Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Israel Matzav: Goldstone witness accused Israel of flooding Gaza with aphrodisiac gum

Goldstone witness accused Israel of flooding Gaza with aphrodisiac gum

An anonymous tipster pointed this out to me.

This is paragraph 414 of the Goldstone Commission Report:

414. On 1 January 2009, during the Israeli military operations in Gaza, the police spokesperson, Mr. Islam Shahwan, informed the media that the police commanders had managed to hold three meetings at secret locations since the beginning of the armed operations. He added that “an action plan has been put forward, and we have conducted an assessment of the situation and a general alert has been declared by the police and among the security forces in case of any emergency or a ground invasion. Police officers received clear orders from the leadership to face ("ي�و�ا�ج�ه�_” in Arabic) the enemy, if the Gaza Strip were to be invaded.”278 Confirming to the Mission that he had been correctly quoted, Mr. Shahwan stated that the instructions given at that meeting were to the effect that in the event of a ground invasion, and particularly if the Israeli armed forces were to enter urban settlements in Gaza, the police was to continue its work of ensuring that basic food stuffs reached the population, of directing the population to safe places, and of upholding public order in the face of the invasion. Mr. Shahwan further stated that not a single policeman had been killed in combat during the armed operations, proving that the instructions had been strictly obeyed by the policemen.

Does the name Islam Shahwan ring a bell with any of you? If not, please recall this article:

Is Israel targeting the Palestinian population in Gaza by distributing libido-increasing chewing gum in the Strip?

A Hamas police spokesman in the Gaza Strip Islam Shahwan claimed Monday that Israeli intelligence operatives are attempting to "destroy" the young generation by distributing such materials in the coastal enclave.

Shahwan said that the police got their hands on gum that increases sexual desire that, according to him, reaches merchants in the Strip by way of the border crossings. According to him, a Palestinian drug dealer admitted that he sold products that increase sex drive. The dealer said that he received the materials from Israeli sources by way of the Karni crossing.

A number of suspects have been arrested.

The affair was exposed when a Palestinian filed a complaint that his daughter chewed the aforementioned gum and experienced the dubious side effects.

Shahwan even claimed that Israeli intelligence operatives encourage dealers in Gaza to distribute the gum for free.

"The Israelis seek to destroy the Palestinians' social infrastructure with these products and to hurt the young generation by distributing drugs and sex stimulants," said Shahwan.

Yes, that's the very same Islam Shahwan. Does he sound like a reliable to witness? To Richard Goldstone he did.

Are there any 'Palestinians' Richard Goldstone didn't believe?

Israel Matzav: Goldstone witness accused Israel of flooding Gaza with aphrodisiac gum

Israel Matzav: The Obama Doctrine: Undermine allies, embolden enemies, diminish our country

Israel Matzav: The Obama Doctrine: Undermine allies, embolden enemies, diminish our country

Israel Matzav: Iran tests nuclear capable missile that can hit Israel, Europe

Iran tests nuclear capable missile that can hit Israel, Europe

As part of its war games Sunday and Monday, Iran tested versions of the Shahab-3 and Sajil missiles that can carry nuclear warheads and have a range of up to 2000 kilometers (1200 miles). That's enough to take in Israel and all the Arab countries along with parts of Europe.

"Iranian missiles are able to target any place that threatens Iran," said Abdollah Araqi, a top Revolutionary Guard commander, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.


The Sajjil-2 missile is Iran's most advanced two-stage surface-to-surface missile and is powered entirely by solid-fuel while the older Shahab-3 uses a combination of solid and liquid fuel in its most advanced form, which is also known as the Qadr-F1.

Solid fuel is seen as a technological breakthrough for any missile program as solid fuel increases the accuracy of missiles in reaching targets.

Experts say Sajjil-2 is more accurate than Shahab missiles and its navigation system is more advanced.

State media reported tests overnight of the Shahab-1 and Shahab-2 missiles, with ranges of 185 miles (300 kilometers) and 435 miles (700 kilometers) respectively.

That followed tests early Sunday of the short range Fateh, Tondar and Zelzal missiles, which have a range of 120 miles (193 kilometers), 93 miles (150 kilometers) and 130 miles (200 kilometers) respectively.

