Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Campus Verdict on the Cutting Edge of Free Speech

Though they should be, these students are not bowing their heads in shame. 
Four of the ten disruptive Muslim students pray together near courtroom.

Jury Finds Muslim Students Guilty of Disrupting Speech
-Lauren Williams, Nicole Santa Cruz & Mike Anton

A Santa Ana, California jury found 10 Muslim students guilty of disrupting a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren at UC Irvine last year. The students were placed on three years of informal probation, and ordered to perform 56 hours of community service.

"History requires us to draw a line in the sand against this sort of organized thuggery," said District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, who called the students' disruptions "censorship by a few."

Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Irvine School of Law not[ed] that speech used to squelch another's First Amendment right is not constitutionally protected.
(Los Angeles Times)

Squaring off at the UN Part 2

No Moral Equivalence Between Abbas and Netanyahu -Jonathan S. Tobin

The media is treating the dueling speeches Friday at the UN General Assembly by Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as morally equivalent. But, to put it bluntly, Abbas lied, and Netanyahu told the truth. Abbas claimed the Palestinians came to the UN armed only with "hopes and dreams." But as Netanyahu later replied, the Palestinians had come with "hopes, dreams - and 10,000 missiles and Grad rockets supplied by Iran."

This UN circus initiated by the Palestinian leader is nothing more than a charade intended to bolster his standing at home and to avoid the necessity of engaging in U.S.-sponsored peace talks with Israel.

Israel Extends Its Hand in Peace -Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly on September 23:

•"Israel has extended its hand in peace from the moment it was established 63 years ago....I extend it to the people of Egypt and Jordan, with renewed friendship for neighbors with whom we have made peace. I extend it to the people of Turkey, with respect and good will....I extend it to the people of Syria, Lebanon and Iran, with awe at the courage of those fighting brutal repression. But most especially, I extend my hand to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace."

•"The truth is that Israel wants peace with a Palestinian state, but the Palestinians want a state without peace."

•"The world around Israel is definitely becoming more dangerous. Militant Islam has already taken over Lebanon and Gaza. It's determined to tear apart the peace treaties between Israel and Egypt and between Israel and Jordan. It's poisoned many Arab minds against Jews and Israel, against America and the West. It opposes not the policies of Israel but the existence of Israel."

•"We withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 and from every square inch of Gaza in 2005. That didn't calm the militant Islamic storm that threatens us. It only brought the storm closer and made it stronger....When Israel left Lebanon and Gaza, the moderates didn't defeat the radicals, the moderates were devoured by the radicals."

•"Israelis are prepared to have a Palestinian state in the West Bank, but we're not prepared to have another Gaza there. And that's why we need to have real security arrangements, which the Palestinians simply refuse to negotiate with us."
(Prime Minister's Office)


Abbas Strikes Out -Elliott Abrams

The Abbas speech was a nasty piece of work filled with harshly worded denunciations. His reference to the "Holy Land" as the home of Jesus Christ and the place from which Mohammed ascended to heaven excluded all references to Jews and Jewish history.

Abbas' UN ploy may work for him in terms of his own domestic politics - for a while, anyway. Instead of being the man who lost Gaza, he may briefly be the man who "bravely" took the statehood issue to the UN. But he did not take the Palestinians one step closer to peace.
(National Review)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Reflections on the UN General Assembly Circus

Israel's path to victory -Caroline B. Glick

By Thursday, it appeared that the most likely outcome of the [Palestinian] statehood bid will not be a quick US veto in the Security Council, but rather something much worse for Israel. Talk had already begun of a long drawn out period of deliberation at the Security Council which could last weeks or months or even longer.

The idea is that during that time, the US and the Europeans will place massive pressure on Israel to make more concessions to the Palestinians in order to restart stillborn negotiations. And the specter of a Security Council endorsement of Palestinian statehood will loom over Israel's head the entire time like the Sword of Damocles.
[Jewish World Review]

Netanyahu Readies for Showdown with Abbas at UN -Tovah Lazaroff

An Israeli official said countries have begun to realize that approving the UN membership bid of a state that is in the midst of a conflict sets a dangerous precedent for negotiated solutions in any conflict worldwide.
(Jerusalem Post)

