Video: Robert Spencer on the Deception at the Heart of the Middle East Peace Process
Freedom Center Shillman Fellow pierces through the fog of disinformation regarding the Palestinians.
Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer recently spoke at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Wednesday Morning Club on why all negotiated settlements between Israel and the Palestinians are doomed to failure (Los Angeles, December 9, 2019). Order The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process: HERE.
Thank you very much, friends. It’s great to be here. It’s great to be anywhere. (Laughter) And I thought I’d talk today a little bit about stolen land. You may remember last year, Marc Lamont Hill on CNN got in all sorts of trouble, actually lost his CNN gig, when he said, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” And this is a very common refrain among Palestinian activists all around the world.
Now, what is less often said, when this is repeated and the claim is made, that Israel is occupying land is, “Well, if Israel stole the land, who did they steal it from? And who … if Israel is an occupying power, whose land are they occupying?” These questions are never asked. You will not find any mainstream discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that ever deals with them, and yet aren’t they important questions? If Israel is on stolen land, first, who did they steal it from?
There was never … As I’m sure all of you know, there’s never in history been a Palestinian state. There was never a Palestinian nation, a culture, a language, an ethnicity, nothing. The Ottoman Empire was the last political entity to own the land that is now Israel. The Ottoman Empire fell at the end of World War I. One of its last acts was to cede the Holy Land, along with quite a lot of its other holdings, to the League of Nations. It was … In other words, the Ottoman Empire and the new Republic of Turkey were renouncing any claim over the land that constitutes Israel. So then who does own it?
The League of Nations immediately turned it over to Britain and what is known as the Mandate for Palestine. The Mandate for Palestine was not ever intended to be a British colony, so Britain doesn’t own it. It was intended expressly for the purposes, according to the League itself, a Jewish national home.
Now, the League of Nations, of course, is long gone. The United Nations succeeded it, but the United Nations, one of its earliest acts, was to reaffirm that the Mandate for Palestine was given for the creation of a Jewish national home, and the British committed themselves to this. However, the British were never united about it, and this is part of where the troubles began.
There were people in the British government who were very committed to this idea and people in the British government who thought it was terrible. You may have heard of T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia or Peter O’Toole. (Laughter) And Lawrence of Arabia, as a British official, fought alongside the Arabs. He, as a matter of fact, galvanized the Arabs to fight against the Ottoman Turks during World War I. And he thought, at the end of World War I, that the Arabs deserved a reward for their sticking with the British.
Of course, they were sticking with the British for their own purposes, but nobody was really thinking about that. You might find that a common theme throughout this whole story, as a matter of fact, that the Arabs are working for their own purposes that everyone else thinks coincides with theirs, and it’s not really true in any case.
But nonetheless, the British thought that they owed some consideration to the Arabs, and so one of the first things they did, after taking over the Mandate for Palestine, was split it, and two-thirds were set aside for an Arab national home. That part is known today as the Kingdom of Jordan.
And the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia were also allies of the British and they were vying with other Arabian groups to take over Arabia. They won, and one of the losers was the Hashemite Dynasty that was given as a consolation prize, Jordan. So you may have heard the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, that King Abdullah is a Hashemite King. That’s an Arabian line, but they lost the war with the Sauds, in what is now Saudi Arabia, and so they got Jordan as a consolation prize.
Jordan was actually part of the Mandate for Palestine, but the whole eastern part of the Jordan was restricted and Jews were forbidden to settle there in 1922. The rest of it, however, west of the Jordan, was still set aside for the Jewish national home. The Jewish national home, in good time, became the state of Israel.
In 1947, the United Nations, because the Muslim Arabs in this area were completely recalcitrant and not willing to accept a Jewish state, they thought, “Well, we’ll have a two-state solution and that’ll fix everything.” Have you ever heard that? (Laughter) It’s incredible to me that this multiply-failed option is still put forward as the one thing that will solve the whole conflict, because it never has and it never will.
