Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Israeli Settlements: Reality Vs. Hype

First published in the Jewish Press

The Obama administration's high-profile focus on Israeli settlements and demand for a total freeze of construction beyond the pre-1967 armistice line have delighted many around the world, some of whom may even believe that settlements are the major obstacle to peace. But such views, like the administration's slant on the issue, are based on false premises and oft-repeated misinformation.

Essential, and typically misrepresented, truths about the settlements include facts concerning their origins and history, their status in international law, the status of the land on which they've been built, their place in Israeli-Palestinian agreements, their significance in the context of the search for peace, and the stances taken by various American administrations regarding them.

In the wake of the 1967 Six-Day War, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 242, calling for Israeli withdrawal from captured lands but also - rather than full withdrawal - negotiation of "secure and recognized boundaries." The framers of 242 acknowledged that the pre-war lines put Israel at perpetual risk. They supported Israel retaining some areas.

Lord Caradon, then Britain's UN ambassador, introduced Resolution 242. He told a Lebanese interviewer years later, "It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial. After all, they were just the places where the soldiers on each side happened to be on the day the fighting stopped in 1948. They were just armistice lines. That's why we didn't demand that the Israelis return to them, and I think we were right not to "

Shortly after the war, President Lyndon Johnson said Israel's retreat to its former lines would be "not a prescription for peace but for renewed hostilities." He advocated new boundaries that provided "security against terror, destruction, and war."

Media and governments unsympathetic to Israel commonly misrepresent 242. In the summer of 2000, when Israel, the Palestinian Authority and President Clinton met at Camp David in an attempt to forge a final status agreement, The New York Times on three different occasions claimed 242 called for Israel to retreat to the pre-1967 lines. Each time it also published a correction, but only after the third correction did it finally desist from distorting the resolution.

Media and governments also typically refer to the entire West Bank as "occupied" or "Palestinian" territory, although it is formally neither. Since, under the terms of 242, and according to the UN charter, Arabs and Israelis both have claims on the land that are to be reconciled by negotiation, the area is more properly designated "disputed" territory.

In fact, there is a broad consensus in Israel for forgoing claims to much of the territory while insisting on certain essential adjustments. Virtually from the end of the 1967 fighting, Israel has sought to address particular strategic vulnerabilities: the nation's nine-mile width; the security of Jerusalem; the domination of Israel's population centers, on the coastal plain, by heights beyond the pre-war lines; and the strategic necessity of controlling the Jordan Valley.

At the same time, Israel recognized the advisability of separating itself from the Arab population on the West Bank, and its defining of vital strategic areas emphasized locations away from Arab population centers. Moreover, areas of most critical strategic importance were also, typically, sparsely populated.

(Nor, contrary to Israel's detractors, have Israeli leaders thought in terms of ceding Arab population centers as isolated "cantons." Most Israelis have appreciated the importance of contiguity for ceded areas, not least because contiguity would facilitate viable separation. Also noteworthy is that a unified Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank would require a secure connecting route across Israel, yet few of those complaining of a "cantonized" Palestinian entity seem concerned that such a corridor would entail Israel compromising its own territorial contiguity.)

Labor governments that led Israel through the first decade after the 1967 war sought to reinforce Israel's claim to vital strategic areas by establishing "facts on the ground" in the form of settlements built on unoccupied public, or "state," land. Subsequent Likud-led governments diverged from this pattern by also creating settlements close to Arab population centers, typically in places of Jewish religious and historical significance. Labor leaders, including Yitzhak Rabin, responded by distinguishing between necessary security settlements and "ideological" settlements.

In none of Israel's prior agreements with Palestinian or other Arab parties - including the Oslo-era accords - did Israel accede to a cessation of all growth in Jewish communities beyond the pre-1967 armistice lines. On the issue of retaining defensible borders, Rabin, for example, in his last speech to the Knesset before his assassination, reaffirmed the necessity of Israel remaining in control of the Jordan Valley "in the widest sense," meaning control as well over the heights dominating the valley.

