Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Israel Matzav: Co-conspirator in Iran nuke program drops his mask

Co-conspirator in Iran nuke program drops his mask

In case any of you ever doubted that IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei was in cahoots with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad....

The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed el-Baradei, is considering running for President of Egypt. Speaking Tuesday, el-Baradei expressed support for the “Palestinian resistance,” a report said. He suggested that the Palestinian Authority use violence, since “power is the only language the Israeli occupiers understand.”

You think he might have applied that credo to get Iran nuclear arms? You betcha.

Israel Matzav: Co-conspirator in Iran nuke program drops his mask

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: The Second Banned Song

The Second Banned Song

In 1969 the military band of the Nachal brigade was at the peak of its creativity and fame. The story of shirim ivri'im in the 1960s and 1970s is unimaginable without the military bands, and the Nachal band was the best of them all. Any new creation of theirs was bound to catch everyone's attention.

No-one saw this one coming, however: Shir Lashalom, Song for Peace, with Miri Aloni as the lead.

First, the music. It was of a type the military bands had never used. Electrifying.

Second, the content: while it was a full-throated call for peace, and that was fine, it contained an enigmatic line: al tabitu leachor, hanichu lanoflim. Don't look back, leave the fallen behind.

It was an immediate smash, and almost as swiftly it was banned. As I noted when presenting Hasela HaAdom of 1954, songs can't be banned in Israel, but in 1969 the state control of the radio was still significant enough that an order not to play the song there was largely effective. But not fully: if the 1954 ban created mystery, the 1969 one aggravated, and never really succeeded. Everyone knew the song, and it was sung all over, accompanied by arguments (Israelis love to argue). I don't remember how long the official ban stood, but it couldn't have been very long.

No-one ever said so out loud, but there is reason to believe the unorthodox music was an added aggravation for the old codgers who felt it was their job to protect the purity of Israeli music. It was only five years since they had forbidden the Beatles to visit Israel (damaging cultural influence, they had called it).

In the 1970s the national disagreement about the price of peace versus controlling the occupied territories got worse, and shir lashalom became the anthem of the peace camp; in those years it definately wasn't part of the consensual canon of shirim. Miri Aloni never really took off as an important singer, either.

On Saturday night, November 4th 1995, middle-aged Miri Aloni was brought out of semi-retirement to sing shir lashalom at the end of a massive demonstration in Tel Aviv, called to bolster the declining political standing of the Rabin government in the face of rising Palestinian terror and broadening Israeli public dissatisfaction with what was then called the peace process. She was flanked by Rabin to her right, Peres to her left, and assorted apparatchiks on either side, and they fervently sang for peace. (Well, Rabin didn't really sing. But he tried).

A few minutes later Rabin was dead, shot by Yigal Amir. Rabin had folded the sheet with the song's words into his pocket, and at his funeral Eitan Haber, his top aide, presented the blood-stained page. Israel was plunged into deepest shock... and shir lashalom was elevated to the pinnacle of consensus, where it remained for a number of years.

After 2000 and the Palestinian determination to terrorize Israel into positions it wouldn't take, the song lost luster. Today it's solidly part of the canon, and everyone knows its words and melody, but it isn't a religious article anymore. It's a nice song, with lots of historical baggage if you care to reflect on it.

Hebrew words
English translation
Let the sun rise
light up the morning
The purest of prayers
will not bring us back

He whose candle was snuffed out
and was buried in the dust
bitter crying won't wake him up
and won't bring him back

Nobody will bring us back
from a dead and darkened pit
neither the victory cheer
nor songs of praise will help

So just sing a song for peace
don't whisper a prayer
Just sing a song for peace
in a loud shout

Allow the sun to penetrate
through the flowers
don't look back
let go of those departed

Lift your eyes with hope
not through the rifles' sights
sing a song for love
and not for wars

Don't say the day will come
bring on that day -
because it is not a dream -
and in all the city squares
cheer only for peace!

The first video has pictures of Rabin, with the original, 1969 version of the shir. The second has a segment of the Nov. 4th 1995 performance.

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: The Second Banned Song

Elder of Ziyon: Israel is NOT deporting tens of thousands of PalArabs

Israel is NOT deporting tens of thousands of PalArabs

There has been a flurry of outrage in the Arabic press over the past couple of days because of a very misleading Ha'aretz article and the misinterpretation of an IDF order.

Ha'aretz wrote:

A new military order aimed at preventing infiltration will come into force this week, enabling the deportation of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank, or their indictment on charges carrying prison terms of up to seven years.

When the order comes into effect, tens of thousands of Palestinians will automatically become criminal offenders liable to be severely punished.

The Palestinian Arabic press has been having a field day with this report, quoting various officials that it is a "new naqba."

One article today quoted a press release from the Mezan Center for Human Rights as saying that this order is proof that Zionism is racist and calling on the UN to resurrect its resolution to that effect.

Of course, the IDF's response is nearly impossible to find among all the hysterics, but here is it (received via email from the IDF paraphrasing a senior official):

1. The new military order was signed 6 months ago.

2. There are no changes to the repatriation system or the authority/means to repatriate illegal residents in Judea and Samaria. The only difference is that now the process includes a judiciary review.

3. The decision to establish a judiciary committee to review the administrative process of repatriation was taken in response to the Israeli High Court of Justice (בג"ץ) decision that there should be judicial oversight.

4. Any illegal resident who stands to be repatriated will be brought before the judicial committee within 8 days of receiving the order, they will have the right to legal council, and will be able to appeal the judicial decision to the high court.

5. When making decisions about whether or not to repatriate an individual, the administrative and the judicial committees consider family ties.

6. Currently there are very few illegal Palestinian residents in Judea and Samaria - over the past several years, as a goodwill gesture to the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli government has approved an amnesty for nearly all of the 32,000 illegal residents whose names were submitted to the population registry by the Palestinian authorities.

