Friday, October 29, 2010

Dueling perspectives: photo vs. cartoons

Arabs rewrite history: 'Jews treated well before Israel'

Jews in Arab Lands -Zvi Zameret

An Israeli who seeks a reliable depiction of past events cannot accept a mendacious historiography that portrays Jews as living prosperously and happily in Islamic states until Zionist colonialism and "Zionist aggression" ruined the idyll.

Anti-Jewish attacks and massacres were perpetrated in Arab states during the course of the 20th century:

In anti-Jewish riots in Iraq in 1941, 180 Jews were murdered and 700 were injured.

In violent demonstrations in Egypt in November 1945, 400 Jews were hurt, and much Jewish-owned property was looted and damaged.

In rioting in Libya in November 1945, 130 Jews were murdered and 266 were injured.

December 1947 riots in Syria left 13 Jews dead (8 of them children) in Damascus, and 26 wounded.

At the same time in Aden, Yemen, 97 Jews were murdered and 120 were injured; some Jews who experienced these events deem them "the holocaust of Yemenite Jewry."


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vile Anti-Israel Cartoonist wins award

Ahmet Öztürklevent [pictured], a cartoonist whose aim was to "draw attention to the Palestinian problem and the Middle East" was presented an award at a Turkish cartoon competition

[The above cartoon is] what earned Öztürklevent that honor. 

Palestinians continue to deal in illusions

A younger Abbas, framed by Arafat flashing a 'victory' sign

Can the United Nations create a Palestinian state? -Jackson Diehl

On November 15, 1988, Yasser Arafat proudly read a declaration by his Palestinian Liberation Organization unilaterally proclaiming "the establishment of the State of Palestine on our Palestinian territory with its capital Jerusalem." Shortly afterward the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to support the declaration; within months 93 governments had recognized the state of Palestine.

That state, of course, never came into existence. The PLO declaration, the United Nations vote, even the recognition by scores of countries, proved meaningless. Yet Arafat's successor as PLO leader, Mahmoud Abbas, appears to be giving serious consideration to repeating the maneuver.

Palestinian and Arab leaders appear to be hoping that after the U.S. midterm elections the Obama administration will crack down on Netanyahu. It can't be a coincidence that the Arab League's deadline for renewing the settlement moratorium is Nov. 8. But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week dismissed the idea that unilateral action or appeals to the United Nations could lead to Palestinian statehood.

Seeking a UN declaration of statehood would have one big advantage for Abbas: It could give him an excuse to avoid further talks with Netanyahu indefinitely.

An imaginary state, like that declared by Arafat, is a lot easier to found.
[The Washington Post]


Direct Talks Only Path to Peace -Barak Ravid & Natasha Mozgovaya

UN diplomats, responding to Abbas' threat of a unilateral declaration, said earlier this week that such a move would represent a severe strategic error on Abbas' side, calling Palestinian hopes of a possible U.S. abandonment of its traditional support of Israel in the UN Security Council a "wild dream." "U.S. support of Israel is part of its DNA," a senior diplomat said.

Palestinian Gambit -Leslie Susser

Behind the scenes, Israeli diplomats have been warning their colleagues in Washington and Europe that if the Palestinians act on the UN strategy, the current peace process, and the Oslo process on which it is based, would be over.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Global Leadership Emerges for Muslim Moderates

Sheikh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi

Sheikh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi [pictured] is the leader of Italian Muslim Assembly and a co-founder and a co-chairman of the Islam-Israel Fellowship, based on what Palazzi believes are the authentic teachings of Muhammad as expressed in the Koran and the Hadith.

Palazzi accepts Israel's sovereignty over the Holy Land, and says the Koran supports it as the will of God as a necessary prerequisite for the Final Judgment. He accepts Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem, if the rights of other religions are protected. He quotes the Koran to support Judaism's special connection to the Temple Mount. According to Palazzi, "The most authoritative Islamic sources affirm the Temples,". He adds that Jerusalem is sacred to Muslims because of its prior holiness to Jews and its standing as home to the biblical prophets and kings David and Solomon, all of whom he says are sacred figures also in Islam. He claims that the Koran "expressly recognizes that Jerusalem plays the same role for Jews that Mecca has for Muslims".

When asked whether he see himself as a "Muslim Zionist", he replied:

"If one means a Muslim who supports the right of the Jewish people to have their own independent and sovereign State, who is solidly behind the State of Israel when it is attacked by terror and when its existence in menaced, who thinks that developing friendly relations between the Muslim nations and the State of Israel is in the interest of the Muslims and of human civilization in general, then I think that the label of Muslim Zionist is appropriate."
[Weekly Blitz - Bangladesh]

Nothing new under the [Arab] sun

A new Dry Bones cartoon shows...that very little has changed since the 1940's

Monday, October 25, 2010

Catholic Archbishop: 'Jewish covenant right to Israel'

The Vatican [pictured] has had no comment yet, on Archbishop Bustros' statement

Catholic bishops from the Middle East concluded a conference in Rome, Italy, with a call for the international community, especially the UN, to work "to put an end to the occupation" of Palestinian territories. Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros, who leads the Greek Melkite Church in the U.S., said: "We Christians cannot speak of the 'promised land' as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people....This promise was nullified by Christ."

On Sunday, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said: "We are especially appalled at the language used by Archbishop Bustros during his press conference....We call on the Vatican to distant themselves from Archbishop Boutros' comments which are a libel against the Jewish people and the State of Israel and should not be construed as the Vatican's official position."

"These outrageous comments should not cast a shadow over the important relationship between the Vatican, the State of Israel and the Jewish people," he added.

Leaks appear to vindicate Bush

During the administration of President George W. Bush, critics charged that the White House had exaggerated Iran's role in Iraq. But field reports disclosed by WikiLeaks underscore the seriousness with which Iran's role has been seen by the American military.

The reports recount Iran's role in providing Iraqi militia fighters with rockets, magnetic bombs that can be attached to the underside of cars, "explosively formed penetrators," or EFPs, which are the most lethal type of roadside bomb in Iraq, and other weapons.

