Sunday, August 31, 2008

Is Sarah Palin Pro-Israel: See For Yourself! (3 Updates)

Cindy emailed a link to Alaska HDTV on February 20, 2008.
Watch the video--and note at about 7:12 you can clearly see an Israeli flag in the background and what seems to be an Israeli flag in Sarah Palin's left lapel.

Cindy earlier posted a comment:
Fantastic decision all way around, and best possible choice for Israel and the war on terror in general I might add. (based on her church, since I too attend an Independent Bible church and know well the worldview that goes with that) [emphasis added]
So is Sarah Palin pro-Israel?
See for yourself.

(But don't ask about Obama--he's not even into showing off American flags.)

UPDATE: This emphasizes the foolishness of Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida's attack on Palin as a supporter of Buchanan:

John McCain's decision to select a vice presidential running mate that endorsed Pat Buchanan for president in 2000 is a direct affront to all Jewish Americans. Pat Buchanan is a Nazi sympathizer with a uniquely atrocious record on Israel, even going as far as to denounce bringing former Nazi soldiers to justice and praising Adolf Hitler for his "great courage."

At a time when standing up for Israel's right to self-defense has never been more critical, John McCain has failed his first test of leadership and judgment by selecting a running mate who has aligned herself with a leading anti-Israel voice in American politics. It is frightening that John McCain would select someone one heartbeat away from the presidency who supported a man who embodies vitriolic anti-Israel sentiments.

In his rush to criticize Palin, Wexler has failed a test of his own.

On the other hand, over at Politico, Ben Smith confirms that little is actually known about Palin's personal view of Israel:
In reality, Palin's record on Israel, while friendly, is as thin as you'd expect from the first-term governor of Alaska.

RJC spokeswoman Suzanne Kurtz said, however, that based on conversations with Alaska Jews, she's confident Palin is a friend of Israel.

I spoke to two of Palin's Jewish allies in Alaska (of the roughly 6,000 Jews there), both of whom stressed that she'd signed a resolution supporting Israel and Alaska's ties to the Jewish state. (She's pictured above right at the signing.)

The resolution (after the jump) is supportive but unexceptional. Both of the Alaska Jews, rabbi Joseph Greenberg and businessman Terry Gorlick, said she was "conservative" on foreign affairs but that they'd never discussed the details of Israel policy with her.

Gorlick said she had never visited Israel, had promised to visit and recently postponed plans to work on Alaska pipeline issues.

"She's absolutely a friend of the Jewish community in Alaska," he said, adding that she had a "confirmed commitment" to visit Israel.

As Smith notes, the statement put out by the Republican Jewish Coalition never mentions Israel at all--instead noting that:
As governor of Alaska, Palin has enjoyed a strong working relationship with Alaska's Jewish community. She has demonstrated sensitivity to the concerns of the community and has been accessible and responsive.
Hopefully, we will soon be hearing more about Palin's stand on Israel from Palin herself.

Another Update: Israel Matzav writes about a visit to the website of Palin's church:
Free Republic points to Palin's church's web site. The church web site has several sermons online. I clicked on one - a Word document called The Jerusalem Dilemma. It turns out to come from a guest preacher - one David Brickner who is a member of Jews for Jesus...

...Am I thrilled about this? No. Is this worse than Jeremiah Wright? In its own way, it's not better. Jews don't proselytize and don't want to be proselytized by others. But Brickner is a guest preacher and not the regular preacher. Do I expect Sarah Palin to start proselytizing Jews for Jesus? No. Do I expect Barack Hussein Obama to be influenced by his Muslim upbringing and his Jew-hating Israel-hating preacher? Yes. So are we better off with Obama? Sorry Bob Wexler, but no.

What does Palin have to do to convince Israelis and Jews to vote for herself and McCain? Let's start with disowning that sermon by Brickner, which took place just two weeks ago. Let's continue with hearing more specifics about where she stands on Israel and other issues that are important to Jews. We're listening.
Read the whole thing.

Yes, some specifics would be nice right about now.

Another Update: Soccer Dad has posted an explanation from Cindy about Sarah Palin's church and what its members believe. Cindy is the one who originally alerted Soccer Dad and me about the video of Palin's interview.

Also, The Dallas Morning News has a Religion Blog that has a post about Sarah Palin's religious beliefs.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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Rav Itamar Shwartz--Author of the Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh Seforim--Visiting US

Dixie Yid writes that Rav Itamar Shwartz, the author of the Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh seforim, will be coming to the US next Sunday (September 7th) until the following Sunday (September 14th). His speaking schedule will be:
Boca Raton, FL
Sunday, September 7th, 8-10:15 PM
Boca Raton Synagogue, 7900 Montoya Circle

New York City
Monday, September 8th, 8 PM
Congregation Ramath Orah, 550 W. 110th St. (corner Broadway)

Baltimore, MD
Wednesday, September 10th, 8 PM
Congregation Shomrei Emunah, 6221 Greenspring Ave.

Monsey, NY
Thursday, September 11th, 8 PM
Kahal Ahavas Yitzchak (Rabbi Rudinsky's Shul), 73 Forshay Rd.

Woodmere, NY - Shabbos Sept. 12th
Friday Night Tisch at the Perkal home - 9:30 PM - 858 Fiske St.
Shabbos Hashkafah Shiur at Cong. Aish Kodesh - 5:35 PM (Corner W. Broadway & Woodmere Blvd.)
Mincha/Shalosh Sheudos Drashah at Cong. Aish Kodesh - 6:35 PM

Five Towns/Far Rockaway Motzoi Shabbos Drasha
Motzoi Shabbos, September 13th, 9 PM
Yeshivas Shor Yoshuv, One Cedar Lawn Ave, Lawrence, NY

Englewood, NJ
Sunday Morning, September 14th, 9:15 AM (After 8:30 Shacharis)
East Hill Synagogue, 255 Walnut St.

Boro Park, NY
Sunday Evneing, September 14th, 8 PM
Sara Schenirer Hall, 4622 14th Ave. (Corner: 47th & 14th)
Click here for further details--and pass the word!

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Haveil Havalim #180 Is Up!

This week, My Shrapnel is hosting Haveil Havalim #180: The Alyn Edition.
What, you don't know what Alyn is?
Then for sure you have to check out this week's Haveil Havalim!

Check it out now.

For information about hosting, 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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Dikduk Question: "Mah Choshevet At"

I speak to my daughter in Hebrew. I brought her to work in New Jersey on Friday and at one point asked her what she thought. Because I want her to understand the flexibility of Hebrew, I said "Mah Choshevet At?" instead of "Mah At Choshevet?" and was corrected by 2 people who said that was wrong.

I did a search and found a book entitled "Mah Choshevet Miri"--and was told that nouns are different from pronouns. Does that make sense?

Bottom line: is "Mah Choshevet Miri" acceptable Hebrew?
Exit question: does anyone, anywhere speak/write like that--switching the subject and predicate of a sentence?

Thank you in advance for any help on this question.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

McCains VP Pick Sarah Palin--Some Of The 'Cons'

At a time when everyone is pointing out the 'pros' of McCain's pick of Sarah Palin to be his running mate, at The Corner, Ramesh Ponnuru points out some of the 'cons':

Inexperience. Palin has been governor for about two minutes. Thanks to McCain’s decision, Palin could be commander-in-chief next year. That may strike people as a reckless choice; it strikes me that way. And McCain's age raised the stakes on this issue.

As a political matter, it undercuts the case against Obama. Conservatives are pointing out that it is tricky for the Obama campaign to raise the issue of her inexperience given his own, and note that the presidency matters more than the vice-presidency. But that gets things backward. To the extent the experience, qualifications, and national-security arguments are taken off the table, Obama wins.

And it’s not just foreign policy. Palin has no experience dealing with national domestic issues, either. (On the other hand, as Kate O’Beirne just told me, we know that Palin will be ready for that 3 a.m. phone call: She’ll already be up with her baby.)

Tokenism. Can anyone say with a straight face that Palin would have gotten picked if she were a man?

Compatibility. It doesn’t seem as though McCain knows Palin well. Do we have much reason to think they would work well together?

Debates. Maybe, as Jonah said the other day, Biden will look like a bully going up against her—and maybe she’ll shine. But I can think of a lot of other picks who would have been lower-risk.

But more than any other pick McCain could have made, this one will make things interesting.

Crossposted at Soccer Dad

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Americans See A Nuclear Iran As A Threat

According to a YNet poll, the threat of Iran going nuclear should not be taken lightly
  • 87% of those polled said a nuclear Iran will pose a threat to the US
  • 96% believe it would be of imminent threat to Israel.
  • 90% said that should Iran possess nuclear weapons it may sell them, or their technology to terror organizations.
  • 80% said they did not believe Iran was pursuing nuclear technology for sheer ability and that Tehran is likely to make use of it.
Regarding what should be done:
  • 81% said they believed the international community must find a way to stop Iran's pursuit after nuclear technology
  • 62% said they believed the world can still find a diplomatic solution which would make Iran halt its nuclear endeavors.
If a military strike is necessary, who should do it?
  • 55% of those polled said they would support a surgical strike by the US and its allies on Iran's nuclear facilities.
  • 63% of Americans supports a preemptive Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, should the international community's diplomatic efforts to curb its nuclear development fail.
Regardless of what Americans think of what kind of threat Iraq posed under Hussein or whether they think the US should have gone in--a majority of Americans see Iran as a threat and what something done about it--even if they do prefer leaving it to Israel.

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The Ying and Yang Of Palestinian Politics

...or Cheech and Chong.

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McCain's Ad About Obama And Israel

Like his other ads--short and to the point

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Mazal Tov, Israel Matzav!

Carl's oldest son, Avraham Yaakov, got married Thursday night to Meira.
Wonderful news--you should all have much nachas!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

America's Country Club Allies

"I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member."
Groucho Marx
Abe Greenwald notes:

Today, any half-failed state can charge us usurious rates for fuel, steal our intellectual property, and undermine our every last UN Security Council effort–and still have George Bush call them a vital partner in peace and prosperity. Ours is the broadest definition of ally in the history of geopolitical interaction.

This may go some way towards explaining why it does not impress people to say that Israel is an important ally of the US. It is a club just about anyone can join these days.

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Israel's Unique Balancing Act

David Hazony observes:
This fact about Israel may not be the best thing for its health, but it is a profound fact nonetheless: A country founded by a people that has for centuries been at the receiving end of the worst of what humanity is capable of, and struggles every day to protect itself from evil while not becoming just another brutal nation, that faces accusations of genocide while in practice restraining its armed forces against civilians more than any other country on earth. It is an impossible and endless balancing act, and in the struggle Israel has managed to screw up its most basic security needs, embroiling itself in a century-long war with no end in sight.
Read the whole thing.

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Welcome to Middle East Jeopardy!

"It's one of these strange situations where we know what the answer is and the idea is getting people to it."
Gregory Craig, senior foreign policy adviser to Obama
From The New York Sun:

A senior foreign policy adviser to Senator Obama, Gregory Craig, is arguing that the next four years may offer a final opportunity to achieve peace in the Middle East. "This is, maybe, a last chance this next term," Mr. Craig said at a foreign policy forum in Denver yesterday morning. "Not only a last chance for a president of the United States to be relevant ... but for the people in the region to reach an accommodation. ... It's one of these strange situations where we know what the answer is and the idea is getting people to it." Mr. Craig's comments suggest that if the presumptive Democratic nominee, Mr. Obama, wins in November, he would press quickly for talks among Israel, the Palestinian Arabs, and others in the region, such as Syria and Lebanon.
Shmuel Rosner points out this comment by Craig--and gives a list of other famous 'last chances' in the search for peace in the Middle East.

But if Craig really thinks that everyone knows what the answer is, maybe he could explain just what the answer is--you know, for the sake of those of us who are playing at home.

Is the answer to let Palestinian Arabs back into Israel?
Is the answer to divide Jerusalem--if so, along what lines?
How is Hamas going to be prevented from taking over the West Bank as it has Gaza?
How is a PA-controlled state going to survive considering the corruption and incompetence?

Please, Mr. Craig, tell us!
We are not so much facing a last chance as possibly Final Jeopardy.

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Are Two Of The World's Greatest Evil Geniuses...Jewish?

Say it isn't so!
Clearly Luthor is not an adherent of any organized religion. However, Elliot S! Maggin, an observant Jew who is one of Superman's most popular and influential writers, has stated that Luthor is a non-observant Jew. Given Lex Luthor's utter disinterest in traditional organized religion and moral value systems, it is not surprising that his character never refers to any religious upbringing or religious ethnicity.

There seems to be little printed textual support for identifying Luthor as Jewish. But the theory certainly is plausible in a world where many of history's real-life brilliant world-changing atheists (or agnostics) have been Jewish, including Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Franz Kafka, Noam Chomsky, etc. (The obvious difference, of course, is that Luthor is evil while these other individuals, regardless of whether or you agree with them or not, were not evil.)
And if you are shocked to hear that Lex Luthor may be Jewish, hold onto your may be that Gargamel, the villianous enemy of the smurfs may be Jewish too:
What's worse, the evidence is both circumstantial and insulting: Gargamel is drawn like most anti-semitic propaganda (balding, big nose), his end goal is money, he's a momma's boy... It's all pretty upsetting. Because Jew or not, someone out there is really bigoted — the creator of the cartoon or the creator of the theory. Probably a little of both really. All of which leaves us with the vague feeling Gargamel may be Jewish topped by the desperate hope that he's not.
Of course, you can always check out The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters and really go to town on this, with Jewish superheroes like The Thing from Fantastic Four--to Legion, who is part Jewish, part Muslim (long story).

Me--I'll stick to being a hero to my kids.
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Ayers Is Not The Only Friendship Obama Denies

Stanley Kurtz--who fought, and succeeded, to gain access to the records of Obama's service to the non-profit corporation Chicago Annenberg Challenge which is linked to William Ayers--was on WGN Radio in Chicago to discuss Obama's friendship with the unapologetic terrorist. Pro-Obama callers called Kurtz names, but apparently were unable to refute what Kurtz said about the Obama-Ayers connection.

As Andy McCarthy summarizes the issue:
Earth to Obama supporters: no one is claiming guilt by association — though willful association with an admitted terrorist would be worthy of noting in a presidential candidate. Obama and Bill Ayers had a working relationship. Yet, Obama claimed Ayers was just "a guy who lives in my neighborhood," and has otherwise minimized the relationship. Aside from the fact that Obama is not telling the truth, which itself is important, the details of the relationship are important.
This is reminiscent of Obama's reaction on being asked about his connection to Rashid Khalidi:
You mentioned Rashid Khalidi, who is a professor at Columbia. I do know him because he talked at the University of Chicago and he is Palestinian, and I do know him and I have had conversations.

He is not one of my advisers, he is not one of my foreign policy people, his kids went to the lab school where my kids go as well.

He is a respected scholar although he vehemently disagrees with a lot of Israel policy.
Contrary to Obama's claim to a mere acquaintance with Khalidi, in fact they were good friends. The LA Times reported that the Obama-Khalidi friendship was much more than just casual:
It was a celebration of Palestinian culture -- a night of music, dancing and a dash of politics. Local Arab Americans were bidding farewell to Rashid Khalidi, an internationally known scholar, critic of Israel and advocate for Palestinian rights, who was leaving town for a job in New York.

A special tribute came from Khalidi's friend and frequent dinner companion, the young state Sen. Barack Obama. Speaking to the crowd, Obama reminisced about meals prepared by Khalidi's wife, Mona, and conversations that had challenged his thinking.

His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been "consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases. . . . It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation -- a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table," but around "this entire world."
Besides being good friends with him, Obama and Khalidi raised money for each other:
When Obama served as a director of the Woods Fund in 2001 and 2002, the foundation donated $75,000 to the AAAN [Arab American Action Network, founded by Khalidi], for projects like an “oral history” project on the “Nakbah,” which translates as “catastrophe,” and is the name Palestinians use for the birth of Israel. Khalidi held a fundraiser for Obama when the latter ran for Congress in 2000...
Obama's reason for downplaying his friendship with Khalidi may be the same as why he has done the same with Ayers. Khalidi is also connected with terrorism:
AAAN co-founder Rashid Khalidi was reportedly a director of the official PLO press agency WAFA in Beirut from 1976 to 1982, while the PLO committed scores of anti-Western attacks and was labeled by the U.S. as a terror group. Khalidi's wife, AAAN President Mona Khalidi, was reportedly WAFA's English translator during that period.

Rashid Khalidi at times has denied working directly for the PLO but Palestinian diplomatic sources in Ramallah told WND he indeed worked on behalf of WAFA. Khalidi also advised the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Conference in 1991.
American Issues Project has a press release out noting Obama's attempt to stop the Ayers ad from being shown:
The Barack Obama campaign has resorted to a campaign of intimidation and legal threats to convince television stations and the federal government to force off the air an ad by the American Issues Project detailing the link between Sen. Obama and remorseless domestic terrorist William Ayers.

The Obama campaign has been contacting stations running American Issues Project's ad in an unsuccessful attempt to compel them to pull the spot. The Obama campaign also sent a letter yesterday to the Department of Justice asking the government to investigate American Issues Project, its officers, board of directors, and donors. With no success on either front, the campaign has begun running its own ad in response. Notably, this ad fails to dispute a single fact in the American Issues Project's initial ad.
Of course, the bigger a deal Obama makes out of this ad, the more attention it is getting--even by the media. The only question is how much damage will be done to Obama's campaign.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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A New Attempt To Shut Down Harry's Place

I've blogged before about Harry's Place being sued by a man connected with Hamas, and about the blog burst to publicize what was happening.

Now there is someone else that is trying to close him down. NeoConstant quotes a message from Harry:

Harry’s Place may be removed (or rather have it’s DNS disabled) after a ‘complaint’ to the company that our domain name is registered with.

We assume after threats were made on the weekend that this ‘complaint’ originates from Jenna Delich or her supporters. Though we have not yet seen the complaint submitted, we assume it runs along the lines that pointing out that Ms Delich linked to the website of a known neo-Nazi figure and former Ku Klux Klan leader is defamatory.

This is extraordinary since Ms Delich has not denied that she circulated links to David Dukes website. There would be no point since the evidence is in the public domain. Nevertheless, a malicious complaint has been made to the company hosting our DNS. We would like to assure readers of Harry’s Place that we are doing everything we can to prevent a disruption, but that - of course - we will not concede any ground. We have posted nothing defamatory, and we stand by the information we have supplied. ISPs often run scared of UK libel law and malicious complaints are thus common. Sadly, it is a well known - and usually successful - way of censoring websites which publish truths that they’d rather not be generally known. We ask our readers and supporters in the meantime to publish this information as widely as possible. The disgraceful tactic of dishonest and malicious complaining should not be allowed to succeed. Those on the UCU list, please also make this know there. Please spread the word. If we go down, email us at harryblog at gee mail dot com for updates. UPDATE: For those who can still see us - we’ve put up an archive of the Delich-related material here, which we will use to post updates on this saga:

Spread the word.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Credit Meltdown & Practical Solutions"--OU Job Board 9/22

From an email:

"Credit Meltdown & Practical Solutions" 9/22 1:30-3:30 PM (EDST)-OU
Job Board

Live Video Broadcast Career Workshop
September 22, 2008
1:30-3:30 P.M.

"Credit Meltdown & Practical Solutions"
Part of the OU Job Board -Economic 101 Series

Participants will get expert advice on ways to solve their personal
credit crises by:

• The 10 warning signs to too much debt
• Solutions to debt problems
• Implementing and sticking with a realistic home budget
• Credit card debt, accounts in collection, lawsuits and judgments- Practical answers and reality check
• credit restoration; student loans
• Bankruptcy and its meaning
• Implementing and sticking with a realistic budget

Broadcast Live from OU National Headquarters 11 Broadway 14th fl New
York to your computer. A live audience will also be in attendance.

To Register
Please go to and go to link "Networking in the
Digital Age" under Job Workshop Fill in your name and e mail and you
in! You can also register by e mailing with your name
stating you will join the workshop

Our Expert presenters:

1-Carl Edward Guzman, CPA specializes in complex mortgage solutions
and is the President and founder of Greenback Capital Mortgage
Corporation a tri state Mortgage Broker/Banker. He sits on the board
of the Teaneck Economic Development Corporation, and has served as a
board member and Chairman of the education committee for the New York
Association of Mortgage Brokers. He resides in Teaneck New Jersey
with his family and is a member of Congregation Beth Abraham.

2- Steven Burman, Founder and President of Credit Advocate Counseling
Corporation. Mr. Burman has been involved working in the consumer
credit industry since 1991. His responsibilities include financial
management, financial literacy programs, as well as budget planning
and credit counseling He has done television interviews on CBS, ABC,
and NBC. Mr. Burman has been quoted in the New York Times, New York
Daily News, and the Wall St. Journal. Mr. Burman has also served as
an expert witness for the enactment of new consumer protection laws
regarding consumer credit. As a certified credit counselor, Mr.
Burman still meets with consumers for credit counseling daily, and he
has spoken at numerous community seminars throughout New York City.
He is currently working on developing CACC'S financial literacy
programs Money in Motion and Check Wise.

3- David Siegel graduated from Cardozo School of Law in 1981 and is
licensed to practice law in NY. He has worked with the Bankruptcy
Trustee in Brooklyn and now maintains an office in Monsey,
specializing in Personal Bankruptcy.

He is on the advisory board at Community Bank of Orange, in
Middletown NY, and serves on the Residential lending committee of the
NJ league of community Bankers. Mr. Siegel resides in Teaneck with
his family and coaches the Frisch High School wrestling team.

Please be informed that the resume writing class on September 10th
has been sold out!.

Michael Rosner
OU Job Board
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Syria and Iran Warm to Russia

Sure--and why wouldn't they.
Following in Russia's footsteps, Syria wants Lebanon and Iran wants everything else.

Soccer Dad pointed me to an article that goes into this in more depth:
Analysis: Assad's Shopping List

Assad's trip to Moscow comes at a particularly opportune time. Russia is in the process of completing what looks like a successful, contemptuous defiance of international will over its actions in Georgia. In the Caucasus, Moscow has thrown down a direct challenge to the US-dominated post Cold-war international order.

Syria, meanwhile, is part of an Iran-led regional bloc which seeks to issue a similar challenge in the Middle East, albeit on a smaller scale. But Assad is not in Moscow purely to compare notes with the Russians. Rather, his trip has a list of clear and practical objectives.

Naturally, Russia has no intention of staying completely on the sidelines:
What lies behind Russia's growing interest in arms supplies to the Middle East? This is part of a larger picture - Russia's return as a player on the global diplomatic stage. The Russians would like to leverage their supply of arms to Iran and Syria into influence, forming an alternative address for diplomatic mediation - or for help in challenging enemies. Either way, Russia intends not to have its voice ignored. The days when all other countries automatically accepted US predominance on issues of Middle East statecraft have passed.
What's old is new again.

Israel's concerns include Hamas, Hizbollah, Syria, Iran--and now Russia: suddenly it's getting kind of crowded.

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2 Years Before A Palestinian Ran Over Israelis With A Bulldozer...

...a Muslim tried something similar with a car--in the US:
Homicidal driver sentenced to prison

A man who claimed the will of God pushed him to drive into a crowd of students will spend as long as 33 years in a North Carolina prison, a judge has ruled.

Orange County Superior Judge Carl Fox ruled Tuesday the minimum prison sentence for Mohammed Taheri-Azar, who pleaded guilty to nine counts of attempted first-degree murder, is 26 years and two months, the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer said.

"One of the things our government won't tolerate -- and after 9/11 our citizens won't tolerate -- is trying to use Americans as punching bags or targets for terrorist acts or mindless acts," Fox said.

The vehicular attack took place in March 2006 on the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill campus. Taheri-Azar drove his rented sport utility vehicle into The Pit, a spot near the university's student union where students were gathered.

The News & Observer said after the attack, which resulted in some injuries but no deaths, Taheri-Azara alleged that it was a response to the U.S. government's targeting of Muslims throughout the world.
Not clear whether the judge saw this as a terrorist act or a mindless act--
which seems to be the problem with the 2 similar attacks in Israel.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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Olmert's Fire Sale

What is his sales pitch? Everyone must go??
Amnesty for dozens of wanted Palestinians

More gestures to strengthen Abbas - Ynet learns Israel has given full amnesty to 45 additional wanted Palestinians, who can now travel freely without fear of IDF arrest. Others will receive partial amnesty.

Less than 24 hours after the release of 198 Palestinian prisoners as a gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the region to further the diplomatic negotiations – Israel on Tuesday has granted 'amnesty' to dozens of wanted Palestinians.
You know, if all of these releasings of terrorists really had the intended effect of raising Abbas' prestige in the eyes of his people, by now Abbas would be the next Nelson Mandela.

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Talks With Syria Proceed As Expected

International Herald Trubune:
Syrian FM: No headway in peace talks with Israel

Washington Post:
A Syrian-Israeli Breakthrough?

Carry on...

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Michael Totten: Georgia Did Not Start The Fighting

In a nutshell:
Virtually everyone believes Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili foolishly provoked a Russian invasion on August 7, 2008, when he sent troops into the breakaway district of South Ossetia. “The warfare began Aug. 7 when Georgia launched a barrage targeting South Ossetia,” the Associated Press reported over the weekend in typical fashion.

Virtually everyone is wrong. Georgia didn’t start it on August 7, nor on any other date. The South Ossetian militia started it on August 6 when its fighters fired on Georgian peacekeepers and Georgian villages with weapons banned by the agreement hammered out between the two sides in 1994. At the same time, the Russian military sent its invasion force bearing down on Georgia from the north side of the Caucasus Mountains on the Russian side of the border through the Roki tunnel and into Georgia. This happened before Saakashvili sent additional troops to South Ossetia and allegedly started the war.
The situation is not black and white--so read the whole thing.

[Hat tip: Hot Air]

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Iran Turns To The Great Satan For Grain

Push comes to shove:
Wracked by drought, Iran has turned to the United States for wheat for the first time in 27 years, marking a setback for Tehran's search for agricultural self-sufficiency.

According to a recent US Department of Agriculture report, Iran has bought about 1.18 million tonnes of US hard wheat since the beginning of the 2008-2009 crop season in June.

The number, which has been growing steadily all summer, already represents nearly 5.0 percent of US annual exports forecast by the USDA.
The question though is how to interpret the fact that Iran is willing to buy the grain from the US instead of waiting for the grain to become available from another country. Not surprisingly, there is more than one way of looking at it--
Wachovia's Nelson underscored the tense US-Iranian relationship for many years: "it is still surprising that they are buying wheat from the US instead of waiting to buy wheat from someone else."

Analysts noted that Tehran could have used an intermediary, like Syria, to import US wheat to avoid having the sale recorded in official data.

"Maybe the relationship between Iran and the US is not as terrible as it has been," Nelson said.
On the other hand, maybe Iran is thumbing its nose at the US at the same time that it is buy their wheat:
For Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, a specialist on Iran at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, the US wheat purchase signals "Iran is more interested in showing to its people that it is not restrained by sanctions."

"The real signal is: look, we're doing fine, we can buy wheat from the US!," he said.
The only thing that is unmistakable is the clear failure of Iran's economic policy
"This is a serious setback for Iran from a domestic point of view because they made a big deal about self-sufficiency in grains."
And this time, we are talking about an Iranian failure that no amount of photoshopping can cover up.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Israel to Show Dead Sea Scrolls on the Internet

“The project began as a conservation necessity,” Ms. [Pnina] Shor (head of the conservation department of the Israel Antiquities Authority) explained. “We wanted to monitor the deterioration of the scrolls and realized we needed to take precise photographs to watch the process. That’s when we decided to do a comprehensive set of photos, both in color and infrared, to monitor selectively what is happening. We realized then that we could make the entire set of pictures available online to everyone, meaning that anyone will be able to see the scrolls in the kind of detail that no one has until now.”
This is not by itself going to make understanding the scrolls any easier:
Only a handful of the scrolls exist in large pieces, with several on permanent exhibit at the Israel Museum here in its dimly-lit Shrine of the Book. Most of what was found is separated into 15,000 fragments that make up some 900 documents, fueling a longstanding debate on how to order the fragments as well as the origin and meaning of what is written on them.
I remember when I was attending Columbia University hearing about a rabbi at JTS down the block--who spent a lot of time studying the scrolls. He was visiting the home of another member of the seminary and complained about their precocious son who was playing with a puzzle under the table and getting underfoot (literally). When the rabbi complained, the mother retorted: you play with your puzzles and he'll play with his.

Now everyone can play--but it will take another 2 years.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Muslim Brotherhood On Tie To CAIR

Sandmonkey conducted an interview on behalf of Pajamas Media with Mohammed Habib, the Muslim Brotherhood's #2 man in Egypt. Towards the end of the interview, the connection between the Muslim Brotherhood and CAIR came up:
SM: This is naturally very important. Who represents you in the US?

Mohamed Habib: Well, there are there those who do represent us, who do that role.

SM: But it’s not CAIR, right? The Council for American Islamic Relations? Many people say that they are your front. Other people say that its ISNA. But back to CAIR, some people from the Muslim Brotherhood have denied having a connection with CAIR. Do they really represent you?

Mohamed Habib: Ehh, this is a sensitive subject, and it’s kind of problematic, especially after 9/11 …

SM: For them to say that there is a relationship between you two?

Mohamed Habib: Yes. You can say that.
Sensitive...problematic, but apparently not inaccurate.

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Will Israel Be Called Upon To Bolster Obama Next?

We all know that Israel is constantly being called upon to make concessions in order to bolster Abbas in the eyes of the Palestinian Arabs.

Last year, Israel transfered 4 terrorists over to Jordan to complete their sentences, "in a goodwill gesture to King Abdullah II."

As long as Israel is at it--considering Obama's current problems in the polls, should Israel volunteer to make some kind of concession in order to bolster Obama's prestige in the eyes of the American people?

How about Israel releases Marwan Barghouti as a goodwill gesture so he can join Obama's advisory team?

Any other suggestions?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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Soccer Dad and Atlas Shrugs of the JBlogosphere were among the "leading political bloggers" invited to participate in an Insiders Poll:
National Journal has invited top bloggers to join in its survey of insiders for the Democratic and Republican conventions. Roll over a section of pie to see comments from our participants.

Q: What portion -- if any -- of the Democratic convention program should be devoted to tearing down John McCain and the Republican brand?

Check it out.

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Would An Obama Presidency Really Disappoint The Muslim World?

Mark Krikorian suggests:
Our relations with the Muslim world could well deteriorate substantially under an Obama Administration, precisely because Muslims think he might be symaptico, and when he disappoints them (as he must, both because he is not, in fact, a Muslim and because of the imperatives of American politics), they're going to feel betrayed and the impression of him as an apostate enemy of the ummah will spread and deepen. Even a Jewish president would hold less potential for worsening relations because many, if not most, Muslims already think Jews run the country, and would see the election of a President Lieberman, for instance, as merely cutting out the middleman. I don't see this as an important reason to support or oppose Obama, but the idea that his presidency will usher in a new age of harmony with the Mohammedans is malarkey.
That's sounds about right as far as it goes, but I am not clear on how "the imperatives of American politics" presuppose that the US must inevitably disappoint the Muslim world.

What exactly are these imperatives? The need for oil? The need for Muslim goodwill? These are imperatives too and in some ways are more concrete than that the need to defend "the lone democracy in the Middle East." For that matter, what will become of Israel's US collateral once Iraq comes of age and becomes the second democracy in the Middle East?

Anyway, the US is open to pressure from the Muslim world on the best of days, and under an Obama presidency--especially considering the kinds of advisors that Obama has consistently surrounded himself with--is it so obvious that the US would disappoint the Muslim world?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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Joe Biden: Gentleman or Hatchet Man?

Richard Cohen:
...if anyone -- including, of course, Barack Obama -- thinks that Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. is going to play the usual role given to a vice presidential candidate, hatchet man, then the wrong man has been chosen. Biden is capable of the occasional gaffe, the sentence without end, the piquant but (literally) politically incorrect statement such as the one he made during the primary campaign -- Obama is "not yet ready" to be president -- but he has the essential decency that once was commonplace in Washington and now, alas, is taken for weakness and lack of proper fervor. Joe Biden is a gentleman.
(On a side note: one more thing that Obama and Biden have in common--middle names they rarely use.)

The Wall Street Journal:
The biggest false note in Saturday's joint Obama-Biden appearance was when Mr. Obama said that Mr. Biden will help him "turn the page on the ugly partisanship of Washington." Tell that to Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas or Ursula Meese, wife of Reagan-era Attorney General Ed Meese, whom Mr. Biden drove to tears with one of his ugly Judiciary Committee tirades. Mr. Biden has been in the middle of some of the Beltway's most ferocious partisan warfare.
Who is right.
It won't be long now.

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Blogging Is NOT For Babies!

I had to stay home with my 8 month old son who was both vomiting and had diarrhea. So what do you do to entertain your baby?

I had a really stupid idea: I'll let him write his first blog.
It started off OK:
But he was hitting more function keys than the letters and numbers. Then suddenly, the screen blacked out--and came out sideways!

Rebooting didn't help.
In the end I looked online and finally found the answer.

Turns out its a feature, not a bug (sure): just press the Control & Alt keys and the arrow key for the orientation you want--Do not ask me how my son hit that combination of keys.

By the way, in case you are curious--my son's blog is going on hiatus.

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Have You Noticed That Rice Is Back In The Middle East?

David Hazony:
Given the major foreign-policy challenges currently facing the Bush administration, why is the Secretary of State spending her time on the least profitable of world conflicts, the Graveyard of Diplomats, the Western Middle East?

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Olmert: Pushing For A Peace Deal In The Very Worst Way

It is one thing for the world to see Israel and the Palestinian Authority as children--or worse--who need to be pressured into a peace agreement.

It is another for an influential newspaper publisher in Israel to plead with a foreign official to 'rape' Israel.

The question is where does Olmert's current venture fit in:

PM Olmert pushing for deal with Palestinians to impose on Israel
Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 22 August 2008

Maariv correspondent Ben Caspit reports in today's edition that Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert is pushing hard to reach a deal with PA head Mahmoud
Abbas before he leaves office. American businessman Daniel Abram recently
met with Abbas a number of times to encourage Abbas to reach an agreement
with Olmert.

According to Caspit, Olmert tells his circle that if he reaches a deal with Abbas "the president of the United States will adopt the wording, the world with adopt it, the European Union, also the Arab world. We can tell the Israeli People that this is what can be achieved after long years of negotiations and the Nation will decide."[emphasis mine]

According to Dr. Lerner, Olmert is set on railroading all of Israel into a treaty that they will be unable to avoid:

Olmert intends to create a situation according to which the Israeli public will be put in the situation that rejection of the deal means rejection of a plan already embraced by the entire world - with all the consequences.

It is not completely clear that Olmert is looking at this as a fait acompli, so much as the establishment of the groundwork that will facilitate a treaty. In other words--Olmert is not evil, merely naieve.

If the rest of the world accepts the concept, but the Arab world does not--what is to keep the West from using the wording to force Israel to make concessions in the face of continued Arab intransgience?

Even if the Arab world says it agrees, how is Israel to be sure that this is not lip service of the type we have seen in the past--where public statements in English are contradicted by statements made in Arabic to the general population.

Finally, Olmert seems to forget that he was not elected Prime Minister, his approval rating is in the single digits and he has no mandate. As a lame duck of the worse sort, by what right does he enter into the most complicated kind of diplomacy with limited time and without the trust of the people?

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President of Unindicted Co-Conspirator in Holy Land Foundation Trial To Speak At Democratic Convention

Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America, is among those religious leaders invited to speak at the Democratic Convention.

The reaction of the media appears disingenuous at best:
But ISNA isn't without its detractors.

It has been a frequent target of attacks from bloggers and authors who specialize in criticizing Muslim groups. [emphasis mine]
There really is nothing like unbiased investigative reporting--it is all well and good to note that the ISNA has condemned 'terrorism', but the question is whether they condemn all terrorism.

Steve Emerson wrote in August 2007:
ISNA has never condemned terrorist groups like HAMAS or Hizballah by name. More notably, in June of 1997, two and a half years after HAMAS was officially designated as a terrorist organization by the United States government (and long after common sense and reality indicated as such), top HAMAS official Mousa Abu Marzook thanked ISNA (and several other U.S.-based Islamist and “civil rights” organizations), writing that ISNA supported him through his “ordeal” – Marzook had been detained at JFK airport in 1995 and arrested and the Israelis were seeking his extradition. Marzook wrote that ISNA’s efforts had “consoled” him.
And ISNA's actions have not been altogether passive:
Additionally, evidence has been introduced during the HLF trial which further exposes ISNA’s claim of “unqualified condemnation of all acts of terrorism” as lies, at the same time, undercutting HLF’s innocent claims that the organization only assisted impoverished widows and orphans, and establish long-standing ISNA ties to HAMAS. Exhibits entered into evidence a few days ago at the HLF trial include an expense voucher from the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), an ISNA subsidiary, made out for $10,000 in the name of Musa Abu Marzook, as well as a check drawn on a NAIT account in the same amount made out to Marzook. Another check for $10,000 on the same account was made out to Marzook’s wife, Nadia Elashi. Another check for $30,000 was made out to the Islamic University of Gaza (and has Shukri Abu Baker/OLF written on the memo line), a school long known to be controlled by HAMAS, and which counted such notables as former HAMAS leader Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantissi and current HAMAS leader Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahar as professors, and the recently deposed HAMAS Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is a former dean of the University.
Emerson is not alone. In January of this year, The Jewish Week carried a letter to Rabbi Eric Yoffie, who also had claimed that ISNA was a moderate Muslim group with which he wanted to form an alliance. The letter was from a number of moderate Muslims who pointed out, in part:
We do not presume to judge the political or theological outlook of Rabbi Yoffie or his organization, except with regard to his and their comments about Islam. We, however, know the Muslim community, worldwide and in North America, and we do not recognize or otherwise support ISNA as a legitimate representative of mainstream Islamic believers in the West.

...ISNA, which URJ has accepted, apparently uncritically, as a “partner,” has a long history of association with extremist trends in Islam. ISNA has served as a front group for Wahhabism, the official sect in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia; the jihadist ideologies originating in Pakistan with the writings of a certain Mawdudi and the Deoband schools in that country — the latter of which produced the Afghan Taliban, and the Ikhwan al-Muslimun, or Muslim Brotherhood.
The letter is signed by:
  • Nawab Agha, president, American Muslim Congress
  • Omran Salman, director, Aafaq Foundation
  • Kemal Silay, president, Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, executive director, Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • Salim Mansur, Canadian director, Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • Jalal Zuberi, Southern U.S. director, Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • Imaad Malik, fellow, Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • M. Zuhdi Jasser, president, American Islamic Forum for Democracy
  • Sheikh Ahmed Subhy Mansour, president, International Quranic Center
As in the case of Abbas, here too in the case of ISNA, the term 'moderate' appears to be one of convenience, empty of any real meaning.

It is only natural that Obama would want to take advantage of the Democratic Convention as an opportunity to reestablish his bona fides with the Muslim community, but Obama's inability to discern moderate Muslims from radicals demonstrates a serious lack of judgement, and one more troubling example of the kind of company he keeps.

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Are Iraqis Smarter Than Israelis?

One of the reactions to Obama's pick of Joe Biden as his running mate is to remind us of one of Biden's ideas for Iraq. Keep in mind that Biden's strength is supposed to be foreign policy:
Across racial and religious boundaries, Iraqi politicians on Saturday bemoaned Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama's choice of running mate, known in Iraq as the author of a 2006 plan to divide the country into ethnic and sectarian enclaves.

"This choice of Biden is disappointing, because he is the creator of the idea of dividing Iraq," Salih al-Mutlaq, head of National Dialogue, one of the main Sunni Arab blocs in parliament, told Reuters.

"We rejected his proposal when he announced it, and we still reject it. Dividing the communities and land in such a way would only lead to new fighting between people over resources and borders. Iraq cannot survive unless it is unified, and dividing it would keep the problems alive for a long time."
If only Israel had opposed the creation of a second Palestinian state--especially in the absence of a peace partner--as overwhelmingly as the Iraqis opposed the separation of Iraq.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

How to Get a Pro-Israel Article on the Front Page of

Check out this article on Israelplug--now the questions is whether, with some modifications, you can get a meatier piece about Israel on the front page of as well.

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One Jerusalem: End of Week Review: August 22, 2008

From an email from One Jerusalem:
End of Week Review: August 22, 2008

Dear Friend of Jerusalem,

Here are the latest headlines from the One Jerusalem Blog:

Jordan Threatens Israel Over Jerusalem: Earlier this week Jordan's King publicly embraced Hamas and today Jordan's Foreign Minister warned Israel's Ambassador against a planned archaeological dig in Jerusalem because:"This would also lead to a new violent conflict in the Middle East because Jerusalem is a red...(read more)

Huckabee and One Jerusalem in Jerusalem: Shortly before Governor and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee ended his 10th trip to the Holy Land, our friends at the Jerusalem Reclamation Project arranged for us to meet this strong supporter of the State Of Israel with Jerusalem as...(read more)

Hamas Targets Jerusalem: A Turkish News site is reporting that Hamas has publicly declared a campaign to stop the spread of Judaism in Jerusalem. Hamas's declaration comes in a week where there were reports that Jordan's King is likely to start formal relations with...(read more)

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

The One Jerusalem Team

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Hey Jordan--How Long Is That In Dog Years? (Updated)

Lest you thought that Israel was limited to goodwill gestures to Abbas, now it seems that the leader of Jordan needs Israel to bolster him:

Jordan frees killers of Israeli soldiers

Four Jordanian prisoners handed over by Israel last year to complete their life sentences in the kingdom were released from a jail north of the capital Amman on Wednesday.

The four, who were convicted of killing two Israeli soldiers in November 1990 four years before Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty, received a hero's welcome from relatives as they walked out of Qafqafa prison carrying Jordanian flags.

Jordan's Islamist-dominated trade unions said they were planning a festival later on Wednesday to celebrate the release of the prisoners, who were transferred by Israel in July 2007 in a goodwill gesture to King Abdullah II.

Under Jordanian law, a life sentence is equivalent to 25 years in prison and a "year" of jail in the kingdom comprises just nine months.
Let's see: 25 'years' x 9 months per year = 225 months = 18 years and 9 months. So if the murderers were sentenced in November 1990, they should not have been released until next year: August 2009. Time off for good behavior?

The question is, did Israel know that the terrorists would get off so lightly? Either way, more incompetence.

BTW, the article mentions--I'm not sure why--the 1994 Jordanian Peace Treaty. Apparently:
In the framework of good neighborliness, there is a prohibition of hostile propaganda and negative expression in the countries' laws.
I guess it would be too much to ask that in the interests of goodwill the Jordanians don't celebrate and honor murderers of Israelis?

Back in November 2005--again, after the peace treaty with Jordan was already in effect, The Wall Street Journal focused on the negativity of the Jordanian state-run media:
As for Jordan, the MEMRI media research institute reports that a Jordanian TV station last month aired a series, timed for Ramadan and originally produced by Hezbollah, which tells the story of the Jews, using the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" as its primary source. The Protocols, of course, are among the most enduring anti-Semitic tracts.

Any country that suffers a terrorist attack as grievous as yesterday's deserves sympathy and assistance. But Jordan needs to think carefully about its own part in fostering the culture of hatred in which al Qaeda thrives. [emphasis mine]
The Jordanian government actually did finally step in--after a group of rabbis who had met the King a few months ago sent a letter. The official explantion of Jordan for this oversight is:
It has come to our attention that a controversial program entitled "Al-Shatat" or "The Diaspora" has been broadcast from an independent/private channel entitled "Mamnou'" operating from the Media Free Zone in Jordan, which is not subject to Jordanian Law. The program itself was not broadcast from any Jordanian channel.

"Al- Shatat" drew concerns for inciting hate. Accordingly, the program has been stopped from the private channel as of Tuesday, October 25th 2005. The stoppage was only done through personal intervention of responsible Jordanians.

The Free Media Zone broadcasts different programs through 84 different channels and more channels are expected to emerge from the zone in the near future. The Government of Jordan does not monitor or control the content of any program broadcasting from the free zone, whether it is cultural, political, or otherwise. This is in accordance with the agreement between the government of Jordan and the Media Free Zone which is, in turn, affiliated with the Arab Media Company ART.
"Al- Shatat" is nothing less than propaganda for the purpose of inciting its viewers to violence. According to Arutz Sheva:
The Syrian-produced television series, called "Al-Shatat," includes horrific distortions of Judaism, including the presentation of the use of a Christian child's blood in preparation of Matzah for Passover, as religious necessity. The graphic episode features Jews kidnapping a Christian boy and slitting his throat to drain his blood, and the brutal execution of a Jew by a "Talmudic" court, by pouring boiling lead down his throat. [Warning: The following two video links to the above episodes are very difficult to view: 1) Christian boy, 2) Talmudic Execution] All of the anti-Semitic libels in this series are presented as fact.
Just the kind of country whose leader needs goodwill gestures from Israel.
Just the kind of country that Israel should be sending murderers to be imprisoned.

What a world.

UPDATE: More recently--just this week:
Jordan protests against Israel's Jerusalem dig plans

FM Salah Bashir summons Israeli ambassador to protest against reported plans for excavation, construction work near Al-Aqsa mosque compound. Jordanian MP: Dig will lead to new violent conflict in Middle East because Jerusalem a red line for Muslims, Arabs
From One Jerusalem:
It is also the height of Chutzpah for Jordan to threaten Israel over Jerusalem. Remember it is Jordan that kept Jews out of the Old City from 1948 to 1968.
More cheerful news from 'moderate' Jordan:
Officials from Hamas have met with a top Jordanian security official to try to patch up ties soured since 2006 by charges that the Islamist Palestinian group was planning to carry out attacks in Jordan.
Yup--just 2 years ago:
Jordan is playing hardball with the Palestinian militant movement Hamas, arresting its members and accusing it of plotting attacks inside the country.

Behind the crackdown is the fear in the kingdom, a close U.S. ally with a peace treaty with Israel, that it is threatened by a rising tide of radical Islam it sees originating from Iran and encompassing its Arab neighbors.

If you can't beat 'em...

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What's On YOUR Bumper Sticker?

