Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Video: Why There Actually Is No Occupied Territory--And No Illegal Settlements

A simple review of the basic historical facts:

In 1943, Members Of A Synagogue Were Saved From A Terrorist Attack By 'Lecha Dodi'


Rabbi Avi Shafran

The latest marchers in the long parade of horribles anxious to murder in the name of a religion of peace are two feckless young men, Ahmed Ferhani, 26, and Mohamed Mamdouh, 20, natives of Algeria and Morocco, respectively. They were arraigned last week in New York on charges of plotting to blow up synagogues.

Mamdouh, according to prosecutors, is on tape saying he hated Jews; and Ferhani, according to the complaint, planned among other things to use hand grenades; and relished the thought of “pulling the pins and throwing them into the synagogue.”

That image— now, thankfully, confined to harmless words in court papers—conjured in my mind a similar one, of another time, another synagogue, and other hand grenades.

Attacks Against UNIFIL Have Graduated From Sticks, Rocks And Egss--To Bombs

UNIFIL's lack of control in Southern Lebanon is not exactly a new story. Last year, matters reached a head when Lebanese villagers disarmed some UNIFIL troops:
Villagers disarmed a French patrol of UN peacekeepers Saturday and attacked them with sticks, rocks and eggs in south Lebanon, in the latest in a string of such incidents, the Lebanese army said.

Barry Rubin: The Key to Obama’s Foreign Policy: The World Turned Upside Down

Barry Rubin's posts now appear on Pajamas Media:

By Barry Rubin

“If buttercups buzz'd after the bee,
If boats were on land, churches on sea,
If ponies rode men and if grass ate the cows,
And cats should be chased into holes by the mouse....
If summer were spring and the other way round,
Then all the world would be upside down.”

--“The World Turned Upside Down,” English ballad, 1643

I think I’ve made a breakthrough in understanding President Barack Obama’s foreign policy of punishing friends, rewarding enemies, and taking risks toward empowering enemies by bashing friends. It isn’t that Obama is a Muslim or a Marxist; it’s that...

He is America's first (and hopefully last) 1960s' New Left president.

Mideast Media Sampler 05/31/2011

From an email from DG:

1) The other President's man

Yesterday, I criticized Thomas Friedman for his statements on Fareed Zakaria's show. It's less important that I called Friedman "anti-Israel" but why. In short, Friedman's argument was that no matter how many times the Palestinians reject peace, Israel must make new offers. This is, of course, a negotiating strategy no sane party would ever adopt. The other party has every incentive to continue refusing offers. In recommending such a course, Friedman shows himself to be either a knave or a fool. I'm unwilling to give him the benefit of the doubt and conclude that the former is true.

I know less about Fareed Zakaria than about Thomas Friedman, however he's never impressed me much. In his statement, though he shows, with two assertions that truth isn't his strong suit.

Jerusalem: 4000 Years In 5 Minutes

From the youTube page:
Jerusalem, a mosaic of different peoples, faiths, and nationalities. Nevertheless, despite this diversity, Under the sovereignty of Israel, Jerusalem is a city that works. But has it always been this way?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Arlene Kushner Dispels The Myths Surrounding Abbas's September Strategy

From Arlene Kushner's From Israel
May 30, 2011

"UN Panic"

There is considerable anxiety these days with regard to the threats of the Palestinian Authority (and now the Arab League) to ask the UN, in September, to officially declare "Palestine" to be a state.

Accompanying -- or fueling -- this anxiety is a great deal of misinformation. And so -- having consulted with legal experts here in Israel and done other research -- I will make my best effort to clarify a muddled situation.


What is referred to as "international law" is not nearly as clear or definitive as many people imagine it to be.

Hillary Honors Muslim Contributions--Made Possible By Jews, Christians, Zoroatrians etc

I can appreciate how eager the Obama administration must be to continue its "Muslim outreach"--especially considering the debacle of Obama's Mideast speech a week ago.

But Hillary is going over the top in honoring Muslim contributions to 'science and innovation'
I am delighted to send greetings to each of you at this year’s “1001Inventions,” celebrating a millennium of science and innovation in the Muslim world.

This exhibition honors the remarkable accomplishments of Muslims throughout history: from a woman who founded a university in the 9th century – to a 13th century inventor and mechanical engineer – to a surgeon whose writings influenced European medicine for hundreds of years.

Mideast Media Sampler 05/30/2011

From an email from DG:
1) Both the president's men together

Thomas Friedman and Fareed Zakaria are reported to be two of the experts with whom President Obama consults about the Middle East. The other day Thomas Friedman was a guest on Fareed Zakaria's show. (h/t Judith Apter Klinghoffer)

It's hard to know where to start.

Let's start with what Friedman doesn't say.

Why Doesn't Amnesty International Feel Bound By International Law?

To tell you the truth, I was under the impression that Amnesty International was guided in its actions by international law--at times, perhaps, by its interpretation of international law, but by international law nonetheless.

Apparently I was mistaken.

In 2002, Amnesty International wrote about the evolution of their mandate. Among the points they made was:
Other action-related changes allow for inclusion in AI's work of such human rights violations as forcible exile and forcible relocation, the destruction of houses (as an act of political repression or punishment), and administrative detention. Some of these will not find their way into our regular work until appropriate guidelines have been developed, while others may appear fairly quickly. AI's opposition to administrative detention moves the organization ahead of international law (which makes provision for its application during states of emergency) and will allow us to condemn any lack of fair or prompt trial in such circumstances. [emphasis added]

So Amnesty International does not strictly work withing the accepted standards of international law?

Apparently not.

A UN Resolution to Recognize a Palestinian State within the "1967 Borders" Would Be Illegal

In an earlier post, Sure, World Says Israeli Settlements Are Illegal--But What Do People Who Actually Know The Law Say?, I wrote about a letter 60 international lawyers wrote to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Here is the text of that letter:
Published May 2011
Letter to the UN Secretary General:
  • The following is a letter drafted jointly by lawyers of the Legal Forum for Israel and by Amb. Alan Baker, Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
  • The letter is directed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and signed by jurists and international lawyers from around the world.
  • The letter cautions the Secretary General as to the inherent illegality and harm to the UN and to the Middle East peace process which would be caused by the adoption of a resolution declaring a Palestinian state and determining its borders.

May 25, 2011 

His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon, 
Secretary-General of the United Nations, 
1st Avenue & 44th St.
New York, NY 10017


Re:  The Proposed General Assembly Resolution to Recognize a Palestinian State "within 1967 Borders" - An Illegal Action

We, the undersigned, attorneys from across the world who are involved in general matters of international law, as well as being closely concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, appeal to you to use your influence and authority among the member states of the UN, with a view to preventing the adoption of the resolution that the Palestinian delegation intends to table at the forthcoming session of the General Assembly, to recognize a Palestinian state "within the 1967 borders."

