Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Israel Matzav: American aid to Israel in perspective

American aid to Israel in perspective

With American aid to Israel having been put on the table as a topic for conversation, David Hazony gives us some perspective on what that aid means and what it meant 25 years ago.

In 1985, the year Israel started receiving such high levels of American aid, U.S. taxpayers gave Israel about $3.4 billion in economic and military grants. That year, Israel’s GDP stood at about $24.1 billion in current dollars. American aid constituted about 14 percent of Israel’s GDP — an enormous amount of support for a country struggling with both a severe economic crisis and an ongoing war in Lebanon.

In 1996, the year Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress and declared his aim of ending Israel’s dependence on American aid, total grants came to $3.1 billion, while Israel’s GDP stood at $105 billion. U.S. aid was then only about 3 percent of Israel’s GDP.

In 2008, U.S. aid was down to about $2.4 billion, while Israel’s GDP was up to $199 billion. We’re talking about 1.2 percent of Israel’s GDP.

So whereas nobody would consider $2.4 billion a trivial amount of money, the economic significance of that aid has dropped dramatically, as far as Israelis are concerned. Israel’s “dependence” on American aid is not zero, but it’s heading there.

But what about American taxpayers? Here, too, we see a dramatic drop in economic significance as measured as a portion of the U.S. federal budget. In 1985, the $3.4 billion was out of an overall budget of some $947 billion — or 0.35 percent. In 2008, Israel received $2.4 billion out of a total budget of $2.99 trillion — which looks like 0.08 percent, or less than one one-thousandth. A similar drop is seen when comparing the aid against the overall GDP of the United States: from about 0.081 percent down to 0.016 percent. So while the Israelis feel the lift of American aid less than a tenth as much as they used to, Americans feel its bite less than a quarter of what they used to.

Hmmm.


Israel Matzav: American aid to Israel in perspective

Love of the Land: Deterred but Determined: Salafi-Jihadi Groups in the Palestinian Arena

Deterred but Determined: Salafi-Jihadi Groups in the Palestinian Arena


Yoram Cohen,Matthew Levitt, with Becca Wasser
Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Policy Focus #99
January '10

Last summer, Hamas security forces raided a mosque affiliated with the Salafi-Jihadi group Jand Ansar Allah, killing 24 and wounding 130 in the ensuing firefight. This relatively recent episode highlights the presence in Gaza of Salafi-Jihadi groups inspired by but not yet formally affiliated with al-Qaeda. Unlike Hamas, which despite espousing violent Islamism has nevertheless occasionally agreed to short-term ceasefires, Salafi-Jihadi groups champion "pure resistance" in their dealings with Israel. The resulting tension between these groups and Hamas, the latter currently reigning as the political authority in Gaza, has created the perfect environment for further radicalization of Palestinians.

So far, none of the Salafi-Jihadi groups have established formal ties to al-Qaeda, but many intelligence analysts argue that such a relationship could develop quickly given the right combination of circumstances. Should U.S. policymakers be concerned? In The Washington Institute' s newest Policy Focus, two former top counterterrorism officials assess the game-changing potential of a formalized al-Qaeda presence in the West Bank and Gaza, including implications for the wider Arab-Israeli conflict and international counterterrorism efforts. In the troubling words of one senior Palestinian Salafi-Jihadi leader, "So far al-Qaeda has not sponsored our work. We are waiting to carry out a big jihadist operation dedicated to Sheikh Usama bin-Laden."

(Click here to read full report)


Love of the Land: Deterred but Determined: Salafi-Jihadi Groups in the Palestinian Arena

Israel Matzav: Smart Jews

Smart Jews

In the New York Times, David Brooks writes of the shift in Israel from fighting and politics to technology and commerce.

The odd thing is that Israel has not traditionally been strongest where the Jews in the Diaspora were strongest. Instead of research and commerce, Israelis were forced to devote their energies to fighting and politics.

Milton Friedman used to joke that Israel disproved every Jewish stereotype. People used to think Jews were good cooks, good economic managers and bad soldiers; Israel proved them wrong.

But that has changed. Benjamin Netanyahu’s economic reforms, the arrival of a million Russian immigrants and the stagnation of the peace process have produced a historic shift. The most resourceful Israelis are going into technology and commerce, not politics. This has had a desultory effect on the nation’s public life, but an invigorating one on its economy.

Tel Aviv has become one of the world’s foremost entrepreneurial hot spots. Israel has more high-tech start-ups per capita than any other nation on earth, by far. It leads the world in civilian research-and-development spending per capita. It ranks second behind the U.S. in the number of companies listed on the Nasdaq. Israel, with seven million people, attracts as much venture capital as France and Germany combined.

As Dan Senor and Saul Singer write in “Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle,” Israel now has a classic innovation cluster, a place where tech obsessives work in close proximity and feed off each other’s ideas.

Because of the strength of the economy, Israel has weathered the global recession reasonably well. The government did not have to bail out its banks or set off an explosion in short-term spending. Instead, it used the crisis to solidify the economy’s long-term future by investing in research and development and infrastructure, raising some consumption taxes, promising to cut other taxes in the medium to long term. Analysts at Barclays write that Israel is “the strongest recovery story” in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Israel’s technological success is the fruition of the Zionist dream. The country was not founded so stray settlers could sit among thousands of angry Palestinians in Hebron. It was founded so Jews would have a safe place to come together and create things for the world.

This shift in the Israeli identity has long-term implications. Netanyahu preaches the optimistic view: that Israel will become the Hong Kong of the Middle East, with economic benefits spilling over into the Arab world. And, in fact, there are strands of evidence to support that view in places like the West Bank and Jordan.

But it’s more likely that Israel’s economic leap forward will widen the gap between it and its neighbors. All the countries in the region talk about encouraging innovation. Some oil-rich states spend billions trying to build science centers. But places like Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv are created by a confluence of cultural forces, not money. The surrounding nations do not have the tradition of free intellectual exchange and technical creativity.

For example, between 1980 and 2000, Egyptians registered 77 patents in the U.S. Saudis registered 171. Israelis registered 7,652.

Brooks discounts the role that military necessity has played in forcing Israel to develop technologies that have military applications. In other words, he commits the opposite error of Senor and Singer's Start-Up Nation (which I still haven't read - the publisher hasn't come through on a review copy yet), which over-emphasizes the army's role in technological innovation.

But Brooks is still an interesting read with a lot of great statistics about Israel and Jews that you can all use at cocktail parties. Read the whole thing.


Israel Matzav: Smart Jews

Love of the Land: "Road Wars" - Fleisher and Feiglin on video

Love of the Land: "Road Wars" - Fleisher and Feiglin on video

Elder of Ziyon: Qassam explodes in Gaza, and the launch site was...

Elder of Ziyon: Qassam explodes in Gaza, and the launch site was...

Israel Matzav: Aboul Gheit putting words in people's mouths?

Aboul Gheit putting words in people's mouths?

In a bid to get credit for getting 'negotiations' between Israel and the 'Palestinians' going, Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit has gotten Arab foreign ministers to report some softening of 'Palestinian' positions.

