Sunday, 24 January 2010

Chester Chronicles - Lancet Study Blames Palestinian Wife-Beating on Israel

Chester Chronicles - Lancet Study Blames Palestinian Wife-Beating on Israel

Israel Matzav: Syria calls up the reserves

Syria calls up the reserves

London-based pan-Arabic daily Ashar al-Awswat reports that Syria has begun calling up its reserve units due to purported tensions on the Lebanese border.

Tensions have escalated along the Israeli-Lebanese border and Syria has begun calling up troops from its Fourth Reserve, sources told the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

The newspaper, printed on four continents, reports that the Israeli military has been carrying out drills on Israel's northern frontier, as the second anniversary of the death of senior Hizbullah commander Imad Mughniyeh approaches. Mughniyeh was killed when a car bomb exploded in Damascus on February 13, 2008.

“Well-informed Lebanese sources” told the newspaper that Hizbullah is on a state of alert in the face of IDF “military maneuvers.” The sources added that Hizbullah is concerned Israel may launch a surprise attack on its bases and posts. "Israel has accustomed us to aggression and we are used to being vigilant and on the lookout all the time. That is what we are doing,” a source said.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, in Paris, said that “France does not expect that there will be an Israeli military offensive” at present. However, he expressed concern that “some Iranian leaders” might try to cause escalation in southern Lebanon.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Syria calls up the reserves

RubinReports: Free Speech is a Right, Not a Privilege Granted by the State

Free Speech is a Right, Not a Privilege Granted by the State

By Barry Rubin

“Free speech is not an automatic right. It is not a cover to allow hate speech and outright abuse,” writes a pro-Israel activist in a letter to a newspaper about the viciously nasty, even antisemitic “talk-backs” on its site.

That kind of talk makes me shiver no matter who says it. In my opinion free speech is an absolute right, excepting only—as the U.S. Supreme Court wisely ruled—when it is incitement to a real and imminent crime. For the record, offending someone is not a crime nor is criticizing any group, whether fairly or otherwise. Attacks on an individual are covered under clearly defined laws of libel and slander which require proof of far more than criticism alone or saying something the targeted person didn't like.

How ironic that the thin edge of the wedge in subverting the freedom of speech in various countries was to make Holocaust denial a crime. This should never have happened. The result is a panoply of new laws, new “hate crimes,” and even courts to try people for nonsensical charges regarding writings, statements, or even jokes and cartoons.

There is a difference, of course, between free speech and editing or, to use the Internet term for the latter, “moderating.” Editing is a selection made by an individual assigned for that purpose to choose what is best and most interesting for a given publication, as well as improving the quality of writing and reducing of excessive verbiage. If a publication is edited then everyone knows that fact and can choose another publication to read or submit materials. Or even to start one’s own and to compete for viewers or readers. That last point is covered under freedom of the press.

Personally, I don’t find talk-backs to be so useful, don’t read them, and don’t have them on my blog. On the other hand, I cherish the letters I receive from readers which often contain interesting ideas, useful corrections, and even the basis for articles. Given the inevitable result of being clogged with silly-speech (of which only a portion could be labeled “hate-speech” by anyone), I don’t see the point of having such things. But I’m certainly not advocating banning them by law or throwing into prison someone who writes one that offends me.

And there’s a good reason for not doing things like that to everything one doesn’t like. Once there is someone empowered to limit free speech as such, any democratic society is in trouble. The temptations of partisanship or personal (or group) interest are going to be too strong to resist. And everyone has a different idea of what is acceptable or not.

Of course that is what's happening with some targets of alleged hate (which is almost always mere criticism) getting legal protection and others not.

Liberals have traditionally been the strongest of all in opposing censorship and defending the right of free speech against restrictions. In contrast, extreme leftists and rightists are eager to shut up others right to speak. The clever manipulation of categories like race, gender, and religion, has now opened the door for attacking liberty. Unfortunately, people who call themselves "liberals" are now in the forefront of the censorship drive. Just because you find a good excuse for censorship (the old ones regarding religion, decency, and family were also pretty good causes).

Should one be terrified of bigots? Again, in an edited media, such expressions—at least by their quantity—should not be allowed to crowd out everything else. Because such statements are nonsensical, boring, and repetitive, they are of less interest and reduce the space or time for useful dialogue. A good editor or publisher should want to dispense with such things for solid, logical reasons.

Again, though, as the founders of the American republic and of other democratic nations understood, the power to limit free speech is not an authority that should be placed into the hands of anyone, no matter how well-meaning they claim to be and how allegedly noble and undeniably righteous is their real or supposed cause.

A state that puts people on trial for things they’ve said, written, or drawn—as have the Netherlands and Canada to name but two—is no longer a truly democratic country. Or how about the United Kingdom where, for example, a blogger who accurately depicted an Anglican cleric as a Holocaust denier and an associate of Islamist terrorists received a threatening visit by police? In the same country, the police tried to prosecute a television network for showing videos of sermons taken inside mosques, though a court finally ruled that the police (that is, the taxpayers) had to pay damaged to the television network.

That power to curb free speech will be inevitably abused to the detriment of society. The only difference between such a system and the Stalinist USSR is one of intensity, not type.

There is also another reason for not limiting free speech. It is better to know what is being said and thought rather than driving it underground. The number, identity, and arguments made by those who express views of various types should be known and understood by those who seek to counter them.

People who believe in democracy should feel that the only ones who will lose by freedom of speech are those whose arguments can be refuted by truth and logic. Come to think of it, that’s precisely what most of those in authority insisting on limiting free speech fear. Shutting up one’s enemies is too attractive a temptation to yield to for any reasons whatsoever.

RubinReports: Free Speech is a Right, Not a Privilege Granted by the State

The Mother of All Floods

The Mother of All Floods

Yossie Fatael, managing Director, Israel Travel Agents Associations, back from the Negev with pictures and films from last week's floods.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Love of the Land: For bigots, Israel can do no right

For bigots, Israel can do no right

Alan M. Dershowitz
Double Standard Watch/JPost
24 January '10

As most objective observers throughout the world marvel at Israel's efficiency and generosity in leading the medical aid efforts in Haiti, some bigots insist on using these efforts as an occasion to continue their attack on the Jewish state. Both the neo-Nazi hard right and the neo-Stalinist hard left cannot help but to demonize Israel, regardless of what Israel does.