At Mystical Paths, Akiva responds to a comment I made
One of the problems with Hasbara (Israeli PR) --no matter how well it is done-- is that Palestinian PR at this point can be encapsulated in a two-word bumper sticker: FREE PALESTINE. Any pro-Israel bumper sticker would be too long, because our PR is not visceral, it is full of explanations, history and dates.
He responds with a bumper of his own--and invites other to suggest their own.

Check it out, and suggest others.

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Did US Refuse Refueling Aircraft To Israel Because Of McCain? (Updated)

In reaction to an article in Haaretz that the US has refused to give Israel the kind of refueling aircraft that Israel might use as part of an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, David Hazony suggests:
From the Bush administration’s perspective, there is no greater threat to American security than an Obama victory, and an attack on Iran really does carry risks of “instability” that could ricochet back against McCain.
So from an Israeli perspective: are they confident enough of a McCain victory to wait and test his pro-Israel campaign rhetoric--or are they still afraid that despite Obama's current problems he will still be the next president and therefore cannot wait.

Bottom line: which candidate is more likely to supply Israel with the arms she thinks she needs in the current situation--McCain or Obama.

What do you think?

UPDATE: Israel apparently already has one such plane, and is apparently working on a project (The "Green Salad" -- scroll down) for integrating a second one in 2009.

Faster, please.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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Is Choice of Biden For VP A Way To Win The Jewish Vote?

So, why did Obama pick Biden?
Remember this from June 2007?
MR. BLITZER: What about that, Senator Biden? You're the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. If you got word from the U.S. intelligence community that Ahmadinejad and his government were on the verge of having a nuclear bomb capable of hitting targets in the region on missiles, what would you do?

SEN. BIDEN: Well, first of all, I would do away with the policy of regime change. What we're saying to everybody in Iran is, "Look, by the way, give up the one thing that keeps us from attacking you, and after that we're going to attack you. We're going to take you down." It's a bizarre notion, number one.

Number two, understand how weak Iran is. They are not a year away or two years away. They're a decade away from being able to weaponize exactly what the question was, if they put a nuclear weapon on top of a missile that can strike. They're far away from that.

Number three, in fact, we're going to -- we have to understand how weak that government is. They import almost all of their refined oil. By 2014, they're going to be importing their crude oil. There's much better ways, if we had to get to the point of being real sanctions, of doing economic sanctions on them forcefully that way. But at the end of the day, if they posed the missile, stuck it on a pad, I'd take it out.

Hmmm, so maybe the reason Obama picked Biden is in order to win the Jewish vote!

But what this is more likely to do is--
"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran," Clinton said. "In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."
Hey, Clinton would attack Iran only for launching an attack on Israel; Biden would attack them for just putting the missile on the pad!

[Hat tip: Abe Greenwald]

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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Friday, August 22, 2008

So, Israel Wants Hamas To Force Her To Release Terrorists With Blood On Their Hands?

Again from the same email from the Israel Consulate in NY:

Israel to Release Palestinian Prisoners

The State of Israel is due next week to release 199 prisoners as a gesture of good will to President Mahmoud Abbas and a signal of confidence in the Palestinian Authority. The Government’s actions signal Israel’s commitment to peace with the moderate elements of Palestinian leadership and demonstrate that gains in a peace process will come about only through dialogue and bilateral negotiation. More information regarding the details and the importance of this prisoner release can be found in Haaretz. [emphasis mine]
So, nu--how is this prisoner release different from all other prisoner releases?
Let's go to Haaretz:
Israel's release of 199 Palestinian prisoners as a gesture of goodwill to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "creates pressure on Hamas and is likely to accelerate the negotiations over Gilad Shalit," Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin told the cabinet on Monday.

However, he added, "the gesture will not make Hamas more flexible about its demands, because the organization sees that Israel is releasing prisoners with blood on their hands, which merely causes Hamas to harden its position."
This is not an encouraging start--least of all because Diskin seems to take with his left hand whatever hope he provides with his right. Israel does not expect Hamas to soften its demands. But apparently, somehow Israel is cleverly pushing Hamas towards negotiations over Shalit.

You have to go a little further to see what the Israeli government thinks it is accomplishing:
According to a government source, Shin Bet representatives spoke in favor of the move, on the grounds that it would pressure Hamas to conclude a deal for the return of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

"Hamas is looking despairingly at how, despite the fact that it holds Shalit, it is not succeeding in bringing about a prisoner release, while Abu Mazen [Abbas], who is conducting negotiations with Israel, is securing a prisoner release," the official said. "It's enough to see Hamas' response to the government's decision to understand the pressure the organization is under."
In other words, Israel is hoping to force Hamas to the negotiating table with the same or increased demands for the release of terrorists with blood on their hands so that Israel can release them and gain Shalit's release.


Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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Israel Ad To Be Shown At The Democratic and Republican Conventions

From an email from the Israeli Consulate in NY:
The Israel Project Releases Convention Ads

The Israel Project has released videos, to be shown at the upcoming Democratic and Republican Party conventions, highlighting the values shared by the United States and Israel. This important initiative highlights some of Israel’s scientific breakthroughs in the field of alternative energy. As noted by Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, founder and president of The Israel Project, “Israel and the U.S. have taken important steps to make the world safer through alternative energy.” To watch this video and for more information about alternative energy in Israel, see here.
The ad is only 30 seconds long--it builds on the idea of Israel's technological innovations and how much it has in common with the US. It ties in with what I wrote about the presentation at the JBlogging Conference about marketing Israel's new image.

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Syria: The Poland of the Middle East?

Apparently that is how Assad sees Syria:
Syrian President Bashar Assad has made an offer to his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, allowing the latter to counter the US's involvement in Poland by planting Russian missiles on Syrian soil, Russia Today TV reported Thursday.

According to the report, Assad claims that the placing of Russian artillery in Syria provides an adequate response to the US's placement of its own artillery in Poland and the Czech Republic. The news channel did not report Medvedev's answer to the offer.
Of course comparisons between Syria and Poland are obvious:
  • Poland's alliance with the Czech Republic to dominate the region
  • Polish aspirations to control and eventually annex Slovakia next door
  • Polish assassinations of democratic leaders
Getting back to reality, Noah Pollak writes about how Russia is enjoying the possibilities:
Robert Farley points out the Israel angle, in which the Russians might “relish this deployment as an opportunity to send a message to Israel” over its close military ties with Georgia. I think “relish” is the right word, and it applies perhaps more to Syria than to Putin. For Damascus, the appearance of having earned another patron will be played to the hilt. For Russia, docking at Tartus is simply another means of issuing a blunt communique to the world, and securing another venue through which to annoy the United States and its allies. It will be interesting to see the U.S. Navy’s response to the presence of a Russian fleet in the Mediterranean.
It would be even more interesting if there was hope that President Bush would reverse his current trend and take some decisive action.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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