Saturday, August 18, 2007

Al Qaeda Dislocates US Security Plan by Genocidal Massacre

This time, Al Qaeda in Iraq selected a tiny, isolated, unprotected community of some 150,000 Yazidi Kurds, persecuted by Sunni and Shiite Muslims alike, as the victims of its barbarity.
Tuesday, Aug. 14, within minutes, three oil tankers driven by suicide bombers had murdered at least 500 people, injured more than 1,000 and transformed an ancient indigenous Iraqi sect into a humanitarian problem. While rescuers were still digging bodies out of the rubble of their destroyed homes in Qataniya and Adnaniya near Mosul, tens of thousands snatched their remaining belongings and streamed to the Syrian border.

Exchanges among al Qaeda’s adherents in Iraq 4, picked up by DEBKAfile’s special monitors, disclosed method behind the savagery. The jihadists had made an example of the Yazidis of Mt. Sinjar, holding them up as the first complete community they had succeeded in driving out of Iraq. They even urged harassing the refugees to speed the removal of every last Yazidi Kurd from Iraq.

Al Qaeda timed its brutal attack for maximum disruption of the latest American operations in the framework of the US-Iraqi overall Phantom Strike offensive to secure Iraq against insurgents and terrorists.

Lightning Hammer brought 16,000 US and Iraqi troops to the Diyala northeast of Baghdad province Aug. 14 to purge the area between Baquba and Balad and open up the main routes linking Baghdad to Kurdistan in the north for safe travel.

Marne Husky was launched the next day by 4,000 troops as an aviation-based offensive. Infantry drops by helicopter are targeting Sunni insurgents and terrorist sanctuaries in southeastern Baghdad and choking off bombs and weapons smuggling into the capital.
To defeat the US-led security campaign, al Qaeda appears to have opted for meting out death and destruction among large groups of civilians, aimed at forcing them out of their homes and causing hundreds of thousands of displaced people to wander hither and thither in search of safety, strangling communications and generating mayhem across the country. Blocked roads are intended to snarl the US offensives and compel the troops to turn to the immediate task of locating the deadly fuel trucks hurtling down the highways before they explode and inflict carnage.

DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report that al Qaeda employed two revealing methods of operation this week:
1. Singled out as a soft targeted for the suicide bombers at the wheels of oil trucks was an isolated sect living in a remote community, which was easily accessible and unprotected by American or Iraqi forces or local security resources. The Yazidis live in communities of 5,000 to 20,000 which are clearly defined by religion and ethnic, tribal and clan kinship.
2. It looks as though Qaeda is bent on reusing its method of attack against the Yazidis for additional sections of the population – in particular the highly inflammable oil trucks driven by suicide bombers.

Intelligence source estimate that each the trucks operating against the Yazidi villages was packed with between 250 and 300 tons of explosives. Two reached their targets and blew up, while the third is believed to have exploded prematurely on the way. The force of the third blast was such that dozens of cars and buildings by the wayside were shattered and sent up flames visible to witnesses 2 kilometers away.
The war in Iraq is thus raging on two planes.

On one, coalition and Iraqi forces are launching offensive after offensive to scotch the al Qaeda-Sunni insurgent threat to Iraq’s security; on the second, al Qaeda is seeking to drive masses of terrified civilians out of their homes in chaotic flight.
If they are allowed to persist in this tactic, the report the US commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus and US ambassador Ryan Crocker are preparing to submit to Congress on Sept 10 will have to be limited to American military successes up until Tuesday, Aug. 14. The security crisis in Iraq thereafter turned a fresh deadly page.

Surrounded by your enemies, how do Israelis handle daily events?

Counterpoint: Between resilience and denial

David Forman, THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 16, 2007

Viennese psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, in his 1975 book The Unconscious God, developed a theory that God has access to us through our conscience. He wrote: "Conscience is ineffective if it is only me speaking to myself. Conscience is experienced as a dialogue, not as a monologue."

Anyone who has undergone pangs of conscience knows the tension of conflict when the ego contests and resists what we ought to do versus what we actually do.

There is an "I" within me that wants the opposite of another "I" also within me; and the two cannot be identical. Comedian Woody Allen understood this when he said: "I have only one regret in life - I'm not someone else!"

FRANKL AND Allen may as well have been describing us Israelis. We are always doing battle with ourselves. Bipolarism seems to define our national character. In his diaries, David Ben-Gurion expressed the contradictory nature of the Israeli mind: "Two basic aspirations underlie our work in this country - to be a nation like other nations, and to be different than other nations."

If one explores our allegorical beginnings, there are two conflicting versions of the creation narrative: "God created Adam in His image, in the image of God He created him - male and female He created them" (Genesis 1:27).

And "God formed man from the dust of the earth. God took one of his ribs and fashioned the rib He took from Adam into a woman (Genesis 2:7, 21-22).
With such a bifurcated beginning, is it any wonder we Jews are so confused? Throughout our history, a virtual war has been waged between prophet and priest, Pharisee and Sadducee, hassid and mitnaged. There have been attempts to achieve a consensus that would bridge the gap between contending forces. However, to reconcile such paired opposites as Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Samson and Delilah or today's Revisionist and Labor Zionists, secular and religious, Ashkenazi and Sephardi, is no easy task.

Even the formidable twosome of Hillel and Shammai, who were virtually "joined at the hip," instead of operating compatibly in interpreting Jewish traditions, founded competing schools of thought.

Jacob and Esau are forever wrestling in the Jewish womb.
We live a life of contrasts, of extremes, of highs and lows - reeling down a never-ending emotional roller coaster. How could it be otherwise when within a span of three years, from the close of World War II to the creation of the State of Israel, we went from destruction to reconstruction, from the stench of death to the breath of life?

This radically swinging pendulum is the only way to explain the many incongruities in the country today. In the same breath, military intelligence warns of an impending war with the Syrians while maintaining they are serious about peace. Security officials testify before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Hizbullah has and has not fully refurbished itself.

However, these inconsistencies pale in comparison to the behavior of the average Israeli regarding everyday challenges. Our past president may be a rapist, our former finance minister may be an embezzler and our present prime minister might be a crook - yet we carry on as if nothing is wrong.

But such a low-key response is understandable for we have greater concerns - rockets landing on Sderot, a billion-dollar arms transaction between Syria and Iran, Hassan Nasrallah claiming to have missiles that can target every corner of the country and a maniac building a nuclear arsenal to wipe us off the face of the earth.
HOW DO we react to these life-threatening signs? Surfing on the Mediterranean, mud-bathing in the Dead Sea, snorkeling in the Red Sea, inner-tubing down the Jordan, kayaking on the Dan, camping around the Kinneret, paragliding above the Arbel, hiking in Ein Gedi, strolling down Rehov Sheinkin and attending every imaginable art, music, dance, theater and film festival.

In the face of real and present dangers, the Israeli philosophy is: "Don't worry - be happy." Is this attitude an example of resilience or denial, an indication of buoyancy or lunacy? What type of mutation are we?

We suffer from a historical duality - a split personality, encased in a common identity. Within the blink of an eye, fear and confidence, pride and shame, hope and despair, joy and sadness, good and bad, right and wrong, sanity and insanity abide one another in a discordant harmony. It is amazing there is no struggle for dominance of one emotion over the other. One would think that mind and matter, intellect and passion, working at cross purposes, would wreak havoc with the Israeli psyche. But, no. We accept that we are destined to live a life of perpetual paradoxes, of "rolling out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, those days of soda and pretzels and beer" in the midst of ominous storm clouds.

If anything can capture the ambivalent nature of the Israeli mentality, it is the symbiosis of cool logic and creative madness. And yet, the convergence of fact and fantasy, reality and illusion may just be the right prescription for our seemingly incurable dilemmas. We have demonstrated the ability to survive our simultaneously glorious and tortuous history, to believe that the God of mercy and the God of vengeance are one and the same.

Which leads me to believe that the complex machinations of the Jewish mind may be the most endearing - and certainly most enduring - of our traits.

Arab Example of Media Strategy

Comment: The following "story" is demonstrative of the ongoing and persistent message and word pictures used effectively against Israel. Please note the following: 1. it is always Israel's fault and only because of Israel ...2. focus attention on your enemy, this takes focus off your corrupt leaders and people who failed for 3 decades to create any sustainable infrastructure. 3. never mention the billions of dollars that the world has given you and never mention where the monies were spent 4. focus on being the victim,again and again,this plays well in sympathetic western ears 5.never tell the truth why there are checkpoints 7. never explain that travel occurs within the disputed territory in spite of the checkpoints 8. avoid mentioning what goes on routinely at a checkpoint-always describe them as making one miserable. The more colorful the negative descriptors, the better the story.Count the number of "explosive" adjectives in the story below! This is for your consumption, to see how "miserable" they are.

Checkpoint Makes Village Life Miserable

RAMALLAH, West Bank, 18 August 2007 — “The Israeli military checkpoint at the entrance of our village is hanging us and is hindering any progress of several aid projects,” said Abdulbasit Hannini, the mayor of West Bank town of Beit Fourik, yesterday. He added that the Israeli checkpoint, erected at the sole entrance of the town since 2001, “turned the life of Beit Fourik’s 11,000 residents into real hell.” Checkpoint Makes Village Life Miserable Mohammed Mar’i, Arab News —

RAMALLAH, West Bank, 18 August 2007 — “The Israeli military checkpoint at the entrance of our village is hanging us and is hindering any progress of several aid projects,” said Abdulbasit Hannini, the mayor of West Bank town of Beit Fourik, yesterday. He added that the Israeli checkpoint, erected at the sole entrance of the town since 2001, “turned the life of Beit Fourik’s 11,000 residents into real hell.”Hannini stated that during the last two years the checkpoint has made the continuation of work by existing international aid projects impossible. “These projects have previously been responsible for several developments in the town, including the foundation of a high school and a children’s playground. The projects have also provided services that include dam reinforcement, the rehabilitation of Palestinians, re-surfacing of streets and reinstatement of electricity.”In addition to this, Hannini said, “the town had previously been able to establish good relations with surrounding Palestinian and international civil and legal organizations in order to expose illegal Israeli practices in the area. Hannini expressed great concern regarding the impact of the checkpoint, focusing upon the progress of the village and future aspirations, under the following headings.

