Thursday, 6 May 2010

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

IDF Women

تنسيق-الكليات-لعام سكس نيك كس

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

Israel Matzav: The 'Palestinian' view of the 'proximity talks'

The 'Palestinian' view of the 'proximity talks'

In case you were wondering, here's the 'Palestinian' view of the 'proximity talks.'

Meanwhile, a PA official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post that when and if the indirect talks were launched, the PA would be negotiating with the US and not with Israel, because it had no confidence in the Netanyahu government.

“Indirect talks mean that we will negotiate with the Americans, who, for their part, will be negotiating with Israel,” the official said. “It’s easier for us to negotiate with the Americans because they share most of our positions, especially on the issues of security and the future borders of the Palestinian state.”

The official said the Arab League’s decision to support the proximity talks came after the Palestinians and the Arab countries were “assured” that the US administration would exert “unprecedented pressure” on Israel to stop construction not only in the West Bank, but also in Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem.

“For the next four months, we will be negotiating with the Americans, and they will be negotiating with the Netanyahu government,” the PA official said of the indirect talks. “If after that period we and the Americans reach the conclusion that the Israeli government is just wasting our time, we will have to decide whether to proceed or not. The Americans have promised to be tough with Israel, and we expect them to fulfill their pledge.”

Abbas said on Wednesday after his meeting with Jordan’s Abdullah that the indirect talks would continue only for four months, after which the Palestinian leadership would once again seek the approval of the Arab League foreign ministers for moving on to the next phase.

“During the indirect talks, we want to talk only about final-status issues, including borders and security,” he said. “There’s no need to go into small details or other issues because we discussed them in previous negotiations [with the government of Ehud Olmert].”

Anyone still think peace is at hand?

Israel Matzav: The 'Palestinian' view of the 'proximity talks'

Israel Matzav: Egypt's 'nuclear free zone' game

Egypt's 'nuclear free zone' game

In an earlier post, I said that I was trying to figure out Egypt's game in pressing for Israel to become a party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, since the Egyptians are allegedly at least as concerned about Iran as we are. Focusing on making Israel join the NPT at this time is just going to take pressure off Iran. So why are the Egyptians doing just that?

Aluf Benn reminds us that we've been here before - sort of.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the fourth time this week, and he shows Netanyahu more warmth than any other world leader. The reason is clear. Egypt and Israel share concerns about the rising strength of Iran and its Hezbollah and Hamas allies. But at the same time, Egypt is conducting a constant diplomatic battle to disarm the same Israeli nuclear program that supposedly deters Iran.


The situation is reminiscent of 1995. The prime minister at the time, Yitzhak Rabin, talked with Mubarak a lot while the latter's foreign minister, Amr Moussa, waged a diplomatic campaign against Israel's nuclear program. Israel and the Arabs were in the middle of a peace process, Iraq was defeated and demilitarized, the Soviet Union had collapsed and the multilateral talks dealt with arms control. But since then things have changed for the worse.

The Egyptian double dealing is reminiscent of 1995. But the situation with Iran is completely different and much more serious. While Iran has been working on nuclear weapons since the fall of the Shah, it was clearly nowhere near as close as it is today. So what's the Egyptians' game?

I've done some thinking about this, and I've come up with a few possibilities:

1. It's Mubarak's attempt to steal some of the thunder from putative Presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei, a past President of the IAEA.

2. The Egyptians are trying to show the 'Arab street' that while they oppose a nuclear weapon for Iran, they're also as anti-Israel as everyone else.

3. They're trying to embarrass Israel just because they want to embarrass Israel. They know this is never going to happen anyway.

4. They want Israel to take care of Iran, but they want to make sure Israel doesn't use nuclear weapons to get the job done (I'm sure Israel prefers not to use nuclear weapons as well - Israel has always said that it would not be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East theater).

Feel free to note any other rationales you might think of in the comments.

Israel Matzav: Egypt's 'nuclear free zone' game

Israel Matzav: Hamas smuggling weapons into Judea and Samaria

Hamas smuggling weapons into Judea and Samaria

In an interview with the London-based pan-Arabic Asharq Alawsat on Thursday, moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen complained that Hamas is smuggling weapons into Judea and Samaria.

In the interview, Abbas criticized Hamas, saying that "on one hand the organization punishes those responsible for launching rockets in Gaza, and on the other hand they are hoarding weapons."

Abbas did not specify quantities, but said that Palestinian forces find Hamas warehouses filled with weapons almost daily.

Abbas also attacked Palestinian leaders for super-charging the situation and promoting violence, and expressed his disapproval of war and armed resistance against Israel.

Abu Bluff may be the only 'Palestinian leader' who does not currently favor open warfare against Israel, something Israel must keep in mind during the upcoming dispatch of Errand Boy Mitchell, because Arab leaders who reach agreements with Israel are prone to dying soon thereafter.

But a better question: How many troops does Abu Bluff have among the 'highly trained' Dayton forces? And why can't they put a stop to Hamas' weapons smuggling?


Israel Matzav: Hamas smuggling weapons into Judea and Samaria

Israel Matzav: Surprise: Iran connected to al-Qaeda

Surprise: Iran connected to al-Qaeda

Given that Hamas (which is Sunni) works with Hezbullah (which is Shiite), why should anyone be surprised that Iran (which is Shiite) supports al-Qaeda (which is Sunni)?

The Pentagon's first annual report to Congress on Iran's military capabilities reveals that Ayatollah Khamenei had ordered the Revolutionary Guards to provide weapons and training to the Taliban and other Sunni Muslim groups. The new report counters previous American intelligence claims that such cooperation was impossible because of sectarian differences with Shiite Iran.

In the past it was revealed that nine of the Al-Qaeda 9/11 hijackers travelled to Iran prior to launching their notorious attack. Reports are also surfacing which say that Osama Bin Laden is hiding out in Iran.


Israel Matzav: Surprise: Iran connected to al-Qaeda

RubinReports: The Perfect Anecdote: What Hillary and Barack Said Privately About Iran

The Perfect Anecdote: What Hillary and Barack Said Privately About Iran

By Barry Rubin

Talk about your telling anecdote! Haim Saban, the Power Rangers multimillionaire met during the 2008 campaign with both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. In separate conversations he asked both of them the same question:

"If Iran nukes Israel, what would be your reaction?’

Clinton answered:

"We will obliterate them."

Obama's response?

"We will take appropriate action."

