Saturday, 12 December 2009

Israel Matzav: Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria are more than legitimate

Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria are more than legitimate

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, CAMERA's Eric Rozenman defends the legitimacy of Jewish cities and towns in Judea and Samaria.

The basic relevant provision, the League of Nations' 1922 British Mandate for Palestine, Article 6, encourages "close settlement by Jews on the land, including state lands and waste lands not required for public use." Most Israeli settlements in the West Bank have been built on land that was state land under the Ottomans, British, Jordanians and, after the 1967 Six-Day War, under the Israelis, or on property that has been privately purchased.

The United States endorsed Article 6 by signing the 1924 Anglo-American Convention, a treaty stipulating acceptance of the mandate. The League of Nations is long gone, but Article 6 remains in force. The United Nations' 1945 Charter, Article 80 -- sometimes known as "the Palestine article" -- notes among other things that "nothing in the charter shall be construed to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or peoples or the terms of existing international instruments."

Eugene Rostow, U.S. undersecretary of State for President Lyndon Johnson -- who is an authority on international law and the coauthor of U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, which outlines requirements for Arab-Israeli peace -- reaffirmed this principle. In 1990, he said: "The Jewish right of settlement in the West Bank is conferred by the same provisions of the mandate under which Jews settled in Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem before the state of Israel was created."

As for Resolution 242's call for "secure and recognized boundaries," according to Rostow in 1991 in another piece, a careful look at the wrangling over the resolution in 1967 makes it clear that it did not mandate Israeli withdrawal from all of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and Sinai peninsula to the post-1948 armistice lines.

Many who allege that Jewish communities in the West Bank violate international law cite the 4th Geneva Convention, Article 49. It states that an occupying power "shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." But Julius Stone, like Rostow a leading legal theorist, wrote in his 1981 book, "Israel and Palestine: An Assault on the Law of Nations," that the effort to designate Israeli settlements as illegal was a "subversion . . . of basic international law principles."

While all of these arguments are correct, the problem is that they are very legalistic, and if you read the comments, you will see that there are a lot of people out there who just don't get it. I don't have an easy solution to that issue. But it's amazing to see how many people are totally incapable of understanding any kind of logic (you should only see some the comments that I delete here). My inclination these days is to go with the simplest argument of all: God gave it to us.

Israel Matzav: Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria are more than legitimate

Israel Matzav: 'Moderate' Fatah terrorists buying weapons instead of feeding their kids

'Moderate' Fatah terrorists buying weapons instead of feeding their kids

The website of the 'moderate' Fatah terror organization describes how their 'military wing' - the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades terror organization - is preparing for war in Gaza. That's war against the Jews of course, not war against Hamas.

Members of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades are arming themselves for war against Israel by buying guns instead of food for their kids and by selling their wives' jewelry, according to the official Fatah website.

The website says that the Brigades, the so-called "military wing" of Fatah, are preparing a "harsh and painful" response to any Israeli attacks on Gaza. According to one of the heads of the Brigades, the fighters have to buy their own weapons to replace weapons confiscated by Hamas.

Following is the transcript of the item from the Fatah web site:

"With the renewal of the threats emanating from the Zionist military establishment to carry out a new attack on the Gaza Strip... the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades... warned of a harsh and painful response that the occupation state is not expecting. This response was conveyed by one of the heads of the Brigades in the Gaza Strip, Abu Ahed...

"Abu Ahed also declared that the Brigades' activity in Gaza should be viewed as a personal endeavor, since many of the Brigades' Jihad (Islamic War) fighters purchase weapons rather than food for their children, and many of them have even sold their wives' gold [jewelry] in order to obtain weapons, since the Hamas forces have confiscated the Brigades' members' weapons."

[Official Fatah web site,, Dec. 9, 2009]

Peace is at hand. Eh Barack?

Israel Matzav: 'Moderate' Fatah terrorists buying weapons instead of feeding their kids

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinians' feeling isolated

'Palestinians' feeling isolated

Guy Bechor reports that the Abu Bluff-led 'Palestinians' are feeling isolated.

About a year ago, they were certain that good fortunes are ahead and that an ideal American president will make all their wishes come true. Yet within a year, the tables have turned, and instead of the PA painting Netanyahu as a refusenik, the world is increasingly starting to realize that the Palestinians are in fact the refuseniks.

Two moves by Netanyahu managed to change the picture: First, his willingness to endorse a Palestinian state, without a return of the refugees and without Jerusalem; a move that had the Palestinians would have grabbed with both hands a while ago had they been serious about it.

Then there is the temporary settlement freeze, which posed another problem for Abbas. Israel made a move, so why are you refusing to negotiate with it? He is being asked by world leaders. The burden of proof has shifted to him, at a time when he has not made any concession vis-à-vis Israel. The opposite is true – his PA continues to incite against Israel.

While Israel is ready for negotiations, here and now, the Palestinians are presenting preconditions and are losing the West’s support. Preconditions for talks with Israel? As if we never had Olso, mutual recognition, and signed agreements. When it comes to Palestinian rights, the joint agreements are alive and well, yet when it comes to recognizing Israel, they suddenly dissipate.


