Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jonathan Rosenblum: The Hidden Costs of Delegitimization

by Jonathan Rosenblum
Yated Ne'eman
August 26, 2011

Reality returned with a vengeance to Israel last Thursday, as at least 20 terrorist infiltrators from the Sinai mounted a sophisticated multi-pronged attack across the Sinai border into Israel, about fifteen kilometers north of Eilat. Eight Israelis were killed in the attacks and the subsequent battle after IDF soldiers rushed at the scene. In addition, five Egyptian soldiers were accidentally killed by IDF forces, as the latter pursued the terrorists back across the border, creating a rift in Israeli-Egyptian relations that required the direct intervention of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to repair.

One of the most lethal terrorist attacks in recent years, followed four months of "social justice" demonstrations, in which growing numbers of demonstrators have put forth an ever expanding list of goodies, beginning with cheaper housing, even in the highest-rent districts of Tel Aviv, free day care, and, for good measure, lower taxes.

Barry Rubin: Syria: Is Iran Abandoning the Syrian Dictatorship’s Ship?

Blogged through my Android
by Barry Rubin
Here’s an interesting mystery of the day: Why are Iranian leaders starting to criticize their close ally, Syria, and imply that the regime there needs to make reforms or even leave office altogether?

There are three theories:

Arlene Kushner On Terrorism This Week -- And Latest On Palestinian Statehood Initiative

From Arlene Kushner:

August 31, 2011
"A Time of Turmoil"

Well, Kaitana Savta (Grandma Camp), which was great, is over.  I am back to normal -- whatever that means -- and prepared to resume more frequent postings.  The questions then are where to begin and what to focus on during this upside-down time.

Of primary importance is terrorism, attempted terrorism, and the threat of even more terrorism.

Late Sunday, Israel received concrete intelligence regarding Islamic Jihad plans for a second attack involving infiltration from Gaza into southern Israel via the Sinai; the plans reportedly are for the attack to be executed (once more!) along one of the roads running near the border with Sinai and to involve abduction of Israelis.  More than 10 terrorists were said to be already in Sinai, preparing.

Several actions were then taken: 

Photo: Poster About Palestinian Empty Chair For The UN

To dramatize their attempt to be recognized as a state by the United Nations, the world's most popular kleptocracy is making the rounds with a chair symbolizing what they consider their right to be seated with actual countries.

Of course, there is more than mere incompetence and corruption to the Palestinian Authority, which brings us to Elder of Zion's poster:

Video: Israel & UN Double-Standards: Durban III

The United Nations Charter promises that the organization's central principle is the equality of all men and women and of all nations large and small. The United Nations Durban Declaration and Durban conferences treat Israel differently than all other nations. The United Nations has violated that trust.

Watch the video:

Barry Rubin: You Can’t Spell “Chutzpah” Without “PA” (Palestinian Authority)

Blogged through my Android
by Barry Rubin
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has refused to condemn an attack on Israel from Egypt by an al-Qaida affiliate group that killed eight Israelis. The PA is also going to the UN to get support for a unilateral declaration of independence that violates every agreement it reached with Israel since 1993. The PA leader, Mahmoud Abbas, has said that even if Palestinians get an independent state they will continue to demand that millions of Palestinian Arabs must be allowed to go live in Israel so they can turn that into a Muslim Arab state.

Oh, and even when the PA declares that it is a Muslim Arab state (as it says in the PA Constitution) that it will refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. And on September 20, the PA is organizing massive anti-Israel demonstrations that will probably lead to violence. Did I mention that the PA is currently in partnership with Hamas—even though that isn’t working out so well—which regularly attacks Israel with rockets and mortars, as well as declaring that it’s going to kill all the Jews?

US Congressperson Ros-Lehtinen Supports New Sanctions against Syrian And Iranian Regime Officials

House Foreign Affairs Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman

CONTACT:    Brad Goehner or Andeliz Castillo (202) 225-5021, August 30, 2011
Alex Cruz (South Florida) (202) 225-8200

Ros-Lehtinen Supports New Sanctions against Syrian Regime Officials, Calls for Same Treatment for Iran’s Ahmadinejad, Khamenei

Barry Rubin: What the West Doesn’t Understand About the “`Arab Spring’ Surprise”

Blogged through my Android
by Barry Rubin
Police Inspector Praline (investigating health claims against a candy company): ”What’s this one, ‘Spring Surprise’?”

Milton (owner of Whizzo Chocolate Company): “Ah–now, that’s our specialty! It’s covered with darkest creamy chocolate. When you pop it in your mouth steel bolts spring out and plunge straight through both cheeks.”

–Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch

In effect, the Middle East is serving up the “Arab Spring Surprise.” Western observers see the dark, creamy chocolate covering. But it’s the steel bolts through the cheeks they’re going to get.

Mideast Media Sampler 08/31/2011

Blogged from my Android
From DG:

1) The Lede's defense of Larry

Along with Roger Cohen, Nicholas Kristof and Thomas Friedman, the New York Times has another writer, Robert Mackey who is reliably anti-Israel. It's little surprise, then, that Mackey has weighed in on the recent firing of Larry Derfner by the Jerusalem Post with Israeli Columnist Is Fired for Writing That Palestinian Terrorism Is 'Justified'. Anyone familiar with Mackey's work would know that he would find plenty of support for Derfner from critics of Israel and not consider anything other than what those critics would say. One would also expect plenty of misinformation.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Barry Rubin--Who's "Right-Wing?"

Blogged from my Android

Who's "Right-Wing?"

By Barry Rubin

An AFP dispatch about the firing of Derfner has been published widely throughout the world. It mentions correctly that I defended Derfner's r free speech and said he should not been fired.

There are two points in the article, however, I would like to challenge. First, is the description of me as "right-wing" and found it surprising that I defended Derfner.

