Friday, May 30, 2008

The Al-Dura Case: OUR Next Step

While France2 has indicated they will take their appeal to the Cour de Cassation, Philippe Karsenty writes in an email about the next step that we have to take:
The next battle will be political; we will have to ask the French government to demand that the state-owned TV channel admit that the al Dura news report was a fraud and issue a public apology for broadcasting a staged "killing" and, therefore, an apology for being the party to a colossal historical hoax.

It is well within the government's responsibility to take these steps. As the de facto CEO of France 2, Sarkozy has the power to conduct an internal investigation of the TV station in order to separate the truth from the lies. I call on you, my friends and supporters, to notify all of your contacts, and the relevant organizations you support, to join me in demanding that Sarkozy exercise his authority to make amends on behalf of France 2. Only then can one even attempt to redress a wrong that has resulted in death and injury to so many innocent people.
The written decision that was handed down by the Appeals Court (English translation here) reviewed the weight of the evidence and invalidated the decision of the first court.

In his personal blog, Enderlin characterized Karsenty's defense as not bringing any proof of hoax or staging:
But on the other hand, the Appeals court, contrary to the initial tribunal considered that Karsenty had the right to virulently criticize this report, the subject having created a notable emotion, and recognized that he had carried out his investigation that permitted the Court of Appeals to grant him the benefit of doubt in the matter of his good faith.
It is important to not only put an end to Enderlin's claim but also take out the legs of the Al-Dura hoax out from under it. The damage that has been done is done--now there is an opportunity to stop it in its tracks.

Crossposted at Soccer Dad

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Jeffrey Goldberg Interviews McCain For The Atlantic

From the introduction. Goldberg gives a quick summary of the differences that exist between McCain and Obama in terms of Israel and the Middle East.

Two weeks ago, I spoke with Barack Obama about the Middle East, Zionism, and his favorite Jewish writers. Since my blog is both fair and balanced, I had a lengthy conversation with Senator John McCain earlier this week about many of the same subjects.

The two candidates, who are scheduled to address the AIPAC policy conference in Washington, D.C. early next week, have well-developed thoughts on the Middle East, and their differences are stark. Obama sees the Israeli-Palestinian dispute as central to America’s problems in the Middle East; McCain names Islamic extremism as the most formidable challenge. Obama sees Jewish settlements as a primary obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians; McCain downplays settlements as an issue, instead identifying Hamas’ rocket attacks on the Israeli town of Sderot as the most pressing problem. And both men take very different positions on the issue of Philip Roth.

In our conversation, McCain took a vociferously hard line on Iran (and a similarly hard line on Senator Obama’s understanding of the challenge posed by Iran). He accused Iran of not only seeking the destruction of Israel, but of sponsoring terrorist groups – Hamas and Hezbollah – that are bent on the destruction of the United States. And he said that the defense of Israel is a central tenet of American foreign policy. When I asked him why he is so concerned about Iranian threats against Israel, he said – in a statement that will surely placate Jewish voters who are particularly concerned about existential threats facing Israel – “The United States of America has committed itself to never allowing another Holocaust.”

Read the interview.

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Israel And Staticide

Frank Gaffney on Israel's staticide?

In pursuing peace with its neighbors, Israel has made one strategic concession after another. In 1979, it surrendered the Sinai to Egypt when Anwar Sadat promised peace and then was murdered for doing so. In 1993, Israel adopted the Oslo accords, legitimating one of its most virulent enemies - Palestine Liberation Organization terrorist chief Yasser Arafat - and setting the stage for Palestinian control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Eight years ago this month, Israel unilaterally withdrew from South Lebanon, creating a vacuum promptly filled by Iran's proxy army there, Hezbollah. Then, in 2005, Israel forcibly removed its citizens living in Gaza and turned the strip over - temporarily - to Arafat's right-hand man and successor, Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Space constraints will not permit a full rendering of the costs associated with these serial mistakes.
The reaction?
Importantly, the Israeli people finally seem to have had enough of false peace processes. Recent polls indicate two-thirds of Israelis oppose their country's surrender of the Golan; a majority believe it is motivated by Mr. Olmert's efforts to stave off prosecution. Even the Bush administration is said to be unhappy about his Golan initiative.

This weekend, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) - universally known as "the Israel lobby" - holds its annual policy conference in Washington. The organization exists to support the Israeli government. At this juncture, however, attendees have an opportunity to object to that government's increasingly reckless, and predictably tragic, conduct. After all, friends don't let friends commit staticide.

Which may be the distinction between the White House and American Jews: the actions the US takes in the Middle East are based on self-interest. Considering that the West in general has not been responding to Islamists in a way that necessarily furthers its own interest, we should hardly rely on the US to push Israel to make the hard choices needed to insure her continued existence.

As it is, by accepting every suggestion offered her, Israel has made it possible for just about anyone to suggest just about any action that the Israeli government must take in the interests of peace and still be labeled "a friend of Israel".

Remember when a two-state solution was not discussed as a viable option?

Read the entire op-ed.

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One Jerusalem: End of Week Review: May 30, 2008

From an email from One Jerusalem:
End of Week Review: May 30, 2008

Dear Friend of Jerusalem,

These are the latest news stories from One Jerusalem:

Here are the latest headlines from the One Jerusalem Blog:

Israel Hurtling Toward New Elections: Today, the prospect of new elections in Israel has become something of a reality. After nearly a year of no movement despite multiple investigations of Prime Minister Olmert the paralysis has been broken by several politicians voicing cautious support for...(read more)

Is Israel On The Road To Staticide?: Frank Gaffney a great champion of Israel poses this disturbing question in a recent op-ed.Is Gaffney right? Is the clock running out for the Jewish State?Join our Forum discussion on this import issue. Tell us what you think and share...(read more)

Blogging From Israel: The political situation in Israel seems as volatile as ever. Israel's Defense Minister and Labor Party Chairman demanded the Prime Minister resign as a result of his most recent corruption investigation, the PM refuses, while Abbas claims that all this...(read more)

What Do You Think of PM Olmert?: Citizens from across Israel respond:...(read more)

Why Does Google Refuse To Commemorate Memorial Day?: A non-political, technical site challenges Google for refusing to recognize Memorial Day in the United States....(read more)

Together we can win the fight to maintain a united Jerusalem!

The One Jerusalem Team
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Mommyblogger Dearest

She is woman, hear her blog:

What is a ‘mommyblogger,’ you may ask? A common question - I’ve even met fellow academics who specialize in blogging who have never heard of us.

Simply put, the term have come to describe mothers (with the stray stay-at-home dad in the mix) who maintain blogs that chronicle and deal with raising their kids and their life after kids. These bloggers vary greatly in terms of tone and focus, but in general, they take a very intense and irreverent look at parenting. They discuss potty training in graphic terms. They talk about tossing back a beer with other parents. They show off projects that they are working on. They complain about the amount of homework their kids get and agonize over how many hours they are in front of the television or (ironically) the computer. They cheer on and encourage their fellow online parents. Some mommybloggers have particular niches, like parenting kids with special needs or moms with PhDs and form sub-communities revolving around those interests.

Many of them reside in the intersection of politics and parenting, like Bitch, PhD, Half Changed World, Electric Venom and my blog, 11D. Some mommybloggers have made the jump to full-time political blogging, such as MOMocrats. In this world, there is no separating the personal from the political.

Naturally, since most of these bloggers are women and they’re writing about kids and diapers and all, many guys write them off as marginal girlie stuff.