The first time it was proposed was in 1947. The Jewish state was created, but the Arabs -- they weren’t Palestinians yet -- the Arabs, they rejected it. Now, you might be wondering why I said they weren’t Palestinians yet. One of the reasons why I called this book The Palestinian Delusion is that there never was not only a Palestinian nation, but there never was a Palestinian people.
The people in Jordan are exactly the same ethnically, linguistically, culturally, religiously, in any other way you can name, as the people who are known as the Palestinians. So, in other words, when the Mandate for Palestine was split in half -- not really in half. It was two-thirds for the Arabs and one third for the Jews -- the Palestinian state was created. It’s called Jordan, and it still exists, obviously. So the two-state solution, in other words, has already been implemented in a very real sense.
But in 1947, the UN offered them even more, partitioning the part that was supposed to be for the Jewish national home into two more parts -- the Jewish part and the Arab part. And the Arabs rejected the agreement. The surrounding Arab states -- Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia -- were all going to war with Israel, and … And Iraq. Thank you. And, of course, they lost.
Now, this is very important on a number of levels, but one of the most overlooked reasons why it is important is because the current boundaries of that area were set as a result of an armistice being called, a ceasefire being called at a particular date with the armies at a particular place, and that was the only basis for the boundaries. So if Israel … If the war had gone on and Israel had continued to win, Israel would certainly have taken back Judea and Samaria, which is the names they were known throughout history -- the Jordanians renamed it the West Bank in 1950-- and they would have taken Gaza.
But at the time that the ceasefire was called, Jordan was in control of Judea and Samaria and Egypt in control of Gaza. Did that negate the fact that, under international law, certified by Britain, by the League of Nations and by the United Nations, the only state that had any legitimate claim to Judea and Samaria and Gaza was Israel? It did not.
We talk about occupied territory. The only time those territories were occupied was between 1948 and 1967, when Egypt was occupying Gaza and Jordan was occupying the so-called West Bank. When Israel won them back again, then they were no longer occupied. There is no other power in the world that has any legitimate claim to those territories.
One of the great mistakes that Israel has made -- and I explain this in the book -- that it started in the ‘70s. It was really an unfair fight. I think that if you read any part of this book, the part you should -- and you’re only going to read one chapter -- read the chapter about the Camp David Accords, and you will be amazed, because it was not Menachem Begin, the Prime Minister of Israel, and Anwar Sadat, the President of Egypt, and Jimmy Carter, the President of the United States, mediating and moderating and so on. It was Sadat, setting the terms, Carter telling Sadat, “I will do anything you want and make sure that you get everything you want,” and Begin absolutely left out of the equation.
You have Carter idolizing Sadat and thinking he was a great hero, and he actually did tell him that, “I will work for your agenda. I will do what you want.” And when he turned to Begin, he was talking one night to Rosalyn Carter, his wife, and he said, “This Begin is a psycho,” and their relationship was icy.
Camp David was a long exercise in giving the Egyptians what they wanted, and it did, to a tremendous degree. But one of the most fateful things that it gave them was Israeli recognition of the Palestinian people. Now, this was disastrous in a number of ways. Really, I don’t want to criticize Menachem Begin. He was in an extraordinarily difficult position, and I doubt that I would have done any better. I doubt that most of us would have been able to do any better under the circumstances. He was at a tremendous disadvantage.
But the fact remains, nonetheless, that the recognition of the Palestinian people has reverberated negatively in extraordinarily numerous ways. One of them is that it obscures the fact that I said before, that the Palestinian Arabs are not any different from the Jordanian Arabs or the Lebanese or the Syrians. And so the Jordanians could easily have solved this problem years ago.
Do you know that you have this artificially prolonged refugee situation with regard to the Palestinians that has never been true of anybody else in history. My own grandparents were exiled from the Ottoman Empire in 1918, and they came to the United States. And my parents were born in the United States and I was born in the United States. If we were Arab Palestinians, then I’d be a refugee, but I am not a refugee. My parents were not refugees. My grandparents were the refugees.
