Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Arlene Kushner on Fears About Netanyahu; False Rumors About Obama

From Arlene Kushner:

January 30, 2012

"Fear and Rumor"

I am always reluctant to repeat here speculative, unconfirmed reports that pass as "news."  For once I repeat them, I am  reinforcing the impression that what I am saying is solid news. 

Here, then, I will just allude in the most general terms to unsubstantiated talk about the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu might be willing to offer the Arabs a good deal of territory in Judea and Samaria.

Barry Rubin: Response to Ron Paul: Did U.S. Policy Make Today's Islamist Iran Hate America?

The following from Barry Rubin is reposted with permission:

Response to Ron Paul: Did U.S. Policy Make Today's Islamist Iran Hate America?

A different version of the following article was published in The Daily Caller.

By Barry Rubin

Presidential candidate Ron Paul has said repeatedly that Iranians hate America because of its role in the 1953 coup overthrowing Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadegh. Like his frequent claims that the September 11 attack was a response to a supposed decade-long U.S. bombing of Iraq.

Yedidya Atlas: The National Jewish Democratic Council Versus Newt Gingrich

The following by Yedidya Atlas is reposted with permission.

By: Yedidya Atlas

A January 23rd article on the NJDC – National Jewish Democratic Council - website was “SC Winner Newt Gingrich: A Closer Look.” The NJDC declared that the GOP has “yet another candidate whose positions and behavior stand in direct opposition to the values of the vast majority of American Jews...... Gingrich appears to have adopted far-right policies towards Israel that place him at odds with the democratically-elected government of Israel as well.”

The article, by a David Streeter, made clear to me that the “values of the vast majority of American Jews” have little to do with Judaism, reminding me of the pundit who described the Reform movement as “the ultra-liberal wing of the Democratic Party - with holidays.” While assumedly, the NJDC means more than just Reform Jews, still one has to wonder from their list of issues against Newt Gingrich, what is Jewish about them?

The Middle East Sampler 1/31/12: New York Times vs. Moderate Muslims?

From DG:
1) Will Israel be illegal in Iraq?

A new bill before the Iraqi parliament would make travel to Israel illegal (via memeorandum):
The bill was proposed following a number of incidents at the Bagdad airport. A local security officer working there said the passport had caught a number of Iraqi officials carrying passports with Israeli entry visas. The officer, speaking on a condition of anonymity, reported that the passports of some nine high-profile Iraqi politicians were clearly marked with Ben-Gurion Airport stamps as well.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Arlene Kushner on The Israel-Palestinian "Peace Talks"

From Arlene Kushner:

January 30, 2012

"Frenetic Times"

Afraid it's "that time" again: Time for a review of what's going on with our "partners for peace" and their brothers in Hamas.  Hate doing this.  But every so many days...

As was totally predictable, the "talks" supervised by Jordan have gone nowhere and are likely finished.  (Although, as I write there is an unconfirmed report that the low level talks may continue for another month.  We'll see.)

What Export Is Lebanon And Iran Sharing With Syria? Snipers

If you are a leading patron of terrorism like Iran, or like Lebanon--the home of a leading terrorist group like Hezbollah: what kind of exports can you offer the murderous regime of Assad in Syria?

It ain't oranges.
Syrian regime 'importing snipers' for protests

The Middle East Sampler 1/30/2012: Hamas and Jordan

From DG:
1) Khaled in Jordan

The New York Times reports Hamas Leader Takes Rare Trip to Jordan about Khaled Meshal's recent visit to Jordan:
Jordan wants to restore relations with Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that controls Gaza, because the group is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose Islamist allies are forming new governments around the Arab world, and because Jordan wants to remain an influential go-between in the region, especially in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But Jordan does not want to damage its relationship with Hamas’s chief rival, President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party, nor to anger Jordan’s allies, Israel and the United States, which consider Hamas a terrorist group.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Barry Rubin: Why Syria’s Regime is Surviving a Revolution

The following from Barry Rubin is reposted with permission:

By Barry Rubin

Despite what is now the longest-running revolution in Middle Eastern history, the Syrian regime will probably be in power on December 31, 2012. I don’t say that because it’s what I want to happen—Syria’s revolution is more democratic-minded than those in Libya or Egypt; the government is far more repressive than the former dictatorships in Tunisia or Egypt—but because it seems inevitable.

Why is it that after so many months of massive demonstrations and really bloody repression, that President Bashar al-Assad seems likely to survive? Of course no one knows what will happen but there are three reasons to think that Assad's regime is surviving, though the cost of that is a great deal of suffering and the wrecking of the country.

Arlene Kushner On Obama's Election Campaign Ads On Israel

From Arlene Kushner:
January 29, 2012
"Pushing Back, Pushing Forward"
There's a good deal happening, and much to respond to.  Please read this through and act.  I like to think of my readers as also actors in the important fights we are fighting  -- against some things, for others.  Your assistance does make a difference.


I begin with a link to my latest article on Front Page Magazine, "Answering Obama's Israel Lies."  
It exposes the distortions and half-truths that have been put out in a campaign video purporting to show what a good friend to Israel Obama is.  Please, circulate broadly.

Here's the link to the original video, in case you haven't seen it.  It's making the rounds big time and must be responded to in a serious fashion, for it's so easy to be taken in if you don't know the facts.  When you DO know the facts, the response to this is some combination of rage and deep disgust.

Barry Rubin: As The State of the Union Speech Shows: The Problem with Obama Isn’t Just Political or Ideological, It’s Ignorance, Inexperience, Character, and Incompetence, Too

By Barry Rubin

I’ve been waiting for someone to voice my reaction to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union message. But and since I haven’t seen anyone else do it — I’m not referring to the foreign policy aspects which I analyzed fully here but the whole speech — I’ll do it myself.

It was very scary.

Why? I am reminded of the famous scene in The Caine Mutiny embedded above in which the captain is testifying at the court-martial of officers who removed him from command during a storm on the basis of mental incompetence. Perhaps you remember the brilliant film performance by Humphrey Bogart. As he testifies about his fine job of command, the captain slowly breaks down into coherence. He pulls out of his pocket some little steel balls which he rolls endlessly in his hand. Click. Click. Click. The court-martial officers look at each other and you can see in their faces what they are thinking: This man is bonkers.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Video: Latma--Obama Administration Guarantees Peace With Egypt

As Shabbos approaches, here is the latest edition of Latma.

The Middle East Media Sampler 1/27/2012: Anti-Semitism Back In Style

From DG:
1) The fault lines of the 'Arab Spring'

Jonathan Spyer in PJMedia 'Arab Spring' leaves a weakened Hezbollah:
This investment in the survival of Assad indicates which of the four aspects of Hezbollah’s identity mentioned above are most important to it. The link with the Iran-led alliance and maintaining the ability to wage war against Israel are the cardinal interests. To maintain these, Hezbollah has to a great extent sacrificed its more nebulous self-image as a leader of pan-Islamic “resistance.” Syrian Sunnis leading the uprising against Assad now count Hezbollah among their enemies. The movement’s flag has been burnt at opposition rallies. 

