Saturday, October 11, 2008

Where the Jews Vote Republican

Willy Stern
10/13/2008, Volume 014, Issue 05

Ramallah and Sderot
My Palestinian driver insists we stop by Arafat's tomb to pay our respects. He explains the etiquette: Visitors can either say a prayer or salute. On the 45-minute drive north to Ramallah from Jerusalem, he had referenced the "f--ing Jews" so quickly and often that I figured there was no upside to disclosing my own Jewish heritage. I'm just another American scribe on a day-trip to the West Bank, wondering how to deal with the late PLO leader. At the tomb, I quietly mutter under my breath a Jewish prayer in Hebrew--the "Sh'ma" for you chosen people keeping score at home. Crisis avoided; we are back on the road. Next stop in downtown Ramallah is the hoity-toity Plaza Mall. Inside is a fabulous supermarket that rivals the Kroger where I shop in my hometown of Nashville. The deep piles of fresh fruit--mostly imported from Israel with Hebrew lettering on the boxes--are impressive, as is the array of fresh fish. The children's indoor play space upstairs has a bumper-car arena.

New, chic apartment buildings with commanding views are being thrown up on the hillsides. My driver takes me up a steep hill to view what he calls a "million-dollar home" under construction at the top. There are signs of poverty around but clearly not everyone in the West Bank fits neatly under the umbrella of "oppressed." It turns out that there is a stock market in Nablus (it's called the Al-Quds Index), and it's outperforming the Dow.

I'm in Ramallah to try to find someone--anybody will do--who's supporting Barack Obama for president. The theory is that even if Israel remains an overwhelming red state, at least the Palestinians may have some sympathy for the junior senator from Illinois. After all, the one thing that Israelis and Palestinians can agree on is that George W. Bush has been the most pro-Israel U.S. president ever. This fact, it is widely assumed here, pushes Palestinian voters towards Obama, whilst driving Jews to line up solidly behind McCain.

This hypothesis is certainly espoused by Hanna Siniora, a soft-spoken and reflective Palestinian who is co-CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, a left-tilting think tank in Jerusalem. "The Palestinians are nauseated with Bush," he reports. "Plus if your middle name is Hussein, well that's not a negative in this neighborhood."

Because Obama is black, Siniora adds, many Palestinians feel that he will sympathize with their plight, as fellow oppressed people. Siniora predicts that 80 percent of adults in the West Bank support Obama, and 99 percent in the more radicalized Gaza Strip. In April, Hamas political adviser Ahmed Yousef told WABC Radio, "We like Mr. Obama, and we hope he will win the election." Even though the endorsement was later rescinded, it's not the type of backing Obama is seeking as he tries to woo the Goldsteins of Boca Raton and the Ginsbergs of Shaker Heights.

To test the theory, I go to see Ramallah's top pollster, Khalil Shikaki. He has a Ph.D. from Columbia University, writes op-eds for the New York Times and Washington Post, and has taught at Brandeis. Shikaki runs the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research out of his office in a well-appointed building atop a Subaru dealership. The building wouldn't be out of place in downtown Tulsa. He has recent polling data on Obama. A late August survey indicated that a scant 9.9 percent of Palestinians thought an Obama presidency would have a "positive effect" on the Palestinian question. Apparently, the "audacity of hope" mantra doesn't fly in Arabic.

Shikaki said he hadn't expected "such a large percentage of negative results" for Obama. He supposes that Palestinians--whether they are Fatah supporters in the West Bank or Hamas supporters in Gaza--think both American candidates are heavily biased in favor of Israel and therefore equally bad.

Shikaki is aware of comments from Obama that appear to paint the Democratic candidate as being more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than is McCain. At a Democratic primary debate, Obama said "nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people," and he told the Atlantic the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a "constant wound" and "constant sore" that "infect[s] all our foreign policy" and "provides an excuse for anti-American Jihadists."

Such positions didn't go down well with American Jewry, and Obama backed off them in his well-publicized AIPAC speech in early June. The late Milton Himmelfarb famously said that Jews "earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans." Democratic candidates typically pull at least 65 percent of the Jewish vote in any presidential race. Kennedy, Johnson, Humphrey, and Clinton broke the 80 percent barrier. Bush, the greatest friend Israel has ever had in the White House, grabbed a meager 19 percent (2000) and 24 percent (2004) of Jewish voters. The latest Gallup Poll gives Obama 66 percent of the Jewish vote: not great, but comparable to Mondale's and Dukakis's tallies.

In Israel, though, it's an entirely different matter. "Israel is the only place on the globe in which the public genuinely likes the Bush administration," notes Shlomo Brom, a retired Israeli brigadier general who studies national security issues at Tel Aviv University's Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies. "McCain is widely seen as an extension of Bush by the Israeli electorate." No one should be surprised that Obama trailed McCain 38 percent to 31 percent in a late July poll of Jewish Israelis. (In May, McCain was up 43 percent to 20 percent over Obama.)

"We respect war heroes in Israel, especially those like McCain who were POWs," notes Mitchell Barak, managing director of the Jerusalem-based Keevoon Research, Strategy & Communications. "We see Obama fantasizing about how he wants to sit down and talk to the terrorists, and he loses a lot of Israelis right there. He comes off as unrealistic and insensitive to the existential challenges facing the Jewish state, and as naïve."

Naïve, indeed. It's a theme that popped up frequently when I mentioned Obama's name. Obama lacks experience. Obama doesn't understand how to deal with terrorists in general, and radical Islamic terrorists in particular. Obama thinks a court of law is the right forum for dealing with terrorists. Obama thinks the U.N. is a dandy place to solve difficult problems. Obama would have happily lost the Iraq war. Obama would cede regional hegemony to the Iranians. And so on.

Most Israelis, who live daily with the threat of terrorism, simply don't trust Obama. Take the residents of Sderot, a smallish Israeli city perched half a mile from the Gaza Strip. Since 2001, 7,000-8,000 rockets have rained down on Sderot from Gaza. Fifteen Israelis have died in these attacks and more than 600 have been wounded. Mayoral aide Shalom Halevi points out that Hamas aims the rockets at Sderot's schools and shoots them over just before the school day with the intent of killing or terrorizing children walking to school.

Sofhi and Eli Cohen reside at the quiet end of a street named Derech HaAliyah on the northwest edge of Sderot. On the morning of May 10, a Qassam rocket sailed through their back wall, blowing up a good portion of their two-story house. As luck would have it, nobody was killed, though two of the Cohens' four children were injured.

"Everybody in Sderot prefers McCain to Obama," explains the soft-spoken Sofhi, as she bakes in her kitchen on a Friday afternoon. Despite the fact that her house has been blown to bits and her husband is outside working on the repairs, she has graciously invited me to join her family for the Sabbath meal. "McCain understands terrorists and how to deal with them," she says. She's "quite surprised" and "disappointed" to hear that American Jews prefer Obama. "Obama seems nice, but he's like a child."

And for those who live with terrorists just down the road, a child clearly won't do in the White House. "Obama is young, charismatic, and smart," says Eli Moyal, the straight-talking mayor of Sderot, who has met with both candidates. "But McCain's a more serious guy." The mayor's message to American Jews: If you care about Israel's security, vote for McCain.

Obama supporters turn up in Israel in all the usual places--the media, the universities, etc. Typical among Israeli leftists is the delightful Colette Avital, a Labor member of the Knesset who speaks seven languages, has a Harvard degree, and spends her days sincerely worried about feeding poor Israeli kids who may go to bed hungry. "Bush has screwed up the Middle East and has lost America what little clout it had in the Arab countries," she explains. "Maybe Obama would bring more imaginative thinking to the peace process, towards dealing with Iran and the other issues which matter to us."

Then there's Dani Ben-Simon, a longtime lefty columnist at Haaretz, who is leaving journalism for politics. He believes that George W. Bush did Israel a "great disservice" by his unwavering support of the Middle East's only true democracy. Why? Because Bush was too "friendly" towards Israel and didn't push Israelis towards the "objective thinking" that would have helped them realize that they, too, are a superpower and can afford to reach settlements with the Palestinians and the Syrians. Ben-Simon believes that, despite their military superiority, many Israelis suffer from what he terms the "Warsaw ghetto mentality" and fear that their destruction could be imminent.

Such is the thinking of Obama supporters in Israel. There's no Bush hatred. There are oodles of decency and much intellectualism. Nonetheless, many of their fellow Israelis think they are daft.

The leaders of all three of Israel's major political parties--Labor, Kadima, and Likud--prefer McCain but they don't dare say so publicly, reports chain-smoking political consultant Eyal Arad. Why not? Because, explains Arad, they know they might have to deal with Obama for the next four years. "Israelis fear the unknown and Obama represents the unknown," explains Saul Singer, longtime editorial page editor of the Jerusalem Post, now on book leave. Danny Ayalon, the Israeli ambassador to the United States from 2002 to 2006, elaborates, "We all know McCain. When the Abu Ghraib prison scandal broke, he called me and said, 'Danny, what's Israel's policy on torture?' We don't have those relationships with Obama, yet."

Expat Americans in Israel are also largely right-leaning. Kory Bardash, a former Goldman Sachs analyst who is now chairman of Republicans Abroad in Israel, predicts that McCain will get more than 75 percent of the vote among Americans living in Israel. He wants it to have an impact, too. Bardash is specifically targeting absentee voters who are registered back home in the swing states of Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

On my way back from Ramallah to Jerusalem, my driver had to take us through one of the controversial checkpoints that Israel set up to keep suicide bombers and snipers from murdering Israeli citizens. Because of the new security fence, which separates the Jews from their Palestinian neighbors, everybody must pass through one of these checkpoints when moving in or out of the West Bank.

