Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Israel Matzav: Lessons unlearned

Lessons unlearned

On the occasion of Holocaust Day, Jonathan Tobin suggests that all that money that American Jewish federations have spent commemorating the Holocaust is money that has gone to waste. American Jewry just doesn't get it.

The question is, what are American Jews — the vast majority of whom voted for Obama as loyal Democrats — prepared to do to convince their president to act before it is too late? There is no evidence to suggest that there is a pervasive sense of alarm or outrage about the administration’s feckless Iran policy or its perverse insistence on hostility toward the democratically elected government of Israel. Thus, for all of the attention devoted to observances of Yom Hashoah among American Jews, it appears as if the actual lesson of the Holocaust has no resonance for all too many. Though it was always true, this year the mere recital of expressions of sorrow for the Six Million are not enough. Acts of remembrance that do not lead us to draw conclusions about the present are of little use. For all the care and money that has gone into the proliferation of Holocaust memorials around the United States, it must be understood that the best and only true memorial to the Shoah is to be found in the creation and the survival of the State of Israel and of the Jewish people itself. Those who weep over fate of the Six Million but say nothing as Barack Obama lets Iran off the hook have learned nothing.

Why aren't there three million Jews marching on the capitol? Or is this generation also to be left to the Peter Bregson's and Rabbi Moshe Feinstein's and those few others who recognize the danger?

Read it all.

Israel Matzav: Lessons unlearned

RubinReports: Two great, brief articles about what's going on in Turkey

Two great, brief articles about what's going on in Turkey

By Barry Rubin

Soner Cagaptay may be the best political analyst writing on Turkey in the world today. He is doing a four-part series on the current regime in Turkey and its march toward Islamism, of which the first two pieces are published so far. If you want a briefing on what's going on read these short articles:

Transformation Under the AKP: The Rise and Demise of Moderate Islamism Part One and Part Two

RubinReports: Two great, brief articles about what's going on in Turkey

Love of the Land: Obami’s Latest Israel Gambit Flops

Obami’s Latest Israel Gambit Flops

Jennifer Rubin
13 April '10

Once again, the Obami’s bullying has come to naught. Bibi Netanyahu and his government are not amused nor persuaded by the Obami onslaught over Jerusalem housing permits or the suggestion that an imposed peace deal might be in the offing. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government said it would reject any moves by the Obama administration to set its own timeline and benchmarks for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, potentially establishing a new fault line between the U.S. and Israel. … Senior White House officials, such as National Security Adviser James Jones, have also discussed recently the prospects of Washington proposing its own Mideast plan, though U.S. diplomats stressed this past week that such a move wasn’t imminent or agreed upon.

These developments have rankled Mr. Netanyahu’s government, which is already at odds with Mr. Obama over the issue of Jewish building in disputed East Jerusalem.

“I don’t believe this will be accepted by the administration because it will be a grave mistake. … The solution has to be homegrown,” Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal late Sunday. …

“The longstanding Israeli position, not of this government only, but of successive Israeli governments, is that the Israelis and the Palestinians have to live together in peace and that an agreement has to be negotiated between them directly,” said a senior Netanyahu administration official.

Of course this was entirely foreseeable.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Obami’s Latest Israel Gambit Flops

Love of the Land: The Kam Case: Freedom of Expression or Freedom of Baloney?

The Kam Case: Freedom of Expression or Freedom of Baloney?

by Uri Heitner, Yisrael HaYom

Shilo Musings
13 April '10

The following is my translation of an editorial which appears in today’s Yisrael HaYom newspaper in Hebrew.

Immediately upon exposure of the Kam affair, it was clear that for certain groups in Israeli society, a new hero was born. I knew that Kam would be portrayed as a heroine: a knight of freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom for the struggle against the ‘corrupt occupation’ and so forth.

Indeed, since publication of the affair, we’ve read dozens of articles about an important journalist who sits in detention because she revealed the war crimes of Israel. The second journalist involved, Uri Blau, has informed us, without the least bit of modesty, that he did not struggle at all on his own behalf, rather but on behalf of Israel.

Articles of support maintain that the great sin of Kam amounts to the fact that she has a world-view that led her to reveal illegal acts of Israel. Or, alternatively, some argue that she just did her duty of conscience, and that the problematic factor here is the IDF, whose injustices she has exposed.

Well, even if we are a ‘baloney-ridden’ State, such a concentration of nonsense has not been seen here in a long time. Then there is nothing further from the issue of freedom of expression and freedom of the press than this case.

The "journalist" that was arrested, is rather an Internet website gossip columnist. There is no connection at all between her vocation and her arrest.

After all, she was not arrested for her work as a ‘journalist’, but for what she did as a soldier. As a soldier, she stole classified documents, kept them, and passed some on. This is the truth under the false code of "free press".

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: The Kam Case: Freedom of Expression or Freedom of Baloney?

Love of the Land: The Irony of “Never Again”

The Irony of “Never Again”

Rick Richman
13 April '10

In his important post on the necessity of doing more than simply saying “Never Again,” Jonathan noted that Iran “ironically denies the Holocaust while plotting a new one.” But it is not ironic — it is rather part of three contradictory propositions that nevertheless reinforce each other.

Iran simultaneously denies the Holocaust, threatens a new one, and accuses Israel of being a Nazi regime. It denies what the Nazis did, announces plans to do it again, and accuses the prospective victims of being Nazis. Those propositions are crazy, but the more important point is they are parts of an integrated plan.

The plan involves, first, denying the historical legitimacy of Israel. In the view of many Muslims, Israel is simply a Holocaust guilt offering imposed by the West on blameless Arabs. It is a view unfortunately given credence by President Obama’s Cairo address, which mentioned the “tragic history” of the Jewish people as the justification for Israel — not the 3,000-year connection to the land, nor its central place in Jewish ritual for millennia, nor the fact that modern Zionism began in the 19th century, long before the Holocaust. But Iran denies the Holocaust to challenge even the “tragic history” as a basis for a Jewish state.

The second part of the plan is to announce that the goal is not a Palestinian state, but the elimination of the Jewish one — and to demonstrate that the announcement produces no penalty. Indeed the goal gains legitimacy from its repeated proclamation and the repeated failure of the West to respond. There is no UN resolution condemning Iran for threatening another member of the UN, no refusal to deal with a regime that is openly advocating a new Holocaust — only an outstretched hand, endlessly outstretched. It confirms Iran’s belief (and its argument to its allies) that the West will ultimately abandon the Jewish state, just as it abandoned the Jews.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: The Irony of “Never Again”

Love of the Land: Israel’s Lefty Rag Haaretz Defends Treason and Espionage

Israel’s Lefty Rag Haaretz Defends Treason and Espionage

P. David Hornik
13 April '10

The partial lifting of the gag order on the Anat Kam espionage affair, which had already been exposed to the world media in March by Judith Miller, is stirring up a storm in Israel. The charge sheet accuses Kam of “divulging secret information with the intent to harm the security of the state,” which falls under “serious espionage” and carries a maximum life term. Haaretz, Israel’s left-wing daily, is at the center of the storm — and tying itself in knots to defend Kam, its journalist Uri Blau, and itself.

