Monday, 22 March 2010

Israel Matzav: What was missing in Hillary's AIPAC speech

What was missing in Hillary's AIPAC speech

Rick Richman points out what was missing in Hillary Clinton's AIPAC speech on Monday.

At yesterday’s Roundtable on Foreign Policy, there was the following exchange between moderator Dan Senor, Dr. Robert Kagan, and Senator Evan Bayh:

Dan Senor: Rob, there has been an attempt at engagement for — with Iran now for a year. The results speak for themselves. What are President Obama’s policy options for Iran?

Dr. Robert Kagan: Dan, the president came to office, in my estimation, believing that the key problem with Iran was Iran’s isolation, and you solve the isolation problem through engagement. Well, we figured out pretty early on that that was a mis-analysis, that the key problem was that Iran really wants to have a nuclear bomb. And if that’s the problem, then you need a different strategy, and there are three necessary elements to that strategy. One is diplomacy, second is economic sanctions, and third is a credible threat of force that’s — hovers in the background to compel the Iranians to take seriously the sanctions and the diplomacy. (Applause.)

Now — now, to — to the credit of the president, he has moved from a reliance solely on engagement to endorsing significant, although not yet crippling, sanctions. We’re slow. It’s taking too long. They won’t be comprehensive enough, but most importantly, they’re unlikely to be effective without the third part. ….

Dan Senor: Senator Bayh, is — is that credible threat of force there? The — at — at least the — the projection of it.

Sen. Evan Bayh: I’m not sure it’s there in the minds of the Iranians right now, but it needs to be there. …

So I — I agree entirely with what Rob said, and if you want to just be clear-eyed and realistic about this, we need to go with aggressive sanctions that are likely to hurt the regime, particularly the revolutionary guards. But you — you want to be honest about it, that’s unlikely to work.

The absence in Secretary Clinton’s speech of any sense of urgency, or of a possible Plan C, will be noted by those looking for something more significant than a rhetorical expression of “determination.”

Yes, and that's no change either. That's been the problem with the Obama approach to Iran since Day One.

Israel Matzav: What was missing in Hillary's AIPAC speech

Love of the Land: NGO “Apartheid State” Campaign: Deliberately Immoral or Intellectually Lazy?

NGO “Apartheid State” Campaign: Deliberately Immoral or Intellectually Lazy?

NGO Monitor
22 March '10

-Labeling Israel an apartheid state is part of a larger strategy of political warfare that includes NGO boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns and “lawfare” cases against Israelis. It is the latest manifestation of the 1975 UN “Zionism is racism” resolution and the 2001 Durban Conference NGO Forum declaration.

-The only internationally recognized case of apartheid was in South Africa. Customary law is based therefore on those practices that were unique in apartheid South Africa. Since Israel does not share these practices, it cannot be defined as an apartheid state under international law.

-Many NGO claims and legal arguments equating Israel with apartheid South Africa originate with the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department and were developed for propaganda purposes.

-Many NGOs falsely portray the Arab-Israeli conflict as a dispute motivated by alleged Jewish race-hatred of Arabs, rather than one based on competing national and territorial claims.

-A significant portion of the organizations involved in apartheid based demonization receive substantial funds from the European Union, European governments, New Israel Fund (NIF), Ford Foundation, and George Soros’ Open Society Institute.

-NIF’s funding of such organizations is entirely inconsistent with a March 2010 statement by CEO Daniel Sokatch, that “apartheid” is “a historically inaccurate and inflammatory term that serves only to demonize Israel and alienate a majority of Jews around the world.”

(Read full report)

Love of the Land: NGO “Apartheid State” Campaign: Deliberately Immoral or Intellectually Lazy?

Love of the Land: Third Act for the Jerusalem Crisis this Week

Third Act for the Jerusalem Crisis this Week

Leo Rennert
American Thinker
22 March '10

Relations between the United States and Israel hit crisis level last week. The drama has played out in two acts so far. The third act comes this week, and it determines whether this whole situation will be a tragedy or farce.

According to the New York Times, the acrimonious ten-day confrontation between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is over -- with each side claiming victory. American officials say that they got important concessions from Israel, while Israeli officials say that Netanyahu didn't give away anything of real importance -- certainly not on Jerusalem, which, after all, was the casus belli for this U.S.-precipitated oratorical row.

Upon review of what actually transpired during these tense ten days, there's a lingering question that should nevertheless haunt Obama for a long time: Did he and his subordinates really need to huff and puff so vociferously against Israel and end up with so little?

The sudden crisis in U.S.-Israel relations can be divided into two parts -- the first involving a major Israeli screw-up, the second involving a much bigger Obama screw-up. In fact, what was barely a mini-crisis in the first act turned into a full-blown set-to when Obama raised the stakes for both sides big time.

The fuse was lit when visiting Vice President Biden was blindsided by an announcement from Israel's Interior Ministry that an interim approval was given to proposed plans for the addition of 1,600 apartment units in Ramat Shlomo -- an ultra-orthodox Jewish neighborhood in northeast Jerusalem. With the U.S. trying to get indirect peace talks underway, Biden was furious and criticized the Israeli move as an unnecessary and provocative obstacle to the peace process. He kept Netanyahu waiting for ninety minutes at a dinner hosted by the Israeli leader to draft a fairly sharp response.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Third Act for the Jerusalem Crisis this Week

RubinReports: Life in the Fourth Grade: The indoctrination never ends

Life in the Fourth Grade: The indoctrination never ends

Today: Discussion in class on why limits on immigration were historically racist. My son, who had been briefed, pointed out that the restrictions followed a huge wave of immigration which needed to be absorbed and that there was fear of massive unemployment. But the teacher said that it was racist because the figures for Africa and Asia were low. It's quite true that in the 1920s there was a racialist aspect to the restrictions but of course there had never been much immigration from Africa. As for Asia, there was a major issue with the fear of cheap labor. Trade unions were major supporters of immigration restriction.

At any rate, what's at issue here is not a historical argument but the message being given constantly to the kids that any restrictions on immigration today would be racist, the basic idea that countries have no right to restrict immigration or to preserve a national ethos.

That's not the main item, though. Each student was assigned to draw a picture. My son told me that his assignment was to draw something on the "mistreatment of the Chinese."

You should know that given the teacher's constant emphasis on the internment of Japanese by the US during World War Two, he had constantly pointed out that this was not racist since the US did not intern any other Asians and was very pro-Chinese and pro-Filipino. He then talked about how the Japanese government had been far more oppressive than the US, killing millions of Chinese civilians and looking on the Chinese as racially inferior.

I thought: OK he talked so much about it, he was assigned (I only later found out he pulled a slip from the pile) to draw a picture of Japanese soldiers killing Chinese civilians. And I was going to help him research things like the "rape of Nanking," one of the worst such atrocities.

So I said to him: "Ah, you are assigned to draw a picture of the Chinese being oppressed by the Japanese?"

"No," he answered, "of the Chinese being oppressed by the Americans."

When given this assignment, he told the teacher: "I don't believe in this."

She replied, "It isn't a matter of believing in it. These are straight historic facts."

Now of course it is true that, for example, Chinese workers on railroad construction in the late nineteenth century were paid less than American-born workers. There was also at one time a Chinese Exclusion Act. But there are also the stories of Chinese immigrants coming to America, being far better treated than they were at home (by their own ruling class, landlords, and governments not to mention their fellow-Asians from Japan), and doing very well. None of this, of course, will be mentioned.

The point is not to cover up the past problems of American society but to:

--Point out how they were corrected voluntarily.
--The scope a free system gave for organization and efforts by immigrant groups to improve their lot.
--The oppression in their home countries that made people want to immigrate in the first place.
--How others treated people far worse.
--How such immigrants and their children have become the greatest believers in the American dream and patriots precisely because they know what they have gained.

