US Jews, don’t block Israeli-Saudi normalization – opinion

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The Jerusalem Post 27.09.2023



US Jews, don’t block Israeli-Saudi normalization – opinion


Last week frustrated those of us in the Silenced Majority seeking a judicial reform compromise  and Saudi normalization, let alone a more normative – and representative – coalition. By exporting their protest to America, the anti-Bibi forces self-destructively strengthened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s resolve and helped him by outraging his already inflamed base. It’s hard to know what projecting a sign onto the UN saying “Don’t believe Crime Minister Netanyahu” did beyond delighting Israel’s genuine enemies, and making the protesters feel good about themselves.


As those futile antics dominated the headlines, far more damaging was the Israel Policy Forum letter to President Joe Biden, signed by 80 American Jewish community leaders – including some cherished friends of mine.


Despite claiming to support a “normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia ,” they added obstacles by insisting that Biden first pander to the Palestinians. They proposed “halting Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and increasing territorial sovereignty for Palestinians, while simultaneously holding the Palestinian Authority accountable to reforms and strengthening its financial stability.”


The letter was so stuck in the Oslo-blinded 1990s, they should have faxed it. The Abraham Accords  – which most American Jews have not celebrated sufficiently, because Donald Trump and Bibi Netanyahu facilitated them – broke the Palestinians’ decades’-long stranglehold on any peace progress. Other countries finally decided to let Palestinian leaders keep pursuing Israel’s destruction alone, without preventing the region from progressing – and Iran’s enemies from uniting.


Even many Israelis critical of Netanyahu agree that Iran poses the greatest threat to Israel. This letter ignores how Saudi Arabian normalization will benefit America (aka Big Satan) and Israel (Little Satan). It will upset the Iranian mullahs, the Chinese authoritarians, and Putin’s Russian thugs. Thwarting those evil forces is far more important than once again fruitlessly indulging overindulged Palestinians.


Upsetting Iran, China, Russia more important than indulging Palestinians

This letter neglects Oslo’s multiple misfires. It reeks of the naivete of one signer, Martin Indyk. He recently tweeted after Mahmoud Abbas’s latest Jew-hating tirade: “How could someone who has treated me as a personal friend for three decades at the same time harbor such hateful views of my people?”


The bottom-up excitement, with cultural, economic, and tourist exchanges cementing Israel’s new diplomatic ties, should have taught these American Jews to stop demanding concessions for a terrorism-addicted, dictatorial, Palestinian Authority.


How could someone who has claimed to be a Middle East expert for three decades harbor such delusional views about his people’s most lethal enemies? Did he only now notice Palestinian – and Abbasian – antisemitism and anti-Zionism?


The central obstacle to peace with the Palestinians is not “Israeli settlement expansion.” Nor will the Palestinian problem be “solved” by lavishing more land or money on the Palestinians. Palestinian leaders – and Palestinian political culture – must first accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish state and end terrorism.


The letter’s vague reference to some Palestinian “reforms” is too dainty, especially given the one-sided letter’s specific critiques against Israel, and the enormity of Palestinian crimes against the Jewish people – as well as others, including many Americans.


Did these leaders consider running their letter by Leo Dee  or any of the other terror-survivors mourning 35 innocents killed this year – let alone thousands of families scarred by Palestinian terrorism? Even though most American Jews keep ignoring this recent terror-burst, they might have heard a different perspective and avoided intensifying these families’ pain.


Did they consult any of our soldiers who, day by day, face threats from Palestinians hepped up on Jew-hatred? Moreover, don’t they realize that if, God forbid, Palestinian terrorists should attack them on one of their frequent Israel trips, Palestinians would celebrate their suffering with candy and cake as much as they would if terrorists shed my less politically correct blood?


Their occupation preoccupation keeps distorting Middle East history, treating the Jews as intruders on the land we have been living on, praying about, and yearning to return to for millennia.


Discussing Palestinian “peace” without mentioning terrorism, incitement, corruption, kleptocracy, pay-to-slay, boycott, and delegitimization, or encouraging American investment in Palestinian civil society, is as blind, self-defeating and, for Jewish leaders, irresponsible as Biden giving the Iranians billions without mentioning the world “nuclear.”


Ultimately, progress with the Palestinians requires balanced, creative, approaches based on Oslo’s true lesson, which Bill Clinton understood belatedly: only tough love pushes Palestinians, while Israelis need love-love to compromise – not vice versa.


The letter on Israel-Saudi normalization that should have been sent

HERE’S THE letter they should have written:


“Dear President Biden,


“As longtime supporters of you, Israel, and a two-state solution, we urge you to do everything you can to help Saudi Arabia normalize its relations with Israel. For too long, Palestinian rejectionism has held the region hostage. You can now expand the Abraham Accords, making them a bipartisan accomplishment. A Saudi breakthrough will also discourage our Iranian, Chinese, and Russian adversaries.


“Traditionally, our Peace Now approach banked on breakthroughs from the Palestinian side following Israeli concessions. We now realize that as long the Palestinian Authority boycotts even progressives like us – because we dare to be Zionists – and as long as rejectionism and terrorism shape the Palestinian strategy, peace will remain elusive. We now embrace the Abraham Accords-inspired “Peace More” strategy. The more peace regionally, the more the haters will retreat, and the closer we will come to achieving the solution we have sought for so long.”


I won’t “Bibi” these leaders and despicably, anti-democratically, accuse them – or the protesters – of “joining forces with the PLO, with Iran.” I don’t question their right to express themselves – only their wisdom, sensitivity, and timing.


A Distinguished Scholar in North American History at McGill University currently living in Jerusalem, Gil Troy is an award-winning American presidential historian and a leading Zionist activist. He is, most recently, the editor of the new three-volume set, “Theodor Herzl: Zionist Writings,” the inaugural publication of The Library of the Jewish People ( www.theljp.org )  . Two years ago he co-authored with Natan Sharansky Never Alone: Prison, Politics and  My People,  was published by PublicAffairs of Hachette. Recently designated one of Algemeiner’s J-100, one of the top 100 people “positively influencing Jewish life,” Gil Troy is the author of  The Zionist Ideas , an update and expansion of Arthur Hertzberg’s classic anthology The Zionist Idea, published by the Jewish Publication Society and a 2019 National Jewish Book Award Finalist. 




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Prof Gil Troy · 20 Derech Bet Lechem · Apt 2 · Jerusalem 9310925 · Israel