Monday, December 31, 2007

Israel gets warned: Al-Qaida coming!

Aaron Klein
© 2007

JERUSALEM – Israel in recent months received warnings from foreign intelligence agencies that al-Qaida operatives were seeking to infiltrate the Jewish state to set up cells to carry out large-scale attacks, WND has learned.

The warnings were followed up by the release this weekend of a new audiotape in which al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden made an unusually sharp threat of attacks against Israel. According to Israeli security officials, Israel several times received general warnings indicating al-Qaida was attempting to fly operatives into the Jewish state's international airport disguised as tourists carrying foreign passports. The latest warning was received a few months ago and indicated the passports may be from Britain, Australia and the United States.

The security officials said al-Qaida has come to the conclusion Palestinian terror groups operating in the Gaza Strip and West Bank have had great difficulty infiltrating Israel due to the country's security barrier and antiterror measures and that Palestinians who do successfully infiltrate are not capable of carrying out large-scale attacks inside the country.

The Israeli security officials said the latest warning, which was shared with Palestinian intelligence agencies, indicated al-Qaida has made a strategic decision to attempt to send foreign cells into the Jewish state instead of relying on Palestinian militants.

The warning also listed other countries aside from Israel that al-Qaida may attempt to infiltrate using the same methods, the officials said.

Groups ideologically aligned with al-Qaida are widely suspected to be operating in the Gaza Strip and there have been some reports of similar groups attempting to establish themselves in the West Bank.

But with strict border controls in place at airports and crossings, Israel is largely thought to be difficult for al-Qaida to infiltrate.

Israeli security officials did not indicate there were any thwarted al-Qaida attempts to infiltrate the country. A Palestinian security official familiar with the report also said he was not aware of any recent attempts.

Israel previously acknowledged it arrested suspected al-Qaida infiltrators. In August 2003, Israel's mission to the U.N. submitted a report stating the country had thwarted several attempts by al-Qaida operatives carrying foreign passports to enter Israel in order to gather intelligence and conduct attacks. The Jewish state also noted in the report it had captured Palestinians recruited by al-Qaida abroad to conduct attacks in Israel.

The latest al-Qaida warning was received here just a few months before bin Laden's videotape was released this weekend vowing to "expand jihad to Palestine."

"I would like to assure our people in Palestine that we will expand our jihad there," said bin Laden. "We intend to liberate Palestine, the whole of Palestine from the (Jordan) river to the sea," he continued, threatening "blood for blood, destruction for destruction."

While bin Laden and other Al-Qaida figures many times vowed to attack Israel, the latest comments were a more direct language than bin Laden usually uses.

"We will not recognize even one inch for Jews in the land of Palestine as other Muslim leaders have," bin Laden said.

The majority of the terror chieftain's message dealt with Iraq, including a warning to Iraq's Sunni Arabs against joining tribal councils fighting Al-Qaida or participating in any unity government.

Israeli officials said they were taking bin Laden's latest threat seriously. After yesterday's meeting here of the government's security cabinet, Tzachi Hanegbi, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told reporters, "The threat of al-Qaida is real. They've struck in Lebanon, Australia, Indonesia, Madrid, New York and London. They can easily target the Middle East and we need to be prepared for that."

Al-Qaida at Israel's border

While al-Qaida is not thought to have infiltrated Israel, the global jihad group is suspected of operating in Gaza and previously carried out numerous attacks near the Jewish state's borders.

Al-Qaida took responsibility for a series of hotel bombings in Amman, Jordan in November 2005 killing 60 and injuring over 115 others. While Jordan, which borders Israel, has had some successes fighting al-Qaida cells, security officials fear the terror group still maintains a significant infrastructure there capable of carrying out attacks.

Egypt has had difficulty eliminating al-Qaida cells, particularly those operating among Bedouin villages in the Sinai desert bordering the Gaza Strip.

Al-Qaida has been widely blamed for several Sinai attacks the past three years including the bomb blasts in April 2006 that killed 24 people and injured over 85 in the Sinai town of Dahab, and deadly bombings in the resort centers of Taba and Ras Shitan in October 2004 as well as in Sharm el-Sheik in July.

Last April, al-Qaida was blamed for two bombings near multinational peacekeeping force in the Sinai adjacent to Gaza. Almost simultaneously inside Gaza, the Popular Resistance Committees attempted to carry out a large-scale car bombing at the Karni Crossing, the main cargo passageway between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The attack was foiled at the last minute after Palestinian forces became suspicious and opened fire at an approaching vehicle. Some security officials told WND the thwarted Karni attack was planned in conjunction with al-Qaida elements in Gaza.

B'Tselem Report Bashes Israel, Notes Jewish Growth in Yesha

Hillel Fendel

B'Tselem, the extreme-left Israeli civil rights organization, has published its annual report condemning Israel for various offenses against the suspected Arab terrorists of Judea and Samaria. Though it concentrates on Israel's apparent misdeeds, it also notes that the growth of the Jewish population in Judea and Samaria was three times higher than in the rest of Israel. The report's opening blurb sums up by noting that though the number of Israelis and Arabs killed in "clashes in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip" has decreased, "there has been a deterioration in many other measures of the human rights situation in the Occupied Territories."

The description of the perpetual Arab terrorism against Israelis, and the Israelis' counter-terror military responses, as mere "clashes" sums up, for many Israelis, the report's anti-Israeli bias.

In addition, the "List of Topics" covered by the report includes administrative punishment, restrictions on movement, separation barrier, and 13 others describing Israeli misdeeds - while only one topic deals with "Palestinian violations."

Among the report's findings:

* In 2007, the number of PA Arabs held in administrative detention without trial increased by 13%.
* On average, 66 staffed checkpoints and 459 physical roadblocks controlled travel inside Judea and Samaria.
* The number of houses demolished in eastern Jerusalem rose by 38%, from 50 to 69. The report does not note that thousands of Arab homes in the eastern Jerusalem vicinity have been estimated to been built illegally.
* The instances of Arabs killing Arabs have increased to their highest level in many years.

B'Tselem further notes that Israel uses "security justifications for virtually every Israeli action in the Occupied Territories . There is no doubt that Israel faces serious security threats, and is entitled and even obligated to do its utmost to protect its population. However," B'Teslem continues blandly, "far too often, Israel fails to appropriately balance its security needs with equally important values, including protecting the rights of Palestinians under its control."

"In addition," the report notes, "Israeli authorities often exploit security threats in order to advance prohibited political interests, such as perpetuating settlements and effectively annexing them to Israel." In actuality, however, the Israeli government has decreed a freeze on new construction throughout Judea and Samaria.

Despite this, and despite the looming threat over the future of Jewish towns in these areas, demand for housing there continues to be strong - and this is reflected in rising real estate prices. The daily Yediot Acharonot reports that a five-room apartment in Ariel is now going for $145,000, up $20,000 from last year, while in Maaleh Adumim a similar unit has risen from $215,000 to $240,000. Similar increases have been registered in many other Yesha towns.

How the Ruling Party Rules in Democratic Gaza

Baruch Gordon

A report released Sunday by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) documents multiple cases in which the ruling Hamas party in Gaza is using its police to silence the Fatah opposition. In January 2006, Hamas won a landslide victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections, and officially became the government for the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. In a mini civil war in June 2007, Hamas cemented its rule over Gaza violently. Hamas took over rival Fatah party locations and killed several Fatah leaders. Judea and Samaria remained under the rule of the Fatah party, headed by Mahmoud Abbas.

PCHR strongly condemned Hamas's attacks against offices and institutions of the Fatah movement and demanded that the ruling party respect Fatah's right to freedom of speech.

PCHR reports that on Saturday night, the Hamas police raided an office of the Fatah movement in the al-Remal neighborhood on the west side of Gaza City. They confiscated a computer, a photocopier, a fax machine, a scanner, documents, photos, and flags of Palestine and the Fatah movement. They also arrested six people in the office and only released them after the six signed pledges not to participate in activities related to the anniversary of the Fatah movement. Failure to comply with the signed pledge would carry a $4,000 fine.

Later on Saturday night, the Hamas police, accompanied by masked gunmen in civilian clothes, raided Fatah offices in the al-Daraj neighborhood on the east side of Gaza City. There, too, they confiscated furniture and equipment and destroyed photos and flags of Fatah.

An hour later, the Hamas police, again accompanied by masked militants dressed as civilians, simultaneously raided the Fatah headquarters near the Ansar security compound and the office of the Executive Committee of Palestine Liberation Organization, both in Gaza City. In both places, the police broke down the door and confiscated equipment.

On Friday evening, the Hamas police raided the campus of al-Azhar University in Gaza City and arrested 35 students who were preparing for the celebration of the anniversary of the Fatah movement. The detainees were taken to the al-Abbas policestation and were forced to sign documents pledging not to participate in any activity related to the anniversary. Punishment for participation in the Fatah celebration was set at a $4,000 fine and a 15-day jail term.


