Thursday, March 31, 2011

"The Arab Boomerang" will whip back at us

The West is now an open goal for its enemies
-Melanie Phillips [pictured]

One can only gape in stunned amazement at the extent of the idiocy being displayed by the leaders of America, Britain and Europe over the ‘Arab Spring’ – which should surely be renamed ‘the Arab Boomerang’.

[T]he utterly brilliant achievement of Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama may be to help bring to power jihadis or others with interests inimical to the west, in countries in which they had previously had been confined to their box. Instead of being reasonably helpful to us, such states would therefore become intent on doing us harm.

So Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama would have made the world an infinitely more dangerous place and quite likely hugely strengthened the Islamic jihad against their own countries. Some achievement.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people are thought to have died in Syria’s brutal crackdown against unrest there. Yet the humanitarian hearts of Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama do not bleed for them.

The rule of thumb for western ‘progressives’ is that tyrants can stay in office if they are the mortal enemies of freedom, democracy and human rights and are helping the jihad – in which case it is a ‘war crime’ to get rid of them; the only ones they want to get rid of are those who are resisting the jihad.

[T]he west has not produced one single leader who possesses the insight, statesmanship and moral courage to deal with this time of unparalleled danger.
[Jewish World Review]

Libyan Rebels at Risk of Failure on Battlefield  -Robert Burns

Fresh battlefield setbacks by Libyan rebels seeking to oust Gaddafi are hardening a U.S. view that the poorly equipped opposition is probably incapable of prevailing without decisive Western intervention - either an all-out U.S.-led military assault on regime forces or a decision to arm the rebels.
(AP-Washington Post)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Political Mood in Israel

Photo: Agnieszka Traczewska, Jerusalem

Israel Is Resilient But Watchful -Yossi Klein Halevi

After a brutal decade, the Israeli public is resilient and sober.

This is not the time for far-reaching political initiatives. With the open question of whether Israel's peace with Egypt will survive the fall of Hosni Mubarak, Israelis are reassessing the wisdom of land-for-peace agreements with dictators. Israelis are asking a similar question about Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who is widely resented by Palestinians as corrupt and represents at best only part of his people.

Why negotiate a land for peace agreement with an unelected, one-party government? 
(Wall Street Journal)*

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Iran: Support the Revolution

VideoBite: new from the makers of Iranium

What If Gaddafi Had Gone Nuclear? -Michael Oren

Does anybody in Tehran believe that all options are truly on the table today?

While the allied intercession in Libya may send a message of determination to Iran, it might also stoke the Iranian regime's desire to become a nuclear power and so avoid Gaddafi's fate.
(Wall Street Journal)

"The Middle East Burns"

A Gift for the Obvious -Cal Thomas

If there were an award for stating the obvious when it comes to the Middle East it would go to The New York Times. On its front page last Friday, the newspaper ran a story headlined, "Muslim Group is Rising Force in New Egypt."

What group would that be? Why, the Muslim Brotherhood, of course. We have been repeatedly assured by members of the Obama administration that the Brotherhood are a small minority with no major influence in Egypt and that those Cairo protesters clamoring for "democracy" would be the ones to chart the country's future. Each time another myth is busted, the deniers of what is happening throughout the region simply create a new myth, one they desperately cling to against all evidence to the contrary.

In last Saturday's Wall Street Journal, John Kerry (D-MA) wrote that what is taking place in the Middle East "could be the most important geostrategic shift since the fall of the Berlin Wall." That's the wrong analogy. When the Berlin Wall fell, people were liberated. What is happening in the Middle East could be the most important geostrategic shift since communists came to power in Russia and China, oppressing and killing millions.

This is just the beginning. Saudi Arabia is next and already the fault lines in that creaking monarchy are visible. The hand of Iran is behind much of this turmoil and behind Iran is al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden's vision for the toppling of every regime in the region, each to be replaced by the most religiously fundamentalist and politically repressive of leaders.

While President Obama fiddles, the Middle East burns.
[Jewish World Review]

The Syrian spring -Caroline B. Glick

Just a month after they demanded Mubarak's ouster, an acute case of buyer's remorse is now plaguing his Western detractors. As the Brotherhood's stature rises higher by the day, Western media outlets as diverse as The New York Times and Commentary Magazine are belatedly admitting that Mubarak was better than the available alternatives.

