Friday, March 26, 2010

In A World Full Of Human Rights Violations, This Is Why Israel Is Singled Out

Eran Shayshon, senior analyst at the Reut Institut, writes about a growing trend among those who take it upon themselves to criticize Israel:
"Kleinism" represents a simplistic, artificial view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has led many who consider themselves human-rights activists to focus their criticism nearly exclusively on Israel. It brands Israel as the new apartheid state, so it can do no right and its adversaries no wrong. It frames Israel as uninterested in peace or in ending the occupation. It ignores any structural obstacles to peace unrelated to Israel, the most obvious being the sharp divisions among the Palestinians.

Thus, "Kleinists" seem to have concluded that one-sided criticism of Israel is the best way to promote peace, and that pressurizing the state with all available means, including BDS, is both legitimate and effective.

As a result, Israel's branding as a violent, aggressive and discriminatory state is increasingly gaining traction.
Since there are certain inconsistencies in such an approach, it is not unexpected that there are absurd situations arise:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Real Reason Obama Will Never Hit It Off With Netanyahu

From the National Review feature: Krauthammer's Take:
On Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington this week:
We have already had a year delay in talks because of Obama interjecting the settlement issue in the first place.

Remember, for 17 years the Palestinians and Israelis negotiated, ever since Oslo, directly in the absence of a freeze in settlements. Palestinians never demanded it as a precondition.

In comes Obama, and he demands a freeze of settlements.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Forget ObamaCare--Israel Will Be A Big Issue In 2010 Elections

Support for Israel, and its implications for US foreign policy, is already emerging as an issue in the upcoming Congressional races shaping up this year. Republicans have an easier time backing Israel as part of their criticism of Obama's foreign policy in general and towards Iran in particular. Not so Democrats, who while they like to claim to be solid friends of Israel, must also deal with the increasingly vocal group among them that say pressure on Israel is the way towards peace.

That might be reflected in last month's Gallup poll:
Over the last five years, support for Israel has increased slightly among Republicans (rising from about 77% for each of the past several years to 85% today) and independents, but has stayed roughly the same among Democrats. Since 2001, however, there has been a more dramatic shift in partisan attitudes: a 25-point increase in sympathy for Israel among Republicans and an 18-point increase among independents. Even on this longer-term basis, support for Israel among Democrats has been relatively flat.
As a result of these trends, there is a noticeable difference in the way the issue of Israel is being addressed in the House and Senate races, according to Politico:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Why is Gaza Getting More Aid Than Haiti?

So how are they doing over there in Gaza? After all, they are supposed to be under siege, with a blockade preventing necessary essentials from entering.

On March 18, Jacob Shrybman, Assistant Director of the Sderot Media Center, wrote:
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is set to arrive in Israel to visit the Gaza Strip amidst demands to end a so-called siege on the terrorist-controlled territory. Yet one has to ask what siege, or blockade, he is referring to, with 738,576 tons of humanitarian aid being transferred into the Gaza Strip in 2009.

Moreover, the UN has provided $200 million in Gaza Strip aid following a military operation that reportedly claimed 1,300 fatalities amongst a population of less than 1.5 million – meanwhile, notwithstanding plans to raise more funds, it has provided only $10 million to natural disaster victims in Haiti as of the end of January, an earthquake that claimed the lives of over 230,000 people and affected over 3 million. Of course, that is without mentioning that Haitians have not been attacking an innocent nearby civilian population for a near decade.
Haiti has obviously overlooked a sure way to get the attention and support it needs.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"Canadian Law Puts Reasonable Limits On The Freedom Of Expression"

That is an excerpt from a letter sent to Ann Coulter by the provost of the University of Ottawa--you can read the entire letter here.

The Other McCain links to some of the blogs that are covering this.
And, not surprisingly, Mark Steyn has something to say as well.

What would be considered a reasonable limit on free speech?

Why George Mitchell Will Not Bring Peace To The Middle East

This is not to say that peace cannot be imposed on the Middle East--by which of course we mean by extracting more and more concessions from Israel--but can George Mitchell actually bring a real peace to the Middle East?


Why? Because George Mitchell's track record is based on the Good Friday Agreement that was supposed to bring peace to Northern Ireland.

YU: Pesach To-Go 5770 Is Available Online!

YU's Pesach To-Go 5770 is now online!

Individual Articles download
Pesach To-Go From Previous Years Is Also Available:

Only In The Obama Administration, Could This Be Considered An Improvement

We are now in a fencing match. Hillary demands some concessions; Bibi tries to serve up some small gesture or soothing platitude so Hillary and company can climb down off the roof on which they have perched themselves to impress their Palestinian friends. But all we have to show for this is Palestinian stone-throwing, a dead Thai worker, a strained but not yet broken relationship with Israel, and further reason for Palestinians to do what they do best — play victim and demand unilateral concessions.[emphasis added]
Jennifer Rubin, Cheering Their Failed Israel Policy
“I think they handled it quite well”
Martin Indyk, quoted in Washington Post
Washington Post headline:
Experts Wonder Whether U.S. Has A Real Israel Strategy Or 'Talking Points'
Yeah, one could see where you could get the impression that the Obama administration's plan is kind of simplistic.

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They Are Celebrating The Passing Of ObamaCare!

Both in Congress:

And in the White House:

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Loudest Critics Of Biden Incident In Israel Don't Deal With Facts--But Know Exaclty What They're Doing

The details surrounding the Biden episode and its repercussions are coming fast and furious--and as usual, there is a distinctive one-sidedness to the way they are being portrayed.

In How Obama created the Biden incident, Charles Krauthammer puts the gaffe--surrounding the announcement by Israel's Interior Ministry about housing expansion in a Jewish neighborhood in north Jerusalem--in perspective:
But it was no more than a gaffe. It was certainly not a policy change, let alone a betrayal. The neighborhood is in Jerusalem, and the 2009 Netanyahu-Obama agreement was for a 10-month freeze on West Bank settlements excluding Jerusalem.

Nor was the offense intentional. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not know about this move -- step four in a seven-step approval process for construction that, at best, will not even start for two to three years. [Hat tip: Soccer Dad]
Israeli ambassador to the UK, Ron Prosor notes that those making demands on Israel do not even know where Ramat Shlomo, the center of the controversy, is located:
Let's get the facts straight. Ramat Shlomo is not in "east" Jerusalem as often reported, but in the north of Jerusalem. It is not a new settlement, but an existing, established neighbourhood. The planning application has already taken years and will take at least another three for the first brick to be laid.

Most cool-headed analysts agree that Jerusalem suburbs such as Ramat Shlomo will be considered part of Israel under any negotiated two-state solution.
Think about that for a second: not only was the announcement about something that would not even take place for the foreseeable future, and that the announcement itself does not contradict the 10-month freeze that Netanyahu had agreed to--the yelling by critics about Israel building in East Jerusalem is not even in East Jerusalem, and is in an area that many agree will belong to Israel anyway in any peace agreement.

The Passover Haggadah: May The Fours Be With You


Rabbi Avi Shafran

Despite the late hour and exhaustion (not to mention wine), many a Jewish mind has wondered long and hard during a Passover Seder about all the Haggadah’s “fours.” Four questions, four sons, four expressions of redemption, four cups. There’s clearly a numerical theme here.

While some may superficially dismiss the Haggadah as a mere collection of random verses and songs, it is in truth a subtle and wondrous educational tool, with profound Jewish ideas layered through its seemingly simple text. The rabbis who formulated its core, already extant in pre-Talmudic times, wanted it to serve to plant important concepts in the hearts and minds of its readers – especially its younger ones, toward whom the Seder, our tradition teaches, is aimed. And so the author of the Haggadah employed an array of pedagogical methods, including songs, riddles and puzzles, as means of conveying deeper understandings. And he left us some clues, too.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Simpsons Beat Obama To Israel

From Haaretz:
The first images from the upcoming episode of The Simpsons, in which the animated family visits Israel, were released this week after six months of buzz over the special show to be aired in the United States on March 28.

The Difference Between Hippies And Palestinians

Can you tell the difference?

A Palestinian girl gestures as she holds a banner with a 
writing in Arabic that reads:"rise before losing Jerusalem,"
during a march held at the Palestinian refugee camp of 
Yarmouk, near Damascus, Syria,
Whatever else you may say about the situation in the Middle East, it is helpful to first know if your peace partner really is one.

Abbas may be after many things, but genuine peace is not one of them.

Technorati Tag: a.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Obama: Fifty Ways To Dump Your Ally

Not too cozy Sarkozy
Falklands make me bored, Gord
It's all about me, Bibi
So I'm setting you free.
See ya later, Zelaya
We don't need to discuss much
Just listen to me
Or I'll set you free.
With (many) apologies to Paul Simon

Obama doesn't realize that it is one thing to make new friends, it is quite another to just dump the old ones.

Lee Smith, author of The Strong Horse writes in Slate:

Of course, Washington shaming Israel will please the Arabs—even U.S. allies like Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Cairo, Egypt, that cheered on Jerusalem when it took on Iran’s assets Hezbollah and Hamas. Remember, the Arabs have been compelled by the American strong horse to swallow their pride for decades. But given that Arabs do not air their own dirty laundry for fear it will make them look weak, our public humiliation of an ally will earn us only contempt.

But here’s the most important thing: Even if you discount the centrality of shame and honor as operative principles in the Middle East, the Obama administration has blundered by jeopardizing not Israel’s stature but our own regional interests and the Pax Americana that has been ours over the last 35 years. Our position in the region depends on every actor there knowing that we back Israel to the hilt and that they are dependent on us. Sure, there are plenty of times we will not see eye-to-eye on things—differences that should be resolved in quiet consultations—but should any real distance open up between Washington and Jerusalem, that will send a message that the U.S.-backed order of the region is ready to be tested. And that’s exactly what the axis of resistance is seeing right now.

Technorati Tag: and and and .

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

350 Page Report Debunks Goldstone Claim Hamas Didn't Use Human Shields Or Mosques

A new 350 page report debunks the Goldstone Report and its findings on the use of human shields and mosques by Hamas during Operation Cast Lead.
Hamas gunmen used Palestinian children as human shields, and established command centers and Kassam launch pads in and near more than 100 mosques and hospitals during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last year, according to a new Israeli report being released on Monday that aims to counter criticism of the IDF.

The detailed 500-page report, obtained exclusively by The Jerusalem Post, was written by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (Malam), a small research group led by Col. (res.) Reuven Erlich, a former Military Intelligence officer who works closely with the army.

The IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) cooperated with the report’s authors and declassified hundreds of photographs, videos, prisoner interrogations and Hamas-drawn sketches as part of an effort to counter the criticism leveled at Israel in the UN-sponsored Goldstone Report.

...The report points to four basic flaws in the Goldstone Report: It does not deal with the nature of Hamas – its terrorist aspects and ideology; it minimizes the gravity of the terrorist attacks against Israel, focusing on rocket fire during the six months before Operation Cast Lead while devoting little space to the rocket and mortar fire that began in 2001; it does not deal with the Hamas military buildup in the Gaza Strip in the year preceding Cast Lead that threatened Israel, but at the same time did provide extensive historical coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and it ignored the role Iran and Syria play in Gaza by aiding Hamas and supplying it with explosives and weaponry.
A copy of the report can be found here [PDF].

Here is the introduction to the report (all emphasis in the original):

March, 2010

Hamas and the Terrorist Threat from the Gaza Strip 

The Main Findings of the Goldstone Report Versus the Factual Findings 

Introduction: main findings

1. This document provides the main findings of a study which examined how the Goldstone Report dealt with the nature and activities of Hamas in the Gaza Strip before and during Operation Cast Lead.

2. The first part of the study examines how the Report relates to the terrorist threat as it developed in the Gaza Strip in the years before Operation Cast Lead. The subsequent parts deal with the various aspects of Hamas’ strategy and combat tactics during the operation, emphasizing the massive use it made of Gazan civilians as human shields. The study does not deal with specific cases of IDF actions, which the IDF has examined separately.

3. The study compares the findings of the Goldstone Report with the actual events on the ground. It is supported by a vast amount of reliable, varied information which originated in the Israeli intelligence community, as well as open-source information, including statements made by Hamas elements.

4. The comparison clearly indicates four basic flaws in the way the Goldstone Report relates to the period before Operation Cast Lead:

Monday, March 15, 2010

An Annotated List Of Islamist Attacks Around The Globe In 2009

The website The Religion of Peace tracks global Islamic terrorism. According to its detailed list for 2009, there were Islamist terror attacks in 38 countries around the world:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Chechnya, China, Dagestan, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ingushetia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Thailand, Turkey, UK, USA, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

These attacks totaled 9,157 deaths and 18,546 injured.

You can view the list on their website, according to date--with a description of each individual attack.

In addition to a list of Islamist terror attacks for the first 2 months of 2010, the site also features:

Based on their list for 2009, I made 2 lists of my own.

Here are the totals by country (view the spreadsheet online )

Below is the annotated list of casualties by country (view the spreadsheet online)

Islamist terrorism is very real and very global--and forcing concessions out of Israel is not going to put an end to it.
Neither is hiding our heads in the sand and wishing it away.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad
Technorati Tag: .

Sunday, March 14, 2010

'Diaspora' Palestinians Copy Jewish-Agency [Updated]

Apparently their goal is not your father's Palestinian state:
Jewish-Agency-style ‘Palestine Network’ launched in Bethlehem

Palestinians from 23 countries organize to build a "sustainable, democratic, secular" Palestinian state.

...The state of Palestine does not exist; the courts are still not working, local government has numerous problems, not to mention health care, education and infrastructure. Representatives of Palestinian communities abroad have come to Bethlehem to kick off the independent “Palestine Network.”

“Welcome to your second home,” announces Ramzi Khoury, executive director of the Palestine Network. “You are representatives from 23 countries who have chosen to be engaged in building this Palestinian state and not just talking about it. This is a do tank, rather than a talk tank. This is not a political club.”

Of the estimated 10 million Palestinians living today, at least half live in what Palestinians call its diaspora – away from the region. According to Khoury, the Palestine Network is establishing chapters across the world that will serve as a conduit for professionals, entrepreneurs and intellectuals to lay the foundations for a Palestinian state.

Abbas Fingers Country Most Responsible For Impeding Palestinian Unity--And It's Not Israel

Abbas accuses Iran of standing in the way of Palestinian unity. Who knew he had it in him?
Palestinian Authority leader says Iran is impeding efforts to reach a deal between Fatah and Hamas.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud ‘Abbas has blamed Iran for impeding reconciliation between his Fatah faction and its archrival Hamas.

“Iran doesn't want Hamas to sign the Cairo reconciliation document,” ‘Abbas said during a visit to Tunisia on Friday.

‘Abbas said Hamas objected to signing an Egyptian-brokered deal with Fatah because of opposition from Tehran, and argued that the Palestinians should be “free from Iranian tutelage.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast denied the accusations on Saturday, claiming Iran’s position regarding the Palestinian issue involved “unity and solidarity of Palestinian factions in face of the Zionist regime.”

IDF Continues To Do Abbas's Dirty Work

Israel's blog, Israel Defense Force Spokesperson, announced a successful strike in Gaza:
The Israel Air Force successfully targeted a weapon manufacturing facility in the southern Gaza Strip and an arms smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border in a joint IDF-ISA operation tonight.

The attack is in response to the firing of a rocket that hit the Israeli village of Nirim on Thursday, causing damage.

More than 25 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel since the beginning of the year.

The IDF will not tolerate the firing of rockets by terrorist organizations at Israel and will continue to respond harshly against any attempt to disrupt the calm in Israel’s southern communities.

"Daylight Saving Time Increases Serious Heart Attacks, Decreases Returns on Investments in Week After Change"

From CBS News:
Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday. It's supposed to save energy -- pushing daylight later in the day means fewer lights turned on at night. Benjamin Franklin, annoyed by an early sunrise in Paris, first came up with the idea. Congress made it law in 1918 during World War I to conserve energy.

But when the country jumps ahead an hour Sunday morning, that one little lost hour of sleep has a big impact.

The number of serious heart attacks goes up 6 to 10 percent (PDF) on the first three workdays after the time change. On Wall Street, economists say sleep-deprived traders often produce "large negative returns" on that following Monday, once estimated at $31 billion.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Germany's Fight To Keep Their Eichmann File Closed

Der Spiegel reports:
Fifty years after Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann's arrest by the Israeli Mossad in Argentina, basic details about his 15 years as a fugitive remain a government secret. The files kept by Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the BND, remain classified today -- allegedly for reasons of national security. A German journalist is now suing in a federal court for the release of the files.
The national security angle is that by releasing the name of the foreign agency, other countries would become reluctant to share information. Many doubt the truth of this excuse--and assume that the foreign agency in question is Mossad.

But that ignores the more likely reason for the stonewalling:

And The Award For Israel's Greatest Friend Goes To...Joe Biden?

Is anyone else getting tired of hearing about who is--or isn't--Israel's greatest friend? At one point, there were those who proclaimed that President Bush had won that award. Now we are told that Joe Biden is a winner in the Greatest Friend of Israel Ever to Have Been a Member of the U.S. Senate category.

Laura Rozen writes at Politico:
The Israeli press has been extremely critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government's behavior during Biden's visit. See these excerpts from a piece by Shimon Shiffer in Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth today, headline: "Biden: You’re Jeopardizing Regional Peace":
Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Israel as a friend. As a matter of fact, he is considered to be the greatest friend of Israel ever to have been a member of the U.S. Senate. Legislation that he promoted over the years ensured the Israelis’ security and welfare. It is that great friend of ours who now feels betrayed.
With all due respect, I think it is long past time to distinguish between US politicians who vote pro-Israel and those who actually walk the walk.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

If You Thought Palestinians Treat Gilad Shalit Poorly--Take A Look At How They Treat Their Own!

None of this should really come as a surprise, but it should still be brought out into the open what can be expected in this second Palestinian state that the world is determined to foist upon Israel.

According to
it seems as though the treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Hamas and Fatah jails is far from upholding basic human rights – especially on the backdrop of the rift between PA regime in the West Bank and the Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip.

In a television program broadcast in the format of a "commission of inquiry," hosted by Ahmed Al Budeiri, two former Palestinian prisoners, one from Fatah and one from Hamas, gave accounts of their experiences in Palestinian jail. The two unfurled testimonies of a web of serious abuse at the hands of Palestinian investigators, both from Hamas and the Fatah-affiliated Palestinian security services.

Abbas Won't Be Coming To The Negotiations After All


Maybe after seeing Biden stand up Netanyahu by comeing 90 minutes late to his home, Abbas figured it would OK for him to pull shtick too.
Arab League chief Amr Moussa said on Wednesday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had told him he would not enter indirect talks with Israel, only days after the Palestinian side had agreed to the contacts.

Is Israel a Colonial State?

These days, it seems that "colonialism" is becoming one more charged term to be thrown at Israel--much as terms like "occupied" and "disproportionate force": terms that are used without regard to either their legal or historical meaning.

The following article appears in the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Here is the summary of that article. The complete complete can be found here.
Is Israel a Colonial State?
The Political Psychology of Palestinian Nomenclature

Irwin J. Mansdorf

o Israel's creation, far from being a foreign colonial transplant, can actually be seen as the vanguard of and impetus for decolonialization of the entire Middle East, including a significant part of the Arab world, following the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Crediting Obama With A Major Turnaround In Middle East Peace (Yes, Really)

We are not quite at that point yet, but according to some: we may have turned the corner on an important ingredient in any peace agreement: concessions on both sides.

Evelyn Gordon writes on Contentions:
That Israel and the Palestinians, after 16 years of direct talks, are now back to indirect talks is an undeniable retreat. But in a must-read analysis, the Jerusalem Post’s diplomatic correspondent, Herb Keinon, points out that this may nevertheless be one of the most hopeful moments of the entire peace process — because for the first time, “the Palestinians gave in on something.

IMRA: PA Boycott Of Settlements Violate The Gaza-Jericho Agreement

The Palestinian Authority has been busy:
Just one problem: they signed an agreement that they wouldn't do that.

If the PA has questions about Israel's fulfillment of its own obligations, the Palestinian Arabs have every right to complain. It works both ways--the failure of either party to uphold its obligations needs to be brought up and not be swept under the rug.

That being said, will Biden bring this point up during his current visit?

Here is a post by Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA about the agreement.
Hat tip: Arlene Kushner

Background - PA boycott of settlements violate the Gaza-Jericho Agreement
Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA 8 March 2010

A review of ANNEX IV Protocol on Economic Relations between the Government
of the State of Israel and the P.L.O., representing the Palestinian people
Paris, April 29, 1994 of the Gaza Jericho Agreement finds that the boycott
of goods produced in the "settlements" and a ban on the supply of
Palestinian workers to the settlements constitutes a gross violation of the
agreement by the PA.
#1. " The agricultural produce of both sides will have free and unrestricted
access to each others' markets"

#2. "There will be free movement of industrial goods free of any

#3. As for labor, the agreement enables the PA to independently limit the
flow of Israeli workers into the area under the control of the PA but not
the flow of Palestinian workers out while calling for the sides to "attempt
to maintain the normality of movement of labor". The PA could, however,
require that all Palestinians working in the settlements be employed through
a Palestinian employment service. Palestinian employment legislation that
would formally prevent employment in the settlements would be clearly at
odds with the commitment "to maintain the normality of movement of labor"
and thus could be blocked.

Biden And The Abbas School Of Diplomacy

Yesterday, I blogged about US approval for 2 positions taken by Israel.
Forget about a hat trick:
Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday the Palestinians deserve a ''viable'' independent state with contiguous territory, seeking to reassure them of U.S. support after Israel announced plans to expand a Jewish neighborhood in disputed east Jerusalem.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Both The White House AND The State Department Give Israel The OK (Updated)

Well, this is unexpected:
Mitchell told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during talks this week that the understandings reached following the 2007 Annapolis Conference are non-binding in the current round of negotiations, Haaretz has learned.

..In a Jerusalem meeting with quartet envoys on Friday, Mitchell's deputy David Hale said the negotiations after Annapolis and the understandings reached by Tzipi Livni and Ahmed Qureia, as well as Ehud Olmert and Abbas, would not be binding.

The talks will be based on agreements signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority, including the road map.

Olmert had offered Abbas an Israeli withdrawal from 94 percent of the West Bank, and Israeli territory in exchange for the remaining 6 percent. In addition, Israel would symbolically accept 5,000 Palestinian refugees and enable international governance for the holy sites in the Old City.

Did The Same Israel That Saved Lives In Haiti, Purposely Destroy Hospitals In Gaza?

It doesn't make sense, but the Goldstone Report makes a point of claiming that Israel purposely singled out a number of targets that make it guilty of war crimes--and hospitals are among them.

According to the Executive Summary of the Goldstone Report:
The Mission did not find any evidence to support the allegations that hospital facilities were used by the Gaza authorities or by Palestinian armed groups to shield military activities or that ambulances were used to transport combatants or for other military purposes. On the basis of its own investigations and the statements by United Nations officials, the Mission excludes that Palestinian armed groups engaged in combat activities from United Nations facilities that were used as shelters during the military operations. The Mission cannot, however, discount the possibility that Palestinian armed groups were active in the vicinity of such United Nations facilities and hospitals. While the conduct of hostilities in built-up areas does not, of itself, constitute a violation of international law, Palestinian armed groups, where they launched attacks close to civilian or protected buildings, unnecessarily exposed the civilian population of Gaza to danger.
...39. The Mission also finds that, on the same day, the Israeli armed forces directly and intentionally attacked al-Quds hospital in Gaza City and the adjacent ambulance depot with white phosphorous shells. The attack caused fires which took a whole day to extinguish and caused panic among the sick and wounded who had to be evacuated. The Mission finds that no warning was given at any point of an imminent strike. On the basis of its investigation, the Mission rejects the allegation that fire was directed at the Israeli armed forces from within the hospital. 
40. The Mission also examined the intense artillery attacks, again including white phosphorous munitions, on al-Wafa hospital in eastern Gaza City, a facility for patients receiving long-term care and suffering from particularly serious injuries. On the basis of the information gathered, the Mission found a violation of the prohibition of attacks on civilian hospitals in both cases. The Mission also highlights that the warnings given by leaflets and pre-recorded phone messages in the case of al-Wafa hospital demonstrate the complete ineffectiveness of certain kinds of routine and generic warnings.
...68. The military operations and resulting casualties subjected the beleaguered Gaza health sector to additional strain. Hospitals and ambulances were targeted by Israeli attacks. Patients with chronic health conditions could not be given priority in hospitals faced with an influx of patients with life-threatening injuries. Patients injured during the hostilities were often discharged quickly to free beds. The long-term health impact of these early discharges, as well as of weapons containing substances such as tungsten and white phosphorous, remains a source of concern. While the exact number of people who will suffer permanent disabilities is still unknown, the Mission understands that many persons who sustained traumatic injuries during the conflict still face the risk of permanent disability owing to complications and inadequate follow-up and physical rehabilitation. 
...From the facts ascertained by it, the Mission believes that Israel has violated its obligation to allow free passage of all consignments of medical and hospital objects, food and clothing (article 23 of the Fourth Geneva Convention). The Mission also finds that Israel violated specific obligations which it has as the occupying Power and which are spelled out in the Fourth Geneva Convention, such as the duty to maintain medical and hospital establishments and services and to agree to relief schemes if the occupied territory is not well supplied. 
Needless to say, the charges are serious and demand a complete and thorough explanation from Israel as to why in fact it should not be accused of and held accountable for war crimes.