A Losing Battle -Aaron David Miller

The gaps on the core issues, particularly Jerusalem and refugees, have been unbridgeable for more than a decade now. The current PA lacks a monopoly over the forces of violence, political strategy, resources, even people. And no Israeli government will be willing to make a deal with a partner that doesn't control and silence all of the guns of Palestine.
[Foreign Policy]

Palestinian State Is Wishful Thinking -Jordan Sekulow & Brett Joshpe

[T]he Palestinians lack the stability of a state. Of the PA's $4 billion annual budget, more than $500 million comes directly from the U.S. European countries also provide hundreds of millions of dollars, and nearly half of the remaining budget requires Israeli assistance.
Jordan Sekulow is the executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice. Brett Joshpe is a lawyer with the ACLJ.
(Washington Times)

Without Guarantees of Peace, Palestinian State Is a Bad Idea -Editorial

Israel encompasses about one-tenth of 1 percent of the Middle East – leaving the remaining 99.9 percent to Arabs. And yet, Arabs carry on as if Israel was about to crowd all of them into the Mediterranean.

When Israel was established in 1948, the notion of "Palestinianism" was more than a little fuzzy. As Arab Christian writer Joseph Farah notes, "There is no language known as Palestinian. There is no distinct Palestinian culture. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc."

How is it that the world, and the United Nations, has managed to ignore all the rockets that Palestinians have rained down on Israel's civilian society all these years? Not to mention all the suicide bombers. Now the reward is to be statehood? The truth is, there would be a Palestine already today if Palestinians had been more concerned with peaceful coexistence and statehood and their own well-being and less bent on killing Jews and trying to win the PR war.
(Augusta Chronicle)

Showdown in the Middle East -David Warren

The habit of throwing money at international whiners has become the preferred method of keeping peace in the world.

Let us take Palestine for our example. Neither the West Bank nor Gaza now needs an economy. Rather than face down the root problem of violence, the "international community" opted to buy the Palestinians off.

In the course of the last two decades, extraordinary amounts have been delivered to the West Bank, then Gaza, in a slew of bilateral and multilateral programs, mostly from the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Israel. So much that the food markets of Palestine are well-stocked, and there are many examples of conspicuous affluence. This hardly means everyone is thriving, however, for much of this money is corruptly appropriated.

The reduction of tensions in the West Bank can be attributed entirely to Israeli security measures, in combination with the PA's simply desisting from direct sponsorship of violence, as a tactical measure to collect the aid. In other words, money buys love only temporarily. On both sides of the Atlantic, the strategy remains: "How much must we pay to buy you off this time?"

The alternative, tough-love option being: "What if we cut you off?"
(Ottawa Citizen-Canada)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Protests follow Ahmadinejad to the UN

Creative protests target Ahmadinejad and The Warwick Hotel

Angry at Abbas, Obama delivers the first real Pro-Israel Speech of his Presidency

President Obama at the UN

Obama Tells Israelis What They've Been Waiting to Hear -Herb Keinon

It took some 34 months, but on Wednesday at the UN Israel finally heard the speech it wanted to hear from President Obama.

This was a dose of empathy and understanding Obama had not articulated strongly in the past. Obama did not jettison his desire to see a Palestinian state, he just gave articulate expression to the truth that it will only come about through talks. He acknowledged that there were no shortcuts, and even spoke of the need for the Palestinians to compromise as well.
(Jerusalem Post)

An Impassioned Pro-Israel Obama Speech at the UN -Jeffrey Goldberg

Obama and his administration are pissed-off about UN hypocrisy on Israel, and are also angry at the disrespect shown them by Mahmoud Abbas. In other words, it's Abbas' turn to feel Obama's wrath today. Netanyahu is off the hot seat for the moment.
(Atlantic Monthly)

Abbas Is Having the Time of His Life -Chemi Shalev

Statesmen and diplomats from around the globe are falling over themselves in a last-ditch effort to dissuade Mahmoud Abbas from pursuing his bid for UN recognition of Palestinian statehood and he is enjoying every minute.
Members of the Middle East Quartet are frantically exchanging fresh formulas that might find favor with Abbas. The rather uncharismatic Abbas has suddenly been cast as a Caesar who gazes at the arena below him before turning his thumbs down, as the Arabs and Palestinians ecstatically cheer him on.
Palestinians Refused Statehood in the Past Because It's Not Their Real Goal
-Jeff Jacoby

Were Palestinian statehood Abbas' real goal, he could have delivered it to his people three years ago. In 2008, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert proposed the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state on territory equal (after land swaps) to 100% of the West Bank and Gaza, with free passage between the two plus a capital in the Arab section of Jerusalem. Yet Abbas turned down the Israeli offer. And he has refused ever since even to engage in negotiations.

