Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The Torah Revolution: To Lindsey Silken: Let's rally behind ex NASA scientist Mr.Stewart David Nozette, 52

To Lindsey Silken: Let's rally behind ex NASA scientist Mr.Stewart David Nozette, 52

B"H -

"Lindsey Silken is one of Jewish Community's Hero of the Year judges in the semifinalist phase of this challenge. Lindsey wants to hear from you before she makes her decision on the Hero of the Year. Tell her which "must-have" quality you'd like to see in the ultimate Jewish Community Hero. Then let her know which hero you think possesses that quality."

This is what I wrote to her:


Lindsey, under the present emergency circumstances I think it would be most appropriate to dedicate your entire event to ex NASA scientist Mr.Stewart David Nozette, 52, who was framed by the FBI and now sits in jail, just like Jonathan Pollard does, since '85. Let's send a strong message to the American people and to the American government, saying that helping Israel is OK, even at a cost of changing the rules in the middle of the game. I'm sure everybody would rally behind you and people would applaud you for standing up for the Jewish right to a safe Israel.
FBI agents were specifically posing as Mossad spy handlers, targetting Jews. Let American Jews say NO to FBI anti-Semitism!

Please do the same and ask your friends and contacts to do the same. It is IMPORTANT to stand up now for the Jewish right to a safe Israel!

The Torah Revolution: To Lindsey Silken: Let's rally behind ex NASA scientist Mr.Stewart David Nozette, 52

Love of the Land: Patterns of Dictatorship

Patterns of Dictatorship

Michael J. Totten
16 October 09

I am amazed all over again every time I meet a Westerner in Lebanon who admires Hezbollah or gets defensive on its behalf. Last time I visited Beirut I ran into an American journalist who said Hezbollah "is trying to raise awareness of Global Warming. Don't you think that's interesting?"

No, I don't think it's "interesting," and my Lebanese friends found that journalist's question contemptible.

My first reaction when I meet people like this is that, as Westerners, they ought to know better. Then I read articles like Patterns of Dictatorship by Ana Maria Luca in NOW Lebanon, and I reconsider my initial reaction to thick Westerners. Luca lives in Beirut, and she grew up in Nicolae Ceauşescu's Romania. As far as she is concerned, the differences between Hezbollah and the dictatorship of her youth are just details.

Eastern Europeans, rather than Americans and Western Europeans, are really the ones who ought to know better. And they generally do. They have real world experience with totalitarian politics, and they seem a lot less likely, as a result, to think a terrorist like Hassan Nasrallah is some kind of misguided liberal.

Love of the Land: Patterns of Dictatorship

Love of the Land: Why This Man is Smiling

Why This Man is Smiling

Melanie Phillips
The Spectator
21 October 09

As the world wrings its hands rather than the neck of the Iranian terrorist regime (when IAEA Director Mohamed el Baradei says of the talks about a draft agreement with Tehran over its nuclear programme that he feels 'optimistic' because they were 'very constructive', it's time to run for the shelters; just look at that grin today on the face of Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, pictured above ) Israel’s former UN Ambassador Dore Gold spelled out, at a meeting in the House Commons held by the Henry Jackson Society earlier this month, just why we cannot ‘live with a nuclear Iran’:

There are countries in the world that are happy with what they have, that aren't interested in expansion or intruding on their neighbors and basically just want to be left on their own. Then there are states that are actively intervening in the affairs of their neighbors and have interests well beyond their own borders, and Iran is in that category. Iran is engaged in the insurgency in Afghanistan, providing the Taliban, who were their enemies 10 years ago, with weaponry and other forms of assistance to fight U.S. and UK forces in that country. Iran has been engaged in Iraq, particularly through the Shiite militias in southern Iraq. Iran has declared that Bahrain, an independent kingdom, is a province of Iran. Iran is active in Lebanon; it created and sustains Hizbullah. It’s involved in Gaza, Egypt, Sudan and Yemen.

So if you take the fact that Iran is one of the largest supporters of international terrorism today, and you team that up with the nuclear capabilities that Iran has today - enough low-enriched uranium for two atomic bombs - coupled with the fact that Iran is developing a robust ballistic missile system that goes far beyond what many people believe, you have a security situation which the West has not yet seen. This is an entirely new situation that we have to anticipate and understand. And it makes the handling of the Iranian issue all the more urgent

... I think we have the problem in that the world’s biggest supporter of international terrorism is about to get a nuclear umbrella, and that means that terrorist groups will have a protective umbrella over them....This nuclear umbrella of Iran will unfurl and will be able to provide protection not just to Shiite Hizbullah, but to Sunni al-Qaeda and Hamas.

Love of the Land: Why This Man is Smiling

Love of the Land: HRW Tries to Make Things Better…

HRW Tries to Make Things Better…

David Hazony
21 October 09

(And again!)

Human Rights Watch really ought to lay low for a while. Over the past few months, the once-admired watchdog admitted to fundraising in Saudi Arabia as an anti-Israel organization and discovered that one of the writers of its anti-Israel reports is a big fan of Nazi memorabilia. Yesterday, the organization’s founder, Robert Bernstein, published a blistering op-ed in the New York Times accusing the organization of abandoning its mission and becoming obsessed with attacking Israel. (See Noah Pollak’s analysis of HRW’s rebuttal here.)

So what does HRW do? It tries to prove its even-handedness. It has announced that, in its opinion, Hamas — the universally reviled terror organization that has never found an anti-civilian tactic too crude to embrace, the jihadist group that made suicide bombing a form of martyrdom, that lobbed thousands of rockets at Israeli civilian centers and brought on the entire 2009 military operation in Gaza — that this Hamas ought to conduct a “credible investigation” into accusations that it, too, committed war crimes. In a letter penned by the organization’s Middle East and North Africa division head, Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW applauds Hamas’s recent acceptance of the Goldstone Report. ”In the past, Hamas tried to justify the unjustifiable by defending unlawful rocket attacks,” Whitson said. “Having now promised to follow the Goldstone Report’s recommendations, Hamas has no excuse for not carrying out serious war crimes investigations.”

Like it did before? Hamas has, of course, promised it will do so right away, and we’re all very glad to hear it. But of greater interest is what such a letter says about HRW. I remember that great scene in The Treasure of Sierra Madre when Walter Huston, the older prospector, yells at his younger and less stalwart fellows, “You’re so dumb, there’s nothing to compare you with!” It’s one of my favorite movie lines because it captures the fact that sometimes something is so outrageous that the mind gropes in vain for an effective metaphor. Asking Hamas, a recognized terrorist group, to conduct an investigation into its war crimes is like, like … what? Is it like asking a Mob family to investigate charges of racketeering in its ranks? Or like asking a congenital liar to go to confession? How about asking a convicted mass murderer to investigate reports about his violent tendencies? Around the free world, people are imprisoned just for membership in Hamas. What could such a letter mean?

Maybe we should let Human Rights Watch just keep opening its mouth.

Love of the Land: HRW Tries to Make Things Better…

Love of the Land: Human Rights Watch’s Non-Rebuttal Rebuttal

Human Rights Watch’s Non-Rebuttal Rebuttal

Noah Pollak
21 October 09

In case you missed it, yesterday something very important happened: Bob Bernstein, the founder and for 20 years the chair of Human Rights Watch, published an op-ed in the New York Times criticizing the organization for its obsessive attacks on Israel. He wrote that HRW is “helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.”

