Friday, December 30, 2011

Jonathan Rosenblum: Hammering Hammerman On The Tebow Issue

by Jonathan Rosenblum

The irrational fear and loathing of believing Christians on the part of non-Orthodox Jews and their utter lack of reticence in expressing that loathing endangers Jews in America. The latest evidence: a screed attacking Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow by one Joshua Hammerman, an "egalitarian" Jewish clergyman and J Street Board member from Connecticut.

Tebow is the NFL player most vocal about his religious faith and most prone to expressing his gratitude to G-d for his on-field successes. Despite unimpressive individual statistics, Tebow has led his team to a succession of dramatic late fourth quarter comebacks, and even introduced a new verb into the lexicon – "Tebowing" – after the prayerful position he occasionally assumes at crucial junctures in the action.

Writing in the New York Federation-funded Jewish Week, Hammerman expressed his fears that the Broncos might win the Super Bowl. "If Tebow wins the Super Bowl," Hammerman suggested, "it will buoy his faithful, and emboldened faithful can do insane things, like burning mosques . . . and indiscriminately banishing immigrants."

Video: IDF's 2011 Year in Review

From The IDF:
As the new year approaches, the IDF looks back on the major events of 2011 - a year full of hope and growth, but also overshadowed by terrorism and unrest. May all of our challenges help us grow into a better future, and may the coming year be a happy and peaceful one.

Here is the video:

Video: Latma's Crystal Ball

Latma does a year in review--noting how many things they "predicted" came true:

Mideast Media Sampler 12/30/11:Sorting The Peace Process, Collateral Damage

by DG:
1) What peace process?

Shmuel Rosner writes in Peace? Process? in the New York Times:
One can see this change as a sign that Israelis have gotten too used to the current — and supposedly unsustainable — situation with the Palestinians, and now foolishly believe the status quo can last forever. Or perhaps it’s a sign that they see little point in debating a topic about which they generally agree: a decent peace deal for most of the occupied land (with many devils in the details). Or maybe they’re just tired of rehashing what has become a very boring issue with no new angles to discover and no new arguments to chew on.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Israeli Supreme Court: Israel Not a 'Classic Occupying Power'

Mohammed Shtayyeh, member of the Fatah Central Committee and one of the Palestinian Authority negotiators with Israel, was quoted Sunday as saying that the Palestinians may cancel the agreements signed between the PLO and Israel.
PA negotiator: We may withdraw recognition of Israel, Jerusalem Post, December 26, 2012

But in the meantime, as long as the Arabs keep to the agreements they signed, those agreements have now had a legal effect unforeseen by signers--High Court: Israel Not a 'Classic Occupying Power':
In what may be a precedent-setting decision, the High Court ruled Tuesday that the Oslo Accords and other agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority trumped the conception of Israel as an "occupying power" touted by the left – and that the Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria was necessary for the welfare of both Israelis and PA Arabs.

Arlene Kushner On Hamas Rearming, Israel Attacking And Other Consequences Of The Arab Spring

December 27, 2011


The "Arab Spring" has made available increased amounts of weaponry that Hamas has been able to smuggle into Israel in the past year.  Some 15% to 20% more.  Most worrisome is the possibility that sophisticated, laser-guided Russian anti-tank missiles and shoulder-to-air missiles (such as those that have disappeared from Libyan warehouses) have found their way into Gaza.

Always, when I read this sort of thing, I wonder at what point it becomes prudent to act preemptively. Don't have the answer.  But I think about it.  These reports have the effect of making Israelis feel just a bit like sitting ducks.  

Does It Matter Whether Palestinian Nationalism is "Invented" -- Part I

by Jonathan Rosenblum
Yated Ne'eman
December 27, 2011

"A gaffe," Michael Kingsley once observed, "is when a politician speaks the truth." Ever since Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich told an interviewer, "Remember, there was no Palestine as a state – [it was] part of the Ottoman Empire. I think we have an invented Palestinian people, who are, in fact, Arabs and historically part of the Arab community. . . ," he has been accused of having made a Kingsley gaffe.

Before we can determine whether Gingrich's words were a "gaffe," we first must understand what was included in those words, and determine whether they were true. What does it mean to say that Palestinian identity is "invented?" There are at least five different ideas subsumed in that assertion.

Video: Tom Friedman's Breakfast With Hezbollah

“Israel doesn’t have to worry about me,” Friedman had stressed early in the interview. “At the end of the day, Israel will have my support — it had me at hello.”
Tom Friedman, quoted in Bibi, Tom Friedman, and U.S. Jews divesting from Israel

The Algemeiner notes Thomas Friedman’s Hezbollah Breakfast?:
The main dining room of New York’s Loews Regency hotel located on the corner of 61st Street and Park Avenue is well know as the favorite breakfast venue of the rich and influential.

Last Friday, an Algemeiner reader captured this photo and video of beleaguered New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman with Lebanese Ambassador to the United Nations Nawaf Salam breakfasting at the hot spot.

Salam, who has held his position since 2007 is well know for his key role in forwarding the Unilateral Deceleration of Palestinian Arab Statehood at the United Nations, a move that was vigorously opposed by the United States.

Anne Bayefsky, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and editor of Eye on the UN, commented on Salam’s position as a representative of the Hezbollah dominated Lebanese government, saying, “He is essentially Hezbollah’s representative in the United Nations.” The group, listed as a terror organization by the United States, has dominated Lebanese politics since 2009.
Here is the video:

Is Teaching Annihilation Of Jews Prerequisite For $30 Billion In US F-15's?

There's something about these 2 headlines that just don't jive...

US to sell $30 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia
Washington Post (AP), December 28, 2011

U.S. officials say the Obama administration is poised to announce the sale of nearly $30 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia.

Officials say the deal will send 84 new fighter jets and upgrades for 70 more, for a total of $29.4 billion.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the sale has not been made public.

Statement From Agudath Israel Of America On Events In Beit Shemesh


For Further Information
Please Contact Rabbi Avi Shafran
(212) 797-9000 ext. #229


Upon consultation with its rabbinic leadership, Agudath Israel of America issued the following statement today:

Nearly Half Of The Terror Plots Aimed At New York City Since 1992 Have Targeted Jews

The reality is that both are in play: a propensity to target Jews and the facts that many terrorists call New York home
Police Spokesman Paul Browne

While CAIR and their friends will insist on claiming that Islamophobia is on the rise, the unfortunate truth is that Jews Are Often Terror Targets:
Nearly half of the terror plots aimed at the city since 1992 have targeted Jewish people or institutions, prompting police to ramp up security around such facilities during the holiday season, according to an NYPD intelligence analysis.

