Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Love of the Land: Fatahgate Fallout: Where are the Media? "Editors Are Not Interested Unless It Has an Anti-Israeli Angle"

Fatahgate Fallout: Where are the Media? "Editors Are Not Interested Unless It Has an Anti-Israeli Angle"


Nina Rosenwald
Hudson New York
17 February '10

Jerusalem. The new corruption scandal, first exposed by Khaled Abu Toameh, has rocked the Palestinian Authority and left its leaders in a state of disarray -- But where are the media?

The revelations of Fahmi Shabaneh, the former senior intelligence officer of the Palestinian Authority's Anti-Corruption Department for the past four years, first appeared as a banner headline in the Jerusalem Post on January 29th ("Corruption will let Hamas take W. Bank"), five days before Israel’s Channel 10 TV picked up the story. The station, however, failed to note that its “exclusive scoop” had already been published by Abu Toameh (who also writes for Hudson New York.)

Shabaneh, who lives in East Jersualem, Israel, said he decided to break the story to Abu Toameh after most of the Arab and Western journalists, including those at Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, refused to listen to him. Shabaneh said the journalists cited various reasons, including fear of retribution from the Palestinian Authority; a lack of desire to publish anything that would reflect negatively on the Palestinians; fear of "losing access," and, “Editors are not interested in a story unless it has an anti-Israeli angle.”

Shabaneh presented a written letter, which he had sent to the Al Jazeera bureau in Ramallah: it included an offer to expose cases of corruption among the high echelons of the Palestinian Authority.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Fatahgate Fallout: Where are the Media? "Editors Are Not Interested Unless It Has an Anti-Israeli Angle"

Israel Matzav: High Court demands govt. speed destruction of war hero's home

High Court demands govt. speed destruction of war hero's home

Israel's High Court of 'Justice' has demanded that the government speed the destruction of sixteen Jewish homes located in 'outposts' known as Hayovel and Harsha. One of the homes in Hayovel, just outside the town of Eli in Samaria, belongs to the widow and children of Roi Klein, HY"D (may God avenge his blood), who fell on a grenade during the battle of Bint Jbeil in the Second Lebanon War, saving all the men under his command.

The High Court of Justice demanded Tuesday that the government speed up the demolition of 16 homes built by Jews in the outposts of Hayovel and Harsha.

In 2005, Peace Now petitioned the court to order the destruction of 9 homes in Hayovel, outside of Eli, and 7 buildings in Harsha, near Talmon.

One of the Hayovel homes belongs to the widow of fallen IDF hero Roi Klein, who jumped on a grenade to save fellow soldiers during the Second Lebanon War.

They can call it whatever they want, but it sure as heck isn't 'justice.'

The picture at the top is the Klein family and was taken sometime before Roi's death.

More on this story here.

Israel Matzav: High Court demands govt. speed destruction of war hero's home

Israel Matzav: Israelis sue Iran for a cool billion in US court

Israelis sue Iran for a cool billion in US court

85 Israelis who were wounded by Hezbullah rockets during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 have sued Iran's central bank and some of its commercial banks in an American court, charging that Iran financed Hezbullah's belligerence.

This is the suit of its kind against the Iranian banking system. The suit claims that Iran supplied Hezbollah with more than $50 million in the years leading up to the war with the intention of empowering the organization to fire at Israeli and American targets.

Hmmm. Another nuisance suit to keep them broke and busy. Let's hope the price of oil drops.

Israel Matzav: Israelis sue Iran for a cool billion in US court

Israel: Flourishing or Suicidal?

Israel: Flourishing or Suicidal?

There's a fellow in Israel who sits more or less at the center of the so-called human-rights corner of Israeli society, the far-left folks who can find almost nothing good to say about Israel while talking endlessly about all the things it does wrong. As I've often estimated, there aren't more than 2-3,000 of these people, from close to 6 million Jews. Anyway, the fellow has an e-mail list, and he offers daily updates about the good and the bad. While I've never investigated, it's reasonable most of the activists in this radical corner of Israeli society are on his list. Today he announced that he'd just added readers 1000, 1001 and 1002.

Apparently my estimate isn't that far off.

Yet that tiny corner of our society has an enormous impact. How so? Well, look at a post by Andrew Sullivan yesterday, talking about his respect for Jeffrey Goldberg who has been uncomfortably critical of him (Andrew) recently.

I understand what Jeffrey endures on a regular basis and admire his courage in tackling difficult subjects nonetheless. Because he loves Israel; and Israel is committing a slow suicide. It is tough to watch. (my italics).

Israel is actually thriving. Economically, of course, but also demographically, culturally, and its politics is informed by a deep consensus of purpose the Americans (or Europeans) can only dream of. The list of things to kvetch about is longer than any imaginable arm, of course, but this shouldn't hide the fact that compared to any given moment over the past 2,000 years, what we've got right now is about as good as it gets.

Suicide? I think not. But if you're on that e-mail list or listen regularly to the people who are on it, it's not hard to see why you might think otherwise.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Israel Matzav: Whom do they represent?

Whom do they represent?

If 'Israeli Arabs' feel their lot in this country is not good, perhaps the representatives they send to the Knesset have something to do with that feeling. This is a fair description:

Israel’s Arab MKs have gone from being close advisers to the government coalition to raving, angry extremists who spend most of their time complaining about their “Palestinian brothers” and taking little interest in their actual brothers and sisters.

Their failures harm the Israeli-Arab community, which deserves better but has been convinced that to be “loyal Arabs” they must vote for extreme voices rather than “collaborationist” voices of moderation.

It is their loss, and their continued estrangement from Israel and the continued aspersions cast on their loyalty by some on the Israeli Right will continue as long as they refuse to awake from 30 years of electoral slumber.

Indeed.

The picture at the top is the former MK who is the symbol of Arab disloyalty in this country. Azmi Bishara left Israel and resigned from the Knesset as he was about to be indicted for helping Hezbullah aim their rockets during the Second Lebanon War.

Read the whole thing.


Israel Matzav: Whom do they represent?

RubinReports: Life in an American Fourth Grade: George Washington’s and Abe Lincoln’s Twelve Minutes of Fame

Life in an American Fourth Grade: George Washington’s and Abe Lincoln’s Twelve Minutes of Fame

By Barry Rubin

I’ve been waiting to see how the class dealt with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln on the occasion of their birthdays. inally, the topic came up today.

My son says that he and a foreign student (not an immigrant) were looking at a book containing short biographies of every U.S. president. Seeing them the teacher said something about not letting this occasion go by without saying something about these two presidents. (Does this mean that if they hadn't been reading the book nothing at all would have been done in class? Quite possibly.)

The teacher then took the small book and read from these two entries, which took only about ten minutes. This was followed by a very brief discussion. My son estimates the discussion took two minutes. That’s it for George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Interesting question: Does the county curriculum tell teachers to do something about Washington and Lincoln or not?