HRW was quick to offer a response — and it is a pathetically weak and deceptive one. A quick fisking:

Human Rights Watch does not believe that the human rights records of “closed” societies are the only ones deserving scrutiny.

A classic red-herring argument. Nowhere did Bernstein argue that open societies should not be subject to scrutiny. What he said is that the amount of attention HRW pays to Israel is wildly out of proportion to Israel’s violations, especially when Israel is compared with the Middle East’s dozens of dictatorships. Misrepresenting the plain meaning of Bernstein’s argument allows HRW to rebut an accusation that he never made. The press release continues:

Human Rights Watch does not devote more time and energy to Israel than to other countries in the region, or in the world. We’ve produced more than 1,700 reports, letters, news releases, and other commentaries on the Middle East and North Africa since January 2000, and the vast majority of these were about countries other than Israel.

Another red herring — this one with some clever weasel phrasing. Bernstein never said that HRW “devotes more time and energy to Israel than to other countries in the region.” He wrote that “Human Rights Watch has written far more condemnations of Israel for violations of international law than of any other country in the region.” The obvious difference is that Bernstein was comparing the number of reports on Israel to the number of reports on any other individual country in the Middle East. HRW presents Bernstein as claiming that HRW writes more reports on Israel than on all the countries in the Middle East combined. Obviously, HRW cannot contest the accuracy of Bernstein’s statement, so it dishonestly responds to a charge he never made.

It is not the case that Human Rights Watch had “no access to the battlefield” after the Israeli operation in Gaza in January 2009. Although the Israeli government denied us access, our researchers entered Gaza via the border with Egypt and conducted extensive interviews.

Human Rights Watch is apparently incapable of dealing with criticism on its own terms. Bernstein did not argue that HRW had no access to the battlefield after the war was over, as HRW claims he said. What Bernstein in fact said was that HRW was not present on the battlefield during the war, therefore limiting its ability to know what happened and to make war-crimes judgments.

The dishonesty and manipulativeness of HRW’s response to Bernstein is but a small manifestation of the organization’s larger problems: its inability to engage honestly with the arguments of its detractors, and the related problem of the unreliability of the group’s reporting on the Middle East.

Love of the Land: Human Rights Watch’s Non-Rebuttal Rebuttal

Love of the Land: Patterns of Dictatorship

Patterns of Dictatorship

Ana Maria Luca
NOW Lebanon
14 October 09

It was August 23 1985. I was 7 and I was crying because I wanted to attend the Socialist Republic of Romania’s national day with my father. It was a holiday for the “working class,” as all holidays were at the time in Romania. Thousands of people, workers from factories and construction sites, and peasants, took to the streets in organized marches to celebrate the Romanian Communist Party and the “socialist victory.” They were marshaled by ever-present party officials who were always there to tell people when to clap their hands or chant the slogans.

I came to Lebanon a year ago and soon witnessed my first Hezbollah demonstration. And I remembered that August day when I was 7. It was the same waiting, the same charismatic leader appearing on a screen, people carrying posters with his face and shops selling cups and plates with his portrait. This time it was not for a dictator in the mould of Romania’s Nicolae Ceauşescu, but for the Resistance and its leader Hassan Nasrallah. And I thought the danger is there, in the cult of personality, lingering in the secrecy, in the spying, in the songs indoctrinating people with the ideology of war instead of peace, in all the conspiracy theories. If it were a state, Hezbollah would operate a dictatorship.

“We have a son of the country leading us. The most loved and most obeyed, who’s treasured and esteemed in the whole world. And these three wonderful words, words as dignified as our flag. We carry them carved in our hearts, To communism, to the future: The people, Ceausescu, Romania, The Party, Ceausescu, Romania.”

It was the most popular song at the time. There were few people in Romania of 1980s who didn’t know the words. There were much more; tens, even hundreds of songs and poems written by the “working class” and the “pioneers” for the party and its leader. We used to learn the poems and the songs in school and study them thoroughly and then sing and recite them on public holidays and school recitals. We were all fighters for the victory of communism in the world as the only way to achieve world peace. And we were singing it out loud and learning it every day in school from our modified and ideologically embellished history books. We were an army at war with the imperialism of the West. We officially despised the Americans while secretly wanting to live like them.

I get shivers when I see the Hezbollah videoclips and the songs on Al Manar. I know supporters of the Resistance in the South know them all by heart and sing them at gatherings while they wave the yellow flags.

We were pioneers starting in the third grade. We wore white shirts and red ties bordered by the three colors of the national flag and we were organized in groups (four in each class), detachments (the class) and units (the entire school). We had commanders, who reported to their superiors. We, as pioneers, used to go out on field trips to museums. We used to go on the fields and help the farmers pick grapes or apples. We had academic contests. We went to summer camps and were taught the ideology of socialism and told that we were the future of world socialism.

Just as the children of the Hezbollah supporters educated in the prestigious, not to mention more costly, Al Mustafa schools. Just like the Hezbollah scouts are briefed on the Resistance ideology and just like the youth supporting the Hezbollah meets in clubs for activities related to the party’s ideology.

As pioneers, we were not just educated in the spirit of socialism, we were also made aware of the “dangers” that our friends, neighbors and even parents might be enemies of the system. In every school there was a teacher who reported to the Intelligence Service or Securitate on any statement a child might have made about the activities of the parents who had a relative “escaped to the Western world.” In every block of flats and every factory there was a person who reported to the Intelligence Office. Intellectuals with liberal views used to disappear from homes in the middle of the night and the families were closely supervised. Nobody made a sound, nobody moved.

In 1989, my father began locking the door of bedroom and turning on the radio. The 1989 Revolution had to happen for me to understand, at the age of 10, that he was listening to Radio Free Europe and he was afraid I might tell somebody at school.

The Securitate worked in mysterious ways. There was a team Romanian of journalists in Radio Free Europe in the 80’s, who were broadcasting from Berlin against Ceausescu’s regime, against the arrests of political enemies and for the freedom of speech. Most of them were assassinated, their families claiming that the Securitate did it. But by 1989 it was already too late to prove anything.

I remember a friend telling me about her mother’s divorce from her father, who was a Hezbollah member. The woman was followed everywhere she went and her brother scolded her for going out too much with her friends. Hezbollah is said to have the most well organized intelligence apparatus in Lebanon, capable of discovering Israeli spies when the national intelligence service cannot.

My father didn’t want to take me with him that day. I was a burden for him. He had to wake up at 5 p.m., take the party bus and go to the county capital, where the workers stood in line for five hours until their turn came to pass in front of the tribune, where all the local Communist Party leaders were already bored. I wanted to go. I had heard in school about how beautiful these marches were, what an honor it was to be a “man of labor” venerating the Party and celebrating through discipline the victories of socialism. I even had a poem written for the occasion, as I had been taught in school. I remember it was disappointing. My feet hurt, I was thirsty and I didn’t see anything. I recited my poem the next day in front of the whole class and nobody said anything. In 1990, when my teacher came to class and we started calling her “miss” instead of “comrade teacher” I realized I had to erase my mind and start my education all over again.