According to the Arab foreign ministers, the Palestinians have agreed to waive their conditions for reopening the negotiations with Israel in exchange for other terms that Netanyahu could accept more easily.

The Palestinians previously had demanded a complete freeze on construction in East Jerusalem and resuming talks from the point they left off. Now their conditions are Israel stopping its assassinations and military operations in Palestinian cities; easing the blockade on the Gaza Strip and bringing in construction material to enable Gaza's rehabilitation; rezoning West Bank areas where Palestinians have full authority (A) and where they have only civil authority (B) - meaning, having the Israel Defense Forces withdraw to where it was before the Al-Aqsa intifada in September 2000; releasing certain Palestinian prisoners to the PA; and removing eight specific roadblocks in the West Bank.

If Israel agrees to these terms, the Palestinians will return to the negotiations even if the building in East Jerusalem continues and the talks do not pick up where they left off.

Aboul Gheit said the United States would issue a statement against Israeli construction in East Jerusalem and expressing its commitment to the territory of the future Palestinian state.

But Aboul Gheit has apparently been putting words in Prime Minister Netanyahu's mouth and may be putting words in the 'Palestinians' mouths as well.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Tuesday that Israel would never cede control of united Jerusalem nor retreat to the 1967 borders, according to a bureau statement.

The statement came after Egypt's foreign minister said in Cairo last week that Netanyahu was ready to discuss making "Arab Jerusalem" the capital of a Palestinian state.

Aboul Gheit also claims Israel is willing to give the 'Palestinians' 100% of the 'West Bank' - a claim that appears doubtful at best.

Aboul Gheit met in Cairo last week with the Foreign Ministers of Egypt, France, Jordan, Spain and Tunisia in Cairo last week to revive the nascent Mediterranean Union. I assume that France and Spain were not included in the 'Arab foreign ministers' reference above.


Israel Matzav: Aboul Gheit putting words in people's mouths?

Love of the Land: A road map leading nowhere

A road map leading nowhere


Moshe Arens
Haaretz
12 January '10

It is now close to 17 years since Israel's ill-fated decision to recognize the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and the Oslo Accords. Despite the accords, or possibly because of them, during those years much blood has been shed and no significant progress was made toward peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

There was no absence of good intentions on the part of Israel. But as was shown repeatedly, good intentions are not enough to resolve the seemingly intractable issues that separate the parties. On the contrary, on many occasions, suggestions and proposals offered by Israel actually created obstacles to any progress in the negotiations. Far-reaching concessions offered by Israel, although rejected by the Palestinians, only served to establish what the Palestinians from then on insisted would have to be the starting point for future negotiations, actually creating a pitfall on the road map for any progress.

Ehud Barak's egregious concessions offered at the Camp David talks in 2000, and the additional farcical proposals made by the Israeli delegation at the continuation of these talks in Eilat, only served to establish a roadblock on the way to peace.

Why would an Israeli offer of concessions end up being a roadblock to further progress? For the simple reason that if these concessions are not supported by the majority of the Israeli public they cannot be implemented, while a Palestinian demand that these concessions become the starting point of any further negotiations blocks the resumption of negotiations.

The prime minister or government that offers these concession might well argue that they are the democratically elected government and have the perfect right to offer concessions that they consider appropriate. And they do have that right, but if they are aware of the fact that the Israeli public would not support these concessions they should know that they cannot be implemented, and therefore they are actually doing a disservice to the very peace process they claim to be pursuing by offering these concessions to the Palestinians.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: A road map leading nowhere

Israel Matzav: Not just a business decision

Not just a business decision

China's dealings with Iran are generally portrayed as business decisions. But the Wall Street Journal reports that there's more to it than business alone.

But the Chinese leadership's deeper motivation is concern about its own power at home. The color revolutions of Eastern Europe and Central Asia have rattled Beijing, much like the collapse of the Soviet bloc 20 years ago. China's response has been to clamp down on dissent at home and seek to shore up friendly regimes abroad. A further rout of authoritarian regimes could encourage the silent majority at home who would like greater political participation.

That's a key reason China supports a rogues' gallery of states, including Sudan, Burma, Cuba and Venezuela. Some believe that the pursuit of mineral wealth drives this behavior. But consider that even as Robert Mugabe has run Zimbabwe into the ground, Beijing has continued to offer this reviled dictator diplomatic and military support.

Support for North Korea is not only predicated on the need for a buffer state. Chinese leaders fear that the collapse of a longtime communist ally could have considerable domestic impact. We doubt this is true, but it does help to explain why China's support for tougher action against Pyongyang has been so limited.

As for Iran, Time magazine reported last week that a state-owned Chinese company has shipped armored vehicles to the Islamic Republic for use against opposition protestors [pictured above. CiJ]. One Chinese company, LIMMT Economic & Trade Co., is also under indictment in New York for allegedly selling missile components to the Iranian military. This is hardly the behavior of a responsible world power seeking to advance the prospects of peace and stability.

China's dissidents understand the game Beijing is playing all too well. In recent days, a Twitter campaign entitled "CN4Iran" has been formed by "Chinese who support protesters in Iran." As one said, "Today we free Tehran, tomorrow we take on Beijing." This serves to fuel the paranoia of Communist Party cadres that the usual "subversive elements" within and outside the country are organizing to bring them down.

Bottom line: If the Obama administration is going to wait for China to go along with sanctions against Iran, the sanctions will never happen and Iran will obtain nuclear weapons unless it's attacked by Israel.

What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: Not just a business decision

Elder of Ziyon: Prisoner statistics fun

Elder of Ziyon: Prisoner statistics fun

RubinReports: Why Can’t Western Policymakers Believe There are Actual Revolutionaries in the World?

Why Can’t Western Policymakers Believe There are Actual Revolutionaries in the World?

By Barry Rubin

A reader sent me an article asking me if it made me feel like laughing or crying. Neither. I just gasped in amazement. Studying the Middle East isn’t really a matter of being a Democrat or Republican; liberal or conservative; “pro-Israel” or “pro-Arab.” It should be based on the simplest possible common sense, along with a basic knowledge of the situation under discussion.

But nowadays it is as if nothing can be too bizarre to say as long as it is based on wishful thinking and mirror-imaging. Often, it seems as if the most elementary rules of human conduct and international affairs are forgotten by those who claim to be experts and, much worse, those who have positions to direct national policies and preserve or put at risk millions of lives.

Consider Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson, “Disarming Hizballah: Advancing Regional Stability,” for Foreign Affairs. These gentlemen have good reputations and are not ideologues. One is at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the other is a professor at the Naval War College. Perhaps the problem is that they are experts on "terrorism" but don't really understand Middle East politics. They do acknowledge that Hizballah is gaining power in Lebanon and is a threat to Israel, but despite these successes they think it is on the verge of becoming moderate. Why? I have no idea and don’t see any evidence presented in the article.

