April 2010 Archives
Friday, April 30, 2010
Subhead: Noam Chomsky, the Good Jew
John Mearsheimer sure is making Stephen Walt look like a piker isn't he? I've had Mearsheimer's speech from the Palestine Center in Washington, DC yesterday a number of times with comments such as, "The mask is off," "A new low," etc...
You could call it a sort of Mearsheimer fantasy. He decides that Israel is an Apartheid state, will be an Apartheid state, and will only get to be a worse Apartheid state, and part way through...muhahahahaha!...you can almost sense the glee (it must be all he can do to keep from pulling his hands in under his chin and rubbing them together) as he follows his thought experiment through...through to its GLORIOUS CONCLUSION! "Oh yes, once they laughed at me. They scorned me! They stared at me, and whispered. They spoke behind my back in the faculty lounge! But they'll see! Oh will they see! One day, one day soon, I will be VINDICATED! Everyone will come to me and say, 'Oh we're sorry Professor Mearsheimer, you were right all along. Israel is a horrible Apartheid state! Please forgive us Professor!' And then, then, with my cadre of Good Jews at my side, I will take my rightful place of respect on the cable news shows!"
Seriously. Read it. It's remarkably bizarre, an extended fantasy exercise. But really, we need to thank him for this list:
To give you a better sense of what I mean when I use the term righteous Jews, let me give you some names of people and organizations that I would put in this category. The list would include Noam Chomsky, Roger Cohen, Richard Falk, Norman Finkelstein, Tony Judt, Tony Karon, Naomi Klein, MJ Rosenberg, Sara Roy, and Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss fame, just to name a few. I would also include many of the individuals associated with J Street and everyone associated with Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as distinguished international figures such as Judge Richard Goldstone. Furthermore, I would apply the label to the many American Jews who work for different human rights organizations, such as Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch.
In a way I feel like that scene at the end of Animal House where the kid is sitting on his bed looking at Playboy when a girl in a bunny costume comes flying through the window and lands on the bed. "Thank you God!" Seriously. Big word up to those who made the scene, especially J Street and Richard Goldstone. You guys must be so proud. (And I have no doubt J Street will issue such a statement, but it doesn't really matter, does it?) I look forward to the statements distancing yourselves from this nut. If you read (or watch) the speech, you'll realize what an odious idea it is to be in this company.
On the other hand, here's a list I aspire to:
I would classify most of the individuals who head the Israel lobby's major organizations as new Afrikaners. That list would include Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, David Harris of the American Jewish Committee, Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Ronald Lauder of the World Jewish Congress, and Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America, just to name some of the more prominent ones. I would also include businessmen like Sheldon Adelson, Lester Crown, and Mortimer Zuckerman as well as media personalities like Fred Hiatt and Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post, Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal, and Martin Peretz of the New Republic. It would be easy to add more names to this list.
For more on this, see: David Bernstein: Some "Realism" About John Mearsheimer
Noah Pollak: Mearsheimer Makes a List
Instapundit says: "The limit of acceptable anti-semitism has been climbing for a while, and it's been kicked up a few notches under the current regime." He has this email from Noah:
Imagine, as a thought experiment, if a white American professor gave a speech to an organization in Washington and listed, by name, "good blacks" and "bad blacks" -- and added that the bad blacks aren't just wrong, but are blindly loyal to a foreign country. That professor would be out of a job in about five minutes. Mearsheimer will get away with this.
Update: Marty Peretz: I Confess: I Am A Member Of Opus Judaei
I'd bet anything that Professor Falk, just as one other instance, has never, ever paused to think of what might be an American interest he could support in a foreign controversy.
Indeed, nor Chomsky, nor Finkelstein at the very least could be expected to take America's interests to heart in any conflict. But it isn't really about that, is it?
Demonization by politicians, the media and the campus leads inevitably to: Israel deputy ambassador 'shocked' by Manchester attack
Israel's deputy ambassador to Britain was forced to seek refuge in a security office after protesters attempted to attack her following a university lecture.
Talya Lador-Fresher said she feared she would be physically assaulted when demonstrators climbed on the bonnet of her car and attempted to smash the windscreen.
She had been speaking to members of Manchester University's politics society when the incident occurred on Wednesday evening. Around 40 demonstrators had gathered at the venue.
Ms Lador-Fresher had been asked back to the university after a previous arrangement to address students in February was cancelled when more than 300 protesters from the Action Palestine student society scuffled with Jewish students and police.
Speaking about Wednesday's protest she said: "It was quite a shocking experience. I have had people stand up and shout and wave the Palestinian flag when I have spoken, but it was the first time I have been in this situation.
"When we finished I could not get out of the university building. The demonstrators saw me on the way to the car and they started running towards me.
"The security team rushed me back into the building and we were standing in the corridor for a few minutes."
The diminutive deputy ambassador was eventually escorted through a back door to a security vehicle but the demonstrators discovered the evacuation plan and surrounded the car.
Ms Lador-Fresher said: "They were screaming and shouting. Two of them were on the bonnet trying to break the windscreen. It was very unpleasant...
Also see: Robin Shepherd: Attack on Israel's deputy UK ambassador illustrates growing dangers on the British campus
Shocking photo here.
When an Israeli Foreign Ministry official speaks, this is what you will invariably hear:
"Confidence Building Measures"
"Partner for Peace"
"An end to the Occupation"
When a PLO representative speaks this is what you hear:
"An End to the Occupation"
"Right of Return"
"Sabra and Shatilla"
"No Peace, No Justice"
The actors are well-rehearsed and the audience knows what to expect. If it's a university setting, it's a guarantee that the Israeli will be heckled and the Arab will be applauded. If anyone dares to ask a question along the lines of "What about Israel's security in the face of suicide bombers?", she is confronted by the speaker's fury at being required to "guarantee" Israeli security when they are the occupied, aggrieved party.
From "moderates" like Khalil Shikaki (of Brandeis, naturally) to the current PLO Ambassador to Washington, the audience smiles approvingly when Arabs declare their refusal to comply with the security provisions of the umpteen treaties they signed that require them to disarm militant groups. Of course, the only obligation (which never appears in any of these instruments) that anyone acknowledges is the mythical one of freezing settlements. The actual treaty obligations for the Arabs - namely, that they disarm militant groups - is never mentioned, even though it has appeared on virtually every piece of paper they signed since 1993. They agreed to end incitement against Israelis and Jews, to disband terror organizations and to surrender thousands of weapons, requirements that to this day have never been fulfilled. Those provisions require the PLO - in a real sense -to become Israel's "policeman" just as Israel is required (and in contradistinction has actually performed) to rein in its militants. Try to find the equivalent of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Israel. None of that matters, of course, so long as the role you are playing and the one the audience readily accepts is that of the perennial victim.
Maen Rashid Areikat is the current PLO Ambassador to the United States (odd that a country that doesn't exist boasts an Ambassador). He comes from a wealthy, well-connected family that is associated with the preeminent Palestinian Arab Husseini dynasty (the wonderful folks who gave us Haj Amin al Husseini, the Grand Mufti, Hitler's bosom buddy and Yasir Arafat). Areikat was an aide to Faisal Husseini, another touted "moderate" and nephew of the Mufti. He declared in 1996,
"[A]ll Palestinians agree that the just boundaries of Palestine are the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Realistically, whatever can be obtained now should be accepted and that subsequent events perhaps in the next fifteen or twenty years would present an opportunity to realize the just boundaries of Palestine." (Israeli News Agency (IMRA) - Sept 9, 1996
In similarly "moderate" phrases, the Ambassador was caught off-guard calling Israel "weak" in an obvious move to signal the inevitable collapse of the Jewish State. His wishful thinking had to be corrected by Nicholas Burns, former State Department Under Secretary and now Harvard Professor of Diplomacy:
Professor Burns: Some Israelis might say to you "...We withdrew from Lebanon and Gaza and what happened was that Hezbollah began to launch attacks across the border. The Israelis withdrew from Gaza in 2005 - what happened were the constant rocket attacks into Israeli towns. Israel is a small country..."
Ambassador Areikat: "and weak country..."
Burns: "and strong country.."
Let's alter the familiar epigram, "In Vino Veritas" to "In Harvard Veritas" It's their motto after all. (excuse the poor audio):
Congrats to the folks at the Boston Israel Campus Roundtable for organizing what looks like it was a very successful and fun event. Happy to have something positive to post about. There are plenty of great photos here.
A short video by Mitchell Bard:
A new record: Two BDS losses in one night!
Meanwhile, Muzzlewatch continues to stew in its own fantasies of martyrdom.
This is shaping up to be a pretty good Spring!
Thursday, April 29, 2010
And quite reasonably...and in the New York Times no less (who let this guy in?): Why Arizona Drew a Line. In this snip, he addresses the major criticisms of the law, but read the entire thing:
... It is unfair to demand that aliens carry their documents with them. It is true that the Arizona law makes it a misdemeanor for an alien to fail to carry certain documents. "Now, suddenly, if you don't have your papers ... you're going to be harassed," the president said. "That's not the right way to go." But since 1940, it has been a federal crime for aliens to fail to keep such registration documents with them. The Arizona law simply adds a state penalty to what was already a federal crime. Moreover, as anyone who has traveled abroad knows, other nations have similar documentation requirements.
"Reasonable suspicion" is a meaningless term that will permit police misconduct. Over the past four decades, federal courts have issued hundreds of opinions defining those two words. The Arizona law didn't invent the concept: Precedents list the factors that can contribute to reasonable suspicion; when several are combined, the "totality of circumstances" that results may create reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed.
For example, the Arizona law is most likely to come into play after a traffic stop. A police officer pulls a minivan over for speeding. A dozen passengers are crammed in. None has identification. The highway is a known alien-smuggling corridor. The driver is acting evasively. Those factors combine to create reasonable suspicion that the occupants are not in the country legally.
The law will allow police to engage in racial profiling. Actually, Section 2 provides that a law enforcement official "may not solely consider race, color or national origin" in making any stops or determining immigration status. In addition, all normal Fourth Amendment protections against profiling will continue to apply. In fact, the Arizona law actually reduces the likelihood of race-based harassment by compelling police officers to contact the federal government as soon as is practicable when they suspect a person is an illegal alien, as opposed to letting them make arrests on their own assessment.
It is unfair to demand that people carry a driver's license. Arizona's law does not require anyone, alien or otherwise, to carry a driver's license. Rather, it gives any alien with a license a free pass if his immigration status is in doubt. Because Arizona allows only lawful residents to obtain licenses, an officer must presume that someone who produces one is legally in the country...
...In sum, the Arizona law hardly creates a police state. It takes a measured, reasonable step to give Arizona police officers another tool when they come into contact with illegal aliens during their normal law enforcement duties...
Also, good post at Legal Insurrection: Just Say It - "All Immigration Laws Are Racist"
What we have, at least in part, is the "disparity of effect" phenomenon. You know, related to the "World to End Tomorrow - Women and Minorities Hardest Hit"-thing. Since everyone knows the main concern, because of their numbers, is illegal immigrants from south of the border, it therefore follows that "brown" people will be disproportionately affected, even if not explicitly stated or even intended. I believe this has come to be due to the legal system, as it provides a quantifiable metric for something that is generally unquantifiable -- racist intent. I have never found the argument particularly persuasive, and think it is a generally a dangerous and destructive standard of measure. I say "particularly persuasive," since I hold out the possibility that such a measure may be helpful or meaningful, it's just that I can't think of one at the moment.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Damn cool as far as I'm concerned.
Noah Pollak calls it The Sound of Silence. That's how he characterizes the HRW response to The New Republic's lengthy investigative piece of their Middle East operations. (Note: I have updated that previous post with the full text of the article.)
...There is no attempt to refute the carefully documented facts contained in Birnbaum's TNR piece; there is no smear campaign against the author; there are no fervent letters to the editor insisting on HRW's invincible moral authority. Instead, there is silence. I think I know why: HRW has been beaten. The case against it has become too strong and too airtight, and HRW's attempts at self-defense, as the group learned from its attempt to trash its own founder, are so implausible and desperate that they only make the situation worse.
With the TNR piece, we enter a new phase with Human Rights Watch, in which the group no longer tries to marshal a spirited defense of its conduct and reputation. This is how we know things are going the wrong way for HRW: when self-defense becomes so embarrassing that it's better to keep quiet and hope everyone's attention shifts to other subjects...
I thought I was going to put up a post praising the ADL: ADL Disturbed At Increasing Use Of Nazi/Holocaust Analogies In Response To Arizona Immigration Law. It starts out alright:
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today said it is disturbed by the increasing use of analogies to Nazis and the Holocaust in reaction to legislation signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona, which gives police the authority to detain people they suspect are illegal immigrants.
The signing of the Arizona immigration law has released a flood of comparisons of the legislation to Nazi policies. Elected officials, religious leaders, editorial cartoonists, extremists and others have called Arizona a "police state" like Nazi Germany and compared Brewer and other Arizona public officials to Adolf Hitler...
Then I got to reading Foxman's actual statement which reads, in part:
...No matter how odious, bigoted, biased and unconstitutional Arizona's new law may be, let's be clear that there is no comparison between the situation facing immigrants, legal or illegal, in Arizona and what happened in the Holocaust. Let's remember that the Nazi identity cards were part and parcel of a plan to force Jews into ghettos and for their ultimate deportation to extermination camps. Comparisons to the Nazis may be politically expedient and serve an agenda of demonizing those who supported the bill, but in the end they do great damage to the memory of six million Jews and the millions of others and soldiers who fought to defeat Nazism.
We will continue to speak out against Arizona's legislation, and will encourage others to loudly do so, but also while bearing in mind that their criticism should never cross the line into comparisons to Hitler or the Holocaust, which are a terrible disservice to history and memory and ultimately serve to diminish an otherwise important message.
So forget the praise. And the question is begged, why is the ADL against the enforcement of our immigration laws?
[The following, by bataween, is crossposted from Point of No Return.]
The 70 Jews living in in the Yemeni capital of San'a say they are perfectly happy under the protection of the President - but there is little the President could have done to stop a bigoted policeman from interfering with one Jew's sidecurls. The Yemen Observer reports, via VosizNeas: (with thanks: Daniel)
Heron Bin Salem, 22, a member of the Jewish community, was awaiting his cousin in front of al-Mustakbal School when an officer along with four security members approached him, "trying to get rid of his unfamiliar look," Yahya Yousif, the head of the Jewish community in Sana'a told Yemen Observer.
"The officer looked at my cousin and said, 'I do not like your look (meaning the long curls) and Heron said 'I am a Jew from Sa'adah.' The officer, however, got even more angry and said 'We do not want Jews here," Yousif said.
The long curls running down the side of their faces characterize Yemeni Jews.
The police held down Ben Salem and tried to cut off his hair.
"The security grabbed Ben Salem's arms while the officer, armed with a large stick, grabbed his head. Then some people and I intervened and managed to break it off," Yousif added. The officer was identified as Rashad al-Masri, who is working as the deputy director of al-Nasr police station.
Yousif expressed his thanks to the Minister of Interior, Mutahar Rashad al-Masri who, upon reporting the abuse, took the required measures. (We are not told what these were - ed)
Despite a 2002 road map commitment and years of pledges by successive prime ministers including Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel has no intention in the foreseeable future of dismantling any of 23 unauthorized West Bank outposts built after March 2001, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
In part, this is because the promise to dismantle the outposts was made in the framework of wider understandings with the Bush administration that provided for continued home-building at settlements Israel is likely to retain under a permanent accord with the Palestinians. Since, under the Obama administration, those wider understandings gave way to a demand, accepted by Netanyahu in November, for a moratorium on all new home-building throughout the settlements, the Post was told by one senior official, Israel no longer regards itself as having to go through with the outpost demolitions on the basis of that pledge to the US.
The official's comments confirm a remark made to the Post during an Independence Day interview with Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon. Ya'alon recalled that Netanyahu, soon after becoming prime minister, reiterated the promise previously made by prime ministers Sharon and Olmert to demolish the 23 hilltop communities, which are peppered all over the West Bank.
"He [Netanyahu] said we accept our commitment regarding dismantling 23 outposts that were defined by the Sharon government as illegal," said Ya'alon.
But that changed, Ya'alon said, after a dispute broke out with the Obama administration regarding the significance and validity of Sharon's understandings with the Bush administration about settlement growth.
"He [Netanyahu] accepted that [commitment to demolish the outposts], until it became clear that the US administration does not accept the commitments of the previous administrations."...
Leaving aside whether the "outposts" are good or bad (I think they are bad, since Israel is a nation of laws and housing should be built according to it, not according to the whims of foreign policy freelancers), this does show that Obama's abrogation of, and bad faith concerning previous agreements is a two-edged sword. From an Israeli negotiating perspective this is a bold and astute move. Obama re-opened the entire can of worms.
[The following, by bataween, is crossposted from Point of No Return.]
The battle to save the shrine of Ezekiel from being converted into a mosque may be won, with the revelation that three tourist hotels are to be built in the nearby town of al-Kifl in central Iraq.
Baghdad-born Professor Shmuel Moreh received the news in a letter from a friend. The letter says that the people of al-Kifl are happy that the hotels, presumably for pilgrims, will be built. The letter also affirms that the authorities will work with UNESCO to preserve the Jewish character of the shrine.Continue reading "Tourist hotels to be built near shrine of Ezekiel"
Oh man, do you ever have to watch those open microphones: Gordon Brown 'bigoted woman' comment caught on tape.
Gordon Brown has apologised after being caught on microphone describing a voter he had just spoken to in Rochdale as a "bigoted woman".
More text and multiple videos showing what Brown said, as well as the lady's reaction and Brown's apology at the link. Just goes to show that the contempt the political class shows for the people who have to pay for their rotten policies is rather universal. If you're worried about excessive immigration and taxes you must be a bigot. I'd say she was being treated like the Democrats treat the Tea Partiers, but if Gordon Brown were a Democrat he'd be less likely to be apologizing.
[The following, by Eamonn McDonagh, is crossposted from Z Word.]
There are far more similarities than differences in the two papers coverage of the crisis. Both see Israel as entirely at fault, whether through malevolence or incompetence, and both would probably like the crisis to get worse and for the Israelis to get their comeuppance from Washington, but neither can quite bring itself to believe this might be possible. Both share a view of the Palestinians as generally passive, with Israel bearing practically the whole responsibility for the absence of a Palestinian state, almost as if it was something it possessed and perversely refused to hand over, as if the only obstacle to the creation of a state was Israel's refusal to allow it. Their view of the conflict is an Israel-obsessed one and it sees the Palestinians as having, at best, a partial political subjectivity, waiting for others, principally Israel but also the Americans, to do the right thing and vindicate their rights for them. They both see Israel, in both its existence and its actions as the sole motor of history in the conflict and have a very thin view of the history of the conflict. Despite their evident sympathy for the Palestinians neither paper treats them with the seriousness it treats the Israelis.Continue reading "Biden's Visit in The Guardian and El País V"
[The following is a guest post by Ann Green.]
Mayor Koch, in 2008 you said, "I have concluded that the country is safer in the hands of Barack Obama." You ran around Florida making sure all the bubbes and zadyes voted Democrat. Just like that great political activist Sarah Silverman. You made the rounds in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, too. You didn't have to bother; how else were Jews going to vote? But now Mr. Mayor, you're disillusioned.
"President Obama's abysmal attitude toward the State of Israel and his humiliating treatment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is shocking," you said. "It is unimaginable that the president would treat any of our NATO allies, large or small, in such a degrading fashion." Hmmm. Oh, sorry Mr. Mayor, I was busy stifling an "I told you so."Continue reading "Obamabuyer's Remorse? You Helped Him Get Elected, Mayor Koch"
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The bolder and more pro-Palestinian Barack Hussein Obama gets, the bolder J Street becomes in its relentless pursuit to undo the Jewish State. The latest comes from Yossi Sarid, J Street spokesman, who says of Israel's sovereignty in Jerusalem:
"Barack Obama appears well aware of his obligations to try to resolve the world's ills, particularly ours here. Why then undercut him and tie his hands? On the contrary, let's allow him to use his clout to save us from ourselves, to help both bruised and battered nations and free them from their prison. Then he can push both sides to divide the city into two capitals -- to give Jewish areas to the Jews and Arab areas to the Arabs - and assign the Holy Basin to an agreed on international authority."
Notice the messianic qualities attributed to Obama by the staunchly secular - and - now properly marginalized Israeli Left. And of course, numero uno on the list of "the world's ills" is the effrontery of Jewish sovereignty in its own capital, Jerusalem. Apparently, J Street wants to move the hands of the clock back to the glorious days of Count Folke Bernadotte, who, in 1947, wanted to "internationalize" - some say he would have awarded the city to the Jordanians - Jerusalem. Imagine The Western Wall in the hands of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade. There is no doubt that the Palestinians would reciprocate the magnanimity shown by Moshe Dayan and Levi Eshkol when they handed over the keys to the Temple Mount to the Islamic Waqf in 1967. My guess is that the Arabs would finish the demolition the Romans left incomplete in less than an hour. And, of course the concessions won't end there. Who needs the Golan, the Galilee and the Negev? If left to J Street's blueprint, all that would remain of Israel would be an upscale, small suburb of Tel Aviv so that the Ben Ami family could establish a pied a terre while visiting Hamas headquarters.
