Germany’s Intifada

Germany’s Intifada

By Stephen Brown | 8/1/2008

First it was France, and now Germany.


German authorities are reporting that, within their cities, areas now exist where police fear to tread. In many German urban areas drug dealing, theft, brawls, and assaults on police officers are the order of the day. The problem is becoming so severe police scarcely dare enter some quarters except in strength, while in others they concentrate on their own safety first.      


But this is old news to French law enforcement officials. The 2005 riots woke France up to the fact that an anti-civilization had arisen in the “banlieues” (housing projects), which surround major French cities. Populated mainly by immigrants from North and West Africa, many with a Muslim background, they are known as places of anger and aggression towards anyone who represents “official” France.


French police are sometimes attacked with Molotov cocktails when they enter such areas. Firemen and ambulance attendants are not treated much better. Police even had difficulty protecting a French president, Jacques Chirac, and his interior minister when they went campaigning in a banlieue. The two high-ranking politicians were also met with Molotovs and had to retreat.


In all, the French housing projects have the look of scarred battlefields with burnt out cars littering the landscape. The extent of France’s lawlessness problem manifested itself last month when 592 cars were torched in France in the two nights surrounding Bastille Day, July 14 and 15, 150 in the Paris region alone. To make matters worse, Islamic fundamentalists have attracted many of the banlieus’ unemployed, uneducated and frustrated young men to their cause. These fundamentalists, it is suspected, were the ones directing the 2005 disturbances and their recurrence in 2007.


In Germany, the problem neighbourhoods are often located within the city and not on the outskirts. Like in France, though, urban anti-societies have arisen, but in Germany they consist mainly of Turkish and Arab immigrants, many from Lebanon. In their districts, German laws and values now have little, if any, validity, while their culture of lawlessness does.


Police complain that when they conduct routine checks in these neighbourhoods, they are met with angry crowds and often risk assault. Even when a policeman is carrying out a simple duty, like inspecting someone’s identification, out of nowhere suddenly appear 20 to 30 men, yelling wildly, who push and shove him. They assemble quickly after having been contacted by cell phone.


While confrontations occur over nothing, violence can occur when the stakes are higher. When Berlin police arrested three drug-dealing Arabs in Kreuzberg, for example, a district where Turks and Arabs form the majority, they were immediately swarmed by two dozen men who tried to free the suspected criminals by force. Only the quick arrival of reinforcements saved the day. It is also in Kreuzberg that the first car burnings in Germany took place.


For the last ten years Berlin has been the leading German city for such “resistance-to-police” incidents. Overall, Germany’s police union records an average of 26,000 such occurrences a year, an increase of 60 per cent from the 1980s. Berlin accounts for about 3,000 of this total. In Germany’s capital, a union official said, there exists “an alarm level red” concerning violence against police.


“We have been registering for years a loss of police authority and a rapid sinking of a lack of restraint,” said Eberhard Schonberg, the police union’s head.


But what is even more disturbing to law enforcement officials is the increase in violent crime among minors, especially those with a foreign background. Germany was shocked this year when two youths, one Turkish and the other Greek, nearly beat a 76-year-old retired school principal to death in Munich last December. The pensioner had admonished them for smoking on a commuter train. The two criminals kicked and yelled “s**t German” at the man’s prostrate form after having knocked him down.


There is also an overrepresentation of immigrant youth in crime statistics. A survey of schools in western German cities showed that ten per cent of the Turkish students were repeat offenders, who had committed more than five violent offences. The same survey showed 8.3 per cent of students from the former Yugoslavia were in the same category along with 5.9 per cent from the former Soviet Union. Native-born Germans, who also included those from migrant backgrounds with German citizenship, made up only 2.9 per cent of such delinquents.   


And while German teenagers are more often the victims of youth crime, immigrant youth brutality very often occurs between different ethnic groups. Violence between Turks and Arabs at one high school in Berlin, for example, became so bad the principal asked the city to close her school. This incident then led other principals across Germany to request the same for their schools.