7. Since the beginning of 2010, there have only been 5 Gazans who have been repatriated to Gaza.

8. The current system allows Israeli authorities to arrest, detain and deport illegal residents (specifically those who came in on a tourist visa and decided to stay) - these are the same powers that every sovereign nation in the world possess. The establishment of the Judicial Committee to oversee the process is the only change.

In other words, here is yet another case where reporters and Israeli leftists irresponsibly publicize stories without getting their facts straight (as Ha'aretz did with the supposed Vilna Gaon prophecy that Israel was going to build the Third Temple last month, causing days of violent riots). The Arabic press and Arab leaders seize on these stories and uses them as levers to incite violence and hate.

One cannot understate how much this story has already permeated the Arab world. For example, a group in Tunisia just demanded that no one with Israeli citizenship be allowed to come to Djerba on Lag B'Omer to visit the site of a 1900-year old synagogue and a 1500-year old Torah. The reason is to "protest at Israel's decision to deport thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank," which the article helpfully tells us began yesterday.

No one was deported yesterday and no Temple was built last month. The lies that are started by overzealous reporters or malicious "human rights" workers have real consequences that they never anticipate.

This also brings to mind the time when Israel's deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai was misquoted by Reuters as theatening a new "holocaust" on Gaza in 2008. That one wrong "scoop" was fodder for incitement throughout the Arab world and used as an excuse for terror attacks for months afterwards.

Real people's lives are put into jeopardy with such reckless reporting.

Elder of Ziyon: Israel is NOT deporting tens of thousands of PalArabs

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas shuts tunnels? (updated)

Hamas shuts tunnels? (updated)

UPDATE: Hamas is denying this story.

Ha'aretz is reporting:

Tunnel operators say Gaza's Hamas rulers have ordered residents to shut down smuggling tunnels along the Palestinian territory's border with Egypt indefinitely.

It was not immediately clear why Hamas would order the tunnels shut, cutting off the economic lifeline for the 1.5 million people in the crowded, impoverished Gaza Strip.

Tunnel operators in the Gaza border town of Rafah say Hamas issued the order late Wednesday.

Hamas officials were not immediately available for comment.

I have yet to see any verification from the Arab press, and I cannot figure out a way for this story to make sense, unless Hamas is trying to gain a monopoly on all tunnel smuggling and will increase taxes on smuggled goods.

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas shuts tunnels? (updated)

Elder of Ziyon: Ma'an job posting

Ma'an job posting

From Ma'an:

Title: English Editor
Department: Ma'an News Department - English Desk
Place of work: Ma'an News Agency, Bethlehem, Palestine
Immediate supervisor: English Desk Manager
Academic Background: Bachelor's Degree
Professional Experience: Minimum 1 year editing/news writing experience/ Masters degree
Job Description:
· Edit news stories for English website
· Prepare, rewrite and edit copy
· Check stories for legal and ethical concerns
· Write articles occasionally
· Proofread articles
· Monitor other news sources, such as press releases, telephone contacts, radio, television, wire services and other reporters
· Verify facts, dates and statistics using standard reference sources
· Deal with telephone calls and emails from members of the public
· Edit other English language communications for Ma’an
· Network as needed
Required Competencies:
· English Language – native speaker
· Impeccable writing and editing skills
· Demonstrable experience of journalism
· Willingness to work in a conflict zone
· Ability to work under pressure in a fast-moving news environment
· Strong news sense
· Ability to work as part of a team
· Strong ability to prioritize
· Strong organizational skills
· Willingness to work flexible hours
Desired Competencies:
· Written and/or spoken Arabic
· Previous experience of working in a newsroom
· Knowledge of Middle East history and politics, especially Palestine
· Knowledge of other European languages and/or Hebrew

Any Jewish bloggers who live near Bethlehem want to apply? I'm certain that a progressive organization like Ma'an has an equal-employment policy, the matter of their religion wouldn't be an issue at all; they already know Hebrew, already know the politics of the area and they already live "in a war zone" so Ma'an doesn't have to worry about paying relocation.

Elder of Ziyon: Ma'an job posting

Elder of Ziyon: Arab official confirms Gaza engineers visited Israeli water plant

Arab official confirms Gaza engineers visited Israeli water plant

Despite Hamas' heated denials, the director of the Gaza Water Authority confirmed IDF Army Radio reports that Gazan engineers visited Israel two months ago to learn more about water treatment.

The visit was coordinated by the World Bank in an effort to transfer expertise in water treatment to Gaza. The engineers visited an Israeli water-treatment plant in Rishon LeTzion.

The director says that his organization is not connected to Hamas and acts independently, getting its revenue directly from the people served.

Hamas had claimed that the report was a sheer fabrication by Israel, "designed to tarnish the reputation of Hamas and its institutions."

Elder of Ziyon: Arab official confirms Gaza engineers visited Israeli water plant

Elder of Ziyon: Kidnapping in Sinai?

Kidnapping in Sinai?

Yesterday, Israel issued an urgent warning to some 35,000 (or maybe 550) vacationing Israelis to leave the Sinai immediately, as they were in danger of being kidnapped.

Egypt responded harshly, saying that the threat was exaggerated and meant to harm the Egyptian tourism industry. (This is typical - the Arab idea that every Israeli action is purely meant to harm Arabs.)

Firas Press is reporting that there was a kidnapping of an Israeli in the Sinai today but that military censor stopped publications of that report. No details were given. JPost mentioned rumors to that effect but said that there was no concrete evidence of a kidnapping.

Elder of Ziyon: Kidnapping in Sinai?

Elder of Ziyon: 90% of Hamas budget from Iran?

90% of Hamas budget from Iran?

An interview with Hamas MP Jamal Nassar about Hamas' cash crisis included something not mentioned in the English Al Arabiya article I quoted yesterday.

According to him, 90% of the revenues of the Gaza government is from "foreign contributions."

Hamas' budget this year is $540 million, meaning that Iran (and Syria, h/t Zvi) allocates the bulk of that amount annually to the terrorist organization.

Elder of Ziyon: 90% of Hamas budget from Iran?