In an ad placed in several Jewish American newspapers, J Street spokesperson, Yossi Sarid (the chief architect of the failure of the near 100% giveaway that preceded the 2000 initifada), adopts a nauseatingly condescending tone towards Mr. Wiesel, whose letter served as a reminder of the centrality of Jerusalem to the Jewish people:
"Someone has deceived you, my dear friend...", Sarid sarcastically intones. He then goes on to essentially accuse Wiesel of treason by "tying the President's hands" by his suggestion that The Temple Mount remain under Israeli sovereignty. Sarid then spells out J Street's absurd plan to "internationalize" the area. What the Palestinian Arabs and 6 Arab armies could not achieve through their aggression of 1948, J Street would now give them through capitulation. Jennifer Rubin of Commentary has more here. The most ominous Obama pronouncement on the horizon is the "imposed solution" scenario. More of that later.
Let's see if we can understand the landscape: Yossi Sarid and the now (hopefully permanently marginalized) Israeli and American Left have had seventeen years to try out their "confidence building measures" (read concession after concession) via their highly touted "Peace Process." The results? Thousands of corpses - both Jewish and Arab - an ascendant Islamic radicalism and Iran about to produce (apparently with Obama's acquiescence) nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them. It's as if Neville Chamberlain had been left in charge of British foreign policy throughout World War II.
When will American Jews wake up to this lunacy? Most of the American Christian communities have figured it out.
J Street and the rapidly emigrating madmen of the Israeli Left have all the answers. Let's pray that they depart Israel soon and that Harvard, UCLA and Oxford grant them tenure as soon as possible.
Shlomo Sand has become the Great White Hope of the anti-Zionists. Sand, a Communist, claims that the Jews of today are not descended from ancient Jews but from just about anybody but the ancient Jews. He needs this to sustain the anti-Zionist effort to delegitimize Zionism, which Communists, like himself, have opposed since the days of Lenin and Stalin. After all, Zionism is a liberation movement of the Jewish people. If there was no Jewish people, then what was the reason for Zionism? Well, the Jewish religion has always viewed the Jews, often called Israel or People of Israel in the ancient writings, as an ethnic or national group as well as a religion. The Biblical books are in part a history of the people of Israel. Later, after the deportation by the Assyrians of most of the population of the Ten northern Tribes, the history of the remainder of the people, the Jews, originally the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah, later called Iudaei by the Romans. The Jewish prayers too consider the Jews -also called Israel- as a people or nation. Hence, the belief in the existence of the Jewish people has existed for three thousand years at least, wherever the traditional prayers were recited and the Bible and other ancient Jewish literature was studied.
But anti-Zionists, who pretend to believe in national self-determination in principle, need the denial of a Jewish people, at least in modern times. At the same time, Sand, as a Communist or Communazi, needed to prove that there is no Jewish people today in order to justify not only his anti-Zionism but in order to vindicate Stalin. One of the scientific obstacles to arguing against the continuity of the ancient Jews with modern Jews is a series of some dozen to two dozen genetic studies that indicate such a continuity. Of course, no genetic scientist argues that the Jews are a pure race or that Arabs are a pure race and the like. What they can do is show the similarities in modal DNA for Jews from different geographic regions ranging from Morocco to Minsk, from Berlin to Baghdad, etc. Scientific genetic studies have shown this as well as Jewish DNA resemblances to Syrian and Lebanese Arabs, even to Palestinian Arabs, to Armenians, and -to a lesser extent- to Kurds, Greeks, Italians and Turks [the modern Turks of Turkey are actually mainly descended from peoples living in Anatolia before the Turkish conquest, including Greeks, Armenians, Kurds, Jews, etc., as well as from Arab and Turkish nomad invaders]. So Sand and his cohorts have to get over the obstacle of scientific genetic research.Continue reading "Shlomo Sand's Lies Don't Go Away"
[The following, by Barry Rubin, is crossposted from The Rubin Report.]
When I first heard the story that President Barack Obama was barring from national security documents the use of terms like "Islamism," "Islamic fundamentalist," "Islamic radicalism," or any reference of any connection between Islam and terrorist or revolutionary groups; al-Qaida, Hamas, and Hizballah; Iran's regime or al-Qaida, I said to myself, oh that's nothing new. That kind of policy started under Bush.
But then I realized--and this isn't obvious in the coverage but is the most important aspect of all!--that this policy applies to internal government documents not just public statements. That's both scary and shocking. Because the implication won't be lost on career officials that along with not using these words it isn't going to help their future prospects to use these concepts.
I don't want to overstate the situation. In internal government discussions, people do refer to "Islamic radicals," for example. It is the written work that is more likely to suffer. And are things going to tighten up under this administration in the years to come?
Suppose I'm an intelligence analyst in the State Department, Defense Department, armed forces, or CIA, and I'm writing about one of these groups or this ideology. How can one possibly analyze the power and appeal of this ideology, the way that ideas set its strategy and tactics, why it is such a huge menace if any reference to the Islamic religion and its texts or doctrines isn't permitted?Continue reading "Barry Rubin: Is the U.S. Diplomatic and Intelligence Community Being Brainwashed in Dealing with Islamism?"
From Serpahic Secret:
Michael Fenenbock, formerly a Democrat political consultant and activist, writes knowledgably about the current "hammer the Jews" policy of the Obama administration.
Jewish demographics dictate that there is no meaningful Jewish vote, thus Jews who oppose Obama's hostile policies to Israel should align themselves with larger groups who have political clout.
Obviously, this is the Republican party, the Tea party movement, and the millions of pious, pro-Zionist Christians.
Let's roll Michael's short video and then read his article. It brims with astute analysis and offers real world solutions.
After Michael's article, I offer some thoughts on the Iranian nuclear program, which is the major existential issue facing Israel and the civilized world...
Read Fenenbock and Avrech's comments, here.
Monday, April 26, 2010
What did I tell you? You cannot make this stuff up. Yes, some of the bratterati at Brandeis are complaining that controversial speaker Michael Oren is going to be commencement speaker without their prior consent. Via Jeffry Goldberg, there's even a Facebook page set up to moan about it, and presumably protest it.
It's nothing unusual for students to complain about a commencement speaker chosen without their OK. (Do they ever get an OK? They complain anyway.) The irony is, of course, for those who missed it, that Brandeis is a Jewish school and hotbed of Zionism, and Oren is one of Israel's most impressive Ambassadors ever...and he's being rejected for being an Israeli.
Columbia wanted him, and now they've got him...permanently. Judging from the syllabus for Joseph Massad's class, this sounds like something one might find in any indigenous Middle Eastern institution of higher learner outside of Israel... Here's the blog post from prospective student Daniel Hertz: CMW Class Watch: Palestinian and Israeli Politics and Societies. It's apparently the blog post referred to in this article: Intimidation 101 -
With a skillfully crafted curriculum and required reading list filled to the brim with anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic sentiment, Massad had no intention of teaching history--he planned on rewriting it...
As an engineering student at Columbia, the issue of bias in the classroom has been, for the most part, nonexistent--unfortunately, this is, in my experience, not the case for a significant number of classes in the department of Middle East, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS, formerly MEALAC). Despite the constant reminders of professors' one-sided agendas, I have always tried to take as many of these classes as possible. This semester, my curiosity for the subject led me to check out the class titled "Palestinian and Israeli Politics and Society," taught by the renowned Joseph Massad. Although I entered the class with a hopeful outlook, it only took a handful of lectures for Massad to prove so many of his detractors right--he not only made his biases obvious but also embarrassed me in the process...
...Several weeks into the semester, Spectator interviewed me about Campus Media Watch, a Middle East watchdog group I founded at Columbia. After reading the article, I noticed I was incorrectly described as the sole contributor to one of the group's innocuous blog posts regarding Massad. The following day, I attended class for what I thought would be a regular lesson. After a few minutes of friendly banter with Massad, I sat down as he brought order to the class. With the full attention of his students, Massad singled me out and asked several questions about my attendance. Although I tried to clarify that I was still unsure about registration, my explanation was useless--Massad told me to leave his class immediately, explaining that I was in violation of school policy. Confused and embarrassed for being singled out in front of nearly 60 of my peers, I left the class with an uneasy feeling. Over the next few days, many of my former classmates approached me and described Massad's disturbing reaction to the incident. Although I was not present at the time, I was told that Massad had gone on a "paranoid rant," denouncing me as a "Jewish spy" for the same organization that "had tried to get him in trouble before."...[More.]
She's probably wrong about the 5% thing -- most people don't know enough to know how much of siren song J Street's message is, and dividing things sounds perfectly reasonable as a first move -- but the more you know, and the more realistic your views, the less sense J Street's position makes: Jennifer Rubin: J Street Comes Clean: It Wants to Divide the Old City
The J Street Education Fund has taken out an ad that takes issue with Elie Wiesel's criticism of Obama on building in Jerusalem. But J Street doesn't merely call for a housing freeze or for outlying Arab neighborhoods to be ceded to a Palestinian state. Using the mouthpiece of former Knesset member Yossi Sarid, the J Streeters want to divide the Old City. Oh, yes:
Barack Obama appears well aware of his obligations to try to resolve the world's ills, particularly ours here. Why then undercut him and tie his hands? On the contrary, let's allow him to use his clout to save us from ourselves, to help both bruised and battered nations and free them from their prison. Then he can push both sides to divide the city into two capitals -- to give Jewish areas to the Jews and Arab areas to the Arabs - and assign the Holy Basin to an agreed on international authority.
As an alarmed reader e-mails: "They specifically want to remove Israeli sovereignty over the Old City. I mean, they want the Western Wall NOT to be in Israeli hands. Wow."
Wow, indeed. There is no mainstream Jewish organization that takes this position, and I dare say J Street wouldn't find 5 percent of American Jews who do. Moreover, there is zero support for such a position within Israel. So J Street's recommendation would be what? -- that this be part of an imposed settlement on the Jewish state? It seems that the mask has been dropped and that J Street now reveals its true colors -- which happen to be pretty much the same as the Palestinians'. The question remains: does the Obama administration agree? Stay tuned.
Noah Pollak makes a point I've been making for a long time, here, calling J Street in effect political import/export business run by Israeli political failures.
Ouch. Flop sweat...
Already a bit suspect for being less than sympathetic to the Jewish State, telling a joke like this was probably not the best idea.
Yid With Lid has background (and came up with the video): National Security Adviser Jones: Jews Are Greedy Merchants
As the National Security Adviser, General James Jones is not known as a friend of the Jewish State. It was Jones who put together the team of Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski to meet with the President and advise him to impose a solution on Israel.
Earlier this week we may have gotten some insight into why Jones is not a fan of the Jewish Homeland. He was giving the key note speech at a Washington Institute For Near East Policy and started it out with a "Joke" that borders on anti-Semitic, teaching the crowd that Jews are just greedy merchants in the same vein as Shakespeare's Shylock:
I'd like to begin with a story that I think is true, a Taliban militant gets lost and is wandering around the desert looking for water. He finally arrives at a store run by a Jew and asks for water. The Jewish vendor tells him he doesn't have any water but can gladly sell him a tie. The Taliban, the jokes goes on, begins to curse and yell at the Jewish storeowner. The Jew, unmoved, offers the rude militant an idea: Beyond the hill, there is a restaurant; they can sell you water. The Taliban keeps cursing and finally leaves toward the hill. An hour later he's back at the tie store. He walks in and tells the merchant: "Your brother tells me I need a tie to get into the restaurant."
According to the Jewish Forward
After the speech, two participants suggested, in private conversations with the Forward, that Jones' joke might have been inappropriate. After all, making jokes about greedy Jewish merchants can be seen at times as insensitive.
A prominent think-tank source who attended the event said the joke was "wrong in so many levels" and that it "demonstrated a lack of sensitivity." The source also asked: "Can you imagine him telling a black joke at an event of African Americans?"...[More.]
Lenny Ben David calls it Jim Jones' Scary Joke.
Legal Insurrection says this is another one of those "can you imagine" moments.
Power Line says it's just downright bizarre.
Jennifer Rubin notes that Jones has apologized:
...Let's unpack this. First of all, I don't believe the joke was made up on the spur of the moment. That's not how these things work. As a reader pointed out to me, it's quite likely that not only Jones but also a speechwriter or two thought there was nothing much wrong with this. Second, for an administration under criticism for insensitivity or outright animus in relation to Israel, why play with fire? If nothing else, this confirms the criticism of Jones -- he's a bit of a buffoon.
And finally, why didn't the president demand an apology? Was he not alarmed that his national security adviser is cracking Jewish-merchant jokes?
It's another reminder that what is said and done in this White House with regard to Israel would not be said or done in virtually any other administration.
Some hipster thoughts from Divest This!
BDS activity in the UK tends to careen between worrying (such as the recent anti-Israel agitation in the British trade union movement) and ridiculous (such as moronic attempts to protest all things Israeli, including violinists and oranges, the political equivalent of a loud, unexpected, public belch).
The latest example from the ridiculous category includes pleadings to the American poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron to cancel a concert he has scheduled in May in Tel Aviv. Now I'm embarrassed to say that I'm not familiar with Mr. Scott-Heron's work, but that is just testament to the fact that I was as lame in the 1970s and 80s when the musician made his mark (and I was listening to George Thorogood and Sweet) as I am now.
But from these protests I have learned a powerful lesson from the BDSers who have made it clear that any visit to Israel by a famous performer indicates strong support for the Jewish state. They have certainly said that loud and clear in their appeals to Mr. Scott-Heron, just as they have made it a point to claim that any performer who refuses to visit Israel is a tremendous triumph in their march to have Israel made a pariah.
That being the case, and following the boycotter's own rules, what are we to make of this long list of famous men and women who have made the trek to the Holy Land to sing and dance in front of those dastardly, Apartheid-y Jews?
Iggy & the Stooges
Nine Inch Nails
Mediski Martin & Wood
Lord of the Dance
Pet Shop Boys
Faith No More
Now I can't claim to recognize all of those names (except, perhaps Jethro Tull), but this long list of the famous who trooped to Israel in 2009 (with an even longer list of high-profile visitors expected in 2010) seems by the boycotter's own logic to indicate that support for the Jewish state has never been higher.
Congratulations to those stalwarts who braved the rain in New York City yesterday (including a bus load from Boston) to support Israel at the rally Ed Koch spoke about on video here. Who would think we'd go from having New York rallies against Ahmadinejad to standing in the rain holding signs because of our own President? Here are some links:
Phyllis Chesler: I'm Gonna Love You, Come Rain or Come Shine: A NYC Pro-Israel Rally
Michael Ledeen posts his remarks here: "We Are All Israelis"
Nice photo gallery here.
Update: Nice photo gallery from James and Gayle O'Hare here.
Update2: Many more videos here.
[The following, by Medusa, is crossposted from CiF Watch.]
It began, as it so often does in the Western media, with opinions, unverified and sometimes deliberately misleading information presented "authoritatively" as fact, about atrocities and human rights infringements allegedly perpetrated by the IDF against Palestinians in Gaza.
This tendency on the part of the western and world media is nothing new. It is often enough for their stringers simply to feed the anti-Israel beast what it needs without thinking too much about the context or the truth of what they are reporting, and that beast has a distinctly unhealthy and ravenous appetite for distortions and untruths about Israel which it digests and then excretes as "fact."
Therefore when, in March, 2009 several major Israeli and international media outlets published testimony from IDF soldiers claiming that the army had committed war crimes in Gaza, the world media had a feeding frenzy and of course the Guardian was in the vanguard in the shape of Rory McCarthy.Continue reading "Speaking Out Against Big Lies"
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Excellent lengthy report on the internals of the meltdown within Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa division at TNR: Minority Report - Human Rights Watch fights a civil war over Israel. Unfortunately, it requires paid registration to read in full. Fortunately, NGO Monitor has a synopsis and call for action: For HRW, Israel is "low-hanging fruit": The New Republic Adds Evidence of Bias
- Bias: According to a colleague, Sarah Leah Whitson (who led HRW's fundraising trip Saudi Arabia invoking the specter of the "pro-Israel" lobby) "definitely has no sympathy for the Israeli side... And she does... have a lot of personal identification with the Palestinian cause."
- Sarah Leah Whitson's relationship with Norman Finkelstein ("...she brought him to HRW to discuss his 2005 book..."): "...I continue to have tremendous respect and admiration for him, because ...making Israeli abuses the focus of one's life work is a thankless but courageous task that may well end up leaving all of us quite bitter."
- Former HRW board member Edith Everett: "It seemed to me that there was a commitment to a point of view--that Israel's the bad guy here."
- "We seek the limelight--that's part of what we do. And so, Israel's sort of like low-hanging fruit."
- Former MENA board member Steve Apkon "sensed a palpable hostility toward Israel among the HRW brass. He also began to feel that advisory committee meetings were not taken seriously by HRW staff. They were 'dog-and-pony shows' with 'no room for dialogue.'"
- Culture of suppression: "I've had staff members come to me and tell me off the record that they're not happy with the way this particular thing is being done, but they're not going to say anything," said Sid Sheinberg, vice-chairman of the HRW board.
- Robert James, a member of the MENA board: "Human Rights Watch has a more basic problem. . . . They cannot take criticism."
- Steve Apkon: "An organization that was founded to protect the most basic of human rights--freedom of speech... seems to have created within its own organization a disregard and intolerance for open dialogue."
- Marc Garlasco: According to board members, Garlasco stated that "he had been pushed by HRW headquarters to focus on white phosphorous at the expense of topics he thought more deserving of attention because... it was regarded as a headline-generating story."
- Garlasco "thought that the organization had a habit of ignoring necessary context when covering war" and "that... Whitson and others at MENA had far-left political views."
- Garlasco "did not think Israel's use of white phosphorous amounted to a war crime." Yet HRW's report Rain of Fire (March 25, 2009) alleged "the commission of war crimes," and became the basis of similar claims in the UN's Goldstone report.
- Moral obfuscation: When Ken Roth was asked "about HRW's refusal to take a position on Ahmadinejad's threats against Israel, including his famous call for Israel to be 'wiped off the map,' Roth quibbled about the way the statement had been translated in the West." TNR notes Roth's view that "it was not HRW's place to render judgments on such rhetoric." And Whitson defended this, stating: "You know, that statement was also matched by Hillary Clinton saying that the Iranian regime should be destroyed or wiped off the map."
Ironically, it's Marc Garlasco that emerges as one of the heroes of the piece, along with founder Robert Bernstein, of course, and new name Steve Apkon. The bad guys? Ken Roth and Sarah Leah Whitson, plus the general NGO and big organization culture itself. There's a long way to go, but the days when HRW had a magical Halo of Unaccountability +3 are fast fading.
Update: Since I've been forwarded the article a number of times, I'm pasting it in full below. If anyone from TNR doesn't like it they can email me and I'll remove it.Continue reading "The Civil War Within Human Rights Watch"
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Adam 12. We used to rush home to watch this show. Strange how watching some of these old shows is so relaxing...
[The following, by Charles Jacobs, appears in this week's Jewish Advocate.]
I was in Israel for Pesach, near Ashkelon - not all that far from where the rockets fall. At our Seder I was reminded, as I am each year at this time, of the Passover I spent in South Sudan 10 years ago, witnessing the emancipation of slaves.
At the point where the Haggadah commands us to remember that we Jews were slaves in Egypt, I privately re-lived a stunning moment in Sudan: John Eibner of Christian Solidarity International stood in front of hundreds of black African women and children and explained that money had been paid to their masters and now they were free. I had never experienced - and don't expect to ever again - such cries and dances of joy.
During that Pesach week, accompanied by a reporter from New England Cable News, I witnessed the redemption of more than 2,000 black slaves, some with money that my organization, the American Anti-Slavery Group, had raised to free them. A few months before, in what would years turn out to be an incredible irony (see below), Mayor Thomas Menino and MLK's widow Coretta Scott granted Boston's first Freedom Award to AASG at a ceremony at the Old South Church.
The Creator, it appears to me, works with patterns and seeming coincidences. When I returned to Boston last week, I got an email from Eibner, who had just returned from Sudan, again having helped free hundreds of slaves. In 2005, the Arab war on the Africans in South Sudan was put on hold by an American-brokered truce - a result of years of efforts by a gaggle of Sudan campaigners. Arab Muslim militias no longer storm African Christian and animist villages as they did for decades, shooting the men and capturing women and children as slaves. Yet the truce agreement failed to include the liberation of those slaves then held in the North; today many blacks still serve their Arab masters.
Eibner's organization raises funds for cow medication, which he then trades to Arab herdsmen for their help in buying up slaves and bringing them south to freedom. The American Anti-Slavery Group, in semi-hibernation for these past few years, is now being rekindled to, among other things, help with these redemptions. (You heard it here first.)