The 2003 "road map" put forward under the auspices of the Quartet (the U.S., Russia, the European Union and the UN) does call, as part of Phase I, for a complete cessation of settlement growth. But the road map, while endorsed by the Israeli cabinet, has never been officially accepted by the Palestinian Authority.

Moreover, Phase I also requires extensive steps "at the outset" by the PA. These include security measures aimed particularly at ending all anti-Israel terrorism and dismantling terrorist infrastructures and independent militias; institution-building intended to establish a "strong parliamentary democracy"; and an end to anti-Israel incitement.

There has, of course, been virtually no movement by the Palestinians on any of these steps. On the contrary, Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah continues, just like Hamas, to promote anti-Israel terror, employ its media, mosques and schools to attack Israel's legitimacy and call for its destruction, and praise terrorist "martyrs." Indeed, Abbas himself has refused to endorse Israel's legitimacy, demands a Palestinian "right of return" that would transform Israel into yet another Arab-dominated state in the region, and continues to honor those who died attacking Israeli civilians.

In addition, President Bush, in his April 2004 letter to Prime Minister Sharon, called for "secure, defensible borders" for Israel and stated that "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion."

While the latter statement may differ in wording from those of earlier presidents, other presidents as well have endorsed the necessity of defensible borders for Israel and Israel's retention of some territory beyond the 1949 armistice lines.

There is presently sharp debate between the Netanyahu and Obama administrations on whether the Bush administration agreed to Israeli growth within the boundaries of major settlements even in the context of the road map, with some U.S. officials involved in the relevant deliberations agreeing with the Israeli stance. In any case, there is no debate about the Bush letter, and virtually all settlement growth in the years since that communication has been within the large settlement blocs that Bush as well as most of his predecessors envisioned being retained by Israel. In addition, Israel has not enlarged the boundaries of those settlements or established new settlements.

A separate question is that of the legality of the settlements under international law. While it has been popular, particularly in the Muslim world and in Europe, to simply call the settlements illegal, there is much in international law, including the UN charter, that weighs in the other direction.

Numerous experts on international law have also attested to the legality of the settlements. For example, Eugene Rostow, former dean of Yale Law School and undersecretary of state, wrote in 1991, "The Jewish right of settlement... west of the Jordan River, that is, in Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip... has never been terminated and cannot be terminated except by a recognized peace between Israel and its neighbors..."

It was largely because of the weight of evidence on their legality that all American presidents except for Jimmy Carter and perhaps Barack Obama (who has used the term "illegitimate") have refrained from characterizing the settlements as illegal. Earlier presidents have rather criticized them as unhelpful, or as obstacles to a negotiated agreement, in view of Arab objections to them.

The heyday of settlements being viewed as a major obstacle to "peace" was during the years leading up to Oslo and then during the Oslo era, when Israel's peace movement aggressively advanced the argument that the dispute with Israel's neighbors was essentially one of borders and if Israel would only retreat to its pre-1967 lines peace would follow. This was the peace movement's thesis even as all Palestinian parties continued to make clear, in words - at least their words in Arabic - and actions, that their goal remained Israel's annihilation.

Since Arafat's rejection of Israeli concessions at the Camp David meetings in 2000 and at Taba, his dismissal of President Clinton's bridging proposals, his refusal to offer counter-proposals and his launching instead a terror war against Israel, most Israelis have been disabused of the delusions of the peace movement. If their views were not changed by Arafat's war, they were swayed by the aftermath of Israel's total withdrawal from Gaza, when the response by the other side was increased smuggling of arms into Gaza and the launching of thousands of rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel.

The great majority of Israelis now agree with the necessity of the nation's retaining defensible borders and are supportive of settlements in strategically vital areas. One response by the true believers in the peace camp has been to shift their attack on the settlements from emphasis on their being obstacles to peace to claims of their having been built largely on privately owned Palestinian land - rather than exclusively on public or state land, as all Israeli governments have asserted - and being illegal for this reason. But these claims are no less fraudulent and bogus than Peace Now's earlier assertions that Israeli withdrawal was the key to Arab-Israeli peace.

For example, Peace Now declared that 85 percent of Ma'ale Adumim, the largest of Israel's West Bank settlements, had been privately owned Palestinian land. When challenged with the relevant documentation, Peace Now amended its claim to 0.5 percent, acknowledging a 17,000 percent overstatement. Even this claim of 0.5 percent is highly dubious.

In another instance, Peace Now asserted that more than 70 percent of the settlement of Revava was built on privately owned Arab land. When challenged, it modified its claim to 22 percent. The settlement sued Peace Now, insisting Revava was built entirely on state lands. The court ruled in favor of the settlement, and Peace Now and the two authors of its report on Revava had to pay a 20,000-shekel fine and publish a retraction of their false claim in major Israeli newspapers.

Another point often mustered against the settlements is that they represent an attempt to influence the outcome of negotiations on ultimate borders. This is certainly true; the settlement policy initiated by the Labor-dominated government in the wake of the 1967 war sought to influence the results of negotiations by strengthening Israel's claim to key areas.

Again, the legitimacy of Israel's claim to border revisions is recognized in Security Council Resolution 242 and was explicitly asserted by the resolution's authors. But, in addition, diplomatic declarations that condemn settlement activity or insist on its ending because it prejudices future negotiations disregard another central issue: The Palestinians have also engaged in settlement activity in disputed areas - construction likewise intended to influence negotiations.

Especially after creation of the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian leadership aggressively promoted building in empty areas between the 1949 armistice line and nearby Israeli security settlements, seeking to cut settlements off from pre-1967 Israel. The Arabs also undertook aggressive construction in empty areas in and near Jerusalem, trying to prevent Israel from establishing and sustaining a presence that would enable it to defend the city as it had not been able to do when Jerusalem was attacked in 1948 and in the opening of the 1967 war.

This Arab construction was not propelled by demographic need. Tracts of housing built in previously empty regions, much of it financed by Saudi money funneled through the Palestinian Authority, remained largely unoccupied; they were erected to stake political claims. Palestinian leaders responsible for the Jerusalem area, such as Faisal Husseini and Ziad Abu Ziad, spoke of directing construction to isolate Jewish neighborhoods. In January, 2002, Natan Sharansky, then minister of housing, reported "at least 40,000" housing units had been built with Saudi money for political purposes.

Who has criticized this Arab construction as prejudicing future negotiations?

The strategic imperatives that figured in the formulation of Resolution 242 are still relevant. The topography of the region has not changed, nor have the threats to Israel from its neighbors diminished.

Even if Hamas were not continuing to prepare for the next round in its terror war, even if the Mahmoud Abbas and his associates were not ambiguous at best in their acceptance of Israel, even if the language of genocide and acts of terror were put aside for some extended period, Israel would require defensible borders as it seeks to survive in a neighborhood that will continue to be dangerous.

Those who demand an end to Israeli construction intended to attain viable borders serve more to guarantee future violence than to advance the quest for a sustainable cessation of hostilities and, ultimately, a durable peace.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Genocidal Linkage

First published on

The world’s media have given scant coverage lately to the ongoing genocide in Darfur, and - despite extensive reporting on Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict - they have likewise offered little on the continuing campaign of genocidal incitement against Israel by her enemies. While seeming very separate issues, the two campaigns, and the choice by media and world leaders largely to ignore both, are, in fact, connected.

On one level, of course, the connection is obvious. Israel-hatred is spearheaded by the Arab world; in virtually every Arab nation, demonizing and delegitimizing of Israel, and often of Jews, is a staple of government-controlled media, schools and mosques. This is true even of the Arab states with which Israel is formally at peace. At the same time, the Arab world is the chief support of fellow Arab leader Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his Sudanese regime's genocidal assault on the Muslim blacks of Darfur. Illustrative was the Arab League’s unanimous, effusive embrace and defense of al-Bashir at its meeting in Doha, Qatar, in March, shortly after his indictment by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Tunisian human rights activist Mohammed Bechri several years ago argued that to understand Arab support for the genocide in Darfur, one has to recognize the "twin fascisms" - Bechri’s term - that dominate the Arab world: Islamism and Pan-Arabism. The first rejects the legitimacy of any non-Muslim group within what the Arabs perceive as their proper domain; the latter takes the same view towards any non-Arab group. The genocidal rhetoric, and efforts at mass murder, directed at Israel, and the genocidal assault on the Muslim but non-Arab people of Darfur follow from this mindset. (Bechri’s "twin fascisms" also account for the besiegement of Christians across the Arab world and backing for Sudan’s murder of some two million Christian and animist blacks in the south of the country. They help explain as well broad Arab support for the mass murder of Kurds - a Muslim but non-Arab people - in Iraq by Saddam Hussein and for the besiegement of the Kurds of Syria and the Berbers - another non-Arab Muslim group - in Algeria.)

But the connection between animosity towards Israel and coldness towards the victims in Darfur extends beyond the Arab world. It embraces, for example, all those European leaders who bend their consciences to accommodate Arab power - in oil, money and strategic territories - and who may pay lip service to recognizing the murderous incitement and related threats faced by Israel or to deploring the crimes suffered by Darfur but refuse to take serious steps to curb either.

Nor are American leaders entirely free of similar predilections. President Bush (43) was certainly sympathetic to Israel’s predicament. But he sought to assuage Arab opinion by pushing for rapid movement towards a Palestinian state and endorsing Machmoud Abbas as Israel’s "peace" partner, even as Abbas refused to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state, consistently praised anti-Israel terror and stood fast in demanding a "right of return" that would turn Israel into yet another Arab-dominated entity. (On Darfur, the "moderate" Abbas responded to the ICC indictment by declaring, "We must also take a decisive stance of solidarity alongside fraternal Sudan and President Omar al-Bashir.") Regarding Darfur, President Bush led the way in condemning Sudan’s campaign of mass murder and rape and first calling it a genocide. But - already attacked for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - he was not prepared to act aggressively against a third Muslim nation, even though doing so would have been aimed at saving hundreds of thousands of Muslim lives.

President Obama has adopted winning over Arab and broader Muslim opinion as a foreign policy priority and he has shown little interest in according more than verbal acknowledgment to the threats facing Israel. At the same time, those in the Muslim world whose good opinion he is most seeking to win are not the Muslims of Darfur but rather Darfur’s oppressors and their supporters. Some of President Obama’s ardent backers have expressed dismay, and have been openly critical of him, for what they see as his reneging on campaign pledges to put Darfur at the top of his agenda. (For example, Kirsten Powers, "Bam’s Darfur Sins," in the New York Post, May 11, 2009). But given his focus on appeasing Muslims hostile to America, his inaction on Darfur should not surprise.

In major Western media as well, deference to Arab opinion vis-a-vis Israel has generally been accompanied by silence on the central role of the Arab world in providing support for Sudan’s actions in Darfur. While the Arab League’s embrace in Doha of Sudanese President al-Bashir was widely reported, few major outlets offered editorial criticism of the Arab stance - The Washington Post being a notable exception. The New York Times, which for decades has used both "news stories" and editorials to argue that Israeli concessions are the key to peace and has refused to cover the genocidal incitement against Israel and Jews endemic in Palestinian and broader Arab media, mosques and schools, offered no editorial opinion on the Doha meeting.

Several years ago, the Times’ Nicholas Kristof won a Pulitzer Prize for his op-ed coverage of the slaughter in Darfur. Kristof is a constant critic of Israel and, like his bosses, avoids the issue of rejection of Israel’s legitimacy, and promotion of genocidal hatred towards the Jewish state, by its Arab neighbors. In a similar vein, for all his extensive writing on Darfur, he generally avoided the Arab role in supporting the genocide. In some forty op-eds on Darfur published between March, 2004, and April, 2006, shortly after he won the Pulitzer, Kristof devoted only five sentences to Arab backing of the Sudanese regime, and that in an article focused on China’s shameful complicity in Darfur.

But if all this not is very surprising, there are also more curious aspects to the convergence of animosity, often of murderous dimensions, towards Israel and sympathy for, or at least indulgence of, those who perpetrate the genocide in Darfur.

For example, while Egypt has not overtly broken with the unanimous Arab League support for al-Bashir, Egyptian President Mubarak chose not to attend the Doha conference, and he and some other Arab leaders have been worried about the Islamist Sudanese regime’s close ties to Iran and to Iran’s radical Arab allies, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. Yet a number of Western leaders, who advocate "dialogue" with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, prefer to ignore their genocidal agenda towards Israel and their leading role in aiding Sudan’s genocidal government - in effect, outpacing Egyptian backing of al-Bashir by soft-pedaling the role in Sudan of those most supportive of al-Bashir’s murderous regime.

Iran has long given extensive financial assistance to the Sudanese government, has provided its forces with weapons and training and has underwritten Chinese provision of arms to al-Bashir. Sudan, again with Iran serving as financier and mid-wife, has also been a training ground for Hamas, fostering as well an ongoing cross-fertilization between Hamas and the militias responsible for the Darfur genocide. Hezbollah and Syria have likewise been in the forefront of Sudan’s supporters and enablers.

Following the International Criminal Court’s action against al-Bashir, a delegation of his radical allies quickly arrived in Khartoum in a show of solidarity with their indicted brother. It included the speaker of Iran’s parliament, Ali Larijani, Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk, Syrian parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Abrash and an official of Hezbollah. Hamas also sponsored a large pro-Sudan march in Gaza.

But inevitably, Khartoum’s allies’ contributions to the Darfur genocide, like their promotion of genocide vis-a-vis Israel, are ignored by those eager for diplomatic engagement with them.

Also in early March, around the time of the ICC indictment, the British Foreign Office, led by Foreign Secretary David Miliband, announced its agreement to talks with Hezbollah. More recently, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner have met with Hezbollah representatives. Hezbollah head Nasrallah’s commitment to the murder of all Jews - as in his 2002 statement that "if [the Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide" (in the past Hezbollah has gone after them as far afield as in Argentina) - was hardly something Miliband and the Foreign Office, or the Quai D’Orsay, or Solana and the European Union, or those British and continental media sympathetic to Hezbollah, were about to note. Nor were they going to note Hezbollah’s support for Sudan’s policies in Darfur.

Similarly, those many European leaders promoting engagement with Hamas typically avoid acknowledging Hamas’s call in its charter for the slaughter of all Jews, its teaching Palestinian children - in its schools and on children’s television - that Jews are eternal enemies of Islam and must be annihilated, and its other purveying of genocidal Jew-hatred. In April, the Dutch Labor party demanded that the European Union sanction Israel if it refuses to accept Hamas as a negotiating partner. Dutch Labor party leaders and like-minded European politicians, in their efforts to push acceptance of Hamas, soft-pedal its aims regarding Israelis and Jews and likewise say little about Hamas’s support of and contributions to Sudan’s genocidal assault on the blacks of Darfur.

European media that are hostile to Israel also virtually ignore Hamas’s genocidal policies and actions regarding both Israel and Darfur. British news outlets such as The Guardian and The Independent, which had barely covered years of Hamas rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli communities, or Hamas use of civilians and civilian facilities as shields for its attacks, but excoriated Israel when it responded with its assault on Hamas beginning in December, 2008, are likewise essentially silent regarding Hamas’s promotion of mass murder in Israel and support for mass murder in Darfur. The same is true for myriad news outlets on the Continent.

Most American political leaders have shunned Hamas for its commitment - in words and deeds - to Israel’s destruction and for its genocidal agenda. (There are some notable exceptions such as Jimmy Carter, who has met with Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal and urged including Hamas in "peace" talks.) But many American media organizations, particularly those, like the New York Times, most committed to portraying Israeli policy as the major obstacle to peace, have followed their European counterparts in saying little of Hamas’s genocidal policies regarding Jews or of its support for Sudan’s genocidal policies in Darfur.

One might expect Western university campuses, often in the forefront of humanitarian activism, to take the lead in rallying opposition to the genocide in Darfur and in demanding intervention to stop the killing. But the current fashion on campuses both in Europe and the United States, driven by Muslim and far Left student organizations and their faculty sympathizers, is intense hostility to Israel, and this has served to preclude attention either to murderous Arab incitement against Jews or to broad Arab complicity - and more particularly that of organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas - in the Darfur genocide. When campus political discourse favors standing truth on its head, as in the University of California-Irvine’s recent week-long program entitled, "Israel: The Politics of Genocide," which essentially entailed speaker after speaker accusing Israel of genocidal actions against the Palestinians, there is hardly inclination to challenge those, including Palestinian organizations, genuinely pursuing genocide, whether targeting Jews or the population of Darfur.

Even people whom one might expect to identify most closely with the victims of the Darfur genocide often do nothing, or limit their actions to words, or actually lend support to the perpetrators, in large part because of pro-Arab sympathies or hostility to Israel. Congress has one Muslim black representative, Minnesota’s Keith Ellison, and Ellison has at times spoken out against the Darfur genocide. In April, for example, he joined a protest at the Sudanese embassy in Washington and was arrested along with other demonstrators. But Ellison has consistently supported pro-Hamas groups in America. He also aggressively embraced the Hamas line in last winter’s Gaza War in terms of alleged civilian casualties and Israeli misdeeds while remaining silent on Hamas use of civilians and civilian facilities as shields for attacks on Israel. Ellison has likewise never publicly addressed Hamas’s alliance with Sudan and its backing of Sudanese policies in Darfur. Alignment with those arrayed against Israel seems to trump criticism of those arrayed against Darfur for the Minnesota congressman.

Pulitzer Prize-winning African-American writer Alice Walker, like Ellison, visited Gaza after the recent hostilities, followed the Hamas line on events there, and was silent on the thousands of Hamas rocket and mortar attacks against Israel as well as on the Islamist organization’s use of civilian shields as a strategic weapon in its war to destroy the Jewish state. Before arriving in Gaza, Walker pronounced, sanctimoniously and apparently without intended irony, that "I love children and I feel that the Palestinian child is just as precious as the African-American child, or the Jewish child." Neither while a guest of Hamas in Gaza nor at any other time has she publicly objected to the organization’s use of Palestinian children as human shields, or to its declared objective of killing all Jews, including Jewish children, or to its intentional targeting of children in terror attacks. Nor has she taken issue with Hamas’s support for Sudan’s mass murder of the children of Darfur.

No less perverse has been the stance of some Jewish organizations. In general, Jewish groups, and Jewish individuals, have taken to heart the injunction "never again" vis-a-vis any acts of genocide and have played a leading role in speaking out against the mass murder in Darfur and urging intervention to stop the slaughter. Their role has led Arab and other apologists for the Sudanese regime to complain that the claims of massacres in Darfur are a "Zionist plot."

But some far Left Jewish institutions and organizations, both in Israel and America, in their eagerness to promote the thesis that sufficient Israeli concessions will win peace, choose to ignore the indoctrination to Israel’s destruction and to genocide that pervades Palestinian and broader Arab media, mosques and schools. Whether they do so out of wishful thinking, not wanting to recognize the annihilationist agenda of Israel’s neighbors, or do so to ingratiate themselves with anti-Israel circles in the West, the refusal to address the genocidal intent of Israel’s enemies leads inevitably to these groups downplaying as well the role of Israel’s enemies in supporting Sudan’s crimes in Darfur.

For example, the editors of Israel’s far Left Haaretz, the newspaper of Israel’s elites, have repeatedly called for Israel to negotiate with Hamas and declared that Israel’s refusal to do so and make sufficient concessions is prolonging the Israeli-Arab conflict. In keeping with this line, Haaretz’s editors rarely address Hamas’s charter and downplay the organization’s other declarations calling for the extermination not only of Israel but of all Jews. Consistent with this whitewashing of Hamas, Haaretz’s editors have had little to say about its support for the genocide in Darfur. Indeed, consistent with its failure to address murderous delegitimization and demonization of Israel in the Arab world more broadly, Haaretz has also had little to say of Muslim Arabs’ targeting of other minorities living amongst them, including the Muslim blacks of Darfur.

The same perverse pattern can be seen among various left-leaning Jewish American groups and their followers. "J Street" was established by people who construe other Jewish American organizations as too hardline in their approach to the Israeli-Arab conflict. It advocates exclusive focus on negotiations, and it lobbies for greater American engagement in pushing for rapid agreement on a "peace" accord. During last winter's Gaza War, J Street's stance was one of even-handedness, emphasizing that "neither Israel nor Palestinians have a monopoly on right or wrong" and that there are "elements of truth on both sides." J Street's tack entails largely ignoring realities that run counter to its promotion of moral equivalence. It essentially ignores the incitement to Israel's destruction and mass murder of its people that is a fixture of Palestinian media, mosques and schools, and, more particularly, the agenda of a religious obligation to annihilate all Jews that is promoted by Gaza's Hamas government. Of course, J Street is likewise silent on Hamas's support for Sudan's genocidal assault on the people of Darfur.

Israel Policy Forum, which advocates positions similar to J Street's, has long called for including Hamas in the "peace" process. In an April, 2008, article entitled "Finding a Way to Bring Hamas In," IPF leaders Seymour Reich and Geoffrey Lewis argued that the fact of Hamas being "the most violent actor" renders all the more crucial its not being left out of negotiations. In April, 2009, IPF welcomed a softening of the American position on Hamas whereby the Obama administration is no longer requiring Hamas to recognize Israel, renounce violence and abide by previous agreements before it would deal with and extend aid to a joint PA-Hamas government. Israel Policy Forum, in its lobbying for engagement with Hamas, is another group that avoids noting Hamas's genocidal agenda vis-a-vis Israel and Jews generally, and predictably does the same vis-a-vis the organization's backing of Sudan's genocide in Darfur.

There is little reason to believe that the leaders and supporters of J Street, Israel Policy Forum and other Jewish organizations that share their political predilections are any less appalled by the genocide in Darfur than Jews generally, including those who have led efforts to spur intervention aimed at ending the suffering in Darfur. But it is a peculiar, rather unwholesome, reality of Jewish communal life that there are some Jewish organizations and their supporters that can be counted on to be outspoken in condemning genocidal policies promoted by any entity, whatever its targeted group, unless that entity happens also to promote genocidal assaults on Jews.

In any case, the delusion by some Jews that sufficient concessions will appease Israel's enemies and critics, and the consequent embrace of an unethical silence on the genocidal aims - whether in Israel or Darfur - of her enemies, can be added to the other factors noted as contributing to the same outcome. The major force driving genocidal agendas toward Israel and Darfur is, again, Arab supremacism. It is abetted in the wider world by power politics, as well as by, in many quarters, a twisted ideological allegiance whose credo requires that hostility to the Jewish state and consequent sympathy for, or prettifying of, those dedicated to her destruction trumps sympathy for Darfur and criticism of those participating in its people's annihilation. The overall result is that powerful links between murderous hatred towards Israel and support for, or at least accommodation of, genocide in Darfur are a fixture of today's geopolitics and go largely unchallenged.