Friday, April 30, 2010

Belgium moves against full face veils

Belgium Votes to Ban Full-Face Veils -Edward Cody

Belgium's lower house of Parliament unanimously voted to prohibit women from wearing full-face Islamic veils in public places, the first move of its kind in Western Europe.

The bill forbids anyone to appear in public with his or her face hidden in a way that makes identification impossible. The French government has pledged to pass a similar ban by September, and similar bills have been introduced in the parliaments of Italy and the Netherlands.

The full veil has been condemned by European politicians of the right and left as an affront to the dignity of women and, because it hides a woman's face, as a security risk in schools, banks and government offices.
(Washington Post)

New Pro-Israel Resource to combat anti-Israel lies

Answers to the Top 10 Anti-Israel Lies -Marvin Hier

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has produced a new brochure, "2010 Top Ten Anti-Israel Lies."
Download the Brochure

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Might Iran light the spark?

U.S. Navy Has Encounter with Iranian Jet -Anne Flaherty

A U.S. military official says the Navy had a close encounter with an Iranian surveillance jet on April 21 in the Gulf of Oman. The jet buzzed a Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Eisenhower, coming within 1,000 yards of the ship in international waters.

How the U.S.-Iran War May Start -Lenny Ben-David

Why does everyone assume that the U.S. or Israel are the only ones with military options?

If war breaks out, the spark could come from miscalculations by the overconfident Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Persian Gulf.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

CartoonBite: Is Obama sacrificing Israel?

Gaddafi: Man's Worst Friend? -Dana Milbank

President Obama won the unstinting support of one of the world's most prominent leaders: His Excellency Brother Leader Moammar Gaddafi of Libya. The man Ronald Reagan dubbed the "mad dog of the Middle East" is professing Obama love.

"I really endorse and support the policies that he has adopted so far," Brother Leader said, referred affectionately to the president as "our son Barack Obama."
(Washington Post)

HezbullahWatch: "more rockets than most governments"

Gates: Hizbullah Has More Rockets than Most Governments

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that Syria as well as Iran were providing Hizbullah with weapons of "ever-increasing capability."

"We are at a point now where Hizbullah has far more rockets and missiles than most governments in the world."

A Pentagon report on Iran said that Hizbullah had rearmed itself to beyond the levels seen before the 2006 war, despite UN-backed efforts to curb weapon shipments to the group. In addition, Iran provides $100-200 million per year to support Hizbullah.
(Reuters-Washington Post)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dating Game: Gaza style

Gaza Bubbles with Weddings

In the crisp fourth floor office of Fahmi al-Atiri's Islamic dating agency in Gaza, he explains that polygamous marriages were increasingly popular - a sign of fertility and status.

After all, Gaza's interior minister had six wives, though he had to let two of them go.

For the sake of appearances, Atiri felt obliged to set a good example, though, in a nod to gender equality had let his first wife select his second.

Book Review: MidEast comes to life

Book Review: A lively new book that reads like an extended episode of "24"
-by Bruce

I have rarely allowed myself the pleasure of writing my own words on this blog. I am making this rare exception for a wonderful book: Behind The Lies.

Well maybe 'wonderful' is not the correct word. Perhaps "gripping" or "frightening" would describe it better. However, the fact remains that this work of historical fiction is a very close to current reality and makes an excellent read. I could barely put it down to attend to my life. The text had the same effect on me that "24" does. For those unfamiliar with "24, it is a strangely compelling television series that focuses on terrorism. Why would anyone want to be entertained by terrorism? I don't know. But I can tell you that I was most definitely entertained while reading Behind The Lies.

The author uses an effective tactic to raise ones hair: short chapters which constantly change the point-of-view. At one moment Israeli secret operatives are sneaking through Iran under cover of nightfall. The next moment one is underwater in a secret Iranian nuclear submarine headed for San Francisco. Then you're at a meeting with the mullahs of Iran.

The text begins with an eerily familiar premise: an Afro-American US President dealing with an belligerent Iran. The President in the book deals head on with this belligerence. Let's hope our current President steps up to the plate like this fictional President.

I highly recommend this excellent novel. Bravo Mr. Smiga.
[Bruce's MidEast Soundbites]

VideoBite: new British comedy

A new British comedy The Infidel, pokes fun at the Jewish-Muslim divide

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dem breaks rank with Obama over Israel

Schumer: Obama's Israel Policy "Has to Stop" -Ben Smith

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) [pictured] harshly criticized the Obama Administration's attempts to exert pressure on Israel on a New York radio show. "This has to stop," Schumer said of the administration's policy of publicly pressuring Israel to end construction in Jerusalem.

"I told the President and others in the administration that I thought the policy is counter-productive, because when you give the Palestinians hope that the United States will do its negotiating for them, they are not going to sit down and talk."

Obama Not Strong Enough on Israel, Voters Say

American voters disapprove by 44 to 35% of the way the President is handling the situation between Israel and the Palestinians, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

Jewish voters, generally supportive of Obama on other issues, turn 67 to 28% thumbs down on his handling of Israel and the Palestinians.
(Quinnipiac University)

Obama, Don't Forget Jerusalem -Richard Cohen

President Obama gives every appearance of not "getting" Israel; not appreciating its fears or its history. Israel is not half of the equation, as if both sides are right. It is a democracy with American values that has tried, over and over again, to make peace with a recalcitrant and unforgiving enemy.

His coolness toward Netanyahu has chilled the Israeli public and encouraged Palestinian defiance. He is on the cusp of an enormous diplomatic blunder.
(Washington Post)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Obama's MidEast Policy: driving over the edge

U.S. Middle East Policy Mistakes -David Pryce-Jones

President Obama is reported as saying that American policy towards Israel is "costing us significantly in blood and treasure." First mistake. It's the other way round, Israel is holding the front line against Iran whose power is spreading through the region via Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas.

Obama goes on to conclude that Israeli-Palestinian peace holds the key to Middle East stability. Second mistake. If there was genuine peace tomorrow and a state of Palestine, it would make no difference to the Sunni-Shia divide, to the ambitions of Osama bin Laden or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to the civil war in Yemen, to the sectarian conflict in Lebanon, to the hard-wired despots in Egypt and Syria...

Obama also thinks that this projected state of Palestine is a practical proposition. Third mistake. The Palestinians are irremediably divided between Fatah and Hamas, and a state would trigger civil war to determine which faction would own it.

Obama finally is weighing using his presidency to impose some solution on Israel. Fourth mistake. No such solution exists.

In the White House, it seems, someone likes playing with fire.
(National Review)

Confused on Iran -Editorial

President Obama's official position on Iran is that "all options are on the table," including the use of force. But senior officials regularly talk down the military option in public - thereby undermining its utility even as an instrument of intimidation.
(Washington Post)

Could Iran hit US? Pearl Harbor revisited?

Iranian Missile Could "Probably" Reach U.S. by 2015 -Mike Emanuel

"With sufficient foreign assistance, Iran could probably develop and test an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States by 2015," says a new report by the U.S. Department of Defense on the Iran military threat.
(FOX News)

Israeli Innovation: miracle technology

VideoBite: A miraculous use of technology
[HatTip: SusanB]

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Israel: Sixty-two years

Israel celebrates its 62nd Birthday [Yom Ha'Atzmaut], just following a day of mourning for those killed defending it [Yom Ha'Zikaron]

Israel Remembers Its Fallen

A two-minute siren sounded across Israel at 11 a.m. Monday in memory of 22,684 fallen soldiers and terror attack victims killed since 1860.
(Ynet News)

Cliff May: "No resolution possible"

No Peace While World War Rages -Clifford D. May

Israel’s American supporters spend a lot of energy trying to convince people that Israelis want peace. [T]hat’s true but it misses this point: Militant jihadis are waging a war against the “infidel” West. They see Israel as a frontline state. There is no way they will permit a separate peace for Israel.

I realize this stands on its head the long-held and widespread belief that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian question would help us prevail over Islamist extremists elsewhere in the world. But that’s like saying repealing the law of gravity would make it easier for us to fly. Yes, it would; but we can’t, so why delude ourselves?

The Tunis-born Muslim historian and philosopher Ibn Khaldun was candid:
In the Muslim community, jihad is a religious duty because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations.” He did not come to this conclusion because of any “legitimate grievances” against America and Israel. How can I be so sure? Because Ibn Kahldun died in 1406.

So long as this world war is raging, there can be no resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. For any Palestinian leader to sincerely extend his hand in peace to Israel would be suicide.

Until the Islamist movement is seen as failing and in retreat, there can be no durable resolution of the conflict between Israel and its neighbors no matter how much Israelis want it, no matter how hard they work for it, no matter how much they are willing to sacrifice and no matter how strenuously Americans push.
[Moment Magazine]

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Secret memo reveals problems with Obama strategy

Gates Says U.S. Lacks Policy to Curb Iran -David Sanger & Thom Shanker

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates [pictured above] has warned in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability, according to government officials familiar with the document.

He wrote the memo after Iran had let pass a 2009 deadline set by Mr. Obama to respond to his offers of diplomatic engagement.

Mr. Gates wrote of a variety of concerns, including the absence of an effective strategy should Iran choose the course that many government and outside analysts consider likely: Iran could assemble all the major parts it needs for a nuclear weapon...but stop just short of assembling a fully operational weapon.

In that case, Iran could becoming what strategists call a “virtual” nuclear weapons state.
[New York Times]

Friday, April 16, 2010

Arab love letter

A Letter to Gaza -Nonie Darwish [pictured above]

I love my original culture and people. What makes me different is that I do not only love Arabs, but I also love the Jewish people. I respect their right to live in peace in their tiny homeland, Israel.

We Arabs have suffered from an unnatural and consistent indoctrination into Islamic supremacy and Jew hatred for over 1400 years. Thus it has become unfathomable to the Arab mind to comprehend loving both Arabs and Jews and wishing both well.

I never learned peace as a value in Gaza. I have never heard a peaceful song in Arabic. I cannot blame the Jewish people, or the government of Israel, for what you call the "misery" of the Palestinians. I can only blame Arab and Islamic culture. I believe that this is an Arab self-inflicted crisis that has nothing to do with Israel.

Arab education has never told us the truth. We were told that Jerusalem was a Muslim city simply because Mohammed dreamt one night that he went to the farthest mosque, but he never mentioned Jerusalem. The Koran never mentioned Jerusalem, which is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible as the heart and soul of the Jewish people.

It was the tradition of Muslim conquerors to convert churches and temples to mosques and that is exactly what happened to the Jewish Temple Mount when 100 years after the prophet Mohammed died, Muslim conquerors built the mosque right on top of it. Just imagine if Jews or Christians had built a temple on top of the Kaaba in Mecca.

It is time for Muslims to extend the hand of reconciliation and peace to the Jewish people.
The writer is an Egyptian-American human rights activist. Her father, Col. Mustafa Hafez, was commander of Egyptian Army Intelligence in Gaza and founded the fedayeen, which raided southern Israel between 1951 and 1956, killing 400 Israelis.
(Front Page Magazine)


Ya'alon: Jews should be free to live in Palestinian entity

"No Need to Remove Any Settlements" -Herb Keinon

Israel should not have to remove any settlements in a peace agreement with the Palestinians, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon [pictured above] told the Jerusalem Post in an interview.

"If we are talking about coexistence and peace, why the [Palestinian] insistence that the territory they receive be ethnically cleansed of Jews?"

He stressed that "no settlement" should be removed, and that the country's previous withdrawals - from Lebanon and from Gaza - strengthened Hizbullah and Hamas, respectively.

He added that the U.S. administration had misdiagnosed the root of the conflict as territorial, when in reality it was about the failure of the Palestinians to recognize the right of the Jews to be here.
(Jerusalem Post)

This Ad Banned in Britain: Brits assert that Western Wall is not part of Israel!

British Ban of Israeli Ad Irks Jerusalem Mayor

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat branded as shameful a British decision to ban an Israeli advertisement that listed holy sites in Jerusalem as part of a tourism itinerary in Israel.

The advertisement [pictured above], which the Israel Government Tourist Office placed in British newspapers, included a photo of Judaism's Western Wall with Islam's Dome of the Rock.

Calling the Western Wall "the heart and soul of the Jewish people and the State of Israel," Barkat said Britain's Advertising Standards Authority had made a "shameful accusation showing a complete ignorance of history."
(Reuters-Washington Post)
VideoBite UPDATE:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Obama on a collision course with reality

Obama Speech Signals a U.S. Shift on Middle East -Mark Landler & Helene Cooper

It was just a phrase at the end of President Obama’s news conference, but it was a stark reminder of a far-reaching shift in how the United States views the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and how aggressively it might push for a peace agreement.

Mr. Obama declared that resolving the long-running Middle East dispute was a “vital national security interest of the United States"...

Mr. Obama said conflicts like the one in the Middle East ended up “costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure” — drawing an explicit link between the Israeli-Palestinian strife and the safety of American soldiers as they battle Islamic extremism and terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Several officials point out that Mr. Obama has now seized control of Middle East policy himself...

Among American Jewish groups, there is...alarm about the administration’s new direction.
[New York Times]

It Is the Palestinians, Not Israel, Who Refuse to Negotiate -Ronald S. Lauder

The conflict's root cause has always been the Palestinian refusal to accept Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Every American president who has tried to broker a peace agreement has collided with that Palestinian intransigence, sooner or later.
(World Jewish Congress)

U.S. Acts as Though It Seeks Regime Change in Israel -Aaron David Miller

Regime change generally is a term and tactic reserved for America's enemies.
(Los Angeles Times)

Friday, April 09, 2010

VideoBite: Ed Koch Blasts Obama on Israel

Koch Outraged By Obama's Treatment of Israel

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch:

"I have been a supporter of President Obama and went to Florida for him, urged Jews all over the country to vote for him saying that he would be just as good as John McCain on the security of Israel. I don't think it's true anymore."

"I believe that the Obama administration is willing to throw Israel under the bus in order to please Muslim nations," Koch said.
[Fox News]

Ajami: American emboldens rogues

The Decline of American Power -Fouad Ajami [pictured above]

The Islamic world is coming to a consensus that a discernible American retreat in the region is in the works. America's enemies are increasingly brazen, its friends unnerved.

Witness the hapless Lebanese, once wards of U.S. power, now making pilgrimages, one leader at a time, to Damascus. They, too, can read the wind: If Washington is out to "engage" that terrible lot in Syria, they [had] better scurry there to secure reasonable terms of surrender.

The shadow of American power is receding; the rogues are emboldened.
(Wall Street Journal)

Nuclear Charade: "Pretend Play"

Pretending to Prevent an Atomic Iran -Rich Lowry

The rules of the great Iranian nuclear charade are simple:

We pretend to punish the Iranians for the nuclear-weapons program that they pretend doesn't exist.

The Obama administration is about to go to the UN Security Council for a fourth round of sanctions. Remember the first three rounds? Models of collective international action, they passed unanimously while Iran spun ever more centrifuges and enriched ever more uranium. The sanctions won't be "crippling," and will hardly even have "bite." They will be carefully "targeted," UN-speak for "limited to the point of meaninglessness."

Absent a revolution, there are two ways for the charade to end - with a nuclear Iran, or an Israeli or American military strike. Everything else is commentary.
(New York Post)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Doublespeak, American Style

Obama Bans "Islam," "Jihad" from U.S. Security Strategy -Matt Apuzzo

President Barack Obama's advisers will remove religious terms such as "Islamic extremism" from the central document outlining the U.S. national security strategy to emphasize that the U.S. does not view Muslim nations through the lens of terror, counterterrorism officials said.

The National Security Strategy document currently states: "The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century."

Can't sing Hebrew in Kuwait

"I have written in Russian and performed in Arabic, English, Spanish, Japanese and French. Does that make me a spy for France or Britain?"

Kuwaiti Singer Sparks Furor for Singing in Hebrew -Habib Toumi

Kuwaiti singer and composer Emma Shah, 28 [pictured above], has sparked furor in Kuwait after she sang a song in Hebrew at a local club.

After she sang: "Come...Let us rejoice, be happy, enjoy" in Hebrew as part of a recital of songs, she was immediately accused of promoting Zionist ideas and pushing for normalization of relations with Israel.

Shah said she was shocked by the negative reaction to a song that called for peace and co-existence. She insisted that the song did not include any insults to Arabs.
(Gulf News-UAE)

A good investment

American military aid to Israel is essential not only for Israel's national security, but for America's.

Under the 2010 U.S. budget, about $75 billion, $65 billion and $3.25 billion will be spent on military operations and aid in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, respectively. Israel will receive $3 billion, in military aid only. There is no economic aid to Israel. About 70% of the aid must be used by Israel to purchase American military equipment, providing real support for U.S. high-tech defense jobs.

The U.S. and Israel are jointly developing state-of-the-art missile defense capabilities which are already providing security to Israel and U.S. civilians and ground troops throughout the region.

America's special relationship with Israel provides the U.S. with real-time, minute-to-minute access to one of the best intelligence services in the world regarding al-Qaeda, Hizbullah, Iran and Hamas. The U.S. receives invaluable information about anti-U.S. and terrorist organizations and regimes.

For about 2% of what the U.S. spends in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan this year, Americans can take pride in the return on our investment in aid to Israel.

Return of the Living Dead: blaming Israel hits new low

Muhammad al-Faramawi, 15, was said to have been killed in clashes in Gaza, but Israel denied involvement.

He returned home after having been arrested by Egyptian security forces for trying to sneak into Egypt via smuggler tunnels.

Dr. Muawiya Hassanein of Gaza's health ministry [had] announced that Faramawi had been killed. He said the boy had been left "bleeding for hours" before a medical team was allowed to collect his body.
(BBC News)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Has Obama decided to allow Iranian nukes?

U.S. Allows Iran Its Nuclear Vision - Greg Sheridan

President Obama has decided to abandon any serious effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He is determined instead to live with a nuclear Iran, by containment and, if possible, negotiation.

Obama and his cabinet secretaries still make speeches saying they will try to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. But if you look at the statements closely you see a steady weakening of resolve, a steady removal of any threat of any consequence for Iran.

The troubling realization that the Americans have given up, or are in the process of giving up, the fight to prevent Iran going nuclear is backed by the best informed security sources in Washington, London, Jerusalem and Canberra.

By isolating Israel, by irresponsibly unleashing a global wave of anti-Israel sentiment, especially in nations which normally support Israel, Obama has made the possibility of Israel considering unilateral action against Iran much more unlikely and has made the potential cost to Israel of action against Iran much greater.

There is no chance Obama will produce a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. There is every chance history will remember him as the American president on whose watch Iran became a nuclear-weapons state.
(The Australian)

Saturday, April 03, 2010

A reminder for Russia: Jihad bites, while you foolishly provide cover for Iran

Russia Says Suicide Bomber Was Militant’s Widow -Clifford Levy & Ellen Barry

Baby-faced, she looks barely a teenager. But the pistol she is holding in the photograph suggests the violent destiny that she would choose: blowing herself up in a subway station in Moscow during the morning rush on Monday.

[A]s the photograph circulated widely, the couple turned into an unsettling symbol of Islamic militancy in Russia — deeply repugnant to most people but also likely to be embraced by other extremists as a propaganda coup, a kind of Bonnie and Clyde of the insurgency.

The story of the woman, Dzhanet Abdullayeva, from Dagestan, a volatile, predominantly Muslim region of southern Russia, near Chechnya, speaks to the challenges facing the Kremlin.

Ms. Abdullayeva — whose first name means “paradise” in her local language — was one of two female suicide bombers who attacked the Moscow subway system, killing 40 people and wounding scores.

Ms. Abdullayeva’s life ended at 8:40 a.m. Monday at the Park Kultury subway station. Riding in a train, Sim Eih Xing, a medical student from Malaysia, said he noticed a strange-looking woman near the door “in a very abnormal posture.”

“But I didn’t think she was a suicide bomber. I thought that she might be just mentally ill. So I stood behind her.”

He got off at Park Kultury and was a few feet away from the woman when the bomb detonated. Sparks appeared before his eyes and the station went silent. When he came to, he saw bodies in piles on the floor of the train. One of them was Ms. Abdullayeva’s.
[New York Times]

Friday, April 02, 2010

Jerusalem Post instructs Obama on Arab Rejectionism

Arab Rejectionism has insured that the peace process has gone nowhere

Rediscovering the Nature of Palestinian Rejectionism -Editorial

The Obama administration has evidently failed to internalize that a succession of ever-more generous peace offers from prime ministers Rabin, Barak, Sharon and Olmert were rebuffed by a Palestinian leadership that has yet to acknowledge Israel's legitimacy, much less begin to explain to its own people the imperative for compromise.

Since the Oslo Accords of 1993, 17 years of efforts under three presidents and six prime ministers have led nowhere. [W]e have yet to see signs of a Palestinian shift - toward true recognition of the Jewish state. That shift, so long overdue, is the key component of any viable peace effort. The sooner the U.S. utilizes its unique capacity to galvanize the necessary pressure, on the Palestinians and the wider Arab world, the better.
(Jerusalem Post)