Iran's last known missile tests were in May when it fired its longest-range solid-fuel missile, Sajjil-2. Tehran said the two-stage surface-to-surface missile has a range of about 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers) - capable of striking Israel, US Mideast bases and southeastern Europe.

But the fool in Washington still believes that Iran wants nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Iran tests nuclear capable missile that can hit Israel, Europe

Goldstone Gets His Facts Wrong

Goldstone Gets His Facts Wrong

Wandering around the Internet I've come across an organization called UN Watch. They look like an interesting outfit, and offer all sorts of interesting materials. On their blog I found an interveiw from July with Richard Goldstone in which he defends Christine Chinkin. You can decide for yourself if he's convincing or merely revealing.

I have a different reason for writing about him.

Interviewer: Maybe this is one reason why the Israeli government decided not to cooperate with your commission. I mean the commission, your commission,
Mr. Goldstone, was established only after the Israeli military operation which was a reprisal act, not after seven or eight years of Palestinian shelling of innocent civilians in Israel.
Goldstone: I understand that and I’m sure that’s one of the reasons for the lack of cooperation, but you know at the same time I don’t believe this was an issue, the shelling. I don’t believe was really taken to the Security Council by the Israeli government. I may be wrong but that’s my impression.

Uh huh. Here's the list of letters Israel sent tot he UN complaining about the rockets from Gaza - the complaints Goldstone thought had never happened. (I've copied from Israel's report, which I wrote about here).
Letters of 3 October 2000 (U.N. Doc. S/2000/937 • A/55/441), 7 October 2000 (U.N. Doc. S/2000/970 • A/55/460), 11 October 2000 (U.N. Doc. S/2000/980 • A/55/470), 12 October 2000 (U.N. Doc. S/2000/985), 20 October 2000 (U.N. Doc. S/2000/1007 • A/55/508), 2 November 2000 (U.N. Doc. S/2000/1065 • A/55/540), 20 November 2000 (U.N. Doc. S/2000/1108 • A/55/634), 22 November 2000 (U.N. Doc. S/2000/1114 • A/55/641), 29
December 2000 (U.N. Doc. S/2000/1252 • A/55/719), 1 January 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/1198 • A/56/706), 2 January 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/2 • A/55/725), 23 January 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/71 • A/55/742), 25 January 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/81 • A/55/748), 2 February 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/103 • A/55/762), 9 February 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/125 • A/55/777), 13 February 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/132 • A/55/781), 14 February 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/137 • A/55/787), 2 March 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/187 • A/55/819), 6 March 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/193 • A/55/821), 7 March 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/197 • A/55/823), 14 March 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/24 • A/55/730), 19 March 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/244 • A/55/842), 26 March 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/278 • A/55/858), 27 March 2001(U.N. Doc. S/2001/280 • A/55/860), 29 March 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/291 • A/55/863), 16 April 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/364 • A/55/901), 23 April 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/396 • A/55/910), 1 May 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/435 • A/55/924), 9 May 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/459 • A/56/69), 11 May 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/473 • A/56/72), 18 May
2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/506 • A/56/78), 25 May 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/524 • A/56/80), 30 May 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/540 • A/56/81), 4 June 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/555 • A/56/85), 11 June 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/580 • A/56/91), 13 June 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/585 • A/56/92), 18 June 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/604 • A/56/97), 19 June 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/611 • A/56/98), 21 June 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/619 • A/56/119), 2 July 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/656 • A/56/131), 3 July 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/662 • A/56/138), 13 July 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/696 • A/56/184), 17 July 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/706 • A/56/201), 26 July 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/737 • A/56/223), 27 July 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/743 • A/56/225), 6 August 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/768 • A/56/272), 7 August 2001(U.N. Doc. S/2001/770 • A/56/275), 9 August 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/775 • A/56/280), 10 August 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/780 • A/56/286), 14 August 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/787 • A/56/294), 28 August 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/825 • A/56/324), 30 August 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/834 • A/56/325), 5 September 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/840 • A/56/331), 10 September 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/858 • A/56/346), 17 September 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/875 • A/56/367), 20 September 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/892 • A/56/386), 25 September 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/907 • A/56/406), 4 October 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/938 • A/56/438), 5 October 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/943 • A/56/444), 8 October 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/948 • A/56/450), 17 October 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/975 • A/56/483), 19 October 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/990 • A/56/492), 25 October 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/1011 • A/56/506), 30 October 2001(U.N. Doc. S/2001/1023 • A/56/514), 6 November 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/1048 • A/56/604), 13 November 2001(U.N. Doc. S/2001/1071 • A/56/617), 28 November 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/1121 • A/56/663), 29 November 2001(U.N. Doc. S/2001/1133 • A/56/668), 3 December 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/1141 • A/56/670), 4 December 2001(U.N. Doc. S/2001/1150 • A/56/678), 27 December 2001 (U.N. Doc. S/2001/1262 • A/56/758), 4 January 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/25 • A/56/766), 11 January 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/47 • A/56/771), 16 January 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/73 • A/56/774), 17 January 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/79 • A/56/778), 18 January 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/86 • A/56/781), 22 January 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/104 • A/56/788), 24 January 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/115 • A/56/793), 29 January 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/126 • A/56/798), 8 February 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/155 • A/56/814), 13 February 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/164 • A/56/819), 19 February 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/174 • A/56/824), 20 February 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/185 • A/56/828), 27 February 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/208 • A/56/843), 4 March 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/222 • A/56/854), 5 March 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/233 • A/56/857), 11March 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/252 • A/56/864), 12 March 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/257 • A/56/867), 15 March 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/280 • A/56/876), 19 March 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/293 • A/56/880), 22 March 2002 (U.N. Doc.
S/2002/301 • A/56/884), 25 March 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/302 • A/56/886), 27 March 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/315 • A/56/889), 28 March 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/322 • A/56/891), 1 April 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/337 • A/56/895), 2 April 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/345 • A/56/898), 3 April 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/348 • A/56/899), 8 April 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/360 • A/56/905), 11 April 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/373 • A/56/912), 12 April 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/415 • A/56/909), 1 May 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/503 • A/56/936), 8 May 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/533 • A/56/940), 22 May 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/572 • A/56/957), 23 May 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/583 • A/56/964), 24 May 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/584 • A/56/965), 30 May 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/604 • A/56/967), 5 June 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/620 • A/56/970), 14 June 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/669 • A/56/983), 19 June 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/683• A/56/992), 21 June 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/696 • A/56/995), 10 July 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/743 • A/56/1001), 17 July 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/775 • A/56/1006), 19 July 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/800 • A/56/1008), 26 July 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/841 • A/56/1014), 31 July 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/852 • A/56/1016), 1 August 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/859 • A/56/1018), 7 August 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/893 • A/56/1021), 14 August 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/919 • A/56/1025), 19 August 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/1049 • A/57/419), 25 August 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/1076 • A/57/431), 27 August 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/1089 • A/57/438), 10 October 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/1134 • A/57/463), 23 October 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/1186 • A/57/495), 30 October 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/1214 • A/57/579), 1 November 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/1220 • A/57/585), 7 November 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/1224 • A/57/592), 13 November 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/1241 • A/57/601), 15 November 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/1260 • A/57/615), 25 November 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/1295 • A/57/625), 29 November 2002 (U.N. Doc.