I reject that entirely.

Mideast Media Sampler 08/30/2011

Blogged from my Android

From DG:

1) Assad's thugs attack Ford

A video has emerged, showing a pro-regime demonstrator, wrapping a poster of Bashar Assad around the American ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford. (h/t Tweet from LakerGMC)
A video has emerged of U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford being assaulted by a pro-regime demonstrator on the streets of Damascus last week.
The assault took place before Ford's unapproved trip to the city of Jassem on Aug 23. Ford was present at a gathering of demonstrators who support the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad outside the Cham Palace Hotel in Damascus when one demonstrator ran up to Ford and tried to wrap him in a poster that featured Assad's face.
Ford's security intervened quickly and rushed Ford to his car. The incident was then replayed in a highly produced segment on a Syrian television station owned by Mohamed Hamsho, a businessman is the brother-in-law of the president's brother, Maher al-Assad. Hamsho was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department earlier this month for siding with the Assad regime during its brutal crackdown on protesters.

 2) Terrorists in Gaza attack Palestinians

From the IDF Spokesperson, late last week:
During the attack several mortar shells hit the Erez Crossing, just as three Palestinian women and two infants were crossing back into the Gaza Strip after receiving medical treatment in Israel, causing damage to the crossing's infrastructure and an electrical shutdown. The power outage disabled gates at the crossing. Two of the women passed through safely but a third woman, along with her infant daughter, got caught between two disabled gates while rockets were falling. 

The commander of the Erez crossing and another security officer rescued the woman and her daughter. All of the Palestinian women were brought to a protected shelter at the crossing where they were given a meal for the end of the daily Ramadan fast.
Elder of Ziyon asks:
How often do you hear anyone - including these same NGOs - condemning attacks on the crossings?

3) Changes

Last week there were two similar article in the New York Times and the Washington Post; both dealt with how the changes in the Arab world (and more generally in the Middle East) were affecting Israel. Ethan Bronner of the New York Times wrote With Mideast in Turmoil, Israel Debates Strategy:
As angry rallies by Egyptians outside the Israeli Embassy in Cairo this week have shown, Israel's relationship with Egypt is fraying. A deadly exchange of rockets fired at southern Israel and Israeli airstrikes on Hamas-controlled Gaza this week showed the risk of escalation there. Damaged ties with Turkey are not improving. Cooperation with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank seems headed for trouble.
"We are witnessing a paradigm shift in front of our eyes," said a top Israeli official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "Egypt was a major stabilizer in the region, and that may be over. Coordination with the Palestinian security officials could be lost. We are concerned about Turkey."
A similarly themed article written by Joel Greenberg, Israel mulls ties with a changed Egypt was published in the Washington Post.

There is a growing realization in Israel that maintaining ties with post-revolutionary Egypt no longer depends solely on cultivating the relationship with its leaders. Adopting stances that are more acceptable to ordinary Egyptians and the various political forces emerging in that country after Mubarak's ouster has become important as well.
"There's a new factor now, the masses, who are setting the pace and dictating moves," said Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, a veteran politician and former defense minister long known for his relationships with Mubarak and senior Egyptian officials.
 The New York Times article, seems a bit better and more detailed. But both articles lack certain information.

Neither article gives a sense that Israel sacrificed the Sinai and with it, strategic depth and a wealth of natural resources, in order to achieve peace with Egypt. Israel didn't simply rely on the goodwill of a corrupt and unpopular dictator. The growing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood isn't addressed in either article; the Greenberg article simply attributes it to "ordinary Egyptians and various political forces" without naming those forces. Similarly, Bronner doesn't mention that Turkey, under Erdogan has been moving away from Israel from well before the Mavi Marmara and that Turkey has been becoming more of a radical Islamic state. Neither article is especially bad, but neither fully describes the forces in play.

Video: When the Media Gets Together to Talk About Israel...

A video from HonestReporting, taking a satirical look at how the media develops its narrative about Israel:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Barry Rubin: Larry Derfner Should Be Debated, Not Fired

Blogged from my Android, and reposted with permission.
By Barry Rubin

The Jerusalem Post columnist Larry Derfner was fired today because he wrote on his blog a statement many readers saw as justifying Palestinian terrorism against Israelis. As so often happens when people focus on a single sentence of an article, they're missing the point, or at least the most important point. It also throws away what President Barack Obama calls a teachable moment.

The issue here is not "left" versus "right" but rather what is true and what is not.

In addition, columnists should not be continued in their jobs if their writing is not interesting or is factually inaccurate, not because they write something that people don't like.

All too often nowadays the response to disagreement is to try to destroy people on the other side of the argument, to delegitimize them with name-calling and to silence them. That's not the way democratic debate is supposed to work.  If you think someone is wrong then answer the substance of the statements being made.   

I don't think Derfner should have been fired.

Barry Rubin: Trying to Manage the Post-Qadhafi Libya While Qadhafi is Still Around

Blogged from my Android

By Barry Rubin

The United States has recognized the Transitional National Council (TNC) of Libya as the provisional government of that country. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns addressed the Libyan Contact Group meeting–where else?–in Turkey, the Obama Administration's favorite Middle East mediator despite that regime being a pro-Iran Islamist government that is turning Turkey into a police state. Turkey as a role model for the Arab world, anyone?...

Larry Derfner's Firing Is "Justified", If Not "Supported"

Blogged from my Android

Larry Derfner apologized and removed the offending post from his blog.
And still, Larry Derfner Was Fired By The Jerusalem Post Today

Read Derfner below, and you see that he does not see the problem:

Derfner justifies Palestinian terrorism
He just doesn't support Palestinia terrorism.

Now, people support the firing of Derfner.
Regardless of whether or not it is justifiable.