It used to be, when the world was saner, that the people who actually were refugees were refugees, not their children or grandchildren. But the Palestinian refugee status is passed on to the children and the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren. This is by the United Nations. This is official policy of the United Nations. So what’s the result of that? In the first place, it is obscured because we have this Palestinian people that does not exist, that never existed, that is, as I show in the book, a creation of the KGB and Yasser Arafat in the 1960s, created for propaganda purposes. You have them, their connection to the local Arabs being obscured and the UN perpetuating the refugee status, so that they can say to the Israelis, “These people ought to have a right to return.”
Now, Israel, if they had never recognized the Palestinians as such could easily say, “Sure. The people who left in 1948 have a right to return.” And that would be how many people now? A few thousand maybe. But, instead, because you have allowed the refugee status to be passed on and the creation of this distinct Palestinian people, you’re talking about millions of people who are Palestinian refugees today, larger than the population of Israel. So if they went back, it would no longer be a Jewish state.
Now, one other thing that’s key to remember -- there’s so many things that are key to remember in this -- is why did they leave in the first place? And this is another thing where the truth has been obscured and completely covered over with disinformation and misinformation. And you have people saying that this is stolen land and that the Palestinians were driven out, and every part of that is false. I’ve explained that it’s not stolen land. I’ve explained that there are no Palestinians, and they were not driven out.
What happened was the Arab Higher Committee actually ordered them to leave, told people to leave, and this was in 1948, when the Arab states went to war with the new state of Israel. The Near East Arabic Broadcasting Station said, on April 3, 1949, “It must not be forgotten that the Arab Higher Committee encouraged the refugees’ flight from their homes in Haifa and Jerusalem.”
The Egyptian daily, Akhbar al-Youm, reported that the Mufti of Jerusalem, the notorious, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who was an ally of Hitler during World War II, lived in Berlin and raised up an SS division, he said that the Mufti of Jerusalem appealed to the Arabs of Palestine to leave the country because the Arab armies were about to enter and fight in their stead. The idea was that they thought that they were going to crush Israel in a matter of weeks, that they wanted these people out of harm’s way in the meantime. So they told them to leave and figured they would be home very quickly and that would be the end of it. Instead, they lost the war, and then they lost the war, then Plan B went into effect, which was to gain by the so-called peace process what they could not obtain by the force of arms. And this is the situation that we have been in.
We’re dealing with people who were fanatically and genocidally intransigent because of their religious beliefs, and nobody wants to talk about. If you look at the Middle East Media Research Institute or Palestinian Media Watch, both readily available online, and watch a little Palestinian television, and you’ll find that it’s full of hatred and violence and incitement all the time, and always it’s referred back to their religion, always it all has to do with Islam, that the Quran says drive them out from where they drove you out. It’s Chapter 2, Verse 191. Now, drive them out from where they drove you out ought not to apply here, but because they have already invented the myth that the Israelis drove them out, then they also have a divine imperative based on the Quran. Allah tells them they have to drive out those who drove them out. It’s not negotiable. It can’t be negotiated away.
The peace processes, from Camp David on -- Oslo and the Roadmap and all the rest of them -- I go through all of them in the book and show that even when Ehud Barak, another Prime Minister of Israel in the late ‘90s, offered the Palestinian Arabs 97 percent of everything they wanted, they refused, because the imperative is to destroy Israel, and the condition of the agreement would be that they would lay down their arms and stop fighting against Israel. They’ll never agree to anything like that, or if they agree to it, it will be on an insincere basis.
And this is also in part because of our friends, the British. I just wanted to note in closing that one of the reasons why this conflict has been so violent in such an ongoing manner and that there have been so many times that civilians have been brutalized and victimized is because the British encouraged them to do this. And you might think, “Oh, that’s crazy. No, this guy’s really nuts. Why did we come here? We could have gone to someplace and had a nice lunch and not had this lunatic …” No, seriously, this is all readily documentable. It’s all documented in the book.
There was a part of the military, the financial advisor, actually, to the Military Administration, the British Military Administration in Palestine, Colonel Bertie Harry Waters-Taylor -- you can’t get more British in name than that -- and he told Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, in 1920, and I quote, “He had a great opportunity to show the world that Zionism was unpopular, not only with the Palestine Administration, but in Whitehall ...” That is the British Foreign Service -- “ … and if disturbances of sufficient violence occurred in Jerusalem at Easter, both General Bowles …” who was the Chief Administrator in Palestine for the British “ … and General Allenby …” who was another British General who was the Commander of an Egyptian force there “ … would advocate the abandonment of the Jewish national home.”
I hope you … Did you get that? The British official told the Mufti, if you’re violent enough, then British officials will turn away from the Jewish national home project. And they’ve been operating on that basis ever since.
And so when you hear about Trump’s deal of the century, it is a shame that the lessons of history seem not to have been learned, even by a president so perspicacious as Trump. But there is hope, because Trump has also changed this game entirely and is the first one, the first president since the founding of the state of Israel to challenge the Palestinian narrative, to stand up to violence and intimidation, moving the embassy to Jerusalem, which all the other presidents wouldn’t do because the terrorists would hit us -- which is allowing the terrorists to set our foreign policy -- and stating that they’re not going to get any more money unless they make sincere efforts toward peace. And so he is definitely moving in the right direction after decade after decade of fantasy-based, wishful-thinking policymaking.
So thank you all for being here and we can all just hope that he will be able to continue on this track. (Applause)
MALE: There’s a question here.
SPENCER: Questions, yes.
FEMALE: Thank you.
SPENCER: Thank you.
FEMALE: And thank you for writing your previous book about Jihad …
FEMALE: … being launched during the time of Mohammed, not because of Israel.
SPENCER: Yeah. That’s no doubt about that.
SPENCER: Israel is on the front lines of the jihad. The book to which the lady is referring, of course, is The History of Jihad, the only history of jihad in English. It’s available at any self-respecting book store now.
FEMALE: And here. You have some copies here.
SPENCER: And that’s right. It’s here.
What most people do not realize about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it’s just another theater of a 1,400-year jihad against the non-Muslim world, and the objective is to extend the political hegemony of Islamic law over the non-Muslim World. And so Israel is a direct affront to that operation, to that project because it’s non-Muslims ruling over land that had been ruled by Muslims. And so it is an insult to Islam in itself and can never be accepted as a Jewish state, because Islam must dominate and not be dominated, as the saying goes, and the state must always be in the hands of the Muslims.
FEMALE: So here’s my question. When you mentioned that the KGB and Russia had their fingers in it, my question is what proportion of this historic saga that you’re talking about is about normal geopolitical power versus anti-Semitism, the oldest hate? How do those two brews come together and what’s the dominant one or how does anti-Semitism add fuel to the geopolitical?
SPENCER: Well, in particular, when you’re talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, then you’ve got to deal with Islamic anti-Semitism. And there’s a tremendous amount of confusion on this issue, and a lot of people even say, in all seriousness, that the Mufti’s alliance with the Nazis during World War II introduced anti-Semitism into the Islamic World, which betrays a tremendous ignorance of history.
The anti-Semitism in the Islamic World is very deep and goes back to the core text (?), the Quran, and the example of Mohammed, especially if you read the Hadith, which are the reports of Mohammed’s words and deeds. There are all sorts of jibes at the Jews in the Quran, and they’re even called the worst enemies of the Muslims. That’s (inaudible) 2, under the curse of Allah, Chapter 9, Verse 30. Transformed into apes and pigs for their disobedience. That’s Chapter 559 and 67, 166 and 263 to 65, and there are many, many other passages of that kind. But if you read the Hadiths, it’s even worse, and the Jews are pretty much responsible for every bad thing that happens, including poisoning Mohammed and bringing about his death.
And so when you have that backdrop and a history, as I show also in The History of Jihad, of anti-Semitism, and then the idea that Israel is on not only stolen land that they must be driven out of by Quranic fiat, but also on land that belongs to the Muslims because it was once ruled by Muslims, then you can’t separate anti-Semitism from any of that because it’s very deep. And I think that we’re seeing now that that coalesces with a still-existing European anti-Semitism that enables people like Angela Merkel and others in Europe to ally with the Palestinian cause and cloak their actions in righteousness, while, in reality, it’s just the same old hatred of Jews that goes back to Roman times.
