Monday, May 31, 2010

The Flotilla Conflict: supposedly "non-violent activists" use violence

Video of Israeli soldiers being met by violence on floatilla ship
[there is no sound with this video]

Slow motion video of an IDF soldier being stabbed soon after landing on one of the floatilla boats

At Least Ten Killed on Gaza Flotilla -Amy Teibel and Tia Goldenberg

Israeli commandos stormed six ships carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists on an aid mission to Gaza. At least ten people were killed and dozens were wounded after IDF forces encountered unexpected resistance. Turkey's NTV showed activists beating one Israeli soldier with sticks as he rappelled from a helicopter onto one of the boats.

The Israeli military said troops only opened fire after the activists attacked them with knives and iron rods, and one activist wrested a serviceman's weapon. Two of the dead activists had fired at soldiers with pistols. Organizers included people affiliated with the International Solidarity Movement, a pro-Palestinian group that often sends international activists into battle zones, and the IHH, a Turkish aid group that Israel accuses of having terrorist links.

"We did not want to see confrontation," said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Prime Minister Netanyahu. "We made repeated offers to the boats that they come to the (Israeli) port of Ashdod, unload the humanitarian cargo, and we guaranteed to pass all humanitarian items through the crossings to the Gaza Strip. Unfortunately, they rejected our offers and chose the path of confrontation."
(AP-Washington Post)

Flotilla: Turkish Move to Lead Muslim World -Yisrael Ne'eman

The humanitarian aid flotilla was nothing more than a Turkish attempt led by PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan to gain patronage over the Muslim Brotherhood and continue extending his Islamic influence throughout the Middle East.

Israel made it clear several times over, that all humanitarian aid to Gaza can be shipped through Ashdod. The reason for the blockade of Gaza is to halt arms, ammunition and other supplies which can be used for military purposes by Hamas against Israel.

Instead Erdogan wanted a confrontation to prove his support for the international Muslim Brotherhood.
[Mideast: On Target]

Defense Minister Barak: Flotilla Organizers Responsible for Activists Killed
-Tovah Lazaroff & Yaakov Lappin

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak [Labor Party] said that while he was sorry for lives lost, the organizers of the Gaza-bound protest flotilla were solely responsible for the outcome of the IDF raid earlier in the day.

Barak said that the soldiers tried to disperse the activists aboard the ship peacefully but were forced to open fire to protect themselves.
(Jerusalem Post)

Gaza Flotilla Has Nothing to Do with Freedom -Claudia Rosett

The basic narrative spun by the organizers of the "freedom flotilla" is to "break the siege of Gaza" and "establish a permanent sea lane between Gaza and the rest of the world."

But Gaza is a terrorist enclave controlled by an Islamist terrorist group, Hamas, backed by Iran. It has a busy and violent history of suicide bombings, shootings and rocket and mortar attacks; and is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. It is Hamas-run Gaza that threatens its neighbors.

This ship convoy is not about freedom and not about aid. It is patently about helping Hamas and harming Israel.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

VideoBite: "You are the Land, You are the Home"

Music video by the IDF Education Corps celebrating Israel's 62 years of independence. Gaya Traub stars in the music video, "You are the Home," playing a young photographer capturing the many sides of Israeli life.

You don't have to understand the Hebrew to enjoy this.
(Israel Defense Forces)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Arab Israeli hero threatened

Arab Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, writes about threats against him

The Real Traitors -Khaled Abu Toameh

The former PLO "ambassador" to Australia, Ali Kazak, believes that an Arab journalist who writes about financial corruption and theft in the Palestinian Authority is a "traitor" who should be murdered...

Kazak told The Australian: "Khaled Abu Toameh is a traitor. Traitors were also murdered by the French Resistance, in Europe; this happens everywhere."

Kazak's threat [against me] does not come as a surprise to those who are familiar with the methods used by Arab dictatorships to silence anyone who dares to demand reforms and transparency. The threat reminds journalists like me how lucky we are that we live in Israel and not under the jurisdiction of the PLO or Hamas.

The real traitors are those who established another corrupt dictatorship in the West Bank and Gaza and stole billions of dollars of international aid that was supposed to improve the living conditions of their people.

The real traitors are those who built a casino for the Palestinians instead of building them a hospital and a school.

The real traitors are those who are trying to silence journalists and reformists who want to see a better life for their people.

(Hudson Institute-New York)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Will Elton John cancel his Israel concert? Rock stars line up for [and against] Israel

Paul played, Carlos canceled. What will Elton do?

Boycott Targets Rock Stars -Nathan Guttman

[T]he decision by Elvis Costello to cancel his planned concerts in Israel is being viewed as a feather in the cap of pro-boycott activists, but for Israelis, a major setback.

Costello described his decision as a “matter of instinct and conscience.” Israel’s culture minister, Limor Livnat, responded by saying that Costello “is not worthy” of performing in Israel.

The movement for a cultural boycott of Israel has had [only] limited success. It failed to dissuade musicians Paul McCartney and Leonard Cohen from giving concerts in Israel, but took pride in positive responses from several authors and poets.

Numerous other stars, such as Madonna, have been unmoved by the cultural boycott campaign, performing successfully in Israel even recently.

