Monday, April 30, 2012

Walter Cronkite & Obama's Jewish Problem

Is Gary Rosenblatt playing the role of Walter Cronkite for the Obama administration?

Obama and the Jews -Rafael Medoff

President Barack Obama's election strategists might want to examine [an] historical episode — especially in light of stinging comments made this month about the president's Israel policy by the editor of the largest American Jewish weekly newspaper.

Gary Rosenblatt [pictured], longtime editor of The (New York) Jewish Week, took aim at recent leaks to the press that were apparently intended to undermine Israel's ability to strike at Iran's nuclear facilities. One leak claimed to reveal Israel's approximate timetable for military action. A second claimed an Israeli strike would provoke Iranian attacks on Americans. A third exposed an Israeli agreement with Azerbaijan that would have given the Israelis a base from which to launch a raid on Iran.

The Obama administration vehemently denied that it was the source of the leaks. Mr. Rosenblatt isn't buying it. "I have come to believe, reluctantly, that the administration is leaking these stories to the press," he wrote, adding: "[This] strongly suggests that the president views Israel as more of a nuisance rather than a partner regarding Iran, and perhaps the wider Mideast conflict."

Mr. Rosenblatt stopped just short of calling the president a liar. Naturally, one does not use such language when referring to the president. Still, Mr. Rosenblatt's challenge is clear. The president says he has Israel's back; Mr. Rosenblatt says no, his administration is leaking stories to undermine Israel. The president says he is the most pro-Israel president in U.S. history; Mr. Rosenblatt says no, Mr. Obama views Israel as "a nuisance." The president's spokesmen say the administration did not leak the stories; Mr. Rosenblatt says no, they did leak them.

When CBS-TV anchorman Walter Cronkite [pictured] began criticizing U.S. policy in Vietnam, President Lyndon Johnson told his aides, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America." He understood what Cronkite represented.

Gary Rosenblatt, too, may represent more than just himself. As a widely respected editor of the largest U.S. Jewish weekly, as a centrist on America-Israel issues, and as someone not known for having been especially critical of the Obama administration before, his views command attention.

When it comes to American Jews and Israel, will Mr. Rosenblatt turn out to be the Obama administration's Walter Cronkite?
Rafael Medoff is founding director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies and coauthor of the new book "Herbert Hoover and the Jews."
[The Baltimore Sun]

Pro-Israel Arab Party

I could not locate a photo of Mr. Bader.  Thus, this stand in will have to suffice.

Israeli Arab to form new pro-Israel party -Gil Hoffman

In the next general election, there will be a new Arab party. But what is tentatively labeled the Israeli-Arab Nationalist Party will be very different from the current Arab factions in the Knesset.

While those factions’ MKs have been criticized for being too extreme and vocal in their criticism of the Jewish state, the new party will be unabashedly pro-Israel and take a very different approach.

“Most Arab citizens are in favor of coexisting, cooperating and living in harmony with Jewish Israelis,” the party’s founder, Sarhan Bader, told The Jerusalem Post. “The other Arab parties place too much emphasis on the Palestinians and external Arabs. But it’s more important to serve the Arabs inside Israel who want to live here in peace with our Jewish cousins. After we solve the problems of internal Arabs, we can help the Palestinians.”

Bader said he would fight for the rights of Israeli Arabs and fair expression for his sector, which he said totaled 22 percent of the population. He said his party would represent its constituency better than the current Arab parties, in part because he intends to join the coalition, which no Arab party has ever done.

“To serve the Arabs properly, it’s important to work together with the ruling party in the coalition,” he said. “The Druse MKs who are part of the coalition help their constituency a hundred times more than every Arab MK in the opposition. I will dramatically improve things for the Arab sector.”

Bader, 36, has been involved in local politics for many years in Nahaf, his Upper Galilee village.
[Jerusalem Post]

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Celebrate Israel's Birthday

Recognize Israel's Accomplishments
This brief slideshow from HonestReporting highlights some of Israel's accomplishments, was released to celebrate Israel's 64th birthday [Yom HaAtzmaut]. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Israel Mourns

The Prime Minister [blue tie] and President [right] of Israel participate in their Memorial Day, "Yom HaZikaron"

A moment of stillness is observed at the Western Wall in Jerusalem for Yom HaZikaron, The Day of Rememberance.  22,993 IDF soldiers have fallen serving their country. 