Elder of Ziyon: Saudi clerics define and condemn "terrorism" - but....

Saudi clerics define and condemn "terrorism" - but....

From Al Arabiya:

Saudi Arabia's supreme religious body, the Senior Clerics Council, issued a Fatwa on Monday defining the term “terrorism.”

While defining terrorism as a whole the Senior Ulema Council decided that the events of Sept. 11, 2001 in the United States were indeed terrorist attacks.

The reason it has taken years to define terrorism was because of the difficulty to separate from liberation or independence movements.

Included in the definition of terrorist acts in the new fatwa are, “targeting of public resources, hijacking of airplanes, blowing up buildings and also al-Mofsdon fe al-Ard (to do mischief on earth)," according to the London-based newspaper Asharq Alawsat.

All 20 members of the council met under the chairmanship of the Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al al-Sheikh and all signed the final version of the fatwa.

The council members based the fatwa on religious texts from Quran and the Sunnah that all criminalize financial support for terrorism as well as any theoretical or intellectual material that attempts to legitimize it.

The council's fatwa does not only cover Saudi Arabia or the Islamic countries but defines terrorism in the whole world.

While it is very nice for the wise Saudi clerics to admit that 9/11 was an act of terror, there are some unanswered questions that this story brings up.

Namely, are Palestinian Arab suicide bombers or rocket launchers also terrorists? How about Iraqi suicide bombers? Did the scholars include "liberation movements" in their definition or not?

According to at least one Arab source, they seem to have either sidestepped or hushed up the answers to those questions. From El Khabar, an Algerian newspaper:

The Saudi Arabian scholars did not reveal whether the resistance operations in Palestine and Lebanon against Israel fall within this definition, or whether the same description covers the activities of the forces of the Iraqi resistance...

It will be interesting in the coming days to see if there is any reaction, pro or con, from the terrorists. That will clear up the answer!

Elder of Ziyon: Saudi clerics define and condemn "terrorism" - but....

Israel Matzav: Giannoulias blames Kirk for making his family bank an issue

Giannoulias blames Kirk for making his family bank an issue

When you read this, keep in mind that Mark Kirk is one of Israel's best friends in Congress, and Alexi Giannoulias is Tony Rezko's banker.

We won't know for sure until November, but it looks like there is some justice in this world after all.

Israel Matzav: Giannoulias blames Kirk for making his family bank an issue

Israel Matzav: What 'everyone knows'

What 'everyone knows'

Among the many things that 'everyone knows' about the Israeli - 'Palestinian' dispute is that majorities on both sides accept the need for a two-state solution, with Israel and 'Palestine' living side by side in 'peace and security.' But does 'everyone knows' it make that correct? Maybe not, according to Noah Pollak.

Where does Weisberg get this information? He of course doesn’t say. There’s no need to be coy — lots of opinion polling is done in the Palestinian territories. Indeed, a new survey, conducted by An-Najah University in Nablus, has just been released.

Do you accept the creation of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with some land exchange as a final solution for the Palestinian problem?
Yes 28.3
No 66.7
No opinion/I do not know 5.0

Do you support or reject making Jerusalem a capital for two states: Palestine and Israel?
I support 20.8
I reject 77.4
No opinion/I do not know 1.8

Et tu, Weisberg?

I guess everyone doesn't really know what they think they know, do they? Hmmm.

Israel Matzav: What 'everyone knows'

Israel Matzav: Feiglin: Netanyahu plans to follow in Sharon's footsteps

Feiglin: Netanyahu plans to follow in Sharon's footsteps

For once, I really hope Moshe Feiglin is wrong.

Manhigut Yehudit leader Moshe Feiglin wrote to Likud members this week that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was following the path of comatose former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and was preparing to give up large parts of the land of Israel, especially in Jerusalem. “Don't pay attention to Netanyahu's declarations,” Feiglin wrote in a letter to Likud members. “Pay attention to what he does. Already construction in eastern Jerusalem is completely frozen. The process we are going through is exactly what led up to the Gaza disengagement, which nearly killed the Likud,” he wrote.

Feiglin sent the letter in light of a petition by Netanyahu's associates to the High Court to postpone or cancel elections to the Likud Central Committee, scheduled for the end of April. The petition states that the party needs the delay in order to change the Likud constitution and conduct the elections only in two years. Feiglin called on Likud members to fight Netanyahu's efforts to cancel the primaries in the Likud.


Well, there's certainly a basis for claiming that there's a de facto building freeze in 'east' Jerusalem. But could Netanyahu actually throw another couple of hundred thousand Jews out of their homes? Is he planning to do that? I find it hard to believe.

Israel Matzav: Feiglin: Netanyahu plans to follow in Sharon's footsteps

Israel Matzav: The silver lining in the cloud of US - Israel relations

The silver lining in the cloud of US - Israel relations

Dan Pipes has an interesting take on the silver lining in the currently clouded US - Israel relations.

Strong U.S.-Israel ties induce irreversible Israeli mistakes. Poor U.S.-Israel ties abort this process. Obama may expect that picking a fight with Israel will produce negotiations but it will have the opposite effect. He may think he is approaching a diplomatic breakthrough but, in fact, he is rendering that less likely. Those who fear more "war process" can thus take some solace in the administration's blunders.

The complexity of U.S.-Israel relations leaves much room for paradox and inadvertency. A look beyond a worrisome turn of events suggests that good may come of it.

I can only hope he's right.

Israel Matzav: The silver lining in the cloud of US - Israel relations

Israel Matzav: Why the START treaty is irrelevant

Why the START treaty is irrelevant

Jonah Goldberg makes a good point about the newly executed START treaty (which is still subject to Senate approval) that is also relevant to the likelihood that President Obama will do anything to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Ultimately, when and how a country uses its nuclear weapons does not depend on treaties. It depends on the Commander-in-Chief. Sure, worries about violating a treaty might — probably would — make using nukes more "costly" in a president's cost-benefit analysis. But at the end of the day, using nukes is such a huge deal that I think most presidents, most human beings, would make the decision based on their core values and instincts. And, suffice it to say, I don't think Barack Obama would ever use nuclear weapons under almost any remotely plausible circumstances. He's even less likely to use nukes than the president in Independence Day, and that Bill Pullman character first needed to mind-meld with one of the aliens to be extra-super-sure that they were evil conquerors. The fact that most of America's — and the world's leading cities — had been obliterated wasn't enough. After all, it could have been a misunderstanding.

