Tuesday, December 5, 2017


The U.S. should recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  It is its capital. The U.S. embassy should announce its intention to move its embassy to Jerusalem, a process that will probably take years to complete. Embassies should be in the capital of countries, and, as far as I know, they are in every other country where the U.S. has an embassy. 

Many have warned that such recognition and such an announcement would be the end of the peace process, that it would be the death knell for any peace plan, that it would set things back immeasurably.

For the last 70 years, Jerusalem has not been recognized as the capital of Israel and the embassy has not been in Jerusalem.  How's that peace process been working out?  How have the plans been going?  Have things been moving ahead smoothly?

Perhaps it is time to try a different tact. Perhaps it is time to treat the Palestinians, and many of their supporters, like adults, with adult rights and responsibilities.  Actions, and inaction, have consequences. Tantrums in the form of violence,  threats of violence, and non-cooperation should not be rewarded.

The Palestinians and others have raised the possibility of violence if the U.S. goes through on its reported intention to recognize Jerusalem as the capital and to move the embassy.

As Alan Dershowitz and others have argued, one of the primary reasons terrorism is used so often is that it has worked. When Yasser Arafat perfected the "art" of hijacking in the 1970's, the Europeans caved. They couldn't move fast enough to release out their back doors terrorists they had arrested via their front doors.  The U.N. welcomed Arafat as a hero, gun on his hip and all. 

Two very different American presidents deserve equal blame for encouraging the perception that terrorism works.  Jimmy Carter sat paralyzed for a year with American embassy personnel held as hostages in Iran.  Ronald Reagan talked tough but quickly removed troops and retreated from Lebanon after the attack on an American barracks that killed over 200 Marines.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Lebanon Does Comedy

It's nice to know that given all of its problems, Lebanon has a sense of humor.

Its Office of the Boycott of Israel announced that Lebanon is boycotting Justice League because the star, Gal Gadot, is Israeli.

Yes, the boycott of Wonder Woman by Lebanon and a few other Arab countries was so successful. Wonder Woman has blown the roof off of box office records.  Gal Gadot probably polls up there with Pope Francis, Prince Harry, and Chunky Monkey. (By the way, Ben and  Jerry's is very popular in Israel, and a visit to its factory store is a great way of topping off a day visiting the Ashkelon area.)

Lebanon is basically a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran, with Hezbollah holding the director's seat. It is the center for a likely clash of epic proportions between the Shiite and Sunni worlds, with Saudi Arabia and Iran showing about as much regard for its people's welfare as a bunch of cats at a mice buffet.

It probably has had more assassinations than all of the Bond, Godfather, and Bourne movies combined.  Its economy grew by about 1.8% in 2016.  Its per capita income was $13,860.  Its citizens have won no Nobel Prizes.  (One British citizen who was of half Lebanese Christian descent and one American who was of Lebanese Christian descent have won, per Wikipedia.)

Across the border, seemingly every day there is an announcement of another major international company establishing an R and D center in Israel and/or buying up an Israeli start-up.  Seemingly every day there is an announcement of a breakthrough on the way to a miracle cure for one disease or another.

Chinese investors are scouring the country looking for investments and, as a bonus, creating a new destination for Chinese tourists. Hollywood is buying up Israeli script ideas faster than Carrie Mathison can escape a well-planted IED (For the uninitiated, see the Homeland TV show).  Israeli's economy grew 4% in 2016, more than twice that of Lebanon. Its per capita income was $37,400, three times that of Lebanon. Israel has had 12 Nobel Prize winners.

One can only hope that Lebanon keeps that Office of the Boycott of Israel humming along, fully staffed. It's obviously doing a terrific job.  It must keep a dozen Lebanese fully employed.  And it is providing some pretty good laughs for those of us south of the border.

(Originally published in The Times of Israel)