Thursday, 8 October 2009

Israel Matzav: Security Council to meet on Goldstone next Wednesday

Security Council to meet on Goldstone next Wednesday

Another paragon of 'human rights' - Muammar Gadhafi's Libya - has managed to push through a United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the Goldstone Report next Wednesday, October 14.

The council met behind closed doors Wednesday to discuss Libya's request for an emergency meeting on the report, written by legal experts chaired by eminent South African jurist Richard Goldstone.

The council agreed to advance its monthly meeting on the Middle East to Oct 14 and focus on the war crimes report. The meeting was originally scheduled for Oct. 20.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. observer, said the Palestinians, Arab nations, and the 118-nation Nonaligned Movement of mainly developing countries strongly support the Libyan initiative.

Say 'bye-bye peace process.'

The Christian Science Monitor adds:

By bringing the report to the Security Council – a body Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi just last month said was more accurately called the "terror council" – Libya sets up a clash with the United States. He also creates a golden opportunity for Libya to raise its diplomatic star in the developing world, and for Colonel Qaddafi to refurbish his image with the Arab world.

"Libya will only be on the Security Council through December, so this was an opportunity [Libya and Qaddafi] would be loath to miss," says Melissa Labonte, an expert on Libya at Fordham University in New York. "If the P-5 [the council's five permanent members] say, 'We aren't talking about this,' it allows Qaddafi to say, 'This is what I meant by a terror council.' But if they do take it up," she adds, "what a coup for Qaddafi."


"The US has to be very careful about this," says Fordham's Professor Labonte. "The US will look bad in regions of keen interest to it if it comes off as obstructive on a human rights issue airing in the Security Council.

"On the other hand, [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu has said the peace process will go nowhere if this report is acted on," she adds, "so all the options pose real problems."

Aren't you glad the UN exists Barry?

Israel Matzav: Security Council to meet on Goldstone next Wednesday

Israel Matzav: Maybe the original zebras were 'martyred'?

Israel Matzav: Maybe the original zebras were 'martyred'?

Israel Matzav: Iran accuses US in disappearance of nuclear physicist

Iran accuses US in disappearance of nuclear physicist

On Tuesday night, I reported that Iranian nuclear physicist Shahram Amiri has 'disappeared' while on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. The Times of London reports that Iran is accusing the United States of involvement in Amiri's disappearance.

Mr Mottaki lodged a complaint with the UN Secretary-General last month about four missing Iranians he claimed were in US custody. Mr Amiri and Mr Asghari were among them.

Speculation surrounding Mr Amiri’s disappearance, however, has heightened since the public disclosure last month of Iran’s secret uranium enrichment plant near the holy city of Qom, with questions being asked about the nature of his work.

Mr Amiri worked as a nuclear physics researcher at Malek-e-Ashtar University, a research institute closely associated with the Iranian military. His family have said he researched medical uses of nuclear technology, a project that links him to the research reactor for which Tehran is seeking a foreign supply of highly enriched uranium.

The Iranian Student News Agency yesterday reported “rumours” that Mr Amiri was an employee of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation while Jahan News, a conservative Iranian news website, reported Saudi officials as claiming that he had sought political asylum there.


Israel Matzav: Iran accuses US in disappearance of nuclear physicist

Israel Matzav: Goldstone slammed again

Goldstone slammed again

Dr. David Altman, Senior Vice-President, Netanya Academic College launched a scathing attack on Justice Richard Goldstone in an email that has gone viral.

Your Honour,

Through your conduct you remind all of us of the divine words in the book of Genesis, when God says to Cain, “The blood of Abel thy brother crieth unto Me from the ground.”

Haunted by hatred and eaten up by a sense of inferiority, Cain put an end to Abel’s life because of jealousy and resentment,. He was convinced that this action would avenge his sense of being spurned and forgotten. But then he hears a voice reverberating, a voice that henceforth he will always hear, wherever he goes, saying: “The blood of Abel thy brother crieth from the ground.”

What was in your mind, Justice Goldstone, when you became the emissary of the world’s most intractable states? What were you thinking of when you became the representative of Sudan, Syria and Libya? Sudan – a country that on a daily basis commits genocide as the world stands by, silent. Libya – a country that has no democracy and no human rights, a country that sentences innocent people to death on trumped-up charges, that sends terrorists to blow up a plane carrying hundreds of passengers, that sends terrorist ships to attack cities and innocent people in Israel. And Syria, where people have been butchered extra-judicially and without trial, a state that supports terror and the murder of individuals, joins these two in an unholy alliance.

What was in your mind, when there is a deafening silence in the face of the slaughter in Darfur, in the face of the deaths of hundreds of thousands in Sri Lanka, in the face of those killing their brothers in Afghanistan and Iraq, without any reaction from the world? What were you thinking of when they gave you a remit to investigate crimes committed by a life-affirming democratic state?

Israel Matzav: Goldstone slammed again

Israel Matzav: Why the Holocaust still matters

Why the Holocaust still matters

Writing at the New Republic, Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States, takes several Israeli pundits to task for criticizing Prime Minister Netanyahu's discussion of the Holocaust during his speech in the United Nations General Assembly.

But in concentrating on the prime minister's preamble, critics overlook the deeper connections between the Holocaust and his subsequent themes. Recognizing the murder of six million Jews more than six decades ago is, in fact, vital for understanding the supreme dangers posed to six million Jews in Israel today by a nuclear Iran and by the Goldstone Report. Reasserting the factuality of the Holocaust is a prerequisite for peace.

Many factors contributed to the Holocaust--European anti-Semitism, mass murder technologies, and Allied indifference--but none more elemental than the Jews' inability to defend themselves. Israel and its citizen Defense Forces represent the most palpable means for redressing that incapacity.

Accordingly, denying the Holocaust not only deprives Israel of its raison d'être, but, more nefariously still, it invalidates the Jews' need to defend themselves. So, the Iranian leader proceeds to arm Hamas and Hezbollah and produce nuclear weapons while claiming that the Jews of Israel--like those of 1940s Europe--have nothing to fear. But Ahmadinejad does not stop short at merely deeming the Holocaust a "fairy tale;" rather, he portrays Israel as a Nazi state--guilty of perpetrating the very offenses against the Palestinians that the Nazis never did to the Jews.

Where Ahmadinejad leaves off, the Goldstone Report, or, as it is officially called, the “United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,” persists.


The Goldstone Report goes further than Ahmadinejad and the Holocaust deniers by stripping the Jews not only of the ability and the need but of the right to defend themselves. If a country can be pummeled by thousands of rockets and still not be justified in protecting its inhabitants, then at issue is not the methods by which that country survives but whether it can survive at all. But more insidiously, the report does not only hamstring Israel; it portrays the Jews as the deliberate murderers of innocents--as Nazis. And a Nazi state not only lacks the need and right to defend itself; it must rather be destroyed.

Useful idiot MJ Rosenberg slams Oren.

Reading Oren, one would never know that 1,387 Palestinians (including 320 children) were killed compared to nine Israeli soldiers. Nowhere does he discuss the testimony of the Israeli soldiers who have told Goldstone, as well as Israeli groups investigating the conduct of the war, that the Israeli army repeatedly made no distinction between combatants and innocents.

No, all Oren wants to do is shoot the messenger - the distinguished South African jurist, Richard Goldstone, himself Jewish - for having produced a report that "goes further than Ahmadinejad and the Holocaust deniers by stripping the Jews not only of the ability and the need but of the right to defend themselves."

What, in heaven's name, does Goldstone have to do with Ahmadinejad? Nothing.

The numbers that Rosenberg cites are completely unverified and the number of 'Palestinians' killed as compared with the number of Israelis is irrelevant. It is not a 'war crime' to kill more of the enemy than the enemy kills of you. As to those Israeli soldiers who testified before Goldstone, they are from the group Breaking the Silence, and their testimony - which was also given in Israel - has been totally discredited as hearsay.

Goldstone has everything to do with Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad finances Hamas and Hezbullah, who would just as soon murder MJ Rosenberg as murder Carl in Jerusalem. But fools like Rosenberg are so caught up in their Leftist sound bytes that they are incapable of seeing that.

Israel Matzav: Why the Holocaust still matters

Israel Matzav: Obama's friend's awful sense of humor

Obama's friend's awful sense of humor

Obama buddy Hugo Chavez of Venezuela thinks an Iranian nuclear weapon is a laughing matter.

The Venezuelan President has once more managed to upset his American counterparts, this time by using a televised Cabinet meeting to crack knockabout jokes about helping Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Welcoming his late-arriving Minister for Mining, Rodolfo Sanz, to Tuesday’s gathering, which was being broadcast live on state television, Mr Chavez shuffled some papers and cheerfully inquired: “How’s the uranium for Iran? For the atomic bomb?”

The article goes on to describe as 'stern' a State Department response that did nothing but state known facts. And from the picture above (taken in Trinidad several months ago), it appears that Mr. Obama may share Mr. Chavez's warped sense of humor.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Obama's friend's awful sense of humor

Israel Matzav: The Dayton force: More counterinsurgency on the cheap?

The Dayton force: More counterinsurgency on the cheap?

At Commentary, Jennifer Rubin points out the folly of the Obama administration's plan to train Afghan troops to control the Taliban instead of using a 'surge' of American troops as was done in Iran.

It does seem to be an exercise in collective amnesia. Obama, Biden, and Hillary Clinton were all in the Senate during the failed light-footprint approach to Iraq and watched the surge, which they opposed, bring about the results Gen. David Petraues had predicted. All three campaigned for president as they critiqued the lack of resources devoted to the “good war.” So it surely couldn’t have escaped their notice that Biden’s counterterrorism high-tech gambit has already been shown to be defective. The Bush team — which made the right call — didn’t have the benefit of experience, but the Obama team does. They have seen this argument play out.

This got me wondering about another 'counter-terrorism force' being trained by the United States: The Dayton Force. The Dayton Force is the group of 'Palestinians' being trained by US General Keith Dayton to police the 'Palestinians' in Judea and Samaria in place of IDF troops (if they don't decide to turn on the Jews first). The Dayton Force's training and effectiveness are questionable.

Why is it that the United States was unable to train Iraqi troops, is having difficulty training Afghani troops and has not done particularly well training 'Palestinian' troops to do the counterinsurgency work that the United States - or Israel in the case of the 'Palestinians' - needs to have done? I would argue that there are two factors at play here:

First, there are basic training issues. None of the Iraqis, Afghanis or 'Palestinians' has a history of being part of a regular army. They're not cultured in the type of regimented teamwork that an army requires. In Iraq, the United States would not accept members of Saddam Hussein's former forces, who were probably the only people in the country with a military-type culture. The Afghanis and the 'Palestinians' don't have real armies - only insurgencies. It takes long and painstaking effort to imbue people with the idea of working together under a regimented army structure.

Second, there is heart. You can't instill a desire to fight for a cause into people who don't believe in that cause. Iraqis who were asked to fight Islamist insurgent groups had ambivalent feelings about fighting their brothers and cousins because outsiders wanted them to do so. The same is true of the Aghanis and the 'Palestinians.' That's why the 'Palestinian' terrorist culture - in which the terrorists are the heroes - has to be changed before any kind of arrangement with Israel can be reached. You can't train troops to fight the terrorists without changing the underlying culture that promotes terrorism first. Otherwise, they won't act forcefully against their friends and cousins. Why should they?

The surge has had long-lasting effects in Iraq because while the surge was going on, the US began to change the local culture into one that desired democracy and regarded the terrorists as a nuisance or worse. While I don't believe that the US can withdraw from Iraq as quickly as some people would like, there is at least now a core of Iraqis that shares democratic values that wasn't there when what Rubin calls the 'light footprint' approach was tried. It may take some time - it took time in Germany and Japan too - but if the US continues on its current path, it has a chance of being able to turn Iraq over to its people without Iraq becoming a Muslim dictatorship. (Hopefully part of that process will be ameliorating the pervasive hatred of Israel and Jews that unfortunately still exists there).

But the same reasons why the surge was necessary in Iraq make a surge-type plan necessary in Afghanistan (as General McChrystal has pointed out, to his commander-in-chief's discomfort) and argue against turning over Judea and Samaria to the Dayton Forces. The Afghanis aren't going to wake up after a three-month training course and suddenly start fighting their brothers and cousins. The 'Palestinians,' who are seeped in a culture of jihadi terrorism, are not going to suddenly start protecting Israelis from their fellow 'Palestinians' just because they took a course that suggested that Israelis are deserving of protection.

The desire to do what needs to be done to fight terror just isn't there yet among the locals. It takes years of painstaking effort to change the local culture's values from jihadism to democracy. Ask Germany or Japan.

Israel Matzav: The Dayton force: More counterinsurgency on the cheap?

Israel Matzav: And they call Israel an 'apartheid state'?

And they call Israel an 'apartheid state'?

Pamela Geller points to a Muslim Sheikh speaking at al-Aqsa Mosque, and wonders why the Obama administration is silent in face of the obvious racism.

Salah’s deputy, Camel Hatib, who has been termed a “dangerous man” by former Northern District Police Chief Alik Ron, is also in Israel sights.

MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) wrote to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, asking that an investigation be opened against Hatib for incitement to racism and violence. Hatib, interviewed on Army Radio, said, “The Al-Aksa Mosque and the Temple Mount are not holy to Jews and they are forbidden from praying there... It cannot be that an Ethiopian policeman, a Negro, will stop a Moslem from praying at the Al-Aksa Mosque.”

Who is the racist? The Israeli who treats the Ethiopian policeman the same as any other citizen or the Muslim Sheikh who cannot bear the thought of answering to 'a Negro'?

But don't expect anyone at the United Nations 'Human Rights Council' to investigate.

Israel Matzav: And they call Israel an 'apartheid state'?

Israel Matzav: Breaking: Hamas calls for 'day of rage' Friday to 'protect' Jerusalem

Breaking: Hamas calls for 'day of rage' Friday to 'protect' Jerusalem

Israel Radio reports that Hamas has called for a 'day of rage' in Jerusalem on Friday to 'protect' Jerusalem. Magen David Adom - Israel's version of the Red Cross - has raised its alert for Friday to the highest level possible.

Friday is Hoshana Rabba, the seventh and final day of the Sukkot holiday (Saturday is technically a separate holiday), and a day on which some 50,000 people are expected to attend sunrise prayers at the Western Wall, below the Temple Mount where the al-Aqsa mosque now sits.

In the past, 'Palestinians' have thrown stones down from the Temple Mount onto the Jewish worshipers below.

In case any of you are wondering, I do not expect to be on the Western Wall plaza on Friday morning. On Hoshana Rabba, I pray in a yeshiva that overlooks the Western Wall plaza and the Temple Mount.

But my cell phone has a camera on it....

Israel Matzav: Breaking: Hamas calls for 'day of rage' Friday to 'protect' Jerusalem

Israel Matzav: Goldstone's favorite court in action

Goldstone's favorite court in action

It was just last week that Professor Richard Goldstone, principal author of the infamous report that bears his name, told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that Hamas has a 'court system' and that he believed that it could look into war crimes perpetrated by Hamas in Gaza during (since his mandate doesn't cover prior to or war crimes that Hamas perpetrated against Israelis) Operation Cast Lead. Here's an example of that 'court system' in action.

The Military Court of the de facto government in Gaza issued the decision to hang 27-year-old Salim Muhammad Salim An-Nabahin of the Al-Bureij Refugee Camp for collaboration with Israel.

An-Nabahin was arrested on 28 December 2007 on charges of spying and “dealing with the enemy” under article 131/A/B of the Palestinian Penal Code and article 415 Palestinian Criminal Procedure Code number 3 (2001). He was sentenced Wednesday by Judge Ayman Imad Ad-Din.

Reacting to the verdict the Palestinian Center for Human Rights urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas not to ratify the sentence. A statement from the organization also noted that the 1979 Palestinian Penal Law "is the Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). It is unconstitutional within the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) as it has not been presented to, nor approved by, the legislature."

I'm amazed that this guy is still alive. But note a few things about 'Palestinian human rights.' Note that the PCHR has no problem with executing 'collaborators' but only with the fact that the law is 'unconstitutional' because it hasn't been ratified by the legislature. Nothing about executions without any real due process being inherently wrong. Nothing about evidentiary standards.

Will Abu Bluff approve the execution? I suspect that 'vigilantes' from Hamas or maybe even Fatah (since he's accused of 'collaborating' with Israel) will take that decision out of Abu Mazen's hands.

Great court system, eh Richard?

Israel Matzav: Goldstone's favorite court in action

Israel Matzav: Israel's disproportionality

Israel's disproportionality

From a JPost commentary on Professor Ada Yonath (pictured) winning the Nobel Prize for Chemistry on Wednesday.

When US President Barack Obama reached out to the Muslim world in his landmark speech in Cairo on June 4, he listed the achievements of Muslims throughout history.

Among them, he singled out that they had won Nobel prizes. But Obama, who wanted to find favor with Muslims, did them a favor by not getting into numbers.

Since the prize was first given in 1901, it has been bestowed upon exactly nine Muslims. Now, thanks to Ada Yonath, the tiny state of Israel, home to just 7.4 million people, has equaled the achievement of some 1.5 billion Muslims, who make up roughly one fifth of the world's population.

And that's just Israelis. There are only about 13.3 million Jews in the world today, yet Yonath will become the 171st Jew to win the Nobel Prize.

That's right folks: 7.4 million (Jewish) Israelis have produced as many Nobel Prize winners as 1.5 billion Muslims.

And the nine Muslims include some 'controversial' (to put it mildly) recipients:

Yasser Arafat shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres in 1994 for the Oslo diplomatic process. Norwegian Kaare Kristiansen resigned from the Nobel Committee in protest.

International Atomic Energy Association director Mohamed ElBaradei won the Peace Prize in 2005, but if Iran succeeds in obtaining nuclear weapons, ElBaradei could be remembered not for peace, but for the deaths of thousands or even millions of people.

And you wonder why the Muslims hate the Jooos? It's envy. Pure and simple.

Israel Matzav: Israel's disproportionality

Israel Matzav: CIA knew about Qom as far back as 2006

CIA knew about Qom as far back as 2006

The Wall Street Journal reports that in light of what has come out about Iran in the last couple of weeks, the authors of the infamous 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, which claimed that Iran had abandoned the pursuit of nuclear weapons in 2003, effectively removing the military option from George W. Bush's hands, have some explaining to do (Hat Tip: Instapundit).

When it comes to politicized intelligence in the Bush years, the critics may finally have a point. Perhaps the work of America's intelligence agencies was manipulated to suit the convenience of a small group of willful officials, intent on getting their way against the better judgment of their colleagues.

Except the intelligence was about Iran, not Iraq, and the manipulators weren't conniving neocons but rather the Administration's internal critics on the left.


But the more telling detail, as a recent White House "guidance paper" acknowledges, is that the U.S. has been "carefully observing and analyzing this facility for several years." That timeline is significant, because it was less than two years ago, in December 2007, that a National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear programs asserted with "high confidence" that Tehran had "halted its nuclear weapons program" in the fall of 2003.

It gets worse. Time Magazine quotes CIA chief Leon Panetta, who says that the United States was aware of the Qom facility as far back as 2006 - a year before the NIE came out.

The Qum site first attracted the attention of Western intelligence agencies in 2006, when the CIA noted unusual activity at the mountain: the Iranians moved an anti-aircraft battery to the site, a clear sign that something important was being built there.

Exactly what, however, was hard to know. "We didn't jump to any conclusions and considered a number of alternatives," says a U.S. counterterrorism official. Iran is suspected of having a number of secret research labs and manufacturing facilities linked to its nuclear program. Roland Jacquard, an independent security and terrorism consultant in Paris, says there was some debate among analysts about the Qum site. While some said it had to be a nuclear facility, "others warned it could also easily be a decoy the Iranians wanted to fix Western attention to as [it] continued clandestine work on another facility elsewhere," he says. Jacquard says doubts gradually vanished as European and U.S. intelligence agencies shared information, "and the Americans could use that alongside what was being learned through the infiltration of Iranian computers."

Panetta won't say what kind of covert operations were carried out or how the agency was able to conclude that the Qum facility was nuclear. The counterterrorism officials says only that "our body of knowledge, based on multiple sources, grew to the point that allowed us earlier this year to reach the high-confidence conclusion that this was a covert nuclear facility."
The Wall Street Journal notes a crucial footnote to the NIE assessment:
Yet some of us noted at the time that the NIE added, in a crucial footnote, that by [Iran having halted its] "nuclear weapons program" it meant "weapon design and weaponization work and . . . uranium enrichment-related work," rather than Iran's "declared" nuclear facilities. The NIE's main authors—including former intelligence official Tom Fingar and other internal critics of Bush Administration policies—downplayed this critical detail. Never mind that it was precisely Iran's "declared" nuclear facilities that constituted the core element of any nuclear-weapons program.
In other words, they were claiming that Iran wasn't working on any more secret facilities, although it was continuing enrichment work at its 'declared' facilities. It now turns out that the report was wrong even on its own terms.

What's more disturbing is that the Wall Street Journal noted in its 2007 critique of the NIE that Tom Fingar and two other principal authors of the report were "hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials" (via Pundita).
Our own "confidence" is not heightened by the fact that the NIE's main authors include three former State Department officials with previous reputations as "hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials," according to an intelligence source. They are Tom Fingar, formerly of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research; Vann Van Diepen, the National Intelligence Officer for WMD; and Kenneth Brill, the former U.S. Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

For a flavor of their political outlook, former Bush Administration anti-proliferation official John Bolton recalls in his recent memoir that then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage "described Brill's efforts in Vienna, or lack thereof, as 'bull -- .'"

Mr. Brill was "retired" from the State Department by Colin Powell before being rehired, over considerable internal and public protest, as head of the National Counter-Proliferation Center by then-National Intelligence Director John Negroponte.
What is now becoming clear was that the 2007 NIE on Iran was either negligently or maliciously issued with a view to (a) taking the military option out of the hands of George W. Bush and (b) discouraging any responsiveness from the Bush administration to Israeli requests for 'bunker busters' and rights to overfly Iraq to attack Iran. The result is that as a result of petty American politics (or is it anti-Semitism), we are now on the verge of a nuclear Iran that promises to annihilate Israel, and the cost of removing that threat - if it can be removed - will be significantly higher than it was two years ago.

The Wall Street Journal says that the authors of the NIE have some explaining to do. I would go further. The American intelligence community ought to be hauled before Congress to explain how this politicized NIE happened and how and why it will never happen again in the future.

And then we need to talk about American cooperation in destroying Iran's nuclear weapons capability.

The picture in the middle is a satellite photo of the Qom facility.

Israel Matzav: CIA knew about Qom as far back as 2006

Love of the Land: What the New York Times Can Learn from Aladdin Elaasar

What the New York Times Can Learn from Aladdin Elaasar

07 October 09

Egyptian author Aladdin Elaasar says that it is difficult for Muslims and Arabs to speak out against anti-Semitism. "Those who dare to sing anything other than the official tune," he notes, "can find themselves accused of apostasy, tarnishing the image of their country, arrested, tortured and dismissed from their jobs."

That doesn't stop him from trying, though. In the Oct. 6 Jerusalem Post , Elaasar tackles the phenominon head on. He writes:

Since the establishment of the State of Israel, many Arab regimes have taken a hard-line against it, conveniently recycling crude anti-Semitic images for their public. ...

Amazingly, fundamentalist groups find themselves using similar rhetoric to that of state-owned media across the Arab world. The result has been the demonization and dehumanization of the Jewish people, and Israelis in particular, in the eyes of many who belong to the Muslim faith. Hate speech has found its way into state-sponsored textbooks, brainwashing generations since the early forties.

Ironically, two days before the publication of this piece by an author who had much to lose for exposing anti-Jewish and anti-Israel incitement, another journalist with no such fears essentially whitewashed the phenomenon Elaasar sought to reveal.

Writing in the New York Times Magazine, Samantha M. Shapiro summarized Palestinian children's programing as follows:

On the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, the Palestinian Authority’s official channel, the longest-running children’s program is a slow-moving talk show hosted by a young woman who sometimes reads storybooks aloud into the camera or watches, in real time, as an artist painstakingly paints a parrot. The official Hamas channel, Al-Aqsa television, has several children’s shows, and Al-Aqsa’s director of children’s programming, Abu Amr, told me the network is considering starting a station devoted entirely to children. Al-Aqsa TV’s most famous (and infamous) children’s program is “Tomorrow’s Pioneers,” in which Saraa, a Palestinian girl, andseveral animal characters teach ideological lessons: why it is bad to speak English and good to memorize the whole Koran; how the Danes are infidels who should be killed. Occasionally an animal character will die as a martyr for Palestine.

Well actually, the program is infamous because of the very "demonization and dehumanization of the Jewish people, and Israelis particular" that Elaasar described.

As CAMERA's most recent article notes:

Hamas TV repeatedly shows images of Mickey Mouse and other cartoon characters "resisting" the evil Zionists, being slaughtered by them and urging revenge. More than "how the Danes are infidels" Hamas TV preaches the need for Palestinian children to eliminate the filthy Jews. In one episode, for example, a bear puppet teaches his young audience that "we want to slaughter" the Jews, and that if they don't leave Israel peacefully, "we'll have to slaughter them." (See the chilling video here.) In a different episode, the puppet told the children that he will be a jihad fighter and carry a rifle. Another of the show's characters, a Bugs Bunny look-alike, once bragged that he will "finish off the Jews and eat them." PA TV children's shows routinely teach that Haifa, Tiberias, Jaffa and other Israeli cities are part of "Palestine" and that "resistance" (terrorism) is laudable.

The rest of the Shapiro's piece was devoted to a (generally interesting) discussion of the history of the Israeli and especially Palestinian programs linked to Sesame Street, meaning that other Palestinian programs indoctrinating children to hate were, as seems to be normal for the Times, ignored altogether.

(Apparently she saves her discussions of anti-Semitism for articles casting doubt on the ADL's concerns about anti-Semitism.)

Love of the Land: What the New York Times Can Learn from Aladdin Elaasar

Love of the Land: The Incitement Towards a Third Intifada

The Incitement Towards a Third Intifada

Melanie Phillips
The Spectator
08 October 09

There are clear attempts being made to spark a third intifada in Jerusalem. Violence by Israeli Arabs started two weeks ago in the wake of the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Obama and the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and Obama’s inflammatory call at the UN for a Palestinian state that ends the occupation that began in 1967.

In an ominous echo of the ‘spontaneous’ rioting over Ariel Sharon’s walk on the Temple Mount in 2000 which was used as the pretext for the mass murder of Israelis through years of suicide bombings (Palestinian leaders later admitted the riots had been part of a planned strategy) the current spate of riots followed all-too familiar and demonstrably spurious claims that Israel was threatening the al Aqsa mosque. Last Sunday, after Palestinian Authority calls for Arabs to flood the site of al Aksa to protect it from so-called Jewish extremists (of whom, it goes without saying, there has been no evidence whatever) Israel barred men between the ages of 18 and 45 from ascending the site, whereupon Arabs hurled rocks and bottles at the police.

In the Jerusalem Post, Aaron Klein identifies the instigators of the unrest as Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority:

The riots are being directly incited by the PA, whose official media outlets and institutions are stoking Arab flames by claiming right-wing extremist Jews are attempting to threaten Al-Aksa Mosque - a decades-old blood libel that should be easily dismissible in light of heavy Israeli restrictions on Jews and Christians from ascending the Mount during most hours of the day, whereas Muslims are usually free to access the site 24/7.

Indeed, Israeli law prohibits Jews and Christians from praying on the site. If any so-called extremist Jew attempted to enter Al-Aksa, he or she would likely be immediately removed from the Temple Mount by Israeli police, who follow Jewish tour groups very closely and coordinate with the Wakf, the Islamic custodians of the site.

The PA is not just inciting violence; its officials also assist the riots. On Monday Israeli security forces released from custody Jerusalem's senior PA official, Khatem Abed Al-Kadr, who had been detained on suspicion of inciting riots. The PA-aligned Islamic Movement is reportedly even sponsoring buses to transport young, riled-up Israeli Arabs to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount from Umm el-Fahm.

Klein identifies two reasons for Abbas’s incitement:

It seems the PA, emboldened by Obama's speech, may be using the riots as a pressure tactic to send a clear message to Israel - if negotiations do not create a state in the near future, expect another intifada. The PA under Arafat was notorious for negotiating on the one hand while leading a violent campaign against Israel on the other.

Already, some of Obama's policies have hardened Palestinian bargaining positions. Most notably, the PA is now demanding a complete halt to Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem in line with the US president's same demand. The PA never before set a settlement freeze as a prerequisite for talks.

The second suggested reason is that Abbas is trying to deflect Palestinian anger over his decision to call for a delay in the proposed UN show-trial of Israel over the Goldstone report.

Let us not forget that it is the ‘moderate’ Abbas and the forces he leads who America and the west say are ‘entitled’ to a state of their own, to which Israel is unreasonably providing obstacles. Without any doubt, Obama’s bullying of Israel has strengthened Arab rejectionism, undermined any fragile moves towards moderation and helped incite the Arab mobs to further hysteria. This is particularly irresponsible since Jerusalem’s Arabs, along with the rest of the region (as with Muslims in the rest of the world, including Britain), are steadily being radicalised by jihadi influence.

On Tuesday night, the Israeli Islamic leader Raed Salah was arrested on charges of inciting the rampage on Temple Mount. The flashpoint now threatens to be this Friday’s prayers after Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood (and the ‘moderate’ infamously embraced in London by Ken Livingstone), called for Arabs and Muslims to make next Friday a day of anger... to confront the ferocious Zionist attack against the Aqsa Mosque and the occupied city of Jerusalem.

We hold our breath.

Love of the Land: The Incitement Towards a Third Intifada

Love of the Land: Goldstone report attracts stinging rebuke from world Jewish community

Goldstone report attracts stinging rebuke from world Jewish community

The Richmark Sentinel
02 October 09

South African judge Richard Golstone has been on the receiving end of the Jewish community's wrath around the world pursuant to his report on the Gaza conflict.

While some do support the judge's approach the majority are up in arms.

Some like Dr. David Altman, Senior Vice-President, Netanya Academic College are scathing in their attack as the letter below - current circulating the Internet - demonstrates.

It is reproduced in full :

To : The Honourable Justice Richard Goldstone

Your Honour,

Through your conduct you remind all of us of the divine words in the book of Genesis, when God says to Cain, “The blood of Abel thy brother crieth unto Me from the ground.”
Haunted by hatred and eaten up by a sense of inferiority, Cain put an end to Abel’s life because of jealousy and resentment,. He was convinced that this action would avenge his sense of being spurned and forgotten. But then he hears a voice reverberating, a voice that henceforth he will always hear, wherever he goes, saying: “The blood of Abel thy brother crieth from the ground.”

What was in your mind, Justice Goldstone, when you became the emissary of the world’s most intractable states? What were you thinking of when you became the representative of Sudan, Syria and Libya? Sudan – a country that on a daily basis commits genocide as the world stands by, silent. Libya – a country that has no democracy and no human rights, a country that sentences innocent people to death on trumped-up charges, that sends terrorists to blow up a plane carrying hundreds of passengers, that sends terrorist ships to attack cities and innocent people in Israel. And Syria, where people have been butchered extra-judicially and without trial, a state that supports terror and the murder of individuals, joins these two in an unholy alliance.
What was in your mind, when there is a deafening silence in the face of the slaughter in Darfur, in the face of the deaths of hundreds of thousands in Sri Lanka, in the face of those killing their brothers in Afghanistan and Iraq, without any reaction from the world? What were you thinking of when they gave you a remit to investigate crimes committed by a life-affirming democratic state?

What we wish to say to you, sir, is that you are a rebellious son of a great people. We are a life-affirming nation. We are a people that loves peace and hates war. We are a people that has proven that it is ready to do much for the sake of peace and to pay a heavy price, unlike all those who surround us and desire war.

Wars have always been imposed upon us, and when we have taken up arms, it has always been with tears in our eyes and out of concern for ourselves and our fellow man.
We respect the rules of war – both those that have been laid down by mankind, and those that have been dictated to us by the Creator.

Who is it that we are confronting? A Jihadist terrorist organization, that sanctifies death, that calls for the destruction of your brothers’ homeland, that massacres us, that fires its bombs at our homes and targets our children, our wives and our elderly, and celebrates when its bombs hit their targets.

Whom are you defending, Your Honour, when you point a falsely accusing finger at us, when an army goes out to defend homes and towns, and informs and asks its neighbours to move away, in order to prevent loss and anguish? We do not make use of human rights for public and international propaganda purposes. We believe in human rights and democracy.

Your job – to destroy the image of the State of Israel and each and every one of us – resembles those who collaborated with the Nazis, because they believed the Nazi propaganda that the Jews are guilty and hence must be dealt with through the Final Solution.

We despise you, Your Honour. Not because of your repudiation of your people, of your homeland and of your father’s home, but because of the evil and the absence of justice that you are serving beneath your judicial robes, when you lend a hand to baseless and unfounded blood libels.

This selfsame State of Israel, which withdrew at a heavy, heart-rending price from every single square inch of the Gaza area, which has no border disputes with this terrorist entity, an entity that has disengaged itself from its brothers in the West Bank and killed its opponents from its own ranks in cold blood – this selfsame authority has openly committed the war crime of abducting a soldier and isolating him from international institutions and his family. Not only do you defend these people – you have become their official spokesman and try to present us, who are fighting for our lives, in a light of evil and wickedness – completely unjustified in fact and in truth.

You were chosen to do a cover-up job, in order to prove that even one of our own sees our actions and our defence as a crime.

I must say: you are not one of our own. Go and graze in foreign pastures, join those ultra-Orthodox extremists who have joined forces with Ahmadinejad, who has declared a jihad on Israel and the Jewish people and needs such partners, who in the past were called kapos.

You are far from us, you do not belong to us, and you are not welcome among us. The blood of our brothers, who died because they fought with clean hands, who died because they were not prepared to put innocents at risk, the blood of my relatives who died when they turned their back on a woman who was breastfeeding, behind whom terrorists were hiding, who took them out as they used the woman and her baby as cover – the blood of these people cries out to you from the ground and calls you a modern Cain.

I am a proud Israeli, I love my homeland, and I long for peace.

The only democratic country in the Middle East – a country that is called Israel – represents our national collective. We believe in justice, in human rights, in humaneness, in love of one’s fellow man, and in the Jewish belief that says: every individual that was created in His image is important.

We are not killers, we are not blood-thirsty murderers, we do not wish to punish those who hate us, but to extend to them our hands in peace, in friendship, and in understanding.

You did not hear such words in the Hamas countries. They are not even prepared to recognize us. They desire our destruction. These people, who fire from inside schools, mosques, and ambulances, they need you in order to prove that we are harming their human rights.

I was a partner to devoted their lives during the operation to working in the humanitarian operations room which was involved with saving lives, providing food and fuel, caring for the other, and dealing with any breach, even an inadvertent one, of any human right, the sort of thing that can take place during wartime. Regrettably, our foes do not have such an operations room.

But you knowingly and deliberately ignored this, and became part of the well-oiled machinery that is designed to deprive us of any legitimacy. Some of this well-oiled machinery seeks to portray us as monsters, out of a desire ultimately to make possible the destruction of us and the State of Israel.

Cain is cursed, and those who follow his path shall be cursed, since their crime reverberates ad infinitum, and because of them the blood of Abel their brother continues to cry out from the ground.

And I – from this beloved country, I cry out like this blood, and as I cry out, so I say, “Cry, the beloved country, cry out against the traitors, who have pounced on you like birds of prey and desecrated your honour.”

Sincerely, but not with kind regards,

Dr. David Altman
Senior Vice-President
Netanya Academic College

Love of the Land: Goldstone report attracts stinging rebuke from world Jewish community

Love of the Land: J Street is Selling Snake Oil

J Street is Selling Snake Oil

Lori Lowenthal Marcus
American Thinker
06 October 09

It is appropriate that at the end of October, right before Halloween, a large gathering of anti-Israel organizations dressed up in costumes labeled "pro-Israel" and "pro-peace" will convene in Washington. The disguises are new and from a distance they look so good that a shockingly large contingent of our national representatives have been fooled -- and then lent their names to endorse the central public component of this deception, otherwise known as "J Street's First Annual Gala Dinner."

Throughout the history of language the meaning of a word evolves, sometimes becoming the polar opposites of the original meaning. For example, back in the 1500s the word "harlot" meant a male itinerant jester or buffoon. Today the word means something quite different, and harlots are only female.

And how about the term "snake oil?" Snake oil was an ancient but apparently effective Chinese folk remedy used for conditions such as arthritis; snake fats and oil are high in a certain acid believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Over time "snake oil" evolved into a disparaging term, and it now is used to refer to sham products represented by hucksters as effective.

Let's turn to the current political lexicon. What does it mean when one represents oneself as "pro-peace," and how do we measure whether something really is?

The term "pro-peace" means that one favors actual peace, that is, not war and not violence; it is characterized by support for whatever is most likely to lead to a long-term period of non-violent coexistence.

And what does it mean to represent oneself as "pro-Israel?" In order to qualify, one would at least have to support the existence of that state, and to disassociate with and defend against those who want to expunge it.

On its website, in its literature, in the glossy mailings sent to government officials, universities, synagogues and individuals, J Street garbs itself as "pro-peace" and "pro-Israel." But let's peek underneath the costume to see whether J Street really is what it claims to be.

Does J Street espouse positions that, given all the current evidence, are most likely to lead to a just and lasting peace?

For years Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly threatened to wipe Israel off the map, denied the Holocaust as a trick to justify the establishment of Israel, and has predicted the end of Israel and of the United States. President Barack Obama recently revealed that Iran has been lying for years about a secret underground nuclear plant. Iran is closer to its goal of nuclear weapons than officials previously thought. Obviously any entity so publicly and enduringly committed to death, destruction and deception is a major obstacle to global peace. Surely any pro-peace organization would support every possible means of ensuring that this country, nominally headed by a highly volatile dictator (whose strings are pulled by fanatical mullahs waiting for the 12th Imam to come up out of a well on Judgment Day), would be prevented from completing its race towards nuclear weapons.

But even after Obama revealed Iran's secret nuclear plant, J Street's position remains unequivocal: it is "strongly opposed to any consideration at this time" of "further sanctions" against Iran, and it is of course categorically opposed to "the use of military force by Israel or the United States to attack Iran's nuclear infrastructure." As the peace window is closing, J Street opposes swift, decisive action to prevent it from slamming shut.

Now let's look at whether J Street's positions concerning Israel are calculated to ensure a real and lasting peace between Israel and its enemy neighbors.

The raison d'etre of the terrorist group Hamas is the annihilation of Israel (and the Masons and the Rotarians -- who knows why?). The Hamas charter says this in black and white -- there's no costume in use here. Hamas's sole modus operandi is murderous violence and intimidation.

In January, 2009, Israel deployed a military response intended to eliminate the continuation of years of violent attacks by Gazans against Israeli civilians. Surely the cessation of attacks on its people is a necessary part of ensuring a country's existence. J Street claims that "it recognizes the unquestioned right of Israel to take action to answer acts of terror and violence." But it came out strongly against Israel's efforts at self-defense. Better, apparently, so far as J Street was concerned to let the rockets continue to fall, as they have for years, on Israeli towns.

Perhaps J Street simply cannot condone a "stronger" nation imposing its will on one that seems weaker? That would be in concert with the au courant policy of cultural authenticity and moral relativism.

No, that won't work either. There is one area where J Street comes down very harshly, very decisively against the local populations and on which it seeks to impose the will of outside super powers in order to achieve the results other than what the native populations wants. That local population is -- contrary to what most would think given J Street's professed "pro-Israel" position -- the Israeli one, and, -- here we have a surprise! -- also the Palestinian one.

In its hegemonic insistence on the immediate creation of a Palestinian state, J Street is President Obama's self-described "blocking back" determined to impose a two-state solution on the Israelis and the Palestinians in the shortest possible timeframe.

The participants resist the creation of two states for different reasons -- the Palestinian leadership, both Hamas and Fatah, will only be satisfied with one state: a Palestinian one -- and no Jewish one, as they have acknowledged repeatedly, in public and in private, in Arabic and in English, and to continue its armed "resistance" in order to achieve that goal.

The Israelis will not agree to a Palestinian State until they are assured it will recognize Israel as a legitimate Jewish State, and they insist on continuing to protect themselves from the Arabs' armed "resistance," which is itself another costume, beneath which is the use of weapons to attack all Israelis, including unarmed civilians.

Those are the reasons there has been no breakthrough in the "peace process," not because Israel's allies have applied insufficient pressure on Israel. This imperialist view ignores the vital essence of each participant. And J Street is pushing an approach that will guarantee a violent, bloody and long-term conflagration. Again, the contrary of working towards a lasting peace.

So why does J Street keep claiming it is pro-peace and pro-Israel? And, more importantly, what does that mean for people, especially politicians, who lend their names to such an organization precisely because being pro-peace and pro-Israel is being sold as the current miracle elixir?

Perhaps we need to turn to Jeremy Ben-Ami, the executive director of J Street, for an explanation. He publicly stated: "We're trying to redefine what it means to be pro-Israel." He neglected to tell us that J Street is also redefining what it means to be pro-peace.

Let's take Ben-Ami at his word. But let's make sure everyone buying the J Street snake oil understands what they're drinking. Congressional leaders who have linked their names to the snake oil salesmen should understand which definitions of pro-peace and pro-Israel they are endorsing. Every reader should give those representatives some friendly advice: just because it's Halloween, don't be taken in by the punch. Or the Kool-aid. Or the snake oil.

Related: Peeling Off J Street’s Invisibility Cloak

Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the co-founder of Z STREET.

Love of the Land: J Street is Selling Snake Oil

Love of the Land: The Palestinian Authority and the Goldstone Report: A Pie in Obama's Face and a Key to Understanding Their Behavior

The Palestinian Authority and the Goldstone Report: A Pie in Obama's Face and a Key to Understanding Their Behavior

Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
08 October 09

Should the Palestinian Authority (PA) be the main advocate pushing acceptance of the bizarre Goldstone report in order to demonize Israel at the UN or might it just stand aside and let a couple of dozen Arab and Muslim-majority states take the lead?

This is—or should be—a minor issue but it has blown up to once again push the main reality of the Arab-Israeli conflict into everyone’s face.

When the U.S. government asked the PA not to be the main sponsors of demanding UN sanctions against Israel, the Palestinian leadership agreed for a few hours. But then, unable to resist flaunting its radicalism and obstructionism, it then double-crossed the United States. This step further sabotages President Barack Obama's efforts to advance the peace process, which often seems to be his number-one international priority.

On the surface, the Palestinian leadership—PLO, Fatah, and Palestinian Authority (PA), which are all the same thing—is once again shooting itself in the foot. It is throwing away a real opportunity for a state; it is sabotaging its relationship with Western patrons.

How to explain this apparent perverseness, which Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban once called, “Never missing a chance to miss an opportunity”?

The answer is simple: When it comes down to a choice between continuing the conflict and trying to win a total victory that wipes Israel off the map or making peace and getting a state, the Palestinian leadership always chooses the former.

And when it comes to choosing between being a bit more moderate and gaining Western support or being demagogically radical and appealing to the most radical forces, the Palestinian leadership chooses the latter. The Fatah-dominated PA doesn’t want peace with Israel; it prefers peace with Hamas, its rival that not only murders and tortures Fatah people but—one more irony—is the main beneficiary of the Goldstone report.

Wishful thinkers beware! Reality is once again battering down your door.

Briefly, the Obama Administration is trying to make peace and wants the PA’s cooperation. If the UN goes ballistic and now bashes Israel as an evil, illegitimate, war criminal—on the basis of Hamas propaganda no less which is all the Goldstone Commission really purveys—this will not help the cause of peace and will wreck U.S. policy.

So the Obama Administration basically said to the PA: Look, we’re getting you lots of money and diplomatic help on the basis of the idea that you want peace. No president in history has ever been more sympathetic and supportive of you. So stand aside on this issue for a few days. Do us this little favor.

But this is too much for the PA, which now faces protests and criticism at home. (Fun fact: If the PA cannot even refrain from sponsoring Goldstone, can anyone expect it to compromise on territory, security measures, an end to the conflict, and the settlement of all Palestinian refugees in Palestine? Think about that one for five minutes please.)

This is at least the fourth time in its short nine-month history where the Palestinians and Arab states did this to Obama:
--PA leader Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Washington for his first trip and said he had no intention of compromising on anything but would just wait until the United States delivered an Israel which had to give up everything.

--Abbas refused to negotiate with Israel unless he had a total freeze of construction on all settlements with no exceptions despite Obama’s desperate efforts to get talks going.

--Arab states asked to make small confidence-building steps toward Israel to help the president said “No!”

So much for Obama’s apologies, his Cairo and UN speeches, strong words of support for the Palestinians (the people supposedly in an intolerable situation and desperate for a state), and his panegyrics for Islam. Flattery, Mr. President, will get you nowhere.

Can you get it, Mr. President: All this merely feeds the fires of radicalism. Like, in a real sense, the peace process of the 1990s and the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, more concessions breed more violence; more apologies give birth to more demands.

Remember that the peace process of the 1990s ended when PA leader Yasir Arafat refused a state along with more than $23 billion in aid both at Camp David and in the Clinton plan.

Remember that the Palestinians, handed all of the Gaza Strip, instead of making it a model for launching peace made it a launching pad for rockets aimed at Israel.

Remember that when the previous Bush Administration was trying to be supportive, the PA made a deal through Hizballah with Iran to bring in massive amounts of arms on a ship. Discovering how the PA had lied turned that administration against them.

Remember that in 1989 when the United States had initiated a dialogue with the PLO on the basis of its stopping terrorism, the organization refused to keep that pledge and instead dispatched a terrorist unit to machinegun civilians on the Tel Aviv beach. This action led to the end of the dialogue.

Wake up, people. Peace would be preferable if possible. Peace is a beautiful dream. But that dream keeps getting interrupted by nightmares, one after the other.

Those who run nations and are responsible for the lives and welfare of their people, those whose duty is to inform the people, and those who speak out publicly have a duty to cast aside wishful thinking and face the truth, as demonstrated by numerous examples and historical experience:

--Israeli-Palestinian peace is still very distant.

--The PA is unwilling and incapable of making peace.

--Weakness in dealing with this issue breeds contempt; concessions create more violence and extremism.

--A responsible policy is one that maximizes stability by keeping Hamas from taking over the West Bank and brings down its rule in the Gaza Strip; minimizes violence by supporting Israel’s right to self-defense; and does the most possible to raise the living standards of Palestinians.

As for Obama and the European leaders, you’ve had the experience now learn the lessons.

Love of the Land: The Palestinian Authority and the Goldstone Report: A Pie in Obama's Face and a Key to Understanding Their Behavior

Love of the Land: Suicide Bombing as Worship

Suicide Bombing as Worship

Dimensions of Jihad

by Denis MacEoin
Middle East Quarterly
Fall 2009, pp. 15-24

Many motives are cited for suicide bombings, from religious sanctification to revenge for Western foreign policy to hatred of Israel, but one thing ties them together: the boast that Muslims love death, whereas their enemies love life. From killing the infidel enemy through suicide attacks, to allowing the subordinate female to participate in suicide attacks, a pattern emerges. And just as honor killings are a perversion of the most basic of human ties, so love for martyrdom takes societies into a direct relationship with the darkest side of human nature. In trying to explain this, it may be feasible to identify routes to a possible solution.


Since the 1980s, killing oneself deliberately has become the most popular method of attacking and killing one's enemies in countries including Iraq and Afghanistan, in territories such as Chechnya or the West Bank and Gaza, and even in Western countries such as the United States and Great Britain. It was a real-life Shi'i fanatic, a thirteen-year-old boy called Hossein Fahmideh, who set things moving in 1981 when he died with a grenade in his hand, throwing himself under a tank during the Iran-Iraq war. He was followed by thousands of young Iranians carrying "keys to paradise," who walked and ran across minefields, ripping their bodies apart for God and the Islamic regime.[1] Two years later, the first suicide attack occurred against a Western target when a bomber drove a vehicle packed with explosives into the lobby of the American embassy in Beirut. Apart from himself, he killed 63 people: 32 Lebanese, 17 Americans, and 14 visitors. Iran denied all involvement in the attack, but its protégé, Hezbollah, soon claimed responsibility, and it was subsequently established that the killings had been approved and financed by senior Iranian officials. The Iranian role in many subsequent suicide bombings has been crucial, given the existence of a clerical elite that inherited a deeply-embedded Shi'i cult of martyrdom, whose traditions of flagellation, public weeping, passion plays, martyrdom sermons, and hagiographies of martyrs were pushed into overdrive after the revolution of 1979.
An Islamic Paradox

By 2008, 1,121 suicide bombers had carried out attacks in Iraq, killing on a massive scale. With the exception of Sri Lanka, where the Tamil Tigers used the tactic, suicide bombing has become an almost exclusively Islamic phenomenon. Whether religiously observant or driven by other motives, the bombers have been Muslims, regardless of their country of origin. Even Muslims raised and educated in non-Muslim countries (like Britain's 7/7 bombers) and exposed to cultures without overt jihadi propaganda have put on explosive belts and gone to their deaths in order to kill nonbelievers. Apart from their Islamic roots, these terrorists display a wide range of characteristics. Many have been young men, some of whom were mentally disabled, while others were very bright, some uneducated, others university graduates; a growing number are women, mostly young, some old, some virgins, others pregnant or mothers. Many have belonged to terrorist groups such as Hamas and have been indoctrinated in Islamist thought, anti-Semitism, or general hatred of the West. Others have been volunteers seeking to expiate sins or retrieve the honor of their families.

Yet suicide bombing involves a paradox within Islam. On the one hand, laws relating to jihad unambiguously state that fighters must not take the lives of noncombatants, such as women, children, the sick, or the elderly. At the same time, anyone who dies while fighting non-Muslims is considered a martyr and guaranteed the highest rank in paradise. How do Islamists get round this problem? Some may shut their eyes and get on with it, but others come face to face with the paradox by dividing the problem into bite-size pieces. Clerics sanctify the bombers in their sermons, organizations including Hamas and Islamic Jihad identify and celebrate them as fighters in the jihad, and foreign donors provide aid that is siphoned off to the families of the martyrs.[2]

Whatever the private motivation of the suicide bomber, his or her action is rooted in much broader national, communal or, above all, religious demands, pressures, and desires. These range from religious convictions and edicts to concepts of holy war and martyrdom to conflicts over issues of shame and honor to social constructs of sexuality. Most importantly, the bombings have nothing to do with suicide. Nor are they described as such by those who send the bombers out and those who immolate themselves. To make it easier to understand what modern Islamist suicide bombing is about, we need to examine its historical background, its religious/nationalist role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and its psychological and cultural roots in the Arab and Islamic interpretation of women, sexuality, shame, and honor.
(Full Article)

Love of the Land: Suicide Bombing as Worship

Love of the Land: A Portrait of the President as a Young Man

Rick Richman
07 October 09

Benjamin Kerstein has a 3,500-word essay entitled “Obama and Israel: Betrayal in the Broken Places” that is essential reading. It is a portrait of Obama as a dangerous combination of hubris and ineptitude, and a description of the process by which he “lost the Israelis, possibly for good,” with “no one to blame but himself.”

Obama centered his policy on an unrealistic call for complete cessation of all settlement-building, violating longstanding understandings with Israel underlying the “peace process.” But if it had been handled differently, it might not have had such disastrous consequences:

Had Obama proved flexible on Jerusalem and its nearby “consensus” settlements, which most Israelis consider essential to their security and want to retain in any peace agreement, some sort of modus vivendi might have been reached early enough to avoid a serious breach. In his insistence on a total freeze, however, Obama was demanding something that was both too much for most Israelis to swallow and Netanyahu simply could not deliver. . . . Obama may have hoped for precisely that, believing that a new, more pliable government led by Livni would replace Netanyahu. If so, it was a horrendous miscalculation.

But it was not the push for a total, uncompromising settlement freeze, however, that was the key moment. That moment was, ironically, the one Obama considered one of his triumphs: the Cairo “address to the Muslim world”:

Taken as a whole, the speech was simply a craven embarrassment; but the references it made to Israel could not have been more alienating and insulting had they been calculated for the purpose. How Obama’s speechwriters and advisors became convinced that equating the Holocaust with the Palestinian nakba . . . comparing Israeli treatment of the Palestinians to segregation in the United States, and pointing to the Jewish people’s “tragic history” as the sole justification for Israel’s existence would assuage Israeli concerns about the new administration must remain a question for history to answer. There is no doubt, however, that this single speech (which everyone in Israel watched) did more to demolish Obama’s credibility in Israeli eyes than any of his demands on Netanyahu ever could have.

The Cairo speech, with its emphasis on the Holocaust as the justification for Israel (to the exclusion of thousands of years of Jewish civilization and historical claims to the Land predating by centuries the birth of Islam and extending through the 20th century in the Balfour Declaration) revealed a “glaring ignorance of Israeli history and sensibilities,” as did the reference to segregation, which recalled the 1975 UN resolution equating Zionism with racism.

But the worst was Obama’s moral equivalence between Nazi genocide and the Arab displacement in 1948, occasioned by a war the Arabs started after rejecting — not for the first or last time — a two-state solution:

It is true that 1948 was a catastrophe for the Palestinians, and many thousands of them were displaced — voluntarily and involuntarily — as a result of the war; but for many Jews (and many non-Jews) the equation of this to the Holocaust was not only morally appalling but served to minimize a genocide that is still within living memory, and did so in front of an audience that often claims it never happened at all.

Watching Obama, Israelis recognized something they have seen before in the violent and unstable Middle East: idealistic incompetence. That judgment was confirmed by Obama’s failure, also glaringly obvious, to obtain any steps toward normalization to accompany any new settlement freeze, and his passive encouragement of maximalist Palestinian claims even after the most pliant prime minister in Israeli history had spent a year in the Annapolis Process unsuccessfully offering the Palestinians a state.

The result is that “[Obama’s] relationship with the Israelis is now so damaged that Netanyahu probably could not sell further concessions to the Israeli public even if he wanted to (which he most certainly does not).”

The portrait of Obama that emerges in Kerstein’s article has ramifications beyond the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Obama’s idealistic but unrealistic belief that speeches, videos, reset buttons, bows, unclenched fists, and other gestures of goodwill are the key to resolving international disputes is now well-known. His combination of extreme self-regard and absence of actual accomplishments (both before and after he became president) reflects a mindset that is, in Abe Greenwald’s perceptive phrase, anti-decisive(since it is easier to protect a self-portrait by merely voting “present”). He is tough on small allies (Israel, Honduras, Georgia), or those deemed inconsequential (Poland, the Czech Republic, the UK), but endlessly patient and non-confrontational with adversaries. It is not a very presidential picture.

Love of the Land: A Portrait of the President as a Young Man

Love of the Land: The Sukka and the Swastika

The Sukka and the Swastika

Yehuda Avner
07 October 09

Succot, 1936. The newly appointed German consul-general to Jerusalem, Herr Walter Doehl, stood at his office window hung with an extravagantly tasseled swastika banner, and gazed with curiosity at the sight of clusters of bearded Jews, all draped in prayer shawls and resplendent in the styles and furs of late-medieval Poland, entering and exiting a ramshackle foliage-thatched booth on the other side of the Street of the Prophets where his legation was situated, each clutching what seemed to him to be a lemon and a palm frond.

"It's one of their festivals - Tabernacles," explained the man by his side, in an almost unintelligible guttural German. "They're coming from their synagogues for schnapps. And they wave those things around when they pray for rain."

The man was Ludwig Buchalter, chief of the Nazi Party in the German Colony - a pastoral, red-tiled roofed Jerusalem neighborhood, built by the messianic Templers and studded with monumental stone buildings, statuesque pine trees and picturesque alleyways. Though he had never set foot in Germany in his life, Buchalter looked every bit a Bavarian burgher. The skull of his moon-shaped face was shaved, and beneath his bulbous nose drooped a Hindenburg mustache. He was wearing a short, leather-buttoned, olive-green jacket with rounded lapels, to which a swastika badge was pinned.

That day, he was also sporting a Nazi armband. In making this first call on the new German consul-general he wanted to show off his impeccable National Socialist credentials with their subliminal message that he, Herr Buchalter, was largely responsible for Herr Doehl's appointment to Jerusalem. For months he had been exhorting the Foreign Ministry in Berlin to get rid of the incumbent, a Dr. Heinrich Wolff, because "he is married to a woman of Semitic origin."

No wonder he was so thrilled at finally being able converse with a fellow Nazi in authority concerning the party's goings-on in the German Colony. And how proud he was to be standing there in that opulent room, with its brass chandelier that hung low from the domed, lofty ceiling, bringing out the shine in the waxed black-and-white tiled floor, and the brilliant hues of the ceremonial Nazi flag draped on the desk next to the silver-framed portrait of a smiling Adolf Hitler shaking hands with an adoring Walter Doehl.

In fact, Buchalter was so elated that when he took his leave he executed a cracking click of the heels, a perfectly rigid straight-armed salute and a fervently loud "Heil Hitler," almost colliding as he swung about with the next caller - a Dr. Werner Senator.

Senator was a bespectacled intellectual in his early 40s, with the benevolent look of one whose life's work was social welfare. Himself of German origin, he fittingly headed the Jewish Agency's Central Bureau for the Settlement of German Jews, a task that required many dealings with the Nazis. This he found understandably unpalatable, but he rationalized that Moses had had no scruples in dealing with Pharaoh when negotiating the Exodus, so why should he not negotiate with the Nazis to get his people out of Germany?

Doehl, tall and groomed, looked extraordinarily spruce in contrast to his pudgy, rumpled visitor, who, on taking a seat, found himself frowning at a wall brandishing a row of close-ups of the Third Reich's leaders in triumphant poses, headed by Hitler.

"You like my picture gallery, I see," said Doehl, his face melting into a buttery smile. But this unexpectedly morphed into an angry scowl, and he growled, "What on earth is that din outside?"

Both men sprang up to look down through the open window upon a clutch of yelling demonstrators, penned in by two British policemen by the succa booth, and carrying crude placards that read, "Down with Jews who trade with the Nazis," and "The Jewish Agency Transfer Agreement is treason."

The consul-general snapped the window shut and, settling into his high-backed leather chair, said sardonically, "I understand the Transfer Agreement is one of your portfolios."

"Indeed it is," sighed the Jewish Agency man, taking a seat. "And as you see, it is a source of heated controversy." Indeed, it was.

The Transfer Agreement had been negotiated by the Jewish Agency with the Nazis in 1933. Under it, German Jewish émigrés to Palestine were permitted to transfer a proportion of their assets (the bulk had to stay behind) in the form of German-manufactured goods, particularly agricultural and construction machinery, which the Zionist movement needed to build the Jewish national home. Upon arrival in the country the Jewish Agency paid the newcomers for the value of the equipment, minus a percentage dedicated to national enterprises.

It was a mutually beneficial trade-off: The refugees were provided with the basic wherewithal to begin life afresh; the Zionist Organization received invaluable equipment for its nation-building program; the Nazi economy, desperately starved of foreign currency, was given a serious boost; and the worldwide boycott of German goods, spearheaded by the American Jewish community, was severely breached.

Doehl made a tent of his manicured fingers and said silkily, "I have to tell you, Dr. Senator, that Berlin is in the process of reassessing the whole Transfer Agreement."

Senator's heart missed a beat. He sat there observing the Nazi, navigating with his instincts, intuition whispering to him to say nothing until he heard more.

"The point is," continued the German, "since we signed that agreement in 1933, time has moved on. When the Fuehrer came to power, our coffers were almost empty, and your American Jews were launching a worldwide boycott of German goods. One of the reasons we made the agreement was to smash that boycott."

Senator punched back hard: "Perhaps so, Herr Consul-General, but nobody has lost out on the Transfer Agreement. It has helped you implement your diabolic policy of ridding Germany of Jews. It has helped us absorb them. It has created jobs for your unemployed. It has earned you foreign currency. And, yes, it has undermined the boycott. So why tamper with it?"
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Love of the Land: The Sukka and the Swastika
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