Thursday, 18 March 2010

Um mundo (novo) à nossa espera at Rua da Judiaria

Um mundo (novo) à nossa espera at Rua da Judiaria

Israel Matzav: The Time is Now to Stand with Israel

The Time is Now to Stand with Israel

The Time is Now to Stand with Israel. Go to my friend Jim Hoft's site to find out how you can join.

Israel Matzav: The Time is Now to Stand with Israel

Israel Matzav: Oren plays the grown-up

Oren plays the grown-up

In an op-ed in Thursday's New York Times, Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, plays the role of the mature grown-up trying to calm the spoiled child - Barack Obama and company. Some highlights.

We should not, however, allow peace efforts, or the America-Israel alliance, to be compromised by Israel’s policy on Jerusalem. That policy is not Mr. Netanyahu’s alone but was also that of former Prime Ministers Ehud Barak, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Golda Meir — in fact of every Israeli government going back to the city’s reunification in 1967. Consistently, Israel has held that Jerusalem should remain its undivided capital and that both Jews and Arabs have the right to build anywhere in the city.

This policy certainly applies to neighborhoods like Ramat Shlomo, which, though on land incorporated into Israel in 1967, are home to nearly half of the city’s Jewish population. Isolated from Arab neighborhoods and within a couple of miles of downtown Jerusalem, these Jewish neighborhoods will surely remain a part of Israel after any peace agreement with the Palestinians. Israelis across the political spectrum are opposed to restrictions on building in these neighborhoods, and even more opposed to the idea of uprooting hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens.

Though not uncontested, Israel’s policy on Jerusalem did not preclude the conclusion of peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan. Nor did it prevent the Palestinians from negotiating with Israel for more than 15 years after the Oslo accords of 1993. Consistently, Israelis have demonstrated remarkable flexibility as well as generosity to any Arab leader genuinely offering peace.


During his visit, Vice President Biden declared that support for Israel is “a fundamental national self-interest on the part of the United States” and that America “has no better friend in the community of nations than Israel.” The people of Israel, in turn, view the strengthening of their relations with the United States as a paramount national objective. Because we share fundamental values — democracy, respect for individual rights and the rule of law — our friendship can sustain occasional disagreements, and remain unassailably solid.

Israel Matzav: Oren plays the grown-up

Israel Matzav: A Middle East without American influence

A Middle East without American influence

By publicly attacking Israel, the Obama administration has signaled weakness in a region where one cannot afford to be weak. Obama has effectively telegraphed to Iran that he will not defend Israel or anyone else against Iran's development of nuclear weapons. And the lesson will not be lost on the 'axis of resistance' - Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbullah.

Some U.S. commentators have praised the Obama administration's recent condemnation of Israel for announcing, during Vice President Joe Biden's visit, that it intended to build 1,600 apartment units in East Jerusalem. The White House's response, they argue, sends a strong message that Washington won't be bullied. In the Middle East, however, there is nothing that reeks so much of weakness as beating up on an ally in public. Moreover, this tongue-lashing comes shortly after the White House swallowed the open taunts of its adversaries. At a recent Damascus banquet featuring Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah, and Hamas' Khaled Meshaal, Syrian President Bashar Assad openly mocked Secretary Hillary Clinton. He joked that he had misunderstood her demands that Syria distance itself from Iran, so instead, said Assad, he was waiving visa requirements for visitors from the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Of course, Washington shaming Israel will please the Arabs—even U.S. allies like Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Cairo, Egypt, that cheered on Jerusalem when it took on Iran's assets Hezbollah and Hamas. Remember, the Arabs have been compelled by the American strong horse to swallow their pride for decades. But given that Arabs do not air their own dirty laundry for fear it will make them look weak, our public humiliation of an ally will earn us only contempt.

But here's the most important thing: Even if you discount the centrality of shame and honor as operative principles in the Middle East, the Obama administration has blundered by jeopardizing not Israel's stature but our own regional interests and the Pax Americana that has been ours over the last 35 years. Our position in the region depends on every actor there knowing that we back Israel to the hilt and that they are dependent on us. Sure, there are plenty of times we will not see eye-to-eye on things—differences that should be resolved in quiet consultations—but should any real distance open up between Washington and Jerusalem, that will send a message that the U.S.-backed order of the region is ready to be tested. And that's exactly what the axis of resistance is seeing right now.

The recent U.S.-Israeli contretemps is not about progress on the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. It is about Iran. The Obama administration has all but announced that it has resigned itself to an Iranian nuclear program and that it is moving toward a policy of containment and deterrence. We will extend a nuclear umbrella to protect our Arab allies in the Gulf, says Secretary of State Clinton, and we will continue to give Israel security guarantees. And, anyway, says Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, the Iranians are probably years away from building a deployable nuclear weapon. In rattling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cage, the Obama administration was warning Israel not even to contemplate an attack on Iran.

Of course, really effective deterrence would require us to make sure that our Israeli allies were perceived as highly volatile and unpredictable actors who might just take matters into their own hands and bomb Iran's nuclear sites. That scenario would have a better chance of cornering Iran and its allies, compelling them to seek relief from us, the rational senior partner. Instead, we've just pulled off the strategic equivalent of beating our pit bull on a street corner to show the neighborhood tough guys that we mean business.

Author Lee Smith goes on to postulate that President Obumbler is not seeking to deliberately weaken the United States' position in the Middle East. It is there that I must part company with him. Obama's behavior in our region and his treatment of Israel is similar (albeit more zealously and vindictively in Israel's case than in others) to his treatment of other former American allies such as Britain, Honduras, Georgia, Ukraine, Colombia and others. President Obama has, from the get-go, sought to draw America inward, weakening and degrading its power, and denying its exceptionalism. To the extent that Obama is willing to maintain alliances at all, they are with rogue states who will ask for nothing but the freedom to spread their mayhem - and Islamist terror - around the world.

Jennifer Rubin adds:

If Smith is correct, then it is inaccurate to say that the last week is a dangerous distraction from our Iran policy. Rather, this is our Iran policy. Hobble and humiliate an ally, embolden adversaries, provide breathing space to the mullahs (did someone say something about sanctions at the end of 2009?), and hope that allowing the revolutionary Islamic state to acquire nuclear weapons will not come to be seen as the most dangerous foreign-policy calculation since the Munich Agreement.

How deliberate all this all is may be a matter of debate. What’s less in dispute is the inevitable result of a series of misguided moves by the Obama administration — each reinforcing the notion that we stand not with our allies or for our own national interests but merely for the proposition that conflict avoidance is the highest ideal. Obama intended to address “our standing in the world”. Little did we imagine where this was heading — a more innocuous and less reliable America, which is fast becoming an easier mark for despotic regimes.