First, to recap: Kam, born in Jerusalem in 1987 and a gifted student, served as an office clerk under the then head of Central Command, Yair Naveh, from 2005 to 2007. She’s charged with illicitly copying about 2000 computer documents — 700 of them classified secret or top secret — and taking them with her when she left the army. The charge sheet says the documents contained, among other things, “plans of military operations, summaries of discussions within the IDF, deployment and order of battle … of IDF forces … , IDF situation estimates, IDF targets, and so on.” Security sources say they could have cost soldiers’ lives and posed a grave danger.

In 2008 Kam, then a student at Tel Aviv University and a journalist for the Walla news site, delivered a large amount of the documents to Blau. He, in turn, published in Haaretz some stories based on them that were cleared with the military censor. The stories involved assassinations of terrorists in the West Bank who, allegedly, could have been arrested; the Israeli Supreme Court had ruled that in such cases, the terrorist has to be arrested rather than killed. (Meanwhile, on Sunday the IDF spokesperson said Blau’s claims in these articles were “upsetting and distorted.”)

When sources in the defense establishment saw the stories, they worried about where they could have come from. The Israel Security Agency, better known as Shin Bet, eventually worked out a deal with Blau where he returned his documents and was promised they wouldn’t be used to incriminate him or his sources. A few months later, in December 2009, the Shin Bet identified Kam as the source of the documents — but the problem was that she admitted to giving Blau far more documents than he had turned over.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Israel’s Lefty Rag Haaretz Defends Treason and Espionage

Love of the Land: In the Shadow of Iran, Holocaust Remembrance Must Have a Purpose

In the Shadow of Iran, Holocaust Remembrance Must Have a Purpose

Jonathan Tobin
12 April '10

At synagogues and community centers, as well as city halls and statehouses around the country, Americans gathered yesterday and today to mark Yom HaShoah, the date in the Jewish calendar that commemorates the tragedy of the Holocaust. The choreography of these events is invariably the same. Community leaders, clergymen, and politicians, as well as representatives of the dwindling band of survivors, will speak of the importance of remembrance of this great crime and vow that “Never again” will the world stand by and watch as a people is slaughtered. Prayers will be said and songs that invoke the pathos of the victims as well as the heroism of those who resisted the Nazis and their collaborators will be sung. All this is right and proper and appropriate. And it is also utterly insufficient.

The notion that the example of the Holocaust would be used to mobilize the world to prevent subsequent acts of genocide was always a bit optimistic. Yet some well-meaning educators thought the memory of the Shoah must be morphed into a more general concern for humanity lest it be seen as merely a parochial concern. In addition, those who sought to downplay contemporary threats to Jewish life particularly derided the idea that Holocaust remembrance must have specific lessons for Jews about powerlessness and sovereignty. For those like New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, who once referred to Israel as “Yad Vashem with an air force,” the worry was that Israel and its friends were so obsessed by the Holocaust that they were unwilling to make peace with the Arabs. This was an absurd charge against a country that would spend two decades making concessions and peace offers to Palestinian groups that still refuse to recognize the Jewish state’s legitimacy within any borders.

But in 2010 these post-Zionist dismissals of the existential threats to Israel are even more out of touch with reality than in the past. Even as the speakers at Yom Hashoah ceremonies recited the words “never again,” the leaders of the Islamist regime in Iran (whose president ironically denies the Holocaust while plotting a new one) were happily noting the international community’s weak response to their plans for the development of a nuclear weapon. The entire world is threatened by this prospect but we all know that the priority target for Iran and its terrorist allies Hezbollah and Hamas is the State of Israel.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: In the Shadow of Iran, Holocaust Remembrance Must Have a Purpose

Love of the Land: The 1975 "Zionism Is Racism" Resolution: The Rise, Fall, and Resurgence of a Libel

The 1975 "Zionism Is Racism" Resolution: The Rise, Fall, and Resurgence of a Libel

Yohanan Manor
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
No. 97
April '10

The singling out of Zionism as a supposed form of racism was a device invented by the Soviet Union to justify its refusal to condemn anti-Semitism during the negotiation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in the mid-1960s.

The failure of the Soviet-Arab strategy to expel Israel from the United Nations and replace it with Palestine led to the adoption in 1975 of UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 (XXX), which determined that "Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination."

For almost a decade, Israel and the Jewish people remained passive and did not attempt to challenge Resolution 3379. They greatly underestimated its impact and the damage it caused all over the world, expecting unrealistically that it would fade away by dint of its sheer inanity.

The resolution's revocation in 1991 was not an inevitable outcome of the end of the Cold War but was achieved mainly by convincing the United States to take the lead on the issue; the ostensible UN "automatic majority" was a manifestation of lack of leadership. Today, the efforts to undermine Israel's legitimacy come mainly from an NGO network inspired and supported by Israel's enemies, calling for a new counterstrategy.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379 (XXX) of 10 November 1975, defining Zionism as a form of racism, was revoked by the General Assembly sixteen years later on 16 December 1991.

The story of the rise and fall of this libel teaches a good deal about the role of anti-Semitism in international politics, its paralyzing effect on both the Jewish state and the Jewish people, and how such a libel was finally challenged successfully. Since the revocation of 3379, Israel's international standing and legitimacy have steadily improved, increasing its ability to thwart ongoing attempts to negate its legitimacy.

How It Began

The idea of having Zionism condemned by the United Nations originated with the Soviet Union in the mid-1960s, before the Six Day War. It stemmed from the Soviet refusal to have anti-Semitism condemned by the UN. Since the Soviet Union could not openly voice such a position, it conditioned its acceptance of condemning anti-Semitism on a demand to condemn Zionism and Nazism. This occurred in 1964 and 1965 during the negotiation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination within the framework of the UN Commission on Human Rights.[1]

The Six Day War inflicted a severe blow on the Soviet Union's weaponry and prestige, and it subsequently developed a more militant policy to regain and enlarge its influence in the Middle East. This policy was based on a near-total backing of the PLO. It was expected that this backing would bring both the "Arab street" and the Arab states to the Soviet Union's side. This scheme went well and enabled the Soviet Union to gain strongholds in the Middle East, notably in Syria and Egypt, which were on the verge of becoming Soviet colonies.

