HELP THEM IN THEIR CAMPAIGN - SO DO PLEASE PASS IT ON TO THEM.
THIS IS AN ASSESSMENT OF ISRAEL'S HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD FROM THE VIEW FROM HERE.
ISRAEL DOES NOT EXECUTE ITS OWN CITIZENS AS IS DONE IN SO MANY COUNTRIES, INCLUDING THE USA.
ISRAEL DOES NOT KILL ITS OWN CITIZENS FOR THE CRIME OF PUBLIC PROTEST AS COUNTRIES SUCH AS IRAN DO BY PRISON CELL BEATINGS OR HANGINGS.
ISRAEL DOES NOT PUBLICLY STONE WOMEN TO DEATH AS THEY DID IN AFGHANISTAN AND IS ROUTINELY PRACTISED IN COUNTRIES SUCH AS SAUDI ARABIA AND IRAN.
ISRAEL DOES NOT WHIPLASH GIRLS AS A PUNISHMENT FOR BEING RAPED AS THEY DO IN MANY MUSLIM COUNTRIES.
ISRAEL DOES NOT CUT OFF THE HANDS OF YOUNG BOYS FOR STEALING AS THEY DO IN SEVERAL MUSLIM COUNTRIES.
ISRAEL DOES NOT HANG ANYONE FOR BEING HOMOSEXUAL.
IN FACT, ISRAELI HOMOSEXUALS REACH THE HIGHEST RANKS IN OUR POLITICAL, CULTURAL, AND ACADEMIC LIFE.
ISRAEL DOES NOT SHUT DOWN ITS FREE PRESS OR MEDIA FOR CRITICISING OR CHALLENGING THE COUNTRY'S LEADERSHIP, AS THEY DO IN VENEZUELA, IRAN, SAUDI ARABIA, INDONESIA, BURMA, AND MANY MORE COUNTRIES.
ISRAEL DOES NOT TEACH ITS CHILDREN RACIAL HATRED AND INCITEMENT TO VIOLENCE AS THEY ROUTINELY DO IN PALESTINAN STATE SCHOOLS AND MUSLIM MADRASSAHS WORLDWIDE.
ISRAEL DOES NOT USE ITS CITIZENS AS HUMAN SHIELDS.
ISRAEL DOES NOT DELIBERATELY TARGET CIVILIANS AS THEY REGULARLY DO IN PALESTINE, IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, SUDAN, AND OTHER VIOLENT REGIMES.
THE ABOVE LISTS THE NEGATIVE 'DOES NOT'S OF ISRAEL'S HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD.
NOW LET ME LIST WHAT ISRAEL DOES DO IN HUMAN RIGHTS.
ISRAEL ALLOWS CITIZENS OF ALL FAITHS, MINORITIES, WOMEN TO VOTE.
ISRAEL ALLOWS ALL ITS CITIZENS, INCLUDING ITS ARAB CITIZENS TO TAKE LEADING POSITIONS IN ITS SCHOOLS, UNIVERSITIES, LEGISLATURE, COURTS, KNESSET, AND ALL FACTORS OF A FREE AND OPEN SOCIETY.
ISRAEL PERMITS PEOPLE OF ALL RELIGIONS TO FREELY PRACTICE THEIR FAITH.
GO TRY FIND A JEW OR A SYNAGOGUE IN SAUDI ARABIA, DUBAI, ABU DHABI, AND MANY OTHER ISLAMIC COUNTRY.
ISRAEL HAS A SUPREME COURT THAT IS NOT ONLY AVAILABLE TO ITS OWN CITIZENS, BUT ALSO TO ANY PALESTINIAN WITH A GRIEVANCE AGAINST ISRAEL.
FIND ME ANY PALESTINIAN COURT WILLING TO ACCEPT A CLAIM FROM AN ISRAELI TERROR VICTIM AGAINST THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY, HAMAS, INDIVIDUALS, OR ANY OF THE NUMEROUS TERROR ORGANISATIONS THERE.
ISRAEL HAS A FREE PRESS.
ISRAEL HAS NGO'S WHOSE SOLE PURPOSE IN LIFE IS TO INVESTIGATE, CRITICISE, AND PURSUE LEGAL REMEDIES AGAINST THE STATE.
DOES THIS EXIST IN ANY ARAB OR ISLAMIC REGIME? IT CERTAINLY DOES NOT HAPPEN IN IRAN, SAUDI ARABIA, SYRIA, GAZA, ETC.
ISRAEL ALLOWS FREE SPEECH.
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU ALLOWED AN ISRAELI OFFICIAL TO SPEAK FREELY IN YOUR UNIVERSITY?
YOU EAGERLY PERMIT ISLAMIC RADICALS THAT ADVOCATE SUICIDE BOMBINGS ON TO YOUR CAMPUS BUT NOT MEMBERS OF A DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY.
WHY DON'T YOU ALLOW THEM THE BASIC HUMAN RIGHT OF FREE SPEECH?
OR IS IT ONLY VIOLENT HATE SPEECH THAT YOU SUPPORT AND PRACTISE?
SO, IF IT IS ONLY AGAINST ISRAEL THAT YOU DEMONSTRATE AND PROTEST, I HAVE ONLY ONE THING TO SAY...
SHUT UP AND GET YOURSELF AN EDUCATION !
UNTIL YOU DO, YOUR BIAS AND, YES, YOUR ANTI-SEMITISM IS SHOWING.
FOR TO CRITICISE ISRAEL SOLELY AND TO REMAIN SILENT AGAINST THE REAL HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN THIS WORLD LEADS ME TO THE INEVITABLE AND ONLY CONCLUSION I CAN DRAW FROM YOUR VENOM AGAINST US.
YOU'RE AN ANTI-SEMITE.............
AND THAT IS A HUMAN RIGHTS CRIME!
THE VIEW FROM HERE
Friday, 19 February 2010
MY BRITISH PASSPORT AND MY THEORY.
You may wish to use the text of my letter to leading newspapers as a unique and personal perspective of the Incident that is currently making the international news, namely the removal of a dangerous terrorist in Dubai.
Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was the founder of the Palestinian Islamic terror group, Izz-a-din al-Kassam.
Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was in Dubai to buy highly developed Iranian missiles and other weapons for Hamas.
If used against Israel these rockets could reach Central Israel putting the lives of three million citizens in mortal danger
These weapons could also be used by Hamas, or other terror groups, throughout Europe.
He had to be stopped.
A decision had to be made by whichever counter-terror command to stage a major attack using possibly fifteen top pperatives against a single target in an enemy country.
The operation succeeded due to excellent intelligence and operational work by this anti-terror organisation.
A question must be asked why Dubai allows its soil to be used by Iranians and terrorist groups as a trading post for the international terror weapons trade.
Their public investigation following the attack is less about a crime having been committed on their soil. Rather it is an open and loud display of their identification with the victim and what he represents - namely Islamic terror.
If Dubai intelligence was so quick to identify foreigners participating in the assassination, why were they not used to prevent terorrists internationally known, such as al-Mabhouh. conducting arms deals for Hamas and other terrorists with Iranian agents?
As a holder of a British passport would have my breast swollen with pride a forged version had been used during the recent eradication of a Hamas terror mastermind. I would have felt that I had played a small but significant role in the Covert war on terror. I would not be running in tears to the British Foreign Office. So stop whimpering and join the fight against Islamic terror that threatens us all!
We should have enormous admiration for the courage and tTenacity of the undercover agents who put themselves at great personal risk in their battle for our safety and security.
It is immaterial whether those operators belong to the Mossad, CIA, or MI6.
Had my passport, however, been used in an Islamic terror attack in Tel Aviv or London I would have been screaming blue murder.
It comes down, I suppose, to what side of the fence you are in the ongoing struggle against those who want to kill us.
