Monday, 11 January 2010

Love of the Land: HRW's Roth tries to weasel out of his libel

HRW's Roth tries to weasel out of his libel

Elder of Ziyon
11 January '10

I wrote last week about HRW's Ken Roth's article vilifying Israel as a nation that uniquely hates human rights and that goes out of its way to trample the rights of its enemies.

One of the things he wrote was a purposeful misinterpretation of a statement by Tzipi Livni, which he used as justification for his sick thesis. He falsely wrote that she said that the IDF should not distinguish between Gaza civilians and terrorists, when in fact she said that Israel should not distinguish between Arab and Jewish victims of terror.

NGO Monitor traced the history of how Livni was misquoted and found that it originated in a similar accusation by Al Haq, a European-funded Palestinian Arab NGO. That libel then spread to other Palestinian NGOs, to Al Jazeera and finally to HRW which quoted it in its Rockets from Gaza report last August - in a transparent attempt to balance its rare criticism of Hamas with a calumny against Israel. The entire episode shows in a clear light how HRW's fact-finding methodology is flawed and biased, when they cannot even be bothered to read the original source of the quote and instead rely on biased and false interpretations from Palestinian Arab NGOs with a clear agenda against truth.

Now, Roth is backtracking. His article has been edited to take out Livni's quote, and to add a correction that, unbelievably, still doesn't admit the error:

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: HRW's Roth tries to weasel out of his libel

Israel Matzav: IDF warns again of retaking Philadelphi corridor

IDF warns again of retaking Philadelphi corridor

The IDF is warning that in the event that there is another conflict in Gaza, it may retake the Philadelphi corridor (pictured), which runs along the border between Gaza and Egypt and under which most of the weapons smuggling tunnels run. As you may recall, in the fall of 2005 US Secretary of State Rice used 'gentle persuasion' to 'convince' Israel to leave the corridor in the tender loving care of European monitors and Egypt, both of which proved to be willfully ineffective. When Hamas took over Gaza in early 2007, the European monitors fled. Until recently, the Egyptians showed no interest in policing the border area.

The Olmert government was presented with a plan to retake the corridor during Operation Cast Lead. It refused to do so because it was afraid that the only way to effectively retake the corridor would be to stay there for at least some period of time after the operation ended. In fact, that is the only way to effectively police the corridor: IDF troops have to be on the ground. But in light of how quickly Hamas rearmed after Operation Cast Lead, the Netanyahu government recognizes that there may be no choice but to station troops along the corridor.

Plans for such an operation have been drawn up and would likely include the deployment of several units in the southern Gaza town of Rafah and along the 14-kilometer strip of land called the Philadelphi Corridor under which Hamas has dug several hundred tunnels that are used to smuggle weapons and explosives into the Strip.

Such a plan was presented to Ehud Olmert's government ahead of last winter's Operation Cast Lead. At the time though, the government deemed such an operation too costly in IDF casualties. In addition, there was concern that such an operation would force the IDF to retain a long-term presence in Gaza, something the government did not want.

Such an operation would be designed to prevent Hamas from rearming following the larger conflict. It would require troops to go house-to-house in Rafah to search for tunnels and to destroy them. There is also the possibility that following such an operation, the IDF would retain a presence in southern Rafah to prevent the re-digging of the tunnels.

Over the last week or two, things have started to heat up again in Gaza. There have been Kassam rockets, mortars, and even a few Katyushas fired. While many people thought that we would only have to face Hamas again in the context of a diversionary attack while we dealt with Iran, things may happen sooner than that. Hopefully, this time, with God's help and a Prime Minister who is not a pacifist, we will be more successful than the last time.

Israel Matzav: IDF warns again of retaking Philadelphi corridor

Israel Matzav: British intelligence confirms: 20 more like Abdulmutallab waiting

British intelligence confirms: 20 more like Abdulmutallab waiting

British intelligence has confirmed that there are 20 more suicide bombers who have been trained to do exactly what Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to do on Christmas day: Blow up a plane with a bomb in their underwear.

British Intelligence has confirmed perhaps the most chilling boast that accused Christmas Day bomber Umar Abdulmutallab made to investigators after his arrest: that close to 20 other young Muslim men were being prepared in Yemen to use the same technique to blow up airliners, CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reports exclusively.

"I think the fact we know that there are other operatives being trained by al Qaeda in Yemen is extremely troubling, and is the most dangerous dimension to come out of the December 25th event," said CBS News national security analyst Juan Zarate.

That is why, sources say, the U.S. government issued this directive last Sunday - announcing "enhanced screening" for "every individual" on U.S.-bound flights from 14 countries, including Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen.

In addition, a team of FBI agents is now on the ground in the West African nation of Ghana, having arrived last Saturday, attempting to piece together Abdulmutallab's whereabouts and activities in the two weeks prior to the attempted attack on Flight 253.

Imagine how many other pieces of useful information we might have gotten from this guy if the Obama administration hadn't hurried to arrest him as a criminal, read him his Miranda rights and let him hire a lawyer.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: British intelligence confirms: 20 more like Abdulmutallab waiting

Israel Matzav: Hezbullah = Lebanese army = Hezbullah

Hezbullah = Lebanese army = Hezbullah

The IDF is trying to convince the World that Hezbullah and the Lebanese army are one and the same (they are).

According to government sources, the position Israel is trying to impress on countries that support Lebanon is that the Lebanese army and Hizbullah are virtually indistinguishable. As such, Israel is calling on countries that provide military aid to Lebanon to rethink the matter.

In early December, the Lebanese parliament gave a vote of confidence to the government of Saad Hariri and approved a government platform that allowed Hizbullah to maintain its arms in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.

From that time, which also included a declaration that Hizbullah had a mandate to defend Lebanon from Israel, "there has been a great deal of concern here," one official said.

The main concern, the official said, is weaponry being provided or pledged by the US. The issue is likely to be raised during the expected meetings here Tuesday with US National Security Advisor James Jones.

I've been arguing that for a long time....

In other news from Lebanon on Monday, Hezbullah the Lebanese army claims to have shot at Israeli reconnaissance jets over Marjayoun and Lebanese President Michel Suleiman visited the UN facilities and Lebanese army posts in the area of the Israeli border on Monday.

That second piece of news should be all you need to tell you that Hezbullah controls the Lebanese government. The border area is their stronghold, and they would never let Suleiman into it if they didn't feel that he's under their control.

