Friday, 5 March 2010

Israel Matzav: Sabbath music video

Sabbath music video

Here's a sampler from Shloime Gertner. The first song, Shabbos HaYom LaHashem is from the songs of the mid-day Sabbath meal.

Let's go to the videotape.

Shabbat Shalom everyone.

Israel Matzav: Sabbath music video

The Torah Revolution: Time

The Torah Revolution: Time

Love of the Land: The apartheid libel

The apartheid libel

JPost Editorial
02 March '10
Posted before Shabbat

Israeli Apartheid Week kicked off on Monday, promising Israel-bashing, mostly on college campuses.

The sixth international Israeli Apartheid Week kicked off on Monday, promising 14 days of Israel-bashing in about 40 cities around the world, mostly on college campuses. Organizers say the events will “educate” about Israel’s so-called “apartheid system” and encourage BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions) against the Jewish state. Punishing Israel into submission will lead to the end of “colonization” of Arab land, the beginning of equal rights for Arab-Palestinians, the dismantling of the security barrier, and instituting the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Naomi Klein, the Jewish anti-globalization savant who has in recent years branched out to include demonizing Israel in her repertoire, pointed out in the opening speech of last year’s extravaganza that “serious movements have serious enemies,” arguing that the fierce opposition to Israeli Apartheid Week proved its importance. According to that reasoning, perhaps it would be better to simply ignore the festivities and allow the whole thing to blow over.

Problem is, if left unchallenged, proponents of the apartheid analogy are liable to stifle free speech and trample open debate on campuses by using intimidation and bullying tactics. They recently prevented Ambassador Michael Oren from finishing a speech at UC Irvine, and on the same day in Cambridge they interrupted Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, allegedly shouting in Arabic, “Slaughter the Jews.” Meanwhile, Cambridge University’s Israel Society bowed to pressure from Muslim students to cancel a speech by historian Benny Morris.

(Read full article)

Related: Speaking of Apartheid and "Israel Apartheid" week

Love of the Land: The apartheid libel

Newsy | Muslim Scholar Issues Fatwa Against Terrorism | The News With More Views

Tip from

Newsy Muslim Scholar Issues Fatwa Against Terrorism The News With More Views

Elder of Ziyon: We get results!

Elder of Ziyon: We get results!

Israel Matzav: 15 cops wounded in Temple Mount riots

15 cops wounded in Temple Mount riots

Fifteen police were hurt on Friday in what is being described as a 'successful attempt' to quell rioting on the Temple Mount that featured stone-throwing onto the Western Wall Plaza below.

Fifteen policemen were lightly wounded in their attempt to restore order on the Temple Mount after Arab youths emerging from Friday prayers started hurling rocks down onto those worshiping at the Western Wall.

Having restored calm with the use of stun grenades, and following helpful intervention by other Muslim worshipers to defuse the clash, police eventually withdrew in coordination with the Waqf to allow older worshipers to leave the Temple Mount.

Ron Krumer, a spokesman for Jerusalem's Hadassah Medical Center, confirmed a Palestinian woman was wounded in the head by a rubber bullet and hospitalized in serious condition. Palestinian medics reported 13 injuries.

Police denied using rubber bullets to disperse the riot.

Najeh Btirat, a Waqf official, said the clash followed a mosque sermon on the issue.

"The Friday sermon focused on the Islamic sites that are being targeted by Israel and the need to preserve them," he said. About 300 young men threw stones at police after prayers, he said.

Rock-throwing then spilled over into Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter. Police deployed stun grenades, restoring calm.

The Waqf is duplicitous - acting like it wants to stop the riots on the one hand, while employing the Imams who give the Friday sermons who incite the riots on the other hand.

Separately, there were riots on Friday at various hotspots throughout Judea and Samaria.

Israel Matzav: 15 cops wounded in Temple Mount riots

Israel Matzav: Nazi fetishist Marc Garlasco resigns from Human Rights Watch

Nazi fetishist Marc Garlasco resigns from Human Rights Watch

In response to a query by JPost reporter Abe Selig, Human Rights Watch disclosed on Friday that Marc Garlasco resigned from the organization on February 15. Garlasco was the organization's senior military analyst until he was suspended in September after his hobby of collecting Nazi memorabilia was uncovered by bloggers. Garlasco's name remained on Human Rights Watch's website as late as Thursday.

After HRW was queried regarding Garlasco’s status on Thursday evening, the group’s communications director, Emma Daly, responded in an e-mail stating, “Human Rights Watch regretfully accepted Marc Garlasco’s resignation on February 15th [and] he is no longer listed as a staff member on Human Rights Watch’s Web site.”

However, according to the NGO Monitor announcement, which had been sent to the Post on Thursday morning, “As of March 4, 2010, [Garlasco’s] name remains on the list of HRW employees, listed as a ‘senior military analyst.’”

While Garlasco’s name was visible on HRW’s online list of employees on Thursday afternoon, Daly insisted in a phone conversation on Thursday night that his name had been removed from the list. “You’re looking at an old Internet cache,” Daly told the Post.

A subsequent search revealed that Garlasco’s name had in fact been removed, leaving a blank space where it had appeared hours prior.

As for the “pending investigation,” Daly repeated that Garlasco had resigned and said, “We are not commenting on it any further.”

In a press release that was sent to several bloggers, including yours truly, Professor Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor said that Garlasco's resignation should not be the end of the story.

The belated “resignation” of Marc Garlasco, who held the position of senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch, underscores HRW’s lack of credibility and its need to launch an external organizational investigation.

Since Garlasco was revealed to be an avid collector of Nazi memorabilia in September 2009, NGO Monitor had repeatedly called for an independent examination of HRW’s policies and hiring practices.

“Although Garlasco no longer works with HRW, the organization’s reliance on his supposed ‘military expertise’ raises alarming questions about the credibility of its activities, and the Goldstone report, which relied heavily on HRW’s claims,” said Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “HRW’s problems go far deeper than the Garlasco case.”

Steinberg noted that Garlasco co-authored numerous HRW reports alleging “Israeli war crimes” during the 2009 Gaza war, and if these publications are shown to be based on inaccurate, false, or biased claims, both HRW and Goldstone, who was on HRW’s board, should issue retractions. Additionally, since 2004, Garlasco co-authored many of HRW’s reports condemning Israel, each of which needs to be investigated or withdrawn, Steinberg said.

NGO Monitor urges HRW to mount an independent investigation focusing on the relationship between Garlasco and its Middle East and North Africa division. MENA heads Joe Stork and Sarah Leah Whitson – who were both active in anti-Israel campaigning prior to joining HRW – appear to have worked closely with Garlasco. This relationship, under the leadership of Executive Director Kenneth Roth, may have propelled HRW’s highly disproportionate focus on Israel, as documented by NGO Monitor and by HRW founder Robert Bernstein.

