Saturday, October 25, 2008

Yair Lapid overcome by jealousy while watching thoughtful elections discourse in US

Yair Lapid overcome by jealousy while watching thoughtful elections discourse in US
Yair Lapid

I was overcome by great jealously while watching all three debates between American presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain, as well as the speeches that followed them.

I was jealous because their elections campaign deals with all the issues that are not dealt with around here: Healthcare and mortgages, pension funds and alternative energy issues, complex economic plans and an in depth discussion regarding the invasion of Iraq and the war on terrorism. We tend to patronize the Americans as we would do to friendly but somewhat dim-witted relatives. In our eyes they are perceived as a superficial and naïve people addicted to McDonald’s and to sweet Hollywood comedies. However, their elections campaign shows the exact opposite: It is a contest between two brilliant people who assume that the audience listening to them is intelligent enough to grasp complex issues.

When was the last time you heard Israeli politicians engaged in a serious discussion over any issue? When have they dared adopt a position that could damage them just because they believe in it? When was the last time any of them surprised you with some kind of original statement? (Notwithstanding retirement interviews.)

‘Public is dumb’

Our entire public debate in recent years has been reduced to empty declarations, drafted by advertising and public relations professionals, regarding the person who will divide Jerusalem, or the one who doesn’t speak English, or that inexperienced woman. Instead of going into detail, everyone hides behind vague statements as much as is possible. I think they are truly against terrorism, or something like that.

Once I sat at dinner with one of our most senior politicians, who explained with utter seriousness that it would be better for citizens of the country not to know his views, because they would not be able to understand them. One of those present asked him what the public should go by when voting then. “Forget about it,” said the politician dismissively, “the people may be smart, but the public as a whole is dumb. They vote from the gut, not from their head.”

Today I am sorry that I did not tell him what went through my head at that moment: If the voters are dumb, what does it say about him when they vote for him?

Jerusalem stabbing: Terrorist's family affiliated with Islamic Jihad

Police interrogation of Palestinian who killed 86-year-old Israeli on Thursday reveals that he apparently acted alone, bought knife on morning of attack
Efrat Weiss

Police said Friday that the interrogation of the Palestinian terrorist who killed an 86-year-old Israeli civilian and wounded an officer during a stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood Thursday morning revealed that he had apparently acted alone despite the fact that his family is affiliated with Islamic Jihad. t was further revealed that the terrorist, 21-year-old Muhammad al- Badan, bought the knife he used to stab the Israelis on the morning of the attack.

Following the attack IDF troops raided the terrorist's home village of Tekoa, located near Bethlehem in the West Bank in search of suspects involved in the lethal stabbing.

A soldier sustained light wounds as forces clashed with local residents near the terrorist's home; a Palestinian man reportedly sustained light to moderate wounds in the clashes.

The troops entered the village in order to apprehend terror suspects possibly connected to Thursday's attack. The terrorist's sister and her husband were among those detained by the forces.

Kadima officials slam Livni's handling of coalition negotiations

Sources within ruling party say chairwoman should have asked Olmert to put off his resignation following September 17 primaries. 'It was impossible to hold serious negotiations with the religious parties during holidays,' they say
Attila Somfalvi

Several Kadima party officials cast harsh criticism on Friday over Chairwoman Tzipi Livni's handling of the coalition negotiations, saying she erred by declaring that a decision will be made by Sunday on whether to form a new government or call for general elections. "Livni has already been granted a 14-day extension from (President) Shimon Peres to assemble a coalition, so she may as well have waited a bit with the ultimatum, which is detrimental to (the negotiations)," one official said.

A number of Kadima officials are considering asking Livni to r the ultimatum and call Shas back to the negotiating table. Some of them said she should have formed a negotiation team comprised of seasoned politicians.

Meanwhile, associates of outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Livni should have asked him to delay his resignation following her September 17 victory in the Kadima primaries so she would not be forced to conduct the coalition talks during the holiday season.

"What did she gain from this? A lot of time was wasted because of the holidays, and it was impossible to hold serious negotiations with the religious parties," one of them said.

However, a Livni aide rejected the claims, saying there was ample time to reach a coalition agreement. "The proposals presented to Shas were reasonable," he added.

Most of Livni's advisors are recommending that she call for general elections, but there are also those who believe it is still possible to establish a narrow government with Labor, Meretz-Yahad, the Pensioners' Party and three members of United Torah Judaism.

"Livni will make her decision over the weekend," one of the advisors said.

Friday, October 24, 2008

"A Small Modicum of Hope"

Arlene Kushner

The Shas party has announced that it will not be joining a coalition headed by Tzipi Livni. This decision was made by its Council of Sages; the announcement declared that it had demanded real aid for the poor and sought to protect Jerusalem: "We suggested solutions for the poverty issues and Jerusalem, but our opinion was not accepted..." I cannot but wonder what role Bibi Netanyahu played in all of this. Livni has announced that she will make her decision on Sunday as to whether to try to hobble together a narrow government, that is, one with a bare minimum of seats required, or to go to elections. Various advisors are telling her to go for elections and to hold tight. I'm betting she goes for elections. I certainly hope so. She is likely to opt for this because a narrow government is particularly prone to falling apart quickly. Labor had insisted that it wanted a stable government that would last two years.

If she decides to go for elections, it will be two months until they take place, and -- unless something totally unexpected happens -- Bibi Netanyahu will be our next prime minister.


I am including here a link to a speech given in New York on September 25, by Geert Wilders, who is another reason to have a modicum of hope.

The situation he describes in his speech is grim -- and should be noted seriously. The tendency in many quarters to make light of the realities he describes is cause for great concern. These facts need to be received by all with utmost seriousness, indeed alarm.

But good things are also happening. In his speech, which was sponsored by the Hudson Institute, Wilders -- chairman of the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands -- introduced an Alliance of Patriots and announced the Facing Jihad Conference to be held in Jerusalem in December, promoted in part by MK Aryeh Eldad (NU/NRP). At long last a response to the Jihadist threat is coalescing with seriousness.


This is what Wilders -- bless him! -- says about Israel. Would that every American understood this:

"The best way for a politician in Europe to loose votes is to say something positive about Israel. The public has wholeheartedly accepted the Palestinian narrative, and sees Israel as the aggressor. I, however, will continue to speak up for Israel. I see defending Israel as a matter of principle. I have lived in this country and visited it dozens of times. I support Israel. First, because it is the Jewish homeland after two thousand years of exile up to and including Auschwitz, second because it is a democracy, and third because Israel is our first line of defense.

"Samuel Huntington writes it so aptly: 'Islam has bloody borders.' Israel is located precisely on that border. This tiny country is situated on the fault line of jihad, frustrating Islam’s territorial advance. Israel is facing the front lines of jihad...Israel is simply in the way. The same way West-Berlin was during the Cold War.

The war against Israel is not a war against Israel. It is a war against the West. It is jihad. Israel is simply receiving the blows that are meant for all of us. If there would have been no Israel, Islamic imperialism would have found other venues to release its energy and its desire for conquest. Thanks to Israeli parents who send their children to the army and lay awake at night, parents in Europe and America can sleep well and dream, unaware of the dangers looming.


I am hard at work on major material -- on UNRWA -- at this juncture, and so I ask your forbearance if my postings are somewhat less frequent or somewhere shorter than is my norm. I am finding I need at least six more hours in each day, but will do my best to post as I can.


I am by nature an optimistic person. I certainly never give up the fight and never abandon hope -- that is forbidden. But I confess a great heaviness of heart these days because I am witnessing the implosion of the US, both politically and economically. This is something I never imagined I would see. Perhaps, with the help of Heaven, the situation can be turned around. But please, please, do not write to me to tell me Obama brings great promise for good change, because I do not, cannot, accept this. Not remotely.

Blessings of peace to all.


see my website

2007-2008: Another Year of Global Academic Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism [1]

Manfred Gerstenfeld

The academic year 2007-2008 saw ongoing anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic incidents in various countries. Among them is Israel Apartheid Week, which has become an annual ritual in a number of cities on several continents. So have the calls of the University and College Union (UCU) in the United Kingdom for discriminatory measures against Israeli universities and academics. In several universities, such as on some campuses of the University of California, anti-Israelism is endemic.
Much of the visible anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism occurs in the academic world of Britain, Canada, and the United States. There are problems in many other countries as well. The situation is obfuscated by limited media attention.
Effective counteractions are also increasing. There is now more exposure of Islamist racism and anti-Semitism on American campuses. In Canada protests against anti-Israeli actions are on the rise. There are also European and British initiatives to enhance academic collaboration with Israeli universities. External monitoring bodies are more and more exposing the hate culture and biased actions of some university lecturers.
The onslaught against Israel and Jews is not an isolated phenomenon. What happens to Jews has usually been a pointer to their societal environment and a sensor of events to come. This is also the case regarding academic anti-Israelism. Academic freedom has been abused so much that in its present form it has outlived part of its academic and societal usefulness for fostering knowledge.

The academic year 2007-2008 saw ongoing anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic incidents in various countries. Among them is Israel Apartheid Week, which has become an annual ritual in a number of cities on several continents. So have the calls of the University and College Union (UCU) in the United Kingdom for discriminatory measures against Israeli universities and academics.

In several universities, such as on some campuses of the University of California, anti-Israelism is endemic. In many others it has seen highs and lows over the years. The situation is obfuscated by the fact that, with a few exceptions, the incidents this academic year were not given much media publicity.