Eibner's most recent trip was chronicled by Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson and NPR's Ellen Ratner, who reports that 35,000 black Sudanese remain enslaved in the North. One redemption story chronicled by Gerson in particular caught my eye. Abuk Garang Theip, aged 12, was captured six years ago. She told Gerson that her master's wife cut her leg with a knife when she refused to convert to Islam. Eventually, her genitals were mutilated in order to make her a "clean Muslim wife." (The Sudanese Muslim Arabs declared their war on the South to be a jihad intended to spread Islamic rule over the oil-rich Christian/animist South.)
Patterns? Coincidences? Mayor Menino - having honored me for freeing jihad slaves from Islamist jihadis - years later turned over a multimillion dollar piece of land in Roxbury to the Islamic Society of Boston, whose leaders deny slavery exists in Sudan. Last summer, as Menino was cutting the ribbon at the ISB's Roxbury center, I was leading a protest against the ISB's extremist leadership across the street. As I was being filmed (again by NECN), a group of Imams carrying white roses came up to me with a (camera-inspired, I'm convinced) "message of peace." As the cameras rolled, I became involved in a debate with Abdullah Faarooq, an ISB-affiliated imam and head of the historically African-American Mosque for the Praising of Allah. I asked him how he feels about the black slaves kept in bondage by his coreligionists in Sudan. He became incensed: "No, no, no, no - there are no blacks enslaved in Sudan."
Patterns? Though we had about 40 protesters, black and white, Christian and Jew, some "progressives" in the Jewish community were angry at us for not accepting the radical Islamists of the ISB as the tolerant neighbors they claim to be. We were publicly taken to task in the pages of The Boston Globe by Michael Felsen, the leader of the Boston Workmen's Circle Center for Jewish Culture and Social Justice, a group whose name and stated mission implies that it would place the liberation of Abuk's oppressed people over just about anything.
So, in the spirit of Passover, and in the spirit - I'll even add - of "Jewish progressivism," I want publicly to ask Michael for his help. Could the Workmen's Circle, could you, Michael, try to persuade Imam Faarooq to speak out against the enslavement of blacks by his coreligionists in Sudan? Or are Jewish progressives willing to sacrifice black slaves on the altar of today's idol - political correctness? Michael? Remember, we were slaves in Egypt.
Charles Jacobs is president of Americans for Peace and Tolerance.
An update to Goldstone Barred from Grandson's Bar Mitzvah... From lefty Rabbi Michael Lerner's email list:
Received late Friday afternoon, April 23rd, from Judge Richard Goldstone in South Africa:
I am happy to inform you that after being approached this morning by the Jewish communal organizations, the following statement was issued by the Director of the South African Board of Deputies, Wendy Kahn:
"The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) is pleased to announce that, following consultation between all the parties involved, an agreement has been reached confirming Judge Richard Goldstone attending his grandson's forthcoming barmitzvah ceremony.
It was agreed that a meeting hosted by the SA Zionist Federation would take place between Judge Goldstone and leadership of the SA Zionist Federation and other Jewish Communal representatives to discuss the Jewish community's response to the report of the Commission chaired by Judge Goldstone last year and for Judge Goldstone to give his perspectives on the issue.
It was further confirmed that Judge Goldstone would attend his grandson's barmitzvah and that there would be no protests associated with the barmitzvah.
The SAJBD respectfully requests, in light of the agreement reached, that all parties immediately desist all public activities on this matter so that the young man's barmitzvah celebration can be returned to the privacy and dignity that it deserves.
Judge Goldstone said that "I am delighted that I will attend the barmitzvah of my grandson.""
I need hardly say how happy our family is that I will be attending the synagogue services.
Thank you again for your tremendous and much appreciated support. I am moved beyond words by the honor that you have announced [the Tikkun Award to be given in 2011 to Judge Goldstone during our 25th anniversary celebration/conference]. I look forward to being with you on joyous occasions.
So don't worry (I know you were), Goldstone's family (for one), is doing fine.
J Street is upset with Mr. Dershowitz. Apparently, unbeknownst to us, J Street is quite heroic:
A moving article in Haaretz this week by Carlo Strenger, entitled "Israel's leaders have forgotten Herzl's dream," challenged the "silent majority of liberal U.S. Jewry not to be afraid any longer to speak its mind."
Amen. We are not afraid.
And we won't be afraid even when enforcers like Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz try to intimidate our movement by attacking J Street in an article brimming with distortions and name-calling.
Dershowitz's article, which you can read here, is a perfect example of what is wrong with the conversation in our community on Israel. Far too often J Street's opponents spend more time manufacturing what they wish J Street has said, rather than checking the facts and actually challenging the merits of our arguments.
Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street's Executive Director, fired back yesterday in The Huffington Post (article pasted below [here]), calling out Dershowitz for his inability to mount any serious fact-based case to challenge J Street's assertions that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in the interests of Israel, the Palestinians, and the United States...[snip]
Pimping for MJ Rosenberg? The odious Max Blumenthal's employer Media Matters? Not exactly the kind of people the average "pro-Israel" group would want making their arguments for them.
Good job Ed. Love the conclusion:
There is a bus taking people to the rally from Boston (tomorrow). See the event page for details. [h/t: Greg K.]
If you're looking for something to do next vacation, Volunteers for Israel has just launched their new site. Just helping get the word out.
I meant to post this the other day...Alfonzo "Zo" Rachel responding to New York Times columnist Charles Blow's anti-Tea Party hit-piece, A Mighty Pale Tea. For those who somehow missed it, Blow went to the Dallas Tea Party and did what leftists do best -- eugenics. OK, not eugenics per se, though clearly Bow would like to breed a better Tea Partyer, just the every day racial head counting that's become so common on the left today they've stopped asking if there's anything wrong with it.
Finding an insufficient number of dark faces in the audience, but a disproportionate number on stage leading the show, Blow smears the Tea Party as, you guessed it, racist, while dismissing the performers, including Zo, as nothing more than a minstrel show. Disgraceful? Yes. Desperate? Definitely. It's difficult to make the case for a racist Tea Party when no one is saying anything actually racist and the minorities are disproportionately represented amongst those garnering the applause from the crowd. Instead you have to descend to the absolute lowest level...checking skin color.
Why doesn't the Times just issue their staff one of these to cart around to events?
Then they could just say, "The Tea Party was not beyond #FFFFFF (pure white) to #ECECEC. An acceptable standard is no less than #959595. We hereby declare this event scientifically racist." Just be done with it already.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Remember that? It suuuure would be interesting to see that tape now: Why Is the L.A. Times Burying the Obama/Khalidi Tape?
Given the extraordinary sudden turnabout in US policy toward Israel under the Obama Administration, I have become obsessed by the repressed 2003 videotape of Rashid Khalidi and Barack Obama. That tape -- or so we are told -- is ensconced in a safe at the Los Angeles Times building. In the current situation, its release by the paper is more important and newsworthy than ever.
The Khalidi tape could be of tremendous significance in revealing the provenance of Obama's views on the Middle East and the degree to which the public was misled on those views during the presidential campaign.
I am writing to solicit the help and ideas of Pajamas Media readers for seeking the release of the tape to the public. But first a little background, if your memories are as foggy as mine can be...[More.]
[The following, by Zvi Koenigsberg, is a response to Charles Radin's piece in The Jewish Advocate below (Greetings From the Teapot). Zvi's original piece that started it all is here: Guest Post: Politics From the Pulpit - Say Hello to the New (Israel Fund) Rabbi.]
Upon reading Charlie Radin's article in the Advocate, it struck me that, on each and every point, he and I were looking at the same phenomenon and coming to diametrically opposed conclusions. In short, we live in different realities. It would be tiresome to list all these points, so I will limit myself to commenting on a few points.
Charlie writes that my charges about the content of Emma's sermon at KI are at "wild variance" with what Emma actually said. Thus, according to Charlie, there was no reason to strongly disagree, certainly not to comment in print.
Actually, Charlie's claim is in "wild variance" with what Rabbi Hamilton told me on the subject, that many people told the Rabbi that they were very upset by the sermon...and that one person even walked out in protest. KI rarely, if ever, experiences a reaction like this.Continue reading "Kehillath Israel, Brookline: Koenigsberg Responds"
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Zvi Koenigsberg's guest post concerning the new lefty Rabbi at Kehillath Israel in Brookline, Guest Post: Politics From the Pulpit - Say Hello to the New (Israel Fund) Rabbi, has created quite a stir. Charles Radin writes about the issue in this week's Jewish Advocate: Trouncing the truth
A tempest has been brewing for the past week in the teapot known as Solomonia.com that ought to be noted by all people of good will who are concerned for the future of the Jewish people.
Said tempest involves accusations by a person who for a time occasionally attended the synagogue to which I belong, Congregation Kehillath Israel in Brookline. He asserts that we have hired a junior rabbi who misuses Scripture to support extreme left-wing opinions and who is "set upon the destruction of the state of Israel."
Twenty-odd posts on one of the innumerable Middle East-focused blogs that crowd the Internet surely amounts to no more than a small tempest, and some people I know who were aware of the Solomonia discussion advised that it should not be recognized in this column. Better to keep quiet and let it die out, they said.
I thought hard about that, and in the end disagreed for these reasons:
...this dangerous and false argument, which is being hotly debated within the Obama Administration, has now received the imprimatur of J Street. In the letter to The New York Times on April 21, 2010, Jeremy Ben-Ami, speaking on behalf of J Street, included the following paragraph:
"An analysis of the Obama administration's calculus on Middle East policy should reflect that many in the Jewish community recognize that resolving the conflict is not only necessary to secure Israel's future, but also critical to regional stability and American strategic interests."
Although Ben-Ami doesn't explicitly make a direct connection between Israeli actions and American casualties, his use of the phrase "critical to...American strategic interests," is a well-known code, especially these days, for the argument that there is a connection between Israeli actions and American casualties. In lending support to that dangerous and false argument, J Street has disqualified itself from being considered "pro-Israel." The argument is also anything but "pro peace," since it will actually encourage Islamic extremists to target American interests in the hope that American casualties will be blamed on Israel. It will also encourage the Palestinian leadership to harden its position, in the expectation that lack of progress toward peace will result in Israel being blamed for American casualties.
Truth in advertising requires that at the very least J Street stop proclaiming itself as pro-Israel. As long as it was limiting its lobbying activities to ending the settlements, dividing Jerusalem and pressing for negotiations, it could plausibly claim the mantle of pro-Israel, despite the reality that many of its members, supporters, speakers and invited guests are virulently anti-Israel. But now that it has crossed the line into legitimating the most dangerous and false argument ever made against Israel's security, it must stop calling itself pro-Israel. Some of its college affiliate groups have already done that. They now describe themselves as pro peace because they don't want to burden themselves with the pro Israel label. J Street should follow their lead and end its false advertising. Or else it should abandon its anti-Israel claim that Israel is damaging American strategic interests.
And Administration mouthpiece Martin Indyk is rather vocal in stating so. The Administration has developed a clear pattern of sticking to bad ideas come what may. In this case, yet another person steps forward to tell us that Israel has to surrender in order to further American interests, and not only is it not a good policy for Israel, it's not good for us either: Indyk warns of diplomatic 'crisis'
If Israel wants to help the US isolate Iran, it must stop its support of the settlements and Jewish development in east Jerusalem, former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk told Army Radio Wednesday morning.
When asked by Army Radio if Israel had to choose between Washington and a settlement such as Nokdim, Indyk responded, "Yes." He warned that Israel stood to jeopardize its historically strong relationship with the US if it continued to take steps that harmed America's vital interests in the Middle East.
The US believes that the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict has harmed its efforts to isolate Iran and prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons, said Indyk.
He also said that Obama has not ruled out a military option.
"The President [Barack Obama] told Bibi [Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu] in his first meeting that the military option was on the table. It has never been taken off the table by President Obama. What has been taken off the table is the policy of engagement with the Iranians," said Indyk.
Instead the US now seeks to isolate Iran, and it needs Israel to support those efforts by meeting Palestinian demands, a move that would relaunch the peace process, Indyk said...
Likud strikes back: Danon slams Indyk for 'intervening'
Hours after former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu must choose between satisfying American demands or the members of his party, Likud MK Danny Danon launched a campaign to emphasize opposition to Netanyahu's West Bank building moratorium.
In an interview with Army Radio, Indyk reiterated many of the sentiments that he expressed in an opinion piece published in The New York Times, but added that Netanyahu's "problem is not [Foreign Minister Avigdor] Lieberman or [Interior Minister Eli] Yishai but within the Likud Party itself." Lieberman and Yishai are chairmen of Israel Beiteinu and Shas, respectively.
"If I am the problem, then I am very proud to be part of the problem," responded Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. "As far as I remember, regarding predictions that I made about the outcomes of [diplomatic] processes in which Indyk participated in, I and not he turned out to be right...
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Of the UAE by Iran: Iran blocking aid to Emiratis on occupied islands: Abdullah
ABU DHABI -- Iran is blocking the delivery of assistance to Emiratis in the UAE islands occupied by Iran, Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said on Tuesday.
The Minister was answering questions by members at the Federal National Council (FNC). The council was convened to discuss foreign policies.
"I urge Emiratis to think in a different way to support our citizens on the island of Abu Musa occupied by Iran. There are hundreds of families under occupation, which prevents contact with them and prevents them from communicating with their homeland," he said.
He said that it was almost impossible to deliver building materials and other requirements to them. "Iran also refuses to allow us to provide them with teachers, doctors and medical personnel," he added.
He said part of the responsibility fell on the shoulders of the media for not shedding light on the situation of the UAE families under Iranian occupation, he said...
In a way, this is something of a surprise: Michael Oren to serve as commencement keynote speaker. I half expect an effort on campus to invite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for "balance." [h/t: Louise]
In other Brandeis news, it seems that some folks over there are mighty puzzled by them Tea Partiers, even including them in a study on "New Right Wing Radicalism": I Wonder If Brandeis Has Invited Nancy Pelosi To Speak At This Event?
This is NOT a parody. It's not a poster put up by some kooky student or lone Left-Wing agitator. This is an official poster for an official, school-sponsored symposium at Brandeis University:
The symposium will be a look at the American Right from a "neo-Nazi" perspective. And when Brandeis says "Neo-Nazis," they mean "tea partiers." Think I exaggerate? Check out the web page for the event...
Update 4/23: Brandeis apologizes.
[The following, by bataween, is crossposted from Point of No Return.]
Morocco lost one of its historic landmarks when the oldest hospital in the land, the Jewish Benchimol hospital in Tangiers, was rased overnight on 2 April. And the Jewish cemetery might be next. (With thanks: Daniel)
Why did the demolition squads choose the dead of night and the middle of the festival of Passover to do the deed? And who ordered them in? The Moroccan newspaper Liberation, lamenting the destruction of Morocco's historic heritage, blames not just the local municipality for this act of historic vandalism, but the local Jewish community, which ostensibly 'sold' the pre-colonial, 110-year-old hospital in order to raise money for its poor - in spite of objections from the Fondation du Patrimoine Culturel Judeo-Marocain, whose aim is to safeguard's Moroccan Jewish heritage. (Another report, however, says that the community did not own the site, which was the property of the Benchimol family, French nationals. Only the French consulate would have been able to give approval for the hospital to be torn down.)Continue reading "Morocco's oldest Jewish hospital demolished"
[The following, by Eamonn McDonagh, is crossposted from Z Word.]
6. El País (ii)
Juan Miguel Muñoz is the Jerusalem correspondent for El País and nobody who has followed his coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict in recent years can have been left in any doubt as to his views on it. There's a brio and a frank partisanship in his writing that's absent from that of his British colleague, Rory McCarthy of The Guardian. Between the 9th and 22nd of March El País ran a story almost every day from Muñoz, devoted either wholly or in part to the developing crisis.
In his article published on March 9th, shortly before Biden's arrival in Israel, he pronounced the proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians to be a waste of time,Continue reading "Biden's Visit in The Guardian and El País IV"
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Jesse Singal's youth beat at the The Boston Globe continues, showing us once again how shallow and vacuous much of today's youth is: To young voters, socialism isn't a bad word. Of course, this is little different from yesterday's youth, or the day before yesterday's youth, etc... The difference is that in the past this might be viewed as something to lament and correct -- a concern and a responsibility for society's elders. Unfortunately, in today's youth-obsessed culture, it seems something to be exalted and pandered to:
TIM ROESCH, a 46-year-old tea party supporter at last Wednesday's rally on the Common, was not happy with a group of nearby college students.
"You should get a group picture and send it to your parents,'' he grumbled at them. He was displeased with the signs they held, which he found offensive; one referred to folks like him with a derogatory sexual term. He blamed the youthful flippancy on a lack of critical thinking and genuine knowledge as to how the world works. "They don't understand what socialism means. They don't understand what democracy means.''
But it's not that the youngest voters don't know what socialism means. It's that most aren't scared of it -- and find it bizarre that, decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a political movement would center itself around opposition to it. The fact that both the tea party and the Republican Party have made vociferous opposition to "socialist'' policies a key part of their rhetoric helps explain the tepid response among young adults...
This is reminiscent of a previous Singal effort -- youth don't remember the Holocaust, so it doesn't guide them, they don't live near Iran, so it doesn't bother them. This is the J Street constituency, and the grown-ups at J Street (such as they are) aren't interested in educating, they're just interested in selling product -- their own. Back to today:
...Naveed Easton, a 19-year-old Emerson student, said he thought the group was out of touch. "You can notice the shift in society over the past 30 years,'' he said. "It's just getting more and more open-minded, and some people are just very resistant to a progressive society. Especially when it comes to, like, 'Oh, that's a socialist program!' ''
And if the health care reform bill actually were socialist? He shrugged off that concern. "Socialism itself isn't terrible,'' he said, unless it involves the abrogation of individual rights.
You just can't put anything past these kids these days.
Easton is just one college student, of course -- a liberal one in a liberal town. But his views are far from radical among his peers. A year ago a Rasmussen Reports poll found that Americans under 30 are essentially equally divided on whether socialism or capitalism is a superior economic system...
Our schools have failed.
[The following, by Eamonn McDonagh, is crossposted from Z Word.]
5. El País (i)
The March 14th editorial in El Páis dealing with fallout from Biden's visit is titled "Dark Horizon", and starts like this,
The U.S. Vice President, Joseph Biden, arrived in Tel Aviv last week with the intention of promoting a rapprochement between Israelis and Palestinians, but he was received by the Netanyahu Government with the announcement of new settlement projects: 112 housing units in the West Bank and 1,600 in East Jerusalem.
There's a small mistake in this. The announcement about the 112 housing units in West Bank came before Biden arrived in Israel. The editorial goes on,Continue reading "Biden's Visit in The Guardian and El País III"
Monday, April 19, 2010
[The following, by Barry Rubin, is crossposted from The Rubin Report. Particularly interesting in light of Al-Jazeera's increasing English language reach.]
(name of sender removed)
[To Barry Rubin]
Subject: AL JAZEERA ENGLISH RIZ KHAN INTERVIEW REQUEST
Good morning, Professor Levin [sic].
Would you be interested in appearing on The Riz Khan Show this coming Tuesday to debate the topic "Is the Is there [sic] a partner for peace in Israel?" and more generally, the topics of the upcoming Israeli elections [there are no upcoming elections. BR], the Obama Nuclear Summit and US-Israeli relations. Uri Davis, Israeli professor who is a on the Fatah Revolutionary Council, will be the other guest.
The Riz Khan show is an interactive half-hour interview program that airs live at 12:30pm NY time / 17:30 London time from studios in Washington, DC. It is the flagship show for evening prime time in South Asia and the Middle East....
Response: Dear Ms...
First of all my name is Rubin, not Levin.
Second, if you were going to do a serious program to discuss an important issue, I would be happy to appear. But since you are having on Uri Davis, an ultra-extremist who is not a serious scholar or analyst but a propagandist--by the way, he is not a professor but a lecturer, and not at all an academic.
It is something like asking an American professor to appear on a show with Adam Gadahn of al-Qaida to discuss the topic of whether America is a terrorist state. By having such a person on you are signaling to me that the show is going to be a circus rather than a sophisticated discussion of important issues. In such an atmosphere it would be impossible to do anything but refute the outrageous statements that he would make.
In addition by having Davis, defined as an "Israeli," you no doubt wish to imply that he might actually represent some perspective from within the country or someone who is well-informed on Israel. This is also not true.
Finally, by setting the topic as whether Israel is a partner for peace, you obviously wish to foreclose discussion of whether the Palestinian Authority is a partner for peace. You are clearly taking that as a given when, in fact, I would argue that is precisely the key issue.
Thus, the program is rigged to facilitate the bashing of Israel both in topic and in composition. If in future you wish to invite me for a proper program on these issues I would be delighted to participate.
Incidentally, by doing things like this you are not enhancing the credibility of your program nor increasing the respect that it might otherwise merit.
Sincerely, Barry Rubin (not Levin)
[The following, by Eamonn McDonagh, is crossposted from Z Word.]