“As James Hoge Jr. prepares to chair HRW’s board, his first priority should be launching an independent investigation of this human rights superpower, particularly of its Middle East and North Africa division,” said Steinberg.

I cannot envision any country in the world other than Israel being treated so totally unfairly by a major international NGO. No, not even the US.

Israel Matzav: Nazi fetishist Marc Garlasco resigns from Human Rights Watch

Israel Matzav: 'Proximity talks' won't start where Olmert left off

'Proximity talks' won't start where Olmert left off

The 'proximity talks' (indirect talks) with the 'Palestinians' will not start where former Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert left off with Abu Mazen in 2008 according to a report in Friday's Jerusalem Post. The question of where the talks would start was one of the major sticking points between the parties.

Olmert offered the Palestinians nearly 94 percent of the West Bank, a land swap to compensate for most of the rest, an arrangement on Jerusalem, and the return of a small number of refugees into Israel as a “humanitarian gesture.”

Abbas rejected the offer, telling The Washington Post in May that the gaps were “too wide.”

The Post has also learned that the proximity talks will not immediately focus primarily on borders, another Palestinian demand, with Israel saying there can be no credible discussion of borders without first knowing what security arrangements will be in place.

That 'small number of refugees' was rumored to be 150,000 over the course of ten years. That's not such a 'small number.'

I don't expect the 'proximity talks' to get anywhere and it's good to hear that we apparently did not give up much to get them. Hopefully, we won't concede anything in them either.


Hamas is seething over the talks.

Hamas speaker Ahmad Bahar expressed fury Thursday following the Arab League's decision to approve mediated negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. As long as Hamas doe not share power in the Palestinian Authority, negotiations with Israel “would not meet any standards of legitimacy,” Bahar said.


Bahar warned PA Chairman Abbas that Hamas supporters would refuse to recognize decisions made in negotiations with Israel as long as Fatah is the sole negotiating party.

Bahar also criticized the Arab League, and suggested that the league reconsider its decision.

Hamas insists that the land Israel is on belongs to the Muslim world, and that the entire land should be given to PA Arabs. The terrorist group has agreed to observe a tadhiya (temporary calm) at various points, but refuses to sign any permanent treaty with Israel, which it does not recognize and to which it refers as “the Zionist entity.”


Israel Matzav: 'Proximity talks' won't start where Olmert left off

Israel Matzav: Ethical dilemnas in disaster scenarios

Ethical dilemnas in disaster scenarios

I don't envy the kinds of decisions these people had to make, but it's fascinating to read how they make them.

The New England Journal of Medicine carries an article by some of the doctors who ran the IDF hospital in Haiti about how they decided whom to treat and when.

Under normal circumstances, triage involves setting priorities among patients with conditions of various degrees of clinical urgency, to determine the order in which care will be delivered, presuming that it will ultimately be delivered to all. After the Haitian earthquake, however, it was impossible to treat everyone who needed care, and thus the first triage decision we often had to make was which patients we would accept and which would be denied treatment. We were forced to recognize that persons with the most urgent need for care are often the same ones who require the greatest expenditure of resources. Therefore, we first had to determine whether these patients' lives could be saved.

Our triage algorithm consisted of three questions: How urgent is this patient's condition? Do we have adequate resources to meet this patient's needs? And assuming we admit this patient and provide the level of care required, can the patient's life be saved?

In the first days of our deployment, most of the patients we saw had recently been removed from the rubble. The majority had limbs that were compromised by open, infected wounds. Untreated, open fractures meant infection, gas gangrene, and ultimately death. Clearly, the sooner after injury the patient received medical attention, the better his or her chances of survival. Late-arriving patients who already had sepsis had a poor chance of survival. But there was no clear cutoff time beyond which patients could not be saved; each case had to be evaluated individually.

One of the dilemmas we had to confront repeatedly was whether to accept a patient with a crush injury. In such patients, rhabdomyolysis often develops, with resulting impairment of renal function. Given the absence of functioning dialysis facilities, the chances of survival in this scenario were low.

The potential for rehabilitation was an additional consideration in the triage process. Patients who arrived with brain injuries, paraplegia secondary to spinal injuries, or a low score on the Glasgow Coma Scale were referred to other facilities. Since we had neither a neurosurgical service nor computed tomography, we believed it would be incorrect to use our limited resources to treat patients with such a minimal chance of ultimate rehabilitation at the expense of others whom we could help. But denying care to some patients for the benefit of others was not a course of action that came readily to physicians accustomed to treating all who seek care.

Patients who had just been rescued presented another dilemma. We believed it would be inappropriate to deny treatment to a patient who had survived days under the rubble before a heroic rescue, even though this policy meant potentially diverting resources from other patients with a better chance of a positive outcome. Indeed, one patient who was rescued a week after the quake was brought to us in dire condition. She was admitted, was intubated, and underwent surgery but ultimately did not survive.

Read the whole thing (it's not long).

Curiously, they don't even mention that the same kind of analysis regarding whom to treat first is done on the scenes of terror attacks (God forbid), although ultimately having the facilities to treat everyone is less of an issue in a terror attack in Israel than it was in an earthquake in Haiti.

Israel Matzav: Ethical dilemnas in disaster scenarios

NU: Come Defend Jews in Historic Jerusalem - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

NU: Come Defend Jews in Historic Jerusalem - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Support for Radical Left in State Atty's Office - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Support for Radical Left in State Atty's Office - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Hamas Furious over Negotiations Go-Ahead - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Hamas Furious over Negotiations Go-Ahead - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

'Government Not Cooperating with Unified Jerusalem Plan' - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

'Government Not Cooperating with Unified Jerusalem Plan' - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Haifa Restaurant Bans Soldiers in Uniform - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Haifa Restaurant Bans Soldiers in Uniform - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Journalist: Peres Center Gives Anti-Israel NGOs Legitimacy - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Journalist: Peres Center Gives Anti-Israel NGOs Legitimacy - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Court OKs Limited Arab-Left Protests at Shimon HaTzaddik - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

Court OKs Limited Arab-Left Protests at Shimon HaTzaddik - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

Elder of Ziyon: Latest from Latma

Elder of Ziyon: Latest from Latma

Love of the Land: Eight Aliyah Fairs to be Held in North America

Eight Aliyah Fairs to be Held in North America

News Staff
04 March '10

Nefesh B'Nefesh has decided to accelerate and deepen its activities in North America, in order to realize the potential increase in the number of immigrants to Israel during 2010. In cooperation with the Jewish Agency and government offices, the organization will hold next week, between March 7 and 14, 8 large fairs in major cities in the U.S. and Canada, in order to give hundreds of potential immigrants reliable information, guidance and inspiration on immigration to Israel.