On the other hand, effective counteractions are also increasing. There is now more exposure of Islamist racism and anti-Semitism on American campuses. In Canada protests against anti-Israeli actions are on the rise. There are also European and British initiatives to enhance academic collaboration with Israeli universities. External monitoring bodies are more and more exposing the hate culture and biased actions of some university lecturers.

It is mistaken to assume that hate campaigns can be largely counteracted or balanced by positive programs on Israel. Because of their extremism, the hate campaigners' damage to Israeli and Jewish causes runs deeper than the superficial impression left by the positive activists. This also reflects the intense motivation of Muslim and far-Left racists and anti-Semites. Their activities are often supported de facto by the passivity of university authorities. Although they may explicitly oppose anti-black or anti-Muslim racism, these authorities are often far more reluctant to take similar actions against anti-Semitism and its new mutation anti-Israelism. It is usually easy to prove that these double standards operate.

A complete overview of the many anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic actions on campuses worldwide is not possible. The following should thus be seen as a selection of important trends and events. It focuses mainly on Britain, Canada, and the United States where many of the problems are concentrated.[2] Yet academic anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism are rife in many other countries as well. As these problems are hardly monitored and little is written about them, the illusion is often created that they do not exist.

Israel Apartheid Week

Israel Apartheid Week or similar anti-Israeli activities took place in February 2008 in twenty-five locations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and the Palestinian Authority. Since 2005 such activities have been increasing, and February 2008 marked Israel Apartheid Week's fourth anniversary.

The programs include calls for boycotts, divestments, and sanctions against Israel. One goal is to raise "awareness and disseminate information about Zionism, the Palestinian liberation struggle and its similarities with the indigenous sovereignty struggle in North America and the South African anti-Apartheid movement."[3] These activities should be seen in the wider framework of the anti-Israeli campaign.

The website called "Israeli Apartheid Week" gives no information on who is behind this project other than mentioning that: "Prominent Palestinians, Jewish anti-Zionists, and South Africans have been at the forefront of this struggle."[4]

Originating at the University of Toronto

The origins of Israel Apartheid Week can be traced to the University of Toronto in 2004, where groups supporting the Palestinian cause tried to delegitimize Israel. The first annual event there was organized by the Arab Students Collective (ASC) and took place in early 2005. Over the years other organizations at this university joined, such as the Coalition against Israel Apartheid and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights.[5]

In Canada groups at the Universities of Toronto, Montreal, Ryerson, Ottawa, and McMaster all took part in Israel Apartheid Week 2008. This year it received media attention partly because of the reactions to it. The organizers at the Canadian universities reached out to include other campus organizations such as the United Black Students and Indigenous Environmental Network, whose representatives spoke on the first day of the week and introduced the topic of apartheid.

Events at the University of Toronto this year included speeches by notorious anti-Israeli figures such as Ward Churchill, a professor who in 2007 was fired from the University of Colorado for research misconduct, as well as displays and a march starting at the Israeli consulate and called "Breaking the Silence." Churchill claimed among other things that the mass murder of the Jews was not "a fixed policy objective of the Nazis." This was yet another example of how anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism go together.

Churchill had also spoken at the event in 2006.[6] Past events in Canada have included figures such as former Knesset member Azmi Bishara. More recently Bishara has fled Israel and may be arrested on suspicion of treason if he ever returns.

This year for the first time, the week at the University of Toronto ended with a one-day conference for high school students.[7] There were also outdoor events such as demonstrations at mock Israeli checkpoints. Not only student organizations but also university academic departments sponsor the week.

McGill University and Carleton University organized activities on a smaller scale. Participants there also picketed Indigo Books and Music, a retail chain with locations throughout Canada. Its main shareholders are financial supporters of the Heseg Foundation for Lone [Israeli] Soldiers.[8]

Reactions from the Jewish Community

After years in which the Jewish community reacted only in minor ways, a change occurred in 2008. The University of Toronto's Israel Apartheid Week received much more attention this year from Jewish groups on campus, B'nai Brith, and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies. The pro-Israeli community at the University of Ottawa also staged a counterevent, including a lecture by the Israeli ambassador to Canada on "Israel, the Only Democracy in the Middle East."[9]

McMaster University, for its part, banned the words "Israel Apartheid" because they demonstrate intolerance. Controversy then erupted on campus as to whether the administration meant all use of "Israel Apartheid" or just the use of the term on printed displays. Students at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto also staged a protest.[10]

The Jewish community, including leaders of the abovementioned organizations, made the University of Toronto administration aware of their views. In April, 125 Jewish and non-Jewish professors took out a full-page ad in the National Post calling on the administration to prevent the university from hosting future Israel Apartheid Weeks. They noted that, while the university prohibits Islamophobia and discrimination toward other minorities and specific individuals, it permits freedom of speech for Israel Apartheid Week.[11]

The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies also sent a letter to David Naylor, president of the University of Toronto, expressing their disappointment at the school's response to Israel Apartheid Week by dismissing the issue simply as one of freedom of speech.[12]

Boycott Motions at the University and College Union

On 28 May 2008, Britain's UCU adopted three anti-Israeli motions at its annual conference. They were passed by approximately a two-thirds majority. The UCU has 120,000 members, who include most of the British university teachers and related academic staff.

Although the UCU motions against Israel are usually referred to as proposed boycotts, their current content now stops somewhat short of directly calling for such actions. In 2007 the UCU received a legal opinion that boycotting Israel would be illegal. Its details have not been made public. One of the 2008 conference motions says that British academics should consider the moral implications of working with Israeli universities and discuss "the occupation" with Israeli colleagues with whom they work.

Before this year's UCU conference, British Jewry's Stop the Boycott Campaign published a legal opinion it had obtained. This stated among other things that if the UCU were to adopt and implement one of the proposed motions it might breach the British Race Relations Act.

At the UCU's invitation a delegation from PFUUPE (the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees) visited UK universities and colleges during the past academic year. As Jonathan Halevi notes, "The discussions between UCU and PFUUPE were concentrated on promoting fields of cooperation and supporting the Palestinian academia, ignoring the fact that in all these universities there is a strong presence from the Palestinian terrorist organizations."[13]


As in previous years, the UCU resolutions prompted some condemnations. British minister of higher education Bill Rammell stated that he found boycotting academics deeply disturbing.[14] Paul Goldschmidt, former director of the European Union, wrote to José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, that he should condemn the UCU decision.

Labor parliamentarian John Mann, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group against anti-Semitism, stressed the motion's discriminatory character against British Jews: "Boycotts do nothing to bring about peace and reconciliation in the Middle East but leave Jewish students, academics and their associates isolated and victimized on UK university campuses."[15]

Israel's ambassador to the UK Ron Prosor published an article in the Daily Telegraph in which he wrote: "Israel faces an intensified campaign of delegitimisation, demonisation and double standards. Britain has become a hotbed for radical anti-Israeli views and a haven for disingenuous calls for a ‘One state solution,' a euphemistic name for a movement advocating Israel's destruction."[16]

Minister Rammell responded:

I do not agree that there is widespread radical anti-Israeli sentiment on our higher education campuses. I do not believe calls for academic boycotts of Israel have anything more than small minority support amongst academics. Universities have a vital role to play in challenging those views that we may regard as uncomfortable or distasteful and, where such views do exist, it is the responsibility of staff and students to isolate the very small minority who promote extremism.[17]

Attorney Anthony Julius, representing various members of the UCU, wrote a letter to its general secretary Sally Hunt. He pointed out why one of the motions, number 25, was anti-Semitic, and argued that the UCU's behavior was "continuous with episodes in anti-Semitism's history."

Julius also mentioned the possibility of "a likely claim against the UCU for harassment under s. 3A(1) of the Race Relations Act, that is, the creating of an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating and/or offensive environment for Jewish members of the union and/or violating their dignity." He then listed various points on which such a court case could be based.[18]

Those who propose and support the anti-Israeli motions are well aware that these are unlikely to influence those British academics who collaborate with Israeli universities. Their true aims are different. Many are Trotskyites who seek to attract public attention to various issues concerning the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Another aim is to demonize Israel, while presenting themselves as moral people.

The Absentees

Two parties are surprisingly almost absent from the boycott-motions debate. One is the great majority of UCU members who want their union to focus on salaries and social conditions instead of political issues. Yet this majority is so silent that it has allowed the Trotskyite faction, the UCU Left, to take control.

The other major absentee is the Israeli universities. One would have expected those who are attacked to be the first to respond. They have, however, left the battlefield to British Jewry and its activists. Among the latter are Ronnie Fraser, founder and director of Academic Friends of Israel, and Engage, an organization that includes both Jewish and non-Jewish academics and has worked against the boycott since 2005.

Until the end of 2007 the International Advisory Board for Academic Freedom and its executive director Ofir Frenkel were at the forefront of the battle against Israel's academic enemies worldwide. This body, founded by Bar-Ilan University, had evolved into an umbrella organization of all Israeli universities. However, a lack of funds forced it to discontinue its activities.

The Israeli government was willing to make partial funding available, but this was conditional on the universities providing the remainder. Israel's university presidents however did not discuss the matter in their meetings.[19] The academic world would like to believe it is at its best when outsiders leave it alone. The Israeli universities' failure to deal with attacks against them is yet further proof that this is a fallacy.