3. The Facts
The controversy arose from the fact that during a visit in early March from Vice President Biden, Israel announced its intention to build 1600 new housing units in a part of the city of Jerusalem captured from the Kingdom of Jordan during the Six Day War. Given that Biden was in the country to make encouraging noises to both sides in the then approaching proximity peace talks, the timing of the announcement was unfortunate to say the very least. Biden himself immediately condemned the move while Secretary of State Hilary Clinton described it as "deeply negative" and David Axelrod, a senior adviser to President Obama, described it both as an "affront" and an "insult". Michael Oren, Israel's Ambassador to the United Sates, is alleged to have said that the row amounted to the worst crisis in US-Israeli relations in 35 years, though he later claimed to have been misquoted. Prime Minister Netanyahu claimed that he was unaware that the announcement was to be made during Biden's visit, expressed regret about its timing and set up a committee to ensure that such a decision would not be made public without his approval in the future. The Palestinian side reacted by threatening not to participate in the proximity talks.
While on one level, the controversy is adequately explained by the fact that either through arrogance or incompetence, Israel chose to spit in the eye of its most powerful friend while it was hosting Vice President Biden, there is perhaps an extra factor at work. In recent years the notion that United States foreign policy in the Middle East is inordinately influenced by the supposed machinations of organizations like AIPAC has gained traction among many sectors of opinion in the United States and elsewhere. John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt have led the way in seeking to give that view academic respectability. At least some of those who voted for Barack Obama, and perhaps some who did not, were probably hoping that he would be the man to finally put the so-called "Lobby" in its place. Disappointed that he accepted a ten month freeze on settlement activity outside Jerusalem, rather than the full freeze he originally sought, this sector of opinion has been energized by the controversy and contributed to its effervescence. John Mearsheimer has himself interpreted the current row as the beginning of the end of the close relationship between Israel and the United States.Continue reading "Biden's Visit in The Guardian and El País II"
A couple of examples of Israeli NGO staffers not helping their already embattled bosses...
From NGO Monitor: Lizi Sagie (B'Tselem/Mossawa/CWP) Compares Israel to Nazis
Blog entries written in 2009 by NGO activist Lizi Sagie, recently hired by B'Tselem, using Nazi rhetoric and anti-Israel demonization, are incongruous with the mission of a human rights organization, according to Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor.
- "The IDF Memorial Day is a pornographic circus of glorifying grief and silencing voices."
- "Israel is committing Humanity's worst atrocities... Israel is proving its devotion to Nazi values... Israel exploits the Holocaust to reap international benefits."
- "We don't erect gas chambers and extermination camps, but if there were any, how many people would actually resist it, and not only in their hearts?"
"This is another example of the immorality and ideological extremism among some who exploit the rhetoric of human rights and strip these principles of any value," said Professor Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. "Many NGOs activists, who claim to represent Israeli 'civil society' but are funded by European Commission, New Israel Fund, and individual European governments, are responsible for highly uncivil behavior."
Sagie, currently B'Tselem's data coordination director, co-authored a March 2010 report for Israeli-Arab NGO Mossawa labeling the current Knesset as "the most racist in history," and organized a rally against the "Nakba bill." Sagie is also a Machsom Watch activist; a member of New Profile, where she "works to change the militarization of society, supporting persons who have refused military service"; and, according to NIF-Israel, a volunteer with Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP)...
According to the article at ShalomLife, B'Tselem Director Shocked at Senior Member's Extreme Blog, Sagi posted this type of material before becoming a B'Tselem employee, but that's sort of beside the point. It's illustrative of a general problem that someone like Sagi finds themselves in an influential position within the NGO establishment. Her background statements were only a flaw when exposed to the public, before that they were a feature.
Goes will with JIDF's New Israel Fund expose: NIF Staffer Accuses Israel Of State Terrorism
Ben Murane, the New York based "New Generations and Development Associate" for the controversial New Israel Fund, has accused Israel of state terrorism, according to a report from the Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF), a nationalist organization that monitors social media for anti-Semitism and terrorist activity.
In a posting on the organization's website, the JIDF quoted Murane, who goes by the handle kungfujew18, as saying that Israel is responsible for civilian deaths when Hamas uses non-combatants as human shields.
"When civilians die, Israel is just at fault as Hamas," wrote Murane. "Israel chose to accept civilian deaths as collateral. Worse, Israel is counting on civilian suffering to loosen the power of Hamas."
The New Israel Fund staffer accused Israel of "stooping to terrorism" in its fight against Hamas...
..."This post had one sentence struck due to its ease in misrepresenting me and my opinions," explained Murane. "I aim to speak my mind, but not provide slander for others to claim that I put the IDF and Hamas on equal footing. That is not my opinion and never in anything I said have I done so."...
The JIDF also criticized Murane for claiming that "Spreading belief in a 'global jihad' is the same as spreading belief in the Elders of Zion," a Czarist forgery that accused a secretive cabal of Jewish elders of plotting to take over the world.
I wish the media had had this level of interest and cynicism during all those anti-Bush protests with signage and leadership provided by International ANSWER.
Tomorrow, to all our Israeli friends.
Video message from Danny Ayalon:
Bruce Kesler, who almost shares a birthday with the state, shares some thoughts here: At 62: I and Israel
I've been so busy covering BDS getting kicked down the stairs at Berkeley over the last couple of weeks, I've neglected a few additional divestment defeats during that period, including:
* The Swedish Cooperative Union has ruled out boycotts of Israeli goods at Swedish cooperative stores. (Perhaps they are following the Rochdale Principles on political and religious neutrality cited by the Davis Food Co-op when they unanimously rejected a boycott last year.)
* Canada (the land where the Buycott was born) is issuing a postage stamp commemorating 60 years of Canada-Israel diplomatic relations. The usual suspects are planning a boycott. It's unclear how they will do this, given that no one buys stamps any longer.
* At last week's Israel-bashing blarney-fest at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the local Israeli union representative gave the assembled delegates what for after the Irish Foreign Minister criticized the union's boycott calls and former Irish President Mary Robinson refused to attend the meeting. This was all largely moot since the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland, which has halted most European airline travel, meant few people were actually able to make it to the event.
For that last victory, credit has to go to Yakov Shmiplewitz, the Learned Elder of Zion currently responsible for the earth's crust.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
This is a very strong statement from CCAR against the "Kairos document," the item being pushed by J Street partner Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) among others: CCAR Resolution on the 2009 Kairos Document
...A close reading of Kairos reveals that it is anything but a document based on truth. Careful consideration of what it says and what it does not say, of the history it paints and the history it obfuscates, and of the moral yardstick it applies to Israel yet compromises in the face of Palestinian violence, reveals a morally inconsistent and theologically suspect document that speaks only part of the truth, and not always that.
Sadly, this document also rejects or ignores more than a half a century of Jewish-Christian rapprochement and takes its place among other Christian documents which, throughout history, have intended to delegitimize the Jewish people's continuing Covenant with God, particularly by arguing that our Covenant has been superseded by Jesus and Christianity. Too often, such Church documents have been utilized as pretexts for our persecution, our expulsion, and even our attempted annihilation. Since the Shoah and World War II, and particularly beginning with Vatican II, the Jewish people has come to expect better from our Christian brothers and sisters.
Like the Kairos authors, the Central Conference of American Rabbis is deeply concerned about the welfare of the Palestinian people, as our record indicates.2 Our strenuous objections to Kairos do not diminish our commitment to a two-state solution as the only avenue to achieve a just and lasting peace, preserving a secure Jewish State of Israel and facilitating for the first time the realization of the Palestinian people's nationhood.
Among its many failings, Kairos:
- Echoes supersessionist language of the Christian past, since rejected by most mainstream Christian denominations, referring to the Torah absent Christian revelation as, in the words of the Christian Scriptures, "a dead letter."3
- While opposing and negating the applicability of scriptural texts, historical presence, and theological discourse to justify the existence of a Jewish state,4 does exactly that in making its case for a Palestinian State. 5
- Consistently objects to "the Occupation," without making clear that it is referring exclusively to lands occupied by Israel and in dispute since the Six-Day War of 1967. Ultimately, the document becomes clear, altogether rejecting the very notion of a Jewish State.6
- Insists that the root cause of Palestinian resistance - both violent and non-violent - is "the Occupation,"7 obfuscating the historical truth of the Arab world's militant rejection of the existence of a Jewish state pre-dating 1948, and the decades of war and terrorism, which, in 1967, prompted and necessitated the taking of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan heights.
- Purports to promote non-violent resistance as the only legitimate Christian response to the Israeli occupation, yet expresses "respect" and "high esteem for those who have given their life for our nation," thereby implicitly condoning, even praising, suicide bombers.8
- Attempts to neutralize the concept of terrorism through the euphemistic reference to "terrorism,"9 implying that the deliberate Palestinian targeting of Israeli civilians with the aim of killing as many as possible in order to strike fear and terror is not terrorism at all, but a form of "legal resistance."
- Paints a compelling picture of the reality of Palestinians living under Israeli rule, but ignores the reality of Israelis forced to flee for their lives into bomb shelters, or in fear of being blown up while eating in a restaurant, celebrating a Passover Seder or dancing at a Bar Mitzvah Celebration.
There's much more here. Sadly, while many are worried about our "right-wing" Christian friends, most of the supersessionism I have been reading about has been coming from the left.
[The following, by Barry Rubin, is crossposted from The Rubin Report.]
Once again, the Obama Administration has developed a new concept as an excuse for not taking action against a radical and aggressive action. Israel has charged on the basis of intelligence information--and the data in this kind of situation is excellent--that Syria has been shipping long-range missiles to Hizballah in Lebanon which can target U.S. cities. This has led to a raising of tensions and possibly might bring an Israeli air strike against the missiles.
Such an action is a clear violation of the U.S.-sponsored agreement ending the 2006 Israel-Hizballah war which dragged in Lebanon, of course, and resulted in much destruction there. This new development is thus a problem on the following grounds: it strengthens Hizballah, makes a future Hizballah attack on Israel more likely, makes an Israeli preemptive attack more likely, and emboldens Syria to violated agreements knowing the United States won't do anything.Continue reading "Barry Rubin: Syria Sends Long-Range Missiles to Hizballah But, Says State Department, Only 'in part.' So No Worries!"
[The following, by Eamonn McDonagh, is crossposted from Z Word.]
The purpose of this piece is to compare some aspects of the coverage of the recent diplomatic tension between the United States and Israel arising from Israel's announcement of its intention to build new homes in a disputed part of Jerusalem during the recent visit to Israel of United States Vice President Joe Biden. The Guardian, of London and El País, of Madrid were the newspapers chosen for examination because they are usually regarded as leaders in the advocacy of liberal and progressive politics in their respective countries and progressive and liberal opinion in some democratic nations has in recent years taken a sharp turn against Israel. Putting it very roughly, when Israel was frequently involved in large-scale conventional warfare and expanding the territory under its control it was generally seen in sympathetic terms. Now that it has withdrawn from huge extensions of territory conquered in war, made comprehensive peace deals with two of countries that border it and abandoned fantasies of remaking the map of the Middle East to suit its proposes, it is increasingly seen as a uniquely evil state, illegitimate from birth, perverse in its policies, cruel in its behavior and ruled by a nefarious ideology, Zionism.Continue reading "Biden's Visit in The Guardian and El País I"
Looks like the "Pride" movement needs make a study of what went on the past couple of days with the Tea Parties dealing with "infiltrators" and pick up a few pointers:
More on this at The Flea's: Delegitimize, Double Standard, Demonize
Mainstream Democrats behaving badly.
Friday, April 16, 2010
You remember Salah Soltan (also spelled Salah Sultan). We've heard from him many times. We first met him in Salah Soltan - A moderate's guest? in his first appearance as a guest of the Islamic Society of Boston, the group now in possession of Boston's mega-mosque. More recently, we recall that the Boston Mosque was teaching classes under the auspices of the Islamic American University (IAU), founded by Soltan: MAS Watch: Boston Mosque Teaches Classes from Qaradhawi's School.
Now, from MEMRI, we get another reminder of just why that's a bad thing: Blood Libel on Hamas TV - President of the American Center for Islamic Research Dr. Sallah Sultan: Jews Murder Non-Jews and Use Their Blood to Knead Passover Matzos (link to video)
On March 31, 2010, the Hamas-owned Al-Aqsa TV channel aired an address by Dr. Sallah Sultan, president of the American Center for Islamic Research; in the address. Dr. Sultan stated that every year on Passover, Jews kidnap Christians and others in order to slaughter them and use their blood for making matzos.
Sultan, who in 2004 founded the American Center for Islamic Research (ACIR) in Columbus, Ohio, has, according to his eight-page resumé, held many consulting and teaching positions in the U.S. Since coming to the U.S. in 1998, he has founded several Islamic institutes, including the Islamic American University in Southfield, Michigan, and the Sultan Publishing Co. in Columbus, Ohio...
Dr. Sallah Sultan: I want our brothers, and the whole world, to know what's going on these days, during Passover. Read Dr. Naghuib Al-Kilani's book, Blood for the Matzos of Zion. Every year, at this time, the Zionists kidnap several non-Muslims [sic] - Christians and others... By the way, this happened in a Jewish neighborhood in Damascus. They killed the French doctor, Toma, who used to treat the Jews and others for free, in order to spread Christianity. Even though he was their friend and they benefited from him the most, they took him on one of these holidays and slaughtered him, along with the nurse. Then they kneaded the matzos with the blood of Dr. Toma and his nurse. They do this every year.
The world must know these facts about the Zionist entity and its terrible corrupt creed. The world should know this.
He talks about Zionists, though, so I guess he's not really an anti-Semite.
[The following, by Eamonn McDonagh, is crossposted from Z Word.]
The Celtic Tiger is dead and buried and Ireland is going through an economic crisis unprecedented in seriousness in the history of the state. The banks are all bankrupt, unemployment and the budget deficit are soaring and emigration is starting to rise again. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions held a special one-day conference to address these issues today.
No, it didn't actually. It did hold a special one-day conference to support a boycott of Israel. You can read all about it here, in the Irish Times, and here on Hezbollah's news site. You should also read what Ian O'Doherty has written about this matter. As he says, its [union] dues against the Jews.
Via Jennifer Rubin at Contentions, Elie Wiesel has taken out a full page ad in The International Herald Tribune, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and this coming Sunday's New York Times. Powerful:
It was inevitable: Jerusalem once again is at the center of political debates and international storms. New and old tensions surface at a disturbing pace. Seventeen times destroyed and seventeen times rebuilt, it is still in the middle of diplomatic confrontations that could lead to armed conflict. Neither Athens nor Rome has aroused that many passions.
For me, the Jew that I am, Jerusalem is above politics. It is mentioned more than six hundred times in Scripture -- and not a single time in the Koran. Its presence in Jewish history is overwhelming. There is no more moving prayer in Jewish history than the one expressing our yearning to return to Jerusalem. To many theologians, it IS Jewish history, to many poets, a source of inspiration. It belongs to the Jewish people and is much more than a city, it is what binds one Jew to another in a way that remains hard to explain. When a Jew visits Jerusalem for the first time, it is not the first time; it is a homecoming. The first song I heard was my mother's lullaby about and for Jerusalem. Its sadness and its joy are part of our collective memory.
Since King David took Jerusalem as his capital, Jews have dwelled inside its walls with only two interruptions; when Roman invaders forbade them access to the city and again, when under Jordanian occupation, Jews, regardless of nationality, were refused entry into the old Jewish quarter to meditate and pray at the Wall, the last vestige of Solomon's temple. It is important to remember: had Jordan not joined Egypt and Syria in the war against Israel, the old city of Jerusalem would still be Arab. Clearly, while Jews were ready to die for Jerusalem they would not kill for Jerusalem.
Today, for the first time in history, Jews, Christians and Muslims all may freely worship at their shrines. And, contrary to certain media reports, Jews, Christians and Muslims ARE allowed to build their homes anywhere in the city. The anguish over Jerusalem is not about real estate but about memory.
What is the solution? Pressure will not produce a solution. Is there a solution? There must be, there will be. Why tackle the most complex and sensitive problem prematurely? Why not first take steps which will allow the Israeli and Palestinian communities to find ways to live together in an atmosphere of security. Why not leave the most difficult, the most sensitive issue, for such a time?
Jerusalem must remain the world's Jewish spiritual capital, not a symbol of anguish and bitterness, but a symbol of trust and hope. As the Hasidic master Rebbe Nahman of Bratslav said, "Everything in this world has a heart; the heart itself has its own heart."
Jerusalem is the heart of our heart, the soul of our soul.
- Elie Wiesel
It's official, Shamai Leibowitz has lost his license to practice law in New York: Lawyer Who Disclosed Classified FBI Information Is Suspended
An attorney who disclosed classified information while working as a contract linguist for the FBI in Maryland has had his license to practice suspended in New York.
Shamai Kedem Leibowitz, an Israeli-American lawyer, acknowledged that he had committed a "serious crime," but asked the Appellate Division, 3rd Department, to set aside the suspension for "good cause" pending his sentencing in Maryland on the federal felony and a final New York disciplinary determination.
Leibowitz insisted in an affirmation to the Appellate Division that he was "not motivated by venality, but rather by misguided patriotism."
Moreover, he argued that "the crime to which I pleaded guilty did not involve in any way my practice of law."...
More background at the link, also see the first link for a search here on the name. Just another leftist who can't be trusted. Amazing how that works. Seems to me it's mostly those on the left, whose principles are SO high above us average folk (and their oaths, and their countries...) that are the people who can least be trusted when it comes to keeping secrets.
The Holocaust survivors who helped build Israel "made our world better," U.S. Gen. David Petraeus said.
"The men and women who walked or were carried out of the death camps, and their descendents, have enriched our world immeasurably in the sciences and in the arts, in literature and in philanthropy," said Petraeus, the key note speaker at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum commemoration in the Capitol Rotunda on Thursday.
"They have made extraordinary contributions in academia, in business, and in government. And, they have, of course, helped build a nation that stands as one of our great allies. The survivors have, in short, made our country and our world better, leaving lasting achievements wherever they settled."
Petraeus' speech comes just days after the commander of Central Command, who directs U.S. deployments in the Middle East, said "Israel is -- has been, is and will be an important strategic ally of the United States."
Petraeus has sought to place in context his Senate testimony last month which drew some conservative and pro-Israel crticism -- and some liberal praise -- for linking some U.S. difficulties in the region with perceptions that the United States favors Israel.
Man is this sad to read: How to lose friends and alienate people. A lesson from Islamist-cowed Jewish students
...Last month the Union of Jewish Students asked if I [Douglas Murray] would speak last night in Gateshead on a panel at the National Union of Students (NUS) conference. As readers can imagine, other than pulling out your teeth in Weymouth this is just about the last thing anybody would want to do. But these are bad times on campuses. As we were reminded on Christmas Day, British universities have become one of the central international hubs for spreading the grievance ideology of radical Islam. Every week radical preachers are invited onto campuses by Islamic societies (under the umbrella of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies). Among the speakers they invite are people who indulge in the most flagrant anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic conspiracy theory...
...Well anyway, I was perfectly happy to travel up to sunny Gateshead to do a panel alongside Wes Streeting, the head of the NUS and anyone else the UJS wanted along with me to have this matter out. Until I got a call last week...
The girl from the UJS on the other end of the phone explained that there had been a change of plan. The UJS had decided that it would be nice if the panel was done in association with FOSIS. Er, OK, I said. Though FOSIS are the problem, as you know... Whilst claiming to speak for Muslim students as a whole they have in fact repeatedly been shown to at best represent a highly conservative and marginal portion of their faith.
"Yes, we know all this" she said, but anyway, they wanted to go ahead. And there was still better news. FOSIS had agreed to do the event with them. But on one condition.
"Oh yes," I said. Why could I guess what was coming.
"They'll only do it as long as you don't speak."
Naturally. Welcome to the world of FOSIS "debate"...
Nice photo essay from El Marco: TAX DAY REVOLT- Washington DC 2010
Also: Infiltrator or simply unwanted? DO YOU KNOW THIS MAN?
Thursday, April 15, 2010
[Crossposted from JStreetJive.]
Danny Sokatch of The New Israel Fund..."With Friends Like These..."
What better example of the utter failure - some would say betrayal - by so-called Jewish leadership than the following letter. It's a sad story of wealthy and powerful community institutions caving to the dominant hard left paradigm - in this case, The New Israel Fund, affiliate of J Street and funders of Arab groups that provided highly suspect information to enemies of Israel such as the widely discredited Goldstone Commission of the United Nations.
The NIF funds primarily Arab and Israeli organizations that engage in hypercriticism of Israel to the point of fabricating evidence under the guise of humanitarian purposes. Some of the recipients of NIF's largess include Physicians for Human Rights (whose director in Israel refuses to document the illegal use of Palestinian ambulances and hospitals to transport and hide weapons) and Adalah, the ostensible "human rights" organization among whose notable aims is to eliminate Israel as a Jewish State and to only permit Jewish immigration for "humanitarian" purposes.