Marginal? Not according to the numbers. Dooce is number 41 on Technorati’s Top 100 blog list. She has more readers than most of the well known political blogs and she’s linked to more often than Andrew Sullivan or Michelle Malkin. In April 2008, she had 5.5 million pageviews and her comments number regularly in the hundreds. A recent post had 814 comments.

She’s not alone. Blogher lists 3,200 self-identified mommybloggers on its blogroll, but those numbers aren’t close to their overall numbers. According to a 2006 study by the Pew Foundation, many more bloggers are using their blog to record their personal experience, rather than merely sharing political opinion. 52 percent of bloggers said that the main reason that they blog is to express themselves creatively. Only 34 percent of bloggers saw their work as a form of journalism. 37 percent of bloggers said their “life and personal experiences” was the primary topic of their blog. Only 11 percent said that politics was the primary topic of their blog. Technorati is tracking 112 million bloggers. If half of those blogs are personal blogs, then 56 million are personal diaries.

Read the whole thing.

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Sarkozy Caves On Syria

Eric Trager writes on Sarkozy's reaction to the Doha agreement, which resolved the tensions in Lebanon in favor of Hezbollah. Sarkozy contacted Assad of Syria and congratulated him on his hard work on the deal:
Ultimately, Sarkozy seems to have embraced the Doha agreement for the same reason that the Bush administration has: because it resolved the Lebanese political crisis without a civil war, which-thanks to constantly increasing support from Iran via Syria-Hezbollah might have won. Yet, unlike the Bush administration–which bizarrely sat on the sidelines throughout the presidential standoff–Sarkozy made clear demands of Syria. To surrender those demands completely in favor of the Doha agreement’s short-term quiet is the ultimate appeasement.

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Tutu Comes To Gaza

Desmond Tutu was visiting Gaza:
Liberation Theology proponent and Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu Thursday departed the Gaza Strip after a two-day "fact-finding" mission, as a result of which he reportedly plans to condemn Israel for a 2006 "massacre" of Arabs by the IDF.

A South African national who holds the rank of archbishop in the Anglican Church, and who has for years nurtured a pro-Arab position, Tutu was invited by the "Palestinians" to investigate the alleged Israeli shelling of a Beit Hanoun home in which 18 members of a family were killed.
I suppose we are supposed to be grateful for the few crumbs Tutu throws Israel's way:
The South African said afterwards he had told Haniyeh that the launching of rockets against Israel was "a gross violation of human rights."

But Tutu made no mention of any plans to report to the UN on the numerous atrocities perpetrated by Haniyeh's men.

Surely an oversight.

This is not the first time he has been adding his Tutu sense. Here is a sampling of the wit and wisdom of Desmond Tutu:
The Israeli daily Ha'aretz (April 29, 2002), reporting Tutu's remarks at a conference in Boston, quoted him as saying:

* "Israel is like Hitler and apartheid" "I've been deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa ... I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about... "I say why are our memories so short? Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon?
[Tutu seems to forget that Jews were not just humiliated but expelled from countries (such as England and France) or murdered (besides the Holocaust, in both Europe and in Muslim countries )]
... The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic, and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust. Injustice and oppression will never prevail."
[Strong words from the man who meets with terrorists.]

* "The Jewish lobby is very powerful": "People are scared in this country [the U.S.], to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful--very powerful."

"Critics of Israel are being smeared": "You know as well as I do that, somehow, the Israeli government is placed on a pedestal [in the U.S.] and to criticize it is to be immediately dubbed anti-Semitic, as if Palestinians were not Semitic."

"Jewish Arrogance" Tutu accused Jews of exhibiting "an arrogance--the arrogance of power because Jews are a powerful lobby in this land and all kinds of people woo their support,"(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Daily News Bulletin, Nov. 29, 1984)
[Tutu precedes Mearsheimer and Walt by a quarter of a century. Now we now how the world got along until those two had the courage to speak out! Not surprisingly, 1984 was the Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize]

"Jewish Monopoly of the Holocaust Tutu complained about the Jewish monopoly of the Holocaust." (Jerusalem Post, July 26, 1985)
[Tutu apparently does not limit himself to attacking Israel, but goes after Jews in general as well.]

"Forgive the Nazis" During his 1989 visit to Israel, Tutu "urged Israelis to forgive the Nazis for the Holocaust" (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 31, 1989), a statement which the Simon Wiesenthal Center called "a gratuitous insult to Jews and victims of Nazism everywhere." [But Tutu cannot neither forgive nor understand the right of Israel to protect herself against terrorists]. During the visit, Tutu remarked "If I'm accused of being antisemitic, tough luck," and in response to questions about his anti-Jewish bias, Tutu replied, "My dentist's name is Dr. Cohen." (Simon Wiesenthal Center's Response magazine, January 1990)
[In one masterful stroke, Tutu has proven that he neither prejudiced against Jews nor dentists! Seeing that he visited Haniyeh, we also now know that he is not prejudiced against terrorists either]

"Zionism Is Racism" Tutu has claimed that Zionism has "very many parallels with racism." (American Jewish Year Book 1988, p.50)

"Jews Thought They Had a Monopoly on God" Speaking in a Connecticut church in 1984, Tutu said that "the Jews thought they had a monopoly on God; Jesus was angry that they could shut out other human beings." In the same speech, he compared the features of the ancient Holy Temple in Jerusalem to the features of the apartheid system in South Africa. (Hartford Courant, Oct. 29, 1984)
[Tutu speaks out against Israel, Jews and Judaism--he's quite the triple threat]

"Palestine, Not Israel": In conversations during the 1980s with the Israeli ambassador to South Africa, Eliahu Lankin, Tutu "refused to call Israel by its name, he kept referring to it as Palestine." (Simon Wiesenthal Center's Response magazine, January 1990)

"Jews Cause Refugees": Asked about the Zionism-is-racism resolution, Tutu complained that "the Jewish people with their traditions, religion and long history of persecution sometimes appear to have caused a refugee problem among others." (South African Zionist Record, July 26, 1985)
[But don't worry--Tutu has a Jewish dentist!]
Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu--2 of a kind.

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Happy Anniversary, Mehmed II

Clifford May recalls an anniversary.
There’s an anniversary this week we might do well to recall. On May 29, 1453 — just 555 short years ago — troops led by Mehmed II broke through the walls of the ancient Christian capital of Constantinople.
Changing Constantinople into Istanbul was just the beginning--
Mehmed cast himself as not just as a master builder of the Ottoman Empire, but also as the caliph — the supreme spiritual and temporal ruler of all the world’s Muslims, chosen to “act as Allah’s Sword ‘blazing forth the way of Islam from the East to West.’” He would go on to conquer Greece, Serbia, the Balkans south of the Danube and the Crimean peninsula. His grandson and great grandson would extend the caliphate to include the Levant, Egypt, the Arabian Hijaz including the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, Iraq, North Africa, and most of Hungary.
May points out that Islam does not have a monopoly on the desire for world conquest (although historically they have been very successful at it). But times have changed.
In recent years, however, the West has rejected not just Genghis Khan’s perspective on the joys of conquering, but the very idea of empire building, at least through martial means. Indeed, so thorough has this rejection been that many Americans and Europeans can no longer imagine anyone continuing to harbor such ambitions.