Other Events

The Oxford Union is a very old student debating society. In late 2007 its leadership proposed discussing the topic "This house believes that one state is the only solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict." The debate had to be canceled because as representative of the pro-Israeli side the union chose Norman Finkelstein, an academic who had been fired from DePaul University "for his lack of scholarship and his ad hominems against pro-Israel writers."[20]

The Oxford Union held another event in November 2007 in which Holocaust-denier David Irving and Nick Griffin, leader of the far-Right British National Party, debated the subject of free speech. Irving had been jailed by an Austrian court in 2006 for his pro-Nazi statements. The debate was accompanied by heavy protests.[21]

New Israeli Academic-Collaboration Agreements

When British prime minister Gordon Brown visited Israel in July 2008 he, together with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, launched a new academic- exchange program between the UK and Israel called BIRAX (Britain-Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership). The program is to run initially for five years and will be administered by the British Council.

Julia Smith, deputy director of the British Council said the program was not related to the boycott. Prof. David Newman of Ben-Gurion University, who has been active in fighting the boycott during a sabbatical in the UK, disagreed and said the program "has a great deal to do with the boycott. Because of the ongoing discussion of boycotts, the British government decided that the most appropriate response was to strengthen ties."[22]

In the same month European Commissioner for Education, Culture and Sport Jan Figel signed a joint declaration with Israeli education minister Yuli Tamir on the occasion of the inauguration of the first Tempus office in Israel. The Tempus program promotes the exchange of students and academic staff between the EU and neighboring countries.[23]

On the other hand, two leading British universities have received gifts from Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Abdul Aziz Alsaud. Centers for Islamic studies will be set up at Cambridge and Edinburgh universities with a $31 million endowment. The prince had earlier made gifts to Harvard and Georgetown universities.[24] Then-New York mayor Rudy Giuliani refused a $10 million gift from him after the 9/11 attack because the prince had suggested that American policies had contributed to the crime.

The financing of chairs in Western universities by Saudi Arabia and other Arab dictatorships is an issue that will require increasing scrutiny. Jay P. Greene, head of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, says Gulf Arabs have donated a total of $88 million to fourteen U.S. universities from 1995 to the present. His own university was the largest recipient.[25] Prof. Anthony Glees, director of Brunel University's Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, says that eight British universities-among them Oxford and Cambridge-have accepted more than £233.5 million from Saudi and Muslim donors from 1995 to 2008.[26]

United States: The Ad Hoc Committee to Defend the University

Another initiative that de facto serves the anti-Israeli racists on campuses is a statement of the Ad Hoc Committee to Defend the University. This was partly an attack on the pro-Israeli forces and those fighting anti-Semitism in American academia. In November 2007 professors from the University of California-Santa Cruz, Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia jointly launched a petition on academic freedom.

By August 2008 this declaration had about 650 signatures including those of academics representing almost every Ivy League school. The Ad Hoc Committee released the statement on its website for viewing or adding one's signature.[27]

The statement itself begins by stressing the essential role of academic freedom. Without citing any specific examples, the text discusses how it has recently become necessary to protect this freedom because of limitations on the type of material taught in classrooms and effects on the tenure of professors.

The language of the petition directs the blame for these limitations at pressure or lobby groups. It singles out pro-Israeli activities. It also states that "a greater percentage of social scientists today feels that their academic freedom has been threatened than was the case during the McCarthy era."[28]

According to supporters of the declaration, the Israel lobby has taken control of the universities through donations, linking anti-Semitism to being anti-Israeli, and other types of influence. Thus the petition calls for lecturers to have the freedom to teach what they consider appropriate in the classroom without fear. The signatories also state that the right to scrutinize their work belongs primarily to their peers.

Organizations such as Campus Watch have criticized the professors who support the petition by saying they "are sealing themselves from the society that supports them...and are ivory tower intellectuals who regularly render harsh judgments against the practitioners of other professions-but claim immunity from criticism when it is directed towards themselves."[29]

Campus Watch director Daniel Pipes unmasked the hypocrisy of the Ad Hoc Committee by pointing out that the anti-Israeli academic Noam Chomsky has no problem speaking at American universities and added: "When I go on universities I can barely give a talk."[30]

Investigations at the University of California-Irvine

Anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism are rife in a number of U.S. universities. A prime example is the University of California-Irvine. Incidents there in recent years have been described in an essay by Leila Beckwith.[31]

In 2006 the Hillel Foundation of Orange County set up a task force to investigate anti-Semitism on the UC-Irvine campus. They interviewed people about incidents that had occurred there. Officials from the school, however, including the chancellor, refused to be interviewed claiming it was against school policy. The interviews began in February 2007, but by August of that year Hillel decided the task was too extensive and discontinued its association with the project.[32]

The investigation was later continued by members of the Jewish community of Orange County. They published their report in February 2008. This document is of major importance as it examines the structural problems of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli hate at one American university in their totality rather than dealing only with a number of incidents. It can serve as a model for similar investigations at other universities, Columbia and UC-Santa Cruz being among the prime candidates.

The new group's report states that "acts of anti-Semitism are real and well documented. Jewish students have been harassed. Hate speech is unrelenting." Furthermore, "Some faculty members have used their classroom as a forum for their anti-Israel agenda."[33]

The authors also assert that: "The Muslim Student Union...allies itself and identifies itself with terrorist groups that are enemies of the Unites States." About the administration they note:

The Chancellor has failed to exercise his moral authority as an educator and leader by abrogating his leadership responsibilities. The boundaries of rational and reasonable discourse by constituencies that have differing positions on emotional issues have not been established. There is no indication that the University is at all concerned about the disconnect between campus values and the values of the greater society.[34]

The report also mentions that the Jewish community as a whole has not been proactive. It even includes a suggestion that Jewish students should not attend school at UC-Irvine.

At the request of the Zionist Organization of America, the United States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) also launched an investigation into anti-Semitic incidents at UC-Irvine. After some initial inquiries, the office claimed it had not been informed in time and, based on this technicality, ceased the investigation. The task force of the Jewish community, however, concluded that there was evidence that all twenty-six incidents the OCR was supposed to investigate had indeed taken place, and that there had been additional ones as well.

An Abundance of Anti-Israeli Events

The 2007-2008 academic year was marked by numerous anti-Israeli events at UC-Irvine. In February 2008 an Israel Apartheid Week was held. This included a lecture by Imam Mohammad Al-Asi titled "From Auschwitz to Gaza: The Politics of Genocide."[35] He said Israel was an apartheid state and that "Israel is on the way down...your days are numbered. We will fight you until we are martyred or until we are victorious."[36]

Al-Asi returned to UC-Irvine in May 2008 to take part in a weeklong event to commemorate the Nakba, that is, the Arabs' catastrophic defeat in the 1948 war against Israel. Other speakers were Norman Finkelstein and the imam Amir Abdel Malik Ali, who praised Palestinian mothers who sent out their children as suicide bombers.[37]

When Daniel Pipes spoke in January 2008 at UC-Irvine on the threat to Israel's existence, he was interrupted by pro-Palestinian students who were then removed from the audience. They continued their protest outside, saying things such as "it's just a matter of time before the state of Israel will be wiped off the face of the earth...just keep on doing what we are doing, our weapon, our jihad, our way of struggling. May Allah give them strength."[38] Pipes, later interviewed by Hannity and Colmes on Fox News, said the school did not care about this type of disturbance.

Twenty students and alumni at UC-Irvine who were dissatisfied with the handling and representation of the events on campus wrote a letter to UC chancellor Michael V. Drake. It began: "We are deeply concerned about the anti-Semitism at UCI that has been frequently couched as false and hateful attacks on Israel. We do not believe that Chancellor Drake has exercised his responsibility as an educator and university leader in response to the anti-Semitism."[39] Drake, while condemning hate speech, never specifically condemned anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism even though they were rife on campus.

Hillel Invites Drake

Several of these students also wrote a letter to Hillel International president Wayne Firestone, saying they were upset that Chancellor Drake had been invited as a guest speaker at the National Summit of Hillel to lead a session on "Fostering a More Civil Society." Firestone answered that it is better to work with such people than to dismiss them.

Regarding the invitation to Drake, Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America said: "By giving him a podium to give a speech, that only sends a message to him and to others that we are reasonably comfortable with the actions he's taken to fight anti-Semitism and Israel bashing on campus when in fact he has said virtually nothing to give comfort to Jewish students on campus."[40]

Isi Leibler, former senior vice-president of the World Jewish Congress criticized Firestone's statement that there was no relationship between anti-Israeli activity and anti-Semitism: "It is surely disconcerting for a Hillel president to express views by now repudiated even by such bodies as the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, not to mention the US government."[41]

Columbia University

Columbia University has had a number of anti-Israeli incidents in recent years. Once again the fact that it only concerns a limited number of the staff is no consolation.

At a conference organized in New York by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, Prof. Stephen H. Norwood recounted how then-Columbia president Murray Butler had tried to establish friendly relations with German universities in the mid-1930s. He said, "Butler was morally indifferent to Nazi crimes during the critically important early years of Nazi rule." Some professors who opposed his behavior were fired.

Norwood, who received his PhD in history at Columbia and teaches at the University of Oklahoma, told the Jerusalem Post: "Sixty years after the Holocaust, Columbia has never acknowledged that they did anything wrong, even when we now know what the failure of confronting Nazism led to. They don't care enough to look back and say injustices were done."[42]

In recent years Columbia's Middle East and Asian Language and Cultures Department has been accused of intimidating pro-Israeli students. Dozens of cases were exposed in the David Project's 2004 documentary Columbia Unbecoming.[43] The university then had no choice but to carry out an investigation by an academic committee that obfuscated more than it clarified.[44]

Columbia stood out negatively once again in September 2007 when it invited Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak at its World Leaders Forum. The idea of inviting him had already been raised the previous year. At the 2007 lecture, Columbia president Lee C. Bollinger challenged Ahmadinejad and others did so as well. Yet the event gave legitimacy to Ahmadinejad.

