Friday, 8 January 2010

Love of the Land: Why NGOs Are Not Investigating Hamas War Crimes

Why NGOs Are Not Investigating Hamas War Crimes

One Year Since Israel's Gaza Operation

Dr. Avi Bell speaks on the subject "Gaza War Crimes" at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on Monday, February 9, 2009. Dr. Bell reviews the situation in Gaza using international law to describe military actions. To view the entire briefing, visit the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs' website:

For more articles addressing The Challenge of the U.N. Gaza Report go to Global Law Forum:

Love of the Land: Why NGOs Are Not Investigating Hamas War Crimes

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

This song by Abie Rothenberg is from one of the Journeys tapes (2 or 3 - I forget which and they're in the car right now). It's (mostly) in English so no need to explain.

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Israel Matzav: Lieberman is right: There won't be 'peace' in the next two years

Lieberman is right: There won't be 'peace' in the next two years

In an interview to be broadcast on Bloomberg's Charlie Rose show on Thursday night, US Special Middle East envoy George Mitchell tells Rose that 'negotiations' between Israel and the 'Palestinians' should last no more than two years (Hat Tip: Michael F).

“We think that the negotiation should last no more than two years,;once begun, we think it can be done within that period of time," Mitchell tells Rose. "We hope the parties agree. Personally, I think it can be done in a shorter period of time.”

Mitchell is completely detached from reality, as Jennifer Rubin notes.

What is he talking about, really? He has a predetermined time frame for how long the negotiations should last, but there’s no one at the bargaining table and no Palestinian leader invested with the authority or political will to make a deal. And the Israeli government is, at best, wary of the Obama team, which spent a year trying to stuff a unilateral settlement freeze down its throat. Contrast Mitchell’s surreal obsession with conferences and time lines with what is really going on, as this report makes clear:

Tayeb Abdel Rahim, Director-General of the PA Presidency and member of the Fatah Central Council, claimed that Hamas had forged an alliance with Iran in a way that harms Arab national security and Palestinian interests. “Hamas has turned the Palestinian cause into a cheap card in the hands of Iran,” Abdel Rahim said in an interview with a local Palestinian radio station. “They have done this at the expense of the Palestinian issue and the unity of the Palestinian people and homeland.”

Doesn’t sound as though the Palestinians are ready for the bargaining table, does it? But Mitchell is not to be dissuaded by the lack of will or of bargaining parties. He’s got it down pat: the process has to include “political negotiations, security for both people, and what you call the bottom up, correctly, economic and institutional growth.” Earth-shaking and revolutionary! Well, if you’ve been dozing off for 20 years or so and missed the entire failed “peace process,” this would seem innovative.

How wrong is Mitchell? So wrong that even Haaretz's Aluf Benn - a 'peace processor' if there ever was one - gets it. Here's the first sentence of his Thursday column.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is right: During the next two years Israel will not reach a permanent status agreement with the Palestinians.

Unfortunately, as patently ridiculous as Mitchell is, there are five reasons why he cannot be dismissed. Here's Evelyn Gordon with four of them.

First, Palestinians and other Arabs routinely interpret such statements by U.S. officials as pledges to make Israel kowtow to Palestinian demands. When that doesn’t happen, it increases anti-American sentiment, entrenches disbelief in the possibility of peace (thus strengthening extremists like Hamas), and can even spark renewed anti-Israel terror, as the Camp David summit in 2000 showed.

Second, it further entrenches Israeli skepticism about peace.

Third, it will almost certainly increase anti-Israel hysteria in Europe. Unlike Israelis and Palestinians, Europeans largely share Mitchell’s conviction that peace is imminently achievable. Hence every time it fails to materialize, they seek a scapegoat. And so far, that scapegoat has always been Israel: while demanding ever more Israeli concessions, the EU has yet to publicly demand any Palestinian concessions.

[Fourth,] [t]here are things America could do to further peace — like finally telling the Palestinians that they, too, must compromise. [Those things are not being done].

And then there's a fifth reason Mitchell can't be dismissed. He's hinting at commitments to the 'Palestinians' that Israel cannot and will not make. This is from the interview with Charlie Rose.

Charlie Rose: It does not include East Jerusalem. There have been announcements in the last 48 hours of new settlement construction in east Jerusalem where the Palestinians want to make their capital.

George Mitchell: Yes.

Charlie Rose: And it's in the midst of Palestinians.

George Mitchell: If you go back over time and look at Camp David and the prior efforts, you will see that the single most difficult issue amidst an array of extremely difficult issues is Jerusalem and it is very complicated, difficult, emotional on all sides, Jerusalem is significant to the three monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, it's important to everybody, we recognize that, and we try to deal with it. But understand the different perspectives, Israel annexed Jerusalem in 1980.

Charlie Rose: Annexed is an important word.

George Mitchell: Annexed is a very important word. No other country and including the United States recognizes that annexation. And neither do the Palestinians or the Arabs of course but for the Israelis, what they're building in, is in part of Israel. Now, the others don't see it that way. So you have these widely divergent perspectives on the subject. Our view is, let's get into negotiations, let's deal with the issues and come up with a solution to all of them including Jerusalem which will be exceedingly difficult, but in my judgment, possible.

With all of the acrobatics that were attempted by Ehud Barak in 2000 and 2001 and by Ehud Olmert in 2008, no Israeli Prime Minister ever even suggested that Israel would even consider rolling back the Jewish neighborhoods in 'east' Jerusalem. In fact, it's been published in the media here that Abu Mazen agreed with Olmert that at least some of the Jewish neighborhoods of 'east' Jerusalem (Ramot, Ramot Alon, Ramat Shlomo, Pisgat Ze'ev, Neve Ya'akov, Ma'alot Dafna, French Hill and Gilo) would remain part of Israel in any settlement. (There are other Jewish neighborhoods in 'east' Jerusalem that were not mentioned in that particular article; I don't know what, if anything, was agreed with respect to them). Agreed, that is, until the Obama administration came along and demanded a 'building freeze' in 'east' Jerusalem. And now, Mitchell is so caught up in his own rhetoric that he's actually doing it again by suggesting that Israel expel another 300,000 Jews in Jerusalem from their homes.

Has he gone mad?

Israel Matzav: Lieberman is right: There won't be 'peace' in the next two years

Israel Matzav: Mazen ball soup?

Mazen ball soup?

Defense Minister Ehud Barak disappeared on Sunday and Monday and may have met with 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen.

Diplomatic officials revealed earlier in the week that Barak had spoken to Abbas this week, but they gave the impression that the two spoke by phone. Barak's spokesman said on Sunday that he would be "on vacation" for those two days.

When reporters in the Knesset cafeteria asked him where he was on those days, Barak declined to answer and merely muttered something about his soup. Later in the conversation, he expressed confidence that the Netanyahu government would succeed in moving the peace process forward.

Asked about Barak's whereabouts, the Defense Ministry issued a flat "no comment," while security officials raised the possibility of Jordan or that he went with National Security Adviser Uzi Arad to India.

An associate of Abbas said he was with him on Sunday in Jordan and accompanied him to the airport on Monday and Barak did not meet with him.

Abu Mazen is under pressure from the United States to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Although he refuses to meet Netanyahu, he has apparently spoken with both Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak recently.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Mazen ball soup?

Israel Matzav: Kassam hits outside of Ashkelon

Kassam hits outside of Ashkelon

Israel's southern border is heating up again.

A Kassam rocket fell just south of Ashkelon on Thursday afternoon. No injuries or damage were reported. Ashkelon, as you may recall, is in my backyard. That followed a barrage of ten mortars fired on Thursday morning. All of which left Israel handing out leaflets with maps.

One of the leaflets featured a map, and warns Gazans that anyone within 300 meters of the security fence is endangering himself.

Another leaflet urged Gazans not to sit idly by as smugglers put them and their communities in harm's way. It included a phone number and e-mail address for anyone willing to provide information about the smuggling tunnels.

On Thursday night, there are a whole lot of 'Palestinians' who are alive because they read those leaflets. The IDF has apparently struck back in Gaza City.

Several explosions were heard on Thursday night in Gaza City, in what Hamas and Palestinian radio stations said was the result of an Israeli air strike.

Smoke and flames were visible from the site of the blasts. The Israeli army had no immediate comment on the attack which came hours after Palestinian militants fired about a dozen mortars and rockets at Israel from the coastal territory.

Don't mess with us.

The picture at the top is a school in Ashkelon that was hit by rockets in February 2009 - fortunately on a Saturday when no one was there.


YNet reports that the IDF confirms hitting Gaza City, and that more targets have been struck in the northern and southern parts of the Strip.

Israel Matzav: Kassam hits outside of Ashkelon

Israel Matzav: It's not just irrational, it's cruel

It's not just irrational, it's cruel

In an interview with Army Radio, Rabbi Eli Sadan, the dean of the pre-military academy in Eli, argues that forcing IDF troops to expel Jews from Judea and Samaria is irrational.

In an interview with Army Radio, Sadan said that sending troops to evacuate Israeli settlements "would be inconsiderate on the army's part and could create a contradiction between [observing] halacha and following a military order."

Sadan went on to explain that in terms of Jewish law, "the soldier himself is not prohibited from evacuating [settlements] - because it is the government and not the soldier who is carrying out the evacuation."

The rabbi stressed that despite the fact that halacha does not prohibit the soldiers themselves from following evacuation orders, it was irrational to give such tasks to the army.

"In the same way that no-one would think to send the Beduin trackers to demolish illegal houses in Beduin towns in the Negev - I think the same should be done here. When you take a man who is devoted to settling the Land of Israel and opposite him is sitting his best friend who lives in Gush Katif - that is irrational."

It's not just irrational. Anyone with an ounce of sensitivity in his body can understand that it's cruel. How many Bedouin trackers have been sent to demolish illegal Bedouin homes in the Negev during the course of their IDF service? I'll bet I know precisely how many: None.

So why does the IDF send combat soldiers who live in Judea and Samaria to expel Jews from their homes there? Rabbi Sadan can't say it, but I can. Those behind those orders are trying to send a message to the young soldiers: We can make you follow orders. We can make you do things that go against your conscience. We control you.

It's sickening, isn't it? And it's cruel.

Israel Matzav: It's not just irrational, it's cruel

Israel Matzav: Why Abdulmutallab got through security

Why Abdulmutallab got through security

A Los Angeles-based consultant explains why Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab got through security in Amsterdam on Christmas morning.

HE GOT through because although the system is working, the people are not. This is America's greatest strength and also its most perilous weakness. We are brilliant at systems, processes and technology. But in the pursuit of and reliance on technology, the American mind has become fat, lazy and complacent. Any intelligent human could have prevented a man with explosives strapped to his body from boarding a flight only weeks after the man's father warned US authorities of his son's growing radicalism. All that was required was someone to ask questions and connect dots; 9/11 could have been prevented in the very same way.

Ben-Gurion Airport is in one of the most targeted countries in the world for acts of terrorism. Yet it has successfully managed to avoid hijacking and bombing attempts, even though security there is usually much quicker than at any US airport of similar size. Perhaps this is because security at Ben-Gurion does not rely only on technology. Security officers there do not mindlessly monitor people taking off shoes and belts as they walk through metal detectors. They are not just looking for bombs. They are looking for stories, connections and intelligence, and they hire and train brilliant people to look for those stories by asking probing questions.

Once, after clearing security there, an officer looked into my eyes and said, "Do you know why I am asking you these questions?" And then she said with compelling sincerity, "I really don't want anything to happen to you."

I believe she was telling the truth. To her, her job was not about checking boxes to make sure that if a plane went down, her own back was covered. Her job was much more meaningful than that. Her job was to care about me and tens of thousands of other travelers that day, and she was passionately committed to it. She was applying her considerable skill, training and intelligence to her job in the most caring way.

The security check was fast, not unpleasant and genuinely reassuring. Only wisdom and intelligence can foil an intelligent enemy. Machines and process alone cannot.

THE NEED for wisdom over and above technology goes beyond security. We will not maintain our global lead in any field with process and technology alone; we will also need much more human brilliance. Process and technology can be copied, brilliance cannot. Even in the field of technology itself, can a nation continue to lead if it relies more on process than on thinking? Dan Senor and Saul Singer's Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle argues that it cannot.

Process and information is about having the best answers, wisdom is about asking the best questions. Instead of educating our children to have the "right" answers, we should educate them to ask the right questions. Law enforcement and airport security personnel should be trained to ask more questions, not just to rudely yell out childish instructions about computers and liquids. The country's intelligence systems need to preempt rather than react.

I have read dozens of articles and blog posts over the last week, which explain why the Israeli security system - acknowledged to be the world leader - 'cannot be implemented' in [choose your airport].

Israeli security takes too long.

There are too many passengers in Airport x (I actually saw this in reference to Baltimore-Washington International - not one of the United States' busiest airports).

It's too expensive.

We can't find and train enough security guards who are capable of implementing it.

No one 'here' will put up with ethnic profiling.

People will be insulted by all those questions.

Instead, everyone in airports everywhere else in the world outside of Israel wants airport security to work automatically like a machine. Machines don't think. People do. Terrorists are people. People will find a way to beat machines at some point in time. Every time. Think about it.

Either we do what needs to be done or the Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's of the world will continue to board our planes with bombs that we can't find until it is too late. Who will live and who will die? I'd rather not have to find out.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Why Abdulmutallab got through security

Israel Matzav: Egyptian students harassed for visiting Israeli center

Egyptian students harassed for visiting Israeli center

There's an Israeli center in Cairo, Egypt, along the Nile River. It was set up in the early 1980's - probably while President Sadat was still alive and it looked like the peace between Israel and Egypt might even be a real one.

But a lot has changed since the 1980's, and now Egyptian students who visit the Israeli center are harassed and discouraged from going there. YNet has one of their stories.

Hussein Baker, 20, a fourth-year Hebrew student at Menoufia University, near the Egyptian capital, was enthusiastic after reading about the center in the newspaper.

"When I entered the building, I could not believe there was not one soldier or police officer there," he told Ynet in fluent Hebrew. "The building appeared quiet and normal, like any other building in the city. When I stood before the sign reading, 'The Israeli Academic Center in Cairo,' written in Hebrew and Arabic letters, I felt very excited."

He was intrigued, sat down for several hours reading newspapers and books, and even borrowed and took some home. "I asked them to contact me about events at the center, and I left with the intention of returning." But his plans were interrupted by reality.


"As I was walking down the street, wondering why the Egyptian cultural elite refuses with all its might to allow cultural normalization between the countries, and thinking how much this could help the peace process, I suddenly heard a voice calling my name. 'Hello, Hussein,' said the man, who presented himself as Staff Sergeant Hossam of the state's security service.

"I looked at him, alarmed, and asked if I had done anything wrong. He said he only wanted to ask a few questions and began asking me why I visited the center, who I met there, what I think about Israel and what do the Israelis write about Egypt in their newspapers."

Baker answered the question and the security officer let him go. "I thought, innocently, that the affair was over, because it was pretty acceptable for a student of the Hebrew language to visit the center for study purposes."

A week later, however, Baker's girlfriend received a phone call from another security officer, who asked her about her boyfriend, his studies and his political opinions.

"When she told me about it, I didn’t know what to do. I thought it was only a small investigation about me and that I should just ignore it, but today I received a phone call from the Israeli center, which made me very happy. They informed me that next Tuesday they will be screening the film "Someone to Run With", based on a David Grossman book. I didn't even have time to internalize the information, because several minutes later I received a call from an unidentified number."

For most Egyptians, the peace treaty with Israel was never about peace. It was about getting back the land they lost in the war they instigated in 1967. While President Sadat was seemingly sincere, he was assassinated, and Israel found itself with a piece of paper signed by a man and not by a country. Egypt continues to rehearse for war with us, continues to hate us, and continues to harass any of its citizens who may want anything to do with us.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Egyptian students harassed for visiting Israeli center

Israel Matzav: Egypt gets tough

Egypt gets tough

As many of you are undoubtedly aware, Egypt has been playing hardball with Hamas and its supporters over the last few days. The 'get tough' policy culminated in a riot of 'internationals' on Wednesday in El Arish and another by Gazans on the 'Palestinian' side of the border. Yes, an Egyptian cop was killed, but there were a lot more injuries sustained on the 'Palestinian' side.

Lest you think that Egypt has suddenly decided to do the bidding of its principal financial benefactor and of Little Satan, Zvi Barel explains that Egypt is after something else: The Mubarak government is trying to show Syria and Hamas who the boss is.

Egypt's stance does not arise from its desire to help the Israeli siege on Gaza or to respond to the United States' demand to prevent smuggling. It is intended to show both Hamas and Syria that just as it has the power to open the border crossings at will and relieve the siege, so it can twist Hamas' arm.

Egypt has good reason to do so, after Hamas refused to sign the reconciliation agreement with Fatah that Egypt had suggested. Egypt is also making it clear to Syria that from now on Damascus and Iran no longer have exclusive control over Hamas' moves, and that Cairo has a powerful economic lever at its disposal.

Egypt is interested in Palestinian reconciliation and wishes to set up a Palestinian unity government. Egypt has assured Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas of its support if such a government is formed, mainly because it does not want to be responsible for the Gaza Strip.

But Cairo is fed up with Hamas' foot-dragging and Tehran's meddling. In this Egypt is assisted by Saudi Arabia, which gave Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshal an ultimatum to decide whether he is running an Arab organization or is under the "patronage of a foreign power," i.e. Iran.

What's unsaid here is why Egypt wants that unity government. It doesn't want an entity controlled by Hamas on its border. Hamas has a branch in Egypt. It's called the Muslim Brotherhood. Mubarak fears nothing else in the world like he fears the Muslim Brotherhood.

Israel Matzav: Egypt gets tough

Israel Matzav: How's that 'Palestinian unity' coming along?

How's that 'Palestinian unity' coming along?

A senior 'Palestinian Authority' official has accused Hamas of serving Iran's interests at the expense of the 'Palestinians' and other Arabs.

Tayeb Abdel Rahim, Director-General of the PA Presidency and member of the Fatah Central Council, claimed that Hamas had forged an alliance with Iran in a way that harms Arab national security and Palestinian interests.

"Hamas has turned the Palestinian cause into a cheap card in the hands of Iran," Abdel Rahim said in an interview with a local Palestinian radio station. "They have done this at the expense of the Palestinian issue and the unity of the Palestinian people and homeland."

The PA official said that the issue of Hamas's purported alliance with Iran was at the core of this week's talks between Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal in Riyadh.

He hinted that Syria and Iran had intervened with the Saudis to receive Mashaal.

"Hamas must give a clear answer," Abdel Rahim said. "Are you with the Palestinian cause or a pawn in the hands of others? Are you in favor of Arab national security or are you aligned with those who pose a threat to this security? Where do you stand?"

The PA official said that Hamas's actions and rhetoric proved that the movement has become a "pawn in the hands of Iran."

He nevertheless urged Hamas to accept an Egyptian proposal for "reconciliation" with Fatah "so as not to give Israel an excuse to say that there is no partner on the Palestinian side."

Meanwhile, 'Palestinian' chief negotiator bottle washer Saeb Erekat insisted that 'negotiations' have to start from Ehud Olmert's concessions of December 2008. Good luck with that.

There aren't going to be negotiations anytime soon, and there's not likely to be any 'Palestinian unity' either. Maybe they can start throwing each other off roofs again for entertainment.


Israel Matzav: How's that 'Palestinian unity' coming along?

Israel Matzav: France preparing to investigate genocide and war crimes

France preparing to investigate genocide and war crimes

France is preparing to investigate genocide and war crimes. Unlike Britain, where any moron can have a warrant issued, France requires some connection between the plaintiff and the case, such as the involvement of a French citizen or the alleged war criminal's presence on French soil.

Unlike British law, legislation in France allows prosecution for crimes committed outside France but requires some connection between France and the alleged crime, such as involvement of a French citizen or the presence of those accused on French soil. A number of people exiled in France have been accused of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, for instance, and French-resident relatives of people allegedly tortured in Tunisia have brought charges against authorities of that North African country.