More than 1,500 North American Jews are expected to participate in the fairs. They will be able to meet representatives from government ministries, tax authorities, social security, health maintenance organizations, hospitals and transport. In addition, a series of consultation meetings is planned with the personal guidance of consultants from Nefesh B'Nefesh and the Jewish Agency. All advisors participating in the fairs are being especially flown in from Israel.

Immigration fairs will be held in the following cities: New York (March 7), Baltimore (March 8), Los Angeles (March 9), Montreal (March 10), Toronto (March 10), San Francisco (March 10), Chicago (March 11.3), South Florida (March 14). The first fair in New York will open in the presence of Minister Silvan Shalom, PMO General Manager Eyal Gabbay, and Israel's consul in New York, Asi Shariv.

(Read full story)

Love of the Land: Eight Aliyah Fairs to be Held in North America

Love of the Land: Israel Apartheid Week Comes to Town

Israel Apartheid Week Comes to Town

Honest Reporting
Media Critique
03 March '10

The insidious analogy returns to college campuses as part of the campaign to delegitimize Israel.

The false analogy between apartheid South Africa and Israel - particularly since the UN's racist 2001 Durban Conference - has played a key role in the campaign to delegitimize Israel and threaten its existence. The strategy of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is based on convincing the public that Israel is no more legitimate than the apartheid regime in South Africa, and can be removed with enough public pressure.

Now, this insidious delegitimization campaign has returned to university campuses around the world, including the US, UK and Canada, as part of Israel Apartheid Week.

As the Jerusalem Post states:

Problem is, if left unchallenged, proponents of the apartheid analogy are liable to stifle free speech and trample open debate on campuses by using intimidation and bullying tactics. They recently prevented Ambassador Michael Oren from finishing a speech at UC Irvine, and on the same day in Cambridge they interrupted Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, allegedly shouting in Arabic, "Slaughter the Jews." Meanwhile, Cambridge University’s Israel Society bowed to pressure from Muslim students to cancel a speech by historian Benny Morris.

(Read full critique)

Love of the Land: Israel Apartheid Week Comes to Town

Love of the Land: Coming home to Zion

Coming home to Zion

Michael Freund
26 February '10

(Beautifully written, captures the feeling. Plus a bit of music for accompaniment. Y.)

Fifteen years ago this week, my wife and I, together with our young son, embarked on a fateful journey. Leaving behind friends and family in New York, we boarded a flight and fulfilled our dream, along with that of our ancestors, by making aliyah and settling in the Land of Israel.

I still remember the heady feeling that I had, walking through the streets of Jerusalem in the initial days after our arrival. As much as I had enjoyed visiting the country as a tourist over the years and seeing the sites, there was nothing quite like the emotion that gripped me as I took in my surroundings as a proud new resident of the reborn Jewish state.

From waking up to the sounds of Hebrew on the radio, to catching a glimpse of the walls of the Old City at sunset, I could sense my soul stir in a way I had never experienced before. Yes, I thought to myself, I have indeed truly come home.

(Read full story)

Love of the Land: Coming home to Zion

Love of the Land: Leadership and Borders

Leadership and Borders

Manhigut Yehudit
18 Adar 5770
04 March '10

The Children of Israel waited for Moses for forty days and forty nights. In our era of the "instant," that is an eternity. Moses turned off his cell phone, closed his pc, and didn't even send his nation a text message. No Twitter announcing, "I'm learning Torah with the Almighty, see you soon". Zero information. For forty days and forty nights the Children of Israel waited at the foot of Mt. Sinai for their leader to return.

But there were impatient people among them who wanted a god immediately. Naturally, they turned to Aaron the High Priest. They wanted a tangible object to which to pray, something that they could see and respond to.

This is the point at which we see the great difference between Moses, the leader and Aaron the High Priest. Aaron was endowed with boundless love for his nation. He was the ultimate peacemaker; restoring love between husbands and wives, neighbors and competing factions of the nation. Everybody loved him. As the right hand man of Moses - the leader who set rules and boundaries, Aaron was indispensable. But during Moses' absence, he failed as a leader. His benevolence and soft-heartedness became a liability that allowed evil to take over. "And when Moses saw that the people were broken loose--for Aaron had let them loose for a derision among their enemies" (This week's Torah portion, Ki Tisah, Exodus 32:25).

The synergies of Moses, the leader who can break the Tablets, burn the golden calf, judge the transgressors and purify the camp of Israel - and Aaron, the lover and pursuer of peace is triumphant. Together, they build the Sanctuary in the desert and draw down G-d's Divine Presence on Israel. Together, they lead the Children of Israel until they enter the Promised Land.

But Aaron without Moses, when he has to face the impatience of the nation, unsuccessfully tries to negotiate his way through a tragedy that has lasted throughout the generations.

As we create authentic Jewish leadership for Israel, this is a lesson that we dare not ignore.

Shabbat Shalom,

Michael Fuah

Love of the Land: Leadership and Borders

Love of the Land: Follow the Money

Follow the Money

Noah Pollak
04 March '10

This phrase, made famous by Deep Throat, should become the guiding principle for people concerned with the growing effectiveness of the NGO movement’s effort to convince the Western world that Israel is a uniquely guilty human-rights and international-law violator.

An important introductory guide to the largely unscrutinized world of NGO funding has been provided by Jonathan Rosenblum. I bet you didn’t know how large the annual budget of the New Israel Fund is: last year, it was $32 million. That’s an immense amount of money, and a great deal of it is doled out to NGOs with innocuous-sounding names, like The Coalition of Women for Peace, but that, in fact, support the boycott, divest, and sanction movement, the “right of return,” the branding of Israel as an “apartheid state,” and other causes antithetical to peace.

It might turn out that the Goldstone Report, despite all the damage it has done, will end up serving a worthy purpose: it is awakening the pro-Israel community to the reality that many organizations that traffic in the language of human rights and international law have no interest in either — their real goal is the crippling of one particular state, and they have merely discovered an effective vocabulary to employ that gives their ugly cause a patina of nobility. To understand how the NGO movement works, follow the money.

