Saturday, February 12, 2011

Andy Martin: Israel is missing a historic opportunity for peace

Republican Presidential Candidate and conservative columnist Andy Martin says that pro-Israel Republicans and the Israeli government are missing a historic opportunity to advance Middle East peace. Andy is the author of the 2000 Andy Martin Middle East Peace Plan. Martin says that instead of sulking, Israelis should be celebrating and sharing the joy of the Egyptian people.



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Republican Presidential Candidate Andy Martin analyzes the upheaval in the Arab world and says Americans and Israelis are missing a historic opportunity

Andy proposes that Israel join in celebrating Egyptian freedom and extend a warm welcome to its new neighboring democracy

(NEW YORK)(February 12, 2011)

[NOTE: Most Americans probably initially became aware of Andy Martin because of his efforts to secure the release of Barack Obama’s secret Hawaiian birth certificate. But around the world Andy is known as a highly-respected independent foreign policy analyst who specializes in Asia and the Middle East. He first went to Libya and Egypt exactly forty years ago, in 1971. In 1979 and 1980 he was in Iran during the hostage crisis. After the ill-fated invasion of Iraq in 2003 he lived in Baghdad.]


Thirty-three years ago Egyptians and Israelis made peace. To be sure it has been a “cold peace.” But it was a great peace because for a third of a century both nations managed to avoid hostilities.

Now the Egyptian people are celebrating what is likely to become a watershed event, the Egyptian Revolution. Are freedom and democracy guaranteed? Far from it. But we as Americans are a revolutionary people (just in case you forgot). We should be celebrating Egypt’s freedom; we should be congratulating the Egyptian people for peacefully casting off the yoke of dictatorship.

But if you watch "conservative" Fox News, Sean Hannity suggests hatchet-wielding Muslims could soon be going on the rampage, chopping off arms and legs and casting the Egyptian people into a dungeon of religious extremism. The Muslim Brotherhood never had a better and bigger megaphone than Sean Hannity and Fox News.

The New York Times has been filed with downbeat reports from Israel. Israel is worried, Israelis are fearful, says the Times. The Israeli government is silent, hiding, concerned. What party poopers.

Where do the Israelis live? (Hint: it’s the Middle East).

On the campaign tail, Republican presidential candidates are like playful puppies, falling over each other trying to be the most pro-Israel supporter in the presidential primaries. Guess what? I am the only genuine friend Israel and the Israeli people have among the Republican Presidential candidates. Because I am the only one willing to tell Israelis what they don't want to hear. Change is always a challenge. But change will come, whether we embrace change or fear it.

Throw a party! Celebrate! Congratulate the Egyptians. Share their joy. That’s what Israelis and Americans should be doing.

Instead, the Israeli government has gone into seclusion, as though a historic event in a neighboring nation poses a threat to peace and should be ignored.

There are so many reasons why Israelis should be celebrating. But because pro-Israel voices in the United States and Israeli government policies have always been predicated on using fear to generate support, the “Israel lobby” is rendered speechless when Egyptians manifest a love of democracy and a yearning for freedom. What? Arabs? Who dey? Freedom? Democracy? How can this be?

One of my closest friends died two years ago. He was a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany. They made a movie based in part on his wartime experiences (“The Ritchie Boys”). Fred gave millions for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. He left a $50 million dollar foundation devoted to Jewish charities and Israeli support. If he were still alive, and he lives in my heart, he and I would be celebrating today.

We would be laughing at the politics of fear being spread by Fox News, supporters of Israel and the Israeli government.

On the contrary, Israel should declare a national holiday in solidarity with the Egyptian people. Instead of hiding in a bunker and trying to plan his next attack, Benjamin Netanyahu should be going to Egypt to celebrate and welcome the new Egyptian democracy. There’s a risk, of course; but enduring peace will only come when brave men and women take those risks.

Is there hostility between Arabs and Israelis? Sadly, there is. Both sides missed a great opportunity in thirty years of peace to become friends and not just signatories to a piece of paper.

The United States signed “peace treaties” with Japan and Germany over half a century ago. But no one worries when a Japanese or German government changes. Because the bonds between the USA, Japan and Germany are not based on an old peace treaty. They are based on the relations that have developed in the past sixty years. Although we compete in the economic sphere, the US, Japan and Germany are friends.

The same can’t be said of Egypt and Israel. But that’s why now is the time for celebration, now is the time for a new beginning, and now is the time for a Republican presidential candidate who will be a game-changer and bring a new and independent outlook to our foreign policy. Instead of capitulating to the worst fears of Israelis, an American president should be a leader in unfreezing the cold peace and leading all of the nations of the Middle East into a regional peace process.

For the past sixty years American policy has been frozen because Israeli policy has been frozen, frozen behind a Maginot Line of defenses based on the illusory claim that “security” flows from the barrel of an Israeli gun. There is still a naive belief that into the endless indefinite future Israel’s young people are going to want to live in a de facto state of martial law because of the existential “threats” posed by the nation’s neighbors. But true security flows from friendship and neighborliness, not napalm.

Are there Muslim extremists? Of course there are. I will have a very ground-breaking column on this topic as soon as possible. You'll be absolutely surprised at my views. But just because there are some bad people out there in the Muslim community is no excuse to act as though every Muslim is bad or every Egyptian is bad any more than every Israeli is bad.

Just think of the psychological power that Israel could exert if it declared a national holiday in solidarity with the Egyptian revolution? Just think what could happen if Egyptians saw celebrations in Israel sharing the joy of the Egyptian people, instead of sourpuss images? The celebratory images would open a new doorway to peace, new opportunities to break down the barriers and defenses that threaten to consume Israel’s future, a new sense of community and common ground.

Other than in this column, none of these ideas are being discussed. Instead, Americans and Israelis are hunkering down, fearful at the unknown, incapable of grasping a historic opportunity to ignite a democratic revolution right across the Arab world. We are addicted to our kings and dictators, addicted to dictatorship and repression masquerading as “democracy.” Even the so-called “Muslim president” is addicted to the status quo. He only grudgingly embraced the Egyptian upheaval. Clinton, Biden? Disgraceful.

We seem incapable of exploiting the power of our ideas and national history to join in solidarity with an Arab world "yearning to breathe free." Americans are rigidly tied to their Arab dictators; Israelis are neurotically dependent on their pieces of peace paper and despondent at the prospect of a free nation next door.

To watch the poorly-informed cable TV bobbleheads on Fox News you would think that freedom is a dirty word, that Egyptians are incapable of self-government. Is this a way to treat a friend? No. Is this the way to honor the “vote” by the Egyptian people to throw off the yoke of a dictator? Should we treat this seismic step as a meaningless gesture? No indeed.

Of course I have spent over forty years in and out of the Middle East. So I speak from actual experience on all sides, not just a list of talking points prepared by Washington lobbyists. I’ve been there, from Tripoli to Tel Aviv to Tehran (although Iran is not, strictly speaking, a Middle Eastern nation).

What have I leaned? Today, the Iranian people are bursting at the seams desperate to throw off the yoke of a failed theocracy and dictatorship. And they will do so. Arab dictators across the Middle East are living in fear, fearful of their own people, afraid of a new dawn of democracy.

Egypt is a great nation and a proud nation, with thousands of years of history. We should respect that history not ignore it.

One of the most odious things the Mubarak regime did during decades of dictatorship was to corrupt and intimidate the Egyptian judiciary. (Because I am trained as a lawyer, I always look to see how lawyers are treated by any national government.) Mubarak was afraid of his own judges. The judiciary and legal system tried to challenge his dictatorship. Mubarak crushed dissent in the Egyptian courts.

America ignored these brave jurists and failed to plant seeds of freedom. Who were these brave judges that were cowed into submission? We don’t know. No one in Washington cared. We had a “peace treaty.”

Today, unfortunately, American media are too busy raising the specter of “chop, chop” Benihana-style Muslim extremists rampaging and imposing Sharia law by cutting off peoples’ arms and legs. Perhaps it makes for more entertaining television. But we are allowing a historic opportunity to slip away.

Th reality behind the revolution is that Egypt is a complex nation with a sophisticated society. Unlike Iraq, where an external solution was imposed on the regime, Egyptians threw off their own yoke of oppression. The tanks in Cairo are manned by young Egyptians, not young Americans or Israelis.

In the final analysis, Israel’s security will not be determined by a “peace treaty” signed decades ago. That treaty is a piece of paper, an important piece of paper but paper nonetheless. I believe the agreement will be honored by the new Egyptian government, Sean Hannity’s exhortations concerning the Muslim Brotherhood notwithstanding.

But nations and peoples do not live and prosper through paper documents. They come together through friendship and the common bonds of trade, travel, education, and shared opportunities and experiences. That is what is lacking.

Today Israelis have a historic opportunity to share the joy of the Egyptian people. They have a historic opportunity to make overtures for peace, to create common bonds of democracy and freedom of association. Israeli judges should be welcoming Egyptian judges into the community of free jurists. Likewise Israeli lawyers should be extending an open hand to the legal profession in Egypt.

Sadly, I am the only Republican presidential candidate making these proposals. I am capable of using my decades of foreign policy experience to enhance Israel’s security, through freedom and democracy, and to enhance American national security through a warm and welcoming hand to the brave Egyptian people who cast off the bonds of steel.

Like my hero, President Ronald Reagan, I have a vision of an America that is powerful first and foremost because of our ideas and our commitment to freedom, not because we pose a military threat.

To my friends in the Israeli peace movement I can only say, "Let’s have a party." Egypt is free. And Israel is freer today than it was yesterday. We saw great bravery among the Egyptian people. Where is the bravery among our own media and politicians? Where indeed?

America is the greatest revolutionary nation on the face of the earth. More than two hundred years after our own revolution, we should be leading the parade for freedom and democracy. That’s where I want to lead the American people. President Reagan would understand. The current crop of presidential candidates sadly doesn’t.

As for the Obama regime? Obama & Co. are a disgrace to the American people and to the great revolutionary traditions of the United States of America. Republicans? We are the revolutionary party. Our Lincoln enshrined and defended the God-given rights which are so valued and cherished by human beings across the globe. Let’s reclaim our heritage and renew the boldness of the Reagan Dream and the Lincoln Dream.

Republicans need a leader, not a follower. My opponents are followers. I will be a leader. For peace, prosperity and American power.


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ABOUT ANDY: Chicago Public Radio calls Andy Martin a “boisterous Internet activist.” Andy is the legendary New York and Chicago-based muckraker, author, Internet columnist, radio talk show host, broadcaster and media critic. He has over forty years of background in radio and television and is the dean of Illinois media and communications. He promotes his best-selling book, “Obama: The Man Behind The Mask” [] and his Internet movie "Obama: The Hawaii’ Years” []. Martin has been a leading corruption fighter in Illinois for over forty years. He is currently sponsoring See also

Andy is the Executive Editor and publisher of the “Internet Powerhouse,” He comments on regional, national and world events with more than four decades of investigative and analytical experience. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law and is a former adjunct professor of law at the City University of New York (LaGuardia CC, Bronx CC).


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