Then the class returned to one of the two favorite interlinked topics that have taken up more than 90 percent of the social studies' time. The two topics are: American racism, that is, mistreatment of other racial groupings, and immigrants (recent ones, not historical immigration). The only other topic discussed at any length has been global warming.

Please understand that this is NOT an exaggeration. I have been asking about what happened every day after school and except for a homework handout involving learning the names of the thirteen original colonies and a couple of dates this has been the sum total of social studies during five months of class.

Next, a short film was shown about four immigrants, coming from El Salvador, Togo, Taiwan, Russia (thus covering Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe equally). My son asked about illegal immigration. This set off the class which began talking about various anecdotes or things they had seen. The teacher told them to stop it and added that this wasn’t the subject of discussion at the moment.

Teaching kids that they should not be racist and that (legal) immigration is a good thing is quite reasonable. Teaching them almost nothing else about the American system or history (except that it is characterized by slavery and racism) isn’t. Once again I ask: Aren't any other parents simply asking their kids what happens in class every day and being shocked by the answers?

RubinReports: Life in an American Fourth Grade: George Washington’s and Abe Lincoln’s Twelve Minutes of Fame

Love of the Land: Dubai Does PR Right

Dubai Does PR Right


Noah Pollak
Contentions/Commentary
17 February '10

It’s always funny to hear people talk about Zionist manipulation of the media, because the truth of the matter is that there’s hardly anything I can think of that the Zionists are more incompetent at. I wish the Zionists were manipulating the media. Israel vs. the media generally has the feel of the Washington Generals vs. the Harlem Globetrotters.

An example of a government doing a skillful job of using the media is on display in the case of the assassinated Hamas agent in Dubai. The Dubai police quickly and efficiently tracked down video footage of the (alleged) hit team, assembled the clips to show the progression of the team through passport control, into the hotel, in the hallway outside the target’s room, and so on. This video was narrated in English, broadcast on the local news, and then uploaded to YouTube for the entire world to see.

I think it’s great news that a senior member of Hamas has been knocked off, and I congratulate whomever did it for their courage and intrepidity. But it’s understandable that the Dubai authorities aren’t pleased that it happened on their soil, and so they’re doing their best to expose the assassins.

Now imagine if the Israeli government had shown the same speed, efficiency, and common sense in getting information out to the world about, say, a headline-making Arab claim that the IDF had committed an atrocity (pick one among dozens: the Al-Dura affair, the Gaza beach explosion, the “Jenin massacre,” or any number of incidents from the Lebanon and Gaza wars).

(Read full post/plus video)

Related article: Mossad? Well, I Certainly Hope So.


Love of the Land: Dubai Does PR Right

Elder of Ziyon: What a surprise: Hamas vows revenge for Mabhouh

Elder of Ziyon: What a surprise: Hamas vows revenge for Mabhouh

Israel Matzav: Reckless engagement

Reckless engagement

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has issued a statement criticizing the Obama administration's plan to return an American ambassador to Syria.

“With this nomination, our foreign policy again risks sending the message that it is better to be an intractable enemy than a cooperative, loyal U.S. ally.

“Despite the Administration’s outreach, Syria continues to sponsor violent extremist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, to undermine Lebanon’s sovereignty, and to pursue unconventional weapons and missile capabilities.

“Recent reports say that Hezbollah has deployed advanced Syrian-made missiles capable of hitting almost any target in Israel. Syria also continues to deny international inspectors access to its suspect nuclear facilities.

“The U.S. response? Give more for nothing. This unconditional engagement is reckless and only serves to reward our enemies, undermine our allies, and leave our nation less secure.

“The President should, instead, increase pressure on Damascus by fully implementing the sanctions in the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act.

“Let us act now to prevent an escalation of the Syrian threat instead of standing idly by and watching Syria’s transformation into another Iran.”

Of course, she's right, but what could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Reckless engagement

Love of the Land: In favor of the right of return

In favor of the right of return


Karni Eldad
Haaretz
17 February '10

In 1948, scores of families were expelled from their homes in Jerusalem. The city was divided and squatters took over their houses and built on their properties. These refugees prayed to return to the homes they purchased legally in the 1920s and 1930s.

In 1967, legal proceedings began for the restoration of ownership to those refugees. The squatters pursued every possible means, in every court, to delay the implementation of the possession by the legal owners. Every such legal proceeding lasted for decades, until an appeal was made to the High Court of Justice.

In 2009, the High Court of Justice had its say too - the squatters must be evicted and they must also pay compensation to the owners of the land for all the years they made use of it. The proceedings against all the squatters has not yet been completed, but this year dozens of Jewish families are slated to return to their homes.

Jewish? What? Yes, yes. These are families that are now purchasing, for the full price, their own properties in the Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood, better known as Sheikh Jarrah.

Is anyone on the left standing by the side of these robbed families and against the Arab squatters? Not a single one of them. All the morality melts away when the actors change. Where can the (supposedly) moral left be found? In demonstrations against the police and against the old-new settlers who have returned to their stolen homes.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: In favor of the right of return

Israel Matzav: 'Ordinary' Israelis to represent the country abroad

'Ordinary' Israelis to represent the country abroad

In a program that is the brainchild of Minister for Public Diplomacy and the Diaspora (how's that for a title?) Yuli Edelstein, 'ordinary' Israelis will be taught how to represent the country abroad.

In a campaign initiated by Yuli Edelstein’s Ministry for Public Diplomacy and the Diaspora, Israelis will be invited to learn how to present a positive message to the world from pocket pamphlets that will be distributed at Ben-Gurion Airport, the new Web site, masbirim.gov.il, and from training workshops across the country.

Varied groups will be invited to attend the workshops, including politicians, diplomats, retired generals, businessmen, tour guides, celebrities, athletes, youth group delegations and ordinary Israelis.

“In light of Israel’s negative image in the world, we realized that Israel had to counter the vast sums of money available to Arab countries for propaganda by taking advantage of our human resources,” Edelstein said. “We decided to give Israelis who go abroad tools and tips to help them deal with the attacks on Israel in their conversations with people, media appearances and lectures before wide audiences. I hope we succeed together in changing the picture and proving to the world that there is a different Israel.”

Edelstein called the initiative Tsva Hasbara LeYisrael, the Israeli Public Diplomacy Forces, based on the Hebrew name of the IDF.

...

A poll sponsored by the ministry found that 91 percent of 495 Jewish Israelis surveyed believed that Israel had a bad or very bad image abroad. The same percentage said Israel was seen as a country suffering from terror and wars, 80% said Israel was considered overly aggressive, 30% said the country had an unfriendly image, and 26% thought the world saw Israel as undeveloped.

Asked whether they would want to help represent Israel when they were abroad, 85% said “yes.”

So I went to check out the site. How's this for an inauspicious start: It's only in Hebrew.