My driver and I were a profiler's nightmare. He was fairly young, male, and Palestinian. We left Ramallah in a Palestinian taxi with Palestinian plates. We stopped outside the city so the driver could buy a small table. (Prices are cheaper for most items in the West Bank than in Israel.) The driver stuffed the table in the car's trunk, which was not opened by the Israeli guards though it could easily have contained a bomb. We waited at the checkpoint for less than a minute before being waved through. So much for the supposed inhumane queues which the anti-Israel media enjoy touting.

And it is not as though security is lax. The fence-and-checkpoint combination has done its job. In 2002, there were 234 terrorist attacks launched from the West Bank, claiming 62 lives. Last year, there were no successful attacks. It's a security success story, despite the way the fence and the checkpoints have been portrayed by some in the Western media. And that contrast helps explain the Israeli preference for McCain.

"As a humanitarian, I am delighted that Obama has become America's first black presidential candidate," says Israel Harel, founder of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. "And if my main concern wasn't Israel's existence, I would vote for Obama. But, because Obama is closer emotionally to the Third World--also the Arab world--I would vote for McCain because that would be a vote for a secure Israel and therefore, a vote for securing the existence of the Jewish people."

When your back is to the wall, sweet-sounding platitudes ring just a little empty.

Willy Stern, a Nashville-based writer, has reported from six continents.

© Copyright 2008, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.

PA forces uncover large explosives lab in Hebron

Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent and Reuters

Palestinian general intelligence forces have uncovered a very large bomb-making laboratory in the center of the West Bank city of Hebron, the Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported Friday. In the lab, Palestinian authorities found a variety of explosives, Ma'an reported. The discovery of the explosives lab followed the arrest of members of several terror cells, apparently linked to Hamas.

The Palestinian police said that after conducting close surveillance on suspicious movements by several residents, 11 suspects had been arrested.

Ramadan Awad, the chief of the Palestinian Authority police in Hebron, said that a recent police raid revealed that the Hamas-linked terror cell was manufacturing and storing large amounts of explosive materials in a rented residence in the area.

Awad said more than 100 kg (220 lbs) of explosives were seized along with ammunition and homemade firearms.

"The factory was preparing bombs which would have been used against us and against the will of the Palestinians," he told Reuters.

A Hamas official in Hebron said the targeted building had no links to the Islamic faction.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has also deployed Palestinian security forces in other major West Bank cities like Nablus and Jenin as part of a law-and-order in the West Bank since he broke with Hamas over its seizure of the Gaza Strip last year and revived peacemaking with Israel.

Finance Minister: No Israeli banks will collapse

Haaretz Service

Finance Minister Ronny Bar-On assured the Israeli public on Friday that despite the current global financial crisis, Israel's banks will definitely not collapse. In an interview with Channel 2 news Friday evening, Bar-On said that "based on examination, including one from today, the body overseeing the banks can state with the clearest certainty that the banks in Israel are stable. As I see the situation, and I see it in figures, no banks will collapse."

The finance minister went on to say that "once we wanted to be like America or Iceland, but today we don't. We have a completely different banking system. Here we supervise all the time. No banks have gone under, and none will."

In response to a question whether the treasury will refrain from opening stock market trading on Sunday if the stocks plummet, Bar-On said "We have to calm down, and calm the public. Markets go up and markets go down and we had three days of nervous trading in the world. I hope everything will be alright."

In a similar interview with Channel 1 news later Friday, the finance minister said "the banks in Israel are stable, in contrast with what is happening outside the country. There is not one Israeli citizen that is not afraid for his savings. But we're seeing deposits. If there was fear over the banks' liquidity, there wouldn't be any deposits."

He added that the treasury has devised plans to address possible scenarios that may arise in light of the crisis, but refrained from revealing the scenarios for fear of creating panic.

Bar-On went on to say that "the crisis will not halt the growth in the economy. We will ensure that the credit crisis is kept under control."

Akko Riots rebound, 3 injured by stones

After hours of relative calm, Jewish youths begin to crowd in eastern neighborhood of city, prompting stone-throwing from many Arab residents; police detain nine residents, raid home from which stones were flung
Ahiya Raved

On a third successive night of rioting in Akko, Arabs threw stones at dozens of Jewish youths who formed a crowd in one of the city's eastern neighborhoods. Three people were injured, including a man who was walking his dog, who sustained a mild head injury from a stone that was flung at him. Police detained five Jewish protestors and four Arabs, and began to disperse the remaining crowd with the help of stun grenades, tear gas, and water hoses. Officers also raided a home from which stones had been flung, detaining three family members found within.

Northern District Police stated that altogether 30 people have been arrested in relation to the riots since they first began on Yom Kippur Eve.

Meanwhile Akko firefighters attempted to extinguish a large number of fires that were ignited in trash cans and wood piles throughout the city. In one instance the fire was reportedly near a gas leak, and vehicle arson was suspected.

At around 10 pm police reported the incident under control. However at around 11 pm further conflict developed near the Western Galilee College located in the northern part of the city, as well as near the bus terminal. Police reported that Jews and Arabs were throwing stones at each other in the area.

The incident commenced at around 9 pm, when dozens of Jewish youths began to crowd two of the neighborhood's main streets. Police barricaded the eastern entrance to the city, and deployed large SWAT and Border Guard forces armed with anti-protest equipment to the area.

Wednesday's violence erupted after an Arab motorist entered a predominantly Jewish neighborhood on the holiest of Jewish days.

The incident quickly developed into a mass riot involving hundreds of people, during which dozens of cars and some 30 shops were vandalized. Three people, including the Arab motorist and a police officer, sustained light injuries.

The clashes between Arabs and Jews resumed Thursday evening, after Yom Kippur ended, as hundreds of Jews and Arabs demonstrated and confronted police near the train station in eastern Akko and near the city's northern housing projects.

Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni censured the Yom Kippur riots in Akko asserting, during a meeting with city mayor Shimon Lankry, that citizens cannot be allowed to take the law into their own hands.

"All Israeli citizens should respect the holy day of Yom Kippur when they are outside their home," she said Friday.

Friday, October 10, 2008

ACORN: A Clear and Present Danger

Burt Prelutsky
Friday, October 10, 2008

As you may have noticed, left-wingers really hate to lose. That’s why, even eight years after the fact, they are still wringing their hands over the 2000 presidential election. They still insist that George W. Bush and the Republicans swiped it, even though several objective sources have since confirmed that, chads or no chads, Bush carried Florida, and that Sandra Day O’Connor, otherwise a heroine to leftists, was one of the Supreme Court justices who ruled against Al Gore, the candidate who couldn’t even carry his home state. Which is reason enough all of us should be forever grateful to the voters in Tennessee. The idea that the Democrats have been crying “Foul!” for eight long years should appeal to everyone who appreciates irony. For it is those on the far left who have done everything in their power to corrupt the election process. One of their chief means of doing so has been through the activities of a group known as ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). With approximately 175,000 dues-paying members, they own TV stations, businesses and periodicals, and have offices stretching from Canada to Peru, with over 80 offices in the U.S.

To give you some idea how all-encompassing the group is, they have schools where the children of leftists are trained in class-consciousness; they run boot camps for training street activists; and, like Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, they extort money from banks and other businesses by threatening racial violence and trumped-up civil rights charges. One can almost imagine Marx, Lenin and Stalin, shaking their heads in admiration and hoisting their glasses in toast.

Apparently, the members of ACORN have gained control of the New York City government, resulting in a rollback of welfare reform; the appointment of a politicized Civilian Review Board, empowered to prosecute police officers and ban racial and ethnic profiling in the city that experienced 9/11 firsthand; raise corporate taxes; and is attempting to prevent any corporation from fleeing the city without obtaining an “exit visa.” Even before Berkeley got around to having its own foreign policy, New York’s City Council, by a 31-17 vote, passed a resolution condemning the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

For several years, the leadership covered up the fact that Dale Rathke, the brother of Wade Rathke, who co-founded ACORN, had embezzled nearly a million dollars from the organization. Once the theft finally came to light, the excuse given for not informing the authorities was that those of us on the right would use it as an excuse to attack the group. That of course is an obvious lie. Those of us on the right have far better reasons than financial skullduggery to attack ACORN. In fact, I, for one, regard Dale Rathke as something of a folk hero. I say it was far better that he squandered his ill-gotten gains on wine, women and song, than that the group got to spend it subverting the democratic process.

These people, self-proclaimed defenders of freedom, liberty and the working man -- or, more often, non-working man -- devote most of their energy and resources to making sure that they fix elections in much the same way that crooked gamblers fix fights. During the 2004 election cycle, ACORN ran a “voter mobilization drive” that resulted in countless allegations of fraudulent voter registration, vote-rigging and vote-for-pay scams. One of their specialties was registering convicted felons. Attorney generals in many states filed charges against several members of the group, charges that included voter-intimidation, vandalism and the destruction of voter registration forms.

What I have not been able to figure out is why the leaders of the group have not been indicted under RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) for taking part in an ongoing criminal organization. The only logical reason that the feds have backed off is because of ACORN’s close ties to organized labor. Tragically, in 2008 America, it’s not only individuals who are easily intimidated, but the government itself.

It’s no surprise that Barack Obama is ACORN’s choice for the White House. ACORN, after all, was created by those who subscribed to Saul Alinsky’s left-wing belief that class warfare is the only war worth fighting and that in order to win it, the ends always justify the means. And however much the left has recently attempted to pass off “community organizer” as a Christ-like vocation, everyone in his right mind knows that these days it’s code for Communist activist.

To my way of thinking, as catastrophic as it would be if Sen. Obama were to wind up in the White House, it would be far worse if he were to be elected because he and his colleagues had stolen the election.

An acorn, as we all know, is a nut. ACORN, however, home to 175,000 nuts, are the seeds, not of mighty oaks, but of political stinkweed, and the sooner they’re eradicated, the better.

