Friday, 7 May 2010

Israel Matzav: Sabbath music video

Sabbath music video

Think about this one when you're singing it tonight. This is Eisheth Chayil (Woman of Valor) from the Sabbath table on Friday night, sung by Tzipia.

Let's go to the videotape.

Shabbat Shalom everyone.

Israel Matzav: Sabbath music video

Israel Matzav: 'Our friends the Saudis': Not worried about Iran, unwilling to help in the 'peace process'

Our friends the Saudis': Not worried about Iran, unwilling to help in the 'peace process'

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If this expert (see his qualifications in the article) is correct, then 'our friends the Saudis' have no fear of the military power of a nuclear Iran, and no interest in helping to convince Israel that the Arab states want peace (which they don't - the Arab states will never willingly accept a Jewish state in their midst).

The Saudis see Iranian power in more political than military terms. It is Iranian political influence in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Palestine that worries them, not the prospect of the use of Iranian military force. They see the Iranian threat to the Gulf states as centered in Iran's power to mobilize support among Shi'a sympathizers in those states, not in the prospect of an Iranian missile attack or amphibious landing on the Arab shore of the Gulf. (The revelation by the Kuwaiti newpaper al-Qabas a few days ago of the arrest in Kuwait of an alleged Iranian ‘terrorist' cell is the kind of evidence Saudis point to of the nature of the Iranian threat.) They do not worry that much about a nuclear Iran as a military threat, but rather worry that nuclear acquisition will make Tehran more ambitious in terms of pushing for political influence in the region and that nuclear weapons will make Iran seem a more attractive and powerful ally for sub-state groups throughout the Arab world.

I think that the Saudi perspective on Iranian regional power is much more accurate than ours. It is not Iranian military power that gives Iran regional influence but rather Iran's political links to powerful actors in states where the central government is weak. Those links are based on a mixture of shared ideology, sectarian affiliation, common antipathy to the U.S. and Israel, and short-term self-interests, in different degrees in different cases. But none of those relations are based on Iranian military power. I doubt that nuclear weapons will make that much difference, one way or another, in Iran's regional influence, because nuclear weapons will not change the nature of Iran's relations with its sub-state allies in the Arab world.

The nascent Saudi debate on this question has not generated much in the way of answers to how to deal with Iranian power. There is something of a consensus that Riyadh has forfeited the chance to play a greater role in Iraq through passivity, and one can see the beginnings of a more active Saudi policy there now (backing Allawi, receiving an delegation from the Sadrist movement since the election). While King Abdallah has a real personal antipathy toward dealing with Nouri al-Maliki, it is possible that after that even that obstacle will be overcome as the current maneuverings over the creation of a new Iraqi government continue. But American policy-makers should be aware that, while Riyadh shares their perspective that Iran needs to be contained, the Saudis are taking a very different view of the nature of the Iranian challenge than is ascendant in Washington.

So, what does this mean for the American debate on Iran? First, it is not clear just what position the Saudi government would take on an American military attack on Iran. It is likely that Riyadh would want the benefits of such an attack -- setting back the Iranian nuclear program, however briefly -- without taking any public responsibility for the American action. Washington should not count on any Saudi cooperation on such a plan that might become public. And American policy-makers should know that a more active Saudi policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict, if it were influenced by these Saudi "neo-conservatives," might not be completely supportive of American efforts to enlist Arab states in "confidence building measures" toward Israel. Saudi Arabia will judge those kinds of suggestions from a hard-headed "realist" perspective.

I don't buy the part of this analysis that deals with Iran. There's too much evidence to the contrary - that the Saudis do fear a nuclear Iran. And well they should since the Sunni's (Saudi Arabia) and the Shia (Iran) have hated each other for centuries. Not to mention the fact that Iran has ties to al-Qaeda....

Israel Matzav: 'Our friends the Saudis': Not worried about Iran, unwilling to help in the 'peace process'

Israel Matzav: French court orders release of Iranian sought by US

French court orders release of Iranian sought by US

Even when sanctions are in place, parties can interpret them differently. Differing interpretations of sanctions currently in place against Iran have apparently caused France to release an Iranian national who is being sought by the United States.

Majid Kakavand was arrested at Charles de Gaulle airport in France in March 2009 on a U.S. extradition request on charges of having procured sensitive U.S. technology for the Iranian military via a Malaysian front company.

Kakavand, 37, served as the director of a company in Malaysia, Evertop Services, that procured U.S. and European goods for export to Iran. Evertop's main customers were two Iranian military entities, Iran Electronics Industry and Iran Communications Industries.

But a French prosecutor determined yesterday that Kakavand had not broken French law in the items he had sold to Iran, and ordered his release.

“What he was importing was dual use in the same sense that a switch or a cable can be dual use, but nothing more,” a French weapons expert Jean-Louis Barbier who reviewed the items for the defense told the New York Times. “If this is dual use, then everything else is.”

Except that there are hints that what's really at work here is a prisoner exchange:

Meantime, French media reports suggested that the French prosecutor’s decision to release Kakavand could possibly make way for the release of a French teacher, Clotilde Reiss, 24, who had been teaching in the Iranian city of Isfahan before being detained at Tehran airport July 1 after Iran’s June disputed elections trying to return to France. Reiss has been held for several months under modified house arrest at the French embassy in Tehran.

A source familiar with the Kakavand folder who asked to speak anonymously disputed any linkage between the Kakavand and Reiss cases as “baseless.”

The French public prosecutor “who had already asked for the charges to be dropped [against Kakavand] did it on factual grounds,” the source said. “The point is that to extradite somebody, he needs to have committed a felony acoording to both the law of the country that asks for his extradition, and the country where that is asked to proceed with the extradition. And matter of fact, the judges have decided that there was no breach of French or EU laws.”

But the Iranians are trying to do a lot of 'hostage trading.'