Nevertheless they maintain, “Hezbollah, like the IRA 15 years ago, may be ready to shift more decisively into the political realm.” According to a RAND study, we are told, “Hezbollah was distancing itself from Iranian patronage in order to increase its domestic legitimacy among parties that have viewed it as Tehran's lackey. ....Some of Hezbollah's leaders might see a move toward demilitarization as a new avenue for increasing the group's appeal and bolstering its credibility as a party. Contact with Hezbollah would have to exploit this impulse to be useful.”

Let’s consider what’s being said here. Despite its radical Islamist ideology, despite the fact that it has been advancing steadily in power, despite the fact that it depends on Iran for money and weapons, despite its tight organic links to Tehran, Hizballah is supposedly distancing itself from the Islamic republic.

Why? Because this supposedly will make more voters support them. Hello? This is Lebanon. Hizballah’s supporters are Shia Muslims. They know they won’t win over Christians, Sunnis, and Druze by posing as more independent. The Lebanese non-Shia, who haven’t the benefit of advanced academic degrees, know they can’t trust Hizballah, and Hizballah knows it as well.

Moreover, Hizballah’s leaders know that their political power depends on their militia’s strength. The idea that they believe demilitarization is a good idea because it will bolster the group’s credibility is awesomely ridiculous.

To make matters far worse, the prescription offered is that the Obama administration should start official contacts with Hizballah with the aim of moderating that group. If the U.S. government can succeed in deciding Hizballah to throw away its arms (remember, this is the Middle East we are talking about), the authors say, then everything will be just great. The chance of war with Israel will be lowered, there will be peace within Lebanon, the lion will lay down with the lamb, and by the way I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

Oh, and as is usual in such cases the bait is for Israel to make more concessions by turning over some territory to Lebanon (the Shabaa Farms) and limiting any responses it makes to attacks on itself.

Another article in Foreign Affairs is introduced with this summary: “Washington's only option is to confront Hezbollah indirectly: by getting its backers, Syria and Iran, to help change its focus from militancy to politics.”

But why should Damascus and Tehran abandon a trust, successful ally for Western promises? And why should Hizballah change its focus from militancy to politics? Can’t one do both at the same time?

Every day Iran and Syria make statements about their solidarity and tighten their relations through actions overt and covert. Virtually every day Hizballah leaders praise and pledge allegiance to Tehran, receives weapons and money from Iran and Syria, while also deriving benefits in Lebanese politics from its military power. How can dozens of Western analysts simply leave all this out to prefer their own personal interpretations of what these forces “really” want?

These kinds of ideas, produced by well-paid, highly credentialed and honored “experts” are just nuts, showing absolutely no comprehension of the situation. It is even more daunting coming from people who are mainstream foreign policy thinkers one would expect to know better.

And the same kind of thinking is going on in the United States and Western countries about Iran, Syria, the Iraqi insurgents, the Taliban, Afghanistan, Hamas, Venezuela, North Korea, and lots of other issues.

A large part of the problem is a disbelief in the possibility that one would want to remain radical; or that militancy can co-exist with running for office and having a political party. But why is this so hard to understand?

Thank goodness for al-Qaida, giving us at least one group in the world that Western intellectuals and policymakers don’t think they can win over by sympathy, conversation, and concessions.

RubinReports: Why Can’t Western Policymakers Believe There are Actual Revolutionaries in the World?

Israel Matzav: Hezbullah funded by European drug trade

Hezbullah funded by European drug trade

Forgot to blog this yesterday.

A report over the weekend in Germany's Der Spiegel magazine claims that Hezbullah is being funded by the European drug trade.

According to a report on the magazine's Web site, German police arrested two Lebanese citizens living in Germany in October after they transferred large sums of money to a family in Lebanon that has connections to Hezbollah's leadership, including Secretary General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.

Suspicion was first raised in May 2008, when police found 8.7 million euros in the bags of four Lebanese men at the Frankfurt airport.

A police search of their apartment in Speyer, Germany turned up an additional 500,000 euros. According to the report, police suspected the men were selling cocaine in Europe and sending the profits back to Lebanon.

It added that the two suspects were trained at a Hezbollah camp. The suspects deny the allegations.

Or maybe the money is going into Nasrallah's pocket?


Israel Matzav: Hezbullah funded by European drug trade

Love of the Land: Strong horse politics

Strong horse politics


Talking to author Lee Smith

Tony Badran
Now Lebanon
12 January '10

(An excellent read, covering a very wide scope.)

Lee Smith is a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC. He is a longtime observer of the Middle East and has written extensively about the region, where he has lived and traveled. His book, The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations, was just published by Doubleday.

NOW sits down with Smith to talk about America, the Arab World and strong horse politics.

Tell our readers about your new book. What is its main thesis and what prompted you to write it?

Smith: The title comes from Osama Bin Laden’s observation that people by nature prefer the strong horse to the weak one. I was writing for an American audience and what I wanted to try to explain is how politics works in a region like the Middle East, where, with very few exceptions, there are no peaceful transitions of authority, and power is not shared but rather is typically passed from one family member to another, or taken in a military coup.

I suspect this thesis will be confused with the notion that “Arabs only understand force,” except I believe that violence and coercion is something much of the world has had to deal with throughout history, and modern-day Americans are exceptionally lucky insofar as this is not an issue for us. I was trying to explain to them that this is not the case around the world, and certainly not in the Arabic-speaking Middle East.

How do you see the strong horse principle playing out in the region today?

Smith: I think it’s the same as it ever was, with various actors vying for regional supremacy. On one hand you have the Islamic Republic of Iran, which wants to rewrite the regional order to its own advantage, and on the other you have Washington and the American-backed regional order, including Sunni powers like Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf states, along with Egypt, Jordan, and of course Israel, that wants to maintain its position.

Tehran, at least until the June presidential elections, has been very confident in its status as a rising power, while the US is now led by a president who has expressed his discomfort with power. In his UN address, Obama even argued against the balance of power, which is a strategic principle about as old as politics itself. Even if you find it desirable, I doubt it’s possible to rewire human nature in this way by emptying human beings of their political ambition and quest to exercise power. I guess we’ll see how reality catches up with the White House and what kind of adjustments the administration is capable of making on the fly.

(Read full interview)

Love of the Land: Strong horse politics

Love of the Land: Aid to Israel: The Story in Numbers

Aid to Israel: The Story in Numbers


David Hazony
Contentions/Commentary
12 January '10

While everyone over here in Israel is tittering over the question of whether George Mitchell did or did not threaten to cut back on American aid to Israel if there is no progress in peace talks, it might be worth getting a little perspective on what those numbers actually look like, both for Israelis and for Americans.

In 1985, the year Israel started receiving such high levels of American aid, U.S. taxpayers gave Israel about $3.4 billion in economic and military grants. That year, Israel’s GDP stood at about $24.1 billion in current dollars. American aid constituted about 14 percent of Israel’s GDP — an enormous amount of support for a country struggling with both a severe economic crisis and an ongoing war in Lebanon.

In 1996, the year Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress and declared his aim of ending Israel’s dependence on American aid, total grants came to $3.1 billion, while Israel’s GDP stood at $105 billion. U.S. aid was then only about 3 percent of Israel’s GDP.