In addition to the foundation of a high school, children’s playground, dam reinforcement, waste disposal, drainage systems and rehabilitation of Palestinians, the town hopes to see many more projects, the most significant of which will involve the town’s water. This initiative will see the creation of a water storage facility. The town also hopes to see a municipal transmission line, and the establishment of an internal network. These are only a few of the plans we currently have for the town.

Despite the number of difficulties and restrictions the town has endured over the past few years by Israeli authorities, the residents are whole-heartedly devoted to their village, work and community spirit, Hannini said. Evidently the Israeli checkpoint is the “most destructive of the restrictions.”“It prevents not only the freedom of local residents to travel to other towns and villages; it also prohibits various important organizations from entering. This is rendering the village incapable of any form of progress,” the mayor notified.

Hannini said that the Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint “humiliate the residents by exposing them to a thorough security check once they pass the checkpoint.” “No one can imagine a how we are living in these miserable conditions where the dignity of a human being is crushed by the Israeli soldiers for the past years,” he said with sorrow.The obstacles facing the residents are numerous and debilitating. “The main issue facing Beit Fourik residents is that their aspirations are far beyond their capabilities, due to the restrictions they endure.

Perhaps the most difficult of these obstacles is the lack of executive authority, governing over and implementing the decisions and laws of the people. This is of course due to the allocation of the village under zone “B” which does not fall within the Palestinian Authority’s jurisdiction but within that of the Israeli jurisdiction.”In addition to the Israeli policies, the financial blockade has hit the village hard. “Due to political reasons (the international economic embargo imposed on the Palestinian Authority after the Hamas victory in Palestinian legislative elections in 2006), funds received from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have been stopped, which has consequently damaged prospects for the local high school, whilst also delaying the development of a water network,” Hannini stated.In addition to these difficulties, the presence of Israeli settlers has resulted in an increased amount of abuse to local land and agriculture. Despite all of this, Hannini concluded by saying that the Beit Fourik residents, as a whole, are cooperative and hope to preserve their achievements. “Although we encounter difficulties here and there, we must aim to deal with them with common sense and patience, tools which have helped us to overcome our problems thus far.”

Said Moallem's "lies" were meant to damage the kingdom

Saudi Arabia launched a fierce attack on Syria's vice president on Thursday, accusing him of making false statements and seeking to "stoke disorder in the region," Recent statements by Faruq al-Shara "contain numerous lies aimed at damaging the kingdom," SPA cited a government source as saying.

Shara said on Tuesday that it was "regrettable" that Saudi Arabia had not attended a meeting in Damascus last week on the security situation in Iraq, which was attended by US and French delegations.

"The kingdom never refused any meeting aimed at strengthening
Arab ranks..
. the problem lies in the (Syrian) positions which are designed to stoke disorder and trouble in the region," the Saudi source said.

Relations between Riyadh and Damascus have been fraught since
disagreements over last summer's war between Israel and the Syrian-backed Shiite militia Hezbollah.

They were further strained after the Hezbollah-led Lebanese opposition launched a campaign to oust the government of Western-backed Sunni Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who is close to Saudi Arabia.

But Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem struck a more conciliatory note, describing relations between Damascus and Saudi Arabia as "strong and excellent" in an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya TV that aired on Thursday.

"We have strong relations with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council states through bilateral visits between the leaders," Moallem said..

Friday, August 17, 2007

Surrender to Political Correctness-Again

Scottish Shari'a Watch
Tue, Aug 14, 2007 at 10:58:04 am PST
Doctors and health workers in Scotland have been banned from eating lunch at their desks during the Ramadan fast.

Willful blindness has now become standard practice in cases like this; the officials who instituted the ban openly admit they did it out of fear, even while parroting the usual tolerance-speak.

DOCTORS and health workers have been banned from eating lunch at their desks - in case it offends their Muslim colleagues.

Health chiefs believe the sight of food will upset Muslim workers when they are celebrating the religious festival Ramadan. The lunch trolley is also to be wheeled out of bounds as the 30-day fast begins next month. ...

The new guidance comes in the wake of the failed terror attacks on Glasgow and the death of suspect Kafeel Ahmed, 27. Health chiefs in Lothian and Glasgow will give all employees time off to pray and to celebrate Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan.
But Greater Glasgow and Clyde as well as Lothian NHS boards also issued the advice, warning workers not to take working lunches, and said all vending machines should be removed from areas where Muslims work.

Behind this latest one-way gesture of appeasement: another Islamic advocacy group.
The guidance, which was sent round many organisations, was produced by Glasgow consultancy Meem, which advises on Muslim issues and counts the Scottish Parliament among its clients.

Na’eem Raza, a senior consultant with the firm, said he was thrilled that the health boards had formally adopted the guidance.
He added: “The idea is to get faith in the workplace out in the open. In the current climate, people need to understand where communities are coming from and what people are feeling. After the Glasgow attack this is very important. This is about educating people and making them more aware and more confident when dealing with issues surrounding the Muslim community. People have stopped talking over the garden fence and we need to break down the barriers so that people can talk comfortably to each other. It would never stir up resentment. Faith is an important issue. Why not have guidance on all of the issues that affect us, including different faiths?”
Health chiefs defended their use of the guidance and said it was important to promote a positive and tolerant culture at work.

Yes to Peace, No to Proposal

Don't forget the core problem

, THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 16, 2007

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reportedly told a visiting US Congressional delegation this week that he has been discussing the broad parameters of "core issues" with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Presumably, the two leaders are trying to agree on a set of principles for a permanent peace accord that would be endorsed by the regional conference in the US in November called by President George W. Bush.
There is strong whiff of unreality to all this. Olmert has the sword of Winograd hanging over him; the panel's final report will likely call his judgment into even even greater question than the scathing interim version. Abbas is widely considered ineffectual even in the West Bank and is now, despite being ignominiously ousted by Hamas in Gaza, talking of a "return to national unity" with those openly sworn to Israel's destruction.
As if this were not enough, the wider context is also not conducive to peace. It should be remembered that the last agreement-producing spate of peacemaking was from 1991 to 1993, when the Madrid Conference was held and the Oslo principles were signed. The timing was not a coincidence - immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ousting of Saddam Hussein from Iraq, which also left Yasser Arafat's PLO in a particularly weakened state.

If peace is more obtainable when the forces favoring it have the upper hand, now is anything but a particularly propitious time. After Western advances in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Lebanon, the past two years have seen setbacks in Iraq and Lebanon, the Hamas takeover in Gaza, and the Iranian nuclear program moving ever closer to the point of no return, with no effective Western response in sight. Just as, before the 2003 war in Iraq, Europe worked to block the nonmilitary measures that might have avoided a resort to force, the E-3 (UK, France and Germany) are again refusing to sever their commercial and diplomatic ties to Iran, which again is leaving the choice between capitulation and the military option.

The US implicitly admits that all this does not add up to a context conducive to peacemaking when it couches the creation of an Arab-Israeli "political horizon" as leverage to isolate Iran's jihadi axis, rather than as a chance to capitalize on Islamist defeats.

The last time the US and Israel attempted a major peacemaking play from such a position of weakness was the Camp David summit in 2000. The failure there - caused by Arafat and suffered politically by then-prime minister Ehud Barak, who had already lost much of his cabinet and Knesset majority, and by then-lame duck Bill Clinton - was not cost free. And this was before 9/11, before the bogging down of the US in Iraq, and before Iran's nuclear challenge had advanced to a critical stage.
None of this means that diplomacy should have no role at this moment. On the contrary, if the Arab states were to take major steps toward normalizing relations with Israel, whether or not in the context of a new "political horizon," that could help weaken the forces of radicalism and lay the groundwork for effectively confronting Iran.

But the risks and context of peacemaking, at this moment, with these players, must not be ignored or forgotten. We must keep our eye on the ball. The ball is confronting and defeating the Iranian-led jihadi axis. Without that, anything agreed between Olmert and Abbas is sure to fall apart, and the prospects for real peace will recede further into oblivion.

A peace process that is treated as an end in itself, rather than as a part of a comprehensive strategy to defeat the sources of Islamist radicalism in the region, could actually serve Iranian ends by distracting the West and giving the mullahs more time to advance their nuclear program. The same goes for arms transfers to American quasi-allies in the Gulf.

Such measures dance around the periphery of the problem, and will not of themselves be sufficient to address its core. By some combination of economic, diplomatic, military and internal pressures, Iran must be forced to back down. Olmert may be discussing "core issues" in the Palestinian context, but without serious pursuit of this core agenda, no initialed principles will have a chance of becoming reality.

Don't Blame Alcohol For Anti-Semitism

'They were shouting 'Sieg Heil''

JPost staff and Allon Sinai, THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 17, 2007

Hapoel Tel Aviv supporters who were ejected from Thursday night's soccer match against Bosnian side Siroki Brijeg on Thursday after throwing firecrackers blamed the home supporters for provoking the trouble with anti-Semitic chanting.
The referee stopped the UEFA Cup second qualifying round game at the Pecara stadium for some 20 minutes, leading the players off the pitch, before the decision was made to kick out the Hapoel fans.

Hapoel supporter Eyal Heled gave his account of events to Army Radio: "Disturbances broke out when fans in the Bosnian supporters' section started shouting 'Sieg Heil' and making Nazi salutes. One of our fans then threw a firecracker into their section and then the Bosnian security forces rushed in and started hitting us indiscriminately."
However, other Hapoel supporters put the blame squarely at the feet of their fallow fans saying: "They always come to games to get drunk and go wild."
The supporters lit the crackers after a first-half goal by Brazilian midfielder Abedi in Hapoel's 3-0 win.
Things got out of hand when some firecrackers were thrown on to the pitch and at least one landed in the home fans' section of the ground. The firecrackers set light to several seats in the stadium.

The incident marred what had been an impressive opening for Hapoel culminating in the goal which came from a fine passing move. The ball came to Baruch Dego on the left hand side who swept it into the penalty area and the path of the Brazilian who scored with aplomb.

Just 10 minutes after the game was restarted Lior Asulin grabbed a second to give Hapoel a 2-0 lead.

