Thursday, February 28, 2013

EU Afraid To Blacklist Hezbollah Terrorists, But Will Leak Sanctions On Israeli Homes

February 28, 2013 
Ariella Kimmel
NGO Monitor

Disgraceful Diplomacy:
EU Leaks and Secret NGO Processes

Jerusalem - According to a news story in the Jerusalem Post (February 27, 2013), the Israeli political advocacy NGO Breaking the Silence was responsible for leaking the latest internal EU document condemning Israeli policy. The "EU Heads of Mission Jerusalem Report 2012," which recommends various sanctions against Israel, was not shared with the Israeli government. Many of the claims and conclusions in it are based on non-verified statements and prejudicial opinions of NGOs, which themselves receive funding from the EU and European governments.

Chuck Hagel and John Kerry: Four Years of This?

First came the revelation that in 2011, Hagel accused India of aiding Afghanistan as a second front against Pakistan, requiring the Pentagon to release a statement that he will work to strengthen ties with India, while the White House distanced itself from Defense Secretary Hagel's position.

Now Secretary of State John Kerry tells Germans that Americans have a right to be stupid:
In America, you have a right to be stupid if you want to be. And we tolerate it. We somehow make it through that. Now, I think that’s a virtue. I think that’s something worth fighting for.
Barry Rubin writes that looking at that speech reveals What John Kerry Doesn’t Know About Democracy and Also About Islam:
To be fair, Kerry's statement was in the context of defending, albeit not very well, freedom of speech in America. (Kerry was obviously referencing President Barack Obama’s UN speech in his own talking points.) How Kerry defends it is what's scary and dysfunctional.

Erdogan Calls Zionism "Crime Against Humanity" While UN chief Ban Ki-moon Remains Silent

In November 1998, the Institute for Jewish Policy Research released its annual report on current trends in anti-Semitism… [and] quoted the then-mayor of Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in June 1997, at a meeting organized by the municipality to celebrate the city’s conquest by the Ottoman Turks, remarking: “The Jews have begun to crush the Muslims of Palestine, in the name of Zionism,” the mayor said, “Today, the image of the Jews is no different from that of the Nazis.”
Erdogan: "The Image of the Jews Is No Different from that of the Nazis", Gatestone, February 11, 2013

UN Watch reports on Turkey's Prime Minister's continued assault on Israel, this time as Turkey's Erdogan to UN Conference: "Zionism is Crime Against Humanity":
UN Watch expressed shock over anti-Jewish remarks delivered by Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan at a UN summit for tolerance, and urged UN chief Ban Ki-moon -- who was present on the stage yet stayed silent -- to speak out and condemn the speech. The Geneva-based human rights group also called on Erdogan to apologize.

Speaking yesterday before a Vienna forum of the Alliance of Civilizations, a UN framework for West-Islam dialogue, Erdogan called Zionism, the movement founded in 1897 for Jewish self-determination, a "crime against humanity," likening it with anti-Semitism, fascism, and Islamophobia.
Here is a video of Erdogan's comment:

The Middle East Media Sampler 2/28/2013: Did AIPAC Blow It On Hagel Nomination?

From +David Gerstman:

1) Is AIPAC obsolete?
In Tablet Lee Smith explains How AIPAC is losing, as evidenced by its non-response to the Hagel nomination:
Yet AIPAC has remained totally mum. The group says it focuses its energies on matters of policy rather than personnel. If it campaigned against Hagel, where would it stop? The organization would potentially have to take a position on every Cabinet nominee. Meantime, in the absence of AIPAC, other pro-Israel organizations have come out publicly against Hagel, like the Emergency Committee for Israel. For taking the lead on this issue, they have been labeled partisans, while AIPAC has preserved its bipartisan status. 
But it’s not clear how much that label matters when a very influential segment of the Democratic party has made it plain that supporting Israel isn’t a top priority. I’m not just referring to the delegates who booed pro-Israel changes to the party platform on the floor of the convention in Charlotte last summer. I’m talking about the White House.

NY Daily News Fisks BDS Advocate Omar Barghouti

On Monday, The NY Daily News gave BDS advocate Omar Barghouti an opportunity: The BDS movement explained -- Why I've boycotted Israel, and then turned around and analyzed How the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement distorts the reality in Israel

The Daily News notes that Barghouti's goal of using boycotts, divestment and sanctions to undermine Israel’s moral legitimacy is but a short term goal, hiding the ultimate goal of destroying the Jewish state of Israel.

