Thursday, 28 January 2010

Love of the Land: The Return of “Defensible Borders”?

The Return of “Defensible Borders”?

Evelyn Gordon
28 January '10

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told foreign journalists last week that under any peace agreement, Israel would insist on maintaining a presence along the Palestinian-Jordanian border to thwart arms smuggling, he provoked some predictably negative responses. Writing in the Jerusalem Post this week, for instance, Ben-Gurion University Professor David Newman termed this “a return to a way of thinking … thought to have disappeared over a decade ago.” Claiming that “most generals” no longer consider this necessary, he accused Netanyahu of simply trying “to hammer the nails even more strongly into the coffin of peace.”

In fact, Newman is almost entirely wrong but through no fault of his own — because the one thing he’s right about is that Netanyahu’s statement “reinserted the defensible border concept into public discourse,” whence it had virtually disappeared. And since Israeli premiers stopped talking about it more than a decade ago, how was anyone to know that every prime minister, and the defense establishment, continued to insist on defensible borders in practice?

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: The Return of “Defensible Borders”?

Love of the Land: Harvard's Carr Center: Snake Pit on the Charles

Harvard's Carr Center: Snake Pit on the Charles

J Street Jive
27 January '10

Gregg Carr's fortune spawned by his genius and pioneering work in computer voice mail and early ISP's (remember Prodigy anyone?) has gone a long way in funding Harvard"s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. Sadly, most organizations today within the NGO universe bearing the label, "Human Rights" or "Peace", push, among other worthy agenda items, a not so worthy one: Denigrating one country, Israel, to the point of de-legitimization. And Harvard is no exception.

This week was a case in point.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) (oops, there's that label - head for the exits) is a Cambridge based group of physicians and activists whose mission is to "to investigate the health consequences of human rights violations and work to stop them." And investigate they do. But not too hard when it involves Palestinian and Arab violations.

When pressed to report on continual Palestinian violations of international law in the use of ambulances and health facilities as agents of war, they have consistently refused or denied such use in spite of voluminous photographic evidence.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Harvard's Carr Center: Snake Pit on the Charles

Love of the Land: Aww... Holocaust-Abetting Poles Try To Capture Israeli "War Criminals" On International Holocaust Day

Aww... Holocaust-Abetting Poles Try To Capture Israeli "War Criminals" On International Holocaust Day

Mere Rhetoric
27 January '10

In fairness it was probably their parents and grandparents who consummated millennia of Catholic antisemitism by turning over Jews to Nazis, denying supplies to Warsaw Ghetto smugglers, pretending that Auschwitz didn't exist, and so on. But still:

Knesset members visiting Poland for ceremonies marking International Holocaust Day were surprised to see ads against Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni in the city of Krakow on Tuesday evening. Posters hung not far from the Israeli lawmakers' hotel read in English, "Wanted for war crimes," offering the public an award of 10,000 euro in exchange for information on Barak or Livni's expected arrival in Europe... "After 65 years, we once again realize that being right is not enough," said MK Hasson. "We must remember this ahead of the next challenges, like Holocaust deniers, Holocaust cursers and different kinds of anti-Semites."

I especially like the part where they offered rewards for any information on where the Jewish delegation could be found and captured.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Aww... Holocaust-Abetting Poles Try To Capture Israeli "War Criminals" On International Holocaust Day

Love of the Land: Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority President

Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority President

John Perazzo
27 January '10

Click here to view the full Mahmoud Abbas profile.

Excerpts from the Mahmoud Abbas profile:

In the mid-1950s Abbas became involved in underground Palestinian politics, and joined a number of exiled Palestinians in Qatar. While there, he recruited numerous people who would become key figures in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and was one of the founding members of Fatah in 1957.

Through the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, Abbas travelled with Yasser Arafat and the rest of the PA leadership-in-exile to Jordan, Lebanon, and Tunisia. Widely regarded as a pragmatist, Abbas is credited with initiating secretive contacts with leftist and pacifist Jewish organizations during the 1970s and 80s, and is considered by many to have been a major architect of the 1993 Oslo peace accords (evidenced in part by the fact that he traveled with Arafat to the White House to sign the accords).

Love of the Land: Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority President

Love of the Land: Short takes — letters, potshards and human rights

Short takes — letters, potshards and human rights

26 January '10

The McDermott/Ellison letter

News Item:

Fifty-four members of the U.S. Congress have signed a letter [the text is here -- ed.] asking President Barack Obama to put pressure on Israel to ease the siege of the Gaza Strip.

The letter was the initiative of Representatives Jim McDermott from Washington and Keith Ellison from Minnesota, both of whom are Democrats. Ellison is the first American Muslim to ever win election to Congress.

McDermott and Ellison wrote that they understand the threats facing Israel and the ongoing Hamas terror activities against Israeli citizens but that “this concern must be addressed without resulting in the de facto collective punishment of the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip.”

“We ask you to press for immediate relief for the citizens of Gaza as an urgent component of your broader Middle East peace efforts,” they wrote, adding that the siege has hampered the ability of aid agencies to do their work in Gaza…

Ellison has harshly criticized the House of Representatives decision to reject the Goldstone report, arguing that the report “only presents facts and raises recommendations for the future.” He cast doubt that members of Congress who voted to reject the report even took the time to read it and that the rejection hurt the Obama government’s role as an honest broker in the Middle East conflict.

The letter was also signed by those paragons of pro-Israel-ness, J Street and Americans for Peace Now.

Love of the Land: Short takes — letters, potshards and human rights

Love of the Land: The Anti-Israel Revelation

The Anti-Israel Revelation

Mark Tooley
27 January '10

“Emergent Church” guru Brian McLaren is a key figure on the Evangelical Left who is trying shift Evangelicals, who are America’s most pro-Israel demographic, into a more neutralist stance. Currently, he is leading a delegation through Israel and “Palestine” to broadcast the sins of Israeli oppression against Palestinians by “listening, learning, thinking, observing, reflecting.” His blog is providing daily updates of his discoveries, all of which confirm his previously often declared bias against Israel.

“I hope you will start questioning what you think you know about the situation here,” McLaren warned on his blog recently, with the assumption that most readers are deceived by pro-Israel partiality. “I’ve been an avid reader on the subject for quite a while, but being here now, I see how many of my most basic assumptions were skewed from a lifetime of half-truths, unfair and imbalanced news, well-planned propaganda, and misinformation.”

McLaren, of course, used to be a more traditional, conservative Evangelical. So his emergence into the Evangelical Left in recent years, including the requisite negativity towards Israel, is part of an ongoing spiritual rebirth into which he invites his fellow Evangelicals. Of course, McLaren insists that he is not anti-Israel, and certainly not anti-Jewish. He simply wants to liberate both Palestinians and Jews from the enslaving mindset of the “occupation” that holds both peoples captive.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: The Anti-Israel Revelation

Love of the Land: Israel Prepares to Rebut Goldstone

Israel Prepares to Rebut Goldstone

As Israel prepares to publish its official response to the UN's Goldstone Report, we highlight some more recent analyses and commentaries.