You have to decide, and support, the good guys against the bad guys in a war that can not be fought by Queensbury rules.
Sunday, 14 February 2010
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
I am concentrating fascinating sessions into pointed soundbites. I hope they give you a feel and sense of what was delivered to a packed audience of important policy and opinion makers.
Each day was long but not tiring at all. They were completely stimulating. After you receive all the daily reports I will be giving you my personal summary and perspective on the issues covering Israel's survival and image.
RISING TO THE CHALLENGE OF RADICAL INDOCTRINATION grabbed my attention.
BARONESS NEVILLE-JONES is the Shadow Security Minister in the British House of Lords.
Her remarks were relevant to British readers and also contained a linkage to the later speech by Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
She was forthright in her opinions about Britain today.
"We have more radicalisation taking place in some of our local communities. Universities cannot relieve themselves of responsibility for the radicalisation taking place on their campus. Prison authorities do not know what is going on under their noses within the prisons where radicalisation is taking place. Gateway and charity organisations have some legitimate activities but also some suspect activities. We will close extremist websites. We will monitor what is being taught in faith schools".
"In Britain there is a great deal of ignorance surrounding the issue and what the Government needs to do in order to solve the problem.
One form of extremism leads to another and, at the end, it is a battle of values. How do you defend your values?"
She suggested four tactics that need to be implemented. There needs to be a prevention strategy to prevent extremism brewing at the core. Second, the government needs to address the population as individuals no groups.
"Why are we telling radical and dangerous groups 'We will give you money if you stop being violent'?"
Third is the promotion of patriotism. She said, "What values are you asking people to adopt if here is no strong sense from within (there was a echo if this in Benjamin Netanyahu's address to the Conference). We can learn from the States as to how we identify ourselves".
She said that Britain needs to know and believe in their values before it can expect others to adopt them.
The fourth tactic is consistency.
"The Government cannot accept extremism and radicalism at home yet do the opposite abroad. We must be consistent. There are some in the present Government who want to talk to what they call the political wing of Hizbollah. There is no such thing as a political wing of Hizbollah. Hizbollah is a violent movement. You cannot condemn violent movements in the UK but abroad it's OK".
"Extremism breeds extremism. We see in Britain the rise of right wing extremism." This is due to the activities of one form of radicalism.
"It's a battle of values. How do you defend your values? The UK needs to promote what it is to be British. We need to identify ourselves. We need a national identity for people to adopt. We must teach our history, our achievements. We must insist that immigrants not be accepted into the country if they cannot speak our languauge and accept our values".
"You talk to your citizens directly and not through the Muslim Council of Great Britain. The voice of the moderate UK Muslims is drowned out by the more noisy radical voices and by the Government talking to the radical MCGB and not to them".
MATTHEW SINCLAIR is the Research Director of an interesting NGO named THE TAXPAYERS ALLIANCE.
I admit I had not heard of this organisation but it has a prominent campaign against British taxpayers money going to fund incitement and terrorism. It wants to ensure that taxpayers money goes promoting education and projects that lead to peace.
"Huge amounts of Western taxpayers money finds its way to terror organisations. We need to accept Israel's existence and the peace procress. Peace lies in the hearts and minds of the people.
The message that the Palestinian people are getting is radicalism and violence. The Palestinian Authority is supposedly negotiating peace and are promoting hatred and violence in their official media, in their schoolbooks, and in their mosques. "
"Massive amounts of aid is being pumped in to the Palestinian territories. In 2007 te EU donated 420 million Euros to the Palestinian Authority but its member states also provided extensive additional bilateral funding independent of the EU".
Germany 55 million Euro.
France 67 million Euro.
Italy 26.8 million Euro.
Sweden 617 million Krona.
UK 63.8 million Sterling.
The USA is also a major donor.
Since 2007, donations have increased.
A slice of this massive funding goes to the official Palestinian education system and to their media.
Matthew Sinclair quoted several examples of racial hatred, Anti-Semitism, incitement to violence against Israel that were sponsored by this funding.
The Taxpayers Alliance has produced two reports entitles "PALESTINIAN HATE EDUCATION SINCE ANNAPOLIS" and ' FUNDING HATE EDUCATION".
If you would like copies of these reports please let me know and I will refer your request to Matthew Sinclair.
MARTIN KRAMER is a Senior Fellow of the National Security Studies Program at Harvard University.
"Whenever you get a country where the medial age is under 20 you find radicalisation. The medial age in countries such as Afghanistan, Yemen, and Gaza is 17.
If the scannot control its youth someone else will. In a lot of regimes its crime or radicalisation that they turn to".
Kramer is pessimistic for the future.
"Look at these countries today. Imagine what they will be like in 2030 when there will be 80 million people in Pakistan, 60 million in Afghanistan, and Gaza whose population will double by 2030.
This runaway population growth poses the real challenge to countering Islamic radicalisation"
A special keynote speaker at this session was JOSE MARIA AZNAR, the former Prime Minister of Spain.
"If we are facing a more assertive Islam it is because our Western societies are less assertive.
If we are facing a more aggressive Islam it is because we being less aggressive. Fighting terrorism may protect our citizens but this is not enough. It is not enough to take only defensive actions. We must regain our own confidence. The West is in disarray economically and politically".
"I believe we must recognise Israel as a western nation in the Middle East, and not as a Middle Eastern country. It is part of the West as is Australia, New Zealand, and even Japan. This is included in the drafting of the new NATO doctrine".
"Shariah law is incompatible with our legal system.".
"Israel is a legitimate state of the Jewish people".
We can defend Israel as a normal country, a democratic country. Undermining Israel equates to undermining the West".
"We should recover our sense of faith. All it takes for radical Islam to triumph is for good men to do nothing. We deeply need strong leaders - not lightweight leaders."
We returned to the subject of a nuclear Iran with the panel discussion on IRAN AS A NUCEAR THRESHOLD COUNTRY in a packed auditorium.
TIM GULDIMAN is a former Swiss Ambassador to Iran. He assessed Iranian intentions under two assumptions.
Assumption A is that Iran has the capability to produce a bomb but not the bomb itself. They would do this out of national pride and achievement and scientific progress, as a bargaining chip with the West, and not to lose internal credibility.
Assumption B is that Iran has clear intentions of getting a bomb and using it.
"I adhere to Assumption A. Those that support Assumption B say that if sanctions don't work we apply military options. This would be disasterous. If Iran were adhering to Assumption A they would then go for the bomb.
Today we have a rift between the people and the regime, and also a rift within the regime itself.
An attack on Iran would unite all sides in Iran.
If there is no proof of Assumption B let's go with Assumption A to persuade Iran to desist. There are risks involved but I prefer A to B".
FRANCOIS HEISBOURG, Chairman of the International Institute for Startegic Studies, questioned what is the nuclear threshold.
"A threshold may be something you are crossing or sitting on. Sitting is Israel's posture. It is called nuclear opacity. The question is if Iran is to adopt a nuclear opacity posture. In other words, sitting on the threshold".
"Arabs may look at Israel and Iran as enemy regimes but they also see Iran, not Israel, as a rival in the region. If Iran is seen as carrying on unimpeded it encourages others to follow in its path.
We may see a multipolar nuclear Middle East and, in a few year, a nuclear war".
PATRICK CRONIN is the Senior Advisor of the Asia-Pacific Security Program.
"I doubt that Iran can be stopped from crossing the threshold. There is need to employ a missile defense system to the region.
If there is doubt of the Iranian threshold we should keep Iran on the threshold of isolation!"
SHMUEL BAR is Director of Research at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center questioned the time it takes from threshold to a fully fledged nuclear capability.
He said that Iran wants to project power. Iran's prestige demands power. Nuclear portrays power. Iran's agenda is to cross the nuclear threshold. One bomb is not a threshold. When you have it you don't have a threshold any more.
Shmuel Bar looked at the region.