About a year and a half ago, some bloggers were asked to install a program on our computers that would enable the Foreign Ministry to push content they wanted us to discuss on our blogs. The content turned out to come from YNet, and every time it popped up my browser became impossible to run. On top of that, invariably, they were pushing things about which I had already written. I uninstalled it.

There's also someone with a YouTube account who - I am fairly sure - is connected to the Foreign Ministry. Every few days I get an email from her (at least I am reasonably sure it's a her) in which she sends a link to a video and something she thinks I should discuss. Invariably, it's something I've discussed already. I've stopped opening the emails.

Hasbara these days is done in real time. And it can be done without leaving your home. Too bad the government still doesn't seem to get it.

If I had to choose one way in which Israel needs to fix its hasbara, it would be to try to make them understand that the government is not the 'client.' The people who view or read what you put out are the 'client.' I try to post things that I think people will want to read - first and foremost. And those things happen to push what I believe is a strong pro-Israel position. But I'm not serving the government - I'm serving all of you. The government doesn't seem to understand that if those people at the 'training sessions' don't walk out of there fired up about the great things there are about defending Israel abroad, they're just not going to bother. The people going to those training sessions have to be sold on the great contribution they're going to make to Israel's future.

I'm not optimistic about this.


Israel Matzav: 'Ordinary' Israelis to represent the country abroad

Israel Matzav: J Street's irrelevant

J Street's irrelevant

Jonathan Tobin nails J Street's current situation.

[T]o the extent that J Street is trying to behave like a mainstream organization — an assumption that is certainly open to debate — this change reflects two important factors.

First is the complete irrelevance of J Street’s main idea: that there is a need for a Jewish lobby whose purpose is to push Washington to push Israel to make peace. As the events of the last year continue to prove, the obstacle to peace remains the Palestinians and their political culture of violence and hatred for Israel. As much as the Jewish Left has gained in the United States during the Obama presidency, the Left in Israel is as close to dead as it can be. That’s because the overwhelming majority of Israelis understand that after Oslo’s false promises, Arafat’s refusal of a state in the West Bank and Jerusalem in 2000 and 2001, and Mahmoud Abbas’s refusal of an even more generous offer in 2008, the Palestinian nationalist movement Fatah has proved it is not interested in a state as long as that state must live in peace alongside Israel. That the even more extreme Hamas terrorist movement controls Gaza and might expand someday into the West Bank if Israel abandons its security presence there has rendered the idea of further concessions and withdrawals absurd. This is a political reality that no amount of pressure from either Obama or the American Left can alter.

But just as the Obama administration may be backing off its initial desire to push Israel into a corner, its Jewish cheering section at J Street may be starting to see that its initial extreme positions, such as opposing Israel’s counteroffensive into Gaza last year (an operation that had wall-to-wall political support in Israel), were a disaster. For all the controversy in the American Jewish community about whether J Street is “pro” or “anti” Israel, the bottom line is that J Street’s platform is simply irrelevant to the situation that Israel actually faces.

Indeed. But hopefully at least it's no longer dangerous.

Israel Matzav: J Street's irrelevant

Love of the Land: Al-Jazeera spoiler Prof. Mordechai Kedar: 'Why did Islam make Jerusalem it's number 3 holy city?'

Al-Jazeera spoiler Prof. Mordechai Kedar: 'Why did Islam make Jerusalem it's number 3 holy city?'



17 February '10

Bar-Ilan University's Arabic-studies expert, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, clarifies his al-Jazeera's interviewer's error - why was Jerusalem, if never mentioned in the Koran, made holy by Islam? Kedar explains how it was done for political advantage. He asserts that in Islam, politics and religion make up two sides of the same coin.




Love of the Land: Al-Jazeera spoiler Prof. Mordechai Kedar: 'Why did Islam make Jerusalem it's number 3 holy city?'

RubinReports: News Flash: U.S. Names New Ambassador to Syria Just After Anniversary of Major Syrian Terrorist Operation

News Flash: U.S. Names New Ambassador to Syria Just After Anniversary of Major Syrian Terrorist Operation

By Barry Rubin

Yesterday I wrote a piece pointing to U.S. government insensitivity in giving Syria a big concession--the long-awaited naming of the new U.S. ambassador to Syria--virtually on the anniversary of Syria's assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in a terrorist attack (a big bomb in the middle of a Beirut boulevard killing many bystanders). But in fairness I noted that it was a leak not an official announcement. Well, now just over 48 hours after the anniversary an official announcement has been made that Robert Ford, a career Middle East specialist for the State Department and now deputy chief of mission in Iraq, will be the first U.S. ambassador to Iran's closest ally, Syria. For the full analysis, see here

RubinReports: News Flash: U.S. Names New Ambassador to Syria Just After Anniversary of Major Syrian Terrorist Operation

Israel Matzav: When should orders be refused?

When should orders be refused?

Speaking at a conference Tuesday in Efrat on refusing immoral orders, Rabbi Yuval Cherlow of the Petach Tikvah Hesder Yeshiva said that if he had known at the time that five years later that expellees from Gush Katif would still be living in temporary homes, he would have called for soldiers to refuse to participate in the disengagement.

Participating the conference were, among others, Manhigut Yehudit leader Moshe Feiglin, Dr. David Matar, whose wife Nadia started the Women in Green movement, and Rabbi Yoel Kretchmer, former head of the Religious Kibbutz Movement and known for his support of leftists' disobeying of orders.

Hmmm.

I wonder what will happen if the government - God forbid - ever orders the IDF to expel Jews from their homes again.

Israel Matzav: When should orders be refused?

Israel Matzav: Sweet: Shahar Pe'er makes quarterfinals at Dubai

Sweet: Shahar Pe'er makes quarterfinals at Dubai

A year ago, the United Arab Emirates refused to grant Shahar Pe'er a visa to play in their women's tennis tournament. This year, not only is Pe'er playing in the tournament, but she has now reached the quarterfinals. And she did it by beating the top seed in the tournament.

Shahar Peer upset top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Demark 6-2, 7-5 Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals of the Dubai Championship, a year after she was refused a visa to play in the tournament by the government.

The Israeli had at least one break opportunity on each of Wozniacki's 10 service games. She had never previously even taken a set off the 2009 US Open finalist in three previous matches.

Too bad Mahmoud al-Mabhouh isn't there to watch. Heh.


Israel Matzav: Sweet: Shahar Pe'er makes quarterfinals at Dubai

Israel Matzav: The Arabs are convinced it was the Mossad

The Arabs are convinced it was the Mossad

Arab 'analysts' are convinced that they know who is behind the liquidation of Hamas terrorist and arms dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh: The Mossad.

The Dubai authorities have been drawing up arrest warrants for six Britons, three Irishmen, a Frenchman and a German national. Palestinian groups are accusing each other of involvement. But in many quarters, Israel remains the chief suspect in the killing of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh at his Dubai hotel on January 20.