S/2002/1308 • A/57/632), 11 December 2002 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/1347 • A/57/642), 2 January 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2002/1440 • A/57/697), 6 January 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/9 • A/57/703), 14 January 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/46 • A/57/706), 17 January 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/62 • A/57/710), 29 January 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/110 • A/57/719), 12 February 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/171 • A/57/729), 26 February 2003 (U.N. Doc. /2003/225 • A/57/741), 5 March 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/252 • A/57/745), 11 March 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/299 • A/57/750), 1 April 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/395 • A/57/770), 25 April 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/502 • A/57/799), 1 May 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/517 • A/57/804), 6 May 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/527 • A/57/807), 12 May 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/540 • A/57/810, 20 May 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/557 • A/57/815), 2 June 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/603 • A/57/820), 13 June 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/645 • A/57/839), 20 June 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/662 • A/57/842), 10 July 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/699 • A/57/846), 13 August 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/809 • A/57/858), 10 September 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/873 • A/57/862), 9 October 2003 (U.N. Doc. S/2003/972 • A/58/424), 14 January 2004 (U.N. Doc. S/2004/33
• A/58/682), 30 January 2004 (U.N. Doc. S/2004/80 • A/58/697), 25 February 2004 (U.N. Doc. S/2004/142 • A/58/721), 2 March 2004 (U.N. Doc. S/2004/172 • A/58/726), 16 March 2004 (U.N. Doc. S/2004/212 • A/58/736), 16 March 2004 (U.N. Doc. S/2004/211 • A/58/735), 3 May 2004 (U.N. Doc. S/2004/350 • A/58/780), 8 June 2004 (U.N. Doc. S/2004/465 • A/58/837), 28 June 2004 (U.N. Doc. S/2004/521 • A/58/850), 13 August 2004 (U.N. Doc. S/2004/647 • A/58/870), 30 August 2004 (U.N. Doc. S/2004/702 • A/58/881), 24 September 2004 (U.N. Doc. S/2004/757 • A/59/380), 2 November 2004 (U.N. Doc. S/2004/880 • A/59/548), 11 January 2005 (U.N. Doc. S/2005/14 • A/59/667), 19 January 2005 (U.N. Doc. S/2005/40 • A/59/678), 28 February 2005 (U.N. Doc. S/2005/130 • A/59/717), 15 April 2005 (U.N. Doc. S/2005/250 • A/59/781), 19 May 2005 (U.N. Doc. S/2005/327 • A/59/805), 7 June 2005 (U.N. Doc. S/2005/375 • A/59/829), 8 June 2005 (U.N. Doc. S/2005/457 • A/59/873), 23 June 2005 (U.N. Doc. S/2005/410 • A/59/854), 13 July 2005 (U.N. Doc. S/2005/452 • A/59/870), 29 August 2005 (U.N. Doc. S/2005/552 • A/59/905), 26 September 2005 (U.N. Doc. S/2005/609 • A/60/382), 27 September 2005 (U.N. Doc. S/2005/610 • A/60/385), 17 October 2005 (U.N. Doc. S/2005/655 • A/60/435), 27 October 2005 (U.N. Doc. S/2005/680 • A/60/448), 5 December 2005 (U.N. Doc. S/2005/756 • A/60/580), 5 December 2005 (U.N. Doc. S/2005/757 • A/60/581), 31 March 2006 (U.N. Doc. S/2006/205 • A/60/742), 26 May 2006 (U.N. Doc. A/ES-10/334 • S/2006/336), 12 June 2006 (U.N. Doc. S/2006/382 • A/60/885), 26 June 2006 (U.N. Doc. S/2006/436 • A/60/905), 30 June 2006 (U.N. Doc. S/2006/463 • A/60/913), 5 July 2006 (U.N. Doc. S/2006/485 • A/60/931), 10 July 2006 (U.N. Doc. S/2006/502 • A/60/935), 10 October 2006 (U.N. Doc. S/2006/798 • A/61/507), 14 November 2006 (U.N. Doc. S/2006/887 • A/61/574), 15 November 2006 (U.N. Doc. S/2006/891 • A/61/578), 24 November 2006 (U.N. Doc.
S/2006/916 • A/61/594), 5 December 2006 (U.N. Doc. S/2006/941 • A/61/608), 19 December 2006 (U.N. Doc. S/2006/1000 • A/61/647), 26 December 2006 (U.N. Doc. S/2006/1029 • A/61/681), 19 January 2007 (U.N. Doc. S/2007/23 • A/61/705), 7 February 2007 (U.N. Doc. S/2007/60 • A/61/729), 22 February 2007 (U.N. Doc. S/2007/101 • A/61/755), 7 March 2007 (U.N. Doc. S/2007/129 • A/61/787), 4 September 2007 (U.N. Doc. S/2007/524 • A/61/1038), 12 December 2007 (U.N. Doc. S/2007/728 • A/ES-10/406), 19 December 2007 (U.N. Doc. S/2007/750 • A/ES-10/407), 15 January 2008 (U.N. Doc. A/62/647-S/2008/24), 4 February 2008 (U.N. Doc. A/62/673 - S/2008/72), 8 February 2008 (U.N. Doc. A/62/685 - S/2008/86), 11 February 2008 (U.N. Doc. A/62/688 - S/2008/90), 27 February 2008 (U.N. Doc. A/62/710 - S/2008/132), 13 March 2008 (U.N. Doc. A/62/735 - S/2008/169), 27 March 2008 (U.N. Doc. A/62/770 - S/2008/209), 9 April 2008 (U.N. Doc. A/62/797 - S/2008/233), 18 April 2008 (U.N. Doc. S/2008/261), 22 April 2008 (U.N. Doc. A/62/812 - S/2008/269), 25 April 2008 (U.N. Doc. A/62/820 - S/2008/277), 9 May 2008 (U.N. Doc. A/62/839 - S/2008/311), 12 May 2008 (U.N. Doc. A/62/840 - S/2008/316), 14 May 2008 (U.N. Doc. A/62/843 - S/2008/328), 5 June 2008 (U.N. Doc. A/62/857 - S/2008/367), 24 June 2008 (U.N. Doc. S/2008/420), 22 December 2008 (U.N. Doc. S/2008/807), 24 December 2008 (U.N. Doc. S/2008/814). 30 See, e.g., Letters of 13 March 2008, 18 December 2008, 29 December 2008.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Silly Boycott