In a YouTube video posted on the eve of Israel Independence Day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the opportunity to acknowledge Israel's "millions of friends," both Jewish and non-Jewish, and thank them for "their unwavering support" of the Jewish state.

Elie Wiesel Calls Out President Obama on Iran

Obama embraces Elie Wiesel at US Holocaust Museum, after Wiesel introduced him critically

At Holocaust Museum, Wiesel challenges Obama over Israel policy -Dave Boyer

President Obama toured the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and called it a reminder that nations too often do not do enough to prevent atrocities, even as his host challenged him to do more about the killing of civilians in Syria and the threat posed by Iran.

Mr. Obama said after tour[ed] the museum with Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel.
In introducing the president to a crowd at the museum, Mr. Wiesel took issue with the administration’s handling of Syrian President Bashar Assad and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He wondered aloud why world leaders have not “learned anything” from the Holocaust.

"How is it that Assad is still in power?” Mr. Wiesel asked. “How is it that the Holocaust’s No. 1 denier, Ahmadinejad, is still a president? He who threatens to use nuclear weapons — to use nuclear weapons — to destroy the Jewish state. We must know that when evil has power, it is almost too late.”

Then the Nobel laureate addressed Mr. Obama directly.

Mr. President, we are here in this place of memory,” he said. “Israel cannot not remember. And because it remembers, it must be strong, just to defend its own survival and its own destiny.”
[Washington Times]

Friday, April 20, 2012

Muslim Moderate Publishes Landmark Book

Dr. Hassan Barari

"Israelism": Hassan Barari and Why He Gives Me Hope -Ed Rettig

Dr. Hassan Barari, a Jordanian-born professor of political science at the University of Nebraska, is committed to "peaceful coexistence and historical reconciliation between the Arabs and the Israelis." His new book, Israelism, addresses "the underdevelopment of Israeli studies in the Arab world."

Barari divides Arab academic work on Israel into three overarching "hegemonic discourses" - Marxist, pan-Arabist, and Islamist. He shows how scholars in each sector fail to account for Israeli resilience, not to mention success, because they set out to make a case rather than to investigate a subject.

He also points to the connection between shallow analysis by scholars and bad decision-making in the Arab world.
The writer is director of the American Jewish Committee's Jerusalem Office.
(Times of Israel)

Israel Comes to a Standstill for Shoah

This brief video highlights Israel's commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day, "Yom HaShoah"


The above video features "The Auschwitz Album," the only surviving visual evidence of the process of mass murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau, with the exception of the killing itself.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

British Author: "sleepwalk to defeat"

This video captures Melanie Phillip's brief conclusion on the need to fight the spread of radical Islam

Monday, April 16, 2012

Laying Out a Proper MidEast Policy

What’s The Proper U.S. Middle East Policy? It’s Simple -Barry Rubin

Since there is so much bad policy on the Middle East to critique and since there’s no hope of the Obama Administration listening to alternative strategies, I usually focus on attacking bad policies rather than on suggesting better ones.

There is no great mystery, however, about what a good U.S. Middle East policy would look like.

The United States should take leadership. This is what its allies and dependents want and its enemies fear.

Identify the greatest threat today as revolutionary Islamism. Build a broad alliance with all those opposed to revolutionary Islamism. Of course, this list includes millions of non- and anti-Islamist Muslims:

Canada; European allies; Israel; and the remaining Arab governments that are relatively moderateon international affairs: Morocco; Algeria; Saudi Arabia, Kuwait; Bahrain; Oman; the United Arab Emirates; Iraq, South Sudan, and Jordan. Add to that the oppositions in Lebanon, Iran, and Turkey, and the truly moderate elements in Syria. Work with the real moderates and the army in Egypt (though these two are at loggerheads) and Turkey (whose army is being weakened perhaps the point of no return).

Plug in also with India, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and a number of other governments in Asia and Africa, too that face radical external and internal threats . China’s interests should be appealed to based on its desire for stability, need for secure sources of energy and supply routes, and concerns over its own Muslim minority becoming radicalized.

The goal is to keep revolutionary Islamists out of power wherever possible, as was done with Communists in the Cold War. Revolutionary Islamist states and movements should be subverted and weakened. The U.S. government should comprehend that terrorism is a tactic used sometimes by some revolutionary Islamist groups and not a movement in itself. Thus, the very real danger posed by al-Qaida of carrying out terrorist attacks is strategically less significant than the ability of Muslim Brotherhood and other groups of taking over entire countries and turning them against the United States.