"Iran wants to go nuclear. Saudi Arabia will not accept an Iranian Shiite nuclear bomb. Nuclear Pakistan could be in meltdown to Islamic extremism. North Korea cannot be deterred from being nuclear. China and Russia are eager to supply these nations. That ends my optimistic assessment!", he said to nervous laughter from the distinguished audience.
"When President Obama warned of consequences in his State of the Union address Ahmadinajad responded with a statement that he was ready to make gestures. We get the attention of the Iranians when we act".
"An oil embargo on Iran will bring the regime to its kness in two to three months" was Bar's assessment.
Francios Heisbourg disagreed with the success of an oil embargo.
"An embargo would result in a 50% reduction. This leaves enough for Iran to maintain its military".
The question was raised if a regime change would change their nuclear policy?
Most of the panel felt that , in consolidated power, a new regime would need international support. A number of Iranian clerics have already spoken against the Iranian nuclear program.
Shmuel Bar warned against the danger of illusion.
"You never know what will replace the current regime".
The keynote speaker on this subject was GENERAL MOSHE YA'ALON, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs in the Israeli Government.
He said that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the existence to the State of Israel. Iran had threatened to wipe Israel off the map.
A nuclear Iran will cause the balance of power to shift. Other countries will race to obtain nuclear capability.
The Revolutionary Guard will be strengthened further. Iran will relentlessly try to upset the peace process.
The goals of the Iranian regime is to change the world order. Replacing the West with Islam is the ultimate goal for them.
Referring to the subject of the debate Ya'alon said that reaching the nuclear threshold would expose the inability, especially of the US, to prevent Iran who wants to be the leading regional power.
The jihadis will be more aggressive even during the threshold span as confidence grows regarding Iran's intentions.
The attitude of Turkey to Iran and against the West is connected to Iran's ambitions.
Iran has ignored warnings and sees the world as unable to extract any limitations from Iran.
"Given their messianic views we cannot expect them to be pragmatic. We are close to the testing moment as Iran is enthusiastically reaching the threshold.
Who should act to prevent them? The free world must recognise the situation. They must tell Iran that ignoring demands will end in a very bad way for them.
They must be given a choice - the bomb or survival."
Nuclear Iran was at the forefront of the Herzlia Conference. A session entitles MANAGING THE RISK OF A NUCLEAR BREAK-OUT.
THOMAS SCHELLING of University of Maryland said "It is less issue how many nations have nuclear weapons but who would want to use them. If the revulsion of Hiroshima and Nagasaki once detered its use, this revulsion may not be as strong due to the passing of time".
PAUL BRACKEN of Yale University: "We are sleep walking into the 2nd Nuclear Age".
BRUNO TERTRAIS, Senior Research Fellow at France's Strategic Research Foundation.
"If you liked a nuclear Asia you will love a nuclear Middle East. Accomodating Iran means that both prevention and deterrent have failed".
I raised a question at this session.
How the theory of managing a nuclear break-out plays out with a messianic regime, led by a fanatical leader, with a nuclear weapon and a holy mission?
The question was deflected by the moderator, Adam Ward, the Director of Studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Washington DC.
Part 3 will cover the final session on lawfare and the address by Benjamin Netanyahu.
Monday, 8 February 2010
I hope these highlight notes give you a deeper insight into the thinking of leading experts in the various fields.
I started the day as a spectator to the seesion entitled "THE US AND THE ARC OF INSTABILTY - PAKISTAN, AFGHANISTAN, AND IRAQ."
It was strangely reassuring to hear about a troubled region where Israel was not the focal point.
However, as the moderator, Neil Livingstone, reminded us, although Israel is a hystander it could be a loser if this area destabilises.
Livingstone outlined the three areas of conflict such:
Iraq - The aims are for the US to remove all its forces by the end of 2011. The Iraqi Government to find a political solution to its problems.
Afghanistan - To disrupt terror networks. Promote an effective Government. Develop competant local security forces. However, Robert Gates, the Head of CIA recently said that "Our aim such be to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a base for terror attacks, but not to turn the country into a Shangi-La".
Pakistan - Should Pakistan become destablilised the whole area may be destabilised. This will immediately affect its neighbour, India.
The 30,000 troop surge in Afghanistan drives terrorists into Pakistan. Pakistan wants US money but they do not want a strategic alliance with the US.
DR.COLIN KAHL is the US Deputy Defense Office for the Middle East gave a US Governmental gloss to his report to the Conference.
2009 saw the lowest number of casulaties in Iraq. December 2009 was the first month with no US casualties, though recent attacks showed that Al Quaida and extremists groups still have capabilities. They have not, however, promoted the reciprocal attacks we saw in the early stages of the Iraqi conflict. Counter attacks from Shia militants groups have significantly reduced.
Iran wants to promote a weak Iraq that will be dependant on Iran. Iraqi nationalism will be a strong counter to Iranian interference.
In the last Iraqi elections in 2005 it took six months to form a Government. During that time Iraq burned to the ground.
The upcoming elections will be a test for the incoming Government.
The Kurds may emerge as a major block and other parties may have to compromise to maintain a stable and progressive Government.
As the US Counter Insurgency forces are drawn down later this year the US State Department will step up in Iraq for a long term strategic partnership.
KORI SCHAKE, a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institute livened up the discussion with her views that the positive developments in Iraq had more to do with the Iraqi politicians and population starting to get it right.
"I wish it were true that the State Department will step up. The truth is that the State Department is dumbing down in providing resources to the newly trained Iraqi police force.
The provisional reconstruction teams are being drawn down togehter with the military".
"The US Administration is not doing enough to support human rights in Iran and standing with the opposition to the regime".
YOSEF KUPERWASSER of the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs said that the concnetration should ber where the centre of jihad is which is Iran and not Iraq. It may also be in Pakistan but it is certainly in Iran.
"The fight that the US is involved in is only one element of the Jihadi fight against the free world. Israel is fighting and defending itself against this too with Hamas and Hizbollah".
ELMER BROK is a German MEP and Chairman of the European Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs.
I liked his direct and realistic approach to problematical areas in the world.
"Our intervention in Afghanistan was fighting terrorism. Karsai is not even President of Kabul never mind Afghanistan in giving his people security and governance.
Heroin is today eight times more than it was before the conflict.
We see trained police run to the Taliban for more money.".
"Afghanistan was never a country. Historically it was a regional tribal entity".
Turning to Pakistan he warned "The sitation is critical in Pakistan. Imagine what will happen if Al Qaida lets the Taliban take over Pakistan which is a nuclear nation".
Our achievable goals must be to get rid of Al Qaida terror havens".
"As terror is now in Yemen, Somalia, and other places we will be overstretched in fighting Al Qaida".
YOSI KUPERWASSER warned America that "our experience and advise to the US, whose policy is to withdraw from Iraq and then Afghanistan, from our experience in Lebanon and Gaza is that you really don't know what is going to happen after you withdraw".
A fascinating discussion took place in the seminar on DOMESTIC POLITICAL DYNAMICS AND STABILITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST.
ROYA HAKAKIAN is an Iranian author living in America. She made a number of telling points.
"Watch TV on February 12th and 13th. This is the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. You will see the people of Iran take to the streets against the regime. Frankly, I am surprised that the grassroots revolt against the Iranian regime was not covered at this Conference.
"You have to look beyond the headlines. You may remeber that Ahmadinnajad held an exhibition of Holocaust cartoons in Tehran. That event took the headlines in much of the world press. What wasn't covered that the exhibition was a total failure with the Iranian public. Nobody came to view the cartoons. The hall was empty".
PROFESSOR DAVID MENASHRI of The Center of Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University said the Iranians will be marching in mid February. They will be asking why their expectations have not been met. They are asking if the Islamic Revolution was supposed to be so good in Iran why is it so bad? They are asking if Islam was supposed to the the solution why has it become the problem?