Such groups represent a perfect fit for J Street; what better way to be "Pro Israel" than to destroy it?Continue reading "The Groveling Point: JCRC Bows to the New Israel Fund [Hillel]"
Looks like BDS has gone down again, this time at Berkeley of all places. I've got the first of a set of write ups that will be appearing over the next couple of days here. I've got it from a local source that the motion to table the vote mentioned in the udpate at the top of the page does not mean the bill will be voted on again. Apparently, everyone's votes are firm and the divestment crew filibustered for a tabling motion to avoid an official defeat.
A reader sends in the following pack of photos from yesterday's event with Sarah Palin (sorry, no photos of Sarah) down at the Boston Common. The photographer is a gay woman who seemed not at all hostile to the event but managed to stay only long enough to get a sense of the crowd. 'It was peaceful and upbeat. There were no racist signs or people yelling racist things.'" It looks like the most offensive signs were those being held by the counter-demonstrators, trying to be clever (the last two in the series).Continue reading "Gallery of Photos from the Boston Tea Party 4-14-10"
Three-quarters of the United States Senate have signed over the past three days a bipartisan letter to the Obama Administration stressing the importance of US-Israel relations, published on Tuesday.
Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) were the leading signatories. The letter, on which they were joined by 76 of their colleagues, is similar to the US House of Representatives letter sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the weekend. The House letter was signed by 333 members, more than three-quarters of that body.
The letter tells Clinton that "from the moment of Israel's creation, successive US administrations have appreciated the special relationship between [the] two nations. Israel continues to be the one true democracy in the Middle East that brings stability to a region where it is in short supply."
"By helping keep Israel strong," the letter continues, "the United States has helped to reduce threats to Israel's security and advance the peace which successive Israeli governments have so avidly sought."
The letter quotes a speech from Vice President Joe Biden's recent visit to Israel: "Progress occurs in the Middle East when everyone knows there is simply no space between the US and Israel."..
The full text of the letter is here [PDF].
The full list of signatories is here [PDF].
Scott Brown is ON the list, John Kerry is NOT. The breakdown is as follows:
Republicans: 37 / 41 (90%)
Democrats: 38 / 57 (67%)
Independents: 1 / 2 (50%)
Good to hear this from a major organization. That's the only way there's a chance for some American Jews -- most of whom are no where near as well informed as they like to think they are -- to start getting it through their heads what's going on: Full Text of Letter from Ronald S. Lauder to President Obama
Dear President Obama:I write today as a proud American and a proud Jew.
Jews around the world are concerned today. We are concerned about the nuclear ambitions of an Iranian regime that brags about its genocidal intentions against Israel. We are concerned that the Jewish state is being isolated and delegitimized.
Mr. President, we are concerned about the dramatic deterioration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Israel.
The Israeli housing bureaucracy made a poorly timed announcement and your Administration branded it an "insult." This diplomatic faux pas was over the fourth stage of a seven stage planning permission process - a plan to build homes years from now in a Jewish area of Jerusalem that under any peace agreement would remain an integral part of Israel.
Our concern grows to alarm as we consider some disturbing questions. Why does the thrust of this Administration's Middle East rhetoric seem to blame Israel for the lack of movement on peace talks? After all, it is the Palestinians, not Israel, who refuse to negotiate.
Israel has made unprecedented concessions. It has enacted the most far reaching West Bank settlement moratorium in Israeli history.
Israel has publicly declared support for a two-state solution. Conversely, many Palestinians continue their refusal to even acknowledge Israel's right to exist.
Consequences: Goldstone barred from family bar mitzva
The Jewish official who headed a war crimes probe whose findings infuriated Israel and Jewish communities around the world has been asked not to attend his grandson's bar mitzva due to be held in Johannesburg next month, according to a South African newspaper [PDF].
Judge Richard Goldstone, who led the UN-sanctioned investigation into suspected war crimes committed during last year's armed conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, will not be in attendance when his grandson performs the religious rite because of objections by members of the community, the South African Jewish Report said.
The South African Zionist Organization (SAZF) and members of the Beith Hamedrash Hagadol synagogue, where the ceremony will be held, raised objections to hosting Goldstone because of his involvement in the committee which found the IDF guilty of committing war crimes and possible crimes against humanity in Gaza...
...Rosh Beth Din Rabbi Moshe Kurtstag commented that the Beth Din had not been officially consulted, though there had been "private talks," and had not been asked by the synagogue to give a ruling on the matter. "But I know that there was a very strong feeling in the shul, a lot of anger (around the issue of Justice Goldstone attending)," the Jewish Report quoted Kurtstag as saying.
"I heard also that the SAZF wanted to organise a protest outside the shul - (there were) all kinds of plans. But I think reason prevailed," Kurtstag added.
Meanwhile, Goldstone was quoted by the US Jewish paper The Forward as saying that "In the interests of my grandson, I've decided not to attend the ceremony at the synagogue."
Sound a bit unfortunate? Sympathy for the Bar Mitzvah boy, OK, but sympathy for the man? None, nor does he deserve any. As someone said on an email list I subscribe to:
A community has the right to decide who is welcome. Should a shul welcome a man who refuses to give his wife a get? Someone known to abuse children or a thief? Goldstone chose to accept a UN HRC appointment funded by the Arab League. His report has spread outrageous slanders against Israel and ultimately Jews. It justified terrorism and engaged in apologetics for Hamas. He must live with the consequences of that decision. His family could hold the bar mitzvah elsewhere if they want...
...His exoneration of Hamas and his blood libels against Israel are indeed comparable to those who incite genocide. His report has led to diplomatic tension b/w the US & Israel, the Israel & Europe, it has led to special sessions at the UN where Israel has again been attacked; His report was used as part of the "Russell Tribunal" to put Israel "on trial" for international crimes"; his report has directly led to an increase in antisemitic attacks in Europe; his co-panelists have used their position as a platform to wax on about the "Israel/Jewish lobby"; and he has spread numerous lies about Israel in the international media all in service of his own self promotion and career interests.
His report has been used as "evidence" to block arms sales to Israel. It has led to lawsuits against the UK gov't; it has led to arrest warrants against Tzipi Livni and almost Ehud Barak; it might lead to Israeli individuals being tried at the ICC. Israeli officials can no longer travel to the UK for fear of arrest. There are calls for another ICJ opinion. He has renewed BDS movements and further isolated Israel internationally. Need I go on?...
No, no need.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Where Jews and their friends will gather, their enemies will follow. This past Sunday there was a commemoration for Holocaust Memorial Day in downtown Boston. The Boston Globe story is here: Holocaust lessons stated anew - Services emphasize preserving memory. A reader who was there writes:
It was a sort of something for everyone program- -- kids singing, survivors and their families, an essay contest, shofar blowing, candle lighting, various speeches. An Israeli MK was there-- -- an impressive guy who had gotten arrested in Eastern Europe for teaching Hebrew before moving to Israel and becoming a politician there. There were six IDF soldiers including a few women and an Ethiopian Jew. The Globe article, interestingly enough, did not mention in this contingent. Stephan Ross, a survivor, was wearing his concentration camp cap and sang a Yiddish partisan song from the war at the end. You could tell the song had given him a lot of strength and it was pretty moving when he sang it...
...There were three protesters, who I think came off as pretty crazy. They were yelling "Zionist Jews and Americans are murderers....stop the Holocaust in Palestine." The Globe only mentioned the last part. Who protests people mourning their dead??? If you look at the picture, one guy has a lot of extra signs. I'll bet hardly anyone had the stomach to protest a Holocaust memorial.
Who indeed? And that's what we're here to expose. There's quite a back story, and it's a tale of familiar names and the usual suspects. Hang on to your Prozac. This is gonna get ugly.
Continue reading "Boston: Anti-Semite Arrested at Holocaust Memorial Day Event. Arrest Report Revealed."
BDS activity seems to have heated up in the UK and Ireland over the last week. By "heat up," I mean that a bunch of wankers decided that the best way to demonstrate revolutionary consciousness was to stand up during a performance of the Jerusalem String Quartet and shout fifty year old slogans. I had something to say about the issue in the UK Jewish press which can be found here.
What's going on in Ireland is a bit more disturbing in that it involves an actual real live institution (the Irish trade union movement) continuing down the path of an anti-Israel boycott. The BDS infection is pretty advanced with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, but hopefully not terminal. Some thoughts on that subject can be found here.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
[The following is a guest post by Zvi Koenigsberg.]
Until 6 months ago, I was a regular attendee at Congregation Kehillath Israel (KI) on Harvard St in Brookline, MA at the services on weekday evenings and Saturday afternoons. I was doing the least I felt I could do to help make a minyan for those saying Kaddish. I had been doing this for more than five years.
Then I was informed that the rabbinic intern, Emma Kippley-Ogman, gave an "innovative" Sabbath morning speech when the Torah portion Hayei Sarah ("The life of Sarah") was read. As you may remember, Sarah was the first of the Israelite matriarchs to be buried at the Machpela Cave in Hebron, which was purchased for that specific purpose by her husband Abraham.
Emma used the geographic background of the Torah portion as a springboard for an attack on the current Jewish residents of Hebron, and how they "oppress" their poor Moslem neighbors. It turns out that Emma was sent to Hebron by the New Israel Fund for a year, to work with "Breaking the Silence," a group dedicated to highlighting Israel's "oppression" of Arabs.
As it happens, I experienced the situation in Hebron first hand. During the first Intifada, as a reservist, I served as commander of the Machpela Cave three times, each for a month. It is interesting that I saw not a whit of what Emma's group claimed, but rather, I was called an ape and a pig by the resident Khadi (religious leader) of the cave, and witnessed many barrages of attacks by Arabs against civilians and soldiers alike.Continue reading "Guest Post: Politics From the Pulpit - Say Hello to the New (Israel Fund) Rabbi"
[The following is a guest post by Harvey Cohen.]
During a visit to the Temple Mount, in the Old City of Jerusalem, on Monday, February 22, 2010, I took the attached three photographs (click to expand), the significance of which is as follows:
In 1999, at the southeast corner of the Temple Mount itself, in order to cut a new large stairway entrance leading downstairs into Solomon's Stable (where Crusaders were said to have stabled their horses), for easier access to one of the largest indoor mosques in the world, the Waqf (the Islamic Trust that supervises the Temple Mount) ordered the illegal removal and dumping of 9000 cubic meters of earth and rubble from the Temple Mount, without any supervision of the work, let alone examination of the earth and rubble by an archeologist from the Israeli Antiquities Authority, as is required by Israeli law.
Worse still, most of the big column parts and easily identifiable architectural artifacts (identifiable as Jewish or Christian archeologically) were either removed or smashed/destroyed before being mixed with modern construction debris (including asbestos) and garbage and then dumped into the Kidron Valley in East Jerusalem., in order to obscure any past Jewish and/or Christian connection to the Temple Mount. The earth/rubble (grey colored from two burnt Temples) was dumped in a number of clearly identified locations in the Kidron Valley, east of the Temple Mount, and west of the Mount of Olives.Continue reading "Guest Post: Illegal activity on the Temple Mount, Jerusalem"
[The following is a guest post by Ann Green.]
Justice John Paul Stevens of the United States Supreme Court has announced his retirement. With his appointments to date, President Obama has boldly pushed an aggressive program of affirmative action, taking into account race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation. The ethnic background and gender of Justice Sotomayor were clearly part of the package of qualifications she brought to the bench. The appointment of transsexual Amanda Simpson as senior technical advisor in the Department of Commerce was a first. I think. An oft-mentioned candidate for the next justice is Elena Kagan, the first female solicitor general, who is gay.
I am sure all of these people are qualified for their jobs. Yet while crafting an administration that "looks like America," the president has consistently overlooked a group that is championed by a key member of his administration. I must ask, where are our animal companions? Is it just me who has taken notice that all appointees are humans? Has there even been a furry friend in the cabinet? an administrative post? the TSA? Come to think of it, there are none on the state or local level either. Not even in the most obvious niche, dog catcher, or, as my city describes the position (with more dignity) animal control officer.Continue reading "Guest Post: Supreme Court Candidates -- Why Only Humans? by Ann Green"
I weep as I witness outrageous verbal attacks on Israel. What makes these verbal assaults and distortions all the more painful is that they are being orchestrated by President Obama.
For me, the situation today recalls what occurred in 70 AD when the Roman emperor Vespasian launched a military campaign against the Jewish nation and its ancient capital of Jerusalem. Ultimately, Masada, a rock plateau in the Judean desert became the last refuge of the Jewish people against the Roman onslaught. I have been to Jerusalem and Masada. From the top of Masada, you can still see the remains of the Roman fortifications and garrisons, and the stones and earth of the Roman siege ramp that was used to reach Masada. The Jews of Masada committed suicide rather than let themselves be taken captive by the Romans.
In Rome itself, I have seen the Arch of Titus with the sculpture showing enslaved Jews and the treasures of the Jewish Temple of Solomon with the Menorah, the symbol of the Jewish state, being carted away as booty during the sacking of Jerusalem.
Oh, you may say, that is a far fetched analogy. Please hear me out.Continue reading "Ed Koch: A Dangerous Silence"
[The following, by Zach, is crossposted from The Brothers of Judea. Where do Ma'an News editors go when they get deported? Why, to the Huffington Post, of course.]
Jared Malsin is an American and former editor of the English edition of Ma'an News, a Palestinian media service. However, that ended when he was deported from Israel in January. Why? Well, according to Ynet Israel's Interior Ministry decided to expel him when he was uncooperative with security officials after returning from his trip to Prague. Other sources claim that he made a deal with Israel and chose to leave the country to avoid a prison sentence.
Anyway, he has now found a new place to write his anti-Israel screeds, the Huffington Post. And I'm sure they are glad to have him. Apparently between MJ Rosenberg, Sharmine Narwani, Daoud Kutabb, Mya Guarnieri, Ali Abunimah, Richard Greener and Jerome Slater, there just isn't enough anti-Israel views on the Huffington Post. They really needed one more. For balance.
Malsin's debut article is "Does Israel's Crackdown on Journalists Suggest a 'Crisis of Legitimacy?'" At this point it is mostly what we have some to expect from the Huffington Posts' blogger stable. Click the link below to continue.
Malsin starts his article by telling his story of deportation and interrogation, choosing to leave out any possibilities about why Israel might want to deport him. The Israelis are portrayed as faceless villains who deprive Malsin of his "rights," and of course we are expected to take him at his word. Considering Malsin's blatantly partisan views, and considering that he is basically a Palestinian PR man, I hope no one will hold it against me if I take his story with a grain of salt. Though of course, the Huffington Post talkbackers believed it unquestionably.Continue reading "Jared Malsin Finds a Home on the Huffington Post"
[The following, by Barry Rubin, is crossposted from The Rubin Report.]
With their unerring skill at erring, Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders are throwing away still another opportunity President Barack Obama is giving them. If Obama is the most pro-Palestinian president in history, his counterparts don't seem to appreciate it very much. It is the Palestinian leadership, not Israel, that will ultimately make Obama look like and be a failure in all of his peace process efforts.
--Last spring, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas in his first visit to Washington made it clear he wasn't interested in a negotiated solution but just planned to wait for the West to force Israel to give him everything he wanted.
--In September, Abbas stood nearby as Obama said he wanted serious final negotiations within two months, then refused while Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was ready to talk right away.
--Shortly thereafter, Obama asked Abbas not to push the Goldstone report as a sponsor in the UN. Abbas agreed, then broke his word within 48 hours under internal pressure.
--At the end of last October, Obama's Administration made a deal in which Israel would stop all construction on West Bank settlements though it could continue in east Jerusalem. While Obama hoped this would get talks going, Abbas demanded an end to construction in Jerusalem, too, which he knew Israel would not accept. Indeed, he demanded it precisely because he knew Israel wouldn't accept it.
--Finally, Abbas agreed to indirect talks but was "saved" when suddenly the U.S. government accepted the PA's position on Jerusalem construction. Yet even that has not been enough to make the PA support Obama's policy despite the fact that it was so slanted in their favor.Continue reading "Barry Rubin: Palestinian Leaders Do It Again! Throw Away Opportunity Obama is Giving Them and Poke Him in the Eye"
By now you've heard about the controversy swirling between Amnesty employee Gita Sahgal and her bosses over AI's association with unrepentant Islamist Moazzam Begg and his organization/web site Cageprisoners. Here is Sahgal's statement:
On Friday 9th April, 2010 Amnesty International announced my departure from the organization. The agreed statement said, 'due to irreconcilable differences of view over policy between Gita Sahgal and Amnesty International regarding Amnesty International's relationship with Moazzam Begg and Cageprisoners, it has been agreed that Gita will leave Amnesty International.'
I was hired as the Head of the Gender Unit as the organization began to develop its Stop Violence Against Women campaign. I leave with great sadness as the campaign is closed. Thousands of activists of Amnesty International enthusiastically joined the campaign. Many hoped that it would induce respect for women's human rights in every aspect of the work. Today, there is little ground for optimism.
The senior leadership of Amnesty International chose to answer the questions I posed about Amnesty International's relationship with Moazzam Begg by affirming their links with him. Now they have also confirmed that the views of Begg, his associates and his organisation Cageprisoners, do not trouble them. They have stated that the idea of jihad in self defence is not antithetical to human rights; and have explained that they meant only the specific form of violent jihad that Moazzam Begg and others in Cageprisoners assert is the individual obligation of every Muslim.
I thank the senior leadership for these admissions and for their further clarification that concerns around the legitimization of Begg were of very long standing and that there was strong opposition from Head of the Asia programme to a partnership with him. When disagreements are profound, it is best that disputes over matters of fact, are reduced.
Unfortunately, their stance has laid waste every achievement on women's equality and made a mockery of the universality of rights. In fact, the leadership has effectively rejected a belief in universality as an essential basis for partnership.
I extend my sympathies to all who have fought long and hard within Amnesty International to match the movement's principles with its actions. I know many of you have been bewildered by this dispute and others deeply shamed by what is being done in your name. You may have been told that that debate is not possible in the middle of a crisis. I agree that there is indeed a crisis and that the hardest questions are being posed by Amnesty International's close human rights allies, particularly in areas where jihad supported by Begg's associates, is being waged.
I am now free to offer my help as an external expert with an intimate knowledge of Amnesty International's processes and policies. I can explain in public debates, both with the leadership and inside the Sections, that adherence to violent jihad even if it indeed rejects the killing of some civilians, is an integral part of a political philosophy that promotes the destruction of human rights generally and contravenes Amnesty International's specific policies relating to systematic violence and discrimination, particularly against women and minorities.
During these last two months, human rights gains have been made to defend the torture standard and to shame governments who have been complicit in torture through their 'don't ask, don't tell' policies. But the spectre that arises through the continued promotion of Moazzam Begg as the perfect victim, is that Amnesty International is operating its own policies of 'don't ask, don't tell.'
So I invite you to join me as I continue to campaign for public accountability at this moment, which comes but rarely in history, when a great organisation must ask: if it lies to itself, can it demand the truth of others?
Former Interim Head of the Gender, Sexuality and Identity Unit, Amnesty International
...It's a powerful indictment of a terrible and foolish wrong turning taken by an organisation that has done a lot of good in nearly half a century. Ms Sahgal has paid a price for her commitment to secularism and women's rights...
Harry's also has a look at another distinguished personage AI has association with through Cageprisoners, Yvonne Ridley: A "Leading Human Rights Organisation" on Zionist Tentacles
Monday, April 12, 2010
Well, it's not such a big story this time. No marches, no petitions...after all, there are no Jews to blame (in fact, the oil goes over the border whenever there is oil to go over the border): Gaza in darkness: PA, Hamas trade barbs over fuel shortage
As Gaza experiences a wide-scale blackout on Saturday, various factions have accused one another for bearing responsibility for the ongoing fuel shortage that has left the coastal enclave functioning below the population's needs.
The Palestinian Information Center, affiliated to Hamas, published headlines accusing Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak for the extensive blackout. "The Israeli war minister has instructed Fayyad to tighten the noose around the Gaza Strip," one PIC headline read.
Speaking to PIC, Gaza government spokesman Taher Al-Nunu said Fatah was responsible for the power outage, adding that the movement in Ramallah was "stealing sums of money donated by the EU to fuel shipments, giving them as increments to its employees."
Ghassan Al-Khatib, spokesman for the Fayyad government, said the PA pays approximately 90% of Gaza's electricity bills, adding that Hamas pays nearly 1 million US dollars for collecting the invoices, in response to a Ma'an query.
According to Al-Khatib, the PA transferred 185,000 liters of fuel into the coastal enclave during March and this month's shipment will amount to 210,000 liters.
The spokesman said Hamas did not want to contribute to paying for fuel shipments. "I ask Hamas leaders the following: There are between 70,000 to 80,000 employees whose salaries are paid for by the PA; 20,000 take their salaries from UNRWA, while Hamas pays the salaries of 50,000 employees. Are these people unemployed? Why don't they pay their electricity bills," Al-Khatib asked...
