The U.S. Should Do More to End Palestinian Funding for Terror

On Sunday, a Palestinian terrorist murdered two Israeli civilians and shot a third in the abdomen. While Israeli police are trying to track down the perpetrator, Palestinian officials have reportedly begun arrangements to reward him and his family financially for his efforts. The Taylor Force Act, passed by Congress earlier this year, withholds funding from the Palestinian Authority (PA) until such payments to terrorists and their families cease. Although the Trump administration has bolstered the law by closing the PLO office in Washington and further cutting funding for Palestinians, it has not abided by all of the law’s provisions, or made appropriate efforts to defend it publicly, as Sander Gerber and Thomas Trask write:

[According to critics of the Taylor Force Act and White House policies], cutting aid is rash and undeserved, will reduce U.S. leverage, and will empower Palestinians who say the PA shouldn’t even pretend to seek peace with Israel.

These critics are wrong, but currently their arguments are largely unopposed. The administration has yet to make a serious case for why its aid cuts don’t undermine peace but encourage it. This explanation is the missing piece of the administration’s admirable steps to impose consequences on the Palestinian Authority’s support for violence. [Its absence] allows critics to portray cuts as merely a product of personal animosity or the influence of pro-Israel advisers, rather than sound strategic thinking. Having been successfully portrayed as an aberration, no-strings U.S. aid can be quickly restored by the next administration.

Feeding this problem is the State Department’s reluctance to comply with the Taylor Force Act. That bill became law six months ago, and by now Foggy Bottom should have sent several unclassified reports to Congress detailing the pay-for-slay program, PA laws supporting it, and U.S. and UN efforts to inform allies how the PA uses foreign aid money. To date, State has not complied. . . .

The Palestinian Authority’s recalcitrance matters, because U.S. aid was never envisioned as a permanent entitlement or act of charity. We have provided aid because we judged it in our national interest to support state-building and peace, and we believed money would promote those goals. But our money has had the opposite effect: it has rewarded rejectionism, promoted contempt among Palestinian leaders for the United States, and encouraged a Palestinian society in which virtually every function of governance—from trash collection and schools to hospitals and infrastructure—comes from Western aid. These are not conditions in which peace is possible.

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More about: Donald Trump, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy


For Israelis, Anti-Zionism Kills

Dec. 14 2018

This week alone, anti-Zionists have killed multiple Israelis in a series of attacks; these follow the revelations that Hizballah succeeded in digging multiple attack tunnels from Lebanon into northern Israel. Simultaneously, some recent news stories in the U.S. have occasioned pious reminders that anti-Zionism should not be conflated with anti-Semitism. Bret Stephens notes that it is anti-Zionists, not defenders of Israel, who do the most to blur that distinction:

Israelis experience anti-Zionism in a different way from, say, readers of the New York Review of Books: not as a bold sally in the world of ideas, but as a looming menace to their earthly existence, held at bay only through force of arms. . . . Anti-Zionism might have been a respectable point of view before 1948, when the question of Israel’s existence was in the future and up for debate. Today, anti-Zionism is a call for the elimination of a state—details to follow regarding the fate befalling those who currently live in it. . . .

Anti-Zionism is ideologically unique in insisting that one state, and one state only, doesn’t just have to change. It has to go. By a coincidence that its adherents insist is entirely innocent, this happens to be the Jewish state, making anti-Zionists either the most disingenuous of ideologues or the most obtuse. When then-CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill called last month for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea” and later claimed to be ignorant of what the slogan really meant, it was hard to tell in which category he fell.

Does this make someone with Hill’s views an anti-Semite? It’s like asking whether a person who believes in [the principle of] separate-but-equal must necessarily be a racist. In theory, no. In reality, another story. The typical aim of the anti-Semite is legal or social discrimination against some set of Jews. The explicit aim of the anti-Zionist is political or physical dispossession.

What’s worse: to be denied membership in a country club because you’re Jewish, or driven from your ancestral homeland and sovereign state for the same reason? If anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are meaningfully distinct (I think they are not), the human consequences of the latter are direr.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian terror