Monday, December 19, 2016

More on Trump's Nominee for Ambassador to Israel

AF joins an exchange that includes Dr. Walter Block and me:

From AF:
Dear Folks,

If I may, it's nice to know your thoughts on this.

I think I disagree with all of you: I believe that the appointment of David Friedman as the US ambassador to Israel is great for both countries. The US has been involved in several interventions in Israeli politics since at least the Oslo Accords, which have been a total disaster for israeli citizens and palestinian arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (now finally in control by the totalitarian islamist movement Hamas); and for the US taxpayer. Also, it funded (with the EU and other Arab states) the PA, which promoted attacks to israeli citizens over and over again throughout the years, and indoctrinated its own population with Jew-hatred (Rand Paul promoted a bill to stop funding the PA some tme ago).

David Friedman knows the facts of the subject right, and the truth of the matter is that he will most likely do nothing with neither Israel nor the palestinians; i.e. the US governments from Clinton to Obama decided that the best policy was to guide Israeli politics and blame Israel for the abscence of formal peace. So, and both he and Trump have said so already, the US will stop its interventionism in the situation. This is certainly a non-interventonist stance. If it helps Israel it is so because it stops supporting PA's agenda (and indirectly attacks on israelis). But it is a collateral consequence. The main thing is that the US stops intervening in Israel's affairs.

About the embassy subject (and this is certainly realpolitik), it being located in Tel Aviv is one more political choice guided by interventionism in foreign affairs; how so? because the US refuses de facto to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (although formally says so), by placing its embassy in Tel Aviv. Moving it to Jerusalem means to recognize Israel as a sovereign state that (like the other near 200 states in the world) has the right to chose its own capital city; without the need to get permission from Washington. If the argument for not moving the embassy is that there will be an islamist terror wave, then Israel's support should be abandoned altogether, since one of the reasons they attack US citizens is that Israel is "the small Satan" supported by the US.

But if you think that islamist hatred of America is actually tied to Israel you are wrong: while Israel is the "small Satan", America is "the Great Satan". They hate both Israel and America for what they represent, whether or not the US promotes or has promoted intervention in Middle Eastern affairs in the past. But it seems we disagree on this point.

Best Regards,


PS: Bob, it's nice to be in touch with you. I'm a big fan of your Daily Alerts!

Walter Block adds:
let me add that as a practical matter, Israel would be better off in my opinion, without "help" from the US. as a result of this "help" Israel has to fight its battles with one hand behind its back. its response has to be "proportional." It cannot conquer any Arab country. without US "help" (Eisenhower), Israel would now own the entire Sinai peninsula.

My response to AF:
Hi A,
I am trying to understand your view here.
Do you hold that all Islamists already hate America and that moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem won't tip some toward greater hate and the possibility of acting out their hate?

AF response:
Dear Bob,

I should carify that by Islamism I mean the most extreme version of Islam (see a brief exposition here Of course I do not believe that every advocate of Islam as such hates America (Islam and Islamism are different things). But Islamists do, and moving the embassy to Jerusalem will not make them hate America more.

Nevertheless I do understand both your position and your concerns. Even if there are attacks and they claim that these are a consequence of moving the embassy, I see it as just an excuse. In the very same way that they use whatever the US actually does wrong as an excuse to attack.

But again, I understand your position but do not share it.

Walter Block responds:

Dear Bob:

I don't think that all Islamists already hate America and that moving the
U.S. embassy to Jerusalem won't tip some toward greater hate and the
possibility of acting out their hate?

I agree with you that moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem will indeed tip some toward greater hate and the
possibility of acting out their hate.

My response is, So what. Let 'em hate us even more, and act out on it. We should do what is right.

Look, suppose I advocate getting rid of the minimum wage law, and this will get lefties to hate me, the free enterprise system, even more than would otherwise be the case. And, some of them will act out on their hate. Should I refrain, therefore, from advocating getting rid of the minimum wage law? Surely, you'll agree with me, that I should not so refrain. So, why should I refrain from advocating a move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?