Barry Rubin

Much will be said about Benazir Bhutto’s assassination; little will be understood about what it truly means. I’m not speaking here about Pakistan, of course, as important as is that country. But rather the lesson—as if we need any more—for that broad Middle East with Pakistan at one end and the Atlantic Ocean coast on the other. This is a true story. Back in 1946, an American diplomat asked an Iranian editor why his newspaper angrily attacked the United States but never the Soviet Union. The Iranian said that it was obvious. “The Russians,” he said, “they kill people!” Murder is a very effective way to influence people.
A dozen years earlier, in 1933, an Iraqi official, Sami Shawkat, gave a talk which became one of the major texts of Arab nationalism. “There is something more important than money and learning for preserving the honor of a nation and for keeping humiliation at bay,” he stated. “That is strength....Strength, as I use the word here, means to excel in the Profession of Death.”
What, you might ask, was Shawkat’s own profession? He was director-general of Iraq’s ministry of education. This was how young people were to be taught and directed; this is where Saddam Hussein came from. Seventy-five years later the subsequent history of Iraq and the rest of the Arab world show just how well Shawkat did his job.
September 11 in the United States; the Bali bombing for Australia; the tube bombing for Britain; the commuter train bombing for Spain, these were all merely byproducts of this pathology. The pathology in question is not Western policy toward the Middle East but rather Middle Eastern policy toward the Middle East.
Ever since I read Shawkat’s words as a student, the phrase, “Profession of Death,” which gave his article its title, struck me as a pun. On one hand, the word “profession” means “career.”
To be a killer—note well that Shawkat was not talking specifically about soldiers, those who fight, but rather those who murder—was the highest calling of all. It was more important than being a teacher, who forms character; more important than a businessperson, who enriches his country; more important than a doctor who preserves the life of fellow citizens. Destruction was a higher calling than construction. And for sure in the Arabic-speaking world what has been reaped is what has been sowed.
But also the word “profession” here reminds me of the verb “to profess” as in the word “professor,” that is “to preach” and to teach. What is of greatest value is for an educator to preach and glorify death. What kind of ideology, what kind of society, what kind of values, does such a priority produce? Look and see.
Like children playing with dynamite, Western intellectuals, journalists, and diplomats fantasize that they are achieving results in the Middle East with their words, promises, apologies, money, and concessions. Yet how can such innocents cope despite—or perhaps because of--all their good intentions with polities and societies whose basic ruling ethos is that of the serial killer?
And what can be achieved when those most forward-looking and most creative, those who want to break with the ideas and methods creating a disastrous mess, the stagnant system which characterizes so much of the Middle East, are systematically murdered? Read the roll: King Abdallah of Jordan, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri of Lebanon, the bold author Farouq Fawda in Egypt, Iraqi Sunnis who dare seek compromise, Palestinian moderates, Algerian modernists, and thousands of women who seek a small degree of freedom.
The radicals are right: dying is a disincentive. And for every one they kill how many thousands give in; and for every one they threaten how many hundreds give in? Even in the West many individuals who pride themselves as knights of knowledge and paladins of free speech quickly crumble at the prospect of being culled for their cartoons.
Seventy-five years after Shawkat, Hamas television teaches Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip that their highest aspiration should be to become a suicide bomber, with success measured by how many Jews are killed. And, by the way, the Palestinian Authority’s television in the West Bank sends a similar message, albeit slightly less frequently.
Will billions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) change anything when the men with the guns grab what they want? Are PA chief Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, respectively a timid bureaucrat and a well-meaning economist, going to take a bullet for lifting one finger to get a compromise peace with Israel?
How are you going to get a government of national conciliation in Iraq when the insurgents have shown they can gun down any Sunni politician or cleric who steps out of line?
The current supporters of the Lebanese government are the bravest politicians in the Arabic-speaking world, men willing to defy death rather than surrender to the radical Islamists of Hizballah or the imperialism of Syria. But how can they stand firm when democratic governments rush to engage with the Syrian government that murder them, while Western media proclaim the moderation of a Damascus ruler who systematically kills those who oppose him?
Can anyone really expect a stable society capable of progress in Pakistan when a large majority of the population expresses admiration for Usama bin Ladin? And what about the Saudi system where, as one local writer put it, the big Usama put into practice what the little Usama learned in a Saudi school?
Don’t you get it? The radical forces in the region are not expecting to retain or gain power by negotiating, compromising, or being better understood. They believe they are going to shoot their way into power or, just as good, accept the surrender of those they have intimidated.
That is why so much of the Western analysis and strategies for dealing with the region are a bad joke. Usama bin Ladin understands that, as he once said, people are going to back the strongest horse in the race. According to all too many people in the Western elites, the way to win is to be the nicest horse.
But doesn’t this assessment sound terribly depressing and hopeless? Well, yes and no.
Radical Islamists like to proclaim that they will triumph because they love death while their enemies—that is, soon-to-be-victims—love life.
Be careful what you wish for, though, because you probably will get it. For those who love death the reward is…death.
For those who love life, the outcomes include decent educational systems, living standards, individual rights, and strong economic systems. I can't help but thinking that Western Civilization has been built on a different model, even when people completely forget about it and take it for granted, based on ideas like this:
"I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life...." (Deuteronomy 31:19)
All these things, and others that go along with them, are what really produce strength. And isn’t it interesting that, contrary to Shawkat, the nations that put the priority on these values, ideas, and constructive efforts enjoy far more honor and suffer far less humiliation than happens with his model. This is not that they have no faults but they also contain the mechanisms that are usually sufficient to correct these faults.
In contrast, the profession of death has wrecked most Middle Eastern societies. But it has never succeeded in defeating a free society. It is not an effective tactic for destroying others but only for devastating one’s own people.
Who killed Benazir Bhutto? The Sami Shawkat philosophy: alike in its Arab nationalist, Islamist, and Pakistani authoritarian versions which dominate Middle East politics.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (GLORIA) Center His latest books are The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan) and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).

My trip to the heart of Jewness

Tim Blair

AN odd shift has taken place over the past 60 or so years. Where once the Jews were blamed by the far Right for controlling the world's finances, dividing societies and generally setting out to dominate the globe, now they are blamed for the same things by the far Left.
. You can see evidence of this at any Left-dominated protest march, anywhere on earth - banners and signs condemning Israel, Jews and the power they wield over Washington, Canberra and London. Admittedly, these protests are a step up from Hitler's level, which held that Jews were at once racially inferior yet somehow wily enough to undermine the entire German economy.

Also, modern protesters call them "Zionists". Last year, during the Israel-Lebanon conflict, some on the crazy Left actually took to waving Hezbollah flags - showing support for people who provoked a war by kidnapping Israeli soldiers from within Israeli territory.

Luckily, having just spent several days in Israel, I'm now in a position to correctly assess the massive influence of this sinister nation. Following is an account of my visit to the very heart of Jewness:

At Bangkok airport in Singapore, preparing to catch a connecting flight to Jerusalem, I am called aside - along with just about every other non-resident passenger - for special attention from agents of the great Zionist conspiracy. Questions are asked, passports closely examined, luggage inspected.

It could be airline El Al simply wishes to maintain its enviable security record flying into one of the world's more troubled regions. Or it could be my first encounter with the sprawling, globe-encircling oppressor-beast that is today's Israel.

Soon I find myself in a room far, far beneath the airport's surface (well, one floor) being subject to advanced metal-detection. Certain items of clothing are removed, possibly for study and duplication by notorious Jewish fashion barons.

In the confusion of gathering various possessions my belt is lost. I blame Mossad. The Jews may not control the world, but for now they control the height of my trousers.

Lunch with senior Israeli official. Tells of being born on a train as his parents fled the Soviet Union (reminder to self: check records to find any other cases of people claiming to have run away from full healthcare and free education). Interrupted by appearance outside restaurant of hot Israeli army chicks with guns. Close inspection - very close - reveals each and every one is wearing a belt. Coincidence?

Guided by Israeli functionary Roley to inspect ancient churches and synagogues from hill high above Jerusalem. Her lecture - entertaining and informative, who knew this place had so much history? - is accompanied by spontaneous visual assistance from one of the city's many tourist exploiters, who holds up maps and photographs to illustrate Roley's historical analysis.

Wanting to protect my remaining garments, I offer to buy some of the fellow's wares. "What are you doing?" he says, alarmed. "Don't open your wallet like that! Open it towards you. There are thieves around."

(Note to self: perhaps this chap has contacts within the Israeli belt-rebirthing racket. Keep him close.)

Later visit the Wailing Wall, now known as the Western Wall presumably due to the international wailing ban. Following local custom I write an impassioned personal prayer on a small piece of paper and jam it in one of the wall's crevices. Now to wait for proof of Zionist magic: if Collingwood wins the 2009 AFL premiership, we are dealing with a very powerful force indeed.

Local shops sell "Guns'n'Moses" T-shirts. No belts.

Meet the Gush Etzion region mayor Shaul Goldstein. Clever, engaging and belted, Mr Goldstein voices opposition to the so-called "security fence" keeping Hamas suicide bombers from innocently murdering Israeli citizens (down from 450 in 2004 to 33 in 2005). Turns out his main complaint is the fence makes it harder to pursue and capture these alleged militants and money spent on the fence could have been better used on other means of stopping the, er, Palestinian population explosion.

Mayor declares himself in favour of many small "local obstacles" rather than one continuous giant wall - boutique walls, they'd be. Mayor has background in engineering and construction. Follow the money!

Distracted from further pursuit of this subject by a section of Gush Etzion architecture that resembles exactly the buildings occupied by the Teletubbies.

Visit the Knesset. Note that security guards protect their own belts by hanging firearms off them. Good thinking. Observe attractive young female parliamentarian wave to little girl in viewing deck, was it code? An attempt to question the girl is waved away by her inexplicably hostile mother. Realise pants have fallen down.

Wake in unfamiliar surrounds far north of Jerusalem. Preliminary research reveals location to be an alleged "kibbutz". Further research reveals many empty Carlsberg and Heineken bottles. Concluding research reveals kibbutz stopover was included on itinerary planned months ago. Fellow journalists on tour report similar disorientation. Vow to never again research the products of Carlsberg and Heineken.