On that basis, they further assume that violence and terrorism — from the attacks of 9/11 to the missiles raining on Israel to the suicide-bombings in the marketplaces of Iraq — must be a response to oppression or occupation or some other “legitimate grievance.” History suggests otherwise. So, too, do the leaders of the various modern militant Islamist movements.
Ah yes, "the joys of conquering".
But at some point, the West decided that civilization has its privileges.
Maybe at some point the West will remember just what those privileges are.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Story Behind LBJ And Israel

I wouldn't normally associate LBJ and Israel, so this comes as a pleasant surprise:
LBJ's newly released Oval Office recordings disclose his deep feelings toward Israel

Tapes of Lyndon Johnson's Oval Office conversations, released to the public for the first time on Wednesday, reveal that the American president had a personal and often emotional connection to Israel.

In the first public presentation of the tapes Wednesday at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Professor Robert Johnson said this connection influenced his policy decisions and helped lay the foundation for the special relationship between the two nations.

"I sure as hell want to be careful and not run out on little Israel," Johnson said in a March 1968 conversation with his ambassador to the United Nations, Arthur Goldberg. The recording was released to researchers on on May 1, according to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, in Austin, Texas.

President Johnson was known by his initials, LBJ. While he was in office from 1963 to 1969, the United States became Israel's chief diplomatic ally and primary arms supplier. He was also the first U.S. president to invite an Israeli premier on a state visit when he brought Prime Minster Levi Eshkol to Washington, D.C. in 1964.
That by itself is pretty impressive--but the part that this article leaves out is even more impressive:
The news report does little to reveal the full extent of Johnson’s actions on behalf of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Indeed, the title of “Righteous Gentile” is certainly appropriate in the case of the Texan. Most students of the Arab-Israeli conflict can identify Johnson as the president during the 1967 war. But few know about LBJ’s actions to rescue hundreds of endangered Jews 30 years earlier, actions that could have thrown him out of Congress and into jail.

The Texas congressman’s district had only 400 Jews, but clearly the Johnson family’s Christian teachings had given him a strong affinity for Jews and their return to the Holy Land.

Five days after taking office in 1937, LBJ broke with the “Dixiecrats” and supported an immigration bill that would naturalize illegal aliens, mostly Jews from Lithuania and Poland. In 1938, Johnson was told of a young Austrian Jewish musician who was about to be deported from the United States. With an element of subterfuge, LBJ sent him to the U.S. Consulate in Havana to obtain a residency permit. Erich Leinsdorf, the world famous musician and conductor, credited LBJ for saving his live.

Johnson Saved Hundreds of Jews

That same year, LBJ warned a Jewish friend that European Jews faced annihilation. Somehow, Johnson provided him with a pile of signed immigration papers that were used to get 42 Jews out of Warsaw. But that wasn’t enough. According to historian, James M. Smallwood, Congressman Johnson used legal and sometimes illegal methods to smuggle “hundreds of Jews into Texas, using Galveston as the entry port. Enough money could buy false passports and fake visas in Cuba, Mexico, and other Latin American countries. … Johnson smuggled boatloads and planeloads of Jews into Texas. He hid them in the Texas National Youth Administration…. Johnson saved at least four or five hundred Jews, possibly more..”

On June 4, 1945, Johnson visited the Dachau concentration camp. According to historian Smallwood, Lady Bird later recalled that “when her husband returned home, he was still shaken, stunned, terrorized, and ‘bursting with an overpowering revulsion and incredulous horror at what he had seen.’”

As President, Johnson met with Israel’s Prime Minister Levi Eshkol and undertook to replace the recalcitrant France as Israel’s principal arms supplier, providing Patton tanks and Skyhawk jets and Phantom jets.

Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin once asked Johnson why the United States supported Israel when there are 80 million Arabs and only three million Israelis. “Because it is right,” responded the straight-shooting Texan. [emphasis added]
LBJ has generally been criticized by historians as his legacy as president has been minimized--and information like this is not going to revive it.
But it should.

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But For Other UN Posts, This Might Be A Plus

Hosni shouldn't worry, maybe something is available in the UN Human Rights Council.
Egyptian's Bid for U.N. Post In Doubt Over 'Burn' Quip

Egypt's culture minister is a top candidate to head the United Nations's main intellectual body, but his declaration that he would burn books by Israeli authors has forced him to walk a fine line between appeasing extremists in his country and satisfying Western critics.

Several diplomats familiar with the selection process for director-general of the U.N. Education Scientific and Cultural Organization said yesterday that Farouk Hosni's candidacy could now be doomed, after he told the Egyptian parliament that if any Israeli books were found in Egyptian libraries, he would burn them.

...A Unesco spokeswoman, Sue Williams, declined to comment directly on the statement, but said: "Unesco does not condone book burning of any sort."
I'm sure we are all thankful to Ms. Williams for removing all doubt on that point. Still, considering the positions that Libya and the like have obtained within the UN, it's a pleasant surprise to see that Hosni would be turned down for his statement.

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"Revoke Jimmy Carter’s Security Clearance"

James Kirchick makes that suggestion when he writes about Carter's recent revelation about Israel's nuclear capabilities:
One of the perks that former presidents receive, if they choose to utilize it, is a daily security briefing from the CIA. This is how Jimmy Carter came to know (or at least claim) that Israel has 150 nuclear weapons, considering the fact that the Israeli government has pursued a policy of deliberate ambiguity about its nuclear weapon capability. This is a policy that was formed with tacit agreement by the United States, which in exchange for a promise by Israel not to conduct nuclear tests, agreed to the rubric that the Jewish State would not be the first, officially acknowledged Middle Eastern nuclear power. Of course, Carter knew a lot about Israel’s nuclear capability during his time in office, and it’s unprecedented that a former president would reveal this information publicly.

Carter did not make this revelation in the midst of top-level policy discussion with world leaders (or terrorists who pretend to be leaders), but at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival in Wales, an annual event sponsored by The Guardian newspaper.
Should someone who meets with terrorists and reveals classified information about America's allies really be entitled to daily security briefings from the CIA?

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

OU Webinar: Mortgage debacle and foreclosures-6/24

From an email:
Webinar: Mortgage debacle and foreclosures-6/24 6-8 PM (EDST)

"Live" on your computer
June 24th 2008
6:00-8:00 P.M. EDST

The OU Job Board in conjunction with the OU Job Board lecture series
"Practical economics 101" is proud to present:

The American Dreams Rude Awakening- Mortgage debacle and foreclosures

A panel of three top experts in the mortgage banking, lending and
legal fields will give practical down to earth tips on how to avoid
foreclosure or what to do if you are already there.

Among the issues addressed will be:

* What the subprime crisis means to you.
* How it got this far- A look at borrowers, brokers and banks.
* Short sales and loan modifications
* Practical tips on dealing with potential and actual foreclosure
* How to present alternatives to the banker/lender and turn
foreclosure to your advantage/disadvantage
* How to pick: bank direct vs. mortgage brokers- 2 opinions
* What foreclosure means to your credit rating
* What to do if your mortgage is set to "re-set" at a higher level

A small live audience will be in attendance and a strict first come
first serve rule will be enforced. Light refreshments served

To Register:
Please go to and go to Job Workshop Webcast - June 24th.