(Read full paper)

Love of the Land: The 1975 "Zionism Is Racism" Resolution: The Rise, Fall, and Resurgence of a Libel

Love of the Land: A Dangerous Silence

A Dangerous Silence

Edward I. Koch
Yonkers Tribune
12 April '10

I weep as I witness outrageous verbal attacks on Israel. What makes these verbal assaults and distortions all the more painful is that they are being orchestrated by President Obama.

For me, the situation today recalls what occurred in 70 AD when the Roman emperor Vespasian launched a military campaign against the Jewish nation and its ancient capital of Jerusalem. Ultimately, Masada, a rock plateau in the Judean desert became the last refuge of the Jewish people against the Roman onslaught. I have been to Jerusalem and Masada. From the top of Masada, you can still see the remains of the Roman fortifications and garrisons, and the stones and earth of the Roman siege ramp that was used to reach Masada. The Jews of Masada committed suicide rather than let themselves be taken captive by the Romans.

In Rome itself, I have seen the Arch of Titus with the sculpture showing enslaved Jews and the treasures of the Jewish Temple of Solomon with the Menorah, the symbol of the Jewish state, being carted away as booty during the sacking of Jerusalem.

Oh, you may say, that is a far fetched analogy. Please hear me out.

The most recent sacking of the old city of Jerusalem – its Jewish quarter – took place under the Jordanians in 1948 in the first war between the Jews and the Arabs, with at least five Muslim states – Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq – seeking to destroy the Jewish state. At that time, Jordan conquered East Jerusalem and the West Bank and expelled every Jew living in the Jewish quarter of the old city, destroying every building, including the synagogues in the old quarter and expelling from every part of Judea and Samaria every Jew living there so that for the first time in thousands of years, the old walled city of Jerusalem and the adjacent West Bank were "Judenrein" -- a term used by the Nazis to indicate the forced removal or murder of all Jews..

Jews had lived for centuries in Hebron, the city where Abraham, the first Jew, pitched his tent and where he now lies buried, it is believed, in a tomb with his wife, Sarah, as well as other ancient Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs. I have visited that tomb and at the time asked an Israeli soldier guarding it – so that it was open to all pilgrims, Christians, Muslims and Jews -- “where is the seventh step leading to the tomb of Abraham and Sarah,” which was the furthest entry for Jews when the Muslims were the authority controlling the holy place? He replied, “When we retook and reunited the whole city of Jerusalem and conquered the West Bank in 1967, we removed the steps, so now everyone can enter,” whereas when Muslims were in charge of the tomb, no Jew could enter it. And I did.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: A Dangerous Silence

Love of the Land: The Solace of Poor U.S.-Israel Relations

The Solace of Poor U.S.-Israel Relations

Daniel Pipes
National Review Online
13 April '10

Mr. Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

Things are not always as simple as they seem; the current crisis in U.S.-Israel relations has a silver lining.

Four observations, all derived from historical patterns, prompt this conclusion:

First, the "peace process" is in actuality a "war process." Diplomatic negotiations through the 1990s led to a parade of Israeli retreats that had the perverse effect of turning the middling-bad situation of 1993 into the awful one of 2000. Painful Israeli concessions, we now know, stimulate not reciprocal Palestinian goodwill but rather irredentism, ambition, fury, and violence.

Second, Israeli concessions to the Arabs are effectively forever while relations with Washington fluctuate. Once the Israelis left south Lebanon and Gaza, they did so for good, as would be the case with the Golan Heights or eastern Jerusalem. Undoing these steps would be prohibitively costly. In contrast, U.S.-Israel tensions depend on personalities and circumstances, so they go up and down and the stakes are relatively lower. Each president or prime minister can refute his predecessor's views and tone. Problems can be repaired quickly.

More broadly, the U.S.-Israel bond has strengths that go far beyond politicians and issues of the moment. Nothing on earth resembles this bilateral, "the most special" of special relationships and "the family relationship of international politics." Like any family tie, it has high points (Israel ranks second, behind only the United States, in number of companies listed on NASDAQ) and low ones (the Jonathan Pollard espionage affair continues to rankle a quarter century after it broke). The tie has a unique intensity when it comes to strategic cooperation, economic connections, intellectual ties, shared values, United Nations voting records, religious commonalities, and even mutual interference in each other's internal affairs.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: The Solace of Poor U.S.-Israel Relations

Love of the Land: No American Troops Should Die Protecting Israel

No American Troops Should Die Protecting Israel

Marty Peretz
The New Republic
12 April '10

(Certainly a catchy title)

Almost before the celebrants at Barack Obama’s inauguration had gotten over their hangovers some 15 months ago, the president designated George Mitchell as his special envoy in the Middle East. I wrote then and several times since that he would be a flop, poor man. After all, it’s not the case that he had been a great success in any of his other high-minded missions, including the investigation into steroid use by baseball heroes. In his latest tussle with the now-almost-ancient struggle between Jews and Arabs over Palestine, he was also shackled by his boss’s stubbornly defective history of the region, which, of course, morphed into equally stubborn and defective formulae for fixing that history.

My guess is that this could be Mitchell’s final voyage to the Holy Land, and he may begin saying his goodbyes. Unless he is such a glutton for punishment that he can’t bear to leave. Senator, better take my advice. God bless and good riddance.

Maybe the Palestinian Authority will yet agree to participate in the “proximity talks” on which the president has staked so much. You need to keep in mind that it is the Palestinians--not the Israelis--who are rejecting these low-status negotiations. And not because they want higher-status talks. But because they want to extract concessions from Jerusalem as a precondition for participating even in this remote model for contact between the parties. Then, of course, they’ll try to extract more substantial concessions for attending direct talks. Maybe this is Obama’s plan as well.

But even he may be tiring of these prevaricative tactics. So, pushed by his (what should be) desolating failure even to get indirect contacts going, Obama may be tempted to spring his more-or-less detailed peace plan upon the world. As you surely have grasped, I am far from convinced that any such design will succeed. And it is not, as many in the media seem to assume, because Israel is intransigent. For that matter, I do not think one should blame the ongoing failures of diplomacy on the intransigence of the Palestinians, obstinate though they are. The real impediment to successful Israeli-Palestinians talks, even to unsuccessful talks, is that Palestine is a failed society.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: No American Troops Should Die Protecting Israel

Love of the Land: Blast from the Past: Power

Blast from the Past: Power

Divest This!
12 April '10

As we await what comes next at UC Berkeley, I thought I'd dredge out some real old stuff, things I wrote years ago when divestment came-a-calling at Somerville, Massachusetts. It's interesting to note that now that BDS is attempting to use the paddles of life to resurrect itself, how little their arguments (or required rebuttals) have actually changed...

Does anyone ever wonder why the Palestinians, alone among peoples without a state, have their own seat at the UN (an organization that spends almost a quarter of its time fighting on their behalf)?