In three days of travel, have only seen three cars not entirely utilitarian in function - an old Triumph Spitfire, a sporty Audi coupe and a tiny dune buggy. About to form compelling thesis on the joyless, purpose-only nature of Israeli society when informed that locals pay 100 per cent tax on imported vehicles. There is no local motor industry. (Note to self: Israeli market wide-open for introduction of Hebrew-friendly models. Email instructions to copyright the name "Holden Menorah".)

Accompanied on drive through northern zone by Israeli Defence Force spokesman Eli Rubinstein. Oy, what a belt that man has! Such a fine, fine belt! Caution self against adopting local speech patterns.

Long dissertation on military matters diverted by Rubinstein comment: "Israel is not only about national security. It is also a birdwatcher's paradise." Thereafter follows 15-minute description of avian migratory patterns. Was about to put this down as ruse to distract us from the day's 17 rocket attacks - why is nobody talking about this? - when informed the rocket attacks were actually made on Israel by Hezbollah forces inside Lebanon.

Million-course Lebanese lunch at town of Kish, followed by similar force-feeding at elaborate Decks restaurant in . . . hey, these pants are kind of tight. I might have to loosen my . . . oh.

Maimonides and the “Meshugga” Prophet

Andrew Bostom

December 13th marked the 804th anniversary of the death of Maimonides (d. 1203, in Cairo), renowned Talmudist, philosopher, astronomer, and physician. The biography of this “second Moses,” is often cited by those who would extol the purported Muslim ecumenism of the high Middle Ages—particularly in “Andalusia,” or Muslim Spain, invariably accompanied by a denunciation of the fanatical intolerance of Christian Western Europe, during the same era.

A particularly egregious example of this genre of loaded comparisons was made by Amartya Sen, the Nobel laureate economist, in his recent book Identity and Violence. Sen has the temerity to proclaim, “…the Jewish Philosopher Maimonides was forced to emigrate from an intolerant Europe in the twelfth century, he found a tolerant refuge in the Arab world.”

Sen’s ahistorical drivel aside, Maimonides (b. 1135, in Cordova) was but thirteen years old (in 1148) when Muslim Cordova fell into the hands of the particularly fanatical Berber Muslim Almohads, who invaded the Iberian peninsula from North Africa. Maimonides and all the dhimmi Jews in Cordova were compelled to choose between Islam and exile. Choosing the latter course, Maimonides and his family for twelve years subsequently led a nomadic life, wandering across Spain. By 1160 they crossed the Mediterranean, and settled at Fez, Morocco (also under Almohad control) where, unknown to the authorities, they hoped to pass as Muslims, while living as crypto-Jews. Maimonides’ dual life, however, became increasingly dangerous as his reputation was steadily growing, and the authorities began to inquire into the religious disposition of this highly gifted young man. He was even charged by an informer with the crime of having relapsed (apostasized) from Islam, and, but for the intercession of the poet and theologian Abu al-‘Arab al Mu’ishah, a Muslim friend, he would have suffered the fate of his colleague Judah ibn Shoshan, who had shortly before been executed on a similar charge. Given these precarious circumstances, Maimonides’ family left Fez, embarking in 1165 to Acre, then to Jerusalem, and on to Fostat (Cairo), where they settled, living once again as dhimmis, albeit under more tolerant Fatimid rule.

The jihad depredations of the Almohads (1130-1232) wreaked enormous destruction on both the Jewish and Christian populations in Spain and North Africa. A contemporary Judeo-Arabic account by Solomon Cohen (which comports with Arab historian Ibn Baydhaq’s sequence of events), from January 1148 C.E, described the Muslim Almohad conquests in North Africa, and Spain, as follows:

Abd al-Mumin…the leader of the Almohads after the death of Muhammad Ibn Tumart the Mahdi …captured Tlemcen [in the Maghreb] and killed all those who were in it, including the Jews, except those who embraced Islam…[In Sijilmasa] One hundred and fifty persons were killed for clinging to their [Jewish] faith…All the cities in the Almoravid [dynastic rulers of North Africa and Spain prior to the Almohads] state were conquered by the Almohads. One hundred thousand persons were killed in Fez on that occasion, and 120,000 in Marrakesh. The Jews in all [Maghreb] localities [conquered]…groaned under the heavy yoke of the Almohads; many had been killed, many others converted; none were able to appear in public as Jews…Large areas between Seville and Tortosa [in Spain] had likewise fallen into Almohad hands.

This devastation—massacre, captivity, and forced conversion—was described by the Jewish chronicler Abraham Ibn Daud, and the poet Abraham Ibn Ezra. Suspicious of the sincerity of the Jewish converts to Islam, Muslim “inquisitors”, i.e., antedating their Christian Spanish counterparts by three centuries, removed the children from such families, placing them in the care of Muslim educators. When Sijilmasa [an oasis town southwest of Fez] was conquered by the Almohads in 1146, the Jews were given the option of conversion or death. While 150 Jews chose martyrdom, others converted to Islam, including the dayyan [rabbi, or assistant rabbi] Joseph b. Amram (who later reverted to Judaism). The town of Dar’a suffered a similar fate. Abraham Ibn Ezra’s moving elegy Ahah Yarad Al Sefarad describes the Almohad destruction of both Spanish (Seville, Cordova, Jaen, Almeria) and North African Jewish communities, including Sijilmasa and Dar’a (along with others in Marrakesh, Fez, Tlemcen, Ceuta, and Meknes).

Ibn Aqnin (d. 1220), a renowned philosopher and commentator, who was born in Barcelona in 1150, fled the Almohad persecutions with his family, also escaping to Fez. Living there as a crypto-Jew, he met Maimonides and recorded his own poignant writings about the sufferings of the Jews under Almohad rule. Ibn Aqnin wrote during the reign of Abu Yusuf al-Mansur (r. 1184-1199), four decades after the onset of the Almohad persecutions in 1140. Thus the Jews forcibly converted to Islam were already third generation Muslims. Despite this, al-Mansur continued to impose restrictions upon them, which Ibn Aqnin chronicles. From his Tibb al-nufus (Therapy of the Soul), Ibn Aqnin, laments:

Our hearts are disquieted and our souls are affrighted at every moment that passes, for we have no security or stability…Past persecutions and former decrees were directed against those who remained faithful to the Law of Israel and kept them tenaciously so that they would even die for the sake of Heaven. In the event that they submitted to their demands, [our enemies] would extol and honor them. . . But in the present persecutions, on the contrary, however much we appear to obey their instructions to embrace their religion and forsake our own, they burden our yoke and render our travail more arduous. . . .Behold the hardships of the apostates of our land who completely abandoned the faith and changed their attire on account of these persecutions. But their conversion has been of no avail to them whatsoever, for they are subjected to the same vexations as those who have remained faithful to their creed. Indeed, even the conversion of their fathers or grandfathers…has been of no advantage to them.

If we were to consider the persecutions that have befallen us in recent years, we would not find anything comparable recorded by our ancestors in their annals. We are made the object of inquisitions; great and small testify against us and judgments are pronounced, the least of which render lawful the spilling of our blood, the confiscation of our property, and the dishonor of our wives.

… the [Muslim] custodians are able to dispose of our young children and their belongings as they see fit. If they were given to an individual who feared Allah, then he would endeavor to educate the children in his religion, for one of their principles is that all children are originally born as Muslims and only their parents bring them up as Jews, Christians, or Magians. Thus, if this individual educates them in [what they state is] their original religion [i.e., Islam] and does not leave the children with those [i.e., the Jews] that will abduct them therefrom, he will obtain a considerable reward from Allah…

… We were prohibited to practice commerce, which is our livelihood, for there is no life without the food to sustain our bodies and clothes to protect them from the heat and cold. The latter can only be obtained through trade for this is their source and cause, without which its effect, namely our existence, would disappear. In so doing their design was to weaken our strong and annihilate our weak…

… Then they imposed upon us distinctive garments…As for the decree enforcing the wearing of long sleeves, its purpose was to make us resemble the inferior state of women, who are without strength. They were intended by their length to make us unsightly, whereas their color was to make us loathsome… The purpose of these distinctive garments is to differentiate us from among them so that we should be recognized in our dealings with them without any doubt, in order that they might treat us with disparagement and humiliation. . . Moreover it allows our blood to be spilled with impunity. For whenever we travel on the wayside from town to town, we are waylaid by robbers and brigands and are murdered secretly at night or killed in broad daylight…

Now, the purpose of the persecution of Ishmael, whether they require us to renounce our religion in public or in private is only to annihilate the faith of Israel and consequently one is bound to accept death rather than commit the slightest sin . . . as did the martyrs of Fez, Sijilmasa, and Dar’a.

Maimonides’ The Epistle to the Jews of Yemen was written in about 1172 in reply to inquiries by Jacob ben Netan’el al-Fayy_mi, who headed the Jewish community in Yemen. At that time, the Jews of Yemen were experiencing a crisis—hardly unfamiliar to Maimonides—as they were being forced to convert to Islam, a campaign launched in about 1165 by ‘Abd-al-Nab_ ibn Mahdi. Maimonides provided the Yemenite Jewish communal leader with guidance, and what encouragement he could muster. The Epistle to the Jews of Yemen provides an unflinchingly honest view of what Maimonides thought of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, or “the Madman” as he calls him, and about Islam generally. Maimonides writes:

You write that the rebel leader in Yemen decreed compulsory apostasy for the Jews by forcing the Jewish inhabitants of all the places he had subdued to desert the Jewish religion just as the Berbers had compelled them to do in Maghreb [i.e.Islamic West]. Verily, this news has broken our backs and has astounded and dumbfounded the whole of our community. And rightly so. For these are evil tidings, “and whosoever heareth of them, both his ears tingle (I Samuel 3:11).” Indeed our hearts are weakened, our minds are confused, and the powers of the body wasted because of the dire misfortunes which brought religious persecutions upon us from the two ends of the world, the East and the West, “so that the enemies were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side.” (Joshua 8:22).

