Sunday, February 28, 2010

Popular Mechanics On Using Israel's New Drone Against Iran's Nukes

To tell you the truth, I don't recall articles like this in Popular Mechanics when I was a kid. Nevertheless, here is some of what the online article has to say:
The Eitan can carry a ton of payload and can reach Iran's nuclear facilities, which the United Nations last week determined is hiding an active weapons program. But that does not mean these will be used as bombers. The IAF has been buying and upgrading airplanes specifically for long-distance strikes such as a potential attack against Iran. At least 50 F-15 Raam and F-16 Soufa aircraft have been converted by installing extra fuel tanks for greater range and countermeasures to defeat radar and missiles. So maybe the warplane/UAV [Unmanned Aerial Vehicle] tag team presented at the "operational acceptance ceremony" speaks to how manned and unmanned aircraft will work together on missions: The drone provides information while the manned airplanes drop the guided munitions.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dubai: The Blockbuster Of Terrorist Videos

You know, come to think of it...
Claudia Rosett writes:
Dubai's security apparatus has just given an impressive display of its surveillance abilities. Closed circuit cameras followed members of the alleged hit team arriving and departing the airport, and tracked them at a shopping mall and at various hotels, including al- Mahbouh's. Dubai authorities were able to supplement that information by tracing cell phone calls that some of the suspects made to Austria, and are probing credit cards they used. The Dubai Police, on their English language Web site, boast of their own efficiency, saying they were able to put together the movements of these suspects "after identifying them, in a record time that did not go beyond 24 hours."

Elsewhere on their site, the Dubai Police describe themselves as "the most forward-thinking and progressive Arab police force today!" They have 15,000 personnel, and employ electronic finger printing, satellite technology and--obviously--quick access to lots of surveillance cameras.

All of which points toward a big question. If Dubai surveillance is this adept, where's the rest of the Dubai video collection?[emphasis added]

Ever Hear The One About How Many People It Takes To Kill A Terrorist? [Updated]

Apparently more than it takes to screw in a light bulb--a lot more:
Twenty-six agents, perhaps even 30, sent to assassinate one person? Granted if they could flee the scene by sea, how could one think that Mossad agents would take cover in Iran? I ask myself. Even if they have unprecedented self confidence the likes of which are unknown?
Well, maybe there's been a little bit of exaggeration. Some aspects of the case do remind one of Inspector Clouseau:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"I AM SPARTACUS!": The 'Honor' To Be Called An Anti-Semite

Eric Fingerhut has an interesting post on how it is now becoming a badge of honor to be called an Anti-Semite--so much so that some will go to some lengths in order to be able claim they are Anti-Semites.
I do agree that some of Israel's defenders are too quick to throw out charges of anti-Semitism or "self-hating Jew," and that's lamentable and a problem. But it seems that among many of Israel's critics, claiming that you've been accused of being an anti-Semite has become some sort of bizarre badge of honor. And quite a few of those that have allegedly been accused of being an anti-Semite, according to Wieseltier's critics, either were never smeared with such a term or were only accused of making a specific problematic remark and not tarred with some broad brush of disliking Jews, as they claim.
As an example, Fingerhut quotes the following paragraph from a post by Glenn Greenwald:

Even When Israel Follows Goldstone's Advice, They Cannot Catch A Break

In More Like This Please, Michael Totten writes about the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh:
If only Israel could fight all its battles this way. It would be the cleanest and least-deadly war in the history of warfare. Even some of Israel’s harshest critics should understand that.
Totten quotes Alan Dershowitz, who points out--amid the rush to condemn Israel--that Israel was merely following Judge Goldstone's own advice:

Bernard Lewis On: Radical Islam--Israel and the West

On February 16, 2010, The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (SICSA) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem hosted a seminar featuring Prof. Bernard Lewis, a world expert in the field of Middle Eastern studies and Islam entitled "Radical Islam: Israel and the West."

The exclusive seminar was moderated by Prof. Robert S. Wistrich, the Center's director and a world expert on anti-Semitism.

A summary of the topics discussed appears below.
Radical Islam: Israel and the West

Muslims and the West

Prof. Lewis began by explaining that "this is the first time in 1,000 years that the Muslim world is in charge of their own affairs." In this post-Communist era, "the Russians can't play a role, and the Americans don't want to play a role." This change has created a painful new awareness in the Muslim world and has raised questions regarding why Muslim countries have fallen behind the West. There seems to be two very different answers to this question.

Sure, We've Got Buzz--But Muslims Have Wajhy!

Just a year ago, it was Muxlim Pal:

Now, there is new website for Muslims and Arabs

If Only The West Stood Up For Jewish Historical Rights The Way It Does For Palestinian Rights

...the more the history of the city is uncovered, the less credible becomes the charge that Jews are alien colonists in what the media sometimes wrongly refer to as “traditionally Palestinian” or “Arab” Jerusalem.
Jonathan Tobin
Jonathan Tobin writes about an exciting new archeological find in Israel--and its implications:
The excavations conducted by archeologist Eilat Mazar in the Ophel area revealed a section of an ancient city wall of Jerusalem. According to the press release from the Hebrew University, under whose auspices the project was carried out, the dig uncovered the wall as well as an inner gatehouse for entry into the royal quarter of the ancient city and an additional royal structure adjacent to the gatehouse as well as a corner tower. While ancient buildings are not uncommon in the city, the significance of this discovery is the fact that these edifices can be dated to the 10th century before the Common Era — the time of King Solomon, credited by the Bible for the construction of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. Pottery found at the lowest levels of the dig is dated to this era.

Even more telling is the fact that bullae — seal impressions — with Hebrew names were found, as well as seal impressions on jar handles inscribed with the words “to the king,” which means they were employed by the Israelite state in that time. Inscriptions on the jars, which Mazar says are the largest ever found in Jerusalem, showed them to be the property of a royal official.
The importance of this excavation go far beyond just archaeological interest:

Israel, The World's Plaything

Any number can play:
Over the weekend, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner suggested declaring a Palestinian state before borders with Israel are defined as a way of forcing Israel into meaningful negotiations.

But Sarkozy backed away from such an approach.

In the daily Le Monde, Kouchner and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos suggested that the European Union take bold confidence measures for both Israel and Palestinians to jump-start talks on final status like borders and Jerusalem. Then an EU-organized peace summit could help move the region toward a definitive peace and Europe would collectively recognize the Palestinian state.

Using Free Speech To Stifle...Free Speech

In When Free Speech Died, Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D., director of Boston University’s Program in Publishing, writes about how these days the place where you would most expect to find free speech and the exchange of ideas is having none of it:
Of the many intellectual perversions currently taking root on college campuses, perhaps none is more contradictory to what should be one of higher education’s core values than the suppression of free speech. With alarming regularity, speakers are shouted down, booed, jeered, and barrage with vitriol, all at the hands of groups who give lip service the notion of academic free speech, and who demand it when their speech is at issue, but have no interest in listening to, or letting others listen to, ideas that contradict their own world view.

Does The Phrase "Friend Of Israel" Even Mean Anything Anymore?

Truth be told, I have never been fond of the term "friend of Israel" to begin with--but these days, the term seems to be used pretty loosely. Take for instance the 54 Congressmen who 2 weeks ago signed a letter backed by J Street recommending that Israel remove the blockage on Gaza:
[US Congressman Eliot Engel] pointed out that a number of the congressmen that J Street brought over vote against Israel on resolutions that generally carry massive support on the House floor.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Anti-Semitism Kills--And Jews Are To Blame!

Via Gateway Pundit, I came across the following in Haaretz:
Nearly half of Western European believe that Jews exploit the persecution of their past as a method of extorting money, according to an annual Jewish Agency report released on Sunday.

A joint report on anti-Semitism conducted by the Agency and the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs found that 42 percent of those polled by the University of Bielefeld in Germany agreed that “Jews exploit the past to extort money.”

