The collapse of the PA may already be here

United States Secretary of State John Kerry’s scenario outlining a potential collapse of the Palestinian Authority, laid out Saturday at the Saban Forum in Washington, DC, sounds more than realistic.

For a change, the US administration, an expert at making fatal mistakes in the Middle East, seems to read the state of Palestinian affairs correctly, though the secretary errs in using the word “collapse.”

Instead, it should be substituted with the term “disintegration,” which in some ways has already begun.

The shooting attack on Thursday, in which Preventive Security Services member Mazen Aribe opened fire on Israel Defense Forces soldiers near the Hizme checkpoint, marks a crossroads.

Aribe was killed by fire from soldiers at the scene. The Palestinian Authority, instead of condemning or at least not supporting the action, sent head Palestine Liberation Organization negotiator Saeb Erekat and the mayor of Jericho to visit the home of the attacker’s family.


Paul Berman Explains Trump and the Joys of Hatred

Donald Trump’s supporters turn out to be (as discovered by the statisticians, as reported by the political analysts) 55 percent white working-class, many of them males from age 50 to 64, without college degrees. And, in the analysts’ view, a political logic accounts for these people’s sympathies. The white workers are submerged in economic insecurity, and they blame their circumstances on illegal immigrants from Mexico, and they appreciate their candidate’s forceful anti-immigrant hostility. Nor do they want the United States to accept refugees from Syria. Their feelings on this matter draw them to Trump yet again. Such is the explanation. It makes sense. But I worry about explanations that make too much sense.

The whole phenomenon of people being upset over the Mexican immigration, to begin with—isn’t there something odd in this? We are right now experiencing an unemployment rate nationally of 5.5 percent, which really isn’t bad. Naturally people feel insecure economically, but the grounds for this are multiple: the competition from other countries (e.g., from Mexicans who do not immigrate); the fact that technological advances are always rendering one craft or another obsolete; the likelihood that one of these days the entirely American banks or the stock market will bring about still another financial crisis. And so forth. Why the emphasis on Mexican immigrants, then?

The first of the primaries will take place in a few weeks in New Hampshire, where Trump is said to be doing well. Is there something special to be learned from New Hampshire? Googling about, I discover that, at the University of New Hampshire this past July, the Carsey School of Public Policy issued a report saying that—I quote—“migration from Mexico to the U.S. dropped more than 50 percent in the last five years.” Other reports go further: More Mexicans are returning to Mexico than are coming to the United States. Immigration has mutated into emigration. However terrible the competition from Mexican immigrants may have been in the past (but how terrible was it?), the terribleness appears to be diminishing. You will recall Trump’s much-discussed outburst about Mexico: “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people!” To judge from the University of New Hampshire report, though, rather a lot of the immigrants are “good people”: “Those migrating tend to have higher socioeconomic status, are older, and are more likely to be women.” The crisis of immigration appears to be, in short, substantially a non-crisis.


Visiting Hungary and ‘The Grand Hotel Budapest’

My family and I were recently looking for someplace to visit. When Hungary’s leader said he would not discriminate against Israel or its products, we put aside the jokes my dad used to relate about Hungarians, and we bought cheap tickets for a four-day R&R at “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

We were not seeking to walk in the steps of the movie stars, because we’ve rubbed elbows with enough celebrities to know that real life usually beats what’s on screen. In Europe, real life — and very real death — have been grand and tragic.

As a proud Jew, I don’t want to visit a country club or a country that doesn’t want to welcome me as a member, a tourist, or a visiting professor.

As Paris and London have become more uncomfortable for Jews, our family has stayed away from them. As people masquerading as Europe’s leaders hold parades to fight Arab-Islamic terror, Arab-Islamic terror grows. Many “leaders” prefer to hug each other in public as a sign of combating allegedly man-made global warming rather than fighting a real and proven terror danger.


Egypt: Highest Islamic authority refuses to denounce the Islamic State as “un-Islamic”

During an open discussion at Cairo University held on December 2, Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Sheikh and Grand Imam of Al Azhar — and thus Egypt’s foremost authority on all things Islamic — was again asked why Al Azhar refuses to issue a formal statement denouncing the Islamic State of lapsing into a state of kufr, that is, of becoming un-Islamic, “infidel.”

In response, Tayeb said that the only way Al Azhar could do this is if a Muslim formally rejected the fundamental principles of Islam, such as the shahada—that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger—and Islamic scriptures.

He then rhetorically asked what would be the situation (according to Sharia) of a Muslim who accepts the fundamentals of Islam but who also commits great sins, such as drinking alcohol: would they be denounced as “infidels”?