By all standards and criteria, such a resolution, if adopted, would be in stark violation of all the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as contravening UN Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and those other resolutions based thereon.

Our reasoning is as follows:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Why Can't Hamas And Fatah Just Get Along?

Looks like there is still no love lost as  Hamas accuses Fatah of hatching "a plot to materialize the wishes and aspirations of the US and the Zionist regime" 

A senior leader of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, lambasted the Fatah movement for pursuing the failed experiences of the past which created a wide gap among the different Palestinian groups.

"The Fatah movement has opted for deception and intrigues after signing the national reconciliation agreement and seeks to bypass the Constitution," Younus al-Astal told FNA on Sunday.

He criticized Fatah's proposal for the members of the government to take their oath before the Head of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas, instead of the parliament, and said this means that Fatah is still moving on the same old wrong way.

Astal cautioned that the Fatah movement has hatched a plot to materialize the wishes and aspirations of the US and the Zionist regime, and said they seek to persuade us to desist from resistance and recognize the Zionist regime, but this is a wish which will never come true. [emphasis added] 

Hamas and Fatah--why can't Palestinian terrorists just get along?

But at least Obama got his answer.

At AIPAC, Obama said it was up to Hamas to answer the question how Israel could negotiate with a group that does not recognize its right to exist.

Hamas's answer: Drop dead.

Hat tip: IMRA

Blogged from my Android  

Egypt's New Buddy, Iran, Has Been Spying On Them

In the midst of the budding friendship between Egypt and Iran, Egypt has expelled an Iranian diplomat for spying:

Egypt is expelling an Iranian diplomat who was briefly detained and questioned on charges of illegally gathering intelligence for Tehran, security officials said.

Qassem al Husseini, the diplomat, was arrested on Saturday in his Cairo home, after the Egyptian intelligence tracked his movements, Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin reported.

Husseini was charged with attempting to set up spy rings in Egypt and other Arab countries.

One puzzle remains:

He was released after a two-hour detention, Haydar Moslehi, Iran's intelligence minister, said on Sunday, according to Iranian state television's website. Moslehi also said that Egyptian authorities apologised for the incident - though he did not elaborate.

Since Egypt went ahead with the expulsion and Iran is not explaining, it's unlikely the whole thing was just one big misunderstanding.

Hope Egypt enjoys their new friends.

Blogged from my   Android

Arlene Kusher on Netanyahu

From Arlene Kushner
May 29, 2011


Yours truly is back at the computer -- a tired and very grateful savta: My grandson, my 12th grandchild, was born last Monday. (For those interested in a peek, you can see him at the end of this post.)

It is with great gratitude to Hashem that I write that he is healthy, very alert, and beautiful, and that my daughter-in-law came through exceedingly well.


While I was tending to other matters, a great deal was going on in the larger world. I do not wish to belabor the obvious, and yet, before turning to matters current, I would like to take a look at what has transpired in the last nine days -- with a few commentaries added for good measure.

Palestinian Rhetoric Can Get Redundant

I appreciate that these guys want to imitate the West in terms of rhetoric--though little else--but Palestinian statements like this are just redundant:

..."We are standing today at the threshold of national unity, we hope that national interests will overcome personal and factional interests Ash-Sheqaqi said in a statement. 

Has anyone noticed that the "national", personal, and factional interests of these Arabs are all the same: the destruction of Israel?

Everything the Palestinians are today derives from that hatred/envy of Israel--yet they still can't get along with each other.

Blogged from my Android

William Kristol: "Harbingers Of Success"

In view of America's turnaround following Reagan's defeat of Jimmy Carter in 1980, William Kristol finds signs of hope--real hope this time--not only on the political horizon, but in the here and now:

The Impossible Dream: HaTikva vs Man of La Mancha

The received the following via email:
The Impossible Dream

By Ariella Gottesman

Many years ago, I heard a speaker – a self-proclaimed Zionist – taking HaTikvah to task. In her opinion, it didn’t speak to the Zionist dream, the true feeling of the Jewish heart aching to return home, or the mission of Zionism. She suggested that The Impossible Dream from the hit Broadway musical "The Man of La Mancha" take its place as the Israeli national anthem. The very words, she thought, encapsulated everything Zionism and Israel stands for:

Could The New Open Border Between Egypt And Gaza Work Towards Israel's Benefit?

Too bad the UN's Ban Ki-Moon didn't speak out this strongly against last year's Flotilla:
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced his concern about potential flotillas to Gaza, and written to Governments of countries around the Mediterranean Sea asking them to discourage their use to deliver assistance to the territory.

Video: Jackie Mason On Obama's "1967 Borders" For Israel

As if it wasn't bad enough that Netanyahu outshined him, now Obama has Jackie Mason after him:

Friday, May 27, 2011

First Do No Harm

The following post by Rabbi Kaufman, president and co-founder of We Are For Israel, is reposted with permission:

There are those who like to apply the anti-drunk driving catch phrase, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk,” in reference to the American-Israeli relationship. They argue that Israelis and potentially the Palestinians as well are too drunk, too intoxicated, too out of it, to understand what is going on and therefore need to be helped. The argument is that someone else, someone sober, needs to help them because they can’t help themselves.

One imagines a staggering person being helped to the car by a sober one who takes the keys away and with the sober one driving the friend home after saying, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.”

Sure, World Says Israeli Settlements Are Illegal--But What Do People Who Actually Know The Law Say?

I don't know, but how common is it for 60 lawyers to agree on somthing?

But those lawyers do agree that the Israeli settlements are legal:
An international group of some 60 attorneys, including former Foreign Ministry legal adviser Alan Baker, has appealed to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to prevent a General Assembly resolution on unilateral Palestinian statehood, based on the pre-1967 lines.

Luxury Cars Coming To Gaza!

People need field experience and Palestine sounds cool and dangerous because it can be described as a war zone, but in reality it’s quite safe and has all the comforts that internationals want. Quality of life here is so much higher than somewhere like Afghanistan, but we don’t tell anyone so that we are not replaced or reassigned.”
Emily Williams, an American project manager at a medical NGO, in Why Your Streets Are Full of Foreigners, This Week in Palestine, May 7, 2011

Maybe one of the comforts those internationals like is the fancy cars in Gaza:
Luxury cars with Libyan plates are becoming a common sight in the Gaza Strip, a surprising side-effect of the unrest in the north African country.