Omar Barghouti

The examination of the falsehoods expressed in his op-ed centers around 4 misrepresentations:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

An Overview of Turkey's Neo-Ottoman Ambitions in the Region

The following by by Ilias I. Kouskouvelis is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

The Problem with Turkey's "Zero Problems"
Turkey, Past and Future

by Ilias I. Kouskouvelis
Middle East Quarterly
Winter 2013, pp. 47-56 (view PDF)

Under the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP), Turkey's foreign policy has been associated with the prescriptions and efforts of three men: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President Abdullah Gül, and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. Davutoğlu, a former international relations professor, has been the most articulate exponent of the troika's ideas, penning perhaps the most authoritative summary of its worldview in his 2001 Stratejik Derinlik (Strategic Depth)[1] and coining its foremost article of faith: a "zero-problems policy" with Turkey's neighbors because Ankara "wants to eliminate all the problems from her relations with neighbors or at least to minimize them as much as possible."[2]

Photo of Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu
The primary author of Turkey's deeply problematic "zero problems" foreign policy is Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (right), seen here with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The main thrust of Davutoğlu's writing is a deep conviction in the incompatibility of the West and the Islamic world and resentment of the West for its attempt to impose its values and political system on the rest of the world.
This might all be well and good if such words were supported by actions. But Davutoğlu has also described Turkey as a "heavyweight wrestler," hinting that it may use "the maximum of its abilities" when dealing with its neighboring "middleweight wrestlers."[3] A survey of Ankara's relations with these "middleweight wrestlers" reveals its "zero problems policy" to be little more than a cover for the AKP's reasserted "neo-Ottoman" ambitions.

Arlene Kushner: Netanyahu's Coalition Mess and Iran's Progress (But Jagger Is Coming To Israel!)

From Arlene Kushner:
February 27, 2013

A Mess

The mess is of considerable proportions, as I see it.  Redeemable, yes.  With determination, inner confidence, strength and faith.  But are we seeing these factors in play sufficiently?  A friend told me today that she's feeling demoralized, and she's not alone.
I actually had hopes a day ago, that by the time I sat down to write today, late in my day, there would have been an announcement about Bennett having signed on to the coalition.  Yesterday Likud was saying that it was coming any minute -- maybe last night, maybe during the day today.  Now reports have it that it will be in the "next few days."  Obviously, while there has been progress, everything is not going quite as smoothly as certain parties would have us believe. I believe the catch is Livni's role in the government.

Hezbollah's Growing War Against The West

The Washington Post reports that Elaborate surveillance operation raises concerns about broader Hezbollah attacks:
The Israeli tourists on Arkia Airlines Flight 161 from Tel Aviv could not have known it, but their arrival in Cyprus July 6 was watched closely. A pair of trained eyes counted each passenger as the group exited the plane and boarded a shuttle, headed for resorts that had also been carefully studied and mapped.

The Middle East Media Sampler 2/27/13: 1st World Trade Center Bombing 20th Anniversary

1) It's been more than 20 years 

Jonathan Tobin writes in The Day the War on America Began:
Exactly 20 years ago on this date, a terrorist attack at the World Trade Center took the lives of six people and injured more than a thousand others. The tragedy shocked the nation but, as with other al-Qaeda attacks in the years that followed, the WTC bombing did not alter the country’s basic approach to Islamist terrorism. For the next eight and a half years, the United States carried on with a business-as-usual attitude toward the subject. The lack of urgency applied to the subject, as well as the disorganized and sometimes slap-dash nature of the security establishment’s counter-terrorist operations, led to the far greater tragedy of September 11, 2001 when al-Qaeda managed to accomplish what it failed to do in 1993: knock down the towers and slaughter thousands. 
All these years after 9/11 and the tracking down and killing of Osama bin Laden, are there any further lessons to be drawn from that initial tragedy?

Palestinian Unemployment (of Terrorists) Is A Threat To Syria, Jordan -- and Israel

Khaled Abu Toameh writes Palestinians Exporting Terrorists to Syria: Where Next?:
The cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, which was reached after Operations Pillars of Defense three months ago, has left members of various terror groups unemployed.

Now that the jihadis in the Gaza Strip have nothing to do, such as fire rockets at Israel, they have started searching for other places to carry out their terror attacks. They have found no better place than Syria to start sending their men to join some of the radical Islamist organizations fighting against Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

John Kerry's Passion To Resolve Israel-Palestine Conflict -- And The Danger

Elliot Abrams writes about Kerry and the “Peace Process” as our new Secretary of State John Kerry has convinced himself that he can succeed where those before him -- including Obama -- have failed.

Abrams quotes Haaretz that John Kerry 'determined' to get Palestinian Authority, Israel to reach peace agreement. The thing is that Kerry is much more than just determined, according to Haaretz:

Arlene Kushner on Netanyahu's Coalition Troubles and Other Recent Problems Facing Israel

From Arlene Kushner
February 26, 2013

What's negative?  Oh, I won't say everything. Should never say that.  But there's a great deal that is, and the sense one gets when surveying the situation is an enormous weariness.

Let's begin with coalition formation here in Israel.  PM Netanyahu was given 28 days to form that new coalition.  By my calculation, his mandate from President Peres began on February 3, which brings us to this Sunday, March 3.  He can then request an extension of 14 additional days. After that, if he has no government, he will have struck out.

Questioning Tzipi Livni's Claims About The Second Lebanese War in 2006

In light of the fact that Tzipi Livni is joining Netanyahu's coalition, Eli Hertz writes about her role in Israel's Second Lebanese War and Livni's Misguided Sense of Accomplishments, noting questionable claims that Livni has made.

In brief, Hertz makes the following point:
  1. Livni: “Security Council Resolution 1701 is an Israeli achievement”

    Fact: Adopting Resolution 1701 under Chapter VII was a clear goal of Israel that did not materialize.