Mideast Media Sampler 12/29/11: Observing War Crimes Requires A Man With Experience and NY Times Does What It Does Best

From DG:
1) The ironic headline

A New York Times headline read Violence flares despite despite Arab League Observers.
Human rights advocates have questioned whether the team has the qualifications or enough independence from the government to help end a conflict that many fear is veering toward civil war as growing numbers of armed men join the opposition. Already, more than 5,000 people have been killed since the popular uprising began gathering momentum — and harsh government retaliation — in March, according to United Nations estimates.
The doubts about the observer mission seemed to grow Wednesday after comments by its leader, Lt. Gen. Muhammed al-Dabi, a former head of military intelligence in Sudan. Speaking about a visit on Tuesday to Homs that was interrupted by gunfire — and a city that has seen some of the worst violence in the nine-month conflict — General Dabi told Reuters, “Some places looked a bit of a mess, but there was nothing frightening.”
But there's more to General Dabi. The Washington Times reports Sudanese general linked to genocide monitoring Syrian violence.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Raymond Ibrahim: Lessons on the Long Road to Hijab

This caricature, which first appeared on, has been making the rounds on the Arabic blogosphere, and points to how democratic elections are serving to Islamize Egypt: average women enter the ballot box—"overseen" by the Muslim Brotherhood—only to emerge thoroughly veiled, thoroughly Islamized.

David Gerstman: Tom Friedman vs. Israel

I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.
Tom Friedman, Newt, Mitt, Bibi and Vladimir, December 13, 2011

When Tom Friedman used antisemitic imagery of Israel owning Congress, many saw this as Friedman crossing the line--and there were those who came to his defense that though a critique of Israel, Tom Friedman is a friend of Israel.

But, as David Gerstman documents in Tom Friedman vs Israel--over the years Friedman has criticized Israel in a way that has consistently shown a lack of balance.

Barry Rubin: New Theme: Israel is Collapsing; Losing Its Democracy. Evidence? None

By Barry Rubin

It is truly amazing how anti-Israel forces generate so many false stories every day. At a time when revolutionary Islamists are taking over most Middle Eastern countries and the democracy dream in the region is collapsing, one would think that the main threat and evil force in the region is Israel. After all, we live in a time when Thomas Friedman, court jester for Middle East issues, can openly write antisemitic canards in the New York Times (the Israel lobby bought a standing ovation for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Congress!).

What is even more remarkable is how new anti-Israel themes are generated without any evidence whatsoever.

The new one is the idea that Israel, and its democracy, are in danger (moderate version) due to internal extremism or are (radical version) falling apart altogether. At least two new commercially published books make this claim, as do scores of articles and even a speech by the secretary of state. The New York Times publishes an op-ed saying that gays are persecuted in Israel while, of course, they aren’t but are murdered in every other county in the region.

Yet what actual evidence can be accumulated for all of this campaign? The Knesset had a bill to supervise foreign money received by non-government organizations, a law not so dissimilar from those in Western democracies. And? And? What else happened? Well, nothing at all.

Oh yes, a bus driver took it upon himself to tell a woman to sit in the back of a bus because her sitting elsewhere might disturb Haredi men. She took it to court and, of course, won. A Haredi man in a town spit at an eight-year-old girl, apparently he belongs to some extreme sect or is somewhat disturbed. Even the strictest reading of Jewish law does not justify such an action.

Mideast Media Sampler 12/28/11: The Useful Fiction Of A Palestinian People and Hamas Goes Fundraising

1) The Palestinians' inventiveness

In the wake of candidate Newt Gingrich's assertion that the Palestinians are an invented people, Lee Smith wrote that indeed the Palestinians are invented but that it's a Useful Fiction:
The problem is that current Palestinian nationalism is not strong enough. If it were, Yasser Arafat and, later, Mahmoud Abbas might have been more inclined to accept the peace deals offered by Israeli prime ministers and American presidents. If Palestinian leadership were more like the early champions of Zionism, who wanted a state for the Jews no matter its size, then the conflict might have been resolved at any point over the last seven decades.

Missing Peace: The Root Causes Of The Failure Of The Peace Process

The following from Missing Peace is reposted with permission

The map of "Israel" as published by the Palestinian embassy in Britain

Eighteen years have passed since the signing of the Oslo accords, and it seems justifiable to reach the conclusion that there will be no final status agreement which will solve the Arab Israeli conflict in the foreseeable future.

The recent reconciliation between the PA and Hamas – including the announcement that Hamas will join the PLO – is further evidence that Mahmoud Abbas was never sincere in pursuing a peace agreement with Israel.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as it was Abbas who was the mastermind behind a 1968 PLO strategy document which sought the demise of Israel via more sophisticated means than merely terror.

PLO Rep Joins Arafat And Others Inventing Contradictory Histories Of Palestinians

Contradictions abound; Palestinian leaders claim to be descended from the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Jebusites and the first Christians. They also “hijacked” Jesus and ignored his Jewishness, at the same time claiming the Jews never were a people and never built the Holy Temples in Jerusalem.
Eli Hertz, Mandate for Palestine: The Legal Aspects of Jewish Rights

In "Mandate for Palestine: The Legal Aspects of Jewish Rights," Eli Hertz gives an overview of the various contradictory histories claimed by Arab leaders for Palestinians:
Encouraged by their success at historical revisionism and brainwashing the world with the "Big Lie" of a Palestinian people, Palestinian Arabs have more recently begun to claim they are the descendants of the Philistines and even the Stone Age Canaanites. Based on that myth, they can claim to have been "victimized" twice by the Jews: in the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites and again by the Israelis in modern times – a total fabrication. Archeologists explain that the Philistines were a Mediterranean people who settled along the coast of Canaan in 1100 BCE. They have no connection to the Arab nation, a desert people who emerged from the Arabian Peninsula.

As if that myth were not enough, former PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat also claimed, "Palestinian Arabs are descendants of the Jebusites," who were displaced when King David conquered Jerusalem.