The reports make it clear that the lethal contest between Iranian-backed militias and American forces continued after President Obama sought to open a diplomatic dialogue with Iran's leaders.
(New York Times)

Israel: no different than other nations

Can Israel Be Jewish and Democratic? -Douglas J. Feith

Israel, so the argument goes, affronts its non-Jewish citizens by identifying itself as a Jewish state and by using traditional religious emblems as official national symbols - for example, the Star of David on its flag. But are democratic principles necessarily violated when Israel asserts a Jewish identity based on the ethnic and religious heritage of its majority group.

In fact, most democracies have laws and practices that specially recognize a particular people's history, language, culture, religion and group symbols, even though they also have minorities from other groups. In the democracies of Europe, East Asia, and those in the former republics of the Soviet Union, numerous laws and institutions favor a country's principal ethnic group but are nevertheless accepted as compatible with democratic principles.

Christian crosses adorn the flags of Switzerland, Sweden, Greece and Finland, and the UK flag boasts two kinds of crosses. In the UK, Norway and Denmark, the monarchs head national churches.

Ireland allows applicants of "Irish descent or Irish associations" to be exempted from ordinary naturalization rules. Poland, Croatia and Japan have similar laws of return favoring members of their own respective ethnic majorities.

Israel was founded as a national home for the Jews, recognized as a nationality and not just a religious group. After Allied forces conquered Palestine from the Ottomans in World War I, Britain, France, Italy and other leading powers of the day supported the idea that the Jewish people, long shamefully abused as exiles throughout the diaspora, should be offered the opportunity to reconstitute a Jewish-majority state in their ancient homeland of Palestine. 

It is not antidemocratic for Israel to protect its status as a Jewish state in ways similar to those used by the French, Swiss, British, Germans, Italians, Lithuanians, Japanese and others to protect the status of their countries as national homelands.
(Wall Street Journal)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Unilateral Threats Fly...what it all means

Israel warns of unilateral steps if PA seeks UN statehood -Tovah Lazaroff

Israel will pursue its own unilateral steps if the Palestinians do not return to the negotiating table and instead seek UN support for unilateral moves to declare a state within the pre- 1967 lines, a government source told The Jerusalem Post late Thursday night.

“If the Palestinians think that unilateral moves are a one-way street, they are sadly mistaken. It is an option that both sides have,” said the source.

There was some speculation that Israel may be considering reviving aspects of former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s “convergence” ideas for a unilateral withdrawal from isolated parts of the West Bank, evacuating settlements and deploying soldiers there instead.
Palestinians are tilting increasingly toward unilateral moves.

The government source told the Post that “Israel is against unilateral steps. Israel believes that all problems should be solved around the negotiating table, but if the Palestinians choose unilateral steps, they can expect Israel to respond in kind.”

Israel is said to be exploring a number of unilateral options, but the source would not specify which.

Other ideas include the possibility that Israel would no longer seek an “end of conflict” declaration from the Palestinians — which would presumably lower the price of a non-final deal. The Palestinians would get a state in most of the West Bank, with international safeguards about a future deal, but decisions on Jerusalem and refugees would be put off. 
The Palestinians are said to adamantly reject any such scenario, fearing that they would lose any further leverage and end up with a mini-state.
[Jerusalem Post]

A Unilateral Dead End -Editorial

Palestinians have often flirted with the idea of gaining through unilateral declarations or UN action what they couldn't get through negotiations with Israel. That was a bad idea in the past and it's a bad idea today; the fact remains that the only route to the two-state solution Palestinian leaders say they support is through direct negotiations.

No Israeli government could accept a Palestinian state created by fiat. No Israeli leader could accept the validity of that state without a formal recognition of Israel's right to exist, strict assurances the new state will end incitement, and unequivocal agreement on all the critical issues.

The Obama administration would be making a tragic mistake if it did not speak out - forcefully and without reservation - against any unilateral Palestinian action to sidestep negotiations. Not speaking out now can only encourage Palestinian leaders to believe in the chimera of unilateral action as a shortcut to statehood when, in fact, it is the worst kind of dead end.
(New York Jewish Week)

Palestinian Rejectionism Main Obstacle to Peace -Danny Ayalon

With the Israeli-Palestinian peace process once more sadly hanging by a thread, too few have acknowledged that the Palestinians have quietly been allowed to regress from the conventional positions, many of which they formerly accepted, that are essential for any peace process. For example, the murder of four Israelis by Palestinian terrorists on 31 August, on the eve of negotiations, did not induce Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, to withdraw from peace talks. Yet the construction of a few apartments in Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank, has been viewed by many as a justifiable excuse for the Palestinians to walk out.

At a recent Palestinian Donors' Conference at the UN, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad could not even agree to insert the words "two states for two peoples" in the text of the conference summary. This standard formula was deemed unacceptable to the most moderate elements of the PA. If the Palestinian leadership has still not come to terms with the enduring existence of Israel as a Jewish state, everything else is hollow.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Where is Islam has been...and where it's going?

Kemal Atatürk

Gamal Abdel Nasser

Ayatollah Khomeini

The Travails of Modern Islam -Daniel Pipes

[T]he Islamic religion got off to a very fast and successful start. Muhammad himself fled Mecca in 622 A.D. By the time of his death, however, he was ruler of Arabia and within 100 years his followers had gone from Spain to India. This was more than just a military conquest. The Muslim faith was successful in culture, the arts, and the economy and created the great empires of its age. Had you looked around the world say precisely a millennium ago, August 20th, 1010, you would've concluded that Islam was the most successful civilisation, more so than those of China, Europe or India.

