Sunday, 20 December 2009

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

Here's Mordechai Ben David singing Shma Yisrael (Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One), the prayer we say twice a day - morning and evening (plus an extra time when we first get up in the morning and an extra time before we go to sleep at night, but that's a separate issue).

Let's go to the videotape.



Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Israel Matzav: 'Progressives' take their mask off

'Progressives' take their mask off

At Big Government, Andrew Marcus fisks Jewish anti-Semite MJ Rosenberg and rips him some new body parts. Rosenberg is starting to make Haaretz look like a conservative paper.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: 'Progressives' take their mask off

DoubleTapper: IDF Elite Commandos

DoubleTapper: IDF Elite Commandos

The Torah Revolution: Let Jordan grant citizenship to Arab palestinists!

The Torah Revolution: Let Jordan grant citizenship to Arab palestinists!

Love of the Land: The political insanity of the settlement freeze

The political insanity of the settlement freeze


FresnoZionism.org
20 December 09

News item:

The military plans to use “paralyzing power” to demolish illegal settler construction where building has continued in defiance of the 10-month freeze on such activity, according to an IDF document obtained by The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night…


Under the moratorium, settlers and contractors working on projects in which the foundations had not been finished must stop work for 10 months. But many settlers have vowed to continue building, anyway.


The IDF, therefore, is planning a second phase of enforcing the freeze, which will involve entering settlements to demolish all illegal construction work…


Physical force would have to be used against the settlers, since it is assumed they would not peacefully stop work and evacuate construction sites when ordered to do so, the document states.


The settlers believe the moratorium is the start of a second disengagement and will do everything possible to prevent the demolitions, the document said. There is no concrete information that the settlers intend to take up arms, said the document, but it added that anything was possible.


The document goes into great detail, outlining different scenarios that could occur. It also distinguishes between “moderate” and “violent” settlements, such as Yitzhar.


Initially, the IDF would try to come to a verbal resolution with the settlers, but if that fails, they would surprise the settlers with what the army termed “paralyzing force.”


The air force is expected to get involved by doing reconnaissance flights over the area. The IDF plans to shut down cellular phone services during the enforcement operation and to ban reporters from the scene.


Somebody has lost his mind.


Israel faces an existential threat from Iran and her proxies, a war which could affect every inch of Israel more severely than any since 1948 could break out at any time, and this is what the government wants the IDF to do?


(Full article)


Love of the Land: The political insanity of the settlement freeze

Love of the Land: The Mideast Peace Deal You Haven’t Heard About

The Mideast Peace Deal You Haven’t Heard About


Ted Belman
Israpundit
19 December 09


Netanyahu has agreed to terms of reference for future negotiations, that are enshrined in Clinton’s statement,


    “an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.”

    No surprise there. It was obvious when she made the statement right after Bibi agreed to the freeze. In fact the deal was done in the summer.


In addition Jerusalem is on the table and so is the refugee problem. So much for no preconditions.


When Rosen tells why no one can resist the peace jaugernaught, what he fails to mention is that it is only peace on Arab terms that it is concerned with. Peace is a euphemism for capitulation.


Even within the confines of these terms of reference, the differences between the parties are enormous. How can borders based on the ‘67 lines, even with mutually agreed swaps, be reconciled with “borders that…meet Israeli security requirements.” Look for a great deal of pressure on Bibi to capitulate.

by Steven J. Rosen, ForeignPolicy.com


For a year or two at an early stage in his career, I commuted to and from our adjacent offices each morning and evening with Martin Indyk, later a top peace-process official of the Clinton administration at the Camp David negotiations and now vice president for foreign policy at the Brookings Institution. I had just left the Rand Corporation to work at AIPAC, the main pro-Israel lobbying organization in Washington.


Even in those pre-Oslo days of 1982 to 1983, Martin was a True Believer in the idea of a grand land-for-peace bargain between Israel and moderate Palestinians. Reviewing each day the latest installments in the Middle East epic as we rolled down Rock Creek Parkway, we argued all the way. I heaped scorn on any solution that required Israel to trust Palestinian intentions, and I held that Israel’s security could only be based on a qualitative military edge and the balance of power. I told Martin that he and our mutual friends Dennis Ross, Aaron Miller, and Dan Kurtzer, though with the noblest of intentions, were pursuing an illusion.

(Read more…)



Love of the Land: The Mideast Peace Deal You Haven’t Heard About

Love of the Land: The Beeb Shrugs

The Beeb Shrugs


Honest Reporting/Backspin
20 December 09

The BBC responded to listeners outraged by Michael White's recent comments on BBC Radio London's Breakfast Show. While discussing the attack on Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, White, who is The Guardian's associate editor, said:


In Israel they murder each other a great deal. The Israeli Defense Forces murder people because they don't like their political style and what they've got to say and it only means that people more extreme come in and take their place.


The Beeb's complaints dept. wrote back:


(Continue article)


Related: "In Israel they murder each other a great deal"


Love of the Land: The Beeb Shrugs

Israel Matzav: PA trying to enforce 'settlement freeze' by finding new jobs for workers

PA trying to enforce 'settlement freeze' by finding new jobs for workers

One of the anomalies of life in Judea and Samaria is that most of the Jewish homes being built in the area are being built by 'Palestinian' construction workers. The 'Palestinian Authority' is trying to enforce the freeze by finding new jobs for those workers as 'Palestinian policemen.'

Arab construction workers have been the backbone of Jewish building projects for decades and were a strong factor in the PA economy, which boomed after the return of Judea, Samaria and Gaza to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967 brought about the building of thousands of new homes for Jews. The Arab Intifadas forced most Jewish contractors to drastically cut the number of Arab workers, resulting in a deep recession in the PA, particularly in Gaza, as well as a surge of foreign workers in Israel.

A rebirth of the concept of Jewish labor has slowly emerged, but Jewish contractors have complained that they cannot find enough Jews willing to engage in non-skilled construction work.

If the PA succeeds in carrying out its freeze of approximately 22,000 Arab laborers working in Judea and Samaria, the demand for Jewish labor, resulting in higher wages, may bring about an increase in their employment.

The settlements are completely dependent on cheap Palestinian labor for their infrastructure," Arab activists Jamal Juma told The Media Line, a Middle East news website maintained by a group of Arab and Jewish journalists. "So I think we can really hurt the settlements if all Palestinians stop working there."

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad met last week with Arab activists seeking to prevent Arab workers from appearing at Jewish building sites, according to the website.

Maybe Defense Minister Barak can hire the 'Palestinians' to enforce the freeze. That would be right up his alley.