The neo-Nazi Web site features a blog entitled The Zionization of Disaster Relief. It accuses Israel of "exploiting the suffering of poor, defenseless Haitians on behalf of Israeli Triumphalism." It complains that Israel is rendering medical aid to Haiti only to deflect attention from its crimes against the Palestinians.

The hard left, even in a Israel, complains that Israel should not be sending medical assistance to such a faraway place. Instead it should be sending it to nearby Gaza.

Even The New York Times, in an otherwise thoughtful analysis of the controversiality of the aid among some Israelis, failed to note the difference between Israel sending its limited resources to faraway Haiti and to nearby Gaza. Haiti is not at war with Israel. Haiti has not pledged itself to Israel's destruction. Haiti has not fired 8,000 rockets at Israeli civilians. Gaza, on the other hand, has a popularly elected government that has done and continues to do all of the above. Moreover, there is no comparison between the tens of thousands of Haitians who have died from a natural disaster, and the people of Gaza who suffer far less from what is, essentially, a self-inflicted wound.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: For bigots, Israel can do no right

Love of the Land: QME, Part II: U.S. Arms Sales to the Arabs, and Help (?) for Israel

QME, Part II: U.S. Arms Sales to the Arabs, and Help (?) for Israel

Report #: 957
22 January '10

[Correction to JINSA Report #956: The 1981 U.S. sale to Saudi Arabia was for E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) airplanes, not fighter jets.]

The concept of the Qualitative Military Edge (QME) failed to keep up with the changes in U.S. arms sales and training policy over the decades. It also failed to keep up with the changes in the regional picture of Israel and its adversaries-and the problems the adversaries themselves face. And finally, the Obama Administration posture toward Iran-including diplomatic overtures to the government and failure to obtain allied agreement on meaningful sanctions or other action-appears to have shifted from preventing Iranian acquisition of nuclear capabilities to deciding how to deal with a nuclear Iran. The implications for the security "edge" Israel requires in the face of continued Arab and Iranian rejection are huge.

During the "decade of the oughts" (as it appears to have been retroactively dubbed), the strategic alignment in the region changed from "everybody against Israel" to a "pro-Iran vs. anti-Iran" axis. Israel found itself on the same side of the strategic divide as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain and Lebanese democrats. On the other side are Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and, increasingly, Turkey. Iraq appears out of the picture, which is a very big change in historical terms. That doesn't mean Saudi Arabia likes Israel any better, but there is a clearer meeting of the minds on what threatens who and how. Saudi condemnation of Hezbollah during the 2006 Lebanon war and decision not to give even rhetorical support to Hamas during the Gaza war were demonstrations of the shift; as was passage of an Israeli warship through the Suez Canal during the summer.

(Read full report)

Related: Qualitative Military Edge, Part I: What it is and Where it Went

Love of the Land: QME, Part II: U.S. Arms Sales to the Arabs, and Help (?) for Israel

Love of the Land: Civilians First

Civilians First

Only in Israel does concern for the safety of soldiers override the state’s obligation to defend its civilians.

Assaf Sagiv
Azure Online
Winter 5768

(Written before Cast Lead but just as timely and should be required reading before venturing to speak on this topic.)

In 1847, disaster befell a Portuguese Jew by the name of David Pacifico, a trader living in Athens. An anti-Semitic mob stormed his house, looted its contents, and left it wrecked and vandalized. The beleaguered merchant appealed to the Greek authorities, demanding compensation for the considerable financial losses caused by the attack. He was turned down. A British subject by birth, he then turned to Her Majesty’s government, which responded with decisive force. In 1850, a Royal Navy squadron was dispatched to the Aegean Sea, where it seized Greek ships, confiscated property, and even blockaded the port of Piraeus for two months. The blockade was lifted only when the Greek government agreed to pay Pacifico restitution.

These punitive actions caused an international uproar: France and Russia, which along with Britain sponsored the fledgling Greek state, protested vehemently against the blockade. Even London itself was bitterly split over the issue. The House of Lords condemned the sanctions, but the House of Commons reversed the sentence following a lengthy speech delivered by Lord Palmerston, the foreign minister. The renowned statesman appealed to British legislators’ sense of national pride, and justified his country’s intervention on Pacifico’s behalf by recalling an ancient and revered precedent: “As the Roman, in days of old, held himself free from indignity when he could say, Civis Romanus sum [I am a Roman citizen], so also a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England will protect him against injustice and wrong.”

Some one hundred thirty years after this proclamation, the State of Israel proved that such commitments are not solely the privilege of imperial powers like Rome or Britain. Even a small country is sometimes prepared to take far-reaching measures-in more than one sense of the word-to defend its citizens against acts of aggression.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Civilians First

Israel Matzav: What Abdulmutallab told the FBI

What Abdulmutallab told the FBI

AP has the full story of what crotch bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab told the FBI on Christmas Day before he was given Miranda warnings (Hat Tip: Jihad Watch).

He spoke openly about what he'd done and why, and provided valuable intelligence, U.S. officials told The Associated Press in a series of interviews that spell out for the first time the details of Abdulmutallab's arrest and questioning on Dec. 25.

Badly burned and bleeding, the suspect tried one last gambit as he was taken from the plane: He claimed there was another bomb hidden on board, officials said.

There was no second bomb, federal agents learned after a tense search. But the Nigerian suspect's threat set off a series of conversations that are now the subject of a fierce political debate over the right way to handle terrorism suspects.

The bomb had severely burned Abdulmutallab but he was still conscious. As he was taken from the scene, federal agents repeatedly interviewed him or heard him speak to others. But when they read him his legal rights nearly 10 hours after the incident, he went silent.


Shortly after noon on Christmas, federal agents were notified that Northwest Airlines flight 253 had arrived at the Detroit airport from Amsterdam, with a passenger who had lit an explosive device on the aircraft.

After being restrained and stripped bare by fellow passengers and crew, Abdulmutallab was handed over to Customs and Border Protection officers and local police.

The officers and an ambulance crew took him to the burn unit at the University of Michigan Medical Center.

Along the way, Abdulmutallab repeatedly made incriminating statements to the CBP officers guarding him. He told them he had acted alone on the plane and had been trying to take down the aircraft.

Abdulmutallab arrived at the hospital just before 2 p.m. Still under guard, Abdulmutallab told a doctor treating him that he had tried to trigger the explosive. The Nigerian said it didn't cause a blast, but instead began popping and ignited a fire on his groin and legs.

