Friday, 23 October 2009

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

For Zion's Sake: The Road to Assimilation

The Road to Assimilation

Every American Jewish establishment leader is aware that the rate of intermarriage among American Jews is at 50%. Every second Jews that gets married opts to marry out of the tribe. They accept that assimilation is widespread and that the Jewish people is disappearing as a distinctive entity in the United States. Even as they frantically try to keep Jews Jewish, apathy and indifference remain and more Jews are lost. Despite billions of dollars spent on bringing Jewish teenagers to Israel for free on Birthright, most Jews are disconnected from Israel. Jewish organizations invest tons of money into new Holocaust Museums even as young Jews suffer from Holocaust fatigue and overload. Why is it that the brightest leaders and thinkers of the Jewish establishment cannot find a way to sustain the newest generation of Jews?

The simple reason is because these people who are completely alienated from Torah and Jewish values have nothing to offer young Jews. Their ideology is completely bankrupt, with not a shred of spirituality or meaning. Bagels and lox provide no answers for a Jew seeking truth. The "Judaism" that these Jewish establishment leaders are peddling is a mixture of Holocaust victim syndrome, lame Jewish jokes and cultural quirks, knishes and kugel, with some watered down Zionism, cemented by getting Jewish teens drunk on the beaches of Tel-Aviv.

The modern zeitgeist is one of bringing people closer, of breaking down walls and barriers. The new world is one without tribal identity or religious affiliation. In such a world, one need only be a good person. What reason does this "Judaism" give to young Jews for setting up false obstacles and differences between themselves and the rest of society? These youth are given no positive reason to be Jewish, and a myriad of reasons why they should simply be human beings. The "Judaism" that they are taught is emptiness and vanity, devoid of G-d and His commandments, empty of commitment and devotion, without any holiness or reverence. The establishment leaders emphasize the "Jewish" qualities which we share with the larger society: democracy, tolerance, pluralism, etc. Little do they realize that what these assimilation-bent Jews need is to know what makes us different than, not the same as, everyone else. If being Jewish is only about being a good person, why not marry a nice Catholic or Chinese or Greek girl?

The essence of Judaism is that G-d publicly revealed Himself before the entire nation of Israel at Mount Sinai and made an eternal covenant with us. He became our G-d and we became His nation. At Sinai, G-d gave us His plan for life, the Torah, which contains His commandments. These commandments have been the mainstay and foundation of Jewish life for thousands of years. When the situation seemed hopeless, when the desperate Jew in Spain or in Russia was ready to break, it was G-d's promise to Israel that gave him strength. Living in terrible conditions, in the ghettos of Europe or the mellahs of Morocco, the Jew clung fiercely to his G-d and to his faith, with complete trust in G-d's revelation at Sinai and believing fully in the coming of the Redemption.

When Jews keep the Torah, they can overcome Crusades and Inquisitions, pogroms and Auschwitz. When they stray from G-d's Torah, they are left without a basis and are lost. It is time for the Jewish leaders to admit that "cultural Judaism" is a dead end. We have tried to raise a generation on nostalgia, Holocaust guilt and Seinfeld and have found that this is a path to assimilation and spiritual destruction. Without a solid foundation in Judaism, forget about getting Jews excited about Israel. The Jewish pride and identity that these leaders so hope to instill in young Jews must have a basis in Jewish belief, values, ritual and practice.

A whole generation of Jews have been robbed of their heritage. Tragically, they are completely ignorant of the faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and of the countless millions of Jews who have preceded them. It is time to return the core of Judaism to what it always was- the Torah and mitzvot. Otherwise, we march down the road to assimilation singing and dancing to the tunes of Fiddler on the Roof.

For Zion's Sake: The Road to Assimilation

Love of the Land: Meet the "Pro Israel" Keynoters: Salam Al Marayati

Meet the "Pro Israel" Keynoters: Salam Al Marayati

By Parrhesia
J Street Jive
22 October 09

"The establishment by force, violence, and terrorism of a Jewish state in Palestine in 1948 as well as the expansion of that state in succeeding years involved the unjust and illegal usurpation [sic] of Muslim and Christian lands and rights. "- Salam Al Marayati (December 17, 1993)

Salam Al Marayati arrived in America from his native Baghdad in 1964. In the 1980's he positioned himself as an influential player in the California Democratic Party. He served as a Clinton delegate at the 1996 Democratic National Convention. His wife, Laila, featured prominently in Democratic Party politics. This civic minded person is even co-chairman of the Los Angeles Police Department's Muslim Forum. In a nutshell, that's why he was offered the role of keynote speaker at the upcoming J Street conference.

In addition to his labors for the party, Al Marayati founded the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) in 1986. Post 9/11, the chief function of MPAC was to give lip service to anti- terrorism but, in practice, Al Marayati opposed virtually all anti terrorist measures. One of his more infamous quotes has him comparing the American Revolution toJihad:

"When Patrick Henry said, 'Give me liberty or give me death,' that statement epitomized jihad [Islamic holy war]."

A familiar ploy among many Muslim American groups is to condemn terrorism generally (including Israeli terrorism, of course), but to avoid naming Muslim terror groups like Islamic Jihad or Hamas. As for his "Pro Israel" comments, here is what he said about the 1996 murder and maiming of Israeli civilians by Mohammed Hamida after he intentionally drove his car into a line of people waiting for a bus in Jerusalem (Hamida was shot dead by security personnel before he could kill more Israelis):

"MPAC is also demanding extradition of any suspect to the murder of Hamida to be tried in a U.S. court charging the Israeli civilians at the scene of the murder with terrorism or co-conspiracy to terrorism...His murder is viewed by the American Muslim community as a provocative act. (Salam al-Marayati, The Minaret, 3/96)

And this on Hizbollah, the Lebanese terror organization headed by a fanatic (Sheikh Nasrallah) that yearns for every Jew to gather in Israel so that he can kill them all at once:

"I don't think any group should be judged 100% this or that, I think every group is going to have, um, its claim of liberation and resistance there's the part that deals with the military confrontation with Israel and if you look at the numbers though, Hizballah attacks against Israeli civilians are like a fraction of Israeli attacks against the Muslims.(Salam al-Marayati at the University of Pennsylvania, November 1997)"

Al Marayati has not confined his tolerance for terror to Israel or the United States. In 1997 he presented this howler about the ruler of Sudan, the perpetrator of genocide against his own people:

“…the reformists, represented by leaders like...Turabi, have advocated a pluralistic society that would work for peace and justice for all.”