In 2008, U.S. aid was down to about $2.4 billion, while Israel’s GDP was up to $199 billion. We’re talking about 1.2 percent of Israel’s GDP.

So whereas nobody would consider $2.4 billion a trivial amount of money, the economic significance of that aid has dropped dramatically, as far as Israelis are concerned. Israel’s “dependence” on American aid is not zero, but it’s heading there.

(Read full post)


Love of the Land: Aid to Israel: The Story in Numbers

Love of the Land: Guardian website contributor says that recalcitrant Israeli settlers should be “slaughtered” in latest example of a new phenomenon in Great Britain

Guardian website contributor says that recalcitrant Israeli settlers should be “slaughtered” in latest example of a new phenomenon in Great Britain


Robin Shepherd
robinshepherdonline.com
12 January '10

One of the new realities of the internet age for the mainstream media is that the distinction between an opinion piece and the readers’ comments which come below it is increasingly blurred. This is all the more so for interactive sites such as the Guardian’s immensely popular Comment is free (Cif) site where regular “below the line” contributors are now as much a part of the overall experience as the commentary to which they are responding. Such contributors help create the kind of interactive community which has become the new holy grail of online news and comment services.

So, when it comes to the Guardian’s notoriously vicious stance against the state of Israel it is hardly suprising that the community that has been created draws from among the foulest and most bigoted of the Jewish state’s numerous opponents. As an example, consider the following comment by regular below-the-line contributor William Bapthorpe which was brought to my attention by the invaluable media watchdog service CiF Watch. Referring to the settlers, in a thread following an article by Nicholas Blincoe, he said:

“Sadly, there’s only one way to deal with these religiously motivated maniacs who think their superstitious beliefs trump international law. 1. We ask them to leave their squats, kindly. 2. If they don’t, we force them to [leave] at gunpoint. 3. If they still refuse, they must be slaughtered, every last man woman and child.” (My italics)

If this were simply an isolated incident it would not be worth remarking on. Every website attracts its share of oddballs. But CiF Watch, which was set up last year to monitor a Guardian online community that attracts more than 30 million visits a month, provides reams of this sort of thing suggesting that at the intersection between the technological innovations of the new media and an ideological edifice which makes a fetish of demonising the most important Jewish project of our time an entirely new phenomenon has now emerged in Great Britain.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Guardian website contributor says that recalcitrant Israeli settlers should be “slaughtered” in latest example of a new phenomenon in Great Britain

Love of the Land: Palestinians: tell us what you really think

Palestinians: tell us what you really think


FresnoZionism
11 January '10

Yesterday afternoon I attended a talk given by Rabbi David Saperstein of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center. He is, of course, a proponent of the ‘peace process’; indeed, he thinks that the only way that Israel can survive is by pursuing a two-state solution — a compromise that will satisfy Israel’s need for security and the Palestinians’ national aspirations.

I was allowed to ask one question, and I made the same argument that I did in “Mitchell fails to understand Palestinian goals” I asked him:

What if it turns out that Israeli security is incompatible with Palestinian aspirations?

As long as that is true, then there cannot be a stable two-state solution. The Palestinians will either not agree to, or not abide by, any agreement that allows Israel to continue to breathe. We saw how the former option played out in 2000, when Arafat rejected a two-state solution in favor of war.

In my question I brought up the Pew Global Attitudes Project survey of June 2007 as evidence that not only the Palestinian leadership felt this way, but also the grass roots. An overwhelming 77% said that Palestinian aspirations and Israel’s existence could not coexist.

“No,” he said, “that survey was misinterpreted. It asked a question about whether Palestinians thought Israel would give them their rights, not whether they could ever get them while Israel exists.” And went on to other things.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Palestinians: tell us what you really

Love of the Land: US Loan Guarantees Cost US Nothing - Yet Cost Israel Her Sovereignty

US Loan Guarantees Cost US Nothing - Yet Cost Israel Her Sovereignty


Manhigut Yehudit
Press Release
10 January '10

American Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell stated last week that if Israel doesn't advance the peace process, "[the United States] can withhold support on loan guarantees to Israel". Manhigut Yehudit applauds Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz for telling Mitchell that "We don't have to use those guarantees; we are doing very well without them" and Israeli Education Minister Gideon Sar for stating that "We will act in accordance with our own interests and not in accordance with external pressures."

Though US Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman sought to minimize the threat, Mitchell's statement sheds light on years of attempted American blackmail by which the United States placed financial pressure on Israel to gain the Jewish state’s surrender to and continuation of the ongoing false peace process.

In conjunction with the loan guarantees are the roughly 2.7 billion dollars that Israel receives annually from the United States. Moshe Feiglin, leader of the Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) faction of the ruling Likud party, has been clear for years regarding US aid - that all US aid to Israel should be ended. The loan guarantees and the financial aid have come at a high price to Israel. By following this fraudulent Oslo “peace” process, Israel has suffered almost 2,000 dead and over 10,000 maimed at the hands of her so-called Arab “peace partner”.

Excellent related article:
The American Aid Myth (25 May '01)

Moreover, since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993 (by which Israel willingly offered to give away the Land where 93% of the places mentioned in the Jewish Bible are located), an ever increasing portion of world opinion (including Jewish opinion) questions whether justice is on Israel's side. This "peace process" has therefore had a deleterious effect vis-à-vis anti-Semitism as well as strengthening terrorism and eroding Israel's military security.

American aid to Israel comes at a heavy price with onerous strings attached. Seventy-five percent of all monies must be spent in the US thus making it a make-work program for America’s defense industry. These conditions have cost Israel 100,000 manufacturing jobs and Israel has been prevented from using its technology for the development of its own economy. The ending of American aid would solve Israel’s unemployment crisis and free Israel to reap a tremendous profit in arms sales that would more than offset any benefits of American largesse. Currently, Israel upgrades virtually all of the military equipment that it receives from the US and yet the American companies own the technology and are the only ones able to profit. Former Israeli Minister of Economic Affairs Ron Dermer publicly confirmed these assertions at the 2006 AIPAC Conference in response to a question from Manhigut Yehudit’s US Director, Rob Muchnick.

Israeli leaders typically state that they must continue the Oslo Process or else the financial spigot from the US will be shut, even though they know that the premise is false. As a case in point, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stated in 2005 that if Israel did not implement the “Disengagement from Gaza”, the United States would make Israel “do something worse”. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has continued this trend by freezing Jewish construction in all parts of the Land of Israel liberated from the Arabs in 1967. When asked at the aforementioned AIPAC conference for his opinion as to why Israel continues to take American aid, Dermer - now a senior advisor to Netanyahu - responded that this "was a political decision made by each Prime Minister".

Manhigut Yehudit does not blame America for attempting to co-opt Israel. The Jewish state must stand on its own feet and be led only by its devotion to its heritage, its Land, and its Creator.

This duplicity on the part of Israel’s leaders has caused her to give up her sovereignty to such an extent that many people now simply think of her as nothing more than an extraneous 51st state of America.