FBI agents from the Detroit bureau arrived at the hospital around 2:15 p.m., and were briefed by the Customs agents and officers as Abdulmutallab received medical treatment.

Shortly after 3:30 p.m., FBI agents began interviewing the suspect in his hospital room, joined by a CBP officer and an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.

The suspect spoke openly, said one official, talking in detail about what he'd done and the planning that went into the attack. Other counterterrorism officials speaking on condition of anonymity said it was during this questioning that he admitted he had been trained and instructed in the plot by al-Qaida operatives in Yemen.

Read the whole thing. It's amazing that they're treating him as a criminal and not as a terrorist.

Israel Matzav: What Abdulmutallab told the FBI

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu plants trees in 'settlement blocs' to show that they are an indisputable part of Israel

Netanyahu plants trees in 'settlement blocs' to show that they are an indisputable part of Israel

This Saturday, the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shvat, is known as Tu BiShvat. Tu BiShvat is the New Year for trees, the date on which one year ends and the next year begins for purposes of determining what tithes are given to whom from the fruit trees (among other things).

To celebrate Tu BiShvat, just about every school child in the country plants a tree. This year, because Tu BiShvat falls on the Sabbath (on which we are forbidden from planting trees), the planting is being done early.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu planted two trees. But Prime Minister Netanyahu's trees have political significance. They were planted in the Etzion bloc and Maaleh Adumim, two of the 'settlement blocs' that Israel says it will keep in any 'settlement' with the 'Palestinians.' Later this week, Netanyahu will plant a tree in Ariel, a third 'settlement bloc.' Netanyahu stated on Sunday that the 'settlement blocs' are an indisputable part of Israel.

With these trees, Netanyahu said he wanted to "send a clear message that we will stay here. We are planning and we are building."

He added that these areas are an "indisputable part of Israel forever. This is an idea that is accepted by the majority of Israelis" and is part of international agreements, Netanyahu said.

It was his first visit to West Bank settlements since he took office at the end of last March.

His words come in the midst of a 10-month moratorium on new settlement construction, a move that has sown seeds of doubt in the minds of many settlers regarding his commitment to the settlement movement.

Government sources, while not willing to say that the prime minister's selection of the locales to plant trees was meant as a political message, added that it was clear he did not think Israel could return to the pre-1967 lines, because he did not think they were defensible.

Likewise, Netanyahu was planting trees in areas he believed would always stay within the state, and which were very much part of the national consensus.

Haaretz adds:

His comments came as no surprise to the Palestinians, who were put on notice by previous Israeli leaders that Israel intended to hang on to major settlement blocs in the West Bank in any future peace accord.

Here's the problem though: In more than sixteen years of the 'peace process,' we're still waiting for our first concession from the 'Palestinians.' I have yet to hear the 'Palestinians' say that they agree to us keeping the 'settlement blocs.' And I don't expect to hear it either.

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu plants trees in 'settlement blocs' to show that they are an indisputable part of Israel

A Comment to President Obama

A Comment to President Obama

President Obama tells Time Magazine he and his team didn't anticipate how hard peacemaking between Israelis and Palestinians would be.

I'll be honest with you. A) This is just really hard. Even for a guy like George Mitchell, who helped bring about the peace in Northern Ireland. This is as intractable a problem as you get. B) Both sides — the Israelis and the Palestinians — have found that the political environment, the nature of their coalitions or the divisions within their societies, were such that it was very hard for them to start engaging in a meaningful conversation. And I think that we overestimated our ability to persuade them to do so when their politics ran contrary to that. From [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas' perspective, he's got Hamas looking over his shoulder and, I think, an environment generally within the Arab world that feels impatient with any process.

You're the president of the United States of America. The single most powerful individual in the world, with the best decision-making infrastructure ever. All you needed to do was read some Hebrew and Arabic language newspapers - nothing deep and profound - to know that the sides are too far apart for easy peace-making.

Of course, you don't read either Hebrew or Arabic, but that's what staff is for. Nor is anything they'd have told you hard to grasp. The Israelis thought they were making peace in the 1990s, and ended up with suicide bombers in their city centers; they tried unilaterally moving out of Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005, and got two wars in response. So they're wary. They'd be suicidal if they weren't. Nor are they feeling particularly generous, full of brotherly love for the folks who've been doing their best to kill their children.

The Palestinians I can't speak for, but from listening closely to lots of people who've been listening closely to them, it seems to me they've yet to reconcile themselves to the finality of a Jewish State on land they feel is theirs by right, and theirs alone. Certainly ever more of their English-speaking allies feel the Jewish position can't be justified, so even if lots of Palestinians might once have begun to resign themselves, why should they? Lots of people tell them they're right not to give up.

None of this is hard to understand. The American president, however, influences the scene merely by looking at it, not to mention when he intervenes. That's also not hard to understand.

if we had anticipated some of these political problems on both sides earlier, we might not have raised expectations as high.

Mr President, it's people's lives you're fiddling with. This isn't the autonomy of banks, not numbers of unemployed, nor even the eventual cost of insuring people from illness. When you intervene first and then set out to understand only second (and I'm not clear you do yet, even now), people will die.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Israel Matzav: Video: Osama bin Laden takes responsibility for Christmas attack

Video: Osama bin Laden takes responsibility for Christmas attack

(The following was lifted from the Liveleak site). "Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden claimed responsibility for the Christmas Day airline bombing attempt in Detroit, in a audio message released Sunday, and vowed further attacks on the U.S.

The message suggests that bin Laden wants to show he remains in direct command of al-Qaida's many branches around the world.

In the short recording carried by the Al-Jazeera Arabic news channel, bin Laden addressed President Barack Obama saying the attack was a message similar to that of Sept. 11 and more attacks against the U.S. would be forthcoming.

"The message delivered to you through the plane of the heroic warrior Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was a confirmation of the previous messages sent by the heroes of the Sept. 11," he said.

"America will never dream of security unless we will have it in reality in Palestine," he added. "God willing, our raids on you will continue as long as your support for the Israelis continues."

On Christmas Day, Nigerian national Abdulmutallab attempted to blow up the Northwest Airlines flight he was sitting on as it approached Detroit Metro Airport. But the bomb he was hiding in his underwear failed to explode.

He told federal agents shortly afterward that he had been trained and instructed in the plot by al-Qaida operatives in Yemen.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula originally took credit for the attack, but by issuing this message, bin Laden seems to be indicating that he himself is ordering attacks, rather than just putting his seal of approval on events afterward.