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Republicans in the U.S. Senate have sunk anti-Iran sanctions

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Republicans in the U.S. Senate have sunk anti-Iran sanctions for the second time in less than a month, drawing allegations that they are putting politics ahead of the need to confront Tehran’s nuclear program. Senate Democrats made one final bid last week to pass legislation
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that would tighten sanctions aimed at getting Iran to stand down from its suspected nuclear weapons program. Among other things, the stalled measure would facilitate efforts to divest from the Islamic Republic.

Republicans blocked it the evening of Oct. 2, leading Democrats once again to suggest that the GOP was playing politics by obstructing legislation championed by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

"We've tried to get this done in this body; there's been objection by the Republicans. That's unfortunate," said Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate majority leader. He made his comments after Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) exercised his prerogative to obstruct the legislation.

The Senate has adjourned this session and it is unlikely that it will reconvene before the new Congress next year, when the bill would have to be reintroduced from scratch. That costs time, a precious commodity that Israel and pro-Israel groups say is dwindling as Iran moves closer to acquiring a nuclear bomb, perhaps as early as next year.

Spokesmen for Obama suggested that Republicans opposed the legislation because it was authored in part by the Democratic nominee for president.

"It's something that people should be made aware of," Dan Shapiro, a senior Middle East adviser to Obama, said. "We had a chance to really toughen the sanctions against Iran. That didn't happen because it was blocked by the administration and Republican senators."

The bill, strongly supported by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, consolidates two earlier measures that had languished in the Senate because of tactical obstructions imposed by Republicans: one targets Iran's banking system, bans U.S. dealings with entities that deal with Iran's energy sector and closes loopholes that allow U.S. companies to deal with Iran through foreign subsidiaries; the other facilitates divestment from Iran by naming companies that deal with the Islamic Republic and providing legal protection to entities that choose to divest.

Obama authored the latter legislation; it's passage would have handed him a major legislative victory at a time when the McCain campaign is trying to paint him as ineffectual in Congress and soft on Iran.

Allard said at the time that he was blocking the legislation because "the Banking Committee is working on new language." But the Senate Banking Committee already had passed the legislation, and it was sponsored by its chairman, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), and its ranking member, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).

Allard's spokesmen did not return requests for comment; nor did the campaign for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the Republican presidential candidate, or the Republican Jewish Coalition.

As the bill has wended its way through the Senate, Republican lawmakers have never made clear why they oppose the legislation even as they say they support the concept of sanctions.

On earlier occasions, spokesmen for the McCain campaign have said that Obama was not serious about the legislation because he did not convene hearings on the matter in the subcommittee on European Affairs that he chairs. Yet, generally, in the Senate, once legislation passes muster with the most relevant committee -- in this case, the banking committee -- the only reason for a senator to convene hearings in another committee would be to slow it down. Obama would have no reason to obstruct his own legislation.

Both components of the legislation passed handily in the U.S. House of Representatives last year as separate bills -- as did Dodd's most recent consolidated bill, sponsored in the lower chamber by Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The White House strongly opposed both bills, partly because the legislation would have encroached on the president's foreign policy prerogative, and partly because it would have inhibited sensitive negotiations under way with European allies to present a united front on sanctions. Many Republican senators, on the other hand, have voiced support for the measures and voted for them in committee -- only to stay silent as various members of their caucus block them from being passed.

Before the primaries, congressional insiders were predicting success for Obama's divestment bill, while they saw the other bill -- named for the late Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), Berman's predecessor, who had sponsored it in the House -- as doomed because it was so far-reaching.

Obama's bill, matched in the House by legislation initiated by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Financial Services Committee, was considered more modest and realistic: It would "name and shame" companies that invested in Iran's energy sector and it would protect from shareholder lawsuits pension funds that choose to divest from Iran.

That would have created the opportunity for lawmakers to say they were addressing the issue without creating too many waves.

The White House nonetheless opposed the bill, saying the "name and shame" component would alienate European allies. The chances of passing the divestment bill receded as Obama's star rose in the primaries.

AIPAC officials said they were looking on the glass half-full side.

"AIPAC was pleased the legislation passed the House initially and passed again, and disappointed that it didn't get done in the Senate," AIPAC spokesman Josh Block told JTA. "We hope the Senate finds a way to move forward with this legislation" -- either in a "lame duck" session after the presidential elections or in the next Congress.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Oslo Accords Are Dead

Morton A. Klein and Daniel Mandel | 10/9/2008

On June 20, 1995, the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin boasted, “[The Opposition] promised us Katyusha [rockets] from Gaza, but Gaza has been under the primary control of the Palestinian Authority for more than a year now, and there hasn’t been a single Katyusha. On Sept. 9, 1993, then Foreign Minister Shimon Peres challenged the Opposition, “[You] threaten that there will be Katyusha rockets landing in Ashkelon. Would you mind telling me why there are no rockets fired from Aqaba to Eilat?”

The Oslo Middle East peace process, argued its originators, was a success and reservations expressed were all so much fear-mongering.

Today, 15 years since Oslo, Katyusha rockets have been falling like rain on Sderot and Ashkelon (until a recent, intermittent breather brought about by a ceasefire).

Much worse, more than 1,500 Israelis have been killed and more than 10,000 more maimed by suicide bombings, drive-by shootings, roadside bombs, lynchings, bulldozer rampages and other inventive forms of murder.

More Israelis have been murdered by terrorists in the 15 years since Oslo than in the entire 45 years of Israel’s existence that preceded it.

Not only has Oslo been a failure, but its terrible consequences metastasize since its collapse in 2000, thanks largely to efforts to resurrect it and pretend it can work.

False presumptions

Ariel Sharon was elected prime minister in 2001 in response to Oslo’s clear failure. Yet he too ended up recommencing talks with the Palestinian Authority and agreed to the 2003 Roadmap peace plan.

The Roadmap calls for Israeli concessions in advance of verifiable Palestinian compliance with past agreements on jailing terrorists and ending the incitement to hatred and murder that feeds terror.

Worse, in place of making concessions only by agreement and in return for Palestinian concessions and commitments (however systematically dishonored by the P.A.), Sharon proceeded to make unilateral concessions, withdrawing from Gaza in 2005.

Not only did this ensure that Palestinian terror groups could redeploy unhindered by the Israel Defense Force, but the whole area fell into Hamas’ hands last year after an internal struggle with Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah.

Today, Gaza is an inviting home for Al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups. The smuggling of offensive weaponry into Gaza from Egypt, previously curbed by Israeli forces before the 2005 withdrawal, has increased massively since Israeli forces left.

In surveys presented to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government in July 2008, the head of the Israel Security Agency, Yuval Diskin, pointed to the accelerated Hamas arms buildup under the cover of the ceasefire, including four tons of explosive materials, 50 antitank missiles, light weaponry, materials for manufacturing rockets and longer range missiles that could strike Kiryat Gat and perhaps even Ashdod.

Hamas is also mining areas in the Gaza Strip and building bunkers.

It was often suggested by its supporters that the Oslo process would improve Israel’s standing in the world. The opposite has been true.

Even before Oslo’s collapse in 2000, Western governments and publics ended up accepting the logic implicit in dealing with the P.A.: that the Palestinians were seeking just ends like statehood alongside Israel, not Israel’s elimination; and that concessions from Israel was the key to peace.

As a result, the world blamed Israel for not giving enough when Arafat launched a terror war, while anti-Israel boycotts and divestment campaigns worldwide have become commonplace, especially at universities.

Since Oslo, there has been a surge of academics arguing openly for Israel’s replacement by an Arab-majority state. Anti-Semitic activity in Europe has risen steeply since 1993, according to all statistical data.

Other proponents of Oslo, like writer and Peace Now pioneer Amos Oz, prophesied that Oslo would make Israel justifiably tough on all Palestinian violation of agreements. This was a delusion.

P.A. atlases and textbooks continue to pretend that Israel doesn’t exist. Fateh’s constitution remains unchanged in its call for Israel’s destruction and the use of terrorism to that end, while the group’s 43rd anniversary poster shows all Israel draped in a Palestinian kfiyyeh.

Terrorists like George Habash and Samir Kuntar are personally lauded by P.A. President Abbas. Terror acts like the slaughter in a Jerusalem seminary in March are lauded as deeds of martyrdom and its perpetrators praised in P.A. publications.

Far from paying a price, the P.A. continues to get hand-outs from the international community. Western governments, including the U.S., which once refused to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization, today declare Abbas and the P.A. peace partners worthy of diplomatic and financial support – $600 million from the U.S. this year alone.

Little wonder that former Peace Now activist Professor Yuval Steinitz, today a Likud member and recently chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has opined, “The idea of a two-state solution should be dead, today, because unfortunately a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would bring about Israel’s demise.”

Steinitz passionately believed in Oslo but has had the courage to admit his mistake. So too should the U.S., Israel and American Jewry.
Morton A. Klein is national president of the Zionist Organization of America. Dr. Daniel Mandel is director of the ZOA’s Center for Middle East Policy.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Arabs Set To Buy Jewish Land

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Three Jewish families in the Lower Galilee are set to sell their land to Arabs unless Zionists can come up with the money and offer a better deal. Israel Land Fund official Aryeh King said that the land involves 12 acres (50 dunam) of farmland at Moshav Ilaniya, located in a picturesque rural area near Kfar Tabor and between the Jordan Valley and the Mediterranean Coast. "The Jewish families found the easiest way to make money and did not offer it to fellow Jews or to the state of Israel," said King, who was the first Jewish resident in the 1990s in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al Amoud.

He said that the Arab Lawyers Organization Adalah intends to buy the land for 6,000 shekels ($1,700) an acre. The names of the Jewish families have been kept secret but will be made known if Jewish buyers can offer them more money.

Adalah activists have been involved with demanding that the Jewish National Fund sell land to Arabs and tried convince the Civil Lands Administration to overturn decision preventing Arab citizens from bequeathing their rights to state land to overseas family members who do not hold Israeli citizenship

King called on Likud Knesset whip Gidon Saar to push for Knesset legislation that would bar the sale of land to Arabs without allowing the State of Israel the opportunity to purchase it and keep the property in Jewish hands.

