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By Paul Merkley.


Some Historical Perspective

There is no escaping the conclusion that before Islam began bringing Christians to their knees throughout most of the Middle East in the 7th and 8th centuries most of them had lost vital interest in their inherited faith. (more…)


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By Paul Merkley.


On July 26, two Muslims slit the throat of a French Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Jacques Hamel, 85, while he was saying Mass before a typically small group of locals in his village church. (more…)

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  By Paul Merkley.


 The Jewish Response to the Crisis of the Christians of the Middle East: Finding Safe Haven for Christians.


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By Paul Merkley.


***The History of the State of Israel: A Brief Version.

In May of 1948 the newly-proclaimed State of Israel was forced to defend its right to life as its neighbours, the five Arab nations of that time, assisted by volunteer legions from around the Muslim world, invaded it with the purpose of strangling it in its cradle.

With the exception of Egypt, the Arab nations of that day were not significantly older than Israel was. They had come into the world in consequence of the withdrawal of Britain and France from the responsibilities of imperialism. Egypt had of course been around for a very long time; but the last King of Egypt (does anyone here remember King Farouk?) lost the last few shreds of his dignity when his armed forces failed to crush the Jewish state and he was quickly overthrown (1952.) As for the other Arab nations, the Kingdoms of Iraq, Jordan and Syria,  all had been in effect colonies of either Britain or France until granted independence:  Iraq in 1932, Syria in 1945, Jordan (then Transjordan) and Lebanon in 1946.

The regimes in each of these new Arab nations were shaky to begin with; since then, all of them have undergone civil war, and frequent constitutional changes, punctuated by assassination. Their rulers still need to lock up job-lots of their citizenry in order to stay in power.

To bring this up to date: today, in  the wake of the Arab-Spring-That-Wasn’t  all of the Arab regimes have become less secure, while most have become less democratic and in most respects less free than they were in their beginning.

At the time of their humiliating defeat in the Six Day War of June, 1967, the Arab nations were still relatively small, compared to the movers and shakers of the time – the Americans, the Europeans, and the Soviet Union. They played insignificant roles in the world economy. All were governed by self-assured kleptocrats, few of whom were destined to last much longer. We have to assume that they all knew in their heart-of-hearts that no good purpose would be accomplished by more war, whether or not they might win it. But the mobs wanted more war – or so they said – in order to ratify the dignity of the Arab race and the moral worth of Islam.

Israel’s response to victory in the war imposed upon her by the Arab nations in June of 1967 was to declare publicly her intention to seek a peace treaty with these nations. The Israeli government  recognized that the euphoric mood that followed the reunification of Jerusalem would dissipate; then,  Israel’s citizens would face even greater hostility from the world. Accordingly, Israel went to work at once seeking the support of the United Nations, the United States, the UK and other nations, for direct diplomacy between Israel and the Arab nations. Throughout the decades that followed, Israel’s diplomats publicly and privately declared her readiness for direct diplomacy with all stakeholders.

By contrast, Arab and Muslim policy was grounded henceforward on the project of alienating Israel from world opinion by painting Israel as a monster-occupier while Arab Palestinians served their propaganda purpose as victims. Eventually, the world would regret having let Israel come into the world: Israel would be abandoned and helpless, and then another war could be risked.

This policy is embodied in the Khartoum Resolution, passed by the Arab League following their assembly of “The Kings, Presidents and representatives of the other Arab Heads of State” in Khartoum, capital of Sudan, September 1, 1967. The purpose of this declaration was to bind all Arab nations into a religious  obligation to go to war at the earliest possible opportunity – confident in Allah’s mandate.

The Khartoum Resolution “affirmed the unity of Arab ranks, the unity of joint action and the need for coordination and for the elimination of all differences.”

The Arab Heads of State have agreed to unite their political efforts at the international and diplomatic level to eliminate the effects of the aggression and to ensure the withdrawal of the aggressive Israeli forces from the Arab lands which have been occupied since the aggression of June 5. This will be done within the framework of the main principles by which the Arab States abide, namely, no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it, and insistence on the rights of the Palestinian people in their own country.

***The Three Noes. 

The Khartoum Resolution amounts to a solemn religious curse uttered against Israel, binding the Arab nations, and preventing any one of them from pursuing a separate path. The effect of achieving total unity in objective, tactics and strategy would buoy up Arab morale and cause all memory of the embarrassment of The Six Day War to disappear. (Causing the memory of unpleasant realities to disappear is a special talent of the Arabs – one which markedly informs their historiography. (See my essay, “The Anti-history That Sustains Anti-zionism,”  Bayview Review, July 29, 2015.)