Likewise in Libya, there is a growing recognition that the NATO-supported rebels are not exactly the French Resistance. Last Friday's Daily Telegraph report confirming that al-Qaeda-affiliated veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are now counted among the rebels the US is supporting against Gaddafi, struck a deep blow to public support for the war.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates's admission that Gaddafi posed no threat to the US and that its military intervention against Gaddafi does not serve any vital interest similarly served to sour the American public on the war effort.

[T]he political upheavals ensnaring the Arab world did not begin in December when Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire in Tunisia. Arguably, the fire was lit in April 2003 when jubilant Iraqis brought down a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.
[Jewish World Review]

George W. Obama -Daniel Pipes, PhD

Barack Obama's rejection of George W. Bush's Middle East policies in large part fueled meteoric his own rise to the top of American politics. He reviled the war in Iraq, criticized the one in Afghanistan, promised to close down Guantánamo, establish a new respect of Islam, and quickly solve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Two years later, what is striking is how much Obama's policies have come to reflect Bush's – in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in the "war on terror," in the Arab-Israeli conflict, in the responses to turmoil in Tunisia and Egypt – and now in Libya, as the 3,400-word speech he gave last night exemplifies. Certain flourishes (such as the jibe at the costs of the Iraq effort), to be sure, reminded the audience who was speaking, but the overall theme of a noble United States working with allies to help an Arabic-speaking people in danger to win the freedom "to express themselves and choose their leaders" could have been spoken by his predecessor.

Obama's rapid shedding of his own ideas and his adoption of Bush's policies suggests that, however great their philosophical differences, Americans have reached a working consensus on Middle East policy.
[National Review Online]*

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor: A Consistent Supporter of Israel

Elizabeth Taylor at the Western Wall in Jerusalem circa 1982

Elizabeth Taylor & Eddie Fisher

Elizabeth Taylor, 1932-2011 -Benjamin Ivry

Few, if any conversions made the lasting impact of the ceremony at Hollywood’s Temple Israel on March 27, 1959, at which a 27-year old Elizabeth Taylor took the Hebrew name Elisheba Rachel and converted to Judaism.

After studying for about nine months and attending synagogue regularly, Taylor did convert, shortly before her May 12, 1959, wedding to [Eddie] Fisher. 
[The Forward]
[Hat Tip: Alan G]


Elizabeth Taylor and Israel, a lasting love -Nathan Burstein

The world lost an icon with the death of Elizabeth Taylor — and Israel lost one of its best friends in Hollywood. In a life famously shared with seven husbands, Taylor’s relationship with Israel was one of her longest.

It began in 1959, when Taylor, then a recent convert to Judaism, purchased Israel Bonds in such volumes that her films were boycotted in Arab nations.

Eight years and two Oscars later, Taylor canceled a visit to Moscow to protest the U.S.S.R.’s condemnation of Israel in the Six Day War. She would later sign a letter denouncing the United Nations’ odious “Zionism is racism” resolution, and in 1976, she offered to trade places with one of the hostages held by Palestine Liberation Organization hijackers from a flight originating in Tel Aviv.

She lent her star power to Israel with a 1982-83 visit — she met with Prime Minister Menachem Begin — and by publicly supporting the right of the Soviet Union’s trapped Jewry to emigrate there.

[B]y and large, gone are the days of advocacy like Taylor’s, of stars aligning publicly and treating Israel as a cause.

In 1977, the actress and her sixth husband, soon-to-be-senator John Warner of Virginia, were honored in Beverly Hills for their work with the Jewish National Fund (JNF), an organization that had transformed Israeli deserts into forests. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a news service, reported that a section of forest near Jerusalem would be named in their honor.
[The Washington Post]

Why a surge of terror attacks in Israel?

Understanding the Violence in Israel  -John Hannah

Big Iranian weapons shipments seized off the coast of Gaza; an Israeli family of five slaughtered in their beds; a barrage of more than 90 rockets fired at Israeli population centers over the past few days; and the terrorist attack at a bus station in Jerusalem are not isolated events.