Analysts had previously suggested that al-Qaida's offshoots in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and elsewhere were operated independently from bin Laden, who is believed to be somewhere in Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.

There was no way to confirm the voice was actually that of Bin Laden, but it resembled previous recordings attributed to him.

In the past year, bin Laden's messages have concentrated heavily on the plight of the Palestinians in attempt to rally support across the region.

Many analysts believe that bin Laden is worried about Obama's popularity across the Middle East with his promises to withdraw from Iraq and personal background, so the al-Qaida leader is focusing on the close U.S.-Israeli relationship.

The suffering of the Palestinians, especially in the blockaded Gaza Strip where 1,400 died during an Israeli offensive there last year, angered many in the Arab world.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, Andy David, dismissed the latest al-Qaida message and its attempt to link Israel with attacks on the U.S.

"This is nothing new, he has said this before. Terrorists always look for absurd excuses for their despicable deeds," he said.

The last public message from bin Laden appears to have been on Sept. 26, when he demanded that European countries pull their troops out of Afghanistan. The order came in an audiotape that also warned of "retaliation" against nations that are allied with the United States in fighting the war."

Let's go to the videotape.

Note that when he originally took 'credit' for 9/11, Bin Laden made no mention of Israel or the 'Palestinians.'

By the way, that Osama to Obama thing was cute. Following up on the same theme:


Israel Matzav: Video: Osama bin Laden takes responsibility for Christmas attack

Israel Matzav: Al-Qaeda sending female, 'western-looking' suicide bombers from Yemen to US

Al-Qaeda sending female, 'western-looking' suicide bombers from Yemen to US

ABC News is reporting that al-Qaeda in Yemen is training female suicide bombers, some of whom look 'western,' to attack the United States.

One official said at least two of them are believed to be connected to al Qaeda in Yemen, and may have a non-Arab appearance and be traveling on Western passports.

The threat was described as "current" but not imminent, said the official.

"They have trained women," said former White House counterterrorism official Richard Clarke, an ABC News consultant.


American officials say a U.S. air strike on Christmas Eve against suspected al Qaeda training camps is believed to have killed many, but not all, of a group of suicide bombers being trained in Yemen.


The alert comes during a week in which American law enforcement officials described an "unusually high" number of people on the no-fly list attempting to board flights to or in the United States.


At the same time, U.S. law enforcement agencies have quietly begun an intense and widespread effort to investigate any American resident who traveled to Yemen in recent months or who was in contact with the radical cleric Anwar Awlaki, who authorities believe serves as an al Qaeda recruiter.


As part of the additional scrutiny, federal agents are conducting extensive background checks on every passenger who flew to Detroit on the Northwest flight in case one of them might have been sent as a "spotter" on the mission.

Federal agents also tell they are attempting to identify a man who passengers said helped Abdulmutallab change planes for Detroit when he landed in Amsterdam from Lagos, Nigeria.

Authorities had initially discounted the passenger accounts, but the agents say there is a growing belief the man have played a role to make sure Abdulmutallab "did not get cold feet."

Hint: Check the Muslims first.

Israel Matzav: Al-Qaeda sending female, 'western-looking' suicide bombers from Yemen to US

Love of the Land: Pedatzur on Israel's Al-Dura Blunder

Pedatzur on Israel's Al-Dura Blunder

24 January '10

Reuven Pedatzur revisits the Mohammed Al Dura case today in Ha'aretz, and slams the Israeli Foreign Ministry for failing to challenge the widely reported version of events. He reminds readers of the holes in France 2's story:

The cameraman's testimony is full of contradictions. He says that "the soldiers shot the two in cold blood for 45 minutes." However, if the IDF soldiers wanted to hit Mohammed and his father in "cold blood" they could have killed them in less than a minute. Regarding the question of how many bullets were fired toward the two, Abu Rahma said "at least 400." The wall at the site of the incident clearly shows eight holes.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Pedatzur on Israel's Al-Dura Blunder

Israel Matzav: Video: Entertaining Israeli TV commercial featuring Barack and Michelle Obama

Video: Entertaining Israeli TV commercial featuring Barack and Michelle Obama

This is a new Israeli TV commercial, which features an old Israeli rock song. The commercial is for the YES cable television provider.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Judith W via Twitter).


Israel Matzav: Video: Entertaining Israeli TV commercial featuring Barack and Michelle Obama

Israel Matzav: PA warns EU not to talk to Hamas

PA warns EU not to talk to Hamas

Alarmed by the European Union's enthrallment with Hamas, the 'good terrorists' from Fatah have warned the EU not to talk with the 'bad terrorists' from Hamas.

A senior PA official in Ramallah condemned initiatives by some EU citizens and officials to talk to Hamas, accusing them of "ignoring the fact that Hamas had staged a coup in the Gaza Strip."

The official warned that meetings between Hamas and Westerners was "playing into the hands" of the movement and undermining efforts to achieve reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

"Those who are trying to legitimize Hamas are harming the Palestinian Authority and any chance of achieving peace with Israel," he said.

Hamas officials, meanwhile, said that their group accepts the two-state solution but only as a temporary one.

Of course, this is all related to last week's meeting between Hamas 'speaker' of the 'Palestinian Legislative Council' Abdul Aziz Dwaik and British useful idiot David Martin Abrahams. Following the meeting, Dwaik and his colleagues denied all the quotes attributed to him regarding accepting Israel's right to exist - even 'temporarily.'

Dwaik himself appeared to be confused and under pressure in light of the storm created by his controversial remarks. He initially claimed that some of the statements attributed to him were "inaccurate" and that Hamas had never recognized Israel's right to exist.

Dwaik said that he and other Hamas representatives made it clear during the meeting with Abrahams that Hamas "accepts the de facto existence of Israel but does not recognize the legitimacy of its occupation of Palestinian territories."

On the possibility that Hamas would consider canceling its charter, Dwaik said he reminded Abrahams that the PLO, which had canceled its charter under Israeli and American pressure, did not achieve anything in the interest of the Palestinians. He also said that Hamas was planning to continue its discussions with Abrahams and other Westerners.

Mahmoud Ramahi, another top Hamas operative in the West Bank, said in response to Dwaik's comments that his movement was indeed willing to accept an independent Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines, but only on a temporary basis and without recognizing Israel's right to exist.

