Friday, 25 December 2009

Israel Matzav: Sabbath music video

Sabbath music video

Here's a beautiful rendition of Menucha v'Simcha (rest and joy), which is the first song at the Friday night dinner table after the meal starts.

Let's go to the videotape.



Shabbat Shalom everyone.

Israel Matzav: Sabbath music video

Israel Matzav: Bieber says he was barred from Second Lebanon War

Bieber says he was barred from Second Lebanon War

IDF soldier Avi Bieber (who made aliya from the same town in the US as I did), who was sentenced to the maximum prison sentence for refusing to follow an order to expel Jews from Gaza, has told Arutz Sheva that he was barred from serving in combat during the Second Lebanon War.

Israeli soldier Avi Bieber, who became famous for refusing to uproot Jews from Gaza in 2005, says he was not allowed to fight in the Second Lebanon War a year later. Interviewed by Our Land of Israel, Bieber - who is currently the deputy chairman of the student union at Kinneret College - he called the officer of his city and asked to be inducted during the war, but the army did not return his call.

Bieber said he was told by a nurse at Hadassah Hospital that hundreds of soldiers required psychological treatment because of the Disengagement from Gaza. He also said he would be in favor of a law allowing soldiers not to carry out orders to which they had ideological arguments.

The problem is that you really can't run an army where everyone decides for himself what orders he wants to carry out. Turn the plate over: Imagine if a Leftist soldier refused to go with his unit to Judea and Samaria (which has happened) or refused to stop 'Palestinians' at checkpoints because it invades their privacy. Do we really want that happening? The Rightists will handle all actions against the 'Palestinians' and the Leftists will expel Jews from their homes?

On the other hand, even if one accepts the validity of Israel expelling Jews from their homes (which I do not), it ought not to be the army's job. That's a police action.

In any event, I don't believe Bieber should have been barred from the Second Lebanon War if he wanted to serve. One thing has nothing to do with the other. The Gaza expulsion was an extraordinary situation. In fact, Bieber never should have been put in the position of having to refuse an order in the first place. Most of the IDF soldiers who felt it was wrong went to their commanders and were given other assignments (although there were a few commanders who refused that request and the soldiers refused their orders - Bieber was the first).

Israel Matzav: Bieber says he was barred from Second Lebanon War

Israel Matzav: Surprise: US pro-Goldstone lobby funded by Soros

Surprise: US pro-Goldstone lobby funded by Soros

I suppose that it shouldn't surprise anyone that the pro-Goldstone lobby in the United States - which is trying to convince Congress to accept the report - is funded by George Soros.

Consider:

  • When Richard Goldstone came to Washington, in his failed, desperate attempt to stop Congress from denouncing his report, the insiders who shepherded the former South African judge through the halls of power were reportedly Mike Amitay, an employee of Soros’ Open Society Policy Center, a 501(c)(4) lobby, and Daniel Levy, employed by the Soros-funded New America Foundation. Amitay has publicly distanced himself from the views of his father, who once headed AIPAC, and has targeted Dennis Ross for not being soft enough on Iran, as Noah Pollak reported here.
  • When Goldstone tried to fight the Congressional resolution, he sent a detailed memo to the Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, Rep. Howard Berman. A check of the electronic file’s “properties,” as Michael Goldfarb revealed, lists the author as none other than Morton H. Halperin, a senior adviser and key player at Soros’s Open Society Institute, who also serves on the J Street advisory council. (J Street is an initiative in which Soros reportedly played a major behind-the-scenes role, but then stepped into the shadows over concerns that his support for controversial far-left and anti-Israel causes would become a liability for the new group.
  • Human Rights Watch, which, as NGO Monitor reported, was funded by George Soros in 2007-8 to to the tune of $2,353,895 , has been the leading organization lobbying for adoption of the Goldstone Report, in op-eds, letter campaigns, and various other appeals.
  • Our friends at the Democracy Coalition Project, who have published some quotable reports on UN issues (though often tainted by excessive apologetics for the Human Rights Council), mobilized with peculiar zeal to defend the Goldstone Report, signing numerous appeals and filling my inbox with passionate emails on its behalf. The odd thing was that I never before saw the DCP lobby specifically for the Palestinian agenda. The group began as an initiative of Soros’ Open Society Institute, and Morton Halperin remains a key player on their board of directors.
There's much more. Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Surprise: US pro-Goldstone lobby funded by Soros

Israel Matzav: Reuven the Red-Nosed Reindeer?

Reuven the Red-Nosed Reindeer?

This came from a Garrison Kellor rant about Christmas songs he doesn't like.

Unitarians listen to the Inner Voice and so they have no creed that they all stand up and recite in unison, and that's their perfect right, but it is wrong, wrong, wrong to rewrite "Silent Night." If you don't believe Jesus was God, OK, go write your own damn "Silent Night" and leave ours alone. This is spiritual piracy and cultural elitism, and we Christians have stood for it long enough. And all those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year, Rudolph and the chestnuts and the rest of that dreck. Did one of our guys write "Grab your loafers, come along if you wanna, and we'll blow that shofar for Rosh Hashanah"? No, we didn't.

Christmas is a Christian holiday - if you're not in the club, then buzz off. Celebrate Yule instead or dance around in druid robes for the solstice. Go light a big log, go wassailing and falalaing until you fall down, eat figgy pudding until you puke, but don't mess with the Messiah.

Huh? Scott Johnson explains.

In America Jewish composers are in fact responsible for many extremely popular Christmas songs. One might reasonably ask why. I would guess that the outsider's perspective fostered a kind of yearning and appreciation. Both the yearning and appreciation carry an appeal to the wider American audience, expressing the feelings of the audience in a peculiarly congenial manner. (Incidentally, Jeffrey Goldberg has now told "the true story of Orrin Hatch's Hanukkah song." Senator Hatch has composed a Hanukkah song with an outsider's admiring perspective on the Jewish holiday.)

Though unmentioned by him, "White Christmas" is a prime example of the phenomenon Keillor decries. Composed by Irving Berlin, it is the most popular record ever in the version of the song recorded by Bing Crosby. Gary Giddins notes in Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams, that Crosby's record of the song made the American pop charts twenty times, every year but one between 1942 and 1962. It must have spoiled many of Keillor's Christmases.

Keillor alludes specifically to two songs by Jewish composers in the passage above. The first is "Rudolph, the Red Nose Reindeer," by Johnny Marks. Marks wrote three of the most popular Christmas songs of all time. The story of "Rudolph" originates in a poem about a red-nosed reindeer named Rudolph written by Marks's brother-in-law, Robert May. Nate Bloom recounts that the poem became popular as a Montgomery Ward giveaway and Marks turned it into a song. When Gene Autry succumbed to Marks' entreaties to record it, the song became a hit of monumental proportions in 1949.

The second song to which Keilor alludes is "The Christmas Song," by Bob Wells and Mel Torme. This song is an evergreen. Unlike "Rudolph," it hasn't dated, or hasn't dated much. I can't imagine what about it might rub Keillor the wrong way. Is it okay for Jews to wish their Christian friends "merry Christmas"?

There's much more - read the whole thing.

That last question Scott asks presents some interesting issues by the way. The answer depends on whether Judaism considers Christianity idol worship. If so, we're not supposed to mention the names of Christian holidays. Go ask your rabbi (and please don't get into a flamefest here).

Paul Mirengoff is relieved by Scott's post.

I have long felt bad about the injury Jews have inflicted on Christmas by leading the charge to limit public celebration of this great religious holiday. Here we are, living in a country whose Christians have treated us with unprecedented kindness, tolerance, and fellowship, and we show our thanks by forcing them to remove the most meaningful aspects of their most important holiday from the public square.

This year, however, I was able to find solace in Garrison Keillor's rant about how Jews have injured Christmas by writing "trashy" Christmas songs. I had not focused, until I read Keillor's bizarre column and Scott's response, on the fact that Jews have contributed songs like "White Christmas"," Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and other staples of this "most wonderful time of the year." These songs may annoy Keillor, but they have pleased millions of American Christians of all ages. Thus, we Jews have contributed more to Christmas than ugly litigation.

And I will second Paul's good wishes to those of you celebrating today.

Israel Matzav: Reuven the Red-Nosed Reindeer?

Israel Matzav: US consulate car tried to run down IDF soldier?

US consulate car tried to run down IDF soldier?

Israel has a long and sordid history with the American consulate in 'east' Jerusalem, which actually functions as the US embassy to the 'Palestinians.'

In an incident in November, which was just disclosed, an American consulate car allegedly tried to run down an IDF soldier at the Gilboa checkpoint between the Galilee and northern Samaria.

A dispute is rumbling between Israel and the US Consulate in Jerusalem after a US diplomatic car allegedly tried running over a Defense Ministry security guard recently at an IDF checkpoint in the West Bank. The car had been stopped after the occupants refused to present identification papers.

...

In January 2008, the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria filed complaints with the Foreign Ministry after both US Security Coordinator Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton and then-consul-general Jacob Walles refused to roll down their windows or open their car doors and show identification papers at a checkpoint.

However, Israel's ire reached a new level after an incident on November 13 in which a five-car convoy of consulate vehicles with diplomatic plates arrived at the Gilboa crossing.

According to a detailed official Israel Police description of the incident obtained exclusively by The Jerusalem Post, the drivers refused to identify themselves or open a window or door. The drivers, according to the report, purposely blocked the crossing, tried running over one of the Israeli security guards stationed there and made indecent gestures at female guards.

The entire incident was documented by cameras at the crossing.

Following the incident, the head of the police's Security Department, Lt.-Cmdr. Meir Ben-Yishai, convened a meeting on November 18 at police headquarters in Jerusalem with the regional security officer at the consulate, Tim Laas. Also present were officials from the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry, and the regional security officer at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, Dan Power.

According to a protocol of the meeting, obtained by the Post, Ben-Yishai said he assumed the drivers of the consulate vehicles had received permission to act the way they had. He said that in the future, if a diplomatic car did not stop and identify its passengers "immediately," it would not be allowed to pass the checkpoint.

Ben-Yishai described additional violations by consulate workers, and referred to at least one case in which a female Palestinian without appropriate documentation was found in a diplomatic car. Defense officials told the Post that there had been other similar cases in the past.

"We view this as an attempt to illegally transfer someone," Ben-Yishai said, according to the official police protocol.

Ben-Yishai also said the drivers of the cars, from east Jerusalem, hid their Israeli identity cards and put stickers over their names on their consulate-issued identity cards, since, as they claimed, "they are in a diplomatic vehicle and cannot be touched."

He added that police had filed a complaint with the Foreign Ministry and were conducting their own investigation to identify the driver who had tried running over the Israeli security guard.

While Power apologized for the incident and tried smoothing things over, Laas angered Ben-Yishai, according to the protocol, when he said it was unacceptable for "simple guards" to inspect senior diplomats.

Laas said the communication needed to be between the guard and the driver, since "we can't know who the guard is."

This was understood by those present as indicating his lack of trust in Israeli guards.

Read the whole thing.

This is truly outrageous. What the IDF ought to do is shoot the tires out of the next car that tries that kind of stunt. If you think the US wouldn't do the same in Baghdad (for example), you're fooling yourself.

The picture at the top is the July 4 celebration at the US consulate in Jerusalem.

Israel Matzav: US consulate car tried to run down IDF soldier?

Israel Matzav: Why Ghajar should not be divided and should remain in Israel

Why Ghajar should not be divided and should remain in Israel

One of the most interesting presentations my bloggers group heard on Wednesday was about the town of Ghajar. Ghajar is just West of Kiryat Shmona. I believe that this photograph (which I did not take) was taken from or near Misgav Am, where we stood in the wind and listened to the story. The picture appears to be only the southern half of the town. If you look on the left, you will see an open space. That is the border between Israel and Lebanon although, according to the IDF spokesperson for the upper Galilee (from Rosh Hanikra in the west to Metullah on the edge of the Golan Heights), there are houses built so that the border runs through them. There is now talk of returning the northern half of Ghajar to Lebanon as you will see below.

Here's a quick summary from Wikipedia about how Ghajar came to straddle two countries' borders:
Prior to the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Ghajar was considered part of Syria and its residents were counted in the 1960 census.[3] When Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967, Ghajar remained a no-man's land for two and a half months. The villagers petitioned the Golan's Israeli governor to be annexed to Israel because they saw themselves as part of the Golan Heights.[4] Israel agreed to include Ghajar in its occupied territory and the residents accepted living under Israeli rule.[5] In 1981, most villagers accepted Israeli citizenship under the Golan Heights Law [which annexed the Golan Heights to Israel. CiJ].

After Operation Litani in 1978, Israel turned over its positions inside Lebanon to the South Lebanon Army and inaugurated its Good Fence policy. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was created after the incursion, following the adoption of Security Council Resolution 425 in March 1978 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Southern Lebanon, restore international peace and security, and help the government of Lebanon restore its effective authority in the area.[6] Ghajar expanded northward into Lebanese territory, subsuming the Wazzani settlement north of the border.[2]

...

In June 1982,... Israel launched Operation Peace for Galilee.[10] [From June 1982 until 2000, the IDF maintained a presence in Lebanon south of the Litani River - roughly 25 miles from the border. CiJ] In 2000, following the campaign promise and election of Ehud Barak as Prime Minister, Israel withdrew their troops from Lebanon. In an attempt to demarcate permanent borders between Israel and Lebanon, the United Nations drew up what became known as the Blue Line [see the map below. CiJ]. Due to Ghajar's location, wedged between Lebanon and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, the northern half of the village came under Lebanese control and the southern part remained under Israeli control.[11]This arrangement created much resentment among the residents, who see themselves as Syrian.[12]
Except that the residents were never really part of Lebanon:
Despite the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, tension mounted as Hezbollah made repeated attempts to kidnap Israel soldiers in the Ghajar area.[13] In 2005, Hezbollah launched a rocket attack on Ghajar and infiltrated it, but withdrew after being repelled by the Israelis.[2] Following another attack in July 2006, Israel invaded southern Lebanon and re-occupied the northern half of Ghajar during the 2006 Lebanon War. Following a month of intense fighting, UNSC Resolution 1701 was unanimously approved to resolve the conflict, and it was accepted by combatants on both sides. Among other things, the resolution demanded the full cessation of hostilities, the withdrawal of Israeli forces, the disarming of Hezbollah, the deployment of Lebanese and UNIFIL soldiers, and the establishment of full control by the government of Lebanon.

...

The UN has physically marked the recognized border and Israeli soldiers remain on the Lebanese side of Ghajar despite the decision of the Israeli cabinet on December 3, 2006, to hand it over to UNIFIL. Israel says that the Lebanese army rejected a UN-brokered proposal in which the Lebanese Army would protect the vicinity north of the village, while UNIFIL would be deployed in the village itself; this type of arrangement would be unique for UNIFIL in populated areas. A perimeter fence has been built along the northern edge of the village in Lebanese territory up to 800 meters north of the Blue Line. UNIFIL military observers patrol the area continuously.[15]

In its October 2007 report on the implementation of the resolution, the United Nations issued a report stating that discussions on the duration of temporary security arrangements for northern Ghajar remained deadlocked. Israel remains in control north of the Blue Line and the small adjacent area inside Lebanese territory, although it does not maintain a permanent military presence there. The Lebanese Armed Forces patrol the road outside the perimeter fence. The report notes “so long as the Israel Defense Forces remain in northern Ghajar, Israel will not have completed its withdrawal from southern Lebanon in accordance with its obligations under resolution 1701 (2006)." It further notes: "Failure to make progress on this issue could become a source of tension and carry the potential for incidents in the future."[16]
Here's what I have in my notes about the IDF spokesperson's presentation about Ghajar plus what I remember (silly me - I had an MP-3 in my pocket and forgot to use it!).

In Ghajar (pronounced Ra-jar), the population fears Hezbullah and fears that one day they will be given to Lebanon. The population is from the Alawite sect of Muslims, and if that sounds familiar it should: That's the same sect from which the Assad family that rules Syria comes.

The population of Ghajar - both halves - is free to enter and leave Israel as it pleases. They have blue (Israeli citizen) Israeli identification cards (as does can any Arab who has legal residency in the Golan and in 'east' Jerusalem - areas that have been legally annexed to Israel). But unlike Israelis, the people of Ghajar may also travel to Lebanon, which is just north of their town. They get Israeli health care through the same Kupot Cholim (like HMO's) that we do, and they and their children hang out in the mall in Kiryat Shmona and own Lebanese restaurants in Kiryat Shmona - the same Kiryat Shmona that often gets hit by Katyusha rockets from Lebanon.

If you ask the people of Ghajar, they will tell you that they want to be part of Syria. And that's a lie! They have a good life in Ghajar. Their housing is free and many of them drive much nicer cars than Israelis do (cars here are very expensive - taxes often exceed 100% of the purchase price). But they cannot speak freely or say that they are happy with their lives because if they eventually end up in Lebanon - as Hezbullah is demanding - they would be killed if they had spoken of Israel favorably.

Two weeks ago, the people of Ghajar went to the southern entrance of their town to protest the prospect of their northern half being turned over to Lebanon - and the Lebanese inhabitants of southern Lebanon (who are mostly Shiite Hezbullah supporters) came in through the northern entrance and robbed them! So they no longer leave their homes unattended.

UNIFIL commander Major-General Claudio Graziano (Italy), whose term expires in January, is pushing Israel to give the northern half of Ghajar to Hezbullah. If that happens, the residents have prepared an appeal to Israel's High Court of Justice against being given to Hezbullah. Even if the northern half of Ghajar is given to Hezbullah, Israel will continue to provide services, and the IDF will continue to patrol in the southern half of town.

Ghajar is a closed military zone, which means that no Israelis can enter without the IDF's permission. According to the IDF spokesperson, she has entered Ghajar but only to accompany foreign journalists, and then only photographers show up. She is not allowed to cross into the northern half of town, and as a result discourages journalists from doing so. The townspeople have a spokesperson whose first name she gave us (it's probably the better part of discretion not to disclose it), but even the spokesperson - and certainly the townspeople - will not talk unless they are sure that the person to whom they are speaking is 'safe.'

All of that is background for this story.
Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara [Likud. CiJ] has a Turkish map from World War I showing that the northern village of Rajar must not be divided, but must rather remain totally Israeli.

...

Kara, a Druze supporter of Jewish rights and claims to the Land of Israel, says the newly-discovered map shows that there was a mistake in the Sykes-Picot agreement map of 1916. The agreement was made between the United Kingdom and France, with the assent of Imperial Russia, defining their respective spheres of influence and control in the Middle East after the expected downfall of the Ottoman Empire. Its terms were negotiated by French diplomat François Georges-Picot and Briton Sir Mark Sykes. The official map mistakenly has the Druze village of Rajar as half Syrian and half Lebanese.

However, Kara’s map shows that Rajar - population 2,200 - was in fact totally Syrian, and not Lebanese. The error in the Sykes-Picot map was caused when the original was traced over, and a slight movement caused the line to be drawn through, and not aside, Rajar.

The implications of this are that Rajar is part of the Golan Heights, the area that was annexed to Israel in 1981. As such, its northern half need not be “returned” to Lebanon, as demanded by Hizbullah.
The story goes on to explain how the village does not want to be divided between Israel and Lebanon.

By the way, most Israelis don't understand this situation. When I first started writing this post, I had a lot of mistakes that I cleared up (I hope) during the course of writing it. And the map story may have first come out in July.

Israel Matzav: Why Ghajar should not be divided and should remain in Israel

Israel Matzav: Donald Bostrom wins Dishonest Reporting Award for 2009

Donald Bostrom wins Dishonest Reporting Award for 2009

Aftonbladet's Donald Bostrom has won the 2009 Dishonest Reporting Award given out by HonestReporting.com for his unsupported blood libel that Israeli kills 'Palestinians' to harvest their organs.

The media watchdog organization Honest Reporting has awarded a Swedish journalist its 2009 Dishonest Reporter Award for the most skewed and biased coverage of the Middle East conflict.

Donald Bostrom “touched a nerve in readers in ways that few journalists ever do,” declared the organization. Writing in the Aftonbladet, the largest daily newspaper in Sweden, Bostrom headlined his two-page spread in the cultural section, “They Plunder the Organs of Our Sons.” The article quoted Palestinian Authority Arabs who claimed that IDF soldiers kidnapped young men from Judea, Samaria and Gaza and later returned their bodies, minus their organs.

Bostrom admitted to having failed to independently verify the claims of his sources, specifically of the family of Bilal Ahmed Ghanem, who died in 1992. “I was [present] during the interview that night, I was a witness. It concerns me to the extent that I want it to be investigated… But whether it’s true or not – I have no idea, I have no clue,” he said.

Arabic-speaking Jerusalem Post reporter Khaled Abu Toameh tracked down the family himself, said Honest Reporting – and the family denied ever having told Bostrom their son was missing organs. “The mother denied that she had told any foreign journalist that her son’s organs had been stolen. However, she said that now she does not rule out the possibility that Israel was harvesting organs of Palestinians…” Toameh wrote.

The editor of the Aftonbladet, Jan Helin, backed his reporter and accused Israel of a cover-up, even though it is medically impossible to harvest organs from a body that sustained gunshot wounds in the abdomen and chest, as Bostrom reported that Ghanem did.

The Swedish government refused to condemn the article, insisting that journalists had the right to “free speech.”
There were other awards too.

Read the whole thing.

Maybe someone can make Aftonbladet a banner to put on their web site? You know, like we bloggers do on our sites.
Israel Matzav: Donald Bostrom wins Dishonest Reporting Award for 2009

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu tries to recruit Livni again

Netanyahu tries to recruit Livni again

I guess this was expected and now that it may be the only way to save her party, Livni might actually agree to it.

Netanyahu told Livni that a national unity government would be based in "peace and security," as the prime minister outlined in his Bar Ilan speech and that today "represent broad national consensus."

Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar called on Livni and the Kadima party "to show national responsibility" and acquiesce to the prime minister's invitation in order to better face "heavy national, social and security challenges."

The only thing I want from Livni is to behave like a loyal opposition (as Netanyahu did during the Second Lebanon War) when Israel has to attack Iran. But please, don't make her part of the government. We've been there and done that.

If Kadima joins the government, look for Jewish Home, United Torah Judaism and possibly Yisrael Beiteinu to leave, and look for a government that is a lot more generous to the 'Palestinians' than even this government has been.

What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: Netanyahu tries to recruit Livni again

Israel Matzav: Is opposing J Street anti-Semitic?

Is opposing J Street anti-Semitic?

During a visit to Jerusalem this past week, President Obumbler's head of the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism blasted Michael Oren's remarks about the pro-Israel, pro-'peace' J-Street lobby as 'unfortunate.'

In an interview with Haaretz in Jerusalem, where Rosenthal was the administration's envoy to the Foreign Ministry's Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, Rosenthal, who once served on J street's board of directors, said she opposes blurring the lines between anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel.

"It is not 1939," she said. "We have the state of Israel. We have laws in countries that are holding people accountable."

Really? Which laws? In what countries? Surely not in Sweden, for example.

While the U.S. administration embraced J Street, which lends its unqualified support to U.S. President Barack Obama, the Israeli government turned a cold shoulder to the group. Obama's national security adviser, General James Jones, gave the keynote speech at the conference, while Israel sent a low-level official, claiming that J Street works against Israel's interests.

Rosenthal, who also served on the board of directors of left-wing group Americans for Peace Now, said she believed Oren "would have learned a lot" if he had participated in J Street's conference.

"I came away realizing what a generational divide there is and I don't know how it is in Israel. Young people want to be part of the discussion, they feel they have fresh ideas and they feel that we have to end the stalemate," she said.

Rosenthal strongly believes that new and different voices need to be heard regarding Israel in the American Jewish community.

"We need to have as many people coming together to try and put an end to this crisis, the matzav [situation] can not continue - it's unacceptable and that's why I always paid my membership to AIPAC, but I have always paid my membership to Americans for Peace Now - because they all need to be supported and they all need to be at the table."

"We may disagree on different paths to get there - but we need to at least admit that peace is the goal and security is the goal," she said.

The situation here may not be acceptable but the reality here is that it's not coming to an end anytime soon either. The 'Palestinians' want to obliterate us from the face of the earth. Peaceniks like Rosenthal don't get that.

Ironically, as you may recall, Michael Oren favors unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, which puts him far closer to the Obama administration's views than about 96% of Israel's Jews. But even Oren understands that opposing sanctions on Iran is over the line. Rosenthal - and her boss in the White House - apparently do not.

Rosenthal's remarks lead to the conclusion that while opposing Israel is not anti-Semitic, opposing J Street is, because it ostensibly excludes some Jews from the public political debate on Israel. She doesn't address the double standard that J Street poses by excluding all opposing viewpoints from its events. Whatever, there are some viewpoints that are so repulsive that we should not be obligated to hear them.

Martin Luther King believed that in this day and age, non-Jews who oppose Israel do so out of anti-Semitism, and indeed, one look at the signs at any anti-Israel rally in Europe or the US ought to be enough to convince anyone with an open mind that the protesters are motivated by anti-Semitism and not 'just' by anti-Zionism. On the other hand, for Israelis and their true supporters, opposing and discrediting the Saudi-funded J Street, which does not take Israel's existence for granted, and which is uncomfortable with calling itself pro-Israel, is a sine qua non. Not to mention that many of J Street's 'Jewish' supporters may not be halachically Jewish anyway.

No wonder so much of the American Jewish community opposed Rosenthal's appointment. Her views are way out of the Jewish mainstream.

Read the whole thing.

Rosenthal was slammed by Jewish leaders across the board for her remarks - even by leaders who support Obama.

"I was surprised to see an official of the American government commenting on the positions taken by Ambassador Oren," said Alan Solow, who is a long-time supporter of US President Barack Obama, is considered close to the administration, and is the chairman of the New York-based Conference of Presidents.

Rosenthal's comments "go beyond her responsibilities," he said, and reflected only her "personal feelings."

"I've had any number of conversations with people in the administration who interact regularly with Ambassador Oren, and they have spoken very highly of him. The comments are especially inappropriate given the fact that the administration is actively involved in trying to advance the peace process and its relationship with Israel on a variety of fronts," he added.

Josh Block, a spokesman for AIPAC, the largest Israel advocacy group in Washington, said "AIPAC totally agrees with the sentiment expressed by Alan Solow and the Conference of Presidents, and those views are widely held by members of the Conference."

A senior Jewish official in Washington who asked to remain anonymous called the Rosenthal interview, published in Haaretz on Thursday, "a very troubling occurrence. I can't recall a circumstance in which an American diplomat criticized an ambassador of any country in such a significant way."

The official said news reports that Jewish leaders are calling the White House to protest the interview "are accurate."

Another senior Jewish official who asked not to be named called her comments "unfair to [Oren]."

Something tells me she won't keep her mouth shut the next time either

Israel Matzav: Is opposing J Street anti-Semitic?

Israel Matzav: Ahmed and Salim: How the terrorist stole Christmas

Ahmed and Salim: How the terrorist stole Christmas

This is hysterical. A grumpy terrorist hatches a plan to steal Christmas from his two kids, Ahmed & Salim.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: NY Nana).



Heh.

Israel Matzav: Ahmed and Salim: How the terrorist stole Christmas

Israel Matzav: Would Iran provide nuclear weapons to terrorists?

Would Iran provide nuclear weapons to terrorists?

Steve Emerson and Joel Himelfarb point out that most of the focus on Iran has been on the possibility of Iran using nuclear missiles to attack Israel. They discuss what can only be characterized as a nightmare scenario, which may be far more difficult to control: Would Iran provide nuclear weapons to terrorists? They look at the possibility of such weapons being transferred to al-Qaeda for an attack on the United States:

Terrorism analysts in Washington need to be asking: Under what circumstances might Iran decide to up the ante and transfer WMD technology to terrorist organizations?

Diplomats typically dismiss the possibility. They acknowledge that this would be a terrible thing, but express doubt that Iran would take such a drastic step for two reasons.

First, they argue that Tehran itself is uncomfortable at the prospect of terrorists acquiring such weapons. Second, they argue that the Iranian leadership understands that if a nuclear weapon is transferred to al-Qaeda and used to attack the United States or any of its allies, the retaliation would be overwhelming.

To be sure, analysts should not underestimate the importance of American power as a deterrent. But it is equally important to understand that, with Iran, deterrence has its limits. No nation today has as extensive a record of supporting terrorism as Iran, and Western policies in place until now have utterly failed to deter Iran from facilitating terrorism using conventional weapons.

U.S. deterrence has been eroded by Iran's perception of American weakness, and by the fact that the Iranian regime has been able to foment terrorism and violence against the United States and the West for more than 30 years and get away with it. Deterrence is further weakened by the instability of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who seems not to fear conflict with the West.

And they talk about the possibility that Iran could hand off a nuclear weapon to Hezbullah to attack Israel.

There are untold numbers of Iranian shipments that get through. The question that analysts must now answer is: could a nuclear weapon get through, too?

The late Paul Leventhal, president of the Nuclear Control Institute, took this possibility seriously. Under the right circumstances, Tehran might attempt to transfer WMD to Hezbollah, or perhaps other terror groups, such as Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In interviews with The Washington Times and The New York Times not long before his death in 2007, Leventhal said it was not beyond the realm of possibility that Hezbollah could try to smuggle a crude nuclear device via a ship or truck and deliver it to a highly populated Israeli city. According to Leventhal, if the fissile device functioned poorly, it would result in an explosion with the power of 1,000 tons of TNT, resulting in radiation contamination and a "catastrophic" number of casualties. If such a device functioned properly, it could result in an explosion with the power of 15,000 to 20,000 tons of TNT—roughly equivalent to the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945.

From my discussions with the chief IDF intelligence officer for the northern Golan this week, I can tell you that the IDF is definitely preparing for the scenario of someone smuggling a nuclear weapon over the border fence between Syria and Israel. On the Lebanese border, the same scenario must be considered along with the possibility of Hezbullah attaching a nuclear warhead to any of the rockets they received from Iran.

Would Iran provide nuclear weapons to terrorist organizations to attack the United States or Israel? You bet they would. That's why they have to be stopped before they go nuclear. Unfortunately, President Obumbler doesn't get it and continues to display weakness in his dealings with Iran. What could go wrong?

Read the whole thing.


Israel Matzav: Would Iran provide nuclear weapons to terrorists?

Israel Matzav: It's not the Cuban missile crisis, it's the Suez campaign

It's not the Cuban missile crisis, it's the Suez campaign

In the winter, when it's not posted online until after the Sabbath starts, I sometimes miss Caroline Glick's JPost column if I am too tired to read it in the hard copy on the Sabbath. That's what happened last week. Fortunately, Scott Johnson decided to call attention to it on Wednesday, and it's been open on my computer ever since.

Caroline argues that while many see the Cuban missile crisis as the paradigm for Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons, the real paradigm is the Sinai campaign of 1956, when Israel, Britain and France went to war against Egypt over US objections. While all were eventually forced to disgorge their military gains, for Israel, that war meant that the Suez Canal stayed open to Israeli shipping for the next ten and a half years.

Today, the Obama administration's treatment of US allies and enemies alike bears far more resemblance to the Eisenhower administration's policies than to those of the Kennedy administration. And in turn, the administration's behavior presents allied governments with options reminiscent to those they faced in 1956.

To the extent that Debouzy's article represents a significant thought stream in France and perhaps in Britain, it tells us three important things. First, it tells us that a significant constituency in Europe believes the time has come to act militarily against Iran's nuclear installations. Second it tells us that influential voices in France have lost patience with Obama. Sarkozy himself all but accused Obama of living in Fantasy Land at the UN Security Council meeting four months ago, in light of Obama's support for global nuclear disarmament and his cavalier attitude towards Iran's nuclear program.

Finally, by including Israel in a theoretical military alliance against Iran, Debouzy's article suggests that in spite of its anti-Israel positions on issues related to the Palestinians, France may be willing to assist Israel if Netanyahu decides to attack Iran's nuclear installations. That is, his article lends the impression that if Israel is willing to act boldly, it may not have to act alone.

THE LAST time that Israel acted militarily with others without US support was during the Suez Crisis. Debouzy's suggestion of French support for an Israeli strike against Iran should provoke our leaders to reconsider the lessons of that campaign.

...

Despite Nasser's escalating ties with the Soviet Union, the Eisenhower administration opposed ejecting him from the Suez Canal for a host of reasons. The US wished to please its Saudi ally which, like Egypt, sought to weaken the British-allied Hashemite regimes in Iraq and Jordan. The US wished to quash Britain and France's residual post-war capacities to act without US support as Washington solidified its position as the unquestioned leader of the Western alliance against the Soviet Union. Washington was politically inconvenienced by the need to support the British-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt as it condemned the Soviet invasion of Hungary. Finally, the Eisenhower administration opposed a strong Israel.

...

America's brutal reaction caused many Israeli analysts to conclude that Israel must never again go to war without US permission. And from David Ben-Gurion on, all Israeli leaders have given the US a de facto veto over nearly all of Israel's military moves.

While Israel's fear of angering America is understandable, it is far from clear that its interests were ever served by this policy. The fact is, while Israel was forced to withdraw from Sinai, the benefit it gained from the Suez Campaign still far outweighed the cost. Through the war, Israel secured its maritime rights in the Suez Canal and weakened significantly Egypt's regular and irregular forces in Sinai and Gaza.

What is clear is that 53 years ago it made no sense to get into an open conflict with Dwight Eisenhower. As the former Allied commander in Europe, Eisenhower's strategic credentials were unassailable both at home and abroad. Then, too, in 1956 the US was enjoying unprecedented economic growth and prosperity. Politically - at home and abroad - Eisenhower was immune to criticism.

Obama is no Eisenhower. The US is suffering its worst economic decline since the Great Depression. After just 11 months in office, Obama's approval ratings have sunk to 50 percent. His lack of credibility in foreign affairs came though clearly this month when a mere 26% of Americans said they believe he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize.

At the same time, Israel has never faced a threat as grave as that of a nuclear-armed Iran. There can be little doubt that if Ben-Gurion and Eisenhower were in charge today, Ben-Gurion wouldn't hesitate to again defy Eisenhower and attack Iran - with or without France and Britain. Certainly, Netanyahu cannot justify placing Israel's fate in Obama's hands.



Israel Matzav: It's not the Cuban missile crisis, it's the Suez campaign

Israel Matzav: Kerry to Tehran?

Kerry to Tehran?

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry wants to become the first senior American official to travel to Iran since the Islamic revolution in 1979. The Obama administration will not oppose is in favor of the move.

"This sounds like the kind of travel a chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee would -- and should -- undertake," said a White House official, adding it would be at Sen. Kerry's own behest.

It's unclear whether Iran would welcome the visit, and it would be controversial within both countries. The Iranian government has rebuffed other recent White House efforts to establish a direct dialogue.

The Obama administration hasn't decided whether to make Sen. Kerry its official representative if he goes, but as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Kerry can visit if the White House and Tehran both approve.

Many opponents of Tehran's regime oppose such a visit, fearing it would lend legitimacy to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a time when his government is under continuing pressure from protests and opposition figures. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets again this week to voice their opposition to the government following the death of a reformist cleric.

"We've eschewed high-level visits to Iran for the last 30 years. I think now -- when the Iranian regime's fate is less certain than ever -- is not the best time to begin," said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst at Washington's Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"The wrong message would be sent to the Iranian people by such a high-level visit: The U.S. loves dictatorial regimes," said Hossein Askari, a professor at George Washington University and former adviser to Iranian governments.

Scott Johnson does a nice job of summing up the Obama approach.

"Engagement" with America's enemies is a cornerstone of Obama's foreign policy, such as it is. In the pursuit of engagement with Iran Obama has all but prostrated himself. In return he has received Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's repeated thumb in his eye.

Indeed. What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Kerry to Tehran?

Love of the Land: Hannah Rosenthal is officially a burden

Hannah Rosenthal is officially a burden


ShmuelRosner
Rosner's Domain
25 December 09
Posted prior to Shabbat

For those used to worry about big-mouth Israeli officials - especially those Americans who constantly complain (and rightly so) about the inability of official Israel to just shut the hell up - here's a refreshingly rare opportunity for some pay-back. Apparently, Obama's head of the anti-anti-Semitism office, Hannah Rosenthal, has decided that her real battle should be against Israel's ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren. Here's what she had to say:

Remarks by Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, against the liberal Jewish lobby J Street were "most unfortunate" according to Hannah Rosenthal, head of the U.S. administration's Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism... Rosenthal, who also served on the board of directors of left-wing group Americans for Peace Now, said she believed Oren "would have learned a lot" if he had participated in J Street's conference. "I came away realizing what a generational divide there is and I don't know how it is in Israel. Young people want to be part of the discussion, they feel they have fresh ideas and they feel that we have to end the stalemate," she said. Rosenthal strongly believes that new and different voices need to be heard regarding Israel in the American Jewish community. "We need to have as many people coming together to try and put an end to this crisis, the matzav [situation] can not continue - it's unacceptable and that's why I always paid my membership to AIPAC, but I have always paid my membership to Americans for Peace Now - because they all need to be supported and they all need to be at the table."

Rosenthal was already criticized by some Jewish organization. And Alan Solow of the Conference of Presidents, with measured and well crafted statement, had it just about right:

It is inappropriate for the anti-Semitism envoy to be expressing her personal views on the positions Ambassador Oren has taken as well as on the subject of who needs to be heard from in the Jewish community. Such statements have nothing to do with her responsibilities and, based upon comments I am already receiving, could threaten to limit her effectiveness in the area for which she is actually responsible.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Hannah Rosenthal is officially a burden

Love of the Land: Model Altar of Unhewn Stones Completed at Temple Institute

Model Altar of Unhewn Stones Completed at Temple Institute

Gil Ronen
israelnationalnews.com
08 Tevet 5770
25 December 09


(IsraelNN.com) The Temple Institute in Jerusalem announced Friday the completion of a model of the biblical altar which G-d, through Moses, commanded the nation of Israel to build at the Mount of Eval (Ebal) overlooking Shechem:


“And there you shall build an altar unto Hashem your God, an altar of stones: you shall lift up no iron tool upon them. You shall build the altar of Hashem your G-d of unhewn stones.” (Dvarim / Deuteronomy 27:5,6).



The model altar / Temple Institute

For many years, the Institute has been examining ways of building a model of the altar from whole stones that had not been touched by metal tools. In the end, the Institute commissioned artist Assaf Kidron of Givot Olam Farm at Itamar, Samaria, to design and create a model which conforms with the specifications described by authoritative Jewish sage Rambam (Maimonides) – one cubit wide, one cubit deep, and three cubits high.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Model Altar of Unhewn Stones Completed at Temple Institute

Love of the Land: The Food Crisis In Gaza: Testimony From 'Palestine Today', A Gaza Publication

The Food Crisis In Gaza: Testimony From 'Palestine Today', A Gaza Publication


Marty Peretz
The New Republic
24 December 09

I don't mean to seem hardhearted. But I am frankly completely jaded--and made disbelieving--with the on-schedule, almost once-a-week story about the crisis in Gaza. Around Christmas, they are simply de rigeur.

Here's a predictable one in the viciously anti-Israel, truly viciously anti-Israel, Financial Times. It is by Tobias Buck, who, while he can write these in his sleep, wrote this one just for Christmas. (Never mind that there are only about 2,500 Christians still living in Gaza, some having been killed by peaceful Muslims, the others simply being scared the b'Jesus out of the Strip by them. Please forgive my timely reference to the prince of peace.)

No, I am not claiming that life in Gaza is sweet. But life in Gaza has never been sweet. (And, please, no allusions to Aldous Huxley's Eyeless in Gaza, which is about upper-class Brits in Mexico.) Also not when Gaza was under the Turks or the British Mandate or the Egyptians. Now that Gaza is under the boot of Hamas, you can imagine--and, in fact, deep inside you know--what goes for governing. I am also sure that Israeli restrictions at the combustible frontier do not make things easier. Of course, there is the border with Egypt, which nothing and no one crosses legally. Why doesn't the F.T. bitch about Cairo's cruelty to its ex-subjects?

As it happens, there is an uncannily timely testimony to the Gaza misery in Palestine Today, a Gaza publication. Surprise!


Love of the Land: The Food Crisis In Gaza: Testimony From 'Palestine Today', A Gaza Publication

Love of the Land: Universal jurisdiction — a really bad idea

Universal jurisdiction — a really bad idea


FresnoZionism
24 December 09

Universal Jurisdiction sounds like such a great idea (well, to some people, anyway). One moral nation, acting for a moral world, can bring war criminals to justice, even when crimes are committed outside of its territory. You can understand why in principle this could be a good idea, especially if said war criminals are powerful enough in their own countries as to be untouchable. The concept has been supported by those watchdogs of international morality, the ‘human rights’ NGOs like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, etc.

Anybody that lives in the real world must know that the facts of international politics make the just application of this principle impossible. It would seem to me that anyone who has finished elementary school and read at least one history book would understand this, but apparently the people at the NGOs either don’t meet this standard or are dishonest. Judging by what they did with the war in Gaza, I vote for the latter.

The fatal defect of this idea is that it is based on analogy to criminal law inside a jurisdiction, where there is, at least in the best circumstances, a disinterested justice system and rules of evidence and of judgment intended to ensure fairness. For example, in our courts hearsay is not admitted as evidence, and juries are selected in ways designed to produce impartiality. Even rules for determining probable cause for an arrest are stringent. But this is exactly what isn’t the case in the international arena.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Universal jurisdiction — a really bad idea

Love of the Land: US diplomat slammed for criticizing Oren

US diplomat slammed for criticizing Oren


Haviv Retig Gur
International/JPost
25 December 09

(No surprises here. See related article below.)

Major Jewish organizations on Thursday blasted an Obama administration diplomat with connections to J Street for criticizing Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren in a newspaper interview.

Hannah Rosenthal, a former J Street board member, currently serves as the State Department's director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.

Rosenthal criticized Oren for refusing to attend the recent conference of the left-wing Jewish group J Street because of deep disagreements between the organization's platform and the Israeli government's positions on issues ranging from Iran to peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Rosenthal called Oren's refusal "most unfortunate" and said he "would have learned a lot" had he attended the conference, which was held in Washington in October.

"I was surprised to see an official of the American government commenting on the positions taken by Ambassador Oren," said Alan Solow, who is a long-time supporter of US President Barack Obama, is considered close to the administration, and is the chairman of the New York-based Conference of Presidents.

Rosenthal's comments "go beyond her responsibilities," he said, and reflected only her "personal feelings."

(Read full article)

Related: Obama picks deaf person to tune piano

Love of the Land: US diplomat slammed for criticizing Oren

Love of the Land: Constructive or Destructive Ambiguity? Unspoken Requirements For “Demilitarized State”

Constructive or Destructive Ambiguity? Unspoken Requirements For “Demilitarized State”


Dr. Aaron Lerner
IMRA Weekly Commentary
24 December 09

“Real demilitarization is not a piece of paper, it’s not an agreement, and it’s not some kind of Security Council resolution, because it is our problem. It is our problem when we evacuate territory, and the territory fills immediately with Iran or their agents or weapons from Iran and also Syria…It has been demonstrated that this is the problem. That almost all the weapons aren’t manufactured inside, they are imported, at least the effective weapons, and they are becoming ever more effective, and thus a true solution to demilitarization is required.

I know what the minimum conditions are for this demilitarization, and when the time comes we will also discuss it.” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressing the Knesset 23 December 2009

“This Palestinian state will be completely demilitarized. It will be allowed to maintain lightly armed police and interior forces to ensure civil order. Israel will continue to control all entries and exits to the Palestinian state, will command its airspace, and not allow it to form alliances with Israel's enemies.”
Speech by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the Herzliya Conference, Institute of Policy and Strategy, December 4, 2002

Back in 2002 Prime Minister Sharon spelled out what he believed would be necessary in order to insure that a Palestinian state would indeed remain demilitarized.

Of course, Sharon’s last minute abandonment of the Philadelphi Corridor that separated Gaza from Egypt made a mockery of that critical condition. But Sharon’s notoriously short planning horizon isn’t the focus of this note.

If Ariel Sharon had no problem talking about the arrangements that would be required to guaranty demilitarization, why does Binyamin Netanyahu opt to leave us in the dark?

Here is a suggestion:

(Continue reading)

Love of the Land: Constructive or Destructive Ambiguity? Unspoken Requirements For “Demilitarized State”

Elder of Ziyon: Gaza Islamist group criticizes Hamas over rappers

Elder of Ziyon: Gaza Islamist group criticizes Hamas over rappers

Elder of Ziyon: Egypt forces Galloway to re-route

Elder of Ziyon: Egypt forces Galloway to re-route

Saying "Happy New Year" on the Christian New Year

Saying "Happy New Year" on the Christian New Year


25
דצמ
2009

Q: Is it permissible to say "Happy New Year" on the Christian New Year?
A: No, because the Christian year is connected to idol worship. It is forbidden to give respect to idol worship in any form. A person who says "Happy New Year" is not worshipping idols but he is acknowledging it in a positive way. It is similar to the Halachah that it is forbidden for a person to say to his friend: "Let's meet by this church," since he is acknowledging idol worship. One should therefore say: "Good morning," "Good day" or something else.
Originally posted by Torat HaRav Aviner

'We will Continue in Father's Path of Faith' - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

'We will Continue in Father's Path of Faith' - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Rabbi's Murderers Trained by Barack and Barak? - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Rabbi's Murderers Trained by Barack and Barak? - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Key Checkpoint Near Shavei Shomron Removed Weeks Before Attack - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Key Checkpoint Near Shavei Shomron Removed Weeks Before Attack - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Wiesenthal Center: Cancel eBay 'Arbeit Macht Frei' Auction - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

Wiesenthal Center: Cancel eBay 'Arbeit Macht Frei' Auction - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

MK Levin: Kadima Split is 'Historic Justice' - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

MK Levin: Kadima Split is 'Historic Justice' - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Netanyahu Offers Unity Gov't to Kadima - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Netanyahu Offers Unity Gov't to Kadima - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Call for Stricter Controls on State-Owned Intellectual Property - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Call for Stricter Controls on State-Owned Intellectual Property - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Love of the Land: Letter to Jimmy Carter Urges Action After Apology

Letter to Jimmy Carter Urges Action After Apology


Andrea Levin
CAMERA
24 December 09

CAMERA has sent a letter to Jimmy Carter after the former president, addressing the Jewish community in an open letter, offered an apology for anything he may have done to stigmatize Israel. After expressing wishes for peace, Carter noted that "we must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel," and offered an "Al Het" — a plea for forgiveness which is part of the Jewish prayer on Yom Kippur — "for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so." (See more from JTA here and here.)

CAMERA's letter, which is published in its entirety below, urges the Carter join his words with concrete actions, specifically, the correction of false and exaggerated charges he made in a November Op-Ed in the International Herald Tribune.
The Dec. 23 letter follows:

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Letter to Jimmy Carter Urges Action After Apology

Love of the Land: Rethinking preemption

Rethinking preemption


Alex Fiedler
Op-Ed/JPost
22 December 09

Recent statements by senior US and Israeli officials regarding Iranian intransigence with regard to international calls for negotiation has raised once again the issue of preemptive military action. The international community's most recent analogy vis-à-vis preemption is president George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq.

For this reason, preemption has acquired a pejorative connotation in recent years, and the possibility of using preemptive action against Iran is viewed by many as a nonstarter. But invoking the term preemption and the analogy to Iraq in policy debates for Iran's nuclear program is both misguided and dangerous.

It is in fact a misnomer to refer to an attack against Iran as preemption, and this has negative consequences on the policy debate.

FIRSTLY, A preemptive military strike is one in which Side A attacks Side B when Side A has full assurance that an attack by Side B is imminent. Israel's actions on the morning of June 5, 1967 fall under the preemption classification. Not only is this accepted practice in international relations, it is in fact protected under international law.

What most people actually mean when they discuss policy options vis-à-vis Iran is prevention. A preventive military strike is when Side A attacks Side B because Side A believes that at some point in the future, Side B will be a threat to it; prevention lacks the sense of immediacy characterized by preemption.

So would a strike against Iran fall under preventive military action?

According to this logic, a strike against Iran would in fact be preventive, right? Wrong. Preventive military policy also suggests that the potential "strikee" is not currently a threat, active or passive. It is well documented, and accepted, that Iran supports financially, logistically, politically, and militarily, the who's who of terrorist organizations and states: Hizbullah, Hamas, al-Qaida, Taliban, Syria, Sudan and North Korea.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Rethinking preemption

Elder of Ziyon: Today is the anniversary of "Operation Oil Stain"

Today is the anniversary of "Operation Oil Stain"

One of the problems with NGOs is that they create a framework around a topic that makes Israel appear like the aggressor. The Gaza war is a perfect example.

On December 24th, 2008, Hamas declared war on Israel. As Ma'an reported at the time,

The military wing affiliated to Hamas, Al-Qassam Brigades released a statement on Thursday morning briefing the group's military activities over the first twenty four hours of an operation they called "Oil Stain" which started Wednesday morning.

According to the statement, a total of 87 shells have been fired at Israeli targets bordering the Gaza Strip including 54 mortar shells, 31 homemade projectiles which Hamas calls "Qassam", and two Soviet-made Grad missiles.

Al-Qassa Brigades threatened to enlarge the "Oil Stain" to get more thousands of Israelis "under fire". The group asserted that its fighters are "far greater than surrendering to Israeli threats and that they became much more prepared to counter Israeli aggression and to defend themselves than in the past."

Indeed, Hamas' Al Qassam Brigades website still has the original announcement of Operation Oil Stain (autotranslated as Oil Slick.)

However, in their reports about the war, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Goldstone Report all consider December 27th the first day of the war - the day that Israel struck back heavily.

Normally, if one party attacks another and even names the operation, that would be considered, objectively, the beginning of the war. Hamas continued calling the war "Oil Stain" for a full week before it abandoned the term.

When NGOs decide that the war began three days later than it really did, they are establishing a framework that damns Israel before they even write a word about the issues. It is a false framework. It makes Israel appear to be the aggressor and not as if it is reacting to deliberate and planned Hamas actions.

And those Hamas actions would be considered grave war crimes, as they targeted civilians. (Hamas press releases even brag about how Israelis are forced to go to bomb shelters!)

Israel didn't start the war, and every NGO report that says it did on December 27th is guilty of bias.





Elder of Ziyon: Today is the anniversary of "Operation Oil Stain"
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