"The history of Iran shows that revolution is based on bread and liberty. The current regime is depriving its citizens of both".
Menashri made a serious point in joke form by relating a conversion between two Iranians. "One hundred liberal newspapers have been closed down by the Government! How can you say that Iran is a good country?" said one. The other answered, "Show me another Islamic country that has one hundred liberal newspapers to close down!"
The moderator, Israeli TVs ZVI YEHEZKELI said that democracy is like a sugar in a cup of tea. Too much sugar and you can't drink it. Too much democracy too quickly put Hamas in control in Gaza. Ask Abu Mazen if this helps the Palestinian people".
ISRAEL ELAD ALTMAN, from the Institute for Policy and Strategy talked about Egypt. Mubarak shows no sign of retiring as President but at 83 a transition is coming. Mubarak came to power after Sadat's assassination. Today, the private sector in Egypt has growing influence. This sector is led by Gamal Mubarak, the current President's son. The military may support his candidacy for future President. The post-Mubarak era will be continuity not change, but the pressure for change is still there led by the Muslim Brotherhood which is related to Hamas.
Journalist JUDITH MILLER was more optimistic. She finds stability in the Arab world. "Mubarak was Vice President under Sadat. He is now Pharoah. The Syrian transition from father to son seems to be established for the long term. The same applies in Jordan. The problem are those regimes that believe that God speaks to them every morning and promote incitement and radicalism".
"What America does shapes everything. 9/11 changed everything. Bush adopted a different position after 9/11. Obama, a sceptic, is now adopting many of the same policies Bush. They include support for Israel, predator strikes against terrorists, not closing Gitmo so quickly. Obama is evolving. Much depends on policy, or policy changes, or this region from Obama.
DR. MENASHRI returned to Obama's policy indecisions by quoting Henry Kissinger "If you don't know where you're going any road will get you there!"
"As we saw in 1979, the changes in Iran changed the region and the world. The changes coming in Iran this year may do the same again. The people of Iran do not share the same fanaticism as their leaders. Signs in recent demonstrations included ' Neither Lebanon or Gaza. I only sacrifice my life for Iran' and 'Obama! you are either with them or with us!' Iranians see the Palestinian war as 'Yes it's war - but not with our money!'"
"You see the faces of the demonstrators in Tehran. They are not the same faces you see in Gaza"."They took to the streets expecting the human rights support of the greatest world power. For ten days Obama said nothing. The US is not active enough in supporting the voices of moderation in Iran. Where is Europe's muscle?"
Returning to the Palestinian issue ZVI YEHEZKELI said the world needs to see the truth not polical correctness. He quoted a Palestinian football coach in Hebron who told him " After so many years, when my team loses again, I can't blame the occupation any more!"
DR. MENASHRI quoted Churchill. "Man will occasionally stumble on the truth, but he will pick himself up and carry on regardless!"
The next Conference subjects will include a major hasbara session.
The Conference concludes with the Prime Ministers Address which will follow.
I will then conclude with my perspective of Israel's position on many of the serious challenges facing our country based on the opinions and reports of the invited speakers.
The View from Here
Friday, 5 February 2010
Barak told the audience with a hint to Salim Fayyed that he had told Arafat and moe dently Anu Mazen that the greatest diffculty that leaders have is hot convincing each other but rather their own people of the sacrifices that need to be made for peace.
Tuesday, 2 February 2010
There were simply too many exceptional sessions to include in one report. The Day 3 report is given in two parts.
The Organisers must be congratulated on the high level of local and international guest and keynote speakers and moderators. To assemble this all star cast over the four day conference must have been a daunting task.
The opening event of Day 3 for me was BREAKING THE GLOBAL OIL ADDICTION. It turned out to be an enlightening and fascinating discussion.
Starting proceedings was JAMES WOOLSEY. He was not sparing in his remarks.
Better known as the former head of the CIA, he is now the Senior Advisor at VantagePoint Venture Partners.
He opened his remarks by saying humourously "After years as a Washington lawyer and in the CIA, I am delighted to be invited into any polite company."
His views on the danger and risks of oil dependency were:
The 23 oil exporting states, other than export oil, export to the world less than Finland.
They do nothing except oil pump.
All are dictatorships or autocratic regimes. Many sponsor or support radical Islam. They support the madrassahs, incite hatred against the West. In other cases they actively finance terrorism and oppress their own people.
Our economy is at the mercy of OPEC.
Iran is the example of the risky path we are on.
Oil Underpins a lot of our international problems. They get away with it because we are dependent on their oil.
The oil wealthy Saudis control 90% of Islamic education and Incitement.
If you want to know who finances international terrorism and Islamic hatred you should copy Woolsey's personal test.
Next time you drive into your local gas station turn your rearview mirror until you see your eyes.
You are looking at the culprit.
When you fill up your car you are helping to finance the people who finance hatred, incitement, and terror.
We are financing their madrassahs and the terrorism with our petrol money.
America is a big offender. The U.S. imports one billion dollars a day. That's 370 Billion dollars a year in order to finance our oil habit.
Oil has a 96% monopoly in transportation. The need to move away from oil must be Anchored in transportation.
YOSI HOLLANDER, the Chairman of the Israel Institute for Economic Planning said:
The global forecast is that oil production peak is predicted for 2020. Oil is rapidly depleting in the existing oil fields. The two alternatives are further oil exploration or finding alternatives to oil.
The economic impact includes the fact that every major recession has been linked to oil prices.
The U.S. trade deficit is linked to its oil import. The U.S. defense budget is more than 50% oil linked. This inlcudes the protection of oil states and facilities.
If we look at poor countries such as those in Africa we can see that most are in debt to the oil producers. Like everyone, they are dependent on oil but do not have the trading abilities to pay for their oil use.
While Israel's oil needs accounts for 8% of our trade balance Kenya is minus (-) 174%
Senegal - 90%,
Tanzania - 85%.
This is the oil share of their trade deficits.
It is oil that keeps them poor.
Hollander produced some frightening statistics.
6.7 million people have been killed in oil related wars.
Potential deaths as a result of oil related wars over the next twenty years is estimated to be one hundred million people.
The U.S. uses 23% of the worlds oil supply.
OPEC has 79% of oil reserves.
People assume that OPEC has increased oil production since 1973. In fact they have reduced production by 2%.
In 2008 demand for oil fell. OPEC reduced supply and the price went up. They hold the world in their control.
PAIL WERBOS is Program Director of the U.S. National Science Foundation and an international expert in oil and fuels. His points were:
The power of the oil industry is a great problem. The oil industry must reinvent itself. To solve the problem we have to zero out our need for oil in twenty years if we take action now.
If you care about a clean climate, consider the carbon dioxide caused by transportation. Transportation is 100% dependent on oil.
By Combining or Utilising three things we can solve our oil dependency, clean the climate, and save money.
1. Hybrid cars cut gas use by 50%.
2. Plug-in hybrid cars get half their energy from electricity and half from gasoline.
3. GEM fuel-flexible biofuels can supply one quarter of the U.S. present liquid fuel demand.
G = Gasoline, E = Ethanol, M = Methanol).
To achieve oil independence we must maximise flexible fuel plug-in Hybrid cars.
Bring them online as fast and we can to remove our dependency on OPEC.
Look to Brazil. They have an advanced Hybrid car market using alternative Fuels. If you can buy these cars in Brazil why not in America? This is not because Brazil is a richer country than America. It works for them. It can work for us.
Brazil has the best of both worlds. If gasoline prices are high they switch to ethanol and vice versa.
The Chinese are making batteries for electric cars for $ 2000 and getting cheaper. America can build cars better than China. Even if we buy the electric batteries from China at $ 2000 a piece for the U.S. hybrid car it will still be cheaper than importing oil.