Silly Boycott

The editorial of The Forward explains why the efforts to boycott Israel are wrong, and also self defeating.

The argument that pushing Israel into economic, academic and cultural purgatory will somehow persuade its government to dismantle the security barrier, evacuate
the West Bank and embrace its sworn enemy is misguided. And that’s being generous. Whatever the flaws of the Netanyahu administration — and there are
many — it is clearly responding to (and, true, at times stoking) real fears and anxieties among the Israeli population.
The boycotters are either grossly ignorant about the Israeli psyche, or don’t care to understand it. The attempt to isolate and delegitimize “is counter productive because of the nature of who we are. It confirms our worst fears,” says the noted South African journalist Benjamin Pogrund, who now lives in Israel and writes extensively about boycotts, having lived through the apartheid era in his native land.

It also mentions that Omar Bargouti fellow, who's trying to shut down Israeli universities while doing an MA at one of them.

The Forward stands on the Left of American Jewry, to my understanding. Not far Left, but comfortably Left.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

America's Disappearing Jews

America's Disappearing Jews

Jack Wertheimer, a professor of American Jewish history at JTS, tells that unfortunately the pessimists in the discussion about assimilation and the dwindling of America's Jews are mostly right.

This hesitance to grapple seriously with the issue of intermarriage is part
of a broader phenomenon: Speaking of threats to Jewish survival has become
passé. Many argue that such discussions no longer serve to rally Jews; if
anything, they turn people off. Moreover, advocates of this point of view tend
to argue that if Jews are disengaged, it is because of failings in our
institutions. If only we had more compelling programs and wiser leaders, if only
we would cater more to the desires and preferences of younger generations, we
would retain larger numbers of Jews, they say.

At the risk of sounding trite and simplistic, raising committed Jews isn't that mysterious, and has very little to do with programs and wise leaders. The best place to create committed Jews is in the homes of committed Jewish parents. True, committed Jewish parents do tend to create committed Jewish communities with programs and leaders and what have you, but those are all spinoffs. If you've got the committed parents, everything else will work out. If you don't, it probably won't.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Love of the Land: Camp David Syndrome

Camp David Syndrome

Ken Blackwell
The American Spectator
25 September 09

Readers who are familiar with the Stockholm Syndrome will recall that it refers to a hostage-taking 1973 incident in that Swedish capital city. Over time, the hostages began to look to their captors as friends and protectors rather than the murderous kidnapers that they truly were.