Maimonides makes clear that the unrelenting persecutions of the Jews by the Muslims is tantamount to forced conversion:

…the continuous persecutions will cause many to drift away from our faith, to have misgivings, or to go astray, because they witnessed our feebleness, and noted the triumph of our adversaries and their dominion over us…

He then notes: “After him arose the Madman who emulated his precursor since he paved the way for him. But he added the further objective of procuring rule and submission, and he invented his well known religion.” Medieval Jewish writers often referred to Muhammad as ha-meshugga, Madman—the Hebrew term, as historian Norman Stillman has observed wryly, being “pregnant with connotations.”

Georges Vajda’s magisterial 1937 essay on the anti-Jewish motifs in the hadith, includes a fascinating discussion from Maimonides Teshuvot Responsa on the question of whether Jews should attempt to teach the Torah to Muslims, versus Christians. Although, in principle the response is negative, i.e., non-Jews were proscribed from formal study of the Torah per se, Maimonides makes this striking distinction between Christians and Muslims, regarding the teaching of the commandments and their explanations, because of the unique threat posed by Muslims due to their doctrinal intolerance:

…it is permitted to teach the commandments and the explanations according to [rabbinic] law to the Christians, but it is prohibited to do likewise for the Muslims. You know, in effect, that according to their belief this Torah is not from heaven and if you teach them something, they will find it contrary to their tradition, because their practices are confused and their opinions bizarre mippnei she-ba’uu la-hem debariim be-ma`asiim [because a mish-mash of various practices and strange, inapplicable statements were received by them.] What [one teaches them] will not convince them of the falseness of their opinions, but they will interpret it according to their erroneous principles and they will oppress us. [F]or this reason…they hate all [non-Muslims] who live among them. It would then just be a stumbling block for the Israelites who, because of their sins, are in captivity among them. On the contrary, the uncircumcised [Christians] admit that the text of the Torah, such as we have it, is intact. They interpret it only in an erroneous way and use it for purposes of the allegorical exegesis that is proper to them Ve-yirmezuu bah ha-remaziim hay-yedu`iim la-hem [They would exchange secret signs known only to them.] If one informs them about the correct interpretation, there is hope that they will return from their error, and even if they do not, there is not stumbling block for Israel, for they do not find in their religious law any contradiction with ours.

Returning to The Epistle to the Jews of Yemen, Maimonides highlights one of the presumptive reasons for Muslim hatred of Jews:

Inasmuch as the Muslims could not find a single proof in the entire Bible nor a reference or possible allusion to their prophet which they could utilize, they were compelled to accuse us saying, “You have altered the text of the Torah, and expunged every trace of the name of Mohammed therefrom.” They could find nothing stronger than this ignominious argument.

Elaborating on the depth of Muslim hatred for the Jews, Maimonides makes a further profound observation regarding the Jewish predilection for denial, a feature that he insists will hasten their destruction:

Remember, my co-religionists, that on account of the vast number of our sins, God has hurled us in the midst of this people, the Arabs, who have persecuted us severely, and passed baneful and discriminatory legislation against us, as Scripture has forewarned us, ‘Our enemies themselves shall judge us’ (Deuteronomy 32:31). Never did a nation molest, degrade, debase and hate us as much as they …. Although we were dishonored by them beyond human endurance, and had to put with their fabrications, yet we behaved like him who is depicted by the inspired writer, “But I am as a deaf man, I hear not, and I am as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.” (Psalms 38:14). Similarly our sages instructed us to bear the prevarications and preposterousness of Ishmael in silence. They found a cryptic allusion for this attitude in the names of his sons “Mishma, Dumah, and Massa” (Genesis 25:14), which was interpreted to mean, “Listen, be silent, and endure.” (Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, ad locum). We have acquiesced, both old and young, to inure ourselves to humiliation, as Isaiah instructed us “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair.” (50:6). All this notwithstanding, we do not escape this continued maltreatment which well nigh crushes us. No matter how much we suffer and elect to remain at peace with them, they stir up strife and sedition, as David predicted, “I am all peace, but when I speak, they are for war.” (Psalms 120:7). If, therefore, we start trouble and claim power from them absurdly and preposterously we certainly give ourselves up to destruction.”

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Terrorism and the Times: What's Not Fit To Print

Steven Emerson
IPT News Service

On Friday, two Islamic converts, radicalized while in prison, pled guilty to terrorism charges, after admitting plots to attack "United States military operations, "infidels," and Israeli and Jewish facilities in the Los Angeles area."
The cell leader, Kevin James, founded Jam'iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh (JIS) while incarcerated in Folsom prison, and began recruiting other converts. Levar Washington pled guilty, along with James last week, and a third cell member, Gregory Patterson, pled guilty on Monday.

A fourth JIS member, Hammad Samana, has been found unfit to stand trial, but is accused of having researched "targets and prepared a document called ‘Modes of Attack.' The document listed ‘LAX and Consulate of Zion,' ‘Military Targets,' ‘Army Recruiting centers throughout the county,' ‘Military base in Manhattan Beach' and ‘Campsite of Zion,'" on behalf of the cell.

The JIS plotters face 20 to 25 years in prison. The plots and guilty pleas come as no surprise to those who have closely followed prison chaplaincy programs, as all too often, those in charge of selecting imams have Wahhabist and radical links. Former NYC prison chaplain Warith Dean Umar has stated that the 9/11 hijackers should be remembered as martyrs, and Umar Abdul-Jalil, top Imam of the New York City Department of Corrections, has his own radical views. As reported by the NY Post, citing tapes provided by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), Abdul-Jalil spread his radical views at a Muslim Students Association conference in Arizona:

At one conference session, Abdul-Jalil charged that Muslims jailed after the 9/11 attacks were being tortured in Manhattan, according to the tape. "They [some Muslim inmates] are not charged with anything, they are not entitled to any rights, they are interrogated. Some of them are literally tortured and we found this in the Metropolitan Correctional Facility in Manhattan. But they literally are torturing people," Abdul-Jalil said.

Abdul-Jalil also accused the Bush administration of being terrorists, according to the tape. "We have terrorists defining who a terrorist is, but because they have the weight of legitimacy, they get away with it . . . We know that the greatest terrorists in the world occupy the White House, without a doubt," he said.

At another session, Abdul-Jalil urged American Muslims to stop allowing "the Zionists of the media to dictate what Islam is to us" and said Muslims must be "compassionate with each other" and "hard against the kufr [unbeliever]."

And still, despite deadly terrorist attacks perpetrated on U.S. soil, and the all too frequent instances of anti-American sentiment voiced by jihadists, the various usual suspects are intent on either underplaying the threat or pretending that none exists.

In a front page story in October 2006, titled, "F.B.I. Struggling to Reinvent Itself to Fight Terror," the New York Times dismissed out of hand the dangerous nature of the JIS cell in California (and called into question the validity behind other instances of U.S. based-terrorism cells), writing:

In that case, three men are charged with committing robberies to raise money for jihadist attacks on synagogues and military recruiting stations, in what Director Mueller has described as a bid to create "Al Qaeda in California." Their actions are said to have been directed by Kevin James, who headed a Muslim group behind bars.

But agents checked on more than 100 prisoners with links to Mr. James and charged none. And though Mr. James has been portrayed as the mastermind, reporters for The New York Times and "Frontline" were repeatedly able to visit him in jail in Santa Ana, Calif. Such access is almost never granted to people accused of terrorism because the authorities fear that they could direct a plot from prison.

In an effort to downplay the threat, the Times concludes that there must be some kind of conspiracy, when a more plausible explanation – mere incompetence – exists.

A month before, the Times was already on record downplaying the nature of the JIS threat, selectively seeking out experts to belittle the dangerous character of the plot. And the Times, found Thomas Kean, former Chairman of the 9/11 commission, who "said the (JIS) case threatened small-scale violence and should have been a routine police concern."

Yet what should concern everyone is not just the Times record of downplaying actual terrorist threats, even as yet again the Times editors find themselves with egg on their faces as the JIS plotters plead guilty, but that the Times consistently apologizes for radical Islam by flacking for domestic Muslim Brotherhood groups with a history of extremism. As I have documented in the past, the New York Times is a serial offender when it comes to giving an uncritical voice to the nation's most virulent Islamist fronts.

Monday's edition, unsurprisingly, has yet another glaring example, titled, "Boycotted Radio Host Remains Unbowed." The article quotes Ahmed Rehab and his organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), on radio host Michael Savage's lawsuit against CAIR. While the Times informs its readers that CAIR's "stated mission includes correcting mischaracterizations of Islam," it, of course, fails to tell its readers of CAIR's long history of extremism, support for terrorism and anti-Semitism, let alone CAIR's documented history as part of the Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure in the United States.

Rehab himself is on the record refusing to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups and supporting Hamas-linked defendants. CAIR-Chicago, Rehab's home branch, referred to the cases against Hamas operative Mohammed Salah as a "political persecution" and stated that Salah, and his codefendant and another Hamas operative, Abedelhaleem Ashqar, were "targeted" by "the Bush administration has attempted to criminalize charitable aid to Palestinians." Salah is serving nearly 2 years in prison for obstruction of justice for lying under oath about his Hamas connections in a civil trial, and Ashqar is serving 11 years in prison, for obstruction of justice and criminal contempt, for his refusal to testify in front of a grand jury investigating Hamas front groups in the U.S.

