Thursday, 17 September 2009

Israel Matzav: Marty Peretz pans Turki al-Faisal

Israel Matzav: Marty Peretz pans Turki al-Faisal

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu and Mitchell deadlocked over 'settlement freeze'

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu and Mitchell deadlocked over 'settlement freeze'

Israel Matzav: Richard Goldstone's moral inversion

Israel Matzav: Richard Goldstone's moral inversion

Israel Matzav: Clinton: Well, we're going to talk about Iran's nukes

Clinton: Well, we're going to talk about Iran's nukes

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says that the United States plans to discuss Iran's nuclear program when it meets with the Islamic country on October 1, even if Iran doesn't want to discuss it.

When the United States sits down with Iran early next month for face-to-face talks, the Iranian nuclear program will be at the top of the American agenda, even though Iranian officials insist it is off the table, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday.

“Iran says it has a number of issues it wishes to discuss with us,” Mrs. Clinton told reporters. “But what we are concerned about is discussing with them the questions surrounding their nuclear program and ambitions.”

She said the meeting, to be held Oct. 1, would fulfill President Obama’s pledge to engage with Iran. But she insisted that the United States would not be drawn into a lengthy and fruitless diplomatic dance with Iran, as some analysts have warned.

“We have no illusions about the Iranian government,” Mrs. Clinton said. “The point is to meet and explain to the Iranians, face to face, the choices that Iran has, and to see whether Iran is prepared to engage.”

And if Iran refuses to discuss the nuclear program, the US will get up and walk out and the meeting will be over in 20 minutes?

Come on. Nobody believes that.

Israel Matzav: Clinton: Well, we're going to talk about Iran's nukes

Israel Matzav: Goldstone Commission relied on Hamas

Israel Matzav: Goldstone Commission relied on Hamas

Israel Matzav: Incredibly naive?

Incredibly naive?

If Richard Goldstone's daughter is correct about what he believed the results of his report would be, he is incredibly naive for a man with his accomplishments.

Speaking from Toronto, where she now lives, Nicole told Army Radio she had many conversations with her father when he was asked to head the UN inquiry into the Gaza conflict.

"I know better than anyone else that he thought however hard it was to accept it, he was doing the best thing for everyone, including Israel," she said. "He is honest, tells things how he sees them and wants to uncover the truth."

Nicole, who said she had read the first 300 and last 10 pages of the report, conceded that it contained some "very harsh" allegations against Israel.


"I know that if he thought what he did would not somehow be for the sake of peace for everyone in Israel or that it would have hindered such efforts, he would not have accepted the job," she said.

Nicole insisted that the fact the report also accused the Palestinians of crimes against humanity showed that her father tried to be balanced.

"I am not angry with him, I love him and respect him," she concluded. "He is a Zionist. My dad loves Israel and it wasn't easy for him to see and hear what happened. I think he heard and saw things he didn't expect to see and hear, and I am one-hundred-percent sure he did it [conducted the investigation] in the hope that the Israelis would come to cooperate, and he wanted to help find a long-term solution for the state of Israel."

Nicole, who lived in Israel for six months, said that the country "is the most important thing in my life, my heart is there…I love Israel more than my family and friends and anything else."

Good grief! How could anyone have believed this? (Actually, my guess is that if - God forbid - Ehud Olmert were still Prime Minister, our government probably would have cooperated, but that would only have made matters worse).

Israel Matzav: Incredibly naive?

Israel Matzav: Michael Oren on the Goldstone Report

Michael Oren on the Goldstone Report

Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren was interviewed by PBS about the Goldstone report. Here is part of that interview.

GWEN IFILL: Why didn't Israel participate, cooperate, tell its side of the story to this U.N. commission?

MICHAEL OREN: Well, first of all, the Human Rights Commission has condemned Israel more frequently than all other nations in the world combined, more than Libya, more than North Korea, more than Saudi Arabia. It's hardly an impartial body. This is the same Human Rights Commission that completely ignored Hamas rocket fire into Israel over the course of four years.

The mandate of the commission said that Israel was guilty of war crimes, said nothing about Hamas in the actual mandate. Even one of the judges involved in the commission had published a letter accusing Israel of unwarranted aggression.

And then, finally, the commission itself, the report, the investigation took place under the auspices of the Hamas-run government in Gaza. Hamas actually picked the witnesses for this commission. So Israel basically was the equivalent of being summoned to a court in which its guilt was already presumed, in which one of the jurors had already declared Israel guilty, and which the witnesses for the prosecution were, in fact, the murderers.

I can't think of any country in the world which would participate in such a farce of justice.


GWEN IFILL: Pardon my earlier interruption. Justice Goldstone said that those internal investigations were not independent and therefore not reliable.

MICHAEL OREN: This is an independent judiciary of a democratic country. I think that, once you start establishing the precedent that democratic countries can't investigate themselves, I think you've got a problem.

I think this report creates a problem not just for Israel, but for all free democracies in the world. It's a victory for terror. It is a major setback for any country, democratic country that is having to face war against an un-uniformed terrorist organization in a densely populated civilian area. I don't think the United States would like to see a similar report mounted against its conduct of its operations in Afghanistan.

Of course, in the age of Obama, the United States would accept the idea that not all democratic countries can investigate themselves. After all, in the age of Obama there is nothing special about the United States or any other democracy - they are all equal to dictatorships like Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, Bolivia and others.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Michael Oren on the Goldstone Report

Israel Matzav: On destroying weapons-laden mosques

On destroying weapons-laden mosques

This is from the New York Times article on the Goldstone report:

Israel repeatedly accused Hamas of using mosques to shelter armed men or munitions, and a report by Israel said an attack against the Maqadmah mosque in Jabaliya had killed six known militants.

But the Human Rights Council report said the attack came during evening prayers, when some 300 men and women were in the mosque, and killed 15 people. There were no secondary explosions to indicate the presence of an arms cache.

If Israel wanted to destroy a mosque suspected as an arms cache, it should have done so in the middle of the night, Mr. Goldstone said.