But don't celebrate too much fellow Israelis. Perhaps the most telling paragraph in this entire article is this one:

Yet what about the hatred to Israel? Muttered the Palestinians, who failed to realize that hatred for Israel does not equal sympathy for the Palestinians. They confused anti-Israel sentiments with Pro-Palestinian sentiments. They failed to understand that many in the world hate Israel, but are using the Palestinians as the fig leaf for this hatred.

Yeah. The Europeans are much more tactful about hating us.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinians' feeling isolated

Israel Matzav: Israel allows Hamas to export 35 million flowers

Israel allows Hamas to export 35 million flowers

For the first time since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, the Israeli government is allowing Hamas to export 35 million flowers to Europe, which will raise millions of dollars for the terror organization.

This marks the first time since the 2006-07 season that Gaza’s flower growers, on a request local agricultural officials say was brought by the Netherlands to Israel’s Defense Ministry, will export their entire harvest of some 35 million roses, carnations, and chrysanthemums to markets in European countries.

It is also one of the only exceptions Israel has made for exports from the impoverished Palestinian territory. Israel imposed a tight economic blockade when the Islamist movement Hamas seized control in 2007.

Gaza was one of Europe’s main flower suppliers before Israel halted commercial and agricultural exports from the territory. Gaza’s last shipment of flowers was a truckload of 25,000 stems symbolically allowed out for Valentine’s Day earlier this year.

Yusuf Shaath, the cash crops project manager for the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC), a local development organization that works closely with farmers, says the sector expects to earn $6.3 million with this year’s harvest, after a near-total collapse over the past two years.

“The farmers are very excited – they had lost totally their markets with the blockade,” says Mr. Shaath. “We won’t ask why the Israelis decided to lift the blockade for us, we’ll just do our work.”

Just highlighting a little media bias for you. I wonder how many Kassams you can buy for $6.3 million.

But wait - it gets worse. Look where the flower farms are:

There are more than 100 flower farms in Gaza, mainly in Rafah in the south and Beit Lahiya in the far north, that employ some 7,000 workers, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).

Rafah is the location of most of the smuggling tunnels to Egypt, while Beit Lahiya is one of the places in northern Gaza from which rockets are shot into Israel.

Funny that I haven't seen this in any Israeli media (I could have missed it - haven't looked at what came out over the Sabbath yet).

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Israel allows Hamas to export 35 million flowers

Love of the Land: Narcissists and Madmen

Narcissists and Madmen

Caroline Glick
11 December 09

Perhaps when the history of our times is written, ours will be called The Era of Narcissistic Catechisms. To understand why this is the case it is enough to consider the fortunes of two green movements.

On the main stage of global affairs this week we have the much touted UN climate change conference in Copenhagen. Standing with 15,000 delegates representing green activism groups and politically correct scientists the world over are international celebrity leaders like Nobel Peace Prize laureates Barack Obama, Al Gore and Desmond Tutu and their fellow celebrities and Oscar and Grammy winners Al Gore, Leonardo Dicaprio, Sting, Cate Blanchett and Daryl Hannah.

These celebrities are wholly committed to the proposition that manmade global warming is the greatest threat to mankind. They are similarly convinced that if the developed countries don't ante up $10 trillion dollars and pass them on to the less-developed countries, we will kill Planet Earth.

And we shouldn't balk at the price tag. As Deutsche Bank's climate change guru Kevin Parker told the New York Times, the cost is nothing when compared to the "cost of inaction." That cost, in his view, entails nothing less than "the extinction of the human race. Period."

Parker's alarmism would probably have a depraved ring to it in all circumstances. But when placed against the backdrop of the hacked emails from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University, it sounds like the rabid ravings of a psychopath.

Posted on the Internet two weeks ago, those emails exposed how for over a decade prominent climate scientists have apparently falsified data to advance popular belief in manmade global warming. Among the group's various tactics, they intimidated and misled journalists. They massaged data to conform to their predetermined conclusions. And they sought to block scientists whose research led them to conclude that it is impossible to determine what role if any human activity has had in determining global temperatures from publishing their findings in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Despite the fraud exposed at the heart of the global warming movement, Western celebrity leaders remain ready to tax their countries into the pre-industrial age in order to mitigate the dangers of global warming. The EU and the US are committed to taking radical action that is liable to derail the global economy by regulating and taxing their most productive sectors out of business in order to contend with a threat that may not exist.

(Continue article)

Love of the Land: Narcissists and Madmen

Love of the Land: Last year’s mistakes cause today’s problems

Last year’s mistakes cause today’s problems
10 December 09

Here is something I wrote in January 2009 (”A mistake with long-term consequences“):

It is absolutely incredible that Israel sought a cease-fire with Hamas instead of finishing it off…

Hamas has always been open and direct about its intentions. They have never pretended that a cease-fire is anything other than a temporary pause to regain strength, never suggested that they would accept the presence of the Jewish state. Now they say that they believe they will be ready for the next round in about a year and so that’s how long the want the cease-fire to be…

Hamas will not go away on its own, Hamas cannot be ‘moderated’ and Hamas will always be hostile. There simply is no solution for Hamas short of removing it from power and disarming it. The IDF was well on the way to doing that, and doing it efficiently with minimal casualties among its soldiers and Gaza civilians, despite the huge outcry in the Israel-hating media.