Showroom owner Amin said he paid taxes on each car to Gaza’s Hamas government and the tunnel smugglers, and that there were now “dozens” of vehicles coming in from Libya every week. Customers tended to want 2011 and 2012 Hyundai Sonatas, Kia and Hyundai SUVs, BMWs and 4-wheel-drive Toyotas, he said.

Abbas Claims Seeking Unity Government That Recognizes Israel. Baloney.

The media will eat up the idea of Abbas as moderate seeking recognition of Israel
President Mahmoud Abbas will seek to form a government of technocrats by mid-June which will accept the demands of the Quartet, including recognition of Israel, Israeli media reported Thursday.

Barry Rubin: Israeli People and Experts: We Support Netanyahu and Don’t Want to Return to 1967 Borders. U.S. Media: Israelis Don’t Like Netanyahu and Israeli Experts Say 1967 Borders are OK

Barry Rubin's posts now appear on Pajamas Media:

By Barry Rubin

We are living in Satireworld. I mean what more can you say? Well, I can say the title of this article that sums it up:

Israeli People and Experts: We Support Netanyahu and Don’t Want to Return to 1967 Borders.

U.S. Media: Israelis Don’t Like Netanyahu and Israeli Experts Say 1967 Borders are OK

Here's the evidence:

Video: Latma--Israeli Media Proclaims: Bibi bombed!...and The Nightmare of Black September

Friday mornings mean that it's time for your weekly Latma fix.
Here we go:

Technorati Tag: and .

Cartoon: Obma And Israel History 101

I hope the test is true and false.
Actually, that's what the test has been so far, hasn't it?

Mideast Media Sampler 05/27/2011

From an email from DG:
1) A missed pearl from James Earl

I missed a point that former President Carter made in his recent op-ed:

U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 of Nov. 22, 1967, concluded the war of that year and has been widely acknowledged by all parties to be the basis for a peace agreement. Its key phrases are, “Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war,” and “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.” These included the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, plus lands belonging to Lebanon, Egypt and Syria. 
Other than the problem of his obfuscation and equating 242 with the Arab peace initiative which demands Israeli withdrawal from all territories; there's one geographic area here that doesn't belong.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Even In His Press Conference With Cameron--Obama Can't Seem To Get It Right

Yesterday, in England, Obama had a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Cameron, and he was asked a fairly straightforward question:
Q: Do you agree with the comparison between Hamas and al-Qaida?

OBAMA: I believe that Hamas, in its own description of its agenda, has not renounced violence and has not recognized the state of Israel. And until they do, it is very difficult to expect Israelis to have a serious conversation, because ultimately they have to have confidence that a Palestinian state is one that is going to stick to its — to whatever bargain is struck; that if they make territorial compromises, if they arrive at a peace deal, that, in fact, that will mean the safety and security of the Jewish people and of Israel. And Hamas has not shown any willingness to make the kinds of concessions that Fatah has, and it's going to be very difficult for us to get a Palestinian partner on the other side of the table that is not observing the basic Quartet principles that we both believe — that both David and I believe in — the need to renounce violence, recognize the state of Israel, abide by previous agreements.

That is I think going to be a critical aspect of us being able to jumpstart this process once again.

When It Comes To Israel, What Are Democrats To Do With Obama?

"No one should set premature parameters about borders, about building or about anything else," Reid added, bringing the audience to its feet for the first time during the speech.
Reid Breaks With Obama On Israel, The Hill, May 23, 2011

Jennifer Rubin address that issue today, and it appears that Democrats will continue to play the "look at our unprecedented military support of Israel" card:
Democrats are loath to admit the president doesn’t know what he is doing, so they are left trying to convince themselves and others that this is a fuss about nothing. The most honest defense I heard from a pro-Israel Democratic staffer was to acknowledge that Obama had made mincemeat out of the “peace process” but to remind me that talks aren’t going anywhere anyway. In essence, “no harm, no foul” and look at all the hardware and military support we’ve given Israel!
But maybe not.

Rush Limbaugh On The Passion Of Netanyahu

Rush Limbaugh says that Passion Defines Bibi Netanyahu
RUSH: What is it that makes Netanyahu Netanyahu?

CALLER: He's principled, he's proud, he's conservative. He's everything he portrays himself to be.

RUSH: It is passion that allows Netanyahu to animate those principles, to bring them to life.

The Arab Spring Skipped Over The Palestinians--And It Didn't Land In Egypt Either

At a time when the world still seems to be convinced that the Middle East is going through an Arab Spring--including Obama, as he made a point of explaining in his Middle East speech--there appears to be a bit of an incongruity.

While all over the Middle East the people are rising up against corrupt, repressive regimes in an effort to replace them with democracy--the Palestinian Arabs see the two corrupt repressive regimes of Hamas and Fatah consolidated.

For all the talk of an Arab Spring, the Palestinian Arabs appear to have no share in this.

Video: Wild Bill On The Israeli Heart

Wild Bill is an interesting fellow in his own right. According to his YouTube profile
I am a retired law enforcement officer and former Deputy U.S. Marshal with a strong faith in God and Country. I have traveled the world as a security and anti-terrorism specialist.
The Palestinian boy he is referring to is Husam Abdo.

Hezbollah Continues To Be A Direct Threat To The US

I blogged last year about Hezbollah's illegal drug trafficking--not only in South American, but also in Mexico.

Now Hezbollah has the capabilities being a serious threat to US forces in the Middle East:

Netanyahu Trip: New York Times ("Diplomatic Failure") vs. Haaretz ("Netanyahu's Popularity Soaring")

Who ya gonna believe?

The New York Times insists: Israelis See Netanyahu Trip as Diplomatic Failure

And if you were to ask Ethan Bronner of The New York Times how many Israelis actually feel that way, he'll tell you:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel returned from Washington on Wednesday to a nearly unanimous assessment among Israelis that despite his forceful defense of Israel’s security interests, hopes were dashed that his visit might advance peace negotiations with the Palestinians.[emphasis added]
But then it gets interesting: Bronner is not basing his opinion on an actual poll.

Cartoon: Obama's 1967 Borders Are Becoming A Running Joke

Conservative commentator Monica Crowley, however, said she has generally heard from comedians that they find little fun in Obama. She can’t wait to see how things will work out once Obama moves into the White House, she added.
Will comedians be able to make Obama jokes?, MSNBC, November 6, 2008

Remember when there was actually a discussion that comedians would not find anything about Obama to make fun of...?

Obama vs Netanyahu is only one of the latest episodes to provide comedians with an opportunity to poke fun at the President.

First there was this:
Netanyahu Urges U.S. Return to 1845 Borders

Israeli PM calls for “just solution” to end the conflict.