Why does the Palestinian refugee problem have its own international organization (UNWRA) with annual budget of $350 million, while every other refugee in the world (almost twenty million at last count) are lumped together in the "other" category, supported by the United Nationals High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)?

Why is Palestinian statehood one of the planet's top foreign policy goals, yet independence of for Kurds, Tibetans and Basques has been permanently removed from the international agenda? Why is Palestinian suffering on the West Bank being debated in universities, cities, towns and churches unendingly as Sudanese bury two million people unlamented?

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Blast from the Past: Power

Elder of Ziyon: Galloway group attacked by Muslims

Galloway group attacked by Muslims


George Galloway's entourage has been attacked by "students" of a controversial Muslim leader, the politician's spokesman has said.

The Respect party candidate for Poplar and Limehouse was campaigning in Watney Market, east London, when three men allegedly abused and lunged at him.

The spokesman said that the trio pushed members of the group and would have attacked Mr Galloway if they could.

Police arrested and bailed three men on suspicion of behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

The alleged incident took place at about 1500 BST on Saturday. No one was injured.

Mr Galloway's spokesman said: "There were three characters who were shouting abuse.

"They were shouting 'kafir' [a derogatory word for non-believer], which is very insulting, and that Mr Galloway deserved to die.

"They were very aggressive and then they lunged forward towards Mr Galloway.

"I would certainly consider it an attack."

The spokesman said that the men barged and pushed other members of the entourage and, had they not been in the way, he believes Mr Galloway would have been assaulted.

He said: "It was their intention to have physical contact.

"Their ire is directed at us because we have Muslims involved in the campaign, and they don't think Muslims should play a part in democracy.

h/t Jawa Report

Elder of Ziyon: Galloway group attacked by Muslims

Israel Matzav: Just sign on the dotted line

Just sign on the dotted line

The 'Palestinians' would love to have a 'state.' But they don't want to negotiate for it. They want it to be handed to them on a silver platter.

According to a poll by Al-Najach University in Shechem, 60.8 percent of Palestinian Authority residents oppose the proximity talks intended to lead to renewed negotiations between the PA and Israel. The survey, which was released on Monday, says that 71 percent of the 1,356 Judea, Gaza and Samaria residents polled support PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's intention to declare a PA state in August 2011.

Only 14.3 percent supported talks with Israel while building was allowed in Jewish communiities in Judea and Samaria and 78.6 percent were opposed. Thirty-four percent favor direct talks if they lead to a stop in growth there, while 48.7 percent are for talks, once growth stops in the Jewish communities.

I guess they like that 'good reality.'

Israel Matzav: Just sign on the dotted line

Israel Matzav: US postpones sending an ambassador to Syria

US postpones sending an ambassador to Syria

Haaretz reports that the United States has postponed 'until further notice' the appointment of an ambassador to Syria.

According to the Kuwaiti newspaper, the decision to postpone the appointment was made following the transfer of truckloads of scud missiles from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon, in a shipment sanctioned by the Syrian government. The report is based on quotes from American sources who spoke with Al-Rai Al-Aam's Washington reporter.

The report added that Syria trained Hezbollah fighters in the use of Scud missiles and advanced anti-aircraft missiles last summer, on its soil. The exact type of Scud missile was not specified.

Scud B missiles have a range of up to 300 kilometers, which means they can reach most of Israel. Scud C and D missiles can reach as far south as Eilat.

The report says that Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, passed the Syrian leadership a message from the U.S. administration when he visited Damascus earlier this month. Kerry asked for explanations about the relationship between Syria and Hezbollah, and voiced reservations over Syrian support for the Shi'ite organization.

The American source told the reporter the kind of weapons transported to Hezbollah could start a new war with Israel.

Another great accomplishment for Barack Obama's 'engagement' with Syria.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: US postpones sending an ambassador to Syria

Israel Matzav: Ed Koch speaks to your conscience

Ed Koch speaks to your conscience

Former New York City Mayor and Congressman Ed Koch rips everyone - Israel's supporters, Congress (especially the Democrats) and especially the Jewish community, for their silence in the face of President Obama's assault on Israel (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

The plan I suspect is to so weaken the resolve of the Jewish state and its leaders so that it will be much easier to impose on Israel an American plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, leaving Israel's needs for security and defensible borders in the lurch.

I believe President Obama's policy is to create a whole new relationship with the Arab states of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, and Iraq as a counter to Iran -- The Tyrannosaurus Rex of the Muslim world, which we are now prepared to see in possession of a nuclear weapon. If throwing Israel under the bus is needed to accomplish this alliance, so be it.

I am shocked by the lack of outrage on the part of Israel's most ardent supporters. The members of AIPAC, the chief pro-Israel lobbying organization in Washington, gave Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a standing ovation after she had carried out the instructions of President Obama and, in a 43-minute telephone call, angrily hectored Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Members of Congress in both the House and Senate have made pitifully weak statements against Obama's mistreatment of Israel, if they made any at all. The Democratic members, in particular, are weak. They are simply afraid to criticize President Obama.

What bothers me most of all is the shameful silence and lack of action by community leaders -- Jew and Christian. Where are they? If this were a civil rights matter, the Jews would be in the mall in Washington protesting with and on behalf of our fellow American citizens. I asked one prominent Jewish leader why no one is preparing a march on Washington similar to the one in 1963 at which I was present and Martin Luther King's memorable speech was given? His reply was "Fifty people might come." Remember the 1930s? Few stood up. They were silent. Remember the most insightful statement of one of our greatest teachers, Rabbi Hillel: "If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?"

We have indeed stood up for everyone else. When will we stand up for our brothers and sisters living in the Jewish state of Israel?

If Obama is seeking to build a siege ramp around Israel, the Jews of modern Israel will not commit suicide. They are willing to negotiate a settlement with the Palestinians, but they will not allow themselves to be bullied into following self-destructive policies.

To those who call me an alarmist, I reply that I'll be happy to apologize if I am proven wrong. But those who stand silently by and watch the Obama administration abandon Israel, to whom will they apologize?

Will you be silent?

Israel Matzav: Ed Koch speaks to your conscience

Israel Matzav: What went wrong in Iran

What went wrong in Iran

This one gets it right.

Military action — whether it was bombing Iran’s nuclear sites or blockading the Hormuz Straits at one extreme, or providing arms and cover aid to the country’s many anti-regime groups at the other — has been treated as the last option, or the ultimate stick, instead of the U.S.’s first and most important diplomatic asset. Both Bush and Obama saw military action as an alternative to diplomacy, and vice versa. This is a severe miscalculation, one that has consistently hobbled American foreign policy from Vietnam to North Korea, and now Iraq.

The alternative is to see force and diplomacy as mutually supportive aspects of the same exercise of power in defense of our national interest. We have failed to do this in Iran for several reasons.

One is that we underestimate the fanatical tenacity of the Iranian regime, just as we tend to overestimate the desire of other countries around the world to cooperate with us and be our friends, or at least avoid our displeasure. We believe this even when our displeasure has no severe consequences, including military action.

The second is that we overestimate the damage done to our international standing by unilateral military action. It was the failure to remove Castro with the Bay of Pigs invasion that humiliated the Kennedy administration and tempted the Soviets to new foreign adventures, not the invasion itself. Likewise, it was the passive acquiescence to the fall of South Vietnam, not the bombing of the North or the Cambodian invasion, that crippled American foreign policy for almost a generation. And likewise it was the failure to defeat the counterinsurgency in Iraq, not Operation Iraqi Freedom, that almost sank our credibility as a force in the Middle East — that is, until the Petraeus surge reversed the tide.

Contrary to the currently fashionable analysis, diplomacy and “soft power” tactics (such as economic sanctions) don’t form a continuum with military force, but rather a circle. Neither has credibility without the other, and neither can be effective without the full weight of the other behind it.

I would add that the pacifist tendencies of the Obama administration mean that they cannot use military power as a deterrent. No one will believe them. That wasn't as true of previous administrations.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: What went wrong in Iran

Israel Matzav: Ayalon: The hell you'll impose a 'peace plan'

Ayalon: The hell you'll impose a 'peace plan'

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Sunday night, Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister (and former ambassador to the United States) Danny Ayalon warned that Israel would reject any American attempt to impose benchmarks or timelines on negotiations between Israel and the 'Palestinians' (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

"I don't believe this will be accepted by the administration because it will be a grave mistake...The solution has to be homegrown," Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal late Sunday.

Mr. Ayalon, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington, is a member of the political party of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who opposes a near-term deal with the Palestinians. Aides to Mr. Netanyahu said on Monday that the prime minister's office was in accord with the Foreign Ministry on resisting any U.S. plan to establish its own parameters.

"The longstanding Israeli position, not of this government only, but of successive Israeli governments, is that the Israelis and the Palestinians have to live together in peace and that an agreement has to be negotiated between them directly," said a senior Netanyahu administration official.

The spokesman for the Palestinian Authority on Monday joined other Arab officials in calling for direct U.S. intervention in the peace process.

"The reason why Israel doesn't want anybody to interfere is simply they are exploiting the balance of powers between us and them," said the spokesman, Ghassan Khatib.

The Quartet, a grouping of bodies promoting Mideast peace that includes the U.S., Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, last month targeted a two-year timeline for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton set his own parameters in late 2000, which defined the peace process around the creation of a Palestinian state based on the pre-June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.


[T]he Obama administration has been pressing Mr. Netanyahu's government to pursue new confidence-building measures to underpin the resumption of peace talks. Among those discussed with Israeli officials, according to U.S. officials, are different formulas under which to enact a freeze on Israeli construction in neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, potentially for four months or longer.

Washington also has called on Mr. Netanyahu's government to release some Palestinian political prisoners and ease the economic siege of the Gaza Strip.

Mr. Netanyahu's government has yet to formally convey its response to the White House's recommendations, according to U.S. and Israeli officials. Mr. Ayalon stressed in the interview that dialogue between his government and Washington is continuing and that the U.S. hasn't made any specific demands of Israel. But the Israeli diplomat said the U.S. should understand the limits of a third party playing a brokering role between Israel and the Palestinian Authority's government in the West Bank.

"The real negotiations, and the go-betweens, should be between...Jerusalem and Ramallah and not Jerusalem and Washington. Jerusalem and Washington are on the same side," Mr. Ayalon said.

Mr. Netanyahu's government believes the principal focus of the international community in coming months should be on containing Iran's nuclear program, Mr. Ayalon said.

If everyone else can say no to Obama, so can we. And somehow, I don't think that Obama will want to take punitive measures against a country with 67% positive ratings in the US on behalf of a group favored by 15% of Americans just a few months before midterm elections.

Has Bibi found his spine? This is encouraging.

For those who cannot access full articles in the Wall Street Journal, you can find the full article here.

Jennifer Rubin adds:

So once again one must ask of the Obami Israel policy: what is the point? Rather than absorb the lessons of 2009 — that the Israeli government cannot be strong-armed and that Bibi’s government can’t be toppled by the likes of Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, and Obama — the Obami have repeated and intensified their efforts to squeeze our ally. Yes, maybe this time we can use Jerusalem to pry them loose! Ah, the threat of an imposed peace — that’ll do it! But alas, all we’ve done, apparently is create a wedge between the U.S. and our ally, communicated to the Palestinians that they should just hold firm, and telegraphed to Israel’s neighbors that we are flaky friends.

This isn't 1990. Binyamin Netanyahu has much more support than Yitzchak Shamir had then and Israel is a much stronger country than it was then. And Obama doesn't come up to George H.W. Bush's ankles.


Israel Matzav: Ayalon: The hell you'll impose a 'peace plan'

Israel Matzav: Iran to be nuclear power within one month?

Iran to be nuclear power within one month?

In an interview with Iran's FARS news service, the deputy research chief of the Islamic republic’s Atomic Energy of Iran (AEOI) announced that Iran will be a nuclear power within one month.

Fars on Tuesday quoted Behzad Soltani, who also serves as the secretary-general of the AEOI’s Scientific Cooperation Council, as saying that “no country would ever think about attacking Iran” once the nuclear threshold has been crossed.

"We do not intend to use the peaceful nuclear energy merely for generating electricity and energy, rather our next step would be expanding use of this technology,” Soltani reportedly said. Radiation, he said, can ensure that “foodstuff, proteins and vegetables are preserved for a longer time and with a higher quality.”

Soltani added that construction work on a large-scale nuclear powerplant and a smaller research reactor in the Iranian city of Arak is nearing completion and is now at 70 percent.

The technology, he said, would enable Iran to improve its political, economic and technological standing. "Iran's mighty nuclear independence [will] intermingle with economic growth, expansion of technology and political power in the international arena," Soltani suggested.

Is he bluffing? I don't think anyone can say for sure.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Iran to be nuclear power within one month?

Israel Matzav: How Iran evades sanctions: Shipping

How Iran evades sanctions: Shipping

How ineffective are the current sanctions against Iran? Consider this:

The United States accused the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) of carrying military cargo to Iran and of helping Iran circumvent U.N. sanctions. The U.S. action, which was taken pursuant to Executive Order 13382, froze all IRISL assets under U.S. jurisdiction and banned all transactions with U.S. parties. The ban extended to all of the company’s owned or controlled subsidiaries or sub-units, including individual marine vessels. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which is responsible for enforcing the ban, published the names and unique IMO (International Maritime Organization) numbers of the 123 vessels, and instructed U.S. banks to reject any funds transfer referencing the name of a banned ship. Freight forwarders and shippers were also forbidden from chartering, booking cargo on, or otherwise dealing with the blacklisted vessels.

