Thursday, 29 October 2009

Chester Chronicles - Open Season on Jews: Two Men Shot At Prayer in Los Angeles

Open Season on Jews: Two Men Shot At Prayer in Los Angeles

RubinReports: What George Orwell Can Teach Us About Contemporary Antisemitism

What George Orwell Can Teach Us About Contemporary Antisemitism

[Please subscribe not only for contemporary political analyis but also for insights about the lessons of history for our resent day.]

By Barry Rubin

In 1945, George Orwell wrote a long article entitled “Antisemitism in Britain.” Like many other English writers, in his younger years Orwell had himself been an antisemite. In his novel on Burma, written in the 1920s, for example, he had written that the only ones who had profited from the British Empire had been Jews and Scotsmen, another group he disliked.

It is interesting to note that in his article for the Contemporary Jewish Record he doesn’t mention his own past antisemitism. Later, though, he regretted this and became a firm opponent of antisemitism, an issue he wrote about regularly in World War Two.

England was a strange mix of tolerance and intolerance in earlier years. Orwell wrote that all the Jews he knew when he was younger “were people who were ashamed of being Jews, or at any rate preferred not to talk about their ancestry.” While “The Jew who grew up in Whitechapel [a working class area] took it for granted that he would be assaulted” or at least insulted if he entered any Christian area. He notes also though, that things considered formerly acceptable in literature and elsewhere were no longer so.

Orwell noted that anti-Semitism had been driven underground by the war and that the authorities and media went out of their way to avoid offending Jews in order to establish their credentials as not being antisemites. He recounts how, for example, a man he knew as an antisemite and former fascist was eager to attend a ceremony in a synagogue on behalf of the Jews being persecuted in Poland.

Two-thirds of a century later, Orwell’s article has some interesting things to tell us in an era when antisemitism is reviving throughout the world. Sometimes, the word “Zionist” or “Israeli” is substituted for the word “Jew.” But the tip-off is that the accusations continue to be basically the same ones: allegedly hating and deliberately oppressing non-Jews, greed, conspiracy, mysterious power, irrational behavior, and the goal of world conquest.

The first point Orwell’s article reminds us of is that no Jew really has a good sense of the extent of antisemitism at any given place or time. This is so simply because anti-Semitic attitudes and remarks will or won’t be expressed mainly behind his back. My personal experience bears this out: overwhelmingly, the main expressions of antisemitism I experienced personally did not come from direct expressions but from words I overheard accidentally in nearby conversations or things non-Jewish friends told me about.

In this context, Orwell begins the article with seven cases of antisemitic thinking he witnessed personally during World War Two, coming from a wide variety of classes and educational levels of English people. They include: a desire to avoid Jews, Jews getting extra goods as merchants under rationing, Jews getting extra goods as customers, Jews as pushy and selfish, Jews as cowardly and greedy or as lazy and intellectual.

A second thread relevant to today in common among these anecdotes is that Jews are mainly responsible for their own sufferings. This ploy neatly ensures not only that mistreatment doesn’t matter but that it actually counts as proof of the Jews’ own misdeeds.

Another theme is the need of antisemitism to camouflage itself. Notes Orwell, “Above a certain intellectual level people are ashamed of being antisemitic and are careful to draw a distinction between `antisemitism’ and `disliking Jews.’” Today the same role is played by the effort to make a distinction between the systematic hatred and slander of Israel and its supporters, and antisemitism. There always has to be some rationale for why it is an acceptable slur or hatred.

Here, too, Orwell pointed out that this hatred is not easily combated. “To attempt to counter them with facts and statistics is useless.” He views antisemitism as an emotional choice not shaped by rationality. Of course, there might be more hope affecting those who are not so determined in their views.

Of special note is the coinciding of antisemitism with an era of history where a wider conflict focuses on an anti-Jewish aspect. He writes that World War Two “has encouraged the growth of antisemitism and even, in the eyes of many ordinary people, given some justification for it” because it can be portrayed as “a Jewish war.”

Today, too, there is a war that frightens many in the West that can be called a “Jewish war,” in that if it were not for Israel’s existence one might believe there wouldn’t be international terrorism or a threat from radical Islamism.

Conspiracy theories are also a mainstay of antisemitism. In 1942, for example, when a near-by bomb frightened people into a stampede near a London shelter and more than 100 people were killed, the rumor quickly spread that “the Jews were responsible.”

One thing that has changed generally is that in Orwell’s day most antisemitism was from the right--though he cites antisemitic statements from a Communist fellow traveler and a Labour party leader, too--in reaction to the perceived leftism of Jews:

“Antisemitism,” Orwell wrote, “is rationalized by saying that the Jew is a person who spreads disaffection and weakens national morale….There is some superficial justification for this….The disaffected intelligentsia inevitably included a large number of Jews. With some plausibility it can be said that the Jews are the enemies of our native culture and our national morale.”

Today, while this kind of thing still exists, the main thrust (certainly publicly) of antisemitism comes from the left. It is incontrovertible that antisemitism in the United Kingdom today is higher than at any point since World War Two began. Jews are targeted because of being allegedly too conservative, too religious, too nationalistic. If antisemitism isn’t now acceptable in much of British life it certainly is close, albeit with at times the word “Zionist” merely being substituted for “Jew.”

In a lot of English Jewish behavior and in American Jewish intellectual circles there is an obvious undercurrent of fear lest they be thought not sufficiently “progressive” and thus become or be seen as part of the old enemy on the right, either collectively or individually.

To assess this factor, in watching conservatives today I applied a test. How do they deal with the fact that so many Jews were on the left, among their greatest enemies? Would they again resort to antisemitic explanations?

To my relief, with few exceptions, they’ve largely adopted a different explanation: that the leftist Jews were not embodying the Jews true nature but were acting against their own people’s real interests. If they were traitors to anything, it was not to America or Britain but to their own people.

Antisemitism is still seen as a shameful thing and thus it must be disguised by rationalizations, which today focus on Israel and those who support it. At the same time, though, it draws on all the traditional images and themes and is much more common than is thought.

Orwell reminds us that things haven’t changed all that much. But perhaps it would be correct to say that they seemed to have changed for a long period after the fall of the Third Reich but that this era has proven merely temporary.

RubinReports: What George Orwell Can Teach Us About Contemporary Antisemitism

RubinReports: Containment of a Nuclear Iran: Sounds good but it's a risky and possibly losing strategy

Containment of a Nuclear Iran: Sounds good but it's a risky and possibly losing strategy

[Please subscribe to follow this and other vital issues with original analysis and accurate information.]

By Barry Rubin

It is truly disconcerting (a fancy word for scary) to see that those charged with the protection of the West, democracy, and the world are so resolutely barking up the wrong tree. In this case, this involves the U.S. strategy toward Iran nuclear weapons.

The short-term goal—whether it is being implemented well enough is another matter entirely—is to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. If this fails, however, the United States discards any military response and goes to containment.

Containment means that the United States would strengthen missile defenses in Europe, which is nice but will have no actual effect on any real-world situation. The second and more important policy would be to strengthen relations with Gulf states, notably Saudi Arabia, threatened by Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons.

A typical defense of containment comes from General John Abizaid who commanded U.S. forces in the Middle East between 2003 and 2007. Iran, he explained, would make rational judgments. "The historical evidence would suggest that Iran is not a suicide state. So it's my military belief that Iran can be deterred."

There are three problems with this overall strategy.

First, for containment of Iran to work, the United States must have credibility with both allies and enemies. That means the Iranian regime has to believe that any use of nuclear weapons or aggression will bring a full-scale American military response including even the use of nuclear weapons. Does a government led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad believe that about a government led by President Barack Obama given everything it has done or said? The answer seems closer to “no” than to “yes.”

Equally important, the Gulf Arab states must believe—and believe it very very firmly—that the United States is going to be reliable as a protector. Can the Saudis and the others hold that view of Obama’s administration? Remember that it doesn’t matter how many speeches Obama makes about how he loves Arabs, Islam is great, and he cares a lot about the Palestinians. They don’t want to know that he will apologize; they want to know he will fight.

Which is why one Arab from a Gulf state remarked privately: We don’t want Obama to act like an Arab. We want him to act like an American.

Faced with the choice between the devil and the deep blue sea, Gulf Arabs are going to hedge their bets and hedge them heavily with appeasement. They will reduce cooperation with America while simultaneously demanding it will protect them. They won’t do anything to offend Iran, including any real steps toward peace with Israel.

The second problem related directly to Abizaid’s statement. Yes, on balance it seems more likely than not that Iran is not a suicide state, but would you bet your life on it? The statement is equally true that the Iranian regime will be by far the closest thing to a non-rational state of any major power during the last 60 years. If any country in the world today is a suicide state it’s Iran—though Libya and North Korea are in contention.

What Abizaid expresses is at best a greater likelihood and most likely a hope rather than a firmly established proposition. And of course the Tehran regime may think it has found a way around the “suicide” problem, say by providing weapons of mass destruction to a terrorist group. In addition, given the highly factional nature of Iran’s regime, a specific group within the overall structure might be ready to take greater risks.

Remember that the nuclear weapons will be controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the most fanatical of the fanatical and those responsible for maintaining liaison with terrorist groups. And who is the top man? The Iranian minister of defense, that’s who, and he also happens to be a wanted terrorist in his own right.

So this arrangement is far less secure than U.S. policymakers are pretending. You can literally see the inner workings of their brains: Iran is rational; balance of terror will work; American credibility is great. Hey, no problem! Wrong.

Third, and perhaps ultimately most important, Iran’s increased power in having nuclear weapons will not consist merely of firing them off. The mere possession of such weapons will bring Arab and European appeasement to hitherto unprecedented heights.

Moreover, the picture of Iran as a great power before which the rest of the non-Muslim world trembles will be a massive recruiting incentive for Islamists, both pro- and anti-Iran ones throughout the Middle East and Europe. The level of internal instability in each Arab state will rise, while terrorism would probably go up in Europe as well. Iran would be seen as the wave of the future by hundreds of thousands of Muslims, a bandwagon onto which they would want to jump.

To pretend then that Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons will be neutralized by U.S. guarantees to Gulf Arab states is a fantasy.

After all, this line of reasoning would have you believe as follows: Iran never intends to use nuclear weapons any way but U.S. containment would prevent them from using these weapons. But the Iranian regime knows all of this already, so why is it spending huge amounts of money, stupendous political capital, and at the greatest costs. Why?

It’s true that part of the rationale is defensive, to ensure that the United States (which has no intention of doing so any way) doesn’t attack. Yet a large part of the reasoning to make such a risky choice is the idea that having nuclear weapons will make Iran a far more powerful player in the region, able to project its influence better. That’s the main aspect and will take effect even if there is an effort at containment.

In addition, perhaps extremist fanaticism, or pure miscalculation, or a small crazed faction would lead to nuclear war in the Middle East and massive deaths. If anyone is capable of getting into a nuclear war by such means, it’s Iran’s government.

That’s why it is so important to stop Iran from ever obtaining nuclear weapons. If this does happen, as appears likely, the entire regional picture will change and it will require a lot more than assurances to Gulf Arab states to keep the situation from eroding further.

RubinReports: Containment of a Nuclear Iran: Sounds good but it's a risky and possibly losing strategy

Love of the Land: From the Temple Mount to Goldstone and Back: By Moshe Feiglin

From the Temple Mount to Goldstone and Back: By Moshe Feiglin

The government is in disarray, frenetically trying to formulate a response to the Goldstone Report. Should Israel establish a commission of inquiry to deflect the danger of an international tribunal or should we do just the opposite and avoid opening a Pandora's box? The Defense Minister opposes the inquiry - the Chief of Staff and the soldiers do not want to find themselves under interrogation on suspicion of war crimes. Other ministers are in favor; Dan Meridor (of course) Herzog and others explain that an Israeli inquiry will stave off international pressure. And Netanyahu, true to form, vacillates somewhere in the middle, establishes a committee to report on a commission of inquiry and attempts to give everyone what they are looking for.

But the real reason for the Goldstone Report is not the Cast Lead Operation. As such, Israel's ability to deal with the report is not a question of inquiry into the fighting.

Leftist Ha'aretz journalist Ari Shavit came up with an excellent definition for the Goldstone Report. According to Shavit, it is the tip of the huge iceberg called loss of moral justification for the existence of a Jewish state:

"Under the calm waters upon which the Israeli luxury liner sails, lies an iceberg. The Goldstone Report was the first sighting of the iceberg. The Turks turning their backs on us was the second sighting. The pursuit of Israeli officers in Europe was the third sighting, the boycott of Israeli goods and companies in different places in the world the fourth sighting, the insensitivity to the fact that an atomic power threatens to wipe Israel off the map is the fifth sighting of the iceberg. Every week, practically every day, the iceberg shows its face. And when we look carefully over the rail of the luxury liner, we can see the exact nature of the peeking iceberg. The iceberg is the loss of moral justification for the State of Israel."
(Ari Shavit, Ha'aretz, Oct. 15, '09)

Ari Shavit has no doubt why we lost the moral justification for the very existence of a Jewish state on the face of the earth. The reason is the settlements, of course. When a person does not walk before G-d with simple sincerity, he can easily be drafted into the service of foreign gods. No historical or security facts will convince the Left to re-think its theories.

But at least our intelligentsia can define the problem and understand that we must deal with something far more serious than how our soldiers fought in Gaza. Our very right to Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel and essentially - the question of our being a nation and not just a religion - is on the line. And let there be no doubt: If we fail this test, the State of Israel will fall, G-d forbid. Because when a tree loses its roots and dries up, it will eventually fall over.

From where do we draw our moral justification? What is the point that, in its absence, our right to exist as a sovereign nation in our Land comes into question?

"He who rules the Mount rules the Land," wrote the poet of rebuke and faith, Uri Tzvi Greenberg. When the State of Israel descended from the Temple Mount and gave it to the Moslemwakf immediately after its liberation, it charted the course to Goldstone. That is the core around which Shavit's iceberg has crystallized.

The encouraging part of this story is that those who understand the source of the problem also know how to deal with the Goldstone Report. A commission of inquiry will not restore Israel's moral justification. But a house of worship for Jews on the Temple Mount will.

Love of the Land: From the Temple Mount to Goldstone and Back: By Moshe Feiglin

Love of the Land: Prosecution of IDF officers cynically twists truth

Prosecution of IDF officers cynically twists truth
27 October 09

Ha’aretz reports:

Human rights lawyers and pro-Palestinian activists in a number of European countries hold lists with names of Israel Defense Forces soldiers allegedly linked to war crimes committed during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. Existing legislation enables arrest warrants to be issued against these officers if they enter those countries.

Lawyers in Britain and other European countries have been collecting testimonies of Palestinians and other data from Gaza since January, which they maintain proves that war crimes were committed by the IDF during the offensive. The evidence is linked to IDF officers holding ranks of battalion commander and higher, who were in command during various stages of Cast Lead.

The other nations who have lawyers collecting information on the matter include the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and Norway, whose laws, as well as Britain’s, allow the issuance of arrest warrants against foreign citizens suspected of war crimes.

All very official, not unlike ‘official’ Nazi legal procedures for confiscating Jewish property, etc. Naturally only the highest standards of ‘evidence’ will be used:

[British attorney Daniel] Makover said that the Goldstone report on the fighting in the Gaza Strip will bolster the efforts of the activists, and said that some of the instances mentioned in the report were already known to the attorneys. Makover is part of an unofficial network of attorneys operating in various countries in Europe, exchanging and sharing information so that suspected officers may be arrested in those countries.

Imagine my relief to know that the same careful forensic methods and the same standards of fairness that characterize the Goldstone reportand NGO ‘investigations’ will now drive an international manhunt to capture the criminals who have violated Rule No. 1:

Other public-spirited individuals will help assure that the ‘perpetrators’ do not escape ‘justice’:

The information is often received from pro-Palestinian activists who follow Jewish or pro-Israel groups that invite IDF officers to deliver lectures. In some instances, this information is relayed to border controls…

A number of human rights groups are busy working to create an international organization that would enable closer surveillance of those they suspect of war crimes and torture, as well as seek warrants for their arrest.

It also renews my faith in my fellow man to know that they are not depending on the authorities to bring these miscreants to justice. No, a network of ‘pro-Palestinian activists’ and ‘human rights groups’ will make sure the none of them slip away!

It would be unbelievable, if it were not true, that language, organizations and laws that originally came into being as a result of the horrific persecutions of Jews by the Nazis are being used today to aid the Palestinian Arabs — who were allied with the Nazis during the war — as they take part in the 100-year old war against Jews living ineretz yisrael.

The cynical twisting of truth that facilitates this is really a triumph of modern media manipulation in the supposedly ‘advanced’ countries of Europe. Göbbels himself would have to admire it.

There are other ironies. In the Warsaw Ghetto 66 years ago, Jews who tried to defend themselves were hunted down. Then, as now, the ‘authorities’ had the enthusiastic help of ‘activists’, Ukrainians, Latvians and some Poles (although in fairness, the Polish underground aided the Jews).

Imagine the empowerment of today’s ‘activists’, who in addition to demanding boycotts of Israeli products and professors can now actually help lock up a real live IDF officer!

Sometimes human behavior is so perverse, so ignorant, stupid and evil that the usual rhetorical tools, like irony, can’t begin to describe it. For years after, historians, novelists and poets struggle to explain the apparent pandemic insanity of a time or collection of events, like the Crusades or the Nazi era.

Today, when half the world is obsessed with the desire to stamp out a tiny nation with a tiny population, a nation with no significant natural resources except Jewish brains, is truly one of those times.

Love of the Land: Prosecution of IDF officers cynically twists truth

Love of the Land: Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor
28 October 09

Hezbollah members parade during a rally marking Quds (Jerusalem) Day in Beirut on September 18, 2009. AFP PHOTO/RAMZI HAIDAR

In a meeting with Loyalty to the Resistance bloc leader MP Mohammad Raad on Monday, Iran’s Ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammad Shibani, said that not only was the greatest accomplishment of his tenure in the country his service to the Resistance, but that its achievements in recent years were a “medal around the neck of the Arab nations.”

The comment to the Lebanese media was more than a sound bite; it spoke volumes about the state of play in the region and was a worrying reminder that Lebanon could have a government tomorrow and 3 million tourists the next day, but as long as Hezbollah casts the shadow of conflict over our lives, the country will remain on the brink of chaos and viewed with chronic suspicion by the international community.

The “achievements” of which Shibani spoke are, of course, a work in progress. On Tuesday, Katyusha rockets were yet again fired into Israel. Whether it was Hezbollah that did the actual firing is irrelevant. The culture of aggression in a conflict whose aims are as outdated as the Cold War is still rooted in Lebanon’s tragic soil.

Four decades ago, the PLO urged us to join it in its glorious struggle and look where that led us. Today, Iran, at its most confrontational and most muscular in 30 years, has taken up the battle flag to advance its own agenda. The whiff of Uranium wafts across the Middle East and the international community surveys its limited options, while the normally placid countries of the GCC are so twitchy that they are rumored to be arming to the tune of $100 billion amid fears that Tehran will acquire the technology to make a nuclear device. The latter is in all likelihood a very expensive exercise in window dressing, but the message is clear. The mullahs are making everyone nervous.

Hezbollah, as all but the most blinkered or naïve must surely now acknowledge, is a key asset in this regional stand-off and the medal that Ambassador Shibani spoke of with such pride has been won at the expense of both the Lebanese people who refuse to embrace Hezbollah’s martial code and the path those same people have chosen toward a modern, democratic and sovereign state.

For let us not kid ourselves. Hezbollah is the biggest long term obstacle facing Lebanon. Forget about the absence of a government. Forget whether or not Gebran Bassil gets his old job back at the Telecom ministry, and forget Walid Jumblatt’s fickle reading of the political runes. Quite simply, the world doesn’t really care.
When Lebanon does get a government, do not think for a second that the international community will breathe a huge sigh of relief and go back to rectifying CO2 emissions. It won’t, because, rightly or wrongly, what the world really cares about is Hezbollah, its arsenal and the potential destruction that that arsenal can wreak as part of its contractual obligations to the Islamic Republic. If Lebanon has to be sacrificed to snuff out this threat, then so be it.

And yet we are still so blinkered by parochial concerns that we continue to convince ourselves that Hezbollah is a party that is brave, just and good and has Lebanon’s best interests at heart; that it fills a void in the South created by successive disinterested governments or – and this is a favorite of Michel Aoun – that it is the lesser evil to the still-unproven threat of a Wahabi sandstorm poised to turn the region into a medieval caliphate. “At least we can talk to Hezbollah,” the Aounists argue.

The trouble is history has shown they won’t listen. The fact of the matter is that we have been taken for a ride. We loved them in 2000 and tolerated the cheeky claim that the armed struggle had to continue because of a rocky outcrop called Shebaa Farms. Now, after numerous changes to the conditions required for total disarmament – essentially it isn’t going to happen voluntarily – we have the Iranian ambassador saying that the high point of his mission was serving the Resistance at a time when his country gears up for high stakes poker with the international community.

Maybe he should just come clean and say that it was Iran that presented Hezbollah with that medal in the first place.

Love of the Land: Medal of Honor

Love of the Land: Abraham's Simple Sincerity

Abraham's Simple Sincerity

And G-d said unto Abram: Go forth from your country, and your kindred, and from your father's house, unto the land that I will show you.
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you will be a blessing.
And I will bless those that bless you, and he who curses you will I curse; and in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed.'
(Genesis 12: 1-3)

Abraham is no longer a child; he is 75 years old. The Creator does not choose him by coincidence. After the creation of the world in the Torah portion of Breishit and the re-formatting of humanity in the Torah portion of Noach, G-d chooses Abraham to go to his unique Land and to give birth to the Nation with a unique task; to make the fact that G-d is King known to the entire world. Abraham was chosen for the starring role because he had already been the driving force behind one world revolution and had also survived the fires of Nimrod's furnace.

And now, at the age of 75, when a normal person is already retired and enjoying his grandchildren, the King of the world finally reveals Himself to Abraham. From here on in, it sounds like the going will be easy. All that Abraham has to do is to go to the Chosen Land, to grow, to be blessed and to merit the recognition of the nations.

But that is not what happens in reality. Famine, exile, his wife is abducted, internal wars and war with his surroundings - the entire Torah portion of Lech Lecha is almost the complete opposite of what Abraham was promised. At least through human eyes.

And then, at the age of 99, Abraham has another Divine revelation:

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, G-d appeared to Abram, and said to him: 'I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be simply sincere.'(Genesis 17:1)

"Do not lose your simple sincerity," the King of the world says to the father of the Jewish nation. Even when 'reality' shows that there is no hope, and when the very opposite of what was promised happens, simple sincerity is the secret weapon that will make the blessing reality.

From then until this very day, the Jewish world belongs to the simply sincere. When G-d tells them to "go forth," they simply get up and go. All the rest; the Sadducees, Karaites, Reform, Hellenists, Enlightened, pragmatists and intelligentsia - appear on stage for a short time and then fall into the depths of forgotten Jewish history.

Sometimes, simple sincerity can be confused with passivity. "We will simply learn Torah and everything will work out," say some. Or: "We will simply build new settlements." Or: "We will simply become top officers in the army." Or: "We will simply play the political game." Or: We will simply make a lot of money and everything will work out." Each person seems to have a form of passivity that keeps him comfortable. But Abraham does not confuse simple sincerity with passivity. He teaches Torah, makes wars, builds the Land, is actively involved in politics, makes a lot of money and does not forgo any human endeavor. He keeps going all the time - but with simple sincerity as his guiding light.

Shabbat Shalom,

Moshe Feiglin

Love of the Land: Abraham's Simple Sincerity

Love of the Land: Nuclear Tourism: An Average Guy Checks out Syria's Secret Nuclear Facility

Nuclear Tourism: An Average Guy Checks out Syria's Secret Nuclear Facility

Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
28 October 09

(Excellent find by Barry Rubin)

Here's a fascinating piece of citizen journalism. A well-informed individual decided to explore for himself whether Syria had built a secret nuclear reactor in an isolated location, in cooperation with Iran and North Korea, that was bombed by Israel. At some risk, after a detour from his tourism in Syria, he concluded that this was in fact what had happened. While the author rightly recommends that people shouldn't put themselves and others at risk, it shows how much average people can do nowadays to check up on media coverage and government stances while shaping our understanding of what's happening.

Love of the Land: Nuclear Tourism: An Average Guy Checks out Syria's Secret Nuclear Facility

Love of the Land: Update: Israel and Hadassah dispute claim Israelis not barred from Cairo "Cure" conference

Update: Israel and Hadassah dispute claim Israelis not barred from Cairo "Cure" conference

28 October 09

Nancy Brinker, founder and head of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization that raises significant amounts of money to fight breast cancer, claimed last week that despite threats in Egypt, Israelis were not
barred from the Cairo conference.

But the Foreign Ministry and the Hadassah Women's Zionist Organization said they had been.

Stop boycotts of Israelis at international medical conferences, IMA demands

Judy Siegel-Itzkovich ,
The Jerusalem Post
27 October 09

The Israel Medical Association on Tuesday denounced all boycotts of Israelis at international medical conferences such as the one held in Cairo last week on coping with breast cancer. IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman said that Israeli doctors and scientists are often confronted by hostility when attending professional conferences

Eidelman said that medicine and science are not political. Even those who oppose policies of the government of Israel should never inject politics into these fields, which aim to save lives and to which Israelis contribute a great deal, he said.

He called on the government to launch a serious campaign against such boycotts and have "zero tolerance" for them. The IMA, he said, would be happy to participate in such efforts.

Eidelman added that conferences that keep Israelis out would constitute a "black day for science in Israel and around the world."

Nancy Brinker, founder and head of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization that raises significant amounts of money to fight breast cancer, claimed last week that despite threats in Egypt, Israelis were not barred from the Cairo conference.

But the Foreign Ministry and the Hadassah Women's Zionist Organization said they had been.
Related: Egypt slams door on Israeli cancer researchers

Love of the Land: Update: Israel and Hadassah dispute claim Israelis not barred from Cairo "Cure" conference

Love of the Land: The Vienna Nuclear Talks – and Iranian/Western Rashomon

The Vienna Nuclear Talks – and Iranian/Western Rashomon

Inquiry and Analysis - No. 557
25 October 09

Reports in the Iranian media on the Vienna talks differ considerably from those in the Western media. The following are the main points of difference:

1. The Purpose of the Talks

The Western version: The purpose of the talks is to discuss the future of Iran's nuclear program; it was the U.S. that forced Iran to attend the talks.

The Iranian version: The purpose of the talks is not to discuss the future of Iran's nuclear program or of its uranium enrichment activities, but to address Iran's need to purchase uranium at a level of 20% for use in its nuclear reactor in Tehran.

2. The Outcome of the Talks

The Western version: The sides have agreed on a draft deal. This has been transferred to the participating countries, all of which must respond by the evening of October 23, 2009.

The Iranian version: There is no agreed-upon draft deal. Each side has submitted its own proposal for the perusal of the other, and Iran is waiting for a reply to its proposal to purchase nuclear fuel. [1]

The October 23 deadline was presented by ElBaradei at his own initiative, and does not obligate Iran.

3. Iran's Position on the Western Proposal

The Western version: Iran is expected to give an affirmative answer shortly.

The Iranian version: An answer cannot be expected soon, in light of the gravity of the issue.

Under no circumstances will Iran allow its "strategic reserves" of enriched uranium to be removed from the country. [2]

If Iran's demand to purchase uranium at a level of 20% is not met, it will enrich uranium to this level in Iran. [3]

The deal proposed by the West is nothing but an attempt to deceive Iran, and is not anchored in international law. It is the IAEA that is obliged, according to its own regulations, to supply any NPT member with enriched uranium for research purposes. [4]

[1] A source close to the Iranian delegation in Vienna said: "The Islamic Republic of Iran has submitted a clear proposal to buy the fuel required for the Tehran nuclear reactor, and is awaiting an answer." The source said further, "Iran is a buyer of fuel for the Tehran reactor, and sellers should respond to the buyer's proposal," IRIBnews (Iran), October 23, 2009.

[2] A source close to the Iranian delegation to the Vienna talks said that "one thing is clear, namely that Iran will not lose its strategic reserves." Kayhan (Iran), October 24, 2009.

An editorial in the daily Kayhan, which is close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, stated: "The West - which a week or two ago thought with enthusiasm that Iran would be willing to give up all its strategic reserves at once, [namely all] its [uranium] enriched to a low level, in return for a handful of promises - is now gradually learning that Iran has no intention whatsoever to do so. In fact, to put it as briefly as possible, Iran's strategic choice in the Vienna talks is not to hand over its nuclear material and to receive it [back in the form of] nuclear fuel, because in principle, [Iran] cannot place the least bit of trust in the Western side to remain committed to its promises on this issue... Iran will never give up its strategic reserves." Kayhan (Iran), October 24, 2009.

[3] The Kayhan editorial stated: "[Iran's] strategic options are either to purchase nuclear fuel or to enrich [uranium] to 20% inside Iran - and the West must choose between the two. Kayhan (Iran), October 24, 2009.

[4] Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani said that the West was trying to deceive Iran or impose its position upon it. He explained that a deal in which the West took Iran's nuclear fuel and promised to enrich it further had no legal or logical basis. According to the IAEA regulations, he said, the West was "obliged to provide Iran with enriched uranium for the research reactor in Tehran. Moreover, there is no guarantee that if a deal is struck, the West will [actually] provide Iran with the nuclear fuel [after it receives Iran's nuclear material]." ISNA (Iran), October 24, 2009.

In an editorial, the daily Jomhouri-ye Eslami called to object to the attempts to remove Iran's uranium reserves from the country, saying that this was an American trap personally designed by President Obama. An Iranian consent to this deal, the paper continued, would eliminate Iran's achievements in the field of nuclear enrichment, and this in return for nothing more than "false promises and illusions." Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Iran), October 25, 2009.

Iran's deputy Majlis speaker, Mohammed Reza Bahonar, said at an October 24, 2009 conference in Tehran that the IAEA's charter obliged it to supply its member states with nuclear fuel, and that failure to supply Iran with enriched uranium would therefore be a violation of this body's obligations. ILNA (Iran), October 25, 2009.

Love of the Land: The Vienna Nuclear Talks – and Iranian/Western Rashomon

Love of the Land: Amnesty Water Falsehood #1

Amnesty Water Falsehood #1

Posted by TS
28 October 09

Amnesty Water Falsehood #1

We will keep a running list of Amnesty International's falsehoods in its new report "Troubled Waters -- Palestinians Denied Fair Access to Water." Keep checking back for updates.

Here is the first:

An Amnesty news report accompanying the report ("The Day the Bulldozers Came") alleges:

The village of Beit Ula, where Mahmoud [al-'Alam] lives, is not connected to the Palestinian water network.

Fact: The Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem, a Palestinian outfit, has a 17-page town profile of Beit Ula, which states on page 13:

Beit Ula has been connected to the water network since 1974. Provided by the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA), almost 70% of town households are connected to the network.

Love of the Land: 'Pro-Israel, Pro-peace'

'Pro-Israel, Pro-peace'

Ben Smith
28 October 09

Matthew Yglesias, who is deeply sympathetic to the liberal Jewish group J Street's aims, has an interesting point on the gap between its leadership's stated policy positions and those of many attendees at its conference:

I was debating with Jon Chait at a J Street panel this morning on the subject of “what does it mean to be pro-Israel?” As expected, we disagreed on a number of points, most of which I was right on and he was wrong on. But one thing he said in his opening remarks that I really disagreed with was that there was an ambiguity running through the J Street constituency as to whether the group was or should be pro-Israel at all.

That just struck me as kind of nuts. My J Street button said “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace.” It’s not a subtle aspect of the messaging. But when we moved to the Q&A time it became clear that a number of people in the audience really were quite uncomfortable self-defining as “pro-Israel” in any sense and that others are uncomfortable with the basic Zionist concept of a Jewish national state. I was, of course, aware that those views existed but it had seemed to me that it was clear that that wasn’t what J Street is there to advocate for. Apparently, though, it wasn’t clear to everyone.

Yglesias continues that the anti-Zionist notion of a peaceable one-state solution, but that people who think "that the area west of the Jordan River would be a great place to try implementing [post-nationalist values] in the short-term are being a bit crazy."

Love of the Land: 'Pro-Israel, Pro-peace'

Love of the Land: Ben-Or Consulting: J Street, Ben-Ami, and NGO connections

Ben-Or Consulting: J Street, Ben-Ami, and NGO connections

Gerald Steinberg
26 October 09

Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s executive director, was the communications director for New Israel Fund (NIF). Ben-Ami is also the founder of the Israeli company Ben-Or Consulting (1998), which specializes in Strategic Communications and Consulting. Ben-Or works closely with many politicized Israeli NGOs, including Amnesty-Israel,Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Bimkom, Keshev, Peres Center for Peace, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-I), and Parents Circle. NGO funders NIF and the Ford Foundation are also Ben-Or clients.

One example of Ben-Or’s impact is a press conference during the Gaza War (January 14, 2009) featuring nine Israeli NGOs and entitled “A Clear and Present Danger.” This event, which received significant attention in the international media, was coordinated by Ran Goldstein of Ben-Or. In another instance, a World Bank report on “Palestinian Economic Prospects” (September 22, 2008) acknowledged the contributions of Ben-Or and a number of Ben-Or clients (Bimkom, Peace Now, PHR-I, Yesh Din, and OCHA). Didi Remez of Ben-Or provided “substantive analysis and guidance.”

Ben-Or also createdYesh Din,”– which, as shown in NGO Monitor’s detailed analyses (see also article in Jerusalem Post), exploits the language of human rights for political and ideological objectives, using methodologies and evidence that lack credibility. Ben-Or provides “professional consulting, PR and public information development.” Ben-Oremployee Ran Goldstein is Yesh Din’s spokesperson, and former employee Loir Yavne (alsoformerly of B’Tselem) is the NGO’s director of research (his work for the two organizations overlapped). Ben-Or and Yesh Din also share offices in Tel Aviv.

Jeremy Ben-Ami’s close connections with NIF and Ben-Or Consulting are also reflected in the speakers’ list at the J Street conference (October 25-28). The two speakers in the opening session are Ben-Ami and Daniel Sokatch, incoming CEO of NIF. Other participants in the conference include Didi Remez, a senior partner at Ben-Or, and representatives from highly politicized NGOs represented by Ben-Or and funded by NIF:ACRI, Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR), and theGeneva Initiative group. The impact of Palestinian terrorism is not on J Street’s agenda.

Love of the Land: Ben-Or Consulting: J Street, Ben-Ami, and NGO connections

Love of the Land: Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on 'Yihyeh B'seder' ["it will be OK"].

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on 'Yihyeh B'seder' ["it will be OK"].

Dr. Aaron Lerner
28 October 09

"One of our painful problems has a name.

A given name and a surname.

It is the combination of two words - 'Yihyeh B'seder' ["it will be OK"].

This combination of words, which many voice in the day to day life of the State of Israel, is unbearable.

Behind these two words is generally hidden everything which is not OK.

The arrogance and sense of self confidence, strength and power which has no place.

The 'Yihyeh B'seder' has accompanied us already for a long time. For many years. And it is the hallmark of an atmosphere that borders on irresponsibility in many areas of our lives.

The 'Yihyeh B'seder', that same friendly slap on the shoulder, that wink, that 'count on me', is the hallmark of the lack of order; a lack of discipline and an absence of professionalism; the presence of negligence; an atmosphere of covering up; which to my great sorrow is the legacy of many public bodies in Israel - not just the IDF.

It is devouring us.

And we have already learned the hard and painful way that 'Yihyeh B'seder' means that very much is not OK."

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin warning remarks to the IDF Staff and Command School - August 1992

Rebroadcast on Kol Yisrael 9 October, 1995

Love of the Land: Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on 'Yihyeh B'seder' ["it will be OK"].

Israel and the UN Kangaroo Court

Israel and the UN Kangaroo Court

Gregg Rickman
The Cutting Edge
26 October 09

Last week’s consideration of the one-sided Goldstone Report has once again shown the fecklessness and bias of the Human Rights Council. Israel’s indictment by that body should come as no surprise to anyone who knows the UN. Israel simply cannot receive a fair hearing for any accusations placed against it there. As such, the Human Rights Council, and to be more accurate, the entire UN system is rigged against Israel making the process a kangaroo court.

In June 2008, while decrying the US refusal to continue its engagement with the Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch, could not avoid pointing out these important facts about the Council explaining, “In its first two years, however, the Human Rights Council has failed to address more than 20 human rights situations that require its attention, eliminated human rights monitoring in places desperately in need of such scrutiny, and adopted a long stream of one-sided resolutions on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories which failed to consider the roles and responsibilities of the Palestinian authorities and armed groups.”

Moreover, according to the Democracy Coalition Project study, “Human Rights Council Report Card, 2007-2008,” while “the Council considered numerous country situations throughout the year, it acted only on a few. It failed to effectively address several unfolding human rights crises, such as Zimbabwe and Tibet, or speak forcefully on ongoing situations as urgent as Darfur. The Council discontinued the mandates on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Group of Experts on Darfur, two areas of the world where gross and systematic human rights violations continue to take place.”

Since its inception, the Council has held 12 Special Sessions, with six directed at Israel. This sounds frighteningly familiar to the Council’s predecessor, the UN Human Rights Commission. Between 2001 and when it was disbanded in 2006, the UN Human Rights Commission passed 26 resolutions and one decision that were critical of Israel. The situations in North Korea, Burma, and Sudan warranted a combined total of 11 resolutions and decisions during the same period.

Let’s look at the “special attention” the Council has given Israel in the past few years. Here are the first twelve sessions of the Council and the results of their meetings.

• 1st Special session of the Human Rights Council, July 5-6 2006, yielded a resolution S-1/Res.1: Human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

• 2nd Special session of the Human Rights Council, Geneva, August 11, 2006 yielded a resolution S-2/1: The grave situation of human rights in Lebanon caused by Israeli military operations

• 3rd Special session was on Israeli military incursions in Occupied Palestinian Territory, November 15, 2006

• 4th Special session of the Human Rights Council was on the human rights situation in Darfur, December 12- 13, 2006

• 5th Special session of the Human Rights Council was on the human rights situation in Myanmar: October 2, 2007

• 6th Special session of the Human Rights Council focused on alleged rights violations emanating from Israeli military incursions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the recent ones in occupied Gaza and West Bank town of Nablus, January 23-24, 2008

• 7th Special session of the Human Rights Council was on "The negative impact on the realization of the right to food of the worsening of the world food crisis, caused inter alia by the soaring food prices", May 22 2008

• 8th Special session of the Human Rights Council: The situation of the human rights in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, November 28, 2008

• 9th special session of the Human Rights Council: "The Grave Violations of Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including the recent aggression in the occupied Gaza Strip," January 9, 2009

• 10th special session of the Human Rights Council: "The Impact of the Global Economic and Financial Crises on the Universal Realization and Effective Enjoyment of Human Rights" - Friday, 20 February 2009

• 11th special session of the Human Rights Council: "The human rights situation in Sri Lanka," May 26-27 2009

• 12th Special Session of the Human Rights Council: "The human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and East Jerusalem," October 15, 2009 (The Goldstone Report condemning Israel was considered and a recommendation was passed endorsing it.)

Once again, the Council’s preoccupation with Israel is evident. For many years before its abolition, the Commis¬sion on Human Rights had a separate agenda item focusing solely on alleged violations of Israel—namely, Item 8, “Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine.” This allowed multiple resolutions against Israel, while no other country could have more than one resolution run against it each year. No other country beside Israel had an agenda item exclusively scrutinizing it. This shameful tradition of bias and has been continued by the UN Human Rights Council.

According to the U.S. State Department Report on Global Anti-Semitism of March 13, 2008, “This new institution has proven to be even more prone to protect serious violators of human rights and more prolific in its criticism of Israel than its predecessor. The Council adopted 15 anti-Israel resolutions or decisions in its first 16 months (ending September 30, 2007).”

If one looks at the composition of the Council, it’s easy to see why it is impossible for Israel to be judged fairly. Again, according to the Democracy Coalition Project study, “In addition to these regional groups, there are several cross-regional blocs active at the Council that represent geopolitical alliances, including the European Union (EU), the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Group of Arab States [5 states], and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). The OIC, with 15 members on the Council during the 2007-2008 cycle, carried more weight than any of the single regional groupings. The OIC frequently spoke and voted as a group, and was joined in its positions on many issues by the African Group, as well as Cuba and Nicaragua.”

Also, they added, “The current style of “bloc” politics at the Council has led to negotiations among regional and cross-regional groups that are increasingly conducted behind closed doors and pursue consensual outcomes. In many cases, this has prevented states from speaking independently and clearly on serious human rights concerns.” Finally, the report states, “The OIC generally supported the African line on opposing country scrutiny with one major exception, the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

The UN system has been turned into a weapon by terrorist states to incite violence and hatred specifically against Israel and generally against the West. Because of this, Israel cannot and will not receive a fair hearing there. As long as we continue to support this corrupt process, we will see more and more of this abuse. A good start would be to end the UN’s kangaroo court we call the Human Rights Council.

Cutting Edge commentator Gregg J. Rickman, Ph.D, served as the first U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism from 2006-2009. He is a Senior Fellow for the Study and Combat of Anti-Semitism at the Institute on Religion and Policy in Washington, DC; a Visiting Fellow at The Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut; and a Research Scholar at the Initiative on Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research in San Francisco.

Originally posted by Love of the Land

Love of the Land: the Rabbi's Research

the Rabbi's Research

UN anti Israel Bias, antisemitism : Dry Bones cartoon.

Love of the Land: the Rabbi's Research

War is Always Wrong

War is Always Wrong

The United States is being critcized somewhat similarly to Israel, for having the temrity to wage war in a manner the UN doesn't like. A certain Philip Alston, who has been appointed by - you guessed - the United Nations Human Rights Council, thinks that killing Taliban from the air may be illegal.

As regular readers know, I actually think the American public should be watching the drone war and asking questions - but they need not be answering to the UN, nor should the matter be one of international law.

My inclination is to see this newest development as positive. Remember, the drone war is the Biden method, the alternative being touted by the camp that wants less American involvement; it's the doves who want it, not the hawks. The longer this goes on, the greater the probability that normal, sensible people will recongnize the international-law-pacifists for what they are.

In which context, what do you make of para. 1313 in the Goldstone Report:

The Government of Israel seems to see the hardship and suffering of
Palestinians as an inevitable consequence of a situation of war. The
Government’s statement that “civilian populations inevitably and tragically
suffer during a time of armed combat, particularly where the combat operations
take place in densely populated urban areas” may be correct, but this does not
relieve Israel from its obligations under international humanitarian law

In other words, even when Israel may be right, it's certainly wrong. The whole Goldstone Report is an example of a legal system gone haywire. Fortunately, the system is now aiming also at the big guys.

Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Fine Words

Fine Words

Timothy Garton Ash, writting in 1983 about Solidarity's heady days in Poland two years earlier:

It's strange that so many people in the West still somehow half-believe or assume
that Soviet-block leaders use words like 'Democracy', 'Peace', 'Freedom' or
'Partnership' in the same sense as we do.

Solidarity, The Polish Revoluton, p. 210.

Some things never change. No Soviets around aymore, but their intellectual heirs are all over the place. Moreoever, the people who used the terms falsely back then were often vituperative about Zionism. Who'd have thunk.
originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Means, Methods, Morality and Memory

Means, Methods, Morality and Memory

Most of us ought to be able to agree that if someone drags innocent civilians from their home and hacks them to death, that's cold-blooded murder. If done repeatedly, in an attempt to cause wide-spread terror and up-end the social order, the perpetrator is a terrorist.

But what if we dislike the social order that's being attacked? Might that lead us to be understanding, even if perhaps not openly supportve? What about a social order that is demonstrably evil on a large scale? What then?

The reason I'm asking is because there's this fascinatng article in the New York Times about just such a murderer, a man by the name of John Brown. Yes, that John Brown, the one who wished to topple slavery, repeatedly murdered innocents to make it happen, and intended to spill far more blood but was stopped. Though, truth be told, he probably never conceived of as massive a spilling of blood as eventually happened, on the way to exonerating his goals.

By my lights, the man was a murderer and in the modern terminology which didn't exist in his day, a terrorist. Yes. And no, Lincoln was neither, though he presided over far worse. I have a moral system which can contain all these concepts. What's interesting is that 150 years later, two separate exhibitions are still wondering about the matter. Unlike the story of Agincourt which I mentioned the other day, this stuff is still quite relevant and active - as history often is.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...