You can also register by e mailing your name, address and phone to or call 212-613-8391

Please help us spread the word about this free lecture/seminar

OU Job Board: Changing your life forever

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Brzezinski--Confusing Anti-Semitism And Anti-Zionism

Powerline gives a short lesson on the application of the terms "anti-Semitism" and "anti-Zionism" in the context of Brzezinski purposely confusing the two in order to deflect criticism:
Zbigniew Brzezinski has accused members of the American Jewish establishment of "McCarthyism" in their attitude towards critics of Israel, and has accused American supporters of Israel of being too ready to accuse critics of Israel of "anti-Semitism." Ed Lasky exposes a key factual misrepresentation in Brzezinski's statement -- contrary to his claim, AIPAC does favor a two-state solution in the Middle East. Brzezinski's misrepresentation does not come as a surprise.

Brzezinski does not appear to have cited examples of American Jews accusing Israel's critics of anti-Semitism. In my readings, I find that this charge is typically reserved for critics who actually have attacked the Jewish religion, such as Louis Farrakhan and their admirers, such as Jeremiah Wright. Brzezinski, then, appears to be engaging in the familiar dodge of responding to the charge of being anti-Israel by falsely complaining of being accused of being anti-Jewish. His intellectual dishonesty does not come as a surprise.

Normally, it is only the anti-Israel charge that I see leveled (and level myself) against strident critics of Israel such as Brzezinski. Nor is this charge made lightly. More is required than mere criticism of Israel or calls on the Israeli government to make new concessions to its enemies. That "more" is supplied when, for example, Samantha Power blames deference to Israel at least in part for the U.S. invasion of Iraq; calls for the U.S. to send a "mammoth" military force into Israeli held territory for the purpose of imposing a Palestinian state; calls, in addition, for a cut-off in U.S. aid to Israel with the money to be given to the Palestinians; and criticizes the New York Times for not sufficiently emphasizing "Israeli war crimes" in an article that had tried to correct false reports that Israel committed a massacre in Jenin.

It is improper, however, to conflate even this virulent kind of Israel bashing with anti-Semitism. One can view Israel as a very bad actor without disliking Jews. Again, I don't know of instances where the conflation has occurred and Brzezinski does not appear to have pointed to any. [emphasis added]
Check out Ed Lasky's article at American Thinker.

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Palestinian Investors Convention In Bethlehem: Who Ya Gonna Believe?

Ephraim Sneh writes about being in Bethlehem
where I was invited to attend the Palestinian Investors Convention, though not as a potential investor. Over 1,200 business people from the West Bank, Gaza and the Gulf States attended the event. Security arrangements under the responsibility of Palestinian Authority security forces were effective and professional. Palestinian companies delivered their presentations with professionalism on an international scale. On Thursday afternoon, the foreign investment deals that were signed passed the $1 billion mark. However, even before one job is created in the West Bank, it can be said that the convention's biggest achievement was its mere existence.

I met with PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad, who initiated the convention and remains the main reason for its success. He proved that under his leadership, the West Bank is becoming a place in which investors are prepared to conduct business. Security forces that were deployed in Jenin and Nablus - and who reached Bethlehem to secure the convention - significantly changed the face of personal security and public order. The convention was a show of force against Hamas. A non-violent show of force proving that modernism and economic development trumps Hamas' dark terrorism.

Though the event did receive some media coverage in Israel, I regret that no other Israeli MK, no other Israeli official and none of the media's Arab affairs correspondents were present. I did meet a small number of Israeli businessmen who decided to break through for the sake of economic cooperation.

Things are happening on the other side of the fence, and in Israel no one is listening. If we strengthen the Palestinian economy and help it develop - and we are capable of doing so - we will essentially be strengthening the moderates and those who oppose terror. Therefore, I dismiss the term "a gesture to the Palestinians" when referring to the dismantling of a roadblock or as a step toward strengthening the Palestinian economy as nonsense. Such acts first and foremost serve Israel's interests.
Contrary to what Sneh writes, it appears that it is not only in Israel that no one is listening. Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed--the general manager of Al -Arabiya television and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat--presents a contrary view:

The Palestinian Authority failed last week to attract the interest of Arab governments and major economic establishments to help it develop its economy. No one appears to be willing to consider Palestine more than just an issue of political conflict with Israel. The conference's failure proved that the Palestinians would not get Arab support unless an Israeli shell fell on the Intercontinental Hotel, the conference venue, and Palestinian television showed scenes of bodies, wounded, blood, and shouts. No aid without disasters. This is the only emotional engine. As to the rational engine for confronting the occupation, backing the steadfastness, helping the human being in his daily life, or investing for the future in the occupied territories is something that is totally beyond Arab thinking.

We complain too much that Iran is feeding the Palestinians rockets and explosives and spending liberally on the extremists and the political sabotage plans for its own purposes but what are we giving to the other Palestinian side? Practically, very little.

But he does have a solution--albeit tongue-in-cheek:
Had the masses of Arabs paid the cost of tickets for watching the Palestinian tragedy during the past years in the way they pay for watching horror and comedy movies or renting videos, President Mahmud Abbas would not probably have been in need for a conference to support investments.
Not to worry--Hamas is probably working on that.

Boker Tov, Boulder has covered this conference in detail here, here, and here.

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How Israel Will Corrupt Saudi Arabia

It is one thing for Israeli Arabs to be adapting Hebrew words and phrases into their Arabic, but now Asharq Alawsat reports that Israeli cultural influence has begun to extend beyond her boundaries:

Today it is common to see large numbers of young Saudi men sporting a piece of red string around their wrists. This trend has spread all over the world in recent years especially since A-list celebrities and football players were spotted wearing the red string bracelet that is believed to ward off the evil eye. However, the cultural connotations of this trend that include a religious or ideological belief in the Jewish sect known as Kabbalah are a cause for concern amongst some Saudi experts who are against what they consider a form of “cultural invasion”.

The wearing of the red string is practiced by followers of the Kabbalah, a school of thought that focuses on the mystical aspects of Judaism.

A number of Arabic websites have warned against this trend that is gaining popularity amongst secondary school students in Saudi Arabia.

First Kabbalah, then Madonna--we'll have those Saudis corrupted in no time!

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The Job Of The Nazi Hunters Is Unfinished

According to Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Wiesenthal Center in Israel, those who participated in Hitler’s “final solution” and are still alive and number “at least hundreds if not thousands.”

Simon Wiesenthal once said, “The only value of nearly five decades of my work is a warning to the murderers of tomorrow, that they will never rest.” However, this is a world that has gone soft on genocide. Rwanda’s massacre occurred with hardly an eyelash batted. War critics are eager to explain away Saddam’s mass graves and systematic genocide against the Kurds. Interventionism, whether to stop the suffering in Burma or save the people of Darfur, is frowned upon as people put priority on how the bloodlettings do or don’t directly affect them.

And that sympathy for the devil rears its ugly head when modern-day prosecutions of Nazi war criminals are deemed useless, or when countries harbor the aging fugitives.

Operation Last Chance aims to root out the remaining Nazi war criminals before they die of old age, offering rewards for information leading to their arrests and prosecutions in a joint mission of the Wiesenthal Center and the Targum Shlishi Foundation of Miami. The project — which has discovered top wanted Nazis including Kepiro, Asner and Zentai — is named so because time is not on the side of the Nazi hunters.

Time is also running out to see justice done and repay our WWII vets who risked all to try to stop the “final solution.”

Read the whole thing.

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Overreaction To Obama's Auschwitz Gaffe

Jake Tapper at Political Punch writes about Obama's mistaking Auschwitz for Buchenwald in describing how his great uncle helped liberate the concentration camp:

I suspect many members of the Jewish community wouldn't think this mistake that big a deal. Good for his great uncle for having helped liberate a concentration camp.