MALE: Okay. There’s several hands up. We’re going to go Jaro (?) to Brent, and then to Noni (?), and then we’ll see what we can do after that.
MALE: I think … I would posit that it’s a multi-front war, that Israel’s the front of the war against the West, but you have the war against the non-Salafists and the Sunni versus the Shia and the Iranian Shia hegemony and the Shia Crescent, on and on. It’s a real tangle.
Having said that, you had the effrontery to mention Marc Lamont, and earlier this year, I was clearing TSA pre-check and behind me was the professor, and I wasn’t going to let a crisis go to waste -- (laughter) -- and said, “So from the river to the sea, huh?” Said, “What do you know about Mohammed Hajj Amin al-Husseini and Hitler and being a commander in the SS Wehrmacht and 25,000 Bosnian Muslims fighting,” and so on. I said that the leader of the Palestinians was an ally of Hitler and the only undefeated ally of Hitler not defeated, not occupied, not reeducated were the so-called Palestinians. “What about that, professor? And what is it, Jews … Arabs can live anywhere and Jews cannot?”
Now, normally, not a good idea to get into the Mideast when you’re clearing TSA, and they did hear me. And I got winks and smiles and nods. But it was interesting that Lamont had no answer.
MALE: He looked a little panicky.
And, last, CNN, Richard Quest, who’s Jewish, and I seem to keep bumping into each other, and it was … the last time was in the Tel Aviv Hilton, and, unfortunately, it was just within the week, but before our move of the embassy. And the reason why is because CNN that day covered the Gaza riots rather than the move to the embassy, cause if I had that behind me, instead of in front, boy, I would have ripped Richard Quest a new one.
MALE: Yes. Robert, in this time of transcendent light, I’m so thankful to God for bringing you back to us in health and happiness.
SPENCER: Thank you. (Applause)
MALE: And I’m thinking of the title of your book, The Palestinian Delusion. I’m wondering why you used the word, “delusion” versus “deception,” inasmuch as I see a fusion between Marx and Mohammed, same monster, different masks, and how if we are only dealing with Islam, the West would have no problem, but we are dealing with ourselves aligning with them.
SPENCER: That’s why I called it that. It’s delusion on one side and deception on the other. The Palestinians are deceiving the world, but the world is so willing to be deceived and is deluded. And so what the book is about is people like Jimmy Carter and all the rest of them, really, I mean, Carter, Clinton, Bush, Obama, and even Trump calling for the two-state solution, so called, and all the rest of them. The entire Western World being deluded into thinking that these people need financial support and deserve moral support, all these self-righteous college students marching for the Palestinians thinking that they’re on the side of the oppressed and the lowly, when they’re on the side of the genocidally-violent, hateful party. And they’re completely deluded.
So delusion and deception, I would have loved to have fit them all in together, but I’m not Jesse Jackson, so … (Laughter)
MALE: Right here, Nonie.
SPENCER: Yes. Hi, Nonie.
FEMALE: Hi. Just to confirm what you’re saying, that is 100-percent correct, a lot of people in the West don’t understand the roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict, that it’s totally religious. Islam came 600 years after Christ, not as a continuation of the Bible, but as a rebellion against the Bible and Biblical values. And because Islam, at its core, rebelled against the Bible, to them, the founders of the Bible are the Jews, and that is an intrinsic foundational problem with Islam when it comes to Jewish people.
FEMALE: But my question is are you familiar with the Arab League, how its policy until today forbids any Arab country from giving citizenship to the children and grandchildren of Palestinians …
SPENCER: Oh, yeah.
FEMALE: … that live in every Arab country?
SPENCER: Yeah, that’s all in the book. The Jordanians actually granted the Palestinians citizenship, but, for the most part, have not followed through with any kind of concerted effort to attract them or to allow them to come in with any relief of any difficulty that they might have in making the transition, but no other Arab country -- not Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, none of them -- have granted the Palestinians citizenship, because they want to keep the refugee problem alive to beat Israel with. That’s all
MALE: Okay. We’re going to try to get … We’re going to go here, the gentleman, and then to Lisa up front. So three more.