RubinReports: The Perfect Anecdote: What Hillary and Barack Said Privately About Iran

Love of the Land: Dennis Ross Joins the Obama Cult of Linkage

Dennis Ross Joins the Obama Cult of Linkage

Jennifer Rubin
06 May '10

Prior to this administration, Dennis Ross was an experienced negotiator who tried valiantly to reach a comprehensive peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians at Camp David. Watching the Palestinians reject the offer of their own state and embark on the intifada impressed upon Ross, or so he wrote repeatedly, the need for Palestinians to develop institutions that would support a peace deal and to lay the groundwork with Arab states and the Palestinian public before future negotiations could succeed. He was also regarded as tough-minded on Iran, ready to impose tough sanctions and do what was necessary to prevent the regime from acquiring nuclear weapons.

He also wrote a book with David Makovsky entitled Myths, illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East, which came out in 2009:

Contrary to the position of the president and other advisers, Ross writes that efforts to advance dialogue with Iran should not be connected to the renewal of talks between Israel and the Palestinians. … In the second chapter, entitled “Linkage: The Mother of All Myths,” Ross writes: “Of all the policy myths that have kept us from making real progress in the Middle East, one stands out for its impact and longevity: the idea that if only the Palestinian conflict were solved, all other Middle East conflicts would melt away. This is the argument of ‘linkage.’”

Well, that’s old hat. He’s thrown in his lot with the Obama crew. Josh Rogin documents Ross’s ingestion of the Obama Kool Aid:

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Dennis Ross Joins the Obama Cult of Linkage

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu going to Canada

Netanyahu going to Canada

Prime Minister Netanyahu will visit Canada at the end of May.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit Canada at the end of this month.

The Prime Minister's Office announced Wednesday that during the visit he will meet with his Canadian counterpart, Stephen Harper.

Another friend.

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu going to Canada

Israel Matzav: Dennis Ross buys into linkage?

Dennis Ross buys into linkage?

Some remarks made by Dennis Ross at the Anti-Defamation League on Monday have raised some eyebrows.

"In this region, pursuing peace is instrumental to shaping a new regional context," Ross said in remarks Monday evening. "Pursuing peace is not a substitute for dealing with the other challenges ... It is also not a panacea. But especially as it relates to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict, if one could do that, it would deny state and non-state actors a tool they use to exploit anger and grievances."


"Clearly one way that Iran is increasing its influence in the region is by exploiting the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians," Ross said, echoing statements made by U.S. Centcom commander Gen. David Petraeus in a report (pdf) submitted to Congress back in March.

"The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests," Petraeus wrote. "The conflict also gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients, Lebanese Hizballah and Hamas."

So has Ross adopted the linkage orthodoxy? You'd have to ask him. I would argue that it's a long way from saying that resolving the Israeli - Arab dispute would give the Iranians ibe less thing to complain about to saying that you have to resolve the Israeli - Arab dispute to create a united front against Iran.

Israel Matzav: Dennis Ross buys into linkage?

Elder of Ziyon: Allah has a lawyer

Allah has a lawyer

I just got this spam email:

i am Mrs. Bintu Mahmud. Please contact my lawyer Ramli Sariman (email address provided) for a very important thing ALLAH wants you to do for Him. May ALLAH be with you always.

I'm impressed - any lawyer would be proud to have Allah for a client!

My guess is that he's advising Him to keep His mouth shut.

Elder of Ziyon: Allah has a lawyer

Elder of Ziyon: Kuwait censoring news stories on Iranian spies

Kuwait censoring news stories on Iranian spies

From the LA Times Babylon & Beyond blog:

A report by the Kuwaiti Al-Qabas newspaper last weekend claiming that the country's security services had dismantled a spy cell allegedly working for Iran's Revolutionary Guard has sparked a ruckus in the Kuwaiti parliament, raised diplomatic tensions and triggered rampant speculation in the Persian Gulf media.

Now, in an attempt to calm the situation, Kuwait has banned any more media reporting on the alleged spy cell.

On Thursday, the Kuwaiti English-language newspaper Kuwait Times reported that Public Attorney Hamed Al-Othman had issued a decision forbidding any more publication of news on the issue.

The report, which has not been verified by officials, has created multiple political headaches for the Kuwaiti government. Several Kuwaiti lawmakers, including Mohammad Hayef, a hard-line Islamist, called for the expulsion of the Iranian ambassador and pressed the government to speak out on the spy allegations.

Predictably, Iranians were outraged. The Iranian Embassy in Kuwait strongly denied the media report, and a high-ranking official dismissed the allegations as a "Zionist plot" to tarnish the image of the Revolutionary Guard.

"The claim about identification and discovery of a spy web in Kuwait is in line with the [enemy] project to spread IRGC-phobia in the region," the Revolutionary Guard's public relations head, Gen. Ramezan Sharif, told the semi-official Iranian news agency Fars.

I guess IRGC-phobia is a specialized case of Iranophobia.

Elder of Ziyon: Kuwait censoring news stories on Iranian spies

Love of the Land: A Zionist Renaissance

A Zionist Renaissance

Joseph Puder
06 May '10

Avner S., 26, is a handsome young man with a smooth face that gives him the appearance of a teenager. He is, in spite of his soft exterior, a hardened ex-combat soldier who served in the top combat unit of the Israel Defense Forces – Sayeret Matkal. Both Avner and his colleagues are wearing helmet-like skullcaps and tzizits, which are flowing out of their T-shirts. The roofers, busy putting on red tiles, and the other two dozen workers, all of whom are veterans, are now on a new mission- to build up the land of Israel.

This group, led by Avner, and many others like them, have began a movement that is reminiscent of the early 20th century. An idealistic and pioneering movement of Jewish Labor, inspired by the philosophy of A.D. Gordon. Unlike many secular-leftist, post-military service young men who let themselves go and use drugs in Thailand or India’s Goa, Avner and his crew are being true to a paraphrased rendition of JFK’s famous words: “See what you can do for your country, for your ancestral heartland.”

While the kibbutz youth, who once symbolized Israeli idealism and self-sacrifice, have left the kibbutzim in droves moving either to Israel’s cities or abroad, the young men of the West Bank settlement communities stay where they were born and raised and raise large families. They are reviving today’s sagging idealism and bringing back the old values of self sacrifice that characterized Israel’s pre-state era and the early decades of its existence, in the 1950’s and 1960’s. And they are doing it in the face of cynicism and malice coming from the Israeli urban and leftist elites who control the media and academia.