Articles in the local Gulf press and far beyond – not to mention the welter of talkbacks and blog posts – leave no ostensible room for doubt: It was the Mossad, possibly in collaboration with the Palestinian Authority, that did the deed, its operatives hiding behind false European IDs.

A typical “expert analysis,” from Dr. Muhammad Salah al-Misfer, an Arab political analyst, in the London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi the other day, ran as follows: “The Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, encouraged the Gulf states to boost their relationship with Israel. Dubai decided to host a high-level Israeli official (minister Uzi Landau). And less then 72 hours after his departure, a leader of Palestinian resistance group Hamas was assassinated.”

“During the first visit of high-ranking Israeli delegation, a son of Hamas is being killed. What does it say to us?” echoed a talkback from Mustafa Tawil in Saudi Arabia.

“UK: Mossad behind terror of Hamas commander,” screamed a headline on the Iranian Press TV website, citing London’s Daily Telegraph as its source.

Dahi Khalfan Tamin, Dubai’s chief of police, also continues to pour oil on the fire, albeit only a trickle, and somewhat incomprehensibly.

“All those who seek revenge from others, if it was right for them to carry out revenge with their own hands and to make up a team of killers, so they can get their revenge, this is the way of mobs not countries,” he rambled at a press conference on Tuesday morning, without actually naming Israel. “And if any country in the world turns to follow the path of the mobs, they will be wanted by justice.”

But Dubai doesn't seem to be close to capturing the real killers:

Tamim said Tuesday that Dubai would seek assistance from Interpol and press individual nations to hunt down the suspects.

“We’d be very grateful for such cooperation and we won’t [take it lightly] if someone refuses to help us,” he said.

Ireland came back with a response almost immediately, and it wasn’t terribly surprising or helpful. The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin reported that the trio of alleged Irish passport-holders in the assassination team – Gail Folliard, Evan Dennings and Kevin Daveron – do not exist, or at least do not appear in Ireland’s records of legitimate passport-holders.

“We are unable to identify any of those three individuals as being genuine Irish citizens,” it reported. “Ireland has issued no passports in those names.”

Heh.

By the way, Tamin denies the rumor that Mabhouh came to Dubai to do an arms deal with Iran. Tamin claims Mabhouh could have gone to Iran directly had he wanted to go there.

Israel Matzav: The Arabs are convinced it was the Mossad

Israel Matzav: Israeli whose identity was stolen: 'I woke up a murderer'

Israeli whose identity was stolen: 'I woke up a murderer'

Seven Israelis woke up on Wednesday morning to discover that their identities had been stolen and used to issue passports from their countries of birth for whomever liquidated Hamas terrorist and arms dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

Of the 11 people named by Dubai police as being members of the alleged assassination team, six have the same names as British-Israeli citizens living in Israel, and one is a German-Israeli woman, Channel 10 said.

Analysts have argued that intelligence agents traveling with false documents are more likely to get past border controls if they use the names of “real” people.

At least three additional names on the hit squad list – Jonathan Graham, James Clarke and Michael Bodenheimer – bear similarities to the names of Israeli citizens, though Graham and Clarke have told Ynet that they have different middle names.

Bodenheimer’s daughter said her father is an Orthodox man living in Bnei Brak, and that he had immigrated to Israel from the US 30 years ago.

The London Times reported on Tuesday that British authorities had launched an investigation to determine “how six British nationals apparently had their identities stolen by suspected Mossad agents to cover their tracks on a mission to assassinate a top Hamas leader in Dubai.”

The newspaper said that Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office “confirmed that the identities in the British passports used by six members of the 11-strong hit squad were those of real British passport holders,” adding that the passports used by the hit squad were forged.

One possibility being investigated is that “British passport details were copied from the originals by immigration staff while the holders were traveling,” according to the Times.
Three of the passports used were Irish - the Irish government has confirmed that they were forged. There was also one French passport used.

ABC News says that all signs point to Israel.
"It has all the earmarks of an Israeli assassination," said former CIA intelligence officer Robert Baer. "There are very few intelligence agencies that have the ability to pull off something like this."

Intelligence officials say the Israeli intelligence unit, Mossad, has returned to its "old school" methods in tracking down people it suspects could be threats to Israel.

"Mabhouh was probably in Dubai to meet with the Iranians, because that's where you go to do business or arrange arms shipments with them," said Baer.

...

"It was quiet, low profile, unlike a James Bond operation," said Roni Shaked, an Israeli journalist and former field agent with the Israeli version of the FBI. "I am convinced it is the work of the Israelis," he said.

...

Dubai officials privately have suggested Mossad may be involved, but have also floated alternate theories.

"It could have been Mossad, it could be a subcontract of Mossad, it could be an Arab government trying to do a favor for another government, or it could be a deal gone bad. Mossad would strike anywhere," said Dr. Theodore Karasik, a security expert with Dubai-based think tank INEGMA.
ABC has a list of what it calls Israel's Greatest Hits here.

The Mossad has been caught using other countries' passports before and it has caused a couple of diplomatic incidents. But this time, it seems to have been carried out perfectly. Unless one or more of these people are caught, it's unlikely that anyone will ever be able to prove that the Mossad was behind the operation.

Still, if your identity has been stolen and there's an Interpol warrant out for your arrest for a murder you did not commit, you're probably not too happy about it. Melvyn Adam Mildiner, a British born immigrant to Israel who has pneumonia, may have summed up the way all of the Israelis whose identities were apparently used must be feeling.
“I have no idea how to clear my name. Interpol has a warrant out for my arrest. I don’t know how I will travel. I went to bed with pneumonia and woke up a ‘murderer,’” Mildiner told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

What began as a trickle of e-mails and calls quickly turned into a flood of incessant phone calls from the media on Tuesday, Mildiner added. Mildiner, 31, who lives with his wife in a town near Jerusalem, said the entire episode “came out of the blue.”

“First, clearly it isn’t me. It doesn’t look like me. The details are not correct [in the UK passport publicized by Dubai Police as allegedly being used by the hit squad member]. The date of birth is wrong. I’ve never been to Dubai. Someone, somewhere decided to use my identity for something,” Mildiner said. “I am seeking legal advice and looking into how I could clear my name. I don’t know to proceed. I’ve had offers to be on every television show, including some I’ve never heard of. I’m waiting to hear from my lawyer.”

“We don’t know for sure who did this, despite what everyone’s saying. I’m angry with whoever has done it. My identity should be a bit more sacrosanct than that,” he said.

For now, Mildiner said, he was focusing on getting rest, and would be giving media interviews a break. He asked that his photograph not be published.
By the way, his home town has been published all over the place - you won't have to look too hard to find it.

By the way, does anyone think that the woman in the photo at the top is not wearing a wig? Of course she is.....

Don't cross the Mossad. Heh.

UPDATE 5:44 PM

The French passport was fake too.