As things worked out, the effect upon Israel has been the least of the effects of the Khartoum oath. It has placed impossible constraints on all politicians in the Arab and Muslim world. Again and again it has served to discredit and ostracize, and, where necessary, to literally assassinate any Arab politicians who so much as hints at possible benefit in diplomacy with Israel.  At the same time, the U.S., and UK and all external powers, while not of course publicly committed to Khartoum, have been powerfully affected by its influence in the Muslim world; our diplomats nod in agreement as Arab diplomats speak of the sacred force of the Three Noes. In short: it has complicated life for all parties as they seek their own best interests in the Middle East.

*** Recent Tokens of Cooperation Between Israel and Arab states.

During the last few weeks we have seen dramatic evidence that the curse of Khartoum has lost its force. Major initiatives, running absolutely contrary to the spirit of Khartoum, have been taken by the biggest players on the Arab side. These initiatives follow from increasing recognition by the Arab movers and shakers that the greatest threat to their own regimes has nothing whatever to do with the existence of the Jewish State. The immediate  enemy of every Middle East regime is the rush towards anarchy occurring throughout the Muslim world.

Although it was a project accomplished by the “secular” rulers of the day, the power of the Khartoum curse derives from conviction of all Muslims everywhere that Allah will never abandon those who subscribe to it in faith. The Khartoum Creed promises  liberation  from the spirit of Satanism that has always leads secular leaders astray, and which accounts for the sufferings of Arabs today.

In their heart-of-hearts the secular rulers are not so convinced. All of the currently established regimes live in realistic fear of sudden overthrow. Most of these have come to realize that no amount of pretended piety can win for themselves the kind of loyalty that would be needed to achieve the goal announced in the Khartoum project.

The major news-media have been jerked around in recent weeks by what they imagine is their obligation to close down all other matters in order to give blanket coverage to major catastrophes – most of which are the fruits of the Islamic spirit. As a result, few people are aware of the fact that during the last few days, conspicuous nails have been driven into the coffin of Khartoum as result of two bold exercises in diplomacy.

One is the reconciliation agreement proclaimed between Israel and Turkey, which effectively puts finis  to all the terrible consequence that followed from the Marmora incident of May, 2010. (Eran Lerman, “The Turkish Israeli Reconciliation: A Balance Sheet,”  BESA, July 6, 2016; Yossi Melman, “Turkish Breakthrough,” Jerusalem Report, January 11, 2016.)

The other takes the former of the recently revealed understanding between Israel and Egypt under which Israel is, in effect, taking the leading role in driving Egypt’s fiercest domestic terrorist enemies out of Sinai (David Israel, “Report: Israeli Drones  Attack Sinai Terrorists with Egypt’s Approval,” Jewish Press, July 11, 2016.)

A similar pattern of quiet cooperation in matters of intelligence and military coordination is emerging on the front of relations between Israel and the Arab sheikdoms, including Saudi Arabia.   (Ben Caspi, “Is Israel forming and alliance with Egypt and Saudi Arabia?” al-monitor.com, April 13, 2016.)

These are, I believe, the first fruits of a new kind of realistic diplomacy being pursued by a new cohort of Middle Eastern statesmen who recognize that even the most-apparently stable Arab  regime can be swept away  overnight by the people who really do believe in the Three Noes.

Coincidentally, this phenomenon appears just as the Brexit vote is encouraging the hope that the Brits can at last separate their Middle East policy from the nasty anti-Zionist line practiced by the EU’s blue-ribbon  foreign policy apparatus.  And on that same note: Britain has just inducted as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister two politicians who have reputations as “warm supporters of Israel.” (http://www.timesofisrael.com/incoming-british-pm-theresa-may-seen-as-warm-supporter-of-israel/






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Is it possible that American high school students taking the Advanced Placement European History for early college credit might not learn about Winston Churchill and the evils of communism? A new curriculum framework, provided by the College Board headquartered in New York City, appears to whitewash the horror of communism and makes no mention of Winston Churchill. (more…)

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The Source of Islamic Terrorism.

 By Paul Merkley.


 Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino, Orlando, et al.

The past few weeks have proved exceptionally fruitful for the Warriors of Allah – even by Islamic-terror standards. (more…)

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By Paul Merkley.