Love of the Land: Follow the Money

Love of the Land: Har Homa and Hasmonean Tunnel Self Defeating Debating Points For Left

Har Homa and Hasmonean Tunnel Self Defeating Debating Points For Left

Dr. Aaron Lerner
Weekly Commentary
04 March '10

Almost every critic of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's decision to include Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron in Israel's national heritage project points to Netanyahu's decision to open the Hasmonean Tunnel and build Har Homa in his previous term as if the consequences of those moves proves their point.

But the opposite is the case.

Yes, there was a lot of flack on the Har Homa project, with demonstrations and condemnations galore.

And yes, there was even a short bloody clash over the opening of the Hasmonean Tunnel that runs next to the Western Wall along with angry statements from around the world and worse.

But let's have an attention span that goes beyond a few days.

I know this is asking a lot for most Israelis.

But it's worth the effort.

Let's put our thinking caps on for a moment.


Here we go.

Har Homa is today a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem that is no different than any of the many other Jewish neighborhoods beyond the '67 line. You would be hard pressed to find an Israeli Jew who seriously thinks that Har Homa will ever be ceded to the Arabs in any future deal.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Har Homa and Hasmonean Tunnel Self Defeating Debating Points For Left

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Still Left Left

Still Left Left

Following the Meretz report on their electoral failure, we're having a spate of op-eds on the demise of Israel's Left. Ari Shavit, once the Chairman of the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, now a persona non-grata in those circles for his apostasy, makes a reasonable point: The Israeli Left had the correct ideas, to the extent that they eventually were adopted by Israel's mainstream, at which point they were tested against reality and found sorely lacking. Now, he says, the only way for the Left to recuperate is to adapt their messages to recognize reality - specifically, they must figure out how Israel can end the occupation of the Palestinians while retaining its ability to defend itself from the Palestinians who wish Israel gone, not peace alongside it.

SO far, so reasonable. Except for one thing: why is it the task of the Left to come up with the resolution? Might it not be the Center, or the Right, or the association of pet owners? Why must the answer come from the Left?

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Still Left Left

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: The Things Jew Haters May Dream Of

The Things Jew Haters May Dream Of

Shaul Rosenfeld has an article about the Left which betrays its principles to hate Israel. Not much there you don't already know. Still, his first paragraph did give me a moment's pause:

The events of “Israel Apartheid Week” in the world opened this year with “freedom fighter” Leila Khaled’s emotional plea to “continue the armed struggle against Israel.” Khaled, a certified airplane hijacker and a well-known favorite of the radical Left in Western European delivered her words of “reconciliation, peace, and brotherly love” in a videotape shown to participants of a Mideast studies convention held at University of London last weekend.

Times were, the most a Jew hater could openly hope for was that the Jews would stop being Jews, or that they'd stop looking like Jews, or that they'd move far away. The Nazis of course wished for far worse and did their best to achieve it, but they were a bit extreme. Nowadays, however, you can sit in the comfort of your leafy town and openly yearn for the destruction of the main Jewish project, a destruction which will of course include mass suffering. Not that the Jew hater would do the action themselves, but they support the folks who will. Loudly, openly, brazenly.

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: The Things Jew Haters May Dream Of

Israel Matzav: UN 'humanitarian coordinator': 'Soon, two-state solution won't be possible'

UN 'humanitarian coordinator': 'Soon, two-state solution won't be possible'

UN 'humanitarian coordinator' John Holmes told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday evening that the 'two-state solution' may soon no longer be possible.
“You are not far off from the point where the two-state solution becomes impossible,” said Holmes. “If you are going to have a meaningful Palestinian state, it needs to have a meaningful piece of land that goes with it.”

He listed the ways in which Israel had stymied Palestinian national aspiration over the years, including, as he saw it, Israel’s “illegal annexation of Jerusalem.”

Other items on his list were divisions in Area C of the West Bank, such as the security barrier, settlements and the roads connecting them that Palestinians cannot use.

“This is not contiguous territory. It is territory that is split up. It is a very funny kind of state. That is why people are not sure that a solution is available,” said Holmes.
Since the creation of 'Palestinians' in 1964, the 'Palestinians' could have had their state in 1968, in 2000 and in 2008. Each time, they turned it down, thinking there would be a better deal in which they could destroy the Jewish state.

If contiguity is the criterion for a 'real' state, then a Jewish state and a 'Palestinian' state are a contradiction in terms. Either one is contiguous or the other is contiguous, but not both.

The reason there is no 'Palestinian state' is because the 'Palestinians' don't want one. They want to destroy the Jewish state instead. It's time to stop letting them try. The 'two-state solution' has never been possible and never will be possible until both sides accept it. To date, only Israel accepted it. It's time to take the offer off the table.

I addressed Holmes' comments about Gaza here.

Israel Matzav: UN 'humanitarian coordinator': 'Soon, two-state solution won't be possible'

Israel Matzav: An empty threat?

An empty threat?

At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting in Washington on Thursday, Committee Chair John Kerry and ranking Republican Richard Lugar (no friend of Israel) slammed both Israel and the 'Palestinians' for the 'lack of progress' on 'peace.' Lugar also threatened to cut US assistance to both sides.

The senators also took Israel to task at times during the hearing on making progress toward Middle East peace, with Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) calling for improvements in “the dire conditions in Gaza,” terming it “a great disappointment that so little has been rebuilt” following the war there a year ago. He urged the import of more reconstruction materials, some of the many items Israel has barred in blockading the crossings.

In addition, ranking member Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) raised the specter of reducing American support for Israel and the Palestinian Authority if they don’t comply with US demands on the peace process. Both parties receive generous American aid packages, though Lugar did not mention these monies in his comments.

“The consequences might be that you really don’t receive our support – for a while you’re on your own. Take it or leave it,” he suggested as one possible scenario, noting that many would dismiss such an action because of the close US-Israel relationship and the pivotal view of the Palestinians in the Middle East.

But, he warned, “The consequences of a failure to move ahead have to be evident at some point. Somebody has to worry about this.”

The Palestinians were also not immune to castigations from Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania). He contended that “the Israelis have shown, certainly in the last year, that they’ve been willing to make real concessions. I can’t say the same, in my judgment, about the Palestinians. I think there’s been a real reluctance or even refusal to engage in real negotiations.”

But most of the criticism voiced Thursday focused on the US approach toward peace-making in the region. “Because of the Goldstone Report and the way in which the settlement issue was handled, publicly hanging [PA] President [Mahmoud] Abbas out to have an expectation that that was the standard and then going back from it, left him weakened,” Kerry said, referring to two Obama administration policies though he didn’t mention the US by name.

Lugar's threat is empty. Israel could do without much of the American assistance. For example, I reported on Thursday that an American firm will be building a new IDF headquarters at a cost of $30 million using American assistance money. Would we really be so much worse off if we used our own money and paid an Israeli company to do that (think how many jobs we would create)?