The problem isn't that the EU wants to talk to Hamas (so long as it does not actually do so). The bigger problem is that the EU - and the United States - continue to talk to and coddle Fatah, which is at least as much of a terror organization.

Israel Matzav: PA warns EU not to talk to Hamas

Israel Matzav: A realist splits with Obama on Iran

A realist splits with Obama on Iran

Richard Haass says that Obama's 'engagement' policy has gone far enough. It's time to push for regime change.

I've changed my mind. The nuclear talks are going nowhere. The Iranians appear intent on developing the means to produce a nuclear weapon; there is no other explanation for the secret uranium-enrichment facility discovered near the holy city of Qum. Fortunately, their nuclear program appears to have hit some technical snags, which puts off the need to decide whether to launch a preventive strike. Instead we should be focusing on another fact: Iran may be closer to profound political change than at any time since the revolution that ousted the shah 30 years ago.

The authorities overreached in their blatant manipulation of last June's presidential election, and then made matters worse by brutally repressing those who protested. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has lost much of his legitimacy, as has the "elected" president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The opposition Green Movement has grown larger and stronger than many predicted.

The United States, European governments, and others should shift their Iran policy toward increasing the prospects for political change. Leaders should speak out for the Iranian people and their rights. President Obama did this on Dec. 28 after several protesters were killed on the Shia holy day of Ashura, and he should do so again. So should congressional and world leaders. Iran's Revolutionary Guards should be singled out for sanctions. Lists of their extensive financial holdings can be published on the Internet. The United States should press the European Union and others not to trade or provide financing to selected entities controlled by the Guards. Just to cite one example: the Revolutionary Guards now own a majority share of Iran's principal telecommunications firm; no company should furnish it the technology to deny or monitor Internet use.

That all sounds lovely and it would have been a great idea... two years ago. Right now, it's probably too late. We need something that's going to halt Iran's nuclear program much more quickly.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: A realist splits with Obama on Iran

Israel Matzav: European Union funding 'provocateurs' in Hebron

European Union funding 'provocateurs' in Hebron

This report from Arutz Sheva brushes over what ought to be the big story: The European Union is funding 'provocateurs' to stir up harass Hebron's Jewish community.

An Israeli provocateur funded by the European Union to harass Jewish residents of Hevron sustained light wounds on Saturday during a clash between her group and local Jews. Jewish residents pelted the provocateurs with stones before police arrived on the scene and dispersed the crowd. One Jewish resident was also injured in the clash.

Can you imagine any other democracy in the World in which a Western country would fund 'provocateurs.' And you wonder where Iran gets the idea to make accusations that the West is behind the green revolution?

Israel Matzav: European Union funding 'provocateurs' in Hebron

Israel Matzav: Could Wexler's old district go Republican?

Could Wexler's old district go Republican?

You will recall that in October, Florida Congressman Robert Wexler (D) resigned his seat in the House to head up J Street's 'think tank.'

In the wake of Scott Brown's defeating Marcia Martha Coakley in Massachusetts last Tuesday, Michael Barone provides a theory that says that the only 'safe' districts for Democrats are districts that voted 64% or more in favor of Obama in 2008. Wexler's old district is one of those districts, and there will be a special election in April to fill his seat, presumably only until year's end and the new Congress' arrival. Barone regards Wexler's seat as one of the 103 that are 'truly safe' for Democrats in the upcoming elections. Barone says that

yes, it will be amazing if this heavily Jewish district in Palm Beach and Broward Counties elects a Republican; heavily Jewish Brookline and Newton voted heavily against Scott Brown in Massachusetts.

Shmuel Rosner goes through the comments to Barone's post and finds someone on site in Palm Beach County, Florida who thinks otherwise.

I happen to live in Wexler's district, and it wouldn't be amazing to me at all. Obama support among all my retired Jewish friends started out weak (they were all Hillary fans) and has eroded into very vocal opposition and contempt over the past year. Obama bumper stickers have all but vanished in Palm Beach county. People are scraping them off.

Are the Jews in Florida smarter than the Jews in Massachusetts? Granted, my blog attracts mostly people who would love to see that seat go Republican, but anyone in Palm Beach or Broward counties want to comment? (Rosner would like to hear from you as well).

Israel Matzav: Could Wexler's old district go Republican?

Israel Matzav: Preview: Israel's Goldstone rebuttal

Preview: Israel's Goldstone rebuttal

The New York Times has a preview of some of the things that are likely to be in Israel's rebuttal of the Goldstone Report, which is to be completed in the next two weeks or so. Since the Times obviously knows something I've been keeping under wraps for the last month, I'm going to disclose it in this post.

The rebuttal will be given to United Nations officials in the coming weeks and its contents will remain under wraps until then. But officers involved in writing the report gave some details.

One concerned the destruction of Gaza’s sole flour mill. The Goldstone report asserts that the Bader flour mill “was hit by an airstrike, possibly by an F-16.” The Israeli investigators say they have photographic proof that this is false, that the mill was accidentally hit by artillery in the course of a firefight with Hamas militiamen.

The dispute is significant since the United Nations report asserts that “the destruction of the mill was carried out for the purpose of denying sustenance to the civilian population,” an explicit war crime.

My understanding is that the 'photographic evidence' is that the flour mill is still operating. In other words, although it may have been hit by artillery fire, it was never destroyed. Goldstone, who presumably did not know where the flour mill was located, was shown a bombed out building and took the 'Palestinians' word for it that it was a flour mill. What does that say about the credibility of his report?

A second finding concerned the destruction of a wastewater plant, leading to an enormous outflow of raw sewage. The Goldstone report contended that it was hit by a powerful Israeli missile in a strike that was “deliberate and premeditated.” The Israelis say they had nothing to do with that plant’s collapse and suggest that it may have been the result of Hamas explosives.

The two cases, along with the destruction of chicken coops, water wells, a cement plant and some 4,000 homes, are crucial building blocks in the Goldstone case that Israel set out to eliminate infrastructure so as to cause intense civilian suffering.

The report stated that “the destruction of food supply installations, water sanitation systems, concrete factories and residential houses was the result of a deliberate and systematic policy by the Israeli armed forces.” It added that Israel waged “a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.”

Maj. Gen. Avichai Mandelblit, the Israeli military advocate general, said in an interview that those assertions went beyond anything of which others had accused Israel.