But when the Times reports on CAIR, you won't read about such instances. Nor does the Times, in this specific article and almost all others which mention the group, inform its audience that CAIR has been named by federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing case in U.S. history, named as a member of the Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that the same prosecutors have officially stated that CAIR is "affiliated" with the terrorist group Hamas.

And on Saturday, after Kevin James and Levar Washington pled guilty, the Times, after twice downplaying the JIS cell as not dangerous and nothing more than a criminal endeavor more than a year earlier, printed a very short, 100 word account lifted from the Associated Press:

Two men accused of plotting in prison to attack military sites, synagogues and other targets pleaded guilty to conspiring to wage war against the United States. The men, Kevin James, 31, and Levar H. Washington, 28, pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy charges. Mr. Washington also pleaded guilty to using a firearm to further that conspiracy. The authorities say Mr. James, Mr. Washington and two others were part of a California prison gang cell of radical Muslims. The police said they uncovered the plot in July 2005 while investigating gas station robberies that they say were committed to finance the attacks.

Even though James and Washington pled guilty, and copious information about the JIS plots have emerged, the Times still uses the phrases "authorities say" and "police said" to describe their actions. In reporting on Gregory Patterson's guilty plea, the Times yet again just picked up the AP story, also using the language "prosecutors said" and "officials said," rather than straight reporting on what the men have confessed to plotting. Despite the Times' motto, some news is apparently not fit to print, and sadly that includes not just information about the inner workings of a home grown terrorist cell, radicalized in prison, but any information that tarnishes America's "most prominent" Muslim Brotherhood front group.

Osama: We will not recognize even one inch for Jews in the land of Palestine as other Muslim leaders have"

Even a dog can walk around in the daylight. But not Osama bin Laden. "Blood for blood, destruction for destruction." Blah for blah. Talk about a tired act.

"Bin Laden issues warning on Iraq, Israel," by Salah Nasrawi for Associated Press (thanks to Sr. Soph):
CAIRO, Egypt - Osama bin Laden warned Iraq's Sunni Arabs against fighting al-Qaida and vowed to expand the terror group's holy war to Israel in a new audiotape Saturday, threatening "blood for blood, destruction for destruction."

Most of the 56-minute tape dealt with Iraq, apparently al-Qaida's latest attempt to keep supporters in Iraq unified at a time when the U.S. military claims to have al-Qaida's Iraq branch on the run.

The tape did not mention Pakistan or the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, though Pakistan's government has blamed al-Qaida and the Taliban for her death on Thursday. That suggested the tape was made before the assassination.

Bin Laden's comments offered an unusually direct attack on Israel, stepping up al-Qaida's attempts to use the Israeli-Arab conflict to rally supporters. Israel has warned of growing al-Qaida activity in Palestinian territory, though terror network is not believed to have taken a strong role there so far.

Islamic Tolerance Alert:
"We intend to liberate Palestine, the whole of Palestine from the (Jordan) river to the sea," he said, threatening "blood for blood, destruction for destruction."

"We will not recognize even one inch for Jews in the land of Palestine as other Muslim leaders have," bin Laden said.

In Iraq, a number of Sunni Arab tribes in western Anbar province have formed a coalition fighting al-Qaida-linked insurgents that U.S. officials credit for deeply reducing violence in the province. The U.S. military has been working to form similar "Awakening Councils" in other areas of Iraq.

Bin Laden said Sunni Arabs who have joined the Awakening Councils "have betrayed the nation and brought disgrace and shame to their people. They will suffer in life and in the afterlife."

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said bin Laden's tape shows that al-Qaida's aim is to block democracy and freedom for all Iraqis.

"It also reminds us that the mission to defeat al-Qaida in Iraq is critically important and must succeed," Fratto said. "The Iraqi people — every day, and in increasing numbers — are choosing freedom and standing against the murderous, hateful ideology of AQI. And we stand with them."

Several hours before the tape was issued, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, said al-Qaida was becoming increasingly fearful of losing the support of Sunni Arabs and had begun targeting the leaders of the Awakening Councils.

Petraeus said al-Qaida attaches "enormous importance" to "these tribes that have turned against them, and to the general sense that Sunni Arab communities have rejected them more and more around Iraq."

"They are trying to counter this and they have done so by attacking them," which is increasingly turning Sunnis against al-Qaida, he said.

In the audiotape, bin Laden denounced Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, the former leader of the Anbar Awakening Council, who was killed in a September bombing claimed by al-Qaida.

"The most evil of the traitors are those who trade away their religion for the sake of their mortal life," bin Laden said.

Note, yet again, the exclusively religious nature of his appeal to Muslims.

Khamenei: Today the Iranian nation is the standard-bearer of Islamic unity in the world

Some Sunnis might beg to differ. But it is abundantly clear, particularly given Iran's aid to Hamas and the Taliban, that this is how the mullahcracy has been trying to position itself."Islamic unity is the lesson of Ghadir: Leader," from the Tehran Times (thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist):
TEHRAN -- Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said here on Saturday that the important lesson from the Ghadir event is to avoid division in the Islamic world.

“Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) was the Prophet’s appointee, but when he noticed that realizing this right might harm Islam and cause discord, he not only did not make any claims but cooperated with those who ruled the Islamic society… because Islam needed unity,” the Supreme Leader told thousands of well-wishers in remarks made on the occasion of the Eid al-Qadir holiday.

By following Imam Ali (AS), today the Iranian nation is the standard-bearer of Islamic unity in the world, the Leader noted.

Stressing the need for vigilance in the face of enemy plots to spread the “virus of discord” between followers of various Islamic schools of thought, the Leader added, “The great lesson of Ghadir is to fight against discord and to put this important lesson into practice, the followers of Islam should avoid insulting each other’s sanctities and stop bringing up provocative and sensitive issues.”

“And, as it was expressed in the hajj message, through their vigilance and unity, they should disappoint the plan by the (global) arrogance (imperialist forces) to create religious divisions and a Shia-Sunni clash.”

Eid al-Ghadir is the anniversary commemorating the last sermon of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his household) at Ghadir Khumm on Dhul Hijjah 18, in the year 10 AH. It is celebrated mainly by Shias, who regard it as confirmation that Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) was to succeed Prophet Muhammad (S).

Some, alas for Khamenei, beg to differ indeed.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bolton: State Department Leftists Have Defeated Bush

Kenneth R. Timmerman

Resistance by partisan "shadow warriors" at the Department of State has limited the president's options and is bringing us dangerously close to a military showdown with Iran , former Bush administration official John Bolton told Newsmax in an exclusive interview. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice initially had planned to provide significant aid to the pro-democracy movement in Iran, as a means of giving the president more policy options, Bolton said. But resistance by the State Department bureaucracy crippled the programs and rendered them ineffective.

"[T]he outcome has been no overt program of support for democracy and no clandestine program to overthrow the regime," Bolton said.

"This is a classic case study why diplomacy is not cost-free. If we had been working on regime change effectively over the last four or more years, we would be in a lot different position today," he added.

The State Department emphasis on European-led negotiations has allowed Iran to buy time and to perfect the technology it needs to make nuclear weapons, Bolton argued.

Even if President Bush decided to reinvigorate the pro-democracy programs tomorrow, Bolton believes we probably don't have enough time for them to be effective before the Iranians get the bomb.

"I think we are very close to a decision point," Bolton told Newsmax. "And if the choice is between nuclear Iran and use of force, I think we have to look at the use of force."

Bolton said that the CIA shared the State Department's opposition to doing anything overtly or covertly to undermine the Iranian regime, and faulted Secretary of State Rice for getting "co-opted" by the bureaucracy.

"Secretary Rice has adopted the prevailing view within the bureaucracy, which have been reflected in our deference to the Europeans and the exclusively diplomatic approach for four years," he said.

This approach is particularly dangerous because the U.S. intelligence community has almost always been wrong in its estimates of when Iran could acquire nuclear weapons capability, Bolton said.

One of reason for the inability to get Iran right is an unwillingness to talk to Iranian defectors. "Since World War II, the Intelligence community has disliked exiles and dissidents, claiming they are unreliable because they have a political agenda. This is just self-blindness," he said.

As a result of such prejudices, "[o]ur lack of reliable intelligence inside Iran is substantial… Every day the military option is postponed makes it riskier that we will actually use force but fail to achieve our objectives."

Bolton worries that bad intelligence, coupled to wishful thinking by bureaucrats who tend to downplay the threat, could lead to strategic surprise by Iran or North Korea.

"I personally do not believe in just-in-time non-proliferation," he said.

Bolton has long been an advocate of muscular diplomacy.

When he served as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and Nonproliferation during the early years of the Bush administration, he frequently crossed swords with arms control advocates who were viscerally opposed to imposing sanctions on proliferators.

In his recent book, "Surrender is Not an Option," Bolton names one such official, Vann Van Diepen, who refused to act on direct orders to apply nonproliferation sanctions.

As Newsmax revealed on December 4, Van Diepen was one of three former State Department officials who authored the much-disputed recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iran.

The arms controllers are also trying to rewrite history on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, Bolton warned.

During negotiations in 2002, the North Korean government admitted that in addition to its plutonium production reactor at Yongbyon, it also had a clandestine uranium enrichment program.

For once, Bolton said, "all of the intelligence community agreed that North Korea had embarked on procurement for a uranium enrichment program."

And yet today, the arms controllers are trying to walk back that conclusion and "rewrite history" in order to cover-up North Korea's lies and dissembling, Bolton said.

Bolton also was critical of the Bush White House for not doing more to name and retain strong conservatives in the administration.