Barach Dego bent in a fine free kick from outside the penalty area which the Siroki goalkeeper had to dive to the top right hand corner to keep out the goal. Abedi fired in the rebound which Asulin diverted into the back of the net.
The third goal was scored by Gavriel Dos Santos on 73 minutes when he headed in a Dego dead ball.

Israel offers help to Peru after devastating quake kills 510

rory kress, jpost staff and ap, THE JERUSALEM POST
Aug. 16, 2007

President Shimon Peres on Friday sent a telegram to Peruvian President Alan Garcia offering Israel's assistance the day after a magnitude-8 earthquake devastated the southern coast killing at least 510 people.
. Peres also instructed his advisors to examine specific ways in which Israel would be able to help the earthquake victims if required.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry transferred 20,000 dollars to the Israeli Embassy in Lima for the purchase of blankets and tents for the earthquake victims.
At least 1,600 people were injured in the powerful quake near the Peruvian capital which toppled buildings and caused hundreds to flee offices and homes. The death toll was expected to rise above 510 as rescuers continued to dig through rubble from collapsed adobe homes in cities and hamlets.
Garcia declared three days national mourning during which schools, army bases and museums will all be closed.
Early Friday, the last two Israelis who were in the area of the quake contacted their families and were said to be unharmed.

Hundreds of worried families had contacted the Foreign Ministry Thursday worried over the fate of their children since communications systems were severely damaged in the quake, rendering many parents' attempts to contact their children futile.
60 Israelis traveling in other regions of Peru had still not contacted their families as of midday Friday.

No injuries were reported to Israelis or to members of Lima's 3,000-strong Jewish community as a result of the earthquake, Israeli Ambassador to Peru Walid Manzur told The Jerusalem Post by telephone.

The Israeli Embassy in Lima sustained damage that was being investigated by municipal engineers. "The building is still there. There is some damage but I believe that we will all be working there soon again," he said.
Asked to what extent he felt the earthquake, Manzur replied: "Too much. It was long. It was strong. Things were falling down [in Manzur's home] but there was only damage to things."

In the gritty port city of Pisco, searchers at San Clemente church pulled bodies out all day and lined them up on the plaza - at least 60 by late afternoon.
Authorities said the quake generated a tsunami of undetermined size, but later canceled a warning issued for coasts from Chile to Mexico.

The US Geological Survey said the quake hit about 145 kilometers southeast of Lima at a depth of about 41 kilometers. Four strong aftershocks ranging from magnitudes of 5.4 to 5.9 were felt afterwards, the USGS said. The quake struck at 6:40 p.m. local time.

Huh? Nothing but whiners!

'We're taking the heat for Israel'

Sheera Claire Frenkel, THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 16, 2007

The Sudanese refugees seeking asylum in Israel are creating a rift between Diaspora organizations and Israel's government, senior leaders of several US Jewish groups said on Thursday.
. As American Jews lead the call for international intervention in Darfur, where the Sudanese government and its janjaweed militia have been at war with rebel forces for half a decade, they have increasingly come under fire for the treatment of the Sudanese in Israel. While Jewish organizations have declined to openly criticize Israel on the issue, there is a growing undercurrent of discontent, officials from the groups told The Jerusalem Post.

"American Jews have a policy of blanket support for Israel, but they have found themselves in an increasingly difficult position," said one senior member of a Los Angeles Jewish organization. "The two causes, Israel and Darfur, should be in unity. Instead, we have found ourselves having to uncomfortably defend Israel's policy on the refugees."

This week, the American Jewish Committee's Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights completed a paper assessing the challenges of Sudanese refugees in Israel.

"The reception of Sudanese has been a focus of concern for Israeli nongovernmental organizations, refugee lawyers, the government, as well as for Diaspora Jews who, reflecting on Jewish historical experiences of persecution and expulsion, see a need for Jews to defend the rights of bona fide Sudanese refugees who seek asylum within Israel's borders," the paper's authors wrote.

They suggest that Israel should distinguish between refugees seeking asylum from persecution, and economic migrants seeking better employment opportunities. The distinction lies at the heart of efforts being made by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government and United Nations' representatives to interview and classify the refugees.

On July 1, Olmert announced that he had agreed with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to deport most of the refugees back to Egypt. But last weekend, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said the country "is not obligated to receive any non-Egyptian citizen who illegally crosses the border into Israel."

While several cabinet members, including Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit, have said that only the 300-400 refugees from Darfur will be allowed to remain in Israel, human rights organizations believe that all the Sudanese refugees, currently estimated at 1,300, should be given asylum in Israel.

According to a number of human rights organizations, there is growing concern for the safety of the refugees in Egypt. Last week, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to the Egyptian Interior Ministry asking it to assess the use of force by its border police against the Sudanese.

While Israel has the right and the need to control its borders, it also has responsibilities regarding the treatment of asylum-seekers," the AJC paper stated.

According to a senior member of the New York Jewish Federation, a growing number of high-profile American Jews are campaigning for Israel to announce it will find long-term solutions for the refugees in countries other than Egypt.

"There is enormous confusion and it flows directly from the fact that they don't know what they are dealing with and they are not used to turning around and asking for help," said one disgruntled member of a Diaspora organization. "There have direct offers of assistance made, and the Israeli government has not utilized the resources it has in the Diaspora."

Rabbi Ed Rettig, associate director of the American Jewish Committee's Israel Middle East Office, said part of the problem was that Israeli officials were attempting to use existing models to deal with the refugees, rather than to create a new policy.

Sudanese crossing the border are considered "enemy infiltrators" because Sudan is in a formal state of war with Israel, and the two countries lack diplomatic relations. Israel has been detaining male asylum-seekers under the Enemy Infiltrators Law of 1954 for the past several years, although it has not deported any asylum-seeker since 2004..

Thursday, August 16, 2007

This is beyond ignorance-this is ...

Palestine issue 'battle cry' for extremism, says British peer

Aug. 16, 2007

In a recent speech made in the British House of Lords, controversial Liberal Democrat Party peer Jenny Tonge claimed that the issue of Palestine was the battle cry of Islamists across the world. Now read what this agenda driven anti-Israel bigot spews:
"Ever since 1948, Palestine has been used as a battle cry and a propaganda weapon for Islamists worldwide," she told the Lords. "I have witnessed this in some African countries and, more recently, in Bangladesh. Palestine is what the West does to Muslims. That is the message. The Palestinians have been brought to their knees. A cultured and well educated society with high skill levels has been reduced to a third-world country. The statistics are there for all to see."

The peer also made the allegation that the IDF disrupted school exams in Nablus with a generation of illiterate and unskilled Palestinians emerging as a result.
"Even education is being destroyed as children are terrorised by raids on their schools. Exams in Nablus, for example, were disrupted only last week by the IDF. An unskilled and illiterate generation will emerge, capable of very little except low-wage labour. The economy cannot be rebuilt unless Israel changes its policies."
Dr. Jonathan Spyer, research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzlia, told The Jerusalem Post: "The argument that Israel is responsible for the rise of global jihadi terror is often-made by European opponents of Israel, such as Jenny Tonge.

"The attempt to hold Israel responsible for global jihadi terror betrays an appalling ignorance of Islamist movements. Radical Islam is a political idea, some of whose proponents use the method of terrorism. This idea sees world events as shaped by a struggle between the forces of authentic Islam, and those of the non-believers. It uses a long list of supposed Muslim grievances as a way to mobilise support. These of course vary according to the geographic situation of the particular Islamist group. Bin-Laden's group, for example, came into being in order to overthrow the government of Saudi Arabia as were incensed at the presence of 'infidel' US forces in the kingdom in the 1990s. Al-Qeda hardly mentioned the Palestinian issue prior to 2001. Other violent Islamist groups, such as the GIA in Algeria, similarly combine local ambitions with radical ideology.

"The idea that this trans-national idea - which feeds off many local issues - is somehow 'traceable' to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and would be settled by the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel - an outcome which the Islamists in any case reject - is an absurd one. It's used by people like Tonge in order to hold Israel to blame for radical Islam's war in the West, and thus simultaneously provide a sort of rationalisation for Islamist terror, and encourage the demonisation of Israel, who are 'to blame for why they hate us'."

Baroness Tonge was sacked as a Member of Parliament and as the Liberal Democrat spokeswoman in 2004 after expressing support for Palestinian suicide bombers. Last November, she stepped down as a trustee of the charity Christian Aid, suspected to be related to comments she made about the "financial grips of the pro-Israel lobby" at the Liberal Democrat Party conference last September.

Speaking to the Post, Daniel Seaman, director of the Government Press Office said that at a recent meeting in Jericho, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas told Prime Minister Olmert that the PA could not control Hamas.
"Any disruption is down to the extremists of Hamas who are operating in the area. Israel is operating in the area to protect its citizens. If exams are being disrupted this is unfortunate. However exams can be retaken, lives cannot be brought back," he said.

Tonge also questioned how things could get better. "The new government talks of rebuilding the economy in Palestine and of getting the Palestinians back to work, which is very welcome but how will they do that with road blocks, checkpoints and Bantustans divided by settler-only roads? How can an economy work in this situation?" she asked.

She then goes on to call Israel a racist and apartheid state and recommends sanctions and boycotts to bring about change.

"…How do we persuade Israel to change? We want Israel to be a secure and prosperous state, and I say that sincerely. How can anyone in Israel believe that the present situation will give them what they want, long-term security. I am not anti-Semitic, but I am appalled by the racist, apartheid state of Israel. I use the word 'apartheid' in its literal sense, it means separation, because that is what is going on.

"Policies of the western countries towards Israel must change. Israel must be made to understand. We must consider trade sanctions and boycotts, if necessary, to make that country obey international law. The present situation is a disaster for Palestinians. It is a disaster for Israel. It is a disaster for the whole world. It has to change."
Tonge was challenged on her use of language by Labour peer Lord Parry Andrew Mitchell, who said: "…The bit of her speech to which I take particular exception is her comment that Israel is an apartheid state. Perhaps we have all forgotten what an apartheid state was like. But, let me say just this about Israel: it has an Arab Minister in the Government and in the Cabinet. There is no ban on races mixing with each other. If you go to any hospital in Israel, you will see Arabs, Israelis and Druze whether they are being treated or whether they are doctors and nurses. In particular, the Weizmann Institute, of which I am the UK chairman, has Arabs and Arab professors who mix closely.

