Hat tip: DVZ
Technorati Tag: Egypt.
Inspired by the YMCA when it was founded in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood has been under a ban since 1948, and its real size is difficult to gauge. The group was brutally repressed by President Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950s and 1960s. Since then, it has at times been propped up as a foil - especially for Western audiences - with periodic crackdowns that have sent many of its members to prison.
Washington Post, January 31, 2011
By Barry Rubin
While his view is not the same as mine, I respect the arguments made by Mir Hossein Mousavi, leader of the democratic opposition in Iran (without romanticizing his moderation excessively) and think they are worth considering.
It is interesting to point out that there are two Iranian models for what's happening now. I am not saying that anyone is consciously thinking in these terms; this is just from the point of view of outside analysts:
--The Iranian revolution of 1978-1979: That is, a protest movement that evolves into a new Islamist dictatorship.
--The Iranian rebellion of 2009: That is a democratically minded protest movement which was repressed.
Both were against dictatorships. But, of course, in each case left a radical Islamist regime on power. Ironically, if the Egyptian rebellion fails it can easily be romanticized and is more like 2009; if it succeeds, the outcome could be very bad and more like 1979.
His January 28th statement is as follows. The translation is unofficial and Mousavi is not responsible for it:
Digging to a depth of 1,000 meters last year, French scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 1,000 years. The French came to the conclusion that their ancestors had a telephone network centuries ago.
Not to be outdone by the French, English scientists dug to a depth of 2,000 meters. Shortly thereafter headlines in the UK newspapers read:
"English archaeologists have found traces of a 2,000-year-old fiber-optic cable and have concluded that their ancestors had an advanced high-tech digital communications network a thousand years earlier than the French."One week later, Israeli newspapers reported the following:
Obama replaced the freedom agenda with an acceptance agenda. His foreign policy has been conducted in a vigorously multicultural spirit. He rightly sensed that an emphasis upon democratization was a critical emphasis—a castigation of the existing dispensations in countries ruled by autocracies and authoritarianisms, and he did not come to castigate. He came in friendship, to “restore America’s standing.” He sought to do so with an embrace of differences, an affirmation of religions, a celebration of civilizations. As a matter of principle, such assertions of respect are right and good. But what if the positive tone misses the point—not about the dignity of other peoples, but about their actual circumstances?
This article was published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) as an e-note and it is available here. I have substantially revised it since then and suggest you read and reprint my updated and expanded version here.
By Barry Rubin
There is no good policy for the United States regarding the uprising in Egypt but the Obama Administration may be adopting something close to the worst option. This is its first real international crisis. And it seems to be adopting a policy that, while somewhat balanced, is pushing the Egyptian regime out of power. The situation could not be more dangerous and might be the biggest disaster for the region and Western interests since the Iranian revolution three decades ago.
Experts and news media seem to be overwhelmingly optimistic, just as they generally were in Iran's case. Wishful thinking is to some extent replacing serious analysis. Indeed, the alternative outcome is barely presented: This could lead to an Islamist Egypt, if not now in several years
By Barry Rubin
1) How do you judge the Egyptian protests?
It is tempting to see this as a revolution that will bring down the regime. But Egypt is not Tunisia. And while the demonstrations are passionate it is not clear that the numbers of participants are huge. If the elite and the army hold together they could well prevail, perhaps by removing Mubarak to save the regime. We should be cautious in drawing conclusions.
By Barry Rubin
The U.S. government doesn't play favorites, even when it should. Israel came out with a report under international auspices on the Mavi Marmara/Gaza flotilla incident that corresponds to the evidence. The Turkish government had a report for which there is no evidence, accusing Israel of massacring Turkish citizens even though there is videotape showing that it isn't true.
So how did Assistant Secretary of State Philip J. Crowley respond, obviously reading from guidance produced by the State Department?
As a journalist asked, "How do you view Turkish report on the flotilla crisis, which basically [is] contrary to Israeli report right now?
Crowley responds that both countries have "worked seriously and responsibly to get at the facts, and both have made important contributions to the work of the [UN] Secretary General’s panel." He seems to give the UN inquiry the main role giving "the international community the opportunity to fully review the circumstances surrounding this incident." Aside from abrogating any U.S. stand, that "international community" isn't too trustworthy in matters concerned with Israel.
By Barry Rubin
Here's one day of the New York Times on the Middle East. Be sure to read the surprise ending!
