Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Israel Matzav: While Bedein testified, Goldstone slept

Israel Matzav: While Bedein testified, Goldstone slept

Israel Matzav: The Goldstone Commission on human shields: Lies and damned lies

The Goldstone Commission on human shields: Lies and damned lies

I mentioned earlier that the Goldstone Commission report is 574 pages long. I have it sitting open on my computer, but finding the time to read it in its entirety... isn't likely to happen anytime soon. So I thought I would do some searching to try to give you the flavor. I searched for the term "human shield."

What I was looking for was the use of the 'Palestinian' civilian population by Hamas as human shields. It's basically not there. Here's what they have to say about it:

474. The Mission’s attention has been drawn to a well-known incident in which women and children followed calls to gather on the roof of the house of a Palestinian man who had been informed by the Israeli authorities that his house would be targeted. This incident has been documented in video footage in the public domain and is referred to in submissions received by the Mission as evidence of the use of human shields. The Mission notes, however, that the incident occurred in 2007. No such incidents are alleged by the Israeli Government with regard to the military operations that began on 27 December 2008. The Mission received no reports of such incidents from other sources. On the contrary, in one case investigated by the Mission, a Hamas official received a phone call from the Israeli armed forces to the effect that his house would soon be targeted. He evacuated the house with his family and alerted the neighbours to the imminent threat so that they, too, were able to leave their homes before the missile did indeed strike.

Read All at :

Israel Matzav: The Goldstone Commission on human shields: Lies and damned lies

Israel Matzav: Why Russia is arming Iran

Why Russia is arming Iran

Kim Zigfeld has an interesting take on why Russia is arming Iran. It's mostly about hating America.

Just weeks ago, rumors began circulating that Vladimir Putin’s KGB had begun sharing intelligence directly with the Hezbollah terrorist organization. At the time, the obscurity of the sources reporting this information combined with the seeming insanity of such a policy made the reports appear questionable to many. But now, with a secret delivery of high-technology weapons to Iran, such reports become chilling to contemplate.

Russia achieves a great deal by sowing terror in the Middle East. First and foremost, such terror ripples through international oil markets and drives up the price of Russian crude — the only thing keeping the Putin regime afloat these days after the Russian stock market collapsed in the wake of the global economic crisis. In August, Russia’s budget deficit increased a horrifying 40 percent, and a jolting 15 percent currency devaluation is predicted before the end of the year.


No wonder the Iranians are in quite a hurry to get their hands on Russian missiles to ward off an Israeli military strike — with the Obama administration dithering, Israel can have no confidence that American diplomacy will defuse the crisis, and that means Iran can have no confidence its infant nuclear arsenal will survive without Russian protection.

Announcing Russia’s refusal to help rein in Iran, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated: “Iran is a partner that has never harmed Russia in any way.” One must wonder whether Lavrov would accept American military aid to the Chechen terrorists who stormed the Dubrovka theater and the school in Beslan on the grounds that Chechens had never done anything to Americans. It seems doubtful that he would do so, but hypocrisy of this kind has never been any sort of brake on Russian (or Soviet) foreign policy in the past.

Russia’s hatred of America is so intense, and its economic mismanagement and failure so profound, that it has become quite desperate. It is a neighbor of Iran and no friend of Islam (as any Chechen can testify). Just as American weapons given to the mujaheddin of Afghanistan yesterday are used against Americans today, so too Russian weapons flowing into Iran may come back with interest some day. But this is Russia’s only card to play in the geopolitical game of cold war that the Kremlin’s clan of KGB rulers simply cannot walk away from, regardless of the cost to the people of Russia or the world.

The Israelis aren't going to accept a diplomatic outcome that leaves the possibility of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. Iran needs the Russian S-300 regardless of whether it fears an attack by Israel or by the United States.

But other than that, she's spot-on. The Russians are back to the cold war game of fomenting terrorism and crises. But when the next Cuban missile crisis comes along (in Venezuela), Obama won't stare down the Russians like John Kennedy did. Obama will capitulate and allow the missiles to stay.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Why Russia is arming Iran

Israel Matzav: What's Obama up to on Iran?

What's Obama up to on Iran?

As many of you know already, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany are scheduled to meet with Iran on October 1. Unlike any business meeting you or I have ever attended, the meeting will have no agenda and no set goals.

But then, the Obama administration had only two choices: Meet on Iran's terms or walk away. Russia and China have said that they will not support any more sanctions against Iran, and if there were doubts that sanctions passed by the Security Council would be effective, sanctions supported only by the United States and (possibly) the Europeans simply will not be effective except in the unlikely event that those parties are willing to take warlike action (like blocking the Straits of Hormuz) to enforce them. Obama has no leverage against Iran other than military leverage and he's not willing to use it. Walking away from Iran's offer to 'talk' would be an admission that the world's problems cannot all be solved through 'conversations.' Obama's not willing to admit that.

Bret Stephens argues in the Wall Street Journal that the Obama administration is goading Israel to the point where our little country will have no choice but to act on its own. Stephens argues that in doing so, the United States is abdicating its responsibility as a world power. He believes that Obama just doesn't want to deal with trying to stop Iran and that Obama would prefer instead to try to contain Iran after it has gone nuclear. The danger there is that it's clear that Iran has other targets in mind after Israel. But Obama may want an Israeli strike on Iran for reasons that have nothing to do with his willingness to try containment.

