Robert Spencer at The Freedom Center's Restoration Weekend
Jihad Watch's Director reveals why Israeli-Palestinian "negotiations" will always fail.
[Order Robert Spencer's The Palestinian Delusion, CLICK HERE.]
Jihad Watch Director Robert Spencer recently delivered a powerful exposé at the Freedom Center's Restoration Weekend in Palm Beach, FL (November 14-17, 2019). He unveiled the duplicity and deception at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" and explained why Anwar Sadat should not be revered as a man of peace. Don't miss it!
Thank you very much. I thought by way of transition I would tell all of you that I wouldn’t be here tonight, today, if it were not for Peter Collier. In the ‘90s, well actually going back further, in the early ‘80s, I worked at Revolution Books, which was the bookstore of the Revolutionary Communist party, and I was very hardcore leftist. And along the course of things, I read Destructive Generation, which had an explosive effect on me, as it had on so many people. Then some years later, I was working as an ad writer, a copywriter and ghostwriter, who read the Qur’an for fun, and after 9/11, was asked to write a book by somebody who knew me and I worked with -- to write a book explaining what had happened and why. And I said, “Well, I’m nobody. Why would anybody pay attention to what I think about any of this?,” and the guy said, “Just write it, and if it’s quality work and if it explains the material, then I will get somebody to publish it,” and, of course, the person he got to publish it was Peter Collier.
My first book, Islam Unveiled, came out in 2002 from Encounter Books, and I remember talking to him on the phone after he read the manuscripts and being sort of staggered and amazed when he said that he liked it. And you can hear all these people saying that he completely rewrote -- he did rewrite about half of it, but still he liked it. I’m still thrilled. In any case, the other part of that story is that the gentleman who asked me to write the book and encouraged me to do so worked for a different publishing house, a rival publishing house to Encounter, and they were going to publish the book, but then the head of the publishing house, who was a leading conservative publisher, he said in a meeting while I was there that he had visited Gaza and the Palestinians were wonderful people, and he didn’t want to offend them by publishing this book -- and that’s a lot of the fix that we’re in, and what I address in this new book, The Palestinian Delusion, which you all got in the bags when you registered.
You may remember Jimmy Carter standing there beaming happily with Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Menachem Begin, the Prime Minister of Israel, at Camp David in the late ‘70s, and there was going to be peace. And you may remember Bill Clinton standing there with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, and they’re shaking hands and Clinton is beaming, and there’s going to be peace. And you may remember George W. Bush standing there with Mahmoud Abbas and Ariel Sharon and beaming as they shake hands, and there’s going to be peace. And you may remember Obama standing there with Abbas again and Benjamin Netanyahu, same thing. And the one thing we’ve never had is peace. We’ve had 40 years of peace process and no peace. The reason why is revealed in many of the things that took place in the first and most celebrated aspect of that peace process and that, of course, is the Camp David summit and Anwar Sadat’s overtures to Israel after the 1973 war. This is, of course, very important in world history. If you go to Jerusalem, you can go to the Begin Sadat Center that studies ways to bring about peace and so on, and Sadat is a revered figure around the world, but I would expect that many of you will be surprised to know why exactly it was that he reached out to the Israelis and began the peace process. He is a great saint now. He’s a Gandhi figure and so on, but the real story is a little bit different, as is always the case.
Anwar Sadat, of course, was President of Egypt, and in the Yom Kippur war he was one of the Muslim Arab countries that attacked Israel gratuitously and without cause, and they were, of course, making great inroads, because it was Yom Kippur. They were making great inroads at the beginning, and then the Israelis began to regroup and to beat them back, and then the ceasefire was concluded, and so on. And shortly after this, there was a Politburo meeting, a meeting of the high command of the Soviet Union. Now of course at this time, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict was part of the Cold War, with the Israelis on the American side and the Palestinians on the Soviet side, and everything was binary, not like it is now, and you had Gromyko, the foreign minister of the Soviet Union, speaking with Leonid Brezhnev, the Premier of the Soviet Union, about what to do about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and he actually asked them at this Politburo meeting. I’ve got the minutes in the book. “Leonid, what are going to do about the Israelis and the Palestinians?” And Brezhnev says, “We’re going to participate in negotiations. At the appropriate time, we will restore diplomatic relations with Israel.”
And everybody, the whole Politburo was shocked, and Gromyko says, “But the Arabs will get angry.” Well, the sun will come up, but anyway, the Arabs will get angry, and this is what Brezhnev responded, and this is very important. Brezhnev says, “They can go to hell. We have offered them a sensible way for so many years, but no, they wanted to fight. Fine. We gave them technology, the latest, the kind even Vietnam didn’t have. They had double superiority in tanks and aircraft, triple in artillery and in air defense and anti-tank weapons, they had absolute supremacy. And what? Once again they were beaten. Once again they scrammed. Once again they screamed for us to come and save them. Sadat woke me up in the middle of the night twice over the phone, Save me. He demanded we send Soviet troops immediately. No, we’re not going to fight for them. The people would not understand that and especially we will not start a world war over them. So, that’s that. We will do what I said.”
You notice that he said Sadat pleaded for help after he had given them all the best weaponry, and they still lost. And so what did Sadat do? He was very astute. He realized okay, the Soviets want me to make peace with Israel, but who really has the leverage over Israel to get them to make concessions? Not the Soviets, but the Unite States. So Sadat took Brezhnev’s advice, but he switched sides, and that was when Sadat, you may recall those of you who are as old as I am, you may recall that in the early ‘70s Sadat broke with the Soviets and approached the United States and made an accord with the United States, and it was considered to be a great Cold War breakthrough. But Sadat himself explained, when he was asked why he was doing this, he said, “What other country can force Israel to withdraw?” That’s what it was all about, and that’s what the peace process was all about.
Sadat, very famously, offered to go to Israel, and of course Israel, being besieged and battered and excoriated in world opinion and everything else for so many decades, they were thrilled, and the Israelis greeted Sadat rapturously when he went to Jerusalem, and he addressed the Knesset and was received as a tremendous hero. But if you actually look at what he said, it’s astonishing. What he was saying essentially in his speech in the Knesset was “Let’s negotiate. You give me everything I want, and our negotiations will be concluded.” Because what he said was, “Let me tell you without the slightest hesitation,” this is Sadat in the Knesset, “that I did not come to you under this dome to make a request that your troops evacuate the occupied territories. Complete withdrawal from the Arab territories occupied in 1967 is a logical and undisputed fact. Nobody should plead for that.” And he talked about permanent peace based on justice, and then he said that moves to ensure our coexistence and peace and security in this part of the world would become meaningless “while you occupy Arab territories by force of arms.”
Now, he’s talking about the 1967 borders, which of course is still a very hot issue, and was demanding that Israel withdraw completely from the so-called occupied territories, but the fact is that, of course, it is a staple of the Muslim Arab rhetoric about Israel that Israel actually is entirely occupying land that belongs rightly to the Muslim Arabs, and thus, none of it has any legitimacy. So, when he’s saying that there can be no peace until all the Arab territories that you occupy by force of arms are cleared out, he’s saying Israel has to stop existing, and then we’ll be friends. And yet nobody really paid attention to this. Nobody pondered the implications at the time, and of course, most famously, Jimmy Carter invited Sadat and Begin to Camp David a few years after that, about a year after this, rather, and there was going to be peace. It was going to be great. But the thing was, Carter was entranced by Sadat. Carter did think that Sadat was some extraordinary, magnanimous Gandhi-like world figure for peace, and so he told him essentially that he would give him anything he wanted. He called him a great and good man, and Carter said to Sadat, “I will represent your interests as if they were my own. You are my brother.”
Now, contrast that to Carter’s national security advisor, you remember Zbigniew Brzezinski. Yeah, you remember him. And he said in his memoirs that Carter’s relationship with Begin was “icy” and even mutual praise was formalistic and devoid of any personal feeling. But meanwhile Carter’s telling Sadat, “I hope I’ll never let you down.” And what’s really ironic about his is that Sadat went back to Mohamed Kamel, his foreign minister, and the rest of his entourage, and he’s telling them all this with great hilarity and talking to them about the person he called “poor naïve Carter.” And it was really sort of ludicrous how he took advantage of Carter at Camp David, and what happened essentially is Begin caught on very quickly. He went back to his own group, and he said the Americans have adopted the Egyptian program. That’s that, and that’s essentially what was forced upon the Israelis at the time. I mean it was really an unfair conflict. It was two against one, and so there wasn’t really any chance.
Begin actually brought along Samuel Katz, who’s the author of a great book called Battleground about the case, essentially the case for Israel, and he had Katz talking to Carter to try to explain to him why Israel had a just case that ought to be respected. And Carter just got more and more impatient until he cut him off entirely. He had no interest in listening to this at all. In any case, what happened was that Sadat is walking, and this is an indication of what his true mindset was, Sadat is walking in the woods in Camp David with Kamel, his foreign minister, and some others, and he’s saying this: “We are dealing with the lowest and meanest of enemies, the Jews. The Jews even tormented their prophet Moses and exasperated their God. I pity poor Carter and his dealings with Begin with his stilted mentality.” And so, then Kamel asks him, “Well, do you think that Carter is going to pressure Begin to give us what we want?,” and Sadat says, “Oh yeah, of course he will.” It was in the bag.
Now, what’s really interesting about this story is that moments after this, or as they’re having this conversation, who walks up to them but Ezer Weizman, the Israeli foreign minister who is also walking in the woods, and he says to Sadat, “Can we talk face to face later on today?,” and Sadat suddenly changes. Seconds ago, he’s talking about “the lowest and meanest of enemies, the Jews,” and now he says, “Oh, of course. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you.” He was completely duplicitous. And really, actually it’s been extraordinarily effective. His historical memory is a monument of duplicity. Now, in any case, you know what happened, that the Israelis were made to give up the Sinai, which they had occupied, and make other concessions.
Now, remember that we’re talking about what happened after a defensive war. Why did Israel take the Sinai? Did it have imperialistic design on Egypt? Did it want to colonize the entire Middle East, as a lot of the paranoid Palestinian propaganda says? Obviously not. What you have is the same thing that happened if you look at a map of Germany before World War II and a map of Germany after World War II, and one thing that you’ll notice is that Germany is smaller after World War II. Why is that? Did Poland and the Soviet Union and the rest of them, well, the Soviet Union may have, but Poland was not working from some imperialist project. The entire continent of Europe had been victimized by the Germans, and it was considered to be entirely just that they lose some territory, and that the surrounding nations gain some territory as a matter of protecting their own security. And this is a law of human history, really, that you find multiple examples of throughout history that the victorious nation can expand its territory at the expense of the defeated nation so as to protect itself more effectively from future attacks of the same kind. Only when it comes to Israel was this not allowed.
But Sadat and Carter compelled Begin to give up the Sinai, which had been taken for security purposes, and to make various concessions. One of the extraordinary concessions that Begin made or was forced to make was the recognition of an entity called the Palestinian people. And I’m sure that you all know that there is no such thing as the Palestinian people. The Arabs of the region -- in the first place the name. “Palestine” was a name given by the Romans to the land of Judea after the Bar Kokhba revolt in 134 of the Common Era. In the year 134, there was a Jewish leader, Bar Kokhba, who led a revolt against the Romans, and they lost. And so the Romans had had enough. This was not the first revolt, and they expelled the Jews from the area, and they renamed Jerusalem “Aelia Capitolina,” and they renamed Judea “Palestine.” Where did they get the name Palestine? They went into the Bible, and they saw that the Jews’ enemies were the Philistines, and they named the region accordingly. But at that point, it was just a region’s name. It was like Brooklyn. To say that there’s a Palestinian people that is distinct from the other Arabs of the region is as silly as saying that Brooklynites are ethnically or culturally different and are a separate nation unto themselves. Well, maybe they are.
And when it comes to Palestine, there were always Jews living there, because the Romans had expelled the Jews from the area, but the expulsion decree was not universally enforced, and there was a Jewish presence in Palestine from that moment, 134, up to the present day, uninterrupted. Meanwhile, after the seventh century conquest of the area by the Muslim Arabs, then Arabs moved into the area, and were there intermittently. They were conquered by the Turks, and so on. The people who lived there were Arabs. The Arabs were not differently linguistically, culturally or religiously from Arabs anywhere else in that area. There was no distinct Palestinian people. There never was. And as far as the legal right to the land was concerned, you have various conquests, and the right of conquest is something else that’s always been recognized in human history. So, we can say the land belonged to the Arab Muslim caliphates and that it belonged to the Turkish caliphate, the Ottoman Empire, and then what happened? The Ottoman Empire fell at the end of World War I, and the Turks ceded their right to that area to the League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations. And the League of Nations gave Brittan what is known as the Mandate for Palestine, which was intended to allow for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. That was what it was explicitly for.
So there is nobody else who has any legal claim to that land other than the Jews, other than the State of Israel. And even more than this, you have an unbroken historical record of Jewish presence there. You have the fact that nobody else has any claim to that territory. I’m speaking about the fact that people say nowadays that Israel exists on stolen land. Who was it stolen from? If I pick up a wallet on the street, it belongs to somebody, but nobody owns this wallet. It’s the land that was set aside for the Jewish Mandate for Palestine, and remember, that includes what is known as the West Bank for Judea and Samaria and Gaza, and as a matter of fact it includes Jordan as well, although Jordan was detached from the land dedicated to the Mandate for Palestine by the British early on.
You know the phrase “Perfidious Albion? “Perfidious Albion” is a phrase used for Britain, and I’m sorry if Katie’s here, sorry. But anyway, but there’s no doubt that Albion was perfidious in this case, because, of course, you have the Zionist project beginning in the nineteenth century. In the background of everything that I’m saying, you have the Zionists beginning to say, “This is our land, this is our historic homeland, we need to return to this place so that we have our own nation and are not subject to persecution by everybody else.” And so, Jews from Europe, Jews from all over begin to move into the land of Palestine, and the British are supposed to be behind this. The British are supposed to be saying, “This is what is supposed to happen,” but after it started to happen, the Arabs started to complain, and the Arabs started to complain very simply because of a Qur’an verse. If you open your Qur’an to chapter 2, verse 191, you’ll see it. “Drive them out from where they drove you out.” Now, it is a historical myth in several stages that the Israelis drove anybody out. There was nobody driven out. It was the Jews who were driven out by the Romans in the first place, most of them, although many stayed, as I said.
But anyway, once the Arabs started complaining on this very basic principle, you see, “Drive them out from where they drove you out,” if you think about that for a minute, it means no Jews should be here. This is land that belongs to Muslims because Muslims once ruled it, and if Muslims once ruled it, they have the responsibility before Allah to drive out those who rule it now. So they had to drive out the Jews from the area, and the British, there was a British colonel, Colonel Bertie Harry Waters-Taylor, and he spoke to them. He went to the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, some of you may have heard of him -- and I’m sorry, Douglas Murray couldn’t make it, so I had to do it. Colonel Bertie Harry Waters-Taylor went to Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, and the Mufti of Jerusalem is somebody you may be familiar with because he lived in Berlin during World War II, was friends with Himmler and Eichmann and encouraged the final solution, the genocide of the Jews. But this is in 1920. This is before all that, and Colonel Bertie Harry Waters-Taylor told him we’ve got a bit of a sticky wicket here because we encouraged the settlement, but now you are complaining, and we want to make you happy. So, what we need to do is if you commit a few terror attacks, then the British government will see that the Zionist project is not viable and will withdraw.
Yes, the British government encouraged the Arab Muslims of Palestine to commit terror attacks against the Jews, and told them they would be rewarded for doing so. Now, you see, if you think about that, if that is the beginning of all this, then you see why in a microcosm, world opinion is so crazy nowadays, because this is something that the seeds of were planted years ago, that intimidation will work. They were told that if they were bullying and if they were violent, then they would be rewarded, and they have been. Sadat’s overture for peace was just another way to go about the principle, attaining the principle to “drive them out from where they drove you out.” And they have worked on the basis of intimidation ever since. Ever since until one thing happened: Donald Trump was elected president.
Now, you’ll notice intimidation has been the basis of American foreign policy regarding Israel and the Palestinians really ever since the State of Israel was founded. After the State of Israel was founded, with very few exceptions, we have bowed to Arab Muslim intimidation and allowed them to dictate exactly what we would do regarding Israel. Sadat and Carter is one example of that, and pretty much every other peace process initiative, as you’ll see in the book, are more examples of it. And one of the most egregious examples of it came when the U.S. Congress in the ‘90s recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but added a caveat that Jerusalem would not be recognized as Israel’s capital if the president thought it an expedient, for whatever reason, to postpone that recognition. And Bill Clinton postponed it. George W. Bush postponed it. Obama postponed it. On what grounds? Because the Palestinians would riot, because of intimidation. They had been taught from the beginning, they had been told by the British, if you’re violent, if you commit acts of terror, you’ll be rewarded. Trump changed all that. Trump said, “I’m moving the capital. I’m not going to bow to your bullying and intimidation.”
And so finally we have a chance to achieve some sanity in this conflict, but for the rest of the story, for a record of insanity, you have the book all in your bags, and thank you very much for being here this morning.