Anyway, Obama has long had hang-ups with nuclear weapons. If memory serves, he was in effect a SANE Freeze guy at Columbia (or he wrote an article placing himself in that camp). The fact that he has now committed us to a treaty arrangement that reflects his views — or reflects movement in that direction — is not shocking. But even if we had no missile treaties of any kind, the likelihood that he would ever use nukes remains close to zero. I think pretty much everyone around the world knows that about him. And whether this treaty is ratified or not, that will remain the case until he leaves office.

I don't believe it's an aversion to using nukes. I believe it's an aversion to using force generally. Obama is a pacifist. And unfortunately, pacifists are not very realistic about the likely effects of their pacifism on others.

Israel Matzav: Why the START treaty is irrelevant

Israel Matzav: Israel not only US ally to skip nuclear summit

Israel not only US ally to skip nuclear summit

Israel was not the only 'key US ally' to skip the nuclear summit in Washington that concluded yesterday. Among others, Britain, Australia and Saudi Arabia also did not attend.

Netanyahu announced last week he would not attend the U.S. summit on nuclear proliferation, reportedly because he suspected Egypt and Turkey to be planning a public protest of Israel’s nuclear program. The implication is that the Israeli leader does not believe Obama supports Israel’s program as unabashedly as past presidents have.

“He clearly made the call that he didn’t want another lecture by Hillary and speeches by the Arabs hammering Israel for not joining the [Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty],” said Aaron David Miller, an adviser on Middle East peace talks to six secretaries of state from 1988 to 2003.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is not attending the summit to campaign ahead of May 6 elections, though there has been speculation that Brown chose not to attend simply to spite Obama.

Even major European leaders got meetings with Obama this week only at the last minute. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s one-on-one meeting with Obama was scheduled for Tuesday late on Sunday, only after meetings with the leaders of India, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Pakistan, Nigeria, China, Jordan, Malaysia, Ukraine, Armenia and Turkey.

Biden was scheduled to meet Monday with leaders from New Zealand, United Arab Emirates and South Korea.

And this is after only 15 months of Obama. Just think how many allies the US will have left after another 33 months (at least) of him.

By the way, I'm surprised Obama bothered with a bilateral meeting with India. He's been snubbing them too.

Israel Matzav: Israel not only US ally to skip nuclear summit

Israel Matzav: Globes: 'Hundreds' have canceled Haaretz subscriptions

Globes: 'Hundreds' have canceled Haaretz subscriptions

Globes, Israel's business daily has reported that 'hundreds' of people have canceled their subscriptions to Haaretz, Israel's Hebrew 'Palestinian' daily, in reaction to the Anat Kam treason affair.

Market sources believe that hundreds of people have cancelled their subscriptions for Hebrew daily "Haaretz" in the wake of the Anat Kam spy case and the involvement of "Haaretz" correspondent Uri Blau. "Haaretz's" customer services have been very busy in the past few days.

A "Haaretz" sales representatives made the following statement in response to requests to cancel subscriptions: "I wish to make the following points. This whole affair is known, and, as is known, everything was done with the approval of the military censor. They claim that there are documents in the possession of journalist Uri Blau, who was cooperating with the Israel Security Agency. He gave them the documents and they were destroyed, apparently without examining them.

"I understand your protest irrespective of your political opinions. A subscriber will stay for many years not just because of this correspondent. We have other supplements and public opinion is important to us."

The Knesset may stop reading Haaretz as well.

MK Israel Hasson (Kadima) suspended his "Haaretz" subscription in the wake of the affair. When the case was disclosed, he said, "I call on every 'Haaretz' subscriber to act as I did and to freeze their subscriptions immediately until the 'Haaretz' correspondent, Uri Blau, returns all the documents given him by Anat Kam, comes in for questioning, and is fired immediately. It's impossible to break the law and harm the security of the nation and our children, while simultaneously seeking cover on the grounds of freedom of expression and the public's right to know."

Hasson added that he would ask the Knesset Speaker to cancel all Knesset subscriptions to "Haaretz".

It's about time. No, this is not the first time Haaretz has acted treasonously.

Israel Matzav: Globes: 'Hundreds' have canceled Haaretz subscriptions

Israel Matzav: Oops!


I guess the Obumbler didn't bow low enough to Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The following correction appears in Wednesday's New York Times:

Correction: April 14, 2010

A headline in some copies on Tuesday about China’s position on possible sanctions against Iran if it does not curb its nuclear program overstated a promise that President Hu Jintao of China made to President Obama in a meeting in Washington on Monday. As the article noted, Mr. Hu said that his country would join negotiations over the sanctions. He did not say that China supports such sanctions.

Oops! Why would someone make a mistake like that? Heh.

Hu's 'commitment' is completely meaningless. In fact, it's less than meaningless.

As US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao prepared for the second day of the Washington nuclear summit Tuesday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said sanctions were not a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, according to AFP.

Following a meeting on the sidelines of the summit on Monday, the two leaders had stated that their respective countries “shared the same overall goal on the Iranian nuclear issue.” The statement followed months of action by the UN and Western powers to warm China toward the possibility of sanctions on Teheran.

Tuesday’s statement from Beijing reportedly called for a “dual-track strategy” in which diplomacy and dialogue with Teheran on the issue of its nuclear development and defiant rhetoric would continue as world leaders mull the possibility of sanctions.

"China always believes that dialogue and negotiation are the best way out for the issue. Pressure and sanctions cannot fundamentally solve it," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu was quoted as saying.

President Obama has given the Chinese a veto power over sanctions by refusing to implement any sanctions that are not approved by the UN Security Council where China has a veto.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Oops!

Israel Matzav: Are we serious about a World without nuclear weapons?

Are we serious about a World without nuclear weapons?

Paul Wolfowitz argues that if President Obama is serious about a world without nuclear weapons, he needs to concentrate less on small nuclear weapons reductions with Russia and more on stopping Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons.

What has changed fundamentally is the likelihood that nuclear weapons could end up in the hands of irresponsible rulers, or terrorists who can't be deterred at all. Unfortunately, President Obama's talk about a world free of nuclear weapons seems to have little connection to the passive U.S. responses to North Korea's and Iran's nuclear activities.

There is certainly room for additional reductions in U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons, but it is unlikely to have any effect on those countries. Indeed, if the new treaty constrains U.S. missile defense efforts, it could be counterproductive. Although President Reagan wanted to eliminate nuclear weapons—believing it dangerous to rely indefinitely on a balance of nuclear terror— when Mikhail Gorbachev offered to eliminate ballistic missiles in exchange for eliminating missile defenses, Reagan refused the deal.

To be serious about a world without nuclear weapons, we must face some serious questions—questions that have nothing to do with U.S. or Russian numbers:

Is the U.S. doing enough to develop effective missile defenses? How can we prevent the language in the treaty's preamble—linking offensive and defensive weapons—from blocking more ambitious U.S. missile defense efforts in the future?

What will the administration do to counter Iran's nuclear program if sanctions prove no more effective than engagement? What about North Korea? Is there no way to peacefully promote more responsible leadership in either country?

What are we doing to preserve the safety and reliability of our diminishing number of nuclear weapons?

Since we are reducing our reliance on nuclear weapons, how can we strengthen our conventional deterrent in the face of determined efforts to deny us nearby basing options?

The threat derives not so much from nuclear weapons but from who holds them. Nuclear weapons in the hands of an accountable democracy are far less dangerous than nuclear weapons in the hands of an apocalyptic dictatorship. And that's not to suggest that Russia is necessarily an accountable democracy, but at least their leaders are not apocryphal. Among the world's nuclear powers, the real dangers lie in Iran, North Korea and Pakistan. Precisely the countries whose nuclear weapons Obama is ignoring.

Israel Matzav: Are we serious about a World without nuclear weapons?

Israel Matzav: To defeat radical Islam, call a spade a spade

To defeat radical Islam, call a spade a spade

In a lengthy article, Jeffrey Herf points out the similarities between radical Islam, Nazism and fascism and wonders at the strange fellowship between the Western radical Left and radical Islam. He argues that what distinguishes all three ideologies are things that ought to be anathema to the Left: Jew-hatred (with which, unfortunately, the Left apparently has no problem anymore), the unequal treatment of women and homosexuals as part of a rejection of 'cultural modernity,' and the importance of religion in two of those ideologies: Radical Islam and Nazism.

Herf attributes the West's failure to recognize the similarities between radical Islam and Nazism to the assignment of politically correct euphemisms in place of actually exposing political Islam for what it is.

Perhaps one reason for our reticence about discussing, specifically, the connection between Islamism and terrorism is the fear that doing so will offend Muslims who reject terrorism. In recent years, a reluctance to offend, and a desire to avoid the appearance of religious intolerance, sometimes called “Islamophobia,” has led the United States to substitute famous euphemisms for accurate speech about the identity of those who are waging war against us. The terms “war on terror” or, more recently, the offensive against “violent extremism” have been used in place of accurate terms that describe the enemy we are facing. The concern not to offend has made it impossible to speak truthfully about who our enemies are and what motivates them. Yet we must find a way to draw attention to the impact of religion without offending those millions of Muslims who reject the Islamists.

Indeed. What started with President George Bush's reference to Islam as a 'religion of peace' in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, and his refusal to call his 'war on terror' a war on radical Islam, has accelerated with Obama's refusal to use terms like 'Islamic terrorism' and 'jihad.' Herf argues that until we clearly define the enemy, we will not be able to defeat it. Language matters.

Herf discusses the bases for collaboration between the Nazis and Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini (Arafat's uncle) during World War II, and suggests that collaboration was not just based on political convenience (opposition to a Jewish state), but on the ideology of Jew-hatred.

The alliance between the Nazis and the Arab and Islamist collaborators in wartime Berlin was not simply one of convenience based on the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Rather, collaboration rested just as much on shared values, namely rejection of liberal democracy and, above all, hatred of the Jews and of Zionist aspirations. Though the meeting of hearts and minds in wartime Berlin was relatively short, it was an important chapter in the much longer history of political Islamism. It was there that a cultural fusion of Nazism and political Islamism took place. Husseini’s ideological contribution was to offer a religious foundation for hatred of the Jews as Jews, and for a rejection of Zionism. His hatreds were both ancient and modern, based on both the Koran and the traditions of Islam as he understood them, and on secular conspiracy theories of twentieth-century anti-Semitism. His Nazi allies agreed with him that Islam–like Christianity–was an inherently anti-Jewish religion.

The ideological aftereffects of this fusion fed directly into the development of Islamic radicalism as it is formulated today. They are evident in the public statements of Hassan Al Banna, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood; the essays of Sayyid Qutb, the Islamist ideologue who was so important for the inspiration of leaders of Al Qaeda; and in Husseini’s postwar political prominence. Of course, Islam, like any other major cultural phenomenon, can be interpreted in different ways. It cannot be the task of American foreign policy to foment a Reformation and Enlightenment in the Muslim world. That is beyond our abilities. But it is within our ability to call a spade a spade. This means we should call our enemies by their proper names and avoid euphemisms.

Herf goes on to give several policy recommendations (including maintaining conventional military strikes at Iran's nuclear weapons program as a 'serious option').

Read the whole thing.

What I found most encouraging about Herf's article is the fact that it is adapted from a talk that Herf gave at the State Department in March. I hope that those who heard his talk are in significant enough positions to act, and that they were as moved by it as I was by his summary.