Israel Matzav: Hezbullah = Lebanese army = Hezbullah

Love of the Land: Islamic Jihad: Israel wants to drag us into war

Islamic Jihad: Israel wants to drag us into war

09 January '10

(Slow on the learning curve really does not do these people justice. Y.)

Armed Palestinian factions will not hesitate to confront Israel if the Israel Defense Forces continue to attack the Gaza Strip, an official from the Islamic Jihad's military wing Al-Quds Brigades told Palestinian news agency Ma'an on Saturday.

Spokesman Abu Ahmad claimed Israel is attempting to provoke an armed conflict with Palestinian groups. "The latest Israeli military escalation on Gaza comes within ongoing attempts by the occupation to provoke the resistance by dragging it into a military confrontation," Ma'an news agency quoted Ahmad as saying.

Abu Ahmad's statements come following a week-long rocket barrage fired from Gaza into southern Israel, to which the IDF retaliated with a series of air strikes against Gaza targets overnight Thursday.

Abu Ahmad also dismissed recent reports of Israel's successful tests of the Iron Dome rocket defense system, saying Israel "can't stop the projectiles of the resistance."

"The occupation's attempts will fail in weakening the spirit of resistance, and that could change the equation of the circumstances in the region," Abu Ahmad said.

Related: Dead Militants

Love of the Land: Islamic Jihad: Israel wants to drag us into war

"And he will rule over you" (Ber. 3:16) - Part 2

"And he will rule over you" (Ber. 3:16) - Part 2


Question: Why does the man rule? Is he more "equal"?
Answer: No, both members of the marriage are equal. The wife being "ruled" over by her husband is a curse, which appears after listening to the snake. Since then the world has been "manly". It is an unhealthy world and has lead to much distress. Not only do women suffer, but the men do as well. The remedy is reunification. Return to "The bone of my bones" and "the flesh of my flesh" (Bereshit 2:23). This remedy is found among the Nation of Israel: Avraham and Sarah, Yitzchak and Rivka, Yaakov and Rachel and Yaakov and Leah. We must not be enticed by the corrupt snake which crawls on the ground, but we must repair with love and brotherhood, peace and friendship.
Originally posted by Torat HaRav Aviner

RubinReports: A Mystery: What's Happening in American Schools and Why Aren't Parents Aware of It?

A Mystery: What's Happening in American Schools and Why Aren't Parents Aware of It?

By Barry Rubin

As I contemplate what’s happening now with American schools and Western society in general-- especially ideological indoctrination by schools and seeming parental indifference to it—I’m reminded of a relevant, true story.

It was in the 1870s or 1880s, a time with many parallels to today. Peretz Smolenskin, a Russian Jewish novelist, editor, and Zionist, was then living in Western Europe. A wealthy Russian Jew visited him to ask advice on what to do with his daughter. She’d been radicalized in school and joined the terrorist revolutionary movement, the People’s Will, which idealized the Russian peasantry. Members were assassinating officials and many were sent to Siberia or executed. The man complained bitterly about his problem.

Smolenskin tried to be sympathetic but was rather irritated and so ended up being quite blunt. The real cause of such problems, he told the father, was a failure of parents, not children:

"How did you bring up your daughter?....You sent her to high school, where she learned about other peoples. Did you teach her about our own people? Did you teach her our own language? Did you interest her in our own history? Did you want her to know about our own people and our own national aspirations? To whom, then, should you bring your complaints, if not to yourself?"

In other words, if you end up being shocked at what your children think doesn't this have something to do with what you have, or haven't taught them?

Responding to my "Life in an American Fourth Grade" series, a number of people in different parts of the country have written about their experiences with public school. One had been told by a student also in the same county school system the following exchange:

Question: What did you learn about WW II?
Answer: About the internment of Japanese-Americans.
Question: Did you learn about [the] Pearl Harbor [attack]?
Answer: No.

Ask yourself why this is being done. In my son's class they read not one, not two, but three books on the internment of the Japanese residents or citizens on the West Coast. It certainly would have been possible to teach about the Pearl Harbor attack; the courage of Americans on Bataan and on Wake Island; and other such things. Why not teach both? (My son says that the Pearl Harbor attack was mentioned in class but only to set the background for the internment.)

But the Pearl Harbor attack creates a problem for the dominant ideology today. It is a case of another, non-white nation attacking the United States. Anyone might conclude that Imperial Japan had acted in a cowardly and dishonorable manner by such a sneak attack in the midst of diplomatic negotiations. Such an attitude could lead to the PC sins of “racism,” “xenophobia,” and “patriotism.” Might someone draw a parallel between December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001? These were “dangers” to be avoided.

The same applies to Japanese torture of Western prisoners, most known in contemporary culture through the film “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” about the building of the “Death Railway” in China. There is a huge body of evidence about such things, which led to the executions of a number of Japanese officials after World War Two on war crimes’ charges. But, again, to show a non-white, non-Western country acting in such a matter might make Americans look down on a differentt, non-white, non-Western society. Parallels to contemporary terrorism and decapitation of Americans kidnapped in Pakistan or Iraq?

The same could be said for another theme, that is, the Japanese oppression of China. In class, the teacher denied a student's question about Japanese atrocities. She said there was no evidence and that, any way, those mistreated had been soldiers, not civilians as in the case of the interned Japanese. While she would be shocked to be accused of this, in effect she was saying that putting Japanese civilians behind barbed wire with no mistreatment was worse than starving, working to death, and using American soldiers for medical experiments.

A reader wrote me to ask sarcastically whether the teacher had heard about the “rape of Nanking,” one of the most famous Japanese atrocities against China. Probably she hasn't. But at any rate, this theme cannot be dealt with because it shows non-white, non-Westerners acting in an imperialistic and racist fashion toward other non-white, non-Western people. This suggests that such sins are not those of the West alone, another idea the contemporary pedagogues want to avoid.

Finally, something I find fascinating is the very profound American sympathy for China and the Philippines on the basis of their mistreatment by Japan. Certainly, 1940s’ America did not treat these Asians equally, and yet they were seen as heroic people in very human terms. Indeed, I’d argue that the U.S. attempt to help China was a major cause of the Japanese attack. The United States put sanctions on Tokyo precisely to press it to treat China better. Such a theme would show both U.S. sympathy for others, indeed non-whites, and willingness to stick its neck out on an issue of human rights. This contradicts the narrative about America always being in the wrong.