(Read full story)

Love of the Land: A Zionist Renaissance

Love of the Land: Linked In

Linked In

Why do Arab governments—and the U.S.—insist the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the heart of all the Mideast’s problems?

Lee Smith
Tablet Magazine
05 May '10

The one uncontroversial fact about the Middle East is that the Arab-Israeli conflict is inextricably linked to every other problem in the region. Known as “linkage,” this is the one idea that has won the support of a broad consensus of U.S. congressmen, senators, diplomats, former presidents, and their foreign-policy advisers, seconded by journalists, Washington policy analysts, almost every American who has ever watched a Sunday morning news roundtable, and the Obama Administration, from National Security Adviser James Jones to the president himself: “If we can solve the Israeli-Palestinian process,” candidate Obama said on Meet the Press in the spring of 2008, “then that will make it easier for Arab states and the Gulf states to support us when it comes to issues like Iraq and Afghanistan. It will also weaken Iran, which has been using Hamas and Hezbollah as a way to stir up mischief in the region.”

It is hardly surprising, then, that commanders of U.S. armed forces who during the last decade have spent more time on the ground among Arab and Muslim populations than American diplomats also subscribe to the concept of linkage and have even made it into a tenet of U.S. military strategy. For instance, in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in March, CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus explained that, “The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests” in the region.

Petraeus’s comments were used by some to advance the linkage-based argument that Israeli actions were endangering U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Petraeus himself has clarified his remarks, and last week Defense Secretary Robert Gates jumped into the fray to explain that, “Petraeus did not say that the lack of progress in the peace process is costing American lives.” According to Gates, the issue is that:

The lack of progress in the peace process has provided political ammunition to our adversaries in the Middle East and in the region, and that progress in this arena will enable us not only to perhaps get others to support the peace process, but also support us in our efforts to try and impose effective sanctions against Iran.

Gates and Petraeus, then, are adherents of what might be called “soft” linkage.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Linked In

Love of the Land: Peace Process “Starts”?

Peace Process “Starts”?

Jennifer Rubin
05 May '10

This report tells you just how unserious — and unrelated to “peace” — is the process that supposedly started today: “United States special envoy George Mitchell met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, as Israelis and Palestinians readied themselves for the start of long-awaited indirect peace negotiations.” Yes, after 15 months George Mitchell has gotten the Palestinians and the Israelis to do exactly what they have been doing — talking to him and not each other. Yes, they came up with a fancy name — “proximity talks” — but that’s not exactly truth in advertising. There is no talking between the parties, in contrast to what happened during the Bush and Clinton administrations, which at least got the two sides in the same room. It’s not even clear what authority the PA has to negotiate:

Despite media reports that Mitchell’s meetings with Netanyahu would kick off the talks, the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization has still to convene to give the go-ahead to Palestinian participation in the negotiations. The Arab League gave its backing to the talks on Saturday.

It is unclear when the Committee will meet. Abbas, the PLO head, was in Cairo and Amman on Wednesday for talks with President Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah II, and was not expected to return to Ramallah before Friday.

But just as the title of the talks signals that nothing much is going on, so does the pablum put out to the media after the first session: “A spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office said that the two met for three hours and described the atmosphere as good. Mitchell and Netanyahu are scheduled to meet again on Thursday.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Peace Process “Starts”?

Love of the Land: Human Rights Watch: Their Master’s Voice

Human Rights Watch: Their Master’s Voice

Benjamin Kerstein
The New Ledger
04 May '10

Having just returned from being locked for almost an hour in Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Center mall while a surprisingly large robot fired three 12-gauge shotgun shells into a suspicious package, which was then disposed of by a man in a Kevlar body suit, I was not, I confess, in a mood to indulge those who make light of Israel’s security concerns. Shortly after, my feelings were compounded by reading Benjamin Birnbaum’s excellent piece in The New Republic on the non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch and its treatment of Israel. It is doubtful that a better, or more important, piece of classic muckraking journalism will be published in the coming months.

The piece takes as its impetus the recent controversy between the organization’s staffers and some of its board members, in particular, its founder Robert Bernstein, who recently published a New York Times op-ed denouncing the organization’s attitude toward Israel. Its real value, however, is its exposure of the personalities behind the organization; the faces behind the impersonal reports and press releases that constitute the public face of HRW.

Perhaps the most fascinating and disturbing of these is Sarah Leah Whitson, who runs the section charged with assessing Israel’s human rights record, along with that of other countries in the Middle East and North Africa. As far as one can tell, Whitson does not seem to posses any expert credentials in the field of human rights or the laws of war; her bio at the HRW website states only that she received degrees at Berkeley and Harvard Law School, with no indication of her particular field of study. What is certain is that she is a former corporate lawyer and professional activist who has apparently been a lifelong partisan of the Arab cause. Shockingly, and despite her sensitive position, which one imagines would require at least the pretense of impartiality, Whitson seems to make no secret of her sympathies. “As I stepped into her office,” Birnbaum writes, “I noticed that a poster for Paradise Now, a movie that attempts to humanize Palestinian suicide bombers, hangs on her door and that two photos of bereaved Gazans hang on her wall.” Birnbaum them questions her about specific accusations of bias on the part of HRW.

“For people who apply for jobs to be the researcher in Israel-Palestine, it’s probably going to be someone who’s done work on Israel-Palestine with a human rights background,” she explained. “And guess what? People who do work with a human rights background on Israel-Palestine tend to find that there are a lot of Israeli abuses. And they tend to become human rights activists on the issue.”

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Human Rights Watch: Their Master’s Voice

Love of the Land: Seattle Times Columnist Entitled to Own Facts?

Seattle Times Columnist Entitled to Own Facts?

Gilead Ini
CAMERA Media Analysis
05 April '10

Bruce Ramsey is entitled to his opinions. In fact, as a columnist for the Seattle Times, opinions are precisely what he gets paid for. It seems, though, that his employers feel he’s also entitled to his own facts. This despite journalistic codes of ethics maintaining that opinion pieces, like news stories, must be accurate.

In a March 31, 2010 column commenting on Israel’s justification for the 2008-2009 Gaza war, Ramsey claimed that rockets fired by Gaza Palestinians into Israeli towns "hadn’t killed any Israelis":

Israel said it was defending itself, against rockets — homemade pipe-bomb-type rockets. These had been fired by Gazan hotheads against the Israeli town of Sderot to protest Israel's quarantine. The rockets hadn't killed any Israelis, but they might have. ("Congressman Brian Baird stands up for the people of Gaza")Not only is this claim about lack of fatalities demonstrably false, but so is just about everything else in that passage.

• Prior to the Gaza war, over 20 people were killed by Palestinian rockets.

• Israel was acting to stop not only the local "homemade" Qassam rockets, but also the sophisticated Grad or Katyusha type rockets launched from Gaza into Israel immediately prior to the war, and as early as 2006.

(Read full analysis)

Love of the Land: Seattle Times Columnist Entitled to Own Facts?

Love of the Land: Burned Mosque Is a Mystery, Nearby Burned Synagogue Wasn’t

Burned Mosque Is a Mystery, Nearby Burned Synagogue Wasn’t

Jonathan Tobin
05 May '10

The New York Times reported today about a fire in a mosque in the Palestinian village of Luban al Sharqiya, but the point of the article wasn’t the tragedy of the conflagration but the theoretical possibility that a Jew was the arsonist.

The problem is, while there have been a few isolated incidents of Jewish extremists attacking Palestinian villages (and numerous, far-from-isolated instances of Palestinians attacking Jews in and around settlements), as the Times reports, there is absolutely no evidence that the mosque fire was started by a Jewish extremist and not even proof that arson started the fire. But that doesn’t stop Palestinians from making such accusations and using them as an excuse to avoid peace with Israel. Nor does anything prevent the Times from reporting unfounded accusations as though they were reasonable opinions.

But in reading about the mystery of the fire in the mosque in this village south of Nablus, one couldn’t help but remember the burning of another house of worship not far away. Less than 10 years ago, in the fall of 2000, a Palestinian mob, aided and abetted by Palestinian Authority “policemen,” attacked the Tomb of Joseph, a Jewish shrine and synagogue inside Nablus. The mob sacked the Jewish institution, desecrated sacred Jewish objects, and then burned it to the ground.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Burned Mosque Is a Mystery, Nearby Burned Synagogue Wasn’t

Love of the Land: Ahmadinejad Unveils His Grand Strategy: A Nuclear Defensive Umbrella for Aggression

Ahmadinejad Unveils His Grand Strategy: A Nuclear Defensive Umbrella for Aggression

Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
05 May '10

Whatever you think of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad he is not a stupid man. And he's also not acting like an intimidated one. During the latest UN meeting on nuclear issues, when the new International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)director-general urged Iran to "clarify" its activities, the camera showed Ahmadinejad laughing contemptuously.

Diplomatic engagement isn't going to win this guy over, nor are hollow threats. He knows the current U.S. government court-martials Navy Seals for giving a bloody lip to a terrorist who murdered American civilians in Iraq and mutilated their corpses (though the two tried have been cleared). What does he have to be scared about?

The main theme of Ahmadinejad’s speech at the 2010 Review Conference by countries that have signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is to outflank Obama’s calls for getting rid of nuclear weapons, trying to repeat Iran's success of last September in getting sanctions postponed. Back then, Iran proposed a plan for letting its nuclear materials be reprocessed abroad. But once the sanctions’ momentum had been derailed, Iran made clear that it had no intention of agreeing to anything like that.

Incidentally, it was Obama who added the issue of getting rid of all nuclear weapons in the world to the UN conference agenda.

Afer running his own international nuclear summit under the slogan, "Nuclear Power for All, Nuclear Weapons for None," Ahmadinejad gave a UN speech sounding word for word what an idealistic pacifist would say: nuclear weapons are bad; ban them now.

Nuclear weapons, Ahmadinejad explained, don’t bring real security and producing or possessing them, “under whatever a very dangerous act which first and foremost makes the country” having them worse off. He even stated:

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Ahmadinejad Unveils His Grand Strategy: A Nuclear Defensive Umbrella for Aggression

Love of the Land: Will American Jews Accept the Obama Administration’s “Charm” Offensive?

Will American Jews Accept the Obama Administration’s “Charm” Offensive?

Ron Radosh
04 May '10

I suspect there may be something wrong with many of the leading lights of the American Jewish community, who are succumbing to the phony charm offensive of the Obama administration. Maybe it’s a case of denial. As a two-week-old report by Laura Rozen of Politico put so well, “The White House is engaged in an aggressive effort to reassure Jewish leaders that the tense relationship between the Obama administration and the Israeli government that has played out in public in the past few months does not signify any fundamental change in U.S. policy.” The problem is precisely that they are just reassurances which do not in any way indicate a fundamental shift in Obama’s new anti-Israeli policy.

One White House spokesman told Rozen that the administration has always “been consistent in our rhetoric.” Rhetoric is one thing; reality, however, is another. Sending administration spokesmen to say kind words is so transparent a PR maneuver that it is rather amazing that anyone thinks it will work. But the reasons for it are quite clear. As a congressional staffer put it, they are all concerned “that the White House is losing the Jewish community,” and that concern might well translate into Republican votes in the near future. The effect of the ads I discussed earlier by Elie Wiesel, Ronald Lauder and David A. Harris could simply not be ignored.

Yet liberal Jewish groups, grasping at straws in the hope that Obama will stand with Israel and the special relationship between the U.S. and the Jewish state, have quickly sought to reassure their members that all is well, despite evidence to the contrary. All it took for Hadassah to inform its members that all is well were some carefully chosen words from David Axelrod. On April 29th, a backgrounder alert sent to its members informed them that “the Obama administration has responded to concerns from the Jewish community with a letter to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and speeches by prominent administration officials to Jewish organizations, affirming the administration’s support for Israel and the need for peace.”

Last Friday, I attended the evening plenary session at the American Jewish Committee national conference in Washington, D.C., where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received a standing ovation and a very warm reception. Her speech was a perfect example of reassuring spin meant to wow the crowd. “We know,” Clinton told the audience, “that Israel faces unique challenges. A nation forced to defend itself at every turn, living under existential threat for decades. We Americans may never fully understand the implications of this history on the daily lives of Israelis – the worry that a mother feels watching a child board a school bus or a child watching a parent go off to work. But we know deep in our souls that we have an unshakable bond and we will always stand not just with the Government of Israel but with the people of Israel.”

Instead of addressing the specifics and the reasons Lauder, Ed Koch and others have pointed to, Secretary Clinton merely asserted “that there has been some of what he called ‘noise and distortion’ about this Administration’s approach in the Middle East. Over the past month, we have attempted to remove any ambiguity. The President and this Administration have repeatedly reaffirmed our commitment to Israel’s security in word and in deed.” On Iran, for example, she said, “We are now working with our partners at the United Nations to craft tough new sanctions. The United States is committed to pursuing this diplomatic path. But we will not compromise our commitment to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.”