The fact that this was not carried to completion will simply mean that the confrontation, with all the dangers and costs entailed will have to happen again. And again, and again until it is actually finished. Someone mentioned the film “Groundhog Day” in this connection.

I am afraid that the premature termination of Operation Cast Lead will go down in history as another catastrophic mistake by Israel, along with the 1982 decision to allow Arafat to escape from Beirut alive, the Oslo accords and the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.

Well, here we are a bit less than a year away, and guess what:

(Continue article)

Love of the Land: Last year’s mistakes cause today’s problems

Love of the Land: Guardian Hearts Mukhabarat Media

Guardian Hearts Mukhabarat Media

Tony Badran
Across the Bay
12 December 09

Roy Greenslade, a professor of journalism and blogger for The Guardian, is celebrating "the latest stage in the liberalisation of the Syria's [sic] media." If your head spun in bewilderment, unable to recollect when the "first" stage of "liberalization" even began, or if your sides split with uncontrollable laughter, wait till you hear the rest. Greenslade wrote:

An English-language daily newspaper is being launched in Damascus tomorrow and will circulate throughout Syria. Baladna English, the country's first English-language paper, marks the latest stage in the liberalisation of the Syria's [sic] media. The publisher, United Group, already publishes the Arabic-language Baladna.

Yes, indeed. The United Group. After all, what better harbinger of liberalization than the group's chairman, Majd Suleiman? Who is he, you ask? Don't worry, Professor Roy Greenslade didn't have a clue who he was either.

Majd Suleiman is the
son of Bahjat Suleiman, the Alawite former head of the internal security division of the General Security Directorate. Nothing says "liberalization" better than the Syrian mukhabarat.

(Full article)

Love of the Land: Guardian Hearts Mukhabarat Media

Love of the Land: Human Rights Day 2009 - little to celebrate

Human Rights Day 2009 - little to celebrate

Gerald Steinberg
09 December 09

December 10 is known as International Human Rights Day, marking the anniversary of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Conventions. But in 2009, as in past years, there is little to celebrate - this has been another bad year for human rights. In Darfur, the Congo and elsewhere in Africa, mass killings continue, with only minor and sporadic attention from the media or the United Nations.

In Iran, a rigged election brought thousands of democracy protestors into the streets, where they were beaten and arrested (70 demonstrators, including Neda Agha-Soltan, were reportedly killed), followed by Stalinist show-trials designed to intimidate these advocates. And in Asia, the tyrannical regimes in North Korea and Myanmar terrorize their citizens daily, with no end in sight.

This bleak record highlights the abject failure of the international community to live up to its moral commitments. The United Nations Human Rights Council pursues a cynical agenda that uses the rhetoric of international law as a weapon in the political war targeting Israel.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), China, Russia and other chronic human rights abusers, constitute a majority on the UNHRC and appoint its officials. They have no interest in opening a discussion of Tibet, Chechnya, or the systematic oppression of women or minorities in Saudi Arabia.

Israel is a convenient diversion, which explains the obsessive focus on claims of "war crimes" and "collective punishment," as well as the biased composition and activities of the Goldstone inquiry on the Gaza conflict.

(Full article)

Love of the Land: Human Rights Day 2009 - little to celebrate

Love of the Land: Israeli settlements are more than legitimate

Israeli settlements are more than legitimate

Eric Rozenman
11 December 09

President Obama asserts, seconded by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, that "America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements" in the West Bank. Both have praised the 10-month freeze on new residential building -- excluding eastern Jerusalem -- that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced late last month.

Netanyahu now calls for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to resume negotiations or take the blame for lack of progress when the "one-time-only" freeze expires. Abbas' precondition -- adopted after Washington's pronouncements -- is that all Israeli construction, including in eastern Jerusalem, must cease permanently.

Too bad international diplomacy doesn't have a replay button. If it did, the parties could look back at history, which would show that Israeli settlements not only are legitimate under international law but positively encouraged.

The basic relevant provision, the League of Nations' 1922 British Mandate for Palestine, Article 6, encourages "close settlement by Jews on the land, including state lands and waste lands not required for public use." Most Israeli settlements in the West Bank have been built on land that was state land under the Ottomans, British, Jordanians and, after the 1967 Six-Day War, under the Israelis, or on property that has been privately purchased.

(Continue article)

Love of the Land: Israeli settlements are more than legitimate

Israel Matzav: Iran trying to buy nuclear parts through Taiwan

Iran trying to buy nuclear parts through Taiwan

Shut out of the international market, Iran is now seeking to buy nuclear parts through Taiwan.

Western intelligence officials say Iran has responded by concentrating its efforts on Taiwan, and has already managed to acquire a 100 transducers which have been secretly shipped to Tehran. The transducers were originally manufactured in Europe and then sold to a company in Taiwan, which then sold them on to Iran's defence ministry.

UN officials are now investigating whether the European companies are undertaking proper checks of end-user certificates for their equipment.

According to the intelligence reports, Iranian officials are now trying to negotiate further shipments of the highly restricted equipment from Taiwan.

Iran is banned from buying the equipment on the open market by the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the international body set up to reduce nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials that can be used for building nuclear weapons.

"This is a serious loophole, as it enables Iran to acquire sophisticated equipment that can help it develop its nuclear programme," said a UN source. "Pressure needs to be applied to the companies involved to stop doing business with Tehran while it is still refusing to co-operate with the UN."

Earlier this year a Canadian of Iranian descent was arrested for trying to illegally ship a number of pressure transducers to Iran, which he had originally purchased in the US.

If Taiwan is able to supply these parts, there may be very little the UN can do about it. Taiwan is not a member of the UN. China has been blocking its admission to the UN for years.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Iran trying to buy nuclear parts through Taiwan

Israel Matzav: US scaling back Middle East diplomacy

US scaling back Middle East diplomacy

Disappointed with the lack of 'Palestinian' response to Prime Minister Netanyahu's 'settlement freeze,' the Obama administration has been scaling back its diplomatic efforts in our region, at least temporarily.

Following Netanyahu's declaration of a housing moratorium some two weeks ago, Mitchell was expected to come to the region the following week to see how he could move the process forward. That visit never transpired, and both Israeli and American officials said Thursday they had no indication of when he was planning to return.

In the meantime, however, he has met with Israeli negotiators Yitzhak Molcho and Michael Herzog in the US, as well as with the Palestinian negotiators.

Jerusalem does not believe that the US has "thrown up its hands in defeat," but rather that it wants to make sure its public diplomatic moves are having some kind of effect.

One source well apprised of the diplomatic moves said that while the US was frustrated with Israel, from the decision to build new units in Gilo to the fact that the settlement moratorium was far less than what the US had hoped for, it was also frustrated with the Palestinians and had delivered messages to the PA saying it should not count on outlasting Netanyahu, and that President Barack Obama would "not be around forever."

The source said that despite this frustration, the US would not stop its work in the area, but "just bring it down a couple of notches." He said there was also a sense that Washington was waiting to see where the chips would fall on a number of issues - including whether PA President Mahmoud Abbas would indeed step down as president, and what would happen if there were indeed a deal for kidnapped soldier St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit.

A key date on the diplomatic calendar is December 15, when the PLO is scheduled to have a central committee meeting at which Abbas is expected to make some kind of announcement on his political future.

The only effect US pressure has had is on Israel. The 'Palestinians' and the Arab states have not budged one iota since Obama took office. In fact, the 'Palestinians' just dug in deeper. US diplomacy has been totally ineffective. Perhaps that's because the 'Palestinians' still believe that the US can and will deliver Israel on a silver platter. The 'settlement freeze' encourages that 'Palestinian' belief.

By the way, the same JPost article linked above reports that the US pressured Sweden behind the scenes to tone down the European Union resolution on Jerusalem that Sweden's foreign minister had presented. A modified version of the resolution that did not recognize 'east' Jerusalem as the capital of 'Palestine' was eventually passed.

Israel Matzav: US scaling back Middle East diplomacy

Israel Matzav: IDF preparing for war?

IDF preparing for war?

The IDF undertook a couple of drills this past week that indicate that it is preparing for war.

The first drill, by the Home Front Command, included the emergency rapid distribution of gas masks, in the event of an attack threat before the army completes the regular distribution, due to begin within a few months.

IDF officials emphasized that the exercise did not involve the deployment of forces in the field.

They said the main objective was to play out scenarios for the benefit of various think-tank units charged with anticipating operational dilemmas in the event of war or national emergency.

The second drill was held by the Paratroops Brigade in the north and simulated various combat scenarios against Syria and Hezbollah.

The first drill is quite interesting. I wonder how quickly they can distribute the masks, given that it took them months to collect them.

Israel Matzav: IDF preparing for war?

Israel Matzav: Are there effective sanctions against Iran?

Are there effective sanctions against Iran?

Shavua tov, a good week to everyone and Chag Urim Sameyach, a frelichen (happy) Chanuka.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal Danielle Pletka tries to come up with effective sanctions against Iran.

Are there other sanctions that could cause a wholesale shift—even a tactical one—in the Iranian regime's thinking about its options? Achieving international consensus on some kinds of draconian measures may well be impossible.

But that may not be necessary, if the U.S. is willing to throw its full might behind a truly tough sanctions regime. And if, as diplomats suggest privately, there is now significant enthusiasm in Britain and France for an ad hoc coalition pressing forward with new sanctions, even more is possible. This week, the notoriously timid government of Austria suggested that absent international consensus on sanctions, the European Union would move ahead unilaterally—something the U.K has already done in sanctioning Iranian banks—ahead of both the United Nations and the EU.

Among possible new options: a complete travel ban for all regime officials (a similar ban was in place on Saddam Hussein's Iraq), a ban on all correspondent relationships with Iranian banks (which facilitate letters of credit and foreign financing of Iranian business and trade), and an end to all export financing (which remains in the billions of dollars per annum to this day). Also: denial of landing rights to Iran Air (in addition to IranAir Cargo, something already under consideration), and denial of access to capital markets for Iran's most important investors and commercial partners.

Some disapprove of diplomatic interference in business and finance. Yet it is undeniable that financial measures like the 2007 crackdown on North Korean account holder Banco Delta Asia have been extremely effective.

The U.S. has not begun to exercise its leverage in that area. Consider that in the last two years, Brazil's Petrobras, China's Sinopec, Italy's Eni, Japan's Mitsui Petrochemical and Norway's Statoil have all reportedly made deals worth more than $10 million each in Iran's energy sector. All are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (except for Mitsui's parent, which is on the Nasdaq). Should Iran's economic enablers be listed on American exchanges?

Sanctions such as these will hit hardest at the regime, and affect ordinary Iranians only incidentally. They will also deepen the divide between the public and the military-religious dictatorship, targeting the means of regime enrichment that comes all too often at the expense of the Iranian public.

Well, maybe. But it's highly doubtful whether anything short of a full military and naval blockade would be sufficient to bring Iran to its knees. It's either that or a military strike.

Israel Matzav: Are there effective sanctions against Iran?

Love of the Land: A right royal boycott: Britain’s Royal Family is banned from official visits to Israel

A right royal boycott: Britain’s Royal Family is banned from official visits to Israel

Robin Shepherd
12 December 09

In a jaw-dropping speech to the Anglo-Israel Association earlier this week, Andrew Roberts, one of Britain’s most prominent historians, made reference to one particular British boycott of Israel that is mentioned far too rarely: The Foreign Office has a ban in place on the Royal Family making official visits.

The speech came at a dinner (which I attended) on Tuesday evening in a swanky London hotel. It is an annual affair which is designed to bring together senior figures in the British establishment with supporters of Israel. Many in attendance were literally open-mouthed as Roberts tore in to the record of the UK Foreign Office over Israel. Melanie Phillips has a transcript of the full speech, the link to which is at the end of this article.

But it was his hilarious elucidation of the royal boycott that really caught everyone’s attention. Here is what Roberts said:

“One area of policy over which the FO [Foreign Office] has traditionally held great sway is in the question of Royal Visits. It is therefore no coincidence that although HMQ [Her Majesty the Queen] has made over 250 official overseas visits to 129 different countries during her reign, neither she nor one single member of the British royal family has ever been to Israel on an official visit. Even though Prince Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Greece, who was recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations” for sheltering a Jewish family in her Athens home during the Holocaust, was buried on the Mount of Olives, the Duke of Edinburgh was not allowed by the FO [Foreign Office] to visit her grave until 1994, and then only on a private visit.”

And, he continued:

Read the rest of this entry »Related:

UK foreign policy establishment’s hostility to Israel threatening MidEast peace process, and undermining Britain’s own national interests

Love of the Land: A right royal boycott: Britain’s Royal Family is banned from official visits to Israel

RubinReports: First they came for the O'Reilly's: The Danger of Politicized Detective Shows

First they came for the O'Reilly's: The Danger of Politicized Detective Shows

By Barry Rubin

The politicization of fictional entertainment shows is another example of the incredibly dangerous polarization of America today.

Consider this story. Fox News' Bill O'Reilly is angry over how he is characterized on a TV show called "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit." After reading what happened I don't blame him. People across the political spectrum should be equally angry. This is not a liberal-conservative issue but one of fundamental importance to everyone.

According to an article, the show is about a crazed anti-immigration activist who murders the children of illegal immigrants. In one scene, a character, defending the murderer says, "Limbaugh, Beck, O'Reilly, all of 'em, they are like a cancer spreading ignorance and hate...They've convinced folks that immigrants are the problem, not corporations that fail to pay a living wage or a broken health care system...."

It seems the character is saying that the murderer is just a dupe pushed over the edge by this evil trio. Since they have never advocated murdering immigrants or their children I assume this dialogue was maliciously written to defame them, damage them professionally, reduce their income, and could potentially bring violence against them. In short, they have been slandered (that's a moral, not a legal opinion).
Second, this show's plot is a Politically Correct lie, not anything based on fact. There have been no crazed anti-immigration activist murdering children of illegal immigrants, but illegal immigrants have committed a lot of crimes. Will a TV entertainment show have that as a plot? I assume no (perhaps I'm wrong) because the producers and writers of television shows believe--more likely inaccurately--that this would make people hate and perhaps even attack illegal immigrants.

In other words, the creators of the show aren't against creating ignorance and hate, they just claim the right to determine who the victims are going to be. Moreover, they can say that this is only a character speaking, not necessarily the opinions of, etc., etc. But does anyone doubt that character is just a ventriloquist's dummy?

Does this mean it isn't legitimate to discuss whether illegal immigration is a problem, just as we can't talk about the Islamist motivations of Khalid Hasan, the Fort Hood murderer, because presumably this will set off an anti-Muslim pogrom? Is it incitement to murder to point out that large numbers of illegal immigrants take jobs away and lower wages for U.S. citizens, and that they could overwhelm the healthcare system in certain states? Isn't that precisely why there are laws to control immigration, which is what makes these immigrants illegal? Or is that, too, incitement to murder?

The permissible bounds of debate on a very large number of issues are being narrowed in myriad ways.

This situation reminds me of the British television drama a few months back which showed crazed Christian fundamentalists decapitating Muslims. This never happened but the opposite has. If you want to shut up about certain things do so, but don't make up total lies in the exact opposite direction, pretending that TV commentators are inciting to murder and pious Christians are cutting people's heads off.

How would people of other views feel if entertainment shows used their names and falsely attributed to them responsibility for brutal crimes that never happened based on things they never said? How about a crazed environmenal activist murdering people and the crime being attributed to Al Gore who would be accused of spreading hatred toward companies that run power plants?

Finally, what gives with the speech's anti-capitalism message. Living out in Hollywood, guess such people have never heard about the minimum wage law while sitting around the swimming pool. As for the editorial presumably intended to endorse the Obama Administration's health bill, are detective shows now lobbying for legislation?

Of course, if two opinions were provided, one on each side, at least the program-makers could claim they did it for dramatic purposes. But this is pure propaganda.

Why is this of any importance? Because as I've just pointed out (see here) people are already being told that there is only one right way to think and that the alternative view is disgusting, immoral, and even criminal. To add such explicit messages into TV drama shows adds another institution to this closing down of freedom to debate and dissent.

There is another problem here, too, the growing tendency--on both sides--not to answer people with reasoned arguments or facts any more but just to denounce them along the lines of, to paraphrase an old Southern saying, they are too mean to live.

Aside from being just plain wrong from the standpoint of a free society, there is always the danger that this kind of thing could be turned against other people in future. Even during the McCarthy era I don't think Sergeant Joe Friday in "Dragnet" would have named specific people, calling them Commies who are inciting crimes.

RubinReports: First they came for the O'Reilly's: The Danger of Politicized Detective Shows

RubinReports: Short-Circuiting History: How Rational Learning from Experience is Being Sabotaged Today

Short-Circuiting History: How Rational Learning from Experience is Being Sabotaged Today

[Please subscribe and don't forget to take the do-it-at-home test below in bold]

By Barry Rubin

One of the main and most important distinctions between humans and animals is that the former are capable of evaluating experience as a group and passing on new lessons to each other and future generations. In human history, the ability to learn and draw proper conclusions becomes a matter of survival.

But what if that ability is blocked? What if there is a clear pattern of experience which points in a certain direction yet people are unable to reach the necessary conclusions?

How could this happen, I hear you ask. Let’s look at a two-track process for how the senses—including that most important of them, common sense—can be disrupted and amputated.

The first track relates to the transmission belts, the means by which experience is communicated. Modern democratic societies have developed a number of these but two vital institutions are the media and educational system. These, respectively, report developments and experiences to a wider audience, and train young people to comprehend them.

But what if the educational system and mass media are being used not only to teach wrong ideas and false experience but, equally bad, to teach people to disregard the promptings of reality and substitute an irrational system of thought?

Another important transmission belt is public discussion. People converse about everything; in public affairs they compete to be leaders and to persuade others to accept their ideas. It has been discovered—one of those lessons referred to above—that a free exchange of ideas and arguments is most likely to result, at least eventually, in the closest possible approximation of truth.

The second track includes the factors that guide how people think and reach conclusions. It encompasses such techniques as asking: what ideas have or haven’t worked before; which fit the available evidence; are they logical; do they contradict other principles one holds; do they protect or subvert our conception of democracy, liberty, and morality; are they able to predict future developments with a reasonable degree of accuracy?

What could short circuit this very good system for correcting mistakes, making life better, and even surviving?

Answer: Transmission belts can stop working properly well; debate can be censored; we can be taught non-logical ways to think so that the most accurate answers are weeded out.

Here are some ways people can be taught to reject possibly true ideas without subjecting them to real examination:

--They are defined as offensive to specific groups.

--They blame other countries or a group of individuals or set of ideas that just happen to belong to a different race, religion, nationality, gender , or cultural tradition. We are only allowed to blame ourselves.

--They are unfashionable, old-fashioned, held by people who live in small towns and cling to their guns and their own religion.

--They are patriotic, or based on a belief that one’s own culture and way of life is superior.

--They don’t take into account every real or alleged sin of one’s own country, culture, history, religion, gender, economic system, or way of life which supposedly disqualify them as positive models.

--Most effective of all, they are on the prohibited list.

--Most devastating of all, they are labelled in negative ways. Those who hold them are ridiculed. Not because their ideas are found wanting based on rational examination but merely because they are on the list of things to be laughed, sneered, or horrified at.

--If they are true they may lead to the election of people you (that is if you are members of the "new class" of journalists, professors, etc.) don’t want to win and policies you don’t want to see. This bias is supposed to be weeded out by professional ethics--you tell the truth as best you can without censoring yourself based on who it will help--but this is at present a very weak reed. It is itself on the censored list because the idea that anyone can or will make a serious attempt to be fair-minded and balanced is ridiculed as impossible.