Arafat also argued that "Abraham was an Iraqi." One Christmas Eve, Arafat declared that "Jesus was a Palestinian," a preposterous claim that echoes the words of Hanan Ashrawi, a Christian Arab who, in an interview during the 1991 Madrid Conference, said: "Jesus Christ was born in my country, in my land," and claimed that she was "the descendant of the first Christians," disciples who spread the gospel around Bethlehem some 600 years before the Arab conquest. If her claims were true, it would be tantamount to confessing that she is a Jew!
Now, Maen Rashid Areikat--the chief PLO representative to the US--steps into the fray with an editorial in the Washington Post claiming to present Palestine, a history rich and deep:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Time For Iranian Elections--And We All Know What That Means...

Opposition leader calls upcoming Iran election bogus:
An Iranian opposition leader who has been under house arrest since February has accused the Islamic establishment of intending to hold a "rubber-stamp" parliamentary election in March, his website Sahamnews reported yesterday.

Barry Rubin: Tunisia: There’s Still Hope for Democracy Because The Majority Doesn’t Want Islamism

By Barry Rubin

Is Tunisia, the Arab world’s historically most moderate country in social and intellectual terms, headed for Islamism or some kind of difficult but democratic future? I want to rethink my conclusions on this point. Or is it just the timeline that needs to be extended?

It should be stressed that Tunisia has more prospects for achieving democracy and avoiding radical Islamism than do Egypt or Libya. In Egypt, 60 percent of the vote was obtained by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists in the first round, with claims of up to 75 percent in the second round. Excluding Christian voters, that means somewhere between two-thirds and 80 percent of Egyptian Muslims support radical Islamist parties. Only the army, which is eager to suppress moderates but would rather make deals than fight the Islamists, stands in the way of radicalization. In Libya, the political situation is far less clear but radicals have the guns while tribal and regional conflicts are likely to promote conflict and extremism.

Cartoon: In Israel, Religious Coercion Goes In Both Directions

Religious Coercion Goes In Both Directions
By: Asher Schwartz, The Jewish Press

Ron Paul: ‘I Wouldn’t Risk American Lives’ to End the Holocaust

Jeffrey Scott Shapiro writes that in 2009, in answer to a question, Ron Paul responded that he would not have sent troops in to prevent the murder of 6 million Jews in the Nazi Holocuast:
And so I asked Congressman Paul: if he were President of the United States during World War II, and as president he knew what we now know about the Holocaust, but the Third Reich presented no threat to the U.S., would he have sent American troops to Nazi Germany purely as a moral imperative to save the Jews?

And the Congressman answered:

“No, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t risk American lives to do that. If someone wants to do that on their own because they want to do that, well, that’s fine, but I wouldn’t do that.”

Mideast Media Sampler 12/27/11: A Hamas Split? Can There Be Enough Anti-Netanyahu Stations?

Mideast Media Sampler 12/27/11

by DG:

1) Will Hamas split or co-opt?

Jonathan Schanzer asks Will Hamas splinter as external leaders seek a new home?
December 21 was a big day in Palestinian politics, as the terrorist group Hamas reportedly agreed to join the Palestine Liberation Organization. If Hamas seals the deal, it is widely expected that it will renounce violence just as the PLO did. 
But it may not be that simple. Hamas cadres are not of one mind on key issues such as the use of violence and political participation. 
As a result, Hamas could splinter.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Photo: US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Demonstrates US New Firmness Against Iran

Eager to show how serious the US is about Iran, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta demonstrates for the media Obama's new, more aggressive posture:

In Gaza, Wasn't Much Of A Holiday Since Hamas Doesn't Allow Christmas

Every December, we watch pro-Hamas apologists, jumping at the chance to accuse Israel of preventing Arab Christians from celebrating Christmas--if not causing them to leave outright.

The fact remains that as an extremist Islamic terrorist group, Hamas prevents expressions of both Christmas and Christianity in Gaza:
Of the 1.5 million Palestinians now living in the Gaza Strip, fewer than 1,400 are Christian and those who can are leaving. The church hopes reconciliation will bring them back.

There hasn't been a Christmas tree in Gaza City's main square since Hamas pushed the Palestinian Authority out of Gaza in 2007 and Christmas is no longer a public holiday.

Arlene Kushner On Briefing By Minister of Security Affairs Moshe Ya'alon

December 26 2011

"Ya'alon Briefing"

Last night, Moshe Ya'alon, Minister of Security Affairs and Deputy Foreign Minister, spoke at a Likud Anglo event in Jerusalem. 

Tomer Applebaum

I share here thoughts from his briefing:

The main threat Israel faces, he says, does not involve security issues external to us, but rather our level of confidence in ourselves: in our way of life, our culture, our faith.  We are in the midst of Chanukah, and this holiday, above all, is about our spirit.


Sampler: Intimate Portrait Of Arafat, Hamas On The Move and Turkey vs. France

Mideast Media Sampler 12/26/11

by DG:

1) The softer side of Arafat

Gulf News writes about An intimate portrait of Yasser Arafat.
The name Yasser Arafat is synonymous with the Palestinian struggle. Affectionately referred to as Abu Ammar by his people and others, Arafat was a freedom-fighter-turned-revolutionary-leader-turned-politician. From his early days in Egypt as a decorated soldier, people around him knew he would one day become the president of Palestinians. This is according to a new documentary about his life and leadership style, called The Price of Kings — Yasser Arafat, which had its Middle Eastern premiere at this year's Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). 
Of course, this is not the first documentary about the leader, whom many considered controversial, but what makes the film unique is the personal briefings with people who were very close to him — from allies to family to rivals. By far the most intimate moments in the documentary are those in which Suha Arafat talks about her husband and the kind of life they shared together.

Barry Rubin: Egypt: As Grim Islamists March Toward Power, The Naïve Dance in Tahrir Square

Germany was having trouble,
What a sad, sad story.
Needed a new leader
To restore its former glory.
Where, oh, where was he,
Who could that man be?
We looked around,
And then we found,
The man for you and me,
And now its...
--The Producers

By Barry Rubin

Almost 80 percent of Egyptian Muslims in nine provinces voted for radical Islamist parties in the second round of Egypt’s election. Roughly 5 percent voted for a moderate Islamic party and about 15 percent voted for liberal parties.

That says it all. In the overall vote—that is, including the Christian voters–70 percent supported radical Islamists, 47 percent (4 million) the Muslim Brotherhood (86 of 180 available seats so far; they might win more) and 32 percent for the Salafists (3.2 million, the Washington Post seriously underestimated their votes).