Love of the Land: US Loan Guarantees Cost US Nothing - Yet Cost Israel Her Sovereignty

Love of the Land: Israel's Muslim Problem is Not Unique

Israel's Muslim Problem is Not Unique


Daniel Greenfield
Sultan Knish
11 January '10

The visit of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov to Israel this week is a timely reminder that Israel's problems with Islam are not unique. Like Israel, Bulgaria was ruled over by the Ottoman Empire, which exported their population to Bulgaria, oppressed the native Bulgarians, seized their lands and attempted to become the dominant majority. And when the Ottoman Empire lost control over Bulgaria, it left behind a huge Muslim population in Bulgaria.

The key difference between Bulgaria and Israel, is that Bulgaria since the 1870's forced much of its Turkic Muslim population to leave. As a result millions of Turkic Muslims left Bulgaria, leaving it a quieter place than neighboring Yugoslavia or Russia, or for that matter modern day France. Muslim clothing was banned, mosques were torn down and lands held by the Ottoman Muslim settlers were returned to native Bulgarians.

Today Bulgaria still has a troublesome Muslim minority of under a million, led by Ahmet Dogan, and backed by Turkish intelligence, which under Islamist PM Erdogan has branched out into promoting Jihad, much as Pakistan had. But despite Turkish attempts to intervene in Bulgaria, the country's Prime Minister, Boiko Borissov is a staunchly anti-Muslim leader, who has challenged Turkey's EU bid over its expulsion of Bulgarian in the 1920's.

Bulgaria is an example and a warning not just to Israel, but to Europe, Russia, Australia, America and many other parts of the world as well. Had Bulgaria not made life uncomfortable for Muslims, its fate in the 1990's would have probably resembled that of Yugoslavia, torn apart by foreign backed civil war and then carved up by Clinton and Albright. That same fate is now overtaking Israel and will overtake Europe as well.

That is because Israel's Muslim problem is not unique. Israel, like so many other lands, was overrun by Muslim conquerors who repressed the native Jewish population and settled their own population in its stead. The only unique thing about Israel's dilemma is that when the Ottoman Empire was defeated, Israel did not receive its freedom. Instead a British Mandate that was supposed to create a Jewish state, instead tried to create an Arab client state by expanding Arab immigration to Israel, while restricting Jewish immigration.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Israel's Muslim Problem is Not Unique

Love of the Land: Being George Galloway

Being George Galloway


The former Labour MP's adventure in Gaza and Egypt is all about his own glorification.

Wall Street Journal
11 January '10

When it comes to George Galloway, where do we begin? In recent years, the former British Labour MP—now representing the Respect Party for the district of Bethnal Green and Bow—could be found lauding Syria as a force for stability in Lebanon, defending the fraudulent re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran and denying Hezbollah's long record of international terrorism. In response to a question in 2006, he said that the assassination of George W. Bush and Tony Blair would be "morally justified," while carefully adding, "I am not calling for it."

And last week, he was deported and banned from Egypt after leading an aid convoy to the Gaza Strip whose transit through Egypt left dozens wounded and at least one Egyptian border guard dead. Mr. Galloway, for the record, denies that he is or has ever been a supporter of Hamas, just as he always denied knowingly lending aid and comfort to Saddam Hussein, or being a beneficiary of the dictator's largesse.

(Read full article)

Related: Why no "Viva Somalia"?
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Love of the Land: Being George Galloway

Love of the Land: C-SPAN's Washington Journal a Platform for Anti-Semitism

C-SPAN's Washington Journal a Platform for Anti-Semitism


Eric Rozenman
CAMERA Media Analysis
08 January '10

Washington Journal, C-SPAN's daily public affairs interview program, has become a megaphone for anti-Jewish, anti-Israel conspiracy theorists. Its January 4th segment with former CIA staffer and anti-Israel obsessive Michael Scheuer, epitomizes the problem. Phone-in portions frequently feature anti-Semitic rants—often from repeat callers in violation of C-SPAN's ostensible 30-days-between-calls rule. Washington Journal's rotating hosts "catatonically," as one critic put it, ignore the vitriol.

CAMERA has documented for more than a year C-SPAN's de facto collaboration in disseminating this social poison in our Web site feature C-SPAN Watch. Scheuer's latest "blame Israel and its supporters" performance, abetted by Washington Journal host Bill Scanlan, seemed to especially incite the network's lunatic fringe.

Except for American Jews, Washington Journal allows no religious or ethnic group to be repeatedly vilified. Except for Israel, it permits no country to be demonized. Only in the case of Jews and Israel do C-SPAN hosts permit such slander.

Perhaps the lowest point of a 45-minute segment filled with low points is the following. The portion includes an obviously anti-Semitic caller, Scheuer's willingness to go where the caller led, and host Bill Scanlan's collaboration:

(This specific clip can also be seen by clicking here at Elder of Zion)

John from Franklin [, New York]: I for one am sick and tired of all these Jews coming on C-SPAN and other stations and pushing us to go to war against our Muslim friends. They're willing to spend the last drop of American blood and treasure to get their way in the world. They have way too much power in this country. People like Wolfowitz and Feith and the other neo-cons -- that jewed us into Iraq -- and now we're going to spend the next 60 years rehabilitating our soldiers -- I'm sick and tired of it.

C-SPAN host Bill Scanlan: John in Franklin, New York. Any comments?

Scheuer: Yeah. I think that American foreign policy is ultimately up to the American people. One of the big things we have not been able to discuss for the past 30 years is the Israelis. Whether we want to be involved in fighting Israel's wars in the future is something that Americans should be able to talk about. They may vote yes. They may want [emphasis in original] to see their kids killed in Iraq or Yemen or somewhere else to defend Israel. But the question is: we need to talk about it. Ultimately Israel is a country that is of no particular worth to the United States.

Scanlan: You mean strategically?

Scheuer: Strategically. They have no resources we need. Their manpower is minimal. Their association with us is a negative for the United States. Now that's a fact. What you want to do about that fact is entirely different. But for anyone to stand up in the United States and say that support for Israel doesn't hurt us in the Muslim world is to just defy reality.



(Read full article)

Related: Michael Scheuer: terrorists should focus on Israel, not the U.S.
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Love of the Land: C-SPAN's Washington Journal a Platform for Anti-Semitism

Israel Matzav: Guess who's funding the US government deficit

Guess who's funding the US government deficit

A lot of Israeli economists got a good laugh when US Special Middle East envoy George Mitchell threatened in a PBS interview last week to withhold Israel's loan guarantees. Sever Plocker explains why.

At the height of the 2002 recession, the Israeli government approached the US Administration and asked that it approve loan guarantees that would enable Jerusalem to raise capital internationally. In exchange for these guarantees, Israel was asked to pay a risk premium in advance.

Back then already, Israel did not really need to raise capital abroad. A surplus was emerging in our international balance of payments that only grew in later years. The request from America was made for reasons of political backing and display of trust and support. The guarantees were approved in April 2003 to the tune of $9 billion over three years.