As to the 'Palestinians,' they are rolling in so much foreign assistance that they don't know what to do with it, and any money they lose from the US would be made up by the Europeans anyway.

The US has very little leverage in this part of the world right now. They're mostly ignored by Israel, by the 'Palestinians,' by the Syrians, by Iran and by the 'moderate' Arab countries. This is because Barack Obama came in here and tried to upset the status quo. None of the parties is really ready for that to happen. Once you impinge on something that another party sees as a vital interest, it's going to take an awful lot to get them to listen to you. Obama has been unable to back up his rhetoric.

Israel Matzav: An empty threat?

Israel Matzav: Obama's second cousin a conservative blogger

Israel Matzav: Obama's second cousin a conservative blogger

Israel Matzav: Rabin: 'Peace with 'Palestinians' a long shot'

Rabin: 'Peace with 'Palestinians' a long shot'

A new book to be published later this year by Yitzchak Rabin's English-language speech writer and close friend Yehuda Avner claims that Rabin believed that peace with the 'Palestinians' was a 'long-shot,' but that he reluctantly tried it because he feared that fundamentalist Islam was taking over the 'Palestinian' population. The claim is based on an interview with Rabin just three days before his death (Hat Tip: Eliyahu P).

As the veteran diplomat, today 81, explains in a new book, he had just completed an ambassadorship to Australia in late 1995 and had been invited by Rabin to rejoin his team.

“I met him at his Jerusalem office on Wednesday, 1 November,” Avner writes in The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership, which is being published this month by Toby Press. “My first question was, ‘Why did you shake Yasser Arafat’s hand?’”


“Number one,” he recounts Rabin as saying, “Israel is surrounded by two concentric circles. The inner circle is comprised of our immediate neighbors – Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon and, by extension, Saudi Arabia. The outer circle comprises their neighbors – Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya. Virtually all of them are rogue states, and some are going nuclear.

“Number two,” the prime minister went on, “Iranian-inspired Islamic fundamentalism constitutes a threat to the inner circle no less than it does to Israel. Islamic fundamentalism is striving to destabilize the Gulf Emirates, has already created havoc in Syria, leaving twenty thousand dead, in Algeria, leaving one hundred thousand dead, in Egypt, leaving twenty-two thousand dead, in Jordan, leaving eight thousand dead, in the Horn of Africa – the Sudan and Somalia – leaving fourteen thousand dead, and in Yemen, leaving twelve thousand dead. And now it is gaining influence in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

“Iran is the banker,” Rabin pointed out, “pouring millions into the West Bank and Gaza in the form of social welfare and health and education programs, so that it can win the hearts of the population and feed religious fanaticism.

“Thus,” he continued to Avner, “a confluence of interest has arisen between Israel and the inner circle, whose long-term strategic interest is the same as ours: to lessen the destabilizing consequences from the outer circle. At the end of the day, the inner circle recognizes they have less to fear from Israel than from their Muslim neighbors, not least from radicalized Islamic powers going nuclear.”

Next, Rabin came to the thinking at the heart of his decision to pursue the Oslo process: The Israel-Arab conflict, he said, “was always considered to be a political one: a conflict between Arabs and Israelis. The fundamentalists are doing their level best to turn it into a religious conflict – Muslim against Jew, Islam against Judaism. And while a political conflict is possible to solve through negotiation and compromise, there are no solutions to a theological conflict. Then it is jihad – religious war: their God against our God. Were they to win, our conflict would go from war to war, and from stalemate to stalemate.

“And that, essentially,” the prime minister summed up to his longtime adviser, “is why I agreed to Oslo and shook hands, albeit reluctantly, with Yasser Arafat. He and his PLO represent the last vestige of secular Palestinian nationalism. We have nobody else to deal with. It is either the PLO or nothing. It is a long shot for a possible settlement, or the certainty of no settlement at all at a time when the radicals are going nuclear.”


It's certainly no great secret here that Rabin despised and distrusted Arafat and was dragged kicking and screaming into the 'peace process.' In fact, rumor has it that at the time of Rabin's death, he was considering suspending the 'Oslo process' altogether, because he believed that the 'Palestinians' were engaging in terrorism. The article notes that Avner was supposed to have a second interview with Rabin four days later, on Sunday, November 5, 1995, but that interview never took place because Rabin was assassinated on Saturday night November 4. It would have been fascinating to hear what Rabin would have had to add to his remarks.

According to Amazon, the book isn't going to be available until September 1, but if someone wants to arrange a review copy for me, I'd be happy to accept it.

Israel Matzav: Rabin: 'Peace with 'Palestinians' a long shot'

Israel Matzav: The Dubai double standard

The Dubai double standard

Earlier this week, I reported on a New York Times story that claimed that two of Hamas terrorist and arms dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh's liquidators had flown to the United States after the liquidation. I raised five questions regarding that report:

First, do you mean to tell me that one of the suspects who supposedly left Dubai within a day actually remained there until February 14 and Inspector Tamim missed him? Pretty shoddy police work in my book.

Second, if the US fingerprints anyone who enters and leaves the country on a foreign passport, couldn't someone also have taken the passports and duplicated them when this person was on a trip to the US, just as the Israelis have been accused of doing?

Third, is there no way to leave the US these days without being tracked? Canada? The Caribbean Islands? Mexico?

Fourth, the US is a big country - someone can find an awful lot of places to hide there.

Fifth, who is Payoneer and how are they connected to this? Someone issues American credit cards in Israel? Bring it on....

Now, ABC News is reporting that the two alleged liquidators never entered the United States on the dates named.

Law enforcement authorities told ABC News that a records search turned up no evidence that two suspects in the murder of a top Hamas military commander entered the United States on the dates now circulating in published reports. While officials stressed that the records search was preliminary, and had only been done in response to claims in the media, one of the officials said it did not appear anyone using the names of the two suspects had been in the U.S. on any date after the murder.


One highly placed official also said that Dennings and Cannon were actually run through the database for every day from Jan. 19, the day of al-Mabhouh's death, through the end of February without a hit. "They [checked] all dates," said the official. "It wasn't just based on those [two] specific dates."

A second official said "most" of the more than two dozen names cited by Dubai police as suspects were run through the same database for the specific dates cited in the press reports about Dennings and Cannon, Jan. 21 and Feb. 14. None of the names turned up a hit for those two dates.

The official said the database was only searched in response to the published reports. "Without a U.S. nexus, there is no need or requirement to run every name on every day," said the official. "If a foreign law enforcement partner came to us and said, we need assistance, we think our investigation is pointing towards the fact that someone did enter the United States on x or y date under this name then we would check it, but we have not been asked."