1. Al-Jazira is great! (Wow, just as it runs the Palestine Papers to transform totally our view of the region. Might this be a coincidence?)
The New York Times has run a largely adulatory article about al-Jazira without mentioning its Islamist politics (some accuse it of... is how they put it). On reading this article, I get the impression that the writer has never actually watched the station. For example, its debate shows regularly feature a moderate and a radical. The host attacks the moderate and supports the radical and literally every caller taken on the air is hardline. One friend of mine who was on one of them said that he expected it to be 99 percent hostile but it was 100 percent hostile. Nor do we hear about the great scoops of al-Jazira, like claiming the US had used a neutron bomb in Iraq.
So here is a story about a radical force in the region presenting it as a force for democracy.
Joe Biden, about Obama, October 19, 2008
The unrest that toppled a government in Tunisia has spread across the region, with big street demonstrations in Egypt, Jordan and Yemen. It's a movement that appears leaderless - more like a "flash mob." But it shares a common sensibility - the rising expectations of a younger generation that sees global change on the Internet and has momentarily lost its fear of corrupt, autocratic leaders.
Washington Post, January 28, 2011
Still, there is a way for Washington to stake out a reasonable, nonviolent alternative: by pushing for the immediate revival of peace talks between Syria and Israel. Eleven years ago, a peace agreement between the two countries that would have included the disarmament of Hezbollah fell apart, largely because the Israeli prime minister at the time, Ehud Barak, found it too politically difficult to hand over to Syria the last few hundred yards of shoreline around the northeast corner of the Sea of Galilee bordering the Golan Heights.
By Barry Rubin
It seems to have become fashionable for some mainstream media outlets to become supporters of revolutionary Islamist movements recently. The Palestine papers case is an example but not the only one.
The pro-Hizballah Lebanon correspondent of the New York Times first told us that Hizballah wasn’t a threat to take over the government, then had to report on its taking over the government.
What’s his new line? That the new government is just fine. After all, he explains, the new prime minister wants to have good relations with the United States. Etc. No problem here. Just as there were no problems when Iran had an Islamist revolution, the Taliban took over Afghanistan, and Hamas seized the Gaza Strip.
- Al-Jazeera, the powerful Qatari satellite television station, has been publishing documents leaked to it from the PLO Negotiations Support Unit.
- The release of the documents has caused great damage to the reputation of the PA and the PLO negotiating team. Sa'eb Erekat noted that while the PA was en route to triumph as it gathered international support for the recognition of a Palestinian state and for isolating Israel, al-Jazeera cut short this triumph and "instead of delegitimizing the occupation, they delegitimized us."
- The PA's success in gathering support for statehood recognition was turning Hamas rule in Gaza into a liability. Once Ramallah is recognized as representing a state, the international community might turn against the separate entity in Gaza and seek to end the problem
- For years al-Jazeera has sought to advance the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood against the Arab regimes. The problem it faces is that the sources of the current wave of Arab unrest are actually local and have nothing to do with pan-Arab ideals or with the Palestinian problem.
Read the whole thing.
- Now, after al-Jazeera has brainwashed Arab minds with charges of PLO treason, no declaration of statehood can be expected. Neither will there be a resumption of negotiations with Israel since the Palestinian team will stick to the most hard-line positions possible.
One of the things discussed in the leaks about which Hamas professes the most anger is the fact that PA security forces have cooperated with the IDF.© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution .
This has certainly been the case: the whole idea of cooperation, and then a pulling back to allow PA control, has been part and parcel of efforts to "strengthen" the PA and then move towards establishment of a state. (None of which is exactly cause for celebration.)
Although the PA has been far less forthcoming in its efforts than had been hoped -- their forces are really unwilling to take out terrorists, while the PA provides a "revolving door" for said terrorists in its prisons -- there have been sharing of intelligence and some joint operations.
Hamas says that the PA has provided coordination in "the killing of its own people." (Most at issue is the Israeli assassination of Hassan al-Madhoun, a senior Fatah "activist" wanted by Israel for a number of terror attacks. According to the leaks, Shaul Mofaz, who was Israeli defense minister in 2005, had discussed the possibility of assassinating al-Madhoun with Nasr Youssef, who was then PA interior minister.)
The PA is now denying that any cooperation has ever existed.
With this, my friends, we have point blank evidence for the impossibility -- with regard to security issues -- of negotiating a "two state solution."
