Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Israel Matzav: Responding to a nuclear Iran

Responding to a nuclear Iran

Gregory L. Schulte was U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency from 2005 to 2009 and worked at NATO Headquarters on crisis management and nuclear planning from 1992 to 1998. He has written this brief article on how NATO ought to respond to a nuclear Iran.

At the outset, I have to say that I am immensely bothered by the fact that Schulte seemingly takes for granted that Iran will be a nuclear power and will have nuclear weapons. Is he 'just being realistic'? I would say that if nothing is done to stop them, Iran will become a nuclear power and will have nuclear weapons. But I believe that we still must try to stop them.

Among the items in Schulte's prescription, I'd like to call your attention to this one.

Finally, NATO should consider the impact on its own nuclear policy. NATO allies have already dramatically reduced their nuclear forces, particularly in Europe, and most are attracted by the vision of a nuclear free world. However, the Alliance cannot rush to become nuclear free when nuclear dangers mount in the range of the Shahab 3 or future Iranian missiles. NATO’s nuclear forces may still have an important contribution to make in deterring Iran’s leaders from trying to exploit new nuclear arms and in reassuring allies and partners who might otherwise seek their own atom bombs. NATO’s nuclear weapons helped prevent nuclear proliferation during the Cold War; they may play a similar role now, in a very different context and at much reduced levels.

Of course, this is exactly the opposite direction from that chosen by the Obama administration. This reminds me of the gun debate in the US, where the slogan "if guns are illegal, only criminals will have guns" expresses both a reality and something that we ought to fear. If we enact world nuclear disarmament, only undemocratic rogue proliferaters will have nuclear weapons. Sounds like a scary prospect.

Israel Matzav: Responding to a nuclear Iran

Israel Matzav: Good news: Iran 70% of the way to weapons-grade uranium

Good news: Iran 70% of the way to weapons-grade uranium

On Monday, Iran notified the IAEA that starting Tuesday, it will be working on enriching uranium to the 20% level.

Iran has formally informed the UN nuclear agency that it will start on February 9 to further enrich uranium stockpiles to a level of 20 percent, further fueling Western concerns that Tehran is secretly seeking a nuclear bomb-making capacity.

"We wrote a letter to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] that we shall start making 20-percent enriched fuel," the head of the Iranian Atomic Organization, Ali-Akbar Salehi, told Iran's Arabic-language state television channel, Al-Alam late on February 7. "We will hand over this official letter to the IAEA on [February 8] and shall start enrichment on [February 9] in the presence of IAEA monitors."

The move essentially circumvents a UN compromise deal aimed at easing Western concerns Iran could use its uranium for a nuclear weapon.

Citing David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post notes that Iran is not capable of enriching uranium to produce medical isotopes. But enriching uranium will help Iran to produce nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, enriching uranium under the guise of medical needs will get Tehran much closer to possessing weapons-grade material. Iran insists it has no interest in nuclear weapons. But Albright said 70 percent of the work toward reaching weapons-grade uranium took place when Iran enriched uranium gas to 3.5 percent. Enriching it further to the 19.75 percent needed for the reactor is an additional "15 to 20 percent of the way there."

Once the uranium is enriched above 20 percent, it is considered highly enriched uranium. The uranium would need to be enriched further, to 60 percent and then to 90 percent, before it could be used for a weapon. "The last two steps are not that big a deal," Albright said. They could be accomplished, he said, at a relatively small facility within months.

This has caused President Obumbler to leap enter into action and promise new sanctions against Iran 'within weeks.'

Speaking Tuesday, President Barack Obama said that the U.S. did not approve of Iran's addition to refine uranium to purer levels, and that the west was developing a "significant regime of sanctions," to be implemented against Tehran within weeks. Speaking to reporters, Obama said he was sure that other countries would support further sanctions, because the world is "unified around Iran's misbehavior in this area."

Earlier, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in an interview that "I think it's going to take some period of time - I would say weeks, not months - to see if we can't get another UN Security Council resolution."

Well, good luck with that. Even if they get the sanctions through it's probably too late.

Final possibility: It's almost impossible for international observers to differentiate between uranium enrichment for medical purposes and uranium enrichment for weapons purposes. Though the IAEA reports that Iran has already been spinning centrifuges for some time, this could signal Tehran's intention to boost their uranium enrichment to an industrial level. The bogus "20 percent medical purposes" line is simply convenient top cover -- unless IAEA observers were standing in the room, there's no real way to ascertain if Iranian nuke techs are spinning to 20 percent or the 90 percent necessary for a bomb core.

Sanctions clearly won't work. Iran is a master of working the black market, plus sanctions are slow, costly to friendly Western powers, and will ultimately benefit two nations who are helping the Iranians along: Russia and China.

President Obama must go for the jugular and get serious about fanning the flames of Iranian revolution. He can start by treating revolutionaries like Reagan treated the Polish Solidarity movement, recognizing an Iranian government in exile, and initiating an underground logistical line of techno gadgets like laptops and cell phones with encrypted uplinks, radio-broadcasting equipment, GPS transmitters, even iPods to assist in messaging -- anything that will ensure that a democratic revolution, not atomic devices, is the only thing that reaches critical mass.

Nice try, but I'd like to see President Obama give up on 'engagement' first.

President Obama has frittered away a critical year (plus) in which sanctions might have had a chance of being effective in curtailing or stopping Iran's nuclear program. Now, with Iran on the cusp of becoming a nuclear power, it's too late for sanctions. Either we 'learn to live with' an Iranian nuclear weapon (which, for reasons discussed many times on this blog, is almost impossible), or someone takes military action in the next few months.

Israel Matzav: Good news: Iran 70% of the way to weapons-grade uranium

Israel Matzav: Hillel Halkin's pipe dream

Hillel Halkin's pipe dream

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Hillel Halkin tries to present the idea of having Jews remain in their towns in Judea and Samaria under 'Palestinian' rule as something new. It is nothing new. It will not work because the 'Palestinians' will never agree to it, because their goal is to eliminate the Jewish state and not 'two states, side by side, living in peace' as the West likes to delude itself.

Halkin assumes that most of the Jews living in Judea and Samaria will in any event end up in Israel under some sort of land exchange as part of any permanent settlement with the 'Palestinians.' He ignores the fact that even though 'everyone knows' this will have to happen, the 'Palestinians' have thus far rejected any such exchange.

But he does write one thing that I have never seen anyone on the Left acknowledge, and it's something that anyone who wants to be informed about Israel needs to bear in mind.

Even if all the settlers living on the "Israeli" side of the security fence end up in Israel in the land swap that has come to be an assumed part of any peace deal, the 75,000 who would find themselves in a Palestinian state happen to be the very element of the settler population—the ideological and religious militants living deep in Palestinian territory—who are most committed to being where they are. What does one do with them?

The standard answer is: one evacuates them by force, just as was done with the 8,000 settlers forcibly evicted in the summer of 2005 when Israel left the Gaza Strip. Whoever doesn't want to leave the Palestinian state on his own two feet can be carried by his arms and legs.

But this cannot be done—and it cannot be done because of what happened in Gaza. To carry out the Gaza operation, Israel had to undergo months of agonizing debate that fractured its political party system; to divert a large part of its army and police force to the task in expectation of settler violence; to experience the national trauma of witnessing men, women and children literally dragged from their homes as Jews were in the past only by their persecutors in their countries of exile; to find itself saddled with a bill of billions of dollars for the evictees' relocation and rehabilitation; and today, nearly five years later, to face the reality that many of them have had their lives severely disrupted and still lack permanent homes. If this is what happened with 8,000 settlers who did not resort to violence in the end, what will happen with 10 times that many who almost certainly will?

This is something the Israeli public is not prepared to find out. It is not going to let itself undergo a trauma 10 times greater than that of 2005 and it will not be pushed to, or over, the brink of civil war. It lacks the political will to oust the more militant settlers from their homes and it will not do so, no matter what the world expects of it or some of its own politicians say.


Halkin also admits that Israel has as good a legal claim to Judea and Samaria as anyone and that the Jewish cities and towns in those areas are not 'illegal' as is often claimed. I wonder how his compatriots on the Left will like reading that in print.

Israel Matzav: Hillel Halkin's pipe dream

Love of the Land: How Iranian shells reach the Mideast’s seashores

How Iranian shells reach the Mideast’s seashores

Tony Badran
NOW Lebanon
09 February '10

The recent assassination of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai has been described as another episode in an ongoing shadow war between Israel and Islamist groups, particularly Hamas and Hezbollah. However, the Mabhouh incident also shed light on another shadowy enterprise underpinning the destabilization of the Middle East and Iran’s quest for regional hegemony, namely Tehran’s smuggling of arms.

One of the details to emerge from the Mabhouh killing was that he played a key role in smuggling “special weapons” to Gaza, and that his trip to Dubai was related to this task. Dubai has long been a hub for Iran’s arms supply efforts to the region. Last year, for instance, the Emirati authorities stopped an Iran-bound ship, the ANL Australia, which was carrying 10 containers of North Korean weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades and components for thousands of short-range rockets.

In recent years, Iranian maritime smuggling of arms has evolved exponentially in the Gulf, across to East Africa and the Red Sea, as well as in the eastern Mediterranean. The networks extend to several hotspots in the region and include Iranian allies and proxies, all of which are used as assets or levers in Iran’s efforts to advance its interests in the Middle East.

The smuggling networks span from the Bandar Abbas port in Iran, across to Yemen’s Aden and Al-Hudaydah ports, the Aseb port in Eritrea, and Sudan’s Port Sudan. The 2002 Karine-A affair, in which Israel intercepted a Palestinian vessel apparently carrying Iranian weapons for Palestinian combatants in Gaza, was a harbinger. The ship used ports in Sudan and Yemen, before heading up the Red Sea, where it was seized.

Last March, a convoy of arms smugglers was bombed, presumably by the Israel Air Force, as it drove from Sudan to Egypt, carrying what some speculated were Iranian Fajr missiles intended for Hamas. Those killed in the strike included Sudanese, Ethiopians and Eritreans, and their route was regularly used by smugglers moving weapons into Egypt. The operation exemplified the complex methods employed by Iran to move weapons into the Sinai, then into Gaza through the Rafah tunnels.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: How Iranian shells reach the Mideast’s seashores

RubinReports: Life in an American Fourth Grade: All the Scientists Agree? And What's Most Important About American History

Life in an American Fourth Grade: All the Scientists Agree? And What's Most Important About American History

For unique and continuous looks into American public school classrooms, please subscribe

By Barry Rubin

The teacher told the fourth grade class in the midst of the greatest snow storm in Washington DC history: "Just because it's snowing doesn't mean that there isn't global warming. All scientists agree that there's global warming."

My son raised his hand and said: "That's impossible. Not all scientists agree."

"Ok," said the teacher, "I meant to say that the majority of scientists agree."

Is there man-made global warming? I have no idea whatsoever, lacking the expertise to make such a judgment. But I do know this isn't the way to teach kids about the scientific method. Rather, it is the way to train them always to yield to peer pressure, that dreaded syndrome supposed to lead young people to drugs, alcohol, and smoking. Or, as summed up comically by the character Yossarian in Catch-22, "Just because everyone thinks that way how could I think anything different?"

Indeed, the teacher didn't have to say anything at all, since no child had claimed the heavy snowfall was proof that there was no global warming. They had already spent around three full sessions pounding home the idea that there wasn't any question that global warming is a huge problem on which trillions of dollars must be spent. Presumably, the class was convinced already.

Rather, the attitude evined is that they must be made to believe in this and even the possibility of any doubt existing had to be squelched. And to ensure this the teacher told a lie, which was only retracted because there was one student there who had the knowledge and courage to question it.

This kind of "everyone agrees" argument is the stuff of indoctrination, not learning. The teacher could have spoken about how data is collected, experiments are made, hypotheses are questioned, and out of that debate--if it goes on long enough and all the facts line up--comes a consensus truth which is itself subject to further testing and constant examination.

But that isn't how most schools teach today. Rather they say--in an approach sounding like the worst "progressive" stereotype of a traditional "America is always right" old school system--This is the truth. Everyone says so. Shut up and believe it.

Whatever happened to that liberal slogan, Question Authority? Whatever happened to that liberal slogan about the free marketplace of ideas?

The same 100 percent overkill has been used to persuade students that the most important thing to know about the United States is that it has mistreated minorities and immigrants. For five months there's been pretty much nothing else taught.

No, there's still not any sign that the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln will be dealt with at all. So far only one president has been mentioned and praised in class. Can you guess which one? Write me if you figure out the answer.

But at least, finally, there is the very first mention of something else about American history. Homework for this new unit consists of three things to memorize: names and locations of the thirteen original colonies; dates and locations of Jamestown, Plymouth, and the first settlement in Maryland; and two dates about U.S. history. What are these two most important of all events once early America began? Here's what the homework assignment says:

"1619 date of the earliest recorded enslaved people (slaves) brought to the colonies. 1776 date of the Declaration of Independence when the colonies became separated from England."

I don't know whether it would be unfair to make anything of the phrase "became separated" rather than staged a revolution, but we can still see that pretty much the most important thing about America--other than the fact that it killed and dispossessed Native Americans--that students are taught is that it had slaves, not that it was established to pursue liberty, democracy, and a society in which the citizens were not slaves of the government.

In response to my request for readers to share their experiences, one recalls how his grandchild’s class held a Columbus Day trial for Christopher Columbus on charges of invading Native American territory. Another mentions how on a tour of the Constitution Center in Philadelphia the guide lectured on Thomas Jefferson being a slaveowner; Andrew Jackson, a racist oppressor of Native Americans; Franklin Roosevelt as incarcerator of Japanese during World War Two; and Ronald Reagain was a manipulative former actor.

Of course, Jefferson did a few other things worth mentioning, aside from the fact that he opposed the slave trade and tried to abolish slavery. While Jackson was incredibly brutal toward the Native Americans, though this grew out of bloody warfare on both sides and he was a great populist who further widened democracy and stood up for the rights and respect do the common people (a most radical idea at the time). I would also argue that Roosevelt had lots of other things to his credit and that the internment was justified given what was known at the time. The remarks about Reagan were pure partisan politics and, again, left out his other achievements.

The point is not that these people shouldn’t be criticized but that only criticism was presented without highlighting their greatness or even putting their aforementioned shortcomings into historical context. Indeed, Jefferson and Jackson have been historically viewed as the founding fathers of the Democratic Party.

The reader's account continues: “The only leader whom the docent mentioned but did not report to have clay feet was Martin Luther King. When I asked her about what I thought was an unusual way of depicting America's heroes, the docent said that the policy of the museum was to show that these men were `human.’”

What’s really going on here, of course, is the presentation of past leaders and their policies as inhuman. This isn't the teaching of American history but the trashing of America, its history, the basic decency of most of its people and leaders, the genuine efforts of earlier generations to do the right thing, and the system's remarkable ability to deliver freedom, prosperity and development.

There's also a parallel between the climate issue and the history issue. In the "bad old days" of the past, people were told what to think. Then we entered a new era of freedom--of which liberalism was a great champion--when different sides were presented in a reasonably balanced manner. Now we seem to be back in the age of everyone agrees--or else--and there's no room for any different perspective.

RubinReports: Life in an American Fourth Grade: All the Scientists Agree? And What's Most Important About American History

A New Woman

A New Woman


I heard that it is written in the Torah that when one gets married his wife is defined as a "new woman" and the husband therefore does not go to the army during the first year in order to make her happy (Dev. 24:2) and in order that they can become accustomed to one another (Torah Temimah). I however did go to the army, the reserves and war. They did not exempt me. And even if they would have exempted me, I would have gone because how could my friends go to war while I sit at home?! But after many years of marriage I still feel like a have a "new woman", and I find out new things about her every day: her emotions, thoughts, desires, and even her imagination. It appears that every person is like that but they do not interest me, only she is important to me. It is interesting that that these things seem new, as they were always before my eyes. But it seems that I never paid attention. It seems that I looked at them but did not see, I heard but did not listen. I suddenly realize. Thank you, you are new to me each day.
Originally posted by Torat HaRav Aviner

Minority and Majority Opinion

Minority and Majority Opinion

[Sefer Am Ve-Artzo vol. 1, #11]

Question: The Torah scholars and great authorities of Israel who support the position of Gush Emunim (the movement to settle all of the historical Land of Israel) are the minority of Rabbis in contrast to those who are opposed. If so, shouldn't we follow the general principle of Jewish Law that majority rules?
Answer: I will deal with the essence of the question without discussing whether it is in fact the reality. After all, our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah, was well known for his declaration that the majority of the world’s Torah giants did not oppose Zionism. Once, one of the students at the Yeshivah said that he would not dare make such a statement in the vicinity of the Holy Ark. The student’s words made their way to the ears of our Rabbi. Our Rabbi immediately ran to the Yeshiva, opened up the Holy Ark containing the Torah Scrolls and said, "Whoever says that the majority of Torah giants opposed Zionism is a liar. The truth should be told that Zionism was a new movement, and most of the leading Rabbis were uncertain as to how to relate to it. Most of those who did take a stand were actually in favor of Zionism."
The halachic authorities have written that the principle that we follow the majority only applies if all authorities sit together and there is give-and-take between them, and not if each one of them states his opinion on his own and we count up their opinions. Since perhaps, if the majority heard the opinion of the minority and had give-and-take with them, they would be convinced (Shut Ha-Rashba quoted in Beit Yosef, Choshen Mishpat, end of chap. 13). "Because we do not say majority rules except when a majority of them argue face-to-face" (Sedei Chemed, vol. 3, pg. 149), "When all of the judges are gathered together in one place like the Sanhedrin" (Get Pashut, kelali, klal #1, and see Shut She’eilat David in Makor Beit Av - ma’amar #2, Mishnat Hora’ah by Mahartz Chayot chap. 4-5, Sdei Chemed - kelalim ma’arechet yud klal #35, Minchat Chinuch, mitzvah 78 #1 and Chazon Ish - Kilayim siman 1).
Despite this idea, the authorities mention the issue of deciding based on "the majority of wisdom" (i.e. greater knowledge and expertise in a particular area of Halachah), and there are even those who say that we follow a "majority of wisdom" over a "majority of number" (Likutei Ha-Ramban, Sanhedrin chap. 4 in the name of the Rahag). One must distinguish between "the majority of wisdom" for each authority based on his area of expertise: there are Rabbis whose expertise is monetary laws, and there are Rabbis whose expertise is in Kashrut, etc... Maran Ha-Rav Avraham Yitzhak Ha-Cohain Kook's expertise was in the area of the workings of Klal Yisrael relating the rebuilding of our Nation and our Land, the beginning of the Redemption and in understanding the Master of the Universe’s direction of our history. He investigated, clarified, arranged, and constructed a complete method of understanding, whose scope and depth is far above all of the Sages of the generation of Acharonim (later authorities).
For example, Ha-Rav Joseph Soloveitchik, with all of his brilliance, did not construct an all-compassing method of understanding, and all of his teachings were, in essence, about the phenomenon of the religious individual. He did not present a philosophy of communal faith: The Rav only discussed the religious experience of the individual as opposed to the communal religious experience which includes understanding Hashem's role is guiding the history of the Nation of Israel.
All that was said above is equally applicable in relation to students who did not sufficiently learn Torah, and came to create all sorts of lies about Maran Ha-Rav Kook. They forged documents in his name, and placed in his mouth the opposite of what he said. The proper way to understand his teachings is through his son, our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah, who even in his youth, his father said of him, "...with gratitude of G-d, he is nearly one with me, he who is accustomed to remain faithful to my opinion and hears the conversation of my soul (Igrot Ha-Re’eiyah vol. 1, p. 121).
Based on the decisions of Rabbi Akiva, in matter of the Messianism of Bar Kochba, the Rambam ruled, "He and all the Sages of his generation considered him to be the Messianic King" (Rambam, Hilchot Melachim 11:3), even though we find Sages who disagreed with his position (Sanhedrin 93b and see Jerusalem Talmud Ta’anit 4:5, Eichah Rabbah 2:2). How then did the Rambam write: "Rabbi Akiva and all the Sages of his generation"? Rather it was clear to him, that in all matters pertaining to the vision of Redemption and the resurrection of Israel and its Land, Rabbi Akiva was the expert; that is, he possessed "the majority of wisdom." Therefore, even though the majority disagreed with him, he was defined by Halachah as "all the Sages of his generation" (see Rambam, Hilchot Ta’anit 5:3 where there is a similar understanding.
Originally posted by Torat HaRav Aviner

Love of the Land: The Great Absentee-Ballot Debate

The Great Absentee-Ballot Debate

Evelyn Gordon
09 February '10

A perennial Israeli debate erupted anew yesterday, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he supported a proposal to extend the franchise to Israelis living abroad. What makes this debate so baffling is that both sides are partly right — meaning it should be easy to strike a compromise somewhere in the middle. But in 62 years, it hasn’t happened.

The proposal put forth by Netanyahu’s largest coalition partner, Yisrael Beiteinu, would allow absentee ballots for anyone who has held a valid Israeli passport for the past 10 years — about 500,000 people. And opponents are right that this is far too broad. First, in terms of sheer numbers, that constitutes 7 percent of the total population and fully 10 percent of eligible voters — a far higher proportion than is the norm in other countries that allow absentee voting.