Mideast Media Sampler 08/29/2011

Blogged from my Android

From DG:
1) Interview with Rep. Allen West

The Jerusalem Post's Herb Keinon had a fascinating interview with Rep. Allen West of Florida. (via Israel Matzavmemeorandum)

You are meeting tomorrow with the Palestinian Authority leadership. What is your message to them?
There is one very simple question I would ask: Do you really believe you are a credible peace partner? Because I think with the reconciliation pact with Hamas, that is a very telling thing. The fact is that they are trying to back-door the process by going to the UN for a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, when we don't have a firm recognition of Israel, we don't have the renouncing of terrorism. I would also ask, what is a Palestinian state? It is something that never existed before.And even the word Palestine.

You take it back to Palestina – which comes from Philistia – which was nothing but a declaration by Roman Emperor Hadrian in 73 AD.

This is a region, it is not anything tied to a certain group of people; it would be just the same as saying we should have an Appalachian state, separate from North Carolina. It's those questions I'd like to ask.
Rep West's Twitter feed is @AllenWest

2) Another reason Megrahi's release was a disgrace

Supposedly now Abdel Basset el-Megrahi is near death (via memeorandum) His release two years ago, on humanitarian grounds, was a slap in the face to all those who lost loved ones in the Pan Am 103 bombing. It was also a slap in the face to the family and friends of Yvonne Fletcher.

Yvonne Fletcher, 25, was killed when officials inside the Libyan Embassy in London opened fire on a demonstration. The Libyans inside the embassy were eventually allowed to leave Britain and no one has ever been charged with the crime.
Libya's opposition National Transitional Council, which controls most of the country, is "fully committed to resolving" the case, a Foreign Office spokesman said on condition of anonymity because of government policy.
Obviously this a maneuver to gain credibility in the West. It would, of course, be a positive gesture for the National Transitional Council to help Britain get those responsible. But doing the right thing here, shouldn't be confused with general righteousness. The council has every reason to make the apparently deposed Qaddafi look bad. Their actions when no self-interest is evident will be important.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Barry Rubin: Why the Ground Zero Mosque Won't Be Built

Sent from my Android

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 06:02 AM PDT
By Barry Rubin
Readers of my column know that I have written repeatedly that the "Ground Zero" mosque would never be built for reasons having nothing to do with politics. The main financiers and the imam have gotten into one legal problem after another and Allstate Insurance Company is now launching a major lawsuit </a>for fraud against one of them.

From the start, it seemed to me that the whole project was designed as something of a scam by shady characters to get lots of money from the contributions of the Saudis and others. In other words, the controversial and triumphalist aspects of the mosque were a public relations' scheme designed to win millions of dollars from the Muslim-majority world's millionaires. When the money didn't materialize--the controversy didn't help matters--the whole thing fell apart.

And now a word from our sponsor: The "Ground Zero" mosque hoped for millions of dollars in Saudi and other oil money. We don't have the Saudis or George Soros, but the GLORIA Center is going to give you more accurate news and analysis on the Middle East than anything funded by them. So please give a donation, no matter how small, and it's tax-deductible in the US! Tax-deductible donation by PayPal or credit card: click Donate button: Checks: "American Friends of IDC." "For GLORIA Center" on memo line. Mail: American Friends of IDC, 116 East 16th St., 11th Fl., NY, NY 10003.

Read the whole article:

Barry Rubin: A Lesson from Egypt for American Politics

by Barry Rubin
A wise president puts into effect policies that work.
A smart president sees his policies aren’t working and changes them.
An Egyptian president says the Israelis ate my homework
This American president says that the Japanese earthquake ate my economy
–Barry Rubin, The Article You’re Reading Right Now

Recently, the Egyptian minister of agriculture blamed the fact that some exported food products were infected with bacteria and killed almost 50 European consumers on an Israeli plot. The deputy prime minister explained that Muslim-Christian strife in Egypt (i.e,, Muslim extremists attacking Christians) is fomented by Israel. Internal conflict is generally blamed on the triumvirate of Israel, America, and Saudi Arabia.

Happy Birthday Gilad Shalit

Today is Gilad Shalit's birthday.
Here is a video from StandWithUs to commemorate it.

Barry Rubin Interview About Libya On National Review

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

By Barry Rubin

I'm interviewed by Katherine Jean Lopez (KJL) of National Review (Watching Tripoli: Arab Spring Dominos Falling?). The text here updates very slightly the published text.

KJL: Is there any question Qaddafi is going to leave Libya? How could that change things?

RUBIN: The latest trends in the fighting are against him. More than at any other time, the rebel advance threatens his survival. And as we saw recently with the British, the NATO allies are intervening more to help the rebels win, going far beyond protecting civilians.

Again, and this is not in any way to sympathize with Qaddafi, the NATO countries and the United States are doing nothing to protect civilians from the rebels. There is a lot of looting, wanton destruction, and human-rights abuses when they take over. No action or public protest comes from Europe or the Obama administration.

Another interesting development is the clear tribal divisions among the rebels and the emergence of a Berber movement that might seek some autonomy if Qaddafi is defeated.

But that war over who is going to rule Libya is a long way from being over.

KJL: What are you most worried about in Tripoli?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Larry Derfner's Apology--And What It Reveals About The Left's Understanding Of The Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Larry Derfner has apologized:
I have an apology to make for "The awful, necessary truth about Palestinian terror," which I posted here and on Facebook on Sunday. I didn't mean to say anything "good" about Palestinian terror against Israelis - I see nothing good in it whatsoever, and I thought I made that clear, but I see now that I didn't.

Activists Launch #Tweet4Shalit: Twitter Campaign for Gilad Shalit’s 5th Birthday in Captivity



Isaac Yerushalmi

Activists Launch Twitter Campaign for Gilad Shalit’s 5th Birthday in Captivity

Tel Aviv, Israel, August 26, 2011 — American human rights activists are launching a new social media campaign on Twitter to raise awareness of the plight of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The grassroots campaign, titled #Tweet4Shalit, hopes to rally thousands of tweeters on the week of Gilad Shalit’s 5th birthday in captivity.