The liberal (but not overtly anti-Islamist) Wafd won 1 million; the liberal Egyptian Bloc won almost 800,000, and the moderate Islamic, Wasat Party, 370,000.

Incidentally, the vice-chairman of the Wafd said in an interview last July that the U.S. government carried out the September 11 attacks and Ann Frank’s diary was a fake. At least he doesn’t like Iran, though he thinks it is right about the Holocaust being phony. And he’s the liberal.

Video: Forget Whether Obama Has Done Anything For Israel: What Has He Done For The US?

The following video is from Afterburner with Bill Whittle: Three Years Under Obama.

Political Cartoon: Michael Ramirez On Obama Being 4th Best President

I missed this from Michael Ramirez last week--and wanted to make sure you didn't:

Arlene Kushner On Hamas Taking Over The PLO

From Arlene Kushner:
December 25, 2011

"The PLO"

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), founded in 1964, is touted -- by the UN and a number of nations -- as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people."  As such, it is officially the organization responsible for negotiating on behalf of Palestinian Arabs: It was the PLO that negotiated with Israel with regard to the Oslo Accords.  

While 10 groups (e.g., Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - PFLP) are members, it has long been heavily dominated by Fatah: Major figures in Fatah -- notably Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas -- have played key roles in the running of the PLO. 

That situation may be changing shortly, and I see considerable significance in this possibility.

Netherlands Wants NATO To Reconsider Turkey's Membership

Looks like the Netherlands wants Turkey to go Dutch treat--at the very least, the Netherlands does not think Turkey can be trusted to be a member of NATO
The Dutch Freedom Party, the Netherlands’s third largest political party, urged the Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministries last week to reconsider Turkey’s continued membership in NATO.

Video: I Eat Chinese Food On X-Mas

This will be my last post on the topic:

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Jews And Chinese Food On December 25th

On the question of "Why Did Jewish Communities Take to Chinese Food?" no less that the Smithsonian blog informs us:
The custom of Jewish families dining out at Chinese restaurants, especially on Christmas Day, has long been a joking matter. “According to the Jewish calendar, the year is 5749,” one quip goes. “According to the Chinese calendar, the year is 4687. That means for 1,062 years, the Jews went without Chinese food.” Even Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan made light of the tradition during her Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. Granted, Chinese restaurants are typically among the few businesses open on December 25th, but it turns out that there are historical and sociological reasons why these two cultures have paired so well
Be that as it may, some have gone so far as to point to this picture appearing this year in the window of a Chinese restaurant, as an illustration that the feeling is mutual:

Not so fast.

That picture is a copy of a drawing by director David Mamet that appeared a year ago on Tablet:

I guess it's the thought that counts.

Hat tip: James S. Robbins

Technorati Tag: and .

Esser Agaroth: Haveil Havalim #341 - The Hanukkah 5772 Edition

Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs -- a weekly collection of Jewish and Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world.

Video: Atheist Pat Condell Defends Nativity Scenes

If you are familiar with Pat Condell, you know how strongly he opposes the Church--but he opposes those who claim to be offended and excluded by the Nativity just as much.

Worth listening to, but don't expect anything warm and fuzzy.

Barry Rubin: When Obama Preaches; Anti-American Dictators First Sneer At Him, Then Spit at Us

The following, by Barry Rubin, is reposted with permission

By Barry Rubin

I don’t think one could come up with a more teachable moment regarding international affairs—and including Middle East politics--than a little incident that just happened between President Barack Obama and Venezuela. First, the facts.

Obama gave an interview with a Venezuelan newspaper in which he articulated some of his administration’s most basic themes. Obama said:

“Venezuela is a proud, sovereign nation....The United States has no intention of intervening in Venezuela's foreign relations, However, I think the government's ties with Iran and Cuba have not benefited the interests of Venezuela and its people.

"Sooner or later, Venezuela's people will have to decide what possible advantage there is in having relations with a country that violates fundamental human rights and is isolated from most of the world. The Iranian government has consistently supported international terrorism."

Now, this is precisely the same approach that Obama has taken toward Iran. He said, and this has been a common talking point for administration officials, that Iran would not benefit from having nuclear weapons. He continued:

Sampler: J-Street's Wins and Losses, New York Times Isabel Kershner Misses Opportunity

Mideast Media Sampler 12/25/11

by DG:

1) 3 notes about J-Street

Nearly two years ago, Jeremy Ben Ami, in an op-ed for the International Herald Tribune, Tel Aviv Then and Now - wrote:
Jewish Americans — who remain deeply loyal to Israel and staunch defenders of its right to exist — now face conflicting winds blowing on two continents. An overwhelming majority share the politics and worldview of President Barack Obama and have rejected the Bush-Cheney neoconservatism that framed Middle East conflict in simplistic black and white. They recognize, as the new president said in Ankara this week, that security requires peace and that peace begins by “learning to stand in somebody else’s shoes to see through their eyes.”
Last week the Forward reported, J Street Accepted in Some, Not All, Cities:

Barry Rubin: In The Liberal-Conservative Debate Where’s the Common Sense?

New York Times 1871 cartoon on corruption.

Caption: Who Stole the People’s Money? Twas him!
By Barry Rubin
It never ceases to amaze me—especially since I seem to be one of the very few people pointing this out—that both liberals and conservatives in the American debate are missing the most important point, the essential but simple argument that spells the difference between victory and defeat, right and wrong.
Image Detail
This is what Obama thinks. Wealth is a zero-sum game. Anything America has was stolen from others. Proof? Obama said so himself.
What people on both sides don’t understand is that it is the historical situation and not an eternal ideology that makes for the right policy. What was appropriate for a time when the United States didn’t have enough regulation and government was too weak is not appropriate for a time when the United States is overregulated, government is too strong, and the country is ridiculously deep in debt.
For example, Theodore Roosevelt was a great president and what he did was right and necessary. But that was a century ago. It is most telling that President Barack Obama in making a speech for what amounts to statism tries to pretend he is a man who is dealing with a situation in which the federal and state governments were helpless against massive corporate monopolies and when neither any serious government regulation nor effective trade unions existed!
Greedy capitalists suck the people’s blood. Let’s get them!
In other words, Obama is running the country and running for office as if it were 1912, not about to be 2012. He is trying to convince people that massive greedy rich corporations that hate big government (like General Electric, General Motors, and all those green job con-men?) control the country. These millionaires wear big top-hats and smoke cigars as in some left-wing cartoon from 1912.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Palestinian Arabs Are Invented--Just Like Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirates, and Even Turkey