So there are real problems in presenting a balanced picture of the Second World War in the Pacific. The European side is much easier since the Nazis were both racists and right-wingers. The only problem here is to avoid saying anything negative about the Soviet Union and the Communists.

A reader who is the child of Holocaust survivors was shocked to discover in a school of education mainstream texts that compared the housing projects of American cities to concentration camps. An education expert asked his son if he knew who George Washington was, to which his son replied: “You mean George Washington Carver?”

In place of liberal views that American society should transcend race through equal treatment has come the radical left position that society should be organized along racialist lines while America should be portrayed systematically as the oppressor and its history as a series of shameful incidents. Ironically, both social class and gender issues have been swept aside in this campaign.

Other readers recorded the implicit decline in freedom of speech by saying their children took it for granted that they should not write about certain topics or viewpoints either because they knew they would be derided for having a different perspective or feared getting a bad grade.

There are also readers who told me about problems on the quality of education being offered. One doctoral student was told by an advisor that archival research was irrelevant. Another was warned that the well-known university he attended would not accept a thesis on Islamist thought since this category was just an invention of Zionists (which would be quite a surprise to millions of Islamists).

Another reader sent me a study he had done on math instruction which concluded: “The situation went from bad in 1998 to worse in 2005 and 2006 for all ethnic groups, but there were more dramatic downturns for African-American and Hispanic students.” One reason for this was that instruction was tailored to get students good scores on state tests, which in turn made the schools, administrators, and teachers look good even though it left students more poorly prepared.

My initiation into this issue came from thousands of miles away when my daughter was taking the SAT at an exceptionally early age to qualify for an on-line writing program being offered by an American university. I leafed through the booklet provided by the testing service, examining sample questions used in previous tests. I was shocked to see the political bias to the left—and I don’t mean liberal—side evinced in many questions. Others were political neutral, but none were tilted in any other direction. When I took such tests years ago they were carefully written to avoid any politicization.

This does not mean everything about contemporary public schools is bad by any means, and of course the situation depends on the state, specific school, and even individual teacher in many ways.

Yet I still don’t get it: Why aren’t hundreds, even thousands, of parents asking their children what happened each day in school and writing about it? The answers I get include: parents are working harder and have less time, they assume everything is fine, the kids don't tell them much, they think it is futile to object, and they fear complaints will lead to the lowering of their children's grades. Some parents, of course, have turned to home schooling which is an admirable, but also a drastic, alternative.

One thing is clear, though: anyone who ridicules the idea that there is serious indoctrination going on in public schools has simply not done research by simply talking with the students.

RubinReports: A Mystery: What's Happening in American Schools and Why Aren't Parents Aware of It?

Elder of Ziyon: Most West bank Arabs don't think they have freedom of expression

Elder of Ziyon: Most West bank Arabs don't think they have freedom of expression

Israel Matzav: Petraeus: 'Iran's facilities aren't bomb proof and we have a plan to deal with them'

Petraeus: 'Iran's facilities aren't bomb proof and we have a plan to deal with them'

In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour to be broadcast on Sunday, US Central Command chief David Petraeus says that Iran's nuclear facilities are not bomb proof and that the United States does have a contingency plan to deal with them militarily.

In addition to diplomacy and sanctions, the United States has developed contingency plans in dealing with Iran's nuclear facilities, a top U.S. military commander told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, did not elaborate on the plans in the interview, to be aired Sunday. But he said the military has considered the impacts of any action taken there.

"It would be almost literally irresponsible if CENTCOM were not to have been thinking about the various 'what ifs' and to make plans for a whole variety of different contingencies," Petraeus told Amanpour at the command's headquarters in Tampa.


When asked about rumors that Israel could attack Iran's facilities, Petraeus declined to comment about Israel's military capabilities. But when asked about the vulnerability of the facilities, Petraeus said Iran has strengthened the facilities and has enhanced underground tunnels.

Still, the facilities are not bomb-proof.

"Well, they certainly can be bombed," he said. "The level of effect would vary with who it is that carries it out, what ordnance they have, and what capability they can bring to bear."

We've heard similar hints of military action against Iran from Admiral Michael Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Here's the problem though. While Petraeus and Mullen are both extremely capable men and I'm sure they have solid plans to take out Iran's facilities - or at least to severely damage them - the guy who would have to give the orders to use those plans would regard an American attack on Iran under any circumstances as a failure of his Presidency.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Petraeus: 'Iran's facilities aren't bomb proof and we have a plan to deal with them'

Love of the Land: Egyptian Chutzpah

Egyptian Chutzpah

Herbert I. London
Hudson New York
11 January '10

How do you spell chutzpah in Arabic? The Egyptian government has railed against Israel for erecting a security fence in the West Bank for years, protesting, its construction in the United Nations and every other international body, and usually employing the phrase “apartheid wall.”

But now, mirabile dictu, Egypt is building a wall of its own along the border of the Gaza Strip -- and, as one might guess, will not entertain any criticism of this project.

The Israeli barrier was built to prevent suicide bombing and other terrorist activities against Israelis; by contrast, the Egyptian fence is designed to stop Palestinians living in Gaza from entering Egypt.

One might well ask why President Hosni Mubarak would want to keep his Arab brothers locked inside the poverty-stricken area of Gaza, among the most congested places on the globe.

He contends, with some legitimacy, that Hamas’s presence in Gaza could be a destabilizing factor in Egypt if the border were porous. Yet Hamas poses a threat to Israel even more formidable than its threat to Egypt. The stated Hamas goal is “Liberate Palestine,” not “Occupy Egypt.” Moreover, if Hamas were an existential threat to Egypt’s national security, why has Mubarak been negotiating with Hamas leaders for years, and why has he been at the center of talks over reconciliation with Fatah?

In fact, by keeping the border crossing into Egypt closed, Mubarak is sending the Palestinians to Israel for help. In the Byzantine world of Middle East politics Arab leaders want the Gaza Strip to remain exclusively an Israeli problem.

The irony, of course, is that the millions of dollars required to build the new fence could have been employed to build hospitals, schools and housing. Palestinians crossing the border generally do so in search of employment or to be reunited with families residing in Egypt. At the moment even medical and humanitarian aid cannot get through the Rafah border crossing and human rights activists are invariably stopped at the border as well.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Egyptian Chutzpah

Israel Matzav: Good news: Arabs to adopt 'no fly rule' to the US

Good news: Arabs to adopt 'no fly rule' to the US

A Saudi preacher has called for Arab countries to adopt a 'no fly rule' to the US in response to President Obama's designation of the nationals of 14 mostly Arab countries for extra tender loving care at the security counter.