Jennifer Rubin believes that Obama is trying to turn Israel into the bad guy by forcing it to be the one to deal with Iran. Israel has shown and told anyone who is willing to listen that it cannot and will not live with a nuclear Iran. She also argues that Obama would like to put Iran's nuclear program on the back burner to pursue 'other grand bargains.'

So why is Obama going ahead with this meeting? I believe that it's a combination of two key factors. First, Obama doesn't believe he has a responsibility to stop Iran because he doesn't accept the notion of American exceptionalism or America's position as a superpower. In his eight months in office, he has done all in his power to degrade America's superpower status. That's why he needs the cover of the 'international community' to call this meeting in the first place, and that's why he's completely unwilling to even threaten the use of military force against Iran.

Second, Obama's main only articulated foreign policy goal is to appease the Muslim world by creating a Palestinian state. Obama appears to be indifferent to the prospect that Israel may attack Iran, because he knows that such an attack will be met with worldwide condemnation. Obama may believe that he can then use defending Israel in international forums like the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court as an incentive to convince Israel to give the 'Palestinians' whatever they want. In this way, Obama would gain after the fact the Faustian bargain 'Iran for a Palestinian state' that he tried to impose on Israel during the Netanyahu government's first three months in office.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: What's Obama up to on Iran?

Israel Matzav: Goldstone report released

Israel Matzav: Goldstone report released

Israel Matzav: Honduran ambassador expelled from 'Human Rights Council'

Israel Matzav: Honduran ambassador expelled from 'Human Rights Council'

Israel Matzav: Garlasco suspended

Israel Matzav: Garlasco suspended

Love of the Land: Exposing the 'weapon of the weak'

Exposing the 'weapon of the weak'

Richard Landes
JPost Opinion
12 September 09

Targeting the mainstream media (MSM) of the "strong" side is a fundamental tactic for any "weak" group conducting an asymmetrical war. Unable to win on the battlefield, insurgents and terrorists seek to convince their foes' civilian population that the wars their leaders have undertaken are unwinnable, even immoral. They need the other side's public to stop their own armies. The strategy worked in Vietnam; it almost worked in Iraq; it's in play in both Afghanistan and Israel and, in a different sense, all over the West.

Indeed, forces of Muslim militancy have had extraordinary success over the past decade. Anyone in the optimistic 1990s who had predicted that anti-Semitism would return with a vengeance, that Muslims would publicly express their desire to destroy or subjugate Europe, that parts of Europe would be Islamic by mid-century, that a riotous Muslim "street" in European cities would render Ramadan a tinderbox, would have been ridiculed.

SO HOW could things have turned around so dramatically?

The answer is complex, but one aspect has received little attention: These are the victories of a cognitive war waged in the theater of our own media. My own research, which began as a medievalist investigating "the first blood libel of the 21st century" - the Muhammad al-Dura affair - has led me to conclusions I never anticipated: that Palestinian cameramen regularly film fake scenes of injury and ambulance evacuations (Pallywood), and that Western journalists regularly edit these fakes into bites they run as news.

But there's an even more dangerous element to the story. Not only do the media broadcast as "true" Palestinian narratives designed to arouse hatred, they also disguise the effects, and even the sources, of these narratives. When the footage of Dura, running constantly on French TV, unleashed attacks on Jews in France, the French MSM reported nothing for years. If Muslims hated Jews, it was quand même understandable.

As for Palestinian hate-mongering, it's a case of the less said the better. Reporting on a sermon broadcast on PA TV calling for Muslims to butcher Jews wherever they find them, William Orme of The New York Times, in an article on the role of incitement in the intifada, quoted only the opening: "Labor, Likud, they're all Jews, they're all the same..." To this day, the genocidal incitement of Palestinian TV is unknown to the Western public.

The relationship between Palestinian and Western journalism recently hit a new low/high with a Swedish article by Donald Bostrom, in which, without evidence, and against medical possibility, he accused the IDF of harvesting Palestinian organs. The refusal of the Swedish government to condemn this blood libel lest it infringe on "freedom of the press" is facetious. It did not hesitate to pressure the Swedish media not to publish the Muhammad cartoons.

The Swedish response to Israel and its appeasement of Muslim sensibilities points to a key problem: intimidation. Publishing lies about the Israelis will, at worst, get you pained protests; publishing anything that offends the Palestinians (or in Europe, the Muslims), could get you killed. Asked why British cartoonists pick on Israel but not the Palestinians, the head of the professional society that had just given its annual award to a depiction of Ariel Sharon devouring Palestinian children, said: "Jews don't issue fatwas."

That rare candor aside, most journalists, for fear of losing their audience, cannot admit how much they're intimidated, to what extent they buy access to Palestinian sources by scrupulously following "the journalistic procedures with the Palestinian Authority for work in Palestine." Were they to tell the West what was really going on, at best they'd lose access, at worst, their lives.

So in order not to admit even to themselves that they're misreporting, they become advocates: "I'm for peace, justice and fairness, so I support the underdog Palestinians." "In the Middle East a picture can be worth 1,000 weapons," said Bob Simon. 'So,' reasons many a reporter, 'if the Israelis have the weapons, why not level the playing field by giving the 'weak' the victory in the battle of images?'

NO WONDER so many Middle East journalists take the side of the Palestinians. Only that kind of pack mentality can present the image of Israelis as killers of civilians, when Israel has by far the lowest rate of civilian casualties in the world - a 2:1 ratio of target to civilian vs. a 1:10 ratio for the next best.