Apartheid is a very dangerous word; it has all sorts of meanings and it is absolutely untrue to say that of Israel.

Tonge responded saying: "My Lords, I explained that I used the word in the literal sense, meaning separation."


More Iran and Russia Collaboration

Lavrov Calls for Improved Ties

MOSCOW, Aug. 15--Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday improved relations between the Western countries and Iran are part of the approach to resolve the dispute concerning Iranian nuclear program.
. Sergei Lavrov wrote in an article published in the Russian magazine, “Russia and Global Politics“, under the title of “Russia’s self-restraint in the future“ that improved relations with Iran would help solve problems concerning non-proliferation of nuclear arms as well, IRNA reported.

The Russian foreign minister added that any pressure on Iran over nuclear program would make energy supply for Europe and the entire world insecure.
He also said using force on Iran would jeopardize energy security of Europe and that a common approach should be applied to deal with this problem.
Lavrov urged Western governments to normalize ties with Tehran to make a breakthrough in the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.


West Capitulates-Losing War on Terror

PA prime minister Salam Fayyad, and the foreign minister met in Ramallah with the Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso. They signed an agreement under which Japan will pay aid of $20 million to the Palestinians.

Got Lucky!

During a routine patrol near the Gaza Strip, Golani soldiers discovered a new tunnel, 15m long, used for smuggling, dug inside a tree. It appears that this tunnel was about to be used by terrorists to perpetrate an attack against Israel.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Giuliani Says Palestinian State Would Support Terrorism
by Ezra HaLevi

American Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has bucked the party line of successive US administrations and come out against the establishment of a Palestinian state.

"Too much emphasis has been placed on brokering negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians — negotiations that bring up the same issues again and again," the former New York City Mayor wrote in a paper published in Foreign Affairs magazine. "It is not in the interest of the United States, at a time when it is being threatened by Islamist terrorists, to assist the creation of another state that will support terrorism."

Giuliani did not rule out the eventual establishment of such a state, but warned against the push by President George W. Bush and embattled Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to quickly establish a state in Judea and Samaria ruled by Fatah. "Palestinian statehood will have to be earned through sustained good governance, a clear commitment to fighting terrorism, and a willingness to live in peace with Israel."

Giuliani also took a swipe at the United Nations, saying America should have "realistic" expectations about the effectiveness of an organization he says has made itself “irrelevant” to the resolution of the past half-century’s conflicts. "The organization can be useful for some humanitarian and peacekeeping functions, but we should not expect much more of it.”

Saying the war with “Islamic fascism” will be a lengthy one, Giuliani explained that: "The Terrorists' War on US was encouraged by unrealistic and inconsistent actions taken in response to terrorist attacks in the past. A realistic peace can only be achieved through strength.”

Iran is making its move, right now!
GS Don Morris, Ph.D.

If you read this blog on a daily basis you will begin to see what Iran's political strategy is; engage, create, promote and manage political,social ,financial and military ties with Iran's neighbors or with those countries in its neighborhood.The USA's strategy up until today has been to try to isolate Iran within the international community. It not only is not working,it seems to be fueling Iran's escalating need for regional support. Additionally, it has not gone unnoticed that the nations Iran is currying favor with lie in the fly over patterns for any enemy planes.

Thus, Iran is creating a protective ring around itself and it is ensuring that any Western country will be unable, legally, to attack it from the air. Politically it is also developing and nurturing political currency that it will spend in the future. This is not unlike a scene from one of the"Godfather" movies: "I'm doing you a favor today and I will ask you sometime in the future to ..."

I am truly curious now, what is the West's policy toward Iran-darned if I know! I've heard the words and I notice a disconnect with our actions.
TEHRAN, Aug. 14--Iranian and Iraqi border officials held a high-level meeting to review issues pertaining to their joint border.
Brigadier General Qasem Rezaei, Commander of Iran’s Border Police and his Iraqi counterpart Major General Mohsen Abdulhassan Lazem on Tuesday discussed ways to broaden relations between the two neighboring countries, IRNA reported.
Ahead of the meeting, Rezaei told reporters that joint border control is the main objective of the talks.
ASHKHABAD, Turkmenistan,
Aug. 14--President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov began private talks here at Turkmenistan’s Presidential Palace on Tuesday.
The two presidents are expected to discuss issues of mutual interest as well as ties between the two countries, IRNA reported.

Comment: The USA government's reaction to this meeting is exactly what? Silence!
To the Editors
Jerusalem Post

Subject: UK Blocks Israel arms deals for fear of rights violations - Aug.14, 2007

The UK decision to block arms to Israel for fear of human rights violations must be viewed as the continuation
of the longtime British policy of anti-Jewish bias that recalls the last century.

Where was British concern for the human rights of the Jews of Hebron in 1929 massacred by Arab terrorists who gained control of that Biblical city while the British turned a blind eye to the killing and destruction?

What of the brutal British anti-terror methods used in Jenin in Oct., 1938, against Arabs, forcing them to walk where mines had been planted, blowing up a large section of the town - all in retaliation for the assassination of a British official? Documents declassified in London in 1989 provide details of British human rights violations in Jenin; report by Dr. Raphael Medoff.
Following its operation in Khan Yunis, the IDF has reported that Hamas is operating like a structured army, is better armed than previously and faced IDF soldiers in offensive positions. According to the IDF Hamas has improved the precision of its shooting with light arms and RPG missiles.
Guysen news
Hassan Nasrallah is promising some ''surprises'' in the case of a new round of fighting. "If you are thinking of going to war against Lebanon, I guarantee you a big surprise, which will change the fate of the war and that of the entire region'', he said in Beirut, without giving any more details. He also accused Israel and the United States of being "true terrorist entities, against the resistance of the Lebanese Shiite militia". The head of Hizbollah made these statements broadcast on a giant screen in front of tens of thousands of supporters in Beirut to mark the first anniversary of the war in Lebanon.
Guysen news

US Government Plays Lip Service to Border Problems

Hearing sought on Islamic, Mexican ties


By Sara A. Carter - A ranking House Republican yesterday demanded a hearing based on recent reports that Islamic terrorists embedded in the United States are teaming with Mexican drug cartels to fund terrorism networks overseas.
Rep. Ed Royce, ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs terrorism and nonproliferation subcommittee, said the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) document — first reported yesterday by The Washington Times — highlights how vulnerable the nation is when fighting the war on terrorism.

"I'll be asking the terrorism subcommittee to hold a hearing on the DEA report's disturbing findings," said Mr. Royce of California. "A flood of name changes from Arabic to Hispanic and the reported linking of drug cartels on the Texas border with Middle East terrorism needs to be thoroughly investigated."

Likewise, Rep. John Culberson, Texas Republican, said the DEA document revealed startling evidence that Islamic radicals are camouflaging themselves as Hispanics while conducting business with violent drug-trafficking organizations.

"I have been ringing the bell about this serious threat of Islamic individuals changing their surnames to Hispanic surnames for three to four years," Mr. Culberson said. "Unfortunately, Homeland Security's highest priority is to hide the truth from Congress and the public. I just hope we're not closing the barn door after terrorists have already made their way in."

Mr. Culberson, a member of the House Appropriations homeland security subcommittee, yesterday wrote a letter to the subcommittee's chairman, Rep. David E. Price, North Carolina Democrat, requesting a full investigation and hearing into the matter. A spokesman for Mr. Price said the committee is contacting the law-enforcement agencies and will work closely with Mr. Culberson's office on the matter.

"We certainly want to learn more about the matter from the agencies involved," said Paul Cox, press secretary to Mr. Price.

The 2005 DEA report outlines several incidents in which multiple Middle Eastern drug-trafficking and terrorist cells in the U.S. are funding terrorism networks overseas with the aid of Mexican cartels.
These sleeper cells use established Mexican cartels with highly sophisticated trafficking routes to move narcotics — and other contraband — in and out of the United States, the report said.

These "persons of interest" speak Arabic, Spanish and Hebrew fluently, according to the document.

The report includes photographs of known Middle Easterners who "appear to be Hispanic; they are in fact, all Spanish-speaking Arabic drug traffickers supporting Middle East terrorism from their base of operations" in the southwestern United States, according to the DEA.

Michael Maxwell, a senior analyst with the House Appropriations homeland security subcommittee, said that the report is evidence that terrorism cells exist in the U.S. and are being aided by dangerous narco-trafficking cartels.

"While the procurement of fraudulent or multiple identities by terrorists to hide criminal activity is not new, the information suggests terrorist tradecraft is evolving and relationships now exist between Mexican and Middle Eastern individuals or groups, embedded here in the United States," he added.

The ties are as deep as family, according to the DEA report, which said that a Middle Eastern member of the Muslim Brotherhood, involved in narcotics sales and other crimes, married into a Mexican narcotics family.

"One of the targets of this investigation is an Arabic man," the document said.

A 2006 Department of Homeland Security intelligence report — also obtained by The Times — said that Al Qaeda has tried and is planning on using the Southwest border to enter the U.S.

Mark Juergensmeyer, director of the Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara and a terrorism specialist, said that links between terrorism and narcotics trafficking have been well-established in foreign nations, such as Afghanistan.

But Mr. Juergensmeyer said the DEA report linking terrorist organizations in the United States to Mexican drug cartels displays a new evolution in terrorist tactics and poses a serious concern in the area of security.

"In some ways, that's even more frightening to think that drug-trafficking organizations in Mexico may adopt some jihadist ideology," he said. "If it's an ideology being adopted by a drug culture then that makes this situation very dangerous."

Why Oslo really failed-Part One

Gershon Baskin, THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 13, 2007

With the renewal of the peace process it is worthwhile to look at some of the lessons that should have been learned from the failure of the process thus far. This article is the first of three that will provide some insights into some of those lessons.
. Lesson Learned: In protracted conflicts it is not sufficient to only detail the beginning of the process; it is important, and perhaps essential to reach agreement on at least the principles of longer-term final or permanent status issues.

The Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles (DOP) signed on September 13, 1993 provided a framework for mutual recognition between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). This agreement, it was hoped, would provide the sides with the framework and the mechanism to begin a process of normalization, mutual recognition, mutual confidence building, and to lead to future negotiations. The DOP also listed the main issues in conflict that must be resolved for the permanent status between the two sides. The DOP dealt with procedural issues for the short term focusing on temporary status issues, leaving the core issues of the conflict for later stages.

The two sides adopted the Kissengerian notion of "constructive ambiguity" in order to "sell" the agreements to their own constituencies. In doing so, each side was also allowed to interpret what they perceived to be unwritten agreements regarding the final or permanent status that will emerge at the end of the process.
The main issues of the conflict: borders, Palestinian sovereignty or statehood, Jerusalem, Israeli settlements, refugees, etc. were not included at all in the initial negotiations. They were left out of the agreement to be dealt with at a later stage. These issues are the heart of the conflict. By not reaching at least a declaration of principles on these issues at the beginning of the process, each side was free to develop among their own constituencies disparate understandings of what the final outcome would be. Rather than coming closer together on most of the core issues, the gaps in understandings grew throughout the years when no negotiations took place regarding the final status.

LESSON LEARNED: Dates are holy. The DOP set up a timeline for implementation. The basic timeline determined that there would an interim period of five years and that negotiations on permanent status "will commence as soon as possible, but not later than the beginning of the third year of the interim period."

The DOP also set forth a schedule for Palestinian elections and Israeli redeployments or withdrawals from Palestinian territories. The second Oslo agreement set up a more rigid schedule for further implementation of Israeli withdrawals. In early 1995, prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, following a series of terrorist attacks, assured the Israeli Knesset that there are "no holy dates" and that further Israeli redeployments would not be implemented according to the schedule set forth in the agreements.
From that time on, throughout the peace process implementation of agreements were not kept according to what had been the agreed upon dates. A process of mutual breaching of the agreements began as each side came to understand that if the other side did not comply with the signed agreement, then they too are not bound to what they signed.

The entire process was predicated on the implementation of the agreements on a time frame that demanded that each side fulfill its part of the deal on time. A unilateral Israeli decision to breach the agreement on the time table of implementation led the Palestinians to breach other elements of the agreement. The Israeli decision was based on the belief that the Palestinians were not undertaking a sincere battle against terrorism. The Palestinians argued that their best weapon against terrorism is the progress of the peace process and the Israeli withdrawals from Palestinian territories, and thus a Catch 22 cycle of breaches following breaches ensued and progressed until the final breakdown in the end of 2000.

Permanent status negotiations did not begin as scheduled. Israeli withdrawals did not take place on schedule, while at the same time violence increased, opposition on both sides gathered support and breaching the agreements became the norm Lesson Learned: Political violence cannot be tolerated. THE OSLO process was marked from the outset with a continuation of Palestinian violence and terrorism.

With the signing of the agreement in September 1993 there was a huge drop in the number of attacks, however, they never completely ended. Additionally, during Succot 1994 a Jewish terrorist massacred Muslim prayers in the Ibrahimia Mosque in Hebron. In 1995 we were witness to many acts of fundamentalist Islamic suicide bombers who murdered Israelis indiscriminately.

These acts of violence created an impossible situation for the political leaders who stood behind the peace process on both sides. There is no simple known formula for what leaders should do when their citizens fall victim to terrorism aimed at halting a peace process. Ceasing the process would only award those who seek through their terror to achieve precisely that result. It was prime minister Rabin who articulated the policy that the fight against terror would continue as if there were no negotiations and that the negotiations would continue as if there was no terror. Other than agreeing with that basic formula, there are probably at least two additional points that could be raised and may point to some lessons that should be learned.

First, it was probably a mistake to call the victims of terror "the casualties of peace." First, this is wrong - they were casualties of continued warfare and not casualties of peace. The notion that these victims of terrorism suffered as a result of a peace process only served to strengthen the opposition to the peace process in both publics. Words are very important and very powerful.

Second, at almost no time during the peace process did the two sides work honestly and sincerely together, in partnership, to confront the problem of terrorism and violent opposition to the peace process. Had the two sides worked together against the problem, rather than the two sides working against each other, there is a chance that the results could have been more positive.

More often than not, Arafat was blamed by the Israelis for not preventing terrorism emanating from areas that were not even under his security control and responsibility. Without opening the argument of whether or not Arafat was ever really sincere in fighting against terrorism, the likelihood of a real Palestinian effort against its own extremists could have been enhanced through a cooperative approach rather than the antagonistic approach that was employed. The more that Israel blamed the Palestinian Authority, its leaders and its security chiefs for failing to prevent terrorism, the more these same people were presented in their own media as agents of Israel, as they suddenly responded to Israeli demands to "round up" some extremists and imprison them.

There is no doubt that the leaders on both sides failed to find a positive and effective way of confronting the spoilers, the extremists and the killers on both sides. This is not a problem that has surfaced only in the Israeli-Palestinian context - it is a problem that has become one of the most significant dangers to peace making around the globe.

The writer is co-ceo of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research & Information. This is the first of a three-part series.

Freedom of Speech Villified

Aug. 14, 2007

Letters to the Editor

National Post

Dear Editor,

The backers of the billboard promoting Hezbollah are enjoying the benefits of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that guarantees freedom of speech to promote a terrorist organization and its would be genocidal leader. Obviously the backers are not intelligent enough to recognize the irony that such freedoms do not exist under the Hezbollah or in any other radical Islamic state. If anyone in Lebanon was crazy enough to rent a billboard to promote let’s say; Israeli tourism, they would be torn limb from limb. An example of the craziness of fundamentalist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas was the recent decision to ban Palestinian musicians from playing their instruments at Gaza weddings and celebrations because their instruments were not mentioned in the Koran.

Sincerely yours,

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Legal Jihad Is Already Underway
By Phyllis Chesler | 8/14/2007
When will the West awaken? Of course, I am not talking about your ordinary citizen or soldier but about our Talking Heads and other gate-keeping chatterers who simply refuse to "get it."
. Cambridge University Press not only recalls but has promised to pulp the book that authoritatively documents one Saudi billionaire's funding of terror; many anti-jihadic writers and all our leading mainstream media have privately apologized to this same billionaire. Only Rachel Ehrenfeld has refused to "apologize" for telling the truth and has counter-sued him in an American court of law based on her First Amendment right to tell the truth. (She was initially sued in London where she lost by default; she chose not to appear in court).

At a recent conference in Los Angeles, sponsored by the American Freedom Alliance, Daniel Pipes announced his intention to start a legal defense bail fund for those who are sued by Islamists and their Western apologists for telling the truth. Not a moment too soon--although, regrettably, perhaps too late for Ehrenfeld. And, The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has begun a process of legal intimidation against my esteemed colleague, Robert Spencer. Accordingly, David Horowitz has launched a legal defense fund for Spencer. I have pledged money to this and advise us all to do the same.

Before this war is over, we will each need legal defense funds. And that's if we're lucky. Those in the Islamic East need bodyguards and air-lifts to safety in the West. But there is a pattern emerging in the West which we ignore at our own peril.
For example, a leading American publisher of law enforcement and counter-terrorism titles cancelled Dr. Nancy Kobrin's book about Islamic suicide terrorism. I wrote the Introduction for it and together Dr. Kobrin and I "went public." A number of other publishers emerged--but they quickly disappeared too.

I have been trying to find a publisher for a book titled The Islamification of America and guess what? No takers so far. I am ready to self-publish the work. This is a very special kind of Gulag. The internet provides us with the most sophisticated and universal of platforms for such 21st-century "samizdats."

We who write in the America are so far lucky. We are legally intimidated. We are silenced on campuses due to the "politically correct" ideologies that rule there. True, the American Jewish Committee recently paid for a full page New York Times ad signed by American college presidents who oppose the eternally-intended British boycott of Israeli academics and who bravely suggest that they be boycotted too. Well and good.

But guess who did not sign? Harvard, Yale, Vassar, California State University at Berkeley, Los Angeles, UCLA, San Francisco State, and of course, Norman Finkelstein's old perch, De Paul in Chicago. (Maybe I'm wrong, maybe they did sign in a Harry Potter kind of way in invisible ink).
But this is nothing compared to what Muslim intellectuals (and women and human beings) must endure in the Islamic world today. If they are lucky, they live in exile or in hiding and write under pseudonyms. A handful write openly and travel with bodyguards.

I am just told that Taslima Nasrin was, yet again, attacked by one hundred angry Muslim fanatics as she held a press conference in Hyderabad, India, to launch her new book. Nasrin, a physician and a feminist author who was born in Bangladesh, was once nearly lynched by a mighty mob there. She fled her country and lived in exile in Sweden and in hiding. Now, she lives in India where dozens of Muslim protesters, led by three lawmakers physically attacked her and her co-panelists. They demanded that India extradite her to Bangladesh (I guess for the kind of justice Bangladesh has meted out to that other hero, parliamentarian Chadhury, who was imprisoned and tortured because he wanted to visit Israel).

Her works have been banned in Bangladesh. She is being accused of being "anti-Islam."
Islamists are moving against us in the West very carefully and in legal ways. In the overly revered "Third World" they speak in violence, their speech IS violence.
I hope that Taslima Nasrin remains safe and in India. And that the sleeping giant awakens before we have all been sued and censored into silence.

Dr. Phyllis Chesler is the well known author of classic works, including the bestseller Women and Madness (1972) and The New Anti-Semitism (2003). She has just published The Death of Feminism: What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom (Palgrave Macmillan), as well as an updated and revised edition of Women and Madness. She is an Emerita Professor of psychology and women's studies, the co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology (1969) and the National Women's Health Network (1974). She is currently on the Board of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and lives in New York City. Her website is
The Dangers of 'Peace' Making
America's latest efforts merely entrenched al Qaeda in the Gaza Strip.

Sunday, August 12, 2007 12:01 a.m.