The idea that apology, appeasement, or concessions will moderate Islamists should be abandoned. The idea that the West can somehow produce its own moderate brand of Islam or will be rescued by tiny groups of doctrinally moderate Muslims should be dropped.

The direct use of force should be limited to circumstances where it is unavoidable...

Democracy is a nice idea but ...the enemies of real functional democracy (rule of law; fair treatment of minorities, civil liberties) have caught on to the idea of using democratic forms to impose majority-backed dictatorships.

Have no illusion that there is going to be progress on Arab-Israeli or Israel-Palestinian issues. You can keep up a pretense of diplomatic activity but don’t let that get in the way of real priorities. The Palestinian side’s leadership has rejected a two-state solution repeatedly and has no desire for a final end to the conflict.

Most important of all do not empower America’s enemies. Not only al-Qaida but also the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hizballah, Iran, and Syria are foes. The Turkish regime is a more subtle and insidious enemy. Pakistan cannot be trusted and there is no sense pumping billions of dollars into that regime.
[PJ Media]

Poignant Letter Sent to Anti-Israel Flytilla Activists

The text of this excellent letter appears below

Flytilla Fails to Take Off -Simon Plosker

It was meant to be a Palestinian PR dream. Over 2,000 activists scheduled to converge on Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport, arriving on planes from around the world as part of a “Welcome to Palestine” flytilla.

Israel had done its homework, however. No-fly lists of potential activists sent to airlines prevented many from even boarding their flights at the point of departure. What could have been a major international incident turned from a flytilla into a floptilla, the lack of action described by The Times of Israel reporting from Ben-Gurion Airport:

But by mid-morning, nothing much was happening. Nothing had been happening for quite some time, reported an Associated Press TV cameraman in the arrivals hall who had replaced another cameraman who had watched nothing happen for most of the night. … There were no fewer than 13 TV cameras and about 30 journalists around the terminal, bored and standing around in clumps.

[An official letter from The State of Israel] was [sent] to pop the activists’ balloons.
The text is below:

Dear activist,
We appreciate your choosing to make Israel the object of your humanitarian concerns.
We know there were many other worthy choices. You could have chosen to protest the Syrian regime’s daily savagery against its own people, which has claimed thousands of lives.
You could have chosen to protest the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown on dissent and support of terrorism throughout the world. You could have chosen to protest Hamas rule in Gaza, where terror organizations commit a double war crime by firing rockets at civilians and hiding behind civilians.

But instead you chose to protest against Israel, the Middle East’s sole democracy, where women are equal, the press criticizes the government, human rights organizations can operate freely, religious freedom is protected for all and minorities do not live in fear.

Therefore we suggest to let you solve first the real problems of the region, and then come back and share with us your experience. Have a nice flight.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The US Arming of Iraq: Big Mistake

F-16 Fighter

The U.S. Arming of Iraq Is a Mistake -Dore Gold

There are multiple signs indicating that Iraq is increasingly becoming a satellite state of Iran.

There is a considerable Iranian military presence within Iraq, which commands significant political influence. In January 2012, the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards, General Qassem Sulemani, was widely quoted by the Arab press as boasting that Iran today is in control of Southern Lebanon as well as Iraq.

Dr. Amal al-Hazani, a professor at King Saud University in Riyadh, wrote in al-Sharq al-Awsat on Jan. 28 that "even Sunni politicians in Iraq confessed meekly that the Quds Force is the absolute master of Iraqi affairs."

Israel is increasingly concerned with intelligence reports that the Revolutionary Guards are solidifying their presence in Iraq.

The context of the Israeli concern is the Obama administration's decision to go ahead with the sale of 36 advanced F-16 Block 52 fighters, which have the same capabilities as the F-16 fighter jets sold to Israel.

Iraq is expected to need a total of six fighter squadrons to defend its airspace, which could lead to a force of up to 96 aircraft.

With the Iranian penetration of Iraq continuing, no one should be surprised of reports in the future that Iranian pilots are inspecting the Iraqi F-16s in order to develop their own countermeasures to Western aircraft and weapons systems.

If the administration is equipping Iraq to be a counterweight to Iran, then somebody in Washington is making a big mistake.
The writer, a former Israeli UN ambassador, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
(Israel Hayom)


Passover Terror Thwarted: Israeli Checkpoints Save Lives

Palestinian Nabbed at Checkpoint on Way to Passover Terror Attack -Yoav Zitun

A Palestinian was apprehended Wednesday at the Bekaot checkpoint in the Jordan Valley after a search of his belongings with a metal detector triggered an alarm. He was found to be carrying seven improvised explosive devices, three knives and rifle bullets.