In January 2008 the Iranian news agency Mehr claimed that a number of Columbia professors intended to travel to Iran to apologize to Ahmadinejad for Bollinger's behavior. This was denied by various Columbia sources and nothing more was heard about it.[45]

In April 2008 Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs held a faculty panel discussion on "60 Years of Nakba: The Catastrophe of Palestine 1948-2008." A key speaker was Joseph Massad who had been the prime academic investigated for intimidation of pro-Israeli students after the showing of Columbia Unbecoming. Massad had been found at fault in the cases where this conclusion was almost unavoidable but no disciplinary measures against him were proposed.

A writer in FrontPage Magazine summed up this year's panel: "Using the ‘renaming' strategy to make the destruction of Israel more palatable to the West was the faculty panel's primary theme. Portraying the only democratic state in the Middle East as a brutal, non-democratic ‘Jewish supremacist and racist state,' as Massad once put it, was the secondary theme."[46]

James R. Russell, a professor of Armenian studies at Harvard wrote:

Is this Columbia University? A professor of anthropology calls for a million Mogadishus, a professor of Arabic and Islamic Science tells a girl she isn't a Semite because her eyes are green, and a professor of Persian hails the destruction of the World Trade Center as the castrating of a double phallus. The most recent tenured addition to this rogues' gallery is to be an anthropologist, the principal thrust of whose magnum opus is the suggestion that archaeology in Israel is a sort of con game meant to persuade the unwary that Jews lived there in antiquity.[47]

The latter accusation referred to Nadia Abu El-Haj's book Facts on the Ground. Russell said it "fits firmly into the postmodern academic genre, in which facts and evidence are subordinate to, and mediated by, a ‘discourse.'" He concluded that the battle against ideology at Columbia was probably lost.[48]

To balance the one-sided pro-Arab teaching at Columbia, a new Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies was established. However, the professor appointed as its director, Yinon Cohen, had signed a statement in May 2002 supporting Israelis who refused to serve in military operations in Gaza and the West Bank during the Second Intifada. Such a person was obviously not the right one to provide an Israeli perspective.[49] This model of hiring people to represent Israel whose views belong to the margins of Israeli society manifests itself at a number of universities. Some of these academics are even outspoken Jewish anti-Semites.[50]

Other Campuses

Although UC-Irvine and Columbia are among the main universities where the problem of anti-Israelism is structural, many incidents have taken place on other campuses. Some involved anti-Semitic graffiti, vandalism, or personal insults, such as at the University of North Dakota,[51] Rutgers,[52] and UC-Santa Cruz,[53] another university where structural anti-Israeli bias occurs.

There are also hostile acts by individual academics against which Israel's supporters should react. One example is David Mumford. This Harvard mathematician, who received the Wolf Prize in Israel,[54] decided to give part of the prize money to students of Birzeit University near Ramallah so that they could travel abroad.

It is worth recalling, though, that in the 2003 elections for the Birzeit student government council, the campaign featured models of exploding Israeli buses. In the debate, the Hamas candidate asked the Fatah candidate: "Hamas activists in this university killed 135 Zionists. How many did Fatah activists from Birzeit kill?" The people murdered are mostly Israeli civilians.[55]

Mumford accepted money from an Israeli body and used it to fund students of a Palestinian university where major incitement to murder Israelis takes place. If he will become known more for his vicious mind than for his academic achievements it will serve as a lesson to others. It is sadly clear that in such battles Israeli universities that do not tend to their own direct interests will not be much of a partner.

Exposing the Abuses

The many ideological abuses on American campuses have led to a number of counteractions. "In October 2007 more than a hundred campuses hosted Islamo-Fascism Awareness weeks to make university communities aware of the Islamist threat and the danger it poses. In April 2008 a second Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week focused on the network created in America by the Muslim Brotherhood." Yet another campaign is planned for October 2008 on "Stop the Jihad on Campus."[56]

The highly politicized nature of the Middle East Studies Organization (MESA) has led a number of scholars to create an alternative organization, the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA). Its chairman is the well-known scholar Bernard Lewis and another leading academic, Fouad Ajami, is vice-president of its academic council. Its members already include five hundred scholars in forty countries. Its first meeting was held in April 2008.[57]


In Italy over several months in 2007 and the beginning of 2008 a list appeared on the internet of 162 Italian university teachers of Jewish origin. When the Rome Jewish community complained to the Interior Ministry, the internet service provider took the site off the web.

Professor Roberto della Rocca, a historian at the University of Rome III had already asked the provider in September 2007 to remove this site because he said it was a threat to him personally. Giuliano Amato, the interior minister, said that what he had seen on the blog violated both Italian culture and law. The ministry then launched an investigation.[58]

The Less Visible

There are also, however, many factors less visible than incidents that slowly pervert the teaching atmosphere on campus. These include, for instance, the selective choice of books for libraries, or the one-sided assigning of books in lecture classes. These are almost underground phenomena that are not monitored in any way.

A problem apart is self-hating Israeli academics, some of whom are outright advocates of Israel's genocidal enemies. Others, less extreme, defame Israel in various ways while remaining silent about the context in which Israel operates or without even mentioning the murderous attitudes that permeate Palestinian society.

An example of Israeli self-hate was cited by former Israeli minister Amnon Rubinstein. A visiting professor at Columbia when Ahmadinejad spoke there, he relates: "Inside the hall sat an Israeli student who applauded Ahmadinejad. I asked another Israeli who witnessed this behavior to tell me about her. I asked: ‘How can she applaud someone that wants to exterminate her?' His matter of fact reply: ‘She's known to be a leftist.'"

Rubinstein concluded:

In other words "leftists" applaud a tyrant, a Nazi, a persecutor of minorities, oppressor of women, stoner of "adulterers," and executioner of homosexuals. If he protests the oppression of the Palestinians, then he must clearly be a member of the "left" and should therefore be cheered. Later, I encountered other Israeli academics at Columbia who added more fuel to the fire of hatred against Israel-all belonged to what is known as the radical Left.[59]

Organizational Requirements

The abovementioned examples of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli actions on campuses in a number of countries are far from comprehensive. At present no one is tracking such incidents systematically and globally. There are several reasons why such a body is needed. Israel Apartheid Week has demonstrated that developments on one campus may spread to others, both in the same country and internationally. Only an international monitoring body can keep track of such developments.

Furthermore, individual students and Jewish organizations in various countries need a backup organization that has expertise in countering anti-Semitic phenomena on campus. Since academia is usually a world apart from society at large, off-campus Jewish organizations have great difficulty understanding how to cope with such developments. In addition, many incidents such as professors demonizing Israel in class go unrecorded.

Although certain aspects of these problems are competently covered in some countries by various Jewish organizations, there is a lack of an overall global picture, and of monitoring of many of the hate phenomena against Israel and the Jews. There is a need for a body to concentrate the knowledge on the various actions against Jews and Israel and how people respond to them. Only with this knowledge can effective action be undertaken-in other words, a more proactive policy is needed.


It would be mistaken to consider the onslaught on Israel and Jews as an isolated phenomenon. What happens to Jews has usually been a pointer to structural elements of the societal environment in which it takes place and is also a sensor of events to come. This is also the case as far as academia is concerned. Academic freedom has been abused so much that it has outlived part of its academic and societal usefulness for fostering knowledge in its present form.

If any further proof was needed, Columbia University's invitation to Ahmadinejad to lecture there provided it. In view of his incitement to genocide, the natural place for him to speak should be as a defendant before an international court. Similarly the many anti-Israeli hate campaigns on campus prove that the principle of academic freedom in its present form is partly obsolete.

The defenders of what now passes for academic freedom should largely be seen as an elitist interest group that tries to protect acquired privileges. Being powerful in society and having good public relations enables universities to present the current, ostensible academic freedom as a moral value, whereas actually it is an expression of extreme corporatism. The declaration of the Ad Hoc Committee to Defend the University is a prime example of this aberration.

Outsiders such as Campus Watch and FrontPage Magazine fulfill important roles in exposing misbehavior on campuses-all the more so because academic peers and administrations have often failed in preventing it. One can only hope that external scrutiny of what goes on in academia will increase further.

One important example of how an investigation can shed light on a troubled, insufficiently known area was Britain's All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism.[60] It paid substantial attention to anti-Semitism on campuses.

There is a similar need for more comprehensive external investigations of the academic world, particularly its openness to hate teaching and bias. This includes elements such as political correctness, the promotion of ideology, the distortion of knowledge, and the protection of the hate promoters and falsifiers of knowledge as well as other malfunctions of campus administrations.

* * *

[1] The author expresses his thanks to Emily Bernstein who was the research assistant at the JCPA for part of this project.

[2] For a historical overview see: Manfred Gerstenfeld (ed.), Academics against Israel and the Jews (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2007).

[3] "About IAW," Israel Apartheid Week, 9 March 2008. .

[4] Israel Apartheid Week, 9 March 2008. .

[5] Avi Weinryb, "The University of Toronto-The Institution where Israel Apartheid Week Was Born," forthcoming, Jewish Political Studies Review, Fall 2008.

[6] Abe Selig, "Canadian Professors Slam ‘Israel Apartheid Week,'" Jerusalem Post, 2 April 2008.

[7] "Toronto," Israel Apartheid Week, 9 March 2008. .

[8] "Schedules," Israel Apartheid Week, 9 March 2008 .

[9] S. Sheri, "Jewish Groups Work to Counter Israeli Apartheid Week," Canadian Jewish News, 9 March 2008.