One then has to wonder why the world is taking so seriously claims by Dubai that the Mossad is behind Mabhouh's liquidation. After all, the only hard evidence that has been shown is a bunch of closed circuit videos of people on vacation who may or may not have been Mossad agents, and who may or may not have been involved in the liquidation. Inspector Tamim of the Dubai police department has presented nothing that would stand up in a court of law in any Western country. And as to the passports, if you were an Arab country or assisting one (and we all know that the airport personnel in Europe include plenty of Islamists and their sympathizers), what better way to cast suspicion upon Israel than by using passports carrying names of its dual citizens.

Moreover, the apparent double standard being applied to this investigation makes me suspicious that Tamim's motive is not to get to the bottom of a murder case, but to tar Israel's reputation in the international community. Elder of Ziyon points to Dubai's handling of an assassination in 2009 in which Israel was clearly not involved. Clearly, that killing was handled differently and with nowhere near the fanfare of this one.

Double standards lead to suspicions that what motivates those who adopt them is anti-Semitism. Where there's smoke, there's usually a fire, eh Mr. Tamim?

Israel Matzav: The Dubai double standard

Israel Matzav: Syrian conspiracy theories

Syrian conspiracy theories

With the IAEA all but ruling out Syria's claims that Israel used munitions containing depleted uranium to bomb its al-Kibar nuclear reactor in September 2007, and therefore ruling out such depleted uranium as the source of uranium particles found at the site, Syria has been inventing what can only be called conspiracy theories regarding how the uranium traces made it to the site. The latest such theory claims that Israel dropped uranium particles at the site. Good luck with that.

Neither the US nor the Europeans believe that Israel is the source of the uranium particles. But what's stunning about this is the rhetoric espoused by the American chief delegate to the IAEA on the one hand, as compared with American policy toward Syria on the other. Here's the rhetoric:

"Over the past two years, we have noticed a troubling pattern in Syria's behavior," Chief US delegate Glyn Davies told the meeting. "The more evidence the agency uncovers that Syria was engaged in serious safeguards violations, the more Syria has tried to actively hinder the agency's investigation."

On the other hand, just last week, the Obama administration named an ambassador to Syria for the first time in five years. Does the right hand not know what the left is doing?

If I were sitting on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I would call Glyn Davies as a witness at Robert Ford's confirmation hearing.

America is in good hands. What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Syrian conspiracy theories

Israel Matzav: Iran could have weapons grade uranium within a month of reaching 20%

Iran could have weapons grade uranium within a month of reaching 20%

Here's a very disturbing report regarding how long it might take Iran to produce weapons grade uranium once it has reached the 20% level (which it has already reached, although there is not yet evidence of it having done so in large quantities).

In a freshly released report by ISIS, David Albright and Christina Walrond discuss the puzzling transfer decision in relation to the overall centrifuge performance at the Natanz site, where IAEA reports have indicated a steady decrease of active centrifuges alongside an increase in monthly output of LEU from the dwindling number of functioning centrifuges. Nobody knows why Iran has fewer and fewer centrifuges working — are they malfunctioning, is it maintenance? — and Iran is not about to tell. But the move of its LEU (3.5 percent) to produce higher enrichment grade uranium (19.75) while few centrifuges work at all may have troubling implications for its military program. In particular, Albright and Walrond note that,

Iran’s recent decision to start producing 19.75 percent low enriched uranium (LEU) in the pilot plant from 3.5 percent LEU, ostensibly for civil purposes, is particularly troubling. If Iran succeeds in producing a large stock of 19.75 percent LEU, in a worst-case scenario, the FEP is large enough to turn this LEU into sufficient weapon-grade uranium for a weapon within a month. Its production could even occur between visits by IAEA inspectors, a time period that Iran could easily lengthen by positing some emergency or accident that requires a delay in permitting the inspectors inside the plant.

The important caveat for this scenario to play out, from a technical point of view, is that Iran has enough 19.75 percent uranium stockpiled to go to higher enrichment levels. This is not the case yet, at least not as far as declared stockpiles are concerned. But that could change.

The report also notes that Iran has returned the uranium it exposed earlier this week back to underground facilities.

Read the whole thing. What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Iran could have weapons grade uranium within a month of reaching 20%

Israel Matzav: New NIE on Iran delayed

New NIE on Iran delayed

At the beginning of the week, I reported that an updated National Intelligence Estimate on Iran was due out in the next couple of weeks. Now, it seems that estimate is going to be delayed.

The reasons behind the latest delay are murky; two of the officials said the precise reasons for the latest delay are classified. But it is likely that the various intel agencies are still reviewing, revising, and debating the document to reach an agreement about what it should say. In the past, this has been a long and sometimes contentious process. The final product is supposed to reflect the consensus view of U.S. intelligence as a whole, though dissents often pepper the footnotes.

Laura Rozen adds:

But in some ways the report update seems a bit of domestic political kabuki, since that judgement is clearly not informing the Obama adminitration's thinking. The U.S., as well as Russia, France, the UK and the International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors have rebuked Iran for failing to disclose a secret enrichment facility in Qom under construction since 2006. U.S. officials have previously indicated they believe Iran is hiding nuclear trigger research it has conducted. A report earlier this month by the IAEA's Director General Yukiya Amano says Iran is not fully cooperating with the Agency and the Agency can therefore not be sure that Iran's nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes.

In other words, the new report doesn't really matter. Well, here is something that would make it matter: How about a clear statement regarding responsibility for the previous report, which essentially took the military option out of the hands of the Bush administration for the last year of Bush's term.

Israel Matzav: New NIE on Iran delayed

Elder of Ziyon: Freedom for women increases in Arab world, decreases in PA territories

Elder of Ziyon: Freedom for women increases in Arab world, decreases in PA territories

Elder of Ziyon: Work accident!

Elder of Ziyon: Work accident!

Elder of Ziyon: Report: Hamas invades Red Crescent hospital

Elder of Ziyon: Report: Hamas invades Red Crescent hospital

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas losing control in Gaza?

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas losing control in Gaza?

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas' newest law: No male hairdressers for women

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas' newest law: No male hairdressers for women

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

IDF Women

تنسيق-الكليات-لعام سكس نيك كس

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

The Torah Revolution: Conversion, marriage are NOT government business. Buzz off!

The Torah Revolution: Conversion, marriage are NOT government business. Buzz off!

RubinReports: Pardon Me, Obama Administration, But Isn't Your Policy on Fire?