Honest Reporting
Media Critique
27 January '10

(As we approach the next phase of the Goldstone attack, a great deal of information is being posted in preparation. This one in particular is an excellent resource to have on hand. Y.)

As reported by the New York Times, Israel is preparing to release its own rebuttal to the Goldstone Report, some of the contents of which were released to the newspaper:

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.

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.

(Read full report)

Love of the Land: Israel Prepares to Rebut Goldstone

Elder of Ziyon: Oh, and another Hamas fact...

Elder of Ziyon: Oh, and another Hamas fact...

Elder of Ziyon: What do you do with a used Qassam rocket?

Elder of Ziyon: What do you do with a used Qassam rocket?

Elder of Ziyon: Israelis marking goods as "Made in Palestine"?

Elder of Ziyon: Israelis marking goods as "Made in Palestine"?

Elder of Ziyon: Really bad anti-semitism in Malmo, Sweden

Elder of Ziyon: Really bad anti-semitism in Malmo, Sweden

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas lies about Shalit in response to Goldstone

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas lies about Shalit in response to Goldstone

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas frightened of Egypt (guest post by Zvi)

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas frightened of Egypt (guest post by Zvi)

RubinReports: Obama’s State of the Union Message Tells Us Far More About the State of Obama

Obama’s State of the Union Message Tells Us Far More About the State of Obama

Please subscribe for more good and original analysis like this article

By Barry Rubin

Significantly, President Barack Obama’s discussion of foreign policy came only at the end of his State of the Union message. Obviously, domestic matters and especially the economy come first. Yet international affairs are not only vital but often have been the issues on which administrations are judged, no matter how unlikely that seemed at the time.

It is apparently considered impolite to point out that Obama has no previous experience and little knowledge of international affairs. And yet that fact affects the fate of the globe every day. The really interesting question is whether the State of the Union message showed any growth in his ability after one year in office.

Sadly, the answer is “no.”

Here are the themes he expressed.

First, he implies that it is all George W. Bush’s fault, having left him with two wars. Yet there is a strange point here that no one has noticed. These wars, except for Obama's long hesitation about making a decision on Afghanistan, have caused him little trouble or criticism in relative terms. On a list of administration failures during its first year, a long list of other items prevail which cannot be blamed on Bush: embarrassing gaffes, messing up on Iran and the “peace process,” subverting allies in Central Europe, apologizing and undermining U.S. credibility with dictators, mishandling the Islamist terrorist prisoners, and so on.

Second, he insists that he’s been doing a great job on security. Indeed, Obama suggests—in terms that would have brought a withering criticism of previous presidents—that no one should criticize him.

There is one sentence in this discussion that embodies much of what is wrong with Obama’s concept of international affairs. On the surface it is banal but it is really of the greatest importance: “So let’s put aside the schoolyard taunts about who is tough.”

This is part of Obama’s confusion between personal or social life and international politics that is so common to the amateur in foreign policy. During recess, boys act macho, ranking each other in a pecking order, challenging each other to fight or back down.

Obama genuinely views the way that international politics works as equally silly, meaningless, unnecessary. He wants to cut through all that and show that everyone is in the same boat, he has no macho feelings about power, and he’s ready to apologize and be part of the gang without leading the gang. It is a way to say: Why can't everyone just get along and be friends. I'll dispense with all these petty quarrels and start by renouncing all my own power.

This is sort of like the wimpy nerd coming up to a motorcycle gang and explaining his philosophy to them. Ok, that’s a very exaggerated image but it gets the point across. At first, Obama's listeners are puzzled. Why would the leader of the world’s greatest superpower talk like this? Perhaps it is a trick.

But then the reactions among foreign leaders and countries to Obama's policy can be divided into three groups:

Foes are not won over. On the contrary, the world's dictators and radical ideologies which are America's enenies conclude that some strange compulsion has paralyzed America so why not take advantage of it?

Dependents are frightened. If this man refuses to be strong or act tough who will protect me? I must give my lunch money to the bullies or somehow ingratiate myself with them or just defend myself as best I can.

Lazy friends are pleased. We love this man because either he won't demand that we do anything or if he does we can ignore him without consequences. But even some of them are starting to become concerned, like Britain, France, and Germany who want more action regarding Iran's nuclear program.

What Obama calls “schoolyard taunts” are what diplomatists for centuries have called power politics, leverage, containment, credibility, and so on.

Regarding security against terrorism, Obama speaks of “substantial investments,” “disrupted plots,” and filling “unacceptable gaps.” Never being able to resist some schoolyard taunts at Bush, he adds that he has captured more al-Qaida fighters than his predecessor. No problem, he says, everything is under control and don't worry about it.

Yet people still are worried—and with good reason. After all, Obama was also saying everything was fine before the "underpants" bomber came along. His bomb didn't destroy the aircraft but it did blow up confidence in Obama's counterterrorist strategy. There is no mention of his treating terrorism as a criminal problem, nor of his very narrow focus on al-Qaida as the only terrorist group of concern, nor of his plan to try captured terrorists at courts in the United States, nor of how terrorists he has released have returned to the battle. If he ignores all the concerns people have, no wonder he can say there is no problem.

Obama continues, “We have prohibited torture and strengthened partnerships from the Pacific to South Asia to the Arabian Peninsula.” Has Obama strengthened partnerships? Well, if he means alliances that is truly doubtful. Leaving aside the question of his personal popularity in polls I cannot think of a single country whose material relations are stronger. Nominally, of course, Western Europe greatly prefers Obama to Bush. But has this led to any actual results in practical terms? Again, no.

He claims success in Afghanistan, preparing the army there so he can bring the troops home starting in July 2011. Curiously, there’s no mention of his own smaller version of a surge. U.S. combat troops in Iraq will all be out in August of this year. These are good steps and probably will be very popular at home.

Yet there is also that flash of utopian naiveté, a refusal to face up to the cost of doing so which bodes ill for the future: “We will reward good governance, reduce corruption, and support the rights of all Afghans – men and women alike. “ Yeah, sure. And as with the misleading claim about his successes against al-Qaida, there is that fascinating Obama inability to resist the temptation to tell easily exposed lies, claiming that other countries have increased their commitments in Afghanistan when in fact they refused his request to do so.

One of the most remarkable elements is something not in the speech. The word “Israel” is not even mentioned. There is no commitment to its security expressed and nothing about the peace process. This is revealing in two ways.

First, Obama has admitted that he made a mistake on the issue, the only foreign policy mistake he has ever mentioned. His response now is to ignore the issue altogether, not in his government's daily activities but in terms of his main commitments. Remember that type of response for it might come to characterize other issues. For example, suppose Obama fails—as he clearly will—to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Will he then turn away from that problem as well, banishing it from his agenda?

Second, everyone knows that Obama’s commitment to Israel has been widely questioned. A good politician would go out of his way to say something to show—truly or falsely—how much he does care about it. That isn’t how Obama works. He is not the kind of president to whom other countries can turn to for a feeling of security and support. And that sense of worry is applying now to many other countries in Latin America, Central Europe, the Caucasus, the Middle East, and elsewhere who know that they cannot rely on the president of the United States to protect them against their enemies.

If Obama were to be honest--and effective--he would admit that Israel did almost completely what he asked while the Palestinian Authority (PA) defied him. Israel froze all the construction on the West Bank (it has never defined east Jerusalem in that way) and expressed willingness to go to talks with the PA. The PA has refused to negotiate for five months after Obama asked it to do so. Yet for Obama to pressure the PA to go to the table--the normal route in such situations--is unthinkable for him. So he has no way out of his failure. And Israel's "reward" for its major concession? Not even to be acknowledged in Obama's main annual speech for the first time, I presume, in decades.

In contrast, what Obama is fond of, and spends more time—practically twice as much--on then any other foreign policy issue at all, is his vision of world nuclear disarmament. Even his treatment of the Iran issue comes in this context. Obama—and this is another weakness of his—gets lost when he thinks of something he feels is terribly clever. In this case, believing he can best deter Iran and North Korea by saying the United States should also give up its nuclear weapons.

Does anyone in the world take this seriously?

To hear him say it, America’s enemies are trembling:

“These diplomatic efforts have also strengthened our hand in dealing with those nations that insist on violating international agreements in pursuit of these weapons. That is why North Korea now faces increased isolation, and stronger sanctions – sanctions that are being vigorously enforced. That is why the international community is more united, and the Islamic Republic of Iran is more isolated. And as Iran’s leaders continue to ignore their obligations, there should be no doubt: they, too, will face growing consequences.”

In a sense, all he had to offer was a schoolyard taunt: You'll be sorry! After so many previous such statements, this comes across as a very empty threat indeed. A different kind of president would have used the State of the Union speech--the timing of it would have been perfect--as a platform to announce that America was switching gears from failed engagement to tough sanctions. The members in both parties would have roared approval. He would have a mandate and the message would have been clearly heard in Tehran. But such an approach would never have occurred to Obama.

And that's why America's enemies aren’t trembling but laughing and sneering.

This is the speech of a man who is arrogantly convinced of his own brilliance and who basically believes that no one has a right to criticize him. He thinks that he can ignore or rewrite the rules of international affairs. It reveals both a temperament and a set of ideas totally unsuited for dealing with the world as it is.

What I find most fascinating of all about Obama is that despite all the externals—his early personal history and skin color most obviously—used by himself and others to boast that he understands other peoples, Obama is altogether incapable of grasping that others in the world think and act differently from himself.

That’s partly due to his ideology but also to his mistaken belief—ignoring the fact that he is a Hawaii-raised, Harvard-educated member of a very insulated elite whose life has been largely one of uninterrupted rewards mostly showered onto him as gifts--that they are just like he is.

May he, and we all, be very lucky in the next few years.

RubinReports: Obama’s State of the Union Message Tells Us Far More About the State of Obama

RubinReports: Governing Neo-Islamist Leaders Freak Out Over My Critiquing Their Oppression of Women

Governing Neo-Islamist Leaders Freak Out Over My Critiquing Their Oppression of Women

Please subscribe to the blog that drives the Turkish Islamists crazy--literally

By Barry Rubin

Recently, it has been reported that the AKP has been forcing women out of senior jobs in Turkey. A while ago I wrote an article publishing and describing four photos sent to me by Turkish friends showing graphically how oppressed and miserable Ermine Erdogan, wife of Turkey's prime minister, looked on visiting the Obamas in Washington.

What's going on in Turkey is scarcely a secret. For example, a Turkish-American wrote recently in the Los Angeles Times:

"In a disturbing trend, secular Turkish women feel growing pressure to cover up, even facing intimidation or discrimination if they don't. In one case, Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who has the authority to appoint university rectors, bypassed highly recommended female professor of medicine Gaye Usluer for a man, who was recommended second to her and received far fewer votes from their colleagues at Eskisehir Osmangazi University."

There are many such stories with specific examples to back them up.

Now an AKP member of parliament has thrown more abuse on me than I have ever seen in a mere 800 words. (And I've been working on the Middle East for 30 years!) The article in Hurriyet says that I am an evil Orientalist imperialist, though it at least pays me the compliment of saying I am original about it.

And all I said is that she looked oppressed! Oh, right, that's not a problem for women in the Middle East. Incidentally this is a reaction to the huge number of Turks who have been talking about the piece and complementing it. By referring to the trumped-up conspiracy trials which have labelled critics of the AKP as traitors, the article attacking me implies that Turkey is quickly ceasing to be a democratic country.

Of course the tone of crazed rhetoric and virulent hatred--reflecting the desire to wipe me off the face of the earth--is probably the greatest condemnation of the movement that launched it which professes to be a moderate family-values party, not a radical Islamist one. If the AKP was as it claimed, it would provide a reasoned response, perhaps even trying to convince me that I was wrong.

When one cuts away all the abuse, the only point cited to prove that I'm wrong is that the prime minister's wife has been involved in a campaign against illiteracy.

In strategic terms, the article is rather stupid. What the author should have done was to suggest that I insulted Turkey in some way. But instead she makes it all about the AKP and how great it is. I can practically see Hurriyet readers guffawing and nodding their heads as they read the article since they know what I'm writing is true.

What most amuses me about this attack is that the article never describes what I wrote or what the pictures show.

What makes this most amusing is that I have just published articles on the attempt to crush free speech and on the effort to intimidate people through name-calling. Most timely.

RubinReports: Governing Neo-Islamist Leaders Freak Out Over My Critiquing Their Oppression of Women

RubinReports: Political Secrets of the Middle East: Intimidation Works (If You Really Mean It)

Political Secrets of the Middle East: Intimidation Works (If You Really Mean It)

By Barry Rubin

Intimidation works. That might seem obvious, and it certainly seems to be understood by some people regarding domestic American politics, but it is very much neglected when thinking about foreign policy.

Here’s an obscure little story that caught my attention. There’s a Muslim imam in the town of Paris, near Drancy, named Hassan Chalghoumi. He was leading a service with around 300 people in the mosque when about one-third of them interrupted him, screamed he was an infidel traitor, and threatened to kill him. He thought he would not escape alive.

What was Chalghoumi’s sin? He has spoken against Islamic extremism, the very ideology the demonstrators espouse, and condemned antisemitism. After he requested Muslims to respect the memory of Jews killed in the Holocaust, his home was vandalized.

Will Chalghoumi give in and shut up? I don’t know. But the point is that dozens of others will never get started in the first place. There are always a few people who will not be intimidated even by death threats. Yet they will be few.

Perhaps if huge numbers of French citizens took to the streets in huge marches to extol Chalghoumi--who after all is precisely the moderate, tolerant Muslim they profess to applaud—this would not only encourage him but also inspire others to step forward.

If huge numbers of Muslims in France and around the world took to the streets in huge marches to extol Chalghoumi, thus showing they are the moderates they claim to be, then that, too, would inspire others to step forward.

Instead, Fouad Alaoui, president of the Union des Organisations Islamiques de France (UOIF), said, "We've warned him several times to moderate his words because he risks to attract these sort of reactions." In other words, we won't support you, you're making people angry, so shut up. What makes this especially significant is that the UOIF is an organization created and funded by the French government in an attempt to moderate Islam and isolate extremists. Apparently, its response to extremists is to appease them.

Meanwhile, though for decades, Western intellectuals, artists, journalists have boasted of their courage in defending the right to free speech, how quickly, faced with a real, albeit extraordinarily minimal and remote, threat did they crumble.

But it gets even better (or actually, worse). They can now boast of their enlightened tolerance for being cowardly and put those who disagree with them, who are willing to risk intimidation, on trial. And of course if you want a job in publishing, journalism, academia, Hollywood, or various strongholds of the current dominant ideology, toe the line or forget about a job.

Let’s list the three main categories of intimidation.

First and most obviously there is the physical: the threat or act of violence. While thousands of Westerners have been killed by random Islamist terrorism, probably no more than a half-dozen individuals have been murdered in attacks from the same sources targeting them because of their use of free speech. Yet this has been sufficient to silence the main institutions of Western society that are supposed to function as truth-tellers, fearless critics of everything. .

Probably even more people have been intimidated by verbal intimidation, which alone has several varieties.

Second, there is ridicule. One of the most effective weapons in intimidating people in Western elite society is to make fun of them and the most successful tool of all—the Weapon of Mass Destruction in this context—is to portray them as unfashionable. Rather than being part of the elite, they are among the uneducated, uncultured hicks, those bigoted people clinging to guns and religion. So if you want to be part of the elite, holding the “right” views is like a membership card.

A great gimmick here is to take some proposition that is easily demonstrable to be wrong and make it sound extremely silly. For example, regarding the Middle East:

“Wow, these people really believe that a nuclear Iran would be a threat; that we are not on the verge of Israel-Palestinian peace; that Israel is a great country; that Islamism is a form of totalitarian ideology; that Syria is wedded to its alliance with Iran; that Islamist terrorists actually have some connection to Islam; that the United States has played—despite errors—a noble role in the world. Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous? Hahaha! What a bunch of uneducated, uncultured hicks.”

Labeling: Beyond the unfashionable, the “wrong” views have to be presented as fitting into categories which most observers—not only the dedicated supporters of the dominant view but also independent, undecided bystanders—will consider to be wrong and even evil.

We now have a multiplicity of such labels: racist, imperialist, reactionary, conservative, Republican, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, and so on. Indeed, contemporary political debate often seems like a parade of insults. But if you can label an idea as falling into a forbidden category you can scare off lots of people from accepting or even considering it. Those intimidated fall into two categories: those who believe that the idea is evil and those who may be sympathetic but fear being tarred with a sin in their brain.

Misrepresenting: The systematic misquoting and distortion of ideas or actions to make them seem evil. To pick one example, Israel was attacked by thousands of rockets from a terrorist group which openly called for genocide against its people. After the other side—let’s call it Hamas—tore up a ceasefire and attacked, Israel defended itself while using serious efforts to limit civilian casualties, though Hamas used civilians as human shields.

The mission: To make Israel look like an aggressive war criminal by distorting what happened. Mission accomplished. And that’s only one of dozens of such missions achieved on a wide variety of issues during the last decade or so.

Remember when we used to say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me?” During the era of Political Correctness, that kind of sticks and stones rule the West culturally and intellectually.

Third and last there are legal methods, suing those who say something you don’t want or trying them as purveyors of hate speech. These are few in number but panic vast institutions, especially in publishing.

In the Middle East, the traditional instruments of intimidation as part of statecraft are very much alive. In the West, however, the goal of foreign policy nowadays seems to try to prove that you have no intention of intimidating anyone. Intimidation seems reserved largely for internal social and political matters. When it comes to foreign policy, such methods are relics of the bad old days for which apologies are now given.

A society cannot win at home if its free institutions succumb to intimidation. A country cannot win abroad if it isn't willing to use intimidation against the enemies of freedom.

Forget Che! Where are the Hassan Chalghoumi tee-shirts?

RubinReports: Political Secrets of the Middle East: Intimidation Works (If You Really Mean It)

Arutz Shevathon Fundraiser is Live - CALL NOW! - A7 Exclusive Features - Israel News - Israel National News

Arutz Shevathon Fundraiser is Live - CALL NOW! - A7 Exclusive Features - Israel News - Israel National News

Canada to Offer Shariah-Compliant Mortgages? - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Canada to Offer Shariah-Compliant Mortgages? - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Knesset Rejects Bill to Outlaw Islamic Movement - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Knesset Rejects Bill to Outlaw Islamic Movement - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Edelstein Links Nazis and Today's Iran - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Edelstein Links Nazis and Today's Iran - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Netanyahu in Auschwitz: Remember Amalek and Trust in IDF - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Netanyahu in Auschwitz: Remember Amalek and Trust in IDF - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Goodwill Measures Led to More Crime, Terror, Says Police Chief - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Goodwill Measures Led to More Crime, Terror, Says Police Chief - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Kenyan Delegation Visits Sderot to Study Counter-Terrorism - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Kenyan Delegation Visits Sderot to Study Counter-Terrorism - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Love of the Land: What the AP Doesn't Say about the Palestinians and the Holocaust

What the AP Doesn't Say about the Palestinians and the Holocaust

27 January '10

In her article about the controversy among Jews and Arabs surrounding an Israeli Arab MK's trip to Auschwitz today, AP's Diaa Hadid reports:

The conflict over the Holocaust dates back to the founding of Israel in 1948.

At this point, readers knowledgeable about Mideast history and the Holocaust may have expected mention of the Palestinian Arabs' close collaboration with the Nazis. Grand Mufti Haj-Amin El-Husseini, with his warm relationship with Nazi leaders, was instrumental in recruiting several SS divisions worth of Bosnian Muslims. It's not for nothing that he's been called Hitler's "Muslim Pope."

But Hadad does not mention the Palestinian Arabs' role in the Holocaust here or anywhere else in the article. Instead she goes on to state:

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: What the AP Doesn't Say about the Palestinians and the Holocaust

Israel Matzav: Clinton won't serve a second term at State

Clinton won't serve a second term at State

If Obama wins a second term, God forbid, here's one cabinet member he will already have to replace. Hillary Clinton tells PBS's Tavis Smiley on Wednesday night that she cannot see herself serving a second term at State.

TAVIS SMILEY: Finally, there’s already speculation about whether or not Secretary Clinton is going to do this for the full first time, and whether or not she has any interest if asked to stay on to do it for eight years? You see how tough the job is, can you imagine yourself doing all four years and, if asked, doing it for another four years?

HILLARY CLINTON: No, I really can’t. I mean, it is just…

TAVIS SMILEY: No to what? All four or eight?

HILLARY CLINTON: The whole, the whole eight, I mean, that that would be very challenging. But I, you know, I don't wanna make any predictions sitting here, I’m honored to serve, I serve at the pleasure of the President, but it’s a, it’s a 24/7 job, and I think at some point, I will be very happy to LAUGHS pass it on to someone else.

Jennifer Rubin adds:

She can claim not a single foreign-policy accomplishment (escaping the corner she painted herself into on Honduras doesn’t count). She was going to restore our standing in the world, but who thinks our relations with Britain, Eastern Europe, and Israel (to name just a few key allies) are better now than during the Bush administration? Seriously, we went from the most robust and productive relationship with Israel of any administration to the worst. We’ve offended and rebuffed the Brits at multiple turns. And we’ve pulled the rug out from under the Poles and the Czechs. Are we being smart diplomats yet?

Meanwhile, we’re in the process of missing a historic opportunity to affect a peaceful, popular revolution in Iran. We’ve given the cold shoulder to human rights advocates. And we’ve accomplished none of the items on the Obama multilateralist to-do list. (Climate-control efforts look eerily similar to the course taken by ObamaCare.) We didn’t even get the Olympics.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Clinton won't serve a second term at State

Israel Matzav: Business is business

Business is business

Sanctions against Iran have run into new opposition from within the United States. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers and the National Foreign Trade Council have written a letter to National Security Advisor Jim Jones and National Economic Council Chairman Larry Summers opposing the Iran sanctions legislation that was passed 412-12 in the House, which is currently under consideration in the Senate.

The groups say the Iran gas ban bill as passed in the House and a companion Senate bill under consideration would damage U.S. alliances and international trade, by mandating U.S. penalties on foreign firms that violate U.S. unilateral Iran sanctions:

"While we agree that preventing Iran from developing the capability to produce nuclear weapons is an urgent U.S. national security objective, the unilateral, extraterritorial, and overly broad approach of these bills would undercut rather than advance this critical objective," the letter from nine U.S. business groups says. "The history of similar efforts demonstrates that such a unilateral approach would provoke a negative response from our allies and would divert attention from an effective, coordinated response to Iran’s nuclear ambitions."

"Finally, the legislative proposals eliminate the discretion afforded the president," a point the administration has quietly made to key lawmakers it is working with to try to ensure any final bill worked out in conference gives the president discretion over when to impose sanctions.

The bills eliminate Presidential discretion because the President has shown over the past year that he doesn't know how to exercise it. And it takes a unilateral approach because there is little hope of getting real sanctions through the UN Security Council. But who cares about all that? Business is business.

Israel Matzav: Business is business

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

Here's Shaya Hecht singing a line from the Grace after Meals in which we ask God to supply all of our needs so that we don't need any assistance from other people.

Especially appropriate for a night when we're going to hear the State of Disaster in the US.

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Israel Matzav: Khameni predicts Israel's destruction (again)

Khameni predicts Israel's destruction (again)

On Wednesday, Iran's 'spiritual leader,' Ayatollah Ali Khameni, once again predicted Israel's destruction.

Khamenei made the remark during a meeting with Mauritanian President Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz in Tehran, the website said.

The all-powerful Iranian leader also said that Israel's continued "pressure to erase Palestine from the world of Islamic nations" will fail.

"Surely, the day will come when the nations of the region will witness the destruction of the Zionist regime... when the destruction happens will depend on how the Islamic nations approach the issue," Khamenei told Aziz, who arrived in Tehran on Monday.

"The Zionist regime, by continuing to use pressure, blockades and committing genocide, wants to erase Palestine... but it will not succeed."

Praising Mauritania for cutting its ties with Israel, Khamenei said the "Zionist regime is a great danger to the world of Islam as it was thinking of expanding its influence and grip on the region every day."

Anyone out there want to try to explain why we shouldn't take these threats seriously?

I didn't think so.

Israel Matzav: Khameni predicts Israel's destruction (again)

Israel Matzav: Can Obama bring about regime change in Iran?

Can Obama bring about regime change in Iran?

It's amazing how history may play into Barack Obama's hands - if only he would let it. Here's Robert Kagan in the Washington Post.

Regime change is more important than any deal the Obama administration might strike with Iran's present government on its nuclear program. Even if Tehran were to accept the offer made last year to export some of its low-enriched uranium, this would be a modest step down a long, uncertain road. Such a minor concession is not worth abandoning the push for real change.


Regime change in Tehran is the best nonproliferation policy. Even if the next Iranian government refused to give up the weapons program, its need for Western economic assistance and its desire for reintegration into the global economy and international order would at least cause it to slow today's mad rush to completion and be much more open to diplomatic discussion. A new government might shelve the program for a while, or abandon it altogether. Other nations have done so. In any event, an Iran not run by radicals with millennial visions would be a much less frightening prospect, even with a nuclear weapon.

The clinching argument is pragmatic. What is more likely: that Iran's present leadership will agree to give up its nuclear program or that these leaders will be toppled? A year ago, the answer seemed obvious. There was little sign the Iranian people would ever rise up and demand change, no matter what the United States and other democratic nations did to help them. If the prospects for a deal on Tehran's nuclear program seemed remote, the prospects for regime change were even more remote.

These probabilities have shifted since June 12. Now the odds of regime change are higher than the odds the present regime will ever agree to give up its nuclear program. With tougher sanctions, public support from Obama and other Western leaders, and programs to provide information and better communications to reformers, the possibility for change in Iran may never be better. As Richard Haass wrote recently, "Even a realist should recognize that it's an opportunity not to be missed."

But Jennifer Rubin notes that Obama doesn't have his eye on the ball.

But in fact Obama has been hostile to the interests of the democracy activists in Iran – not only did he rush to confer diplomatic legitimacy on the regime, but he slashed financial support to the very groups seeking to topple the regime.

Could Obama be enticed, as Kagan describes, by the prospect that “were the Iranian regime to fall on Obama’s watch, however, and were he to play some visible role in helping, his place in history as a transformational world leader would be secure”? Maybe. But Obama seems intoxicated by other, less attainable endeavors, not the least of which is churning round after round of the “peace process.” And if one takes seriously his West Point speech and his 60 Minutes appearance, he really would rather not engage in “triumphalism” or commitments with no predetermined end point. He really wants to go back to reinventing America.

But perhaps there’s where an opening exists. Kagan’s sage advice may have more impact now, in the wake of Obama’s domestic-policy wipeout and the widespread criticism of his first year’s bungle-filled foreign policy. Obama could use an important effort, one that combines both realism and the highest aspirations of America, which would replace his first year’s serial failures (two Copenhagens, the George Mitchell fright show) and cringe-inducing timidity (e.g., the Afghanistan seminars) with a more positive image of Obama as leader of the West. Does he have the foresight and determination to undertake such an about-face? We’ve seen no evidence of it so far. But as he suggested in his ABC interview, if he doesn’t get a second term, he should make the most of the current one.

Kagan raises one other factor that Rubin doesn't address: The Israel factor.

It would be similarly tragic if Israel damaged the likelihood of political change by carrying out an airstrike against Iran's nuclear facilities in the coming year. That would provide a huge boost to the Tehran regime just when it is on the ropes -- and for what? The uncertain prospect of setting back the nuclear program for a couple of years?


The president needs to realize that this is his "tear down this wall" moment. And that it is fleeting. Iran's leaders are rushing to obtain a nuclear weapon in part because they believe that possessing the bomb will strengthen their hand domestically as well as internationally. They're probably right. Moreover, Israel's patience will not be infinite. If too much time passes without change in Iran, Israel may feel compelled to attack, no more how questionable the likelihood of success and how grave the fallout.

From where I sit, regime change is our best bet for stopping Iran's nuclear program. But if it doesn't come soon enough or it doesn't stop the nuclear program, we're unlikely to sit on our hands forever. For us, a nuclear Iran, whether run by Amadinejad or Moussavi, is an existential threat.

Keep that in mind.

Israel Matzav: Can Obama bring about regime change in Iran?

Israel Matzav: Something the IDF took back from Haiti

Something the IDF took back from Haiti

I mentioned earlier that the IDF was leaving Haiti, although it is leaving all of its equipment behind (medical supplies, blankets, mattresses, etc.).

There is one thing the IDF is bringing home with it: A 5-year old boy, who will have heart surgery in Israel.

He and his family are more likely to be appreciative than any of the Arab families whose children are treated here.

Israel Matzav: Something the IDF took back from Haiti

Israel Matzav: The Hamas 54

The Hamas 54

Self-hating Jew MJ Rosenberg is gloating over at HuffPo: 54 Democratic Congressmen, led by Congressman from CAIR Keith Ellison, have signed a letter to President Obumbler urging him to pressure Israel to lift the 'blockade' openly allow ammunition and bomb-making materials into Gaza.

Fifty-four House members are defying AIPAC and calling on President Obama to lift the deadly blockade of Gaza. Specifically, the House Members ask that Obama pressure Israel to permit:


In short, the courageous 54 want the blockade lifted.

Please take a look at the list of these legislators who will, no doubt, catch hell from powerful AIPAC types in their districts and, more significantly, among their donor base.

Also note this. The fact that your favorite liberal is not among the 54 does not mean he or she disagrees with their braver colleagues. It only means that they are not ready to stand up and be counted.

Sultan Knish discloses the real agenda (Hat Tip: Atlas Shrugs):

Since Ellison got his start with CAIR , his attempt to provide support for Hamas is completely unsurprising. Both Hamas and CAIR are projects of the Muslim Brotherhood, which also helped birth Al Queda. Organizations like CAIR do the same work in America that Hamas does in Israel. The difference is that CAIR does its work on a political level, while Hamas functions on both a political and a military level. Like CAIR, Ellison is careful to cloak his pro-Hamas agenda, which he does by mentioning that all violence is wrong and that Israelis probably shouldn't be shelled-- but the thrust of his agenda is to force Israel to open its border with Hamas.


But what Congressman Keith Ellison accomplished was to convince 53 other Democratic congressmen to join him in this venture. It is not particularly surprising to find the House's most radical anti-Israel voices signing their names onto Ellison's letter. It would be inconceivable if a letter aiding Hamas did not carry the signatures of Barbara Lee, Jim Moran or Jim McDermott, who helped Ellison spearhead the whole campaign. It is essentially inconceivable that any letter circulated in congress opposing Israel would not get their signature.

Jim Moran had managed to blame even the Iraq War on the Jews and McDermott was actually named CAIR's Public Official of the Year. Neither is West Virginia Arab Congressman, Nick Rahall, who is the Democratic party's version of Darrel Issa, who is tied to CAIR as well, and previously voted against Israel's right to defend itself. Rahall is also the top recipient of CAIR donations. The likes of Diane Watson or Pete Stark aren't complete surprises either. Pete Stark has a history of being both anti-Israel and unstable. Neither is Carolyn Kilpatrick, who voted against Israel's right to defend itself, and against condemning terrorist attacks on Israel. Kilpatrick, like virtually every Democrat on the list, is also tied to CAIR.

Then there's William Delahunt, who all but openly expressed the hope that a former Cheney aide would be targeted by Al Queda. John Conyers signing on to this while awaiting prison is no real shocker either. The man has all but endorsed Sharia law in America. Or John Dingell who like many Detroit politicians has gone whole hog with the Islamist Follow Traveler thing.

Congresswoman Betty McCollum has been waging her own private war on Israel, right down to issuing an imperial demand that Israeli Ambassador Oren attend the national conference of the far left anti-Israel group, J Street. McCollum famously belittled Hamas' shelling of Israel as nothing more than a drug gang's drive by shooting and repeated the discredited white phosphorous smear. Again, no more surprising than Chaka Fattah's presence on the list.

Then there's Eric Massa, a former Republican turned turncoat Democrat, Massa has been consistently loudly anti-war and to the left. Like virtually every congressman on this list, he's pushed for a phony ceasefire, that would naturally be one sided. Considering his increasingly unhinged radicalism, and that he has an election coming up soon, Massa must be pretty confident that the nutroots can get him reelected.

It is of course no surprise that this list weighs heavily toward Minnesota and Michigan, where CAIR is strong. But it also includes twelve congressmen from California, 3 from New Jersey, 4 from New York and 6 from Massachusetts. These numbers are not mere statistics, they define the rising influence of the Muslim Brotherhood on American politics, state by state.

Sultan Knish has the whole sordid list. I just want to point out one name on it: Michael Capuano. He was the challenger who lost the Democratic primary for Senate in Massachusetts to Martha Coakley, who went down to defeat by Scott Brown last week.

Read the whole thing. I can't wait to hear all the trolls try to explain why this doesn't mean that Democrats are less supportive of Israel than Republicans.

Israel Matzav: The Hamas 54

Israel Matzav: The Hitler - Husseini partnership

The Hitler - Husseini partnership

Pamela Geller has been trying to get to the bottom of the location where the blueprints for Auschwitz were found, and has been strongly hinting that they came from the Berlin headquarters of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, uncle of Yasser Arafat.

In late 2008, the blueprints to the 'construction plans of true hell', Auschwitz, were discovered behind a wall in Berlin. The German government refuses to reveal whose apartment it was. Further, the owner of the blue print asked such a sheik's ransom for the prints, the federal archives refused to pay it -- and so Germany's largest tabloid newspaper, the Bild, paid the blood ransom.

Who is the German government protecting? I have, along with industrious Atlas readers, embarked on a mission to determine who would be sanctioned for such an atrocity. In the process of researching this evil, the close association between the Third Reich and Islamic jihad is frightening. The Muslims were just as guilty as the Nazis, and yet they walked away, and their major role in this awful time in history was expunged from the history books. This was not taught in Social Studies class. That is a war crime. You couldn't teach it today. Under sharia law, you cannot defame or insult Islam, and we are living under a soft sharia.

Why wasn't Islam punished for its role in the Holocaust? Why wasn't the koran expunged of its violent texts? Why wasn't the koran made unholy and driven to the fringe of decent society like mein kampf?

Read the whole thing. Pamela is giving some fascinating history lessons.

Israel Matzav: The Hitler - Husseini partnership

Israel Matzav: Stop the Geert Wilders trial? Hell no!

Stop the Geert Wilders trial? Hell no!

Dutch politician Geert Wilders is on trial in an Amsterdam courtroom for 'Islamophobia' and Dutch novelist Leon DeWinter believes that the trial should be stopped (Hat Tip: Pamela Geller).

According to polls, Mr. Wilders's Freedom Party, a libertarian-conservative movement with populist tendencies, is currently the most popular political party in the Netherlands. If elections were held today, Mr. Wilders would be a serious contender for the position of prime minister. Mr. Wilders's detractors are mistaken if they think a conviction would hurt him politically. The trial is a win-win situation for him: If the court rules to restrict Mr. Wilders's right to free speech, many Dutchmen will interpret this as an effort by the politically correct establishment to limit the growing strength of the Freedom Party, which would widen its appeal to many voters. If, on the other hand, the prosecution fails to prove that Mr. Wilders has purposely insulted Muslims because of their religion, Mr. Wilders's views will be seen as vindicated. Again, he will gain politically.

More importantly, Mr. Wilders's prosecution may in the end inadvertently create a crisis between the Netherlands and the Islamic world. On trial is not so much Geert Wilders, but the Holy Book of Islam. On Jan. 20, the first day of the case, Mr. Wilders's defense team presented the court with a list of expert witnesses. It is indicative of his strategy. The expert witnesses, a group of internationally renowned academics on the one hand and, on the other, radical Islamists (among them Mohammed Bouyeri, the killer of Theo van Gogh, and the influential Iranian Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, an outspoken anti-Semite and religious mentor of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinedjad), are requested to testify about the Quran's message and Mr. Wilders's comparison of the Quran to "Mein Kampf." As Mr. Wilders stated on the first and, so far only, session in court, if his statements about the Quran and "Mein Kampf" are correct, he cannot be convicted for telling the truth. So Mr. Wilders's defense team will concentrate on the extreme and violent paragraphs in the Quran, and compare them to paragraphs in "Mein Kampf."

The prosecution did not object to calling the witnesses for the purpose of shedding light on the Quran and "Mein Kampf" and only objected to the high number of witnesses named (17). The court will thus most likely allow most witnesses on the list to testify. Without doubt, there are many anti-Jewish remarks in the Quran. According to some researchers, there may be more of these in the Quran than in "Mein Kampf." So it is quite conceivable that the court will judge that Geert Wilders was within his right to compare the Quran to "Mein Kampf." Anything is possible in this absurd trial.

Yes, of course the trial is absurd. But it's high time that that the nature of Islam be exposed to one and all. Showing that the Quran is similar to Mein Kampf may well be the most efficient way of showing that Islam is a religion of hatred.

Sure I want Wilders to be acquitted. But he has a mission to accomplish first: To expose the truth about radical Islam to the milquetoast, complacent Western world.

Israel Matzav: Stop the Geert Wilders trial? Hell no!

Israel Matzav: El Al's new ad campaign (priceless)

El Al's new ad campaign (priceless)

Hat Tip: Media Bistro (which has lots more about it) via Debbie Schlussel via Twitter.
Israel Matzav: El Al's new ad campaign (priceless)

Israel Matzav: UN 'Human Rights Council' holds special session on... Haiti?

UN 'Human Rights Council' holds special session on... Haiti?

The UN 'Human Rights Council' held a special session Wednesday on Haiti. According to UN Watch's Hillel Neuer, the session is a total waste of time and resources, and the Council should instead donate its cost to the Haitian relief effort.

Today's urgent meeting of the UN Human Rights Council regarding Haiti is "a harmful waste of the organization’s precious time, resources, and moral capital," said a human rights watchdog group.

"Haiti is certainly a dire emergency, but this council, which is supposed to address human rights violations, has no budget, authority or expertise on humanitarian aid, and is clearly the wrong forum," said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based monitoring organization.

According to UN estimates, a day of conference and translation services costs up to $200,000. "Instead of being used for today's questionable exercise, that money should have gone to Haiti's needy victims," said Neuer.

“Unlike other UN bodies, the Human Rights Council has neither the power of the purse nor of the sword, only the power to turn a spotlight on the worst abusers," said Neuer. "Tragically, however, the council has refused to hold special sessions to try and stop Iran from massacring student protesters, terrorists from killing civilians in Baghdad and Kabul, or China and Cuba from arresting bloggers, journalists and dissidents. Yet today it convenes -- to do exactly what? Condemn the earth for quaking? It's nonsensical."

I haven't seen the results yet, but I'm willing to bet they find a way to condemn Israel for providing assistance.

The picture at the top of this post is the mural at the 'Human Rights Council's Geneva headquarters. It cost $23 million.

Israel Matzav: UN 'Human Rights Council' holds special session on... Haiti?

Israel Matzav: Dershowitz on Goldstone

Dershowitz on Goldstone

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz has written a 49-page critique of the Goldstone Commission report. You can download it from here.

Israel Matzav: Dershowitz on Goldstone

Israel Matzav: To prevent the next war in Lebanon, convince Syria to back down

To prevent the next war in Lebanon, convince Syria to back down

With the next war with Hezbullah seemingly on the horizon, Michael Totten argues that the best way to stop it would be to 'convince' Syria to back off from its support of Hezbullah.

Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei might be undeterrable, but Syria’s Bashar Assad certainly isn’t. Turkey convinced his more ruthless late father, Hafez Assad, to cease and desist supporting the Marxist-Leninist Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) back in the 1990s, and did so without firing a shot by threatening to invade. Turkey didn’t want to invade, yet Turkey never had to. Syria, meanwhile, has continued sponsoring or even outright committing terrorism against the more “reasonable” Israelis, Iraqis, and Lebanese.

Syria is without question the junior partner in its relationship with Iran, but Tehran’s Islamic Republic regime would have a lot less power in the region — especially in Lebanon — if Assad were spooked into noncooperation. Without assistance from Syria, Hezbollah would develop serious logistics problems that might eventually render it as militarily weak as Hamas. Without support from Iran, Hezbollah would eventually run out of cash and ammunition entirely. No other government in the world would give money and guns to a totalitarian-minded Shia militia.

Hezbollah itself has been deterred from picking fights for a while, but that period seems to be winding down now that it’s better armed and equipped than ever before. Nasrallah has lately been threatening a war that will destroy Israel, “liberate” Jerusalem, and “change the face of the region.” I’d like to think he’s just throwing out “red meat” for his base, but Jonathan Spyer persuasively argues that there is “not a shred of evidence to suggest that these sentiments are intended for the printed page only” and that Hezbollah is “as tactically agile as it is strategically deluded.”

There will most likely be no resolution to the Hezbollah problem as long as the Islamic Republic regime in Iran exists in its present form, but it may yet be possible to stop Hezbollah from doing something stupid again. Terrorist and guerrilla armies are hard to deter, but rational actors like Syria aren’t, and even Khamenei himself may pressure Nasrallah to take it easy if he thinks Tehran might get hit if he doesn’t.

There are two problems here. One is that the Obama administration has given no indication that it recognizes that the way to deter Syria is (as Totten implies) for the US to let the world know that it won't stop Israel from pounding Syria in the event that Syria is attacked by Hezbullah. In fact, the Obama administration has given no indication that it has any interests in this region other than the floundering 'peace process' between Israel and the 'Palestinians.'

The second problem is that Hezbullah already has sufficient arms to do a lot of damage even if it is not resupplied. And if Hezbullah starts a war, there will be enormous pressure in Arab capitals to support it.

And that's without even considering the fact that Syria seems strongly committed to helping Hezbullah in the event of another war.

In any event, I suspect that Hezbullah will start a war, but the trigger will be an Israeli attack on Iran. The need to attack Iran's nuclear facilities is becoming imminent.

Israel Matzav: To prevent the next war in Lebanon, convince Syria to back down

Israel Matzav: UNRWA's audacious lies

UNRWA's audacious lies

Faced with a cutoff in aid from Canada that may be a prelude to other Western countries taking a closer look at it, UNRWA has a page on its website entitled "Have you misUNderstood?" The bald-faced lies on this page are simply beyond belief. Let's look at three of them:

But doesn't UNRWA perpetuate the refugee problem and encourage aid dependency?

No. UNRWA promotes self-sufficiency by equipping refugees with skills and resources to make the best of the economic opportunities open to them.

If the 'refugees' were truly self-sufficient, UNRWA would not still be servicing them more than 60 years after the fact. Indeed, nowhere else in the UN refugee system are there people who have claimed to be 'refugees' for so long.

As to aid dependency, the facts speak for themselves: The 'Palestinians' are,, and for a long time have been, the world's largest per capita recipients of foreign aid. In fact, particularly in Gaza, they don't do much else other than collect aid checks. Is UNRWA responsible for that dependency? It's not solely responsible, but it is definitely a significant cog in the wheel. The facts speak for themselves.

But doesn’t UNRWA encourage extremism and hatred in its schools?

No. UNRWA teaches a human rights and tolerance curriculum in every one of its 689 schools in Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

I would have thought that a 'human rights and tolerance curriculum' would include reference to the Holocaust, particularly for a 'people' who spend many of their waking hours plotting how to murder Jews. But recall what happened last summer when the idea of teaching the Holocaust at UNRWA schools came up.

Hamas is accusing UNRWA of trying to teach about the Holocaust in its Gaza Strip schools. Hamas refers to the Holocaust as "a lie invented by the Zionists." And UNRWA - which ought to be teaching the Holocaust in the schools - denies that it would do anything so horrible. Because UNRWA is there to serve the 'Palestinians' and perpetuate their victimhood status.

If you look at UNRWA's 'human rights and tolerance curriculum' you will find no mention of Jews or Israel. After all, Jews aren't human. We're just the sons of apes and pigs.

But I thought that UNRWA was anti-Israel.

Actually, all of UNRWA’s activities, whether in education, health, relief or development, aim to alleviate poverty and desperation among Israel’s Palestinian neighbours. By improving quality of life for Palestine refugees, UNRWA encourages stability along Israel’s borders. As a UN agency, UNRWA works to spread the core values of the international community; respect for human rights, cooperation and peacebuilding, and protection of the most vulnerable members of society. UNRWA’s work benefits everyone who shares these values, and who wishes for peace and prosperity in the region.

If that's the case, then why has UNRWA been complicit in attempts by Arab political leaders to deny the 'Palestinian refugees' permanent homes?

Intensive discussion of the refugee issue started in the aftermath of the 1967 war at ministerial level in Israel. It was Yigal Allon (a prominent Labor Party leader and Cabinet member) who, in July 1967, was the first to suggest a "solution" to the refugee problem by resettling Gaza Strip refugees in the West Bank and Al-Arish (Zaru, 1991). In fact, the Galilee Document of the late 1960s, titled "Rehabilitation of Refugees and Development in the West Bank and Gaza Strip," was the first to suggest the allocation of funds for a four-year plan for development and rehabilitation of refugees. The basis of this plan was to effect changes in the living conditions of the refugees (by setting up new housing projects outside the camps and the renovation of camps), as well as the integration of refugees within the nearby towns, to be under municipal responsibility (Davar, August 16, 1973; Karawan, 1973).

The first concrete steps were taken in May 1970 when Shimon Peres set up a secret trust fund (Trust Fund for the Economic Development and Rehabilitation of Refugees) for this purpose. Peres hoped that, through the resettlement of Gaza refugees, the military government could replace UNRWA's work (The Jerusalem Post, September 22, 1971). The trust was secret because, in Peres' words, "the chance of success is in inverse proportion to the amount of publicity" (The Observer, August 1, 1971). The funds were spent without revealing the ultimate political goal of resettlement (ibid.).

The only sources available on the resettlement of refugees in the Gaza Strip are those of UNRWA, according to which two types of resettlement took place: the first involved the Israeli authorities offering the refugees housing units; and the second involved plots of land.

The first project to be established within the context of the first type was the "Canada Camp" before 1973. This project is a unique case because it was left in Egypt after the Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula in 1982 as part of the original Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt. In June 1985, the Egyptian government and the Israeli authorities agreed on a gradual return to the Gaza Strip of the refugees stranded in the Canada Camp project.

The other housing projects were:

1. The Shuqeiri Project in Khan Yunis, which commenced in March 1973; by June 1989 it had 135 families (848 persons) in 128 houses.

2. The Brazilian project in Rafah, started in April 1973; in June 1989 it had 436 families (2,820) persons in 422 houses.

3. The Sheikh Radwan project in Gaza City, commenced in March 1974; it had 790 families (5,029 persons) in 806 houses.

4. AI-Amal project in Khan Yunis, commenced in May 1979; it had 802 families (4,853 persons) in 842 houses.

In all, by June 1989, the number of houses reached 2,686, housing 3,054 families or 18,920 persons.

The second type of project involved the allocation of plots of land which started in September 1974. The initial size of each plot was 250 sq. m., subsequently reduced to 125 sq. m. In 1977, the Israeli authorities justified this reduction to shortage of land suitable for building purposes. However, this justification has to be examined against the authorities' policy to pave the way for future projected expansion of Jewish settlements in the Strip (UNRWA, 1989). In all, 6,642 plots of land were allocated, of which 250 were under construction. The project involved 5,428 houses and 6,905 families (ibid.).

The 'Palestinians' viewed the effort at finding them permanent housing as a way of making them forget their 'keys' to their 'homes' in Israel, and as such put a stop to this building by the end of the 1980's - when they started the 'first intifada.'

The Israeli strategy for the refugee resettlement schemes in the Gaza Strip reflects a belief that most political problems can be reduced to social and economic problems. Hence, the Israeli authorities' shock at the relo¬cated refugees' role in the Intifada. In some instances, confrontations with the Israeli forces exceeded those in the camps, even though the Sheikh Radwan resettlement scheme was called Kfar Shalom (the Village of Peace) for the calm that had reigned there prior to the Intifada.

The resettled refugees' involvement in the national struggle on an equal footing with camp refugees proved that refugees in resettlement projects were not isolated from the residents of other camps (author's sample survey), despite the fact that the infrastructure of resettlement projects has been set up with a counter-insurgency in mind. For example, wide roads, in contrast to the narrow alleys in refugee camps, were meant to facilitate control by military forces, in addition to the careful screening of refugees prior to admission into the schemes.

And of course, they ignore what may be the most serious accusation of all against them: UNRWA employs terrorists.

Liars, liars, pants on fire.

Israel Matzav: UNRWA's audacious lies
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