UN Ready To Recognize A Palestinian State That Doesn't Represent Palestinian Rights

Like that's a surprise.

Guy Goodwin-Gill, a lawyer who wrote an opinion opposing the Israeli security fence for the International Court of Justice in 2004 now writes a legal opinion challenging the PLO statehood bid.

One of the central issues at stake is that UN recognition of a Palestinian state would lead to the creation of a state that does not represent Palestinian rights:

Barry Rubin: Middle East Terrorist Scams and the Western Naivete that Empowers Them

by Barry Rubin
Rockets from the Gaza Strip continue to pound Israel. And much of the Western media blames: Israel. I want to explain again how this system works.

What follows is a seven-point pattern that goes something like this: Someone shoots at your spouse, you punch the attacker, he yells, “Ceasefire!” then kicks you in the groin and takes some more shots at your spouse. You try to defend yourself. The police stand by doing nothing and then declare you to be the aggressor for breaking the ceasefire.

Video: Latma--The Israeli Minister of Apology Affairs (And An Example Of The RIGHT Way To Apologize)

This week's Latma is especially on target.
Topical as always.

Mideast Media Sampler 08/26/2011

From DG:
1) The One Sided Ceasefire

On Wednesday, the Washington Post's Joel Greenberg reported:

tenuous cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip was punctured Wednesday by a deadly Israeli airstrike that triggered rocket and mortar fire at Israel.
The airstrike killed one, Ismail Asmar, a leader of Islamic Jihad.

What ceasefire did Israel puncture?

Arlene Kushner: What Ceasefire?

From Arlene Kushner:

August 26, 2011
"What Ceasefire?"
Because of time restraints, this will be short.  But I wanted to do at least a basic update on the situation here, with more hopefully to follow before long.
After a three day period of relative quite, matters have heated up again.  In the past 48 hours, there have been salvos of mortars and rockets coming from Gaza and aimed at Israel's south.  We're talking about dozens of rockets, including Kassams and Grad Katyushas -- with some 20 shot during the night last night.   
Beersheva, Ashkelon, Sderot, Ofakim, Netivot and other towns in the region have been targeted.  One baby was slightly injured and one house suffered serious damage.
The Iron Dome defense system has taken out some of the rockets, but the terrorists launching them have attempted to overwhelm the system by sending a large number at the same time.  There are two batteries of the Iron Dome currently in place and a third is scheduled for installation.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


This coming week is Gilad's 25th birthday, marking his 5th birthday in captivity.
Please go to the #Tweet4Shalit website where you can tweet his wish for freedom

Technorati Tag: and .

It's Happening Again: The Media Can't Keep Tabs On Who Is Violating The Ceasefire

CAMERA writes that the media has no problem reporting on Israeli retaliation to rockets fired from Gaza, but the media does seem to forget to mention those rockets Israel is responding to: AFP Rewrites Post-Ceasefire Violence:
Agence France Presse (AFP) falsely claims today that until Israel hit Islamic Jihad fighter Ismail al-Ismar last night, Palestinian groups respected the truce. Ignoring Palestinian rocket attacks launched Monday (Aug. 22), AFP repeatedly rewrites the order of violent incidents that have been carried out since terror groups in Gaza agreed to an informal ceasefire Sunday, Aug. 21.

For instance, the article headlined "Islamic Jihad: 'We will halt rockets if Israel stops raids'" (12:49 PM GMT) echoes Islamic Jihad propaganda, with the reporter accepting as fact the group's false claim:

Is Now The Time For Israel To Take Back The Philadelphi Corridor?

It's not as if it's a new idea:
Wikipedia has background on the Philadelphi Corridor and its significance:

In The End, What Choice Will Bibi Have?

The state of Israel will not tolerate terrorism against its citizens, and the Israel Defense Forces will do all it can to protect the citizens of Israel.
IDF Blog, Sleepless Night of Rocket Fire in Southern Israel, August 25, 2011


The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, and will not hesitate to respond with strength and determination to any element that uses terror against the State of Israel and until calm is restored.
IDF Blog, In Response to Rocket Fire, IAF Targets Three Sites in Gaza, August 25, 2011

But so far, the response of the IDF has clearly been restrained--no Operation Cast Lead here. The question is whether the directed retaliation of the IDF will be enough to "protect the citizens of Israel" and ensure that "calm is restored".

In that context, P David Hornik asks How much longer Israel's "restraint"?:

Who's Gonna Tell Hezbollah That The Hariri Tribunal Is Opening 3 More Inquiries?

At a time when tensions in the region are increasing, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is investigating 3 other attacks connected to the assassination of Rafik Hariri:
The U.N.-backed court investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has widened its probe to cover three other attacks they believe could be linked, the court announced Friday.

For Israel, The Old Rules Don't Apply

At the height of the "Arab Spring" those who consistently recommended Israeli concessions for peace decided that this new unique situation demanded a novel, brave and dynamic approach--Israeli concessions.

In an editorial in Haaretz, Moshe Arens notes that the "Arab Spring" at this point offers not so much an opportunity, as a lesson:
It is now 34 years since Israel agreed to turn the Sinai peninsula over to Egypt as part of the peace treaty signed by Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat. Although many do not like to be reminded of it, Sadat was a dictator. The peace treaty survived his assassination four years later, when he was replaced by Mubarak. Whether it will survive the downfall of Mubarak is not clear at the moment.

When it was signed, Arab dictatorships were considered to be a permanent feature of the Middle East. It seemed obvious that Israel had to make peace with Arab dictators, and that the formula for making peace with them was "territories for peace" - giving up territorial strategic assets for peace with a dictator.

Barry Rubin: What’s REALLY Happening in the Middle East Today

by Barry Rubin
A few hours ago I wrote that the Egyptian military government reportedly told Israel that a major Israeli offensive into the Gaza Strip might create an out-of-control situation in Egypt. The Egyptian generals weren’t being threatening or hostile, they were saying that they could either not control a wave of violence that would result or perhaps be unable to resist demands for strong action. For this and other reasons, Israel has not retaliated.

Mideast Media Sampler 08/25/2011

From DG:
1) The end of a chapter of history?

Jim Hoagland in What we've learned in Libya:

Gaddafi’s downfall brings us closer to closing a dark chapter in Arab history — an era when dictators spent their vast oil revenue to finance international terrorism against the West as well as to suppress their own people. OPEC’s oil price revolution in 1973 started that era, which began to end with the overthrow of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Syria’s Bashar al-Assad is next in history’s sights. The ruling minority Alawite clan has used protection money muscled out of the Saudis and other Gulf Arab oil producers — and lavish payoffs from Iran’s regime — to give cash and arms to the killers of U.S. Marines, a former Lebanese prime minister and many others. 
The truth is that we don't know if this chapter is over. Will the new leaders be any better than the old ones?  Though not Arab, Iran's rulers still seem well entrenched; Saudi Arabia's too.

I thought this description, though, was ironic.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Palestinian Paper Maan Sure Knows How To Spin A Good Story

Maan News Agency boasts that it is "among the most browsed websites in the Palestinian territories with over 3 million visits per month" and "Considered the main source of independent news from Palestine".

So much the worse for the rest of us.

Earlier this week, they came out with the story--Doctor: Israel using new weapons against Gaza
The head of an emergency ward in a Gaza hospital said Monday that Israel was using new and more brutal weapons against the Gaza Strip, after a deadly attack Thursday in Israel.

Barry Rubin: With Glenn Beck By The Temple’s Walls

by Barry Rubin
Glenn Beck’s program in Israel went off without a hitch, ending in a rally on the southern side of the Old City of Jerusalem. About 1000 people were in attendance, mostly Americans who’d come to Jerusalem at Beck’s urging but with a sprinkling of Israelis, including a fair proportion of Orthodox.

With the Old City wall’s to his right and in front of him, and the al-Aqsa mosque looming quite close on his right, Beck handled himself with a mixture of audaciousness toward his enemies and sensitivity toward his friends. He announced a global movement, to be headquartered in Texas, to encourage average people to act against injustice though the details of its scope and goals weren’t clear.

Will Obama Address The Issue Of WMD In Libya?

Here we go again: West anxious over Libya's chemical weapons cashes:
End of Gaddafi regime leaves US, Europe deeply concerned over future of Libya's massive chemical weapons arsenal; with steps already being taken to ensure WMDs don’t fall into wrong hands

As the world watches deposed Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi's forces take their last stand in Tripoli, western intelligence officials are trying to follow the trail of Libya's chemical weapons arsenal, and especially its mustard gas caches.

Barry Rubin: Egyptians in Terror Attack? Warning from Egypt to Israel? Where is U.S. Leadership? Playing Golf

by Barry Rubin
To begin with, President Obama’s supporters are praising him for having overthrown Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qadhafi at no cost in American lives. I predict that the situation will break down within months into factional infighting, atrocities against civilians, and become a general mess. The main likelihood is not of an Islamist takeover but of rather nasty anarchy. While Obama’s team are crowing today they will be eating crow–or more likely be blaming somebody else–by early next year at the latest.

In his column for NowLebanon, entitled “Qaddafi’s fall, Obama’s vindication,” Hussein Ibish gushes:

Video: Jewish Legal Rights To The Land According To International Law --With Text Of Executive Summary

Give Peace A Chance is a website created to present a short documentary about Israel’s legal rights in the context of the planned unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state at the UN in September.

Below is a 15 minute documentary. You can also receive a more substantial written presentation about the same issue, authored by a respected international lawyer.

You are encouraged to pass on this short documentary to friends and colleagues--it is important that historical facts and universal principles of international law are presented and upheld in the international community.

The simple message of Give Peace A Chance to Israelis as well as Palestinians is:
– Give peace a chance by unconditionally returning to the negotiating table to peacefully solve the conflict in the Middle East.
They believe that any lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians needs to be based on historical facts and international law and not on unilateral actions.

The 15 minute film about a new perspective for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians based on the discovery of the formerly classified minutes from the San Remo peace conference of April, 1920. This long hidden document explains the legal rights of the Jews as well as the Palestinians. By returning to the negotiating table and respecting historical facts and international law the film believes there can be real peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Attacking Israeli Flag Conveys Hero Status On Some--But Not All

In Egypt, taking down--and burning--the Israeli flag automatically confers hero status:
Ahmad A-Shahat says he 'insisted on climbing on the roof and take down the flag of the Zionist entity because that was one of the goals of the revolution – to depose Mubarak and all his friends, among them the Zionist entity'

"When I went up the steps of the embassy, I thought of the blood of the Egyptian victims," that was how Ahmad A-Shahat described his "act of heroism," which won the support of the masses in Egypt – taking down the Israeli flag from its embassy building in Cairo.

The unknown Egyptian managed to climb on the embassy's roof on Saturday, switch the Israeli flag with the Egyptian one to the cheers of thousands, and then burn the Israeli flag.
A-Shahat may have been an "unknown Egyptian" at the time, but we'll have to see if Andy Warhol's rule applies to the Middle East.

Meanwhile, back in the West, it seems that not everyone who abuses the Israeli flag gets hero status.

An attack on the Israeli flag by a student at St. Andrews in Scotland was recognized as a racist act:
Paul Donnachie, 19, put his hands down his trousers then rubbed them on a flag belonging to Jewish student Chanan Reitblat.

Donnachie also accused Mr Reitblat of being a terrorist during the incident at the halls of residence in March.

The case against his co-accused Samuel Colchester, 20, was found not proven.

Donnachie has been expelled from St Andrews and Mr Colchester has been suspended for one year.
The incident was not just dismissed as or played down, as is likely would have happened even in the US. It was handled in court:
Cupar Sheriff Court had earlier heard evidence from Mr Reitblat, a chemistry student on a one-term exchange from the Jewish Yeshiva University in New York, who said he felt "violated and devastated" by the incident.

...Sheriff Charlie Macnair told Donnachie, a history student and member of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, that he was satisfied he had behaved the way he had towards the Jewish student because Mr Reitblat was a citizen of the State of Israel.

He said: "This flag was his personal property. I consider that your behaviour did evince malice towards Mr Reitblat because of his presumed membership of Israel.

"I'm satisfied that you said Israel was a terrorist state and the flag was a terrorist symbol and I also hold that you said that Mr Reitblat was a terrorist."
Apparently, words and actions really do have consequences in some parts of the world.

For his part, Donnachie was quoted as saying:
This is a ridiculous conviction. I'm a member of anti-racism campaigns, and I am devastated that as someone who was fought against racism I have been tarnished in this way.
That only goes to show you how cheap the price of admittance is to the glorious world of self-proclaimed anti-racist human rights activists. It also demonstrates the kind of behavior that is supposed to be excused by cloaking oneself in the mantle of a defender of 'anti-racism'.

Scotland deserves a lot of credit.

As for Donnachie, maybe Donnachie should himself consider going on a student exchange program?
To Egypt.

Technorati Tag: and .

How Much Credit Does Obama Get For Libya?

I received an email that paraphrased Mark Levin's broadcast last night that by handing the ball off to NATO, and placing the US forces under their command, Obama by definition was not leading the operation as commander-in-chief.

Among Levin's points:

Mideast Media Sampler 08/24/2001

From DG:
1) Moammar Scaramanga?

From Babylon and Beyond:
Footage is still emerging online of rebels seizing control of Moammar Kadafi's Tripoli compound on Tuesday, including some odd images of fighters with looted gold-plated guns.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Daniel Pipes: Libyan Blues

Isn't there anyone who is really optimistic about what comes next for Libya?
I mean optimistic and knows what he's talking about.

I suppose it would help once the dust really settles...

Libyan Blues

by Daniel Pipes
August 22, 2011

Many are ready to party about the political demise of the hated, eccentric, and foul Mu'ammar al-Qaddafi as rebel troops move into Tripoli. I am not partying. Here's why not.

Barry Rubin: Why an Earthquake in America Is Propaganda for Middle Eastern Anti-Americans

by Barry Rubin
You can bet that the leadership in Iran and other countries; many Middle East media outlets; and revolutionary Islamist groups will proclaim that the earthquake that hit Washington and the area around it to be the work of divine intervention to smite the evil American rulers. Remember, this is the evil U.S. government of President Barack Obama, who thinks he’s proven himself the friend of Muslims and Arabs beyond any doubt. They will view it as proving that the final triumph of Islam is at hand.

It would not matter much if a small fringe of extremists believed this but the size of that group will be far larger. To understand that this kind of thing takes place and is really meaningful is very hard for Western observers.
Continue reading Why an Earthquake in America Is Propaganda for Middle Eastern Anti-Americans

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). His latest book is Israel: An Introduction, to be published by Yale University Press in January 2012. You can read more of Barry Rubin's posts at Rubin Reportsand now on his new blog, Rubin Reports, on Pajamas Media

Technorati Tag: and .

From An Imam In Egypt And A Rally In London--The Call Goes Out To Kill Jews

Not surprisingly, an imam has ruled that Muslims have an obligation to kill Jews:
A senior cleric in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has declared that ordinary Egyptians are obligated to kill 'Zionists' whom they encounter. According to Arutz Sheva Arab affairs expert Dalit Halevy, the pronouncement is part of a general wave of incitement that directly endangers Israelis who are currently in Egypt.

Photo: DC Earthquake Devastation--And Other Reactions To The Earthquake

Many thanks to DG who emailed me this photo of the extent of the earthquake devastation from Posterous:

Video: Daniel Pipes On Panel About The Future Of The Arab Spring--And Israel

I came across this and thought the issues were interesting, so I am passing it on, here.
Daniel Pipes participated on an Australian Broadcast Corporation show, "Q&A: Adventures in Democracy" which covered a number of topics, including the Middle East and Israel.

Here is the video, followed by a transcript of just the topics relating to Israel and the Middle East:

NGO Monitor Blasts Amnesty For Not Sufficiently Condemning Those Launching Rockets At Israel

NGO Monitor is closely tracking NGO statements regarding the August 18 terrorist attacks in Israel. Amnesty International's statement makes a false comparison between the murder of Israeli civilians and the subsequent response of the Israel Defense Forces, and omits key details about the events. Our analysis was featured in the Jerusalem Post story below.

AI says Israel puts civilians at risk, while Gerald Steinberg, NGO Monitor's president, says the rights group 'draws a false equivalence' and 'makes a complete mockery of international law'
August 23, 2011

The Jerusalem-based human rights watchdog organization NGO Monitor sharply criticized Amnesty International's response to last week's Palestinian attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers, which resulted in the killing of eight Israelis and scores of wounded.

Prof. Gerald Steinberg, NGO Monitor president, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that "instead of issuing a strong condemnation of the August 18 Palestinian terror attacks, Amnesty International's statement draws a false equivalence between cold-blooded murder and self defense that targeted those responsible."

Photo: Mezuzah On The Door Of A Kosher Japanese Restaurant

Forwarded to me by a friend

Barry Rubin: A Tale of Two Intellectuals: Treasuring or Despising Freedom

by Barry Rubin
In a real sense, there was more intellectual freedom in the Arabic-speaking world in 1930 or 1940 then there is today. Long years of nationalist dictatorship have been more repressive than the oligarchical democracies of the pre-1952 (the year an Egyptian military coup brought in the era of Arab nationalist rule), while the power of Islamic and Islamist intimidation is far stronger today, being so well organized and ideologically self-conscious.

Consider this little tale, which encapsulates a great deal about Multiculturalism, Political Correctness, and the folly of our contemporary world. Tahar ben Jelloun, born in Morocco, is a very successful writer in France. He migrated to France in 1971 at the age of 26.

As the Paris Review describes him:
Continue reading A Tale of Two Intellectuals: Treasuring or Despising Freedom

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). His latest book is Israel: An Introduction, to be published by Yale University Press in January 2012. You can read more of Barry Rubin's posts at Rubin Reportsand now on his new blog, Rubin Reports, on Pajamas Media

Technorati Tag: and .

Video: Ehud Yaari on Iran's Gaza Missile Gambit, Iron Dome and Cairo Protests Against Israel

Interview by Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Wiesenthal Center interviews Middle East Analyst Ehud Yaari, who gives analysis on the main reason behind Iran's Gaza Missile Gambit, Why Hezbollah is quiet (so far), the Post-Tahrir Sq trouble in Cairo--with over 100 groups urging the government to sever ties with Israel and Iron Dome's surprising- and promising results.

Mideast Media Sampler 08/23/2011

From DG:
1) Celebrating Qaddafi's defeat

The New York Times, which has had a history of shilling for the Qaddafi regime (that doesn't include this fawning profile of Aisha el-Qaddafi, Moammar's daughter, from April) is now celebrating Qaddafi's final hours.

For more than 40 years, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi has dominated and terrorized Libya — his image plastered on what seemed like every wall and his goons posted on every corner. Late Monday, with rebel fighters in substantial control of Tripoli, he was nowhere to be found, and his regime seemed to be collapsing

Monday, August 22, 2011

Barry Rubin: Libya: The Dictator Has Fallen! Long Live [Fill in the Blank]!

by Barry Rubin
As NATO jets bombed the military positions of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the watching rebels cheered, “Allah Akhbar!” Now that is a common Muslim expression, not just used by Islamists, and yet there is something symbolic about it. Allah did not bring the rebels victory, the United States and Europe did. Nevertheless, Allah will get the credit.

And that means the triumph will be attributed to the rebels’ piety rather than the West’s warplanes. In political terms, Islamism is likely to be more attractive than a pro-Western stance. But that doesn’t mean Libya will be an Islamist state; it merely means it won’t be a democratic, pro-Western one.
Continue reading Libya: The Dictator Has Fallen! Long Live [Fill in the Blank]!

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). His latest book is Israel: An Introduction, to be published by Yale University Press in January 2012. You can read more of Barry Rubin's posts at Rubin Reportsand now on his new blog, Rubin Reports, on Pajamas Media

Technorati Tag: and .

Arlene Kushner On Israel's War Option--Or Lack Of One

From Arlene Kushner

22 August '11


All the talk of taking down Hamas, acting to create a strong deterrence, etc. etc. As flat now as yesterday's soda.

One might think that it would be a substantial relief knowing that we have managed to steer away from war. But that relief is hard to come by when the truth is that we've not steered away from war so much as delayed it. And, just possibly, delayed it in a fashion that ultimately will make matters more difficult down the road.


Things are slowing down, with expectation that quiet will be established soon. Or -- as I suspect -- is it just "relative" quiet that we're going to settle for?

A great deal of unease remains.

Who Puts The "Orthodox" In Orthodox Rabbi?


Rabbi Avi Shafran

The recent suggestion by the rabbi of a West Coast Orthodox congregation that one of the birchos hashachar (morning blessings) recited each day by Torah-observant Jews be eliminated—he sees it as insufficiently enlightened—is a reminder of an unpleasant but pressing task facing the Jewish community: To define the word “Orthodox.”

Mideast Media Sampler 08/22/2011

From DG:
1) The phone excuse

As far as I can tell, the interview hasn't been published yet by Time magazine. The Jerusalem Post reports:

Lebanese State Prosecutor Saeed Mirza on Saturday denied reports made by one of the four Hezbollah members indicted for the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri that the government in Beirut knows his location but is unable to arrest him, Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper reported.

Barry Rubin: Glenn Beck and Christian Supporters: Love for Israel; Egypt: Building War Hysteria

by Barry Rubin
The first event in Glenn Beck’s series of events in support of Israel was an outstanding success, though walking through a minefield of sensitivities. Held in the historic Roman-build coliseum in Caesarea, the program mixed Christian and Jewish themes—stressing the commonality of world views and spiritual values.

Beck estimated that 60 percent of the audience was Israeli and Jewish, and many of them were Orthodox, a sign that this community, at least in Israel, isn’t afraid of allying with Evangelical Christians In addition, Beck organized viewing parties around the world, including in some Muslim-majority countries where even watching a pro-Israel event over computers would have to be done in secret.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

IDF's Ongoing Timeline Tracing The Terrorist Attacks, From Thursday Till Now

The IDF has an updated timeline of what it is referring to as Terror in the South.
Keep in mind that the times are given according to Israeli time.
On Thursday, August 18, 2011, eight people were killed and at least 40 others injured in a string of terror attacks on buses, civilian vehicles and soldiers near the Israel-Egypt border. In a premeditated attack, terrorists from Gaza targeted Israeli civilians, who were 20km from reaching Eilat, a popular tourist destination for summer vacations. 
Following one of the worst terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians in recent years, terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired almost 90 rockets into major Israeli population centers. In response, the IDF targeted several sites of terror activity
The below post will be updated as this event continues to unfold. Follow @IDFSpokesperson on twitter for real-time updates.

Monday, 22/8

  • 01:14 - Hamas-run Gaza rocket just struck southern Israel community.

Arlene Kushner On The "Ceasefire"

From Arlene Kushner:

August 21, 2011
"In Flux" 
Briefly, that's the sum of it.  The situation in the South is fluid -- with outcome uncertain.
There is an enormous feeling here in Israel that strong deterrence is essential.  We cannot tolerate aggression against our civilians -- what is required is a rapid and painful response that delivers a message: You hurts ours, and you will suffer.  Barak's comment today was, "You attack us, you lose your head." 
A good position.  A necessary position. 
But now what?

Barry Rubin: Uh-Oh, A Foretaste of The New Democratic Egypt: Radical Nationalists and “Liberal Islamists”

by Barry Rubin
There is still confusion regarding some details of the terrorist assault by Gaza Palestinians affiliated with al-Qaida, from Egypt, into Israel, and then back into Egypt. Israeli survivors of the attack say the terrorists were wearing Egyptian army uniforms.

At one point, either confused or after the terrorists hid among a group of Egyptian soldiers dressed the same way, Israeli soldiers fired and reportedly killed three real Egyptian soldiers. Israel has apologized in line with international norms.

Amr Moussa, the man most likely to be Egypt’s next president and known for his hatred of Israel and strong dislike of the United States (a radical nationalist who opposes Islamism but might make a deal with the Brotherhood to get into power and to govern thereafter) gives a foretaste of his demagagic tendencies if elected. He tweeted:

UN: Eilat Terrorist Attack Cannot Be Condemned Unless Israel Condemned For Killing The Terrorists

It's not the UN per se that stood in the way of a condemnation. Lebanon refused to allow the UN Security Council to condemn the terrorists:
Lebanon's representative to the U.N. Security Council said it would endorse a condemnation of the attacks only if the council were to condemn Israel as well, for killing the terrorists who planned the massacre.

Lebanon refused to call the attacks “terrorism,” arguing that the attacks were not legally terrorism because one of the buses the attackers fired on had been carrying soldiers.

Barry Rubin--Glenn Beck is Correct on the Middle East; Let’s Analyze Why That’s True

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

By Barry Rubin

This article was published in the Jerusalem Post. I own the copyright and have made some additions in this text to provide some fuller explanation of several points so I ask that you read and link to this version.

Having studied the Middle East professionally for 35 years and with a PhD in Middle East history, let me make it perfectly clear: Glenn Beck, who is holding several rallies in Israel this week, has a better grasp of Middle East politics than most Western experts, not to mention Western leaders.

Certainly, Beck makes silly mistakes on factual matters and details. Yet what’s important is that he comprehends the big picture.

Barry Rubin: Obama Administration’s Eyes Are Closed on Completely Predictable Middle East Crises

by Barry Rubin

A Hollywood mogul once explained that he didn’t get headaches, he gave headaches to others. President Barack Obama’s determination not to give headaches to America’s enemies guarantees that he brings them onto U.S. interests. Here are examples happening right now and certain to blow up before the November 2012 elections.

Iraq and Afghanistan: Obama plans to withdraw U.S.combat troops by December 31 from Iraq and next year from Afghanistan. A “logical” American official, not understanding how things work in the Middle East, would say:

Arlene Kushner On The Terrorist Attacks And UN Refusal To Condemn

August 20, 2011
Motzei Shabbat (After Shabbat)

"Rocket Barrage Continues"

Early today the Hamas military wing, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, announced that the "lull" -- the informal period of quiet -- with Israel had ended. 

Hamas’ military wing talks tough Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

It has not been quiet for some time now -- with intermittent rocket attacks for which various "resistance" groups, but not Hamas itself, have claimed  responsibility.  Now a Brigades spokesman declared that any quiet is past, because of the "massacre" Israel is committing against the Palestinian people -- a reference to the retaliation by Israel following the terror attack near the border with the Sinai on Thursday.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Video: Israel & UN Double-Standards--Durban III

The United Nations Charter promises that the organization's central principle is the equality of all men and women and of all nations large and small. The United Nations Durban Declaration and Durban conferences treat Israel differently than all other nations. The United Nations has violated that trust.
Here is the video:

Barry Rubin: Breaking News: Terrorists Attack Egyptian Army; More Details on Terror Attack From Egypt

by Barry Rubin

A gunfight is going on in the early afternoon of Friday between terrorists, probably from the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees, an al-Qaida affiliate, and the Egyptian army. The battle is taking place on the Egyptian side of the border near where terrorists killed 8 Israelis on Thursday.

At least two suicide bombers have targeted Egyptian soldiers in the area. No casualty figures are available. It is estimated that between seven to ten terrorists are involved. On Thursday, Israeli forces believe that they killed seven terrorists, though two of the bodies are on the Egyptian side of the border.

Official Israeli estimates now say 27 Israelis were wounded in the terror attack. The terrorists deployed four improvised explosive devices designed to kill civilians on Israeli territory. Two were captured intact by Israeli forces. So far, they are believed to be similar to those used in previous Palestinian attacks.

Israeli forces attacked Popular Resistance Committee targets in the Gaza Strip. Among the dead was one of the group’s leaders.

This group killed three U.S. government employees almost five years ago to the day. The men were security guards for State Department officials distributing scholarships to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The U.S. government at the time demanded that the Palestinian Authority, which then ruled the Gaza Strip, arrest and imprison those responsible. But while the Palestinian Authority promised to do so, no action was every taken and the men remained free. The U.S. government has taken no action regarding this terrorist attack or the PA”s refusal to help.