"As the homeland of human rights, France will never be a sanctuary for the authors of genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity," Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner [pictured. CiJ] and Justice Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie said in a joint statement published in Le Monde newspaper.

But bringing legal action against those accused of such crimes frequently surpasses the ability of French courts to assemble cases and marshal the evidence required for conviction, they said. "The complexity of the cases inevitably slows procedure," they added. "The growth in the number of pending cases, notably concerning more than 15 Rwandans awaiting judgment, moves us to act quickly."

Didier said the new unit will include specialists with historical knowledge of the issues, such as the ethnically oriented Hutu attacks on Rwanda's Tutsis in 1994, and linguists able to gather testimony more quickly. The specialists will "devote themselves full-time to these kinds of cases," he said, with the hope of breaking up the logjams cited by Kouchner and Alliot-Marie in the Rwanda cases.

"People suspected of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity must be judged," they said. "They will be. France solemnly enrolls in the struggle against impunity. Only justice will allow everybody to turn the page, finally bringing out the truth."

That's not quite the American system where you have to be an American citizen to bring an action like this. It's better than the British system. On the other hand, given the explosion in the number of Muslims in Europe, it's only a matter of time before someone in just about every European country claims to be a relative of some poor splodeydope in Gaza and tries to sue Israel.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: France preparing to investigate genocide and war crimes

Israel Matzav: Full body scanner results

Full body scanner results


Hat Tip: Shy Guy

Israel Matzav: Full body scanner results

Israel Matzav: Obama and pro-Israel community differ on sanctions

Obama and pro-Israel community differ on sanctions

With sanctions against Iran looking more and more likely, differences are emerging between the pro-Israel community and much of the US Congress on the one hand, and the Obama administration on the other hand, regarding what sanctions should be implemented.

With the backing of many Jewish groups, Congress appears to be pressing ahead with a package that targets Iran's energy sector.

While the White House appears to support new congressional sanctions, it appears to favor more narrow measures targeting the Iranian leadership and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, considered especially vulnerable because of the recent anti-government turmoil.

In part the debate is over which approach would do more to help opposition forces in Iran. But also playing a role is the Obama administration’s continuing emphasis on securing international backing for tougher measures against Tehran, the idea being that sweeping U.S. sanctions aimed at the Iranian energy sector could turn off several key nations.

Additionally, the Obama administration has not counted out the prospect of engagement with Iran, although the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad government has put to rest any notion that it will entertain the West's offer to enrich Iran's uranium to medical research levels in exchange for transparency about the Islamic Republic's suspected nuclear weapons program.

While I sympathize with the idea of doing as much as possible to help the Iranian opposition, given the limited time available for sanctions to have a chance of working, stopping the nuclear weapons program has to be the top priority.

I have no sympathy for the goal of trying to 'engage' with Ahmadinejad and Khameni. The notion that those two will seriously negotiate over Iran's nuclear capabilities is laughable (but not funny), and attempting to leave the door open to Ahmadinejad means unjustifiably tempering any backing given to the opposition.

Similar sanctions packages passed by Congress in the 1990s also were never implemented by Presidents Clinton and Bush, yet they had an almost immediate effect because of the threat of being implemented. Major Western traders pulled out of Iran, which is partly why the country’s refinement capabilities are in disarray. Iran, a major oil exporter, still must import up to 40 percent of its refined petroleum.

The principals in shaping the previous sanctions -- in Congress, the Clinton administration and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee -- now openly admit that they were playing a coordinated "good cop-bad cop" game: Republicans who backed the sanctions would quietly shape their criticisms of the Clinton administration in consultation with administration officials; Clinton officials then would cite that "pressure" in getting European nations to join in efforts to isolate Iran.

It's not clear now whether a similar dynamic is at work between the White House and Congress. Some insiders say it is; others say the Obama administration is genuinely wary of punishing sanctions and is unhappy with the pressure from Congress and the pro-Israel community.

Sorry but there is nothing in the Obama administration's dossier that would indicate that they are playing a good cop, bad cop routine with Congress. I'd be surprised to hear that Obama is even discussing this with any Republicans. This 'post-partisan' administration has turned into the most partisan administration since Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal.

The sanctions passed the House with a veto-proof margin. Let's hope they do the same in the Senate.

Israel Matzav: Obama and pro-Israel community differ on sanctions

Israel Matzav: European rabbis up in arms over body scanners

European rabbis up in arms over body scanners

Several European rabbis are up in arms over the prospect of full body scanners being used on passengers at airports. The rabbis, from Milan, London, Paris and Antwerp, have issued a press release in which they suggest a solution that would satisfy the sensitivities of Orthodox Jews while meeting the need for increased security in airline travel.

"We would recommend that men are scanned by men, and women by women, like body frisks," they wrote.

One of the European rabbis agreed to weigh in on the halachic aspects of using the scanner.

"I do not intend to give a halachic opinion and I do not know what actually is shown on the screen, but if it shows the female body then it could be against the laws of modesty," said Rabbi Ya'akov Schmahl, a member of Antwerp's rabbinical court.

The rabbi explained that according to Jewish law it is permitted for a male doctor to treat female patients even if he touches them and sees parts of their body that are normally covered because presumably a doctor is focused on his work and is not inclined to prurience.

"But if women are not happy - and there are religious women who prefer not to go to male doctors - they should be allowed to be monitored by women. And men might also might not want to show themselves before women."

I don't know about the rest of you, and I don't know what these scanners show, but I'm not real comfortable with the idea either. If I meet up with one (which is possible because they're using them in London and I tend to fly through there a lot when I go to Boston), I'm going to ask for a manual search instead.


Reader Danny F sent me images taken from the full body scanner in the Salt Lake City, Utah airport. This is exactly what the technician sees. Note that the faces are blurred.
Hmmm. I doubt this would qualify for Rule 5.

Israel Matzav: European rabbis up in arms over body scanners

Israel Matzav: A Birthright for hasbara

A Birthright for hasbara

Michael Freund suggests that Birthright, which marks its tenth year on Thursday night, should have a separate trip to build support for Israel among Jewish decision-makers from abroad.

In this respect, it is time for Israel and its advocates to grab hold of this success and consider replicating Birthright's model not only as a means for reinvigorating Jewish identity, but also for building support for the Jewish state abroad. The government, working in partnership with Jewish organizations, should develop the equivalent of a hasbara Birthright program geared toward key decision-makers, both Jewish and non-Jewish, in the US, Europe and elsewhere.

The aim would be simple: to bring them here on a free trip for a week or 10 days so they can see and experience Israel beyond the headlines. There could be programs aimed at clergymen and jurists, prominent doctors, lawyers and scientists, and even sports stars and athletes, with each one tailored to their specific interests.

We need to show them that Israel is not Sparta. Just walking the streets, seeing the normalcy of daily life, with children going to school, cafés buzzing with young couples and beaches lined with bathers could be enough to begin tearing away at the stereotypes that the foreign media so readily promote.

Encountering the country up close would humanize it for many, profoundly affecting their view of the Jewish state, which is a message they would then spread far and wide.


SURE, SUCH initiatives already exist in one form or another. The Foreign Ministry, for example, arranges visits here by journalists and dignitaries, and a number of Jewish groups periodically bring over delegations of congressmen and community leaders. But there is no central coordinating body, and no overriding strategy being applied in this area. That needs to change.

It might sound silly for a country to offer free trips to its shores at taxpayer expense. But this is the kind of program that will ultimately reap rewards far greater than the initial investment. It will boost tourism and encourage others to follow, and have a perceptible impact on Israel's standing abroad.

We need to stop focusing on countering every critical letter to the editor that appears in the Western press, and instead start bringing more people here in an organized fashion. As Birthright has shown, that may be the best possible remedy for our current hasbara woes.

I'm surprised we're not doing this already. Isn't this what all the Federation missions here are supposed to be doing? Or am I missing something?

Israel Matzav: A Birthright for hasbara

Israel Matzav: Good news: Goldstone recommended General Assembly act against Israel if Security Council won't

Good news: Goldstone recommended General Assembly act against Israel if Security Council won't

The Goldstone Report includes a little-noticed recommendation that urges 'collective action' by the United Nations General Assembly to sanction Israel in the likely event that the Security Council is unable to act.

The provision was used by the General Assembly members to apply tough economic sanctions against South Africa in 1982 and AJIRI is concerned that it could now be used against Israel.

The Goldstone Commission recommended that the General Assembly may remain apprised of the implementation of its findings and recommendations "until it is satisfied that appropriate action is taken at the domestic and international level to ensure justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators."

The General Assembly may consider whether additional action within its powers is required in the interests of justice, including under Resolution 377 (V) "Uniting for Peace."

According to the "Uniting for Peace" resolution, if the Security Council fails to take action due to a lack of unanimity among its permanent members - apparently a reference to a veto by one or more of the five permanent members - "the General Assembly shall consider the matter immediately with a view to making appropriate recommendations to members for collective measures, including, in the case of breach of the peace or an act of aggression, the use of armed force when necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security."

Schifter said the resolution was first drafted and used to sanction UN countries to wage war against North Korea in 1950 and to impose economic sanctions against the apartheid South African regime in 1982. It was originally spearheaded by the US after the Soviet Union vetoed Security Council resolutions ordering the UN to take measures against North Korea.

Schifter told The Jerusalem Post his suspicions regarding the intent of this recommendation in the Goldstone Report were triggered by the fact that many equate the apartheid regime in South Africa with Israel.

I'm not sure how real a concern this is. Most of the countries that would be likely to volunteer in the General Assembly are likely countries with which Israel has no trade or relations anyway. The only fear is if the multilateralist Obama decides to go along with it. And my guess is that it won't come up before the General Assembly until after the midterm elections in the US, by which time Obama will be in a far weaker position than he is right now.


Israel Matzav: Good news: Goldstone recommended General Assembly act against Israel if Security Council won't

Israel Matzav: Moshe Feiglin on the Route 443 decision and a Jewish constitution

Moshe Feiglin on the Route 443 decision and a Jewish constitution

In his weekly commentary, Jewish Leadership chairman Moshe Feiglin discusses the recent Supreme Court decision on opening Route 443 to 'Palestinian' traffic and the need for a Jewish constitution.

I don't understand why everybody is so upset. After all, immediately upon retiring from his position as Chief Justice of the High Court, Aharon Barak hurried to explain that he does not see Israel as a Jewish state, but rather, as a state of all its citizens. If that is so, how can we prevent Arabs from traveling on highway 443 on an ethnic basis? Furthermore, this distressing decision is not the first of its kind. What is the difference between highway 443 and road 557, where Meir Chai, may G-d avenge his blood, was recently murdered after the road was opened to Arab traffic? 443 is in the "occupied territories" and so is 557. Israelis travel on 443 and they travel on 557. If road 557 is opened to the Arabs of Shechem and Tul Karem even though it is clear that it will lead to the murder of Israelis, why is 443 any different?

From a purely judicial standpoint and according to the principles that Israel's courts have established, the High Court decision is logical and predictable. But let us admit the truth. The reason that the issue created such uproar is because, unlike road 557 that only endangers "settlers," highway 443 serves the illusion that the "Separation Fence" along its route provides the Israelis inside with a protected space. And then the High Court comes along and reminds all the Israelis traveling the modern highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that they, too, are nothing more than "settlers."

If Justices Beinish and Fogelman had anticipated the public outrage with their decision, they may have decided otherwise. It seems that from the heights of their enlightened ivory tower, they do not really perceive the depth of disgust that the High Court has created in ever-widening spheres of the general public.

But even if public pressure would calm the enlightened gang down a bit, on an essential level, we would not have solved anything. The outrageous 443 decision is no more than the symptom of a deep, core disease that has no connection to particular justices. It is not Aharon Barak and it is not Dorit Beinish; it is the fact that despite our declaration of independence in 1948, we have continued to burden ourselves with the judicial system and ethics of the nations.

Sadly, Israel's courts endanger Jews today while vigilantly guarding the human rights of their enemies. This is the natural consequence of the fact that our judicial system is based on British and Turkish values – and certainly not on Jewish values.

Read the whole thing. It will give you something to think about for the rest of the day.

Israel Matzav: Moshe Feiglin on the Route 443 decision and a Jewish constitution

Israel Matzav: Confirmed: Suicide bomber who murdered 7 CIA agents was 'Palestinian'

Confirmed: Suicide bomber who murdered 7 CIA agents was 'Palestinian'

In the comments to this post, I said that the Jordanian 'asset' who was murdered along with seven CIA agents on the Afghanistan - Pakistan border was likely not a 'Palestinian' because there were reports that he was related to King Abdullah, who is not a 'Palestinian.' On the other hand, I said that the odds were 70-30 that the 'Jordanian' who was the double agent/suicide bomber was a 'Palestinian.' Yes, 70% of Jordan's population is actually 'Palestinian.'

Debbie Schlussel tracked down the bomber and confirms that he was a 'Palestinian.'

In fact, this guy's family tree is quite interesting and shows again that there is really no such thing as a 'Palestinian.' Read the whole thing.

But just give them a state and this will all stop.


The picture at the top is the hotel where the bombing took place (thanks Debbie!).

Israel Matzav: Confirmed: Suicide bomber who murdered 7 CIA agents was 'Palestinian'

Israel Matzav: Egypt opposes a 'Palestinian state' in Gaza

Egypt opposes a 'Palestinian state' in Gaza

Surprise! Egypt doesn't want a 'Palestinian state' in Gaza.

‘A senior Egyptian source revealed to the Egyptian newspaper Al-Gumhouriya the real reason that Egypt won’t officially open its border with the Gaza Strip.

He noted that the steel fence being built along the border with the Gaza Strip is designed to thwart Israeli plans to establish a Palestinian state in Gaza and part of Sinai.

Gee, I wonder why.

You didn't really believe all that nonsense about the Arab countries wanting a 'Palestinian state,' did you? Of course, they don't want one, especially not if it's going to be dominated by Hamas. They'd be happy to see a 'Palestinian state' replace Israel (God forbid), but you can bet that if it were dominated by Hamas, Egypt's steel wall on the border with it would be 100 meters high and 100 meters deep.

Denial ain't just a river in Egypt - the Arab Muslim dictatorships are the best liars and whiners in the world.

Israel Matzav: Egypt opposes a 'Palestinian state' in Gaza

Israel Matzav: Andrew Sullivan, anti-Semite

Andrew Sullivan, anti-Semite

Some of you may recall that on Wednesday night I posted that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told Israel's consul general in Los Angeles Jacob Dayan that the US was 'sick of Israel and the Palestinians.' Subsequently, the White House issued a denial.

Most of the blogosphere is discounting the denial. The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg said "I'll check it with Dayan and get back to you." He never did. Other bloggers (including yours truly) felt that it sure sounded like something Rahm would say. But the reaction that has been reverberating around the blogosphere is that of Goldberg's co-blogger, Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Dish (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

Sullivan's bottom line is one that he has stated before. Sullivan believes that the United States or NATO should send troops to force the partition of Israel into a Jewish state and a 'Palestinian' state. Well, he said that last week too. Noah Pollak points out the hypocrisy in Sullivan's position:

Presumably the direct American military imposition of a two-state solution would involve the Marines going house to house in Gaza City. Talk about American soldiers dying for Israel! For someone who has spent the past few years denouncing the hubris of American military intervention in the Middle East, this is heady stuff.

Joshuapundit is tired of Sullivan getting a pass for his anti-Semitism.

While Israel is certainly not beyond criticism, when you make rules and agitate for applying policies that apply to Israel and no other nation, it is simply racism and Jew hatred...whether you're aware of it or not, and no matter how pleasantly you say good morning to the local Jewish mailman or storekeeper every morning. And I'm sick of seeing it coming out of Sullivan and his getting a pass on it.

And oh yes.... he wants to send US troops to invade our ally Israel, create half a million Jewish refugees by throwing them out of their homes and forcibly create yet another judenrein area in the Middle East 'for peace'.

Picture it...American troops rousting Jews out of their homes at gunpoint.

Gee, 'bout we set up some camps in Judea and know, just to concentrate those Jews so they can be dealt with properly?

Only problem is, this a time the Jews are armed, and they won't go quietly.Trust me on that. Nor is President Obama likely to try, considering how pro-Israel the average American he claims to speak for is...not to mention Congress.

I have a different question. Given that Sullivan also has some choice words for the 'Palestinians,'

And, yes, I'm also sick of the war crimes and theocratic insanity of Hamas, and the lame passive-aggression of the PA, and the inability of the Palestinian leadership to prepare for actual governance as opposed to the victimized preening and theatrics and violence they prefer to the difficult compromises required if we are to move forward.

what does he think will happen once the Marines are finished expelling all those Jews from Judea and Samaria and 'east' Jerusalem and going house-to-house in Gaza City and Jenin and Nablus and host of other cities to try to disarm all the terror organizations? Does Sullivan believe that the 'Palestinians' - raised on the glorification of suicide bombers and hatred for Jews - are suddenly going to morph into North Dakotans? How long does Sullivan think this will take? Is he ready to commit US troops for five years or ten years or twenty years to carry out his (and Samantha Power's) decree? What is he going to tell Mrs. Jones from Idaho when her son is murdered by a suicide bomber driving a truck as happened in Lebanon in 1983? And by the way, will Sullivan support the Marines staying here after that truck bombing, or will he demand that they turn tail and run as happened in Lebanon 27 years ago?

The 'Palestinians' don't have a state because they don't want one and because there is no such thing as a 'Palestinian.' Hamas and Fatah are mere proxies for the region's Arab dictators who still have not given up on extirpating the Jewish state's existence - and preferably exterminating Israel's Jews at the same time. If anything else were true, the 'Palestinians' would have taken the State that was offered to them in 1979, 1993, 2000 or 2008 (not to mention the State that was offered to the Arabs in 1936, 1939 and 1947 - before there were 'Palestinians').

Sullivan's plan is completely unrealistic, and he's a smart enough guy to figure that out for himself. That he finds occasion to repeat it once a week shows that he has a cathartic need to get his anti-Semitism out in the open.


JPost quotes Israel's ambassador to the US Michael Oren as saying that Los Angeles consul general Jacob Dayan denies the story.

In addition, Oren said that Dayan has "categorically disassociated himself from this pernicious article, and has expressed his deepest regrets for any distortions it might have caused of Rahm Emanuel's views."

Did Dayan really say that? Did he mean it?

Israel Matzav: Andrew Sullivan, anti-Semite

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian' Christians are vanishing

'Palestinian' Christians are vanishing

Newsmax has a good summary of what's happening to 'Palestinian' Christians. It's not pretty, but of course since most people realize (finally) that the Jews cannot be blamed, no one is interested in doing anything about it anymore.

Christians have left for a litany of reasons, including better economic opportunities abroad. Those who remain traditionally blame Israeli policies for Christian emigration. Israel controls the borders, often preventing Palestinians from working or visiting family members in other parts of the territories and in Jerusalem. The Gaza border has been impassable for three years since rocket fire against Israel picked up and Hamas kidnapped an Israeli soldier.

However, during the past few years, many Christians have softened their blame of Israel while sharpening allegations of Muslim intimidation and large clans’ Mafia-like rule.

Statistics from the Israel-based Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center and interviews with Palestinian Christians — many of whom asked to remain anonymous for fear of revenge — provide examples of intensifying radical Muslim attacks against Christians during the past decade:

  • The violence culminated in Gaza with the murder of Rami Ayyad, 31, an employee at the Bible Society who was kidnapped and tortured before being shot in October 2007.
  • In Gaza, militants have vandalized a monastery as well as Christian and Western schools; bombed the YMCA and Internet cafes; and ransacked the Gaza Baptist Church, using the church as cover while shooting at rival groups.
  • One Christian who works for the Bethlehem municipality said he doesn’t always get paid. “In general, they hate Christians,” he said. “I know Jesus is with me, but sometimes I’m afraid. There are a lot of them, and they can come and gang up on you.”
  • In 2002, dozens of terrorists commandeered Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity for 39 days, knowing that Israeli troops would refuse to storm the church. The gunmen, holding 200 priests hostage, desecrated the traditional birthplace of Jesus with graffiti and a fire, stole relics, and used the Bible as toilet paper.
  • Mobs have burned down or vandalized dozens of Christian businesses and Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and evangelical churches in Ramallah, Tulkarem, and Bethlehem.
  • In the West Bank, Christians enjoy more freedom but still are subject to discrimination. One Christian from Ramallah said he fled after death threats for not giving his land to a Muslim who demanded it. Another, pressed to sell half of his business to Muslim buyers at a fraction of its value, let his company go bankrupt instead, then moved with his family to Canada.

Christians have filed criminal complaints alleging kidnappings of Christian women to marry Muslim men, land thefts, harassment, and job discrimination. Many say they do not have an advocate in the Palestinian government.

“Christians are increasingly aware that, unless something dramatic happens, their days are numbered,” said Justus Weiner, a senior fellow at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Weiner, a human rights lawyer who has investigated injustices against Palestinian Christians for 13 years, predicts that the Christian community there will vanish in another decade.

To my Christian readers: Is this ever discussed in your churches? Is anyone outside the pro-Israel community even aware of it?

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian' Christians are vanishing

Israel Matzav: Iron Dome to be deployed

Iron Dome to be deployed

Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system had a successful test in southern Israel this week, and will hopefully be deployed along the Gaza border sometime this year.

The missile volleys which the system succeeded in intercepting included a number of rockets that mimicked Kassam and longer range Grad-model Katyusha rockets that are known to be in Hamas's arsenal.

The Iron Dome is supposed to be capable of intercepting all short-range rockets fired by Hamas in the Gaza Strip and by Hizbullah in Southern Lebanon. The system uses an advanced radar made by Elta that locates and tracks the rocket, which is then intercepted by a kinetic missile interceptor.

During the test, the radar succeeded in detecting which rockets were headed towards designated open fields and therefore did not launch an interceptor to destroy them.

The IDF has formed a new battalion that will be part of the IAF's Air Defense Division and will operate the Iron Dome. Prototypes have been supplied to the new unit, which has already begun training with the systems.

The IDF has also located positions along the Gaza border to be used as bases for the system, which includes a launcher and radar system. After completing the deployment of the system along the Gaza border, the IDF will begin deploying the system along the northern border with Lebanon.
But writing in Haaretz, Amos Harel says that Iron Dome's deployment does not mean that the danger at our Gaza border has come to an end.
It is hard to exaggerate the importance of the successful tests. Iron Dome is supposed to provide protection against missiles with a range of between four and 70 kilometers. That covers everything from mortar shells through Hamas' Qassams, Hezbollah's Katyusha rockets and even Iranian Fajr rockets, which have apparently made their way to the Gaza Strip. As such, it radically improves Israel's strategic position.

Nevertheless, protection of Israel's home front remains far from complete. First, Iron Dome has yet to be tested in a genuine attack. Second, Israel still lacks any additional missile batteries beyond the prototype just tested. Third, the intermediate layer of Israel's missile defense system - Magic Wand, which is supposed to handle missiles with longer ranges than those covered by Iron Dome but shorter than the long-range ballistic missiles covered by the Arrow - has yet to reach a similarly advanced stage of development, and is not expected to do so until 2012.

The first Iron Dome battery will be delivered to the air force in about six weeks and is slated, if all goes well, to become operational in May. A single missile battery is enough to protect a medium-sized city like Sderot.

The question is how many batteries the Israel Defense Forces will ultimately acquire, and when. It would take about 20 batteries, each costing some NIS 50 million, to defend the entire northern and southern border regions. That will require either diverting substantial funds from other defense projects or significantly increasing the defense budget.
Harel also is critical of the fact that Iron Dome took too long to complete (a criticism I made going back to 2006).
But for all the praise this achievement deserves, one criticism must be leveled: It should have happened much sooner. For years, the IDF refused to invest the necessary funds in developing Iron Dome, until former defense minister Amir Peretz finally forced it to do so. Had this been done sooner, not only would Israeli lives have been saved, but it might have been possible to avoid last winter's war in Gaza altogether and significantly reduce the damage from the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
Well, maybe.
Israel Matzav: Iron Dome to be deployed

Israel Matzav: Europe still ignoring reality

Europe still ignoring reality

Bruce Bawer has a disturbing story about Norwegian women's rights activist Hege Storhaug (Hat Tip: Michael F).

Hege is a former journalist and longtime women’s rights activist in Oslo whose concern about the treatment of women and girls in Muslim communities made her a pioneering critic of Islam in Norway. Time and again she has taken extraordinary personal risks to stand up for females who are confined to their homes, who are denied educations and careers, and who are the victims (or potential victims) of honor killing, genital mutilation, forced marriage, and sundry forms of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.

In 2006, her book But the Greatest of All Is Freedom: On the Consequences of Immigration became a huge—and controversial—best-seller in Norway. At the time, Hege lived in a neighborhood called Kampen, a part of Oslo that brings to mind the Haight-Ashbury or East Village of the 1960s. Hege notes that after her book began to sell big—and draw harsh media attacks—her neighborhood was papered over with posters featuring a photo of her with an X drawn over her face, along with the slogan NO TO RACISTS IN KAMPEN. Then one day—as Hege revealed in a powerful account posted yesterday on the website of Human Rights Service, the small foundation where she works—one or more people broke into her home, beat her, and left her bruised and unconscious in a pool of blood on the floor. Nothing was stolen. The date was January 1, 2007—three years to the day before the attempted murder of Westergaard.

At first, Hege kept the crime secret, for fear that publicizing it would discourage other critics of Islam from speaking out. Not until a month later did she report the brutal event to the police, and then only after a lawyer friend had secured a guarantee that the report would not be made public. But the steady rise in Muslim violence in Europe, culminating in the Westergaard attack, helped changed her mind about publicly revealing the assault. She also wanted to underscore the fact that many in the media—people like Vaïsse, I might add—were by their see-no-evil approach to the subject encouraging physical attacks on people like her and Westergaard. This state of affairs, she felt, needed to be addressed publicly and its real-world consequences made clear.

The fact is that for years Hege has been the target of a ruthless, tireless, and breathlessly mendacious campaign of criticism by the far-left Norwegian media. She’s become Public Enemy Number One among not only radical Muslims but also Communists, socialists (whose numbers in Norway’s capital are not insignificant), and what Hege calls “organized anti-racists.” These are members of Scandinavia’s many government-funded organizations who claim to be liberal opponents of racism but are in fact largely concerned with defending even the most illiberal aspects of immigrant cultures. Indeed, Hege doesn’t believe that her assailants were Muslims; she suspects that they were far leftists of the sort who proliferate in neighborhoods like Kampen and who have made common cause with European Islamists. Hege is also convinced—as am I—that the media’s concerted effort to identify her as a racist and Islamophobe influenced her attackers. This is not difficult to believe: it was, after all, the Dutch media’s demonization of Fortuyn that helped put him in an early grave instead of in his country’s prime ministership.

Bawer's column was prompted by another column I read the other day in Foreign Policy by Justin Vaisse. Vaisse argues that all the warnings about Europe becoming Eurabia are 'exaggerated' because Europe has now reached a 'replacement' birth rate. Bawer disagrees. Bawer says that Vaisse and others like him are closing their eyes to things like the drain on Europe's welfare system from large Muslim families where the husbands have multiple wives and don't work. Vaisee believes places like Malmo can't happen elsewhere. Bawer believes they're likely to happen. Bawer fears Europe's far Left, which supports the Islamists because it's the liberal thing to do.

The ordinary Europeans continue to believe that they can roll along as they are and nothing will happen to them. They allow the growth of Islam and the hatred of Jews in their midst because they don't see that they are the next victims on the list. This is even more true in Scandinavia than on the Continent. I have on my shelf a 256-page monogram called "Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic Countries, Israel and the Jews." It's written by Manfred Gerstenfeld of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Storhaug is not cited there, but Bawer is. Here's what Bawer has to say about Oslo:

To walk the streets of Oslo today is to recall that this is a city where, within human memory, Jews were rounded up and shipped off to their deaths while their neighbors sat in their kitchens placidly consuming kjottkaker and boiled potatoes. There can be little doubt that Europeans' still largely suppressed guilt over the Holocaust, and their enduring irrational Jew-hatred, are significant factors in Europe's ongoing self-destruction.

The far Left and the Islamists are enemies of the Jews. If we don't recognize that, what could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Europe still ignoring reality

Love of the Land: Tortuous Coverage of Palestinian Prisons

Tortuous Coverage of Palestinian Prisons

Honest Reporting/Backspin
06 January '10

Yesterday, AP published an encouraging story that torture in the PA's West Bank prisons has dramatically declined.

Today, Jerusalem Post reporter Khaled Abu Toameh contacted Hamas figures in the West Bank who told him the PA continues torturing prisoners.

I'm not losing sleep over Hamas terrorists and supporters being tortured by the PA. But I am inclined to believe Hamas on this one. One particular JPost snippet was the tipping point:

Earlier this week, the PA organized a tour for reporters to one of its prisons in Nablus, where Hamas inmates said that the torture had ended.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Tortuous Coverage of Palestinian Prisons

Love of the Land: The Lunatic Left

The Lunatic Left

Pilar Rahola
October '08

"Dear friends, of AIPAC, I finish.
I am not Jewish. Ideologically I lean to the left and I am a journalist. Why have I not adopted an anti-Israel stance like the majority of my European colleagues?...."

AIPAC Policy Conference, 2008.

Good Morning.
I´m Honoured to be here today.
The title of my speech is: The Lunatic Left

“Kill that infidel pig!” On September 19, 2006 that simple order, issued by an Imam, changed the life of the French high school teacher Robert Redeker. Internet multiplied the threat in dozens of Islamic websites, posting his home address, telephone numbers and data concerning his children. Since that day his entire family has lived under police protection, and he has been forced to abandon his job, home and way of life. His crime? Having written an article in the French newspaper Le Figaro under the title, “What should the free world do while facing Islamist intimidation?” In it, Redeker defended democratic freedom and warned of the danger of radical Islam. Ironically, by defending the freedom of our society, he lost his own. In his recent book Il faut tenter de vivre (Dare to Live), he recounts the story of his life in hiding. A life condemned to an inner exile in his own country. For exemple, he could´nt announce the sudden death of his father for fear of being discovered. Although his a member of the editorial board of the leftist elite magazine, Les Temps Modernes, founded by J. P. Sartre, he has been deserted by the leaders of the French left, who have lambasted him for his criticism of Islam.

Thus, like Salman Rushdie, Talisma Nasreen and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Robert Redeker has discovered that one part of the European left is betraying freedom. He speaks of the menace of Islamic fascism, which threatens, terrorizes, enslaves and kills. And his leftist companions accuse him of being Islamophobic and racist. He denounces the world’s passiveness in the face of the slavery of women, clitoral ablation, the use of children as bombs and terrorist fanaticism. And his left-wing comrades accuse him of being disrespectful of other cultures. Like myself and many others, Robert Redeker defends an Islam free of fanatics, dictators, terrorists and totalitarians. And our leftist comrades leave us alone to make that defense. He assumes, then, the moral responsibility of defending the Human Rights Charter against the encroachment of radical Islamism, which is the new totalitarian ideology the world is confronting. And our leftist comrades betray that very moral commitment. That is, we are in a moment of history which demands a firm defense of freedom. The left should lead that defense. Unfortunately, the left is not up to the moral commitment, which this historical moment requires.

(Read full speech)

Love of the Land: The Lunatic Left

Love of the Land: Iran Hasn't Won the Cold War Yet

Iran Hasn't Won the Cold War Yet

Graphic TY Steve Hughes
Jonathan Spyer
07 January '10

The salient strategic fact in the Middle East today is the Iranian drive for regional hegemony. This Iranian objective is being promoted by a rising hardline conservative elite within the Iranian regime, centred on a number of political associations and on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards corps. This elite, which is personified by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has received the backing of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Their aim is a second Islamic revolution that would revive the original fire of the revolution of 1979. They appear to be aiming for the augmenting of clerical rule with a streamlined, brutal police-security state, under the banner of Islam. Building Iranian power and influence throughout the Middle East is an integral part of their strategy.

The Iranian nuclear program is an aspect of this ambition. A nuclear capability is meant to form the ultimate insurance for the Iranian regime as it aggressively builds its influence across the region.

This goal of hegemony is being pursued through the assembling of a bloc of states and organisations under Iranian leadership. This bloc, according to Iran, represents authentic Muslim currents within the region, battling against the US and its hirelings. The pro-Iranian bloc includes Syria, Sudan, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas among the Palestinians, and the Houthi rebel forces in northern Yemen.

A de facto rival alliance is emerging, consisting of states that are threatened by Iran and its allies and clients. This rival alliance includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait.

Israel, despite lacking official diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, is also a key member of this camp. Unlike the pro-Iranian bloc, which has a simple guiding ideology of resistance to the West, the countries seeking to counter Iran are united by interest only.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Iran Hasn't Won the Cold War Yet
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