“I have read every report, from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Arab League,” he said at his desk in the military’s Tel Aviv headquarters. “We ourselves set up investigations into 140 complaints. It is when you read these other reports and complaints that you realize how truly vicious the Goldstone report is. He made it look like we set out to go after the economic infrastructure and civilians, that it was intentional. It’s a vicious lie.”

Of course, that vicious lie was what the 'Human Rights Council' intended all along. Whether Goldstone was either (a) a naive fool, (b) so caught up in promoting his own career that he sold his soul, or (c) as much of an Israel hater as the rest of them (which is what I'm most inclined to believe, but which does not quite fit his background) is an interesting subject for debate. Maybe he'll resolve it when he writes his memoirs.

Of course, Goldstone will claim that the investigation is tainted because it was carried out by the IDF itself. Judge for yourselves:

So in November, Brig. Gen. Yuval Halamish, a former intelligence commander, led an investigation that involved scores of interviews of Israeli soldiers and Palestinian witnesses as well as reviewing military videotape and photographs. He submitted his findings to General Mandelblit, who is independent of the command structure but who wears a uniform, offered legal advice on targets before the operation and is widely seen as an insider.

The military investigation is expected to argue that while errors were made, Israel is not guilty of any serious crimes. It will argue that the rules of war need to be adapted to the kind of asymmetric warfare Israel increasingly faces: fighting a popular militia that intentionally mixes with the civilian population.

Mr. Netanyahu and his government have not decided whether to submit the findings to independent scrutiny, as the Goldstone report specifies. They may do so in a partial way — by asking a group of nonmilitary Israeli jurists to examine the rebuttal but without power to recall witnesses, an approach favored by the military and those close to it.

Others say there must be an independent, nonmilitary investigation.

As I have mentioned before, I am more than a little uncomfortable with the notion that the rules of war need to be adapted. First, because it doesn't excuse any violations before that adaptation takes place. Second, because there is little chance that the rules of war will be adapted to accommodate little Israel. And third, and most importantly, because Israel did not violate the existing rules of war, and therefore by claiming they need to be adapted, we are unnecessarily implying that we did not abide by them.

Here are a couple more things to consider:

General Halamish said in an interview that the army chose not to attack many leaders of Hamas because they lived among children and the elderly. He added that during the operation, Israel withheld fire for three hours a day so food and other aid supplies could be brought into Gaza. During those hours, he said, a quarter of the shooting from Hamas took place. Hamas also ambushed the civilian supply trucks.


“I do not accept the Goldstone conclusion of a systematic attack on civilian infrastructure,” said Yael Stein, research director of [the Israeli human rights group] B’Tselem. “It is not convincing. But every incident and every policy has to be checked by an independent body because the military cannot check itself. They need to explain why so many people were killed.”

The army needs to show that nearly all the people killed were Hamas terrorists, and compare the terrorist to civilian casualty rate to the rate accrued by other countries in similar operations. If they do that (and much of the research has been done for that already), there will be no need to answer why 'so many' people were killed. No one counts the number of deaths of combatants.


JPost reports that Israel's response will be presented to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Thursday.

The Palestinians were also set to hand in a report, and Ban was expected to present his own response to the UN Security Council by February 5.

I can't wait.

Israel Matzav: Preview: Israel's Goldstone rebuttal

Israel Matzav: Iran slams UAE for welcoming Landau

Iran slams UAE for welcoming Landau

Iran has slammed the United Arab Emirates for welcoming Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau to a conference on renewable energy last week, although Landau did not meet with any government officials.

Top Iranian clergyman Ahmad Khatami slammed the United Arab Emirates on Saturday for its decision to allow National Infrastructure minister Uzi Landau to arrive at its international energy conference ealier in the week.

"This is an unacceptable normalization," Khatami said, calling the U.A.E. leaders responsible for the invitation "sanctimonious hypocrites."


Landau said the Israeli delegation entered the country after special arrangements were made. "They had to do it since they committed themselves to making it possible for all member states, with or without relations, to participate in the agency's activities," Landau said in a phone interview from Abu Dhabi.

As some of you may recall, last year the Emirates was fined $300,000 for banning Israeli Shahar Pe'er from its annual tennis tournament. That's not going to happen again.

Last week the U.A.E. authorities sent a written assurance to the World Tennis Association that all players who will qualify for the 2010 championships will be allowed into the country and welcome to play in Dubai.

That ought to get the Iranians seething. Heh.

Israel Matzav: Iran slams UAE for welcoming Landau

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinians' nearly kidnapped another soldier?

'Palestinians' nearly kidnapped another soldier?

The IDF said it had no comment regarding a claim by Palestinian Islamic Jihad that they nearly kidnapped an IDF soldier whose hang glider drifted into Gaza.

The organization's military wing, Al-Quds Brigades, said in a statement that floods in the area on the border between central Gaza and Israel had prevented the abduction of the soldier.

According to Israeli media, Islamic Jihad claims to have video footage of the attempted abduction, "which will be aired in due time."

The soldier's glider reportedly landed to the east of al-Bureij refugee camp, according to the pro-Iranian group. The IDF has not commented on the claim.

Could someone please explain to me why we would be sending human beings around the border area on hang gliders when the IDF has so many types of UAV's (unmanned aerial vehicles) at its disposal? Or was this just some idiot freelancing? Or was the story made up by Palestinian Islamic Jihad?

Of course, the picture at the top is Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped by the 'Palestinians' three and a half years ago.

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinians' nearly kidnapped another soldier?

Israel Matzav: This will make you feel real secure

This will make you feel real secure

This is from German television, but the technician is an English-speaker. Watch as the 'passenger' goes through a full body scan, which catches his cell phone but misses his bomb components. Here's an explanation from the Daily Caller (Hat Tip: Instapundit):

A demonstration of a full-body scanner on German television last week revealed that the device, which uses infrared technology, was able to detect little more than a cellphone, a knife, and the girth of the man walking through it.

The problem? He was also packing a bomb.

“Admittedly, he only faced the scanner from the front and not from the side,” wrote computer security pro Bruce Schneier. “But he also didn’t hide anything in a body cavity other than his mouth — I didn’t think about that one — he didn’t use low density or thinly sliced PETN, and he didn’t hide anything in his carry-on luggage. Full-body scanners: they’re not just a dumb idea, they don’t actually work.”

Let's go to the videotape.

Anyone STILL not convinced that the Israeli way is the only way to do airline security? Maybe now they'll have you open your mouth like for a throat culture in the US and Europe. Yeah, that'll solve the problem.