You can add to the list. But these kids will never hear about any of this.

RubinReports: Life in the Fourth Grade: The indoctrination never ends

Israel Matzav: Eric Cantor's AIPAC speech

Eric Cantor's AIPAC speech

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor's (R-Va.) speech to AIPAC can be found here. Here are some highlights.

We are in a critical time. Now is not the time to be picking fights with Israel in what seems to be an attempt to curry favor with the Arab world. Now is the time when the U.S. must stand with Israel in the global struggle against the threats posed by radical Islam.

It is times like these when we must remember what happens when Americans and decent-minded people everywhere fail to stand up to evil. Seventy years ago, after the violence of Kristallnacht, newspapers across America screamed Hitler’s warning that the Jews would be wiped out unless other countries took them in. Hitler correctly predicted that the world would be shocked, but do nothing. The U.S. Congress refused to raise quotas on refugees. The State Department erected a barricade of paperwork to keep the Jews out.

In 1938, two members of Congress sponsored a bill to admit 20,000 German-Jewish children into the United States. It was a priority for many Americans, including the first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. But isolationist forces sabotaged the effort, and even the president failed to offer his full backing. The result? The bill died. And 20,000 Jewish children, who could have been saved, joined the 1.5 million children who would die in the Holocaust. Another instructive moment can be found in the tragic journey of the ship St. Louis.

Exactly 9 years to the day before the birth of the State of Israel, some 900 German Jews fleeing the Nazis set sail from Hamburg en route to Havana, Cuba – where they thought they had permission to land. But when the St. Louis pulled into Havana Harbor two weeks later, virtually all of the passengers were denied entry. Efforts to pay Cuban officials to accept the Jews broke down, and the ship was soon ordered out of Havana. On its way back to the cauldron of Europe, the St. Louis sailed so close to America’s shores that the passengers could see the lights of Miami. So near, yet so far. The German boat captain pleaded with U.S. officials for permission to dock. But instead of helping them come ashore, the U.S. Coast Guard patrolled the waters to make certain no one tried to jump ship. Passengers aboard the St. Louis frantically cabled President Roosevelt begging for refuge, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. The State Department’s reply: Get in line and wait your turn.

American Jews and other well meaning Americans were powerless to move our government to save countless lives. There was no State of Israel to take the Jews in. In fact, British-run Palestine was off-limits to Jewish refugees. At that moment, the tragic fate of the passengers was sealed. The majority were destined for the death camps. The takeaway for us? We must do all we can to ensure the survival of the state of Israel.


Let’s face it. Israel is not the problem. From Yemen to Afghanistan to Pakistan, terrorists are not going to lay down their arms against America if we abandon Israel. We must do everything possible to hold the media accountable and empower our communities at home with an understanding of the true nature of our shared struggle with Israel. We must begin with Iran. To those growing voices that say we shouldn’t take seriously the threats of a “madman”, we must ask: “Have we not been down this road before?”

We cannot take cover under the notion that we can actually deter a nuclear Iran. That would merely be lulling ourselves into a false sense of security. Iran must be dealt with firmly, with real sanctions that have real teeth. The message should be clear: If you deal with Iran, you are not welcome to deal with the U.S. Stopping the regime in Iran will involve empowering the domestic opposition and delivering Tehran the message that our willingness to use force is on the table.

Israel Matzav: Eric Cantor's AIPAC speech

Israel Matzav: Mother's Day, Fatah style

Mother's Day, Fatah style

It's here. Note that this is Fatah - not Hamas.

Israel Matzav: Mother's Day, Fatah style

Israel Matzav: Israel condemned again

Israel condemned again

Hmmm (Hat Tip: Edward F.)

Paris 03-21-10 (AFP) Israel was condemned for allowing use of umbrellas at the Western Wall. Secretary of State Clinton said that U.S. "strongly condemns erection of temporary structures in disputed areas." Israeli P.M Netanyahu apologized for the incident but noted that all umbrellas were destroyed by rocks thrown from an adjacent Mosque. Ms. Clinton praised Palestinian restraint in not using guns or bombs.


(Yes, it's a parody).

Israel Matzav: Israel condemned again

Israel Matzav: How to conduct negotiations between Israel and the 'Palestinians'

How to conduct negotiations between Israel and the 'Palestinians'

While I would never suggest offering anything even remotely close to what Ehud Olmert offered the 'Palestinians,' Jackson Diehl has a good point about how 'negotiations' should be conducted.

As Rice might have told the current White House, lesson No. 1 from history is that there will always be a provocation that threatens to derail peace talks -- before they start, when they start and regularly thereafter. Israeli settlement announcements are among the most common, along with the orchestration by West Bank Palestinians of violent demonstrations and attacks from Gaza by Hamas. The Obama administration saw all three in the past 10 days: It went ballistic over one and barely registered the other two.

The trick is not to let the provocation become the center of attention but instead to insist on proceeding with the negotiations. That is what Rice did when news of the Jerusalem settlement of Har Homa broke. In public, she delivered a clear but relatively mild statement saying the United States had opposed the settlement "from the very beginning." In private, she told Olmert: Don't let that happen again. For Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the message was equally blunt: You can come to the table and negotiate a border for a Palestinian state, making settlements irrelevant. Or you can boycott and let the building continue.

Not surprisingly, Abbas -- who has taken Obama's public assault on Israel as a cue to boycott -- showed up for Rice's negotiations. The Bush administration privately offered him an assurance: Any Israeli settlement construction that took place during the talks would not be accepted by the United States when it came time to draw a final Israeli border. On settlements, Rice adopted a pragmatic guideline she called the "Google Earth test": A settlement that visibly expanded was a problem; one that remained within its existing territorial boundary was not.

The virtue of all this is that Rice got the Israelis and Palestinians talking not about settlements but what they really needed to be discussing -- the future Palestine. Olmert and Abbas went over everything: the border, the future of Jerusalem and its holy sites, security arrangements, how to handle the millions of Palestinian refugees still living in camps. Privately, they agreed on a lot. Eventually, Olmert presented Abbas with a detailed plan for a final settlement -- one that, in its concessions to Palestinian demands, went beyond anything either Israel or the United States had ever put forward. Among other things it mandated a Palestinian state with a capital in Jerusalem and would have allowed 10,000 refugees to return to Israel.

That's when Rice learned another lesson the new administration seems not to have picked up: This Palestinian leadership has trouble saying "yes." Confronted with a draft deal that would have been cheered by most of the world, Abbas balked. He refused to sign on; he refused to present a counteroffer. Rice and Bush implored him to join Olmert at the White House for a summit. Olmert would present his plan to Bush, and Abbas would say only that he found it worth discussing. The Palestinian president refused.

I wonder what would have happened in late 2008 had Abu Mazen not been so confident that Obama would force the Israelis to give him what he wants. Hmmm.

Israel Matzav: How to conduct negotiations between Israel and the 'Palestinians'

Israel Matzav: Clinton decides that Hamas controls Ramallah

Clinton decides that Hamas controls Ramallah

Hillary Clinton has given her speech to the AIPAC conference. You can find the full transcript here (8-page pdf). The headline of this post came in the middle of this speech. It is nothing short of astounding that Clinton is so misinformed (or is she lying?) that she believes Hamas was behind the dedication of that square in Ramallah to mass murderer Dalal al-Mughrabi. Well, it was Fatah.

Here are some 'highlights' of Clinton's speech with my comments thrown in.

Given the shared challenges we face, the relationship between the United States and Israel has never been more important. The United States has long recognized that a strong and secure Israel is vital to our own strategic interests. We know that the forces that threaten Israel also threaten the United States. And we firmly believe that when we strengthen Israel’s security, we strengthen America’s security.

So from its first day, the Obama administration has worked to promote Israel’s security and long-term success. As Vice President Biden said in Israel, we know that to make progress in this region, there must be no gap between the United States and Israel on security. And there will not be. For President Obama, for me, and for this entire administration, our commitment to Israel’s security and Israel’s future is rock solid.

Except that's not what President Obama told 'Jewish leaders' in July.

A private meeting Monday held to ease tensions between the White House and American Jewish leaders included a pointed exchange as President Obama said public disagreements between the U.S. government and Israel are useful in the pursuit of Middle East peace, several participants said.

The president's remarks, surprising to some in the room, came as he was questioned about a perceived distance between his administration and Israel -- specifically in his insistence that Israel halt all settlement construction in the West Bank.


Obama, according to participants, said his approach would build more credibility with Arabs, and he criticized the Bush administration policy of unwavering agreement with Israel as ineffective.

Back to Clinton.

Last fall, I stood next to Prime Minister Netanyahu and praised his government’s decision to place a moratorium on new residential construction in the West Bank. And then I praised it again in Marrakesh and Cairo. We also made clear that this was just a first step and, like every administration for decades, underscored that the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. As Israel’s friend, it is our responsibility to give credit when it is due and to tell the truth when it is needed.

Actually that's not what every administration said. Only Obama's and Carter's. Every other administration characterized the 'settlements' as 'not helpful,' but did not question Israel's right to establish them.

Under President Obama’s leadership, we have reinvigorated defense consultations, redoubled our efforts to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge, and provided nearly $3 billion in annual military assistance. In fact, that assistance increased in 2010 and we have requested another increase for 2011. More than 1,000 U.S. troops participated in Juniper Cobra ballistic missile defense exercises last fall, the largest such drill to date. And President Obama has made achieving peace and recognized borders for Israel a top administration priority.

And placed a de facto embargo on arms to Israel.

In addition to threatening Israel, a nuclear-armed Iran would embolden its terrorist clientele and would spark an arms race that could destabilize the region. This is unacceptable. Unacceptable to the United States. Unacceptable to Israel. And unacceptable to the region and the international community.

So let me be very clear: The United States is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

How determined? Determined enough to go to war? Because that's going to be the only way to stop them and to date this administration has set avoiding war as its number one goal.

We are working with our partners in the United Nations on new Security Council sanctions that will show Iran’s leaders that there are real consequences for their intransigence, that the only choice is to live up to their international obligations. Our aim is not incremental sanctions, but sanctions that will bite. It is taking time to produce these sanctions, and we believe that time is a worthwhile investment for winning the broadest possible support for our efforts. But we will not compromise our commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring these weapons.

Let's cut the chase. When are these sanctions going to come? Before or after Iran completes its development of nuclear weapons? You promised September, December and February. Next week is April 1. When is it going to happen already?

Iran is not the only threat on the horizon. Israel today is confronting some of the toughest challenges in her history. The conflict with the Palestinians and with Israel’s Arab neighbors is an obstacle to prosperity and opportunity for Israelis, Palestinians, and people across the region. And it threatens Israel’s long-term future as a secure and democratic Jewish state.


First, we cannot ignore the long-term population trends that result from Israeli occupation. As Defense Minister Barak and others have observed, the inexorable mathematics of demography are hastening the hour at which Israelis may have to choose between preserving their democracy and staying true to the dream of a Jewish homeland. Given this reality, a two-state solution is the only viable path for Israel to remain both a democracy and a Jewish state.

Actually, Israel seems to be prospering quite well regardless of the conflict. Hmmm.

For that matter, the 'Palestinians' (well, the Fatah part anyway) had the largest jump in GDP in the region last year.

And the only threat to Israel's long-term future as a secure and democratic Jewish state are people who are trying to get us to go back to the insecure Auschwitz borders that existed before 1967. The so-called demographic threat is nonsense and most Israelis know it.

Second, we cannot be blind to the political implications of continued conflict. There is a struggle between those in the region who accept peace and coexistence with Israel, and those who reject it and seek only continued violence. The status quo strengthens the rejectionists who claim peace is impossible and weakens those who would accept coexistence. That does not serve Israel's interests or our own. Those willing to negotiate need to be able to show results for their efforts. And those who preach violence must be proven wrong. All of our regional challenges -- confronting the threat posed by Iran, combating violent extremism, promoting democracy and economic opportunity – become harder if rejectionists grow in power and influence.

Who in this region accepts peace and co-existence with Israel? Egypt? Jordan? (Both of whom refuse to normalize relations with Israel despite having entered into treaties with us many years ago). Surely she cannot believe that Syria or Iran is suddenly going to accept us because we facilitate the creation of a 'Palestinian' state reichlet?

Finally, we must recognize that the ever-evolving technology of war is making it harder to guarantee Israel’s security. For six decades, Israelis have guarded their borders vigilantly. But advances in rocket technology mean that Israeli families are now at risk far from those borders. Despite efforts at containment, rockets with better guidance systems, longer range, and more destructive power are spreading across the region. Hizbollah has amassed tens of thousands of rockets on Israel’s northern border. Hamas has a substantial number in Gaza. And even if some of these are still crude, they all pose a serious danger, as we saw last week.

Does she really think Hezbullah will give up those rockets if there's a 'Palestinian state'? Does she really think Hamas will give up theirs if there's a 'Palestinian state' alongside Israel or if Fatah controls that state? You've got to be kidding.

Behind these terrorist organizations and their rockets, we see the destabilizing influence of Iran. Reaching a two-state solution will not end all these threats, but failure to do so gives our extremist foes a pretext to spread violence, instability, and hatred.

Who says they even need the pretext? Israel's very existence is the pretext. This conflict is existential - if it were about borders the 'Palestinians' would have accepted one of the offers of statehood they've gotten in the last ten years if not one of the tens of offers that they got before that. But they didn't because the conflict is existential. If we give them a state, all we do is strip ourselves of the space we need to defend ourselves.

The way forward is clear: two states for two peoples living side by side in peace and security, with peace between Israel and Syria, and Israel and Lebanon, and normal relations between Israel and all the Arab states. A comprehensive peace that is real and not a slogan, that is rooted in genuine recognition of Israel's right to exist in peace and security, and that offers the best way to ensure Israel's enduring survival and well-being. And, it is a goal that the Obama administration is determined to achieve.

If the way forward is so clear, why didn't your husband get it done? Have you asked him? Who said yes and who said no?

When a Hamas-controlled municipality glorifies violence and renames a square after a terrorist who murdered innocent Israelis, it insults the families on both sides who have lost loves ones in this conflict. And when instigators deliberately mischaracterize the rededication of a synagogue in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem’s old city and call upon their brethren to “defend” nearby Muslim holy sites from so-called “attacks,” it is purely and simply an act of incitement. These provocations are wrong and must be condemned for needlessly inflaming tensions and imperiling prospects for a comprehensive peace.

This is what I used to headline this post. What a bleeping moron. Ramallah - the city that named the square after Dalal al Mughrabi - is controlled by FATAH not Hamas. Dalal al Mughrabi was a FATAH terorrist. FATAH did that dedication - not Hamas. What will it take to get through her thick skull that FATAH ARE TERRORISTS just like Hamas. They just talk more nicely.

New construction in East Jerusalem or the West Bank undermines mutual trust and endangers the proximity talks that are the first step toward the full negotiations that both sides want and need.

Then why does it only matter when it's Israeli construction. If we're asked to freeze construction so as not to change anything, why aren't the 'Palestinians'?

We commend the government of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad for the reforms they have undertaken to strengthen law and order, and the progress they have made in improving the quality of life in the West Bank. But we encourage them to redouble their efforts to put an end to incitement and violence, continue to ensure security and rule of law, and ingrain a culture of peace and tolerance among Palestinians.

What reforms? What efforts to end incitement?

By the way, Laura Rozen reported that they changed the seating arrangements in the hall so that it would be harder to hear Clinton being booed.

One attendee says ahead of Clinton's speech to the conference, "They've set up the hall so that there are fewer people between the podium and the TV cameras than usual." To lessen the chance of any "boos" being picked up, he explained.

I'm sure there were a lot of boos. And with good reason.

Anyone who was there, I'd love to hear from you.


I want to make it clear why it's important that Clinton thinks that Hamas controls Ramallah.

The Obama administration, like every US administration since Bill Clinton's, is incapable of admitting that Fatah is a terror organization. Only a terror organization would have honored a terrorist like Dalal al-Mughrabi, who was responsible for the murder of 37 Israeli civilians (including 13 children) and one American civilian and the wounding of hundreds of others in what is known as the "Coastal Road massacre."

So in Clinton's mind, since Fatah is not a terror organization, Fatah could not have honored al-Mughrabi. So it must be Hamas.

The implications for the 'peace process' - the fact that the United States refuses to recognize that it is trying to deal with a terror organization and is asking Israel to make peace with a terror organization - ought to be obvious.

Israel Matzav: Clinton decides that Hamas controls Ramallah

Israel Matzav: Fake AIPAC press release calls for 'settlement freeze'

Israel Matzav: Fake AIPAC press release calls for 'settlement freeze'

Israel Matzav: Hezbullah could care less about Ramat Shlomo

Hezbullah could care less about Ramat Shlomo

Michael Totten reports that the 'resistance bloc;' Hamas, Hezbullah, Syria and Iran, will continue to blame the US and Israel for all that goes wrong in the World no matter what the US and Israel do. Trying to 'engage' them, says Totten, is useless.

Hezbollah’s reaction to Israel’s plan to build 1,600 apartments in a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem might help President Barack Obama understand something that has so far eluded him: the Syrian-Iranian-Hamas-Hezbollah resistance bloc will not allow him to appease it.

“The scheme is yet another part of a Judaization campaign,” Hezbollah said in a statement quoted by the Tehran Times, “that targets the holy city of al-Quds [Jerusalem] and a provocation of Muslim feeling.” If Obama expected a little appreciation from Israel’s enemies for making the same point with more diplomatic finesse, he was mistaken. “The Zionist plan to construct hundreds of homes in al-Quds,” Hezbollah continued, “truly shows American cover to it.”

So not only is Obama denied credit for standing up to Israel’s government, he is accused of doing precisely the opposite.

Anti-Americanism is ideological oxygen for partisans of the resistance bloc. They will no sooner let it go than they will stop breathing. Their entire worldview and political program would turn to ashes without it, much as Fidel Castro’s would without socialism. When the United States doesn’t follow the script, they just lie.

If we extend a hand in friendship, they’ll bite it and try to chew off a finger. If we take their side once in a while to appear evenhanded, they’ll twist the truth until it looks like a sinister plot, then they’ll bite us again.

Read the whole thing. It will make you wonder, again, why the Obama administration wants to send an ambassador to Syria.

Israel Matzav: Hezbullah could care less about Ramat Shlomo

Israel Matzav: Yoffie urges moratorium on Jewish building in 'east' Jerusalem

Yoffie urges moratorium on Jewish building in 'east' Jerusalem

Reform movement leader rabbi Eric Yoffie called on Thursday for a moratorium on Jewish building in 'east' Jerusalem.

"The Union for Reform Judaism, like most American Jewish organizations, supports a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty," the URJ president said. "This means that we believe housing units constructed in Jerusalem by Israel are not settlements and they are not illegal. But a great many things that are legal are not prudent or wise – and building in Arab sections of Jerusalem in the current political climate is one of those things."

Yoffie recommended the moratorium as a means of easing tensions with the United States sparked last week when Israel announced a major building start in Jerusalem during a visit by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden aimed at showing U.S.-Israel unity. The announcement also led the Palestinian Authority to pull back from planned renewed peace talks.

"Surely no opportunity to move toward an enduring settlement must be squandered," he said. "I hope that the government of Israel will see the declaration of a temporary moratorium on building in East Jerusalem as a means of seizing the initiative, deepening her ties with America, rallying her allies around the world, and challenging the Palestinians and Arab world to come forward with confidence-building steps of their own."

Sorry, but no. Temporary has a knack of being extended and becoming permanent. And there is no reason Israel should accept any restrictions on building in its capital city because President Obumbler threw a tantrum. That's absurd!

Israel Matzav: Yoffie urges moratorium on Jewish building in 'east' Jerusalem

Israel Matzav: In Israel, it's okay to say Haredim are 'sub-human'

In Israel, it's okay to say Haredim are 'sub-human'

God forbid you should make any racist comments about Arabs, but you can refer to Haredim (ultra-Orthodox Jews) the same way the Nazis did and you won't lose your job.

Following a discussion on Haredi-religious opposition to the building of a hospital ward on ancient graves, Channel 10 news anchor Yakov Alon introduced the next story by saying "and from Haredim we will now move on to human beings" (mi haredim naavor le ananashim).

MK Michael Ben-Ari slammed Alon for the racist remarks saying the comments revealed moral bankruptcy and said that Channel 10 broadcasts promote hatred in Israeli society. Channel 10 said in response that the anchor meant to say "and from graves we will now move on to human beings" (mi kevarim naavor le ananashim), but the station has yet to apologize.

Ben-Ari is not part of the coalition and nothing will come of his criticism. I guarantee you that Alon will suffer no consequences.

In a radio interview on Monday, he called his remarks a 'mistake.' Ta'iti (I made a mistake) is the excuse for everything in this country. I made a mistake and therefore I shouldn't suffer any consequences. If they suspend Alon for even one day I'll be shocked.

Israel Matzav: In Israel, it's okay to say Haredim are 'sub-human'

Israel Matzav: Remember this picture?

Remember this picture?

This picture was taken on September 30, 2000, the Eve of Rosh HaShanna, the Jewish New Year.

On September 30, 2000, The New York Times, Associated Press and other major media outlets published a photo of a young man -- bloodied and battered -- crouching beneath a club-wielding Israeli policeman. The caption identified him as a Palestinian victim of the recent riots -- with the clear implication that the Israeli soldier is the one who beat him.

The victim's true identity was revealed when Dr. Aaron Grossman of Chicago sent the following letter to the Times:

Regarding your picture on page A5 of the Israeli soldier and the Palestinian on the Temple Mount -- that Palestinian is actually my son, Tuvia Grossman, a Jewish student from Chicago. He, and two of his friends, were pulled from their taxicab while traveling in Jerusalem, by a mob of Palestinian Arabs, and were severely beaten and stabbed.

That picture could not have been taken on the Temple Mount because there are no gas stations on the Temple Mount and certainly none with Hebrew lettering, like the one clearly seen behind the Israeli soldier attempting to protect my son from the mob.

In response, the New York Times published a half-hearted correction which identified Tuvia Grossman as "an American student in Israel" -- not as a Jew who was beaten by Arabs. The "correction" also noted that "Mr. Grossman was wounded" in "Jerusalem's Old City" -- although the beating actually occurred in the Arab neighborhood of Wadi al Joz, not in the Old City.

In response to public outrage at the original error and the inadequate correction, The New York Times reprinted Tuvia Grossman's picture -- this time with the proper caption -- along with a full article detailing his near-lynching at the hands of Palestinians rioters.

You can read Tuvie's account of what happened to him here.

I mention this story because on Friday the same thing nearly happened again in almost the same place (the same neighborhood) to another Jew - this time with an 18-month old daughter. And I haven't seen it reported anywhere other than here.

The incident took place on Friday, after Levi had visited the Hurva. As streets in the Old City were crowded, Levi decided to take a detour through Emek Yehoshafat (Wadi Joz), a primarily Arab neighborhood just north of the Old City's Herod Gate. It “is considered a calm area,” he said.

"Suddenly, about 100 Arab rioters attacked us with a barrage of hundreds of rocks,” he recalled. “The car was warped by the blows, and then a boulder hit the front windshield and smashed it.”

Levi's 18-month-old daughter was sitting in the back seat of the car, asleep in her carseat. The noise woke her. Fortunately, Levi said, she was only lightly injured, and suffered “just a few scratches.”

"We were afraid they were going to lynch us,” Levi said. “They approached until they were right next to us, which meant the rocks were not thrown so hard, but even so, they smashed all the windows.”

"I felt like they were going to slaughter us,” he added.

Levi managed to escape by screaming for help, which distracted the attackers for several seconds – long enough to allow him to slam on the gas and speed away.

Levi managed to reach police stationed nearby. There, he said, he was shocked at the officers' indifference. “The police were totally calm, as if this were a normal event... They were apathetic when they saw us,” he accused.

"I took my daughter out to see if she had been hurt, and out of dozens of officers just one came over and said, 'Did something happen to the girl?' in an apathetic tone,” he continued. “I told him to look at what had happened to us, so he would wake up. They saw the car but didn't do anything.”

"Apparently they think it's reasonable for Jews to be pelted with stones...” he concluded in frustration.

The police suggested that he drive to a police station in a nearby Arab neighborhood to file a complaint. Levi, who feared another attack if he were to drive into an Arab neighborhood again, decided to file a complaint in the station in the Russian Compound instead.

I am going to guess that the first police station they went to was also in an Arab neighborhood. I speak from experience. In 1978, I had my nose broken by a thug in Jerusalem (probably a Jew by the way) near where City Hall is today. When I went to the police station near Jaffa Gate inside the Old City, the police officers had me sit and do nothing for about an hour and a half (from 12:30 - 2:00 am). Then they said we would look for the thugs on the way to the hospital. Of course, by then there was no one to be found. Afterward, people told me that had I run in the other direction, I would have come to Russian compound rather than to a police station staffed by Arabs. Like Tuvie, I was an American yeshiva student at the time. But at least I wasn't in Wadi Joz (which many people use as a short cut to the Old City, especially from Neve Yaakov and Pisgat Zev).

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Remember this picture?

Israel Matzav: What 'humanitarian crisis'?

What 'humanitarian crisis'?

The JPost has a review of claims by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) that there is a 'humanitarian crisis' in Gaza. Even a cursory review of the claims shows that they are utter nonsense with manufactured standards not used elsewhere in the World. Here are a couple of highlights.

According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there is no shortage of most basic commodities in the Gaza Strip and anything can be brought in through the tunnels, although most Gazans do not have enough money to purchase these goods. The great catastrophe is not starvation, but the fact that 80% of the population are charity cases. In OCHA's eyes, Gaza is not Somalia, but there is a crisis of human dignity there.

If 80% of Gaza is charity cases, whose fault is that? Until 2000, many Gazans worked in Israel. In 2000, when Gazans started turning themselves into splodeydopes, Israel banned them from working within Israel and closed the 'security fence' except to persons seeking medical attention and persons accompanying them. Even then, Gazans were receiving millions of dollars in international aid and could have used that aid to build a self-sustaining economy. But they didn't. Instead, the spent the money on weapons and explosives and tried to destroy the State of Israel. And when Israel expelled all the Jewish residents of Gaza in 2005, that trend just accelerated. Why should anyone feel sorry for them?

In fact, 'international law' does not require Israel to provide Gazans with food, clothing, electricity and water.

Avraham Bell, a member of the law faculty of Bar-Ilan University, wrote two years ago that Israel is under no obligation to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza.

“International law does not require Israel to supply Gaza with fuel or electricity or, indeed with any other materials, goods or services,” he wrote in an article published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. “Article 23 of the Fourth Geneva Convention permits states like Israel to cut off fuel supplies and electricity to territories like Gaza. It only requires Israel to permit passage of food, clothing and medicines intended for children under fifteen, expectant mothers and maternity cases.”

In fact, aside from certain amounts of electricity, Israel does not directly supply humanitarian goods itself but allows UN trucks carrying them to cross its border into Gaza.

But here's the most amazing thing. OCHA cannot argue that Gazans are starving because they're not. So they've invented a new condition to describe what Gazans are ostensibly going through. They call it 'food insecurity.'

Even when it comes to food, OCHA maintained in a study published in August 2009 that Gazans are suffering from what it calls “food insecurity.” According to the organization, 1.1 million of Gaza’s 1.5 million population is food insecure, up from just over half in 2008.

“The main causes of food insecurity are the increase in poverty, the destruction of agricultural assets, and the inflation in prices of key food items,” it wrote.

“There has been a gradual shift in the diet of Gazans from the high-cost and protein-rich foods, such as fruit, vegetables and animal products, to low-cost and high-carbohydrate foods such as cereals, sugar and oil, which can lead to micro-nutrient deficiencies, particularly among children and pregnant women.”

In other words, they're not eating expensive Western diets. Or maybe they are - the fruit stand above is in Gaza and the picture was taken in November 2009. I don't believe their diets are deficient, but if their diets are so deficient, let them take vitamins. I'll bet if you took ten people off the streets of New York City half of them would have deficiencies in micronutrients.

Read the whole thing. The whole 'humanitarian crisis' is manufactured nonsense.

Israel Matzav: What 'humanitarian crisis'?

Israel Matzav: Like building in Tel Aviv?

Like building in Tel Aviv?

On Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Israel would continue to build anywhere in Jerusalem and that building in Jerusalem is no different than building in Tel Aviv. How many of you believe that? I don't. Here's my best guess of where Israel is and is not likely to be building in the foreseeable future.

1. Israel will continue to build in parts of Jerusalem that were part of the City before 1967. That would be the older parts of the City: Downtown, Rechavia, Telbieh, Bayit Vegan, Har Nof, Beit HaKerem, Kiryat HaYovel - all of those neighborhoods will continue to build normally.

2. In neighborhoods that are over the green line but are predominantly Jewish like Ramot, French Hill, Ramat Eshkol, Sanhedria Murchevet and Ramat Shlomo, building will continue on existing projects and projects that are in the approval pipeline will continue the approval process. But no new construction will be started and no new approval processes will be started.

3. You won't see any more construction or evictions of Arab squatters from Jewish-owned property in predominantly Arab neighborhoods like Shimon HaTzadik (Sheikh Jarrah), Ir David (Silwan), Maalat Har HaZeitim (Ras al-Amud). What will be done with Jewish housing currently under construction in those neighborhoods remains to be seen, but I have my doubts whether the owners will be allowed to take possession in the foreseeable future, and certainly not before September or whatever date the 'freeze' ends.

You see, Netanyahu has to keep up the impression that he is standing up to Obama in Jerusalem because the Israeli public insists on it. Obama understands that and will try to play along, as he was doing for the last year.

For the record, my only bases for the guidelines I just outlined are the de facto freeze that Netanyahu implemented in Jerusalem at least until last August, the 'compromise' that Shimon Peres proposed last week, and the relative speed with which this 'crisis' has apparently blown over. If any of you think I'm wrong, put it in the comments. And if any of you Jerusalemites find any construction that violates the rules above, please let me know.

The picture at the top is the Azrieli Towers complex in Tel Aviv, where the 'beautiful people' go to play.

Israel Matzav: Like building in Tel Aviv?

Israel Matzav: AIPAC President Lee (Rosy) Rosenberg: Better than expected?

AIPAC President Lee (Rosy) Rosenberg: Better than expected?

Here's part of a speech given by incoming AIPAC President Lee (Rosy) Rosenberg. It got three standing ovations (Hat Tip: Noah Pollak).

In recent days we have witnessed something very unfortunate.

In a world that often is muddled, where messages are often grey, I want to speak clearly and directly about the events and tensions which have ensued.

During Vice President Biden's trip to Israel, designed to celebrate the alliance between the two countries, an incident, which Prime Minister Netanyahu has called "regrettable," occurred with the announcement of a permit approval of a housing project in Ramat Shlomo, a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Netanyahu apologized -- four separate times -- and said the announcement was hurtful and should not have occurred.

In any relationship, mistakes are going to happen, and even the best of friends are going to disagree. Disagreements over policy between the United States and Israel -- between any two allies -- happen. That is a given. But how friends disagree, how they react when missteps occur, that can determine the nature of the relationship.

So let me make three points.

Number one, the people of Israel and the democratically elected government of Israel passionately believe in peace. And Israel is committed to its alliance with America.

Number two, the United States and Israel both have a responsibility to work with one another and achieve that peace. That is what allies do.

And three, allies should work out their differences privately.

(Standing ovation.)

History shows that when American pressures Israel publicly, it provides an opportunity for those who wish to derail the peace process to have their way.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us be clear, the reluctant partner in this peace process is not Israel's elected leader Prime Minister Netanyahu. (Standing ovation.)

The recalcitrant partner are the Palestinians and their leader -- President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Palestinians are bitterly divided between Hamas and Fatah -- that is a problem. The failure of President Abbas to end his nay-saying and come to the table for direct talks which Prime Minister Netanyahu has been committed to from the start -- that is a problem. The failure of the Arab world to begin normalizing its relationships with Israel -- that is a problem.

Israel is not the problem. Israel is America's partner. (Standing ovation.)

Two points. First, keep in mind that Rosenberg is (or was) close with Obama and clearly is placing the blame for what happened last week in the administration's court. As Noah Pollak points out, that has potentially serious implications for the Democrats' ability to fund raise in the pro-Israel community. Despite the fact that the Democrats in Congress have largely stuck with Obama on last week's incident, it's questionable whether the Jewish rank and file has.

Second, if those words from Rosenberg got three standing ovations, it may show wall-to-wall support from American Jewry. One of the reasons that AIPAC is so powerful is that it unifies Jews from the Right and the Left - across the political spectrum - in favor of Israel.

Hillary Clinton speaks on Monday. I doubt her reception will be as enthusiastic as Rosenberg's. Will they boo? I hope so.

Israel Matzav: AIPAC President Lee (Rosy) Rosenberg: Better than expected?

Israel Matzav: Yes, it could get worse

Yes, it could get worse

Things could get worse - much worse - if we follow the policy prescriptions of former US ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer. Kurtzer, as you may recall, was an adviser to the Obama campaign and just last week ripped the Obama administration for the lack of boldness in its approach to the 'peace process.' Kurtzer would apparently be much more aggressive toward Israel. Kurtzer's interlocutor here was Bill Kristol.

The biggest divergence came in the discussion of “smart power.” Kurtzer said we haven’t done enough. Here, to the audible gasps of some conservatives in the room, he proclaimed that we can’t aspire to promote American values when we have 30 million people without health insurance. (The woman next to me declared in a stage whisper, “And he teaches this at a university.”) And, citing the controversial CENTCOM report, he said that the U.S. military was implicitly arguing that the U.S. has been insufficiently dedicated to resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. (More crowd murmuring.) He then bemoaned the Iraq war, which had cost so much and in which we had lost so many lives. Kristol joked that he wanted to defend “dumb power” — that is, the indispensible role of American military power. The issue, Kristol said, is what types of policies work — citing the failure of Iran engagement and the Obami’s Middle East approach.

The Q & A was revealing on two counts. Several questioners went after the Obami for beating up on friends and trying to ingratiate themselves with adversaries. Kristol admitted to a certain sympathy with the questioners. On Israel, Kurtzer proclaimed that the relationship was fine and we had only one difference with Israel — West Bank settlements. (Huh? This was about Jerusalem, of course.) In response to a question on Iran, Kurtzer said the real problem was that we had not engaged Iran enough. One meeting three months ago just isn’t enough, he opined. Kristol declared himself “dubious on sanctions and diplomacy,” and argued that if there is to be military action, it must be by the U.S., both for technical and geopolitical reasons. And that brought the loudest round of applause.

Kurtzer's is the type of thinking that pervades the Obama White House. What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Yes, it could get worse

Israel Matzav: AIPAC panelists: When US separates from Israel, Arabs make more demands

AIPAC panelists: When US separates from Israel, Arabs make more demands

This is Jennifer Rubin on one of Sunday's AIPAC panels.

Abrams made a different case: “The most important shift is in Washington.” He noted that in 1967, Israel won a tremendous, and the British left Aden, opening an era in which the U.S.-Israel alliance dominated the region. (”It took the 1973 war for the Arabs to learn that lesson.”) The question Arabs are asking now, Abrams said, is about what the American policy is on maintaining its dominance in the region. They want to know “whether the U.S. is prepared to maintain its position or let the region slip into a period of Iranian dominance.” On Iran’s nuclear ambitions specifically, Abrams reminded the crowd that the Obama administration says it is “unacceptable” if Iran gets a nuclear weapon. “But do they mean it’s unacceptable or just that it is a bummer?”

As for the Obami’s effort to separate the U.S. from Israel to increase our credibility with the Arabs, it is “no accident” Abrams said, that the Saudi’s 2002 peace plan, while not the basis for any viable peace agreement, would have ended with the recognition of Israel. When the Arab states realize that the U.S. commitment to Israel is unyielding and that they “can’t do anything about Israel, they begin to make peace.” If the U.S. should begin to change its position, Abrams cautioned, their attitude toward Israel will change as well. Then, Abrams added, citing Lee Smith’s book The Strong Horse, they will decide which is the weak and which is the strong horse in the region and act accordingly. How we act toward Israel affects how Arab states regard us. As we distance ourselves from Israel, the Arabs see that we “are proving to be an undependable ally.” So the place to determine the fate of the Middle East, he summed up, is “here.”

All the panelists in their presentations and the Q & A discussed the recent conflict and the “peace process.” Stephens noted that putting the “squeeze on our friends while coddling our enemies comes with a cost. Israel will take less risks for peace. The Palestinians are encouraged to make maximalist demands. Radicals in the region take comfort that the U.S. is slowly withdrawing.” Susser deemed the ruckus raised by the administration over a Jersulem housing project ”ludicrous.” The Obama team is focused on the “1967 file” — settlements and Jerusalem. But the Palestinians are still stuck on the “1948 file” — the right of return of refugees and “Israel’s being.” What’s working against us and serving as the reason that status quo is unsustainable, he says, are both the demography and the movement internationally to try to delegitimize Israel.

Israel Matzav: AIPAC panelists: When US separates from Israel, Arabs make more demands

Israel Matzav: About those stone-throwing 'youths'

About those stone-throwing 'youths'

There's a strange perception in the West that 'stone throwing' is harmless. It's a perception that amazes me given that I can recall at least two instances in the United States in the last few years in which stone throwers were indicted for what stone throwing really is: attempted murder.

Here's a video of stone throwers in action in Jerusalem on Sunday. I'd like to show you the video and then introduce you to a stone-thrower's victim.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Aussie Dave)


When people hear about stone throwers, they have visions of small stones. Those would be dangerous enough. But what the 'Palestinians' typically do is come close to the road side - just like they came close to the police in that video, knowing the police would not fire, and then throw from point blank range. When a car is traveling 70-80 km per hour and when they throw stones that are 6-12 inches in diameter, you are talking about a deadly danger.

I'd like to introduce you to Yehuda Chaim Shoham HY"D (may God avenge his blood).

Yehuda would be nine years old today. But a 'Palestinian' stone thrower murdered Yehuda on June 11, 2001 when he was just five months old and he was traveling in in his parents' car near Shilo in Samaria.
You can find Yehuda's full story here.

There's been a lot of 'Palestinian' stone throwing over the last several days. I haven't been reporting it because it would likely bore many of you if I started doing a post an hour during the day telling you that stones were thrown here or there (not you fellow addicts who comment all the time - the silent readers who are far more numerous). If you follow the IDF spokesperson on Twitter, you can get all the details.

As I noted on Saturday night, the current open fire rules for the IDF do not even allow soldiers to fire in the air when stones are thrown at them regardless of how endangered they feel. That goes all the more so for ordinary travelers who have weapons. Those who travel the roads of Judea and Samaria without weapons (and there are lots of people who do) are all the more exposed).

The next Yehuda Chaim Shoham is R"L (God forbid) likely to occur in the not-too-distant future. Who will live and who will die? Don't see we didn't hear the question.

Israel Matzav: About those stone-throwing 'youths'

Israel Matzav: Shocka: Haaretz manipulated Obama poll

Shocka: Haaretz manipulated Obama poll

On Friday, Haaretz ran a poll that claimed (at least in the headline's first incarnation) that most Israelis view President Obama as 'fair and friendly.' I criticized that poll, as did David Hazony, Shmuel Rosner and many others. Now, Haaretz's own pollster has accused the newspaper of using the poll unfairly. And not just - as Rosner pointed out - by combining those who said that Obama was friendly to Israel with those who said he was fair to Israel to reach a conclusion that most Israelis think Obama is fair and friendly. But worse: The Hebrew word that was used for that alternative in the poll (inyani) does not translate as 'fair.'

Haaretz misled readers to give the impression that an overwhelming majority of Israelis see US President Barack Obama as “fair and friendly” toward the country, the newspaper’s pollster, Tel Aviv University professor Camil Fuchs, said on Sunday.


The print and online versions of the newspaper’s Hebrew edition included a graphic indicating that just 18 percent of respondents considered Obama “friendly” toward Israel, 3 percentage points fewer than the 21% who called the president “hostile” to the Jewish state.

Ten percent did not know, and 51% defined Obama’s approach to Israel using the Hebrew word “inyani,” which can be translated as “matter-of-fact” or “businesslike,” but not as fair.

Fuchs, who chairs Tel Aviv University’s statistics department, said he received many reactions from people around the world who were surprised by the poll’s headline. He distanced himself from the headline and criticized the way his poll was presented.

“What can I do? Only the editor writes the headlines,” Fuchs said.

“When they write the number 69 together, it is correct but misleading. They could just as easily have combined the hostile and inyani categories and gotten a different large number.”

Fuchs was disturbed to hear that the English edition did not include the full distribution of the numbers. He also disagreed with the translation of the word “inyani.”

When told it had been translated as “fair,” he responded: “I definitely would not have translated it as fair. They must have a problem with English.”

The story has been removed from Haaretz’s online print edition archive. An edition of the story that remains online has been rewritten with no reference to the issue in the original headline. It instead focuses on the 27% of respondents who said Obama is anti-Semitic.

A Likud source called the original Haaretz headline a “trick intended to convince the public to like Obama more and Netanyahu less.”

Sounds like something the Obami themselves would have tried.

And of course Haaretz remains defiant.

Haaretz English Edition editor Charlotte Halle responded that “Haaretz published a fair and accurate representation of the survey conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs at the request of Haaretz. Any attempt to claim otherwise by another newspaper is false.”

Anyone think the way that poll was published is fair and accurate? I don't.

Israel Matzav: Shocka: Haaretz manipulated Obama poll

Chesler Chronicles » Clinton Does AIPAC: In The Shadow of Anti-Semitism

Chesler Chronicles » Clinton Does AIPAC: In The Shadow of Anti-Semitism

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Schadenfreude


The Economist, no less, takes on the silliness of Juan Cole and Andrew Sullivan, who've been touting this Ministry of Truth map of a faraway land they know nothing about. Ouch!

H/t Judeosphere

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Schadenfreude

Elder of Ziyon: A silent correction to paper over the bigger problem

A silent correction to paper over the bigger problem

The clueless op-ed written by Catherine Ashton for the New York Times has received a silent correction.

It used to say,

This is where the industrial center of Gaza used to be, before the shelling just over a year ago.

Now it just says

This is where the industrial center of Gaza used to be.

Obviously, this was corrected by the New York Times/International Herald Tribune. But just as obviously, Catherine Ashton really thought that the Erez industrial zone was destroyed by Israeli, and not Hamas, actions.

The problem is not primarily with the Times' fact-checker - it is with the vast majority of EU and other officials who believe the lies they have been fed by the Arabs and their supporters over the years. They believe that the settlements are the main obstacle to peace. They believe that the Palestinians' demand to make Jerusalem Judenrein is an expression of nationalism, not bigotry. They believe that another Arab state will solve the problems and that terror will cease as long as Israel gives up everything being demanded from them. They believe that most of the victims in Gaza were women and children and that Israel is more reckless with civilian lives than other democracies have been in other wars. They believe that people are dying in Iraq because of Palestine. They believe that the Old City of Jerusalem is an historic Arab capital and that it wasn't all but ignored by the Muslim between the Crusades and Zionism. They believe that "historic Palestine" adhered to the borders of the British Mandate. They believe that there has been a unique "Palestinian" people and culture that are much more than a mere hundred years old.

Israel has failed, miserably, for allowing such lies to become accepted truths among these intelligentsia. Ashton is just a symptom of a much greater illness.

Here's the original version of the first paragraph of the op-ed as reproduced on the Real Clear World page.

(h/t Lily)

Elder of Ziyon: A silent correction to paper over the bigger problem

Elder of Ziyon: Followup: New Al Azhar sheikh appointed

Elder of Ziyon: Followup: New Al Azhar sheikh appointed

RubinReports: Hillary Clinton's AIPAC speech: Find the Glaring Contradiction

Hillary Clinton's AIPAC speech: Find the Glaring Contradiction

By Barry Rubin

When policymakers say things that are in blatant contradiction, there is something wrong with their world view and strategy. Yes, political leaders often say contradictory things--often they have to do so--but it is not supposed to be too obvious.

In her speech to AIPAC, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized and equated two things. On one hand, there is the Palestinian “culture of hate” which spouts “incitement” to murder Jews. The other is Israeli settlement construction. These problems, Clinton adds, “undermines America ’s unique ability to play a role” in the peace process.

Have you found the glaring contradiction? You could say, if you wished, that one cannot equate "hate speech" (to use the common terms for such things nowadays) urging killing with building settlements. I am, however, willing to accept that equation from a U.S. policy standpoint.

What is unacceptable, however, is the point that every reporter and observer should be making: The United States, as we have seen recently, is willing to attack construction on settlements (even construction the administration has previously agreed to let happen!) at the highest level and in the loudest voice. It is willing to make this issue the number one issue in the world, a basis for pressuring Israel and verbally attacking it.

I have yet to hear a single word spoken by this administration on the subject of the bloodthirsty incitement to murder that goes on every day. For this incitement not only produces violence a lot more directly than construction on settlements (which also provides stability by employing thousands of Palestinian workers), it also prevents progress toward peace.

The Palestinian Authority's failure to undertake any educational or media campaign in 16 years to promote compromise with Israel has been almost completely ignored in the West. And while such an effort wouldn't be easy, only by building a public base of support for compromise and conciliation could the Palestinian Authority (even if it wanted to do so) make peace with Israel.

Bashing Israel over construction on settlements while doing absolutely nothing about Palestinian Authority incitement is not going to persuade Israelis of the administration's credibility or make any advance toward peace. Forget about asking this administration for a "pro-Israel" policy, how about just having a truly evenhanded policy?

RubinReports: Hillary Clinton's AIPAC speech: Find the Glaring Contradiction

RubinReports: Exclusive Scoop: A Shocking Example: How NY Times Coverage Buries Middle East Reality; Find the Four Gigantic Errors

Exclusive Scoop: A Shocking Example: How NY Times Coverage Buries Middle East Reality; Find the Four Gigantic Errors

Please remember that this blog is only possible due to your tax-free donations. Please contact me or the GLORIA Center to discuss how to make financial contributions. And thanks for reading.


By Barry Rubin

In my entire life I have rarely read an article which simultaneously showed the need to be well-informed before reading a newspaper and the shocking shortcomings of mass media coverage of the Middle East than this minor piece about the reopening of the Cairo synagogue. I've never said this before but will now: If you want to understand the Middle East's reality and how it is distorted in the media, read the following anlysis.

Have a little patience and I think you will see precisely what I mean.

There are four huge—gigantic—gaps in this article that show how the Middle East story is being missed. The word “gap” here is polite. I can think of a number of less polite words defining the combination of whitewash and ignorance displayed here.

Here is the link. Go and read the short piece if you want to see if you can spot them, then come back and read my response. Or, if you prefer, read my analysis first. It’s up to you.

Ok, here we go.

The headline for this story is, “A Synagogue’s Unveiling Exposes a Conundrum.” So, naturally, you want to know what the conundrum was. The article explains:

“The restoration project, and its muted unveiling, exposed a conundrum Egyptian society has struggled with since its leadership made peace with Israel three decades ago: How to balance the demands of Western capitals and a peace process that relies on Egypt to work with Israel with a public antipathy for Israel.”

So here is point number one—how can the article not even mention the Egyptian government’s own role in stoking public antipathy toward Israel? Of course, this antagonism is also the product of history and to a considerable extent comes from the public itself. Yet day after day, the Egyptian government’s religious, educational, media, and other institutions preach slander and hatred. toward Israel. There is no effort in terms of communication with the public to reduce antagonism.

Let me make it clear: I am not blaming Egypt’s government for the very existence of “public antipathy,” but not to mention its role in this process at all is shocking. The effect is to play down the role of regimes, even moderate ones, in so heating up the atmosphere as to make full peace and normalization close to impossible. Their fault, as opposed to criticism of Israel for the lack of resolution in the conflict, gets buried.

Here’s point two. One of the main people quoted in the article is Zahi Hawass, general secretary of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. Here is what it says about him:

“`This is an Egyptian monument; if you do not restore a part of your history you lose everything,’” said Zahi Hawass, the general secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, which approved and oversaw the project. “I love the Jews, they are our cousins! But the Israelis, what they are doing against the Palestinians is insane. I will do anything to restore and preserve the synagogue, but celebration, I cannot accept.”

Later his role is again mentioned:

“But the work was completed, and at first the authorities told members of the Egyptian Jewish community that the news media could not attend the ceremony because they wanted to make the official announcement themselves. Then Dr. Hawass announced he was canceling that, too.

“`I am trying to give the Israelis a message that they should make peace,’ Dr. Hawass said.”

So the New York Times allows Hawass to talk about how he loves the Jews and he even wants peace with Israel, he just wants them to be a bit more flexible.

One would never guess, however, that when this article was being edited the Times should have been aware of other public statements Hawass has made. Indeed, MEMRI translated this in a dispatch that came out about the same time that the reporters were preparing the story. Here is what Hawass said on Egyptian television last year:

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.”

Notice that Hawass hates his cousins and that his hatred is based on his belief in the most basic antisemitic stereotypes for a 2000-year period, not since Israel was created in 1948.

And here we see how the Times hides the massive problem of antisemitism in the Arab world, the fact that the conflict cannot be resolved not because Israelis don’t want to make peace but because many or most Arabs don’t want any Israelis to exist. More likely than not, letting Hawass sound like a dove of peace rather than a raving Jew-hater is due to ignorance rather than intention. The result is the same.

This feeds into point three, which is equally incredible. Let’s read the text:

“When the subject of restoring the synagogue of Maimonides was first raised about two years ago, Egypt agreed to do the work, but asked that it not be made public. The project was announced a year later when the culture minister, Farouk Hosny, was hoping to become the next director general of Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. When his bid for the post failed, many doubted whether the project would be completed.”

Are you a curious person? Perhaps you’d like to know why Hosny’s bid failed. It is a matter of public record, covered in hundreds of articles. Even a glance at his biography in Wikipedia—but not the Times--includes the answer to that question. So let’s see what the Times staff could have read if they had gone to Wikipedia:

“During a May 2008 argument with a Muslim Brotherhood member of Parliament concerning cultural ties with Israel, Hosny provoked controversy by declaring, `I'd burn Israeli books myself if I found any in libraries in Egypt."

“Prior to the book burning comment, the Anti-Defamation League noted that Hosny `has a long record of stymieing cultural relations with Israel, promoting censorship in Egypt, and making harsh anti-Israel and anti-Jewish statements.’ In 2001 interview, he called Israeli culture `inhuman’ and in a 1997 interview stated, `The Israelis do not stop claiming that they built the [Egyptian] pyramids... This proves that Israel has no history or civilization....’’

There was an international outcry at the former culture minister’s expressions of antisemitism and attitudes—favoring book-burning—not entirely consistent of being the world’s most important cultural official. Despite the fact that he was originally thought to be a shoe-in for the job, Hosny was defeated. The state-controlled Egyptian media then went on an antisemitic rampage, blaming the Jews for his defeat.

Might this have some relevance to the background of the synagogue restoration? The article mentioned that the project was announced during the time Hosny’s candidacy was put forth but there is no hint as to the project being a transparent fig-leaf to make people forget about Hosny’s own behavior. The project was completed but then downplayed and there was an attempt to act as if the synagogue had nothing to do with anything specifically Jewish.

Finally, there is a remarkable gap in covering internal Egyptian politics, which shows how dictatorships often get the benefit of the doubt in Times coverage. I want to quote this point fully so s to give you a sense of what’s the issue here:

“Hala Mustafa, the editor of one of Egypt’s premier political journals, Democracy, was formally censured last month for having met the Israeli ambassador in her office. It was first time the journalists’ syndicate punished a member for defying a ban on normalization since the group was founded in 1941, according to the independent daily newspaper Al Masry Al Youm.

“Even some of her critics, who strongly disagree with Ms. Mustafa’s politics, said they were surprised at the selective nature of the condemnation. Singling out Ms. Mustafa said as much about the way the state and state-aligned institutions apply laws and rules, critics said, as it did about widespread hostility to Israel.

“While Ms. Mustafa was punished, six top Egyptian scholars, including some from the nation’s premier research center, the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, attended a conference with the Israeli ambassador. None of them were punished.”

But again the reader is at a loss. Why was Mustafa singled out for special punishment? The answer is only hinted at by the name of her journal, Democracy. Mustafa is a liberal reformer and a democracy advocate and that is why she is being repressed. It is one more step in the campaign of Arab regimes against liberals and for maintaining a very tight control over their own societies. Without knowing this, the three paragraphs make no sense.

I am not focusing on an individual reporter here, especially because I don’t know how his original piece was edited. But what is important is the product. In this one article, the Times deserves an “F” for journalistic competence and it has failed to inform readers of some of the most important aspects of the contemporary Middle East.

In these respects, I cannot imagine a better example of what’s wrong with media coverage of the region—and much more.

To quote George Orwell on a similar situation in 1945 (when the correspondent of a left-wing newspaper was criticized by readers for revealing how badly Soviet troops behaved toward civilians), once you accept the idea that the media should support "good causes" rather than just report accurately: "It is only a short step to arguing that the suppression and distortion of known facts is the highest duty of a journalist."

RubinReports: Exclusive Scoop: A Shocking Example: How NY Times Coverage Buries Middle East Reality; Find the Four Gigantic Errors
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