Pardon Me, Obama Administration, But Isn't Your Policy on Fire?

By Barry Rubin

The story of the U.S. engagement with Syria and the sanctions issue regarding Iran’s nuclear program are fascinating. Each day there’s some new development showing how the Obama Administration is acting like a deer standing in the middle of a busy highway admiring the pretty automobile headlights.

Or to put it a different way, it is like watching the monster sneak up behind someone. Even though you know he’s not going to turn around, you can’t help but watch in fascinated horror and yelling out: “Look out!” But he pays no attention.

So I’m not just writing about these two issues in isolation but as very appropriate symbols of everything wrong with Western perceptions of the Middle East (and everywhere else) and the debates over foreign policy (and everything else) nowadays.

On Syria, for the most recent episodes of the story see here and here but, briefly, the Syrian government keeps punching the United States in the face as Washington ignores it.

But now, on March 1, a new record is set. The place: State Department daily press conference; the main character, departmental spokesman Philip J. Crowley. A reporter wants to know how the administration views the fact that the moment the U.S. delegation left after urging Syrian President Bashar al-Asad to move away from Iran and stop supporting Hizballah, Syria’s dictator invited in Iran’s dictator along with Hizballah’s leader and Damascus moved closer to Iran and Hizballah.

In other words, the exact opposite of what the United States requested. Is the government annoyed, does it want to express some anger or threat?

Let’s listen:

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I would point it in a slightly different direction. It came several days after an important visit to Damascus by Under Secretary Bill Burns….We want to see Syria play a more constructive role in the region. We also want – to the extent that it has the ability to talk to Iran directly, we want to make sure that Syria’s communicating to Iran its concerns about its role in the region and the direction, the nature of its nuclear ambitions….”

In other words, I’m going to ignore the fact that the first thing that Asad did after Burns’ visit was a love fest with Iran and Hizballah. But even more amazing, what Crowley said is that the U.S. government thinks Syria, Iran’s partner and ally, is upset that Iran is being aggressive and expansionist. And it actually expects the Syrians to urge Iran not to build nuclear weapons!

One Lebanese observer called this approach, “Living in an alternate universe.”

Meanwhile, as the administration congratulates itself on explaining to Syria that it should reduce support for Hizballah, Israeli military intelligence releases an assessment that Syria is giving Hizballah more and better arms than ever before.

Oh wait! Now it's March 3 so time for someting new. The ófficial Syrian press agency reports that Syria's government opposed an Arab League proposal to support indirect Palestinian Authority-Israel negotiations. Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem asserted that Syria is "no way part" of the consensus supporting the plan.

But guess what? First, Senator John Kerry opened a meeting of his Senate Foreign Relations Committee by erroneously praising Syria as supporting the plan, giving this as an example of Damascus's moderation. The New York Times quoted from the Syrian report, making it sound like Moallem is praising the United States, but left out the paragraphs attacking the U.S.-backed plan! And the State Department circulated the Times article as proof of its success in winning over Syria when in fact Syrian behavior proved the exact opposite!

Oh, and that's not all! Not only did Syria oppose the plan but it attacked the Arab states that supported the U.S. effort and blasted the Palestinian Authority for not following the path of resistance, that is urged it to carry out terrorist violence against Israel.

Hey, that's not all either. Syria also issued a statement accusing Israel of "framing" it by dropping uranium particles from the air to make it seem that Syria had been building a nuclear reactor for making nuclear weapons. Not exactly evidence of rational moderation I'd say.

Meanwhile, on the Iran front, it is now March 2010 and still—six months after the first administration deadline and three months after the second deadline—there are no additional sanctions on Iran yet. In fact, the process has barely started.

Even former Democratic presidential candidate and head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry has taken a stronger stance than the administration.

He supports the congressional call for tough sanctions to block Iran’s energy industry which easily passed both houses. “I believe that the most biting and important sanctions would be those on the energy side.” But the Obama administration wants far more limited sanctions focused on a small group in the regime elite.

Yet sanctions are getting further away rather than closer. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hinted at this by pulling back from her early prediction of sanctions by April, now saying it might be “some time in the next several months."

At the same time, we have endless evidence that the claim the Russians (and Chinese and others) are coming, to support sanctions, is nonsense. Just before meeting with Clinton to discuss the issue, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (or Lula for short) explained, "Peace in the world does not mean isolating someone." (Quick, invite him to explain this to the anti-Israel forces in Europe and elsewhere).

But it’s outright amusing to see the efforts to spin the Russian and Chinese position. In this regard, the prize for this week should be won by an AP dispatch. The headline is: “Russia moves closer to Iran sanctions over nukes.”

And what is the basis for this claim that there has just been “the strongest sign to date that the Kremlin was prepared to drop traditional opposition to such penalties if Tehran remain obstinate?” This statement from President Dmitry Medvedev:

“We believe that [engagement with Iran is] not over yet, that we can still reach an agreement," he said. "But if we don't succeed, Russia is ready — along with our partners…to consider the question of adopting sanctions."

Get it? When Russia decides that talking with Iran won’t work, then at that point—how long from now would that be?—it will “consider” sanctions. Actually, he said the same thing last August, a statement trumpeted in September by the New York Times as proving Obama’s policy was working.

There is more clarity with the Chinese, sort of, though the pretense is also made that they might do something. But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang put it this way: "We believe there is still room for diplomatic efforts and the parties concerned should intensify those efforts." At most, the optimists suggest, in the words of this Reuters dispatch:

“China will resist any proposed sanctions that threaten flows of oil and Chinese investments, but most believe it will accept a more narrowly cast resolution that has more symbolic than practical impact.”

Yes, that’s the kind of thing that already existed four years ago. Some progress.

Is it too much to ask policymakers to pay attention to what’s going on occasionally?

So let's leave it to Ahmadinejad to sum up how things seem to Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hizballah, and lots of Arabs both pro- and anti-American:

The Americans, Ahmadinejad said, “not only have failed to gain any power, but also are forced to leave the region. They are leaving their reputation, image, and power behind in order to escape.…The [American] government has no influence [to stop].…the expansion of Iran-Syria ties, Syria-Turkey ties, and Iran-Turkey ties--God willing, Iraq too will join the circle...."

In other words, Obama Administration policy isn't making the radicals more moderate but rather--by feeding their arrogance and belief in American weakness--making them more aggressive.

RubinReports: Pardon Me, Obama Administration, But Isn't Your Policy on Fire?

Love of the Land: Britain to announce no early remedy for universal jurisdiction procedures used against Israelis

Britain to announce no early remedy for universal jurisdiction procedures used against Israelis

Robin Shepherd
Robin Shepherd Online
04 March '10

According to a report from the Times of London this morning, the British government is “in no hurry” to change the legal procedures under which Israelis have been targeted for “war crimes” using universal jurisdiction laws.