Ten Question Quiz To Identify Politicians' Gaffes

I came across this on the Points and Figures blog, where Jeffrey Carter has come up with a 10 question quiz illustrating The Soaring Rhetoric of Politicians:
This is a fun quiz. Listed below are 10 direct quotes. You have to guess
which American politician said it. Your four choices are:

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
Former VP Dan Quayle
President Barack Obama
Former President George W. Bush

Ready? Here we go!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Video: Quick Comparison Of Obama State Of The Union Addresses

Yes, I'm sure that politicians in general, and presidents in particular, rework successful themes--but it's still jarring to see this from the president touted as being such a smooth expert speaker as Obama.

Here is a comparison of the 2012 State of the Union Address with Obama's State of the Union Address of 2011 and 2010:

Video: Newt Gingrich Scores Again Off Media Question During Debate

Challenging the media instead of apologizing to them is becoming popular!
But it still doesn't mean Newt Gingrich is electable.

Here's the video:

Video: Cato Institute Debunks Obama's 2012 State Of The Union Address

Scholars from the Cato Institute respond to and debunk claims made by Obama in his 2012 State of the Union Address

Technorati Tag: and and .

Barry Rubin: Israel Is Not About to Attack Iran and Neither is the United States: Get Used To It

By Barry Rubin

The radio superhero, The Shadow, had the power to “cloud men’s minds.” But nothing clouds men’s minds like anything that has to do with Jews or Israel. This year’s variation on that theme is the idea that Israel is about to attack Iran. Such a claim repeatedly appears in the media. Some have criticized Israel for attacking Iran and turning the Middle East into a cauldron of turmoil (not as if the region needs any help in that department) despite the fact that it hasn’t happened.

On the surface, of course, there is apparent evidence for such a thesis. Israel has talked about attacking Iran and, objectively, one can make a case for such an operation. Yet any serious consideration of this scenario—based on actual research and real analysis rather than what the uninformed assemble in their own heads—is this: It isn’t going to happen.

The Middle East Media Sampler 1/26/12: New York Times Media Bias

From DG:
1) Mahmoud the two-faced

Maariv (in Hebrew) reported (translated by Daily Alert)
The talks underway between Israel and the Palestinians in Amman have not lead to any progress. The opposite is true: the Palestinians refused to talk with Israel on the issues related to security arrangements for their future state, even though at issue is one of the central subjects in the conflict. The prime minister’s envoy to the negotiations, Adv. Yitzhak Molcho, brought to the meeting between the parties on Saturday night Brig.-Gen. Assaf Orion, the head of the strategic unit of the IDF Planning Branch, in order to present Israel’s positions on security in the talks. However, the head of the Palestinian negotiating team, Saeb Erekat, refused to allow the officer to appear before them. 

WebYeshiva Offering Free Online Torah Classes

Online learning at WebYeshiva is led by the Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Brovender:
For people seeking serious Torah learning at their own convenience, WebYeshiva.org offers the ability to join other Jews in an accessible, interactive community for all levels, with its dynamic online classrooms and web presence.

Free Winter Semester shiurim will run from Januart 15th through March 6th, 2012.

If you can't participate live, you can still listen to the class in the archived recording at your convenience.
Note: All Torah classes are free

Check out the WebYeshiva Website--and the WebYeshiva Blog

Here are 2 sample shiurim of the kind of online learning available:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Muslim Massacre Of Christians In Nigeria That Never Happened

The following has been making the rounds on Facebook periodically--and is still showing up:Christians burnt alive by Sunni Muslims in Nigeria:
Christians burnt alive by Sunni Muslims in NIGERIA…(Posted by Jillian Becker in Africa, Arab States, Christianity, Christians burnt alive by Sunni Muslims, Islam, Muslims, jihad)…..PLEASE SHARE IT OR JUST UPLOAD YOUR OWN…BUT SOMEHOW SPREAD IT IF YOU’RE EVEN 1% CHRISTIAN — It is still not over yet! —

The Middle East Media Sampler 1/25/12: Egypt's Revolution A Year Later

From DG:
1) Really?

The New York Times has a short item, Lebanon: Former General Sentenced in Spying Case. The former general, Fayez Karam was convicted of giving information to Israel. I've been skeptical of these announced arrests of spies in Lebanon. Two years is an awfully light sentence for an espionage conviction.

2) Fouad Ajami on the Assads 

Fouad Ajamai has an essay The Lost Bequest of Hafez Aassad, that concludes with observations about his son, Bashar. (h/t Martin Kramer )

Barry Rubin: Obama’s State of the Union Speech: My Response Discovers Some Curious Insights and Strange Formulations

By Barry Rubin

In his State of the Union message, President Barack Obama began by wrapping himself in the flag, patriotism, and love of the armed forces while trying to highlight his foreign policy achievements. Among his points:

–“The United States [is] safer and more respected around the world.”

Presumably, a lot of Americans will believe this. The United States may be said to be safer in terms of facing direct terror attacks but that was basically true in 2002. As for “more repected”—a phrase no doubt chosen to seem more statesmanlike than saying “more popular,” that is a joke. If there’s one thing that should be obvious (and this is often revealed even by international public opinion polls) the United States is not more respected at all.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Video: The Myth Of Arab East Jerusalem

Out of 3,000 years Jerusalem was divided for only 19 years:
The history of Jerusalem did not start in 1967. Thousands of years of Jewish history took place in what is now called 'Arab East Jerusalem.'

Only when the Jewish residents were driven from their homes in 1948 was the city divided between East and West.
The 19 year division of Jerusalem is being exploited as a reason to divide Israel's capital today.

Here is the video:

Barry Rubin: Where the “Counter-Obama” View of the Middle East is Right and Where It’s Wrong

By Barry Rubin

Jackson Diehl is by far the best journalist writing in the mass media about the Middle East. In a recent column he tries to find some middle ground between the dominant ideas — that Islamist regimes are no problem at all and that the Muslim Brotherhood is really moderate — and what he defines as an excessively extreme conservative and Republican analysis.

While I don’t quite agree with him, there is much of merit in his dichotomy. We should all learn from it even though I’m going to suggest that it needs to be adjusted. Even if Obama’s critics are on the right side about the Middle East and generally understand what’s happening, many of them also make factual and analytical mistakes that undermine their credibility and may sometimes subvert their policies if they win office.

Arlene Kushner On Migron

From Arlene Kushner:

January 24, 2012
"MIGRON in the spotlight"

My readers have heard from me about Mitzpe Avichai, and now it is time to turn our attention to Migron -- which presents some very serious issues.  You will learn things here that it is unlikely you've heard from your mainstream media sources.

Migron is a Jewish community on a hilltop in the Binyamin Regional Council in Samaria, north of Jerusalem.  With 49 families, it is the largest of the communities that are frequently referred to as "unauthorized settlements."