A noted Saudi preacher has called on Arabs to stop flying to the United States, in protest of “enhanced screening” procedures aimed at catching terrorists, the Dubai business website reported.

Muslim preacher Sheikh Sulaiman al Dowaish has urged Saudi authorities to consider the travel ban following an announcement by the United States that “enhanced screening" measures will be put into place for passengers from 14 countries, including Saudi Arabia.


Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry has asked the Obama administration for clarifications regarding the new security measures. Officials said the oil-rich kingdom would not tolerate security procedures that tarnish the honor and dignity of Saudis.

The website noted that 22,000 students from Saudi Arabia are learning at American universities.

Saudi security researcher Sultan Al Anqari blasted the new U.S. regulation, telling that the Obama government is resorting to a form of political blackmail against Saudi Arabia because of the country’s anti-Israeli policies.

The Saudis conveniently forget the nationality of 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11.

Meanwhile, some of those Saudi students who are studying at American universities are whining about the enhanced security they encountered while returning to school after Christmas. The US should put them all on a one-way flight back to Riyadh.

Israel Matzav: Good news: Arabs to adopt 'no fly rule' to the US

Israel Matzav: Israel to build fence on Egyptian border

Israel to build fence on Egyptian border

Israel has decided to fence off its border with Egypt in a bid to keep out weapons, terrorists, prostitutes and refugees from African countries who sneak across the border and change our country's security situation and social fabric.

Netanyahu said Israel would "remain open to refugees" from conflict zones but added, "we cannot let tens of thousands of illegal workers infiltrate into Israel through the southern border and inundate our country with illegal aliens."

The barrier will not be erected along the whole border, and advanced surveillance equipment will help border control officers to spot infiltrators.

Two segments will be built in the plan's first phase, one near the southern city of Eilat and the other near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip.

Let's hope this one goes more smoothly than the 'security fence' in Judea and Samaria has gone.

YNet adds:

Netanyahu was quoted as saying that the whole of Israel would be surrounded by a fence eventually.


According to police estimates, some 100-200 illegal aliens infiltrate into Israel each week through the border with Egypt. Some of them come as labor immigrants, while the rest are defined as "criminal elements" and refugees from Africa.

Interior Minister Yishai emphasized the urgency of the problem, noting that the refugees constitute a "social time bomb," particularly in the light of the social conditions in some Israeli towns such as Tel Aviv, Arad and Eilat which have absorbed many refugees. The problem is compounded by the criminal problem of human trafficking.

You would have thought they would have dealt with this problem a long time ago. Maybe now it will be cleaned up.

Israel Matzav: Israel to build fence on Egyptian border

Israel Matzav: Yet another anti-Israel Obumbler nominee

Yet another anti-Israel Obumbler nominee

Throughout his Presidential campaign, President Obumbler was dogged by accusations that his advisers were anti-Israel. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Samantha Power, Robert Malley - you all recall the names. Then Obama was elected and promptly attempted to appoint the insufferable Chas Freeman to head the National Intelligence Council. Now, Obama is trying to appoint a new director of TSA, the Transport Security Agency, which has been under fire for rank incompetence. Obama's nominee is Erroll Southers. Here's part of a 2008 interview with Southers that was unearthed by David Freddoso (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

Let's go to the videotape.

For those who thought you were imagining things, here's the key sentence:

"Due to connectivity that we have with countries such as Israel, France -- countries that are seen by groups, by al Qaeda, as infidels or anti-Islamic -- by the true nature of our alliance with them means that we subject to be attacked as well."

Well, isn't that just great? The guy Obama wants to put in charge of airport security thinks the US could get rid of terror if only the government threw out El Al and Air France.

Later in the interview, Southers comes up with this inanity:

"I think however, as we move forward...we are going to have to sit and have a discussion as they've had in Great Britain, as they've had in France, Israel -- they're the leaders -- about where we want to talk about civil liberties and where we want to talk about security. Security is an inconvenience. And where security has been successful, the countries I mentioned, those citizens live with the fact that they're going to be delayed, that they're going to be scrutinized, that they're going to be questioned, but more importantly that they are probably going to be safer."

I've flown into, through and out of Paris three or four times in the last five years, and I've flown into, through and out of London more times than I can count. If Southers really thinks that the security in London and Paris is comparable to Tel Aviv, he's an even bigger moron than this video makes him out to be.

Watch the whole interview. Do you trust this guy to protect you? I don't.

Israel Matzav: Yet another anti-Israel Obumbler nominee

Israel Matzav: Bumble, stumble and skid

Bumble, stumble and skid

Cousin Eliot has an article in Monday's Wall Street Journal in which he gives some unsolicited, solid foreign policy advice to the Obama administration (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

The first is explaining to the American people, and indeed to the world, what kind of war we are waging against Islamist movements. Neither Mr. Obama nor the predecessor he still complains of have been able to get beyond the trope of "extremists who have perverted a great religion." J. K. Rowling has given her readers a more thorough understanding of Lord Voldemort than the West's leaders have given their populations of whom we fight, what really animates them, and what the challenges that lie ahead will be. In particular, Mr. Obama has not articulated an effective policy of dealing with enemies who are neither criminals nor soldiers. Instead, he has tried to walk down both sides of a street at once, trying some in courts and keeping others in Guantanamo (or, in the future, a Gitmo North in Illinois) for handling by military tribunals.

The second problem is Iraq, the war that the president opposed, but the success of which is a matter of cardinal importance. The U.S. must have a broad policy for the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. Such a policy should—must—work Iraq into a broader pattern of relationships. The emergence of a free Iraq offers great opportunities. A relatively stable, representative and secular Iraq would help counterbalance Iran, support moderate regimes such as Jordan, and fuel a world economy that, however climate conscious, will need oil. Simply to talk about "responsibly leaving Iraq to its people" is, in fact, irresponsible. Iraq will need care and attention to stay on its current fragile trajectory to success, but it is also an opportunity not to be neglected.

