Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hanan Ashrawi Is Not Only Arab Using Passover Blood Libel

In light of Hanan Ashrawi's MIFTAH promoting the Passover Blood Libel and Hanan Ashrawi's refusal to apologize, it is worthwhile pointing out other Arabs doing the same.

Professor Aaron Lerner posts a report from MEMRI that just this week, Lebanese daily Al-Sharq prints article: Jews Make Passover Matzah With The Blood Of Non-Jews:
On March 28, 2013, the Lebanese daily Al-Sharq published an article by Lebanese writer Sana Kojok that claimed that during Passover, the Jews eat matzah made with the blood of non-Jews. The article also called on the Palestinians to turn the Israelis' holiday from one of joy and pleasure into one of weeping and wailing.

Following are excerpts from the article:
"However, during the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins today, strange and bizarre rituals are held, according to instructions by the Talmud:
Houses are cleared of all leaven, that is, all bread and bread products containing yeast, which are called 'hametz' in Hebrew. Yesterday, they burned the bread in their homes because this needs to be done one day prior to the holiday.

"Additionally, on the holiday eve, the Zionist Jews eat unleavened bread which during its preparation is mixed with blood – but that blood must be from a non-Jew!! This unleavened bread is called 'matzah.'

"Imagine someone eating matzah made with blood!? How do these barbarians think?? Such barbaric behavior – even in eating and drinking?!

"Their 'precious' Talmud states: 'In certain cases, a man can kill a devil if he prepares the Passover matzah properly. The Jews have two blood-soaked events that satisfy God's will – one is the holiday of matzah containing human blood, and the other is the circumcision of our children...'

"The matzah referred to here is the matzah of the Jewish holiday of Passover!

"Today, they are not satisfied only with eating their blood-soaked matzah. Today, [there is a call] for settlers to invade the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque and celebrate Passover [there].

"How can the world expect us to negotiate with people who crave the blood of human beings – not only in their wars, but even in their holidays?? If they want to conduct their ceremonies and their witchcraft, let them do so – but without provoking Palestinian feelings, and without harming the holy tenets
of Christianity and Islam.

"Their damned Talmud neither respects nor recognizes any monotheistic religion. The Palestinians should challenge the Zionist aggressors and turn their holiday from one of joy and pleasure at the taste of blood into one of weeping and wailing."
One can only wonder if Kojok feels the same abhorrence towards Hamas terrorists who not only target innocent civilians -- but proclaim their eagerness to drink Jewish blood:

Hat tip: EDS
If you found this post interesting or informative, please it below. Thanks!

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Mideast Media Sampler 3/31/13: Netanyahu Apology to Erdogan a Coup for Israel

By David Gerstman, contributing blogger to Legal Insurrection

1) The counter-intuitive truth
David Ignatius, recently peddling conventional wisdom about President Obama's recent Middle East, Obama's Pragmatic Approach, trip listed three accomplishments of that trip. Two of them were:
Obama breathed a little life back into an Israeli-Palestinian peace process that had all but expired. He did this largely by the force of his March 21 speech in Israel. What he accomplished was the diplomat's trick of riding two horses at once: The speech was a love letter to Israel, as one commentator noted, and it was also a passionate evocation of the Palestinians' plight, and the need to "look at the world through their eyes."
Obama brokered an important reconciliation between Netanyahu and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. With the region in turmoil, this was a matter of vital national interest for both Israel and Turkey, but it took Obama to provide the personal link that made it happen. This was a payoff for Obama's cultivation of Erdogan since 2010, and for his "reset" with Netanyahu.
Contrary to these claims, Charles Krauthammer and Barry Rubin have argued that President Obama has acknowledged that the peace process is going nowhere.
Now Lee Smith argues that Netanyahu's apology to Erdogan was not Obama's coup, but Netanyahu's:

New York Times Rejects Letter From Mother Of Victim of Intifada It Promotes

For a mother to bury her loving, gentle child is torture. To watch the murderer walk triumphantly free and enjoy life rubs salt into that wound every day. But to see the NY Times gloss over this travesty of justice with a cover story that showcases this woman’s many admirers in Nabi Saleh – that is journalism of the most amoral sort. You ought to be ashamed of it.
Frimet Roth, mother of Malki Roth z"l, victim of Palestinian violence New York Times tacitly endorses

The New York Times jumps at opportunities to promote a Third Intifada, but refuses to balance their reporting by presenting the other side: the suffering and death that results from Palestinian violence.

Here is a letter from the mother of one of the victims of the Sbarro bombing. Her letter was submitted to The New York Times, but was rejected because it did not fit the agenda of The New York Times.
March 20, 2013
The Editors,
NY Times

Ben Ehrenreich's article ["Is This Where the Third Intifada Will Start?"] is a brazen quest for confirmation of his preconceptions about the Palestinian Israeli conflict: politics blended with fantasy and embellished with every tear-jerking cliche in the book. Smiling, frolicking children; poetic "activists"; generous hostesses plying their delicacies at every turn. It is a bucolic scene that is frequently painted in anti-Israel publications. But how does the NY Times publish a piece that plays so fast and loose with fact and history?