[10] Alexander Nino Gheciu, "Ontario Students Protest Ban," Excalibur, 27 February 2008, 4 March 2008. .

[11] Selig, "Canadian Professors."

[12] Avi Benlolo, "Israel Apartheid Week at U of T," 5 February 2008, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, Toronto.

[13] Jonathan D. Halevi, "UCU's Dubious Moral Standards," Middle East Strategic Information (MESI), 8 June 2008.

[14] "Minister Wants No Israeli Boycott," The Press Association, viewed 1 June 2008.

[15] Jonny Paul, "Ex-EU Official Condemns UK Academic Boycott Call," Jerusalem Post, 1 June 2008.

[16] Ron Prosor, "Britain Is a Hotbed of Anti-Israeli Sentiment," The Telegraph, 10 June 2008.

[17] Anthea Lipsett, "Rammell Defends British Universities from Charges of Extremism," Education Guardian, 11 June 2008.

[18] Anthony Julius, "Letter to UCU from Anthony Julius on UCU Boycott Motion," published in SPME Latest Academic News, 3 June 2008.

[19] Personal communication, Ofir Frenkel.

[20] Alan M. Dershowitz, "The Oxford Union's Destructive ‘Debate,'" FrontPage Magazine, 15 January 2008.

[21] Reuters, "Protesters Disrupt Oxford Debate with Holocaust Denier," Haaretz, 28 November 2007.

[22] Ehud Zion Waldoks, "PM, Brown Launch New Academic Exchange Program," Jerusalem Post, 20 July 2008.

[23] Ehud Zion Waldoks, "Israel Boycott a ‘Lose-Lose' Situation," Jerusalem Post, 16 July 2008.

[24] Aisha Labi, "2 British Universities to Benefit from Saudi Prince's Gifts," Chronicle of Higher Education, 9 May 2008.

[25] Jamie Glazov, "Why Arabian Gulf Countries Donate to US Universities," FrontPage Magazine, 9 June 2008.

[26] Anthea Lipsett, "Concerns over Funding of Islamic Studies," Education Guardian, 17 April 2008.

[27] Joan Scott, Edmund Burke, Jeremy Adelman, Steven Caton, Jonathan Cole, and Organizing Committee, "Our Petition," Ad Hoc Committee to Defend the University. .

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ben Harris, "Anti-Israel Academics Say Their Speech Is Stifled," JTA, 25 October 2007.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Leila Beckwith, "Anti-Zionism/Anti-Semitism at the University of California-Irvine," in Gerstenfeld, Academics, 115-21.

[32] Joseph Serna, "Jewish Org. Nixes UCI Probe," Daily Pilot, 7 October 2007.

[33] Task Force on Anti-Semitism at the University of California Irvine, Report and Addendum (Huntington Beach, CA: Orange County Independent Task Force, 2008), 26.

[34] Ibid., 27

[35] Aaron Elias, "Al-Asi on Israel: Yes, He Really Said That," New University, 9 March 2008. .

[36] Michal Landau, "Fight UC Irvine Campus Anti-Semitism," Jerusalem Post, 3 April 2008.

[37] The Editors, "The ‘Nakba' at UC-Irvine," FrontPage Magazine, 20 May 2008.

[38] Brad A. Greenberg, "Report Says UCI Is a Hostile Place for Jewish Students," Jewish Journal, 22 February 2008.

[39] UC-Irvine Students, Letter to Chancellor Drake, Students Concerned about Anti-Semitism on Campus, UC-Irvine.

[40] Ben Harris, "Debating How to Respond on Campus," JTA, 18 March 2008.

[41] Isi Leibler, "Candidly Speaking: Hillel Goes Post-Modern," Jerusalem Post, 31 March 2008.

[42] Etgar Lefkowitz, "Columbia Skips NYC Event on University's Nazi Ties in '30s," Jerusalem Post, 3 April 2008.

[43] For a transcript of Columbia Unbecoming, see:

[44] Noah Liben, "The Columbia University Report on Its Middle Eastern Department's Problems: A Paradigm for Obscuring Structural Flaws," in Gerstenfeld, Academics, 95-102.

[45] Peter Kiefer, "Report: Columbia Professors to Apologize to Ahmadinejad," New York Sun, 9 January 2008.

[46] Mary Madigan, "Columbia's Catastrophic ‘Nakba' Conference," FrontPage Magazine, 9 May 2008.

[47] James R. Russell, "Ideology over Integrity in Academe," The Current, Fall 2007.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Jared Irmas, "New Columbia Israel Director Denounced ‘Occupation,'" New York Sun, 28 February 2008.

[50] Asaf Romirowsky, "In Academia, Hiring Token Jews," Washington Times, 4 August 2008

[51] Ben Harris, "Ignoring Anti-Semitism in N. Dakota?" JTA, 29 April 2008.

[52] Ben-Zion Jaffe, "Big Jew on Campus: Anti-Semitism Goes to College," Jerusalem Post blog, 16 April 2008.

[53] J. M. Brown, "UCSC Police Investigating Anti-Semitic Graffiti," Santa Cruz Sentinel, 30 April 2008.

[54] Ofri Ilani, "U.S. Prof. Gives Israeli Prize Money to Palestinian University,", 26 May 2008.

[55] Mohammed Daraghmeh, "Hamas, Fatah Compete over Killing Israelis in Campaign for Student Council Seats," Associated Press,, 10 December 2003.

[56] David Horowitz and Reut Cohen, "Islamo-Fascism Week III: ‘Stop the Jihad on Campus,'" FrontPage Magazine, 5 August 2008.

[57] Richard Byrne, "First Meeting for New Group on Middle East and African Studies Places Islamic Extremism at Center of Its Agenda," Chronicle of Higher Education, 28 April 2008. See also Cinnamon Stilwell, "Truth about Islam in Academia," FrontPage Magazine, 7 July 2008.

[58] "Lista dei prof ebrei La Procura apre un'indagine," La Repubblica, 9 February 2008. [Italian]

[59] Amnon Rubinstein, "Homemade Israel-Bashers," Jerusalem Post, 28 February 2008.

[60] "Report on the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism," Stationery Office Ltd., London, 2006.

* * *

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is Chairman of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is an international business strategist who has been a consultant to governments, international agencies, and boards of some of the world's largest corporations. Among the fourteen books he has published are Europe's Crumbling Myths: The Post-Holocaust Origins of Today's Anti-Semitism (JCPA, Yad Vashem, WJC, 2003), Academics against Israel and the Jews (JCPA, 2007), as well as the just published Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic Countries, Israel and the Jews (JCPA and Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, 2008).

Obama: Most Secretive Democratic Presidential Candidate Ever

David A. Patten

Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign says his campaign will bring a new level of honesty and transparency to the White House. Obama proudly touts that he and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla, passed a law requiring more transparency via a public database of all federal spending. But when it comes to offering the public documents about his own public and private activities, Obama’s record for openness gets an "F" grade.

During the heated Democratic primary, Obama complained of the Bush White House being “one of the most secretive administrations in our history” and chided Sen. Hillary Clinton for not releasing her White House schedules.

Ironically, Obama, just days away from possibly being elected president, continues to stonewall a growing chorus of information requests for documents about his legislative, personal health, education, financing, and background -- leaving many voters to cast ballots based on incomplete information.

And serious questions about his past continue to swirl as Election Day looms, fueled in part by his own campaign’s refusal to make relevant documents available.

And the press, usually banging at the door for candidates to make “full disclosure” is strangely quiet about Obama’s stonewalling.

A Newsmax survey of key Obama aspects of Obama’s public and private life continued to be shielded from the public.

Among the examples:

* Obama has released just one brief document detailing his personal health. McCain, on the other hands, released what he said was his complete medical file totaling more than 1500 pages. After criticism on the matter, last week the Obama campaign also released some routine lab-test results and electrocardiograms for Obama. All test results appeared normal, but many details about his health remain a mystery.

* Obama has refused to offer his official papers as a state legislator in Illinois, and has been unable to produce correspondence, such as letters from lobbyists and other correspondence from his days in the Illinois state senate. There are also no appointment calendars available of his official activities. “It could have been thrown out,” Obama said while on the campaign trail during the Democratic primary. “I haven’t been in the state Senate now for quite some time.”

* Obama has not released his client list as an attorney or his billing records. Obama has maintained that he only performed a few hours of legal work for a nonprofit organization with ties to Tony Rezko, the Chicago businessman convicted of fraud in June. But he has not released billing records that would prove this assertion.

* Obama won’t release his college records from Occidental College where he studied for two years before transferring to Columbia.

* Obama’s campaign refuses to give Columbia University, where he earned an undergraduate degree in political science, permission to release his transcripts. Such transcripts would list the courses Obama took, and his grades. President George W. Bush, and presidential contenders Al Gore and John Kerry, all released their college transcripts. (McCain has refused to release his Naval Academy transcript.)

* Obama’s college dissertation has simply disappeared from Columbia Universities archives. In July, in response to a flurry of requests to review Obama’s senior thesis at the Ivy League school, reportedly titled “Soviet Nuclear Disarmament,” Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt told NBC News “We do not have a copy of the course paper you requested and neither does Columbia University.”

* The senator has not agreed to the release of his application to the Illinois state bar, which would clear up intermittent allegations that his application to the bar may have been inaccurate.

* Jim Geraghty of the National Review has written extensively about Obama’s unwillingness to release records related to clients he represented while he was an attorney with the Chicago law firm of Davis, Miner, Barnhill, and Gallard. Obama was required to list his clients during his years in the Illinois senate. “Obama listed every client of the firm,” Geraghty reported, making it impossible to discern which clients he represented.

* Obama has never released records from his time at Harvard Law School.

* Obama also has not disclosed the names of small donors giving $200 or less to his campaign. An exception to the finance-reporting laws exempts the campaign from reporting those who donate less than $200, but that law never envisioned the more than $300 million that has been raised by Obama in small amounts. The Republican National Committee has released its small donors, as well as McCain’s, on a public database.

On several occasions, the Obama campaign has offered to provide additional information to reporters if they have specific questions or issues. And in some cases, it has done so.

When Internet rumors began to fly that perhaps Obama was born outside the United States, for example, the campaign released images of a birth certificate that verified his birthplace as Honolulu, Hawaii. When that led to suggestions the birth certificate had been altered, the campaign again responded, allowing reporters to examine the actual birth certificate, complete with raised seal. (In late July, according to, a researcher uncovered an announcement of Obama’s birth in the August 13, 1961 edition of the Honolulu Advertiser).

Such instances of cooperation pale, however, compared to the many unanswered questions surrounding Obama, such as the financing of his education, and requests for the complete release of all donors to his campaign.

Of course, candidates are often reticent to disclose any information that opposition researchers could use against them.

But notes that the Obama’s failure to share documents is “part of his campaign’s broader pattern of rarely volunteering information or documents about the candidate, even when relatively innocuous.”

The hue and cry from the media for disclosure usually forces candidates to release sought after documents. But the press has largely acquiesced to Obama’s stonewalling.

© 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

UN Resolution 1701: A View from the United States

Michael Singh
October 22, 2008

This PolicyWatch is the third in a three-part series examining the situation in Lebanon two years after the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. This series coincides with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Marine barracks bombing in Lebanon on October 23, 1983, an attack that continues to inform U.S. policymaking in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East.

Read the two companion PolicyWatches, " UN Resolution 1701: A View from Israel" and " UN Resolution 1701: A View from Lebanon."

Two years after the 2006 Israel-Hizballah war, it is tempting to view another conflict as inevitable: arms continue to flow, Hizballah has rebuilt and enhanced its military strength, Lebanon remains fractured by violent political divisions, and tensions between Iran and Israel have increased. There is, however, cause for hope -- Lebanon's pro-sovereignty leaders have proven courageous and resilient, and the international community has committed significant resources to the country's institutions. If renewed conflict is to be avoided, Lebanon, Israel, and their allies must take advantage of these assets and redouble their efforts to enforce Resolution 1701. Background
The July 16, 2008, return to Israel of the remains of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev marked an end, of sorts, to a war that began almost exactly two years earlier, when the two Israeli soldiers were captured and eight of their colleagues killed in a brazen cross-border attack by Hizballah. Almost from the start of the ensuing conflict, it was clear that the international effort to end it would have to address not only the fighting on the ground but also the dangerous dynamics that had allowed Hizballah to draw the region to the brink of a wider conflagration. The product of this effort was Resolution 1701, which delineated three principles -- no foreign forces, no weapons for nongovernmental militias, and no independent authority separate from the central government -- as vital to a lasting Lebanese peace. Underlying these principles was the recognition that while the flow of arms to terrorist groups like Hizballah is the most immediate threat to stability in Lebanon, the true key to long-term peace is an empowered and capable central government in Beirut.

Strengthening the Lebanese Government
The UN resolution's most basic objective, a ceasefire, was quickly achieved: the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the expanded UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) deployed throughout southern Lebanon in late 2006, and the Blue Line (the UN's 2000 border demarcation between Israel and Lebanon) has been relatively quiet ever since. The ceasefire, however, proved to be the easy part. More difficult was dealing with the domestic ramifications of the conflict in Lebanon -- Hizballah was emboldened and Lebanon's central government was weakened. Their ensuing struggle for power culminated in May 2008 in a bloody street battle that claimed sixty-five lives, eventually leading to Hizballah's temporary occupation of Beirut.

In the Doha Agreement that followed, Hizballah gained new political power, albeit at the cost of credibility lost in turning its weapons against its own people. The pro-sovereignty forces, on the other hand, made painful concessions to the opposition but in many respects stood their ground and even made gains by electing a president, forming a government, and promulgating a strong cabinet statement. The true test of their strength will be in how President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Fouad Siniora handle ongoing discussions of Hizballah's arms, and how the majority fares in the 2009 parliamentary elections.

Built into the UN resolution was the recognition that the Lebanese government would need significant international aid, and indeed it has received an influx of economic and security assistance for the past two years. A massive increase of U.S. assistance, which included $200 million in military aid this year, led international efforts. Events during this period, however, have underscored that while foreign aid can provide vital leverage to Lebanon's government, real change must be led by the Lebanese themselves. For example, international security assistance gave the LAF an edge in its hard-fought victory over the radical Sunni organization Fatah al-Islam in the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in mid-2007. But the operation's success ultimately stemmed from the LAF's determination and public support. Hizballah at first sought to limit the LAF's freedom of action, but was forced to backpedal when it became clear that the tide of public opinion supported the government.

The Challenge of Hizballah
The violence in May 2008 underscored one of the premises of Resolution 1701: that any gains made by the Lebanese government could easily be countered by Hizballah with massive military force. Resolution 1701 sought to constrain Hizballah's military capability by securing Lebanon's eastern border, thus limiting both the flow of arms and the ambitions of Iran and Syria. But the active opposition of those regimes and the lack of robust border security measures left the border porous, allowing Hizballah to rearm. In fact, Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak asserted that Hizballah's arsenal of rockets has nearly tripled since 2006.

Arms smuggling and an emboldened Hizballah pose a threat to the region that is difficult to overstate. As a vanguard for Tehran, Hizballah frustrates progress on regional peace and stability and acts as a proxy through which Iran can operate without risking direct retaliation. This strategy holds true not only in the Levant, but also throughout the Middle East -- such as Hizballah's training of Iraqi Shiite militants -- and as far away as South America, where Hizballah agents engage in terrorist financing and other activities. Compounding the problem, the Iran-Syria arms pipeline supplies al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups in Palestinian refugee camps, as well as other Syrian proxies in the region.

Next Steps
Two years after the summer 2006 war, the need for full and effective enforcement of Resolution 1701 remains urgent. The possibility of renewed conflict looms large and is compounded by tensions between Iran and Israel, the potential for Hizballah to avenge the death of Imad Mughniyeh (the military commander killed by a February 2008 car bomb in Damascus), and the activities of terrorist groups operating in Palestinian refugee camps, which continue to put the country at risk.

In the short term, it is critical to stop the flow of arms to the militias that hold Lebanon hostage. To this end, any further European moves to revive EU-Syria relations should stipulate that Damascus cooperate in ending the flow of arms into Lebanon. The EU should also emulate the British government's recent designation of Hizballah as a terrorist organization. In addition, the international community and Lebanon's regional partners should take meaningful action to secure the Lebanese-Syrian border, or Siniora should charge UNIFIL with that mission under the authority provided him by Resolution 1701. Finally, measures to stop the arms before they arrive at the border should be examined in earnest.

The long-term challenge for Lebanon's allies will be to strengthen the Lebanese state by increasing military, diplomatic, and economic assistance to Beirut. The Lebanese government, in turn, can demonstrate its authority by continuing to address the country's security challenges and wresting control of the Lebanon-Israel relationship from Hizballah and Iran by taking up Israel's offer of bilateral talks. Hizballah and its allies may criticize such a move, but Suleiman could justify the talks by pointing to the peace deals and ongoing talks between Israel and its other neighbors.

For its part, Israel should recognize that effective implementation of Resolution 1701 requires strong Lebanese civic and security institutions. Israeli leaders should see the Lebanese government as a partner and refrain from actions that indirectly benefit those seeking to undermine it, such as Hizballah. While Hizballah, despite its claims of defending Lebanon, dragged Israel and Lebanon into a war neither wanted, the Lebanese and Israeli governments should pursue the peace that both countries need.

Michael Singh is a Boston-based associate fellow at The Washington Institute and former senior director for Middle East affairs on the National Security Council.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

ACORN Could Cause Obama's Fall

Senator Obama never loses an opportunity to refer to the last 8 years - the Bush administration. He should recognize that he has much more baggage and must allow for connecting him to Ayers-Rashidi- Alinsky-al-Mansour- Wright-ACORN ---just to name a few of his associations - as hard as he tries to distance himself from them. When discussing the economy, Obama conveniently overlooks that today's crisis began long ago when a personal involvement of Barney Frank (a Democrat) diverted his attention from the beginning ills of Fannie Mae. The Bush administration did attempt to warn about the slide and in 2006 Sen. McCain also tried to bring this to the attention of the government but the Democratic Congress did not cooperate. Now that the chickens have come home to roost the Republicans are being blamed for the economic crisis. The highly controversial ACORN group bears a large responsibility for promoting the acquisition of homes by those who could not afford them. The supposedly non-partisan organization received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Obama campaign and did not hide its support of him. What has happened to integrity?
Those who have relegated terrorism to a less important place should recognize that it a worldwide phenomenon. Terrorism causes and thrives on chaos ; it is not a matter or 'if' but 'when' it comes to mainland U.S. again. Demands will be made of a shocked community and if the enemy is appeased it will be emboldened to demand more ...before a repeat performance. No one should be lulled into thinking that the economy would not be affected again. And the question remains -which candidate has more experience to stand fast and be a true commander-in-chief.

