Friday, 27 November 2009

Israel Matzav: Limor Livnat's senior moment

Limor Livnat's senior moment

Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat had some choice words for the Obama administration on Thursday evening during a Likud conference in Be'er Sheva.

Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat said during a Likud convention in Beersheba she does not "envy the prime minister. We are facing an awful (American) administration; it is not easy facing the US president, after he dragged the prime minister through a series of torments."

Livnat also commented about the decision to temporarily freeze construction in settlements, saying she feels "uneasy with this unilateral decision; no one will appreciate it, and we will only get slammed over the head for it."

She was also quoted as saying

"I know that the prime minister is in destress. It's not easy to stand next to the American president."

And she is also supposed to have said

"No Israeli government has ever made such a decision, and I ask myself what are we getting from it?"

"This is a unilateral step," Livnat said at a Likud conference in Be'er Sheva. Despite past hopes, she added, "we know that the Palestinians will not enter into negotiations with us."

Livnat also said that in a week's time, when a tractor starts the construction of houses that have already been approved before the current agreement, the entire world will call Israel liars.

Livnat also said that "it is not easy to stand up for you against the American President."

Within minutes, Kadima MK Yoel Hasson called on Livnat to apologize or resign:

"The statement constitutes a direct blow to the strategic relations between Israel and its great ally – the United States," said Hasson, adding that Livnat must be dismissed if she refuses to apologize.

And the Prime Minister, to whom Livnat is known to be close, denied that her comments reflected his views.

The Prime Minister's office said Minister Livnat's comments against the US administration "do not represent the prime minister's stance at all. The prime minister has expressed his appreciation for the strong bond between Israel and the United States time and again – a bond that continues to remain strong throughout President Obama's administration."

A couple hours later, Livnat (who is 59) had a senior moment and forgot the whole thing.

Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat said she did not remember whether or not she referred to the Obama Administration as "awful" during a Likud convention in Beersheba.

"I did not mean to use that word, but I stand by my statement that the US regime is rigid," she said.

Rigid? What the heck is that supposed to mean?

Israel Matzav: Limor Livnat's senior moment

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

The Miami Boys Choir sings v'Nihyeh Anachnu, may we all be, from the blessings over the Torah that we say each morning.

Let's go to the videotape (you get the words translated into English on this one).

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Israel Matzav: Major terror attack averted

Major terror attack averted

A major terror attack was averted on Wednesday night when IDF troops along the Egyptian border fired on a terrorist, causing him to drop his 15-kilo (33-pound) bomb and flee back into Egypt.

IDF sources said it was possible that the suspected terrorist was from the Gaza Strip and had crossed into the Sinai Peninsula with the intention of then crossing into Israel to carry out an attack.

The military has been following attempts to carry out attacks through the 'U-route', where Gazan terrorists leave Gaza towards the Egyptian Sinai, then turn back and infiltrate Israel via the porous Israel-Egypt border.

Channel 10 quoted security officials as assuming the device was either meant to be used in Eilat, Israel's southernmost town, or the terrorist was to be driven to a major central Israeli city and create a multiple-casualty attack.

For those of you who think we no longer have an issue with terror or that those smuggling tunnels under Gaza are innocent, you're wrong.

Israel Matzav: Major terror attack averted

Israel Matzav: Those forgetful Norwegians

Those forgetful Norwegians

Norway is accusing Iran of a 'shocking first' in the history of the Nobel Peace Prize: The seizure of Shirin Ebadi's medal and certificate by the Iranian government.

Iranian authorities have confiscated Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi's medal, the Norwegian government said Thursday, accusing Iran of a shocking first in the history of the prize.

Norwegian authorities were told that Ebadi's medal was seized "within the last week or so" from a safe-deposit box in Iran along with personal effects including the diploma awarded with the medal, the Foreign Ministry said.

But it's not the first time a Nobel Peace Prize medal has been seized. Just ask Hamas.

Israel Matzav: Those forgetful Norwegians

Israel Matzav: 'Terrorists for Gilad' will kill talks anyway

'Terrorists for Gilad' will kill talks anyway

The New York Times' Ethan Bronner argues - probably correctly - that despite Israel's agreement to a 'settlement freeze,' the release of some 1,000 terrorists in exchange for kidnapped IDF corporal Gilad Shalit is likely to kill any chance for talks.

So gestures to benefit Mr. Abbas are being urged on the Israeli government by its own security agencies and the Americans. That made the settlement pause, rejected in the spring, acceptable even to some on the Israeli right. There are also more efforts under way to improve life in the West Bank. American suggestions have included handing over more land to Palestinian control and increasing the responsibility of Palestinian forces.

But Israel has so far resisted such suggestions. The Israeli commander said that if Israel were to hand over more responsibility to the Palestinians, it would lose the extensive intelligence network it has so painstakingly built up in the West Bank in recent years.

As another top commander put it, “If we want to prevent rockets from being shot from the West Bank, keeping our troops on the ground is probably necessary.”

But a national outpouring for Sergeant Shalit has meant that a deal is brewing that could free perhaps 1,000 Palestinian fighters, some of them planners of suicide bombings. In the Israeli military’s words, that will be a lot of new grass to cut. So there is a growing call in Israel to make this the last such lopsided deal for a captured soldier.

As Ari Shavit, a columnist, commented in Haaretz newspaper on Thursday, the Shalit deal “erodes Israel’s deterrence” and “will weaken Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, flood the territories with skilled terrorists and lead to chaos.”

Others on both sides of the political spectrum are voicing similar concerns, suggesting that if the deal goes through, Israel will be very wary of seeming weak. Settlers and their supporters are already vowing a fight over the construction halt and the freed fighters. At the same time, the Palestinian Authority is seeking to associate itself with the prisoners expected to be released. In other words, if this exchange occurs, the likelihood of either side appearing conciliatory or peace talks restarting soon seems low.


Israel Matzav: 'Terrorists for Gilad' will kill talks anyway

Israel Matzav: What Hezbullah really wants

What Hezbullah really wants

What does Hezbullah really want? Destroying Israel is just the start of it.

One hears from all sections of Lebanese society that Israel is the key to reining in Hezbollah. Many Sunnis say this; so do significant parts of the Christian community as well as some Druze, in addition to Shia who are not aligned with Hezbollah or Amal, a Shia party friendly to Syria. According to this common line of thinking, Hezbollah's claim to uphold "resistance" would be substantially weakened by an Israeli decision to negotiate with the Lebanese government to leave the Shebaa Farms, some eight square miles of strategically important land on the slopes overlooking southern Lebanon, which almost everybody in Lebanon contends Israel occupies illegally. And Hezbollah's status would be weakened decisively, from this point of view, were Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories and allow the approximately 400,000 Palestinians living in Lebanon--half of them still in refugee camps 60 years after the armistice Lebanon signed with Israel, and all of them facing restrictions on the kinds of jobs they can hold--to return to an independent Palestinian state. Once all illegal Israeli occupation ends, so the argument goes, Hezbollah's reasons for existing as a fighting force will vanish.

But our New Opinion hosts, and several of the liberal Shia to whom we spoke, adamantly rejected this analysis. For Hezbollah, they persuasively argued, resistance does not refer merely to armed struggle against Israel's occupation of this or that piece of land, or even the battle against Israel's very existence, but a fight to the death against the claims of liberty and democracy in Lebanon and throughout the region in the name of Islamic law as dictated by the Iranian mullahs.

In these difficult circumstances, the United States can take several steps to advance America's interests in Lebanon, which, as it happens, would also advance the interests of liberty and democracy. First, the Obama administration can stop encouraging the widespread view, rooted in decades of pan-Arab rhetoric, that the key to Middle East peace is solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Peace between Israel and the Palestinians should be assiduously pursued, but to suppose that the absence of a final agreement between them is what stands in the way of security and stability in the Middle East is to play into the hands of Arab governments that cynically use the conflict to shift their people's attention from their own countries' internal failings and destabilizing ambitions.

Israel Matzav: What Hezbullah really wants

Israel Matzav: The Arab states show their love for the 'Palestinians'

The Arab states show their love for the 'Palestinians'

I'm sure you'll all be shocked - just shocked - to hear that 19 of the top 20 donors to UNRWA - the agency that takes care of 'Palestinian refugees' - are Western countries and not Arab states.

In 2008, 19 of the top 20 donors to UNRWA's general fund were from the West, with the EU contributing over $116m., and the US more than $94m. Others, such as Sweden and the UK, each gave over $35m.

Just one Arab country - Kuwait - appeared among UNRWA's top 20 benefactors. The Kuwaitis came in last on the list, having coughed up just $2.5m.

Given that Kuwait's oil revenues last year surged by 44 percent to nearly $78 billion, you would think that if they really, truly cared about the Palestinians, this would have been reflected in the size of their donation to UNRWA.

Nonetheless, when compared to the other five Arab states that comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - the Kuwaitis come out looking generous.

In 2008, the combined revenues of the GCC states from oil production amounted to a whopping $575b. Yet their joint contribution to UNRWA's regular budget was a little more than $3.6m., signifying less than one one-thousandth of a percent of their total petroleum income! Bahrain gave a miserly $50,000, Oman forked over just $25,000, while Saudi Arabia coughed up zero.

I've been to Hadassah dinners where more money was raised in an hour than the Arab states seem willing to part with in an entire year.

In fact, over the past two decades, Arab regimes have been providing a steadily decreasing percentage of UNRWA's funding. In the 1980s, their contributions amounted to 8% of the group's annual budget, whereas now they comprise barely 3%.

As a result, Western states are currently providing more than 95% of the funds behind UNRWA's ongoing programs.

Read it all.

Michael Freund, who supplied these statistics, says that they show the Arabs' hypocrisy in lambasting Israel for its treatment of the 'Palestinians' while doing nothing to alleviate their conditions.

