Sunday, January 15, 2017

If Israel Has Not Been Building Settlements, Why Are the White House and Media Claiming It Is?


"[T]housands of new settlements are being constructed...you saw tens of thousands of settlements being constructed"
Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser, December 23, 2016


On December 23rd, United Nations Security Council Resolution 2344 was passed 14-0 with one abstension --  the United States. One of the key points of that resolution was the clear declaration that Israeli settlements are illegal. Not "illegitimate", as per US policy in the past, but "illegal". The settlements were described as an impediment to peace that must be removed.

Are There Tens of Thousands of Israeli Settlements... Or 228?


That same day, Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy security advisor, gave an interview to Judy Woodruff.

Recall that Rhodes is noted for having bragged about his manipulation of the media in creating the narrative that made the Iran deal possible, despite both popular and congressional opposition. He boasted at the time about the media's lack of knowledge of world events:
Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing...We created an echo chamber...They [the seemingly independent experts] were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

8 Reasons Why Friday's UN Resolution 2334 Is Counterproductive and Just Plain Wrong

In the aftermath of Obama's support for UN Resolution 2334 condemning Israeli, reactions have not been short in coming -- and there are cogent arguments against the resolution.

Beyond what is being said about Obama and his motives or against the United Nations itself and the way the resolution was carried out, the fact remains there are reasons why the UN resolution may have many results -- but none of the ones it claims to support.

Here are some of those arguments being made:

Friday, December 16, 2016

How Long Should Arab Anger Be A Deterrent To Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem?

The messages the West sends to the Middle East matter.

Just ask President Obama -- or better, ask Jackson Diehl, Deputy Editorial Page Editor of The Washington Post. Back in 2010, Diehl described How Obama sabotaged Middle East peace talks:
So why does Abbas stubbornly persist in his self-defeating position? In an interview with Israeli television Sunday night, he offered a remarkably candid explanation: "When Obama came to power, he is the one who announced that settlement activity must be stopped," he said. "If America says it and Europe says it and the whole world says it, you want me not to say it?"

The statement confirmed something that many Mideast watchers have suspected for a long time: that the settlement impasse originated not with Netanyahu or Abbas, but with Obama -- who by insisting on an Israeli freeze has created a near-insuperable obstacle to the peace process he is trying to promote. [emphasis added]

Monday, December 12, 2016

Why Would Any Arab Country Buy A Rocket From Hamas?

That is the question that arises based on a post by Elder of Ziyon that Hamas offers to export Qassam rockets to any Arabs willing to shoot them at Israel:
Hamas official Fathi Hammad said that the terror group is s ready to export Qassam rockets to Arab armies in order "to fight the Zionist entity."

Hammad said that the rocket is comparable in quality to those produced by other international military rocket factories.
Speaking of quality, just what kind of quality do these Arab customers of Hamas have a right to expect?

Thursday, December 08, 2016

How The J Street Grinch Stole Hanukkah

It looks like J Street is at it again.

You really have to admire how a group that claims to be dedicated to Israel can find the time to involve itself in petty politics.

This time, J Street is taking a stand on where the Conference of Presidents can celebrate Hanukkah:
TELL CONFERENCE OF PRESIDENTS MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS: DON'T CELEBRATE HANUKKAH AT TRUMP HOTEL.

The Conference of Presidents purports to speak for the American Jewish community. Tell its member organizations: Speak out and make it clear that the Trump Hotel is an inappropriate place to celebrate Hanukkah.

It’s almost too outrageous to believe: An umbrella group that claims to represent the American Jewish community plans to host its 2016 Hanukkah Party at Trump Hotel.

Trump's campaign rhetoric and policy positions are an affront to some of the most core values of American Jews. To hold a Hanukkah party under the Trump banner is shocking in its wrong-headedness.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Secretary of State John Kerry: The End of an Error

MR. KELLY: I mean, we’re not – but it’s – we are less than a year into this Administration, and I think we’ve accomplished more over the last year than the previous administration did in eight years.

QUESTION: Well, I – really, because the previous administration actually had them sitting down talking to each other. You guys can’t even get that far.
Daily press briefing, November 17, 2009, with State Department spokesperson comparing accomplishments on Israel-Palestinian peace


It's only natural that the Obama administration would want to sell what it thinks is the superiority of its policies. As his term in office wore on, Obama certainly got better at it -- to the extent that he was able to push through a deal with Iran, despite opposition by Congress and a majority of Americans.

But drawing opposing parties like Israel and the Palestinian Arabs into an agreement has proven to be far more difficult than merely running roughshod over native opposition.

Just ask John Kerry.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Castro Is Dead -- What Can You Say About a Dictator?

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar.
The Life and Death of Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare Act III, Scene II

Fidel Castro is dead, leaving it to the leaders of world democracies to say a word or two.

John Avlon of The Daily Beast reminds us of some of Castro's accomplishments as Fidel Castro Finally Dies, But His Apologists Live On

The Scarlet Letter: "A" is for Antisemite

From the looks of the election season just passed, it seems we are returning to our Puritan roots -- labeling and seeking to ostracize those guilty of Antisemitism.

Or maybe its more like the Salem witch trials, using arcane tests to divine Antisemitic intent from articles and quotes on the one hand and the testimony of an ex-wife on the other, revealing membership in the cult of the alt-right.

Welcome to 2016.

It seems the usefulness of the "Nazi" comparison has its limitations.
Calling someone a racist in general or saying they are bigoted against African Americans and women - that works.
But labeling someone an antisemite, now there is something that has really caught on.

Who knew there were so many, who were so eager to be on the lookout to protect the Jewish community!?

Monday, October 31, 2016

Why Roger Cohen Still Refuses To Look At The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Objectively

I erred in underestimating the brutality and cynicism of a[n Iranian] regime that understands the uses of ruthlessness.
Roger Cohen, Iran's Days of Anguish June, 2009.

Roger Cohen writes in The New York Times about Why Israel Refuses to Choose -- an odd title, really, considering that in his entire piece, the only one who explicitly refuses to choose is an Israeli Arab who will not choose whether they see themselves as Israelis, Palestinians, Muslims, Arabs, or something else.

The implication of the title though is that Israel refuses to choose peace, a position that Cohen supports by offering his opinion of Israel and Netanyahu.

Yet, in castigating Israel and the Netanyahu government, Roger Cohen is reduced to taking a quote of David Ben-Gurion out of context. Cohen claims:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

World Chess Federation Requires Hijab At Iran Tournament -- Fallaci Tossing Chador At Khomeini's Feet Is Just a Memory

The big news in Chess last month was the decision by FIDE (Federation Internationale des Echecs), which resulted in headlines that Female Chess Players Forced to Wear Hijab as Governing Body Awards World Championship to Iran:
The world's top female chess players have reacted with horror after being told they must compete at next year's world championship wearing a hijab.

Within hours of Iran being revealed as its host country, the prestigious event was plunged into crisis as it emerged players taking part face arrest if they don't cover up.