Israel Matzav: Israeli whose identity was stolen: 'I woke up a murderer'

Israel Matzav: US hunting for English-speaking suicide bombers

US hunting for English-speaking suicide bombers

As a result of intelligence information received from Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the United States is now hunting for English-speaking suicide bombers who have been trained in Yemen.

U.S. and allied counterterrorism authorities have launched a global manhunt for English-speaking terrorists trained in Yemen who are planning attacks on the United States, based on intelligence provided by the suspect in the attempted Christmas Day bombing after he began cooperating.

U.S. officials told The Washington Times that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, facing charges as a would-be suicide bomber, revealed during recent cooperation with the FBI that he met with other English speakers at a terrorist training camp in Yemen. Three U.S. intelligence officials, including one senior official, disclosed on the condition of anonymity some details of the additional bomb plots.

Said one official: "It's safe to say that Abdulmutallab is not the only bullet in the chamber for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," the Islamist terrorist group based in Yemen.

"Farouk took a month to get operational. Once he left [training in Yemen], it did not take very long," the official said.

...

The increased threat of terrorism emanating from Yemen was outlined in a majority staff report by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee made public last month. The report warned that U.S. criminals were migrating to Yemen for terrorist training.

"U.S. diplomats and law enforcement officials say that a significant threat to U.S. interests could come from American citizens based in Yemen," the report said. "Most worrisome is a group of as many as three dozen former criminals who converted to Islam in prison, were released at the end of their sentences, and moved to Yemen, ostensibly to study Arabic."

...

Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the ranking Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said in an interview, "For an extended period of time, we have known they have wanted to radicalize and recruit English-speaking people because they recognize these individuals had easier access into the United States."

Two comments: I would have thought that the US 'intelligence' agencies would have figured out a long time ago that it would be much easier for an English-speaking terrorist to perpetrate an attack in the States than for an Arabic speaker who speaks no English. Silly me.

And second, imagine if the US government had gotten this information five weeks earlier instead of reading a terrorist Miranda warnings. Maybe they could have bombed the training camp and killed all the terrorists in one shot.

And to think that the Obama administration is bragging that Abdulmutallab would not have cooperated had the Professor not hired him a lawyer first. Talk about falling out of atree and being lucky to land on your feet. Sheesh!

Israel Matzav: US hunting for English-speaking suicide bombers

Israel Matzav: Obama policy still being driven by 2007 NIE?

Obama policy still being driven by 2007 NIE?

I don't know about the rest of you, but I thought that the flawed 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran was completely off the table. I thought that the only question that remained about the 2007 NIE was finding out who arranged for such an obviously wrong report to be issued and whether they did so in order to (as I suspect) handcuff the Bush administration during its final year in office.

But Ilan Berman and Robert MacFarlane say that unfortunately, the 2007 NIE is still very much on the table and it is still influencing Obama administration policy. They say that has to stop.

The last two years have seen major movement on that score. By February 2009, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations' nuclear proliferation watchdog, had concluded that Iran possessed a metric ton of low-enriched uranium -- a quantity sufficient to build one nuclear bomb, if enriched to weapons-grade. This stockpile is growing rapidly thanks to the expanding number of centrifuges in Iran's inventory. As of last April, Iran could boast some 7,000 operational units; if the Iranian government meets its stated goals, that number will soon grow to more than 52,000. With such an "industrial" centrifuge capability, the Iranian regime would have the ability to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for nearly half a dozen nuclear weapons annually.

These intelligence failures warrant focused analysis now that U.S. policy toward Iran has reached a critical juncture. Recent news that the U.S. intelligence community has undertaken a partial reassessment of the conclusions of the 2007 NIE is welcome indeed. But it does not go far enough. The policy change now underway within the administration necessitates an equally sweeping reevaluation of what we know -- and what we don't know -- about the status of Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Such an assessment, moreover, must be carried out in concert with Congress and with input from private-sector experts. The experience of the misjudgments about Iran in the 2007 report makes clear that the NIE process itself is opaque and incomplete at best. At worst, it is susceptible to politicization -- something that could be avoided if a "Team B" approach involving competitive analysis were adopted.

In other words, in order to hold water with allies or the American public now, a rethinking of intelligence on Iran will need to take a different form -- one that is transparent, comprehensive in nature and inclusive of dissenting opinions. Just as important, it will need to account for the dynamism we have seen in Iran's nuclear effort over the last two years.

Given how much progress Iran has made already, there's no time to waste.



Israel Matzav: Obama policy still being driven by 2007 NIE?

Israel Matzav: Obama getting on the job experience

Obama getting on the job experience

This is from a New York Times article on how the Obama administration is learning the 'limits' of 'engagement.'

White House officials maintain that they have not abandoned Mr. Obama’s pledge of engagement, and point to the numerous times in the past year that he reached out to Iran, including a YouTube video to the Iranian people; a letter from Mr. Obama to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; and even an offer to help Iran buy isotopes for a medical research reactor.

But the nonencounter in Munich between General Jones and Mr. Mottaki, like the full court press on Iran by Mrs. Clinton and other envoys to the region this week, shows that the administration is coming to terms with the limits of its engagement policy, many foreign policy experts say.

Ray Takeyh, a former Iran adviser to the Obama administration, said administration officials were learning from experience.

“There was a thesis a year ago that the differences between the United States and Iran was subject to diplomatic mediation, that they could find areas of common experience, that we were ready to have a dialogue with each other,” Mr. Takeyh said, but “those anticipations discounted the extent how the Iranian theocracy views engagement with the United States as a threat to its ideological identity.”

And if Mrs. Clinton is correct that the Revolutionary Guards, not the politicians or the clerics, are becoming the central power in Iran, the prospects for rapprochement can only look worse.

I could have told them that in 2008 and so could an awful lot of other people.

Hopefully, the next time, the United States will elect a President with experience in running something and not someone who has to learn on the job. Or at least someone who will listen to reason and not be so bone-headedly ideological.

Israel Matzav: Obama getting on the job experience

Israel Matzav: 'Human Rights Council' too busy to deal with Iran

'Human Rights Council' too busy to deal with Iran

In an article on Iran's disingenuous behavior in front of the UN 'Human Rights Council' on Monday, the New York Times comes up with this gem that says it all about the 'Human Rights Council' and its priorities.

In his statement to the council, Mr. Larijani said Iran had fully cooperated with the United Nations’ human rights mechanisms and had invited Ms. Pillay, the human rights commissioner, to visit the country. Ms. Pillay’s spokesman, Rupert Colville, confirmed that Mr. Larijani had issued the invitation on Friday. Ms. Pillay responded that she would be unable to visit before 2011 and suggested that a team from her office be allowed to visit Iran first. Mr. Larijani had not yet responded to that suggestion, Mr. Colville said.

Human rights groups said Iran’s claims of cooperation with the United Nations were exaggerated. No Human Rights Council official has visited the country since 2005, and numerous requests from special investigators remained unanswered, said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East program.

Iran actually invites the 'Human Rights Commissioner' to visit - when no investigator has visited since 2005 - and Ms. Pillay doesn't have the time to visit before 2011, which is at least eleven months from now? With what is she so busy? The fake Goldstone Report?

Israel Matzav: 'Human Rights Council' too busy to deal with Iran

Israel Matzav: The Revolutionary Guards are Iran's economy, so why doesn't Obama say so?

The Revolutionary Guards are Iran's economy, so why doesn't Obama say so?

Either President Obama doesn't know how to present what he wants to do, or he's not planning to do anything about Iran. I'm inclined to the latter explanation, but let's see what you all think.

There's legislation currently in conference committee in the US Congress that would penalize companies that supply Iran with refined oil products. Obama is known not to want that legislation (although to veto it would cause him a suicidal embarrassment given the margins by which it passed the House and Senate). Instead, he says he wants to target Iran's Revolutionary Guards so that they will suffer and not the Iranian people.

If Obama were to truly target the Revolutionary Guards, there is no way that the Iranian people will not suffer. That's because the Guards are so tightly in control of the Iranian economy that Western estimates indicate that between one third and two thirds of Iran's GDP passes through the Guards' hands.

If that's the case, why is Obama trying to make his proposed sanctions look weak by saying that the US doesn't want the Iranian people to suffer? (The truth is that the Iranian people are suffering plenty and Obama is giving them no support, which makes his comment about not wanting the Iranian people to suffer from sanctions look totally disingenuous). Why does he insist that the US will only target the Guards when by doing so, he could make a much more powerful case that the sanctions will target the entire Iranian economy? Or perhaps he doesn't really intend to effectively sanction the Guards at all?

And why is he so opposed to the targeting of Iran's supply of refined oil products, which is, if anything, a much more narrowly tailored form of sanctions than targeting the Guards? Is it because the bill currently making its way through Congress penalizes non-Iranian companies who aid Iran in circumventing the sanctions? Is there any way to otherwise effectively sanction Iran short of stationing US troops at the mouth of the Persian Gulf and having US air patrols preventing planes from entering and leaving Iranian airspace? Then why is Obama opposing sanctions that would penalize those non-Iranian companies who help Iran do business? Unless of course, Obama has no interest in stopping Iran at all.

Israel Matzav: The Revolutionary Guards are Iran's economy, so why doesn't Obama say so?

Israel Matzav: Israel to film heckling incidents

Israel to film heckling incidents

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Tuesday that turning over video of Ayalon being heckled by a Muslim student at Oxford University with the slogan 'slaughter the Jews' is part of a new tactic that Israel is employing to protect its spokespersons all over the world.

Addressing the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Tuesday, Ayalon said of the incident that "This type of warfare is on a global scale, which is guided by the Palestinian Authority and Islamist groups."

The deputy foreign minister explained that Israel is moving to "put them on the defense" and has decided "to use deterrence by filming these events." The video from the Oxford Union was passed on to the British police who are investigating these incidents, Ayalon said.

"We need to focus Jewish NGO's and organizations to this issue. They say 'Free Palestine' and try and prevent us from speaking, we say 'Free speech'," Ayalon continued. "We have learnt how to defend from terrorism and now we are leaning how to defend from verbal terrorism."

The fact that this wasn't done until now says something about the Foreign Ministry. Think about it.


Israel Matzav: Israel to film heckling incidents

Israel Matzav: Brit in Beit Shemesh wanted by Interpol in Mabhouh liquidation

Brit in Beit Shemesh wanted by Interpol in Mabhouh liquidation

A British Jew living in Beit Shemesh finds himself wanted by Interpol after one of the team that liquidated Hamas terrorist and arms dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh used a passport bearing his name.

A British man living in Beit Shemesh and reached by telephone said he had been impersonated.

"It's not me," said Melvyn Mildiner of the photo circulated by police in Dubai. "I have never been to Dubai."

Later, Mildiner had more to say.

On Monday night, Melvyn Adam Mildiner, a British Israeli man who made aliya from London nine years ago, went to bed suffering from what he said is pneumonia.

When he woke up the following morning, Mildiner said, he was stunned to discover that one of the members of an alleged hit squad who assassinated senior Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel last month went under an alias which was identical to his name.

"I have no idea how to clear my name. Interpol has a warrant out for my arrest. I don't know how I will travel. I went to bed with pneumonia and woke up a 'murderer," Mildiner told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

What began as a trickle of emails and calls quickly turned into a flood of incessant phone calls from the media on Tuesday, Mildiner added.

Mildiner, who lives with his wife, in a town near Jerusalem, said the entire episode "came out of the blue."

"First, clearly it isn't me. It doesn't look like me. The details are not correct [in the UK passport publicized by Dubai Police as allegedly being used by the hit squad member]. The date of birth is wrong. I've never been to Dubai. Someone, somewhere decided to use my identity for something," Mildiner added.

"I am seeking legal advice and looking into how I could clear my name. I don't know to proceed. I've had offers to be on every television show, including some I've never heard of. I'm waiting to hear from my lawyer," said Mildiner.

"We don't know for sure who did this, despite what everyone's saying. I'm angry with whoever has done it. My identity should be a bit more sacrosanct than that," he added.

For now, Mildiner said, he was focusing on getting rest, and would be giving media interviews a break.

In fact, there are doubts about some of the other people identified by Dubai police as well. Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Brit in Beit Shemesh wanted by Interpol in Mabhouh liquidation

Love of the Land: Gaza glutted with smuggled goods - profitability of tunnels plummets

Gaza glutted with smuggled goods - profitability of tunnels plummets


Avi Issacharoff
Haaretz
17 February '10

Owners of the smuggling tunnels bordering the Gaza Strip and Egypt have been suffering from financial problems due to their tunnels' inactivity, according to Palestinian sources.

The reason, it turns out, actually stems from the overall success of smuggling tunnels in Gaza. Hamas has recently set up 'legal' tunnels, which they use to smuggle various merchandise. As a result, existing, non-Hamas run tunnels are suffering financially.

The Hamas tunnels are used to bring in merchandise intended for sale in markets, such as food products and home appliances. Palestinians believe that the overflow of goods caused a complete smuggling standstill in dozens of underground channels. Moreover, work on digging additional tunnels has also stopped.

The tunnel owners explain that the increase in merchandise in Gaza made prices sharply decrease, which seriously reduced the earnings from the 'illegal' smuggling industry. One of the tunnel owners told a news agency that he is waiting for a reasonable business offer to come along, because at the moment it isn't profitable for him to open the channel to smuggling.

In 2008, the smuggling tunnel trade flourished due to the Israeli blockade on Gaza, and was also strong in 2009 in spite of growing Egyptian surveillance of the tunnels, which endangered diggers and smugglers. Since June of 2007, over 100 Palestinians lost their lives in tunnel collapses.

The Hamas-run tunnels, which are deemed legal by the government, are now experiencing continuous activity. Under Hamas rule, hundreds of underground channels have been dug between Gaza and Egypt.