Israel Matzav: To defeat radical Islam, call a spade a spade

Israel Matzav: 76 Senators sign letter implicitly rebuking Clinton over Israel

76 Senators sign letter implicitly rebuking Clinton over Israel

76 US Senators, including 38 of 58 Democrats and 37 of 41 Republicans (and Joe Lieberman), have signed onto a letter implicitly rebuking Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her confrontational treatment of Israel (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Signatories include key Democrats like Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, Chuck Schumer, and Robert Menendez as well as all but four Republicans, with signers including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, John McCain, and Scott Brown.

Majority Whip Dick Durbin, however, did not sign; nor did Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry and ranking member Richard Lugar [None of those is a real surprise. CiJ].
Here's the letter:
Dear Secretary Clinton:

We write to urge you to do everything possible to ensure that the recent tensions between the U.S. and Israeli administrations over the untimely announcement of future housing construction in East Jerusalem do not derail Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations or harm U.S.-Israel relations. In fact, we strongly believe that it is more important than ever for Israel and the Palestinians to enter into direct, face-to-face negotiations without preconditions on either side.

Despite your best efforts, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have been frozen for over a year. Indeed, in a reversal of 16 years of policy, Palestinian leaders are refusing to enter into direct negotiations with Israel. Instead, they have put forward a growing list of unprecedented preconditions. By contrast, Israel’s prime minister stated categorically that he is eager to begin unconditional peace negotiations with the Palestinians. Direct negotiations are in the interest of all parties involved – including the United States.

We also urge you to reaffirm the unbreakable bonds that tie the United States and Israel together and to diligently work to defuse current tensions. The Israeli and U.S. governments will undoubtedly, at times, disagree over policy decisions. But disagreements should not adversely affect our mutual interests – including restarting the peace process between Israel and her neighbors and preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

From the moment of Israel’s creation, successive U.S. administrations have appreciated the special relationship between our two nations. Israel continues to be the one true democracy in the Middle East that brings stability to a region where it is in short supply. Whether fighting Soviet expansionism or the current threats from regional aggression and terrorism, Israel has been a consistent, reliable ally and friend and has helped to advance American interests. Similarly, by helping keep Israel strong, the United States has helped to reduce threats to Israel’s security and advance the peace which successive Israeli governments have so avidly sought.

It is the very strength of our relationship that has made Arab-Israeli peace agreements possible, both because it convinced those who desired Israel’s destruction to abandon any such hope and because it gave successive Israeli governments the confidence to take calculated risks for peace. As the Vice President said during his recent visit to Israel: “Progress occurs in the Middle East when everyone knows there is simply no space between the U.S. and Israel.” Steadfast American backing has helped lead to peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan.

We recognize that our government and the Government of Israel will not always agree on particular issues in the peace process. But such differences are best resolved amicably and in a manner that befits longstanding strategic allies. We must never forget the depth and breadth of our alliance and always do our utmost to reinforce a relationship that has benefited both nations for more than six decades.

Thank you for your consideration.

Bibi should be pleased.


Israel Matzav: 76 Senators sign letter implicitly rebuking Clinton over Israel

Israel Matzav: Put up or shut up

Put up or shut up

I've been badgering you all enough for the last couple of days about how American Jewry isn't doing anything to counter the threat to Israel from Iran. Now, here's your chance.





DATE: Sunday, April 25, 2010 -- 1 PM

LOCATION: Israel Consulate, 2nd Ave between 42nd and 43rd St, NYC

Get more info here.
There had better be a hell of a lot more than 50 people there - just from this list.
Israel Matzav: Put up or shut up

Israel Matzav: Why Israel's struggle is Europe's struggle

Why Israel's struggle is Europe's struggle

Gates of Vienna posts excerpts of an essay from the Fjordman that was posted at the Brussels Journal. The essay explains why Europeans should be siding with Israel in its battle against Iran.

As Bat Ye’or showed in Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis and I elaborated in my own book Defeating Eurabia, Eurabia was born when Western European leaders abandoned their pro-Israeli stance due to Arab threats in the 1970s. This should serve as a reminder of how closely the fate of Europe is tied to that of Israel. Three years ago I wrote the essay Why Europeans Should Support Israel. As I stated there, “Bat Ye’or’s predictions about Arab anti-Semitism spreading in Europe as the continent’s Islamization and descent into Eurabia continues have so far proved depressingly accurate. This trend needs to be fought, vigorously, by all serious European anti-Jihadists. Not only because it is immoral and unfair to Israelis, which it is, but also because those who assist it are depriving Europeans of the opportunity to fully grasp the threat and understand the nature of the Jihad that is now targeting much of Europe as well.”

I remember one Holocaust survivor who was asked what he had learned from the Second World War. He replied that “When somebody says he wants to kill you, you should believe him.” Jews have learned this lesson the hard way, which is why they will fight, as they should, when people such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the Islamic Republic of Iran brag about how they want to wipe out Jews in a “final victory.” The rest of us should fight, too.

The incessant demonization of Israel in the mass media prevents us from realizing that what we are dealing with is a global campaign of bloody conquest. Those of us who read the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) or websites such as Jihad Watch know that Islamic leaders and preachers regularly and openly brag about how they are planning to conquer our lands, defile our women and wipe out our civilization. When people say that they want to kill you and wipe out your culture you should take them seriously. They mean exactly what they say; it’s not a code word for “I feel so humiliated by Western support for Israel.”

Israel Matzav: Why Israel's struggle is Europe's struggle

Torat HaRav Aviner: Choosing a Name for a Baby – part 2

Choosing a Name for a Baby – part 2


Q: Is it permissible to name a baby after a person who died young?
A: It is customary not to do so. If, however, he died in a plague that took not only his life but many other lives, then his name may be used. Similarly, if a soldier died in the fulfillment of his duty, or a Jew was killed by a terrorist, the name many be used. After all, these are not isolated instances.