"Pediatricians call for a choke-proof hot dog"

Hmmmm, is there a Czar for that?
Nutritionists have long warned of the perils of hot dogs: fat, sodium and preservatives to name a few.

Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics wants foods like hot dogs to come with a warning label — not because of their nutritional risks but because they pose a choking hazard to babies and children.

Better yet, the academy would like to see foods such as hot dogs "redesigned" so their size, shape and texture make them less likely to lodge in a youngster's throat. More than 10,000 children under 14 go to the emergency room each year after choking on food, and up to 77 die, says the new policy statement, published online today in Pediatrics. About 17% of food-related asphyxiations are caused by hot dogs.

Kassam Rockets Are Being Manufactured In The West Bank Too

The PA has just handed Israel a Kassam, good faith:
Palestinian security forces have handed over to Israel a Qassam rocket manufactured in the West bank, Army Radio reported on Monday.

So far the homemade Qassams, which have a range of a few kilometers, have only been fired at Israel from the Gaza, sometimes hitting towns like Sderot but often landing in empty desert.

But such a rocket fired from the West Bank could easily strike one of Israel's most densely populated areas.

From YU: Purim To-Go 5770

Check out this year's Purim To-Go 5770 from YU

You can download the PDF

or invidual shiurim:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Enjoy: The World Famous Story Of Purim

I last posted this 2 years ago.
If you have never read this before, you are in for a treat.
And if you have--it's time for chazarah.

by Meish Goldish

The story of Purim is an international tale.

King Achashverosh was Finnish with his disobedient wife Vashti.
"You Congo now!" he ordered her. After she had Ghana way, the king's
messengers went Roman the land to find a new queen. And India end,
the beautiful Esther won the crown.

Meanwhile, Mordechai sat outside the palace, where the Chile Haman would
Czech up on him daily.

"I Haiti you because you refuse to bow to me!" Haman scolded Mordechai.
"USA very stubborn man. You Jews are such Bahamas! If you keep his up,
Denmark my words! I will have all your people killed! Just Kuwait and
see, you Turkey! "

Alex Grobman: At what point does criticism of Israel become anti-Semitic?

At what point does criticism of Israel become anti-Semitic?

Dr. Alex Grobman

February 19, 2010

Attacks against Israel and Jews on a number of university campuses are being tolerated under the guise of free speech. At the University of California at Irvine, for example, Muslims claim that their anti-Israel and anti-Jewish rhetoric is justified because Israelis and Jews are the source of all the world's ills. Had the Jews not caused so many problems they argue, Muslims would not feel compelled to respond.

In their world, anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitic since it is not directed at all Jews, just those who are Zionists. This raises the question of when does legitimate criticism of Israel become anti-Semitic. The Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Antisemitism and Racism at Tel-Aviv University suggests several criteria to distinguish between reasonable condemnation of Israel and anti-Semitic attacks.

Politically Correct Indoctrination About Islam Continues

Noni Darwish is an Egyptian-American human rights activist, founder of Arabs For Israel, and is Director of Former Muslims United. In Islamic Indoctrination vs. Education she writes about a recent incident where teaching becomes pure propaganda:
To avoid being politically incorrect, public schools prefer to use Muslims experts or clerics rather than public school teachers to teach the topic of Islam. Our educational hierarchy refuses to see that many devout Muslim experts have a political agenda and are themselves indoctrinated and thus always on the defensive or offensive. I can only imagine what the poor American kids are subjected to. I was on the receiving end of such indoctrination when I was a young Muslim girl.

This is what the mother wrote to me:

The Politically Incorrect Assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh

In Murder Most Incorrect, Paul Mirengoff addresses the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a founding member of Hamas and its arms dealer, who is connected to the kidnapping and murder of 2 Israeli soldiers.

After mentioning the uproar over the use of forged British passports and exploiting other people's identities, Mirengoff notes that this does not begin to cover the improprieties involved:
But passport fraud and identity theft hardly exhaust the ways in which the slaying of Mabhouh affronts modern sensibilities. For example, the photos of the 11 suspects raise questions about the diversity of the team Mossad (or whomever) assembled. It includes only one woman (an attractive blond,naturally) and looks to be short on people of color.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Instead Of Suing The Terrorists--Israeli Victims Are Now Suing The Country Behind Them In US Courts

I've been posting on and off about terrorists on trial, but now it looks like the victims are going after the enablers.

Starting with Iran.
85 Lebanon war victims sue Iran in US court

Dozens of Israelis wounded in Second Lebanon War file court suit in US against Iran's central bank and Iranian commercial banks. 'Without their money, Hezbollah would not have been able to train its terrorists or to fire at Israel'

Will the Hezbollah's Iranian connections be able to bring some compensation for the victims? Eighty-five Israelis who were wounded in the Second Lebanon War submitted a claim in US court for $1 billion against Iran's central bank and Iranian commercial banks, making it the first suit filed by Israeli terror victims against the Iranian banking system.

Good News From Germany: Children May Now Be Both Seen AND Heard

We have to consider the rights of children to shout while they are growing up
Axel Strohbusch
Department of Noise Protection

Shouting is a right!

Noisy children no longer verboten in Berlin

Children in the German capital Berlin are to be exempt from strict laws on noise pollution.
An amendment to the city's law now makes it "fundamentally and socially tolerable" for members of the younger generation to make a racket.

"The genius accepted by Mensa aged just 3 after IQ of 140 equals Bill Clinton"

I really don't think that title from the Daily Mail really means to imply that Mensa uses Bill Clinton as the measure by which to judge if someone can join MENSA--but there you have it:
Most three-year-olds are fascinated by cars and trucks.

But few can read and remember their number plates like William Potter does.

He can also name most towns and cities in the British Isles - and has just become one of the youngest people ever accepted as a member of Mensa.

With an IQ of 140, his intelligence is said to be on a par with that of Bill Clinton and, apparently, Napoleon Bonaparte.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rating The Countries Most At Risk For Terrorist Attacks

Global analysts at Maplecroft has published a ranking of those countries most at risk for terrorist attacks:
The Terrorism Risk Index (TRI) has been developed by Maplecroft for companies to assess terrorism risks to their international assets. The index measures not only the risks of an attack, but also the chances of mass casualties occurring.

Iraq (1), Afghanistan (2), Pakistan (3) and Somalia (4) top the ranking of 196 countries and are rated, along with Lebanon (5), India (6), Algeria (7), Colombia (8) and Thailand (9), as the only extreme risk nations.
Other countries mentioned:

No One Ticks Off Arab Countries Like The Palestinians

There is a lot of noise about Arab anger about the alleged Mossad involvement in the assassination of Hamas arms dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh:
Still, many of the countries whose passports were allegedly used do not like Hamas; and the government of Dubai, despite its impressive investigation, does not really want to get to the bottom of this. Dubai would like to continue giving off the impression that it is a safe country, all of whose visitors are there for only business or tourism.

Shiurim On Purim From YU

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The Jewish Community Of Iowa City

I've blogged before about Jewish communities in unusual places--here is some background on the Jewish community in Iowa City?
The forgotten refugees … from Arab lands and their descendants in Iowa City

James Eaves-Johnson

The Jewish community in Iowa City is small but unusually diverse. Its synagogue is one of a few affiliated with both the Reform and the Conservative movements in Judaism. While the synagogue in town is traditionally Ashkenazi (Jews more recently from Eastern Europe), a sizeable and active component of the community is Sephardi or Mizrahi (Jews more recently from the Mediterranean and farther east).

Jews from the Middle East and North Africa, in particular, have important and unheard stories to tell. The lack of familiarity with these stories is unfortunate because these Jews have a history that, while less lethal than the history of Ashkenazim during the Holocaust in Europe, is nearly as tragic.