Israel Matzav: This will make you feel real secure

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian' human rights organizations call on Hamas to investigate

'Palestinian' human rights organizations call on Hamas to investigate

Eleven 'Palestinian' human rights organizations have called on the Hamas terror group and the 'Palestinian Authority' to investigate human rights violations during Operation Cast Lead.

Acts listed by the report include Palestinian attacks on civilians in Israel and instances of internal repression, such as summary executions in the Gaza Strip and arrests and torture in the West Bank.

The calls were made in identical letters sent to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh. The organizations asked the two leaders to launch investigations before the February 5 deadline by which the UN Secretary-General is to report to the General Assembly on compliance by Israel and the Palestinians with the assembly's earlier resolution.


Two of the 11 organizations that signed the letters, Adallah and the Arab Association for Human Rights, are based in Israel. The others operate in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and include groups such as the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Al-Haq, the Adameer prisoner's rights group and the Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counselling.

The letters state that "Whereas the bulk of the (Goldstone) report addressed violations by Israel, the occupying power, it also considered violations by Palestinian armed groups and the Palestinian authorities in Gaza and the West Bank".

The authors say that for PLO efforts to have the report endorsed by the UN to be of lasting value, the Palestinian authorities must take action to implement its recommendations.

"We urge you to immediately take clear and public steps toward holding to account all those who prove to be responsible for the violations detailed in the report," they wrote.

In order not to endorse the de-facto political separation of the West Bank and Gaza the groups sent the letters to Haniyeh and Abbas rather than to Haniyeh and his direct West Bank counterpart, prime minister Salam Fayyad.

Note the paragraph that I highlighted. It's not the human rights violations that concern them, it's the report's 'lasting effect.'

Note also something else that is missing: The use by Hamas of 'Palestinian' civilians (including children) as human shields.

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian' human rights organizations call on Hamas to investigate

Israel Matzav: Video: IDF rescues Haitian man who was buried under rubble for ten days

Video: IDF rescues Haitian man who was buried under rubble for ten days

Maybe they shouldn't give up on the rescue operations in Haiti just yet.

During the day, January 22, 2010, an IDF search and rescue team in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, rescued a 22 year old man, who had been trapped under the rubble of a building near the presidential palace for nearly 10 days. He was taken to the IDF field hospital in stable condition.

A search conducted by Population Management officers from the Home Front Command, headed by Lt. Col. Rami Peletz, were directed to the location of the trapped man by local residents.

American and French doctors were unable to rescue the trapped man and called upon the Israeli delegations search and rescue teams who rescued the man within half an hour, from a tunnel, 2.5-3-meters long and were able to release him whole and healthy, said Maj. Zohar Moshe, a member of the rescue team.

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Video: IDF rescues Haitian man who was buried under rubble for ten days

Israel Matzav: Good news: Brazil finds 450kg of enriched uranium

Good news: Brazil finds 450kg of enriched uranium

The Russian web site Ria Novosti reports that authorities in northern Brazil have discovered a cache of 450 kilograms of enriched uranium.

The operation to seize radioactive material was a result of four-month work by investigators, who found a bag of pitchblende on Friday in a remote area of tropical rainforest.

Pitchblende, or uraninite, is an extremely radioactive mineral used as a major component for the production of fuel for nuclear power plants and nuclear arms.

An investigation is underway.

Brazil's nuclear capabilities are considered the most advanced in Latin America. The country runs its sole nuclear power plant, Angra, with two reactors, and a third is under construction.

Gee, I wonder who might be trying to get enriched uranium from Brazil.

Israel Matzav: Good news: Brazil finds 450kg of enriched uranium

Israel Matzav: Worth watching: Richard Landes on the Goldstone Report

Worth watching: Richard Landes on the Goldstone Report

Roger Simon of PJTV interviews Professor Richard Landes regarding the Goldstone Report. You can watch it here.

Part 1 of the article to which Professor Landes refers in the interview is here.

Israel Matzav: Worth watching: Richard Landes on the Goldstone Report

Israel Matzav: Drugs financing terror and weapons of mass destruction

Drugs financing terror and weapons of mass destruction

A US State Department official has warned of the connection between the drug trade and terror activities.

"The sums of money involved are growing in extraordinary amounts, and that raises the possibility, because of the sums and the areas in which these groups have begun to operate, for that opportunity to be exploited," said David Johnson, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

"Some of these criminal syndicates have the organizational and financial wherewithal that could potentially allow them to acquire and sell radioactive material, biological and chemical weapons, and technologies used for weapons of mass destruction."

Johnson, who was speaking at the Washington Institute of Near East Affairs, attributed the massive growth in drug profits to increasing demand and supply in the worldwide market.

"The supply particularly of heroin is growing in ways that are hard to fathom," he said.

When it comes to the Middle East, however, Johnson said that most of the major terror organizations get their funding from state sponsors rather than drugs and other criminal activities.

"If you're looking at the areas around Israel, you're talking about state sponsors driving the organizations and this being more opportunistic rather than a direct impact on what they're doing," Johnson assessed, calculating that even the drugs grown in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon are not a major source of income for Hezbollah.

"It's more the case of criminal groups producing products and providing services that are quite useful to these groups that are engaged in even more nefarious activities," he said, pointing specifically to smuggling and border crossing as a useful form of support criminal groups provide. He also spoke of the nexus of contraband and terror activity running through the tunnels Hamas has dug from Gaza into Egypt.

The picture at the top is an Israeli anti-drug ad featuring Hezbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

By the way, it's that time of year here in Jerusalem when we do our little bit to support the terrorists. Purim is about five weeks away, and I'm surprised we've heard very few firecrackers and their offspring as of now. I'd bet they'll start in earnest pretty soon. Unfortunately, the religious neighborhoods of Jerusalem are usually full of the illegal fireworks, most of which come from the 'Palestinians' and finance the terror organizations. Most of my neighbors don't want to hear that.

Israel Matzav: Drugs financing terror and weapons of mass destruction

Israel Matzav: Video: I am Israel

Video: I am Israel

No need for any comments from me.

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Video: I am Israel

Elder of Ziyon: Iran: "Zionists fearful of Iranian tourism growth"

Elder of Ziyon: Iran: "Zionists fearful of Iranian tourism growth"

Elder of Ziyon: Today's PalArab news (1/24/10)

Elder of Ziyon: Today's PalArab news (1/24/10)

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas' response to Goldstone?

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas' response to Goldstone?

Elder of Ziyon: Rumors swirl around Egyptian film as being pro-Israel

Elder of Ziyon: Rumors swirl around Egyptian film as being pro-Israel

Love of the Land: Muslims Attack Christians and the Church Blames the Jews

Muslims Attack Christians and the Church Blames the Jews

Jonathan Tobin
21 January '10

Israel’s worsening relationship with the Vatican took another hit earlier this week with the release of a church report that in large measure blames the perilous situation of Christians in the Middle East on Israel and the Middle East conflict.

The report, issued two days after the pope’s visit to a Rome synagogue, which sought to better relations between Catholics and Jews, was prepared in advance of a planned church conference of Middle East Christians to take place later this year. It claims that the Iraq war and Israel’s presence in the West Bank have worsened conditions for minority Christians in the Muslim-dominated region. Written by Arab bishops, the document takes the point of view that Israel’s occupation fuels Islamic radicalism, which in turn makes it hard for Christians to live.

Even worse than that, the report states: “The solution to conflicts rests in the hands of the stronger country in its occupying and inflicting wars on another country.” Thus, it apparently takes the point of view that the solution to the conflict lies principally with Israel, not its Arab antagonists. It goes on to claim that “violence is in the hands of the strong and weak alike, the latter resorting to whatever violence is within reach in order to be free,” which seems to justify anti-Israel terrorism by groups such as Hamas, Fatah, and Hezbollah.

The fallacious nature of this document is more than apparent to anyone who has been paying attention to the actual situation on the ground for Christians in Arab lands. The pressure on Christians to leave their traditional homes has nothing to do with Israel and everything to do with the spirit of Islamist jihadism, which views all non-Muslim minorities as threats to their hegemony.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Muslims Attack Christians and the Church Blames the Jews

Love of the Land: IDF violence against Arab women?

IDF violence against Arab women?


A Palestinian woman tries to grab the weapon of an Israeli soldier in the West Bank village of Nabi Salih, near Ramallah, January 22, 2010.

Elder of Ziyon
23 January '10

Palestine Today has a
photo essay purporting to show how violently IDF soldiers handle Arab women protesters. The article itself says:

Clashes erupted on Monday between Palestinian youths and Israeli soldiers in Nabi Saleh village near Ramallah in the West Bank, where there was a violent demonstration and youths pelted Israeli soldiers with stones, Israeli soldiers responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

The young Palestinians scuffled with Israeli soldiers, and were was violently assaulted by Israeli soldiers and who arrested some of them.

The following images show the brutality of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian women:

Even the article admits that the violence was started by the protesters, not by the IDF. Even so, it claims that the soldiers were cruelly assaulting PalArab women.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: IDF violence against Arab women?

Love of the Land: J Street Is Ba-a-a-ck

J Street Is Ba-a-a-ck

Jennifer Rubin
22 January '10

When last we left the J Street gang, they were enjoying their Washington confab — though with many fewer congressional “hosts” once it became clear what the group’s agenda really was and what sort of Israel-bashing “artists” planned to entertain the assembled crowd. Then the conference itself proved informative. We learned that the J Streeters didn’t fancy calling themselves “pro-Israel,” at least not on college campuses. And we learned that what really got their juices flowing was a healthy dose of anti-anti-Iranian-regime propaganda and good old-fashioned neocon-bashing. Alas, there’s not much of a market for that on Capitol Hill, so their “lobbying” devolved into some mushy nothingness in which lawmakers were asked to do something to show they favored a two-state solution. (Gutsy stuff from these J Streeters, eh?)

Soon afterward we learned that J Street and NIAC shared some interesting conference calls, the object of which seemed to be, among other things, to get Dennis Ross. J Street didn’t like any of the Iran-sanction measures floating around Congress but seemed powerless to influence the votes.

So now that our memories are refreshed (ever since “engagement with Iran” became a laugh line, they’ve been sort of quiet), we see this report that J Street will ”be increasing the number and amount of its contributions to US Congressional candidates by at least 50 percent in the coming year. The announcement comes a few weeks ahead of J Street’s first planned trip to bring members of Congress to Israel.” One wonders if Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson are to be the tour guides.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: J Street Is Ba-a-a-ck

Love of the Land: Norway’s Middle East Hypocrisy

Norway’s Middle East Hypocrisy

Ben Cohen
Z-Word Blog
20 January '10

This is a guest post by Christian Tau of NIJ.

Norway FM Jonas Gahr Støre toured the Middle East between January 16th-20th, visiting Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, Israel, Egypt and UAE. The topics of Støre’s meetings in the different countries as well as the manner in which he was received shows us a Norwegian foreign policy bathed in the gold sheen of hypocrisy. The manner in which the Norwegian media reports on Støre’s tour reveals how this hypocrisy is rooted in a bedrock of popular denial.

Criticizing Israel on human rights

Of the countries Støre visited we find Israel at the far end of the spectrum. Freedom House ranks the little nation as a “Free”. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index for 2008 ranks Israel at no.38. The nation is a vibrant affair, producing writers, film-makers, and scientists amidst a strong entrepreneurial culture. It is by far the state in which most Norwegians would settle, if they were to live in the Middle East.

In spite of this, Israel has reluctantly come to realize that what goodwill she enjoyed with Norwegian Labor has, after the failure of the Oslo accords, mutated into a seething resentment of failed expectations and dashed hopes. Merged with the traditional anti-Zionism of the Norwegian left-of-centre, this resentment has made criticism of Israel the very core of the Norwegian debate on the Middle East. In this debate Hamas and Hezbollah appear as symptoms of a problem which in itself consists solely of Israeli politics.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Norway’s Middle East Hypocrisy

Love of the Land: Holy Land Hoaxes: The Smearing Of Israel

Holy Land Hoaxes: The Smearing Of Israel

Pajamas Media

Product of the latest UN investigation prejudiced against Israel, the Goldstone Report is out, hiding the truth about Hamas’s war crimes in Gaza. Richard Landes tells Roger L. Simon why the media won’t come to Israel’s defense. Watch and comment here:

Related: Goldstone Gaza Report: A Failure of Intelligence
Goldstone's Gaza Report: Part Two: A Miscarriage of Human Rights

Love of the Land: Holy Land Hoaxes: The Smearing Of Israel
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