Statistics usually represent the Galilee as 50 percent Jewish and 50 percent Arab, but the figures include the Haifa metropolitan area, which accounts for most of the Jews.

The Lower Galilee, named because of its relative altitude when compared with the hills and mountains in the Tzfat area to the north, includes primarily rural farmland outside of the cities of Beit Shean and Afula and Arab cities and villages.

Kibbutzim and moshavim abound in the area, which once was plagued by malaria until pioneering Zionists and the Jewish National Fund drained mosquito-infested swamps.

EU envoy: PM's remarks on pullback to be point of reference


Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's comments about Israel needing to make a nearly complete withdrawal to the pre-1967-lines will certainly be a reference point in the future, although Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni have insisted they are not binding, EU envoy Marc Otte told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. Otte's comments came after a press briefing in which he termed Olmert's comments, made in a pre-Rosh Hashana interview, "courageous," and said he was not surprised by them.

"Everyone who has been engaged in the negotiations is bound to come to that sort of conclusion," Otte said, adding that - as Olmert did in the interview - it is not easy for anyone to say that the positions he held before were wrong.

"I am encouraged that the Israeli leadership is willing to face the challenges," Otte said.

Olmert, in the interview last week with Yediot Aharonot, said that for a peace deal Israel would have to withdraw from nearly all of the Golan Heights, east Jerusalem and the West Bank.

On Sunday, Livni told French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner that she did not feel bound by Olmert's words.

Otte denied reports that the Palestinians had rejected Olmert's offer, saying there had never been a formal offer.

"I don't think you make offers through the press, but do it in negotiations and present a paper," he said.

Otte said he didn't know whether the ideas articulated in the interview had even been discussed in the negotiations.

Meanwhile, the European Union's ambassador to Israel, Ramiro Cibrián-Uzal, said that while there had been positive movement over the last few months, he would not say that the sides were close to a deal.

Cibrián-Uzal said that while the talks were being held in confidence, "I am not sure the gaps are narrow."

Otte termed a "positive development" a decision by the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to brief the Quartet together on where they stand in the negotiations at its next meeting, expected in November.

The Quartet is made up of the US, EU, Russia and the UN.
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1222017494276&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Comment: Those who have dismissed Israeli leaders statements presenting "performance standards " for peace with our enemy should now understand how dangerous such words are. The EU and other Western "friends" jump on these words as though they were etched in stone and legally binding. They consider these words as the benchmark for future negotiations-they become the "starting point" for further discussions. Of course they are nothing of the kind but our "friends" don't want or choose to hear it this way. They have their own agenda and use our "leaders" statements against us. If Israel does not have strong leadership willing to stand up against such a strategy, we ultimately will fail. I suggest we refrain from embracing "our friends" when they try to force us into a negotiation corner. I await other leaders to renounce this EU envoy's comment-don't worry he will not change his mind about who we are or what we should be satisfied to possess!

Hamas funds being transferred to Israeli Arabs

Jihad Watch

Yet another example of the difficulty of distinguishing "moderate" Islamic groups from those who simply insist on their moderate credentials. (We've provided a handy set of criteria here.) "Hamas funds being transferred to Israeli Arabs, documents reveal," by Amos Harel for Haaretz, October 6:

Arab Israeli non-profit groups have approached Islamic charity organizations in the West Bank over the past year with requests to receive money for various projects, according to documents seized over the past year in Israel Defense Forces raids on West Bank associations identified with Hamas, and now being analyzed.

Israeli security officials had previously noted the transfer of money from Israel to the West Bank. The change in direction appears to be connected to harsher rules governing the transfer of monetary assistance into Israel, as compared with the transfer of funds to the West Bank.

Since the beginning of the calendar year, the IDF has increased its surveillance of Hamas-affiliated civil groups in the West Bank, particularly in Hebron, Qalqilyah, Ramallah and Nablus. A number of organizations were closed down and documents and computers confiscated.

Following an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the PA too is now raiding and closing Hamas-affiliated offices.

The IDF is now analyzing documents seized in its raids, with the principal goal of preventing money from coming into the territories from abroad, on the assumption that it will be used for terror. Among these documents are some from Israeli Islamic groups, which have requested, in some cases, millions of dollars in aid from groups in the territories. The requests include funding for the construction of mosques and clubhouses. In at least one case, the request was made in the name of the municipal workers of an Arab city in Israel.

Senior IDF officers told Haaretz that contributions are flowing to the West Bank in the amount of tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars, from Islamic communities around the world. Among them are donations from Persian Gulf states, as well as from Muslim communities in Belgium and Britain.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Peres' Coup

Moshe Dann | 10/7/2008

According to Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gabriella Shalev, “Security Council discussions are irrelevant and pointless. The real things are taking place two floors below us in a bilateral meeting between Abbas and (Israeli president) Shimon Peres.”

Spokeswoman for the President's office, Ayelet Frisch, confirmed that substantial meetings between the two leaders have been taking place, including details concerning the "peace process," apparently with the approval of the Prime and Foreign ministers.

There's only one problem: such negotiations are clearly not within the designated powers of Israeli presidents. Elected by the Knesset, not the public and limited mainly to ceremonial functions, Israeli presidents are supposed to be above politics – certainly not identified with any single group. Rarely have past presidents engaged in politics; a notable exception was Ezer Weitzman's support of the "Oslo peace process," and other controversial issues.

Peres's pursuit of his own personal agenda, therefore violates terms of office. Although not illegal, negotiating on behalf of an unpopular minority government undermines the concept of impartiality upon which the President's office is founded.

Presidential powers include choosing Knesset members to form governments. Designating Tzippy Livni, previously Foreign Minister and currently head of Kadima – his own party, btw -- following Ehud Olmert's resignation, as acting Prime Minister and allowing an extended period in which to form a coalition – despite overwhelming popular support for general elections, suggests blatant political motives.

Hoping to stave off what all polls confirm – a sweeping victory for the opposition, led by Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, Shimon Peres has turned the Presidency into a political tool.

Representing Israel 's highest moral, intellectual, and spiritual values as a country and society, the president also has the power to pardon criminals and commute sentences.

All other presidents have used the Jewish New Year as an opportunity to express the most cherished of Jewish values, mercy. The President's signature is required on the release of Arab terrorists and criminals held by Israel. A few weeks ago, Sami Kuntar, one of the most notorious murderers, was released to Lebanon. Two hundred other criminals, including killers were also freed.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands more are slated to be freed.

Asked if President Peres will be pardoning or commuting the sentences of any Jewish prisoners – especially those who were given harsh sentences for political reasons – none of whom were convicted of violent crimes – the President's spokeswoman said tersely, "No.The President has no plans at this time."

Asked why, she added, "No comment."

Obama and ACORN: You Can Run But You Can’t Hide

Lowell Ponte

Barack Obama is running as fast and as far away from his association with the radical group ACORN as he can, but he can’t hide from the facts of his close relationship with the organization. ACORN, or Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, describes itself as a “non-partisan” group devoted to helping the poor and to registering millions to vote. Critics accuse ACORN of involvement vote fraud, voter intimidation, shakedowns against businesses, and the promotion of socialist class hatred and class warfare.

Apparently worried by the connection between Obama and the group, his campaign has put claims of his ties to ACORN as the lead item on its “Fight The Smears” Web site — a site the Obama campaign created to counter what they claim are partisan lies made up against their candidate.

The release on the Obama site reads: “When Obama met with ACORN leaders in November, he reminded them of his history with ACORN and his beginnings in Illinois as a Project Vote organizer, a nonprofit focused on voter rights and education. Senator Obama said, ‘I come out of a grassroots organizing background. That's what I did for three and half years before I went to law school. That's the reason I moved to Chicago was to organize.

“So this is something that I know personally, the work you do, the importance of it. I've been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.”
Indeed, Obama was being far too modest. The 2008 Democratic presidential nominee had worked not just alongside ACORN, but also as a key operative for the organization.
He was its lawyer in several pivotal ACORN cases.

Obama funded a number of its activities, as well. When he sat on the board of the prestigious Woods Fund for Chicago alongside former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers, he oversaw and approved many grants for ACORN.

As the National Review’s Stanley Kurtz reported, one Woods committee report boasted that the fund’s “non-ideological” public image “enabled the Trustees to make grants to organizations that use confrontational tactics against the business and government ‘establishments’ without undue risk of being accused of partisanship.”

Obama was the Illinois director of ACORN’s controversial voter registration operation, and he trained the group’s leaders in the ways of radical, sometimes illegal, confrontational politics.
He also paid ACORN affiliates during his recent Democratic primary contest. For example, leading up to the 2008 Ohio Democratic Primary, Obama’s campaign between Feb. 25 and March 17 paid Citizens Services, Inc., a subsidiary of ACORN, $832,598, apparently for get-out-the-vote activities.

Obama’s mysterious, shrouded past as a “community organizer” is closely tied to ACORN, a group that supplies a large share of the Democratic Party political shock troops responsible for the party’s recapture of Congress in 2006.
ACORN has at least 350,000 dues-paying member families, and more than 800 chapters spread among at least 104 U.S. cities as well as in Canada, Mexico, Argentina, and Peru.

To outsiders, Obama’s “long service with ACORN led many of its members to serve as the voluntary shock troops of Obama’s early political campaigns — his initial 1996 State Senate campaign, and his failed bid for Congress in 2000,” wrote Kurtz. “With Obama having personally helped train a new cadre of Chicago ACORN leaders, by the time of Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, Obama and ACORN were ‘old friends.’”

ACORN’S Radical Roots
ACORN’s four co-founders were 1960s New Leftists. One was George Wiley, whose National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO) members practiced confrontation politics, e.g., swarming into welfare offices and bullying social workers. The second ACORN co-founder was NWRO organizer Gary Delgado.