We are seeing something similar in what I call the Camp David Syndrome. President Obama has just announced the latest effort toward crafting a Middle East Peace Settlement. That grand-sounding title is Beltway-speak for "let's lean on Israel to gain some street cred with the Euros." He's chosen Hillary Clinton as his negotiator.
In 1978, Jimmy Carter brought Egypt's Anwar Sadat and Israel's Menachem Begin together to his mountain top presidential retreat in Maryland's beautiful Catoctin Mountains. There, over days of intense negotiation, Carter brokered what became known in diplomatic lore as the Camp David Accords. Under those agreements, Israel agreed to withdraw her forces from the Sinai Peninsula that she had seized in the lightning Six-Day War of 1967, and re-captured during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. That war had been launched by Egypt's Sadat -- showing the characteristic respect for other faiths that Muslims habitually show -- the Jewish High Holy Days of that year.

Carter hailed his achievement as something just shy of the Second Coming. It wasn't. Carter was led up to that mountain by growing problems on the plain below. Americans were becoming increasingly disenchanted with Jimmy's fecklessness on the domestic front. High interest rates made home ownership impossible for young couples, long gas lines frayed nerves, and rising unemployment made everyone edgy. But Carter felt that success on the international scene could bring him and his embattled party some goodwill from American voters.

It didn't. Barely six weeks after the media hullabaloo over the Camp David Accords, voters trooped to the polls and spanked Carter's party. Between 1978 and 1980, voters gave Republicans 46 seats in the House of Representatives, five more seats than the GOP had lost in the watershed post-Watergate election of 1974.

Still, the myth persists that a Middle East peace agreement will translate into electoral success at home. Carter proved to be a one-trick pony. He received a sharp kick from voters in 1980. They put the pony permanently out to pasture.

What Carter achieved at Camp David is not replicable today. That's because the Israelis in 1978 did not want to occupy Sinai. They agreed that it did not materially contribute to their security. (Israel's Prime Minister Golda Meir used to joke that the Almighty had led the Children of Abraham out of bondage in Egypt, called them to wander for forty years, and told them to settle on the only piece of real estate in the Middle East that has no oil!)

So Carter's fabled diplomacy was not really necessary to persuade the Israelis to disgorge territory that had never been Israeli and that they did not really want. And President Anwar Sadat had a firm grip over Egypt, which one Egyptian diplomat described as the only real nation in the Arab world. "The rest are just tribes with flags," that Arab diplomat memorably said. Besides, Sadat needed money. And the U.S. was ready to purchase a peace.

Despite the fact that Jimmy Carter got a shellacking at the polls in 1978 and 1980, Presidents persist in pursuing the brass ring, or an elusive Nobel Prize, for brokering a Mideast Peace Settlement.

Bill Clinton tried it in 2000. He was playing out an exhausted presidency, grasping for straws. He summoned Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and the "reformed" terrorist leader, Yassir Arafat, to the U.S. He tried to arrange another Camp David breakthrough. Barak made extraordinary concessions, even dangerous ones. No dice. Arafat fomented a second "intifada" against Israel. Clinton's party lost the next Presidential Election.

Then, there was the 2007 Annapolis Conference on Mideast Peace. President George W. Bush chose that week after Thanksgiving to bring a wide range of Arab and Israeli negotiators to the U.S. Naval Academy's historic Yard. Some of the Arab delegates refused to enter the same doorway as the Israelis had entered. Some peace talks. The best we can say for this effort is that it could have been worse. It might have lasted two days instead of just one. And Bush's party lost the next Presidential Election.

What was considered historic about the Annapolis Conference is that for the first time all parties agreed to a "two-state solution." Did the Arab delegates who attended, the ones who refused to enter the same doorway as the Israelis, agree that Israel would be one of those two states? Don't ask.

What we have yet to hear is why the U.S. should want a Palestinian state to be formed in the Mideast. When the Israelis evacuated from Gaza and the local residents held elections, they promptly voted in Hamas, the terrorist organization. Hamas supporters stormed the residence of the late Yassir Arafat and stole his Nobel "Peace" Prize. Now, there's poetic justice.

On the West Bank, Arafat's loyal lieutenant, Abu Abbas, maintains a precarious perch. The U.S. is giving $900 million in aid to his so-called Authority for allegedly humanitarian purposes. This is where bombers use ambulances to run rockets to and from Palestinian hospitals and where children dance in mock explosive belts before PTA meetings in schools named for suicide bombers. This is what we want more of? For Peace's sake? For Pete's sake!

