Million Dollar Businesses in 90 Days

I watched the second season of Undercover Billionaire, in which three billionaires (or multi-millionaires), each of whom owns hundred million dollar companies, are sent to small depressed cities in the US with only $100, a cell phone with no contacts, an old truck and most importantly with a false name, and has 90 days to build a million dollar business. I assume everything shown was genuine, it certainly seemed to be, because they showed all the things that went wrong, the downs as well as the ups.

In the first season (see “Undercover Billionaire” IsBlog, Feb 15, 2021), Glenn Stearns managed to develop a barbecue-beer restaurant called “Underdog Barbecue” in 90 days in Erie PA., with local micro-breweries supplying the beers, that was assessed at a value of $750,000. Although he did not reach the 1 million dollar mark, in terms of revenue and assets, he added m$1 of his own money to continue to develop the business. He also provided work for over 50 people.

In season two, there were three different billionaires sent to different depressed cities around the US, and the results were equally amazing. You could see immediately that these are driven people, not only wanting to make money, but needing to succeed. In Pueblo, Colorado, Grant Cordone, under a pseudonym, who is a real estate developer and management consultant, tried to buy a multi-million dollar building, but failed because he had no track record under his assumed name. His back-up plan was to develop a company that would provide advertising in social media on the internet for small businesses in depressed areas that were not developing or expanding. To do this he put together a team of young people, and he was lucky to find a local entrepreneur who really believed in him and supported him personally and financially. He went around Pueblo and obtained 7 clients, each paying up to k$10 per month for his company’s services. His company named “Wake Up” was assessed at a value of m$5.5 after 90 days and he intends to take it national.

In Tacoma, Washington, Monique Idlett-Mosley, who owns a multi-million dollar venture capital company based on great success in the music production business, decided to focus on her belief in wellness. Being a black woman, she wanted to be able to bring wellness products to the minority community. She came up with the idea of selling shots of natural drinks from former ice cream trucks around the neighborhoods as well as selling them through coffee shops, markets and home deliveries. She provides an outlet for local farmers who produce the vegetables. After 90 days her company named “Rooted” was deemed worth 1 million dollars. She hopes to take this company national with franchises throughout the US.

In Fresno, California, Elaine Culotti, a multi-million dollar real estate developer and construction expert from LA, happened the first night she was there to stumble across the Shepherd’s Inn in downtown Fresno, that was literally closed. But, since she could not afford a real hotel she rang the bell, and the owner answered and rented her a room for $25 a night. It turned out that because of the Covid-19 crisis, he had been closed down and was now driving a truck for a living. Although Elaine investigated other real estate deals in Fresno, she came back to seeing the Inn as a potential new business. Instead of a bar and restaurant that it had been, she decided to turn it into a sandwich shop, with a grocery, a coffee shop, a small intimate bar, with live music and develop it as a boutique hotel. Each one of these tranches would make money, and there was essentially no competition downtown. The sandwich shop would supply local businesses, including the Federal and local city offices with sandwich deliveries. In essentially reconstructing this old building in 90 days, with the financial support of the owner and with a Small Business Administration loan of k$150, she redeveloped this business, called “Shep’s Club,” that was assessed as worth over m$1.

A self-confessed “bad-ass,” Elaine was the epitome of the driven entrepreneur, determined to turn her business model into reality at all costs. She battled many unforeseen and unbelievable difficulties and succeeded, and in the process pushed many people beyond their limits, but in the end made many friends and provided employment for many people. Grant Cordone, who had been a drug addict and had redeemed himself, was a most driven person whose “take no prisoner’s” philosophy had to succeed. And Monique instilled confidence and support in all who she met. I enjoyed this series, much better than any superhero or supernatural series. This was real life in all its challenging detail and showed that the American dream is still alive.

The Catholic Church and the Holocaust

I recently watched a documentary entitled “Holy Silence” about the Catholic Church and the Holocaust. I have had a very negative view of the Catholic Church’s response to the murder of the Jews in Europe during WWII since I read the book “Hitler’s Pope: The secret history of Pope Pius XII” by John Cornwell. This documentary did nothing to change my basic view, but I did learn some new things.

According to the information in this documentary, Pope Pius XI, the predecessor of Pius XII, was preparing to publish an encyclical that would oppose antisemitism, and Nazi mistreatment of the Jews. Since he could not depend on his Secretary of State Cardinal Pacelli, who was to become his successor Pius XII, and his other Vatican bureaucrats, some of whom were openly anti-Semitic themselves, Pius XI asked an American Catholic who had written a book about interracial relations, Father John LaFarge, who was visiting Italy, to write the encyclical for him. But, LaFarge left it with the Pope’s staff, and it is not clear that he ever saw it. He was already ill with a heart condition and died literally days before the meeting he had called to publish this encyclical. So his negative attitude towards Hitler and Nazism was never heard.