Wiley made no secret that he followed the radical tactics proposed in the far-left The Nation Magazine by socialist Columbia University scholars Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, who argued that American capitalism could be bankrupted and destroyed by overloading our system with ever-rising costs and bureaucratic demands. (In 1996, President Bill Clinton invited Cloward and Piven to the White House as honored guests.)

ACORN’s other founders and longtime bosses were former Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) activist Wade Rathke, a close NWRO ally, and his brother Dale.
“We are the majority, forged from all minorities,” proclaimed ACORN’s founding 1970 “People’s Platform” manifesto. “We are the masses of many, not the forces of few…. We will wait no longer for the crumbs at America’s door. We will not be meek, but mighty.”

In ACORN, the Rathkes replaced Cloward-Piven tactics designed to overthrow capitalist America with the confrontational-but-compromising tactics of Chicago socialist Saul Alinsky.

“Instead of trying to overturn ‘the system — to blow it up, as Wiley wanted to do, ACORN burrows deep within the system,” wrote Manhattan Institute scholar Sol Stern, adding, “taking over its power and using its institutions for its own purposes, like a political ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers.’”

The Rathkes first established ACORN as the Arkansas Community Organizations for Reform Now and struck a personal deal with that state’s liberal Republican then-Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, who reportedly paid the newly-sprouted ACORN $5,000 in cash to register voters. “Of course, they thought we were going to register Republicans,” Delgado later boasted. “We did not register a single Republican voter in that election. However, we did use those resources early on to build the organization.”

Obama, ACORN, and Vote Fraud
Selectively adding millions of Democratic names to the voter rolls remains one of ACORN’s most lucrative activities, for which this organization has been given millions of dollars by organized labor, non-profit foundations, and Democratic-controlled government agencies.

Because Obama had worked closely with one of its leaders, Madeline Talbott, ACORN, in 1995, specifically sought out this radical young lawyer to help craft its lawsuit to impose President Bill Clinton’s 1993 National Voter Registration Act, nicknamed “Motor Voter,” according to Chicago ACORN leader Toni Foulkes.

Obama’s ACORN lawsuit won, thereby slapping aside state officials who resisted Motor Voter because of what it soon proved to be: a 12-lane superhighway to massive vote fraud.

The Motor Voter law required bureaucrats at welfare offices, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and other government offices to register as voters those who used their services. “Examiners were under orders not to ask anyone for identification or proof of citizenship,” wrote Wall Street Journal reporter John Fund in his book “Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy.” “States also had to permit mail-in voter registrations, which allowed anyone to register without any personal contact with a registrar or election official.”

Those who took advantage of government services such as welfare were disproportionately likely to vote for the Big Government party. Motor Voter also made it more difficult to purge voter rolls of fraudulent registrations.
Motor Voter, wrote Fund, “fueled an explosion of phantom voters.” But in Barack Obama’s Democrat-ruled Chicago, phantom voters and voting graveyards are nothing new.
Motor Voter was the Clinton administration’s attempt permanently to tilt voter rolls in favor of the Democratic Party. And Obama, working for ACORN, played a key role in imposing this law.
Perhaps thanks to ACORN’s and Motor Voter’s influence, of the 19 foreign terrorists who attacked America on 9/11, at least six were registered to vote.
In 1992, Obama took time off as a lawyer to direct Project Vote, ACORN’s voter mobilization entity, statewide in Illinois. Project Vote added an estimated 125,000 names to voter rolls, which helped propel Democrat Carol Moseley Braun into the same U.S. Senate seat Obama now holds.
Nationwide, ACORN’s Project Vote claims to have helped register more than 4 million voters in low-income and minority neighborhoods. Project Vote’s tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status prohibits its involvement in partisan political activity, but one of its leaders told Foundation Watch that “lots of grass-roots members” are assisting the 2008 Obama presidential campaign.
ACORN, wrote Foundation Watch investigators Elias Crim and Matthew Vadum last June, has a “record of highly-publicized voter fraud allegations” lodged against it “in Ohio (2004), Wisconsin (2004), Florida (2004), New Mexico (2004), Colorado (2005), Missouri (2006), and Washington State (2007).” They could have named other states as well.
In 2006, in Missouri’s U.S. Senate race, Republican incumbent James Talent lost by about 50,000 votes to Democrat Claire McCaskill.
“A sizeable portion of that margin,” wrote columnist Carl Horowitz, “was attributable to ACORN organizers submitting phony or at least suspicious voter-registration cards to election officials in the St. Louis and Kansas City metro areas. Several ACORN members in Kansas City were indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office just prior to Election Day, and eventually pleaded guilty. [Wade] Rathke, not one for subtlety, called City of St. Louis election officials ‘slop buckets’ when they questioned the veracity of ACORN-submitted forms.”
And who was Missouri state auditor during 2006, responsible at a statewide level for overseeing the honesty of voter registration? “That,” wrote Horowitz, “would be Claire McCaskill.” And Sen. McCaskill is one of Obama’s most ardent supporters.
In Florida, ACORN’s 2004 Miami-Dade field director, Mac Stuart, according to David Horowitz’s investigation, “has testified that fraud is standard procedure for ACORN/Project Vote canvassers — behavior that is not only tolerated, but encouraged by supervisors.” Stuart reportedly told investigators: “[T]he voter registration project has been operating illegally since it started.”
In 2005, Virginia authorities sampled Project Vote registrations and rejected 83 percent of them for containing false or questionable information.
In Washington state, five ACORN employees were convicted in 2007 in what its Secretary of State Sam Reed called “the worst case of election fraud in our state’s history. It was an outrage.”
In this state the current Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire was elected literally by a handful of votes, but 450 apparently fictitious names were found registered to vote as Democrats at a single address. At least 1,700 ACORN voter registrations — using the names of Harry Reid, Dennis Hastert, and movie and sports stars — were later revoked in just one county of the state.
In Nevada, the state most likely to decide the 2008 presidential election, the Las Vegas Review-Journal last July 7 reported that a Clark County official “sees rampant fraud in the 2,000 to 3,000 registrations ACORN turns in every week.”
ACORN, of course, blames a handful of overzealous activists or mercenaries for acts of voter registration fraud. ACORN denies that it condones or encourages any illegal behavior.
Intimidation Politics
Incidentally, Obama’s ACORN comrade Madeline Talbott, according to Kurtz, “was so impressed by Obama’s organizing skills that she invited him to help train her own staff.” In 1997, notes Kurtz, Talbott was “a key leader” of 200 ACORN protestors who on July 31 tried to storm a Chicago City Council session.
These ACORN demonstrators, wrote Kurtz, reportedly “pushed over a metal detector and table used to screen visitors, backed police against the doors to the council chamber, and blocked late-arriving aldermen and city staff from entering the session….almost certainly a deliberate bit of what radicals call ‘direct action,’ orchestrated by ACORN’s Madeline Talbott,” who was “led away handcuffed, charged with mob action and disorderly conduct.”

Obama has never been led away in handcuffs for radical behavior. But, notes Kurtz, Obama has used groups of ominously angry activists to intimidate and pressure local officials.

A newspaper photo of Obama in his “community organizer” days shows him next to activist group the Developing Communities Project (DCP) posters that read: “It’s a power thing.” The ACORN organizer manual likewise declares, “This is a mass organization directed at political power where might makes right.”

Obama supporters in 2008 have angrily demonstrated against, and shared information intended to disrupt, a radio talk show in Chicago that has had Kurtz as a guest. This could be a foretaste of how intimidation might be used to stifle criticism of a President Obama administration.

Money-Hungry ACORN
By the 1980s, ACORN was expanding its horizons from voter registration to housing.
“In 1985, ACORN illegally seized 25 abandoned buildings owned by New York City and installed squatters as residents,” recounted a New York Post editorial. “A weak-kneed City Hall eventually gave the group title to the buildings — proving that crime can pay.”

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed the Community Redevelopment Act (CRA), which, in retrospect, was the opening wedge for what now threatens to become a government takeover of all housing in America. Under Carter’s administration, the domestic Peace Corps government entity VISTA, Volunteers in Service to America, gave a federal grant of $470,000 to ACORN to train volunteers to help low-income citizens.
A later congressional investigation found that ACORN illegally used this money for labor organizing.

According to ACORN co-founder Delgado, after two of “their own,” Sam Brown and Marjorie Tabankin, became directors of Carter’s ACTION agency and VISTA program, “over 3 million dollars was funneled directly to ACORN” and other left-wing organizations.

After the Clinton administration gave a grant worth more than $1 million to ACORN Housing Corp, an investigation by the inspector general of AmeriCorps found that AHC used government funds to register low-income persons for paid ACORN memberships, in violation of federal law.

Apparently this taxpayer money was given only to those poor people who agreed to pay $60 immediately back to ACORN.

By the infiltration of ideological comrades into positions of power at government agencies, ACORN became the recipient of a flood of taxpayer-funded grants, including some worth millions of dollars. AHC alone between 1997 and 2006 received more than $11,230,000 in public funds.

In 2005 alone, according to Department of Labor disclosure statements, labor leaders reportedly paid more than $2.4 million to ACORN in gifts, grants, and fees for organizing work.

Mandatory family membership dues bring ACORN another $3 million or so per year.
But foundations and churches, boasted Wade Rathke in 2004, account for less than half the revenue ACORN pockets from corporations that had been the targets of successful ACORN protest campaigns.

ACORN and Today’s Credit Crisis
President Carter’s CRA and related laws were repeatedly expanded to require lending institutions to avoid “redlining” policies that denied home loans to those in minority neighborhoods.

Obama was one of many lawyers who profited from successfully suing on grounds that discrimination was the reason an African-American was denied a home loan.
Banks and other lenders needed not only public good will but also the cooperation of government regulators to approve mergers and other business activities. Expanding laws such as CRA meant that if ACORN accused a bank of racial discrimination and unleashed protestors against it, however unjustly, that bank might suddenly face very unfriendly government regulators. Banks were thus set up to be easy victims for ACORN shakedowns, and paying protection money became necessary for bank survival.
“The same corporations that pay ransom to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton pay ransom to ACORN,” said Robert L. Woodson, President of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise.

“The 2000 tax return for the ACORN Housing Corporation,” reported the Employment Policies Institute (EPI), “disclosed grants from Bank of America, Fleet Services Corporation, Fannie Mae Foundation, Chase Manhattan Foundation, and Well Fargo Foundation totaling $4,752,198.” And AHC is just one of 100 arms of the ACORN octopus.

“The banks know they are being held up,” one financial industry consultant told EPI researchers, “but they are not going to fight over this. They look at it as a cost of doing business.”

Politicians and left-wing activist groups including ACORN were doing more than shaking down lending institutions for their own profit. They also demanded that lending standards be loosened for those in the underclass who tend to vote Democratic.

With a large political gun aimed at their heads, banks commenced making hundreds of thousands of what they called “Ninja” — no income, no job, no assets — loans to minorities who previously would have been deemed uncreditworthy. Knowing that many of these loans they were coerced to make would go bad, many lending institutions bundled them into new types of investment packages and sold them to shed risk.
The giant quasi-governmental lending institutions Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae, both largely run by Democratic appointees, became sources of funding for groups such as ACORN that aided Democratic politicians — and promoters of high-risk subprime home loans.

Democratic executives at these institutions, such as former Clinton administration member and Fannie Mae chair and chief executive officer, Franklin Raines, arranged to have their incomes increase with the amount of lending their institutions did. In six years of recklessly having Fanny Mae assume an astronomical burden of risk, Raines pushed his own income above $90 million.

As former federal prosecutor James H. Walsh recounted in a Sept. 22 article, Raines was an adviser to Obama until recent national financial problems made Raines too risky to embrace.

[Editor's Note: Read “Obama, Voter Fraud & Mortgage Meltdown
” — Go Here Now].
Obama, noted Walsh, had been “the Senate’s second-largest recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”
Is ACORN troubled by what many are calling a credit meltdown and the likelihood that many minority homeowners may lose their homes? Probably not, because the ideological aim of ACORN’s radical founders was to destroy capitalism and replace it with socialism. In the current financial situation, government will get bigger, free markets will become less free, and vast amounts of capital will shift from private companies to government.

For those like Barack Obama who share ACORN’s ideology, the situation is perfect — heads, government wins; tails, capitalism loses. If people keep their homes, many will naively thank the Democratic politicians and left-wing activists who caused their problems in the first place. If poor people lose their homes, they will be that much easier for ACORN to brainwash with class hatred against evil capitalists.
And lest we forget, the first think that congressional Democrats put into their proposed “bailout package” to solve the financial crisis was a permanent slush fund to be extracted from capitalist institutions that would start growing at more than $20 million. The beneficiaries of this now-deleted slush fund were to have been radical Democrat-allied organizations such as ACORN.

Greedy Lefists
The Rathkes commingled ACORN’s socialist redistribute-the-wealth ideology with their own hypocrisy and personal greed. From ACORN, they spun off approximately 100 other legal entities.

They then created a shell game under which money acquired by one ACORN front group, e.g., Project Vote, would be moved to other ACORN-controlled groups, in some cases to acquire property.

One former Arkansas ACORN chair, Dorothy Perkins, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, described the organization as “building up a land portfolio” that was supposed to “translate to money and power for the national organization.”
But that money was “never seen” by the poor people ACORN claimed to serve, she said, and “all the money ended up” under Wade Rathke’s control. Rathke, she said, ran ACORN “like a Jim Jones cult.”

Relatively little of the redistributed wealth of Rathke’s ACORN conglomerate trickled down to the poor, and comparatively little went to the organization’s thousands of full-time “community organizers.”

Typical pay was $25,000 a year or less, for which ACORN employees were expected to work 54 hours or more per week, weekends included. In 2006, ACORN required many of its workers in Missouri to sign an agreement that they would be “working up to 80 hours over seven days of work.”

ACORN went to court in California, arguing unsuccessfully that it should be exempt from minimum wage laws. But in recent years, ACORN has staged many demonstrations to demand a “living wage,” typically a minimum of $12 or more per hour, for minimum wage workers.

According to Mac Stuart, ACORN collected more than $4 for each completed, and illegally copied, voter registration. Its workers who found people and submitted their registrations were paid only $2, with ACORN and the Rathkes pocketing the difference.

But ACORN had many other sources for its annual $37.5 million budget, including millions in government and foundation grants.

ACORN head Wade Rathke was also chief organizer of a New Orleans local of one of America’s most radical labor unions, the Service Employee’s International Union (SEIU), and ACORN was a close ally of organized labor. Unions sometimes paid ACORN to have its low-paid workers march with picket signs pretending to be striking union members.

When ACORN workers, as well as those in his SEIU union local, tried to form their own unions to bargain for higher wages and shorter hours, Rathke successfully used a wide array of union-busting techniques to stop them — the same kinds of techniques he routinely condemned other businesses for using.

But the Rathkes fell from power in 2008 shortly before The New York Times on July 9 reported that in 1999-2000 Dale Rathke, then ACORN’s chief financial officer, had diverted $948,607 from ACORN and affiliated charitable organization accounts.
Other ACORN officials in 2001 reportedly obtained a restitution agreement from Wade Rathke to repay the missing funds in $30,000 per-year installments.

ACORN, meanwhile, continued to pay Wade Rathke considerably more than $30,000 each year, in effect covering these repayments, while Dale Rathke’s apparent embezzlement of almost a million dollars — in contributions to help the poor — was kept secret from the public and from those funding ACORN.

“How did ACORN handle the crime?” asked a July 13 New York Post editorial. “By disguising it on the books as a loan from one of its contractors….” and only letting Rathke go “when word of his fraud leaked to donors…. most of the people who covered up the embezzlement are still working for ACORN.”

“We thought it best at the time to protect the organizations,” said ACORN President Maude Hurd. “We did what we thought was right.” Or what served the interests of the left.

Welcome to ACORN, the organization that made Barack Obama what he is today, and that may make him president of the United States.
© 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

North Korea's Middle East Gambit

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz and Yishai Fleisher

Israel accused North Korea of covertly supplying six Middle Eastern countries with the means to produce weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, ignoring international non-proliferation agreements. Danieli said that "at least half a dozen" Middle Eastern states "have become eager recipients of North Korea." In a speech to a Republican party lobby group, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, called North Korea a key player in Middle East security.

Addressing a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria, on Saturday, Israeli representative David Danieli charged, "At a time when the international community concentrates on North Korea's nuclear activities and its non-compliance with safeguards agreements, the Middle East is at the receiving end of North Korea's reckless practices."

Without naming the countries in question, Danieli said that "at least half a dozen" Middle Eastern states "have become eager recipients of North Korea, mostly through black market and covert network channels." Those states, he emphasized, "do not even pay lip service to control regimes and are acting in bad faith regarding their stated policy and their undertakings regarding non-proliferation conventions."

Danieli went on to comment that the international community is ignoring the North Korean role in the regional arms race, but "this dark aspect of North Korean behavior... has become a matter of great concern to my government and others."

The week-long meeting of the 145-member IAEA focused on North Korea's black market role and its decision to renew its nuclear weapons program. A unanimous resolution adopted at the meeting called on North Korea to adhere to its earlier commitments to freeze nuclear development.

Two draft resolutions sponsored by several Arab countries demanded that Israel join the Non-Proliferation Treaty and submit to full IAEA inspections.

Bolton: North Korea Would Sell Nukes to Al-Qaeda
"I've spent a lot of time trying to convince people that North Korea's an important Middle Eastern country." So said John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations during a recent address to the Republican Jewish Coalition. Bolton stressed North Korea's criminality and cooperation with Iran on nuclear development and proliferation.

According to Bolton, North Korea has a strong ties to Israel's enemies in the Middle East: "North Korea was and is the world's largest proliferator of ballistic missile technology, much of it into the regimes in the Middle East. We've just seen proof last year that North Korea had spent five years building a nuclear reactor in Syria, of all places. Syria didn't make the original Axis of Evil - I called it a Junior Varsity member. But there's no doubt in my mind that Syria would not have engaged in that kind of cooperation with North Korea without at least acquiescence by Iran and quite possibly funding by Iran. I think that reactor could well have been a three-way joint venture between North Korea, Iran and Syria."

Ambassador Bolton explained that both North Korea and Iran both had incentives to hide their nuclear program in Syria: "If you're North Korea or Iran pursuing nuclear weapons, what better place to hide your program than in Syria, where nobody's looking for it. And the cooperation on ballistic missiles is directly related to nuclear weapons. These countries are not developing longer range ballistic missiles because of an abstract interest in physics, they're developing the ballistic missile capability to deliver warheads, and although you can deliver conventional warheads or even chemical and biological warheads by missile, it's a pretty inefficient way to spend money. This is clearly part of a larger nuclear program."

Bolton urged lawmakers and political activists to get involved in the North Korea issue so that the dangers it poses can be mitigated: "I've spent a lot of time trying to convince people that North Korea's an important Middle Eastern country because of its proliferation of ballistic missiles and now proof positive that it was engaged in constructing a nuclear reactor in Syria, a clone of the Yongbyon reactor that we've read so much about. North Korea being a criminal state, it is capable of selling a nuclear device it already has to anybody with hard currency. If Al-Qaeda came up with the money, I have no doubt that North Korea would sell it to them."