America currently produce so much bio fuel that the total use of U.S. transportation would use only 15%.
It's not just bio fuel that can be used. Natural gas is also useable.
In 70% of U.S. transportation and oil is 70% of that oil use is in private cars.
We do not have to wait 20/30 years for the technology. It's already here. All it takes is the political will to move on the number one risk to the world.
The session moved to another hall and covered ISRAEL'S ROLE IN BREAKING THE GLOBAL OIL ADDICTION.
EUGENE KANDEL, Head of Israel's National Economic Council, opined on how to break the OPEC Cartel.
"Find alternatives to oil. The more alternatives there are control and then prices will become less rigid.
Israel is a small country on this issue but if we can find solutions it will be a hedge against rising oil prices.
The Israeli Academy of Sciences is researching electric batteries, alternative Fuels, and other solutions. They will write a report and present it to the Cabinet in a few months.
We have focal points of excellence in this field both scientific and industrial. This edge we have can be at the forefront of this effort to remove the world from oil dependency.
GAL LUFT of the is Executive Director Institute for the Analusis of Global Security. He said
Oil interests have prevented solutions to the problems and genocides in Darfur and Sudan.
Dependence on oil is an existential threat to the existence of the State of Israel!
The regimes that control the oil sponsor radicalism and terror or have an anti-Israel agenda.
We import a massive and growing amount of oil. We also import huge amounts of fruit and computers but these are not a strategic threat to our country. Oil is.
If Israel stopped importing oil it will not affect world prices but it would contribute to our own balance of payments and it would be a moral move.
Changing oil dependency is also good for Israel. We can look with our brilliance into the research and development benefits. Take the electric battery, for example. We can find ways of reducing the price of these by our inventiveness.
Let Israelis who want to import electric cars do so. There are cars that you can plug in at home or the office. We do not need to wait for infrastructure. Let's do it now.
MOTI HERSHKOWITZ Reminded us that we have an international track record in research. We have the technology to convert CO2 and water into fuel. Biomass will replace oil as the feedstock for future refineries and turbines. Biomass is a reasonable source for alternative Fuels.
Partnership between academia and industry can rapidly produce results.
$ 280 Million in nano technology put Israel on the map. We need a clear commitment for budget by the Government.
ORNA BERRY, Venture Partner in Gemini Israel Divulged that two African presidents have asked Israel for help on three items:
2. Medical technology.
3. Alternative energy.
Regarding SHAI AGASSI. BETTER PLACE ,his electric car project, has verbally been supported by PRESIDENT SHIMON PERES but it was large companies from overseas who had joined BETTER PLACE in their venture because they believe in his project.
The Better Place business model for their electric cars was outlined by JAMES WOOLSEY.
They lease you their batteries. You drive to an installation or network charging point where you can charge your battery in a reasonable time. If you have a long distance drive and no ability to recharge your battery you will have battery swopping stations.
Israel may become a major leader in this.
James Woolsey has a hybrid car. He reported that he drives at two cents a mile as opposed to ten cents on oil.
LUCIEN YEHUDA BRONICKI, Chairman and Chief Technologist at Ormat Technologies said that Israel has done amazing things.
Ben Gurion said we must develop solar enery because we do not have oil, and desalination because we do not have water.
Israel can develop niche markets in alternative fuel energies in places like Africa.
Industry can be involved.
Reminded us that IBM and Intel did not get involved here because of Israel's massive market but because of our brain power.
Others will follow on this issue. We already have world leaders in other spheres listing
Teva in generic drugs, Check Point in software,Netafim drip irrigation, and Ormat in geothermal energy.
He suggested mobilising and supporting universities to focus on projects, and reviving the technical schools.
"We suffer from an addiction. To begin to go through the detoxification process we need to make a commitment. We are becoming slaves to oil. Oil is the main financial source to radical Islam. The aim is to stop the West's dependency on oil. Even a reduction of 20% to 30% will change the mentality of those who milk the world through oil.
These people who want the destruction of the West are playing with us.
Governments must regulate. We must regulate for electric cars.
We do not have the ability of a super power but most of the investment comes from abroad.
"Sometimes overseas investors believe in us more than we believe in ourselves," he said.
"Small Israel can be a laboratory for the world".
"A project, based in the Negev, costing $ 500 Million and producing annual revenue of $ 170 Million we can do. If we want to prove leadership we need to put money on the table. I say to our scientists' spread the word, show the world what we can do. $ 100 Million in research can produce a breakthrough. "
We were reminded that Uzi Landau had recently signed a cooperation agreement for alternative fuels with Germany.
From technology to politics as I attended a session on EUROPE'S ROLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST.
MIGUEL ANGEL MORITANOS was the EU Special Envoy to the Middle East. he is now Spain's Foreign Minister.
He reviewed the development of the EU's foreign policy. At the time of Sadat's visit to Jerusalem the EU was represented but they had no leverage, influence, or say.
After seven years and the Implimentation of the Lisbon Treaty the EU began to emerge in world affairs.
"We know that, in Israel, the EU was considered an enemy of Israel and not balanced. We are not an enemy of Israel. We are a friends, though sometimes friends have to say tough things to each other".
"We will put our energy into peace and security for Israel. The EU and Israel share the same values and vision. We are working to that end.
Tonight I visit Abu Mazen. I will try to persuade him to return to negotiations with you, but if I do not have the confidence of the Israeli Government I cannot succeed.
When I speak to the Arab leaders I hear the same concerns as I hear in Israel regarding Iran.
The EU will be very active in working the Arab countries and with Israel.
I hope for full normalisation between Israel, the Mediterranean countries, and the Arab world ".
MARTIN BARTAK, The Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary, and their Minister of Defense said that the EU's verbal response to the Gaza Conflict was not useful or effective.
During the Czech Chairmanship of the EU Israel was very much in their mind.
"We support the desire of Jews to live in their own homeland just as the Czechs and the Slovaks deserve theirs.".
Czechs call for the upgrading of ties between the EU and Israel.
"We established a closer relationship between Israel and NATO. We have firm support for Prime Minister Fayyad and the Palestinian Authority and for giving humanitarian aid to the Occupied territories. The present conditions are unbearable for the Palestinians. A Palestinian state must be established. We must coordinate a peaceful Palestinan state building process.
The Palestinians have to unite in recognising Israel ".
"The State of Israel is the most important ally the U.S. and the EU has in the Middle East.
Any threat to Israel or eradicate them into the sea is intolerable.
We are exchanging ideas in the quest for peace and security in the region. We have proposed an international conference.
THE PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS.
SHIMON PERES addressed a packed auditorium. He pointed to the 7% growth achieved by the Palestinians in the West Bank in 2009.
"The enemy of the Palestinians is Hamas. Hamas is not only their enemy. They are ours, and Egypt's and Jordan's. It is a distasterous enemy."
"We must adapt ourselves to globalisation. Source of income is not always linked to territory. Science is not conquered by an enemy. A lot of poor countries do not give equal rights for women. This is wrong for so many reasons. Women deserve the equal rights to education ad to work. In many poor countries women are not allowed to work. This is wrong. If they worked it would bring two Salaries to the home. Women must be an example to their children. Whoever does not condemns their homes and their countries to continuing poverty.
Turning to Israel's army Peres said
"The IDF is the best school in the world.
Everybody has go go into the army. If our youth did not go into the army many would be lying in bed until they get up to play with the computer. Then they go out drinking and enjoying themselves through the night. They have no role in society.
Instead, in the army the IDF wakes them up at six in the morning to a full days activities. They run. They are healthier and fitter. Their use of computers is for important tasks, like the security of the country.
In the army they learn to take responsibility, to act in a mature way.
I want to turn the camp into a campus. I want that our soldier can come out of his army service with a degree.