Of course, that doesn't mean some people don't try to cast blame:
..."The power plant shut down completely this morning as a result of a shortage of fuel caused by the Israeli siege," said Kanaan Obeid, assistant director of Gaza's electricity authority, referring to the Israeli blockade of Gaza since its 2007 takeover by the Islamist Hamas movement.
But Israel said the shut-down was caused by a rift over funding among the Palestinians, and that the Hamas rival, the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, had stopped fuel purchases...
...The Israeli army said the Palestinians had stopped buying fuel in recent days after Hamas failed to pay its share of the costs.
"There is no Israeli involvement; if they buy fuel we will let it in as we do on a daily basis," said Guy Inbar, a spokesman for the Israeli military liaison to Gaza...
...Israel supplies about 70 percent of Gaza's power and Egypt provides five percent, with the remainder from the closed power plant...
Roger L. Simon has updated his post on the problem Israeli nuke scientists have been having getting visas (see: Obama Denies Visas to Israeli Nuke Scientists and White House Denies Israeli Nuke Scientist Story). This has been a problem since 9/11 and did not begin with the Obama Administration: CORRECTION: Visa Policy For Israeli Nuclear Scientists Did Not Begin With Obama Admin
On April 8, 2010, I wrote an article in this space implying that the Obama administration had instituted a new policy restricting entry to the United States for Israeli nuclear scientists who worked at the Dimona reactor. I based my article on a report from the Israeli website/newspaper Maariv, which quoted the nuclear engineering professor Zeev Alfassi as its primary source.
This morning (Pacific time) I was able to reach Dr. Alfassi in his office at Ben Gurion University in the Negev. Apparently, my report -- and the newspaper's -- was inaccurate. The professor informed me that while it was extremely difficult for scientists who worked at Dimona to obtain U.S. visas, this was not a new policy of the Obama administration. This problem has been going on since 9/11.
Alfassi explained that formerly he and other scientists were able to go through travel agents to obtain visas to the U.S. Now they have to go personally to the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv. He knows of at least one case of a scientist who was not able to attend a conference in this country because of this system. European scientists, he said, did not have this problem.
Dr. Alfassi was quite cordial in answering my questions and I thank him.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Netanyahu demurred from personally attending the upcoming Washington nuclear summit, expecting Israel to be made the issue in a hijacked event rather than rogue states like Iran. As if on cue, up steps Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan: 'World turns blind eye to Israeli nukes'
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said the world was turning a blind eye to Israel's nuclear program, adding that he intended to raise the issue at the nuclear summit in Washington.
Erdogan says Iran's nuclear program was being scrutinized because of its membership in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) whereas Israel, which has not signed a nonproliferation treaty (NPT), was "free to do what it wants."
Speaking to reporters before his departure for Washington, Erdogan said, "We are disturbed by this and will say so."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called off his trip to Washington because he believed Turkey and other Muslim nations would turn the issue of Israel's reported nuclear program into the focus of the global summit...
[The following, by Maimon, is crossposted from CiF Watch.]
Reza Aslan is a highly successful author, whose first book on the "Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam" won international acclaim and was short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award. According to his website, the Iranian-born Aslan studied "Religions" at several US universities, though he is now an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside.
I have to admit that I'm not familiar with Aslan's work, but that is likely true for many other people who followed CiF's "Best of the Web" recommendation that featured at the top of the list Aslan's blog at the "Daily Beast" where he had posted an excerpt from his second book that has just been published in paperback.
As can be seen from the screenshot above, CiF's one-sentence summary provided the title of Aslan's post: "Jihadists' Palestinian rallying cry" and promised "[an] excerpt from Reza Aslan's book, in which he writes about the 7/7 bombers' radicalization after a visit to Israel-Palestine."
Indeed, the passage Aslan chose to entice readers to buy his new book opens with the (creatively written) claim:
"Two years before Mohammed Siddique Khan, the soft-spoken second-generation Pakistani-Briton from West Yorkshire, led three of his friends on a suicide mission that would end in the murder of more than 50 of his fellow British citizens on July 7, 2005, he stood at the wall dividing Israel and Palestine, at one of its 500 or so security checkpoints. In all of the material published about the so-called 7/7 bombers, all of the documents and studies and conferences meant to discover what could have led to the radicalization of those four seemingly benign British youths, Khan's trip to Israel is rarely, if ever, mentioned. But there can be little doubt that it was the decisive moment in his young life--the pivot in his journey from husband and father and, by all accounts, well-adjusted, well-integrated, well-educated youth worker to radical jihadist bent on mass murder."
Aslan's assertion that "there can be little doubt" that it was the trip to Israel that turned a "well-adjusted, well-integrated, well-educated youth worker" into a "radical jihadist bent on mass murder" is truly remarkable given that he notes - albeit in passing - that Khan came to Israel on "a last-minute detour on his way back to Britain, after he had completed the hajj pilgrimage with his wife and a couple of close friends."Continue reading "Creative Writing on Terrorism"
Well, here's an important update to the story below concerning supposed threats received by Israeli-Arab singer Mira Awad, Israeli Arab Singer Receives Threats, Cancels London Show. Unfortunately, the Jerusalem Post has completely changed the linked story (note to JPost: please stop doing that). The new headline is: 'It was my choice to cancel concert'.
Yes, apparently Awad didn't need to be threatened in order to cancel a concert to celebrate her ostensible country's founding. The basic disinterest of Israel's Arabs to fully participate in the society of which they are a part, while accepting all the benefits, is certainly one of Israel's most serious long term problems.
Just a short note to let everyone know that public pressure has forced Mira Awad, a Palestinian singer and citizen of Israel, to cancel her scheduled performance in the UK sponsored by the Zionist Federation to celebrate Israel's "independence."
Awad published a letter today in Al-Ittihad, the newspaper of the Israeli Communist Party, saying that she would "never" perform for Israel's "independence," not in London nor anywhere else.
A small victory, but every victory is worth celebrating!...
So did she bow to pressure after all? Her Facebook statement says that when she found out the date of the event, she canceled due to "complexities": some clarifications regarding the London concert.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Part 2 (below the fold):Continue reading "Saturday Night Stooges"
Yaacov Lozowick has a good run-down of the issues involved in the Anat Kam (Kamm) spy scandal. As usual, many of the usual suspects (generally people on the left who either oppose Israel's existence or are so confused as to consider hyper-criticism regardless of the results the highest form of patriotism) are crying heroism. The truth is far different, however: "A Threat to Democracy"
...The story began when Anat Kamm allegedly stole 2000 classified documents from the office of her commander, CO of the Central Front, Yair Naveh, between 2005-2007. Allegedly, because she hasn't yet been convicted, let us not forget. The documents dealt with many matters, of varying seriousness. The security forces say that once they had figured out what had been stolen they had to make changes to operational procedures and change operations, out of fear their details had leaked. We're a country at war, people get killed in our wars, and this theft interfered. No-one's saying anyone was killed, but as we say in Hebrew, that was more luck than brains. Also: the documents are still out there. They haven't been retrieved yet...
...Haaretz republished most of Blau's [Uri Blau, the journalist to whom Kam gave the documents] story over the weekend, to remind us that the real culprits are the generals who are not behaving correctly. In brief, the High Court of Justice ordered that Palestinian terrorists not be assassinated in cases where they can be arrested; Kamm's documents seemed to be saying the generals were disregarding this order. Since Haaretz was so helpful as to re-publish the story, I feel confident in saying it isn't convincing. The documents they cite seem to be saying that the terrorists must be arrested, but if the choice is between letting them get away or killing them, they should be killed. In other words, precisely what the High Court said. There was also mention of the fat that should there be a need to fire at the terrorists, this would be permissible even if there was one single unidentified individual with them - but not two, say, or four. We know that in the invasion of Iraq the Americans were allowed to assasinate identified enemies along with up to 29 civilians - so the documents Kamm stole seem to prove the opposite of what Uri Blau said they proved.
So Kamm wasn't a whistle-blower, and Blau wasn't uncovering an uncomfortable truth the IDF needed to hide...
You just can't please some people: Three Muslim extremists charged after attack on Galloway
George Galloway was set upon by a group of Muslim extremists while campaigning in East London this afternoon. Three men, believed to belong to the extreme sect Islam4UK, the latest name for Al-Muhajiroun, were arrested and subsequently charged with public order offences.
Galloway, who is standing in the Poplar and Limehouse constituency, was with a party of supporters in Watney Market around 3pm when he and his colleagues were first abused and then attacked by the group.
"They called me a filthy Kaffir" said Galloway, "and shouted that no one should shake the 'filthy Kaffir's hand'. This lot are the latest incarnation of the banned group Al-Muhajiroun. They don't want Muslims to vote, they don't believe in democracy, and because I encourage Muslims to vote and take a full part in our society they hate me. My party, Respect, is the antidote to these despicable extremists."...
I'm pretty sure it's a lie that Galloway actually believes in democracy, though.
Great report with pics out of San Francisco by Zombie: Q.U.I.T.'s protest against the "Out in Israel" film festival
...QUIT is accusing Israel of "pinkwashing" its treatment of Palestinians by promoting how gay-friendly the nation is while sweeping under the rug its "apartheid policies" toward Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. I invite you to read QUIT's manifesto above and try to wrap your mind around their point of view -- which may not be an easy task. Note how QUIT in no way disputes the fact that Israel is queer-friendly; nor do they dispute the fact that gays in Palestine generally face immediate execution (by mob violence, government dictate, or even at the hands of their own families) if ever found out. Mostly, QUIT conveniently fails to mention what happens to gays in Palestine, but to the extent that they do mention it, they lay the blame on Israel. QUIT's "logic" goes like this: Israel has the Palestinians trapped like rats in a cage, and it is this desperate social condition which causes Palestinian society to become so twisted that it oppresses its own people; furthermore, by closing the borders, Israel prevents gay Palestinians from fleeing the horrors of Palestine for the freedom of . . . Israel.
Friday, April 9, 2010
It obviously hasn't hit him yet. Peppery!
[The following, by Zach, is crossposted from The Brothers of Judea, 'Standing Up Against Hate on the Huffington Post.']
This was a topic that I have wanted to write about for a couple of weeks, but only today was there a perfect example of it posted here on the Huffington Post:
We often see anti-Zionists saying things like this. Comments that range along the line of, "What's the big deal about the Holocaust? Who cares? It was a long time ago, and a lot of other people are suffering too! So why are we making such a big fuss over it?"
Comments like these are not anti-Semitic, nor are they Holocaust denial either. The person is not claiming that the Holocaust didn't happen, but instead is simply being a jerk about it. I call this Holocaust cynicism. It is quite prevalent among anti-Semites and anti-Zionists alike, at least on the Huffington Post. The only time that they mention the Holocaust is to complain that Jews make "too big of a deal" about it and that it happened "a long time ago."
In fact any time the Holocaust is brought up they usually respond in this manner. The implication behind these comments is not that they think the Holocaust wasn't a bad thing, just that we should make such a big fuss about it anymore. One of the prominent examples of this is Norman Finkelstein's "The Holocaust Industry" in which he claims that Jews now just exploit the memory of the Shoah for cash. Maybe he and the other Holocaust cynics are right. Maybe it would make for a good discussion among Jews. Perhaps the Jews should think about whether they make too much of the Holocaust. But as it usually stands, Holocaust cynicism coming from people who aren't interested in an honest, intellectual discussion of that matter. Most Holocaust cynics also demonstrate clear anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish attitudes, and that should tell you something. They use this cynicism as a discussion-ender against people who would want to discuss how the Holocaust impacted Jewish history and the modern Jewish mindset.
It would be one thing if Bushdepression here was complaining on a Rwandan genocide thread that it should be getting more attention. I don't think he would find many people who would disagree. But the fact is that he came onto a Yom Ha'shoah thread and said basically, "This remembrance shouldn't exist." As if the lessons learned from those dark days no longer matter and should be forgotten. As I explained in my post this morning, there are many things about the Holocaust that is unique: There is more to it than just a lot of people killed a lot of other people. Bushdepression is heavily implying that the Jews are trying to make it all about them when they dare to remember their losses. And if that isn't Holocaust cynicism in it's highest form, I don't know where else one would find it.
[The following, by Barry Rubin, is crossposted from The Rubin Report.]
The two Arab journalists I most respect have written of the fear in Arabic-speaking countries about Iran's having nuclear weapons. They explain persuasively why a U.S. containment policy of reassuring Arab states and Israel against direct nuclear attack is totally inadequate.
Listen to what they're saying as it is much more accurate in warning about the coming strategic shift in the region than what's being written in the West.
Both Abd al-Rahman al-Rashid and Ahmad al-Jarallah are close to elements in the Saudi regime yet also maintain personal independence and support liberal reform. Rashid (often transliterated, Rashed) is a Saudi who is former editor of al-Sharq al-Awsat, probably the best Arabic newspaper, and is now director-general of the al-Arabiya network, possibly the best satellite television network. Writing in al-Sharq al-Awsat on February 21 (translated by MEMRI) he explained:
"An Iranian bomb...will not be put to military use; it will be used as a way to change the rules of the game. What we are afraid of is Iran's policy, that uses all means to force its existence [as a regional power], and nuclear weapons is only [one of these] means." For example, if pro-Iranian militias "take over southern Iraq, no superpower will dare to use military means to stop it."
"We fear the logic of the current regime in Tehran, which spent the country's funds on Hizbullah, Hamas, the extremist movements in Bahrain, Iraq and Yemen, and the Muslim Brotherhood, and supported every extremist in the region. The Ahmadinejad regime aspires to expansion, hegemony, and a clear takeover on the ground, and to do this he needs a nuclear umbrella to protect him from deterrence by [any] superpower.Continue reading "Barry Rubin: Listen to the Two Best Arab Journalists Warning What A Nuclear-Armed Iran Means"
I wanted to post this in order to point out an aspect of the conflict often overlooked. We hear time and again about the ways in which the Arab Israeli sector is alienated or lags behind the Jewish sector in one statistic or another. Somehow, these facts are often twisted to show that Israel is somehow a purveyor of particular evil, even an "apartheid" state, in spite of the fact that there is affirmative action in the public sector and anti-discrimination law in force there.
No government can force people to participate if they choose not to, however. We've discussed previously the ways in which Arab culture itself causes some of this lagging (consanguinity's affect on health statistics, for instance), and now here's another. Even when Arab Israelis choose to participate fully, and take advantage of what the greater society offers, their own fellow Arabs are there to drag them down: Arab Israeli singer receives threats
Arab Israeli singer and television personality Mira Awad has withdrawn from the Zionist Federation's Israel Independence Concert in London following death threats against her and her family, it was reported on Friday.
Awad, along with fellow singer Achinoam Nini, represented Israel at the 2009 Eurovision concert have performed at venues around the world to packed audiences. Awad has worked to promote coexistence between Arabs and Jews in Israel through her work with Nini, but also through various other platforms.
"Mira and [Nini's] message is about finding a peaceful way forward. It is tragic that when both sides try to come together by any means possible to build a better future for Israel and its citizens, there are those prepared to use violence and intimidation to destroy it," Awad's manager, Ofer Pesenzon, said in response to the threats.
Awad will stay in Israel while Nini performs in London on Independence Day...
...Awad grew up in Rameh, an Arab village near Karmiel, and lives today in Tel Aviv. Her family, which still lives in the Galilee, employs strict measures to ensure their security.
Also, at The JC: Death threats silence Independence Day singer
Ironically, the bullies and haters achieve a double purpose. They can prevent participation, make circumstances worse, contribute to negative statistics and increased societal problems, and then turn right around and blame Israeli Jews for the very societal disparities they themselves contribute to. This goes the same for the boycott activists constantly carping on and campaigning against "normalization" -- they hurt the very people they purport to help.
And they get away with it because the media and NGO's allow them to, rather than condemning them. Assigning any degree of personal responsibility for one's problems are so unfashionable.
Update: JPost has changed the story. It gets more complex: OK, So Maybe That Israeli-Arab Singer Wasn't Threatened After All
I get so many people by here trying to excuse Galloway and his Viva Palestina cronies and attempting to deny that he has been a direct supporter of Hamas that it's nice to have postings like this to refer people to: "Racist and Inflammatory"
...While handing over cash to Hamas, he [Galloway] said:
But I, now, here, on behalf of myself, my sister Yvonne Ridley, and the two Respect councillors - Muhammad Ishtiaq and Naim Khan - are giving three cars and 25,000 pounds in cash to Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.
Ridley too scoffed at the law:
I brought cash and I am happy to say I have given that cash to George Galloway and we have both given that money to the Palestinian prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, which has broken UN sanctions. If they want to charge us, if they want to arrest us, bring it on.
The White House is denying a story in the Israeli newspaper Maariv, gaining traction today on the right, that Israeli nuclear scientists have been denied visas to visit the United States...
...The story, whose sourcing is a bit hazy, says that "Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor's employees have told Israel's Maariv daily that they have been having problems recently getting visas to the United States where they have for years attended seminars in Chemistry, Physics and Nuclear Engineering. They also complain of being treated in an 'insulting manner' by President Obama's people. Until recently, employees of the Nuclear Research Center routinely traveled to the United States for seminars and courses."
But White House spokesman Bill Burton flatly denied the report of a change to U.S. visa policy.
So there may be nothing to the story that Maariv presented, or this could be double-talk by the White House (no changes de jure, while de facto the visa handling has changed in practice).
As the countdown starts to next week's vote whether or not to override the veto of last month's BDS resolution at Berkeley, I'm updating some writing from way back when during divestment campaigns at Somerville and the Presbyterian Church, highlighting how much the same issues keep coming up again and again whenever one of these divestment projects finds a new victim.
Today's installment includes some thoughts on Ruthlessness.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
[Crossposted from JStreetJive.]
One of the first rules of investing in the Stock Market concerns short selling. That rule states that there is no limit to potential loss in short-selling if the stock price rises as opposed to simply losing your initial investment in a standard buy. Well, the Academy is now a perfect example of this bottomless pit.
This site has reported on the deplorable state of the American Academy concerning the Middle East before. But since the triumph of the Obama administration, the arrogance, stupidity and astounding prejudice against Israel among the professoriat and their impressionable students has sunk to almost unfathomable depths. Consider some cases in point:
- At a recent lecture at Harvard's prestigious Belfer Center entitled "Moderating Islam: The Ideological Dimension of the War on Terror", which focused on initiatives in the West to assimilate young Muslims into societies that value democratic values, one of the Center's directors quickly turned the discussion into an indictment against Israel for exposing the United States to Muslim wrath. After that turn, the consensus emerged that attacks on abortion clinics were of a more immediate threat to American values than the thousands of corpses generated by militant Islam each month. One professor declared that he could not recall a single attack on the United States since 9/11. He must have been in a coma during the scores of attacks and thwarted attacks including the recent Fort Hood massacre and the unsuccessful "underwear" bomber.
- A professor of political science at the same institution instructs her students that the worst sin committed by the West today is "essentialism", the philosophic concept that any entity must possess a discrete set of characteristics or properties. In other words, to attribute violence to Islam - in spite of incontrovertible evidence in the form of mountains of corpses that pile up every day from Baghdad to Thailand - is dreadfully in error, akin to a hate crime. The professor chooses to view the evidence from a "nuanced" perspective, borrowing the apologist theme from such eminent fellow academics as the Nobel Laureate economist Amartya Sen whose popular book, "Identity and Violence" decried the compartmentalization of groups and demanded that the West view everyone as possessing "multiple identities" - in effect, providing apology and cover to a global, supremacist ideology that espouses a cult of death. The same professor chooses to present one Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi , the most widely viewed (television and internet) radical cleric in the world, as mainstream and moderate. Sheikh Qaradawi, supported by the "moderate" regime in Qattar, has preached, among other lovely sermons, that "The last punishment of the Jews" was carried out by Hitler who "managed to put them in their place."
- An upcoming conference at Tufts University is entitled, Looking Past, Looking Forward: The History and Future of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Some of the participants include: Henry Siegman, Former Senior Fellow and Director for the U.S./Middle East Project, Council on Foreign Relations and Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin of Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva are ostensibly representing the Israeli position.
Henry Siegman has long been recognized as an apologist for the PLO and Yasir Arafat. Recently, he has been among the chief advocates of an imposed "solution" to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, favoring the Palestinians, of course. Samantha Power, now holding a leading position in the Obama administration, has expressed a similar animus towards Israel with a similar "solution". Much of his funding over the years has come from Saudi Arabia and Palestinian sources.
Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, for his part, has also been a hyper-critic of Israel and Zionism: "I feel responsible for the victims of Zionism." His speeches and writings mirror the positions of the most radical Palestinian factions. No wonder he has found a home at Israel's most outspokenly anti-Israel university, the home of Neve Gordon and Jeff Halper. The problem is that he is now ensconced at The University of Pennsylvania.