In the past 100 years, Jews in these lands have declined from more than 1 million to near zero.
Read the whole thing.
Check out other posts about different Jewish Communities

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Ahmadinejad And Fake Regimes

Ahmadinejad has a way with words:
Without specifying whom would be targeted, Ahmadinejad said: "According to information we have they (Israel) are seeking to start a war next spring or summer, although their decision is not final yet." 
"But the resistance and regional states will finish them if this fake regime does anything again," the hardliner said at a press conference when asked about ongoing efforts to reconcile ties between Arabs and Israel.
Fake regime? Did someone say fake regime?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hamas Arms Dealer May Have Been Killed By Palestinian Arabs

While Hamas is pointing a finger at Israel's Mossad in connection with the assassination of Hamas arms dealer Mahmoud Mabhouh, Dubai authorities are also looking into a different possibility:
Israeli officials continue to keep silent regarding suspicions that its spy agency Mossad organized the hit. Some said that last month's assassination had the hallmarks of a Mossad operation while others wondered if it wasn’t staged to look that way. Meanwhile, the arrest of two Palestinians suspected of meeting with one of the 11 suspects could prove to be an embarrassment for Palestinians. Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas are both distancing themselves from the  arrested men, though neither side will release their names.

Danish? Seems More Like Greek To Me

Hmmm, looks like Google's auto-translation is working overtime:

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Oy There, Pardner

I came across this in an article about Jewish Pioneers: A new life in the old west:
A lesser-known fact about the O.K. Corral was that the town had a Jewish mayor. Wyatt Earp’s common-law wife was also Jewish, and so were the first non-Indian chief of the Acoma tribe, a surgeon who stormed the Alamo, as well as merchants, miners, gunfighters, cattle punchers, doctors, and lawmen.

“So successful were the Jewish pioneers that by 1900, there wasn’t a single settlement west of the Mississippi of any significance which had not had a Jewish mayor,” says historian Kenneth Libo. “This includes Deadwood, Dodge City, and Tombstone.”
Sounds interesting, though I think this part is going a bit far:

David Bedein Refutes NIF Attack On His Article

And so it goes.
Last week, David Bedein wrote an article in The Jewish Week, commenting on the investigation by The Knesset into "whether NIF poses a security risk to Israel":
Crossing Red Lines?: New Israel Fund And Israel

by David Bedein
Special To The Jewish Week

This week, the battle in Jerusalem over the credibility of the New Israel Fund moved to the Knesset, where Israel’s elected officials will conduct what will likely be a spirited debate as to whether NIF poses a security risk to Israel. The debate follows the publication of the full text of the Goldstone commission, where NIF grantees such as the Rabbis for Human Rights, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Israel Committee Against Torture, Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights and at least a dozen more NIF-funded groups collectively accused the government and the Israeli army of crimes against humanity during the Gaza war.

This “war crime” accusation has become the trigger for a host of European countries that have threatened to prosecute Israeli politicians and Israeli reserve army officers for war crimes, if they were to step foot on their soil.

The New Israel Fund, in its defense, says it does not support those who demonize Israel or call for divestment or boycott of Israel, and that it will not assist those who advocate the “right of return” for Palestinians to reclaim land lost to them in 1948.

What the Knesset will examine, however, are a host of NIF grantees that violate these stated NIF policies, independent of the Goldstone controversy.
Read the whole thing.

In response to Bedein's article, NIF responded that the article was in error on a number of points, claiming that:
1. NIF has never funded Zochrot or New Profile, contrary to what Bedein claims in his article.

2. NIF has in fact not funded Coalition for Women for Peace since 2006, as Bedein writes..
3. Bedein is incorrect in asserting that NIF-grantee Adalah was involved in the Durban2 Conference, and in fact NIF itself signed the Magenta Principles objecting to any anti-Israel agenda there and also refused to fund any attendance or participation at the conference. 
4. NIF demands to know Bedein's source for the list of those groups receiving funding from NIF who accuse Israel of having committed war crimes against humanity during Operation Cast Lead

In response to the NIF's rebuttal, David Bedein has given the following refutation:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Another Bomb Goes Off In India--Again 'Near' Chabad House

Marty Peretz writes about another bomb going off in India, again apparently a case of Muslim terrorism:

Oh, yes, there is one other striking fact, though maybe you'd call it coincidence. The site of the bombing of the atrocity, according to theNew York Times, was near a Chabad House, part of that world network of Jewish hostels and centers of learning and prayer run by the Lubavitch movement of Hassidim. You know the one, the funny looking old man wearing a hat and peering out at you from posters and billboards from, well, everywhere. As you recall, Chabad was a successful target in the Mumbai mass murder over Thanksgiving in 2008.

Obama And The Muslim World: Speaking Like A Goy

With all the concern that was--and is--expressed that Obama was some kind of 'closet Muslim,' when it comes time to address the Muslim world again, Obama sounds like..a goy:

Obama addresses the opening of the 2010 U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar.  I especially like this:
Thank you all for being here.  As leaders in government, academia, media, business, faith organizations and civil society, you understand that we are all bound together by common aspirations—to live with dignity, to get an education, to enjoy healthy lives, to live in peace and security, and to give our children a better future.

The Revolution Is Alive And Well Iran.
You did know I was referring to Iran--didn't you?

Amir Taheri writes:
Thursdays's events in Iran dealt a serious political blow to a beleaguered re gime unable to either accommodate its opponents or crush them by force.

It was billed as the biggest show in the history of the Islamic Republic, and the celebrations marking the 31st anniversary of the seizure of power by the mullahs were planned like a military operation with the code name Simorgh (a mythical Persian bird) under the direct control of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

Intelligent Design or Scientific Incompetence?

If it were only that simple:
The ID claim is that certain biological phenomena lie outside the ordinary course of nature. Aside from the fact that such a claim is, in practice, impossible to substantiate, it has the effect of pitting natural theology against science by asserting an incompetence of science.

Palestinians Working In Israel Must Convert To Judaism?

No, of course not--but imagine the outcry if they did!
And Imagine the silence, when Saudi Arabia does:
Embrace Islam, Or Lose Your Job

February 12, 2010: Islamic terrorism comes in many different forms. Christian Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia are complaining that their employers are threatening to fire them if they do not convert to Islam.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gone Buzzin'

I've been trying out Google Buzz over the past few days--trying to figure out how it fits into the scheme of things...

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Review of: Doomed to Failure?: The Politics and Intelligence of the Oslo Peace Process

The following review by Dr. Alex Grobman of the book Doomed to Failure?: The Politics and Intelligence of the Oslo Peace Process
by Ofira Seliktar appeared in The Jewish State:
Doomed to Failure?: The Politics and Intelligence of the Oslo Peace Processby Ofira Seliktar Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2009),238 pgs. US $49.95. 
Reviewed by Dr. Alex Grobman

Finding a solution to the Arab/Israeli conflict has been a constant source of frustration for American administrations. Each new US president assumes he can resolve this intractable dispute either through the sheer force of his personality or his unique understanding of the problems in the region.

The Oslo Peace Accords, which were officially signed at a public ceremony in Washington, DC on September 13, 1993, in the presence of PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, Israeli Prime, Minister Yitzhak Rabin and US President Bill Clinton, is among the most glaring example of how American presidents are naive about how to settle the conflict.

In this work, Ofira Seliktar, a professor of political science at Gratz College and adjunct professor at Temple University, analyzes the environment in which the Oslo Accords evolved, and the reasons why the agreement failed.

Gal Luft: Beer, Bacon and Bullets

The following was forwarded to me by a friend:
Some of you may know that before I dedicated myself to solving the world's energy problems I spent two decades in the military and academia. The product of those years is my new book Beer, Bacon and Bullets: Culture in Coalition Warfare from Gallipoli to Iraq.

Beer, Bacon and Bullets argues that cross-cultural differences can have deadly repercussions when they arise in the midst of a life-or-death struggle and prevent allies struggling in a common cause from properly coordinating their efforts. The book covers the history of military cooperation from WWI to the current military struggles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the book I reveal how:

Arlene Kushner: The Fatah Charter: Intentions vs. Words

The Jewish Telegraph Agency leaves no stone unturned in an effort to find some trace of moderation in Fatah.
--As if their ongoing commemorations in honor of terrorists who murder Israeli citizens were a mere oversight.
The Fatah Charter: Intentions vs. Words

Arlene Kushner

On January 27, 2010, the Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA) put out a release indicating that a new Fatah charter, which had emerged from the Fatah Conference held in Bethlehem in August 2009, omitted a previous call for Israel’s destruction. [link]

Wrote JTA: “US Jewish groups…have long called for Fatah…to renounce the negationist language of earlier charters. The calls have been repeated in a number of congressional resolutions…”

Omission of certain phraseology does not, however, necessarily signify the renunciation that Jewish groups have sought. The question is whether the omission in this instance has import: Does the fact that Fatah’s new charter no longer explicitly calls for the elimination of Israel represent a genuine moderating of its previous stance? The answer, succinctly, is no.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pity The UN: Seems They Couldn't Find Anyone Unbiased For The Goldstone Commission

Or perhaps they just did not bother to try?
Now it turns out that Colonel Desmond Travers was as pre-judgmental of Israel as Judge Richard Goldstone himself was.

Arutz Sheva reports:
Goldstone Expert Complained of 'Jewish Lobbyists'

by Gil Ronen

New revelations about the UN Goldstone Report seriously undermine its credibility. The findings were reported by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs in a press conference Wednesday.

According to the JCPA, Col. (ret.) Desmond Travers, formerly of the Irish Defense Forces, was one of the four members of the UN Fact Finding Mission that produced the Goldstone Report. The Mission investigated Operation Cast Lead which Israel conducted in Gaza in January 2009. As the only former officer who belonged to Justice Richard Goldstone's team, he was the senior figure responsible for the military analysis that provided the basis for condemning Israel for war crimes.

JCPA said that serious flaws have recently become evident in Travers' collection and processing of data, and in the conclusions he drew. His bias became more evident after some of his recent interviews. The Jerusalem think tank enumerates these problems thus:

The Im Tirtzu Report On The Collaboration OF NIF In The Goldstone Report Is Available

You can download the PDF of the Im Tirtzu report--The Influence of New Israel Fund Organizations on the Goldstone Report--from the Israel Behind The News website.

The complete Im Tirtzu report is 133 pages.

Here is the summary that comes with the report. Emphasis in the summary is from the report itself.
A copy of the complete report is embedded in this post after the footnotes to the summary.

UN Human Rights Council Finally Condemns A Speaker--When Its Not Against Israel

Note the response Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch, receives at the end.
But by all means, feel free to accuse Israel of war crimes, etc...

[Hat tip:]

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Monday, February 08, 2010

Goldstone vs Groucho

I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member
Groucho Marx

On the other hand, it is interesting to note what groups Judge Richard Goldstone is a member of. After all, we are constantly being reminded that Goldstone is Jewish and a Zionist--though considering the broad range of people who support the Goldstone Report, it would be interesting to note their differing interpretations of just what that term means.

In Arguments "Ad Hominem" and 'By Ethnic Identify" in Defense of Goldstone Report, Alan Dershowitz notes:
Even before the Goldstone Report was released, Richard Goldstone was arguing for its credibility by invoking his Jewishness, his Zionism, his daughter's residence in Israel and his connection to Hebrew University. It was the mirror image of the classic fallacy known as the argument ad hominem, which is defined as follows: A substantive argument should not be rejected solely because of who has offered it.

It follows of course from this fallacy that an argument should also not be accepted because of who offered it.

Human Rights Watch Has No Sense Of Irony (Updated)

The dust has not yet settled on the issue of the funding provided by New Israel Fund (NIF) to many of the NGO's that testified against Israel to the Goldstone Commission. Check out Joe Settlers research in his post Follow The Money.

Human Rights Watch has pushed back in response to Israel's investigation of the relationship between New Israel Fund and these NGO's:
The growing harshness of attacks by Israeli government officials on nongovernmental organizations poses a real threat to civil society in Israel, Human Rights Watch said today.
The most recent attacks center on the New Israel Fund (NIF), which supports a wide range of Israeli civil rights and social welfare organizations, including some that provided information to the United Nations fact-finding mission under Justice Richard Goldstone that investigated abuses by both sides in last year's Gaza conflict.
"What we're seeing in Israel is a greater official intolerance of dissent," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "One of Israel's outstanding strengths has been its vibrant civil society and its flourishing public debate, so these developments are particularly worrying."

..."The government's encouragement of attacks on NIF and Breaking the Silence should not be seen as aberrant or in isolation," said Whitson. "A clear pattern of official efforts to suppress voices critical of government policy is emerging."-

What makes the righteous indignation of Human Rights Watch particularly ironic is that the issue at stake here is the danger that the source of NGO funding can potentially lead to bias and loss of objectivity--a distinct possibility that is so well illustrated by Human Rights Watch itself.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

No Wonder Europe Is In Such Bad Financial Straits--Look At How Much They Pay To Undermine Israel!

The following is a report from NGO Monitor, which tracks the Palestinian and Israeli NGO's which critique Israel. The issue is not about criticizing Israel.

The question is: if you were an NGO that was receiving as much money from European countries as those listed in this document, how far would you go to satisfy your masters and keep receiving funds?

Remember how far Human Rights Watch went to get funds from Saudi Arabia?

Here is the NGO Monitor Report, which you can also download as a Word document:

How Is Israel Supposed to Negotiate With Abbas--When He Is No Longer In Office

True, we've already seen that the Obama Administration is not big on respecting the laws of other countries--it insisted that Zelaya was illegally ousted from Honduras by a coup, even though the Honduran Supreme Court backed his ouster from office. So it should not surprise anyone that Obama should be pushing Netanyahu to negotiate with a man who is no longer the leader of the people with whom Israel is supposed to be negotiating peace.

Abbas may be in office, but he is in office illegally.

Is A Political Candidate Being Targeted Because He Is Pro-Israel?

I was glancing through Contentions and came across this item from Jennifer Rubin's Flotsam and Jetsam:
It seems as though “activists and liberal Mideast policy groups” don’t like the idea of Rep. Mark Kirk getting to the U.S. Senate, given his pro-Israel voting record.” You can understand that these groups wouldn’t want someone who was the “driving force behind a host of legislative efforts to sanction Iran (he’s the founder of of the Iran Working Group),” a vocal critic of the UN, and an opponent of Chas Freeman.
Following the first link takes you to Talking Points Memo--actually no, it takes you to TPMMuckraker, to be precise:

Friday, February 05, 2010

Video: What Really Drives Radicalization In Muslim Countries

At Contentions, Noah Pollak notes the following video of Martin Kramer speaking at The 10th Annual Herziliyah Conference: The Balance of Israel's Security. In this 6 minute video, Kramer briefly outlines the prevalent opinions on the cause of radicalism in the Middle East. He then gives a different interpretation on the cause of radicalism and how to combat it.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A (Very) Short History of Fatah Moderation

Of course, "short history" should not imply that there is any history of moderation by Fatah, the Palestinian Authority or everybody's favorite--Mahmoud Abbas.

Arlene Kushner wrote about the alleged 'moderation' of Fatah during 2008:

Abbas Probably Never Saw It Coming

From May of last year:
PA official: Abbas wants US to oust Netanyahu

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will not resume negotiations with Israel unless the Netanyahu government agrees to a complete settlement freeze and publicly accepts a two-state solution, Abbas has told The Washington Post in an interview.

Abbas meets with Obama in Washington; Israelis, Palestinians react to talks
And since he does not believe Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will lift his opposition on these issues, Abbas and his leadership expect American pressure to gradually force Netanyahu out of office, the paper reported on Friday. "It will take a couple of years," it quoted one of Abbas's officials as saying.
At this rate, it make take a good deal more than 2 years--not that Abbas hasn't tried.
Not that he tried by showing good faith. Heavens no! He tried the way he has tried in the past--