Today, a Golani solder works with a computer. Today, wars have changed. Increasingly conflicts are between brains not bullets. The IDF is an army of values. All this can be taught in the army to our youth.
The army agrees to this and intends to do a pilot plan to start this June.
"If you have a small IPhone in your pocket you have the whole world in your pocket".
The next fifteen years will be the most unprecedented in mankind. In the last decade computer technology has improved one million times. Nano technology is only at the threshold and Israel is the world leader. We lead in stem cell research. We are too small to be a producer or a market but we can be a laboratory.
Explaining the reason for Israel's success he said
"Science and technology is not just tied to education but to character. Jews contributed something special to the world. Dissatisfaction!
They are never happy with the current state of affairs. Look at Moses. What did he do after coming down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments. He broke them. This Dissatisfaction drives us to do things better
"They have four million cows in Ethiopia. Israel's 100,000 cows produce the same amount of milk thanks to our technology."
ISRAEL'S IMAGE ABROAD.
Peres related a story of someone who asked him about Israel's poor image abroad. He answered that Israel is the most popular country in the world.
"India has a population of 1.2 billion people and India and Israel are the best of friends. After the Mumbai terror attack they share our concerns. We now produce and supply India with the tools to fight terrorism.
Christians worldwide support Israel because of our shared values. Look at the millions of Christians in America who are more passionate towards Israel than many Jews.
China Admires Israel not because of Moses, I doubt if they know who Moses was, but because of our technology and what is has contributed to Chinese agriculture. That's another 400 million people.
The U.S. is Israel's Stongest supporter.
Russia has a respect and common bond with Israel. Over one million Jews came from there.
OK, so we have a problem with Sweden. We'll get over it. Do you know of another country that enjoys such popularity? "
Iran is two problems to the world. Iranian uranium and its Repressive regime.
"If Iran was a reasonable country maybe there would not be a problem. Iran is the peak of moral corruption. They hang people for being homosexual or for opposing the regime. They oppress their own people. They support terror. They deny the Holocaust. They threaten to eradicate us, to wipe us off the map.
The authentic Persians are 50% of the country. They are a proud people. They and the youth of Iran feel that Ahmadinajad disgraces them and their country. Fighting Ahmadinajad is a moral struggle.
A coalition of nations is the best method in this struggle. Israel should not monopolise this struggle. It is a world crisis.
Concluding, President Shimon Peres said the Jews and Israel has suffered a lot.
"They say we are God's Chosen People. We were also Hitler's chosen people. Now we are Ahamadinajad's chosen people.
We have suffered, but we have also achieved a lot.
Israel hopes to continue to contribute to the world ".
The Herzlia Conference enticingly arranged an agenda that simply got better as the program went on.
The Presidential Address was a highlight - but there was much more to come on Day 3. This will be presented to you in Part 2.
Monday, 1 February 2010
Her points were that Israel represents the values of the United States in the Middle East being a democratic Western country.
There is a difference of opinion in Israel over what are Israel's interests. This dIsagreement makes for difficulties in the decision making process.
Israel and the States share a strategy against terror and are active in the war against terror.
Externally, Iran presents an extreme ideology that not only tHreatens Israel. It also tHreatens America. In fact, it tHreatens the whole area. America must help to eNlist the moderate Arab countries who pErceive the same dangers from an extreme Iran.
Peace with the Palestinians represents the interests of Israel. Israel will have no choice but to give up certain territories.
It is in Israel's interest to remove Syria from the circle of extreme countries such as Iran. Again, these are shared interests with America.
It is a bad policy for the Israel Government to say to America, "You help us with Iran and we will help you with the Palestinians".
Iran is a global problem - not only Israel's. Peace with the Palestinians is in Israel's interest and should not be conditional on other problem areas. A peace agreement with them should not be pOrtrayed as a fAvour to the U.S.. We should keep our strategic partners happy.
What needs to be done? We should sit with the U.S. Administration and discuss how to work together to prevent Iran from going nuclear. Sanctions are an obvious factor.
Israel needs the Security Council to iMpose sanctions and other steps against the Iranian regime.
We need the U.S. to eNlist the pRagmatic Muslim world against the eXtremists.
We should outline to the U.S. Administration the deal breaking options from the Israel side in nEgotiations with the Palestinians.
The Palestinians have to accept that Israel is the Jewish state as a condition. Denying this leads to a continuation of a conflict between two states.
The refugee problem must be solved in the context of their return to their own Palestinian state, not to Israel.
There should be no nAtionalistic demands from Arabs living in Israel.
We can not create another terrorist state on land that we transfer to them. Not only Israel but the U.S. and the whole world do not need another Islamic terror state in the Middle East or, as in Lebanon, where a radical entity controls the country and the Government is not free.
We have to aGree future borders iRrespective of the views of those in theaudience whether settlements make you happy or angry.
We should not make pRonouncements of what we will or will not do in advance of peace talks.
We do not make sacrifices as a fAvour to the Palestinians or to the President of the United States but for ourselves. I know there will be a price to pay.
However, we do not hand the keys over to Hamas.
DANNY AYALON, Deputy Foreign Minister, join ALFRED MOSES of UN Watch, JAMES CUNNINGH AM, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, MALCOLM HOENLEIN, of the Conference of Major American Jewish Organizations, in a panel to address IS THE US-ISRAEL RELATIONS STILL SPECIAL?
This question did not arise two years ago. It came about due to two elections in the States and Israel which introduced two new leaders.
Benjamin Netanyahu's accepted a 2 State solution, an economic 'bottom up' plan for the Palestinians of the West Bank, a temporary settlement freeze, and an invitation to the Palestinian leadership to join him in peace talks, yet these gestures did not bring him any kudos.
Bad relationships with the Us Administration is bad for Israel and does not help to Imprice the Israeli Prime Ministers popularity at home. However, the reverse was true with Netanyahu, whose popularity Gained when he refused to accept Obama's demand to totally stop all settlement activity.
In his opening remarks, ALFRED MOSES cOmplimented the scale and scope of the Herzlia Conference saying that America does not have a conference that comes close to the Herzlia event.
He felt that Obama or Netanyahu will not make much of a Differnece to US-Israel relations. It goes Beyind the leaders. This is critical for Israel. Israel is seen as a democratic Western country sharing American values.
Support for Israel has been rock solid from 1967 to 2010 with 46% sympathetic to Israel and less than 10% sympathetic to the Palestinians among American public opinion. 30%, however, do not care for either side. People in the U.S. do not see Israel-Palestine as a central world issue. It does not make the Top 5.
America, however, does see Israel as being on the right side of the war against terror that plagues Americans Increasingly.
Overwhelingly American Jews support Israel despite the fact that 78% of them voted for Obama and only 22% for McCain. Traditionally, American Jews vote Democrat.
Yet the US-Israel relationship remains special.
DANNY AYALON said that the US-Israel relationship tRansends Governments. It is a mUtual aDmiration between peoples. Israel and the U.S. are natural partners. This goes beyond the Administration.
Despite hIccups, U.S. supports the one true democracy in the Middle East. This gives the U.S. The added value. It does not change this value according to political winds as do other countries.
Ayalon added that the Israeli Government sees the current U.S. Administration as a friendly one.
Therefore, the special relationship is still strong.
Ayalon closed by insisting that all the Israeli Coalition parties would like to see a renewal of the peace process.
MALCOLM HOENLEIN asked why does this Administration differ from other Administrations?
His answer was, basically, that it does not. It is still 'a work in progress'. Obama spoke about the special relationship a number of times.
The U.S. may be moving towards iSolationism but the numbers are still strong for Israel.
JAMES CUNNINGHAM said that two new Administrations set out with new goals. Obama came in with great energy to tAckle some of the biggest issues faced by a new President for decades.
In Cairo, Obama told the Muslim world that the bond with Israel was unbreakable. He called on the Muslim world to rEcognise Israel.