These outrages are better understood as part of a strategic campaign by hardened terrorist groups, closely tied to Iran, Syria, and Hizbullah, to divert attention from the popular uprisings that have targeted tyrannical governments across the Middle East. Iran's mullahs know full well that the bell tolls for them, as the contagion of popular uprising now at work across Muslim lands threatens to reignite the Green Movement that in 2009 shook the Islamic Republic to its core. Iran, Syria, and their allies want to change the subject as fast as possible. The easiest way to do that has always been to trigger a major dustup with Israel.
(National Review)

A Brutal Reminder Why Israel Must Keep Tight Security Controls -Editorial

While the world's eyes have turned to Libya and Egypt, the Palestinian rejectionists are seizing the moment, resuming their campaign to attack and terrorize the Israeli people. To all those who laugh off the need for security checkpoints in the territories, this is why they're a must: because a hardened band of violent Palestinians will accept nothing but perpetual war.
(New York Daily News)

Tourist from UK: terror's victim

Scottish Bible Translator Killed by Jerusalem Bus Stop Bomb  -Laura Roberts

Mary Jean Gardner [pictured], 55, was caught in the bomb blast at the central bus station in Jerusalem. A well-regarded Bible translator, Gardner came to Israel to study Hebrew. Heading to a restaurant to meet a friend, she happened to be passing the bus stop on foot when the bomb exploded.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Predictable: Egypt takes the wrong turn

Islamist Group Is Rising Force in a New Egypt -Michael Slackman

In post-revolutionary Egypt, where hope and confusion collide in the daily struggle to build a new nation, religion has emerged as a powerful political force, following an uprising that was based on secular ideals. The Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group once banned by the state, is at the forefront, transformed into a tacit partner with the military government that many fear will thwart fundamental changes.

It is also clear that the young, educated secular activists who initially propelled the nonideological revolution are no longer the driving political force.
“We are all worried,” said Amr Koura, 55, a television producer, reflecting the opinions of the secular minority. “The young people have no control of the revolution anymore. It was evident in the last few weeks when you saw a lot of bearded people taking charge. The youth are gone.”
“Freedom is nice; so is democracy,” said Rifaat Abdul Massih, 39, a construction worker. “But I’m a Christian, and we are a bit worried about the future."
[New York Times]

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Survivor of family massacre speaks

VideoBite: Tamar Fogel speaks to a reporter...I'm sure you'll agree that she speaks with a wisdom well beyond her years.  Let me be the first to suggest that, in 20 years or so, she could make an excellent Prime Minister. 

Bob Dylan Israel Bound

Bob Dylan seen here at Jerusalem's Western Wall

Bob Dylan planning June concert in Israel

Folk legend Bob Dylan is apparently planning to return to Israel for a concert on June 20, according to a fan-run web site.

The web site reported that Dylan would take the stage for one night at the Ramat Gan Stadium, where Canadian singer Leonard Cohen played in 2009.

Dylan has played in Israel twice, in 1987 and 1993.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Jerusalem Terror Hit

Bomb explodes in central Jerusalem -Nir Hasson

A woman was killed and over 30 were injured after a bomb exploded in front of the International Convention Center in Jerusalem. This was the first terror attack in Jerusalem after a near-three-year lull.


Dear Reuters, You Must Be Kidding  -Jeffrey Goldberg

A Reuters story on Wednesday's Jerusalem bombing reported: "Police said it was a 'terrorist attack' - Israel's term for a Palestinian strike."

Those Israelis and their crazy terms! I mean, referring to a fatal bombing of civilians as a "terrorist attack"?

Who are they kidding? Everyone knows that a fatal bombing of Israeli civilians should be referred to as a "teachable moment." Or as a "venting of certain frustrations." Or as "an understandable reaction to Jewish perfidy."

I suppose Reuters will mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11 by referring to the attacks as "an exercise in urban renewal."
(Atlantic Monthly)

Kiss Bassist: Israel Boycotters "Fools"

Kiss Bassist Gene Simmons Calls Boycotters of Israel "Fools"

Kiss' Israeli-born singer-musician Gene Simmons, 61, said in an interview that those musicians who refuse to perform in his homeland "are fools."

"I was born here and I'm proud of it," he said during his first return to Israel since leaving the country as a child more than 50 years ago.

Simmons, who was born Chaim Witz, recalled his father, a carpenter, taking his assault rifle and heading off to military service on weekends. He said his mother, a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust, taught him that "every day above ground is a good day."
(AP-Washington Post)
Note: For a more extensive interview click HERE

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why Libya? Why not Iran?

America's descent into strategic dementia -Caroline Glick 

One of the most astounding aspects of the US debate on Libya in recent weeks has been the scant attention paid to the nature of the rebels. The rebels are reportedly represented by the so-called National Transitional Council led by several of Gaddafi's former ministers. But while these men - who are themselves competing for the leadership mantle - are the face of the NTC, it is unclear who stands behind them. Only nine of the NTC's 31 members have been identified.

Unfortunately, available data suggest that the rebels championed as freedom fighters...are not exactly liberal democrats. Indeed, the data indicate that Gaddafi's opponents are more aligned with al-Qaida than with the US.

None of this proves that the US is now assisting an al-Qaida takeover of Libya. But it certainly indicates that the forces being assisted by the US in Libya are probably no more sympathetic to US interests than Gaddafi is. At a minimum, the data indicate the US has no compelling national interest in helping the rebels in overthrow Gaddafi.

And yet, when the mullahs stole the 2009 presidential elections for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and then violently repressed the pro-Western opposition Green Movement, Obama refused to lift a finger. 

The significance of the US's descent into strategic irrationality bodes ill not just for US allies, but for America itself.
[Jerusalem Post]

Back to the Shores of Tripoli? -Daniel Pipes, PhD
MARCH 10th , 2011 [prior to the Libya assault]

The official hymn of the U.S. Marine Corps famously begins with "From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we fight our country's battles on the land as on the sea." The reference to Tripoli alludes to the Battle of Derna of 1805, the first overseas land combat fought by U.S. troops and a decisive American victory.

Recent fighting in Libya prompts a question: Should the marines be sent anew to the shores of Tripoli, this time to protect not the high seas but the rebellious peoples of Libya rising against their government?

My first instinct is readily to agree to a no-fly zone, thereby improving the odds for the valiant opposition. [S]uch intervention will end the wretched 42-year rule of an outlandish and repulsive figure.

But instinct does not make for sound policy. An act of war requires context, guidelines, and consistency.

However easy the operation might look, Qaddafi could have unexpected reserves of power that could lead to a long and messy engagement. If he survives, he could become all the more virulent. However repulsive he may be, his opponents could be yet more threatening to U.S. interests.
[National Review Online]

Monday, March 21, 2011

Arab League turns on Obama

A bomb from an allied aircraft exploded among vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Qaddafi

A fighter jet belonging to Gaddafi's forces is seen burning, right before it crashed into the ground

Rebels celebrate following Allied bombing

Allies Target Gaddafi's Ground Forces  -David D. Kirkpatrick & Elisabeth Bumiller

American and European militaries intensified their barrage of Col. Gaddafi's forces by air and sea, as the mission moved beyond taking away his ability to use Libyan airspace, to obliterating his hold on the ground as well, allied officials said. 
(New York Times)

Arab League Condemns Bombing of Libya -Edward Cody

Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa deplored the broad scope of the U.S.-European bombing campaign in Libya and said that he would call a league meeting to reconsider Arab approval of the Western military intervention.

Moussa said the Arab League's approval of a no-fly zone was not designed to endorse the intense bombing and missile attacks on Tripoli and on Libyan ground forces, whose images have filled Arab television screens for two days. "What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone," he said.

A shift away from the Arab League endorsement would constitute a major setback to the U.S.-European campaign. Western leaders brandished the Arab League decision as a justification for their decision to move militarily. Despite Western efforts to enlist Arab military forces, only Qatar has announced that it would participate in the campaign.
(Washington Post)

Friday, March 18, 2011

VideoBite: The UN Song on Anti-Semitism

VideoBite: A great Purim news spoof

Al-Qaeda's foray into the women's magazine market

Al-Qaeda Women's Magazine: "Cover Up and Marry a Martyr" 
-Julius Cavendish

Not content with launching an English-language magazine called Inspire [pictured above] that featured an article called "How to Make a Bomb in Your Mom's Kitchen," al-Qaeda has followed up with a magazine for women, Al-Shamikha, which features a niqab-clad woman posing with a sub-machine gun on its cover.

It includes advice on finding the right man ("marrying a mujahideen" [Muslim fighter]) and how to achieve a perfect complexion (stay inside with your face covered).
[Note: this is not a Purim spoof...quite real]

Purim News Spoof

J Street Protests Purim; Claims Haman Was ‘Misunderstood’

J Street, the pro-Israel, pro-peace, propane and pro-forma lobby, announced today that the observance of the ancient Jewish holiday of Purim only serves to further alienate Jews from their Iranian and Arab enemies who seek to destroy them.

Jews should not be reveling in the deaths of Persians that took place thousands of years ago,” Jeremy (Uncle) Ben asserted.

After all, how would Jews like it if Arabs reveled in their misfortunes?”

Informed that many Arabs do revel in Jewish misfortunes, he replied: “Oh,” and later said he never claimed otherwise.

Uncle Ben explained that J Street specifically sought to ban the wearing of Purim costumes by Jewish children, as well as the general spirit of gleefulness demonstrated by Jewish adults.

Our official Purim policy is Don’t Mask, Don’t Kvell,” he insisted.
[The Jewish Week - Purim Spoof 2011]

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bound for Gaza: Iran's advanced weaponry almost reaches Hamas

Israel Says Seized Arms Justify Gaza Blockade -Ran Tzabar

Israel displayed advanced arms that it found aboard a cargo ship seized in the Mediterranean Sea, and pointed to the haul as proof of the need to blockade Gaza.

"To all those who questioned and attacked and criticized Israel for stopping Gaza-bound ships in order to check them, here is the answer," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at Ashdod port, where the guided missiles, artillery rounds and assault-rifle ammunition were laid out.

"Their origin is in Iran, they passed through Syria and were en route to terror elements in Gaza. But their ultimate target was Israeli civilians," Netanyahu said. "It is our duty, not just our right, to stop these ships and remove their weaponry."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Raw Grief: Tamar Fogel "I will be a mother to my siblings" ...with video

Video: Tamar Fogel and family visited by Prime Minister Netanyahu during Shivah following the funeral

Fogel Funeral

Tamar Fogel, a 12-year-old girl who just lost her parents and three of her siblings to a terrorist attack, told Israel Hayom newspaper that she intends to be a mother to her surviving siblings.

"I will be strong and succeed in overcoming this," Tamar said. "I understand the task that stands before me, and I will be a mother to my siblings."

Tamar's parents, Ruth and Udi, along with her siblings, Yoav, 11, Elad, 4, and three-month-old Hadas, were murdered Saturday night by terrorists affiliated with the Fatah party. Including Tamar, two other children survived the attack, Roi, 8, and two-year-old Yishai.

Chaim Fogel, Udi's father, told the newspaper what he first saw when he entered the Itamar home:

"We came to take the surviving grandchildren out of the Valley of Death," he said. "I don’t wish on anyone in the world the sight I saw. It is horrendous, beyond description, beyond comprehension."
[World Jewish Daily]

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Combating Accusations of Israel Apartheid...with images

Cheering Netanyahu

Are Israeli Settlers Human? - Bret Stephens

As one who has long entertained doubts about the wisdom and viability of much of the settlement enterprise, I find myself cheering Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for announcing, in the wake of the Fogel family massacre, the construction of hundreds of additional homes in the settlements.

Israel's consistent mistake since the peace process began nearly 18 years ago was to suppose that conspicuous displays of reasonableness and moderation would beget likewise on the other side. The reality has been closer to the opposite.

For 60 years, no nation has been held to such stringent moral account, or such ceaseless international hectoring, as Israel. And no people has been held to so slight an account as the Palestinians. Palestinians have grown accustomed to the waiver the rest of the world has consistently granted them over the years no matter what they do.
(Wall Street Journal) 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Israeli Family Murdered: world yawns and calls them 'settlers'

The victims of the Itamar massacre: 3-month old Hadas Fogel, 4-year-old Elad Fogel, 10-year-old Yoav Fogel, Udi Fogel, 37 and Ruth Fogel, 36. The family home after the attack is also shown.  May these five souls, so violently ripped from their bodies, find peace in the next world...such peace eluded them in this world. May the perpetrators be brought to justice swiftly. May G-d help the three surviving children.

IDF hunting for perpetrators of brutal Itamar killings -Yaakov Katz

A mother, father and three of their children were stabbed to death late Friday night by at least one suspected terrorist who infiltrated Itamar southeast of Nablus.

The killings occurred shortly after 10 p.m., when one or two attackers jumped the fence that surrounds Itamar and broke into the home of Ruth and Udi Fogel, aged 35 and 36, respectively. The attackers went room to room, stabbing the parents, a three-month-old girl, Hadas, and two boys, Elad, three, and Yoav, 11.

Two other children – aged two and eight – were in a side room but were not attacked. The family’s oldest child, 12- year-old Tamar, was out of the house at the time [and discovered the gruesome scene].

Palestinians reported that a faction of Fatah’s al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade had claimed responsibility.

“The children were literally slaughtered,” an IDF officer said, describing the scene, including the children’s toys spilled out on the floor and covered in blood. “This is one of the most brutal attacks we have ever seen.”

The IDF was in contact with Palestinian Authority security forces, but senior officers said the army would not rely on the PA to catch the perpetrators.
[Jerusalem Post]
[Hat tip: Lara M-Z]


Gaza celebrates -Elior Levy

Gaza residents from the southern city of Rafah hit the streets Saturday to celebrate the terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Itamar where five family members were murdered in their sleep, including three children.

Residents handed out candy and sweets, one resident saying that joy "is a natural response..."

Baby Killers: BBC Butchers the Real Story -Simon Plosker

[T]he most shocking and callous treatment of the incident was produced by the BBC. While media outlets turned towards a [reactive] announcement of approval for construction in Israeli settlements, most at least gave prominence to the [emerging and] appalling details of the terrorist attack even if this became part of a story relating to settlements.

The BBC, however, virtually buried the Fogel family’s massacre, once again demonstrating its obsession with the settlement issue above all other issues relating to the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
Note: The Israeli government, in consulation with the children's grandparents, have taken the unusual step of releasing gruesome photos of the massacre.  Please take note of this CONTENT WARNING: the photos are hard to view.  Click here to view.

Israel Demands CNN Apology over Attack Coverage  -Attila Somfalvi

Israel's Government Press Office director Oren Helman sent a letter to CNN's Bureau Chief Kevin Flower saying he was astonished at the network's coverage of [Fri]day's terrorist attack in Itamar. A CNN website report avoided describing the event as a terror attack.

CNN called the perpetrator an "intruder" and an "assailant," despite the IDF's official statement that forces were searching for a "terrorist."

The BBC also referred to an "intruder," leaving readers to deduce the family members died in a failed burglary attempt.
(Ynet News)

A Massacre is a Massacre -Nahum Barnea

The murder in Itamar is so shocking, so horrible, that it makes the debate over settlements irrelevant. Against the murderer, who pulls out a knife and butchers in cold blood three children in their sleep, the difference between Tel Aviv and Itamar is erased.
(Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew, 13Mar11)

Fogel Family Laid to Rest

20,000 people escorted the bodies of the five members of the Fogel family as they were laid to rest Sunday in Jerusalem.

Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon predicted that the murderers of the Fogel family will have city squares named after them and be honored by the Palestinian Authority.
(Jerusalem Post)

Israel Approves Housing in Response to Itamar Murders
-Jonathan Lis & Barak Ravid

The ministerial committee on settlement affairs voted to approve construction of 400 housing units in West Bank settlements after Friday night's terror attack in Itamar. Israel informed the U.S. of the plan before publicizing it.

Netanyahu Blames Palestinian Incitement for Itamar Attack 

"There is no justification and there can be neither excuse nor forgiveness for the murder of children. I expect a similar condemnation, and I demand a similar condemnation, from the Palestinian Authority. I am disappointed by the weak and mumbled statements....There has never been anything like this, in which terrorists entered a home and cut children's throats."

"I demand that the Palestinian Authority stop the incitement that is conducted on a daily basis in their schools, mosques and the media under their control. The time has come to stop this double-talk in which the Palestinian Authority outwardly talks peace, and allows - and sometimes leads - incitement at home."
(Prime Minister's Office)

Poll: A Third of Palestinians Support Stabbing Attack on Jewish Family 

Palestinian pollsters say a third of Palestinians surveyed supported an attack last month that saw five members of an Israeli family stabbed to death in their home in a West Bank settlement.
(AP-Washington Post)

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Classy Oppressor: Vogue's Mis-step in the MidEast

Asma al-Assad, the dictators wife

Syrian Dictator's Wife Featured in Vogue -Bari Weiss and David Feith

Vogue magazine this month published a 3,000-word paean to that "freshest and most magnetic of first ladies," Syria's Asma al-Assad [pictured]. Apparently Vogue missed the trend: Dictators are out this season.

We're told that Mrs. Assad favors Christian Louboutin designer heels - easily $700 a pair. She also sports Chanel sunglasses and travels in a Falcon 900 jet.

Just another 21st-century woman trying to do it all in style.
(Wall Street Journal)


Assad Regime Has Reputation -Arnaud de Borchgrave

In 1982, Syrian President Hafez Assad was on an official state visit to Mali when the Muslim Brotherhood almost succeeded in killing him. He ducked a burst of AK-47 fire and then kicked a hand grenade to one side before hurling himself under a table - and survived with a few metal fragments in his legs. Hours later, almost 1,000 Islamist prisoners were murdered in their cells by units loyal to the president's brother, Rifaat. Word of the massacre reached Umar Jawwad (aka Abu Bakr), a local guerrilla commander, who called for a general uprising in the city of Hama.