The Middle East Media Sampler 1/24/12: Palestinian Diplomatic War Against Israel

From DG:
1) What the Diehl? 
Lately Jackson Diehl has been one of the better analysts of the Middle East. His most recent, Turkey's government is the new normal in the Middle East, unfortunately, was disappointing. Diehl started off by blasting former Republican presidential candidate, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas.
Perry responded: “Well, obviously when you have a country that is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists . . .” 
Islamic terrorists? This, mind you, is about a government that has just stationed an advanced radar on its territory that could be used to track and shoot down missiles from Iran; that joined the NATO operation against Moammar Gaddafi in Libya; that has become the host of the opposition to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad; and that, having repeatedly won free democratic elections, amended Turkey’s constitution to expand rights for women, ethnic minorities and unions.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Video: On The 10th Anniversary Of The Abduction Of Daniel Pearl

From the YouTube page:
Danny's parents, Judea and Ruth Pearl, reflect on his life and last words in this webcam video shot 1/18/2007 in the kitchen of their Encino, CA home.

Daniel, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, was murdered in Karachi, Pakistan on February 1, 2002.

In a widely-circulated video, Danny proudly affirmed his identity as a Jew and Zionist, last words that have inspired books, movies and music.

Maybe they'll inspire you.

For more information, visit the Daniel Pearl Foundation,

Video by Dennis Wilen for JewishJournal.com

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution.
Here is the video:

Why Is Hamas The Cuddly Moderate And Netanyahu The Extremist

Ever notice that we are constantly being told that Hamas is moderating?

From the time that Hamas won the election back in 2006 (a year before the bloody coup where Hamas kicked out Fatah), we have been lectured on how Hamas would moderate, is moderating, wants to moderate, is split over moderating...

What Do You Get When You Cross The BBC With Russian News?

Scary thought, huh?
Well, here is a page from the Russian BBC website telling people about Gaza

Barry Rubin: The Unvarnished Reality of Contemporary U.S.-Israel Relations

The following by Barry Rubin is reposted here with permission

The following article was published in Maariv newspaper in Hebrew.

By Barry Rubin

Do not speak of it in public. Do not expect any Israeli official to admit it. But Israel is facing an issue unlike anything it has had to deal with during the past 50 years: It cannot depend on the United States.

Huge Victory: Finally--What Muslim Fanatics Say In Arabic Is Not Ignored

This is a huge victory against fanatical Muslim statements that have regularly been ignored because they were said in Arabic.

In this case, the Jerusalem Mufti--hand-picked by Abbas--called for the murder of Jews

Palestine Media Watch notes that PMW report shows that Mufti did apply call to kill Jews to current conflict

Apparently the Jerusalem Mufti, Muhammad Hussein, is not used to being called on his Arabic statements which till now have been made with impunity.

Barry Rubin: Egypt's Parliament 75 percent Islamist; Egypt-Israel Peace Agreement is Dead Even if Treaty Still Exists

By Barry Rubin

We’re starting to get a good picture of what the lower house of Egypt’s parliament will be like, though it will take another month to be certain. Close to 50 percent of the seats will be held by the Muslim Brotherhood. Another 25 percent will be held by the al-Nour party of Salafists. With 75 percent the two Islamist parties will be able to do as they please.

But, they—or at least the Brotherhood—are determined to be cautious. Note that there is a big difference between actually being moderate and simply being patient, advancing step by step toward radical goals. The Western media will report that the Brotherhood is indeed moderate. Actually, as I review coverage over the last year it is almost impossible to find even a single article in the mass media that reports any such evidence, much less analysis, despite the massive documentation available to the contrary .

The non-Islamist seats will be held by the Wafd, nine percent, and the Free Egyptians Party, another nine percent, with the rest spread among a dozen different parties, mainly liberal with a small number of leftists. The Wafd will be willing to make deals with the Islamists in order to obtain a share of power for itself. Only the Free Egyptians will oppose them with determination.

Mideast Media Sampler 1/23/12: Al Jazeera Hearts Hatzolah, HRW Hearts Arab Spring and Brzezinski Hearts Tom Friedman

From DG:
1) If they aren't a terrorist organization, what are they?

The conclusion of a New York Times op-ed, 3 weeks ago by Jean Herskovits, In Nigeria, Boko Haram Is Not the Problem:
The United States should not allow itself to be drawn into this quicksand by focusing on Boko Haram alone. Washington is already seen by many northern Muslims — including a large number of longtime admirers of America — as biased toward a Christian president from the south. The United States must work to avoid a self-fulfilling prophecy that makes us into their enemy. Placing Boko Haram on the foreign terrorist list would cement such views and make more Nigerians fear and distrust America.
This weekend's news Death toll in Nigeria terror onslaught tops 170
(via The Volokh Conspiracy) :

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Arlene Kushner On Newt Gingrich's Win And Obama's Failed Mideast Policies

From Arlene Kushner:

January 22, 2012

"All Right!"

Newt Gingrich, surprising a whole lot of people, ran away with the Republican primary election in S. Carolina yesterday.  He  has garnered at least 23 of S. Carolina's 25 delegates to the Republican convention. 
Source: Huffington Post

Analysts attribute this win to Gingrich's feisty delivery at the two S.  Carolina debates -- in Myrtle Beach and Charleston.  He's focused, articulate, and unafraid of confronting facts that are politically incorrect. 
During his speech to supporters last night, he declared:

If Netanyahu Is Really Such A Right Winger Extremist...

The following is from an email describing a meeting with some friends who
immediately came out swinging that Bibi is a Right Winger and Lieberman pushes him even more right, blah, blah, blah.

Helping the NY Times Become ‘Truth Vigilantes’

I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge “facts” that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.
Arthur Brisbane, public editor of the New York Times

Brisbane, ever mindful of his readers and the obligation that the New York Times feels towards them, is concerned about
readers who, fed up with the distortions and evasions that are common in public life, look to The Times to set the record straight. They worry less about reporters imposing their judgment on what is false and what is true.
Enter David Gerstman, who offers Mr. Brisbane some much-needed support.

Gerstman begins Helping the NY Times Become ‘Truth Vigilantes’ by pointing out the discrepancies in New York Times's own reporting:

Challah Hu Akbar: Obama Administration: No to Israel, Yes to the Muslim Brotherhood?

Blogging on Israellycool, Challah Hu Akbar writes about Obama's policy--Obama Administration: No to Israel, Yes to the Muslim Brotherhood?:
Israeli media recently reported that US officials are offering numerous excuses as to why they do not wish to meet with Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman during his upcoming visit. The most outrageous claim was that “we [US officials] do not want to be photographed with him.”

Barry Rubin: Why Contemporary Western Elites Don’t Understand the World and Why Their Foreign Policies Fail

By Barry Rubin

One of the benefits of spending much of my time talking to people from around the world is getting an original, fresh perspective on the United States, its policies, politics, and political culture.

Recently, I had a discussion with a brilliant academic who had grown up in a Communist country, has spent a lot of time in the United States, and studies this kind of thing. To explain how the U.S. conception of the world is shaped, he used the phrase, “engineering mentality.”

