Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Israel Matzav: Schumer to break with Obama over Israel?

Schumer to break with Obama over Israel?

I reported on former New York City Mayor Ed Koch's attack on Obama's Israel policies here. The following tidbit comes from an Arutz Sheva report on Koch.

He also publicly questioned New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a Jew, for not protesting President Obama’s treatment of Israel. "It's their silence," Koch told the New York Post’s Michael Goodwin. "I can't figure out where they are.”

The senator reportedly told Koch he will openly side with Israel if President Obama does not back off.

Hmmm.


Israel Matzav: Schumer to break with Obama over Israel?

Israel Matzav: Sweden fails the 3-D test (again)

Sweden fails the 3-D test (again)

I discussed the 3-D test for detecting anti-Semitism here. Last week, Sweden's largest pension fund failed the test by divesting from Elbit Corporation. Elbit has provided technology that is used for Israel's 'security fence.'

In this context the Elbit case is instructive. Forsta’s “Ethical Council” has determined that Elbit is complicit with “violations of fundamental conventions and norms” arising from its security involvement. The council cites anti-barrier pronouncements by the Swedish government, the EU and the International Court of Justice – all forums in which Israel is unlikely to receive an impartial hearing, let alone a modicum of sympathy.

Israel ought to be able to expect fellow democracies to understand that it was vicious terrorist onslaughts which impelled it to erect the barrier. It resorted to the measure to save the lives of Israelis civilians, exposed to the relentless bombing campaign of the second intifada. We owe nobody an apology for looking after our safety.

The most horrific tragedy that underscored the fence’s indispensability was the Seder night atrocity at Netanya’s Park Hotel in 2002. Tellingly, European pension funds and supermarket chains weren’t sufficiently outraged by that bloodletting to withdraw any investments from terror-sponsoring states.

THE BARRIER – along with ceaseless vigilance by Israel’s security forces – has helped prevent many more ghastly massacres. We must, therefore, wonder whether preserving Israeli lives is at all considered a legitimate aim by Europeans.

When we weigh Forsta’s move we must sadly conclude that it fails Natan Sharansky’s three-D test: Censure of Israel cannot be judged as objective if it is rooted in Israel’s demonization, delegitimization and its subjection to double standards.

The gross misrepresentation of large-scale Israeli anti-terror offensives as “disproportionate” slaughter must qualify as demonization. The canard about Jenin massacres during 2002’s Operation Defensive Shield – which, like the barrier, was directly instigated by the Park Hotel carnage – constitutes a cogent example.

The barrier, meanwhile, was as defensive a response as could be. When even the right to passive protection is denied Israel, it must be counted as delegitimization of any mode of Israeli self-defense. Israel is apparently expected to do nothing to safeguard its citizens.

The reference to an 'ethical council' is positively Orwellian.

What do you expect from a country that elects a schmuck like the one pictured at the top of this post to be its foreign minister?


Israel Matzav: Sweden fails the 3-D test (again)

Love of the Land: Would Obama's nuclear engagement guideline end Israeli nuke deterrence against bio chemical Arab attacks?

Would Obama's nuclear engagement guideline end Israeli nuke deterrence against bio chemical Arab attacks?


Dr. Aaron Lerner
IMRA
06 April '10

[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:

"Obama is rolling back the Bush administration's more hawkish policy set out in its 2002 review threatening the use of nuclear weapons to preempt or respond to chemical or biological attack, even from non-nuclear countries.

An exception under Obama's plan would allow an option of reconsidering the use of nuclear retaliation against a biological attack if there is reason to believe the United States were vulnerable to a devastating attack."

So in Obama's playbook Israel cannot deter Arab chemical attacks with nukes?

And in Obama's playbook, Israel can only deter "devastating" Arab biological attacks - but biological attacks that might not be "devastating" could not be deterred by the threat of a nuclear response? Is it "devastating" to take out Ashdod? How about Petach Tikvah?, Is Raanana too small to matter? Or would Mr. Obama insist that we do complete a body count - perhaps under American monitoring - before establishing that an attack was, indeed, "devastating"?

It wasn't so long ago that tactical nuclear weapons were considered an obvious tool for NATO forces to use in the European theatre as the only possibly viable way to hold back a Russian invasion.

In Obama's playbook Israel cannot deter an overwhelming invasion with the threat of a nuclear response?

Finally: does stripping down deterrence encourage stability or lead to devastation.?]

====================================

Obama to limit U.S. use of nuclear arms, but not on Iran
By Reuters Last update - 14:40 06/04/2010

www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1161120.html

The Obama administration will formally unveil a new policy on Tuesday restricting U.S. use of nuclear arms, renouncing development of new atomic weapons and heralding further cuts in America's stockpile.

But even as President Barack Obama limits the conditions under which the United States would resort to a nuclear strike, he is making clear that nuclear-defiant states like Iran and North Korea will remain potential targets.

"I'm going to preserve all the tools that are necessary in order to make sure that the American people are safe and secure," Obama told The New York Times in an interview that previewed his revamped nuclear strategy.

Obama insisted "outliers like Iran and North Korea" that have violated or renounced the treaty would not be protected.

The policy shift, calling for reduced U.S. reliance on its nuclear deterrent, could build momentum before Obama signs a landmark arms control treaty with Russia in Prague on Thursday and hosts a nuclear security summit in Washington next week.

But it is also likely to draw fire from conservative critics who say his approach is naive and compromises U.S. national security.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Would Obama's nuclear engagement guideline end Israeli nuke deterrence against bio chemical Arab attacks?

Love of the Land: What Comes from Israel-Bashing

What Comes from Israel-Bashing


Jennifer Rubin
Contentions/Commentary
06 April '10

In the list of foreseeable consequences from the Obami’s assault on Israel is the radicalization of more moderate Arab leaders, who can’t be seen as less aggressive than the Obama team in insisting on unilateral concessions by Israel. As this report explains:

Jordan’s leader also delivered in an interview Monday with The Wall Street Journal a rebuke of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, charging that his policy of building homes for Jewish families in East Jerusalem has pushed Jordanian-Israeli relations to their lowest point since a 1994 peace treaty.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II said he will push the Obama administration next week to impose on Israel the terms and time-line for new peace talks with the Palestinians, as concerns mount inside his government that the stalled dialogue could fuel a new round of violence in the Middle East that targets moderate Arab states…

King Abdullah’s calls for Mr. Obama to essentially dictate the terms for Israeli-Palestinian talks is feeding into a policy debate in Washington over how hard to push Mr. Netanyahu.



(Read full post)

Love of the Land: What Comes from Israel-Bashing

Love of the Land: Obama’s Anti-Israel Jihad

Obama’s Anti-Israel Jihad


Robert Spencer
Frontpagemag.com
06 April '10

Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor of The Australian, recently wrote that “Barack Obama’s anti-Israel jihad is one of the most irresponsible policy lurches by any modern American president.” This is true not solely because Israel has been a reliable and loyal American ally, and is the only free society in the Middle East. Obama’s animus toward Israel and bullying of our longtime ally is irresponsible because the President is simultaneously ignoring the steep rise in jihad activity by Muslims in the U.S. and U.S-born Muslims since he took office.

“Jihad is becoming as American as apple pie and as British as afternoon tea” – so said the American-born Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi recently. Al-Awlaqi, who was in contact with Nidal Hasan, the jihadist who murdered thirteen Americans at Fort Hood in November 2009, and with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the jihadist who tried to bring down an airplane as it landed in Detroit on Christmas day, had plenty of reason to claim that “jihad is becoming as American as apple pie”: evidence of U.S. Muslims engaging in terrorism grows every day.

Last week a Chicago-based Muslim, David Headley, a.k.a. Daood Gilani, pled guilty to going on a reconnaissance mission to find targets for the devastating 2008 jihad attacks in Mumbai, in which over 150 people were murdered. Gilani also participated in a plot to bomb a newspaper in Denmark that published cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Also last week, Sharif Mobley, a Muslim from New Jersey, was arrested in Yemen over his ties to Al-Qaeda and his murder of a guard in an escape attempt.

The week before that, two American Muslim women, both of whom are converts to Islam, were arrested for their involvement in a plot to murder the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks for his cartoon of the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a dog. One has since been released, although her mother and stepfather have voiced concerns about how she is teaching her six-year-old son to hate Christians and believe that Muslims must wage war against them.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Obama’s Anti-Israel Jihad

Love of the Land: Turkey, Israel and the Armenians

Turkey, Israel and the Armenians


Michael Weiss
Standpoint Magazine
April '10
H/T Just Journalism

It is fair to say that Britons have grown more familiar than they'd like with the real estate habits of ultra-Orthodox Jews in east Jerusalem. Judging by the coverage this hyperactive sectarian element garners in the British press, Israeli settler development is apparently better disposed to determine the course of events in today's Middle East than are the nuclear ambitions of Iran's mullahs, the parliamentary intrigues of Iraqi Shia, or the Turkish prime minister's threat of forced population transfers.

You'd be forgiven for not knowing about that last development-that is, if you're a regular reader of Britain's left-wing press, which has been eerily silent about the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent threat to expel 100,000 Armenians from Turkey. The threat was made in response to U.S. and Swedish resolutions recognizing as a genocide the Ottoman Empire's mass murder of over 1 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923. In an interview with the BBC's Turkish Service on March 17, Erdogan said that in light of international pressure to get his country to face up to the history of its last Islamic caliphate, out of whose ruins the modern Kemalist nation was born, he could turn very angry indeed. "In my country there are 170,000 Armenians; 70,000 of them are citizens," Erdogan said. "We tolerate 100,000 more. So, what am I going to do tomorrow? If necessary I will tell the 100,000: okay, time to go back to your country. Why? They are not my citizens. I am not obliged to keep them in my country."

There are three things to note about this thuggish statement. The first is that Erdogan's demographics are in dispute: a new study conducted last year suggest that only 10,000 Armenians reside in Turkey illegally, half of them having fled after a devastating 1988 earthquake hit Armenia; the other half having slowly trickled over the years as migrant workers seeking respite from the anemic post-Soviet Armenian economy.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Turkey, Israel and the Armenians

Love of the Land: The Last Night Of Passover: An Obama Postscript

The Last Night Of Passover: An Obama Postscript


Marty Peretz
The New Republic
06 April '10

(When Marty Peretz has something to say, he's real clear. The last couple of paragraphs are about as straightforward as one can get.)

I actually had no intention of writing again about President Obama and his Passover theology. I'd done it once, on the night before the night of the first seder and that, I said to myself, was enough. In any case, my quarrel with him is really about how he treats the idea of the Jewish people today (but not only the idea) and how his politics imperil Jews everywhere, in Israel, primarily, but certainly not only in Israel.

So what changed my mind? Well, I was catching up with Jonathan Chait's blog, a TNR feature that I greatly admire. Somehow, I had missed a posting of his called "How Obama Ruined Passover." Of course, I knew instantly that Obama had ruined nothing for Chait. Obama can't ruin anything for Chait.

(Read full post)


Love of the Land: The Last Night Of Passover: An Obama Postscript

Love of the Land: Bank of Israel: Palestinian labor hurts Israeli workers

Bank of Israel: Palestinian labor hurts Israeli workers

Growing employment of Palestinians in recent years good for PA, hurts unskilled Israeli labor, report says


Tani Goldstein
Israeli Business/Ynet
04 April '10

(Two points. 1) How does the U.S. deal with importing cheaper labor from outside the U.S. when there are U.S. citizens to fill the jobs? 2)Recently the PA announced "PA to prohibit work in settlements". Is there a problem accommodating this?)

The low wages earned by Palestinians working in Israel may undermine the salaries of unskilled Israeli workers, the Bank of Israel says.

The bank's report, which looked into Palestinian employment in Israel, showed a roughly 20% increase in the employment of Palestinians in Israel in the years 2002-2008.

"The growth in Palestinian employment in Israel contributed to the Palestinian economy's recovery in Judea and Samaria and produced revenues of $649 million in 2008, which constituted more than 10% of Palestinian production," the report said.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Bank of Israel: Palestinian labor hurts Israeli workers

Love of the Land: Damned if you do and damned if you don't

Damned if you do and damned if you don't


Joe Settler
06 April '10

Welcome back, I hope everyone had an enjoyable Pesach and is enjoying their Mimouna.

You probably all remember the Hebrew University study by the far-left Tal Nitzan that said IDF soldier simply don’t rape Palestinian women. Nitzan explained that this inexplicably absent war crime results from our racist society.

Turkish TV disagrees with Nitzan’s study. They ran a whole episode about IDF soldiers raping female Palestinian prisoners. Ever since Turkey joined the Axis of Evil, government sponsored TV shows like this have become the norm.

But this time, Turkey crossed a line.

You see it’s one thing to show IDF soldiers killing Palestinian babies. That makes them martyrs and heroes.

It’s another thing to claim that Palestinian women are raped in Israeli prisons.

You see, the Turkish government has now destroyed the honor of every female terrorist in Israeli jails – and worse, the honor of their families. What Palestinian will be able to say with pride that his dear wife Fatma, or his sweet daughter Miryam is sitting in an Israeli prison?

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Damned if you do and damned if you don't

Love of the Land: When Israel Stood Up to Washington

When Israel Stood Up to Washington


Daniel Pipes
Frontpagemag.com
06 April '10

As U.S.-Israel tensions climb to unfamiliar heights, they recall a prior round of tensions nearly thirty years ago, when Menachem Begin and Ronald Reagan were in charge. In contrast to Binyamin Netanyahu’s repeated apologies, Begin adopted a quite different approach.

The sequence of events started with a statement from Syrian dictator Hafiz al-Asad that he would not make peace with Israel “even in a hundred years,” Begin responded by making the Golan Heights part of Israel, terminating the military administration that had been governing that territory from the time Israeli forces seized it from Syria in 1967. Legislation to this effect easily passed Israel’s parliament on Dec. 14, 1981.

This move came, however, just two weeks after the signing of a U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation Agreement, prompting much irritation in Washington. At the initiative of Secretary of State Alexander Haig, the U.S. government suspended that just-signed agreement. One day later, on Dec. 20, Begin summoned Samuel Lewis, the U.S. ambassador in Tel Aviv, for a dressing-down.

Yehuda Avner, a former aide to Begin, provides atmospherics and commentary on this episode at “When Washington bridled and Begin fumed.” As he retells it, “The prime minister invited Lewis to take a seat, stiffened, sat up, reached for the stack of papers on the table by his side, put them on his lap and [adopted] a face like stone and a voice like steel.” Begin began with “a thunderous recitation of the perfidies perpetrated by Syria over the decades.” He ended with what he called “a very personal and urgent message” to President Reagan (available at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website).

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: When Israel Stood Up to Washington

Love of the Land: Clip and Save: Senior Fatah Official: IDF deployment prevents us from exercising our right to launch armed attacks against Israel

Clip and Save: Senior Fatah Official: IDF deployment prevents us from exercising our right to launch armed attacks against Israel


Dr. Aaron Lerner
IMRA
05 April '10

[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:

Hat's off to Khaled Abu Toameh for providing the readers of The Jerusalem Post with what is probably the most stunning and significant report relating to the Palestinians this year.

Too bad the folks at the Post who wrote the headline that goes with the story seemed to miss the point.

Here we have none other than "moderate" senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath explaining that the "moderate" Palestinian Authority's "moderate" security forces have every right to launch an attack today against Israel (using, among other things, their American weapons) but that they can't because the deployment of IDF makes this unworkable.

Yes.

That's what he says.

Follow his words: "... he stressed that this does not mean that the Palestinians don't have the right to launch an armed intifada "against an armed occupation and an armed settlement on Palestinian lands...obviously, we have the right"

What's stopping the "moderate" PA from trying to slaughter Israelis?

Because it is not a nice thing to do to murder Israelis?

No.

Its because "According to Shaath, the option of an armed intifada under the current circumstances, where Israel "fully occupies the West Bank and is besieging the Gaza Strip, is impossible."

So we have some interesting policy question:

#1. President Obama is pushing PM Netanyahu to pull back the IDF from various locations in the West Bank as a gesture to the same "moderate" PA that is complaining that it would like to launch armed attacks against Israel but can't because the deployment of IDF forces makes it impossible.

#2. Would these redeployments make the "armed intifada" possible?]

==========================================================

Fatah: We want a peaceful intifada
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH The Jerusalem Post

02/04/2010 02:32
http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=172299

The new "popular intifada" that Fatah is planning in the West Bank won't be an armed one, Nabil Shaath, a senior Fatah official, said on Thursday.

Shaath's clarification came a day after he and some of his colleagues in Fatah called on Palestinians to escalate the "popular resistance" in protest against the settlements, the West Bank security barrier and the decision to build new homes in east Jerusalem.

"Apparently the Palestinian leaderships in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are in control of the situation to make sure that the intifada is not transformed into an armed confrontation," Shaath explained. "This was not the case during the second intifada."

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Clip and Save: Senior Fatah Official: IDF deployment prevents us from exercising our right to launch armed attacks against Israel

Love of the Land: A State in Need of a Spine

A State in Need of a Spine


Marla Braverman
Azure no. 39
Winter 5770 / 2010

Last January, courtesy of YouTube, millions of viewers around the world watched Turkey’s prime minister lose his cool. Speaking on a panel on Gaza at the usually punctilious World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Recep Tayyip Erdogan capped a series of recent tirades against Israel—he had alternately decried its “inhumane” actions against innocent Palestinians during Operation Cast Lead and demanded its ejection from the United Nations—with an outraged response to Israeli President and co-panelist Shimon Peres’s defense of the military campaign in the Strip. When moderator David Ignatius of the Washington Post repeatedly cut short Erdogan’s attempts at a rebuttal, the Turkish premier stormed offstage, declaring this his last appearance in Davos. Israel quickly shifted into crisis-management mode, with Peres insisting to reporters afterward that the spat was “nothing personal.” Turkey, he claimed, remained an important ally of the Jewish state. Erdogan, by contrast, donned a kaftan of indignation. “My responsibility,” he proclaimed to flag-waving supporters upon his arrival in Ankara, “is to protect the honor of the Turkish nation.”

Unfortunately, the Turkish premier’s theatrics were merely another maneuver in a surprise offensive that left Israelis smarting at their treatment by a supposedly key partner in the region. Just weeks before Davos, Erdogan had openly snubbed prime minister Ehud Olmert’s conciliatory overtures, and refused foreign minister Tzipi Livni’s offer to fly to Ankara for a visit. In October of last year, Turkey barred Israel’s air force from participating in a routine nato exercise in what Erdogan admitted was an act of protest against Israel’s handling of the Gaza campaign. That same month, Turkey’s state television aired an inflammatory series showing IDF soldiers in Gaza killing Palestinian babies and lining up civilians before a firing squad. This past November, Erdogan remarked that he would rather host Omar al-Bashir, indicted for orchestrating crimes against humanity in Darfur, than meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: A State in Need of a Spine

Torat HaRav Aviner: Encouragement for Converts

Encouragement for Converts


06
אפר
2010

Question: There are many people who converted and have lived many years as Jews only to find out recently that their conversions are not recognized by rabbinical authorities in Israel and the US. What would you say to the people whom experience this and can you offer words of comfort or advice?
Answer: 1. We now understand why the Torah states 36 times: Do not oppress the convert. It is obviously forbidden to vex another person. So when we read over and over again "Do not oppress the convert" we think - we understand, enough already. Now we see that Hashem was correct in repeating this idea. 2. There is a new law that a Beit Din cannot nullify a conversion and only the Chief Rabbi has this authority. We hope that this will help to solve the problem.


Torat HaRav Aviner: Encouragement for Converts

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: This is It

This is It

Once in the late 1980s or thereabouts I read a vivid description by an American journalist - it may have been Thomas Friedman - about sitting in an event full of secular and probably lefty Israelis who were singing something with great fervor. When he asked he was told the song was Ein Li Eretz Acheret - I have no other country. He was deeply impressed.

Actually, there was a twist to the story he wasn't aware of (this is almost always the case with foreign reporters, even the best informed of them). It's a song of love for the homeland, yes, but a homeland which is changing, which needs to be woken, to return to its previous condition. So it's both a song of love and a protest, simultaneously.

It's a very 1980s song, in other words, for that was the decade when Israeli society came the closest to tearing itself apart since the early 1950s. There were multiplying fracture lines, and the arguments were vehement, and many of those singing the song with the greatest fervor were those who feared their beloved homeland was slipping away from them.

For all the shrillness of the argument that lead to Rabin's assassination in 1995, the dynamic was different, it wasn't as severe as the 1980s, and while this song was again sung fervently in the weeks after the assassination, other shirim were more important.

In 2004-5, as Sharon's government prepared to uproot 8,000 settlers, the opposite camp took up the same song with the mirror fervor.

Nowadays, however, it has settled to being what that foreign fellow thought he was seeing 30 years ago. Oh well: eventually he got it right.

Hebrew text.
English translation:

I have no other country
even if my land is aflame
Just a word in Hebrew
pierces my veins and my soul -
With a painful body, with a hungry heart,
Here is my home.

I will not stay silent
because my country changed her face

I will not give up reminding her
And sing in her ears
until she will open her eyes

I have no other country
even if my land is aflame
Just a word in Hebrew
pierces my veins and my soul -
With a painful body, with a hungry heart,
Here is my home.

I won't be silent because my country
has changed her face.
I will not give up reminding her
And sing in her ears
until she will open her eyes

I have no other country
until she will renew her glorious days
Until she will open her eyes

I have no other country
even if my land is aflame
Just a word in Hebrew
pierces my veins and my soul -
With a painful body, with a hungry heart,
Here is my home.

With a painful body, with a hungry heart,
Here is my home.

Here's a video with the original version, posted in Russian, as sung by Gali Atari.


And here's a later version, by Gali Atari and Korin Alal, from an evening of commemoration for Ehud Manor, so sometime after his death in April 2005. Atari is older, but better, as sometimes happens.


RubinReports: Syrian Regime Never Makes Lasting Peace or Real Compromises, Still Claims Territory From Its New "Friend" Turkey

Syrian Regime Never Makes Lasting Peace or Real Compromises, Still Claims Territory From Its New "Friend" Turkey

Please be subscriber 9,902. Just put your email address in the box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.

We depend on your tax-free contributions. To make one, please send a check to: American Friends of IDC, 116 East 16th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10003. The check should be made out to “American Friends of IDC,” with “for GLORIA Center” in the memo line.

By Barry Rubin

Ha! Syria now proclaims itself a good friend of Turkey and vice-versa. No problems, right? But go to the official website of the Syrian Ministry of Tourism and guess what? There's a map in which the Syrian government claims the Turkish territory of Alexendratta (Iskanderun), which was passed to Turkey back in the 1930s. At several points in recent times, the Syrian government told the Turks it was dropping the claim.

But, of course, the Syrian regime never gives up on its goal of dominating the Arabic-speaking world and incorporting all of Lebanon, Israel, and Palestinian-ruled territories into its empire. When they are feeling in a good mood they sometimes throw in Jordan, as well as Iraq as a sphere of influence.

Meanwhile, the United States courts Syria, ignoring for all practical purposes its involvement in massive terrorism in Iraq and Lebanon. Yet the idea that Syria's regime is going to change its direction and become moderate is an illusion. They haven't even moderated in real terms toward their new friend, Turkey.


RubinReports: Syrian Regime Never Makes Lasting Peace or Real Compromises, Still Claims Territory From Its New "Friend" Turkey

RubinReports: Splitting Alliances: Why the West will Fail with Syria as it once did with Italy

Splitting Alliances: Why the West will Fail with Syria as it once did with Italy

Please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.

We depend on your tax-free contributions. To make one, please send a check to: American Friends of IDC, 116 East 16th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10003. The check should be made out to “American Friends of IDC,” with “for GLORIA Center” in the memo line.

By Barry Rubin

Reading history I realized a marvelous analogy for current Western attempts to pry Syria from its alliance with Iran. While few remember it today, there was a strenuous British and French campaign during the 1930s to lure Benito Mussolini’s Italy from aligning with Germany. They flattered the dictator and ignored his repression at home and aggression abroad--including his unprovoked assault on Ethiopia--in this effort.

Of course, they failed. One could say that failure was inevitable because of the similarity between the regimes in Berlin and Rome. Consider three additional factors.

First, there was no way the British and French were able to offer Mussolini more than Hitler did. They had neither the power nor the stomach to sell out more countries to Mussolini. Germany could always offer more because it was ruthless and wanted to destroy the status quo.

Second, Mussolini understandably concluded in 1940 that Germany was winning. For years he'd watched Western appeasement and diplomatic retreat. He saw Germany getting powerful weapons without the Anglo-French bloc stopping it. And he witnessed German military victories. He hopped on the German bandwagon.

Third, the West wouldn't ever act in such a way that Mussolini was more afraid of it than of Hitler.

Analogies can be misleading, of course, and analogies to Germany are overworked. Still, this one might have some use in explaining why the West isn’t going to flatter, concede, or pay enough to split an alliance which, after all, has persisted for thirty years and now believes itself the wave of the future.


RubinReports: Splitting Alliances: Why the West will Fail with Syria as it once did with Italy

Love of the Land: President Karzai's Mideast tutorial

President Karzai's Mideast tutorial


Petra Marquardt-Bigman
The Warped Mirror/JPost
04 April '10

A few weeks ago, Mark Perry, author of the book Talking to Terrorists and a former Arafat advisor, claimed that General Petraeus had come to the conclusion that US interests and security in the Middle East were gravely endangered by "Israeli intransigence". While few knowledgeable analysts bought Perry's story, there were plenty of pundits and bloggers who were all too happy to present it as the revelation of a long-hidden truth. The fact that General Petraeus himself soon rejected all the spin and set the record straight will probably dampen the enthusiasm of the "Blame-Israel" brigades only marginally.

Those who believed Perry's story seem to have a rather low opinion of General Petraeus, because they apparently assume that if he gets to hear complaints about "Israeli intransigence" from some Arab rulers, he will immediately conclude that America would be wildly popular in the Middle East if Arabs saw no reason to blame the US for "Israeli intransigence". But it is safe to assume that General Petraeus remembers very well that 9/11 happened - and was celebrated widely in the Middle East - not long after an American president and an Israeli prime minister had tried very hard to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indeed, the proposals for a Palestinian state presented in Taba in January 2001 were so far-reaching that Yasser Arafat eventually regretted his failure to accept them.

But for those who find it too taxing to recall some major events that happened barely ten years ago, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan recently offered a reminder of the kind of intransigence that led to 9/11 - and that has nothing whatsoever to do with Israel. As The New York Times reported, Karzai decided to retaliate for a cancelled invitation to the White House by inviting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Afghanistan and allowing him to deliver one of his anti-American tirades from the presidential palace in Kabul.

Karzai also reportedly believes that "the Americans are in Afghanistan because they want to dominate his country and the region, and that they pose an obstacle to striking a peace deal with the Taliban." Needless to say - at least for anyone who knows the Middle East - Karzai presents himself as the courageous and clever leader who works hard to frustrate America's supposed ambitions.

(Read full post)


Love of the Land: President Karzai's Mideast tutorial

Muslim Congressman in Gaza, Tweets Disaster Stories Back Home - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Muslim Congressman in Gaza, Tweets Disaster Stories Back Home - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Israel Frees Terrorist Who Helped Kidnap-Murderers of Wachsman - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Israel Frees Terrorist Who Helped Kidnap-Murderers of Wachsman - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Fire-Breathing Robot among Rafael's New Tech Developments - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Fire-Breathing Robot among Rafael's New Tech Developments - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

King Abdullah: Jordan Was Better Off without Peace with Israel - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

King Abdullah: Jordan Was Better Off without Peace with Israel - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Mimouna Festival Celebrated in Israel - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Mimouna Festival Celebrated in Israel - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Anti-Obama Sentiment Hits Billboards, Doctor's Office - A7 Exclusive Features - Israel News - Israel National News

Anti-Obama Sentiment Hits Billboards, Doctor's Office - A7 Exclusive Features - Israel News - Israel National News

Diplomatic Religious War on Jerusalem, Saudi Cleric to Visit - A7 Exclusive Features - Israel News - Israel National News

Diplomatic Religious War on Jerusalem, Saudi Cleric to Visit - A7 Exclusive Features - Israel News - Israel National News

Jordanian King (Son of Black September) Abdullah Piles on Israel :: The Phyllis Chesler Organization

Jordanian King (Son of Black September) Abdullah Piles on Israel :: The Phyllis Chesler Organization

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: The Watchdogs Go Mad

The Watchdogs Go Mad

The New York Times supports the narrative that Israeli democracy is under siege. True, there's enough professional journalism in the item to pretend the journalist is merely reporting, not sharing the opinion, but just barely.

The evidence? One case in which the prime minister criticized an organization he felt was lying; one case of wrong arrest which was rectified the next day by a court; a single tax investigation which was then called off; the Im Tirzu campaign against the NIF (and note that Im Tirzu is now blandly described as "an ultra-Zionist nongovernmental organization", whatever that might mean); and worst of all, a parliamentary bill currently stuck and immobile which calls for transparency about foreign governments' support for political players in Israel (the horror!)

Here's a counter explanation. The people who staff the so-called "human rights organizations" at the far left of Israel's political spectrum - and they're political actors, there can be no doubt about it in spite of their endless protestations - are mostly thin-skinned partisans. They are deeply and profoundly convinced that their view of the world is the truth, the only truth and nothing but the truth, and that anyone who refuses to see the world as they do is either unintelligent, benighted, evil, or all of the above. Once you accept this rather strange axiom, you'll have no problem with identifying any counter claim or adverse position with the forces of evil, out to destroy the embattled and besieged voices of rationality justice and peace.

This explains how when they dish out endless fabrications, distortions, nasty allegations and radical positions, it's democracy at its finest; but whenever they're confronted it's a fundamental undermining of democracy, freedom, justice and all that is beautiful.

It's a frame of mind, not an intellectual exercise.

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: The Watchdogs Go Mad

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Collateral... What?

Collateral... What?

An organization called Wkilleaks.org has posted a 17-minute presentation about an incident in Baghdad in July 2007 in which 12 people were killed, including two Reuters staff, and two children were wounded.

The New York Times reports here, Wikileaks reports here (but with no specific link), and here's the video itself, which Wikileaks has titled "Collateral Murder":


It's a troubling story - on many levels.

First, the deaths. I don't see anyone arguing that the two Reuters staff, a reporter and a photographer, were engaged in anything illegal. Wikileaks says they were murdered, and that's not true, but they were killed while going about their daily business and were not engaged in warfare with anyone. Likewise the two wounded children.

It's a frustrating film, since contrary to its portrayal by Wikileaks, it's not clear what was going on. The context was the very successful Surge, in which American and Iraqi forces mostly halted an extremely vicious civil war, thereby saving countless lives. The film itself has two components: there's footage from an American helicopter circling over the scene before during and after the event, identifying a target, shooting, and directing American ground forces to the site. Interspersed into this raw footage are interpretive comments of Wikileaks, which are openly informed by a particular narrative. These comments tell us what we're seeing, not always convincingly, and also tell us what we're supposed to think about what we're seeing.

The military and political context, for example, is wholly absent in this framing. I don't mean this on a philosophical level, as in "the surge was a huge success and this is a regrettable incident in it". No, I mean we totally lack the framework in which the American forces were operating. What was the significance of spotting a group of men standing in the street in that part of Baghdad in July 2007, some of them armed. Was this typical? Unusual? Could it be ambiguous or was there only one plausible explanation? Was it likely that armed insurgents would mill around while an American helicopter hovered above? It seems a bit odd to me, but perhaps it wasn't odd at all. No-one's telling us about that part.

The film is black and white, and rather grainy. The Americans, however, were seeing the scene in natural color. Did this make them more confident about what they were seeing, and is it conceivable this confidence was misplaced (Is it possible a black and white film projects reality more accurately than five or six pairs of human eyes trained to be observing carefully?)

The NYT report alludes to a nearby firefight. How does that fit into the picture, and more important, how did it fit in at the time?

How come none of the men on the ground relate directly to the helicopters in any way? That aspect is truly weird. It's as if they're living their lives, and some omnipotent force in the heavens is intruding in a way they cannot see, foresee, understand or influence. Until that part is explained, we cannot even begin to decipher the scene. Sorry, I insist on that.

The Americans have an elaborate set of orders dictating when they fire, for how long and at what. Listen to the transcription and you'll identify at least three levels of authorization, perhaps more. There's the man firing, the man authorizing it, and someone higher, who's not at the scene, giving initial authorization. Once the first burst of fire is over, the entire process has to be repeated before the second. There's lots of deliberation going on, and interestingly, there's lots of time, too. It's not decisions being taken in fractions of seconds, as would happen in a ground firefight.

There was clearly a logic to firing at the van that pulls up and its occupants start to remove one of the wounded. For all we know, given the way the war was being waged, this logic could be easily defended. The film gives no inkling: the American troops don't need to discuss such matters, and the interpretation takes for granted that it's simply evil. There's a dissonance on this matter between the voices on the tape and the interpretation of it which is so enourmous as to render discussion impossible. Perhaps the Americans are callous killers shooting innocents - though if so, they've got a rather restrictive set of rules limiting themselves from application of force. Perhaps they're decent men concentrating on an unpleasant task which is a tiny part of making the world a better place. This 17-minute presentation clearly offers both possibilities, while making considerable efforts not only to obfuscate the contradiction but to ensure only one narrative is accepted.

Can the military defend itself - assuming it feels it acted properly? Not really. In order to do so, it would have to divulge lots of very specific operational information which would be extremely valuable to future enemies. Imagine a military force which knows exactly what it's adversaries' limitations are, all the details of its rules of engagement, and the thought process of its adversaries. A military planner's dream. Yet absent all this information, we are left with the suspicion that the military acted wrongly in this case, and when it tells us it investigated and found no wrongdoing, some will surmise there's a cover-up going on.

Sadly, the needs of a democracy for transparency, and the needs for a military in obscureness, while both are legitimate, really do contradict each other sometimes. You'd think any reasonable person could appreciate the problem; alas, you'd obviously be wrong.

Also, interpreting human action is complicated. Whoever claims otherwise, be they journalists, politicians, human rights activists, bloggers: they're all quacks. Serious scholars who spend their lives on slow, well-informed attempts, often get it wrong. The immediate-truth-brigade doesn't really stand a chance.


Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Collateral... What?

RubinReports: Why Many Western Intellectuals Hate Their Own Countries, Want to Change a Successful System, and Idealize Third World Tyrannies

Why Many Western Intellectuals Hate Their Own Countries, Want to Change a Successful System, and Idealize Third World Tyrannies

Please be subscriber 9,820. Just put your email address in the box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.

We depend on your tax-deductible contributions. To make one, please send a check to: American Friends of IDC, 116 East 16th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10003. The check should be made out to “American Friends of IDC,” with “for GLORIA Center” in the memo line.

By Barry Rubin

George Orwell wrote prophetically in 1943:

“In the last twenty years Western civilization has given the intellectual security without responsibility….It has educated him in skepticism while anchoring him almost immovably in the privileged class. He has been in the position of a young man living on an allowance from father whom he hates. The result is a deep feeling of guilt and resentment, not combined with any genuine desire to escape. But some psychological escape, some form of self-justification there must be....These creeds have the advantage that they aim at the impossible and therefore in effect demand very little….The life of an English gentleman and the moral attitudes of a saint can be enjoyed simultaneously….

“The fact that the eastern nations have shown themselves at least as warlike and bloodthirsty as the western ones, that so far from rejecting industrialism, the East is adopting it as swiftly as it can—this is irrelevant, since what is wanted is the mythos of the peaceful, religious and patriarchal East to set against the greedy and materialistic West….We shall be hearing a lot about the superiority of eastern civilization in the next few years.”

In the first paragraph, Orwell was focusing on how intellectuals transfer their allegiance to their country's enemies. At the time, he was talking about the Communist USSR and Nazi Germany. But he might just as well have been talking about their resentment of the existing system. It's interesting to approach this issue from a traditional kind of socialist or even Marxist approach:

Large sectors of Western intellectuals, culture producers, and unproductive segments of the upper middle class (the kind of people who work in higher-paid government jobs and non-profit organizations included) have long been deeply resentful of the capitalist ruling class. But rather than join with the toiling masses in an alliance (the historic Marxist view), they see the masses in their own country--the contemporary working class, small businesspeople, white-collar workers, and farmers--as reactionary materialists.

They see their chosen allies instead as those who are expected to be discontented with the system: the poor (who Marxists contemptuously called the lumpenproletariat), the young, racial minorities within the country, and a huge pool of new immigrants, legal or otherwise. There are also sympathies with radical regimes or revolutionary movements (today, often radical Islamist ones) abroad. That is not to say whether or not this alliance makes sense or can work. There are many weaknesses in this conception but this discussion will be left for another time.

By the way, one interesting feature here is the dropping of women's liberation issues, which is a subject that could also be analyzed at length. It is a return of the old left and radical nationalist practice of subordinating women's interests to a "larger" cause. One aspect that is important is that issues involving women's equality in Muslim-majority states or communities can thus be ignored.

Today, the basic strategy of this movement is a statist policy to gain control of society through bureaucratic power rather than revolution. Having already seized the commanding heights of idea production (culture, education, media), they would become an effective ruling class by centralizing power in a government (or European Union bureaucracy) that provides massive employment for them (directly and through grants or payments) and governs on the basis of regulations they produce. Who needs control of the means of production directly when one has control of a government body that regulates the means of production or huge amounts of capital?

Incidentally, Orwell dealt with this issue also in an essay. See how what he says corresponds to what's going on now, most clearly through the European Union which is replacing elected governments in its control over society:

"Lissez-faire capitalism gives way to planning and state interference, the mere owner loses power as against the technician and the bureaucrat, but Socialism--that is to say, what used to be called Socialism--shows no sign of emerging." Orwell viewed this system as an enemy of democratic socialism--as he did Stalinist Communism--since it is designed to benefit a new ruling class rather than the majority of the people.

A major tenet of this strategy is to gain popular support by offering "free" tax-funded benefits to supporters funneled through the government. But the main "redistribution of wealth" is not to promote some socialist-style equality but merely a way of buying votes and ensuring the new ruling class's power.

Here's a simple proof: If the goal was redistribution of wealth, a very large portion of the Stimulus and other money would be going for projects to rebuild inner cities, provide jobs for poor people, and train them for productive employment and to open small businesses. Why is the Stimulus and the "jobs' bill" that followed doing so much less for working people and the poorer of society than the New Deal (which provided massive employment far more effectively on far less money) and President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty campaign?

Orwell writes: "Power can sometimes be won or maintained without violence, but never without fraud because it is necessary to mke use of the masses and the masses are led on by vague dreams of human brotherhood...."

Today, this how "social justice," "multiculturalism," and "political correctness" function as slogans used by the would-be new ruling class to mobilize popular support against the old ruling class. Lenin bragged that he would get the capitalists to sell him the rope by which to hang them. Today, the equivalent goes much further: persuuading the capitalists (or their offspring) that they have to give up power because they want to be good, moral, fashionable, progressive people.

Of course, the result can be seen today in countries like Greece. As the economy's unproductive sector grows, luxury policies (including excessive environmental regulations) and pay-outs become too burdensome; business is strangled and over-taxedl and society inevitably heads into a downward spiral. Escape is nearly impossible because those receiving massive benefits rebel against the cuts needed to save the country, while politicians are too fearful to take the required measures.

Conservative and right-wing groups that portray these people and their strategies as socialist and Marxist--much less liberals--are missing the point, using ideas decades out of date. One result of making this mistake is that their opponents can persuasively ridicule them as inaccurate and make appeals for support to large numbers of liberals and centrists who might otherwise be horrified by what's going on.

Back to Orwell. Note particularly the last sentence of Orwell's first paragraph: "The life of an English gentleman and the moral attitudes of a saint can be enjoyed simultaneously."

So you can drive your SUV and save the earth; enjoy a high living standard while telling average Americans and Chinese or Indians that they cannot morally have the same thing; cheer on totalitarian regimes and movements to oppress others (it's their culture to have dictators and torture dissidents, you see [sarcasm]) while yourself enjoying freedom. Even better, you can look down on those "uneducated," "backward," and "primitive" people with whom you have to co-exist who don't recognize that you know everything and they know nothing. And given that situation, there is no reason to listen to those people at all, even to take seriously and honestly rebut their arguments.

Regarding Orwell's second paragraph, imagine the stir if Orwell made such a remark today. Yet we are indeed living in a time when the West has rejected dictatorship, intolerance, and imperialism, though we hear endlessly about its real or alleged past history as defined by such categories. Meanwhile, elements of the Third World have adapted these same things. Imperialism is now operating in a reverse geographical direction. On the basis of past misdeeds, which have been corrected, the West is asked to countenance current misdeeds which endanger its survival.

An example that bears keeping in mind is as follows. Britain and France treated Germany terribly in the immediate aftermath of World War One, demanding it admit war guilt and pay huge reparations. Yet using these past sins as a rationale for giving concessions to Germany in the 1930s, a decade later, led to disaster. The situation, to put it mildly, had changed.

On the question of industrialization, I was taught this point almost forty years ago, on my first visit to China, when a Chinese worker explained to me that the dream of everyone in that country was to have a car, a big house, and other luxuries that people enjoyed in the West. And why shouldn't they have that dream if they are willing to work to fulfill it?

Here, though, are a couple of ideas that should be at the center of serious debate today but aren't:

--The true nature of the ideology and movement currently enjoying hegemony in Europe and North America, and why has it turned against the interests of the great majority of its own people, including the working class.

Someone should do a serious study of how the views of the 1960s-1970s radicals--not Marxism but rather new working class theory, viewing the American masses as benefitting from imperialism, and revolutionary youth movement ideas--are embodied in the current ideology.

--How the West has abandoned imperialism, hatred of other groups, chauvinistic nationalism, and aggression while elements in the Third World have taken on these characteristics, using them against the West and other Third World peoples.

RubinReports: Why Many Western Intellectuals Hate Their Own Countries, Want to Change a Successful System, and Idealize Third World Tyrannies

Islamist Female Suicide Bombers - Neither Sexy Nor Liberated :: The Phyllis Chesler Organization

Islamist Female Suicide Bombers - Neither Sexy Nor Liberated :: The Phyllis Chesler Organization

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

Another Pesach has passed and unfortunately, Mashiach (the Messiah) still is not here. Here are Mordechai Ben David and Avraham Fried singing Maimonides' 12th principle of faith in which we declare that we await the Mashiach's arrival.

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Love of the Land: If There's No Project to Engage Hizballah Why Do People Keep Telling Me They Were Contacted About It?

If There's No Project to Engage Hizballah Why Do People Keep Telling Me They Were Contacted About It?


Thanassis Cambanis

Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
05 April '10

Recently, I wrote an article about receiving a letter saying the Center for American Progress is running a project to advocate U.S. engagement with Hizballah and that high-ranking officials in the Obama administration were encouraging this as part of their own campaign to start talking with the Lebanese terrorist group that is a client for Iran and Syria in trying to take over Lebanon and destroy Israel.

The head of the project, Cambanis, a strong supporter of Hizballah, has denied it. Yes, he admitted. That's what my assistant wrote but he lied. The letter began, however, with the assistant saying the director asked him to write me. So one would think the director approved the letter.

Cambanis wrote last year

"The Islamist axis commands real power and is a force to be reckoned with. Israel has never stopped negotiating with Hamas and Hezbollah. European diplomats are quietly talking to Hezbollah officials, and looking for ways to initiate contacts with Hamas without violating European law. American intelligence services and diplomats find they have less and less leverage and understanding from their increasingly isolated stations and embassies; they’ll need to craft new channels through which to speak to groups in the Islamist axis."

(Read full post)


Love of the Land: If There's No Project to Engage Hizballah Why Do People Keep Telling Me They Were Contacted About It?

Israel Matzav: St. Pancake returning to Gaza?

St. Pancake returning to Gaza?

St. Pancake may be returning to Gaza. In spirit anyway.

Also on Saturday, the Free Gaza Movement announced that it had purchased a massive 1,200-ton cargo ship that it plans to load with humanitarian supplies and send to the Strip next month.

The vessel was bought at auction in Dundalk, Ireland. Free Gaza has been behind a number of smaller ships that in some cases in recent years succeeded in breaking Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip and docking there with international activists and supplies. The last two ships were stopped by the Israel Navy. The Free Gaza Movement owns four ships including three passenger vessels.

The cargo ship will head to Gaza as part of an international flotilla planning to set sail in May carrying 500 tons of cement, drugs, medical equipment and educational materials. Passenger and cargo ships, the movement said, were also being organized by the Turkish humanitarian organization I.H.H., and by groups in Greece, Sweden, Malaysia and Belgium.

“We have international law and the conscience of the people of the world on our side. We know the Irish people will not stand by and let the people of Gaza be starved and punished by Israel any longer,” said Derek Graham of the Free Gaza Movement.

The new cargo ship, called the MV Linda, will be renamed the MV Rachel Corrie, in memory of the 23-year-old International Solidarity Movement activist who was crushed to death by an IDF bulldozer in 2003 in Gaza.

Defense Ministry officials said that they were aware of the Free Gaza Movement’s plans and consult with the IDF and the Foreign Ministry over whether to intercept it or allow it to dock in Gaza. One official raised the possibility that the ship would be forced to dock in Ashdod, where the cargo would be unloaded and searched, and if found to be of a humanitarian nature, sent to Gaza via land crossings.

I wonder how much ammunition it would take to sink a 1,200 ton cargo ship. Heh.

Israel Matzav: St. Pancake returning to Gaza?

Love of the Land: The Repercussions of Obama's War of Words on Israel

The Repercussions of Obama's War of Words on Israel

Osama Hamdan of Hamas: Hillary's New Dance Partner?


Parrhesia
jstreetjive.com
02 April '10

We are approaching one month since Obama and his Vice President made the momentous decision to escalate the artificial "crisis" of settlements and turn it into a major policy shift of animus towards Israel while claiming-incredibly- that they stand stalwartly behind the Jewish State. One measure of how deep a rift the Obama policy has created are the reverberations within the U.S. and around the world. Within one week of the "condemnation" of Jewish building - building that had been announced and planned years in advance - the EU's President, Spanish Foreign Minister Angel Moratinos, echoed Obama's harsh words and demanded a total freeze on Jewish building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. At home, liberal media outlets have chimed in on the Obama line with unsparing words for Israel and its government: In its March 26th editorial the sages of the New York Times wrote:

"Many Israelis find Mr. Obama’s willingness to challenge Israel unsettling. We find it refreshing..."

Of course, BHO would never even consider "challenging" the Palestinians nor would the Times demand it.

A editorial in The Harvard Crimson on April 1 declared,

"We oppose the original construction of the settlements, and believe this incident provides an important opportunity for the U.S. to consider its relationship with Israel. It is time for the U.S. to reexamine its alliance with the country based on its national security and geopolitical realities. To do so, the U.S. should create diplomatic distance between the two nations. The U.S. should also make the degree of aid it provides to Israel contingent on Israel’s pursuit of the peace process. President Obama’s recent actions demonstrate that he is dedicated to the same careful reevaluation, and we applaud him in that regard."

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: The Repercussions of Obama's War of Words on Israel

Israel Matzav: Israel-hatred as psychopathy

Israel-hatred as psychopathy

In London last week, an Israeli string quartet was shouted down by a group of anti-Israel protesters. Daily Telegraph blogger Douglas Murray understands what's behind the protests.

I won’t go on, other than to say the following two things.

The first is that this must constitute one of the most misanthropy-inducing acts imaginable. There are all sorts of disagreements which occur on the international stage – some you agree with, some you do not. But the idea that these disagreements should be fought out on the concert stage epitomises some new kind of low for anybody who believes that the world is improved, rather than made worse, by culture.

Which brings me to my second point – which is that this protest was of course not about culture, but about hate. What is happening to Israel, on our campuses and trade unions, in our Parliament and now in our concert halls, is a process of delegitimisation and exceptionalism which has been crafted with a deliberate aim in mind. Its aim is the annihilation of the Jewish state. That Jews aim to lead the way in this endeavour shows that this is not simply an opinion or an activity, but a psychopathy. At all times in human history people like them have existed. Ordinarily you find them on street corners, with placards round their necks, hollering, gibbering and selling pencils out of a cup. Nothing could shame them.

Unfortunately, we Jews have a long history of being self-destructive. The prophet Isaiah warned that those who would destroy us will come from among us. Unfortunately, we see that prophecy being fulfilled almost daily on the international stage. Check out how many attacks against Israel come from Jews. Look at the Jews in the US who have abandoned Israel because it no longer fits their liberal credos (not to mention the Jews in Europe who never supported Israel in the first place). It's truly appalling.


Israel Matzav: Israel-hatred as psychopathy

Israel Matzav: How to overthrow the Iranian government

How to overthrow the Iranian government

Hossein Askari believes that the Obama administration could impose sanctions on Iran that would bring the regime down within a year if it wanted to. The problem is that Obama doesn't want to bring down Iran's clerical regime.

First, the United States should freeze many of Iran’s bank accounts, not only those belonging to the Revolutionary Guard and key regime figures, but also those belonging to rich Iranian merchants and businessmen living in the country. This would threaten the financial interests of all who benefit from and support the regime. The bazaar strike of businessmen against the shah’s regime was the key catalyst to toppling his government during the 1979 revolution. The United States does not need China’s blessing to pull off a similar feat. Washington should threaten any bank that refuses to cooperate, both by imposing fines that would be even stiffer than the $536 million paid by Credit Suisse at the end of 2009 for dealing with Tehran, and with exclusion from the U.S. market. Few banks would choose Iran over the US and any that did would charge so much to do business with Iranians that regime insiders would have a heart attack!

Second, the United States should further tighten Iran’s isolation from the international financial system by sanctioning every Iranian financial institution, including its central bank. Again, any country or financial institution that did not cooperate would face American fines and exclusion from the U.S. market. Commercial banks around the world are already increasingly reluctant to do business with Iran after the record fines paid by Credit Suisse. Cutting off the central bank and all Iranian financial institutions would basically increase the cost of Iranian imports because Tehran could not use letters of credit—instead, it would either have to resort to cash, literally in suitcases, to buy what it needs or rely on barter. The cost of trade would soar in time, crippling the Iranian economy and demonizing the regime.

Third, the Obama administration could spark a panic by motivating Iranians, as well as expatriates residing in the United States and overseas, to liquidate their assets in Iran and to withdraw their money from the country. The wealthy would rush to take their money out, fearing a collapse in asset prices and in the value of the Iranian currency, the rial. The regime would have no choice but to block the outflow of funds from Iran; the black-market exchange rate would jump; import prices and eventually inflation would soar.

All these measures—the financial sanctions and initiatives to spark an economic panic in Iran—should be adopted simultaneously so as to have maximum effect; adopting them one by one would not inflict the needed level of pain on the regime and its supporters.

While it would be best to have these financial sanctions adopted on a multilateral basis by the United Nations Security Council, the Obama administration could immediately and unilaterally adopt them and threaten financial institutions that circumvent them with stiff fines.

Askari also says that the focus on Iran's nuclear program is misplaced. Well, maybe, if you need support from ordinary Iranians. But for the rest of the world, one of the key motivations for bringing down the Iranian regime is to stop the nuclear program. If Iran gave it up, there would be a lot less interest in removing Ahmadinejad and Khameni from power. And it doesn't look like those two are going to be removed from power by an election.

Israel Matzav: How to overthrow the Iranian government

Israel Matzav: Amnesty: 'Defensive' jihad okay

Amnesty: 'Defensive' jihad okay

The 'human rights' defenders at Amnesty International have decided that 'defensive' jihad is okay.

In response to the petition, AI Secretary-General Claudio Cordone has issued a letter in vigorous defense of AI's collaboration with Begg and Cageprisoners. Steve Emerson's Investigative Project on Terrorism has the story, here. In the letter, Cordone states AI's position outright: advocacy of "jihad in self defence" is not antithetical to human rights. That Islamists reserve unto themselves the right to determine when Islam is, as they put it, "under siege," and when, therefore, forcible jihad is justified, is plainly of no concern — only actions America's self-defense are worthy of condemnation.

And actions in Israel's self-defense too.

But that goes without saying, doesn't it?


Israel Matzav: Amnesty: 'Defensive' jihad okay

Israel Matzav: How are those sanctions working out?

How are those sanctions working out?

With crippling biting nibbling sanctions against Iran under discussion, it is perhaps worthwhile to take a look at how existing sanctions against Iran have been working out. Specifically, sanctions that are targeted against Iran's nuclear program. Unfortunately, the answer is "not very well."

The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday how Iran managed to circumvent sanctions against its nuclear program by using a Chinese company (which had no comment) and a French intermediary (who denied involvement) to purchase badly needed valves and gauges for its centrifuges.

The IAEA and Western authorities began looking into the matter after the IAEA received the Jan. 14 email, with the subject line "For Iran Inspectors," alleging that illicit goods were being sent to Iran in a "careful and secret" way, according to a person familiar with the email.

The email named JMT and alleged the firm acquired the valves from an intermediary named Vikas Kumar Talwar representing Zheijiang Ouhai Trade Corp. of China, a subsidiary of the Wenzhou-based Jinzhou Group.

Mr. Talwar, whose nationality couldn't be learned, couldn't be located to comment. Zheijiang, which imports and exports a wide range of manufactured products from electronic cigarettes to steel pipes, didn't respond to requests to comment.

A U.S. law enforcement official said Mr. Talwar's name has come up in prior investigations of Iranian efforts to procure nuclear equipment, as has Zheijiang Ouhai. "Vikas Kumar Talwar — he's definitely a procurement agent who acts on behalf of Iranian entities," said the law enforcement official. "JMT is a known supplier to Kalaye."

Jean-Pierre Richer, president of KD Valves, said in an interview that his firm does no business with China due to the sensitive nature of the products he sells. "We have never sold to China—believe me, I wish we could," he said. Such sales would require export licenses that are difficult to obtain, he said.

Mr. Richer said he has never heard of Mr. Talwar and that KD Vales only does business with well-known customers. He said no Western authorities have contacted his firm to inquire about valve sales to Iran or China. A Tyco spokesman said the company had searched its records back to 2006 and found no record of sales to Zheijiang or Mr. Talwar.

Anyone still think Iran can be stopped by sanctions?


Israel Matzav: How are those sanctions working out?

Israel Matzav: Neil Diamond sings Sweet Caroline at Fenway opener

Neil Diamond sings Sweet Caroline at Fenway opener

The Sox had an 8-7 lead over the hated Yankees as they went to the bottom of the 8th inning on opening night at Fenway on Sunday night (the Sox eventually won 9-7), and you know what that means: It's Sweet Caroline time. But this time there was an extra treat: Neil Diamond showed up in person to sing it.

Let's go to the videotape.



I know that all of you who missed the game because of Passover will be happy to see that.

And the good news is, the Sox won!


Israel Matzav: Neil Diamond sings Sweet Caroline at Fenway opener

Israel Matzav: Nidra Poller: 'Israel is the heart of our civilization, not the appendix'

Nidra Poller: 'Israel is the heart of our civilization, not the appendix'

Nidra Poller's latest article is called Israel is the heart of our civilization, not the appendix.

The airwaves are thick with the sound of raucous voices and clashing swords. O Jerusalem--well, ok, East Jerusalem-- and the thundering hooves will brook no opposition! Get Israel!

At the slightest twinge of international pain they cry out, “Cut it off! Get rid of it, and the worldwide body politic will finally live in peace.” Ahmadinejad has promised hundreds of times to wipe Israel off the map without provoking much of a reaction. His proxies stock arms, poke and prod, without raising international eyebrows. Then Israel approves housing construction in Jerusalem and the sleeping warriors awake. Grrrrrr! The Obama administration bares its fangs and the troops go into action. General Petraeus warns—then denies he warned-- that the unresolved Israel-Palestine conflict is disturbing Muslim nations, stimulating extremism, and putting our boys in danger. Walt & Mearsheimer point the finger at homegrown Zionists who are twisting the arm of this vast nation, bringing it to its knees, and forcing filthy Israel down our throats. Israel is a pain. Dr. Quack has the solution. Cut out that festering appendix and the ummah will welcome us with open arms.

The “two-state solution that everyone knows will resolve the conflict” is brandished like a scimitar: Israeli withdrawal to the ’67 (’49 armistice) lines, dismantlement of settlements, a mini territorial tradeoff, a “solution” to the refugee problem, and the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital… The “solution” is a lethal narrative, a knife to the heart of Jerusalem that cripples Jewish sovereignty in the homeland.

What makes Jerusalem so precious? The Jews. Mecca was sanctified by Islam, even though the black stone pre-existed the founding gesture, and Jerusalem was sanctified by Judaism. Subsequent religious claims to the city are accretions to the original consecration. Jerusalem is the Christian holy land because Jesus was a Jew. And Islam’s claim is based on a scriptural injunction to supersede Judaism and Christianity. If Muslim claims to Jerusalem are not religious they are inexplicable. Ramallah would be a more suitable capital of a Palestinian state that truly intended to live peacefully side by side with Israel. Why should the world be dragged into a fierce tug of war when there is enough for everyone… if, in fact, it is a question of legitimate aspirations. The Muslim claim to Jerusalem is staked on the Al Aqsa mosque and the gilded Dome of the Rock that dominate the Temple Mount (the French call it “l’esplanade des mosquées”). And if it is granted, the heart of our civilization will be broken. The precedent established in Jerusalem will be extended to Paris, New York, London, the Hague, Detroit, Washington D.C… wherever a mosque is built, Islam will extend its political sovereignty. It will be the end of separation of church and state, the end of religious and political freedom. Al Aqsa is built on the ruins of the Jewish Temple. Europeans—so eager to impose the division of Jerusalem-- finally nixed plans for mega- mosques in Rome and London. But their long-delayed awakening is trumped by the anti-Zionism of the American president.

Continue reading here. It's superb.


Israel Matzav: Nidra Poller: 'Israel is the heart of our civilization, not the appendix'
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...