The president mobilized 12,000 troops, including 200 tanks, ringed the city, and warned through loudspeakers that anyone who didn't leave immediately would be considered an insurgent and killed. A three-day air bombardment was followed with artillery shelling. The few survivors were lined up against walls and executed. Later, Rifaat bragged that they had killed at least 38,000. It was genocide by any definition.
(Washington Times)

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Friday, March 04, 2011

Vote for Bruce's MidEast Soundbites

Vote for Bruce's MidEast Soundbites...or more accurately my posting titled: "Find the Terrorist, Not the Bomb."
Click here or on the icon above

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Warm Icicles mark Obama's Jewish Communal meeting

Obama to Jewish Leaders: "Search Your Souls" on Israel's Seriousness for Making Peace
-Ben Harris

In an hour-long meeting [pictured above] with about 50 representatives from the Jewish community's chief foreign policy umbrella group, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, President Obama reportedly urged Jewish leaders to "search your souls" over Israel's seriousness about making peace.

While top leaders welcomed the meeting, several participants told JTA that the President implied that Israel bears primary responsibility for advancing the peace process.

Supplemental Statement on Meeting with President Obama

[T]he meeting was conducted in an atmosphere of warmth, friendship and openness and there was no [overt] expression of hostility toward Israel or its government.
(Conference of Presidents, 2March2011)

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Iran's Opposition Leaders Vanish Without a Trace

Mystery Deepens on Status of Opposition Leaders
-Neil MacFarquhar

The two main Iranian opposition leaders, Mir Hussein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, have not been seen in public or by their adult children since just before the Feb. 14 protests which they called for, ostensibly in solidarity with Arab uprisings but which quickly transformed into antigovernment rallies. The Web site Kaleme said both men and their wives were now incarcerated at Heshmatieh prison in Tehran.

"Moussavi and Karroubi may actually prove to be more effective opposition symbols in jail," said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington. "Their release will now likely become an international cause celebre."
(New York Times)

Moriah Carey's Role in the MidEast Quagmire

It was very difficult to find an image of Ms. Carey that did not expose more of her than this modest blog wishes to share

WikiLeaks Detail Qaddafi Exploits -Scott Shane 

After New Year’s Day 2009, Western media reported that Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, a son of the Libyan leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, had paid Mariah Carey $1 million to sing just four songs at a bash on the Caribbean island of St. Barts.

In the newspaper he controlled, Seif indignantly denied the report — the big spender, he said, was his brother, Muatassim, Libya’s national security adviser, according to an American diplomatic cable from the capital, Tripoli.
[New York Times] 
[Hat Tip: Daniel Pipes]

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Some Optimism for MidEast's Future

My Optimism about the New Arab Revolt -Daniel Pipes, PhD

Pessimism serves as a career enhancer in Middle East studies and I am known for doom-and-gloom. But, with due hesitation, I see changes that could augur a new era, one in which infantilized Arabic-speakers mature into adults. One rubs one's eyes at this transformation, awaiting its reversal. So far, however, it has held.

Perhaps the most genial symbol of this maturation is the pattern of street demonstrators cleaning up after themselves. No longer are they wards of the state dependent on it for services; of a sudden, they are citizens with a sense of civic responsibility.

While cautious about premising foreign policies on this abrupt improvement, it would also be a mistake to reject it. The rebel movements need an opportunity to find themselves and to act as adults. Time has come to discard the soft bigotry of low expectations; speaking Arabic or Persian does not make one incapable of building democratic means to attain free ends.
[National Review Online]

"Israel First" in the least for now

The "Israel First" Myth -James Taranto

It has been the accepted view among Mideast "experts" for decades that if only Israel would recognize a Palestinian state, we would have peace in the Middle East.

Hardly anybody is saying that now. In truth, a more democratic Arab world is a necessary precondition for peace...
(Wall Street Journal)

The Future of Arab Anti-Semitism

Can the Arab World Leave Anti-Semitism Behind? -Richard Cohen

[N]owhere in the Middle East is anti-Semitism considered aberrant or weird.

Since the days of Husseini, Arab nations have shamefully been granted an exception to the standards expected of the rest of the world.
(Washington Post)