Main menu:

Recent posts

Categories

Archives

Donate

To help keep HP running

 

Or make a one-off donation:

Assorted Thoughts #1: Applying Averages

This is a cross-post by Anonymous Mugwump

This series contains some of the key books, studies, papers and events that I’ve read over the last year. I’ve decided to try to write one of these posts for two reasons. First, because as I finish books, I want a record of some the key insights from them both because it’s useful to refer to and because it might be interesting for other people to read. Second, because it provides a nice little glimpse into the topics that keep my occupied in a particular year and allows for me to track how my thoughts on them develop. In an attempt to publish more and shorter posts, each topic will be a separate post.

#ApplyingAverages Long Live Cohen’s D

This topic, more than any other, has occupied my mind over the course of 2017. It’s a huge shame that it’s not a topic of discussion in public discourse and I think it’s hugely important to have mainstream voices take it on. The issue flared up during the public fallout from the “Google Memo” – but it was an issue I was thinking about in the context of immigration last year. I now feel comfortable that my thoughts on this have fully formed and set them out in detail here.

Consider the following findings:

An analysis of the available FBI data by Vox’s Dara Lind found that US police kill black people at disproportionate rates: Black people accounted for 31 percent of police killing victims in 2012, even though they made up just 13 percent of the US population (Vox, 2017).

As shown [reproductive women in the US who had] ever [had an] abortion, sterilization, and methods of contraception increase the likelihood of divorce compared to ever married women who have never used these methods of family planning from one to two times the risk of divorce, having an abortion in the past twelve months did not meet statistical significance (Fehring (2015))

The physiological differences between the sexes disadvantage women in strength-based and aerobic fitness tests by 20 to 40%; so for the same output women have to work harder than men. Despite the differences, there will be some women, amongst the physical elite who will achieve the entry tests for GCC roles. But these women will be more susceptible to acute short term injury than men: in the Army’s current predominantly single sex initial military training, women have a twofold higher risk of musculoskeletal (MSK) injury. The roles that require individuals to carry weight for prolonged periods are likely to be the most damaging… On recent operations women experienced a 15 to 20% higher rate of Disease Non Battle Injury (DNBI) (“Women in Ground Close Combat Review Paper”, Ministry of Defence Review, December 2014).

Young black people are nine times more likely to be locked up in England and Wales than their white peers, according to Ministry of Justice analysis picked up by Lammy. The BAME proportion of youth prisoners rose from 25% in 2006 to 41% last year (The Guardian on the Lammy Review)

66% of global terrorism [in 2014 was] attributable to just four groups: Islamic State (Isis) in Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Taliban in Afghanistan and al-Qaida (The Guardian on the Global Terrorism Index 2014)

Rates of estimated diagnoses of HIV infection, rates of people living with HIV, and rates of P&S syphilis were higher among MSM than among other men or women.. The rate ratios indicate disparities between MSM and other men and MSM and women. Comparing MSM to other men, the estimated rate of diagnoses of HIV infection in 2008 was 59 to 75 times as high, the estimated rate of MSM living with a diagnosis of HIV infection was 38 to 48 times as high (Table ​55), and the P&S syphilis diagnosis rate was 63 to 79 times as high (Purcell et al (2012))

84% of ‘grooming gang’ offenders were (South) Asian, while they only make up 7% of total UK population and that the majority of these offenders are of Pakistani origin with Muslim heritage (Qulliam (2017)).

The point here is not whether any of these findings are true, but how we should act if they were. Could it be said that, for example, on the basis that women on average “experienced a 15 to 20% higher rate of Disease Non Battle Injury (DNBI)”, they should not be allowed in to serve in direct combat roles? Should the different infection rates among homosexuals vs  heterosexuals mean they shouldn’t be able to donate blood, or, as Heritage stated back in 1994, the “risk of AIDS is itself sufficient reason to deny gays the privilege of serving in the U.S. military”? Or that given we see average differences between races in the crime stats that the criminal justice system is prejudiced? Or that given that Muslim groups are responsible for a majority of global terrorism that we should have a ban on Muslims entering the country.

You can clearly see why I think this area requires mainstream voices actively talking about the issue. These are the implications that reactionaries and nativists come to. Without an intellectually (and, more particularly) statistically response to these policies, a raft of illiberal policies or policies that can cast doubt on our institutions can be justified. And without actually engaging with the statistics or the arguments, we are potentially left vulnerable to believing dead dogmas, or worse, having our institutions affected.

Do read the rest of the post here



Jo Johnson’s warning to universities on free speech

Although free speech is clearly a vitally important issue, yesterday’s speech by Jo Johnson at Limmud didn’t acknowledge the full complexities of the university context.  For a start, many of the decisions which have caused controversy (barriers put in the way of external speakers such as Peter Tatchell and Germaine Greer for example) were made by student unions, not universities themselves. It’s also worth noting that Germaine Greer did in fact speak at Cardiff University, protests notwithstanding.

It could also be argued that the Government has sent out contradictory signals on this issue. Whatever one thinks of Prevent, or the ways it is implemented, it seems reasonable to consider whether speaker guidelines and other constraints may be inhibiting the free exchange of ideas.  That may not be the intention, but it seems quite possible that students and staff may, at the very least, be put off arranging certain events by the paperwork.

The Israel/Palestine conflict offers a useful touchstone for the free speech dilemmas posed to universities.  Earlier this year Jo Johnson wrote to universities urging them to do more to counter antisemitism and crack down, in particular, on Israel Apartheid Week. Although it is sometimes difficult to pin down the precise reasons for an event’s cancellation, there have since been several claims that events critical of Israel have been prevented from taking place.  Is there now a danger that universities, in policing such events over zealously in response to Johnson’s earlier directive, will fall foul of the new Office for Students?

Johnson doesn’t advocate unlimited free speech, or even unlimited free speech within the law. The following crucial caveat followed a brief discussion of the very real concerns about antisemitism on campus:

There is no place in our society – including within higher education – for hatred or any form of discrimination or racism such as anti-Semitism.

A racist and anti-semitic environment is by definition an illiberal one that is totally antithetical to the idea of a university in a free society.

How exactly should these words be interpreted? Invitations to Charles Murray have caused outrage in the States – would he be classed as a racist, for whom there is no place, or as an uncomfortable dissident voice to whom we need to listen? Jo Johnson picked out Rosalind Franklin for praise in his speech. But should her colleague James Watson be barred because of his views on race? Some people think Zionism is racist – others think anti-zionists are antisemitic. How are universities supposed to arbitrate between such competing opinions?

It would have helped if Jo Johnson had given some meaningful examples of borderline cases – cases a bit more challenging than Greer or Tatchell. Islamists would be the obvious example, the far right another.  Although superficially Johnson’s words seemed clear and direct, much that he said was ambiguous and open to interpretation. I’m sure different people would go away from that speech with quite different views on who should be encouraged to speak at universities and who debarred.

Here’s an example of Johnson’s slipperiness. He first uses the term ‘liberal’ in the broadest sense, even draws attention to this point, and then (motte and bailey style) narrows it down to fit his own political agenda.

A university is the quintessential liberal institution. Not liberal in a narrow party political sense, but in the true liberal of free and rigorous inquiry, of liberty and of tolerance.

The liberal tradition is a noble and important one; but today it finds itself under threat. Liberal politics are under threat from national and populist parties around the world. Economic liberalism is under threat from those who turn to protectionism for quick-fix solutions to complex problems.

Overall I find myself drawn to agree with Amatey Doku from the NUS who sees the whole speech as something of a distraction from the pressing problems facing universities in the wake of Brexit and uncertainties over fees and funding.  One case Johnson cited (if cited is the right word when he offered no precise detail) seemed pure Daily Mail clickbait.

And speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Johnson said students at one university had created an extensive list of ‘trigger words’ and demanded any books containing them be removed from the library.

If the books really had been removed – that would be something to worry about. But I assume we would have been told if that had happened.

Off hand I can think of just two examples of book choices being limited to students.  One was a real storm in a teacup – an academic said she might not be inclined to teach Fanny Hill in the present climate. Here’s the Daily Mail’s over-egged report.  (I find it equally easy to imagine the DM yelping with horror if students were required to study that novel.)

The other case which occurs to me is rather more complex. This was a campaign to get the books of David Irving removed from open display in the University of Manchester library. Here Keith Kahn-Harris reflects thoughtfully on the dilemmas facing us once we begin to go down this route:

There are all kinds of other works whose scholarship is as flawed as Irving’s, and whose ability to mislead students and scholars is just as profound. Should libraries restrict access to contemporary books denying anthropogenic climate change or advocating “intelligent design”? What about older volumes advocating eugenics and displaying casual racism? And what about political tracts whose message is vile, but study of which is essential to understand important historical episodes? It would be ironic if the University of Manchester library removed Hitler’s War from open access shelves while leaving Mein Kampf alone.

I’d have more time for Jo Johnson if he had acknowledged – and preferably demonstrated through example – just what a minefield this issue is.

His closing remark was an annoying variation on a debating point I associate with those others might call ‘snowflakes’ – the argument that ‘hate speech’ (how defined?) is not ‘free speech’.

Universities cannot afford to be complacent about complying either with their duties to protect freedom of speech, or anything less than vigilant against hate speech (or other unlawful activity) masquerading as the exercise of the right to freedom of speech.

Finally, here’s an article from a conservative perspective which draws attention to some of the same problems and ambiguities I’ve indicated here.


Ahed Tamimi and Ben Caspit

In a much discussed recent incident in a West Bank village, young female Palestinian activists (including Ahed Tamimi) apparently tried to provoke two Israeli soldiers into a violent reprisal which would show the IDF in a bad light. Video footage shows the soldiers patiently fending off blows from the girls, but carefully avoiding any more forceful retaliation.

This recent report from CBS News correctly points out that the encounter divided onlookers.

The sharply conflicting Palestinian and Israeli interpretations of the widely viewed video clip highlight the deep rift between the two societies, at a time of heightened tension over the status of contested Jerusalem, the centerpiece of the long-running conflict.

However the implication that the split is simply between the Israeli and Palestinian ’sides’ doesn’t capture the full complexity.  (Jewish) Israeli opinion was itself starkly divided.  Some felt the incident reflected shamefully on Israel.  MK Miri Regev had a particularly negative reaction. ‘When I watched that, I felt humiliated, I felt crushed”.  But others praised the soldiers’ restraint:

Avi Buskila, Chairman of the Peace Now organization was quoted as saying that “The soldiers acted heroically, exactly how is expected from them.”

One response, that of Israeli journalist, Ben Caspit seemed disturbing. Several sites reported that he had implicitly called for girls such as Tamimi to be raped. Here’s an extract from Mondoweiss’ report:

But a prominent journalist had a somewhat more cunning suggestion:

“In the case of the girls, we should exact a price at some other opportunity, in the dark, without witnesses and cameras”,

Ben Caspit wrote in his article (Hebrew) on Tuesday.

What might this price exactly be, considering that he is referring specifically to teenage girls? We are left to wonder. Perhaps he wishes to leave it to the imagination of the soldiers who would invade the home at night, ensuring that no cameras are filming.

However this seems to have been translated – and then spun – in a highly misleading fashion.  Ben Caspit is a decidedly liberal journalist, one of those who applauded the IDF’s restraint rather than calling for harsher treatment.  He has now explained his position – here’s an extract, but it’s well worth reading the article in full:

Here, I moved to a comparison between the situation involving the girls and the soldiers to the one between the IDF and the terrorists in Gaza. I summed up by writing that like in Gaza where it is better to contain the events and not allow ourselves to be dragged into an all-out war, the same applies to the Palestinian girls. It was better, I wrote, to get our pay-back later, in the dark, with no witnesses and no cameras. In other words, to carry out the girl’s arrest without having it turn into another shaming video that would go viral on social media. I never imagined that this leftie and defeatist article (as it was tagged that day in Israel) would turn into a shaming campaign from the opposite direction altogether.

Like so much else in this conflict the real meaning of Caspit’s words has been transformed through distortion and a failure to provide the full context.


…And to all a good night

Fortunately, after eight years of brutal repression and enforced “Happy Holidays” greetings, President Trump has given us permission to say “Merry Christmas” again.

Heck, even former President Barack Obama is saying it now. In Hawaiian too.

Oh, wait. Those are clips from when he was was still president.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to all those celebrating the holiday. Even though I’m not a Christian, I found this article by Kevin Williamson, one of my favorite writers and a genuine conservative, quite touching.


Jake Tapper calls out anti-Israel hypocrisy in UN vote

This is a good commentary from Jake Tapper of CNN.

But if the Trump administration is serious about retaliating against countries that voted to condemn the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, I hope it isn’t similarly hypocritical.

For instance, Trump threatened to cut off US aid to poor and developing countries that voted for the resolution. But there was no talk of acting against other countries which supported the resolution– including Saudi Arabia, Russia and China.

I wonder why.


Not Prosecuting Antisemitism in Britain

The announcement by Donald Trump that the USA was recognising Jerusalem was met in London with crowds of people standing outside the embassy screaming Khaybar Khaybar, ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad, sa yahud” or “Jews, remember Khaybar the army of Muhammad is returning”. The video taken by us of this happening went viral.

Several people tweeted that they had reported the call to hatred to the Metropolitan Police service, but who can expect the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to take action on this when they bluntly refuse to prosecute antisemitism as long as its shouted from within a demonstration?

Take their refusal to prosecute Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) bully boy Nazim Ali. While leading the Quds Day march filled with Hezbollah supporters through central London earlier this year he said;

“Some of the biggest corporations who are supporting the Conservative Party are Zionists. They are responsible for the murder in Grenfell. The Zionist supporters of the Tory Party.”

The IHRC made a statement to gloat about the fact that their little star had gotten away with screaming hatred on the streets. According to them blaming Jews for Grenfell is legitimate criticism of the state of Israel;

The decision is a victory for justice and common sense and hopefully draws a line in the sand against the aggressive lobbying of the pro-Israeli lobby to cynically and falsely conflate criticism of the Zionist state with anti-Semitism.

It’s getting old now. The CPS should be astute enough to see that replacing the word ‘Jew’ with ‘Zionist’ isn’t – shouldn’t be – a way for an antisemite to attack Jews and incite hatred against them. By refusing to recognise antisemitism on the streets of Britain the CPS adds to the kinds of frustrations that were expressed by counter demonstrators during the Quds Day march and practically guarantees that such counter protests will rise in intensity in the future.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism have announced that they will pursue a private prosecution against Ali in the same way that they did against others in the past. We’ll see what happens with this.

Let’s see what the CPS does with the complaints of antisemitism outside the US embassy. We’re not overly optimistic.


From Genocide to Football Glory

Guest review by Karl Pfeifer

I am not especially interested in football. However “The Story of Béla Guttmann” is not just about a famous football player and manager; it is also a fascinating history book.

Guttmann lived in the District of Ujpest close to Budapest. This is where he hid during the Hungarian Holocaust. All around him, Jews were rounded up and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Guttmann was born in 1899. As a young man in 1920, he moved to Ujvidék/Novisad in Yugoslavia, where he set up a dance school. He was able to escape from the pogroms perpetrated by Horthy’s thugs but in the end he decided to return home to Budapest and play football for the “Jewish” MTK. Then in 1922, Guttmann joined the Viennese Jewish club Hakoah.

“In a Jewish sense, Guttmann was moving from the Budapest frying pan into the Viennese fire”.

Everything about this team – its origins, its name, its kit, its ethos, its supporters – exuded Jewish national spirit. The Hakoah kit was blue and white, the same as the colours of the Jewish national movement; a large Star of David was worn on their shirts. After games in Berlin and Leipzig in 1924, the leading German sports newspaper “Fußball” remarked that “Hakoah had helped to do away with the fairy tale about the physical inferiority of the Jews”.

Hakoah played several fixtures abroad, including their “shocking” victory over an admittedly depleted West Ham team at Upton Park, London, which is thought to be the first win ever by a foreign team on English soil. In January 1924 and 1925, Hakoah made long tours to Egypt and Palestine, then under British rule.

The tours of the United States in April and May 1926 marked the pinnacle of the club’s international reputation but it also led to the club’s decline. After the end of this tour Guttmann and nine of his teammates left Hakoah to sign for New York based clubs. Guttmann lost his savings during the Wall Street Crash in 1929. In the end, he decided to return to Europe just a few months before Hitler came to power in 1933.

Guttmann obtained a US entry visa on January 18, 1938, and arrived back in New York on March 2. He returned to a Nazi-controlled Vienna on August 6. Just eight days later he was on his way to Budapest to join the football club Ujpest.

His life then became one of a fugitive on the run– hiding, time in a labour camp, escape from the labour camp, more hiding. His family was murdered. After the war he began to rebuild his football career, dealing with player egos, showdowns, and all the changes that went with moves to different clubs in different countries.

Bolchover explains how Guttmann survived the Holocaust, and his subsequent rise to fame as one of Europe’s top football managers. He led Benfica-Lisbon to victories in the European Cup Finals of 1961 and 1962. The European Cup is now known as the Champions League– the elite competion.

This is compulsory reading for anyone interested in football and the dark days of 20th century European history.


Twitter Cracks Down on Far Right Users

Twitter changed their platform policies, resulting in a number of British and American right-wing accounts being banned.  From Taylor Lorenz:

Far-right U.K. political group Britain First was one of the first accounts to be suspended, along with its affiliates including Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen. Three of Fransen’s anti-Muslim viral video tweets, one of which featured a Dutch boy in the Netherlands falsely identified as a “migrant,” were recently retweeted by Trump.

White nationalist Jared Taylor and his site, American Resistance, are also some of the early casualties of Twitter’s new anti-hate rules, along with fellow white nationalists Hunter Wallace and the Traditionalist Workers Party. The Traditionalist Workers Party is an organization co-founded by neo-Nazi Tony Hovater, who was recently profiled by the New York Times to substantial backlash.

On Sunday, fear spread among the white nationalist community that Twitter suspensions were imminent. Many began tweeting with the hashtag #TwitterPurge and encouraging followers to find them on Gab.ai, a far-right Twitter clone that once wrote “If you are straight, white, Christian, Republican, anti-PC, libertarian, conservative; to Silicon Valley: you are the enemy” in a press release.

Twitter’s new user agreement states:

You may not make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people. This includes, but is not limited to, threatening or promoting terrorism. You also may not affiliate with organizations that — whether by their own statements or activity both on and off the platform — use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes.

I have mixed feelings about major platforms like Twitter banning users for political associations, even when those users are aligned with some of the worst trolls and activists. Having said that, Twitter has been a really terrible place to be these last few years, especially if you are a Jew. Allowing their platform to become an unmitigated cesspool of cranks and racists anonymously attacking journalists and activists doesn’t sound like a good business model, particularly when that platform has yet to find stable economic footing.


Palestinians don’t know what winning looks like

This is a guest post by The Zionist

The further back you go when looking at Palestinian advocacy the clearer it becomes that they’ve never really known what they were doing or why they were doing it. (When I say “they”, I mean the Palestinian leadership of the day). The present decision to boycott the arrival of Mike Pence to the region reminds us of the decision the Arab higher Committee made to boycott UNSCOP (United Nations Special Committee on Palestine) who traveled around the British mandate area in 1947 attempting to come up with a solution to the tensions boiling up there. The Zionists didn’t boycott it and history tells the tale.

Boycotting Pence might look like a bold gesture but it has doomed the PA to be mere spectators to events happening concerning themselves. There may have been an opportunity for them to gain concessions from the USA in the wake of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. They’ll never know whether that was the case though.

Furthermore this idea of resistance over independence, belligerence over diplomacy can be seen in every aspect of the so-called Pro Palestinian media. Take for example the release of the so called Palestine Papers. This was a scoop by al Jazeera in 2011 that saw thousands of secret documents pertaining to negotiations with Israel leaked. The great thing about this in 2011 was that it showed not only that negotiations were happening but also that the two sides were pretty close to reaching an agreement. While Zionists were buoyed by the knowledge that something was happening pro Palestinian websites were outraged. See the articles Electronic Intifada published in the wake of the leaks here, the outraged headlines include “Palestinian Authority foils new Gaza war crimes probe” and “sex, blackmail and theft: leaks detail Israeli spy operations“. The outrage spilled into the Guardian where the Israeli member of Knesset Haneen Zoabi wrote that “Palestinian negotiators must not take key decisions on our behalf”, attacked the resolution of the right of return of Palestinian refugees (that had been negotiated apparently successfully) and claimed that “the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state – which was also apparently accepted by the negotiator Saeb Erekat – would delegitimise the citizenship of Palestinians in Israel.”

This was mind boggling. Here we stood on the cusp of the resolution of everything they detested; checkpoints, continued settlement, IDF patrols and incursions into Palestinian towns. Here we were moving towards a living, breathing state of Palestine and the pro-Palestinian world was outraged that it was happening.

This is why when you look at the debate around Palestine you see a Jewish argument rather than a Palestinian one. On the one hand you see +972, Breaking the Silence, Haaretz’s Gideon Levy, Amira Haas and others talking about occupation and the moral ills of it affecting Israeli society and on the other you have basically everyone else in Israel asking what are we supposed to do about it? But the Palestinian voice is absent from this argument. The reason being that the Palestinian voice as presented by Electronic Intifada and Zoabi is the voice of the affluent Palestinian living outside of occupation forcing other Palestinians to continue living within it.

They don’t lie, their stories regarding the occupation of the West Bank my be heavily spun but there is enough foundation of truth to get away with it. The issue is that the perspective that they come from, that of genuine concern for the plight of the Palestinian people should come with the tagline; “as long as the Palestinians are still being occupied by Israel”.

Looking to the future the Palestinians have failed in their much vaunted Hamas PA unity bid, failed to present a vision of the future they wish to see for themselves, failed to galvanize Palestinians to work towards constructing that reality and failed to decide for themselves how to control their future.

Israel lives and thrives while Palestine whimpers and dies and the Palestinian leadership has no one to blame but itself.

I’ll be talking a lot about Zionism, Jews and the quest for peace on Twitter, come find me and say hi!


Fathom 18 | ‘My Stability Plan offers only partial self-determination but will allow the Palestinians to thrive’: Naftali Bennett’s Bottom-Up Peace Plan

‘Forming a Palestinian state along the lines that many readers of Fathom believe is the way forward would guarantee 200 years of misery for the two peoples’. That was the message from Naftali Bennett, the Israeli Minister for Education, leader of the Jewish Home party, and a highly influential member of Israel’s coalition government, when he sat down with Fathom Deputy Editor Calev Ben-Dor. Bennett also made the case for his own vision for peace, ‘The Stability Plan’ – Israeli sovereignty in Area C of the West Bank, limited Palestinian self-government in Areas A and B – and invited Europeans to stop looking at a very tough neighbourhood through the prism of ‘Oslo and cocktail parties’.

Calev Ben-DorIn a speech on 7 May at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York you said: “The left-wing doesn’t have a monopoly on peace, just like the right-wing doesn’t have a monopoly on patriotism. I am ready for negotiations without preconditions or pre-concessions.” What is your vision of peace?

Naftali Bennett: I’ve been both fortunate and unfortunate to have fought in many conflicts since the First Intifada – in southern Lebanon, Operation Defensive Shield during the Second Intifada, the Second Lebanon War, and I served as a Cabinet minister during the last round of conflict in Gaza in 2014 – so I think I have a very good perspective of our situation. First and foremost I will do anything in my ability to prevent war. Israel has no territorial claims over Lebanon, Syria, or Iran but we’re in the toughest region on earth. On our northern border we have the most concentrated area of rockets in the region in the hands of Hezbollah (and second on earth after the North Korean-South Korean border). To the north-east we have Iranian militias setting up on our borders. In the south we have ISIS’s strongest foothold in the Sinai, and in the south-west we have a border with Hamas. On the other side of each of those four borders are people who explicitly say they want to destroy Israel and the Jewish people.

When I look 100 years into the future and think how a country the size of New Jersey can survive and thrive, one principle is the capacity to be able to ‘defend ourselves by ourselves’. Israel’s brief history has taught us that the international ‘peacekeeping’ forces are great until you need to use them. They evaporated in 1967 and they are meaningless in Lebanon and in Syria.

Secondly, history shows that land Israel hands over to Arabs usually turns into an Iranian military foothold. The reason the Israeli public has moved to the Right in recent years isn’t due to ideology but rather to reality. As a child in the 1980s we had peace songs on the radio and in kindergartens and the Israeli public was conditioned to love and believe in peace. Yet in the last elections the word peace was taboo – not because the parties and public don’t desire it, but rather because we came to understand – the hard way – that desiring peace sometimes brings about the opposite. Over 1,000 Israelis died in the terrorist attacks during the 2000s, after we pulled out of parts of Judea and Samaria in the Oslo framework. We pulled out of Lebanon in May 2000 with hopes for peace – as neither side has any territorial claims on the other – but we got the Second Lebanon War in 2006. We pulled out of Gaza and did everything we were expected to do – withdrew exactly to the former armistice lines, kicked out the Jewish settlers, took out the army, and handed over the keys to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – and what we’ve had since is an ‘Afghanistan,’ a Hamastan; rockets that have killed many, three rounds of wars and an insoluble situation. READ MORE.