For the better part of a century, Arab leaders of Palestine have consistently said no when presented with the chance to build a state of their own - in 1937, 1947, 1967 and 2000.

There is no shortage of stateless peoples yearning for a homeland - Kurds or Tamils or Tibetans - whose longstanding quests for a nation-state the world ignores. They must be baffled by the Palestinians' refusal to take yes for an answer.
(Boston Globe)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ahmadinejad in Manhattan, New York

A brief news video about Iran's Ahmadinejad, who just arrived in New York City for the United Nations Circus

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

VideoBite: Biting Abbas as he goes to UN

A powerful video released to coincide with media circus surrounding the Palestinian bid for UN recognition

Monday, September 19, 2011

UN "Circus" begins...who is to blame?

The UN Disaster is Obama's Fault -Jonathan Tobin

For many liberal pundits, the blame for the circus that will unfold this week at the UN with the start of a debate over Palestinian statehood is to be assigned to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu whom they wrongly claim has obstructed peace talks. Others are inclined, with more justice, to put the onus for the problem on Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas whose pursuit of UN recognition of statehood without first making peace with Israel is seen as both futile and counter-productive to the end that he claims to seek.

But the lion's share of the blame ought to fall on President Obama. Though peace talks were stalled when he took office in January 2009, the deterioration of a relatively stable standoff into the volatile situation that exists today is due in no small measure to the blunders that the president's team has committed over the past 32 months. Though friends of Israel will rightly give Obama credit for sticking to his word and vetoing the Palestinian resolution, the diplomatic disaster that is about to be played out is the fruit of his own misjudgments.

Obama was convinced the problem had more to do with his predecessor's closeness with Israel than the realities of Palestinian politics. So instead of waiting for the Palestinians to come to their senses, Obama plunged ahead with a new strategy that distanced the United States from Israel in a futile effort to entice its foes to come back to the negotiations that they had abandoned months earlier.

The president's decision to ask Israel to make unilateral concessions to bribe Abbas to talk as well as his inexplicable decision to pick fights with the newly elected Netanyahu over the status of Jerusalem only persuaded the Palestinians that they need only sit back and watch while America battered its Jewish ally. Rather than working on the Palestinians to take yes for an answer and accept a state that would recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state next door and conclusively end the conflict, Obama's actions encouraged Abbas to believe that he did not have to make concessions. Every demand from Obama on Israel was taken up by the Palestinians and put forward as a non-negotiable condition for the resumption of talks. Yet even when the Israelis gave in on some points and accepted a settlement freeze, the Palestinians still refused to negotiate.

Obama's determination to distance himself from Israel upset the precarious balance that made an accord at least a theoretical possibility. Though the Palestinians claim they are going to the UN because the peace process failed the truth is what they are doing is an effort to evade negotiations. Obama's weakening of Israel had the effect of undermining America's own diplomatic standing leaving the Palestinians thinking they could ignore Washington's interests. Their UN gambit is a crude maneuver aimed at clipping America's influence in the region.

[This] must be understood as a profound defeat for American diplomacy that was only made possible by the hubris of Barack Obama.
[Jewish World Review]

Tumult Prompts Worries in Washington -Steven Lee Myers

The bold vow by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to seek full membership at the UN amounted to a public rebuff of feverish American diplomacy.

"The region has come unglued," said Robert Malley, a senior analyst in Washington for the International Crisis Group. "And all the tools the United States has marshaled in the past are no longer as effective."
(New York Times)

Showdown at the United Nations  -Lee Smith

The UN "is a perfect venue for making Israel look like David going up against Goliath," says Martin Kramer, the Wexler-Fromer fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem.

While Middle Eastern and European media typically portray Israel as the bully, the optics at the UN, with virtually everyone lined up against the Jewish state, are going to be rather different. "The Europeans," says Kramer, "are going to be left feeling a little dirty for ganging up on Israel."