"Hezbollah Brigades of Palestine": the latest manifestation of jihad in Palestine

Jihad Watch

These groups just keep morphing and multiplying, as recently happened with Hamas and its latest offspring, Jaysh al-Umma, which made clear that "Muslims all over the world were obliged to fight the Israelis and the 'infidels' until only Islam rules the earth." Misunderstanders of jihad? More on this story. "Hezbollah announces new Jihad group," from UPI, October 5:

JERUSALEM, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- A new Palestinian militant group called Hezbollah Brigades of Palestine says it has established itself to "carry out Jihad."

The group issued a statement Saturday describing itself as a "Sunni Jihad group which has nothing to do with politics" made up of "former members of Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and leftist parties" whose goal is to "carry out Jihad for the sake of Allah and resist enemies of Islam," the Israeli Web site reported.

Unnamed sources told the Web site the Lebanese Hezbollah is behind the new group, saying it aims to lure members of all the established Palestinian terrorist groups on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for ad hoc operations against Israel. said unnamed Israeli counter-terrorism officials believe Hezbollah issued the statement to counter a warning from Brig. Gaby Eisenkott of the Israeli Defense Forces that any new Hezbollah rocket attacks would result in the destruction of Shiite villages in southern Lebanon.

The convenient war against the Jews


In the end, the global jihad, and the West's fickle response to radical Islam's assault on its civilization, is about hating Jews. This truth, never wholly hidden from view, was exposed in all its ugliness in recent months with startling disclosures by former Italian president and Senator-for-life Francesco Cossiga. In a letter to Italy's Corriere della Serra in August, Cossiga acknowledged that during the early 1970s, then Italian prime minister Aldo Moro signed an agreement with Yassir Arafat's PLO and affiliated organizations that enabled the Palestinians to field terrorists, operate bases and store weapons in Italy in exchange for immunity from attack for Italy and Italian interests worldwide. Cossiga also acknowledged that even when the Palestinians murdered Italians, the government still protected them. Indeed, he admitted for the first time that the largest terror attack ever to take place on Italian soil - the bombing of the Bologna train station in July 1980 which killed 85 people - was the work of PLO-affiliated terrorists from George Habash's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

At the time of the bombing, Cossiga was Italy's prime minister. Right after it occurred, he blamed the atrocity on neo-fascists. In his words at the time, "Unlike leftist terrorism, which strikes at the heart of the state through its representatives, black terrorism prefers the massacre because it promotes panic and impulsive reactions."

In August, he claimed that it was the work of the PFLP and asserted that the bomb exploded inadvertently. That is, the Palestinians hadn't meant to kill non-Jews - so Italian authorities protected them.

On Friday, Cossiga expanded on his disclosures to Corriere della Serra in an interview with Yediot Aharonot's Rome correspondent Menachem Ganz. Cossiga admitted that it wasn't just Israeli targets that Italy permitted the Palestinians to attack with impunity, but Jewish targets as well. Indeed, in at least one and probably two incidents, the Italians colluded with the Palestinians in their attacks against Jews. On October 9, 1982, six terrorists opened fire on worshippers leaving Rome's Great Synagogue. Dozens of Jews were wounded and two-year-old Stefano Tache was murdered. Hours before the attack the Italian police detail charged with securing the synagogue was withdrawn.

Then too, in December 1985, Palestinian terrorists opened fire on the El Al ticket counter at the Rome airport. Ten people were killed. Another seven people were murdered in a simultaneous attack against the El Al ticket counter at the Vienna airport. According to Cossiga, Italian intelligence agencies received prior warning of the attack but didn't bother to share the information with Israel.

Cossiga explained to Yediot, "No Italian targets were hit. They attacked the Israeli airline at the airport. The murdered were all Israelis, Jews, and Americans."

Then there was the hijacking of the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro off the Egyptian coast in October 1985. Palestinian terrorists led by Abu Abbas commandeered the ship. They shot wheelchair-bound American Jewish passenger Leon Klinghoffer and threw him overboard while he was still alive. The Egyptians freed the hijackers and sent them off on a flight to Libya. American jets forced a plane to land at a NATO base in Sicily. The Italians refused to permit the Americans to take the hijackers into custody and freed Abbas. The Italians cast the standoff as a victory against American bullies. But it really amounted to a surrender to Palestinian murderers. As Cossiga explained, "Since the Arabs were capable of harming Italy more than the Americans, Italy surrendered to them."

COSSIGA ALLEGES that his country's agreement with the Palestinians has recently been expanded to include Hizbullah. After the Second Lebanon War, Italy agreed to command the UNIFIL force charged with preventing Hizbullah from reasserting control over southern Lebanon and blocking its re-armament efforts. Yet Cossiga asserts, "I can state with absolute certainty that… Italy has a deal with Hizbullah according to which UNIFIL forces turn a blind eye to Hizbullah's rearmament so long as no attacks are carried out against soldiers in the force."

Ganz notes ruefully that although Cossiga's statements provoked the Italian Jewish community to demand that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi investigate the government's collusion with Palestinian terrorists, no such investigation is likely to be forthcoming. Ganz explains that Berlusconi himself is not immune to the anti-Semitism that caused his predecessors to abstain from protecting Italy's Jewish citizens. When he addresses Italian Jews, Berlusconi often calls the Israeli government "your government," and so exposes his adherence to the view that Jews are not true citizens of any country other than Israel.

The anti-Semitic belief that all Jews are Zionists and therefore all Jews are fair game in the war against Israel - itself simply another round of the age-old war against the Jews - allows anti-Semites to obfuscate the fact that their anti-Israel rhetoric is simply warmed over Jew-hatred. People like Iranian leaders Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Khamenei, and Palestinian terrorists from the PLO and their progeny in Hamas and Hizbullah nearly always limit their threats to "Zionists," and so pretend that they aren't actually anti-Semites.

Their razor-thin deception is eagerly embraced by their fellow travelers in the West - from university professors like Juan Cole, Steven Walt and John Mearshimer, to policymakers like Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, to Western decision-makers and European heads of state, and an alarming number of American politicians.

This deception is par for the course of anti-Semitism. Throughout history anti-Semites have used Jew-hatred as a way to rally their troops. By attacking Jews as the collective enemy, tyrants have given their people a convenient, weak culprit to attack to deflect criticism away from their own failures or to hide real enemies from pacifistic publics uninterested in fighting. Anti-Semitism appeals to people's basest instinct. But people don't like to acknowledge how much they hate Jews, and Jews have always preferred to deny that they are hated.

So anti-Semitic leaders have disguised their appeal to base instinct by pretending that they are actually appealing to sublime aspirations. In the case of the Nazis for instance, Adolf Hitler and Josef Goebbels appealed to Germanic pride and love for the Fatherland. Today, the Left appeals to people's aspirations for peace and justice. It is only by permitting and indeed enabling Jews to die and the Jewish state to be destroyed that "peace" can be secured and the Palestinians can receive "justice."

THIS STRATEGY appeals to European - and to greater and lesser degrees American - policymakers for two reasons. First, as French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner made clear in an interview with Ha'aretz on Friday, while the West understands that Islamic jihadists seek the destruction of Europe and the US, they believe - in part because their own anti-Semitism leads them to exaggerate Jewish power - that they will get away with coddling the Arabs and Iran because Israel will protect them.

Referring to Iran's nuclear weapons program, Kouchner said that no one is particularly worried about Iran's nuclear threat because everyone believes that Israel will attack Iran for them. In his words, "I honestly don't believe that [a nuclear arsenal] will give any immunity to Iran. First, you [Israel] will hit them before [they acquire nuclear weapons]… Because Israel has always said that it will not wait for the bomb to be ready. I think that they [the Iranians] know. Everybody knows."

What is ironic about this view is that it exposes the inversion of anti-Semitic rhetoric. Five years ago, former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamed told an approving audience of Islamic heads of state, "The Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them."

But the West's belief that Israel will protect it from Iran shows that the opposite is true. The West is absolutely certain that Israel is its proxy, and that Jews will fight and die protecting it from the forces of global terror and jihad.

THE SECOND reason the Western champions of "peace" have opted to sell Israel and the Jews out to the jihadists is because as anti-Semites, Western "anti-Zionists" fear Jewish power and therefore want us to be weak. So it is that for the past 40 years, European governments and the US State Department have bankrolled anti-Zionist groups in Israel like Peace Now, B'tselem and Four Mothers. So it is that they have blamed Israel for Palestinian terrorism. And even when Israel succumbs to all their demands for territorial withdrawals, they always manage to demand still more.

In the same interview with Ha'aretz for instance, Kouchner on the one hand praised Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni for their willingness to surrender Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria to the Palestinians, but argued that this is still not enough. Israel must also accept the free immigration of the hostile descendants of the Arabs who left Israel in 1948. That is, Israel must also agree to its own destruction in order to pave the way for "peace." In his words, "The main problem is the refugees and Jerusalem, but more the refugees. Olmert and Livni do not have the perception of this."

Kouchner for one is certain that Livni will come around to recognizing the need to allow hostile foreign-born Arabs to move here. "I think she will change. This is always the case for people that are in charge for politics and for life," he claimed.

Kouchner soothed the reporters' fears of national destruction by claiming that he's probably not talking about more than 100,000 hostile Arabs immigrants. But that's today.

If Livni does form a government and comes around to this view, leave it to the West to explain that placing "arbitrary" limits on Arab immigration is a human rights abuse, and that Israel's Zionist racism is compelling the Arabs and Iran to kill Jews and Westerners around the world.

AND THIS brings us to perhaps the greatest irony of the West's collusion with the Arabs and Iran in their war against the Jews. The logical outcome of the twin delusions of anti-Semitism - that Jews are all powerful and that the Jews must be cut down to size - is the destruction of Israel. And if that happens, the West will find itself in jaws of the Islamic jihadists they have been feeding the Jews to for four decades.