Part of un-Bushism as foreign policy has been a self-inflicted muteness by this most articulate of politicians on the topic of democracy, freedom and human rights. American foreign policy has always been a long and difficult dialogue between realpolitik and our values, our pursuit of our own interests, and our deliberate efforts to spread freedom abroad. Saying that the U.S. will "bear witness" to abuses and brutality around the world is, in effect, to say that we will send flowers to funerals. Mr. Obama needs to say something considerably more serious. In the case of Iran, for example, he could make it altogether unambiguous that we stand with those risking their lives to confront and, if fortune favors them, overthrow a dangerous, indeed evil regime.

Finally, all the globalist talk of this past year has obscured the importance of our alliances, which are evolving, but above all, need tending. New and rising allies—as different as the United Arab Emirates and Colombia—need to be identified and described as such. But more importantly, they, as well as old allies, need to hear from the U.S. president the importance we attribute to them and a conceptual description of how they fit into our policy.

Well, here's one old American ally who would love to hear from the President how important we are and how we fit into America's foreign policy. That would do a lot more to improve President Obama's 4% approval rating among Israeli Jews than all the re-set buttons and 'conversations' and other gimmicks he's tried until now. It would also help more than trying to bully our Prime Minister into making unilateral concessions before we even reach the bargaining table.

But perhaps the scariest thing in Eliot's article was this assertion:

Much of foreign policy consists of a rough and ready game of adaptation to unforeseen, occasionally awful events. Indeed, Mr. Obama has been fortunate that his first year in office did not witness a real foreign-policy crisis. We have yet to see how he will meet that test. But there are large questions that require some high intellectual effort that he might consider tackling.

Now there's a scary thought.

To find out why the post's title is what it is, read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Bumble, stumble and skid

Israel Matzav: Loyal opposition?

Loyal opposition?

He who would risk the lives of American troops to set up a terror state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, objects to four United States Senators stating their views on war and peace.

So what do several sitting Senators do in such a delicate situation in which George Mitchell has recently raised the option - a remote one, but an option - of withholding loan guarantees as the first Bush administration did. They go to Israel and back prime minister Netanyahu against their own president in an open news conference.

The man who lost the last election reacts by directly undercutting the victor's foreign policy goals, and does so abroad in the very country Obama is trying to push toward change.

Lieberman, for his part, is effectively telling the Israelis that Obama does not control US foreign policy with respect to Israel, and that he will be prevented by Congress from exerting any pressure. He says this with a certainty, as if the autonomy of the president is simply moot. And remember that Lieberman and McCain often invoke the necessity for sanctions against foreign countries the US is trying to nudge or persuade in one way or another.

Funny, the last time I read the American constitution, Congress had the power to declare war and to borrow money on the credit of the United States. So why shouldn't four United States Senators express their views on those issues? It's not as if they tried to execute their own foreign policy as private citizens like Obama idol Jimmy Carter did when George W. Bush was in power.

Israel Matzav: Loyal opposition?

Israel Matzav: How to keep America safe

How to keep America safe

Even though it has nothing to do with Israel, this video is too good not to share.

Let's go to the videotape.

How long did it take you to realize the system failed?

Israel Matzav: How to keep America safe

Israel Matzav: Moral clarity?

Moral clarity?

Evelyn Gordon credits Tony Blair with 'moral clarity' for these comments he made in a weekend interview in Haaretz. Blair was asked why British public opinion is so anti-Israel.

“Look, there’s criticism everywhere,” Blair responded. “But that’s partly because people don’t understand how difficult this situation is when you come under attack, your civilians come under attack, and you’re a democratic government and you’re expected to respond.”

Evelyn calls this statement 'remarkable' (it is), because it seemingly equates Israel's situation with the situation of British troops in Afghanistan (for example).

Even by itself, that’s a remarkable statement: the problem, according to Blair, is not Israel’s actions; it’s that other Western countries, not facing the same daily assaults, refuse to recognize that if they did, they might respond similarly.

Even more remarkable, however, is the next sentence: “I mean, we face this [situation] continually. We face it now, actually, in places like Afghanistan.”

In short, Westerners should understand Israel because they’re in the same boat: their own armies are causing civilian casualties “in places like Afghanistan” for the exact same reasons.

As a result, Evelyn credits Tony Blair with 'moral clarity.'

Blair never explicitly mentions Israel as a front in this global battle, but his linkage of Israel’s situation with the one “we face … in places like Afghanistan” makes the implication clear. And the conclusion, while similarly inexplicit, is equally clear: were the West to acknowledge its enemy’s true nature, its view of Israel might change.

Since no current Western leader exhibits anything like Blair’s moral clarity, that’s unlikely to happen soon. But given the nature of the enemy, it almost certainly will happen someday. Hence, rather than capitulating to its enemies, Israel’s goal, like Britain’s in World War II, must be to hold fast until then.

I wish I could share Evelyn's optimism and her view of Blair as having moral clarity. But the truth be told, with George Bush circa 2002-2004 gone, Blair doesn't have a lot of competition right now on the 'moral clarity' front, and in fact his statement is nowhere near as morally clear as it could have been.

Had Blair really wanted to be fair, he could have noted the difference between British troops facing Taliban jihadis hundreds of miles from home, and Israeli civilians facing 'Palestinian' jihadis in our backyards every day.

Until Blair is clear enough to recognize that difference - which makes the lack of support Israel receives from Britain and other Western countries all the more remarkable - there is little hope that 'someday' World leaders will exhibit even the modicum of moral clarity exhibited by Tony Blair.

Israel Matzav: Moral clarity?

Israel Matzav: Another Mitchell blunder

Another Mitchell blunder

Noah Pollak points out another serious misstatement in US Special Envoy George Mitchell's PBS interview last week.

One more item from Obama Mideast envoy George Mitchell’s appearance on the Charlie Rose show (transcript here). Mitchell said:

Well, that’s the principal difference between Fatah and Hamas. The Palestinian authority which is basically the Fatah party, believes in nonviolence and negotiation.

This is silly stuff. Fatah, of course, proudly maintains terrorist groups, such as the Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades and the Tanzim militia, within the party structure. The gunmen who murdered an Israeli rabbi two weeks ago were not just members of Fatah but also on the Fatah payroll. Just last week, the heroically moderate president and prime minister of the PA could be seen publicly celebrating Fatah terrorists and acts of terrorism.

Silly stuff indeed. During the Oslo War between 2000 and 2004, far more Israelis were murdered by terrorists from Fatah's Tanzim and al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades than were murdered by Hamas.

If Mitchell doesn't recognize that Fatah is a terror organization (albeit one that claims it wants to 'negotiate' with Israel), he will never understand or sympathize with Israeli concerns about Fatah being in control of strategic ground in Judea and Samaria. What could go wrong?

Read the whole thing.

Maybe we should start having a Mitchellism of the day like Captain Ed's Obamateurism of the Day (and week).

Hmmm .

Israel Matzav: Another Mitchell blunder

Israel Matzav: Contiguous?


Some reporter has been reading my blog.

You may recall that about two weeks ago, Rick Richman and I went back and forth about the the absence of the word 'contiguous' from the Clinton formulation of the 'Palestinian' side of the US terms of reference.

The reference to an 'independent and viable' state [in Clinton's November 25, 2009 statement] is also less troublesome than it could have been. 'Independent' doesn't equate with militarized (see Andorra). Moreover, there's a key word missing here: contiguous. I have argued many times on this blog that if a 'Palestinian' state is contiguous, then by definition the Jewish state would be neither contiguous nor secure. Thus Clinton's omission of the word contiguous from her formulation, if tracked in the letter to the 'Palestinians,' is significant.

Someone read the exchange between Rick and me, and the question got asked at a State Department press briefing on Friday.

QUESTION: The [Jordanian] foreign minister also used the word, when he talked about the creation of a separate Palestinian state, one that is contiguous. I noticed the Secretary did not use that word. Where is the – what is the U.S.’s position on contiguous in terms of somehow uniting the West Bank and Gaza?

CROWLEY: This is a – this is the fundamental challenge of a negotiation, which is to determine the borders of a state. We recognize that any state that would be formed for the Palestinians has to be viable and it has to be based on agreed upon borders. So the foreign minister at his formulation, the Secretary at her formulation – what we really want to do is get the parties back into a negotiation where you can actually put these questions before them.

Rick notes in a new post that once negotiations start (if they ever start), the US may well have a lot to say about the question of contiguity, and indeed that may well be the case. Rick also notes that it will be important to see what's in the 'Palestinian' letter, and whether it includes a US guarantee that the 'Palestinian state's borders will be contiguous, which I also noted here would be important.

But will each side see what the US promised the other? Will there be secret side letters that one side or the other will not see? Based on the way that the Obama administration trying to conduct 'negotiations' on its health care plan in the US out of the public view, the answers to those questions are not too promising. Given that a 'Palestinian state' that has contiguity between the 'West Bank' and Gaza means - almost by definition - a Jewish state that is insecure and not contiguous, one would hope that the Netanyahu government will take a strong and clear stance on this issue as soon as negotiations begin.

In Monday's JPost, Barry Rubin analyzes another Clinton press conference, this one with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, and doesn't like what he finds. Here's what Clinton had to say about the 'Palestinians' in that press conference.

BUT ANOTHER thing Clinton said is more disturbing and has become an Obama administration talking point. She said the Palestinians "deserve" a state. In this approach, having a state isn't something earned by ending terrorism and incitement, truly accepting Israel's existence, providing strong security guarantees and resettling refugees in your own country. According to the US government, Palestinian statehood is an entitlement, a prize they get no matter how they behave.

So why shouldn't the Palestinians demand they get everything and give nothing? The world owes them a state. By such policies the Obama administration undermines its own leverage on the issue. One more nail in the already studded coffin of the peace process.

It reminds you of how the administration keeps saying that Iran is entitled to nuclear energy. That takes all the air out of imposing sanctions, doesn't it?

Barry has lots more to say about this press conference - read the whole thing. The sanctions aren't really going to do much to stop Iran anyway.

Regarding the 'Palestinians,' we've gone 180 degrees from President Bush's statement in June 2002 that a 'Palestinian state' could only happen when the 'Palestinians' abandoned terror. In the Obama administration's eyes, the 'Palestinians' get their state reichlet no matter what. What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Contiguous?

Israel Matzav: Dhimmis at the Met

Dhimmis at the Met

New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has pulled all its images of Muhammad from the museum out of fear of - what else - 'offending Muslims.'

The museum said the controversial images -- objected to by conservative Muslims who say their religion forbids images of their holy founder -- were "under review."

Critics say the Met has a history of dodging criticism and likely wants to escape the kind of outcry that Danish cartoons of Mohammed caused in 2006.

"This is typical of the Met -- trying to avoid any controversy," said a source with inside knowledge of the museum.

The Met currently has about 60 items from its 60,000-piece Islamic collection on temporary display in a corner of its vast second-floor Great Hall while larger galleries are renovated. But its three ancient renderings of Mohammed are not among them.

"We have a very small space at the moment in which to display the whole sweep of Islamic art," said spokeswoman Egle Zygas. "They didn't fit the theme of the current installation."

But it's not certain Mohammed will go on display when the Met finishes its $50 million renovation in 2011.

I'm as sick of Muslim terror and political correctness as anyone, but who wants to look at the false prophet anyway?

On the other hand, find me some clever cartoons of him and I'm all game....

Israel Matzav: Dhimmis at the Met

Israel Matzav: War in Gaza on the horizon

War in Gaza on the horizon

Former IDF OC Southern Command Yom Tov Samia says that another war in Gaza is almost inevitable and that Israel must seek more long-lasting results this time.

"We are before another round in Gaza," Samia told Army Radio in an interview. "I am very skeptical about the possibility that Hamas will suddenly surrender or change its ways without being hit much more seriously than it was during Cast Lead."

Israel must carry out "a more focused strike with long-lasting results" the former commander said, and advised that the in the next war, the army should take control of certain areas in Gaza so that Hamas understands its own actions have lead to this loss.

"We must create a situation in which Hamas runs out of oxygen," Samia told the radio station.

Samia went on to say that Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas the Fatah movement have virtually no supporters in the Gaza Strip. They are "certainly very weak or almost non existent in the Strip. For Abu Mazen (Abbas), the best chance at returning to power is taking a serious, significant and critical step that would drive Hamas out of power," Samia said.

Samia's remarks came days after OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant warned on Wednesday that the quiet in Israel's South may be temporary.

I'm bothered by the fact that Samia - who probably reflects IDF thinking - looks at another war as an opportunity to install Fatah in power in Gaza. We don't gain anything by that.