Some are wondering if the UN bid may at last provoke a Palestinian version of the Arab Spring. Doubtful, says Kramer. "If there was going to be a Palestinian Arab Spring, it would've happened already. But the Arab Spring has shown that the other Arabs are not all free with only the Palestinians waiting to be liberated. Rather, the Palestinians are arguably better off than lots of others around the region. What irks the Palestinian leadership is that it hasn't been in the spotlight for a while."
(Weekly Standard)

The New Islamist Alliance?

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu [right] with Prime Minister Erdogan

Turkey Predicts Alliance With Egypt as Regional Anchors -Anthony Shadid

A newly assertive Turkey offered on Sunday a vision of a starkly realigned Middle East, where the country’s former allies in Syria and Israel fall into deeper isolation, and a burgeoning alliance with Egypt underpins a new order in a region roiled by revolt and revolution.

The portrait was described by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey in an hourlong interview before he was to leave for the United Nations, where a contentious debate was expected this week over a Palestinian bid for recognition as a state. Viewed by many as the architect of a foreign policy that has made Turkey one of the most relevant players in the Muslim world, Mr. Davutoglu pointed to that issue and others to describe a region in the midst of a transformation. Turkey, he said, was “right at the center of everything”...[and] could create a new axis of power at a time when American influence in the Middle East seems to be diminishing.
[New York Times]

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jordan Protest is a Dud

Note the empty parking lot behind protest.
The protest exposes a severe rift in Jordan, which sports a populous that is about half Palestinian and half Jordanian "East Bankers"

Low Turnout for Anti-Israel Rally in Jordan -Isabel Kershner

Efforts to organize a million-person march on the Israeli Embassy in Amman, Jordan's capital, concluded  with about 200 pro-Palestinian protesters cordoned off by nearly as many Jordanian police and security officers in a vacant lot about a mile away from the diplomatic mission. The turnout was clearly a disappointment to many of the participants, who demanded the closing of the embassy, the expulsion of the ambassador and the annulment of the 1994 Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty.

This is a time of rising tension between Jordanians of Palestinian origin and the original Jordanians known as East Bankers. Across the road from Thursday's rally, patriotic music blared from the house of an East Banker family who had placed loudspeakers on the front porch, often drowning out the chants of the protesters. "They are not real Jordanians," said the head of the family, Jaafar Abu Hashish. "They are not against Israel, they are against Jordan," he said.
(New York Times)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tobin: Saudi bluff illustrates Obama's weakness

Jonathan S. Tobin

Saudi Bluff on Palestinians Fools No One -Jonathan S. Tobin 

In today’s New York Times op-ed page, former Saudi Ambassador to the United States Turki Al-Faisal writes if the Obama administration vetoes a motion recognizing a unilateral Palestinian declaration of an independent state, it will mean the end of the U.S.-Saudi alliance.

Al-Faisal’s threats are patently absurd. The Saudis need U.S. power as a shield against both Iran and al-Qaeda just as much if not more than Americans need Saudi oil. But the main conclusion to be drawn from this threat is not so much about the Saudi devotion to the Palestinian cause, which we know is mere lip service. The interesting thing is what it says about the Saudis’ opinion of President Obama. For such a threat — albeit one without much credibility — to be issued by a prominent member of the royal family and the regime illustrates how weak they think Obama really is.

Talk about a more “independent” foreign policy by Saudi Arabia is just that: talk. The Saudis desperately need to keep America engaged in the Persian Gulf to keep their Iranian rivals at bay. Without the United States, upon who will the Saudis depend to guarantee their security? Let’s remember that al-Qaeda and Islamic fundamentalists are a greater threat to the Saudi monarchy than anyone else. It is their shaky regime that will suffer the most if they pursue policies, as Al-Faisal threatens, that undermine stability in Iraq and Afghanistan merely for the sake of pique over the Palestinians.

That brings us back to the Saudi evaluation of Obama. For them to believe the administration would even for a minute think about backing off on a veto that is as necessary to defend American interests in the region as it is for Israel because of a blatantly insincere threat from Riyadh is testimony to their low opinion of the president.

Obama came into office believing he would transform the world’s opinion of America due to the force of his personality. Al-Faisal’s contemptuous essay is merely the latest evidence demonstrating how in less than three years he has won over no new friends and alienated virtually all of America’s allies.

