Published September 12, 2011
It is the best of times and the worst of times.
Israelis are justifiably proud that Standard and Poor's last week-upgraded Israel to an A+ rating. It reflects the remarkably robust cutting edge, hi-tech- driven economy.
Last year also saw tourism skyrocket by 26 percent due to pilgrims and other visitors to the Jewish State.
Earlier this year, Israeli bloggers were buoyed by the outreach among some Arab Spring activists, including from some Tahrir Square activists who looked forward to actually creating grassroots contacts and dialogue.
But the narrative of the moderates has been all but obliterated.
Tragically, any hoped for “peace surge” toward Israelis has been crushed, by the jailing of some activists and by the co-opting of the Arab Spring by extremists led by the Muslim Brotherhood. Instead of building on social networking to reach out to the broader Arab and Muslim world, Israeli Prime Minster Netanyahu had to rely on President Obama’s 11th hour phone to the Egyptian Military to save eight Israeli diplomats and guards trapped in their embassy in Cairo by a mob whose organizers used Facebook to coordinate the violent attack in Cairo. Other Facebook postings are calling for a similar attack in Amman as early as this Thursday.
The news is no better on other crucial fronts. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to win over the Arab and Muslim Streets, has flipped our NATO partner from an ally of Israel to a potential foe.
Meanwhile, missiles continue to lobbed into Israel’s southern heartland from Hamas- run Gaza and Hezbollah’s arsenal of more than 40,000 rockets and Iranian-trained shock troops threaten Israelfrom the north.
Which brings us to a perfect storm forming at the United Nations in New York. At the upcoming General Assembly, Israel faces three onslaughts: The 10th anniversary "celebration" of the U.N.’s Durban Anti-Racism Process, which in 2001 spawned the worst public anti-Semitic diatribes since World War II and whose main contribution in the fight against bigotry has been to legitimize bigots who spout the canard that Israel is an Apartheid state.
Then there will be the latest speech at the U.N.’s podium by Iran’s soon-to-be nuclear President Ahmadinejad, who labels Israel a cancer that must be annihilated.
And not to be outdone is Palestinian Authority President Abbas. Having recently cut a deal to include Hamas -- whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel -- Abbas has decided to bypass the inconvenience of direct negotiations with Israel for a two-state solution. Instead, he’s heading for the United Nation seeking a vote backing a unilaterally declared Palestinian state based on Israel’s return to its indefensible pre-1967 War borders. He already has more than 130 nations lined up for a U.N. General Assembly vote.
A perfect storm, if there ever was one.
As they struggle against these new challenges Israelis need to know that their one true friend in the world, the United States, has her back.
There may yet be a two-state solution in the future, but it’s a non-starter now for at least two reasons: Mr. Abbas has to choose between Hamas or peace with Israel. So far, he’s chosen Hamas. No Israeli politician, left right or center will accept a deal with a Palestinian entity that would install Hamas terrorists in neighborhoods walking distance to Israel’s urban population centers.
Secondly, President Abbas has repeatedly told his constituents he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state. That means, that the day after they get the keys to their own state, Palestine will demand the entry of 4 million grandchildren of 1947 refugees into Israel, paving the way for the end of a Jewish majority and Jewish future in the Holy Land.
Some world leaders, especially Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper, have stated their opposition to forcing Jerusalem to walk the U.N.’s greased-up gangplank.
But in truth, only one leader counts right now: President Barack Obama.
Indeed, Obama has indicated that the U.S. would veto any unilateral Palestinian statehood vote in the Security Council.
But he’ll have to do a lot more to cajole the Palestinians back to the negotiating table with their Jewish neighbors and to get the U.N. Human Rights Council to stop bullying Israel.
And the president has has his work cut out for him to get the Turkish PM to curb his increasing embrace of anti-West posturing and his frightening anti-Israel rants.
What’s at stake is not merely the president’s standing among Jewish voters and other supporters of Israel in 2012, but the tottering balance between peace and war in the Middle East.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and directs the Center's Digital Terrorism and Hate Project.