Instead, when Pacelli became Pope Pius XII in 1939, his attitude was entirely neutral between the Nazis and the Allies. The first international agreement that Hitler made was a Concordat with the Vatican under Pius XII. The Catholics of Germany were waiting for direction from the Church, but they never got it. Many Catholics wanted to support Nazism and nothing the Church said opposed this. In fact Pacelli had been in Germany for many years as an Apostolic delegate (effectively Ambassador) and his attitude towards Nazism was neutral. When he first met Pres. Roosevelt he warned him against the threat of Communism, not against Nazism. Even though the Catholic Church had excellent information sources and the Pope knew about the ongoing massacres of Jews, he still refused to say anything and never uttered the words Jew or massacre during the whole of the war. When it looked as if the Allies were gaining the upper hand in the War, Pacelli offered to be a neutral intermediary to arrange a ceasefire between Hitler and the Americans. HIs offer was rejected by Pres. Roosevelt.

When Italy ceased being an ally of Germany and the Nazis invaded Italy in 1943, and Jews were being rounded up essentially outside the Vatican, Pacelli still never broke his neutral silence. When the Allies reached Rome and there was fighting and bombing going on, the same Pope pleaded eloquently for them to avoid destroying the edifices of the Church and their historic collections. He was more concerned about the structures than he was about the murder of millions of people.

Elie Weisel said “Neutrality always helps the oppressors, never the victims,” and this was precisely what Pacelli was doing, by being neutral between evil and good he was helping the evil. One of the Catholic interviewees asked “Why did the Church fail in its role of love and mercy?” It was not until 1965 in the encyclical Nostre Aetate that the Catholic Church specifically rejected anti-Semitism and not until Pope Francis visited Auschwitz in 2016 and spoke about the “unspeakable suffering” that occurred there did the Catholic Church face the reality of the Holocaust, 75 years too late..

This all raises the question, what is the point of a religion if it fails to respond to such evil, but remains neutral in the face of it. As far as I am concerned how can any Catholic ever believe that this religion, for all its wealth and pomp, is worthy of trust. And this is not to mention the unspeakable horrors of sexual abuse and exploitation used by a large proportion of the priesthood against innocent children while protected by the Church hierarchy.

A Century of Terrorism

In the afternoon of Yom Hazikaron (Remembrance Day) I watched the ceremony commemorating the deaths of the 4,000 or so Jewish civilian victims of the State of Israel. In fact the first recorded terrorist incident was in 1921, 100 years ago, when a mob of Arabs from Jaffa attacked the young settlement of Tel Aviv and murdered 30 Jews. Throughout the past 100 years there has never been a year without some terrorist casualties. In 1929 there was the infamous massacre in Hebron when 67 Jews were murdered and the British Mandatory Government removed all Jews from that city (they returned only after the 1967 Six Day War). During the Arab uprising in 1936 there were numerous cases of random terror against civilians, and this has continued, during the many wars.

Terrorism was even expanded during the second intifada 2000-2005 during which ca. 1,000 Israelis were killed in numerous bus explosions and attacks. During this time the IDF and the security forces developed techniques, including detailed intelligence, that resulted in the deaths of ca. 3,000 terrorists and the building of the Security Fence, that led eventually to the cessation of this wave of terror.

This past year there were two civilian victims of terrorism, Rabbi Shai Ohayon, father of six, was stabbed to death in Petah Tikva, the random victim of a Palestinian murderer. Esther Horgan, mother of four, was walking in the forest near her home when a Palestinian youth attacked her and stabbed her to death. In 2018 and 2019 there were 11 Israeli victims of terrorism. Throughout the years there have been stabbings, shootings, car rammings, Molotov cocktails thrown at cars and suicide bombings. To those who blame Israel for the conflict, I say the conflict can stop when the terrorism against Israeli civilians stops!

This ceremony is relatively new, unlike the ceremony for the fallen soldiers of the IDF, having only been performed since the second intifada. In his speech PM Netanyahu said that a hall of remembrance of the victims of terrorism will be constructed by the Government on Mt. Herzl. It is a sad fact of life in Israel that Palestinians think that by murdering individual Jews they will somehow enhance their ability to destroy the State. Someone should tell them it is a terrible waste of lives, but it will never change the actual situation.

US to Withdraw From Afghanistan

Pres. Biden has announced that all US troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan on 9/11/21, the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the US in 2001, in which ca. 3,000 Americans were killed. This was the reason for the US invasion of Afghanistan, where al Qaeda was training and from where Osama bin Laden planned the attacks on the US. But, over time terrorist focus shifted way from Afghanistan, to the Islamic State Caliphate in central Syria and Iraq and to bin Laden’s hiding place in Pakistan. The US troops that remained in Afghanistan became embroiled in fighting internal Afghan struggles of the central government against the Taliban. Pres., Trump decided that it was time for the US to withdraw from this internal fight and Pres. Biden has accepted that policy. In Congress Democrats and Republicans both voted for this policy, with the exception of extremists on both sides.

Although this withdrawal can be seen as the US leaving a power vacuum, the longest war in US history cannot go on forever at a total cost of ca. $400 billion. Another way to look at this withdrawal is that the US is consolidating its position vis-a-vis the main challenges that it currently faces in a different world than when it went into Afghanistan, namely an expansionist China, an aggressive Russia and a resurgent Iran. All these three bad actors have upped their game, in what must be seen as a direct challenge to the more liberal policies of the Democratic President Biden. Russia has been amassing its forces in the East Donbas region in what appears to be a possible new invasion of the Ukraine, China has been expanding its reach in the China Sea and has been repressing the Uighers as well as acting tough in Hong Kong, Iran has upped the ante by going to 60% enriched uranium-235, as confirmed by the IAEA.

What is Biden’s response to these three challenges? So far it is very mild. On Iran he is trying the old technique of not criticizing the Iranian regime, and trying like his predecessor Pres. Obama to “engage” with the Iranians. Their response has been to set unrealistic conditions and refuse to negotiate directly with the US, a form of insult. Another name for the Biden policy is “”appeasement,” it didn’t work with Hitler and it won’t work with the Ayatollahs. The Chinese are undeterred and Putin seems determined to expand Russia’s spheres of influence. Biden’s focus on domestic policy is seen by these challengers as an ideal time to confront him. Meanwhile on domestic issues once again the Democratic policy is to throw money at any problem, 2.5 trillion dollars for infrastructure (only 30% of which it truly for infrastructure), a rapidly deteriorating immigration policy and a leftist Democratic attempt to expand the Supreme Court to make it permanently Democratic. Is Biden up to responding to all of these challenges? It remains to be seen, but I am skeptical.

Israeli Arabs and Palestinians

For a few days I have been watching on-line films from the East Bay International Jewish Film Festival from the Bay area of San Francisco. I watched a series called Muna, about an Arab woman, a photographer, who escaped the narrow confines of her Arab village in Israel, and makes it in Tel Aviv. She is concerned about the complexity of her life, with a Jewish boyfriend and her Arab culture. But, what becomes clear is that without the freedom of her existence in Jewish Tel Aviv she could not achieve anything. It is a great pity that the Israeli Arabs and their cousins the Palestinians are so traditional, so narrow in their attitudes, especially towards women and their advancement. Unlike the Gulf Arabs who have embraced modernity and progress, the Palestinian Arabs are content to remain in the past. It is the freedom of westernized Jewish Israel that gives the Israeli Arabs the chance to realize their ambitions.

I realize that Israeli Arabs have an identity problem, poised as they are between being Israeli and identifying with the Palestinian cause. But, ask any Israeli Arab if they would want to join or move to a Palestinian State, as I have done, and you will get the answer “No!” They want to remain Israeli because it gives them opportunities and compensation (in welfare, health treatment and many other areas) that no conceivable Palestinian State could, and they are treated better. They fear the violence and inhumane treatment that any small degree of deviation from established values would result in, as in the West Bank and Gaza now. In fact recently the Arab sector in Israel have been demonstrating peacefully for greater Israeli police presence in their areas because of intra-Arab violence, especially against women.

An item in the Jerusalem Post caught my eye, according to the Palestine Media Watch organization, of the 36 parties contesting the Palestinian elections, 11 still have an emblem that includes all of Palestine, erasing Israel from the map. All of Palestine is either colored in green or in the colors of the Palestinian Arab flag (black, green and red). This includes Hamas, Fatah and the new Future (Mustaqbal) Party of Mohammed Dahlan. Having elections doesn’t make them democratic or moderate.

A National Holiday

Independence Day, Yom Ha’atzmaut, is a national holiday in Israel. It is not a religious holiday like so many in the Jewish calendar, there is no praying, no commemorating past horrors, no introspection. On Yom Ha’atzmaut the emphasis is on eating and having fun.

This year I went with my daughter and her husband’s group of friends, who all went to the University of Maryland; with their children they now make a crowd of about 30 people. We went to the new lake in Beersheva. Some of you might wonder, what is a lake doing in the middle of a desert. Good question, I don’t know how they did it, but it’s there, and around it is a whole wonderful park, with a fountain and still in construction there will be restaurants and boating and all sorts of amusements. We walked around the whole of the lake, which is the second biggest in Israel.

The place was crowded, packed with people and cars everywhere. People walking around, people barbecuing, people playing with their children. And overhead the annual fly-past of the planes of the IAF. All very exciting and enjoyable. After the tour we drove home and had a wonderful meal and barbecue. Even though our country is in a political mess, there were no concerns, everybody had a good time.

Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut

Tonight starts Remembrance Day (Yom Hazikaron) when we remember all the ca. 24,000 citizens and soldiers who have fallen in all the wars and terrorism that have been forced upon us by the intransigent Arabs. This is not to be confused with Yom Hashoah that was last week, that commemorated the Six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust (Shoah) of WWII in Europe. I compare these two numbers, which shows that having an army to defend us Jews saves about 5.98 million lives. Does anyone have any illusions that if the Arabs had won any of the wars they inflicted on us, all the Jews in Israel would have been murdered by rampaging Arab armies and civilian collaborators, much as they were in Europe during WWII. This goes to prove that Zionism is right, having a State and an army to defend it is the sine qua non of survival for the Jews.

Immediately following Yom Hazikaron is the celebration of Independence Day (Yom Ha’atzmaut). It is uniquely Jewish to have the bitter and the sweet of these two events so closely linked. We know without a shadow of doubt that without the sacrifice of the fallen, we would not be able to celebrate the latter. From the depths of WWII that ended in 1945, the State of Israel was founded in 1948, scarcely a day later. But, we must remember that this resulted not only from the sacrifices and sufferings of the Shoah, but from the slow patient building that took place in our restored homeland starting from the 1880’s. Jews came and settled in a what was a God-forsaken backwater of the Turkish Empire, and began to build.

Today we have a thriving and strong State, that is modern, innovative and economically viable. The population is 9.3 million, including 2 million Israeli Arabs. They are treated as equal citizens, there is no institutional discrimination, they are treated better than the blacks in the USA, the Muslims in the UK and Europe and the Christians in the Arab world. Arabs in Israel are in all walks of life and all professions. If you don’t believe me come and see for yourself, or look on-line. By chance I happened to watch an Israeli movie last night, “Asia,” which has nothing to do with Asia, but is the name of the female lead. It takes place in Haifa, where Arabs and Jews mix freely, and the young male in the film is an Arab. It is a touching human drama.

Last Sunday, the nuclear facility at Natanz in Iran was struck by an explosion and a power outage, that resulted in the destruction of the newly installed upgraded centrifuges that were intended to separate highly enriched uraninium-235, that can only be used for making a bomb. It has been widely reported that Israel was responsible for this attack. Those many who hate Jews and Israel, who often complain that Israel is an aggressive, colonial military power, should take note of this and previous similar attacks. No lives were lost in this attack. Israel does not want war with Iran, but Israel must and will defend itself. At present the best way to do this is to prevent Iran from achieving an atomic bomb, that it would undoubtedly drop on Israel (killing Jews and Arabs alike). Such attacks are done to ensure that Israelis will continue to commemorate Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut.

Pollard Was Right!

This is a letter I sent to the Jerusalem Post in response to an article they published:

Sir: I profoundly disagree with the view of Douglas Bloomfield as expressed in his article Pollard Still Wrong (JP, April 8).  There are several situations in which a US citizen can break an oath to obey orders, including being given an illegal order, such as a soldier being ordered by a superior officer to kill civilians. I had the following letter published in the Washington Jewish Week on 26/3/1987 saying the following: 

The concept of divided loyalty has been resurrected by the case of Jonathan Jay Pollard as a challenge to the authenticity of Jews as Americans. I confess that I, too, am guilty. I am not only loyal to two countries. I am loyal to three. I am an Anglo-Jewish immigrant to the US and therefore I have tri-vided loyalty!

I would like to think that if Britain was in a state of war and surrounded by enemies, and I could supply her with vital information to save her brave citizens and soldiers, that I would do so. In fact this is precisely what happened in World War Il, between 1939 and the time the US. entered the war in 1941. Of course, President Roosevelt was very cooperative in supporting Britain during that terrible period, but it is certain that U.S. secrets were leaked to Britain by sympathetic Americans, contrary to U.S. law.

As a Jew, I share a strong identification with Israel, the only sovereign Jewish country in the world. Do most American Jews act clandestinely in support of Israel? Of course not, for we make no secret of our active support for Israel. Apparently the U.S. has been withholding vital information from Israel, and with Israel’s narrow margin of security in the Middle East this appears to me to be inconsistent with the actions of a good ally, It is true that neither Pollard nor I can know all the factors involved in the sharing Of particular secrets. But I would like to think that if I had been in his shoes I would have done the same thing. Many American Jews may feel intimidated from saying so, and many may vociferously disagree, but that is my hope, no less than for Britain under the same circumstances.

I hope I would not have been quite as foolhardy as Pollard seems to have been. and I doubt that I would have trusted the Israelis as much, but the stakes were high. and once the decision is made the choices narrow. Under the circumstances anyone who breaks the law and spies must expect to receive a severe penalty, and not expect the country for which he spies to accept responsibility. In this case Israel is apparently prepared to sacrifice Pollard for the importance that they place on the U.S. relationship. However, the fact that the verdict for the Pollards was as great as those meted out to spies for America’s enemies is quite shocking. I would hope that Israel would act behind the scenes to eventually effect a release of the Pollards to Israel. Does anyone think that the U.S. does not spy on Israel?

The times are long since past when Jews will be intimidated by charges of divided loyalty and the re-hashing of the canards of the past. We have suffered and learnt too much for that. So just as my divided loyalty to Britain does not decrease my loyalty to the U.S., neither does my support for Israel. I can be just as critical of Margaret Thatcher’s policies as those of Shimon Peres and Ronald Reagan.

My loyalty is to an America that acts as an honest ally to democratic countries around the world with which we have mutual interests.  JACK S. COHEN Bethesda, Md

Yours sincerely, Jack Cohen Professor

Unexpected Consequences in War

There are many unintended consequences in war. Here are some examples:

  1. Operation Barbarossa: Jonathan Dimbleby has written a new book Barbarossa: How Hitler Lost the War in which he now rejects the conclusion of his previous book, The Battle of the Atlantic: How the Allies Won the War, and now concludes that in fact it was the Germans who lost WWII because of Hitler’s impossible gamble of Operation Barbarossa. By throwing the bulk of his armed forces into the invasion of Russia (total estimated 3.3 million men) in June 1941 and getting bogged down in the winter there, he allowed the Russians to take advantage of their superior manpower and production capabilities. By dividing his forces before the attack on Moscow and having impossibly long and tenuous supply lines, Hitler overestimated the ability of his soldiers to overcome the dogged resistance and then superior generalship in the Soviet counter-attacks, especially at Stalingrad and Kharkov. He essentially prepared no significant defensive lines and so Operation Barbarossa, however brutal and massive its consequences, was the true cause of the downfall of Nazi ambition.
  2. Operation Michael: In WWI, after 4 years of stalemate of trench warfare, the German Generals running the war, Gens. Ludendorff and Hindenberg, saw their opportunity In 1917, The revolution in Russia took them out of the war, so the Germans moved a million troops from the eastern front to the western front to take the initiative.  They decided on a major breakthrough named Operation Michael in the center of the Front between the main French and British armies, in an area where there was no strategic objectives and so the defenses were weakest. Indeed when they struck they broke through and advanced more in 3 days than they had done in 4 years.  Ludendorff thought this would win them the war, before the Americans arrived on the Allies side.  Then things went wrong, the German troops advanced so fast against little resistance that their supplies of ammunition and food ran out. Also, there was no specific objective to this massive attack.  Under pressure from his officers, Ludendorff, almost on the point of collapse, decided that they should take the nearby town of Amiens.  But the French brought up their army and decided to make a stand at Amiens.  They held off the Germans, who had great losses, and then the British and Americans arrived on the scene and attacked with tanks, that was the first major tank success in military history.  The battle of Amiens in 1918 was a major disaster for the Germans, who without adequate supplies of ammunition and food, were defeated.  German losses in both Operation Michael and the Battle of Amiens were ca. 350,000 dead.  This brought about the surrender of the German forces and the end of WWI. 
  3. Pearl Harbor: The surprise attack by Japanese aerial-naval forces on Pearl Harbor In Dec, 1941, seemed like a stroke of genius at the time. The Japanese thought that without their navy, the US would be unable to retaliate. But, they failed to follow up on their devastating attack to try to capture the Hawaiian islands or attack the US west coast. As Admiral Yamamoto foresaw, “We have awakened a sleeping giant.” The Japanese also failed to destroy the US aircraft carriers, which were later used to destroy their own navy. But, also, several days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hitler unilaterally declared war on the US, which left Pres. Roosevelt able to declare war against Germany, which led in turn to D-Day and that allowed the Soviet Union under Stalin to counter-attack in the east and grind down the German armies. Sic transit gloria mundi.
  4. The Yom Kippur War: In 1973, in a surprise coordinated attack the three neighboring Arab countries Egypt, Syria and Jordan, attacked Israel with the intention of destroying it. Israel was totally unprepared for this attack due to incredible failures in intelligence, and was caught on the defensive. After initial successes the Arab armies foolishly assumed they had already won and acted accordingly. All the Arab armies advanced beyond their original objectives without preparation and enabled the IAF to attack their columns because Israel retained air supremacy. This also allowed the IDF ground forces to reorganize and counter-attack, and in a stroke of genius Gen. Ariel Sharon crossed to the west bank of the Suez Canal and surrounded the main Egyptian forces. Also, on the Golan, a few determined Israeli tanks held off hundreds of ill-prepared Syrian tanks. This reversal of fortunes resulted in the defeat of the Arab armies and was in effect their last attempt to seriously challenge the existence of the Israeli state.
  5. Iran: The Iranian leadership should be aware of these historical precedencies while they continually threaten war against Israel.

Iran, the Palestinians, the US and Israel

The US and Iran are conducting negotiations in Geneva on renewing the nuclear agreement (the JCPOA) from which the Trump Administration withdrew. Because Iran continued developing enriched uranium for the purpose of making a nuclear weapon, Trump imposed severe sanctions against Iran. After Biden was elected President, Iran announced that it would negotiate with the US on renewing the agreement, but only after the sanctions were first removed! The Biden Administration refused to do this, but negotiations are nevertheless taking place. But, to save face Iran refused to negotiate directly with the US and the negotiations are taking place through a third European intermediary. It is reported that during these negotiations Iran is taking a hard line, namely they refuse to rejoin the agreement unless the US first cancels all sanctions. It is unlikely that Biden and his Secty of State Antony Blinken would agree to this. At the same time, PM Netanyahu, who has always been the leader of the anti-Iran squad, stated point-blank during his address at the Yom Hashoah ceremony in Jerusalem that Israel would not be bound by any agreement the US makes with Iran, because any agreement is worthless because they are proven liars.

Regarding the Palestinians, Biden has made two major changes recently. He reinstated some m$250 of aid to the Palestinians, thru payments to UNRWA and to the PA that Trump had cancelled. Note that aid to the Palestinians is strictly speaking illegal due to the Taylor Force Act passed by Congress following the stabbing death of US marine Taylor Force in Israel by a Palestinian terrorist. And Biden reiterated his support for the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. This is a typical liberal position that has been the policy of most Western countries for some 50 years. But, it has never worked and it never will. This is because Biden and others tend to equate the positions and motivations of Israel and the Palestinians thru a Western lens, without taking account of the reality that doesn’t fit their preconceived notions.

First of all it is wrong to equate Israel and the Palestinians, Israel is a long-standing member state of the UN, it is a working democracy and is both affluent and advanced with a population of 9.3 million people and it is a strong US ally. The PA is a non-state entity that has been run as a dictatorship and is split into two irreconcilable groups, the nationalist Fatah on the West Bank (2.7 million) and the Islamist Hamas in Gaza (2 million), neither of which are prepared to either recognize Israel or negotiate with it. They are also anti-American. Trump and Kushner were right on this, in order to make progress, it is necessary to circumvent the intransigent Palestinians and go directly to the other Arab countries who have common interests with Israel, both in terms of moderation, modernization and opposition to Iran. Going back to the “two-state solution” shows that liberals never learn, putting sentiment before reality, and is a sure formula for failure and disappointment.

On both the issues of Iran and the Palestinians, Biden has widened the gap between the US and Israel. But, Israel need not worry, because both Iran and the Palestinians are intransigent and they will never compromise their intentions of destroying Israel, so no progress can be made in either case. Far better to work with the Sunni Arab States that have common pro-Western interests with Israel.