It may seem "cost free" to trash Israel and "respect" Palestinian sensibilities in the short run, but the long-term consequences are destructive. Through the MSM's (and the NGOs') laundering of Palestinian propaganda as real news, Westerners have had their minds colonized by the Palestinian narrative: It is our fault they hate us; if we could only make enough concessions, we could fix the problem.

This susceptibility of Western news media to Palestinian disinformation imperils not just Israel (its apparent target), but the entire West. It never occurred to the European journalists, for example, whose use of Dura aroused the rage of their Muslim immigrant population, that they too would be the targets of jihad.

And yet policies based on the idea that if only Israel were nicer then all would go better have failed miserably, despite the good intentions of those who insist on trying them. They are the policies our foes want us to adopt, not because they seek peace, but because they seek the advantage in war - a war in which the Jews are only one target.

The cognitive warriors of jihad want the West to offer up Israel as a sacrifice on the altar of Muslim honor. Westerners like Jimmy Carter and John Mearsheimer think sacrifice will appease, bring peace, end the jihad. For jihad's warriors, nothing could make them happier.

The MSM should be the eyes and ears of civil polities.

The writer is a medieval history professor at Boston University. He blogs at The Augean Stables, and has assembled all the information on Dura at The Second Draft. He is currently writing a book subtitled A Medievalist's Guide to the 21st Century.

Love of the Land: Exposing the 'weapon of the weak'

Love of the Land: Goldstone’s Report: Fundamentally Flawed or a Step Towards Sanctions?

Goldstone’s Report: Fundamentally Flawed or a Step Towards Sanctions?

Gerald M. Steinberg
NGO Monitor
September 15, 2009

In a first quick review, the 575-page report of the Goldstone mission seems as bad or worse than had been expected – the critics who warned of a “kangaroo court” created in order to find Israel guilty will claim that they were correct. Goldstone’s press conference in New York and the report’s recommendations constitute another step in the Durban strategy in which the language of human rights and international law are misused as weapons in the political war to isolate and demonize Israel.

The tenor of the report, the “balance” between charges of war crimes committed by Israeli and Hamas, and the effort to involve the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court all constitute a frontal attack against Israel and a further development. As a result, the damage may not stop with the publication of this report, and the Israeli government is faced with a serious and difficult strategic challenge in demonstrating that the committee and its members were fundamentally flawed from the beginning.

But when the report is examined in detail, a number of basic flaws are likely to emerge – perhaps enough to expose the entire process as invalid and morally tainted. The evidence, as Goldstone stated, was based almost entirely on unverifiable Palestinian claims and publications from politicized pro-Palestinian NGOs – the report cites B’tselem and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights each more than 70 times, Al-Haq allegations get more 30 mentions, and there are many more NGO co-authors.

Human Rights Watch is referenced 33 times, including the “Rain of Fire” report co-authored by Marc Garlasco. He was HRW’s “senior military expert” (until suspended yesterday after exposure of his Nazi memorabilia fetish), but his analyses are tainted by false claims and speculation masquerading as expertise. Goldstone’s long association with HRW essentially means that in this report, he is quoting his own highly problematic organization. More generally, the methodology used in the 36 incidents examined by the committee will give critics of the report and the commission the strongest basis for rejecting its conclusions.At the same time, Goldstone’s report is full of statements of “fact” that defy belief and come without any evidentiary source. For instance, contrary to numerous contemporary reports in media outlets like the New York Times, the report denies without citing any of the evidence, that Hamas fighters dressed in civilian dress, hid in hospital facilities and used ambulances to transport combatants and other military purposes.

Even more shockingly, the Goldstone report repeatedly accuses Israel of violating international law by committing acts of terror, while it refrains from directly accusing Hamas violating those laws. Even worse, the Goldstone report never even admits that Hamas is a terrorist organization.

If this was a real court process, and not the façade based on a political mandate from the inherently biased United Nations Human Rights Council, both Goldstone and Professor Christine Chinkin would have been disqualified from participating. As UN Watch noted in its 28-page legal brief to the UN, Chinkin’s biased was reflected in statements that "categorically rejected" Israel's right to self-defense against rocket attacks from Gaza and accused Israel of "aggression" and "prima facie war crimes." But without any due process, this brief was simply dismissed.

In parallel, the choice of Goldstone was seen as an insurance policy against charges of antisemitism. Indeed, when the issue came up at the press conference in New York, Goldstone invoked his Jewish background and his involvement with Israel as a defense. He expressed sadness over the situation in which Israel was found (at least by his committee and its allies) of having committed war crimes.

Near the end of his statement, Goldstone told his audience that they should, “Rejoice that we are living in a world today in which there is accountability for war crimes.” Sadly, the rejoicing will come from exactly those quarters that fear true accountability. The Hamas leadership and its supporters, including the Iranian regime, will gladly accept the result, but few Israelis or fair-minded individuals will find this mission, its report or its recommendations as having providing accountability or restoring the morality of the United Nations.

Related: The Goldstone Show-Trial

Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg heads NGO Monitor and is on the political science faculty of Bar Ilan University

Love of the Land: Goldstone’s Report: Fundamentally Flawed or a Step Towards Sanctions?