Dialogue with Israel includes major issues such as iran, missile defense, attempts to dElegitimise israel in the light of Goldstone, and rEcognising Israel as the Jewish State.
The peace talks, he said, have not produced a breakthrough as the U.S. had hOped. It was disappointing, Cunningham said, the President Obama did not mention Israel in his State of the Union Address. The only foreign policy issue he raised was Iran.
The U.S. Ambassador was asked how Obama would respond to auNilateral move by Israel against Iran. He answered by saying that Israel has the right to defend itself .. He hOped that conflict can be avoided but the U.S. will stand fIrmly with Israel.
Alfred Moses said that the only effective and clear sAnction would be a naval bLockade on Iran.
He was not sure that this was likely.
Ayalon said it was to get sanctionsworking quickly. He did not believe that China would iSolate itself within the UN Security Council so he was hopeful that sanctions would be approved there.
Malcolm Hoenlein said that opportunities were missed to seriously support the people of Iran who had bRavely stood up against their regime. There was still time to support the Iranian people in their protests against their leadership.
In a past meeting with Trent Lott (Republican) and Tom Dashell (Democrat) Dashell told him that, in the case of Israel, there were no Republicans or Democrats.
WINNING THE BATTLE OF THE NARRATIVE was a panel discussion on the subject of cOmmunicating the message, or making the case for Israel.
I enjoyed the comments of JOSEF JOFFE, the editor of Die Zeit who outlined the battle of legitimacy from Durban 2 to the universities and media.
"Anti-Israel is, like its cousin Anti-Semitism, eNdemic.
"Would you have the same attention to the subject if the Israeli side were Muslim or Arabic? Probably not. This is a useful argument that Exposes the anti-Semitism behind the global protests and Delegitimization of Israel.
For the Palestinian Arab leadership pRovocation that Draws massive Israeli response, fighting in densely populated civilian areas is a in-win situation for them.
"Why does it take Israel so long, sometimes six to eight weeks, to come up with a response? Why wait until the conflict is over before trying to explain motives?"
"Israel knows what is going to happen tomorrow so why do not they prepare themselves mediawise in advance", according to Joffe.
"Goldstone comes along .. You do not sulk and pout. You prepare and act."
For a positive narrative, people should read Dan Senor's book, ' Israel - The Start Up Nation'.
This is essential reading for making the case for Israel.
Senor tells of the twin miracle of how bereft immigrants from Eastern Europe socialist society turned into a modern dynamic and successful Western nation. Israel is the most successful country outside the U.S..
Transforming a nation is a universal message and an inspiration.
IDO AHARONI from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs opened with a joke about three Israelis who landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.
"Nationality?" asked the immigration official. "Israeli", they said.
"Occupation?" the official asked.
"Oh no," said one Israeli. "We are only here for a few days .."
Universally, Israel's DNA is defined by the conflict. When Israel is allowed to communicate to the world it's about the conflict. Literature and Israeli movies are only about the conflict.
It is as if nothing else exists in Israel. You have to do beyond the conflict to win friends and influence people.
Conflict management only can not help you leapfrog to a more positive narrative.
In most countries the Majority do not care about the conflict. In France 26% side with Israel as opposed to only 9% for the Palestinians, but 75% do not care either way.
The conflict is not a relationship builder. There is a need to restore Israel's relevance in the world by showing it as a great product. Whether it's art, weather, natural beauty, science, hi-tech, Israel has a lot to offer.
EYAL ARAD said that Israel's image is like the weather. "Everyone talks about it but nobody does anything about it".
The media Obsessively cover Israel. It's a fact. For media, bad news is good news. Seen how they rush to Earthquakes. Disasters sell newspapers. "Jews are news - so bad Jews make great news". If they do not exist the media has to create them", said Arad.
"Let's use the opportunity that everyone is looking at us to create a better image," he suggested. The problem is that we do not know what we want. Is it Aliyah? Tourism? Investment?
IDO AHARONI of the Foreign Ministry continued this theme with an anecdote from Alice in Wonderland.
"When Alice fell down the hole she did not know where she was so she asked the rabbit which way to go.
"Where do you want to get to?" the rabbit asked.
" I don't know ', she said.
"Then it does not matter which way you go!" said the rabbit.
That is how it is with policy. Israel does not yet know which way to go. So many voices from various Ministries and NGOs expound differing messages against the Palestinians single message - victimhood.
Israel finds itself fighting a delegitimatisation campaign against it. It is essential to coordinate a global campaign. This needs discipline. If the message is not coordinated from within it can not be conveyed externally.
A concise and constant message is required.
MARTIN KACE of Empax asked "What is a brand?"
He answered that a brand, when it comes to a nation, must be true. One does not go to Establishing truth when one does not go to other countries to find out the truth about yourself. This can only be done from honest debate from within.
"We are Preoccupied with how we are perceived," Kace explained. "We do not have narrative that is relevant today. We are not speaking with a voice that expresses what we are as Israelis."
The Palestinians own the narrative and the pictures. Israel beyond the conflict is, currently, a fiction.
"To say we are just like everyone else is wrong", said Kace. "We are unique".
"How do you make a positive message by embracing the conflict?" he asked.
"Our prowess is conducted with style. Conflict brings out the brilliance in us. An perfect example is the military field hospital in Haiti which was born out of conflict yet produced wonderful humanitarian benefits and showed us in a positive light.
We are reluctant warriors who persevere and produce and develop amazing universal benefits for all ".
Israel's image must be based on personality and attractiveness. Without attraction you are not in the branding business.
A two-pronged agenda is needed.
1. Research and a rapid response team for conflict management.
2. Identify the authenticity of Israel and promote it holistically.
Ido Aharoni said that Israel's number one branding agency is BIRTHRIGHT ISRAEL. Their young visitors tell us that Israel is a life changing event!
WINNING THE BATTLE OF THE NARRATIVE moved into another auditorium and a new panel.
DR. NOAM LOMELSHTRICK LATAR of the IDC outlined the importance of using social networking to get the message to a huge number of people.
450 million people use Facebook.
78% of the 18 to 34 year olds watch TV on the web.
The paper media is in decline.
It is vital to expand the way we communicate.
"Can a Government conduct an effective campaign via the web?
The answer is no," said Dr.Latar.
"This would be condemned as propaganda and lack credibility. The Government must recruit NGOs in an effective campaign fand have them use social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs such as this, and other such outlets.
Governments have to hire professionals to adopt the message that goes out via all the social networks.
LIOR CHOREV disclosed that 70,000 internet users were following the Herzlia Conference live. Discourse between human beings and not authorities succeeds in getting your point across. The Palestinians use this successfully. We have the skill but not the strategy.
GIDI GRINSTEIN of the Reut Institute told us that, since World War 2, more states than collapsed politically than militarily.
This is the aim and the danger of the delegitimization campagin against Israel.
When under attack by social networks Israel needs to develop its own network campaign.
This has not been properly exploited.
The Foreign Ministry have 220 diplomats around the world with no budget . This vastly reduces the effectiveness of Israel's message.
Social networking is cheap and more effective.
RON PROSOR, Israel's Ambasador to Britain said that the Foreign Ministry's Hasbara does not have to be apologetic. He said there were four main warfronts in Britain:
1. Media. Britain rules the Airwaves with the BBC and Sky based in London as are the major English speaking broadsheets.
2. Universities. Students come from around the world and they join the university political movements. The liberal left, together with the radicals, abuse academic freedoms to delegitimize Israel.
It hs been impossible for Prosor to visit campuses without been greeted by noisy and sometimes violent protests. Jewish students feel threatened. This is a blueprint for the U.S. and it is taking root there .
3. NGOs such as Oxfam, Christian Aid, Amnesty are based in London. They are active daily with Parliament, the media, communities, promoting their agendas whcih is broadly anti-Israel.