Saudi Arabia's exploitation of Palestinian UN bid -Caroline Glick

The Saudis effectively ended their strategic alliance with the US in the aftermath of the US-supported overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. [T]he US's abandonment of Mubarak was one of the greatest strategic errors the US has ever committed.

Things are getting uglier and uglier.

VideoBite: Honest Reporting bites Time Magazine

VideoBite: Honest Reporting's newest video shoots back at Time Magazine's front page assault on Israel

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Understanding Egypt's view of Israel

6th of October Bridge in Cairo

Anti-Israeli Sentiment in Egypt: Not About Palestine -Eric Trager

To assume that the Egyptian protesters who attacked the Israeli Embassy in Cairo were motivated by pro-Palestinian concerns is to completely ignore the sad truth that Egyptians overwhelmingly hate Israel for wholly Egyptian reasons.

Every day millions of Egyptians drive over the 6th of October Bridge [pictured], one of Cairo's busiest thoroughfares that was named for the date on which Egypt attacked Israel to launch the 1973 war. 500,000 Egyptians live in October 6th City southwest of Cairo, which is home to October 6th University.

An additional 140,000 Egyptians live in 10th of Ramadan City, which is named for the equivalent date on the Islamic calendar and houses the 10th of Ramadan University. Cairene schoolchildren visit the October War Panorama, where they are taught that Egyptian forces defeated the "enemy" in the 1973 war, without any mention of the Israeli tanks that were rolling towards Cairo as the war ended. Egyptians commemorate April 25, when Israel completed its withdrawal from Sinai in 1982, and October 6 as national holidays.

The success of Egypt's January revolt in forcing Hosni Mubarak's ouster unleashed an unprecedented wave of Nasserist-infused nationalism, inspiring calls from across the Egyptian political spectrum for the reconsideration of the Camp David Accords. Egyptians bristled, in particular, at the clauses limiting the number of Egyptian troops in Sinai, and they viewed amending these clauses as the next step towards restoring national dignity.
(New Republic)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dining with the Devil: Ivy League Disgrace

Call On Columbia University President to Cancel Ahmadinejad Dinner

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) issued the following statement following reports that Columbia University President Lee Bollinger has arranged to attend a private dinner for Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Columbia students.

"UANI calls on Columbia University's President Lee Bollinger to cancel this "dinner with Ahmadinejad" immediately. It is highly inappropriate for the leader of a prestigious U.S. University to meet with the head of a regime that is defying the international community by pursuing nuclear weapons, ruthlessly violating the human rights of its people, and sponsoring al-Qaeda and other terrorists. Would Mr. Bollinger attend an event with the leaders of al-Qaeda?"

UANI also released a report detailing Iran's partnership with al-Qaeda, which the U.S. Treasury Department detailed earlier this year. According to Treasury, Iran is allied with al-Qaeda, and is allowing al-Qaeda to use Iran as a place to transfer money, weapons, and fighters to bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This evidence follows recent reports that al-Qaeda operatives such as Saif al-Adel, the organization's chief military strategist, have been operating out of Iran with impunity.
[Business Wire]

Columbia’s A’jad dinner -Yoav Gonan & Colin Mixson

A group of students at Columbia University will break bread with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Midtown next week, the student newspaper reported.

As many as 15 members of the Columbia International Relations Council and Association received e-mails over the summer inviting them to the private dinner, which is set for Sept. 21. A location has yet to be determined.

None of the council’s board members responded to an e-mail seeking comment, nor did the university’s press office. But the council’s vice president of academics, Tim Chan, told The Columbia Spectator that none of the members had expressed any reservations about participating.
[New York Post]


Columbia University Cancels Dinner with Ahmadinejad

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) released the following statement regarding the previously planned dinner with Columbia students and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Said UANI Executive Director, David Ibsen:

UANI is pleased that Columbia students and faculty have apparently decided against meeting with Ahmadinejad this year. Columbia was widely criticized four years ago for its irresponsible decision to host Ahmadinejad, and as UANI and other groups argued, repeating that mistake again would have greatly damaged Columbia's reputation.