    Under international law, Resolution 1701 that was adopted under Chapter VI is at best a declarative statement that lacks the legal authority or enforcement power whatsoever. All the rest is wishful thinking and the results on the ground will attest to it.

The Middle East Media Sampler 2/26/13: Why Syrian Opposition Is Wary Of John Kerry

From +David Gerstman:

1) Why are they staying away? 

Yesterday the New York Times reported Syrian Opposition’s Complaints Shadow Kerry’s First Official Trip:
Mr. Kerry and foreign ministers from Europe and the Middle East are scheduled to meet in Rome on Thursday with opponents of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, including Sheik Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, who leads the opposition. But they are threatening to boycott the conference to protest what they see as fainthearted international support. To try to rescue the meeting, Robert S. Ford, the American ambassador to Syria and chief envoy to the opposition, was sent to Cairo on Sunday to implore opposition leaders to attend the session in Rome.

The Growing Number of Islamist Assassinations in the West -- Including 4 in the US

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

Islamist Assassinations in the West

by Daniel Pipes
Gatestone Institute
February 25, 2013

Terrorism broadly takes two forms: against random individuals who happen to be at a market place or on a bus at the wrong time; or against specific individuals because of who they are. The latter in turn divides into two: against broad categories of people (the military, Jews, people who wear eyeglasses) and against specific public figures, either individuals or institutions. In effect, these last are assassinations (defined by Merriam-Webster as "to murder (a usually prominent person) by sudden or secret attack often for political reasons").

Picture of Lars Hedegaard (left)
Lars Hedegaard presented Daniel Pipes with the Danish Free Press Society award in March 2007.
Horrific as the first two genres are, assassinations are the most terrifying and effective. Whereas the first two can happen to anyone and have the effect of creating a universal but vague dread, the third focuses on a small pool of targets and sends a specific signal to others not to follow in their footsteps. In general, therefore, assassinations inspire the most consequential fear, intimidate the most, and have the greatest consequences.

Actual public Western victims of Islamist violence have included:

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Need To Distinguish Between Muslim Crime in the US and Jihad

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

Jihad or Criminality?

by Daniel Pipes
February 24, 2013
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner

A recent spate of killings in the United States of non-Muslims by Muslims has gone unnoticed by the major media. Here are four cases I know of:
Feb. 5Yusuf Ibrahim, 27, Egyptian born and living in Jersey City, stands accused of shooting, then cutting off the heads and hands of two Copts, Hanny F. Tawadros and Amgad A. Konds, and burying them in Buena Vista Township, New Jersey. He is charged with two counts of murder and with desecrating human remains. He is also wanted for a Sep. 20, 2012, armed robbery in Jersey City in which a victim was shot in the foot.

Islamist Assassination Of Opposition Goes Beyond Chokri Belaid In Tunisia

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Islamic Assassination: Silencing Freedom Fighters

by Raymond Ibrahim
February 19, 2013

Tunisia, one of the most secular Arab countries in modern times—and the first country to experience the "Arab Spring"—was also recently the first Arab country to experience a high level political Islamic assassination since the Arab Spring began. The BBC explains:
Tunisian opposition politician Chokri Belaid has been shot dead outside his home in the capital, Tunis. Relatives say Mr Belaid was shot in the neck and head on his way to work. He was a prominent secular opponent of the moderate [sic] Islamist-led government and his murder has sparked protests around the country, with police firing tear gas to disperse angry crowds.
Although the BBC report states "It is not known who is responsible for the attack on the politician," who Belaid was—a leader of the Democratic Patriots party, which has been at the forefront of challenging the Islamist-led government of Tunisia—speaks for itself. As French President Francois Hollande put it, "This murder robs Tunisia of one of its most courageous and free voices."

Obama's Sequestration Will Boomerang On Israel Too

Michael Ramirez Cartoon on Sequestration

Sequestration is an idea that Obama has been busy disavowing since last year, as for example during the 3rd presidential debate -- a denial to which the Washington Post gave 4 Pinocchios in describing Obama’s fanciful claim that Congress ‘proposed’ the sequester:

The Middle East Media Sampler 2/25/13: Media Covers For Palestinian Intifada Violence

From +David Gerstman:

Intifada: then and now

In response to a recent news program in Israel, Col. Jonathan D. Halevi wrote The Palestinian Authority’s Responsibility for the Outbreak of the Second Intifada: Its Own Damning Testimony for the Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs. Even now, as Halevi writes:
More than ten years after the outbreak of the Second Intifada, there are still journalists, former security officials, and pundits who raise questions about the role of the Palestinian Authority in the devastating violence during which suicide bombing attacks struck Israel’s major cities, leaving more than a thousand dead and many more permanently maimed.
What he has compiled shows:
This body of material, presented here in an unvarnished way, reveals that Yasser Arafat and important segments of the Palestinian leadership at that time were directly responsible for what happened and no amount of revisionist history can exonerate Arafat for standing behind one of the bloodiest periods in Israel’s modern history.