The New York Times notes that Donald Trump is the “ first standard-bearer of a party since D. D. Eisenhower, a five-star general and the commander of Allied Forces in Europe during WW II, who had not served in elected office.”

Donald Trump at this moment, like Eisenhower at this same pre-Convention moment in 1952, is the clear favorite of the majority of Republicans. Trump can now stop talking about things being fixed. (more…)

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By Paul Merkley.


The Creation of the Modern State of Israel.

Israel was a brand plucked by the United Nation General Assembly from the wreckage left behind by Europe’s second failed suicide. CF

The decision to Partition the Palestine Mandate, carried by a two-thirds majority of the members of the United Nations General Assembly (November 29, 1947), was in fact the first matter of substantial geopolitical significance made by the brand new organization that called itself “The Parliament of Mankind.”Realistically speaking it was made possible because a commanding portion of the leadership of the United Nations was held, in those earliest days, by nations of the West, most of them democracies, and the most important of these ribs-out-of the side of the British Empire.

This action could not happened except at this moment when the level of idealism was high in Western politics, following the overthrow of the Axis powers. At the same time, this moment can be seen as the last moment when realism flourished in the counsels of the western nations. Idealism and realism are not enemies. Far from it: when a cause appeals to realists and idealists in the same moment it cannot be resisted.


A Bastion of Civilization.

Anyone who takes the trouble to study the transcript of the debate at the UN leading up to the partition of the Palestine Mandate quickly discovers that the intention was to meet the existential need of Jews while equally, and in the same gesture, to establish a bastion of civilization.

Statesmen used that word without embarrassment in those days; some bolder ones actually spoke of “our Christian civilization,” the term that Winston Churchill preferred in his speeches to cover the largest cause for which we were all fighting.  Those days are, of course, long gone Lecturers in the history of this period who let slip the word “civilization” are certain, at least, to be mocked, and at worst to be reported for “cultural supremacism” to the Student Council’s truth squads.

“An Arab State and a Jewish State” (to use the language of the Partition proposal) were to b e established in a region of the world whose political life had always teetered on the edge of chaos. The State of Israel was admitted into the UN as its 59th member on 11 May 1949. (Today there are 193 members – which is to say that Israel is today a relatively senior member.) Most of the Arab nations that belonged already in the United Nations at the time of the Partition debate had only recently been created as a consequence of the decision of the British and the French to dismantle their brilliantly efficient Empires. The care and feeding of the Arab people was at that moment in the hands of leaders of their own choosing. Within a few months of this moment, they had all chosen  to be ruled by tyrants.

Today, the United Nations is a league of tyrannies. Only a minority are authentic democracies; some of the others pretend to represent a higher form of humane governance than do the democracies; others do not even pretend to be democracies, but instead bend their rhetorical energies to persuading the rest of us that they are governed by lofty ideological or religious principles whose demands upon the heart and soul cannot be submitted to popular will.

In the earliest months of the existence of the United Nations, Israel’s cause drew the sympathy of the world opinion in a moment when all thinking people in our part of the world were   aware that civilization had just survived by the skin of its teeth from a challenge led forces indigenous to the western world but representing the lowest order of political appetites. The public everywhere in the western world was hungry for idealistic talk and was accordingly ready to believe in the cause of Zion.


Israel: The Pariah Nation.

That moment, when the argument from idealism came into conjunction with the argument from realism, did not last. Within twenty years, there took place two thorough-going attempts of the Arab nations to undo the decision of the Western by declaration of war. These illegal actions should have resulted in the ejection of all of these states from the UN.  Instead, representatives of the member nations stood by and cheered while endless debate started up at the United Nations and in the opinion columns of all the Western media about rights and wrongs of Israel’s commitments to her self-defense.

Today, in the Twenty-first century so far, Israel’s role has become that of challenging a civilization in moral freefall. Israel has survived until this day by remaining true to the principles upon which the United Nations was founded – the very principles which have been thrown overboard by a majority of members of the UN.

Israel is among those members of the United Nations with the longest tenure. It is likewise among the  minority of members that are still being governed under political rules that were laid down in its founding; that is, Israel has never seen its democratically-chosen  leaders overthrown by force.

Today, the United Nations is obsessed with parading the alleged sins of Israel before the world.  For example: in its forty sessions since it took on its present structure,  the UN Human Rights Council has passed 67 Resolutions condemning Israel – six more than for the rest of the world combined. This outcome has been virtually guaranteed by the circumstance that the rules of the UN make Israel uniquely ineligible for membership on this body, or any of the other major Commissions. None of the nations which have been flagged for chronic and systemic human rights abuses by Human Rights Watch and other NGOs – China (the worst), Saudi Arabia (close second). Russia, Algeria, Congo, Cuba, Qatar, etc… has received the least complaint over the years; in fact, each of these outfits –dictatorships, thuggocracies, religiously-sanctioned monarchies or hopelessly unstable regimes — holds present membership, or is slated under the Council’s rotation system to become a member soon. (“Has the UN Human Rights C ouncil Become Frankenstein?” www.unwatch.org/10837-2.)


What Became of the Liberal Hopes for the Arab World?

It is this peculiar history that gives to the best Israeli journalism two closely-related qualities that are virtually absent elsewhere in our journalistic world: that is, realism combined with broad historical perspective.  The best example of this may be Caroline Glick. Today  a deputy managing editor of the Jerusalem Post, she was born in the United States but became a resident-citizen of the State of Israel and is now a veteran of active service in the Israel Defense forces.

Caroline Glick’s exceptional grasp on long-term historical meanings is demonstrated, for example, in a recent essay about the largest reality on the landscape of the Middle East today – the pending liquidation of the Arab world’s indigenous Christians. (Caroline Glick, “Inconvenient Genocide,” Jerusalem Post,  April 7, 2016.) She writes:

The Jewish communities [of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon predated Islam by a millennium, and were vibrant until the 20th century. But the Arab world’s war on the Jewish state, and more generally on Jews, wiped out the Jewish populations several decades ago. And now the Christian communities, which like the Jews, predate Islam, are being targeted for eradication.

Boldly, she touches on an  aspect of the story of ISIS’s campaign of liquidation against Christians  that is obviously  considered too sensitive  for Westerners to note:


One of the appalling aspects of ISIS’s deliberate, open targeting of Christians for destruction is how little resistance it has received from local Sunni populations…. the local Sunnis have not stood up for their Christian neighbors, who have lived side-by-side with them for hundreds of years. Rather, in areas that have been conquered by ISIS, the local Sunnis have collaborated with their genocidal masters in raping and murdering Christian neighbors, plundering their property, destroying their churches

Given the prevalence of Christian persecution, why is the West – which is overwhelmingly Christian – so reticent about mentioning it? And why are Western leaders loathe to do anything to stop it?… The same ideological prejudice that refuses to recognize that the Islamic State is Islamic, refuses to recognize that jihad is unique to Islam, refuses to recognize that Christians as religious minorities are being targeted for annihilation, and refuses to recognize that the Christians of the Middle East are ancient peoples who have lived in their communities since the dawn of Christianity, also refuse to recognize the rights of the Jewish people as the indigenous people of the land of Israel.

Our leaders of opinion are committed to a degraded sort of reverse bigotry which allows them to excuse anti-Christian and anti-Jewish attitudes and actions in the Muslim world as reasonable outcomes of their long struggle against the vices of European imperialism.

“In other words,” observes Caroline Glick, “Middle Eastern Christians, whose communities predate Islam, are targeted because they are perceived as Western implants. And the West ignores their suffering, because the Left in the West perceives them as Western implants. In both cases, prejudices, rooted on the one hand in jihadist Islam, and on the other hand in Western self-hatred and post-colonialism, reach the same bigoted conclusion: the only “authentic” people in the Middle East are Muslims. Everybody else is a colonial implant.”

There is the same convoluted linkage between our intellectuals’ indifference to the annihilation of the Christians and their love affair with anti-Zionism – the latest chapter in the disgusting history of anti-semititism.

No member of our opinion elite one seems to notice the hypocrisy involved in the paradox that the secular-leftist in our midst exudes  contempt for the civilization from which he derives while offering support, in the name of Anti-Zionism,  for the Palestine Authority  whose “moderate” leader proclaims that when his Fatah party’s claims to all of the old Mandate are at last recognized there will be no place anywhere in the Holy Land “for the filthy feet of Jews.” (PMW Bulletin, September 17,. 2015.)





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By Paul Merkley.


How Mindfulness  Replaced Christian Faith.

Up until about sixty years ago, all Universities in our part of the world regarded themselves as the ultimate custodians of the best parts of our intellectual tradition. Another way of saying the same thing was that they embodied Western Civilization.  (more…)

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The Only Possible Solution to the Arab World’s Terminal Disorder.   

By Paul Merkley


The Long Perspective.

Christianity was born in the Middle East – long before the Middle East became Arab and Muslim.    (more…)

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