Love of the Land: Patterns of Dictatorship

Love of the Land: New media monitoring group goes to town on the Guardian over anti-Israeli bigotry

New media monitoring group goes to town on the Guardian over anti-Israeli bigotry

Robin Shepherd
Think Tank Blog
21 October 09

Readers outside the UK will be well aware of the Guardian newspaper and its well earned reputation as the prime repository of anti-Israeli bigotry in western Europe. Some, however, may not yet be aware of a new monitoring group which analyses and dissects anti-Zionist bigotry on the paper’s flagship, online comment service, Comment is Free (Cif).

The group is called Cif Watch (see link below) and it provides a methodical, indeed forensic, breakdown of articles and the comment threads which follow them. I draw attention to Cif Watch in this entry in part because such a worthwhile endeavour deserves our support, but also because its latest posting provides a particularly revealing insight into the kind of people who are attracted to the anti-Israeli agenda.

The Cif Watch analysis focused on the comment threads following a rare instance in which the Guardian allowed an Israel-supportive commentary on to its site. It does this from time to time in order to present the facade of balance. In reality at least 95 percent of all commentary on the subject on the Guardian’s website is anti-Israeli, and much of that is extremely vitriolic.

After the commentary (by former Times editor Harold Evans) was published all hell broke loose.

But rather than take my word for it, click through to the Cif Watch site and read about it in all its gory details:

Love of the Land: New media monitoring group goes to town on the Guardian over anti-Israeli bigotry

Love of the Land: In the fight against nuclear proliferation, don't forget about Syria

In the fight against nuclear proliferation, don't forget about Syria

Bennett Ramberg
JPost Opinion
20 October 09

Renewed international efforts to reign in Iran's atomic program have shrouded another unresolved Middle East nuclear challenger, Syria. The International Atomic Energy Agency's failure to get Damascus to reveal the history of its secret nuclear reactor and related elements raise troubling questions not simply about the Assad regime's nuclear intentions but, more fundamentally, about the ability of the IAEA to act as an effective watchdog. Unless Syria provides a full accounting, its successful stonewalling will only serve further to undermine international efforts to curb proliferation.

International awareness that Syria poses a nuclear threat emerged only in September 2007 when it is believed that Israeli aircraft destroyed the nuclear plant under construction in the country's remote northeast desert.

The attack generated a surprisingly muted response from Damascus and Jerusalem, but in Vienna, the IAEA condemned the strike arguing that Israel should have informed the agency about Syria's installation. Israel's unwillingness reflected a common and growing uneasiness that the IAEA has become a hollow instrument to ferret out nuclear cheaters or reverse them once revealed. The result - Jerusalem, unwilling to risk international dithering, allegedly took matters into its own hands.

THE SEPTEMBER 2009 meetings of the agency's 35 nation Board of Governors and the General Conference - the annual conclave of the IAEA's entire membership - sustained growing apprehensions about Middle East nuclear proliferation but focused on Israel to abandon its program. The General Conference only gently rapped the knuckles of Syria and Iran, calling on both "to cooperate fully with the IAEA within the framework of their respective obligations."

The statement reflected a "coaxing" strategy - repeated requests that nuclear transgressors provide transparency and eliminate contraband - that has become the agency's trademark to constrain violators. The approach builds on the hope that calibrated calls for openness can prompt transgressors to feel more comfortable with revelation. However, too often the response is otherwise. Violators throw a few bones followed by agency demands for more. The dance repeats but never comes to a satisfactory non-proliferation conclusion.

The Iran case illustrates. Coaxing discouraged the revolutionary regime from bolting the non-proliferation treaty while tethering it to safeguards on declared nuclear sites. Coaxing also generated IAEA inspector access to sites otherwise unavailable for review, but not "comprehensive" nuclear transparency. But the policy also allowed Teheran to buy time to build a nuclear weapons breakout capacity.

Evidently, Syria has learned much from the Iranian experience as it denies agency requests for a full explanation of its nuclear enterprise. The behavior reveals why coaxing that buys time wastes time to promote accountability.

Syria, which became an NPT party in 1968, applied safeguards to a small research reactor in Damascus in 1992. The agreement required Syria to inform the IAEA about any planned nuclear installations. The alleged Israeli strike clearly spoke to the Assad regime's failure to do so.

In a time line provided by Washington eight months later, officials traced the origins of the Dair Alzour reactor to a collaborative North Korean undertaking that broke ground in 2001. Israeli operatives confirmed the facility's weapons potential prior to the assault, although there remains the mystery of how Damascus intended to extract weapons usable plutonium absent a chemical extraction plant.

Following the attack, the IAEA attempted to get Syria to clarify the plant's purpose. Ten months would pass before Damascus allowed inspectors access to the site. Syria used the interim to demolish the installation's skeleton. It then buried its foundation, plowed over the ground and built a structure over the remains. It removed debris to an undisclosed location. Despite the cover-up, inspectors found uranium particles in soil samples. Syria unsatisfactorily explained that the residue came from Israeli munitions that destroyed the plant.

IN FOUR reports published by the agency since 2007, Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei repeatedly called upon an "uncooperative" Damascus to reveal the facility's function, the uranium residue and the location of debris carted away. He also requested access to three additional suspect sites. Syria stonewalled.

Damascus' repeated resistance to transparency naturally raises questions about what the Assad regime is hiding. But Syria's behavior also begs a response to an equally fundamental matter: How ought the international community deal with current and future violators? Evidently coaxing does not work. Transgressors see coaxing as IAEA impotence. Change requires the agency and the Security Council to replace the practice with meaningful "benchmarks" enforced by with "time certain" sanctions that nuclear violators cannot ignore.

In the months to come the IAEA will have an opportunity to strengthen its policing function, with a new director-general in December followed in May 2010 with the important NPT Review Conference that convenes every five years. The meeting offers an opportunity for attendees to press the Security Council to authorize the IAEA to be more assertive with nuclear violators. The practice is long overdue.

The writer served as a State Department policy analyst during the George H.W. Bush administration and as a consultant to the US Senate, Rand, Nuclear Control Institute, Henry Stimson Center, Global Green and Committee to Bridge the Gap.

Love of the Land: In the fight against nuclear proliferation, don't forget about Syria

Parashat Noach

Parashat Noach


[From Sichat Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah – Bereshit pp. 90-92, edit by Rav Aviner]

The Dubno Maggid once came to a small town. He went to minyan and there were only nine men, and the Maggid was greatly distressed. They asked him if it was permissible to count "Chaim'ke the Thief" for the minyan. He rebuked them: "G-d forbid you should refer to a Jew by this name." They went and brought him. The Magid welcomed him with great respect: Shalom Alecha, Reb Chaim. The following day, the Magid was looking for a messenger to bring some money to a nearby city. They suggested "Reb Chaim" to him. The Magid was surprised: "How can someone suspected of theft serve as a messenger for this? They reminded him that he himself honored him and called him: "Reb Chaim." The Magid told them that there is a major difference in the two cases. When you are simply talking about a Jew, it is forbidden to call him a thief, but when it comes to a practical matter, everything must be clear: is he a thief or not?