ACORN Could Cause Obama's Fall
Wednesday, October 15, 2008 2:04 PM

By: Dick Morris & Eileen McGann

As Obama lengthens his lead, the Republicans are praying that the election becomes close enough for the Democrats not to steal. But meanwhile, ACORN, the radical community group, is becoming an embarrassment for Obama.

It is not as if its shenanigans are likely to tip the result, with the Democrats so far ahead. But as it is raided by the FBI in state after state (11 so far), it is becoming identified as the electoral equivalent of Greenpeace, extremists who will stop at nothing to get their way.

What makes ACORN particularly embarrassing for Obama is that he used to be one of them. He served as general counsel for ACORN in Illinois, channeled millions to the organization from the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (whose funds he distributed) and has lately spent $800,000 of his campaign money to subsidize the group's activities.

For this emolument, ACORN has registered voters 15 times over, canvassed the graveyards for votes, and prepared to commit electoral fraud on a massive scale.

With friends like this, Obama doesn't need enemies. As their radical activities make headlines every day, Obama's intimate involvement with these radicals becomes more and more of a political liability.

The other Obama scandals have no topical relevance. The Rev. Wright no longer spews hatred from the pulpit and has apparently been persuaded to stay away from media interviews. William Ayers is likewise making himself scarce, and the Obama/Ayers relationship, whatever it may have been, is clearly in the past.

Rezko is facing sentencing in his own corruption case, but isn't likely to turn on the one man who may acquire the power to pardon him.

But, as Election Day approaches and early balloting proceeds in many states, ACORN's tactics will get more and more media attention. As election officials discover ACORN frauds, the association will become more injurious to Obama, particularly when it is his own campaign that is funding many of the fraudulent activities.

At the very least, the negative publicity ACORN will attract will paint Obama as a radical with questionable judgment. At the most, it might cause voters to wonder if he is not himself involved in electoral fraud.

The recent book by Wall Street Journal editor John Fund, "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy," discusses the prevalence of voter fraud, made newly possible by lax enforcement of laws requiring identification to vote. As Fund indicates, the motor/voter laws have encouraged waves of new voters, many of them ineligible to participate. Let us remember that eight of the Sept. 11 hijackers were registered to vote!

So ACORN is the gift that will keep on giving as its activities attract attention while Election Day nears. But are these McCain attacks on Obama going to work?

Clearly they have not so far. Obama has lower negatives than McCain, and his unfavorable rating has not risen despite the avalanche of attack advertising to which he has been subjected.

Possibly, voters are just inured to the attacks and disregard them. But more likely they are just distracted by the financial meltdown all around them. We have never had a presidential race, since 1944, where the contest was not the most important news in the four weeks before the election. (In 1944, the war overshadowed the election, much to the frustration of the Republican candidate, Thomas E. Dewey.)

The candidates seem unable to get a word in edgewise as the financial news dominates. People follow the Dow Jones more than the Gallup, Rasmussen, or Zogby polls.

If the presidential race remains an afterthought, crowded out by the financial news, Obama will waltz into the White House by a comfortable margin. But if the stock market stops its gyrations for a while and no new household name/corporation or bank goes broke, the negatives against Obama will compel attention at last.

And then the race may close swiftly and dramatically.

© 2008 Dick Morris & Eileen McGann

Jews Banished from Temple Mount

Hillel Fendel

A mob of dozens of Arabs threatened and nearly surrounded a group of Jewish worshipers who visited the Temple Mount over the Simchat Torah holiday on Tuesday. The police told the Jews to leave.

The Arabs, who were preparing for a demonstration, approached the Jewish group and chanted "Allahu Akbar" - a phrase ostensibly praising G-d, but often used to herald an imminent terrorist attack. The police then intervened, told the Jews they should cut their visit short, and arrested two Arabs suspected of inciting the mob. No one was hurt.
The judge stated emphatically that the Jewish right to pray on the Temple Mount is legally guaranteed by the State of Israel.

Last week, during the Sukkot holiday, Temple Institute Director Yehuda Glick was arrested for several hours while waiting in line with hundreds of others to visit the Temple Mount. The police accused him of "instigation and provocation" in the framework of his activities to encourage Jews to visit the Mount, and asked for a court order keeping him away from the area for six months. Even after the police reduced their demand to 20 days, Jerusalem Magistrates Court Judge Morris Ben-Attar ordered them to release Glick immediately.

The judge stated emphatically that the Jewish right to pray on the Temple Mount is legally guaranteed by the State of Israel.

Some 400 people visited the Mount, Judaism's most sacred site, on Tuesday morning, and another 500 attempted to do so that afternoon - after having coordinated their plans with the police in advance. Despite this, the police were not prepared for such large numbers, refused to allow them in - and arrested Glick in the process.

Speaking later with Arutz-7, Glick expressed "sorrow that the police, instead of admitting their failure in preparing for the hundreds of visitors - even though they knew about them for months in advance - chose instead to take revenge on someone who has led an approach of cooperation with the police."

Glick said that the Tuesday holiday visit did not even start off smoothly: "It was a group of 16 members of the family of Rabbi Yosef Elboim, who has been promoting Temple Mount awareness for 40 years. But the police said that only 15 people were allowed up at once... It took them 20 minutes to decide that the 16th person could also go up. Then, while the Arabs were preparing to demonstrate, the police didn't do anything, and when it began to be a little dangerous, they told the Jews that they had to leave."

Ascent to the Temple Mount is a matter of rabbinic dispute. Many say that it is forbidden according to Jewish Law, because of the danger of setting foot in Biblically-prohibited areas. Other rabbis, however, say that these areas can be clearly delineated, and that those who immerse in a ritual bath [mikveh] and take other rabbinically-prescribed precautions before their visit can be assured that they will walk only in permitted areas. The latter add that it is not only permitted, but also recommended, to visit the Mount under these circumstances.

US intelligence: Iran will be able to build first nuclear bomb by February 2009

US intelligence’s amended estimate, that Iran will be ready to build its first bomb just one month after the next US president is sworn in, is disclosed by DEBKAfile’s Washington sources as having been relayed as a guideline to the Middle East teams of both presidential candidates, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama. The information prompted the assertion by Democratic vice presidential nominee Joseph Biden in Seattle Sunday, Oct. 19: “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy.” (McCain retorted Tuesday, Oct. 21: “America does not need a president that needs to be tested. I’ve been tested. I was aboard the Enterprise off the coast of Cuba. I’ve been there.”) DEBKAfile’s military sources cite the new US timeline: By late January, 2009, Iran will have accumulated enough low-grade enriched uranium (up to 5%) for its “break-out” to weapons grade (90%) material within a short time. For this, the Iranians have achieved the necessary technology. In February, they can move on to start building their first nuclear bomb.

US intelligence believes Tehran has the personnel, plans and diagrams for a bomb and has been running experiments to this end for the past two years. The UN International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna last week asked Tehran to clarify recent complex experiments they conducted in detonating nuclear materials for a weapon, but received no answer.

The same US evaluation adds that the Iranian leadership is holding off its go-ahead to start building the bomb until the last minute so as to ward off international pressure to stop at the red line.

This development together with the galloping global economic crisis will force the incoming US president to go straight into decision-making without pause on Day One in the Oval Office. He will have to determine which urgent measures can serve best for keeping a nuclear bomb out of the Islamic republic’s hands - diplomatic or military – and how to proceed if those measures fail.

His knowledge of the challenge colored Sen. Biden’s additional words in Seattle: “Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

Israel’s political and military leaders also face a tough dilemma that can no longer be put off of whether to strike Iran’s nuclear installations militarily in the next three months between US presidencies before the last window closes, or take a chance on coordination with the next president.

Waiting for the “international community” to do the job of stopping Iran, as urged by governments headed by Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert - and strongly advocated Tzipi Livni, foreign minister and would-be prime minister - has been a washout. Iran stands defiantly on the threshold of a nuclear weapon.

Police forces prepare to leave Akko

Two weeks after violent riots break out between city's Jews and Arabs, police commander decides to withdraw reinforcement troops deployed to maintain the peace
Ahiya Raved

Police announced on Tuesday evening the hundreds of reinforcement troops deployed in Akko would be withdrawn after restoring order in the city that two weeks ago found itself spiraling into a nightmare of racially-charged riots. The clashes between the city's Jews and Arabs erupted on the eve of Yom Kippur after an Arab resident drove his car through a Jewish neighborhood. For nearly a fortnight police fought to quell the nightly confrontations, with rioters hurling rocks at, and setting fire to, homes and businesses.

In all 90 people - half Jewish, half Arab - were arrested for incitement or violence.

Twelve of those detained are still in custody. Police are seeking to indict six of them, and their cases are currently in the hands of the State Prosecution.

Northern District Commander Shimon Koren held a meeting on Tuesday with deputy Menachem Haver to assess the security situation in the city.

The two decided that come morning the hundreds of policemen brought in to reinforce Akko's usual police force would be withdrawn from the city, on the condition that no further rioting followed the holiday of Simchat Torah - which ended Tuesday evening.

Special Forces deployed in Akko would also be withdrawn, as would Border Guard officers and undercover agents working in the main conflict areas.

However, the police chiefs agreed, Akko's local station would receive an additional 200 policemen until further notice.