The fact of the matter is, however, that contrary to Col. Desmond Travers--who as late as January 23, 2010 has continued to insist that "so far, no substantive critique of the report has been received"--the fact of the matter is that based on a variety of critiques of the substance of the Goldstone Report that have consistently appeared since last year, a number of questions have been raised about many of the findings of the Goldstone Report, and the claim that Israel deliberately targeted hospitals is one of them.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Gary L. Krupp: Jewish Kid From Queens--And Papal Knight

This sounds intriguing:
At home here on Long Island, he is Gary L. Krupp, medical equipment dealer, now retired after a career of ups and downs. He shares one car and a small house in a no-frills neighborhood with his wife, Meredith, and wryly describes himself as “an average schlemiel, just a Jewish kid from Queens.”

At the Vatican, he is known as Commendatore Gary Krupp, Knight Commander of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great. For short, the Swiss Guard and cardinals address him as “Your Excellency.”

Seriously! Isn't There Anyone Associated With The Goldstone Report Who Didn't Condemn Israel In Advance

It's not a difficult question--but as you read the following article, it's hard to avoid the obvious answer, and wonder why it had to be this way.

There is a common thread that ties together
  • Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on "The situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967"
  • Judge Richard Goldstone, head of Goldstone Commission
  • Desmond Travers, member of Goldstone Commission
  • Christine Chinkin, member of Goldstone Commission
  • Hina Jilani, member of Goldstone Commission
  • Francesca Marotta, a senior member of the UN staff that helped compile the Goldstone Report
UN Inquiry Accused of Anti Israel Bias
A controversial United Nations report called the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict and more commonly known as "The Goldstone Report," is under fire for being biased against Israel. Among its conclusions was an accusation that Israel had committed "war crimes" during its twenty-two day war with Palestinian terrorists that ended in January, 2009. Critics discredit this finding - saying key members of the report were clearly biased in favor of the Palestinians.

Iran's Ahmadinejad calls Sept 11 "big fabrication"

There goes Ahmadinejad again:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday called the September 11 attacks on the United States a "big fabrication" that was used to justify the U.S. war on terrorism, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Fabrication? You mean like the 'election' that kept him in power?

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"Journalism's Worst Crime"

Peter Wehner writes:

“There’s no worse crime in journalism these days than simply deciding something’s a story because Drudge links to it,” according to NBC’s chief White House correspondent, Chuck Todd. Really? No worse crime?

YU Online Shiurim For Pesach

You can do a search of all audio and all text shiurim.

Here is an overview of available shiurim by topic:

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Did They Really Eat Cholent Before Crock Pots Were Invented? [Updated]

Schalet, ray of light immortal!
Schalet, daughter of Elysium!"
So had Schiller's song resounded,
Had he ever tasted schalet.
For this schalet is the very-
Food of heaven, which, on Sinai,
God Himself instructed Moses in the secret of preparing...
Heinrich Heine (1797–1856) German Romantic Poet

Surprisingly enough, crock pots were not invented in order to make cholent--and those pots are not even 40 years old, according to The Wall Street Journal:
Ms. Hoffman, who died Feb. 9 at 88, was author of "Crockery Cookery," an early entry among books of recipes for an old technique transformed.

Crock-Pots debuted in 1971 and sold in the millions, spurred in part by the increase in working women who wanted to present a fresh-cooked meal when they came home in the evening. But conventional stew recipes turned to mush or solidified because meats and vegetables acted differently when cooked for long periods at low temperatures.

"The cookbooks that came with the Crock-Pots did not work," says Howard Fisher, an editor at HP Books who hired Ms. Hoffman to provide answers.

A home economist and food stylist, Ms. Hoffman had experience developing recipes for another emerging kitchen labor-saver, the microwave oven. She was soon cooking up a storm with 20 or more slow cookers bubbling around the clock.

"There was dinner ready every night, but some of those pots you really didn't want to eat from," says Ms. Hoffman's daughter, Jan Robertson, who pitched in to help with the culinary explorations.
No mention as to what was in those pots, but if it wasn't cholent, it is likely a close relative of it. But of course, if the history of crock pots is short, the history of cholent is longer--and much more varied.

Seems That Hamas Is Having Tzuris

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of terrorists:
Fatah: Hamas admits to losing control in Gaza
Website posts letter allegedly from military wing chief saying 'Strip in state of explosions, chaos'

An internet website identified with Fatah reported Saturday that the head of Hamas's military wing, Ahmed Jabri, admitted his organization was losing control of the Gaza Strip.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Hey, Is It Too Late To Pencil In The Date For Palestine Apartheid Week?

You know, I can just imagine the peace activists who will read the heading to this post and heave a sigh of exasperation: Don't change the subject! Israel is the one at fault here!!

Well, just humor me as go through a little history, courtesy of Behind The News In Israel:
In 1948, Apartheid laws institutionalized racial discrimination in South Africa and denied human rights to 25 million Black citizens of South Africa.

In 1948, the Arab League of Nations applied the Apartheid model to Palestine, and declared that Jews must be denied rights as citizens of Israel, while declaring a total state of war to eradicate the new Jewish entity, a war that continues today.

In 1948, at the directive of the Arab League of Nations, Jordan devastated the vestiges of Jewish life from Judea and Samaria, and burned all schules in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem.
In 1948, member states of the Arab League of Nations began to strip the human rights of Jews and to expel entire Jewish communities who had resided in their midst for centuries

In the mid 1960's, The Arab League of Nations spawned the PLO to organize local residents to continue the war to deny Jewish rights the right to live as free citizens in the land of Israel - well before Israel took over Judea, Samaria, and the Old City of Jerusalem in the defensive war waged by Israel in 1967.

And since its inception in 1994, the newly constituted Palestinian Authority, created by the PLO, has prepared the rudiments of a Palestinian State, modeled on the rules of Apartheid and institutionalized discrimination:

Apartheid Frenzy: Israel Destroyed Gazan Movie Theaters! (No, But Can You Guess Who Really Did?)

Can 500 Montreal artists all be wrong?
You bet!
Five hundred artists from Montreal have recently signed a statement “to support the international campaign for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israeli apartheid.” The Canadian artists blame Israel for intentionally harassing and bringing disaster to the peaceful Palestinian people during more than 60 years and fail to mention the word “terrorism” even once.

Their account of the historical events as they appear in the statement is to say the least distorted. One paragraph within the long list of “crimes” accuses Israel of deliberately oppressing the Palestinian cultural activity as follows:
“During the first and second intifadas, Israel invaded, ransacked, and even closed down cinemas, theatres and cultural centers in the occupied territories. These deliberate attempts to stifle the Palestinian cultural voice have failed and will continue to fail.”
In Apartheid Week - Hypocrisy at its Best, Jonathan Dahoah Halevi, writes about this knee-jerk accusation
This thesis has one little weakness. Not a single cinema house exists in the Gaza Strip and Hamas – NOT Israel – is responsible for "stifling the Palestinian cultural voice".

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Israel's Man In Hamas

According to The Washington Post, it appears that Hamas is losing some valuable street cred:
This week's revelation that Mosab Hassan Yousef, whose father, Sheik Hassan Yousef, is in an Israeli prison, provided intelligence to Israel's Shin Bet domestic security service was the latest setback to Hamas's image.

On Fighting Apartheid, Dowd Says Saudis Making More Progress Than Israel

In Maureen Dowd, Richard Cohen, the Saudis, Israel and the A-word, Ron Kampeas addresses the issue of apartheid. Here is what he writes about Dowd's conception of apartheid--and how the Saudi's are addressing the issue better than Israel:

Dowd is in Riyadh, and she starts off bemused -- she even says its "wild" -- that Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, is denouncing Israeli religious extremism:
“We are breaking away from the shackles of the past,” the prince said, sitting in his sprawling, glinting ranch house with its stable of Arabian horses and one oversized white bunny. “We are moving in the direction of a liberal society. What is happening in Israel is the opposite; you are moving into a more religiously oriented culture and into a more religiously determined politics and to a very extreme sense of nationhood,” which was coming “to a boiling point.”
“The religious institutions in Israel are stymieing every effort at peace,” said the prince, wearing a black-and-gold robe and tinted glasses.
I first heard this Saudi take a couple of years ago, at a press conference the Saudi ambassador to Washington gave on the sidelines of the Annapolis conference toward the end of 2007: States based on stringent ethnic and religious identifiers were on the way out, the ambassador insisted. What made this such a hoot -- beyond the obvious point of it being expressed by the envoy of a country with a self-definition narrowed not just to faith, or tribe but to a single extended family -- was that the Saudis tried to keep Israeli reporters out of the press conference. Yay openness.
But hey, Saud's a groovy guy -- he wears tinted glasses -- so maybe, Dowd thinks, he has a point. Israel does seem to be moving one way, she suggests, while the Saudis are moving another:

"In Israel, the Most Popular 'Jewish Mother' Is an Arab Muslim"

Noah Pollak points to this as an “Israel Apartheid Week” Reality Check
He is referring to a popular contestant on a reality show in Israel, as reported in The Forward:
In the world of Israeli popular culture, the most popular maternal figure at the moment is a very different kind of Jewish mother — a proud Arab Muslim who prays five times daily, calls the Koran her favorite book, obsessively puffs on a hookah pipe and proudly wears a keffiyah.

Futna Jabber is one of the five finalists on Israel’s version of the reality show hit “Big Brother,” after viewers voted week after week to keep the vivacious 37-year-old on their screens for more than three months. So popular was Futna, that she didn’t even have to worry in the last round of voting: None of her housemates nominated her for eliminations. The results of the final eliminations will be announced Thursday on the show’s finale.

Rats Do It, Chicks Do it, Even Chimps and Fish Do It

That's right--they all share something in common:
Previous scientific research suggests that humans, rats, chicks, chimps and even fish use geometry to reorient themselves in space. They mentally visualize the geometry of their surroundings — corners and walls — to figure out where they are.
And why does that matter, dear reader? Read on:

Massachusetts Legislature: Circumcision Should Be A Crime

That would be the result of the bill currently under consideration in Massachusetts:
The "Male Genital Mutilation Bill" made its way to the floor for debate today at the State Legislature. The bill would make it illegal for parents to circumcise boys in the state of Massachusetts unless there is a medical reason.

Matthew Hess, president of a group called the Bill to End Male Genital Mutilation, was quoted by the Boston Herald as saying, "Circumcision is painful and unnecessary, violates a baby's human rights and decreases sexual sensation in mature males."

...Under the legislation, people who disregard the ban would face a fine and possible 14-year prison sentence. [emphasis added]

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Press Release: The Frauds of ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ Exposed by New CAMERA Web Site

CAMERA – Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America
For Immediate Release
March 3, 2010
Contact: Andrea Levin or Maxime Myer-Smith, 1 617 789-3672
The Frauds of ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ Exposed by New CAMERA Web Site
Boston, Mass. (March 2) – The fraudulent claims, factual errors, false analogies and outright hypocrisy of “Israel Apartheid Week” — actually a two-week hate fest being promoted on college campuses — are exposed at “Apartheid Week – A Campaign Against Human Rights.” Created by CAMERA, the Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, “A Campaign Against Human Rights” can be found at the top right corner of the news media watchdog’s home page, The direct link is

"Israel is no more rogue than America"

Even though one has to be in one’s seventies to remember a time when Israel didn’t exist, nevertheless there are still those who call the country’s legitimacy into question, employing anything that happens to be in the news at the time – such as this latest assassination – to try to argue that Israel is not a real country, and therefore doesn’t really deserve to exist. Real rogue states such as North Korea might be loathed and criticised, but even they do not have their very legitimacy as a state called into question because of their actions.
Andrew Roberts

Israel is no more rogue than America

By Andrew Roberts

Published: March 2 2010 20:25 | Last updated: March 2 2010 20:25

Is state-sanctioned assassination justifiable, or does it somehow de-legitimise the state that undertakes it? Two articles in this newspaper last week, by Henry Siegman and David Gardner, have been violently critical of Israel in the wake of the assassination of the Hamas arms smuggler Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai on 19 January.

Mr Siegman wrote of how “Israel’s colonial ambitions” and “checkpoints, barbed wire and separation walls” were “turning Israel from a democracy into an apartheid state”, thereby creating a “looming global threat to the country’s legitimacy”. Two days later Mr Gardner wrote of how Israel’s “militarist extroversion” over the Dubai murder demonstrated an “Israeli preference for instantly satisfying executive solutions to complex political and geopolitical problems” which would “widen the international battle-space for tit-for-tat attacks” and “encourage the perception that [Israel] is a rogue state”.

Both commentators are completely wrong.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Dubai Looking Less Like A Country And More Like A Reality Show--Which Is Bad For Business

The LA Times blog Babylon and Beyond notes that Israel is not the only country that is suffering from the revelations coming out of Dubai following the assassination
Dubai might suffer a backlash too. Moshe Elad, a retired Israeli army colonel and national security professor, notes its gargantuan debt. It will need to remain attractive to discreet business travelers and tourists (nearly 4 million last year) who now know that everyone entering Dubai unwittingly stars on "Big Brother." Even Orwell would blush, Elad writes, adding that people shouldn't be surprised if [Dubai's police chief, Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan] Tamim is fired one of these days.
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Why It Doesn't Matter If Democrats Are Smarter Than Republicans

When you’re comparing the men who brought down the Berlin Wall and the Cold War along with it, liberated the people of Iraq from their butcher dictator and declared war against our terrorist enemies with the men who presided over the Iranian hostage crisis, gas lines, and our national malaise, and sullied the office of the president in a very big way, does it really matter who scored higher on his SATs?
Bad Rachel in response to news that self-identified liberals have higher IQs.

Read the whole thing.

[Hat tip: Jennifer Rubin]

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The Arabs Get Obama! (Israel Gets Biden)

It's easy being vice president. You don't have to do anything.
Vice President Joe Biden

Haaretz notes:
To date the U.S. administration has not made a serious effort to reach out to the Israeli public, unlike addresses by President Barack Obama aimed at the Arab and Muslim world. Obama will continue to convey his message, which began during speeches in Turkey and Egypt, with another during an official visit to Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country.
Not doubt realizing this discrepancy, and wanting to do whatever is necessary to resolve it--Obama is sending Biden to Israel. Hope it won't burden Biden too much.

Remember what Biden told Israel, when he was campaigning with Obama?

Hamas: Israel Didn't Kill Mabhouh--It Was Jordan Or Egypt! (Updated)

It's not as if the terrorists at Hamas are the go-to guys for accurate information, but it is an interesting theory:
Hamas suspects the security forces of an Arab state were behind the assassination of a senior group operative in Dubai earlier this year, the Al-Quds Al-Araby daily reported on Tuesday.

Monday, March 01, 2010

I Have A Hunch All Wives Are Like This

From a friend:
Jewish Proverb: A Jewish wife will forgive and forget, but she'll never forget what she forgave.
Yes, I am married, and it is for occasions like this that I blog anonymously...

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