When his nomination to become the permanent U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was submitted to the Senate, for example, the administration ran a confirmation battle, whereas the Democrats engaged in a full-fledged political campaign. "Given that, the outcome was predictable," Bolton said.

The consequences of allowing the shadow warriors run the government instead of Bush loyalists have been dramatic, since they have succeeded in "turning the President's policy in effect in a 180-degree U-turn" in North Korea and other areas, Bolton said.

Bolton said he planned to continue "hawking" his book until Christmas, then would take off January while he mulled future opportunities.

He said he eventually planned to join one of the Republican presidential campaigns, but hadn't yet chosen his candidate.

Excerpts from the interview:

NEWSMAX: Do you think we are heading for war with Iran?

JOHN BOLTON: I think there is little doubt that Iran has mastered the Science and technology it needs to enrich uranium. That means that the time and the manner in which it acquires a nuclear weapons capability is entirely within its discretion. It's only a matter of resources, and with oil at 90 dollars a barrel plus, Iran doesn't lack for resources. That means that if the president follows through on his view that Iranian nuclear weapons are unacceptable then we are at a decision point very quickly on whether to use military force.

My preference would be regime change in Iran. I think there is a real possibility that the different democratic regime would make the decision that pursuing nuclear weapons is not really in Iran's interest. But that's nothing you can turn on or off like a light switch. So because of the wasted time allowing the Europeans to try to negotiate Iran out of nuclear weapons, I think our options are very few. And if the choice is between nuclear Iran and use of force, I think we have to look at the use of force.

NEWSMAX: Why do we have so few options now?

BOLTON: Because by deferring to the EU 3 these last four plus, almost five years. we have limited our ability to do other things to see if we can get effective sanctions at the Security Council. I don't think sanctions are going to have a chance of being effective any longer. Especially not UN sanctions. And this long period of time has put Iran in a much more favorable position . It's a classic case study why diplomacy is not cost-free. If we had been working on regime change effectively over the last four or more years we would be in a lot different position today.

It's not just the nuclear program. It's Iran's support for terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, the Gaza strip, including their activity particularly against our forces in Afghanistan and Iraq . So if steps are not taken soon, Iran and other nations in the region will draw the conclusion that we are not serious about stopping Iran's nuclear program, we are not serious about stopping Iranian support for terrorism and they will draw the appropriate conclusions, all of which will be negative to American interest.

NEWSMAX: Why hasn't [Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice] done anything to help the pro-freedom movement in Iran? Why has the $75 million program to help the pro-democracy movement had so little impact?

BOLTON: I think there is enormous bureaucratic opposition to doing anything overtly or covertly from both the State and CIA bureaucracies. And as on so many other issues, I think , Secretary Rice has adopted the prevailing view within the bureaucracy, which have been reflected in our deference to the Europeans and exclusively diplomatic approach for four years.

NEWSMAX: Do you think she is convinced we can do nothing to help the pro democracy movement? After all this was her program.

BOLTON: This is completely inexplicable to me. On the overt side she announced it with great fanfare, but as we can see with the recent resignation of the head of the program at the State Department, it has gone nowhere. The argument that identifying Iranian Diaspora groups as being linked to our program makes it disadvantageous for them is belied by the statements of many of these groups who say 'we need the help and we're pleased to have it.' But the outcome has been no overt program of support for democracy and no clandestine program to overthrow the regime. So in effect, we have been doing nothing for getting on to five years now except deferring to the Europeans

NEWSMAX: So this leaves us basically with war, or a nuclear armed Iran--

BOLTON? --Or regime change, if we have the time. The problem is we likely do not have the amount of time that would be required. If we only had been more active over the past several years we might not be faced with the unhappy alternative of having to use force.

NEWSMAX: How do you see this scenario developing? How do we get to the point of using military force? What happens next?

BOLTON: I think we are very close to a decision point. There are all kinds of estimates of when Iran will actually have a nuclear capability. They are all based on assumptions. So if some of those assumptions turn out to be wrong, the Iranians can have the weapons capability much earlier than the estimates would lead you to believe.

I personally do not believe in just in-time non-proliferation. There's too much of a risk there that intelligence and analysis can be wrong by understating the threat as well as by overstating the threat. Moreover the Iranians are obviously aware of the risk they run and I think every day that goes by gives them more of an opportunity to harden their existing facilities such as at Natanz, the uranium enrichment facility, or to build completely alternative facilities of which we have no knowledge. Our lack of reliable intelligence inside Iran is substantial. That doesn't make me feel better; it makes me more nervous. Time is working against us. Every day the military option is postponed makes it riskier that we will actually use force but fail to achieve our objectives.

NEWSMAX: I've just written a book called Shadow Warriors that talks about people in the CIA and the State Department who have attempted to undermine the president's policies. Do you think the $75 million that Condi announced to help the pro-freedom movement in Iran was undermined by people who don't agree with the policy?

BOLTON: I don't think there is any doubt of it. There are many people at the State Department who simply don't like the concept of regime change whether done through pro-democracy groups or done clandestinely. They especially don't like a program that could be said to undercut the European efforts of diplomacy. I think the failure of the $75 million program sends an enormous signal through out the bureaucracy that resistance can work. This is going to have negative consequences not just for the situation in Iran but for a range of other policy issues around the world.

NEWSMAX: So the shadow warriors won this round?

BOLTON: I think there is no doubt about it. I don't profess to know everything that went on, but you can tell when the director of the program resigns and basically says, 'I can't make it work,' that there is obviously something badly wrong.

NEWSMAX: How is this Administration's track record on hiring and keeping conservatives in key positions?

BOLTON: I think it is unfortunately not very good. I talk about this in my book, about what happens when Presidential personnel doesn't focus on the very difficult circumstances appointees face within the State department, which is one of the savviest bureaucracies in Washington experts in co-opting, seducing or subverting political appointees who try to pursue policies it disagrees with. And I think in this Administration, it has had considerable success. I use the example of North Korea, and what's happened to our policy there. What has happened since I wrote the book is an even more graphic example of the bureaucracy in effect turning the President's policy in effect in a 180 degree U-turn.

NEWSMAX: Do you think the North Korean have agreed to talk and to shut down the reactor because they have sold off the critical elements?

BOLTON: I think they are doing the same thing they did under the [1994] Agreed Framework. I think they have been planning to cheat on their declaration and their program and hope they get away with it, which they will if we don't have an adequate verification program.

And I think this facility [in Syria] that the Israelis bombed on September 6 is an indication of yet another alternative, which is either to clone the Yongbyon reactor or outsource some of the nuclear weapons program. How better to hide your North Korean program than to build it in Syria where nobody is looking!

Just this morning there was a story that it may be harder to shut done Yongbyon than people thought. Now this will extend into the next year, which I think is part of North Korea's pattern of slow-rolling the program. But which also shows something which I and others have been saying for some time, which is that Yongbyon is at or beyond its useful life. Part of the reason they have difficulties extracting the fuel rods that are in there now is that the whole facility is in terrible repair, which means they agreeing to freeze it or even to dismantle it is not such a big concession from the North Koreans. They may already have been able to extract as much plutonium as they were going to be able to. Shutting down a broken facility is hardly a sign of good faith .

NEWSMAX: There is a lot of dispute about North Korea's uranium program. You write in your book that the North Koreans talked to our delegation in 2002 about the uranium enrichment program. Do you think that is what they transferred to Syria?

BOLTON: It's hard to say what they've transferred. There was no sign of radiation escaping after the Israeli attack [on Syria], which seems to indicate that they proceeded before there was any actual enriched uranium or even unenriched uranium there. Otherwise you would see likely release of radiation.

In my book, I go through this business of what Jim Kelly confronted the North Koreans with in 2002, and what the North Koreans said in response. There was no ambiguity in 2002 about the intelligence. In fact, what happened was that in the early summer 2002, for a change, all of the intelligence community agreed that North Korea had embarked on procurement for a uranium enrichment program. That was what was significant. That after years of disagreement within the intelligence community, they had reached consensus. And there was no dispute at that time. Nor is there really dispute about the North Korean reaction to Kelly's trip, that they admitted they had a uranium enrichment program . It's not just my book. Read Jack Prichard's book, published by Brookings. He says there was no ambiguity, and he was there!

I think this is significant, because people are now trying to rewrite history, to help excuse why the North Koreans are not dissembling when they say they have no enrichment program. They are trying to lay the groundwork that there never was a program, so when the North Koreans say they don't have one it's not another example of dissembling.

NEWSMAX: Would their uranium enrichment program have come from Pakistan, or would they have had access earlier to the technology?

BOLTON: My guess is in part they had some technology from AQ Khan. But I think it was more of them acting as a general contractor building their own program, using AQ Khan for pieces of it, as opposed to Libya, who said to AQ Khan, you are the general contractor, you create the program for us.

NEWSMAX: It really astounds me the lack of information on the Iranian nuclear program, and the unwillingness of the Intelligence community to talk to Iranians, even to Iranian exiles.

BOLTON: Since World War II, the Intelligence community has disliked exiles and dissidents, claiming they are unreliable because they have a political agenda. This is just self-blindness.

Not only has our human intelligence capability declined dramatically over the last several decades, there doesn't seem to be much inclination to want to build it back up.

Look at Joe Wilson: the best our intelligence community can do is send a former ambassador to Niger to have tea with officials that say, ' so, what's up on the uranium front?' That's our intelligence community? Forget everything else about Valerie Plame. That whole story is unbelievable!