Q: Can a non-Jewish name be used?
A: There is no prohibition, but a Jewish name is certainly preferable. As is well-known, our ancestors in Egypt earned praise because they did not change their names but kept Jewish names. Similarly, if someone has a non-Jewish name, it is proper for him to Hebraicize it, but there is no obligation to do so.

Q: Is one permitted to select a name that includes G-d's Name?
A: Yes. For example, when we call a child Michael, we do not mean "Who is like G-d?" (Hebrew: "Mi Ka-El"), it is simply the boy's name.

Q: Is it permissible to give a boy's name to a girl and vice versa?
A: According to the Halachah, there is no prohibition (see Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski's "Ta'ama De-Kera" pp. 119-121), but it is customary not to do so, and it is appropriate to follow that custom. If it is a name shared by boys and girls, like Simcha or Yona, then there is no problem. One should consider, however, whether it might not be hard for the child in terms of having an unclear gender identity.

Q: Can one give more than one name?
A: Although the Chazon Ish was not in favor of doing so, most authorities permit it and you can give one name, two names or three – it doesn't matter (Shut Teshuvot Ve-Hanhagot 1:606).

Q: If one has troubles in life, should one change one's name?
A: It's written that if a person is seriously ill, it is customary to give him a new name (Yoreh Deah 335:10).

Q: If the parents have a difference of opinion, who decides?
A: They should work it out between them.

Torat HaRav Aviner: Choosing a Name for a Baby – part 2

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Even Wikileaks are Propagandists

Even Wikileaks are Propagandists

Andrew Sullivan, of all possible sources of information, sends us (in a slightly roundabout way) to a fascinating interview of Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, by Stephen Colbert. Colbert seems uncharacteristically serious. He gets Assange to admit that 90% of the viewers of his leaked tape of American pilots shooting Iraqis didn't watch most of the tape; the title (Collateral Murder) was enough for most of them; he himself wrote that title, and if it was a bit high-handed, well, he promises his sources he'll get their leaks wide public attention, so he's got to be creative with the way he present the materials.

He also claims that the story about a fire-fight near the event that was filmed is not true, or mostly not true, but by the time he gets to that part of the story there's not much left of his credibility: the man has admitted he edits sources and sets them up to be inflammatory, then earnestly assures us he's trustworthy. Not in my book.

Assange, by the way, has yet to leak anything about Israel; I expect there's too much competition so he stays away from such a crowded field. I would however deeply appreciate if he'd start leaking documents about the operation and decision-making process in places such as the UN and its subsidiaries, or the IAEA, or those guys. Not that he'd gain trustworthiness thereby, but at least for the propaganda value.

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Even Wikileaks are Propagandists

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Palestinian Opinion Poll Data

Palestinian Opinion Poll Data

Noah Pollak cites a recent poll. Palestinians, it appears, are ever less enthusiastic about Hamas. That's good. They're also not particularly interested in peace alongside Israel. Not surprising.

I continue to say it's not my job to tell about what the Palestinians think: I don't speak their language, and am not closely familiar with their culture. I may be better informed than, oh, 94% of Western media types who regularly pontificate on the matter, but that's not saying much. These numbers, however, come from a Palestinian pollster, and they fit into other long-term findings that Israelis can disregard only by making an effort.

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Palestinian Opinion Poll Data

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Report on Dead Civilians

Report on Dead Civilians

If even the Guardian feels the need to report, it must be serious.

At least 71 civilians were killed by a misdirected air strike in Pakistan's tribal zone against suspected extremists, locals claimed today, as thousands of people flee a western-backed military offensive against Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in the area.

Moreover, they're even willing to admit that the story isn't really interesting most days of the year

Separately, the UN warned this week that aid groups were running out of funds for Pakistan's internally displaced people, with 1.3 million still homeless as a result of military operations, including the offensive in Orakzai which escalated a month ago and has pushed around 200,000 out of their houses.

"This situation is not only forgotten by the international community but by Pakistanis too," said Kilian Kleinschmidt, the deputy director of the United Nations refugee agency in Pakistan. "The crisis here is not over."

International interest in the internal refugee crisis in Pakistan had dried up since the 1.6 million displaced people from Swat returned home last year, he said, with an emergency UN appeal this year only 20% funded.

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Report on Dead Civilians

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Never Use Violence Except When You Should

Never Use Violence Except When You Should

Mohamed elBaradei has been in the international public eye for many years, as the boss of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In that capacity he has always been a moderating voice, sometimes perhaps even too moderate for the successful securing of international interests.

Now he's seeking a new job, president of Egypt, and he's singing a new tune:

Former IAEA Chief Mohamed ElBaradei, who is considering contending in Egypt's presidential elections next year, expressed his support for the "Palestinian resistance" while slamming Israel. In a report published Tuesday, the experienced diplomat said that Palestinian violence was the only path open to the Palestinian people, because "the Israeli occupation only understands the language of violence."


Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Never Use Violence Except When You Should

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Rescuing Lust from Extinction

Rescuing Lust from Extinction

The following story appears at least twice in the Talmud, the more detailed version (if memory serves) near the end of the Yoma tracate. However, having recently passed it in Sanhedrin, I'm posting from there.

The context is a discussion of the laws of idolatry. As is standard practice in the Talmud, there's lots of extremely detailed discussion of hypothetical matters that don't happen in the real lives of the scholars doing the discussing. Sometimes (tho often not) these discussions eventually mention the fact that they're religious and intellectual exercises, not practical discourses. So in this case. Having spent days on the minutiae of idolatry, the Gemara wonders how it came to be that the Jews lost their interest in the practice. After all, it was clearly a major issue in the early biblical times, yet the scholars of the Talmudic era apparently had never heard of Jews engaging in it for many centuries.

If you're into modern historical analysis of documents as a primary way to decipher the events of the past, the Gemara's answer won't satisfy you, because it's a fable (or myth, or metaphor, or allegory, or something. The literary folks will better know which term it is). According to this fable, the Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem once managed to capture the flaming lion cub of idolatry which had emerged from the Holy of Holies in the Temple. Its roars were terrible to hear, but the prophet Zachariya told them to force it into a cage and pore molten lead over it; lead apparently having special sealing properties, as any reader of Superman comics will confirm.