Moreover, many of the 500,000 people in question have been living abroad full-time for many years. Indeed, you can have a valid Israeli passport for 10 years without setting foot in the country that entire time. Thus people who are not living in Israel and whose daily lives are unaffected by the country’s policies would have a disproportionate impact on the outcome of any election.

This is particularly problematic because Israel is a country at war. Overseas residents are not the ones who will suffer daily rocket fire if a territorial pullout goes wrong, nor will their sons’ lives be at risk if the government launches a military operation. Thus it is completely inappropriate to give them a major voice in electing those who will make such decisions.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: The Great Absentee-Ballot Debate

Love of the Land: Palestinians: The New Peace Talks, What Fatah Can Deliver

Palestinians: The New Peace Talks, What Fatah Can Deliver

Khaled Abu Toameh
Hudson New York
09 February '10

Although the Palestinian Authority appears to have softened its position regarding the resumption of peace talks with Israel, it is wrong to assume that it has also changed its stance on major issues such as Jerusalem, refugees, borders and settlements.

Thanks to the ongoing incitement and indoctrination in the Palestinian and Arab media, the Palestinians have been radicalized to a point where any talk about making concessions to Israel is automatically associated with "high treason." Sadly, we have reached a point where many Palestinians and other Arabs are convinced that the only language that Israel understands is force, and that this is the only way to extract concessions from the Jewish state.

Fatah today is weaker than it it was a few years ago, largely thanks to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's refusal to allow the party free and unlimited access to the Palestinian Authority coffers. Fayyad, in a move that has enraged many senior Fatah leaders, has also kept Fatah members away from high positions in the Palestinian cabinet in the West Bank. Some Fatah officials have even accused Fayyad of being part of a US-Israeli-European conspiracy to eliminate Fatah for once and for all so that he could have exclusive control over the affairs of the Palestinians.

Even if Mahmoud Abbas were to sign a peace agreement with Israel tomorrow, his chances of implementing it, or even marketing it, are almost non-existent. He has lost control over the Gaza Strip, and cannot even visit his home or office there. In the West Bank, he has limited control and a serious credibility problem. Add to this the fact that many Palestinians view him as a puppet in the hands of the US and Israel.

Moreover, Abbas himself knows that a majority of Palestinians would not accept, at least for now, anything less than 100% of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem. Abbas's status today does not allow him it sign any agreement with Israel that would include any concessions. Abbas would not be able to accept anything less than what his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, rejected at the botched Camp David summit in the summer of 2000. If, back then, Arafat was offered, say, 95% of the territories and turned it down, who is Abbas to agree to anything less than that? In fact, no Palestinian leader would be able, at least not in the foreseeable future, to accept anything less than 100%.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Palestinians: The New Peace Talks, What Fatah Can Deliver

Israel Matzav: Israel's Orwellian Left

Israel's Orwellian Left

In a column published in the JPost, Leftist Gershon Baskin takes the JPost to task for terminating Naomi Chazan's column in the JPost for threatening to sue the JPost. Along the way, he opens a window to the Orwellian thinking of Israel's Left. Here are some examples.

THE DECISION to cancel the column of Prof. Naomi Chazan, a worldwide respected academic, a former member of Knesset from the Zionist Meretz Party and currently the president of the New Israel Fund is a badge of shame on The Jerusalem Post. The posting of the Im Tirtzu advertisement with its explicit anti-Semitic motif of a caricature of Chazan with horns was dangerously anti-democratic. The witch-hunt against Chazan and the New Israel Fund is reminiscent of the darkest days of McCarthyism in the United States and similar to the atmosphere of states with secret police forces and dark dungeons. The Jerusalem Post should not have agreed to publish the advert of Im Tirtzu both because of its content and because of its format.

The cancellation of Chazan's column was not because the Post published the Im Tirtzu ad and therefore became part of a different camp. Chazan's column was canceled because she threatened to sue the JPost. The Post is not required to give a platform to its detractors - let them go publish in Haaretz. That the Post agreed to publish Baskin's diatribe against it is above and beyond the call of any democratic duty in my book.

Moreover, Baskin has somehow forgotten the first rule of freedom of speech since he moved here from the United States. Here's the seminal test of freedom of speech in the United States from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes' unanimous opinion in Schenk v. United States:

The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that the United States Congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree. When a nation is at war, many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight, and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right.

The classic example given is yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. Where does the Im Tirtzu ad deserve to be prevented under that test? Certainly not in this country.

There is no witch hunt against Chazan and no secret police forces and dark dungeons because those things can only be conducted by the government. The Israeli government is not looking for Chazan or the New Israel Fund, although in the future it may insist that the fund make full disclosure to its donors what organizations it is funding (which seems like a reasonable consumer protection measure) and may insist that organizations that receive foreign funding disclose it (which disclosure is something the public ought to have a right to know).

Baskin then attacks NGO Monitor - which is not a party to this dispute. NGO Monitor is not connected to or supporting Im Tirtzu.

NGO Monitor headed by Prof. Gerald Steinberg receives extremely wide exposure in this newspaper. I have tried to ascertain who provides its funding – who supports it and what is the agenda of the donors. The Im Tirtzu advertisements were funded, I have been told, by Evangelical Christians whose position on Jews, Judaism and the future of the Jewish people, according to their own tenets of faith scare the hell out of me.

Steinberg and NGO Monitor have called for full transparency and exposure of funding sources of civil society organizations that receive funds from foreign governments. I support this call. Now they are going after organizations that receive funding from the New Israel Fund – Jewish money from abroad mostly – which has a different agenda from the current right-wing religious government. NIF supports the rights of women, children, the poor, the disabled, the minorities, equality in education and services. NIF provides support for making Israel a healthier and a stronger society and country. I am in favor of full disclosure for all organizations that receive funds from NIF. By the way, my organization does not.

It is no secret who funded the Im Tirtzu ads. That's very different from the efforts to keep it very secret - until disclosed by Steinberg - that European governments fund most of the Leftist NGO's in Israel. The fact that Im Tirtzu's funders 'scare' Baskin doesn't make them ineligible to donate funding. The Muslim-coddling European governments scare me more than the Christian Evangelicals, but you can bet that Baskin will fight any effort to bar them from donating money to Leftist NGO's.

Baskin implies that NGO Monitor is less than transparent about who supplies its funding. That's a lie. NGO Monitor is quite open about who provides its funding.

As to the organizations supported by the New Israel Fund, I would love to know how causing Israel's worldwide condemnation through lies and slander provided to Goldstone is making us a "healthier and stronger society and country." Caroline Glick wrote about this at length last Friday and rehashing it will just make this post so long that no one will read it.

I could go on but you get the idea. Baskin is in favor of full disclosure of sources of funding so long as it's NGO's of the Right that are doing the disclosing. He regards efforts to make New Israel Fund's funding transparent as a witch hunt. He is all in favor of free speech so long as he agrees with what is being said. And he fails to distinguish between allowing free speech (which is a basic requirement of any democratic society) and providing a forum for it (which is up to the speaker to find).

George Orwell would have known how to handle him.

Israel Matzav: Israel's Orwellian Left

Israel Matzav: Haaretz tries to cover up poll results: Jews don't believe demographic threat

Haaretz tries to cover up poll results: Jews don't believe demographic threat

I received the following emailed press release from Moshe Feiglin's Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) faction of the Likud.

A poll conducted last week for Haaretz by the Dialog company provided the publication – otherwise known as the official organ of the leftist Israeli establishment - with a statistical nightmare. Despite skewing the main question in an attempt to produce results which demonstrate that Israelis think that pulling out of Jewish cities and towns in Judea and Samaria would lead to peace, the results proved otherwise, throwing Haaretz into a frenzy of censorship.

The February 2nd poll of 491 Israelis, including Israeli Arabs, asked the clumsy question: "May our continued presence in the territories lead to a bi-national state?” (A bi-national state meaning a state of all of her citizens – with at least roughly 50% Arab population - devoid of all Jewish identity.) The result, “Yes – 28%, No – 53%”, was not reported in the English-language version of Haaretz at all. In the Hebrew version of Haaretz the poll result, so counter to the mantra of the Left, was presented in tables but not discussed at all in the text.

Apparently the editors of Haaretz do not want English-speaking readers to find out that, despite extensive leftist brainwashing by the media, Israelis do not buy into the demographic demon. They understand that continued Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria will not tip the demographic scales in favor of the Arabs and will not turn Israel into a bi-national state with an Arab majority.

The effort by Haaretz to hide this result from Hebrew readers and completely erase it from the information available to English readers lays bare the agenda of its editors to frighten the Jewish people into throwing away their Divinely-given inheritance of the Land of Israel.

The main reason given by Ariel Sharon for expelling 10,000 Jews from Gaza five years ago was this same “demographic threat”. As Haaretz would like to see a repeat of this expulsion of Jews take place in Judea and Samaria, they need to keep the demographic bogeyman in the forefront of everyone’s minds.

The more that Israelis understand that there is no demographic threat, the more they will oppose the "two-state solution", which they already reflexively understand will only lead to disaster.

Manhigut Yehudit, the Jewish Leadership faction of the Likud, encourages the public to familiarize themselves with the work of Ambassador Yoram Ettinger and others who have thoroughly debunked the alleged demographic threat to the Jewish State.

For a summary of Ambassador Ettinger’s demographic study:


I've discussed Ambassador Ettinger's study many times on this blog. You can't fool all of the people all of the time. Haaretz's and the Left's time to fool people may be running out.

Israel Matzav: Haaretz tries to cover up poll results: Jews don't believe demographic threat

Israel Matzav: Oren heckled at UC Irvine

Oren heckled at UC Irvine

The University of California at Irvine is one of the most hostile college campuses in the United States. On Monday night, Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, tried to speak there.

Let's go to go the videotape.

Between ten and twelve students were arrested for disturbing the speech. Oren's appearance at the campus was opposed by the Muslim Student Union.

The outburst closely resembled part of a statement released by the university's Muslim Student Union (MSU) prior to and against Oren's appearance, which said "As people of conscience, we oppose Michael Oren’s invitation to our campus. Propagating murder is not a responsible expression of free speech."

It was not clear whether those disturbing the speech were members of the MSU.

After the fourth protester began heckling him, Oren left the podium, surrounded by security. He returned but was repeatedly harassed by students.

Oren took the stage again to complete his address and eventually a large number of those in the audience stood and exited, disrupting him for a final time. They then held demonstrations outside the arena, chanting "Michael Oren you will see, Palestine will be free."

The MSU said in its statement "we strongly condemn the university for cosponsoring, and therefore, inadvertently supporting the ambassador of a state that is condemned by more UN Human Rights Council resolutions than all other countries in the world combined."

The statement said Israel "massacred" 1,400 people, including 700 women and children.

The MSU further said that "Oren took part in a culture that has no qualms with terrorizing the innocent, killing civilians, demolishing their homes, and illegally occupying their land. Oren is an outspoken supporter of the recent war on Gaza and stands in the way of international law by refusing to cooperate with the United Nation’s Goldstone Report a fact-finding mission endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council."

The man you see lecturing the students in the middle of the video is Director of the University's Political Science department, Professor Mark P. Petracca, who told the protesters, "This is beyond embarrassing...this is no way for our undergraduate students to behave. We have an opportunity to hear from a policy maker relevant to one of the most important issues facing this planet and you are preventing not only yourself from hearing him but hundreds of other people in this room and hundreds of other people in an overflow room. Shame on you! This is not an example of free speech."

One of the Jewish student organizers told YNet that the university promised that 'administrative measures' would be taken against the protesters. You will note that a lot of them don't exactly look like students.

The local newspaper notes that there was a similar protest against Daniel Pipes in 2007 at UC Irvine.

You may recall that when I attended the Goldstone - Gold debate at Brandeis in November, there was an email circulated by a student troublemaker before the event. The email ended up in the hands of campus police who warned that student and any others who might think of protesting that they would be expelled from school if they made trouble. At the debate, one protester stood up when Dore Gold started to speak. Before he could get a word out of his mouth, the campus police were all over him. He got scared and sat down. The rest of the debate proceeded without disturbances. Maybe Israeli government representatives should not speak on US (and other) college campuses unless they have assurances in advance that the police will keep the protesters in their places. Expulsion is the perfect measure to do that.

Israel Matzav: Oren heckled at UC Irvine

Elder of Ziyon: Qaradawi forbids Hamas to reconcile with Fatah

Elder of Ziyon: Qaradawi forbids Hamas to reconcile with Fatah

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas' cash flow problem

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas' cash flow problem

Chester Chronicles - Vive la France! Where Europeans Take Women’s Equality Seriously

Chester Chronicles - Vive la France! Where Europeans Take Women’s Equality Seriously

Israel Matzav: Video: Israel under Kassam attack

Video: Israel under Kassam attack

Just a reminder of why we went to war in December 2008.

Let's go to the videotape.

Blixtube.com - Best video collection

Israel Matzav: Video: Israel under Kassam attack

Israel Matzav: About the handshake

About the handshake

At Foreign Policy, Marc Lynch analyzes the handshake between Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal. Lynch says that the handshake crystallizes the Arab Street's displeasure with its leaders meeting with Israelis, while exaggerating the extent of the alliance between Israel and the moderate Arab states against Iran.

The handshake affair is worth a post because it both reinforces and undermines the emerging conventional wisdom in Washington that the Arab regimes and Israelis are increasingly allies against Iran. Such expectations of an Arab-Israeli alliance against Iran are hardly new. The Saudis and Egyptians were more or less openly aligned with Israel in its war against Hezbollah in 2006 (remember Condi Rice's "birth pangs of the new Middle East"?), and to a lesser extent in the war on Gaza in 2008. Even in public, the "new Arab cold war" of the last few years has fairly openly and directly aligned the conservative Arab regimes with Israel against Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and the "Resistance" bloc. Much of the official and Saudi-owned Arab media has for years been waging a heavy-handed campaign against the Resistance bloc, implicitly adopting many Israeli frames (Hamas and Hezbollah irrationality and irresponsibility, Arab moderation, Iranian threat).

But the Saudi pushback on the photo also shows the ongoing sensitivity of such relations, and the limits of the official media campaign in support of this supposed Arab-Israeli alignment. The images from Gaza and the ongoing impact of Netanyahu and Lieberman's foreign policy has more than overwhelmed all the efforts to justify and legitimate such an approach to the broader Arab public. That anger is real, and quite potent in many Arab countries and in the wider Arab public sphere. The Saudis prefer to keep such relations private because of this very real outrage, and the real political costs of being on the wrong side in public.

It's a common mistake to assume that only the private views of leaders or only public discourse matters. Both levels matter, the private Realpolitik of Arab leaders and the real passions of the Arab public. The depth of the gap between the private views of Arab leaders and the predominant views of the Arab public explains much of the vitriol of the current "Arab cold war". Many Arabs are worried about Iran, no doubt about it, and many in the official camp are deeply hostile to Hamas, Hezbollah, and most other forms of populist opposition. But most also continue to be genuinely outraged by Israeli policies and reject any public relationship. It's a cliche to say so but also true: don't expect the much-predicted Arab-Israeli alliance against Iran to ever live up to its hype (at least publicly) without real movement towards Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Well, maybe. Here is my take on this:

1. It is extremely unlikely that Israel and the 'Palestinians' will find common ground to reach a 'settlement' in any of our lifetimes.

2. Even if the two parties did reach a 'settlement,' hatred of Jews (not of Israelis but of Jews) is so ingrained in the Arab world that it is unlikely that a 'settlement' itself would significantly reduce the Arab world's Jew hatred.

3. If the Arab leaders wanted to, they could gradually curb the Jew hatred by barring it from their government-controlled media and by ordinary gestures like the handshake. Of course, the Arab leaders don't want to do that, because it would take away the Arab Street's biggest distraction from the policies of the autocratic regimes under which they live.

4. What goes on between Israeli and Arab leaders is probably much more reflective of reality than the streets' attitude. Countries don't have friends - they have interests - and it is definitely in the Arabs' interests to have normal relations with Israel, but it's not in the regimes' interests and that is unlikely to change. If the Arab leadership decides to absorb the 'refugees' who already live among them, and to encourage the 'Palestinians' to be realistic in their negotiations with the Israelis, the prospects of reaching a 'settlement' would improve. But that won't happen in your lifetime or mine. The Arab leaders won't say the magic words.

Israel Matzav: About the handshake

Israel Matzav: BBC recognizes Egypt's role in Gaza 'blockade'?

BBC recognizes Egypt's role in Gaza 'blockade'?

Just Journalism has published a study that shows that the BBC is recognizing Egypt's role in the 'blockade' of Gaza. In the past, the 'blockade' was blamed solely on Israel; now both countries' roles are likely to be recognized, which is at least more accurate. The BBC declined to answer questions about its policies regarding the Gaza 'blockade.'
I believe that if the BBC has changed its tune, it's part of the fallout from the 'Gaza Freedom March' in which Egypt kept most of the marchers out of Gaza and eventually declared British legislator George Galloway persona non grata. Those two factors made the Egyptian role harder to ignore.

If you look at the study, you will see that the first month in which there were more references to an 'Israeli-Egyptian blockade' than to an 'Israeli blockade' was December 2009. That's when the 'Gaza Freedom March' reached Egypt.

Israel Matzav: BBC recognizes Egypt's role in Gaza 'blockade'?

Israel Matzav: Lipstick



Israel Matzav: Lipstick

Israel Matzav: Coming to a highway near you

Coming to a highway near you

From I-35 in Wyoming, Minnesota:

Hat Tip: The Corner via Instapundit.

Israel Matzav: Coming to a highway near you

Israel Matzav: The difference between allowing free speech and funding free speech

The difference between allowing free speech and funding free speech

Evelyn Gordon makes an important point about the current controversy involving the New Israel Fund. It's a point that most Israelis have never understood.

Neither Chazan nor her American parent organization has disputed Im Tirtzu’s findings: they do not deny that the NIF grantees supplied the material in question to a UN inquiry into last year’s war in Gaza, nor do they deny the Goldstone Commission’s use of it. On the contrary, Chazan said she was “ever so proud to be a symbol of Israeli democracy,” while the NIF’s American CEO, Daniel Sokatch, told the Forward that the grantees bolstered “Israel’s moral fiber and its values” by “tell[ing] the truth.”

If so, why was Chazan so upset over the revelation of the NIF’s contribution to this achievement that when the Knesset announced it wanted more information on the subject — a Knesset committee said it would establish a subcommittee to examine foreign funding of Israeli nonprofits, and one MK even advocated a parliamentary inquiry commission — she responded by accusing the Knesset of trying to “fan incitement”? Since when has the search for, and dissemination of, truthful information constituted incitement?

The answer relates to her other fallacy: “We really don’t support every single thing these organizations [the grantees] say, but we support their right to say it.” Actually, so would most Israelis — but they wouldn’t give money to help them say it. And that is a crucial distinction. Freedom of speech means letting people or groups say what they please without fear of prosecution. It does not require anyone to help them do so by giving them money. The minute you donate to a group, you are not just “supporting its right” to speak; you are supporting the content of its speech. After all, the NIF doesn’t fund Im Tirtzu; does that mean it doesn’t support Im Tirtzu’s right to speak?

The problem for the NIF is that many donors might not support this particular content. Indeed, the Forward reported that when the NIF sought statements of support from other major Jewish groups, only three had complied as of February 3: Americans for Peace Now, J Street, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

Much of this country still operates on the old socialist mindset that says that government (or other outside sources) have to fund anything. So if they're not getting public money they claim they're being 'suppressed.'

The best outcome of this whole situation would be if the New Israel Fund's donors look into the organizations that their donations are funding and decide that they're not exactly what the donors had in mind. That's the outcome that Chazan and her fellow travelers fear most of all.

Israel Matzav: The difference between allowing free speech and funding free speech

Israel Matzav: Surprise! The 'West Bank' economic miracle is mostly foreign aid

Surprise! The 'West Bank' economic miracle is mostly foreign aid

I suspected this all along - many of you probably did too.

We keep hearing about the 'economic miracle' created by 'Palestinian' Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (pictured throwing Israeli products into a fire) in the 'West Bank' and how the gross domestic product (GDP) for that area is one of the fastest growing in the world. Surprise: That 'economic miracle' is mostly the result of smoke and mirrors foreign aid money. Come on, you didn't really think the 'Palestinians' suddenly started to produce a lot real goods and services, did you?

[T]he absurdity inherent in his statements regarding "Palestinian independence within two years" is clear to anyone familiar with the Palestinian economy. Fayyad is a former World Bank official, but even on the financial front his deeds are far from the image he has nurtured.

The Palestinian economy is the only place in the world where the per capita GDP is less than half the disposable income per capita. This is the result of three factors:

1. The Palestinians barely produce anything. Most of their GDP comes from government expenditures by the PA itself.

2. The Palestinians receive immense sums donated by the world.

3. Tax collection is almost unheard of, aside from the taxes collected (for Fayyad) by the Israeli government, which provides the PA with NIS 450 million (roughly $120 million) monthly; this comprises about 40% of the PA's budget.

The result is clear: Low GDP, but high disposable income. Indeed, it's an economic miracle.

And in the Gaza Strip, where we already know there's nothing being produced (except Kassam rockets), and don't just suspect it, the situation is even worse.

Meanwhile, the situation is even more extreme in the Gaza Strip, where the PA spends 57% of its budget. Fayyad hands over salaries and allowances to 150,000 people, yet tens of thousands of them don't work, while others receive two salaries: One from Fayyad and another from Hamas. This is why the only industries active in Gaza are imports through smuggling tunnels and real estate – the surplus of cash in Gaza's banks prompts them to offer mortgages, and this results in a rise in real estate prices.

And yes, Fayyad is still paying Hamas, something I've raised many times on this blog.

The former finance minister in Fayyad's government expressed it vividly in an interview with Le Monde: He said the Europeans are unaware that their money funds Hamas. Hamas doesn't know what to do with all the money in its pockets so it buys real estate [Ismail Haniyeh just spent $4 million on real estate a few days ago. CiJ]. As result, the price of upscale beachfront real estate in Gaza increased by 300%. The money from the EU and from the taxes collected by Israel ultimately reaches Hamas, he said.

When Hamas took power, Fayyad was supposed to ensure (in line with the international community's demand) that the salaries he hands over do not reach Hamas hands. He indeed proceeded to remove 20,000 people form the list of salary earners, but two months later added more than 10,000 of them to the list of recipients of government allowances.

About two years ago, the World Bank demanded that Fayyad ... minimize the second-highest PA budget clause: Payments aimed at covering electricity and water bills which PA residents refuse to pay (the accumulated electricity debt of Gaza residents stands at $2.7 billion.) This clause, which constitutes about 8% of the PA's budget, is hidden by Fayyad under the heading “Net Lending.”

Fayyad seemingly charges local authorities for the electricity provided to their residents by Israel, yet immediately “loans” them the money. As such, they appear as a local authority debt to the Palestinian Treasury. Two years ago, he attempted to force PA residents to present proof of payment on their electricity bills before receiving government allowances. The PA’s “public service sector” immediately embarked on a warning strike, and Fayyad got the hint and has refrained from demanding that the bills be paid.

A few months ago, Fayyad came up with an original solution: As he hands over immense sums for the salaries of tens of thousands of security officials in Gaza, who no longer work since Hamas took power there, he raised their salaries by 4% and even got EU funding for this. However, at the same time he deducted a similar sum from these salaries for “electricity bills.”

Everyone was pleased until Hamas authorities found out about it. They viewed it as financially detrimental to their government, and in response stopped handing over to the Palestinian fuel authority the sums of money collected from Gaza residents who do pay for electricity. This was the reason for the latest fuel crisis in the PA.

On the security front, things are no better.

On the security front, Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad counts on the IDF and Shin Bet. Despite his claims that the IDF should not be operating "in the Palestinian state's territory," he knows that he has no control on the ground, neither in the Gaza Strip which he dreams of reuniting with the West Bank, nor in his own backyard in Judea and Samaria.

If Fayyad is indeed interested and capable of reuniting Gaza and the West Bank, when and how does he intend to do so? Will he be leading a Palestinian army that will deploy in Rafah and move north until it retakes Gaza City from the hands of Hamas? Obviously not. He is in fact creating the conditions for boosting Hamas, so that the IDF will ultimately have to enter Gaza, retake it while paying a heavy diplomatic price, and then end the "occupation" and hand it over to Fayyad, without him having to do a thing.

Read the whole thing. Anyone think they could handle a 'state' even if one were in the offing?

Barry Rubin adds:

Fayyad is the most moderate guy in the PA leadership. He was doing about the best he could. But that’s the point. He has no base of support, isn’t a Fatah member, and doesn’t really represent Palestinian thinking. He is in office only to keep Western donors happy. Thus, Fayyad couldn’t go any further because he knows his Fatah bosses, Palestinian constituents and Hamas enemies would throw him out if he offered the slightest concession and demanded any less than everything they want.


Four days before Fayyad’s speech, the imam Fayyad appointed in Nablus gave a sermon over the television Fayyad controls. As translated by MEMRI, he said: “The Jews are the enemies of Allah and [Muhammad], the enemies of humanity in general, and of the Palestinians in particular... Jews will not cease to be hostile to the Muslims.” Only jihad, not negotiations, can liberate the land.

How can this be reconciled with Fayyad’s claim of Palestinians just wanting “to live alongside you in peace, harmony and security”?

Answer: The sermon is meant to shape Palestinian politics and public opinion; what Fayyad says is meant to shape Israeli and Western politics and public opinion. Fayyad believes what he said but, as a figurehead, also knows that he isn’t going to change the dominant Palestinian view or even try to do so. The audience applauded Fayyad because it does want peace and prefers him to all the worse alternatives, especially Hamas but also those in Fatah. Yet few have any illusions that peace is at hand or that Fayyad is going to deliver it.

Well, few outside of Washington anyway.

Israel Matzav: Surprise! The 'West Bank' economic miracle is mostly foreign aid

Israel Matzav: Israel's first Arab female combat soldier

Israel's first Arab female combat soldier

On Monday, Maariv did a report on Corporal Eleanor Joseph, Israel's first female Arab combat soldier (link in Hebrew). There's a Google translation of the story here, and I'm fixing up a few paragraphs of the raw translation below.

In Corporal Eleanor Joseph's wallet there is a green note with a drawing of a Star of David on which it says: "I have no other country, even if my land is burning." It's handwritten. Corporal Eleanor Joseph, the first female Arab Warrior in the IDF's Caracal battalion, which combines male and female infantry brigade fighters, received the note from her platoon commander. Now she takes it with her everywhere, like a talisman.

"It's a sentence that strengthens me", she said this week, when asked how she connects to things written by Ehud Manor. "Every time it's hard for me, I read it. Because I was born here. The people I love live here. My parents, my friends. It's a Jewish state? True. But it's also my country. I do not imagine myself living anywhere else. I think every person should enlist. You live here, reside here? Go defend your country. So what if I'm an Arab? "

A few weeks ago, an unusual step, the IDF allowed Corporal Eleanor Joseph to take off her uniform on the way home from her base and to wear civilian clothing. Joseph lives in the heart of Arab neighborhood, close to Wadi Nisnas in Haifa. In a request to her base officer, she wrote: "The looks my Arab neighbors point at me each time I appear in uniform are uncomfortable." She also noted: "I feel strange". She does not explicitly use the word "fear".

Corporal Eleanor chooses her words carefully. She does not express any political opinion, and any attempt to discover something about her attitudes is pushed away dismissively. The IDF, in any event, checked and granted her request [to enlist in the combat unit]. "I am the only one in this neighborhood that comes home in a uniform," she said this week. "And this is an Arab neighborhood. So I feel that everyone is staring at me. That kind of look. I have no way to describe it. Shock, shock. As if something is wrong with me.

"It's not that they throw stones at me. I do not tease them, so they have no reason to throw stones at me. But they stare at me. Stand and watch. I'm proud of my uniform. It took me a long time to get it. I'm not afraid. I was only afraid once. I returned from the army at night, wondering how I, a female soldier, wander around in uniform, in an Arab neighborhood, when there are so many instances of abducted soldiers. It's dangerous. "

No, she's not Muslim - she's Christian.

Read the whole thing (in Hebrew if you can).

Israel Matzav: Israel's first Arab female combat soldier

Israel Matzav: In video on al-Jazeera, Mabhouh bragged of murdering Israelis

In video on al-Jazeera, Mabhouh bragged of murdering Israelis

In a video shown by al-Jazeera on Sunday, dead terrorist and arms dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh brags of how he murdered two Israeli soldiers in 1989.

Appearing on tape with his face hidden behind a scarf, Mabhuh detailed the kidnapping of Sasportas.

He other militants had disguised themselves as religious Jews to abduct the soldier, whose body was found in April 1989.

"Before burying him (Sasportas), we stripped him of his clothes and took his IDs, wallet ... and his personal weapon," Mabhuh said.

Saadon was kidnapped while hitchhiking south of Tel Aviv and taken to Gaza where he was killed.

"I pulled out my (38mm) revolver and pointed it at his (Saadon's) head to shoot him, but (my comrade) Abu Suhaib was faster than me. He shot him with his own pistol," Mabhuh said.

The militant, a founder of Hamas's armed wing, also said that he took precautions against the risks of Israeli retaliation but would be honoured to die a "martyr."

Here's hoping this cold-blooded killer is being boiled in hot oil in hell.

Israel Matzav: In video on al-Jazeera, Mabhouh bragged of murdering Israelis

Israel Matzav: But can he look her in the eye?

But can he look her in the eye?

She can electrify a crowd. She has the kind of charisma that appeals to the sub-rational. and she has crafted a Peronist identity - utterly fraudulent, of course - that is political dynamite in a recession with populism roiling everyone and everything. She is Coughlin with boobs - except with a foreign policy agenda to expand Israel and unite with it in a war against Islam.

Do not under-estimate the appeal of a beautiful, big breasted, divinely chosen warrior-mother as a military leader in a global religious war. Bush at least had some inkling that we need a strategy to depolarize the Muslim world and bring moderates along with us to defeat the Islamists; in my view, he genuinely believed that what happened at Abu Ghraib was wrong but couldn't break down his denial that he had authorized almost all of it (she wants more of it); his Washington Cathedral speech reflected statesmanship (Palin wants brazen projection of hard power everywhere and her election as president would represent a true crisis in any alliances that Obama has been able to rebuild).

Grow up, Andrew. You sound like a teenager. Can you look her in the eye?

Israel Matzav: But can he look her in the eye?

Israel Matzav: Video: Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon shakes hands with Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal#links#links#links

Video: Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon shakes hands with Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal

This is what you've all been waiting for: Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon shakes hands with Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal. Let's go to the videotape.

The Prince has been trying to play down the significance ever since.

The LA Times describes what happened.

Ayalon accused Faisal of conspiring to split a panel that was to include representatives from several countries including Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Russia and the U.S. because the Saudi did not wish to sit next to the Israeli.

Faisal said he objected to sitting next to Ayalon not because Ayalon was Israeli, but because of Ayalon's "boorish" behavior toward the Turkish ambassador to Israel, Ahmet Oguz Celikkol.

Ayalon was forced to apologize to Turkey last month after breaching diplomatic protocol with Celikkol in an attempt to shame the Turkish ambassador over a controversial television show.

The statement also said Faisal defended his country against Ayalon's accusation that Saudi Arabia had "not given a penny" to the Palestinian Authority, saying: "[I reminded] him that the Kingdom has given more than $500 million in the last five years to the PA as a stop-gap measure."

Ayalon apologized to Faisal and the two shook hands in a gesture of reconciliation, but presumably the Saudi caught enough flack for it to release a clarifying statement.

There's a more detailed description of the sequence of events in the New York Times. On Twitter on Monday, Ayalon posted tweets in both English and Hebrew denying that he had apologized to the Prince for anything.


Israel Matzav: Video: Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon shakes hands with Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal

Love of the Land: Letter to the Reform movement

Letter to the Reform movement

08 February '10

I’m a member of a Reform Jewish congregation. I wrote the following letter to Rabbi Eric Yoffie of the Union for Reform Judaism, and Rabbi David Saperstein, head of its “Religious Action Center”. I also sent a copy to our rabbi and the president of the congregation. If you are a Reform Jew in the US, you should do the same:

February 8, 2010

Dear Rabbi Saperstein and Rabbi Yoffie,

I was shocked to see that the Reform Movement – in the person of Rabbi Saperstein – has leapt to the defense of the New Israel Fund (NIF), after it was revealed that almost all of the negative ‘evidence’ from Israeli sources in the slanderous Goldstone report came from 16 NIF-supported non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Although this incident has propelled the NIF into the public eye in Israel, the fact is that the NIF, with its annual budget of $32 million, has been funding numerous groups which are part of the ongoing campaign against the Jewish state for years. The independent organization NGO Monitor wrote,

(Read full letter)

Love of the Land: Letter to the Reform movement

Love of the Land: Why Israel is Losing the Military and Media Wars

Why Israel is Losing the Military and Media Wars

Daniel Greenfield
Sultan Knish
(Originally posted
22 September '09)

(I took a look at this for the first time today, and as things have not changed, it seemed a worthwhile and relevant post)

Every now and then bewildered Israeli politicians and outreach professionals call conferences to wonder why the Hasbara is failing and why Israel can't get its story across. They are given the usual advice of hiring more PR firms, finding innovative ways to get the message through, using the internet in smarter ways and of course that all time favorite, rebranding Israel. Naturally they follow this advice, only to call another conference a year later wondering why nothing has changed.

The answer is simple enough. Defensive PR, like defensive warfare, never works. And Israeli PR and Israeli warfare has been on the defensive for decades now. If you break down Israel's message to a single sentence, it's "We didn't do any of the things we're accused of." That is the kind of message you expect to hear from criminal defendants, and it's a message that impresses no one. The only thing it does is produce a debate about the validity of the accusations themselves, which is to PR what Stalingrad was to the Russian front.

The recent Aftonbladet case represents a classic scenario that demonstrates why Israel's defensive PR is doomed to fail over and over again. The Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet published an article claiming that Israeli soldiers were killing Palestinian Arabs in order to harvest their organs. The Israeli government pointed out that the article presented no evidence whatsoever, that no such thing had ever happened and demanded a retraction from the newspaper and condemnation of it by the Swedish government. The only thing Israel accomplished was to popularize the false allegation thus creating a debate over whether or not Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian Arabs to harvest their organs. Pleased by his newfound fame, the author of the article has only escalated his allegations and gone on to do a tour of the Arab world. Leftist propagandists can only watch the fallout and chuckle, because once again Israel has been suckered into playing the mug's game of defensive PR.

Defensive warfare of any kind is reactive. For the last few decades Israel has run itself ragged because it has been reactive. And by reactive I mean that Israel keeps responding to attacks against it, rather than taking the offensive. In the Six Day War, Israel responded to Nasser's planned assault, by preempting him and taking the offensive. The result was Israel's finest hour. In the Yom Kippur War, Israel waited and watched, and was nearly destroyed.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Why Israel is Losing the Military and Media Wars
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