Love of the Land: Second Temple Period Stepped Street Discovered in City of David Excavation

Second Temple Period Stepped Street Discovered in City of David Excavation

Israel Antiquities Authority
14 September 2009

2000 Years Ago, Pilgrims Began Their Trek to the Temple Mount From Here

A section of a stepped street paved in stone slabs, going south in the direction of the Shiloach Pool was discovered in excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Shiloach Pool Excavation at the City of David in the Jerusalem Walls National Park. The excavations are conducted in cooperation with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, funded by the Elad Foundation, under the auspices of Prof. Ronny Reich of Haifa University and Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The existence of this road has been known about for over one hundred years, since it was first discovered between 1894 and 1897 by Prof. Frederick J. Bliss and Archibald C. Dickey of the British Palestine Exploration Fund, and then covered and filled in at the end of their excavation. Other sections of this same road, to the north, have been excavated and covered over in the past, including during the excavations of Jones in 1937 and Kathleen Kenyon from 1961-1967.

This section of the stepped street was discovered at a distance of 550 meters south of the Temple Mount. The road represents the central thoroughfare of Jerusalem that ascended from the north-west corner of the Second Temple Shiloach Pool to the north.

According to Prof. Ronny Reich, "In the Second Temple Period, pilgrims would begin the ascent to the Temple from here. This is the southernmost tip of the road, of which a section has already been discovered along the western face of the Temple Mount."

The current excavation has been concentrated in a very narrow strip (1-2 meters in width) in the western sections of the road. Essentially, the excavation work removed the earth that had been filled in by previous excavators over the sections they already discovered. This section of road is built in the Second Temple style, which comprises alternating wide and narrow steps.

Further work must be done to clarify what the relationship was between the current excavated section and the section of the road and the drainage channel that were discovered nearby two years ago.
Click here to download high resolution photographs.
1. The stepped street. Photographic credit: Vladimir Neichin
2. The drainage channel. Photographic credit: Vladimerir Neichin

Love of the Land: Second Temple Period Stepped Street Discovered in City of David Excavation

Love of the Land: Who cares about “negotiations”?

Who cares about “negotiations”?

Ted Belman
15 September 09

Mitchell, Netanyahu fail to agree on settlement halt. But don’t stand up and cheer just yet. Mitchell is still hanging around.

Netanyahu told his party

    “In any case, I will not agree to enter into talks whose results are defined and known in advance. That’s what negotiations are for and we are willing to begin right away.”

    In discussing the talks with the United States on freezing construction in the settlements, Netanyahu stressed that the agreement is only about “cutting down the construction” and said that it was still uncertain how long the restrictions would apply.

    Netanyahu said that the agreement includes the continued construction of 2,500 housing units on which work has already begun, and 450 new housing units in the large settlement blocs. Netanyahu also said that public structures will be allowed, including schools, synagogues and more.

The truth of the matter is that negotiations will not end in any agreement or even a partial agreement. Surely the Israeli government knows this. Surely the US knows this too. Either they want negotiations for the sake of appearances or they must have a plan as to how they are going to force Israel to give the Arabs most of what they want. If it is the latter, as I suspect, then Netanyahu’s remark highlighted above is all the more telling. But why should he agree to any kind of freeze if he believes the negotiations will go nowhere?

Another thing that bothers me about this is the fact that we are being asked to commit to the US. What do we hope to get from the US for our commitment. If the settlement freeze is the big issue to the “Palestinians” then why aren’t we sitting with them and asking them what they are prepared to give in exchange.

The only thing that the freeze is intended to do is get the negotiations started. But why is Israel interested in negotiations that go nowhere or worse still that will involve increased pressure on Israel. Israel should prefer no negotiations. Then there wouldn’t be a freeze and Israel could unilaterally impose a deal on the Arabs, step by step.

It is clear that the Arabs don’t want negotiations. Which is another way of saying they don’t want a state, at least one that requires compromises to achieve or more importantly, one that prevents them from pursuing their dream of destroying Israel. The fact that they are not begging us for negotiations is all you need to know about how good the present situation is for them, save for those pesky settlements.

Abbas, as you know, keeps demanding a complete freeze before negotiations can commence. Fatah to Haaretz: Fatah to Haaretz: No settlement freeze, no talks

    Palestinian negotiator Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary-general of the Fatah Executive Committee, told Haaretz that the Palestinian demand for a complete building freeze in settlements remains.

    Without such a freeze, he said, there is no possibility for a political process. “Why should we start a process we know won’t be of any use?,” he asked.

    However, Abed Rabbo also noted the PA has yet to hear a detailed American proposal, and that Abbas was undecided about meeting Netanyahu.

    “The decision will be made after Abu Mazen meets with Mitchell and hears what he has to say,” Abed Rabbo said.

    He told reporters that if a meeting does take place, its primary objective will be determining Netanyahu’s stands on political issues.

    [..] However, since the American administration clearly signaled its interest in a trilateral summit, Abbas risks being presented as a refusing a peace offer, while allowing Israel to claim it has no partner for a peace process.

    For all these reasons, Abbas and the Palestinian leadership are keenly expecting an American offer that would allow them to present a Palestinian achievement to counterbalance Israel’s construction in the territories.

In the present situation, the economy in Judea and Samaria is growing rapidly, the West is underwriting the PA’s deficit and their militarization, diplomats are beating a path to their door, they have the protection of the IDF and they don’t have to make compromises that could get them killed. What more could they want? A statelet or autonomous area as proposed by Netanyahu? Forget about it.

We must conclude that the US is the only one pushing for negotiations. If so they miscalculated.