The U.S. and other Western powers are pushing for a new Israeli-Palestinian breakthrough, to help contain Iran and undercut the appeal of al Qaeda and radical Islam. A grand-scale Middle East peace conference is planned for this fall.
. The underlying assumption is that radical Islam has something do to with Israel-related political grievances. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has made this argument repeatedly. If he and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice roll up their sleeves and work toward a permanent settlement of the Palestinian issue, so the logic goes, they will be providing a powerful diplomatic antidote to the jihadism threatening the security of the entire Western alliance.
But is this really the case? In August 2005, the international community embraced Israel's unilateral disengagement from Gaza, largely for these very reasons. The "occupation," which they tirelessly argued was polarizing the Middle East, would be rolled back. The Palestinians would take over Israeli greenhouses and export cherry tomatoes to the European Union. They would pump gas from lucrative off-shore gas fields being developed by British Gas to bring in huge revenues to the Palestinian people.
Ms. Rice also pushed hard for the "Rafah Border Crossing Agreement," which was supposed to facilitate trade between Gaza and the rest of the world while keeping terrorists out. EU observers were deployed.
But moderation did not ensue. Five months after Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas won the Palestinian elections and formed a government. In March 2006, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the London Arabic daily Al-Hayat that al Qaeda had penetrated the area. A month later, the newspaper reported that al Qaeda operatives had infiltrated Gaza from Egypt, Sudan and Yemen.
Huge amounts of weapons and cash also poured into Gaza. And regardless of their tactical disagreements, Hamas did not fight al Qaeda but in fact joined forces with one of its Gaza affiliates, the Army of Islam (Jaish al-Islam), in kidnapping Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit. In July 2007, the head of al Qaeda in Egypt fled that country's security forces to hide in Gaza.
In short, the U.S. and its Western allies thought that Israel's Gaza pullout would establish the foundations of a Palestinian state and thus reduce the flames of radical Islamic rage. Instead they got an al-Qaeda sanctuary on the shores of the Mediterranean.

The source of their error was a popular misconception in policy-making circles of what causes radical Islam to thrive. The gasoline fueling al Qaeda has been its sense of victory, not political grievances.
Its recruits have responded to Web clips of U.S. armored vehicles in Iraq exploding, or the beheading of Russian soldiers in Chechnya. Indeed, al Qaeda was established in 1989, after the Soviet Union was defeated in Afghanistan. It was then that Osama bin Laden and his followers said to themselves that they had just beaten a superpower and were replicating the great victories of the early armies of Islam that crushed the Byzantine and Persian Empires.
It should be remembered that in the 1990s, the U.S. and its allies addressed many political grievances of the Islamic world in Kuwait, Somalia and especially in Bosnia. In the Arab-Israeli sector, the Clinton administration devoted more time to Arab-Israeli diplomacy than most of its predecessors, with the 1993 Oslo Accords, the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty, the 1997 Hebron Agreement, the 1998 Wye Agreement, and finally the attempt to reach a permanent-status agreement at Camp David in 2000. But al Qaeda only grew in strength. There were attacks in Saudi Arabia in 1995, East Africa in 1998, Yemen in 2000 and finally 9/11.
In other words, there was no correlation between U.S.-led diplomatic efforts to ameliorate the grievances voiced by radical Islamic groups and the appeal of al Qaeda.
What the Gaza pullout showed, however, was that mishandling the Israeli-Palestinian issue can exacerbate the threat of radical Islam, especially if it deepens the sense in radical Islamic circles that their military efforts have paid off. Today, leading Western diplomats have been praising the Arab League Peace Initiative--based on the 2002 Saudi Plan--which calls on Israel to fully withdraw to the pre-1967 lines (i.e., leave the Golan Heights and entire West Bank) in exchange for "normal relations" with the Arab world. The Saudi Plan re-divides Jerusalem.
This proposal goes well beyond the requirements of peacemaking envisioned by the United Nations in Security Council Resolution 242 (November 1967), which did not demand a complete Israeli pullback. The Arab Initiative also goes far beyond the letter of assurances sent by President Bush to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on April 14, 2004, which guaranteed Israel's right to "defensible borders" in the West Bank (and hence precluded the kind of withdrawal envisioned by the Saudis).
But what if Israel were to feel pressured by the U.S. and its partners--and it conceded its right to defensible borders at the upcoming Middle Eastern peace conference by agreeing to the terms of the Arab Initiative? Gaza provides a preview.

For example, if Israel left the Jordan Valley, its strategic barrier in the east, this would create a new security vacuum. This would not only undermine Israel, but would pose a threat to Jordan, which has already suffered from Iraqi al Qaeda over the last few years with suicide bombing attacks in Amman. Jordan would become the new forward base for jihadi groups moving against Israel. Two years ago, Israel discovered that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the late leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, had already set up cells for this purpose in the Jordanian city of Irbid.
Even before the implementation of such far-reaching concessions, serious destabilization could easily erupt. Today, the main reason why Mahmoud Abbas and the remains of his Fatah movement retain power in the West Bank is not their popularity. Observers forget that Hamas also won the Palestinian elections in the West Bank in 2006. However, in contrast to the situation in Gaza, the Israeli Army is fully deployed in strategic areas of the West Bank and could intervene in minutes if Hamas tried to execute a Gaza-style military coup to topple Mr. Abbas.
One of the diplomatic proposals that has been on the table since 2002 is to get Israel to withdraw from its current deployment to the lines it held on September 2000, presumably with international guarantees. If Israel were to agree to this idea, it would be hailed by the Western powers as a vital step towards the achievement of an Arab-Israeli peace. But it would also, under present conditions, set the stage for a complete Hamas takeover in the West Bank as well and create a huge victory for radical Islam.
Forty years ago when U.N. Resolution 242 was drafted, its architects understood that peacemaking required balance. Israel would have to compromise, but its diplomacy should not undermine the delicate strategic balance in the Middle East with a radical pullout that would leave it excessively vulnerable. Effective diplomacy today requires striking the same careful balance--seizing opportunities for real peace, but granting Israel its right to defensible borders.
Pushing Israel back to the pre-1967 lines will not satisfy al Qaeda, nor will it bring peace. Right now, what the Palestinians need is help to build a stable civil society with governing institutions that work, not a return to the ceremonial diplomacy of the 1990s. The errors of past Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking have not been cost-free. They have real consequences in terms of loss of life and a deepening conflict. These initiatives do not halt the assault of radical Islam against the West. In fact, if mishandled, they can make it far worse.
Mr. Gold, Israel's ambassador to the U.N. in 1997-99 and a negotiator with the Palestinians during the Wye River negotiations, is author of "The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy City" (Regnery, 2007).

Comment: From a Syrian newspaper-notice how it is trying to position Syria's importance in the region-this is politics at its best-know what's next?

Syria's Stance is distinguished by firmness
Monday, August 13, 2007 - 06:30 PM

AMMAN,(SANA)- Secretary General of the Arab Parties' Conference in Jordan Abdul-Aziz al-Said underlined that the Syrian stance is distinguished by firmness throughout various decades .

. In an interview published by the Jordanian weekly of al-Wihdah on Monday, al-Said added that Syria won't change its stances because it is the heart of the Arab world and its people are the motive of the nation, indicating that" there is no success for any solution in the region without involvement of Syria.".
Racism in the Islamic World


For years, the U.N., led by Islamic and Arab nations and their
sympathizers, has accused Israel of racism, but the world
consistently turns a blind eye to open, seething anti-Semitism in
Islamic society.
. What are the facts?

In one of the most astonishing propaganda coups ever, a United
Nations conference on racism, which took place in Durban South Africa
in 2001, declared that Zionism is racism. No wonder the U.S. and
Israel walked out of the meeting, which was dominated by
representatives of Islamic and Arab states and other anti-Israel
forces, and whose conclusions were predictable from the outset.

The supreme irony of this conference was that it accused no other
nation of racism—only Israel. In truth, Israel is perhaps the most
racially and ethnically diverse and tolerant country in the world.
More than half of Israel’s Jewish population consists of people of
color—blacks from Ethiopia and Yemen, as well as brown-skinned people
from Morocco, Iran, Syria, Egypt and Israel itself. In addition,
Israel’s population includes more than one million Arabs, who enjoy
the same civil rights as Jewish Israelis. In Israel hate speech is
banned, and it is against the law to discriminate based on race or

In contrast, anti-Semitism—a poisonous form of racism directed
specifically against the Jewish people—is rampant in most all Islamic
societies. Not only is anti-Semitism commonplace in Muslim nations,
but it is propagated shamelessly by their leaders, in state-sponsored
media, and by Muslim clergy.

For example, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed
declared in a 2003 speech to the Organization of Islamic Conference
that, “today Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight
and die for them.” Imagine if an American president had made a
similarly sweeping and bigoted statement about blacks, Latinos or any
other race—what a justifiable uproar, perhaps even an impeachment,
would ensue. Yet there was no condemnation by the Muslim world of Mr.
Mohamed’s comments. Rather, virtually all of the conference’s Muslim
leaders actually voiced their approval.

In response to a terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia in May 2004, Crown
Prince Abdullah declared that “Zionism is behind [these] terrorist
actions in the kingdom.” (Zionism is the code word often used by
Islamic anti-Semites for Jews.) U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos called
the Prince’s assertion “an outrage… blatant hypocrisy,” but Islamic
leaders were silent. In fact, millions of Muslims still insist that
Zionists were behind the September 11 attacks on the World Trade

Anti-Semitism is expressed so freely and ubiquitously in most Islamic
societies that no citizen can escape it. During Ramadan in 2002,
Egypt’s state-controlled TV aired “Horseman Without a Horse,” a
program based on the notorious forgery, The Protocols of the Elders
of Zion, in which Jews allegedly use the blood of non-Jews to make
Passover matzot. In Iran, a TV series, “Zahra’s Blue Eyes,” portrays
“Zionists” kidnapping Palestinian children and harvesting their

Perhaps nowhere is the hatred of Jews more virulent than among the
Palestinians. Most perniciously, Palestinian children are taught in
school that Jews are descended from apes and pigs and that the most
noble thing they can do is to kill Jews. Muslim clerics like Imam
Ibrahim Madiras, an employee of the Palestinian Authority, declared
in a 2005 television sermon, “Jews are a cancer” and later that,
“Muslims will kill the Jews . . . [and] rejoice in Allah’s victory.”
No surprise, then, that the 1982 doctoral dissertation of Palestinian
president Mahmoud Abbas makes the astounding claim that “Zionists”
collaborated with the Nazis to annihilate the Jewish people in order
to drive the survivors to Palestine.

Anti-Semitism and the prospects for peace: Islamic anti-Semitism
permeates the Arab Middle East and creates an atmosphere in which
Jews are reviled and represented as subhuman. How can the Palestinian
people embrace peace with a people represented by their religious and
political leaders as dehumanized, evil beings? Even more importantly,
how can Israel be expected to trust a so-called peace partner who
expresses abject hatred and murderous intent toward Jews on a daily
basis? Yet the U.S. and many European nations continue to demand that
Israel make one-sided sacrifices for peace with a people steeped in
racism and committed to its destruction.

Until Islamic leaders muster the integrity to relentlessly condemn
anti-Semitism (and its evil twin, anti-Zionism), we can’t expect
Israel to accept a forced peace with the Palestinians. Likewise,
until moderate Muslims reject racism in all forms, they can’t expect
Islam to enjoy full respect as a political and spiritual force among
the world’s people.

“Until Muslims reject racism in all forms, they can’t expect Islam to
enjoy full respect as a political and spiritual force.”
Distorting Israel
By Jamie Glazov | 8/2007
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, the Chairman of the Board of Fellows of one of Israel's leading think tanks, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. For forty years he has been an international strategic consultant. He has worked in twenty, mainly Western countries and has advised the chief executives or boards of several of the world's largest corporations. He has published eleven books in five languages in areas such as politics, economics, environmental studies, Judaism and anti-Semitism.
. Dr. Gerstenfeld has devised a new project which exposes how much of the world's media present Israel and the Middle East conflict in a negative light. His project reveals that if you use the tactics of media reporting and place these same parameters on any other country you could also make that country look bad.