But even immigrant children as young as eight are committing illegal acts. Police report of an Arab neighborhood in Duisburg, a city in the Rhineland, where such youthful miscreants “kick old ladies, demand sexual intercourse from women, throw water-filled balloons against business windows and deliberately cross streets at red lights to create traffic jams.” Their aim, police say, is to generate fear among outsiders.


The overall purpose of such disturbing behavior and anti-police incidents is to turn these immigrant neighbourhoods into lawless mini-states, where their tribal and religious customs and rules predominate, and criminals can act freely. In scuffles and confrontations German police are often told, in threat and obscenity-filled language, to go away and that these streets belong to the ethnic group that lives there.


As everyone knows, a competent and effective police force is necessary to protect the law-abiding citizen, guarantee his rights and carry out one of the main functions of the state: law and order. But increasingly in some European urban areas, a police uniform has come to mean nothing. And countries like Germany do not act now to reverse this, their cities will become as burnt out and eviscerated as the carcasses of cars France knows only too well.

Stephen Brown is a contributing editor at He has a graduate degree in Russian and Eastern European history. Email him at

‘What About The Black Community?’: Protestors Heckle Hussein During Speech

Hussein Takes Strong Stand Against U.S. Supplying It’s Own Oil

Barack Obama and Defining Anti-Americanism Downwards

Barack Obama and Defining Anti-Americanism


By Selwyn Duke

If Barack Obama sought to win the votes of Germans, he need seek no more.  Of course, his new image was all the rage in the Old World long before he gave his July 24 speech in Berlin. Senator Sweetness and Light is the man the Europeans want as our leader.

Although Obama certainly has a stateside cult following as well, one reason Americans’ enthusiasm pales in comparison may be that we – at least some of us, anyway – can decipher his words better than foreign-language speakers.  As to this, there is a certain segment of the Berlin speech I’d call your attention to:


“I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.”


It might be pointed out to Senator Obama that if he finds a perfect country, he should be sure not to go there. 


For then it will cease to be so. 


But allow me to lend further perspective.  Imagine that you gave a speech in which you “honored” your mother and said:


“I know my mother has not perfected herself. At times, she has struggled to keep the promise of fairness for all of her children. She has made her share of mistakes, and there are times when her actions around the town have not lived up to her best intentions.”


Wouldn’t this strike you as odd?  My first thought would be, wow, you really must not think very highly of your mother.  After all, since we’re all sinners, it goes without saying that no one is perfect.  So why would you feel compelled to state the obvious about her?


It could only be because you consider her unusually flawed, so much so that she falls outside the boundaries of normal human frailty; thus, a disclaimer is necessary before homage can be paid.  It’s the kind of thing you do when you’re embarrassed by someone – or something – you’re obligated to praise, when you feel the object of the compliments is, relative to others, unworthy of unqualified laudation and that rendering such would tarnish you.  It’s kind of like if you needed to defend a brother on death row or who had been convicted of rape; since he was guilty of heinous acts, you’d feel compelled to issue an “I know he has fallen from grace, but . . .” statement.  It is the most a good person can muster when talking about a bad one.   


And Obama’s “but” came right after his disclaimer, as he said:


“But I also know how much I love America.”


Note that he didn’t actually reveal how much.


Lest I be thought a hypocrite, I agree with G.K. Chesterton’s sentiment, “‘My country, right or wrong,’ is a thing that no patriot would think of saying.  It is like saying, ‘My mother, drunk or sober.'”  I’ve often lamented America’s intoxication with sin, issuing indictments of various aspects of our declining culture.  Yet the difference is context.


It’s one thing to point out what our country could do to become superior to its former self, but quite another to preface such counsel with the implication that it’s inferior to every other nation.  In the first instance you’re talking about making a relatively good thing better; in the second you’re talking about why a relatively bad thing might at least deserve some scraps from the table of man. 


Of course, honesty is a virtue.  So if Obama really believes America is that bad, shouldn’t his words reflect that?  Yes, without a doubt, but being honestly wrong is not a virtue.  Remember that Obama was speaking in the nation that birthed the Holocaust, a Maginot-line away from that which spawned the Napoleonic Wars, not too far from the land of the Stalinist purges, and just across the North Sea from an empire that colonized much of the Earth.  In this drunk-on-power world, Senator Obama, do you really believe your motherland is an embarrassment?