The “engineering mentality” is one of the main factors in America’s brilliant success. I take it to mean that one approaches problems with a can-do (another American phrase) style. One rules out extraneous, distracting cultural and historical factors in order to figure out a practical way to fix things. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! Construct buildings, roads, and bridges; invent new products; revolutionize production methods. Don’t be intimidated by the traditional; don’t be afraid of change; just because it has never been done before doesn’t mean it cannot be done now. Forget about ideology or preconceived notions. Just get the job done as quickly, cheaply, and efficiently as possible.

Such energetic and fearless pragmatism conquered a continent, industrialized an agrarian nation, and won wars. A century ago it allowed America to turn disparate ethnic and religious groups into a single nation. In recent decades with remarkably little violence or disruption it broke down long-prevalent racial, gender, and other barriers.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Iranian State-Controlled Press TV Taken Off Air In UK

From an email:

Iranian state-controlled Press TV taken off UK air following HJS editorial in the Times
MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Weissemail or phone +44 (0)20 7340 4520 (office) 
or +44 (0)77 666 41670 (mobile)
Today it was announced that Press TV, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Iranian regime, had its Ofcom license revoked owning to multiple violations of the broadcasting code. In 2009, the station aired an "interview" that was in fact a prison interrogation of a Newsweek journalist arrested for chronicling the Green Revolution. In December, Henry Jackson Society Research Fellow Houriya Ahmed called for the shuttering of Press TV after a regime-sponsored mob sacked the British embassy in Tehran:

Barry Rubin: Are You Left-Wing or Right-Wing? Hopefully, I’m Honest-and-Accurate Wing

By Barry Rubin

I ran into an older, retired Israeli colleague who is a fine scholar in his field. We hadn’t met for 25 years and agreed to have coffee in a nearby Tel Aviv cafe. In the ensuing conversation I learned some key things about why current intellectual and political discussion is such a wreck.

The retired professor has read nothing I’ve written. He is on the left-wing politically, in the historic non-Communist sense, but his work has always been first-rate and untouched by any political slant. In addition, he has worked amicably with people of different views. And that’s why I was dismayed by his first question: “Are you left-wing or right-wing?”

Barry Rubin: Arabism Is Dead! Long Live…?

The following by Barry Rubin is reposted here with permission.

By Barry Rubin

An editorial in the moderate Lebanese publication, Lebanon Now, reminds us of just how dramatically the Middle East has changed. Many of the arguments and assumptions that governed the Arabic-speaking world for six decades have simply vanished. Others, though, have just been modified slightly.

The biggest change has been the collapse of Arab nationalism, the ideology and system that governed many countries, controlled the regional debate, and intimidated everyone else into line for six decades. But is the analogy to Eastern Europe in 1991—rescued from Communism and transformed into democracies—or to the situation there in 1945—save from fascism only to be taken over by Communism for almost a half-century?

In other words is the Arabic-speaking world moving into an era of democracy or merely a new form of authoritarianism?

Mideast Media Sampler 1/20/12: NY Times On Why Jews Can Trust It

From DG:
1) Sinking Lewis

The Columbia Journalism Review features an article by Neil Lewis, The Times and the Jews. The subhead tells us: "A vocal segment of American Jewry has long believed that the paper has been unfair to Israel. Here’s why—and why they’re wrong." (h/t James Taranto) The article is long (and a longer version is promised at the bottom) but I will focus on only one incident that Lewis analyzes.

Video: Latma On Jewish Terror and Anti Arab Discrimination Strikes Again

This weeks Latma is up
Enjoy and have a Good Shabbos:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Barry Rubin: Who’s Winning in the Middle East? Everyone Outside the West Knows It’s The Islamists

The following by Barry Rubin is reposted here with permission.

By Barry Rubin

Nawal al-Saadawi, now 80 years old, is a unique figure in Egypt. She is a pioneer feminist and a radical Arab nationalist. Al-Saadawi has lived in the United States but hates America and, of course, Israel. You can imagine that she also loathes the Islamists. So how does someone like al-Saadawi react to the Egyptian elections won by the Islamists?

She brands it an American conspiracy. "Democracy is not elections and America uses religion to divide Egypt," she said in a recent television interview. You are going to be hearing--or not hearing, if you depend on the Western mass media--a lot more of this kind of thing.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian moderates know they are unpopular but can only blame the local media and the military. Only in private do they acknowledge with despair the overwhelming strength of the Islamists. No doubt many of them will also soon be blaming American policy for their defeats.

The Samsung Commercial You Will Never See In Iran

The Samsung ad that proves: yeah, there's an app for that!

Mideast Media Sampler 1/19/12

From DG:
1) Filling in details and making stuff up

When people don't know all the details of what happened, speculation becomes rampant to fill in the missing details.

For example we know that certain facilities in Iran have been targeted as well as nuclear scientists. The assumption is that Israel's behind these attacks because it is the country that most fears a nuclear Iran. Michael Ledeen writes that he doesn't believe that these attacks are the work of foreign governments:
Before getting into the details, let me caveat this whole thing: I don’t know who did it, and neither does anybody else writing about it. The Iranian regime, which usually claims to know everything about everything, has so far accused the Brits, the Americans, the MEK, and the Israelis.
However, I think that I do know this: If the Israelis (or the Americans, or the Brits) are actually capable of operating at will in the midst of the virtual military occupation in Tehran, we do not have to worry about the Iranian nukes, because if the Israelis, the Brits or the Americans can do that, they can do anything they want to.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Arlene Kushner On The Cancellation of US-Israel Exercises--And Hibuki

January 18, 2012

"Switching Gears"

On Sunday I had written that a major joint Israeli-US military exercise -- to be the biggest ever held -- which had been scheduled here for this spring had been cancelled, allegedly for budgetary reasons.  The news was brand-new when I put it out.

In the days since, there has been much said about this cancellation, and every pundit, every writer, has a different take.  You have your choice: both countries decided together to cancel/Israel cancelled/the US cancelled.  It was for Israeli budgetary reasons/to punish Israel/to allow adequate time for planning. And on and on.

#Gaza Activist Stabbed After Exposing #Hamas Use of Human Shields

Gaza Activist Stabbed After Exposing Hamas Use of Human Shields


U.N. Must Condemn Latest Hamas Brutality

GENEVA, Jan. 17 - The stabbing in Gaza of a Palestinian rights activist after he exposed Hamas' contempt for its own people by using them as human shields, and after he criticized the radical Islamic group for torture, abuse and trampling free speech, should be strongly condemned by the United Nations—both as an attack on the victim’s human rights, and on the idea of freedom of expression.

Mideast Media Sampler 1/18/12: Tom Friedman Backtracks and Hannah Arendt's Legacy To Israel-Haters

From DG:
1) I never met an Islamist I didn't think was moderate

How can you tell when an expert who predicted one outcome realizes he is wrong? When he starts telling you that a different outcome isn't so bad.

A week and a half ago Thomas Friedman naively told us that the victory of the Islamists in Egypt was a good thing. To be sure there were skeptics.