But I agree that another war is inevitable and probably on the not-too-distant horizon, and that Israel must do something that will make the results more long-lasting than the results of last year's war have been.

The picture at the top is some of the night life in the 'World's largest concentration camp.' Don't they look like they're suffering?

Israel Matzav: War in Gaza on the horizon

Israel Matzav: Mitchell gets put in his place

Mitchell gets put in his place

As I noted late Saturday night, US Special Middle East envoy George Mitchell threatened in a PBS interview late last week that the US would withhold aid money from Israel if it was not forthcoming with the 'Palestinians.'

It was clarified that Mitchell specifically meant loan guarantees that the United States has been issuing since the early '90's on Israel's behalf. The guarantees, which have never cost the US a dime, enable Israel to borrow at cheaper rates because the US has a better credit rating.

On Sunday, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz lashed out at Mitchell.

In the wake of threats by U.S. envoy George Mitchell that Washington may pull its loan guarantees to Israel if Jerusalem does not make concessions to the Palestinian Authority, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Sunday that Israel was not planning to use the guarantees anytime soon anyway, and that Israel had no trouble raising money on its own without the guarantees. In addition, he said, the U.S. had renewed the guarantees for 2010 and 2011, with no strings attached.

Steinitz said that "Israel has and continues to make an effort to renew talks, including granting difficult 'gestures.' I have received no indication that the U.S. plans to use the guarantees to pressure us."

That was big news here, but not as big as what happened later in the day. Four US Senators are here visiting. Independent Joe Lieberman (Connecticut), and Republicans John McCain (Arizona), John Barrasso (Wyoming) and John Thune (South Dakota) all said that they would oppose any effort to withhold the loan guarantees from Israel.

Lieberman said unequivocally that any attempt to cancel financial guarantees to Israel will "not pass Congress."

McCain also weighed in on the issue, stating that any talk of withholding guarantees from Israel in order to pressure it is not helpful, and "I don't agree with it."

The senior senator from Arizona said that while he held Mitchell in the highest regard, "We disagree with that comment," and that he was sure that it was not the policy of the Obama administration either.

Barrasso and Thune agreed.

Let's go to the videotape.

As you might recall, the Bush I administration withheld guarantees out of anger with then-Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir in 1991-2.

US backing for Israel's loan guarantees has been a hot issue in the past, most pointedly in the early 1990s when the administration of George H. W. Bush faced a head-on collision with the Likud premier, Yitzhak Shamir, who refused to curtail settlement building in the West Bank. Ultimately, the Bush administration decided it would subtract equivalent amounts of money from the $10 billion in loan guarantees for every dollar Israel spent building settlements in the occupied territories. The outcome of the spat was a low-point in US-Israel relations.

"Theoretically of course, the withdrawal of loan guarantees could be an act of pressure, but Israel doesn’t really need loan guarantees," says Peter Medding, an expert on US-Israel relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "But if they try to do it, as they did very unsuccessfully in the early 1990s, it would have to come from the White House. I don't think it's Obama's style, and I don't think it fits the circumstances. If anything, they've been trying to persuade Abbas to come to the party, and are still waiting for him. "

Mitchell has been put in his place. Heh.

Israel Matzav: Mitchell gets put in his place

Israel Matzav: Another excuse for the 'Palestinians' not to talk

Another excuse for the 'Palestinians' not to talk

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Aboul Gheit has yet another excuse for the 'Palestinians' not to talk to Israel.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit said over the weekend that he did not believe talks between Israel and Palestinian Authority could restart at this time, in large part because of the ongoing feud between Hamas and Fatah. Gheit said that only when the Fatah and Hamas terror groups come to an agreement among themselves will they be able to develop a common negotiating position on behalf of the PA.

Speaking after a meeting with high-level officials in Washington, Gheit said that Egypt would not work towards organizing a summit between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanayhu and PA chief Mahmoud Abbas at this time, because conditions were not right. However, he said, Israel was obligated to live up to all the commitments it made if and when the talks begin.

Funny that they talked for two years when Ehud Olmert was Prime Minister with Hamas and Fatah being divided. If anything, a Fatah - Hamas 'reconciliation' makes it less likely that there will be talks with Israel or that those talks will go anywhere.

Isn't it strange that the Obama administration doesn't seem to notice that all the Arabs are opposed to talks between Israel and the 'Palestinians.' Hmmm.

Israel Matzav: Another excuse for the 'Palestinians' not to talk

Israel Matzav: Why there's no Viva Somalia

Why there's no Viva Somalia

The JPost has a great editorial explaining why there's a Viva Palestina but not a Viva Somalia (or for that matter, Darfur).

THE DIFFERENCE between Somalia and Gaza is that the people of Somalia are not only forgotten in the rubble, their desperation is… simply not interesting.

They are people without options.

Those responsible for their plight are Islamists, not Zionists or Westerners - though, for the Euro-Left, it's all America's fault somehow.

In stark contrast, the people of Gaza do have options that would end their misery.

They could stop supporting Hamas, which has mobilized their polity against coexistence with Israel; they could make peace among themselves and allow the comparatively moderate West Bank Palestinian leadership - which is recognized by the international community - back into the Strip. They could free IDF soldier Gilad Schalit whom they kidnapped in 2006. They could stop launching mortars against Israel's civilian population, as they repeatedly did this week. They could choose a two-state solution and accept that Jews also have a right to a homeland. They could end the "siege."

They could build instead of reveling in the rubble and in their victimization.

Israel Matzav: Why there's no Viva Somalia

Love of the Land: A new conflict with Hamas on the horizon?

A new conflict with Hamas on the horizon?

10 January '10

News item:

On Sunday, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yom-Tov Samia, the former head of the Southern Command who continues to function as the current head’s deputy in the reserves, hinted at the possibility that the IDF will conquer the Philadelphi Corridor in the future.

In an interview with Army Radio, Samia said that in a future conflict, Israel would take over “specific territory” in Gaza that would help reduce Hamas’s “oxygen supply.” Contacted later in the day, Samia refused to specify which territory he had referred to.

“We are facing another round in Gaza,” said Samia, who during Cast Lead functioned as the deputy to OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant. “I am very skeptical about the chance that Hamas will suddenly surrender or change its way without first suffering a far more serious blow than it did during Cast Lead.”

The blow, he said, would be “more focused with long-range results including the conquering of territory that Hamas will understand it lost as a result of its provocations. We need to create a situation which reduces its oxygen supply.” [my emphasis]

Note that Maj.-Gen. Samia does not discuss the option of overthrowing Hamas and destroying its leadership. I presume that there are two main reasons for this: the expected number of IDF and Palestinian casualties (who will all be claimed to be civilians) from the required penetration into the center of Gaza City — which probably would mean bloody fighting in tunnels and bunkers — and the need for Israel to take responsibility for filling the resulting administrative vacuum.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: A new conflict with Hamas on the horizon?

Love of the Land: Obama to Israel: Let’s start at the end

Obama to Israel: Let’s start at the end

Meryl Yourish
10 January '10

As reported last week, the Obama administration is going to try to start at the end in order to report some kind of progress in Middle East peace talks. The thing is, you really can’t start at the end. You can work backwards in many things, but you can’t work backwards in a peace process where each side is supposed to show the steps it has taken to achieve the peace. But of course, the Palestinians have been arguing for the endgame from the very beginning, when the people doing the negotiating (or lack thereof) were the Arab states that had occupied Gaza and the West Bank from 1948 to 1967 (cf: Three No’s of Khartoum).

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday that once borders are agreed on, the dispute over settlements would be moot.

“Resolving borders resolves settlements, resolving Jerusalem resolves settlements,” Clinton said. “I think we need to lift our sights and instead of being looking down at the trees, we need to look at the forest.”

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Obama to Israel: Let’s start at the end

Love of the Land: The Palestinians lied

The Palestinians lied

Hagai Segal
Israel Opinion/Ynet
08 January '10

“We gave up Haifa, so now you should give up Nablus” – this is how senior Palestinian figure Sufian Abu Zeida’s speech at an academic conference in Jerusalem was summed up on the radio.

Seemingly, this is so logical and so symmetric. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may even make use of the very same idea himself, just like many other Palestinian ideas, when he delivers his speech in Washington in two years on the occasion of signing the final-status agreement with the Palestinians: “You gave up Haifa, and we gave up Nablus.”

However, there is a hidden factual flaw in Abu Zeida’s words: The Palestinians never gave up Haifa. In fact, they lost it.

In 1948, our neighbors rejected the United Nations’ proposal on partitioning the land and instead planned to take Haifa by force. At the last moment, something went wrong with their plans, and they ended up without Haifa.

Moreover, there is yet another factual flaw in Abu Zeida’s words: The State of Israel has already given up Nablus. On December 12, 1995, we lowered our flag in the town and went on to hand it over to Nobel Peace Prize laureate Yasser Arafat.

Deal will prompt more rockets

At the time, he promised us peace and quiet in exchange for Nablus. America also made the same pledge. On paper at least, everything was working out very well. The basic assumption those days was that the Palestinians are shelving their dream to return to the 1948 borders, while we are gradually giving up the land of our forefathers at the back of the Mount Hebron area.

By now, it is already clear that the Palestinians lied. The Haifa challenge continued to preoccupy them. They blew up buses on Haifa’s Carmel Mount and restaurants downtown.

Even our decision to renounce the Gaza Strip did not prompt them to give up anything, as can be attested to by residents of Sderot, Ashkelon, Netivot, and other southern Israel communities.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: The Palestinians lied

Love of the Land: "Intransigent"


Elder of Ziyon
09 January '10

From Ma'an:

The Palestinian Authority rejected US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s call for the resumption of peace talks without prerequisites, Agence France Presse and Israeli media reported on Saturday.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat stressed that peace talks can only be renewed on the condition that Israel realizes a settlement standstill across the West Bank and occupied east Jerusalem. "A resumption of peace talks requires the complete halt of settlements," Erekat told the AFP.

Negotiations, he added, could only be reinitiated from the point at which they were stopped in December 2008, when Israel launched Operation Cast Lead. [when settlement activity was not a pre-condition - EoZ.]

It was announced on Friday that the US and Jordan would urge Palestinians and Israel to discuss Jerusalem and borders – issues that have been relegated to final status talks in previous negotiations. Meanwhile, President Mahmoud Abbas declared eight preconditions which must be met by Israel in order to bring the Palestinian side back to the negotiation table, including a total settlement freeze and Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state on 1967 borders.

So Abbas is adding more and more pre-conditions before agreeing to peace talks.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: "Intransigent"

Love of the Land: Then: Guardian Newspaper Slammed ‘Richard-Richard’ Goldstone Inquiry as ‘Rubbish Bin’

Then: Guardian Newspaper Slammed ‘Richard-Richard’ Goldstone Inquiry as ‘Rubbish Bin’

Hillel Neuer
U.N. Watch
10 January '10

That the U.N.’s Goldstone Report on alleged war crimes in Gaza is a travesty of justice is best demonstrated by analyzing its skewed contents, method, and conclusions, as well as its tainted political framwework, one-sided mandate, and prejudiced mission members.

I do not believe, as some do, that there is much to gain by casting aspersions on Goldstone’s widely respected career, although it is certainly relevant to counter the false claim that he has a record of pro-Israel actions. (In fact, he has a record of significant actions harshly critical of Israel.)

I am perfectly willing to recognize that Goldstone has accomplished many good things in his life, as those close to him have attested to me, even if his actions surrounding the report have been disreputable in the extreme.

That said, it is remarkable to observe how Goldstone is being lionized by certain circles solely because that is seen as useful to skewer Israel.

For example, these days, The Guardian of London has shown itself to be one of the most enthusiastic admirers of Richard Goldstone, running countless news articles, op-eds and editorials supporting his UN report on alleged war crimes in Gaza, including this one from December, which invokes the Goldstone Report to support the thesis that the UK’s public interest lies in prosecuting visiting Israelis for war crimes.

Interestingly, however, when there was no incentive to skewer Israel, the same Guardian of London once accused Richard Goldstone of running a “much vaunted judicial commission of inquiry” that “failed dismally,” and that was a “rubbish bin” used by the South African government; of Goldstone’s “disturbing” practice by which he acted with “overt political ’sensitivity’,” including his being “at pains to involve the politically distinguished in the conduct of his inquiry”; and of harboring such ambition to succeed Boutros-Boutros Ghali’s post as UN Secretary-General, that Goldstone’s legal colleagues gave him the nickname of “Richard-Richard.”

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Then: Guardian Newspaper Slammed ‘Richard-Richard’ Goldstone Inquiry as ‘Rubbish Bin’
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