FP: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Gerstenfeld: Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to present my project outside the Israeli and Dutch media.
FP: Tell us what inspired you to undertake your new project.
Gerstenfeld: Over the years I noticed how many foreign journalists reported in an extremely distorted way about Israel. Furthermore I undertook a few years ago a scholarly analysis of the pro-Israel media monitoring organizations. From that I understood their difficulties to obtain corrections of even factual mistakes made by major media. The expenses involved in such monitoring are so great that remarkable organizations such as Camera and Honest Reporting have to focus mainly on major media in the United States. The rest of the Western world is largely barren as far as pro-Israel media watching is concerned. Also media monitoring is by necessity largely reactive.
A second inspiration came when, a few years ago, I became familiar with the work of Trevor Asserson, a leading British litigation lawyer. He has undertaken a number of well documented studies which detail the BBC’s systematic bias against Israel. This is particularly important because the BBC is probably Europe’s most influential media and as Asserson has outlined, a major distorter of information on Israel. The credibility of Asserson’s work has recently increased even further. In past months, the BBC’s manipulations have been exposed in many other fields. This forced them to suspend several employees and inter alia, to apologize both to the British Queen and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Like media monitoring Asserson’s work required a major time effort and was reactive. I however was searching for an approach to expose media bias in a pro-active and simple way. To put it in business terms, I was aiming for a high return on a small time investment. That led to the idea that one could run a simple pilot project by publishing an article which would distort the news concerning a target country other than Israel. All one had to do was presenting negative news on it omitting positive news items.
FP: Expand for us a bit on how media bias against Israel manifests itself.
Gerstenfeld: To cover the entire field of anti-Israel media bias is a mission impossible. The methods are almost infinite and vary from crude to subtle ones. There is also a cumulative effect of such distortion. Therefore paradigmatic pilot studies of systematic bias are so important. Asserson has done that remarkably by investigating such an important media as the BBC. I understood that even better when I interviewed him for one of my books Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss?
Asserson listed in great detail how the BBC regularly in its reporting on Israel, broke many of the 15 legal obligations it is committed to under its monopolistic charter. These include that the media has to be fair, respect the truth, should not broadcast its own opinions on current affairs or current policy, ensure that opposing views are not misrepresented and not let the audience gauge the reporter’s personal views. He listed hundreds of examples of breaking these rules. The list is far too long to be exposed here. To mention one, there was a huge contrast in how the BBC reported on the British soldiers in Iraq, who were described in warm and glorified terms, whereas Israeli troops were painted as faceless, ruthless and brutal killers.
There are hundreds of ways to be unfair in one’s reporting. One of the most powerful is omission of crucial facts and context of certain actions. If one starts from the false assumption that Israel, through an aggressive war, has conquered Arab territories in 1967 while omitting the genocidal statements against Jews of Palestinian Arab leaders since about 1930, the non-acceptance of the Arabs to create a second Palestinian state in addition to Jordan in 1948 and also ignores the genocidal Arab invasion of the former Palestinian Mandate territory in 1948, one has laid in a simple way the infrastructure for diabolizing Israel.
FP: How and why did you come up with your method of "bad news" to fight this media bias?
Gerstenfeld: To expose the media distortion about Israel, I was looking for a method which would be proactive rather than reactive, simple to apply and explain and could be copied easily by others. As said this reflects my approach of seeking a high return on a low time investment.
That gave me the idea of applying just one of the anti-Israeli distortion methods – that of omission – to another country. I also chose a short period to analyze in order to avoid having to do much work.
I thus wrote an article in the Jerusalem Post on 5 June covering one week of negative news items from the Netherlands. Had there not been such favorable reactions to this publication there would not have been a “bad news” project. At its origins I had only conceived writing an article and not the project as it has developed over the last several weeks, partly by external stimuli.
FP: Why did you choose the Netherlands?
Gerstenfeld: The Netherlands are a good target for a pilot project for a number of reasons. Countries such as Israel and the United States are constantly blackened by media and members of the Western elite. The Netherlands on the other hand has a much more positive image than it merits. It is thus relatively easy to create a more realistic perspective on it.
Secondly, several of the correspondents of leading Dutch media report on Israel in a heavily distorted way. Exposing them by using sample cases is not too difficult.
Thirdly, there are in the 20th Century history of the Netherlands a number of major negative issues which are ignored internationally. For instance, the Netherlands in the former Dutch East Indies – now Indonesia - killed after the Second World War probably at least as many locals as were murdered in the Yugoslavian wars in the early 1990s. The irony is that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia resides in the Hague in the Netherlands. The many Dutch war crimes in post-war Indonesia have however been only partially investigated and hardly anyone has been punished for them. Also the Dutch pre-Second World War colonial history in the Dutch East Indies has involved mass murders
Another major negative issue was the fleeing in 1995, on the instructions of the Dutch government, of the Dutch UNIFIL soldiers in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica. The Dutch government sent poorly prepared soldiers there who misbehaved and did not even report war crimes they witnessed. The behavior of the Dutch government and the soldiers was a substantial factor in making the largest genocide in post war Europe possible. Again, no one in the Netherlands has been punished.
A few months ago a Dutch lawyers’ office brought a writ of summons against the Dutch government and the United Nations for their failures in Srebrenica. If this leads to a court case, this issue is likely to get the international attention which it merits.
Also, the Dutch government and/or Parliament has still not apologized to the Dutch Jews for the near total disinterest in their fate of its war time predecessor in London exile. This is in contrast to countries which have apologized such as Belgium, Norway, Finland and Denmark where the percentage of Jews murdered by the Germans was far lower. One has to realize that of the 140,000 Jews in the Netherlands, about 100,000 died in extermination or concentration camps in Eastern Europe. In the initial phases of the deportation the Germans had hardly to do any work – the Dutch bureaucracy, upon their orders, did it for them.
Fourthly, the current nature of Dutch society, where indifference has so often passed for tolerance, creates many situations which are extremely suitable for exposing bad news.
There is another factor which greatly facilitates the project. I am working on a new book which looks at the current attitudes of the Netherlands toward Jews and Israel and what this behavior tells us about that country. The knowledge acquired in the past two years of extensive interviewing has greatly improved my understanding of Dutch society.
FP: How does the bad news project work exactly?
Gerstenfeld: In a simple way. One collects every day news items, selecting from the country’s major media only those which put the country in a negative light. One then groups them according to topics and publishes them on a blog, and through articles in media as often as one can. This creates a cumulative effect and gradually impacts on the image of the country targeted.
This method simplifies the more complex way many foreign media distort the news about Israel. However our work is much more honest because the publications always say that the news is exclusively a selection of negative news which makes the reader understand that it doesn’t give a fair picture of the country. Secondly, the news items are reported as such. No spin is given to them, as is so often the case when anti-Israeli media write about Israel.
The original Jerusalem Post article listed 10 bad news items from one week in mid-May. Among these were that accusations had resurfaced regarding torture by Dutch soldiers in Iraq several years ago. A few weeks later it became known that while the law had been broken there were only suspicions of torture but no proofs. As so often is the case, however, the correction did not interest anyone. Another item of that week was that nine Dutch soldiers had been arrested in the town of Eindhoven, suspected of having beaten unconscious a Somalian homeless man.
In that week also the UN Commission Against Torture expressed its worry about the Dutch asylum policy. Due to accelerated procedures asylum seekers did not get enough time to plead their cause. This created the possibility that refugees would be sent back to countries where they might be tortured. This is against an international convention of 1985 signed by the Netherlands. The UN Commission also stated its concern about the fact that asylum seekers in the Netherlands are often left insecure about their future for a long time.
On the same day Dutch papers reported that the International Narcotics Strategy Report of the American Department of State stated that the Antwerp harbor in Belgium is the favorite port for cocaine smuggling throughout Europe. Almost all major shipments there are destined for the Netherlands. According to the same report, the Netherlands is the largest supplier of Ecstacy drugs to the United States.
Yet another item mentioned in the article was that the court in the town of Haarlem had concluded that the current leader of the Liberal Party Mark Rutte had incited to racial discrimination in 2003, when he was deputy minister of Social Affairs. In a letter to municipalities he had asked them to submit citizens or residents of Somalian origin to targeted investigations of frauds concerning social assistance. As a result the Haarlem municipality had investigated 84 residents of Somalian origin.
The Dutch government also announced that it would provide five million Euro to the four largest municipalities in order to fight criminality among the Moroccan community. Ethnic targeting has become far more common in The Netherlands since the murder of the media figure Theo van Gogh by the radical Muslim Mohammed Bouyeri in November 2004.
In Amsterdam Fatih Dag, a local leader of the Turkish Milli Gorus movement, announced that the movement would call on Turks to come to Amsterdam from all over Europe to demonstrate if the permit for a new mosque would be cancelled. Dag also mentioned that as Turks are emotional people this could lead to violence.
Also in the same week, Geert Wilders, the heavily guarded leader of the conservative Freedom Party, whose life is regularly threatened by Dutch radical Muslims, put in one more complaint to the authorities. Among the new hatemails he received there was a threat from somebody, who called himself ‘Mohammed B. the second’ to kill Wilders by cutting his throat in the same way van Gogh was slaughtered.
To create a counterpoint the last case I mentioned drew attention to the fact that not only politicians are insecure in the Netherlands. In the Rotterdam Zoo, a gorilla escaped and wounded several visitors. He crushed the hand of a woman, broke her wrist and underarm and bit her.
The article concluded with the assumption that almost any other week would yield a similar collection of negative facts in a country which is far from facing Israel’s existential threats. This has since been amply proven.
FP: What have the reactions been to your project?
Gerstenfeld: The reactions to the first article were most surprising and, in general, extremely encouraging. This ultimately led to the development of the “bad news” project. There were a number of talkbacks on the Jerusalem Post website which were in great majority, positive. What was astounding, however, was the reaction from the Netherlands. Individuals, mainly non-Jews, wrote that it was good that I had exposed the anti-Israel bias of leading Dutch media. Some offered that, if I were willing to write a weekly blog on bad news about the Netherlands, they would supply me with suitable daily news items. Indeed over the last two months these articles have been coming in regularly. They supplement the information I garner from the four Dutch newspapers I read daily on the internet.
Dutch Jews who contacted me were also positive on the article even though the small community tries to keep a relatively low profile and my article did not fit that. The reason for the positive reactions was that whatever had been attempted to counter the distorted reporting about Israel in The Netherlands had been highly inefficient. Talks with the media concerned had yielded next to nothing.
Many people, including senior academics who have no problems to publish in leading papers articles on other issues, sent regularly op-eds or letters to the editors of these newspapers, with corrections on their Middle East reporting. Hardly any were published. This is a typical example of the reverse of my approach – high investment, low yield. To make matters worse, when such letters were published, often also anti-Israeli ones were printed to “balance” them. Frequently these came from a small organized group of Jews whose main or sole expression of Jewish identity seems to be a strong dislike of Israel, to put it euphemistically.
Encouraged by the initial reactions I wrote an article in Hebrew expanding on the theme of “Bad News about the Netherlands.” It was published in the daily Makor Rishon and followed by a further expanded blog on the Hebrew website of our center. There were many more talkbacks there than we had ever had. They varied from extremely positive to excited. Apparently my approach had hit a nerve with people who felt that the foreign media were all powerful and there was no way to pop the balloon.
There were also media reactions from the Netherlands. The important left-of-center daily de Volkskrant published an updated version of my original Jerusalem Post article which in turn led to letters to the editor from pro-Palestinians. A columnist of a leading perpetrator of anti-Israeli bias, the daily NRC-Handelsblad, reacted to my article in his paper. His reaction, which was not very negative, showed that he had missed the main message of the article and its method.
Shortly afterwards I was asked by a large radio station – NCRV – to appear on one of their programs devoted to media issues. They also brought on a Dutch television reporter Conny Mus stationed in Israel who claimed that he and his colleagues were doing an excellent, objective job. It gave me the opportunity to point out that he was a good example of those who distorted news by omission.
Another development was that the left conservative weekly Opinio offered me to write a number of columns exposing Dutch bias against Israel. The first one was published under the title “Blackbook Netherlands.” It referred to the fact that it had been confirmed by the Ministry of Defense, that when Dutch soldiers of the Allied forces in Afghanistan encounter Taliban leaders who are on a target list, they must first try to arrest them. If that is too difficult however, they should ask permission from headquarters to kill them even if there is no concrete threat.
In 2004, when Israel killed Hamas leader Abdel Adin Rantissi, the then Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs had called that “unacceptable and reprehensible.” My column pointed out that in the same week as the Afghanistan story about the permission for targeted killings by the Dutch soldiers broke, Fatah had kidnapped a family member of Rantissi in Gaza , and executed him without process. The Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was in the Middle East, did not react despite the fact that to be even- handed he should have issued a condemnation of the Palestinians as his predecessor did of the Israelis. Nor did he call the Dutch government policy of targeted killings “unacceptable and reprehensible”.
A second column in Opinio addressed the fact that the Dutch government was co-financing the Dutch Roman Catholic NGO Cordaid. It had together with another pro-Palestinian Roman Catholic group Pax Christi, in June, before the visit of Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen to the Middle East, initiated a pro-Palestinian public statement calling on the Dutch government to break the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The statement astutely complained about 40 years of occupation, while it remained silent about 75 years of genocidal intent and murder attempts by the Palestinian Arabs.
Among the 52 prominent Dutch citizens, mainly well-known pro-Palestinians, who signed the call there were a number of former Dutch government ministers who had been involved in the disastrous decisions on the Dutch Army’s role in Srebrenica. I wrote “These individuals are shameless enough to consider themselves particularly qualified for helping to move the Middle East conflict in the interest of a crime-infested Palestinian society.”
The column also mentioned that according to reports from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Cordaid had been indirectly involved in co-financing the largest anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic hate campaign of the 21st Century, the UN World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa. I suggested in vain that Dutch parliamentarians should ask their governments questions on the matter.
My third column in Opinio addressed the earlier mentioned behavior of television journalist Conny Mus. At the end of April he had an interview with Ismael Haniyah of the Hamas, who was then Prime Minister of the short-lived Hamas-Fatah government. It would collapse a few weeks later after reciprocal murders in the Gaza area.
Mus took pride in that Haniyah had given him the occasion to be the first Western journalist to interview him. He stressed that he could ask Haniyah whatever he wanted. However, Mus avoided the one key question – ‘what is your position toward the killing of all Jews as the charter of your organization propagates.’ The interviewer also mentioned that he would have liked to accompany Haniyah to the Netherlands but that visit didn’t take place because the Dutch government refused to give Haniyah a visa.
Mus’s interview enabled the Palestinian Platform for Human Rights and Solidarity to claim that Haniyah had paid his respects to the Netherlands and had not said a word about the destruction of Israel. They didn’t mention that he had not been asked that explicit question by his interviewer. Mus could hardly claim innocence as he has been a correspondent on Middle East affairs for over 15 years while for five years he was the Chairman of the Foreign Press Association in Israel.
The article showed the mechanism of collaboration between a veteran journalist’s “distortion through omission” and the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual successors of Haj Amin el-Husseini. This former mufti of Jerusalem had helped the Germans to set up SS units in Bosnia and Kosovo, who were involved in killing Jews.
A further development came when the English edition of the Israeli left-of-center daily Haaretz which is co-published with the International Herald Tribune devoted an article by Cnaan Lipshiz on 3 August to the project and its weekly presentations at the seminars of our Center. The author had participated in one of them and wrote, with some hyperbole, that if not for the seminar’s title, “latecomers to the center’s conference room might understandably think they had joined an action group on Sudan rather than a learning forum on the Netherlands.”
On the first of August and independent of my efforts the large Israeli daily Ma’ariv also published an item of bad news on the Netherlands. On the Dutch UNIFIL ship van Speijk, four Dutch soldiers had been recalled to the Netherlands because of inappropriate sexual behavior. The paper printed it with a huge picture of the ship under the title “The UNIFIL Love Boat”. Dutch acquaintances told me that it is unlikely that the Dutch Navy was amused.
From further reactions in recent days including the invitation for this interview it seems that there is still substantial mileage in the project.
FP: What do you hope to achieve with this project?
Gerstenfeld: The current project has a number of aims. Through its content and the publicity around it I want to force Dutch society to confront the distorted reporting on Israel. I have now sufficient experience to prove that the image of a country can be impacted by frequently publishing negative news items about it. Once the Dutch understand how it is done with respect to them, it is easier to explain that that is the same what some of their journalists and other members of the elite do to Israel.
I often say to Dutch people who criticize Israel and are blind for the many ills of their own society that they should have been born differently. The largest part of their body should have been the index finger and their head should have been much smaller.
It is also interesting that what mainly shocks non-Dutch observers of the bad news project is not the items I expected. Misbehavior of Dutch soldiers, both abroad and at home, does not lead to incredulous reactions. The same is if one tells about dismissals due to misbehavior of Dutch policemen. Even the violent threats predominantly against Dutch critics of Islam do not encounter dramatic surprise, nor does the frequent beating up of homosexuals by both members of ethnic minorities and native Dutch. The economic problems of the new high speed railway line to Belgium or the total failure of a several hundreds of millions of Euro project of the Dutch tax authorities hardly raises an eyebrow.
Three items however seem to stand out particularly from the reactions received. The first is that the Netherlands will be the first in Europe to have a luxury brothel with its own golf course. This seems to be iconic for the perception of decadence of Dutch society.
The second item concerns the fact that there is now a political party which wants to legalize pedophilia. The courts have decided that it can participate in elections. To this must be added that there are reportedly 250 pedophiles seeking volunteer jobs with youth organizations.
The third item concerns the breakup of the Dutch AIDS organization, ‘the HIV Vereniging,’ which is subsidized by the Dutch Government. They expelled an organized group of twenty members ‘Poz and Proud.’ These claimed the right to unsafe sex and did not see problems in infecting others with aids. Unrelated to this at the end of May four people were arrested who had drugged homosexuals during sex feasts and injected them with HIV infected blood. The suspects declared that they find ‘unsafe sex’ pure and they got a kick out of it.
The second aim of the project is to encourage pro-Israelis that the media battle against the anti-Israeli elites and media is not a hopeless one. The latter are vulnerable as well. In the course of time one may develop other efficient projects, beyond the “bad news” one, to expose them.
Finally, I hope that people in other countries will follow the example of the pilot project on the Netherlands. It can be done for any Western country. As said, all one needs is to read the local papers consistently and critically, and publish a regular blog with the main negative items. Any publicity the blog obtains beyond that is net gain.
FP: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.
Gerstenfeld: Thank you very much, Jamie.