There's another argument, of course, that the best way to honor those killed in the Holocaust is to know their history, to know that Auschwitz was liberated by the Russians and was in Poland, and that Buchenwald was liberated by the U.S. and was in Germany, that Auschwitz was much larger than Buchenwald.

No matter where you stand, I guess I just don't particularly care to see Concentration Camp survivors on the same page as cartoon Pinnochios, as whoever does graphics for the Washington Post's great fact-checker Michael Dobbs has done HERE.

And do we really need the headline "Where In the World Is Auschwitz?" This isn't a joke.

I am certainly part of the media world that pounces on politicians when they screw-up. As such, I'm often guilty as charged when it comes to not seeing the forest for the trees. In this instance, the forest is the deliberate extermination of 12 million people. And the sacrifices of the brave Americans who risked and gave their lives to save those people victimized by Nazi barbarism. Not to mention our fighting men and women through the generations who have had to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a conversation about which prompted Obama to mention his great uncle.

Obama deserved to be called out for his mistake. But it's also worth noting that despite all the talk about Obama's problems with the Jewish community, he's never mentioned before that his great uncle helped liberate a concentration camp until it came up in North Las Vegas in a conversation about PTSD.
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So What Area Of The World Has NOT Be Subject To Relocations?

From The Journal Inquirer:
As much as the dislocations arising from Israel's re-establishment obsess certain people today, they are tiny compared to dislocations that are hardly noticed anymore. For example, just a year before Israel's re-establishment, British-ruled India was partitioned, by act of Parliament and consensus among the colony's political classes, into Hindu and Muslim sectors, the former becoming independent India and the latter becoming Pakistan. This partition uprooted about 15 million people and cost about a half million lives, through ethnic violence, expropriation, and exhaustion. The resentments arising from the partition of India endure today and continue to cost as many lives every year as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict does, but no one outside India and Pakistan seems to care.

Of course Europe, where criticism of Israel's anniversary may be strongest, has partitioned itself too many times to count, with peoples and nations pushed north, south, east, and west over the centuries. From Finland down to Yugoslavia -- whoops, Serbia now -- it is impossible to walk more than a few miles without crossing what, within the last 200 years, used to be a national border or without finding a town whose name wasn't different not long ago.

Anyone aggrieved that the areas that are supposed to become the Palestinian homeland -- the West Bank and Gaza -- are separated by 20 miles of Israel might check the map of the Indian subcontinent, where 1,500 miles separate what used to be the two Pakistans (now Pakistan and Bangladesh), or the map of Europe, where Russia's Kaliningrad province is 300 miles from Russia proper, cut off by Lithuania and Latvia.

While Israel, the size of Connecticut, is supposed to return to Syria the Golan Heights, smaller than Rhode Island, China is keeping the vastness of Tibet, which it seized in 1959. And, having made five states out of the territory it seized by war in 1848, the United States won't be returning Alta California to Mexico any time soon.

Traces of vanished, persecuted, dispersed, and murdered aboriginal peoples can be found in practically every country -- that's what Connecticut's Indian casinos are supposed to be about -- but everyone is forgiven except for the Jews, who instead are constantly ducking rocket fire and curses for clinging to their tiny strip along the eastern Mediterranean.
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"Was William Shakespeare a Jewish woman in disguise? "

I thought this kind of debate was over--I was wrong:
Amateur Shakespearologist John Hudson is not the first to question whether the actor William Shakespeare was actually the author of the body of work we've come to know as his, but Hudson is the first to suggest that the true author was a Jewish woman named Amelia Bassano Lanier.

Of Italian descent, Bassano lived in England as a Marrano and has heretofore been known only as the first woman to publish a book of poetry ("Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum" in 1611) and as a candidate for "the dark lady" referred to in the sonnets.

...The theory rests largely on the circumstances of Bassano's life, which Hudson contends match, much better than William Shakespeare's did, the content of "Shakespeare's" work. But Hudson has also identified technical similarities between the language used in Bassano's known poetry and that used in "Shakespeare's" verse. And he has located clues in the text - recently noted Jewish allegories and the statistically significant appearance of Amelia Bassano Lanier's various names in the plays - that he says point to her as the only convincing candidate for the author of Shakespeare's work. (For more details, visit
So what does this mean, according to John Hudson:

Well, I'm glad that is finally settled...

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

J Blogger Interviews: Frum Satire

After a long hiatus, Jewish Blogmeister is back with the J Blogger interviews, featuring an interview with Frum Satire, one of the newer J Bloggers noted for his humorous videos and posts.

Here's your chance to get the background on one of the up and coming bloggers.

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How Religion--And Darwinism--Evolved

According to the headline: Religion is a product of evolution, software suggests. Of course, the fact the software was written by an evolutionary anthropologist may have helped:

By distilling religious belief into a genetic predisposition to pass along unverifiable information, the program predicts that religion will flourish. However, religion only takes hold if non-believers help believers out – perhaps because they are impressed by their devotion.

"If a person is willing to sacrifice for an abstract god then people feel like they are willing to sacrifice for the community," says James Dow, an evolutionary anthropologist at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, US, who wrote the program – called Evogod (download the code here).

Dow is by no means the first scientist to take a stab at explaining how religion emerged. Theories on the evolution of religion tend toward two camps. One argues that religion is a mental artefact, co-opted from brain functions that evolved for other tasks.

Another contends that religion benefited our ancestors. Rather than being a by-product of other brain functions, it is an adaptation in its own right. In this explanation, natural selection slowly purged human populations of the non-religious.

...To simplify matters, Dow picked a defining trait of religion: the desire to proclaim religious information to others, such as a belief in the afterlife. He assumed that this trait was genetic.

The model assumes, in other words, that a small number of people have a genetic predisposition to communicate unverifiable information to others. They passed on that trait to their children, but they also interacted with people who didn't spread unreal information. [emphasis added]

Ah, and so evolved the Darwinists--and stockbrokers.

Crossposted at Soccer Dad

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Kosher Cooking Carnival #30 Is Up!

This month, me-ander is hosting Kosher Cooking Carnival, now in its 3rd year--and featuring posts on various aspects of kosher food:
  • Halachik Controversies
  • Traditions
  • Menus
  • Annecdotes
  • Special Holiday Foods and History
  • Cookbook and Restaurant Reviews
  • And, of course, recipes
To submit a post, just use the carnival submission form.

June's KCC will be hosted by West Bank Mama, July by Soccer Dad, and August will be at Here in HP. To reserve your month, email shilohmuse at yahoo dot com

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Monday, May 26, 2008

The Al-Dura Verdict--And Enderlin's Version Of It

Richard Landes of The Augean Stables has provided a rough translation of the actual court decision that dismissed the libel charges against Philippe Karsenty.

He sums it up nicely:
Generally speaking, I think this is a devastating decision. The judges go out of their way to criticize everyone involved on the side of France2 (including some backhanded swipes at the lower court), but especially to point out the pervasive “incohérences” not only in Enderlin’s initial broadcast, but his subsequent explanations and actions. In particular, after emphasizing the sharpness of both Karsenty’s language and his accusations — which indeed are defamatory and strike at Enderlin’s and France2’s honor and reputation — the judges assert that, given the evidence he had every right to make these statements, in particular given the importance of the case, the damage it did worldwide, and the fact that Enderlin, as a professional of information with a high public profile has to expect to be subjected to this kind of criticism from co-citizens and colleagues.
Now, let's take a second look at the translation that The Augean Stables provided of Charles Enderlin's post on his interpretation of the decision of the French court in the Al-Dura case.

Inserting relevant passages from the court's actual verdict, here is what Enderlin wrote:
M. Karsenty was condemned by the tribunal in Paris for having said that France2 and i, myself, produced a fake news report.

The Appeals court ruled:

1 That these accusations were, in fact, defamatory.

[True the nature of the charges leveled by Karsenty--if without justification--would be considered defamatory by their nature:

Considering the defamatory character of these accusations, which the tribunal (i.e. the first court) justifiably considered that the deed of knowingly fooling and disseminating and/or causing to disseminate a false report containing images that do not reflect reality, in representing a “false death”, even if the author took care to accompany his accusation with a certain number of explanations, unquestionably such an accusation strikes at the honor and reputation of information professionals, and that all the more when the defamatory deed is accentuated by the use of terms like “masquerade,” “imposture,” “deception,” to qualify the attitude of FRANCE2 and “staged scenes,” “pure fiction” to qualify the initial reporting;]
2 That M. Karsenty did not bring proof of this supposed “staging” and the lying character of the report.

[In fact, according to the court's written verdict, proof is exactly what would be required from Karsenty:
But considering that, as the first judges recalled, to produce a exculpating effect provided for by article 35 of the law of 29 July 1881, the proof of the truth of the defamatory claims must be perfect, complete, and corresponding to the defamatory accusations in their materiality and their weight;
The decision then outlines the various proofs and witnesses brought by Karsenty and dismisses none of it--the same can not be said for France2 and Enderlin.]

3 But on the other hand, the Appeals court, contrary to the initial tribunal considered that Karsenty had the right to virulently criticize this report, the subject having created a notable emotion, and recognized that he had carried out his investigation that permitted the Court of Appeals to grant him the benefit of doubt in the matter of his good faith.

[On the contrary, according to the court--the only doubt rests with France2 and the evidence and proof that they brought:
Considering that, if none of the arguments of the accused – neither the conclusions of the inquiry conducted at the personal initiative of General SAMYA (counter-offer of proof #12), nor “the imprudent affirmation” of Charles ENDERLIN already discussed – seemed sufficiently decisive to the first judges to make a judgment about the disputed report, it seems on examination, in the case of the appeal, of the `18 minutes of rushes that Talal Abu RAMAH, communicated by FRANCE2 does not permit one from dismissing the opinion of the professionals heard during the course of the procedure or having given their contributions to the debate, theses attestations produced by the care of the cameraman (counter-proof, #5-10) cannot, on the contrary given their presentation as well as their content, be considered perfectly credible ;

This goes alot further than giving Karsenty a bye on the basis of 'good faith'.]

Obviously we do not share this last analysis and we are planning to appeal this to the highest court (Cassation).

[Landes writes that is exactly what France2 and Enderlin are going to do]

Read the complete translation of the court ruling.

Let's hope this actually does go to the French Supreme Court--we could use the publicity.

Crossposted at Soccer Dad

[Hat tip: JoshuaPundit]

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Gee, You Think WSJ Should Have Mentioned This?

In How to Have Successful Negotiations, Dennis Ross writes that to write off negotiations with Iran is to ignore what negotiations are all about:

A basic tool of statecraft, negotiations are used in every facet of foreign policy: to prevent conflict, to conclude hot or cold wars, to reconcile with former enemies, to build coalitions against possible aggressors, to mobilize donor efforts for reconstruction after conflicts or natural disasters, to forge or alter trade agreements, to persuade others to transform their behavior, and so on.

Negotiations certainly can be treated as a reward for those whose behavior one wants to change – and that is basically the way the Bush administration has approached them with adversaries. But if you approach negotiations this way, it means denying yourself a basic means to alter the behavior of others.

It also means denying yourself a basic tool to learn about those whose behavior you want to change. Direct talks offer a window into the psychic and political world of others – their aims, wants, needs and fears, as well as their readiness and capability to change.

Fair enough. But before he ever gets to this point, Ross throws in--in connection to President Bush's controversial mention of appeasement in his speech to the Knesset:
While some thought the president had Barack Obama in mind because of his readiness to talk to Iran and Syria, his words could more appropriately be applied to John McCain's reaction to Hamas's election victory in 2006. At that time, Sen. McCain felt that Hamas should be engaged because the election indicated it was a reality that had to be dealt with.
Why would Ross throw in that mention of McCain--especially when McCain did not advocate engaging in talks with Hamas?

Ed Morrissey quotes from a statement McCain made in January 26, 2006:
In the wake of yesterday’s Palestinian elections, Hamas must change itself fundamentally - renounce violence, abandon its goal of eradicating Israel and accept the two-state solution. These elections are evidence that democracy is indeed spreading in the Middle East, but Hamas is not a partner for peace so long as they advocate the overthrow of Israel.
In a CNN interview 2 days later on January 28, McCain replied to a question on the impact of the Hamas election victory on US relations with the Palestinian Arabs:
Well, hopefully, that Hamas now that they are going to govern, will be motivated to renounce this commitment to the extinction of the state of Israel. Then we can do business again, we can resume aid, we can resume the peace process.
The claim in The Washington Post that McCain was being hypocritical in criticizing Obama's willingness to talk with terrorists by supporting talks with Hamas--this claim has been debunked.

So what led to Ross's sloppiness in claiming otherwise?

According to the bio info that the WSJ supplies at the end of the op-ed:
Mr. Ross, now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, was special Middle East coordinator in the Clinton administration. He is the author of "Statecraft and How to Restore America's Standing in the World" (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2007).
But the WSJ left something out. From The JTA
Obama: I get my Mideast advice from Dennis Ross

Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) told a group of Jewish communal lay leaders that he is receiving advice on Middle East issues from Dennis Ross.

The Democratic presidential hopeful made the disclosure during a closed meeting in New York with 25 Jewish leaders, according to a Jewish organizational source familiar with what was said at the gathering. It comes, as the senator's campaign is making a concerted effort to reach out to the Jewish community across the country.

Too bad The Wall Street Journal did not see fit to mention that, considering the centrality of the topic to criticism of Obama.

The JTA article notes:
Ross, who served in the State Department of both Bush administrations and the Clinton administration, has displayed a rare ability to command respect from a wide swath of the political spectrum within the Jewish community.
Not if he continues to pull stunts like this.

Crossposted at Soccer Dad

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Haveil Havalim is Up!

The week, Haveil Havalim is being hosted by FrumeSarah, resulting in...Haveil Havalim — FrumeSarah-style.

Come take a look at what the JBlogosphere has to offer from this past week!

For more information email Jack at talktojacknow-at-sbcglobal-dot-net.
You can submit your post to the next edition of haveil havalim using the carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found at the blog carnival index page.
Listed at the Truth Laid Bear Ubercarnival.

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Must Be Something In The Air...

At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey flashes back to Hoppity Hooper.
JoshuaPundit remembers Boris and Natasha.

See the comments to Morrissey's post for references to Rocky and Bullwinkle, Deputy Dawg, and Roger Ramjet.

Oh to be young again...

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Rav Yehuda Amital's New Sefer

Hirhurim writes about Rav Amital's new Sefer, Commitment and Complexity: Jewish Wisdom in an Age of Upheaval--and gives some excerpts.

Take a look.

