Friday, April 30, 2010

It's Official: Obama Removes Any Reason For Abbas To Come To The Table

Abbas now gets what he's wanted all along--someone to do his work for him so he can sit and do nothing:
U.S. President Barack Obama has told several European leaders that if Israeli-Palestinian talks remain stalemated into September or October, he will convene an international summit on achieving Mideast peace, senior Israeli officials told Haaretz on Thursday.

The officials said the conference would be run by the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers - the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia - in a bid to forge a united global front for creating a Palestinian state. The summit, they said, would address such core issues as borders, security arrangements, Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem.

Obama's Iran Sanctions--Iranians Can Rest Easy Now

We are now working with our partners in the United Nations on new Security Council sanctions that will show Iran's leaders that there are real consequences for their intransigence, that their choice is to live up to their international obligations. Our aim is not incremental sanctions, but sanctions that will bite.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
No doubt the Iranians are quaking in their boots sandals.
But then again, they probably saw this coming:
White House seeks to soften Iran sanctions
Wants exemption for firms based in China and Russia

The Obama administration is pressing Congress to provide an exemption from Iran sanctions to companies based in "cooperating countries," a move that likely would exempt Chinese and Russian concerns from penalties meant to discourage investment in Iran.

The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act is in a House-Senate conference committee and is expected to reach President Obama's desk by Memorial Day.
Just keep in mind that this idea of excluding "cooperating countries" is not Congress's idea:
Neither the House nor Senate version of the bill includes a "cooperating countries" provision even though the administration asked the leading sponsors of the Senate version of the bill nearly six months ago to include one.[emphasis added]
Six months ago--so the Obama administration was asking for a watered-down version of this bill: that would be before the Gates memorandum in January that warned that the Obama administration had no effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran.

Looks like the White House never got the memo.

I guess we misunderstood what Clinton meant by "biting sanctions"--but at least they look good when you have to go out in public and rage against Iran.

Threat of Iranian Sanctions

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Abbas And "The Inheritance Of A Great Example"

The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.
Benjamin Disraeli
You can learn a lot from a people's heroes.
Forget about their textbooks--here are 2 examples Abbas and the Palestinian Authority want to give their children:

This, from the "moderate peace partners"

[Hat tip: Solomonia]

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Real Meaning Of Nakba: Check Out The Ethnic Cleansing Of Jews In Arab Countries

In 1948, Algeria had around 140,000 Jews. By 2008 there were none.
In 1948, Libya had more than 35,000 Jews. Today there are none.
In 1948, Tunisia had as many as 105,000; today there fewer than 2,000
And as for Morocco, there were around a quarter of a million Jews in 1948. Today there are fewer than 6,000.
Lela Gilbert
Arab propagandists and apologists relish throwing around words like occupation and ethnic cleansing. Here is an account of what ethnic cleansing really is--a real nakba, one which the Arab world has yet to admit to, let alone address.
The ‘Nakba’ of Morocco’s Jews
"We left in the night and rushed to the ship."

Imagine a frightened six-year-old girl trying to catch her balance in the stifling and cramped hold of a violently tossing ship. She is not alone on the turbulent sea – her parents and sibling are nearby. But fear is in the air, along with the sight and smell of terrible sickness. The child understands little about her circumstances. She is aware that she is going to a place called Israel, where three of her brothers now live. She realizes that she is saying good-bye forever to her Morocco home. But that’s all she knows about her journey.

Meanwhile her present misery, and that of her beloved family, eclipses all else. The girl’s name is Dina Gabay. The year is 1955. Dina, her parents – Avraham and Rachel – and the family are fleeing ever-increasing dangers in their town of Sefrou, near Fez.

Only in later years did Dina come to appreciate the constant pressure her parents had endured before their departure.

Has Jimmy Carter Finally Gone Too Far In Sudan?

Jimmy Carter may know which side to pick when it comes to Palestinian Arabs vs Israel, but in a recent election he oversaw, he may have just committed a whopper. Dr. Walid Phares and Khairi Abaza write that
Carter gave his blessing (with perfunctory caveats) to a rigged election that has handed victory to a genocidal war criminal who granted safe haven to Osama bin Laden in the 1990s.

On the Carter Center’s website, he raised several concerns about the vote, but on the ground, the former president told reporters that he saw “no reasons for any concern” about the elections, except for “a few isolated stations way out,” that could experience some complications.[emphasis added]
Aside from the ongoing bloody history of Sudan, Phares and Abaza recount the blatant irregularities that Carter ignored in order to give the 'election' a clean bill of health.

After 15 Months Of Obama--Syria Now Speaks For Palestinian Arabs

Elliott Abrams writes about the huge implications of two stories which are being overlooked.

The stories:
Two stories this week in Haaretz, the Israeli daily, make this clear. The first story recounts an interview Abbas gave Israeli TV, and notes that “Abbas said he hopes to get Arab League approval for indirect talks on May 1.” The second story recycles an item from the newspaper Al-Watan in Damascus, and begins this way: “The Arab League is expected to reject the Obama administration's proposal to begin indirect Middle East peace negotiations in the coming weeks, sources from the 22-state body told Syria's Al-Watan daily on Tuesday. The League's Monitoring Committee for the Arab Peace Initiative is scheduled to meet on Saturday to vote on the proposal, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is unlikely to accept any offer for peace talks that does not meet the panel's approval.”
The implications of these 2 stories will directly impact the Middle East "peace process"--by cutting it off at the knees:

Young Palestinian Inventors Head To California Science Fair

Maybe there's something in the air
Aseel Shaar, Nor Arda and Aseel Abu Leil are 14-year-old ninth-graders at the United Nations-run Askar Girls School in Nablus, a West Bank city. The trio is headed to California to exhibit their invention, an electronic cane for the blind, at a science fair.

UNIFIL: "The Worlds Most Expensive Summer Camp"

Michael Rubin writes about the utter failure of UNIFIL to do what it was supposed to:
The rearming of Hezbollah -- to the point that, as Secretary Gates points out, they now have more missiles than most countries -- highlights the utter failure of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. What was a force of slightly less than 2,000 men, before the 2006 war, ballooned in the aftermath of the end of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 ending that war into more than 11,000 troops -- the budget for which, this year, is more than $500 million. Rather than maintain peace or prevent Hezbollah's rearmament, UNIFIL has become, in effect, the world's most expensive summer camp.