Getting back to mothers, mine often instructed, “Don’t wash your dirty laundry in public.”  I mention this because Obama also rendered more explicit criticism of his beloved nation, asking:


“Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law?”


This is, of course, an allusion to our military’s use of waterboarding during coerced interrogation.  And, to be fair, I don’t say good people cannot oppose it.  Journalist Christopher Hitchens actually volunteered to undergo the procedure and emerged firm in the conviction that it is, in fact, torture.  This warrants consideration as Hitchens, for all his militant-atheist zealotry and faults, has been nothing but honest regarding the war against Islamism. 


Yet, as per my mother’s injunction, there is a time and a place for criticizing family – this includes national family.  Obama can argue against waterboarding, but it should be done in-house, not overseas in front of a throng of screaming, anti-American foreigners.


Perhaps the most interesting thing about Obama’s implication that America is uniquely damnable is that he was oblivious to it.  Sure, you may say that few would connect those dots, but that is what makes the remark so telling.  It’s one of those unthinking comments that give you deeper insight into a person’s heart and mind. 


To fully grasp this, understand where Obama is coming from.  This is an individual who sat in pews for 20 years and imbibed the preaching of a man who disgorges sentiments such as “G*****n America!” and calls her the “US of KKKA!”  Wouldn’t it strain credulity to say that such a politician doesn’t have a negative view of his country?  Even Oprah Winfrey, not a woman known to wrap herself in the flag and belt out “The Star-Spangled Banner,” left Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ after being assailed with such vitriol.


They say that how a son treats his mother speaks volumes about his character.  We should bear this in mind when evaluating Barack Obama, this son of America who is lauded by Europeans.    There are people who just wouldn’t issue the “my country has not perfected itself” disclaimer, and then there are those who would.  In the cases of those who utter it instinctively – the son of America and his brethren – it’s an example of a very common phenomenon: Defining anti-Americanism downwards. 


To the left, America is the black sheep of the world, that brother who raped the Earth and only escapes death row because he is also the law.  To leftists, a statement like Obama’s is patriotic – thoughtful, honest, introspective patriotism.  Self-flagellation is a sign of enlightenment (although, leftists never actually whip themselves, only the “country,” which is the bane of humanity because of regrettably-live conservatives and thankfully-dead white males).  It is the “Of course, we’re not perfect” meme.  It has become Bolshevik boilerplate.


In other words, leftists have lowered the bar for patriotism and raised it for anti-Americanism.  The bile of a Reverend Wright, well, it is anti-American (but understandable and excusable); it is a bridge too far.  But their confession-of-sin disclaimers are no-brainers because the United States really is a bad country, and they’re positively charitable when they follow-up with mention of her few redeeming qualities.  It’s the most a good person can muster when talking about a bad homeland.


The question is whether any of this will hurt a candidate who racks up style points like Yves Saint Laurent.  Many citizens don’t even care what Obama actually says, never mind what must be inferred.  Even pollster Frank Luntz asserted that we have to give him credit for capturing the imaginations of 250,000 people in Berlin.  Perhaps, but it occurs to me that he isn’t the first ambitious orator to capture the imaginations of a quarter-million Berliners. 


Style can be blinding, but I suspect that Americans who actually pay attention to substance won’t be quite as taken with Obama’s rhetoric as Otto the Old Worlder.

With a Little Help From His Friends

With a Little Help From His Friends

By S.E. Cupp | 8/1/2008

The Maariv daily, an Israeli newspaper, published a prayer allegedly left by Barack Obama in the cracks of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where he visited this past week.

The decision to publish the note has drawn some fire in Israel and elsewhere, as prayers left at the Wall are considered private and sacred, and certainly not for public consumption.

But wherever Barack Obama goes, someone seems to sabotage him. It’s likely the Obama camp will deliver a response in the coming days criticizing the newspaper for invading his privacy and using the prayer note to sell papers. The publication will then likely issue an apology. After all, why should this week be different from any other?