I was amazed to see President Obama come on TV so soon to call for a Mideast breakthrough. I didn't think he was in that much trouble on the domestic front already.
Ken Blackwell is a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and a senior fellow at the Family Research Council.

Love of the Land: Camp David Syndrome

Love of the Land: Terrorism: Hizballah's Brand is Tarnished

Terrorism: Hizballah's Brand is Tarnished

Jonathan Spyer
Gloria Center
24 September 09

A famous Hizbullah marching song, "Hizbullah ya ayuni" (Hizbullah - my eyes), contains the following verse: "And today through the blood of the brave, the merciful creator has given us victory, and the whole world and all people have begun to speak of our glory." Unfortunately for the Lebanese Shi'ite Islamist movement, the main world news story in which it currently features concerns matters of a distinctly inglorious type, with which it would undoubtedly prefer not to be associated.

The revelations concerning the activities of the so-called Lebanese Bernie Madoff - Salah Ezz el-Din of the south Lebanese village of Ma'aroub - are serving to tarnish the image of selflessness and idealism in which Hizbullah likes to present itself. The movement has long sought to differentiate itself from the notoriously corrupt, distinctly nonidealistic political and financial practices with which Lebanon is often associated. Ezz el-Din's activities suggest that on close observation, Hizbullah may be less different from its surroundings than its admirers (especially in the west) like to think.

Ezz el-Din, a Lebanese Shi'ite in his 50s, is accused of embezzlement and defrauding investors of hundreds of millions of dollars. The means by which he chose to part his victims from their money are familiar. He promised quick returns on investments in what he claimed were construction, oil and gas projects outside of Lebanon. He is reported to have guaranteed investors 20 percent-25% profits within 100 days on certain investments.

It now appears that Ezz el-Din was running a Ponzi scheme - paying clients with funds gleaned from newer investors. The sums involved are large - though nowhere near Madoff-like proportions. He is believed to have defrauded investors of around $500 million.

But Ezz el-Din was no ordinary financier. Rather, he enjoyed close links to Hizbullah. He ran a variety of enterprises associated with the group - most importantly the Dar al-Hadi Publishing House - named after Hadi Nasrallah. Hadi Nasrallah was the son of Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah who was killed fighting the IDF in southern Lebanon, and is somewhere near the top of the movement's pantheon of "martyrs." The publishing house which bore his name was responsible for the publication of a number of books by senior Hizbullah officials.

THE PERCEPTION of Hizbullah patronage was a major factor in encouraging investors to place their trust in Ezz el-Din. As one disappointed client put it, "people put money with him because he was wearing the Hizbullah cloak." The presence of people like him does not fit with the puritanical image of Hizbullah. But it is not especially out of place with the broader pattern of the movement's activities.
As a major Lebanese political force, Hizbullah offers patronage to powerful families and individuals from the Lebanese Shi'ite community. The organization effectively operates a state within a state. Its areas are off limits to the army and police. This is particularly useful for individuals close to the movement engaged in criminal activities.

The lucrative hashish trade in the movement's heartland in the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon offers an example of this patronage. Families engaged in this trade receive the protection of Hizbullah, ensuring that neither the authorities nor their rivals interfere with their activities. In return, Hizbullah takes a generous helping of the considerable profits.

The movement controls 13,000 acres in the Bekaa, which produce at least 300 tons of hashish annually. Hizbullah is reckoned to rake in profits of $180 million annually from this trade.

Most of the hashish is exported to Europe. Not all, though. The problem of drug abuse among residents in the Hizbullah-controlled Dahiyeh area of south Beirut is well known in Lebanon. Not all residents of the Dahiyeh are Shi'ite puritans.

Hizbullah is not reinventing the wheel. Rather, it is behaving in the manner of other Lebanese political forces. These activities are not particularly demonic - though the less powerful members of the various Lebanese communities are most likely to be hurt by them. But they serve to indicate the extent to which Hizbullah's pose of purity and incorruptibility and standing above the base practices of its rivals is largely a product of good public relations, rather than any observable reality.