Lee Smith, writes that Gingrich's comment about Palestinians being an invented people leaves out some countries in the Middle East:
In the Middle East alone, invented nations include Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf emirates, and even Turkey. Like the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza, these, too, were all once part of the Ottoman Empire. None existed before World War I, after which these jerry-built states united various, and often competing, sectarian, ethnic, and tribal identities.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Abbas Used To Be A Member Of The Muslim Brotherhood--And It Shows

When Abbas incites Palestinian Arabs to hate Israel and deny its legitimacy, we shouldn't be surprised:
Abbas is true to his roots. In the 1950s, in Egypt, he was a key operative of the Muslim Brotherhood, which fervently believes in a divinely-ordained Islamic domination of the globe, religiously and territorially. Abbas refers to terrorists and suicide bombers – who intentionally and systematically murder, maim and intimidate civilians - as “freedom fighters.”

The People Of Syria Miss President Bush

In response to the question:

The Syrian people are responding loud and clear.

‘400 Children Among 6,200 Killed In Syria’

The Arab Times in Kuwait is reporting ‘400 children among 6,200 killed in Syria’:
More than 6,200 people including hundreds of children have died in Syria’s crackdown on an anti-government revolt, a human rights group said on Thursday.

Sampler: What The UN Is--And Isn't--Dealing With; What Robert Mackey Isn't Reporting

Mideast Media Sampler 12/23/11

by DG

1) I hear Judge Goldstone is free these days

Even understanding that the Goldstone inquiry into Cast Lead was a kangaroo court, the West did little to discourage it. The proceedings, instituted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, was meant to find Israel guilty of war crimes. Now Russia urges probe of NATO bombing of civilians in Libya, US dismisses it as ‘a cheap stunt’:

Video: Latma--Christmas In Eurabia And The IDF Fights The Real Threat

Enjoy this week's Latma:

Chanukah Videos: Six13 vs Jon Stewart

We don't need no jingle bells or reindeers with antlers.
I'll see your Mariah Carey and see you Adam Sandler!
Six13, Chaukah Rights!

Jon Stewart on Chanukah doesn't quite seem to get it...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

We Can Thank Herbert Hoover For Bipartisan Support Of Israel Today

Rafael Medoff, The David Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, writes about Hemi Shalev and Tom Friedman, who warn of the danger of Republicans being too pro-Israel:
Two prominent journalists who are not particularly sympathetic to the Republicans, Hemi Shalev of the Israeli daily Ha'aretz and Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, warned last week of dire consequences if the candidates for the Republican nomination continue to make strongly pro-Israel statements.

Efraim Karsh: Betraying Ben-Gurion

The following from the Middle East Forum is reposted with permission

Betraying Ben-Gurion

by Efraim Karsh
Hudson New York
December 22, 2011

It is ironic that Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), Israel's only university bearing the name of the Jewish state's founding father, and established in the ancient desert he dreamt of reviving, has become a hotbed of anti-Israel propaganda at the expense of proper scholarly endeavor.
So much so that an international committee of scholars, appointed by Israel's Council for Higher Education to evaluate political science and international relations programs in Israeli universities, recently recommended that BGU "consider closing the Department of Politics and Government" unless it abandoned its "strong emphasis on political activism," improved its research performance, and redressed the endemic weakness "in its core discipline of political science." In other words, they asked that the Department return to accurate scholarship rather than indoctrinate the students with libel.

Arlene Kushner On Israel's Strong Rebuke Of Europe and Panetta's About Face On Iran

From Arlene Kushner:
December 22, 2011

"Stances That Are Welcome"

It makes me crazy when overly cautious representatives of the Israeli government tiptoe in such a fashion that they convey the impression that they are unsure of Israel's rights.  But this is not the case here.

The government (or more accurately, the Foreign Ministry), weary of meddling European governments with a pro-PA stance, has delivered a strong message to France, Britain, Germany and Portugal -- the four EU nations currently sitting on the Security Council.  For these four nations released a joint statement on Tuesday that: condemned building in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem (which sends "a devastating message"); addressed the "disturbing escalation of violence by settlers;" and called for parties to "present as soon as possible to the Quartet comprehensive proposals on territory and security."

From the Foreign Ministry, then, came a message that, "interfering with Israel's domestic affairs, including on issues that are to be solved within the framework of direct talks, does not enhance the status they wish to be granted."

Jonathan Pollard May Become An Election Year Issue

At the conclusion of the Haaretz article about the Reform movement, we read that the issue of Jonathan Pollard is being picked up by the Republican candidates:
Until recently, most campaigns did not provide the positions of their candidates on this issue. But now that the U.S. Jewish leaders plan to send delegations to visit Pollard in jail - candidates are thinking about adding their positions on the issue to their talking points.

Video: Korean TV Crew Visits Ponevezh Yeshiva

Here is a news report from Israel Channel 10 that was broadcast on Dec. 14, 2011 about a South Korean TV Crew that visited the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak in order to get a first-hand look at the study of Talmud.

Barry Rubin: Fourth Best President?: The Unbearable Heaviness of Obama’s Ego

by Barry Rubin

In his interview with “60 minutes,” President Barack Obama said he was the “fourth-best president.” This was cut from the program. Since it is such a compelling statement, I can only presume it was cut—like so many other things that were great in journalistic terms—to keep Obama from looking bad.

But those making fun of Obama for this statement have just skimmed the surface. Actually, there is a lot to be discovered from really examining what he said. And, before proceeding, I should note that my main professional training was in U.S. history—just to make clear that I’m treating this seriously and from a basis of study.

First, Obama showed how he takes the total support of the mass media for granted something inconceivable for any previous president. He begins:

“The issue here is not going be a list of accomplishments. As you said yourself, Steve, you know, I would put our legislative and foreign-policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president….”