According to Mort Zukerman, Obama is Fumbling a Chance for Middle East Peace

    Alas, the American pressure campaign following Obama’s ascent has had one clear outcome, and not one we had hoped for: It has made a peace deal much less likely. Obama has not exerted pressure equally. He ignores what Israel has done in recent years to advance the cause of peace and what the Arabs have failed to do. The onus has been on Israel and Israel alone. This has allowed the Arabs yet again to abdicate responsibility. It has reinforced the long-standing Arab belief that the United States can “deliver Israel” if only it has the will to do so, thereby reducing Arab incentives to make concessions in direct negotiations with Israel. The moderate Arab states, whose principal concern is not Israel but an expansionist Iran seeking domination in the Middle East, have been unwilling to raise a finger to advance the process—not Egypt, not Jordan, not Saudi Arabia.

Furthermore Bret Stephens argues Obama Is Pushing Israel Toward War . Because Obama is demonstrating a lack of will, Israel must prepare for an attack all the more.

I expect that a tripartate meeting will not take place until after the holidays

Love of the Land: Who cares about “negotiations”?

Love of the Land: Obama Is Pushing Israel Toward War

Obama Is Pushing Israel Toward War

President Obama can't outsource matters of war and peace to another state.

Bret Stephens
Wall Street Journal
15 September 09

Events are fast pushing Israel toward a pre-emptive military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, probably by next spring. That strike could well fail. Or it could succeed at the price of oil at $300 a barrel, a Middle East war, and American servicemen caught in between. So why is the Obama administration doing everything it can to speed the war process along?

At July's G-8 summit in Italy, Iran was given a September deadline to start negotiations over its nuclear programs. Last week, Iran gave its answer: No.

Instead, what Tehran offered was a five-page document that was the diplomatic equivalent of a giant kiss-off. It begins by lamenting the "ungodly ways of thinking prevailing in global relations" and proceeds to offer comprehensive talks on a variety of subjects: democracy, human rights, disarmament, terrorism, "respect for the rights of nations," and other areas where Iran is a paragon. Conspicuously absent from the document is any mention of Iran's nuclear program, now at the so-called breakout point, which both Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his boss Ali Khamenei insist is not up for discussion.

What's an American president to do in the face of this nonstarter of a document? What else, but pretend it isn't a nonstarter. Talks begin Oct. 1.

All this only helps persuade Israel's skittish leadership that when President Obama calls a nuclear-armed Iran "unacceptable," he means it approximately in the same way a parent does when fecklessly reprimanding his misbehaving teenager. That impression is strengthened by Mr. Obama's decision to drop Iran from the agenda when he chairs a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Sept. 24; by Defense Secretary Robert Gates publicly opposing military strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities; and by Russia's announcement that it will not support any further sanctions on Iran.

In sum, the conclusion among Israelis is that the Obama administration won't lift a finger to stop Iran, much less will the "international community." So Israel has pursued a different strategy, in effect seeking to goad the U.S. into stopping, or at least delaying, an Israeli attack by imposing stiff sanctions and perhaps even launching military strikes of its own.

Associated Press

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Thus, unlike Israel's air strike against Iraq's reactor in 1981 or Syria's in 2007, both of which were planned in the utmost secrecy, the Israelis have gone out of their way to advertise their fears, purposes and capabilities. They have sent warships through the Suez Canal in broad daylight and conducted widely publicized air-combat exercises at long range. They have also been unusually forthcoming in their briefings with reporters, expressing confidence at every turn that Israel can get the job done.

The problem, however, is that the administration isn't taking the bait, and one has to wonder why. Perhaps it thinks its diplomacy will work, or that it has the luxury of time, or that it can talk the Israelis out of attacking. Alternatively, it might actually want Israel to attack without inviting the perception that it has colluded with it. Or maybe it isn't really paying attention.

But Israel is paying attention. And the longer the U.S. delays playing hardball with Iran, the sooner Israel is likely to strike. A report published today by the Bipartisan Policy Center, and signed by Democrat Chuck Robb, Republican Dan Coats, and retired Gen. Charles Ward, notes that by next year Iran will "be able to produce a weapon's worth of highly enriched uranium . . . in less than two months." No less critical in determining Israel's timetable is the anticipated delivery to Iran of Russian S-300 anti-aircraft batteries: Israel will almost certainly strike before those deliveries are made, no matter whether an Iranian bomb is two months or two years away.

Such a strike may well be in Israel's best interests, though that depends entirely on whether the strike succeeds. It is certainly in America's supreme interest that Iran not acquire a genuine nuclear capability, whether of the actual or break-out variety. That goes also for the Middle East generally, which doesn't need the nuclear arms race an Iranian capability would inevitably provoke.

Then again, it is not in the U.S. interest that Israel be the instrument of Iran's disarmament. For starters, its ability to do so is iffy: Israeli strategists are quietly putting it about that even a successful attack may have to be repeated a few years down the road as Iran reconstitutes its capacity. For another thing, Iran could respond to such a strike not only against Israel itself, but also U.S targets in Iraq and the Persian Gulf.

But most importantly, it is an abdication of a superpower's responsibility to outsource matters of war and peace to another state, however closely allied. President Obama has now ceded the driver's seat on Iran policy to Prime Minister Netanyahu. He would do better to take the wheel again, keeping in mind that Iran is beyond the reach of his eloquence, and keeping in mind, too, that very useful Roman adage, Si vis pacem, para bellum. ("If you wish for peace, prepare for war")

Love of the Land: Obama Is Pushing Israel Toward War

Love of the Land: Neville Chamberlain Was A Far-Sighted Hero Compared To This

Neville Chamberlain Was A Far-Sighted Hero Compared To This

Melanie Phillips
The Spectator
15 September 09

Barry Rubin says this is the big one and I agree. Obama’s decision to accept Iran’s, er, offer of talks is a mistake of simply staggering proportions. It was inevitable – and yet even so it is hard to believe that an American President can be quite this reckless.

