Thursday, June 27, 2019

  • Thursday, June 27, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
Many of the speakers at the Bahrain economic workshop emphasized how none of the vision is possible without political buy-in from Palestinian leaders.

Beneath the surface, though, the workshop was meant to undercut and minimize that very political power.

Scott Adams, the cartoonist behind Dilbert, has a daily podcast where he discusses the news. One of his specialties is in noticing and analyzing persuasion techniques. He called Jared Kushner's opening speech at Bahrain a brilliant example of how to speak persuasively (starting around 11:30 and going past 38:00.)

He specifically mentions that Kushner made the audience "think past the sale." The idea of peace has become a roadblock and Kushner, instead of pushing the immovable, got the people to imagine a world after a peace agreement, which then makes them believe that peace is possible.

Although Adams didn't say this, when Kushner made people think past the sale, they also thought  past the real roadblock - that the Palestinian Authority vetoes every single peace plan. For the times that they thought past the sale, the PA's intransigence was forgotten.

Which means that the people who want to see a prosperous Middle East now have, at least subconsciously, realized that the current Palestinian leadership is not part of the solution. They are part of the problem.

Palestinian leaders need, more than anything else, to feel relevant. That relevance has been most obvious when they say no. The dynamic has been that Israel makes a peace offer, Palestinians refuse it, and the West pressures Israel to sweeten the offer. Palestinian leaders sit back and let the desire for peace push Israel towards their positions without their making any concessions.

Bahrain turned that logic on its head. Yes, the West and now the Arab world want peace, but instead of seeing this as Israel not giving enough, the Palestinian attempt to get the world to boycott a conference meant to help them showed that they are the obstacles to peace, not Israel, which was publicly eager to participate.

Israel and the Gulf states are looking at what a peaceful future might look like - and the only way to get there is to bypass or replace the obstacles.

Bahrain looked past the sale in another important way. It showed Arab officials talking with Israeli reporters and others. This is what the world would look like after peace.

This is what the Palestinians and their fans contemptuously call "normalization." Article after article in the Palestinian Arab press decries this normalization, especially the statement from Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalifa to Israeli media that "Israel is part of the heritage of this whole region, historically. The Jewish people have their place amongst us."

This was a stunning statement from an Arab official, and it broke the Palestinian-led consensus about what Arabs are and aren't allowed to do vis a vis Israel.

Seeing Zionist Jews and Arabs acting friendly with each other is looking past the sale. It shows what the future could hold. And once again, the main roadblock to that vision is Palestinian intransigence. Being against "normalization" means that one is against real peace. The wonderful thing about Bahrain is that the Gulf states, even though they do not have formal relations with Israel, have already shown more warmth towards the Jewish state than Jordan or Egypt have after peace agreements. People who want real peace want normalization; conversely those who consider normalization to be a dirty word are clearly not the people who should be considered peace partners.

Up until recently, for the most part, Palestinians had veto power not only on the peace process but also in what the Arab world was allowed to say about Israel. That political power has been eliminated with this one interview, which went beyond what the Saudis have said about Israel. Not only did Khalifa say that he wanted peace - he said that Jews have a political history in the region. He left unsaid that this predates Palestinians - and Islam.

Palestinians have been denying Jewish heritage, and even Jewish peoplehood, in the Middle East specifically because they know that if Jews are a people with a history, they also have rights that precede their own. They know the truth but they have been suppressing it, largely successfully, among the Arabs (and their anti-Israel fans.)

Bahrain's Foreign Minister has broken their choke-hold on history and refuted them, breaking their hold on the narrative of the historic place of Jews in the Middle East. This is huge, not only because it shows another viewpoint for the Arabs to embrace, but because it deflated Palestinian political power in the Arab world.

Which is necessary if one wants peace. The obstacles must be removed, or set aside.

The "peaceniks" of the West have been emotionally invested in what has become a religion of Israel making more concessions to Palestinians in order to bring peace. Ten years ago, they would have said that peace with Palestinians is important because it is a prerequisite to peace between Israel and the larger Arab world. Hearing pro-Israel statements from Oman, Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia shows that this linkage is not nearly as strong as was assumed. The biggest boosters of Palestinians over the years are now the biggest critics (although that is not yet too public - it is notable that Khalifa said that Palestinians boycotting the workshop was a mistake, as did Jordan.) It is almost comical to see the people who were so invested in the old, discredited method of bringing peace try to mock the Bahrain conference. They are proving that they are not interested in peace but in pressuring Israel. They also had political power as pundits or NGOs, and this conference has not only reduced Palestinian political power, but also that of the J-Streets and Peace Nows of the world.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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