The West's subversion of the Israeli elite has fomented a situation where many Israeli leaders have embraced their anti-Semitic views of Israel. Leaders like Livni and Olmert, and the media and academia in Israel, have largely accepted the notion that Israel is to blame for the global jihad. Today these leaders uphold Jewish weakness as an ideal. The longer these Western-supported elites remain in power, the larger the chance that Israel won't attack Iran and that Israel will allow itself to be destroyed in the interest of pursuing "peace" with Palestinian terrorists.

And if Israel is destroyed, the West won't be able to depend on us Jews to fight and die for them anymore. They will be all alone.

This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1222017478856&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Monday, October 06, 2008

Dayan: Obama Camp Tricked Me

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Uzi Dayan charged that the Obama camp deceived him in an interview used to promote the Democratic presidential candidate. Former intelligence boss Ephraim HaLevy said he also was duped.

"It simply was deception," Dayan, a former deputy IDF Chief of Staff, told Voice of Israel government radio Monday morning. "These were respectable people but what they did was not respectable and what they did was unethical."
Dayan, HaLevy, reserve Brigadier-General Shlomo Brom and other former senior IDF officers were interviewed by a Jewish group backing Sen. Barack Obama. The Jewish Council for Education and Research took excerpts of their statements and put them together in a commercial that shows them supporting Sen. Obama.

Halevy is quoted as saying that Sen. Obama is a "good communicator" and that the next president must talk to Iran to stop it from becoming a nuclear power, implying that he backs Sen. Obama.

Dayan also stated the next president must talk with Iran, a policy supported by Sen. Obama and rejected by his Republican opponent Sen. John McCain.

HaLevy told Voice of Israel, "I said that Obama makes a good impression, but I also said the same thing about McCain. They asked me whom I support, and I responded that an Israeli should not express an opinion, but that was not in the video clip. I think it was an improper use of the interview with me." He said he was explicitly told the film would not be used for campaign use.

Dayan and HaLevy have demanded that the Obama camp delete their appearances in the film.

The commercial also quotes reserve Brig. Gen. Brom as saying that the Bush administration has harmed Israel and that Sen. McCain would continue President Bush's policies, implying that Israel would be better off with Sen. Obama as president.

Labor may drop coalition preconditions

Party closer to joining Livni government as aides hint Chairman Barak appears willing to postpone talks on increased funding until ramifications of global financial crisis clearer
Attila Somfalvi

Tzipi Livni and Labor Party head Ehud Barak met Sunday evening with financial advisors in the framework of the newly elected Kadima chairwoman's ongoing efforts to form a new coalition. Livni's initially allotted 28 days to form a coalition end in two weeks. The two-hour meeting, which was held at Barak's request, came amid Labor's demand to increase the government's spending limit. The sides also consulted with the financial advisors on possible ways to deal with the global economic crisis and its affects on Israel.

All but one of the financial advisors said they were against increasing the government's spending limit for welfare aid and only recommended expanding the budget to accommodate specific crises.

The advisors suggested delaying the discussion on possible additions to the budget by another two or three months, when the ramifications of the global financial crisis on Israel's economy are clearer. The experts suggested establishing a safety net for pensioners and pension funds. In any event they unanimously agreed that in light of the crisis, the government would have to invest billions in infrastructure.

Labor wants to see the budget's limits expanded from 1.7% to 2.5% more than last year's boundaries.

A Barak aide told Ynet following the meeting that the Labor chief "may be willing to consider delaying the talks on the budget," indicating that Barak may be willing to resume the discussions after signing a

coalition agreement and joining Livni's new government.

Earlier on Sunday Finance Minister Bar-On reviewed the world financial crisis for his fellow ministers at Olmert's request, and concluded by saying that "while there is no cause for concern at this time, we mustn't exceed our set budget."

On Friday Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit told reporters in Washington "I don’t think Israel can afford to revise its budget at this juncture. Deviating from the State Budget now would be catastrophic, particularly in light of the global financial crisis and its future ramifications on Israel, which may be severe."

Sunday, October 05, 2008

On the Attack on Prof. Sternhell

Prof. Steven Plaut

Anti-dissident McCarthyism in Israel.

The smoke from the pipe bomb had not yet cleared from the courtyard in front of the home of Prof. Zeev Sternhell in Jerusalem when the media launched their most ferocious McCarthyist broadside against the Israeli "Right" since the mid-1990s The media leaped to the knee-jerk conclusion that the attack on Sternhell, lightly wounded by the bomb, was politically motivated; this because Sternhell had a long track record of expressing radical opinions. These included his denouncing settlers of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and all non-leftists in Israel, as "fascists," justifying terror attacks on "settlers," and calling for Soviet-style central planning of the Israeli economy and society.
We believe that political street violence in Israel must be fought as if there were no plague of leftist academic sedition...

The previous round of massive anti-dissident McCarthyism in Israel followed the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. The leftist media invented the "theory" that Rabin had been killed as a direct result of the anti-Oslo "Right" exercising its freedom of speech and voicing its ideas. The McCarthyist Left in Israel insisted then that anyone who had disagreed with Rabin's Oslo initiative was collectively guilty of his murder. The leftist theory of jurisprudence insisted that every Israeli non-leftist was collectively guilty of murder unless he or she could be proven innocent beyond a reasonable doubt. The episode demonstrated how shallow is the understanding of and commitment to democracy in large swaths of the Israeli political arena.

And a few days ago came the pipe bomb attack on Sternhell. Once again, every Israeli non-leftist is being pronounced by the media as guilty of "terrorism" against Sternhell unless proven innocent beyond a reasonable doubt; and never mind that there is no proof that the bomb was placed by anyone from the Israeli "Right" or even by anyone acting out of political motives. The media in Israel have no need of evidence or proof of anything.

Article after article denounced the "Right" as being (collectively) behind the attack, and numerous pieces, including, notably, those by A. B. Yehoshua and by police czar Avi Dichter, insisted that nameless "settlers" were behind the attack on Sternhell. Lunatic far-leftist professors, ordinarily ignored by most of the Israeli media outside of anti-Zionist Haaretz, the very people who have never heard of an Arab atrocity against Jews they wish to condemn, were carted out by the boxcar to issue proclamations about how the attack on Sternhell was simply a side consequence of Israeli brutality against poor Palestinians and how the attack proves that anyone who disagrees with the far-left is, by definition, a terrorist.

Now, a reasonable person would not rule out automatically the possibility that a lunatic from the fringe of the "Right" or even a "settler" might eventually be found to be involved in the attack. Incidentally, not a single news story or commentary in Haaretz or the rest of the Israeli media referred to the perpetrator(s) of the attack on Sternhell as "activists." But imagine, just suppose that this turns out not to be the case. Would it not be amusing if the police were to uncover evidence that, in fact, Palestinian terrorists had targeted Sternhell with a bomb after his receipt of the Israel Prize turned him ironically into a symbol of the Zionist entity and a trophy target? Moreover, Sternhell had over the years accumulated his fair share of others who hated him, including numerous French anti-Semites, one of whom successfully sued Sternhell for libel in France. So a prudent person would withhold pronouncements concerning who should be presumed to have carried out the attack until some real evidence actually is uncovered.

Meanwhile, anyone who has ever dissented from the dogmas of the far-left and anyone who even expressed criticism of the views of Sternhell, including his statements calling for murder of "settlers," spent the week fielding media injunctions that he step forward to denounce the attack. As if anyone from the non-Left who fails to take the initiative to issue such a declaration should be presumed to support the attack. A prominent professor from the Professors for a Strong Israel organization got such a summons from an Israeli television station and refused to cooperate, viewing the summons as insulting., the web watchdog that exposes and monitors academic anti-Israel extremism in Israel, was similarly swamped with accusatory injunctions to appear and demands to denounce the attack.

I proposed to the members and leaders of Professors for a Strong Israel - and I hereby suggest to anyone else from the non-Left contemplating what the proper response to all this should be - to adapt the familiar aphorisms of David Ben-Gurion to the challenge. Ben-Gurion regularly made statements such as, "We will fight the White Paper as if there were no Hitler and we will fight Hitler as if there were no White Paper."

Accordingly, my suggestion is that all sensible non-Leftists, when asked about the attack on Sternhell, should reply as follows: We believe that political street violence in Israel must be fought as if there were no plague of leftist academic sedition, and that the plague of leftist academic sedition must be fought as if there were no political street violence in Israel.

Beyond that, several other rather tame observations might be mentioned. These include:

* Sternhell's political outlook and opinions were repugnant before the attack and did not become any less repugnant because of the attack.

* Radical Leftist sedition does not become legitimized because of the attack on Sternhell, no matter who carried it out.

* Critics of the radical Left do not become delegitimized because of the attack on Sternhell, no matter who carried it out.

* Critics of Prof. Sternhell's opinions have as much right to express their criticisms as Sternhell himself has to express his.
...and that the plague of leftist academic sedition must be fought as if there were no political street violence in Israel.

As a side note, should it actually turn out that a lunatic from the fringes of the Kahanist movement was involved, I strongly suggest that the denial of freedom of speech to Kahanists should be considered to be the primary cause of the attack. The Kahanists, and only the Kahanists, have been criminalized in Israel, banned, denied freedom of speech, and declared racists and terrorists. Yet, not a single far-Leftist "post-Zionist", nor a single Arab fascist or Stalinist group has been similarly criminalized, and none were officially declared "racists," even when calling for mass murder of Jews or denying the Holocaust.

Forcing fanatics to compete in the marketplace of ideas exposes their ideas to sunshine and fresh air, and ultimately neutralizes them. But the anti-democratic Left and the Israeli political establishment decided arbitrarily to criminalize the Kahanists, banning them as illegal; and people denied freedom of speech sometimes resort to violence. Should it turn out that any were involved, and there is not a shred of evidence that any were, the policy conclusion from such a discovery should be that Kahanism needs to be decriminalized and Kahanists permitted to exercise freedom of speech.