Starting from about 1200, especially after the Mogul invasions, the civilisation of Islam declined and stagnated for a long time. The striking fact was that Muslims long were generally unaware of this downturn although it finally became vividly obvious around 1800, especially when Napoleon landed in Egypt and wiped out the Ottoman and Mamluk armies. Napoleon brought with him a cadre of scientists who started studying the flora, fauna, and archaeology, savants who would eventually crack the code of Egyptian hieroglyphics. His was not only a military expedition but a scientific one as well. The contrast between the Egyptians and the French was stark and shocked Muslims into realising that, during their long period of stagnation, Europe had surged ahead.

Trauma followed. Muslims had assumed that they were blessed by God in both spiritual and mundane ways. Now they worried that God had forsaken them, which led to a profound reassessment of what it means to be a Muslim. Muslims saw themselves challenged by Europe and more broadly by the West, and this is a challenge that Muslims still face today.

How do Muslims explain all this?
Over the course of the past 200 years, there have been three major explanations.

The first one was what one might call the liberal Western explanation, namely emulating the French and the British. These nationalities descended upon Muslim lands in particular; they built empires; they offered themselves as models. They were extremely successful and Muslims tended to emulate them. The symbolic figure of this trend was Kemal Atatürk [pictured/top], the ruler of Turkey between 1923 and 1938, who removed Islam from public life, replaced Arabic words with French words, brought in Belgian and Swiss legal codes, and in all made Turkey look increasingly Western.

But this didn't work. By the 1920s and 30s, despite Atatürk, there was a sense that this liberal effort had failed. So Muslim adopted another approach. The approach that appeared at that time to be most impressive was the illiberal Western approach. The 1920s were the hey-day of totalitarian societies, with Mussolini and Lenin in particular showing the way. These offered models that proved very influential; Gamal Abdel Nasser [pictured/middle] of Egypt symbolizes this approach to politics. For the next 50 to 60 years, the Fascist and Communist models prevailed in large swaths of intellectual and political life. They didn't do too well either, they didn't solve the problems of weakness and poverty.

So, with the disappointment in these two movements came a third solution, namely the Islamist one. The goal of this movement was not to emulate one form or another of Western ideology or power; it was to return to Islamic experience and to draw on the wisdom and achievements of Muslims in the past and to rehabilitate the Muslim world by learning from Islamic experience. The goal is to do something that is old, that draws on Islamic successes of past centuries. Ayatollah Khomeini [pictured/bottom] symbolizes this approach.

I am convinced this will be a failure too. The so far number-one experiment, the Islamic Republic of Iran, has failed by any standard, if only because a great majority of its subjects are rejecting it.

Bin Laden and Wahhabi-style Islamism clearly have no future. How can they run countries? Just imagine Bin Laden as ruler; it would be like the Taliban and it wouldn't work. Even a less extreme version, such as that in Iran, is not workable in the long term.

We are in a very dark period of little creativity, much instability, and much violence. I don't see any improvements soon but I do anticipate the potential for improvement. Anything that can get worse can, logically, also get better, and I expect a working out of the Islamist impulse, to be followed by something more constructive. At some point, Muslims will begin to discard it and to look elsewhere. I don't know what they're going to look for.

In the meantime, things could get worse. Chemical, biological and nuclear weapons are within grasp and could be used. This threat could lead to far greater instability. There is also considerable anger within the Muslim world as the great majority of Islamist victims have been Muslim, for example in Algeria and Darfur.

So far the West has shrugged off Islamism and not seen it as a truly significant threat. That could change. There could be a far stronger reaction. We are at a point of flux. We will see anarchy in the countries that I named, starting with Somalia (which has experienced 20 years of anarchy). There will also be desperation, extremism, violence, brutality and misogyny.

The West has never experienced such a challenge. I expect Europe will go in one of two rather unpleasant directions. One is to continue the trends of the last 50 years with more Muslims, more Islamic law and more tension, until it transits to becoming an Islamic society. The other is that Europeans at a certain point say – "No, we don't like this. We're going to stop it. We're going to use whatever means are necessary to stop it. We're going to throw people out; we might even kill them." It is too early to predict which trend will prevail.

The Muslim world, to sum up, is burdened by a sense of glory of its past success and power. It feels acutely the trauma of modernity. It's looking for excuses. At this moment, Islamism is the favourite solution but I see it as temporary. This population of over a billion people is in general stress and turmoil. I expect things will get worse before they get better. But they will eventually get better.
[Future Directions International]

Origin of Jerusalem's Golden Dome

The Golden Dome covers the top of the mountain's rock where the Temple once stood

Is Jerusalem Sacred for Muslims? -Hagai Mazuz & Harold Rhode

Muslims were initially commanded to pray toward Jerusalem. But when the Jews refused to convert to Islam, Muhammad changed the prayer direction toward Mecca. Islamic sources from the first 50 years after Muhammad's death make clear that Jerusalem had absolutely no holy status for Muslims.

Some centuries later, Muslim cleric Ibn Taymiyya (1263-1328) wrote extensively about Jerusalem, and how there were only two holy cities in Islam - Mecca and Medina. He eventually became the intellectual godfather of Wahhabism, the dominant Islamic doctrine of the Saudi government.

Ibn Taymiyya went to great lengths to explain that the veneration of Jerusalem is nothing more than the "Judaization" of Islam and that Muslims must rid themselves of all non-Muslim innovations and return to the early Islam of Muhammad. 

He wrote that after the second caliph 'Umar conquered Jerusalem in 637, he and his aide Ka'b al-Ahobar [a Jewish convert to Islam] went up to view the Temple Mount. 'Umar decided to build the place to pray on the southern part of the Temple Mount - the place today known as the Aqsa Mosque. 'Umar's choice of location meant that the Muslims bowed down only to Mecca and that their backs (rear ends) were facing the Rock on the Temple Mount. 

Ibn Taymiyya wondered how Muslim clerics could have accepted Ka'b's attempts to incorporate Jewish traditions into Islam, because Ka'b did not cite any of Muhammad's companions as the source of his claim. Ibn Taymiyya also accused Ka'b of fabricating Muslim traditions and incorporating Jewish writings, i.e., the Bible, Talmud, etc., into Islam.

So how did Jerusalem become holy in Islam? In the 680s, a civil war erupted among the Muslims. The caliph who ruled from Damascus wanted to put down a revolt by the people who controlled Mecca. In order to weaken them, he chose to build a dome over the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and to encourage people to make pilgrimages there instead of to Mecca. So in essence, Jerusalem's sanctity to Muslims stems from a local revolt which occurred some 50-plus years after Muhammad's death.
(Hudson Institute New York)*

US MidEast policy frayed

Direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, for 21 months the centerpiece of Obama administration Middle East policy, are moving inevitably toward collapse.

Several ideas are circulating to skip bothersome negotiations with Israel and move immediately to Palestinian "statehood." In one, the PA would persuade the U.S. to recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, within the pre-1967 cease-fire lines (often characterized, wrongly, as "borders"). The other would have the UN Security Council call upon UN members to recognize "Palestine" within those lines.

Israel would then confront a dramatic change in its international posture. Customary international law's definition of "statehood" requires that a putative state have clear boundaries. This is why the potential Security Council resolution would refer to Palestine as a state within the "1967 borders."

A Security Council resolution fixing the 1967 lines as borders would call into question even Israel's legitimacy, dramatically undercutting prospects for security and defensibility. By defining "Palestine" to include territory Israel considers its own, such a resolution would delegitimize both Israel's authority and settlements beyond the 1967 lines, and its goal of an undivided Jerusalem as its capital.
(Wall Street Journal) *

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Abbas' Rejectionist Stripes Showing

A picture worth a thousand words
[Elder of Ziyon]

Pledging Allegiance

Israel's New Oath of Allegiance -Lee Smith

The idea that mandating an oath of allegiance for new citizens is a sign of Israeli fascism is part of the delegitimization campaign against Israel. It fits so well with media blather about the decline of Israeli democracy that critics have conveniently ignored the fact that such oaths are normal fare in every major Western democracy.  

The U.S. oath of allegiance for new citizens requires new Americans to:
"absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty" ; promise to "support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic" ; promise to "bear arms" and "perform noncombatant" service at the direction of the U.S. government; and swear in the name of God Almighty himself, all of which makes swearing an oath of allegiance to the democratic Jewish State of Israel seem like pretty weak stuff.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Political Payoffs for Rejectionist Culture

The PA Economy: A House of Cards -David Rosenberg

The real reason the West Bank [economy] is booming is because of Western largesse - some $5.5 billion in three years, or an average of $456 per person per year.

The lion's share of that money is going to fund the PA's budget deficit. It pays for too many teachers, government clerks, policemen and the like, not for new roads, schools or other investments that would develop infrastructure and provide the basis for long-term economic growth.

It's essentially a big make-work scheme aimed at buying social and political peace. The kind of things that would represent real economic growth, like private sector investment in new factories, improvements in farming or new services, isn't happening much at all because the West Bank remains a lousy place to do business.

Whether or not the West Bank gains independence, when the donor dollars dry up, the danger will reemerge.
(Jerusalem Post)

The Peace Process is Back: Prepare for War -Khaled Abu Toameh

Just as life seemed to be returning to normal in the West Bank and Gaza and Israelis and Palestinians were for the first time in many years beginning to talk about security and economic cooperation, the U.S. administration stepped in to demand that the "peace process" be resumed. Now that Israelis and Palestinians are being forced to discuss sensitive issues that each side would have preferred to avoid at this stage, their officials have stepped up rhetorical attacks on each other. It would have been better had Obama and Clinton waited [and] encouraged Israelis and Palestinians to continue with their efforts to calm the situation. The harder the U.S. pushes, the closer the two sides move toward another confrontation.
(Hudson Institute New York)

Palestinian Rejectionism Dooms Process

An End to Israel's Invisibility -Michael B. Oren

Nearly 63 years after the UN recognized the right of the Jewish people to independence in their homeland, the Palestinians are still denying the Jewish nature of the state. Why should it matter? Because mutual acceptance is essential if both peoples are to live side by side in two states in genuine and lasting peace.
(New York Times)

Palestinian Leaders Deny Reality, Delay Peace -David Harris

In 2007, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat declared: "No state in the world connects its national identity to its religious identity."

Perhaps Mr. Erekat could explain why we have countries whose formal names include the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Islam is also the official religion in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Comoros, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Israel has made a giant leap in recognizing Palestinian nationhood and the need for a Palestinian state, with all the risks it entails for Israel's security, as a territorial answer to the needs of the Palestinian people. Now the Palestinians need to reciprocate, and the sooner the better, if the current peace process is to have a chance of success.
(Huffington Post)

Recognizing Israel as a Jewish State -Raphael Israeli

Paragraph 20 of the Palestinian National Charter, which has never been amended or annulled, states that the Jews are not a nation and therefore are not entitled to a state. It is interesting that thousands of Arabs from Jordan and Sudan come here to request political asylum in our "repressive" country, but no one is in a hurry to seek refuge in Syria or Libya.

Israel's Defenders Need to Attack -Melanie Phillips

[F]riends of Israel fret endlessly about whether or not Bibi [Netanyahu] will extend the moratorium on new building in Jewish communities in the disputed territories, rather than ask the much more germane question of what the Palestinians are offering as an equivalent concession. The answer, said former Jerusalem Post editor Bret Stephens, is that they say they will keep the lid on terrorism. So their great concession is to stop killing Jews. Which illustrates that while the issue in contention for Israel is land, that for the Palestinians is mass murder.

Many self-professed "friends" of Israel position themselves on the ground that defines the conflict as being about the boundaries of two states, Israel and Palestine. Hence the almost exclusive focus on the settlements and the territories. This is demonstrably absurd. The only obstacle to peace is the Palestinians' continued and open refusal to accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, and thus their continued objective to wage a war of extermination against it. That is why, when the bulk of the territories was offered to them in 2000, their response was to start blowing up Israelis in buses and pizza parlors; that is why, when Jewish settlers were removed from Gaza, their response was to fire thousands of rockets at Israeli towns; and that is why "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas says the Palestinians will never accept Israel as a Jewish state.
(Jewish Chronicle-UK)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Abbas slams door on talks

Palestinians Reject Israel Settlement Compromise -Adrian Blomfield

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered to extend a freeze on Jewish building in the West Bank in exchange for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

Within minutes of the proposal being made public, Palestinian officials had rejected it out of hand.

PA Rejects Offer of Freeze for Recognition -Herb Keinon

Prime Minister Netanyahu's spokesman, Mark Regev, said:

"This process will not succeed if the expectation is that the Palestinians make the demands, and Israel makes the concessions. It will only work if it is a two-way street where there is give and take, and flexibility is exercised on both sides."
(Jerusalem Post)

What's Behind Netanyahu's Offer -Joshua Mitnick

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revived a previous offer, saying he would support a new settlement freeze if Palestinians would recognize Israel as a Jewish state, a demand he made when he first endorsed a Palestinian state a year ago. Israelis see Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish homeland as confirmation that their neighbors accept Israel's legitimacy.

Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN under Netanyahu, said that the prime minister is responding to what he sees as Palestinians front-loading the peace process with divisive issues that should be part of the negotiations rather than a precondition. "Israel is essentially saying that if we are going to abide by these new rules of putting the substance of the negotiations ahead of time, why can't Israel do the same thing?'' he said. "Either they will do it, or they are going to drop the notion that you have to have preconditions for negotiation.''
(Christian Science Monitor)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Palestinian Mini Jihadis

The Jerusalem Car Accident Video -Lenny Ben-David

A YouTube film clip [above] spreading around the world showing an Israeli car hitting two Arab children in the Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem was horrifying. Thank God the children were not seriously injured.

Then came the subtext: The children were part of a gang attacking the driver with rocks. The boys, emboldened by some militant organizer, covered their faces to avoid identification. There's no doubt of their intention and premeditation. The driver was David Be'eri, a leader of the Jewish residents in Silwan. Be'eri's son was in the car.

Arab witnesses charged that the "settler" deliberately ran down the children. But I've now watched the clip scene-by-scene and in some parts frame-by-frame, and there's a deeper, even sinister, subtext.

There were as many photographers as rock-throwers. There were at least seven still photographers in addition to the video cameraman. There could have been more. Most filmed the scene from the same vantage point.

Who invited them and coordinated the time and place? Who recruited the boys? Did they particularly plan to ambush David Be'eri's car?

Watch the clip and see how the photographers buzzed around the boy taking pictures while he was on the ground. Only one photographer went through the motion of extending a hand. Also watch as the wounded boy is manhandled and forcibly stuffed into a car against his will. That was no way to evacuate a casualty.

Every photographer at the scene bears responsibility for the children's injuries. They were tools in the hands of a dangerous propagandist, and their presence incited the kids. Then the cameramen stood by as a child laid injured.

Until the photographers fess up as to who dispatched them, they should be treated as accomplices to the crime of endangering the children.
(Jerusalem Post)

Media & Stone Throwers Collude

Press photographers showed their true colors on Friday, colluding with Palestinian rock-throwers in Silwan.

The results: Photographers walked away with graphic photos and video footage. Imran Mansur, age 11, was left with a broken leg; Israel was smeared as the images rapidly hit the news stream.

The Guardian published an AFP/Getty Images photo with the following tip for photographers, nothing could be further from the truth:
The photographer, Ilia Yefimovich, is in the right place at the right time and captures this dramatic scene using a large depth of field and fast shutter speed.
But Yefimovich wasn't the only photographer who simply got lucky. The incident was also captured by the Associated Press, the European Pressphoto Agency and Al Jazeera, among other news services. How did everyone manage to be in "the right place at the right time?"

Silwan isn't really the most tense place. Photographers waiting for stone-thowings would be more likely to go to places like Bilin or Hebron. You wouldn't hang around Silwan unless you knew ahead of time that something was going to happen.

If the stone throwing were really spontaneous, the kids should've been throwing from above. It's safer for them, and they can do as much damage, if not more. But that's less photogenic.

When a car's coming at you, and hits a kid, your first thought is your personal safety and what's happening to the boy. But when you watch the video, nobody looks scared, nobody screams in horror. The children just continue throwing stones and the photographers keep snapping photos.

[T]he photographers should've warned the police. But today's Mideast photographers are a different breed. Because of the nature of the business -- it's a cash cow -- why spoil a good picture?

Americans Love Israel

The Real Israel Lobby is the American people -William Kristol

Consider the results of a new poll by McLaughlin and Associates for the Emergency Committee for Israel. 93% of those polled say the U.S. should be concerned about the security of Israel, with 54% saying the U.S. should be "very concerned" about Israel's security.

53% say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate they saw as pro-Israel. 53% say they could not vote for a candidate if he were anti-Israel, even if that candidate agreed with them on most other issues.
(Weekly Standard)

Who Are Israel's Friends? -Jennifer Rubin

In the poll, almost all the support for Israel statistically comes from non-Jews. This is simply a mathematical reality. The poll sampled 1,000 voters, only 1.6% of whom were Jewish.

Jews by themselves are a tiny percentage of the population who, on their own, could not sustain national support for Israel. It is the support from the majority of Christians that nurtures the U.S.-Israel relationship. There is a large segment of Americans who, for reasons entirely distinct from religion and with no personal or ethnic tie to the Jewish state, nevertheless are strongly committed to its security and survival.

That is remarkable, a tribute to the innate decency and common sense of the American people. They have, despite a barrage of propaganda from Israel's foes, figured out who are the "good guys" in the Middle East.

This data is helpful in rebutting the Israel-haters' rhetoric railing against the "influence of the Israel lobby."

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Obama's underwater fantasy

Israeli political humor scores a hit again

The New Zionist Impulse

Time to Reclaim Zionism -David Bernstein

Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, has long been treated by much of the world as a kind of ideological disease. Zionism is in its simplest form the belief that Jews have the right to a state in the Land of Israel.

Just as it was in the 19th century and at Israel's founding, Zionism is a big tent, encompassing a range of perspectives, from those who want to normalize the Jewish condition in a pluralistic, secular democracy to those who pine for a theocratic Torah state. Those who malign Zionism either don't understand it or outright reject Jewish self-determination.
(New York Jewish Week)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Is Obama planning to checkmate Israel with a surprise "take it or leave it peace plan" after the elections free his hands?

Settlement Freeze in Return for US Recognition of Settlements? -Shimon Schiffer

Sources close to U.S.-Israel discussions say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is asking President Barack Obama to renew U.S. approval of the commitments given by President George Bush to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the foremost of which is American support for annexation of settlement blocs to Israel in the framework of a permanent peace agreement.

Diplomatic sources say the prime minister is trying to obtain clear commitments from the Americans that will not be open to interpretation, and that he can use to convince cabinet ministers to extend the construction freeze for two months.

So far, Netanyahu has not reached agreement with the White House, and therefore has not raised the issue for formal discussion in government forums. The commitments being discussed are those appearing in the Bush letter to Sharon of April 14, 2004, prior to Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and the northern West Bank.
(Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew, 7Oct10)

Looking Beyond a Settlement Freeze -Leslie Susser

According to confidants, the Israeli prime minister fears that as soon as any new 60-day freeze ends, the Americans will put a "take it or leave it peace plan" of their own on the table. With the U.S. midterm elections over, Obama might feel able to publicly present parameters for a peace deal that Netanyahu would find impossible to accept. Israel might then find itself totally isolated and under intolerable international pressure.

That is a scenario Netanyahu hopes the current negotiations with the Americans will help him avoid.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Sad Departure of Molly Norris

The South Park cartoon of Muhammad (far right) with Jesus, Buddha and John Smith

With no one brave enough to defend her, Molly Norris, has disappeared...the brave cartoon that ended her career is pictured on it for a larger view

Dueling Fatwas -Daniel Pipes

[I]n April, South Park, an iconoclastic adult cartoon program on Comedy Central, mocked the prohibition on depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad. An obscure website, (whose proprietor was subsequently arrested on terrorism-related charges), responded by threatening the show's writers, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Panicked, Comedy Central censored further mention of Muhammad.

Molly Norris, a cartoonist at the Seattle Weekly, showed solidarity with Parker and Stone by posting a facetious "Everyone Draw Muhammad Day" appeal on Facebook, hoping that a host of caricaturists would "counter Comedy Central's message about feeling afraid." To Norris' surprise, dismay, and confusion, others took her idea seriously, prompting Facebook campaigns for and against her "day" and the Pakistani government temporarily to block Facebook. Norris disowned her initiative, apologized for it, and even befriended the local Council on American-Islamic Relations representative, to little avail.

Anwar al-Awlaki, [a US citizen and] Islamist leader in Yemen, responded in July by issuing a death sentence on Norris.

On consulting with the police, Norris in September not only went underground but "went ghost" and disappeared entirely, including her name and her profession.

[F]or the first time in the nearly 250-year history of the United States, the government placed Awlaki on a "kill list," making him the only U.S. citizen to be condemned to death by his own government without benefit of a legal process. Both the military and the intelligence services are targeting him; as one unnamed official puts it, "he's in everybody's sights."

This extraordinary trading of fatwas prompts several observations:

Make fun of Muhammad and you're on your own. Local and national politicians had nothing to say about her plight. Journalists, usually keen to protect one of their own, went silent. No organization sprung up to raise money for her protection.

The internet stands at the heart of this entire episode. It turned Norris' jokey idea into an international incident, brought news of it to Awlaki in remote Yemen, and allowed him to direct his American operatives. A mere twenty years ago, none of this could have taken place.

Awlaki is a terrorist, sowing death and disruption, whereas the U.S. government's "kill list" is defensive. One is evil, the other is moral.

The boundaries of warfare are being stretched in novel, strange, and frightening ways.
[Washington Times]

Nuclear Threat Reverses Zionist Gains

The Other Existential Threat -Daniel Gordis

The mere possession of a nuclear weapon by Iran would instantly restore Jews to the status quo ante before Jewish sovereignty, to a condition in which their futures would depend primarily on the choices their enemies - and not Jews themselves - make.

For hundreds of years, Jewish life in Europe was a matter of either hoped-for toleration or a struggle to survive against the periodic outpourings of violent Jew-hatred. The creation and survival of the Jewish state ended a millennium of Jewish vulnerability and brought to a close a long and anguished history in which Jews were assigned the role of victim-on-call.

Many people are put off by the Israeli national affect, which they take to be a mix of arrogance and bravado. This is a misperception of an attitude: We Jews no longer live - and die - at the whim of others.

That sense of security would evaporate the minute Iran had the weapon it seeks. Even if Israel does possess a second-strike capability, and even if the U.S. could be counted on to punish a nuclear attack on the Jewish state, the existential condition of the Jews would still have reverted to that experienced in pre-state Europe.

It would mean that Jews by the tens of thousands could die because someone else determined that it was time for them to do so.

British Preacher In Dramatic Law Suit

Methodist preacher to sue his own church over Israel bias -Robert Mendick

[A] legal dispute has been prompted by a controversial resolution passed at the Methodist Conference which called for a boycott of Israeli goods. If the legal action is successful, it would likely bring to an end all similar campaigns that boycott Israeli goods and services.

David Hallam [pictured], who preaches in Methodist churches around Birmingham, has accused his own church of wasting funds to pursue a vendetta against Israel. There are no Methodist churches in either Israel or the Occupied Territories.

Mr Hallam, 62, a former labour MEP, said: "What I object to is money which I am putting on the collection plate on a Sunday being used to fund a political campaign against the Jewish state. This is both discriminatory and a misuse of a charity's funds."

"The Methodist Church seems to think it has a God given right to tell Jews how to run their affairs. It is very disturbing we are getting involved in a territory where we don't have any members or churches."

Mr Hallam has recruited Paul Diamond, a barrister with expertise in human rights law and religious law, to bring the case. By singling out Israel, rather than other countries with often worse human rights records, Mr Diamond will claim the church is being deliberately prejudiced against the Jewish state. Mr Diamond will argue that the Methodist resolution passed in the summer is in breach of European human rights law and a wide-ranging European Union directive on racism.

The resolution so angered the Board of Deputies, the organisation that represents British Jewry, that it broke off all contact with the leadership of the Methodist Church.

The Board issued a statement at the time suggesting that the Methodist church should "hang its head in shame".

Monday, October 04, 2010

19 years of Prison for Iranian "Blogfather"

Persian "Blogfather" Sentenced to 19 Years -Meris Lutz

Hossein Derakhshan [pictured], who started the first Persian-language blogs, has been sentenced to 19 1/2 years in prison on charges related to his writing and his visit to Israel, according to the Iranian website Mashreq News.

Derakhshan was arrested two years ago when he returned to Iran... In 2006, Derakhshan blogged about traveling to Israel using his Canadian passport.
(Los Angeles Times)

Obama renews pressure on Israel to re-freeze construction

Obama Faces Steep Price to Save Talks -Lachlan Carmichael

The Obama administration may have to pay a steep price to rescue the fledgling Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East peace negotiator, said the administration "hyped, I think probably unnecessarily, the relaunch of the negotiation in Washington. They now need to pay or are considering paying both parties for simply sitting down at the table....If the price is this steep this early on, you can only imagine what will be required when they truly run into an impasse on the substance."

Israel Weighs Response to U.S. Offer -Gil Hoffman

Prime Minister Netanyahu began efforts to persuade cabinet members to support a deal with the U.S. in which Israel would limit construction in settlements for 60 days in return for American promises, including upgrading the IDF, letting the army remain in the Jordan Valley following an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, and a promise not to ask Israel for a further moratorium.

However, after a number of ministers publicly expressed opposition to restarting the construction freeze, Netanyahu has little to no chance of passing such a proposal in the cabinet.
(Jerusalem Post)

U.S. Assurances and the Settlement Freeze -Barry Rubin

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu couldn't continue the freeze because there isn't enough support in his coalition for doing so. Minor U.S. offers won't change that fact. Moreover, the main underlying problem is lack of confidence that the Palestinian Authority wants peace, is willing to compromise or will implement future commitments.

Consider: Why [is Obama] ask[ing] for a two-month extension on the freeze? Why not three or four? What is happening within two months? The U.S. election.

The draft letter promises the U.S. government would veto any UN Security Council resolution against Israel for the next year. This is insulting and signals to Israeli leaders that the current administration isn't exactly reliable. It suggests that after the year is over Washington will not veto such resolutions.

Finally, the U.S. pledges to sell more weapons to Israel after a peace agreement and the creation of a Palestinian state. Suggesting that this would happen if construction is frozen for two months simultaneously suggests that it won't happen otherwise, withdrawing something Israel was previously expecting.

According to the media, Netanyahu politely pointed out that when the U.S. originally demanded the freeze, it promised that it would secure concessions from Arab states. This didn't happen. It also promised that the Palestinians would be responsive and fulfill their commitments. That didn't happen either.
(Jerusalem Post)

Al-Qaeda planning for glory in Europe

The Latest Al-Qaeda Alarms -Bruce Riedel

Al-Qaeda planned a Mumbai-style, mass-casualty suicide attack in Denmark last year, the brainchild of Muhammad Ilyas Kashmiri, one of al-Qaeda's most dangerous operators.

His accomplice in the Copenhagen plot was an American of Pakistani descent, David Headley, who did the reconnaissance for the Mumbai attack.

He [did] the same in Denmark in 2009, visiting the target - the office of the newspaper that published the famous cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad - and photographed it and its surroundings, then delivering the videos to Kashmiri in Pakistan, who told Headley "the elders of al-Qaeda" were overseeing his mission.

Kashmiri also said al-Qaeda already had its hit team in Europe, and Headley met with them. They planned to storm the offices, execute all the Danes inside, and then fight to the death with the police.

We can derive from the Danish plot that al-Qaeda is indeed determined to replicate the Mumbai horror somewhere in Europe.
(Daily Beast)

Dozens of Europeans Terror Train in Pakistan -Kathy Gannon

Dozens of Muslim militants with European citizenship are believed to be hiding out in the lawless tribal area of northwestern Pakistan, Pakistani and Western intelligence officials say, training for missions that could include terror attacks in European capitals.

Al-Qaeda would likely turn to such extremists for a European plot because they can move freely in and out of Western cities.
(AP-Washington Post)


Euro Terror Alert -Raphael G. Satter

The discovery of an alleged terror plot against Europe owes at least some of its success to "voiceprint" technology that allows law enforcement to electronically match a voice to its owner.
The British eavesdropping agency GCHQ deployed voice identification software to help uncover the plot that officials say has targeted Germany, Britain and France - with famed sites such as Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower under close surveillance.
(AP-Washington Post)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Lion Dung Doubles As Military Tool

Israeli Innovation Fights False Alarms at Northern Border

Soldiers from a reserve unit currently on Israel's heavily-guarded border with Syria have found a novel solution to having their few hours' sleep each night disturbed by wild boars bumping into the border fence and setting off the alarm system, Yediot Ahronot reported.

With help from the Safari Park outside Tel Aviv, which supplies the product for free, the military engineers deposited loads of lion droppings alongside the fence, the smell of which apparently frightens the boars and deters them from approaching the fence.

Swedish Muslims not assimilating

Sweden's Workers Refuse to Enter Muslim Neighborhoods -Soeren Kern

[M]assive immigration flows to Sweden have transformed the country to the point where immigrants, many of whom refuse to learn Swedish and integrate into Swedish society, now make up almost 20% of the country's total population.

In Malmo, almost 40% of the population is foreign; in the city's mostly Muslim Rosengard neighborhood, fire and emergency workers refuse to enter without police protection.

Highlighting the increasing assertiveness of Sweden's Muslim community, the Muslim Council of Sweden recently dispatched letters to each of the major political parties demanding special legislation for Muslims including special public financing for the building of mosques, and that Imams should be allowed to teach Islam to Muslim children in public schools.
(Hudson Institute-New York)

More Anti-Israel Trash from Turkish Media

The trailer of a Turkish anti-Israel film set for release in January

Controversial Turkish movie: "Valley of the Wolves - Palestine"

The Turkish protest ship that was the scene of bloodshed during Israel's raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla is now the setting of an anti-Israeli film. Part of a movie is being filmed on board the Mavi Marmara, a spokesman for the Turkish Islamic charity that sponsored the flotilla, told The Associated Press.

The movie Valley of the Wolves — Palestine is a spinoff from the controversial but highly popular TV drama series Valley of the Wolves. The series sparked a diplomatic row between Turkey and Israel this year after one episode showed Israeli security forces kidnapping children and shooting old men.

This time, the hero Polat Alemdar and his team are given the task of hunting down the [flotilla] raid's military commander and planner, a fictional character called Mose Ben Eliezer, according to the film's website. "Mose destroys villages, kills children and throws everyone who helps Polat into prison," it says.
[Associated Press]

Correcting Anti-Zionist Metaphor

The Metaphor of the Falling Man -Benny Morris

A metaphor coined in The Atlantic:

A Zionist Jew, to save himself, leaps from a burning building (anti-Semitic and Holocaust Europe) and lands on an innocent bystander (a Palestinian), crushing him.

But the metaphor is disingenuous, and it requires amplification to conform to the facts of history.

In fact, as the leaping man nears the ground he offers the bystander a compromise - let's share the pavement, some for you, some for me. The bystander responds with a firm "no," and tries, again and again (1920, 1921, 1929, the Arab Revolt of 1936-39 and the 1947-48 War of Independence), to stab the falling man as he descends to the pavement.

Later, again and again, the leaping man, now firmly ensconced on the pavement, offers the bystander a compromise ("autonomy" in 1978, a "two-state solution" in 2000 and in 2008), and again and again the bystander says "no."

The falling man may have somewhat wronged the bystander, but the bystander was never an innocent one; he was an active agent in and a party to his own demise.

Karma: Anti-Israel Boycotters Promote Sales of Ahava

Boycott Turns into "Buycott" Ahava Lotions -Andy Campbell

Those who called for a boycott of Israeli-manufactured Ahava cosmetics ended up actually promoting the products as Brooklyn Heights residents flocked to Ricky's cosmetics shop with their wallets open.

"I came in when I saw the [protest] - I think [the boycotters] are absurd," said Ginger Berman, who bought a tub of Ahava bath salts.

Ricky's employees said that they sell out of Ahava products every time there is a protest.
(Brooklyn Papers)

Settlements, Shmedlements: Abrams tells Obama to shut up

Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks Are Suspended. So What? -Elliott Abrams

The sky is not falling. Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations were suspended on Sunday, perhaps briefly and perhaps for months. Yet war hasn't broken out, nor will it. Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) have been an on-again, off-again affair since they began with the Oslo Accords in 1993.

After Arafat's death in November 2004, negotiations between Israel and the PLO were almost continuous - until 2009. They broke down when the Obama administration made settlement construction the central issue. Abbas, who heads the PLO, could not allow President Obama to take a harder line than his own, so he echoed the demand. Under President Bush, an arrangement had been reached whereby the Israelis would build inside settlements but not expand them physically. The Obama administration junked that deal.

The good news is that while settlements capture headlines and excite diplomats, back in the real world progress is being made. The West Bank's economy will grow 8% this year. Regarding security, cooperation between Israeli and PA forces has never been better. Most of this good news came, of course, during 18 months when there were no peace negotiations at all.

Israelis and Palestinians could more easily find compromises if American officials would stop mentioning a freeze in every speech.
The writer handled Middle East affairs at the National Security Council from 2001 to 2009.
(Wall Street Journal)


Muslim Youth "experimenting"...No Charges in Portland Bomb Blast

Teen responsible for chemical bomb near Islamic Society of Portland -Helen Dailey

Police say there were no injuries or damage caused by a chemical bomb that went off in a parking lot near the Islamic Society of Portland.

The bomb went off in the lot between the Islamic Society and Back Bay Grill around 8:00 PM Tuesday night. Portland Police say Islamic elders came forward to tell them that a 13 year old from the Society was experimenting and was responsible for the bomb. Another bomb was also found undetonated.

Police say it's unclear if charges will be filed against the teenagers.
[ Affiliate]


The Junior Jihadist in Portland, Maine -Gadi Adelman

[B]ack in April of 2007 a student was suspended from the Lewiston Maine Middle School for putting a ham sandwich down on a table where a Muslim student was also sitting. It was referred to as a "hate crime".

The Maine middle school is calling the placing of the ham sandwich a "hate crime" and the local police are investigating the child. School Superintendent Leon Levesque said: "The school incident is being treated seriously as a hate incident!"

So, a ham sandwich is considered "a 'hate crime,' but an Islamic teenager sets off a bomb and "Police say it's unclear if charges will be filed against the teenager". Was the sandwich an exploding sandwich?

This is where we have come to in this country. Allah forbid we insult the Muslims in any way, shape or form, but charge the non-Muslim with a hate crime.

There is no telling what will happen with this 'Junior Jihadist', whether any charges will be filed and if so, if he will even be found guilty is anyone's guess.

[I]f that had been a non-Muslim 13 year old setting off a chemical bomb he would have been in cuffs and on every major network that night at 11pm.
[Weekly Blitz]