Were Israel to pull back, we would need to know that the Palestinian state at our eastern border was a sovereignty based on law and order that would restrain or take out or arrest and prosecute terrorists bent on doing damage to Jews. But such would not be the case.
It is considered a betrayal of considerable consequences to interfere with the actions of a "brother," even if that person is a jihadist, intent on illegal and murderous actions against Jews.
As I write this, I can hear some people protesting that there would be no more terrorists if there were no more "occupation." This I reject outright. Because the bottom line is that the radicals, the jihadists, are bent on destroying Israel completely. And there is no "negotiating partner" with the strength and the courage and the genuine conviction to stand against them. It is an impossibility.
What astounds me are all the journalists and pundits who are indulging in wishful thinking and declaring that the leaks show us that we really do have a partner for peace after all.
What balderdash this is.
For if the PA leaders find it necessary to deny having made concessions, and are on the defensive because the mere fact of such concessions can be used as a weapon to weaken them, how could it be imagined that they would ever come forward publicly and stand on a conciliatory negotiated settlement? [emphasis added]
Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat – Senior Palestinian sources have informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the Palestinian Authority is in possession of important documents that condemn Qatar with regards to numerous issues relating to the Palestinian – Israeli negotiations.
Abbas gives terrorist's family $2000
Earlier this month a Palestinian terrorist attempted to attack an Israeli checkpoint. Carrying two pipe bombs, he ran towards the Israeli soldiers, screaming "Allahu Akbar" - "Allah is Greater" - and was shot and killed before he could detonate the bombs.
Yesterday Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas granted "the relatives of the Shahid" $2000:
The title of this article refers to pro-Palestinian groups that organized last May’s six-ship bid to breach Israel’s anti-armament maritime blockade of Gaza. The so-called humanitarian mission ended with nine passengers dead and dozens of other injured. Seven Israeli naval commandos were shot, stabbed, and beaten by peaceful terror-enablers on board the lead craft, the Mavi Marmara.
Now, slow learners who survived the first encounter say they plan to send more, and larger such convoys towards the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave on the upcoming first anniversary of the event.
The Hamas-affiliated Turkish IHH and the Free Gaza movement said they would send another two sea convoys in April and May, Israeli media reported on Monday.Read the whole thing.
By Barry Rubin
A reader writes that he agrees with my assessment on the Palestine Papers but then adds that he doesn't mind seeing PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and PA prime minister Salam Fayyad subjected to some heat and criticism.
My response: How would you like to see them lynched by a crazed mob and replaced by people who launch a new uprising in which hundreds or thousands of people on both sides die?
...an aspect of the Holocaust, which is regretfully being forgotten. When the Nazi beast decimated European Jewry, he destroyed more than human lives. Together with the six million souls who perished in the most cruel manner, a culture was destroyed that was majestic and noble, yet warm and unpretentious. Europen Jewry took on many forms which reflected several diverse approaches to the Torah way of life. There were the pure hearts and warm spirits of Chassidic Jewry; the dignity and refinement that characterizes German Jewry; the profound faith and courage of Hungarian Jewry; the purity modesty and incisive Torah minds that personifies Lithuanian Jewry; the sincerity and joy of life of Russian Jewry; the charm and graciousness of Galician Jewry; the commitment to age-old tradition that was demonstrated by the Balkan Jews; and the exciting multi-dimensional world of Polish Jewry.It is this too that we have an obligation to remember on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
These "worlds" were all part of the "universe" of European Jewry. Each represented a microcosm of pure Jewish values which combined to create a heritage and legacy unparalleled in Jewish history. It is our mandate to remember and reflect upon that unique world, to critically examine its distinctiveness,so that we can begin to understand the destruction of European Jewry.
It is only after extensive research into the "world that was" that we can more fully grasp the magnitude of the Holocaust, how deeply we suffered then and the terrible loss which we stiall feel today. Remembering the way of life of our ancestors, their spiritual heroism against all odds, serves as a powerful example to us. It is our moral obligation, and spiritual legacy to preserve and transmit these memories, so that the values and way of life of the martyrs will endure.
By Barry Rubin
"Avtalyon would say: Scholars, be careful with your words. For you may be exiled to a place inhabited by evil elements who will distort your words to achieve their bad goals. Those who come after you will then drink of these evil waters and be destroyed...." Pirkei Avot, Chapter One, Paragraph 11.
Do you really believe that suddenly, for no apparent reason, and no big Israeli concession the Palestinian negotiators tossed away their demand for a "Right of Return" for millions of Palestinians and accepted a mere 100,000 being let into Israel? And if you don't believe it, how can you think that these papers are authentic?
Do you believe that this could have happened without the U.S. government knowing about it? And if so why didn't it factor into U.S. policy at all? Indeed, anyone who understands Israeli politics would comprehend that if given such an offer Olmert and Livni--desperate to survive politically--would have made a deal.
Considering that the Koran depicts talking ants and birds, vouches for the power of sorcery, and has an entire chapter dedicated to the Jinn (Sura 72); that Hamas arrested 150 "witches" in Gaza last year; that Islam's prophet Muhammad decreed that black dogs must die, "for they are devils"; that there is a fatwa to kill Mickey Mouse (a cartoon character), since rodents are "corrupters, steered by Satan"—considering all this, it should come as no surprise that animals are being portrayed as infidel operatives.
Joining Together To Combat Hate And Anti-Semitism Online
Tomorrow, Thursday, January 27th marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the largest Nazi death camp. It is also the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
By Barry Rubin
While the media is going wild over the ridiculous "Palestine Papers" deception, Hizballah is taking over Lebanon.
Fareed Zakaria, the wildly overrated American pundit, has invented a new term, referring to Hizballah as “a quasi-terrorist group.” What does this mean? It means that Hizballah runs in elections but then if it doesn't get its way it kills people.
At least this is better than the president's advisor on counterterrorism and apparently chief expert on Lebanon who has explained that there is nothing to fear from Hizballah. It can't be terrorist, he explained once, because it has lawyers among its members.
If we examine the Russian (can't last long), Chinese (“agrarian reformers”), and Iranian (don’t worry, the moderates will soon emerge; Khomeini can’t govern) revolutions we find rationales to explain that soon things will return to normal. There's no problem. But the historic result is decades of horror.
For Immediate Release:
January 25, 2011 Contact: Anne Bayefsky
This article by Anne Bayefsky appears today on The Weekly Standard.
The world of U.N. human rights, best known for a human rights council with members like Libya, Saudi Arabia, and China, has just outdone itself. A short press release on Monday announces that U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has made some new appointments. The biographies attached leave out a few salient facts – and for good reason. The U.N.’s top human rights officer turns out not to be the model of independence and justice she professes.
Khaled Abu Toameh, writing about this in the JPost today, does not specifically say that the leaks are fabricated. But he does refer to a "show trial," which carries certain implications. This, in part, is what he wrote:
"After assuming the role of prosecutor and judge, Al- Jazeera, the Arab world’s most influential TV network, has ruled that the leaders of the Palestinian Authority have betrayed their people and must therefore step down from the stage.
"In other words, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his men have been convicted of high treason – which, in the Arab and Islamic world, is a crime punishable by death.
"Al-Jazeera is now waiting for the executioner (the Palestinians, in this case) to carry out the death sentence.
Protests continue to rock Lebanon. Thousands of angry protesters burned tires and blocked roads across Lebanon on Tuesday after Iranian and Syrian-backed Hezbollah secured the appointment of its candidate to lead the next government.
The mainstream media (MSM) has just provided another example of how it ostracizes those who fail to tout its party-line. Context: the Washington Post's On Faith blog posted an article dealing with Muslim-Christian relations, in light of recent attacks on Christians in the Muslim world. Regular contributors were invited to respond. The response of one of these, Willis E. Eliot, a retired dean of exploratory programs, New York Seminary, was rejected (Pajamas Media published it here). Up till then, for over three years, Eliot had been publishing almost weekly on that blog; this is his first contribution to be rejected in all that time.
Messages In The Mayhem
Rabbi Avi Shafran
You’ll log many a mile to find someone more disapproving than I am of the anger and vilification that characterize so much of American political discourse. But to lay the tragic January 8 shooting rampage in Tucson on the doorstep of politicians or pundits is silly, and no less incendiary itself than any firearms metaphor. To be sure, political opponents should not be compared to Nazis or have crosshairs superimposed on their faces. But because such things are ugly and sophomoric, not because they induce violence.
Yes, there have certainly been politically and ideologically motivated murders, but much mayhem has also been visited on public servants by actors impelled not by creed but craziness.
Last week, Arab states submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council that reads, "Israeli settlements established in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace."
Although it has close to 120 sponsors, a vote on it will not be called any time soon because of fear of a US veto.
By Barry Rubin
A decent journalist at a small newspaper wrote a balanced piece on the Middle East only to get a long, nasty "talkback" about how everything was always Israel's fault.
Specifically, his absolutely correct assertion that the Jews had accepted partition into a Jewish and an Arab state in 1947-1948 was challenged. The reader claimed that by conducting military operations proved that Israel rejected partition whereas, of course, the Zionist forces were simply responding to attacks from the forces of Amin al-Husayni, the Palestinian Arab leader who just two years earlier had been in Berlin helping the Nazi regime.
The journalist asked me to respond on the claims made. I answered in detail and then, when he thanked me, I wrote this to him:
It is often said that “everyone knows what a final status agreement will look like” but these documents powerfully undermine that conclusion; a good example here is the Palestinian refusal to accept that Maale Adumim, a “settlement” with a population just short of 40,000 that is actually a suburb of Jerusalem, will remain part of Israel. It may be true that the range of options is limited, but the negotiators never concluded on agreement and the proposal made by then-prime minister Olmert in 2008 was not acceptedOf course such a simplistic assumption--that “everyone knows what a final status agreement will look like”--is far too necessary to be dislodged so easily. So expect self-proclaimed experts to hold onto this myth with both hands.
By Barry Rubin
The "Palestine Papers" hoax is (or, more accurately, should be) turning into the most teachable moment about the Israel-Palestinian conflict in modern history. At least, everyone has reversed what happened: The compromise position was offered by Israel; the Palestinians rejected peace. Are we going to see this story corrected?
The “Palestine Papers” have been "obtained" by al-Jazira, the Guardian, and perhaps others, in imitation of Wikileaks.
They purport to show, in the media version, that the PA made Israel a big offer of peace and Israel rejected it. Naturally, this is being accepted by these and other newspapers as true without verification or considering how these claims stack up against other information. Also claimed is that the PA was ready to accept Israel as a Jewish state and give up the demand that Palestinian refugees can live in Israel, again things it has totally opposed.
Hello? Is anyone out there actually following Israel-Palestinian issues?
The inquiry committee appointed by Israel to investigate the events that occured on May 31st on the Mavi Marmara has released its report.
Headed by Honorable Supreme Court Justice Emeritus Jacob Turkel and and including jurists and world-renowned experts as well as international observers, the committee determined unequivocally that Israel acted in accordance to international law imposing and enforcing a blockade in international waters. The events that folded that day were a result of direct attack on IDF soldiers, an attack that took them by surprise.
But the biggest loser in the Palestine Papers is someone who was not even on the scene at the time. That is President Obama, who chose to make Israeli settlements the centerpiece of the peace process. The papers show that one of the only areas on which the sides had come close to an agreement was the acceptability of land swaps as a solution to the settlements controversy. Today, at Obama’s behest, the Palestinians insist on a complete settlement freeze before they’ll even talk — including in areas that just two years ago they had agreed were already de facto Israeli.
Several people have asked me what I think about the new “Palestine Papers” which have been "obtained" (that means the PA gave it to them) by al-Jazira, the Guardian, and perhaps others, in imitation of Wikileaks. It purports to show that the PA made Israel a big offer of peace and Israel rejected it. Naturally, this is being accepted by these and other newspapers as true without verification or considering how these claims stack up against other information.
JERUSALEM - The Turkel Commission, established to investigate the "Free Gaza Flotilla" incident of May 2010, today released the first part of its findings, concluding that the IDF acted in self-defense and within the parameters of international law. Notably, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) B'Tselem, Gisha, and Physicians for Human Rights - Israel (PHR-I), which engage primarily in political advocacy and provided information to the Commission, were unable to influence the Commission's findings, says NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institution.
In his pronouncements, bin Ladin makes frequent references to history One of the most dramatic was his mention, in his videotape of October 7, 2001, of the "humiliation and disgrace" that Islam has suffered for "more than eighty years." Most American--and no doubt, European--observers of the Middle Eastern scene began an anxious search for something that had happened "more than eighty years" ago, and came up with various answers. We can be fairly sure that bin Ladin's Muslims listeners--the people he was addressing--picked up the allusion immediately and appreciated its significance.Lewis wrote this back in 2003. But the lesson that the West in general is the enemy is ignored.
In 1918 the Ottoman sultanate, the last of the great Muslim empires, was finally defeated--its capital, Constantinople, occupied, its sovereign held captive, and much of its territroy partitioned between the victorious British and French Empires.
January 23, 2011
"Fighting That Persistent Lie"
We might have expected WikiLeaks exposure to kill it: the Obama claim that cooperation with Arab states was dependent upon an Israeli-Palestinian negotiated peace.
But here we have it again, in somewhat different, and more outrageous, form:
By Barry Rubin
We are awaiting the publication of the international tribunal report on who killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri We all know the Syrian government did it but recently there seems to have been more and more evidence that Hizballah was involved as well.
The problem is that if the tribunal says that and not everyone in Lebanon--including Harari's son, Said--says that they are deeply offended, Hizballah is totally innocent and wouldn't hurt a fly (unless it was a Zionist imperialist fly) there's going to be big trouble. Already, Hizballah has brought down the Lebanese government and staged a show of force in Beirut to make that point clear.
The woman, Tamam Abu Saud, was part of a Hamas cell that allegedly planned to assassinate the PA governor of Nablus and attack various Fatah-affiliated institutions in the West Bank.
A crowd of angry Palestinians protesters on Friday mobbed the car of French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie as she arrived in Gaza, an AFP correspondent said.
Some demonstrators hurled shoes at the car and one jumped on top of it in a protest over a statement which was mistakenly attributed to the French minister when she met with the parents of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in Jerusalem a day earlier.
A British Foreign Office minister said Thursday that only direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations can achieve peace, adding that the U.K would not recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state.
An IDF investigation has found that Jawaher Abu Rahma, who PA leaders accused Israel of killing, actually died due to a doctor's mistake. The PA had claimed that Abu Rahma died after inhaling tear gas as PA rioters clashed with Israeli soldiers near the Samaria separation/security barrier.
Obama Will Move Political Operations to Chicago
President Obama will close the office of political affairs at the White House in preparation for the establishment of his re-election headquarters, which will open its doors in Chicago by late March to concentrate on building a national fund-raising and grass-roots operation to rival his first campaign, aides said.
For immediate release
Contact: Kathleen L. Lynch, Thomas More Law Center
Shariah Law gains foothold in US:Federal judge upholds government funding of Islam;Thomas More Law Center files appeal
ANN ARBOR, MI - Last week, Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff, a federal district court judge in Michigan, dismissed a constitutional challenge to the U.S. Government‘s bailout of AIG, which used over a hundred million dollars in federal tax money to support Islamic religious indoctrination through the funding and promotion of Sharia-compliant financing (SCF). SCF is financing that follows the dictates of Islamic law.
The challenge was brought by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and co-counsel David Yerushalmi, on behalf of Kevin Murray, a Marine Corps veteran of the Iraqi War. TMLC filed a notice of appeal immediately after the ruling and will be seeking review of the decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
By Barry Rubin
Since predicting the future is hard, to say the least, it's always interesting when one can clearly see a crisis looming months ahead of time. The usual pattern is for the impending problem to be ignored until the last minute, then it is suddenly discovered by journalists and policymakers with great astonishment.
Often, they then misdiagnose the causes of the problem precisely because they never understood why it happened in the first place.
In this case, the Palestinian Authority (PA) foreign minister--remember when the 1993 Israel-PLO agreement said that the PA wouldn't conduct foreign policy? Ha-ha-ha--Riyad Malki says he will seek recognition of a Palestinian state in September at the UN. For many years, Malki ran the terrorist group, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) on the West Bank. But it's ok! He quit.
In a visit that was broadly touted as a diplomatic first, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev visited the PA and declared that nothing in Russian policy had changed. Russia had recognized a Palestinian state in 1988 (when Arafat declared the state from Algiers), and stands by that.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called this "an historic move to make the Palestinians proud for a very long time to come." [link]
On a Monday during Hanukkah, someone took eight Hebrew texts down from the shelves of Indiana University’s Wells Library, put the books in eight different bathrooms, threw them in toilets and urinated on them.
The next day, two rocks were thrown into Jewish buildings on Indiana’s campus.
The same week, a large menorah at the University of Florida was uprooted and vandalized — the night after people heckled the Hillel center, yelling, “F__k the Jews.”
These events appear be part of a larger trend: The Anti-Defamation League has received reports of at least 260 anti-Semitic incidents on campuses over the past three years.
For more than a year, a Palestinian couple belonging to an Islamic sect rejected by many mainstream Muslims endured insults from some of their neighbours and even death threats while struggling to maintain a quiet existence in this West Bank town.
Dear Mr. Stengel,
I wanted to bring to your attention a recent article in Time entitled "Israel's Rightward Lurch Scares Some Conservatives." I hope that you will agree that the article's obvious bias and numerous distortions are not worthy of the standards of your prestigious magazine.
Israel is depicted in the article as essentially sliding towards fascism. Your correspondent refers to Israel's Shin Bet (the equivalent of the FBI) as a "secret police," claims that the Israeli government "increasingly equates dissent with disloyalty," and accuses the Prime Minister of "taking a page from neighboring authoritarian states."
The evidence offered for these outrageous allegations includes a preliminary vote in our parliament that would require naturalized citizens to make a pledge of allegiance, a proposal to strip citizenship from Israelis convicted of espionage and terrorism, a motion to investigate foreign government funding of local NGOs, calls on Jews to not rent property to Arabs, and demonstrations demanding prohibitions of Arab boys from dating Jewish girls.
But your correspondent did not find it necessary to inform your readers of a few facts.
Threatening e-mails and phone calls resulted in the cancellation Tuesday evening of a film that exposes Iran's efforts to build nuclear weapons and promote terrorism.
The threats followed a formal complaint last weekend from the Iranian Embassy, seeking to stop the showing of the film Iranium at Library and Archives Canada.
Late Tuesday afternoon, police cars and fire trucks surrounded the Wellington-Street building after staff reported two suspicious letters had been dropped off by a man at about 4 p.m. The man hurried away before anyone could question him and the letters had no return address. An hour later, there was a series of phone calls threatening violent protests. By 6 p.m., long after most of the staff had left, there were no protesters and the letters were found to be harmless.
Arab summit in Cairo endorses Egyptian proposal to counter Western calls for protection of Christians.
none of the desiderata I have listed resolves the dilemma of a Hamas terrorist government solidly entrenched in the Gaza Strip and committed to the destruction of Israel. Neither do these terms take into account a bellicose Hezbollah, equipped with 40,000 Iranian and Syrian supplied rockets, camped on Israel’s northern border. The creation of a Palestinian state would do nothing to defuse the tensions in the area and would conceivably only serve to exacerbate them. For even should the above provisions be settled upon, there is no guarantee that the new Palestine would not join the Islamic axis.[emphasis added]Think about that for a second.
By Barry Rubin
1. Undeterred by international pressures and internal opposition, the Iranian government is cutting subsidies to essential goods that have cost a lot and eaten up capital that might have been used for investment and development.
Remarks: So President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seems to be in control and not intimidated by sanctions or events in Tunisia. Actually, perhaps the West might learn something from his economic program.
2. The Obama administration is said to be doing a great job of pressuring Iran on its nuclear program. The Los Angeles Times tells us: "The measures are showing results — and for that, the administration deserves some credit."
And who exactly is that?
The Coalition for a Free Palestine (CFP) is a COSATU led coalition representing a wide range of civil society organizations and trade unions. Some member organizations include the South African Council of Churches, South African Young Communist League, South African Communist Party, Muslim Judicial Council, Muslim Students Association, Palestine Solidarity Alliance, Palestine Solidarity Committee, Palestine Solidarity Group and the student society, the Wits University Palestine Solidarity Committee....[It] calls for an absolute boycott of Israel.
One of the members of this coalition, the Palestine Solidarity Committee, says that "Zionism is a theory of ethnic cleansing and racism."
Another, the Palestine Solidarity Group, says that its aim is to destroy Israel and create a single state on "historic Palestine."
President Obama is about to face a test, and I'm mighty uneasy that he may fail:
Officials of the PA, exhibiting an enormous amount of self-assurance and arrogance, have rejected Obama's request to refrain from seeking a UN Security Council resolution on the illegality of the "settlements."
As Khaled Abu Toameh put it, in today's JPost [link]:
"The US administration has been pressing the PA to refrain from going to the Security Council out of fear that such a move would have a negative impact on efforts to revive the stalled peace talks."
Not only would it have a "negative impact," it would be tantamount to publicly sounding the death knell for that negotiated settlement. And it would be a spit-in-the-eye for Obama.
By Barry Rubin
How incredibly bad is media coverage of Israel-Palestinian issues and of the Middle East in general? Here’s an example.
CNN has just run a report on how wonderfully moderate the Palestinian Authority (PA) is. They are firing imams of West Bank mosques who are spewing out incitement against Israel!
For Immediate Release
January 18, 2010
Contact: Jason Edelstein, +972-52-861-2129
NGOs Hijack CEDAW for Political Agenda
Submissions to Committee to Protect Women Ignore Major Problems
JERUSALEM – The UN's Committee on the Elimination of the Discrimination Against Women today reviewed Israel for compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), notes NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institution.
The Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC), in coordination with nine other highly politicized non-governmental organizations (NGOs) - Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al Haq, Badil, The Centre on Housing Rights and Eviction (COHRE), Defence for Children International – Palestine, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Palestinian Working Women's Society for Development, Women's Affairs Technical Committee, and Women's Study Centre - submitted a statement to the Committee prior to the review, regarding women’s rights in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. In addition, Badil prepared a supplement to the original submission. Many of their claims reflect the de-legitimization campaigns involving NGOs.
By Barry Rubin
May the good Lord protect us from news analysis and Middle East experts. Is the Arab world really in shock over the Tunisian upheaval? Is this really a symptom for a coming upheaval in the Arab world?
Perhaps I'm wrong but a note of caution is in order. I think the answer is "no."
Let's begin by looking back at far bigger shocks that have made Arab regimes tremble.
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January 16, 2011
By Barry Rubin
There's a fascinating, subtle, but very important development. Both the outgoing Israeli intelligence chief and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton--and others, too--have said things indicating that Iran is not going to get nuclear weapons for a while.
The Israeli statement gave the year 2015 as the likely date. In her interview with al-Arabiyya television, Clinton said that the Iranians are having significant problems with their program.
From this evidence, along with other things I've seen or heard, I conclude that both the United States and Israel have done intelligence assessments stretching out the amount of time before the Iranian regime has deliverable nuclear weapons.
Unlike in war-torn Afghanistan or fanatical Saudi Arabia, Tunisian democracy is a real possibility. It’s a bit unlikely as it’s only one possible option of many, but it could happen. Mebazaa himself is now promising, perhaps even sincerely, “a better political life which will include democracy, plurality and active participation for all the children of Tunis.”
The Palestinian Authority has turned down a request from the US to refrain from seeking a UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements, Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat declared on Sunday.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad on Saturday expressed their respect for the Tunisian people, whose uprising led to the ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ban Ali.
...Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri applauded the Tunisian people's expression of their right to choose their leadership democratically without foreign intervention.
Meanwhile, Islamic Jihad congratulated the Tunisians on gaining their freedom "through blood, sacrifices and the expression of free will."
January 16, 2011
"Hurray for Us!"
A couple of corrections from yesterday's post, both date-related:
I do hope it was obvious that Irving Moskowitz bought the Shepherd Hotel in 1985. Since it wasn't constructed until 1935, it would have been a tad difficult for him to have bought it in 1885, as I had inadvertently written.
And the proper date for that posting is January 15 (Motzei Shabbat), and not January 13, as written. This was a case of my having started it on the 13th and then forgetting to change the date when I sent it out.
As to that Hurray:
The NY Times reported today that Israel, working with the US, tested the Stuxnet virus at the Dimona nuclear facility, using centrifuges similar to those found in Iran.
It was clear enough that we had to be involved -- and the speculation has been that it might have been Israel working in concert with the US -- so this report rings true. The Times says that President George W. Bush authorized this project as a way to forestall an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
I want to begin to touch on a number of issues here that are both problematic and controversial -- issues that I've tabled until now because of focus on other pressing matters (such as our rights in eastern Jerusalem).
The very first of these is the serious matter of African immigrants/refugees -- primarily from Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea -- who have been entering our country illegally, crossing into the Negev from the Sinai. Thousands are here now, and they keep coming.
The subject is far too complex for me to do it full justice in this posting, but I believe I would be remiss if I did not, finally, at least provide an overview of the situation.
For Immediate Release:
January 16, 2011 Contact: Anne Bayefsky
This article by Anne Bayefsky appears in The Jerusalem Post.
Recent WikiLeaks cables reveal that diplomats at the United Nations are haunted by a thorny question: how much UN-driven antisemitism is too much? The original UN was built on the ashes of the Jewish people and owes its human rights foundations to the victims of the Holocaust. At today’s UN, we have now learned, diplomats hunker down near the General Assembly hall “listening outside with headphones on” trying to figure out the extent of the hate-speech that those on the inside should endure before walking out.