Israel Matzav: PA trying to enforce 'settlement freeze' by finding new jobs for workers

Israel Matzav: IDF to use force to enforce freeze

IDF to use force to enforce freeze

The Jerusalem Post disclosed on Sunday that Minister of Defense Ehud Barak has ordered the IDF to use 'paralyzing force' to enforce the 'settlement freeze.'

The 17-page document outlines military orders that had been drawn up by the Central Command after the government decided last month to impose a 10-month moratorium on new settlement construction in the West Bank.

Under the moratorium, settlers and contractors working on projects in which the foundations had not been finished must stop work for 10 months. But many settlers have vowed to continue building, anyway.

The IDF, therefore, is planning a second phase of enforcing the freeze, which will involve entering settlements to demolish all illegal construction work.

In the last few weeks, the civil administration and the Border Police have gone into most settlements to hand out stop-work orders and monitor compliance with the moratorium. In a number of settlements, residents blocked the path of security forces and clashes ensued.

In the second phase, the Border Police will oversee the demolitions and evacuate protesters, while the IDF will secure the perimeter. The IDF will move in only in cases of extreme violence.

Physical force would have to be used against the settlers, since it is assumed they would not peacefully stop work and evacuate construction sites when ordered to do so, the document states.

The settlers believe the moratorium is the start of a second disengagement and will do everything possible to prevent the demolitions, the document said. There is no concrete information that the settlers intend to take up arms, said the document, but it added that anything was possible.

The document goes into great detail, outlining different scenarios that could occur. It also distinguishes between "moderate" and "violent" settlements, such as Yitzhar.

Initially, the IDF would try to come to a verbal resolution with the settlers, but if that fails, they would surprise the settlers with what the army termed "paralyzing force."

The air force is expected to get involved by doing reconnaissance flights over the area. The IDF plans to shut down cellular phone services during the enforcement operation and to ban reporters from the scene.

Commanders have been told to prepare for incidents of insubordination.

Later in the day, the Defense Ministry said that if the revenants did not resist, no violence would be used. Later in the day, it was claimed that the orders were 'only a draft.'

The reaction from Right-wing MK's - both in and out of the Likud - was fast and furious. Here's the Likud's Danny Danon:

MK Danny Danon (Likud) said in reaction to the IDF document portraying the large forces to be used to destroy Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria that "the orders have the same bad smell that the disengagement did. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has singled out residents as an enemy, making all actions against them legitimate."

MK Danon, head of the Knesset's Child Rights' Forum, will visit Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria Sunday, where he will review the damage the building freeze has had on children in the region.

Here's the Likud's Tzipi Hotovely:

"The defense minister's uncurbed zeal for the building freeze in Judea and Samaria has completely confused him regarding who the real enemies of the State of Israel are," said Tzipi Hotovely. She called for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to intervene.

National Union's Arye Eldad:

In an interview with Israel Radio Sunday morning, MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) said that the IDF's plan to use large forces to demolish buildings said that "we will resist, and block with our bodies the destroying forces. I recommend that Barak issue a general emergency draft call for as many soldiers as he can. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has gone insane." Eldad added that "this is a double crime – using IDF force against Jews, but not against Arabs. Both Barak and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are guilty of this crime, and they are being aided by the government's ministers."

And National Union's Michael Ben Ari:

MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said that "this shocking document shows that the Likud has gone to war against residents of Judea and Samaria. Netanyahu is continuing in the way of Ariel Sharon, who destroyed the IDF in an internal Jewish war, and left Hizbullah a destroyed IDF."

Meanwhile, National Union's Yaakov Katz (Ketzelah) used the occasion to attack Moshe Feiglin for his association with the Likud.

National Union chairman MK Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh) said Sunday that the situation now faced by residents of Judea and Samaria, against whom the IDF is preparing to take drastic action to enforce Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's building freeze, is a direct result of the actions and philosophy of Likud activist Moshe Feiglin. "This is the failure of Feiglinism," MK Katz said, adding that Feiglin, who was determined to change the Likud from within, had paved the way for former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to undertake the Gaza disengagement – and was doing the same for Netanyahu.

"Feiglin helped Netanyahu get elected, and the 'good' representatives who are supporting him out of fear that the weak Prime Minister will fall, are enabling Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who is fighting for his political life, to commit crimes against the Jewish people and its spirit. We should not expect anything good to grow from the detritus of the Likud," MK Katz said.

If there's been any reaction from Feiglin, I have not seen it yet.

This is heading towards another Amona-like showdown (the picture at the top is a friend of my son's who was beaten at Amona - the boy in the picture is now married). What was Amona? It happened in 2006. Here's a documentary about it.

Let's go to the videotape.



Israel Matzav: IDF to use force to enforce freeze

Israel Matzav: Poll: Americans prefer that US hit Iran but would support Israel if it took the lead

Poll: Americans prefer that US hit Iran but would support Israel if it took the lead

A new poll commissioned by the Israel Project shows that Americans favor targeted military strikes against Iran by the United States and its allies (51-44%) but oppose Israel going it alone (42-49%).

Just over half of Americans support a military attack on Iran by the United States and its allies if Teheran doesn't halt its nuclear program, according to a new poll by The Israel Project.

...

However, should Israel go ahead and attack Iran anyway, and then came under retaliatory attack from Iran, a strong majority said the US should lend military defense. In that case 61% said the US should help Israel in that event (with 32% opposed). The number jumped to 68% (with 29% opposed) if Israel comes under attack from Iranian proxies Hizbullah and Hamas.

"That's a very big number at a time when America's involved in two wars that are fairly unpopular with the American people," said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, referring to American backing for entering a potential conflict with Iran on behalf of Israel.

Those surveyed were skeptical that engagement and negotiations, or even multilateral sanctions, would halt Iran's nuclear program. Only 40% said there was some or even a good chance those would work, with 59% giving them little or no chance. The skepticism increased if the US alone imposed sanctions.

For now, most Americans want to try sanctions anyway. Unfortunately, their President and Secretary of State and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee don't even want to try.

78% of Americans believe that their elected officials should be focused on this issue.

Why isn't Obama getting the message?


Israel Matzav: Poll: Americans prefer that US hit Iran but would support Israel if it took the lead

Israel Matzav: Good news: Obama demands Israel match Hamas terrorist release for Fatah

Good news: Obama demands Israel match Hamas terrorist release for Fatah

This was expected. The Obama administration is demanding that Israel release Fatah terrorists to shore up Abu Bluff's standing in the event that it releases Hamas terrorists in exchange for kidnapped IDF corporal Gilad Shalit. As a result, the price for releasing IDF Shalit from Hamas' custody has just doubled. And apparently, that's even giving the government second thoughts.

A senior official in the U.S. administration told Haaretz that if the deal for Shalit's release is completed, the U.S. would be interested in seeing Israel releasing Fatah prisoners as well, in addition to other gestures to bolster's Fatah's status compared to Hamas. "We are telling the Israelis that [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas' situation needs to be mitigated," the U.S. official said.

...

On Friday, Fox News reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been reluctant to sign a deal presented to him three weeks ago to secure Shalit's release, adding that the prime minister's seven senior cabinet members were divided over the proposed agreement.

The family of Gilad Shalit asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's bureau last night to confirm a number of recent reports on the state of negotiations with Hamas to secure the abducted Israeli soldier's release.

Activists in the campaign to free Gilad, as well as the Shalit family, say that up to this point, they haven't received an answer or any other information from the prime minister.

Meanwhile, the Gaza-based newspaper Palestine reported Saturday that Mohammed Nazzal, a senior Hamas official, said that the talks were frozen due to Israel's refusal to free a significant number of prisoners whose release Hamas demands.

It's time for the cabinet to bite the bullet, just say no, and release Hamas' list of terrorists to dampen the uproar.


Israel Matzav: Good news: Obama demands Israel match Hamas terrorist release for Fatah

Israel Matzav: Mumbai-style attack coming to London?

Mumbai-style attack coming to London?

The Times of London is reporting that Scotland Yard is expecting a Mumbai-style terror attack at multiple locations in London.

In a briefing in the City of London 12 days ago, a senior detective from SO15, the Metropolitan police counter-terrorism command, said: “Mumbai is coming to London.”

The detective said companies should anticipate a shooting and hostage-taking raid “involving a small number of gunmen with handguns and improvised explosive devices”.

The warning — the bluntest issued by police — has underlined an assessment that a terrorist cell may be preparing an attack on London early next year.

It was issued by the Met through its network of “security forums”, which provide business leaders, local government and the emergency services with counter-terrorism advice.

...

Earlier this year, police, military and intelligence services held an exercise in Kent to see whether they could defeat a commando raid in London by terrorists.

The exercise brought out to those taking part that the capability doesn’t exist to deal with that situation should it arise,” said a military source.

Security sources said concerns had been raised by “chatter” on a prominent jihadist website two weeks ago.

One contributor suggested fighters could use automatic weapons to strike places such as nightclubs, sporting venues and Jewish centres.

In an online discussion hosted on December 2, another contributor invited suggestions for carrying out “guerrilla warfare” and proposed “a group of mujaheddin raid police stations and fire at them”.

Another said: “Make sure that all those at the location are of age, that there are no children and so on. Insist on the locations and times where no Muslims or children are to be expected.

“If machine guns are available, and explosive and expertise for [explosives] are not available, this is a good way ... The [Mumbai] operation is the ideal scenario for operations you are talking about.”

A third contributor said targets should be “chosen in a studied manner”.

He added: “In general, targeting economic joints and intelligence centres if possible has priority over police stations.”

I guess bowing to 'Muslim sensitivities has really paid off for the UK, hasn't it?

Israel Matzav: Mumbai-style attack coming to London?

Israel Matzav: But deep down, they really want peace

But deep down, they really want peace

Here's a children's television show from al-Quds TV in Lebanon in which the kiddies are told that they should all be like 'Palestinians' suicide bomber Wafa Idris, who blew herself up in downtown Jerusalem after arriving in a Red Crescent ambulance. You can watch the video here. The transcript is below (Hat Tip: Jihad Watch).

Following are excerpts from a TV children’s show, in which children learn about Palestinian suicide bomber Wafa Idris. The show aired on Al-Quds TV on December 1, 2009.

TV Host: There used to be a girl, who was a student at medical school. She lived in a refugee camp called Al-Am’ari. the Al-Am’ari camp, my dear children, is located near the city of Ramallah in occupied Palestine.

[...]

[Wafa Idris] went to the commander of the resistance, and asked to carry out a martyrdom operation. What, a girl carrying out a martyrdom operation?! She said: I want to carry out a martyrdom operation, just like any young man in the resistance. Obviously, the commander hesitated at first, because this was the first time such a thing happened. Since the beginning of the Intifada, no Palestinian girl had carried out a martyrdom operation. But Wafa insisted, until she managed to convince the commander that the Zionists would not pay attention to a girl. Usually, they only inspect the young men. So the commander agreed. In light of her determination, courage, and persistence – he agreed.

[...]

So he set out. The moment she set foot on the road, she remembered something. What was it? Not a family member or a relative. She remembered that she had not fed the doves on the roof. Quickly, she climbed to the roof. As soon as the doves saw her, they began flapping their wings. From among the doves, Wafa took a white dove in her hands. Its wing was broken two days earlier. Wafa stroked it gently and said to it: Don’t worry, white dove, peace dove. Tomorrow, you will be able to fly again. You will return to your nest in the Old city of Jerusalem. Tomorrow, the skies will open up before your wings, and you will fly over the Galilee, Nablus, Jenin, Bethlehem, and Hebron.

Wafa went to her work as usual, but obviously, she took a day off, and left. Why? Because the time for the heroic operation had come.

Boy: Where was the operation?

TV Host: In Jerusalem. On her way to West Jerusalem, everything she saw encouraged her to commit martyrdom.

[...]

Second boy: Wasn’t Wafa afraid among the occupiers? Didn’t she hesitate?

TV Host: Of course not. She wasn’t afraid, and she did not hesitate, because she placed Allah between her eyes and in her heart. She would always remember Allah and would crush her fear. If fear wanted to come near her calm and peaceful heart, she would get ready to enter Paradise, knowing that she would be among the living, who are sustained [by God]. Who are they? The martyrs.

[...]

Today, Wafa will not treat the wounded in Ramallah. Why? She will go to Jerusalem, and there will be many dead and wounded there, but not from among the Palestinians. They will be from among the Zionist soldiers.

[...]

Wafa fulfilled her wish by successfully carrying out her martyrdom operation. The result was that she killed an Israeli soldier and wounded about a hundred. Why was Wafa martyred? So that the flower of the homeland would not wither.

[...]

Third boy: When was she martyred?

TV Host: Wafa Idris was martyred on Sunday, January 27, 2002. She has become a role model for any Palestinian girl who harbors the spirit of self-sacrifice, national sentiment, and love of death for the sake of Allah and in defense of the homeland.

Young girl: I want to become a doctor like Wafa, so that I can help the wounded.

TV Host: Allah willing, we will all become like Wafa Idris. We will treat the wounded, and Allah will grant us martyrdom.

I know. It's just a 'small minority' of them that doesn't want peace, right?

Note that the demonstration pictured at the top was from the 'moderate' Fatah group and not from Hamas.


Israel Matzav: But deep down, they really want peace

Israel Matzav: Abu Mazen accuses Iran of derailing 'Palestinian' reconciliation talks

Abu Mazen accuses Iran of derailing 'Palestinian' reconciliation talks

'Moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen has accused Iran of paying Hamas $250 million to torpedo unity talks between the 'good terrorists' from Fatah and the 'bad terrorists' from Hamas.

Iran “wants to hold all the cards in its hands” in any future dialogue with the United States and for that reason it gave Hamas 250 million dollars to derail the internal Palestinian Authority talks over unity, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas said.

In an interview to Egyptian paper Al-Ahram, he said: “Every six months Iran transfers this sum to Hamas. The organization lives off of the Iranian money.”

I can't believe Hamas sells itself so cheaply. That's probably less money that Fatah itself pumps into the Gaza Strip in six months.


Israel Matzav: Abu Mazen accuses Iran of derailing 'Palestinian' reconciliation talks

Israel Matzav: Iranians claim Sejil 2 missile has radar evading capabilities

Iranians claim Sejil 2 missile has radar evading capabilities

Last week, I reported on an Iranian test of a new model Sejil-2 missile. The Pentagon dismissed the test as nothing new, but now the Iranians are claiming that what's new about this model isn't its range: It's the radar evading capabilities.

"The special paint (coating material), the substance used in the shell and some special electronic devices used in the missile are the main three factors giving a radar-evading capability to the missile," Farahi told FNA on Saturday.

"The optimized missile is one of the important achievements of the Islamic Republic of Iran's defense experts which plays a significant role in increasing the deterrence power of the Iranian Armed Forces," he added.

Farahi said that the Iranian defense and academic experts have used radar-evading coatings in this kind of missile, which renders enemy's missile defense systems unable to intercept Sejjil 2 missiles.

I wonder if they put a Koran inside it too.

If this were really true, would they be bragging about it? Well, since it's the Iranians, maybe yes....

Israel Matzav: Iranians claim Sejil 2 missile has radar evading capabilities

Israel Matzav: Which border do they need these to defend?

Which border do they need these to defend?

A request for Congressional approval of a sale of Hellfire II air-to-surface missiles by the United States to Egypt is curiously silent on which of its borders Egypt believes that it needs to defend.

The Government of Egypt has requested a possible sale of 450 AGM-114K3A HELLFIRE II missiles, spare and repair parts, test and tool sets, personnel training and equipment, publications, a U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $51 million.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country which has been and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by improving the military capabilities of Egypt and furthering weapon system standardization and interoperability with U.S. forces.

Egypt needs these missiles in order to defend its own borders and to remain militarily viable in the region. The proposed sale of HELLFIRE missiles will greatly improve Egypt’s defense posture. The missiles will be provided in accordance with, and subject to the limitation on use and transfer provided under the Arms Export Control Act, as amended, as embodied in the Letter of Offer and Acceptance.

The only tanks in Gaza are Israeli tanks that have no reason to enter Egypt. On which border are they going to deploy these missiles? Hmmm.

Israel Matzav: Which border do they need these to defend?

Israel Matzav: Catholics to canonize Pius XII?

Catholics to canonize Pius XII?

Pope Benedict XVI has taken the next step on the way to canonizing Pope Pius XII, whom most Jews believe did little or nothing to stop the Holocaust when he was Pope.

Some historians and Jewish groups have argued Pius should have done more to prevent the deaths of 6 million Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators, but the Vatican insists Pius used quiet diplomacy to try to save Jews. The German-born Benedict's approval of a decree about his "heroic virtues" is certain to set off a new round of criticism from Jewish organizations.

...

Benedict ... made an official visit to Israel and has already made two visits to synagogues. But his decision to take a step forward in Pius' long-delayed beatification process will likely spark further outrage among Jews still incensed over Benedict's rehabilitation earlier this year of a Holocaust-denying bishop.

"While it is obviously up to the Vatican to determine who its saints are, the church's repeated insistence that it seeks mutually respectful ties with the Jewish community ought to mean taking our sensitivities into account on this most crucial historical era," said David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee.

Abraham Foxman, a Holocaust survivor and the Anti-Defamation League's national director, said he was disappointed that the pope had taken the decision while the historical jury is still out on Pius' record.

"I can't understand the rush, especially while there are still survivors who are alive who feel the issue very, very deeply and are being told the files need time to be processed. What's the imperative?" Foxman told The Associated Press.

It's not just a question of taking the Jewish community's feelings into consideration. It's a question of the historical facts. The Pope was in a better position than anyone in the World to speak out on European Jewry's behalf. Sadly, he did nothing. To rewrite history to argue that he engaged in 'quiet diplomacy' and therefore deserves to be canonized is a sham. And it's a sham that shouldn't just be upsetting to Jews. Both Jews and Catholics believe in a scripture that says to stay away from untruthful things (Exodus 23:7).


Israel Matzav: Catholics to canonize Pius XII?

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu making additional concessions to Obama and Mitchell?

Netanyahu making additional concessions to Obama and Mitchell?

Writing in Foreign Policy, former AIPAC director Steven Rosen says that Prime Minister Netanyahu is making concessions to President Obama's Middle East envoy George Mitchell beneath the radar (Hat Tip: Shmuel Rosner).

I think Benjamin Netanyahu has gone through a personal evolution a little like my own. He continues to be profoundly skeptical that signing a piece of paper can put an end to this conflict. He is a fierce advocate of defensible borders and military strength as the true guarantors of Israel's security. Nevertheless, he has come back to a second term as prime minister with a deeper appreciation of the reality that his relations with the United States, Europe, and moderate Arab neighbors depend on the perception that he can be a partner in the search for diplomatic progress with the Palestinians. And he certainly knows that many harbor doubts about him.

That is why Bibi agreed to do something unprecedented, something that six previous Israeli prime ministers since the1993 Oslo Accords (Rabin, Peres, Barak, Sharon, Olmert, and Netanyahu himself in his previous term) refused to do. Very much against the will of his party and coalition, Netanyahu consented to putting a freeze on "natural growth"of settlements. He has drastically curtailed the volume of construction starts,even in the "consensus" settlement blocs that he believes wereconceded to Ariel Sharon by George W. Bush.

Now, below the radar, Netanyahu is making a series of additional concessions to Barack Obama and his Mideast peace envoy, George Mitchell. Their current priority is negotiating "terms of reference"to permit the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations (TORs in negotiators' vernacular). Dismissed by some as mere "talking about talking," TORs are in fact vital elements to create the parameters for serious negotiations.For example, then-Secretary of State James Baker shuttled around the region for eight months to negotiate the TORs that made the 1991 Madrid conference possible. All that was done just to phrase a letter of invitation that all sides could accept. The result was far from trivial; it was a framework that opened the way to all the direct negotiations that followed over the ensuing two decades.

Mitchell's challenge today is to define such a framework that can bridge differences between Netanyahu and his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas. Defying skeptics who say you can bridge a river but not an ocean, Mitchell keeps going at it, and his perseverance is paying off. While no one was watching, Netanyahu has in fact agreed to language that Mitchell can accept. With the Israeli agreement in his pocket, Mitchell is now working to bring Abbas around, according to sources close to the discussions.

The issues are not small. Abbas wants to enshrine the 1967 boundary as sacrosanct, even though that line was merely a military demarcation after the war that ended in 1949 and had never been recognized by the Palestinians or anyone else as a legal border. Reflecting the Israeli consensus, Netanyahu insists that future agreed frontiers have to meet Israel's security imperatives and reflect post-1967 demographic realities, whether or not they diverge from the former armistice line. But Netanyahu has accepted a solution based on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's formulation: "an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements."

Abbas wants Israeli territorial concessions in Jerusalem as a precondition for negotiations. Netanyahu has accepted that the Palestinians will bring their claims for Jerusalem to the table, but he is not going to make this or any other concession just to bring Abbas to negotiate. Mitchell's TORs will include implementation of all existing agreements between the parties, as well as the 2003 "Roadmap" for a two-state solution. These already define Jerusalem as a subject for discussion.

Abbas wants an absolute two-year deadline for the achievement of a permanent agreement. Netanyahu is accepting target dates for agreements, but he does not believe achievement can be guaranteed. Mitchell has the language he needs for the TORs regarding target dates.

Abbas wants language that obliges Israel to repatriate and compensate descendants of Palestinians who lost their homes in the upheavals before 1949. Netanyahu has agreed to participate in multilateral solutions for this "refugee" problem, provided these solutions do not include an obligation that will dilute Israel's own Jewish majority. Mitchell will point out that a solution to the refugee question is already incorporated in the documents to which the TORs will refer.

Abbas wants the 2002 Saudi-initiated Arab Peace Initiative to be the basis of negotiations. Netanyahu has agreed to have it listed among the references, though it is not among the signed agreements whose specific terms are binding. In any case, the Roadmap already contains a positive reference to the Saudi peace plan, and the Roadmap will be a major source document for the TORs.

The Palestinians eschew the concept of interim agreements because they fear that any temporary arrangements will become final. Israel believes that interim steps are a necessity for building confidence between the two parties. The Roadmap's Phase II already contains "the option of creating an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders and attributes of sovereignty," and the Oslo Accords are replete with interim steps. This will not be an obstacle to agreed TORs.

Mitchell has not announced the agreement with Netanyahu because delicate negotiations with Abbas still lie ahead. He did say on Nov. 25,"We have been in discussions with both Israelis and Palestinians for sometime regarding terms of reference for negotiations. We have closed many gaps between them. And while admittedly important differences remain, we've made very substantial progress."

Now, a month later, the work on the Israeli side is done. Netanyahu has put the ball in the Palestinian court.

It's likely that Netanyahu is trying to call the 'Palestinians' bluff, as Barak and Sharon tried to do before him. There are two problems with this scenario. First, when Mitchell goes back to the 'Palestinians' and they demand more than what Netanyahu has already conceded, Mitchell is likely to come back to Netanyahu and press for more. Then what happens? Does Netanyahu risk being branded as the intransigent one as he was in 1998-99?

Second, anything Abu Mazen agrees to is irrelevant, because he has no power to carry it out. Hamas controls Gaza, and American assertions notwithstanding, Hamas would control Judea and Samaria as well were it not for the fact that the IDF and the revenants are still in those areas.

Third, suppose Abu Mazen said yes, and they get to the table and Abu Mazen discovers what he already knows: That Netanayhu is likely to offer far less than what Abu Mazen turned down from Olmert and what Arafat turned down from Barak. Then what happens? Who is likely to be blamed when the 'talks' break down? What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: Netanyahu making additional concessions to Obama and Mitchell?

Israel Matzav: Another deadly mistake?

Another deadly mistake?

In Sunday's Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby gets it right on the potential 'terrorists for Gilad' trade.

But to knowingly risk the lives of civilians in order to protect soldiers is to turn the social contract inside out. The state’s first duty to its citizens is to protect their lives and liberties; that is what justifies the creation of a military in the first place. Releasing hundreds of terrorists may mean that Shalit comes home safely, but it almost certainly condemns other Israeli citizens to death. The plight of Shalit and his family is heartbreaking and tragic. Yet it cannot be right to win his freedom by risking the lives of the civilians he, like every soldier, is sworn to protect.

In 1976, Israeli troops rescued Jewish hostages being held in Uganda’s Entebbe airport, a spectacular feat that electrified the world. Jonathan Netanyahu, the mission commander (and brother of Israel’s current prime minister), died in that operation. He made the supreme sacrifice in the service of his nation, as soldiers so often have. Before the Israelis agree to a reckless deal with Hamas, perhaps they should reflect on Entebbe, and ask themselves: What would Jonathan do?


Israel Matzav: Another deadly mistake?

Israel Matzav: A 'small minority'?

A 'small minority'?

You know how the Leftist apologists for militant Islam keep telling us that the jihadis are a 'small minority.'

Well, have a look at this and tell me whether you think it's a 'small minority.'

That looks like an awfully big minority to me....


Israel Matzav: A 'small minority'?

Israel Matzav: Iran: 'Please don't threaten us'

Iran: 'Please don't threaten us'

Iran now says that it is willing to consider nuclear fuel swaps, but it asks the West 'please don't threaten us.'

On Friday, the French news agency AFP quoted Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as having said that Iran would be willing to reach a deal with the West over its controversial nuclear program as soon as the U.S. and other Western nations stopped issuing threats against Iran.

"Everything is possible, 400 kilos, 800 kilos, it's nothing," for enrichment abroad, Ahmadinejad was quoted by AFP as saying in a new gesture to try to end the nuclear standoff.

"But not in a climate where they threaten us. They have to change their vocabulary, in respect and legality," Ahmadinejad said.

Six world powers have urged Iran to accept a United Nations-drafted proposal that would have Iran ship 1,200 kilograms of its low-enriched uranium to Russia in one batch.

"From the outset, delivering 1,200 kilos of uranium was not a problem for us," said Ahmadinejad, "but they believe they can wave a stick to threaten us, those days are over."

U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has signaled that time is running out for the diplomatic approach to resolving the nuclear dispute with Iran. Both the U.S. and Israel have not ruled out a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities should diplomacy fail.

"They are threatening us now, with sanctions, with resolutions, pressure, it's going backwards," said Ahmadinejad.

Here's betting that the US, China and Russia (and note which country I put first) seize on this to give Iran more time.

What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: Iran: 'Please don't threaten us'

Israel Matzav: Israeli pleads guilty to publishing classified US intel on Israel

Israeli pleads guilty to publishing classified US intel on Israel

Israeli anti-Israel Leftist Shamai Leibowitz, who used to defend ISM 'activists' from deportation, has pleaded guilty to turning over classified American documents to a blogger who then dumped them all over the Internet.

Unfortunately, Leibowitz got a much shorter sentence than Jonathan Pollard: He's been sentenced to a year and eight months in jail.

An Israeli lawyer and left-wing activist who worked as a linguist for the FBI has pleaded guilty to leaking classified documents to a blogger who posted the information online.

Officials say 39-year-old Shamai Kedem Leibowitz of Silver Spring, Md., admitted giving secret documents to the unidentified host of the Web site.

The FBI says Leibowitz held a top security clearance for his work as a linguist, and in April of this year gave the blogger documents about U.S. communication intelligence activities.

Officials would not say what the information was or where it appeared online.

Leibowitz has described himself "an Israeli-American attorney, admitted in New York and in Israel" and "a certified Hebrew-English translator and interpreter," according to the Web site Politico, which also reported that Leibowitz previously garnered attention for working on the defense team of jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti.

Private Investigator Bill Warner thinks he knows where Leibowitz published the documents, but the blogger in question denies it.

If Warner is correct, Leibowitz published classified American information about Israel on a pro-'Palestinian' blog. Hmmm.


Israel Matzav: Israeli pleads guilty to publishing classified US intel on Israel

Israel Matzav: Deployment of giant bunker buster delayed

Deployment of giant bunker buster delayed

Remember the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), the giant bunker buster that was supposed to be deployed on American B-2 bombers by July 2010? Well, here's a picture of it in case you've forgotten:


At the time, it was thought that the MOP could be used to stop Iran and North Korea from deploying nuclear weapons. I posted about it again here and here (and I even posted about it in 2007 here).

There's bad news about the MOP this weekend. Reuters is reporting that its deployment has now been delayed to December 2010. That delay could be significant in terms of the weapon's usefulness against the two nuclear rogue states who are apparently about to go on line.
A "bunker buster" bomb with more than 10 times the explosive power of its predecessor will be put into service by the United States next December, six months later than previously scheduled, the U.S. Defense Department told Reuters on Friday.

The deployment's timing may help shape calculations of the United States and others in long-running standoffs with Iran and North Korea over their nuclear programs.

...

"Funding delays and enhancements to the planned test schedule have pushed the capability availability date to December 2010," Tara Rigler, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in an email.
Bad news. Really bad news.

Israel Matzav: Deployment of giant bunker buster delayed

Israel Matzav: Bloggers grade Obama's foreign policy

Bloggers grade Obama's foreign policy

David Kopel reports on a group of political bloggers that graded President Obumbler's foreign policy.

This week’s National Journal poll of political bloggers asked for a grade for President Obama’s foreign policy. The average grade from the Left was a C. From the Right, it was a D-. I gave him the highest grade of any voter, which was a B, and explained: “Finally did the right thing on the Afghanistan surge. His most important speech to the world — in Oslo — was magnificent. Badly mishandled Honduras at the start by opposing the lawful removal of Zelaya, but no long-term harm was done.” Next year’s grade might be much lower, in that the shared Clinton-Bush-Obama policy of all talk and no action about Iran’s nuclear weapons development may get to the terminal point of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

No one asked me, but I would have given him an F. He's totally blown it on both Iran and the Middle East. He's allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons while twiddling his thumbs about 'engagement' and 'dialogue.' Here at home, he managed to end all negotiations between us and the 'Palestinians' with his outrageous demands for a 'settlement freeze.'

I just hope Netanyahu hasn't lost the nerve to defy him.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Bloggers grade Obama's foreign policy

Israel Matzav: Standing silent in the face of Iranian provocations

Standing silent in the face of Iranian provocations

On Friday, Iran breached its border with Iraq and took control of an oil well in Iraqi territory. As usual, the world stood silent. Michael Ledeen, who refers to this as the extended finger from the mullahs' clenched fist, explains why this could be significant for Israel.

[T]oday’s event is part of a well established pattern: Iran attacks us and our friends and allies, and we look away. This is the theme of Accomplice to Evil. Just as we dithered and “negotiated,” as the Nazis prepared the Second World War, and then as the Soviets prepared the Cold War, so we have dithered for thirty years as the Islamic Republic has waged war against us. Do not think for a minute that this sort of appeasement is unique to Obama; the unique thing about the current phase is that we are so open about it.

There will probably be other events for us to ignore in short order. Top Iranian officials, including the head of the national security council and the defense minister, have recently visited Damascus, where they met with the leaders of the region’s terrorist leaders, and those killers, along with Syrian officials, will soon go to Tehran for further meetings. This suggests, to me at least, that an escalation in the terror war is now under way, and I expect to see a considerable tempo of killing in the near future. That is likely to include attacks in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Israel.

I do not expect us to respond effectively. Our own leaders are even shying away from increasing the sanctions against Iran. With this sort of fecklessness, the regime will press ahead with its mayhem, and our friends in the region will be very cautious.

Israel faces more terror attacks and Iranian nuclear weapons. The Obama administration will continue to stand silent - unwilling to even impose sanctions against this brutal regime, let alone come to the defense of any of its allies in this region.

Ledeen quotes Vaclav Havel on how to deal with tyrants:

“…they respect it when someone is standing his ground, when someone is not afraid of them. When someone soils his pants prematurely, then they do not respect you more for it.”

Obama's pants are long since soiled and are just getting worse with his calls for 'engagement' and 'dialogue.'

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Standing silent in the face of Iranian provocations

The Dead End of Legalism

The Dead End of Legalism

This afternoon I participated in a small blogger meeting. One of the drawbacks of bashing the Left so often is that people forget that doesn't make me Right. This afternoon's event was the second or third such a get-together where I've found myself way off to the left of a roomful of true Right-wingers.

A central theme of the meeting was that International Law must be wrenched back into the service of the Right, by demonstrating that settlements are legal, the Palestinian's claim to the West Bank is, at best, less credible than Israel's, and so on. The funny thing is that these cases really can all be made using legal tools - which if you think about it isn't that surprising. The art of being a lawyer is that you build a legal case from the position you're handed, no matter what it is. In a nation-state there's a universally accepted judiciary which decides who's case is more convincing, there are layers of judicial appeals, and there's a legislature that can change things if the laws have become outdated or unacceptable by enough of the voters.

None of this exists between states, so ultimately, the entire international law aspect of the conflict (and most other conflicts, too) is at best an attempt by one side or the other to bludgeon their adversary into accepting a position they aren't willing to accept.

None of the discussants at the meeting ever broached the subject of what the Palestinians are supposed to do with the positions being mooted. Nor did they need to. A legal confrontation isn't about finding common ground; it's about using the law to achieve your desired outcome.

I need to describe how the Israelis and Palestinians might find that common ground. Or not find it.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

2009: A Fine Year

2009: A Fine Year

Once the operation in Gaza was over, and Hamas spent another few weeks shooting off rockets merely to prove it was still able to do so, 2009 has been one of the most peaceful years Israel has had in decades. Avi Issacharof tells that in the West Bank it may have been the best year since all the way back to 1948:

The current situation in the West Bank is one of the best, if not the best, since 1948. Quiet prevails in the streets of every city there, the economy is starting to take off, the civilian police are maintaining law and order, and even the courts, despite their tremendous caseload, are upgrading their activity with every passing week.


Of course, this will never be mentioned by the anti-Israel brigade. It's no coincidence they've switched their attention to Gaza with a near-total neglect of the West Bank: the reality in which Israel and the PA are stingily figuring out how to live and let live even without peace, and actually, even without much high-level peace negotiations, simply doesn't fit the usual templates for explaining the conflict, so it's not noticed, and certainly not elaborated upon.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

The Primacy of Politics

The Primacy of Politics

I honestly appreciate the many thoughtful comments people have been writing here the past few days, including over the weekend where I disappeared from the blogosphere. Thanks for the interesting perspectives.

I see the time has come to write a few basic posts about long-term matters such as what my position is on the potential outcome of peace negotiations, Jerusalem, settlements and such matters, so that readers can understand if they agree with me or not at all. I take pride in the fact that not all of you will agree: this blog has a mildly eclectic readership

OK, I've noted the need.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

In the meantime, one fundamental position which seemingly wasn't clear enough in my post about human rights in Hebron. Although there's much about the matter I still need to study, for the time being my position is that politics are superior both to international law and to human rights. I expect some of you may cringe, and there are millions of folks out there who'll never read this blog who would respond with abysmal derision, but that's life. As JRR Tokien once wrote, I don't expect I'd much like what they write, either.

Human rights and international law are not the same thing, though people who unthinkingly bandy the terms around as magic charms to ward off reality don't always recognize this. That post I just mentioned wasn't very well written, I see, but its point was to say that since human rights are separate from matters of international law, you'd expect its champions to be able to recognize that the current desolateness that is central Hebron is better - from the narrow perspective of human rights - than its preceding alternatives in which lots of people were dying. Yet they can't recognize that, and one of the reasons they can't is that they aren't truly champions of human rights. They're bearing the mantle of human rights in vain, while actually talking politics.

The reason they engage in this charade isn't hard to understand. Human rights are noble (really!), and we'd all like them to exist, and be respected, on a higher plane than mundane and unseemly politics. Moreover, using the terminology of human rights in a political discussion is like playing poker with only the strongest cards: the other side can't win. If one side is noble and the other is mundane and the best it can offer is the cynicism of politics, clearly the noble side wins automatically. My point was to poke a hole in the intellectual pretension. B'tselem and their like are framing their view of human rights in Hebron (and everywhere else) in the terms of their political position, not in terms of some universal context as they ought in order to be intellectually consistent.

The other point I made, but mostly in order to set up the main argument, was that international law and human rights aren't the same, and at times can even contradict each other. It may be that international law frowns on Jews living in Hebron (which is a reason to have reservations about international law), but human rights can't have an opinion on the matter. A champion of international law may feel comfortable in saying there should be no Jews in Hebron; a champion of human rights must say the international law is irrelevant for the matter of the rights of the Jews who are there, irrespective of how they got there.

Having hopefully clarified that, let me add that in my humble opinion, politics trumps them all, human rights and international law. Yes, at first glance politics is messy, cynical, full of backhanded deals between tired and jaded negotiators with all matter of hidden agendas, while international law and human rights, both, profess to be clean systems of orderly thinking and finest principles. How nice, and what is there not to like.

Politics, like them or not, are the space where societies work out how they're going to get things done, and then change their mind when reality intervenes; they're also the space where different societies work out how to live with each other, or fight with each other, or fight and live. A society which is contained within one political unit will hopefully have a healthy balance of law, rights, needs, agenda and so on, and its political discussion may take place within the limits of its accepted consensus. Separate societies which don't share a basic set of assumptions, don't. Pretending they do won't change that. Suggesting they ought to is.... politics. It's legitimate, but as part of the political discussion, not as some divine set of aces which over-ride the political process.

Coming down from the heavenly spheres, this means that Israelis and their neighbors need to find accommodations that work. Human rights, international law, emotional drives, history, economics, clashing religions, global warming, hummus and tabuleh, American politics, European politics, South American politics, swine flu, military power, water tables, and zillions of other things are all relevant if they are. It all gets worked out - resolved, or unresolved - in the space where societies work these things out.

Politics.

PS. In democracies, at least, politics are where the will of the people expresses itself. Can't get any nobler than that, can you?

Life in Israel: Saudi Feminists and Polyandry

Life in Israel: Saudi Feminists and Polyandry

Life in Israel: Litzman and Breast Enlargement

Life in Israel: Litzman and Breast Enlargement

Life in Israel: Religious Reasons?

Life in Israel: Religious Reasons?

Life in Israel: misused insults - Women of the Wall

Life in Israel: misused insults - Women of the Wall

The Torah Revolution: Bye-bye secular Zionism, welcome Judaism!

The Torah Revolution: Bye-bye secular Zionism, welcome Judaism!

The Torah Revolution: Wargames to prepare for the new wave of expulsion of the Jew

The Torah Revolution: Wargames to prepare for the new wave of expulsion of the Jew

RubinReports: Afghanistan: The Obama Administration's Trust in Pakistan is Going to Get Americans KIlled

Afghanistan: The Obama Administration's Trust in Pakistan is Going to Get Americans KIlled

By Barry Rubin

Prediction: One day some enterprising author or former intelligence officer is going to write a best-selling book about the hunt for Usama bin Ladin. Readers will be horrified to find how the Pakistani government and military sabotaged the effort to catch or kill the al-Qaida leadership.

Meanwhile, reading Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s December 10 interview with al-Jazira, it's striking how much she speaks in a totally American psychological and political context. Perhaps it is always like that with U.S. governments. But an administration claiming to be multi-cultural, open to the world, seeing the other side’s viewpoint, and criticizing its predecessors for insensitivity, still sounds like a bunch of naive Americans who don’t quite seem to grasp what other parts of the world are like.