Here Are The Reasons Obama Cannot Be Considered Pro-Israel

Describing Obama’s Hanukah Charm Offensive, Tevi Troy writes in the National Review Online:
There is no need to “distort” or “mischaracterize” Obama’s problematic record on Israel. Dan Senor gave the best short summary of the argument in the Wall Street Journal in September, and it is as yet unrefuted in a serious way. Obama and his team can denounce their critics and trot out a host of liberal Jews to say what a great guy he is, but that will not change the fact that many in the pro-Israel community, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, recognize the problem and will be willing to vote accordingly in November.
Troy is referring to Senor's summary in the Wall Street Journal of Why Obama Is Losing the Jewish Vote
February 2008: When running for president, then-Sen. Obama told an audience in Cleveland: "There is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you're anti-Israel." Likud had been out of power for two years when Mr. Obama made this statement. At the time the country was being led by the centrist Kadima government of Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni and Shimon Peres, and Prime Minister Olmert had been pursuing an unprecedented territorial compromise. As for Likud governments, it was under Likud that Israel made its largest territorial compromises—withdrawals from Sinai and Gaza.

NGO Monitor: The NGOs That Stole Christmas

December 22, 2011
Jason Edelstein
NGO Monitor
The NGOs that Stole Christmas
 Church Groups Manipulate Christmas Spirit to
Delegitimize Israel and Promote BDS
JERUSALEM -  The Christmas season is being exploited by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to advance anti-peace agendas and to delegitimize Israel, says NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institution. By manipulating traditional Christmas songs, images, and messages, NGOs such as SabeelWar on Want (UK), Amos Trust, and Adalah-NY continue to demonize Israel with crude, antisemitic rhetoric.

"These NGOs have hijacked Christmas to promote their extremely divisive boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) and demonization campaigns," says Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. "Manipulating religious symbols and images in this manner is deeply offensive, and clearly does not foster an environment of coexistence among Israelis and Palestinians. These NGOs are pursuing hate-filled agendas."

Mideast Media Sampler: UN Undermines Peace; Hamas and Hezbollah Losing Their Patron?

Mideast Media Sampler 12/22/11

by DG 
1) UNconditionally undermining Middle East peace

Several Security Council member nations have criticized Israel. Now Isabel Kersher reports, Israel Accuses 4 Countries of Meddling in Its Affairs. One paragraph is especially of note:
The latest efforts by the quartet began after the Palestinians applied to the Security Council for full membership in the United Nations in the fall. The quartet has called on the sides to resume talks without preconditions and to refrain from provocative actions. The members of the quartet have made clear that they see settlement construction as provocative.
Kershner reports that these new Quartet efforts follow the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN in September.  By any measure, this is an ongoing effort to avoid negotiations - negotiations that the PA unilaterally withdrew from. So the Quartet is bothered (and Kershner too) apparently by Israel building in areas it is likely to hold after negotiations but a blatant Palestinian effort to bypass negotiations is not worth mentioning.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Arlene Kushner On Ramat Gilad--Saving Instead Of Razing

From Arlene Kushner:

December 21, 2011

"Facing Forward"

Chanukah has begun and, as is my custom, after lighting candles I sit before them quietly, searching for peace, contemplating the way life does go on. And determined, absolutely determined, to find inspiration for strength and hope. 

A weighty task in today's world.  But to despair is forbidden.

And so on that note....


Please see my latest piece, up on Front Page Magazine.  It deals with the pro-Arab US State Department, and its offensive response to requests for a public position regarding deprivation of Jewish religious rights on the Mount of Olives: State Department True to Form on the Mount of Olives

See it, and share it, because this is the sort of thing people need to know.


A Brief Overview of Centuries Of Muslim Occupation

Hanan Ashrawi was in rare form at the UN, talking about occupation:
She said that “the longest occupation in modern history must end and it is time for the international community to hold Israel accountable, demand that it desist all settlement activities and actions that violate international law and support our peaceful diplomatic efforts to achieve an independent Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

She added that “Israel must be brought to compliance and required to adopt a clear and binding timeframe for the implementation of internationally-recognized agreements.”
Ashrawi of course is just being modest--after all, Muslims may very well take first prize for the longest occupation of all time.

Photo: Ever Wonder What Kind Of Job Pays Median Wage?

Look no further:

Photo: I'll Bet You Didn't Know Santa Claus Puts On Tefillin

Here's something you don't see every day

Sampler: Friedman "Recants", Why Palestinians Demand Preconditions, The Haaretz Times and More NY Times Bias

Mideast Media Sampler 12/21/11

by DG
1) Tom "recants"

Gary Rosenblatt of the New York Jewish Week interviewed Thomas Friedman, about his "Israeli lobby" comment. (h/t Challah Hu Akbar)
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman told The Jewish Week Tuesday that the wording of a memorable phrase in his Dec. 13 column (“Newt, Mitt, Bibi and Vladimir”) may have been inexact when he wrote that the standing ovation Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received in Congress this year “was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.” 
“In retrospect I probably should have used a more precise term like ‘engineered’ by the Israel lobby — a term that does not suggest grand conspiracy theories that I don’t subscribe to,” Friedman said. “It would have helped people focus on my argument, which I stand by 100 percent.”
I took a quick look at Stephen Walt's praise of Friedman;

Arlene Kushner On Applying The Chanukah Perspective--And 4 Chanukah Videos

From Arlene Kushner:
December 20, 2011

"The Festival of Lights"

Tonight we light the first candle of Chanukah.  And so I want to put aside our day-to-day worries about the world, in order to  consider the meaning of this holiday, and have a little fun as well.


Last night I attended a lecture on Chanukah by a wonderful teacher, Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz.

He provided new perspectives for the holiday.  (New, at least, to me.)  The essence of what he said -- as I heard it -- is this:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NGO Monitor: Human Wrongs: The Worst of Amnesty, HRW, and others in 2011

December 20, 2011
Jason Edelstein
NGO Monitor
Human Wrongs:
The Worst of Amnesty, HRW, and others in 2011
JERUSALEM -  With 2011 concluding, NGO Monitor today released a list of the most outrageous and absurd NGO actions from the past year, demonstrating the political nature of NGOs involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, commented, "This shows how the NGO network consistently fails to uphold universal human rights, while also distorting international law beyond recognition." The list:
  1. Amnesty International's new Israel Researcher has a history of radical anti-Israel activism.
  2. HRW's Sarah Leah Whitson race-baited American Jews and ignored the embarrassment of having praised Saif-Islam Qaddafi as a human rights reformer.
  3. German NGO "Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future (EVZ)" exploited government funding designated for Holocaust reparations and education in order to join the delegitimization campaign against Israel and added to new antisemitism. 