Human Rights Watch's Civil War Over Israel

Israel’s sort of like low-hanging fruit.
HRW boardmember
From now on, every HRW report on Israel is going to be greeted with "you mean the Saudi-funded HRW," or "you mean the report written by the woman [HRW Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson] who is a great admirer of Norman Finkelstein and lobbied Kofi Annan against Israel in the middle of the Second Intifada" or "you mean the report written by the guy [Stork] who supports the anti-Israel boycott movement and has been venting his hostility to Israel for almost forty years" or "you mean HRW, the organization that fails to take down from its website anti-Israel reports even when it has admitted they are inaccurate," and so on.
David Bernstein, The Volokh Conspiracy
In his article in The New Republic, Benjamin Birnbaum writes Human Rights Watch fights a civil war over Israel. On the one hand, we have a string of unflattering revelations about Human Rights Watch:
In July, HRW found itself under fire when a Wall Street Journal op-ed noted that the organization had solicited donations in Saudi Arabia by trumpeting the criticism it faces from “pro-Israel pressure groups.” In August, the blogosphere leapt on one of the organization’s top Middle East officials for having once been part of a team that edited a radical anti-Israel journal. And, in September, HRW suspended one of the primary contributors to its reports on the wars in Gaza and Lebanon after his private hobby—collecting Nazi memorabilia—became public.
But according to Birnbaum, an op-ed written in the New York Times last October by Robert Bernstein--the founder and former chairman of Human Rights Watch (HRW), attacking his own organization--is part of an underlying schism at Human Rights Watch on how it deals with Israel.

Obama And The American-Muslim Community

Let there be no doubt, Islam is a part of America.
President Obama
Fox News has a post on its White House blog about how President Obama's Relationship with American Muslims is a Quiet One:
Monday, nearly 11 months after addressing the Muslim world from Cairo, President Obama delivered a major speech to Muslims in this country. But his audience was a group of entrepreneurs, investors and educators from more than 50 countries where Muslims are a majority of the population. The speech launched a two-day summit aimed at expanding business ties between the U.S. and the Muslim world.

Obama has yet to deliver a major speech to the American Muslim community and yet Muslim leaders in the U.S. say relations with the White House have never been better. At the same time, some conservatives say White House sensitivity to issues that might offend Muslims, is compromising U.S. security.

If You're Going To Compare Peace In The Middle East To Northern Ireland--Do It Properly!

In The Dubious Case For Preemptive Concessions, JustOneMinute points to a post by Andrew Sullivan: Israel, Ireland And The U.S. Peace Process.

Sullivan writes approvingly of Gideon Rachman's article in the Financial Times (registration required).

Rachman compares US pressure on Great Britain to move forward in the North Ireland peace process with US pressure on Israel to move forward as well:
They are right again on the Middle East peace process. There is still a deal to be had – and if Israel does not take it soon, the long-term survival of the Jewish state will be imperilled.
The more pundits pursue this line of thought--that Israel must pursue peace in the interests of its very survival--the more they should be required to explain exactly what interests the Arabs have in all this. If indeed Israel's future is at stake, and time is running out--why are the Palestinian Arabs supposed to be interested in this alleged peace process, when all they have to do is sit back and wait?

Odder still:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"Why I Love Barack Obama"

Why I Love Barack Obama

by Yishai Fleisher

The writer just loves Obama because he is good for Israel and good for the USA. Read on, things are seldom what they seem.

I love President Obama. I just love the guy. And with every mean thing that he does to Israel I love him even more.

Why? Well, I will give you two reasons why Obama is good for Israel, and one why he is good for America.

The 'Jewish Vote' Does Not Exist

The 'Jewish Vote' Does Not Exist

by Michael Fenenbock

The mainstream American Jewish leadership is hopelessly addicted to strategies that doom us to failure. Strategies that are guided by faulty assumptions and misplaced priorities.

Lets start with the most prominent. The idea that luring Jewish voters away from Obama can be injurious to the Administration is absurd. Focusing a response to the Obama administration’s outright hostility to Israel by hoping to reverse the Jewish vote is ill conceived.

Jews make up about 1.5% of total American voters. A percentage reduced by half over the last 50 years. As a percentage of the total voting population Jewish America is rapidly shrinking not growing.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

So National Security Advisor James L. Jones Walks Into The Ritz-Carlton And...

Just One Minute suggests forgetting about the joke National Security Advisor James L. Jones told, and focusing instead on what he said:
In our pursuit of a two-state solution, we recognize that peace must be made by the parties and cannot be imposed from the outside. At the same time, we understand that the status quo is not sustainable. It is not sustainable for Israel’s identity as a secure, Jewish, and democratic state, because the demographic clock keeps ticking and will not be reversed. The status quo is not sustainable for Palestinians who have legitimate aspirations for sovereignty and statehood. And the status quo is not sustainable for the region because there is a struggle between those who reject Israel’s existence and those who are prepared to coexist with Israel — and the status quo strengthens the rejectionists and weakens those who would live in peace.
The demographic issue, based in part on the data provided by the Palestinian Arabs themselves has already been debunked, thank you. But even if we assume that Israel's days are numbered till Arabs become the majority--there is a flaw in Jones's logic.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I Admit It, I'm As Confused As Obama Is!

The title of Josh Rogin's post to his blog, The Cable, sounds ominous: Obama team works to head off new Mideast war amid confusion about Syrian intentions--and confused they are:
The administration is still not clear that any SCUDs have been transferred, but there is an acknowledgement that Syrian weapons transfers are increasing in both quantity and quality.

"It's a deterrence game and each side is building up its deterrence capability," this official said, adding that as both the Israelis and Hezbollah prepare for war, the seriousness of any actual outbreak of fighting is keeping both sides from initiating battle -- for now.
Beyond the questions surrounding Syria's transferring weapons, there is the larger confusion as to why Syria just isn't being more helpful:
As for why Syria seems to be playing such an unhelpful role, "that's the million-dollar question," the official said. The Obama administration genuinely does not understand Syrian intentions and there are three basic theories within the administration as to why Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would continue to escalate arms shipments to Hezbollah despite U.S. warnings.

..."We do not understand Syrian intentions. No one does, and until we get to that question we can never get to the root of the problem," the official said. "Until then it's all damage control."
The issue gets even sillier as the White House tries to patiently explain to the Syrians--who continue to get away with exacerbating the situation--why they should stop doing what they are doing so successfully:

Have We Forgotten The 3 Americans Jailed In Iran?

Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer, and Josh Fattal were taken prisoner by Iran on July 31, 2009.

From Saturday's Washington Post:
U.S. renews call for Iran to free jailed Americans

The Obama administration renewed calls Friday for Iran to immediately release three American hikers detained for nearly nine months and appealed to the Iranian government to issue their families visas to visit them.

A day after the families said two of the three are in poor health, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said there was no reason for their continued detention. He spoke after receiving a report from Swiss diplomats who were allowed to visit the trio in Tehran's Evin prison Thursday.

"While we welcome this news, we continue to call for their release," Crowley said. "We are aware of the families' concerns about their children's physical and emotional state of health." He said the families should be given visas.

"These three Americans have been in detention for almost nine months without formal charges or access to legal representation," he said. "They should be released without further delay."
Jennifer Rubin writes:
Well, we certainly know the mullahs see no downside to holding Americans. No serious consequences will be forthcoming and they might even get a diplomatic pat on the back if they let them go before they perish in Evin. They have learned from this president that whether it is violations of existing UN sanctions, missed deadlines in nuclear talks, aggression by their junior partner Bashar Assad, or grabbing Americans, the administration never lowers the boom.

If you have the sense you’ve seen this before — a radical Iranian regime kidnapping Americans to demonstrate the impotence of a naive American president — you’re right. But now, with the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, the stakes are much higher.
You can check out the following sites for further information:

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Fatah vs. Hamas: Civil War Or Cold War?

Jonathan Spyer, a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, Herzliya, Israel, writes about the developing dynamic between Hamas and Fatah. While Hamas increases its popularity in the West Bank, Fatah's decline is only worsening--it remains known for its corruption and is becoming irrelevant:
The key Palestinian leader in the West Bank today is Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Fayyad is not a Fatah member, and his government holds power not as a result of that movement's authority. Rather, Fayyad is in effect an appointee of the West. The security forces led by Gen. Keith Dayton, which keep him in place, are Western organized and financed, and not beholden to any political faction. His gradualist approach is quite alien to Palestinian political culture, and despite the undoubted improvements this approach has brought to daily life in the West Bank, the level of his support is uncertain.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Haveil Havalim #264 Is Up!

This week, Blog d'Elisson is hosting the 264th edition of Havel Havalim--with an ecclectic variety of posts from the JBlogosphere.
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.

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Goebels Sent 6,000 Radio Broadcasts To The Arab World During WWII

In his new book, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World Jeffrey Nerf reveals that between 1939 and 1945--6,000 transmissions were produced under Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels and sent around the Arab world.

Some examples:

Confirmed: Israeli Propaganda More Effective Than Thought!

A little over a week ago, Great Britain's Advertising Standards Authority took a stand to defend the UK (if not the world) from nefarious Israeli propaganda:
An Israeli tourist office press campaign has been banned by the UK advertising regulator for including pictures of East Jerusalem, part of the Palestinian occupied territories.

The Israeli Government Tourist Office (IGTO) press ad stated that a tourist can "travel the entire length of Israel in six hours" and featured a range of photos of destinations in Israel including a picture of Jerusalem.

A complaint was received by the Advertising Standards Authority that the image showed the Western Wall of the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock, both of which are in East Jerusalem and part of the occupied territories of the West Bank.

The ASA said that readers of the ad were likely to assume that all the places featured in the ad were within the state of Israel.

"The status of the occupied territory of the West Bank [is] the subject of much international dispute, and because we considered that the ad implied that the part of East Jerusalem featured in the image was part of the state of Israel, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead," added the ASA. [emphasis added]
How right they were! Too bad they acted too late, as revealed by an investigation by Honest Reporting:

Abbas, The Useful Peace Partner (With Apologies To Thomas The Tank Engine)

Do you know what happens when you blog while your 2 year old listens to Barney and Thomas The Tank Engine--All. Morning. Long?

Strange associations form in your mind--like between Thomas The Tank Engine and Mahmoud Abbas.

I read Jennifer Rubin, and when she wrote
The Obami are rewarding intransigence and bribing Abbas not to embarrass George Mitchell and crew by wrecking the proximity talks.
I began to think...

Abbas Lectures Obama On His 'Duty' To Palestinian Arabs

It seems that Abbas only heard half of what UN Ambassador Susan Rice said at the Arab American Institute's Kahlil Gibran Awards ceremony last week:
First, let there be no doubt: President Obama and all of us in his Administration are determined to reach a comprehensive peace in the Middle East—central to which is a two-state solution. President Obama has defined this goal as a vital U.S. interest. Now, none of us need to be reminded that this is very tough work. But we believe that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree to an outcome that ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and Israel’s goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israel’s security requirements.[emphasis added]
Abbas has now jumped on the part that he wanted to hear:

Obama vs. Israel? Let The Spin Begin! (Updated)

The Obama administration has started a major PR pushback, intended to reassure the Jewish community--and Congress--that there is nothing to all those stories about friction, and worse, between Obama and Netanyahu.

In W.H. launches Israel P.R. offensive, Laura Rozen recounts what has gone into the PR blitz so far--

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Paradigm Shift In Israel's View Of The Palestinian Conflict Catches Obama Unawares

Gary Rosenblatt writes about a talk given by The Jerusalem Post's Herb Keinon in Teaneck, NJ. Keinon described how Israel's attitude went through a major change over the past decade:
Israel, he said, has undergone “a fundamental political transformation” as a result of enduring five years of high-level terrorism, beginning in 2000. He pointed out that whereas Labor and Meretz, the two leading political parties of the left advocating for territorial concessions, received 56 seats in the 1992 national elections, they won only 16 seats in last year’s vote.

PA Prime Minister Fayyad Exemplifies Why They Are Not Ready For Peace Yet

Khaled Abu Toameh writes about what it takes to earn the respect of the Palestinian on the street:
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad may be a good man with good intentions, but those who think that he will be able to persuade the Palestinians to make peace with Israel are deluding themselves.

In Palestinian culture, it is more important if one graduates from an Israeli prison than from the University of Texas at Austin.

Fayyad never spent a day in an Israeli jail. Nor did he or any of his sons take an active role in the “struggle” against Israel.
Fayyad's problem is a symptom of a deeper issue.

Gee, Do You Think Maybe Syria Might Perhaps Believe The US Could Potentially Be...Pushovers?

Do politicians take courses in order to talk like this--or does it just come naturally.
Hillary Clinton gives a class on how to tiptoe around Middle East Dictators:
"We have expressed directly to the Syrian government ... in the strongest possible terms our concerns about these stories that do suggest there has been some transfer of weapons technology into Syria with the potential purpose of then later transferring it to Hezbollah," Clinton told a joint news conference with Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet. [emphasis added]
And of course, there are excellent reasons for all this:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Don't Worry, Ahmadinejad--Your People Are Behind You 100%!

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Host The 2020 Olympics In Jerusalem!

In the name of peace, of course.
Backspin Media takes a look at the suggestion and its implications:

Top 10 Media Subplots If Jerusalem Hosts Olympics

Should the world community award the 2020 Olympics to Jerusalem as an incentive for Israelis and Palestinians to make peace? Udi Sommer thinks so.
The reason why this plan can succeed where others have failed is threefold: It puts economic payoffs front and center, requires cooperation on a large scale, and involves sublimation of otherwise deadly instincts.
Judge for yourself whether Sommer overdosed on Salam Fayyad and Start Up Nation.
Here is the bottom half of a list of...
 Top 10 List of Media Subplots If Jerusalem Hosts the 2020 Olympics.
10. British, Turkish and Greek windsurfing teams all feature veterans of previous Free Gaza flotillas.
9. Sick of wall-to-wall coverage of dumb events like speed walking, table tennis and skateboarding, the IDF restricts media access to certain venues. Relieved journos and the Nielsen ratings officials praise the news blackout.
8. The burning question: Will Anat Kamm leak Olympic drug test results to Haaretz?
7. Feuding Gaza vs. Palestine soccer teams give new meaning to "sudden death overtime."
6. Iran boycotts Olympiad, organizes alternative Islamic Nuclear Pride Games. President Hillary Clinton doesn't rule out US participation.
Read the rest.

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In Miami, The Defeat Of "A Hamas-linked Islamic Hate Group" (Read: CAIR)

This, of all places, from Marketwatch:
The Freedom Defense Initiative (FDI) and Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) today announced that Miami-Dade Transit is restoring bus advertisements in defense of religious freedom that had been taken down after an anti-free speech campaign by a Hamas-linked Islamic hate group.

And Let's Not Forget About Syria's Nuclear Program

Robert S. Ford, the U.S. ambassador-designate to Syria had his confirmation hearing last month:
Ford argued that Washington should insist that Syria end its foot-dragging on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s investigation into its nuclear activities. For nearly two years, Syria has refused to cooperate with the IAEA’s probe of a suspected nuclear reactor that was destroyed by Israel in September 2007. Now the IAEA may request a rare “special inspection” of Syrian sites, making the country’s nuclear defiance the international community’s main point of contention with Damascus -- eclipsing even the investigation into Syrian officials’ involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri.

Indeed, the international community cannot afford to let Syria’s proliferation attempts go unaddressed, since the violations threaten the global nonproliferation regime and may be evidence of a wider nuclear program. Even more, the IAEA’s investigation could provide Washington much needed leverage in its increasingly trying diplomatic engagement with Damascus.

The story of Syria’s nuclear program has been quietly building for more than two and a half years.

This Is Why Iran Has No Fear Of The US

So just what is the official US policy towards Iran?
If you read the news--it's not clear if even the US knows.

The AP reports:
US official: Iran military strike 'off the table'

The U.S. has ruled out a military strike against Iran's nuclear program any time soon, hoping instead negotiations and United Nations sanctions will prevent the Middle East nation from developing nuclear weapons, a top U.S. defense department official said Wednesday.
"Military force is an option of last resort," Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy said during a press briefing in Singapore. "It's off the table in the near term."

Meanwhile, Reuters reports:

Palestinian Arabs Descended From Philistines? Canaanites? Few Of Them Are Even Related To The Original Arab Invaders!

In a post a few days ago, Zionists Kicked Palestinian Arabs Out Of Palestine? Why Do You Think Arabs Came In The First Place?, I wrote about how the Arab Palestinian population is not a permanent fixture in Israel--rather in 1948 many of the Arabs were recent immigrants who came to then-Palestine to take advantage of the improvements made by Jewish immigrants.

One of the sources I quoted--"Whose Palestine?" by Erich and Rael Jean Isaac--also examines the roots of the Palestinian Arabs themselves. There are those who claim that Palestinian Arabs have a long lineage going back to the Philistines or original Canaanites.

Not so, write Erich and Rael Jean Isaac:
The Gilmours expand upon the PLO chestnut that the Arabs of Palestine are the true "immemorial" inhabitants of the land. They write: "Their ancestors are the Canaanites and Philistines who, unlike the Jews, were never deported. They remained in Palestine . . . and their descendants formed, and still form, the core of the indigenous population." But not only are the Palestinian Arabs not descendants of Canaanites, it is highly doubtful that more than a very few are even descended from those who settled the country as part of the Arab invasion of the 7th century. For over a thousand years following the Arab conquest, Palestine underwent a series of devastating invasions, followed by massacres of the existing population: Seljuk Turks and Fatimid reconquerors were followed by Crusaders who were followed by waves of Mongol tribes who were followed in turn by Tartars, Mamelukes, Turks, and incessant Bedouin raiders.

What Is The Downside To Criticizing Israel?

Sorry--that was a trick question:
There is no downside in criticizing Israel, but censuring some of its radical Arab neighbors might prompt anything from an oil embargo to a terrorist response.

There are about 7 million Israelis; the Muslim and Arab population in the rest of the Middle East numbers in the hundreds of millions.
So writes Victor Davis Hanson, who concludes:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Imagine That: There Are Some Countries In The Mid-East That Obama Doesn't Want To Get Angry

Israel is obviously not one of these--but Egypt is:
President Barack Obama has dramatically cut funds to promote democracy in Egypt, a shift that could affect everything from anti-corruption programs to the monitoring of elections.

Washington's cuts over the past year — amounting to around 50 percent — have drawn accusations that the Obama administration is easing off reform pressure on the autocratic government of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to ensure its support on Mideast policy, including the peace process with Israel.

Former Advisor To 6 Secretaries Of State: Fixing Arab-Israel Conflict Won't Fix The Middle East

In February 2009, I wrote: Obama Being Advised To Pursue A Minimalist Approach In Israel-Palestinian Conflict.

One of those advisors was Aaron David Miller:
Aaron David Miller, who recently wrote a piece for Newsweek entitled If Obama Is Serious
He should get tough with Israel. He was an advisor to 6 different Secretaries of State from 1978-2003.

According to Miller:
"This region, as best I can understand it, hates big ideas. Particularly those big ideas imposed, crafted or orchestrated from outside. And frankly, transformative diplomacy was the essence of the previous administration's approach to this region. Regime change, democratization, grand bargains, grand rhetoric, one-size-fits-all," he said.

Instead, Miller called for "transactional diplomacy" based on small, pragmatic steps like getting Israel to open up Gaza for reconstruction efforts. Miller said President Obama should save his "big ideas" for dealing with the economic crisis in the United States, and take small, incremental steps in the Middle East.
Now in The False Religion of Mideast Peace: And why I'm no longer A Believer, Aaron David Miller has moved has distanced himself completely from the idea that the peace process is the key to the Middle East:

Like Israel, The US Now Also Under Threat Of Iran's Nuclear Program--And Also A Version Of Hizbollah

Yesterday, I had a post on how the Iranian nuclear threat will be relevant to the US in just a matter of years:
Iran may be able to build a missile capable of striking the United States by 2015, according to an unclassified Defense Department report on Iran's military sent to Congress and released on Monday.

"With sufficient foreign assistance, Iran could probably develop and test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the United States by 2015," said the April report, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.
Now it seems that there is an Iranian threat closer to home--our home:

Iran boosts Qods shock troops in Venezuela
Pentagon predicts U.S. clash with Islamist paramilitary

Iran is increasing its paramilitary Qods force operatives in Venezuela while covertly continuing supplies of weapons and explosives to Taliban and other insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the Pentagon's first report to Congress on Tehran's military.

The report on Iranian military power provides new details on the group known formally as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), the Islamist shock troops deployed around the world to advance Iranian interests. The unit is aligned with terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, North Africa and Latin America, and the report warns that U.S. forces are likely to battle the Iranian paramilitaries in the future.

So in addition to having to face Iran's nuclear threat, the US is going to have to deal with its own version of Hizbollah and Hamas.

I'm waiting to see how Obama reacts to being lectured on the need to talk, and only talk, with Iran.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Israel Is Not The Only One At Risk--Iranian Missile May Be Able To Hit U.S. By 2015

They say there are no atheists in foxholes--are there any cold-blooded realists about the Middle East when Iran can reach you with a nuclear missle?
Iran may be able to build a missile capable of striking the United States by 2015, according to an unclassified Defense Department report on Iran's military sent to Congress and released on Monday.

"With sufficient foreign assistance, Iran could probably develop and test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the United States by 2015," said the April report, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

The End Of Jewish History In Iraq

I saw the following in the LA Times blog, Babylon and Beyond:
ISRAEL: New monument pays tribute to old hurt of Iraqi Jews

When talking about life in the old country, Israel's Iraqi-born Jews acknowledge two eras: before the Farhoud, and after. In June 1941, during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, nearly 200 of Baghdad's Jews were slain in a killing rampage that went on for several days. Things were never the same after the pogrom that marked the beginning of the end of the Jewish community that had lived in Iraq since antiquity. Most of Iraq's Jews -- about 150,000 -- left for Israel within a few years of the massacre.

Is It Too Late To Stop Iran? That's What A Former US Defense Official Says

It may be true that "all things come to he who waits"--but who said that all of them are good?
It may be too late to stop Iran developing a nuclear weapon, a former senior US defence official has warned.

The official, who has long experience with several US administrations, said President Obama had waited too long to take tough action against Tehran.

Zionists Kicked Palestinian Arabs Out Of Palestine? Why Do You Think Arabs Came In The First Place? [Updates]

In an article, In a nutshell: Why eastern Jerusalem, and Judea and Samaria are Jewish, Arlene Kushner writes:
Claims by Palestinian Arabs that they were an indigenous people, on the land for many generations, is also a misrepresentation. There is solid documentation for the fact that a substantial part of this group, identified only as part of the Arab nation, migrated into Palestine in the years shortly before the founding of Israel.
One source of documentation is The Late Great State Of Israel: How Enemies Within and Without Threaten the Jewish Nation's Survival , by Aaron Klein.

Below is an excerpt from pages 116-117 in the section A Different Kind Of Refugee. The key point Klein makes is that the unusual definition of refugee applied solely to Palestinian Arabs discards the requirement of "habitual residence" to a mere 2 years. This is in recognition of the large influx of Arabs into then-Palestine because of the improved conditions created by Jewish immigrants.

Is Iran's Nuclear Program Losing Popular Support?

Iran's leaders have been very successful in pursuing its nuclear program, ignoring threats of sanctions and thumbing their nose at Obama.

Just one problem:
there is now increasing resentment that the once popular nuclear programme could be detracting from more urgent needs in the face of economic mismanagement and sanctions.

Monday, April 19, 2010

One Fine Day At A Secret Nuclear Testing Site In Iran...

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Arlene Kushner: "In a nutshell: Why eastern Jerusalem, and Judea and Samaria are Jewish"

Reposted with permission--this appeared originally on Arlene Kushner's website

In a nutshell:

Why eastern Jerusalem, and Judea and Samaria are Jewish

[] The historical heritage of the Jewish people in the land lies to the east:

In eastern Jerusalem -- the City of David and the Temple Mount.

In Judea and Samaria -- in Hebron (Judaism’s second holiest city) where the ancient Machpelah, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, is situated; Shilo, where the Tabernacle rested; Beit El, where Jacob had his dream; and much more.

[] Jerusalem was a Jewish city 3,000 years ago, and has never been a capital in all those years for any nation other than the Jewish nation. In fact, in the intervening time between the destruction of the Second Jewish Commonwealth and founding of modern Israel, the area called “Palestine” (so named by the Romans) was never an independent nation or separate local political autonomy — it was always an appendage to a larger area of conquest, whether by the Romans or various Muslim groups including the Ottomans, or the British. During all of those conquests, a Jewish presence remained.

[] With the Mandate for Palestine of 1922, the League of Nations conferred upon Britain responsibility of developing Palestine as a Jewish homeland: ALL of Palestine, at a minimum from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Close settlement by Jews was to be encouraged. That Mandate has never been superseded in international law; the United Nations assumed legal responsibilities.

[] In 1947, because of Arab unrest, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution proposing that Palestine be divided into a nation for the Jews and another for the Arabs. The Jews accepted this proposal, the Arabs refused it.

This proposal was no more than that — General Assembly resolutions are not binding within international law. And so this proposal changed nothing with regard to the law. What is more, the Arabs REFUSED what had been proposed for them because they didn’t want to divide the land, they wanted all of it.


YU's Yom Haatzmaut To-Go 5770

YU's Yom Haatzmaut To-Go 5770 is online (PDF)

Rabbi Norman Lamm - "Our Dependence Upon Israel's Independence"

YU's Yom Haatztmaut To-Go 5769 is also online (PDF)


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Israeli Arab Legal Scholar: Israel Is Not An Apartheid State


By Rhonda Spivak, attorney, writer, and member of Canadian & Israel Bar Associations, now edits Winnipeg Jewish Review at
Sat Apr 16 2010

Dr. Mohammed Wattad, an Arab Israeli Muslim who is a senior lecturer at Zefat College’s School of Law and editor of the International Journal on Medicine and Law told an audience here that Israel is not an apartheid state.

The very articulate Dr. Wattad spoke at the University of Manitoba during Israel Apartheid Week [IAW], but virtually none of the IAW organizers and supporters came to hear his lecture.

Dr. Wattad said that “As an Israeli citizen, I belong to a political entity...I have no other home than the State of Israel. I am a proud Israeli citizen but that doesn’t mean I can’t criticize it...At the same time I am a proud Arab national. I like Arab culture, people, etc... Whenever something wrong happens to the Arab world, I feel it. These are not contradictory things.”

He added, “Don’t tell me Israel can’t define itself as Jewish and democratic... This doesn’t mean that Israel is innocent in all of this [conflict], but there are others here that also aren’t innocent.”

Dr. Wattad, who was sponsored by the Jewish Students Association/Hillel pointed out that “Israeli Arabs, for example in the Galilee, decided upon the State of Israel’s birth to stay and take citizenship, to be an Israeli citizen or not...That was their choice...”

What Would Fatah And Hamas Do Without Israel?

Need you ask?

Khaled Abu Toameh on Fatah and Hamas:
Were it not for Israel’s presence between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Fatah and Hamas would most likely be dispatching suicide bombers and rockets at each other.

Obama, Remind Us Again Who Is Costing US "Blood And Treasure"

From The Wall Street Journal:
For all the current talk about Israel costing America lives and treasure, the striking fact is that the U.S. has never had to go to war to defend the Jewish state. This is more than can be said for Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Bosnia, Kosovo and the people of Afghanistan and Iraq. That's because for 62 years Israelis have provided for their own defense, in an alliance with the U.S. that has reflected American values and—in both the Cold War and the war on terror—advanced American interests.

Netanyahu's Speech On Yom HaZikaron

PM Netanyahu’s Speech at the Memorial Ceremony for Fallen Soldiers at Ammunition Hill

Forty-three years ago, this hill, Ammunition Hill, symbolized a wounded city, a city cut in half, and in its heart- a wall.

Today, along the outline of that same wall, there are light-rail tracks that will connect the flourishing Jerusalem neighborhoods established and built during the decades that have passed since the very day we are marking here today.

Twice we have paid the heavy cost of liberating the siege on Jerusalem–first, during the War of Independence, and again, when the city was bombed during the Six Day War.

One of the most decisive battles of that campaign was fought right here. True heroes fell here, and together with their comrades all along the frontlines, they changed the lives of our people, our country and our city.

Jerusalem, which until that time had been a divided and weakened city, became once again a city full of life, creativity and renewal.

Two-Day Tehran Nuclear Summit--Not Without Success

The Independent is clear that Iran's 2-day nuclear summit pales in comparison with Obama's summit, especially in terms of numbers of attendees--
Nevertheless, the Tehran gathering may have given Iran's leaders reason for hope that they can muster a sizeable body of sympathy, and votes, for a strategy that, in effect, turns the tables on the West. The meeting ended last night with calls for a complete overhaul of the 40 year old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and for Israel's nuclear weapons arsenal to be brought under a UN inspection regime.

This is potentially significant: next month 200 nations will gather in New York to review the NPT. The Iranian strategy will be to force a treaty overhaul which spells out the rights of signatories to run civilian nuclear programmes including the right to enrich uranium, while questioning the failure of the US, France and Britain, to disarm fully.

Marco Polo: Islamophobe--Or Observer?

Raymond Ibrahim writes that Marco Polo was one of many writers who noticed the same qualities in Muslim doctrine:
If today it is “Islamophobic,” that is, irrational, to claim that Islam advocates war against and subjugation for infidels, permitting the latter to be abused, plundered, and enslaved in the process — what does one make of the fact that, some 700 years ago, the same exact claims were made by our Venetian traveler? Indeed, what does one make of the fact that, centuries before and after Polo, a diverse host of writers — including John of Damascus (d.749) Theophanes the chronicler (d.818), Francis of Assisi (d.1226), Joinville the crusader (d.13th century), and Manuel the Byzantine emperor (d.1425) — all made the same “Islamophobic” observations about Islam? (The latter’s writings, when merely quoted by the pope, caused an uproar in the Muslim world.) This, of course, is to say nothing of the countless Muslim ulema who regularly affirm that Islam teaches war, subjugation, slavery, and plunder vis-a-vis the infidel, tracing it back to the words of the Koran and Muhammad.
Read the whole thing.

At some point, I suppose, people will notice.

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Nonie Darwish's Letter To Gaza has the full text of a letter Nonie Darwish wrote in response to a letter she received from a Gazan.

One of the themes Darwish touches upon is the effect of Islam and Islamic law on the Muslim mindset:
...Under Islamic law, non-Muslim countries are never equal to Muslim countries and actually their sovereignty as a non-Muslim nation must always be challenged by Islamic jihad. Islamic law codified jihad as a permanent war with non-Muslims to establish the religion. Muslims thus have to use Taquiyya, lies, to legitimize their aggression on Israel and the West. That is why Muslim countries can never abandon the constant hate propaganda, lies and misinformation about Israel and the West. If that ends, their jihad ends. The UN must be constantly bombarded by complaints from Arab countries against Israel. The Arab street must be constantly bombarded with ridiculous accusations and Zionist conspiracies. Lately on Syrian TV a Syrian intellectual accused Israel of stealing human organs in Haiti while they were helping them after the earthquake. This is not something new; it started in the 7th century, when the prophet Mohammed accused the Jews of treason to justify killing and expelling them and taking over their wealth. To explain this away, he stated that Jews are worthy of this treatment since they are the descendants of apes pigs and enemies of Allah. Muslims still use the same dynamic and the world still falls for it every time.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

OK, Let's Be 'Realists': What Makes Israel A Key US Ally

The New York Times reported on a recent press conference that Obama gave:
Mr. Obama said conflicts like the one in the Middle East ended up “costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure” — drawing an explicit link between the Israeli-Palestinian strife and the safety of American soldiers as they battle Islamic extremism and terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.The full transcript of Obama's press conference can be found here.
One response to Obama's policy comes from Rep. Pete King (R., NY):
No American ally is more trusted or reliable than Israel. Throughout the darkest days of the Cold War, and now in the war against Islamic terrorism, Israel has stood with the United States every step of the way. Israel shares our democratic principles and always has the courage to do what has to be done. The value of this unique alliance has been shared by all our Presidents — Democrats and Republicans alike.
Going a bit further, Lee Smith writes in his book, The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, And The Clash of Arab Civilizations:
Getting local allies to protect U.S. interests and do the dirty work so that Washington doesn't have to dispatch troops is called "off-shore balancing," a strategy that worked well in the eastern Mediterranean, where Israel's might, and staunch American support, have prevented the outbreak of a full-scale, or state-versus-state, war for over thirty-five years.
Too bad the US has no similar ally in the Persian Gulf.

Later in his book, Smith rebuts the arguments of political "realists" and gives some examples of why Israel is a significant asset to the US:

Obama's Apartheid State

In his rush to create a second Palestinian state, Obama is avoiding all of the hard questions.

One of them is why over 12 billion dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority over 15 years has had negligible effect--and what that fact indicates about the prospects for a future Arab Palestinian state.

Here are some others:
Moshe Ya’alon, a former Israel Defense Forces general who now serves as Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategic affairs minister, posed the following query in an interview published in the Jerusalem Post: “If we are talking about coexistence and peace, why the [Palestinian] insistence that the territory they receive be ethnically cleansed of Jews? Why do those areas have to be Judenrein? Don’t Arabs live here, in the Negev and the Galilee? Why isn’t that part of our public discussion? Why doesn’t that scream to the heavens?”...

Secret Memorandum Confirms Obama's Lack Of A Plan In The Middle East

The Foreign Policy's blog The Cable revealed earlier this month the lack of a clear policy towards Israel in the Obama administration:
Although the public fireworks between top U.S. and Israeli officials may have died down in recent days, a fully fledged debate has erupted inside the Obama administration over how to best bring Middle East peace talks to fruition, let alone a successful conclusion.

Some reports have suggested there are two camps within Obamaland -- one favoring an incremental approach focused on persuading the Israelis and Palestinians to return to negotiations, and a second group pushing the president to lay his own "American plan" on the table.

But one U.S. official close to the issue told The Cable there's a more diverse spectrum of opinion inside the administration, with different officials exhibiting a range of views on what the tactics and tone of the U.S. approach should be going forward.
Now the New York Times reveals a secret memorandum that indicates the Obama administration is not so clear on how to handle Iran either:
Gates Says U.S. Lacks Policy to Curb Iran’s Nuclear Drive 
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has warned in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability, according to government officials familiar with the document.

Several officials said the highly classified analysis, written in January to President Obama’s national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, came in the midst of an intensifying effort inside the Pentagon, the White House and the intelligence agencies to develop new options for Mr. Obama. They include a set of military alternatives, still under development, to be considered should diplomacy and sanctions fail to force Iran to change course.

...Mr. Gates’s memo appears to reflect concerns in the Pentagon and the military that the White House did not have a well prepared series of alternatives in place in case all the diplomatic steps finally failed. Separately, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote a “chairman’s guidance” to his staff in December conveying a sense of urgency about contingency planning. He cautioned that a military attack would have “limited results,” but he did not convey any warnings about policy shortcomings.
Keep in mind the memorandum was written in January--and Obama's deadline to Iran to stop pursuing nuclear power was December 2009.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Obama And Iran

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Legal Insurrection notes the trail that Obama has consistently followed with Iran:
From the campaign promise of negotiations without precondition, to the near silence when Iran erupted with protests last June over election fraud, to the setting of meaningless deadlines, to the false crisis with Israel over East Jerusalem, to the apology tours, at every step this administration has sent the wrong messages to Iran and the world.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Enter Obama, Master of Realpolitik

The New York Times has what appears to be the money quote of Obama's newly articulated policy in the Middle East and towards Israel:
Mr. Obama said conflicts like the one in the Middle East ended up “costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure” — drawing an explicit link between the Israeli-Palestinian strife and the safety of American soldiers as they battle Islamic extremism and terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The full transcript of Obama's press conference can be found here.

This is supposed to be a reflection of a new approach--a pragmatic approach that takes a more realistic view of the situation in the  Middle East and how it affects US interests.

At least that is the way that Peter Berger wrote in an article for The New York Times:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Why The US Cannot Guarantee Israel's Security

Jonah Goldberg writes:
So here's the deal. Israel claims that Syria is giving Hezbollah Scud missiles that can hit pretty much all of Israel. And the State Department is very concerned -- concerned about the safety of Lebanon.

Obama's Oxymoron-Building Measures In The Middle East

Does anyone else think this sounds odd--
U.S. President Barack Obama has told French President Nicolas Sarkozy that he is determined to keep the pressure on Israel and the Palestinians to renew peace talks and implement confidence-building measures. Obama made his comments despite potential political damage at home ahead of the mid-term congressional elections in November.

Either Way, It Looks Like We Are In For Some "Earth-Shattering" News From Iran

Over at Pajamas Media, Michael Ledeen makes the case for the possibility that Iran will join "The Nuclear Club"--in a month:
A couple of days ago, I came across an odd story in Agence France Press, wherein I learned that Iran’s fanatical President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — increasingly known by his derogatory nickname “the chimpanzee” — is calling for 5 million people to move out of Tehran.  Why?  Because, he said, “Iran’s capital sits on several fault lines and is threatened by earthquakes.” With five million fewer people, Tehran would be“more manageable in case of an incident.”
Ledeen juxtaposes this news with another report:

A Real Poll--For Those Who Insist On Using Unnamed Polls About Prospects For Peace In the Middle East

From an interview then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had with Cal Thomas back in October 2006:
QUESTION: I'd like to know what evidence you have — I read, and I know you do and a lot more than I do, the sermons, the editorials in the Middle East, the right of return idea, which a lot of people think is just basically overwhelming for a Jewish population with millions and millions of Arabs in the so-called Diaspora. What evidence do you have that teaching their schoolchildren at the ages of four and five to be martyrs, to show up in their little uniforms with plastic guns and their headbands, textbooks one grenade plus two grenades equals, you know, three grenades — what evidence do you have out there that if they had an independent state that they would lay down their arms and not complete the mission of killing the Jews and throwing them out?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, you can look at any opinion poll in the Palestinian territories and 70 percent of the people will say they're perfectly ready to live side by side with Israel because they just want to live in peace. And when it comes right down to it, yeah, there are plenty of extremists in the Palestinian territories who are not going to be easily dealt with. They have to be dealt with — Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian territories — they're terrorists and they have to be dealt with as terrorists. [emphasis added]
As far as I know, Rice never did reveal the name of any poll reflecting that magical 70% of Palestinians "perfectly ready" to live in peace with Israel.

On the contrary, a Pew Research Center Poll in 2007 gave a different 70%:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Open Letter Tomorrow Will Address Obama On His Feud With Israel

From One Jerusalem:
In an unprecedented open letter to President Obama, Ronald Lauder, the President of the World Jewish Congress asks the President to stop his public feud with the State of Israel and start dealing with real issues like a nuclear Iran.
In a letter that will be published tomorrow in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, Mr. Lauder takes the bold step of standing up for Israel and the Jewish people. With tension growing between the Obama White House and the government of Israel, this is the first time the World Jewish Congress has publicly challenged the conduct of American foreign policy toward Israel. The concerns and questions raised in Mr. Lauder's letter represent a respectful, but very troubling, expression of anxiety about the diplomatic confrontation the Obama Administration seems set on seeking with Israel.
The World Jewish Congress' unprecedented decision to "go public" with its concerns about the Obama Administration indicates that growing friction between the Obama Administration and Israel continues to cause real anxiety in the Jewish community. This is in line with the soon to be released McLaughlin poll which shows that among Jews who originally voted for Obama only 42% would vote for him again.
Much media speculation here and in Israel has focused on how strained relations with the Obama Administration will impact politics in Israel. The letter from Mr. Lauder and the World Jewish Congress suggests that President Obama may feel political pressure here at home if he continues his public feud with Israel.
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It's Not Too Late For Obama To Adjust His Course In The Middle East

Michael Totten writes about the growing situation in the Middle East--and how it differes from what Bush faced during his presidency:
If Obama’s squishy policies are misguided, as I think they are, it’s less obvious. The Middle East isn’t on fire as it was circa 2005. But it should be apparent that, at some point, all the pressure that’s building up will have to go somewhere. When and how is anyone’s guess, but there’s little chance it’s just going to dissipate or be slowly released during peace talks

The Nuclear Summit In A Nutshell [Updated]

From The Corner:
So, in sum: We had a summit that accomplished nothing except a) angering the American and international press corps, b) closing down Washington for two days, and c) misleading everyone for 24 hours that China and others were on board with something to help stop Iran when that just wasn't true. This just isn't serious foreign or defense policy. In fact, it's a dangerous, even Neronian policy -- except it won't be Rome that will burn. 
Read the whole thing.

Now of course, that won't be the way the Obama administration will describe it--and it is important to note how they will describe the benefits and results of the summit.

Did Netanyahu Come To Obma's Nuclear Summit After All--Impersonating Sarkozy?

If this argument is good enough for France, is there any reason for Israel--with more enemies literally sitting on its doorstep--not to be able to give the same argument?
France will not give up nukes

France will not give up nuclear weapons because doing so would "jeopardise" its security, President Nicolas Sarkozy said this morning as global leaders gathered for a summit on nuclear security.

Lee Smith: The Strong Horse--Power, Politics And The Clash Of Arab Civilizations

I've been reading The Strong Horse: Power, Politics And The Clash Of Arab Civilizations by Lee Smith.

Lee Smith is a Middle East correspondent for The Weekly Standard who has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East--a fact reflected in his accounts in his book of meeting people from Omar Sharif to Edward Said.

A key point of the book is to address and dispense a number of myths with which we tend to approach the Middle East:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Meanwhile, At The Nuclear Summit: A Preview Of The Future Of World Aggression

Stripped of nuclear threats, world leaders are reduced to dueling--in its purest form.