Read the whole thing.
Israel Matzav: French court orders release of Iranian sought by US

Israel Matzav: UN Watch fighting to keep Libya off 'Human Rights Council'

UN Watch fighting to keep Libya off 'Human Rights Council'

UN Watch has launched a campaign to prevent Libya from being seated on the United Nations 'Human Rights Council.' A bid to seat Iran failed recently.

Pro-democracy group UN Watch launched a worldwide campaign to block Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi from winning a seat in next week's elections to the UN Human Rights Council, with a mass email petition, a YouTube video appeal, and the presentation this week of Libyan victim testimony at a special briefing for diplomats and reporters at UN Headquarters, co-organized by UN Watch and Freedom House.

The two human rights groups also presented a new report rating the qualifications of Libya and the other 13 country candidates.

The event was attended by journalists from Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, CBS News, Radio Free Europe, and other major media organizations, and has already led to a dedicated editorial in today's New York Daily News.


“Freedom House and UN Watch urge all UN General Assembly members not to write in the name of Libya or other unqualified states when filling out the four African slots on their secret ballot,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch. “They should instead write in the names of African countries with far greater qualifications.”

According to the report, of the 14 candidates announced to date, only 5 are considered to be “qualified” to serve on the Council, including Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Guatemala and Maldives. Additionally, 4 candidates are identified as having “questionable” records, including Moldova, Ecuador, Uganda and Thailand.

It would actually be fitting for Libya to be part of the 'Human Rights Council.' They fit right in with the thug regimes that are there. The problem is that the 'Human Rights Council' actually has some real power.

I guess the Obama administration's joining it has had a lot of effect, hasn't it?

Israel Matzav: UN Watch fighting to keep Libya off 'Human Rights Council'

Israel Matzav: Retired US General: Chemical attack coming at Israel this summer

Retired US General: Chemical attack coming at Israel this summer

Here's a disturbing interview with Major General Paul E. Vallely in which he warns of (among other things) a chemical attack coming against Israel from Lebanon this summer. General Vallely is the Chairman of Stand Up America US.

You can watch the interview with General Vallely here (Hat Tip: Will).

We got our gas masks this week. If you haven't gotten yours, go to the post office and get them.

Israel Matzav: Retired US General: Chemical attack coming at Israel this summer

Israel Matzav: Video: 'Palestinian' Minister of Uncontrollable Rage goes to New York

Video: 'Palestinian' Minister of Uncontrollable Rage goes to New York

The 'Palestinian' Minister of Uncontrollable Rage visited New York this week to check out the aftermath of the Times Square bombing.

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Video: 'Palestinian' Minister of Uncontrollable Rage goes to New York

Israel Matzav: US to take 'active role' in pursuing nuke-free Middle East

US to take 'active role' in pursuing nuke-free Middle East

This is from an AP report on the IAEA's efforts to pursue a 'nuclear free zone' in the Middle East.

Egypt has proposed that a Nonproliferation Treaty conference now meeting at U.N. headquarters in New York back a plan calling for the start of negotiations next year on a Mideast free of nuclear arms.

The U.S. has cautiously supported the idea while saying that implementing it must wait for progress in the Middle East peace process. Israel also says a comprehensive Middle East peace settlement must come first.

"The question is, how do you do that in the absence of a peace plan?" Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher said Wednesday of the "nuke-free" zone idea.

Still, Washington and the four other nuclear weapons countries recognized as such under the NPT appear to be ready to move from passive support to a more active role.

In her speech to the U.N. nuclear conference on Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Washington would support "practical measures for moving toward that objective," while Tauscher said the U.S. has been working "for months" with Egypt on the issue.

Washington also has been discussing it with the Israelis, said another Western diplomatic source, who asked for anonymity since he was discussing other countries' contacts.

Russian arms negotiator Anatoly I. Antonov, speaking on behalf of the five NPT nuclear powers, said these nations were "committed to full implementation" of a Middle East nuclear free zone.

Amano's April 7 letter comes seven months after IAEA member states at their annual Vienna conference narrowly passed a resolution directly criticizing Israel and its atomic program, with 49 of the 110 nations present in support, 45 against and 16 abstaining.

The result was a setback not only for Israel but also for Washington and other backers of the Jewish state, which had lobbied for 18 years of past practice — debate on the issue without a vote.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: US to take 'active role' in pursuing nuke-free Middle East

Israel Matzav: Abu Mazen: 'There is no difference between us and Hamas

Abu Mazen: 'There is no difference between us and Hamas

Elder of Ziyon posts a Google translation of the interview (in Arabic - the only way these interviews matter) with Abu Mazen that I posted on Thursday, and comes up with this little addition that did not appear in the version I saw.

When you talk about Hamas in Gaza, it is against the firing of rockets and other missiles, and when you talk about a state within the 1967 ... So, what's the difference between us and them? There is no difference. The question is no longer political or ideological or intellectual or anything else, the question is: Why do they not accept the reconciliation, in the face of the Gaza Strip deteriorating daily not monthly, socially and economically. We regret that they are smuggling weapons and explosives and assembled in the West Bank. Why punish those who fire rockets in Gaza, when we collect their weapons and explosives and equipment in the West Bank?!

/crickets chirping

Israel Matzav: Abu Mazen: 'There is no difference between us and Hamas

Israel Matzav: Nuclear free Middle East? Yes, but....

Nuclear free Middle East? Yes, but....

This is on target.

There is no doubt that a Middle East free from nuclear weapons serves everyone's interests but how can you ask a country threatened by illegitimate Genocidal maniacs asking for its destruction openly to relinquish its nuclear weapons aimed at protecting its citizens and not seek to stop the same maniacs from acquiring nuclear weapons aimed at either destroying others or protecting their own perpetuity?

RPS [Reform Party of Syria] supports a nuclear free Middle East once violent and unaccountable authoritarian regimes are replaced by responsible democracies."

And that's not likely to happen anytime soon.

I can only add that a it shouldn't just be nuclear free but WMD free. No sense in leaving chemical and biological weapons hanging around if you're going to ban the nukes.

Israel Matzav: Nuclear free Middle East? Yes, but....

Israel Matzav: What does your rabbi say about Israel?

What does your rabbi say about Israel?

I'm going to post a small excerpt of a long article about a recent rabbi's sermon and then I'm going to go off on a tangent that the author never intended. Regardless, I urge you to read the whole thing, because the article has a message for you and you're not going to find it otherwise in this post.

In a recent Shabbat sermon, the senior rabbi at one of Baltimore's largest congregations explained why, whether he liked it or not, he felt compelled to talk about Israel. He suggested that due to the voluminous number of e-mails he received discussing an article written by Ed Koch and a sermon delivered by local rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg, he felt compelled to discuss the topic on everyone's mind.

The opening remarks of the sermon reminded me of Obama's recent statement that "... whether we like it or not, America remains a military superpower." And while Americans have come to expect Obama's ridiculous apologies for America's exceptional nature, American Jews do not and should not accept this attitude from anyone -- least of all our rabbis. Our history and faith dictate, and our survival depends upon, our leaders -- our rabbis -- celebrating Israel's greatness and the success of the Jewish people.

The rabbi discussed a recent poll in which Israel joined Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea at the bottom of a list of 28 nations viewed favorably in the world. From there, rather than discuss what American Jews could do to help improve world perception of Israel, the rabbi politicized the two-state solution by characterizing it as an internal Israeli policy debate rather than what it is -- a fight for Israel's survival. Though there was no coherent message being conveyed, the rabbi used two words to describe Israel that said more than anything else in the speech -- "occupying state."

The clear message was that Israel is occupying land on which Jewish people are not entitled to live. After the service, I told the rabbi that I was offended by his description of Israel as an occupying entity -- a description reserved for use by anti-Semites. I suggested that, especially in light of recent rifts in U.S.-Israel relations and the virulent growth of anti-Semitism globally, rabbis need to choose their words wisely. He responded, "Oh, I see, you're from the far right."

The rabbi then stated that he would use another term if I could suggest something appropriate to describe what Israel was doing. I looked at him inquisitively and asked how Israel could be occupying land that God gave to the Jewish people thousands of years ago. And with his next question, the rabbi took the conversation to a new low for Jews and Christians the world over: "How do you know that? Just because the Bible says so?"

Please read the whole thing, and to the person who wrote the article, if this is your shul, please find another one.

There was one thing this rabbi said that was correct - he really is compelled to talk about Israel. But he's so blind that he doesn't recognize why. It's not because it's on everyone's mind. Rather, he's compelled to talk about Israel, because Israel is the largest Jewish community in the World today, because six million Jewish lives are in jeopardy in Israel and because if Jews don't give a damn then - as Mordechai told Esther in the Purim story - revach v'hatzala ya'mod la'Yehudim mi'makom acheir (salvation will come to the Jews from elsewhere). Our rabbis tell us that verse is written in lashon sagi nahor (as if a blind person can see). In other words, the verse means exactly the opposite of what it says. Mordechai is telling Esther - if you don't step forward to save the Jews, no one else will. And the proof is the following words v'at u'beit avich tovaidu (and you and your father's house will be lost).

But Mordechai follows up with a message that ought to ring to every comfortable Jew in America today: "U'mee yodea im l'eit kazot higaat la'malchut" And who knows whether it was precisely for a moment like this that you reached the throne? Who knows whether it was precisely for a moment like this - when your brethren in Israel are facing a nuclear armed Ahmadinejad - that American Jewry reached the lofty status that it has reached today?

Where the hell are you people? Is it going to be left to a Rabbis' march again? It's 1939. Wake up before 1942 and 1943 hit us again! Why are there no Jews protesting in the streets?

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: What does your rabbi say about Israel?

Israel Matzav: The Emperor has no clothes

The Emperor has no clothes

Michael Fenenbock explains why Israelis and American Jews who care about Israel ought to be rooting for change in this fall's US midterm election, and hints at how we can make it happen.

It’s certainly no over-exaggeration to say President Obama and his administration have played the mainstream Jewish leaders like a violin.

The scion of a wealthy cosmetics manufacturing Jewish family recently published a full-page open letter of complaint to President Obama about the recent Biden brouhaha. He paid to have his letter appear in several major American newspapers.

In this letter he called for understanding... but also took time to reaffirm Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution and concluded by congratulating the president for his sincerity on issues concerning Israel and peace.

I think the two-state solution will have disastrous consequences and I believe that President Obama’s hostility is deep seated and ideological.

The emperor has no clothes.

Equally demoralizing, the Israeli prime minister is guilty of listening to these voices. Fearing to antagonize the Obama administration and offering bits and pieces of appeasement he has allowed himself to become a caricature… insisting on a recent American Sunday news broadcast that there had been no disagreement between the Obama Administration and Israel.

It is common knowledge in Washington DC that, at the bidding of the president and pressure from mainstream Jewish leadership, the prime minister quietly agreed to halt building in east Jerusalem.

He does this even as the Obama Administration makes no bones about desiring a more malleable government in Israel, encouraging his domestic political opponents to all but overthrow his government.

The emperor has no clothes.

Imposing a two-state solution is at the heart of the Obama foreign policy; for the president, there has been no downside to his assault on the Jewish State. Jewish voters have not abandoned him to any significant degree and the Administration has suffered no meaningful political damage as a consequence of their policy.

Read the whole thing. And think about how we can act on it. The time for action has arrived.

Israel Matzav: The Emperor has no clothes

Love of the Land: The Responsibility Belongs to Lebanese Government

The Responsibility Belongs to Lebanese Government

Report #: 983
6 May '10

It could not have been more explicit.