But Costello’s action is the first open endorsement of the boycott movement by an A-list artist. [T]he performer argued that he could not perform in Israel because by doing so, “it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent." [sic]

Another successful boycott campaign was directed at poet and performing artist Gil Scott-Heron. Shortly after announcing his plan to perform in Tel Aviv on May 25, Scott-Heron, who is known for his political activism, was blasted by supporters of the boycott movement, who called on him to cancel his visit. Scott-Heron’s April 24 concert in London was disrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters, and at the end of the show, he announced the cancellation of his Tel Aviv tour.

Organizers explained that they have been focusing on artists who they believe could be open to the idea of culturally boycotting Israel. “Obviously, we can’t target everyone, so we single out those who we think will be more responsive and open to the issue,” said Hannah Mermelstein, a spokesperson for The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel.

Currently, the focus [of the campaign] is on singer Elton John, who is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on June 17.

The [campaign] claims that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is using gay tourism to Israel as part of the country’s rebranding campaign. The clip urges John not to “let Bibi use you as his gay Band-Aid.”

Other high-profile artists being targeted are Bob Dylan, who plans to give a concert in Israel at the end of May, and Joan Armatrading, who is scheduled to give two shows in the first week of June.

[G]uitar legend Carlos Santana, who had planned a stop in Israel as part of his tour of Europe and the Middle East. Thousands of tickets to the concert, which was scheduled to take place in a large soccer stadium in Jaffa, had already been sold before Santana and his group announced that the concert had been canceled due to “unforeseen scheduling conflicts.” The Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot quoted unnamed sources from the Israeli production company organizing the concert as saying that Santana had been under “pressure from anti-Israel figures” to cancel the visit.
[The Forward]

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A warning to Iran

US Sends a Warning to Iran -Herb Keinon

Reports that the Pentagon has okayed reconnaissance missions over Iran were seen in Jerusalem as the first public signs of practical preparations for a possible US military operation against Iran.

The New York Times reported that Gen. David Petraeus [pictured at right], the top American commander in the Middle East, ordered an expansion of clandestine military activity in the region. According to the report, “officials said the order also permits reconnaissance that could pave the way for possible military strikes in Iran if tensions over its nuclear ambitions escalate.”

Although it is obvious that the Pentagon has contingency plans for all possible scenarios, one Israeli official said this was “the first time that the public is getting word of practical preparations of military activity.”

The official said that if this was a deliberate leak, then it was clearly an attempt to send a tough message to the Iranians that, indeed, no options – as the US has been saying for months – have been taken off the table. And even if this were not a deliberate leak, the official added, the impression the information would have on Teheran would still be the same.
[Jerusalem Post]

Clarity on MidEast nukes

U.S. Must Stop Effort to Force Israel into Nuke Talks -Editorial

The governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency next month are to discuss nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, the target perversely being Israel, the one country in the region whose atomic threat is zero.

For almost half a century, the U.S. has backed Israel in cloaking its nuclear capabilities in doubt. This strategic ambiguity has enhanced regional stability in that would-be invaders need worry about risking a strike by launching all-out war. President Obama must apply U.S. muscle to push the IAEA into removing scrutiny of "Israeli nuclear capabilities" from its upcoming agenda. And he must extricate America from an attempt to enforce a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Mideast.

[C]utting Israel down to a size preferred by its enemies is not the path to peace. And it will not lead Iran to abandon a defiant march toward nuclear missiles.

No one in the Mideast - or anywhere else - is remotely concerned about a nuke strike or nuclear bullying by Israel. The same cannot be said about Iran, whose neighbors live in fear of that country's intentions.
(New York Daily News)

VideoBite: How Israel fights

A new AIPAC video explaining how Israel fights in heavily populated areas

Salute to Israel Parade 2010 in New York City

Scenes from the 2010 Salute to Israel Parade,
held Sunday, May 23rd
Photos: Jacob Richman

Friday, May 21, 2010

Brennan declares Hizbullah can be reformed...Oy!

There Are No Moderates Within Hizbullah -Michael J. Totten

John Brennan [pictured speaking above], deputy national security adviser for homeland security, has come up with a new way to waste the foreign-policy establishment's time - locate the so-called "moderate elements" within Hizbullah and somehow promote them. There are no moderates within Hizbullah...

Hizbullah's state-within-a-state doesn't even look like it's in Lebanon. It looks like, and effectively is, an Iranian satellite. Iran's heads of state appear everywhere, while Lebanon's heads of state are personae non grata.

The organization takes its orders from Tehran. Hizbullah won't change until its masters change in Iran.


The Fantasy of Hizbullah Moderation -General Dr. Shimon Shapira

John Brennan recently stated that the administration was looking for ways to build up "moderate elements" within Hizbullah. The fact that Hizbullah is part of the Iranian security apparatus did not seem to affect his analysis of the organization.

Immediately following the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979, Iran undertook a strategic decision to export the Islamic Revolution to the Arab and Islamic expanse. Lebanon was the first target selected, given its large Shiite population which had maintained links with Iran for many years.

Hizbullah is not a national Lebanese movement. Hizbullah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, and his men are not loyal to the president of Lebanon or to the government of Lebanon, but rather to Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Nasrallah's deputy, Sheikh Naim Qassem, admitted to the Iranian Arabic-language television station al-Qawathar in March 2007 that Hizbullah requires permission from Iran's supreme leadership for its operations.