IRISL has responded to Treasury’s action with a wholesale – and ongoing – renaming of its ships. The response has often included dropping “Iran” from ship names. “Iran Brave,” for example, has become “Margrave,” “Iran Dolphin” has become “Alameda,” and “Iran Matin” has become “Abba,” to name just a few. In all, at least 80 vessels have been renamed so far; 40 of these had the word “Iran” in their names before the change, and all 40 emerged without it.

In addition to renaming sanctioned vessels, IRISL began transferring nominal ownership of the ships to shell companies, mainly in Malta, Germany, and Hong Kong. IRISL already had operations in these locations, making them convenient spots to set up new front companies. IRISL (Malta) Limited, for example, now shares its office space in a low-rise apartment building in the city of Sliema with a host of newly formed companies, including Jackman Shipping Company, Newhaven Shipping Company, Lancing Shipping Company, Oxted Shipping Company, and ten others, each of which is now the new registered owner of an IRISL vessel. The same pattern was followed at IRISL’s German branch. The Hamburg address of IRISL Europe GmbH is now also home to “Seventh Ocean GmbH and Co.,” “Eleventh Ocean GmbH and Co.,” and “Twelfth Ocean GmbH and Co.” These companies are the new owners of the sanctioned vessels formerly known as “Seventh Ocean,” “Eleventh Ocean,” and “Twelfth Ocean,” which have been re-named “Gabion,” “Daffodil,” and “Dandle,” respectively.

These are not the only steps IRISL has taken to distance itself from its vessels. In 2008, the company managed almost all of its ships. Since then, a company called “Soroush Sarzamin Asatir SSA,” based in Tehran, has emerged to take on the role of ship manager for more than half of the sanctioned vessels. In fact, this company seems to deal exclusively in sanctioned, renamed IRISL vessels.

The combined effect of all these changes has been to make it harder for honest companies to comply with U.S. sanctions. Whereas running a compliance check on a transaction involving one of these ships in late 2008 would have raised several red flags, changes made by IRISL since then mean that the same transaction today would probably appear clean. Only each ship’s unique IMO number is unchanged. But these numbers do not always appear on cargo documents, such as letters of credit. So, any U.S. company that screens a vessel against Treasury’s sanctions list without checking the IMO number is at risk of taking part in an illegal transaction.

The US promised at the time to update its sanctions list. It never has.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: How Iran evades sanctions: Shipping

Israel Matzav: Schumer abandoning Obama over Israel?

Schumer abandoning Obama over Israel?

A week ago, I reported that Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) may be about to break with President Obama over Israel. The report was attributed to former New York City Mayor and Congressman Edward I. Koch (D). If you look at the comments to that post, you will see that all three of them were skeptical. But here's some evidence that my report may be right.

In an interview with ABC on Sunday, Schumer totally ducks a question on whether the Obama administration is (as attributed to a confidant to Prime Minister Netanyahu) a 'strategic disaster' for Israel. The question was a softball and Schumer could have fended it off. Instead he tried to duck it. As Ron Kampeas notes:

Schumer utterly ducks a question about whether Obama is a "strategic disaster" for Israel, and it's not Tapper's fault -- that was the direct question, quoting a Netanyahu confidante, and there was no wiggle room (although the senator, native New Yorker that he is, was not shy about grabbing it anyway.)

This should have been an easy "give" for a politico, particularly one from the president's party. "Of course not Jake, President Obama has shown his commitment through yadda yadda, he has said blah blah blah -- but I do believe that the United States and Israel need to settle their differences behind closed doors." Heck, he could even have gotten in a dig to the president, while still protecting him from the broader swipe: "Heavens no, Jake, President Obama has done much to boost Israel's strategic edge, blah blah blah, but I'd wish he'd be a little more discreet about this relatively minor disagreement," and on and on.

Two easy, politic ways out. But no.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Jake Tapper via Twitter). The relevant question and answer run from approximately 7:24 to 8:36.

Anyone want to reconsider what they said in the previous thread? There's a transcript here.

Israel Matzav: Schumer abandoning Obama over Israel?

Israel Matzav: Problems for Israeli nuke scientists traveling to US not new

Problems for Israeli nuke scientists traveling to US not new

Last week, I reported on the problems Israeli nuclear scientists were having with obtaining visas to visit the United States for conferences and the like. Roger Simon reports that those problems did not start recently.

This morning (Pacific time) I was able to reach Dr. Alfassi in his office at Ben Gurion University in the Negev. Apparently, my report — and the newspaper’s — was inaccurate. The professor informed me that while it was extremely difficult for scientists who worked at Dimona to obtain U.S. visas, this was not a new policy of the Obama administration. This problem has been going on since 9/11.

Alfassi explained that formerly he and other scientists were able to go through travel agents to obtain visas to the U.S. Now they have to go personally to the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv. He knows of at least one case of a scientist who was not able to attend a conference in this country because of this system. European scientists, he said, did not have this problem.

Dr. Alfassi was quite cordial in answering my questions and I thank him.

Okay, one thing we can't blame on Obama.

Israel Matzav: Problems for Israeli nuke scientists traveling to US not new

Israel Matzav: Florida 19 goes to the polls

Florida 19 goes to the polls

For those of you in Florida's 19th Congressional District, please go to the polls today (Tuesday) and vote for Ed Lynch.
Israel Matzav: Florida 19 goes to the polls

Israel Matzav: Forget the nukes, hit the government?

Forget the nukes, hit the government?

Michael Totten has an interesting take on a possible Israeli attack against Iran.

A military attack against Iran should be rolled out only if every conceivable peaceful solution fails first. Striking Iran would, in all likelihood, ignite several Middle Eastern wars all at once. Hamas and Hezbollah would bombard Israel with missile attacks. Lebanon and Gaza would both come under massive counterbattery fire. The war could easily spill over into Iraq and put American soldiers at risk.

The above scenario may sound like the worst, short of nuclear war, but it isn't. The worst-case scenario is a regional war that fails to stop Iran's nuclear program while keeping the regime in place. If the Israelis decide to use force, the nuclear facilities should not be the target. The government should be the target. And the U.S. should back Israel's play and even assist it, no matter how enraged American officials might be. The last thing any of us needs is a bloodied Iranian government with delusions of invincibility that later acquires the weapons of genocide and then sets out for revenge. As Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, "If you shoot at a king you must kill him."