Aboard Air Force Aleph (Reuters) – Speaking to reporters accompanying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his long flight to the United States tonight, Netanyahu spoke of the injustice and hardship Mexicans have endured since American forces annexed Texas in 1845. “Tens of thousands of ordinary Mexicans were driven out of their homes – the only homes they had known for centuries - and forced to live in poverty and squalor south of the border imposed by American aggression,” Netanyahu said. “The Israeli and Mexican people agree on this: This festering wound will never heal until America takes bold steps to return to the internationally accepted lines of 1845. Clearly the settlement activity that’s taken place occupied Mexico since then is illegal. When I meet the President tomorrow I will tell him to halt all building activity in Texas immediately. Two lands for two peoples, yes, but not on land taken by force from Mexico,” the Prime Minister said.

Asked if his hard-line stance could hurt the U.S.-Israel relationship, Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s commitment to America’s security and the unshakeable friendship shared by the two countries, then added, “But who was it who said, part of friendship is being able to tell your friend the truth. The ball is now in Obama’s court.”
And now it's only getting worse:

Be On The Lookout For Intellectual Terrorism!

At least that is what the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI) seems to think.

Someone forwarded me a copy of IPCRI's latest request for money from its members:
Dear Friends of IPCRI

Not enough of you took this seriously. I know that I ask a lot. I know that you receive many requests from me. I know it is easy to ignore and that we are all asked all the time to support important projects.

The financial situation for the entire peace community in Israel and Palestine is become increasingly difficult. Traditional supporters such as European governments and Foundations are being frightened away from funding these activities because of the aggressive work of groups like Im Tirtzu which try to intimidate organizations such as the New Israel Fund and its supporters, and from the intellectual terrorism of the NGO Monitor which frightens donors to shy away and even completely cease the funding of Israeli and Palestinian peace and human rights NGOs.

Mideast Media Sampler 05/26/2011

From an email from DG:
1) Two of the President's men

A few weeks ago, the New York Times reported that the President sought out the advice of "experts" such as Thomas Friedman and Fareed Zakaria to help in formulating his Middle East policies. Yesterday, Friedman wrote a column, rightly called "embarrassing" by Meryl Yourish, who wrote further:

What bothers me the most about Friedman is his absolute inability to write about the reality of the situation. He ignores the facts when they contradict his shiny worldview, using them only as instruments to bash Israelis who don’t agree with him.
Now for a fuller understanding of the President's tutelage, here's the latest from Fareed Zakaria:

Video: Bi Bi Pro America, By Noy Alooshe

The video is by Noy Alooshe, who also did the Gaddafi "Zenga Zenga" video
I guess this is how Bibi got his nickname:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Why Is Obama Backpedaling His Speech? The Same Reason The GOP Is All Smiles

With the backlash against Obama's Thursday Middle East speech--unmitigated by his interview with the BBC or his later speech to AIPAC--Republicans think they actually have a chance to attract Jewish voters--and donations:
GOP activists are confident that they’ll gain additional votes and donations from the Jewish community following President Barack Obama’s call for Israel to retreat to territory along its pre-1967 border, with “mutually agreed swaps” in any final peace settlement with Palestinian Arabs.

In London, Obama Has Not Stopped Backpedaling On His Mideast Speech

Neil Munro of The Daily Caller reports that Obama is still revising what he said in his Middle East speech last Thursday:
President Barrack Obama used his London press conference today to rewrite his politically damaging speeches on the Arab-Israeli stand-off by raising his emphasis on the need for Arabs to recognize the legitimacy of Israel’s existence.

Switzerland Refuses To Refuel Iranian Plane

The Swiss have been busy.

Besides Switzerland withholding funds from a pro-Palestinian NGO, they have also targeted Iran as well.

The Swiss have refused to refuel an Iranian plane:
The Swiss daily NZZ has reported that the international airport in Geneva is refusing to refuel Iran Air flights.

Swiss Freeze Funding Of Pro-Palestinian NGO Over Anti-Semitic Cartoon

No one can accuse Switzerland of being overly pro-Israel, but apparently there are things that even the Swiss will not stand for--such antisemitic cartoons:
The Swiss government froze its funding stream for a pro-Palestinian NGO because an anti-Semitic cartoon appeared on its website, according to a report in the Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger on Wednesday.

Hopefully, Obama Administration Knows More About The 1967 Lines Than About "Jewish Right Of Return"

On May 20, one day after Obama's Middle East speech, there was a conference call with Jewish community leaders.

Writing in The Cable, Foreign Policy Magazine's blog, Josh Rogin writes about The Jewish Right of Return:
The right of Jews to return to the Arab and predominantly Muslim countries they fled from or were kicked out of over several decades could be "on the table" as part of the Middle East peace negotiations, according to a senior White House official.

AP Factchecks Netanyahu--I Return The Favor

In FACT CHECK: Netanyahu speech ignores rival claims, the Associated Press gives the floor to Josef Federman to give what he alternatively claims is simply the Arab view or a refutation of Netanyahus's statements.

Here is what Federman wrote, with some refutations of my own--in italics:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave an impassioned defense of his approach to peace during a speech to Congress on Tuesday. But the address reflected the world view of Israel's nationalistic right wing, one of several conflicting narratives that divide Israelis and Palestinians.

Here is a sampling of Netanyahu's claims along with what he did not mention.

"Three Cheers For Terroristine!"

We need a terrorist state. Where the politicians are terrorists, the police are terrorists and even the men sitting at the desk when you come in to drop off a form are terrorists. There are states that support terrorists, and give safe harbor to them, but that's not good enough. We don't want another Pakistan or Iran. We're not half-assing it this time. What we want is the genuine article. Terrorists from the top down. Terrorists everywhere. A state where every branch of government and the entire country is nothing but terrorists.
Sultan Knish, Three Cheers For Terroristine

Obama's Muslim Outreach Has Him Backpedaling Furiously To Assuage His Jewish Base

Tuesday morning I wrote that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Breaks With Obama Over 1967 Lines As Borders For Israel

I wrote at the time that Reid was basically making it politically acceptable to break with Obama on Israel, especially in terms of what Obama said in his Mideast speech about the 1967 lines.

Now Peter Wallsten of the Washington Post writes that Democrats join Republicans in questioning Obama’s policy on Israel:

Mideast Media Sampler 05/25/2011

From an email from DG:

1) Thomas the trite

Demonstrating that he is completely impervious to anything that challenges his way of thinking, Thomas Friedman writes in "Lessons from Tahrir Square"

Being back in Cairo reminds me that there are two parties in this region that have been untouched by the Arab Spring: the Israelis and the Palestinians. Too bad, because when it comes to ossified, unimaginative, oxygen-deprived governments, the Israelis and Palestinians are right up there with pre-revolutionary Egypt and Tunisia. I mean, is there anything less relevant than the prime minister of Israel going to the U.S. Congress for applause and the leader of the Palestinians going to the U.N. — instead of to each other? 