"The aim of having (more) forces stay in the city is to restore the residents' sense of personal security following the incidents," explained Koren.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Obama Gets Powell Nod

As I am sure you know by now, former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed Senator Barack Obama for president on Meet the Press Sunday. I served with Powell in the Reagan Administration, and while I deeply respected his military service to our country, I was never under any illusions that he was a conservative. He was not. Most of you will remember that one of President Reagan's finest moments was when he went to Berlin, Germany, and standing before the Brandenburg Gate, he delivered a speech challenging Mikhail Gorbachev to "Tear down this wall." Before Reagan delivered that famous speech, Powell repeatedly tried to get that line cut out because he felt it was "too provocative." Reagan eventually told Powell to back off because the challenge to Gorbachev was the reason for the speech.

Powell's interview was telling. Among the reasons he cited for choosing Obama was that Powell did not want two more conservative appointments on the Supreme Court. If Powell objects to men like Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts, it tells us a lot about his liberalism.

But for me the most puzzling thing of all is why the military man Powell would endorse a man like Obama, whose policies would have guaranteed America's defeat in Iraq and the humiliation of our men and women in uniform. And Powell made this endorsement on the weekend that the last U.S. Marines were leaving the former "hell hole" of Fallujah in victory after having defeated the jihadists that held that city in their grip for so long.

Powell's endorsement is nonsensical, and it leaves open the question of just how big a factor race was in his decision.

Elect Obama – Get A Crisis!

Several times in the last year, I have warned readers of this daily report that if Senator Obama is elected, our foreign enemies (Yes, Obama, we have enemies!) would quickly threaten the U.S. in an international security crisis. Amazingly, Obama's running mate, Senator Joe Biden, agrees with me.

ABC News reported that in a rally in Seattle over the weekend, Biden said this to a startled crowd:

"Mark my words…It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama… The world is looking… Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate."
This may be the only issue Biden and I agree about: Our enemies would "test" Barack Obama because they sense he is weak. I am just as positive they would not "test" a President McCain.

The Audacity Of Democrat Arrogance

The Democrats have their measuring tapes out already, and they are sizing up the curtains in the Oval Office. A reporter for a local Washington, D.C., news outlet ran into Nancy Pelosi this weekend. Asked about the outcome of the November election, Pelosi replied, "100% Barack Obama is going to win!" And here's a headline from the Associated Press late Friday afternoon: "Obama's transition team meets, candidate pushes on." Another headline read: "Barack Obama Lines Up Cabinet Of Stars."

According to the AP story, former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta is leading the Obama transition team. Podesta also happens to head up the leftwing Center for American Progress, which in 2007 produced a report making the ideological case for the re-imposition of the "Fairness Doctrine" to shut down talk radio.

This election is far from over. There are two weeks left until Election Day, and in spite of shattering all fundraising and spending records in what is arguably the most favorable political environment Democrats have had in decades, Obama's slim lead in the polls appears to be shrinking.

I continue to be amazed by the messages I am receiving from good folks who did not realize how radically pro-abortion Barack Obama is and who have no idea that he wants to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which he once called an "abhorrent law." Thanks to Joe the Plumber, many are just now learning about his socialist, "spread the wealth" leanings.

There is still time to get this information out to the American people, and with your help, Campaign for Working Families will do everything we can to expose Barack Obama's radical record!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Focus, People A life-or-death election

Anne Bayefsky

Since the time of Hitler, civilization has never been so close to the brink of total catastrophe. This American election will decide whether civilization as we know it will survive. As much as economic questions are currently front and center, with blame to go all round, this is not an election primarily about corporate greed, or individuals living beyond their means, or government neglect of economic oversight. Nor is it about whether we should have gone into Iraq where, like it or not, American boots on the ground have begun to create an emerging democracy. This election is about whether there will be a nuclear holocaust.Alarmist? I sure hope so. Isn't it about time that we got to the point about the stakes in this election? How many more pundits do we have to watch talking about the minutae ­ a candidate's look, an accent, a stumble, a slogan? We have four weeks to talk about the thing that matters most: a nuclear-armed Iran, and which candidate will prevent it.

The question that must be put point-blank to both presidential and vice-presidential candidates is: "Will you authorize the use of force in time to stop Iran from acquiring the capacity to make nuclear weapons ­ yes or no?"

Wouldn't your beliefs for and against abortion fade if you thought nobody would be born into a world fit for living things? Wouldn't your worries about health care pale if you thought the mutilation, cancer, and death of millions upon millions, sure to follow nuclear war, would occur in your lifetime? Wouldn't your concerns about affording a college education fade if you thought your children will have the grim task of fighting a war of horrifying devastation instead of going to school?

Wake up. There is a genocidal maniac on the verge of reaching the point of no return in his ability to make a nuclear weapon. A fanatic with the stated ambition to murder five million Jews living in Israel ­ to start. A villain who has already funded and armed a terrorist war against the Jewish state that in 2006 forced one-third of Israel's population to live underground for almost a month. In other words, an individual who is ready, willing, and able to give the nuclear trigger to a terrorist group ­ to terrorists who cannot be bargained with because they prefer their death to your freedom. As for the suggestion that the Mullahs are more powerful and nicer guys, the millions brutalized and subjugated in Iran tell a different story.

I don't know why it is possible after the Holocaust, to have such widespread denial of man's capacity for evil. Nor do I understand why Ahmadinejad's virulent anti-semitism and call for the destruction of Israel are dismissed as irrelevant factoids when calculating the Iranian threat. Time has a story about "experts" who believe that Iran seeks an atomic bomb not because they have any interest in using it or passing it to others who will, but to deter, to ensure its security. <,8599,1847342,00.html?imw=Y >
According to Thomas Fringar, chairman of the U.S. National Intelligence Council: "Iran's biggest strategic concern is obtaining security assurances and accords," and it is the United States "which the Iranians consider a mortal threat." These "experts" have it exactly backwards. If Iran were really driven by such security concerns, these concerns could be alleviated without spending a nickel ­ by stopping its nuclear-weapons campaign and its funding of terrorists.

No amount of ignorance, stupidity, or wishful thinking will change the reality that there are people who are prepared to kill you and your family for no good reason at all. Not because of poverty, or envy, or discrimination or because of anything you've done. But because they hate you ­ whether you live in Jerusalem, Washington, London, or Paris. They hate everything you stand for ­ liberty, tolerance, equality. And their minds are made up. Closed ­ period ­ to the entreaties of na ve foreign diplomats or would-be presidents and vice presidents.

During the vice-presidential debate, Joe Biden denied the undeniable fact that Senator Obama said he would sit down with the Iranian President without preconditions: "Barack Obama, he did not say 'sit down with Ahmadinejad.'" Perhaps he should read Barack's website: "The Obama-Biden Plan: Obama supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions."

So let's look at the differences between the presidential tickets on what to do about the nuclear weapons ambitions of a would-be mass murderer.

On the one side:

Vice-Presidential Debate

DEBATE MODERATOR: "Let's move to Iran and Pakistan….Senator Biden. What's the greater threat, a nuclear Iran or an unstable Afghanistan?"

SENATOR BIDEN: "…I always am focused…I have been focusing on for a long time, along with Barack, on Pakistan….Iran getting a nuclear weapon would be very, very destabilizing…[T]hey are not close to getting a nuclear weapon that's able to be deployed."…

SENATOR BIDEN: [on Iran] "Our friends and allies have been saying, Gwen, "Sit down. Talk. Talk. Talk."…And if we don't…what makes you think the allies are going to sit with us?"

Ask yourself: does preventing a nuclear holocaust involve winning a popularity contest?

First Presidential Debate

Senator Obama [on preventing a nuclear Iran]: "Now here's what we need to do. We do need tougher sanctions. I do not agree…that we're going to be able to execute the kind of sanctions we need without some cooperation with…Russia and China…[W]e are also going to have to…engage in tough direct diplomacy with Iran and this is a major difference I have with Senator McCain."

News flash: Russia and China have told us to take a hike on tough sanctions, Barack. Any other ideas?

Obama Website:

If Iran continues its troubling behavior, we will step up our economic pressure and political isolation.

"If" it continues? Anybody in Iran trembling?

And on the other side:

Vice-Presidential Debate

DEBATE MODERATOR: "Governor, nuclear Pakistan, unstable Pakistan, nuclear Iran? Which is the greater threat?"

GOVERNOR PALIN: "An armed, nuclear armed especially Iran is so extremely dangerous to consider. They cannot be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons period."

First Presidential Debate

Senator McCain: "If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it is an existential threat to the State of Israel and to other countries in the region…[W]e cannot [allow] a second Holocaust. …Have no doubt about the ultimate result of them acquiring nuclear weapons…What Senator Obama doesn't seem to understand that if without preconditions you sit down across the table from someone who has called Israel a "stinking corpse," and wants to destroy that country and wipe it off the map, you legitimize those comments. This is dangerous. It isn't just naive; it's dangerous. And so we just have a fundamental difference of opinion."

Barack Obama isn't just inexperienced. It isn't naivet that drives him. I take him at his word. He and his vice-presidential candidate believe in "talk, talk, talk" regardless of the hourglass or the stakes or the intentions of the person across the table. No amount of learning on the job is going to change their way of thinking. Approving the use of force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is a Rubicon they will not cross ­ before civilization as we know it comes to an end.

So when you cast your ballot this election, make no mistake: you are voting for or against a nuclear holocaust. Not because Barack Obama wants such a horror, but because he will not prevent it. He will still be talking when the point of no return in Iran's nuclear program is reached. And the balance of power in the world will ­ with terrible consequences ­ have changed forever.

­ Anne Bayefsky is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and at Touro College. She is an attorney, scholar, human rights activist, and also editor of I heard her speak at a conference and also at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs where I have been a member of an investigative team that monitors the media worldwide on Post-Holocaust Anti-Semitism and more. She is brilliant.