Best regards,

RW response to Block:
Well, first, because as Americans, it makes a difference to us what happens in America with regard to the minimum wage.

But, second, as Murray Rothbard pointed out in his memo "What is to be done?" (Strictly Confidential: The Private Volker Fund Memos of Murray N. Rothbard Chapter 1)sometimes it does make sense to keep our mouths shut.

I quote:

"Thus, suppose that one is writing about taxation. It is not incumbent on the libertarian to always proclaim his full 'anarchist' position in whatever he writes..."

It is a strategic decision as long as we do not advocate a NAP violation. I am with Rothbard here and I do not agree with you that libertarians must always speak up at all times about every NAP violation.

But getting back to the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem issue, the function of a US embassy should be to process business of the US. I see no reason why this can't continue to be done in Tel Aviv. Moving it to Jerusalem would simply get us deeper into a foreign entanglement. By keeping it in Tel Aviv we are not violating NAP, we are just staying away from stirring up a hornets' nest, that you admit exists, for no reason.

I note that the neutral Switzerland also has its embassy in Tel Aviv.

I emphasize that I am not taking a position on who is the "rightful" lord over Jerusalem. Jews or Muslims, just that it is not the business of the US.

I have no problem with you personally advocating that Jerusalem belongs to the Jews----and I have no problem with Muslims making the case that it is their land.

I really don't care who rules the land. But my realpolitik perspective says it makes no sense for the US to stir up Muslims by moving the embassy.

Walter Block response to Wenzel:

Dear Bob:

I agree with you: there is no requirement for libts to comment on every issue. But, it is so much FUN!

I agree with you, too, that changing the embassy will "stir up" Muslims. But keeping it in Tel Aviv with "stir up" the Jews! I think it is reciprocal.

Best regards,


RW responds:
 Are you saying Jews will start launching terrorist attacks in the US if the US keeps the embassy in Tel Aviv?

Walter Block response:

 hardy har har har. no of course not. but, should the squeaky wheel ALWAYS get the grease. is there to be no justice in the world? only might (terrorism in this case) makes right?


  1. Just invert Norman Podhoretz's formula. Is it bad for the Jews? If yes then that is what you should support. Simple stuff.

  2. This talk of whether or not "Islamism" hates America is irrelevant.

    The fact of the matter is that Islam is incompatible with the West. It's not the specific ideology, or strictly about "terrorists." Islam is sympathetic, countenances, even requires violent acts against infidels. Large numbers of non-combatants (whether or not "terrorists") sympathize, even aid and abet, with such, even if they themselves would never become a combatant. Further, this realpolitik observation dictates the proper Western response to specific issues like the American embassy.

    Otherwise, AF, Walter, Rafi, et al, say the same thing I've said. Muslims will compromise with the West in general, and Israel in particular, as soon as the West asserts itself (Israel First, America First, Germany First, etc.). This certainly does not have to mean resorting to war.

    Bob, do you think the Arabs will go to war if the US moves the embassy? The Arabs, the Saudis in particular, are so covered in dirt that Trump could destroy them all without firing a shot just by revealing all the literal shit the NSA has on the lot of them. (That might happen anyway as the Clinton Foundation investigations gather steam. And then there's PizzaGate...)

    No one wants war, Bob. Moving the embassy to Jerusalem will do more to calm the situation down than any number of diplomatic feints. Israel won. Get over it. Move on. Yes, it's that simple.

    After that, we can arrive at a Final Solution to the Temple Mount Problem (so to speak).

  3. AF starts off his argument be stating that the U.S. has been intervening in the Israeli vs. Palestinian conflict since the Oslo accords which began in 1993, during President Bill Clinton's first term in office. By starting at 1993, AF has severed well over 45 years of blatantly one-sided U.S. involvement in the Israeli vs. Palestinian conflict. The discussions among President Harry Truman's domestic and foreign policy advisors over the U.N. partition plan for Palestine in 1947-1948 was fractious. James Forrestal who was mentor to Jack F. Kennedy had adamantly advised against Truman recognizing the State of Israel prior to Truman eventually giving his blessing to recognition of Israel in 1948.

    In 1956 President Eisenhower became heavily involved in the Suez Canal military debacle between Israel, Egypt, and Great Britain before things slowly quieted down. In the early 1960s Presidents Eisenhower and Jack Kennedy squared off with Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion concerning British and possibly U.S. involvement in transfer of plutonium and nuclear technology to the State of Israel at the newly discovered Dimona nuclear reactor facility. Both Presidents wanted the hidden nuclear reactor to be studied. Israel adamantly rejected those demands. Some people believe President Kennedy was assassinated in part because of his threat to David Ben-Gurion to have the U.S. military search the Dimona reactor and associated facilities in 1962.

    In both 1967, and again in 1973 the U.S. sided with the State of Israel in conflicts with Arab nations in the region over Israel's having pushed Palestinian people out of areas specifically portioned by the U.N. for Palestinian towns and villages. A good friend of my wife described running for her life from Israeli soldiers who over-ran her village, and how she was never able to return to Palestine. In both the 1967 and 1973 conflicts the presiding U.S. Presidents were more than willing to use the nuclear option if certain events had unfolded as they desired.

    During Jimmy Carter's presidency he worked with Egyptian Prime Minister Anwar Sadat, and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin to create the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty which was signed on March 26th, 1979.

    Jerusalem was supposed to be a separate entity that was not ruled by either Israel or Palestine according to the 1948 partition plan. Since the June, 1967 War the Israeli's government has forced Palestinians from their historic neighborhoods in east Jerusalem only to be replaced by Jewish homes and apartment complexes, with the destruction of East Jerusalem accelerating greatly since 2001.

    For a Trump presidency to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem now would be seen as the United States signing off on anything and everything that Israel has done, and intends to do to the Palestinian people in Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza Strip, and most importantly the Temple Mount. Looking at who Donald Trump has surrounded himself with, and their zealotry concerning direct U.S. involvement, the future looks very dark. America's tacit approval of Israel by the extension of a gift of $34 billion dollars authorized by the Congress for Israel bodes ill for the American people. We as American citizens are being forced to pay for Israel's desire for historic Palestinian lands, and proven involvement with military advisors, soldiers, and agents in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, Iraq, and Iran. There is a reason the U.S. government is called the "Great Satan" by many in the Middle-East and beyond.

    The United States should stay out of this quagmire for the good of the American people on many levels, but we won't. I am afraid we are going to be lead by people who blithely overlook the complex history of American involvement in the Israeli-Palestian conflict much like AF and Walter Block have chosen to do today. That will be to the detriment of us all, but history appears to hold no value to this careless crowd.

  4. Islamists hate America for "what it represents" regardless of intervention or not?"
    What is it that America "represents? It's so-called "freedoms" that have been steadily disappearing with each decade?
    If it is freedom, then explain why the much freer Switzerland (according to the various indices of freedom) isn't attacked into oblivion by islamists? Could it be because Switzerland is neutral and never sticks its nose into the business of the Middle East?
    Note how other European countries that have a habit of cooperating with America are also targeted.

  5. I wonder how many Muslims live in Switzerland, and under what restrictions?

    Ah, let's see:

    In the wake of the Wangen minaret controversy, a popular initiative was passed with 57.5% of the popular vote in November 2009, introducing a ban on the construction of new minarets.

    I am going to go out on a limb here, but in "much freer Switzerland," if the Muslims get too uppity, say, by violently protesting laws targeting them, they won't be welcome there much longer, regardless of legal status. That is why they act with restraint, not out of any respect for Swiss neutrality. As I keep saying, once the West responds appropriately to these murderous ingrates, the attacks will cease.

    The problem is not Muslims in their own countries. The problem is Muslims living in the West and acting as if their hosts are the "other."