The "Muscular Counterterrorism" of New York City's Police Department

Raymond Kelly exhibits "remarkable leadership"

In Praise of NYC's Muscular Counterterrorism -Daniel Pipes

U.S. law enforcement agencies have generally responded to 9/11 with a pretend counterterrorism policy. They still insist that naming the enemy as Islamism causes terrorism, that Islamist violence poses no more threat than that of neo-Nazis, racial supremacists, et al...

And then there is the New York Police Department, an institution uniquely spurred by 9/11 to abandon its former laxity and get serious. The force quickly transformed itself into an outstanding counterterrorist agency under the remarkable leadership of Raymond Kelly. Unlike other law enforcement institutions, NYPD names the enemy, acknowledges the predominant threat of Islamist violence, and built a robust intelligence operation.

NYPD established the Terrorist Interdiction Unit to handle informants, including "mosque crawlers," "café crawlers," shopkeepers, and nosy neighbors.

It also established the Demographics Unit to "map ethnic residential communities within the Tri-State area" and to send undercover police officers, or rakers, to monitor Muslims. Made up of 16 officers speaking among them Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu, the unit lists 29 "ancestries of interest," all of them predominantly Muslim, including one described as "American Black Muslim." In all, NYPD identified 263 of what it calls "ethnic hot spots" in the city, plus 53 "mosques of concern."

[T]hose tactics have protected New York from thirteen failed or thwarted terrorist plots, Commissioner Kelly stands by them, and they garner wide political support. New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the NYPD for a "very good job" and John Brennan, Barack Obama's counterterrorism adviser, lauded its "heroic job." U.S. Representative Peter King commended its methods as a model for the federal government.

King is right: every other Western law enforcement agency should adopt the approach of "America's best counterterror force."
[National Review Online]

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Arab Spring: with Video

Egyptian spring: mob attacks Israel Embassy
Click HERE for more dramatic photos

U.S. Helps after Protesters Attack Embassy in Cairo -Michael Birnbaum & Ingy Hassieb

Israel airlifted its ambassador home and sought U.S. intervention with Egypt to help secure its embassy in Cairo on Saturday, hours after thousands of Egyptian protesters besieged the building. They knocked down a 12-foot concrete wall that had been built last week to protect the embassy, which is near the top floor of a 21-story residential building.

Israeli officials described tense hours Friday night during which Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke by phone with President Obama to seek help in protecting the embassy and extricating six Israeli security guards trapped inside when a mob broke through an outer door into the public reception and consular affairs area. Netanyahu was also in contact with the Egyptian chief of intelligence, Gen. Murad Muwafi, a member of the ruling military council. "The rioters were literally a door away" from the security guards, said one Israeli official. "There was very real concern for their safety and their lives."

After tear gas was used to disperse the protesters, the Israeli guards were eventually extricated by Egyptian commandos and escorted to the airport, where they flew back to Israel on an Israeli air force plane. An Israeli official said "we know" that American intervention with the Egyptian authorities helped "stabilize the situation and get our people out." Diplomats in Cairo voiced concern, wondering whether their own embassies were secure.
(Washington Post)

The Israeli Embassy Attack  -Daniel Nisman

Even Cuba, which hosts a minor diplomatic mission of its most hated enemy, the U.S., takes painstaking efforts to ensure the safety of American citizens deployed there.

The Cubans' efforts are not based on friendship with the U.S., but rather, on strict adherence to international custom.  However, the Egypt-Israel relationship is apparently resistant even to this basic gesture of respect.

One could only imagine the response of Egyptians to a mob of angry Israelis raiding the Egyptian embassy and burning the Egyptian flag.
(Ynet News)

Friday, September 09, 2011

9-11 Memorial Post

Fighting Terror, a Decade after 9/11  -Uri Bar-Lev

After 9/11, Israel tried to help and to lend our collective experience to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, which was to spearhead the American effort in the struggle against terror. Even today, I'm not convinced we succeeded in our efforts there.

In the U.S., there are 19,000 separate bodies responsible for law enforcement and many different agencies responsible for fighting terror, each acting on its own and without any coordination with the others. There is no central, unifying agency that can create a comprehensive understanding of the intelligence gathered by these agencies.

In every city and state, the marshals, sheriff's department, traffic police, local police and subway police all operate separately - still incapable of synchronizing their actions in the field. Compare this to Israel's situation; when there is, heaven forbid, a terror attack in Tel Aviv, the highest-ranking police officer on the scene runs the scene. This method of field operations has led to efficiency and success.