Actually, some of us did manage to imagine where this was heading, and we tried to warn the others. But the warnings went unheeded. The empty platitude of 'hope and change' was irresistible to so many.

What could go wrong?

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: A Middle East without American influence

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

IDF Women

IDF Women of Air Corps

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

Love of the Land: Did We Really Condemn the Palestinian Call to Violence?

Did We Really Condemn the Palestinian Call to Violence?

Jennifer Rubin
18 March '10

In his interview with Bret Baier on Fox News yesterday, Obama said: “And what we’ve said is we need both sides to take steps to make sure that we can rebuild trust, and yesterday when there were riots by the Palestinians against a synagogue that had reopened, we condemned them in the same way because what we need right now is both sides to recognize that is in their interests to move this peace process forward” (emphasis added).

But did we really condemn the Palestinian violence? On March 16 (the day to which the president refers), the State Department spokesman had this to say: “As we said yesterday, we are concerned about statements that could potentially risk incitement because we recognize that there’s a great deal of tension in the region right now. Today, you had Hamas say ‘Call for a day of rage.’ This is irresponsible.” No use of the word condemn.

At the White House, Robert Gibbs had this to say: “Well, again, as I said earlier today and as I said last week when asked about this, there are actions that each side takes that hurt the trust needed to bring these two sides together. The State Department reiterated — or I will reiterate what the State Department said yesterday about the deep concern that we have around inflammatory rhetoric around the rededication of a synagogue in Jerusalem. That’s not helpful on that side of the ledger.” And later there was this exchange:

Q: You partially answered this, but Israel claims over the years it’s tried to protect holy sites — Christian, Muslim and Jewish holy sites. Have you ever discussed this with the Palestinians and asked them to refrain from attacks on either people’s holy sites?

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Did We Really Condemn the Palestinian Call to Violence?

Elder of Ziyon: You know how Muslims say they respect religions?

You know how Muslims say they respect religions?

From Jordan's Al Gahd:

(h/t MEMRI Blog)

Elder of Ziyon: You know how Muslims say they respect religions?

More in Anger than in Sorrow

More in Anger than in Sorrow

The Economist ponders the motivations for Obama's anger at Israel:

One school of thought holds that Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton escalated their reaction to the Biden insult in order to make Mr Netanyahu abandon his rightist allies and tread the American path to peace; some say the president was waiting for a chance to destabilise him to force his replacement by someone more emollient. A rival theory is that there is no plan: Ramat Shlomo simply ignited the rage that has smouldered in Mr Obama’s breast since Mr Netanyahu refused his call last year for a total freeze on settlements, forcing Mr Mitchell to waste nearly a year niggling for a temporary compromise.

Forgive me if I've gotten my narratives mixed here, but wasn't unflappability one of the many things that had people so swooning about Obama? He's never ruffled, the gushing pundits told us, a rational fellow who stands above the weaknesses of mere mortals who are controlled by their emotions, their prejudices and their animosities.

So were they wrong? Or were they right, but there's something uniquely aggravating about Jews living in their homeland which makes otherwise stoic Obama lose his cool? Wouldn't that be odd?

The report then concludes with this parting shot:

In testimony to a Senate committee this week, General David Petraeus, hero of Iraq and America’s commander in the wider Middle East, said the unsolved conflict in Palestine was fomenting anti-Americanism in the wider region. An obvious point, perhaps; but yet another reason why the love is draining out of a special relationship.

Set aside the question as to the love which is or isn't draining. The fundamental point is the contention that since the "wider region" (the Muslim world, perhaps?) isn't willing to live with a Jewish state, America's interests would best be served by jettisoning Israel. Now I know that's not what Petraeus said, but it is a logical oversimplification of what he reportedly did say. If the Muslims really really don't like having a Jewish state in their midst, perhaps America ought to try harder to mollify them.

Interesting, isn't it.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Love of the Land: Land exchanges benefit Arabs disproportionately

Land exchanges benefit Arabs disproportionately

Point of No Return
18 March '10

Ruth R Wisse injects some desperately-needed context into the current spat between the US and Israel over the expansion of housing in a Jewish suburb in North Jerusalem in this brilliant article in The Wall St Journal, What about an Arab settlement freeze? Arab states have benefitted disproportionately in terms of land and property from the exchange of populations and property between Arabs and Jews, she says. She might have added that formerly Jewish districts of Baghdad and Cairo like Bataween and Zamalek are now Judenrein : (with thanks: Lily)

When she is surrounded by a swirl of conversation she cannot understand, my two-year-old granddaughter turns to me expectantly: "What they talking about, Bubbe?" Right now, I would have to confess to her that the hubbub over 1,600 new housing units in Jerusalem defies rational explanation.

Of the children of Abraham, the descendants of Ishmael currently occupy at least 800 times more land than descendants of Isaac. The 21 states of the Arab League routinely announce plans of building expansion. Saudi Arabia estimates that 555,000 housing units were built over the past several years. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced during a meeting in Baghdad last year that "Some 10,000 units will be built in each province [of Iraq] with 100 square meters per unit" to accommodate citizens whose housing needs have not been met for a long time. Egypt has established 10 new cities since 1996. They are Tenth of Ramadan, Sixth of October, Al Sadat, Al Shurouq, Al Obour, New Damietta, New Beni Sueif, New Assiut, New Luxor, and New Cairo.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Land exchanges benefit Arabs disproportionately

RubinReports: You, Too, Zahi? If Egypt's "Greatest" Archaeologist Believes Antisemitic Conspiracy Theories What Hope Is There For Anyone?

You, Too, Zahi? If Egypt's "Greatest" Archaeologist Believes Antisemitic Conspiracy Theories What Hope Is There For Anyone?

By Barry Rubin

In an era when Islamophobia has become a sin punishable by death or mere career ruination—depending on who’s doing the punishing—it is remarkably hard to get people to understand how widespread is antisemitism in the Arabic-speaking world and in the Muslim-majority world in general. One always wants to believe that there are many exceptions, which is why I find the case of Zahi Hawass so discouraging.

I’ve often seen Hawass on television shows about ancient Egypt or antiquities’ smuggling. He is secretary-general of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities and gave President Barack Obama a tour of the Pyramids when the president visited Cairo in June 2009. I presume that Hawass was an honored guest when Obama gave his famous speech in Cairo, which included a discussion of antisemitism.

But here he is four months earlier on official Egyptian television, which gives his remarks the air of government endorsement. And note how what the interviewer says reinforces the idea that these are official positions. Presumably, Obama's speech didn’t change his mind. The irony here is palpable: One of Obama's main hosts had just shown that his views are poisoned by an extreme form of systematic antisemitism that no one can pretend was merely dislike for Israel.