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Are Palestinian Arabs More Pragmatic Than Iraqis?

Saddam Hussein is gone, but that does not seem to have improved the mentality of your typical Iraqi:
The parents of Iraqi babies with congenital heart problems are facing a dilemma: should they allow their children to be treated in Israeli hospitals when they have been brought up to believe that Israel is their mortal enemy?

Hostility towards the Jewish state in Iraq is so strong that many parents refuse to travel to Tel Aviv for free life-saving hole-in-the-heart surgery.

Some accept the offer but never reveal where their children were treated, even though the operation has not been available in Iraq since its leading cardiac clinic burnt down after the American-led invasion in 2003.

Other parents are seeking treatment elsewhere in the Arab world, despite prices of up to £15,000 for heart surgery in private clinics. They fear the stigma of being treated in Israel. [hat top: Media Backspin]
You'd think that no one would be more stigmatized by the thought of being treated by an Israeli doctor than the Palestinian Arabs--and yet:
Medicine trumps politics for the Israeli army doctors serving on a West Bank military base near Ramallah who run an emergency clinic for local Palestinian villagers.

...“We’re the only army base in the country offering this service to surrounding Arab villages,” the M-16 toting young woman says.

This notion elicits a slew of questions. Why on earth would Palestinians opt for an Israeli army base rather than head to the closest Palestinian hospital? Why would Israeli military doctors permit treatment there, presumably endangering an entire base? And hang on just another minute: Isn’t this supposed to be war?

“You would think there would be a stigma attached to coming here,” Halamish base Chief Medical Officer Dr. Itay Wiser replies, shrugging his shoulders. “For villagers we’re closer than Ramallah Hospital. And sometimes, quite frankly, families come here hoping we’ll refer them out to Israel’s hospitals. They know the treatment is better.”

Young Shadi Sani’s Gaza interpreter confirms Wiser’s words. “We know medical treatment in Israeli hospitals is better. The situation in Gaza and the West Bank prevents us from getting superior care.”

Apparently, Palestinian Arabs--whose leaders insist they value death and are not afraid to die--in fact value the lives of their families more fearlessly than their Iraqi brothers.

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Is Syria Making Iran Nervous?

I read this on Pajamas Media, but I have trouble believing it:

The news that Israel and Syria had agreed to indirect talks was initially greeted with resounding silence in the Iranian press.Finally, on May 22 - a full day after the talks made international headlines - Tabnak news, which is affiliated with the former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezai, decided to break the story.

In a short piece describing the planned negotiations, it tried to calm Iranian concerns by saying that Syria had not agreed to break off relations with Iran as part of the price for peace with Israel, as called for by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

Iran’s worries are very valid. The economic prospects of peace with Israel, in terms of increased investment from US and EU, would easily outstrip anything Tehran could offer Damascus. This means that if Syria abandons Iran, Tehran would lose out on the massive amount of investment it has made in Syria since the early 1980s.

Is Syria really likely to make peace with Israel? Is the US ready to give Syria a bye on the Hariri investigation? Does Iran really have any reason to fear Syria becoming an ally of the West?

The US invited Syria to Annapolis, and I can imagine Condoleezza Rice welcoming Syria and forgetting about the assassinations and Syria's ties to Iraq--at best Syria would use that prospect only as leverage improve it's position in the Arab world, not jeopardize it by getting to close to Bush.

Read the whole thing.

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Israel: Peace--Yes, Olmert--No

At Pajamas Media, Lisa Goldman writes:

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s revelation of efforts to negotiate a possible peace agreement between Syria and Israel has kept the Israeli media very busy for the past few days. Editors are having a fabulous time with banner headlines and the commentators are churning out page upon page of political analysis.

But while the media is taking the story seriously, the Israeli public is not.

Israeli public is both terribly confused and deeply cynical. According to an article published today in the weekend magazine of Yedioth Aharonoth, two-thirds of the populations wants negotiations with Syria - but at the same time two-thirds oppose having Prime Minister Olmert lead the negotiations.
That's pretty pathetic. Kadima's victory in the elections was supposed to be a mandate to bring about something like this, yet Olmert is not trusted to get the job done.

Read the whole thing.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

One Jerusalem: End of Week Review: May 23, 2008

From an email from One Jerusalem
End of Week Review: May 23, 2008

Dear Friend of Jerusalem,

Here are some of the leading headlines, from the all-new One Jerusalem Blog:

John Voight on Israel, Sderot, Vietnam and Iraq: (read more)

Anti-Semitic Screed: A lengthy diatribe against Zionism and the State of Israel has found a home at Daily Kos.Hat Tip to Little Green Footballs. ...(read more)

Hitler, Buchanan, and Bush: In a provocatively titled column, Bush Plays The Hitler Card Pat Buchanan takes historical revisionism to new heights. In his narrative, the rational political operatives are Adolph Hitler and Neville Chamberlain. The warmongers are George Bush and the Poles who...(read more)

Palestinians Shake Up Peace Activist Livni: Israel's Foreign Minister and oracle of peace Tzipi Livni was clearly caught off guard by the new Palestinian demand for an army for the "new" Palestinian State.Livni publicly declared that all past agreements stipulated that a future Palestinian State would...(read more)

TRANSCRIPT :: Caroline Glick on Obama, Olmert, Jerusalem: Yesterday we hosted a great Blogger's Call with Caroline Glick. Play the streaming audio.In addition, you can read the full transcript below.Let us know if you like this format, as we are trying it out. Leave your Comment below.Allen Roth, Host:We are really...(read more)

AUDIO :: Caroline Glick on Obama, Olmert, Jerusalem...: Listen now to the latest exclusive One Jerusalem Bloggers Conference Call with Caroline Glick, world journalist, policy-analyst and author of, Shackled Warrior: Israel and the Global Jihad.Caroline raises important points about the future of Israel, the centrality of Jerusalem, Barak Obama's anti-Israel advisers,...(read more)

Together we can win the fight to maintain a united Jerusalem!

The One Jerusalem Team
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Baby Einstein

Not everything is relative.
Rabbi Avi Shafran

An amusing pair of letters to the editor appeared in the New York Times Book Review on April 13, responding to a review of a book about the science of human reproduction.

Both letters were withering critiques of the illustration that accompanied the review, a graphic of a large, oddly shaped, complex organic molecule, featuring atoms of various elements and bonds of many sorts. One of the letter-writers, a professor of chemistry, sniffed that the graphic contained a “dozen brazen errors” and deemed it “a lesson in aberration.” The second, a graduate student in chemistry, denounced the drawing as “nothing short of atrocious” and upped the error count to more than two dozen.

It must have been difficult for the editors to quash the urge to respond mockingly, but somehow they managed understatement. “Our correspondents’ knowledge of chemistry,” they wrote, “may have kept them from noticing that the molecular entity [depicted]… spells out a familiar three-letter word.”

The letters and response are entertaining evidence for how limited scientists can be in negotiating the world outside their labs. It is a truism brought to mind too by the recent sale at auction of a 1954 letter written by Albert Einstein, in which the brilliant physicist described Judaism as “like all other religions, an incarnation of the most childish superstitions.” The letter, which fetched $404,000 from an unidentified buyer, also scoffed at the idea of the Jews as a chosen people.
In a 1950 letter, Einstein called himself a “deeply religious man” – in the sense that his mental exploration of the universe had provided him “a knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate… the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms.” Yet, in that same letter he claims to be “agnostic” about – i.e. neither affirming nor denying –the existence of a Supreme Being.