Since October 2004, Israel has made no use of the guarantees, whose validity was extended from time to time. A total of $3.8 billion in unused loan guarantees are just lying there.

A year ago, on the eve of the elections, both Netanyahu and Barak spoke about the possibility of using the guarantees as a lever that would pull the economy out of recession. After the elections they examined the statistics and discovered that Israel has a huge foreign currency surplus relative to our economy’s size. The notion of using the guarantees was abandoned, and rightfully so.

As of September 2009, Israel’s foreign debt totals $28 billion. Meanwhile, the State of Israel’s foreign currency reserves total $60 billion. Most of them are invested in US government bonds. That is, the Israeli government’s foreign debt stands at -$32 billion. Or in other words, at this time we, Israelis, are financing America’s debts – and not the other way around.

In other words, like China, Israel is funding Uncle Sam's Barack's borrowing, albeit on a smaller scale.

Tell that to all the anti-Semites who claim that the US gets nothing out of our special relationship.

Heh.

Israel Matzav: Guess who's funding the US government deficit

Israel Matzav: Remote control wars

Remote control wars

The Wall Street Journal reports on some of the advances Israel has made in the field of robotics on the battlefield.

"We're trying to get to unmanned vehicles everywhere on the battlefield for each platoon in the field," says Lt. Col. Oren Berebbi, head of the Israel Defense Forces' technology branch. "We can do more and more missions without putting a soldier at risk."

In 10 to 15 years, one-third of Israel's military machines will be unmanned, predicts Giora Katz, vice president of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., one of Israel's leading weapons manufacturers.

"We are moving into the robotic era," says Mr. Katz.

Over 40 countries have military-robotics programs today. The U.S. and much of the rest of the world is betting big on the role of aerial drones: Even Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite guerrilla force in Lebanon, flew four Iranian-made drones against Israel during the 2006 Lebanon War.

...

U.S. and Japanese robotics programs rival Israel's technological know-how, but Israel has shown it can move quickly to develop and deploy new devices, to meet battlefield needs, military officials say.

"The Israelis do it differently, not because they're more clever than we are, but because they live in a tough neighborhood and need to respond fast to operational issues," says Thomas Tate, a former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who now oversees defense cooperation between the U.S. and Israel.

But as far as I am concerned, here's the real key.

Unlike the U.S. and other militaries, where UAVs are flown by certified, costly-to-train fighter pilots, Israeli defense companies have recently built their UAVs to allow an average 18-year-old recruit with just a few months' training to pilot them.

Awesome. Read the whole thing.

The picture is an Elbit Hermes 450 UAV.

Israel Matzav: Remote control wars

Israel Matzav: Claims: Iranian nuke physicist a Moussavi supporter, US and Israel behind assassination

Claims: Iranian nuke physicist a Moussavi supporter, US and Israel behind assassination

Massoud Ali Mohammadi, the Iranian nuclear physicist who was killed this morning by an exploding motorcycle, is being described as a supporter of Iranian opposition candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi.

State media identified the victim as Masoud Ali Mohammadi, 50, a professor at Tehran University, which has been at the center of recent protests by student opposition supporters. Before the election, pro-reform Web sites published Ali Mohammadi's name among a list of 240 Tehran University teachers who supported Mousavi.

That fits with my report earlier on Tuesday that Mohammadi had been arrested shortly after the election.

The Iranian regime is blaming the United States and Israel for the killing.

The government blamed the rare assassination on an armed Iranian opposition group that it said operated under the direction of Israel and the U.S. Iran often accuses the two countries of meddling in its affairs — both when it comes to postelection unrest and its nuclear program. Israel's Foreign Ministry had no comment.

A spokesman for the atomic agency, Ali Shirzadian, told The Associated Press that Ali Mohammadi had no link with the agency responsible for Iran's contentious nuclear program. Iran is under pressure from the United States and its European allies, which suspect Tehran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies that.

"He was not involved in the country's nuclear program," Shirzadian said of the victim.

But if Mohammadi was a Moussavi supporter, he apparently 'repented.'

The Basij said Ali Mohammadi also taught at the Imam Hossein and Malek Ashtar universities, both linked to the Revolutionary Guard.

Here's a picture from the scene on Tuesday morning. Seems pretty thorough.

More pictures here.

JPost adds:
Reflecting the internal tension that grew out of election, hard-line government supporters called at recent street rallies for the execution of opposition leaders.

...

Ali Mohammadi, who wrote several articles on quantum and theoretical physics in scientific journals, was not a well-known figure in Iran.

He was also not an outspoken or visible supporter of Iran's opposition movement during the months of turmoil that have followed the election, though his name did appear on the list of professors who backed Mousavi before the vote. That list was published on several pro-reform Web sites in the weeks leading up to the vote.

...

The semiofficial Mehr news agency quoted a Tehran University official as saying Ali Mohammadi was not involved in any political activity.

"The prominent professor was not a political figure and had no activity in the field of politics," Mehr quoted Ali Moqari, head of the university's science department, as saying.

...

Iran also directed suspicion at the exiled opposition group the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran. One conservative Iranian Web site close to the ruling establishment said the group carried out the attack under direction of Israeli agents.

The Tabnak site, which carried the report, is closely associated with Mohsen Rezaei, who serves on an advisory body to the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Rezaei was the only conservative candidate to challenge hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the election.

The People's Mujahedeen, however, denied any involvement in the killing.
Ironically, the People's Mujahedeen, also known as the MEK, is regarded as a terror organization in the US. That may well be changing.
Today an important step will be taken in determining whether an injustice created nearly two decades ago by our executive branch will be corrected by our judicial branch. At issue is a challenge, before the U.S. Court of Appeals, which will hear oral arguments on the issue, to the Secretary of State’s refusal to revoke the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) designation of the main Iranian opposition group, known as the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) or People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI). The outcome of the Court’s decision can affect a foreign policy with Iran, which, under the two U.S. Presidents in office since the FTO listing, has remained toothless. Making the right decision to revoke MEK’s FTO status now would tell Iran the era of appeasement is over.

Founded in 1965 by progressive Muslim intellectuals, MEK’s early objectives ran contrary to those of the U.S. While U.S. interests focused on keeping an ally—the Shah—in power, MEK’s focus was on toppling him. As such, in the early 1970s, MEK’s top leadership were killed or arrested under a massive nationwide crackdown by the Shah’s secret police. What original leadership survived was released from prison weeks prior to the Shah’s fall. MEK’s popular network took part in the 1979 movement to turn him out and usher the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in. But it did not take long to realize the mullahs’ extremism undermined the democratic, post-Shah Iran MEK had envisioned. For example, MEK’s view Muslim women were equal was rejected by Khomeini, who removed women from positions of authority, claiming they lacked the brain capacity of their male counterparts.

Soon the differences between Khomeini and MEK leadership turned violent. In 1981, MEK-led peaceful demonstrations against Khomeini’s brutality resulted in the head mullah’s orders to shoot protesters in the streets. Most of MEK’s senior cadres were executed. Its core leadership relocated to Paris, where it re-asserted the group’s influence.
Read the whole thing.
Israel Matzav: Claims: Iranian nuke physicist a Moussavi supporter, US and Israel behind assassination

Israel Matzav: 'The Taliban are gone from Afghanistan'

'The Taliban are gone from Afghanistan'

In a debate in Massachusetts on Monday night, US Senate candidate Martha Coakley (D) claimed that the US should withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan because 'the Taliban are gone.'

Really.

Watch the video here.


Israel Matzav: 'The Taliban are gone from Afghanistan'

Israel Matzav: Could it get any sillier?

Could it get any sillier?

Laura Rozen reports that the 'terms of reference' letters about the 'peace process' to Israel and the 'Palestinians' have been prepared, but that the President of the United States has not yet decided whether they should be delivered (Hat Tip: Daily Dish).

Meanwhile, with Iran on the verge of developing a nuclear weapon, and with its government about to be overthrown, the National Security Council held a rare Saturday morning deputies meeting this past weekend (yes, of course, the 'Palestinians' are much more important than the possibility that Iran might plunge the world into nuclear war) and came up with this idea to get the 'peace process' moving without offending Abu Bluff's 'dignity.'

One idea if they can't get a full fledged relaunch of peace negotiations initially is possible proximity negotiations conducted by Mitchell between the Israeli and Palestinian teams that might be held in Egypt or Jordan. The idea is that it might be a way for the process to begin without the Palestinians reneging on their refusal to return to talks with something short of a full Israeli settlement freeze.

Anyone else thinking that this is how I might deal with my 2-year old who won't sit at the table for dinner - let him eat it someplace else.

Total silliness.

Israel Matzav: Could it get any sillier?

Israel Matzav: Iran to subject Americans to 'enhanced security measures'

Iran to subject Americans to 'enhanced security measures'

In response to an American announcement that it will subject nationals of 14 countries seeking to enter the United States to 'enhanced security measures,' one of those countries - Iran - has announced that it will subject Americans seeking to enter to similar enhanced security measures.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told the semi-official Mehr news agency that Iran had already started fingerprinting American visitors in response to an earlier US decision to fingerprint Iranian visitors.

The Iranian parliament drafted a bill and lawmakers passed it, he said, adding that all US citizens who intend to enter Iran will now also be screened

“For some time now, the Islamic Republic of Iran has reacted to America’s decision to fingerprint citizens by reciprocating this move and placing on its agenda the fingerprinting of its [American] citizens, and the latest action by the Americans is not excluded from this matter,” Boroujerdi said.

Something tells me that a lot more Iranians want to visit the US than vice versa.

Maybe Iran can be convinced to try the Saudi solution.

Israel Matzav: Iran to subject Americans to 'enhanced security measures'

Israel Matzav: Breaking: Iranian nuke physicist killed in bombing; Iran forgets his connection to nuke program

Breaking: Iranian nuke physicist killed in bombing; Iran forgets his connection to nuke program

A professor of nuclear physics at Tehran University was killed on Tuesday morning by a bomb-rigged motorcycle outside his home.

Massoud Mohammadi had just left his house on his way to work when the explosion went off, state-run Press TV said.

The blast shattered the windows of his home in northern Tehran's Qeytariyeh neighborhood and left the pavement outside smeared with blood. The semiofficial ISNA news agency quoted Teheran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi as confirming the killing.

Neither report said whether Mohammadi was connected to Iran's nuclear program, which the West suspects is aimed at developing a nuclear weapons capability.

...

The Press TV report described Mohammadi was "a staunch supporter" of the 1979 revolution that toppled the shah and brought Islamic clerics to power.

Well, maybe. But unless there's someone else by the same name, the 30-year old Mohammadi was arrested after the June elections.

Here's what Press TV has to say about it.

An Iranian nuclear physics scientist has been killed in a remote-controlled bomb attack in the Iranian capital, Tehran.

Dr. Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, a lecturer at the Tehran University and a staunch supporter of the Islamic Revolution, was killed in booby-trapped motorbike blast on Tuesday.

The explosion took place near the professor's home in Qeytariyeh neighborhood, in northern Tehran.

Iran's police and security bodies are investigating the terrorist case to identify those behind it.

Meanwhile, Tehran's Prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi confirmed the assassination of the university lecturer on Tuesday morning and said that he taught neutron nuclear physics at the University of Tehran.

"No suspect has been arrested yet," he told the Iranian Students News Agency.

He added that Ali-Mohammadi was killed when a motorbike parked near his car exploded.

Well, if it was the Mossad, nice job boys.

Israel Matzav: Breaking: Iranian nuke physicist killed in bombing; Iran forgets his connection to nuke program

Israel Matzav: State Department leaves Mitchell twisting in the wind

State Department leaves Mitchell twisting in the wind

The State Department has left Special Middle East envoy George Mitchell to twist in the wind regarding cutting off loan guarantees.

"I know that Senator Mitchell's interview with Charlie Rose last week caused some angst in various quarters perhaps in Israel. Just to clarify this, he wasn't signaling any, you know, particular course of action," Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley said.

...

"Mitchell was simply asked a question with an historical context. You know, are there sticks that are available? And I think he mentioned that this is a step that the United States has taken in the past," Crowley said Monday.

"He wasn't signaling that this is something that we're forecasting in the future. You know, but it is - it obviously is something that we have in our toolbox. It's not that we're out, you know, wielding that particular tool at this particular time."

"The reason why Senator Mitchell is in the region or in Europe this week and he will meet with Israeli officials while he's in Europe - have other meetings as we go forward - is expressly to continue to push, you know, the parties and all who are supporting this process, to get the negotiation restarted as quickly as possible where we can," added Crowley. "... Put all the issues on the table and see if we can, you know, move towards a comprehensive peace in the Middle East."

"So this was simply, you know, George Mitchell commenting on a matter of history," he concluded."

Heh.

If Obama can't say no to anyone else, why should he be able to say no to Israel?

Israel Matzav: State Department leaves Mitchell twisting in the wind

Israel Matzav: Iran is vulnerable on oil: Why aren't we taking advantage?

Iran is vulnerable on oil: Why aren't we taking advantage?

Writing in the International Herald Tribune, John Vinocur reminds us of just how vulnerable Iran is on oil.

Thirty-one years ago this week — Jan. 16, 1979 — the shah of Iran flew into exile, opening the way to the birth of an Islamic republic and, over time, a country whose leaders have shaken much of world with their apocalyptic threats and drive for nuclear weapons.

For sure, demonstrations, shootings and massive repression brought a picture of chaos and revolution to Tehran and had left Mohammed Reza Pahlavi’s Peacock Throne tottering. But it was a series of strikes, virtually shutting down Iran’s oil fields, imposing rationing on gas, and raising the prospect of shortages of heating oil, that really signaled the shah’s end.

In the space of five days from Dec. 23, 1978, after two months of off-and-on strikes, murders and intimidation in Iran’s oil fields, production fell from 6.5 million barrels a day earlier in the month to roughly 700,000, stopping exports and providing just enough supply to cover national consumption.

On Dec. 28, rationing went into effect at gas stations, the Central Bank shut down, and oil field workers, endorsing tactics approved by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini from Neauphle-le-Château, outside Paris, pledged not to go back to their jobs until the shah was gone.

The availability of oil and the oil field strikes had become the issue and the endgame. On Feb. 1, the ayatollah, as if apotheosized, returned home triumphantly from France to joy and subsequent years of then-unimagined absolute power and ruthless change.

But, points out Vinocur, the Obama administration is avoiding targeting Iran's oil industry.

Serious was supposed to have started Jan. 1. That was when the Americans said time would run out for Iran to respond positively to an international plan that would have effectively slowed the Iranian nuclear program.

But over the past weeks it has become clear that the sanctions on gasoline aren’t going to happen — either at the United Nations because the Chinese and Russians don’t want them, or in an ad hoc alliance that would include the European Union. One European-based mercantile explanation: third-country suppliers would take advantage of those restrained by a ban.

...

French diplomats, according to Le Monde, without referring to Mrs. Clinton, said concerns like those she expressed “are exaggerated or baseless.” Rather, the newspaper reported they consider that “the breakdown between the regime and the people appears to be such that putting the country under pressure in relation to its nuclear program would be not be sufficient to result in a burst of nationalist unity.”

...

On the international scene, the Obama administration’s “no” to trying to rally its friends to oil-related sanctions just might be interpreted as giving tacit support to the very questionable idea that if the West waits long enough, a new regime will nullify the mullahs’ nuclear threat.

Read the whole thing. Jonathan Tobin points out that the alternatives to targeting Iran's oil and gas production are unattractive.

The only alternative to it is, as we all know, Western acceptance of an Iranian bomb or a military response that no one wants to try. Vinocur asks why, given the danger that a nuclear Iran poses to Middle East peace (and existentially to Israel) and the West, as well as the strengthening of Iran’s Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist allies that would result from their attaining a bomb, the West would give up without using the tough sanctions that are available to them? Since it is impossible to imagine this administration taking military action on Iran (and to be fair, its predecessor demonstrated its own lack of interest in the military option during George W. Bush’s last year in office), we are heading inevitably to a point where Obama is going to have to tell us that we must learn to live with an Iranian bomb. Which means that the attempt to downplay the expiration of yet another American deadline on Iran is just the beginning of the president’s prevarications on the threat from Iran in 2010.

Unless someone else decides to take action.

Bibi?

More here.

Israel Matzav: Iran is vulnerable on oil: Why aren't we taking advantage?

Israel Matzav: Code Pink asks Muslim Brotherhood for 'help cleansing our country'

Code Pink asks Muslim Brotherhood for 'help cleansing our country'

Radical anti-Israel anti-American Code Pink is advertising for support in 'cleansing our country' on the Muslim Brotherhood web site (Hat Tip: Big Government).


You will recall that Barack Obama warmly greeted Code Pink founder Jodie Evans when she brought a letter from Hamas to the White House in June.

What could go wrong?
Israel Matzav: Code Pink asks Muslim Brotherhood for 'help cleansing our country'

Elder of Ziyon: One year ago: "Operation Camouflage Hat"

Elder of Ziyon: One year ago: "Operation Camouflage Hat"

Elder of Ziyon: Reports: IDF Goldstone response due in two weeks

Elder of Ziyon: Reports: IDF Goldstone response due in two weeks

Elder of Ziyon: Today's PalArab news (1/12/10)

Elder of Ziyon: Today's PalArab news (1/12/10)

Elder of Ziyon: Work accident!

Elder of Ziyon: Work accident!

Is Free Speech Sacrosanct?

Is Free Speech Sacrosanct?

In the UK, so far as I can see, the answer is no, it isn't. If you're a crude, offensive foreign-looking fellow with outlandish opinions, you can be banned and your property frozen.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

There Are Still Rules to Diplomacy

There Are Still Rules to Diplomacy


Aluff Benn in Haaretz says the Turks are honestly earning the animosity of Israel. He's right, of course. Still, I think it's long past time to recognize that Avigdor Lieberman and his crew are not serving Israel's best interests in their undiplomatic manners.

Last year when Lieberman was appointed Foreign Minster, the world press was all agog with excitement about how far right he was. He wasn't, and isn't. He is however a thuggish sort of politician, crude and clumsy. These attributes might be useful for a transportation minister who has to get railroad tracks laid, but they're the wrong ones for a diplomat.
Originally posted byYaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Poor Logic From a Guardian Reader

Poor Logic From a Guardian Reader

CiF Watch has documented a humdinger. A bloke who calls himself William Bapthrope is troubled by Israeli transgressions against international law as he understands it, and suggests the situation could be rectified by slaughtering every man woman and child.

Seems a bit radical, don't you think, to correct a transgression against a law (if transgression there is at all) by genociding the transgressors. I'm a bit puzzled by the logic.

Anyway, I dropped a note to the editor of the Guardian 'alan.rusbridger@guardian.co.uk' and to the editor of CiF, 'georgina.henry@guardian.co.uk'. Sadly, my position is not fully aligned with that of my friends at CiF Watch, but I expect they'll forgive me:

Documenting the Malice


Ms Henry, Mr. Rusbridger

My friends at CiF Watch have alerted me to the recent case of a reader of yours, one William Bapthrope. Mr. Bapthrope is troubled by Israel's disregard of international law as he understands it, and advocates various methods to inform them of the seriousness of the matter. His third alternative is, and I quote, "they must be slaughtered, every last man woman and child". The staff of CiF Watch demands you ban Mr. Bapthrope from commenting at CiF.

I’m of two minds, I admit. If you assume murderous hatred of Jews is a contagious malady, rather like suicide, then having all mention of it disappear might make sense: people won't think of it on their own, or if they ever do they'll be ashamed of expressing their sentiments for fear of general ridicule and opprobrium. Assuming the media is the only venue where people communicate, which is probably not the case.

If, on the other hand, you're of the opinion that the excitement generated by dreaming of a world with far fewer Jews wells up from deep cultural sources reinforced by incessant lies about many things Jewish and constant reiteration of how uniquely evil Jews are, then of course the occasional censorship of an unusually crass expression of the Zeitgeist will have no positive impact on anything and will merely serve to cloak the pervasiveness of the hatred. Since the Guardian is one of the more important standard bearers of the animosity and purveyor of systematic and consistent lies, my inclination is to request that you desist from banning the worst examples of what you spawn, since your actions are merely an attempt to sanitize your own record.

The existence of the Jews and their well-being is fortunately not something the Guardian can impact on one way or the other. The full record of your malice, however, should not be tampered with.

Sincerely,

Dr. Yaacov Lozowick

Jerusalem


Update: Matt Seaton responds:

Regarding the post in the Blincoe thread which you respectively have complained about, let me assure you that – contrary to the impression Cif Watch chooses to give – the comment was deleted promptly by moderators, and as per our standard moderation protocol the user has been placed in quarantine as 'untrusted'.

I'm not convinced he read my comment.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations
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