Standing next to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak said if the situation in Lebanon flares into warfare as it did in 2006, Israel would not just blame Hezbollah. "The main responsibility lies with the Lebanese government. We make it clear once and again that we see the government of Lebanon and behind it the government of Syria responsible for what happens now in Lebanon. And the government of Lebanon will be the one to be held accountable if it deteriorates."

In Israel, BG Yossi Beidatz of Israeli Military Intelligence was equally clear in his presentation to the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee. "Weapons are transferred to Hezbollah on a regular basis and this transfer is organized by the Syrian and Iranian regimes. Therefore, it should not be called smuggling of arms to Lebanon - it is organized and official transfer."

But Secretary Clinton, in her remarks to the AJC, maintained the fiction that the Lebanese government is not a party to the conflict in its own country:

We have spoken out forcefully about the grave dangers of Syria's transfer of weapons to Hezbollah. We condemn this in the strongest possible terms and have expressed our concerns directly to the Syrian government... Transferring weapons to these terrorists - especially longer-range missiles - would pose a serious threat to the security of Israel. It would have a profoundly destabilizing effect on the region. All states must stop supplying weapons to terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. Every rocket smuggled into southern Lebanon or Gaza sets back the cause of peace.

"The cause of peace" is a relative term. There are those for whom the removal of Israel from the region would engender "peace."

(Read full report)

Love of the Land: The Responsibility Belongs to Lebanese Government

Love of the Land: Time to plan for war

Time to plan for war

Caroline Glick
07 May '10

So much for US President Barack Obama's famed powers of persuasion. At the UN's Nuclear Non-Poliferation Treaty review conference which opened this week, the Obama administration managed to lose control over the agenda before the conference even started.

Obama administration officials said they intended to use the conference as a platform to mount international pressure on Iran to stop its illicit nuclear proliferation activities. But even before the conference began, with a little prodding from Egypt, the administration agreed that instead of focusing on Iran, the conference would adopt Iran's chosen agenda: attacking Israel for its alleged nuclear arsenal.

Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that US officials were conducting negotiations with Egypt about Egypt's demand that the NPT review conference call for sanctions against Israel for refusing to join the NPT as a non-nuclear state. The Journal quoted a senior administration official involved in the discussions saying, "We've made a proposal to them [Egypt] that goes beyond what the U.S. has been willing to do before."

Among other possibilities, that proposal may have included a US agreement to appoint a UN envoy responsible for organizing a UN conference calling for the Greater Middle East to become a nuclear-free zone. In diplomatese, "Middle East nuclear-free zone" is a well-accepted euphemism for stripping Israel of its purported nuclear capability while turning a blind eye to Iranian, Syrian and other Islamic nuclear weapons programs. Egypt's demand, which it convinced more than a hundred members of the Non-Aligned bloc to sign onto, is for Israel to open its nuclear installations to international inspectors as a first step towards unilateral nuclear disarmament.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Time to plan for war

Love of the Land: Who Is Goldstone to Judge Israel?

Who Is Goldstone to Judge Israel?

Honest Reporting/Backspin
06 May '10

Yediot Ahronoth's Hebrew site reports that that Judge Richard Goldstone sent 28 black South Africans to their death when they appeared before his court during the apartheid era.

And now that Yediot and the blogosphere is asking, "Who is Goldstone to judge Israel with his one-sided report on the Gaza war," the jurist's response is adding fuel to the fire.

First, the Yediot investigation, which will be published in full on Friday. Jerusalem Central (via Israel Matzav) provides details:

According to Yediot's findings, Goldstone confirmed the death sentences of at least 28 accused blacks, who had appealed their sentences, most of them for murder, and he expressed his support for death sentences in his decisions as well, as he wrote in the case of a young black man who was sentenced to death for killing the white owner of a restaurant after he fired him: "The death penalty needs to reflect the demands of society to take retribution for the crimes that people see, justifiably, as horrifying".

Goldstone, "declared that the gallows were the only punishment of deterrent in these cases", and wrote: "Fury is a relevant factor in the imposition of a suitable punishment".

Whoa! An internationally acclaimed jurist says that fury is a "relevant factor" in choosing a suitable punishment? Sounds, uh, disproportionate. If an Israeli judge were make such an assertion, can you imagine the outrage of the UN Human Rights Council, or Human Rights Watch?

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Who Is Goldstone to Judge Israel?

Love of the Land: A Milestone in Jewish Life

A Milestone in Jewish Life

Batya Medad
Shilo Musings
06 May '10

In Jewish life, prayer is daily, actually thrice daily. For those who follow Torah Law prayer isn't just when visiting a synagogue, following the instructions of the rabbi, listening and sometimes singing along with the cantor. Prayer isn't a performance to be observed. It's participatory. The traditional text is set, written in a Siddur, prayerbook.

Like the Jewish Calender which combines, synthesizes the lunar and solar calendars, our prayer is preferably said with the community, but simultaneously individually. To create a loyalty and familiarity with the prayers, it's best to have one's own siddur.

The custom in Israel, at least in the religious schools is to have a large moving ceremony to celebrate receiving a Siddur at the end of the First Grade.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: A Milestone in Jewish Life

Love of the Land: Artists 4 Israel bring some color to Sderot

Artists 4 Israel bring some color to Sderot

Ron Friedman
JPost/Sderot Media Center
29 May '10

“Unfortunately, people here have to live with bomb shelters. We’re here doing a little something to bring some color to something that’s here for an ugly reason,” said American graffiti artist Cycle, summing up perfectly the aim of the Artists 4 Israel mission to Israel.

Tuesday was the group’s third day in Sderot, where urban artists from the United States, Spain, Mexico and Israel have been busy beautifying the bombarded city’s public bomb shelters.

The “Murality Project” is all about sending a message of support to the residents of Sderot.

“We couldn’t be here to build the bomb shelters or fight in the war, but we can help the people fight the debilitating effects, which are just as bad,” said Craig Dershowitz, president of Artists 4 Israel, a nonprofit advocacy group. “We can step in and help reignite the city that has suffered for so long, with our artwork.”

Participating in the project are 25 artists, including some of the top names in New York City’s urban art scene. In Sderot, the group of non-Jewish, American and international artists joined Israelis to contribute their talent to beautify the city.

“Some of the artists here are used to being flown first-class and housed in five-star hotels for commissioned work. Here they sleep on the floor, six people to a room at the local yeshiva building,” said Dershowitz. “They contributed valuable time and art that can sometimes be sold for as much as $10,000, expressing their support for Sderot and Israel.

(Read full story)

Love of the Land: Artists 4 Israel bring some color to Sderot

Elder of Ziyon: Joseph Massad loves the word "colonialism"

Joseph Massad loves the word "colonialism"

Joseph Massad, the anti-gay and virtually anti-semitic Columbia University professor whose hatred of Israel is legendary, has written another screed for Al Ahram that exposes his faulty methods of reasoning.

I wrote a critique of one of his previous articles in 2007 where he argued that Israel was inherently racist. Yet an analysis of that article showed that he never really defined what racism was - effectively, his argument was an argument by repetition. In that article, he used the word "racist" or "racism" over thirty times. It was nothing more than proof by assertion, with many straw-man arguments to buttress his nonexistent proof.

Now, he has a new article in Al Ahram, where he talks about Israel's "colonialism." In this case he must have shattered a record of overuse of a word, employing it over sixty times in the course of the article. Even more absurdly, he bases the article on this phrase: Colonialism is peace; anti-colonialism is war, as being Israel's policy - using variants of that phrase some seven times.

Again, it is a gigantic straw-man argument, because he again assumes that Israel is by definition colonialist and he never bothers to define exactly how. Just as he did with the racism charge, he states it as a fact first and his "proof" is just by repeating it ad nauseum.

Israel is not a colonialist state using any reasonable definition of colonialism. As I have written previously, Israel is by definition anti-colonialist:

Arabs feel that Zionism has the same effect as colonialism, therefore they conclude that the two are functionally identical.

However, Zionism is more like anti-colonialism: it is a national liberation movement, with the nation being the Jewish nation. Zionism's 's intent is not to rule over others nor to subjugate others. The vast majority of early Zionists wanted to re-build the Jewish national home in the same place that the original home was, the biblical Land of Israel. Judaism had maintained a strong emotional tie with ancient Israel; daily prayers long for a return to Zion;Jews annually mourn for the destruction of both Holy Temples in Jerusalem; and not only Jews had maintained a continuous presence in their original homeland, but Jews had returned there in much smaller numbers throughout the ages.

Definitionally, they two aren't even close. The Zionists didn't want to offer allegiance to the British Empire, they wanted to be independent of it. The colonialist requirement for a "metropole", or mother country, doesn't exist in Zionism.

The Arab motivation to apply the colonialist label to Zionism purposefully ignores the definitions or goals of the Jewish national liberation movement and instead tries to fuzz the definition so that the metropole is the entire Western world. Israel indeed has the hallmarks of a modern, Western nation and more closely identifies with the West and the ideals of democracy and liberalism than with the Arab world. And in more recent decades, when the word "colonialism" has turned into a dirty word, the Arabs have been keen on using it as a weapon against Israel among the nations that have the most colonial guilt.

Massad and those like him know all of this, of course - but they love misusing the words "colonialism" and "racism" to score points with the West. It is a libel that gains currency by dint of repetition, not by the merits of the argument.

And no one knows more about repetition than Joseph Massad.

Elder of Ziyon: Joseph Massad loves the word "colonialism"

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas cash crisis: Salaries cut this month

Hamas cash crisis: Salaries cut this month

Palestine Press Agency reports that Hamas has halved the salaries of many of its employees in an effort to stem its growing cash crisis.

According to the story, Hamas will continue to pay the salaries of those who make less than 1500 shekels a month, but it will halve the salaries of those earning more than 4000 shekels a month.

This is the second month in a row that Hamas has not been able to pay its workers their full salaries. Hamas pays some 32,000 workers.

Hamas is now being forced to admit, despite earlier denials, that there is a cash crisis in Gaza, mostly because of Egypt's (belated) crackdown on illegal money transfers.

The article states that Egypt has been specifically targeting tunnels that had been used for cash, weapons and people smuggling, but not prioritizing tunnels that bring goods into Gaza.

Egypt's crackdown is due to anger that Hamas refuses to sign an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation document with Fatah. That split has caused the Arab world to lose much of its interest in Palestinian Arab issues, even as the West increases pressure on the "peace process."

Elder of Ziyon: Hamas cash crisis: Salaries cut this month

Elder of Ziyon: UNRWA Secretary-General violates his own policies

UNRWA Secretary-General violates his own policies

UNRWA has policies that apply to its staff, listed in their Area Staff Regulations publication. These policies include:

Staff members shall conduct themselves at all times in a manner befitting their status as employees of the Agency. They shall not engage in any activity that is incompatible with the proper discharge of their duties with the Agency. They shall avoid any action and in particular any kind of public pronouncement which may adversely reflect on their status, or on the integrity, independence and impartiality which are required by that status. While they are not expected to give up their national sentiments or their political and religious convictions, they shall at all times bear in mind the reserve and tact incumbent upon them by reason of their employment with the Agency.

Staff members may exercise the right to vote but shall not engage in any political activity which is inconsistent with or might reflect upon the independence and impartiality required by their status.

Previous UNRWA head Karen Abu-Zayd has said "UNRWA is not involved in the political sphere," and indeed politics is not part of its mandate.

Of course, this is all a lie.

The latest example comes from John Ging, UNRWA Secretary-General, who on Wednesday said he supported the Free Gaza flotilla of ships that will be sailing towards Gaza later this month:

Ging, speaking with a Norwegian newspaper earlier in the week, urged the world to send ships to the shores of Gaza, saying "We believe that Israel will not intercept these vessels because the sea is open, and human rights organizations have been successful in similar previous operations proving that breaking the siege of Gaza is possible."

Urging nations to send ships to Gaza is as political a statement as any. He is advocating doing something against Israeli (and Egyptian) policies. He is saying that shipments to Gaza require no oversight as to their contents, something that the EU has disagreed with in the past by setting up the EUBAM monitoring station in Rafah before the Hamas coup. He is also evidently advocating the ability of Iran or Syria to freely ship weapons to Gaza, as opposed to the clandestine shipments they are already doing.

In addition, he is characterizing Free Gaza as a "human rights organization" which is again a lie - it is purely a political organization dedicated to pressuring Israel. In fact, Free Gaza has explicitly said that it is against sending humanitarian aid to Gaza and against UNRWA's style of aid by cooperating with Israel! They stated that they would rather spend money pressuring Israel than on goods for Gazans. This is not a human rights organization - they only exist for a political purpose.

UNRWA is not impartial at all, and John Ging has just proven it again.

Elder of Ziyon: UNRWA Secretary-General violates his own policies

Elder of Ziyon: AP consistently wrong on Western Wall

AP consistently wrong on Western Wall

If you do a search for "Western Wall" in the AP Images website, you will see approximately 200 images taken over the past year.

The caption in virtually all of these pictures says that the Western Wall is "Judaism's holiest site."

This is wrong.

Judaism's holiest site is the Temple Mount, the exact spot where Muslims built a mosque where the Temples used to stand.

Write to AP to correct this falsehood:

Elder of Ziyon: AP consistently wrong on Western Wall

'Feiglin to Announce He is Leaving Likud' - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

'Feiglin to Announce He is Leaving Likud' - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

British Election: Hung Parliament, Future Unclear - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

British Election: Hung Parliament, Future Unclear - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Hevron Residents: Fire at Cemetery was Arson. Police Disagree - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Hevron Residents: Fire at Cemetery was Arson. Police Disagree - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Israel Police, FBI Coordinate on Terror - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Israel Police, FBI Coordinate on Terror - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

European Representatives Look Into Anti-Semitism - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

European Representatives Look Into Anti-Semitism - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Netanyahu to Visit Canada - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Netanyahu to Visit Canada - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Are European Jews Turning On Israel? Expert Says No - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Are European Jews Turning On Israel? Expert Says No - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

A Nation Of

A Nation Of Opposites

Following (in italics) is an excerpt from a Jewish prayer that we say on special Holidays:

You have chosen us from among all the nations
(What about those two hundred and ten years of slavery in Egypt?)
You loved us
(The First Temple was destroyed)
and favored us.
(The Second Temple was also destroyed)
You have exalted us above all people
(Don’t forget about the Crusades)
You have sanctified us with Your commandments.
(And the Spanish Inquisition)
You drew us near to Your service
(We suffered through the pogroms of Europe and Russia)
and proclaimed Your Great and Holy Name upon us.
(And survived the Holocaust)

We have been reciting this prayer for over two thousand years. It was composed by the Men of the Great Assembly (those who formed the link between the last of the Jewish Prophets and the first of the Talmudic scholars) during the time of the rebuilding of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Admittedly, it is hard to understand in light of history, but then again, we have always been a nation of opposites.

Consider this: Several weeks ago on Holocaust Remembrance Day, we commemerated the destruction of 6,000,000 Jews at the hands of the Germans. This week, we celebrate Yom Yerushalayim (The Day of Jerusalem), commemorating our victory during the 1967 War when we took control over the Holy City of Jerusalem after 2,000 years of living in exile.

The most obvious “opposite” condition is that we are likely the smallest nation in the world, comprising less than 0.2% of the world’s population and yet we are regarded as the most powerful, influential nation on Earth.

We have been hated because we are communists and because we are capitalists. (Make sense?)

People don’t like us because we stay stubbornly by ourselves and when we have assimilated, we are accused of polluting their superior race (as in Germany).

We have a chosen people mentality and many of us have inferiority complexes.

We are members of a nation that has been persecuted and killed by nations that no longer exist. The mightiest empires have fallen and the Jewish nation has survived. (It should be the opposite).

There is a reason for all of this.

The Bible has charged us with the responsibility for Tikkun Olam - repairing the world. We haven’t completed our job thus the world is not quite perfect yet.

Today when we see the rest of the world falling into selfishness, violence and hatred, let’s do the opposite. Let’s bring the message of God into the world by living the way we have been told to. That is by loving our fellow man, seeking justice and doing kindness to others.

Now that’s an opposite we can ALL live with.

A Nation Of

Elder of Ziyon: Boycott this kangaroo!

Boycott this kangaroo!

A kangaroo is released into an enclosure at the zoo in the West Bank town of Qalqilya, May 6, 2010, after it was transferred from a zoo in Jerusalem. Two kangaroos were transferred on Thursday from the Israeli zoo to the Qalqilya zoo as part of continued cooperation between the two, Palestinian veterinarian Sami Khader said.

I hope that the zoo clearly notifies all visitors that this kangaroo is Zionist, so that innocent Palestinian Arab children aren't forced to accidentally support the zoo that allowed itself to become the recipient of an animal from the Zionist enemy. The kangaroo itself should be branded with a large Star of David, allowing Arab boycotters the choice not to go to that collaborator zoo.

Elder of Ziyon: Boycott this kangaroo!

Love of the Land: The myth of the Arab triangle

The myth of the Arab triangle

Tony Badran
NOW Lebanon
04 May '10

The last couple of weeks have shed the spotlight again on the tensions between Egypt and the regional Iranian axis, which includes Syria. The tensions surged with the conviction of Hezbollah cell members by the Egyptian judiciary, as well as with Cairo’s friction with Hamas and the persistence of its strained relations with Syria. Despite talk of reconciliation between Cairo and Damascus, the gap dividing the two states remains wide, as they have conflicting objectives and opposing strategic alignments.

The possibility of Egyptian-Syrian reconciliation had received ample airtime ahead of the Arab Summit in late March, but it amounted to very little. During the summit, the political differences dividing the two states were on display, pitting Egypt and Syria in opposing camps on key issues such as Palestinian politics, the resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, their respective positions on “resistance,” and, in general, Syria’s strategic position within the Iranian camp.

In the end, the Egyptians and Syrians only agreed to stop media campaigns against each other, which had reached a fevered pitch. It was speculated that the freeze in media wars was to pave the way for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to visit his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak, who had undergone surgery.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: The myth of the Arab triangle

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

Here's Mendy Jeruffi singing u'Neginosai n'Nagein (And we will play my tunes).

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Love of the Land: J Street Arrives on Main Street

J Street Arrives on Main Street

Avi Davis
The Intermediate Zone
04 May '10

Last week, a full page advertisement appeared in seven major Jewish newspapers around the country. Placed by the self proclaimed Israeli advocacy institute J Street, it presented a letter from former leftist Meretz leader Yossi Sarid addressed to the Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel. Three weeks ago, Wiesel had published his own missive, in a number of major American newspapers, imploring President Barack Obama’s understanding of the Jewish attachment to Jerusalem and why another division of the city can never be contemplated.

“For Jerusalem, Jews, Christians and Muslims are able to build their homes anywhere in Jerusalem and that only under Israeli sovereignty has freedom of worship for all religions been assured in the city.”

Sarid counters that there is a tacit racism inherent in Israeli housing policy that allows Arab families to be evicted onto the street if it suits the occupying power. He also warns Wiesel, who is certainly no Jewish fundamentalist, to avoid placing too much emphasis on the Jewish people’s religious attachment to the city.

“ You, my dear friend, evoke the Jews’ biblical deed to Jerusalem, thereby imbuing our current conflict with messianic hues. As if our diplomatic quarrels weren’t enough, the worst of our enemies would be glad to dress this epic conflict in the garb of a holy war. We had better not join ranks with them, even if unintentionally.”

But Sarid goes much further than even this. In his admonition to Wiesel, he states baldly what no other Israeli leader has previously dared to plead:

“ Barack Obama appears well aware of his obligations to try to resolve the world’s ills, particularly ours here. Why then undercut him and tie his hands? On the contrary, let’s allow him to use his clout to save us from ourselves, to help both bruised and battered nations and free them from their prison. Then he can push both sides to divide the city into two capitals – to give Jewish areas to the Jews and Arab areas to the Arabs – and assign the Holy Basin to an agreed-on international authority.”

Here we have a frank admission – and condemnation – rolled into one.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: J Street Arrives on Main Street

Elder of Ziyon: The Fifth Holiest Site in Islam

The Fifth Holiest Site in Islam

We are often told that the Al Aqsa Mosque is the "third holiest site in Islam."

Well, even today, this is only true for Sunni Muslims.

Shiite Muslims place Jerusalem as number five, behind the mosques in Mecca, Medina, Najaf and Karbalah. And Sufi Muslims have a completely different list.

Calling Jerusalem the "fifth holiest site in Shiite Islam" doesn't quite have the same ring, though.

(As far as I can tell, the "Ibrahimi Mosque" (Cave of the Patriarchs) in Hebron is not even on the radar of either Muslim sect as being a top mosque, and of course the mosque that may have existed near Rachel's Tomb has only been considered important in the past few years. )

Elder of Ziyon: The Fifth Holiest Site in Islam

Berlin exhibition explores Jewish roots of comics - The Local

Berlin exhibition explores Jewish roots of comics

Published: 4 May 10 07:49 CET

A major new exhibition at Berlin’s Jewish Museum, argues it was no coincidence that the biggest superheroes including Superman, Spiderman, Batman and the Hulk were all created by Jewish comic artists.

If Superman had had his way, Hitler would have wound up begging for mercy before the League of Nations in Geneva in 1940, and there would never have been an Auschwitz.

“Heroes, Freaks and Superrabbis - the Jewish Colour of Comics” looks at 45 of the most successful comic creators, overwhelmingly children of European Jewish families who had immigrated to New York. As comic books entered their golden age in the 1930s and 1940s, the most iconic superheroes were products of those troubled times, even taking on Adolf Hitler and his Nazi henchmen before the Americans did.

“The point of the exhibition isn’t to say comics are a Jewish speciality,” said Anne Helene Hoog, one of the curators. “Rather, it looks at the question why so many Jews became comic artists, and what issues preoccupied them.”

In February 1940, nearly two years before Pearl Harbor, “How Superman Would End the War” by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster has the Man of Steel making quick work of the diminutive Nazi leader.

“I’d like to land a strictly non-Aryan sock on your jaw, but there’s no time for that!” Superman tells a grovelling Hitler as he dispatches him to Switzerland to face justice, along with Stalin to boot. A month later, Captain America by Jack Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg) and Joe Simon thwarts a Nazi plot to invade America with a wallop to the Führer’s nose in a legendary cover sketch.

Hoog said the superheroes were often depicted, like their artists, as outsiders who, with an immigrant’s deep patriotism, battle to save their adopted home country from an outside threat.

That image resonated powerfully at a time when the world appeared to be falling apart, Hoog said.

“In light of the failure of democracy in Europe, it was clear that young people -particularly the children of immigrants, poor people, refugees - confronted with misery, fear, violence, injustice and finally extermination, were alarmed by what was happening in the world,” she said. “In the 1930s, there was a deep need for superheroes,” she added, and Jewish artists were happy to oblige.

Although none of the major superheroes were overtly Jewish, their heroic journeys were often steeped in Old Testament imagery, noted Jewish Museum programme director Cilly Kugelmann.

“Like Moses, Superman was discovered as an apparently abandoned baby and raised by the people who found him,” she said, adding that the character also had roots in Greek mythology, Germanic tales and the story of Jesus Christ. Even “Shazam!”, the magic word that turns young Billy Batson into 1970s-era Captain Marvel, had quasi-Jewish roots. The word is an acronym for the legendary heroes who inspire him and the first letter, “S”, stands for wise King Solomon of Israel.

Many of the comic artists worked as paperboys when they were young in the 1920s, selling newspapers amid the tenements on New York’s Lower East Side, where their love for the “funnies” was born.

After the war, with time Jewish graphic novelists began confronting the Holocaust tentatively at first, culminating in the harrowing Pulitzer-prize-winning Maus series by Art Spiegelman. In the two volumes published in 1986 and 1991, Spiegelman tells the story of his Shoah-survivor father, a Polish-born Jew, and the author’s own feelings of guilt and rage toward him as he was growing up. With his literary ambition, Spiegelman revolutionised the genre.

Comics also accompanied the counterculture movement of the 1960s, with Mad magazine and subversive “comix” by Jewish women such as Trina Roberts and Aline Kominsky-Crumb.

Hoog said a current of irony runs through many of the works, highlighting Steve Sheinkin’s “The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey” and “Rabbi Harvey Rides Again” about a Jewish cleric superhero in the Wild West. Punctuating the point, a caped Superman statue outside the museum shows him crashed into the pavement, with Krypton blood trickling from his head. The sculpture is called “Even Superheroes Have Bad Days.”

The Berlin exhibition was conceived in cooperation with the Museum of Art and History of Judaism in Paris and the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, each of which had previous shows that have been adapted and expanded here. It features more than 200 original comics, including rare sketches signed by the artists, and runs until August 8.

External link: The museum's official website »


Berlin exhibition explores Jewish roots of comics - The Local

Love of the Land: Syria's record intact

Syria's record intact

James H. Anderson
Washington Times
06 May '10

Syria has an unmatched streak as a state sponsor of international terrorism, as documented by the State Department's annual Country Reports on Terrorism, expected to be released soon. The United States has designated Syria a sponsor of state terrorism for 30 straight years, ever since Congress first required that such offenders be listed, beginning in 1979.

No other state shares this serial distinction. To put this odious streak in perspective, President Carter was in the Oval Office and eight-track tapes were still in vogue when Syria debuted as a charter member of the terrorist list.

The State Department list is not chiseled in stone. Other states have fallen off the list after changing their behavior. For example, Libya had its sponsorship-of-terrorism designation rescinded in 2006. But Syria has never shown a willingness to relinquish terrorism as a core element of its statecraft, whether it is used to suppress political dissidents at home or further its regional ambitions.

In addition to supplying Hezbollah with sophisticated weapons in Lebanon, Syria continues to permit Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups to maintain offices in Damascus. The regime has a lengthy track record of allowing jihadists to transit Syrian territory en route to unleashing suicide attacks against American soldiers in Iraq. In recent years, Syria also increasingly has aligned itself with Iran, itself another longtime sponsor of state terrorism.

In response, the Obama administration has sought to drive a wedge between Syria and Iran. On paper, this policy approach appears tempting, especially because the theocratic regime in Tehran and the secular Ba'athist regime in Damascus appear to make strange bedfellows. But Tehran and Damascus share similar regional aims that underlie their ideological marriage of convenience, especially with respect to menacing Israel and interfering in Lebanon. With Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad beside him at a February news conference, President Bashar Assad openly mocked U.S. efforts to split the two allies.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Syria's record intact

Love of the Land: African journalist stumbles on Jewish refugee issue

African journalist stumbles on Jewish refugee issue

Point of No Return
06 May '10

All power - or kol hakavod - to the foreign ministry for arranging fact-finding trips to Israel for African journalists, particularly since the temptation exists to invite misleading comparisons with Apartheid, which several might have experienced first-hand. Rhoda Kadalie wrote this article for Business Day after her mission:

"For me this visit was a chance to explore the Israeli narrative, given the dominance of the Palestinian narrative in the national, international and African National Congress discourse. I now realise that much of what I thought about Israel was based on ignorance and assumption. I returned home on Friday understanding why Israel feels assaulted by a world that is blatantly partial and hypocritical. Why Israel is always held to the highest standards of democracy when every other country flouts them intrigues me.

"Sometimes I think the world is jealous of a small country that has turned a desert into a garden, adversity into prosperity . Those who are prejudiced against Israel for ideological reasons do us a disservice when they portray the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in black-and-white terms. It has parallels in the way SA is portrayed in the international media — constant protests and police shooting at people demanding access to water, sanitation and housing . That is not all SA is about. It is the same with Israel, constantly and popularly portrayed as Holocaust survivors who have now turned on disempowered Palestinians. The nuanced nature of the two narratives are lost.

"An interesting statistic about the numbers of Jews that have fled Arab territories since 1948, rarely reported upon, caught my eye in an Israeli newspaper. In Algeria there were 140000 Jews in 1948, by 2008 none; in Morocco there were 250000, today there are about 6000. For more than half a century there was a flight of more than 850000 Jews from Arab lands, which, in effect, means that more Jews were forced to flee Muslim persecution than the approximately 762000 Palestinian Arabs who left their homes in the newly declared state of Israel. "

(Read full story)

Love of the Land: African journalist stumbles on Jewish refugee issue
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