In the words of U.S. Defense Secretary William Gates, one should view Hizbullah's military force as the long arm of Iran.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Turkey gives solace to Iran's nuke ambitions

Brazil and Turkey Give Cover to Nuke Ambitions -Charles Krauthammer

It is perfectly obvious that Iran's latest uranium maneuver, brokered by Brazil and Turkey, is a ruse. Iran retains more than enough enriched uranium to make a bomb. And it continues enriching at an accelerated pace and to a greater purity (20%). Which is why the French foreign ministry immediately declared that the trumpeted temporary shipping of some Iranian uranium to Turkey will do nothing to halt Iran's nuclear program.

But the deeper meaning of the uranium-export stunt is the brazenness with which Brazil and Turkey gave cover to the mullahs' nuclear ambitions and deliberately undermined U.S. efforts to curb Iran's program.

The real news is that already notorious photo [above]: the president of Brazil, our largest ally in Latin America, and the prime minister of Turkey, for more than half a century the Muslim anchor of NATO, raising hands together with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the most virulently anti-American leader in the world - a defiant, triumphant take-that-Uncle-Sam picture.

That picture is a crushing verdict on the Obama foreign policy. It demonstrates how [two countries] having watched this administration in action, have decided that there's no cost in lining up with America's enemies and no profit in lining up with a U.S. president given to apologies and appeasement.
(Washington Post)

President Obama's Declining Clout -Richard Cohen

On the periphery of Europe is Turkey, seeking to reestablish some of the influence the Ottoman Empire once had in the region. It may also be reverting to a more Islamic state, possibly concluding that nearly a century of Ataturk's secularism is enough.

Turkey no longer needs the United States as a Cold War ally, and it even blocked military access to Iraq at the start of the war. The waning pull of the American present can no longer match the pull of the Ottoman past. Israel, beware.
(Washington Post)


As Ugly as It Gets -Thomas L. Friedman

When I first saw the May 17 picture of Iran's president Ahmadinejad, joining his Brazilian counterpart and the Turkish prime minister with raised arms - all I could think of was: Is there anything uglier than watching democrats sell out other democrats to a Holocaust-denying, vote-stealing Iranian thug just to tweak the U.S. and show that they, too, can play at the big power table?

Lula and Erdogan's visit to Iran came just days after Iran executed five political prisoners who were tortured into confessions.

What this deal really does is what Iran wanted it to do: weaken the global coalition to pressure Iran.
(New York Times)

Diplomatic Intifada undermines peace

Palestinians Undercutting Peace Talks with Diplomatic "Intifada"
-Khaled Abu Toameh & Herb Keinon

Jerusalem denounced a declared Palestinian Authority effort to isolate Israel and eventually have it expelled from the UN, after the PA announced that it was stepping up its diplomatic and economic "intifada" against Israel.

The idea of intensifying a campaign of delegitimization of Israel was unveiled on by Nabil Shaath [pictured], one of the chief architects of the Oslo Accords.

A senior Israeli official said such a campaign stood "in complete contrast to the peace process." "You can't on one hand say you want peace with Israel, and on the other hand act to delegitimize us. This is unacceptable and raises questions as to the Palestinian commitment to peace and reconciliation."
(Jerusalem Post)

Christian Copts under attack in Egypt

Egypt's Persecuted Christians -Moheb Zaki

A few weeks ago in the Egyptian city of Marsa Matrouh, after a mosque's imam exhorted them to cleanse the city of its infidel Christians, called Copts, an enraged mob of 3,000 angry Muslims went on a rampage, destroying 18 homes, 23 shops and 16 cars.

400 Copts barricaded themselves in their church for 10 hours until the frenzy died out. This was only the latest of more than a dozen such attacks during the past year as waves of mob assaults have forced hundreds, sometimes thousands of Christian citizens to flee their homes.

In each incident the police invariably arrive after the violence is over. No Muslim has been convicted for any of these crimes.

Al-Azhar, the world's preeminent Sunni Islamic institution, has contributed to this widespread hostility by publishing a pamphlet declaring the Bible a corrupted document and Christianity a pagan religion. Al-Azhar's textbook for high-school students states that if a Muslim kills a non-Muslim, he is not subject to capital punishment since the superior cannot be punished for killing the inferior.
(Wall Street Journal)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jihad tours: really!

Hizbullah's "Disneyland"

Ten years after Israel pulled out, south Lebanon is solidly controlled by Hizbullah which is even organizing "jihadist tours" along the border.

About 500 young men and woman, both Christian and Muslim, took part in the latest such field trip. "We want to familiarize young people with the achievements of the resistance," said Mohammed Taleb, 23, a Hizbullah militant.

The field trip included a workshop on how to handle weapons, close contact with Hizbullah fighters and a reenactment of battles.

The highlight of the trip was a visit to a key fighting position near the Iqlim al-Touffah region. After a steep climb, the group was met by two rows of Hizbullah fighters with blackened faces and armed with machine guns.

In the background blared a speech by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah boasting that his party had more than 20,000 rockets ready for the next battle with Israel. A French student couldn't get over the show. "This is surreal, it's like Disneyland," he said.
(AFP-Straits Times-Singapore)

The New Lebanon Battlefield -Alex Fishman

Hizbullah is growing stronger every day, in terms of the number of fighters, quantity of missiles, and capabilities. The M-600 missiles supplied by Syria to Hizbullah are not just another item in its arsenal. It is a much more accurate and effective weapon, with the ability to hit IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv in the next war should it wish to do so.