The recent increase in smuggled goods in Gaza caused many factories to renew activity. Overall, if judging by the two most smuggled products - gasoline and cement - tunnel activity has actually caused Gaza to experience an economic reawakening.

Ultimately, the tunnel owners' crisis came from being overly successful. "The last two weeks were the worst in the smuggling tunnel trade since the blockade in June of 2007," said a tunnel owner.

Love of the Land: Gaza glutted with smuggled goods - profitability of tunnels plummets

Love of the Land: Do Not Threaten Humanity

Do Not Threaten Humanity


Dr. Aaidh al-Qarni
Asharq Alawsat
16 February '10

(I just couldn't let this one go by. He's not exactly beloved by the Taliban/Al-Qaida collection but his points are very sharp. Y.)

Many Muslims have an amazing ability of making the world hostile towards them and turning friends into enemies. For example, we find that political discourse in some Arab and Islamic states carries threats and menace toward other states. Yet, these same weak and lamentable Arab and Islamic states are incapable of providing bread and security to their respective peoples and to remedy their illiteracy!

I saw on the Al-Arabiya satellite television channel an Iranian reformist thinker deriding his country's regime and saying: I do not know where the death slogan list is going to take us! In fact, the regime began with the slogan 'Death to America,' and then added 'Death to Israel. Then, it had doubt over Britain and added 'Death to Britain!' And when a French newspaper reported news of demonstrations in Iran, they added 'Death to France!' Similarly, if Russia fails to use its veto to bloc any sanctions decision against Iran then they will add 'Death to Russia!' Perhaps Somalia will be the next to be added to the list, in addition to Burkina Faso and Ghana because of their good relations with the United States! In the end they will chant 'Death to the World!'

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Do Not Threaten Humanity

Love of the Land: The Religious Left Targets Israel

The Religious Left Targets Israel


Mark D. Tooley
Frontpagemag.com
17 February '10

Seemingly not content with its already extensive anti-Israel activism, the Swiss-based World Council of Churches, comprised of over 300 denominations, is highlighting a new anti-Israel initiative.

The WCC’s blandly but revealingly named “Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum” (PIEF) has been around a few years but has just unveiled its own website and newsletter, presumably in a new wave of protest against “The Occupation.”

According to PIEF’s new website, it plans to “catalyze and coordinate new and existing church advocacy for peace, aimed at ending the illegal occupation in accordance with UN resolutions, and demonstrate its commitment to inter-religious action for peace and justice that serves all the peoples of the region.”

Translation: the WCC wants to fine tune its Religious Left alliances for undermining Israel’s legitimacy by faulting Israel exclusively for Palestinian suffering. Tragically, the Religious Left’s ostensible concern for Palestinians is similar to much of the Arab world’s supposed concern. For both, the Palestinians are mostly useful props for assailing Israel. A more sincere and thoughtful empathy for Palestinians might them urge to follow the example of Israel’s founders 60 years ago: take the deal available and strive to create a productive nation.

Ironically, the Religious Left’s contrived solidarity with Palestinians, like the international secular Left’s, will only help fuel unrealizable Palestinian hopes for demographically, if not militarily, deconstructing a Jewish Israel. The ultimate beneficiaries of these anti-Israel campaigns are Hamas-style militants, who prefer unending conflict with Israel, and the West, to any decent settlement for Palestinians.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: The Religious Left Targets Israel

Love of the Land: J Street’s Agenda Remains Irrelevant to Middle East Realities

J Street’s Agenda Remains Irrelevant to Middle East Realities


Jonathan Tobin
Contentions/Commentary
16 February '10

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, threw the left-wing lobby J Street a few bones in an interview last week. JTA quotes Oren as telling a California Jewish newspaper that the “J Street controversy has come a long way toward resolving. The major concern with J Street was their position on security issues, not the peace process. J Street has now come and supported Congressman [Howard] Berman’s Iran sanction bill; it has condemned the Goldstone report; it has denounced the British court’s decision to try Tzipi Livni for war crimes, which puts J Street much more into the mainstream.”

By refusing to appear at J Street’s conference last fall and saying that its views on Israel were “dangerous,” Oren demonstrated Israel’s impatience with a lobby whose agenda was solely focused on instigating pressure on Israel from the Obama administration while foiling pressure on Iran. It’s understandable that Oren would attempt to reward some moderation in their stands. His priority is to aid the assembly of the largest possible coalition of support for Israel, not to punish those whose efforts are, at best, less than helpful. However, to the extent that J Street is trying to behave like a mainstream organization — an assumption that is certainly open to debate — this change reflects two important factors.

First is the complete irrelevance of J Street’s main idea: that there is a need for a Jewish lobby whose purpose is to push Washington to push Israel to make peace. As the events of the last year continue to prove, the obstacle to peace remains the Palestinians and their political culture of violence and hatred for Israel. As much as the Jewish Left has gained in the United States during the Obama presidency, the Left in Israel is as close to dead as it can be. That’s because the overwhelming majority of Israelis understand that after Oslo’s false promises, Arafat’s refusal of a state in the West Bank and Jerusalem in 2000 and 2001, and Mahmoud Abbas’s refusal of an even more generous offer in 2008, the Palestinian nationalist movement Fatah has proved it is not interested in a state as long as that state must live in peace alongside Israel. That the even more extreme Hamas terrorist movement controls Gaza and might expand someday into the West Bank if Israel abandons its security presence there has rendered the idea of further concessions and withdrawals absurd. This is a political reality that no amount of pressure from either Obama or the American Left can alter.

(Read full post)


Love of the Land: J Street’s Agenda Remains Irrelevant to Middle East Realities

Love of the Land: Rights of the speaker versus "rights" of disruptors

Rights of the speaker versus "rights" of disruptors


Alan M. Dershowitz
Hudson New York
16 February '10

Recently Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, who is an academic historian and a political moderate, was invited to speak at the University of California at Irvine. I know Michael well and have heard him speak many times. He is one of Israel’s most effective advocates, particularly on university campuses. He speaks about peace, about the two-state solution and he brings a historical perspective to his analysis. Because he is so effective, anti-Israel zealots try to prevent him from speaking and his audience from hearing his views.

That’s exactly what happened at the University of California at Irvine when Oren began to speak. This tactic of censorship will be tried at other universities as well, if it is permitted to succeed.

Let there be no doubt about it, these radical anti-Israel zealots are trying to censor Michael Oren. After repeatedly disrupting his speech and making it impossible for him to continue, eleven of them were arrested and now face possible disciplinary action from the University of California, a public institution.

They and their supporters now claim that is the eleven disruptors whose right of free speech is being violated. They are threatening legal action to defend their right to prevent a speaker from expressing his views and an audience from hearing those views. This is a topsy turvy view of the First Amendment.