When a cartoon depicting Barack Obama as a sandaled, turbaned Arab sheik and Michelle Obama as an Afro-ed, gun-wielding terrorist appeared on the cover of this month’s New Yorker, the fortified, yet utterly tony, safe-haven for the left-leaning literati, some were confused.

Although the magazine assured its constituents the cover was satirizing the scare-tactics it believes the right is using to bring Obama down (so as not to lose every single one of its subscribers), the Democratic presidential hopeful’s camp was none too pleased…or was it?

Bill Burton, Obama’s spokesman, was quick to criticize the magazine, authoritatively declaring the cover “tasteless and offensive.” John McCain’s camp was obligatorily just as quick to agree. But the New Yorker flap might just have been another in an increasingly long line of so-called mishaps designed to help the Senator clinch the presidency.

Consider the following. Over the past six months, Barack Obama has earned unsolicited apologies from a long list of opponents and supporters, and for an uncanny variety of snafus. On the list are fellow Democrats Joe Biden and Bob Kerrey, a number of Hillary Clinton staffers, Hillary Clinton herself, Black Entertainment Television founder Bob Johnson, Condoleezza Rice, Obama supporter Jesse Jackson, CNN, and Canada. Yes, the country.

And in the same span of time, John McCain has accrued just one noteworthy mea culpa, from Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller, for suggesting McCain is an uncaring warmonger because he served in Vietnam.

So is Barack Obama the unluckiest guy in America, the picked-on, hapless wimp to the country’s meany school-yard bullies? Or is he the unlikely benefactor of bizzarro-world promotion, where up is down and catty back-stabbing is a vote-getter?

Obama supporter Jesse Jackson told UnitedHealth Group executive Dr. Reed V. Tuckson, and the rest of the television-watching world, that he thought Obama was talking down to black people. He suggested (both in words and with an alarmingly well-studied hand gesture) that he’d like to remove Barack’s testicles. This, from an Obama insider, a fellow Democrat, an African-American spiritual leader, an endorser and a so-called friend.

Yet, the near-unanimous consensus on the left and the right was that Jackson’s crude and almost comical comments were sure to help the Senator. Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said, “Obama has a supporter who creates a gaffe, and it’s a gift. It distances him from the brand of black, angry, resentful, grievance politics, which has alienated a large majority Americans.” Newsweek’s Howard Fineman wrote, “All Obama has to do is hope the story doesn’t fade too fast, and he might even want to try to keep it alive.”

Anywhere else, and the malicious gossiping of a friend behind another’s back would spell certain doom. Jackson’s comments, though tactless in their delivery, pointed out one of Obama’s genuine weaknesses – his elitism and condescension – and by someone with a perceived authority, albeit waning.

Snitching, whistle blowing, and telling tales out of school, like Jackson did, can usually reveal the cracks in seemingly impregnable organization, and the more valuable the confidante delivering the news, the worse it is for the group. Whether it was Peter (who denied even knowing his boss not once but thrice), or Brutus (who actually did the dirty work himself), history is full of relevant examples.

But one doesn’t even have to travel as far. When New York Mets relief pitcher Billy Wagner criticized his under-performing teammates to the press, essentially bringing the public into the cloistered sanctuary of the clubhouse, the story floated on the talk radio airwaves for days, and earned him a scolding by then-manager Willie Randolph. The team’s infighting would later be one of the reasons many would claim for Randolph’s eventual firing. This kind of public betrayal was hardly a boon to the organization.

But at camp Obama, where no one believes the Senator and Jackson are really friends anyway, the shady gossiping by a teammate is a coup worthy of pennant-clinching champagne toasts and high fives. It’s certain that many GOP insiders wish Scott McClellan had a similar impact on the party and the Bush Administration.

Many similarly suggest that Obama’s friendship with Reverend Jeremiah Wright hasn’t hurt him nearly as significantly as it could have, or should have. While pundits on the Right regularly resurrect Reverend Wright (and Bill Ayers, and Rezko) as reasons not to trust him, and rightly so, Obama still somehow maintains a slight (or more than slight, depending on your poll of choice) lead over John McCain.

And now The New Yorker, which would likely run itself into the ground before it appeared to support anything remotely right of center, has “angered” the Obamaniacs. Their rationale is somewhat unclear though, since the cartoon is lampooning the magazine’s favorite target: ignorant Republican rubes in the square states. Liberal radio talk-show host Laura Flanders even said the Obama camp should have endorsed the cover…strongly. “This isn’t a jab at them, terrorist or any other kind. It should be cause for our conversation to focus on the kind of fear mongering that the media and people on the right have engaged in.”

Whether the Barack-as-apology-collecting-victim phenomenon is an inexplicably convenient series of happy accidents or a considerably clever strategy, only he and his friends know.  But eventually, if he wants to appear deliberate, in charge, and at all presidential, he’ll have to start producing his own news. This week’s world tour has helped on that front.

But it’s clear he and his advisors don’t want anyone to stop talking, and why would they? The only question left is, who’s next in line for a mishap? His mother? His wife? Maybe the ultimate in self-promoting “gaffes” is yet to come: “Barack Apologizes to Self for Benefiting From So Many Campaign Blunders.”

S.E. Cupp is author of Why You’re Wrong About the Right, with Brett Joshpe.

Barack’s “Tragic” Emphasis

Barack’s “Tragic” Emphasis

By Ben Johnson | 8/1/2008

AS THE NATION CONTEMPLATES WHETHER BARACK OBAMA BELONGS IN THE SAME CATEGORY AS BRITNEY SPEARS AND PARIS Hilton, a more fruitful question suggests itself: Can Barack Obama go the rest of the campaign without demeaning the country he seeks to lead?


Backlash over John McCain’s “Celebrity” advertisement and Obama’s playing the race card (who would have seen that coming?) drowned out far more significant words from the lips of The Anointed One this week. “There’s no doubt that when it comes to our treatment of Native Americans as well as other persons of color in this country, we’ve got some very sad and difficult things to account for,” he said. “I personally would want to see our tragic history, or the tragic elements of our history, acknowledged.” The media’s favorite candidate then underscored his belief in reparations: “I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it’s Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds.”


B.H. Obama’s comments came just as the House of Representatives passed a meaningless resolution condemning the “fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow.” The gesture was meaningless, in part, because Bill Clinton apologized for the American role in the slave trade during a visit to Uganda a decade ago. (Ironically, it was Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, who put the blame on “black traitors, saying: “African chiefs were the ones waging war on each other and capturing their own people and selling them. If anyone should apologize, it should be the African chiefs.”) However, in American textbooks and college classrooms across the nation, the “tragic elements of our history” are not merely acknowledged but expounded upon in great depth.


More troubling than those historical bits Sen. Obama chooses for private meditation, however, is the seemingly omnipresent emphasis on the ills and maladies of the nation whose presidency he seeks.


As David Horowitz and I relate in our new book, Party of Defeat, a phobia of the United States has been a sin qua non of the American Left since the time of George McGovern, and since 1972, it has been linked inextricably to a defeatist foreign policy. After all, how can one hope for the advancement of a cause he disbelieves, or believes is harmful?


McGovern’s 1972 acceptance speech exemplified the Blame America First model, blaming America for “Asian children running ablaze from bombed-out schools.” He charged, “Let us resolve that never again will we send the precious young blood of this country to die trying to prop up a corrupt military dictatorship abroad.” The Left’s rallying cry, “Bring America Home,” was not a prescription to conserve America’s strength; it was an attempt to quarantine a virus.


As we note, Jimmy Carter raised this to a high art form, isolating American allies like the Shah of Iran while courting enemies like Daniel Ortega. At the time, liberal Democratic Senator Pat Moynihan, D-NY, surmised Carter was “unable to distinguish between America’s friends and enemies,” because he shared “the enemy’s view of the world.” As a result, the nation endured the first successful Islamic revolution since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the spread of Communism to its furthest point, and the humiliation of the United States as fanatics kidnapped innocent civilians for 444 days.


Bill Clinton voiced such views in his speech to Georgetown University students shortly after 9/11, saying those “from various European lineages are not blameless” in the “long history” of “terror,” because of the Crusades, slavery, and occasional racial animosity:


Here in the United States, we were founded as a nation that practiced slavery and slaves were, quite frequently, killed even though they were innocent. This country once looked the other way when significant numbers of Native Americans were dispossessed and killed to get their land or their mineral rights or because they were thought of as less than fully human and we are still paying the price today. Even in the 20th century in America people were terrorized or killed because of their race. And even today, though we have continued to walk, sometimes to stumble, in the right direction, we still have the occasional hate crime rooted in race, religion, or sexual orientation. So, terror has a long history.


This president gave us the shameful exit from Mogadishu, and a series of unanswered terrorist attacks from Osama bin Laden and other jihadists. David and I use insider accounts to explain how his politically correct worldview left America vulnerable to al-Qaeda.


Now, enter Obama, who first raised the issue of why he wore no flag pin, a man who placed no hand over his heart during the national anthem and belittled small-town Americans’ religiosity.


Add to these spectacles Obama’s defense of Jeremiah Wright and Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers – equating them with his grandmother and pro-life U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, respectively.

Then add the other Obama, Mrs. Michelle Obama. In February, she revealed, “for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country.” The following month, in a speech she wrote herself and delivered at least four times, she branded the United States as a whole “just downright mean.” Then on May 2, in North Carolina, the First-Lady-in-Waiting drew a less-than-flattering portrait of America:


We’re still living in a nation and in a time where the bar is set – I talk about this all the time – they set the bar…and then you work and you struggle, you do everything that they say, and you think you’re getting close to the bar, and you’re working hard, and you’re sacrificing. And then you get to the bar. You’re right there. You’re reaching out for the bar. You think you have it. And then what happens? They move the bar. They raise it up…it’s always just quite out of reach…The sad irony is that’s exactly what’s happening to most Americans in this country. (Emphasis added.)


Together, these mix a volatile cocktail of anti-Americanism through which emerged Obama’s desire to dwell on a 150-year-old institution destroyed through the most deadly war in our nation’s history. Perhaps someone should investigate: just how obsessed is Obama with the ills and evils of his country’s past?


Famed political scientist Larry Sabato wrote in his book Feeding Frenzy that an individual’s “subtext” – the general assessment of his character – determines much of a candidate’s public perception and media coverage. Why, then, has this not become the dominant image of Obama – pushing aside accurate assessments of his paper-thin resumé and even-thinner list of achievements. (At least John Kerry loitered in the Senate 20 years before running for president.) Could this scene have anything to do with it?


When Obama walked on stage at the McCormick Center, many journalists in the audience leapt to their feet and applauded enthusiastically after being told not to do so. During a two-minute break halfway through the event, which was broadcast live on CNN, journalists ran to the stage to snap photos of Obama.


As Tammy Bruce commented, “Yeah, no bias there.”


The media refuse to see, but all Americans with a heart for their country’s well-being in a time of war should discern the significance of this bias – of the media for Obama, and of Obama against his country.

Ben Johnson is Managing Editor of FrontPage Magazine and author of the book 57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry’s Charitable Giving.

Obama’s Peace Dreams

Obama’s Peace Dreams

By P. David Hornik | 8/1/2008

Barack Obama has yet to be elected president, but already the presumptuous Democratic nominee has decided that he will “solve” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We’re going to make sure that the Palestinians have a state that allows them to prosper as long as we also have certainty that Israel’s security is not being compromised,” Obama told NBC’s Meet the Press earlier this week. “I think it’s in the interest of both parties, but we are the critical ingredient in terms of making sure that a deal actually gets done.” He added that if the U.S. can “solve” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “then that will make it easier for Arab states and the Gulf States to support us when it comes to issues like Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Continued Obama: “It also will weaken Iran, which has been using Hamas and Hezbollah as a way to stir up mischief in the region. If we’ve gotten an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, maybe at the same time peeling Syria out of the Iranian orbit, that makes it easier to isolate Iran so that they have a tougher time developing a nuclear weapon.”

And he said that while he “give[s] the Bush administration credit that the Annapolis process has gotten Prime Minister [Ehud] Olmert…and President [Mahmoud] Abbas…to have very serious…discussions…they may not be able to finish the job. They certainly can’t finish it without serious participation by the next administration, and we’ve got to start early.”