Several Israeli officials including former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni have in recent months cancelled visits to Britain after pro-Palestinian groups used the universal jurisdiction laws to get courts to issue arrest warrants against them. Universal jurisdiction means that warrants can be issued for alleged transgressions anywhere in the world and not just in the country over which the court would usually have jurisdiction.

According to the Times report, which was drawn from unnamed sources, the government will later today announce a consultation period on the subject, meaning that long delays to any remedy are highly likely:

“Today’s announcement…means that the issue will not be resolved until well after the election, expected in May… The delay is a victory for Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, who has argued that the legal point at stake is too important to rush.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Britain to announce no early remedy for universal jurisdiction procedures used against Israelis

Israel Matzav: Can you imagine if any other Supreme Court's Chief Justice made this suggestion?

Can you imagine if any other Supreme Court's Chief Justice made this suggestion?

The Chief Justice of Israel's Supreme Court, Dorit Beinish, has suggested that Jews be stopped from praying at the grave of Shimon HaTzadik (Simon the Righteous) for an hour so that 'Palestinians' may be allowed to demonstrate there against their eviction from apartments in the area for non-payment of rent for more than 40 years.

High Court judge Dorit Beinish on Thursday castigated police, who had refused to grant a permit to Arab residents of the Shimon Hatzaddik neighborhood (called Sheikh Jarrah by Arabs) to demonstrate Saturday night against the evictions of families illegally squatting on Jewish property. Jerusalem Police Chief Aharon Franco said that allowing the demonstration to be held at all was likely to lead to disturbances, as Arabs and leftists have proved time and again in recent weeks, throwing rocks and stones at police and at Jewish worshippers at the tomb of Shimon Hatzaddik. The only way to allow a demonstration and ensure the safety of Jewish worshippers, who use the site to pray throughout the day and night, was to allow the demonstration to be held only at a distance.

In response, Beinish said that perhaps the Jewish worshippers “could stop praying for an hour” in order to allow the Arabs to demonstrate.

Can you imagine the outcry from World Jewry if the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of any other country made a statement like that?

More reaction here.

Israel Matzav: Can you imagine if any other Supreme Court's Chief Justice made this suggestion?

Israel Matzav: Finally: British PM to introduce law ending politically motivated arrests

Finally: British PM to introduce law ending politically motivated arrests

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown used an op-ed in London's Daily Telegraph to announce that his government will be taking action to put an end to politically motivated arrests of foreign leaders under Britain's universal jurisdiction statute.

As we have seen, there is now significant danger of such a provision being exploited by politically-motivated organisations or individuals who set out only to grab headlines knowing their case has no realistic chance of a successful prosecution.

Men and woman can then be held in prison on the basis of 'information', when the serious nature of such cases means that in any event they can only proceed to prosecution with the consent of the Attorney General.

There is already growing reason to believe that some people are not prepared to travel to this country for fear that such a private arrest warrant – motivated purely by political gesture – might be sought against them.

These are sometimes people representing countries and interests with which the UK must engage if we are not only to defend our national interest but maintain and extend an influence for good across the globe.

Britain cannot afford to have its standing in the world compromised for the sake of tolerating such gestures.

There is a case now, therefore, for the evidential basis on which arrest warrants can be allowed to be tougher and for restricting the right to prosecute the narrow range of crimes falling under universal jurisdiction to the Crown Prosecution Service alone.

Such a modification requires legislation. It is also extremely controversial in some quarters, involving as it does the long-standing right of private prosecution. So we will consult on our proposals to improve the system, with my full intention to legislate as soon as possible.

Britain remains absolutely committed to upholding the principles of universal jurisdiction. And where individuals or organisations have genuine grounds for allegations that any of the offences in question have been committed we encourage them to bring forward evidence to the police.

But by bringing the risk of arrest into closer alignment with the risk of prosecution, our system of universal jurisdiction can be stronger. For it would be clear that we only bring cases based on evidence of sufficient strength to convince the Director of Public Prosecutions that there is a credible case.

With this approach, I am confident that an amendment on better enforcement of existing legislation will serve to enhance Britain's status in the eyes of international law, world opinion and history.

But if you're a government official or a high-ranking IDF officer, don't book your tickets to London yet. There's going to be an election there soon.

Israel Matzav: Finally: British PM to introduce law ending politically motivated arrests

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

This song is my 10-year old's (son # 3 child # 6) favorite song. The words mean "we are believers the sons of believers and we have no one upon whom to rely except our Father in Heaven."

This is from a live concert at Brooklyn College in Brooklyn, New York that took place on December 19, 2009 and is sung by Mordechai Ben David.

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Israel Matzav: Eretz Nehederet (Israeli satire TV show) on the Purim story

Eretz Nehederet (Israeli satire TV show) on the Purim story

Eretz Nehederet is a comedy/satire that is shown in Israel on Friday nights. I discussed it previously here.

Friday night's episode included the Purim story, played by contemporary politicians. The JPost raises concerns that the show was racist.

The episode in question – a Purim special, aired on Friday night – portrayed US President Barack Obama wearing a large gold medallion around his neck, sporting harem pants and dancing to rap music. While the face and hands of the actor playing the president, series regular Eli Finish, were also painted black, Finish’s face was clearly a more exaggerated and darker shade.

Finish played an amalgamation of Obama and the Purim story’s King Ahasuerus in the episode, which opened with Mariano Edelman in his recurring role as Binyamin Netanyahu, reading the megilla as Mordechai the Jew. In a satirical twist, the character of Haman, the evil Persian prime minister, became the smooth-talking Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, openly discussing his desire to annihilate the Jews with nuclear weapons. Fortunately – and also contrary to the actual story in the Book of Esther – Haman-Ahmadinejad’s request was politely rejected by the king.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak (played by Tal Friedman) also made an appearance as the stubborn Queen Vashti, the character traditionally believed to have been beheaded by Ahasuerus for refusing to dance at his royal party. In the show, Obama-Ahasuerus instead argued with the queen about her violations of Palestinian human rights, telling her, “I know all about your people, you’ve occupied two million people and kept them behind the wall... You’ve launched massive military attacks on civilians.”

Later, he could be heard sighing, “I’m tired of these Jews, they make a lot of problems for me.”

I'll let you decide for yourselves if it's racist. I don't think it is. With apologies to those who don't understand Hebrew (there are no subtitles), Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Eretz Nehederet (Israeli satire TV show) on the Purim story
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...