The source for this idea is found in this week's parashah. On the one hand, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said in the Gemara (Pesachim 3a): One should not speak in a derogatory manner since Hashem commanded Noach to bring the animals into the ark with these words: "From the pure animals and the animals which are not pure" (Bereshit 7:2). Instead of saying "the impure animals," the Torah was unusually verbose – and said: "the animals which are not pure" in order not to speak in a derogatory manner. This principle is quoted by the Magen Avraham (#156) as the proper practice.

On the other hand, when it comes to matter of practical Halachah, we do not employ this principle. The Rishonim point out that when the Torah lists the non-kosher animals in Parashat Shemini, it says: "the impure animals." When it comes to practical Halachah, there is a need to be clear. If a Rabbi says "Not kosher" instead of "Treif," perhaps someone will not hear the word "not."

We see this many places in the Torah. When a person stricken with Tza'arat left the camp, he called out: "Impure, impure" (Vayikra 13:45) and not "Not pure, not pure." And "Do not eat Treif meat, throw it to the dogs" (Shemot 22:30) instead of "Do not eat non-kosher meat." And the son in the Haggadah of Pesach is called "The wicked son" and not "The not righteous son."

When it comes speaking to other Jews, we must speak gently and with respect: "Reb Chaim." But when it comes to practical Halachah, we use the clearest and most direct language: "Chaim'ke the Thief."
Originally posted by Torat HaRav Aviner

Shir Ha-Ma'alot #28

Shir Ha-Ma'alot #28

"I never saw a righteous person abandoned, with his offspring begging for bread"

But there are many poor and downtrodden righteous people?! There are those who say that because of this we should recite this verse in a whisper in order not to embarrass a poor guest (see Siddur Avodat Yisrael, 562).
There are those who explain the meaning of "I have not seen" as "I have never seen indifference," rather I immediately exerted myself to give him food, with the understanding: "How can I bear to witness the destruction of my Nation" (Esther 8:6). But this is not the literal meaning. The literal meaning comes out from the entirety of Tehillim 37 in which our verse appears. The Psalm brings up the difficult question of a righteous person who suffers. The solution is long range. It is possible that the righteous person is hungry, but in the end his offspring will not beg for bread. The mills of Divine justice grind slowly.
Even the Book of Kohelet discusses at length the problem of the human lot which, at times, seems unfair. "Because the sentence for wrongdoing is not executed quickly - that is why men are encouraged to do evil" (Kohelet 8:11). When they see that there is no punishment for a sin, the wicked add sin upon transgression. Why does Hashem act in this manner? "Because a sinner does what is wrong a hundred times," the sinner returns to his evil ways over and over, "and He is patient with him," Hashem is patient and waits for the evil to repent. But why then is the righteous one guilty, and why does he suffer? "Yet nevertheless I am aware that it will be well with those who fear God," but this is also a good system for the righteous, "those that show fear before Him" (ibid. verse 12), in order that they serve Hashem for the sake of serving Him alone. If every evil person was immediately punished and every righteous person was immediately rewarded, it would ostensibly appear as though every person was righteous, but in truth we would only be like animals which act in a certain way to receive a treat. Since the Master of the Universe mixes up the cards of reward and punishment, one who serves Hashem does so out of an awe of heaven.
Originally posted by Torat HaRav Aviner

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RubinReports: Exposed: J Street is an Anti-Israel Wolf in Dove's Clothing

Exposed: J Street is an Anti-Israel Wolf in Dove's Clothing

(Please subscribe and don't miss a single article.)

By Barry Rubin

If you want to see how ridiculous the J Street fraud is, please read Lenny Ben David's new research piece on the background of this organization. If you don't know about J Street, it is an anti-Israel lobby being set up under the pretense of being a dovish pro-Israel group. While Peace Now and the Israel Policy Forum are in fact that kind of organization, J Street is something else entirely.

The leader of J Street is someone who has no record of pro-Israel activism. But he was a paid lobbyist for an Arab country and involved in anti-Israel activities. Donors include a number of anti-Israel individuals as does the board of directors. And while the organization--which enjoys lavish support in much of the mainstream media--keeps claiming to have made pro-Israel statements, you'll never find one.

(Oh, wait! They did one, criticizing those who wanted to ban Israel from the Toronto, Canada, film festival. That's it.)

Did I mention that George Soros, on record with his hostility to Israel (and unrepentent for his role in helping round up Jews during the Holocaust while pretending to be a Hungarian Christian) is funding this group? [Obviously he should not be held responsible for what he did at the time but decades later not even to express remorse--even if it was a total lie he felt bad--says something scary.]

And how about J Street's joint project with the Iranian regime's front group in Washington to block sanctions against Iran?

Urge people not to participate in this farce and ask members of Congress to remove their names--as many have already done--as endorsers of this effort.

One more thing. This is not a left/right ideological issue. J Street is not a liberal dovish pro-Israel group, it is--though some participants are no doubt acting in good faith--a leftist anti-Israel group.

RubinReports: Exposed: J Street is an Anti-Israel Wolf in Dove's Clothing

RubinReports: When it comes to the Middle East: The Brains in Spain (and elsewhere) Fall Mainly Down the Drain

When it comes to the Middle East: The Brains in Spain (and elsewhere) Fall Mainly Down the Drain

(Please subscribe and then you don't have to come here, we do home delivery! And let's face it, you know something silly or crazy or dangerous is going to happen in the Middle East or with U.S. foreign policy every day! So don't miss it. )

By Barry Rubin

You’ve all seen horror movies in which the stupid characters just don’t look behind them at crucial moments.

And you want to yell: “Look out!” Or: “Can’t you see that he’s the murderer!” Or: “That innocent-looking green globule is actually a man-eating silicon-based creature from Andromeda!”

Welcome to my world, the world of analyzing the contemporary Middle East or, to put it a different way, yelling, “Look out!” to those who think the best way to handle a threatening regime or revolutionary foe is to take them out to dinner and a movie.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero and Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, who is widely considered in the European Union to be their big brain on the Middle East, visited Israel and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to reliable leaks, Moratinos told Netanyahu that Turkey will stop baiting Israel—excluding it at the last minute from long-planned joint military maneuvers, running antisemitic shows on state television, and a whole range of other insults—if Israel agrees to have it mediate between Israel and Syria.

One of the two Spaniards then remarked: "Assad is serious and more responsible….It is possible to reach an agreement with him."

Netanyahu politely, and no doubt firmly, demurred.

When last heard from before this, Moratinos, who seems to take his own middle name as meaning he is the Syrian dictatorship’s guardian angel, was advocating signing a major economic cooperation agreement with Damascus without conditioning it on that regime behaving better on human rights.

Israeli leaders know, largely across the political spectrum, that Assad isn’t interested in peace with Israel.

They also know:

--Iran is seeking nuclear weapons at all costs and will use them to further Tehran’s ambitions, and that halfhearted sanctions and falling for more of the regime’s stalling tactics won’t help matters.

--The Palestinian Authority is incapable of making a comprehensive peace and not that interested in trying. That doesn’t mean some cooperation can’t be fruitful but not a full resolution ending the conflict. At the same time, it is clearly recognized that the Palestinian Authority—being too weak and too radical simultaneously—is the main barrier to peace, and that the true moderate transformation of Palestinians and acceptance of a two-state solution has barely begun. Indeed, one can argue that public opinion and politics are moving in an even more intransigent direction.

--Hizballah and Hamas are not interested in becoming moderate and that concessions both enable and encourage them to be more aggressive.

--If radical Islamist groups take over Arab countries they won’t moderate, whatever their pretensions to fool the West, and this will be the source of massive war, terrorism, and suffering for the region.

--That all too few people in Western governments either understand the above-mentioned facts or for a variety of reasons (greed for trade, fear of conflict, seeking easy popularity, naiveté, ideology, ignorance, antisemitism, and you name it) won’t face these facts.

At the beginning of this year, a new addition was made to this list:

--Turkey is governed by an Islamist party that has strong ant-Israel, anti-American, and anti-Western views no matter how much it pretends otherwise.

Now it can certainly be argued that Israeli analysts, journalists, and political figures have a vested interest in pushing these arguments. But that isn’t exactly true. Many or most of them would be far happier celebrating the great chance for a breakthrough to peace and how apparent enemies just want to get along.

The same goes for ideology as an explanation. A variety of different viewpoints are represented, one can find people who have changed their minds due to experience and developments. And even if you think that someone is “right-wing” or any other category you dislike, it is still worthwhile examining the facts and arguments presented to judge whether they are correct.

So this analysis cannot just be disregarded by assumptions about what the sources of it think or want or need.

How does much of the world respond to the Israeli analysis? Parts do understand it or are learning it to be correct. But many or most simply ignore or demonize it. Once Israel is viewed as an illegitimate state, a war criminal genocidal monster—in short, as all Islamist and most Arab and Muslim-majority state propaganda puts it—the ears can close completely.

Another element in this deafness is the unique argument that various dilettantes, visitors, intellectuals, self-proclaimed peacemakers, people in the entertainment world, U.S. and European officials, etc., want to save Israel in spite of itself. This is a standpoint practically never heard regarding any other country in history, certainly not a democratic country whose voters disagree with the assessment.

It is furthered by the taking up of the idea by certain Jews—usually quite ignorant of conditions in Israel and often committed to movements with different interests—who insist they are the true guardians of a country they know little about and (in many cases) have done little to help in the past.

And so delegation after delegation arrives in Jerusalem to tour around, talk to the usual suspects, and bestow advice on its potential victims—I mean, fortunate interlocutors!

In all cases, politeness inhibits explaining to these people that they are meddling in things of which they understand little or nothing. When they are high-ranking officials of the United States or European countries, there are additional reasons for not doing so. They can choose to listen or not to the explanations as to why Israel does not believe what they believe or do what they want it to do.

Ultimately, anyone who believes too much in soft power is soft in the head. Or as the English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes put it: “Covenants, without the sword, are but words, and of no strength to secure a man at all.”

As for the international affairs of the Middle East nowadays, however, one cannot do better than by paraphrasing the American political philospher Robert Zimmerman, also known as Bob Dylan: We're surrounded by people who don't want to "admit that the waters around you have grown" at the very same moment that "the pump don’t work cause the vandals took the handles."

RubinReports: When it comes to the Middle East: The Brains in Spain (and elsewhere) Fall Mainly Down the Drain

RubinReports: TV Movie Jihad: Turkish Government Tries to Foment Islamist Hatred of Israel and Jews

TV Movie Jihad: Turkish Government Tries to Foment Islamist Hatred of Israel and Jews

(Please subscribe and don't miss a single article as we follow the Middle East, U.S. foreign policy, and other current events including the popular "Life in an American Fourth Grade" series)

By Barry Rubin

You know that the Islamist-oriented Turkish government has cancelled a military exercise with Israel, made a military cooperation alignment with Syria, and aired an antisemitic film. Here’s what you don’t know about the film.

Entitled “Separation – Love and War in Palestine,” the expensively made film was aired in prime time on a state-owned television network. Previews of it were shown in the Istanbul’s small subway system.

The ultimate hypocrisy is that while the government excuses its anti-Israel policy by saying, in the prime minister’s words, “ We cannot be oblivious to the feelings of the Turkish public,” it is doing everything possible to stir up passionate hatred on the part of that public which wasn’t there beforehand. The film is, in a real sense, a hate crime, the kind of thing that goes on daily in the Arabic-speaking world and for which there is absolutely no equivalent in Israel or the West.

When the film opens there is a street battle between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen. A Palestinian boy is killed as the two sides fire at one another. So far, this is possible. But what happens next is that a beautiful young girl then is shown walking down an empty street and an Israeli soldier just shoots her for no reason at all. There is no evidence that any such event has taken place ever.

A group of elderly Muslims wanting to go on the pilgrimage to Mecca is shown being stopped at a checkpoint by Israeli soldiers and their papers are thrown in their faces. In fact, Israel has facilitated Palestinians going on the pilgrimage for many years.

So why didn’t Gazans get to go in the real world? Because the Palestinian Authority didn’t want to let Hamas, which rules Gaza, issue the papers and the Saudis refused to accept them. Israel had nothing to do with it. But for an audience of Turkish Muslims, such an act is a basic attack on Islam that would justify Jihad by themselves in response.

In another fictional event made to stir hatred—though Palestinians testifying at the Goldstone hearings made such claims without providing a single example—a husband and his pregnant wife are prevented at a checkpoint from going to a hospital. When she gives birth an Israeli soldier shoots dead the one-minute-old baby. Oh, and the wife dies from bleeding and the husband is killed by another soldier.

Interspersed with such scenes are those of Jews praying and an Israeli soldier is portrayed as saying this is a war of religion not one over territory.

So aside from their humanitarian impulses, Turks are being told by their government that Israelis are murdering and warring on Muslims. What should be their response? Why to hate Israel but also—at least this is how some Turks are likely to interpret it--to kill Jews.

In another scene, viewers are told that their Ottoman ancestors ruled this land for 400 years and there were no problems back then. In another country, this would be seen as a prelude to trying to seize control of that land once again but the Turkish government isn’t interested in that, nor in the Palestinian Authority (PA) taking over, but only in an Islamist regime ruled by Hamas there. (The Turkish government never talks about events on the West Bank because it views Hamas and not the PA as its ally. By the same token, it shows that it doesn't care about the Palestinians but only Islamist-ruled ones.)

By acting to provoke such hatred and possibly even an anti-Jewish pogrom within Turkey—the first time a Turkish government has behaved this way since the republic began—the current regime has taken one more step to bash Israel while still seeking its tourists and trade, as well as a diplomatic role as diplomatic mediator between Israel and Syria .

Turkish Jews--who have always believed that keeping a low profile and waiting out any problems--are taking the hint. Some are leaving; most are thinking about it.

The policy toward Israel or this particular film are not isolated events. They are parts of the regime strategy to do three things:

--Impose the maximum possible Islamist program on Turkey (how far they will get is unclear).

--Create a political and institutional basis for never yielding power. This is being done by a takeover of media, transformation of large elements in the educational system, promoting pro-AKP businesses or intimidating those in the opposition in order to give the regime a powerful economic base, revising the constitution, and taking other such steps. It hopes to become an institutionalized government party like the Republican People’s Party was during the first three decades of the republic. This doesn't mean that the AKP will declare an open dictatorship and cancel elections. Rather, the goal is to be sure it always wins the elections.

--Reorient Turkey’s foreign policy toward the Muslim-majority world, and building an alignment with Iran and Syria, while minimizing any cost in terms of its relations with the West. If forced to choose, however, it will pick the Muslim orientation, especially since the government assumes (though it is still trying) that it won’t get European Union membership any way while the Obama Administration smiles and nods at Turkish policy as more proof that the regime is a “model moderate Muslim democracy.”

Onlookers should have no illusions about what is going on. Nor should any U.S. policymakers—for plenty of other reasons as well—still view Turkey’s government as a reliable ally.

RubinReports: TV Movie Jihad: Turkish Government Tries to Foment Islamist Hatred of Israel and Jews

Israel Matzav: When is it terrorism?

When is it terrorism?

Tom Gross points out how the Obama administration and the New York Times reacted to the suicide bombing in Iran in which six Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers were killed.

It is amazing. It took many, many days for the administration of Nobel peace-prize laureate Barack Obama to condemn the brutalization of pro-democracy demonstrators in Iran last June (and even then it did so only in the most tepid way), but by contrast it took just a couple of hours for the Obama administration to condemn the attacks on the brutalizers yesterday.


Meanwhile, the New York Times, which routinely refuses to call the blowing up by Hamas and Fatah of Israeli children in buses, cafes and shopping malls acts of terrorism — even when American children, such as 14-year-old American Baptist Abigail Litle, are among the victims — had no problem calling the political assassination of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards commanders “terrorism,” as one can see from the email below.

It's not just amazing. It's sick.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: When is it terrorism?

Israel Matzav: Update on our non-existent demographic problem

Update on our non-existent demographic problem

I know that there are a lot of you out there who spend your nights worrying about how Israel is going to remain a Jewish state and a democracy if we don't cut Judea and Samaria loose. After all, you've seen all those dire predictions about how the 'Palestinians' are reproducing like bunny rabbits and will soon take over the country democratically since they cannot do so militarily. Well, in a word, stop worrying. Yoram Ettinger explains.

Anyone claiming that Jews are doomed to become a minority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean — and therefore the Jewish state must concede geography in order to secure demography — is either dramatically mistaken or outrageously misleading.

An audit of births, deaths, school and voter registration and migration documentation from Israel and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics certifies a solid 67 percent Jewish majority over 98.5 percent of the land west of the Jordan River (without Gaza), compared with a 33 percent and an 8 percent Jewish minority in 1947 and 1900, respectively, west of the Jordan River.

The audit exposes a 66 percent distortion in the current number of West Bank (or, Judea and Samaria) Arabs — 1.55 million and not 2.5 million, as claimed by the Palestinian Authority. In 2006, the World Bank exposed a 32 percent bend in the number of Palestinian births. Inflated numbers have provided the Palestinians with inflated international foreign aid and inflated water supply by Israel. It has also afflicted Israeli policy-makers and public opinion molders with fatalism and erroneous demographic assumptions, which have impacted Israel’s national security policy.

Refuting demographic fatalism, the robust growth of Israel’s Jewish fertility (number of births per woman) has been sustained during the last 15 years, while Arab fertility and population growth rate (birth, death and migration rates) experiences a sharp dive.

The number of Jewish births during the first half of 2009 accounted for 76 percent of all births, compared with 75 percent in 2008 and 69 percent in 1995. Unlike all other developed societies, the number of annual Jewish births has grown by 45 percent from 1995 (80,400) to 2008 (117,000), while the annual number of Israeli Arab births has stabilized around 39,000.

The secular, rather than the religious, sector has been chiefly responsible for the Jewish growth. For example, the olim (or, immigrants) from the USSR arrived in Israel with a typical Russian fertility rate of one birth per woman; today, those women are giving birth to two to three children, the typical secular Israeli Jewish birthrate. Moreover, the Arab-Jewish fertility gap shrunk from six births per woman in 1969 to 0.7 births in 2008, with the two converging toward three births per woman.

Who wants to pretend that the Arabs are overtaking us demographically and why? You can start to find out here.

Israel Matzav: Update on our non-existent demographic problem

Israel Matzav: Obama's Nobel Peace Prize

Obama's Nobel Peace Prize

Heh (Hat Tip: Daniel F)

Israel Matzav: Obama's Nobel Peace Prize

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian' support for Dayton force waning

'Palestinian' support for Dayton force waning

I have discussed the Dayton force - the 'Palestinian' troops trained by American General Keith Dayton (pictured) - many times, most recently here. The Wall Street Journal reported last Thursday that 'Palestinian' support for the Dayton force has been waning, as the 'Palestinians' decide they would rather have a military showdown with Israel. Marty Peretz explains.

These forces, called the Palestinian Authority Security Forces (PASF), have been being trained under the command of Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, a much-bemedalled military intellectual and infantry-division head who has served in Russia, Germany, and Iraq. I met him about a year and a half ago in a Tel Aviv hotel. With him was one of his aides, Dov Schwartz, presumably Jewish.

Let's face it: The PASF is the only proper military force the Palestinians have. Previously, and especially under the rais, Yasir Arafat, there were 13 independent Fatah security branches made up of undisciplined, corrupt, and brutal men, each of them what my mother would call a bulvan. (This is an onomatopoeic word. Yes, you've got its meaning.) Then there were the hoodlums of the other armed gangs--some ideological, none honest. Of course, Hamas is one of them. And Hamas is the sworn foe of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

How could the PASF not be an incredible improvement? They were trained by the Jordanian army, a disciplined fighting force going back to the British. They are under the supervision of British, Canadian, and American officers. In the beginning, there was broad support for the forces. The reason is that they brought public order. Day-to-day cooperation with the Israelis "has improved dramatically." And there is no way that the IDF can be out of the loop. There are a quarter of a million Israelis in the amorphously divided West Bank. Much of the operational intelligence comes from Israel. Without it, the PASF would be lost.

In a way, this is a model, the model for the future of a Palestinian state in the West Bank. It has to be an orderly state. But order among the Palestinians has always been a dicey matter. Then, too, it's not clear just how much strength Hamas has in the area. More and more, I suspect.

Still, there are accomplishments. Schwartz says "the Palestinians have undertaken a serious and sustained effort to return the rule of law to the West Bank. People now feel safe."

But safety may not be what the Palestinians really want. They may want the éclat of a Palestinian defeat of Israel. The Journal reports that there is much Hamas agitation in the West Bank. "Dayton's army serves the Jews," shouts a law student at a force officer. "There are growing signs that the local population are increasingly losing respect for the PASF." So reads an internal memo in General Dayton's headquarters.

I'm shocked. Just shocked. Especially after we were all warned that if there's a third 'intifadeh,' the Dayton forces will likely join it and attack Israel.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian' support for Dayton force waning

Israel Matzav: Iran may 'require' uranium enriched to 63%

Iran may 'require' uranium enriched to 63%

With the P - 5+1 countries negotiating with Iran over the transfer of 80% of its low enriched uranium (LEU) to Russia and/or France for enrichment to a 20% level to run a nuclear reactor for medical purposes, MEMRI reports that Iran now wants to buy 20% enriched uranium rather than sending its own LEU abroad for further enrichment, and that it may 'require' 63% enriched uranium in the future.

According to the Iranian news agency Fars, the U.S. delegation to Vienna is examining ways of officially declaring U.S. recognition of Iran's right to enrich uranium on its own soil - but this shift in the U.S.'s direction is encountering opposition from the European representatives. [1]

Abdolfazl Zohrehvand, advisor to Iranian Supreme National Security Council secretary Saeed Jalili, told the Iranian news agency IRNA that "Circumstances may arise under which Iran will require uranium enriched to 63%, which it will have to either purchase or manufacture itself under IAEA supervision." [2]

Sources close to the talks in Vienna told Press TV that Iran has now withdrawn Ahmadinejad's proposal to transfer Iran's enriched uranium to a third country for further enrichment, and is presently demanding to directly purchase uranium enriched to 20% from France, Russia, or the U.S. [3]

Iranian Nuclear Energy Organization spokesman Ali Shirzadian reiterated Iran's position from two weeks ago, i.e. that if the Vienna talks fail, Iran will inform the IAEA of its intent to begin enriching uranium to 20% for use in its Tehran research reactor. He added that the current talks in Vienna dealt only with this research reactor, and that Iran would continue the enrichment activities in its nuclear facilities as usual. [4]

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Iran may 'require' uranium enriched to 63%

Israel Matzav: Speculating about Sharon

Speculating about Sharon

The Daily Beast runs a puff piece that is meant to make you think that if only Ariel Sharon had remained Prime Minister, we would have peace and prosperity and lambs lying down with wolves (Hat Tip: Shy Guy).

The old soldier’s eyes are open. Sometimes he’s propped up in front of a TV, where images of nature and animals, especially cows, flicker across the screen. His family tells him the day’s news, the goings on at his beloved farm. They read to him, alternating between two books at a time, just as he used to do for himself. They play classical music. When his white hair grows long, they trim it. And once in a while, when someone tells him to move a toe, he does.

Whether Ariel Sharon takes in any of this activity, no one knows for sure. Because Israel’s once-robust prime minister and legendary battlefield hero—the decorated warrior, the controversial hawk and finally, beginning in 2001, the centrist prime minister who transformed the political landscape—has been in a coma for nearly four years, felled by a massive stroke. While not brain-dead, the 81 year old exists in a persistent vegetative state. He generally breathes on his own, but must be fed by a tube. He cannot speak, walk, or think. Probably.


Too healthy to die, too injured to rule; he lives in limbo, just like the Israeli peace process. The irony is unavoidable. Ariel Sharon, who spent his early life expanding the territory of his native land, then abandoned his dream and evicted settlers from Gaza to shrink Israel’s borders in the quest for peace, remains locked inside the barest human boundaries, imprisoned in his own body. He was once so uncompromising—self-confident, supporters said—they called him The Bulldozer. Other names, too. “Arik, King of the Jews,” after his conquest of the Sinai during the Yom Kippur War. “Murderer,” after failing to prevent the massacres of Lebanese civilians at the Sabra and Shatila camps in 1982. Sensitive and cultured. Stubborn and cruel. No one was ever neutral about Arik Sharon. Still true.


So, what if Sharon were still in office? Might things be different?

“I think we would have a Palestinian state,” says former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, calling it “the logical conclusion” of the Bush administration roadmap. Eager to praise her old negotiating partner (“a tough little tank driver”), she also thinks Sharon would have pulled out considerably from the West Bank. “I do,” she insists. “Now, it would have required a Palestinian partner who was prepared to take half a loaf, not a full loaf, because nobody was going to get everything they wanted. But I think the terms were available, and maybe he was strong enough to lead a consensus in Israel and get it done.” “Sharon was somebody who could deliver,” she adds. “ You could trust him to do what he said he was going to do.”

That's nonsense.

First, even Sharon understood that you could not just pull the IDF out of Judea and Samaria. He saw what it took to pull out of Gaza and he knew that it would be at least 20 times as complicated to pull out of Judea and Samaria. It's unlikely he would have even tried to do it unilaterally. That meant that a 'Palestinian partner' was required. There wasn't one in 2006 and there isn't one today.

Second, there is not and never will be a 'Palestinian partner' who will take 'half a loaf.' Ehud Olmert tried offering Abu Mazen a 95+5% loaf and Abu Mazen wouldn't take it. There's no peace in the horizon and there wouldn't be even if Ariel Sharon were still functioning.

What might have been different? Hamas and Hezbullah might not have attacked us in 2006 if Sharon had been Prime Minister rather than Olmert. And Sharon definitely would have responded more forcefully and strategically than Olmert did. That would not have brought peace, but it might have made Israel stronger.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Speculating about Sharon

Israel Matzav: If Israel strikes Iran, US will join?

If Israel strikes Iran, US will join?

Former US Air Force General Charles Wald (pictured, right, with former IDF General Aharon Zeevi Farkash), the former deputy commander of the United States' European command, told the Washington Institute for Near East Policy this weekend that although he does not believe it could do it alone, an Israeli attack on Iran could set back its nuclear program by several years. The more optimistic news is that Wald believes that if Israel does attack Iran, the United States will find it difficult not to join in.

"They have a fantastic military, but not big enough for weeks or months of attacks - hundreds of sorties per day," he said.

Wald said that should "our great ally Israel" decide to take military action to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, "pressure will mount for us to stand by Israel."

He also criticized the U.S. government and military leadership for not devoting enough attention to Iran's nuclear program in recent years due to their involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wald dismissed the possibility - suggested by Obama adviser (and former Carter National Security Adviser) Zbigniew Brzezinski last month - that the United States should shoot down Israeli jets on their way to attack Iran.

"The chance of that," Wald said, "is zero - no, less than zero."

George Bush wasn't enthusiastic about Israel attacking Iran, but I have little doubt that if he were still in power and Israel attacked Iran, he would join in. But Obama? Let's say that I'm afraid that Wald is doing some wishful thinking.

Israel Matzav: If Israel strikes Iran, US will join?

Israel Matzav: Iran nuclear talks could fail... over France?

Iran nuclear talks could fail... over France?

The talks over Iran's nuclear capability could fail because the Iranians refuse to have anything to do with France. Here's why.

Iran had signaled earlier that it might not meet Western demands for a deal under which it would ship most of its enriched material out of the country.

But a more immediate problem Tuesday appeared to be Iranian insistence that France be excluded from any participation in plans to turn the enriched material into fuel for Tehran's research reactor, the diplomats told The Associated Press.

One diplomat - who like the others inside the closed meeting demanded anonymity for discussing confidential information - suggested that the talks could fail unless the problem was resolved.

Iran, which holds a 10 percent share in a Eurodif nuclear plant in France, came to the talks vociferously critical of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's government for withholding enriched uranium from that facility. Areva, the state-run French nuclear company, has described Iran as a sleeping partner in Eurodif, which Tehran bought into more than three decades ago.

[Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki] vowed that Iran would never abandon its "legal and obvious" right to nuclear technology.

"The meetings with world powers and their behavior shows that Iran's right to have peaceful nuclear technology has been accepted by them, Manouchehr Mottaki [told] a news conference. "Iran will never abandon its legal and obvious right [to nuclear technology]."

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Iran nuclear talks could fail... over France?

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian' Minister of Uncontrollable Rage: Who needs life when there's honor?

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian' Minister of Uncontrollable Rage: Who needs life when there's honor?

Israel Matzav: Hard questions for J Street

Israel Matzav: Hard questions for J Street

Israel Matzav: What is it about Republicans?

Israel Matzav: What is it about Republicans?

Israel Matzav: Iran: Annual 'Cursing Great Satan Day' to be canceled?

Iran: Annual 'Cursing Great Satan Day' to be canceled?

Are the rest of you as amused by this story as I am?

Now the regime is pondering canceling the annual ceremony of "cursing the Great Satan" on Nov. 4 -- the 30th anniversary of the day in 1979 that Khomeinist "students" raided the US embassy compound in Tehran, taking hostage the diplomats who'd be held for 444 days.

The occasion has entered Khomeinist folklore as the second-most important date on the Islamist calendar, after Feb. 11, which marks the mullahs' seizure of power.

On Nov. 4, militants gather in front of the former embassy, long since transformed into a "Museum of American Crimes," to burn US flags and an effigy of the sitting US president. The rituals start with the reading of a message from the "supreme guide," calling for the "destruction of America," followed with vitriolic speeches by regime grandees, including the president.

This year, however, the democracy movement has served notice it intends to transform the occasion into a day of "opposition to despotism and terror."

Appeals on Web sites and via e-mail and phone urge Iranians to "turn out en masse" to show their rejection of "evil xenophobia" and support for free elections. Instructions for pro-democracy activists include replacing the traditional anti-US slogans with 12 new slogans targeting the Khomeinist regime.

Judging by the part of the regime's internal debate that's leaked to the public, three options are on the table:

Israel Matzav: Iran: Annual 'Cursing Great Satan Day' to be canceled?

Israel Matzav: Romney 'very concerned' about Obama's policies toward Israel

Romney 'very concerned' about Obama's policies toward Israel

Republican Presidential contender Mitt Romney told an AIPAC summit in San Diego on Monday that he is 'very concerned' by the Obama administration's Middle East policy (Hat Tip: Lance K).

"In pursuit of a peace process, the United States today has exerted substantial pressure on Israel while putting almost no pressure on the Palestinians and the Arab world," the former Massachusetts governor, 2008 Republican presidential hopeful, and possible 2012 contender said to the AIPAC national summit in San Diego.


[S]aying that America and Israel are "bound together by common commitments and shared values," Romney says US policy should recognize that.

"Inexplicably, the United States now places the burden on Israel to make still more unilateral concessions," he said. "At the United Nations, we decried the building of new Israeli settlements but ignored the launching of Palestinian rockets. How is this possible? Have we not yet learned from the concessions in Gaza, as well as from all recorded history, that giving in to the demands of oppressors always and only leads to more demands, not to peace?

"We can encourage both parties in the conflict, but we must never forget which one is our ally. Nor must we forget that Hamas, like other violent Jihadists, does not have a two-state solution as its objective—it has the conquest and annihilation of Israel as its objective. The notion that Hamas and violent Jihadists are motivated by 'shared interests' and 'common goals' is naïve in the extreme and dangerous to the entire free world."

Romney also inveighs against the United Nations, which is about to consider a report accusing Israel of war crimes during its assault in Gaza, saying it "has become a forum for invective against the Jewish state."

And Romney urged a hard line against Iran's nuclear ambitions and warned against Obama's desire for talks.

"At this late stage I would simply say that it is long past time for America to recognize the nature of the regime we are dealing with," he said. "The Iranian regime is unalloyed evil, run by people who are at once ruthless and fanatical. Stop thinking that a charm offensive will talk the Iranians out of their pursuit of nuclear weapons. It will not. And agreements, unenforceable and unverifiable, will have no greater impact here than they did in North Korea. Once an outstretched hand is met with a clenched fist, it becomes a symbol of weakness and impotence."

The full speech is here.

Will 78% of American Jews be stupid enough to vote to re-elect Obama? I hope not.

Israel Matzav: Romney 'very concerned' about Obama's policies toward Israel

Israel Matzav: Goldstone calls Netanyahu a liar

Goldstone calls Netanyahu a liar

This is from the transcript of a conference call between Richard Goldstone and a selected (read: Leftist to the extent that they could control it) group of rabbis:

A question was submitted to us by a rabbi, who notes that it comes from his grandson who is a student of international relations. How do you think that your report, with its harsh condemnation of Israel for rocket attacks, would impact the likelihood that Israel would risk a withdrawal from any places in Palestine? Israel has warned that acceptance of your report will damage the peace process. How do you respond and how do you see the connection between pursuit of peace and human rights?

I strongly believe that there can't be enduring or lasting peace without justice.

There won't be peace before victims are acknowledged -- victims on all sides! The victims of southern Israel need acknowledgment. Many phone calls were made by our staff to victims in southern Israel. It's important for them to get that acknowledgment. It saddens me that Israel has downgraded, to the point of ignoring, a pretty full treatment of the victimization and the terror caused by thousands of rockets to the people of Sderot and Ashkelon. The people there have suffered grievously. Their children live in fear every day of hearing air raid sirens. It's amazing that the death toll in southern Israel has been as low as it is.

It's important and I don't believe you can have a lasting peace until these things have been put on the table, looked at, investigated openly, the people responsible being prosecuted. A form of Truth and Reconciliation Commission as we had in South Africa. It needs to be done officially. Otherwise you may get a cease-fire but you're not going to get peace. That's my firm belief from the experience I've had in South Africa, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and reading I've done about other places -- Chile and so on.

As far as the Israeli public is concerned: this was a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. It wasn't done in pursuance of a peace treaty. It seems to have been driven by the politics of the situation, not done out of any motive of giving freedom or recognizing the right of self-determination of the people of Gaza at all. It had the effect of separating Gaza from the West Bank and should be seen for what it was, a political maneuver. If anybody thought that was going to bring peace for Gaza -- I don't believe there was ever any chance of that.

As far as the Israeli government saying our report inhibits the peace process, that is shallow and false. What peace process are they talking about? There isn't one! The Israeli foreign minister doesn't want one! What peace process are they talking about that's going to be inhibited?

Prime Minister Netanyahu (among others) has said that the Goldstone Report inhibits the 'peace process' because it makes it impossible for Israel to take risks. Goldstone calls that 'shallow and false' - in other words, a lie.

Anyone who thinks Avigdor Lieberman controls the 'peace process' hasn't been watching the government travel schedules since Lieberman met with Hillary Clinton in Washington in June. Only a moron would say that there's no 'peace process' because 'the Israeli foreign minister doesn't want one.'

Israel Radio also reports that Kadima and opposition leader Tzipi Livni said that her party will behave as the 'responsible opposition' and will not oppose government policy on the Goldstone Report. Given that 93.5% of Israeli Jews believe that the report was biased against the IDF, that's not surprising. But it means that the Jewish population is wall-to-wall against Goldstone (except for Meretz, which called for a separate investigation on Monday but they only have three MK's anyway so they're inconsequential).

So when is Goldstone planning his next trip to Israel? Heh.

Israel Matzav: Goldstone calls Netanyahu a liar
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