Both Democrat and Republican administrations have courted Mr. al Marayati and MPAC. Karen Hughes, former undersecretary of State even funneled money to MPAC.

Mr. al Marayati has also lobbied for Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hizbollah to be removed from the State Departments list of terrorist organizations, saying, retaining their status

"raises the question as to whether targeting Palestinian groups serves true national security interests or is based on political considerations."

And yet, his themes of "collective punishment" and "disproportionate force" appear to be in perfect harmony with J Street itself. In 1999 Senator Richard Gephardt nominated Al Marayati for a seat on The National Commission on Terrorism. That invitation was withdrawn when his frequent apologies for terrorists became known. We're betting that the J Street faithful remain DD and B.

Love of the Land: Meet the "Pro Israel" Keynoters: Salam Al Marayati

Love of the Land: A Third Intifada?

A Third Intifada?

Eric Trager
20 October 09

On Monday, Jordanian King Abdullah II referred to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as “the most serious threat to the stability of the region and the Mediterranean.” Middle East policy analysts should take his warning to heart. After all, in gauging the political trends of the Middle East, the Jordanian monarchy has been among the most reliable barometers historically.

This is partly due to Jordan’s uncomfortable geo-strategic position. Indeed, with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to its west and Iraq to its east, Jordan is uniquely susceptible to the ideological currents and strategic shifts affecting the region’s hottest battle zones. Moreover, Jordan’s imbalanced demography – in particular, the fact that a Hashemite king presides over a Palestinian majority – makes its monarchy particularly wary of any destabilizing signals. These sensitivities create a strong bias in favor of non-ideological, interest-based policy-making, with Jordan shifting its priorities – and, at times, its loyalties – in rapid response to the regional changes that it perceives.

In this vein, Abdullah’s sudden insistence that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “the most serious threat to the stability of the region” represents a critical shift in judgment. Indeed, back in 2004, the Jordanian monarch warned that a looming “Shiite crescent” – a near-contiguous sphere of Iranian influence extending through Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories – was the foremost threat to regional stability. Abdullah was prescient: Iran’s interference in Iraq undermined the U.S. war effort, while Tehran’s increased support for Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria solidified an anti-western axis in the Middle East.

Of course, the challenges associated with Iranian ascendancy haven’t been resolved, and dealing with Iran’s ongoing pursuit of nuclear capabilities still tops the U.S.’s Middle East agenda. Still, Abdullah’s shift in priorities towards the Israeli-Palestinian sphere is worth noting, as it constitutes the best open-source indicator that recent Palestinian threats to resume suicide terrorism and launch a third Intifada are not idle chatter. Naturally, the prospect of renewed Israeli-Palestinian fighting – particularly within the West Bank – is far more threatening to Jordan than a nuclear Iran, and Abdullah’s diversion from his former fear of a “Shiite crescent” suggests that the next, bloody chapter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict might be fast approaching.

Love of the Land: A Third Intifada?

Love of the Land: Iranian Negotiations: Ploy of the Week or Deal of the Century?

Iranian Negotiations: Ploy of the Week or Deal of the Century?

Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
22 October 09

There are widespread reports about an imminent deal with Iran regarding its nuclear program. Here’s how the New York Times optimistically presents the proposal:

“Iranian negotiators have agreed to a draft deal that would delay the country's ability to build a nuclear weapon for about a year, buying more time for President Obama to search for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear standoff.”

(To be fair, even this somewhat cautious note may be much less ecstatic than what we'll be hearing if the deal goes through.)

What is the proposed bargain? It is based on an offer the Iranian government made in 2007 and reintroduced last June. In practice, the result would be that Iran enriches unlimited amounts of uranium to a level near that needed for weapons, a large amount of this would be shipped off to France and/or Russia where it would be converted into something useful for medical purposes alone. Thus, it could be said that Iran having nuclear weapons has been either stopped or delayed considerably, though in fact it would only be delayed (if at all) not very long.

If the deal is made—and don’t take for granted it will be as the Iranian regime can think of plenty of delaying tactics, demands for modifications, real or imaginary internal conflicts blocking acceptance, etc.—there will be general rejoicing and the idea of further sanctions will be put on a back shelf to gather dust.

Indeed, it could effectively be argued, that existing sanctions could be removed. This does not seem likely at present--it would require a UN resolution undoing existing sanctions--but such a thing could arise in the future. And of course various countries in Europe could interpret the restrictions more loosely to allow deals that would not have gone through otherwise.

In other words, Iran could go on sponsoring terrorism (in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, against Israel, and in other places) and calling for Israel’s destruction while being treated as a regular member of the international community. It would only be a matter of a week or two before media outlets start writing that this proves President Barack Obama did deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.

Iran is trumpeting the proposed deal as a victory. But that seems rather strange doesn’t it? If this deal is as it appears (and again assuming it happens), then Iran won’t get nuclear weapons, has wasted billions of dollars and years of effort for nothing. In fact, it will be running a huge nuclear program to produce a product which in strategic terms is totally useless.

Or to put it another way, it's like setting up a massive and expensive sword-making industry, then shipping off the completed swords to be turned into ploughshares and pruning hooks when you didn't have any agriculture.

And by the way, since Iran--and its apologists--have been insisting that its real goal was nuclear power plants (as if one of the world's largest oil producers which exports almost all of its production needs that) then why doesn't Iran just agree to some deal in which all the uranium went to fuel such reactors with foreign-enriched fuel and close supervision? Even that would make more sense than this deal.

Does this make sense? There will be many silly reasons for this put forward: Iran was scared by sanctions and a united front against it, or Obama is so popular that they like him or trust him and it proves his strategy works. These ideas are nonsense but one a lot of average people in the West will believe them).

One logical argument that will be advanced is that internal disorder is forcing the regime to take a step back and be more cautious. This is a partial argument but, again, doesn’t explain why there would be such a huge apparent concession from a regime unaccustomed to making them.

So what’s really going on?

First, the whole thing may turn out to be a maneuver for buying time and no agreement is actually made.

Second, the Franco-Russian reworked uranium could be turned back into something suitable for further enrichment into weapons’-grade material in several months.

Third, Iran may well have other secret facilities which are going to be pumping out military useful enriched uranium. We have just seen how well they can conceal these things by the public exposure of such a secret facility. These could easily replace the uranium shipped abroad in a brief period of time.

Fourth, Iranian leaders, knowing that they have some way to go before being technologically ready to build weapons, are happy to accept a seeming delay in providing the uranium which will allow them to catch up with the technological and engineering requirements of making a bomb that works and missiles that will carry it to the target. Indeed, with sanctions loosened, it might get the very techniques and tools it needs to complete this process under the guise of other uses.

Note that the Bushehr nuclear reactor, which was supposed to have begun operation some months ago, has not been started up yet. Is this due to some technical difficulties? The reason certainly doesn't seem to be Iran sending a signal of willngness to compromise since the regime has not used this factor as proof of its flexibility.

If this last argument is true--and it seems to be a reasonable one--then the idea that such a deal would even "slow" Iran's obtaining nuclear weapons wouldn't necessarily be true.

There could also be Iranian deals with other countries—perhaps North Korea or Venezuela, for example—to cooperate in supplying what’s needed. Such a possible arrangement with Syria was destroyed by an Israeli attack on a facility in that country last year.

And speaking of an Israeli attack, this agreement would buy Iran assurance that this couldn't happen no matter what Tehran did since the regime's program would be now under Western protection.

As an Arabic-language expression has it: How do you know it was a lie? Because it was so big.
For example, if Iran was truly going to change course in any real way, there would have been a heated debate within the government of which we would have heard something about.

Or there would have to be a factional dispute or domination by a less extremist group in the ruling circle that argued President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s adventurism was too dangerous to pursue. But all these people have been expelled.

Or it would seem apparent that Iran really was afraid of Western military action or tremendous pressure that would be so great as to force it into a big defeat.

Such cautions seem quite logical. Yet no matter how ridiculous the situation seems if Iran pulls off this ploy it could be a devastatingly successful one.

Love of the Land: Iranian Negotiations: Ploy of the Week or Deal of the Century?

Love of the Land: One man's fight for the IDF on American university campuses

One man's fight for the IDF on American university campuses

Dov Lieber
JPost International
22 October 09

To combat the vilification of the IDF by the global media and groups like the Shministim - Israeli high school seniors who have appeared in the US to declare themselves conscientious objectors to serving in the IDF because of the "occupation and oppression in the occupied territories" - one man is traveling to universities and synagogues across America, providing his firsthand account as a frontline combat soldier of the virtue of Israel's army.

Sgt. Benjamin Anthony, 29, founder of Our Soldiers Speak - an organization that aims "to bring the truth from the front line of Israel's battlefields to the people of the Diaspora" - began his university tour September 28 and plans to continue until mid-December.

The current IDF reservist has taken upon himself to traverse America's universities in belief that "the diplomatic war is every bit as essential as the military one, and one cannot get more grass roots than the campuses of the US."

Additionally, Anthony invites all American synagogues and high schools to work with him to "ensure our soldiers' proud truth is heard."

Anthony's message has already been heard at many campuses including: Brandeis, Columbia, Tufts, George Mason and University of Maryland. On his list of universities still to visit are: Northeastern, Emory, UCLA, USC, Berkeley, NYU and many others.

Though the trip's size might make it seem like it is well-funded, Anthony is worried funds might run out.

"I think people fail to realize that we depend upon private donations to continue our work. There have been many nights spent in the car we were loaned and I feel people assume that we are well-funded and supported. We are not. In fact, we urgently require more funding," said Anthony.

After conquering the UK circuit, Anthony brought his abilities to audiences in America for the first time earlier this year.

"I was immediately impressed," said Michael Wildes, Mayor of Englewood, New Jersey, who first heard Anthony at his synagogue Congregation Ahavath Torah.

Wildes respected Anthony's "demeanor and personal love for Israel" so much, that after a few days, he called to offer the Englishman his own office to work out of.

Gordon Dale, a programs director at the Tufts Hillel, was thrilled by his choice in inviting Anthony to speak.

"It was fantastic. He spoke with passion and very articulately. He was able to describe the life of Israeli soldiers and dispel the myths about them."

Dale added that after his speech, Anthony "spoke politely and eloquently" for an hour and a half with a Lebanese student.

"Benjamin handled the questions very well…I think the [Lebanese] student really listened with open ears because Benjamin spoke to him in such a polite manner. The student probably came away thinking much different about Israel than he previously had," said Dale.

Asaf Kaya, a junior electrical engineering major at the University of Maryland, was moved by Anthony's speech.

As someone who grew up in Israel, and with many friends in Israel's army, Kaya grew up with an admiration for the IDF.

"Living on a college campus in the US gave me the unpleasant chance to get exposed to opinions that equate the IDF and its soldiers to nothing less than a killing machine," bemoaned Kaya. While putting up posters to advertise for Anthony's event, Kaya couldn't help feeling "something was missing - the pride of being a future IDF soldier was not there," he said.

Kaya added happily, "Sgt. Benjamin reignited that pride in me with his eloquent speech. Suddenly I felt like I was not the only one on campus that knows the truth about the IDF... The ideals that he stands for are the same ones that my friends back in Israel stand for, and that I will stand for next year when I go back to Israel to serve in the most moral army in the world."

For Further Information:

Love of the Land: One man's fight for the IDF on American university campuses

Love of the Land: PA Still Teaches Kids that All of Israel is "Occupied"

PA Still Teaches Kids that All of Israel is "Occupied"

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Hudson New York
22 October 09

Allah willing, the day will come when we'll return to Lod and all the areas they [Israel] have occupied." [PA TV (Fatah), Sept. 22, 2009]

PA TV continues to teach Palestinian children that all of Israel is "occupied Palestine." Despite continued pledges to change this message and to recognize Israel and its right to exist, the PA has not followed through. Last month, the PA TV host Wallaa expressed the above wish at an outdoor broadcast of the weekly children's program The Best Home.
To see how PA TV refers to Lod as "occupied", click here.

The following is the transcript:
Child: "I'm from Palestine."
Host: "From where in Palestine? We're all from Palestine."
Child: "I'm from Lod [Israeli city]."
Host: "Oh, Lod is a very, very beautiful city. Anyone who goes there is so lucky! Do you really go in and out of Lod?" [from the PA to Israel]
Child: "But they [Israelis] have occupied it."
Host: "You mean you are from Lod, but you live here [in Ramallah]. Never mind, my dear. Allah willing, the day will come when we will return to Lod and to all the areas they have occupied."
[PA TV (Fatah), Sept. 22, 2009]
To see more examples from the new PMW website of how the PA replaces Israel with "Palestine",click here.
To see examples from the new PMW website of how the PA denies Israel's right to exist, click here.
To see examples from the new PMW website of how the PA advocates Israel's destruction, click here.

Love of the Land: PA Still Teaches Kids that All of Israel is "Occupied"

Israel Matzav: The Middle East's new shopping mecca

The Middle East's new shopping mecca

You've all been told that it's (one of) the most densely populated areas in the world, that its people are starving, penniless and jobless, that they live in constant darkness because there are no functioning power plants and that they have no bread to eat.

All you have been told is lies. Here's the truth: In the finest traditions of Harmon Cove in New Jersey and Gurnee Mills in Illinois, Gaza has become... a shopping mecca.

Dusty sacks filled with cans of Coca-Cola were being loaded onto trucks by young boys, headed for supermarkets in Gaza City. Thousands of motorcycles were lined up on display in a nearby stadium, ranging in price from $2,000 to $10,000.

At Nijma market, refrigerators, flat-screen televisions, microwaves, air-conditioners, generators and ovens filled the tents, all at inflated prices, having been spirited into this town on the border with Egypt through tunnels under the sand. Some Gazans have even purchased cars smuggled in parts into the isolated Palestinian enclave.


Osama started out as a day laborer, digging tunnels from the age of 16. He graduated to running drugs and TNT through the tunnels into Gaza. Though he is a supporter of Fatah, the secular rival of Hamas, he says he supplied both parties. He was young but intimidating enough. He says he used to eat in restaurants in Gaza City and leave without paying. “Now it is different,” he said. “We fear Hamas.”

For the same reason he no longer smuggles drugs or weapons, though the money he made from that illicit trade helped set him up in legitimate business. He says that each of his three tunnels cost about $300,000 to build, and that four friends helped him finance the enterprise.

By night he brings in live animals, motorcycles, potato chips, Coca-Cola and clothing for women and children. But the most lucrative import is fuel, which he pumps through a pipe fixed on the ceiling of a tunnel more than half a mile long and collects in a large tank on the Palestinian side. Like any smart businessman, Osama does most of his pumping after Israel has blocked fuel supplies from its side or has bombed a few competing tunnels, lifting prices in Gaza.

The tunnel owners, Gaza’s nouveau riche, say they make on average more than $1 million a year from each tunnel.

Real poor, aren't they?

Exit question: How come Richard Richard Goldstone wasn't shown this or didn't mention it?

Israel Matzav: The Middle East's new shopping mecca

Israel Matzav: Back to 242?

Back to 242?

Reuters reports that the United States and Israel are on the verge of reaching an agreement to resume negotiations with the 'Palestinians' on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 242, which was passed in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War.

Under the prospective deal the negotiations could be held on the basis of two decades-old U.N. Security Council resolutions, 242 and 338, another official said.

Such a formula could be acceptable to Israel since it interprets those resolutions as falling short of a demand to withdraw from all of the West Bank, territory it captured in a 1967 war.

Palestinians, who seek a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, hold that the resolutions, which call for "withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict," obliges Israel to return to pre-1967 lines.

Washington apparently hopes to persuade Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to return to peace talks based on the resolutions, enabling each side to cleave to its own interpretation and avoid conceding diplomatic ground on borders before negotiations resume.

However, Abbas has given no sign he has dropped a main Palestinian condition for a resumption of negotiations -- an Israeli settlement freeze in the West Bank in accordance with a 2003 U.S.-backed peace "road map" that charts a path to a Palestinian state.

If this were to actually happen it would be good news - there is plenty of contemporaneous evidence that shows that Resolution 242 was specifically not intended to force Israel back to the pre-1967 borders. Moreover, no one was even thinking about a 'Palestinian state' at that time.

Of course, the 'Palestinians' will never agree to negotiations on that basis. That means that the negotiations will (hopefully) be quietly taken off the table for the balance of Obama's term.


Israel Matzav: Back to 242?

Israel Matzav: Iran's ethnic conflict

Iran's ethnic conflict

In light of Sunday's suicide bombing that killed five senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards Council members, Time Magazine looks at the problem that really keeps the Mullahs up at night: Ethnic conflict.

For Iran, the hard truth is that ethnic Persians make up only 51% of the population. The rest of the country is a mishmash of ethnic minorities, various religions, Muslim sects and semi-nomadic tribes. None has been entirely happy living under the mullahs' Shi'ite theocracy, especially Iran's Sunni citizens, which make up 9% of the population and include most of the Baluch. Iran's minorities have been susceptible to outside influences, but rarely have they felt strong enough to take on Tehran — which fears that that could change with the chaos at its borders. If, for instance, the U.S. were to suddenly pick up and leave Afghanistan, would the new Taliban government resist backing Jundallah? Or if Pakistan fails to subdue the tribal areas and its own Taliban, would this encourage Jundallah?

Tehran is obviously worried that it has a problem with or without a failure in Pakistan or Afghanistan. The five senior Revolutionary Guards officers killed on Sunday were on their way to a meeting with local tribal chiefs to talk about containing Shi'ite-Sunni violence in their province, and the agenda no doubt included what to do about Jundallah.

In that sense, ironically, Tehran is right that its security really does rest with Pakistan and the U.S. A catastrophic failure on their parts would create a threat that would take Iran many years to overcome.

Hmmm. If only we had people in Washington who were clever enough to parlay Iran's need for American protection in Afghanistan into some concessions on the nuclear program and a stop to terrorism.

Israel Matzav: Iran's ethnic conflict

Israel Matzav: The disingenuous Richard Richard Goldstone

The disingenuous Richard Richard Goldstone

ABC News (Australia)'s Mark Colvin interviewed Richard Goldstone on his Thursday evening PM show. You can listen to the interview here. Here's part of the transcript (there's a full transcript here) with my comments (Hat Tip: Daled Amos).

I put Mark Regev's accusations to Justice Goldstone today, but first I asked him about the new Israeli campaign to change the laws of war.

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: I don't agree at all. I think the interpretation of the rules may change from decade to decade, but the fundamental principles remain the same and that's to protect civilians from victimisation during war.

The laws of war are in need of updating to account for asymmetric wars against terrorists who hide among the civilian population. The laws of war were made for an era when armies in uniform fought battles against each other, and that's often not the situation today.

But that's almost irrelevant to the present discussion. Under proper interpretations of current international law - which looks at criminal culpability from the point of view of an army commander on the ground and not from the point of view of a group of judges several months after the fact - Israel was not in violation of the laws of war. We should keep talking up that point for now and not future recommendations and changes.

MARK COLVIN: So what did you do to change the mandate?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well I refused the original mandate because I thought it was biased against Israel and the president of the Human Rights Council asked me to write literally my own mandate, a mandate that I considered fair and even handed and I did that and he said well that's the mandate that I'm giving you.

He took it to the Human Rights Council, there was no objection and of course since then, very importantly, our whole report based on that mandate has been adopted by the Human Rights Council.

This is incredibly disingenuous. Here's Goldstone's mandate as approved (and never changed) by the 'Human Rights Council':

an urgent, independent international fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying Power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the current aggression, and calls upon Israel not to obstruct the process of investigation and to fully cooperate with the mission.

The enabling resolution behind the Goldstone Commission remained unchanged, and Goldstone was still accountable to the Council that passed this resolution. The fact that the Council accepted the report - without ever discussing the mandate again - doesn't change the mandate.

MARK COLVIN: Why did you accept the mandate given that it used the phrase "occupation of Gaza by Israel", or a phrase very similar to that?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: No mandate said nothing about occupation. My mandate instructed us to look into human rights and humanitarian law violations in relation to operation Cast Lead whether before during or after.

You can go look at his mandate (above) and see that it refers to Occupied 'Palestinian' Territory, ignoring the fact that Israel expelled all the Jews and left Gaza four years ago. How does Goldstone get there? He has a rather curious interpretation of 'occupation':

MARK COLVIN: How does that work, given that there are no Israeli troops there?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well because the, the test of occupation is effective control and we, we had regard to the fact that Israel absolutely controls what goes into Gaza, what comes out of Gaza, who can go in, who can come out. It controls the air space, it has drones constantly over Gaza and we held that was sufficient... we were convinced that that was sufficient evidence to, to constitute sufficient control to make it... to have it remain an occupied territory.

Really? I didn't know Israel controls the border between Egypt and Gaza. I'll bet the Egyptians didn't know it either. And it's interesting that Goldstone thinks you can occupy a country by spying on it with drones. Would he argue that Israel occupies southern Lebanon too? And by the way, where in the Geneva Convention does it define occupation that way?

MARK COLVIN: I believe that you have said recently that your findings wouldn't necessarily stand up in a court of law; what do you mean by that?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Ours was a fact finding mission, it wasn't a criminal investigation, it wasn't a judicial or even a quasi-judicial investigation. We came to conclusions on the facts that we were able to gather. It there are to be prosecutions either in an international court, or I would hope in an domestic court, whether in Israel or in Gaza against people who are suspected of having committed any violations of international law, these facts that we found would have be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, which clearly wasn't a standard that we used.

Then what did he mean in the report when he used the legal/judicial terms "findings of fact" and "conclusions of law"?

MARK COLVIN: Now just going back to Mark Regev, to quote him, he said that "you came into the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas and having a public hearing in that sort of circumstance is like having a Stalinist show trial; that you heard exactly what you wanted to hear."

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well that's not correct. We heard independent witnesses from Israel certainly, we heard people who were very supportive of the Israel defence force, we heard the father of Gilad Shalit, the abducted Israeli soldier. I mean these weren't people who participated in a show trial. We heard from at least one victim of a rocket attack on Subeyrot (phonetic). It was neither a show, nor was it a trial.

He heard independent witnesses from Israel when he wasn't sleeping. And Noam Shalit (Gilad's father) is a separate case from the people of the 'Gaza envelope' who suffered for eight years with daily and nightly rocket attacks. It's a whole different category. It's a shame that Colvin didn't know to confront Goldstone with the case of Dr. Mirela Siderer, who said that she felt 'used' by Goldstone and that her testimony had been ignored.

But 'listening' to witnesses is not enough. A judge or a lawyer has to listen to witnesses critically, question their accounts and try to decipher where they've told the truth, where they've lied, where they've embellished the truth, and especially in the case of people in Gaza living under Hamas, where they're afraid to tell the truth. In this, Goldstone failed miserably by uncritically accepting every account he heard in Gaza, labeling the witnesses 'believable.'

I don't know whether Goldstone has ever studied Talmud, but what he did is to rely on something called kim li - I believe (or choose to believe) the witness. The concept is only applicable in judicial proceedings where one must choose to believe one side or the other and in any event it only applies where the judge personally knows the witness to be trustworthy. It was inappropriate here.

And by the way, isn't it just rich that Goldstone doesn't even know the name of the town of Sderot after he supposedly found Hamas guilty of war crimes for shooting 7,500 rockets at it over the course of eight years?

MARK COLVIN: Do you expect the same thing to happen on the other side? Do you think Hamas will be transparent?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well I do and if it's unable ...

MARK COLVIN: I'm asking if you expect it or if you hope it?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well certainly I think if Israel decides to have a domestic investigation there'll be huge pressure on Hamas to do that and if they can't, if they don't have the resources and the people available then I'm sure there's no shortage of independent judges and lawyers and academics not only in the international world but in the Arab world who could provide that assistance.

If this weren't such a serious matter, I'd be rolling on the floor laughing. This is the second time that Goldstone has expressed his faith in the Hamas 'court system,' a system whose main function is to put 'collaborators' with Israel or with Fatah to death.

Realizing the absurdity of that suggestion, Goldstone now calls on "independent judges and lawyers and academics not only in the international world but in the Arab world" to fill the judicial function. But what Arab country has an independent judiciary worthy of the name? Guess what Richard: There isn't any Arab country with an independent judiciary worthy of the name. Ooops.

What truly independent judge, lawyer or academic do you think Hamas would accept? Why do you think that they would get out of Gaza alive without prior assurances that their report would say what Hamas wants it to say? Richard Richard, Hamas isn't a state - it's a terror organization. Do you understand the difference?

Israel Matzav: The disingenuous Richard Richard Goldstone

Israel Matzav: Will Jones show up?

Will Jones show up?

Writing in the New York Post, Gabriel Schoenfeld raises the possibility that White House National Security Adviser James Jones will cancel his speaking engagement at J Street next week in light of all the controversy regarding the organization. Schoenfeld argues that Jones' appearance or non-appearance at the J Street conference is a test of the Obama administration's pro-Israel bona fides (Hat Tip: Power Line).

The "if" is an important question, for there is a chance, if the White House pays attention to the controversy it would be stepping into, that Jones won't show. Among the growing list of notables who've already dropped off the program's "honorary host committee" are New York's two senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. The reason for such distancing isn't difficult to fathom. J-Street has been engaged in a bit of pretense. It bills itself as "pro-peace" yet is anything but -- except, perhaps, if its policy recommendations were ever followed, the peace of the grave.


It is difficult to see how the term "pro-Israel" applies. A better term might be "pro-squeezing Israel." J-Street favors a US policy that would force Israel to take steps long favored by the American and Israeli left that Israel's democratically elected government has considered time and again and deemed severely wanting.

As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama spoke of how the US alliance with Israel is based on shared interests and shared values. "Those who threaten Israel," he said, "threaten us." Israel, he continued, "has always faced these threats on the front lines. And I will bring to the White House an unshakeable commitment to Israel's security."

Yet as president, Obama has been sending more than a few mixed signals and creating doubts about where he really stands. Jones has thus far kept a low profile as Obama's national-security adviser. Giving a keynote address to the phony "pro-peace" and "pro-Israel" J-Street convocation, if it proceeds, will be a revealing test of the administration's true intentions.

Obama is going to fail the test; in fact he has already failed it by virtue of Jones' speech to the American Task Force on 'Palestine' last week and many other actions taken (or not taken) by his administration. Schoenfeld makes the case that J Street is not 'pro-Israel, pro-peace' quite well. But as far as a test goes, Obama's failure is a foregone conclusion.

Israel Matzav: Will Jones show up?

Israel Matzav: Israel says no to Obama again

Israel says no to Obama again

The Hebrew daily Yisrael HaYom reported on Wednesday that the Netanyahu government said no to a demand by the Obama administration that it commit to a mass expulsion of Jews from Judea and Samaria and a 'Palestinian state' within two years.

The Netanyahu administration has rejected a U.S. Middle East peace plan that calls for Israeli willingness to carry out a massive withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, Israel HaYom reported Wednesday. According to the plan, a summit would be held in another month based on the withdrawal and an Israeli commitment to establish a Palestinian Authority (PA) state within two years.

Intensive final status talks between Israel and the PA were to be opened after the summit.

Two words: Without preconditions.

Israel Matzav: Israel says no to Obama again

Israel Matzav: Swedish government criticizes its media, freedom of press remains intact

Swedish government criticizes its media, freedom of press remains intact

When the Aftonbladet blood libel against the IDF was published, the Swedish government claimed that any criticism of its media as 'interfering' with its 'free press.' But their protectiveness of their media is limited to when their media is targeting Jews. When their media targets Muslims, unsurprisingly, that's a different story. Even when the same newspaper is involved (Hat Tip: Media Backspin).

Yesterday was the final day of the Sweden Democrats party congress in Ljungbyhed, in the south province of Skåne, a traditional stronghold for this nationalist party. Today Sweden’s largest tabloid Aftonbladet published an opinion article by party leader Jimmie Åkesson, where he strongly attacks Islam, immigration from Muslim countries and how this affects the Swedish society.

Åkesson writes that “the multicultural Swedish elite of today are totally blind for the dangers of Islam”. He among else holds there to be around ten Muslim terror organisations established in the country, that Sweden has the largest amount of rapes in Europe and that Muslim men is over-represented among the perpetrators’.

Kent Ekeroth, international secretary of the Sweden Democrats, also attacked Islam and Muslims in a speech at the party congress. Among else he said that Islam must be fought down and that the Koran “incites violence against non-Muslims”.


The leaders of all parties currently represented in the Swedish Parliament have today spoken out in Swedish media against the Sweden Democrats and the opinion article by Jimmie Åkesson.

Prime minister and leader of the Moderate Party, Fredrik Reinfeldt says that the article shows that the Sweden Democrats only have one issue.

“It’s the core of their ideology. They only have one political issue, to divide people into groups. Every attempt from power holders to distinguish the right religion, the right nationality or the right sexual orientation has always ended in horror”, Fredrik Reinfeldt told news agency TT during an informal press conference at Gothenburg University earlier today.

“When that view on society is made into politics, a sectioning of people into groups is made and that is neither manageable nor desirable. That is the consequence, in the long run, of what Jimmie Åkesson describes”.

”I believe in a different path. I admit that there are tensions in the Swedish society, rooted in different ideological and religious perceptions. But to me the conclusion can never be something else than that we must work harder to increase tolerance and curiosity between people who got somewhat different starting points”, Reinfeldt said.

Rumor has it that freedom of the press in Sweden has not been adversely impacted by the government criticism.

Media Backspin has more on this story here.

Israel Matzav: Swedish government criticizes its media, freedom of press remains intact

Israel Matzav: Indyk: Livni told Abu Mazen to reject Olmert's offer

Indyk: Livni told Abu Mazen to reject Olmert's offer

Remember that Jackson Diehl column last May in which he described the deal that Ehud Olmert offered Abu Mazen, which Abu Mazen turned down saying he would wait for the United States to 'deliver' Israel? Well, here's a strange twist on it. At a session at the Presidents' Conference on Thursday, former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk claimed that Abu Mazen turned down the deal on the advice of none other than current opposition leader and then foreign minister Tzipi Livni. Livni denied the story.

In a discussion at President Shimon Peres's 'Facing Tomorrow' Presidential Conference 2009 in Jerusalem, Indyk said that the Palestinians should not be blamed for rejecting Olmert's peace offer, because of his unstable political situation at the time, Army Radio reported.

Later in the day, Indyk clarified that he was not in the room when the incident took place.

"I was not present at the negotiating table but heard accounts from several sources," Indyk said in a statement quoted by Army Radio. "I don't believe Livni insinuated to the Palestinians that their situation would improve if they rejected Olmert's offer," the former US ambassador to Israel reportedly said.

When asked by Channel 2 reporter Udi Segal, who was hosting the panel, whether the Palestinians missed an opportunity when they rejected Olmert's proposal, Indyk had reportedly replied that "the prime minister was about to have an indictment filed against him and the foreign minister herself specifically told both the Americans and the Palestinians: Don't you dare sign the agreement."

Livni said on Thursday that when the offer was publicly announced in May, she said that she had not supported it at the time. Olmert was desperate for an agreement to leave him a non-criminal legacy. And while it is questionable whether Olmert could have followed through on the deal, if he had left a signed agreement it would have been difficult for Netanyahu (or Livni, as she assumed would be the case) to ignore it, especially if it had somehow gotten cabinet approval.

This story is likely true, but it doesn't absolve the 'Palestinians' from political stupidity and it doesn't mean that Livni was trying to either help or trick them.

How Indyk, who was in no official capacity at the time and who was not present at the meeting, found out about it, is a separate question.

Israel Matzav: Indyk: Livni told Abu Mazen to reject Olmert's offer

Israel Matzav: Goldstone to debate Dore Gold

Goldstone to debate Dore Gold

Richard Goldstone, the author of the commission report on Operation Cast Lead that bears his name, will debate an Israeli government representative about the report for the first time. That representative will be Dore Gold, Israel's former ambassador to the United Nations and the author of a book on the threat of a nuclear Iran.

The debate is to take place at Brandeis University on November 5. Time, place and venue have not been announced.

Given Brandeis' past history with Jimmy Carter and Alan Dershowitz, one can only hope that Gold will actually be allowed to attend and speak.


I have been told and should clarify that although he will defend Israel, Dore Gold will not be acting as an official representative of the Israeli government.

Israel Matzav: Goldstone to debate Dore Gold

Israel Matzav: Rice to UN: 'End the anti-Israel vitriol'

Rice to UN: 'End the anti-Israel vitriol'

Susan Rice, the United States ambassador to the United Nations has called on the UN to end the anti-Israel vitriol.

"Member states must once and for all replace anti-Israeli vitriol with recognition of Israel's legitimacy and right to exist in peace and security," she said at Israeli President Shimon Peres’ conference in Jerusalem.

She also stressed Washington's commitment to fighting extremism. "We will stand by our friends on the frontlines and we will uphold the inalienable right to self-defence," said Rice.

That ought to convince them.

Israel Matzav: Rice to UN: 'End the anti-Israel vitriol'

Israel Matzav: Goldstone hammers at US and Israel

Israel Matzav: Goldstone hammers at US and Israel

Israel Matzav: Israel and Iran meet on nuclear issues

Israel and Iran meet on nuclear issues

Both JPost and Haaretz reported on Thursday morning on a meeting on nuclear issues that took place in Cairo in late September. Official representatives of Israel and Iran were present at the meeting, which took place at the Cairo Four Seasons Hotel, the first time representatives of those two countries sat in the same room since 1979. Iran has denied the story, but Haaretz has enough details to make that denial suspect.

The exchanges between the Iranian and Israeli representatives took place within three panel sessions, each dealing with one of the issues with which the ICNND is concerned - declaring the Middle East a nuclear-free zone, preventing nuclear proliferation in the region and matters of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The two did not meet or shake hands outside the sessions. In one of the discussions, Soltanieh directly asked Zafary-Odiz - and eyewitnesses say he spoke in an impassioned voice, "Do you or do you not have nuclear weapons?" Zafary-Odiz smiled, but did not respond.

During the meetings, Zafary-Odiz explained the Israeli policy of being willing, in principle, to discuss the Middle East as a nuclear-free zone. She also detailed Israel's unique strategic situation, saying regional security must be strengthened, security arrangements must be agreed upon and a peace agreement must be sealed before Israel would feel at liberty to discuss this topic.

Zafary-Odiz said Israel lived in a complex geopolitical reality, noting that in three decades, four countries in the region broke their commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria. She said Israel takes a responsible approach to the nuclear issue as a whole, and that the far horizon of its vision did include the possibility of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, even if the chances for this were slim.

Soltanieh defended his country's policy, and said Iran was not striving for nuclear armament and did not endanger Israel. He said Israel did not understand the mentality and ideology of the Tehran regime. He said the regime did not oppose or hate Jews, but was merely politically opposed to Zionism. He said Iran's growing arsenal of missiles was for defensive, not offensive, purposes.

Australian newspaper The Age adds:

The spokeswoman for Israel's Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) Yael Doron told AFP the commission's representative had held several meetings with an Iranian official "in a regional context" and under Australia's auspices.

Doron declined to give details of the meetings....


Also at the meeting were representatives of the Arab League, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Saudia Arabia, as well as European and US officials, the daily said.

It said the meeting was held under the auspices of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation set up at the initiative of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Iran's state television website dismissed the reports.

"This lie is a kind of psychological operation designed to affect the constant success of Iran's dynamic diplomacy in the Geneva and Vienna meetings," atomic organisation spokesman Ali Shirzadian was quoted as saying.


Yes, this is believable. But the odds of the Middle East becoming a nuclear-free zone are almost non-existent without Iran's nuclear program being completely halted first. There are too many players here.

By the way, Haaretz mentions that one of the people on the board of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND), under whose auspices the Cairo meeting took place, is Israel's former foreign minister Shlomo Ben Ami. He makes some of Shimon Peres' wilder thoughts look grounded in reality.

Israel Matzav: Israel and Iran meet on nuclear issues

Israel Matzav: Blood libelling journalist to visit?

Blood libelling journalist to visit?

Swedish 'journalist' Donald Bostrom, who in August published a blood libel alleging that Israel murders 'Palestinians' to harvest their organs, now wants to visit Israel next month to attend the Dimona conference in the Negev. Here's hoping that he won't be allowed in.

Im Tirtzu (If You Wish) wrote to the minister, “Everyone understands the difference between his poisonous anti-Semitic articles and freedom of expression.”

Everyone except the Swedish government, eh Mr. Bildt?
Israel Matzav: Blood libelling journalist to visit?

Israel Matzav: And another J Street withdrawal

Israel Matzav: And another J Street withdrawal

Israel Matzav: Blind ambition

Blind ambition

South African journalist R. W. Johnson fills in the rest of the world on the lengths to which Richard Golstone is willing to go to get ahead. Pity anyone who's in Goldstone's path: Goldstone's behavior will not surprise those who have followed his career.

As a young advocate in South Africa he drew criticism for the way he privately entertained the attorneys who might bring him cases: this was seen as touting for custom. Similarly, his decision to accept nomination as a judge from the apartheid regime drew criticism from many liberal lawyers who refused to accept such nomination because it meant enforcing apartheid laws.


Then, as the political situation changed, so did Goldstone. Entrusted by President F. W. de Klerk with a commission to investigate the causes of violence, Goldstone publicized much damning evidence against the apartheid regime but refused to investigate any form of violence organized by the African National Congress (ANC). This naturally made him the ANC's favorite judge.

Moreover, Goldstone, issued a dramatic press statement suggesting that the military were involved in illegal partisan behavior. De Klerk had to dismiss 23 senior military figures, though the evidence for their guilt promised by Goldstone was never actually forthcoming. The officers sued De Klerk, who had to back down and apologize.

De Klerk was furious at Goldstone's sensational use of untested evidence and, knowing that Goldstone was ambitious to succeed Boutros-Boutros Ghali as UN secretary-general, referred to him as "Richard-Richard Goldstone."

Then, to the ANC's delight, just weeks before the 1994 election Goldstone made dramatic allegations of illegal and partisan behavior against three police generals, effectively ending their careers. Yet Goldstone had made no attempt to put these allegations to the men concerned, nor allowed them to defend themselves or test the accusations through cross-examination.

Goldstone justified publicizing these untested allegations by saying it was important to give them publicity before the election. The ANC couldn't have agreed more strongly: when they won, Goldstone was given a seat on the Constitutional Court.

Heedless of the fact that the doctrine of collective guilt has been the basis of anti-Semitic campaigns down the ages, Goldstone publicly urged all whites to apologize for their collective guilt and advised younger South Africans that they must not expect top jobs because of "the sins of the fathers."

The effect of these high profile actions was to give Goldstone international fame as an icon of political correctness. Hence his appointment as prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

The story continues. Read the whole thing.

What emerges from Johnson's article is a portrait of a man who is driven by what former White House counselor John Dean referred to as blind ambition in his book of the same name that is probably the most important account of the Watergate scandal. That would mean the ability to convince himself that he's doing the right thing even when he's doing the wrong thing - because the wrong thing advances his career. That seems to describe Goldstone to a tee.

Israel Matzav: Blind ambition

Israel Matzav: Proof that Human Rights Watch has lost all moral foundations

Proof that Human Rights Watch has lost all moral foundations

On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch founder Robert Bernstein wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in which he lambasted his former colleagues for their anti-Israel obsession.

On Wednesday, NGO Monitor's Anne Herzberg wrote an op-ed in the JPost in which she introduced (and lambasted) Human Rights Watch's ridiculous moral equivalence of the year: Comparing Israel's defensive action in Gaza to the mass murder of civilians in Darfur.

The most outrageous and untenable argument HRW officials are advancing, however, is that the US has to promote Goldstone's discredited report so that it will have greater standing going after crimes in Darfur.

According to Whitson, "failure to demand justice for attacks on civilians in Gaza and the Negev will reveal hypocrisy in US policy. The Obama administration cannot demand accountability for serious violations in places like Sudan and Congo but let allies like Israel go free."

HRW's "emergencies senior researcher" Fred Abrahams made similar claims on a conference call organized by B'Tselem and the fringe group Ta'anit Tzedek (Jewish Fast for Gaza). To equate January's Gaza confrontation aimed at eliminating rocket attacks on Israeli civilians with the genocide in Darfur, where hundreds of thousands have been murdered, and systematic mass rapes and torture are a daily horror is an affront.

As the Volokh Conspiracy's David Bernstein commented about the immoral tenor of these claims: "[Reasonable people would not think] to analogize Israel's action in Gaza to the wars in Congo and Sudan to begin with." If any further proof was needed, HRW has clearly lost its moral foundations.

Given that the President of what is still (despite him) the most powerful nation in the world has compared the plight of the 'Palestinians' to the Holocaust, should we really be surprised that the world's pre-eminent human rights advocate has an anti-Israel obsession and makes the same kind of comparisons?

Israel Matzav: Proof that Human Rights Watch has lost all moral foundations

Israel Matzav: The dirt known as 'Comment is Free'

The dirt known as 'Comment is Free'

On Tuesday, Harold Evans, a former editor-in-chief of the Sunday Times of London, wrote an article in the Guardian's Comment is Free section in which he accused Richard Goldstone of allowing terror groups to use him to pillory Israel in the report that bears his name and took his own government to task for its cowardly non-vote at the United Nations 'Human Rights Council' last Friday.

Only six refused to join the farce – Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia, Ukraine and the US. Britain didn't just abstain. It shirked voting at all (along with those beacons of civilisation Angola, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, and surprisingly, France).

Of course, here the fig leaf for being scared of dictators, especially oil-rich abusers, is the report by the South African judge Richard Goldstone. Poor Judge Goldstone now regrets how his good name has been used to single out Israel. The Swiss paper Le Temps reports him complaining that "This draft [UN human rights council] resolution saddens me … there is not a single phrase condemning Hamas as we have done in the report. I hope the council can modify the text." Fat hope.

The truth is he was suckered into lending his good name to a half-baked report – read its 575 pages and see. He said that, as a Jew himself, he was surprised to be invited. He shouldn't have been, and should never have accepted leadership of a commission whose terms of reference were designed to excuse the aggressor, Hamas, and punish the defender, Israel. The council's decision was to "dispatch an urgent, independent, international fact-finding mission … to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the current aggression, and [it] calls upon Israel not to obstruct the process of investigation and to fully co-operate with the mission".

Evans' article was well-written and I actually thought about doing a post on it, but there has been no shortage of topics on which to write this week, and so I let it pass (yes, I read even more articles in a day than what I post here).

But what was most unusual about Evans' article was where it appeared: The Guardian, arguably London's most anti-Semitic newspaper (the Independent is also a competitor for that title). It's rare that a pro-Israel voice is heard in the Guardian. And apparently, even when it happens it's severely limited.

If you want to know how the Guardian got its reputation, go over to Comment is Free Watch (at least some of whose contributors are regular readers of mine) and have a look at what happened in the comment thread for Evans' article (including many posts that were deleted. Warning: You will feel like you have to shower after reading this thread so be prepared. The bottom line, according to Hawkeye, is that the Guardian deletes nearly all pro-Israel comments in the comment thread.

And what would a CiF thread be without enforcement of the GWV? Here are a selection of pro-Israel comments on the thread that were deleted (all of anotherdayanother’s comments were deleted without trace) leaving only a few solitary pro-Israel comments standing among a sea of anti-Israel comments.

And you thought that on more public sites than mine, the only reason a comment would be deleted is that it uses what George Carlin once called the 'seven dirty words.' Not in 2009 and not in the Guardian.

The Guardian is determined to maintain its anti-Israel worldview. So long as it is one of London's leading newspapers, a large segment of British intellectuals will never know that there is an Israeli side to any story.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: The dirt known as 'Comment is Free'
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