What I want to know is: Why doesn't Sarkozy just let Medvedev have his seat back and find his own?

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4 Benefits Of Bad Relations Between Israel And The US

In The Solace of Poor U.S.-Israel Relations, Daniel Pipes suggests that the admittedly strained relationship between the US and Israel that we are now seeing has its benefits:

In short.
1.) Diplomatic negotiations through the 1990s led to a parade of Israeli retreats that had the perverse effect of turning the middling-bad situation of 1993 into the awful one of 2000. Painful Israeli concessions, we now know, stimulate not reciprocal Palestinian goodwill but rather irredentism, ambition, fury, and violence.

Monday, April 12, 2010

More On The Increased Support For Israel Among Republicans--And Not Democrats

Jeff Jacoby writes about the February Gallup poll that indicates that support for Israel in the US is still strong--and notes the what else can be gleaned from the numbers:
But look at the disparity that emerges when those results are sorted by party affiliation. While support for Israel vs. the Palestinians has climbed to a stratospheric 85 percent among Republicans, the comparable figure for Democrats is an anemic 48 percent. (It was 60 percent for independents.) And behind Israel’s “Top 5’’ favorability rating lies a gaping partisan rift: 80 percent of Republicans — but just 53 percent of Democrats — have positive feelings about the world’s only Jewish country.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hamas And Fatah Succeed Where Israel Failed: Close Gaza's Only Power Plant

In June 2006, Israel launched Operation Summer Rains in an attempt to both suppress the firing of rockets into Israel and to rescue the kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

As a result of the Israeli operation, Gaza's only power plant was bombed--but that was only the beginning of the story, because it turned out that the plant was insured by a US government agency.

Even then, the issue was not that simple:

The Only Thing Scarier Than An Obama Plan For Israel Is That He May Have No Plan At All

Last month, Laura Rozen wrote at Politico:
Sources say within the inter-agency process, White House Middle East strategist Dennis Ross is staking out a position that Washington needs to be sensitive to Netanyahu’s domestic political constraints including over the issue of building in East Jerusalem in order to not raise new Arab demands, while other officials including some aligned with Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell are arguing Washington needs to hold firm in pressing Netanyahu for written commitments to avoid provocations that imperil Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and to preserve the Obama administration’s credibility. …

“He [Ross] seems to be far more sensitive to Netanyahu’s coalition politics than to U.S. interests,” one U.S. official told POLITICO Saturday. “And he doesn’t seem to understand that this has become bigger than Jerusalem but is rather about the credibility of this Administration.”

What some saw as the suggestion of dual loyalties shows how heated the debate has become.
At the time, Noah Pollak wrote about 3 things that could be learned from Rozen's report, the first being:
The administration has essentially been winging it, at least on the details. If senior officials are just now debating how to handle the crisis, it means that there wasn’t a particularly coherent or well-considered strategy in the first place — just a generalized desire to knock the Israelis around. Smart power.

Better Duck: Muslims Now Allowed To Throw Shoes In Great Britain

At some point, perhaps the British will take into account the sensitivities of those people on the receiving end of having things thrown at them by unhappy Muslims. But until that time comes:
SCOTLAND YARD has bowed to Islamic sensitivities and accepted that Muslims are entitled to throw shoes in ritual protest — which could have the unintended consequence of politicians or the police being hit.

News of the concession by the Metropolitan police has come to light amid a series of trials of more than 70 mostly Muslim demonstrators who were charged with violent disorder after last year’s Gaza protests outside the Israeli embassy in London.
I don't know much about the history of the shoe being used by Muslims in ritual protest, but I have read about the more traditional form of demonstrating Muslim disapproval. In Jews and Arabs: Their Contacts Through the Ages, S. D. Goitein wrote in 1955:

Brzezinski: Mideast Peace Requires Obama To Fill Sadat's Role--Forget About Abbas!

I know Brzezinski he's not one of my key advisors. I've had lunch with him once, I've exchanged emails with him maybe 3 times...I do not share his views with respect to Israel. I have said so clearly and unequivocally.
Obama, February 25, 2008

On Friday, Laura Rozen wrote on Politico:
Reports in The Washington Post and The New York Times this week said former U.S. national security advisers Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Sandy Berger met with Jones in the White House last month and recommended that the U.S. advance stalled peace talks by proposing its own peace proposal. President Barack Obama attended part of the meeting and listened to the proposal, the reports said.
Now it looks like Mr. Brzezinski has decided to launch a trial balloon on Obama's behalf in an opinion piece, written with Stephen Solarz, appearing in today's Washington Post: To achieve Mideast peace, Obama must make a bold Mideast trip.

But there is something jarring in how Brzezinski and Solarz undercut their own position.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Myths and Facts: "The re-dedication of the Hurva Synagogue is an affront to Palestinians."

From Myths and Facts Online -- reposted with permission.

MYTH: "The re-dedication of the Hurva Synagogue is an affront to Palestinians." 

On March 14, 2010, The Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem was re-dedicated. Palestinians used the occasion as a pretext to stir tensions and claim that Israel has designs on the Temple Mount, intends to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and rebuild the ancient Jewish Temple. The incitement provoked violent protests in which Palestinians burned tires and threw rocks in East Jerusalem.370 Lies about Jewish threats to the Temple Mount go back nearly a century and are a proven tactic for rallying Arabs throughout the region against Israel.

U.S. State Department Spokesperson PJ Crowley immediately responded to this latest fabrication: "We are deeply disturbed by statements made by several Palestinian officials mischaracterizing the event in question, which can only serve to heighten the tensions we see. And we call upon Palestinian officials to put an end to such incitement."371

The Hurva Synagogue was first built in 1701 by Rabbi Judah the Pious and his followers after the previous Ashkenazi synagogue of Jerusalem fell into disrepair. After Rabbi Judah died, the congregation was unable to pay their Muslim creditors, who burned down the Synagogue. It was rebuilt between the years of 1855 and 1864 with support from Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Shklov (a disciple of the Gaon of Vilna), Britain, Austria, Sir Moses Montefiore, the Rothschilds and Jewish communities from around the world. It even had the support of the Ottoman Empire, as its chief architect, Assad Effendi, was commissioned to design the building. The Hurva Synagogue stood until May 1948, when it was packed with explosives and blown up by the Jordanian army.372

The Hurva Synagogue is a house of worship that dates back 300 years. It is not even within sight of the Temple Mount so the renovation had no impact on Muslim shrines. Its re-dedication is a proud moment for Jewish people around the world and should not be twisted by Israel's detractors into yet another anti-Semitic blood libel meant to prevent peace.
To access the links in the article, check out the original version.


370 "Palestinians Riot to Protest Synagogue Reopening," CNN, (March 16, 2010).

371 Abe Selig and Hilary Leila Krieger, "Hurva Is Again a House of Prayer," Jerusalem Post, (March 16, 2010).

372 "The Hurva's Symbolism," Jerusalem Post, (March 14, 2010).

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