Were these anti-Israel demagogues confined to the lunatic fringe of Ben Gurion University or adjuncts to Arab "think tanks" like Henry Siegman, they would have limited influence. The real problem is their career trajectories into the corridors of power in Washington and the world. The Kennedy School at Harvard, Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School, the University of Pennsylvania's School of International Relations,Tufts' Fletcher School, etc. are virtual funnels for high positions into the State Department. The Walt-Mearsheimer phenomenon is replicated around the country and around the world. If any Israeli scholars are present on campuses, they are almost without exception, extreme, anti-Israel, anti-Zionist ideologues. Recently, the chief visiting scholar of Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights was the founder of B'tselem in Israel. There have been a handful of notable exceptions: Martin Kramer at Harvard's Olin Center and Efraim Karsh. Yet they remain a handful.
In his farewell address, President Eisenhower warned of the revolving door of the military and industry, a message that has been grist for the Left's mill for decades. What we are witnessing now is the "University-Islamist complex." For the near future, the practical consequences of this relationship will be nothing short of disastrous for Israel and the West.
[Update 4/9: Edited first paragraph and changed title.]
[The following, by Charles Jacobs, appeared in the March 19 edition of The Jewish Advocate.]
A couple of weeks ago, in an act of realpolitik opportunism, President Obama parlayed a diplomatic blunder in Israel into a full-fledged crisis in U.S.-Israel relations. Obama has declared that changing the way the Arab world sees America is key to his foreign policy. Israel, it seems, may have to pay the price for this change in direction.
The fight emerged when Bibi failed to forestall an announcement of new housing construction in East Jerusalem until after Joe Biden completed his visit to Israel. Biden was "offended." In fact, the apartments for Jewish residents are in a part of Jerusalem that nobody - the U.S. and Yitzhak Rabin included -- ever expected would be ceded to the Arabs in any imagined peace deal. Bibi apologized for the announcement's timing but went on to explain that, "No government of Israel for the last 40 years has agreed to place restrictions on building in Jerusalem." But now "offended," Hillary says Israel must "prove" that it wants peace by making (more) concessions. Nothing is demanded of the Arabs, who just named a public square for a killer of Jewish civilians. No offense was taken. Ambassador Oren sensed a tectonic shift in US-Israel relations. What has happened?
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd enthusiastically explained Obama's slap at Israel: Jews, she wrote, no longer speak with one voice -- the rise of J Street and post-Zionism in general give cover for the President to publicly fight with the Jewish state. She's partly right: the growing power of the Jewish far-left enabled Obama to express his ire. But it was more than the far-left: 80% of Jews voted for Obama. What explains that?Continue reading "Charles Jacobs: Believing in Obama"
The Obama administration is now denying U.S. visas to Israeli scientists who work at that nation's Dimona nuclear reactor. This startling reversal of traditional policy was reported April 7, 2010, in the Israeli website/newspaper NRG/Maariv (link to the original Hebrew here and to an exclusive Pajamas Media translation here).
This could be yet another flashpoint in the increasingly sensitive relations between the administration, the American Jewish community, and Israel. The revelation in Maariv came only a day before the arrival in New York of Tariq Ramadan -- controversial grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al Banna -- whose visa was reportedly championed by Secretary of State Clinton. Yesterday as well, new rules disavowing the term "Islamic radicalism" were announced by Secretary of Defense Gates.
According to Maariv: "...workers at the Dimona reactor who submitted VISA requests to visit the United States for ongoing university education in Physics, Chemistry and Nuclear Engineering -- have all been rejected, specifically because of their association with the Dimona reactor. This is a new policy decision of the Obama administration, since there never used to be an issue with the reactor's workers from study in the USA, and till recently, they received VISAs and studied in the USA."
Israeli defense officials are stating these workers have no criminal records in the U.S. or Israel and have been singled out purely because of their place of employment. Moreover, nuclear materials for the Dimona reactor apparently do not come from the U.S. Zeev Alfasi -- head of nuclear engineering at Israel's Ben Gurion University -- states that "the United States doesn't sell anything nuclear-related to the Dimona reactor, and that means absolutely nothing. Radiation detectors, for example, have to be purchased now in France because the USA refuses to sell these to Israel."...
Seraphic Secret: Barack Hussein Obama's Nuclear War Against Israel
Update 4/9: Ben Smith at Politico says the Obama Administration is denying the report.
Washington Street. Lincoln Avenue. Freedom Drive. Liberty Lane.
You can tell a lot about a nation by the people and the values they lionize. Tell me about Palestine. Have they produced anything for the world other than the worship of terrorist murder?
The future Palestinian Authority presidential compound will be built along a street named for an infamous Hamas arch-terrorist, Channel 10 reported on Wednesday.
The Ramallah street was named for notorious Hamas suicide bomb mastermind Yihyeh Ayyash, also known as the "engineer," who was the architect of multiple attacks, including a 1994 bombing of a Tel Aviv bus, which killed 20 people, and injured dozens.
Ayyash was killed in 1996 in what was most likely an Israeli assassination, after his cell phone exploded in his Beit Lahia home, in the Gaza Strip.
According to the Channel 10 report, the street sign posted at the Ramallah location read: "Yihyeh Ayyash, 1966-1996, born in Nablus, studied electrical engineering in Bir Zeit University. Was a member of the Iz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and was linked by Israel to a number of bombings. Was assassinated by Israel in his Beit Lahia (Gaza Strip) home in 5.1.1996."...
The Prime Minister's office has issued this statement:
"This is an outrageous glorification of terrorism by the Palestinian Authority. Right next to a Presidential compound in Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority has named a street after a terrorist who murdered hundreds of innocent Israeli men, women and children. The world must forcefully condemn this official Palestinian incitement for terrorism and against peace."
The AJC has issued a statement here: AJC Appalled by Palestinian Authority Glorification of Hamas Terrorist Leader
April 8, 2010 -- New York -- AJC is outraged by the Palestinian Authority decision to name a Ramallah street after the notorious Hamas terrorist Yahya Ayyash. The street is located next to the Palestinian presidential compound in the West Bank city.
"If President Abbas is truly committed to a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this public glorification of terrorism is the absolute wrong message to convey to both Israelis and Palestinians," said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
Commonly known as "the engineer," Ayyash was until his death in 1996 the chief Hamas bomb-maker, responsible for the brutal murder of dozens of Israelis in suicide bombings in the mid-1990s.
Last month, during Vice President Biden's visit a public square in Ramallah was dedicated to the female Palestinian terrorist who led the 1978 Coastal Road bus hijackings and massacre of 37 Israelis and an American photographer.
Palestinian Media Watch has a report on several similar matters: The duplicity of Fayyad and Abbas: Preaching non-violence while honoring terrorists
[The following, by Barry Rubin, is crossposted from The Rubin Report.]
The Obama Administration doesn't understand this but it is signalling the Palestinian Authority (PA) that it can get away with anything, thus further dooming any hope for serious negotiations and perhaps leading to a restart of large-scale violence.
Decades ago, when Middle East experts held views closer to the region's realities rather than to its propaganda, it was well-known that one of the best ways to mobilize a big demonstration or riot in Arabic-speaking countries was to tell people: The government is with you.
Say, for example, you wanted to smash up of the British embassy in Damascus or Cairo. The trick would be to persuade the masses that their rulers wanted them to do it and thus they would be rewarded, not punished. In effect, this is the consequence of what the Obama Administration is doing inadvertently. The PA has concluded that the U.S. government will never criticize or punish it.
Indeed, the Palestinian leaders know, the more intransigent they are, the more conflict there will be in U.S.-Israel relations.
Here's the chain of reasoning:
--The Obama Administration wants progress toward peace for which it can take credit and which supposedly will help it in Afghanistan, Iraq, and in dealing with Iran.
--If Israel doesn't make concessions, U.S.-Israel friction will result. But if the PA is intransigent, there will be no problem in bilateral relations.
--Instead, the U.S. government will say: Since the PA won't yield or accept our offers, we must put pressure on Israel to give more in order to get the PA on board.
--Indeed, in this framework, the more radical things that the PA does which encourage Israeli anger and reluctance to take risks, the more Israel gets blamed.
--Conclusion: Being intransigent, creating conflict, and even inspiring violence is in the PA's interest.Continue reading "Barry Rubin: Why Does the Palestinian Authority Celebrate Those Who Turned Christianity's Holiest Shrine into a Military Bunker?"
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Can we still say Muslim Student Union? This is excellent work by the whistle-blower confirming what, after all, was the obvious: The MSU Plot to Silence Israel's Ambassador
Despite claims to the contrary, internal emails from the University of California, Irvine's Muslim Student Union (MSU) show that the group orchestrated the repeated disruptions of a speech given on campus by Israeli ambassador Michael Oren February 8.
A copy of the email exchanges was sent anonymously to school and local law enforcement officials, who are investigating whether students violated conduct codes or criminal laws, respectively, in deliberately disrupting an invited guest speaker at the school. The emails include a "game plan," which details the disruption plan down to where the student disruptors would sit, how they would communicate with each other via text messaging, and how to act if campus police began to arrest students...
...Prior to the speech, MSU officials told UCI administrators that they were not planning any disruptions before the speech. Police arrested 11 students during the event, eight from UC Irvine and three from UC Riverside.
Afterward, numerous press accounts included MSU denials that the disruptions were orchestrated.
"It was not put on by the MSU, but rather by students acting on their own," chapter spokeswoman Hadeer Soliman told the Los Angeles Times. She repeated the claim in a column in UCI's student newspaper.
On a website created to support the arrested students, MSU President Mohamed Abdelgany wrote that "all of my actions on Monday were done out of my own individual accord and were not on behalf of the Muslim Student Union or any other organization at UC Irvine."
As the now public emails make clear, these denials were an attempt to cover up the truth about MSU's behind-the-scenes attempt to shout down a visiting diplomat. A decision to disrupt the event had been made at an MSU board meeting days before the speech, the records show...
The rest. Discipline, please.
Presented without comment: Obama Bans Islam, Jihad From National Security Strategy Document
President Barack Obama's advisers will remove religious terms such as "Islamic extremism" from the central document outlining the U.S. national security strategy and will use the rewritten document to emphasize that the United States does not view Muslim nations through the lens of terror, counterterrorism officials said.
The change is a significant shift in the National Security Strategy, a document that previously outlined the Bush Doctrine of preventative war and currently states: "The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century."
The officials described the changes on condition of anonymity because the document still was being written, and the White House would not discuss it. But rewriting the strategy document will be the latest example of Obama putting his stamp on U.S. foreign policy, like his promises to dismantle nuclear weapons and limit the situations in which they can be used.
The revisions are part of a larger effort about which the White House talks openly, one that seeks to change not just how the United States talks to Muslim nations, but also what it talks to them about, from health care and science to business startups and education...
[The following, by Barry Rubin, is crossposted from The Rubin Report.]
Is the U.S. government going to present its own comprehensive peace plan on the Israel-Palestinian issue? There is growing evidence it is thinking of doing such a thing, though that is by no means certain. If the Obama Administration does move in this direction, however, I predict that it will be a major failure and humiliation for that government.
The latest development is an apparently well-informed New York Times article about a meeting chaired by National Security Advisor James Jones, known for being hostile to Israel, and including former national security advisors, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft--also known for being anti-Israel--and Samuel Berger. All three (it should be mentioned that none of this trio covered himself with glory when in office and are not exactly foreign policy geniuses) reportedly favor the idea. Former national security advisor Colin Powell disagreed, but he's a Republican (though a pro-Obama one) and probably less influential. Oh, and President Obama dropped in to hear the discussion.
One might ask a lot of people who voted for Obama if they are happy having Brzezinski and Scowcroft as top advisors on Middle East policy. Again, though, it should be clear no decision has been made and such an initiative might never happen, assuming clearer heads triumph.
But, the reporter writes:
"Still, for all of that, a consensus appears to be growing, both within the administration and among outside advisers to the White House, that Mr. Obama will have to consider suggesting a solution to get the two sides moving." This might happen also if indirect talks fail.
Let us pause a moment to consider that this whole approach is the opposite of being brilliant. First, the administration has just signaled to the Palestinians that they want to make the indirect talks fail, since then the U.S. government will make an "imposed" offer that will adopt almost all of their demands. After all, if it doesn't, they can sabotage the proposal, knowing that the Obama administration will never punish or criticize them. Since the government desperately wants to succeed, it is giving the Palestinian Authority all the leverage.Continue reading "Barry Rubin: The Idea of the Obama Administration Supporting an "Imposed Solution" on the Israel-Palestinian Issue Takes a Big Step Forward"
Shaidle has more background to this incident, here.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Jonathan Hoffman reports on the British charity, War on Want, that leads raids on British supermarkets pulling Israeli goods off the shelves, yet still finds itself the beneficiary of major charitable events like Comic Relief: Boycott "War On Want" which trashes Israeli goods in Waitrose
As those of you who read Harry's are aware, they haven't been posting comments at all for the last few days and also have been running slowly at times and periodically it's been difficult to post comments or access articles.
Some of us had been wondering if the lawsuit involving George Galloway had anything to do with this - although there are no shortage of feathers ruffled by Harry's outspoken commentary.
In any case Galloway has accused a Harry's member of libel because he pointed out that Galloway supports Hamas, which is hard to dispute considering that there is no shortage of photos of George Galloway giving money to leading Hamas politicos.
Regardless, British libel laws are different from ours. Here, the burden of proof is on the accuser. In Britain, it's on the defense and this makes it harder to speak out and easier to practice "lawfare." So the accused party has to prove that he isn't guilty instead of the other way around and in the meantime he can spend a fortune defending himself.
As it happens though the people who have been doing their best to take Harry's down this past month or so are associated with the BNP!
If you don't know who that is, google them.
Now, regardless of what end of the political spectrum we're on, Americans care about freedom, with freedom of speech and freedom of the press being key pillars of a democratic society.
So please read the article, and maybe consider making a donation to Harry's because it's cost them a bundle to get back up and running after these scurrilous assaults, and also take steps to secure the site against future skulduggery.
The libel suit is bad enough but this is really outrageous and it reflects an attempt to shut down not only debate but the dissemination of information.
Trying to knock blogs offline because you disagree with them just has no place in modern Western civilization, which ironically BNP claims to be defending against "immigrants," especially those who aren't "white."
[The following, by Ben-Dror Yemini, is translated from the original Hebrew which appears in Ma'ariv here. This translation does not include the embedded links. I will add them if I find a version that contains them. Courtesy of Noah Pollak.]
[Update: Special thanks to Centrist for providing manyof the links from the original Hebrew text.]
Human rights are too important an issue to be left in the hands of human rights organizations. This isn't the first time that I've written that. It's just that this issue is becoming increasingly important. This time, the organization at hand is Amnesty, once again Amnesty, which has conferred legitimacy on jihad. One is hard put to believe the words one reads.
In the previous installment, which was reported by Ma'ariv three weeks ago, Amnesty's Gita Sahgal voiced her objection to the association with Moazzam Begg, who is ideologically associated with the Taliban. Sahgal's statements were published by the London Times. That same day, Sahgal was suspended after 30 years of work with Amnesty. An uproar ensued, but to no avail. Begg remained with Amnesty, Sahgal was ousted. Activists and other groups signed a petition calling for the restoration of fairness to human rights and against the association between human rights organizations and people either affiliated with or who identify with groups, such as the Taliban. The international organization of women who live under Muslim law issued a harshly worded response. After all, they are the ones who lived for many years under the Taliban regime and were subjected to every conceivable form of oppression.
The most astonishing response to Sahgal's anger came, from all places, from Secretary General of Amnesty International Claudio Cordone, who came out in defense of the connection between Amnesty and the Taliban supporter, Moazzam Begg. He said: defensive jihad does not contradict human rights.
Cordone's response was made a month ago, but it was released for publication just a number of days ago, and elicited furious responses, mainly from Muslims.
The first response was from three Muslim human rights activists from Asia, who wrote : If that is the official position of the leading human rights organization, that will severely undermine the human rights movement.
This time the criticism isn't being aired by conservatives, but by veteran members of the human rights camp.Continue reading "Ben-Dror Yemini: The Dark Side of Amnesty International (Updated with Links)"
Another must-read from Walter Russell Mead: Why AIPAC Is Good For The Jews -- and For Everyone Else
...One of the reasons that America is so relatively impervious to the anti-Semitic virus is the existence of well publicized groups like AIPAC. In America, lobbying for Israel makes Jews look more patriotic, more American, even in a certain way more pro-Christian...
Hard to excerpt. Just read it all. Mead articulates what many of us understand implicitly and why, and why the most anti-Israel Jews are generally the most politically marginal. I was sent a link this morning to another leftist "AsaJew" running for office in New York. I knew even before checking that the guy's poll numbers render him an unserious candidate, and sure enough, when I did check, he was. Mead, in a somewhat indirect way, explains why. Anti-Israel attitudes on the part of Jews don't endear them to the political mainstream, they separate them from it (in America anyway).
No, there's no mistake in the headline. Why would an anti-Israel television show anger Palestinians? They're supposed to be into that, right? Big lies that show the Zionist apes in the worst possible light. Ahh! But the show has Arab women being raped by Israeli guards, and you know that rape is the woman's fault, right? So much at fault that a rape victim is in danger of being murdered by her own family in what's bizarrely called "honor killing": Anti-Israel TV show angers Palestinians
Even the Palestinians are opposed to an anti-Israel Turkish television series that is being aired these days on two popular Arab satellite networks.
The 13-episode Separation: Palestinian in Love and in War (Cry of Stones) is about a Palestinian family that leaves for a vacation to Jordan, only to return to a home that had been demolished by the IDF.
The drama, which was first broadcast on Turkey's state television last October, depicts IDF soldiers as cold-blooded murderers and rapists.
The Turkish drama, which has strained relations between Turkey and Israel, has also enraged many Palestinians, especially female prisoners held in Israeli jails.
The inmates are particularly outraged over scenes showing IDF soldiers "raping" a Palestinian women.
"This film defames the female prisoners and their struggles in occupation prisons," the prisoners said in a statement. "We call on the producer of this Turkish drama to apologize to the Palestinian people for the scene which shows Israeli soldiers raping a Palestinian female prisoner called Miriam."
The statement said that the scene has nothing to do with reality. They also condemned the scene where the family of the "rape victim" kills her upon her release from Israeli jail...
Robin Shepherd comments here: A tale of Israeli "rapists" that has enraged the Palestinians but won't make the BBC. He issues a challenge to the BBC:
...The Palestinian protest, of course, is most assuredly not directed against the despicable and racist portrayal of Israelis as rapists. The protest arises because they are concerned about their own reception back in Palestinian and Arab society if this particular calumny is widely believed.
Now, I know that some editors in the BBC read this website from time to time. So here is a challenge to them: Cover this story in the manner I have described. Place the Israelis-as-rapists allegations in the context of a wider culture in the region whose anti-Semitic rantings have no historic parallel outside Germany in the 1930s. Continue by using the story as an illustration of the region's appallingly sexist attitudes to women. And then show the hypocrisy of Palestinians who participate in this racist incitement and then find themselves hoist with their own petard due to the backwardness of important aspects of their very own culture.
I suspect it is already clear why the challenge I have issued will not be met...
[The following, by Israelinurse, is crossposted from CiF Watch.]
Sometimes, what is not reported in the media can be as enlightening as what is. So when the Guardian chooses to virtually or completely ignore a particular story, a certain insight is provided into the workings of the editorial decisions made by that organisation. As we are only too aware, two recent incidents produced a plethora of articles in almost comic proportions on the pages of the Guardian and CiF: the expulsion by the UK of an Israeli diplomat over the alleged forging of British passports and Joe Biden's decision to be insulted by the workings of an Israeli planning committee. To be honest, I lost count of the precise numbers of articles on these two subjects at some point, but both issues were done to death from any and every possible angle with speculation often rife.
Between the breaking of these two stories another incident occurred which merited only one fairly laconic Guardian article: Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan threatened to expel 100,000 Armenians from his country as a reaction to the decisions by the US and Sweden to describe the World War I killings of Armenians as genocide.Continue reading "Silent Witness"
[The following, by Barry Rubin, is crossposted from The Rubin Report.]
George Orwell wrote prophetically in 1943:
"In the last twenty years Western civilization has given the intellectual security without responsibility....It has educated him in skepticism while anchoring him almost immovably in the privileged class. He has been in the position of a young man living on an allowance from father whom he hates. The result is a deep feeling of guilt and resentment, not combined with any genuine desire to escape. But some psychological escape, some form of self-justification there must be....These creeds have the advantage that they aim at the impossible and therefore in effect demand very little....The life of an English gentleman and the moral attitudes of a saint can be enjoyed simultaneously....
"The fact that the eastern nations have shown themselves at least as warlike and bloodthirsty as the western ones, that so far from rejecting industrialism, the East is adopting it as swiftly as it can--this is irrelevant, since what is wanted is the mythos of the peaceful, religious and patriarchal East to set against the greedy and materialistic West....We shall be hearing a lot about the superiority of eastern civilization in the next few years."