The U.S. continues to struggle to find a balance between the need to prevent acts of terror and the need to uphold the U.S. Constitution. The Americans have no idea what to do with the system known as "profiling": the identification of potential terrorists based on personal details, so they invented what they call "random checks"” in an effort to fool themselves. That certain groups pose more of a threat than others is a fact that cannot be ignored. It doesn't make sense to perform a stringent security check on a four-year-old boy, and yet allow the three Pakistanis behind him to pass freely.

Without that focus, terrorists will slip through the net again and again.
The writer served as the Israel Police and Public Security Attache in North America.
(Jerusalem Post)
Click HERE for The Washington Times' excellent 9-11 Retrospective

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Profile of American Muslims

Poll Quantifies Radical Minority of U.S. Muslims -David J. Rusin

[T]he Pew Research Center publish[ed] a survey of great value due to its broader range of topics, direct questioning, and extensive demographic cross tabs.

[T]he data indicate that radical views are held by a small but important minority that cannot be ignored. These and other interesting results are highlighted below:

Radical Muslims remain uncommon in the U.S. — but not uncommon enough. Muslims' opinions of al-Qaeda are 5% favorable and 81% unfavorable; 14% did not answer. This is a step forward, as only 68% recorded disapproval in 2007.

Perhaps most troubling, 21% of U.S. Muslims see a great deal or fair amount of support for extremism among their own.  [M]ore U.S.-born Muslims than immigrants hold radical views. Native-born African-American Muslims lead with way...

Despite pseudo-academic studies smearing those who sound the alarm about radical Islam as "Islamophobes," Pew finds that 60% of Muslims are very or somewhat concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism in the U.S. — almost as high as the figure for the general public (67%). Are many Muslim Americans "Islamophobes" as well?

The Pew poll erodes the Islamist meme that life in America is miserable for Muslims. Pew finds that 56% of Muslims are satisfied with the country's direction, compared to 23% of the general public. Muslims also are happier with their lives, have a more positive financial outlook, and feel more confident that hard work leads to success.

It is reassuring that most U.S. Muslims hold mainstream views, but history shows that Islamists need not be a majority to be dangerous.
[Islamist Watch]

Monday, September 05, 2011

Optimism for Israel's Future

Israel's Situation: Little to Fear -Barry Rubin

Israel’s security situation is as good as or better than it has been since any time since the establishment of the state. The two main threats have always been either a potential attack by most or all Arab armies or a high level of successful cross-border terrorism.

At present, though, these two threats are relatively low. The immediate problem is rocket, missile, and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip. The longer-term threat, Iranian nuclear capability, seems to be continually postponed. 

The Saudis and Gulf Arabs, whose economic support would be vital in any confrontation, don’t want war with Israel. The same point applies to Jordan. Syria is militarily weaker than ever and entangled in a revolution whose effects will convulse the country for years whatever the outcome.

Muammar Qadhafi’s likely overthrow in Libya won’t bring a friendlier regime but will reduce the sponsorship of international terrorism arising from his personal ambitions. Similarly, Iraq has dropped out of the conflict and turned inward, while the Kurdish-ruled sector in the north is friendly toward Israel. A new addition to that short friendly list is the Republic of South Sudan.

The “Arab Spring” may be a victory for Sunni Muslim Islamism but for that reason is an Iranian defeat. Tehran’s ambition of being hegemonic in the Middle East is blocked since it can no longer hope to become leader over the majority Sunni Muslims. Its rival, the Muslim Brotherhood, is the single most powerful force in Egypt, has “stolen” Hamas from Iran, and may do the same with Syria.

Moreover, Iran is taking far longer to get nuclear weapons than expected due to technical and other problems. Iran is a legitimate Israeli concern but the threat today is far less than it was expected to be several years ago. The likelihood of Israel attacking Iran’s nuclear installation has also dropped sharply.

This leaves Egypt. The most likely president, Amr Moussa, doesn’t like Israel but he is also experienced and pragmatic enough to avoid a confrontation, even though he is also demagogic enough to talk tough.

As for non-state actors, to the north, Hizballah is having trouble controlling Lebanon. The loss of its Syrian patron and growing Sunni-Shia tensions make its task tougher. Hizballah doesn’t want a war with Israel now and during the next few years. The threat must be closely watched and no assumptions made, but that front should remain relatively quiet.

Time is not against Israel but it is against the Arabs. They are splintering rather than uniting. Each country faces some level of civil war between Islamists and nationalists, monarchies and oppositions, and religious-communal groups.

The Sunni-Shia rift is heating up. Two Islamist blocs will contend, sometimes violently as we have seen in Iraq. True, both sides hate Israel but they are hardly likely to cooperate against it, and neither has a superpower ally.

The vision of a united Arab or Muslim world wiping Israel off the map—or making a serious effort to do so—is as distant as always, more distant than from the 1950s into the 1970s. The Arab Spring is in fact the start of an internal Arab political winter, 20 to 40 years fighting over who will run each country. While they fritter away money, resources, and energy, Israel will continue to advance economically and militarily.

Disastrous populist, radical nationalist, and Islamist domestic policies will also slow Arab development and widen Israel’s advantage. I do not rejoice at the Arab world’s self-made misfortune. A prosperous, happy, moderate, and democratic Arab world at peace with Israel would be a wonderful thing. But that won’t happen. Neither will there be a prosperous, united, radical Islamist world at war with Israel.

Israel has weathered the international economic crisis better than any other developed country. When Israelis have time to bicker over housing and cottage cheese prices, it’s a sure sign of an improved security situation and relative consensus on “foreign conflict” issues.
[Jerusalem Post]

Friday, September 02, 2011

Libyan Rebels Free al Qaeda Prisoners

VideoBite: News report of Libyan jails with open doors

Breakthrough Israel Solar Tech

VideoBite: Breakthrough Israel Solar Technology

An Energy-Producing Window - Desmond Bentley

Israel's Pythagoras Solar beat out nearly 5,000 entrants to win this year's $100,000 GE Ecomagination Challenge, which recognizes the most promising green energy building innovations, for its unique solar window.

The world's first transparent photovoltaic glass unit (PVGU) "will produce benefits such as power generation and reducing the building's energy needs, while allowing light in," says Pythagoras Solar CEO Gonen Fink.

Pythagoras' optical design uses direct light to generate energy, while optimizing daylight inside the building.

"The idea is to maintain the work environment at a comfortable temperature without massive, energy-guzzling, cooling and heating systems...."
(Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Thursday, September 01, 2011

VideoBite: Jerusalem Imax Film coming in 2013

After a year of research and preparation, the giant screen film Jerusalem advanced into production with an unprecedented aerial shoot throughout Israel and the West Bank.

Scheduled for worldwide release in 2013, the film will take audiences on a spectacular tour of the Holy Land and the city once believed to lie at the center of the world.
(Jerusalem Giant Screen)

The Dirty Politics of Water in the MidEast

The Devastating Truth about Water and Palestinian Statehood -Yochanan Visser & Sharon Shaked

The Palestinian Authority has been sabotaging the two-state solution by preventing the development of an independent water infrastructure for the future Palestinian state.

44 joint Israeli-Palestinian Water Commission-approved projects, like the construction of a waste water treatment plant in Jenin that received approval in 2008, have not been implemented.

The German government even withdrew a plan to build a WWTP in Tulkarm when it concluded that the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) could not handle the project.

The PWA did not implement projects in the Eastern aquifer that would have solved much of the Palestinian water crisis. More than half of the wells approved for exploitation of the Eastern aquifer have still not been drilled.

The Palestinian Authority neglects the basic needs of its citizens and cynically uses water as a weapon in a PR campaign against Israel.

The stubborn refusal to work with Israel on mutual interests like improvement of the water infrastructure, and the way the PA subsequently uses that lack of improvement to demonize Israel, prove that the PA is not interested in the two-state solution, or peace.
(Jerusalem Post)

Palestinians Water Supply -Sharon Udasin & Lahav Harkov

The Palestinians currently have much more access to water than in any country in the Arab world except Lebanon, Israel's Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said in an interview.

Israel supplies the Palestinians with 80% more fresh water every year than what was required in the Oslo Accords, and if the Palestinians would recycle their sewage water as Israel does with most of its own, the Palestinian water supply would be even greater. "We told Palestinians we are willing to give them all the knowledge, but they insist on using fresh water and sending us sewage," Erdan said.
(Jerusalem Post)