As we all know, Obama offered Iran a hand of friendship in the hope that this would finally encourage the regime to open up its clenched fist. Months passed; Obama’s hand remained open, the Iranian fist remained clenched and Iran made good use of the precious gift of time Obama had given it to advance its nuclear programme to the point where it is now variously estimated as soon able /already able to manufacture a nuclear weapon.

As time and credibility drained away, the Obama administration announced that if Iran hadn’t moved by late September, the US would finally get tough, which meant some kind of souped-up sanctions regime. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to work out what would happen next. Having contemptuously disdained the idea of talking to the US, a few days ago Iran suddenly said it would indeed talk to the Great Satan – but not about its nuclear programme, only about ending nuclear proliferation (guess which country it has in mind for a cosy chat with Obama?) and getting rid of great power vetoes at the UN.

In other words, it has graciously consented to talk about terms for the surrender of the west. In doing so, it would park the sanctions threat indefinitely and tie the US up in further knots for months, thus ensuring the tranquil completion of its nuclear programme, and make the US look so weak and pathetic that Neville Chamberlain would retrospectively appear heroic and far-sighted by comparison, thus hugely endangering not just America but the world. In the circumstances, only an imbecile, brainwashed ideologue or lunatic would agree to pick up Iran’s gauntlet of contempt.

Obama has agreed.

‘There's language in the letter that simply says the government of Iran is willing to enter into dialogue,’ State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. ‘We are going to test that proposition, okay? And if Iran is willing to enter into serious negotiations, then they will find a willing participant in the United States and the other [partner] countries. If Iran dissembles in the future, as it has in the past, then we will draw conclusions from that.’

The US will ‘draw conclusions’, eh! Doubtless when Iran tests its nuclear weapon the US will ‘draw conclusions’ from that as well; and when the balance of regional and world power finally tips irrevocably towards Iranian hegemony and the nuclear blackmail of America and the world, not to mention the nuking of Tel Aviv, the US will ‘draw conclusions’ from that too. But it will never act. Instead the US, having dug itself into the ground up to its neck so that it can be stoned, is going to enter into ‘serious negotiations’.

What about?

Rubin observes:

At first, the leaks were that both the United States and the Europeans rejected the letter. Yet within two days this was all reversed and they accepted it. Why would such a thing happen? Unless they received some secret Iranian assurances—which is possible—it means that the State Department mid-level officials scoffed at the letter but as it went up the chain of command, to Obama itself, he chose to accept it. There’s no doubt that this decision was made at the very top and there are also indications that wiser heads who understand the situation better were against it.

For those waiting for the Administration to make some dreadful mistake, they now apparently have their case. One close Washington observer of Iran policy stated in bewilderment, ‘This makes no sense.’ But it can be made sense of in several ways. One is that the Administration leadership has no idea of what it’s dealing with. Another is that it has fallen prey to wishful thinking. Both are true but the real answer might also involve something else: a government desperately seeking to avoid even a lower-level confrontation and passionately desiring to do nothing about the most dangerous issue it and the world faces.

We will draw our own conclusion: it was always going to be like this.

Love of the Land: Neville Chamberlain Was A Far-Sighted Hero Compared To This

Love of the Land: Anti-Semitic contagion…from Sweden to Algeria

Anti-Semitic contagion…from Sweden to Algeria

Robin Shepherd
Think Tank Blog
15 September 09

Well that’s not the kind of headline you’d have seen a few years ago. But the times they are a changing. Contemporary Europe is not merely competing with anti-Semitic bigotry in the countries of the Muslim world, it is now exporting it to them.

In the wake of the story in Sweden’s Aftonbladet newspaper last month which suggested that Israeli soldiers were involved in an international conspiracy to harvest the bodily organs of Palestinian children, it now appears that stories are rife across the Middle East that Jews and Israelis are harvesting the organs of Algerian children too.

The Jerusalem Post reports today that the story surfaced in Algeria’s Al-Khabar newspaper. According to the report, gangs of Moroccans and Algerians have been sweeping through the streets of Algerian cities and hunting down children who are then slaughtered and dismembered so their bodily organs can be sold to American Jews and Israelis.

According to the Post, the source of the allegations appears to be Dr. Mustafa Khayatti, head of the Algerian National Committee for the Development of Health Research who is quoted as saying:

“The arrest of Jewish organ trafficking gangs does not mean that the danger has gone; top officials and specialists in this issue assert that there are other Jewish gangs who remain active in several Arab countries.”

Iran’s Press TV, now a feature in living rooms across Europe, has apparently picked up on the story with glee. It is also being disseminated widely across the Middle East.

Sweden, its press and its government can be mightily proud of their achievements. Sweden will be remembered for something more than Abba after all.

To read the Jerusalem Post article in full, click here:

Love of the Land: Anti-Semitic contagion…from Sweden to Algeria

Love of the Land: Activists to Protest for Release of Egyptian Dissident

Love of the Land: Activists to Protest for Release of Egyptian Dissident

Love of the Land: The Right of Jews to Live in the Land of Israel, .... If We Stand Up For Our Rights

The Right of Jews to Live in the Land of Israel, .... If We Stand Up For Our Rights

Moshe Arens
15 September 09

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his advisors are exerting their best efforts in the search for ways to avoid a confrontation with the president of the United States, who has publicly called for a cessation of construction in West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem. But there should be no doubt about it: The government of Israel and the U.S. president are on a collision course. That became clear when Barack Obama declared in his speech in Cairo that "this must stop," referring to Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank.