In the first paragraph, Orwell was focusing on how intellectuals transfer their allegiance to their country's enemies. At the time, he was talking about the Communist USSR and Nazi Germany. But he might just as well have been talking about their resentment of the existing system. It's interesting to approach this issue from a traditional kind of socialist or even Marxist approach:Continue reading "Barry Rubin: Why Many Western Intellectuals Hate Their Own Countries, Want to Change a Successful System, and Idealize Third World Tyrannies"
Monday, April 5, 2010
It's a rabbit that Stephen Walt just can't help chasing. Walt is blogging about his favorite obsession: On "dual loyalty". Leave it to Walt to try to give intellectualized cover to the 'neo-Lindberghian' dual-loyalty accusation against Dennis Ross. He starts out fairly enough, warning against the dangers and the baggage of such accusations, but he ends up just unable to help himself in giving the OK for it, and twisting, twisting, to get permission by simply calling things by a different name. He doesn't want to do it, but finds a way anyhow:
...But what about getting directly involved as a government official, and in issue-areas where important interests are at stake? Instead of invoking phrases like "dual loyalty," a rhetoric that immediately invokes connotations of betrayal (or even treason), I suggest we frame the issue as one of potential conflicts of interest. Simply put, is it in the best interest of the United States as a whole to place U.S. policy on key issues in the hands of people whose even-handedness is not beyond question, and especially when there is evidence that they feel a strong personal attachment to a foreign country with whom the United States may have important disagreements?
In many walks of life, we routinely expect people to recuse themselves from issues in which their own interests or attachments might affect their judgment. Judges and jurors are excused from cases where they have clear ties to one of the contending parties. University faculty and administrators are often expected to divulge relationships (including outside consulting) that might affect their objectivity or probity. We would also regard it as inappropriate if a financial advisor recommended investing in a company owned by a family member, and all the more so if they failed to divulge the connection. Why? Because there is a conflict of interest...
A conflict of interest in the policy realm, where we're not talking about financial or family ties, simply means someone whose views are known, or who once worked for a group and who may carry those views with them. So what? Walt is, as usual, just bent out of shape that the people who carry his views into the policy realm aren't in the ascendancy.
As Walter Russell Mead has pointed out, the "AIPAC view" is more widely promulgated among policy makers (at least, those who make the final decisions) because those views are popular ones with the best arguments behind them, not because the game is rigged. If Dennis Ross seems to consider Benjamin Netanyahu's "coalition concerns" seriously, it's not because he's on Netanyahu's payroll, it's because if you want to be serious about achieving something then you too should understand and value highly that dynamic. Ross has an important argument to make and it needs to be considered on the merits it deserves.
If we had former CAIR lobbyists, or Council for the National Interest employees in serious policy making positions we would be concerned, but it would be over their mindset and interpretation of events, not simply that they had some prior history they carried with them. Everyone has a history, everyone has some ties. It's the substance that counts.
The first commenter, in two comments, has Walt pegged pretty well:
Simply put, is it in the best interest of the United States as a whole to place U.S. policy on key issues in the hands of people whose even-handedness is not beyond question, and especially when there is evidence that they feel a strong personal attachment to a foreign country with whom the United States may have important disagreements?
And so it begins.
Relatedly, I'm sure I won't be the only one to note that this is at odds with Steve's unqualified defense of Chas Freeman and his full-throated attack on those voicing the exact same concerns he does here.
Ironically, in his attacks on Freeman's critics, Steve uses insinuations of dual loyalties to impugn the critics' motives.
But when an individual's own activities or statements give independent evidence of strong attachment to a particular foreign country, is it a good idea to give them an influential role in shaping U.S. policy towards that country?
Conversely, if an individual's own activities or statements give independent evidence of a strong antipathy towards a particular country, is it a good idea to give them an influential role in shaping U.S policy towards that country?
Clearly I am referring to our blog host here. It is one thing to write the book he did, another to present a one-sided/biased history of the continuing Arab-Israeli conflict, and yet another to gratuitously bash Israel in order to meet his blogging obligations. With the latter I am referring to his trolling anti-Zionist websites like Mondoweiss and bringing over items that have nothing to do with foreign policy or "the Lobby", but simply because they paint Israel in a bad light. While the others can be explained away, it is this last which gives real, independent evidence of Steve's antipathy towards Israel.
I tend to suspect Steve does not see it this way. That his attachments/antipathies reflect what is really in the best interests of the US, unlike all those other guys whose attachments/antipathies are causing them to fool themselves about what is best for the US.
 Steve has drawn heavily, if not solely, on the so-called New Historians, while discounting other historians' contradictory findings that don't comport with the narrative he wants to portray.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
A blast from the past, via Yaacov Lozowick:
Forget the right of return, final borders will take into account current realities...well, Obama is more articulate in front of the cameras isn't he? Pfffft...
[The following, by Barry Rubin, is crossposted from The Rubin Report.]
A former senior Canadian diplomat, Robert Fowler, made the main foreign policy speech to the Liberal Party convention there. He voiced the most common myth about the contemporary Middle East. In fact, it is a myth now returning to favor in the United States after many years in the shadows. (The last thing that killed it was the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait which indicated there were a few other problems in the region.)
Regarding Fowler, let me quote from the Ottawa Citizen editorial about the speech:
"Fowler singled out Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, as the primary source of instability in the region. Meanwhile, a country like Iran -- a totalitarian theocracy bent on obtaining nuclear weapons, which it has already threatened to use -- didn't get a mention. Is that Fowler's idea of an "even-handed" approach to the Middle East?
"By externalizing blame for Arab-Muslim dysfunction--pinning it on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and on Israeli intransigence in particular-- Fowler is playing into the hands of all the Muslim dictators, autocrats and mullahs who use the "Zionist" threat to win popular legitimacy and to justify their refusal to embrace modernization, democratization and economic reform.
"As eminent Middle East scholar Barry Rubin has put it, attributing the Arab world's problems, including the rise of Islamic extremism, to Israel serves only to prevent "the kind of reappraisal necessary to fix the internal factors at the root of the problems and catastrophes" that have crippled virtually every single Arab country."
By the way, Fowler also blamed the expansion of Islamism into sub-Saharan Africa on Israel and dropped dark hints that Canadian foreign policy was currently so pro-Israel because Canadian Jews--who Fowler implies are somehow interlopers in any position of authority in the country--have too much power in the government. Funny how nobody would dare talk about any other religious, racial, or national-origin group that way. Indeed, if the name of any other such community were substituted in a similar speech, the speaker's career would be over.
Returning to the quote above, I admit I liked the "eminent." But the editorial makes the point well. The Arab-Israeli conflict is far less important to the region than it was in the past, it is one of many issues, and it is used as an excuse by regimes who want to change the subject and by Islamist revolutionaries who want to manipulate it to help them seize state power.Continue reading "Barry Rubin: The Middle East's Biggest Con-Game: Claiming Israel is the Cause of the Region's Problems"
Saturday, April 3, 2010
One of my favorite Westerns:
Well, not Obama, just an employee with a Jewish name...in an off the record conference call with an unnamed guest list: Obama WH reaches out to Jewish community:
In the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stormy visit to Washington last week, National Security Council Middle East Senior Director Dan Shapiro did a call with Jewish community representatives Friday, sources say.
What was the message?
"Not much," one source, who declined to be identified, said. "No crisis. Media reports are wrong. More agreement than disagreement" inside the administration, regarding how to advance the Middle East peace process. [The administration's] "hand was forced [with regard to] Jerusalem by circumstances during Biden's trip," the source said, referring to the Israeli government's announcement last month during Vice President Joe Biden's good-will trip to Israel that it had approved construction of another 1,600 homes to be built in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood.
[In other words, big internal debate some hack reported on last weekend? Overblown. All is harmony inside the administration on its approach, how hard to push, who to push, what to push for, etc. To which another source who'd been on the call Friday said, Oh that report? "It is so obviously true."]...
[The following, by Barry Rubin, is crossposted from The Rubin Report.]
Charles Freeman has just taken another step in revealing his out-of-control loathing of Israel, accusing it of being worse than South Africa. Who is he and why is this significant?
It matters because Freeman, with nothing more to lose from making public his true feelings, had been the Obama Administration nominee to be coordinator of Middle East intelligence. Freeman had to withdraw and though the real reason has never before been made public, it is this: he was involved in business with Saudi Arabia which came dangerously close to the borders of legality.
Freeman's connections with China also raised questions.
By the way, note that this gentleman who finds Israel so offensive has never had anything but praise for the Saudi political system and society. Obviously, a country is not like South Africa if it pays you a lot of money but it is like South Africa if a country that hates it is generously rewarding you. For more on this connection, go here
Freeman was also a client of the Saudis to such an extent that then Secretary of State James Baker apparently decided to get rid of him. Baker, who certainly couldn't be accused of being pro-Israel, described Freeman in scathing terms in his own autobiography for always taking the Saudi line in a way that interfered in the effort to force Iraq out of Kuwait in 1990-1991.
Since losing the nomination, Freeman has been more and more hysterical in expressing his hatred of Israel, with strong hints that his attitude extended to Jews generally. The story of how Freeman was kept out of office is an amazing tale of how a handful of bloggers--without support from any group or institution--forced the story into public attention. One day I might tell it to you.
Meanwhile, though, reflect on how things would be if Freeman was in a high administration position and ask yourself what kind of administration would have appointed such a man to a highly influential post. The issue here is not just attitude toward Israel but picking someone who had some questionable associations, a bad record as ambassador, and seems emotionally somewhat unstable as well.
[The following, by Barry Rubin, is crossposted from The Rubin Report.]
The widely read Cable, a publication of Foreign Policy magazine, responded to my article about apparent hints that the Obama Administration and its favorite think tank might be involved in pushing the idea of dealing with Hizballah, a revolutionary Islamist group in Lebanon which is terrorist, genocidally-intended toward Israel, and a client of Iran and Syria.
For my original article, see here.
Despite the fact that I was very careful and responsible, accurately quoting the letter I had received, the article's headline was entitled, The nonexistent Obama conspiracy to engage Hezbollah," as if the whole notion was ridiculous. But the only evidence that this isn't happening is a rather unpersuasive, or at least very strange, denial by the project's director.
The author, Josh Rogin, interviewed the head of the project, Thanassis Cambanis, a journalist who is also an adjunct professor (that means he teaches a course) at Columbia University on the story. But guess what? Rogin didn't interview me. Isn't that rather unfair, would you say?Continue reading "Barry Rubin: Is The Obama Administration Working Toward Engaging Terrorist Groups Hamas and Hizballah or Not?"
The Flea has a whole bunch of links about a protest at something called "Palestine House" in Canada (much criticized MSM story here).: Palestine House "Security": You need another Holocaust. Yeah, that was one of many offensive things said there. There's a lot more, and video, too.
Palestine House was hosting Abd Al-bari Atwan, editor of the London paper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, who once said, "If the Iranian missiles strike Israel, by Allah I will go to Trafalgar Square and dance with delight."
The "Hope" part is that there looks to have been a pretty good turnout of protesters, including a Jewish motorcycle club. I suppose it's sort of sad that we grasp at any straws -- the straw that there are at least a few who show up to say NO to the hate that seeps in from the Old World to the New.
Friday, April 2, 2010
[Crossposted from JStreetJive.]
We are approaching one month since Obama and his Vice President made the momentous decision to escalate the artificial "crisis" of settlements and turn it into a major policy shift of animus towards Israel while claiming -- incredibly -- that they stand stalwartly behind the Jewish State. One measure of how deep a rift the Obama policy has created are the reverberations within the U.S. and around the world. Within one week of the "condemnation" of Jewish building -- building that had been announced and planned years in advance -- the EU's President, Spanish Foreign Minister Angel Moratinos, echoed Obama's harsh words and demanded a total freeze on Jewish building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. At home, liberal media outlets have chimed in on the Obama line with unsparing words for Israel and its government: In its March 26th editorial the sages of the New York Times wrote:
"Many Israelis find Mr. Obama's willingness to challenge Israel unsettling. We find it refreshing..."
A editorial in The Harvard Crimson on April 1 declared:
"We oppose the original construction of the settlements, and believe this incident provides an important opportunity for the U.S. to consider its relationship with Israel. It is time for the U.S. to reexamine its alliance with the country based on its national security and geopolitical realities. To do so, the U.S. should create diplomatic distance between the two nations. The U.S. should also make the degree of aid it provides to Israel contingent on Israel's pursuit of the peace process. President Obama's recent actions demonstrate that he is dedicated to the same careful reevaluation, and we applaud him in that regard."
On Sunday, April 18, the American Friends Service Committee (no stranger to vicious, anti-Israel rhetoric) -- will hold a "mock Congressional hearing" in Chicago on US Policy in Israel/Palestine keynoted by inveterate apologist for Palestinian terror, Jeff Halper. Traditional Israel-hating centers like UC Irvine are ramping up their vitriol. Obama's unprecedented assault on Israel is bringing out the crazies all over the world. The question should not be "is 'favoritism' towards Israel harming U.S. national interests" but "is the Obama assault on Israel proving dangerous for Israel and putting Jewish lives at risk around the world?"Continue reading "The Repercussions of Obama's War of Words on Israel [Hillel]"
[The following, by Barry Rubin, is crossposted from The Rubin Report.]
As I reflect on how U.S. history is being distorted into seeming like one long hate crime, I recall how interesting it is if one really presents it in three dimensions rather than as a cartoon. It can even teach us about contemporary issues.
In the summer of 1876, the U.S. army sent an expedition to fight the Sioux who had left the reservation where they had been forced to live. One of the units sent in this task force was the Seventh Cavalry, commanded by the Civil War hero George Armstrong Custer.
Instead of waiting for the other forces to join him outside the giant encampment whose warriors outnumbered his troops by at least six-to-one, Custer took about one-third of his men and charged. Custer quickly became even more famous for foolishly getting himself and five companies of his soldiers wiped out by the Sioux. This battle at the Little Big Horn river became known as Custer's Last Stand.
But that's not the point of this story.
Among his forces were a number of "Indian scouts," men like Hairy Moccasin, Yellow Robe, and Iron Hawk who knew the ways and languages of the enemy. They were smart enough to warn Custer not to attack. Not only did he ignore their good advice but--luckily for them--angered by their opposition, he sent them off with another part of his force.Continue reading "Barry Rubin: How George Armstrong Custer's scouts can help us understand the Middle East"
Directly, I mean. No proof, just the purported remarks of a "PA official" as reported at INN. Not that far-fetched: Report: Obama Administration Backs Arab Rallies in Jerusalem
A senior PA official claims that the Obama administration backs pro-PA rallies in Jerusalem. The claim was reported by investigative journalist Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily.
According to the official, United States diplomats have encouraged Arabs to protest in parts of Israel's capital in order to pressure Israel to evacuate neighborhoods...
...It was not clear whether the PA official who spoke to WND saw the Obama administration officials as supporting peaceful rallies, or the violent riots that are much more common in the city. Riots have been particularly common in recent days, following the rededication of the Hurva synagogue in Jerusalem and PA leaders' subsequent claims that Israel is threatening the Al-Aksa mosque.
In fact, the PA, rather than coming to the negotiating table, is planning another Intifada: Fatah: We want a peaceful intifada
The new "popular intifada" that Fatah is planning in the West Bank won't be an armed one, Nabil Shaath, a senior Fatah official, said on Thursday.
Shaath's clarification came a day after he and some of his colleagues in Fatah called on Palestinians to escalate the "popular resistance" in protest against the settlements, the West Bank security barrier and the decision to build new homes in east Jerusalem.
"Apparently the Palestinian leaderships in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are in control of the situation to make sure that the intifada is not transformed into an armed confrontation," Shaath explained. "This was not the case during the second intifada."
Shaath ruled out the possibility that the "popular resistance" would deteriorate into an armed confrontation "in spite of continued Israeli attempts to drag the Palestinians in this direction by using excessive force to confront the protesters."...
They could have an intifada at the negotiating table, but they've never shown much interest in that. If you're a weak leader that can't deliver anything, letting the streets take over your negotiations is one way of avoiding personal responsibility.
As far as Obama's responsibility, for which there is no proof, it is interesting to consider what advice he may be giving over there. I mean, considering his background as a community agitator, taking it to the streets is exactly the kind of thing that a man of his leftist background would be very comfortable in advocating for.
Via Cinnamon, looks like some UC Irvine students did a good job standing up to their own student council (was it really just Jewish students?). Here's the video:
The back story is here:
As you know, 11 Muslim students were arrested on February 8, 2010 after attempting to shout down a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren.
Eight of the Muslim students, including the Muslim Student Union (MSU) President, were students from UC Irvine.
Following this event, the student government at UC Irvine passed legislation which actually condemned the administration for "excessive punishment" of the Muslim students who disrupted the Ambassador Oren event. This was quite shocking and disappointing to the Jewish and pro-Israel student community...[More.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
The Administration screwed up in Honduras. Obama treated that country like dirt in order to curry favor with the worst elements in Latin America, stuck to it long after it was clear it was the wrong path, and is, apparently, STILL, after the climb-down, sticking to it. Observers of the Jerusalem situation should take note.
[The following, by Eamonn McDonagh, is crossposted from Z Word.]
Now the arrest of the two conflict tourists referred to in this piece does seem to have been ill advised. They were inside Area A when they were nabbed and Israel really shouldn't be sticking its nose in there without a powerfully good reason.
However, I have a couple of points to make about what Noam Sheizaf, the blog's author, has to say about the matter. He's very upset that they are being accused of being critical of Zionism and supporting the Palestinians and concludes that there can be no justification for expelling them on the basis of their political views. And just what are those critical views? Well you can read those of Ariadna Jove Martí, one of the two arrested, here [in Spanish]. It's all you might imagine; Israel is an apartheid state, it is founded on a systematic plan of ethnic cleansing, the IDF was founded on the base of the Haganah, a terrorist organization and plenty more besides. Oh, and she refuses to use Hebrew place names.
Has she the right to hold such views and express them. Absolutely. The crunch question is this, does Israel have an obligation to let her enter its territory (I'm presuming she came to the West Bank through it) with the purpose of propounding those views either in Israel or the Palestinian territories? I would say that it is under no such obligation. I would go further and say that it be would extremely foolish to continue to allow foreigners to abuse tourist visas to carry out activities other than tourism. Pretty draconian, huh?
It might be argued that Israel has no legitimate role with regard to the activities of foreign visitors to areas that are under Palestinian control. Well, as I said, arresting them, once they were there, wasn't a brilliant idea, but Israel sure does have an interest in seeing that the West Bank doesn't fill up with foreign busybodies who are only interested in human rights abuses when they are committed, or alleged to be committed by Jews. These people shouldn't be let into Israel in the first place
So let's hope the two wannabe martyrs are sent packing and that Israel takes more care about admitting people who evidently want to see as rapid an end to its existence as possible.
[The following is a guest post by Chris Noonan Funnell. It's from last year, but holds up today. Written from a Christian perspective.]
About two years ago a magazine arrived with a startling cover picture of a youth thrown back in his chair, alive or dead, I could not tell. He was still seated, interrupted at something which was no longer there on the second floor of a building which only minutes before had the roof and sides torn off by a rocket attack.
A young emergency worker with gloved hands was bending over him and turning toward the camera for help with such a look of helplessness that the picture pulled strongly upon my maternal heartstrings. The beefy young victim, still seated in his chair, where I am guessing, his desk and computer once were, was a dead ringer for my youngest son. I am still hoping the unidentified youth is alive and well though I have no results from my inquiries, but my son, asked me why I keep a picture of "a dead guy" on the wall. I am still wondering what became of that young man who was probably doing what my son would have been doing, using his computer, tuning out sirens and annoying distractions, when a missile sent from Lebanon, tore the roof off his dorm building in Haifa.
Blood trickled down his thick, hairy legs and from his nose. Wearing shorts, socks and t-shirt just like my son often wore, he was covered in fine white dust created by the explosion. He was overweight with a big belly like my son's. He probably had bad eating habits, like my son, spurned his veggies and exercise, loved meat, fast foods and caffeinated soda. The settled concrete dust made him look ghostlike. He was limp but still in one piece, a miracle, sitting in tact, among the rubble of the building around him. Could he be alive but in shock...? Would he ever be normal after such an assault?
I stared at that picture a long time until I was certain it was not my son, after all, my kid was safe at college in Texas. I shot him an email and was not at ease until he answered back later that day.Continue reading "Rachel is Weeping... Again"
Well it looks like the divestment crew is rolling out their "big guns." Yes, Noami Klein (she of Shlock Doctrine fame) has written the Berkeley Student Senators urging them to be courageous against the "intense pressure" that have been put on them by outsiders.
And by "intense pressure," she's not talking abou the moral blackmail that Berkeley's Students for Justice in Palestine have been applying to the school for a decade, or the 50 e-mails an hour Student Senators have been receiving from the Middle East telling student leaders to vote to override the currently vetoed divestment resolution.
Nope, by pressure she seems to be talking about the fact that people like me write things like this about her and her BDS advocacy at Berkeley. Usually those of us who fight against BDS are simply accused of "muzzling" debate through our nefarious tactic of contributing to it. But now it seems that other people having their say is also an example of unfair pressure being applied by one side. Care to guess what Klein and her allies will think about the democratic bona fides of Berkeley's student government if the ultimate divestment decision doesn't go her way?