If one thinks of the conflict as merely a normal one over boundaries or the need for confidence-building measures understanding this profound hatred coming from one side--and not matched at all by the Israeli world view--makes a real resolution of the issue extraordinarily
The translation is by MEMRI:

Zahi Hawass: "For 18 centuries, [the Jews] were dispersed throughout the world. They went to America and took control of its economy. They have a plan. Although they are few in number, they control the entire world."

Interviewer: "With regard to Israel and Zionism we are talking about 7 or 8 million. How is it possible that these 7 or 8 million have taken control of the entire world, and have convinced the world of their cause, while we, over one billion Muslims, cannot convince the world of our cause? How would you explain this from a historical perspective?"

Zahi Hawass: "The reason is that they are always united over a single view. They always move together, even if in the wrong direction. We, on the other hand, are divided. If even two Arab countries could be in agreement, our voice would be stronger. Look at the control they have over America and the media."

Interviewer: "So in your opinion, the secret lies in unity?"

Zahi Hawass: "Yes. It was unity that gave them this power..."

Note that his main theme is precisely the main theme of historical antisemitism (Jews control the world nd use this power for their own benefit, thus they are the humanity of humanity and should be--what?--wiped out?). His secondary theme—Jews always working together—is that of the Russian text I analyzed as typical of how antisemitism so often passes unnoticed in the West.

Of course, regarding Israel the Arabic-speaking world has been about as united as anyone can be over as long a period as anyone could imagine on this issue. Hawass is dead wrong from the standpoint of historical accuracy on both sides of the equation. Or perhaps the obvious implication is that Egypt should end its peace with Israel and join in a war to exterminate that country?

Equally, regarding alleged Jewish control of the media, given coverage of Israel, this charge must be seen as amusing as well as sinister.

As a bonus, note the third theme which is so essential in Arab nationalism: Arab unity is the key to success. Even in 2010, after about 60 years of experience regarding both the failure and disaster of this idea, it is still tremendously powerful in shaping thinking in the region.

That these notions can be taken for granted by a man who is seen as a great scholar in a country which has been at peace with Israel for over two decades is very telling. But then not long ago Egypt's candidate to be the world's cultural "czar" (head of UNESCO) said that he would burn Israeli-authored books found in any library he supervised.

To put it another way, if Hawass and official Egyptian television can be openly antisemitic in this way (and, of course, this characterizes their attitude toward Israel) what hope can there be for more than a handful of others in that vast Arabic-speaking area to think otherwise?

Optional notes: I would have made the title: Et tu, Zahi? As in Julius Caesar's words to Brutus when he was assassinated (at least according to legend) but worried that some readers wouldn't get it. Not you, of course but some of the others.

RubinReports: You, Too, Zahi? If Egypt's "Greatest" Archaeologist Believes Antisemitic Conspiracy Theories What Hope Is There For Anyone?

RubinReports: Explaining the "Obvious": Why It's Necessary

Explaining the "Obvious": Why It's Necessary

By Barry Rubin

A frustrated pro-democracy reader from a Muslim-majority country asks me: “Do we have to explain that the Earth is round to any idiot who says it is flat? Or do we have to hold a rational argument about the evils of cannibalism with someone who practices it?”

What bothers him are the frequent articles I must write stating the “obvious,” things like radical Islamist forces aren’t about to moderate; too much of the Western world is missing the obvious threats; that it's wrong and dangerous to indoctrinate people in Western countries to be hostile to their own countries, viewing their histories as shameful; and much of what occupies our media and universities regarding international politics is rubbish.

If stoning people, mutilating little girls, and forcing children to wed while still in grade school can be regarded as acceptable cultural practices simply because they are carried out by societies where we don't live, it has become necessary--even, sad to say, courageous--to talk about these things.

Ten or more years ago, who would have thought this to be necessary? But when you have to deal with an article saying that Iran getting nuclear weapons is a good thing (New York Times), an Islamist takeover of Turkey is something we should celebrate (Newsweek), and—well, you can add to that list—there’s some serious insanity loose in the world.

My reader's flat-earth/cannibalism analogy is closer to the truth than many would think. There were times when cultures strongly believed in these things as the very gemstone in their cultural crown. At the time, it could have been said--and indeed was said--that one could not challenge such cultural norms or they would face serious punishment.

It was a sign of progress in history when people could respect what other cultures did rather than view them as barbaric and inferior. But it is a sign of regression when people are not allowed to distinguish between things they see as good--maybe worth borrowing--and those they see as abhorrant.

I never thought we’d be living in such a situation either. What’s especially dismal for me is to have to explain to younger people that things weren’t always like that. I can only do my best to try to see that things won’t be that way much longer.

Is there hope? Sure. The best hope is that reality forces people to acknowledge itself, eventually; that the enemies of democracy push so hard that they force people to fight them, and that the "common" people have a lot of common sense even when their “betters” do not.

Oh, yes, and some day someone will write history books (or, by then, perhaps history blogs) recording that some folk stood up for what was right even though it cost them dearly. It has been ever thus, hasn’t it?

RubinReports: Explaining the "Obvious": Why It's Necessary

Israel Matzav: Biden: Construction boom is a good thing... in Washington

Biden: Construction boom is a good thing... in Washington

Joe Biden is back in Washington DC and here's what he had to say about his trip to Israel: It's great to be back in DC where a construction boom is a good thing.

Here's Biden's attempt at humor. Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Biden: Construction boom is a good thing... in Washington

Israel Matzav: Thai worker killed by Kassam; Israel vows severe response

Thai worker killed by Kassam; Israel vows severe response

A Thai worker in Netiv HaAsara was killed on Wednesday afternoon by a Kassam rocket shot by 'Palestinian' terrorists. Israel has vowed a severe response. An al-Qaeda affiliated faction took credit for the attack.

European Foreign Policy chief Baroness Catherine Ashton crossed into Gaza just a few minutes before the attack. The despicable Ashton could not even bring herself to condemn the attack unequivocally.

"I condemn any kind of violence. We have got to find a peaceful solution to the issues and problems," she said. She was the most senior international official to visit Gaza in more than a year.

Ashton did not meet with Hamas officials.

"What we have been saying to the Israelis for a long time is that we need to allow aid into this region, to be able to support the economy to grow for people to have the things they are clearly lacking," she told reporters.

She's from the Yasser Arafat/Abu Mazen school of terror: Condemn all terror but not the specific attack.

Here's hoping that Israel goes in there and gives them something to complain about. It will take people's minds off Ramat Shlomo for a while.

And as Ashton's complaint that Gaza needs more aid, Gaza gets more aid than Haiti.

Shrybman writes:

A USAID and DOD report calculating the aid sent to the quake-raved Haiti noted that, as of last month, all US government programs provided just over $700 million in aid, nearly $200 million less than to the terrorist-controlled Gaza Strip.

And I assume that's just the last year's worth.

Israel Matzav: Thai worker killed by Kassam; Israel vows severe response

Israel Matzav: This story sounds familiar: Another American ally abandoned by Obama

This story sounds familiar: Another American ally abandoned by Obama

I'd feel more sympathy for the Brits if they had more sympathy to us. But it looks like they're in the same position we are with the Obama administration - except that they're not as easy to push around.

The lady in the picture with Abu Bluff is Cristina Fernandez, the President of Argentina.

More details here.

Israel Matzav: This story sounds familiar: Another American ally abandoned by Obama

Israel Matzav: Rosner's three predictions

Rosner's three predictions

Shmuel Rosner makes three predictions regarding the denouement of the current crisis between Israel and the United States.

Anyway, I'm not going to translate the whole thing, but at the end of the column I'll be making these three predictions - based on information:

1. Netanyahu will compromise (or "cave") and is getting ready to agree to some American demands.

2. Mitchell will be coming to the region, maybe even next week - or right after Pesach. He will come even if the crisis will be quite over yet.

3. Proximity talks will start soon after Israel's Independence Day.

Unfortunately, he's probably right on all three of them.

Israel Matzav: Rosner's three predictions

Israel Matzav: J Street urges support for Obama against Israel

J Street urges support for Obama against Israel

But of course. J Street, the pro-Israel pro-peace Obama lobby is urging American Jews to support Obama over Israel.

The pro-Israel, pro-peace movement is stepping up strong. Earlier this week, J Street leadership delivered over 18,000 signatures to White House officials demonstrating that large numbers of pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans agree with the Vice President when he says "sometimes only a friend can deliver the hardest truth," and urging the Administration to turn this crisis into an opportunity for progress on two states.

Now that the White House has heard us loud and clear, we're setting our sights on the U.S. Congress.


The Obama Administration can turn this crisis into an opportunity to tackle a core issue at the heart of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians - the need to establish a border between Israel and the future Palestinian state.

Too much time has already been lost in getting the two sides into negotiations. We cannot let any single provocative Israeli announcement of construction in East Jerusalem, no matter how infuriating, delay progress towards a two-state solution. Bold American leadership is needed now to turn this crisis into a real opportunity to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

/Self-hating Jews and intermarried goyim.

Israel Matzav: J Street urges support for Obama against Israel

Israel Matzav: Israel's side of the story

Israel's side of the story

You've heard America's side of the story from Tom Friedman and Martin Indyk. Now, please hear Israel's side of the story from David Hazony.

Israelis are not taking American friendship for granted. They are begging for it.

Israelis are a sentimental lot. Egypt’s Anwar Sadat laid the groundwork for peace just by agreeing to come to Jerusalem and addressing the Knesset — thus showing Israelis his sincerity in seeking coexistence. Bill Clinton won the hearts of millions in the Jewish state when he uttered two simple Hebrew words at the grave of slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin: “Shalom, chaver.” (Goodbye, friend.) Israelis have proven themselves capable of sacrificing a great deal if they are convinced that America is truly with them, supporting their right to live in peace in their ancestral homeland.

Yet President Obama has been unwilling to convey those kinds of simple signals to Israelis. Whether it was his gaffe on the campaign trail, when he called for Jerusalem to be Israel’s “undivided” capital and then immediately backtracked; or his Cairo speech, where he implied that Israel’s right to exist flows from the Holocaust rather than from the Jewish people’s deep roots in the land; or the fact that he has not bothered to visit Israel since taking office — the president has at every turn signaled to Israelis that he is fundamentally not on their side. The result: Judging from opinion polls, he is probably the least popular American president among Israelis in history.

Israelis are willing to give up lands in the West Bank that are suffused with Jewish history, to dismantle settlements and even to set up a Palestinian state, in exchange for peace and security. Jerusalem, however, is another story. It is, for Israelis, not a settlement to be uprooted. It is the country’s capital (America’s refusal to recognize it as such notwithstanding) and its most populous city. In every sense, it is as much a part of the Israeli experience as Tel Aviv or Haifa. Its Jews outnumber its Arabs by a ratio of 2-to-1. And it has had a Jewish majority since the 19th century. It is the city Jews longed to return to for millennia, the city whose reunification in 1967 is the only thing about the Six-Day War that still unites Israeli sentiment. Building in Jerusalem is not just fully within the Israeli consensus, it is for many Israelis the heart of what Zionism was always meant to be about.

By failing to respect Israeli opinion, the Obama administration has done immeasurable harm to Israelis’ sense that America is a friend upon whom they can rely. For Israelis really are looking for that friendship in every word and gesture that comes from Washington. They expect Americans, who tout freedom and democracy, to honor Israel’s own democracy by respecting the decisions of a government that enjoys broader public support than any in the last 20 years. They expect Americans to realize that for decades, Israelis have been fighting on the front lines of the same war that eventually reached Lower Manhattan. They expect a real friendship, one based not just on perceived mutual interests but on loyalty, respect, common ideals and, above all, understanding.

I don't know how much support there is right now in Israel for dismantling 'settlements' or giving up land in the 'West Bank.' There would probably be more support if Israelis felt that whatever land they give up will not be turned into a terror base as happened in Gaza. But other than that, David is spot-on.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Israel's side of the story

Israel Matzav: Obama to propose impose a solution?

Obama to propose impose a solution?

Stung by his inability to move the Middle East 'peace process' forward on a voluntary basis, President Obama is considering proposing imposing a 'solution' on the parties.

But in discussions in recent days, some senior officials have amplified their argument that the American approach needs to change. They said that Israel’s announcement that it would build 1,600 new houses in a disputed area of Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, undermining a trip by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., further called into question the Netanyahu government’s commitment to seriously engaging in the peace talks.

After Washington condemned the housing announcement, Mr. Netanyahu apologized for its timing, but has so far not responded to American demands to rescind the building plan. The series of tense, back-channel interchanges between the two governments, in the words of one administration official, demonstrated to White House officials that “the current status quo won’t work, and won’t get us anywhere.”

If Mr. Obama decided to advance his own proposal, it would likely not be until his special envoy, former Senator George J. Mitchell, had engaged in several months of “proximity talks,” the indirect, American-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. There have been no Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in more than a year. The new round of indirect talks, which was supposed to begin this week, was delayed after the Israeli announcement.

Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Biden talked by telephone on Tuesday, but officials in both countries said little about the tone or details of their discussion. A senior administration official said that the United States was “still awaiting an Israeli response to our request that they take steps to build confidence for the proximity talks.”

Bill Clinton, who was far more trusted by both parties, tried to do that. It didn't get very far. (And recall who said yes and who said no).

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Obama to ;propose impose a solution?

Israel Matzav: Obama administration threatens to boycott Netanyahu

Obama administration threatens to boycott Netanyahu

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are trying to ratchet up the pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Obama, who will be in Indonesia when Netanyahu reaches Washington on Sunday, has threatened that members of his administration will not meet with Netanyahu while he is in Washington unless the crisis is 'resolved' (i.e. Netanyahu caves in to Clinton's and Obama's demands). Netanyahu has meetings scheduled with Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton while he is in Washington.

The US, during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s conversation with Netanyahu on Friday, reportedly demanded that Israel stop the Ramat Shlomo projects in northern Jerusalem, make confidence-building gestures to the Palestinians, and agree that the proximity talks with the Palestinian Authority will deal with core issues of borders, refugees and Jerusalem, and not just technical issues.

Channel 2 reported on Wednesday night that the administration told Netanyahu that until a response to these requests had been received, he would not be able to meet any high level US officials on his upcoming trip to Washington to address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference.

Prior to the explosion of the Ramat Shlomo issue last week, Netanyahu was expected to meet with both Clinton and Biden during his visit. Now neither meeting is confirmed.

A 'compromise' proposed by Israeli President Shimon Peres has apparently already been rejected by Netanyahu's inner cabinet.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been presented with a new proposal according to which construction in Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem that are located behind the Green Line will be reduced, while Jewish construction in Arab neighborhoods will be frozen altogether, Ynet reported Thursday.

A similar proposal was brought before the "forum of seven ministers," but was apparently rejected by right-wing members of cabinet. President Shimon Peres, who met with EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton on Thursday, supports the proposal.

Jewish construction in east Jerusalem has gained momentum since Mayor Nir Barkat took office.

I think Netanyahu has to make another Bar Ilan speech and rally the country behind him. A united Jerusalem under Israeli control is an issue on which nearly all Jewish Israelis agree. Netanyahu has to lead and not be pushed around.

Israel Matzav: Obama administration threatens to boycott Netanyahu

Israel Matzav: Fiorina rips Obama on Israel

Fiorina rips Obama on Israel

In the hotly contested California Republican Senatorial primary race, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has ripped the Obama administration for its handling of the Ramat Shlomo affair. She has also called on the Senator against whom she hopes to run in the general election - Barbara Boxer (D) - to distance herself from Obama's positions on the issue (Hat Tip: Michael F).

"Today, I am calling on Barbara Boxer to add her voice to those in the Senate who have challenged the administration on this matter," she said.

Boxer spokesman Zachary Coile said in an e-mail response that the senator "has always supported Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel."

"She was a lead backer of the Iran Sanctions Act and now she is leading a bipartisan effort to communicate to the administration the Senate's strong support for Israel and a fair peace process," Coile said.

The former Hewlett-Packard CEO said Boxer has challenged Obama on Afghanistan and health care, so "she cannot now withhold from challenging the administration on something of great importance, our friendship and alliance with the state of Israel."


In her speech, Fiorina downplayed the Israeli construction approval, repeatedly calling it a "zoning decision."

Fiorina for weeks has tried to position herself as an ardent defender of Israel in her GOP primary campaign against former Rep. Tom Campbell and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore.

Fiorina has attacked Campbell, the early front-runner, for two 1990 congressional votes against $30 million in aid to Israel and recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. Campbell said he voted against the aid bill because it would have taken away money from African relief projects. He said he voted against the Jerusalem bill because it was a Democratic attempt to embarrass GOP President George H.W. Bush, who requested that he vote no.


Israel Matzav: Fiorina rips Obama on Israel

Israel Matzav: Friends don't treat friends like this

Friends don't treat friends like this

This is a great letter written by Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt (from a Conservative Temple in Potomac, Maryland) to his Congressman, Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

I am very concerned by the hostile and belligerent tone taken by this Administration towards a close ally over an administrative error made by a low-level bureaucrat, and for which Prime Minister Netanyahu has now apologized no less than four times.

While Israel is trying to downplay the issue and to show its willingness to accept responsibility for an unfortunate error in timing, it appears that President Obama is seeking to use this as a pretext to drive a wedge between us and an important reliable ally of long-standing.

One cannot help but wonder –

Why was Abbas’ refusal to accept the US request and Israeli offer for direct negotiations not an “insult and affront” to the United States and the Vice President?

Why was Assad’s meeting with Ahmadinejad the day after the US announced that we were sending an ambassador to Syria ignored by the State Department and not deemed to be an “insult and affront” to the United States?

Why is Palestinian Authority incitement of rioters in Jerusalem and elsewhere not condemned by this administration and not an “insult and affront” to the United States and the Vice President?

Why is the naming of the main public square in Ramallah by Abbas in honor of Fatah terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, murderer of 38 Israelis - 13 of them little kids not an impediment to the peace process and not an insult and affront to the US and Israel????

Not to mention – why does this administration insist on viewing construction in a vacant piece of land, adjacent to existing housing seen as thwarting the two state solution?

Israel Matzav: Friends don't treat friends like this

Israel Matzav: Hamas children's television: Jews defile 'Ibrahimi mosque,' kids must 'liberate Jerusalem'

Hamas children's television: Jews defile 'Ibrahimi mosque,' kids must 'liberate Jerusalem'

This is a Hamas children's television puppet show that tells children that the 'Ibrahimi mosque' (Machpeila Cave) is being stolen by Jews, defiled and turned into a synagogue. The kids are then called upon to 'liberate' Jerusalem and the 'holy places.'

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Hamas children's television: Jews defile 'Ibrahimi mosque,' kids must 'liberate Jerusalem'

Israel Matzav: Peres proposes a compromise

Peres proposes a compromise

With the Obama administration waiting for the answer it wants on Israeli construction for Jews in 'east' Jerusalem, and with Prime Minister Netanyahu's government having given the only answer it apparently intends to give, Israel's President, Shimon Peres, has stepped into the breach and attempted to formulate a compromise.

While Israeli officials were not talking about their discussions with Obama administration officials, the Israeli president, Shimon Peres, who has served as a bridge between Mr. Netanyahu and the Obama administration in the past, floated a possible compromise formula of his own.

While addressing schoolchildren in the central Israeli city of Holon, Mr. Peres suggested making a distinction between Israeli building in Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem that were erected after 1967, and in the Arab neighborhoods where the majority of the city’s Palestinian population lives.

“Previous governments built in Jewish neighborhoods according to the new map and avoided construction in Arab neighborhoods,” Mr. Peres said. “The Palestinians and we decided to continue as such in the past until we reach an agreed upon map.”

The Times reports that the Obama administration is unlikely to accept the compromise.

Given the severity of the current crisis, however, it is doubtful that an Israeli commitment to refrain from building in the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, as Mr. Peres has proposed, will be enough to satisfy the Americans’ demands.

It's been nearly 43 years since Jerusalem was reunited. It is beyond absurd to continue with a charade in which Jewish (but not Arab) building is held in limbo in the hope that maybe, someday, the 'Palestinians' and their Arab patrons will accept the existence of a Jewish state in the Levant, enabling the conflict to be ended.

Moreover, Peres' formula leaves much unresolved. For example, the article mentions the houses in Shimon HaTzadik/Sheikh Jarrah. Those are Jewish-owned houses from which the Arab residents were evicted for non-payment of rent(!). On what basis should that be stopped? What 'construction' is there to suspend there?

In Silwan, which is also mentioned, the City of Jerusalem was ordered by Netanyahu to stop enforcing its zoning laws. How long can that situation persist? What zoning laws should we choose not to enforce.

What about projects under construction on the Mount of Olives (Ras al-Amud) that are being constructed on land that is privately owned by Jews?

Finally, there always was Jewish land ownership in predominantly Arab neighborhoods of the City. Ariel Sharon owns a home in the 'Muslim quarter' of Jerusalem's Old City and has for more than 30 years. There is a yeshiva (probably more than one, but I spent a Sabbath in one thirty years ago) and several synagogues in the Muslim quarter. Would Peres propose to expel them? To prohibit them from making improvements to buildings they have owned for more than thirty years?

This is not the time to cut back on Israel's sovereignty in Jerusalem to satisfy the pique of an anti-Israel administration in the White House. Netanyahu is going to have to say no.

Israel Matzav: Peres proposes a compromise

Israel Matzav: Rasmussen poll on US attitudes toward Israel

Rasmussen poll on US attitudes toward Israel

Rasmussen has a new poll out on US attitudes toward Israel. I suggest that you read it - I'm not going to start quoting a bunch of numbers. But there are two key points in my book.

First, note that all the questions regarding whether Israel should 'stop building settlements' have the caveat "as part of a peace deal." There is no peace deal and there's not likely to be one in your lifetime or mine because the 'Palestinians' and their Arab patrons are still unwilling to accept the Jewish state's 'right to exist.' The American people are smarter than that survey indicates, and if you asked them whether Israel should 'stop building settlements' as a unilateral concession to the 'Palestinians,' I believe that many more Americans would say no.

Second, the most important question is whether Israel is an ally or an enemy of the United States. In this survey, 58% say ally, 2% say enemy and 32% say somewhere in between. In September, 70% said ally, 8% said enemy and 16% said in between. For some reason, Rasmussen's current write-up only mentions the first number and not the latter two. It leaves the question of why 70% has shrunk to 58% hanging.

But the answer to that question is obvious. The survey was taken in the aftermath of Biden's trip to Israel. The average American probably knows very little about what happened, and only heard Biden's pique and Hillary's shrieking. So of course they figure something is wrong.

What's more disturbing is this:

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of GOP voters and 61% of unaffiliateds view Israel as a U.S. ally, a view shared by just 46% of Democrats. Forty-three percent (43%) of Democratic voters see Israel as somewhere between an ally and an enemy.

And 78% of American Jews voted for Obama in the last election. Hagai Ben Artzi may be right in what he said about Obama voters too.

Israel Matzav: Rasmussen poll on US attitudes toward Israel

Israel Matzav: Even-handed would be an improvement

Even-handed would be an improvement

The Obama administration's hostility to Israel did not start last Tuesday when Israel's Interior Ministry announced the construction of 1,600 apartments for Jews in Ramat Shlomo. It's actually one of the few things in this administration's foreign policy that's been consistent since the get-go. But according to Isi Liebler, last week's events in Jerusalem show in a new phase in the Obama administration's hostility to Israel. Obama has crossed a line.

THERE ARE now ominous signals that to obviate their failures, White House strategists are cynically distancing themselves from us in order to curry popularity by capitalizing on the anti-Israeli hatred which has engulfed the world.

Despite continuously incanting the mantra that it remains committed to the alliance with Israel, the White House is not behaving in an even-handed manner. Obama does not disguise his animosity and repeatedly humiliates our prime minister. The administration “condemns” us for building homes, not in densely Arab populated areas of Jerusalem but in Jewish suburbs like Gilo and most recently Ramat Shlomo which most of us regard as Israel no less than Tel Aviv.

Instead of condemning the brutal Palestinian murderer of an Israeli civilian in December, the US requested “clarification” after Israel apprehended the killers who the PA extolled as heroes. They failed to block a UN Security Council resolution criticizing Israeli police for protecting worshippers at the Temple Mount from Arabs hurling stones at them. They even condemned us for authorizing repairs on Jewish heritage sites over the Green Line.

In stark contrast, the US has not publicly reprimanded the PA on a single issue over the past twelve months. It is unconscionable that neither the White House nor the State Department conveyed a word of protest concerning the ongoing incitement and spate of ceremonies sanctifying the memory of the most degenerate suicide killers and mass murderers. Not even when our peace partners President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad personally partook in these ghoulish ceremonies. In fact, during Biden’s visit, the PA announced that they would postpone a ceremony to name a public square in Ramallah to honor Dalal Mughrabi, the female monster responsible for the abominable 1978 massacre in which 37 Israelis including 13 children were butchered. Nevertheless the ceremony took place and the PA TV interviewed Mughrabi’s sister who stated: “This is a day of glory and pride for the Palestinian people. We must unite, and our rifles must unite, against the enemy who steals our land.” The US failed to register a protest.

Read the whole thing.

None of this should come as a surprise to anyone who reads this blog. After several posts dealing with Obama over the previous year, in February 2008, I warned that Obama was "bad for the Jews." Unfortunately, an awful lot of people didn't listen.

Although I am pleased with the prospect of a Republican retaking of Congress in November, I fear that it may rein in Obama on domestic policies but not on foreign policies. Reining him in may also improve his chances of re-election in 2012, in which case, we would have four years of what is essentially a lame duck anti-Semite in the White House (yes, I agree with Hagai Ben Artzi about that - there is no escaping it even if Bibi himself cannot say it).