(If you're less than 40-some years of age and don't know what I'm talking about with the Superman allusion, forget it. Not important).

Since they were having such a good day (Et ratzon) the Sanhedrin decided also to do away with lust. They prayed that the beast of lust be handed over, and when it was they caged it for three days, waiting to see the implications. (They realized the danger of their actions, and were being careful). As they had feared, the absence of lust in the world wreaked havoc; as the Gemara describes it, during those three days even the hens stopped laying eggs. Wondering if they might request that Lust be so limited than men would have it only for their rightful wife, the Sanhedrin recognized that this would not be granted. So they blinded the Beast of Lust but then let it free; as a result, men no longer lust after their immediate female relatives, and incest became rare.

Sanhedrin 64a

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Rescuing Lust from Extinction

Obama Can't Force Peace; Poll Results Back Netanyahu - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Obama Can't Force Peace; Poll Results Back Netanyahu - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

76 Senators Sign Letter of Support for Israel - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

76 Senators Sign Letter of Support for Israel - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Feiglin vs. Netanyahu Over Likud Elections - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Feiglin vs. Netanyahu Over Likud Elections - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Kyrgyzstan Jews in Danger; Anti-Semites Attack Chabad Synagogue - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

Kyrgyzstan Jews in Danger; Anti-Semites Attack Chabad Synagogue - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

Hamas Denies Order to Shut Down Smuggler Tunnels - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Hamas Denies Order to Shut Down Smuggler Tunnels - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Spain Drops Charges Against Israel for Terrorist Liquidation - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Spain Drops Charges Against Israel for Terrorist Liquidation - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Feeling the Love? Israeli Voice Analysis Ware Can Tell - Good News - Israel News - Israel National News#replies

Feeling the Love? Israeli Voice Analysis Ware Can Tell - Good News - Israel News - Israel National News#replies

Love of the Land: Peace talks, Bashar’s war by other means

Peace talks, Bashar’s war by other means

Tony Badran
NOW Lebanon
13 April '10

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is known to have a penchant for brinksmanship. Calculating that he has nothing to fear from a timid Obama administration, he is upping the ante in his direct military support to Hezbollah in Lebanon. The latest brazen act may involve the shipment of Syrian Scud D missiles to his Shia allies.

Assad’s move appears to have followed his recent tripartite summit with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah. It also comes after numerous reports in recent months about a steady increase in the quantity and quality of Syrian-supplied weapons to Hezbollah – from anti-aircraft systems (outdated models, like the SA-2, but possibly also the man-portable SA-18 and SA-24 Igla) to longer-range, Syrian-made surface-to-surface missiles (the M-600/Fateh-110). It is unclear whether Israel views items on this list as strategic game changers.

This development has quietly set off a seemingly heated discussion in Washington. Capitol Hill is not amused, and according to two reports, the confirmation of Robert Ford as ambassador to Syria has been placed on hold. The incident reportedly has led to the State Department’s summoning of Syria’s ambassador, Imad Mustapha, to relay to him a message about the severity of the situation. Reportedly, the Israeli government warned the United States that the transfer of such weaponry could lead to conflict with Syria.

Through such behavior, Assad has confused those who had high hopes for “engagement” of Syria. The believers only have themselves to blame. Assad’s determination to increase the weapons supply to Hezbollah is a strategic decision. As one Syrian official put it to the Qatari daily Al-Watan, “a strategic decision has been taken not to allow Israel to defeat the resistance movements.” Assad himself affirmed this principle on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV a few weeks ago.

Assad has been doubling down on “resistance” both in his rhetoric and in Syrian material support – exceedingly so ever since the US voiced its desire to improve relations with Syria in the hope of prying it away from Iran and ending Syrian backing for Hezbollah and Hamas.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Peace talks, Bashar’s war by other means

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

Here's Yaakov Shwekey with V'Ha'arev, which comes from our morning prayers.

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Love of the Land: A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

Anne Bayefsky
The Weekly Standard
13 April '10

At exactly the same time that President Obama’s anti-terrorism theatrics are going on in Washington at the nuclear security summit, a pro-terrorism party is going on in New York at UN Headquarters. The trouble is that the states play-acting in D.C. are swinging in New York in the opposite direction.

In Washington, the summit advertisement reads as follows: “Dedicated to nuclear security and the threat of nuclear terrorism.” In New York, the UN’s “ad-hoc committee on measures to eliminate international terrorism” is gathered to talk about drafting the world’s first comprehensive convention against terrorism. For the fourteenth time in ten years.

In Washington, the image is of President Obama sitting on a chair beaming like a Cheshire cat, opposite some lucky head of state. The two are surrounded by smiling Obama appointees and everyone agrees that terrorism is bad. In New York, the very same states agree terrorism is naughty. It’s just that “resistance,” “armed struggle,” and “liberation” are not terrorism.

The major stumbling-block to the conclusion of a draft comprehensive convention against terrorism at the UN has been a concerted effort by Islamic states to carve out an exception for murdering civilians of their choosing. Israelis top the list, but Americans are not far behind.

The terrorism convention of the Organization of the Islamic States accordingly creates an exception to its phony denunciation of terrorism. Exempt from “terrorist crimes” are “peoples' struggle including armed struggle against foreign occupation, aggression, colonialism, and hegemony, aimed at liberation and self-determination.”

So let’s compare the simultaneous Washington and New York performances. In Washington, the president invited many “anti-terrorism” invitees from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) – Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. Presumably, he decided to showcase his close ties with Muslim nations. In New York, OIC members chose Syria, nuclear arms wannabe and state sponsor of terrorism, to do their talking. Speaking on behalf of the OIC, therefore, Syria declared yesterday: “The group reiterates once again the need to make a distinction…between terrorism and the struggle for the right of self-determination by people under foreign occupation, and colonial or alien domination.”

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: A Tale of Two Cities
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