In 2006, it did not possess this ability.
(Ynet News)

Getting Ready for Hizbullah -Alex Fishman

The Scud missiles which Hizbullah reportedly received from Syria are meant for a specific objective. Its war will focus on firing rockets and missiles deep into Israel.

Hizbullah (as well as Hamas) is rapidly digging fortifications underground - bunkers, headquarters, control centers, and passageways between them.
(Ynet News)

Friday, May 14, 2010

When 'Peace' is Bad

Did the Peace Process Radicalize Palestinians? -Miranda Devine

Arab-Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh [pictured] was in Sydney with the message: the peace process may do more harm than good.

He said that after the 1993 Oslo accords, American money poured into the corrupt coffers of the PLO, whose chiefs built themselves huge beach villas while the Palestinian people grew disillusioned. Arafat's rule was ''not much different than other Arab dictatorships, though not as bad as Saddam [Hussein]."

The PLO took people flooding out of Israeli jails and made them generals and colonels, despite not finishing high school. Car thieves were now interrogators. ''The longer in an Israeli jail, the higher the rank.''

He said the process radicalized Palestinians and empowered Hamas.
(Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)

When 'Peace' is Bad: Part 2

In Jerusalem, Utopian Hopes are Flawed -Yaacov Lozowick

Let’s be clear: Dividing Jerusalem would be the most dangerous gamble taken by the Jews in 2,000 years. As we mark another Jerusalem Day, with the attention of the world fixed on the holy city, we should all take a careful look at the profound implications of such a decision.

First, we need to remove a misconception: Jews do not claim Jerusalem because of 600 biblical references, nor for the 10 centuries it was the capital and center of the Jewish world. Jews claim Jerusalem because they obsessed about it for millennia even as the cities they lived in drew them in and spat them out. Because they celebrated the triumphs of Jerusalem and mourned its disasters, fasting and feasting on an annual cycle that had nothing to do with their immediate surroundings and everything to do with their lost city. Because they preserved the common language to do so...

Alone in history, Jews remained a cohesive nation merely by willpower — with the dream of Jerusalem giving them the strength to continue.

Yet today, we are told: The Temple Mount must be relinquished because of the mosques. The Jews in the City of David must move out because it’s a mostly Arab neighborhood. Sovereignty over the Jewish cemetery on the Mount Olives must also be relinquished, in spite of its dead Jews, because — well, because.

What if straightaway after achieving the goal of millennia, the sovereign Jews now relinquish it?

There is something theatrical about striving for a goal and then magnanimously ceding it. Yet national identity is a mysterious thing. No one has ever given an adequate, nonreligious explanation for the longevity of the Jews; who is to say that repudiating the dream won’t forever scar the national psyche? Admittedly, this need not trouble the Palestinians, or even the Americans; but it ought to perturb the Jews.

We are being exhorted to gamble: Trust us, it will work, there’s no danger, only gain. You must replace flawed reality with utopian hopes.
The advocates never tire of explaining how Jerusalem is not actually a united city, and how marked are the differences between its Jewish and Arab sections; this supposedly to convince that division is already reality, and all that remains is to split the symbolic sovereignty. Yet most cities are like that. Phone technicians live elsewhere from powerbrokers, dishwashers far from professors. It works because of the common sovereign. They all live under the same law, enforced by the same police.

Now imagine a city with an international border running between buildings on the same block; to one side a free and rich society, to the other: not. The rich enjoy a world-class health system and social security; the poor lost access upon division. Each side has its own police force, with no love lost between them. Could it ever work? Wouldn’t it generate never-ending tension?

That’s the optimistic scenario, where both states share a cautious wish to live in peace. Now imagine if one or both comes to regret the arrangement, immediately or in 50 years.

Here’s an experiment: Go to the website of the Geneva Accord and its detailed recommendation to divide Jerusalem. Follow the line, imagining it: What do the divided streets look like? Between which buildings will there be a border? What about where the line runs through single structures in the Old City? Ponder the possibility that the gamble fails, and the townspeople on either side of this hellish border decide not to live in peace.

Then travel to Hebron, where such an experiment has already been tried and failed disastrously.

Refusal to divide Jerusalem need not preclude creating a Palestinian state. Dividing the historic sections of Jerusalem is delusional. It will never bring peace, and it could lead to war.
[The Forward]

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Obama continues MidEast Diplomatic Blunders

U.S. to Join Advisory Group Once Shunned -Matthew Lee

The Obama administration is preparing to begin a formal relationship with the Alliance of Civilizations, an international advisory group that the U.S. has largely shunned due to fears it would adopt anti-Israeli and anti-Western stances, U.S. officials said.

The UN-backed organization aims to ease strains between societies and cultures, particularly the West and Islam. The Bush administration boycotted the group when it was founded in 2005, and its concerns were magnified a year later when the alliance released a report that identified Israel's "disproportionate retaliatory actions in Gaza and Lebanon" as a main cause of Muslim-Western tension.

Jonah is back: "stunning" whale sighting

Whale Sighting Off Israeli Coast Stuns Scientists

The appearance of a grey whale off the coast of Israel has stunned scientists. It is thought to be the first time the giant mammal has been seen outside the Pacific in several hundred years.

"It's an unbelievable event which has been described as one of the most important whale sightings ever," said Dr. Aviad Scheinin, chairman of the Israel Marine Mammal Research and Assistance Center which identified the creature.

VideoBite: Facebook allows hate speech against Israel

A new video from exposing Facebook's double standard
Click here to sign the petition
Click here to check ouit or join their Facebook Group

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Palestinians not the only refugees

Complex crisis most analysts fail to explain -Rhoda Kadalie

Why Israel is always held to the highest standards when every other [nearby] country flouts them, intrigues me.

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.

In Algeria there were 140,000 Jews in 1948, by 2008 none; in Morocco there were 250,000, today there are about 6,000. For more than half a century there was a flight of more than 850,000 Jews from Arab lands, which, in effect, means that more Jews were forced to flee Muslim persecution than the approximately 762,000 Palestinian Arabs who left their homes in the newly declared State of Israel.

Add to this the successive wars against Israel after 1948, by Egypt, Jordan and Syria in 1967, the Yom Kippur war in 1973, and the constant destabilization by terrorist incursions, then Israel's socioeconomic and military strength is quite astounding.
The writer is a South African human rights activist.
(Business Day-South Africa)


In Praise of Ehud Olmert

When a major Arab state would finally sign a peace treaty with Israel, it was long assumed, the Arab-Israeli conflict would end. The Egypt-Israel peace treaty of 1979, however, buried that expectation; it had the perverse effect of making other states and also the Egyptian populace more anti-Zionist.

The 1980s gave birth to a hope that, instead, Palestinian recognition of Israel would close the conflict. The total failure of the 1993 Declaration of Principles (the Oslo Accords) then buried that expectation.

Starting about 2007, a new focus has emerged, of winning acceptance of Israel as a sovereign Jewish state. Israel's former prime minister Ehud Olmert [pictured above] set the terms: "I do not intend to compromise in any way over the issue of the Jewish state. This will be a condition for our recognition of a Palestinian state."

Olmert got this one right.

Arab-Israeli diplomacy has dealt with a myriad of subsidiary issues while tiptoeing around the conflict's central issue: "Should there be a Jewish state?"

Disagreement over this answer rather than over Israel's boundaries, its exercise of self defense, its control of the Temple Mount, its water consumption, its housing construction in West Bank towns, diplomatic relations with Egypt, or the existence of a Palestinian state is the key issue.

Palestinian leaders responded, with howls of outrage, declaring that they "absolutely refused" to accept Israel as a Jewish state. They even pretended to be shocked at the notion of a state defined by religion, although their own "Constitution of the State of Palestine" states that "Arabic and Islam are the official Palestinian language and religion."

Regrettably, the Obama administration endorsed the Palestinian position, again sidelining the Israeli demand.

Would-be peacemakers must direct their attention to increasing the size of [the Arab] moderate cohort [who support recognition of Israel as Jewish]. Getting from 20 percent to, say, 60 percent would fundamentally shift the politics of the Middle East, displacing Israel from its exaggerated role and releasing the peoples of this blighted region to address their real challenges. Not Zionism but such, oh, minor problems as autocracy, brutality, cruelty, conspiracism, religious intolerance, apocalypticism, political extremism, misogyny, slavery, economic backwardness, brain drain, capital flight, corruption, and drought.
[National Review Online]

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ideology, not grievance, fuels terror

Faisal Shahzad pictured alone and with his wife and baby

Islam's Nowhere Men -Fouad Ajami

What can we make of a young man like Pakistani-born Faisal Shahzad, working for Elizabeth Arden, receiving an American MBA, jogging in the evening in Bridgeport, then plotting mass mayhem in Times Square?

The Islamists are now within the gates.

They fled the fires and the failures of the Islamic world but brought the ruin with them. This is a long twilight war, the struggle against radical Islamism. We can't wish it away. No strategy of winning "hearts and minds," no great outreach, will bring this struggle to an end. America can't conciliate these furies.
(Wall Street Journal)

Major Diplomatic Achievement for Israel

A Major Diplomatic Achievement -Aluf Benn

For Israel, joining the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is a major diplomatic achievement. Nothing better answers the calls for boycotting Israel than acceptance into the club of developed economies.

Israel has always sought to become a member of international organizations where the Western bloc of nations enjoys a clear advantage. Now we're in the club.

A Great Day for Israel -Sever Plocker

Israel's membership in OECD indicates that the developed world recognizes that we are an industrial, advanced country; a democratic and competitive state that shares the basic values of the wealthy West. For a state with a population of a mere 7.5 million, and which so many would like to destroy, full membership in OECD is an act with deep national and international significance.
(Ynet News)


Palestinians Reciprocate with "Slaps in the Face" -Merav Michaeli

Israel's many gestures to the Palestinians have been reciprocated by "slaps in the face," Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said. "We took the unilateral step of deciding on a moratorium, a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria. We recognized two states for two peoples. We removed a dramatic number of roadblocks."

"The day before Israel's acceptance by the OECD, [PA Prime Minister] Salam Fayyad approached dozens of countries with a request to sabotage that acceptance. They keep going on with their stories about war crimes during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

After all, Mahmoud Abbas himself called and asked us, pressured us to continue the military campaign and overthrow Hamas."


Monday, May 10, 2010

Grobman: Jihadism will prevent a solution

Why conflict remains intractable -Dr. Alex Grobman

In 641, 20 years after Muhammad moved from Mecca to Medina, Caliph Umar decreed that Jews and Christians be expelled from Arabia in accordance with the prophet's deathbed pronouncement: "Let there not be two religions in Arabia." This meant Jews and Christians were to be banished even though both groups had very deep roots in the region and differed from their Muslim neighbors only in their religion.

From then on, non-Muslims were forbidden to walk on this sacred soil, which became a major transgression. Elsewhere in the Saudi Kingdom, non-Muslims could enter as temporary visitors, but could not become residents or practice their religion.

[T]he fundamental objective of the militant and violent Arabs is to destroy Western culture and civilization.

The attacks against the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001 were [only] the latest manifestation of the Islamic jihad to establish universal world domination. This goal can be realized through demographic growth and conversion of the local population. Large numbers of teachers and religious leaders will be mobilized to teach Islam in every language and dialect. Should peaceful methods prove inadequate, physical force can be used.

What will happen to the people who allegedly stole Arab lands? Mahmoud Darwish, a very popular poet of the Palestinian resistance, provided the answer in a powerful poem "Bitaqit Hawia," (Identity Card) written in 1964. Although professing not to "hate people," Darwish warned, "The usurper's flesh will be my food. Beware, Beware, Of my hunger And my anger!"

Edward Said noted: "The curious power of this little poem is that when it first appeared in the late 60s, it did not represent as much as embody the Palestinian whose political identity in the world had been pretty much reduced to a name on an identity card."

Is there any Zionist poetry or statement that describes the Palestinians in comparable ways? And if any does exist, who could claim that it is the "embodiment of the Israelis," that it represents the view of the Jewish people?

For many Arabs, the conflict with Zionism is a religious war against the Jewish people. Since the Jews are not going to leave their homeland voluntarily, the solution is clear according to Abdallah Jarbu', Hamas deputy minister of religious endowments: "May He annihilate this filthy people who have neither religion nor conscience. I condemn whoever believes in normalizing relations with them, whoever supports sitting down with them, and whoever believes that they are human beings. They are not human beings. They are not people. They have no religion, no conscience, and no moral values."
[The Jewish State]

Obama's newest policy shift away from Israel

U.S. Support for Israel's Nuke Policy Eroding -Herb Keinon

Cracks are appearing in the nearly half-century U.S. policy of upholding Israel's right to maintain its "nuclear ambiguity," as Israeli nuclear capabilities are, for the first time, scheduled to be on the IAEA agenda.

[I]n the past the U.S. killed such discussions in international forums, while this time it failed to do so.

Emily Landau, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, said the U.S. was not assuming its role as the shield of Israel's nuclear capabilities to the degree it had in the past.

Obama, according to Landau, has embraced the agenda of nuclear disarmament, as well as the norm of "equality" that is embedded in the NPT, meaning that all countries should be treated equally on the nuclear issue.
(Jerusalem Post)

New U.S. "Nuke-Free" Strategy a Dangerous Initiative -Eytan Gilboa

America preferred to ignore Israel's nuclear weapons...
However, Obama's new nuclear policy may change America's traditional stance on Israel's nukes.

Obama's nuclear strategy is dangerous and problematic, premised on a certain degree of naivete and unfounded idealism. The U.S. position completely ignores the weakness of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, under which states such as Iraq and Libya developed infrastructure for the production of nuclear weapons. In recent years, Iran has been doing the same.

The new American strategy also blurs the distinction between the nature of the governments. The problem is not the U.S., Britain, France, India, or Israel. The main issue has to do with radical, authoritarian and violent regimes such as Iran, which threatens to destroy Israel and turn all Mideastern regimes into radical Islamic ones.

[T]he preoccupation with Israel will merely serve Tehran's aims by diverting attention. Moreover, the focus on nuclear weapons ignores other weapons of mass destruction such as chemical and biological means, which are held by some of Israel's foes.

The vision of a nuke-free Middle East is appropriate and worthwhile, yet it could only be realized after all of Israel's close and distant neighbors, including Iran, secure stable peace treaties with it, cut back their armies, and eliminate their WMD arsenals.

The issue of nuclear weapons cannot be separated from the other major issues of war and peace in the Mideast.
(Ynet News)


Calls for a Nuke-Free MidEast Disregard Reality -Ephraim Asculai

The reemerging campaign to persuade/force Israel to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is strange at best. Asking Israel to join the NPT is ludicrous in today's world, with Iran calling for the destruction of Israel, Syria amassing chemical weapons and trying to develop nuclear ones, and with rockets threatening almost every part of the country.

The voices [for] nuclear disarmament are disregarding reality.
(Jerusalem Post)

Israel's Right to the Dimona Reactor -Ari Shavit

According to foreign reports, the nuclear reactor at Dimona built in the early 1960s is not there for peaceful purposes. Why should Israel be permitted that which is prohibited to other states?

Why has the international community agreed that it should exist inside a cloud of ambiguity? Because the international community of the second half of the 20th century was moral. It remembered that for more than a millennium the Jewish people was the persecuted "Other" of Europe, and that between 1940 and 1945 a third of its number were murdered, and even Roosevelt and Churchill didn't lift a finger to save the one million Jews who could still have been rescued in 1944.

The international community could see that the Jewish state was surrounded by a sea of enmity. It also understood that precisely because the nuclear reactor was not for peaceful purposes, it would ensure peace. It is Dimona that stabilizes the Middle East.

Israel did not boast or behave ostentatiously, or in any way misuse the capability that was attributed to it. Even in difficult circumstances, it acted with deliberation and composure. It never unsheathed the sword that those foreign reports describe as a terrible one.

If the international community of the 21st century tries to force fashionable norms on the Dimona reactor, it will cause a disaster to itself. History will not forgive anyone who undermines the order that is based on Dimona, or anyone who tries to crack the glass that protects the Jewish state from those who want to do away with it.


Sunday, May 09, 2010

VideoBite: New Ad attacks Obama on Israel

Keep Israel Safe releases first in a series of ads attacking President Obama's Israel policy

Friday, May 07, 2010

West Bank: Yellow Pages indicate growing economy

The Israeli Mood Today -Roger Cohen

Col. Avi Gil of the Israel Defense Forces wanted to show me something: the yellow pages from the West Bank town of Kalkilya.

In recent years they had tripled in thickness, an indication of the expansion of business and decline in violence. "It's in our interest to maintain the peaceful trend in the West Bank," Gil said. "It's fragile, but the fact is nobody wants to fight." "When I go into Kalkilya," Gil told me, "I've stopped using body armor, but I do take my rifle."

That, I think, is not a bad image of Israel today, prepared to relax slightly but mistrustful; feeling burned and misunderstood; seeing the outside world as hostile, including President Barack Obama; unconvinced of the possibility of peace but not prepared to dismiss it entirely; wanting at some level to think Fayyad can forge a reliable Palestine but also persuaded that Arabs are still bent on its destruction; enjoying the quiet but disturbed by what's over the horizon, not least Iran.

An Israel that's shed its body armor for now but still carries a rifle.
(New York Times)

Brooklyn: seat of Jihad

Undercover NYPD Officers Infiltrate Jihadis' World -Joel Stonington

A young Bangladeshi immigrant working undercover found himself among a dozen men at an Islamic bookstore in Brooklyn [New York City] one day in 2004 to watch videos of U.S. soldiers being slain.

"That made these guys pumped up and happy," the officer said. "It's like a party at a club. They were hitting the walls with excitement."

Among the revelers: Shahawar Matin Siraj, who would be sentenced in January 2007 to 30 years in prison for an August 2004 plot to blow up Herald Square. "He loved talking about doing jihad," said the officer.

The officer fit the profile of the young men he sought to meet: middle-class, first- or second-generation Americans. He said he watched the radicalization process of dozens.

David Cohen, deputy commissioner for intelligence of the New York Police Department, said such undercover operations have become the city's main defense amid the escalation of threats and plots since the attack on the World Trade Center nearly a decade ago.
(Wall Street Journal)

'Gaza Siege' is a load of crap

A Palestinian propaganda poster [top]
Cox & Forkum's anti-jihad cartoon [bottom]

Debunking the Gaza Siege Myth -Jacob Shrybman

Later this month activists on a convoy of ships plan to sail for Gaza in the context of breaking the Gaza siege. What siege?

International humanitarian aid has been flowing freely into Gaza for years. 30,576 aid trucks entered the territory in 2009.

During the week of April 11-17, 500 trucks with over 17,000 tons of humanitarian aid entered Gaza. In addition, the UN has pumped $200 million into Gaza following last winter's Israeli military operation to halt rocket fire. In 2009, 10,544 Gazans and their companions left Gaza for medical treatment. During the week of April 11-17, nearly 500 patients and companions crossed from Gaza into Israel for medical treatment, while another over 100 Gaza residents crossed into Israel for other reasons, and roughly 200 internationals crossed in and out of Gaza.
[Huffington Post]

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Bolton: Israel strike is in America's interest

Get Ready for a Nuclear Iran -John Bolton

We face a stark, unattractive reality. There are only two options: Iran gets nuclear weapons, or someone uses pre-emptive military force to break Iran's nuclear fuel cycle and paralyze its program.

There is no possibility the Obama administration will use force. It is hard to conclude anything except that the Obama administration is resigned to Iran possessing nuclear weapons.

That leaves Israel. Such a strike would advance both Israel's and America's security interests, and also those of the Arab states. Nonetheless, the intellectual case for that strike must be better understood in advance by the American public and Congress in order to ensure a sympathetic reaction by Washington.
[The Wall Street Journal]

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Is Osama in Iran?

Report: Bin Laden Living Comfortably in Iran -Ed Barnes

In a new documentary, Alan Parrot makes a case that Bin Laden has been living comfortably in Iran since at least 2003.

Parrot was once the chief falconer for the Shah of Iran. One of his contacts, a warlord from the north of Iran, reveals in the film that he has met Bin Laden six times on hunting trips inside Iran since March 2003, with their last confirmed meeting in 2008.

Parrot's story is supported in the documentary by former CIA agent Robert Baer.
(FOX News)

Evidence Mounts of Iran's Ties to al-Qaeda -Kenneth R. Timmerman

According to the Pentagon's first annual report to Congress on Iran's military capabilities and intentions, Ayatollah Khamenei has ordered the Revolutionary Guards to provide weapons and training to the Taliban and other Sunni Muslim groups, despite the conventional wisdom that such cooperation was impossible because of sectarian differences with Shiite Iran.
[Washington Times]

Times Square attack is Jihad

From Peshawar to Times Square -Editorial

[The] arrest of suspected Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad is proof that the world's jihadists are still targeting the U.S.

The bombing attempt is also a timely reminder that all the talk about the war on terror being over is nonsense. Astute police work foiled last year's plot to bomb New York's subway, as it did similar planned attacks against a New York synagogue and a Dallas skyscraper.

But it was only luck that saved the passengers aboard Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day. The reality is that plots against the U.S. continue to be hatched and inspired in places like Pakistan and Yemen.
(Wall Street Journal)


Evidence Mounts for Taliban Role in Bomb Plot -Mark Mazzetti & Scott Shane

American officials said Wednesday that it was very likely that a radical group once thought unable to attack the United States had played a role in the bombing attempt in Times Square, elevating concerns about whether other militant groups could deliver at least a glancing blow on American soil.
[New York Times]

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Terror Tax: Keeping Hamas in Business

Hamas Short on Cash: Gaza Blockade Takes Toll -Karin Laub & Rizek Abdel Jawad

Hamas confirmed it is unable to pay thousands of government workers in full for a second straight month - a new sign of the most serious cash crunch in its three years of ruling Gaza.

Hamas has resorted to an unpopular tax drive to raise money, suggesting that a blockade, an Egyptian crackdown on smuggling, and an increasingly expensive government bureaucracy are taking their toll.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Obama makes secret deal with Palestinians

U.S. Pledge Helped Bring Abbas Back to Talks -Charles Levinson

The White House brought Palestinians back on board for derailed Mideast peace talks with a pledge that the U.S. would consider allowing a UN Security Council resolution - if one should arise - condemning Israel for building in disputed territory, according to officials briefed on the diplomacy.

Withholding a veto from a UN resolution critical of Israel would be a significant reversal of decades of U.S. policy of largely unwavering support for Israel in the body. The U.S. has vetoed more than 40 UN resolutions critical of Israel since 1972.
(Wall Street Journal)

Report Details U.S. Threat to Israel on UN -Ben Smith

The New York Times reported that U.S. envoy George Mitchell's deputy, David Hale, "indicated to the Palestinians that if Israel proceeded with the construction of 1,600 housing units in Jerusalem's ultra-orthodox neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, the United States would abstain from, rather than veto, a resolution in the United Nations Security Council condemning the move."

VideoBite: Stunning color footage of Israel's founding discovered

Stunning newly discovered color footage captures the founding of Israel and beyond. A wealthy American, Fred Monosson, had one of the few color cameras available at the time and recorded everything he saw.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Terror in Times Square [almost]

New York City Police in special gear near the Nissan SUV

Police Find Car Bomb in Times Square -Al Baker & William K. Rashbaum

A crude car bomb of propane, gasoline and fireworks was discovered in a smoking Nissan Pathfinder in the heart of [New York City's] Times Square on Saturday evening, prompting the evacuation of thousands of tourists and theatergoers on a warm and busy night. Although the device had apparently started to detonate, there was no explosion...

Members of the Police Department’s bomb squad donned protective gear [pictured above], broke the Pathfinder’s back windows and sent in a “robotic device” to “observe” it, said Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne, the police department’s chief spokesman.

Inside, they discovered three canisters of propane like those used for barbecue grills, two five-gallon cans of gasoline, consumer-grade fireworks and two clocks with batteries, the mayor said.

Mr. Browne said: “It appeared it was in the process of detonating, but it malfunctioned.”

The White House said President Obama had been briefed on the episode and had pledged federal assistance in the investigation.
[New York Times]


U.S. Seeks Pakistani Tied to Times Square Bomb -William K. Rashbaum, et al

Federal authorities have identified the man who recently bought the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder that was rigged to explode in Times Square as a naturalized United States citizen from Pakistan who recently returned from a trip there, and were seeking to arrest him, according to several people briefed on the investigation.

The man, a Connecticut resident who was not publicly identified, bought the sport utility vehicle in Bridgeport, within the last three weeks, paying cash in a deal that involved no formal paperwork.
[New York Times]

Bomb Suspect Caught -William K. Rashbaum, et al

A Connecticut man [was] pulled off a plane bound for Dubai and arrested in Saturday’s night’s failed bid to set off a car bomb in Times Square...

The man, Faisal Shahzad [pictured], 30, a naturalized United States citizen from Pakistan, was taken into custody just before midnight Monday at Kennedy Airport aboard an Emirates flight that had just pulled away from the gate, officials said. Mr. Shahzad had apparently driven to the airport in a white Isuzu Trooper that was found in a parking lot with a loaded handgun inside, the official said.
[New York Times]

Lapses Allowed Suspect to Board Plane -Scott Shane

Why was Faisal Shahzad permitted to board a flight for Dubai some 24 hours after investigators of the Times Square terrorism case learned he might be connected to the attempted bombing?

Though Mr. Shahzad was stopped before he could fly away, there were at least two significant lapses in the security response of the government and the airline that allowed him to come close to making his escape, officials of the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies said.

First, an F.B.I. surveillance team that had found Mr. Shahzad in Connecticut lost track of him before he drove to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, the officials said. As a result, investigators did not know he was planning to fly abroad until a final passenger list was sent to officials at the federal Customs and Border Protection agency minutes before takeoff.

In addition, the airline failed to act on an electronic message notifying all carriers to check the no-fly list for an important added name, the officials said.

That meant lost opportunities to flag him when he made a reservation and paid for his ticket in cash several hours before departure.

Top Obama administration officials praised the government’s handling of the investigation. But Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, while saying he was reluctant to criticize those in charge of airport security, added: “Clearly the guy was on the plane and shouldn’t have been. We got lucky.”
[New York Times]