4. Lawfare. The British legal sytem is being abused in order to bring arrest warrants and charges against Israelis in Britain
In conclusion Prosor said it is impossible to fight delegimization without the resources to do so.
LORNA FITZSIMONS told of her remarkable story of going from being a Labor MP for Rochdale and, as a Christian, to head the prominent pro-Israel Jewish lobby group BICOM.
About Israel's narrative she said that credibility was the key word. Credibility of the messenger, and credibility of the message. Once you have your message keep repeating it constantly. It works for the Palestinians. It will work for Israel.
There seems to be a better understanding in the Israeli Government for the need to seriously address Israel's image and to improve its narrative. This may be a result of the siege mentality from the growing threats of delegitimization but steps are being taken to improve Israel's strategy in facing these challenges.
The highlight events of the Conference take place in the evening.
PROSPECTS OF PEACE was the final program on Day 2.
SHAUL MOFAZ said he had a master plan to instigate a two state solution. This is a two stage plan.
Stage 1 will require Israel to withdraw to defenceable borders while the Palestinians will have a state with provisional borders on 60% of the West Bank containing 90% of the population.
Stage 2 will give the Palestinians additional territory which will be the same size as in 1967 but not the same borders.
The current Government, he said, did not have a plan and we are forced to take steps that are not in our best interest.
No Israeli Government is going to remove 240,000 citizens from their homes in the West Bank. Clearly the major center there will remain as part of Israel.
Negotiating with a master plan gives hope to both sides. Mofaz said he saw no signs of peace without such a plan.
Hizbollah and Hamas are preparing for the next round in the conflict. Without a peace plan we will not see the current calm situation continuing.
Peace with the Palestinians is the key to peace with other Arab neighbours.
An interesting interchange between ELLIOTT ABRAMS and DAN KURTZER evolved around the Arab initiative.
"Arab peace initiatives were not born out of sudden love of Israel", said Kurtzer "rather as a need to free up conflict management so that they can deal with the Shiite-Sunni conflict".
Retrospectively, it was a mistake for Clinton in 1997/8 not to bring the moderate Arab states into the peace process.
If you honor the Arab world there will be an Arab partner to facilitate the peace process for the Palestinians.
On the other hand, ELLIOTT ABRAMS said that Arab support did not bring Arafat to agree at Camp David, nor Abu Mazen at Annapolis.
Obama concluded that freezing all settlement activities would be a way to bring the Arab states onboard. This, it turned out, was not a realistic assessment.
Abrams reminded us that no Arab leader had set foot in the West Bank.
Arabs, he said, can contribute to the Palestinians society from the bottom up. It will never work at the negotiating table.
Contributing to this discussion DAN SCHUEFTAN, the Director of the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa, said that the Saudis wanted us to sign on the bottom line their Peace Initiative without having us discuss or negotiate the terms.
According to Schueftan the situation for peace is weaker today. The radicals are perceived in the Arab world as winning.
The Americans have reached a dead end in the peace process. There is no new peace initiative. The global balance will be with the radicals.
The unchallenged successes of Iran , Hizbollah, Hamas, Syria show that the radicals are winning. Turkey has moved towards Iran. and Syria.
The West has no operative answer to this threat.
As for Israel, long range rockets can reach Israel's major cities from Iran, Lebanon, and also from Gaza.
Goldstone will prevent Israel from responding effectively against violence and, if Israel does respond, it will be condemned.
Based on the above what can be done.
"We need to change the paradyms," said Schueftan.
"How did we live for generations without peace agreements? Is it tolerable to live in a state of no war and no peace? Unilateralism is not a bad policy. Is Israel better without Gaza than with it? I believe that Israeli society is stronger without Gaza than with it".
DANNY ROTSCHILD said that the Arab peace intitiatives is a way for Arab nations to participate in the peace process and a good thing. Only negotiating with the Palestinisn will produce peace. Most Israelis will say that, after withdrawing from Gaza and getting rockets, they have lost trust. Israelis want to see what they will get before making any future move.
No Palestinian leader is capable of taking hard decisions without the support of the Arab states. Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have close reasons to be involved. They can guarantee the terms that must be agreed by any Palestinian leader to a peace agreement. Without this no Palestinian leader can sell a peace agreement to his people.
Some of the Arab countries will also be asking for compensation for hosting Palestinian refugees for decades as part of any peace agreement.
There is a clear interest of the moderate Arab states in a peace settlement due to the threat from the growing radical elements in the region.
"Any Arab intervention is a win-win situtation", concluded Rotschild.
AMOS GILEAD is the head of the Political-Military Branch of the Ministry of Defence. He is an important conduit between the Israeli Government and neighbouring Arab countries and is closely involved in Israel's security and defence.
He reported that the unprecedented performance of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank against Hamas is to prevent a Hamastan there. They lost out big time in Gaza an they are determined that it won't happen in the West Bank. There is an unwritten war going on between the PA and Hamas.
'We should be cautious about rushing into peace negotiations too early", he warned.
"Direct negotiations that fail can be worse than no negotiations at all. Failure in peace talks is a victory for the radicals."
He also viewed that the PLO will not be able to sign an agreement while Hamas is strong.
Israel cannot change the security arrangements in the territories as long as another Hamastan is a real threat.
"Improve the condition of the Palestinians with the 'bottom up' policy and don't waste time entering into peace negotiations", was Gilead's advise.
Some interesting closing remarks included
ELLIOTT ABRAMS. "Israel and the Palestinians negotiated for twenty years while Israel expanded settlements so why not now? The settlements are no reason or precedent why Abu Mazen cannot continue talks with Israel."
MALCOLM HOENLEIN responded with "Twenty years of settlement activity may not have impeded negotiations, but maybe they impeded an agreement".
ELLIOTT ABRAMS returned with "Nothing that Barak offered Arafat at Camp David would have persuaded Arafat to sign an agreement. Nothing that Olmert offered Abu Mazen would have persuaded him to sign an agreement. The Palestinians have proven themselves incapable of signing an agreement with Israel".
"The problem is not the settlements. The problem is security."
DANNY ROTSCHILD. "Separation from the Palestinians and final status agreement including defined borders is vital for Israe to maintain its Jewish democratic and security needs".
AMOS GILEAD. "We cannot put our trust in international forces to guarantee our security. I don't want to mention countries, there may be representatives in the audience, but their contribution is worthless to our security needs".
The keynote speaker for the evening was DAN MERIDOR who is the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Intelligence and Atomic Energy.
His talk concentrated on the danger of Iran and the Palestinians.
In front of an audience of diplomats, including the American Ambassador, he said that there is a perception in Iran and the region that America is an empire of the past and is weakening.
Nuclear Iran will cause a shift in the Arab world and this is already taking place. If Iran wins this contest with America the resultl be destabilisation.
If Iran wins a contest against the American will this will be even more dangerous for the world as it would have defeated the greatest world power.
This is a contest that America has no alternative but to win.
Looking reality in the face with the Palestinians, Israel tried hard under Olmert to reach an agreement and failed. Is there an ideological rift in Palestinian society. Their demands are enigmatic. Is Abu Mazen going for 1967 borders? Or is it 1948?
"It is not clear to me, even today, if it's 67 or 48", declared Meridor.
Regarding the proposal to stop settlement building Meridor said "Why should Jewish construction stop and not Arab construction?"
As long as the Palestinians think that outside parties will coerse Israel they will do nothing.
"In fact maybe Abu Mazen thinks that doing nothing is not a bad policy for the Palestinians. He gains the world sympathy, Governments and NGOs pump billions of dollars at him, he doesn't have to be accountable for internal development. He is getting by quite nicely without a state."
In conclusion, Meridor said that Israel knows how to give territory for peace.
"Begin did it with Sadat of Egypt. Rabin did it with Jordan. We will know how to make peace with the Palestinians."