MALE: Yeah, thanks. At the time of Nasser, there was a lot of talk about Pan-Arabism. Do you know of any Arab writers that, instead of that, deal with the idea of Pan-Semitism, rather than Pan-Arabism?
SPENCER: No. I don’t think nary a one, no. Pan-Arabism was actually a movement created by Christian Arabs because they were subject to dhimmitude, which is the institutionalized discrimination against the people of the book, so called, primarily Jews and Christians, in Islam. And so the Jews, after World War II and the creation of the state of Israel, were expelled -- almost a million -- from Arab countries and told to go to Israel.
And the Christians, having lived under this oppression for so long, this was the time of nationalism and race-based movements, like Hitler’s, and so they formulated this idea of a secular union with the Muslims on the basis of shared Arabism. And then, of course, they were … because they’re a tiny minority, they were coopted by the Muslim Arabs, but secular Arab nationalism was, for a time, a very significant political force in the Arabic World, and Nasser, Sadat, Mubarak were exponents of it, as well as Saddam Hussein and the Assads in Syria, who’s the only one left. And there were others elsewhere.
But as far as Pan-Semitism goes, no. No Muslim would ever say, “Hey, let’s work together with the Jews on the basis of our shared Semitism,” and keep his head. (Laughter)
MALE: Here, Robert. And then I’m going to go up to this table and try to get you, if I can.
MALE: Hi, Robert.
MALE: Following your website for many, many years.
SPENCER: Thank you.
MALE: Both of them actually. So we hear a lot about the Arab World and their obvious behavior with regards to the Jewish state. We hear about death to Israel via the Persians, the Iranians. What about Turkey with Erdogan and that resurgent Caliphate mentality? What are your thoughts on that?
SPENCER: That’s a very serious threat. Erdogan has actually said quite recently that there should be the creation of a Pan-Islamic army to fight against Israel, and pointed out that if all of the Islamic countries in the world -- 57 countries, 56 countries and the Palestinian Authority -- if they all contributed troops to a massive army and marched on Israel, they could destroy it.
Now, we have the … Somebody was mentioning about the Sunnis and the Shia and all these other conflicts within the Islamic World, we have that to thank for the likelihood that that will not materialize. But it was noteworthy that he even suggested it, that he reminded us once again that, as Noni emphasized, this is a religious conflict that will never be solved by politicians who ignore the religious component of it, which is essentially the U.S. State Department. It is an Islamic problem, a problem that arises from Islamic principles, and unless and until those are addressed it will never be solved.
Erdogan is a hardline Islamist who wants Islamic rule in Turkey and everywhere else. He has actually explicitly also said that he wants to recapture all the lands that were once ruled by the Ottoman Caliphate, which would include Israel, as well as Egypt, North Africa, Greece. He’s asking for a big war. We’ll see if he ever gets it, but …
MALE: We’re going to try to get two real quick ones and then we’ll wrap up.
SPENCER: Then I’ll stop being so long-winded. Yes.
MALE: Could you comment on radical Islam in the United States?
SPENCER: I’m against it. (Laughter)
MALE: What do you think of its future?
SPENCER: Its what?
MALE: Its future.
SPENCER: Oh, I think its future is very bright, because everyone is afraid to take it on. And they have mastered what they … their strategy in response. For example, you look at me. Go Google me. It’s a terrible thing. If you Google me, the very first thing that will come up on the top of the first page is the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hit sheet on me, and after that there’ll be others. And by the time you read everything on the first page, you’re convinced that I am one of the worst people really on earth today. And why is this? Because I speak honestly about the motivating ideology behind jihad terror. It also isn’t personal. You Google anybody who does this and speaks in this way, they get the same treatment.
Now, if everybody who calls out the problem is demonized and stigmatized and marginalized, then other people will be afraid to call it out. What is the effect of that? We saw it in Pensacola the other day. Ten years ago, Major Nidal Malik Hasan murdered 13 people at Fort Hood, and he had just been promoted. Even though he was talking about jihad and alarming his coworkers, he was promoted because everybody was afraid of being called racist and Islamophobic if he didn’t get promoted, and it wasn’t even on the table to discipline him, because that would have been Islamophobic. So he killed 13 people.