This is the third time a would-be terrorist was caught at the Bekaot checkpoint over the past few months.
(Ynet News)


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ehud Barak: Settlements Are No Obstacle

Close relations were evident at Minister Barak's 70th Birthday celebration.  Barak's new statement on settlements continues to show the strength of this left-center-right coalition.

Ehud Barak: Build in Settlement Blocs, But No New Settlements -Fareed Zakaria

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview Sunday:

We have to reach a two-state solution, we have to live side-by-side - Israel, on one hand, and a Palestinian state. That's basically what Netanyahu said in his Bar-Ilan University speech. And we should straighten what we call the settlement blocs, namely the densely populated Jewish areas of the West Bank, and beside them a viable, normally flourishing Palestinian state should be established.

To tell you the truth, all those 350,000 Israelis are living on a very small fraction of the West Bank. Altogether, these are probably 5-6% of the whole area. So I think that...there is room for a solution. And I think that those settlement blocs which are going to remain part of Israel in the final status agreement should be built and developed as any other part of Israel.

I was the prime minister 12 years ago. I negotiated very generous proposals with Arafat, together with President Clinton. I put far-reaching proposals on the table that were rejected by Arafat. And he turned deliberately to terror. During that time, in the West Bank we were building four times the pace of construction that Israel is executing now.

I was the defense minister in Ehud Olmert's government five years ago when he proposed an extremely generous proposal to Abbas. We were building about twice the pace that we are building now.

So this government of Netanyahu is not the most aggressive in building. We are not going over any hill or valley and establishing new settlements.

Not a single new settlement has been built in the last three years since this government is in power.

Ed Koch: Blood Soaked Rocks

Tom Friedman's Skewed Vision of Non-Violence -Ed Koch

In an April 4 New York Times op-ed article, Tom Friedman endorsed what he designated to be "non-violent resistance by Palestinians" against Israel. He added that Palestinians need to "accompany every boycott, hunger strike or rock they throw at Israel with a map" delineating their territorial demands.

I was attacked by "nonviolent" Arab rock throwers while touring the old Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem in 1991. I needed nine stitches. Many Israelis have been badly injured, sometimes permanently maimed, in such "nonviolent" assaults. Last September, Asher Palmer, 25, and his infant son, Yonatan, were killed when "nonviolent" rocks were thrown at their car, causing a fatal crash.

Can't we all agree that in the English language, the terms "nonviolent" and "rock throwing" are mutually exclusive?
The writer is a former mayor of New York City.
(Huffington Post)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hamas: Palestinians Are An Invented People

Perhaps Newt Gingrich got a chuckle reading that Hamas agrees with his statement that the Palestinians are an invented people

Hamas Minister: "Half of the Palestinians Are Egyptians and the Other Half Are Saudis"

Hamas Minister of the Interior and of National Security Fathi Hammad told Egypt's Al-Hekma TV on March 23, 2012:

"Every Palestinian, in Gaza and throughout Palestine, can prove his Arab roots - whether from Saudi Arabia, from Yemen, or anywhere. We have blood ties."

"Personally, half my family is Egyptian. We are all like that. More than 30 families in Gaza are called Al-Masri ["Egyptian"]. Brothers, half of the Palestinians are Egyptians and the other half are Saudis."

"Who are the Palestinians? We have many families called Al-Masri, whose roots are Egyptian. Egyptian! They may be from Alexandria, from Cairo, from Dumietta, from the North, from Aswan, from Upper Egypt. We are Egyptians. We are Arabs. We are Muslims. We are a part of you."

Nissan & Iran

An ad from Iran180 highlighting Nissan's doing business with Iran and their contract with New York City

Palestinians Boxed Themselves In

PA Has Little Choice But to Engage Netanyahu -Herb Keinon

The Palestinians may be somewhat more amenable to restart direct negotiations with Israel, if only because since they broke off the low-level talks in Jordan in January, they have pretty much been pushed off the world's radar screen.

Indeed, next week's meeting between PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Netanyahu may be a sign that the PA is rethinking its tactics as the world is focused elsewhere.

Limiting Palestinian options even further is the fact that the much-hyped Doha reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas in February has led nowhere.
(Jerusalem Post)

VideoBite: New Video on Refugees

A great new educational video