The gradual tarnishing of the Hizbullah brand is, of course, good news for Israel. With past enemies - Arab nationalist regimes, the Yasser Arafat-led PLO - it was in the end the unbridgeable gap between proclamations and reality which served to initiate their slow decay and decline more than any single military defeat.

In this regard, another explanation for the Ezz al-Din affair is predictably doing the rounds in southern Lebanon. Haj Kamal Shour, who lost $1.03 million investing with the financier told reporters that he was sure that the "Israeli Mossad and Zionist lobby" were in some unaccountable way behind it all.

The reliable Zionist foe is enlisted to explain away failures and corruption scandals. But wasn't that exactly the political style that Hizbullah, with its selfless martyrs and its blood-curdling marching songs, was supposed to be doing away with? As Lebanon's former colonial governors might have put it - the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Related: Hizbullah: Still Strong, Getting Weaker

Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, Herzliya, Israel

Love of the Land: Terrorism: Hizballah's Brand is Tarnished

Love of the Land: Silencing Dissent

Silencing Dissent

Something is rotten in the state of Egypt

Lee Smith
The Weekly Standard
27 September 09

The Obama administration's Arab-Israeli peace process is in more trouble than even the White House realizes. To be sure, the Israelis and Palestinians are both dug in, and when the president sought baby steps from the Arabs toward normalizing relations with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Kuwait rebuffed the administration. But now even Cairo, where Obama hit his reset button with the Muslim world, has made its stand, albeit much less publicly. The campaign against Egyptian editor and analyst Hala Mustafa for meeting with Israel's ambassador to Cairo is sufficient evidence that the first country to have a peace treaty with Jerusalem is no closer to normalization than it was when Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David Accords 30 years ago.

Recently, Israel's envoy to Egypt, Shalom Cohen, visited Mustafa at her office in the Al-Ahram newspaper building, home to the semi-official daily to which Mustafa often contributes, and where she edits the quarterly Arabic-language journal, Democracy.

"The ambassador had a proposal to convene a symposium and asked me to participate," Mustafa told me by phone. "Egyptians, Israelis and Palestinians were to discuss Obama's initiatives and the peace process. Since we would need authorization from Al-Ahram and other state institutions, I didn't give him any final decision."

Nonetheless, chairman of the Egyptian press syndicate Makram Muhammad Ahmed claimed that Mustafa's brief interview with Cohen violated the boycott of the Zionist enemy that the syndicate adopted in 1983.

"But there have been many exceptions" over the past two decades, Mustafa says. "A lot of journalists at Al-Ahram have met with Israelis and even traveled to Israel. Even the chairman of Al-Ahram met with Israelis when he took part in the Copenhagen movement in the '90s. There is no way my act could be considered a violation."
A member of the ruling National Democratic Party's policy planning staff, Mustafa says that the regime still considers her an independent intellectual, and wants to limit interactions with Israel to intellectuals and journalists with connections to the security establishment. "The issue with me is not a legal one," she says, "since the constitution endorses the right of individuals to think and act freely, and we have a peace treaty with Israel and Cohen is the ambassador whose credentials have been accepted by the state. Rather, it is a political issue."

The context is not just normalization, but an Egypt gorged, fat, and sleek with anti-Israel sentiment as well as anti-Semitism.

"The press syndicate's probe is part of a paranoid reflex against any contact with Israel or Israelis," says Raymond Stock, an American writer and academic who has lived in Cairo for nearly two decades. "It harms not only Egypt's psyche but also makes it more difficult for them to actually understand their alleged enemy to the northeast."

It also affects Egypt's soft power, or those intangible qualities of national honor that enable states to advance their interests by way of what statesmen once called prestige.

Egypt's Culture Minister Farouk Hosni was considered the front-runner to take over UNESCO, the United Nations' organization devoted to cultural diversity and cooperation until some of his less tolerant opinions were aired in public. For instance, to prove his anti-Zionist credentials at home, Hosni, as Stock reported in a recent Foreign Policy article, told the "Egyptian parliament that he would 'burn right in front of you' any Israeli books found in the country's libraries."
Lee Smith is the author of 'The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations' (Doubleday), forthcoming in January.

Love of the Land: Silencing Dissent
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