So Einstein, awe-filled as he was by creation, rejected his religious heritage. Or maybe not. In a 1940 paper in Nature, he was not as dismissive as in the later, expensive, letter. In that paper, he admitted that “the doctrine of a personal G-d interfering with natural events could never be refuted… by science, for [it] can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific knowledge has not yet been able to set foot.”

As Oxford professor emeritus of science and religion John Brooke recently noted, “Like many great scientists of the past, [Einstein] is rather quirky about religion, and not always consistent from one period to another.”

What is more important, like many great scientists, when he wandered afield – in his case, from physics to metaphysics – he easily got lost.

The celebrated University of London Professor of Psychology H.J. Eysenck put it bluntly. “Scientists,” he wrote, “especially when they leave the particular field in which they have specialized, are just as ordinary, pig-headed and unreasonable as anybody else, and their unusually high intelligence only makes their prejudices all the more dangerous…”

“Pigheaded” doesn’t seem like an adjective suited to Einstein, even rambling outside his field of expertise. Wrongheaded, though, might not be terribly off the mark.

Take his political philosophy. The thinker who presented the world with the subtle brilliance of the General and Special Theories of Relativity was a resolute socialist, considering capitalism to be “a source of evil.” He lobbied to end American nuclear testing and advocated supplying the United Nations with nuclear weapons. He insisted that a Marxist be appointed the president of a university to which he was to lend his name. (And when his partner in the enterprise objected, Einstein refused to be associated with the school, which became Brandeis University.)

Not that there’s anything wrong with Marxism, of course. No, wait! There is! Wasn’t that the political system that brought us the Soviet Union and its gulags, East Germany and the Berlin Wall, the curtailment of human rights in the People’s Republic of China and the cruel deprivation of the citizenry in North Korea? No, not so smart, that Einstein, at least not regarding politics.

Not regarding G-d and Judaism either. Like his forbear Abraham the Jewish patriarch (as described by Jewish tradition), the professor perceived the impenetrable “profoundest reason and… most radiant beauty” of the physical universe and was filled with wonder. But, unlike Abraham, Einstein did not come to recognize what it all pointed to, and what it required of him.

That latter point is key. Jewish ethical texts explain that only one who has overcome the human desires and imperfections of character with which we are all born can perceive the Divine clearly. The rest of us are hampered by the little voice in the back of our heads – not physically audible but clearly heard – that reminds us how confronting our responsibility to the Creator may seriously interfere with our personal wants. It is telling that many brilliant people – and Einstein is, sadly, no exception here – who were atheist or agnostic were not beacons of morality in their personal lives and relationships.

So it is ironic that Einstein considered religion “childish.” What prevented him from not only understanding light but seeing the Light may well have been his own childishness, the self-centeredness that he retained from babyhood.

Abraham transcended himself and so, fathoming nature’s sublimity, he perceived Divinity. Sadly, Einstein saw the pattern, the beauty, the subtlety and the power, but, humanly flawed, he missed the big picture.

[Rabbi Shafran is director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America.]

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Obama Will Talk To Iran, But Not To Farrakhan

Writing about Obama's appearance at a Florida synagogue, Jennifer Rubin writes about
his jaw-dropping comment that he has been fighting anti-Semitic statements in the African American community. Excuse me, but did he rebuke Reverend Wright for the Israel is a “dirty word” remark (before Wright’s National Press Club attack on his political sincerity) or when Wright launched into his tirade about a fantastical ethnic bomb created by Israel?
Obamas has been very outspoken--basically about how outspoken he has been about anti-Semitism. While in Pennsylvania--
Obama reminded the crowd that he'd denounced his church’s praise of Farrakhan, saying, "I’ve been very clear about saying that was wrong. And nobody has spoken out more fiercely on the issue of anti- Semitism than I have."
Ed Morrissey writes:
First off, when has Obama spoken out at all against anti-Semitism outside of generic “hope and change” rhetoric about the tone and tenor of politics? He hasn’t been an activist for anti-Semitism even in his own church. He claims he didn’t agree with Jeremiah Wright’s honoring Farrakhan, but he didn’t speak out against it until people pressed him for a reaction to it. How about when his church reprinted Hamas propaganda in its bulletins? Did his fierce opposition erupt in protest? Uh, no.

And now “nobody has spoken out more fiercely on the issue of anti-Semitism” than Obama? That’s not just absurd, it insults the intelligence of everyone who heard it. Many people have spoken out eloquently on anti-Semitism on many more occasions than Barack Obama, which isn’t a difficult threshold to meet.

...In this case, Obama got so caught up in the moment that he transformed himself into the leading voice against anti-Semitism.
Obama is going to talk the Iranian regime into changing it's plan to destroy Israel--but he won't talk to Wright and Farrakhan about stopping their comments about Jews and Israel?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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"The Shahid Is Not Only The Individual, But The Regime Itself." Maybe.

So writes Amnon Rubinstein in The Jerusalem Post:

This may sound like an extreme conclusion but, as Ari Bar Yossef, retired lieutenant-colonel and administrator of the Knesset's Security Committee, writes in the army journal Ma'arachot, such cases of Islamist national suicide are not uncommon. He cites three such examples of Arab-Muslim regimes irrationally sacrificing their very existence, overriding their instinct of self-preservation, to fight the perceived enemy to the bitter end.
• The first case is that of Saddam Hussein, who in 2003 could have avoided war and conquest by allowing UN inspectors to search for (the apparently non-existent) weapons of mass destruction wherever they wanted. Yet Iraq's ruler opted for war, knowing full well that he would have to face the might of the US.

• The second case is that of Yasser Arafat in 2000, who after the failure of the Camp David and Taba talks had two options: continue talking to Israel - under the leadership of Ehud Barak, this country's most moderate and flexible government ever - or resort to violence. He chose the latter, with the result that all progress toward Palestinian independence was blocked. The ensuing loss of life, on both sides, testified to Arafat's preference for suicide over compromise.

• The third case is that of the Taliban. Post-9/11, their leadership had two options: to enter into negotiations with the US, with a view to extraditing Osama bin Laden, or to risk war and destruction. The choice they made was obvious: Better to die fighting than to give up an inch.
In all three cases, the conclusion is plain: prolonged war, death, destruction and national suicide are preferable to peaceful solutions of conflicts: Dying is preferable to negotiating with infidels. The same conclusion, of course, is applicable to the Palestinians voting for Hamas and its suicidal path, and to Iran's decision to confront the Security Council in its insistence on acquiring nuclear weapons.


Or maybe we have 3 cases where the Muslim world underestimated whether a democracy--the US or Israel--had the stomach to react militarily to provocation. We have already seen Nasrallah admit to a similar misjudgment in its war with Israel 2 years ago.

And given examples in history such as the Iranian hostage crisis and the appeasement of Middle East dictators by the US--not to mention Israel's reluctance to do what it has to do in Gaza--such a misjudgment is understandable. And may yet be justified.

Hand in hand with their exaggerated sense of the timidity of democracies is our sense of the resoluteness of the Muslim world to sacrifice itself no matter what the cost in order to defeat the infidel. Let's not forget that some of those who scream the loudest about their willingness to die for the cause are still alive, sending others on suicide bombings while their children are safe.

And how does the average Palestinian Arab feel about all this?

Check out Israel Matzav's post: 50,000 Arabs have left Gaza since last June.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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