In Obama's Libyan Model of Moderation, 4 Missionaries Find Spreading Christianity Is Punishable By Death

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum

Death for Spreading Christianity in 'Liberated' Libya

by Raymond Ibrahim
February 22, 2013

Four foreign Christians—including one who holds American-Swedish citizenship—were arrested days ago in Libya. According to the Guardian, their crime is arousing "suspicion of being missionaries and distributing Christian literature, a charge that could carry the death penalty."

Apparently the four Christians had "contracted a local printer to produce pamphlets explaining Christianity." Proselytizing to Muslims—that is, preaching to them another religion—was banned even under the late Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

Libyans—strongly supported by U.S. President Obama in the name of "freedom"—got rid of Gaddafi but kept the distinctly anti-freedom law.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Burqas Being Used To Commit Crimes In Philadelphia

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

Philadelphia's Burqa Crisis

by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
February 21, 2013

N.B.: The Washington Times title is "When burqas become accessories to crime: Criminals can hide behind Islamic garb" and it contains small differences from this version

Philadelphia, the city where I live, has quietly and unassumedly become the capital of the Western world as regards female Islamic garb as an accessory to crime.

BBC graphic showing difference between the niqab and burqa.
A BBC graphic shows the difference between the niqab and burqa.
First, a tutorial on Islamic coverings, all of which tend to be calledveils in English but fall into three main categories. Some (theabayahijabchadorjilbab, or khimar) cover parts of the body, especially the hair, neck, and shoulders, but reveal the face and identity of the woman; some cover the face (the yashmak) but show the body shape; and some hide the whole body, including the identity and gender of the wearer. The latter – our topic here – is better described as a full-body cover than a veil: it in turn has two types, those that cover the person entirely (the chadari or burqa) or those with a slit for the eyes (the haik or niqab).

By my count, the Philadelphia region has witnessed 14 robberies (or attempted robberies) of financial institutions in the past six years in which the thieves relied on an Islamic full-body cover.

Video: The Book of Esther Goes Western

Chag Sameach!
Enjoy the video!

Video: Purim Grogger Style (Gangnam Style Parody)

From the Rosenblum Family
Chag Sameach and enjoy:

Video: Purim Poetry Slam: "This Song Goes Out To Ahmadinejad"

From Ari Lesser
Check out Ari Lesser's other raps on YouTube.

Chag Sameach and Enjoy:

Video: Shlock Rock Purim 1991

Here are 2 songs from a Shlock Rock concert in 1991:

  • I Can't Get No Hamentashen
  • Achashveros


Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Middle East Media Sampler 2/22/13: New York Times Media Bias Knows No Bounds

From +David Gerstman:

1) Building his anti-Israel cred one blog post at a time

One of the most anti-Israel "journalists" currently working, is Robert Mackey the lead blogger the New York Times, The Lede. He didn't disappoint this week with Palestinian Blogger Chips Away at Israel’s Image, One Ill-Advised Instagram at a Time At issue was an Instagram picture taken by an Israel solider showing a Palestinian boy in the crosshairs of his weapon.:
Like the activist bloggers in Syria who are working to undermine their enemies, Mr. Abunimah and his colleagues at the Electronic Intifada scour the Web for material to counter the effort by Israelis who use social media platforms to cast their army’s activities in a positive light.

Friday, February 22, 2013

YU Purim To-Go 5773

This year, YU Puim To-Go 5773 includes:
You can also download this years Purim To-Go shiurim as a PDF.

Go to the YU Puim To-Go page for shiurim from previous years, 5770 - 5772.

Chag Purim Sameach!

If you found this post interesting or informative, please it below. Thanks!

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Arlene Kushner on Latest Machinations Of Netanyahu Trying To Form A Coalition

From Arlene Kushner:
February 21, 2012


Purim will be celebrated Saturday night and Sunday here, as elsewhere in the world, except for walled cities such as Jerusalem, where Shushan Purim will be celebrated on Sunday night and Monday.
The story of Purim is one of a threat to the existence of the Jewish people, overcome against great odds because of the determined actions of Mordecai and Esther.  God's name is not mentioned anywhere in the Megillat Esther.  We are to understand, however, that God is present, working behind the scenes.
The lessons -- that we must trust in God, even when we cannot see his hand., and that we must act decisively on behalf of our people -- are of paramount importance today.   It should not escape us that the story of Esther takes place in Persia, which is the modern Iran.  Nor should we forget that Mordecai refused to bow down to the wicked Haman.
Today is a fast day: We fast just as Queen Esther and Mordecai fasted before she approached the king to ask him to save the Jews.
Then, after Shabbat comes the celebration, and the acts of charity and giving.

Happy Purim Picture
Credit: JoyfulJewish
I do not expect to post again until Monday, at the earliest.
Here, I would like to pick up on yesterday's topic, as fuzzy as the larger picture remains.  Will either Bennett and/or Lapid ultimately join the coalition?  My crystal ball is foggy today, so I am unsure.  Bennett is putting out mixed messages right now.

Video: Latma Brings in Haman in Clash of the Jew Hating Titans

Purim is in the air at Latma.

Here is the video

If you found this post interesting or informative, please it below. Thanks!

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Rabbi Shafran On The Abuse Of Journalism

Abusive Journalism

Rabbi Avi Shafran

A number of years ago, a neighbor of mine, a business professional, shared a secret and a request. He told me that he had been found guilty of a crime – a dishonest financial reporting to the federal government – and was awaiting sentencing. He fully admitted that he had acted wrongly and offered no excuse for what he did. My neighbor is a kind, reasonable, family-oriented and charitable person. I drew on what thespian talents I had cultivated many decades earlier in high school, and feigned not being shocked.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” was all I could say. Then came the request. “Could you write the judge a character reference letter?” he asked.

“Of course,” I answered, without hesitation. My neighbor’s punishment would have great impact on his future, his family and his friends. Here was a good man who did a bad thing. The judge knew about the bad thing; the least I could do was describe the good man.

And so I did, the next day. I’ll never know whether my letter, which acknowledged the crime and sought only to provide an honest assessment of my neighbor as a person, had any effect. He was sentenced to a year in prison and served his sentence.

What brought that memory to mind was the most recent example of “creative” reportage in a Jewish newspaper. “Orthodox Rabbi Defends Jewish Psychiatrist Convicted in… Assaults” read the headline of a report in the Forward on February 8.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Middle East Media Sampler 2/21/2013: The Reach Of Hezbollah Terrorism

From +David Gerstman:

Hezbollah's worldwide war against Israel

Gen. Shimon Shapira writes about the recently assassinated Iranian Gen. Hassan Shateri in Lebanon:
Shateri’s importance is indicated by the seniority of the Iranian figures who took part in his funeral ceremony in Tehran before his coffin was brought for burial to his hometown of Semnan. He was given final honors by Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, IRGC commander Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, and Quds Force commander Gen. Qassem Suleimani (who broke out in tears), along with representatives of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in these two organizations. The aim was to demonstrate the honor and importance that the Islamic Republic attributes to its fighters in Lebanon.

Syrian Opposition Forces Reportedly Bomb Hezbollah Compound In Lebanon

Logo of The Israel Project

February 21, 2013

Sources in the Free Syrian Army, the main armed group fighting to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad, are announcing that its soldiers have bombed two Hezbollah compounds, one in Syria and another in the Lebanese town of Hermel. If confirmed, the development may mark a critical turn in Syria’s two-year war, bearing out fears that the increasingly sectarian conflict would spill over across Syria’s borders.

More Details On Samer Issawi's Terrorist Attacks On Civilians

In a post yesterday, I asked the question Will Samer Issawi be the next Palestinian Terrorist To Evade Justice By Cynically Going On A Hunger Strike?

One of the sources I used to describe Issawi's terrorist attacks was CAMERA's post on Neglected Facts About Hunger-Striking Samer Issawi

Now, in an update to that post, IDF spokesman Captain Eytan Buchman has additional details, noting that Issawi:

Chuck Schumer Teaches Chuck Hagel The Evil of Jewish Slurs -- And Then Uses One Himself

Now that Chuck Hagel has received the official blessing of Chuck Schumer -- who has revealed the secret of Hagel's behind-the-scenes metamorphosis -- it is expected that there will be no further hurdles to Senate approval of Hagel as Secretary of Defense.

After all, Schumer sat down with him for 90 minutes, during which time Hagel not only allayed all of Schumer's initial misgivings -- he  also "almost had tears in his eyes" when it was explained to him how hurtful the term "Jewish Lobby" actually is.

Apparently Hagel doesn't read the papers much.

But getting back to Schumer, there were other aspects of his defense of Hagel that were just a bit over the top.

Cyprus Terror Defendant Confesses To Hezbollah Links -- Now What?

The Israel Project Logo

February 20, 2013
TIP Press:
Main Office Phone Number:  202-857-6644

Cyprus Terror Defendant Confesses To Hezbollah Links

Washington, Feb. 20 – A defendant on trial in Cyprus for plotting terror attacks against Israeli tourists has admitted to being a member of Hezbollah, a confession that promises to deepen pressure on the European Union to heed U.S. calls and formally designate the Iran-backed group a terrorist organization.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Arlene Kushner on Tzipi Livni Joining Netanyahu's Coalition -- And Why Bibi May Have Done It

From Arlene Kushner:
February 20, 2013

A Regrettable Turn of Events

Regrettable. Pathetic. Many adjectives apply to what took place here in Israel last night at the political level:
A party, the very first to do so, signed on to the coalition PM Netanyahu has been working to form: Tzipi Livni's party, Hatnua.  Not only has this left-wing party -- with six mandates -- joined, Livni herself will be Justice Minister AND will be responsible for negotiations with the Palestinian Arabs, reporting to the prime minister himself.  Netanyahu will lead a ministerial committee on the peace process that will include Livni and the defense and foreign ministers.
Amir Peretz, of Hatnua, will reportedly be given the Environmental Protection portfolio.

Photo of Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni
Credit: Samsonblinded
Oi vey! To say that this is bad doesn't begin to do justice to the situation.  It's infuriating, disappointing, unsettling, and bewildering.

Why a Hamas - Fatah Unity Government Is A Sham

Khaled Abu Toameh writes about What Is Really Blocking the Peace Process:
It is clear is that neither Hamas nor Fatah is interested in achieving unity -- each for its own reasons. Then there are radicals in the Arab and Islamic countries -- such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis -- who will never accept Israel's right to exist.
But neither side is about to reveal that the continued meetings and calls for a unity government are a sham.

The Middle East Media Sampler 2/20/13: New Mideast Opportunity To Pressure Israel -- Or Hamas?

From +David Gerstman:

1) The Push for Peace

Walter Russell Mead argues in As Israel goes deeper into Syria an Opportunity for Obama arises:
With Al-Qaeda linked jihadis in the opposition, and Iran and Hezbollah supporting the government, Israel has much to fear and little to hope as the Syria war grinds on. In some ways, Syria is turning into Israel’s ultimate nightmare: WMDs, terrorists and arch-enemy Iran are all mixed up in it together, and there is not much Israel can do to shape events. 
President Obama now holds more cards than any American President in a long time: between the nightmare in Syria and the threat in Iran, Israel has never needed support from allies more than it does now. Some flexibility from Israel vis-a-vis the Palestinians in exchange for effective American support in these scary times is the kind of bargain Israeli and U.S. diplomats should be looking at now. Much depends on whether the Americans are willing to put enough real support on the table and whether the Israelis on their side can find a way to make concessions on the West Bank that give the U.S. President an incentive to help. 

Will Samer Issawi be the next Palestinian Terrorist To Evade Justice By Cynically Going On A Hunger Strike?

In the midst of the huge coverage being given him as wrongly imprisoned by Israel, it is worth pointing out that Samer Issawi is in fact a Palestinian terrorist whose release as part of an exchange for Gilad Shalit was conditional on his staying in Jerusalem -- a condition he violated.

But the details of his record as a terrorist and the reason he is back in prison is not being widely reported.

In response to media shyness about Issawi's background, CAMERA provides some Neglected Facts About Hunger-Striking Prisoner:

Daniel Pipes' Open Letter To Former Classmate Chuck Schumer on Chuck Hagel Nomination

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

The Hagel Nomination:
An Open Letter to Sen. Charles E. Schumer

by Daniel Pipes
February 19, 2013
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner

Dear Chuck,

I write to encourage you to review and reconsider your endorsement of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense. The new information that has appeared since your meeting with him on Jan. 14 suggests that his weak policies vis-à-vis Iran and his reprehensible views toward Israel run even deeper than we realized at that time.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Obama's Planned Visit With Abbas At Ramallah And The Mixed Signals It Will Send

Shoshana Bryen, Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center, writes about Obama's visit to Israel and the implications of Obama at Ramallah.

Bryen notes the comparison with the Obama administration's unquestioned support for Egypt, both while continuing US support for Mubarak as well as its current unquestioning support for the extremist Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi -- where both dictators flout democracy --

Arlene Kushner On Why Obama Won't Stop Iran And Will Fail To Contain It

From Arlene Kushner:
February 19, 2013

Briefly I want to return to the issue of what will happen vis-a-vis Iran when Obama is here -- this time sharing Barry Rubin's sardonic take in "What Obama faces in Israel" (emphasis added):
"...Presumably, the US delegation and Obama will emphasize their optimism about negotiations with Teheran and express wishful thinking that the June election will result in a more moderate government...In other words, they will preach hope and patience.

"In addition, they will stress that all options are being kept open and that the United States will never accept Iran having nuclear weapons...Personally, I don't believe that Obama will ever attack Iranian nuclear facilities or support such an Israeli operation.

The Middle East Media Sampler 2/19/13: Media Sidesteps Controversy of Brooklyn College BDS Lecture

From +David Gerstman:

The last refuge of anti-Israel activists

A few weeks ago, the New York Times reported Pro Palestinian speakers attract protests outside. The event at Brooklyn college was a Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) event focused on delegitimizing Israel. To read the New York Times account, one doesn't get a sense of what was controversial about the event:
Controversy had grown over the past week at the Midwood college, where nearly a fifth of the undergraduate population is Jewish, over the event organized by a student group, Students for Justice in Palestine. The college’s political science department agreed to co-sponsor the speakers along with more than two dozen other groups. 
Jewish leaders on and off campus had criticized the college and its president, Karen L. Gould, for sponsoring the talk, which they said helped legitimize the B.D.S. movement, which refers to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Its goal is to pressure Israel to restore disputed territories and grant equal rights to Palestinians. 
Throughout the week, the right to academic freedom served as the backbone to arguments in favor of the college’s sponsorship of the event.
In support of the event there was a New York Times editorial, Litmus tests:

Why Are Terrorists Who Murdered US Ambassador Chris Stevens Walking Free In Benghazi In Public?

Barry Rubin writes about the latest development in Benghazi - Breaking News: Five Months After Benghazi Murders: Killers Frolic Untouched There.

It has been five months since the murder of US Ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 members of his staff, with Obama and Hillary Clinton apparently doing as little during that time as they did during the events leading up to -- and during -- the day of tragedy of that terrorist attack.

Rubin notes that at the very least, even though they were still able to appear publicly -- the group identified by witnesses as being behind the attack was forced to cease their activities.

But now that has changed as Libya militia linked to U.S. attack returns to Benghazi.

Photo of US Ambassador Chris Stevens

Rubin explains:

Can Israel Rebuild Relations With Turkey By Delivering AWACS To Them?

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

Futile Israeli Efforts to Win Ankara Back

by Daniel Pipes
February 18, 2013
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner

The Government of Israel, we learned yesterday from a Turkish source, has delivered Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) equipment by ELTA, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries that gives military aircraft protection from electronic attacks. Not only will the AWACS planes, in the wording of the Today's Zaman article, "greatly increase [the Turkish air force's] dominance over Turkey's own airspace" but they will also be useful to it in the Syrian civil war and vis-à-vis "tensions with Israel and Greek Cyprus over the issue of gas drilling."

Monday, February 18, 2013

Purim and the Irony of Chance: The Strange Case of Nazi Cartoonist Julius Streicher


by Rabbi Avi Shafran

A typical offering included a close-up of the deformed face of a Jewish man above the legend “The Scum of Humanity: This Jew says that he is a member of God’s chosen people.” Another displayed a cartoon of a vampire bat with a grotesquely exaggerated nose and a Jewish star on its chest. In yet another, a Jewish butcher was depicted snidely dropping a rat into his meat grinder and, elsewhere in the issue, the punctured necks of handsome German youths were shown bleeding into a bowl held by a Jew more gargoyle than human. At its peak in 1938, print runs of Hitler henchman Julius Streicher’s vile tabloid Der Sturmer ran as high as 2,000,000.

“All our struggles are in vain,” Streicher told a Nazi student organization in 1935, “if the battle against the Jews is not fought to the finish. It is not enough to get the Jews out of Germany. No, they must be destroyed throughout the entire world so that humanity will be free of them.”

We approach the Jewish holiday focused on the blessedly ill-fated plans of a Jew-hater of old, the Amalekite whose name we will greet with raucous noise each time it’s read from Megillas Esther on Purim. Even a passing familiarity with the Purim story is sufficient to know that its villain’s downfall is saturated with what seem to be chance ironies; Haman turns up at the wrong place at the wrong time, and all that he so carefully plans eventually comes to backfire on him in an almost comical way – a theme Megillas Esther characterizes with the words v’nahafoch hu, “ and it was turned upside down!”

The Middle East Media Sampler 2/18/2013: 60 Minutes' Bob Simon vs Iron Dome

From: +David Gerstman:

1) Bob Simon vs. Iron Dome 

Two thirds of Bob Simon's segment Will Israel's Iron Dome help bring peace? isn't bad. While his emphasis on American funding is a bit disconcerting (especially because of what it's setting up later) overall, the first part of his report is straightforward. But then he starts twisting the report to make his point:
Barak argues that if Iron Dome makes Israelis feel more secure, less threatened, they'll be more willing to make peace with the Palestinians. You wont find many Palestinians who agree. 
Husam Zomlot: Before the Iron Dome, they felt no pressure to make any concessions. After the Iron Dome, they will feel the pressure to make concessions? Of course not.
Husam Zomlot is a PLO diplomat and a professor at Bir Zeit University.

If Its Ally Syria Falls, Will Iran Just Take Over Lebanon?

That is the implication of the Asharq Alawsat article about Hezbollah’s Asylum Offer

According to the article, Iran is supporting the Assad regime's army while at the same time preparing to back an Alawite entity composed of Syrian provinces that are adjacent to the Lebanese border -- including the port in Latakia that is instrumental in bringing supplies to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

But that is not all:

In Morsi's Egypt, Sexual Harassment of Women Continues

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

The 'Epidemic' of Sexual Harassment -
and Rape - in Morsi's Egypt

by Raymond Ibrahim
February 15, 2013

Since the "Arab Spring" came to Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood assumed power, sexual harassment, abuse, and rape of women has skyrocketed. This graph, which shows an enormous jump in sexual harassment beginning around January 2011, when the Tahrir revolts began, certainly demonstrates as much. Its findings are further supported by any number of reports appearing in both Arabic and Western media, and from both Egyptian and foreign women.

Hundreds of Egyptian women recently took to the streets of Tahrir Square to protest the nonstop harassment they must endure whenever they emerge from their homes and onto the streets. They held slogans like "Silence is unacceptable, my anger will be heard," and "A safe square for all; Down with sexual harassment." "Marchers also shouted chants against President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood group from which he hails," wroteAl Ahram Online.

The response? More sexual harassment and rapes.

Arlene Kushner on Israel Being The Only Country Iran Is Afraid Of

From Arlene Kushner
February 17, 2013

A Sick, Sick World

In the midst of so much that is ugly, it is a great pleasure to report this: Little Zakkai will be going home today.  On Friday, his parents wrote: "Zakkai has impressed the medical staff and us with another miraculous recovery from surgery (two this time!). Thank God...
"In fact, he's doing so well that we are being discharged already, ahead of schedule." 
"Thank God" says it all.  The capacity of this young body to rally and heal is amazing. 
Now if only the world could rally and heal. But there is precious little sign of this.  Anything but...
While the international community dithers and dallies -- still seeking "negotiations" with Iran -- that Islamist republic is rushing towards nuclear capability. 
According to the Sunday Times (London), Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, believed to be the head of Iran's secret nuclear weapons program, was present in North Korea last week when critical weapons tests were run.  This is particularly noteworthy because Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi is said to be reluctant to leave Iranian soil out of fear that the Mossad might get him.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Middle East Media Sampler 2/17/13: Arab Spring -- 2 Years of Media Mistakes

From +David Gerstman:

The revolution + 2 

Two years ago last week, growing protests against Hosni Mubarak eventually (with a nudge from the military) forced him from power. Here's a sampling of news and comment from the New York Times of those momentous events, plus contrasts to current commentary and news.

Arab States Reject Iranian Interference in Muslim World

Logo of The Israel Project

February 15, 2013
TIP Press:
Main Office Phone Number:  202-857-6644

Iran-Arab Tensions Spike Over Iranian Nuclear Proposals, Advances

Washington, Feb. 15 – The Gulf Cooperation Council has announced a “total rejection” of what GCC head Abdellatif Zayani is describing as another Iranian attempt at “interference in the internal affairs of Arab states.” The criticism comes in response to a proposal made by Iran’s Deputy Minister for Asian Affairs Abbas Araghchi, conveyed through Iranian media, proposing that the Syrian crisis and the domestic situation in Bahrain be placed on the agenda of upcoming talks in Kazakhstan regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

How Islamists Pick Up The War Against Israel Where Arab Regimes Left Off

Barry Rubin writes about True Belief, Cynical Manipulation, Peer Pressure: How Arab Governments Manage the Israel Issue, explaining the thinking of generations of Arab regimes:
If they could have pressed a button and Israel would have disappeared, almost none of them would have hesitated. But if you have to spend huge amounts of money, fight full-scale wars, and face the possibility (and increasingly they knew the likelihood) of being defeated that was different.

And while the issue was the top priority of the Palestinian Arabs, the leaders of states also had other issues to consider.

Video: SodaStream - Building Bridges Between Palestinians and Israelis, Not Walls

While Abbas has lied to Obama about ending incitement of hatred against Israel, Israelis work to build bridges between Palestinian Arabs and Israelis.

Here is an example from the company SodaStream:

EU Criticizes Russia Over Continued Support For Assad Regime in Syria

Logo of The Israel Project

February 16, 2013
TIP Press:
Main Office Phone Number:  202-857-6644

Russia Blasted Over Ongoing Assad Support

Washington, Feb. 16 – Russian expressions of continued support for the regime of Bashar al-Assad have analysts and diplomats worried that Moscow’s policies may undermine a new Western push, outlined this week by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, to end Syria’s two-year conflict.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Video: Allen West and Cynthia Farahat on Why The Arab Spring Failed

Why the Arab Spring Revolution Was Not A Success

Allen West interviews Cynthia Farahat

Next Generation TV
February 8, 2013

Cynthia Farahat is an Egyptian political activist and Middle East Forum associate

The Middle East Media Sampler 2/15/13: King Herod: New York Times Prefers Controversy To Israeli History

From +David Gerstman:
1) Was King Herod a Palestinian?

Earlier this week the New York Times reported about Anger That a Herod Show Uses West Bank Objects. This is an odd angle to report as the article tells us.
The Israel Museum on Tuesday opened its most ambitious archaeological exhibition and the world’s first devoted to Herod, the lionized and demonized Rome-appointed king of Judea, who reigned from 37 to 4 B.C.E. and is among the most seminal and contentious figures in Jewish history. But the exhibition, which the museum director described as a “massive enterprise” that involved sifting through 30 tons of material from Herodium and reconstructing 250 artifacts, has also brought its own bit of controversy.
Instead of discussing the historical significance of the exhibit, the report focuses on the controversy.
The Palestinian Authority says the exhibition is a violation of international law because much of its material was taken from near Bethlehem and Jericho, both in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Video: Latma Reveals The Real Reason Obama Chose To Visit Israel

This weeks Latma reveals why Obama is visiting Israel.
Also: the EU's difficulty in treating Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

Here is the video:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lessons From A Pro-Israel University Gift Used To Fund Anti-Israel Speakers

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

Smart University Giving

by Daniel Pipes
Philanthropy Daily
February 12, 2013

The Problem

With a flurry of good will and generosity, the Helen Diller Family Fund gave $5 million for Jewish studies in 1999 to the University of California at Berkeley to bring an Israeli professor to the university each year. The intent was partially to balance the anti-Israel invective that permeates that university. As Diller herself put it, "With the protesting and this and that, we need to get a real strong Jewish studies program in there. Hopefully, it will be enlightening to have a visiting professor." The appointing committee promised that visiting scholars' political beliefs would not be considered, while Diller indicated her confidence in the committee.

But the Helen Diller Family Programs in Jewish Studies from the start went awry. The university used the funds to hire Oren Yiftachel, a viciously anti-Zionist professor who holds that "Israel has created a colonial setting, held through violent control and a softening illusion of a nation-state and democratic citizenship." This left the donor displeased and frustrated; in the words of Moment magazine's Liel Liebowitz, "having given the endowment, there was nothing she could do but wince."

As Martin Kramer noted in a review of the Diller case, "academic administrators can be pretty sharp dealers on their own turf." Having served as an academic administrator, Kramer reveals the drill: