Friday, 16 October 2009

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Israel Matzav: Gillibrand drops out of J Street

Gillibrand drops out of J Street

Well, you can remove another Senator from the J Street list.

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has dropped out of the J Street gala dinner hosts list.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has asked to be removed from the host committee for a conference of the left-leaning Jewish group J Street and was "unaware" she had been included on the group's list of supporters, spokesman Matt Canter said.

Her withdrawal comes after her political mentor, Chuck Schumer, also refused to participate in the event, and as the place of J Street -- positioning itself as liberal but staunchly "pro-Israel" -- remains hotly contested in American political circles.

The group's host committee includes prominent center-left Israel backers in Congress, including Florida's Robert Wexler and New York's Steve Israel, and an Israel spokeswoman confirmed he intended his name to be on the list. Many pro-Israel Democrats, however, continue to shun J Street: Steve Israel is the only Jewish member from New York, for instance, on the host list. (His spokeswoman confirmed he intended to be on the list.) And the group's stance, sharply to the left of the current Israeli government, and the presence of a controversial speaker at the conference, seem to have prompted Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware to back out when asked about his attendance by the Weekly Standard.

Schumer asked not to be included, after initially agreeing to be on the list, which includes 158 members of Congress, a J Street official said.

The real pro-Israel community should be going after every Senator and Representative on that list and pushing them to withdraw.

Israel Matzav: Gillibrand drops out of J Street

Israel Matzav: Iranian opposition backs sanctions, unsure about military action

Iranian opposition backs sanctions, unsure about military action

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, John Hannah expresses confidence that the Iranian opposition would agree with the imposition of harsh sanctions against the regime, but is less sure of what the reaction to a military strike would be. Israel is not mentioned as the possible party to strike Iran, and it may well be that the reaction to an Israeli strike would be different than the reaction to an American strike.

Before June 12, conventional wisdom suggested that both harsh sanctions and military action would likely strengthen the Islamic Republic by triggering a "rally around the regime" effect. Iran's rulers, so the argument went, would exploit outside pressure to stoke Persian nationalism, deflecting popular anger away from the regime's own cruelty onto the perceived foreign threat -- in effect, short-circuiting the country's incipient democratic revolution.

But the conventional wisdom has taken something of a beating post-June 12. Before the elections, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sought to blame all of Iran's travails -- a deteriorating economy, international isolation, the mounting threat of war -- on the United States and Israel. But the Iranian people were buying none of it. On the contrary, by the millions they have gone to considerable lengths over the last four months to make one thing clear: When affixing responsibility for the misery, shame and danger being visited on their once-great nation, they focus overwhelmingly on the ruling regime itself -- on its economic incompetence, its tyrannical nature, its international belligerence.

There's good reason to doubt they would react differently now were the United States and its partners to impose painful sanctions. If anything, the bloody crackdown the Iranian people have endured since the election has only fueled their hatred of the current ruling clique and their determination to be rid of it as soon as possible. Popular loathing of the regime has reached such levels that almost any negative development is likely to be seized on as ammunition to attack its gross misrule. Almost any outside action that further squeezes Iran's tyrants and calls into question their legitimacy in the eyes of the world will be welcomed, even at the risk of imposing additional hardships on the Iranian people. The last thing on their minds is defending an indefensible regime in the face of tough international sanctions.


What about military action? This is a much harder call. Iran experts are split. The majority still maintain that Iranians would quickly unite to confront any foreign attacker. While opposition representatives I heard in Europe think that's unlikely, they are deeply worried that if the regime is not crippled in any military attack, it will move ruthlessly to crush their movement for good.

But a few Iranians -- especially in private -- see other possibilities. They suggest that a bombing campaign that spared civilians while destroying Iran's nuclear installations as well as targets associated with the regime's most repressive elements -- the Revolutionary Guard and Basij militia -- might well accelerate the theocracy's final unraveling at the hands of an already boiling population.


Israel Matzav: Iranian opposition backs sanctions, unsure about military action

Israel Matzav: American people will support Israeli military action against Iran

American people will support Israeli military action against Iran

From a Washington Times editorial:

The American people are skeptical that diplomacy or sanctions will stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. An Oct. 6 Pew Research Center poll shows that 63 percent of Americans favor negotiations with Iran, even though 64 percent believe they will be ineffective; 78 percent approve of tougher sanctions, even though 56 percent believe they won't work.

This is America at its most pragmatic. The public is saying that it's worth trying anything to stop Iran, but in the end, we probably will have to fight it out. The survey shows that 61 percent agree that Iran must be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons even if it requires the use of force. Just 24 percent believe we should accept an Iranian bomb if stopping it necessitates military action.

The prospects are slim that President Obama will use force to stop Iran. But the Pew poll is good news for Israel, which at least can count on the support of the American people when it takes the inevitable step. At this point, it's only a matter of time.

Let's be grateful that this is Obama's first term and not his second. At least there is some hope that he might still care what the American people think.

Israel Matzav: American people will support Israeli military action against Iran

Israel Matzav: Talks between Israel and 'Palestinians' unlikely

Talks between Israel and 'Palestinians' unlikely

The Washington Post reports that the Middle East 'peace process' has regressed since President Obumbler took office nine months ago, particularly in the last three weeks, and that it is unlikely that talks will resume anytime soon.

When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mitchell report to the White House next week on the administration's goal of restarting the peace talks, they will be describing a situation that has arguably regressed, particularly in the three weeks since a high-level session in New York involving President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.


"The peace process, by all indications, appears to be at an impasse," Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Wednesday during a two-hour news conference in which he acknowledged that Abbas had been put in a position of "major weakness" because of decisions made in consultation with the United States.

That erosion in domestic support has left the Palestinian Authority's leadership struggling to regroup. Instead of exclusively placing their hopes for statehood on talks under U.S. auspices, Palestinian leaders say they will also focus on taking a tougher line with Israel before the United Nations and other international bodies.


Absent a set of terms and a time frame for the creation of a viable state -- rather than the "Mickey Mouse" state that he accused Netanyahu of envisioning for the Palestinians -- Fayyad said the discussions will not resume.

"The approach of getting the two sides to sit and talk without preconditions, without terms of reference, is a killer to our side politically, and this was made clear" to Mitchell, said Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian academic and spokesman for the government.

Netanyahu has said he wants to reopen the talks without preconditions.


The Israeli government has taken notice of Abbas's difficulties. Two weeks ago, as the war crimes report was heading to apparent endorsement by the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Israeli officials issued blistering statements accusing Abbas and the Palestinians of incitement against them and demanding that the report be withdrawn.

But after Abbas supported the delay in the council's consideration of the report, orders went down through the Israeli Foreign Ministry and elsewhere to halt criticism of the Palestinian leader. "It was very dramatic, substantial and quick," said an Israeli government official, who spoke about the issue on the condition of anonymity. "It took a perverse turn."

Read the whole thing.

As in many other areas of foreign policy, Obama's handling of our region has been a disaster since Day One (the immediate call to Abu Mazen, Mitchell's appointment and the appearance on al-Arabiya all gave the impression that Obama was playing to the 'Palestinians' as if they had elected him and caused Israelis to mistrust him).

He should find a graceful way to put this on the back burner and stop sending Mitchell here. But don't expect that to happen.

Israel Matzav: Talks between Israel and 'Palestinians' unlikely

Israel Matzav: Hezbullah gets into the video business

Hezbullah gets into the video business

Hezbullah has released a video that attempts to refute the IDF aerial footage of Monday evening's explosion at an ammunition dump near Tyre in southern Lebanon that was released on Tuesday evening.

Let's go to the videotape.

Here once again is the IAF video. Let's go to the videotape.

Hezbullah's video is not credible.

1. Hezbullah's video was shot in broad daylight, but the incident took place around 8:30 pm Lebanon time when it was dark outside. The IDF video was taken at night, shortly after the blast occurred.

2. The truck's position makes it clear that Hezbullah was shooting a staged event (Hezbullahwood?) after the fact. In Hezbullah's video, the truck is backed up directly to the loading dock and there are two men shoving the debris into the back of the truck. In the IDF footage, the truck is parked a little bit away and there are at least 5 men carefully carrying the disputed object and loading it onto the truck.

3. In the Hezbullah video, the men are moving quite calmly for people clearing debris from an explosion that has just occurred. Their behavior is not consistent with the reported circumstances. There is no sense of urgency. In the IDF video, you see men moving more quickly and in a less organized manner. There appears to be a sense of panic that is far more consistent with the narrative that it is taking place where an explosion has just occurred.

4. If Hezbullah's video is not the same event as the IDF video, as appears to be the case (the Hezbullah video appears to have been shot the next day), then it proves nothing about the authenticity of the IDF video. It appears that Hezbullah showed up the next day, and started clearing debris while filming themselves. This would also account for the presence of uniformed personnel of the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL in the Hezbullah video. According to early accounts from Lebanon, Hezbullah gave the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and UNIFIL access to the explosion site only several hours after the explosion, after they had removed various items.

5. The IDF video shot shortly after the explosion shows Hezbollah cordoning off the area, loading items which seemed to include missiles onto one or more trucks, and then driving the trucks 4km away to a known Hezbollah arms depot in another village. After they were done clearing the house, they let UNIFIL and the LAF enter the area.

The mainstream media is currently reporting it as a "he said she said" story, without actually looking at the two videos, comparing them and checking with the timeline of events (most significantly, the fact that the explosion occurred at night and that the IAF video was clearly shot at night). This is from Reuters:

Lebanese Shi'ite guerrilla group Hezbollah released footage which it said showed a garage door being transported after a blast earlier this week, disputing an Israeli military claim that it could be a rocket.

The Lebanese army and Hezbollah said one person was wounded when a shell exploded in a house in the southern village of Tayr Filsi. Hezbollah said the incident occurred in the garage of one of its members.

Israel has said the blast at a Hezbollah house showed munitions were being stockpiled in violation of a truce that ended a war between the arch-enemies in 2006 and has complained to the United Nations about the incident.

The Israeli military released video footage on Tuesday it said was taken from an unmanned surveillance drone overlooking the scene shortly after the explosion. The footage was taken by an infra-red camera in black and white.

It showed frantic activity by dozens of people around the site with people loading at least one long object on a truck. The army then said two truckloads of munitions, including rockets were taken to another hiding place in a nearby village.


Footage released by Hezbollah's al-Manar television on Wednesday night showed UNIFIL peacekeepers watching as workers loaded a metal door onto a truck in daylight. Al Manar said the footage was taken in the nearby village of Deir Qanoun al-Nahr which it said was the location shown in the Israeli footage.

"Here are soldiers from UNIFIL and the Lebanese army. The place is empty except for the same truck and the alleged rocket. The surprise is that it is merely an iron garage door of the shop where the explosion occurred," a voice-over says during al-Manar's footage.

Note how Reuters treats both accounts as equally credible, and yet...

Reuters picks up on the panic in the IAF video versus the calmer atmosphere in the Hezbullah video. Which do you think is more consistent with the aftermath of an explosion?

Hezbullah claims that their video (and the IDF video) came from a location that is different than the location where both the LAF and Hezbullah said that the explosion took place. Given the sophistication of the IAF drones, why would they have filmed a different location immediately after the incident? It doesn't make sense.

Reuters notices that the Hezbullah video was shot in the daytime while the IAF video was shot at night (how could you not notice?). All the accounts from Lebanon said that the explosion occurred at night.

And finally, note how Hezbullah admits that the incident was a shell explosion in someone's garage. Do you keep unspent (mortar? tank?) shells in your garage? Do you know anyone who does?

The Hezbullah video is nothing but a group of "garbage collectors" removing detritus from the bomb site. Hezbullah calls it proof that the IDF allegations are false, and the mainstream media cannot draw the conclusions from its own stories and dutifully reports Hezbullah's account as being equally as credible as the IDF account (note that Haaretz does not do much better than Reuters).

What a sick, gutless world.

Israel Matzav: Hezbullah gets into the video business

Israel Matzav: Muslim student groups at UC Irvine and OSU sponsor Galloway fundraisers for Hamas

Muslim student groups at UC Irvine and OSU sponsor Galloway fundraisers for Hamas

Muslim student groups at the University of California at Irvine and at Ohio State University held fundraisers for Hamas in Gaza with demented British politician George Galloway last spring. The University of California has opened an investigation into whether its Muslim student group knowingly raised money for the Hamas terror organization (I'd bet they did) and US federal authorities may yet be looking into both student groups.

The OSU group is apparently connected to the Columbus (Ohio) mosque attended by the family of Rifka Bary, the 15-year old Sri Lankan born girl who converted to Christianity and fled to Florida to escape death threats from her family.

One of Galloway’s fundraising stops was for the Muslim Student Union at the University of California-Irvine. The Jerusalem Post reported last week that the student group is now under investigation by the university for having knowingly raised funds for Hamas at the event — a federal felony. Amazingly, several university officials were present at the fundraiser. One Jewish group has requested that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder also open an investigation after submitting a report and videos of the event to the Justice Department.

The Muslim student group at UC-Irvine was not alone in its fundraising for Galloway’s efforts to support Hamas, Pajamas Media has learned.

The Muslim Students Association at the Ohio State University — a sister organization to the UC-Irvine group — also held a luncheon fundraiser on April 4 featuring Galloway, just three weeks after his televised appearance in Gaza with Hamas leaders. A flier for the event states that “all proceeds go to Gaza.” According to the flier, the event was co-sponsored by a prominent mosque in the Columbus area, the Noor Islamic Cultural Center, which has recently been in the news concerning its terrorist ties and its connection to the Rifqa Bary case.


The president of the OSUMSA at the time it held its fundraiser for Galloway was Mohamed Sultan — the son of prominent terrorist-supporting sheikh Salah Sultan. Last January, I reported here at Pajamas Media about an appearance of Salah Sultan on Egyptian TV, where he threatened the U.S. with destruction and invoked a notorious Islamic hadith about the eventual extermination of the Jews at the hands of the Muslims. Sultan has also been photographed at events with several Hamas leaders.

There's much more too.

Israel Matzav: Muslim student groups at UC Irvine and OSU sponsor Galloway fundraisers for Hamas

Israel Matzav: Israel's exports to Turkey down 40%, Turkeys bad debts up 90%

Israel's exports to Turkey down 40%, Turkeys bad debts up 90%

Israel Credit Insurance Company, which insures payment on some $12 billion per year in Israeli exports, reported on Wednesday that exports to Turkey dropped by 40% during the first nine months of 2009, while debt payments in arrears by Turkish companies rose by 90% in the same period.

Israeli exports to Turkey totaled $800 million in the first nine months of this year, down 40% from $1.3 billion in the same period last year, ICIC reported. The drop in Israeli exports to Turkey was nearly double the rate of decline in total Israeli exports, which were down 22% in the January-September period, it said. Metals, chemicals and plastics accounted for most of the decline in exports to Turkey, it added.

A drastic deterioration in late debt payments by Turkish customers to Israeli exporters also took place, ICIC reported. The volume of debt-payment arrears by Turkish companies rose by 90% in the January-September period, and total debt owed to Israeli exporters stands at $40m., it said. The volume of the rise in debt arrears encompassed all sectors that export to Turkey, it added.

Debt-payment arrears occur when payments are not made more than 30 days after the credit conditions agreed upon between Israeli exporters and their customers, ICIC said.

Coincidence? I don't think so. It sounds to me like the Turks have decided not to pay their debts.

Israel Matzav: Israel's exports to Turkey down 40%, Turkeys bad debts up 90%

Israel Matzav: Syria gives away missiles; Lebanon complains to the UN

Syria gives away missiles; Lebanon complains to the UN

On Wednesday, I reported that Iran has been trying to supply Hamas in Gaza with long-range missiles that can be used to strike Tel Aviv. On Israel's northern border, Syria has given Hezbullah approximately 25% of its medium and long-range missiles for use against Israel.

Syria has supplied the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah with about a quarter of its arsenal of middle- and long-range missiles, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida on Thursday quoted Israeli security sources as saying.

According to the report, the sources said since Syria does not wish to enter into a direct conflict with Israel, it is using Hezbollah and the Palestinian militant group Hamas as proxies to harass it.


A senior military source said on Tuesday that Syria has made a clear strategic decision to make available to Hezbollah every type of military hardware in its arsenal.

According to Thursday's report in Al Jarida, Iranian and Syrian officers are training Hezbollah guerillas in how to fire the new missiles, and how to operate Russian- and Chinese-made early warning radar stations in Lebanon. The system has reportedly also undergone Iranian development.

And then there's another part to the story, which is really rich. You may recall that Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Gabriela Shalev filed a complaint with the United Nations over the explosion that took place at a Hezbullah ammunition dump on Monday night, saying that the dump's existence proved that Hezbullah was in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

Shalev's complaint was not the only one to arise out of Monday night's incident. A Lebanese member of parliament wants to file a complaint against Israel arising out of Monday night's incident.

Meanwhile, a Lebanese MP has said that the IDF video of the weapons cache is proof that Israel is still spying on his country, and constitutes a violation of the United Nations resolution that ended the war. The lawmaker called for Lebanon to submit a formal complaint on the matter to the UN.

Hezbollah has categorically denied that it removed arms from the site, and has released a video of its own that purportedly shows office equipment being moved from the building instead.

I haven't seen that Hezbullah video yet. I wonder who's doing the moving. The seven Santini brothers?


Israel Matzav: Syria gives away missiles; Lebanon complains to the UN

Israel Matzav: It's just politics

It's just politics

South Africa's chief rabbi, Warren Goldstein, who just happens to have a PhD in Human Rights Law, rips the Goldstone Report to shreds in an op-ed in Thursday's Jerusalem Post.

[T]he report uses the veneer of respectability that comes with legal methodology, and with the presence of an internationally respected judge, to gain credibility. Law is a very powerful weapon to give respectability to contemptible actions and opinions. The South African Apartheid Government was very legalistic in its approach to racial oppression, and was punctilious about promulgating proper laws, and about maintaining a fully functioning judiciary to give the façade of respectability to its repugnant policies.

The United Nations, through its various organs, but particularly through its Human Rights Commission, uses the superficial veneer of law and legal methodology to give credence and credibility to its anti-Israel agenda. The Goldstone Mission is a case in point. Careful analysis reveals that the legalities utilized are merely a cover for a political strategy of deligitimizing Israel.


Any civilized legal system requires that justice be done on two levels: procedural and substantive. The Goldstone Mission is replete with procedural and substantive injustices.


The Goldstone Mission is a disgrace to the most basic notions of justice, equality and the rule of law. And it is dangerous. Injustice will only lead to more death and destruction.

The Talmud says "The world stands on three things: truth, justice and peace." These three values are linked. There can never be peace without justice and truth.

The Goldstone Mission is unjust and wanting in truth. It has, therefore, harmed the prospects for peace in the Middle East.

Israel Matzav: It's just politics

Israel Matzav: Iran's nuclear threat... a lie?

Iran's nuclear threat... a lie?

I try to minimize the number of people I follow on Twitter because the volume of tweets becomes excessive. In general, I follow people whom I have used as sources in the past and who have many more followers than people they are following. One of the people I follow is a young blogger named Saeed from Iran who writes a blog called Revolutionary Road. I've been following Saeed since the first days of the post-election violence in Iran in June.

This morning, he disappoints.

Saeed runs without comment an article by John Pilger, a British 'investigative journalist,' who claims that Iran's nuclear threat is a lie. In the article, Pilger also attacks Israel, in case you have any doubts as to why the article was written:

On 16 September, Newsweek disclosed that the major US intelligence agencies had reported to the White House that Iran's "nuclear status" had not changed since the National Intelligence Estimate of November 2007, which stated with "high confidence" that Iran had halted in 2003 the programme it was alleged to have developed. The International Atomic Energy Agency has backed this, time and again.

The current propaganda derives from Obama's announcement that the US is scrapping missiles stationed on Russia's border. This serves to cover the fact that the number of US missile sites is actually expanding in Europe and the "redundant" missiles are being redeployed on ships. The game is to mollify Russia into joining, or not obstructing, the US campaign against Iran. "President Bush was right," said Obama, "that Iran's ballistic missile programme poses a significant threat [to Europe and the US]." That Iran would contemplate a suicidal attack on the US is preposterous. The threat, as ever, is one-way, with the world's superpower virtually ensconced on Iran's borders.

Iran's crime is its independence. Having thrown out America's favourite tyrant, Shah Reza Pahlavi, Iran remains the only resource-rich Muslim state beyond US control. As only Israel has a "right to exist" in the Middle East, the US goal is to cripple the Islamic Republic. This will allow Israel to divide and dominate the Middle East on Washington's behalf, undeterred by a confident neighbour. If any country in the world has been handed urgent cause to develop a nuclear "deterrence", it is Iran.

As one of the original signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has been a consistent advocate of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. In contrast, Israel has never agreed to an IAEA inspection, and its nuclear weapons plant at Dimona remains an open secret. Armed with as many as 200 active nuclear warheads, Israel "deplores" UN resolutions calling on it to sign the NPT, just as it deplored the recent UN report charging it with crimes against humanity in Gaza, just as it maintains a world record for violations of international law. It gets away with this because great power grants it immunity.

Here's the comment I wrote on Saeed's site (in case it is removed):


I hope you don't believe this crap. All the evidence is to the contrary. Have they even reported in Iran that there is a secret facility in Qom that was just disclosed last month?

As to Israel, assuming it has nuclear weapons, if you can't see the difference between a democracy holding nuclear weapons and an apocalyptic dictatorship holding them, you haven't learned the lessons of what you and your countrymen have been through in the last four months. Assuming that Israel has nuclear weapons, it has likely had them for more than 40 years and has never used them, including twice (1967 and especially 1973) when its very existence was threatened. Compare that to Ahmadinejad's threats to wipe Israel off the map at the first opportunity. After what you've gone through in the last four months, do you really believe he'd wouldn't do it?

Sorry my friend, but I'm very surprised and disappointed to see something like this on your site.

I could say a lot more (and have said it in the past) but I'll say it on my site.

How unreliable is Pilger's report? This is the Newsweek article to which he is referring.

The officials, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, said that U.S. intelligence agencies have informed policymakers at the White House and other agencies that the status of Iranian work on development and production of a nuclear bomb has not changed since the formal National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran's "Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities" in November 2007. Public portions of that report stated that U.S. intelligence agencies had "high confidence" that, as of early 2003, Iranian military units were pursuing development of a nuclear bomb, but that in the fall of that year Iran "halted its nuclear weapons program." The document said that while U.S. agencies believed the Iranian government "at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons," U.S. intelligence as of mid-2007 still had "moderate confidence" that it had not restarted weapons-development efforts.

One of the two officials said that the Obama administration has now worked out a system in which intelligence agencies provide top policymakers, including the president, with regular updates on intelligence judgments like the conclusions in the 2007 Iran NIE. According to the two officials, the latest update to policymakers has been that as of now—two years after the period covered by the 2007 NIE—U.S. intelligence agencies still believe Iran has not resumed nuclear-weapons development work. "That's the conclusion, but it's one that—like every other—is constantly checked and reassessed, both to take account of new information and to test old assumptions," one of the officials told NEWSWEEK. It is not clear whether U.S. agencies' confidence in this judgment has grown at all since the 2007 statement.

Without considering Israel's objections to the National Intelligence Assessment, there are other grounds for doubting it. First there is the assessment of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency. As the Wall Street Journal reported in July,

In a 30-page legal opinion on March 26 and a May 27 press release in a case about possible illegal trading with Iran, a special national security panel of the Federal Supreme Court in Karlsruhe cites from a May 2008 BND report, saying the agency "showed comprehensively" that "development work on nuclear weapons can be observed in Iran even after 2003."

According to the judges, the BND supplemented its findings on August 28, 2008, showing "the development of a new missile launcher and the similarities between Iran's acquisition efforts and those of countries with already known nuclear weapons programs, such as Pakistan and North Korea."

It's important to point out that this was no ordinary agency report, the kind that often consists just of open source material, hearsay and speculation. Rather, the BND submitted an "office testimony," which consists of factual statements about the Iranian program that can be proved in a court of law. This is why, in their March 26 opinion, the judges wrote that "a preliminary assessment of the available evidence suggests that at the time of the crime [April to November 2007] nuclear weapons were being developed in Iran." In their May press release, the judges come out even more clear, stating unequivocally that "Iran in 2007 worked on the development of nuclear weapons."

The information received from the Germans - who generally have much better sources on the ground in Iran than the United States has - led the Journal to conclude that the 2007 United States National Intelligence Assessment on Iran was politicized and did not constitute an objective assessment of the facts.

The court's decision and the BND's reports raise the question of how, or why, U.S. intelligence officials could have come to the conclusion that Iran suspended its program in 2003. German intelligence officials wonder themselves. BND sources have told me that they have shared their findings and documentation with their U.S. colleagues ahead of the 2007 NIE report -- as is customary between these two allies. It appears the Americans have simply ignored this evidence despite repeated warnings from the BND. This suggests not so much a failure of U.S. intelligence but its sabotage.

The politicized 2007 NIE report undermined the Bush Administration's efforts to rally international support for tough action against Iran. The world's best hope is that the Obama Administration is not being fed the same false sense of security.

The Journal article about the BND assessment appeared in July. Less than ten days after the Newsweek report cited by Pilger appeared, Iran admitted to the IAEA that it maintains a nuclear facility in Qom that had not been disclosed to that point. That facility happens to be a perfect size for the development of nuclear weapons. Since that disclosure, more people in the United States have reached the conclusion that the NIE was politicized and did not represent the true state of affairs. The CIA has now admitted that it knew about Qom (pictured) as far back as 2006, but has yet to provide a satisfactory explanation for why Qom apparently did not figure into the 2007 assessment.

Would Mark Hosenball have written the same article for Newsweek ten days later after Qom was disclosed? In this article, published on October 2, Hosenball is much more cautious.
Three European counterproliferation officials, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, confirmed to NEWSWEEK that British intelligence agencies believe that Iran is actively pushing ahead with a nuclear-bomb program. One of the officials said that U.K. intelligence outfits—led by MI-6—are "skeptical" of suggestions, most notably by U.S. intelligence agencies, that Iran stopped work on a military program to design and build a nuclear weapon in 2003.


U.S. officials acknowledged this week that there do seem to be differences between Washington and some of its closest allies—including Germany and Israel—when it comes to assessing Iran's progress on weapons development. However, one U.S. intelligence official insisted: "The public reports of differences are, to some degree, exaggerated. Our judgments on the Iranian nuclear program—like all the judgments we reach—are subject to reassessment in light of new information, which comes in constantly. But you have to weigh and test each piece, running tough traps on everything from sourcing to assumptions."

Several U.S. and European officials said they were confident that the allied agencies—including CIA, MI-6, Germany's BND and Israel's Mossad—were working from the same raw information. In other words, neither the United States nor any of the allies have secret, unilateral sources of intelligence which would lead them to different conclusions about Iran's bomb efforts, the officials maintain.

Two of the European officials suggested that the American assessment is very cautious because U.S. intelligence analysts still feel burned by their mistakes in the run-up to the Iraq War, when faulty intelligence was used by Bush administration officials to justify military action.


American agencies agree with European counterparts that the Qom facility is highly suspicious. This is not only because the Iranians built it underground and concealed it from the world for years. Western intelligence agencies also note that the facility is designed to accommodate enough centrifuges to enrich uranium to bomb-grade, but too few centrifuges for the large-scale enrichment needed to generate electrical power. Still, some U.S. counterproliferation officials point out that the Qom facility is still being built, and that centrifuges have not yet been installed there—leaving open the possibility that the Iranians could be telling the truth when they insist that the facility is being built for peaceful purposes.


The Germans seem to share the British view that Iran's nuclear weapons work never ceased. The views of Germany's BND, or Federal Intelligence Service, were cited during an attempt by German authorities to prosecute a German-Iranian businessman for shipping potentially-nuclear-related equipment to Iran, including high-speed cameras and radiation detectors built to withstand high temperatures. German judges quoted a BND assessment that "development work on nuclear weapons can be observed in Iran even after 2003." However, a European official says that some German experts believe that Iran may not actually be building a bomb, but only assembling the necessary equipment and technology. This would enable the Iranians to be in a position to assemble a bomb quickly without actually becoming a nuclear-armed state.
Sorry Saeed, but John Pilger is clearly someone with an axe to grind against the State of Israel. I won't stake my families' lives on agreeing with his assessments and I don't suggest that you stake your life or your families' lives on them either.

Would you?
Israel Matzav: Iran's nuclear threat... a lie?

Israel Matzav: Ayalon: Democracies will stop Goldstone Report

Ayalon: Democracies will stop Goldstone Report

Part of this IBA broadcast is an interview with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon in which Ayalon claims that the democracies of the world will prevent Israel from being harmed by the Goldstone Report because it's in their interest as well. I wish I could share his enthusiasm, but I don't see any way in the world that the Obama administration is going to use the veto to protect Israel from Goldstone.

Let's go to the videotape and then I'll have more. The Ayalon interview starts at the 0:45 mark.

Worse, our so-called allies, including the United States, Britain and France, are all pressing Israel to conduct 'credible investigations' into the Goldstone Report's allegations, as if the investigations conducted and being conducted to date are not credible, and as if there is any basis for the allegations made by the Goldstone Commission. If our putative allies are behaving that way, it is a matter for serious concern.

Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Alejandro Wolff said Washington had serious concerns about the report, including what he said was its "unbalanced focus on Israel." But he repeated the U.S. view that Israel should look into it.

"We take the allegations in the report seriously," he told the council. "Israel has the institutions and the ability to carry out serious investigations of these allegations and we encourage it to do so."


British Ambassador John Sawers called on Israel to launch proper investigations into the charges outlined in the report.

"We note that the Israeli Defense Force has already conducted and is continuing to conduct a number of investigations," Sawers said. "However, concerns remain."

"We urge the Israeli government to carry out full, credible and impartial investigations into the allegations," he added.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud urged both sides to initiate "independent inquiries in line with international standards."

UN Undersecretary-General Lynn Pascoe told the council that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also wanted "credible domestic investigations" based on the Goldstone report.

It is difficult to imagine the Obama administration exercising the United States' veto to spare Israel from the fallout of the Goldstone Report. Using the veto goes against Obama's entire internationalist conception of world relations. Moreover, the Obama administration did not share the Bush administration's enthusiasm for Operation Cast Lead. It insisted that the Operation be ended no later than Obama's inauguration coronation.

The best case scenario here may be that the United States abstains on a resolution that is so watered down as to be meaningless. The worst case is that it votes in favor of any resolution. The United States will do all it can to avoid having to exercise its veto. The Arabs may choose either path: They may try to force the United States to exercise the veto in order to embarrass it, or they may try to reach a consensus in the hope of getting something that can be used as a club against Israel.

What could go wrong? This time, I'm afraid that the answer is "an awful lot."

Israel Matzav: Ayalon: Democracies will stop Goldstone Report

Israel Matzav: Report: Israel planning to attack Iran 'after December'

Report: Israel planning to attack Iran 'after December'

In a report quoted on Israel Radio on Thursday morning from the French magazine Le Canard Enchainé, Israel has begun making some rather mundane preparations for an attack on Iran 'after December.'

According to a report in Le canard enchainé quoted by Israel Radio, Jerusalem has already ordered from a French food manufacturer high-quality combat rations for soldiers serving in elite units and also asked reservists of these units staying abroad to return to Israel.

The magazine reports further that in a recent visit to France, IDF Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi told his French counterpart Jean-Louis Georgelin that Israel is not planning to bomb Iran, but may send elite troops to conduct activities on the ground there.

These, according to the magazine, may involve sabotage to nuclear facilities as well as assassinations of top Iranian nuclear scientists.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Israel has maintained that it has the military capability to tackle Iran on its own if sanctions against the Islamic Republic prove ineffective.

I'll tell you a secret folks. I haven't asked anyone in the IDF, and I'm sure if I did the response would either be 'no comment' or a comment off the record, but I will guarantee you that the IDF already has elite forces on the ground in Iran and probably has at least since June.

Bet on it.

Israel Matzav: Report: Israel planning to attack Iran 'after December'

Israel Matzav: Unindicted co-conspirator seeks to spy on Congress?

Unindicted co-conspirator seeks to spy on Congress?

The Hill is reporting that four Republican Representatives have asked the House sergeant-at-arms to investigate whether CAIR - the Council on American Islamic Relations - has planted spies as interns in key congressional committees to try to influence legislation relating to anti-terrorism efforts (Hat Tip: Jihad Watch).

CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, in which a number of Muslims were convicted of raising money in the United States for the Hamas terror organization.

According to The Hill, the House sergeant-at-arms said that his office received no such request and the Justice Department is declining comment.

Reps. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), citing the book Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that’s Conspiring to Islamize America, called for the House sergeant at arms to investigate whether CAIR had been successful in placing interns on key panels. The lawmakers are specifically focused on the House Homeland Security Committee, Intelligence Committee and Judiciary Committee.

“If an organization is connected to or supports terrorists [and] is running influence operations or planting spies in key national security-related offices, I think this needs to be made known,” said Broun, who sits on the Homeland Security Committee. “So I join my colleagues here today in calling for action.”


The book, which was written by P. David Gaubatz and Paul Sperry with a foreword by Myrick, is scheduled to be released on Thursday.

A representative of CAIR called the accusations unfounded and worried that they would tarnish the improving relations between Muslim and non-Muslim Americans.

“God forbid American Muslims take part in the political process and exercise their rights,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a CAIR spokesman, in a telephone interview. “I suppose they’re going to investigate the Muslim Staffers Association next.

“If these people weren’t so hate-filled, it would be laughable, but unfortunately they have an audience and, given their positions, it’s going to get picked up by the hate blogs.”

I'd feel a lot better if Hooper had said "God forbid American Muslims take part in an effort to undermine America's (and everyone else's) security. But of course, he would never say that.

Eight years after 9/11, all we seem to have learned is President Bush's hasty and misguided declaration that Islam is a 'religion of peace.'

What could go wrong?

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Unindicted co-conspirator seeks to spy on Congress?

Israel Matzav: Fatah and Hamas' shot-gun wedding

Fatah and Hamas' shot-gun wedding

Khaled Abu Toameh describes the misgivings each of Hamas and Fatah has regarding each other and the deal into which Egypt is forcing them to enter. But the bottom line is that the deal won't last anyway.

By forcing Hamas and Fatah into an unwanted marriage, the Egyptians are repeating the same mistake the Saudis and Yemenis made.

The Saudis forced the two parties to sign the Jeddah agreement, which lasted for less than four months. The Yemenis tried to copy the Saudi example, but were dealt a humiliating blow when Hamas and Fatah negotiators left the country without signing a deal, despite the Yemeni government's announcement that it had succeeded in ending the rift.

Even if Hamas does succumb to Egyptian pressure and adds its signature to the latest agreement, there's no guarantee that the accord would ever be implemented. This is a marriage that neither the groom nor the bride want.

Sounds a lot like the 'peace process' between Israel and the 'Palestinians,' doesn't it? There, the party holding the shotgun is the United States. The difference is that most Israelis would like to sign an agreement with the 'Palestinians' and stop the fighting. The problem is that it takes two to tango and the 'Palestinians' aren't ready to dance yet. And they won't be unless and until we totally defeat them militarily.

Yaacov Kirschen did this cartoon in 1991 and re-ran it as a golden oldie in 2006. It's a fair summary of what a 'peace agreement' between Israel and the 'Palestinians' might look like under the current circumstances:

And it wouldn't last either. It would just make us start the next war at a significant disadvantage.

Israel Matzav: Fatah and Hamas' shot-gun wedding

Israel Matzav: Caroline Glick on Israel's relations with Turkey

Israel Matzav: Caroline Glick on Israel's relations with Turkey

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

Jilani: Approaching the Matter with an Open Mind

Jilani: Approaching the Matter with an Open Mind

Last Goldstone post for today, I promise. (Eventually he and his report will slip into the dustbin of history where it belongs; I'm just doing my two bits to smooth its way).

Hila Jilani is the Pakistani woman who was on the Goldstone Commission. I don't know much about her, but if you believe her own words, it's pretty clear why the HRC people thought she would make a fine member:

Jilani said the panel was aware of Israel's record of ignoring
international law and discriminating against Palestinians internally. And that
Israel had held probes that had effectively whitewashed its military actions in
Gaza. Yet the panel wanted the council to give Israel a chance to hold
transparent and credible investigations...
Yet Israel has "absolute responsibility as an occupying force toward the
civilian population, a responsibility that has very clearly been violated."
Israel has kept the Palestinians "under an extremely repressive occupation for
40 years" and, then, launched the war on Gaza – "a step too far."

Rule number one when setting up a commission: always choose the members to insure the result you wish to have.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

United Nations in La-La-Land

United Nations in La-La-Land

One Hillel Neuer was tweeting earlier today from the UN Human Rights Council meeting.

The gravity of the event is encapsulated in his quote from the speech of the Sudani representative:
Israel spared neither women nor children, neither mosques nor homes...not even

Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Goldstone in La-La-Land

Goldstone in La-La-Land

Page 134 of the report:

439. The Mission also addressed questions regarding the tactics used by Palestinian armed groups to the Gaza authorities. They responded that they had nothing to do, directly or indirectly, with al-Qassam Brigades or other armed groups and had no knowledge of their tactics. To gather first-hand information on the matter, the Mission requested a meeting with representatives of armed groups. However, the groups were not agreeable to such a meeting. The Mission, consequently, had little option but to rely upon indirect sources to a greater extent than for other parts of its investigation.

Translation: the Mission=the Commission
Palestinian armed groups=Hamas, Islamic Jihad, perhaps el-Aksa Brigades. Anyone fighting Israel.
Gaza Authorities=Hamas.

So the Commission didn't talk to the Israelis, it didn't talk to any Palestinians who might have admitted to fighting the Israelis, the "authorities" had no connection with the fighters, none whatsoever, no Arab-language documentation of government was sought nor seen, no Hebrew-language documentation was seen, no Hebrew-Arabic intelligence documentation was seen.

Of such materials are important international documents forged.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

But, But... We Love The Israelis!

But, But... We Love The Israelis!

Selcuk Cobanoglu, the producor of the Turkish antisemitic TV program unveiled yesterday explains that he loves Israel, loves the Israelis, and the bloodthirsty soldiers depicted in his program - you can see them on Youtube - aren't even Israelis, though the story takes place in Palestine. Then again...

It is very important that I stress that we love the people in Israel. We love the Israelis. "We know that Israel didn't do these things, but there are small groups who did things like this sometimes, they killed children and things like that. We made the series about them, not about Israel directly," he said. He continued to ask the question, "Does the show reflect reality?" and answered, "In Operation Cast Lead 300 children were killed. Muhammad al-Durra was also killed. Is this logical?"

So the man's an antisemite, and a wolly-minded thinker, and a coward. All at the same time. Impressive.

Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Politics, Not Law

Politics, Not Law

We've been having a discussion here about whether Richard Goldstone read the report that bears his name. The significance of the matter can be overestimated - the report and its content are out there in any case. Yet the fact that the Commission was headed by a Jew with connections to Israel has given it tremendous added weight; the man thus opened himself to personal investigation, certainly in the context of his report.

Warren Goldstein, a South African rabbi with a PhD in International law, claims in his column published yesterday in the Jerusalem Post that there is very little about the report that is legal, and much that is politics. One of the four procedural weaknesses he finds in the work of the Commission is the impossible haste with which it did its job:

Any lawyer with even limited experience knows that there was just not
sufficient time for the Mission to have properly considered and prepared its
report. One murder trial often takes many months of evidence and argument to
enable a judge to make a decision with integrity. To assess even one day of
battle in Gaza with the factual complexities involved would have required a
substantial period of intensive examination. According to the Mission's Report,
the Mission convened for a total of 12 days.

They say that they considered a huge volume of written and visual material
running into thousands of pages; they conducted three field trips; there were
only four days of public hearings; and yet in a relatively short space of time
the members of the Mission agreed to about 500 pages of detailed material and
findings with not one dissenting opinion throughout.

They made no less than 69 findings, mostly of fact, but some of law and
within those 69 there were often numerous sub-findings.

All of this was quite simply physically impossible if the job had been
done with integrity and care.

Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Civilian Investigation: Pros and Cons

Civilian Investigation: Pros and Cons

According to Haaretz, the Americans, British and French are pressuring Israel to launch a civilian investigation into the events of the Gaza operation.

Such an investigation would likely to be headed by a retired Supreme Court justice - Aharon Barak is the obvious candidate - joined by a prominent academic figure and a retired general. It would sit for six months or a year, and eventually submit a thick report in two sections. One would be for public and international consumption, and would address all the issues relevant to the public, political and international discussions. The second, classified, section would focus on the minutiae of military practice; it will remain classified for decades, for obvious reasons. So far as I know, the classified section of the Agranat Commission's report, submitted in 1974, is still not open.

There are pros and cons to such a move.

The most obvious reason not to set up such a commission is that it would seem to vindicate the Goldstone Commission's findings, at least until the results are published. Given the degree to which the Goldstone Report really and truly is an unaceptable document- a very large degree - this is a legitimate consideration.

The second reason not to have a civilian investigation is that the international practice in democracies is not to have them. The investigations Israel is already holding are as professional and legally sound as those the Americans and Europeans hold, and their pressure on Israel to do more is hypocrisy (or power politics, which is similar). Remind me who headed the civilian investigation into the battles of Faluga, say?

The pros are more numerous. First, once the Barak Commission refutes the main findings of the Goldstone report - and it will, there can be no doubt about that - the world will have to divide itself on this matter into two clear camps. The one that accepts Israel as a democracy fighting an ugly enemy with reasonable measures and some room for improvement; and the one that uses whatever tools it can to attack Israel, irrespective of facts or rationality. True, the existing investigations should be enough, but for some people, Aharon Barak's presence will be reassuring.

This consideration also touches the whole issue of international law; a Barak Report will bolster the saner of its advocates and proponents.

Next, Israel has held such investigations for all its wars since 1973, and for various less-than-war cases in between. None of them have ever damaged us, and they've all strengthened us. There really is eternal room for improvement, and serious investigations by serious professionals always find valuable things.

Further, the reading of the Goldstone Report is uncomfortable. Yes, it's biases are outlandish, its methods are worse than primitive, and it's riddled by factual mistakes. Yet it's impossible not to read the litany of horrific things it describes and remain untouched. A civilian investigation would have the tools and the time to do what the individual reader cannot: sift through the endless details and do its best to reach the truth.

So, will there be such an investigation? I'd hazard the guess there won't. I don't see the Netanyahu government setting it up right now, since they've correctly decided to lambast the Goldstone Report with everything they've got; this, in spite of the fact that it wasn't them, it was the previous government (which contained the same minister of defense, that's true).

Should there be such an investigation? I think it would be the grown-up thing to do, yes.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Rua da Judiaria - Os Judeus Sefarditas de Inglaterra

Rua da Judiaria - Os Judeus Sefarditas de Inglaterra

Posted using ShareThis

The Torah Revolution: An important first step? [On Civil marriage in Israel]

The Torah Revolution: An important first step? [On Civil marriage in Israel]

Love of the Land: The Times: Reinterpreting 'International Law'

The Times: Reinterpreting 'International Law'

Media Critiques/
15 October 09

The Times's correspondent opposes Israeli settlements by misrepresenting the Geneva Conventions.

When do journalists become experts in "international law"? The Times's James Hider writes an analysis piece "Geneva Conventions give the lie to Israeli stance on new settlements". Putting aside one's personal views on the desirability or otherwise of Israeli settlements, it is a particularly inappropriate turn of phrase in the headline to accuse Israel of lying.

This is even more so considering that the application of the Geneva Conventions to Israeli settlements is open to interpretation. Hider, however, chooses a blanket statement to make his own interpretation:

Under the Geneva Conventions, however, it is illegal to settle civilians on land captured in war, which is why the international community condemns the move into the Palestinian territories.

In fact, as Mitchell Bard points out:

  • The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the forcible transfer of people of one state to the territory of another state that it has occupied as a result of a war. The intention was to insure that local populations who came under occupation would not be forced to move. This is in no way relevant to the settlement issue. Jews are not being forced to go to the West Bank; on the contrary, they are voluntarily moving back to places where they, or their ancestors, once lived before being expelled by others.

Do the Geneva Conventions even technically apply to the settlements? The late Professor Eugene Rostow, former Dean of Yale Law School, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs under US President Lyndon Johnson and a drafter of UN Resolution 242 writes:

Article 2 of the convention provides that the agreement applies "to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a high contracting party."Thus the convention cannot apply because the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip have never been generally recognized as territories of Jordan. Jordan administered them as a belligerent occupant between 1948 and 1967, after a war of aggression against Israel in 1948. Jordan's attempt to annex these areas in 1950 was recognized only by Britain (except for Jerusalem) and perhaps by Pakistan.

In any event, Jordan has formally renounced whatever claims it may have had to the territory, which is a residual part of the Palestine Mandate and therefore subject to the rights of "the Jewish people" to make "close settlement" on the land. I regard this aspect of the controversy as legally more important than arguments based on the Geneva Convention.

Thus, Hider not only fails to define the terms of the Geneva Conventions properly but also fails to note that their applicability to Israeli settlements is open to interpretation.

This is only the tip of the iceberg of a particularly virulent anti-Israel bias prevalent within Europe, as Israel's detractors invoke "international law" to promote accusations of "war crimes" and other illegal actions. While the European establishment may accept Hider's opinion as fact, not interpretation, the facts support a different conclusion.

Please send your considered comments to The Times - - remembering to include an address and daytime telephone number.

Love of the Land: The Times: Reinterpreting 'International Law'

Love of the Land: Failure Everyone Can See Now

Failure Everyone Can See Now

Jennifer Rubin
15 October 09

At some point, not even the mainstream media can spin sufficiently for the hapless Obama foreign policy. This Washington Post report is blunt:

A political crisis for the Palestinian Authority and growing doubts about American mediation have deeply undercut chances that Israeli-Palestinian peace talks will resume in the near future, according to officials and analysts on both sides.

After nine months of shuttle diplomacy by U.S. special envoy George J. Mitchell, the gap between Israeli and Palestinian leaders appears to have grown, and it now includes not only a dispute over Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, but also renewed tension over Jerusalem, disagreement over the framework for the talks and controversy over a U.N. report on alleged war crimes during Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip last winter.

In other words, Obama’s Middle East gambit, apparently inspired by those known Middle East policy wonks Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, has failed. Spectacularly so. Putting daylight between the U.S. and Israel and sneering at the Bush team for being too close to Israel didn’t really get the Obami anywhere, did it? The Post is candid that the fixation on settlements “backfired.” As virtually every pro-Israel conservative commentator predicted, “It raised hopes among Palestinians, who began to demand nothing less than a full freeze, and led to severe tensions in U.S.-Israeli relations.”

And all that ingratiating with the “Muslim World” in Cairo? Not much was gained; in fact, the parties are more estranged than ever. Our relations with Israel have not been this strained since . . . well, ever . . . and the administration’s credibility is arguably worse than any of its recent predecessors.

What can be learned from all this? Sanctimonious speeches and fractured history-telling don’t make for “peace.” Savaging your allies doesn’t get you anywhere. And ignoring hard truths — including the Palestinians’ unsolved internal divisions and refusal to renounce and root out terrorism — also doesn’t get you anywhere. Moreover, Obama’s appearance on the scene doesn’t change any of the fundamental issues; neither does chanting “diplomacy” or “dedication to the peace process.”

This should be a wake-up call for the administration. The Obama team might want to consider letting domestic pols run foreign policy. And they might put away some of their egocentric misconceptions about the power of Obama’s aura.