"If any power takes on the Revolutionary Guards," Kahlili says, "they will find sympathy from the Iranian people. Even Israel. Iranian people do not hate Israel like they do in Arab countries. We aren't Arabs. Persians are very different from Arabs."

Some may find it hard to believe Iranians might thank Israelis for ridding them of their government, but I don't. Not if civilian casualties are low and there's no occupation.

There are precedents.

Read the whole thing. It's a follow-up of his interview with Kahlili, which I discussed here.

I agree that taking out the nukes but leaving the government intact would cause problems (and trying to take out the nukes but failing would cause even more problems), but I'm not convinced the nukes would be dropped if we take out the government and leave the nukes intact. I'd rather see the IDF take out both.

Israel Matzav: Forget the nukes, hit the government?

Israel Matzav: Where's the outrage?

Where's the outrage?

In the course of commenting on Prime Minister Netanyahu's Holocaust Day address, Jennifer Rubin takes the American Jewish community to task for its lack of outrage over the Obami's silence on Iran.

And frankly, there is a shocking lack of urgency within the American Jewish community, as well. When the president goes into his que sera, sera stance regarding the crisis in Iran, where is the outrage? Where are the statements and the protests? Entirely lacking. It is not hard to discern the administration’s abject lack of seriousness with regard to stopping the mullahs’ nuclear program, yet the leadership of the American Jewish community has play-acted along with the administration. Oh yes, sanctions are coming. We got very reassuring answers from Hillary. This is what you hear from supposedly serious-minded Jewish activists. Certainly they have read Secretary of Defense Robert Gates pooh-poohing of military action and the news reports of watered-down sanctions. So when do they plan on speaking up? Are we to see a repeat of the 1930s and 40s, when the American Jewish community remained largely mute, wary of raising a fuss as the Nazi menace ravaged European Jewry?

As usual, Jennifer is spot-on. Those who have replaced Judaism with the religion of 'Liberalism' feel no obligation and have no ability to empathize with their Jewish brethren in Israel. They are more concerned with Obamacare and 'global warming.' Perhaps, this account of what's known as the Rabbis' march from 1943 is relevant:

The Rabbis' March was a protest for American and allied action to stop the destruction of European Jewry. It took place in Washington, D.C. on October 6, 1943, three days before Yom Kippur. It was organized by Hillel Kook, nephew of the chief rabbi of mandatory Palestine [also known as Peter Bregson. CiJ], and involved more than 400 rabbis, mostly members of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada[1], from New York and cities throughout the eastern United States.

Though the delegation was reluctantly received by Vice-President Henry Wallace, President Franklin D. Roosevelt avoided meeting the rabbis, both out of concerns regarding diplomatic neutrality, but also influenced by the advice of some of his Jewish aides and several prominent American Jews. Many thought the protest would stir up anti-Semitism and claimed that the marchers, many whom were both Orthodox as well as recent immigrants (or first-generation Americans), were not representative of American Jewry. Shortly before the protest reached the White House, FDR left the building through a rear exit to attend an Army ceremony, and then left for a weekend in the country. Disappointed and angered by the President's failure to meet with them, the rabbis stood in front of the White House where they were met by Senator William Warren Barbour and others, and refused to read their petition aloud, instead handing it off to the Presidential secretary, Marvin McIntyre.

The march garnered much media attention, much of it focused on what was seen as the cold and insulting dismissal of many important community leaders, as well as the people in Europe they were fighting for. The headline in the Washington Times Herald was, "Rabbis Report 'Cold Welcome' at the White House." Editors of the Jewish Daily Forward commented, "Would a similar delegation of 500 Catholic priests have been thus treated?"

One of the participants was Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, later to be one of the most important and famous American Orthodox rabbis.

That sounds about like Obama would treat such a protest against Iran today.

For those who aren't aware, by October 1943, the sainted Roosevelt knew exactly what was going on in Europe.

Meanwhile, the Reform movement and the forerunners of J Street, who were Roosevelt's court Jews, were advising Roosevelt not to meet with the likes of Rabbi Feinstein (who arrived in America in 1938 and after whom several streets in Israel are named).

Deja vu all over again? The parallels are striking.

Israel Matzav: Where's the outrage?

Israel Matzav: The Holocaust and morality

The Holocaust and morality

I would be remiss if I did not pass along this thought-provoking piece by Yair Lapid.

Every Israeli with a hint of historical memory (and who doesn't have it?) knows that our existence is fragile. Our homes, malls, and the roads we paved – all the asphalt and steel monsters that are supposed to represent unshakeable continuity – are merely a thin camouflage net placed over constant anxiety in the face of the people who wish to kill us.

If we let go for a moment of the notion of survival, the new Nazis will rise – and it doesn't matter whether they don keffiyahs or Wermacht helments – and try to kill us. We also learned that we must not count on the world to protect us. It will be deeply shaken to the core of its delicate soul, of course, and may even set up an orphanage for our children on the outskirts of Brussels, but we better not expect much more than that.

This is the reason, by the way, why the average Israeli is overcome by justified fury when he encounters the New Left's intellectuals, who pretend that Israel is part of the enlightened Europe and that for the sake of the human rights discourse we must concede to the oppressed masses, whose only sin is their desire to kill us. "Auschwitz cannot be an excuse for everything," they keep telling us. However, Auschwitz is not the excuse, but rather, a tangible and still-relevant reason, backed up by millions of corpses.


However, during the Holocaust the only moral people were precisely the ones who refused to listen to the ruling establishment in their countries. Hannah Arendt wrote that had we accepted the moral perception that existed until the Shoah, we could not have brought Eichmann to justice. After all, he acted in line with the morality that was common during his time, certainly in his own country.

Yet if we nonetheless indicted Eichmann, it was an act of faith in the human race: We believed, and we still do, that every person has the ability to distinguish good from bad, even if the entire world says otherwise. And if we executed Eichmann nonetheless, it was a resounding message that nobody can shirk the responsibility to take a moral position in favor of life. Hannah Arendt was wrong about one thing: It is not the "banality of evil" that threatens us, but rather, the banality of silence. Nobody must be silent in the face of death.

The survivors taught us, painfully late, that this was not the truth only in respect to the Germans, but also in respect to the victims. In his great book, Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl, an Auschwitz survivor who lost his entire family, wrote: "In the concentration camps, in that living laboratory, we saw some of our comrades behaving like pigs and others behaving like saints. Both alternatives are hidden in a person; and which will be realized depends on decisions and not on conditions."

Read the whole thing.

Yair Lapid is a journalist and the son of Tommy Lapid, who was a Holocaust survivor who became virulently anti-religious and founded a political party - Shinui - that was anti-religious but eventually turned Right on security issues and joined Ariel Sharon's cabinet in 2001. I discussed Tommy Lapid (who passed away about two years ago) here and here.