Video: Nabil Shaath To IMRA: PA Will Hold Gilad Shalit Until After Unification

Senior Palestinian (Fatah/PA) official Nabil Sha'ath tells IMRA in an interview on May 25, that after unification the PA will be responsible for GIlad Shali--and will continue negotiating a trade with Israel:

Obama Has Become More Like Bush--Could He Please Become More Like Netanyahu Too?

Lion: Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the "ape" in apricot? What have they got that I ain't got?
Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman: Courage!
Wizard of Oz

That came to mind when considering what the difference is between Netanyahu and Obama. Not courage per se, but perhaps the courage of one's convictions...or just the convictions.

Consider Niles Gardiner, who writes that Benjamin Netanyahu shows Barack Obama what real leadership is:

Dear Andrew Sullivan and Jeffrey Goldberg: Obama's 1967 Lines Comes In 2 Flavors

So what did Obama mean when he spoke about those 1967 lines?

Well, if you ask Andrew Sullivan...well let Sullivan speak for himself:
A Joint Statement From Clinton And Netanyahu

From last November 11. Money quote:
The Prime Minister and the Secretary agreed on the importance of continuing direct negotiations to achieve our goals. The Secretary reiterated that "the United States believes that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state, based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

House Republicans Endorse Israeli Military Action On Iran

Expressing support for the State of Israel's right to defend Israeli sovereignty, to protect the lives and safety of the Israeli people, and to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the use of military force if no other peaceful solution can be found within reasonable time to protect against such an immediate and existential threat to the State of Israel.
House Resolution 271 via GovTrack

The Resolution was apparently first unveiled late last week before being introduced just yesterday by Texas Republican Louie Gohmert with 44 co-sponsors, all Republicans.

According to Foreign Policy Magazine, Resolution 271 may also be unprecedented:

Russia Stepping Back Into Middle East--But Stepping Into What? (Update: Abbas And Russia Go Way Back)

Russia is working towards getting back into the Middle East--and so far they have been successful, if Russia's latest ties with Hamas and Fatah are any indication:
Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas said they appreciated the support of Russia in their efforts to reach national reconciliation and establish a Palestinian state.

Gaza And West Bank: Human Rights Activism For Poets

Palestine is the best-kept secret in the aid industry
Emily Williams, an American project manager at a medical NGO

And now doubt it will continue to stay a secret.

This Week In Palestine gives us a description of life in the West Bank and Gaza, where we are constantly told life is unbearable--"and has all the comforts that internationals want":
While the vast majority of ex-pats living here genuinely believe in the cause of liberation, it is far from the only reason for our mass invasion. Since the International Solidarity Movement was established in 2001, over 200 NGOs have sprung up in the West Bank and Gaza.
Over 200 NGOs have been established in the West Bank and Gaza. Those numbers are no doubt an indication of the harsh life that Arabs experience on a day-to-day basis in the territories.


Not exactly.

Anne Bayefsky: Obama Is the Most Hostile Sitting President In the History of Israel

For Immediate Release:
May 24, 2011

Contact: Anne Bayefsky
(917) 488-1558

This article by Anne Bayefsky appears today on Fox News.

There is some logic in the fact that President Obama has fled the country while Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses Congress. With Obama’s comments this past week on Israel, the president now appears to many as the most hostile sitting president in the history of the Jewish state.

Mideast Media Sampler 05/24/2011 Part II

Read Mideast Media Sampler 05/24/2011 Part I

From an email from DG:
4) The Arab Spring
President Obama introduced his speech at the State Department last week with these thoughts:

The State Department is a fitting venue to mark a new chapter in American diplomacy.  For six months, we have witnessed an extraordinary change taking place in the Middle East and North Africa.  Square by square, town by town, country by country, the people have risen up to demand their basic human rights.  Two leaders have stepped aside.  More may follow.  And though these countries may be a great distance from our shores, we know that our own future is bound to this region by the forces of economics and security, by history and by faith.Today, I want to talk about this change -- the forces that are driving it and how we can respond in a way that advances our values and strengthens our security.
Let's take a look at a (not entirely) random sampling of recent headlines.

Looks Like Netanyahu Pulled It Off!

Netanyahu to Address Congress; Concessions Feared

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has received an invitation to address the U.S. Congress five weeks from now. He insists that despite international pressure for yet more concessions to the Palestinian Authority, he will, in his speech, "stand firm against those who try to dictate conditions that will leave us without security and without peace."
Artuz Sheva, April 15, 2011

That was then--but now it looks that Netanyahu pulled it off--no concessions.
From the beginning of his visit to the end: Netanyahu stood firm.

Here are some of the points Bibi made to Congress today (Hat tip: AF)

Video And Transcript Of Netanyahu's Speech Before Congress

Brief summary of key points here
CNN video of speech here

Hat tip to Elder of Ziyon for finding an embeddable version of the video of Netanyahu's speech:

Now, here is the transcript:

A Transcript Of What Netanyahu's Might Have Said To Congress

I've been looking for a transcript of Netanyahu's speech to Congress, but have not found it yet.
I did, however, find the following.
What Will Prime Minister Netanyahu Say to the US Congress?

by INN Staff

Note: This speech was actually written by MK Yaakov Katz (“Ketsaleh”), head of the National Union party, given to Prime Minister Netanyahu and sent to INN for translation and posting, in the hope that Prime Minister Netanyahu will stand firm and present its message to the government of the United States.

Dear Friends, Senators and Congressmen, Representatives of the American people who are the best friend the Jewish people have had in all of history,

The Jewish people and the state of Israel are honored that the Prime Minister of Israel is invited to stand here before both houses of the American Congress.

I wish, in the name of the Israel’s citizens, to thank you for this opportunity to talk to you.

Swapping Land Is Not Like Swapping Baseball Cards

The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.
Obama, in his AIPAC speech


c.1300, "to strike, strike the hands together," possibly imitative of the sound of hitting. The sense of "exchange, barter, trade" is first recorded 1590s, possibly from the practice of slapping hands together as a sign of agreement in bargaining. Related: Swapped; swapping. The noun in this sense is attested from 1620s.
Online Etymological Dictionary

Practical questions remain about the vague, theoretical peace process Obama has outlined last Thursday and at the AIPAC conference on Sunday.

Not the least of the problems is how Obama can tell Israel that it must sit down and negotiate with the Palestinian Arabs, while simultaneously agreeing that Israel cannot be expected to sit down and negotiate with those who do not recognize its right to exist.

That is a problem of logic--and politics.

But among the other issues is the nitty gritty problem of the logistics of making land swaps and moving Israelis out of their homes, an issue that Israel has had to grapple with before:

Obama's Map Of Jerusalem Is Wrong

Following Obama's Middle East speech on Thursday, and even after his qualifications at AIPAC on Sunday, there are still problems and inconsistencies in what Obama has been saying.

An editorial in the Washington Times notes that one of those problems is the implications of Obama's policy as it applies to Jerusalem:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Breaks With Obama Over 1967 Lines As Borders For Israel

The backlash after Obama's keynote speech on the Middle East has Democratic Party operatives scrambling to mollify the Jewish community as the president prepares to seek a second term in the White House.
Jerusalem Post, Jewish Americans ponder support for Obama, May 22, 2011

If Netanyahu's comments on Friday were a problem for Obama, what will he think about the comments Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made Monday at AIPAC, where he openly broke with Obama who said that negotiations between Israel and the Arabs must start with the 1967 lines.

Reid made a point of alluding to Obama's speech--and disagreeing with it:

Mideast Media Sampler 05/24/2011 Part I

From an email from DG:
1) The damage Bibi is doing?

Whenever you take on the President of the United States, you are taking on a risk. The President is the most powerful man in the world and rubbing him the wrong way can be your undoing. In the case of PM Netanyahu, the question is whether his challenge to the President was wise. And this isn't just because of the political damage he could incur personally, but because of the diplomatic damage Israel could suffer as a result.

Video: San Remo And The Legality Of Israel's Borders And Of The Settlements

he 1920 San Remo resolution addresses the fundamental issue of Israel's right to the land.

The following is a video of the conference last year in San Remo marking the 90th anniversary of the San Remo Conference--where the world powers transferred exclusive legal rights to the Land of Israel to the Jewish people.

A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel’s Victims of Terrorism

In The Oral Historian of Israel’s Terror War, Michael Totten interview the author of a book documenting the story of the victims of Palestinian terrorism--and its commonality with the Holocaust::
Encounter Books recently published Italian journalist Giulio Meotti’s gut wrenching book A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel’s Victims of Terrorism. At first glance I thought his title might be over-the-top. Orders of magnitude more people were murdered in the Shoah—the Nazi Holocaust—than by terrorists in Israel, but that isn’t the point. What Israel’s victims of terrorism have in common with the victims of the Nazi genocide is that they were Jews who were murdered for being Jews.

Video: Netanyahu's Monday Speech To AIPAC (With Transcript)

Netanyahu spoke at AIPAC on Sunday.
He gave a second speech at AIPAC on Monday.

Unlike Sunday's speech, where Bibi spoke at the AIPAC conference about the threat to Israel in the Middle East, here Netanyahu first spoke at length about the bond between the US and Israel, and then about peace in the Middle East.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Barry Rubin: In September, Obama’s Middle East Policy Will Collapse

Barry Rubin's posts now appear on Pajamas Media:

By Barry Rubin

Prediction: In September, President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy blows up in his (and our) face(s). It’s totally obvious and yet no one is focusing on it.

I’m not referring to the Palestinian Authority’s bid for unilateral independence at the UN. I’m referring to the Egyptian parliamentary election.

Does Israel Have To Trust Abbas In Order To Negotiate With Him?

One leader at least thinks Israel should be able to trust the people it negotiates with:
"We cannot move forward until there is some confidence that the Palestinians are able to provide the security apparatus that would prevent constant attacks against Israel from taking place."
Which Israeli leader said this?

Obama Gets The Numbers Wrong: Palestinian Population Is Not "Growing Rapidly"

Here are the facts we all must confront. First, the number of Palestinians living west of the Jordan River is growing rapidly and fundamentally reshaping the demographic realities of both Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Obama, speech to AIPAC, May 22, 2011

In playing the demographic card, the first question should be: is Obama right--is he taking Palestinian censuses at face value and if so, are they accurate.

The fact is, Palestinian polls are not reliable, in fact notoriously so.

When The Republican Candidates Debate Obama, They Should Borrow A Page From Netanyahu

I remember when McCain debated Obama, the assumption was that this was McCain's opportunity to demonstrate to Americans that experience counts.

It didn't work out that way--McCain did not score a knockout and if anything, Obama appeared to hold his own, occasionally simply agreeing with what McCain said.

When the Republicans eventually do end up with a candidate and it comes time for the presidential debates with Obama, the Republican candidate could do worse than to follow the example of Netanyahu's remarks to Obama this past Friday.

Hugh Hewitt breaks down how to successfully debate Obama:

Giyus: Hate Links to Report On Facebook And Twitter

The following is from the Giyus blog and is reposted with permission

Last week on Nakba Day we saw the results of the intense social media campaign the Palestinians led on Facebook and Twitter.

Pro Palestinians are using social media to recruit anti Israel activists and call on them to attack Israel's borders - these groups, profiles and causes are used to wage war on Israel's right to exist.

"Jordan Is Palestine" Petition To Be Delivered To The Jordanian Embassy In Israel

From an email I received:


"Jordan is Palestine" Petition to be delivered to the Jordanian Embassy in Israel

"Special Delivery" to take place in honor of Jordanian Independence Day

Netanyahu Continues to Needlessly Alienate--Or Did Obama Just Think Israel Is A Pushover?

It wasn't the content of Netanyahu's lecture that I found so shocking -- Jews, over a few thousand years, have earned a great deal of our paranoia -- but that he chose to hector the American president, an American president who, the day before, gave Netanyahu two enormous gifts -- a denunciation of the radical Islamist terror group Hamas, and a promise to fight unilateral Palestinian efforts to seek United Nations recognition as an independent state -- in public...
Jeffrey Goldberg, Netanyahu Continues to Needlessly Alienate

In addressing Let's put aside what the tone of Netanyahu's "lecture" was. After all, no one felt insulted when Obama lectured AIPAC on what a good friend he is of Israel. A key point is what exactly Obama said in his Middle East speech on Thursday.

Did Obama, in fact, denounce Hamas?
Not exactly.

Text Of Col. Richard Kemp's Speech At The ‘We Believe in Israel’ Conference

But the conspiracy that I have been discussing does not concern itself with such details as this, or with any individual policy of Israel. It seeks to undermine the right of Israel to exist as an entity. And it is this that we must stand up against, as we would stand up vigorously against any movement that seriously sought to undermine the existence of our own state. In this war of words, all that is necessary for this evil conspiracy of delegitimisation to triumph is for good men to say nothing.
Colonel Richard Kemp

Colonel was Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan--and completed 14 operational tours of duty around the globe. In October 2009, He he spoke at the United Nations Human Rights Council in response to the Goldstone report. Col. Kemp said that "based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: during operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in the combat zones than any other army in the history of warfare". The Goldstone refused to hear Col. Kemp's testimony.

Here is what Colonel Kemp said at the conference:
Lieutenant Paul Mervis was a platoon commander in the British Army’s 2nd Battalion The Rifles. His company serjeant major said of him: “In my twenty years in the Army, I have never met, nor am I likely to meet, a man who cared so much about his men. He fought the corner of every single one of them.”

Paul had a razor sharp intellect and devoured military books in his desire to gain ever greater knowledge of his chosen profession. According to his platoon serjeant: “He had our utmost respect as a platoon commander, but perhaps more so as a genuine friend.”

He had an infectious sense of humour, and was always messing about and joking like one of the lads – one of his soldiers said you could hear his laugh anywhere in the base in Afghanistan – usually at someone else’s expense!

He had time for everyone, and would go out of his way to help anyone he could. He made an enormous effort to get to know as many as possible of the 600 troops in his battalion. His men were always at the forefront of his mind, and although he was their commander, every man felt he could approach him and talk about absolutely everything. Although still a young man, Paul was like a father-figure to his soldiers.

On patrol near Sangin, central Helmand, on the morning of the 12th of June last year both of Paul’s legs were blown off by a Taliban bomb hidden in the roof of a school. His men worked desperately – desperately – to save his life, but he died soon afterwards.

With enormous personal courage, he had been leading his men from the front through an area known to be laced with explosives, putting himself in danger to protect the lives of his men, risking everything to safeguard the local people, including women and children, who had been so horrifically assaulted by the Taliban.

After his death, one of the soldiers under his command, Lance Corporal Joe Ellis, said: “The Merv-dog left us this morning, surrounded by his men. He will always be part of 10 Platoon – tough riflemen who were proud to be led by him.”

Lieutenant Paul Mervis was a Jewish soldier.

He grew up in London, and was educated at King’s College School Wimbledon. He spent a gap year in Israel, studying Hebrew. During his service in Afghanistan, His sister Hannah and brother Jack sent him a provisions parcel with matzah and dried chicken soup so that he could mark the Passover festival while on duty. Paul carried a 1936 issue Soldier’s Siddur which had previously belonged to Sergeant Dave Newman, a Jewish soldier who fought in the Battle of El Alamein in World War II.

It would have been equally possible for Paul to have opted to join the Israeli Defence Forces to realise his soldierly ambitions, as do so many young British Jewish men and women. In fact he did undergo training with the IDF during his gap year before joining the British Army.

But had he joined the IDF, instead of developing into a brave, dedicated military leader concerned for the welfare of his men and taking every conceivable step to protect the civilian population, would Paul Mervis have become a callous, brutal thug, haphazardly dropping white phosphorous into the houses of innocent civilians? Would Paul Mervis have deliberately and without qualms killed women and children? Would Paul Mervis have blown up schools, raked ambulances with machinegun fire?

Mideast Media Sampler 05/23/2011

From an email from DG:
1) What's the matter Thomas, horse got your tongue?

Yesterday, Thomas Friedman had a 2/3 good column about the Syrian uprising called They shoot horses don't they?

Towards the end he writes:

Because Syria is such a keystone nation, there is a tendency among its neighbors to hope that the Assad regime could be weakened — and therefore moderated — but not broken. Few dare trust the Syrian people to build a stable social order out of the ashes of the Assad dictatorship. Those fears may be appropriate, but none of us get a vote. Only the Syrians do, and they are voting with their feet and with their lives for the opportunity to live as citizens, with equal rights and obligations, not pawns of a mafia regime. 

Anne Bayefsky: As Americans gather at Ground Zero...

For Immediate Release:
May 20, 2011
Contact: Anne Bayefsky
(917) 488-1558

The following is scheduled to appear in DC newspapers
THE HILL and ROLL CALL on Monday, May 23, 2011.

As Americans gather at Ground Zero...

to celebrate the victory over the enemies of freedom, the United Nations is gearing up to celebrate the hate-mongering that has spawned much of the global terror the world is now forced to confront.

Tragically, the UN, whose origins were noble in theory, has been and continues to be a failure in practice. Its Human Rights Council includes countries that are the worst offenders such as Saudi Arabia, Cuba and China. Gross human rights violations, terrorism and threats of annihilation around the world are ignored, while the ongoing UN preoccupation with demonizing Israel continues unabated.

The United States Congress needs to consider the following FACTS and then move to reconsider its $6.3 billion blind subsidy of the UN:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Photo: Bibi Netanyahu And Obama In Their 20's (Ben Nitay Speaks!)

Draw your own conclusions:

Video: Obama's AIPAC Speech, With Transcript

Here is the video of Obama's speech today to AIPAC--in two parts.
I'm including again the transcript as well.

Syrians Burning Flags--Oh Wait: They're Not American Or Israeli Flags!

From Tom Gross Media: Burning The Iranian and Russian Flags in Demonstrations in Syria:
In this first video, taken yesterday (Saturday May 20) protestors in Syria burn the Iranian, Russian and Chinese flags.

This contradicts years of “expert analysis” by the Middle East editor of the BBC and others, and suggests President Bush and the neo-cons were right in their analysis that the people of Syria are less interested in opposing Israel and the United States, and more interested in gaining freedom from the regimes in Iran, Russia and China which help prop up the Assad dictatorship in Damascus.
Here's the video:

Obama Keeps Handing Palestinians More Preconditions To Demand From Israel

A week earlier, he told me bluntly that Obama had led him on, and then let him down by failing to keep pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a moratorium on settlement building in the West Bank last year. “It was Obama who suggested a full settlement freeze,” Abbas explained. “I said OK, I accept. We both went up the tree. After that, he came down with a ladder and he removed the ladder and said to me, jump. Three times he did it.”
Dan Ephron, The Wrath of Abbas, Newsweek, April 24, 2011

Obama singlehandedly created the impass that derailed the peace process by making the settlements into a precondition--an issue that up to the point was agreed to be an issue to be discussed in the negotiations themselves. Abbas just took his cue from Obama

Has Obama done it again?

Video:Israel's Security Needs Go Beyond The1967 Lines Obama Talks About

The following video was not created in response to Obama's recent speeches, but it does serve as a graphic reminder that if Obama is serious about Israel's security needs, more than just 1967 lines with minor land swaps are required.

All the talk in the world about "unprecedented" US aid to Israel is not a substitute for truly secure and defensible borders.

Obama has not clearly laid out what that means.

This video does:

Barry Rubin: Obama Mideast Speech: Not Intended To Bash Israel But Did So Anyway

This post was written by Barry Rubin -- and is reposted here with his permission.

A version of this article was published in the Jerusalem Post. I own the article and all links should be to this address. This version also has important additions so I ask that you read it here and if you forward or link please do so to this version.

By Barry Rubin

Only twenty percent of Obama’s Middle East speech dealt with Israel-Palestinian issues and that only at the end. Clearly, this was not the main theme. Obama had to say something on this subject and never intended for that to make all the headlines.

I believe the speech was not intended to bash Israel at all.

From Twitter: AIPAC On Key Points Of Obama's Speech

Here are some of the tweets from AIPAC on Obama's speech today--and some questions that remain unanswered:

Video: The Following Is NOT What Obama Said Today At AIPAC

Looking to see if there might be video up yet of Obama's speech to AIPAC, I came across this video that was posted yesterday.

There is not much semblance to today's speech--but there are some points it makes worth keeping in mind.

Transcript Of Obama's Comments To AIPAC

Here is a transcript of Obama's prepared remarks, courtesy of Politico (Hat tip: Challah Hu Akbar)

Good morning! Thank you, Rosy, for your very kind introduction. But even more, thank you for your many years friendship. Back in Chicago, when I was just getting started in national politics, I reached out to a lot of people for advice and counsel, and Rosy was one of the very first. When I made my first visit to Israel, after entering the Senate, Rosy – you were at my side every step of that very meaningful journey through the Holy Land. And I want to thank you for your enduring friendship, your leadership and for your warm welcome today.

Obama Finishes

Obama reiterated what he said before.
He did not visibly backtrack.

Those who were angry before, can continue to criticize.
Those who liked his Mideast speech on Thursday can say: I told you so.

Obama on Hard Choices

Israel must make the hard choices.
Later, admits the hard choices are its alone.

Which choices are those?

Obama Explains 1967 Borders

It's a well-known formula and refers to changes.
Allows the parties to take realities and needs on both sides.

All this sounds great.

It does however assume this is all a purely territorial conflict.

Obama on 1967 Borders

Again, 1967 borders with land swaps.
But does that mean 1967 with token swaps--or like Bush, a recognition of realities on the ground.(Obama said to BBC "facts on the ground")

Obama "Hold Palestinians Accountable For Their Actions And Their Rhetoric"

Now that would be a nice change--Obama has not done this so far.

Obama On Hamas

Goes through the calls on Hamas to recognize Israel etc.
But that has been for years.

No mention of consequences.
That would be reassuring that he plans to follow through and not just talk about it.

Obama Plays Demographic Card

How accurate is his claim on increase of Palestinian population?
We know that Palestinians have exaggerated their numbers in the past.

Obama Plays Up US Aid To Israel

He talks about 'unprecedented' levels of aid and cooperation--including examples like Iron Dome.
That's fine, to talk about maintaining Israel's qualitative edge.

But policies can potentially change with each new administration--and during the last 4 years of any 8 year term.

Secure borders though, last longer.

Technorati Tag: and and .

#Obama Now Speaking At #AIPAC http://www.aipac.org/pc/

Here we go

Technorati Tag: .

Video: Highlights Of Netanyahu's Speech At AIPAC --With Complete Transcript

First, here is the video of highlights from Netanyahu's speech--from Sunday.
(Here is the video and transcript for  Netanyahu's Monday speech to AIPAC):

(Note: see also video of Obama's speech to AIPAC with transcript)

Here is the transcript of Netanyahus speech at AIPAC, from the AIPAC site:

Video and Transcript Of Netanyahu's Remarks: History Lesson? Insult? You Decide

Here is a video of Netanyahu's remarks to Obama on Friday--remarks whose intent, not content, have been debated over the weekend:

And here is the transcript of Netanyahu's remarks, from the website of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

Sampler Of More Fallout From Obama's Mideast Speech 05/22/2011

From an email from DG:
1) Deja Vu

The NYTimes in an inspired move has reprinted a Benjamin Netanyahu op-ed from 1993, Peace in our Time

What will happen when terrorists attack Israelis in Jerusalem and return to nearby P.L.O. land? Or fire rockets from hills above Tel Aviv? The Israeli Army will have no right to enter the territory and root them out. This, believe it or not, is the "internal" responsibility of Yasir Arafat.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Barry Rubin: Obama's Middle East Speech: The Opposite of Strategy Is Catastrophe

Barry Rubin's posts now appear on Pajamas Media:

By Barry Rubin

President Barack Obama’s big Middle East speech is extraordinarily important. I think that it has been largely misinterpreted and deserves a very detailed examination. Forgive me then for analyzing it at length but that’s necessary to understand both Obama’s thinking and policy.

First and foremost, this could be called Obama’s George Bush speech.

Guardian:Palestinians Great Contribution Is The Intifada (But They Weren't The First)

CiF Watch notes the latest homage to the Palestinian Arabs to come out of The Guardian:
In another glaring example of the Guardian’s capacity to romanticize and glorify the use of violence to achieve political ends, while simultaneously showing a callous – indeed malicious – disregard for the real world consequences of such acts, today’s editorial (Middle East: Obama weaves an uncertain path, May 20) on President Obama’s speech on the Middle East included this chilling passage:
The leaders of Fatah and Hamas were obliged to reconcile by the forces stirring the Palestinian street. The negotiators of Fatah had stopped negotiating, and the fighters of Hamas had stopped fighting. Both had to respond to a simple idea: if one million Egyptians can fill Tahrir Square demanding Palestinian rights, why can’t Palestinians, who taught the Arab world how to mount insurrections, and mounted two intifadas of their own.
Read the whole thing.

But what exactly does the Guardian think is the Palestinians contribution--the word intifada?

After all, the Palestinian Arabs are certainly not the first ones in the Arab world to come up with the idea of an uprising.

Ben Dror Yemini: The Arab Apartheid

By Ben Dror Yemini 
Maariv (translated from Hebrew) 
May 14, 2011 

The real “nakba,” which is the story of the Arab apartheid. Tens of millions, among them Jews, suffered from the “nakba,” which included dispossession, expulsion and displacement. Only the Palestinians remained refugees because they were treated to abuse and oppression by the Arab countries. Below is the story of the real “nakba”

In 1959, the Arab League passed Resolution 1457, which states as follows: “The Arab countries will not grant citizenship to applicants of Palestinian origin in order to prevent their assimilation into the host countries.” That is a stunning resolution, which was diametrically opposed to international norms in everything pertaining to refugees in those years, particularly in that decade. The story began, of course, in 1948, when the Palestinian “nakba” occurred. It was also the beginning of every discussion on the Arab-Israeli conflict, with the blame heaped on Israel, because it expelled the refugees, turning them into miserable wretches. This lie went public through academe and the media dealing with the issue.