If Israel destroyed a mosque full of weapons with more than 300 people inside, and only 15 people died, they must have done something to ensure that there would not be a large number of casualties. Something about this story doesn't make sense (it's paragraph 348 in the Goldstone report).

And if the 'Palestinians' were sleeping in the mosque every night (which they probably were), when would Goldstone propose that it be attacked? Of course, since Goldstone says in paragraph 36 of the report that he doesn't believe mosques were used to store weapons anyway, maybe it doesn't matter.
Read All at :
Israel Matzav: On destroying weapons-laden mosques

Israel Matzav: Nuke-free Middle East requires change in Arab attitudes

Nuke-free Middle East requires change in Arab attitudes

The chairman of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission Shaul Chorev told an IAEA meeting in Vienna on Tuesday that there can be no nuclear-free Middle East until there is an attitude change by the Arab countries and they accept Israel's 'right to exist.'

"It is our vision and policy to establish the Middle East as a mutually verifiable zone free if weapons of mass destruction and their delivery," Chorev told delegates.

While Israel firmly supports control of nuclear arms, said Chorev, such a move cannot be imposed on the Middle East from the outside.

"It is the firm view and the policy of Israel, that the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is based on the absolute duty of each state not to abuse this right," said Chorev.

"As the international community has accepted and recognized in other regions, the establishment of such a zone can only emanate from within the region," he said.

Chorev stressed that in order for the Middle East to function as a nuclear-free zone, the Arab states in the region needed to alter that approach to Israel.

"Progress toward realizing this vision cannot be made without a fundamental change in regional circumstances, including a significant transformation in the attitude of states in the region toward Israel," he said.

"The constant efforts by member states in the region to single out the State of Israel in blatantly anti-Israel resolutions in this General Conference is a clear reflection of such hostile attitude.

He also emphasized that many states that are party to the international non-proliferation treaty have violated their commitments. "The most widely recognized cases of non-compliance with legally binding non-proliferation obligations have occurred in the Middle East, by states that are parties to the NPT.

"Grave and overt violations by Iran and Syria had been detected and then formally reported by the IAEA," he added. "The Agency's investigations in these two countries have been hampered by a continued lack of cooperation, denial of access and efforts to conceal and mislead the inspectors."

Chorev promised that Israel was following these developments with "profound concern" and would "assist the international community in its efforts to prevent dangerous proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the abuse of the right to peaceful nuclear energy."

"The activities of these countries that breach their international commitments and obligations must be met with concrete and immediate international measures," he said. "Violations cannot go unpunished."

And the Arab response? Except for Egypt and Jordan, they all walked out when Chorev got up to speak.

Hope and change same!

Israel Matzav: Nuke-free Middle East requires change in Arab attitudes

Israel Matzav: And you thought this could only happen in Saudi Arabia

And you thought this could only happen in Saudi Arabia

Several years ago, I recall reading a Wall Street Journal story about American women who married Saudi men who were living in the United States (often as students) who went with them on a visit to Saudi Arabia and then were not allowed to leave. The US embassy in Saudi Arabia did nothing for these women - including not allowing them to take refuge in the embassy itself when the husbands became abusive.

Well, it doesn't just happen in Saudi Arabia. On Wednesday morning, ten former IDF combat soldiers rescued an American woman and her two and a half year-old son from an Arab village in the Tulkarm area (in Samaria). The woman and her son had been held in the area by her husband and his family for three years (Hat Tip: Shy Guy).

The man's first wife and four children from the first marriage also live in the house.

The woman's husband allegedly hit her, prevented her from leaving the house and threatened that if she left, she would never see their son again. He also threatened that if she left the home, she would be apprehended by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).

After efforts to bring about the woman's release by contacting Palestinian Authority officials failed, the woman's parents contacted a Jewish American man who had served in a combat unit in the IDF. He contacted friends in Israel who planned the rescue operation for several weeks, gathering intelligence on the family's routine, and carrying it out successfully on Monday, according to Army Radio.

The woman and her son were transferred to the US consulate in Jerusalem and left the country on an airliner to Ohio on Tuesday.

Curiously, although this was apparently coordinated with the US consulate (the 'embassy' to the Palestinian Authority), it was not coordinated with the IDF.

Although the family had promised a financial reward, the former soldiers refused to take the money.

You may recall that I blogged a similar story about an Israeli woman who was trapped in Gaza by her husband's family after the husband's death during Operation Cast Lead. She's pictured with three of her kids at the top of this post.

If you know someone who is trapped among the 'Palestinians' in the disputed territories, call the IDF or Yad L'Achim.


My mistake. The former soldiers are going to be paid for their work. What they were quoted as saying in the Post article was that they didn't do it for the money.

Israel Matzav: And you thought this could only happen in Saudi Arabia

Israel Matzav: History is against a 'two-state solution'

History is against a 'two-state solution'

I've jiggered the title of this Guardian "Comment is Free" piece by historian Benny Morris, because I think my title is more honest. Perhaps Benny Morris would agree, but the editors of the Guardian would likely never let it through that way.

Morris argues that what he refers to as President Obama's ambition - 'two states for two people' - is impossible. Here's why:

President Obama's efforts to revive the Middle East peace process are bound to fail because of the unbridgeable divide separating Israel's and Palestine's political goals. The minor problems are Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's unwillingness to partition Jerusalem and enable the Palestinians to constitute the eastern half of the city as their capital, and his reluctance to freeze the settlement enterprise in the West Bank. The major problem is that the two-headed Palestinian national movement is averse to sharing Palestine with the Jews and endorsing a solution based on two states for two peoples.

Read the whole thing. The only part I disagree with him on is his demographic projections.

One other point that bears making: In his New York Times op-ed over the weekend, former Saudi ambassador Turki al-Faisal referred to Hamas' 1988 charter as "the outdated 1988 Hamas charter" as if it was something in the past. Sadly, that is not the case. Here's Benny Morris again:

Hamas, which won the Palestinian national elections in 2006, says so bluntly. Its charter of 1988 explicitly calls for Israel's destruction and assures the believers that "Islam will destroy Israel". It repeatedly compares Israel to the medieval crusader kingdoms and states that its end will be identical. (This comparison, incidentally, has been a constant in Arab discourse on Zionism. In September 1947, the Arab League's secretary general, Abdul Rahman Azzam, told Zionist emissaries: "Centuries ago, the crusaders established themselves in our midst against our will, and in 200 years we ejected them.")