It is true that an individual heckler may have the right to shout in opposition to a speaker, so long as his shouted words are brief and non-recurrent. But any fair viewing of the videotape, available on YouTube, proves beyond any doubt that this was a concerted effort to silence Michael Oren and to prevent his audience from hearing his point of view. The university was correctly embarrassed at this attempt at censorship.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Rights of the speaker versus "rights" of disruptors

Love of the Land: Dr. Klafter’s dilemma

Dr. Klafter’s dilemma


Fresnozionism.org
16 February '10

Dr. Joseph Klafter has a problem. He’s president of Tel Aviv University (TAU), where Dr. Anat Matar and Prof. Rachel Giora are members of the faculty, and Omar Barghouti is a graduate student.

Matar, a professor of Philosophy has called the IDF a ‘criminal army’, agrees with the conclusions of the Goldstone report that accuses Israel of deliberately targeting the civilian Palestinian Arab population for violence, and supports the boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS) movement — including the academic boycott of Israeli institutions. She was arrested at a violent demonstration against the security barrier in Bili’in in 2005.

Giora, about whom I wrote previously, also a stalwart of the BDS movement, is member of the Linguistics Department. Her name appears first (followed, of course, by Matar’s) on a petition calling for “civil society institutions as well as concerned citizens around the world” to

Integrate BDS in every struggle for justice and human rights by adopting wide, context-sensitive and sustainable boycotts of Israeli products, companies, academic and cultural institutions, and sports groups, similar to the actions taken against apartheid South Africa;


(Read full post)


Love of the Land: Dr. Klafter’s dilemma

Love of the Land: The moral blindness of the 'human rights' industry

The moral blindness of the 'human rights' industry


Melanie Phillips
The Spectator
16 February '10

With this, Melanie Phillips has placed her finger squarely on the noticeable disparity of expected standards between Israel and the rest of the world. Click here for the full article. Y.

When pondering the extraordinary obsession with Israel by the ‘human rights’ industry and the way in which it ignores real human rights abuses in the third world, I always recall the conversation I had in the early ‘80s with senior colleagues at the Guardian (where I worked in another life). When I wondered at the double standard which caused the paper to go to town with front page splashes, leading articles and outraged opinion columns whenever Israel killed a handful of Palestinians, but relegated major atrocities such as Syria’s massacre of tens of thousands of Islamic militants over the course of a few days to a few paragraphs buried on the foreign pages and then totally ignored such events, I was told that of course there was a double standard.

Since countries of the third world did not subscribe to western cultural norms of respect for human life, they said, we in the west could not judge such countries’ behaviour by those norms. To do so would be an act of cultural imperialism. But since Israel did subscribe to those norms, it was accordingly judged by them; indeed, they added, since the Jews claimed superior standards to the rest of humanity, they needed to be judged by higher standards than those applied to the rest of the human race.

Leaving to one side the specific prejudice thus voiced towards the Jews, what this amounted to was that, according to this ‘progressive’ cultural relativism, the people of the third world did not have the same right to life and liberty as those in the west. In my book, that’s racism pure and simple. And that’s what we are hearing in the silence of the ‘human rights’ industry over the Congo.

Love of the Land: The moral blindness of the 'human rights' industry

Elder of Ziyon: My Mamilla discovery gets some traction

Elder of Ziyon: My Mamilla discovery gets some traction

Elder of Ziyon: Saudi Vice Squad employee gets busted

Elder of Ziyon: Saudi Vice Squad employee gets busted

Elder of Ziyon: Egyptian professor in trouble for putting Israel on a map

Elder of Ziyon: Egyptian professor in trouble for putting Israel on a map

Elder of Ziyon: Gordon Brown accidentally insults Muslims

Elder of Ziyon: Gordon Brown accidentally insults Muslims

Elder of Ziyon: Ma'an calls Jews in Jaffa "settlers"

Elder of Ziyon: Ma'an calls Jews in Jaffa "settlers"

Elder of Ziyon: Shahar Peer makes quarter-finals in Dubai

Elder of Ziyon: Shahar Peer makes quarter-finals in Dubai

Elder of Ziyon: Video of the Mabhouh assassination teams

Elder of Ziyon: Video of the Mabhouh assassination teams

What is Going on in Sheikh Jarrah?

What is Going on in Sheikh Jarrah?

On the 11th of February the Hebrew edition of Haaretz carried an op-ed by Talia Sasson, a prominent former prosecutor. She seemed to be saying there's a legal loophole that is giving an advantage to Israelis trying to re-acquire pre-1948 property in East Jerusalem over non-Israeli citizens trying to re-acquire pre-1948 property in West Jerusalem, even if they live in Jerusalem. I'm not certain that's what she was saying, in the meantime the article is locked in the Haaretz archive so I can't link to it, and I'm not finding it in English. (If anyone finds it, feel free to post it).

This morning Karni Eldad writes the opposite: that the Jewish owners of pre-1948 property must purchase it a second time in order to claim ownership.

Confused? So am I. I've written to some folks I know who ought to be able to explain the intricacies. If they give me satisfactory answers I'll post them, whether their answers are what I'd prefer or not.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Mossad? Well, I Certainly Hope So.

Mossad? Well, I Certainly Hope So.

Here's a story I heard long ago, as a graduate student. A famous historian approaches the archivist at the Public Record Office (that's what they used to call the British National Archives) and asks to see some files about MI5 (or was it MI6?). The scandalized archivist glares at him, and says that MI5 is a fictitious agency, it doesn't really exist and certainly has no documents in the PRO. Ah, says the professor, That's interesting. You see, I've got this document from the American National Archives in Washington, in which the OSS (the predecessor of the CIA) is corresponding with MI5 (or was it MI6?), and I thought I'd like to see the full context from the British perspective, too.

In the meantime the Brits have fessed up that there actually is an MI5 (and also an MI6). If you think we now know all about their escapades, well, I certainly hope not.

Lots of media outlets are all in a tizzy this week about the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh recently in a hotel room in Dubai (Times, Guardian, BBC, NYT). Haaretz is in the same tizzy, with two opposing op-eds this morning. Amir Oren effectively says he know the Mossad did it, and calls for the resignation of Mossad chief Meir Dagan for screwing up the aftermath of the otherwise successful operation. Yossi Melman keeps his cool, and expects no governments will do anything about it that might effect Israel; it's not as if Hamas is real popular.

If you expect to learn anything new about the case here, you're way off. I know nothing more than the rest of you, which means, almost nothing. There seems no way to spin the dead man into a saintly character who gave candy to street urchins in Bombay, and the world is probably a teeny bit better for his departure, no matter who made it happen. If the Mossad doesn't do this sort of thing from time to time, their chief really ought to resign. We're at war, and an enemy has been killed; no civilians were even scratched. Good. If someone else did it, but the Mossad's reputation for lethality has been enhanced because of past cases, even better. In that case, the BBC and Guardian are doing Israel's work for it. Heh.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations
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