Friday, December 28, 2007

MKs to Prime Minister: Keep Jews in Hevron's Peace House

Hillel Fendel

Knesset Members of both the coalition and opposition have signed on a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, asking him to halt proceedings to evict Jews from their Hevron home. The MKs, fresh off a Wednesday session of the Knesset State Audit Committee on the topic of Beit HaShalom (Peace House) in Hevron, sent the letter on Thursday night. They wrote that in light of what they had learned from government representatives, the State Comptroller must be allowed to investigate the matter before legal proceedings are taken to evict the Jewish residents.

In March of this year, it was announced that the structure - an impressive 3,500 square-meter (roughly 3.5 million square feet), four-story building along the route between Kiryat Arba and the Jewish neighborhoods of Hevron - had been purchased for the Jewish Community of Hevron for about $700,000. Though the purchase papers have been meticulously reviewed and searched for any errors or forgeries, nothing has been found to invalidate the sale.

Despite this, the government is interested in throwing the residents out - based on an order given months ago by former Defense Minister Amir Peretz. A brake was put on these efforts on Thursday when a military committee turned down a Civil Administration request to throw them out.

The State Control Committee meeting was held at the request of another Knesset committee, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, which dealt with this issue behind closed doors two weeks ago. In light of what the committee members felt were problematic details revealed at that meeting, they asked the State Control Committee to use its authority to request that the State Comptroller investigate the governmental administrative processes concerning Beit HaShalom.

Representatives of the police and State Prosecutor's office stated that the building was indeed purchased as the Jewish Community of Hevron maintained, and that the Arab who claims otherwise lied to the police and court. Asked why, then, the Prosecutor's office is demanding that the Jewish owners be thrown out, the MKs were told by the Civil Administration director and a Defense Ministry representative that they are simply following the orders of a "State Directive" issued by former Defense Minister Amir Peretz.

Illegitimate Political Behavior
The MKs therefore concluded that a political agenda is being implemented on an "operational level" and not on a "state level," rendering it illegitimate.

The MKs' letter to Olmert states, "During the committee session, we learned that the authorities have acted unfairly and inappropriately responding Peace House. Representatives of these authorities told us that their actions were the result of a political decision made by former Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and that in essence his orders continue even now to be the basis of very strange government behavior."

Signatories to the letter are coalition party MKs David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu), Otniel Shneller (Kadima), and Nissim Ze'ev (Shas), as well as opposition MKs Michael Eitan and Limor Livnat (Likud), and Yitzchak Levy, Aryeh Eldad and Uri Ariel (National Union). Two participating committee members, MK Avshalom Vilan (Meretz) and Arab MK Taleb A-Sana, did not sign the letter.

Comptroller Must Review
The committee also voted, 6-2, to use its authority to ask State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss to prepare a report detailing the decision-making process regarding Peace House in Hevron.

"Those who object to a review by the Comptroller," said Committee Chairman Zevulun Orlev (National Religious Party), "raise the suspicion that they have something to hide. It appears that government authorities yield to various pressures and violate codes of conduct simply to promote a left-wing political agenda. A report by the Comptroller can clear the air and erase suspicions."


Barry Rubin

Ring, ring, goes the telephone. And of course I answer it.
The voice on the other end says that he is “Joseph” of Reuters. I get many calls from journalists and wire services but never has someone I don’t know introduced himself by first name only. Since he has an obvious Arabic accent it is quite clear that he thinks I am either so biased as to care what his family name is or so stupid not to guess why he isn’t giving it.
So the effect is to achieve the exact opposite of what he wants. It puts me on my guard.
Next he tells me that he is working on a story about how Israel is strangling the Palestinian economy. In such circumstances, I have taken to arguing back with correspondents. By framing the story that way, I explain, Reuters is building in a bias. After all, the story should be: What’s wrong with the Palestinian economy, how to fix it, and will the massive infusion of aid--$7.4 billion just promised for three years by mostly Western donors--help? Aren’t wire services, and the media in general, supposed to be somewhat balanced? They ask an open question, collect viewpoints, and let the reader conclude what the factors are, or at least wait until they have gathered some evidence. This is supposed to be especially true of wire services, which supply newspapers and other media with the basic facts on which they can build their own stories.
What is going on here, then, is not reporting but propaganda.
Clearly unnerved, he promises to quote me accurately. And he does keep that promise fully, sort of. But the outcome is quite predictable. And here is the dramatic headline of the resulting story: “Analysis-Aid can't save Palestinian economy in Israeli grip.”
No doubt is to be left that it is Israel’s fault that the Palestinian economy is in shambles. And so pervasive is this evil that even the whole world cannot save them. So after that $7.4 billion is all gone with no result everyone will know who to blame, right?
Before continuing let’s note the problem with this analysis on two levels. First, Israeli closures and control on movement are the result of Palestinian terrorist attacks, coupled with the unwillingness and inability of the two Palestinian governments (Palestinian Authority-Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip) to stop them. No attacks; no closures. And this is absolutely clear. If attacks were to stop, so would Israeli restrictions. But if Israel removed all roadblocks and closures, the attacks would continue. This makes obvious the principal, fundamental cause of the problem and what needs to change in order to fix it.
In other words: if Palestinian terrorism stops, Israeli restrictive measures will end and the Palestinian economy has a chance to develop.
But if Israeli restrictive measures end, Palestinian terrorism would continue and thus the Palestinian economy would not develop because Israel would put back on the restrictions eventually and also, of course, no one will invest in the middle of a war.
Is that clear and logical? Obviously, not so for Western leaders and much of the news media.
Second, even if all Israeli action were to disappear, the Palestinian economy would still be in trouble. There are a number of reasons for this which are all well-known and were vividly seen in the 1990s, at a time when there was massive aid and a low level of Israeli security operations. These factors include: huge corruption which siphons off money; the lack of a clear legal framework for investment and commerce; the incompetence of the Palestinian regime; internal anarchy and violence by gangs with political cover; and an ongoing war against Israel.
Naturally, if you pump $7.8 billion over three years into a society of under 1.5 million people on the West Bank—around $1,600 a year for every individual person there—it is going to have a positive economic effect. Since current Palestinian per capita income is $1,200 a year it would more than double it. In 1992, the figure was around $2,000. This represents, for all practical purposes, an increase of 400 percent over the aid being supplied two years ago.
But most of the money is merely budget support for the Palestinian Authority, meaning it will pay salaries for the bloated government bureaucracy. At the end of that time the funds will be gone with no effect.
Yet the December 20, 2007, story by Reuters and two similar articles by the Associated Press (for my detailed analysis of the latter see simply omit all this information and put all the blame for problems on Israel.
In this case, though, slanting is not enough, however, and the Reuters report must stoop to outright dishonesty. It states:
“The $7.4 billion pledged exceeds the sum [Palestinian Prime Minister Salam]] Fayyad had asked for in his three-year economic plan, but is less than the $8.4 billion that the World Bank reckons Israeli curbs on movement have cost Palestinians in lost income over the past five years.”
This is a lie and clearly a deliberate one. In fact, the World Bank annual reports are entitled “Intifada, Closures and Palestinian Economic Crisis.” They make the very simple point that the intifada—an armed Palestinian war on Israel—leads to closures and thus the combination brings on a crisis. The reports are quite careful in pointing out all the factors that led to the Palestinian economic decline. They do not say the losses were strictly due to Israeli curbs on movement. On the contrary, the 2003 report for example, written at the height of the violence, says the closures and movement restrictions are pretty insignificant. (see it at
This specific example of dishonesty matters because the approach we see here—predetermining the story, ignoring most of the factors involved, blaming Israel--sets a pattern for a whole raft-full of stories:
--Why is there no peace? Israel doesn’t give enough concessions. Often there is no mention of Palestinian hardline positions, behavior in not keeping commitment, terrorism as a key element in the failure to achieve peace. Most important of all, there is endless talk about what Israel can or should give for peace but far less about what the Palestinians must give: end of conflict, full recognition of Israel, return of refugees to a Palestinian state, a real end to incitement and terrorism.
--Why is there suffering in Gaza? Israel’s restrictions. Far less mention of Hamas hard line, openly genocidal stance, constant aid to terrorist attacks and rocket firing, refusal to meet even minimal international requirements. Incidentally, the same article tells us—again only providing evidence on one side--that pressure on Hamas by sanctions is not working and thus should be ended.
--Why are Palestinians, to quote the Reuters story, “Deprived of dignity”? No mention of a corrupt government and gangs of gunmen who couldn’t care less about their well-being, and a strategy that starts unwinnable wars. Naturally, it is all Israel’s fault once again.
It is bad enough that this kind of coverage is shaping the way that many in the West see the Middle East. What is really horrible is that these articles are being deliberately written to do so.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (GLORIA) Center His latest books are The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan) and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).

Saudis Hate Jews and Christians

The always interesting Tom Gross reports on a rare poll of Saudi citizens.

The opinion of the Saudi public will not surprise anyone who has read Dore Gold's Hatred's Kingdom but it is helpful to have such a quantitative record of Saudi attitudes.Here are some highlights:

In answer to the question, "I would favor a peace treaty recognizing the State of Israel, if an independent Palestinian State is established?"

29.6% said yes

While 51.3% said they opposed any peace treaty recognizing the State of Israel.

Jews are viewed as very unfavorably by 81.7%

While Christians are viewed very unfavorably by 40.3% and somewhat unfavorably by 14.0%.

What is most disconcerting about the results of this poll is that Condi Rice thinks the Saudis are partners for peace with Israel. These are the same dictators who would not shake hands with Israelis at the Annapolis Conference.