I have not read enough of Yair's work to comment on the extent (if any) to which he shares his father's anti-religious feelings. But I can tell you that to the extent that I am aware of it, he attempts to practice what he preaches. Yair Lapid has set up a program that allows Israelis imprisoned abroad to return to Israel and serve out their sentences here. And I know that he takes religious Israelis into that program.

Israel Matzav: The Holocaust and morality

Israel Matzav: Haaretz willing to turn over documents but....

Haaretz willing to turn over documents but....

Incredibly, under Israeli law, a journalist's source has some limited immunity from prosecution. On the assumption that the reason he is staying in London is to protect her, Kam has waived that immunity in the hope that Blau will come back to Israel.

Israel Radio just reported (9:00 am news on Tuesday) that in light of Kam's waiver, Haaretz is willing to return the documents that Blau got from Kam, but the Shabak (General Security Service) is insisting on examining Blau's entire hard drive and materials (you mean they don't trust him - what a shock!) to make sure that everything is returned and that 'no journalist could give in to such a demand.'

Has anyone started a Facebook page yet to shut down the traitors at Haaretz?

Haaretz is now reporting that two CD's with 2,000 documents stolen by Kam have 'disappeared.'

By the way, someone on the radio on Monday noted that no Haaretz writer from the Right (there are a couple) has written an opinion piece about Kam or anything else since the story broke last week. Coincidence?

Israel Matzav: Haaretz willing to turn over documents but....

Israel Matzav: Credit where it is due

Credit where it is due

For the most part, Israel's media elites have rallied around Ha'aretz and its reporter-in-hiding Uri Blau. There have been individual reporters here and there who have maintained common sense (Ben Dror Yemini of Yediot, for example, did a good interview on Israel Radio on Monday morning - I only caught the tail end of it). But the media and the chattering classes themselves have been falling all over themselves to defend Blau (retired Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner has even called for Blau not to be arrested!). One notable exception is the Jerusalem Post.

Anat Kamm stole those documents, and many, many more, during her army service from 2005 to 2007 in the office of the commander of the Central Command. The very fact that these documents had been stolen, and the indiscriminate nature of her theft, might have given the newspaper pause, but it acted properly within the framework of military censorship by getting approval from the censor before publishing specific articles based on particular documents.

It argued that this material fell firmly within the definition of public interest. And it gave the IDF advance notice of the articles, to enable the IDF to respond.

From this point onward, however, Haaretz’s behavior deviates from acceptable journalistic practice. Most troubling is the paper’s willingness to back reporter Uri Blau, presently in self-imposed exile in Britain, if, as is alleged by the state, he is holding on to what may be some 2,000 sensitive documents, 700 of which are judged by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) to be of a confidential or highly confidential nature.

Security sources say the documents contain top-secret information concerning General Staff orders, personnel numbers in the Central Command, intelligence information, information on IDF doctrine and data on sensitive military exercises, weaponry and military platforms. The files also allegedly contain details on what the Central Command does in the event of a major escalation – how it deploys forces to the West Bank and where it stations them there.

Far less comprehensible than Kamm’s alleged ideologically motivated decision to steal so many documents is Blau’s refusal to hand them back. He’s had the documents since at least October 2008, when he began publishing reports based on them.

Damage control is possible only after the Shin Bet verifies precisely which classified documents were taken by Kamm and who received them. The public interest in such damage control, given the sensitivity of the material, should be obvious to Blau and to Haaretz. This is a matter of life-and-death national security.


Regrettably, however, the unwillingness of Blau and his newspaper to meet the Shin Bet’s demand to return stolen documents whose content would aid our enemies and render our people more vulnerable raises grave questions about the paper’s priorities.

Has Haaretz adopted the radical agenda of some of its writers, who focus obsessively in its pages on Israel’s purported brutality while ignoring Palestinian terror, violence and incitement? Or is the paper truly interested in strengthening Israeli democracy via constructive criticism? The way to clear up the doubt would be to return the stolen documents to the Shin Bet as quickly as possible.

Israel Matzav: Credit where it is due

Israel Matzav: CD with top secret stolen IDF documents missing

CD with top secret stolen IDF documents missing

Anat Kam has told the media that she wanted to change how the IDF relates to the 'Palestinians' in Judea and Samaria, and that when she did not succeed in doing so during the course of her military service, she decided to expose the IDF's 'crimes.'

"I did not succeed in changing many of the things I wanted to change during my military service. I thought exposing them would bring about change, and this is why it was important for me to publicize the IDF policies in the territories," Kamm said.

Who the hell does this 22-year old pisher think she is? Who the hell is she to decide that the things that the IDF does to protect us from the kinds of murderous suicide attacks that took place here between 2000 and 2004 are 'crimes'? Has she been to law school? Has she studied criminal law or human rights law?

Following her hearings, Hammer said Kamm "did not think her actions jeopardized the state's security since she did not think the journalist will focus on the nuances of IDF operative activity but rather on the principles of policy underlying decisions by the major general and his staff officers. She turned to Israeli journalists because she believed the censor would not allow the publication of material whose publication carried security risks."

And what the hell did that have to do with stealing the country's deployment plans in case of war?

But the IDF is not guiltless either.

Tel Aviv District Court judge Zeev Hammer, who presided over hearings in Kamm's case already two months ago, was sharply critical of the military. "I was amazed by this inconceivable failure and faulty, careless information-security procedures," he said.

No, it's completely conceivable. Because we live in a country whose media and academia is dominated by a Leftist elite. Therefore, the Shin Bet (General Security Service) has a 'Jewish section' that is run by Leftists that seeks to investigate political activists on the Right, but has falsely assured itself that there is nothing to investigate on the Left. Ha'aretz - which ought to be shut down until it brings Kam's partner in crime back from London - has more of Judge Hammer's comments.

Presiding Judge Ze'ev Hammer wrote that "in order to inform the public of several aspects of IDF action in the West Bank, or to investigate war crimes in the West Bank, there is no need to gather and steal thousands of classified documents from the IDF which deal with the various military planning and action."

"Kam admitted during her investigation that her computer is not guarded and that she did not take interest into where the Haaretz reporter Uri Blau would store the documents or who would have access to them," Hammer added.

"She disrespected their [the document's] safekeeping and the importance and secrecy of the information," Hammer added.

But here's the clincher from JPost:

[Kam] also said she had lost a disc onto which she had copied IDF computer presentations, and had no idea what happened to it.

Kam should be locked up just like Yigal Amir (who was convicted of assassinating Yitzchak Rabin) is locked up for life. She has done at least as much damage to the country and probably more. She 'doesn't know' what happened to a CD of top secret documents that she stole from the IDF? What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: CD with top secret stolen IDF documents missing
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