Today in Trust but Verify, Friedman walks back his earlier unbridled enthusiasm.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Yedidya Atlas: The Palestinian Big Lie Revisited

The following by Yedidya Atlas is reposted with his permission.

By: Yedidya Atlas

As the US presidential elections draw closer, support for Israel becomes a mantra for every potential candidate. Republicans wave their pro-Israel flag to satisfy the significant majority of pro-Israel Republican voters (non-Jews). While President Obama renews efforts to prove to the left-liberal Jewish Democratic donors and Jewish voter blocs in key states that he too just loves Israel - despite his actual record while in office these past three years - including eating non-kosher pastrami on rye sandwiches in public.

So the Palestinians, in what appears to be a coordinated good cop/bad cop effort are redoubling promotion of their Big Lie about who their “deep roots in the Land” and that the “Palestinian-Israeli Conflict” is the big issue that requires a “just solution” - which is a euphemism for pressuring Israel to accept the Palestinian Arab position. Just one week after Dr. Ahmed Tibi attacked Majority Leader Eric Cantor in an op-ed in the local Richmond newspaper, PLO Mission head in Washington, DC, Maen Rashid Areikat, blithely repeated many of the same lies in The Washington Post.

Barry Rubin: Israel's Options as Muslim Brotherhood Gains Power

The following by Barry Rubin is reposted with permission.

By Barry Rubin

The political history of the modern Middle East can easily be divided into three eras. In 1952, a military coup in Egypt signaled the start of the period in which radical Arab nationalism dominated. The 1979 Iranian revolution began the challenge of revolutionary Islamism. And then, in 2011, in the wake of more revolutions, Arab nationalism collapsed completely.

In most of the Arab world we are now in the era of the Muslim Brotherhood. Finally, there is a new “Middle East,” but instead of being directed by moderation, peace, and a hunger for material prosperity, it is dominated by Islamists determined to transform their own societies and to conquer the region for their cause.

Video: Fiddler On The Roof--With Legos

Just one more thing you can do with Legos...

Mideast Media Sampler 1/17/12: Ban Ki Moon In Action, Austere Challenge 12 and Wrath of Cohen

From DG:
1) Ban Ki Moon: Hezbollah must disarm, Syria must stop killing, Israel must withdraw from village

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has been in Lebanon for among other things, a conference on "Reform and Transitions to Democracy" sponsored by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. First he was reported to have called on Hezbollah to disarm. That demand was met with scorn.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah dismissed on Saturday a United Nations call for his movement to disarm, saying it was determined to maintain a military capacity to defend Lebanon. 
"I affirm today, firmly, decisively and with the greatest conviction ... the choice of armed resistance," Nasrallah said. "These weapons, along with the Lebanese people and army, are the only guarantee of Lebanon's protection."
"Your concern, Secretary-General, reassures us and pleases us. What matters to us is that you are worried, and that America ... and Israel are worried with you," he said in a televised speech marking a Shiite holy day. 
In more recent remarks he called on Syria to stop killing its citizens:

Arlene Kushner On Protecting Children During Evacuation From Mitzpe Avichai

From Arlene Kushner:

January 16, 2012

"The Rights of the Child"

We're still dealing with Mitzpe Avichai.  As my readers are well aware, I have focused on mistreatment of the infants and children forced out of their homes during the evacuation of this neighborhood.  What I have now learned is precisely how much attention has been paid to this issue in relevant forums over a period of time:

As far back as August of 2009, a document had been drawn up by mental health professionals, who took into consideration lessons from previous evacuations of "outposts," regarding the rights of the child in these circumstances.  This document made minimal recommendations, and stated that children must be prepared in advance for an evacuation of their homes, and should not be present when the evacuation and destruction are taking place.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Barry Rubin: The Middle East in 2012--The Year of Living Dangerously

The following by Barry Rubin is reprinted with permission.

By Barry Rubin

The region-wide upheaval known as “the Arab Spring” would make it seem that terrorism, especially Islamist terrorism, is pretty much as dead as are its thousands of victims. After all, if the protest demonstration and balloting have proven able to resolve grievances then who needs to blow people up?

And the same applies to intimidation and instability since presumably people vote, a government is elected, and democracy immediately enues.

But the Middle East is far from through with violence. Where should we look in 2012 for the greatest threats of terrorism and what will be the targets? If we think this through in advance we can better plan to avoid or minimize these problems.

Missing Peace: Iraq nine years after operation ‘Iraqi Freedom’: Back to square one?

Bomb attack in Nassiriya, 300 km southeast of Baghdad January 5, foto Reuters
Jerusalem, January 16, 2012

Sharon Shaked and Yochanan Visser

This Missing Peace report deals with the situation in Iraq after the pull out of the US army in December last year.

Following the departure of the American army sectarian violence has rapidly increased. Since the beginning of January 2012, 257 civilians have died in terrorist attacks, Iran has stepped up its involvement in Iraq’s internal politics and political turmoil has ensued, bringing the country to the brink of a civil war.

End of US mission

On December 15th 2011 the American military formally ended its mission in Iraq.

Since its beginning in 2003 the intervention has cost the lives of 4,487 American soldiers, another 32,226 were wounded in action and approximately one hundred thousand Iraqis died in the ensuing fighting and terror campaign.

As soon as the US troops left it became clear just how messy and sectarian Iraqi politics are.
Right after the withdrawal sectarian political tensions boiled over and Iraq became even more unstable than it already was.

Barry Rubin: The Three Rules of Western Discourse and Why The Media Must Always Blame Israel

By Barry Rubin

It is truly astonishing how, it often seems, how Western media coverage must blame Israel for everything that “goes wrong” in the Middle East, including murderous hostility to Israel.

Sentences often seem carefully formulated to push this claim and exclude any possibility of balance, much less accuracy. And no matter what the subject, it seems, this message must be snuck in.

Consider these two paragraphs in a Washington Post story about the Egyptian government’s cancellation of a Jewish pilgrimage to a site in Egypt:

“The government’s move underscores the changing relationship between Israel and post-Hosni Mubarak Egypt. The former president maintained relations with Israel, as laid out in the 1979 Camp David peace treaty, in part by curbing civil liberties with his expansive police force. Since his ouster last winter, anti-Israeli sentiment driven by Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians has risen to the surface, and Israeli-Egyptian tensions have grown.

“Relations soured further in the fall after a mid-August cross-border attack from Egypt led to the killing of at least five Egyptian border guards as Israeli troops pursued alleged militants. Many activists called for revisions of the peace treaty and protests outside the Israeli Embassy turned violent when some demonstrators stormed the building.”

Jewish Students: Anti-Semitism a Challenge, Not Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions against Israel

Jewish Students: Anti-Semitism a Challenge, Not Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions against Israel

January 16, 2012
Contact: Zachary Scheinerman
Tel: 301-565-3918
Email: aicepublicity@gmail.com

Washington, Jan. 16 - Nearly eight-in-ten (78 percent) Jewish undergraduate students report either witnessing (66 percent) or being subject to (46 percent) anti-Semitism in their lifetime. This alarmingly high number belies the idea that anti-Semitism is no longer a challenge for the younger generation.

And, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of Jewish undergraduates characterize the criticism that they hear regarding Israel to be unfair. When hearing criticism of Israel, only 14 percent of respondents characterize it as legitimate, compare to 27 percent who deem it anti-Israel, and 44 percent anti-Semitic.

Video: IDF Aid Missions Save Thousands Around the World

From the Youtube page:
Over the last 26 years, Israel has sent out 15 aid missions to countries struck by natural disasters. Immediately upon arriving to these countries IDF doctors set up field hospitals. Overall, medical care was given to more than 2,300 people in afflicted areas, and 220 were saved from certain death.

Arlene Kushner On The Evacuation of Mitzpe Avichai and Mossad and Iran,

From Arlene Kushner:

January 15, 2012

"Follow-up on Mitzpe Avichai"

In my last posting I registered moral outrage at the fact that the residents of Mitzpe Avichai, including children and babies, were pushed out of their homes -- a total of 9 temporary structures in this fledging neighborhood in Kiryat Arba -- in the middle of the night, into a freezing rain, so that the homes might be destroyed. 

Today I have additional factual information:

Iranian Press: Israeli Prisons Are Inhuman! (Who Knew Iran Hated Facebook That Much)

Iran's FARS "News" Agency is now claiming Israel mistreats Palestinian prisoners, reporting that Israeli prisons are "much more horrible than those of the Nazis:
Palestinian Minister for Captives Affairs Ataollah Abu Sabah said Palestinian prisoners are suffering harsh and inhuman conditions in Israeli jails, and stressed that Israeli prisons are much more horrible than those of the Nazis'.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Happy Anniversary Abbas--In Office Three Years Since His Term Ended!

Abbas's term as President expired 15 January 2009, since then Aziz Duwaik has been recognised as President by the Haniyeh government in the Gaza Strip, while Abbas is recognised as President by the Fayyad government in the West Bank.

In "The Palestinians' Imaginary State", Steven Rosen explains that a Palestinian state is not the only thing that is imaginary--Mahmoud Abbas's term as president of "Palestine" ended 3 years ago:

Barry Rubin: Can Real Liberalism and the Democratic Party Be Saved from the Radical Takeover?

By Barry Rubin

I want the people to know that they still have 2 out of 3 branches of the government working for them, and that ain’t bad.”
–”Mars Attacks”

The far left has at least temporarily won the battle of ideas in the United States and taken over institutions by pretending to be “liberal.” Meanwhile, actual traditional liberalism, which ruled those institutions for many decades, has vanished. Suddenly, we are supposed to believe that “class warfare,” anti-capitalism, hatred of America, Stalinist-style treatment of opponents, the glorification of the extremist Occupy movement, a mass media all too devoted to propaganda, and a betrayal of Enlightenment values are normative liberal ideas!

During the 1930s, the Communist Party tried to take over liberalism but failed miserably. Today, however, the post-Communist left has succeeded in that effort to a remarkable extent, effectively wiping out the memory of what liberalism was actually like. For their part, many conservatives are quite willing to reinforce the left’s rewriting of history, suggesting that Barack Obama and the destruction of once-great institutions is a natural and inevitable outgrowth of people like Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson.

Yet there is a sizeable bloc of traditional liberals who have been repelled by the radical takeovers of institutions and the destruction of their own ideas. They have not yet found a voice but, if given proper treatment and leadership, they are about to far exceed the “Reagan Democrat” phenomenon.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mideast Media Sampler 1/13/12: Vigilante Journalism At The New York Times?, Arab Spring Passes Palestinians By

From DG:
1) Is Arthur Brisbane the Bernard Goetz of newspaper editors?

Arthur Brisbane is the public editor of the New York Times and his latest column, Should the Times be a truth vigilante, is causing quite a stir. Brisbane writes:
This message was typical of mail from some readers who, fed up with the distortions and evasions that are common in public life, look to The Times to set the record straight. They worry less about reporters imposing their judgment on what is false and what is true.
Is that the prevailing view? And if so, how can The Times do this in a way that is objective and fair? Is it possible to be objective and fair when the reporter is choosing to correct one fact over another? Are there other problems that The Times would face that I haven’t mentioned here? 
Throughout the 2012 presidential campaign debates, The Times has employed a separate fact-check sidebar to assess the validity of the candidates’ statements. Do you like this feature, or would you rather it be incorporated into regular reporting? How should The Times continue a function like this when we move to the general campaign and there’s less time spent in debates and more time on the road? 
Unsurprisingly the two targets of Brisbane's column are Republicans, whom the readers felt should have been fact checked on the spot. But my issue here is a different bias. A year ago, I wrote an e-mail to Brisbane's office about factual errors included in its Middle East reporting.

I made three main points.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fjordman Interview: Europe Is The Sick Man of the World

Tundra Tabloids has the English translation of an interview blogger/writer Fjordman has given with the German newspaper Junge Freiheit: Europe Is The Sick Man of the World.

An excerpt:
I have studied Arabic language at the American University in Cairo and lived in Egypt during the terror attacks of September 11th 2001. I am not sure I would describe this as a turning point since I was already growing skeptical of Islamic culture and mentality before that time, but things certainly escalated after this event.

Just How Risky Is It To "Criticize" Israel?

In Haaretz, James Kirchik describes what he suggests may be A case of leftist 'McCarthyism'.

In addressing the ease with which accusations of "Israel firster" and "dual loyalty" are now be tossed around by the left, Kirchik notes a parallel problem:
The left is constantly complaining that the debate about Israel is restricted, that one can't criticize Israel without "risking" his career. Reality is in fact the opposite. Figures ranging from University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer to journalists Peter Beinart and Andrew Sullivan have all seen their careers blossom as a result of their harsh and unrelenting criticism of Israel. Indeed, obsessively attacking Israel is a bona-fide way to resuscitate one's career, not destroy it. As a measure, consider the fact that employees at mainstream liberal institutions feel comfortable using the sort of language popularized by white supremacists and Holocaust-deniers.

Video: Latma On Yair Lapid, Israel's New Messiah and Freddie Spin's Triumphant Return

The latest from Latma.

What Does It Mean To Be Pro-Israel Today?

What Does It Mean To Be Pro Israel Today? is the question asked in a Moment Magazine symposium.

The answer?

Depends on whom you ask:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Killing Iranian Scientists To Avert A Holocaust is Not Terrorism

We should be responding quietly, killing radical mullahs and iranian atomic scientists, supporting the simmering insurgencies within Iran, putting the mullahs' expat business interests out of business, etc. Basically, stepping on the Iranians' toes hard enough to make them reconsider their not-so-covert war against us in Iraq. And we should have been doing this since the summer 2003.
Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit, February 13, 2007

Jonathan Tobin briefly addresses the issue of why Killing Iranian Scientists is Not Terrorism
While most of the civilized world is taking grim satisfaction from the news about the latest Iranian nuclear scientist to turn up dead, predictably, the hard left is outraged. Salon’s Glenn Greenwald is particularly upset because he recalls that when Glenn Reynolds wrote in 2007 to urge the Bush administration to strike out at the Iranians in this fashion, the suggestion was widely denounced–at least on the left.

If Iran Is So Upset About That Nuclear Scientist Who Was Killed, They Should Recall That Arab Proverb...

Iran and its defenders have accused Israel as being behind the deaths of Iran's nuclear scientists. But, as the New York Times points out, Iran is in an odd position to be complaining about attacks on its nuclear scientists:
Neither Israeli nor American officials will discuss the covert campaign in any detail, leaving some uncertainty about the perpetrators and their purpose. For instance, Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said he believed that at least some of the murdered scientists might have been killed by the Iranian government. Some of them had shown sympathy for the Iranian opposition, he said, and not all appeared to have been high-ranking experts.

Mideast Media Sampler 1/12/12: Who's Killing Iran's Nuclear Scientists? And More...

1) Who is killing the nuclear scientists in Iran?

The New York Times reported, Iran Reports Killing of Nuclear Scientist in ‘Terrorist’ Blast (via memeorandum):
The semiofficial Fars news agency, which has close links to the powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps, said the Wednesday bombing resembled the methods used in attacks in November 2010 against two other nuclear specialists — Majid Shahriari, who was killed, and Fereydoon Abbasi, who survived and is now in charge of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization. 
Almost exactly two years ago in January 2010, a physics professor, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, was also assassinated in Tehran. 
Iran blamed Israel and the United States for the attacks in 2010, and the latest killing is bound to deepen an embattled mood in Tehran as the country’s divided leaders approach parliamentary elections in March. News of the blast emerged quickly on Iran’s state-run media.
The Times has followed up with Adversaries of Iran Said to Be Stepping Up Covert Actions:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Barry Rubin: Friedman Cheers as Egyptians are Enslaved

By Barry Rubin

Professor: [As the Martian ambassador starts disintegrating Congressmen with his ray gun]: “Mr. Ambassador, please! What are you doing? This doesn’t make sense! It’s not logical! It’s not...!”
–”Mars Attacks”

It is distasteful when Western intellectuals, politicians, and journalists who pride themselves on their enlightened humanitarian views watch people abroad fall subject to ruthless forces of dictatorship and dogma. When these same people actually cheer the new tyrannies, put their arms around the shoulders of those who despise them, and tell everyone else that there’s nothing to worry about, that’s actively disgusting.

Many in the West have so acted toward Egypt during the last year. They have also and previously done so for the Gaza Strip, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey. Thomas Friedman has been one of them but perhaps no one else has been louder and more enthusiastic. In doing so, of course, he has echoed U.S. government policy.

Now, Friedman goes all-out to explain that the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t radical, isn’t a threat, in fact is a good thing, and will only become eve more moderate once it is in power.

Who Knew The Palestinian Arabs Had So Many Gripes Against Abbas?

Khaled Abu Toameh writes about The many contradictions of Mahmoud Abbas--apparently Abbas's string of threats, broken promises and disastrous failures have been noticed by his own people:
o After just one year of Abbas, Palestinians realized that Abbas was not serious about ending corruption and reforming the PA and Fatah--so they voted for Hamas in a parliamentary election.

Top Fatah officials hold Abbas personally responsible for their failure in the January 2006 parliamentary election.

Instead of focusing on reforming Fatah after the defeat in the parliamentary election, Abbas chose to seek ways to topple the Hamas regime – a move that backfired and further bolstered the Islamist movement’s stature.

Arlene Kushner on Republican Candidates, Jack Lew, Explosions In Iran, Abbas and "The Pistol Nation"

From Arlene Kushner:

January 11, 2012


That means "Anyone But Obama," although I might qualify that with "almost." 

Perhaps it's in the nature of the game, but as I watch from Jerusalem while the candidates vying for the Republican nomination go at each other, I am unsettled.  Especially as sometimes accusations are over the top. In the end, of course, the Republicans will settle on one of those currently vying for the nomination.  But we must hope that, by that time, the competition that preceded it will not have so tarnished his image that his capacity to beat Obama at the polls has been compromised.  

Mideast Media Sampler 1/11/12: Tom Friedman Still Hearts Muslim Brotherhood and Tunisia's Moderates Welcome Hamas

From DG:
1) Thomas Friedman reassures himself that Islamists are moderate

Thomas Friedman continues his tour of Egypt and writes about it in Political Islam without Oil. This is a variation on the typical "Islamists will moderate when they achieve power" theme. This is more like "Egypt's Islamists will have to moderate when they achieve power because they won't be able to buy off the population with oil wealth."

Friedman writes:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

#CarProtest: West Bank Muslims Spin A Yarn About Israeli Roads

Well, Maan--the Palestinian Arab paper--almost had it right.

They reported:
Drivers protest Israeli-only roads in West Bank

Around 60 people from across the West Bank on Tuesday tried to drive from Jericho to Ramallah on an Israeli-only road to protest Israel's restrictions on Palestinian movement.
But then they decided to just repeat the story the Arabs were spinning:
Popular resistance committees organized the motorcade of around 50 cars to protest the network of roads in the West Bank designated for the exclusive use of Jewish settlers.
The problem is that the facts got lost as the Arabs put on a show--as illustrated and explained by this video by Vlad Tepes: West Bank Muslims Spin A Yarn About Israeli Roads:

Is Israel Ready To Take In Syrian Refugees--And The Danger If It Is

The story is that Israel is not only prepared to take in refugees, but Alawis in particular--that would be Assad's Muslim sect.

And according to Michael Totten--Israel is ready to repopulate those Alawi Syrian refugees on the Golan:
The Israeli Army’s Chief of Staff Benny Gantz says Israel is preparing to take in refugees following the downfall of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. The interesting part is that Israel is expecting refugees from the Alawite minority and to house them on the Golan Heights.

Another Episode Of "Hamas Is Becoming More Moderate"--With More Repeats Than "I Love Lucy"

Evelyn Gordon writes about Wishful Thinking: Hamas’s “New Direction”, the idea that Hamas (once again) is heading in a "new direction," a more moderate direction, in its approach on how to deal with Israel--as reflected in the Haaretz editorial Israel needs to listen to Hamas, and take notice

Gordon goes through some recent quotes from the Hamas leadership to illustrate how the wishful thinking once again ignores the reality of what Hamas actually says to their own people.:
o Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told those at a ceremony marking the organization’s 24th anniversary that “armed struggle” is “the strategic choice for liberating the Palestinian land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river … The Hamas movement will lead intifada after intifada until we liberate Palestine – all of Palestine.”