In asserting that the key to unlocking all sorts of Middle Eastern problems is to create an Arab state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean—which, given the current Palestinian leadership, could not be done without squeezing Israel back into something very similar to its pre-1967 deathtrap borders, in which its heavily populated coastal strip was all of nine miles wide a little north of Tel Aviv—Obama wasn’t saying anything very different than the current U.S. administration. “The Middle East is not going to get better without the creation of a Palestinian state to live side by side with Israel in peace, security and democracy,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also said just this week.

It was Bush who, in 2002, became the first U.S. president to call for a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, breaking a long tradition in which the U.S. refrained from defining the nature of a prospective Palestinian entity. Since then, Bush and Rice’s zeal for Palestinian democracy has led to the Palestinians’ election of a Hamas government in 2006. Undeterred, the Bush administration has kept on building up Abbas’s Fatah faction as a supposed “moderate” foil to Hamas while turning a blind eye to Fatah/Palestinian Authority’s ongoing inculcation of anti-Semitic and anti-American hatred in schools, mosques, and media, glorification of terrorism, negation of Israel, grave human rights violations, and so on.

Now along comes Obama—whose foreign policy experience wouldn’t cover the head of a pin—saying an Obama administration will “start early” to get this conflict wrapped up.

It also emerged this week, though, that Arab states may not share Obama’s sense of urgency when it comes to helping Palestinians. Reuters reports that “Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has appealed to the World Bank to help him secure emergency financing to bridge a shortfall in donor funds and pay public workers.” The PA is in a “budget crisis despite billions of dollars in aid pledged last year to support a U.S.-backed peace drive.”

It’s not that the U.S. itself has been remiss in its payments; “the State Department said the [U.S.] had already surpassed its $555 million in pledged support for 2008 to the [PA] and urged other donors to help out.”

But “many Arab states have not met their financial commitments despite pressure from Washington.” Meanwhile “workers in Gaza say Hamas, which receives support from Iran and other Islamist allies, has been paying salaries on time despite the Western boycott….”

Why would that be? If boosting Fatah, beating Hamas, and solving the Palestinian problem is so crucial to the “moderate” Arab states, why would they be laggard in their PA payments even as Iran and company keep giving Hamas all it needs? Part of the answer, aside from stinginess, requires looking at the real Middle East and not the version of it painted by Western guilt.

Take Jordan, for instance. Last month it was reported that “Jordan has quietly let the Bush White House know it is concerned over the prospect of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank…. [Jordanian] officials said Jordan’s King Abdullah has warned the administration that [such a] state…would fuel the Islamic opposition and could lead to an attempt to overthrow the kingdom.”

Indeed, in the real Middle East—despite de rigueur public statements by Abdullah and his father-predecessor King Hussein about the desirability of a Palestinian state—Jordan has long feared such an outcome. Jordan has both a large Palestinian population and a simmering Islamist movement, and knows a Palestinian state across the river is just the thing that would light the spark of insurrection.

As for Syria, to assume that creating a Palestinian state would soften it is to ignore the fact that for decades Syria has hosted in Damascus precisely those Palestinian terrorist organizations like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP-GC, and others that are most openly contemptuous of any “solution” other than Israel’s eradication. For believing the regime can be wooed away from this posture there’s a Middle Eastern word—chutzpah.

Then there are the Saudis, still believed by many to be the linchpin of a more Western-aligned, America-accepting Middle East. Yet their much-touted 2002 peace plan calls for a “return” of Palestinian refugees to Israel—code for its demographic demise.

Some of the reasons, then, for the lack of Arab eagerness to aid the PA are: fear of a Palestinian state; ideological rejection of a Palestinian state on only part of the land; and ideological rejection of Israel.

If such nuances tend to escape the Bush administration, they’re even less likely to register with Obama. It’s very possible, though, that by the time he would be president, there will be a different Israeli government that’s more security-conscious and less pliant than Olmert’s government was. If so, expect to see Obama square off against what he would perceive as the real obstacle to peace and harmony: Israel. It’s a grim prospect.

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Tel Aviv. He blogs at He can be reached at