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Even-handed would be an improvement

Israel Matzav: Grandpa destroyed all synagogues in 'east' Jerusalem, Grandson doesn't want them rebuilt

Grandpa destroyed all synagogues in 'east' Jerusalem, Grandson doesn't want them rebuilt

Sixty-two years ago, the army of his grandfather, who was also called Abdullah, destroyed dozens of synagogues in Jerusalem's Old City, overturned gravestones on the Mount of Olives and used them for latrines and to to pave the walkway to the Intercontinental Hotel. The eastern half of the City of Jerusalem was made judenrein. Jews, from whatever country, were not permitted to go there.

I can recall that when I was a child, there was a widow in my synagogue who was blonde, had been born in Germany, and definitely did not look Jewish. Not knowing what lay ahead, a few months before the Six-Day War she traveled to Jordan in order to go visit the Western Wall. It was the only way to do it back then.

Sixty-two years after Jerusalem's synagogues were destroyed, Abdullah's grandson and namesake, now the King of the most anti-Semitic country in the World, is trying to stand in the way of Jewish rebuilding in 'east' Jerusalem. He does so through the usual Arab - Muslim whining and seething.

The international community should not stand by and watch as Israel attempts to rid Jerusalem of its Arab residents, Jordanian King Abdullah II said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Jerusalem is a red line and the world should not be silent about Israel's attempts to get rid of Jerusalem's Arabs residents, Muslims or Christians," the Dubai daily Khaleej Times quoted the king as saying to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Amman.

Abdullah's comments came a day after the heaviest clashes in months broke out across the city during the orchestrated "day of rage" announced by Hamas, as the militant organization urged Muslims to reach the Temple Mount compound in order to protect it from an Israeli attempt to take it over.

On Tuesday, hundreds of Palestinians in east Jerusalem set tires and garbage bins ablaze and hurled rocks at Israeli riot police, who responded with rubber bullets and tear gas.

The Jordanian monarch reportedly demanded the international community take a firm, swift, direct and effective action to "stop Israel's provocative measures in Jerusalem, that seek to change its identity and threaten holy sites there," he said.

Some 3,000 officers were put on high alert on Wednesday after Hamas called for anti-Israel protests. "We call on the Palestinian people to regard Tuesday as a day of rage against the occupation's [Israel's] procedures in Jerusalem against Al-Aqsa mosque," Hamas said in a statement.

Neither of the two incidents that have enraged the Arabs this week is about getting rid of Jerusalem's Arabs or about changing the composition of the city. As I noted above and more extensively here, the Churva synagogue existed for centuries and was destroyed by the Jordanians. All Israel is doing is re-building what existed before. And as to Ramat Shlomo, where the Arabs could not allow the Obama administration to be more 'Palestinian' than they are, Ramat Shlomo was built on an empty ridge, the top of which had been cleared (and subsequently not used) for a soccer stadium in the late 1970's.

But logic is not the issue here. The issue is the Arab attempt, which has continued since before the Jewish state was established, to destroy the Jewish state.

Israel Matzav: Grandpa destroyed all synagogues in 'east' Jerusalem, Grandson doesn't want them rebuilt

Israel Matzav: The Obama intifada

The Obama intifada

Ben Shapiro believes that President Obama's deliberate provocation to Israel last week was the result of American domestic political considerations: Obama wants to distract Americans from his failure at health care.

Make no mistake -- the timing of the latest Obama-Israel spat is purposeful on the Obama administration's part. This response was far too well-rehearsed for it to have been triggered by something equivalent to a Housing and Urban Development dispute in the United States. You would think that Biden, the presiding officer of the Senate, would be useful during a health care debate. You would think that Obama could send Mitchell or Hillary or someone remotely qualified on Middle Eastern politics. But that's not what Obama wanted. Obama sent Biden to Israel on March 8, even as the House and Senate looked for a way to ram through the health care bill, because he wanted Biden's visit to trigger headlines.

And trigger headlines it did. Obama has been pressing Israel since his inauguration to concede to Palestinian Arab terrorists; he even sent his Jewish "Benedict Arnold" Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee annual conference last year to inform Jews that if they didn't appease Palestinian Arab terrorists, the Obama administration would allow Iran to go nuclear. The Obama administration's anti-Israel ire is nothing new.

What is new is the level of the Obama administration's rhetoric, which has brought American-Israeli relations to the lowest point since 1956. Even as the Obama administration condemned Israel for supposedly stalling the Orwellian "peace process," Palestinian Arabs were rioting in a Hamas-sponsored "day of rage" to protest the reopening of a Jerusalem synagogue ripped down by Arabs in 1948. The synagogue is located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, sovereign Israeli territory by any estimation. Yet we have not heard a peep from the Obama administration about the Arab riots over their wish to establish Judenrein in Jewish Jerusalem proper.

On Tuesday, hundreds of Arabs throughout Jerusalem burned tires and threw rocks at border guards. An Israeli policeman was shot in East Jerusalem. What do we hear from the Obama administration? Silence. This is the Obama Intifada. It is he who has suggested that the Palestinian Arabs have legitimate grievances, that Israel is the victimizer, and that the United States will stand aside and allow violent atrocities by Arabs to go forward without comment. He wants this Intifada, and he's got it.

The Obama Intifada will serve a dual purpose: it will knock health care off the front pages, and it will provide a "crisis" for Obama to solve. If a few Jews get killed, Obama doesn't truly care. What's a few eggs if you're frying up a socialized health care omelet? What's a few Jews if you can win another Nobel Peace Prize?

I don't know about that. Obama hates us enough to provoke an intifada without the health care thing as an excuse.

But read the whole thing. I even added a word to my vocabulary.

Israel Matzav: The Obama intifada

Israel Matzav: How Chicago diplomacy makes really easy, really hard

How Chicago diplomacy makes really easy, really hard

Rick Richman reviews the Middle East 'peace process' during the terms of the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government, and points out that Netanyahu actually was much more accommodating than he had any business being and that it's President Obumbler who has made things 'really hard.'

Things were not “really hard” — Netanyahu had made them relatively easy with his proposal for immediate negotiations. Nor were there political problems “on both sides” — Netanyahu had overcome the ones on his side and put forward a constructive way to proceed. But Arab expectations soared as they watched Obama renege on prior U.S. commitments, demand new concessions from Israel before negotiations could start, and obviate the need for the Palestinians to negotiate themselves.

A year later, Obama has made the same mistake again, choosing to escalate a low-level administrative approval of housing in a longstanding Jewish part of Jerusalem into a crisis with Israel. It is another display of Chicago-style diplomacy designed to demand concessions he knows Netanyahu cannot make, and that were not a condition of the prior negotiations that produced three Israeli offers of a state. Once again, Obama will send Arab expectations even higher, send Israeli trust in him even lower, and reduce the chances of success for any “proximity talks” from slim to none. Another triumph of smart diplomacy — complete with, as Noah notes, a denigration of the intelligence of Israel’s leader.

Yes, this past week has made something that was 'really hard' even harder. What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: How Chicago diplomacy makes really easy, really hard

Love of the Land: Oren Explains, We Translate

Oren Explains, We Translate

Jennifer Rubin
18 March '10

Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren writes in the New York Times to cool temperatures and to remind the Obama administration of where we stand. His language is diplomatic; his message, blunt. We’ll attempt to translate.

First, the explanation as to what occurred:

[A] mid-level official in the Interior Ministry announced an interim planning phase in the expansion of Ramat Shlomo, a northern Jerusalem neighborhood. While this discord was unfortunate, it was not a historic low point in United States-Israel relations; nor did I ever say that it was, contrary to some reports.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had no desire during a vice presidential visit to highlight longstanding differences between the United States and Israel on building on the other side of the 1949 armistice line that once divided Jerusalem. The prime minister repeatedly apologized for the timing of the announcement and pledged to prevent such embarrassing incidents from recurring. In reply, the Obama administration asked Israel to reaffirm its commitment to the peace process and to its bilateral relations with the United States. Israel is dedicated to both.

Undiplomatic translation: I’m not bringing up, as many news outlets reported, that Hillary Clinton is demanding a reversal of the housing announcement and some other, unnamed concessions. Because that’s not going to happen.

Then Oren sets out to put the dispute in context and disabuse Obama and other feckless lawmakers and analysts of the notion that the recent move was extraordinary. “That [Jerusalem] policy is not Mr. Netanyahu’s alone but was also that of former Prime Ministers Ehud Barak, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Golda Meir — in fact of every Israeli government going back to the city’s reunification in 1967. Consistently, Israel has held that Jerusalem should remain its undivided capital and that both Jews and Arabs have the right to build anywhere in the city.”

Undiplomatic translation: This is not unknown to the Obami, of course. They may be dim, but someone there knows this was nothing out of the ordinary and in keeping with Israeli policy and conduct for decades.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Oren Explains, We Translate

Love of the Land: The President's Middle East Playbook

The President's Middle East Playbook

Avi Davis
American Thinker
18 March '10

Barack Obama has achieved the impossible. He has managed to bring together secular Israelis and ultra-Orthodox Jews in a heated campaign against him. His administration's determination to use an Israeli housing construction project in Northern Jerusalem as the pretext for a diplomatic crisis, has set him on a collision course not just with Israelis of all stripes but even with American Jews who are growing increasingly apprehensive of just where this President intends to lead them.

Did he anticipate this? No one can know for sure. But his determination to face down Benjamin Netanyahu and force him to cancel the permit for 1600 units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood of Jerusalem has already backfired. Coming right at the opening of the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. this weekend, he is about to become the first post- war Democratic President whose name may be greeted with derision by a convocation of Jews.

Almost anyone who lives in Jerusalem knows that the area in dispute, Ramat Shlomo, is a Jewish neighborhood and has been so for thirty years. It is surrounded by other Jewish neighborhoods and no Israeli in their right mind would consider surrendering it in any final peace deal with the Palestinians. Giving up Ramat Shlomo would be the equivalent of giving up the world famous Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, the tony Jerusalem suburb of French Hill and even the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City. All three are just as integrated into the Jewish identity of Jerusalem as Ramat Shlomo. Only by accepting the Palestinian narrative - that all of Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinians, could anyone possibly envision the suburb as future Palestinian territory.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: The President's Middle East Playbook

Love of the Land: The Temple in Jerusalem: Our Raison d'etre

The Temple in Jerusalem: Our Raison d'etre

The Jewish Leadership Weekly Newsletter
3 Nissan, 5770 (March 18)
Issue 7025

At this week's dedication ceremony for the newly re-built Hurva Synagogue, Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger made the following disturbing statement:

Chief Rabbi: Talk about new temple a lie
"Pay no attention to malicious slander. All we are doing is resurrecting the 'Hurva,' which was destroyed 60 years ago. We have no intention of rebuilding the temple, not this week – unless the Almighty God descends it from the heavens," said the chief rabbi during the inauguration ceremony. (Ynet: March 15, '10)

All of Rabbi Metzger's prayers, blessings and Torah learning revolve around the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Are they all lies? The Chief Rabbi - and all the rabbis who work in an official state capacity on the condition that they leave the Torah in its current state of exile – will not tell the truth.

The truth is that we have every intention of building the Temple! The debate as to the actual construction of the Temple – if it will be built by humans or if it will descend from Heaven or if it will be a synthesis of both – has nothing to do with the basic desire of every Jew to build the Temple.

"And they shall make a Temple for Me," G-d directs us in Exodus 25:8.
He does not instruct us to simply dream about a Temple. He does not instruct us to merely pray for a Temple. G-d commands us to build the Temple.

The Nation of Israel exists to make a dwelling place for G-d on earth. That is why the State of Israel exists, as well. Our mission as Jews is to perfect the world in the Kingdom of Heaven - to crown G-d as King of the world. The geographical location where this mission will manifest is the Temple, on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The world knows the truth. That is why the forces of evil do battle with our grasp on the Land of Israel and on Jerusalem. They are fighting against the universal conscience that threatens to triumph. "The Jew is the conscience of the world and thus must be destroyed" (Hitler, may his name be blotted out). That, in a nutshell, is the battle that Ahmadinijad, Obama and the Europeans are waging against the Nation of Israel. They wish to destroy the Jew and his reshaping of reality into G-dliness – the reality that is grounded in the Land of Israel, via Jerusalem and that necessarily leads to the Temple that Rabbi Metzger insists on relegating to the realm of dreams.

The struggle against the building freeze in Judea and Samaria and the stranglehold closing in on Jerusalem all stem from the same, fundamental question: Will the Jewish People fulfill their mission and live or will we distance ourselves from it and become extraneous, G-d forbid?

All the Torah portions of the previous weeks provide us with the technical specifications for the Temple, bringing it closer to reality. Only the Chief Rabbi and his ilk alienate themselves from the precious charge deposited in our hands, explaining that it is all a lie.

Our weekly Torah portion, though, gives us hope for the future. The entire portion revolves around the service of G-d in the Holy Temple. Near the end, the Torah expounds on repentance. Because in the end, all the Jews will return to G-d. The leftists, the official rabbis, everyone. There are moments, like after the Six Day War, when the Jewish heart opens and longs for the Temple. May we merit to build it soon. All the Jews, together.

Shabbat Shalom.........Moshe Feiglin

Love of the Land: The Temple in Jerusalem: Our Raison d'etre
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