Op-Ed: Honesty vs. Honey When Dealing with Obama
Gerald A. HonigmanThe author is an educator who has done extensive doctoral studies in Mid-East...
My late friend. Marvin used to like to gently remind me that you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.
I had much affection for this man--but disagreed with him.
I don't believe that one should be deliberately impolite or aggressive in promoting or defending one's position But I also do not believe that one should have to cower or grovel for simply asking for fairness
Honey should never take the place of honesty.
Reasonable people should be able to discuss issues on which they disagree without one expecting the other to grovel in order to be heard or for their cause to be handled in a just manner.
A few weeks ago, President Shimon Peres apparently decided to pre-empt President Obama's upcoming visit with a bit of honey.
The Israeli leader announced that Obama will be awarded one of Israel’s highest honors, the Presidential Medal of Distinction, when Mr. Obama visits in March. The medal recognizes Mr. Obama’s “unique and significant contribution to strengthening the state of Israel and the security of its citizens."
Like Peres's frequent flattering of the late Egyptian ghoul, Yasser Arafat, such sweetness will only be laughed at and used against him--and Israel--later on down the road.
Honesty being sacrificed for the sake of honey.
Because no matter how much military assistance and economic aid any American administration offers to Israel, it will not make up for forcing it to return to the suicidal conditions which existed prior to the June 1967 War.
Those conditions only invited repeated attacks by Israel's enemies who still refuse to recognize a state of the Jews in the region--regardless of its size. Additional fighter aircraft, ineffective promises about Iran, the Iron Dome, or whatever cannot make up for Israel not receiving the territorial compromise and buffer that it was promised by the final draft of UNSC Resolution 242.
Given such "honesty", no amount of honey will make any difference.
Mr. Obama has likely saved his first presidential visit to Israel to play hardball by forcing it to abandon 242's call for the establishment of more secure and defensible borders (what the settlement issue and building in Jerusalem and the rest of Judea and Samaria are largely all about) to replace the travesty of 1949's United Nations' imposed armistice lines.
Earlier American leaders, such as Johnson, Reagan, and Bush II, are on record endorsing 242's promise.
One should not be able to both force Jews to return to their ultra-vulnerable, nine to fifteen-mile wide zipper of a state existence and receive the Presidential Medal of Distinction for strengthening the security of Israel's citizens.
Who does Israel's Peres think he is kidding by indulging in such demeaning endeavors and behaviors?
All that occurs is that we lose respect among those who don't and won't expect Israel to prostrate itself and sacrifice its own critical concerns this way.
A 22nd Arab nation--and second, not first, in the original April 25, 1920 Mandate of Palestine (Jordan created in 1922 on almost 80% of the total land) should not be created by grossly endangering the sole resurrected, minuscule state of the Jews. To reasonable minds, this should be a no brainer.
Yet, the above is precisely what both the latter day Arafatians of Abbas and Hamas have come to expect--especially with the advent of the Obama Administration. Recall that the first phone call Obama made to a foreign leader after his election in 2008 was to Mahmoud Abbas, and that he has repeatedly stated that Israel would be crazy--exact words--to not accept the alleged Saudi Peace Plan--which calls for a total withdrawal of Israel to the '49 Auschwitz/armistice lines.
In just one of too many other examples of the pitfalls of choosing honey over honesty, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently had a chance to sit across a table from the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu.
And just as Peres was repeatedly played the fool by the Arabs' Arafat, Barak looked pathetic pleading for acceptance from none other than a representative of perhaps the biggest hypocrites in the entire Middle East--the Turks. He whimpered because Davutoglu refused to shake his hand.
These are the same Turks who have slaughtered--regardless of whatever excuses may be offered--some two million various non-Turkic peoples over the years in the name of their own national interests. Dare I mention the "A-" words (Armenians and Assyrians)? What's Cyprus all about, anyway? And why do the Turks call Hamas members heroes but PKK members terrorists?
As Arabs did elsewhere, Turks have outlawed the languages and cultures of other native peoples' (who have lived in Anatolia and adjacent areas long before a Turk ever invaded from Central Asia) in attempts to forcibly Turkify them. They have conquered other peoples' lands and repeatedly take any and all steps deemed necessary to defend Ankara's interests.
The latest official count of the Turkish Statistical Institute published the birth records of its citizens. It showed some twenty-three million Kurds--over a quarter of Turkey's population. Over the years, they have been re-named "Mountain Turks" by their subjugators.
Why no "roadmap" for Kurdistan while Ankara feels free to demand yet additional state for Arabs? All together, there are about forty million truly stateless Kurds in the region.
Imagine if Israel did such things to its Arab citizens. While its record isn't perfect either (what nation's is?), by any objective study, there is simply no comparison between how Kurds are treated in Turkey (and elsewhere) and how Arabs are treated in Israel.
Disgracefully, when Israel is forced to take measures to defend itself against those who openly declare intent to destroy it, Jews like Peres and Barak feel the need to bend over backwards to appease.
Perhaps even more worrisome, along these same lines, the thinking behind Prime Minister Netanyahu's recent courtship of Tzipi Livni in his coalition-building in the days leading up to President Obama's visit become suspect as well. Like Peres and Barak, Livni is also more "flexible" when it comes to issues Team Obama holds dear--like getting Jews to cave to his demands to stay within their 1949 oversized ghetto.
Nations which have fought wars, acquired territories, proclaimed sovereignty, in and over lands hundreds or thousands of miles away from home have no right to dictate suicidal concessions to Jews.
The Muslim Brotherhood's Egypt, a likely twin replacing Assad's Syria, is but a frightening hint at what can be expected down the road.
In the days which lie ahead--with even more nightmares of the "Arab" Spring," Iran, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and so forth unfolding in this most volatile region of the world (and who knows what will yet become of Iraq?)--the gap between honey and honesty goes far beyond a mere two missing letters.
Honey and honesty must be Israel's guidelines--not one instead of the other.