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Will American Jews Accept the Obama Administration’s “Charm” Offensive?

Love of the Land: The road to nowhere

The road to nowhere

Michael Freund
Fundamentally Freund/JPost
05 May '10

On the eve of the anticipated start of so-called proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians, there is a discernible lack of enthusiasm.

The fanfare that usually accompanies the relaunch of Middle East negotiations has been replaced by an atmosphere of apathy, as it seems clear to just about everyone – outside the White House, that is – that little will come of the impending round.

Speaking to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz, head of IDF Intelligence’s Research Division, said that even before the talks commence, the Palestinians are “already preparing the ground for the failure” of the process.

And dovish Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor was no less gloomy, telling The Jerusalem Post yesterday that the talks “won’t yield results” because the Palestinians are not willing to take “tough decisions.”

Indeed, it says a lot about the state of the peace process that the only tangible outcome certain to emerge is an inevitable boost in US envoy George Mitchell’s frequent-flyer account. This, of course, is entirely the fault of the Palestinians, who have repeatedly rejected the various gestures made by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over the past 12 months.

Basking in the glow of unprecedented American pressure on the Jewish state, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is in no rush to make progress in difficult bargaining with Israel. He has every reason to wait, knowing full well that when the negotiations stall, the weight of international pressure will come down hard on the decision-makers in Jerusalem and not Ramallah.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: The road to nowhere

Israel Matzav: Scapegoating Israel, American Jewish style

Scapegoating Israel, American Jewish style

Rabbi David Forman of blessed memory passed away suddenly on Sunday. He was 65.

His passing moved Dr. Aaron Lerner to post this column that Rabbi Forman wrote in the JPost in February to Dr. Lerner's web site. I'm glad he did, because Rabbi Forman - the founder of Rabbis for Human Rights - was not one of my favorite writers, and had Dr. Lerner not posted it, it is unlikely that I would have read it. But I did read it, and I urge all of you to do the same. Here's an excerpt.

BEING BACK in the US for another round of lectures, I have encountered what I call the Blame Game – a frantic search to seek out those who should be held accountable for this disappearing act.

The Orthodox population claims that this breakdown is due to the disregard for Jewish tradition. Yet there is an emerging element within the Diaspora Jewish community that looks for some other internal force in the Jewish world that can be held liable for the comatose state of American Jews.

Who stands in the dock? The usual scapegoat: Israel. Israel’s actions are alienating Jews abroad not only from Israel, but also from Judaism. The Jewish state has failed to fulfill its promise of being a “holy nation.” It has demeaned Jewish values to such an extent that Jews around the globe are embarrassed and fleeing in droves from their Jewish roots.

Who are the leaders of this transference movement – that is, those who look to find fault elsewhere for their own failures? Surprisingly, but on close examination not unexpectedly, it comes from new quarters – the liberal Jewish community. If only Israel were faithful to its prophetic tradition and also a reflection of the great social movements of the West, American Jews would identify with their Jewish heritage.

For example, I heard Jeremy Ben-Ami, the head of J Street, say that Israel’s policies – internationally and domestically – are responsible for Jewish apathy in the States, the reason that assimilation is so prevalent. Israel has essentially turned off American Jews. B’rit Tzedek V’Shalom, newly merged with J Street, would most likely mimic a similar view.

Ben-Ami and his fellow ideological travelers seem to be burying their heads in the sand. Either that or they are trying desperately to entrench their position as the great hope of the Diaspora community with the claim that their “pro-Israel” and “pro-peace” platform will save the day. While it is true that the vast majority of Jews in America are socially and political progressive – and important organizations like J Street and the New Israel Fund represent the worldview of these Jews regarding Israel – their reasoning is skewed if they expect Israel to stop American Jews from vanishing into the woodwork, given that they live in a sea of Christians.

Even as they utter words that are pleasing to our ears – if you are engaged with Israel, you will be involved in Jewish life, collectively and personally – a stinging accusation immediately follows: If Israel behaves in shameful ways, any involvement will be weakened to the point of disenfranchisement. Such a theory defies logic, as it only applies to those who are actively engaged in Jewish life. Under the slightest scrutiny, this cart-before-the-horse approach simply does not hold up.

I WAS shocked when I spoke to 10th graders at a synagogue’s Sunday school. It is amazing what they do not know. After so many years of religious school education, few knew that Abraham preceded Moses, few could name one prophet, few knew in what part of the world Israel was situated. They all know who Jesus’ parents were – but they do not have the slightest idea whose were Moses’. What are they being taught, or rather not being taught? The state of Jewish education in synagogue life is depressing. This condition relates to those who are affiliated with a religious institution; so one can imagine the dismal Jewish state of affairs in an unaffiliated household.

Because of a total lack of Jewish awareness, it would never cross the minds of these typical Diaspora Jews to think twice about going shopping on Shabbat; attending a baseball game on Shavuot (Shavuot – what’s that?); or for that matter, eating a bacon cheeseburger on Pessah or dating a Zen Buddhist. Why should they be interested in anything that has to do with Israel if they have no knowledge of anything that has to do with Jewish life?

Please, read it all. It will give you a different perspective on that New York Times piece I blogged earlier.

And then read Rabbi Forman's biographical blurb at the end. His politics and his religious views were to my (and probably your) left.

The writer is a Reform rabbi, author, lecturer and ongoing contributor to The Jerusalem Post Magazine.

And you thought he was very modern Orthodox, didn't you? Well, there are some things that all of us can get. And when it came to the importance of Jewish education, this reform rabbi apparently got it.

Y'hi zichro baruch (may his memory be blessed).

Israel Matzav: Scapegoating Israel, American Jewish style

Israel Matzav: Carl in Jerusalem on BBC's WHYS

Carl in Jerusalem on BBC's WHYS

I'm one of the scheduled guests (they don't guarantee that you'll get on, but since they asked me they said I probably would) on the BBC's World Have Your Say program between 6:30 and 7:30 London time (8:30 and 9:30 Israel time; 1:30 and 2:30 US Eastern time) tonight (Thursday) night.

The question I'm going to be discussing is Should there by the death penalty for terrorists?

They came to me because of this post I wrote a month ago.

It seems that India is struggling with some of the same issues that Israel has faced.

But the view coming out of India is that this man should die to protect the population from him becoming a bargaining chip in the future. Sensible, logical argument or something that will do little more than escalating the violence?

And does it depend on the gravity of the crime? The scale of the atrocity? Should a failed bomber, like the person responsible for the Times Square attempted attack in New York, face the death penalty?

Israel Matzav: Carl in Jerusalem on BBC's WHYS

Israel Matzav: Not a friend of Israel

Not a friend of Israel

Supporters of Israel should not be crying over Wednesday night's announcement that Representative David Obey (D-Wis), the third most senior member of the House of Representatives has decided to retire rather than face re-election.

He took on Israel and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 1991-92, when AIPAC sought to overcome through Congress President George H.W. Bush's threat to withdraw loan guarantees unless Israel stopped settlement building. Israel was seeking $10 billion in loan guarantees to help settle the massive post-Cold War influx of Jews from the former Soviet Union.

Obey warned AIPAC that even if it got the votes on the House foreign operations appropriations subcommittee, which he chaired at the time, he would not allow a vote to override Bush to go through.

In his 2007 autobiography "Raising Hell for Justice," Obey recalled addressing a 1992 meeting in the Capitol that had been convened by then-Israeli Ambassador Zalman Shoval to consider ways to resist Bush's threat.

Obey stood on the sidelines before finally speaking up.

"Mr. Ambassador, I want to help Israel settle Soviet Jewish refugees, everybody in this room probably does, but not at the expense of gutting the administration's ability to be seen as honest brokers in the peace process in the Middle East," he said.

"I will not be party to day-in, day-out end runs around the president on this issue. He is not of my party, but he is our president. He is defending longstanding U.S. policy and I will not cooperate in any attempt to undermine that policy."

The confrontation meant that Obey would never again enjoy an intimate relationship with the pro-Israel community.


Obey was not reflexively a critic of pro-Israel ideas. Instead, his postures grew out of staunchly liberal notions of good governance.

Here's hoping someone better takes his place.

Israel Matzav: Not a friend of Israel

Israel Matzav: Good news: IAEA chief asks 151 countries to 'persuade' Israel to sign NPT

Good news: IAEA chief asks 151 countries to 'persuade' Israel to sign NPT

Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, they have.

The head of the UN atomic watchdog is asking for international input on how to persuade Israel to join the Nonproliferation Treaty. The request is contained in a letter shared Wednesday with The Associated Press and is sure to add pressure on the Jewish state to fully disclose its unacknowledged nuclear arsenal.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano asks foreign ministers of the International Atomic Energy Agency's 151 member states to share views on how to persuade Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The letter also asks for advice on how to persuade Israel to allow IAEA oversight of its nuclear facilities.

Is anyone paying attention to Iran anymore? ANYONE? Why is the IAEA spending more time on Israel than on Iran, North Korea and Pakistan combined? Surely it couldn't be that all that pressure on Israel would flunk the 3-D Test, could it?

Israel Matzav: Good news: IAEA chief asks 151 countries to 'persuade' Israel to sign NPT

Israel Matzav: Gross negligence, thy name is Susan Rice

Gross negligence, thy name is Susan Rice

As I'm sure many of you have already heard, Iran has been appointed a member of the United Nations Commission on Women - rumor has it that the UN will follow this stroke of brilliance by appointing the Taliban to a commission on religious freedom.

The big question though - since Iran was voted in by acclimation - is where was the United States' ambassador, Susan Rice when this happened? Apparently, she was powdering her nose.

Now comes word that United States ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice wasn’t even at the U.N., let alone in the committee room, when U.N. members voted Iran onto the Commission on the Status of Women committee. Not only was our ambassador not in the room for the vote, she wasn’t even in the building. Wouldn’t you think that a female American ambassador would understand the importance of standing up against a country that has some of the world’s most hostile laws toward women? Shouldn’t Rice want to use the opportunity to highlight the regime’s record on women’s rights?

Also troubling is that Iran was not only elected to the Women’s committee that day but elected, sans Rice, to three other U.N. committees, too: Iran is now an official member of the U.N.’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Commission on Science and Technology for Development, and the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat). And our representative didn’t bother to show up — or speak up.

I spent eight years at the U.N., so I understand that U.S. ambassadors have a lot of issues to cover. There is no way to expect one ambassador to cover all of the U.S. government’s priority issues, and certainly there are a plethora of U.N. meetings that drag on, with an unlimited number of speakers and no time limits. I also understand the unique ways of the U.N. system and the regional voting blocs that control elections. But an American ambassador must be able to be nimble and spontaneous. The ambassador’s staff must monitor situations simultaneously and use the ambassador’s time well, to maximize attention and impact. If the votes are stacked against the U.S. and we are going to lose an election, then, for heaven’s sake, stand up and say something! Bring some shame on the countries that vote for the violators by drawing attention to the situation. American silence sends a very loud message and encourages the status quo.

But U.S. mission staff have confirmed that Rice wasn’t at the U.N. and therefore wasn’t able to so much as drop by the committee-elections meeting that was taking place, because she wasn’t attending any formal U.N. meetings that day. Even after all the votes were counted and Iran was elected to four committee assignments, Rice didn’t speak out to highlight the hypocrisy of electing a country like Iran to a committee designed to promote women’s rights — because she wasn’t around.

This is apparently completely in character for Rice. Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Gross negligence, thy name is Susan Rice

Israel Matzav: The four sons of the Haggadah and support for Israel

The four sons of the Haggadah and support for Israel

There was a popular quip in the US 20 years ago (it may still be popular) that the four sons of the Passover Haggadah represented four generations of American Jewry.

The wise son was the son who came from Europe as an adult, remained religious and remained connected to Judaism.

The wicked son was the son who came from Europe as a young man (or who may have been American born) and proverbially or literally threw his tefillin (phylactories) overboard into the harbor on arrival in the US.

The simple son still knew something of what Judaism was about because he was exposed to his grandfather, but his understanding was simplistic.

The son who does not know how to ask knows nothing of what Judaism is about anymore. His memories are of his grandfather - the wicked son. He has no clue about Judaism. And to put it into context, he has no clue why Jews need a state of Israel. If the New York Times is to be believed, this son represents 60% of American Jewry (assuming that they're actually Jewish).

The Times reports that some of these not-very-committed Jews are complaining that they feel stifled from criticizing Israel.