Is Israel An Apartheid State? Check Out Your Local Israeli Pharmacy

During an exchange of emails, a friend wrote the following:
Here are four mundane data points to which I can speak personally. Most Israelis can surely add to the list:
1. To buy medicine for the family, I go to a pharmacy - either one of the commercial chains or in special cases to the pharmacy of the health fund (Kupat Holim). Most of the time, in most of those places, the pharmacist serving you, usually in a pleasant or at least professional way, is an Arab. My wife was at the Kupat Holim Me'uhedet pharmacy in central Jerusalem Sunday night. She told me afterwards that all four of the pharmacists behind the counter here are Arabs, chatting to one another in their language. No big deal.

Mideast Media Sampler 1/10/12: Muslim Antisemitism: Depraved Because Deprived?, Tom Friedman: Muslim Brotherhood's Press Agent and Obama's Failed Ideas

From DG:
1) What we have here is a failure to integrate, or not

Sarah Wildman wrote The new Scapegoats of Europe in the Latitudes section of the New York Times:
One afternoon in November, Océane Sluijzer, a 13-year-old Belgian Jewish girl, was beaten up after soccer practice by a group of schoolmates. Her tormenters, girls of Moroccan descent, called her a “dirty Jew” and told her to “go back to her own country.” 
A few paragraphs later she wrote: 

Barry Rubin: How I Learned About Courage From an Arab Marxist and About Cowardice From Western Phony “Liberals”

Barry Rubin, in PJ Media

"...I’m telling you this story in part because of a conversation with a colleague today in which he told me a story expressing very well the intellectual mess we are facing.

Someone had written an article in the left-wing British magazine New Statesman, which always bashes Israel sometimes in the nastiest terms, defending Israel’s 2008-2009 Gaza operation called “Cast Lead.” In the article, the writer had gone into great detail to set forth the facts of what happened and to rebut the wild allegations of war crimes and the many outright lies told about these events.

But here’s the relevant part for all of us.

Photos: Snow In Jerusalem, 1921

The blog vintage everyday posted a selection of photos on Sunday of a Snow In Jerusalem, 1921.
Here are a few of them.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Missing Peace: In Tunis Islamists Vow to Destroy Israel, While Egyptians Ban Jews From Visiting Tomb of Rabbi

The following from Missing Peace is reposted with permission:

In Tunis Islamists vow to destroy Israel, while Egyptians ban Jews from visiting tomb of Rabbi

Hamas PM Haniyeh in Tunis
Jerusalem, January 10, 2012

On Monday Ishmael Haniyeh visited Tunisia, during his first official Middle East tour as the prime minister of Hamas in Gaza.

During that tour he tried to generate support for his plan to launch a ‘holy war to liberate Jerusalem’.

Difficult times

When he addressed a cheering crowd in Tunis, he predicted ‘difficult times ahead for Israel’.
He also said the following:

Major Terrorist Attack Thwarted On Sunday In Jenin

Lest you think that under the watchful moderate eye of President-emeritus Abbas the West Bank is a quiet and terror-free, it was reported yesterday that Border Police thwart major terror attack near Jenin:
Border Police officers captured close to a dozen pipe bombs at the Salem Crossing near Jenin in the northern West Bank on Sunday, thwarting what appears to have been a major terrorist attack, possibly against a nearby military court.

Photos: Who Knew That Ron Paul and Ahmadinejad Travel In The Same Circles!

It appears that Congressman Ron Paul and Iranian leader Ahmadinejad have an overlapping circle of friends

Rabbi Shafran: Blind Faith, Physics And The Multiverse Model

Blind Faith and Physics

Rabbi Avi Shafran

A recent essay by an award-winning scientist presents a remarkable, and remarkably revealing, picture of current scientific thought about the nature of the universe.

The delightfully named Alan P. Lightman, an MIT professor a major contributor to the understanding of astrophysical processes, titled his piece in last month’s Harper’s Magazine “The Accidental Universe: Science’s crisis of faith.” Reviewing the history of theoretical physics, he notes how, “until the past few years, physicists agreed that the entire universe… is generated from a few mathematical truths and principles of symmetry… [W]e were closing in on a vision of our universe in which everything could be calculated, predicted, and understood.”

In the words of Professor Lightman’s MIT colleague Alan Guth: “Back in the 1970s and 1980s, the feeling was that we were so smart, we almost had everything figured out,” referring to the fundamental forces of nature. Professor Guth punctuated that recollection, Professor Lightman recounts, with “a bitter laugh.”

Mideast Media Sampler 1/9/12: Rebranding Hamas

from DG:
Hamas rebrands with the full faith and credit of the United States behind it

Two weeks ago, Jonathan Schanzer wrote,Will Hamas splinter as external leaders seek a new home?
The prospect of losing a safe haven and cash has prompted Mashaal to recalculate, and figures close to him now say they are mulling a new strategy of non-violence in hopes of finding a new Arab state in which to take refuge. 
WHILE SOME Hamas members may be willing to forsake violence after more than two decades of suicide bombings and rocket attacks on civilians, others refuse to bend on their founding principles. 
On the anniversary of Hamas' founding in early December, Haniyeh himself reiterated that "armed resistance and armed struggle are the strategic way to liberate the Palestinian land from the sea to the river."
I was skeptical because I didn't believe that Hamas would change. As Khaled Abut Toameh has recently written.
Those who think that Abbas's invitation to Hamas to join the PLO is a positive step for the peace process are deluding themselves. Hamas, according to its leaders, is joining the PLO because it wants to "liberate Palestine from the river to the sea," and not because it is interested in becoming part of the peace process. 
But in the West, most analysts do not want to hear what Hamas says in Arabic.
However, Avi Issacharoff, in Ha'aretz has also recently written about a split in Hamas. (h/t Elder of Ziyon)

Video: The Truth About Where Palestinian Arabs Suffer From Apartheid

From Stand With US:
Official, institutionalized discrimination against Palestinians is widespread in the Middle East. Where does this Apartheid take place, and what are the reasons behind it?

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Video: Official Beit Shemesh Women Flashmob

Say what you will about Beit Shemesh, you're not going to see anything like this in Saudi Arabia.

From the YouTube page:
On Friday, Jan 6th, 2012, a group of 250 women from Bet Shemesh decided to raise their voices against the exclusion of women from the public domain by holding a mass public dance in the city square. The women, residents of the city from all ages and sectors, religious, traditional and secular, gathered together in a flashmob dance, in the city square and started dancing towards a change.

Technorati Tag: and .

Arlene Kushner On The Shamgar Committee, US General Wants Iran To Believe US Can Take Them On--And More

From Arlene Kushner:

January 8, 2012


The Shamgar Committee, which had been charged with establishing guidelines on how the government should respond if terrorists abduct Israelis in the future, has completed its work and submitted its report to Defense Minister Barak last Thursday.  It is being said that the goal of the protocol that is recommended is to guide Israelis to abide by a "national moral code," as well as to send a message to the enemy that it will not be profitable to kidnap Israelis.

Credit: YNet

According to Israel Radio, the report is currently classified "top secret," and while parts of it may remain confidential, parts may ultimately be published.

Apparently the entire issue was examined, including everything from deterrence to how much should be paid for an abductee.  What is known about the recommendations is that they call for a toughening of the stance of the government: