Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Parashat Vayetze: Heavenly and Earthly

Parashat Vayetze: Heavenly and Earthly


[Tal Chermon p. 69]

The ladder is Yaakov himself (Nefesh Ha-Chaim 1, 10-19), who is simultaneously both heavenly and earthly. He embodies spirituality which is used to improve the physical world, but he also lives a material existence, which is guided by the spirit. These are the two faces of Yaakov.
The vision is not static. There is dynamic movement as "the angels of G-d ascend and descend it [the ladder]" (Bereshit 28:12). They ascend to heaven to obtain nourishment from the Divine source in order to descend to earth and illuminate it. The righteous are not satisfied with a personally, spiritually, elevating experience, but they return to the mundane world and use their spiritual acquisition to improve it (Moreh Nevuchim 1, 15).
During the Akedah, Avraham Avinu reached the most awesome of spiritual heights. Did Avraham remain in his heavenly state, detached from the rest of the world? No! "And Avraham returned to his young man and they arose and went together to Beer Sheva (Bereshit 22:19)." Despite his soul's leap to terrestrial loftiness, Avraham did not separate himself in any way from his material surroundings. He returned to the young men, in their spiritual state, in order to uplift and elevate them (Olat Re'eiyah vol 1, p. 96).
Originally posted by Torat HaRav Aviner

RonMossad: Indifference and Major Nidal Malik Hasan: Tolerance breeds intolerance Part II

RonMossad: Indifference and Major Nidal Malik Hasan: Tolerance breeds intolerance Part II

RubinReports: Iran and Hizballah Get Hillarycare: Two Mistakes That America's Enemies Notice and Act On

Iran and Hizballah Get Hillarycare: Two Mistakes That America's Enemies Notice and Act On

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By Barry Rubin

People are aware—at least those people who don’t get all their news from certain sources—that the Obama Administration is messing up a lot on foreign policy, especially in the Middle East. What is often missed, however, are the little things that have big consequences. Because even if these go without attention in the United States, people in the Middle East are paying very close attention.

So here’s a wonderful example of what happens due to two seemingly small errors, shown during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s appearance on the Charlie Rose interview show.

She stated:

“The Iranians not only worry us because of their nuclear program, they worry us because of their support for terrorism, their support for the military wing of Hezbollah, their support for Hamas, their interference in the internal affairs of their neighbors, trying to destabilize gulf countries and other countries throughout the greater region.”

This was in the context of a relatively tough statement, right? But note two things: a tiny detail in the paragraph above and later on in this article (patience, please, it will be worth it) the explanation of U.S. policy she made immediately after.

Can you find the error? Ok, I’ll tell you: the words “military wing of Hezbollah.” This is a gimmick used by Hizballah [my transliteration] and Hamas, too, to fool people in the West. It is used by advocates of engagement with these radical Islamist terrorist groups in places like Britain.

Sure, they say, there is a military wing and a political wing. The latter is moderate or becoming so and thus you can negotiate with them separately. This is rubbish. There is no such differentiation except for normal administrative purposes. The same leadership and doctrine runs both.

So one could interpret this slip—and I do believe it was a slip—as a change in U.S. policy toward Hizballah. Don’t think so? Well, it happened.

The public manifestation of this came from Sami Moubayed, who may have the distinction of being the smartest of the Syrian intellectuals who serve as a flak for the regime. In an article, he wrote:

“Clinton's statement on the Charlie Rose show came only 24 hours after Sa'ad Hariri had formed a cabinet of national unity [in Lebanon], which includes two members of Hezbollah. “Clinton was seemingly offering a life jacket to Hariri by saying that while the US frowns on the military wing of Hezbollah that engages in war, the political branch is acceptable.

“Never since the US declared Hezbollah a terrorist organization in 1999 has a senior U.S. official made such a groundbreaking statement about Hezbollah.

“The US has obviously realized that no breakthrough is possible in Lebanon unless Hezbollah is represented in the Cabinet. Some call it pragmatism; others say that it was a difficult reality that Washington has had to digest.”

In other words, this shows that the Syrian regime is using the statement to reinforce Hizballah’s power, and thus its own and that of Iran. Even the Americans are ready to accept Hizballah in government (or sell you out) is the message given to the moderate March 14 forces, which would rather eat snakes and scorpions than have a coalition with that group.

But what choice do they have? The West didn’t help them; the United States is engaging with Lebanon’s would-be hegemons, Iran and Syria. There’s nothing to do but give up. In the end they gave Hizballah control of 12 cabinet positions, more than they’d planned to turn over.

What the Syrians and their Lebanese allies are saying is sort of the equivalent, so to speak, of what Japanese soldiers yelled at Americans across the trenches in World War Two:

“GI Joe! Give up! You can’t win! Hillary is with us! Surrender and we’ll give you a nice bed, a hot meal, and a ticket out of this war.”

When you make friends with dictators, you sell out their victims, thus strengthening the dictators. So now Hizballah and Syria are trying to leverage this into putting into the government platform a statement that the regime supports “resistance,” that is, Hizballah keeps its guns in order to fight Israel whenever it pleases.

But that’s not all. Here’s Clinton’s analysis of U.S. policy toward Iran:

“Iran has given us many reasons to worry about their motivation and their action, but I think what President Obama has tried to do since becoming president, is to create a dynamic where, look, we don't have to trust or love each other to understand that it is in our interest to try to stabilize the world. It is not in Iran's interest to have a nuclear arms race in the Gulf where they would be less secure than they are today. It is not in Iran's interest or the Iranian peoples' interest, to be subjected to very onerous sanctions, so the president has reached and has really gone the extra mile to try to engage with the Iranians. If they cannot overcome their mistrust and their internal political dynamic, then we have to do what we think is in our best interests.”

Let’s consider her argument. It is in Iran’s interest to have nuclear arms when others don’t have them, believing that there won’t be a “nuclear arms race in the Gulf” since it’s doubtful the Saudis will obtain them and certain that Iraq and the smaller states won’t. So she’s wrong there.

It is in Iran’s interest to deal with constantly postponed and watered-down sanctions, which Russia and China will circumvent, to get nuclear weapons. So she’s wrong there also.

And by being so weak it is the Obama Administration itself that signals Iran that she’s wrong and that it is a correct rational calculation to disregard American threats, play for time, and do whatever it damn well pleases.

The interviewer then says to her: “They'll have to deal with the consequences.”

And Clinton replies: “Well, yes, of course. I mean, that's the way the world works.”

But is that the way the world works with Obama’s policy? No. Indeed, the interviewer then states:

“Is there anything that we can do to say to them, `We understand your fear. We understand your paranoia. We ask you what…can we do to convince you that nuclear weapons are not in your interest?’”

And, of course and correctly, Clinton replies: that’s what we’ve been doing.

But here’s what the interviewer does not ask her, I made this up:

“Is there anything that we can do to say to them, `We are going to increase your fear. We are going to play on your paranoia. We are going to make life really miserable for you with constant verbal attacks, applying very big sanctions right away, help the opposition subvert you, and have credible power to make you tremble that we might attack in order to convince you that nuclear weapons are not in your interest?”

See the difference? This, to quote Clinton, is “the way the world works.” Yet we only hear about carrots, never very much about sticks.

And then Clinton says something that might be an effective technique on a school playground but not in international diplomacy:

“If this were a confident leadership, they would accept the Tehran research reactor deal. They would not be worried about it. This is not a confident leadership because of the pressures that are coming from within Iran as well as from outside.”

Say what? If they are confident they’d give up but if they are really scared then they’ll defy the world? She has it backward: It is because they are so confident that they can say to America, if you don’t like it go… [You can fill in the blank since this is a family-oriented G-rated blog].

But do you see what’s wrong with this formulation of Clinton’s? If the reason Iran is so aggressive because it is really scared and insecure, the way to succeed is to comfort, soothe, and make the regime feel that America loves it and wishes it well.

But if the reason Iran is so aggressive is because it is really confident (drunk on ideology and assessing that its enemies are cowards) then what is required to succeed is to scare, pressure, and punish it.

And on the failure to understand that distinction, Obama’s foreign policy is going down big-time.

PS: Bacin in August, the Obama Administration issued a statement saying it had not changed its policy on Hizballah after John Brennan, the president's terrorism advisor (see here and here) strongly implied that Hizballah had a peaceful political wing.

RubinReports: Iran and Hizballah Get Hillarycare: Two Mistakes That America's Enemies Notice and Act On

Ex-Envoy Indyk Flunks Obama, Mitchell on Mideast - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

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Israel Matzav: Schlussel: 67% of US hate crimes against Jews

Schlussel: 67% of US hate crimes against Jews

Debbie Schlussel reports that 67% of the hate crimes in the United States are against Jews. That means that there are far more hate crimes against Jews than there are against any other ethnic group.

That’s right. A whopping 66.69%–or just over 2/3rds–of America’s religion-based hate crime incidents are committed against Jews. But, hey, there’s no anti-Semitism. I’m just imagining it. The real condition afflicting America is Islamophobia, right? Let’s ignore that only 6.91% of hate crime incidents were against Muslims, with Catholics very close behind comprising 4.94% of hate crime incident victims. Sadly, some Catholic leaders look the other way on anti-Semitism (more on that below).

Another fact that is very inconvenient to Muslim propaganda is the fact that hate crimes against Jews and Catholics are growing, but hate crimes against Muslims, not. In 2007, there were 969 reported hate crime incidents against Jews in America. In 2008, it’s 1,013. In 2007, there were 61 anti-Catholic incidents. In 2008, there were 75. For Muslims, in 2007 there were 115 reported incidents against them. In 2008, it’s 105. And all of this is despite the fact that unlike other groups, Islamic groups work overtime to get alleged Islamic victims to report hate crimes.

Read the whole thing and look at the charts. 'Islamophobia' is a figment of your imagination. Anti-Semitism is not. I am not shocked. Are you?

Israel Matzav: Schlussel: 67% of US hate crimes against Jews

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

This week's Torah portion is VaYeitzei, which begins the odyssey of our forefather Yaakov (Jacob). In this song, which is part of the songs for Saturday night after the Sabbath ends, God tells Yaakov not to be afraid, that God is with him.

It's sung by Avraham Fried.

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Israel Matzav: Obama to cut back White House Chanuka party?

Obama to cut back White House Chanuka party?

In a move that's not likely to win him many friends in the Jewish community, the Obama White House is apparently going to cut the size of the guest list for the White House Chanuka party to half what it was in the Bush years (Hat Tip: Jennifer Rubin).

The scrutiny given to a White House Chanukah party, and particularly the guest list, will certainly be more intense in a Democratic administration than in the Bush years. One reason is the long-standing attachment of Jews to the Democratic Party, as voters and especially as donors. Fully 78 percent of Jewish voters supported the Obama-Biden ticket in 2008, and Jewish fund-raisers figured prominently in the campaign. Reducing the size of the guest list, as Obama officials want to do, will therefore be an extremely difficult task. Just inviting the more than 40 Democratic members of Congress and their spouses will take a significant portion of the allotted spots, let alone the expected invites to Jewish senior staffers and large-dollar donors.

Yet one wonders if there is more to this reduction than the reasons given by the administration, such as the high cost of kosher food and a desire to allow the list to grow over time.

Over the past year, the Obama administration has given the Jewish community a number of reasons to fear that it takes its votes for granted. For instance, there is the administration’s pressure on the Israeli government over settlements. And many Jews are concerned with the selection of Mary Robinson -- a leader of the Durban conference boycotted by both Israel and the United States for its anti-Israel bias -- to win a Medal of Freedom. In addition, the administration attempted -- but eventually backed away from -- to put Israel critic Charles Freeman at the head of the National Intelligence Council.

The administration’s move, as Politico noted, "comes on the heels of Obama's cancellation of an appearance before the General Assembly of North American Jewish Federations." (This was one instance where the president deserves the benefit of the doubt, having made the understandable decision to attend a memorial service for the victims at Fort Hood instead. Nonetheless, it has fueled the concerns of some who see it as part of a string of slights.)

For these reasons, while the size of the party may not be a big deal in the grand scheme of things, even some of Obama’s supporters may see it in the context of this longer train of politically tone-deaf decisions.


Israel Matzav: Obama to cut back White House Chanuka party?

Israel Matzav: What Israel really fears about Iran

What Israel really fears about Iran

Ariel Ilan Roth has some interesting thoughts about what Israel fears about an Iranian nuclear weapon. While I disagree with his dismissal of the possibility of an Iranian attack on Israel, because it attributes rationality to Iran's rulers that I don't believe exists, Roth raises other important points about legitimate Israeli fears that go far beyond the possibility that Iran will mount a nuclear attack against us.

Israel fears that Iran’s nuclear ambitions could undermine its qualitative superiority of arms and its consistent ability to inflict disproportionate casualties on adversaries -- the cornerstones of Israel’s defense strategy. Although some idealists dream of reconciliation in the Middle East based on a genuine and mutual recognition of all parties’ legitimate rights, most Israelis believe the key to enduring peace in the Middle East is convincing Israel’s adversaries that ejecting Israel through force is an impossible task not worth pursuing.

Essential to inducing that sense of despair is Israel’s ability to continuously trounce its enemies on the battlefield and suffer far fewer losses than it inflicts. The Iranian nuclear program threatens Israel’s ability to do this in two ways. First, an Iranian nuclear capability would likely force Israel to restrain itself due to fears that Iran’s nuclear weapons could provide an implied security guarantee to other anti-Zionist forces -- the sort of guarantee that would prevent Israel from causing the massive losses it has in the past, while giving anti-Israel forces the confidence to keep up the fight.

Israeli restraint during a war could take many forms, but it is unlikely that the unmitigated rout of the 1967 Six-Day War or the direct threat posed to Arab capitals at the end of the 1973 Yom Kippur War would have occurred if a nuclear guarantee had been forthcoming from a true regional adversary such as Iran, rather than from a distant superpower such as the Soviet Union, whose chief interest lay in the humiliation of its rival, not the destruction of Israel.

The even greater threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program is its potential to unleash a cascade of proliferation in the Middle East, beginning with Egypt and Saudi Arabia. For both of these states, the idea that Jews and Persians could have a monopoly on nuclear weapons in a region demographically and culturally dominated by Arabs is shameful. For Saudi Arabia, a security motivation will be at play as well, given its physical proximity to Iran and the strategic imperative of deterring any Iranian threat to Saudi Arabia’s oil-production facilities.

The development of nuclear weapons by Egypt or Saudi Arabia would pose a grave danger to the Jewish state, despite the fact that Egypt has signed a peace treaty with Israel. This is because leaders who have reconciled themselves to Israel’s existence -- including those of Egypt, Jordan, and certain segments of the Palestinian national movement -- have done so because they believed Israel was strong but unlikely to endure in the long term. (Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, for example, justified his pursuit of a peace process with Israel by comparing the Israelis to crusaders: strong today, gone tomorrow.) More broadly, as the Palestinian-American political scientist Hilal Khashan’s work on Arab attitudes toward peace has shown, the willingness of Arabs to make peace with Israel is a direct function of their perception of Israel’s invincibility. Just as an Iranian nuclear capability would imply a nuclear guarantee for anti-Zionist proxies, an Egyptian or Saudi nuclear capability would reduce incentives for other Arab states to make peace with Israel because, shielded under an Arab nuclear umbrella, they would no longer fear catastrophic defeat or further loss of territory.

Those are fair descriptions of our predicament. Note that the implication is that Egypt and Jordan have not truly reconciled themselves to our existence, which is accurate.


Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: What Israel really fears about Iran

Israel Matzav: The rewards of judicial tyranny

The rewards of judicial tyranny

In the past, I have discussed the manner in which the Israeli Supreme Court is selected and how the justices' political views are imposed on the other branches of government. I discussed those subjects at length here. You may recall that a few months ago I reported that the sitting justices' monopoly on the court selection process has been broken, at least for the time being.

In an analysis of the impact of European funding of Israeli NGO's, NGO Monitor explains another side of what is essentially the same issue. Because there are no requirements of standing and justiciability serving as entry barriers to Israel's Supreme Court, NGO's that don't represent Israel's population or electorate are able to file many of the cases heard by Israel's Supreme Court. In other words, the Court's refusal to impose standards of access - as is done in nearly every other Western country - results in foreigners being able to shape Israel's political agenda through the court (for example, the cases dealing with the route of the 'security fence').

In the international arena, the same NGOs submit statements to United Nations frameworks such as the Human Rights Council, run major media campaigns, and spearhead lawsuits in various countries. Using the tens of millions of shekels, euros, and dollars they receive each year, the externally funded NGO network is far more powerful than other Israeli organizations that do not enjoy similar support from foreign governments.

For example, as this report demonstrates, foreign-funded local NGOs are responsible for a significant portion of the petitions brought before the Israeli High Court of Justice. Citizens, residents, and even non-residents have standing to litigate in the Supreme Court, without having to provide evidence of potential or actual injury. Thus an individual or an organization that opposes a policy, law, or administrative action can initiate legal proceedings, even if the individual or organization is not directly affected by it. Furthermore, Israeli courts play a central role in public policy making, particularly with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, thereby amplifying the impact of NGOs that operate in this arena.

Israeli courts have become a central arena for engaging contentious social and political issues, with major advantages for groups that have the resources to devote to this activity. Extensive support from European governments and private foundations gives political and opposition NGOs based in Israel the ability to carry the costs of numerous petitions and filings. This external financing allows these NGOs to become “repeat players” in the Israeli legal process, and thus to exert significant influence on policy formation.

As a democratic country with an open and pluralistic political system and facing a largely hostile external environment, Israeli society is particularly vulnerable to manipulation by externally funded NGOs. Outside political influence of this kind resonates throughout civil society. This hidden foreign intervention infringes on the sovereignty and independence of Israel by unbalancing the political process, and interfering with the policies of the elected government and the mainstream Zionist majority.

Internationally, these foreign-funded Israeli NGOs are highly visible in their opposition to the policies of the elected government and other civil society perspectives. Through frequent submissions to and appearances at the United Nations, together with their access to diplomatic and media frameworks, these NGOs have become very influential. A significant factor is their Israeli identities, which provides these NGOs with credibility and the façade of authenticity to their causes. A number of Israeli political NGOs funded by European governments maintain offices and an active presence in Washington, D.C., New York, London, Brussels, and other cities.

Read the whole thing. That's the 'security fence' at the top.

Israel Matzav: The rewards of judicial tyranny

Israel Matzav: Obama's weakness spurs Persian Gulf arms race

Obama's weakness spurs Persian Gulf arms race

London's Daily Telegraph reports that the Obama administration's unwillingness to stop Iran is spurring an arms race in the Persian Gulf.

Gulf states believe Iran's main strategic aim is to become the dominant power in the oil-rich region. As the West shows itself unable to prevent Iran developing its nuclear programme, they are determined to arm themselves.

The refusal by Iran to agree a deal to send most of its enriched uranium abroad would only spur arms sales further, said Theodore Karasik, director of research at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.

"The threat perception is definitely about Iran," he said.

Arms companies were in buoyant mood at last week's Dubai air show particularly in comparison to the civilian air industry, which is suffering from a credit crunch-induced slump in passenger numbers.

BAE Systems, Britain's biggest arms manufacturer, is currently delivering to Saudi Arabia an order for 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets, which it makes as part of a European consortium.

Defence spending in the kingdom is projected to rise from $43.52 billion this year (pounds 26.17 billion) to $47.4 billion (pounds 28.5billion) in 2010.

But other Gulf states are catching up.


The United Arab Emirates is now the third largest arms importer in the world, after China and India, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

It confirmed it was in the final stages of negotiating a deal with France to replace 63 Mirage jets with Dassault Rafale fighters. It also agreed to buy two reconnaissance aircraft from the Swedish company Saab, whose biggest stake is held by BAE Systems, as well as 25 Swiss trainer aircraft.

It has also applied to the United States to buy a $7 billion Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system.

What could go wrong? Read the whole thing.

The picture at the top is an Iranian missile being launched.

Israel Matzav: Obama's weakness spurs Persian Gulf arms race

Israel Matzav: Iranian opposition reaches out to the US

Iranian opposition reaches out to the US

The Obama administration has been unable to figure out whether and how to help the Iranian opposition. The opposition came out against the nuclear deal with the P 5+1 powers and the administration may have had no idea why. On the day that he won the Nobel peace prize, Obama mentioned Neda Agha-Soltan, the Iranian woman whose murder has become a symbol of the revolution, but he did not mention her by name. The administration has been beating around the bush with the opposition, like an awkward guy who can't figure out how to ask a beautiful woman out on a date. Now, the opposition is trying to help.

The most public message has come from Mohsen Makhmalbaf, the exiled revolutionary filmmaker turned dissident who claims to speak on behalf of the Green Movement, during a Washington visit last week. He told U.S. officials and Iran experts Thursday that the military action would only strengthen the hard-line regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei. "Dialogue is definitely better than war," said Makhmalbaf.

At the same time, Makhmalbaf warned that the West should not "trample" on the Green Movement by fully embracing Iran's regime if it eventually reverses course on nuclear talks. He and other prominent opposition members are also urging the White House to more actively condemn the brutal crackdown since the election that gave Ahmadinejad a second term despite opposition claims of widespread fraud. The limited reaction has allowed the regime to believe the outside world is indifferent to what is happening inside Iran, he said.


Washington also needs to recognize and respond to opposition statements, like the apology from Iran's leading dissident cleric, Ayatullah Ali Montazeri, for the 1979 U.S. embassy takeover. Montazeri was once heir-apparent to the revolution's founder, Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini, and his gesture on the 30th anniversary of the seizure was a risky step that passed largely ignored by Washington.

As the Administration begins lobbying its international partners for punitive new measures against Iran, Makhmalbaf and other opposition figures have urged the U.S. to focus primarily on the Revolutionary Guards. The élite unit is a growing political and economic behemoth, and its leadership is critical in propping up the troubled regime. They are not supporting other measures under consideration, like curbs on gasoline imports Iran relies on for domestic consumption, because these would mainly hurt the Iranian public, opposition figures have told U.S. officials.

"We need certain sanctions to hurt the regime, but not the people," said Makhmalbaf, who urged Washington to quickly impose a series of sanctions on the Guards since incremental steps allow them time to develop alternatives. The award-winning filmmaker, who now lives in Europe, said he was sent to Washington by the opposition; his talk at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace was attended by senior officials from the National Security Council and the State Department.


Ironically, however, one reason among others for Iran's reversal after initially approving the deal was that Green Movement leaders had criticized it. Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the opposition candidate who claims to have won the disputed election, criticized the proposal negotiated by Ahmadinejad's team at Vienna, warning that if implemented, it would negate the work of thousands of Iranian scientists. Opposition figures and analysts say his response was merely an attempt to play spoiler and prevent the regime from benefiting politically from a deal with the West. Still, nuclear diplomacy with the West has effectively become a political football in Tehran, complicating President Obama's quest for a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff.

Sorry folks, but if someone doesn't figure out a way to stop Iran real soon, you're going to get some of that 'military action.'

Israel Matzav: Iranian opposition reaches out to the US

Israel Matzav: Brazil in favor of Iranian nukes

Brazil in favor of Iranian nukes

Despite protests from the local population, Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva came out in favor of allowing Iran to develop a nuclear capability at a Monday joint press conference with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Speaking at a joint news conference in the capital Brasilia on Monday after holding talks with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, his visiting Iranian counterpart, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva said Brazil backed Iran's quest for "peaceful nuclear energy in full respect of international accords".

He urged Ahmadinejad to "continue contacts with interested countries for a just and balanced solution on the nuclear issue in Iran".

In his weekly radio address earlier, Lula said engaging Iran instead of isolating it was the way to push for peace and stability in the Middle East.

"It doesn't help isolating Iran," he said. "It's important that someone sits down with Iran, talks with Iran and tries to establish some balance so that the Middle East can return to a certain sense of normalcy."

In return, Iran agreed to back Brazil's quest for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and a veto right.

Hmmm. Sitting down with Iran sounds just like what President Obumbler is doing. And he even went to Trinidad in April to meet with Silva and Ahmadinejad's other friends - Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales - that Ahmadinejad will see next.

So why do we keep hearing things that make it sound like Iran is developing nuclear weapons? Why is Iran developing nuclear weapons? Why is Brazil 'okay' with Iran developing nuclear weapons? What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Brazil in favor of Iranian nukes

Israel Matzav: Big Brother is watching you in Iran

Big Brother is watching you in Iran

The New York Times reports that the Iranian government is using new tactics in a bid to shut down opposition to the current regime.

It is implanting 6,000 Basij militia centers in elementary schools across Iran to promote the ideals of the Islamic Revolution, and it has created a new police unit to sweep the Internet for dissident voices. A company affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards acquired a majority share in the nation’s telecommunications monopoly this year, giving the Guards de facto control of Iran’s land lines, Internet providers and two cellphone companies. And in the spring, the Revolutionary Guards plan to open a news agency with print, photo and television elements.

The government calls it “soft war,” and Iran’s leaders often seem to take it more seriously than a real military confrontation. It is rooted in an old accusation: that Iran’s domestic ills are the result of Western cultural subversion and call for an equally vigorous response. The extent of the new campaign underscores just how badly Iran’s clerical and military elite were shaken by the protests, which set off the worst internal dissent since the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Will it work? Some experts don't think so.

“By trying to gain more control of the media, to re-Islamize schools, they think they can make a comeback,” said Mehrzad Boroujerdi, an Iran expert and professor at Syracuse University. “But the enemy here is Iran’s demographics. The Iranian population is overwhelmingly literate and young, and previous efforts to reinstall orthodoxy have only exacerbated cleavages between citizens and the state.”


In the same way, the state’s new efforts to inoculate Iranians against dissident ideas in the media may be difficult — or even counterproductive, analysts say. This month a high-ranking official at IRIB, the state broadcaster, seemed to unwittingly concede the point when he announced that 40 percent of Iranians — twice as many as last year — had access to satellite television in their homes.

“The enemy no longer invests in the military to advance their goals,” said the official, Ali Daraei. “Their primary investment is in the media war through satellite channels.”

Here are two bets that are likely safe: First, that the new measures will be backed up by violence and threats to the extent necessary. Second, the Obama administration won't do anything to stop Iran.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Big Brother is watching you in Iran

Israel Matzav: Obama apes Gadhafi?

Obama apes Gadhafi?

In London's Daily Telegraph, Toby Harnden reports that President Obumbler is going to host his first 'state dinner' in a giant tent pitched on the White House lawn (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

The event, in honour of the visiting Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, is a chance for Mr Obama and his wife Michelle to welcome the Washington elite - and a smattering of Hollywood celebrities - into their new home.

Whereas President George W. Bush would hold his 140-person dinners in the formal state dining room, the Obamas have broken with recent tradition by taking a "big tent" approach that will accommodate 400.

Secrecy surrounds the event with the White House jealously guarding details of the guest list and menu, though produce from Mrs Obama's new vegetable garden is expected to be used and curry is suspected by some to be on the menu for the first time.

Deepak Chopra, the billionaire pioneer in New Age spirituality, announced on Twitter that he would be flying to Washington to attend and was "V honored to be invited".

Oprah Winfrey, the talk show hostess, is strongly rumoured to have been invited and there is speculation that George Clooney and Brad Pitt will attend what has been dubbed "Washington's equivalent of the Oscars".

I wonder if there will be any food saved for the unemployed. Ooops - I forgot: Washington is the only city in the US that doesn't have any unemployed. Everyone works for the government.

But I heard that Libyan leader Muamar Gadhafi approves of the tent. Heh.

Israel Matzav: Obama apes Gadhafi?

Israel Matzav: The 'Palestinian' strategy

The 'Palestinian' strategy

This is from an article by Richard Schnee attacking Richard Goldstone for his participation in the Commission that bears his name.

In his book History Upside Down David Meir-Levi relates how Ho Chi Minh’s chief strategist, General Giap, met with Yasser Arafat and his lieutenants and told them that they, like the North Vitenamese, needed to redefine the terms of their struggle. Giap’s counsel was simple but profound says Meir-Levi: the PLO needed to to work in a way that concealed its real goals, permitted strategic deception, and gave the appearance of moderation: “Stop talking about annihilating Israel and instead turn your terror war into a struggle for human rights. Then you will have the American people eating out of your hand.” Meir-Levi goes on: ” At the same time that he was getting advice from General Giap, Arafat was also being tutored by Muhammad Yazid, who had been minister of information in two Algerian wartime governments (1958-1962).

‘ Wipe out the argument that Israel is a small state whose existence is threatened by Arab states, or the reduction of the Palestinian problem to a question of refugees; instead, present the Palestinian struggle as a struggle for liberation like the others. Wipe out the impression…that in the struggle between the Palestinians and the Zionists, the Zionist is the underdog. Now it is the arab who is oppressed and victimized in his existence because he is not only facing the Zionists but also world imperialism.’ ”

These highly effective strategies have since been augmented by the Palestinian Myth Machine, an enormous but well oiled and efficient contraption. It beams its disinformation to an audience possessed of the sort of imbecile credulity that would make an African witch-doctor positively green with envy. This explains why after over five years of some 7000 unprovoked rocket attacks upon its civilian population Israel is demonized when she finally has the gall to defend herself. It also explains why the frame of reference for the Goldstone report was designed to excuse the agressor, namely Hamas, and blame the attacked, namely Israel. Thus the UN Human Rights Commission, with its frail grasp of reality, proceeded from conclusion to facts instead of the other way around and displayed all the dismal aspects of a kangaroo court. However, it does not explain why Judge Goldstone used his time on the Commission as an opportunity to catch up on some sleep.

That sounds like the 'Palestinian' modus operandi ever since, doesn't it?

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: The 'Palestinian' strategy

Israel Matzav: Obama making 'Carteresque' mistakes says... Chris Matthews

Israel Matzav: Obama making 'Carteresque' mistakes says... Chris Matthews

Israel Matzav: Monsieur Monsieur pleads guilty

Israel Matzav: Monsieur Monsieur pleads guilty

Israel Matzav: Columbia and Princeton cancel Darwish

Columbia and Princeton cancel Darwish

In the American Thinker, Pamela Geller slams Columbia and Princeton Universities for canceling lectures by ex-Muslim Nonie Darwish (pictured).

Just hours before Darwish was scheduled to speak at Columbia, the groups that had invited her to come, the Whig-Clio student debate Society and Tigers of Israel, succumbed to demands from student Muslim groups and canceled her speaking event. Tigers for Israel, my eye. Their name mocks them. The Whig-Clio Society is the oldest debating society in the U.S., founded by James Madison in 1765. These are the students who are supposed to be the leaders of the future. What a joke.

Look at how the cancellation went down at Princeton. Look at the systematic bullying. This is the state of the freedom of speech in the age of jihad. Arab Society president Sami Yabroudi and former president Sarah Mousa issued a joint statement, claiming: "Nonie Darwish is to Arabs and Muslims what Ku Klux Klan members, skinheads and neo-Nazis are to other minorities, and we decided that the role of her talk in the logical, intellectual discourse espoused by Princeton University needed to be questioned."

The sponsors of her talk immediately caved. Whig-Clio president Ben Weisman said: the society withdrew its sponsorship and did not permit the event to take place in "Our decision to co-host the event was based on our belief that by extending an offer to speak to Ms. Darwish, members of TFI deemed her views a legitimate element of the mainstream discourse and in part agreed with her incendiary opinions. By rescinding their offer, TFI indicated their understanding that Darwish's views have no place in the campus community."

Tigers for Israel said in a statement: "On Tuesday evening Tigers for Israel and Whig-Clio rescinded our cosponsorship of today's Nonie Darwish Lecture. Tigers for Israel accepted the opportunity for her to speak based on a misconception about what she actually believes. After her anti-Islam position was brought to my attention on Tuesday afternoon by the Center for Jewish Life director Rabbi Julie Roth and the Muslim Chaplain Imam Sohaib Sultan, I conducted extensive research and discussed the issue with TFI and Whig-Clio leadership, and we decided to rescind our cosponsorship after concluding that Tigers for Israel disagrees with and does not condone Ms. Darwish and her beliefs on Islam.... As President of TFI I take full responsibility for not vetting Ms. Darwish from the beginning, and I sincerely apologize for offending any person or group on campus, especially the Muslim community. Tigers for Israel deeply regrets the initial sponsorship and we do not in any way endorse her views."

Cowards. Pathetic cowards.

Pamela is being too kind.

Note that by his last name, Weisman is probably Jewish. Tigers for Israel is headed by one Jacob Lowenstein - undoubtedly Jewish. A bunch of dhimmis. I suppose that expecting most diaspora Jews to have the courage to speak out against Islam is too much these days. After all, it's not politically correct, and therefore it's offensive to the Liberal religion.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Columbia and Princeton cancel Darwish

Israel Matzav: Abu Bluff: No third intifada

Abu Bluff: No third intifada

Speaking in Argentina on Monday with President Cristina Fernandez, 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen claimed that the 'Palestinian people' won't start a third intifada.

"We've suffered enough," he said of the path of armed struggle. "The Palestinian people are focused only on the path of peace, through negotiations."

Good luck with that.

No, of course I don't believe it.

By the way, what's that look on Abu Bluff's face?

Israel Matzav: Abu Bluff: No third intifada

Israel Matzav: Speaking of t-shirts....

Israel Matzav: Speaking of t-shirts....

Israel Matzav: IDF: Raise your shirts

Israel Matzav: IDF: Raise your shirts

Israel Matzav: Cabinet majority to ratify 'terrorists for Gilad' trade

Cabinet majority to ratify 'terrorists for Gilad' trade

Both JPost and Arutz Sheva are reporting that a majority of the cabinet will vote in favor of exchanging hundreds of 'Palestinian' terrorists for kidnapped IDF corporal Gilad Shalit. JPost reports that according to a Likud source, no more than five ministers are expected to vote against the deal, and Arutz Sheva names four of them: Benny Begin, Uzi Landau, Yuval Steinitz and Moshe ("Boogie") Yaalon. JPost reports that Likud's Silvan Shalom and HaBayit HaYehudi's Daniel Hershkowitz may also vote against.

JPost implies that more ministers may vote against the deal if Fatah Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti and/or Ahmed Sa'adat, the leader of the group that assassinated Minister of Tourism Rechavam Ze'evi, are included in the list.

Arutz Sheva reports that five ministers from Labor and four from Shas are expected to vote in favor of the deal.

Some parties whose electorates would oppose the deal are attempting to gain concessions on unrelated matters in return for their support.

Shas officials called on Netanyahu on Monday to release Jewish murderers of Arabs at the same time he released the terrorists freed as part of the deal. Likud MK Danny Danon said he would lobby Netanyahu to insist on the United States releasing Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard as a goodwill gesture upon completion of the deal.

"If Netanyahu intends to release hundreds of mega-terrorists, the US, which would endorse the deal, must release Pollard, who has sat in jail more than any terrorist who will be released in the deal," Danon said. "President [Barack] Obama should show good intentions to the Israeli public and not only issue one-sided demands."

Sorry folks, but much as I would like to see Pollard released, I'm not willing to endanger Jewish lives for his release any more than I'm willing to endanger them for Gilad Shalit's release. And there's little doubt that this release will endanger Jewish lives.

In response to the rumors circling the Knesset regarding a prisoner exchange, the National Union's Knesset faction held a press conference Monday afternoon during which they called on Netanyahu to reveal the findings of the Shamgar Commission. The commission, which was tasked with examining the implications of prisoner exchanges, has never published its findings, but National Union Chairman MK Ya'akov Katz said that he knew that the commission had warned against prisoner swaps.

"Imagine what the outcome of the Second Lebanon War would have been if the Winograd Commission had delivered its findings in advance of the war. How prepared we would have been," he explained. "Now, we have that opportunity with the Shamgar Commission. Netanyahu must reveal the findings before we make any decision to release terrorists, and he must have a debate in the government and in the Knesset before he reaches any conclusion."

MK Uri Ariel emphasized that the government was misleading the public in arguing that there was no other alternative to releasing prisoners. Israel, he said, could put pressure on Hamas through restricting the privileges of Palestinian security prisoners held in Israel, or through limiting Gaza's power supply or water supply, both of which are provided by Israel.

"What the prime minister and defense minister are doing is simply caving in to public pressure," said Ariel, arguing that the role of Israel's leadership was to provide "real bravery and leadership."

MK Aryeh Eldad cited Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) statistics showing that 30-50% of released terrorists eventually return to terror, and accused the current government of crossing "red lines that even [former prime minister Ehud] Olmert was not willing to cross."

Eldad, who is his faction's representative on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, complained that in the course of Monday's briefing with National Security Adviser Uzi Arad, he discovered that the National Security Council "was not asked and did not submit an opinion regarding the impact of the release of terrorists" as a result of any possible deal for Schalit's release.

Haaretz is reporting that Barghouti (pictured above) will be one of the terrorists released. But the list of those to be released has not yet been made public. The Almagor terror victims organization was to file a petition with the Supreme Court Tuesday morning asking that the list be made public. Typically, the list is made public at the last minute by which time it is too late for a public outcry to develop and too late to do anything to stop the release.


Arutz Sheva is reporting that both Barghouti and Sa'adat are included in the deal.

Meanwhile, Haaretz has a quote from Netanyahu that makes me wonder whether he really understands what this is about:

Netanyahu says the decision "is between two poles: on the one hand, the desire to take care of our soldiers and bring them home, sometimes at the cost of endangering lives - a very important value for our people and in Jewish tradition - and on the other, avoiding the encouragement of future abductions."

The issue of endangering (civilian) lives belongs on the other side of the equation. When Netanyahu says "sometimes at the cost of endangering lives" he means endangering soldiers' lives in rescue missions or to save other soldiers in the heat of battle. The real issue here is how many civilians will God forbid die as a result of this decision.

To drive that point home, there ought to be a demonstration outside the Shalits' home every time one of these released terrorists is involved in another terror attack (and believe me - precedent indicates that it will happen). The real question here is how many Israeli civilians - how many Israeli children - will die (God forbid) to bring Gilad Shalit home. When put in those terms, the answer to what we should do should be obvious.

Israel Matzav: Cabinet majority to ratify 'terrorists for Gilad' trade

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu freezing construction bids in Jerusalem?

Netanyahu freezing construction bids in Jerusalem?

Back in July, I blogged a Haaretz report that claimed that the Netanyahu government had frozen construction in Pisgat Zev, a Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem that is outside the 1949 armistice lines. Now, Arutz Sheva reports that the Netanyahu government is freezing construction bids in Har Homa, another Jewish neighborhood that is outside the 1949 armistice lines, as well as in other areas that are in the heart of Jerusalem.

Secretary-General Ze'ev Hever of the Amana movement for housing in Judea and Samarai said Monday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was freezing construction bids in Jerusalem. During a meeting held by the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home-New National Religious Party) Knesset faction in the Judean Jewish community of Efrat, Zambish said, "Bibi's conduct and terminology are very reminiscent of [former prime minister Ariel] Sharon. Construction bids are being frozen in the heart of Jerusalem, as they are in Har Homa, on orders of the prime minister."

Hever said, "The government does not have to be toppled, but pressure must be applied from within to balance the massive external American pressure."

Wake up everyone, before it's too late!

The picture at the top is a 2007 picture of an apartment in Pisgat Zev that was for sale or rent only to Arabs.

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu freezing construction bids in Jerusalem?

Israel Matzav: Biting our heros

Biting our heros

Some of you may recall the story of the IDF destroying the home of the wife and children of Roi Klein HY"D, a hero of the Second Lebanon War. On Monday, a similar story happened near Mevo Dotan in Samaria.

The Botzer farm, located adjacent to Mevo Dotan in the Shomron (Samaria) region, was destroyed Monday morning as part of the government crackdown on what have been defined as "unauthorized outposts" in lands liberated by Israel prior to the Six Day War. David and Shaina Botzer told Arutz Sheva that their farm is actually on state land within the municipal territory of Mevo Dotan, although west of the town's current residential area.

"My husband is a Navy commando and while he was planning to go to do his reserve duty, they came and dismantled his life's work. This was an animal pen worth tens of thousands of shekels. There were 50 heads of sheep there as part of an educational agricultural project that involves the area youth," Shaina said. The animal pen itself was subject to a demolition order, she said, but the order was in appeal before the proper authorities. In addition to the animal pen, the security forces also destroyed a stable that was not subject to the existing demolition order, Botzer added.


"The Navy commando unit is in my husband's blood," Shaina told Arutz Sheva. "The unit is part of him and now it is hard for him to go to reserve duty. He feels like he was stabbed in the back."

Shaina was further surprised to see that the workers brought in to carry out the physical destruction of their property were Arabs from a neighboring village. "I am stunned. It is a total shock when Arabs come and dismantle a Jewish farm when so many of their homes in the village below [our farm] are illegal," she explained.

When the workers were taking down the pen, they tried to chase away the sheep, but the animals tried with all their might to remain in the enclosure. "Even after the pen was dismantled [the sheep] ran back to the area where it had stood, but they came upon a pile of rubble," Shaina Botzer said. "It is so symbolic that they tried to return home."

Who is going to fight for this country if this is the treatment they can expect in return?

Israel Matzav: Biting our heros

Love of the Land: Outflank the UN

Outflank the UN
23 November 09

Recently a friend sent me this video (the audio is in English with Hebrew subtitles). Many of you may have seen it; the YouTube copy got over 426,000 hits since it was posted in 2007.

It shows Hillel Neuer, director of the UN Watch organization, eloquently denouncing the one year old UN Human Rights Council — which had been created because the previous version, the UN Human RightsCommission had been deemed ineffective, primarily because it was packed with nations notable for their disregard for human rights. The new Council is hardly better — unlike the Commission, Sudan and Zimbabwe are not members, but it still includes Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Nigeria, and other states that are not exactly exemplars of regard for human rights.

The Council, like its predecessor, specialized in accusations against Israel while ignoring serious violations by others.

Neuer is a good speaker who reminded me of Abba Eban. The tone of the response by the then-President of the Council, Luis Alfonso de Alba of Mexico, is contemptuous as he tells Neuer that any similar comments in the future will be removed from the record.

So why do I bring this up?

Because it is increasingly true that eloquence, logic, and appeal to facts are irrelevant today. Only the point of view matters. Look at the Goldstone Report and the trashy NGO reports from which much of it was copied: patchworks of unsubstantiated accusations, used to support outrageous conclusions — primarily that Israel deliberately targeted civilians. But there is no real evidence for most of the accusations, and no logical connection to the conclusions. The report earns an F even if considered as investigative journalism, not to mention as a legal brief that might have consequences for Israel or IDF officers.

Nevertheless, this hit-piece, mandated by the above-mentioned Human Rights Council to investigate Israel’s crimes alone is actually taken seriously!

(Continue reading ...)

Love of the Land: Outflank the UN

Love of the Land: The Perils of Freelance Diplomacy

The Perils of Freelance Diplomacy

Evelyn Gordon
24 November 09

Shaul Mofaz has spent the past two weeks hawking his peace plan overseas. He has met with Obama administration officials Dennis Ross, Dan Shapiro, and Jeffrey Feltman; U.S. congressmen; UN officials; and the American, Turkish, Russian, Egyptian, and Jordanian ambassadors to Israel. But unless you follow Israeli politics closely, you’re probably wondering, “Who?”

And that’s the point: Mofaz isn’t a member of Israel’s government or even a party leader; he’s the No. 2 man in the largest opposition party, Kadima — which has yet to even discuss his plan. In other words, the plan he’s marketing abroad is one he hasn’t yet managed to sell even to his own party, much less to the Israeli public; moreover, he occupies no post that would enable him to implement it.

Nor is this unprecedented: other freelance Israeli diplomats have received equal or greater attention overseas. Yossi Beilin, for instance, met with high-ranking officials worldwide about his Geneva Initiative (a proposed Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement) in 2003, though he held no public office at the time. And when he did run for the Knesset three years later, the party he headed won five seats in the 120-seat Knesset. Not exactly a resounding vote of confidence from Israel’s public.

Were these foreign officials merely wasting their time, nobody would care. But this behavior has two pernicious effects.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: The Perils of Freelance Diplomacy

Love of the Land: Lebanon on UN Security Council

Lebanon on UN Security Council

David Schenker
23 November 09

unscIn October, Lebanon was elected to one of ten non-permanent member seats on the United Nations Security Council. Come January 2010, Lebanon will assume Asia’s “Arab League” seat, replacing Libya for a two-year term on the critical international body.

The UNSC seat was the brainchild of Lebanon’s president Michel Suleiman, who used his 2008 UN General Assembly address and his side meetings during the 2009 gathering to press Lebanon’s candidacy. The notion of a seat on the council reportedly appealed to Suleiman, who prides himself on returning Lebanon to the “international political arena.”

Washington quietly opposed Lebanon’s candidacy. Senior administration officials were concerned about potential problems for the bilateral relationship that could arise from Lebanon’s voting decisions. While the pro-West March 14 coalition won the June 2009 elections, it was clear—even prior to the formation of the government in November—that Hezbollah and its local and international allies Syria and Iran would exert preponderant influence within the new government and the state’s foreign policy. Indeed, in the current government as with the previous one, Hezbollah—via its subsidiary Shiite party, Amal—controls the foreign ministry.

It’s not difficult to envision the kind of problems that will ensue. In the coming year, for example, it is all but assured that a resolution to implement “crippling sanctions” against Iran will come before the Security Council. Given Hezbollah’s influence—and the ever present threat of violence—the best Washington could hope for during a UNSC vote would be a Lebanese abstention. More likely, under pressure from Syria and Iran, Lebanon might vote against such a resolution.

Worse still, if history is any indication, Lebanon’s ambassador to the UN, Nawaf Salam—who himself is sympathetic to March 14—could be ordered to abstain or oppose Security Council resolutions in connection to UNSCRs 1701 and 1559, if not the Hariri tribunal, which Hezbollah and its allies do not support.

(Continue reading...)

Love of the Land: Lebanon on UN Security Council

Love of the Land: Trojan Horse: The Impact of European Government Funding for Israeli NGOs

Trojan Horse: The Impact of European Government Funding for Israeli NGOs

NGO Monitor
24 November 09

The report Trojan Horse: The Impact of European Government Funding for Israeli NGOs is a detailed analysis of major funding provided by foreign governments, primarily in Europe, for highly politicized Israeli NGOs. The report was published in conjunction with the Institute for Zionist Strategies, and is the basis for a conference to be held in the Knesset on December 1, 2009.

Click here to read the Hebrew report

Executive Summary in English [click here for PDF]

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) wield very significant political and legal power in Israel, particularly through their use of the language and frameworks of human rights and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians. These NGOs are also a major and often hidden channel for external influence in Israeli foreign and security policies.

Much of the funding for political lobbies that claim to be based in Israeli “civil society” comes from foreign sources – particularly European governments, including the European Commission – as well as foundations such as the New Israel Fund, the Ford Foundation, and the Open Society Institute. By using the generous resources made available by these external donors, the Israel-based NGO network is able to promote particular political ideologies, and to oppose the policies of the democratically elected government on many issues.

The NGOs discussed in this analysis are highly active and visible participants in both the international and national debates on issues such as the status and future of Jerusalem, the disputed territories in the West Bank, and the actions of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). These NGOs issue high-profile statements and reports, generate media publicity, organize demonstrations, speak to student groups and army units, and use the courts to advance their political agendas.

In the international arena, the same NGOs submit statements to United Nations frameworks such as the Human Rights Council, run major media campaigns, and spearhead lawsuits in various countries. Using the tens of millions of shekels, euros, and dollars they receive each year, the externally funded NGO network is far more powerful than other Israeli organizations that do not enjoy similar support from foreign governments.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Trojan Horse: The Impact of European Government Funding for Israeli NGOs

Love of the Land: Kick racism out of sport…unless the victim’s a Jew. Is this the new mantra of international sports and athletics bodies?

Kick racism out of sport…unless the victim’s a Jew. Is this the new mantra of international sports and athletics bodies?

Robin Shepherd
24 November 09

Consider the following: A soccer star living in an Arab dictatorship doesn’t much care for black people. He therefore refuses a transfer to a Premier League club in England because it has two blacks on its staff. He publishes his reasons on his website but the affair is barely reported in the press and the football authorities are so far silent.

Now consider this: Demonstrators and activists in a Scandinavian country in Europe object to an international tennis match because the visiting players are black. The sports authorities in collusion with the government cave in to pressure and force the match to be played behind closed doors.

Finally, consider the following: At the 2008 Olympics a swimmer from an Islamist theocracy makes it clear that he will not compete against a black man. In order to avoid penalties he then says he has withdrawn from the competition due to illness. The International Olympic Committee accepts his explanation without demur.

Substitute “Israeli-Jew” for “black man”, and the above is a precise representation of recent events in international sport.

Read the rest of this entry »


Love of the Land: Kick racism out of sport…unless the victim’s a Jew. Is this the new mantra of international sports and athletics bodies?

Love of the Land: Abusing Israel: The Fashionable Thing to Do

Abusing Israel: The Fashionable Thing to Do

Israelis are being painted as peace refusers, terrorizers, killers, torturers, and recently, pilferers of internal organs.

P. David Hornik
24 November 09

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told France Inter radio recently:

What really hurts me, and this shocks us, is that before there used to be a great peace movement in Israel. There was a left that made itself heard and a real desire for peace. It seems to me, and I hope that I am completely wrong, that this desire has completely vanished, as though people no longer believe in it.

Just a couple of days earlier, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman had written:

[T]he only time America has been able to advance [Arab-Israeli] peace … has been when the parties felt enough pain for different reasons that they invited our diplomacy. … Today, the Arabs, Israel and the Palestinians are clearly not feeling enough pain to do anything hard for peace with each other. … If the status quo is this tolerable for the parties, then I say, let them enjoy it.

And it was just a few weeks earlier that Friedman’s colleague, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, claimed that in Israel:

The anxiety of the diaspora Jews has ceded not to tranquility but to another anxiety. … The annihilation psychosis has not disappeared but taken new form. … I worry when Israel makes a fetish of its exceptional status.

A people that does not want peace, is not suffering enough pain to desire peace, and has an exceptionality fetish — is this enough abuse of Israel for a short period? Obviously not. (Regarding the second of those charges, it should be noted that it was issued from the banks of the Hudson to a Middle Eastern statelet that has absorbed scores of suicide bombings and a total of over 12,000 Hamas and Hezbollah rockets, as well as regular threats and predictions of its annihilation from Tehran, in less than a decade.) All those charges and many others, of course, pale before the Goldstone report’s concluding section on “Actions by Israel in Gaza,” which states:

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Abusing Israel: The Fashionable Thing to Do
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