Palestinians Are Commited To Eliminating Israel

While Condi Rice is pursuing a fools path as she invests the prestige of the United States and convinces the Europeans that the idea of a Palestinian Sate and an Israeli State is alive and well, the Palestinians have clearly moved away from that outdated model and are dedicated to replacing the Jewish State with one of their own Powerline is reporting on information gathered by our friend Dan Diker of the Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs which confirms the above proposition. In short, Abbas is going through the motions that nothing has changed because he wants to collect the $8 billion in aid pledged by foreign powers.

Diker's conclusions make sense when one remembers the refusal of the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish State, the refusal of the Saudis to shake hands with the Israelis, and the refusal to drop the so-called right of return demand.

Furthermore, Abbas has demonstrated time and again that he can not deliver on anything.

It is important for United States policymakers to understand this change in events. Israel, not a Palestinian State, is the prize the Palestinians want.

The Annapolis Conference failed to produce anything of substance because Abbas had nothing to offer and a severely weakened Olmert could not deliver anything in Israel.

The question of the day is what is Bush going to do on his trip to the region? He is dealing with two leaders who can not dictate change in their communities. In other words they may agree to Bush's demands but they don't have the power to deliver their people. Bush is being set up for a big embarrassment.

This is not good for the United States or Israel. A weakened America is bad for the world.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Bills Came Due in 2007

Victor Davis Hanson

2007 reminded us that our easy way of life comes at a price, and that there are consequences and tradeoffs in almost everything we do. Let’s go down the list. Illegal Immigration

President Bush’s comprehensive immigration bill collapsed this summer, following public outrage from the middle and poorer classes of both parties. These Americans reminded their politicians that first they want their southern border closed to illegal immigration -- and discussion of anything else second.

They are not racists, nativists or protectionists -- much less “anti-immigrant.” Instead, a substantial number of Americans -- from all backgrounds -- simply believe that once illegal immigration ceases, the problem becomes manageable.

Employers will have to hire our own poor and unemployed, and thus raise wages. Mexico will have to deal with its own problems rather than blaming the United States. Tribalists and ethnic provocateurs will have to relearn that integration and the melting pot are not going away. And immigrants crossing the southern border will have to wait in line like everyone else and come here legally.

The Housing Crisis

Housing prices tanked in 2007. Millions of home mortgages by this past spring were behind or in default. The media rushed to blame government and lenders -- as if poor buyers had a gun to their heads when they bet that housing would continually appreciate.

Yet most Americans who buy homes judiciously, and pay their mortgages promptly, were probably more philosophical than outraged. Homes had become way overpriced. Anyone who rushed out to borrow heavily to buy in such an overheated market was intent on recklessly profiting by quick resale -- or hopelessly naive.

Food Is Not Cheap

Farm prices soared. For 40 years, Americans had become used to the idea that their food would stay cheap, and that farmers were invisible or irrelevant. Now we are learning that farmland and irrigation water are finite resources, while world population continues to rise. Before we can solve global warming, convert to ethanol fuels or restore ancestral rivers, we first have to eat -- and thus make sure there is enough land and water to produce food.


Oil reached $98 a barrel by November. Conservatives thought that the market alone might easily correct the problem. Yet they are starting to see in the meantime that petrol-rich, anti-American dictatorships, flush with American cash, won’t be so patient with us.

Liberals tend to claim that we won’t have to find and burn far more of our own oil and coal, or build nuclear plants. But they are learning that for now that would only make Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin and the House of Saud even happier.


The recent National Intelligence Estimate told us that Iran ceased efforts to acquire nuclear weapons in 2003. The news was as unexpected as it was widely distrusted. What’s clear, at least for now, are the effects of the report: Hawks’ ideas of preemptively bombing Iran are fortunately off the table. But, unfortunately, so are serious economic and diplomatic efforts to persuade the Iranians to stop. This flawed report will come back to haunt us.


In recent months, we’ve seen a reduction of violence in Iraq as Sunni tribal insurgents joined American troops in hunting down al-Qaida terrorists. These insurgents’ turnabout may have been influenced by the U.S. troop surge, a change in the American military’s tactics, worry over the Shiite-dominated government, confidence in an oil-fed prosperity or a growing awareness of the savage nihilism of al-Qaida.

The fact that the insurgents approached us for help after being defeated or demoralized suggests that the present truce could evolve into a peace in ways no one had foreseen.

Anti-War and Over-the-Top

After ran its infamous “General Betray Us” ad -- in The New York Times no less and originally at a reduced rate -- the entire vocal anti-war movement never quite recovered. Before the ad, Cindy Sheehan, Code Pink and Michael Moore were all seen as just vehemently anti-war. After the lunatic ad, all such critics were suspected, unfairly or not, of being anti-military and potentially undermining the thousands of Americans who serve in it.


The American people go to the movies to be entertained and occasionally enlightened. They do not pay to be lectured to, brainwashed or made to feel ashamed of their own country and military. Brian De Palma’s movie “Redacted” did all three and came and went from theaters faster than you could say “agitprop.”

“Lions for Lambs,” “Rendition” and “In the Valley of Elah” did little better. The fates of these films should remind those in Hollywood that when we want to be preached at, we prefer church.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and author, most recently, of "A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War."

"I implore you"… Israel wants "to be raped"

Isi Leibler
December 27, 2007

In the course of a visit to Israel by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, approximately 20 heads of the most senior Israeli think tanks and media leaders were invited by the American Ambassador to Israel, Richard Jones, to a dinner at his private residence to receive a confidential briefing from the Secretary of State. The event took place on September 10.

A bizarre exchange took place at this gathering between one of the participants and the Secretary of State. It was initially broadcast on Israel TV Channel 2 by Ehud Yaari, one of Israel's most highly respected commentators, who had not attended the dinner but had verified the details with colleagues who were present. The public did not appreciate the seriousness of the incident because Yaari failed to disclose that the person involved was none other than Haaretz editor David Landau.

I have independently verified details of what transpired and in response to questioning by Yaari and in an interview with Gary Rosenblatt, the editor of the New York Jewish Week, Landau himself confirmed the veracity of the events outlined below. (see Haaretz editor urged Rice to 'Rape' Israel)

Following the briefing, Mr. Landau, who was seated adjacent to the Secretary of State, turned to Secretary Rice, and as he said to the Jewish Week, "I told [Rice] that it had always been my wet dream to address the Secretary of State" on how to act in relation to Israel.

Landau opened his remarks by referring to Israel as a "failed state" politically. He said that the only way Israel could be saved would be if the United States were to impose a settlement. Landau told Rice "I implore you" to intervene and added that the Government of Israel wanted "to be raped".

Condoleezza Rice responded that whilst she appreciated the dilemmas facing Israel, the United States would never impose its views on the Jewish state in such a manner. Landau told the Jewish Week that the Secretary of State was completely unfazed by his remarks.

For the US Secretary of State to partake in such an exchange with the editor of a major Israeli newspaper is mind boggling. Whilst Ms. Rice rejected Landau's entreaties for the United States to force Israel to act in what he perceived to be Israel's best interest, there is little doubt that his remarks would have subsequently been widely aired in US State Department circles.

Anyone familiar with Israel's diplomatic history will be aware that the worst fear of government after government was the prospect of the United States alone or in conjunction with another power, seeking to impose a settlement which would be to Israel's political detriment or compromise its vital security interests.

By any benchmark, Landau's behavior as an Israeli citizen would be deemed unacceptable. But it is surely unconscionable that the editor of one of Israel's most influential newspapers, which also appears in an English and global internet version, could urge an American Secretary of State to "rape" his own government. If ever there was a crossing of every red line in terms of propriety, national integrity, and civic responsibility, this extraordinary intervention tops the bill. This is surely not behaviour befitting the editor of a major newspaper. Could one possibly visualize the head of a major European media outlet behaving in such a manner in relation to his country?

What is even more outrageous is that far from displaying remorse at his behaviour, Landau told the Jewish Week that "he had no regrets and that, on the contrary he was pleased, adding that he was later congratulated by several professors in the room who felt 'I articulated what many Israelis feel'."

On November 6, I wrote an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post sharply condemning Landau for what I considered to be a basic violation of the Israeli Press Council's code of ethics (see Shame on Haaretz).

I related specifically to statements in which Mr. Landau had boasted that in order to promote the so called "peace agenda", he had deliberately exploited his editorial authority to "soft pedal" acts of corruption by senior political leaders including Prime Minister Sharon and Prime Minister Olmert. Landau had also reiterated that he intended pursuing the same course of action in the future.

I also noted that Mr. Landau had instructed his staff not to respond to requests for corrections of demonstrable falsehoods published in his paper, if the source of the complaint was CAMERA, the American Jewish media watchdog organization that footnotes all its criticisms. Mr. Landau justified this on the grounds that CAMERA was a "McCarthyite" organization.

Although the Israel Press Council intervention on such issues is rare, I understand that it is investigating these apparent breaches of their code of ethics.

However this latest incident goes far beyond journalistic ethics. It involves a profound moral issue which touches upon the core of our dignity and self respect as a nation and cannot simply be dismissed as another example of post Zionism or infantile radicalism. Whereas left and right wing groups, to their discredit, have previously appealed to international public opinion to support their views against the policies of particular governments, there is a quantum leap from such action to a senior Israeli media personality appealing for intervention directly to a Secretary of State.

Of course, Landau is entitled to his personal opinions. But it is surely a staggering act of reckless arrogance and a reflection of utter contempt for the democratic process when the editor of Haaretz newspaper at such a venue to have passionately conveyed such views to the American Secretary of State at this most sensitive diplomatic juncture. I have no doubt that the vast majority of Israelis across the entire political spectrum would condemn his action as irresponsible and immoral.

Mr. Landau should apologize or resign.