Barry Rubin: Biden Makes It Seem As If You Can Only Be an Enemy of U.S. Interests If You Attack the World Trade Center

by Barry Rubin

Vice President Joe Biden has given a very revealing interview with Newsweek. In it, he confirms my consistent analysis that the administration defines the U.S. problem with revolutionary Islamism as only involving al-Qaeda. It cannot be stressed enough why this policy is so extraordinarily dangerous.

Why? The irony is that while the Obama administration refuses to use the expression “War on Terrorism,” this is precisely how they have defined the entire U.S. strategy, although one might also call it the “War on the Perpetrators of September 11.” What is missing here is any dealing with major strategic issues.

It is true that September 11 and other massive terrorist attacks are of huge significance. But there’s a whole world out there. Revolutionary Islamists are taking over the Middle East, moving toward the rule over tens of millions of people, getting nuclear weapons, carrying out subversion and terrorism against U.S. allies, and inciting hatred of the United States and a passionate desire to hurt it.

Among the countries where anti-American Islamists — however they conceal their views and goals — are in power are the following: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Tunisia, and Turkey. Syria is their ally and so, to a certain extent, is Qatar. Pakistan often covertly supports such forces as well. The list of those supporting this stance is far longer than those on the other side.

Democrats Split on Israel--Pitting Jew vs Jew

In a recent two-part post, Jonathan Rosenblum writes about how Democrats Split on Israel:
The current Democratic coalition is a fragile alliance of groups with often conflicting interests. For instance, President Obama recently postponed, until after the 2012 election, a decision on the Keystone Oil pipeline, which would bring Canadian oil extracted from tar in a pipeline through the United States to the Gulf of Mexico and other destinations. Environmentalists disapprove the project, just as they oppose almost any energy development other than so-called "clean energy" sources, like wind and solar power. Unions, however, see the pipeline as a major job producer, as they do the development of the United States's vast shale oil reserves and numerous other projects that would go a long way to securing America's energy independence. The President could not afford to alienate either group. So he punted.

Israel too seems destined to be another wedge issue in the Democratic coalition.

Europes's Universities Are Slowly Being Made Judenrein

As Giulio Meotti writes in Arutz Sheva that Jews are being expelled from European universities in a way reminiscent of the 1930's:
Several days ago the Israeli leftist author Moshe Sakal was booted from an academic conference in Marseilles at the request of Palestinian poet Najwan Darwish.

The director of the conference, French-Jewish author Pierre Assouline, succumbed to the Arab pressure and said Sakal’s participation “was not crucial”.

Missing Peace: Honesty is not the best policy for the Palestinian Authority

The following, from Missing Peace, is reposted with permission

Abbas and Arekat caught lying again

Saeb Arekat

Last week Israeli premier Netanyahu declined when The New York Times asked him to write an op-ed for the paper. In a letter to the paper Ron Dermer, Netanyahu’s most senior advisor, explained that The New York Times had failed to heed the late Senator Moynihan’s admonition that ‘everyone is entitled to their own opinion but that no one is entitled to their own facts’.

Mideast Media Sampler 12/20/11: Warning--New York Times Anti-Israel Bias At Work

Mideast Media Sampler 12/20/11

by DG

1) Excusing incitement

In today's Memo from Jerusalem: Finding Fault in the Palestinian Messages That Aren’t So Public, Isabel Kershner writes about the work of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW):
Of course, this is nothing new. For years, many Israeli and Palestinian analysts have said that what Palestinian leaders tell their own people in their own language — as opposed to English-language statements tailored to opinion in the rest of the world — is the truest reflection of their actual beliefs. This has had the effect of further entrenching the sides to the conflict and undermining confidence that it can ever be resolved. 
“There is no doubt in my mind that in the mainstream of the Palestinian national movement, Israel is not considered legitimate,” said Shlomo Avineri, an Israeli professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, reflecting a widespread sense of disillusionment. “This is the inner truth of the Palestinians,” he said. “They really mean it. It is not what they say on CNN, but it is what they teach their children.”

Monday, December 19, 2011

Barry Rubin: Syria: The Forgotten–Including by the Obama Administration–Revolution

by Barry Rubin

I feel guilty every day that I don’t write about Syria’s revolution. There are massive numbers of demonstrators taking high risks and often paying with their lives for their desire for change; Syria has a higher proportion of really democratic-minded people than in other Arab countries; and there is general international indifference to their battle in contrast to the “glamor” surrounding the far-shorter, much less bloody Egyptian uprising. The estimated death toll is over 4000 though, of course, nobody knows for sure.

In contrast to Egypt, and partly due to the inability of journalists to cover the story, the Syrian insurgents aren’t made into celebrities. And, curiously, the regime that is repressing them isn’t stigmatized anywhere near what happened to the far less repressive governments in Egypt and Tunisia or even, for that matter, democratic Israel.

Much of the news is the bare stuff about lists of demonstrations and acts of repression. At the end of this article I have appended the story of one province on one day alone to give some sense of the magnitude of the battle.

A Quick Overview Of How The US Position On Israeli Settlements Has Changed

Just recently, Wolf Blitzer, former Al HaMishmar correspondent, pressed Rick Perry in a CNN interview, asking him: "Since ’67, every U.S. president, Democrat and Republican, has called Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories, in the West Bank, illegal under international law."
Yisrael Medad, Settlements – a US election issue

Wolf Blitzer is mistaken.

Yisrael Medad, a resident of Shiloh and spokesman on the Yesha Council has an op-ed in today's Israel HaYom, on the history of the changing US position on Israeli settlements

On the issue of the official US position on Yehuda and Shomron, Medad notes that:
The roots to this dispute lie with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who claims that, on U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, “Prime Minister [Menachem] Begin ultimately acknowledged its applicability in all its parts,” as Carter wrote, for example, in the Washington Post on Nov. 22, 2000, where he linked this to the issue of building Jewish communities "in occupied territory."

China To Build Railway From Eilat To Tel Aviv, Allowing Israel To Challenge Suez Canal

Israel is in the midst of making a deal with China to build a railway from Eilat to Tel Aviv.

Once completed, the train will be able to travel to make that trip from Eilat to Tel Aviv in 2 1/2 hours. Sounds simple enough--but the hoped-for benefits are threefold:

1. The train will help tourism. By making Eilat more accessible, Eilat will also be able to market itself as a tourist base for visiting the rest of Israel.