But there's another issue that bears looking into: Unlike refugees elsewhere in the world, who are resettled in a matter of months, the 'Palestinians' have had their refugee status perpetuated by UNRWA. It starts with the ridiculous definition of 'refugee' (having lived in 'Palestine' for two years before 1948), continues with the fact that 'refugee' status can be passed from generation to generation, and progresses to the refusal to move the 'refugees' into permanent housing. If the West controls 95-98% of UNRWA's purse strings, why isn't it forcing UNRWA to resolve the 'refugees' status rather than leaving them as perpetual hostages for purposes of undermining the Jewish state's existence? Is it a Western interest that there not be a state of Israel? The question at least deserves consideration.

Israel Matzav: The Arab states show their love for the 'Palestinians'

Israel Matzav: ElBaradei gets disgusted

ElBaradei gets disgusted

Four days before the end of his term, feckless IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei has finally gotten mad at his Iranian brothers.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Thursday that his probe of allegations that Iran tried to make nuclear arms is at "a dead end" because Teheran is not cooperating and warned that confidence in Teheran had shrunk in the wake of its belated revelation of a previously secret nuclear facility.

Mohamed ElBaradei also criticized Teheran for not accepting an internationally endorsed plan meant to delay its ability to make such weapons.

The unusually blunt comments appeared to be a reflection of frustration four days before he ends his tenure leading an agency that has proven unable to overcome Iran's defiance and ease international concerns that it may be using a civilian nuclear program as a cover for plans to make weapons.

"There has been no movement on remaining issues of concern which need to be clarified for the agency to verify the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program," ElBaradei told the opening session of the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors. "We have effectively reached a dead end, unless Iran engages fully with us."

The IAEA can't verify the 'exclusively peaceful nature' of Iran's nuclear program, because to do so, it would have to verify a lie. While ElBaradei might have been willing to do that, much of his membership is not willing to verify a lie.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: ElBaradei gets disgusted

Israel Matzav: Israel 'couldn't care less' about 'Palestinian' reaction

Israel 'couldn't care less' about 'Palestinian' reaction

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israel Radio on Thursday that Israel 'couldn't care less' about the 'Palestinian' reaction to the 'settlement freeze.'

During an Israel Radio interview, Lieberman stated that far more important were the reactions of the settlers and what he termed "Israel's friends around the world," chiefly those who had spoken up against the Goldstone Commission's Report.

Although Israel has made more gestures in the last ten months than all previous governments, the Palestinians reacted by "cursing and quarreling," said Lieberman, adding that the ball was now "in their court."

The audience for the freeze is clearly the United States and not the 'Palestinians.' Of course, the 'Palestinians' have already rejected the freeze as 'insufficient' because it doesn't include Jerusalem.

Never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Israel Matzav: Israel 'couldn't care less' about 'Palestinian' reaction

Israel Matzav: Obama demanding release of additional 1,000 terrorists

Obama demanding release of additional 1,000 terrorists

Arutz Sheva is reporting that President Obama is demanding that in connection with the terrorists for Gilad trade, which is being made with Hamas, Israel release an additional 1,000 terrorists as a 'gesture' to 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen.

In response to U.S. demands that Israel free an additional 1,000-some terrorists as a "gesture" to Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas, Lieberman said that previous releases of Fatah terrorists "have not proven themselves. The Olmert administration did this several times and it did not work, and we do not plan to allow it to happen," Lieberman said.

What could go wrong?


And here we go:

Israel has granted pardon to 92 wanted members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Fatah's military wing. Some were awarded full pardon while others were granted partial pardon. The most prominent member on the list is a commander in the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in the territories.

908 more to go.

Israel Matzav: Obama demanding release of additional 1,000 terrorists

Israel Matzav: Israeli threat causes China to criticize Iran

Israeli threat causes China to criticize Iran

Sometimes it pays to throw your weight around.

The Washington Post is reporting that the threat of an Israeli attack on Iran has caused China to reconsider its opposition to sanctions against Iran.

Two weeks before President Obama visited China, two senior White House officials traveled to Beijing on a "special mission" to try to persuade China to pressure Iran to give up its alleged nuclear weapons program.

If Beijing did not help the United States on this issue, the consequences could be severe, the visitors, Dennis Ross and Jeffrey Bader, both senior officials in the National Security Council, informed the Chinese.

The Chinese were told that Israel regards Iran's nuclear program as an "existential issue and that countries that have an existential issue don't listen to other countries," according to a senior administration official. The implication was clear: Israel could bomb Iran, leading to a crisis in the Persian Gulf region and almost inevitably problems over the very oil China needs to fuel its economic juggernaut, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Earlier this week, the White House got its answer. China informed the United States that it would support a toughly worded, U.S.-backed statement criticizing the Islamic republic for flouting U.N. resolutions by constructing a secret uranium-enrichment plant. The statement, obtained by The Washington Post, is part of a draft resolution to be taken up as soon as Thursday by the 35 nations that make up the governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

It's lucky that Israel is willing to play the role of the out-of-control maniac. Otherwise, Obama would never get the Chinese to do anything.

Whether this will translate into Chinese support for sanctions against Iran remains to be seen. But it's the first time China has supported a resolution criticizing Iran since 2006.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Israeli threat causes China to criticize Iran

Israel Matzav: Chavez calls Israel a 'murderous arm of the Yankee empire'

Chavez calls Israel a 'murderous arm of the Yankee empire'

In an appearance with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez referred to Israel as a 'murderous arm of the Yankee empire' (Hat Tip: David Hazony via Twitter).

The Venezuelan singled out a comment by President Shimon Peres during a visit this month to South America that his and Ahmadinejad's days in power may be numbered.

"We know what the state of Israel stands for - a murderous arm of the Yankee empire," Chavez told joint news conference. "What the president of Israel said, we take as a threat."

Hazony asks whether Chavez is just a Phillies fan. The Venezuelan national uniform worn by Chavez is remarkably similar to a Phillies uniform, isn't it?


Israel Matzav: Chavez calls Israel a 'murderous arm of the Yankee empire'

Israel Matzav: Israeli scientists create heart cells from skin cells

Israeli scientists create heart cells from skin cells

Israeli scientists have discovered a way to create beating heart cells with skin cells, making it possible to surgically repair a damaged heart some day.

Israeli scientists have discovered a way to create beating heart cells using human skin cells reprogrammed to become stem cells. The findings could lead to advances in disease research, and could in theory be used to repair damaged or diseased tissues.

Published in the latest issue of Circulation, the findings by Professor Lior Gepstein of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology could make it possible to clinically repair damaged human hearts.

Such an application is at least 10 to 20 years away, says Gepstein, but the process can already be utilized for in-depth study of genetic diseases and the development of personalized drugs for irregular heartbeats and other inherited disorders.

Read the whole thing.

Something else for all those anti-Israel boycotters to boycott.

As Glenn Reynolds would say, "faster, faster."

Israel Matzav: Israeli scientists create heart cells from skin cells

Israel Matzav: AG: 'Freeze' impossible to enforce

AG: 'Freeze' impossible to enforce

Attorney General Manny Mazuz says that it will be impossible to enforce the 'settlement freeze' that was enacted by Israel's government on Wednesday because there are not enough building inspectors.

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz said Wednesday that the government would be unable to enforce the building freeze it decided to implement in Judea and Samaria. Mazuz said that there were only 14 building inspectors assigned to the entire region, and unless more were hired, it would be impossible to enforce the freeze.


Israel Matzav: AG: 'Freeze' impossible to enforce

Israel Matzav: So why didn't he vote against?

So why didn't he vote against?

Now that it's a done deal, cabinet minister Yuli Edelstein comes out against the 'settlement freeze.'

Diaspora Affairs Minister, Yuli Edelstein (Likud) said in response to the cabinet's decision concerning freezing Yesha building that "the construction freeze means freezing births and marks a concession to the transfer of Jews seeking to settle the Land of Israel. This move will endanger the security of Israel and will not advance us one iota towards peace," he added.

So why didn't he vote against it?

Israel Matzav: So why didn't he vote against?

Israel Matzav: Naples, Florida: 'Kick a Jew day'

Israel Matzav: Naples, Florida: 'Kick a Jew day'

Israel Matzav: Interview: UN Watch's Anne Bayefsky banned from the UN

Interview: UN Watch's Anne Bayefsky banned from the UN

On Monday, I discussed Anne Bayefsky's being banned from the United Nations.

PJTV has an interview with Bayefsky about her banning here.

It's worth watching. It will make you wonder yet again why the United States and the West continue to finance this farce of an international

Israel Matzav: Interview: UN Watch's Anne Bayefsky banned from the UN

Israel Matzav: Bolton: Right again on Iran

Bolton: Right again on Iran

Richard Grennell, the spokesman for four US ambassadors to the United Nations, points out that John Bolton was right again on Iran. Within hours after the Obama administration declared 'victory' in the fight to get Iran to give up its nuclear weapons, Bolton called the deal a sham (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

When the Obama Administration proclaimed victory on October 1st by announcing that a break-through had been reached in Geneva and that Iran had committed to shipping 2,600 pounds of fuel to Russia, expert Iran watchers were appropriately cynical. Bolton cautioned, yet again, that the Iranians had used some of the same diplomatic nuances they had been using for years to successfully buy more time to continue enriching uranium and fake cooperation with the international community.

Usually, the Europeans were the first to take the bait but this time the Obama Administration got hooked first. Bolton, however, was the first to stand up and call the Iranian pronouncement a sham - and he did it within hours of the announcement.

But as Obama officials were rushing to pat themselves on the back and the New York Times was proclaiming atop the paper "Iran Agrees to Send Enriched Uranium to Russia," Iranian officials were telling reporters that they had not committed to anything. The Iranians called it "an agreement in principle" - code words for "we'd like to but…"

The Times' reporter in Geneva, however, was taking what the Obama officials were saying and running wildly with the incredible news. Surprisingly, or maybe not, the Times had either not checked with Iranian officials or ignored their warnings in favor of the Obama Administration's good news. Roughly a month later, the Iranian official statements confirmed the fact that the Obama Administration had been duped. The Times subsequently inched its way back to reality through multiple follow-up stories that increasingly showed skepticism in the Victory claims culminating with October 30th's headline "Tehran Rejects Nuclear Accord."

Bolton is one of the few people who understands the Iranian threat, and he says that the only way it will be stopped is with military action - probably by Israel. Maybe it's time for all of us to listen to him.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Bolton: Right again on Iran

Israel Matzav: Mitchell meets the press

Israel Matzav: Mitchell meets the press

Israel Matzav: Most Israeli Jews oppose releasing murderers for Shalit

Most Israeli Jews oppose releasing murderers for Shalit

Most Israeli Jews oppose the release of hardcore terrorist murderers in exchange for kidnapped IDF corporal Gilad Shalit.

A majority of Jewish Israelis are against releasing hardcore terrorists in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. A new poll published Tuesday reveals that 74% of the overall population supports releasing “soft” terrorists for Shalit. But if the deal includes the proposed 120 murders of Jews that number falls to 53%.

Taking into account that non-Jews make up a quarter of Israel’s overall population and most Arabs support the deal, political observers note there is no Jewish majority for the controversial move.

But since when does the government listen to Israeli Jews? That's the problem: Because of our electoral system where you vote for a party and not for a person, the government doesn't have to listen to us.

Israel Matzav: Most Israeli Jews oppose releasing murderers for Shalit

Israel Matzav: 'Our friends the Saudis'

'Our friends the Saudis'

Phyllis Chesler asks some good questions.

Remind me: Why are we still allies with Saudi Arabia? Why did President Obama bow to the King who presides over such Hell? Can we find no oil elsewhere, no other sources of energy? Do Americans really understand what goes on in Saudi Arabia? Have we forgotten that the Saudis have single-handedly exported Wahhabi fundamentalism and propaganda that has poisoned both westerners and those in the east—and have funded western universities and media as well? Does anyone remember that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia? Or that Osama bin Laden is a Saudi? Do we not understand that the Kingdom has funded bin Laden? And that they have funded many influential Islamic “charities” in North America? Please read Stephen Suleyman Schwartz’s excellent piece on this here.

Read Phyllis' whole piece too, here.

Israel Matzav: 'Our friends the Saudis'

Israel Matzav: Who releases convicted murderers for anything?

Who releases convicted murderers for anything?

Here are some reactions to a potential terrorists for Gilad deal from fathers of terror victims.

Let's go to the videotape.

The fathers are right. Murderers should not be released.

I heard a great idea from someone last night. Let the 'Palestinians' choose one terrorist to be released in exchange for Gilad Shalit. But for every day that they don't choose, let one terrorist in Israel be executed. Sounds like a plan.

Israel Matzav: Who releases convicted murderers for anything?

Israel Matzav: Israel may get its technology into F-35 after all

Israel may get its technology into F-35 after all

Remember the whole argument several months ago about putting Israeli technology into the F-35 strike fighters being purchased by Israel? It seems that the manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, is having difficulties selling the plane, and in a bid to get Israel to place a final order, which may inspire other countries to do the same, the manufacturer and the US government are going to give some ground on letting Israel install its own technology.

The United States is expected to ease its opposition to incorporating Israeli systems in the F-35 if Israel expedites its order for the stealth strike fighter. Sources in the defense establishment confirmed Tuesday a Reuters report that the U.S. has offered a version of the F-35 that would include command and control systems developed in Israel, as well as the ability to carry advanced missiles that are made in Israel.

Reuters says that the Pentagon is still opposed to the introduction of an Israeli electronic warfare suite for the version of the fighter that would be procured by the IAF, and this remains a key Israeli condition.

An order from Israel has been delayed for months because of discussions on the issue of Israeli systems, and the aircraft's high cost.

The IAF would like to place an order for the first 25 F-35s, out of an overall order of 75.

If this actually happens it will be good news. But given all of the fights and delays over the F-35, I'll believe it when I see it.

Israel Matzav: Israel may get its technology into F-35 after all

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

Love of the Land: Miles of prejudice

Miles of prejudice

Melanie Phillips
The Spectator
26 November 09

A Times leader yesterday referred disparagingly to, but did not properly deal with, the disgraceful attack by Oliver Miles, Britain’s former ambassador to Libya, on two members of the Chilcot inquiry into Britain’s involvement in the war in Iraq. Writing in the Independent on Sunday, Miles drew attention to the curious appointment to the committee of the historian Sir Martin Gilbert and the professor of war studies Sir Lawrence Freedman. Miles states:

Both Gilbert and Freedman are Jewish, and Gilbert at least has a record of active support for Zionism. Such facts are not usually mentioned in the mainstream British and American media, but The Jewish Chronicle and the Israeli media have no such inhibitions, and the Arabic media both in London and in the region are usually not far behind.

Sir Martin Gilbert is one of Britain’s most distinguished historians, while Sir Lawrence Freedman also enjoys a stellar reputation as a professor of war studies. That is why they were appointed to the inquiry. But to Miles, they are suspect not just because Gilbert once compared Bush and Blair to Roosevelt and Churchill while Freedman was the supposed architect of intervention in Kosovo and Afghanistan (hello?) as well as Iraq (so it was All His Fault) but because they are Jews -- and even worse Gilbert supports Zionism.

This would appear to be part of the ‘Jewish conspiracy’ theory so fashionable in the UK intelligentsia that the war in Iraq only occurred as a result of pressure from a trans-national Jewish conspiracy acting in the interests of Israel to put the world at risk. The fact that Israel in fact advised at the time that it was Iran they were worried about rather than Iraq does not trouble the propounders of this malevolent libel.

The Times called Miles’s comments

extraordinary and disgraceful

but did not spell out the reason why they were so. The paper pulled its punches. Miles’s comments were an example of anti-Jewish racial prejudice. The notion that Jews cannot be trusted to be impartial because they only act in the interests of other Jews and to the detriment of everyone else is a staple of anti-Jewish bigotry down through the ages.

It is a baleful comment on the state of British public discourse that this man felt able to say this so openly. Normally the ‘Jewish conspiracy’ theorists hide behind camouflage words such as ‘Zionist’ or ‘neo-con’ to disguise their prejudice. Miles doesn’t even bother with such fig-leaves: he is confident enough, now that anti-Israel bigotry and anti-Jewish bigotry-denial is running at epidemic levels, to be entirely brazen about it.

Love of the Land: Miles of prejudice

Love of the Land: Lebanon gives Hezbollah right to attack Israel

Lebanon gives Hezbollah right to attack Israel

(On the other hand, Lebanon gives Israel the right to attack Lebanon)
26 November 09

Hezbollah supporters watch a televised speech by Hassan Nasrallah (File)


Lebanon's new cabinet has agreed on a policy statement that acknowledges Hezbollah's right to use its weapons against Israel, despite disagreement by some members of the ruling majority.

Information Minister Tarek Mitri said late Wednesday after a cabinet committee set up to draft the statement met for the ninth time that an agreement had been reached.

He said the new statement will retain the same clause approved by the previous cabinet as concerns the arsenal of Hezbollah, which fought a devastating war with Israel in 2006 and is considered a terrorist organization by Washington. The clause states the right of "Lebanon, its government, its people, its army and its resistance" to liberate all Lebanese territory.

Hezbollah is commonly referred to as the resistance in Lebanon. Mitri said that reservations concerning the clause by members of the Western-backed majority would be noted in the government program.

Christian members of the majority, including the Phalange Party and Lebanese Forces, argue that Hezbollah's arsenal undermines state authority and runs counter to U.N. resolutions.

However the Shiite party, which has two ministers in the 30-member unity cabinet, has made it clear that its weapons are not open to discussion. The party argues its arms are necessary to protect the country against any future aggression by Israel, which withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000 after a 22-year occupation.

Lebanon's new cabinet is headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, whose U.S.- and Western-backed alliance defeated a Hezbollah-led opposition supported by Syria and Iran in a June vote.

Love of the Land: Lebanon gives Hezbollah right to attack Israel

Love of the Land: Israel is Europe's blind spot

Israel is Europe's blind spot

Many have been seduced by a false Islamic narrative. In fact, the more concessions Israel makes, the more it is attacked

Isi Leibler
26 November 2009

I recently met with a group of Australian journalists, including editors of some of the leading dailies. They impressed me as a fair and open-minded group. In the course of discussions, one elegantly phrased question, not intended to offend, was put to me, which I have been mulling over.

"Did I ever take into account that if virtually the entire world has concluded that Israel is the principal cause for the Middle East impasse, perhaps they are right?"

The question is particularly pertinent in relation to Europe, which has turned so dramatically against Israel. In these "enlightened", postmodernist secular societies, which shun all manifestations of nationalism, Israel is no longer considered a revival of Jewish nationhood, but as a colonial implant that many would be happy to see somehow disappearing as a national entity. And, of course, there is the "new antisemitism" in which demonisation of Israel has become the surrogate for traditional Jew hatred – just as Jews in the middle ages were blamed for all the ills of mankind, so today the Jewish state is increasingly held responsible for the principal woes facing humanity.

In this environment, the left and many liberals now focus their rage against Israel and have succeeded in hijacking human rights groups to serve as vehicles to undermine the Jewish state.

On the international arena, the automatic majority of Islamic and other radical states guarantees the passage of all anti-Israeli resolutions initiated at the UN, no matter how absurd. The so-called UN human rights council (UNHRC), which includes some of the worst tyrannies among its leading members, is just one example.

Simultaneously, the realpolitik imposed by oil-producing countries when securing energy has become the national priority for most nations, together with the growing empowerment of radical Islamic groups throughout Europe, has resulted in many countries siding against Israel, rather than confront the jihadists within their own borders.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Israel is Europe's blind spot

Love of the Land: Mandela He Ain't

Mandela He Ain't

Media Backspin/Honest Reporting
26 November 09

BarghoutiIt finally occured to me why the latest media spin -- that Marwan Barghouti is the Palestinian Nelson Mandela -- rings hollow. It's because nobody asked the Palestinians.

Jerusalem Post columnist Khaled Abu Toameh takes a critial look at the way Barghouti's regarded:

Unlike many in the Western media, Palestinian journalists and writers have rarely - if ever - referred to Barghouti as a "charismatic" leader or as the "Palestinian Nelson Mandela." Cynics and conspiracy theorists in the Palestinian territories go further by arguing that Barghouti is actually part of a US-Israeli scheme aimed at turning him into the next leader of the Palestinians. To back up their argument, they ask simple questions such as: Since when does Israel allow a security prisoner to give media interviews or hold meetings with Israeli, Palestinian, European and American officials in his prison cell?

Undoubtedly, Barghouti is respected by many Palestinians. Yet, this is not because he's the Palestinian Nelson Mandela or Salah Eddin - the Muslim warrior who drove the Crusaders out of Jerusalem - but because he's sitting in Israeli jail.

If the Palestinians themselves don't view Barghouti as a Mandela, why does the MSM keep spinning it that way? The most recent example of this comes from Irish Timescorrespondent Michael Jansen, who writes:

He is seen by many Palestinians as their Nelson Mandela.

Don't tell me how Barghouti's perceived, show me how Barghouti's perceived. Get a fresh man-on-the-street quote from one of the "many Palestinians."

There's always the possibility of judging Barghouti in his own words, since he's Israel'smost-interviewed security prisoner these days. Talking to Corriere Della Sera, he left open the option of violence.

Of course, that doesn't jive with the Western media's rosy perception of Barghouti . . .

Read Toameh's full column.

Related reading: Barghouti Is No Mandela

Love of the Land: Mandela He Ain't

Love of the Land: Al Quds Underground: EU funds go to arts festival in Jerusalem that bars Israelis

Al Quds Underground: EU funds go to arts festival in Jerusalem that bars Israelis

NGO Monitor

26 November 09

Al-Quds Underground (AQU), a program which claims “to create a secret space for artistic expression,” is funded by Cordaid (Holland, EU), the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures, and SICA. The Anna Lindh Foundation received €7 million over three years from the EU, earmarked for projects such as Al Quds Underground. AQU’s website states that the group’s vision is “[n]ot conflict and segregation, but contact and curiosity.”

In contrast, on October 30, 2009 the group refused to allow Israelis to attend one of its events. According to a Jerusalem Post report:

“Al-Quds Underground’s artistic director Merlijn Twaalfhoven of Amsterdam then told me, along with some Israeli peace activists who had arrived, that we were not welcome...‘The local people told [Twaalfhoven] months ago that Israelis cannot go. Our team [of 12 Dutch activists and eight artists] had to promise that we would not allow peaceful Israelis to come.’”

In correspondence with NGO Monitor, Cordaid officials attributed the exclusion to disruptions by Israeli participants, claiming that

“a number of Israeli visitors disturbed a performance in one of the private houses in which the festival took place. Out of fear of further incidents and out of respects for the hosts who opened their private homes for the performances, the organizers of the festival felt forced to decide the next day to ask Israeli participants to withdraw from the tour...Both the organizers and Cordaid regret that this course of events took place.”

Cordaid also asserted that “the Jerusalem Post misquoted Merlijn Twaalfhoven unfortunately” regarding the exclusion of Israelis before the first event. However, the author of the Jerusalem Post article stood behind the accuracy of the quote.

In separate correspondence with SICA, deputy director Beate Gerlings stated that its funding was based on the “artistic merits of the proposal,” and these were “achieved.”

Love of the Land: Al Quds Underground: EU funds go to arts festival in Jerusalem that bars Israelis

Love of the Land: Overturn Spain's Boycott of Israeli University

Overturn Spain's Boycott of Israeli University


Spain’s Boycott of Ariel University Center in the 2010 Solar Decathlon

The Solar Decathlon was founded in 2002 by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The biannual competition selects 20 teams from universities around the world who design and build the most attractive, energy-efficient home powered solely by the sun. Universities from several countries, including Spain, entered the competitions held in Washington DC in 2002, 2005, 2007, and 2009.1

On Sept. 18, 2007, Spain also got the right to hold a Solar Decathlon. The U.S. Department of Energy [DoE] signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” with Spain’s Undersecretary of Housing Fernando Magro Fernández, for Spain to host a European Decathlon with the assistance of the DoE in years alternating with the U.S. Solar Decathlon.2

Spain will hold its first Solar Decathlon, co-sponsored by the U.S. DoE, in Madrid in June 2010. The first stage of the Decathlon ended on October 30, 2008, when 20 University teams from around the world were chosen as finalists in the stiff competition. Each team was awarded 100,000 Euros from the Spanish government to begin building the model house.

Israel’s Ariel University Center (AUC), located in the West Bank and known for its leadership in the field, was one of the 20 finalists. There was no indication that political animosity would taint the event or pose problems for AUC, which was the only team chosen from the Middle East. The team began building the solar house, met the design deadlines, and met with Spanish event officials in May, 2009, including Beatriz Corredo, Spanish Minister of Housing; Esperanza Aguirre, Madrid Regional President; Sergio Vega Sánchez, Head Project Manager of the European Solar Decathlon; and Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, Mayor of Madrid.

Suddenly, on 9/11/09, Spain informed the AUC team that it had been expelled from the competition. AUC was not expelled for technical or scientific reasons, but solely out of political animosity. The letter from Spanish Minister of Housing, Javier Ramos Guallart, informed AUC that because it is located in the “occupied territories,” its inclusion violated EU positions. Sergio Vega, project manager of the Solar Decathlon, wrote in a communiqué to the college, "The decision was made by the Spanish government based on the fact that the university is located in occupied territory in the West Bank. The Spanish government is committed to uphold the international agreement under the framework of the European Union and the United Nations regarding this geographical area."3

But Ariel’s location in the West Bank does not violate any EU policy on cooperative projects. Israel has extensive economic, cultural and scientific programs with the EU. Between 2007 and 2009, there were 428 joint scientific projects, some of which were located over the Green Line, the 1949 Armistice lines.4 Furthermore, under a recent agreement, the EU and Israel "committed themselves to establishing a partnership which provides for close political and mutually beneficial trade and investment relations together with economic, social, financial, civil scientific, technological and cultural cooperation.”5 There was no stipulation about geographic boundaries in this agreement.

Spain clearly knew where AUC was located when it chose AUC as a finalist, and when it cooperated with AUC over the following year, and never mentioned a problem about EU policies precisely because such policies do not exist.

Spain’s sudden decision was caused by the Palestinian academic boycott campaign against Israel. Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine lobbied for AUC’s exclusion as a part of the larger academic boycott against Israel that the BNC—the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Campaign National Committee—has tried to impose for several years.6 BNC’s extremist demands are that boycotts must be imposed until Israel “ends the occupation,” and permits millions of Palestinians refugees the “right of return to their original homes.” 7 The right of return is code for destroying Israel demographically by flooding it with the 4.6 million Palestinians currently on UNRWA’s rolls.8

No other teams were excluded from the Decathlon on any political grounds, including Tianjin University, located in China, perhaps one of the world's foremost human rights violators, was not disqualified from the Decathlon.

(Read full article)

Overturn Spain's Boycott of Israeli University Sign Petition

Related Article: Spain boycotts Ariel University Center for being on 'occupied territory'

Love of the Land: Overturn Spain's Boycott of Israeli University

Love of the Land: The Shalit Deal

The Shalit Deal

From the Desk of Moshe Feiglin:

An ominous sense of an impending deal is in the air. It is hard to oppose it. All of us pray for Gilad's release. All of us will cry with joy when, with G-d's help, we will see his parents hugging their beloved son.

But we already know the price that we will have to pay. 80% of Hamas terrorists return to terror after their release, as do 60% of Fatah terrorists. In other words, 16 of the 20 terrorists released in exchange for the short video of Gilad, will commit new acts of terror. It is reasonable to assume that two or three Jews will pay for this movie with their lives.

The wholesale release of professional murderers will cost much more, G-d forbid. But their victims are still nameless and faceless. They do not have addresses, they do not know that they are the next in line and they cannot lobby politicians on their own behalf. In the Israeli reality in which questions of life and death are decided by rating considerations, the future victims have no chance.

About a month ago, I published an open letter to Defense Minister Barak in which I requested that no negotiations should be conducted for my release if I were to be abducted, G-d forbid. The letter made waves and many people joined added their signatures to my letter or penned letters of their own. One of those people was Yitzchak Ovitz, a soldier in Gilad's company. His letter was widely covered in the media:

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

Manhigut Yehudit put an internet petition on its website, affording people the opportunity to add their signatures to the request not to negotiate their release. Due to lack of funds, we were not able to run a major campaign to publicize the petition. Nevertheless, approximately 100 soldiers and citizens signed. In light of this spontaneous response, we are certain that tens of thousands of citizens would sign this petition if they could. A major public outcry against the pending dangerous deal could sway some ministers from authorizing the exchange.

Click here to sign the petition (Israeli citizens only).

Love of the Land: The Shalit Deal

Love of the Land: Are We Part of the UK Israel Lobby?

Love of the Land: Are We Part of the UK Israel Lobby?

Love of the Land: The world is tired of hearing Jews complain

The world is tired of hearing Jews complain
24 November 09

News item:

A British diplomat has criticized the appointment of two leading Jewish academics to the UK’s Iraq Inquiry panel, stating it may upset the balance of the inquiry.

Sir Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya, told The Independent newspaper this week that the appointment of Sir Martin Gilbert, the renowned Holocaust historian and Winston Churchill biographer, and Sir Lawrence Freedman, professor of war studies and vice-principal of King’s College London, would be seen as “ammunition” that could be used to call the inquiry a “whitewash.”

Miles said the two academics were Jewish and that Gilbert was an active Zionist. He also said they were both strong supporters of former prime minister Tony Blair and the Iraq war…

“It is a pity that, if and when the inquiry is accused of a whitewash, such handy ammunition will be available,” he added. “Membership should not only be balanced; it should be seen to be balanced.”

There you go. In regard to any issue which even tangentially touches on Israel, Jews are suspect. I recall someone saying, “when I read a letter to the editor about the Middle East, I immediately look to see if the writer has a Jewish name.” Then I presume she discounts whatever was in the letter.

(Continue article)

Love of the Land: The world is tired of hearing Jews complain
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