Love of the Land: Failure Everyone Can See Now

Love of the Land: Open Letter to Defense Minister Barak: Do Not Negotiate My Release

Open Letter to Defense Minister Barak: Do Not Negotiate My Release

This week, I wrote an open letter to Defense Minister Barak, instructing him not to negotiate my release if I am G-d forbid abducted by terrorists. The letter has been making waves in Israel, and was quoted in Israel's major media outlets:

An open letter to Defense Minister Barak: Do not negotiate my release

To the Defense Minister of the State of Israel
Mr. Ehud Barak

Re: Instructions not to conduct negotiations for my release if I am taken captive

As an Israeli citizen, as a soldier and a reserve officer, I hereby instruct you that if, God forbid, I am ever kidnapped or taken captive by Arab terror organizations, no negotiations should be conducted to secure my release. This order is the product of a sound mind. The reasons for this instruction are as follows:

A. Twenty-five years ago, Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard took shelter from his pursuers inside the Israeli Embassy in Washington. In accordance with an order issued by the Shamir government, then-Israeli Ambassador Elyakim Rubinstein handed him directly over to US federal authorities. Since then and to this day, Jonathan has been imprisoned under disgraceful conditions. He has never had even a short vacation outside the prison walls. His health is dangerously deteriorating. Israel - for whom and in whose name Jonathan sacrificed his life, did and continues to do everything possible to ensure that Jonathan will remain in prison and die there. Despite the biting betrayal that he experienced, every time that the media raises the possibility that Jonathan will be exchanged for one arch-murderer or another, Pollard hurriedly announces his opposition to this type of swap. It is incumbent on every Israeli citizen to understand - as a free person -what our betrayed hero understands from his jail cell. We must not buy liberty for an individual in exchange for endangering the lives of the public and encouraging additional abductions.

B. After a number of visits to his prison cell I understood that in the 25 years of continued betrayal of Jonathan, Israel's government has lost the moral foundation in the name of which it sends its sons to endanger themselves and in the power of which it can also bring them home. In fact, since the betrayal of Jonathan and until this very day, Israel has not brought one captive soldier home alive.

C. The Israeli government has refrained from carrying out the simple and most obvious actions for Gilad Shalit's release. Hamas, which at first avoided admitting that it was the kidnapper, quickly understood that Israel's leaders would not endanger themselves with international arrest warrants and is no longer afraid to claim full responsibility for this act. Its thousands of detainees in Israel are getting the royal treatment and enjoy conditions no Israeli detainee can even dream of.

As a first step, Israel should have compared the arrest conditions of Hamas prisoners to those of Shalit. No visits, no information, no sunlight. All Hamas leaders should have become the targets of kidnappings and assassinations. The entire supply of money, weapons, cement, fuel and electricity from Israel to Gaza should have stopped. These basic actions, and many others which could have led to Shalit's swift release, are not being carried out because the Israeli leadership fears its own fate. The only way that Israel's leaders can please both Israeli mothers and the world is to surrender and dispatch thousands of murderers to our doorsteps.

D. Clearly, the loss of vision and leadership that engenders these wholesale releases greatly encourages our enemies. The wave of terror and kidnappings that broke out following the release of thousands of terrorists does not fit what we had known in the past by any standard. "I couldn't look the mothers in the eye," said Defense Minister Yitzchak Rabin and signed the prisoner swap with the Jibril terror organization. This exchange led directly to the first intifada. This led to a mass release of terrorists in the Oslo Accord and to the suicide bomber rage that followed on its heels. The State of Israel has sunk itself inside fences and guards, but this is nothing more than a pain killer for spreading cancer.

No fence can stop rockets. The weakness of the Israeli leadership in the face of terror organizations has been well internalized by a distant and much more dangerous circle of enemy states. Why should Iran's leader be afraid if the Hamas leaders feel safe?

E. "I see Israel as a state of all its citizens," explained the most influential Israeli of this generation, former Chief Justice Aharon Barak. Israel, fleeing from its Jewish identity, has pulled the carpet out from under the moral foundation of its very existence and right to send soldiers into battle. If not for a Jewish state, then what are we doing here? Why should we send our sons to the army and not to Australia?

The inevitable result of loss of Jewish vision is loss of our ability to conduct any sort of political program. When there is no strategic goal, there cannot be tactical policies. As a result, Israel will continue to conduct itself according to the caprices of constantly-surfacing international and local pressure and media campaigns.

F. In this situation, the responsible Israeli citizen is faced with one of two choices: One - to come to terms with the process briefly described here and to wait for the coup de grace that will terminate the historic episode called 'The State of Israel'. The other option is that, like in past wars, the simple soldiers will know how to save the state from the failures of its leaders. As such, we, the civilians and the simple soldiers order that no negotiations be held for us.

G. I am pleased to report that both combat officers and soldiers have announced that they will unhesitatingly add their names to this petition. I plan to continue to send you letters from soldiers in the same spirit.


Moshe Feiglin

Since I announced this initiative, I have received quite a few letters from soldiers and citizens who penned their own versions to Barak. The most touching was a letter from Yitzchak, a soldier who served with Gilad Shalit. Yitzchak wrote as follows:

"Since Gilad was abducted, I feel torn and I do not know what to do to help him. Like every Jew on earth, I pray for him and hope that he will be released soon - safe and sound.
Yet, I am dismayed at how our entire country kneels before the terror organizations every time that they succeed in capturing one of our fighters in their clutches. This situation is intolerable and we fall into this trap time and again. I am frequently forced to refuse the requests of my fellow soldiers from our company and brigade to participate in demonstrations for Gilad. I have reached the conclusion that our intellect must take precedence over our emotions, as painful as this is for me."

My letter to the Defense Minister seems to have touched a raw nerve. Many people are disgusted with Israel's defeatism and are anxious to join in this initiative. It is important to remember that since the wholesale release of terrorists in the Jibril swap 25 years ago, not one Israeli soldier has returned home alive from terrorist captivity. The terrorist release approach is not only wrong from a moral and security point of view; it also fails to produce positive results.

Statistically, 80% of Hamas terrorists return to terror and murder after their release. In other words, 16 of the 20 terrorists released by Israel in exchange for the Gilad Shalit video will once again attempt to murder Israelis. It is reasonable to assume that one of them may possibly succeed, G-d forbid. This will be just part of the true price of the video. It is merely the promo for the pictures of long lines of buses filled with gleeful murderers that we will be treated to if the entire exchange takes place, G-d forbid.

The more soldiers and citizens who write letters to the Defense Minister, the greater the chances that Israel will regain its moral balance and return to war against terror instead of surrender to its dictates.

Please fill in your name and information on the letter below, copy, paste and email it to . We will send the letters in bulk to Minister Barak.

Or print the letter out here, fill in your information and fax it to our office: 09 792 0570

or mail it to:
Manhigut Yehudit
POB 21
Ginot Shomron

Love of the Land: Open Letter to Defense Minister Barak: Do Not Negotiate My Release
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