Fatah too has a constitution, never revised since the 1960s, which advocates Israel's destruction. During the 1990s, Fatah – then the leading component of the Palestinian national movement – agreed in negotiations with Israel to produce a revised Palestinian National Charter that deleted the clauses calling for Israel's destruction. No such revised charter was ever produced, though these clauses were ostensibly revoked by a gathering of Palestinian notables in Gaza in 1998.

That's just one of the elephants in the room with Obama's negotiators, but it's probably the biggest one.

Israel Matzav: History is against a 'two-state solution'

Israel Matzav: Blood libel perpetuated

Blood libel perpetuated

In Algeria, they've decided that the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet was on to something. The Algerians are now promoting a narrative in which Algerian children are kidnapped, dragged across the border into Morocco and then sold to Israelis or American Jews who harvest their organs.

According to the story, first reported by Algeria's Al-Khabar daily, bands of Moroccans and Algerians have allegedly been roaming the streets of Algeria's cities kidnapping young children, who are then transported across the border into Morocco. From the Moroccan city of Oujda, the children are then purportedly sold to Israelis and American Jews, who then harvest their organs for sale in Israel and the United States. The organs are said to fetch anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000.

The source for the Al-Khabar report seems to be a Dr. Mustafa Khayatti, head of the Algerian National Committee for the Development of Health Research. Khayatti reportedly claimed that several Jews were arrested in New York in connection with the trade. He claimed Interpol knew of the situation and was leading the investigation into the abductions.

"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," Khayatti was quoted as saying.

Picking up on the Algerian report, the official Iranian news agency PressTV claimed that the Jewish group "is said to be connected to Israeli Rabbi Levi Rosenbaum, who was recently arrested in New Jersey for the direct involvement in importing human organs."

Like Aftonbladet's story, there is no evidence supporting this story.

The report "sounds as [though] Dr. Khayatti is well connected within the FBI and has access to Interpol documents," but this was not the case, wrote Hassan Masiky, a reporter for the American Moroccan news service

"Needless to say, neither Al-Khabar nor PressTV provided a source for their story, other than an obscure low-level Algerian bureaucrat," Masiky complained.

"What is dangerous in this work of fantasy is the plot to package the true story of the arrest of Rabbi Levi Rosenbaum in New Jersey with the nonsense, nightmarish tale out of Algeria," he said.

Masiky noted that the Algerian-Moroccan border was closed and carefully watched by the countries' armies. It was therefore difficult to ascertain how such a plan could be implemented without help from the Algerian state.

"To their credit, the Algerian authorities, up until now, did not ask their Moroccan counterparts for an official investigation, as most Algerians ask themselves: Who are these kidnapped children? Where are their parents? Who conducts these organ harvesting operations? How are the children and the organs transported from Morocco to Israel? And more importantly, how can the Algerian army allow such illicit traffic to go unabated?" Masiky wrote.

For those wondering why the Israeli government blew up its relations with Sweden over this story, I hope that's now clear. And if Rabbi Rosenbaum is ever found innocent or released from jail, he will need tight, 24/7 protection. Because the Arabs have already found him guilty.

Israel Matzav: Blood libel perpetuated

Israel Matzav: On evangelicals and Jewish Judea and Samaria

Israel Matzav: On evangelicals and Jewish Judea and Samaria

Israel Matzav: The real issue in the Garlasco case

The real issue in the Garlasco case

The real issue in the Garlasco case is not that one Human Rights Watch investigator collects Nazi memorabilia. It's that Garlasco shows that Human Rights Watch hires investigators who have questionable credentials and then assigns them to investigate where their pre-conceived notions will interfere with whatever objectivity they might otherwise have. The lesson that needs to be learned by HRW - and by all of the international NGO's - from the Garlasco incident is that hiring processes must be transparent, qualifications must be demonstrable and that the investigators should recuse themselves from - or being removed from - any investigation where their biases might get in the way.

NGO Monitor explains.

Beyond Garlasco’s activities and statements surrounding his Nazi memorabilia collection, this investigation should examine the HRW employment process, and the credibility of the numerous reports and related activities in which he played a central role. In particular, this detailed and external review should examine the veracity of reports on Israel which Garlasco co-authored and presented at press conferences, and which included repeated condemnations using terms such as "war crimes", "violation of international law", etc. These allegations promoted the campaign to isolate Israel internationally, including the formation of the Goldstone mission. [1]

For a number of years, NGO Monitor has identified numerous claims in Garlasco's reports and statements on Israel that were false, inaccurate, distorted, and biased. Since 2003, when Garlasco joined HRW, the title and role of "military expert", and the credibility given to his allegations, were justified on the basis of his seven years in the US defense establishment, in which he claims to have fulfilled numerous positions.

NGO Monitor has not found any independent sources to support Garlascos claim to the type of expertise and knowledge of weapons and technology that are invoked in the various reports he has co-authored at HRW. Indeed, the available biographical information on Garlasco's career prior to employment at HRW is consistent with the view that his expertise is far below the level required for the claims made in his HRW reports. This highlights the need to examine the process and decision making which led to Garlascos employment at HRW.


Analysis of HRW's credibility and moral standing should also examine the roles of clearly biased individuals in the Middle East division, such as Joe Stork and Sarah Leah Whitson – both of whom were active in anti-Israel activities. Whitson led HRW fundraising efforts in Saudi Arabia, emphasizing allegations of Israeli war crimes (including Garalascos false claims on white phosphorous), and attacked critics (“pro-Israel pressure groups”).

NGO Monitor’s President, Prof Gerald Steinberg said “Garlascos statements in various chat forums and other platforms dealing with Nazi memorabilia explain the anti-Israel bias that is reflected in his reports, as shown in NGO Monitors systematic analyses. Evidence of this bias and its implications must also be included in this investigation of HRW's Middle East activities and Garlascos role in this area.

HRW’s reliance on Garlasco’s supposed ‘expertise’ raises enormous questions over the credibility of their activities. It reflects an organization that has consistently placed ideology above professionalism and universal human rights values.”

For a group like HRW to be taken seriously by all parties, its investigators must be beyond reproach. There can be no hints that they might be biased. Otherwise, one party or the other will not accept their conclusions. Can you imagine me being an unbiased investigator of Operation Cast Lead? Of course not. If I ever worked for one of these organizations and they put me in charge of investigating Gaza, they'd blow their credibility. Of course, I could investigate Sri Lanka or Georgia if I had the basic competence to do so.

HRW is guilty of trying to pre-determined the outcome of any investigation of Israel. Fair-minded people all over the world should reject their efforts to do that.

Israel Matzav: The real issue in the Garlasco case

Israel Matzav: Israel is the canary in the coal mine, but the US is at the shaft entrance

Israel Matzav: Israel is the canary in the coal mine, but the US is at the shaft entrance

Goldstone Commission report is a mockery of history

Goldstone Commission report is a mockery of history

President Peres' reply to the Goldstone Commission Report

President Shimon Peres:

"Those in pursuit of peace have justice on their side. Those who monger war will forever be criminals."

(Communicated by President's Spokesperson)

President Shimon Peres (Photo:Emil Salman/Jeni)

A statement by President Shimon Peres: “Goldstone Commission report is a mockery of history”
The Goldstone Commission report is a mockery of history. It fails to distinguish between the aggressor and a state exercising its right for self defense.
War itself is a crime. The aggressor is the criminal. The side exercising self-defense has no other alternative.
The Hamas terrorist organization has opened war and perpetrated other horrible crimes. For years, Hamas carried out attacks against the children of Israel, sending suicide bombers into city centers, injuring and killing civilians. They fired over 12,000 rockets and mortar shells at towns and villages with one clear aim - to kill innocent civilians.
The report legitimizes terrorist activity, the pursuit of murder and death. The report disregards the duty and right of self defense, held by every sovereign state as enshrined in the UN Charter. Israel withdrew all of its troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip, opened the border crossings and actively supported its reconstruction. The Israeli presence in Gaza was terminated.
But after Israel completed its redeployment from Gaza, a murderous and illegitimate terror group violently revolted against the legitimate Fatah leadership, overthrowing it by force. Hamas operatives murdered Fatah leaders, at times throwing them from rooftops in broad daylight.
While Hamas continued firing, Israel employed, time and time again, the diplomatic channels, including many appeals to the UN – in an attempt to bring about a cessation of rocket fire.
Israel redeployed and terminated its presence in Gaza. Hamas responded with incessant rocket fire aimed at killing children, women and innocent civilians. Instead of building Gaza and caring for the welfare of its citizens, Hamas built tunnels to attack Israel, cruelly using children and innocent Palestinians to hide terrorists and ammunition.
Hamas terrorists built rocket launching pads and storage facilities near schools, in mosques and kindergartens. They booby-trapped urban neighborhoods and used Palestinian children as human-shields in order to hide terrorists and war materiel.
The State of Israel was forced to defend itself. It acted out of obligation to its citizens, like any sister state in the family of nations would.
Israel has been criticized for its actions against Hezbollah attacks from Lebanon and Hamas attacks from the Gaza Strip, as well as for building the security barrier in the West Bank to prevent suicide bombers from entering the country.
This criticism did not stop the rockets from hitting the South and the North, nor did it stop terrorists from blowing themselves up in our central cities. IDF operations enabled economic prosperity in the West Bank, relieved southern Lebanese citizens from the terror of Hezbollah and have enabled Gazans to have normal lives again.Those in pursuit of peace have justice on their side. Those who monger war will forever be criminals.
Members of the commission would have never compiled such a report if their children resided in Sderot and suffered the terrorism of daily rocket fire.

Originally posted by B'NAI ELIM (Sons of the Mighty)

Haftarah for Rosh Hashanah

Haftarah for Rosh Hashanah


The Prince of Hope

[Shmuel 1 1-2]

The Haftarah for the first day of Rosh Hashanah describes the birth of the prophet Shmuel, the great judge who saved the Nation of Israel from a period of terrible darkness. What a dreadful period of "When the judges judged" (Rut 1:1), which is explained by our Sages: "Woe to the generation when their judges are judged" (Bereshit Rabbah 42:4).

But relax, the judges did not commit any shameful transgressions, rather they simply despaired of that generation. Instead of rolling up their shelves and traveling throughout the entire length and breathe of the Land to teach Torah and ethical behavior, they preferred to lock themselves in their ivory tower. They were convinced that the spiritual struggle was lost from the outset (see Yalkut Shimoni, Shoftim 68).

They were certainly many reasons to despair from the Nation of Israel, who was ripped asunder by civil war as in the case of the prostitute in Givah (Shoftim 19-20), and also by the spiritual corruption of idol worship such as in the case of the idol of Michah in the northern part of Israel (Shoftim 17-18). The result was that the enemies of Israel routed them and cruelly ruled over large parts of Eretz Yisrael.

Out of this darkness shone the light of the spiritual giant, the prophet Shmuel, who succeeded in bringing the Nation of Israel back to the proper path, while liberating us from our permanent enemy: the Philistines. Furthermore, he prepared the kingship of Israel, the kingship of Shaul which laid the groundwork for the permanent kingship of David. This is the great message he gave to us: Never despair (see Maamrei Ha-Re'eiyah, p. 450).

But who fashioned the wonderful personality of this judge and prophet? As in many cases, it was his parents. His mother, Chanah, is famous enough that there is no need to describe her spiritual level. But his father, Elkanah, was also a spiritual giant. What do we know about him? Only one thing: "This man would ascend from his city every year to prostrate himself and to bring sacrifices to Hashem, Master of Legions, in Shiloh, and the two sons of Eli, Chofni and Phinchas, were cohanim to Hashem there" (Shmuel 1 1:3). On the face of it, this verse seems quite ordinary: the custom of that period was to visit the Mishkan on holidays. But there is actually a lot more to it. To understanding this verse, we turn to a story related by Ha-Rav Moshe Tzvi Neriyah about Maran Ha-Rav Kook, the first Rabbi of the reviving Jewish community in Israel.

A Torah scholar who made aliyah from America came to Maran Ha-Rav Kook and complained about the state of Judaism in the Land of Israel. He was so distressed that he was considering leaving Israel. Maran Ha-Rav Kook said to him: Doesn't your honor remember the learning of his youth? The Book of Shmuel relates about Elkanah: "This man would ascend from his city every year to prostrate himself and to bring sacrifices to Hashem, Master of Legions, in Shiloh, and the two sons of Eli, Chofni and Phinchas, were cohanim to Hashem there." Rav Kook asked two questions about this verse: 1. Why are we told in this verse that Chofni and Phinchas were there? 2. Our Sages say that Elkanah would not only go up to Shiloh, he would go around and encourage others to do so as well. Why did he have to do this? After all, isn’t ascending to the Mishkan on the holidays a Torah mitzvah? Why weren't people following this mitzvah? Rav Kook explains that the first question is in fact the answer to the second question. The fact that Chofni and Phinchas were the cohanim in Shiloh caused people not to make the pilgrimage there, since they were corrupt. People said that if there were cohanim like this in this holy place, it was better not to go and see this ugliness and meet such sinners. Elkanah then came and convinced them that despite the sons of Eli and despite the sins at this holy place, they should not give up on this mitzvah of Hashem. They should strengthen this holy place. Right now there are not great people there, but later there will be. Do not give up because of the difficulties. As a reward for this act, Elkanah was blessed with a son, the prophet Shmuel, who served in the Mishkan. Rav Kook said to the Torah scholar that the same applies in relation to the holiness of the Land of Israel. Why are you mad at the Land of Israel? There are problems, therefore exert yourself and everything will work out. Although there are sinners, this is not a reason not to make aliyah and, all the more so, not to leave the Land of Israel. The more people committed to the Torah and mitzvot in the Land of Israel, the more holiness will be added to it (Chayei Ha-Re'eiyah pp. 211-212).

This story from Maran Ha-Rav Kook's life provides us with deep understanding and an important contemporary lesson. The Nation sometimes loses its path, but we are told to act like Elkanah, who guided the Nation to follow him to the Mishkan on the holidays (Yerushalami Berachot at the end of chap. 9). But, make no mistake about it, Elkanah did not spend time giving speeches on proper behavior. In his commentary on the Jerusalem Talmud, Rabbi Eliezer Azkari, who was one of the leading sages in Tzefat during its golden period, explains that Elkanah had an influence on those of his generation mainly by his example: he would go up to Shiloh with such excitement, cleaving to Hashem and joy that it awakened a desire among others to join him. He loved the Nation of Israel, and respected it despite what he saw, and he was therefore successful in sharing his unshakeable faith with them. In the end, he merited a son who followed his path: he brought the Nation of Israel from darkness to great light.
Originally posted by Torat HaRav Aviner

Before You Go to Sleep

Before You Go to Sleep


What do you do before you go to sleep? Romance, gentle words, sweet words, loving words?
Perhaps you will say: We are grown up already, it is not right for us. We are embarrassed. Incorrect! It is definitely correct.
Perhaps you will say: We are tired, we work hard, we fall off our feet, we don't have time. Incorrect! You have time. Do you also not have time to live? This is life.
Perhaps you will say: We had a fight today, like all days. We are experts in creating disputes, so we don't have the heart to be loving to one another. Incorrect! On the contrary, before you go to sleep, make up.
Perhaps you will say: It is already too late… Than it is even better, even more romantic. This is how you will have pleasant dreams, since reality is even sweeter than dreams.
Originally posted byTorat HaRav Aviner

Love of the Land: The Moral Inversion of Richard Goldstone

The Moral Inversion of Richard Goldstone

Melanie Phillips
The Spectator
16 September 09

So now we can see how Richard Goldstone thinks he has preserved his judicial reputation while perpetrating a blood libel against Israel. He has produced a report which, as anticipated, finds that Israel committed all the ‘war crimes’ during Operation Cast Lead of which his Mission members had decided it was guilty before even starting their deliberations, along with the NGOs whose unremitting hostility and malice towards Israel and history of peddling Palestinian propaganda as fact did not deter the Mission from uncritically accepting their evidence as the truth, thus finding Hamas guilty of no crimes at all -- except one. That was, by an amazing coincidence, the one set of crimes it committed which the world was forced to acknowledge actually happened – the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel with the sole intention of killing Israeli civilians. By referring to this en passant, devoting minimal attention to it in the course of his 570- page report the vast majority of which is devoted to allegations against Israel, he engineered the ‘even-handed’ headline he needed to maintain his credibility:

There is evidence that both Israeli and Palestinian forces committed war crimes in the recent Gaza conflict, the official UN report says.
It is, however, only Israel which is required to conduct investigations into such claims -- and thus only Israel which Goldstone recommends should be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court if those investigations aren’t carried out to the satisfaction of the UN. So much for even-handedness.

With this cynical veneer, Goldstone does worse even than establish a moral equivalence between the instigators of genocidal violence and those who were attempting to defend themselves against it. He presents Israel, the victims of such aggression, as war criminals and the Palestinians, the actual instigators of terror, as its victims. This is not moral equivalence but moral inversion.

He acknowledges no such crimes by Hamas within Gaza itself -- not least against other Palestinians -- such as turning the entire population of Gaza into hostages by siting its rockets and terrorist infrastructure amongst that population and additionally using them as human shields. Even worse, he presents the Palestinian aggressors as victims of Israel, requiring Israel to make reparation to those from whose houses and streets it was being attacked. No reparations to Israel are required from any Palestinians, even though Goldstone accepts that Hamas committed war crimes and crimes against humanity by firing thousands of missiles at its civilians.

To cover himself completely against the fact that the degraded aim of the mission he headed was to delegitimise Israel, his report claims at the start that his mandate from the President of the UN Council on Human Rights was:

... to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.
Now this is curious, since UN Resolution S-9/1 which established the mandate for the Goldstone commission said the Human Rights Council
Decides to dispatch an urgent, independent international fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying Power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the current aggression, and calls upon Israel not to obstruct the process of investigation and to fully cooperate with the mission.
So the UNHRC mandate explicitly limited Goldstone to investigating solely Israel, which it deemed guilty of human rights violations during Cast Lead -- a mandate whose terms as set out in the UNHRC resolution cannot be changed; while Goldstone’s report cites a mandate which is quite different from that resolution, which is ascribed not to the Council but to the President, and which encompasses all such violations during Cast Lead. Goldstone himself said he had changed the terms of the mandate in ‘informal discussions’. It looks therefore as if he and the UNHRC President unilaterally tore up both the Council’s mandate and UN regulations to provide Goldstone with the fig-leaf to disguise the moral bankruptcy of the entire process.

Of the countless distortions, errors and absurdities in this travesty of a report, the following jumped out at me from an initial reading.

1) The first error is in the title itself: HUMAN RIGHTS IN PALESTINE AND OTHEROCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES: Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict

But Gaza is not occupied by Israel, as is quite clear from even a cursory look at the Hague Convention which lays down the criteria for occupation. For Goldstone to say that Gaza is still occupied demonstrates either an ignorance of international law quite remarkable for a professor of international law, or that he is signed up to the ideology which deliberately uses such mis-statements to delegitimise Israel.

(Full Article)

Love of the Land: The Moral Inversion of Richard Goldstone

Love of the Land: BBC exposes itself to ridicule in preposterous “analysis” of latest UN report on Israel and Gaza

BBC exposes itself to ridicule in preposterous “analysis” of latest UN report on Israel and Gaza

Robin Shepherd
Think Tank Blog
16 September 09

Alan Dershowitz, the eminent professor of law at Harvard University, has frequently compared Israel’s predicament when faced with the institutions of international law to all white courts in the American south of the 1930s. In cases involving two white people they could be trusted to make a decent fist of a fair trial. In cases involving two black people their insoucience and arrogance would introduce doubt, though a fair trial might still be possible. But pit a white man against a black man and the latter never stood a chance. The result had been pre-ordained by the weight of the prejudices against him.

So it is with Israel in most international institutions, the United Nations in particular. So let us waste no time at all in gracing the latest UN report into Gaza with anything other than the contempt it deserves. Instead, let us focus on how one of the world’s most powerful media outlets has seized upon the report and in so doing has opened a window into the anti-Israeli mindset we are dealing with. For its sheer stupidity, the latest BBC “analysis” on the report is simply astonishing.

Attributed to Tim Franks in Jerusalem, it opens on the BBC website in some style:

“If this report is to matter,” he pants, “it will be for a number of reasons. One is its length. There have been a slew of reports into the war in Gaza. This is the lengthiest, weighing in at 575 pages.”

Did I wake up this morning in a parallel universe? Have I actually just read an “analysis” by the BBC which opens by suggesting that the credibility of a piece of writing is proportional to its length? Ok. So let’s have some fun then. Let’s check out the length of Mein Kempf (615 pages) compared, say, to On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. Sorry John, a quick search on Amazon tells me you’re 428 pages short. Fascism it is then.

I have asked this question a number of times, but I will ask it again: do these people ever stop to think about what they are saying?

But our hero is merely warming to his task:

“There is the man who wrote it,” says Franks somberly and respectfully. “Richard Goldstone is a judge and judicial investigator with an impressive record. The UN Human Rights Council, for whom he wrote this, is also no longer a body which is quite as easy for Israel to dismiss as congenitally biased. The US has recently run for, and been elected to a seat on its council.”

Well yes, since the body in question used to be run by Libya he may be granted that it is not “quite as easy” for Israel to dismiss it. But since it remains dominated by states such as China, Russia and Saudi Arabia the sense in which it is not “quite as easy” to dismiss might reasonably be compared to the sense in which it is not “quite as easy” for a nine year old boy to get the correct answer when asked to multiply three by three as it might have been if asked to add one plus one. You’d still be pretty disappointed if he wasn’t up to the task.

As for Richard Goldstone, he should be judged by the quality of what he has produced. As
Professor Gerald M. Steinberg, the head of NGO Monitor, has put it after a quick review of the report:

“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.”

But not to be deterred, Franks from the BBC, ends his hagiography of Goldstone and his report thus:

“Mr Goldstone has also shown a measure of political astuteness. This is not the first time that Israel, or Palestinian militants, have been accused of war crimes - and in Israel’s case, crimes against humanity as well. But previous allegations have quickly begun to moulder on the shelf. Mr Goldstone recommended that the Security Council require Israel, and the Gaza authorities, to report in six months about its own investigations into the alleged crimes. If they did not come up to scratch, then the International Criminal Court should become involved. Who, said Judge Goldstone, could object to that?”

I’m not sure whether my favourite part of this preposterous piece of garbage from the BBC comes in the first paragraph of the story or the last. But I do like the final sentence which, bouncing off Goldstone, reveals a complete failure ever to have engaged with the other side of the debate.

The BBC, Goldstone and the whole sorry bunch clearly live in a world of their own. I for one want no part of it.

Love of the Land: BBC exposes itself to ridicule in preposterous “analysis” of latest UN report on Israel and Gaza

Love of the Land: What Happened to the U.S. Deadline on Iran?

What Happened to the U.S. Deadline on Iran?

Dore Gold
JCPA /Jerusalem Issue Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 9
16 September 09

  • Iran's new proposal to the West did not provide any opening for serious negotiations on the nuclear issue, but rather vague formulations for the agenda of any future talks. Back in July, when the G-8 announced that the opening of the UN General Assembly "would be an occasion for taking stock of the situation in Iran," most international observers understood that there was a hard September deadline that Iran had to meet to begin serious nuclear negotiations. Unfortunately, at this stage, there is little evidence that the Obama administration is about to adopt effective action in a timely manner in light of Iran's policy of rejectionism, setting aside diplomatic engagement and moving to a policy of severe sanctions.

  • Glyn Davies, the U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), recently acknowledged that the Iranian stockpile of low-enriched uranium has already reached a sufficient level so that it was possible to talk about Tehran having "a dangerous and destabilizing possible breakout capacity." Tehran undoubtedly observed that no serious action was taken against North Korea for its nuclear breakout, either by the Bush or Obama administrations.

  • The common assumption in Washington policy circles today is that even if Iran reaches the nuclear finish-line, the U.S. can fall back on the same Cold War deterrence that was used against the Soviet nuclear arsenal. However, Iran is a true revolutionary power whose aspirations extend into the oil-producing states. It is involved in both the Afghan and Iraqi insurgencies, while its support for terrorism reaches into Lebanon, Gaza, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan. With Iran threatening the flow of oil tankers through the Strait of Hormuz as well, through which roughly 40 percent of the world's oil flows, the nuclearization of Iran has global - and not just Middle Eastern - implications.

  • In 2003-2005, Tehran engaged with the EU-3 for two years, exploiting the talks to race ahead with construction of key uranium enrichment facilities, while fending off punitive measures by the UN Security Council for three entire years. Iran today is far more advanced than it was then and the time for diplomatic experimentation is extremely limited.

In the first part of September 2009, it became clear that Iran was defying the U.S. and its Western allies by again refusing to open serious negotiations over its nuclear program, thereby ignoring the deadline it had been given to respond favorably to President Barack Obama's repeated overtures to engage diplomatically. After all, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared on September 7 that, from his point of view, "the nuclear issue is finished." To be clear, he added: "we will never negotiate on the Iranian nation's rights." Days later, Iran's new five-page proposal to the P-5 plus 1 (the U.S., Russia, China, the UK, France and Germany) did not provide any opening for serious nuclear negotiations either, but rather vague formulations for the agenda of any future talks.

Indeed, the Iranian document began by asserting that the world was moving beyond "the difficult era characterized by domination of empires, predominance of military powers," in essence envisioning a period in which the U.S. was no longer a dominant power. It made reference to the need for "complete disarmament," but said nothing about Iran's own nuclear program. In his Friday sermon on September 11, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei further backed the uncompromising Iranian nuclear stance that Ahmadinejad had voiced and which appeared in the Iranian document. It is to be remembered that Iran is presently in violation of at least five UN Security Council Resolutions that insist it suspend its continuing enrichment of uranium.

The U.S. Sets a September Deadline for Serious Nuclear Talks

Back in July, when the G-8 announced that the opening of the UN General Assembly "would be an occasion for taking stock of the situation in Iran," most international observers understood that there was a hard September deadline that Iran had to meet to begin serious nuclear negotiations. President Obama stated at a July 10 press conference after the G-8 meeting: "We've offered Iran a path towards assuming its rightful place in the world. But with that right comes responsibilities. We hope Iran will make the choice to fulfill them, and we will take stock of Iran's progress when we see each other this September at the G20 meeting."

Unfortunately, at this stage, there is little evidence that the Obama administration is about to adopt effective action in a timely manner in light of Iran's policy of rejectionism, setting aside diplomatic engagement and moving to a policy of severe sanctions. Engagement was the centerpiece of its Middle East policy and has been hard to abandon. For example, while rejecting the newest Iranian proposals on September 10, State Department Spokesman Philip J. Crowley reminded reporters that engagement was still official U.S. policy, stating: "We remain willing to engage Iran."

Moreover, within twenty-four hours he announced the Obama administration's willingness to join the P-5 plus 1 in order to meet with Iranian leaders directly and open negotiations, despite the repeated statements coming out of Tehran. The hard-line Iranian newspaper Javan noted the dramatic U.S. shift on September 14: "One day after the hasty response to Iran's updated package of proposals, America made a U-turn and announced that because these proposals could become a basis for direct talks with Iran, it accepts the talks over this package." Indicating Iranian understanding of the new U.S. policy, the article was entitled: "The Inevitable Acceptance of Nuclear Iran."

The first meeting between the two sides reportedly will take place in early October when Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief, meets with Saeed Jalili, the chief Iranian nuclear negotiator. They will be joined by representatives from the P-5 plus 1, but, according to Solana's office, the meeting will not yet be a "formal negotiation," which presumably will come at a later stage. The September deadline appeared to have vanished and the Iranians have gained valuable time.


Love of the Land: What Happened to the U.S. Deadline on Iran?

Love of the Land: Jewish Justice or no Justice

Jewish Justice or no Justice

Moshe Feiglin
27 Elul 5769
16 September 09

"Today the world is being born, today all the creations of all the worlds stand in judgment." "And it will be determined for the countries, which for the sword and which for peace." (Rosh Hashanah liturgy)

As we enter the gates of our synagogues this Rosh Hashanah, it looks like we will also be entering the gates of the international court in The Hague. This is the inevitable destination of a nation that insists on detaching its Judaism from its national life. If we are not interested in Jewish justice in Jerusalem, we will be treated to Western, Christian justice in Spain, England or The Hague.

When a Swedish newspaper reported that Israel's soldiers slaughtered "Palestinians" so that they could sell their organs, we didn't believe that anybody would take the bizarre story seriously. But it is actually making quite a few waves. Soon an international investigative committee will be established to reveal "the truth." After all, such serious charges must be investigated thoroughly. And who, if not the judges of enlightened Europe, are more worthy to reveal the truth with clarity and complete objectivity?

Blood libels are nothing new. There is nothing more logical about selling "Palestinian" organs than about slaughtering Christian children to use their blood to bake
matzahs. So how do these absurd claims become legitimate? It is not really a matter of legal fact. It is a matter of the location of the judicial body.

When a Jew is in exile and the Christians are the judicial authority, the blood libel becomes a possibility. The question is not if the Jews slaughtered Christian children to use their blood to bake
matzahs. The question is if the issue is justiciable. In the Christian courts of the Middle Ages the answer was affirmative.

Likewise, in the current organ harvest story, there is no question of revealing the truth. The only question is if the judicial tribunal that we have accepted upon ourselves will decide to judge these ludicrous accusations.
Then – in the days of the blood libels, the Jews did not have the option to choose which judicial authority they would accept. They lived under the dominion of the judicial authority that considered these libels fact. But today, the Jews willingly surrendered their own judicial authority. They chose, of their own free will, to forgo their ethical sovereignty and to deposit it in the hands of the Western world and the International Court in The Hauge.

"What is the problem in Azoun?" my frustrated neighbor asked me the other day, after a steady stream of rocks and firebombs has continued to emanate from this 'peaceful' Arab village. "They bring in an entire IDF division and they still can't stop the violence? Wouldn't it just be easier to cut off their electricity?" Technically, my neighbor is right. We could easily leave the reserve soldiers at home and enjoy quiet nonetheless. But the State of Israel and the IDF are fettered to the Christian judicial dominion that we have brought upon ourselves.

As the Beijing Olympics approached, I wrote that the State of Israel, as the representative of the Jewish Nation, should boycott the games. The Chinese have established concentration camps for opponents of the radically leftist regime there. Next to the concentration camps there are "medical centers" that specialize in supplying human organs by order. No lines, no problems finding the proper match, any organ can be supplied; kidneys, corneas, hearts – the organs are always fresh and plentiful. They belong to "criminals" who have been executed but who, at the last minute repented and donated their organs as an act of atonement. How noble. In reality, the organs are harvested while the victims are still alive. That is probably the best way to keep them fresh.

I claimed that Israel - the representative of the Jewish Nation, the People of the Book who herald the ethics of the prophets – must see itself as a lighthouse of morality for the world and should not lend legitimacy to the regime of horrors in China by attending the Olympic Games.

The reactions that I received were more or less: "America, England and France are not boycotting the Olympics, and you expect Israel to boycott them?" In other words, it cannot be that we bear a more fundamentally ethical insight than the Western world. Furthermore, we are so small, so who are we to boycott the Chinese giant if the US and Europe are not doing so? In other words, morality is measured in square kilometers and the size of a country's population and army.

When charges of organ harvesting by Israel's soldiers began to emerge, I thought that it was quite "measure for measure." We rejected our universal role and refused to take a stand on the Chinese organ harvesting issue, and got it right back in our own collective face.

We are the children of the King. We do not have the privilege to stand passively at the sidelines and to be "just another country." We have only two options: One is to judge the world according to Jewish justice – the ethical justice of the prophets that must be restored to Jerusalem. The second option is, right after Rosh Hashanah, to re-lock our universal responsibility safely in our synagogues and to leave Judaism strictly in the domain of religion. If that is the option we choose, we will not be judging the world according to the ethics of the prophets. The world will judge us – in the International Court in The Hague.

Love of the Land: Jewish Justice or no Justice

Love of the Land: Sderot: The World Turns its Back

Sderot: The World Turns its Back

Jacob Shrybman
15 September 09

It doesn't seem that there will be any quiet.

Yesterday alone, over 89 trucks of international aid and gasoline were poured into the Gaza Strip. Since September 1, 2009, over 700 truckloads of international aid, including over 1,760,000 liters of gasoline have been given to the Gaza Strip. Since the end of Operation Cast Lead on January 18 of this year, over 2,000 truckloads of far more than 37,000 tons of humanitarian aid has been delivered to the Gaza Strip.

Staging ground for international aid trucks in front of the Gaza Strip
Jacob Shrybman

As the international community continues its uproar over the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the Israeli Civil Administration, which manages the Palestinian Authority requests for aid, goods and gasoline, says that these are in fact decreased amounts.

"Over the past two to three months we have seen a definitive decrease in the requests from the Palestinian Authority, because they have goods, foods and medicines that still have not been used," Guy Inbar says. He continues by explaining the situation inside the Gaza Strip: "As we have said before, there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza."

While sitting for hours watching truck after truck drive in and out of the Gaza Strip, I spoke over the phone with Dr. Adriana Katz, director of three of the five mental health and trauma centers in Sderot. She told me that there has been no change in the lack of budgets for the centers. The area's trauma centers, which are constantly treating the victims of largely psychological terrorism, are being forced to close their doors. The Emergency Center in Sderot, which is the first aid clinic that treats victims immediately after an attack, was shut down this past July; the director of the Sderot Trauma Center, Dalia Yosef, has been let go; and the area's four remaining centers are all set to be closed by December 1.

How can a world that prides itself on slogans and political jargon regarding "both sides of the conflict" and "two states for two peoples" completely turn its back on Sderot?

After a letter from the Sderot Media Center to the European Union, calling for international aid for the victims of rocket fire in southern Israel, British Ambassador Tom Phillips visited the trauma centers in Sderot with the Center on June 4. Ambassador Phillips met with both Dr. Adriana Katz and Dalia Yosef regarding the situation of the trauma centers; yet, the centers still have not seen any allocation of aid.

On August 5, five top Australian parliamentarians visited the closed Emergency Center in Sderot, but the centers still have not seen any allocation of aid.

On August 11, Texas Governor Rick Perry and ranking Republican member of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee Ileana Ros-Lehtinen visited the closed Emergency Center in Sderot, but the centers still have not seen any allocation of aid.

With now more than 240 aerial attacks from the Gaza Strip since the end of Operation Cast Lead, and eight in the past week, Dr. Adriana Katz commented "It doesn't seem that there will be any quiet, even though I am only slated to work until December 1."

International aid trucks entering the Gaza Strip
Jacob Shrybman

An average of 80 truckloads a day of international aid and gasoline, all materials frequently used to produce the fuel for the Kassam rockets, will continue to pour into the Gaza Strip with no end date in sight. And the world turns its back on the thousands and thousands of Israeli victims of the past decade of rocket attacks.

Jacob Shrybman is an activist and writer with the Sderot Media Center.

Love of the Land: Sderot: The World Turns its Back
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...