2. But there's more to the railway plan than just tourism:

Barry Rubin: Coming War Threat: Terrorists Developing a Safe Haven in Egypt to Attack Israel

by Barry Rubin

What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her? What would he do,
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have? He would drown the stage with tears
And cleave the general ear with horrid speech….
–William Shakespeare, “Hamlet”

Or, in other words, do these writers, policymakers, and “experts” care what happens in the Middle East? War? Bloodshed? Repression? Christians fleeing; women being turned into chattel? Just a possible boost to their careers and a test for their theories. A good luncheon topic. But this is real, all too real.

First, a word on contingencies. Governments and political analysts are supposed to examine likely problems in order that they can be evaded or minimized. The time to be alarmed is not when problems become visible but when governments refuse to recognize their existence. Western regimes and analysts are generally taking a best-possible-case view on Egypt and other developing issues in the region.

UNRWA Spokesperson Refuses To Answer Charge It Is Responsible For Perpetuating The Palestinian Refugee Crisis

When asked to respond to Danny Ayalon's video about the truth behind the Palestinian refugees, the UNRWA Spokesperson refused to address the charge that the UNRWA is responsible for perpetuating the Palestinian refugee crisis:
Question: I just wanted to ask a question about comments that were made by Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Daniel Ayalon, before the Human Rights High Commissioner for Refugees’ ministerial event in Geneva last week. He basically said that the cause of the Palestinian refugee issue was not so much the dispossession of the majority of Palestinians from their homeland by Jewish militias during the 1948 war and refusal of Israel to enable their right to return under resolution 194. He said rather that it was the establishment of UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] which has perpetuated the refugee status by applying unique criteria to it. And I just wonder whether either the Secretary-General or UNRWA has made any response to this statement.

Sampler: Gazans Are Getting Wise To Hamas; Tom Friedman's Reversal

Mideast Media Sampler

by DG

1) Whatever happened to Hamas?

Maybe it's wishful thinking. In early October, The Christian Science Monitor reported:
Of the many complaints in Gaza, one has become a popular refrain: the increasing taxes levied by Hamas. Fathi Abu Gamar, a gas station owner in Jabaliya refugee camp, readily joins the chorus: The Islamist movement that rules this tiny coastal territory takes more than half his revenue from gas sales, he says, leaving him with a tiny profit. 
But he quickly becomes quiet when a man, whom neighbors identify as a Hamas informer, begins hovering nearby, listening intently. Above him, the green flags of Hamas flutter in the strong sea breeze. Like Hamas's popularity, they are faded and tattered.

Arlene Kushner On Jewish Violence In Israel

December 18, 2011


I begin with something that I address with hesitation, because it's an internal Israeli affair and I prefer to keep such matters in house.  But this one -- involving a group of young people who identify with the religious nationalist movement and who acted in a deeply reprehensible fashion last week -- has made significant news.  I feel at this point I must address it.

Let me make it clear that I do not condone what they did in any way whatsoever.  It was wrong morally and tactically.  They did a disservice to themselves and their nation.  Most especially was this the case with regard to the brief but violent action, at night, undertaken at the Ephraim Brigade's (IDF) base in Samaria, during which they vandalized equipment and clashed with members of the IDF, throwing a stone at the car of 
the deputy brigade commander and injuring him.

Prime Minister Netanyahu was absolutely correct when he said, in response to this action, that, “No one can break the law. No one can raise a hand against the IDF or the police. This is the foundation of democracy."

And so this -- Jew setting against Jew -- causes pain.  It's one of those things that should not be, that we hope will not be.  With the state of the world today, and the hostility with which we are surrounded, it is something we can ill afford.


However... if the actions of these young people are to be condemned, it is important to set their behavior into context.  That context is significant, and it, too, is painful.

Sampler: MJ Rosenberg Does Al Jazeera Proud, J Street (Re)Defines "Pro-Israel" and Israel's Case In 6 Paragraphs

Mideast Media Sampler 12/18/2011

by DG

1) Your daily dose of irony

Where do the following paragraphs appear?
Can anyone argue with the assertion that, for neocons, Obama is always wrong and Bibi is always right? Not only that, they denounce those who dare criticise Netanyahu over anything while never ever letting up on Obama. How can it be that the prime minister is always right but the president is always wrong?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Barry Rubin: How Can Israel Please the American Government, Media, and “Experts”? It Can’t

The following is reposted with permission:

By Barry Rubin

There is a constant effort—especially by the anti-Israel left--to portray those who express mainstream Israeli public opinion and the views of professional analysts as “right-wing” or “Likudnik.” This leads me to wonder what one would have to say to please these people. What would be the equivalent of a “liberal” position for Israel according to them? What kinds of positions would they see as legitimate?

What follows is not meant to exaggerate in any way but is, I believe, a genuine list of what they demand. To please them, I presume one would have to say the following:

Rest Easy: Obama Vows Iran Won't Go Nuclear

According to Ehud Barak, Obama has vowed that Iran will not become nuclear:
Defense Minister Ehud Barak met on Friday with U.S. President Barack Obama, shortly before the latter addressed the Union for Reform Judaism biennial. In his speech, Obama assured the audience that the U.S.' commitment to Israel is "unshakeable" and that "no U.S. administration has done more in support of Israel’s security than ours."

Barry Rubin: U.S. Policy and Iran: Why Obama’s Bargain has Failed

by Barry Rubin

The Biblical verse Deuteronomy 30 quotes God as saying: I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life that thou may live….”

This notion of choice is the basis for Obama Administration policy toward Iran. And as in the Bible the “correct” choice seems rather obvious. Who would not choose “life”? Answer: The Islamist regime of Iran.

Since late 2010, when he finally decided that he couldn’t make a deal with Iran, Obama turned to his own choice scenario. Here’s how he presented it in his December 8 press conference:

“Iran understands that they have a choice: They can break that isolation by acting responsibly and foreswearing the development of nuclear weapons, which would still allow them to pursue peaceful nuclear power, like every other country that’s a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, or they can continue to operate in a fashion that isolates them from the entire world.”

Now, when presented like that, how could Tehran not decide it should be ‘acting responsibly and foreswearing the development of nuclear weapons”? And yet Iran doesn’t make the choice Obama expects. Why is that?