What better example than Afghanistan and Pakistan, countries as different from the United States as you’re going to get. She states:

“We’ve admired the way Pakistan has pulled together to go after those elements of the Taliban that are directly threatening them. And I think that the people of Pakistan are so unified now in support of this military action”

Consider this bizarrely self-subverting first sentence. Isn’t it great, she says, that Pakistan is fighting those Taliban types who are trying to take over the country and kill them. Well, of course they are! Is it hard to understand that they don't want to be murdered and overthrown?

[A digression: What's truly amazing is that other people don't seem to notice stuff like this nowadays. The media keeps missing the essential points, whether it be in Clinton's reaction to Israel's construction freeze which set out a new U.S. policy or in her statement during the Spanish foreign minister's visit when she signalled the start of the sanctions' campaign.]

But the problem, of course, is that Pakistan isn’t going after those elements of the Taliban that are not "directly threatening" them. In fact, as most recently attested by a freed New York Times reporter who the Taliban had been holding hostage, Pakistani intelligence is helping the Taliban and other terrorists who want to kill Americans or Indians!

It is remarkable that the secretary of state can put the issue in such a backwards manner. Tens of thousands of American soldiers are about to be risked in Afghanistan, depending on Pakistan to guard the back door and stop terrorists who want to kill them. But in fact Pakistan will do the minimum possible, thus placing those troops and their mission at risk. Meanwhile, the administration sending them there is pretending the problem doesn’t even exist.

With all due respect, the idea of Pakistanis as “unified” and ready to be “pulled together” sounds like a rather out-of-touch way to describe an incredibly divided nation full of anti-Americanism, packed with many thousand radical Islamists, mired in corruption, hovering on the verge of anarchy, and where armed factions shoot at each other daily.

It is a country whose government just one year ago sponsored a massive terrorist attack on Mumbai and got away with it at no cost whatsoever, not even any international criticism!

As for Afghanistan, all the atmospherics make people miss the point that the administration sounds strikingly like that of the Bush presidency. After all, they both claim to be able to take another country, create a democratic system there, help build a responsible government, and ensure there's a strong military that will be able to defeat the terrorist forces.

The irony is that Bush had by far the better situation. First, Iraq is far more promising raw material than Afghanistan.. Second, Bush was willing to tough it out when things looked bad; Obama has already announced a short-term time limit publicly.* Third, Bush could depend on his main local allies--Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Turkey--to oppose the enemy while Obama can't rely on Pakistan for anything in that regard.

If George W. Bush erred in seeing parts of the world as being ready for democracy when they definitely were not, Barack Obama, and the administration for which he sets the tone, seems to think of itself as a community organizer pulling together those who really do want to play nice. Even at the Copenhagen summit such tactics led to the diplomatic equivalent of a barroom brawl.

In public at least--and whatever differently they think in private doesn't manifest itself in their policy--this administration seems to believe in a fantasy Pakistan packaged like some slightly exotic version of a Hollywood film set or some idealized American image of everyone pitching in to raise money in order to save the farm.

This is the kind of thing people make fun of today when they describe how innocent Americans once thought about a country named Vietnam.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books To see or subscribe to his blog, Rubin Reports.

*Yes, I know that he also said he would take into account conditions at the time of the deadline but he also implied he will pull out regardless and Obama doesn't seem like the type to fight a war against tough odds and domestic criticism, does he?


RubinReports: Afghanistan: The Obama Administration's Trust in Pakistan is Going to Get Americans KIlled

Love of the Land: Lebanese unity? Not at the point of a Hizbollah gun

Lebanese unity? Not at the point of a Hizbollah gun


Emile Hokayem
The National (UAE)
17 December 09

(Oh, who are the people in your neighborhood? ... Sesame Street)

After six months of political drama and wrangling, Lebanon has a government. Congratulations poured in from abroad as soon as cabinet proposals by the prime minister, Saad Hariri, won overwhelming parliamentary support.

On a delicate visit to Washington, the president, Michel Suleiman, felt confident enough to promise a sceptical audience of US officials and Lebanese Americans that this national unity government would usher in a period of stability.

In fact, what happened between the elections in June and the formation of the new government was the political weakening of the March 14 coalition that nominally leads the cabinet, and the erosion of its tenets; from delineating borders with Syria to bringing suspects in the assassinations of anti-Syrian figures before an international tribunal. Mr Suleiman did not even raise these issues in his discussions in Washington.

The reasons for this collapse will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of those who hoped this tiny and volatile country could establish full sovereignty and authority over its own territory and people, and worked so hard towards that end.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Lebanese unity? Not at the point of a Hizbollah gun

Love of the Land: David Solway’s Hear, O Israel!: A Feast for the Conservative Mind

David Solway’s Hear, O Israel!: A Feast for the Conservative Mind


Barbara Kay
pajamasmedia.com
19 December 09


The new book by PJM's Solway asks why Jews are so prone to turn on themselves and make common cause with their enemies.

Hear, O Israel!
By David Solway
Canadian Values Press (Mantua Books)
181 pages; $25

On September 10, 2001, Canadian David Solway was merely an acclaimed poet, educator, and literary critic, warming himself (and his unexamined 1960s-era left-wing views) on a tranquil Greek island.

On September 11, 2001, he became a prophet. Watching the collapse of the twin towers on a television in his local café, Solway experienced a worldview-shattering epiphany that drew him into a singular fellowship of Western liberal intellectuals — Christopher Hitchens, Alain Finkelkraut, Michael Novak, and Nick Cohen, among them — who had been shocked by 9/11 into a fearful awareness of Islamist triumphalism’s threat to the West. As if making up for lost time, these ideological converts have brought a special urgency to their newly embraced roles as political Cassandras, perhaps none more apocalyptically than Solway.

Since then, Solway has put his formidable intellect to the service of myth-busting. In 2007, he published The Big Lie: On Terror, Anti-Semitism, and Identity, an indictment of the left’s collusion with Islamo-fascism in demonizing America and delegitimizing Israel.

In a way, Hear, O Israel!, partially adapted from published articles, is a recapitulation and updating of perils that have proliferated since the publication of The Big Lie. But this time Solway dwells at greater length and depth on what the Talmud calls sin’at achim, or brotherly hatred, a dynamic throughout Jewish civilization, currently embodied in the intensifying standoff between fellow-traveling anti-Zionists and Israel’s defenders.

Hear, O Israel!’s chapter titles give a good sense of what preoccupies him: “We Are All Israeli,” “The Darkness of Anti-Semitism,” “A House Divided,” and “The Question” (in a nutshell: why are Jews — not all, but a disconcerting number — so prone to turn on themselves and make common cause with those who would delight in their extermination?).

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Love of the Land: David Solway’s Hear, O Israel!: A Feast for the Conservative Mind
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