Political Correctness is the doorway to factual incorrectness.

For me, these reflections were inspired today by one of many examples of this phenomenon I encounter. (It doesn’t matter if your examples are from a completely different part of life.) I was editing a bit of boiler-plate history, noting how Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula, southern Lebanon, all the Gaza Strip, and part of the West Bank in the belief that these concessions would make the world realize that it really wanted peace and encourage the other side to make a real peace.

Nothing of the sort happened. Instead, these withdrawals (note: yes, peace with Egypt is very important and the withdrawal from the Sinai was worth doing) generally gave a perception of weakness to the Arab world and Islamists (promoting even more attacks) but were meant with indifference in the West (no credit is given).

Suddenly it struck me though that if one points out this simple set of experiences with the logical conclusion, the response is likely to be condemnation, disbelief, or at best the listener has never heard or seen this point before in the mass media.

Or if, as I’ve suggested in some recent articles, ttthe record shows the Palestinians—for reasons I have explained with evidence and in great detail—don’t want a stable two-state peace with Israel and that’s why there isn’t a comprehensive resolution of the conflict and a Palestinian state.

It is simply not permissible to say certain things in many places. And it is so impermissible that your points are not examined logically but rather just insulted and cast into outer darkness.

Let me give you a test to show how this all works. Here is the question: Why is the United States wealthier and enjoying higher living standards than most other countries in the world?

Consider the following choices (but don't look yet if you want to come up with your own answers).

A. This is a biased, indeed a racist and reactionary question because it leaves out all the poor and suffering people in America who don't enjoy these living standards [grade: A]

B. Because it stole raw materials and its wealth from other countries [grade: A]

C. A combination of A and B, and don't forget to throw in the Native Americans, slavery, and the War with Mexico [Grade: A+]

D. The United States was blessed with natural resources and both the founding generations and the pioneers worked and fought to make it both a large and a great nation. The key, however, is that the United States developed a democratic and free enterprise system, with a reasonable degree of regulation, which unleashed the potential of millions of people. They were allowed and encouraged to flourish. Innovation and hard work were rewarded. Competition served the consumer. Government controls were limited enough so as not to strangle small and big business alike. Other countries because of their systems or ideologies did not do so well. Communism failed miserably, for example. [Resulting grade: Uh-oh!]

You see, it's a trap. You cannot give the most accurate answer because on your way there you'll hit mines which will blow up in your face: How was America created (stolen land, based on slavery), was it democratic (how about class oppression, women not having the vote, reactionary laws) or free enterprise (you mean rapacious greedy corporations), what about imperialist plundering of the Third World? Are you saying that Americans are superior to others? Isn't that racist and Islamophobic. Can't we imagine another, better system? Isn't at best this system outdated? Doesn't government protect our rights and can run things best?

The person trained in this system won't likely ever get to answer C because that has already been censored out of the options' list. And even if that's what they think will they shut up to get a good grade, a good job, or a good fashionableness rating? A colleague tells me that lots of younger professors tell him in a whisper: We have to write this stuff in order to get tenure but then we can say what we really believe. By that time, he replies, I hope you remember what you really believe.

The guidelines of Political Correctness and multi-culturalism guide you to the "proper" answer. But if Americans or people in other countries don't understand what the real situation has been, how can they hope to duplicate its degree of success? Won't they go down a road that leads, at worst, off a cliff, and perhaps at best into a swamp?

I have no idea whether man-made climate change based on carbon dioxide emissions is true or not. But I do know one thing: When people say the debate is over and scientists are intimidated into shutting up, that is not the Enlightenment that I bought into.

Of course, those specific examples are just a starting point. Can dictators be appeased? Does massive unproductive spending end an economic depression? If you give mortgages to people who can’t afford to pay them will it lead to some problems? If you teach children to be ashamed of their free and democratic country will that have a good result? If an Islamist terrorist murdered American soldiers at Fort Hood should one insist that his own explicit statements about his ideology be buried and censor the story accordingly? Is Western civilization a bad thing? Should free speech limited only by the imminent danger of yelling fire in a crowded theatre a good thing? Doesn’t history show that America is one of the very greatest countries in world history? If you betray your friends and reward your enemies could this possibly make the former desert you and the latter hold you in contempt?


But remember the authors of the Declaration of Independence. They believed that some truths were “”self-evident,” that people could not forever be prevented from seeing them. We have seen in our lifetimes dictatorships using the most sophisticated ideology and technology to fool people and where is Communism today? In Iran, even the invoking of the divine has not managed to quiet inner voices of rationality and that thirst for liberty.

So perhaps that is the answer: seeing the ridiculousness of the lies is the best way to discover something more akin to the truth.

Some great mind today must come up with a modern updating appropriate for the age of “progressive” ideology and Political Correctness of Heinrich Heine’s great poem that denounced the censorship of his work in his native German-speaking land. Here is the poem in its entirety as Heine wrote it in 1827:

The German Censors —— —— —— ——
—— —— —— —— —— —— —— —— —— ——
—— —— —— —— —— —— —— —— —— ——
—— —— —— —— —— —— —— —— —— ——
—— —— —— —— —— —— —— —— —— ——
—— —— —— —— —— —— —— —— —— ——
—— —— —— —— —— Idiots —— ——
—— —— —— —— —— —— —— —— —— ——
—— —— —— —— —— —— —— —— —— ——
—— —— —— —— —— —— —— —— —— ——
—— —— —— —— ——

RubinReports: Short-Circuiting History: How Rational Learning from Experience is Being Sabotaged Today

RubinReports: The Palestinians Tell the World Their Strategy: Why Make Peace with Israel When We Can Get Everything from You Instead?

The Palestinians Tell the World Their Strategy: Why Make Peace with Israel When We Can Get Everything from You Instead?

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By Barry Rubin

If you want to understand what’s really going on in the alleged Israel-Palestinian peace process—beyond the babble that progress is being made, it’s all Israel’s fault, and everyone is working hard on it—here’s what you need to know.

For the present, the Palestinian leadership isn’t interested in pursuing negotiations with Israel because it has a different strategy: get everything it wants from others without making any concessions.

First, the Palestinian Authority (PA) came very close to obtaining a European Union (EU) resolution which made it sound like the Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem is an accomplished fact. The rejection of the Swedish-sponsored proposal by more moderate European states staved this off, along with a U.S. reminder that this kind of issue was supposed to be resolved by a negotiated agreement between the PA and Israel.

Nevertheless, the PA no doubt drew hope—albeit erroneously so--from this experience that with a little more time the EU will back its position completely and give it a state on a silver platter.

The other front is the UN. On December 15, a meeting of the Fatah leadership will discuss and probably endorse a plan to seek UN recognition of their state, with no preconditions.

In the words of one Council member, Munib Masri:

“We will ask the UN Security Council to endorse a two-state solution with east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, to compensate Palestinian refugees and affirm their right to return to their homeland.”

There is a very interesting phrase at the end of that statement. Masri was referring to the Palestinian demand that all refugees and their descendants can go live in Israel if they want, a formula for massive violence, chaos, and civil war in Israel. Of course, that's precisely what the PA wants--and will never get. The idea is that the "two-state solution" it is thinking about is merely a transitional step toward wiping Israel off the map, the real goal and the reason why there isn't any peace.

By defining Israel as the Palestinian homeland, or at least a part of it, Masri shows the two-state solution is not a serious Palestinian goal. If it were, a West Bank-Gaza Strip-east Jerusalem state would be defined as the homeland.

Of course, he adds:

“If Israel remains steadfast in building settlements, then we will seek a one-state solution that is based on a timetable.”

Masri and others in the PA don't give any credit for Israel's settlement freeze. Like all Israeli concessions, it is pocketed and then denounced as insufficient, certainly not as warranting any reciprocal Palestinian gesture.

What Masri himself represents is the friends-of-Yasir-Arafat faction which still dominates both Fatah and the PA. This is the mainstream of both institutions and the base on which PA leader Mahmoud Abbas depends to stay in power.

The attractiveness of unilateralism is understandable. Why make a deal with Israel that might require recognizing it as a Jewish state, taking a bit less territory on the West Bank or having to swap some pieces of land with Israel, providing Israel with security guarantees, giving up the dream of total victory and Israel's elimination, and accepting limits on your military forces when you can just demand, and possibly get, everything you want from the United States, Europe, the UN, or the international community in general?

This is also an ideal strategy in domestic terms since any concessions are unpopular. If Fatah and the PA want to make up with Hamas, avoiding any concessions is vital. And if they don't want Hamas to make political capital out of their "treasonous moderation" the same point applies.

Of course, that means the conflict will continue, people will die, Palestinians will continue to be (or at least will be perceived as) suffering, and everything can be blamed on Israeli intransigence. There would be no peace and no Palestinian state, but that better suits the PA's current strategy and again would largely be blamed on Israel.

Is it really so hard to understand that this is what is really happening? The PA is not desperately eager for a deal. The construction of apartments is not the roadblock. The PA and Fatah have very good reasons from their standpoint for not wanting to make peace with Israel.

Nevertheless, the illusion is maintained: If only one more concession is made to the Palestinians. If they are only reassured and flattered. If they are only promised east Jerusalem as their capital. If Israel freezes construction on West Bank settlements. And stops finishing up 3000 apartments. And stops any building in Jerusalem. And does this or that action and give such and such a concession then the kingdom of peace will be upon us.

And when this strategy fails over and over again--as it did throughout the 1990s, instead of learning the lesson there will be found one more fault of Israel which explains why things didn't work out.

Of course, this also means that the rest of the world is functioning as enablers--to use the current term for those who help someone maintain a harmful addiction--permitting the continued illusion that there is some solution other than either the status quo or a fair, negotiated deal.

RubinReports: The Palestinians Tell the World Their Strategy: Why Make Peace with Israel When We Can Get Everything from You Instead?

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