This guy now in Pensacola, he’s from Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, they teach about jihad in the schools. They teach you to hate Jews and Christians. They teach you that America is evil. He came over here and he wrote America is evil for supporting Israel, on Twitter, and then he went and shot American soldiers. What did anybody else expect? We should be surprised when these guys don’t do that. And yet nobody’s learning a thing.
And one thing is 100 percent certain that what will not be done after this new shooting in Pensacola, is any serious vetting of the Saudi flight students. They’ll still come over here and still be presumed to be entirely loyal, good guys who are allies of the United States. And nobody would dream of vetting them, because that would be Islamophobic.
MALE: Okay. Final question.
FEMALE: It’s a pleasure to meet you.
SPENCER: Likewise. Thank you.
FEMALE: And I had to look you up on Wiki while you were speaking.
FEMALE: Yeah, it was, you know, typical Wiki garbage, but some good stuff there. The point is is, I didn’t even know if you were Jewish or not, and, of course, you’re not.
SPENCER: I don’t either.
FEMALE: Yeah. (Laughter) And I just wanted to tell you that I’ve had numerous opportunities to meet famous political Israelis, and they’re usually, you know, peppering their speeches with all kinds of diplomacy and, you know, two-state solution.
And, usually, I just ask a question, and, usually, they get really annoyed with me. And the question is: How can you have peace with people who don’t recognize your right to exist? And usually the conversation ends right there and they get annoyed, because all of their nonsense goes out the window. It’s just a basic question.
I asked it of Ariel Sharon eight months before he got hit with that massive stroke, and he had no answer. You know, it was honest. He just said, “I just keep working. I keep doing the best I can.” He didn’t have really any faith that there would be an answer, because he didn’t believe that they want to let us survive or exist.
FEMALE: And it was actually comforting to hear someone of his caliber finally admit that there was nothing he really felt he could do, but keep Israel safe on his own.
FEMALE: And I asked him what did he think was the biggest problem facing Jews, and he took a very long gulp -- (laughter) -- and he looked at me. He says, “Guess.” I said, “Jews.” He says, “You guessed right.” (Laughter) So he said this to me while he was Prime Minister, that Jews are the greatest problem.
When you look at Soros and you look at the media, Jeff Secor (?), and you look at people running the left and you look at Schumer and you look at all the donors, it’s devastating to me. I don’t know what to make of it, and I’m not sure that there’s any hope, in a sense, because the left is getting even more virulently anti-Semitic and anti-Israel, and the donors don’t seem to care and the Jewish voters don’t seem to care. It’s the same 70 percent who keep voting for the left.
So are you seeing any movement in people you talk to, in college kids, in young people, in disaffected Democrats? Do you see any eyes opening, any minds opening?
SPENCER: Yeah, I do. Yes. There’s no doubt that the situation is just as you have described, and it can’t be overstated. But the reality is that Trump has changed the game in so many ways. And if you had asked me in 2015 would we be debating even moving the embassy to Jerusalem or recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, I would have said, “Well, that’s inconceivable. It couldn’t happen in today’s political climate.” But he made it happen, and much more as well. We’re talking about cutting the funding of the Palestinians because they don’t really want peace. It’s extraordinary what he’s done.
And as he has done that, he has changed a lot of minds and turned a lot of heads of people who were just thoughtlessly going along with the crowd. And there’s no doubt, yes, that he’s still not going to get a majority of the Jewish vote in 2020, but I would wager that he’s going to get a lot more than he did in 2016, and that’s not wonderful, tremendous news, but at least we’re going in the right direction.
MALE: Do you have a guess on the percent more?
SPENCER: It’s a total guess, but I would say probably 55 to 60 percent will go for the Democrat, which is way down from -- what was it? -- 78 with Obama. Maybe that’s over-optimistic. We’ll see.
SPENCER: I think that there’s very serious movement in the right direction now. Yes. (Laughter)
MALE: Thank you, Robert.
SPENCER: Thank you very much. (Applause)
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 19 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.