There are surely ways of postponing the collision, but in the final analysis, it is unavoidable, unless either the Israeli government accepts this diktat from the U.S. president, or Obama and his advisors recognize that Jews have a right to live and settle in Judea and Samaria. No amount of "creative ambiguity" is going to resolve this problem.

So how is Netanyahu going to handle this conundrum? He had experience dealing with president Bill Clinton on the Palestinian issue during his previous term as prime minister, and it is unlikely that he looks back on that experience with nostalgia.

In January 1997, giving in to pressure from the Clinton administration, he signed the Hebron agreement - which called for removing the Israel Defense Forces from most of Hebron and introducing a small international force into the area - with Yasser Arafat. Since then, Hamas has been predominant in Hebron, and the city has remained a powder keg of tension between Jews and Arabs. And it was only years later, after the IDF was reintroduced into the area during the second intifada, that an end came to continuous acts of Palestinian terror.
The year after the Hebron agreement, he agreed to meet Arafat at Wye Plantation under Clinton's auspices. Nothing came of that conference except that the American president was drawn toward Arafat and subsequently visited Gaza, where he declared that the American people supported the Palestinian people's aspirations. So much for impartial arbitration.

So how is it going to be handled this time? From news reports, it seems that Netanyahu intends to keep Obama at bay for a limited period of time while he placates his own supporters with a permit to "complete buildings in Judea and Samaria that have already begun," and then declare a moratorium on further construction there for a period of nine months. On receiving this news in Washington, Rahm Emanuel, Obama's chief of staff, probably told the president the old joke about the Jew who asked for a year's stay of execution from the Polish count by promising him that during that time, he would teach the count's dog to talk.

Is this going to work? Obama has decided to take his position on Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria public, and though many things will surely happen during the next nine months, he is not likely to retract his position during that period. In other words, even if Washington were to accept Netanyahu's compromise position, the confrontation will not have been avoided.

That being the case, Netanyahu must consider whether it is not wiser to face Washington on a matter of principle - the right of Jews to live and settle in the Land of Israel - rather than engage in a war of attrition over a compromise formula. Anybody with experience representing Israel in the United States will tell him that there, you are better off fighting for a principle than trying to justify a compromise deal.

Over the years, Israeli governments have had differences of opinions with various administrations in Washington - though it is true that not since President Eisenhower demanded that the IDF retreat from Sinai and Gaza after the Suez Campaign, 50 years ago, have these differences been taken so public by the U.S. president. We obviously prefer to be in total agreement with our ally across the sea, but we know that is not always possible. We also prefer to handle the differences of opinion between us with discretion.

But in either case, we know that we can ride out the disagreements. Israel's alliance with the United States is based not only on common ideals and values, but also on mutual interests, and even a recognition of mutual benefits, despite the vast asymmetry in size between the two countries. When it comes to our most basic rights - the right of Jews to live in the Land of Israel - the United States will defer to Israel. That is, if we stand up for our rights.
Love of the Land: The Right of Jews to Live in the Land of Israel, .... If We Stand Up For Our Rights

Love of the Land: News Watch

News Watch

(24 September 2008)

Media Bias : Dry Bones cartoon.

Western Democracies rely on a well-informed public. So what can be done when respected journals like the New York Times and theWashington Post display anti-Israel bias and distortions in their reporting ?

The answer is CAMERA.
(The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America).

And while you're at it, take a look at their blog. It's called Snapshots

Love of the Land: News Watch

Why Are Jews Liberal? Are They?

Why Are Jews Liberal? Are They?

Norman Podhoretz has just published a book titled Why Are Jews Liberals?. No, I haven't read it - it just came out last week, and I only have 342 books ahead of it on my list, and I'm not certain I'll get to it at all.

Tablet, however, the newish American-Jewish magazine, asked a gaggle of American Jewish intellectuals to write up their thoughts on the matter, which they obligingly did, here, each according to their lights. It's an interesting discussion. (And bear in mind, all yee non-American provincials, that the term is being used in its American meaning which is the opposite of its older, British and European meaning).

I was tickled that none of the writers simply came out and said: Jews are liberals because that's what right-thinking people should be, and how could they be anything else? Had anyone asked me to write, in a short paragraph, why a majority of Jews are Zionists, I might have said Because that's what right-thinking Jews must be, and how could they be anything else?

Still, there's a serious point here, and that's that what American Jews are and what non-American Jews are is not obviously the same. A large majority of American Jews really are liberals, and it will be interesting to see what happens if and when they ever have to reconcile that with support for an Israel many liberals no-longer like; one fears some may prefer the American issue, not the Jewish one.

As usual with blogging, I can get away with taking this serious discussion no further, for lack of time or inclination. Were I writing for a respectable journal, the editor would send me scurrying back to my quill and parchment to keep on working.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

If it's Not Perfect, It's Evil

If it's Not Perfect, It's Evil

The folks at CIF Watch soldier on in their attempt to discredit the Guardian and its commenters. I salute their ability to wade through that cesspool daily; it's not as if they're going to convince the Guardian to mend their ways; that's not an option.

I also visit the Gaurdian daily, but since I'm trying to undersand what makes them tick I often skip their ravings about Israel and try to capture the wider picture. Today they've offered a whooper, in the form of an article by one Leo Hickman, call it an anti-Borlaug obituary.

Those of you who were children in the 50s and 60s may share the memory of being told to finish our spinnach because the children in India were starving. Those born later, don't have that memory - because the children in India (mostly) stopped starving. Hundreds of millions of them. The man who did more than anyone to supply them with food when they didn't have it was Norman Borlaug, who passed away this week at the age of 95. You'd think he'd now be allowed to belong to the ages as one of humanity's most important heroes, ever.

Not if you're of the Guardian mind-frame, though. According to Mr. Hickman (and apparently others before him), Borlaug is partially to blame for global warming, which means that his achivement of saving hundreds of millions of lives then is at least partially outbalanced by the possibility that we may have warmer weather later.

The mind boggles.

After it winds down from boggling, however, there's a deeper comment here. That is the intolerance of revolutionaries and other ideologues for flawed reality. If a soultion to a problem is itself only limited, or even if it's nigh-perfect but causes secondary blemishes, it's not really a solution it all. Only by tearing reality down and building it again without flaws can we really get to where we should be; celebration of flawed achivements is evil because it suggests we should live in this world, not strive for that one.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

RubinReports: UK-Libya Relations: Release Terrorist, Make Oil Deal, Train…Terrorists?

UK-Libya Relations: Release Terrorist, Make Oil Deal, Train…Terrorists?

By Barry Rubin

First the British government released a Lockerbie terrorist, despite his having killed so many people, as part of an oil deal with Libya. Now, according to a credible report, the British army will be training the elite forces of dictator Muammar Qadhafi, the same man who almost certainly ordered the Lockerbie bombing and many other terrorist attacks.

So reports the Daily Telegraph. Since early this year, the British army has been training Libyan Special Forces. The newspaper notes that Libya has also armed the IRA with guns and explosives in launching terror attacks against Britain in the past. The leak comes from British soldiers who are disgusted with this policy.

There could be arguments for this kind of activity in some cases. The British army could be trying to teach Libyan soldiers to behave better, seeking to build bridges for a closer relationship, or even recruiting intelligence agents.

The British government might well see this connection as shielding their country from terrorism at Libya’s hands. Let them go kill citizens of some other place. This is a frequently seen European policy in the past. Starting in the 1960s, archival documents show, the British government made nice to Fatah and the PLO politically in order to buy immunity, while France and Italy had policies in later decades of letting terrorist groups operate within their territory as long as they only attacked those outside of it.

But with the mercurial (a polite word for bizarre and psychopathic) as leader, it is unlikely that this will lead to anything good. Probably these skills will be put to use in future for carrying out terror attacks and training people from other countries to do so, possibly even against Britain.

RubinReports: UK-Libya Relations: Release Terrorist, Make Oil Deal, Train…Terrorists?

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Honest Reporting - Nazi Fetishist Suspended by HRW

Nazi Fetishist Suspended by HRW

Human Rights Watch's weapons "expert" suspended following outcry over bizarre "hobby".

Last week we reported on the outing of Human Rights Watch's Marc Garlasco as a collector of Nazi memorabilia. To recall, Garlasco has appeared regularly in the media, touted as a military "expert". Garlasco played a prominent role in promoting the 2006 Gaza Beach Libel, which wrongly blamed Israel for a "massacre" of Palestinians. (See HonestReporting's interactive Big Lies presentation for more on this story.)

Initially, HRW used every means available to defend Garlasco, including, as revealed by Harry's Place blog, resorting to creating a fake "activist" with a Middle Eastern sounding name to post comments defending Garlasco on various blog sites.

Mark Gardner of the CST blog addresses HRW's response, which involved attacking Jewish and pro-Israel organizations rather than the very legitimate concerns arising from Garlasco's collecting of Nazi memorabilia.

Garlasco himself wrote a piece for The Huffington Post defending his bizarre "hobby". Even associates of HRW, however, such as Helena Cobban, who sits on HRW's Middle East advisory board have been suitably disturbed.

HRW has finally succumbed to pressure by suspending Garlasco (pictured here wearing a Nazi-themed sweatshirt) with pay "pending an investigation," according to HRW's associate director Caroll Bogert. "We have questions about whether we have learned everything we need to know," she said.

The New York Times, however, adds its own bias in its report:

The suspension comes at a time of heightened tension between, on one side, the new Israeli government and its allies on the right, and the other side, human rights organizations that have been critical of Israel. In recent months, the government has pledged an aggressive approach toward the groups to discredit what they argue is bias and error.

As in the case of the Gaza Beach libel, many of HRW's reports that Garlasco wrote or contributed to have been found to be academically unsound and methodologically faulty, as documented by NGO Monitor. Concern over this issue should not be dependent on one's political views. Yet the New York Times continues to muddy the waters with the implication that genuine concerns over Garlasco's professionalism as well as his extra-cirricular activities are driven solely by a right-wing agenda.

The NY Times continues by interviewing not those organizations that have expressed these concerns but a left-wing academic who states:

he did not believe that Mr. Garlasco's interest in memorabilia could support allegations of "premeditated bias." He said, however, that Human Rights Watch's credibility might have been wounded because Mr. Garlasco's hobby "has armed the right-wing fanatics" who "work day and night to demonize any individual or organization that raises questions about the military practices of Israel when they end up even with unintended civilian casualties."

The NY Times is a prime example of a media outlet that has supported and followed HRW's lead without question. Could this attempt to smear those organizations that have questioned HRW and Garlasco be the NY Times's way of deflecting the real question for the newspaper - its reliance and support for potentially discredited anti-Israel sources?

Honest Reporting - Nazi Fetishist Suspended by HRW
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