Sadly, I am well-equipped to offer some corrections and details omitted by Ehrenreich.

Hanan Ashrawi Refuses To Apologize For Blood Libel Smear -- Goes On Attack Instead

Does Obama in fact know the relationship, for example, between "Passover" and "Christian blood" ..?!
Or "Passover" and "Jewish blood rituals..?!
Much of the chatter and gossip about historical Jewish blood rituals in Europe are real and not fake as they claim; the Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover ...
Nawaf al-Zaru, in Hanan Ashrawi's MIFTAH

In response to Elder of Ziyon's post about Passover blood libel in Hanan Ashrawi's "Miftah" website, Ashrawi's first response was to remove the offensive post from the MIFTAH without comment or apology.

Hanan Ashrawi
Hanan Ashrawi claims article promoting Passover Blood
Libel was posted to create open dialogue. So why was it posted
 only in Arabic? Credit: Wiki Commons

Now, however, Ashrawi has gone on the attack, posting the following statement in English on the MIFTAH website:

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Why Netanyahu's Apology To Erdogan May Have Been A Good Idea

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

On Second Thought … Maybe that Israeli Apology to Turkey was a Good Idea

by Daniel Pipes
March 29, 2013
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner

I was appalled to learn a week ago that the Israeli prime minister had apologized to his Turkish counterpart for his government's actions during the Mavi Marmara incident, seeing this as feeding the Turkish government's inflated sense of grandeur and power.

That prediction was born out in spades.

The municipality of Turkey's capital city, Ankara, put up billboards on city streets reveling in the Israeli apology. They are not subtle, showing a sad-looking Netanyahu beneath a larger, buoyant Erdoğan, separated by the Mavi Marmara itself. Addressing Erdoğan, they read: "Israel apologized to Turkey. Dear Prime Minister, we are grateful that you let our country experience this pride."

Friday, March 29, 2013

Mideast Media Sampler 03/29/2013 Hanan Ashrawi Spreads Blood Libel Against Jews on Passover -- Media Yawns

by David Gerstman, contributing blogger at Legal Insurrection

1) The immunity of NGO's

Hanan Ashrawi is a well known Palestinian moderate. These few paragraphs accurately reflect the prevailing view of Ashrawi in the media.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the PLO could be chastised and disparaged with ease. Its reign of terror against civilian targets across Israel and Europe made it reviled and its name synonymous with bloodshed. Then, out of nowhere, an elegantly dressed woman emerged, fluent in English and able to present the Palestinians and their cause in a whole new light. 

Syrian Government Calls For Jihad In Defense Of Assad Regime

The following by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Jihad in Syria, Part II
The Assad Regime Perspective

by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
Syria Comment
March 25, 2013

In my previous article I examined the question of how jihadists in Syria conceive of their jihad against the Assad regime. But how does the regime portray jihad?

Earlier this month, many observers were surprised by a statement issued by the Supreme Iftaa Council, whose leader is Mufti Ahmad Hassoun, the most senior Sunni cleric in Syria as Grand Mufti, with strong ties to the regime. The council's fatwa was a call for jihad to defend Assad's government.

The Use Of Deceit And Betrayal by Islamist Extremists

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

The Threat of Islamic Betrayal

by Raymond Ibrahim
American Thinker
March 27, 2013

A recent assassination attempt in Turkey offers valuable lessons for the West concerning Islamist hate—and the amount of deceit and betrayal that hate engenders towards non-Muslim "infidels."

Last January, an assassination plot against a Christian pastor in Turkey was thwarted. Police arrested 14 suspects. Two of them had been part of the pastor's congregation for more than a year, feigning interest in Christianity. One went so far as to participate in a baptism. Three of the suspects were women. "These people had infiltrated our church and collected information about me, my family and the church and were preparing an attack against us," said the pastor in question, Emre Karaali, a native Turk: "Two of them attended our church for over a year and they were like family."

And their subversive tactics worked: "The 14 [suspects] had collected personal information, copies of personal documents, created maps of the church and the pastor's home, and had photos of those who had come to Izmit [church] to preach."

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Ongoing Problem of The FBI's Denial of Islam's Role In Terrorism

Islamists often raise the specter of "Islamophobia" whenever any legitimate question about or criticism of Islam is broached. But real Islamophobia stalks the corridors of Washington and other Western capitols: The fear of upsetting Muslims of any stripe is so rampant that the security of the American citizenry has been compromised.
Teri Blumenfeld

The following by Teri Blumenfeld is reposted here with permission:

Problems in the FBI
Denying Islam's Role in Terror

by Teri Blumenfeld
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2013, pp. 13-18 (view PDF)

More than a decade after the deadliest attack on U.S. soil, the U.S. administration seems no closer to identifying let alone repelling Islamist terrorists in the homeland. The 9/11 committee used the term "failure of imagination" to explain why the U.S. government was unable to prevent the catastrophic events of that day.[1] But although the enemy was identified at that time, the Federal government and one of its most important branches, the FBI, have adopted a policy of scrubbing Islamism from public consciousness[2] though since bin Laden's 2011 demise, "at least nine publicly known Islamist-inspired terror plots against the United States have been foiled, bringing the total number of foiled plots as of April 2012, to 50."[3]

Anwar al-Awlaki and Nidal Hasan
In November 2009, U.S. Army major Nidal Hasan (right) gunned down thirteen of his fellow servicemen at Fort Hood, Texas. Despite clear links establishing his connection to radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki (left), the subsequent Webster report spoke only vaguely about generic "violent radicalization" while president Obama referred to the jihadist massacre as "workplace violence."
The Obama administration's response to the 2009 Fort Hood terror attack by U.S. Army major Nidal Hasan offers a vivid illustration of this practice.

Obama Demands Palestinians Recognize The JEWISH State Of Israel

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

Obama to Palestinians: Accept the Jewish State

By Daniel Pipes

One key shift in U.S. policy was overlooked in the barrage of news about Barack Obama's eventful fifty-hour visit to Israel last week. That would be the demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state, called by Hamas leader Salah Bardawil "the most dangerous statement by an American president regarding the Palestinian issue."

Mideast Media Sampler 3/27/2013: Media Analysis of Obama's Trip To Israel Remains Superficial

by David Gerstman

1) All that glitters
Politico published an analysis of President Obama's recent trip to the Middle East by Josh Gerstein, Obama in Israel: 5 takeaways (h/t The Israel Link). While the article isn't awful, it suffers from a lack of substance. The five takeaways are:
  • Bibi and Barack patch it up
  • Obama’s new peace strategy: Hug Israel
  • Surprise substance: Obama defrosts Israel-Turkey ties
  • Urgency of Iran raid decision dialed back
  • Obama fears being drawn in on Syria
The first two items are about what is often referred to as "optics."

Does Hanan Ashrawi Believe Passover Blood Libel?

We are still waiting for Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian spokesperson, to respond after the vicious Antisemitic article published by her organization, MIFTAH.

Elder of Ziyon writes about Passover blood libel in Hanan Ashrawi's "Miftah" website, noting first how MIFTAH describes itself:

Established in Jerusalem in December 1998, with Hanan Ashrawi as its Secretary-General, MIFTAH seeks to promote the principles of democracy and good governance within various components of Palestinian society; it further seeks to engage local and international public opinion and official circles on the Palestinian cause. To that end, MIFTAH adopts the mechanisms of an active and in-depth dialogue, the free flow of information and ideas, as well as local and international networking.[emphasis added]
Hanan Ashrawi
Hanan Ashrawi: Does she really believe Jews
 use the blood of Christians to bake Matzahs
 on Passover? Credit: Wiki Commons
The key paragraph in the article is:

The Goal of Israel Apartheid Week Is Nothing Less Than The Destruction of Israel

The following by Alexander H. Joffe is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

A Review of Israel Apartheid Week (IAW)

by Alexander H. Joffe
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
March 24, 2013

The return of Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) makes it necessary to review some of the better and less well-known features of this annual, global event. By doing so, it will become possible better to understand the nature and scope of the problem and to improve our focus on potential responses.

The first and most important fact regarding IAW is its clearly stated goal of destroying Israel. This is sometimes glossed over by individual events and specific speakers. It may also be lost in the emotionalism that surrounds the agit-prop rhetoric and guerilla theatrics. But the "Basis of Unity for IAW International Coordination" makes the goals and methods of IAW and its local affiliates clear:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Defensive Jihad In Syria Against Assad, And Its Problems

The following by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is resposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Jihad in Syria

by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
Syria Comment
March 20, 2013

How do the jihadist rebels generally conceive of jihad in the Syrian civil war?

One useful way to look into this question is to examine the Qur'anic verses pertaining to warfare cited in propaganda statements. In this context, one recurring verse is 22:39, which runs as follows: 'Permission [to fight] has been granted to those who are being fought, because they have been wronged. And verily is God able to grant them victory.'

For example, at the start of the final rebel offensive on Raqqah at the beginning of this month that successfully took the city out of the hands of Assad's forces, a video emerged on Youtube entitled 'Statement from Jabhat al-Nusrah [JAN] on the beginning of the battle to liberate Raqqah.' In this video, one can see three fighters from JAN – the al-Qa'ida-aligned jihadist group. The speaker begins the statement with citation of 22:39.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Jonathan Rosenblum: Pesach: the Gift of the Future

Pesach: the Gift of the Future

by Jonathan Rosenblum
Jerusalem Post
April 17, 2011

At the beginning of Stumbling on Happiness, Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert speculates on the essential difference between human beings and animals. He conclusion: Only humans plan for the future. No animal ever delayed gratification in anticipation of some future benefit.

Gilbert's insight was preceded by our Sages. At the beginning of parashas Tazria, the Midrash quotes a verse from Tehillim: Achor ve'kedem tzartani. . . (Tehillim139:5). Reish Lakish interprets achor to refer to the last day – yom acharon – ve'kedem to refer to the first day. Even the animals have a first day, but only human beings have a yom acharon, a future to which they are striving.

Everything that an animal will ever be is included in its initial genetic material, whereas a human being has the potential to change his nature according to his capacity to reflect on the purpose of his life.

The Global Disadvantages of Muslims Due To Islam

The following by Mark Durie is resposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Wilders in Australia and the "Islamic Problem" - Part I

by Mark Durie
March 14, 2013

Wilders in Melbourne

Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders' recent speaking tour in Australia brought him to my home town of Melbourne. I have been pondering his message since his visit, and this is the first of a series of blog posts which engage with it.

Wilders came to warn Australians about Islam: "I am here to tell you how Islam is changing the Netherlands and Western Europe beyond recognition. I am … here to warn Australia about the true nature of Islam." (See the text of his speech here). Wilders turns on its head the Islamic supremacist claim that the Islamic system is superior and Islam the solution to all humankind's problems. For Wilders, "Islam is the problem, and we should not be afraid to say so." (Marked for Death, p.64)

To attend Wilders' Melbourne speech, guests had to make their way past a cordon of police and a hostile collection of left-wing protestors. Once inside, they then had to pass security checks before finding a seat in the auditorium.

The 'warm-up' for the evening was a brilliant presentation by Sam Solomon, a former Muslim jurist, now a convert to Christianity, on the Koranic theological basis for discrimination in the socio-political realm. He argued that Islamic theology supports the systematic elevation of specific groups over others: Muslims over non-Muslims and men over women. He invited Muslims to sign his Charter of Muslim Understanding, which affirms universal principles of peaceful co-existence, human dignity and mutual respect between people.

After a brief delay, apparently due to security concerns, Geert Wilders took the podium to address the question of Islam. By the 'Question of Islam' I mean the question whether Islam itself is the explanation for the disadvantage faced by Muslims and their non-Muslim neighbours in the world today, including poverty, abuse of women, religious discrimination and persecution, inequality and injustice, societal failure, inferior educational and health outcomes, despotism, violence, and economic backwardness.

Examples of these disadvantages abound.

Who Wants To Be A Pesach Millionaire?

Passover Seder
Here is the introduction to a game, by Adina and David Lederer, that you can do at the seder table for the kids -- I've posted it before, and thought it was time to post it again. At the end of the introduction below, there is a link to the questions for the game (3 versions) and a separate link to the answers, as word documents.

Have a Chag Kasher V'Sameach.

Who Wants To Be A Pesach Millionaire?

Who Wants To Be A Pesach Millionaire?
Revised 5761


As we wrote last year, one of the primary mitzvot of seder night is to tell over the story of our Exodus from Egypt (Sipur Yeziat Mitrayim). As parents to young children, we have a challenge to keep our kids interested during seder night in order to help us fulfill this mitzva. After hearing one of our friends telling us how he makes up Torah-related questions in “millionaire” format for his then 5 year old son who watches the show with him, we thought of creating a Pesach version of the game to play with our young children over Pesach.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Rabbi Shafran on Passover: What's With The Fours?

What's With The Fours?

Rabbi Avi Shafran (from 2010)

Despite the late hour and exhaustion (not to mention wine), many a Jewish mind has wondered long and hard during a Passover Seder about all the Haggadah’s “fours.” Four questions, four sons, four expressions of redemption, four cups. There’s clearly a numerical theme here.

While some may superficially dismiss the Haggadah as a mere collection of random verses and songs, it is in truth a subtle and wondrous educational tool, with profound Jewish ideas layered through its seemingly simple text. The rabbis who formulated its core, already extant in pre-Talmudic times, wanted it to serve to plant important concepts in the hearts and minds of its readers – especially its younger ones, toward whom the Seder, our tradition teaches, is aimed. And so the author of the Haggadah employed an array of pedagogical methods, including songs, riddles and puzzles, as means of conveying deeper understandings. And he left us some clues, too.

Video: The Maccabeats: Les Misérable, A Passover Story

With Passover approaching, here is the new Maccabeats video for Pesach.

Have a Chag Kasher V'Sameach:

Mideast Media Sampler 3/24/2013: How Media Spins Netanyahu's Apology To Erdogan

by David Gerstman

1) The apology

The Washington Post reported Obama ends Israel visit by brokering end to dispute with Turkey:
Prodded by President Obama, Israel and Turkey agreed Friday to end a three-year rift caused by a deadly Israeli commando raid on a Turkish ship bound for Gaza, a rapprochement urgently sought by the United States to help contain spillover from the worsening fighting in Syria. 
During an airport meeting with Obama at the end of his two-day visit to Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Israeli and U.S. officials said.  
Bowing to a long-standing Turkish demand, Netanyahu apologized for the deaths of nine activists aboard the Turkish ship and promised to reach an agreement on compensation to their families, according to a statement from his spokesman.

Barry Rubin: Netanyahu Did Not Actually "Apologize" To Erdogan

In response to the media coverage of Netanyahu's apology to Turkey's Erdogan over the Mavi Marmara, Barry Rubin writes Did Israel `Apologize’ to Turkey? Well, No, Not Exactly, going back to the original disagreement between Erdogan and Israel:
During the talks, Erdogan made three demands:

Arlene Kushner on Netanyahu's Apology To Erdogan -- and Erdogan's Non-Acceptance

From Arlene Kushner:
March 23, 2013


Motzei Shabbat (After Shabbat)
Pesach begins with seder on Monday night and preparations for the holiday are in high gear.  I am mindful -- and right now it's hard work to stay mindful -- of what comes first.
And so, I want to wish my readers a joyous and meaningful Pesach.
May the holiday uplift us and inspire us. And may the Almighty be with us now as he was then.
Passover table

I do not know if I will post again before the holiday begins, or during the week of the holiday.  I ask, please, that you hold off on communication to me for the duration.
Were that I had good and uplifting things to report before the holiday begins!  But I have to take it as it is. 
As time elapses, what Obama did with his "talk" to university students at Binyanei Ha'uma rankles me ever more.  I called it beyond manipulative.  Let me here add "despicable."

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Daniel Pipes on Netanyahu's Apology To Erdogan Over The Mavi Marmara

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

An Israeli Apology to Turkey

by Daniel Pipes
March 22, 2013
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner

On Feb. 27, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a conference in Vienna, "Just like Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, Islamophobia must be regarded as a crime against humanity." His calling the Jewish nationalist movement that built the State of Israel a "crime against humanity" prompted widespread criticism, including by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Friday, March 22, 2013

If Obama Advises Containment Against Hamas, What Does That Say About Iran?

In Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel in Joint Press Conference, Obama said:
But the truth of the matter is trying to bring this to some sort of clear settlement, a solution that would allow Israelis to feel as if they've broken out of the current isolation that they're in, in this region, that would allow the incredible economic growth that's taking place inside this country to be a model for trade and commerce and development throughout the region at a time when all these other countries need technology and commerce and jobs for their young people, for Palestinians to feel a sense that they, too, are masters of their own fate, for Israel to feel that the possibilities of rockets raining down on their families has diminished -- that kind of solution we have not yet seen. [emphasis added]
Obama did not talk about possibility of peace with Hamas nor that the firing of rockets upon Israeli citizens would be stopped -- merely that there may be fewer rockets.

Aaron Lerner of IMRA writes about the important implications of what Obama said -- Critical sober words from President Obamas – not to be ignored

Mideast Media Sampler 3/22/2013: Obama's Trip To Israel -- He Still Doesn't Get It

By David Gerstman

  1) The President talks to the Israeli people

Barry Rubin summarizes President Obama's message to the young people of Israel whom he addressed at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem yesterday.
First: Obama’s big theme is that — and I’m not being satirical here — peace is good. He tried to make the students understand that peace is better than continued conflict and has many advantages. Of course the students think peace is good — they are the ones who have to serve in the military and risk their lives, not to mention know that they and their loved ones are the targets of terrorism and war. 
Can Obama possibly not comprehend this? I believe he doesn’t, that he seriously thought he was bringing new ideas to his audience that they had never thought about before nor heard about for years.

Video: Latma On Obama's Trip To Israel

This week Latma takes a look at Israel's response to Obama's trip to Israel.
Also, if you have not seen it yet, here is Israeli soldier responds to the world in rap.

Here is the video:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Arlene Kushner: Why Obama's Trip To Israel Is A Failure

From Arlene Kushner:
March 21, 2013

The Party's Over

If indeed there ever was a party, except in people's imaginations.
I must confess something here.  I understand better today how Obama got re-elected.  I'm seeing his charm up close and when he turns it on, it's considerable.  Then it becomes a question of what to accept as real....
I want to start with the last event of Obama's day here, because it irks me so greatly.

Obama Under The Smiling Face of Palestinian Terrorist Arafat

In the weeks following Obama's trip to Israel, there will be all kinds of analysis judging whether the trip itself was a success and how Obama acquitted himself.

The issues will revolve around the various speeches, around what was said by one leader and how another leader responded.

But there are other clues by which to rate Obama's trip, some subtle and even debatable.

Jay Nordlinger writes about one such subtle hint as to Obama being oblivious to the implications not of what he said, but of where he said it, when Obama agreed to speak under the smiling picture of Arafat:

Even If Obama Is Sincere In What He Tells Israelis, Does Obama Know What He's Doing?

Obama is now--on matters directly regarding Israel--a typical American president. The idea that Obama made policy out of raw hatred against Israel should be put to rest.
Barry Rubin

Barry Rubin analyzes Obama Visit to Israel: A Love Fest with Lots of Policy Complications as reflected in the Obama's joint press conference with Netanyahu. Perhaps the the greatest sign of this new found friendship between Obama and Netanyahu is the extent of apparent agreement on Iran. In response to Obama's obvious public call for confirmation of his support for Israel:
“In short -- and I don't think is just my opinion; I think, Bibi, you would share this -- America's support for Israel's security is unprecedented, and the alliance between our nations has never been stronger.”
Netanyahu responds as expected -- but hints at the extent US support will go in regards to Israel's need to defend itself against Iran:
“I appreciate the fact that the president has reaffirmed, more than any other president, Israel's right and duty to defend itself, by itself, against any threat. We just heard those important words now. And I think that sums up our -- I would say, our common view.”
And that is when Obama appears to have come out with a statement of US support for an Israeli strike against Iran:

Mideast Media Sampler 3/21/2013: Understanding -- And Spinning -- Obama's Trip To Israel

by David Gerstman

1) Barack and Bibi

The Algemeiner has transcripts of President Obama's and PM Netanayahu's remarks at their joint press conference yesterday.

Writing in Tablet, Lee Smith covers the three issues that President Obama and PM Netanyau would be discussing: the Palestinians, Syria and Iran. (via memeorandum) However, Smith concludes:
As he has for the last four years, the American commander in chief will surely promise the Israeli prime minister that when it comes to Iran, “Trust me, I’ve got your back.” But everything Bibi has heard over the last five hours will likely tell him that, as time is running out to stop Iran, the United States is nowhere to be found, at least not in the Middle East.
Based on the President's speech, Ken Gardner tweeted:
Krauthammer: Obama has essentially signaled that Israel has a green light to deal with Iran as it wishes. And that's actually good. I agree.
— Ken Gardner (@kesgardner) March 20, 2013
Barry Rubin understood that too, but wonders:

From YU: Pesach To-Go 5773 Shiurim

Logo for Pesach To-Go 5773

You can download Pesach To Go as a PDF document or download any of the individual shiurim separately:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Arlene Kushner on Obama's Trip To Israel -- And Why She Is Underwhelmed and Dubious

From Arlene Kushner:
March 20, 2013


That's me.

The helicopters have been whirring overhead here in Jerusalem today, reminding me that President Obama is in town.  I'm too much of a cynic -- or a realist -- to be excited about this.
Netanyahu and Obama
Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90

It was all sweetness and light as the president stepped from his plane.  "It's good to be in Israel again," he declared (in Hebrew).  My mental response was: "So what kept you from visiting during the four years of your first term?"

If you wish, you can see the first moments of the president's arrival here

French President Hollande Praises Anti-Semitic Writier Stephane Hessel

The following by Michel Gurfinkel is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum

Francois Hollande Praises Anti-Semitic Writer

by Michel Gurfinkiel
PJ Media
March 20, 2013

On March 17 of this year, François Hollande — the socialist president of France — attended the ceremonies held in Toulouse marking the first anniversary of what is now commonly referred to as "the Mohamed Merah affair."
On March 11, 2012, this French citizen of Algerian descent, who had joined an Islamist network and had been trained in Pakistan, killed a French soldier in Toulouse. On March 15, he shot three more soldiers in Montauban: two died on the spot; the third was severely wounded in the head and is now quadriplegic.

Four days later, Merah killed three preteen children and one adult at Ozar Hatorah, a school in Toulouse.
The terrorist had selected his nine victims with jihadist logic, as he himself boasted shortly before being shot by security forces. The four soldiers were either of North African or West Indian origin, and thus guilty of betraying their Muslim or non-Caucasian brethren by joining the enemy French army. The children and the adult at the Ozar Hatorah school were Jewish, and thus enemies of the Muslim Palestinians and the Muslim world community.

Since his election in June of last year, Hollande has frequently emphasized the Merah affair, and specifically its anti-Semitic aspect.

On July 22, 2012 — the French national memorial day of the Holocaust and of racist persecutions — Hollande drew a parallel between the murder of Jewish children by Merah and the deportation and mass murder of Jewish children. On November 1 — the Day of the Dead in French culture — Hollande attended a memorial ceremony in Toulouse with Benjamin Netanyahu. This year's March 17 visit to Toulouse was Hollande's third public appearance expressing his concern about the Merah affair.

However, Hollande's reputation, one of empathy for the victims of anti-Semitism, has just suffered a blow.

Kerry To Revive Saudi Peace Initiative -- The One Obama Once Denied Interest In

Here we go again.

The Times of Israel reports that Kerry expected to revive 2002 Saudi peace initiative:
While US President Barack Obama’s visit to the region has been described as a listening tour, for Secretary of State John Kerry the visit is all business. According to a report in Yedioth Ahronoth Tuesday, Kerry is in the region to kick-start peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, using the 2002 Saudi Peace initiative as the starting point of future talks.

Mideast Media Sampler 3/20/2013: The Roots Of New York Times Anti-Israel Bias

by David Gerstman

The New York Times, the American Council for Judaism and Israel

Last year a former New York Times reporter, Neil Lewis wrote a defense of the New York Times' coverage of Israel. (.pdf) Lewis writes of Arthur Hays Sulzberger:
Whatever complicated personal themes may have floated in Arthur Hays Sulzberger’s private seas can only be guessed at. (The most common — and plausible — speculation is that he, like many established and wealthy American Jews of German heritage, was profoundly uncomfortable, or simply snobbish, about the more recent waves of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who were seen by them as less cultured.)

Why Is Obama Still Fixated on Israel?

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

Explaining Obama's Fixation with Israel

by Daniel Pipes
National Review Online
March 19, 2013

Why does Barack Obama focus so much on Israel and its struggle with the Arabs?

It's not just that he's spending days in Israel this week, but his disproportionate four-year search to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. His first full day as president in 2009 saw him appointing George Mitchell as special envoy for the Middle East and also telephoning the leaders of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. The White House press secretary justified this surprising emphasis by saying that Obama used his first day in office "to communicate his commitment to active engagement in pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace from the beginning of his term." A few days later, Obama granted his first formal interview as president to Al-Arabiya television channel.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Video: Latma Presents An Israeli Soldier's Song to the World for Passover

Latma brings you a word from proud Israeli soldiers and wishes a Happy and Kosher Passover to our wonderful soldiers, and to the entire Jewish people and our friends in Israel and throughout the world.

Muslim Cleric: US Aid To Egypt Is An Islamic Tax Showing American Submission To Islam

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

Muslim Cleric Calls U.S. Aid to Egypt 'Jizya'

by Raymond Ibrahim
March 19, 2013

As earlier suggested, the wonderful thing about Salafis—those extra "radical" Muslims who seek to emulate as literally as possible prophet Muhammad's teachings and habits—is that they are so unabashed and frank about what they believe. Such is the degree of brainwashing that they have undergone. Unlike the Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded much earlier, doublespeak is not second nature to the Salafis.

The most recent example comes from Al Hafiz TV, an Egyptian Islamic station. During a roundtable discussion on the U.S. and foreign aid to Egypt, an Islamic cleric, clearly of the Salafi bent—he had their trademark mustache-less-beard—insisted that the U.S. must be treated contemptuously, like a downtrodden dhimmi, or conquered infidel; that Egypt must make the U.S. conform to its own demands; and that, then, all the money the U.S. offers to Egypt in foreign aid can be taken as rightfully earned jizya.

Historically, the jizya was money, or tribute, that conquered non-Muslims had to pay to their Muslim overlords to safeguard their existence, as indicated in Koran 9:29. As the spirit of Islam continues making a comeback, Muslims around the world continue calling for non-Muslims, especially Christian minorities under Islam, to resume paying the jizya, which was abolished in the 19th century thanks to European intervention.

When Will The New York Times Stop Whitewashing Palestinian Terrorism?

New York Times Magazine Cover

In describing the latest New York Times attack on Israel, Arnold Roth of This Ongoing War blog writes about A little village in the hills, and the monsters it spawns:
If you want to affect how people think about an issue, putting your case onto the cover of the New York Times Magazine must be one of the most effective things to do. And, given the intense competition, one of the hardest.

So if the editors of the NYT (108 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other news organization; 30 million unique visitors per month to its website; the largest local metropolitan newspaper in the United States – according to Wikipedia) give you the cover of the prestigious Magazine, it’s a massive vote of confidence, a huge privilege, a platform of the most effective kind that (probably) can't be bought for money.

Mideast Media Sampler 3/19/2013: More of New York Times Anti-Israel Agenda

By David Gerstman

1) Is there any hope left for Mideast honesty in the New York Times

A few people have pointed out that I missed an op-ed by Rashid Khalidi, Is Any Hope Left for Mideast Peace? One paragraph really stuck out.
Until 1991 most Palestinians, although under Israeli military occupation, could nonetheless travel freely. Today, an entire generation of Palestinians has never been allowed to visit Jerusalem, enter Israel or cross between the West Bank and Gaza. This ghettoization of the Palestinians, along with the unrest of the second intifada of 2000-5 and the construction of seemingly permanent settlements and of an apartheid-style wall, are the tragic fruits of the so-called peace process the United States has led.
Khalidi mentions the second intifada and the travel restrictions (which aren't as total as Khalidi writes) and the security barrier as if they are unrelated. Of course the intifada - which was orchestrated by Yasser Arafat - is the reason that Israeli had to impose travel restrictions and build a separation barrier.

Later Khalidi writes:

During Obama's Trip To Israel, How Will He React To Demonization By Palestinian Arabs?

For Immediate Release:
March 18, 2013
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Obama must hold fast to moral compass
on trip to Israel

This article by Anne Bayefsky originally appeared in Fox News on March 18th.

A Moral Compass for President Obama in Israel:
Racism in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

As President Obama touches down in Israel on Wednesday, he will not be stumbling into a morally neutral landscape somewhere between the Hatfields and the McCoys. Instead, the ticket to wading successfully into the Arab-Israeli conflict is to hold fast to a moral compass of inalienable rights, starting with equality, and freedom from racial and religious intolerance.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Arlene Kushner on Reasons To Be Optimistic About Netanyahu's New Coalition With Lapid and Bennett

From Arlene Kushner
March 18, 2013

Set in Place and Hopeful

The 33rd government has been announced by Prime Minister Netanyahu in its final permutation.  The list of ministers (22 in number) and deputies is provided at the end of this posting.  You may want to save it.

After the balagan of establishing the coalition, with all of its extraordinary tensions and game-playing, I am finding that there truly are enough good people in the government so that there is some reason to be hopeful.

A handful of changes from the prior list I had shared, which was still tentative, are worthy of note here:

New Debate of Fate of The St. Louis During Holocaust and the Effort to Redeem Roosevelt's Image

According to the Amazon description of the book FDR and the Jews:
Nearly seventy-five years after World War II, a contentious debate lingers over whether Franklin Delano Roosevelt turned his back on the Jews of Hitler’s Europe. Defenders claim that FDR saved millions of potential victims by defeating Nazi Germany. Others revile him as morally indifferent and indict him for keeping America’s gates closed to Jewish refugees and failing to bomb Auschwitz’s gas chambers.

Abbas Claims There Is No Disagreement on Israel Between Hamas and Fatah

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

No Disagreement between Hamas and Fatah

by Daniel Pipes
March 15, 2013
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner

For those of us arguing that there's no fundamental difference between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, an interview of Mahmoud Abbas today by Salam Musafir of RT, the Russian television network, today comes as useful confirmation. I have bolded three key passages making this point:

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas interviewed today on RT.
RT: Today, the other part of the Palestinian resistance, Hamas, is increasingly leaning towards a political solution of the problem rather than a military one. Have you noticed the shift? 

The Mideast Media Sampler 3/18/2013: New York Times Cheers On Palestinian Intifada Against Israel

by David Gerstman

Cheerleading the Intifada

The New York Times has done it again. Less then two weeks after publishing an intellectual attack against Israel, it publishes an article glorifying physical attacks on Israel. The front page story of yesterday's New York Times Magazine, Is This Where the Third Intifada Will Start? by Ben Ehrenreich. (The cover has the  more provocative phrase, "If there is a third intifada, we want to be the ones who started it."

Chemi Shalev of the left wing paper Ha'aretz lets us in on a little secret about Ehrenreich:

UN Human Rights Council And The Creation of Apartheid Palestine

For Immediate Release:
March 17, 2013
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This article by Anne Bayefsky originally appeared in The Jerusalem Post on March 17th.

It is impossible to read this latest UN report, or to listen to its authors and its state sponsors, without knowing that the campaign to rid the world of Israeli settlements is a campaign to rid the world of Israel.

On Monday, March 17 in Geneva, the UN Human Rights Council will hold a first-ever three-hour session devoted to the alleged human rights abomination known as the “Israeli settlement.” In the moral wasteland of the United Nations, a Jew living on Arab-claimed land is a violation of Arab human rights.

There were once an estimated 900,000 Jews across the Arab world, but today there are less than a few thousand. They were given a choice: die, convert or flee.

Now the 22nd Judenrein Arab state is in-the-making: Apartheid Palestine.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Obama's Trip To Israel Is Routine, Ill-Timed and Will Set Back The Cause of Peace

The following by Alexander Joffe is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum

Mideast Media Sampler 03/17/2013: Thomas Friedman Strikes (Out) Again!

From David Gerstman:

1) When elephants crash land

Recently, I brought up an example of how Professor Barry Rubin handled a mistake. First he admitted it. Then he explained the forces involved. His behavior showed a few things.
  1. He is serious about what he has written.
  2. He respects his audience's intelligence.

Neither of these qualities can be attributed to Thomas Friedman. 

A few weeks ago, Friedman wrote a column in which he faulted the Muslim Brotherhood for failing to govern Egypt effectively. Nowhere, in the essay does Friedman acknowledge that he had misunderstood the revolution in Egypt from the start. 

Denying the Role of Radical Islam In Terrorism

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Explaining the Denial
Denying Islam's Role in Terror

by Daniel Pipes
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2013, pp. 3-12 (view PDF)

Over three years after Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009, the classification of his crime remains in dispute. In its wisdom, the Department of Defense, supported by law enforcement, politicians, journalists, and academics, deems the killing of thirteen and wounding of forty-three to be "workplace violence." For example, the 86-page study on preventing a repeat episode, Protecting the Force: Lessons from Fort Hood, mentions "workplace violence" sixteen times.[1]

Indeed, were the subject not morbid, one could be amused by the disagreement over what exactly caused the major to erupt. Speculations included "racism" against him, "harassment he had received as a Muslim," his "sense of not belonging," "mental problems," "emotional problems," "an inordinate amount of stress," the "worst nightmare" of his being deployed to Afghanistan, or something fancifully called "pre-traumatic stress disorder." One newspaper headline, "Mindset of Rogue Major a Mystery," sums up this bogus state of confusion.[2]

At The UN, "Human Rights" Are Hijacked To Attack Israel

For Immediate Release:
March 15, 2013
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Today at the United Nations in New York City, the UN’s top women’s rights body, the Commission on the Status of Women, will wrap up its annual session by condemning only one state for violating the rights of women anywhere in the world. Not Syria, or China, or Saudi Arabia. But Israel, for violating the rights of Palestinian women.

Next week, the UN’s top human rights body, the Human Rights Council, will end its session by adopting six resolutions condemning human rights violations by one state alone. Israel. And one resolution each on human rights violations in seven of the other 192 UN countries combined.

One doesn’t need a lawyer or foreign affairs guru to figure it out. This isn’t about human rights at all.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Arlene Kushner's Roundup on The Coalition and Why Netanyahu is the Big Loser

From Arlene Kushner
March 16, 2013

Let's Move On!

Motzei Shabbat (After Shabbat)
We have a government.  I felt reasonably confident this would be the case by now -- as the deadline for Netanyahu has run out and Obama is coming this week.  But it's been an insufferably long and complex road getting to that coalition.
I had actually begun a posting last Thursday, when a coalition seemed to be in place. And then I stopped, because yet another roadblock had appeared.
Now, I am less inclined to cover all the ground I would have covered two days ago.  Let me simply make some more general observations.