But Professor Steven M. Cohen, a sociologist at Hebrew Union College in Manhattan who co-wrote a study last year charting a steep decline in attachment to Israel among younger Jews, said the younger and liberal-leaning are frustrated at being labeled “anti-Israel” or even anti-Semitic for expressing opposition to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Many liberals cite a recent crackdown in San Francisco as an example. After leaders of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco learned that one of the film groups it supported had sponsored the screening of an Israeli documentary critical of Israeli security forces, “Rachel,” about an American woman killed in Gaza, they adopted new rules early this year prohibiting any of the cultural organizations it supports from presenting programs that “undermine the legitimacy of the state of Israel.”

William Daroff, vice president for public policy of the Jewish Federations of North America, defended the San Francisco federation’s decision. “An open exchange of views within the pro-Israel community is good,” he said. “But there has to be some sort of line between constructive discussion and destructive communication that does not recognize Israel as the eternal home of the Jewish people.”

Daroff is right. There is no reason why the organized Jewish community should be financing activities that could indirectly place the lives of the world's largest Jewish community at risk. To remind you all, Rachel Corrie was defending a Hamas weapons tunnel.

The struggle to define the middle ground was in evidence last month among a small group of Jewish Americans who gathered in a suburban Detroit synagogue to describe the view of the recent turmoil from somewhere in the demographic middle.

They were seven people from the “more or less inactive” list of the Birmingham Temple, said Rabbi Kolton, who gathered them at the request of a reporter because they roughly matched the profile of about 60 percent of American Jews, according to various studies: They do not belong to a synagogue and do not attend services or belong to Jewish organizations, yet they consider themselves Jewish — bound in a web of history, culture and DNA to their Jewishness, and by extension, to Israel.

“My parents were Jewish, so I’m a Jew,” said Rosetta Creed, 87, a retired hospital administrator. “I get into arguments with people who knock Israel.”

All said that they had voted for Mr. Obama, supported his efforts to prod Israel and believed there would never be peace in the Middle East without determined intervention by the United States.

Nonetheless, “It makes me angry that the Israelis are always blamed for the problems and asked to make concessions,” Ms. Creed said. “You know, the Israelis are not the ones launching rockets and placing fighters in houses with children inside.”

In different ways, each referred to the history of Jewish persecution throughout the world and noted that the absence of it here and now did not spare one the occasional flash of insight and dread — when swastikas desecrate a synagogue or neo-Nazi militias appear on the six o’clock news — that Israel will always be one’s last sanctuary.

With many of their children intermarried, they pondered what meaning Israel would hold for their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“Let’s face it, with each generation we are getting less and less Jewish,” said Irving Hershman, an insurance agent who was raised in an Orthodox home.

He predicted, with regret, that the bonds between American Jews and Israel would dissipate in 5 or 10 generations.

They will indeed - unless their intermarried children become practicing Christians! I wonder how many of those seven people who were interviewed were under the age of 60.

Unfortunately, much of the younger generation has become like the child who does not know how to ask questions. They have no concept of Judaism, no concept of Israel. They have exchanged Judaism for the worship of Liberalism. And they resent being told - even if they have intermarried - that their Judaism is not authentic.

Israel Matzav: The four sons of the Haggadah and support for Israel

Israel Matzav: The nuclear conference's skewed focus

The nuclear conference's skewed focus

The JPost got it right with this editorial:

The dangerous impression being created is of a nuclear-capable Israel being equated with a nuclear-capable Iran – an approach that fails to make the distinction between Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy, and Iran, a despotic regime run by rapacious Shi’ite fanatics that openly persecutes homosexuals, promotes misogyny, brutally puts down political protest and shammed its last elections.

Not many fair-minded people, including in this region, have lost sleep over the fact that responsible Israel reportedly has nuclear warheads. Much of this region is profoundly panicked by the specter of a nuclear Iran.

Preventing this is the single most important challenge that faces the Obama administration. If we take Ahmadinejad’s statements at face value, and there is no reason why we should not, he wants to “wipe Israel off the map,” and to focus, too, on the “big Satan” America.

Among other immediate and dire repercussions for Israel, fear of an Iranian nuclear attack could effectively paralyze the IDF in the face of Iran’s Hamas and Hizbullah proxies. Were Iran’s nuclear program to reach fruition, it would also quickly exercise its benighted influence throughout this region, notably on the Gulf states, including imposing control over the Straits of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil shipments pass.

IT SHOULD be crystal clear that, instead of allowing Egypt to sidetrack it with talk of disarming Israel, the US should focus on galvanizing the international community to stop Iran.

Glibly calling for a “nuclear free Middle East” blurs the moral distinctions between the hegemonic designs of that messianic, apocalyptic regime and the essential deterrent and defensive needs of our small, embattled democracy. The Obama administration should be commended for attempting to reach out to the Muslim world, but it should not be blinded to its own and its allies’ interests when the response, as with Iran, is ruthless and uncompromising. And it must stop at nothing to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons.

Read it all.

I'm still trying to figure out what the Egyptians' game is in all this. They're supposedly as worried about Iran as we are.

Israel Matzav: The nuclear conference's skewed focus

Israel Matzav: All five permanent Security Council members on nuke free Middle East bandwagon

All five permanent Security Council members on nuke free Middle East bandwagon

All five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have jumped onto the 'nuclear free Middle East' bandwagon.

"We are committed to a full implementation of the 1995 NPT resolution on the Middle East and we support all ongoing efforts to this end," the five permanent UN Security Council members said in a unanimous statement issued at a conference taking stock of the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The 1995 resolution adopted by signatories of the landmark arms control treaty called for making the Middle East a zone without nuclear arms.

Israel, which is widely believed to have nuclear weapons, is the only country in the Middle East not to have signed the treaty and, along with India and Pakistan, one of only three countries worldwide outside the agreement. Iran, though a signatory, is accused by the West of flouting treaty requirements to disclose its nuclear activities.

"This conference represents a pivotal turning point in the history of the treaty, and an opportunity that may be the last and that must be seized," Egyptian UN Ambassador Maged A. Abdelaziz told delegates Wednesday.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a slightly different take on the 'nuclear free zone' with an important difference.

"We support efforts to realize the goal of a weapons-of-mass-destruction-free-zone in the Middle East in accordance with the 1995 Middle East resolution," Clinton told delegates at the opening of a month-long review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in New York.

That would pick up the chemical and biological weapons possessed by countries like Egypt and Syria.

Still, that's small consolation given how easily Iran and North Korea have torn up the NPT and are developing nuclear weapons. Besides, wasn't this conference supposed to be dealing with Iran? How can anyone equate an Iranian nuclear weapon to Israel?

For forty years, the United States and Israel had an agreement in which Israel's possible nuclear capabilities were not discussed. The Obama administration reaffirmed that commitment several months ago. But as with so many other commitments made to Israel, this administration is now abandoning that one too. And the consequences for Israel are potentially deadly.

Israel Matzav: All five permanent Security Council members on nuke free Middle East bandwagon

Israel Matzav: Finding new allies

Finding new allies

There was an item in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week that reported that Britain was working on its 'special relationship.' With India.... That's right, having given up on being treated like an ally by the Obama administration, the Brits are pursuing a special relationship with India.

And as you all know already, the Brits and the Indians aren't the only allies who are licking their wounds from being abused by the United States. No, I'm not talking about Israel now - let's look at Japan. This is from a story about the renewal of the lease on America's military base on Okinawa:

But as Hatoyama's self-imposed May deadline approaches, it doesn't look like the prime minister is going to be able to deliver, and some Japanese lawmakers are now going public with their criticism of the way the Obama administration has handled the issue.

One of them is Kuniko Tanioka, a member of Japan's upper house of parliament and the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, and a close advisor to Hatoyama. During a visit to Washington Tuesday, Tanioka leveled some of the harshest criticism from a Japanese official to date of the Obama team's handling of the Futenma issue, which is still unresolved despite months of discussions.

"We are worried because the government of the United States doesn't seem to be treating Prime Minister Hatoyama as an ally," she told an audience at the East-West Center. "The very stubborn attitude of no compromise of the U.S. government on Futenma is clearly pushing Japan away toward China and that is something I'm very worried about."

In the Age of Obama, when Western countries can no longer count on the United States, each of us has to look for new allies on whom we can rely. Israel already has close relations with India. For historical reasons - and because of its burgeoning Muslim population - Britain may never be a close Israeli ally. But it's good to see our foreign ministry reaching out and trying to make new friends: Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman heads for Japan on Sunday.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman will leave on Sunday 9 May 2010 on an official visit to Japan.

FM Liberman is scheduled to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and other senior officials. FM Liberman and his hosts will discuss bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest.

Foreign Minister Liberman is expected to return to Israel on Thursday, 13 May 2010.

Go for it!

Israel Matzav: Finding new allies

Israel Matzav: More lies from Goldstone

More lies from Goldstone

Richard Goldstone attended his grandson's Bar Mitzva in South Africa this past weekend, and unfortunately it became another occasion for lambasting the Israeli government for 'squandering' an 'opportunity' to vindicate itself in front of his biased commission with its biased mandate.

Many words - perhaps too many words - have been wasted on responding to Richard Goldstone's pious recriminations. But there is one charge that cannot go unanswered and that's this one:

It is obvious but must be stated: had Israel provided us with credible information to respond to the allegations we received, they would have been given appropriate consideration and could potentially have influenced our findings.

You will recall that at the debate at Brandeis between Goldstone and former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold, Gold put a series of slides, videos and charts up on a screen for the audience. Those slides, videos and charts demolished the evidence presented in the Goldstone Report. They were so effective that most of the questions in the question and answer session that followed were hard questions for Richard Goldstone. It was clear that Dore Gold had won the debate and that's why Richard Goldstone has refused to debate anyone else about the report that bears his name since that night.

You will also recall that at the time, Goldstone claimed never to have seen those slides, videos and charts.

A month and a half later, I was part of a group that was addressed by Dore Gold at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, which he directs. I asked him whether Goldstone had really never seen all his material before, and how could that be given that I had seen much of it on the internet and posted it on this blog in real time. Here's what he said:

Gold says that they sent reams of material to the Goldstone Commission and much of what he put on the screen at Brandeis had been sent to Goldstone before the report came out. They treated it as footnote material and not as material for the main analysis. The key factor to examine there is who did the staff work - they filtered what Goldstone saw.

I tried to examine the staff work here.

Despite not wanting to officially cooperate with a commission that it knew from the outset would issue a damning report, Israel sent 'reams' of material to the Goldstone Commission. Goldstone ignored that material and continues to pretend - to applauding audiences - that it doesn't exist.

Disingenuous doesn't even begin to describe him.

Israel Matzav: More lies from Goldstone

Elder of Ziyon: Algerians upset at Jewish soccer player

Algerians upset at Jewish soccer player

Algerians are upset at how their nation has been hiring many non-Algerians to play football for their national team, skirting the normal naturalization requirements to become citizens instantly.

Things came to a head when Raïs M'Bohli, goalkeeper for a Bulgarian team, bragged in an interview that he received his Algerian passport in five minutes while the average person takes 15 months to get one.

The thing is, M'Bolhi's mother is Algerian (his father is Congolese.) He was raised in France. But the Algerians aren't happy - because his mother is apparently Jewish.

As Palestine Today writes,

[Problems] that plague Algerian society and threaten its Arab and Islamic roots and identity, such as the marriage of thousands of Algerian Muslim, Jews and Christians in Europe, and the granting of Algerian nationality to each dog just to [be successful in] the World Cup. Algerian officials are challenging the feelings of 35 million citizens, many of of whom live below the poverty line, by profligacy and wasting people's money to import players that have nothing to do, either closely or from afar, with Algeria.

The article goes on to say that many Arabs in Algerian chat boards are very upset, and the autotranslation ends with these enigmatic but clearly bigoted words:

The sacrifice of local players and is called the scheme aimed to eliminate the identity of the Algerian people, in which case the maximum was boiling in him to the ranks of the Jewish vegetables.

Elder of Ziyon: Algerians upset at Jewish soccer player

Elder of Ziyon: A run on the bank in Gaza

A run on the bank in Gaza

More monetary woes in Gaza:

Hundreds of Gaza residents started lining up outside the Ar-Rimal branch of the Arab Bank in Thursday morning, the day after an announcement by the administration that two of the three Gaza Strip branches would close.

In a statement, the bank announced that "in light of worsening conditions under which the Bank is called upon to operate in Gaza and after having recently reduced the number of its staff there, it has also decided to close two of its three branches."

In response, the PA Ministry of Economy, told Ma'an that it imposed the largest fine in the ministry's history on the bank, for failing to obtain ministry approval for the closures under Article 49 of the Monetary Authority law and Article 10 of the Banking law.

The PA issued a statement mid-morning on Thursday, assuring all customers that the bank would continue to operate and would be stabilized as part of the Palestinian banking system.

Not exactly the FDIC, is it?

Elder of Ziyon: A run on the bank in Gaza
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